23 Jan 1942
  • American oiler USS Neches was torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-72 70 miles southwest of the Hawaiian Islands at 0319 hours, killing 57. Without this source of fuel, USS Lexington and her task force cancelled the Wake Island raid. ww2dbase [Lexington (Lexington-class) | CPC]
  • In Yugoslavia, Hungarian troops massacred 2,462 Serbs and 700 Jews over six days in retaliation for partisan activity. ww2dbase [AC]
  • Destroyer Yuzuki departed with Destroyer Division 23 to escort the invasion fleet for Kavieng, New Ireland, Bismarck Islands. ww2dbase [Yuzuki | CPC]
  • The Japanese commenced a determined effort to establish air superiority over Rangoon, Burma. By 29 Jan seventeen Japanese aircraft had been shot down for the loss of two American Volunteer Group and ten Royal Air Force machines, forcing the Japanese temporarily to concede. ww2dbase [Invasion of Burma | AC]
  • US Marine Corps 7th Defense Battalion at American Samoa was reinforced by the 2nd Marine Brigade, which was consisted of the 8th Marine Regiment, 10th Marine Regiment, and 2nd Defense Battalion. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Soviet 3rd Shock Army surrounded 5,500 German troops at Kholm, Russia. ww2dbase [Rzhev-Vyazma Offensive and the Demyansk Pocket | CPC]
  • A British Albacore torpedo bomber attacked Italian convoy T18 in the Gulf of Sirte north of Libya, sinking transport Victoria; 391 were killed, 1,064 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese bombers attacked Palembang, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies for the first time. ww2dbase [Dutch East Indies Campaign, Sumatra | CPC]
  • The Roberts Commission found Husband Kimmel guilty of dereliction of duty for the Pearl Harbor disaster. ww2dbase [Husband Kimmel | CPC]
  • The Roberts Commission found Walter Short guilty of dereliction of duty for the Pearl Harbor disaster. ww2dbase [Walter Short | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-66 sank US collier Venore 5 kilometers off North Carolina, United States, killing 17 of 41 aboard. At 0812 hours, U-109 sank British ship Thirlby 20 miles off Nova Scotia, Canada; 5 were killed, 41 survived. At 1340 hours, U-82 sank Norwegian tanker Leiesten 400 miles east of Newfoundland; 6 were killed, 29 survived. ww2dbase [Second Happy Time | CPC]
  • At 0812 hours, U-109 sank British ship Thirlby 20 miles off Nova Scotia, Canada; 5 were killed, 41 survived. At 1340 hours, U-82 sank Norwegian tanker Leiesten 400 miles east of Newfoundland; 6 were killed, 29 survived. ww2dbase [Second Happy Time | CPC]
Australia Australian New Guinea
  • At 0230 hours, Japanese troops began landing on New Britain on three beachheads, two of which were defended, but in general the Japanese had little difficult overcoming the defenses. Carrier aircraft from Akagi and Kaga supported the invasion after dawn, enjoying air superiority thus losing only one pilot (Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Isao Hiraishi) all day. As the troops entered and captured Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands, as reported by Tolai natives later, Japanese troops mutilated corpses of Australian troops with axes and bayonets. ww2dbase [New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 1, Bismarck Islands | CPC]
  • Tenryu covered transport ships as the transports disembarked troops of No. 2 Maizuru Special Naval Landing Force at Kavieng, New Ireland. ww2dbase [Tenryu | CPC]
  • Tanikaze covered carriers during the landings in the Bismarck Archipelago. ww2dbase [Tanikaze | CPC]
Australian Papua
  • Australian Catalina aircraft were launched from Port Moresby, British Territory of Papua to attack Rabaul, New Britain on the very first night of Japanese occupation; severe weather in the Solomon Sea forced the aircraft to abandon the mission, however. ww2dbase [CPC]
British Western Pacific Territories Canada
  • American fishing trawler Grand Marshall disembarked 28 survivors of Norwegian tanker Alexandra Høegh, which had been sunk by German submarine U-130 two days prior, at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada. ww2dbase [HM]
Dutch East Indies
  • As the Japanese convoy carrying the Sakaguchi Detachment approached Balikpapan, Dutch Borneo, it was attacked by Dutch forces; Dutch submarine K-18 sank Japanese transport Tsuruga Maru, while nine Dutch B-10 bombers, and 20 Dutch Buffalo fighters sank Japanese transport Nana Maru and damaged Tatsugami Maru. ww2dbase [Dutch East Indies Campaign, Borneo | CPC]
  • Japanese Sasebo Combined Special Naval Landing Force set sail from Menado, Celebes, Dutch East Indies for Kendari on the southeastern tip of the island. ww2dbase [Dutch East Indies Campaign, Celebes and Moluccas | CPC]
  • Naka protected transports during the invasion of Balikpapan, Dutch Borneo. ww2dbase [Naka | CPC]
United States
  • In Washington, DC, United States, George Marshall told Joseph Stilwell that Stilwell was definitely going to be sent to China. Stilwell began assembling a staff for his upcoming mission to China. ww2dbase [Joseph Stilwell | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Jan 1942
Wilhelm Frick, Philipp Bouhler, Friedrich Fromm, Joseph Goebbels, Erich Raeder, and Erhard Milch at Field Marshal Reichenau

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
"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944