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Solemn News From Java – Hopeful News From Moscow – March 15, 1942

Word from Java – Pessimism ran high.

NBC – News Of The World – March 15, 1942 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

March 15, 1942 – word from Java on this day was not good. Twelve British, Dutch and American ships sunk overnight came as a shock to much of the British public, although the news came too late for most to be aware this day. In the coming hours reaction was expected to be pessimistic, since any loss of British ships meant one less element of security so much needed. And without sea power, Britain was just another island in the North Sea. The battle, many felt, had seriously damaged British naval strength in the South Pacific and could prove a serious blow, since British warships were stretched thin between the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It was a loss that couldn’t be afforded, since it would make Britain vulnerable to attack or being starved to death. That said, those asked also felt that whatever Allied losses were, it had to have some serious affect on Japanese forces. The more upbeat news came from New Delhi where it was reported RAF fighters and bombers attacked Japanese positions and ships in lower Burma. Troop concentrations were also attacked with heavy losses on the Japanese side.

Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands broadcast a message via the BBC to the Dutch Sailors in the Pacific. After paying tribute to the Dutch sailors lost in the Java action, she said the ships of the Netherlands navy, though based further afield, would go on fighting in the waters around the East Indies. She said some ships were still in action and that many Dutch sailors were regrouping and would continue to fight.

News from the Eastern Front. The Russians were still counting German losses from the battle which raged over the previous 24 hours on the Ukraine front. Moscow reported that the data was still incomplete but that, so far the days fighting was known to have left 650 Nazi dead with a large number of officers and soldiers known to be captured by Russian forces. The Soviet Information Bureau also reported desperate but vain efforts of German infantry to smash through the Russian lines on the southern front. Moscow reported the Germans mounted several attacks, but all were beaten back, inflicting severe German losses. So far, sixteen German tanks were reported destroyed.

And while reports were still coming in from Java, that’s just a small slice of news for this March 15, 1942 as reported by NBC’s News Of The World.

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