Skip to comments.RUSSIANS PUSH BACK FOE IN DON BEND; FIGHT OFF ASSAULTS SOUTH OF RIVER (7/31/42)
Posted on 07/31/2012 4:13:12 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
US bombers strike Japanese positions
Friday, July 31, 1942 www.onwar.com
Results of American bombing on Japanese positions [photo at link]
In the Solomon Islands... American bombers attack targets on Tulagi and bomb the airfield the Japanese are building on Guadalcanal.
July 31st, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Franciscus Winter, claiming Belgian refugee status, arrived at Gourock on board a ship from Gibraltar. He was interrogated at RVPS, found to have a large amount of money on him, and eventually confessed. Found guilty of treachery at the Old Bailey on 4 December 1942, he was hanged at Wandsworth on 26 January 1943.
711 civilians have been killed and 1,208 injured in air raids since 1 June.
Destroyer HMS Whirlwind laid down.
Destroyer HMS Eskdale commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: The Institute for Practical Research in Military Science has started a collection of Jewish skeletons, obtaining gassed corpses from Oranienburg concentration camp.
“You have no chance,” Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, the chief of Bomber Command, told the German people tonight as the RAF savaged the key industrial city of Dusseldorf. Broadcasting in German, Sir Arthur said that RAF bomber losses of less than 5% were more than covered by US output. He said: “We shall be coming every night, every day, rain, blow or snow, we and the Americans.
In the past ten days, Harris’s crews have given grim proof of his threat. In the Ruhr, Duisburg was hit three times. At Hamburg four nights ago, 175,000 incendiaries were dropped (the largest number in a single attack) in 35 minutes as the prelude to a storm of two-ton high-explosive bombs.
The raid cost the RAF 29 aircraft, but prompted a public message of congratulation from Sir Arthur on “one of the outstanding attacks of the whole war.”
Tonight’s Dusseldorf operation followed the high pressure style of Hamburg, but over a wider area, with losses of 29 aircraft out of 630. More than 150 two-ton bombs fell at the rate of three per minute. Heavier bomb loads delivered by the new Lancaster are the key to such intensive attacks.
U.S.S.R.: (Sergey Anisimov)(69)Baltic Fleet, Ladoga and Onega Flotillas: Shipping loss. GB “N31” (ex-”Ijorets N31”) - wrecked at storm close to Vasilisin Is., at Onega Lake (later raised) and - MS “TSch-175” (ex-”BP N27”) - wrecked at storm close to Osinovets Is., at Ladoga Lake (later raised)
Moscow: Hitler is throwing the Wehrmacht’s advance in southern Russia into confusion as he continually changes his mind. His insistence on splitting von Bock’s Army Group South to attack Stalingrad and advance into the Caucasus simultaneously led to protests from von Bock and his dismissal 18 days ago.
The Fuhrer has given orders which have led Hoth and von Kleist to arrive with their Panzer armies at the Don crossings at the same time and become dreadfully entangled.
He is, moreover, convinced that the Red Army is finished and is actually removing units from the battlefield. He has sent von Manstein’s Eleventh Army from the Crimea to mount another assault on Leningrad, and he has ordered two crack divisions to France to prepare for an Allied invasion.
Moscow: Stalin has ordered the Red Army retreating before the German double thrust to Stalingrad and the Caucasus, to stand and fight: “We will win or die but never retreat.”
Nobody is to be allowed to take another step backwards without orders: “Not one step backwards. Commanders, commissars and political workers who abandon a position without an order from higher headquarters are traitors to the Fatherland and must be treated accordingly.”
Stalin’s order has been published throughout the country and the army newspaper, Red Star, adds: “Any man quailing on the battlefield instead of standing to the death will be condemned as a traitor selling his country into German slavery.” Massive reinforcements are being hurried to the southern front.
NEW GUINEA: B-17s hit Gona and a nearby transport which had been previously damaged. (Jack McKillop)
AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Dubbo commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
PACIFIC OCEAN: US bombers attack targets on Tulagi and Guadalcanal. TF 61 leaves the Koro in the Fiji Islands for landing in the southern Solomon Islands in 7 days.
Colonel LaVerne G. Saunders leads 9 USAAF B-17 Flying Fortresses of his 11th Bombardment Group (Heavy) based at Vila Field, Efate Island, New Hebrides, on a strike against Guadalcanal Island, bombing the landing strip and area about Lunga Point. From this date until 7 August, the B-17s flies 56 strike and 22 search sorties in support of the invasion of Guadalcanal. Allied Air Force B-17s from New Guinea also bomb Kukum Beach and Lunga landing strip on the north coast of Guadalcanal Island as the US invasion forces leave the Fiji Islands for the Solomon Islands.
The USN’s Patrol Squadron Twenty Three (VP-23) based at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, dispatches PBY-5 Catalinas to bomb Tulagi and Gavutu but they abort the mission due to weather. (Jack McKillop)
A US 7th Air Force B-17, from Midway Island, flies photo reconnaissance of Wake Island. The B-17 is intercepted by 6 fighters; in the ensuing fight US gunners claim 4 fighters destroyed. (Jack McKillop)
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: One B-24 and one LB-30 Liberator of the US 11th Air Force fly weather and photo reconnaissance; weather cancels a combat mission to Kiska Island.
