Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 941 March 29, 1942

Battle of Convoy PQ13, in the Barents Sea 230 miles North of Murmansk, USSR. At 9.43 AM, British cruiser HMS Trinidad spots German destroyers Z-24, Z-25 and Z-26 on radar and immediately opens fire, hitting Z-26 numerous times. At 10.24 AM, HMS Trinidad fires a torpedo which becomes a circle runner and hits HMS Trinidad underneath the bridge (31 killed, temporary repairs in Murmansk until May 13). At 10.32 AM, British destroyer HMS Eclipse takes over the attack, hitting Z-26 with 6 more 4.7-inch shells. At 11.20 AM, Z-24 and Z-25 attack HMS Eclipse scoring 2 hits with 5-inch shells (23 killed, temporary repairs in Murmansk until April 6). Z-26 finally sinks (240 men die in the freezing water, 96 survivors rescued by Z-24 and Z-25).

At 7.36 PM 40 miles East of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, U-160 sinks US passenger ship MV City of New York (6612 tons cargo from South Africa including chrome and asbestos). Most of the 83 crew, 9 gunners and 41 passengers abandon ship in 4 lifeboats. 3 boats are picked up on March 31 but the last is not found until April 11 (11 survivors including 2 women passengers and a 3 year-old girl, 9 died of exposure including the child’s mother). In all, 24 are killed with 109 survivors. At 8.58 PM 350 miles East of Nantucket, Massachusetts, U-571 sinks British SS Hertford carrying 12,103 tons of general cargo including meat from Australia to Britain (4 killed, 58 survivors escape in lifeboats). In mid-Atlantic 1000 miles Southeast of Bermuda, Italian submarine Calvi sinks British SS Tredinnick (all 46 hands lost).

The hills of the Bago Yoma Forest run down the middle of Southern Burma. To the East (closest to China), the Chinese Expeditionary Force defends the Sittang River Valley at Toungoo where Japanese infantry and artillery finally overcome Chinese 200th Division, which withdraws overnight. To the West of the hills, British and Indian troops defend (or more accurately retreat along) the Irrawaddy River valley. Japanese troops disrupt the British withdrawal by infiltrating through the jungle to get astride the road at Shwedaung, 10 miles South of Prome. Shwedaung is attacked simultaneously by Indian 17th Division from Prome and British 7th Armoured brigade from the South, but the Japanese retain control of the road.

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