No. 23                                     JANUARY 2, 1942


The U. S. naval base at Cavite was evacuated before the enemy entered Manila.  All records, equipment, and stores that were not destroyed by bombing were removed prior to evacuation by naval personnels.  All industrial and supply facilities, including fuel, were destroyed.  The personnel of the naval hospital remained at their posts at the Naval Hospital, Canacao, to care for the wounded.  All ships and naval personnel were removed from the Manila-Cavite area prior to enemy occupation.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 24                                     JANUARY 5, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué on the naval situation based on reports received up to noon (e. s. t.) today:


Far East.


The U. S. S. Heron, a small seaplane tender, while engaged in action with enemy planes over a period of 7 hours sustained 1 direct bomb hit and 3 very near misses.  The Heron was attacked by a total of 10 four-engined flying boats and 5 twin-engined landplane bombers.  Forty-six 100-pound bombs were dropped by the enemy planes and 3 torpedoes were launched at her sides.  Due to very skillful handling, the ship most courageously fought against overwhelming odds, and destroyed 1 four-engined flying boat, badly damaged at least 1 other and probably more.  The ship though receiving damage from one bomb that found its mark managed to reach port safely.  The Commander in Chief of the Asiatic Fleet, Thomas S. Hart, in accordance with an order of the Secretary of the Navy has awarded the Navy Cross to the Commanding Officer, Lt.  William Leverette Kabler, and recommended that he be advanced immediately to the rank of lieutenant commander.  Further recommendations regarding other personnel will be made at a later date.

It has been ascertained from late information that the patients and staff at the Naval Hospital, Canacao, near Cavite, were evacuated to Manila prior to the occupation of that city by the enemy.


Atlantic Area.


The merchant ship Marconi flying the Panamanian flag but reported to be of Italian ownership was captured and brought into Cristobal Canal Zone, and turned over to the courts for adjudication.




The submarine situation in the Atlantic area and off the West Coast of the United States remains unchanged.

The Hawaiian area was quiet.



No. 25                                     JANUARY 8, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, on the naval situation based on reports received up to noon (e. s. t.) today:


Far East.


The commanding officer of a U. S. submarine of the Asiatic Fleet has reported the sinking of an enemy transport. In addition this vessel succeeded in sinking three enemy cargo vessels, each estimated to be of 10,000 tons displacement.


Central Pacific.


The defense of Wake Island by United States Marines has been cited by the President of the United States as follows:



Washington, January 5, 1942.


Citation by



The Wake detachment of the First Defense Battalion, U. S. Marine Corps,

under command of Maj. James P. S. Devereux, U. S. Marines




Marine Fighting Squadron 211 Of Marine Aircraft Group 21, Under command of Maj. Paul A.  Putnam, U. S. Marines


"The courageous conduct of the officers and men of these units, who defended Wake Island against an overwhelming superiority of enemy air, sea, and land attacks from December 8 to 22, 1941, has been noted with admiration by their fellow countrymen and the civilized world, and will not be forgotten so long as gallantry and heroism are respected and honored.  These units are commended for their devotion to duty and splendid conduct at their battle stations under most adverse conditions.




      With limited defensive means against attacks in great force, they manned their shore installations and flew their aircraft so well that five enemy warships were either sunk or severely damaged, many hostile planes shot down, and an unknown number of land troops destroyed."






An increase of two Japanese warships-a destroyer and a gunboat-over the originally reported cruiser, submarine, and three destroyers that the Japs lost in the attack on Wake Island, was indicated in two reports to Marine Corps Headquarters, received from the Pacific area.

These reports were sent from Wake Island by a patrol plane.  One, written on December 20, is from Maj. Paul A. Putnam, commanding aviation on Wake.  The other is a day-by-day account of marine aviation's participation in the battle of Wake Island up to December 20 by Maj. W. Bayler.

The day-by-day record of the battle, though not an official report, is Major Bayler's account of what marine aviation and Major Devereux's men did.

