10 Dec 1941
  • Thomas Phillips passed away. ww2dbase [Thomas Phillips | CPC]
  • Operation Crusader: The siege of Tobruk, Libya was lifted. ww2dbase [Operation Crusader | CPC]
  • Japanese Destroyer Squadron 6 conducted amphibious invasion on Wake and Wilkes islands in failure, losing one destroyer and three other craft to shore battery and one destroyer to US aircraft, making them the first Japanese ships to be sunk in the Pacific War; this invasion was the only time in the Pacific War that shore defenders overcame an amphibious landing. In the air, USMC Captain Elrod shot down a Japanese G3M2 Type 96 land attack aircraft at Wake, which was the first USMC air-to-air kill of the Pacific War. On the same day, Japanese aircraft destroyed a 125-ton dynamite cache, and the resulting explosion caused damage to coastal batteries. ww2dbase [Battle of Wake Island | CPC]
  • Aircraft from USS Enterprise sank Japanese submarine I-70 in Hawaiian waters. ww2dbase [Attack on Pearl Harbor | Detailed Timetable | CPC]
  • German spy Karel Richter was executed at Wandsworth Prison in Britain. ww2dbase [TH]
  • In the Mariana Islands, 1,400-strong landing party of the Japanese Navy 5th Defense Force from Saipan landed on Dungcas Beach at Guam. At the same time, 5,500 men of the Japanese South Seas Detached Force landed at Tumon Bay, near Merizo, and at Talafofo Bay. US military governor of Guam, Captain McMillin, surrendered the island to the Japanese Navy commanding officer. Two patrol craft, thirteen lighters, one dredge, three barges, and one auxiliary vessel at Guam were turned over to the Japanese. ww2dbase [Invasion of Guam | CPC]
  • British troops withdrew onto Hong Kong island after the defensive Gin Drinker's Line collapsed. ww2dbase [Battle of Hong Kong | AC]
  • USS R-1 patrolled the New England coast of northeastern United States. ww2dbase [R-1 | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill transferred Burma under the operational command of Archibald Wavell in India. ww2dbase [Archibald Wavell | CPC]
  • The Japanese Navy 11th Air Fleet was reorganized to contain three air flotillas, a destroyer division, three transports, and two Special Naval Landing Forces. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop ordered the German chargĂ© d'affaires in Washington DC, United States to avoid provoking the United States, as Adolf Hitler would like to declare war on the United States first. ww2dbase [Joachim von Ribbentrop | CPC]
  • Soviet troops encircled three German divisions at Livny, south of Moscow, Russia. ww2dbase [Battle of Moscow | CPC]
  • German submarine U-130 attacked Allied convoy SC-57 200 miles southwest of Ireland just before midnight at the end of the day, sinking British transport Kurdistan, British transport Kirnwood, and Egyptian transport Star of Luxor. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Captain Karou Umetani of light carrier Hosho received a US submarine sighting report and decided to launch aircraft to hunt for the submarine even though the late launch meant he would have to turn on the flight deck lights after dark when the aircraft returned. No hostile submarines made use of the flight deck lights to attack the carrier, but the landing operations caused Hosho to be separated from the fleet. ww2dbase [Hosho | CPC]
  • Russian ship Kuzbass and tug Arcos, Stragglers of Allied convoy QP-3, were found by Soviet ice breaker Fyodor Litke, rescue ship Squall, and Soviet patrol ship SKR-19 at 0900 hours. ww2dbase [Arctic Convoys | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • USS New Mexico accidentally rammed and sank US freighter Oregon south of the Nantucket Lightship off Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, United States, killing 17. ww2dbase [New Mexico | CPC]
Hawaii Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down the South African P-40 fighter piloted by Lieutenant B. G. S. Enslin near El Adem, Libya at 0850 hours. It was his 31st kill. ww2dbase [Hans-Joachim Marseille | El Adem | CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • Japanese submarine I-58 spotted British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse off British Malaya, launched five torpedoes, but all of them missed; beginning at 1117 hours, Japanese aircraft began to attack. Overwhelmed, HMS Repulse was sunk at 1233 hours (513 killed), followed by HMS Prince of Wales at 1318 hours (327 killed); destroyers HMS Electra, HMS Express, and HMS Vampire rescued 1,862 survivors. On land, the British commanders dispatched the 1st Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Gurkha Rifles regiment to Changlun and Asun in northern British Malaya to counter the Japanese advance; contact was made at Changlun at 2100 hours, where two Japanese tanks were destroyed before the Punjabi troops fell back toward Asun. ww2dbase [I-58/I-158 | Repulse | Prince of Wales | Invasion of Malaya and Singapore | Atago | Takao | Kumano | Kongo | Haruna | South China Sea | CPC]
  • Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippine Islands was heavily damaged by Japanese aircraft; destroyers Peary and Pillsbury, submarines Seadragon and Sealion, and submarine tender Otus were damaged; ferry Santa Rita was sunk; minesweeper Bittern was destroyed by fire; about 60% of US Navy Asiatic Fleet's torpedoes were destroyed at Cavite. A PBY Catalina aircraft, fleeing from the attack on Cavite Navy Yard, was attacked by three Zero fighters; gunner Chief Boatswain Payne shot down one of the Zero fighters, thus scoring the US Navy's first verifiable air-to-air kill of a Japanese aircraft in the Pacific War. Elsewhere, Japanese aircraft attacked Manila Bay area, damaging American freighter Sagoland. Finally, Japanese troops of the 2nd Taiwan Regiment of the 48th Division landed on Camiguin Island and at Gonzaga, Vigan, and Aparri on Luzon Island. ww2dbase [Invasion of the Philippine Islands | CPC]
  • While guarding transports which disembarked troops on Luzon, Philippine Islands, Naka was attacked by US B-17 bombers, P-35A fighters, and P-40B fighters, receiving slight damage from strafing. ww2dbase [Naka | CPC]
  • Saburo Sakai, flying an A6M Zero fighter, shot down a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber flown by Captain Colin Kelly in the Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Saburo Sakai | CPC]
United States
  • USS Gar arrived at San Diego, California, United States. ww2dbase [Gar | San Diego, California | CPC]
  • USS Flying Fish was commissioned into service with Lieutenant Commander Glynn Donaho in command. ww2dbase [Flying Fish | CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt tore up a letter he drafted for Winston Churchill intending to delay Churchill's request for a conference as he heard news of the Japanese sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse off Malaya and realized the urgency of having to plan for a campaign against the Japanese. ww2dbase [First Washington Conference | Washington | CPC]
  • USS S-26 departed New London, Connecticut, United States. ww2dbase [S-26 | New London, Connecticut | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Dec 1941
Remains of destroyers Cassin and Downes, 10 Dec 1941Attack on Prince of Wales and Repulse, 10 Dec 1941, photo 1 of 2Attack on Prince of Wales and Repulse, 10 Dec 1941, photo 2 of 2; photo taken by a Japanese pilot; note destroyer Electra or Express in foregroundFires at Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands, resulting from the 10 Dec 1941 Japanese air raid
See all photos dated 10 Dec 1941

10 Dec 1941 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
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935

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