Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 1120 September 24, 1942

In the North Atlantic 300-500 miles East of the tip of Greenland, U-432 sinks American SS Pennmar at 1.44 AM (1 man is crushed between a raft and the ship and another drowns, 59 survivors picked up later in the day by US Coast Guard cutter USCGC Bibb), U-617 sinks Belgian SS Roumanie at 1.58 PM (36 crew and six British gunners killed, chief engineer Suykerbuyk is found on a raft and taken prisoner by U-617) and U-619 sinks American SS John Winthrop with 5 torpedoes and the deck gun (all 39 crew and 13 gunners lost).

At Stalingrad, German 94th Infantry and 24th Panzer Divisions wipe out the Soviet defenders in the pocket in South of the city. Furious at the delay in taking Stalingrad and lack of success reaching oilfields in the Caucasus, Hitler dismisses General Halder as OKH Chief of Staff, replacing him with General Kurt Zeitzler.

In the Mediterranean, Greek submarine RHS Nereus sinks small Italian freighter Fiume 7 miles Southwest of Rhodes. At 11.35 PM 36 miles Southwest of Tiros, Lebanon, U-561 sinks Egyptian Sailing ship Sphinx with 22 rounds from the deck gun.

Off the coast of British Guyana, South America. American SS Antinous (torpedoed yesterday by U-515) is taken in tow by British rescue tug HMS Zwatre Zee (most powerful tug in the world at 4200 Horse Power) but is sunk at 6.25 PM by U-512. At 9.24 AM, U-175 sinks American SS West Chetac (22 crew and 9 gunners drown trying to abandon ship, 17 crew and 2 gunners on 3 rafts picked up on October 1 20 miles off Trinidad by US destroyer USS Roe and landed at Port of Spain).

At 1.30 PM, a Japanese fighter spots Australian destroyer HMAS Voyager beached at Betano Bay, East Timor. At 4 PM, Japanese bombers return and damage HMAS Voyager beyond recovery (no casualties) but the 400 Australian commandos (2/4th Independent Company) have already landed safely.

On Guadalcanal, Japanese General Kawaguchi has regrouped 4000 troops (following the failed assault on Edson’s Ridge 10 days ago) in the Matanikau Valley, 5 miles West of the US positions at Henderson Field. US Marine General Vandegrift sends out 2 battalions to ‘mop up’ what he believes are only 400 Japanese in Matanikau Valley (Colonel ‘Chesty’ Puller 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment will go inland over 1200-foot high Mont Austen while 1st Raider Battalion under Colonel Samuel Griffith takes the coastal route into the Valley).

US bombers Douglas Dauntless dive bombers from Henderson Field (Marine squadron VMSB 231 and Naval squadron VS 3) attack Japanese destroyers Umikaze and Kawakaze on a “Tokyo Express” run, bringing troops and supplies to Guadalcanal from Shortland Island at the Western end of the Solomon Islands. Umikaze is damaged by a near miss (8 killed) forcing the convoy to abort landings and causing Umikaze to be repaired Truk. USAAF B-17 bombers raid the Japanese naval base on Shortland damaging Japanese seaplane carrier Sanuki Maru.

British destroyer HMS Nizam sinks a Vichy French merchant ship Southwest of Madagascar.

220 miles West of the tip of India, Japanese submarine I-165 sinks US freighter Losmar (3 killed, 14 survivors rescued by British ship Louise Moller on October 5 and another 7 survivors reach the West coast of Ceylon on October 17).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 1119 September 23, 1942

North Atlantic. 200 miles East of the tip of Greenland, U-617 attacks convoy SC-100 from USA to Britain, sinking British tanker MV Athelsultan at 00.19 AM (51 killed, 10 survivors picked up by British corvette HMS Nasturtium and Canadian corvette HMCS Weyburn) and British SS Tennessee at 1.42 AM (15 killed, 20 survivors rescued by HMS Nasturtium and US Coast Guard cutter USCGC Ingham). At 00.26 AM 500 miles South of Greenland, U-211 torpedoes US tanker MV Esso Williamsburg carrying 110,043 barrels of Navy fuel oil, which explodes bowing the tanker apart (all 42 crew and 18 gunners lost, including several escapees in lifeboats who are never seen again). 580 miles Southeast of Newfoundland, U-582 sinks Norwegian MV Vibran (all 35 crew, 2 gunners and 11 passengers lost).

U-177 has bad day in the Norwegian Sea 50 miles North of the Faroe Islands, while breaking out into the Atlantic on the first patrol (6 days out from Kiel, Germany). At 6.05 AM, Bootsmannmaat Erwin Henning is lost overboard and at 1.30 PM U-177 is bombed on the surface causing a crash dive (no damage).

Soviet submarine M-60 hits a mine and sinks in the Black Sea, near Odessa, Ukraine.

At Stalingrad, Siberian troops of Soviet 284th Rifle Division cross the Volga River and are immediately thrown into the defense of the ferry landing area against German troops coming out of the Tsaritsa gorge. However, Germans capture the landing stage and split the Soviet defenses in two, with the bulk of 62nd Army North of the Tsaritsa gorge and a smaller contingent to the South.

Rommel leaves North Africa to recuperate in Germany for 6 weeks, suffering from exhaustion, sinusitis, high blood pressure and various stomach ailments. First, he must visit Rome to meet with Mussolini, perhaps to explain why Il Duce is not already in Cairo.

40 miles off the coast of British Guyana, U-515 sinks Norwegian SS Lindvangen at 6.15 AM (15 killed, 8 survivors picked up by British examination vessel HMS Helene) and immobilises American SS Antinous at 11.03 AM (all 35 crew and 13 gunners abandon ship but reboard at 8 PM ).

380 miles Southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-125 chases British SS Bruyère for 8 hours and finally sinks her with 2 torpedoes at 11.34 PM (all 45 crew and 6 gunners in 4 lifeboats picked up by British corvette HMS Petunia, destroyer HMS Decoy and armed trawler HMS Sir Wistan between September 28 and 30).

At 6.30 PM, Australian destroyer HMAS Voyager runs aground at Betano Bay, East Timor, while maneuvering to disembark Australian 2/4th Independent Company. A high tide overnight fails to float her free, as the stern and propeller shafts are embedded in sand.

East African 22nd Infantry Brigade captures the capital of Madagascar, Tananarive (now Antananarivo).

Overnight 185 miles North of Iceland, HMS Somali (torpedoed 3 days ago by U-703) breaks apart and sinks while under tow by HMS Ashanti (77 killed, 35 rescued by HMS Ashanti). .

Overnight, RAF bombs the small German ports of Wismar (83 Lancasters, 4 lost) and Flensburg (28 Halifaxes, 5 lost). Another 24 Stirling bombers attack Vegesack, near Bremen, Germany (1 lost).

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 1118 September 22, 1942

At 7.18 AM in the Arctic Ocean 50 miles West of Jan Mayen Island, U-435 fires 5 torpedoes at convoy QP-14 sinking American SS Bellingham (all 75 hands rescued), British SS Ocean Voice (all 89 hands rescued) and British fleet oiler RFA Grey Ranger (6 crew killed, 33 crew picked up by British rescue ship Rathlin).

At Stalingrad, the battle continues to a stalemate amid the rubble of the city stretched 15 miles along the West bank of the Volga River, except in the Taritsa River gorge (a Volga tributary) which is free of building debris. Germans make progress in the Taritsa gorge towards the landing zone where Soviets bring troops across from the East side of the Volga, threatening to cut the Soviet defenses in two.

In the Mediterranean 25 miles East of Sousse, Tunisia, British submarine HMS Unruffled sinks Italian merchant Leonardo Palomba.

In the middle of the Arabian Sea 880 miles West of Kochi, India, Japanese submarine I-29 sinks American freighter SS Paul Luckenbach (previously WWI-era USS Suwanee).

