Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 1116 September 20, 1942

In the Arctic Ocean, U-251, U-255, U-403, U-408, U-435, U-592 and U-703 seek Allied convoy QP-14 from Arkangelsk to Britain (20 freighters escorted by Royal Navy destroyers, corvettes and minesweepers). At 6.31 AM 180 miles West of Spitsbergen, U-435 sinks British minesweeper HMS Leda (14 killed, 66 survivors rescued by rescue ships HMS Rathlin and HMS Zamalek). At 6.15 PM, U-255 sinks American SS Silver Sword (1 dead and 63 survivors). At 7.55 PM, U-703 torpedoes destroyer HMS Somali (47 killed, 67 taken off by anti-submarine trawler HMS Lord Middleton). 80 crew remain on board HMS Somali to salvage the badly damaged ship which is taken in tow by destroyer HMS Ashanti.

At Stalingrad, battles rage at the Mamayev Kurgan heights, in the Central Station (which continues to change hands) and around the grain elevator in the South. Luftwaffe planes return to continue pounding the city into rubble. Soviet troops manage to hold ground, despite being outnumbered. Further South in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, German Army Group A captures the town of Terek, but the German advance towards the mountain and the oilfields beyond has begun to peter out.

North Atlantic. At 8.15 AM 120 miles Northeast of Georgetown, British Guyana, U-515 sinks British SS Reedpool (5 killed; captain taken prisoner; 32 crew, 4 gunners and 16 passengers [rescued survivors from British MV Medon sunk on August 10 by the Italian submarine Reginaldo Giuliani] picked up 2 days later by British schooner Millie M. Masher). At 3.17 PM 300 miles Southeast of Iceland, U-596 attacks convoy SC-100 sinking British SS Empire Hartebeeste (previously United States Navy USS West Gambo from 1918 to 1919). All 34 crew, 9 gunners and 3 passengers are rescued by Norwegian merchants SS Norhauk and Rio Verde.

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