Saturday, August 18, 2012

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.

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