Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 889 February 5, 1942

Soviet submarine Shch-421 sinks German steamer Konsul Schulte in the Porsanger Fjord, off Honningsvaag (Northernmost point of mainland Norway).

Battle of Bataan. Japanese continue to assault the Orion-Bagac line. However, the US-Filipino defenses hold out but cannot eliminate the Japanese “Big Pocket” behind their own lines.

Bali, Dutch East Indies. 25 USAAF Curtiss P-40 Warhawks (20th Provisional Pursuit Squadron), flying from Darwin Australia, to Java, stop to refuel in Bali. They are attacked by Japanese aircraft (4 P-40s destroyed on the ground, 4 P-40s and 4 Japanese shot down). Only 17 P-40s will reach Java.

Singapore. Japanese artillery and aircraft inflict heavy bombardment on docks and defenses. In the Strait of Singapore, 9 Japanese divebombers sink British troopship RMS Empress of Asia (1 crewman and 15 troops killed). Empress of Asia is sailing alone, carrying troops and supplies from Liverpool via Africa and Bombay, India, having fallen behind the rest of convoy BM12. Australian sloop HMAS Yarra comes alongside and takes off 1804 survivors but all the weapons and equipment are lost.

20 miles Southeast of Cape May, New Jersey, U-103 uses torpedoes and the deck gun to sink 2 large Mobil tankers (each carrying over 80,000 barrels of fuel); India Arrow at 1.53 AM (26 dead, 12 survivors picked up next day by 2 men out fishing in a 24-ft boat) and China Arrow at 6.08 PM (all 37 crew picked up from 3 lifeboats 3 days later by US Coast Guard cutter USS Nike).

At 10.36 PM 330 miles West of Ireland, U-136 sinks British corvette HMS Arbutus escorting convoy ON-63 (43 killed, 47 survivors).

Libya. Rommel’s Panzer Army Afrika captures Derna and Tmimi. They are only 20 miles from the British defenses on the Gazzala line.

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