19 Dec 1941
  • Japanese troops reached the Wong Nai Chung Gap in central Hong Kong island where they were held by Canadian and colonial Chinese troops. Seven ships of the British Royal Navy (river gunboat HMS Tern, minelayer HMS Redstart, boom vessel HMS Watergate, boom vessel HMS Barlight, boom vessel HMS Aldgate, tug HMS Poet Chaucer, and tug HMS Alliance), along with several merchant vessels, were scuttled in the Hong Kong harbor to prevent Japanese capture. ww2dbase [Battle of Hong Kong | CPC]
  • Generalmajor Wilhelm Weiß succeeded Rudolf Konrad as the commanding officer of the German 7th Mountain Division. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese aircraft attacked Olongapo, Luzon, Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Invasion of the Philippine Islands | CPC]
  • Indian 4th Division captured Derna, Libya. To the west, 30 tanks arrived at Benghazi as Axis reinforcement. ww2dbase [Operation Crusader | CPC]
  • Multiple German submarines continued to shadow Allied convoy HG-76 en route between Gibraltar and Britain. At 0415 hours, 435 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal, U-574 fired 3 torpedoes at British destroyer HMS Stanley and sank her, killing 136; British sloop HMS Stork counterattacked with depth charges, forced U-574 to surface, and sank her by ramming at 0427 hours; 28 were killed, 16 survived. At 0615 hours, U-108 attacked HG-76, damaging British transport Ruckinge (3 killed, 39 survived); HMS Samphire scuttled Ruckinge by gunfire after all survivors were taken off. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British cruisers HMS Neptune, HMS Aurora, and HMS Penelope and destroyers HMS Kandahar, HMS Lance, HMS Lively, and HMS Havock sailed into a minefield 30 miles northeast of Tripoli, Libya at 0100 hours. Aurora, Penelope, and Kandahar (79 killed, 104 survived) were damaged, and Neptune sank after hitting four mines (766 killed, 1 survived). ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Lieutenant George Edward Gaudreau was named the commanding officer of HMCS Trillium. ww2dbase [Trillium | CPC]
  • William Dimoline was promoted to the rank of colonel. ww2dbase [William Dimoline | CPC]
  • The Benson-class destroyer Bailey was christened by the granddaughter of Civil War Admiral Theodorus Bailey, the ship’s namesake, and launched from the ways at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation shipyard, Staten Island, New York, United States. ww2dbase [Bailey | DS]
  • Captain Walden Ainsworth relinquished command of Destroyer Squadron Two. ww2dbase [Walden Ainsworth | DS]
  • Italian frogmen on human torpedoes slipped into Alexandria harbour in Egypt and sank British WW1-era battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant with limpet mines; 6 Italians were captured in this mission. Although both were later refloated and repaired, their loss coupled with the sinking in the previous month of the Barham left the Royal Navy without a single capital ship in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, giving the Italian Navy superiority in the region. ww2dbase [Underwater Raid of Alexandria | Alexandria | AC, CPC]
  • In a daring daylight raid by 41 RAF Manchester bombers on the French port of Brest, the gates to the dock containing the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst were so badly damaged that the mighty warship would be confined at the port for a further month. Two aircraft of No. 97 Squadron were lost to ground fire and Luftwaffe fighters. ww2dbase [Scharnhorst | Brest, Bretagne | AC]
  • Alpino Bagnolini departed La Pallice, La Rochelle, France at 0840 hours for trials, returning at 1415 hours. At 1603, she shifted her anchorage to a different location at La Pallice. ww2dbase [Alpino Bagnolini | La Rochelle, Poitou-Charentes | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler, on his first day as the German Army commander-in-chief, issued was the "no retreat" order, condemning thousands of troops to die in position outside of Moscow, Russia, without the chance to maneuver in defense. ww2dbase [Adolf Hitler | Battle of Moscow | CPC]
  • Clarence Tinker was named the Commander of the US Army Air Forces in the Hawaii Islands. ww2dbase [Clarence Tinker | CPC]
Hong Kong
  • In fierce hand-to-hand fighting in Hong Kong, Canadian Army Company Sergeant Major John Osborn of the Winnipeg Grenadiers inspired his men by scooping up and hurling back Japanese grenades. One he could not reach in time so he threw himself onto the it in order to save his comrades. Osborn was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, which was Canada's first. ww2dbase [AC]
  • On the northeastern side of Hong Kong Island, at the Salesian Missionary House, which had been taken over by the British Army in Oct 1941 as an advanced dressing station under the command of Captain S. Martin Banfill, Japanese troops executed by beheading 26 male medical personnel and 2 wounded military servicemen. The female medical personnel were set free after being forced to witness the beheading. ww2dbase [Battle of Hong Kong | Hong Kong | CPC]
  • In India, General Archibald Wavell received a telegram from Chiang Kaishek in which the Chinese leader offered to join any plan proposed by the Allies. ww2dbase [Chiang Kaishek | AC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • HMS Neptune, dead in the water from having struck three mines on the previous day, drifted into a fourth mine in the Mediterranean Sea and capsized, killing 737. 30 survived the sinking, but all but 1, Norman Walton, would die before being rescued. 150 of those lost were New Zealand sailors. ww2dbase [Neptune | AC]
Pacific Ocean
  • USS S-38 set departed waters west of Mindoro, Phlippine Islands after sundown. ww2dbase [S-38 | South China Sea | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • USS S-26 arrived at Naval Base Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone. ww2dbase [S-26 | Coco Solo | CPC]
Philippines Russia
  • The Soviet Military Collegium, having previously evacuated to Chkalov (now Orenburg), Russia, returned to Moscow. ww2dbase [Battle of Moscow | Moscow | TH, CPC]
  • The Soviets landed 20,000 men on the Kerch Peninsula in Russia with the aim of lifting the siege of Sevastopol. ww2dbase [Battle of Sevastopol | Krym | AC]
Singapore United States US Pacific Islands
  • Japanese Navy land-based attack aircraft from Roi, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands attacked Wake Atoll, seriously damaging defense battalion facilities at Camp One. ww2dbase [Battle of Wake Island | Wake | CPC]

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

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