31 Dec 1942
  • Japanese Emperor Showa allowed his troops to evacuate Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. ww2dbase [Guadalcanal Campaign | TH]
  • A furious Hitler ordered the scrapping of the German Navy's battle fleet after Royal Navy destroyers drove off the mighty Lützow and Admiral Hipper from attacking a convoy in the Barents Sea. Hitler said his battleships were useless "like so much old iron". Admiral Raeder, commander of the Kreigsmarine, resigned and was replaced by Admiral Donitz, commander of the submarine force. ww2dbase [AC]
  • The Special Services vessel HMS Fidelity was torpedoed in the Atlantic, killing 280 crew, 51 commandos, and 50 survivors from a sunken cargo ship that they had picked up earlier. ww2dbase [AC]
  • The Red Cross was reported to be spending £375,000 each month on food parcels for Allied prisoners of war. ww2dbase [TH]
  • Captain Robert Sherbrooke aboard HMS Onslow fought off four attacks on a convoy he was protecting in the Barents Sea. Despite superior odds and heavy damage in which Sherbrooke was badly wounded and temporarily blinded, he got the convoy through to Ruissia. He was awarded the Victoria Cross. ww2dbase [AC]
  • HMS Cumberland returned to Iceland ww2dbase [Cumberland | DS]
  • Kalinin was commissioned into service. ww2dbase [Kalinin | CPC]
  • Battle of the Barents Sea took place between the British Royal Navy and the German Kriegsmarine. The British lost destroyer HMS Achates and minesweeper HMS Bramble while the Germans lost destroyer Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt. ww2dbase [Battle of the Barents Sea | TH, CPC]
  • Matome Ugaki's diary entry made on this date looked back on 1942. "How brilliant was the first-stage operation up to April! And what miserable setbaks since Midway in June! The invasions of Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia, [the] liberation of India and destruction of the British Far Eastern Fleet have all scattered like dreams. Meanwhile, not to speak of capturing Port Moresby, but the recovery of Guadalcanal... turned out to be impossible." ww2dbase [Matome Ugaki | CPC]
  • USS Wahoo completed her scheduled overhaul at Brisbane, Australia. On the same day, Commander Dudley Morton replaced Lieutenant Commander Marvin Kennedy as the commanding officer. ww2dbase [Wahoo | Dudley Morton | Brisbane, Queensland | CPC]
Australian New Guinea
  • 6 B-17 bombers attacked Lakunai airfield near Rabaul, New Britain with wire-wrapped 500-pound bombs, causing very little damage. ww2dbase [Rabaul, New Britain | CPC]
Dutch East Indies Hawaii United States Photo(s) dated 31 Dec 1942
Portrait of Noor Inayat Khan, 31 Dec 1942British troops parading in Djibouti, French Somaliland, Dec 1942

31 Dec 1942 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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