Skip to comments.NAZIS TAKE OFFENSIVE BELOW KHARKOV; DOOLITTLE SAYS NAVY YARD, PLANE PLANT WERE HIT (5/20/42)
Posted on 05/20/2012 6:35:47 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Germans clear Kerch Peninsula
Wednesday, May 20, 1942 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... The 11th Army (General Manstein) recaptures the whole of the Kerch Peninsula.
In Burma... The Japanese forces take up defensive positions on the border with India.
Almost hard to believe the New York Times was once on our side, but of course, that was when we had a Democrat King.
May 20th, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: The Singleton report recommends that the RAF adopt the intensive bombing programme proposed by Air Marshal Arthur Harris as means of prosecuting the war.
U-525 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
POLAND: Lodz: 300 train-coachloads of underwear belonging to Jews gassed at Chelmno arrive for cleaning and sorting at the ghetto workshops.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: At 2019, the Eocene in Convoy AT-46 was torpedoed and sunk by U-431 near Sollum. The master, 34 crewmembers, six gunners and two army engineers were picked up by armed trawler HMS Cocker and landed at Tobruk. (Dave Shirlaw)
INDIA: New Delhi: All Burma is now in Japanese hands. China is isolated, and India is exposed to the danger of invasion. The Allied defeat in Burma is a military disaster that has brought in its train an unparalleled death toll totalling three-quarters of a million refugees who died from starvation, disease, injury and exhaustion. Some 400,000 have reached India from the war zone. Many of them are continuing to die from the effects of their terrible ordeal.
Allied losses were high; 13,463 British, Indian, Burmese and Gurkha soldiers lost their lives in the 900-mile fighting retreat, compared with 4,597 Japanese casualties. But not once did the British military formations in Burma lose their cohesion in the longest retreat ever attempted by the British army.
They fought stubborn rearguard actions for hundreds of miles while harassed by constant air attack. Although the troops were ragged and emaciated, more than half still have their weapons and their fighting spirit remains undiminished.
In the Kabow valley, the scenes of collapse were unrelieved. In the burnt-out shambles of Mandalay, where the water became polluted, the death toll from smallpox reached 600 a day.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Admiral John S McCain, USN, in seaplane tender USS TANGIER (AV-8) at Noumea, New Caledonia Island, assumes command as Commander Aircraft South Pacific Forces (COMAIRSOPAC). This new command is established to direct the operations of tender and shore-based aviation in the South Pacific Area. (Jack McKillop)
CANADA: Destroyers HMCS Micmac and Nootka laid down Halifax , Nova Scotia.
U.S.A.: Washington: US naval forces are sent to Midway Island and the Aleutians after intercepted secret messages reveal Japanese preparations for an attack.
Four U.S. merchant vessels are sunk by German submarines in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. In the Gulf of Mexico, an unarmed tanker is sunk 50 miles (80.5 km) off Louisiana by U-506 and an armed freighter is sunk by U-752 near the Yucatan Channel. U-103 sinks two armed freighters in the Caribbean; the first is sunk about 40 miles (64.4 km) off the south coast of Cuba and the second is sunk north of the first sinking. (Jack McKillop)
Submarine USS Kingfish commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 1839, the Norland, dispersed from Convoy ON-93, was hit near the bridge by one stern torpedo from U-108. She stopped and began shelling the periscope. The U-boat had to surface to attack the ship with the deck gun because no torpedoes were left. At 1957, Scholtz opened fire with the deck gun from a distance of 8000 meters, the tanker fired back, but the shots did not reach the U-boat and after the first hits, the tanker ceased fire at 2030. The last shells from the deck gun were fired from the distance of 1000 meters, in all 14 hits had been observed. After the crew abandoned ship in three lifeboats, the U-boat opened fire with the AA guns at 2300 until the ammunition for the 37-mm was also spent 30 minutes later. The tanker settled slowly and sank by the stern at 0158. All 48 survivors were rescued, but 14 survivors in one of the lifeboat had been picked up on 25 May near Bermuda by Polyphemus, torpedoed and sunk by U-578 two days later. All men from Norland survived the second sinking.
