Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 1097 September 1, 1942

18 days into her first patrol, U-756 approaches convoy SC 97 just before 1 AM, 500 miles East of the tip of Greenland, but is spotted on the surface by Canadian corvette HMCS Morden. HMCS Morden tries to ram (U-756 dives) and then attacks with depth charges sinking U-756 (all 43 hands lost). 50 miles further East, an American Catalina PBY floatplane (Squadron VP-73) attacks U-91, causing minor damage.

Battle of Alam el Halfa, Egypt. Overnight, RAF Wellington bombers disrupt Rommel’s overland supply lines from Benghazi and Tobruk, destroying valuable fuel without which Panzerarmee Afrika is stationary most of the day. 15th Panzer Division mounts a minor attack which is repelled by British 8th Armoured Brigade. Between 8.26 AM and 5.53 PM, Luftwaffe fighter pilot Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Marseille shoots down 17 Allied fighters, flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109 in 3 combat sorties. He will be awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds.

Siege of Leningrad Day 359. Luftwaffe aircraft sink Soviet torpedo boat Purga on Lake Ladoga. Purga is salvaged and machinery recycled into her damaged sister-ship Vikhr.

Stalingrad. 16th Panzer Division (part of 6th Army, waiting North of Stalingrad) and XLVIII Panzer Corps (4th Panzer Army), located on the Stalingrad outskirts, do not have the strength to link up and surround Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies which are still holding ground West of the city. Soviet General Yeremenko sees the danger and orders 62nd and 64th Armies to fall back to avoid encirclement.

Illustrating US control of the Solomon Islands during daylight hours, USAAF B-17 bombers damage Japanese flying boat support ship Akitsushima and destroyer Akikaze off Buka Island, at the very Northern end of the Solomons. USS Betelgeuse, an Arcturus-class attack cargo ship, lands US 6th Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) on Guadalcanal to improve Henderson Field and build facilities.

Milne Bay, Papua. Australians attack again from the KB Mission pushing the Japanese further back towards their original landing site at Waga Waga which is strafed by 7 RAAF Kittyhawk fighters flying from Gili Gili airfield. In response to this setback, 130 Japanese reinforcements (5th Yokosuka SNLF) depart Rabaul for Milne Bay.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Japanese 41st Regiment catches up with Australian 2/14 and 2/16 Battalions at Eora. Japanese patiently shell and machinegun from heights across the valley until attacking from the front and the flank after dark and gradually infiltrating the Australia positions overnight.

At 10.06 PM 15 miles East of Cape Coast, Gold Coast, U-125 sinks tiny British steamer Ilorin (33 killed, 4 survivors).

Overnight, RAF sends 231 bombers to attack Saarbrücken, Germany, but the Pathfinders inadvertently mark Saarlouis, 13 miles Northwest, which is badly damaged (52 civilians killed). No bombs fall in Saarbrücken. 1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster, 1 Stirling and 1 Wellington are lost.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 1096 August 31, 1942

Battle of Alam el Halfa, Egypt. Despite the attention of the RAF and Allied artillery, Rommel’s tanks make it through the minefields by noon and then turn North to attack what Rommel thinks is the Allied lines rearguard area. British General Montgomery has prepared a dense screen of anti-tank guns and tanks (firing from hull-down positions in an anti-tank role) along the Alam el Halfa ridge. The Panzers, confused when the British tanks refuse to come out and fight as they have done previously, are stopped cold by the massed British anti-tank fire as well as pre-ranged artillery from the sides. Rommel loses 22 tanks and 2 of his senior commanders (Afrika Korps commander General Nehring is wounded in an air raid and 21st Panzer Division’s General von Bismarck is killed by a bomb). British losses are 21 tanks.

The noose begins to tighten on Stalingrad. German XLVIII Corps tanks (part of 4th Panzer Army) reach the Stalingrad-Morozovsk railway on the outskirts of Stalingrad.

North Atlantic. At 1.54 AM 200 miles North of the Azores, U-516 sinks US tanker SS Jack Carnes (42 crewmen and 14 gunners abandon ship in 2 lifeboats; 28 in 1 boat reach Terceira Island, Azores 6 days later, but the other 28 are never found). At 10.04 AM 300 miles Southeast of Greenland, U-609 attacks convoy SC-97 sinking Panamanian SS Capira (5 killed, 33 survivors picked up by British rescue ship Perth and another 16 picked up from wreckage and a raft by Canadian corvette HMCS Drumheller) and Norwegian MV Bronxville (all 39 hands are picked up by rescue ship Perth). At 2.17 PM 390 miles East of Trinidad, U-66 sinks her fourth ship in 3 days, British tanker SS Winamac (27 crew and 3 gunners killed, 21 crew picked up by British MV Empire Lugard).

Off Adak Island in the Aleutian Islands, 2 PBY Catalina floatplanes drop depth charges on Japanese submarine RO-61 which is damaged and crash-dives. US destroyer USS Reid is called in and drops 2 patterns of 13 depth charges, forcing RO-61 to the surface where she is raked by 20 mm and 5 inch shellfire. RO-61 rolls over and sinks (60 killed, 5 survivors rescued by USS Reid).

35 miles off the Northern tip of Formosa/Taiwan, US submarine USS Growler sinks Japanese SS Eifuku Maru.

Milne Bay, Papua. Australians launch a counterattack from the Turnbull airstrip along the muddy coastal tracks of Milne Bay, reaching the KB Mission by evening despite Japanese delaying tactics (ambushes and snipers). An Australian bayonet charge at dusk displaces the Japanese from the KB Mission (60 Japanese killed). A Japanese attack overnight leaves another 90 killed.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Australians retreat 2 miles to Eora, harassed but not frontally-attacked by the Japanese who prefer to attempt another flanking move through the jungle to get behind the Australians.

240 miles east of Guadalcanal, Japanese submarine I-26 immobilises US carrier USS Saratoga with a torpedo. US cruiser Minneapolis sets up a tow while USS Saratoga sends off her aircraft to Espiritu Santo. USS Saratoga will be repaired at Pearl Harbor, returning to the Solomon Islands in November.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 1095 August 30, 1942

North Atlantic. At 6.12 AM 10 miles North of Tobago, U-564 sinks Norwegian tanker MV Vardaas with a torpedo and 50 rounds from the deck gun (all 41 hands 2 lifeboats reach Tobago after 7 hours). At 8.28 AM 50 miles Northeast of Tobago, U-162 sinks American SS Star of Oregon with torpedoes and the deck gun (1 man asleep on a hatch cover is blown overboard and never found, 52 survivors picked up next day by a US patrol boat). At 9.26 AM 375 miles East of Trinidad, U-66 sinks Panamanian MV Sir Huon carrying 5000 tons of manganese and chrome ore plus captured Italian and German tanks from Egypt (all 37 crew members and 9 gunners picked up on September 3 by Argentinian tanker SS 13 de Diciembre or on September 4 by Panamanian SS Tambour). At 7.30 PM, U-66 torpedoes American SS West Lashaway which sinks within 1 minute on the cargo of 7670 tons of tin, copper, cocoa beans and palm oil (all 38 crew, 9 gunners and 9 passengers [2 missionary families returning from Africa] escape on 4 rafts). 12 crew, 1 gunner and 5 passengers [1 woman and 4 children] are rescued 19-25 days later but the rest die of exposure or are never found.

Operation Wunderland. German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer returns to Narvik without causing much disruption to the Soviet Navy.

Siege of Leningrad Day 356. The Soviet effort to relieve Leningrad in the Sinyavino gap runs out of steam as the Germans organize an effective resistance, including attacks by Luftwaffe fighters and dive bombers.

Off Corfu in the Ionian Sea, British submarine HMS Rorqual lays 50 mines and torpedoes Italian SS Monstella which is beached on Corfu to prevent sinking (a total loss).

Battle of Alam el Halfa, Egypt. Rommel’s supply line are badly disputed by Allied sinking of Italian ships, while British 8th Army is building up with a steady stream of new equipment such as 6-pounder anti-tank guns from Britain and Sherman tanks from USA. Rommel plans his trademark penetration of Allied lines followed by a charge into their rearguard to force a panicked retreat and preempt any Allied attack. However, British General Montgomery knows his plans from Ultra intercepts and leaves a 12 mile stretch (from Alam Nayil to the Qattara Depression) lightly defended while concentrating anti-tank defenses 10 miles further East. After dark, Rommel’s tanks attack through the thin sector but are caught in expectedly dense minefields and lit up by Royal Navy Fairey Albacores dropping flares for RAF Wellington bombers to follow.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Japanese 144th Regiment attacks the Australians at the Isurava Rest House from the front and both sides, with increased shelling from mountain guns and mortars. The Australians realize they cannot hold this exposed position and pull back through the valley to Eora. Losses at Isurava are Australians 99 killed, 111 wounded; Japanese 140 killed, 231 wounded.

Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. In the Savo Sea 13 miles North of Henderson Field, Japanese bombers sink US fast transport ship (converted destroyer) USS Colhoun (51 killed; 95 survivors, including 21 wounded, rescued by USS Meade). Overnight, Japanese destroyers Kagero, Fubuki, Hatsuyuki, Murakamo, Umikaze, Kawakaze, Suzukaze and Amagiri run down “The Slot” to land 1000 troops (Kawaguchi Detachment) on Guadalcanal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 1094 August 29, 1942

At 2.37 AM in the North Atlantic 660 miles West of Trinidad, U-66 sinks American SS Topa Topa (18 crew and 7 gunners killed, 35 survivors picked up next day by British SS Clan Macinnes and landed at Port of Spain on September 9).

36 miles Northwest of El Alamein, British destroyers HMS Eridge and HMS Aldenham shell German/Italian airfield at El Daba, Egypt. 2 miles off the coast, an Italian torpedo boat badly damages HMS Eridge (5 killed). HMS Eridge is towed to Alexandria but declared a total loss and used as a base ship.

Milne Bay, Papua. Both sides recover from the battles of the last 3 days. Japanese are unable to return to the attack being desperately short of food, water and equipment. At 8 PM, 1 Japanese cruiser and 9 destroyers enter Milne Bay and unload 769 SNLF troops and supplies at Waga Waga. These new reinforcements quickly move up to join the initial landing party at the Gama River. The Japanese ships then inaccurately bombard the Allied airfield at Gili Gili and retire from the Bay at 11 PM.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Japanese 3rd Battalion 144th Regiment makes another flanking movement to get behind the Australians and stumbles directly into their positions at the Isurava Rest House. Australian Private Bruce Kingsbury (2/14th Battalion) wins the Victoria Cross leading a charge carrying a Bren gun during which he is killed. Japanese bring up more mountain guns and mortars which pound the Australian positions. Meanwhile, 2/16th Battalion holds the Japanese advance on the side track.

At noon in the Gulf of Papua West of Port Moresby, Japanese submarine RO-33 torpedoes Australian troopship Marita (evacuating troops to Cairns, Australia, due to Japanese bombing) which is damaged but stays afloat. Australian destroyer HMAS Arunta counterattacks with depth charges, sinking RO-33 (all 42 hands lost).

