Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 982 May 9, 1942

Battle of the Coral Sea. While a tactical victory for the Japanese (having sunk US carrier USS Lexington and damaged carrier USS Yorktown for the loss of light carrier Shōhō), it is also a strategic success for the US. Japanese fleet carrier Shōkaku sets sail for Japan to repair serious bomb damage and the other fleet carrier Zuikaku is also forced to return to Japan as she has too few operational aircraft to be battleworthy. The absence of these carriers will cost Japan dearly in the battle at Midway that they are currently planning.

50 miles North Anna Regina, British Guiana, U-162 sinks Canadian SS Mont Louis (13 dead, 8 survivors picked up by Canadian sailing ship Mona Marie). 50 miles West of Grand Cayman in the Caribbean, U-125 sinks Canadian tanker MV Calgarolite (all 45 hands escape in lifeboats and reach Cuba or Mexico in 3 to 4 days). 3 miles off Hillsboro Inlet, Florida, U-564 torpedoes Panamanian tanker MV Lubrafol, carrying 67,000 barrels of heating oil, which burst into flames and burns for 2 days before sinking (13 killed, 31 survivors). 30 miles Southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, U-352 attacks US Coast Guard cutter USCGC Icarus but misses with 2 torpedoes. USCGC Icarus counterattacks with depth charges forcing U-352 to the surface. The crew abandons ship and scuttles U-352 (15 killed, 33 survivors).

Operation_Bowery. US aircraft carrier USS Wasp flies off 47 Spitfires to Malta while British carrier HMS Eagle launches 17 Spitfires (61 arrive at Malta). British minelayer HMS Welshman, heading to Malta disguised as a French destroyer with RAF personnel and 240 tons of stores, deceives Axis aircraft which spot her.

Crimea, USSR. German 11th Army attacks Soviet positions on the Kerch Peninsula as a prelude to a renewed attack on Sevastopol.

Kriegsmarine minesweepers M-533 and R-45 collide and sink in the English Channel.

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