World War II Day by Day: September 1942

Japan’s territorial conquests appeared to signal its triumph over Europe’s colonial powers in the Far East. The United States, however, was now on the offensive and won crucial strategic victories at sea over the Japanese. These had serious repercussions for Japan’s ability to sustain both its domestic and overseas power. In North Africa and on the Eastern Front, Axis offensives, although initially successful, were halted and then defeated by a series of Allied counterattacks. Control of the sea-lanes continued to be a crucial factor in the war.

2 September

Final Solution, Poland

The Nazis are ‘clearing’ the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto. Over 50,000 Jews have been killed by poison gas or sent to concentration camps. The SS (Schutzstaffel - protection squad), a fanatical Nazi military and security organization, is chiefly responsible for Nazi persecution of the Jews and others deemed to be ideological or racial enemies of the Third Reich.

9 September

Politics, Germany

Adolf Hitler dismisses Field Marshal Wilhelm List, commander of Army Group A laying siege to Stalingrad, for criticizing his Eastern Front strategy. General Paul von Kleist replaces him.

12 September

Sea War, Atlantic

The liner Laconia, carrying 1800 Italian prisoners and Allied service families, is sunk by U-156. A US bomber attacks U-156 while it tries to aid the survivors. As a result, German navy chief Admiral Karl Doenitz instructs U-156 to cancel the rescue. In future, no lifesaving attempts will be made by U-boats after an attack.

13 September

Pacific, Solomons

At the Battle of Bloody Ridge, 6000 Japanese try to seize Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, but are repulsed.

15 September

Sea War, Pacific

Two Japanese submarines intercept a carrier force escorting troop transports to Guadalcanal. The US carrier Wasp and a destroyer are lost, but the troop transports arrive safely.

24 September

Politics, Germany

General Franz Halder, chief of the General Staff, is replaced by General Kurt Zeitzler. Halder has made the mistake of criticizing Adolf Hitler’s Eastern Front strategy, which demands that German troops should not retreat.