Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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 Ã…land 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.

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