Siege of Leningrad Day 356. Soviet 8th Army advances another 1 mile into the Sinyavino gap against German 18th Army. 8th Army’s advance is slowing in the face of increasing German resistance, so 4th Guards Rifle Corps is sent into the salient which is now 4 miles deep.

Stalingrad. 4th Panzer Army sidesteps Soviet defenses in the hills and lakes around Tundutovo and charges across the open Kalmyk steppe while von Richthofen’s Stukas shoot up anything in their way. The back door to Stalingrad lies open.

Overnight, 100 Soviet Petlyakov Pe-8, Ilyushin Il-4 and Yermolayev Yer-2 bombers mount the heaviest Soviet raid of the war on Berlin, while 7 Pe-8s bomb Konigsberg.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 1093 August 28, 1942

Milne Bay, Papua. Overnight, as the position on the Gama River collapse, Australian 25th and 61st Infantry Battalions prepare defenses with clear fields of fire at the unfinished Turnbull airstrip. At dawn, Japanese troops attack across the airstrip, supported by field artillery and mortars but their tanks are abandoned in thick mud around the airstrip. The Japanese, exposed to fire from the Australians on the ground and strafing by RAAF P-40 Kittyhawks from the nearby Gili Gili airfield, are forced to fall back 2 miles to their starting point on the Gama River. Japanese reinforcements (769 SNLF troops) leave Rabaul, New Britain, for Milne Bay.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Australian 39th Battalion at Isurava fall victim to a Japanese flanking attack, as Japanese 3rd Battalion 144th Regiment suddenly appears having moved through the jungle undetected on the left flank. 39th Battalion falls back 1 mile to the Isurava Rest House. Meanwhile on the right flank, Australian 2/16th Battalion holds the Japanese advance on the side track.

At 8 AM 60 miles East of Savo Island, US destroyer-minelayer USS Gamble, heading to Guadalcanal, spots the conning tower of Japanese submarine I-123. From 8.44 to 11.47 AM, USS Gamble conducts several depth charge attacks, sinking I-123 (all hands lost).

Guadalcanal. Japanese decide to bring reinforcements down “the Slot” from Shortland Island at the Western end of Solomon Islands using fast destroyers, as a result of the attack by US land-based and carrier aircraft 4 days ago on the previous convoy of slow transport ships. 600 Japanese troops (35th Infantry Brigade under General Kiyotake Kawaguchi) board destroyers Asagiri, Amagiri, Yugiri, and Shirakumo for an overnight run but they are attacked at 6.05 PM 70 miles North of Guadalcanal by 11 US dive bombers Henderson Field. Asagiri is hit in the torpedo launchers which explode blowing the ship apart (62 crew and 60 troops killed, 135 crew and 135 troops rescued by Amagiri). Yugiri (32 killed) is heavily damaged and Shirakumo (2 wounded) is immobilised and towed back to Shortland Island by Amagiri. A second group of Japanese destroyers does reach Guadalcanal unmolested overnight and lands other elements of Kawaguchi’s 35th Infantry Brigade at Taivu Point, 20 miles East of Henderson Field.

Siege of Leningrad Day 355. Soviet 8th Army advances another 1 mile into the Sinyavino gap against German 223rd Infantry Division. However, they cannot widen the flanks of the salient, as German 18th Army moves troops up from the staging areas in response to the attack.

At 2.32 PM in the Belle Isle Strait, Newfoundland, U-165 and U-517 attack convoy SG-6 taking fuel, supplies and men to Iceland. American SS Arlyn is damaged by U-165 and later sunk by U-517 (12 dead, 37 survivors picked up by Panamanian SS Harjurand and 5 survivors row ashore). A torpedo from U-165 rips a 40 foot hole in US fleet oiler USS Laramie which does not explode (despite leaks in the cargo of 361,000 gallons of aviation fuel and 55,000 barrels of oil) and returns to Boston under her own steam for repairs (4 killed, 103 survivors).

At 7.08 PM 390 miles West of Porto, Portugal, U-566 fires 3 torpedoes at convoy SL-119 damaging Dutch SS Zuiderkerk which is scuttled by depth charges from British sloop HMS Erne (all 56 crew and 12 passengers picked up by British sloop HMS Leith) and British SS City of Cardiff which sinks 2 days later (21 killed, 63 survivors picked up by British sloop HMS Rochester).

After dark under moonlight, U-94 approaches a convoy 20 miles off the Eastern tip of Haiti but is depth charged by a US Catalina flying boat (squadron VP-92), blowing off the bow hydroplanes and forcing U-94 to the surface. U-94 is rammed twice, depth charged, shelled and machinegunned by Canadian corvette HMCS Oakville (19 killed, 26 survivor picked up by HMCS Oakville and US destroyer USS Lea). 11 Canadian sailors board to capture confidential papers and the enigma machine, but U-94 sinks rapidly and they escape with only 4 pairs of binoculars.
Overnight, RAF attacks Nuremberg, Germany, with 159 bombers including Pathfinders and Saarbrücken, Germany, with 113 bombers (no Pathfinders). Neither raid is very accurate or successful (126 civilians and 11 foreigners killed in Nuremberg; 15 houses destroyed and one woman killed in Saarbrücken).

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 1092 August 27, 1942

Milne Bay, Papua. Overnight, Japanese destroyer Hamakaze enters Milne Bay to land supplies but is unable to make contact and departs at 2.30 AM, leaving the invasion force desperately short of supplies following the air strike yesterday. At dawn, 8 Japanese dive bombers raid the Gili Gili airfield at the end of Milne Bay, escorted by 12 Zero fighters, causing minimal damage (1 Japanese aircraft shot down by RAAF P-40 Kittyhawks). Australians execute a poorly-planned exchange of units on the East bank of the Gama River. At 5 PM, 420 troops of 2/10th Infantry Battalion replace 25th and 61st Battalion. They do not have time to dig in before Japanese attack with their 2 tanks at 8 PM, leading 4 frontal assaults until midnight when the Australians withdraw in disarray across to the West bank of the Gama River (43 killed, 26 wounded).

Kokoda Track, Papua. The main Australians defenses at Isurava hold despite several Japanese probing attacks and heavy fire from the mountain gun and mortars. A Japanese flank force along a side track is more successful, infiltrating the Australian 53rd Battalion, killing several senior officers and forcing a retreat behind the main position at Isurava. Australian 2/16th Battalion, held in reserve, is thrown in to hold the Japanese on the side track.

At 1 AM in the North Atlantic 190 miles North of the Portuguese island of Madeira, U-156 sinks British SS Clan MacWhirter (10 crew and 2 gunners killed, 67 crew and 7 gunners in 3 lifeboats rescued 4 -6 days later near Madeira by Portuguese sloop Pedro Nunes).

Caribbean. At 6.29 AM 15 miles off the Eastern point of Haiti, U-511 fires 2 torpedoes at convoy TAW-15, sinking British tanker SS San Fabian (26 killed, 33 survivors picked up by US destroyer USS Lea and patrol craft USS PC-38) and Dutch tanker MV Rotterdam (10 killed, 37 survivors picked up by US submarine chaser USS SC-522) and causing major damage to American tanker SS Esso Aruba (no casualties) which is run aground at Guantanamo Bay to prevent sinking (repaired at Galveston, Texas, and returns to service in February 1943).

U-165, U-513 and U-517 target convoys from USA to Iceland moving out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence via the Belle Isle Strait. At 1.48 PM, U-517 sinks US liner SS Chatham carrying 428 construction personnel to Iceland (7 crew and 7 passengers killed; 99 crew, 28 gunners and 421 passengers in 12 lifeboats and 9 rafts are picked up by US destroyer USS Bernadou, Canadian corvette HMCS Trail and US Coast Guard cutter USS Mojave or row ashore).

Japanese diplomat exchange vessels Kamakura Maru and Tatuta Maru arrives at Lourenço Marques, Portuguese East Africa (now Maputo, Mozambique), carrying various Allied embassy staff and other civilians from Japan, French Indochina and Singapore. Over the next few days, Japanese civilians will arrive on various vessels from England and Australia.

In the Mediterranean 30 miles West of Crete, British submarine HMS Umbra Italian transport ship Manfredo Campiero.

Operation Wunderland. German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer shells Soviet military installations on Dikson Island in the Kara Sea, badly damaging freighters Dezhnev and Revolutsioner in the harbour.

Siege of Leningrad Day 354. Soviet Volkhov Front launches the major branch of the Sinyavino Offensive to close a 10 mile gap to the Leningrad Front and thereby open a corridor to Leningrad. However, German 18th Army is nearby, preparing for its own offensive against Leningrad (Operation Nordlicht). Soviet 8th Army attacks out of the Krualaia Grove against German 223rd Infantry Division, advancing 2 miles.

German 16th Panzer Division holds a small corridor to the Volga, North of Stalingrad, under shellfire from Soviet positions either side. 16th Panzer is out of fuel until the infantry of 6th Army catches up. An assault on Stalingrad also awaits the arrival of 4th Panzer Army who are held up by Soviet resistance around Lake Sarpa 15 miles South of Stalingrad. Soviet General Zhukov is summoned to Moscow and promoted to Deputy Supreme Commander, second only to Stalin, and then dispatched to take command at Stalingrad.

Overnight, RAF probes further into Germany, attacking Kassel with 306 bombers. With little cloud, Pathfinder aircraft mark the target with flares and the bombers destroy 144 buildings and severely damage 317 more including all 3 Henschel aircraft factories (28 troops and 15 civilians killed, 64 soldiers and 187 civilians injured). 21 Wellingtons, 5 Stirlings, 3 Lancasters, 1 Halifax & 1 Hampden are lost, mostly to Luftwaffe night-fighters. In addition, 9 Lancaster bombers (each carrying a 5500 lb "Capital Ship" bomb designed for armoured targets) unsuccessfully attack the German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin under construction at Gotenhafen on the Baltic Sea (now Gdynia, Poland). Also on the Baltic Sea, Soviet bombers raid Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 1091 August 26, 1942

At 4.23 AM 60 miles East of Barbados, U-162 sinks Norwegian tanker MV Thelma with 3 torpedoes and the deck gun (2 killed, 31 survivors picked up after 2 days by a British warship).

Invasion of Milne Bay, Papua. At dawn, Japanese troops advance 2 miles through the marshy terrain of Milne Bay, cut at right angles by rivers running from the small mountains of the Stirling Range, and reach the Australian defenses at the KB Mission. The Japanese have 2 Type 95 Ha-Go light tanks but they are held by Australian reserve troops of 25th and 61st Infantry Militia Battalions who call in air and artillery support. Japanese try to outflank the KB Mission by coming ashore further along the coast in landing barges but these are sunk by Allied bombers and fighters that also destroy much of the Japanese equipment at their original landing site at Waga Waga. In the evening, Japanese warships enter Milne Bay and shell the Australian positions. Overnight, Japanese troops launch sporadic attacks as the Australians withdraw 1 mile West to the Gama River.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Japanese General Horii sends 2500 troops forward from Buna with a mountain gun and mortars to attack Australian positions at Isurava. They are held by 400 Australian who are well dug in, having had 2 weeks to prepare. Morii sends up more troops to flank the defenders.

