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Chronology of the Dutch East Indies, 25 December 1941 - 31 December 1941


Thursday, December 25th, 1941
In Hong Kong, Major-General Maltby's staff held their last meeting. His senior staff officers are against surrender. During this time, the Japanese sent two captured British civilians on a peace mission to Fortress HQ. Their surrender request was immediately rejected. At 2 p.m., Maltby contacted Lieutenant Colonel Stewart to inquire of the condition and morale of his men. Stewart reported that he could only hold out for another hour and not any longer. The troops are split, short of water and food, not to mention numerically outnumbered by the enemy. That's enough for Maltby. At 3p.m., he traveled to Government House to meet with Governor Sir Mark Young. Young opposed the surrender. At 3:15 p.m. he agreed with with Maltby's decision, and gave his assent for surrender. Major-General C.M. Maltby ordered all his troops to lay down their arms. They surrendered unconditionally to the Japanese in Kowloon's Peninsula Hotel.
Nearly 12,000 Allied soldiers go into captivity, including approximately 3,000 Canadians.

Admiral Thomas C. Hart turns command over all remaining naval forces in the Philippine Islands to Rear-Admiral F.W. Rockwell.

Japanese submarine I-66 (Cdr. Yoshitome) sinks Dutch submarine K-XVI (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Jarman) while on her way back to Soerabaja. All crew was lost.

In the Philippines, US troops retreat and try to delay the Japanese advance. They have some success though. In Cavite Navy Yard the last Marine demolition party from the 1st Separate Battalion of the 4th Marine Regiment blew up or fired all remaining ammunition stocks.


Friday, December 26th, 1941

In the morning, Admiral Thomas C. Hart, the commander of US Asiatic Fleet, left Manila Bay via USS submarine Shark (Lt.Cdr. L. Shane), and set course for Soerabaja, Dutch East Indies.
The first Marines of the 4th Marine Regiment (Colonel Samuel L. Howard) are moved to Corregidor Island - 14 officers and 397 men.

Japanese troops advance to Ipoh in Malaya after breaking through the Perak River defences.


Saturday, December 27th, 1941

Japanese troops occupied the Tambelan Islands, a group of islands between Borneo and Singapore. This is the first bit of land of the Dutch East Indies occupied by the Japanese.

By dawn, all fighting in Hong Kong had ended. Major-General T. Sakai, commander of the 38th Infantry Division and the Hong Kong Operation, and his troops paraded triumphantly through Victoria, Hong Kong.

Manila is heavily bombed by Japanese bombers.
On the tiny island of Corregidor in Manila Bay, General Douglas MacArthur, his staff, and his family, are in their quarters in Malinta Tunnel. They are joined by the President of the Philippines, Mr. Manuel Quezon, who is suffering from tuberculosis.

Lieutenant General T.J. Hutton assumed Burma Command. Wavell instructed him to defend Rangoon and prepare for an offensive against Siam.

In the morning, Colonel Lane's column of British troops from Sarawak crossed the border into Dutch Borneo.


Sunday, December 28th, 1941

American and Filipino troops are retreating on Bataan Peninsula. The Japanese, on the other hand, are advancing toward Manila, trying to cut off the "big retreat".

In Malaya, Japanese troops entered the town of Ipoh.

American pilots from the AVG and Japanese pilots again clashed in some dogfights in the Burma sky.


Monday, December 29th, 1941

In the Philippines, Japanese troops entered the town of Cabanatuan, north of Manila. Nearly 40 bombers of the 5th Air Group with 19 fighters, at 11:54 hours, attacked Corregidor Island for the first time, dropping 200- and 500-pound bombs, while dive bombers attacked the anti-aircraft batteries, strafing as they plunged down. The bombing continued until 14:15 hours. The island is devastated, and much damage has been done to the military installations.

British troops and civilians from Sarawak arrived at Singkawang II airfield. All civilians are sent to Pontianak, from where they are promptly evacuated.

In Burma, Japanese bombers bombed Rangoon, and destroyed the main railway station, the wharves, and warehouses full of lend-lease supplies to China. Out of 500,000 inhabitants of Rangoon in 1941, only few still stayed in the city.


Tuesday, December 30th, 1941

The Japanese 48th Infantry Division completely overwhelmed the 92nd Philippine Army Division, which includes 300 men from Manila's cadet schools and some American Texas National Guard tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion, north of Manila. The Americans and Filipinos had to retreat. Japanese troops are now only 30 miles from Manila. In the meantime, Manila prepares for the entering of Japanese troops. Mayor Jorge Vargas has posted "Open City" signs along the roads.

Admiral Ernest J. King assumes duties as Commander in Chief United States Fleet.

In Malaya, 8th Indian Infantry Brigade and 22nd Indian Infantry Brigade are in constant retreat. The Japanese combined group "Takumi", which has landed at Kota Bharu, is rapidly advancing along the east coast of Malaya, from Kota Bharu to Kuantan.

Japanese submarine I-1 shells town of Hilo, Hawaii.

Headquarters of the 19th USAAF Heavy Bombardment Group and some units of its 28th Heavy Bombardment Squadron are transfered from Batchelor Field near Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia to Singosari airfield, Java, Dutch East Indies.


Wednesday, December 31st, 1941

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz assumes command of the Pacific Fleet.

The 30th Heavy Bombardment Squadron of the 19th Heavy Bombardment Group is transfered from Batchelor Field near Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia to Singosari airfield, Java, Dutch East Indies.

In Manila, city authorities destroyed alcohol supplies to prevent the Japanese from getting them. The stories of drunken Japanese soldiers from Hong Kong are still alive.

The Japanese troops under the command of Lt.Col. Watanabe landed in Brunei Bay (British Borneo) and found that the British had already destroyed all big ships.

In Malaya, British and Indian troops tried to stop the Japanese advance, but failed. They are preparing a new ad hoc defence line along the Slim River.


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Copyright Klemen. L. 1999-2000
Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942

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