Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 1005 June 1, 1942

German and Italian troops and tanks, with Rommel personally taking charge, break through the British perimeter and overrun 150th Brigade “box” at Sidi Muftah in bitter hand-to-hand fighting. A relief column sent by the British along the Trigh Capuzzo and Trigh el Abd desert tracks is stopped by Rommel's anti-tank screen. 3000 British troops surrender, after their commander Brigadier Clive Haydon is killed by shellfire. This allows Rommel to secure supply lines North and South of the British who have been harrying his trucks with artillery fire. Capture of this “box” also completes the encirclement of the French in the fort at Bir Hacheim.

8 merchant ships from convoy PQ-16 arrive at Archangelsk, USSR. German Ju-88 bombers attack the unloading freighters, sinking the SS Steel Worker and damaging Soviet submarine SC-404.

In the Atlantic 320 miles East of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, U-404 sinks American SS West Notus with gunfire (4 dead, 36 survivors). Another 360 miles East, U-566 sinks British SS Westmoreland (3 dead, 65 survivors).

Caribbean. Off the Western end of Cuba, U-107 sinks Panamanian SS Bushranger at 3.54 AM (17 killed, 7 survivors on a raft picked up by a US Navy Catalina aircraft on June 7, another 19 survivors on 3 rafts that stayed together rescued by US Coast Guard cutter USS Nike on June 12). U-106 sinks American SS Hampton Roads at 11.40 AM (7 killed, 23 survivors picked up by American SS Alcoa Pathfinder). At 11.51 PM between St. Lucia and St. Vincent, U-156 sinks neutral Brazilian SS Alegrete (all 64 hands escape in 4 lifeboats).

Overnight, 956 RAF bombers attack Essen, Germany (545 Wellingtons, 127 Halifaxes, 77 Stirlings, 74 Lancasters, 71 Hampdens, 33 Manchesters and 29 Whitleys). Due to low cloud, bombing is very inaccurate and towns are hit all over the Ruhr valley. 15 Wellingtons, 8 Halifaxes, 4 Lancasters, 1 Hampden, 1 Manchester, 1 Stirling, 1 Whitley are lost.

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