Soviet submarine K2 sets out to patrol the Barents Sea but is never heard from again (probably lost on a mine near Tanafjord, Northern Norway).

At 8.13 AM off the coast of China 85 miles North of Taiwan/Formosa, US submarine USS Haddock sinks Japanese freighter SS Teishun Maru which is on lease from the Vichy French-Indochina Navy.

At 11.24 AM, 160 miles South of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-130 sinks British SS Beechwood (1 killed, captain taken prisoner by U-130, 42 survivors picked up by British fleet oiler RFA Fortol).

At 6.40 PM in the Mediterranean 14 West of Gaza, Palestine, U-375 torpedoes British SS Empire Kumari which is towed to Haifa Bay but sinks next day (3 killed, 89 survivors rescued by British corvette HMS Gloxinia).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 1090 August 25, 1942

Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Overnight, Japanese destroyers Kagero, Isokaze, Kawakaze, Mutsuki and Yayoi shell Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, shaking up the US Marines but causing little damage. Following the battle yesterday, Japanese believe 2 US carriers are badly damaged (in fact only USS enterprise is damaged), so they send the invasion convoy back towards Guadalcanal. At 6 AM, 6 Douglas SBD dive-bombers from Henderson Field find the convoy 150 miles North of Guadalcanal, sinking troop transport Kinryu Maru and damaging cruiser Jintsu (24 killed). 4 USAAF B-17 bombers from Espiritu Santo sink destroyer Mutsuki as she takes troops off Kinryu Maru (41 killed, 11 wounded). Destroyer Yayoi rescues survivors from both Kinryu Maru and Mutsuki. It is obvious the troop convoy cannot get through, so the invasion is postponed.

Between 1.30 – 2 AM in the North Atlantic midway between Ireland and Newfoundland, 14 U-boats of the Lohs Wolfpack attack convoy ONS-122, sinking 4 steamers (Norwegian SS Trolla and British SS Katvaldis, SS Sheaf Mount & SS Empire Breeze) as well as the unescorted Dutch MV Abbekerk which is in the same area. Convoy escorts launch several depth charge attacks which damage 8 U-boats but only U-174 and U-256 are forced to abort their patrols.

U-164 and U-558 attack convoy WAT-15 between Jamaica and Haiti, sinking Dutch SS Stad Amsterdam (3 killed, 35 survivors) and British SS Amakura (13 killed, 31 survivors).

20 miles southwest of Taiwan/Formosa, US submarine USS Growler sinks Japanese auxiliary gunboat Senyo Maru. 50 miles off the East coast of Borneo, USS Seawolf sinks the Japanese transport ship SS Showa Maru.

In the Indian Ocean 250 miles South of Ceylon, Japanese submarine I-165 sinks British SS Harmonides (14 crew killed).

Operation Wunderland. German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer (which left Narvik, Norway, on August 16 to seek Soviet warships sheltering in the Kara Sea) sinks Soviet ice-breaker Sibiyakov. Sibiyakov radios a distress signal, compromising the German misson.

Stalingrad. Richthofen’s Luftflotte 4 again pulverizes the city but probing attacks by German 6th Army into the Northern suburbs are held by counterattacks from Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies. Stalin decides that the city must be held at all costs; to avoid the impression that Stalingrad is being evacuated, no factories are to be destroyed or machinery removed. Tractor factories, converted to manufacture tanks, roll T-34s straight off the production line and into combat.

At 7.44 PM 160 miles South of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-130 sinks British SS Viking Star (7 dead, 54 survivors reach land after 6 - 18 days).

At 10 PM 250 miles North of Norway in the Barents Sea, German minelayer Ulm runs into 3 British destroyers HMS Marne, Martin, and Onslaught, which sink Ulm with shellfire and a torpedo (80 killed). The destroyers rescue 61 before they are chased off by a German aircraft (leaving 40 crewmen in the water).

Invasion of Milne Bay, Papua. At 10.30 PM, 1000 Japanese SNLF troops land at Waga Waga on the North shore of Milne Bay with 2 Type 95 Ha-Go light tanks. 2 small boats carrying Australian troops are shot up by the Japanese (survivors of one boat take to the jungle on foot but 11 Australians in the other boat, Bronzewing, are either killed in the fighting or captured by the Japanese and murdered).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 1089 August 24, 1942

Battle of the Eastern Solomons. US and Japanese Admirals both suspect the other’s aircraft carriers are in the seas around Guadalcanal but don’t know where. At dawn they send out scout planes. In addition, Japanese light carrier Ryūjō, cruiser Tone and destroyers Amatsukaze and Tokitsukaze are sent into the fray to launch an aircraft attack on Henderson Field to smoke out the US carriers. However, they are spotted by a US Catalina flying boat from the Santa Cruz Islands at 9.35 AM and attacked by 29 dive bombers and 5 torpedo bombers from USS Saratoga at 4 PM. Ryūjō is badly damaged by 4 bomb hits and a torpedo (120 killed, 800 taken off by destroyers Amatsukaze and Tokitsukaze) and sinks at 8 PM. At 4.30 PM, 27 Japanese Aichi "Val" dive bombers and 15 Zero fighters from carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku attack the US carriers USS Enterprise and USS Saratoga, which launch P-40 Wildcat fighters to fend off the attack. USS Enterprise is set on fire by 3 bomb hits on the flight deck (70 killed, 70 wounded), but the fires are contained and USS Enterprise is able to proceed at 24 knots under her own steam (returning to Pearl Harbour to be patched up again). Significantly, Japanese lose 33 fighters, 32 bombers and 7 float planes plus 61 valuable experienced airmen.

Invasion of Milne Bay (Eastern end of Papua). Japanese intelligence believes the Australian presence at Milne Bay, where Allies are building an airbase for their bombers, is 3 companies; in fact, the Australians have the veteran 18th Infantry Brigade as well as the inexperienced 7th Infantry Brigade totaling 8800 troops. At 7 AM, 809 SNLF troops leave Rabaul aboard the transports Nankai Maru and Kinai Maru (escorted by cruisers Tenryū and Tatsuta, 3 destroyers and 2 submarine chasers). Another 450 Japanese troops leave Buna in 7 barges, moving unescorted along the North coast of Papua to land in Goodenough Bay (they plan to cross the hills of the Stirling Ranges to attack Milne Bay from the rear). The barges stop on Goodenough Island (15 miles from shore) to hide during the day but they are spotted and destroyed by 12 RAAF P-40 Kittyhawk fighters, stranding the troops until October.

US submarine USS Guardfish sinks Japanese passenger-cargo ship Seikai Maru off Sendai harbor, Japan.

At 11.13 AM 100 miles East of Barbados, U-162 sinks Dutch SS Moena (4 killed, 83 survivors in 4 lifeboats picked up next day by British MV Cromarty and landed in Trinidad).

In the Kara Sea 55 miles West of Dikson Island, U-601 sinks Soviet SS Kujbyshev with a torpedo at 2.09 PM and tug Medvezhonok with 20 rounds from the deck gun at 2.42 PM. There are no survivors. In the Gulf of Finland, Soviet torpedo boat Burya and minesweeper T-204 sink while clearing German mines.

Overnight, 226 RAF bombers (104 Wellingtons, 61 Lancasters, 53 Stirlings, 8 Halifaxes) attack Frankfurt, Germany but the Pathfinder aircraft again get lost in cloudy weather and most bombs fall on the villages of Schwalbach and Eschborn. 6 Lancasters, 5 Wellingtons, 4 Stirlings & 1 Halifax are lost.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 1088 August 23, 1942

1411 Japanese troops (the remainder of Colonel Ichiki’s 28th Infantry Regiment) and several hundred Japanese SNLF Marines in 3 transports, escorted by 5 cruisers and 8 destroyers, steam from Truk naval base for landings on Guadalcanal. A larger force (aircraft carriers Ryūjō, Shōkaku and Zuikaku, 2 battleships, 11 cruisers, 17 destroyers and seaplane carrier Chitose) follows with orders to engage the US carrier fleet when they come out to contest the landings. At 9.50 AM North of Guadalcanal, a US PBY Catalina flying boat (from the Santa Cruz Islands) spots the troop convoy, which quickly turns back to avoid expected air strikes. At 2.10 PM, US aircraft take off from aircraft carrier USS Saratoga and Henderson Field on Guadalcanal but fail to find the convoy. Overnight, Japanese destroyer Kagero bombards Henderson Field from Savo Sound without success.

Between noon and 12.45 PM, American P-40 Warhawk fighters (USAAF 49th Fighter Group) shoot down 7 IJN bombers and 8 Zero fighters over Darwin, Australia.

In lieu of the suspended merchant convoys, US cruiser USS Tuscaloosa arrives at Murmansk, USSR, escorted by US destroyers USS Rodman and USS Emmons and British destroyer HMS Onslaught, carrying two RAF Bomber Command squadrons, torpedoes, ammunition and medical supplies.

Case Blue. Having crossed the River Don yesterday, tanks of German 16th Panzer Division (part of 6th Army) race 40 miles across the hard, flat ground and reach the River Volga at Erzovka, 10 miles North of Stalingrad. Meanwhile, Luftwaffe bombers (General Wolfram von Richthofen’s Luftflotte 4) pulverise Stalingrad with high explosive bombs and incendiary canisters, burning 3/4 of the city to the ground (40,000 civilians killed). 115 miles Northeast at Chebotarevskiy on the River Don, 700 Italian saber-wielding cavalry overrun a Soviet artillery position (2000 troops) in a surprise attack, capturing 4 artillery pieces, 10 mortars, 50 machineguns and 500 POW's. In the Black Sea 40 miles off the Danube Delta, Soviet submarine M-36 sinks German tug Ankara.

At 11.37 PM 150 miles Southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-506 torpedoes British SS Hamla which sinks rapidly on the cargo of manganese ore (all 38 crew and 2 gunners lost).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 1087 August 22, 1942

US and Japanese warships contest control of Savo Sound off Guadalcanal. At 3.59 AM, Japanese destroyer Kawakaze torpedoes destroyer USS Blue, wrecking her engines and steering gear (9 killed, 21 wounded). Despite attempts to tow her, USS Blue will be scuttled at 10.21 PM next day. US aircraft counterattack Kawakaze without success (1 man wounded by machinegun fire). USAAF 67th Fighter Squadron with Bell P-400 Airacobra fighters arrives at Henderson Field.

US 5th Air Force bombers attack Japanese bases at Lae, New Guinea, and Rabaul, New Britain.

At 9.50 AM 12 miles off the coast of Brazil, U-507 sinks Swedish MV Hammaren with the deck gun and 5 torpedoes (6 dead, 25 survivors in 1 lifeboat reach Brazil). Brazil declares war on Germany due to these attacks in Brazilian waters by U-507 that have killed over 600 people from neutral countries in a week.

Case Blue. At midday, pontoon bridges begin carrying German 16th Panzer Division across the River Don. The way to the Volga and Stalingrad lies open. In the Black Sea, Soviet submarine M3 disappears near Odessa, Ukraine, presumably sunk on a German mine.

