12 Mar 1942
  • Tirpitz arrived at Trondheim, Norway. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Tatsuta Maru departed Wake Island. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • USS Pollack attacked a Japanese cargo ship between Taiwan and the Japanese home islands with one torpedo; the torpedo missed. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-158 sank US tanker John D. Gill off North Carolina, United States, killing 4. To the south, in the Bahamas, U-126 sank US freighters Texan at 0234 hours (9 were killed, 38 survived) and Olga at 0611 hours (1 was killed, 32 survived) and damaged US freighter Colabee. 520 miles northeast of the British Virgin Islands, Italian submarine Morosini sank British freighter Manaqui. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Troops of US Americal Division occupied French colony of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, where a major base at Nouméa was planned to be built in the near future. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British authorities evacuated the Andaman Islands. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • US Army Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell was named the commander of American forces in the CBI theater. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Captain Henry Goodwin led a flight of 4 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers from Batchelor Field, Darwin, Australia to Mindanao, Philippine Islands to embark Douglas MacArthur. 3 aircraft would be turned back due to mechanical troubles (1 of these 3 would crash on the return trip). The lone aircraft that made it (1st Lieutenant Harl Pease, Jr.) was judged to be in too poor of shape to embark MacArthur, and was sent back to Australia by Brigadier General William Sharp. ww2dbase [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • The survivors of Norwegian motor taker Charles Racine, sunk by Italian submarine Giuseppe Finzi two days prior, were picked up by USS Moffet. Moffet remained in the area all day in search of a final lifeboat before giving up. ww2dbase [HM]
  • At 1536 hours German submarine U-578 fired a spread of two torpedoes at unescorted 3,089-ton Norwegian steam merchant Ingerto (Master Olaf Ellingsen) in the Atlantic Ocean; one of them struck after 1 minute 11 seconds, causing the ship to sink quickly. ww2dbase [Main Article | HM]
Dutch East Indies
  • Naka arrived at Makassar, Celebes, Dutch East Indies. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • On Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, Japanese troops landed at Sabang at 0235 hours, Koetaradja at 0330 hours, Idi at 0540, and Laboehanroekoe at 0700 hours. They would capture the airfield at Medan in the morning. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • British General Sitwell, Australian Brigadier Blackburn, and US Colonel Searle formally surrendered to Japanese General Maruyama at Bandung, Java, Dutch East Indies at 0730 hours. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Turbulent (Commander John Wallace Linton) sank the Greek caique Agia Paraskevi with gunfire north of the Zea Channel, southeast of Athens, Greece. Two of the crew were wounded. ww2dbase [HM]
  • Jonathan Wainwright took over command in the Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Main Article | AC]
  • Allied convoy PQ-12 arrived at Murmansk, Russia. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The 2,291-ton British passenger vessel St. Briac, built in 1924 by William Denny & Brothers, Dumbarton, for the Southern Railway Co, London and taken into Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm service in Jun 1941 as a target ship, struck a mine and sank off Aberdeen on the east coast of Scotland, United Kingdom. Four crewmen on board were lost. ww2dbase [Main Article | HM]
United States
  • In the United States, The Portland Branch of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank Evacuee Property Department was established in response to President Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066. The branch was to assist Japanese-Americans in disposing property holdings and to protect against fraud, forced sales, and unscrupulous creditors. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • In the morning, a US Coast Guard dispatch boat landed the 7 survivors of US steam merchant Caribsea, which had been sunk by German submarine U-158 on the previous day, at Little Creek Coast Guard Station in Virginia Beach, Virgina, United States, from where three injured survivors were taken to the Marine Hospital in nearby city of Norfolk. ww2dbase [HM]
  • The 11,641-ton American steam merchant ship John D. Gill was on its second voyage, travelling on route from Atreco, Texas, United States to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States with 141,981 barrels of crude oil. At 2110 hours, just off the coast of North Carolina, United States, a torpedo from German submarine U-158 struck the starboard side. The tanker did not explode or ignite until a life ring with a self-igniting carbide lamp was thrown overboard by a crew member. The ship was immediately engulfed in flames. Explosions wrecked all but No. 2 and No. 4 lifeboats. The No. 2 boat was successfully launched with 15 crew members who were later picked up by the SS Robert H. Colley and taken to Charleston, South Carolina, United States. The No. 4 boat capsized while being lowered and its occupants were dumped into the sea. Many were lost when sucked into the still turning propeller. Of the ships complement of 42 crew and 7 naval armed guard, 23 were killed. ww2dbase [Main Article | HM]
Photo(s) dated 12 Mar 1942
Map noting the operations of the Japanese Navy First Air Fleet/Carrier Striking Force, 7 Dec 1941-12 Mar 1942

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

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944