Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 959 April 16, 1942

Before dawn, 8000 Japanese troops land at sites on all 3 sides of Panay Island, Philippines. They occupy the main towns of lloilo City and Capiz unopposed, as well as copper mines near San Jose. Filipino troops (poorly trained and equipped, under the command of US officers) execute a planned withdrawal into the mountains to avoid confrontation with the numerically superior and better trained Japanese, blowing bridges and burning stores at lloilo that leads to destruction of much of the city.

In Japan, Imperial Navy issues Order No.18 for Admiral Yamamoto’s Combined Fleet to draw up plans to capture Midway Island in the central Pacific and the Aleutian Islands near Alaska, USA.

Burma. Japanese 33rd Division surrounds Yenangyaung, encircling 7000 British and Indian troops. In addition, more Allied troops are trapped on the road North from Minhla to Yenangyaung by Japanese roadblocks. General Bruce Scott, commanding 1st Burma Division, telephones Chinese General Sun Li Jen requesting assistance from his 38th Division, part of Chinese 5th Army. US B-17 bombers based in Calcutta, India, bomb Rangoon where Japanese have begun landing reinforcements.

US submarine USS Tambor sinks tiny Japanese freighter Kitami Maru 50 miles Southeast of Kavieng, New Ireland, in the Bismarck Archipelago.

At 3.38 AM 300 miles Southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U-575 sinks American SS Robin Hood (14 dead, 24 survivors in 1 lifeboat picked up a week later by US destroyer USS Greer).

At 2.45 PM 200 miles North of Norway in the Barents Sea, U-403 sinks British SS Empire Howard, the ship of the convoy commodore in convoy PQ-14 (25 killed, 37 survivors picked up by British armed trawler HMS Lord Middleton and HMS Northern Wave).

At 5.45 PM in the Caribbean 60 miles West of Grenada, U-66 sinks Dutch tanker SS Amsterdam (2 dead and 38 survivors picked up by Yugoslavian SS Ivan next day). At 6 PM 150 miles off the coast of North Carolina, U-572 sinks Panamanian SS Desert Light carrying 3800 tons of supplies from New York to the Naval Operating Base, Bermuda, including 104 tons of ammunition and dynamite (1 killed, 30 survivors picked up by US destroyer USS Roper).

Mediterranean. At 5.51 PM 3 miles off the Italian coast near Brindisi, British submarine HMS Turbulent sinks Italian merchant Delia. Operation Lighter. British destroyers HMS Kipling and HMS Kelvin land Royal Marines (11th Battalion) on the tiny Greek island of Koufonisi, 3 miles South of the Eastern end of Crete, to destroy a radio transmitter. 23 miles West of Beirut, Lebanon, U-81 sinks Free French anti-submarine trawler Vikings at 8.38 PM (41 dead, 16 survivors) and British SS Caspia at 9.48 PM (27 dead and 11 survivors rescued by British motor launches HMS ML-1023 & ML-1032). At 10.50 PM, U-81 surfaces and shells 3 Egyptian sailing boats, sinking Fatouh el Kher, Bab el Farag and an unidentified vessel.

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