Skip to comments.ARMY SENT SOUTH ONLY TO CHECK CHINA, TOKYO REPLIES TO ROOSEVELT INQUIRY (12/6/41)
Posted on 12/06/2011 5:10:31 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
#1 - Chattanooga Choo Choo - Glenn Miller, with Tex Beneke and the Modernaires
#2 - Piano Concerto in B Flat (Tonight we Love) - Freddy Martin, with Jack Fina
#3 - Elmers Tune, Glenn Miller, with Ray Eberly and the Modernaires
#4 This Love of Mine - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra
#5 You Made Me Love You, Harry James
#6 - Tonight We Love Tony Martin
#7 - I Dont Want to Set the World On Fire - Horace Heidt, with Larry Cotton and Donna & Her Don Juans
#8 Shepherd Serenade Horace Heidt, with Larry Cotton and Fred Lowery
#9 - I Dont Want to Set the World On Fire Tommy Tucker, with Amy Arnell and Voices 3
#10 - Jim - Jimmy Dorsey, with Bob Eberly and Helen OConnell
Japanese Answer 2
Only Thai Danger Seen in Singapore 3-4
The International Situation 3
Russian Drive On 4-5
British Defeat Axis Units in Libya in Heavy Fighting, but Lose Gambut 6
Officers Give Ships Log Account of British Cruisers War Activities 7
Texts of the Days War Communiques 8-9
Dies Seeks Links to Alien Fronts 9
Paris Ruling Imperils Eiffel Tower Elevators 9
Australian Prisoners Pay for Axis Pique on Slogans 9
Red Army launches counteroffensive
Saturday, December 6, 1941 www.onwar.com
Soviet troops advancing through a fieldOn the Eastern Front... The Soviets launch a major counteroffensive all along the 500 miles of the Moscow front. Fresh troops and tanks have been added to the Soviet Kalinin, West and Southwest Fronts. Planned by and under the command of General Zhukov, the Soviets intend to cut through the panzer wings of Army Group Center and then to isolate and destroy it. The attacks meet with early successes.
From Washington... The final breakdown of deteriorating relations between the US and Japan. Roosevelt makes an appeal to the Japanese Emperor for peace. This direct approach violates Japanese cultural mores concerning the role of the Emperor and it goes unanswered. The US code breaking service has routinely intercepted and decoded all Japanese diplomatic messages and the most of the December 6th message is translated and sent to the President. It is clear from the message that war is imminent, but there are no specific details.
In the Pacific... Japanese forces leave Palau bound for the attack on the Philippines.
December 6th, 1941
UNITED KINGDOM: London: Britain today reluctantly declared war on the country which, only two years ago, she was planning to defend. When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, Finnish forces joined in; for the past five months Britain has been appealing to the Finns to withdraw.
Stalin recently stepped up the pressure on Britain to declare war on Hitler’s three little satellites, Finland, Hungary and Romania. They were given a deadline, which expires at midnight.
Though Finland now becomes an enemy, the hundreds of Finnish merchant seamen serving aboard British ships will be offered the opportunity of remaining in service or being interned. Other Finns, along with Hungarian and Romanian nationals, have been ordered to report to the police. Those regarded as unreliable will be sent to internment camps.
Submarine HMS Tempest commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: Paris: Boulevard Péreire. Lt. Rohl wounded by a pistol shot.
FINLAND: Today, on Finland’s 24th Independence Day, United Kingdom and Dominions declare war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.