Major Bayler's report has but little reference to the Marines on the isle besides the aviation group, but one brief note-"Japs closed into 4,700 yards before 5- and 3-inch guns opened up at point blank range"-indicates a cool courage on the part of Devereux's men that ranks with the classic it "whites of their eyes" line of Bunker Hill, in the opinion of ranking officers at Marine Corps Headquarters.

Added to the two Japanese destroyers which were lost in the final phase of the battle of December 22, the new information received brings Japanese losses in taking the Island of Wake up to a total of seven warships-one cruiser, four destroyers, one submarine, and one gunboat.

Major Bayler was on temporary duty in Wake in connection with the establishment of a base of operations for the Marine Corps Aviation unit.  This unit, composed of 12 planes, with pilots, 49 ground personnel, arrived shortly before the outbreak of hostilities. Following is a copy of the penciled notes the major made from the records kept by him and sent to the Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet.  He was present at Wake until December 20.






Dec. 8,
7 a. m-11:58 a. m.

Received word bombing Oahu.
General quarters station. 24 Jap bombers on a northern course hit airdrome in close column of division "V's" from 3,000 feet. 100-pound fragmentation bombs and simultaneous strafing.
Casualties 25 dead, 7 wounded, 7 airplanes  burned, destroyed.

Dec. 9,
11:45 a. m

27 Japs. Bombed hospital, Camp No. 2. Killed several patients, 3 dead.  Got one Jap plane.

Dec. 10,
10:45 a. m

27 Jap bombers.  No casualties.

Dec. 11,
5 a. m.

Landing attempt by 12 Jap ships, including light cruisers, destroyers, gunboats, 2 troop or supply ships. Jap casualties: 1 light cruiser, 2 destroyers, 1 gunboat, 2 bombers.
NOTE.-That Japs closed in to 4,700 yards  before 5- and 3-inch guns opened up at point blank range.

Dec. 12

27 Jap planes bombed Peale and Wake from 22,000 feet. No casualties.

Dec. 13

All quiet.

Dec. 14

32 Jap planes hit airdrome. Two killed, 1 plane down (own destroyed by bombs).

Dec. 15,
11 a. m

Dawn raid by 3 four-engine seaplanes. 27 Jap bombers.  Shot down 2 Japs.

Dec. 16,
5:45 p. m

41 Jap bombers hit Camp 2 and airdrome. Jap four-motor plane raid.  One Jap shot down.

Dec. 17

32 Jap bombers at 1317 hit Camp 1, Peale Island, Diesel oil supply, mess hall, and pumps of evaporators, Camp 1.

Dec. 18,
11:40 a. m

One Jap high rec. plane (2 engine) (photo?).

Dec. 19,
10:30 a. m.

Jap bombers hit airport and camp.

Dec. 20

All quiet-first day of bad weather.


Total casualties:

      28 dead, 6 wounded as of Dec. 20 from VMF-211.



(1) Jap bombers of Dornier type, two-engine, twin-tail, 160 knots.

(2) Attack formations always in form of line of division V's in close formation. Excellent air discipline.

(3) Nine sure Jap bombers shot down; three more possibly.  One  four-engine  boat.  1 CL, 2 DD, 1 gunboat.


Major Putnam's report of operations to his commanding officer in Pearl Harbor goes into more detail on the efforts of the tiny aviation complement to keep the planes that were left after the first attack in the air against each new attack.




Of the original aviation force of 12 officers and 49 enlisted men, 19 enlisted men and 8 officers were still on duty by December 20.  Of these, 4 enlisted men and 2 officers were wounded but still on duty.  One officer and 6 enlisted men were in the hospital and "doing nicely".  The remainder, 3 officers and 24 men, were dead.

The letter relates that four planes were in the air against the Japs at the time of the first raid.  The other eight were on the ground being serviced between flights, and of these seven were destroyed and one was slightly damaged.  One of the planes that was in the air later taxied into debris on the field—the wreckage of the first raid—and bent its propeller.

The Marine fighters, up to December 20, had made contact with the enemy seven times, had shot down five Japs in flames, four more had "been claimed by pilots but not verified and several are known to have been damaged.  Of the four claimed one was a four-engined sea plane."

