- A complete World War 2 Timeline, detailing every event, day by day from 1939 through to 1945. - The most complete World War 2 Timeline available.
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1939 - 1940 - 1941
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An American patrol leaves the relative security of its base to take on both the jungle and Japanese of Guadalcanal.
Pacific Islands! - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
02/01/1942 Japanese troops enter Manila.
03/01/1942 Churchill and Roosevelt announce the unified ABDA (American, British, Dutch and Australian) Command in the Southwest Pacific, under General Wavell, with Lieutenant General Brett as his deputy.
04/01/1942 Japanese aircraft attack Rabaul in the Bismarck Archipelago.
05/01/1942 80,000 US and Filipino troops successfully complete their withdrawal to the Bataan Peninsula, along with 26,000 civilians, although food stocks are only sufficient to sustain 43,000 men for 6 months. The Japanese quickly close up to the first defensive position, which is based on Mounts Santa Rosa and Natib.
07/01/1942 Japanese troops complete their capture of Sarawak and also take Jesselton in northern Borneo.
09/01/1942 Japanese troops launch an attack against the eastern side of the Santa Rosa-Natib defence line on Bataan, making some gains, although US-Filipino counter-attacks forces them back to their start-line.
11/01/1942 The Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies begins with landings at Tarakan (Borneo) and Manado (Celebes).
12/01/1942 Japan formally declares war on the Dutch East Indies.
13/01/1942 A Japanese attack just to the east of Mount Natib, begins to pose a threat to the left flank of the US-Filipino 2nd Corps.
14/01/1942 General Wavell arrives at Batavia in Java to setup ABDA headquarters. The Japanese launch an attack against the US-Filipino 1st Corps positions on the western side of Bataan.
16/01/1942 Heavy US losses on the Bataan Peninsula as the Japanese troops press the defenders back.
19/01/1942 The Japanese have now secured all of British North Borneo.
21/01/1942 The Japanese bomb New Guinea for the first time.
22/01/1942 General MacArthur orders the withdrawal of US and Filipino troops to the Bagac-Orion line, which is the final defensive position in Bataan. After dark the Japanese make two Battalion sized landings at Quinauan Point and Longoskawayan Point to the rear of the US-Filipino positions in Bataan. However, US and Filipino reserves successfully contain these beachheads.
23/01/1942 Japanese troops make landings at Rabaul on New Britain and at Kavieng on New Ireland. They also make a simultaneous landing on Bougainville Island in the Solomons. In the Dutch East Indies, the Japanese land at Kendari in Celebes. Australia appeals to Britain and the US for immediate reinforcements.
24/01/1942 Japanese troops land at Balikpapan in Dutch Borneo.
25/01/1942 Japanese troops begin landing at Lae in New Guinea. A court martial is announced later. Australia begins full mobilisation of all assets at its disposal.
26/01/1942 The US-Filipino withdrawal to the Bagac-Orion line is successfully completed. The Japanese quickly followed up the withdrawal and made several penetration in to the defensive new line, although these were all contained and thrown back.
27/01/1942 Japanese troops land at Pemangkat on the west coast of Dutch Borneo.
30/01/1942 Japanese forces capture the important naval base of Amboina between Celebes and New Guinea. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
Japanese air raids on Port Moresby.
03/02/1942 President Quezon of the Philippines proposes to President Roosevelt that his country should be granted total independence from the USA so that it could declare itself neutral, but Roosevelt dismisses this idea. General MacArthur warns Roosevelt that the Bataan garrison has suffered over 50 per cent casualties and it was 'near done'. MacArthur was given permission by Roosevelt to surrender Filipino, but not US troops who were to fight until the end.
10/02/1942 First meeting of Pacific War Council in London with Dutch, New Zealand, Australian and UK representatives.
14/02/1942 The Japanese being their invasion of Sumatra with airborne landings at Palembang.
19/02/1942 In Australia, Darwin is attacked twice in one day by Japanese aircraft.
20/02/1942 Japanese forces land on the Portuguese Island of Timor. Japanese troops having suffered heavy casualties over the past few weeks from battle and disease, begin to slacken their pressure in Bataan. President Quezon of the Philippines leaves for Australia in a US submarine.
22/02/1942 Roosevelt authorises the transfer of General MacArthur.
23/02/1942 Wavells ABDA HQ leaves Java for Australia, where upon its arrival it is disbanded. Against the wishes of Churchill, the Australian Prime Minister, Curtin orders all Australian Divisions to return home.
25/02/1942 After the withdrawal of ABDA HQ from Java, Wavell himself now leaves for Australia.
28/02/1942 Japanese land on Java. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
02/03/1942 The Dutch take supreme command of all allied forces in Southwest Pacific.
06/03/1942 Japanese occupy Batavia in Java.
