Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 952 April 9, 1942

Bataan, Philippines. Overnight, the bedraggled, diseased, malnourished and exhausted US II Corps troops fall back to the last defensive in line in Southern Bataan along the Lamao River. General Wainwright on Corregidor is under orders from MacArthur not to surrender, so he orders General Edward King, in command on Bataan, to mount a counterattack. King knows this is impossible as “II Corps as a tactical unit no longer existed” and I Corps on the West side of the peninsula is in no position to provide support and unilaterally decides to surrender (without informing Wainwright, to spare him any responsibility). US forces spike guns and destroy fuel and ammunition dumps. US submarine tender USS Canopus, tug USS Napa and floating drydock USS Dewey are all scuttled in Manila Bay. At 12.30 PM, General King surrenders 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American troops on Bataan to Japanese Colonel Nakayama.

Cebu, Philippines. Overnight in the Cebu Strait 374 miles Southwest of Bataan, US motor torpedo boats PT-34 and PT-41 attack Japanese cruiser Kuma without success (1 torpedo hits Kuma but it is a dud). After daybreak, PT-34 is bombed and strafed by F1M floatplanes from Japanese seaplane carrier Sanuki Maru (damaged and beached, then destroyed in a second seaplane attack, 2 dead, 4 survivors including 3 wounded).

Operation C, Japanese Navy raid in the Indian Ocean. At 7 AM, aircraft from the Japanese carriers bomb the harbor at Trincomalee, Ceylon. At 9 AM, British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (which has no aircraft on board) and Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire are discovered 90 miles South, returning to port. At 10.35 AM, 91 Japanese bombers and dive bombers escorted by 38 fighters from carriers Akagi, Hiryu and Soryu sink HMS Hermes (307 killed) and Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire (9 killed). Hospital ship Vita rescues survivors from both warships. Nearby at 12.07 PM, 20 Japanese dive bombers sink British oiler RFA Athelstane carrying 7,000 tons of admiralty fuel oil from Trincomalee to Colombo (all hands escape in 2 lifeboats) and corvette HMS Hollyhock (which receives a bomb down the funnel exploding the magazine, 48 killed, 17 rescued by the lifeboats from HMS Athelstane).

At 7.16 AM 14 miles off Brunswick, Georgia, U-123 sinks American SS Esparta (1 drowned, 39 survivors on 2 lifeboats and a raft picked up by US patrol boat USS Tyrer 7 hours later). Off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, U-160 sinks American SS Malchace at 7.58 AM (1 drowned, 28 survivors on 1 lifeboat and a raft picked up by Mexican tanker Faja de Oro 7 hours later) and U-552 sinks US tanker SS Atlas carrying 84,239 barrels of gasoline which ignites (all 38 crew abandon ship but 2 die when their lifeboat is engulfed by burning gasoline on the water; 36 survivors, many badly burned, are picked up next day by a US Coast Guard cutter). At 10.04 AM off the Northwest coast of Iceland, U-252 sinks Norwegian steamer Fanefjeld (all 24 hands lost).

Mediterranean. British submarine HMS Thrasher sinks tiny Italian merchant ship Gala 20 miles Southwest of Benghazi, Libya, in the Gulf of Sirte. At Malta, Italian bombers again hit British destroyer HMS Lance which is under repair (HMS Lance is written off as a total loss and towed to back to Britain for scrap in June 1944).

Black Sea. Luftwaffe raids Soviet Caucasus ports of Novorossisk and Tuapse, which have been supplying troops to Sevastopol and the Kerch Peninsula, damaging Soviet cruiser Voroshilov and destroyers Nezamozhnik & Sposobny.

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