At 1.10 PM 25 miles North of Taipei, Formosa (Taiwan), US submarine USS Haddock sinks Japanese transport ship Tatsuho Maru carrying 10,000 gallons of aviation fuel to Dutch East Indies (12 crew and 26 passengers killed).

Mediterranean. 5 miles West of Tobruk, Italian torpedo boat Generale Antonio Cantore sinks on a mine (laid on August 12 by British submarine HMS Porpoise).

Japanese submarine I-30 departs Lorient, France, to return to Japan after her refit by the Germans. I-30 carries 50 top secret "T-Enigma" coding machines for communication between Kriegsmarine and Japanese Navy, plus other German technical developments (blueprints of the Würzburg air defense ground radar, 5 G7a aerial torpedoes and 3 G7e electric torpedoes, torpedo data computers, 200 20-mm anti-aircraft guns and Zeiss fire control systems) and industrial diamonds.

Caribbean. In the afternoon, 185 miles North of the Panama Canal, a Douglas B-18 Bolo bomber (US 45th Bombardment Squadron, from Howard Field in the Canal Zone) spots U-654 running at periscope depth and sinks her with depth charges (all 44 hands lost).

Overnight in dense fog 225 mile South of Halifax, Nova Scotia, New Zealand troop transport HMNZS Awatea rams US destroyer USS Buck (escorting convoy AT-20), wrecking her keel and stern (7 killed). Primed depth charges are dislodged from USS Buck and explode under HMNZS Awatea causing damage. US destroyer USS Ingraham arrives to assist but collides with US Navy oiler USS Chemung. Again, primed depth charges on USS Ingraham explode and rip the ship apart (218 killed, 11 survivors rescued by USS Chemung). USS Chemung tows USS Buck to Boston and HMNZS Awatea is escorted to Halifax for repairs.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 1086 August 21, 1942

Guadalcanal. Japanese Colonel Ichiki believes only a few Americans defend Henderson Airfield along the Tenaru River. At 1.30 AM, he sends 100 troops across the Tenaru River, supported by machineguns and mortars, but 2500 Marines mow them down with machinegun fire and anti-tank guns firing canister shot. At 2.30 AM, Ichiki sends another wave of 150 to 200 troops but they are also wiped out. Marine artillery and mortars find their range and wreak havoc as Ichiki's troops regroup between each attack. At 5 AM, Ichiki sends another wave along the beach but Marines turn their machineguns and artillery to stop them also. At 7 AM, the Marines counterattack inland and surround the remaining Japanese on the coast, who are then eliminated by five M3 Stuart tanks and strafing from US fighters. Japanese casualties are 740 dead, including Colonel Ichiki who is killed or commits suicide, and 15 taken prisoner (only 30 survivors escape back to the landing site at Taivu Point). US Marine lose 44 killed.

Papua. Japanese 41st Infantry Regiment (Yazawa Detachment) lands at Buna. General Tomitarō Horii's South Seas Force, charged with crossing the Kokoda Track through the Owen Stanley mountain range to Port Moresby, now consists of 8,000 infantry, 450 SNLF Marines and 3000 naval construction troops. At the Eastern tip of Papua, Australian 18th Infantry Brigade (veterans of the Siege of Tobruk) arrives at Milne Bay bringing Australian General Cyril Clowes’ Milne Force to 7,459 Australian and 1,365 US troops and 600 RAAF personnel.

US submarine USS Tambor sinks Japanese collier Shinsei Maru No.6 off Ponape Island, 450 miles West of Truk Bay naval base.

Case Blue. At dawn, German 6th Army crosses the River Don at several points in inflatable boats and begins constructing pontoon bridges. On the Black Sea coast, German9th Infantry Division breaks through defences at Abinskaia and pushes on South towards Novorossiysk. In the Caucasus Mountains, German 4th Mountain Division troops reach the highest peak, Mount Elbrus, and raise the Nazi flag.

At 10.43 PM 100 miles Southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-506 sinks British SS City of Wellington carrying 2000 tons of copper ore, 500 tons of chrome ore and 5000 tons of general cargo from South Africa to Britain (7 killed, 61 crew and 5 gunners picked up by British destroyer HMS Velox).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 1085 August 20, 1942

Guadalcanal. Overnight, Japanese Colonel Ichiki moves his 770 troops forward to within a few miles of Henderson Field, stopping at 4.30 AM. Ichiki is still fooled by intelligence reports that a minimal American presence holds the airfield. However, after the clash of patrols at Koli Point yesterday, US Colonel Clifton Cates deploys 1st and 2nd battalions 1st Marine Regiment, plus two 37mm anti-tank guns loaded with canister shot, along the West bank of the Tenaru River (known as Alligator Creek to the Americans), while 75mm and 105mm artillery range their guns on the East side of Alligator Creek. In addition, US auxiliary carrier USS Long Island flies off 19 Grumman Wildcat fighters (VMF 223) and 12 Douglas Dauntless dive bombers (VMSB 232) to Henderson Field.

In the North Atlantic 250 miles West of the Faroe Islands, a US Catalina flying boat (squadron VP-73) catches U-464 (a supply U-boat on the first patrol) on the surface. At 5.30 AM, the Catalina drops 5 depth charges, badly damaging U-464 which can make 8 knots but not dive (2 killed). Icelandic trawler Skaftfellingur takes off 51 survivors and, at 8.15, U-464 is scuttled. At 8.45 AM, the survivors are turned over to British destroyer HMS Castleton.

Guadalcanal. In the evening, Colonel Ichiki moves forward to attack Henderson Field. At midnight, they are surprised to run into the US Marine defenses at Tenaru River (Alligator Creek).

Overnight, Luftwaffe bombers mount a small raid on Portsmouth on the South coast of England.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 1084 August 19, 1942

Guadalcanal. At 1 AM, Japanese destroyers Kagero, Kagikaze, Maikaze, Urakaze, Isokaze and Hamakaze land 916 troops (Ichiki Detachment) at Taivu Point, 22 miles East of the US positions at Lunga Point. Colonel Ichiki leaves 100 troops as a rear guard and leads 800 men towards the Marines. At dawn, they halt 9 miles East of the Lunga perimeter but send forward a patrol of 38. As a diversion from the landings, Japanese aircraft attack the US airstrip at Henderson Field. However, Australian coastwatchers warn the Americans of the landings and Captain Charles Brush leads a patrol of 60 Marines and 4 native scouts to investigate. At noon, the patrols meet at Koli Point (Japanese lose 33 killed, Marines have 3 dead and 3 wounded). US B-17 bombers attack the Japanese destroyers off Guadalcanal. A bomb hits Hagikaze destroying No. 3 (“Y”) gun turret and damaging the rudder and prop-shafts (33 killed, 13 wounded). Hagikaze proceeds at 6 knots to Truk for emergency repairs.

Allies raid Dieppe, Northern France, to gather intelligence, capture prisoners, destroy coastal batteries and port facilities. Overnight, 5000 Canadian troops (2nd Canadian Infantry Division), 1000 British Commandos and 50 US Rangers cross the English Channel in 9 landing ships, escorted by 8 destroyers (HMS Albrighton, Berkeley, Bleasdale, Brocklesby, Calpe, Fernie, Garth and Polish ORP Ślązak), gunboat HMS Locust, minesweepers and numerous motor gun boats, steam gun boats and motor launches. At 3.50 AM, they exchange fire with a German convoy (steam gun boat SGB5 is set on fire and German UJ1404 is sunk) which alerts the shore defenders. At 5 AM, Allied troops come ashore at 6 beaches around Dieppe with 58 Churchill tanks, covered by 48 squadrons of RAF Spitfires and 8 squadrons of Hurricanes, but naval bombardment is minimal to prevent French civilian casualties. British No. 4 Commando (including the 50 US Rangers) destroys a battery of six 150 mm guns near Varengeville. Elsewhere, British and Canadian troops are trapped on the beaches and slaughtered by German machinegunners (1179 killed). German bombers sink British destroyer HMS Berkeley (33 landing craft are also lost to various causes), while destroyers HMS Calpe, HMS Brocklesby and HMS Fernie are damaged by bombers or shore batteries (550 killed or wounded). With the raid an evident failure, the beaches are evacuated between 11 AM and 2 PM but 2190 Allied troops are taken POW by the Germans and all of the tanks are destroyed or left behind. RAF loses 106 aircraft. German casualties are 311 killed and 48 aircraft lost by the Luftwaffe. Captain Patrick Porteous (No. 4 Commando), Reverend John Foote (Royal Hamilton Light Infantry) and Canadian Colonel Charles Merritt (South Saskatchewan Regiment) win the Victoria Cross (Foote and Merritt taken POW).

At 5.30 AM 10 miles off the coast of Brazil, U-507 stops Brazilian barque Jacyra with 2 rounds from the deck gun. Jacyra is sunk at 8 AM with scuttling charges after all 6 crew abandon ship in a lifeboat.

At 9.07 AM 200 miles off the coast of French Guiana, U-510 sinks British MV Cressington Court (8 killed, 26 crew and 10 gunners picked up on September 10 by Dutch tanker MV Woensdrecht which is attacked 2 days later by U-515).

40 miles West of Grenada in the Caribbean, U-162 and U-564 attack convoy TAW(S). At 4.37 AM, U-162 sinks American SS West Celina (1 killed, 43 survivors). At 10.07 AM, U-564 sinks British SS Empire Cloud (3 killed, 51 survivors) and British tanker SS British Consul (2 killed, 40 survivors).

Siege of Leningrad Day 346. Soviets launch the Sinyavino Offensive to liberate Leningrad. Leningrad Front capture several bridgeheads across the Neva River to help close a 10 mile gap between them and troops of the Volkhov Front. However, Volkhov Front does not start its part of the offensive for several days.

At 4.22 PM 450 miles West of Portugal, U-406 torpedoes British SS City of Manila in convoy SL-118 (1 killed, 84 crew and 11 gunners rescued) which breaks apart and sinks next day.

At 9.12 PM 75 miles Southeast of Bonaire, U-217 mistakes khaki overalls of oil workers for military uniforms and shoots up British sailboat Sea Gull D. which is taking the workers to Aruba (3 killed, 71 rescued by Greek SS Kassos).

Day 1083 August 18, 1942

Between 6 AM and 9.13 hours AM 10 miles off the Southeast coast of Cuba, U-553 attacks convoy TAW-13, sinking British MV Emipre Bede carrying cotton from Egypt to USA (2 killed, 43 survivors picked up by British corvette HMS Pimpernel), American SS John Hancock carrying 10,517 tons of sugar from Hawaii via the Panama Canal (all 38 crew and 11 gunners in 4 lifeboats picked up after 3 hours by a British corvette) and Swedish MV Blankaholm (5 killed, 23 survivors).

