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).

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