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).

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