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).

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