Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 936 March 24, 1942

At 3 AM 365 miles North of Bermuda, U-123 attacks British tanker MV Empire Steel with torpedoes and the deck gun. Empire Steel, carrying 11,000 tons of aviation spirit and kerosene from the Gulf of Mexico to Britain, explodes and sinks (35 crew and 4 gunners lost, 7 crew and 1 gunner picked up by American tug Edmund J. Moran and landed at Norfolk, Virginia).

German bombers return to Malta to finish off British ships in convoy MW10. British destroyer HMS Legion is damaged by near misses and beached.

18 RAF Douglas A-20/DB-7 Boston light bombers mount daylight raid on targets in Northern France near the Channel coast with Spitfire fighter support. 12 Bostons bomb the power station at Comines and another 6 Bostons bomb railway yards at Abbeville.

Burma. Chinese defenses are well established at Toungoo behind the fortified wall and a moat. While Japanese 112th Regiment make a frontal attack on the road from Oktwin, 143rd Regiment infiltrates through jungle West of the town. They surprise an engineer battalion to capture the airfield and railway station 6 miles North, surrounding Toungoo on 3 sides.

Barents Sea. British minesweeper HMS Sharpshooter (escorting convoy QP9 160 miles North of Norway) spots U-655 on the surface nearby, then rams and sinks U-655 (all 45 hands lost). U-585 is damaged by depth charges from 3 Allied warships in the Barents Sea and forced to return to base at Kirkenes. Overnight, British minesweeping whaler HMS Sulla is lost in a gale in the Norwegian Sea en route for delivery to USSR in convoy PQ-13.

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