Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 1048 July 14, 1942

Soviet submarine ShCh-317 is attacked by German patrol boats while crossing "Nashorn" minefield in the Baltic Sea. Finnish minelayer Ruotsinsalmi and patrol boat VMV-6 follow the oil slick from ShCh-317 and sink the damaged submarine with depth charges (all 38 hands lost).

Case Blue. German 4th Panzer and 6th Armies make good progress South down the “Donets corridor” between the Donets River and the Don River. Soviet Southwest and Southern Fronts fall back ahead of the Germans, avoiding costly encirclement battles. Only 90,000 Soviet POWs have been captured since the start of the offensive 17 days ago, disappointing Hitler who hoped to eliminate the Soviet Armies blocking the path to the Caucasus oilfields.

At 8 PM 180 miles South of the Alaska Peninsula, Japanese submarine I-7 shells American SS Arcata en route from Bethel, Alaska to Seattle, Washington through the Unimak Pass. 29 crew, 3 US Navy passengers and a civilian passenger abandon ship in 1 lifeboat and 4 rafts, but are then machinegunned by I-7 (1 killed). SS Arcata sinks at 5 AM next morning. One raft with 11 survivors will be picked up on 17 July by US destroyer USS Kane & 13 survivors in the lifeboat will be picked up on 22 July by a fishing boat but 8 crew are never found.

At 10.30 PM, Italian submarine Calvi and U-130 attack Allied convoy SL 115 (from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to Britain) 575 miles West of Tenerife, Canary Islands. Calvi is detected by British sloop HMS Lulworth (United States Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Chelan on loan to the Royal Navy). Calvi dives but is forced to surface by depth charges from HMS Lulworth which then rakes Calvi with shells and machinegun fire (42 killed). The crew abandons ship and scuttles Calvi, just as HMS Lulworth’s boarding party arrives (1 British sailor is trapped on the submarine and drowns). HMS Lulworth is chased away by torpedoes from U-130 but returns after 3 hours to rescue 35 Calvi survivors.

Operation Pinpoint. British aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, cruisers HMS Cairo and HMS Charybdis and 5 destroyers leave Gibraltar to deliver 32 Spitfires to Malta.

First Battle of El Alamein, Egypt. With Australians on Tel el Eisa ridge holding German 21st Panzer Division near the coast, British General Auchinleck plans to trap Italian Pavia and Brescia Divisions further South on Ruweisat Ridge (in the middle of the El Alamein front). At 11 PM, 4th and 5th New Zealand Brigades attack the Western end of the Ridge while Indian 5th Infantry Brigade attacks the Eastern end.

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