The Sylvan Arrow was hit by a torpedo at 1321 and set on fire. 38 crewmembers and 5 of the 6 Armed Guards were picked up by USS Barney and taken to Port of Spain. 26 of them were soon repatriated on SS Robert E. Lee. The 12 others (including the master) were engaged in an attempt to salvage the ship, which was found after 3 days. A tug tried to tow the tanker in on 26. May but she began to rip apart and finally sank in the evening of 28. May in position 12.50N/67.32W. The 12 men were taken to Curacao and left aboard the Dutch freighter Crijnssen on 7 June. 3 Days later this ship was torpedoed and sunk. The master and 6 men of his crew landed together with 24 others on the Yucatan coast and were repatriated by a plane. The remaining 5 crewmembers were picked up by the steam merchant Lebore, but this ship was also torpedoed and sunk. They were picked up by USS Tattnall and landed at Cristobal.
At 2200, the Darina, dispersed on 17 May from Convoy ON-93, was torpedoed and sunk by U-158 about 500 miles ESE of Bermuda. Five crewmembers and one gunner were lost. The master, 44 crewmembers and five gunners were rescued. The boat with the master and 17 survivors were picked up by the British tanker British Ardour and landed at Charleston, South Carolina on 27 May. The boat of the chief officer was rescued after 6.5 days 150 miles SSE of Bermuda by the American merchantman Exanthia and landed at Norfolk, Virginia. The boat of the 3rd officer was rescued after six days by the Norwegian merchantman Dagrun and landed at Capetown on 23 June
At 0758, the unescorted and unarmed Halo was hit by two torpedoes from U-506 about 50 miles from the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, while proceeding on a rapidly changing zigzag pattern at 10.4 knots. The first torpedo struck on the starboard side under the bridge and completely destroyed this part of the ship. The second hit aft of the bridge but forward of the engine room. The second explosion broke the ship in two and ignited the cargo. The tanker plunged bow first with her propeller still turning and sank within three minutes. 23 men of the crew of eight officers and 34 men managed to leave the ship, but only one raft was left, the four lifeboats and three other rafts were destroyed by the explosions and fire. The survivors huddled together clinging to wreckage in the water near the sunken ship throughout the night and the next day. The oil on the surface burned for six hours. Two men cling to a half-burned raft and stayed on it for seven days without food or water. They were then picked up by the British tanker Orina and taken to New Orleans. The other survivors in the water began dying from exposure and injuries. On the third day wreckage ascended from the tanker and the seven remaining survivors tied boards together with strips of canvas torn from their life preservers. Crude oil also floated free forming a layer four inches thick. Five days after the sinking, the Mexican Oaxaca picked up the three remaining survivors, but one of these men died at sea. The two men arrived at a hospital in Tampico on 28 May, but one men died 30 minutes after arriving. Thus, only one officer and two crewmen survived the sinking.
At 1908, the unescorted George Calvert on her maiden voyage was torpedoed by U-753 about 50 miles off the Northwest coast of Cuba, while proceeding on a zigzag course at 11 knots after she had left a small convoy about eleven miles off the Dry Tortugas. The torpedo struck the #3 hold about five or six feet below the waterline. A second torpedo struck 20 feet forward of the stern. This torpedo exploded the magazine, blew the stern gun overboard and killed three armed guards. The most of the eight officers, 33 men and ten armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four .50cal and two .30cal guns) abandoned ship in three lifeboats. At 1003, a third torpedo hit amidships and broke the ship in half, causing her to sink immediately. Some of the survivors were questioned by U-753, asking the name of the ship, her tonnage and cargo. The lifeboats reached shore about six hours later but waited to land at Dimas, Cuba, the next day. (Dave Shirlaw)
LONDON, May 19: "The theory that Germany had been treated with foolish and purposeless vindictiveness after the last war is one that has been imposed on a foolish world by Germans, Viscount Vansittart said in the House of Lords today....
" 'The Germans have been able to persuade a half-witted world to believe that they were vindictively treated, but the truth is that the reparation and disarmament clauses were never enforced, and nothing was taken from them in Europe that they had not acquired by robbery and murder,' Lord Vansittart said.
" 'There are two sides to every question,' he continued, 'but the Germans have always hoped that by making enough fuss they would persuade the world to see only the German side, and they have rarely been disappointed.'
"Lord Vansittart said that Versailles had required the disarming of Germany, but that Germany had almost immediately started to rearm under the aegis of the republican government..."
This debate continues today, occasionally even on Free Republic.
I think the Third Battle of Kharkov was very important, but it gets much less attention than Stalingrad, Moscow or Kursk. The Germans killed 45,000 Soviets for the loss of 11,000.
Sprayed my keys with java on that one thank you for the lol though.
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