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.

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