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.

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