Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 1009 June 5, 1942

Aftermath, Battle of Midway. At 2.15 AM 100 miles West of Midway, 4 Japanese cruisers and 2 destroyers spot approaching US submarine USS Tambor and start zigzagging. Cruisers Mogami and Mikuma collide, causing serious damage to Mogami's bow (92 killed). At 4.50 AM, the flagship of the carrier fleet, Akagi, is ceremonially scuttled by 1 torpedo each from destroyers Arashi, Hagikaze, Maikaze and Nowaki. At 5.10 AM, Japanese carrier Hiryū is scuttled by torpedoes from destroyer Makigumo (Hiryū’s Captain Kaku and Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi, commander of the 2nd Carrier Division, go down with the ship).

Japanese begin commerce raiding in the Mozambique Channel. 350 miles off Durban, South Africa, surface raiders Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru sink British liner SS Elysia (which suffered 5 torpedo attacks in WWI without sinking) en route from Glasgow to Bombay. Submarine I-20 sinks Panamanian merchant Johnstown, 100 miles off Pemba, Mozambique. 45 miles off Inhassoro, Mozambique, submarine I-10 sinks Panamanian Atlantic Gulf at 2.31 AM and American freighter Melvin H Baker at 10.44 AM.

At Sevastopol, Germans continue to soften up the Soviet defenders with artillery bombardment and Luftwaffe bombing. German 800mm railway gun Schwerer Gustav is brought up and fires 6 shells (weighing 4,800kg with an explosive load of 700kg capable of creating a crater 10m wide by 10 m deep) at Fort Stalin and another 8 shells Soviet coastal gun batteries at a range of 25km.

Libya. After interminable delay, General Ritchie finally sends massed armor of British 8th Army against Rommel in the Cauldron (Operation Aberdeen). At 3 AM a misdirected artillery barrage falls in empty desert and serves only warn the Germans of the impending attack. When Ritchie’s tanks move forward with British and Indian infantry, the German anti-tank guns are ready and quickly break up the attack. Rommel goes on the attack in the afternoon, overrunning the headquarters of 2 British Divisions as well as 9th and 10th Indian Infantry Brigades.

Free French submarine Rubis lays mines in the Bay of Biscay which will sink French ship Quand Meme (on June 26) and Kriegsmarine minesweepers M-4212 (June 12) and M-4448 (July 10).

United States of America declares war on Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.

In the Caribbean. At 3.32 AM 15 miles off Cancun, Mexico, U-158 torpedoes American SS Velma Lykes which sinks within a minute (15 killed, 17 survivors). At 6.08 AM 120 miles North of Puerto Rico, U-172 sinks American SS Delfina (4 dead, 27 survivors). At 8.49 PM Dominican Republic, U-68 hits US tanker SS LJ Drake with 3 torpedoes causing the cargo of 72,961 barrels of gasoline to explode (all 40 hands killed immediately). U-159 shoots up 2 sailing boats with the 20mm anti-aircraft gun 85 miles South of Punta Cana (Brazilian schooner Paracury at 5.27 AM and Honduran vessel Sally at 8.10 PM).

At 10.10 PM 650 miles East of St. John’s, Newfoundland, U-94 sinks neutral Portuguese sailing ship Maria da Glória with the deck gun (2 killed immediately). 42 crew escape in 9 dories; 8 are rescued on July 15 by US Coast Guard yacht USCG Sea Cloud but 34 others are never found.

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