2 Jan 1942
  • James Doolittle was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the US Army for the task of planning an air raid against Japan. ww2dbase [Trip to Washington DC, May 2005 | James Doolittle | Doolittle Raid | AC, CPC]
  • Soviet Army broke through German lines at Rzhev, Russia. ww2dbase [Rzhev-Vyazma Offensive and the Demyansk Pocket | TH]
  • Japanese hospital ship Hikawa Maru departed at Roi, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Hikawa Maru | CPC]
  • 7,000 Axis troops at Bardia, Libya surrendered to the Allies. Among the prisoners of war was General Artir Schmitt. ww2dbase [Operation Crusader | CPC]
  • HMS Indomitable departed Cape Town, South Africa with Sea Hurricane aircraft aboard. ww2dbase [Indomitable | CPC]
  • Chiang Kaishek cabled US President Roosevelt asking the President to nominate a trusted American General to act as Chief of Staff in the China Theatre. The Americans responded by suggesting that the functions of Chief of Staff China Theatre should be combined with Commander of the China-Burma-India Theatre and Supervisor of Lend-Lease material. Brigadier-General John Magruder of the American Military Mission to China was not senior enough (and was already disillusioned with the Chinese) and when Lieutenant General Hugh A. Drum turned down the position it was finally offered to Major General Joseph W. Stilwell who reluctantly agreed to go where he was sent. ww2dbase [Joseph Stilwell | AC]
  • German submarine U-134 sank British ship Waziristan in the Barents Sea at 0648 hours; she was the first Arctic Convoy ships to be sunk. The 47 aboard abandoned ship but were never seen again. Also lost with Waziristan were 3,700 tons of supplies and 410 US-built trucks for the Soviet Union. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Vimiera struck a mine and sank in the Thames estuary in southern England, United Kingdom while escorting a coastal convoy; 96 were killed, 14 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-123 damaged American ship Algonquin in the Atlantic Ocean. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-77 attacked British destroyer HMS Kimberley off Tobruk, Libya at 0238 hours, blowing off the stern and killing 3; destroyer HMS Heythrop would tow HMS Kimberley to Alexandria, Egypt. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Unbeaten attacked and sank the already-damaged German submarine U-374 south of Messina, Sicily, Italy at 1030 hours with two torpedoes; 42 were killed, 1 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Repair ship Akashi departed from Palau Islands. ww2dbase [Akashi | CPC]
  • Ernest King ordered Chester Nimitz to plan a raid against Japanese positions in the Gilbert Islands and the Marshall Islands in order to establish an offensive momentum in the Pacific War. ww2dbase [Ernest King | CPC]
  • German submarine U-134 sank British freighter Waziristan of Allied convoy PQ-7A; Waziristan was already damaged by German aircraft at the time of this attack; all 47 aboard were killed. ww2dbase [Arctic Convoys | CPC]
  • Walter Stettner von Grabenhofen was awarded the Iron Cross in Gold. ww2dbase [Walter Stettner von Grabenhofen | CPC]
Hawaii Malaya
  • Japanese and Anglo-Indian troops continued to fight at Kampar Hill in British Malaya and prepared to withdraw southward later in the day. To the south, troops of the Japanese 4th Imperial Guard Regiment sailed down the Perak River to reinforce the Japanese 11th Regiment at Bernam River; Indian 12th Infantry Brigade arrived to reinforce the failing defense at Telok Anson nearby. Far to the south, Japanese aircraft based in Malaya and Borneo attacked Singapore. ww2dbase [Invasion of Malaya and Singapore | Perak | CPC]
Philippines Russia United States
  • The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) convicted 33 members of a German intelligence network headed by Fritz Joubert Duquesne in the largest espionage case in US history. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Submarine Hoe was laid down by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut, United States. ww2dbase [Electric Boat Company | Hoe | Groton, Connecticut | CPC]
  • The United States Marine Corps Supply Center at Barstow, California, United States was organized as Marine Barracks, Marine Corps Depot of Supplies. ww2dbase [Barstow, California | CPC]
  • What was later to be known as the USAAF Eighth Air Force was established as the Fifth Air Force at Savannah Army Air Base, Georgia, United States under the command of Major General Henry "Hap" Arnold. The original plan was to provide air support for an envisioned Allied invasion of North Africa. ww2dbase [Henry Arnold | Savannah, Georgia | AC]
  • The keel of Stephen Hopkins was laid down by the Kaiser Richmond Shipyards in Yard No. 2, Way #3 in Richmond, California, United States. ww2dbase [Kaiser Richmond Shipyards | Stephen Hopkins | Richmond, California | CPC]
  • USS St. Louis departed San Francisco as a convoy escort bound for San Diego, California. ww2dbase [St. Louis | San Francisco, California | DS]
Photo(s) dated 2 Jan 1942
Pilots of No. 3 Squadron RAAF discussing operational plans outside their tents in LibyaCanadians pulling the wreckage of a Digby Mark I aircraft out of Freshwater Bay at Dover, Dominion of Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada), after the plane crashed into the bay on 2 Jan 1942President Hayes and USS New Mexico at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, United States, 2 Jan 1942

2 Jan 1942 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935

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