Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 870 January 17, 1942

Operation Drumbeat. At 3.59 AM, U-87 sinks Norwegian tanker Nyholt with 8 torpedoes and 120 rounds from the deck gun. All 41 crew abandon ship but 1 lifeboat is never found. 23 survivors in the other lifeboat are rescued after 10 days on the freezing ocean (2 later die of exposure). At 11.21 AM off Nova Scotia, U-203 sinks Norwegian SS Octavian (all 17 hands lost).

At 7.35 AM, U-133 hits British destroyer HMS Gurkha, escorting Malta convoy MW-8B, with 1 torpedo (9 killed). HMS Gurkha spills burning oil on the water and is towed clear by Dutch destroyer HNMS Isaac Sweers which also takes off 240 survivors.

Operation Crusader. 5000 German and Italian troops at Halfaya Pass, isolated since November 23, 1941, surrender to South African 6th Infantry Brigade.

At 10.21 PM, British destroyer HMS Matabele (escorting convoy PQ-8 in the Kola Inlet near Murmansk) is hit with 1 torpedo from U-454, causing the magazines to explode. HMS Matabele sinks within 2 minutes and her primed depth charges detonate (238 killed by the explosions or freeze to death in the Arctic waters). 2 survivors are picked up by minesweeper HMS Harrier. U-454 also sinks soviet trawler RT-68 Enisej and hits British SS Harmatris with a torpedo starting a fire which is extinguished (SS Harmatris reaches Archangel safely).

German armed merchant cruiser Thor departs La Rochelle, France, for her second raiding cruise.

Malaya. 45th Indian Brigade withdraws to hastily-prepared defenses at Bakri, 6 miles East of Muar (with added support from Australian 2/19th & 2/29th Battalions), leaving a covering force to protect the Muar-Bakri road. Japanese Imperial Guards prepare to assault Bakri as well as sending a flanking group along the coast towards the Kuala Lumpur-Johor Bahru highway to cut off the retreat of the troops at Bakri as well as Australian 8th Division at Gemas.

65 miles West of Krakatoa, Dutch East Indies, British destroyer HMS Jupiter brings Japanese submarine I.60 to the surface with depth charges. They exchange 4.7 inch shells and machinegun fire but HMS Jupiter (3 killed, 9 wounded) finally sinks I.60 with a depth charge set shallow (85 killed, 2 survivors taken prisoner by HMS Jupiter).

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