Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 953 April 10, 1942

At 2.20 AM 880 miles East of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, U-654 sinks British SS Empire Prairie (all 44 crew and 5 gunners lost). 20 miles off Cape Hatteras, U-203 sinks British tanker MV San Delfino with 7 torpedoes at 5.08 AM, (24 crew and 4 gunners lost, 20 crew and 2 gunners picked up by British anti-submarine trawler HMS Norwich City) and U-552 torpedoes US tanker SS Tamaulipas at 6.27 AM, which burns until sinking next morning (2 drowned, 35 survivors on 2 lifeboats also picked up by HMS Norwich City). Norwegian MV Chr. Knudsen goes missing 2 days out from New York, presumably sunk by U-85 (all 33 hands lost).

Philippines. Japanese (expecting only 25,000 POWs) are surprised by the 76,000 US and Filipino troops surrendering at Bataan. Planning to march the prisoners 25 miles in 1 day to Balanga, Bataan (for transport further North on Luzon), they provide no food or medical treatment along the way. Many POWs are in no condition for this pace and begin dying immediately from heat, exhaustion and starvation. The POWs are brutally treated by the Japanese troops and many are executed for falling behind. US minesweeper USS Finch, damaged yesterday by Japanese bombers off Luzon, is abandoned by her crew and sinks (salvaged by the Japanese and commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as W103). Having conquered Luzon, Japanese continue their march down through the Philippines. 12,000 Japanese troops land from 11 transports, escorted by 3 warships, at 7 sites on the South side of the island of Cebu. The capital, Cebu City has a large harbor and an airfield. The US-Filipino garrison of 6500 troops withdraws inland. US B-17 bombers, flying from Australia and refueling at Mindanao, Philippines, attack Japanese invasion force without success.

6 miles North of Oshima Island (in the mouth of Tokyo Bay, Japan), US submarine USS Thresher sinks a Japanese merchant ship.

At 8.07 PM in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean (halfway between Cape Town, South Africa, and Montevideo, Uruguay), German raider Thor stops British vessel Kirkpool with several volleys of shellfire. The crew jumps overboard since the lifeboats are destroyed (16 drown). Thor searches for 3 hours and rescues 30 survivors (will be handed over to the Japanese and remain POWs until September 1945).

Overnight, 254 RAF bombers (167 Wellingtons, 43 Hampdens, 18 Stirlings, 10 Manchesters, 8 Halifaxes, 8 Lancasters) attack Essen, Germany, but the bombing is inaccurate due to cloud cover (12 houses destroyed, 7 civilians killed, 30 injured). An 8,000lb bomb is dropped for the first time, by a Halifax of 76 Squadron, but it is not known where it landed. 7 Wellingtons, 5 Hampdens, 1 Halifax, 1 Manchester are lost.

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