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.

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