Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 911 February 27, 1942

At 6.25 AM 20 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, U-432 sinks American SS Marore carrying 23,000 tons of iron ore from Chile (all 39 crew rescued by Coast Guard vessels and tanker John D. Gill). At 6.36 AM 20 miles off Atlantic City, New Jersey, US tanker R.P. Resor is hit by one torpedo from U-578, despite steaming blacked out on a zigzag course. R.P. Resor carrying 78,729 barrels of crude oil from Houston, Texas to Fall River, Massachusetts, sinks (47 killed, 2 rescued by the Coast Guard). At 10.35 AM 20 miles North of the Dominican Republic, U-156 sinks British collier SS Macgregor with the deck gun (the barrel has been cut down since the explosion on February 16). 1 man is killed and 30 are rescued by a San Domingo Coast Guard cutter.

At 11.40 AM 58 miles South of Tjilatjap, Java, US seaplane tender USS Langley (carrying US P-40 fighters from Australia for the defense of Java) is attacked by 3 waves of Japanese dive bombers and immobilized with 5 bomb hits (16 killed). US destroyers USS Whipple and USS Edsall take off 308 and 177 survivors, respectively (and also sink USS Langley with shellfire and 2 torpedoes to prevent capture by the Japanese). However, US freighter Sea Witch arrives safely at Tjilatjap with 27 crated P-40s (these are never assembled and will be destroyed to prevent capture).

Battle of the Java Sea. At midday, Dutch Admiral Karel Doorman’s ABDA Combined Striking Force returns to Soerabaja, Java, but immediately sets out again, low on fuel, after a sighting of the Japanese invasion force. In a series of attempts to reach the Japanese troop transports from 4 PM to midnight, Doorman’s 5 cruisers (British HMS Exeter, American USS Houston, Australian HMAS Perth and Dutch HNLMS De Ruyter & HNLMS Java) and 9 destroyers (British HMS Electra, HMS Encounter & HMS Jupiter, Dutch HNLMS Kortenaer & HNLMS Witte de With and American USS Alden, USS John D. Edwards, USS John D. Ford, and USS Paul Jones) are outgunned by the Japanese cruisers Haguro and Nachi (each packing ten 8-inch guns) and 14 destroyers. From 4.30 – 6.30 PM, destroyer HNLMS Kortenaer is sunk by a torpedo (60 killed, 90 survivors), destroyer HMS Electra (136 killed, 42 survivors) is sunk in an exchange of shellfire and cruiser HMS Exeter is hit with a shell and returns to port. At 9.15 PM, destroyer HMS Jupiter sinks on a Dutch minefield laid earlier in the day near the coast of Java (83 killed, 100 survivors swim ashore). At 11.15 PM, torpedoes from the Japanese cruisers sink Dutch cruisers HNLMS De Ruyter (375 killed including Admiral Doorman, 115 survivors) & HNLMS Java (512 killed, 43 survivors). The last 2 cruisers HMAS Perth and USS Houston follow Doorman's last instruction and escape to Batavia, Java, without picking up survivors.

Operation Biting. Overnight, 120 British commandos parachute onto the German radar station at Bruneval on the Northwest coast of France. They capture the W├╝rzburg radar and escape across the English Channel by sea with the radar equipment and 2 German POWs. British lose 2 killed and 6 captured while Germans have 5 killed and 2 wounded. As a result of the raid, British develop countermeasures to protect their bombers from radar detection while Germans surround other radar stations with barbed wire making them more visible to British air reconnaissance.

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