Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 918 March 6, 1942

German battleship Tirpitz and 4 destroyers leave Trondheim, Norway, to intercept Allied convoy PQ12 from Reykjavik, Iceland to USSR (detected yesterday by German FW200 reconnaissance). Ultra intercepts alert Royal Navy which sends battleships HMS Duke of York, HMS King George V & HMS Renown, aircraft carrier HMS Victorious and cruisers HMS Kenya & HMS Berwick to seek the Tirpitz.

Burma. There is heavy fighting around Pegu where Japanese have constructed roadblocks to cut off the withdrawal of British 7th Hussars. Japanese push West from Pegu, intending to circle around Rangoon and attack the city from the West which they think will be less well defended. Consequently, Japanese hold the road North from Rangoon along which the British intend to withdraw.

Java. Dutch troops continue withdrawing to Bandoeng, covered by Australian Blackforce. Japanese Eastern Force continues advancing towards the naval base at Soerabaja where Japanese bombing damages Dutch minesweeper HNLMS Jan van Amstel (23 killed) and Dutch scuttle minesweepers HNLMS C and HNLMS Pieter de Bitter.

Italian submarines operate in the Atlantic Ocean South of Bermuda; Tazzoli sinks freighters Dutch SS Astrea in the morning (no casualties) and Norwegian MV T√łnsberg Fjord at 10.15 PM (all 33 hands escape on lifeboats or rafts) while Finzi sinks French tanker Melpomene, which had been impounded by Britain in 1940 (all 49 hands survive).

At 11.31 AM off Sierra Leone, West Africa, U-505 sinks Norwegian tanker MV Sydhav carrying 11,400 tons of oil from the Caribbean (12 killed, 24 survivors picked up by British antisubmarine trawler HMS Kelt next day). At 11.06 PM 150 miles South of Iceland, U-701 sinks tiny British fishing trawler Rononia (all 11 hands lost). 50 miles South of Newfoundland, U-587 sinks Greenland sail/steam merchant Hans Egede (all 23 hands lost).

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