31 Dec 1941
  • Japanese hospital ship Hikawa Maru arrived at Roi, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Hikawa Maru | CPC]
  • At 0947 hours, German submarine U-32 sank neutral Norwegian transport SS Luna, which was returning from London, England, United Kingdom with rubber hoses and zinc plates, with a torpedo. Survivors were rescued by Norwegian steamer Colombia and taken to Kopervik, Norway. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • I-68 departed Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [I-68/I-168 | CPC]
  • HMS Indomitable arrived at Cape Town, South Africa en route to the Far East. ww2dbase [Indomitable | CPC]
  • Admiral Chester Nimitz assumed command of the US Navy Pacific Fleet; the ceremony was performed on board submarine Grayling at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. ww2dbase [Chester Nimitz | CPC]
  • Japanese submarines shell Hawaiian Islands of Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii. ww2dbase [Attack on Pearl Harbor | Detailed Timetable | CPC]
  • American passenger ship Ruth Alexander, en route from Manila, Philippine Islands to Balikpapan, Borneo was bombed and damaged by Japanese flying boat in the Makassar Strait. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • American carrier USS Yorktown became the flagship of Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher's newly-formed Task Force 17. ww2dbase [Yorktown (Yorktown-class) | CPC]
  • USS Pollack fired two torpedoes at a Japanese destroyer off Honshu, Japan; both torpedoes missed. ww2dbase [Pollack | CPC]
China Hawaii Iceland Lithuania
  • Anton Schmid hosted the leadership of the Dror Jewish underground in his apartment in Vilnius, Lithuania to celebrate the new year. ww2dbase [Anton Schmid | Vilnius | CPC]
  • British 155th Field Regiment of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry stopped a Japanese attack at Kampar, British Malaya; further south on the western coast, the Japanese landed behind the Allied lines. On the east coast, the Indian 9th Division fell back to the south side of the Kuantan River. ww2dbase [Invasion of Malaya and Singapore | Kampar, Perak | CPC]
  • Japanese Lingayen Force captured Sibul Springs, Luzon, Philippine Islands, breaching part of the final defensive line north of Manila. South of the city, Japanese tanks of Sonoda Force reached Baliuag. ww2dbase [Invasion of the Philippine Islands | Manila | CPC]
  • Nachi arrived in Davao Gulf, Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Nachi | Davao Gulf, Davao | CPC]
Russia Singapore Taiwan
  • Off the Chinese coast, 56 Japanese troop transports departed the island of Taiwan, escorted by 3 cruisers and 16 destroyers, for an amphibious operations in British Malaya. ww2dbase [Invasion of Malaya and Singapore | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt notified Chiang Kaishek that he had obtained agreement from the governments of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands for the establishment of a China Theatre of War with the Chiang as the Supreme Allied Commander. ww2dbase [Chiang Kaishek | AC]
  • At the Arcadia Conference in Washington DC, United States, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt agreed on a "Germany First" strategy. ww2dbase [First Washington Conference | Washington | CPC]
  • USS St. Louis and convoy arrived at San Francisco, California. ww2dbase [St. Louis | San Francisco, California | DS]
Photo(s) dated 31 Dec 1941
Map showing Japanese offensives in Dec 1941Sketch of the explosion on Hood by Royal Navy Captain J. C. Leach for the 2nd Board of Enquiry, 1941Japanese gunboat Tatara (former USS Wake, surrendered to the Japanese on 8 Dec 1941), Shanghai, China, late 1941; she was the only US warship to be surrendered to Japan in WW2Japanese Type A-class midget submarine I-22tou which was sunk by destroyer Monaghan inside Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States during the Japanese attack, Dec 1941
See all photos dated 31 Dec 1941

31 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
"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944

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