February 8, 1942 – a day with many doubts and ominous signs. The situation in the Far East was looking grim, despite upbeat reports. The Dutch East Indies were scenes of repeated raids by Japanese bombers. Hit during the day was an area described as roughly the distance between New York and London. Several cities in the region were hit, including cities closest to Java, the intended target. An undisclosed number of Japanese planes carried out reconnaissance raids over Batavia, the first sighting of enemy places to be reported. The planes were also spotted over East Java and Sumatra. Sumatra was again attacked by a group of six bombers with a strong escort of fighter planes. Attacks on New Guinea were reported to have yielded negligible casualties, primarily wounded.
Although the general situation in the Indies was more serious than previously reported, the announcement of the sinking of a Japanese Cruiser and one large transport ship, brought great satisfaction to observers in Batavia. The Dutch East Indies have been at war for 63 days, during which time 66 enemy ships had been put out of action, including war ships of all types. Dutch observers stressed that, while the Japanese were losing valuable units of their battle fleet, knowing there would eventually be a showdown with the U.S. fleet, loomed as a threatening shadow over the heads of the Japanese Admirals.
Meanwhile, reports from Singapore indicated the Japanese were stepping up their air and artillery bombardments of the island. The scale of the air raids and the shelling was said to have been considerably increased. British retaliated by firing across the strait at enemy working parties, breaking them up. Enemy forces moving toward the east of the mainland also came under British shelling. The Japanese made a landing on the island of Pulao Ubin, between the east end of Singapore island and the mainland. British observers claimed not to be worried by the Japanese move. They said the landing didn’t make the Japanese any closer to their main objective.
From the U.S. came news that on February 9th, all clocks would roll back one hour in what was called War Time, giving an extra hour of daylight for war work. The change would go into effect for the duration.
And that’s a small slice of what happened on this February 8, 1942 as reported by The Blue Network’s News Of The World.