07/03/1942 The Government of the Dutch East Indies flees Java for Australia.
08/03/1942 Japanese make unopposed landings at Lae and Salamaua on New Guinea.
09/03/1942 The Government of the Dutch East Indies reaches Adelaide in Australia as all resistance on Java ceases and the island surrenders to the Japanese.
10/03/1942 Japanese troops make landings at Finschhafen in New Guinea. They also occupy Buka in the Solomon Islands. Japanese aircraft attack Port Moresby in Papua.
11/03/1942 General MacArthur leaves Corregidor and the Philippines for Australia, after being ordered to assume command of the new South-West Pacific area, which in effect meant all Allied forces in the Pacific. MacArthur's last words before leaving were "I shall return!". General M. Wainwright takes over command in the Philippines.
12/03/1942 US troops occupy New Caledonia.
14/03/1942 US troops arrive in Australia in force.
17/03/1942 General MacArthur arrives in Australia from the Philippines.
18/03/1942 US forces occupy the New Hebrides in order to help protect Australia's west coast from direct Japanese invasion.
22/03/1942 Japanese aircraft attack Darwin.
23/03/1942 Port Moresby is again attacked by Japanese aircraft.
24/03/1942 The Japanese begin an intensive bombing campaign of Bataan and Corregidor. General Homma's 14th Army receives reinforcement ready for its final offensive against the Bataan and Corregidor. This takes the form of the Japanese 4th Division, which has been shipped from Shanghai.
25/03/1942 US troops occupy the Society Islands.
26/03/1942 General Blamey becomes the Commander-in-Chief of Australian Military Forces.
27/03/1942 The Filipino Government arrives in Australia.
29/03/1942 The Australian War Cabinet implements a 'Total Denial' policy in northern Australia should the Japanese invade. This would involve the conduct of a fighting withdrawal, with the evacuation or destruction of anything left behind. Already underway was a vast migration of sheep and cattle southwards, with those taking part being nicknamed 'Overlanders'.
30/03/1942 The Allies formally divide the Pacific theatre into two commands. General MacArthur takes control of the South-West Pacific Command based in Australia and covering the Philippines, new Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Dutch East Indies. The second command covered the remainder of the Pacific and came under the control of Admiral Nimitz, who was based at Pearl Harbor. His Pacific Ocean Command was then sub divided in to three, which were the North, Central and South Pacific Areas. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
01/04/1942 Japanese begin landing in Dutch New Guinea.
03/04/1942 The final Japanese offensive on Bataan begins with a five hour artillery and air bombardment, after which the Japanese launch infantry attacks supported by some tanks, which allows them to make penetrations in to US-Filipino defensive positions.
06/04/1942 The Japanese make landings on Manus Island in the Bismarck Archipelago.
07/04/1942 After 4 days of desperate fighting on Bataan, the Japanese have managed to penetrate 4 miles in to the US-Filipino lines, bringing General Wainwright's forces to the brink of collapse.
09/04/1942 US-Filipino forces on Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines surrender. 78,000 troops are captured, including 12,000 Americans, but 2,000 escape to Corregidor. This is the largest capitulation in US History. Japanese aircraft sink the British carrier Hermes, the destroyer Vampire and three other warships in Indian Ocean.
10/04/1942 The 78,000 captured men from Bataan begin a 65 mile march under the hot sun from Mariveles to San Fernando, with little food or water. This was to become known as the 'Bataan Death March'. The Japanese begin landing troops on Cebu Island, which has a combined US-Filipino garrison of 4,500 troops.
13/04/1942 Fighting continues on Cebu Island, as the US-Filipino garrison withdraws in to the hills.
16/04/1942 Japanese Imperial GHQ Naval Order No.18 is issued. This orders Admiral Yamamoto, C-in-C of the Japanese Combined Fleet to draw up plans for Operation 'Mi', the capture of Midway and the Aleutian Island, a plan that had originally been suggested by Admiral Yamamoto during March. The Japanese make landings on Panay Island. The US aircraft carrier Lexington, sets sail from Pearl Harbor, with orders to link up with the Yorktown in the Tonga Islands and then head, under the command of Admiral Fletcher to the Coral Sea.
18/04/1942 The Headquarters of the southwest Pacific theatre are established in Melbourne.
19/04/1942 Resistance on Cebu Island ends as the US-Filipino garrison surrenders to the Japanese.
20/04/1942 As a result of the Doolittle raid on Japan, the Japanese decide that Operation 'Mi' must take place as soon as possible, while plans to capture Samoa, Fiji and New Caledonia are to be postponed.
29/04/1942 The Japanese continue to land reinforcements on Mindanao Island as the step up attacks against the Filipino garrison. The shelling of Corregidor increases as the Japanese prepare to invade the Island. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
02/05/1942 The Australian garrison on Tulagi is evacuated.
