Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 1057 July 23, 1942

Case Blue. German 13th and 22nd Panzer and Czechoslovakian Mobile Slovak Divisions break through the defensive belts into the center of Rostov-on-Don, capturing the Kommolomny Bridge over the River Don. Hitler, simultaneously flushed with the ease of success at Rostov and frustrated by the slow progress in general, issues F├╝hrer Directive No. 45 completely changing objectives for most German forces. Lack of Soviet resistance at Rostov persuades Hitler that Paulus’s 6th Army can take Stalingrad alone (Operation Fischreiher), so 4th Panzer Army (which is North of 6th Army) is redirected South to join Army Group A. This causes chaos as 4th Panzer crosses through the infantry of 6th Army, leaving their already stretched supplies lines inextricably tangled. Army Group A (1st and 4th Panzer Armies, 17th Army and soon to be joined by Manstein’s 11th Army from the Crimea) is given the increased task of capturing essentially the entire Caucasus (Operation Edelweiss).

Invasion of Papua. Japanese advance 20 miles inland from the landing sites at Buna and Gona, across the coastal plain along the Kokoda Track. At Awala, they run into an advance guard of Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB), who withdraw across the Kumusi River destroying the footbridge. Japanese drive off PIB with mortars and machinegun fire to cross the river. PIB pulls back a few miles to where Australia 39th Battalion Company B, under Captain Sam Templeton, is preparing an ambush. This is the first clash on the Kokoda track.

200 miles Southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-752 sinks British SS Garmula carrying 6009 tons of grain from Australia to Britain (21 killed, 67 survivors picked up by British anti-submarine trawler HMS Pict).

At 10.22 PM 5 miles North of Cayo Guillermo, Cuba, U-129 sinks American SS Onondaga (19 crew and 1 passenger killed, 14 survivors picked up by Cuban fishing boat Laventina next morning).

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