Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 995 May 22, 1942

Battle of Kharkov. German 14th and 16th Panzer Divisions chew through to Chepel and Bayrak from the South, while 3rd and 23rd Panzer Divisions, redeployed from the Northern salient, cross of the Donets River from the North at Chervonyi Donets and Krasnaia Gusarovka. They are only 5 miles apart. Soviet 38th Army, attempting to break through the narrowing neck and link up with the forces in the pocket, recaptures Chepel but can get no further.

East Timor. A highly-decorated Japanese major, the "Tiger of Singapore", leads a patrol from Dili on the coast to Remexio inland, in pursuit of Australian Sparrow Force guerrillas. Sparrow Force ambushes the column killing the "Tiger", riding a white horse at the head of the column, and 30 troops. The Japanese retreat back to Dili.

RAF Blenheim bombers (60 Squadron) fly from India across the Bay of Bengal to bomb Akyab (now Sitwe) on the coast of Burma. On the return flight, a lone Blenheim is attacked by 5 Nakajima Ki-43 fighters (64 Sentai) from Akyab. The Blenheim is saved by gunner Flight Sergeant Jock McLuckie who shoots down Japanese ace Lt. Colonel Tateo Katō, commander of 64th Sentai, and damages 2 other Ki-43s. Katō will be promoted posthumously 2 ranks to Major General and honored with a State Shinto ceremony at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine in October 1942. Rare propaganda fotage of Kato.

At 7.30 AM in the Gulf of Mexico 90 miles North of Cuba, U-753 stops British WWI-era 140 foot 3-masted schooner E.P. Theriault with gunfire and attempts to scuttle her with demolition charges. Badly damaged, E.P. Theriault remains afloat and drifts onto the Cuban Coast, where she is salvaged, repaired and returned to service as Ofelia Gancedo.

At 8.10 PM 200 miles East of Cape May, New Jersey, U-588 sinks American SS Plow City (1 killed; 30 survivors in 2 lifeboats, including 1 man who is questioned aboard the U-boat, are picked up after 5 days by US patrol yacht USS Sapphire). 465 miles Southeast of Bermuda, U-158 sinks Canadian SS Frank B. Baird with the deck gun (all 23 hands picked up by Norwegian merchant Talisman).

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