Skip to comments.HITLER-MUSSOLINI MEETING FOLLOWED BY FASCIST, CROWN COUNCILS IN ROME (5/2/42)
Posted on 05/02/2012 4:20:40 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Convoy battle sinks cruiser
Saturday, May 2, 1942 www.onwar.com
HMS Edinburgh [photo at link]
In the Arctic... The British cruiser, Edinburgh after sustaining damage by the German submarine U-456 is sunk by German destroyers in the Barents Sea while on convoy escort duty with convoy QP-11
In the Solomons... The Australian garrison of Tulagi, a small island near Guadalcanal is evacuated.
In the Coral Sea... The Japanese begin the concentration of forces for what will become the battle of the Coral Sea. Their objective is to occupy Port Moresby. Admiral Takagi commands a covering force including the aircraft carriers Zuikaku and Shokaku. Admiral Goto commands the naval support force for the landing, including the carrier Shoho and four heavy cruisers. Admiral Inouye is in command of the main invasion force concentrated at Rabaul. American code breaking allows Admiral Nimitz to concentrate Allied forces to oppose the Japanese forces. Initially these forces include only Admiral Fletcher’s Task Force 17 with the carrier Yorktown. Later Task Force 11 (Admiral Fitch) with the aircraft carrier Lexington and Task force 44 (Admiral Crace) with Australian and American cruisers.
In the Philippines... Despite the arrival of reinforcements on Mindanao, local resistance slows Japanese advances.
May 2nd, 1942
Destroyer HMS Ursa laid down.
Minesweeping trawler HMS Bern launched.
Destroyer HMS Redoubt launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
NORTH SEA: Submarine ORP Jastrzab (ex-USS S-25) mistakenly sunk by Allied forces off Norway, 5 men died. (Dave Shirlaw)
ARCTIC OCEAN: The Royal Navy was forced to sink one of its cruisers today some 250 miles from Murmansk. HMS EDINBURGH took to the bottom a large cargo of Russian gold.
The EDINBURGH was escorting convoy QP-11back to Britain. She took up a position 15 miles ahead of the convoy in order to guard against a potential attack by German destroyers when two torpedoes fired by U-456 blow off her stern and wrecked her steering gear and starboard propeller three days ago. She turned back for Murmansk. Unable to make another attack due to the destroyers now in company, U-456, reports her movements, and destroyers Z.24, Z.25 and HERMANN SCHOEMANN put to sea from Kirkenes. Edinburgh manages to cripple KMS HERMANN SCHOEMANN with fire from her B turret, but Z.24 hits Edinburgh with four torpedoes which almost blown her two. HMS Gossamer (minesweeper) takes off 440 of her her crew (there being 58 casualties in all) while Edinburgh continues to fight until she assumes a list of 17 degrees and can no longer bring her guns to bear. At this point she is abandoned and the remaining 350 crew are taken on HMS HERMES. A British torpedo from HMS FORESIGHT sinks the doomed cruiser. In 1982 the wreck of Edinburgh was located and most of the 5 tons of gold she was carrying (as payment for armaments) was removed. (Alex Gordon)(108)
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: The US river gunboat USS Mindanao (PR-8) is scuttled off South Harbor, Corregidor Island. (Jack McKillop)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The Australian garrison at Tulagi Island is evacuated.
The Japanese 3rd Kure Special Landing Force lands on Florida Island in the Solomon Islands. This landing is part of Operation “MO.”
[Florida Island is just east of Tulagi, which is 20 miles east of Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands. There were no Japanese troops on Florida by August 7, 1942]
MIDWAY ISLAND: Admiral Nimitz arrives on the atoll via PBY-5A. The Admiral orders the marine commander to submit direct to CinCPac a detailed list of all supplies and equipment required for a decisive defence of Midway. (Will O’Neil)
AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Invernell launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
Minesweeper HMCS Mulgrave launched Port Arthur, Ontario.
Minesweepers HMCS Granby and Kelowna commissioned.
Frigates HMCS St Catharines and Waskesiu laid down Esquimalt, British Columbia. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Washington: Roosevelt extends lend-lease aid to Iran and Iraq.
Destroyers USS Pringle and Stanly launched.
Corvette USS Spry commissioned.
Submarine USS Sunfish launched.
Escort carrier USS Barnes launched.
