Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 969 April 26, 1942

At 8.30 AM in the Caribbean 80 miles North of Bonaire, U-66 torpedoes American SS Alcoa Partner. Carrying 8500 tons of bauxite ore, SS Alcoa Partner sinks within 3 minutes (10 dead, 25 survivors escape in a lifeboat and reach Bonaire 37 hours later).

Burma. Indian 17th Division moves 20 miles South from Mahlaing to Meiktila to reinforce Chinese 200th Division protecting Mandalay. British General Alexander decides that British and Indian forces must withdraw West to ensure the defense of India.

At 3.20 PM, US WWI-era destroyer USS Sturtevant departs Key West, Florida, to escort a convoy from New Orleans, Louisiana. 2 hours later 18 miles North of Key West, USS Sturtevant runs into a minefield laid the previous day, hits 3 mines, breaks apart and sinks (20 killed, 132 survivors covered in oil rescued 5 hours later by a fleet of small vessels called out from Key West by a Coast Guard patrol aircraft). Ironically, USS Sturtevant had been moored at Key West next to USS Miantonomah, the minelayer that laid the minefield in response to U-boat attacks on the East coast of America.

Allied convoy PQ 15 (consisting of 25 merchant ships and fleet auxiliary oiler RFA Gray Ranger, escorted by British destroyer HMS Ledbury) leaves Reykjavik, Iceland, for Murmansk, USSR.

Overnight, in the last of 4 raids on Rostock, 106 RAF aircraft successfully bomb both the town and the Heinkel factory. 1 Stirling, 1 Wellington and 1 Whitley are lost. Over the 4 nights, 1,765 buildings are destroyed, 204 civilians killed and 89 injured. RAF Bomber Command estimates that 130 acres have been destroyed (60 per cent of the town). Baedeker Blitz; Luftwaffe bombers raid Bath, Southwest England.

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