Australian destroyer HMAS Voyager leaves Darwin, Australia, carrying 400 commandos of Australian 2/4th Independent Company. The plan is to land the commandos on the Eastern end of Timor and evacuate the beleaguered 2/2nd Independent Company (who have been fighting a guerilla war against the Japanese) plus Portuguese women and children civilians.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 1117 September 21, 1942

8 miles off Mehedia, Tunisian, British submarine HMS Unruffled sinks Italian auxiliary minesweeper Aquila with the deck gun at 1.05 AM and Vichy French merchant Liberia (previously Greek Cape Corso) with torpedoes.

At 6.40 AM 20 miles off the coast of British Guyana, U-175 sinks Yugoslavian SS Predsednik Kopajtic (3 dead, 25 survivors.

At 11.14 AM between Greenland and Jan Mayen Island, U-606 approaches convoy QP-14 but is attacked by a Norwegian Catalina floatplane (330 Sqdn RAF/Z, pilot Lt C.J.A. Stansburg) with 4 depth charges that cause little damage. U-606 shoots down the Catalina (all 8 crew including 2 wounded are rescued by British destroyer HMS Marne).

Training U-boat U-446 sinks on a mine in the Gulf of Danzig. U-446 will be raised in November but decommissioned and used as a hulk for tests.

British rescue tug HMS St. Olaves runs around off Duncansby Head, Scotland, and is declared a total loss.

On the Kokoda Track, Papua, Japanese begin to retreat from Ioribaiwa, out of supplies including food and diseased with malaria and dysentery. Resupply is almost impossible from Buna on the coast over the 13,000 feet high Owen Stanley mountain range (which is dominated by Allied aircraft) and reinforcements will not be coming as all available Japanese troops are being diverted to Guadalcanal. Meanwhile, Australians at Port Moresby do receive reinforcements in the shape of Australian 16th Infantry Brigade.

55 miles South of Japanese naval base at Truk Lagoon, US submarine USS Trout sinks Japanese auxiliary net layer Koei Maru.

85 miles East of Shanghai, China, US submarine USS Grouper sinks Japanese merchant Tone Maru.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 1116 September 20, 1942

In the Arctic Ocean, U-251, U-255, U-403, U-408, U-435, U-592 and U-703 seek Allied convoy QP-14 from Arkangelsk to Britain (20 freighters escorted by Royal Navy destroyers, corvettes and minesweepers). At 6.31 AM 180 miles West of Spitsbergen, U-435 sinks British minesweeper HMS Leda (14 killed, 66 survivors rescued by rescue ships HMS Rathlin and HMS Zamalek). At 6.15 PM, U-255 sinks American SS Silver Sword (1 dead and 63 survivors). At 7.55 PM, U-703 torpedoes destroyer HMS Somali (47 killed, 67 taken off by anti-submarine trawler HMS Lord Middleton). 80 crew remain on board HMS Somali to salvage the badly damaged ship which is taken in tow by destroyer HMS Ashanti.

At Stalingrad, battles rage at the Mamayev Kurgan heights, in the Central Station (which continues to change hands) and around the grain elevator in the South. Luftwaffe planes return to continue pounding the city into rubble. Soviet troops manage to hold ground, despite being outnumbered. Further South in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, German Army Group A captures the town of Terek, but the German advance towards the mountain and the oilfields beyond has begun to peter out.

North Atlantic. At 8.15 AM 120 miles Northeast of Georgetown, British Guyana, U-515 sinks British SS Reedpool (5 killed; captain taken prisoner; 32 crew, 4 gunners and 16 passengers [rescued survivors from British MV Medon sunk on August 10 by the Italian submarine Reginaldo Giuliani] picked up 2 days later by British schooner Millie M. Masher). At 3.17 PM 300 miles Southeast of Iceland, U-596 attacks convoy SC-100 sinking British SS Empire Hartebeeste (previously United States Navy USS West Gambo from 1918 to 1919). All 34 crew, 9 gunners and 3 passengers are rescued by Norwegian merchants SS Norhauk and Rio Verde.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 1115 September 19, 1942

At 3 AM 50 miles Southwest of Lisbon, Portugal, U-552 sinks British anti-submarine trawler HMS Alouette (17 dead and 27 survivors).

At 6.48 AM 300 miles Northeast of Barbados, U-516 sinks US MV Wichita (all 40 crew and 10 gunners lost).

At 10 AM in the Bougainville Strait, off Papua, US submarine USS Amberjack damages Japanese transport ship Shirogane Maru (3 killed). Shirogane Maru will be towed to Shortlands Island, grounded to prevent sinking but ultimately abandoned.

U-156 bounces back from the Laconia incident and sinks British SS Quebec City at 3.46 PM with a torpedo, 7 rounds from the deck gun and 58 rounds from the 37mm anti-aircraft gun, 500 miles Southwest of Liberia (5 killed, 38 crew and 3 gunners picked up by British destroyer HMS Decoy).

Convoy PQ-18 reaches Murmansk in the Kola Inlet. Despite losing 13 freighters, 28 merchant ships arrive safely and the convoy is considered a success by the British and Soviets, establishing again the viability of the Northern convoy route for supplies to USSR. No Allied warships have been lost while 3 U-boats have been sunk and about 30 Luftwaffe torpedo bombers shot down.

North of Stalingrad, XIV Panzer Corps on the ground and Luftwaffe dive bombers in the air again repel attacks by Soviet 24th and 66th Armies and 1st Guards Army. Heavy fighting continues in the city, but German infantry do not make much progress without Luftwaffe support which has been diverted to the Northern sector.

At 7.37 PM 60 miles East of Martinique, U-512 sinks neutral MV Monte Gorbea despite identifying her as Spanish (23 crew and 29 passengers killed, 23 crew and 4 passengers reach Martinique in a lifeboat).

Overnight, 118 RAF bombers (72 Wellingtons, 41 Halifaxes, 5 Stirlings) inaccurately attack Saarbrücken, Germany (13 houses destroyed, 27 houses damaged, 1 man killed). 3 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes are lost. 68 Lancasters and 21 Stirlings inaccurately bomb Munich, Germany (3 Lancasters and 3 Stirlings lost).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 1114 September 18, 1942

At 1.52 AM 25 miles of the coast of British Guyana, U-175 sinks Canadian SS Norfolk (6 killed, 13 survivors rescued by Spanish freighter Indaucha).

In the last act of convoy PQ-18, Luftwaffe bombers sink American SS Kentucky in the Barents Sea at the mouth of the Kola Inlet.

Fighting continues at Stalingrad with house-to-house and even room-to-room combat. Soviet General Vasily Chuikov orders his troops to remain in permanent contact with the Germans (“hugging tactics”) to reduce the effectiveness of German artillery and aerial bombardment. However, the German assault has been held by Soviet 62nd Army mainly due to their reinforcement by 13th Guards Rifle Division 3 days ago. The cost to 13th Rifles is severe and only 320 of the 10,000 men sent into Stalingrad will survive the battle. North of the city, 3 Soviet Armies (including 1st Guards Army) attack XIV Panzer Corps (part of General Paulus’s 6th Army) but they are decimated on the open steppe by the Luftwaffe.

At 9.21 AM 1100 miles East of Nova Scotia, U-380 sinks Norwegian MV Olaf Fostenes (all 33 crew and 3 gunners in 2 lifeboats are rescued after 8 days by British destroyer HMS Firedrake).

US Marine 1st Division on Guadalcanal is reinforced by the arrival of 4157 troops (7th Marine Regiment and one battalion of 11th Marine Regiment) as well as vehicles, fuel, ammunitions and supplies including food. The weakened troops who have been on the island since August 7 are revitalised by the return to full rations.

British 29th Infantry Brigade lands at Tamatave on the East coast of Madagascar, as South African 7th Motor Brigade is making slow progress in the 400 miles overland route from Diego Suarez in the North.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 1113 September 17, 1942

Laconia Incident. The same American B-24 Liberator bomber from Ascension Island again bombs Axis submarines with survivors from British troopship Laconia (torpedoed by U-156 on September 12), this time forcing U-506 to dive while transporting 142 Laconia survivors on deck. Vichy French cruiser Gloire and sloops Annamite & Dumont d'Urville arrive from French ports in West Africa, taking on board 415 Italians and 668 Allied survivors from the submarines. In all, 98 crew, 133 passengers, 33 Polish guards and 1394 Italian prisoners are lost from Laconia during the initial sinking and over the next 4 days (it is not known how many die as a result of the US bombing of the submarines).