By this date the Finnish advance in eastern Karelia is about to stop. The battle for town of Karhumäki (Medvezjegorsk, on northern shore of Lake Onega) is almost finished, and after the battle the Finnish troops dig into defence. The men are very war-weary; there has already been several instances of troops refusing the orders to advance. The men fighting in eastern Karelia feel they’ve been treated unfairly: the troops in Karelian Isthmus has been in defence for almost three months now, whereas they has been advancing and fighting the whole time. After the capture of Karhumäki the Finns are in defence all along the front, and the front-line will remain the same until June 1944. The Finnish leadership, already sensing the possibility of German defeat, adopt ‘wait and see’ policy, hoping in the event of Soviet victory to use the territories captured east of the pre-1939 border to bargain better terms for peace. (Mikko Härmeinen)
U.S.S.R.: A major Soviet counteroffensive kicks off along the Moscow front. Stretching 500 miles from Lake Ilmen in the north to west of Lipetsk in the south. Zhukov is in overall command of the effort which includes the North-West Front, the Kalinin Front, the West Front and the South-West Front and 20 Armies. He has planned the attack. Rokossovsky and Kuznetsov are among his subordinate commanders. The overextended and weakened German defenders will be unable to hold and forced to fall back.
The army was gathered together under great secrecy and they have won a stunning victory against the exhausted, frozen Germans.
Only four days ago, a German reconnaissance battalion mounted on motor cycles drove into the northern suburbs, only 12 miles from the Kremlin. It was pushed out by hastily-armed workers rushed to the spot. Some German tanks in another sector came within sight of Moscow’s spires. This was to be the high tide of the Nazi assault.
Tonight the Germans are being driven back all along the front as the Red Army attempts to encircle the whole of the German 4th Army as it stands before Moscow. The Russians, well equipped and well fed, are advancing against an enemy ravaged by continuous fighting, shortage of supplied and the extreme cold.
The Germans do not have the correct oil in their tanks to cope with this weather and are lighting fires under the engines of to start them. Their frozen machine guns are refusing to fire on automatic and their men are in full retreat.
They are being hampered by Russian ski troops, T34 tanks and Ilyushin I-62s, the armoured assault planes which are doing to the German army what the Stukas did to the Poles and the French. In the north, the Germans are retreating along the single road through Klin, abandoning their heavy equipment. In the first day’s fighting General Lelyshenko’s 30th Army has advanced some 11 miles in this sector.
To the south, the defenders of Tula have turned into attackers, emerging from their strong points to strike at Guderian’s tanks. A gap has opened between Guderian and von Kluge’s 4th Army which General Zhukov is trying to exploit. The story is the same all along the 500-mile front from Kalinin in the north to Yelets in the south. The Red Army is inflicting on the Wehrmacht its first great defeat. It is not being done without cost. The Russians are too eager to go over to the attack, and many of their assaults are made frontally against German strong points. Their casualties are very high and General Zhukov has issued a directive calling for outflanking tactics.
The counter-assault before Moscow is not the Red Army’s only success. It has driven the Germans out of the ruins of Tikhvin, the supply town south-east of Leningrad, and re-opened the precarious route to Lake Ladoga where lorries run the gauntlet of the ice.
BLACK SEA: Soviet submarine SC-204 believed lost to Bulgarian ASW activity near Cape Emine. (Dave Shirlaw)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The British submarine HMS Perseus is sunk by a mine; one survivor escapes from a depth of 170 feet and swims ten miles to shore.
The loss of the RN submarine, HMS Perseus on an unknown date in very late December 1941, attributed to contact with Royal Italian Naval forces, probably a submarine, was based on Mediterranean Fleet intelligence estimates. However, these estimates came into question in 1943 when the then 33 year old Leading Stoker John Capes showed up at Alexandria via the British consulate in Turkey, claiming to be a survivor of His Majesties Submarine Perseus.
He stated that the ship had been mined on the night of 6/7 December 1941, and that it sank in 170 feet of water with the stern section holding air. He had been in the Petty Officer Stokers mess with several others at the moment of the mining sharing a bottle of rum. He and three others made it into the stern section alive, sealed it off, and after coming to rest on the sea floor in pitch darkness, donned their DESA escape gear and commenced flooding the after spaces in preparation to making a free ascent escape.
All four left the submarine, with Capes being last. Before departing, he polished off the remaining rum, and then left through the after escape hatch. He came to the surface alone and then was faced with swimming 7-9 miles to Keffalonia.