U-214, U-333, U-406, U-566, U-590, U-594 & U-653 (wolfpack Blücher) approach convoy SL-118, 565 miles West of Portugal. At 6.52 PM, U-214 fires 4 torpedoes sinking Dutch SS Balingkar (2 killed, 91 survivors) and British SS Hatarana (88 survivors picked up by Corabella and 20 by British corvette HMS Pentstemon) and damaging convoy escort, armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire (no casualties). A B-24 Liberator bomber (RAF 120 Squadron from Cornwall, England) seriously damages U-653, which returns to base at Brest, France (Matrosengefreiter Willi Pröhl is washed overboard as U-653 dives but is rescued by a British destroyer).

British submarines disrupt Rommel’s supply lines across the Mediterranean, demonstrating the significance to the British of maintaining Malta. 45 miles South of the Italian island of Pantellaria, HMS United attacks a convoy from Trapani, Sicily, to Tripoli, sinking Italian transport MV Rosolino Pilo (previously damaged by motor torpedo boats). MV Rosolino Pilo explodes causing significant damage to HMS United. 10 miles South of Sardinia, HMS Safari sinks Italian freighter SS Perseo.

Case Blue. German 1st Panzer Army captures Krasnodar in the Kuban. Further South, 1st Panzer enters the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, moving towards the Black Sea oil port of Tuapse, resisted by Soviet 46th Army.

Off Västervik, Sweden, Soviet submarine L3 sinks Swedish steamer C. F. Liljevalch loaded with 6000 tons of iron ore from Luleå, Sweden, to Germany (33 killed, 7 survivors rescued by Swedish destroyers escorting the convoy).

Overnight, in the first use of the Path Finder Force, 31 flare-carrying aircraft (7, 35, 83 and 156 Squadrons) lead 87 RAF bombers to Flensburg in Northern Denmark on the Baltic Sea. They miss the target and mistakenly bomb the towns of Sønderborg and Abenra 25 miles further North (26 houses destroyed, 660 houses damaged, 4 Danish civilians injured). 2 Wellingtons, 1 Halifax and 1 Stirling are lost.

Overnight, 2 transports escorted by cruiser Tatsuta and destroyers Yunagi and Yuzuko land more Japanese troops at Buna.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 1082 August 17, 1942

Between 5.26 and 9.20 AM off Matveev Island in Pechora Sea, U-209 attacks a Soviet convoy with gunfire, sinking tugs Komsomolec & Komiles and barges Sh-500 & P-4 (305 crew, port workers and political prisoners killed, 23 survivors picked up by tug Nord and minesweepers T-54 & T-62).

At 6.19 AM in the Windward Passage, West of Haiti, U-658 attacks convoy PG-6 sinking Egyptian SS Samir and British SS Fort la Reine (3 killed, 41 survivors rescued by British corvette HMS Pimpernel and a US patrol boat) and damaging British MV Laguna (no casualties).

In the Mediterranean. 40 miles off the Peloponnese peninsula, Greece, British submarine HMS Turbulent torpedoes Italian transport ship Nino Bixio which is carrying 3200 Allied POWs from Libya to Italy (336 killed mostly POWs, Nino Bixio is towed to shore with the survivors by convoy escorts, Italian destroyers Nicoloso da Recco and Saetta). 10 miles South of Sardinia, British submarine HMS Safari sinks Italian sailboat Ausonia with the deck gun. At 2.08 PM 50 miles North of Port Said, Egypt, U-83 sinks Canadian troopship SS Princess Marguerite carrying British troops from Port Said to Cyprus. Despite explosions of the fuel tanks and ammunition locker, only 5 crew and 44 troops are killed (129 crew and 954 troops picked up by convoy escorts, British destroyers HMS Hero and HMS Kelvin). In Operation Baritone, British aircraft carrier HMS Furious flies off 32 Spitfires to Malta, but 2 crash on takeoff (1 pilot killed). Churchill returns to Cairo, Egypt, by air from Moscow via Tehran, Persia.

Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. 211 US Marines (2nd Raider Battalion under Colonel Evans Carlson and Captain James Roosevelt) land from US submarines USS Nautilus and USS Argonaut. They kill 160 Japanese troops garrisoning the islands (but take no prisoners as planned) and then return to the submarines. Marines lose 21 killed and 9 captured by the Japanese and later beheaded.

U-507 continues attacking neutral ships close to the coast of Brazil, sinking Brazilian SS Itagiba which is carrying 121 passengers, mainly soldiers, at 3.49 PM (36 killed, 145 survivors) and Brazilian SS Arará (20 dead and 16 survivors) as she stops to pick up survivors from Itagiba at 6.03 PM.

At 5.56 PM 200 miles Northeast of the Azores, U-566 sinks Norwegian MV Triton (all 40 crew, 2 gunners and 1 passenger picked up after 30 minutes by British SS Baron Dunmore in the same convoy). At 10.44 PM 200 miles off French Guiana, U-108 sinks US tanker MV Louisiana after a running battle lasting 6 hours (all 49 hands lost).

Overnight, 139 RAF bombers attack Osnabrück, Germany, just across the Dutch border (77 houses and 4 military buildings destroyed, 7 killed, 15 injured). 3 Wellingtons, 1 Lancaster are 1 Stirling are lost.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 1081 August 16, 1942

Kriegsmarine believes Allied ships are moving up the East coast of South America in the safety of the neutral Brazilian coastal waters. In a blatant act of aggression, U-507 sinks 3 Brazilian passenger ships SS Baependy (55 crew and 215 passengers, including 145 troops, killed; 36 survivors), MV Araraquara (66 crew and 65 passengers killed, 11 survivors) and SS Annibal Benévolo (67 crew and 83 passengers killed, 4 survivors) between midnight and 9.13 AM off Aracaju, Brazil.

At 7.45 AM 620 miles West of Ireland, U-596 stops neutral Swedish MV Suecia but discovers a cargo of steel, phosphate, tobacco and pulp from USA to Britain. U-596 sinks MV Suecia with a torpedo after all 35 crew and 12 passengers abandon ship (1 man falls overboard and drowns, 46 survivors escape in 3 lifeboats but 8 men in 1 boat are never found).

Operation Baritone. British aircraft carrier HMS Furious departs Gibraltar carrying 32 Spitfire fighters for Malta, escorted by cruiser HMS Charybdis and destroyers HMS Antelope, Bicester, Derwent, Eskimo, Keppel, Laforey, Lookout, Lightning, Malcolm, Somali, Venomous and Wishart. The Spitfires arrived from Britain in crates on the freighter Empire Clive and have been assembled ashore.

Papua. 3 Japanese transports escorted by cruiser Tatsuta and two destroyers land more troops at Buna.

Japanese aerial reconnaissance of Guadalcanal 4 days ago spotted few US troops and no large ships offshore; they are convinced that most of the Marines have been withdrawn and that the island is lightly held. Japanese 28th Infantry Regiment under Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki is sent to retake Guadalcanal. 916 troops (Ichiki Detachment) leave Truk naval base for an immediate landing aboard 6 Japanese destroyers, while the remainder of the Regiment follows on slower transports for the journey 1200 miles South.

At 11.34 PM of the coast of Palestine, U-77 continues wreaking havoc on small fishing boats, sinking Palestinian sailboat Daniel with the deck gun.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 1080 August 15, 1942

At 3.58 AM 570 miles West of Ireland, U-705 attacks convoy SC 95, sinking American SS Balladier (13 killed, 32 survivors in 1 lifeboat, 2 rafts and a float rescued by another convoy SC 95 vessel, American SS Norluna).

Case Blue. At 4.30 AM, German 6th Army launches an offensive against the remnants of Soviet 4th Tank Army who are surrounded on the West bank of the Don Bend. Further South in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, 1st Panzer Army attacks the oil town of Grozny which is defended by Soviet 9th and 37th Armies. Stalin has decided to defend the oil supply and to stop the Germans at the Caucasus Mountains.

Finnish patrol boat VMV 5 sinks Soviet submarine M-97 with depth charges in the Gulf of Finland, 3 miles off the coast of Estonia near Tallinn.

At 7 AM, tanker SS Ohio arrives at Malta, carrying crucial fuel for the island (Captain Dudley Mason is awarded the George Cross). SS Ohio is kept afloat by British destroyers HMS Penn and HMS Ledbury, and this cluster of ships is protected from further air attacks by Spitfires while coastal batteries chase off U-boats and torpedo boats. SS Ohio finally sinks in Valetta Harbour after her cargo of kerosene and fuel oil is quickly pumped out. Operation Pedestal has cost aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, cruisers HMS Manchester and HMS Cairo, destroyer HMS Foresight and 9 freighters. However, the fuel and 32,000 tons of supplies save Malta from being starved out of the war and subsequent RAF and Royal Navy actions prevent supply ships reaching Rommel in Libya.

140 miles West of Crete, British submarine HMS Porpoise sinks Italian MV Lerici.

On Guadalcanal, 10,819 US Marines have little equipment and enough food for 17 days at 2 meals per day. However, help is at hand. The unfinished Japanese airfield at Lunga Point is completed with capture Japanese equipment, declared open and renamed Henderson Field after Marine Major Lofton Henderson (killed in the Battle of Midway). US transport ships Colhoun, Gregory, Little and McKean arrive with supplies.

Overnight in bad weather, 131 RAF aircraft inaccurately bomb Düsseldorf, Germany. A 4000lb bomb causes much damage in the nearby town of Neuss (1 killed; 13 injured). 2 Lancasters, 1 Hampden & 1 Wellington are lost.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 1079 August 14, 1942

Operation Pedestal. Tanker SS Ohio, which is carrying a crucial cargo of fuel to Malta, is still afloat despite listing badly with her back broken. SS Ohio, abandoned overnight, is reboarded and taken in tow by British destroyers HMS Penn, HMS Bramham & HMS Ledbury, and minesweeper HMS Rye. SS Ohio is hit by several more bombs, causing many breaks in the tow line, but she is held together and buoyed up by the warships lashed to her. Despite an enormous hole in the bow caused by a torpedo 2 days ago, British freighter MV Brisbane Star reaches Malta at 4.15 PM (Captain Frederick Neville Riley is awarded the Distinguished Service Order).

Case Blue. German 6th Army and 4th Panzer Army burn forests to smoke out and annihilate remnants of Soviet 62nd Army (8 rifle divisions and 5 artillery regiments) who have been surrounded on the West bank of the Don Bend since the Germans captured Kalach 3 days ago. Other elements of 4th Panzer Army capture Elista in the middle of the Caucasus plain, North of the River Don. Further South in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, 1st Panzer Army reaches the oil town of Grozny which sends oil along a 384 mile pipeline to the Black Sea port of Tuapse.

At 11.55 AM 50 miles Northeast of Pueto Padre, Cuba, U-598 attacks convoy TAW-12 sinking British freighter SS Michael Jebsen (7 killed, 40 survivors picked up by a US patrol boat) and British tanker SS Empire Corporal (6 killed, 49 survivors picked up by US motor torpedo boat PT-498) and damaging British tanker MV Standella (6 killed, 52 survivors).

US submarine USS Seawolf sinks Japanese passenger-cargo ship SS Hachigen Maru in the Sibitu Passage, just off the Northeast tip of Borneo. US submarine USS S-39 is stuck after grounding on submerged rocks off Rossel Island, 380 miles East of Guadalcanal.

