31 Dec 1941
  • American carrier USS Yorktown became the flagship of Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher's newly-formed Task Force 17. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • I-68 departed Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • HMS Indomitable arrived at Cape Town, South Africa en route to the Far East. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese hospital ship Hikawa Maru arrived at Roi, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • USS Pollack fired two torpedoes at a Japanese destroyer off Honshu, Japan; both torpedoes missed. ww2dbase [Main Article | 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]
  • 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 [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese submarines shell Hawaiian Islands of Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii. ww2dbase [Main Article | 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]
  • Japanese troops reached the outskirts of Changsha, Hunan Province, China. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Astoria departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. ww2dbase [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • US Navy Task Force 11 with USS Saratoga departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for patrol. ww2dbase [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Allied convoy PQ-7b departed Hvalfjörður, Iceland. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Anton Schmid hosted the leadership of the Dror Jewish underground in his apartment in Vilnius, Lithuania to celebrate the new year. ww2dbase [Main Article | 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 [Main Article | CPC]
  • Nachi arrived in Davao Gulf, Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | 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 [Main Article | CPC]
  • Germans halted their attacks on Sevastopol, Russia for the winter. ww2dbase [Main Article | TH]
  • In Singapore, British and Dutch transports took on civilians for evacuation to South Africa. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • 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 [Main Article | 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 [Main Article | AC]
  • At the Arcadia Conference in Washington DC, United States, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt agreed on a "Germany First" strategy. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
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 Type A-class midget submarine I-22tou which was sunk by destroyer Monaghan inside Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States during the Japanese attack, Dec 1941Nimitz having just presented Navy Cross award to Ensign Fisler aboard USS Grayling, Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, 31 Dec 1941; Admiral Kimmel at right
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
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal