Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 1064 July 30, 1942

At 1.10 AM 100 miles Southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, U-132 (leaving the Gulf of St. Lawrence) attacks convoy ON-113, sinking British MV Pacific Pioneer (all 59 crew members, 8 gunners and 4 passengers picked up by Canadian corvette HMCS Calgary and landed at Halifax).

At 4 AM, Japanese troops land on Maluku Islands, Dutch East Indies (in the Banda Sea between Timor and New Guinea) to shore up their positions North of Australia. The smaller Aru Island and Babar Island are occupied unopposed, while the 28 Dutch colonial troops (KNIL) holding Kai Island are rapidly overcome. The only serious resistance is at Tanimbar Island where Japanese troops land on the jetty at Saumlaki to march into town in formation. 13 KNIL troops open fire with 2 light machineguns at close range, sending the Japanese back to their boats (several killed).

Repatriation of British and Japanese diplomats begins. Japanese liner Tatuta Maru leaves Yokohama, Japan, carrying British Ambassador Sir Robert Craigie and embassy staff to Lourenço Marques, Portuguese East Africa (now Maputo, Mozambique). To ensure safe passage, all exchange vessels have large white crosses and national flags painted prominently on the sides and they sail fully illuminated at night.

In the Philippines Sea 40 miles Southwest of Truk Island, US submarine USS Grenadier hits Japanese oiler San Clemente Maru with 2 torpedoes. The Mark-14 torpedoes, which are riddled with problems including faulty firing pins, cause an audible clang but fail to explode.

In the Baltic Sea 1 mile off Pavilosta, Latvia, Soviet submarine SC-7 sinks German SS Kathe.

Eastern Front. 130 miles West of Moscow, Soviets launch attacks to eliminate the German salient at Rzhev (North of the salient, General Konev’s Kalinin Front sends 30th Army to Rzhev and 29th Army to nearby Zubtsov). Case Blue - German Panzers continue their charge into the Caucasus across the flat terrain South of the River Don, while Paulus’s 6th Army struggles to make progress against Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies on the West bank of the Don Bend.

U-375 joins U-77 shooting up small sailing vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean. At 12.16 PM East of Cyprus, U-77 fires 3 torpedoes at a small warship escorting a convoy but sinks Egyptian sailboat Fany instead (all 10 crew survive). At the same time 110 miles South of Cyprus, U-375 stops 2 Egyptian sailboats Amina and Ikbal with shots across the bow and then sinks both with the deck gun after the crews abandon ship.

At 7.58 PM 250 miles East of Barbados, U-155 torpedoes American SS Cranford which sinks in 3 minutes on the cargo of 6600 tons of chrome ore and 1600 tons of cotton (11 killed, 36 survivors on 1 lifeboat and 2 rafts picked up next morning by Spanish tanker SS Castillo Alemenara and landed at Curaçao).

At 8.48 PM 550 miles South of the Cape Verde Islands, U-130 sinks British MV Danmark (all 38 crew and 8 gunners picked up by Norwegian MV Mosli).

At 10.30 PM 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, U-166 sinks US liner SS Robert E. Lee which is carrying survivors of torpedoed ships to the USA (10 crew and 15 passengers killed; 120 crew, 6 gunners and 253 passengers escape in 6 lifeboats, 8 rafts and 5 floats picked up by submarine chasers USS PC-566 and USS SC-519 plus tug Underwriter). USS PC 566 counterattacks with depth charges and sinks U-166 (all 52 hands lost), the only U-boat sunk in the Gulf of Mexico during WWII.

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