Papua. Japanese harassment of Australian positions and rumours of Japanese infiltration to the rear cause Major Cameron to withdraw Australian 39th Battalion from Deniki (Australian losses 5 killed, 8 wounded; Japanese losses 3 killed, 6 wounded). They retreat 4 miles to the Eora Creek at Isurava. Japanese also land 3000 troops of the 14th and 15th Naval Construction Units at Buna to build a major base for operations.

South Atlantic. At 7.30 PM 700 miles Southwest of Cape Verde Islands, Italian submarine Reginaldo Giuliani sinks British SS Sylvia de Larrinaga (3 killed). On board are 17 survivors rescued 2 days ago from British tanker SS Vimeria, who get back in their lifeboat from SS Vimeria and will be picked up by Norwegian MV Siranger on September 11, after drifting for 28 days. South of St. Helena, German armed merchant cruiser Michel sinks British freighter SS Arabistan with 6 inch shells and machinegun fire from point blank range (23 British crew and 43 Indian Lascars killed, 1 survivor Chief Engineer Edwin Goodridge is picked up next morning clinging to wreckage).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 1078 August 13, 1942

In the Mediterranean. At midnight in the Strait of Sicily between Tunisia and Sicily, 7 German and 8 Italian torpedo boats attack the Pedestal convoy sinking freighters MV Wairangi, MV Glenorchy, SS Almeria Lykes and SS Santa Elisa. At 1 AM 4 miles off Kellibia, Tunisia, Italian torpedo boats MAS16 and MAS22 immobilise British cruiser HMS Manchester (10 killed in the explosion, 122 drown abandoning ship, 312 rescued by destroyers HMS Pathfinder and HMS Eskimo, 300 survivors reach Tunisia and are interned by the Vichy French authorities) which is later sunk by torpedoes from HMS Pathfinder. Dive bombers attack at dawn, sinking freighters SS Waimarama (80 killed in an explosion of fuels drums on deck) and MV Dorset. Tanker SS Ohio (damaged yesterday by a torpedo) is bombed all day and brought to a standstill by bomb hits, near misses and 2 crash-landing dive bombers; Ohio is abandoned overnight, although her fuel tanks are mostly intact. RAF fighters from Malta arrive and chase off the bombers, allowing freighters MV Rochester Castle, MV Port Chalmers and MV Melbourne Star to reach Malta between 5.30 and 6.30 PM (all 3 captains are awarded the Distinguished Service Order).

6 Italian cruisers and 17 destroyers (which sortied yesterday from Messina, Sicily, to intercept the Pedestal convoy) return to base for lack of German air cover. 21 miles North of Capo d'Orlando, Sicily, British submarine HMS Unbroken torpedoes cruisers Bolzano (run aground to prevent sinking, towed to La Spezia for repairs) and Muzio Attendolo (loses 60 feet of her bow, towed to Naples for repairs).

Caribbean. U-600 and U-658 attack as 2 USA-South America convoys pass the strait between Cuba and Haiti. At 5.07 AM, U-658 sinks Dutch SS Medea in convoy WAT 13 (5 killed, 23 rescued by convoy escorts). At 9.48 AM, U-600 sinks Latvian SS Everelza (23 killed, 14 rescued by convoy escorts) and American passenger/cargo ship SS Delmundo (8 killed including 3 passengers, 50 survivors including 5 passengers picked up by British destroyer HMS Churchill) in convoy TAW 12.

At 7.50 AM in the Gulf of Mexico 25 miles off the coast of Louisiana, U-171 stops US tanker SS R.M. Parker Jr. with 2 torpedoes and finishes her off with the deck gun (all 37 crew and 7 gunners rescued 8 hours later by US Coast Guard auxiliary craft USS Pioneer).

South Atlantic. At 7.40 AM 400 miles Southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-752 sinks American SS Cripple Creek carrying 7500 tons of war supplies from USA to British 8th Army in Egypt (1 killed, 38 crew and 13 gunners in 3 lifeboats rescued after 4 days by British armed trawler HMS St. Winstan). 1400 miles West of Freetown, Italian submarine Reginaldo Giuliani sinks American SS California with the deck gun and torpedoes (1 killed, 35 survivors).

Papua. Japanese harass Australians at Deniki to precipitate a retreat without resorting to a full attack, firing their single field gun at Australian positions and probing around the edge of the defenses. Japanese also land more troops at Buna to reinforce the attack along the Kokoda Track.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 1077 August 12, 1942

In the Mediterranean. German and Italian aircraft, submarines and torpedo boats constantly attack the Pedestal convoy. At noon, two 500 pound bombs hit British aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable, rendering the flight deck unusable, leaving only 1 carrier HMS Victorious to defend the convoy. 10 miles off Bizerte, Tunisia, British destroyers HMS Ithuriel and HMS Pathfinder bring Italian submarine Cobalto to the surface with depth charges. HMS Ithuriel rams and sinks Cobalto (2 killed also 2 British sailors who attempt to board, 41 survivors taken POW by HMS Ithuriel), badly damaging HMS Ithuriel’s bow (under repair until October). At 8 PM, a salvo of 4 torpedoes from Italian submarine Axum sinks cruiser HMS Cairo (24 killed, 320 taken off by destroyer HMS Derwent) and damages cruiser HMS Nigeria (52 killed) and tanker SS Ohio. At dusk (9.30 PM), Italian torpedo bombers sink destroyer Foresight (4 killed, crew is taken off by destroyer HMS Tartar). Italian bombers or submarines sink 3 freighters and blow a huge hole in the bows of MV Brisbane Star.

50 miles Northwest of Algiers, Algeria, Italian submarine Dagabur approaches British aircraft carrier HMS Furious (returning to Gibraltar from Operation Pedestal after flying off Spitfires to Malta) but is detected on the surface by British destroyer HMS Wolverine, which rams and sinks Dagabur. HMS Wolverine’s bow is badly damaged (under repair until December).

At 1.55 PM 10 miles South of Key West, Florida, U-508 sinks 2 small Cuban freighter SS Santiago de Cuba (10 killed, 19 survivors) and SS Manzanillo (23 dead).

British submarines HMS Sturgeon and HMS Unshaken, patrolling separately 20 miles off the coast of Southern Norway, sink German freighters SS Boltenhagen and SS Georg L.M. Russ, respectively.

At 5 PM, Churchill arrives in Moscow, having frown from Cairo, Egypt, via an overnight stop in Tehran, Iraq. At 7 PM, he meets Stalin for the first time, at the Kremlin, and informs him that there will be no “second front” in Europe in 1942 (Stalin has been counting on this to relieve German pressure on USSR). Churchill lifts Stalin’s gloom by informing him about the upcoming Anglo/American invasion of North Africa (Operation Torch) and also promising an invasion of France in 1943.

Case Blue. The German drive into the Caucasus is weakened as General Erich von Manstein is sent (along with 4 Divisions of 11th Army) to command the ongoing siege of Leningrad (in its 339th day).

Papua. Japanese troops move up Kokoda Track toward Deniki. Overnight, 3 transports land more Japanese troops at Buna.

Overnight, 138 RAF bombers return to Mainz, Germany, badly damaging the city centre, including the railway station, and industrial areas (40 - 163 killed). The villages of Kempten and Gaulsheim, 15 miles West of Mainz, are each hit by a 4,000lb bomb (130 houses damaged in Kempten, 97 in Gaulsheim). 2 Lancasters, 1 Hampden, 1 Stirling and 1 Wellington are lost.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 1076 August 11, 1942

Operation Pedestal. In the Mediterranean, Italian and German aircraft and submarines converge on the Malta supply convoy. British aircraft carrier HMS Furious flies off 37 Spitfires to Malta, then turns back for Gibraltar. At 1.15 PM 70 miles South of Cape Salinas, Majorca, U-73 hits British aircraft carrier HMS Eagle with 4 torpedoes, which sinks in 4 minutes with 16 Sea Hurricane fighters depriving Pedestal of much-needed air cover (160 killed, 927 survivors picked up by British destroyers HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout and tug HMS Jaunty). 4 Sea Hurricanes are airborne at the time and land on other carriers. At 8 PM, Italian fighters and bombers attack in force but do little damage.

Japanese Navy responds to American landings on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Battleship Mutsu, cruisers Atago, Takao, Maya, Haguro, Yura and Myoko, seaplane tender Chitose and 10 destroyers leave Tokyo Bay, Japan, for the naval base at Truk Lagoon. They will ferry in troops and supplies to Guadalcanal, 1200 miles South.

Case Blue. German 6th Army crosses the River Don and meets up with 4th Panzer Army which has been moving South of the Don, capturing the town of Kalach. Further South in the Caucasus, German 1st and 17th Armies race across the flat Kuban plain towards the Black Sea coast, threatening the Soviet port of Novorossisk. Soviet exodus of ships, naval troops and supplies out of Novorossisk continues and many vessels are scuttled to prevent capture by the Germans.

South Atlantic. At 2.27 PM 870 miles West of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-130 sinks Norwegian SS Mirlo (all 37 crew abandon ship in 3 lifeboats, picked up by British sloop HMS Banff, destroyer HMS Boreas and armed trawler HMS Canna on August 18 - 20). At 7.13 PM 1050 miles West of Freetown, U-109 sinks British tanker SS Vimeira (7 killed, 37 survivors in 2 lifeboats picked up by British SS Sylvia de Larrinaga on August 12 and British corvette HMS Crocus on August 22).

Overnight, 154 RAF bombers (68 Wellingtons, 33 Lancasters, 28 Stirlings and 25 Halifaxes) raid Mainz, Germany, just across the Belgian border. The centre of Mainz is badly damaged (152 killed). 3 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster are lost.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 1075 August 10, 1942

In the Mediterranean, off the coast of Palestine. At 1.20 AM, U-77 sinks Palestinian sailboat Kharouf with the deck gun. 7 miles off Haifa, British anti-submarine trawler HMS Isley depth charges and sinks Italian submarine Scirè which is on a mission to launch “maiali” manned torpedoes (44 crew and 11 “maiali” operators killed).

At 2.15 AM 50 miles East of Antigua, U-510 hits British MV Alexia with 3 torpedoes. Although badly damaged, MV Alexia does not sink and will be repaired and commissioned into Royal Navy in December 1943 as auxiliary escort carrier HMS Alexia.

At 7.10 AM, 90 miles East of Kavieng, New Ireland, US submarine USS S-44 attacks Japanese cruisers Aoba, Kako, Furutaka and Kinugasa (returning to base at Kavieng after the raid on Allied ships off Guadalcanal). Kako is hit by 3 torpedoes and sinks in 5 minutes (34 killed, 582 survivors picked up by the other cruisers who also depth charge USS S-44 without success).

In the South Atlantic 1500 miles East of Trinidad, Italian submarine Reginaldo Giuliani sinks British MV Medon with the deck gun (all 64 hands escape in 4 lifeboats; rescued after 7 days by Norwegian MV Tamerlane, after 8 days by Panamanian SS Rosemount, after 35 days by Portuguese SS Luso and after 36 days by British SS Reedpool).