He did so, met up with Greek partisans, and then spent 20 months with them before successfully reaching Turkey. The other three survivors of the mining did not make it to the surface alive, most probably due to a failure to exhale completely throughout the ascent, which was made, as it turned out, from 20 feet deeper than it was though possible.
To say that Capes story was thought to been overly remarkable by many is an understatement. Many did not believe it, nor did they believe Capes was, in fact, himself, though those making those conclusions had to admit that, the crew list being classified, it was unlikely an imposter could have come up with the facts he had. None the less, his statements concerning the location of the sinking did not jive with Admiralty estimates, and many considered him a fraud to the day he died.
However, in 1996, Greek divers located HMS Perseus on the ocean floor, exactly where Capes said it would be. It was in 170 feet of water, and the rear escape hatch was open. Upon looking into the open hatch, the divers clearly saw on the floor below the rum bottle emptied by Capes just before his departure. All of this was photographed. Though Capes had been dead for some 15 years when the sub was discovered, it can truly be said that he had the last laugh on those that doubted his story. It is probably the single most remarkable survival story to come out of WW II. (Mark Horan)
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: Hart informs Phillips, when MacArthur suggests that he remain in Manila and have a formal reception there, that Phillips ought to return to Singapore immediately if “you want to see your ships again” as war was imminent. Phillips returns to Singapore in the afternoon.
MacArthur orders Brereton to disperse aircraft “as well as possible”, to man all stations full-time, and to increase airfield guards and off-shore patrols.
Hart orders Destroyer Division 57 from Balikpapan to Singapore and for it to operate under Phillips orders. (Marc Small)
Two B-17Cs and 14 B-17Ds arrive at Del Monte Field, Mindanao and since they are expected to only stay three days, they bring very few supplies. None of the barracks have been completed and there are not enough tents to house the air crew so many sleep in their planes. Radio communication with Luzon consists of high frequency radio which is sporadic at best. The only thing the PX has to offer is a single brand of beer called “San Miguel Beer for Convalescent Mothers.” (Jack McKillop)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Japanese forces sail from Palau toward the Philippines for an attack.
The British Special Operations Executive’s (SOE) Camp X at Whitby, Ontario, becomes operational as Special Training School 103. At the same time, a sophisticated top secret communications relay station (Oshawa Wireless) is established at Camp X to facilitate the critical need for secure wartime transcontinental communications between Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. Hundreds of agents are trained at Camp X between 1941 and 1944. Many of those who train at the Camp receive specialized courses in security and intelligence, some are trained as radio operators and are dispatched to South America by the British Security Coordination (BSC). Others who are trained as secret agents, receive further training in the U.S. prior to missions in Asia or are shipped to Ringway (now Manchester International Airport), Beaulieu (Hampshire now home of the National Motor Museum) and Arsaig (west coast of Scotland, near Oban) in the U.K. before being sent on missions into occupied Europe. One of the students at the camp was Ian Fleming, the creator of Agent 007, James Bond. (Jack McKillop)
Minesweeper HMCS Goderich arrived Halifax from builder Toronto, Ontario.
Corvette HMCS Weyburn arrived Halifax from builder Montreal, Province of Quebec.
Ordered in Canada - Revised Corvette (Increased Endurance) USS Haste (ex-HMS Mandrake), USS Intensity (ex-HMS Milfoil), USS Might (ex-HMS Musk), USS Pert (ex-HMS Nepeta), USS Prudent (ex-HMS Privet), HMS Rose Bay (ex-USS Splendor), HMS Smilax (ex-USS Tact), USS Vim (ex-HMS Statice), HMS Willowhead (ex-USS Vitality). (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: President Roosevelt again appeals to the Japanese Emperor for peace and asking for troop withdrawal from French Indochina. There is no Japanese reply. The Japanese leaders feel that involving the Emperor is wrong and are resentful of this effort. Later the first 13 parts of a 14 part Japanese message are transmitted. Unknown to the Japanese, US codebreakers will intercept and decode this message.
