17 Jan 1942

Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
  • HMS Indomitable departed Port Sudan in British East Africa with 48 RAF Hurricane fighters for Singapore in Operation Opposition. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • The Norwegian 8,087-ton motor tanker Nyholt was torpedoed by German submarine U-87 (Joachim Berger) 180 miles south of Cape Race, Newfoundland, after having lost contact with Convoy ON 52 in thick fog south of Greenland on a voyage in ballast from Reykjavik, Iceland to New York, New York, United States. The explosion destroyed 3 tanks on the port side, but Nyholt stayed afloat and tried to get away at full speed, adapting a zig-zag course for Cape Race. However, about 4 hours later, she was hit by another two torpedoes, also on the port side. U-87 then fired 120 shells from her deck gun until she sank at 0359 hours. The crew of 41 had abandoned the ship before the shelling. As the Nyholt was being abandoned, the master, Alf P. Andersen and two men fell overboard, only the master could be rescued by one of the lifeboats. The first engineer died on the second day; his wool sweater was then given to someone who had none. The lifeboats became separated during a storm around 21 Jan 1942 and was never seen again; it had carried 13 crewmen, one passenger, and one gunner. The motor boat with 24 survivors was spotted by a Hudson aircraft nine days after the sinking, just as they were about to bury a crew member, who died in the lifeboat. The aircraft dropped two life vests containing two thermoses with warm liquids, apples, oranges, cigarettes and some sandwiches of the aircraft crew. The survivors were later picked up by HMCS St Clair (I 65) and landed at Halifax, Canada on 27 Jan 1942. The master died on board the destroyer, and a passenger died at a hospital later. Two 17-year-old British mess boys died in the lost lifeboat, they were both from the same town in Lancashire and had been friends growing up. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC, HM]
  • German submarine U-203 sank unescorted Norwegian ship Octavian 50 miles off of Nova Scotia, Canada at 1121 hours, killing all 17 aboard. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Caroline Islands
  • Kaga departed Truk, Caroline Islands. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Akagi departed Truk, Caroline Islands. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • A Japanese fleet consisting of four carriers (Akagi, Kaga, Zuikaku, Shokaku), two battleships (Hiei, Kirishima), and several cruisers and destroyers departed Truk, Caroline Islands under the command of Chuichi Nagumo for Rabaul, New Britain. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • 5,000 Axis troops at the Halfaya Pass, Egypt surrendered to the South African 6th Infantry Brigade. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor departed La Rochelle, France, for her second raiding cruise. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii Indian Ocean
  • British destroyer HMS Jupiter forced Japanese submarine I-60 to surface 65 miles west of Krakatoa, Dutch East Indies. I-60 returned fire with her deck gun, killing 3 and wounding 9. I-60 was ultimately sunk by Jupiter; 85 were killed, 2 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
Japan Malaya
  • Indian 45th Brigade withdrew from Bukit Bakri, British Malaya. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • HMS Gurkha (Commander C. N. Lentaigne), escorting Allied convoy MW-8B, was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-133 off Sollum, Egypt at 0735 hours; 9 were killed, 240 survived. Gurkha, formerly HMS Larne, was an L-class destroyer which had been paid for by every officer and man of the Gurkha Brigade subscribing a days pay to provide a new ship after the loss of the Tribal-Class HMS Gurkha in Apr 1940. ww2dbase [AC]
Panama Canal Zone Russia
  • German submarine U-454 attacked Allied convoy PQ-8 20 miles off the Kola Inlet in northern Russia at 2221 hours, sinking British Tribal-class destroyer HMS Matabele (under Commander A. C. Stafford; 236 were killed, 2 survived), sinking Soviet trawler RT-68 Enisej, and damaging British merchant ship Harmatris (civilian convoy commodore's flagship). Later in the day, surviving ships of PQ-8 arrived in Murmansk, Russia. ww2dbase [Main Article | AC, CPC]
  • Walther von Reichenau passed away from either a cerebral hemorrhage or a heartattack near Poltava, Ukraine. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The Boeing 314 Clipper Flying Boat "Berwick" with Winston Churchill aboard suffered a navigational error and would have flown into France had not been a last minute course correction. When the aircraft approached Britain from the south, the aircraft was initially treated as hostile and six Hurricane fighters were scrambled to intercept; the fighters failed to locate Churchill's transport. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]

17 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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Thomas Dodd, late 1945