Case Blue. German 13th Panzer and 16th Motorized Divisions (1st Panzer Army) reach the Soviet oilfield at Maikop, having driven West 100 miles from Stavropol in 6 days. They capture Maikop unopposed due to a Brandenburger Commando unit (commanded by Baron Adrian von Fölkersam), dressed as NKVD, who order Soviet troops to retreat. Further East, other elements of 1st Panzer Army reach the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, covering 260 miles in 16 days, but the bulk of Soviet oil production lies on the other side of the mountains.

North Atlantic. U-boats continue to swarm over convoy SC 94, 500 miles West of Ireland. At midday, U-438 and U-660 attack simultaneously from both sides, while Allied escorts are busy chasing submarine contacts at the rear of the convoy. U-438 and U-660 sink 4 merchant ships, including Greek SS Condylis which is hit by torpedoes from both submarines. At 6.50 PM 150 miles Northeast of Paramaribo, Suriname, U-155 sinks Dutch MV Strabo with the deck gun (all 13 crew reach Paramaribo a week later). At 9.30 PM 140 miles East of Turks and Caicos Islands, U-600 stops British sailing ship Vivian P. Smith with a shot across the bow. After allowing all 11 crew to abandon ship (they reach Turks Island), U-600 sinks Vivian P. Smith with the deck gun.

Overnight, a British convoy of 13 freighters and American tanker SS Ohio, carrying 170,000 barrels of fuel oil, passes through the Strait of Gibraltar to make a final effort to resupply Malta (escorted by 4 aircraft carriers, 2 batttleships, 7 cruisers, 34 destroyers). This massive force does not go unnoticed by Italians and Germans who deploy submarines to intercept.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 1074 August 9, 1942

At 3.24 AM 450 miles East of Trinidad, U-155 sinks British tanker MV San Emiliano (36 crew and 4 gunners lost, 8 crew picked up by a US Army transport ship).

At 6.49 AM 485 miles Southeast of the tip of Greenland, U-176 continues the attack on convoy SC-94 sinking British SS Radchurch which is drifting after being abandoned yesterday.

Case Blue. 4th Panzer Army reaches the Don Bend on the East side, threatening to surround Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies which are still holding German 6th Army West of the Don. Soviet cruiser Krasny Krym and destroyer Nezamozhnik make another run, evacuating troops from the Black Sea port of Novorossisk further South to Batum.

Solomon Islands. After losing 4 cruisers overnight (plus another cruiser and 2 destroyers badly damaged), the commander of the Allied Fleet (American Admiral Richmond Turner) decides the risk from Japanese bombers and warships is too great. Turner withdraws his ships, but most of the heavy equipment, ammunition and food for the Marines on Guadalcanal has not been unloaded and is still aboard the transports. At 1 AM, Japanese torpedo bombers from Rabaul sink US destroyer USS Jarvis as she limps to Sydney, Australia, for repair by US destroyer tender USS Dobbin following severe torpedo damage yesterday (all 233 on board killed).

Kokoda Track, Papua. Overwhelming numbers of Japanese troops recapture Kokoda airfield from Australian 39th Battalion, Company A.

South Atlantic. At 9.13 PM 400 miles Southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-752 sinks Dutch SS Mendanau (16 Dutch crew escape in a motorboat, 69 killed in the explosion or drown - mostly Indian Lascar sailors). At 10.37 PM 750 miles West of Freetown, U-130 sinks Norwegian tanker SS Malmanger (2 killed, captain and chief engineer taken prisoner and sent to POW camp in France, 30 survivors reach West Africa in 2 lifeboats). German armed merchant cruiser Stier shells British freighter MV Dalhousie then sinks her with torpedoes after the crew of 37 are taken on board.

Overnight, 192 RAF bombers (91 Wellingtons, 42 Lancasters, 40 Stirlings & 19 Halifaxes) raid Osnabrück, Germany, just over the Dutch border (206 houses destroyed, 62 killed and 107 injured). 3 Halifaxes and 3 Wellingtons are lost.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 1073 August 8, 1942

Solomon Islands. On Guadalcanal, by 4 PM, US Marines capture Lunga Point airfield unopposed (named Henderson Field after Marine Major Lofton Henderson, who was killed in the Battle of Midway). On Tulagi, after hand-to-hand fighting overnight, US Marines advance on Hill 281 in the morning under a mortar barrage and wipe out Japanese troops in caves using dynamite. 307 Japanese are killed, in a fight to the death that will become familiar to US Marines, and only 3 are taken prisoner (45 US Marines killed). At Gavutu-Tanambogo, US dive bombers and warships pound Tanambogo before Marines land at 4.30 PM and overrun the defenders (476 Japanese killed and 20, mostly Korean labourers, taken prisoner; 70 Americans killed). Japanese aircraft from Rabaul, New Britain, attack US warships throughout the day. Troop transport USS George F. Elliot is set ablaze by a crashing dive bomber and destroyer USS Jarvis is badly damaged by a torpedo bomber (14 crew killed).

At 8 PM 14 miles West of Cape St. George, New Britain, US submarine USS S-38 sinks Japanese troop transport Meiyo Maru, killing 31 crew and 342 troops who are being brought to Rabaul to reinforce Guadalcanal.

However, the Japanese naval response is swift. In the morning, 7 cruisers and a destroyer depart base at Kavieng and Rabaul under Admiral Gunichi Mikawa. All day they steam down New Georgia Sound (known as "The Slot") through the Solomon Islands, evading detection. Overnight, the Japanese execute a night attack, catching the Allied warships napping at anchor off Guadalcanal and sinking 3 American cruisers USS Vincennes, USS Astoria, USS Quincy and Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra (1,077 killed).

Kokoda Track, Papua. Between 6.30 and 8 AM, 3 Companies of Australian 39th Battalion leave Deniki separately to retake Kokoda. Company A reoccupies the airfield, which is lightly defended, but the other Companies run into large Japanese forces and are repelled.
US submarine USS Narwhal sinks Japanese crab fishing boat Bifuku Maru 5 miles off the Northeast tip of Honshu, Japan. At the Southern end of Honshu, US submarine USS Silversides sinks Japanese freighter Nikkei Maru.

U-174, U-176, U-256, U-438, U-660 and U-705 reinforce the wolfpack attacking convoy SC 94, 485 miles Southeast of the tip of Greenland. Convoy escorts hold off all approaches until midday when U-176 and U-379 attack simultaneously and sink 5 ships. Crews of 3 freighters panic and abandon ship without reason. U-379 is sunk by ramming and depth charges from the British corvette HMS Dianthus (40 killed, 5 survivors).

Operation Pastorius. The 6 convicted German saboteurs are executed in the electric chair. President Roosevelt spares the informants George Dasch (given 30 years) and Ernst Burger (life sentence) whose actions had foiled the operation. In 1948, President Truman will free (but not pardon) Dasch and Burger and deport them to the American Zone of occupied Germany.

British submarine HMS Turbulent destroys the hulk of Italian destroyer Strale which ran aground off Cape Bon, Tunisia on June 21 after an attack by British FAA Swordfish torpedo bombers. In the Aegean Sea, South of Naxos, British submarine HMS Proteus sinks Greek sailboat Firesia.

Italian submarine Morosini goes missing in the Bay of Biscay (all hands lost).

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 1072 August 7, 1942

Allies take the offensive against the Japanese, aiming to push them back to the Home Islands. Their first goal is to recapture occupied territories in the South Pacific starting at the furthest extreme, the Solomon Islands. US warships arrive in the Solomon Islands, taking Japanese by surprise, to land 1st Marine Division. US warships shell the landing sites and dive-bombers from aircraft carrier USS Wasp destroy 15 Japanese seaplanes at anchor. At 8 AM, 2nd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment and Edson's Raiders (1st Raider Battalion) land on Tulagi unopposed and, by nightfall, compress the Japanese defenders into prepared positions on Hill 281 on the Southeast corner of the island. At 9.10 AM, 11,000 Marines come ashore on Guadalcanal unopposed and advance to within 1 km of the Japanese airfield at Lunga Point before halting for the night. More resistance is met at the linked islets of Gavutu-Tanambogo. At noon, 397 troops (1st Marine Parachute Battalion) land on Gavutu under heavy Japanese machinegun fire (taking 10% casualties) but they clear the tiny islet by the evening. Believing Tanambogo to be only lightly defended, 1 company of Marines are sent to capture the adjacent islet but they are repelled by machinegun fire and depart with wounded in their boats or run across the causeway to Gavutu. In response, Japanese send naval aircraft from Rabaul, New Britain, to attack the US warships throughout the day but without success.

Off Wotje in the Marshall Islands, US submarine USS Tambor sinks Japanese auxiliary net layer Shofuku Maru.

At 7 AM 85 miles East of Cape Greco, Cyprus, U-77 sinks an unidentified sailing vessel. In the Aegean Sea 100 miles South of Athens, British submarine HMS Proteus (which has been shooting up Greek sailboats with the deck gun) torpedoes 8467-ton German freighter Wachtfels. At 12.55 PM 50 miles Southwest of Crete, British submarine HMS Thorn attacks an Italian convoy from Benghazi, Libya, to Piraeus, Greece. HMS Thorn is detected and machinegunned by a Ju-88 bomber and then sunk at 1.45 PM by depth charges from Italian torpedo boat Pegaso (all 61 hands lost).

Egypt. A Bristol Bombay (RAF 216 Squadron), flying British General William “Strafer” Gott from Borg el-Arab to Cairo to take command of 8th Army, is shot down by Messerschmitt Bf-109s and crash lands. The flight crew survives but 17 passengers, including Gott, are trapped in the fuselage and burn to death. Churchill gives command of 8th Army to General Bernard Montgomery, later commenting on "the part that the hand of God had taken in removing Gott at the critical moment".

Case Blue. In the Don Bend, Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies resist German attacks by Paulus’ 6th Army West of the Don and by 4th Panzer Army South of the Don. German 17th Army’s advance into the Caucasus threatens Soviet Black Sea Fleet at Novorossisk, on the Black Sea coast. Soviet cruiser Krasny Krym and destroyer Nezamozhnik evacuate troops from Novorossisk further South to Batum.

South Atlantic. At 1.33 AM, U-108 sinks Norwegian MV Breñas (1 killed, captain taken prisoner by U-108 and held in a POW camp until July 1943, 32 survivors rescued and taken to Trinidad). At 2.25 AM 800 miles West of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-572 sinks Dutch SS Delfshaven (1 killed, 38 survivors in 2 lifeboats reach French Guinea and interned by the Vichy French until December 1942). At 9.47 PM 1400 miles West of Freetown, U-109 sinks Norwegian tanker SS Arthur W. Sewall (all 36 crew picked up 3 days later by Greek SS Athina Livanos).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 1071 August 6, 1942

North Atlantic. Overnight 520 miles Southeast of the tip of Greenland, U-71, U-210, U-379, U-454, U-595, U-597, U-607 and U-704 converge on convoy SC 94, following U-593’s radio signals. U-454 and U-595 are severely damaged by convoy escorts and return to base. Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine brings U-210 to the surface with depth charges, after radar contact by British corvette HMS Dianthus, and then sinks U-210 with 4.7 inch gunfire and ramming (6 killed, 37 survivors). At 5.19 PM 180 miles East of Tobago, U-66 sinks tiny Polish freighter MV Rozewie (3 dead, captain taken prisoner by U-66, 15 survivors picked up on August 10 by Norwegian SS Sørvangen). At 7.08 PM 525 miles Southeast of Nova Scotia, U-86 sinks American 3-masted schooner Wawaloam with the deck gun after wasting 3 torpedoes (all 7 hands picked up on August 11 by Irish SS Irish Rose).

