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2 Dec 1941
  • Edward Rydz-Śmigły passed away. ww2dbase [Edward Rydz-Śmigły | CPC]
  • Motorcycle patrols from the German 2nd Panzer Division at Moscow, Russia reached Khimki and claimed that they were as close as 10 miles northwest from the Kremlin. The 2nd Panzer Division, however, was unable gather enough strength to exploit the weakly defended lines that the reconnaissance troops discovered. To the west, additional Soviet reinforcements reached Naro-Fominsk. To the south of Moscow, another German attack on Tula cut the Tula-Moscow rail line. ww2dbase [Battle of Moscow | TH]
  • US PBY Catalina patrol aircraft reported 20 Japanese transports congregating in Cam Ranh Bay off Indochina. ww2dbase [Invasion of Malaya and Singapore | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Churchill's new National Service Bill included compulsory service for women. ww2dbase [Winston Churchill | TH]
  • Soviet troopships Iosif Stalin and Maya, along with a number of other warships and transport vessels, departed Hanko, Finland with the last of the 12,000 troops aboard. This marked the final Soviet evacuation from Finnish territory occupied by the Soviet Union at the conclusion of the Winter War. ww2dbase [TH]
  • Japanese embassies in United States, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, and Philippine Islands were ordered to destroy certain documents and code books. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese carrier fleet refueled in the North Pacific at 42 degrees north and 170 degrees east; at 2000 hours, the code "Niitaka Yama Noboru 1208" was issued, indicating that the attack on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii was to be launched on 8 Dec 1941 Tokyo time, 7 Dec on the other side of the international date line. Meanwhile, at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel was briefed of the disposition of the Japanese fleet, with the whereabouts of Carrier Division 1 and Carrier Division 2 (four fleet carriers total) not known; the best American guess was that they were at Kure, Japan. Finally, at Honolulu, Hawaii, Consul-General Nagao Kita was asked to provide a report regarding the presence of any barrage balloons or torpedo nets. ww2dbase [Attack on Pearl Harbor | Detailed Timetable | CPC]
  • The Axis attack on Tobruk, Libya that began on 30 Nov 1941 was halted as Axis tank losses reached such a level that repairs must be made before any further operations were possible. ww2dbase [Operation Crusader | CPC]
  • HMS Prince of Wales arrived at Singapore. ww2dbase [Prince of Wales | CPC]
  • HMS Repulse arrived at Singapore. ww2dbase [Repulse | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-43 (Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang LĂĽth) had been stalking the unescorted and unarmed 7,542-ton steam tanker Astral since the previous day, not realizing that the tanker was American. At about 0000 hours, U-43 fired a torpedo. The torpedo must have been seen by someone on Astral, because she immediately began steaming a zigzag course at full speed to escape. The submarine followed throughout the night, aided by a full moon. At 0924 hours, the tanker was hit by two torpedoes off the Azores islands, one in the stern and one amidships, exploded into flames and sank within minutes. The flaming cargo in the water burned for an hour longer. The entire copmlement of eight officers and 29 men were killed. This was the third of the four American merchant ships sank by German submarines prior to the American entry to the war; the others were Robin Moor, Lehigh, and Sagadahoc. ww2dbase [U-43 | CPC, HM]
  • The 5,231-ton British steam cargo ship Miguel de Larrinaga was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by the Italian submarine Cappellini. ww2dbase [HM]
  • The 6,968-ton tanker British Captain was sunk by a German mine off Cromer, England, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [North Sea | HM]
  • Comandante Cappellini sighted British cargo ship Miguel De Larrinaga in the Atlantic Ocean at 0030 hours, sailing in a zig zag course. At 0712, the Italian submarine surfaced and closed in, firing two bow torpedoes at 0716 hours, both of which missed. At 0720 hours, two stern torpedoes were fired, scoring one hit and slowing down the target. The Italians then closed in to 1,500 meters and opened fire with her deck gun, scoring several hits, followed by another stern torpedo which missed. Comandante Cappellini then submerged to prepare two more torpedoes. At 0756 hours, two unidentified ships were observed, closing in on the submarine quickly; fearing that they were destroyers, the Italian submarine made her escape. ww2dbase [Comandante Cappellini | CPC]
Black Sea
  • The 1,357-ton German steam merchant ship Cordelia struck a mine and sank 15 miles East from Burghaz (Burgas), Bulgaria. Shortly after, the Romanian motor passenger transport ship Carvarna struck a mine and sank in the same region. ww2dbase [HM]
Caroline Islands
  • Katori departed Truk, Caroline Islands for Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Katori | Truk | CPC]
  • Takashi Sakai was ordered to lead the Japanese 23rd Army, based in China, to cross the border into Hong Kong and to conquer it within 10 days of an outbreak of war with the United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Takashi Sakai | Battle of Hong Kong | Guangdong | CPC]
  • The 508-ton German Navy minesweeper M-529 was mined off Kolberg, Germany (now Kolobrzeg, Poland) with the loss of ten crew. ww2dbase [Kolberg, Pommern | HM]
  • Tatsuta Maru departed Yokohama, Japan for San Francisco, ostensibly for the second repatriation voyage to bring Japanese nationals in the United States to Japan. Her planned voyage would take her to Honolulu and San Francisco in the United States, then Manzanillo in Mexico, followed by Balboa in the Panama Canal Zone. ww2dbase [Tatsuta Maru | Yokohama | CPC]
Marshall Islands
  • Kamoi departed Emidji, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Kamoi | Emidji | CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • American submarine USS Trout began a "simulated war patrol" off Midway. ww2dbase [Trout | CPC]
  • A scheduled overhaul for S-36 at Cavite Navy Yard, Luzon, Philippine Islands was canceled due to the possibility of war. ww2dbase [S-36 | Cavite City, Cavite | CPC]
  • German submarine U-557 (Ottokar Arnold Paulssen) spotted and identified the unescorted 4,032-ton Norwegian ship Fjord at the harbour of Málaga, Spain at 1825 hours. At 2033 hours off Estepona Point, Spain, she fired two G7e torpedoes, one of which hit Fjord on the starboard side in the boiler room. Fjord had been steaming at 8 knots in fine weather. She sank so quickly that the crew had no time to launch the lifeboats and were forced to jump overboard, clinging to wreckage and swimming to two rafts that floated free. The master and 13 crew members were lost. One raft with 11 survivors and another with 9 managed to reach the nearby coast about nine kilometres southwest of Estepona. They were first taken to Algeciras and questioned by Spanish naval officers, but then transported to Seville as they were not yet allowed to leave Spain. However, after none of the Norwegians took the offer to return to Norway, all survivors eventually left for Gibraltar. The Allied consulates got busy investigating the case, as it was obvious that the German submarine attack took place well within the neutral Spanish territorial waters. ww2dbase [Estepona, Andalusia | CPC, HM]
Spanish Morocco
  • German submarine U-562 (Horst Hamm) sank 4,274-ton British ship Grelhead in the Atlantic Ocean 2 miles off Punta Negri, Spanish Morocco at 0119 hours. Grelhead had been carrying 6,900 tons of iron ore. The master, 34 crew members and six gunners were killed; 2 crew members survived and were brought to Tangiers, Morocco. ww2dbase [CPC, HM]
Photo(s) dated 2 Dec 1941
British Royal Navy Rear Admiral Arthur Palliser and Admiral Sir Thomas Philips at Singapore, 2 Dec 1941Overhead view of Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Oahu, Hawaii, Dec 2, 1941. The lines painted on the runway were to approximate a carrier’s flight deck.

2 Dec 1941 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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Famous WW2 Quote
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945

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