Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 976 May 3, 1942

At 6.38 AM 120 miles South of Cape Race, Newfoundland, U-455 sinks British tanker SS British Workman (6 dead, 47 survivors picked up by Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine and corvette HMCS Alberni). At 8.12 AM 60 miles Southwest of Miami, Florida, U-506 sinks Nicaraguan MV Sama (all 14 hands picked up 6 hours later in a lifeboat by British tanker SS Athelregent).

12 miles off Cape Canaveral, Florida, U-564 sinks British SS Ocean Venus at 8.24 AM (5 crew lost, 38 crew and 4 gunners row ashore) and U-109 sinks Dutch SS Laertes at 10.54 AM (18 killed, 48 survivors make land in a lifeboat).

Operation Bowery. US aircraft carrier USS Wasp sails from Scapa Flow, Scotland, with 47 Spitfires for delivery to Malta.

Tulagi, Solomon Islands. Overnight, the garrison of 24 Australian commandos and 25 RAAF personnel (No. 11 Squadron) evacuates to the larger island of Guadalcanal, following warnings from coastwatchers that a Japanese invasion force is near. Almost simultaneously, 400 Japanese troops (3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force) come ashore in barges, unopposed. 6 Japanese seaplanes land in the harbor as the troops immediately start construction of a seaplane base. Aircraft carrier Shōhō covers the landings but then heads towards Bougainville for refueling to cover the planned attack on Port Moresby, Papua. At 5 PM, US Rear Admiral Fletcher (commanding Task Force 17 to counter the Japanese incursion into the Coral Sea) learns of the Japanese landings and sends TF17, including aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, towards Tulagi to launch airstrikes in the morning.

Philippines. Japanese artillery bombardment and aerial bombing of Corregidor Island continues. Overnight, US submarine USS Spearfish makes the last US Navy run to the island, evacuating 27 personnel (several nurses, including Ann Bernatitus, and a few civilians).

Burma. Japanese 33rd Infantry Division pursues 1st Burma Division North up the Chindwin River toward Alon.

At 5.23 PM 50 miles West of Jamaica, U-125 sinks Dominican SS San Rafael with 1 torpedo and 32 rounds from the deck gun (1 dead, 37 survivors escape in 2 lifeboats and 2 rafts).

Overnight, 81 RAF Bomber Command aircraft (43 Wellingtons, 20 Halifaxes, 13 Stirlings and 5 Hampdens) attack Hamburg, Germany. Despite complete cloud cover, 113 fires are started, 77 civilians killed and 243 injured (3 Halifaxes and 2 Wellingtons lost). Baedeker Blitz; 90 Luftwaffe bombers attack Exeter in Southwest England.

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