Friday, June 1, 2012

Day 1006 June 2, 1942

450 miles Southeast of Bermuda, U-159 torpedoes American SS Illinois at 2.53 AM, which sinks immediately on her cargo of 8000 tons of manganese ore (32 dead, 6 survivors picked up 6 days later by American tanker SS Esso Montpelier) and U-558 sinks Dutch SS Triton with the deck gun at 2.55 AM (6 killed, 29 crew and 1 passenger picked up after 3 days by American SS Mormacport). Off the Western end of Cuba, U-158 sinks American SS Knoxville City at 2.57 AM (2 killed, 37 crewmen, 14 gunners and 4 passengers abandon ship in 2 lifeboats and reach Cuba).

Off the Northeast coast of USA, U-553 sinks British MV Mattawin at 7.18 AM (all crew, gunners and passengers survive) and Norwegian MV Berganger is missed by 5 torpedoes from U-213 between 3.32 and 7.05 AM but then sunk at 8.27 PM by U-578 southeast of Cape Cod (4 dead, 43 survivors).

Luftwaffe bombers return to the Crimean peninsula to open a renewed campaign to capture the massive Soviet port of Sevastopol, home of the Black Sea Fleet, following their crushing of the Soviet offensive at Kharkov. Under Luftwaffe General Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, they fly 723 missions and drop 525 tons of high explosive targeting submarine bases, oil storage, electricity, water pumps, and harbour facilities. Despite heavy anti-aircraft fire, only 1 Ju87 dive bomber is lost.

85 miles South of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Italian submarine Leonardo da Vinci sinks Panamanian schooner Reine Marie Stewart.

In Libya, Rommel is growing desperately short of food, water, fuel and ammunition; his offensive is threatening to stall out. After conquering British 150th Brigade, he sends German 90th Light Division and Italian Trieste Division to attack Free French troops at Bir Hacheim, who have been preventing supply convoys getting through South of the British minefields. 12 miles Northeast of Bardia, U-652 is depth charged by British Martin 187 Baltimore aircraft (RAF 203 Squadron) and Swordfish torpedo bombers (815 Naval Air Squadron). U-652 is severely damage and abandoned (all 46 hands rescued by U-81 which scuttles U-652).

US naval forces heading from Oahu to defend Midway Atoll (Admiral Spruance’s Task Force 16 with aircraft carriers USS Enterprise and USS Hornet and Admiral Fletcher’s Task Force 17 with carrier USS Yorktown) meet up at Point Luck, a predetermined rendezvous 325 miles Northeast of Midway. The entire force comes under Fletcher’s command.

Australian auxiliary patrol boat HMAS Kuru arrives at Portuguese East Timor from Australia bringing supplies to Sparrow Force.

Overnight, RAF send 195 bombers (97 Wellingtons, 38 Halifaxes, 27 Lancasters, 21 Stirlings, 12 Hampdens) back to Essen, Germany, but the raid is no more accurate than last night (only 3 high-explosive bombs and 300 incendiary canisters hit the city, with no serious damage or casualties). 7 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings and 1 Hampden are lost. Luftwaffe bombs Canterbury, England, in retaliation for the bombing of Essen yesterday.

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