Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 935 March 23, 1942

In the aftermath of 2nd Battle of Sirte, convoy MW10 does not arrive at Malta overnight as planned and is still at sea at daybreak. The 4 British transport ships are attacked by German bombers, sinking Clan Campbell and badly damaging Breconshire (which is beached). British destroyer HMS Southwold hits a mine and sinks (6 killed, 80 survivors rescued by destroyer HMS Dulverton) while assisting Breconshire. Freighters Pampas and Talabot reach Malta and begin unloading their cargo.

At 10.23 AM 65 miles Southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, U-124 torpedoes US tanker Naeco which is carrying 72,000 barrels of kerosene and 25,000 barrels of heating oil. Naeco explodes and breaks in two (24 dead, 14 survivors). At 3.31 PM 50 miles South of Newfoundland, U-754 sinks British tanker MV British Prudence (3 killed, 42 crew and 5 gunners were picked up by British destroyer HMS Witherington). After dark 680 miles Southeast of Bermuda, Italian submarine Morosini sinks British tanker Peder Bogen with 2 torpedoes and 70 rounds from the deck gun (all 53 hands rescued).

Burma. Japanese troops again attempt to get behind Chinese positions at Oktwin but they are again repulsed. Overnight, Chinese fall back to the main defensive line at Toungoo. Japanese bombing of British airfield at Magwe forces British aircraft and Chinese Air Force 1st American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers” to abandon the airfield. With only 4 aircraft left, American Volunteer Group moves to Loiwing, just inside China.

To protect the seaward flank of Burma, Japanese capture the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, 425 miles Southwest of Rangoon. Japanese 18th Infantry Division lands at Port Blair, Andaman Islands, unopposed by the British garrison of 300 Sikh militia and 23 British officers. Civilians and the British colonial administrators quickly suffer execution and torture which will continue for the next 3 years.

German armed merchant cruiser Thor has been in the South Atlantic Ocean since February 25, searching unsuccessfully for whaling ships. Thor stops Greek freighter SS Pagasitikos (carrying coal to Montevideo, Uruguay) with a shot across the bows. SS Pagasitikos is sunk with a torpedo after all 33 crew, including 1 woman, are taken off.

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