A Japanese military officer, serving in the Aleutians, describes a confrontation between a U.S. submarine and the officer’s freighter, the Kano Maru, about 10 miles northeast of Kiska - the patrol area of the USS Grunion. The submarine dispatches six or seven torpedoes. All but one bounced off the boat without exploding, or missed, the officer wrote, although the hit knocks out his engines and communications. He said he returned fire with an 8-centimetre deck gun, and thinks he sunk the sub. (Mike Yared)
CANADA: Armed yacht HMCS Caribou arrived Halifax. Determined to be unfit for patrol so assigned to training duties. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Washington: President Roosevelt has been asked to issue a final warning to Germany and the rest of the Axis powers against the “barbaric and inhuman crimes committed daily” in the occupied countries. The request came in a note, signed by the Belgian, Czechoslovak, Dutch, Greek, Norwegian, Polish, Luxemburg, Yugoslavia and Free French governments, delivered to the secretary of state, Cordell Hull, today.
Harry James and his Orchestra record the classic song, “I’ve Heard that Song Before”, for Columbia Records. Helen Forrest is the vocalist on this record that was Number 1 on the pop charts for 13 weeks in 1943 and was ranked the Number 1 pop song for the year 1943. (Jack McKillop)
Aircraft carrier USS Essex launched.
Destroyer USS Jenkins commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: British convoy escorts are boosted by the introduction of high-frequency direction-finding (HF/DF or “Huff Duff”) radio-location equipment.
Three German U-boats are sunk:
- U-213 is sunk in the North Atlantic east of the Azores, in position 36.45N, 22.50W by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Erne, HMS Rochester and HMS Sandwich. All hands, 50 men, on the U-boat are lost.
- U-588 is sunk in the North Atlantic, in position 49.59N, 36.36W, by depth charges from the Canadian corvette HMCS Wetaskiwin and destroyer HMCS Skeena. All hands on the U-boat, 46 men, are lost.
U-588 was a VIIC type U-boat built by F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG Kiel, launched 23 Jul 41, commissioned 18 Sep 41, in service 10 months, While in North American waters in May 42 U-588 sank 6 ships for 25,541 tons and torpedoed one of 7,460 tons that did not sink. U-588 was part of a six-boat “pack” that had operating against the 41-ship Liverpool to Boston convoy ON.115. U-588 was sighted on the surface by Skeena during the night of 30-31 Jul and forced to submerge. Skeena and Wetaskiwin hunted and attacked the U-boat until 1000hrs when Skeena delivered the fatal attack. Convoy ON.115 arrived in Boston on 8 Aug 42 having lost two ships totalling 16,500 tons, to U-553 and U-607. (Dave Shirlaw)
- U-754 is sunk in the North Atlantic off Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, in position 43.02N, 64.52W, by a Royal Canadian Air Force Hudson Mk IIIA, s/n BW625, of No. 113 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron based at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, piloted by Squadron Leader N. E. Small. All hands, 43 men, on the U-boat are lost. This was the first submarine sunk by the RCAF’s Eastern Air Command.
The German submarine U-751 sows mines off Charleston, South Carolina, USA. (Jack McKillop)
July 31, 1942 B-17 missions in Solomons 07/31/2011 09:57:57 AM (permalink)
On July 31, 1942 11th Bomb Group Commander Laverne “Blondie” Saunders led B-17s in a week-long series of raids against Japanese supply and dock areas in the Solomons, leading up to the Marine invasion of Guadalcanal. The airmen had no ground service, no established airfields, no quarters. Air crews slept on the ground. They had to swim 50-gallon gasoline drums in off of cargo ships. Saunders asked Admiral McCain “How the hell am I gonna... how are we gonna bomb Guadalcanal when we don’t have any airfrields to work out of... any bombs or service or gasoline?” McCain replied, “Well, we’ll have to figure something out.” They used a one-way air strip hacked out of a coconut grove with a field artillery searchlight at each end for night landings. To say this was a shoestring operation is an understatement... but they did “figure something out” and got the job done. Saunders was awarded the Silver Star for this action.
The Curtis C-46 saw extensive service flying the "Hump" in the CBI theater. It was a maintenance nightmare, however, known as a flying coffin.
Challenge For The Pacific: The Bloody Six-month Battle Of Guadalcanal
by Robert Leckie
The single best book I’ve ever read on the Solomons Campaign. I can still recall sentences from the book from 45 years ago when I first read it.
The narrative most people believe says the Japanese were on the defensive after Midway. Not so. They were on the offensive to take all of New Guinea and the Solomons. Accomplishing those goals would have isolated Australia, where McArthur was marshalling his troops for his Southwest Pacific offensive. That could have been disatrous for the Aussies and us.
It took some damn hard fighting by both the Marines and Navy to stop them.
Took some damn hard fighting by the U.S. Army, too.
Very true, the Americal Division saw some tough fighting. Here they are arriving.
You might want to check the fighting in New Guinea.
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