Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 1043 July 9, 1942

Overnight, a Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft spots Convoy WP 183 (merchant ships sailing from various Welsh ports to destinations on the South coast of England). At 1 AM, 7 German torpedo boats attack the convoy off Lyme Bay, Dorset. S67 sinks British tanker Pomella. S48, S109 and S70 sink Norwegian freighters SS Kongshaug (8 killed), SS Røsten (5 killed) and SS Bokn (12 killed). S50 sinks Dutch SS Reggestrom. S63 sinks a convoy escort, British armed trawler HMT Manor (19 killed, 1 survivor). Luftwaffe bombers also attack and sink British SS Gripfast (7 killed including 2 survivors from SS Røsten). Survivors from most ships are picked up by British destroyer HMS Brocklesby.

Convoy PQ 17. German Ju88 bombers damage Panamanian freighter El Capitan (all 67 hands survive) and American SS Hoosier (all 53 hands escape). The ships start arriving at Archangelsk, USSR.

Baltic Sea. Soviet submarine S-7 attacks Swedish coastal freighters 10 miles off the East coast of Sweden, missing SS Noreg at 4.17 PM and sinking SS Margareta (carrying coal from Germany, 14 killed) at 7.58 PM.

Finns counterattack the Soviet beachhead on the island of Someri in the Gulf of Finland, supported by shellfire from German and Finnish minesweepers. The minesweepers also prevent the landing of more Soviet reinforcements, sinking 4 Soviet torpedo cutters and a patrol cutter. By midday, Soviet troops surrender (126 killed, 149 taken POW).

Case Blue. German 4th Panzer Army captures Voronezh, despite strong Soviet resistance, while 6th Army reaches Rossosh 100 miles South of Voronezh. 1st Panzer Army joins the fray, attacking from Kharkov and crossing the Donets River. Soviet Southwest and Southern Fronts begin strategic withdrawals to the South and East; the first such retreat authorized by Stalin.

In the Mediterranean off Beirut, Lebanon, Italian submarine Perla fires torpedoes which miss British corvette HMS Hyacinth. HMS Hyacinth counterattacks with depth charges, forcing Perla to dive to 250 feet before losing control and rapidly surfacing (1 man killed by being blown out by the internal pressure as he opens the hatch, 25 crew taken prisoner). Perla is towed to Beirut, repaired and briefly commissioned into Royal Navy as P.712, then transferred to the Greek Navy on December 5 1942 as HHMS Matrozos (decommissioned in 1954).

In the North Atlantic, U-172 sinks American SS Santa Rita (carrying 2 captured German tanks back from North Africa), U-575 sinks British SS Empire Explorer, U-66 sinks Yugoslavian SS Triglav and U-203 sinks British MV Cape Verde.

In the Gulf of Mexico 50 miles North of Havana, Cuba, U-571 sinks Honduran SS Nicholas Cuneo with 43 shells from the deck gun.

Near Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, US submarine USS Thresher sinks Japanese torpedo recovery vessel Shinsho Maru. Japanese counterattacks with depth charges and bombs are unsuccessful.

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