Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 890 February 6, 1942

Eastern Front. Soviet counteroffensive is running out of steam in a series of ragged engagements West of Moscow. German Gruppe Scherer continues to hold Kholm, supplied by airdrops, in the rear of Soviet 3rd Shock Army which is held up at the town of Velikie Luki. Germans hold a giant salient from Vyazma to Rzhev but Soviet infantry, cavalry and parachute attacks all fail to cut the supply route through Vyazma. Moreover, Model’s German 9th Army at Rzhev has cut off Soviet 29th and 39th Armies, which were themselves trying to surround Rzhev.

Battle of the Atlantic. Near Bermuda, U-106 sinks British MV Opawa (carrying 8575 tons of refrigerated food and 3000 tons of lead) and U-109 sinks Panamanian SS Halcyon. 420 Northeast of the Azores, U-82 (returning from operations off the US East Coast) attacks convoy OS-18. British sloop HMS Rochester and corvette HMS Tamarisk counterattack with depth charges and sink U-82 (all 45 hands lost).

Battle of Bataan. Filipino troops attempt to dislodge Japanese holed up in caves at the end of Quinauan Point by tossing sticks (or even whole 50-lb boxes) of dynamite on time fuzes over the cliff to the mouth of the caves. Despite continued assaults by both sides, a stalemate is developing at the Orion-Bagac line and around the Japanese “Big Pocket”.

Island of Celebes, Dutch East Indies. Japanese landing force (6 troop transports, escorted by cruiser Nagara, 11 destroyers and 2 minesweepers) leaves Kendari on the East coast heading for Makassar, the capital, on the West coast.

Singapore. Japanese artillery and aerial bombardment continues. Commercial vessels and Allied warships start leaving Singapore, many evacuating Western civilians while the Chinese and Indian populations are left to suffer the bombs and shells.

Overnight, 60 aircraft from RAF Bomber Command attack German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in dock at Brest, France, but do little damage.

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