Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 1014 June 10, 1942

Siege of Leningrad Day 276. On the Volkhov River, Soviet 2nd Shock Army’s has held a salient 40 miles deep since January 13 but they were cut off and surrounded by a German pincer on May 30. As the ground firms up in the late Spring, the German noose tightens and Soviet General Andrey Vlasov struggles to extract his 180,000 troops.

Soviet submarine D-3 goes missing with all hands in the Barents Sea, probably lost in Bantos-A minefield off Rybachy Peninsula, USSR, or Schpeer III minefield off Berlevog, Norway.

At Sevastopol, the battle of attrition continues with Luftwaffe pounding Soviet positions and German infantry making no progress. Soviet destroyer Svobodnyy and transport ship Abkhaziya (part of a flotilla regularly resupplying the besieged garrison and taking out wounded) are sunk by German dive-bombers as they unload in the port.

The Czech towns of Lidice and Ležáky have been incorrectly linked to the assassination of Richard Heydrich. On Hitler’s orders, everyone in Ležáky and all men in Lidice are murdered, while Lidice women are deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp (4 pregnant women are first forcibly aborted at the hospital where Heydrich died). Both towns are burned and Lidice is levelled. In total, 1300 people are massacred in retaliation for Heydrich's death.

Libya. At Bir Hacheim, General Kœnig’s Free French endure another day of assaults from German 15th Panzer Division and bombing by 100 Luftwaffe aircraft. French defenses hold, again with aid of British Bren gun carriers, as the garrison makes plans for a stealthy overnight evacuation. After dark, French sappers begin clearing a path to the Southwest through their own minefields, while German troops prepare for another attack in the morning (unaware that the French are essentially out of ammunition).

7 miles off the Egyptian coast 50 miles West of Alexandria, Egypt, U-81 and U-559 attack convoy AT-49. At 2.18 AM, U-81 sinks British SS Havre (18 crew and 2 gunners lost, 30 survivors picked up by the British armed trawler HMS Parktown). At 4.56 AM, U-559 torpedoes Norwegian tanker MV Athene igniting the cargo of 6000 tons of aviation fuel which burns for 2 days (14 killed, 17 survivors including many badly burned) and damages Royal Fleet Auxiliary oiler RFA Brambleleaf which is towed to Alexandria to be used as an oil hulk (7 killed, 53 survivors picked up by Greek destroyer RHS Vasilissa Olga).

At 3.40 AM 880 miles East of Newfoundland, U-94 attacks convoy ONS-100 and sinks British SS Empire Clough on her maiden voyage (5 dead, 44 survivors rescued by British corvette HMS Dianthus and Portuguese trawler Argus) and SS Ramsay (35 crew and 5 gunners killed, 7 crew members and 1 gunner picked up by British corvette HMS Vervain).

At 8.06 PM 340 miles South of Bermuda, U-129 sinks Norwegian MV LA Christensen (all 31 hands escape in 3 lifeboats, picked up after 18 hours by Norwegian SS Bill).

Caribbean. At 5 AM 60 miles South of Cozumel, Mexico, U-107 sinks American SS Merrimack (43 killed, many in a grisly accident; 10 survivors). U-68 sinks 3 British ships heading to the Panama Canal; at 5.20 AM, MV Ardenvohr (1 dead, 70 survivors including 17 rescued from American SS Velma Lykes sunk by U-68 on June 5) and SS Surrey (12 dead and 55 survivors) and just before midnight MV Port Montreal (all 88 on board escape in 4 lifeboats, including 43 rescued from SS Tela sunk by U-504 on June 8, but 2 die before the survivors are picked up 6 days later by Colombian schooner Hiloa).

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