Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 974 May 1, 1942

6 Junkers Ju88s unsuccessfully attack Allied convoy PQ 15 (1 Ju88 shot down). At 3.45 PM 165 miles Northeast of Iceland, British battleship HMS King George V and destroyer HMS Punjabi collide in dense fog while providing distant cover to PQ 15. HMS Punjabi crosses the bow of the battleship which slices clean through at 25 knots. Punjabi's stern sinks immediately, detonating primed depth charges, (49 killed) but her forepart sinks slowly allowing destroyers HMS Martin & HMS Marne to take off 169 crew (another 40 survivors picked up from the sea). HMS King George V suffers a 40 foot gash in the bow above the waterline and buckled plates below from Punjabi's exploding depth charges but reaches Scapa Flow under her own steam on May 4 (repaired at Liverpool, returned to service on July 1). American battleship USS Washington, immediately astern of HMS King George V, sails between sinking the halves of HMS Punjabi and is also slightly damaged by the depth charges.

Mediterranean. At 3.56 PM 40 miles Northwest of Ténès, Algeria, a Hudson (233 Squadron from Gibraltar) drops 3 250lb depth charges on U-573 which is seriously damaged. British destroyers HMS Wishart & HMS Wrestler are sent to intercept the U-boat, while U-74 & U-375 and Italian submarines Emo & Mocenigo race to the rescue.

At 4.45 PM 120 miles off the East coast of China, US submarine USS Triton sinks Japanese auxiliary transport Calcutta Maru. In a case of mistaken identity, US submarine USS Grenadier sinks Soviet passenger/cargo ship Angarstroy en route from San Francisco USA to Vladivostok USSR (46 crew and 14 passengers rescued by Japanese ship Kayo Maru and taken to Shanghai, China, before completing the journey to Vladivostok).

Burma. Japanese 18th Infantry Division captures Mandalay. 50 miles West, the British retreat is blocked at Monywa on the Chindwin River. Japanese 33rd Infantry Division advancing unnoticed from Yanangyaung, up the West side of the Chindwin River, suddenly cross the Chindwin and captures the headquarters of 1st Burma Division and threatens to outflank the entire British retreat.

Philippines. Heavy Japanese artillery shelling of US positions on Corregidor Island continues. There are 13 separate bombing raids. Further South on Mindanao Island, Japanese overrun the Filipino 61 Infantry Regiment.

During the March landings in the Gulf of Huon, New Guinea, Japanese Navy did not provide support from carrier-based aircraft. This allowed US bombers to attack almost unopposed on March 10, sinking 3 transports and damaging several warships. To protect the invasion of Port Moresby in Papua, Japanese Carrier Strike Force (aircraft carriers Zuikaku and Shōkaku, 2 cruisers and 6 destroyers, commanded by Vice Admiral Takeo Takagi) leaves base at Truk heading for the Coral Sea. In preparation for invading the tiny island of Tulagi in the Solomon Islands, Japanese bomb the Australian seaplane base there, badly damaging a PBY Catalina. The remaining Catalinas fly off to safety.

At 5.43 AM 75 miles Southeast of New York, U-752 sinks Norwegian MV Bidevind (all 36 hands abandon ship in a launch and a lifeboat, reaching the US Coast Guard station near Toms River, New Jersey the next day). At 5.28 PM 370 miles Northeast of Bermuda, U-69 shells Canadian sailing boat James E. Newsom. All 9 crew abandon ship in a lifeboat and reach Bermuda. At 8.46 PM, U-162 sinks Brazilian SS Parnahyba near Trinidad (7 dead, 65 survivors).

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