Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 955 April 12, 1942

At 6.26 AM 20 miles off Wilmington, North Carolina, U-203 damages Panamanian tanker SS Stanvac Melbourne (3 killed, 45 survivors), which is towed to Wilmington for repairs and returns to service on July 2. At 7.09 AM 60 miles South of Haiti, U-154 sinks US freighter SS Delvalle (2 dead, 61 survivors) after a running battle lasting 9 hours during which SS Delvalle unsuccessfully tries to ram U-154. At 7.21 PM 300 miles Northeast of Anguilla, U-130 sinks US tanker SS Esso Boston carrying 105,400 barrels of crude oil (all 37 hands escape in 3 lifeboats). Italian submarine Calvi sinks Panamanian tanker MV Ben Brush off the coast of Brazil (1 killed, 34 survivors).

Burma. At dawn, Japanese troops attack the British line on the Irrawaddy River but are stopped by tanks of the British 2nd Royal Tank Regiment at Minhia, Thadodan and Alebo. British tankers are surprised to see Japanese crews manning tanks captured from the British 7th Queen's Own Hussars during the battle at Shwedaung 2 weeks earlier.

4000 Japanese troops land at Manokwari at the Western end of Dutch New Guinea, to secure the deep water inlet. Japanese torture and kill a Dutch naval officer for scuttling the small Government Marine patrol boat Anna.125 Dutch troops and civilian reservists withdraw into the jungle to avoid capture (although many are killed by Japanese patrols or die of disease over the coming months, the last few Dutch troops are rescued by Allied forces in October 1944).

Japanese troops advancing across Cebu Island, Philippines, force US troops to withdraw into the mountains. US bombers from Mindanao Island bomb Japanese landing sites. US motor torpedo boat PT35, undergoing repairs at the Cebu Shipyard and Engineering Works, is scuttled by her crew to prevent capture by the Japanese.

Bataan. Japanese artillery is moved to the Southern tip of Bataan and begins daily shelling of Corregidor Island, targeting in particular counter-battery fire on the 46 coastal guns (6 to 12 inches). Corregidor’s coastal batteries, built in WWI, lack bomb-proof shelters and are vulnerable to Japanese high-angle guns and aerial bombardment. Bataan Death March continues as more US/Filipino POWs straggle into the camp at Balanga. Unfed and without water since surrendering 4 days ago, many die along the way or at the camp.

Overnight, 251 RAF bombers (171 Wellingtons, 31 Hampdens, 27 Stirlings, 13 Halifaxes, 9 Manchesters) attack Essen, Germany, causing a large fire at the Krupps factory and destroying 28 houses (36 civilians killed, 36 injured). 7 Wellingtons, 2 Hampdens, 1 Halifax are shot down. In 8 RAF raids since March 8, only 22 bomb patterns have landed within 5 miles of Essen, with 64 bombers lost.

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