Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 998 May 25, 1942

At 1.34 AM 50 miles Southwest of Kingston, Jamaica, U-558 sinks American SS Beatrice (1 killed, 30 survivors). At 3.52 PM off Martinique, U-156 hits US destroyer USS Blakeley with a torpedo that blows away 60 feet of bow (6 killed, 116 survivors). USS Blakeley reaches Port de France, Martinique, for emergency repairs then limps back to Philadelphia with additional repairs in Port Castries, Santa Lucia, and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. USS Blakeley will be repaired with the bow donated by her sister ship USS Taylor and return to service in September.

At 8.53 PM 10 miles of the coast of New Jersey, U-593 sinks Panamanian tanker MV Persephone carrying 80,000 barrels of crude oil (9 dead and 28 survivors). MV Persephone breaks in 2 and sinks in only 50 feet of water where she is broken up and recycled.

Japanese submarine I-9 launches its floatplane to reconnoiter airfields on Adak Island and Kanaga Island (part of USA at the western end of the Aleutian Islands). Japanese Northern Area Fleet (2 small aircraft carriers, 5 cruisers, 12 destroyers, 6 submarines, and 4 troop transports, commanded by Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya) leaves Japan for the invasion of the Aleutian Islands (which is a diversion to draw US warships away from the planned Japanese attack on Midway Atoll).

US submarines have a busy day. 125 miles Southwest of Tokyo, Japan, USS Drum sinks Japanese merchant Kitakata Maru. 50 miles West of Okinawa, Japan, USS Pompano sinks small Japanese tanker Tokyo Maru. 440 miles Southwest of Ulithi, Caroline Islands, USS Tautog sinks Japanese merchant Shoka Maru

Battle of Kharkov. Soviet troops encircled in the Izium pocket attempt an organized breakout. Deprived of tanks and armoured vehicles by previous Luftwaffe bombing, Soviet infantry launch frontal assaults East towards Chepel. They are slaughtered by Germans shelling and bombing even before they leave the assembly areas. German pressure on all sides contracts the pocket to a strip 10 miles by 2 miles.

Convoy PQ16 (21 American, 4 Soviet, 8 British, 1 Dutch and 1 Panamanian merchant ships, escorted by British CAM ship Empire Lawrence) from Iceland to Archangel and Murmansk, USSR, is spotted by a German Focke-Wulf 200 reconnaissance aircraft 475 miles Northeast of Iceland. In the evening, He111 torpedo-bombers and Ju88 bombers attack the convoy. A near miss damages American SS Carlton which is towed back to Iceland. A Hurricane launched by Empire Lawrence shoots down 1 Heinkel.

General Sun Li Jen’s Chinese 38th Infantry Division crosses into India, having withdrawn from Burma along with British and Indian forces. In India, Chinese 30th, 22nd and 38th Divisions will be incorporated into X Force while General Sun Li Jen builds an unlikely relationship with American General “Vinegar” Joe Stilwell.

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