3 Jan 1942
  • USS Skipjack attacked a Japanese submarine in the Dutch East Indies with four torpedoes and observed two explosions; in actuality no damage was done. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Pollack fired a torpedo at a Japanese ship off Honshu, Japan; the torpedo missed. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • US and Filipino troops fell back to the Guagua-Porac defensive line, 15 miles from the Bataan peninsula on Luzon, Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian 39th and 53rd Battalions arrived at Port Moresby, New Guinea from Sydney, Australia. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese submarine I-158 sank Dutch ship Langkoeas off Bawean Island, Dutch East Indies; all 94 aboard escaped on lifeboats. I-158 rammed one of the lifeboats and attacked the others with machine guns, killing many of the survivors. Ultimately, only 3 would survive. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Five freighters and one tanker departed Messina, Brindisi, and Taranto in Italy to form convoy M.34, carrying 1,200 troops, 54 tanks, artillery pieces, armored cars, 1,000 tons of ammunition, and 5,300 tons of fuel for Tripoli, Libya. A powerful escort force of 4 Italian battleships, 5 cruisers, 19 destroyers, and 5 torpedo boats provided cover from a distance. ww2dbase [CPC]
Caroline Islands
  • Tenryu arrived at Truk, Caroline Islands. In the subsequent days she would receive two depth charge throwers and two depth charge rails at the stern. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Major General Tomitaro Horii and Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue met at Truk, Caroline Islands aboard cruiser Kashima to coordinate Army-Navy plans for the invasion of Bismarck Islands. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • SS-Obersturmbannführer Martin Weiß was named the commandant of Dachau Concentration Camp in southern Germany, replacing Alexander Piorkowski. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Malaya
  • Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Cummings led a counter attack against the Japanese at Kuantan, Pahang, Malaya, in which all of his men were killed or wounded, and he was bayoneted twice in the stomach. Rallying the remnants of his force under fire, he was wounded again, but succeeded in saving many lives. He was awarded the Victoria Cross. ww2dbase [Main Article | AC]
  • The Japanese made an amphibious attack at Kuala Selangor in western Malaya, which was repelled by Indian troops. In eastern Malaya, Japanese troops pushed through Indian 9th Division defenses and crossed the Kuantan River, capturing the airfield nearby. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Colonel Arthur Cummings, commanding officer of the Indian 12th Frontier Force Regiment, gallantly led a rearguard unit near Kuantan, Pahang, Malaya as the main body of his division retreated further south, suffering a bayonet wound in his stomach and a gunshot in the arm. He would survive the war and be awarded the Victoria Cross for this action. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The B-25D variant of the B-25 Mitchell aircraft took its first flight; all B-25D aircraft were built at Kansas City, Kansas, United States. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Jan 1942
Laffey fitting out at the Bethlehem Steel Company shipyard, San Francisco, California, United States, 3 Jan 1942; note San Francisco

3 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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Famous WW2 Quote
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939