Kokoda Track, Papua. Australians pull back from Ioribaiwa Ridge, to another ridge at Imita. An Australian ambush kills 50 Japanese troops who are trapped under pre-ranged mortar fire. With only 25 miles to Port Moresby, Australian General Arthur "Tubby" Allen orders Brigadier Kenneth Eather to “fight it out at all cost” at Imita Ridge. However, the exhausted Japanese troops do not pursue and instead dig themselves in on Ioribaiwa Ridge, having been informed that the attack on Port Moresby is deprioritised and all reinforcements are being sent to Guadalcanal.

At Stalingrad, there is continued fighting at the Mamayev Kurgan heights, Central Station (which changes hands several times), the grain elevator in the South of the city and Pavlov’s house in the North. Germans make most progress down the Tsaritsa River gorge towards the Soviet landing stage where troops are brought across the Volga River.

At 6.25 AM 41 miles north of Georgetown, Guyana, U-515 sinks American SS Mae (1 killed, 40 31 crew and 9 gunners in 3 lifeboats picked up 6 hours later by Norwegian SS Sørvangen).

At 1.14 PM 200 miles Northwest of the Cape Verde Islands, U-109 sinks British collier SS Peterton (9 killed, captain taken for interrogation by U-109, 11 survivors picked up by British SS Empire Whimbrel, 22 survivors in a lifeboat picked up after 49 days by British minesweeping trawler HMS Canna).

Off Misrata, Libya, British submarine HMS United sinks Italian salvage vessel Rostro and Italian auxiliary submarine chaser V39/Giovanna.

Day 1112 September 16, 1942

Convoy PQ-18. In the Barents Sea 200 miles Northeast of Murmansk, USSR, British destroyer HMS Impulsive sinks U-457 with depth charges (all 45 hands lost). Luftwaffe abandons aerial attacks on the convoy having lost 29 torpedo bombers on September 13th and 14th (the loss of pilots is particularly worrying).

Siege of Leningrad Day 374. Stalemate continues, as Soviet Volkhov Front brings up reinforcements into the Sinyavino gap to push through the last 3.5 miles to the Neva River. German 502nd Tank Battalion brings the new Tiger I tanks (officially Panzerkampfwagen VI H, Sd.Kfz. 182, sporting the the Krupp 88 mm gun) into combat for the first time.

Stalingrad. There is grim fighting all day as Germans try to push into the city. They especially want to place artillery on the dominating heights of Mamayev Kurgan, from which they can shell ferries bringing Soviet troops across the Volga, but an NKVD rifle battalion manages to hold on to the top of Mamayev Kurgan despite bitter fighting. German infantry advance down the Tsaritsa River gorge towards the Volga, again threatening to cut the soviet defenses in two.

At 11 AM 75 miles East of Trinidad, U-558 sinks American SS Commerical Trader (10 killed, 28 survivors reach Tobago in 1 lifeboat after 12 hours but 1 man dies later in hospital).

Laconia Incident. At 11.25 AM, an American B-24 Liberator bomber from Ascension Island spots 3 German and 1 Italian submarines (heading to West African coast to rendezvous with Vichy French warships, to transfer survivors from British troopship Laconia torpedoed by U-156 on September 12). The pilot, seeing Red Cross flags and survivors on deck, radios for instructions. US Captain Robert Richardson III replies “Sink sub”, either in confusion or a desire to protect the secrecy of the Allied airbase on Ascension Island. At 12.32 PM, the B-24 drops bombs and depth charges, turning over lifeboats and forcing the submarines to dive; hundreds of Laconia survivors are put back in the water and many die, although the submarines later surface and collect as many as possible. This incident causes Admiral Dönitz to issue his “Laconia order” forbidding the rescue or aiding of Allied survivors by U-boats.

At noon, deep in the St. Lawrence River 10 miles Northwest of Cap-Chat, U-165 attacks convoy SQ-36 heading to Montréal, Canada, sinking Greek SS Joannis (no casualties) and damaging British SS Essex Lance (1 killed, towed to Quebec, repaired and returned to service in May 1943) and Pan York (no casualties, repaired at Montréal).

Kokoda Track, Papua. There is a stalemate along the Ioribaiwa Ridge, with both sides having committed their reserves yesterday. It is not clear who has the upper hand but Japanese mountain guns maintain their deadly fire. The Australians have most to lose, with only 25 miles to Port Moresby, and pull back during the day to preserve troops for a counteratteck.

Aleutian Islands. US bombers from Adak Island again bomb the harbor at Japanese-held Kiska Island. At 4.37 AM, Japanese transport ship Nojima Maru sustains several hits and is immobilized (will be towed out and eventually abandoned after several more bombings).

In the mouth of the Gulf of Aden, Japanese submarine I-29 sinks British SS Ocean Honour sailing from Liverpool to Alexandria, Egypt, with a cargo of 6000 tons of military supplies and trucks (15 crew and 5 gunners killed, 30 crew and 3 gunners reach an isolated island, rescued by the RAF and taken to Aden).

In convoy ON-127, 25 miles East of St. Johns, Newfoundland, British tanker MV F.J. Wolfe (damaged 6 days ago by a torpedo from U-96) collides with British SS Empire Soldier (previously German SS Konsul Hendrik Fisser captured on November 22, 1939) which sinks. MV F.J. Wolfe continues and arrives at St. Johns later in the day.

Overnight, RAF sends 369 bombers to Ruhr Valley, Germany. Bombing is scattered but 8 industrial targets are damaged in Essen, including the Krupps works which is hit by 15 high-explosive bombs and by a crashed bomber full of incendiary canisters (47 civilians killed, 92 injured). Bochum, Wuppertal, Heme and Cochem are also hit and suffer civilan casualties. 21 Wellingtons, 9 Lancasters, 5 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes & 1 Whitley are lost.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 1111 September 15, 1942

At 00.58 AM in the South Atlantic 450 miles Northeast of Ascension Island, U-68 sinks Dutch SS Breedijk (2 killed, 37 survivors in 3 lifeboats are picked up over the next 8 days and a boat with 13 survivors reaches French West Africa). At 11.30 AM 290 miles Northeast of Ascension Island, U-506, U-507 and Italian submarine Cappellini begin arriving to assist U-156 rescuing hundreds of survivors who have been floating since the sinking of British troopship Laconia in the evening of September 12. The submarines, on the surface, start towing lifeboats towards the coast of West Africa.

At 7.14 AM 100 miles East of Trinidad, U-515 sinks Norwegian MV Sørholt (7 killed, 31 survivors reach Trinidad 2 days later). At 3.17 PM near Tobago, U-514 sinks British SS Kioto (20 killed, 54 rescued by Trinidad government ship Trinidad and landed at Tobago).

100 miles Southwest of the Faroe Islands, a British Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber (RAF 58 Squadron, Coastal Command) sinks U-261 trying to break out into the Atlantic on the first patrol, 7 days after leaving Kiel, Germany (all hands lost).

12 RAF Boston bombers destroy whaling factory ship Solglint in a daylight raid on the harbor at Cherbourg, France.

Italian frogmen enter the harbor at Gibraltar and place limpet mines on British SS Ravens Point, which sinks in shallow water (will be repaired and leave Gibraltar on December 27, 1942).

Kokoda Track, Papua. At Ioribaiwa Ridge only 25 miles from Port Moresby. With stalemate in the center and on one flank, Japanese bring up their reserve on the other side looking to outflank the Australian positions through the jungle. They also run into the Australian line creating havoc and disrupting the defenses. The Australians throw in their reserve, 2/25th Battalion, but they cannot dislodge the Japanese.