The whereabouts of the Washington notables during the late afternoon and evening of December 6 are a bit uncertain:
Roosevelt seems to have been in the White House throughout the entire time; having sent off his message to Hirohito, he then called for a meeting with his advisers (presumably, Hull, Stimson, Knox, Marshall, and Stark) for 3 PM on Sunday, December 7, and conducted a brief dinner party. He was home to receive the first 13 parts of the Japanese message at around 11:00 PM Washington time (1 PM, December 7, Philippine time).
Stimson and Knox were at their homes in Washington.
Stark was at the theater.
Marshall later claimed to have been at his quarters at Fort Myer,, though a Washington Times-Herald article stated that he attended a VMI Alumni meeting at the University Club on 16th Street in Washington. His whereabouts have been a source of quandary and query ever since.
Arnold was at Hamilton AAF, California, hastening the despatch of the 37th and 38th Reconnaissance Squadrons to the Philippines via Hawaii. (These were the planes which arrived in the middle of the Pearl Harbor strike.)
The Director of Army Intelligence, Brigadier General Sherman Miles, was guested to dinner at the quarters of the Director of Naval Intelligence, Rear Admiral Theodore Wilkinson.
Frank Knox, US Secretary of the Navy, states that he is very proud to report that the US Navy is second to none. This statement will appear in the New York Times Sunday Edition, tomorrow.
Tonight at the Hickam Field Officer’s Club, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, the waitresses are serving refreshments are clad in colorful Japanese kimonos.
Many sailors and other enlisted men are enjoying this Saturday night with the “Battle of Music” performed by military bands. The winner was the band from the battleship USS Pennsylvania (BB-38).
Second place went to the band of the Pennsylvania’s sister ship, the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39). (Jack McKillop)
The New York Times reports:
Discounts Allied Air Forces
Revealing what he represented as the completed line-up of air strength of the ABCD powers in the Far East, Rear Admiral Toshio Matsunaga, chief of the marine department of the Japan Airways Company, assured the Japanese people through the newspaper Yomiuri that they need not fear the “encirclement front” because it was lacking in suitable air bases, effective planes and trained personnel.
He put the whole air strength of United States, British, Chinese and Netherland powers in the Far East at 1,000 planes—250 American, 400 British and the rest mostly trainers. Of these, he said, about fifty American planes were distributed in the Philippines and 350 in British Burma, although additional American bombers to the value of $24,000,000 are to go to the Netherlands Indies. In contrast, the Japanese Navy recently announced it alone had 4,000 planes, apart from Japanese Army planes.
Moreover, said Admiral Matsunaga, most of the types possessed by the ABCD powers are old or short-range planes that could not possibly bomb Japan and get back to their bases, except about twenty Consolidated PBY-28 [sic] bombers that had appeared in the Philippines, Singapore and Surabaya, Java.
These, he admits, are reported to possess the greatest flying capacity in the world at present, but he says that even they will not be able to perform what is expected of them.
He further estimates that there are about 200 air bases along the ABCD line, including a naval airport at Singapore, the Bandoeng flying grounds in Java and a recently completed military air depot at the northern end of the Philippines. But the weakest point of the whole line-up, he asserts, is a great shortage of trained pilots.
“For all these reasons,” he concludes, “we can place full confidence in our preparations.”
(The story is “JAPAN CONFIDENT TALKS WILL GO ON”, By OTTO D. TOLISCHUS,
_New York Times_, Dec 6, 1941, pg.2.)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Four crewmembers of U-562 injured in a torpedo reloading accident. (Dave Shirlaw)
"... and, yes, it's still there ..."
As I started to read it took me a second to realize this was the day before Pearl Harbor. It was a September 10th type of day, the day before the World changed.
I did notice that, unlike 9/11, the paper was full of stories about the Axis, including the war communiques. How the Mighty Times has fallen.
