Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 1010 June 6, 1942

At 2 AM in the South Atlantic, speedboat Esau from German armed merchant cruiser Michel torpedoes US liberty ship SS George Clymer (carrying 24 US aircraft). George Clymer stays afloat badly damaged and is scuttled next day by British armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara, which takes off the crew. Michel intends to attack HMS Alcantara during the rescue operation but mistimes the attack and arrives too late.

At 3.07 AM 60 miles Southwest of Puerto Rico, U-68 sinks Panamanian tanker MV C.O. Stillman carrying 125,812 barrels fuel oil (3 killed, 55 survivors).

Aftermath, Battle of Midway. 170 miles North of Midway, US carrier USS Yorktown is still afloat but on fire, under tow by minesweeper USS Vireo. At 4.30 AM, Japanese submarine I-168 penetrates the escort screen of cruisers and destroyers. At 6 AM, destroyer USS Hammann puts a salvage party aboard and remains alongside to provide power. At 1.31 PM, I-168 fires 4 torpedoes hitting USS Hammann which sinks in 4 minutes (84 killed, mainly by her primed depth charges exploding; 104 survivors including 72 wounded rescued by destroyers USS Balch and USS Benham) and USS Yorktown (remains afloat but the salvage party evacuates). US destroyers counterattack, dropping 40 depth charges and causing much damage to I-168 which escapes back to Japan. 560 miles West of Midway, US reconnaissance aircraft find the cruisers and destroyers reported yesterday by submarine USS Tambor. From 9.45 AM to 2.45 PM, 3 waves of dive-bombers from carriers USS Enterprise and USS Hornet attack, hitting destroyers Arashio (37 killed) & Asashio (22 killed) once each and cruisers Mikuma & Mogami (81 killed) with at least 5 bombs each. Mogami survives having dumped all her ordnance following yesterday’s collision but Mikuma is badly damaged by her own torpedoes exploding and sinks after dark (650 killed, 240 rescued by Mogami, Asashio and Arashio).

Japanese submarine I-16 joins the commerce raiding in the Mozambique Channel, sinking Yugoslavian freighter Susak with the deck gun just of the coast of Mozambique.

Near the equator in the middle of the Atlantic, German armed merchant cruiser Stier attacks Panamanian tanker Stanvac Calcutta which fires back with her 4-inch gun hitting Stier twice. Stier responds with 123 rounds from the 6-inch gun, scoring 40 hits and sinking Stanvac Calcutta (12 killed, 36 crew taken prisoner).

At Sevastopol, Germans continue pounding Soviet defenses with Luftwaffe bombing and artillery bombardment, including 600mm siege mortars Thor and Odin plus 800mm railway gun Schwerer Gustav which fires 7 shells at Fort Molotov and busts "Ammunition Mountain" (an undersea ammunition magazine covered with 10m of concrete, 30m under the sea in Severnaya Bay) with another 9 shells.

Libya. Following the retreat of Allied tanks in the aborted Operation Aberdeen, 3 Indian infantry battalions and 4 artillery regiments left in the Cauldron are overrun by Italian and German troops. With the battle in the Cauldron won, Rommel sends 90th Light Division to assist the assault on the Free French troops at Bir Hacheim fort.

Overnight, 233 RAF bombers (124 Wellingtons, 40 Stirlings, 27 Halifaxes, 20 Lancasters, 15 Hampdens, 7 Manchesters) attack Emden, Germany (300 houses destroyed, 17 killed and 49 injured). 3 Manchesters, 3 Wellingtons, 2 Stirlings and 1 Halifax are lost. Luftwaffe bombs Canterbury in Southeast England.

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