Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 949 April 6, 1942

At 8.07 AM 30 miles Southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, U-160 torpedoes US tanker MV Bidwell. The cargo of 83,144 barrels of fuel oil ignites, sending flames 150 feet into the air (second mate is sprayed with burning oil and dies). The crew makes emergency repairs and takes MV Bidwell into Hampton Roads, Virginia, under her own power (repaired at Norfolk, Virginia, and returned to service).

At 5 PM 250 miles Northwest of Bermuda, U-571 torpedoes Norwegian tanker MV Koll and the cargo of 96,067 barrels of diesel oil catches fire (2 killed). 33 survivors abandon ship in 3 lifeboats; 1 is rescued quickly but 2 lifeboats drift for 10 days in severe gales until found (1 man dies of exposure).

Mediterranean. British destroyer HMS Havock, sailing from Malta to Gibraltar for repairs to damage suffered in the Second Battle of Sirte on March 22, runs aground in shallows off Cape Bon, Tunisia and is scuttled by her crew. British tug HMS West Cocker is sunk during an air raid on Malta.

Operation C, Japanese Navy raid in the Indian Ocean. Most Japanese warships retire Southeast of Ceylon into the Indian Ocean and sink 16 Allied freighters, while aircraft carrier Ryūjō sends aircraft to raid the towns of Vizagapatam and Cocanada on the East coast of India (sinking 3 ships). At 4 PM Southwest of India near the Maldive Islands, Japanese submarine I-4 sinks US freighter Washingtonian.

Philippines. American/Filipino troops have fallen back so fast in the center of the Bataan peninsula that Japanese infantry pause for the day to bring up supplies. US forces are given no time to reorganise, however, as Japanese bombers attack artillery positions, troop concentrations, command posts and roads.

Burma. Royal Indian Navy sloop HMIS Indus, in dock at Akyab (now Sitwe) is hit by 3 bombs during a Japanese air-raid and sinks (no casualties).

Overnight, RAF Bomber Command sends 157 bombers (110 Wellingtons, 19 Stirlings, 18 Hampdens and 10 Manchesters) to bomb Essen, Germany, but most turn back due to a severe storm and complete cloud cover over Essen. 2 Hampdens, 1 Manchester, 1 Wellington and 1 Stirling are lost.

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