U.S. Naval Chronology Of W.W.II, 1941
01/07 Mon. Office of Production Management (OPM) is established.
01/16 Thu. President asks Congress for immediate appropriation of $350
million for 200 new merchant ships.
01/29 Wed. United States-British staff conversations to determine joint
strategy in case of United States involvement in the war,
begin in Washington.
01/30 Thu. Germany announces that ships of any nationality bringing aid
to Great Britain will be torpedoed.
02/01 Sat. Navy announces reorganization of United States Fleet: old
names Atlantic Fleet and Pacific Fleet revived; Asiatic Fleet
Adm. H. E. Kimmel relieves Adm. J. O. Richardson as Commander
in Chief United States Pacific Fleet, with additional duty as
Command in Chief United States Fleet; Patrol Force, United
States Fleet, becomes Atlantic Fleet and Adm. E. J. King
becomes Commander in Chief United States Atlantic Fleet; Adm.
T. C. Hart continues as Commander in Chief United States
02/15 Sat. Naval Air Station, Kaneohe, Oahu, T. H., is established.
02/19 Wed. Coast Guard Reserve is established.
03/01 Sat. Support Force, Atlantic Fleet (Read Adm. A. L. Bristol),
composed of destroyers and patrol plane squadrons, is
established for protection of convoys in North Atlantic.
Bulgaria joins the Axis as German troops occupy the country.
03/10 Mon. Japan mediates undeclared war between France and Indochina;
France cedes territory to Thailand and gives Japan monopoly
of Indochinese rice crop and right to airport at Saigon.
03/11 Tue. "Lend-Lease" Act becomes law; "cash and carry" provisions of
Neutrality Act of 1939 are changed to permit transfer of
munitions to Allies.
03/12 Wed. Naval Air Station, Corpus Christie, Tex., is established.
03/27 Thu. United States-British staff discussions in Washington end;
"ABC-1 Staff Agreement" is reached which embodies basic
strategic direction of the war in the case of the United
03/28 Fri. British fleet defeats Italian fleet in Battle of Cape
Matapan; 3 Italian cruisers and 2 destroyers are sunk and
several ships damaged.
03/30 Sun. Unites States takes possession of German, Italian, and Danish
ships in United States Ports.
03/31 Mon. South Greenland Survey Expedition composed of State,
Treasury, War, and Navy Department representatives arrives at
Godthaab, Greenland; purpose is to locate and recommend sites
for military and naval installations, and to gather
04/06 Sun. German troops invade Yugoslavia and Greece.
Italy declares war on Yugoslavia.
04/07 Mon. United States Naval Operating Base, Bermuda, is established.
04/09 Wed. Battleship NORTH CAROLINA (BB-55) is commissioned at New
Secretary of State and Danish Minister to the United States
sign "Agreement Relating to the Defense of Greenland."
04/10 Thu. Destroyer NIBLACK (DD-424) while rescuing survivors of
torpedoed Netherlands freighter, depth charges German
submarine off Iceland; this is believed to be the first
action of the war between United States and German vessels.
President proclaims that the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are no
longer combat areas and are open to United States shipping.
04/13 Sun. Russo-Japanese Non-Aggression Pact signed.
04/17 Thu. Egyptian steamship ZAMZAM is sunk by German raider, ATLANTIS,
in South Atlantic Area; about 150 Americans are included
among rescued passengers.
Yugoslavia capitulates to Axis.
04/22 Tue. Authorized enlisted strength of regular Navy is increased to
04/23 Wed. Greece signs armistice with Germany
04/24 Thu. Neutrality Patrol is extended eastward to 26 d. West
04/26 Sat. Neutrality Patrol is ordered to be extended southward to 20
d. South Latitude.
04/27 Sun. American-Dutch-British Conference at Singapore ends, having
reached agreement on combined operating plan of local defense
forces in the event of war with Japan; Capt. W. R. Purnell,
USN, is senior United States representative.
05/12 Mon. Ambassador Nomura presents the Secretary of State with
Japanese proposal for establishment of "just peace in the
05/15 Thu. Battleship WASHINGTON (BB-56) is commissioned at
05/20 Tue. German airborne troops invade Crete.
05/21 Wed. United States freighter ROBIN MOOR, en route to South Africa,
is sunk in South Atlantic by German submarine.
05/24 Sat. Construction or acquisition of 550,000 tons of auxiliary
shipping for the Navy is authorized.
