Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 1060 July 26, 1942

North Atlantic. Between 7.57 and 8.11 AM 475 miles East of St. John’s, Newfoundland, U-607 and U-704 both torpedo British MV Empire Rainbow in convoy ON-113 which sinks (all 39 crew and 8 gunners picked up by British destroyer HMS Burnham and Canadian corvette HMCS Dauphin). At 8.15 AM 12 miles East of Tobago, U-66 sinks Brazilian SS TamandarĂ© (4 killed, 48 survivors in 2 lifeboats spotted by an aircraft and picked up by US patrol boat PC-492).

At 9.45 AM in the Gulf of Mexico off Corpus Christi, Texas, U-171 sinks Mexican SS Oaxaca (6 killed, 39 survivors).

Kokoda track. At 3 PM, Japanese attack 145 troops (Papuan Infantry Battalion and Australian 39th Battalion) holding the track at Oivi. Australians have a tactical advantage of an airfield at Kokoda 12 miles inland to fly in reinforcements but they manage to land only 2 transports during the day bringing in 32 additional troops (and only half of those reach Oivi). At 5 PM, Captain Templeton heads back to Kokoda to find the other reinforcements but he is captured by Japanese who have outflanked his position. Templeton will be interrogated (convincing his captors that there are 10,000 Australian troops defending Port Moresby) and then executed next day with a sword thrust in his stomach. The remaining troops at Oivi sneak out of the trap overnight, heading South into the jungle. Meanwhile, Japanese convoy arrives from Rabaul, New Britain, bringing another 1020 troops and 200 porters.

Case Blue. German Army Group A fans out rapidly into the Caucasus, South of the River Don (while 1st Panzer Army attacks Southeast, 17th Army heads Southwest to secure the Black Sea coast and join up with Manstein’s 11th Army arriving from the Crimea across the Kerch peninsula). German 6th Army breaks through Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies to reach the Don just West of Stalingrad.

El Alamein. Overnight, British 8th Army launches another attack on Miteirya (Operation Manhood). Again, Auchinleck expects infantry to make surprise attacks and mark minefields in the dark to allow tanks to rush through in the morning. British, South African and New Zealand infantry take most of their objectives.

Overnight, RAF sends 403 bombers (181 Wellingtons, 77 Lancasters, 73 Halifaxes, 39 Stirlings, 33 Hampdens) to Hamburg, Germany (5000 houses damaged, 823 destroyed; 337 civilians killed, 1027 injured, 14,000 made homeless). 15 Wellingtons, 8 Halifaxes, 2 Hampdens, 2 Lancasters & 2 Stirlings are lost.

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