I do enjoy the top Billboard song listing - it adds pop culture atmosphere.
I hope the Japanese reply to Secretary of State Hull eases tensions, and everything works itself out in the Pacific.
Also, interesting story about the Mars seaplane fire on the front page. The Martin JRM Mars is one of the few WWII era airplanes still working. As of 2010, the remaining two (out of seven built) were still working as fire-fighting tankers.
Actually, it’s more like September 9th. Tomorrow morning’s paper will be a peacetime edition with all the news from December 6th 1941. The attack did not occur until after 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time on December 7th.
Hanna Lehrer, a Munich Jew, wears both her personal Jewish star around her neck and the mandated Yellow Star badge identifying her, isolating her, and alienating her from other Germans.
Hanna was later sent to Riga, Latvia, where she was killed.
"Late in 1941 about 80 Jews residing in Bielefeld, Germany, were rounded up along with hundreds of other German Jews for transport to the Riga-Kaiserwald concentration camp in Latvia.
This camp specialized in murdering Jews by means of poison-gas vans.
One of the SS's innovations was to load Jews into a poison-gas van and kill the Jewish occupants while the van was driving to a mass grave site.
The dead Jews could then be conveniently dumped into the pit, which was covered over with dirt by other Jewish prisoners."
Thought you might be interested:
"Said ex-President Herbert Hoover, Republican statesman of the day, We have only one job to do now, and that is to defeat Japan.
"But to friends, the Chief sent another message: You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bit.
"Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light.
It is Hoovers explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West."
Admiral Numura indicated that it might be several days before his government completed its study of Secretary Hull’s document but he explained that he based his view on press dispatches. “We learn much more from Tokyo dispatches in your newspapers, “ He remarked than from our own small messages.”........................
As the two envoys stood before the cameras smiling, Mr Kurusu turned to a correspondent and said, “the photographers make us smile, but your correspondents always write of the seriousness of the situation.”
Upon emerging from Mr, Hulls office a half hour later, the envoys had nothing to say. They left looking serious.
Read the above slowly to get the full flavor.
"During separate interviews with the author, Kisner and Whitlock identified the 129 intercepts that refute Laytons claim of radio silence.
Whitlock analyzed the radio direction finder reports obtained by Station CAST, and Kisner analyzed the intercepts obtained by his operators at Station H.
The 129 reports, dated during the 21-day period, were compiled by the author from three sources found in Archives II:
Admiral Nagumo, the commander-in-chief of the Hawaii-bound force, was the most talkative.
- (1) Japanese naval intercepts,
- (2) Japanese code movement reports filed by warships, and
- (3) the TESTM radio direction finder reports obtained by Station CAST.
He originated nearly half of all Japanese naval radio broadcasts intercepted by the US Navy monitoring stations.
The author compiled the seven categories of intercepts:
- Radio transmissions by Admiral Nagumo: 60
- Tokyo radio to the vessels of the First Air Fleet: 24
- Broadcasts originated by carriers: 20
- Broadcasts originated by Carrier Division Commanders: 12
- Messages originated by Carrier Division Commanders: 8
- Messages originated by the Midway Neutralization Unit: 4
- Tokyo radio to individual Carrier Division Commanders: 1
"Radio silence was ignored as more Japanese naval broadcasts hit the airwaves.
The first military intercept that specified Pearl Harbor as the target came from Japans highest naval commander, Admiral Osami Nagano, Chief of the Imperial Navy General Headquarters.
He breached security in a radio broadcast and disclosed that a Japanese carrier strike force would attack Hawaii.
The broadcast was beamed from Tokyo to the communications officer of the Eleventh Air Fleet, a powerful naval air command based on Formosa, composed of 500 bombers and fighters that had been massed for an aerial attack on General MacArthurs command in the Philippines and other objectives in Southeast Asia.
