Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 1046 July 12, 1942

Siege of Leningrad Day 308. On the Volkhov River, Soviet General Andrey Vlasov, commander of the recently-annihilated 2nd Shock Army, is turned over to the Germans by a farmer after hiding in German-held territory for 10 days. Vlasov will defect to his captors and in 1944-45 command Russian units in the German army, known as the Russian Liberation Army (Russian: Russkaya osvoboditel'naya armiya).

First Battle of El Alamein, Egypt. 21st Panzer Division sends German 104th Infantry Regiment (newly-arrived from Crete, without desert training) to counterattack Australian positions on Tel el Eisa ridge. For 3 hours, A company 2/2 Australian machinegun battalion (26th Brigade) holds off the attacking infantry with 4 Vickers machineguns. 104th Infantry Regiment takes 50% casualties (600 dead and wounded).

Mediterranean. Italian submarine Alagi sinks Turkish vessel Antares. In the Gulf of Orosei 2 miles off the East coast of Sardinia, British submarine HMS Safari sinks Italian sailing ship Adda.

41 merchant ships in convoy OS-33 left Liverpool on July 1, separating yesterday into columns heading for Sierra Leone (with escort warships), South Africa and South America (without escorts). U-116, U-201, U-572, U-582 & U-752 (wolfpack Hai or “shark”) attack the unescorted ships. U-116, U-201 & U-582 sink 4 British freighters, while U-752 does not find any targets. U-572 makes no attempt to engage the convoy and her captain, Kptlt. Heinz Hirsacker, will be found guilty at court-martial for “cowardice in the presence of the enemy”.

In the Caribbean 50 miles Southwest of Grand Cayman, U-129 sinks American SS TachirĂ¡ (5 dead, 33 survivors drift for 300 miles West 4 days and reach Cancun, Mexico).

Off Cam Ranh Bay, French Indochina, US submarine USS Seadragon sinks Japanese transport ship Himaya Maru.

In the Mozambique Channel, Japan’s only 2 armed merchant cruisers Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru (Osaka Shipping Line passenger-cargo vessels converted in 1940) sink New Zealand freighter Hauraki. The armed merchant cruisers also provide supplies to the Japanese submarines operating against Allied shipping in the area.

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