5 Jan 1942
  • Soviet forces launched general offensives on the Leningrad, Moscow, Ukraine, and Crimea fronts. Joseph Stalin, who had taken command, refused to heed his generals who warned against a broad 1,000-mile long front. ww2dbase [Joseph Stalin | AC]
  • The Soviet attempt to land at Eupatoria (Yevpatoria) was blocked by the Germans. ww2dbase [Battle of Sevastopol | TH]
  • Georg von Bismarck was assigned as as a staff officer of Panzer Group Africa. ww2dbase [Georg von Bismarck | CPC]
  • US Navy Bureau of Navigation granted permission for Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks Rear Admiral Ben Moreell to recruit for a regiment of three construction battalions, soon to be known as "Seabees". ww2dbase [CPC]
  • USS Pollack damaged Japanese cargo ship Heijo Maru off Honshu, Japan with three of six torpedoes fired; this was claimed as a sinking. ww2dbase [Pollack | CPC]
  • After sundown, 140 British aircraft attacked the port facilities at Brest, France, dropping 203 tons of high explosive bombs, followed by another wave of 126 aircraft which dropped 186 tons of high explosive bombs and 12,680 incendiary bombs. The primary targets were German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, which suffered little damage. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Upholder sank Italian submarine Admiral Saint-Bon, with 155 tons of ammunition and gasoline on board, north of Messina, Sicily at 0542 hours; 82 were killed (many during the explosion), 3 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Italian convoy M.43 arrived at Tripoli, Libya, delivering 54 tanks, armored cars, artillery, ammunition, and fuel. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Proteus sank Italian troop transport Citta Di Palermo 73 miles northwest of Patras, Greece at 0800 hours, killing most of the 600 aboard. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese troops launched probing attacks at the defenses manned by Indian troops at Trolak, British Malaya; 60 Japanese were killed without achieving success. ww2dbase [Invasion of Malaya and Singapore | CPC]
  • Japanese submarine I-56 sank British freighter Kwantung 60 miles south of Java, Dutch East Indies. 133 survived the sinking, but only 35 would ultimately be rescued; most of those died after the sinking were killed by Japanese ramming and machinegunning. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Clifton Cates was temporarily attached to Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet. ww2dbase [Clifton Cates | CPC]
  • George Brett was named the commanding officer of all US forces in Australia. ww2dbase [George Brett | CPC]
Caroline Islands
  • Japanese hospital ship Hikawa Maru arrived at Truk, Caroline Islands. ww2dbase [Hikawa Maru | Truk | CPC]
  • Vice Admiral Hidehiko Ukita stepped down as the commanding officer of the Ryojun Guard District (previously known as Port Arthur; now Lushunkou, Liaoning Province, China), Kwantung Leased Territory in northeastern China. ww2dbase [Ryojun Guard District | Lushunkou, Liaoning | CPC]
  • Four prisoners of war, two Dutch and two British, successfully escaped the Oflag IV-C camp at Colditz Castle in Germany by dressing up as German guards. Lieutenant Airey Neave, one of the escapees among the four, became the first British to escape from Colditz. ww2dbase [Colditz Castle | Colditz, Sachsen | CPC]
India Japan
  • Akagi departed with the Carrier Striking Force (Carrier Divisions 1 and 5) from Hashirajima for Iwakuni, Japan. ww2dbase [Akagi | Hashirajima, Yamaguchi | CPC]
  • Shokaku departed Kure, Japan for Hiroshima Bay. ww2dbase [Shokaku | Kure, Hiroshima | CPC]
Philippines United States
  • Benjamin Kelsey was promoted to the war time rank of lieutenant colonel. ww2dbase [Benjamin Kelsey | CPC]
  • Major General Carl Spaatz assumed command of the USAAF Fifth Air Force, which would be renumbered Eighth Air Force on the following day. Spaatz established his headquarters at Bolling Field, Washington DC, United States. ww2dbase [Carl Spaatz | Washington | AC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Jan 1942
USS Ballard at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California, United States, 5 Jan 1942; note submarines under construction, probably Wahoo and Whale

5 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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