WWII in real time


General Wavell, commander of Singapore: "There are neither plans nor fortifications to defend the north side of this 'impregnable fortress.'"

With Japanese just 30 miles north of Singapore, Churchill is horrified to hear that the city is only fortified against attack from sea, to the south.

US Treasury reports an anonymous American veteran, stricken by conscience, has mailed them $36, with a note: "For overpay in the last World War."

Red Army's first ever large-scale airborne attack is erratic: Soviet paratroopers are scattered across 10 miles, most of their supplies lost, as Luftwaffe pick the transport planes from the skies.

Red Army are trying radical new tactics: thousands of Soviet paratroopers being dropped behind German lines, ordered to regroup & capture town of Vyazma. https://t.co/HGTlzVsTq0 RealTimeWWII photo

Greece & Yugoslavia are making plans to merge into a Balkan Union: in London, the governments-in-exile of Nazi-occupied nations have agreed to join economies & military forces after the war.

As Japanese invaders advance further down Malayan peninsula, smashing through defenders' lines, British cartoon shows Japanese octopus nearing Singapore, "jewel of the British Empire": https://t.co/WxqK7fqbek RealTimeWWII photo

Lombard was almost bumped off her fatal flight for Air Force pilots; but the actress pulled rank, arguing her publicity tour for US government was "war work".

Carole Lombard, American film star & wife of Clark Gable, has been killed in a plane crash, flying on a public tour of USA to sell war bonds. https://t.co/SLEVDXqXJH RealTimeWWII photo

Despite brave & fierce defence by Indian & Australian troops, Japanese have fought across the river Muar (1 on map), advancing ever-closer to heavily-bombed Singapore: https://t.co/Qzi9GbvVHN RealTimeWWII photo

Gen. Arthur Percival, British commander in Malaya: "The young Indian recruits were helpless. They didn't even know how to take cover, & there were not enough officers to control them. I say this in no spirit of disparagement. It was the penalty of years of unpreparedness for war"

Rather than attack fortified bridges, Japanese have sneaked across the Muar River in small Malay boats, & are taking Indian defenders by surprise, from behind- leading to confusion, panic & retreat. https://t.co/MNxjC20XCo RealTimeWWII photo

Japanese forces are back on the offensive in Malaya: despite slaughter at Gemas, Japanese Imperial Guard are attacking, bypassing Australian & Indian defences on the Muar River. https://t.co/s8B8hAEAuH RealTimeWWII photo

US government has not ordered a coastal blackout at night- meaning shipping is outlined against glow of city lights-, nor organised merchant ship convoys or warship escorts; reports of sunken ships are censored.

German submarines wreak havoc in US coastal waters: 4 more merchant ships torpedoed today, 9000-gallon oil tanker explodes 47 miles off Long Island.

Despite calls to suspend American Major League baseball games for duration of the war, President Roosevelt insists teams play on: "6000 athletes will provide a vital morale boost for US workers & soldiers." https://t.co/eGpm4CHXzr RealTimeWWII photo

German Admiral Dönitz has sent his U-boats to hunt American ships as a "Paukenschlag"- a "roll of drums", to show the USA the power of the Kriegsmarine unleashed.

German submarine U-123, hunting American shipping, has surfaced off coast of New York- close enough to see fairground rides of Coney Island silhouetted against the city's bright lights. Kriegsmarine captains astonished- & delighted- by American unpreparedness.

Roth: "Strelezkaja burns to the ground, in every hut lie 20-30 dead Russians." Red Army counter-massacre, butchering the wounded in a nearby German field hospital.

German soldier Hans Roth: "Most of the Russians didn't even get up- everyone is clubbed to death on their cots. The whole nightmare lasts about a half hour."

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