Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 978 May 5, 1942

British invade the Vichy French island of Madagascar, East Africa (Operation Ironclad), to prevent Japanese use of naval bases which would threaten the supply routes via the Cape of Good Hope to India and to Allied troops facing Rommel in Libya. At 4.30 AM, British troops (29th Independent Brigade and No. 5 Commando, specially trained for amphibious operations) land in assault craft in Courrier Bay, at the Northern tip of Madagascar. They are followed by 17th Infantry Brigade Group (5th Infantry Division) landings in nearby Ambararata Bay. They make progress inland but are held nearing the port towns of Antsirane and Diego Suarez by dogged resistance from 3000 Vichy troops, mainly Malagasy colonial troops. Fleet Air Arm bombers from British aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable and HMS Illustrious attack the airfield and anchorage at Diego Suarez, sinking Vichy submarine Bévéziers, armed merchant cruiser Bougainville and colonial sloop D'Entrecasteaux. British corvette HMS Auricula hits a mine in the entrance to Diego Suarez Bay and is taken in tow (founders and sinks the next day).

USSR. German 16th Army breaks through to Kholm, where 5500 German soldiers of Gruppe Scherer have held out since January 23 (105 days).

Corregidor, Philippines. Heavy Japanese artillery bombardment and aerial bombing of US positions all day. US tug USS Genesee and minesweeper USS Quail are scuttled to prevent capture. Just before midnight, 2000 Japanese troops come ashore at Cavalry Point and Infantry Point on the Eastern tip of the island but meet fierce resistance from the 1000 US/Filipino defenders.

U-boats continue raiding the East coast of USA and Caribbean. U-507 sinks 2 American tankers in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida and U-108 sinks a freighter near Haiti. Near Bermuda, U-106 sinks Canadian liner SS Lady Drake (6 crew and 6 passengers killed, 115 crew and 141 passengers were picked up by US minesweeper USS Owl) and U-103 sinks British merchant SS Stanbank.

No comments:

Post a Comment