Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 1050 July 16, 1942

French Vichy government collaborates with the German Gestapo to send French Jews to concentration camps for extermination. Vel' d'Hiv Roundup in Paris starts at 4 AM and lasts 2 days; 13,152 Jews (3299 men, 5802 women and 4,051 children) are arrested and held at the Vélodrome d'hiver and the Drancy internment camp (unfinished apartment blocks). Most will be sent to Auschwitz (along with 29,000 other French Jews in 1942) but only 811 survive to the end of the war.

British 8th Army commander General Auchinleck wages a battle of attrition at El Alamein, Egypt, secure in the knowledge that he has a steadier supply of troops and equipment (including the new M4 Sherman tanks from America) than his adversary Rommel. At Tel el Eisa ridge, Australian 24th Battalion takes 50% casualties trying to retake ground lost over the last 2 days. Further South, German Panzers attack all along Ruweisat Ridge but are held off by anti-tank guns and artillery of Indian 5th Infantry Brigade and British 2nd & 22nd Armoured Brigades (Germans lose 24 tanks plus armoured cars and anti-tank guns)

In the morning, German armed merchant cruiser Michel spots 2 tankers 1000 miles West of Angola and shadows them all day. At 9 PM, Michel closes quickly and attacks without warning, sinking American tanker SS William F. Humphrey with 60 6-inch shells, anti-aircraft guns, machinegunfire and 3 torpedoes (8 killed, 29 survivors in 2 lifeboats taken prisoner by Michel, 11 survivors escape capture and sail 450 miles in 5 days in a lifeboat until picked up by Norwegian freighter Triton). Simultaneously, Michel’s speedboat Esau hits the other tanker with 2 torpedoes but Norwegian MV Aramis is able to continue. Michel follows.

About 9 AM 30 miles Northeast of Havana, Cuba, U-166 stops 3 American men in a tiny fishing boat (carrying 20 tons of onions from Florida to Havana). The crew heads for the Florida Keys in a 14-foot motorboat which runs out of fuel while U-166 sinks MV Gertrude with gunfire. The 3 men drift for 3 days before being spotted by the Civil Air Patrol 3 miles South of the Keys.

At 9.34 AM 10 miles Northwest of Trinidad, U-160 torpedoes Panamanian tanker SS Beaconlight (1 killed, 38 crew and 2 British gunners in 3 lifeboats rescued 6 hours later by passenger ship SS Trinidad and landed at Port of Spain). The wreck is sunk by British rescue tug HMS Roode Zee.

At 3.43 PM 200 miles South of Bermuda, U-161 attacks convoy AS-4 carrying supplies to British 8th Army in Egypt from New York, sinking American SS Fairport (with 8000 tons of war materiel, including Sherman tanks on deck). All 43 crew, 14 gunners and 66 US Army personnel are picked up by convoy escort US destroyer USS Kearny.

Black Sea. Luftwaffe bombs the Caucasus port of Poti, badly damaging Soviet destroyer Bodry and destroying the minelaying cruiser Komintern (which is already under repair from German bomb damage at Novorossisk on July 2). Komintern’s guns will be removed over the next 2 months and used for coastal defense, while Komintern will be sunk as a blockship in October.

2 miles off the coast of French Indochina, 70 miles North of Cam Ranh Bay, US submarine USS Seadragon sinks Japanese transport ship Hakodate Maru (3rd sinking in 4 days) and returns to base at Freemantle, Australia, 3000 miles South.

21 RAF Stirling bombers raid Lübeck, Germany, at dusk, approaching under cloud cover. Only 8 Stirlings find the target and 2 do not return.

1 comment:

  1. Was not too much happening during Case Blue at this point? Every source I've read about it seems to have a dark area around mid July. Logistics difficulties?