Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 919 March 7, 1942

At 3 PM 82 miles Northeast of Tokyo Bay, Japan, US submarine USS Grenadier hits Japanese transport ship Asahisan Maru with 4 torpedoes (3 fail to explode). Asahisan Maru is only slightly damaged and reaches the naval base at Yokohama near Tokyo under her own steam.

U-126, U-129, U-155 and U-161 sink 5 merchant ships off the East coast of USA and in the approaches to the Caribbean.

At 11.14 PM 150 miles South of Iceland, U-701 sinks another tiny fishing trawler, Faroese SS Nyggjaberg (all 21 hands lost).

Japanese tighten their stranglehold on Allied forces on Java. Japanese Eastern Force crosses the island and approaches the naval base at Tjilatjap to block the escape route to Australia from the South side of Java. In the evening, Western Force captures the plateau at Lembang, 5 miles North of Bandoeng. As Allied troops withdraw to Bandoeng, Japanese artillery now overlooks the town. Dutch scuttle minelayer HNMS Gouden Leeuw at Soerabaja.

Burma. British evacuate Rangoon, sending civilians 800 miles by sea to Calcutta, India. The port and oil terminal plus oil stocks and refineries are destroyed by the troops as they leave. General Alexander and his Army HQ, Indian 17th Division and British 7th Armored Brigade head North out of Rangoon but the entire column is held up by a Japanese roadblock at Taukkyan. 7th Hussars and 2nd Royal Tank Regiment attack the roadblock all day but are repelled by Japanese 75mm artillery and machinegun fire from the flanks (1 Stuart tank is destroyed by a 75mm shell). Japanese counterattack overnight, with hand-to-hand combat on the British perimeter. However, the Japanese plan is not to hold the roadblock and they withdraw overnight.

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