Discussing the surface attack of December 11, Putnam reported "4 airplanes (Marine planes) made a total of 10 attacks, operating in a greatly overloaded condition and performing splendidly...We claim the sinking of 1 ship and serious damage to another." The guns of Devereux's force evidently accounted for the remainder of the ships reported destroyed in Major Bayler's synopsis.  In the attack on December 11, 1 plane was lost, "a washout on the rocky beach."

After the attack on December 14, which saw two Marine planes destroyed, "one plane on the ground by enemy action and one crashed on the take-off" the Marines had "only two operating airplanes, one of which gives constant trouble so that two planes in the air at one time is the exception rather than the rule." At one time only one serviceable plane was left to Major Putnam's squadron, but the mechanics and ground crews evidently made an additional plane, or even planes out of the wreckage of the remainder.

Lauding the work of the ground crews at Wake, Major Putnam wrote since that time (the first raid) parts and assemblies have been traded back and forth so that no airplane can be identified.  Engines have been traded from plane to plane, have been junked, stripped, rebuilt, and all but created."

Continuing his praise for the men under him, Major Putnam wrote "all hands have behaved splendidly and held up in a manner of which the Marine Corps may well tell.  I have no report to make regarding




any officer or man being outstanding in bravery or fortitude; they have all acquitted themselves with equal distinction.  On the other hand, I particularly wish to comment on the indefatigable labor, and ingenuity, skill, and technical knowledge of Lieutenant Kinney and Technical Sergeant Hamilton.  It is solely due to their efforts that the squadron is still operating."

Discussing the living conditions on the airdrome as they were on December 11, Major Putnam said "Personnel are living in dugouts made by the contractor's men and equipment.  Not comfortable but adequate against all but direct bomb hits.  Feeding is from the contractor's galley, a truck making the rounds with hot food twice daily.  Sanitation is only fair, but so far have had only a mild flurry of diarrhea.  Fresh water is adequate for drinking, but salt water is used for all other purposes."

The tone of the entire report indicates no particular anxiety on the part of the air group at Wake.  They were there under orders with a job to do.  They were doing the job and would continue to do it until circumstances beyond their control forced them to discontinue their efforts.  They had kept these circumstances under control for almost 2 weeks and they would continue to do so.

At no time during the siege were more than four Marine planes in operation, Putnam reported, but the verified total that these planes took of the Japanese was one ship, one submarine, and five Jap planes.

There is nothing to report from other areas.




No. 26                                     JANUARY 9, 1942


Far East.


The S. S. Ruth Alexander, attacked by an enemy plane in Netherlands East Indies waters has been abandoned and declared a total loss.  One of the crew was killed and four were injured.  The balance of the survivors are safe in a friendly port.  The Ruth Alexander of the American President Lines was a vessel of 8,000 gross tons.


Central Pacific.


Operations continue against enemy submarines.  The Hawaiian area is quiet.




Eastern Pacific.


Coastal defense plans have resulted in a narrowing of enemy submarine operations off the West Coast.


Atlantic Area.


A report that an enemy submarine was operating in New England waters has been thoroughly investigated.  The area has been searched without tangible results.  Otherwise, Atlantic operations have been without incident.


No. 27                                     JANUARY 11, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, on the naval situation based on reports received up to noon (e. s. t.) today:


Central Pacific.


The naval station at Tutuila, Samoan Islands, was shelled shortly after midnight Sunday, January 11, Samoan time by a small enemy vessel.  Fourteen shells of light caliber landed in the naval station area.  The only casualties were three slight injuries to personnel.  There was no material damage to the naval station itself.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 28                                     JANUARY 15, 1942


Far East.


A 17,000-ton Japanese merchant ship of the Yawata class has been sunk by an American submarine.

There is nothing to report from other Pacific areas.


Atlantic Area.


The menace of enemy submarines off the East Coast of the United States remains substantial. 

There is nothing to report from other Atlantic areas.




No. 29                                     JANUARY 16, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, on the naval situation based on reports received up to 9 a. m (e. s. t.) today:


Far East.


Units of the U. S. Asiatic Fleet report the sinking of five enemy vessels in Far Eastern waters.  They include two large cargo ships, two large transports and one medium-sized transport.  These sinkings are in addition to enemy casualties at sea previously reported.


