Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 925 March 13, 1942

Axis submarines continue to feast on unescorted shipping off the US East coast. 330 miles off Palm Beach, Florida, Italian Tazzoli sinks British SS Daytonian (1 killed, 58 survivors). At 4.41 AM 10 miles off Cape Guajaba, Cuba, U-126 torpedoes American SS Colabee which runs aground (23 killed, 14 survivors make land in a lifeboat). SS Colabee will be towed into Nuevitas by the Cuban Navy then repaired at Tampa, Florida, and returned to service in September 1942. At 5.05 AM 39 miles off Cape Fear, North Carolina, a torpedo from U-158 ignites US tanker John D. Gill carrying 141,981 barrels of crude oil from Texas to Philadelphia (23 dead, 26 survivors). At 6.43 AM 5 miles off Asbury Park, New Jersey, U-404 sinks neutral Chilean SS Tolten in ballast (26 killed, 1 survivor). 200 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, U-332 sinks unarmed WWI-era 4-masted schooner Albert F. Paul at 7.20 AM (all 8 hands lost) and Yugoslavian SS Trepca at 5.47 PM (4 dead, 33 survivors picked up by a Swedish merchant).

Philippines. As PT boats evacuating MacArthur from Luzon pass through the Visayan Islands, two thirds of the way to Mindanao, PT-32 breaks down in rough seas and the passengers are taken off (US submarine USS Permit sinks PT-32 with the deck gun). Despite this, General MacArthur, Admiral Rockwell, their families and staff arrive safely at Cagayan on Mindanao in the remaining 4 PT boats.

Japanese submarine I-25 launches its floatplane to reconnoiter Auckland, New Zealand.

100 miles Northeast of Madras, India, Japanese submarine I-164 sinks Norwegian merchant Mabella en route from Colombo, Ceylon, to Calcutta, India.

100 miles South of Tokyo Bay near the tiny Japanese volcanic island of Mikura Jima, US submarine USS Gar sinks Japanese merchant Chichibu Maru.

5 miles off the coast of Tunisia, British submarine HMS Una sinks tiny Italian fishing boat Maria Immacolata with the deck gun.

In the evening, German armed merchant cruiser Michel (recently converted from hospital ship Bonn to replace worn out raider Widder) departs Vlissingen, Netherlands, escorted by 9 minesweepers and 5 torpedo boats. They head for the French port of Le Havre prior to Michel breaking out into the Atlantic.

Overnight, 135 RAF bombers attack Cologne, Germany, in the first raid guided by GEE radio navigation. 237 fires are started (62 killed, 84 injured), estimated by RAF as 5 times more effective than previous raids on Cologne.

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