Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 1004 May 31, 1942

At 1.40 AM 25 miles West of Nova Scotia, U-432 sinks Canadian SS Liverpool Packet (2 dead and 19 survivors reach nearby Seal Island). At 2.52 AM 200 miles southeast of Bermuda, U-506, which is out of torpedoes, sinks British SS Fred W Green with 34 rounds from the deck gun (5 killed, 36 survivors including 6 wounded in 2 lifeboats rescued next day by US destroyer USS Ludlow).

In the Black Sea, Soviet submarine SC-214 sinks Turkish vessel Mahbubdihan which is suspected of running supplies to German troops.

Libya. 90 miles West of Bengazi, British submarine HMS Proteus sinks Italian merchant ship Gino Allegri. At Bir Hakeim fort, the water supply is critically low (Rommel had ‘released’ 620 thirsty Indian POWs captured from 3rd Indian Motor Brigade on May 26 and sent them to the fort); however, 50 trucks (101st motorized company) arrive with water and then evacuate the Indians, Italian prisoners and the wounded. With Rommel “trapped” in the Cauldron, British General Ritchie writes to his superior General Auchinleck “Now I’ve got him in the hollow of my hand”. But it is Rommel who attacks, coming West out of the Cauldron with large numbers of tanks to assail the British 150th Brigade “box” where battle rages all night.

In the South Atlantic 500 miles Northwest of Natal, Brazil, British Royal Fleet Auxilliary tanker RFA Dinsdale is sunk, on her maiden voyage, by Italian submarine Comandante Cappellini with 4 of 6 torpedoes fired (5 killed).

Japanese submarine I-10 launches its floatplane to survey the damage from last night’s midget submarine attack on Diego Suarez harbor, Madagascar.

Overnight, Luftwaffe bombs Canterbury in Southeast England, in retaliation for the bombing of Cologne last night.

Overnight, 3 Japanese midget submarines (each carrying 2 men) are launched from I-22, I-24, I-27, 7 miles offshore, and enter Sydney harbor. At 10.35 PM, 1 midget submarine gets caught in torpedo nets and is blown up by the crew (both crew killed) while another is detected and sunk by depth charges from Australian auxiliary patrol boats HMAS Steady Hour, HMAS Sea Mist, and HMAS Yarroma at 5 AM next morning (both crew killed). However, midget submarine M-24 fires 2 torpedoes at US cruiser USS Chicago just after midnight (both miss USS Chicago). One passes underneath Dutch submarine K-9 then hits a breakwater where barracks vessel HMAS Kuttabul is tied up. HMAS Kuttabul breaks apart and sinks (19 Royal Australian Navy and 2 Royal Navy sailors killed, 10 wounded). M-24 escapes from the harbour and is abandoned in 180 feet of water 13 miles North (the fate of her crew is unknown).

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