Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 1036 July 2, 1942

In Parliament, British Prime Minister Churchill faces a vote of no confidence following the series of defeats by Japan in the Far East and now by Rommel in Libya. The proposers of the vote, Conservative MPs Sir John Wardlaw-Milne & Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes plus National Liberal MP Leslie Hore-Belisha (previously Chamberlain’s Secretary of State for War), present a half-baked case for censure. Churchill, closing the debate, responds “if democracy and Parliamentary institutions are to triumph in this war, it is absolutely necessary that Governments resting upon them shall be able to act and dare, that the servants of the Crown shall not be harassed by nagging and snarling”. He wins the confidence of Parliament comfortably, 475 to 25.

Kriegsmarine battleship Tirpitz, cruiser Admiral Hipper, 4 destroyers and 2 torpedo boats depart Trondheim to intercept Allied convoy PQ 17, which is being shadowed by submarines and Blohm & Voss BV 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon) flying boats. Seven He115 seaplanes attack the convoy unsuccessfully with torpedoes.

With Sevastopol mostly under German control, Luftwaffe turns its attention to the Soviet Black Sea Fleet in the Caucasus port of Novorossisk, sinking Soviet destroyers Bditelny and Tashkent (which is under repair from damage inflicted by German bombers in the Black Sea on June 28). Several other warships are damaged including 2 destroyers and cruiser Komintern (which is moved 250 miles Southeast to the port of Poti for repairs).

First Battle of El Alamein. Rommel tries the same tactics with the same result. 90th Light Division fails to make progress against the coastal “El Alamein box”, again stopped by British artillery and RAF bombing. 10 miles inland, 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions are stopped by "Robcol" (field artillery, light anti-aircraft guns and an infantry company under Brigadier Robert Waller) which occupies the dominating high ground at Ruweisat Ridge. In late afternoon, British 4th and 22nd Armoured Brigades attack both Panzer Divisions and drive back the German tanks, capturing 2,000 prisoners and 30 field guns.

At 6.17 AM in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, U-129 sinks Norwegian MV Gundersen (1 killed, 25 survivors in 2 lifeboats picked up after a few hours by Norwegian SS Dea).

80 miles East of Shanghai, China, US submarine USS Plunger sinks Japanese transport ship Unyo Maru No.3.

Overnight, 325 RAF bombers (175 Wellingtons, 53 Lancasters, 35 Halifaxes, 34 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens) return to Bremen, Germany, damaging 1000 houses and 4 small industrial firms (5 civilians killed, 4 injured). In the port, 3 cranes and 7 ships are damaged with 1,736-ton steamer Marieborg sunk. 8 Wellingtons, 2 Hampdens, 2 Stirlings & 1 Halifax are lost.

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