British battle cruiser HOOD is sunk by German battleship
BISMARCK in Denmark Straits.
05/27 Tue. President declares a state of unlimited national emergency;
he announces that the Atlantic Neutrality Patrol has been
extended and that Pacific Fleet units have been transferred
to the Atlantic.
German battleship BISMARCK is sunk by British Navy in North
06/01 Sun. South Greenland Patrol comprising four Coast Guard vessels is
established to operate from Cape Brewster to Cape Farewell to
Crete capitulates to the Germans.
06/02 Mon. LONG ISLAND (AVG-1), the first escort carrier, is
commissioned at Newport News, Va.
06/06 Fri. Bill is signed authorizing the Government to requisition
foreign merchant ships lying idle in United States ports.
Naval Air Station, Balboa, Canal Zone, is established.
06/12 Thu. All members of the Naval Reserve, not in deferred status, are
called to active duty.
06/15 Sun. Naval Air Station, Kodiak, Alaska, is established.
06/16 Mon. State Department requests closing of all German consulates in
United States territory.
06/19 Thu. Germany and Italy request closure of United States
06/21 Sat. State department requests closing of all Italian consulates
in United States territory.
06/22 Sun. Germany, Italy, and Romania declare war on Russia and invade
along a front from the Arctic to the Black Sea.
06/25 Wed. Finland declares war on Russia.
06/27 Fri. Hungary declares war on Russia.
06/28 Sat. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) is
established to replace National Defense Research Committee.
Albania declares war on Russia.
06/30 Mon. Naval vessels on hand (all types) - 1,899.
France severs relations with Russia.
07/01 Tue. Naval Coast Frontiers are established: North Atlantic,
Southern, Caribbean, Panama, Pacific Southern, Pacific
Northern, Hawaiian, and Philippine.
Patrol Wing 7 is commissioned at Argentia, Newfoundland, for
operations in North Atlantic.
Northeast Greenland Patrol is organized by the Coast Guard.
07/02 Wed. Japan recalls her merchant ships from Atlantic Ocean, and
calls more than 1 million army conscripts.
07/07 Mon. President announces to Congress that an executive agreement
has been made with Iceland for United States troops to occupy
that country; the Navy is ordered to take all steps to
maintain communications between the United States and
Naval task force (Rear Adm. D. M. LeBreton) lands Marines
(Brig. Gen. J. Marston) at Reykjavik, Iceland.
07/08 Tue. Patrol Wing 8 is commissioned at San Diego, Calif.
07/10 Thu. 2d Marine Air Wing is commissioned at San Diego, Calif.
07/12 Sat. Naval Research and Development Board is created.
Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, R. I., is established.
05/17 Tue. United States Naval Air Station and Naval Operating Base,
Argentia, Newfoundland, are established.
07/18 Fri. Prince Konoye forms new Japanese cabinet; Vice Admiral T.
Toyoda succeeds Matsuoka as Foreign Minister.
07/19 Sat. United States naval task force is organized by Commander in
Chief Atlantic Fleet (Adm. E. J. King) to support defense of
Iceland and to escort convoys between the United States and
07/26 Sat. Army Forces, Far East (Lt. Gen. Douglas MacArthur) is
organized; Philippine military forces are called into service
with United States Army.
Japanese and Chinese assets in United States are frozen.
07/28 Mon. Japan freezes United States assets.
07/29 Tue. Japanese occupy southern Indochina with French permission.
07/30 Wed. River gunboat TUTUILA (PR-4) is bombed by Japanese planes at
07/31 Thu. Japan apologizes for bombing river boat TUTUILA (PR-4).
Economic Defense Board is created.
08/01 Fri. United States Naval Operating Base, Trinidad, is established.
Naval Air station, Midway Island, is established.
08/08 Fri. Japanese Ambassador suggest conference between President and
Japanese Prime Minister.
08/09 Sat. President and British Prime Minister meet at Placentia Bay,
Argentia, Newfoundland (Atlantic Conference).
08/15 Fri. Naval Air Station, Palmyra Island, and Naval Air Facility,
Johnston Island, are established.
08/17 Sun. President and Secretary of State confer with Japanese
Ambassador and state prerequisites for resuming conversations
or arranging a Pacific conference.
08/18 Mon. President announces that the United States is ferrying combat
aircraft to British in Near East via Brazil and Africa.
