Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 1026 June 22, 1942

In the Baltic Sea 5 miles West of the Swedish island of Gotland, Soviet submarine ShCh-317 sinks neutral Swedish SS Ada Gorthon, which is carrying iron ore to Germany and goes down within 1 minute (14 killed, 8 survivors).

Eastern Front. At Sevastopol, the struggle for the North shore of Severnaya Bay continues. Meanwhile, Soviet defenses East and South of Sevastopol also begin to crumble under the weight of German attacks. Further North near Kharkov, German 1st Panzer Army and part of 6th Army launch Operation Fridericus II. Having routed the Soviet offensive from the Izium salient in May, Germans hope to push Soviet 38th and 9th Armies further back from Kharkov and the Donets River to provide a better starting point for their coming Summer offensive (Operation Blau).

Tobruk. Rommel receives a telegram from Hitler, sent yesterday, promoting him to Field Marshall (Rommel notes privately that an additional Division would have been better). He replies, tantalizing Hitler with the chance to push the British out of Egypt and open the route to the Middle East oilfields in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq. Rommel has captured 5000 tons of food, 2000 tons of petrol, 2000 working vehicles and much ammunition at Tobruk, plus the harbour in good condition and a water distillation plant in working order, and claims he can now advance to the Suez Canal. As the British 8th Army withdraws 140 miles into Egypt, to prepare a new defensive line at Mersa Matruh, Rommel's troops reach Bardia, Libya, just 10 miles from the Egyptian border.

At 12.34 PM 120 miles Southeast of New York, U-202 sinks neutral Argentinian SS Rio Tercero carrying cargo to New York from Buenos Aires (5 dead, 37 survivors).

At 8.35 PM 175 miles South of Puerto Rico, U-159 stops US tanker SS E.J. Sadler (carrying 149.003 barrels of kerosene from Aruba) with shellfire. All 36 crew abandon ship in 4 lifeboats. The tanker is set on fire by numerous hits but does not sink, so a boarding party from U-159 sinks her with scuttling charges 4 hours later.

Overnight, RAF sends 227 aircraft (144 Wellingtons, 38 Stirlings, 26 Halifaxes, 11 Lancasters, 8 Hampdens) to bomb Emden, Germany (50 houses destroyed, damage in the harbour, 6 civilians killed and 40 injured). Decoy fires draw many bombers away from the target. 4 Wellingtons, 1 Lancaster, 1 Stirling are lost.

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