Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 1097 September 1, 1942

18 days into her first patrol, U-756 approaches convoy SC 97 just before 1 AM, 500 miles East of the tip of Greenland, but is spotted on the surface by Canadian corvette HMCS Morden. HMCS Morden tries to ram (U-756 dives) and then attacks with depth charges sinking U-756 (all 43 hands lost). 50 miles further East, an American Catalina PBY floatplane (Squadron VP-73) attacks U-91, causing minor damage.

Battle of Alam el Halfa, Egypt. Overnight, RAF Wellington bombers disrupt Rommel’s overland supply lines from Benghazi and Tobruk, destroying valuable fuel without which Panzerarmee Afrika is stationary most of the day. 15th Panzer Division mounts a minor attack which is repelled by British 8th Armoured Brigade. Between 8.26 AM and 5.53 PM, Luftwaffe fighter pilot Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Marseille shoots down 17 Allied fighters, flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109 in 3 combat sorties. He will be awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds.

Siege of Leningrad Day 359. Luftwaffe aircraft sink Soviet torpedo boat Purga on Lake Ladoga. Purga is salvaged and machinery recycled into her damaged sister-ship Vikhr.

Stalingrad. 16th Panzer Division (part of 6th Army, waiting North of Stalingrad) and XLVIII Panzer Corps (4th Panzer Army), located on the Stalingrad outskirts, do not have the strength to link up and surround Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies which are still holding ground West of the city. Soviet General Yeremenko sees the danger and orders 62nd and 64th Armies to fall back to avoid encirclement.

Illustrating US control of the Solomon Islands during daylight hours, USAAF B-17 bombers damage Japanese flying boat support ship Akitsushima and destroyer Akikaze off Buka Island, at the very Northern end of the Solomons. USS Betelgeuse, an Arcturus-class attack cargo ship, lands US 6th Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) on Guadalcanal to improve Henderson Field and build facilities.

Milne Bay, Papua. Australians attack again from the KB Mission pushing the Japanese further back towards their original landing site at Waga Waga which is strafed by 7 RAAF Kittyhawk fighters flying from Gili Gili airfield. In response to this setback, 130 Japanese reinforcements (5th Yokosuka SNLF) depart Rabaul for Milne Bay.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Japanese 41st Regiment catches up with Australian 2/14 and 2/16 Battalions at Eora. Japanese patiently shell and machinegun from heights across the valley until attacking from the front and the flank after dark and gradually infiltrating the Australia positions overnight.

At 10.06 PM 15 miles East of Cape Coast, Gold Coast, U-125 sinks tiny British steamer Ilorin (33 killed, 4 survivors).

Overnight, RAF sends 231 bombers to attack Saarbr├╝cken, Germany, but the Pathfinders inadvertently mark Saarlouis, 13 miles Northwest, which is badly damaged (52 civilians killed). No bombs fall in Saarbr├╝cken. 1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster, 1 Stirling and 1 Wellington are lost.

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