At 2253, the unescorted Sandar was hit amidships by two torpedoes from U-66 but still continued at slow speed although the midships section caught fire. She was hit in the aft part by a coup de grâce at 2310 and sank by the stern after 10 minutes. The survivors abandoned ship in the port lifeboat and the motorboat because the starboard boat had been destroyed. The first mate and the boatswain were lost. The U-boat surfaced and questioned the survivors in the boats and provided them food, first-aid material and the course and distance for land before leaving the area. The survivors were picked up the next day after being spotted by an aircraft by the American merchantman Alcoa Pilot about 25 miles north of Port of Spain. The master, who had been terribly burned was immediately admitted to a hospital in Port of Spain but died shortly thereafter. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: USS Cythera, a small, wooden hull, converted yacht, was refitted in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard between December 1941 and March 1942. She was armed with two 3in deck guns, four .50cal machine guns, 50 depth charges and had a complement of five officers and 66 enlisted. Cdr Charles Rudderow, a US Navy veteran of WW1, commanded her. Cythera was 212 feet in length and had a 28-foot beam. Around midnight on 1 May 1942, USS Cythera embarked from the US Navy Base in Norfolk, Virginia, enroute to Pearl Harbor, via Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone. She was at sea only 24 hours, travelling south on a zigzag course, when she was attacked at 06.41 hours on 2 May by U-402 approximately 115 miles east of Cape Fear, North Carolina. U-402 stalked Cythera for at least two hours and finally submerged for an underwater attack, when Von Forstner fired three torpedoes in a fan shaped pattern. The first torpedo passed directly under the bow, the second passed under the stern, but the third struck Cythera dead centre. The ship immediately split in two, and the forward half rose steeply out of the water. The ship sank very quickly and at least two of her depth charges that were preset exploded underwater. This information was told to me by one of the two survivors, Mr. James M. Brown, who I located in Maine in 1991. He was on forward lookout at the time of the attack. The other survivor was Charles H. Carter, but I was never able to locate him. He was standing on the bridge next to the Commander when they were attacked. As a side note, Charles H. Carter was at Pearl Harbor aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma that was sunk during the Japanese attack. He survived two attacks within 5 months when the ships he was aboard were sunk - incredible! Shortly after USS Cythera went down, U-402 surfaced and turned on its search light looking at whatever debris was floating in the large oil slick that was all that remained from the ship. Brown and Carter were found clinging to a small raft and were taken aboard by Von Forstner. They asked to be left back in the water but Von Forstner replied, “no, boys, the wars over for you.” Both survivors were covered in oil, and Von Forstner gave his sweater to Mr. Brown. Both were also given some brandy to drink. Brown also spoke fluent German, but I never thought to ask if he revealed that to Von Forstner. He did say, however, that the Chief Engineer on the U-Boat spoke fluent English, so I suppose thats how they communicated. When Brown asked Von Forstner why they were not machine-gunned in the water, Von Forstner and crewmembers present expressed shock that the Americans would even think of such a thing. During the return trip to France the Americans were treated well. They were given cigarettes every day and allowed to go topside for fresh air every day. Brown said Von Forstner was a compassionate man who was not signed on to Nazi ideology. He was a professional sailor who came from a family of military background. He was not enthused about war, but he did his job well as a German officer. When the Americans were turned over to the German Army in France there apparently was consternation between the U-Boat crew and the German soldiers, who may have manhandled the POWs. In the almost three week trip to France, the crew and prisoners formed somewhat of a bond between them; in fact, the Americans even invited the crew to visit them in America after the war. Brown, at least, wound up in a POW camp in Upper Silezia, Poland for the remainder of the war. The camp produced synthetic fuel and held mostly British POWs. Later in the war, the camp was abandoned because of advancing Soviet forces approaching from the east, and the POWs were force-marched toward Moosburg, Germany, to another camp. He was finally liberated in late April 1945 by forward units of Patton’s 3rd Army and made his way back across Europe where he was put in a military hospital for several weeks. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-88 saved 57 survivors from the sunken German destroyer Hermann Schoemann.
U-432 was damaged slightly by an air attack with six bombs in the North Atlantic.
U-74 sunk east of Cartagena, Spain, in position 37.32N, 00.10E, by depth charges from destroyers HMS Wishart and Wrestler, and depth charges from an RAF 202 Sqn Catalina. 47 dead (all hands lost). (Dave Shirlaw)
Imposition of Martial Law due to suspicious forest fire in Rhode Island.....interesting.
Was not to be. U-402 was sunk with all hands in 1943, sunk from the air.
Interesting indeed. Both the circumstances and the fact that there were still forests in Rhode Island in 1942. They must have been small ones. And I'm surprised they weren't all turned into whalers and clipper ships in the 19th century.
I just figured it was Great White’s first concert in Rhode Island.
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