08/25 Mon. British and Russian forces invade Iran from south and north
08/26 Tue. Ship Warrants Act invoked by Executive Order. This act
empowers President to direct Maritime Commission to establish
cargo handling, ship repair, and maintenance priorities for
08/27 Wed. Japan protests shipment of United States goods to Vladivostok
through Japanese waters.
08/28 Thu. Supply, Priorities, and Allocations Board is established.
Hostilities in Iran cease.
09/01 Mon. Navy assumes responsibility for trans-Atlantic convoys from
point off Argentia to meridian of Iceland.
Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet (Adm. E. J. King)
designates a task group as a Denmark Strait Patrol to operate
in waters between Iceland and Greenland.
09/04 Thu. Destroyer GREER (DD-145), while tracking German submarine 175
miles southwest of Iceland, is attacked but not damaged.
09/07 Sun. United States merchant ship STEEL SEAFARER is sunk by German
air attack in Gulf of Suez.
09/09 Tue. Naval Coast Frontier Forces are formed.
09/11 Thu. President announces order to Navy to attack any vessel
threatening United States shipping or ships under United
09/12 Fri. Coast Guard cutter NORTHLAND (PG-49) seizes Norwegian trawler
BUSKOE in MacKenzie Bay, Greenland; BUSKOE's mission was to
establish and service German radio weather stations in
09/17 Wed. United States Navy escorts eastbound British trans-Atlantic
convoy for the first time.
09/26 Fri. Navy orders protection of all ships engaged in commerce in
United States defensive waters - by patrolling, covering,
escorting, and by reporting or destroying German and Italian
naval forces encountered.
09/27 Sat. First Liberty Ship, SS PATRICK HENRY, is launched at
10/01 Wed. United States, British, and Russian representatives conclude
3-day conference in Moscow on aid to Russia.
10/17 Fri. Destroyer KEARNY (DD-432)is torpedoed and damaged southwest
Navy orders all United States merchantmen in Asiatic waters
to put into friendly ports.
Gen. Hideki Tojo becomes Japanese Premier as Konoye
10/19 Sun. United States merchant ship LEHIGH is torpedoed and sunk by
German submarine off West Africa.
10/20 Mon. Carrier HORNET (CV-8) is commissioned at Norfolk, Va.
10/30 Thu. Oiler SALINAS (AO-19) is torpedoed about 700 miles east of
Newfoundland; there are no personnel casualties and the ship
10/31 Fri. Destroyer REUBEN JAMES (DD-245) is torpedoed and sinks off
western Iceland with loss of about 100 lives; this is the
first United States naval vessel to be lost by enemy action
in World War II.
11/01 Sat. Coast Guard is place under jurisdiction of Department of the
Navy for duration of national emergency.
11/03 Mon. Secretary of State announces German refusal to pay
compensation for ROBIN MOOR sinking.
11/06 Thu. German blockade runner ODENWALD disguised as United States
ship WILLMOTO is captured by cruiser OMAHA (CL-4) and
destroyer SOMMERS (DD-381) in Atlantic equatorial waters
11/08 Sat. United States Naval Operating Base, Iceland, is established.
11/10 Mon. First United States-escorted troop convoy (Rear Adm. A. B.
Cook), transporting more than 20,000 British troops, sails
from Halifax for the Far East.
11/14 Fri. Marines are ordered to leave Shanghai, Peiping, and Tientsin,
11/17 Mon. Neutrality Act of 1939 is amended by Joint Resolution;
merchant ships can now be armed and enter war zones.
Saburo Kurusu, special Japanese envoy, arrives in Washington
and confers with the Secretary of State.
11/20 Thu. Ambassador Nomura presents Japan's "final proposal" to keep
peace in the Pacific.
11/21 Fri. Lend-Lease is extended to Iceland.
11/23 Sun. United States occupies Surinam, Dutch Guiana, pursuant to
agreement with the Netherlands government to protect bauxite
11/25 Tue. Japanese troop transports, en route to Malaya, are sighted
11/26 Wed. Secretary of State submits final proposals to Japanese envoys
for readjustment of United States-Japanese relations.
11/27 Thu. Adm. H. R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, sends "war
warning" message to commanders of the Pacific and Asiatic
11/30 Sun. Japanese Foreign Minister Tojo rejects United States
proposals for settling Far Eastern crisis.
12/01 Mon. Patrol Wing 9 is commissioned at Quonset Point, R. I.
12/02 Tue. United States merchant ship DUNBOYNE receives first Naval
Armed Guard crew.
