January 18, 1942 – Dispatches From Batavia – Dispatches From London – Dispatches From Washington.
January 18, 1942 – News Of The World – NBC – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
January 18, 1942 – Today marked the 6th week since America entered the war and the news was grim yet determined. News from Batavia reported that fires were blazing in the Singapore oil depot after Japanese planes bombed the Naval base area, but that the fire was under control. Two Japanese ships were sunk and RAF planes bombed Japanese troop concentrations while fighting was taking place 130 miles north of Singapore. Japanese bombers were carrying out attacks on Sumatra but no further details were given. Batavia itself was witnessing only minor bombing runs.
From London came reports that RAF bombers raided various targets in Northwest Germany and that three planes were reported missing. News from Cairo reported that two Italian Generals were captured along with a senior German officer. Dispatches from the desert said that campaign was slowing down but that Rommel still seemed to be in a fairly strong position and playing a waiting/defensive game until reinforcements arrived. British officers were debating whether to take Tripoli or turn the battle around and create a defensive action. Newspaper reports said the capture of Tripoli could decide the whole policy of French North Africa and that twice the British had the chance to take Tripoli and twice failed to take advantage of it. Newspapers were also reporting on the mysterious death of Field Marshall von Raichenau and how even the German press expressed no regret and failed to give the usual appreciation and biographical. Moscow cast speculation that von Reichenau was “done away with” for his failures in Russia or murdered by his subordinates for his pro-Nazi leanings. Either way, it was anybody’s guess.
And from Washington came reports that the war in the Pacific was turning into a “war of friction”. “Attrition” was the Military description but Washington preferred friction to describe that Japan was plunging forward, regardless of cost, and the allies were responding with maneuvers designed to wear down the enemy. A communiqué overnight said an American submarine staged a successful attack in Tokyo bay, sinking three steamers; the first such attack so close to Japan itself.
And that’s a small slice of what went on this 18th of January in 1942 as reported by NBC’s News of The World.
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