At 2.44 PM in the Coral Sea between Santa Cristobel and Vanatu (300 miles Southeast of Guadalcanal), Japanese submarine I-19 fires 6 torpedoes, sinking 1 US aircraft carrier and 1 destroyer and severely damaging a battleship which are escorting 6 troop transports carrying 7th Marine Regiment to Guadalcanal. US aircraft carrier USS Wasp is hit by 3 torpedoes and burns out of control (194 killed, 1969 survivors rescued by other warships including 366 wounded). US battleship USS North Carolina is badly damaged and has to return to Pearl Harbor for repairs. US destroyer USS O'Brien suffers minor damage and heads to USA for repairs (via Vanatu Island and Noumea Island) before sinking near Fiji on October 19, 1942. US warships drop 80 depth charges but I-19 escapes unharmed.

Aleutian Islands. US bombers from Adak Island again bomb the harbor at Japanese-held Kiska Island.

Stalingrad. There is grim fighting all day as Germans try to push into the city. They especially want to place artillery on the dominating heights of Mamayev Kurgan, from which they can shell ferries bringing Soviet troops across the Volga, but an NKVD rifle battalion manages to hold on to the top of Mamayev Kurgan despite bitter fighting. German infantry advances down the Tsaritsa River gorge towards the Volga, again threatening to cut the soviet defenses in two.

At 6.33 PM in the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, U-517 fires 4 torpedoes at convoy SQ-36 sinking Norwegian SS Inger Elisabeth (3 killed, 23 survivors reach shore in lifeboats) and Dutch SS Saturnus (1 killed, 35 escape in 2 lifeboats and reach the shore).

At 9.15 PM in the Bjaerangsfjord, Norway, Free French submarine Junon lands 10 British commandos (No. 2 Commando) and 2 Norwegian corporals (Norwegian Independent Company 1) to destroy the German-held power station at Glomfjord (Operation Musketoon).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 1110 September 14, 1942

In the last act of convoy ON-127 440 miles East of St. John’s Newfoundland, U-91 sinks convoy escort Canadian destroyer HMCS Ottawa at 2.05 AM. 109 are killed, including 13 crew and 5 gunners rescued from British tanker SS Empire Oil torpedoed 4 days ago by U-659. 65 survivors are rescued by other ships in the convoy.

Convoy PQ-18 20 miles South of Spitzbergen, Svalbard Island. At 4 AM, U-457 sets British tanker MV Atheltemplar on fire and the crew abandons ship (3 killed, 58 survivors picked up by British rescue ship Copeland and destroyer HMS Offa). MV Atheltemplar stays afloat and is finished off at 2.30 PM by U-408. Luftwaffe torpedo bombers from Banak attack again en masse but anti-aircraft fire from the convoy escorts and Sea Hurricane fighters from British carrier HMS Avenger break up the attacks (21 German aircraft shot down). American SS Mary Luckenbach is hit by an aerial torpedo and vapourised by the detonation of 1,000 tons of TNT on board (all 189 crew killed); the explosion damages nearby American ships SS Nathanael Greene and SS Wacosta. U-589 is sunk by depth charges from British destroyer HMS Onslow and a Swordfish bomber from escort carrier HMS Avenger (all 44 hands lost).

Aleutian Islands. US bombers leave the newly-completed airfield at Adak Island and bomb the harbor at Kiska Island, damaging Japanese submarines RO-63 and RO-64.

Stalingrad. Germans infantry again advance, meeting a counterattack by Soviet 62nd Army. At dawn, Luftwaffe aircraft bomb and strafe the Soviet troops who are pushed back onto Mamayev Kurgan, a Tartar burial mound 102 meters high (with dominating views of the city, also known as Hill 102). 2 miles south of Mamayev Kurgan, German 71st and 76th Divisions assault Central Station, which changes hands 4 times during the day and is eventually held by a NKVD rifle battalion. In the evening, Soviet 13th Guards Rifle Division (10,000 troops, ordered to the front by Stalin on hearing of the German progress yesterday) crosses the Volga in barges, tugs and rowing boats despite German shellfire and mortars. They go straight into combat (taking 30% casualties in 24 hours), preventing German troops cutting 62nd Army in two by reaching the Volga. There is a frost overnight, signaling the start of the Russian Winter.

On the Kokoda Track, Papua, Japanese reach Australian positions at Ioribaiwa Ridge. In the now-standard pattern, Japanese fix Australian 21st Brigade (the remnants of 2/14 and 2/16 Battalions combined) on the Track with a frontal assault and shelling from 8 mountain guns, to cover a flanking movement. The attack in the center makes some progress, although the Australian defenses hold out, but the flanking attack runs into 2/31st Battalion placed on the left in anticipation.

Gili Gili airfield at Milne Bay is renamed Gurney Field in honour of RAAF Squadron Leader Gurney who was killed in a crash.

A poorly planned and executed series of British raids on Tobruk (Operation Agreement aka daffodil), Benghazi (Operation Bigamy aka Snowdrop), Jalo oasis (Operation Nicety aka Tulip) and Barce (Operation Caravan aka Hyacinth) ends in disaster, achieving none of the objectives. An attempted amphibious landing of 400 Royal Marines and 180 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders at Tobruk is broken up by German dive bombers which sink British cruiser HMS Coventry (63 killed) and destroyers HMS Zulu (39 killed) and German 88 mm shore batteries which score multiple hits and sink HMS Sikh (115 killed, 75 taken POW). 300 Royal Marines and 160 Highlanders are killed or taken POW.

In the Mediterranean in the Gulf of Stora off Phillipeville (now Sakīkdah) Algeria, British aircraft sink Italian submarine Alabastro.

290 miles Northeast of Ascension Island, hundreds float on the wreckage of British troopship Laconia sunk 2 days ago by U-156. U-156 remains on the surface to assist and await the arrival of more ships.

At 2.10 PM 40 miles East of Trinidad, U-515 sinks British SS Harborough with a torpedo and the deck gun (5 killed; 39 crew, 5 gunners and 1 passenger reach Tobago).

Overnight, 202 RAF bombers attack Wilhelmshaven, Germany, with accurate Pathfinder marking (77 civilians killed, more than 50 injured).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 1109 September 13, 1942

Overnight, 290 miles Northeast of Ascension Island, U-156 rescues survivors from British troopship Laconia (carrying 1809 Italian POWs plus 1032 Allied civilians and military personnel). At 1.25 AM, Korvettenkapitän Hartenstein radios for assistance to Admiral Dönitz, who orders 2 U-boats to the scene and requests Vichy French to send warships. At 6 AM on his own initiative and without seeking Dönitz approval, Hartenstein radios in English a general request for help from all ships.

At 00.58 AM, U-506 sinks neutral Swedish MV Lima 150 miles off the coast of Liberia, West Africa (3 dead, 30 survivors).

At 1.35 AM 950 miles Northeast of Barbados, U-512 turns US tanker SS Patrick J. Hurley (carrying 75,000 barrels of gasoline and 60,000 barrels of diesel oil) into a burning wreck with shellfire from the deck gun (17 killed, 22 survivors picked up after 7 days by Swedish SS Etna, 23 survivors picked up on 4 October by British SS Loch Dee).

45 miles East of Trinidad, U-515 sinks British SS Ocean Vanguard at 2.27 AM (11 dead, 40 survivors picked up by Norwegian MV Braga) and Panamanian SS Nimba at 6.34 AM (20 killed, 12 float on a raft and wreckage for 12 hours until picked up by US destroyer USS Barney at 6.30 PM).

Battle of Edson’s Ridge, Guadalcanal. At daybreak, Marine artillery and aircraft from Henderson Field break up the Japanese attack. At 5.50 AM, Japanese General Kawaguchi retreats into the jungle to regroup for another attack overnight. US Colonel Edson pulls his Marines back onto Hill 123 (the highest point on the Ridge at 123 feet, with dominating views of the lower slopes). Japanese attack at nightfall, breaking down the flank of Edson’s line, but they are stopped by machinegun fire from Hill 123 plus Marine 105 mm and 75 mm artillery ranged on open ground South of the Ridge (500 Japanese killed, 80 US killed). Japanese attacks overnight along the coast East and West of Henderson Field are also repulsed with heavy losses.