At 7 AM 85 miles East of Cape Greco, Cyprus, U-77 sinks Egyptian sailboat Ezzet and damages Egyptian sailboat Adnan.

Churchill makes changes to Middle East Command (including removing Iraq and Persia into a separate Command) after consulting General Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and Field Marshal Jan Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa. British General Auchinleck is replaced as commander of 8th Army by his subordinate General William “Strafer” Gott and as C-in-C Middle East by General Sir Harold Alexander. Auchinleck is offered the Persia-Iraq Command but, to Churchill’s disappointment, he refuses. Persia-Iraq Command instead goes to General Henry Maitland Wilson.

Eastern Front. 130 miles West of Moscow, Soviet 20th, 31st, 29th and 30th Armies compress the Rzhev salient. General Zhukov’s 20th and 31st Armies, attacking from the South, advance 25 miles towards Rzhev. In the Caucasus (Case Blue), German 17th Army captures Tikhoretsk, having advanced 100 miles in 12 days since crossing the River Don on July 25.

U-612 sinks after a collision with U-444 as the U-boats maneuver in the Baltic Sea near Gotenhafen, Germany (2 dead, 43 survivors). U-612 is quickly raised and will return to service in May 1943 as a training boat. U-578 departs from St. Nazaire, France, but then disappears in the Bay of Biscay (all 49 hands lost).

2 fresh Australian battalions are sent from Brisbane to Port Moresby, Papua, and 1 battalion to Milne Bay. In the Gulf of Papua, Japanese submarine RO-33 shoots up Australian passenger/cargo ship MV Mamutu with the deck gun and then machineguns passengers and crew as they abandon ship (114 killed, 27 survivors drift to shore on life rafts dropped by a US B-17).

Overnight, 216 RAF bombers attack Duisburg, Germany, just over the Dutch border, but most miss the target (18 buildings destroyed and 24 civilians killed). 2 Halifaxes, 2 Stirlings and 1 Wellington are lost.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 1070 August 5, 1942

In a rare display of Axis cooperation, Japanese submarine I-30 arrives at German submarine pens in Lorient, France, carrying 3300 pounds of mica and 1452 pounds of shellac (for use in electronics) and blueprints of the highly successful Japanese Type 91 aerial torpedo. I-30 is greeted by German Admirals Raeder and Dönitz. I-30’s crew will visit Berlin, where the captain Commander Endo meets Hitler, and Paris.

In the Baltic Sea 10 miles off Pavilosta, Latvia, Soviet submarine SC-7 sinks Finnish freighter SS Pojanlahti with the deck gun. Some crewmen escape in a lifeboat including the captain who is carrying a suitcase, which is confiscated by the Soviet submarine and found to contain maps of German and Finnish minefields in the Baltic.

Churchill, who arrived in Cairo, Egypt, by air yesterday, visits the El Alamein front with British General Auchinleck.

At 11.45 AM 325 miles East of Barbados, U-155 stops tiny Dutch freighter MV Draco with the deck gun and then sinks her after all 16 crew abandon ship (1 lifeboat reaches Suriname 300 miles South and 1 lifeboat is picked up by British tanker MV Athelbrae).

The attack on convoy ON-115 concludes when U-458 sinks a straggler, British SS Arletta, at 4.13 PM 170 miles South of Newfoundland (36 dead, 5 survivors rescued after 15 days by US Coast Guard USS Menemsha). However, U-593 finds convoy SC 94 500 miles East of Newfoundland and sinks Dutch SS Spar at 6.48 PM (3 dead, 36 survivors picked up by convoy escorts British corvette HMS Nasturtium and Canadian corvette HMCS Orillia).

In the middle of the Philippines Sea, 450 miles Southwest of Guam, American submarine USS Greenling sinks Japanese troopship MV Brasil Maru, converted liner carrying 400 troops and 200 other passengers to reinforce Guadalcanal (at least 200 drown), and freighter Palau Maru.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 1069 August 4, 1942

Operation Pastorius. In the Department of Justice Building, Washington, a special military commission (7 US Army officers appointed by President Roosevelt) convicts 8 German saboteurs of sabotage and sentences them to death in the electric chair, including the informant George Dasch who had turned the operation in to the FBI.

North Atlantic. The attack continues on convoy ON 115, 330 miles East of St. John’s, Newfoundland. At 2.29 AM, U-607 sinks Belgian SS Belgian Soldier damaged by U-553 yesterday (21 dead, 39 survivors). At 3.58 PM 1100 miles southeast of Newfoundland, U-176 sinks British MV Richmond Castle carrying 5250 tons of frozen meat from Argentina to Britain (14 dead, 50 survivors).

At 1.59 AM 200 miles East of Trinidad, U-160 sinks Norwegian tanker MV Havsten (2 killed, Captain and a British radio officer taken prisoner by U-160, 29 survivors in lifeboats reached land on August 14). At 4.15 PM 600 miles East of Trinidad, U-155 sinks British MV Empire Arnold carrying 10,000 tons of supplies, trucks, tanks and aircraft from New York to British 8th Army in Egypt (9 dead, Captain taken prisoner by U-155; 37 crew, 8 gunners and 2 American military personnel in 2 lifeboats rescued on August 11 having sailed 480 miles in 7 days).

Eastern Front. At the Rzhev salient, 130 miles West of Moscow, Soviet General Zhukov sends 20th and 31st Armies to attack Rzhev from the south, complimenting the attack of Konev 29th and 30th Armies from the North.

In the Mediterranean 50 miles Southwest of Haifa, Palestine, an RAF Wellington bomber (221 Squadron) detects U-372 with radar and vectors in British destroyers HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Croome and HMS Tetcott (which hunting for the U-boat that sank submarine depot ship HMS Medway on June 30). Depth charges from the Wellington and the destroyers force U-372 to surface, where she is scuttled (all 48 crew picked up by the British destroyers).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 1068 August 3, 1942

After losing contact with convoy ON 115, U-552 locates the convoy 330 miles East of St. John’s, Newfoundland, and vectors in U-71, U-217, U-597, U-553 and U-704. The convoy commodore changes course to escape the attack, but a column which does not follow and is isolated becomes the target of the U-boats. Between 3 and 4 AM, U-552 sinks British MV Lochkatrine (9 killed, 81 survivors picked up by Canadian destroyer HMCS Hamilton and corvette HMCS Agassiz) and British tanker MV G.S. Walden (1 killed) and U-553 damages Belgian SS Belgian Soldier.

At 4 AM 80 miles West of Truk Island in the Pacific, US submarine USS Gudgeon sinks Japanese passenger/cargo ship Naniwa Maru (27 crew and 4 passengers killed).

20 miles off Moruya, New South Wales, Australia, Japanese submarine I-175 surfaces to attack Australian trawler SS Dureenbee with machinegun fire and shells from the deck gun (3 killed, 9 survivors). SS Dureenbee is set on fire but, remarkably, does not sink.

At 1.08 PM, a lone Luftwaffe Dornier 217 bombs Middlesbrough, Northeast England, badly damaging the railway station which is busy on the Bank Holiday (8 civilians killed, 56 wounded).
Case Blue. German 4th Panzer Army advances from Kotelnikovo towards Stalingrad, now only 100 miles away. 1st Panzer Army (Army Group A) captures Stavropol, having advanced 100 miles South from Salsk in 2 days.

In the Black Sea, Soviet cruiser Molotov (returning from shelling German positions at Feodosiya on the Crimean peninsula) is attacked by German Heinkel He 111 torpedo bombers and Italian MAS torpedo boats, losing 60 feet of her stern and reducing speed to 10 knots. Molotov reaches Poti under her own steam for repairs lasting 1 year, using parts cannibalized from other ships.

At 4.54 PM 190 miles Southeast of Reykjavik, Iceland, U-605 sinks British trawler SS Bombay (all 13 crew lost).

In the North Sea 200 miles East of the Faroe Islands, British submarine HMS Saracen is running at periscope depth and spots U-335 on the surface at 9.30 PM (both submarines are on their maiden voyage). HMS Saracen fires 6 torpedoes and U-335 sinks within 4 minutes (43 killed but Matrosengefreiter Rudolf Jahnke who is on watch on the coning tower is rescued by HMS Saracen).

In the South Pacific, US destroyer USS Tucker is escorting ammunition ship SS Nira Luckenbach from Fiji to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides. At 9.45 PM approaching Espiritu Santo, USS Tucker hits a mine in an American minefield laid yesterday (6 killed; 152 survivors, including 21 wounded, rescued by SS Nira Luchenbach). USS Tucker sinks the following morning despite attempts to tow her.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 1067 August 2, 1942

U-510’s Korvettenkapitän Karl Neitzel causes a diplomatic rift with neutral Uruguay during the first attack of his first war patrol. At 5.45 AM 250 miles Southeast of Bermuda, Neitzel misidentifies Uruguayan SS Maldonado as Greek, stops her with shots across the bow and then sinks her after all 49 hands abandon ship in 4 lifeboats. Maldonado’s captain Mario Giambruno is imprisoned by U-510, taken back to Lorient, France, and then immediately repatriated through Switzerland (returning to Uruguay in November). Neitzel will be reprimanded for his conduct but allowed to continue as U-510’s captain.

At 8.42 AM 55 miles West of Penang, Malaya, Dutch submarine HrMs O-23 spots a Japanese convoy of 5 merchant ships of 3000-5000 tons which left Singapore overnight. O-23 sets on fire Japanese Army transport ship Zenyo Maru which burns out and is abandoned (8 crew and 19 anti-aircraft gunners killed) and sinks freighter Ohio Maru.

At 9.27 AM 145 miles Southeast of Reykjavik, Iceland, U-254 sinks British SS Flora II carrying 358 tons of fish and 200 tons of ice (all 25 crew, 4 gunners and 1 passenger in 2 lifeboats picked up by Icelandic trawler Juni and landed at Reykjavik).

Case Blue. German 4th Panzer Army captures Kotelnikovo and is in position to advance 100 miles Northeast on Stalingrad, along the South bank of the Don River. Soviets scramble to defend an attack from this unexpected direction (a fortunate outcome of Hitler’s contradictory orders). Despite fuel shortages, Army Group A continues making rapid progress South into the Caucasus.

At 6.18 PM 200 miles East of Trinidad, U-160 sinks British SS Treminnard (captain taken prisoner by the U-boat, the remaining 29 crew and 9 gunners picked up by Argentinian SS Rio San Juan).