Saturday, June 9, 2012

Day 1013 June 9, 1942

Mediterranean. South of Palma, a British PBY Catalina flying boat sinks Italian submarine Zaffiro (all 47 hands lost). British aircraft carrier HMS Eagle from Gibraltar flies off 32 Spitfires fighters to Malta (all arrive safely). HMS Eagle has made 3 runs since early May, bringing 76 Spitfires to Malta to create 5 full squadrons (126, 185, 249, 601, 603 Squadrons) and give RAF air superiority over the Germans and Italians. U-83’s reign of terror on small boats in the Eastern Mediterranean continues, using the deck gun to sink Palestinian sailing ship Typhoon at 11.15 AM 4 miles Southwest of Sidon, Lebanon.

Libya. Free French 1st Infantry Brigade at Bir Hacheim is desperately low on supplies, with food and ammunition for 1 day and almost no water. In the morning under fog cover, British aircraft drop 34 gallons of water to the fort. At noon, 15th Panzer Division arrives and at 1 PM launches an attack supported by German infantry, under heavy artillery barrage and Luftwaffe bombing by 130 aircraft. The French defenses hold with help of British Bren gun carriers. Realizing the hopeless situation and acknowledging the French determination to hold the Southern end of the Gazala Line, British General Ritchie orders the fort to be evacuated next day.

At 4.10 AM 925 miles East of Ireland, U-124 attacks convoy ONS-100 sinking Free French corvette FFL Mimosa with 2 torpedoes (59 French, mostly from the small Newfoundland island of St. Pierre et Miquelon, and 6 British sailors killed; 4 French sailors picked up by Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine). At 1 PM 100 miles Southwest of Pubnico, Nova Scotia, U-432 fire 4 torpedoes at convoy BX-23A, mildly damaging British MV Malayan Prince (no casualties) but causing major damage to Norwegian MV Kronprinsen (1 killed, towed to Pubnico and beached, then towed to Boston, Massachusetts, in October for repairs).

35 miles Northeast of Cape Blanco, Venezuela, U-502 attacks convoy TO-5 sinking Belgian SS Bruxelles and US tanker SS Franklin K Lane (carrying 73,000 barrels of crude oil, 4 dead and 37 survivors picked up after 3 hours by British destroyer HMS Churchill).

Sevastopol. German 11th Army cannot consolidate its gains against dug in Soviet defenses and LIV Corps takes another 1,700 casualties in fruitless assaults. German troops dig in and allow Luftwaffe and the big guns Thor and Gustav to blast Soviet troops out.

In response to the Japanese occupation of Attu and Kiska at the Western end of the Aleutian Islands, the US Naval Air Station on Kodiak Island is commissioned as Naval Operating Base, comprising Naval Air Station, Submarine Base and Section Base.

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