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.

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