Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 1024 June 20, 1942

Libya. Rommel unleashes a surprise attack on Tobruk beginning at 5.30 AM with artillery and a succession of bombing raids involving every German and Italian bomber in Libya plus some from Crete. 11th Indian Infantry Brigade cracks under the barrage, creating a gap on the Southeast corner of Tobruk’s perimeter which 100 German and Italian tanks pour through at 7 AM. By noon, Rommel is in view of the port. South African General Klopper does not rush reinforcements into the breach, so British and South African troops remain in their trenches and gun pits in other sectors or along the coast. German infantry fight their way into the town against shore-based British naval personnel and are in control of the port by 7 PM. British start destroying stocks of food, fuel and ammunition while an exodus of small boats leaves Tobruk harbour under heavy German artillery fire.

Sevastopol. At 9 AM, German 24th Infantry Division attacks Battery Lenin and Fort North. Battery Lenin, defended by only 1 anti-aircraft gun, gives up immediately. Fort North (300m wide, containing 32 concrete bunkers and 7 armored cupolas, with an anti-tank ditch and minefields) holds out all day, using anti-tank fire to destroy 3 German Borgward B IV remote-controlled explosive carrier demolition vehicles.

At 11.25 AM in the Gulf of Mexico 90 miles South of New Orleans, U-67 damages Norwegian tanker MV Nortind with a torpedo (1 crew member lost). MV Nortind reaches New Orleans 2 days later and will be repaired at Mobile, Alabama, and return to service in September.

Operation Pastorius. 3 German saboteurs (who landed on Long Island on June 13) are arrested in New York City. The FBI is acting on information from the fourth saboteur, George Dasch, who turned himself in yesterday in Washington.

In the evening, Japanese submarine I-26 surfaces 2 miles off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. In the first attack on Canada since the war of 1812, I-26 shells the Estevan Point lighthouse and radio-direction-finding (RDF) installation, causing all lighthouses along the coast to shut down.

Overnight, RAF sends 185 bombers to Emden, Germany, but again most aircraft miss the target. 3 Wel1ingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1 Halifax & 1 Lancaster are lost.

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