Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 1012 June 8, 1942

Overnight Japanese submarines shell Australian coastal cities, Sydney and Newcastle. After midnight, I-24 surfaces 9 miles Southeast of Sydney and in 4 minutes fires 10 rounds at Sydney Harbour Bridge (no hits), before diving to avoid fire from coastal artillery. 9 shells land in the Eastern suburbs causing minor injuries but only 1 explodes demolishing a house. Fearing a Japanese invasion, some Sydney residents panic and flee the city. At 2.15 AM, I-21 shells Newcastle from a distance of 6 miles, firing 34 shells in 16 minutes at the BHP steelworks. Only 1 shell explodes damaging a house and a dud hits a tram terminus (again only minor injuries). Fort Scratchley return fire without damaging I-21, the only time Australian land fortifications fire on an enemy warship.

In the Caribbean. At 1.19 AM 100 miles East of Cozumel, Mexico, U-107 sinks American SS Suwied (6 killed, 27 survivors picked up 19 hours later by US Coast Guard patrol vessel USCGC Nemesis). At 5 AM 10 miles South of Cape Beata, Dominican Republic, U-172 sinks US MV Sicilien (44 killed including 19 US Army troops, 31 survivors on rafts reach the Dominican Republic). 100 miles Southeast of Cozumel, U-504 sinks Honduran SS Tela with 2 torpedoes at 7 AM (11 killed, 43 survivors on 2 lifeboats and 2 rafts picked up 12 hours later by British MV Port Montreal) and British SS Rosenborg with 60 rounds from the deck gun at 6 PM (4 killed, 23 survivors picked up by Norwegian MV Geisha).

At 2.19 PM 400 miles East of Trinidad, U-128 sinks Norwegian tanker MV South Africa (6 dead, 36 survivors in 2 motor lifeboats reach Trinidad 7 days later after declining offers from several merchant vessels to come on board).

At 3.16 AM 225 miles Northwest of Bermuda, U-135 sinks Norwegian MV Pleasantville (2 dead, 35 crew and 10 US Army engineers in 3 lifeboats rescued by American SS Chickasaw City and Polish MV Paderewski).

At the Eastern end of the Mediterranean, U-83 sinks Egyptian SS Said with 50 rounds from the deck gun 15 miles Southwest of the ancient Palestinian port of Jaffa at 5.11 AM (5 dead, 9 survivors) and Palestinian sail boat Esther with gunfire 10 miles off Sidon, Lebanon, at 11.30 PM. In the evening 100 miles North of Cape Bon, Tunisia, Italian submarine Alagi mistakenly torpedoes and sinks Italian destroyer Antoniotto Usodimare which is escorting a Rommel supply convoy from Naples, Italy, to Tripoli Libya (survivors rescued by another convoy escort, Italian torpedo boat Cigno).

Libya. In the morning under cover of heavy fog, a British convoy reaches the fort at Bir Hacheim to resupply the 1st Free French Division. Rommel has arrived to command the attack, using the same weather to bring up tanks and 88mm guns to fire directly on the fort. General Kesselring provides massive Luftwaffe support, including 42 Stukas. Germans penetrate the outer defenses again and dig in only 200 yards from the fort.

Japanese submarines disrupt Allied shipping in the Mozambique Channel between Mozambique and Madagascar. At 9.53 AM, I-10 torpedoes and sinks British SS King Lud (no survivors). I-16 sinks Greek merchant Aghios Georgios IV and I-18 sinks Norwegian merchant Wilford, both with shellfire from the deck gun. In the middle of the Indian Ocean, I-20 sinks Greek merchant Christos Markettos.

Overnight, 170 RAF bombers (92 Wellingtons, 42 Halifaxes, 14 Stirlings, 13 Lancasters, 9 Hampdens) attack Essen, Germany. The raid is again inaccurate with bombs scattered over a wide area (13 killed, 42 injured). 7 Wellingtons, 7 Halifaxes, 3 Lancasters, 1 Hampden and 1 Stirling are lost.

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