Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 937 March 25, 1942

Admiral Ernest King (Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations) plans to garrison the islands between Hawaii and Australia as staging posts to counter Japanese expansion in the South Pacific threatening Australia. US 162nd Infantry Regiment (41st Division) arrives to establish a refueling base at Bora-Bora in the French Society Islands (2500 miles South of Hawaii and 4150 miles East of Australia). A Marine brigade had already arrived in the Samoan Islands (2900 miles East of Australia) on March 20.

At 4.13 AM 50 miles South of Clark’s Harbour, Nova Scotia, U-552 torpedoes Norwegian tanker MV Ocana, which bursts into flames (53 killed, 4 survivors rescued US destroyer USS Mayo). MV Ocana will burn for days and be sunk by Canadian minesweeper HMCS Burlington on April 15. At 6.09 AM 400 miles East of Hampton Roads, Virginia, U-105 sinks British tanker MV Narragansett carrying 14,000 tons of refined petroleum from the Gulf of Mexico to Britain (all 49 hands lost in the explosion). At 6.16 AM in mid-North Atlantic 530 miles East of St. Johns, Newfoundland, U-94 hits British tanker MV Imperial Transport with 2 torpedoes. All 51 crew abandon ship but reboard and get going again at 8.30 PM, arriving at St. Johns on the morning of March 30. MV Imperial Transport had been torpedoed on Feb 11, 1940, destroying her bow section and then rebuilt at Glasgow, Scotland, and returned to service in June 1941.

Burma. Chinese troops fall back overnight into the walled Old City at Toungoo. At 8 AM, Japanese attack from North, West and South. There is fierce fighting all day until 8 PM when Japanese troops breach the defenses and penetrate the Northwest corner of Toungoo. Confused house to house fighting continues all night with counterattacks by both sides.

Overnight, 254 RAF Bomber Command aircraft (192 Wellingtons, 26 Stirlings, 20 Manchesters, 9 Hampdens & 7 Lancasters) bomb Krupp iron works and factories at Essen, Germany (5 civilians killed, 11 injured). 5 Manchesters, 3 Wellingtons & 1 Hampden are shot down.

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