Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 1002 May 29, 1942

An army of fitters, machinists and welders labours all night at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on US aircraft carrier USS Yorktown and, in the morning, she is refloated after only 1 day in drydock. Repairs continue as USS Yorktown is refueled and receives a new complement of aircraft and aircrews from Kaneohe Nava Air Station.

Caribbean. At 1.03 AM 60 miles west of St. Lucia, U-156 sinks British SS Norman Prince (16 killed; 32 survivors picked up by French merchant Angouleme, landed at Martinique and interned by Vichy French; radio officer Hubert John Tanner rescued after 2 days by US Coast Guard cutter USS Unalga). At 2.17 AM 10 miles off Rio Seco, Cuba, U-107 sinks British SS Western Head (24 crew lost, 6 survivors picked up by a US Navy patrol ship and landed at Guantanamo Bay). At 11.37 PM 54 miles South of Grand Cayman Island, U-50 sinks British SS Allister (15 crew lost, 8 survivors land at Port au Prince, Haiti).

Mediterranean. 40 miles Northeast of Tobruk, U-568 is forced to the surface and then scuttled by her crew, after 16 hours of depth charging by British destroyers HMS Hero, HMS Eridge and HMS Hurworth (all 47 hands survive). At 7 AM 135 miles Northwest of Benghazi, British submarine HMS Turbulent fires 4 torpedoes at 2 Italian merchant vessels escorted by 2 destroyers. 1 torpedo sinks Italian merchant Capo Arma while another torpedo runs in a circle over the top of the submarine and “with a great deal of luck” sinks Italian destroyer Emmanuele Pessagno.

Libya. In the morning, Italian Trieste Division finds a way through the British minefields to bring up supplies, despite heavy shelling from the British “boxes”. British General Ritchie is still slow in organizing an attack on the trapped Panzers with his greater number of tanks. In the Cauldron, Rommel pulls back to a series of ridges and hollows just East of the minefields which now serve to protect his flank. He uses a dense sandstorm to dig in anti-tank guns on the Sidra and Azlagh Ridges as a trap for the British armour. Afrika Korps commander General Ludwig Crüwell, leading the attack along the coast, is flying over the front line when he strays over British 150th Brigade “box” and his Storch light aircraft is shot down. The pilot is killed by the gunfire, the Storch crash lands and Crüwell is captured.

In the Black Sea, Soviet submarine A-3 sinks Romanian vessel Sulina and Soviet submarine SC-214 sinks Turkish vessel Hudarvendigar.

Battle of Kharkov ends with 25,000 Soviet troops killed and another 240,000 taken prisoner by the Germans. Red Army has lost most of 22 rifle divisions, 7 cavalry divisions and 15 tank brigades (540 aircraft, 1200 tanks and 2000 field guns and artillery pieces destroyed or captured). 25,000 Soviet stragglers reach safety in their own lines. German losses are 20,000 dead, wounded and missing.

In the Balabac Strait between Borneo and the Philippines, US submarine USS Swordfish sinks Japanese transport ship Tatsufuku Maru, which was damaged by torpedoes from USS Seal yesterday.

Japanese submarine I-21 launches its floatplane to reconnoiter Sydney, Australia.

Overnight, RAF sends 77 aircraft (31 Wellingtons, 20 Halifaxes, 14 Lancasters, 9 Stirlings, 3 Hampdens) to bomb the Gnome & Rhone factory at Paris/Gennevilliers, France. There is little damage to the factory, but 38 houses are destroyed with 34 French civilians killed and 167 injured. 4 Wellingtons and 1 Halifax are lost. Luftwaffe bombers attack Grimsby, England.

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