At 6.22 AM 100 miles West of Grenada, U-558 fires 3 torpedoes at convoy TAG-5, sinking Dutch SS Suriname (13 killed, 69 survivors rescued by a US patrol craft) and British SS Empire Lugard (all 47 hands picked up by Norwegian MV Vilja).

At 6.45 AM, Germans launch an infantry assault on Stalingrad supported by aerial and artillery bombardment. They make slight progress, due to dogged Soviet resistance and terrain devastated by Luftwaffe bombing over the last 2 weeks, but manage to capture an airfield just West of the city.

Convoy PQ-18 150 miles Northwest of Bear Island. U-408 sinks Soviet SS Stalingrad and American SS Oliver Ellsworth. Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft from Banak, Northern Norway, spots the convoy and torpedo bombers from Banak use a new tactic of coordinated torpedo attack to sink 8 more steamers.

Convoy ON-127 1300 miles West of Ireland, 600 miles East of Newfoundland. US air escort from Newfoundland keep the U-boats away from the main convoy but at 2.36 PM U-594 sinks a straggler, Panamanian SS Stone Street (13 killed, captain taken prisoner by U-594, 38 survivors on 2 rafts rescued on September 19 by SS Irish Larch).

Overnight, RAF mounts a big raid on Bremen, Germany, with 446 aircraft (Lloyd dynamo works and Focke-Wulf factory knocked out for 1-2 weeks; 7 historical buildings, 6 schools and 2 hospitals hit in the city centre; 70 civilians killed, 371 injured). 15 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Hampden, 1 Stirling & 1 Whitley are lost.

Day 1108 September 12, 1942

Convoy ON-127 1050 miles West of Ireland, 750 miles East of Newfoundland. British whale factory ship SS Hektoria (1 killed) and British SS Empire Moonbeam (3 killed) are damaged at 1.05 AM by U-211. Canadian corvette HMCS Arvida takes off 112 crew and 14 gunners and 1 passenger from the ships before U-608 finishes off SS Hektoria at 3.51 AM and SS Empire Moonbeam at 4.59 AM. At 6.17 AM, U-404 blows a massive hole clean through Norwegian tanker MV Daghild which reaches Newfoundland and then New York for repairs (returns to service in January 1943 with an extra deck for carrying aircraft). Depth charges from convoy escorts damage U-218 and U-380 causing them to return to France.

In the Greenland Sea 400 miles North of Norway, U-88 approaches Allied convoy PQ-18 (20 American, 11 British, 6 Soviet and 3 Panamanian merchant ships from to Murmansk, USSR) but is detected and sunk by depth charges from British destroyer HMS Faulknor (all 46 hands lost).

In the Gulf of Bothnia near the Finnish Åland Islands, Soviet submarine S-13 sinks Finnish SS Jussi at 3.48 AM (6 survivors) and SC-309 sinks Finnish SS Bonden.

At Stalingrad, Soviet General Vasily Chuikov is put in command of 62nd Army to defend the city. Germans launch a furious aerial and artillery bombardment in preparation for an assault on the city.

British submarine HMS Sahib begins attacking small Italian fishing boats in the Mediterranean, sinking tiny Italian sailboat Ina S. with gunfire 8 miles off Sardinia.

South Atlantic. At 3.32 AM 750 miles Southwest of Gold Coast, West Africa, U-68 sinks British MV Trevilley (1 crew member and 1 passenger killed; 43 crew, 8 gunners and 2 passengers in lifeboats reach land on the Gold Coast or are rescued by Portuguese SS Cubango or Vichy French sloop Dumont d´Urville). At 10.07 PM 290 miles Northeast of Ascension Island, U-156 sinks unescorted British troopship Laconia (carrying 463 crew, 1809 Italian prisoners, 103 Polish guards plus 366 civilian passengers and British military personnel from Egypt to Canada). U-156 surfaces to capture Laconia’s senior officers but Korvettenkapitän Werner Hartenstein is surprised to find hundreds of Italian speakers in the water. U-156 begins picking up survivors and by morning has 200 on board, including 5 women, and 200 more towed in 4 lifeboats.

40 miles East of Trinidad, U-515 sinks Panamanian tanker SS Stanvac Melbourne (1 killed, 48 survivors in 3 lifeboats reach Trinidad 36 hours later) at 10 AM and Dutch tanker MV Woensdrecht at 10.41 AM. MV Woensdrecht is carrying 38 crew and 36 passengers (all survivors from British MV Cressington Court, sunk by U-510 on August 19, picked up 2 days ago after 21 days adrift). One of the passengers is killed in the explosion and 73 survivors are picked up by US patrol vessels.

Battle of Edson’s Ridge, Guadalcanal. Japanese again underestimate US strength (12,500 troops), as General Kawaguchi believes there are only 2000 Marines on Guadalcanal. Kawaguchi has 6200 men approaching the US perimeter from East, South and West. Japanese bombers again attack Lunga Ridge during the day. Japanese cruiser Sendai and three destroyers shell Henderson Field and the Ridge for 20 minutes at 9.30 PM. Japanese troops are late arriving at the starting point (due to a lengthy trek through dense jungle) and attack up the slope overnight, overrunning some US positions in confused fighting but generally making little progress.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 1107 September 11, 1942

Battle of convoy ON-127, in the middle of the North Atlantic 800 miles West of Ireland. At 00.16 AM, U-404 damages Norwegian tanker SS Marit II which continues to USA with the convoy (2 killed). At 1.35 AM, U-218 blows a 30 foot hole in Norwegian tanker MV Fjordaas which is able to return to the Clyde, Scotland, arriving on September 15 (no casualties). At 11.50 AM, U-96 sinks 3-masted Portuguese fishing schooner Delães in the vicinity because U-96 “hears Asdic signals from the ship”. At 7.25 PM, U-584 sinks Norwegian MV Hindanger (1 killed, 40 survivors picked up by Canadian corvette HMCS Amherst).

250 miles South of the Azores, Kapitänleutnant Rolf Mützelburg allows the crew of U-203 to swim in the sea but he dies when he dives off the conning tower and hits the ballast tank (saddle tank) below the waterline.

At 1 PM in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, within sight of onlookers on Cap-Chat, U-517 sinks Canadian corvette HMCS Charlottetown (9 killed, 55 survivors picked up by minesweeper HMCS Clayoquot).

Aleutian Islands. The US airfield Adak Island is completed and begins bombing raids against Japanese-held Kiska Island, 250 miles West.

Allied/Japanese diplomatic personnel exchanges at Lourenço Marques, Portuguese East Africa (now Maputo, Mozambique). Japanese liner Kamakura Maru leaves for Singapore with 870 Japanese diplomats while British SS El Nil returns to Britain with 400 diplomats (including the embassy staff from Tokyo).

In the Gulf of Bothnia near the Finnish Åland Islands, Soviet submarine S-13 sinks Finnish collier SS Hera and also sinks a lifeboat full of survivors. Another lifeboat escapes to one of the Åland Islands.

Battle of Edson’s Ridge, Guadalcanal. Based on intelligence from his raid at Taivu 3 days ago, US Marine Colonel Edson believes the Japanese attack will come from the South of Henderson Field and he places 840 troops to block their approach on Lunga Ridge (a low, narrow coral ridge with dominating views, 1 km long between 2 rivers). Japanese bombers attack Lunga Ridge during the day, confirming Edson’s hunch.

8 miles Northwest of Vakuta Island 120 miles North of Milne Bay, Papua, US B-17 and B-25 bombers sink Japanese destroyer Yayoi with a direct hit in the stern (68 killed, 83 survivors reach Normanby Island 75 miles South). The other destroyer Isokaze suffers minor damage due to near-misses and abandons the attempt to evacuate stranded troops from nearby Goodenough Island.

