Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 824 December 2, 1941

Near the Azores at midnight, U-43 misses unarmed neutral American tanker SS Astral with a torpedo despite a visible US flag painted on the side. At 9.24 AM, 2 torpedoes from U-43 hit SS Astral which explodes and spreads burning gasoline & kerosene on the water, killing all 37 hands.

At 1.19 AM 2 miles of the Atlantic coast of Morocco, U-562 sinks British SS Grelhead carrying 6900 tons of iron ore (41 killed, 2 survivors make land). At 8.33 PM just East of Gibraltar, U-557 sinks Norwegian SS Fjord carrying 5900 tons of iron ore (14 killed, 22 survivors reach the Spanish coast on 2 rafts).

Operation Typhoon. Overnight, a motorcycle patrol from 62nd Panzer Engineer Battalion (2nd Panzer Division) penetrates the flimsy Soviet defensive line, in the morning reaching the small town of Khimki on the Moskva/Volga canal 11.5 miles Northwest of the Kremlin. This is the closest German forces will come to Moscow. They return to report the route to Moscow is open but 2nd Panzer lacks the strength to exploit this gap. West of Moscow, Zhukov sends reinforcements to Naro-Fominsk to counter the advance of German 4th Army. South of Moscow, Guderian makes one last attempt to encircle Tula. Motorcycle infantry from Kampfguppe Eberbach attack West from Venyov and finally cuts the Tula/Moscow rail line. Since the beginning of Barbarossa on June 22, German losses are 195,334 killed or missing and 572,000 wounded.

Siege of Leningrad Day 86. During November, 11,000 civilians have died of starvation and cold. Overnight, Soviet troopships Josif Stalin and Maya with various destroyers, minesweepers and other ships leave Hango Peninsula, Finland, carrying the last 12,000 troops.

Operation Crusader. Rommel repairs his tanks, having again separated Tobruk from the attacking Allied force, and sends motorized infantry East to try to relieve his garrisons isolated at Bardia, Sollum and Halfaya Pass.

British battleship HMS Prince of Wales, battlecruiser HMS Repulse and 4 destroyers arrive in Singapore, on Churchill’s suggestion to act as a deterrent against Japanese aggression. It is too late as Japanese forces are in motion. Japanese carrier force heading to Hawaii receives code message 'Niitaka yama nobore' (Climb Mount Niitaka) confirming that no agreement has been reached with USA and the attack on Pearl Harbor is to proceed.

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