Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 956 April 13, 1942

150 miles North of Norway, U-435 & U-436 attack convoy QP-10 from Murmansk, USSR, to Reykjavik, Iceland. At 1 AM, U-436 sinks Soviet SS Kiev (6 crew killed including at least 1 woman). The remaining crew and 8 passengers (family of staff at the Soviet embassy in London) are picked up after 30 minutes by British anti-submarine trawler HMS Blackfly. At 1.29 AM, U-435 torpedoes Panamanian SS El Occidente which sinks before the lifeboats can be launched, so the crew jumps overboard into the freezing water (20 die but 21 survivors are picked up 30 minutes later by British minesweeper HMS Speedwell). U-435 also sinks British SS Harpalion at 3.50 PM, which had been bombed and damaged by German Ju88 bombers earlier in the day (all 70 crew had already abandoned ship).

25 miles off Cape Canaveral, Florida, U-123 uses her last torpedoes to sink American SS Leslie at 5.11 AM (4 killed, 28 survivors) and then sinks Swedish MV Korsholm with shellfire from the deck gun at 7.45 AM (9 dead, 17 survivors). At 5.52 AM 40 miles south of Haiti, U-154 sinks British SS Empire Amethyst (all 47 hands lost).

At 10.12 AM 82 miles Southwest of Benghazi in the Gulf of Sirte, British submarine HMS Thrasher sinks German freighter Atlas in a convoy. Thrasher is counterattacked by convoy escorts with 19 depth charges but is undamaged.

Burma. There is stalemate along the British line on the Irrawaddy River, 35 miles South of the oilfields at Yenangyaung. Further East, Japanese 56th Infantry Division heads North to cut off a potential British retreat into China, capturing Mawchi from leading elements of the Chinese 6th Army.

Bataan. Japanese shelling of Corregidor Island continues. Bataan Death March. US/Filipino POWs start leaving Balanga for Orani 8 miles North. Some are moved in trucks but most are forced to march on foot. At Orani, there is water from a single faucet and some men are fed a bowl of rice but there is not enough for all prisoners as the Japanese are not prepared to handle the large number of POWs.

At 9 PM 60 miles South of Japan, US submarine USS Grayling sinks Japanese vessel Ryujin Maru.

At 11.26 PM 400 miles South of Newfoundland, U-402 stops British SS Empire Progress with a dud torpedo but then sinks her after midnight with 2 coup de grĂ¢ce (12 dead, 38 survivors picked up by Norwegian MV Olaf Fostenes). At midnight within sight of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, U-85 is detected on the surface by radar on US destroyer USS Roper, which closes in and attacks with deck gun and machinegun fire. U-85 fires a torpedo and dives, leaving 29 men in the water. USS Roper sinks U-85 (all hands lost) with 11 depth charges, killing everyone in the water (some are in civilian clothes and carrying US currency and identification cards, suggesting that U-85 is in the process of landing spies).

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