In the Makassar Strait between Borneo and Celebes, US submarine USS Saury is recharging batteries on the surface in the dark. At 9 PM, USS Saury spots and sinks Japanese auxiliary aircraft transport Kanto Maru with 3 torpedoes (39 killed).

In the evening in the Indian Ocean, German armed merchant cruiser Michel stops British MV Empire Dawn (in ballast to Trinidad from Durban, South Africa) with a barrage of shellfire that continues despite signals that the crew is abandoning ship (22 killed, 22 survivors taken prisoner on Michel).

At 10.37 PM, U-514 attacks ships in Bridgetown harbour, Barbados, sinking Canadian SS Cornwallis in shallow the waters. SS Cornwallis will be raised and repaired at Trinidad and Mobile, Alabama, returning to service in August 1943.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 1106 September 10, 1942

Allied forces at Diego Suarez, Northern Madagascar, have coexisted since May 1942 with Vichy French who control the rest of the island. British are concerned about potential use of Vichy-held ports by Japanese submarines which are attacking Allied shipping in the Mozambique Channel. South African 7th Motor Brigade begins advancing South from Diego Suarez towards Tamatave on the East coast, while British 29th and 22nd Infantry Brigades make amphibious landings and easily capture the port of Majunga on the Northwest coast.

Stalingrad. German 29th Motorised Infantry Division reaches the Volga at the Southern end of Stalingrad, cutting off Soviet 64th Army in the South from 62nd Army in the city. Soviet 62nd Army has 20,000 troops, 700 mortars and field guns and 60 tanks. Troops and equipment are brought across the Volga in a steady stream of ferries but these are targeted by German artillery and dive bombers.

Japanese destroyers Isokaze and Yayoi depart Rabaul, New Ireland, to evacuate 353 troops (5th Sasebo SNLF) stranded on Goodenough Island, Papua, during the invasion of Milne Bay on August 25.

At 4.31 PM in the middle of the North Atlantic 765 miles West of Ireland, U-96 fires 4 torpedoes at convoy ON-127 sinking Belgian SS Elisabeth van Belgie (1 killed, 55 survivors) and Norwegian tanker MV Sveve (all 37 crew and 2 gunners in 4 lifeboats picked up by Canadian corvette HMCS Sherbrooke) and damaging British tanker MV F.J. Wolfe (no casualties). Vorwarts wolfpack (U-91, U-92, U-96, U-211, U-218, U-380, U-404, U-407, U-411, U-584 U-594 and U-608) converges on convoy ON-127 and at 9.10 PM, U-659 stops British tanker SS Empire Oil with 2 torpedoes (all 42 crew and 11 gunners were picked up by Canadian destroyers HMCS Ottawa and HMCS St. Croix). At 1.47 AM next morning, U-584 sinks the drifting wreck of Empire Oil.

In the mouth of the Gulf of Aden, Japanese submarine I-29 sinks British cargo steamer SS Haresfield en route Aden to Colombo, Ceylon (12 killed).

Overnight in the Indian Ocean, German armed merchant cruiser Michel approaches US freighter American Leader (carrying 2000 tons rubber, 850 tons coconut oil in tanks on deck, 400 tons copra, 200 tons grease, 100 tons spices and 20 tons opium) in the dark and opens fire with 6 inch shells and 2 torpedoes (11 killed). For the 47 picked up and taken prisoner by Michel, this is only the beginning of their ordeal.

Overnight, RAF sends 479 bombers (242 Wellingtons, 89 Lancasters, 59 Halifaxes, 47 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens and 14 Whitleys) to Düsseldorf, Germany. Pathfinders drop 'Pink Pansies' incendiary markers in 4000 lb bomb casings and the resulting bombing causes considerable damage to Düsseldorf and nearby Neuss (52 industrial firms destroyed or damaged, 2417 houses destroyed or seriously damaged, 148 civilians killed or missing, 19,427 people made homeless). 20 Wellingtons, 5 Lancasters, 4 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes and 1 Hampden are lost.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 1105 September 9, 1942

At 6 AM in the Pacific off the coast of Oregon, Warrant Officer Nobuo Fujita takes off in his “Glen” floatplane from Japanese submarine I-25, flies inland and drops 2 incendiary bombs into the forest on Wheeler Ridge, Mount Emily. The intention is to start fires but rain-soaked brush renders the bombs ineffective. 1 small fire is put out by the US Forest Service. This is the only bombing of mainland USA in WWII. Nobuo Fujita will return to Oregon several times between 1962 and 1995 as a goodwill ambassador. Some of Fujita’s ashes are now buried at the bomb site.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Australians retreat 2 miles from Efogi and begin preparing new defenses at Menari. US aircraft from Port Moresby slow down the Japanese advance to allow the Australians time to prepare their positions. As the disaster at Efogi sinks in, more troops are sent up the Track from Port Moresby and reinforcements are ordered up from the Australian mainland (25th Infantry Brigade arrives at Port Moresby).

In the Mediterranean 85 miles Northeast of Tobruk, RAF torpedo bombers sink Italian hospital ship Arno (previously Australian WWI-era troopship HMAT Wandilla).

North Atlantic. At 3.16 PM 590 miles Northeast of St. John’s. Newfoundland, U-755 sinks US weather ship USS Muskeget on Weather Station No. 2 (all 116 crew, 1 Public Health Service officer and 4 US Weather Service civilians killed). At 3.28 PM 875 miles North of Antigua, U-66 sinks neutral Swedish Peiping (3 killed, 31 survivors reach a Caribbean island after a week).

In the evening, U-584 (1 of 12 U-boats in “Vorwarts” wolfpack) makes contact with convoy ON-127 (32 merchant ships with escorted by 2 Canadian destroyers HCMS St-Croix & HCMS Ottawa and 4 corvettes HCMS Amherst, HCMS Arvida, HCMS Sherbrooke & HCMS Celandine).

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 1104 September 8, 1942

Efogi, Papua. At dawn, the flanking move Japanese 144th Regiment 2nd Battalion lands on the Kokoda Track in a gap between the Australian headquarters on Brigade Hill and all 3 battalions to the North, which are now surrounded. A Japanese forward artillery observer brings down mountain gun fire on Australian 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions, hampering a counterattack which fails with numerous casualties. An attack by the headquarters company, reinforced by a company from 21st Brigade held in reserve, also fails. By nightfall, the Australian position is fatally compromised and they retreat overnight. 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions manages to escape along the Track but 2/27th Battalion has to take a side track into the jungle and becomes lost for over a week, taking no part in subsequent battles. Australian casualties at Efogi are 87 dead, 77 wounded and Japanese lose 60 dead, 165 wounded.

Solomon Islands. On Guadalcanal, Japanese General Kawaguchi has 5200 troops at Taivu Point (East of Henderson Field) and 1000 troops to the West. He starts marching towards the Lunga perimeter with plans to attack from both sides with a flanking force hitting the American center. US Marine Colonel Merritt Edson is aware of the Japanese landings at Taivu. Between 5.20 and 11 AM, 813 1st Raider Battalion troops land at Taivu from fast transports (converted WWI destroyers) USS McKean and USS Manley. They destroy the Japanese base camp (capturing food, ammunition, medical supplies, documents and a radio) and return to the transports at 5.30 PM (2 US Marines and 27 Japanese troops killed). This raid hampers the Japanese attack and provided intelligence on the size of the Japanese force. Overnight, Japanese cruiser Sendai and 8 destroyers bombard the US naval base on nearby Tulagi Island.

Overnight, 249 RAF aircraft inaccurately bomb Frankfurt, Germany. Most bombs fall in the countryside Southwest of the city and 15 miles away in Rüsselsheim. 5 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes are lost.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 1103 September 7, 1942

Kokoda Track, Papua. Japanese bombard Australian positions with 6 mountain guns while 3rd Battalion 144th Regiment attacks from the front. Australian 2/27 Battalion takes heavy casualties but replies with two 3-inch mortars and manages to hold out all day and into the night. Japanese are again attacked by US aircraft from Port Moresby. At dusk, Japanese 144th Regiment 2nd Battalion sets off on a standard flanking movement to get behind the Australians.

