Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 1054 July 20, 1942

Egypt. With Rommel unable to break through Allied defenses at El Alamein, Mussolini returns to Italy. He has waited 21 days in vain to lead a victory parade into Cairo. In the Mediterranean, British aircraft carrier HMS Eagle leaves Gibraltar carrying 31 Spitfires fighters and 4 Swordfish torpedo bombers for Malta (Operation Insect).

Invasion of Papua. 3 transport ships carrying Japanese 5th Sasebo Special Naval Landing Forces and Yokoyama Detachment (17th Army) depart Rabaul, New Britain (escorted by cruisers Tenryƫ and Tatsuta, destroyers Asanagi, Yƫzuki and Uzuki and a minelayer) for landings on the North coast of Papua. 40 Japanese aircraft raid Port Moresby on the South coast.

In the Indian Ocean, 1950 miles West of Australia, German armed merchant cruiser Thor attacks British MV Indus, sailing from Colombo, Ceylon, to Freemantle, Australia. MV Indus attempts to outrun the raider and returns fire but is set on fire by accurate shelling from Thor (22 killed, 49 survivors rescued from the water). 15 miles off the East coast of Australia 75 miles South of Sydney, Japanese submarine I-11 sinks Greek steamer G.S. Livanos, carrying 87 Australian Army motor vehicles.

At 6.39 PM in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada, U-132 attacks convoy QS-19 near Anticosti Island. British SS Frederika Lensen is badly damaged (4 killed), is towed by Canadian corvette HMCS Weyburn and beached, but declared a total loss.

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