12/03 Wed. United States merchant vessel SAGADAHOC is sunk by torpedo in
12/05 Fri. Japan assures the United States that her troop movements in
French Indochina are only precautionary.
12/07 Sun. Japanese carrier-based horizontal bombers, dive bombers,
torpedo bombers, and fighters totaling 360 aircraft from
naval Striking Force (Vice Adm. c. Nagumo) heavily attack
ships of the United States Pacific Fleet and military
installations at Pearl harbor and other places on Oahu, T. H.
Four battleships, 1 minelayer, and 1 target ship are sunk; 4
battleships, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, 1 seaplane tender, and
1 repair ship are damaged. Navy Yard and Naval Base, Pearl
Harbor; Naval Air Station, Ford Island; Naval Patrol Plane
Station, Kaneohe; Marine Corps airfield, Ewa; Army airfields
Hickam, Wheeler, and Bellows are damaged; 188 Naval and Army
aircraft are destroyed.
Killed or missing:
[Personnel casualty statistics for the Pearl Harbor attack
have been revised several times after evaluation of new data.
The figures presented here were compiled in 1955 from
official sources.] Japanese lose 5 midget submarines, 28
aircraft, and fewer than 100men.
Midway Island is bombarded by two Japanese destroyers.
President orders mobilization.
Japanese declaration of war reaches Washington, D. C.
United States naval vessels sunk by air attack, Pearl
[All ships sunk, except ARIZONA, OKLAHOMA, and UTAH, were
raised, repaired, and subsequently returned to service.]
Battleship OKLAHOMA (BB-37).
Battleship ARIZONA (BB-39).
Battleship CALIFORNIA (BB-44).
Battleship WEST VIRGINA (BB-48).
Minelayer OGALA (CM-4).
Target ship UTAH (AG-16).
United States naval vessels damaged, Pearl Harbor:
Battleship NEVADA (BB-36).
Battleship PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38).
Battleship TENNESSEE (BB-43).
Battleship MARYLAND (BB-46).
Light cruiser RALEIGH (CL-7).
Light cruiser HONOLULU (CL-48).
Light cruiser HELENA (CL-50).
Destroyer CASSIN (DD-372).
Destroyer SHAW (DD-373).
Destroyer DOWNES (DD-375).
Seaplane tender CURTISS (AV-4).
Repair ship VESTAL (AR-4).
Japanese naval vessels lost, Pearl Harbor attack:
5 midget submarines.
12/08 Mon. United States declares war on Japan.
Striking Force, Asiatic Fleet (Rear Adm. W. A. Glassford)
departs Iloilo, P. I., for Makassar Strait, Netherlands East
River gunboat WAKE (PR-3), surrenders to Japanese at Shanghai
after attempt to scuttle fails. [WAKE is the only United
States ship to surrender during the war.]
Potomac River Naval Command with headquarters at Washington,
D. C., and Severn River Naval Command with headquarters at
Annapolis, Md., are established.
S.S. PRESIDENT HARRISON, en route to evacuate Marines from
Chingwangtao, China, runs aground at Sha Wai Shan, China, and
is captured by the Japanese.
Japanese aircraft in widely scattered operations bomb Guam,
Wake, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippine Islands.
Extensive damage is inflicted on United States Army aircraft
at Clark Field, Luzon, P. I.
Japanese forces land on Batan Island, north of Luzon, P. I.,
and on east coast of Malay Peninsula.
Japan interns United States Marines and nationals at Shanghai
and Tientsin, China.
United States naval vessel sunk:
Minesweeper PENGUIN (AM-33), by horizontal bomber, Guam,
12/09 Tue. Japanese occupy Bangkok, Thailand.
Japanese land on Tarawa and Makin, Gilbert Islands.
China declares war on Japan, Germany, and Italy.
12/10 Wed. Cavite Navy Yard, P. I., is heavily damaged by enemy air
Guam surrenders to Japanese landing force.
Japanese land on Camiguin Island and at Gonzaga and Aparri,
Luzon, P. I.
British battleship PRINCE OF WALES and battlecruiser REPULSE
are sunk by Japanese naval air attack near Kuantan, Malaya.
United States naval vessels damaged at Cavite, P. I.:
Destroyer PEARY (DD-226), by horizontal bomber.
Submarine SEADRAGON (SS-194), by horizontal bomber.
Submarine SEALION (SS-195), by horizontal bomber.
Minesweeper BITTERN (AM-36), by horizontal bomber.