USS Growler sinks Japanese freighter SS Kashino Taika Maru 25 miles Northwest of Keelung, Formosa /Taiwan.

40 miles South of Iceland, U-617 sinks Faroese trawler Tor II (18 dead and 3 survivors).

In the last act at Milne Bay, Papua, 1 Japanese cruiser and 1 destroyer enter the Bay overnight and bombard Allied positions and the airfield at Gili Gili for 15 minutes causing several casualties. Over the next few days, Australian troops hunt down Japanese stragglers left behind after the evacuation who are attempting to return 180 miles overland to Buna.

At 11 PM in the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, U-517 attacks convoy QS-33 sinking Greek SS Mount Pindus carrying 7566 tons of general cargo and 8 tanks on deck to Britain (2 killed, 35 survivors), Greek SS Mount Taygetus carrying 4440 tons of general cargo and 8 more tanks to Britain (2 killed, 26 survivors) and Canadian collier SS Oakton (3 killed, 17 survivors picked up by Canadian motor launch HMCS Q-083).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 1102 September 6, 1942

At 10.08 AM in the Mediterranean 20 miles off Khan Yunis, Palestine, U-375 stops Egyptian sailboat Turkian and sinks her with 13 rounds from the deck gun after all 19 crew abandon ship. British coastal artillery fires at the U-boat with no effect.

At 11 AM, U-514 surfaces 500 miles East of Bermuda and shells tiny British schooner Helen Forsey carrying molasses and rum to Canada (2 killed, 4 survivors reach Bermuda 11 days later).

At Milne Bay, Papua, Australians overrun the Japanese landing site at Waga Waga, killing a few Japanese stragglers who were not evacuated and finding numerous Papuan civilians and Australian POWs who have been executed and mutilated. Overnight, Japanese cruiser Tatsuta sails into Milne Bay and bombards Gili Gili wharf, sinking Australian MV Anshun (will be salvaged in 1944 and used in commercial service until 1962). The defense of Milne Bay has cost 171 Australian killed including 7 RAAF pilots (216 wounded) and 3 Americans killed (4 wounded).

Kokoda Track, Papua. Australians at Efogi are reinforced by the arrival of 2/27 Battalion, held in reserve at Port Moresby but now released into action after the victory at Milne Bay. Australian defenses (1500 men) are bunched in pockets for 1 mile along the Track, with the fresh 2/27 Battalion in front of the tired 2/14 and 2/16 Battalions and HQ well behind on Brigade Hill. Japanese troops approaching the Australian positions are bombed and strafed by US aircraft from Port Moresby.

At 10.27 PM 150 miles Northwest of Aruba, U-164 sinks Canadian SS John A. Holloway carrying 2000 tons of construction supplies from USA to Trinidad (1 killed, 23 survivors).

At 11.23 PM 300 miles southwest of Cape Palmas, Liberia, U-109 sinks British passenger/cargo ship MV Tuscan Star carrying 7840 tons of frozen meat and 5000 tons of general cargo from Argentina to Britain (40 crew, 8 gunners and 3 passengers killed; a wireless operator taken prisoner and interned at POW camp Milag Nord; 36 crew, 4 gunners and 22 passengers survivors in 3 lifeboats picked up by British passenger ship Otranto).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 1101 September 5, 1942

Guadalcanal. Just before 1 AM, Japanese destroyers Yudachi, Hatsuyuki and Murakumo shell Henderson Field as they return from landing troops at Taivu. A US Navy PBY Catalina floatplane drops flares to illuminate the attackers but instead lights up US fast transport ships (converted WWI-era destroyers) USS Gregory and USS Little in Savo Sound, which are promptly sunk by Yudachi (USS Gregory 22 killed, 43 wounded; USS Little 62 killed, 27 wounded; survivors from both ships rescued by US destroyer USS Manley). During the day off Santa Isabel Island, US Cactus Air Force operating from Henderson Field again sinks barges carrying heavy equipment for the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal.

At 2.33 AM 200 miles South of Cape Palmas, Liberia, U-506 sinks British MV Myrmidon carrying supplies and explosives from Britain to Colombo, Ceylon (all 106 crew, 10 gunners and 129 passengers picked up by an escort, British destroyer HMS Brilliant).

US submarine USS Seal damages Japanese passenger-cargo ship Kanju Maru, 20 miles off the coast of French Indochina 80 miles South of Cam Ranh Bay.

At Milne Bay, Papua, Australian 2/9th Battalion continues advancing, pushing the Japanese almost back to their original landing site at Waga Waga. Overnight, Japanese warships steam into Milne Bay and evacuate the remaining troops, as the decision has been made to concentrate forces to recapture Guadalcanal. Of 1943 Japanese troops landed at Milne Bay, 625 have been killed and 311 wounded are evacuated.

On the Kokoda Track, Papua, Australians withdraw 6 miles to Efogi, across the peak of the Owen Stanley mountain range (Mount Bellamy 7400 feet above sea level). Japanese pursue but do not attack, allowing the Australians time to prepare good defensive positions on a dominating hill near Efogi. Australian casualties in the battle at Eora are 21 killed and 54 wounded while Japanese have 43 killed and 58 wounded.

In the Mediterranean 25 miles off Derna, Libya, British submarine HMS Traveller sinks Italian freighter SS Albachiara.

Siege of Leningrad Day 363. Volkhov Front reaches 5.5 miles into the Sinyavino gap, only 3.5 miles from Leningrad Front lines on the Neva River. However, the Soviet advance has run out of steam and the battle degenerates into stalemate.

Stalingrad. In the morning, Soviet 1st Guards, 24th and 66th Armies attack from the North with 120 tanks against XIV Panzer Corps (part of 6th Army), but they are broken up by Luftwaffe strikes on tanks and artillery positions. Soviets withdraw at midday (30 tanks destroyed).

At 4.15 PM, U-513 attacks iron ore carriers at anchor near the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation iron mine at Wabana on Bell Island in Newfoundland's Conception Bay. U-513 sinks British SS Saganaga (30 killed, 14 survivors rescued by a Customs launch) and Canadian SS Lord Strathcona (all 44 hands taken off by the Customs launch).

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 1100 September 4, 1942

At 4.30 AM in the Gulf of Mexico 15 miles off the coast of Northern Mexico, U-171 uses 10 torpedoes to sink empty Mexican tanker SS Amatlan (10 dead, 24 survivors).

Battle of Alam el Halfa, Egypt. Panzerarmee Afrika continues to retreat West, while mounting local counterattacks against New Zealand 5th and British 132nd Brigades. With no hope of disrupting Rommel’s withdrawal, Operation Beresford is cancelled and the New Zealand and British troops are withdrawn.

US submarines have a busy day. USS Guardfish, on her first patrol, attacks a convoy off Kuji Northeast Honshū (the main island of Japan), sinking Japanese freighter Kaimei Maru and passenger/cargo ship Tenyu Maru. USS Guardfish chases freighter Chita Maru into Kuji harbor and sinks her with a long-range torpedo. Also off Honshū, USS Pompano sinks Japanese guardship No. 27 Nanshin Maru. USS Growler sinks Japanese ammunition ship Kashino off Formosa/Taiwan.

Papua. At Milne Bay, Australian 2/9th Battalion’s is held up all day at Japanese defensive positions at Goroni. During a charge at 3.15 PM, Corporal Jack French wins a posthumous VC for storming a Japanese machinegun post with grenades and a Thompson machinegun. Again, Japanese reinforcements from Rabaul (130 troops, 5th Yokosuka SNLF) fail in their attempt to land at Milne Bay. On the Kokoda Track, Australian 2/16 and 2/14 Battalions intend to hold Myola Ridge, where a nearby dry lake is being used as an air drop and supply dump – to give this up means supplies must be brought in by foot 47 miles along the track from Port Moresby. Japanese repeat their successful tactics of persistent shelling from the mountain gun, frontal attack along the Track and another flanking attack. In the evening, a small Japanese force gets behind the Australians forcing them to break through and withdraw.

