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.

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