"Naganos broadcast was first publicly disclosed in a postwar article written by Commander Koiichi Shimada, an air officer of the Eleventh Air Fleet, who wrote that his command received a radio dispatch from Imperial General Headquarters packed with highly secret information.
The message said:
IMPERIAL HEADQUARTERS IS QUITE CONFIDENT OF SUCCESS IN JAMMING THE ENEMYS RADIO FREQUENCIES SO THAT ANY WARNING DISPATCHED TO THE PHILIPPINES AS A RESULT OF THE CARRIER STRIKING FORCES ATTACK ON HAWAII WILL NOT GET THROUGH."The disclosures contained in this Tokyo-to-Formosa broadcast are confounding.
MEANWHILE, IN ORDER TO ASSURE SUCCESS OF THE HAWAII ATTACK, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT ELEVENTH AIR FLEET IN FORMOSA TAKE EVERY PRECAUTION TO GUARD AGAINST THE ENEMYS LEARNING OF OUR MILITARY MOVEMENTS BEFORE THE ATTACK TAKES PLACE.21
Why would Japans top naval officer abandon basic radio security?
An even more important question for the Pacific Fleet:
Was the broadcast intercepted by US Navy cryptographers, or was Commander Dyer of HYPO correct in asserting that Japan did not transmit a single message naming Pearl Harbor as the target?
Stinnett, Robert (1999-12-14). Day of Deceit, page 209 - 210
Unfortunately things on these threads are about to get rather grim, for at least the next six months in the Pacific.
Before that begins, I wanted to share with the class this incomplete but excellent alternate timeline called “Pacific War Redux” constructed on the website alternatehistory.com:
This alternate timeline assumes that the United States Navy and Army go on a wartime in footing for both implementing defense plans and acquiring equipment. instead of taking their time and slowly ramping up, despite having been given an effective “blank check” by Congress in the Two Ocean Navy Act of 1940.
I hope you guys will enjoy reading it as much as I have.
(Note: I have a love-hate relationship with alternate history.com.
It is the best site on the web for alternate history discussion. However, the site admin is very liberal and banned me for disagreeing with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and my reasons for it, when I voiced them in the “off topic” politics forum of the site.
If I ever re-register, I’ll be a good little Young Pioneer and stay out of the off topic forums.
However, Pacific War Redux is one of a number of excellent alternate timelines you will find on the site, for those so interested.)
Pat’s an Isolationist. He has always taken the view that FDR provoked Japan into attacking us. It’s a variation of “9/11 was our fault because we were in the Middle East” meme.
I can’t take him seriously anymore.
Marshal Zhukov’s West Front Armies are commanded by a virtual “galaxy of stars” rising in the Red Army.
Lelyushenko will end the war in command of 4th Guards Tank Army, taking part in the Berlin offensive.
Konstantin Rokossovski will be a Marshal of the Soviet Union, and will command key fronts at Stalingrad, Kursk, Eastern Ukraine, White Russia, Poland and Germany. As an ethnic Pole, will be the first Commander in Chief of the Post-War Polish army.
Govorov will be a Marshal of the Soviet Union, and command Leningrad Front to break Germany’s 900 day siege, and drive Finland out of the war.
Fillip Gollikov will be Marshal of the Soviet Union, and will hold front command off and on. Zhukov will always hold a grudge against him as Golikov was head of military intelligence before Barbarossa and he told Stalin what he wanted to hear instead of the truth.
Yefremov, Golubev and the Kuznetsovs will hold undistinguished army commands.
Boldin will have “nine lives” as an army commander, but will remain in command until the final months of the war when he will be relieved of command in East Prussia.
Vlasov will be the Red Army’s “black sheep.” In the Moscow counter-offensive, his 20th Army will perform better than most others, including the future Marshals. However, next year he will command 2nd Shock Army near Leningrad, where his army will be encircled and destroyed. Vlasov will become a POW, and then a collaborator with the Nazis. Captured and turned over to the Soviets at the end of the war...well, you can figure out the rest.
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