Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 1017 June 13, 1942

After leaving base at Kronstadt, Leningrad, 2 days ago, Soviet submarine ShCh-405 is lost in the Tiger minefield off Seskar Island in the Baltic Sea (all 38 hands lost).

Sevastopol. At 3 AM, German 22nd Infantry Division attacks the massive Fort Stalin after 24 hours of dive bombing and shelling. At 5.30 AM, Germans capture the fort after clearing al the bunkers in fierce hand-to-hand fighting (German casualties are 32 dead, 126 wounded and Soviet casualties 180 killed, 20 taken prisoner). Despite shelling of Fort Stalin from the neighbouring Volga fort, Soviet troops do not try to retake Fort Stalin. Luftwaffe bombing of the docks sinks transport ships Gruzyia and TSch-27, patrol boat SKA-092, motor boat SP-40, 5 barges and a floating crane.

Operation Pastorius. U-202 lands 4 German saboteurs (including 1 US citizen), with enough explosives for a 2-year sabotage campaign, at Amagansett, Long Island, New York (today this is Atlantic Avenue beach). After being discovered by unarmed US Coast Guard John Cullen, who they release unharmed, they take the train into New York City.

In the Caribbean off the coast of Panama, U-159 sinks US liner SS Sixaola at 4.12 AM (29 crew sleeping in the bows killed by the torpedo strike; 87 crew, 6 gunners and 108 passengers in 5 lifeboats and 6 rafts rescued) and American SS Solon Turman at 7.38 PM (all 53 hands in 2 lifeboats rescued 28 hours later by Colombian schooners Envoy and Zaroma, but the assistant engineer falls overboard and drowns).

At 4 PM 28 miles South of Key West, Florida, US Coast Guard cutter USS Thetis sinks U-157 with depth charges (all 52 hands lost).

In the South Atlantic 650 miles South of Cape Verde Islands, Italian submarine Da Vinci sinks British collier SS Clan MacQuarrie (1 killed, 89 rescued).

Libya. German 21st Panzer Division advances East from the Cauldron, joining 15th Panzer & 90th Light Divisions and surrounding British troops in the Knightsbridge box. Rommel's use of tanks, anti-tank guns and aerial bombardment reduces British tank strength to 70, giving Afrika Korps superiority in tanks for the first time in the battles around Gazala. Overnight, surviving British troops retreat from Knightsbridge, precipitating a withdrawal towards the Egyptian frontier.

Crete. Overnight, British Commandos are landed from Greek submarines Papanicolis and Triton but are unable to reach Maleme airfield due to an electric fence. However, Commandos under George Jellicoe (son of WWI Admiral John Jellicoe), dropped on Crete by Greek submarine Triton on June 10, blow up 20 German Ju88 aircraft at Heraklion airfield using Lewes bombs.

HMS Farouk is a British Q-ship (Palestinian 2-masted caique requisitioned by 53 year-old Temporary Lieutenant Arthur Lockington, who has experience of Q-ships in WW1, and armed with 2 guns hidden in a false deckhouse), designed as bait to attract submarines that will then be attacked. At 11.10 AM near Ramkin Island, off Chekka, Lebanon, U-83 uses the deck gun from 3000 yards on HMS Farouk which sinks before the crew can return fire (9 killed).

27 Japanese aircraft (23rd Air Flotilla flying from Kendari, Celebes, Dutch East Indies) attack Darwin, Australia.

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