Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 944 April 1, 1942

In the Mediterranean, Italian cruiser Bande Nere leaves Messina, Sicily, heading North to La Spezia, escorted by destroyer Aviere and patrol boat Libra. At 9 AM just North of Sicily, Bande Nere is hit by 2 torpedoes from British submarine HMS Urge then breaks apart and sinks. 50 miles North of Sidi Barrani, Egypt, a British Swordfish bombs U-77, which is badly damaged and unable to dive. Italian bombers sink British submarines HMS P36 and HMS Pandora in Valetta Harbour, Malta.

In the Barents Sea 8 miles North of Kirkenes, Norway, Soviet submarine SC-404 sinks German freighter Michel (seized from USSR in 1941). Kriegsmarine anti-submarine trawler UJ-1203 sinks on a mine in the Gulf of Finland.

At 5.24 PM in the Atlantic, South of St Helena, German armed merchant cruiser Thor stops British freighter SS Willesden (carrying aircraft parts and military vehicles from USA to British troops in Egypt) with 128 shells 6 inch guns, setting the deck cargo of oil drums alight. SS Willesden is sunk with a torpedo (2 killed, survivors taken prisoner by Thor).

500 miles North of Bermuda U-71 sinks British SS Eastmoor at 4.03 AM (16 killed, 29 crew and 3 gunners picked up by British merchant SS Calgary) and U-202 sinks British SS Loch Don at 11.14 PM (3 killed, 38 crew and 6 gunners picked up by sailing schooner Helen Forsey). At 6.18 AM 10 miles off Virginia Beach, Virginia, U-754 sinks US tanker SS Tiger (1 killed, 36 crew and 6 passengers escape in lifeboats). At 4.22 PM 60 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, U-160 sinks British SS Rio Blanco (19 killed, 21 survivors picked up by British anti-submarine trawler HMS Hertfordshire and Canadian destroyer HMCS Niagara).

South of Java, a torpedo from US submarine USS Seawolf severely damages Japanese cruiser Naka, covering the invasion of Christmas Island (Naka will be towed to Bantam Bay, Java, for repairs by cruiser Natori). In the Malacca Strait between Malaya and Sumatra (Dutch East Indies), British submarine HMS Truant sinks empty Japanese merchant ships Yae Maru and Shunsei Maru.

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