Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 992 May 19, 1942

At 0.30 AM 600 miles North of Natal, Brazil, Italian submarine Cappellini uses torpedoes and shellfire to sink neutral Swedish ship MV Tisnaren despite large, illuminated Swedish flags painted on the sides (all 40 hands rescued). MV Tisnaren is carrying a cargo of Scotch whiskey from Manchester, England, to South America.

At 10.40 AM between Jamaica and Haiti, U-751 sinks American SS Isabela (3 dead, 34 survivors in 2 lifeboats reach Haiti.).

Gulf of Mexico. 100 miles North of Cancun, Mexico, U-103 sinks American SS Ogontz. The crew abandons ship in 2 lifeboats and 2 rafts but a falling mast sinks 1 lifeboat (19 killed, 22 survivors picked up next day by American tanker SS Esso Dover). At 8.56 AM 10 miles off the coast of Louisiana, U-506 sinks American passenger/cargo ship SS Heredia carrying 9 passengers and 1500 tons of bananas and coffee from Guatemala (36 killed, 26 survivors).

Battle of Kharkov. German General Paulus’ 6th Army, which has held the gap between the 2 Soviet salients, attacks the Northern flank of the larger Izium salient while German 1st Panzer Army continues cutting into the Southern side. Realising the possible encirclement of Soviet forces in the Izium salient, Stalin finally authorises the local commander Marshal Semyon Timoshenko to halt the offensive and more vigourously resist the German flanking attacks. German air superiority prevents the rapid deployment of the Soviet tanks from the Westward attack to the defensive.

At 11.53 AM in the Adriatic Sea 20 miles East of Bari, Italy, British submarine HMS Thrasher sinks Italian merchant Penelope.

Overnight, RAF sends 197 aircraft (105 Wellingtons, 31 Stirlings, 29 Halifaxes, 15 Hampdens, 13 Lancasters, 4 Manchesters) to raid Mannheim, Germany, but most bombs miss the town. 600 incendiaries cause fires in docks, killing 2 firemen. 4 Halifaxes, 4 Stirlings and 3 Wellingtons are lost. Luftwaffe aircraft attack Hull.

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