Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 996 May 23, 1942

Just after midnight, 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U-432 sinks British SS Zurichmoor (all 45 hands lost). At 10 PM in the same area, U-588 sinks British SS Margot (1 killed, 44 survivors picked up 4 days later by Swedish merchant MV Sagoland).

In the Caribbean. At 9.26 AM 100 miles East of Cozumel, Mexico, U-103 sinks US tanker SS Samuel Q Brown (2 killed, 53 survivors spotted by a US Navy patrol plane from Upham, Canal Zone and picked up by the plane and US destroyer USS Goff). At 10 PM just off St. Vincent, U-155 sinks Panamanian SS Watsonville.

In Libya, Rommel’s Panzer Army Africa and General Neil Ritchie’s British 8th Army face each other along a line running from Gazala on the coast 40 miles inland to Bir Hacheim on the edge of the Great Sand Sea. Both sides are preparing major offensives; Rommel with 560 tanks including 228 Italian light tanks while Ritchie has amassed 850 tanks (including 167 of the faster, better armoured American M3 “Grant” tanks sporting a turret-mounted 37mm cannon and a 75-mm gun on the side of the hull).

Battle of Kharkov. German 14th and 16th Panzer Divisions from the South and 3rd and 23rd Panzer from the North meet, encircling Soviet 6th and 57th Armies. They quickly widen the gap, with 14th Panzer recapturing Chepel, preventing Soviet 38th Army counterattacks to break through from the East.

Off Burgas on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, Soviet submarine ShCh-205 sinks Turkish merchant SS Safak (possibly carrying war material to German forces on the Black Sea).

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