13 Dec 1941
  • I-68 was attacked by American depth charges on this day and following days, damaging many battery cells and flooded the aft torpedo tubes. ww2dbase [I-68/I-168 | CPC]
  • New Zealand and Indian troops of the British Eighth Army launched an attack on the Gazala Line in Libya while the Germans launched a counterattack. British tanks exploited the gap opened by Indian troops, but the advance was soon halted by German tanks. Both sides incurred heavy casualties in men and equipment after the day's fighting. ww2dbase [Operation Crusader | CPC]
  • Niihau Incident: Downed Japanese pilot attempted to recover sensitive documents seized from him by Niihau islanders; two of the islanders attacked and killed the pilot. ww2dbase [Attack on Pearl Harbor | Detailed Timetable | CPC]
  • General Timoshenko's Southwest Front assaulted German lines at junction of 2.Panzergruppe and 2.Armee. 2.Armee withdrew, leaving 2.Panzergruppe's flank unprotected. Feldmarschall von Bock secretly ordered Armeegruppe Mitte to withdraw to a winter line 90 miles west of current positions, without informing Hitler. ww2dbase [Battle of Moscow | TH]
  • Chinese troops mounted an offensive against Japanese troops in the Hong Kong area; earlier on the same day, the last British troops in Kowloon on the mainland were evacuated onto Hong Kong island. ww2dbase [Battle of Hong Kong | CPC]
  • Japanese Navy aircraft again struck the US Navy base at Olongapo at Subic Bay at Luzon, Philippine Islands. Various other bases and airfields in the Manila Bay area were attacked as well. ww2dbase [Invasion of the Philippine Islands | CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Sikh, HMS Maori, and HMS Legion and Dutch destroyer HNLMS Isaac Sweers defeated Italian light cruisers Alberto da Giussano and Alberico da Barbiano and torpedo boat Cigno off Cape Bon, Tunisia at 0325 hours. The two Italian cruisers sank (1,020 killed, 645 survived) with nearly 2,000 tons of aviation fuel meant for Axis forces fighting in North Africa. ww2dbase [Battle of Cape Bon | Isaac Sweers | CPC]
  • Goebbels wrote in his diary "The World War is here, the extermination of the Jews must be the necessary consequence." ww2dbase [Joseph Goebbels | AC]
  • The United States Marine Corps formed the Marine Garrison Forces, 14th Naval District at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Just after 0000 hours, Dutch submarine O.16 entered Mueang Patani, Thailand and damaged four Japanese freighters with six torpedoes, sinking a number of them in shallow water. All ships would later be repaired and put back into service. At 0200 hours, rearguard Indian troops blew up the bridge at Jitra, British Malaya before joining the main body falling back toward Gurun to the south. Later on the same day, Japanese troops arrived at the abandoned airfield at Alor Setar, British Malaya, capturing bombs and aviation fuel. ww2dbase [Invasion of Malaya and Singapore | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Upright sank Italian transports Fabio Filzi and Carlo del Greco in Gulf of Taranto, Italy. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto departed Naples, Italy. ww2dbase [Vittorio Veneto | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Morosini sighted smoke on the horizon in the Atlantic Ocean at 1950 hours, which turned out to be Allied convoy OS 13. While approaching, she was detected by British sloop HMS Rochester, which attacked with depth charges. British sloop HMS Leith followed with additional depth charges. Morosini suffered leaks after this attack, and was forced to return to base after the engagement. ww2dbase [Morosini | CPC]
  • The German Gestapo arrested Soviet Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) radio operator Mikhail Makarov in the Rue des Atrebates, Brussels, Belgium. There followed a year long series of arrests of Soviet Agents across Europe including the complete elimination of the "Red Orchestra" espionage group. By 1943 the Soviets would have no active agents still operating within greater Germany. ww2dbase [Brussels | AC]
Hawaii Japan
  • The Japanese Navy ordered submarines I-15, I-9, I-10, I-17, I-19, I-21, I-23, I-25 and I-26 to shell the west coast of the United States on the night of 25 Dec 1941. A detailed list of targets was included in the order. Rear Admiral Tsutomu Sato, aboard I-9, was given tactical command of the operation. ww2dbase [Japanese Attacks on the Continental United States | DS]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille scored his 33rd and 34th kills, both South African P-40 fighters, when he shot down Flying Officer Thomas Trimble and either Lieutenant Connel or Lieutenant Meek northeast of Tmimi, Libya at 1600 and 1610 hours. ww2dbase [Hans-Joachim Marseille | Tmimi | CPC]
Marshall Islands
  • Tenryu arrived at Roi, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Tenryu | Roi, Kwajalein | CPC]
  • Kamoi arrived at Wotje, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Kamoi | Wotje | CPC]
  • USS S-39 fired four torpedoes at a Japanese transport just north of the San Bernardino Strait in the Philippine Islands, scoring one hit. ww2dbase [S-39 | CPC]
Puerto Rico
  • US 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons, both operating P-40 Warhawk fighters, was assigned to Vega Baja Auxiliary Airdrome in Puerto Rico. ww2dbase [Vega Baja Auxiliary Airdrome | Vega Baja | CPC]
Russia United Kingdom
  • British battleship HMS Duke Of York departed the Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom with Winston Churchill on board, sailing for the United States. The battleship was escorted by destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Foresight, and HMS Matabele. ww2dbase [First Washington Conference | Duke of York | Scotland | CPC]
  • The British police raided the office of Lord Sempill who had been passing military secrets to the Japanese for some years. Various secret document were discovered which he should have handed back to the Admiralty three weeks earlier. ww2dbase [AC]
United States
  • Minoru Yasui was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an enemy alien. ww2dbase [Minoru Yasui | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Dec 1941
Cruiser Honolulu drydocked for damage suffered during Pearl Harbor attack, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, 13 Dec 1941, photo 1 of 2Cruiser Honolulu drydocked for damage suffered during Pearl Harbor attack, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, 13 Dec 1941, photo 2 of 2USS Helena in drydock at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, US Territory of Hawaii, 13 Dec 1941, photo 1 of 2; note torpedo damage between frames 69 1/2 and 80 1/2 on starboard sideUSS Helena in drydock at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, US Territory of Hawaii, 13 Dec 1941, photo 2 of 2; note torpedo damage between frames 69 1/2 and 80 1/2 on starboard side
See all photos dated 13 Dec 1941

13 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
"All that silly talk about the advance of science and such leaves me cold. Give me peace and a retarded science."

Thomas Dodd, late 1945

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