Atlantic Area.


The submarine situation along the northeast coast of the United States remains unchanged.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 30                                     JANUARY 17, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, on the naval situation based on reports received up to 5 p. m. (e. s. t.) today:


Far East.


A U. S. submarine has sunk three enemy merchant ships off Tokio Bay.

Admiral Thomas C. Hart has assumed control of Allied naval forces in Far Eastern waters.


Atlantic Area.


Enemy submarine activities off the northeast coast of the United States continue.

There are no further developments to report from other areas.


No. 31                                     JANUARY 20, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, on the naval situation based on reports received up to noon (e. s. t.) today:


Far East.


A motor torpedo boat under Admiral Hart's Far Eastern Command entered Binanga Bay, inside the entrance to Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, and torpedoed an unidentified enemy vessel of 5,000 tons in a night attack.  This small boat carried out its difficult task while under fire of machine guns and 3 inch shore batteries.  Lt.  John D. Bulkeley has been commended for executing his mission successfully.




Atlantic Area.


Enemy submarine activity is continuing off the East Coast of North America from Cape Hatteras to Newfoundland.  The sinkings of the tankers, Norness, Coimbra, and Allan Jackson have been accompanied by attacks on other vessels within the territorial limits of the United States.  Strong counter measures are being taken by units of the Navy's East Coastal Command.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 32                                     JANUARY 24, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, on the naval situation based on reports received up to 5 p. m. (e. s. t.) today:


Far East.


The Navy Department has been advised by the Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet, that United States' destroyers made a night attack on an enemy convoy in the Makassar Straits.  Our forces made several torpedo hits and close range gun hits on destroyers and transports.  The effect of the attack was that one large enemy ship was blown up; another was sunk; a third was listing heavily when last sighted, and considerable damage was inflicted upon other vessels.

Our destroyers received only slight damage.  Our only casualties were four men wounded, one seriously and three slightly.


Atlantic Area.


Enemy submarines are operating off the East Coast of the United States as far south as Savannah, Ga.  Countermeasures against their activities are continuing with favorable results.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 33                                     JANUARY 25, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, on the naval situation based on reports received up to 9 p. m. (e. s. t.) today:


Far East.


United States cruisers and destroyers of the Asiatic Fleet have sunk five additional enemy transports, and probably one other, in the Makassar Straits without loss to our attacking forces.

There is nothing to report from other areas.




No. 34                                     JANUARY 26, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, on the naval situation based on reports received up to 4 p. m. (e. s. t.) today:


Far East.


U. S. naval forces have scored further successes against Japanese convoys in the Makassar Strait.  Heavy hits on enemy destroyers and transports have been effected.  While it is still impossible to estimate total damage inflicted by our combat vessels, the known results are substantial.

Additional reports to the Navy Department of continuing action state that an American submarine has torpedoed an enemy aircraft carrier, which is believed to have sunk.

Dispatches also advise that another U. S. motor torpedo boat under the command of Ensign George Cox sank a 5,000-ton enemy vessel in a second torpedo boat raid close to Subic Bay.

The attack succeeded in the face of heavy fire at close range from enemy shore batteries and machine-gun fire from the Japanese ship.  The motor torpedo boat penetrated the water adjacent to its objective despite net and boom defenses laid down by the enemy.

Participating in the attack with Ensign Cox were Lt. John D. Bulkeley, MTB squadron commander and Lt. (jg) Edward G. DeLong, squadron engineer.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 35                                     JANUARY 29, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, on the naval situation based on reports received up to 4 p. m. (e. s. t.) today:


Central Pacific.


Two enemy submarines appeared off Midway Island with the intention of shelling it.  They were driven away by the artillery fire of our garrison.  One hit was scored on one of the attacking submarines.  No damage was inflicted on the Midway Garrison and there were no injuries to personnel. 


Atlantic Area.


Enemy submarines continue to operate off the East Coast of the United States and are reported as far south as Florida.  Counter measures by our forces are increasingly effective.

There is nothing to report from other areas.