Japanese naval vessels sunk:
Submarine I-170, by carrier-based aircraft, Hawaiian
23 d. 45' N., 155 d. 35' W.
Minesweeper No. 10, by Army aircraft, Philippine Islands
17 d. 32' N., 120 d. 22' E.
Minesweeper No. 19, damaged by Army aircraft and grounded
by own forces (total loss), Philippine Islands area,
18 d. 22, N., 121 d. 38'. E.
12/11 Thu. Germany and Italy declare war on the United States.
United States declare war on Germany and Italy.
Marines on Wake Island repulse Japanese landing attempt and
sink two enemy destroyers.
Japanese make landings at Legaspi, Luzon, P. I.
Japanese naval vessels sunk at Wake Island:
Destroyer HAYATE, by Marine shore batteries.
Destroyer KISARAGI, by Marine aircraft.
12/12 Fri. Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) is established.
12/13 Sat. Japanese planes attack Subic Bay area and airfield in
12/14 Sun. Wake Island Relief Expedition (Read Adm. F. J. Fletcher)
leaves Pearl Harbor, Oahu, T. H.
12/15 Mon. Patrol Wing 10 departs Philippine Islands for Netherlands
Kahului, Maui, T. H., is shelled by Japanese submarine.
United States naval vessels sunk:
PT-33, damaged by grounding and sunk by United States
forces, Philippine Islands area,
13 d. 46' N., 120 d. 40' E.
12/16 Tue. Johnston Island is shelled by Japanese submarine.
12/17 Wed. Rear Adm. C. W. Nimitz is ordered to relieve Adm. H. E.
Kimmel as Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, with rank of
Admiral; Vice Adm. W. S. Pye becomes acting Commander in
Chief Pacific Fleet, pending arrival of Admiral Nimitz.
Japanese land at Miri, Sarawak, Borneo.
12/18 Thu. State Department announces that Rear Adm. F. J. Horne and
French High Commissioner at Martinique, French West Indies,
Admiral Robert, have reached an agreement neutralizing French
Congress passes First War Powers Act.
Japanese naval vessel sunk:
Destroyer SHINONOME, by mine, Miri, Borneo.
12/20 Sat. Adm. E. J. King is designated Commander in Chief United
States Fleet with headquarters in the Navy Department,
Washington, D. C.
Japanese troops land at Davao, Mindanao, P. I.
12/21 Sun. Naval local defense forces in Philippine Islands (Rear Adm.
F. W. Rockwell) move headquarters to Corregidor.
12/22 Mon. American troops (Brig. Gen. J. F. Barnes) arrive at Brisbane,
President and British Prime Minister open discussions in
Washington leading to establishment of Combined Chiefs of
Japanese make landings in Lingayen Gulf area, P. I.
Japanese naval vessels destroyed:
Patrol boats Nos. 32 and 33 (old destroyers) deliberately
run ashore, destroyed by Marine gunfire, Wake Island.
12/23 Tue. Wake Island, which had been subjected to prolonged enemy
bombing, surrenders to Japanese invasion force. United
States Relief Expedition is recalled while still 425 miles
United States-British War Council composed of the President,
British Prime Minister, and naval, military, and civilian
advisers meets for the first time.
Palmyra Island is shelled by Japanese submarine.
Japanese make landings at Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo.
12/24 Wed. Japanese land at Lamon Bay, Luzon, P. I.
12/25 Thu. Adm. T. C. Hart turns over all remaining naval forces in the
Philippine Islands to Rear Adm. F. W. Rockwell; Admiral Hart
departs in submarine for Java to establish new headquarters
of Asiatic Fleet.
British surrender Hong Kong.
Japanese land at Jolo, P. I.
United States naval vessels sunk:
Submarine SEALION (SS-195), damaged 10 December 1941,
Cavite, P. I., is sunk by United States forces.
12/26 Fri. Manila, P. I., is declared an open city but enemy bombing
12/29 Mon. Corregidor, P. I., is bombed for first time by Japanese
United States naval vessels damaged:
Submarine tender CANOPUS (AS-9), by horizontal bomber,
Philippine Islands area,
14 d. 25' N., 120 d. 20' e.
12/30 Tue. Adm. E. J. King assumes duties as Commander in Chief United
States Fleet. (See 20 December 1941.)
12/31 Wed. Adm. C. W. Nimitz assumes command of Pacific Fleet.
Japanese submarines shell Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii, T. H.