Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 1065 July 31, 1942

At 5.47 AM in dense fog 10 miles North of Kiska Island in the Aleutians, US submarine USS Grunion torpedoes and damages Japanese transport ship Kashima Maru. USS Grunion is sunk by the 80mm anti-aircraft gun mounted on the freighter (all 70 hands lost). USS Grunion will be found in 2007 by the sons of the captain, Lieutenant Commander Mannert Abele.

North Atlantic. Following U-754’s sinking of US fishing boat MV Ebb 2 days ago, Squadron Leader Norville Small (commander of RCAF 113 Squadron) searches the area South of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with patrols from RCAF Station Yarmouth. 120 miles Southwest of Halifax, Squadron Leader Small spots U-754 on the surface and sinks her with depth charges from his Lockheed Hudson (all 43 hands lost). 760 miles East of St. John’s, Newfoundland, U-164, U-210, U-217, U-511, U-553 and U-588 harass convoy ON 115 but are driven off by convoy escorts. Canadian corvette HMCS Wetaskiwin and destroyer HMCS Skeena sink U-588 with depth charges (all 46 hands lost). 150 miles East of the Azores, U-213 approaches convoy OS 35 (from Liverpool to Freetown, Sierra Leone) but is detected by the escorts. British sloops HMS Erne, HMS Rochester and HMS Sandwich sink U-213 with depth charges (all 50 hands lost).

Case Blue. With German 6th Army making little progress against Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies, West of the Don, Hitler reverses his order of July 23 (which detached 4th Panzer Army from the attack on Stalingrad). He sends 4th Panzer sent back North to assist 6th Army, causing further logistical confusion.

Tanimbar Island in the Banda Sea. 30 Australian troops in 2 small ships (Plover Force) attempt to reinforce Dutch KNIL troops but they are seen off with Japanese shellfire and return to Australia. Japanese troops land again covered by naval gunfire causing the Dutch to retreat and escape to Australia.

Kokoda track. Another Japanese convoy attempting to land troops at Buna on the North coast of Papua is forced by US bombers to return to Rabaul, New Britain.

US invasion of the Southern Solomon Islands (Operation Watchtower). 75 American and Australian warships and troop transports leave Fiji for Guadalcanal, commanded by US Admiral Frank Fletcher. 16,000 Allied infantry (primarily US 1st Marine Division) are commanded by US General Alexander Vandegrift. Meanwhile, US B-17 bombers soften up the Japanese airfield on Guadalcanal.

Overnight, 630 RAF bombers (308 Wellingtons, 113 Lancasters, 70 Halifaxes, 61 Stirlings, 54 Hampdens & 24 Whitleys) drop 900 tons of bombs on D├╝sseldorf, Germany (67 large fires started; 453 buildings destroyed, 15,000 damaged; 279 civilians killed, 1018 injured, 12,053 made homeless). 16 Wellingtons, 5 Hampdens, 4 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters and 2 Whitleys are lost. From 2.15 AM to 3.25 AM, Luftwaffe bombers drop 46 tons of bombs on Hull, England, causing extensive damage to Victoria Dock and houses on Grindell Street.