Solomon Islands. US Marine 1st Raider Battalion lands from high speed transport ships (converted WWI-era destroyers) USS Gregory and USS Little on Savo Island, just North of Guadalcanal, to sweep for Japanese troops. Finding none, they re-embark on USS Gregory and USS Little too late to return to Tulagi so the Raiders are dropped at Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, and the old destroyers lie offshore. Japanese attempt to bring artillery and heavy equipment to Guadalcanal on barges (as this cannot be done on the fast destroyers brining troops) but they are sunk off Santa Isabel Island US aircraft from Henderson Field (known as Cactus Air Force). In the evening, Japanese destroyers Yudachi, Hatsuyuki, and Murakumo run down the Slot and lands 1000 troops of Ichiki and Aoba Detachments at Taivu, Guadalcanal.

Overnight, 251 RAF bombers (98 Wellingtons, 76 Lancasters, 41 Halifaxes, 36 Stirlings) raid Bremen, Germany. Pathfinders use a new technique on this night (illuminating the area with white flares, marking identified aiming points with coloured flares and backing-up with incendiary bomb loads) leading to accurate bombing. 71 industrial targets and 1821 houses are destroyed or seriously damaged. 7 Wellingtons, 3 Lancasters, 1 Halifax & 1 Stirling are lost.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 1099 September 3, 1942

At 00.50 AM 200 miles South of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, U-109 sinks British SS Ocean Might carrying 7000 tons of military stores to 8th Army in Egypt (4 killed, 41 crew and 9 gunners reach Ningo, Gold Coast, in lifeboats). U-109 has hunted SS Ocean Might for 30 hours and used 6 torpedoes.

At 5.57 AM 5 miles off the coast of Portugal 50 miles South of Lisbon, U-107 attacks an unescorted convoy of 5 ships sinking British SS Penrose (2 killed) and British SS Hollinside (3 killed). 42 survivors from SS Penrose and 48 survivors from SS Hollinside (34 crew, 8 gunners and 6 survivors from the British liner SS Avila Star being repatriated from Lisbon) are picked up by Spanish trawlers and landed back at Lisbon.

In the Bay of Biscay 400 miles West of St. Nazaire, France, British Whitley aircraft depth charge U-660 and U-705 which were badly damaged by depth charges from Norwegian corvette HNoMS Potentilla and British destroyer HMS Viscount on 24 August. U-660 escapes without damage while U-705 is sunk (all 45 hands lost).

Stalingrad. German 4th Panzer Army from the South and 6th Army from the North link up at the village of Pitomnik, 8 miles East of Stalingrad, but Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies have already pulled back into the city. Since crossing the River Don on August 23, 6th Army has destroyed 830 Soviet tanks and 350 artillery pieces and taken 26,500 prisoners. Another statistic is that Germans have suffered 1,500,000 (one and a half million) casualties since the start of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941.

At 7.56 AM in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, U-517 sinks Canadian SS Donald Stewart carrying aviation gasoline and bulk cement, which sets back construction of the US airfield at Goose Bay, Labrador (3 killed, 16 crew and 1 passenger picked up by Canadian corvettes HMCS Shawinigan and HMCS Trail).

Papua. At Milne Bay, Australian 2/9th Battalion cautiously resumes the advance against stiff Japanese resistance. At Elevada Creek, a Japanese ambush cost 34 killed or wounded (20 Japanese killed). On the Kokoda Track, Australians split up before Japanese 41st arrives from the flank, with 2/16 Battalion going down the side track and 2/14 Battalion continuing on the main trail. 2/16 and 2/14 Battalions reunite to organize a defense 1 mile back at Myola Ridge.

At 1.42 PM in the Mediterranean, U-375 attacks a small convoy 5 miles North of Tartus, Syria, sinking all 3 sailing boats (Palestinian Miriam and Salina plus 1 other) with the deck gun and tiny Palestinian steamer SS Arnon with a torpedo.

At 6.05 PM 60 miles Southeast of Barbados, U-162 attacks British destroyers HMS Vimy, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Quentin but misses with a torpedo. The destroyers counterattack with depth charges forcing U-162 to surrender on the surface where she is scuttled by the crew and rammed by HMS Vimy (2 dead, 49 survivors rescued by the British destroyers and sent to POW camps in USA).

At 6.30 PM 350 miles East of Boston, US coast guard troop transport USS Wakefield (converted liner SS Manhattan) catches fire and is abandoned. US cruiser USS Brooklyn and destroyers USS Mayo and USS Madison take off all 750 crew and 840 passengers (American civilians, construction workers, Army personnel and merchant seamen repatriating from Britain). USS Wakefield will be towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and burn all the way down to the hull. USS Wakefield will be repaired at Halifax and Boston, returning to service in February 1944.

Battle of Alam el Halfa, Egypt. At 10.30 PM, British General Montgomery counterattacks to cut off Rommel’s withdrawal (Operation Beresford). British Valentine tanks of 46 Royal Tank Regiment get lost in a minefield (12 tanks destroyed). Without tank support, the infantry suffers heavy losses (New Zealand 5th Brigade 275 casualties; British 132nd Brigade 697 casualties).

Day 1098 September 2, 1942

German training submarines U-222 and U-626 collide in Danzig Bay. The Baltic Sea is used for training U-boat crews and accidents are frequent. U-222 sinks (42 killed, 3 survivors).

Black Sea. German 46th Infantry Division (dishonoured after an unauthorized withdrawal in response to the Soviet landings on the Kerch peninsula in December 1941) crosses Kerch Straits from the Kerch peninsula to Taman peninsula in 24 naval landing ferries and other small boats. Simultaneously, German 17th Army advances into Novorossisk to roll up Soviet defenses on the Eastern Black Sea coast. Overnight, Soviets begin nightly evacuations from the Black Sea ports, which are intercepted by small Italian and German surface boats. Soviet gunboats Oktybar and Rostov-Don are sunk.

At 8.44 AM 13 miles off the Japanese island of Hokkaido, US submarine USS Guardfish sinks Japanese freighter SS Teikyu Maru (previously SS Gustav Diederichsen, seized from the Danish while in port at Dairen, Manchuria, in April 1940).

Battle of Alam el Halfa, Egypt. British 4/8th Hussars armoured cars (4th Armoured Brigade) destroy 57 German trucks in a 300-truck supply column at Himeimat, deep in the desert near the Qattara Depression. Panzerarmee Afrika is subjected to heavy RAF bombing. Rommel, having lost the element of surprise, decides to withdraw due to lack of fuel and Allied air superiority.

At 12.44 PM in the Bay of Biscay, Italian submarine Reginaldo Giuliani is charging batteries on the surface when badly damaged by depth charges and machinegunning by a Short Sunderland (2 killed, several wounded including the captain).

Milne Bay, Papua. Australian General Clowes (warned by MacArthur's headquarters in Australia of Japanese reinforcements coming from Rabaul) halts the Australian advance but moves 2/9th Battalion along the coast and by barge from Gili Gili to the KB Mission. However, the 130 5th Yokosuka SNLF troops from Rabaul arrive at Milne Bay but cannot land.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Australians 2/14 and 2/16 Battalions make a fighting withdrawal half a mile from Eora to a fork where a side track comes off the main trail. Japanese 41st Regiment repeats the standard tactic of following close behind while simultaneously attacking around the flank to get behind the Australian retreat or catch them unawares from the side.

In the Northern Solomon Islands, USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress bombers hit Japanese minelayer Tsugaru which is returning from delivering troops and field artillery to Guadalcanal (14 killed, 30 wounded).

Japanese submarines begin raiding again in and around the Indian Ocean. I-29 sinks British SS Gazcon in the mouth of the Gulf of Aden (12 killed).

Overnight, RAF bombs Karlsruhe, Germany. Pathfinders accurately guide in 200 bombers causing much damage to residential and industrial areas (73 civlilans killed). 4 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters, 1 Halifax & 1 Stirling are lost.