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 [Indomitable | Port Sudan | 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 [Second Happy Time | 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 [Second Happy Time | CPC]
Caroline Islands
  • 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 [New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 1, Bismarck Islands | Truk | CPC]
  • Kaga departed Truk, Caroline Islands. ww2dbase [Kaga | Truk | CPC]
  • Akagi departed Truk, Caroline Islands. ww2dbase [Akagi | Truk | CPC]
  • Hiryu, Soryu, Ariake, and Yugure arrived at Palau, Caroline Islands at 1140 hours. ww2dbase [Yugure | Hiryu | Soryu | Palau | CPC]
  • 5,000 Axis troops at the Halfaya Pass, Egypt surrendered to the South African 6th Infantry Brigade. ww2dbase [Operation Crusader | Halfaya Pass | CPC]
  • Isaac Sweers picked up about 240 survivors of HMS Gurkha 30 kilometers northeast of Sidi Barrani, Egypt while escorting Allied convoy MW 8 to Malta. ww2dbase [Malta Campaign | Isaac Sweers | Sidi Barrani | CPC]
France 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 [Sunda Strait | CPC]
  • Tatsuta Maru was re-requisitioned by the Japanese Navy and was attached to the Yokosuka Naval District, Japan. ww2dbase [Tatsuta Maru | Yokosuka, Kanagawa | CPC]
Malaya 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]
Pacific Ocean
  • S-36 received orders to proceed to Surabaya, Java, Dutch East Indies. Later in the day, both port and starboard shafts suffered failures, and one crew member collapsed from heat exhaustion. ww2dbase [S-36 | Makassar Strait | CPC]
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 [Arctic Convoys | Murmansk | AC, CPC]
  • Walther von Reichenau passed away from either a cerebral hemorrhage or a heartattack near Poltava, Ukraine. ww2dbase [Walther von Reichenau | Poltava | 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 [Winston Churchill | England | 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
"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"

Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943

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