03/05/1942 The Japanese make landings on Tulagi.
04/05/1942 The Japanese Port Moresby invasion force leaves Rabaul, in New Britain.
05/05/1942 Japanese troops make amphibious landings against the US-Filipino garrison on Corregidor.
07/05/1942 General Wainwright surrenders Corregidor to the Japanese, along with 15,000 prisoners.
10/05/1942 General William Sharp, commanding the Central Philippines orders the surrender of the remaining US and Filipino forces to the Japanese, thus ending resistance throughout the whole of the Philippines.
25/05/1942 Perth police arrest four Australians for planning to set up an ‘Australia First’ Nazi-style government. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
07/06/1942 The Japanese make landings on Attu and Kiska Islands in the Aleutian Islands. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
02/07/1942 The Directive for the recapture of the Solomons Islands is issued, with the US Chiefs of Staff planning a three-phase operation. The first phase involves Admiral Chester Nimitz capturing the Santa Cruz Islands and the Eastern Solomons, most immediatley Tulagi and Guadalcanal. Then General MacArthur is to clear Lae and the rest of the Solomon Islands before finally capturing Rabaul on New Britain. The start date for the operation is set as the 1st August.
19/07/1942 Japanese invasion fleet leaves Rabaul for Buna, New Guinea.
20/07/1942 The Headquarters of MacArthur's southwest Pacific theatre moves from Melbourne to Brisbane.
21/07/1942 Japanese land at Buna.
30/07/1942 Japanese capture crucial islands en-route to New Guinea. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
07/08/1942 US land on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
08/08/1942 US Marines take Henderson Airfield.
20/08/1942 31 U.S. aircraft touchdown on the newly completed Henderson Field airstrip on Guadalcanal to help the Marines fighting over the control of the island.
22/08/1942 First wave of Japanese reinforcements wiped out by US forces on Guadalcanal.
25/08/1942 According to some sources Japanese succeed in landing troops on Guadalcanal in the night from destroyers. Nauru, Gilbert Is. and Goodenough, off the SE coast of New Guinea are occupied by Japanese. Battle of Milne Bay, Papua, begins. Japanese Special Naval Landing Force of 1,200 men come ashore.
26/08/1942 Two thousand Japanese land at Milne Bay, South East of Port Moresby and advance up Kokoda Trail.
30/08/1942 U.S. Naval and Army forces occupy Adad, Aleutian Is. for an air and naval base.
31/08/1942 1,200 Japanese reinforcements landed on Guadalcanal by ‘Tokyo Express’. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
06/09/1942 Australians force total Japanese evacuation of Milne Bay, with just 1,000 troops surviving to be evacuated.
07/09/1942 US Marines launch a surprise raid on the Japanese base at Talou, Guadalcanal.
08/09/1942 Japanese advance from Kokoda to the Owen Stanley Mountain Range in an overland drive for Port Moresby, New Guinea.
11/09/1942 Japanese drive halted by Australians at loribaiwa, just 32 miles from Port Moresby.
28/09/1942 The US Navy Department claim 42 Japanese aircraft shot down in the Solomon Islands in last three days, with no US losses. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
08/10/1942 Strong Japanese rearguard action against the Australians at Templeton Crossing on the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea.
15/10/1942 4,500 Japanese troops land as reinforcement for Guadalcanal as battle continues.
16/10/1942 The Japanese are forced back by Australians at Templeton Crossing, New Guinea. The shelling of Henderson Airfield continues.
24/10/1942 The land battle begins in earnest around Henderson Field, with the elite Japanese 2nd Division being wiped out.
29/10/1942 The US retains control of all their positions on Guadalcanal. An Australian force completes the evacuation of the Templeton Crossing positions in New Guinea. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
02/11/1942 The Australians recapture Kokoda in New Guinea.
US and Australian forces join up for the assault on the last Japanese stronghold in Northern Papua, the Buna-Gona bridgehead. - The Most Complete World War 2 Timeline Available
01/12/1942 The Australians take Gona in New Guinea.
07/12/1942 US make a beachhead South of Buna, cutting off Japanese forces there.
09/12/1942 Fresh US troops relieve the besieged 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal.
10/12/1942 Australian troops capture Gona and now control the whole of the Gona area in New Guinea.
13/12/1942 The Japanese make successful new landings North of Buna.
17/12/1942 The Final US-Australian assault on Buna begins.
22/12/1942 Chifley is appointed as Minister of Post-War Reconstruction in Australia.
24/12/1942 US bomb Wake Island.
28/12/1942 The Japanese withdrawal from Buna ordered.
30/12/1942 The allies cut Japanese forces in two at Buna.

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