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9 Dec 1941
  • Japanese troops seized Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese submarines RO-63, RO-64, and RO-68 bombarded Howland and Baker Islands; it was believed that the US Navy had seaplane bases on those islands, but that intelligence was incorrect. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Transport William Ward Burrows, en route to Wake Island, was re-routed to Johnston Island. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • After more than four years of full scale war, China finally formally declared war on Japan. Cuba and Panama also declared war on Japan on this day. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • US Navy purchased 25 airborne search radar sets for service test in dive bombers and torpedo planes. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Soviet troops recaptured Tikhivin, northern Russia. ww2dbase [Siege of Leningrad | TH]
  • When the rest of his flight was jumped on take-off by Japanese fighters, RAF Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf went on alone to bomb his target in Malaya. Attacked by 12 fighters on the way back, he was fatally wounded but landed his Blenheim bomber and saved his crew. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. ww2dbase [AC]
  • Japanese submarine I-10 shelled and sank unarmed Panamanian-flag motorship Donerail 200 miles southeast of Hawaii; only 8 out of the 40 people onboard survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Bitter fighting between British and Japanese troops took place for the airfield at Kota Bharu in British Malaya, while two groups of Indian troops crossed into Thailand to destroy roads and railroads. In Thailand, the Japanese entered Bangkok. Out at sea, Japanese aircraft and submarine I-65 spotted British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse; torpedo bombers were launched from Saigon, occupied French Indochina, but they failed to locate the ships. ww2dbase [Invasion of Malaya and Singapore | CPC]
  • USN river gunboat Mindanao, en route from Hong Kong to Manila, captured a Japanese fishing vessel and took her Taiwanese crew of ten aboard as prisoners. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • USS Swordfish became the first US submarine to attack the enemy when she fired on a Japanese ship 150 miles west of Manila. ww2dbase [Swordfish | CPC]
  • USS R-1 patrolled the New England coast of northeastern United States. ww2dbase [R-1 | CPC]
  • Japanese aircraft commenced the bombing of Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands; among the first targets in the capital city region was the US Army airbase Nichols Field. ww2dbase [Invasion of the Philippine Islands | AC]
  • Japanese aircraft bombarded American defensive positions at Guam, Mariana Islands. ww2dbase [Invasion of Guam | CPC]
  • Japanese troops breached a western segment of the British Gin Drinker's Line, which stretched from the Gin Drinker's Bay (Zuijiu Wan) in the west to the White Sands Bay (Baisha Wan) in the east, at 225 High Ground north of Hong Kong Island. 27 prisoners were taken. ww2dbase [Battle of Hong Kong | CPC]
  • German submarine U-652 sank French ship Saint Denis 50 miles south of the Balearic Islands at 1400 hours, killing 3; the ship was sunk in a case of misidentification, as she flew the flag of Vichy France. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-134 mistakenly sank German ship Steinbek 20 miles off of northern Norway at 2100 hours; 12 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese destroyers Ayanami and Yugiri discovered Dutch submarine O 20 twenty miles east of Kota Bharu, British Malaya and attacked her with depth charges from 1100 to 1730 hours. O 20 was finally forced to surface after sundown and was scuttled. 7 were killed during the attack; 32 survived and were captured. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Winston Churchill sent Franklin Roosevelt a message requesting a conference on the war with Japan. Roosevelt initially intended to reject this request, wishing to give his top generals more time to research the situation to avoid the British dominating the conference. ww2dbase [First Washington Conference | CPC]
Australian New Guinea China
  • Kenkichi Ueda was awarded Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Orchidaceae of the puppet nation of Manchukuo and received a special medal to commenmorate the opening of the National Shinto Shrine of Manchukuo. ww2dbase [Kenkichi Ueda | CPC]
  • Korechika Anami was awarded the Pillars of State medal of the puppet state of Manchukuo. ww2dbase [Korechika Anami | CPC]
  • Leonardo da Vinci departed Pauillac, France at 0930 hours and sailed southward up the Gironde estuary, reaching Bordeaux, France at 1130 hours. ww2dbase [Leonardo da Vinci | Pauillac, Aquitaine | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler arrived in Berlin, Germany at 1100 hours. He decided to declare war on the United States on this date, but decided to withhold the announcement until 11 Dec in order to have enough time to draft his speech. ww2dbase [Adolf Hitler | Berlin | CPC]
Hawaii Pacific Ocean
  • USS S-38 was ordered to shift her patrol area to waters west of Mindoro, Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [S-38 | South China Sea | CPC]
  • USS Skipjack departed Manila, Philippine Islands for her first war patrol. ww2dbase [Skipjack | Manila | CPC]
  • Saburo Sakai, flying an A6M Zero fighter, attacked US positions in the Philippine Islands in poor weather. ww2dbase [Saburo Sakai | CPC]
  • Soviet 30th Army attacked north of Moscow, Russia, capturing many trucks and field guns abandoned by the German 3rd Panzer Army. South of Moscow, Soviet troops captured Venev and Yelets. Despite the victories, Soviet logistic situation was extremely poor largely due to the destruction of many vehicles at the hands of the Germans in the past few months; for example, Viktor Abakumov reported on this day that on 25 Nov 1941 Soviet 18th Ski Battalion went without any food. ww2dbase [Battle of Moscow | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt had his first "Fireside Chat" radio address since the United States had entered the war, noting that the Axis powers had been tainted with "a decade of immorality". ww2dbase [Franklin Roosevelt | CPC]
  • Bob Feller enlisted in the United States Navy. ww2dbase [Robert Feller | CPC]
  • USS New Mexico departed Casco Bay, Maine, United States. ww2dbase [New Mexico | Casco Bay, Maine | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • At Wake Atoll, Japanese Navy 24th Air Flotilla aircraft bombed Naval Air Station on Peale Island and Batteries A and E at Peacock Point. ww2dbase [Battle of Wake Island | Peale, Wake | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Dec 1941
Six British Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Sea Hurricane aircraft operating from RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron), Somerset, England, United Kingdom, 9 Dec 1941Royal Canadian Navy officer questioning Japanese-Canadian fishermen, 9 Dec 1941Governer General of Australia Lord Gowrie signing the declaration of war against Japan with Prime Minister John Curtin looking on, at 1115 hours, 8 Dec 1941 (2015 hours, 9 Dec 1941 local time)P-40 Warhawk aircraft damaged in a taxiing accident with another P-40 at Bellows Field, Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, 8 Dec 1941, photo 3 of 3
See all photos dated 9 Dec 1941

9 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
"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939

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