Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 938 March 26, 1942

British destroyer HMS Jaguar and anti-submarine whaler HMS Klo and Greek destroyer RHS Vasilissa Olga escort British fleet oiler Slavol bringing fuel to Tobruk for the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. At 2.27 AM 20 miles off Sidi Barani, Egypt, U-652 sinks HMS Jaguar (193 killed, 53 survivors picked up by HMS Klo while RHS Vasilissa Olga assists). U-205 takes advantage of the confusion and sinks the unescorted Slavol at 5.10 AM (36 killed, 20 survivors rescued by RHS Vasilissa Olga).

Operation Chariot. At 2 PM, 3 destroyers and 16 small boats (motor torpedo boats and Fairmile B motor launches) leave Falmouth, Cornwall, for St Nazaire, France, carrying 346 Royal Navy sailors and 265 Commandos. HMS Campbeltown has 4.5 tons of explosives concreted into the bows to destroy the giant dry dock at St Nazaire to prevent their use by the large German warships.

Siege of Leningrad Day 200. 350,000 – 460,000 civilians have died from cold, starvation and disease since the beginning of the siege. Many remain unburied, frozen in their homes. Lack of food causes some to resort to cannibalism either of frozen corpses or by hunting the living, often children.

Aftermath of 2nd Battle of Sirte, Malta. In the Grand Harbour, German bombers sink freighters Pampas & Talabot (before their cargo are fully unloaded) and British destroyer HMS Legion which has been towed in following damage on March 24 (2 bombs hit, causing the forward magazine to explode, 11 killed). Despite camouflage British submarine HMS P39 which is undergoing repairs on the beach at Kalkara is also found by German bombers (P39 is badly damaged and will not return to service).

Japanese bombing of Corregidor knocks out freezers storing 24,000 pounds of carabao (water buffalo) meat, representing 2 days’ rations for American and Filipino troops on Bataan.

At 2.59 PM 20 miles East of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, U-71 sinks US tanker SS Dixie Arrow carrying 86,136 barrels of crude oil (11 killed, 22 survivors picked up by US destroyer USS Tarbell). At 7.37 PM 300 miles East of Cape Hatteras, U-123 hits US armed merchant cruiser (Q-ship) USS Atik with 2 torpedoes. USS Atik drops her disguise and returns 50-cal machinegun fire, killing Fähnrich zur See Rudi Holzer on U-123's bridge, and inaccurate shellfire. USS Atik’s crew abandon ship in lifeboats but all 141 are killed when USS Atik sinks detonating her primed depth charges.

Overnight, RAF bombers (104 Wellingtons and 11 Stirlings) make another ineffective raid on Essen, Germany (2 houses destroyed, 6 civilians killed, 14 injured). 10 Wellingtons and 1 Stirling are shot down.

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