Skip to comments.STALINGRAD DEFENDERS GIVE GROUND TO SOUTHWEST; MORE JAPANESE LAND IN SOLOMONS (9/13/42)
Posted on 09/13/2012 4:14:18 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Continued from September 10.
John Toland, The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945
The News of the Week in Review
Twenty News Questions 13
Russians See Stalingrad as Key to the War (Parker) 14-15
In Australias Outpost Islands (map) 16
New Guinea Fight Rages amid Gorges and Jungles (Darnton) 17-18
*Camp Rancho Santa Margarita takes too long to say. Lets just call it Camp Pendleton.
British desert raiders strike airfields
Sunday, September 13, 1942 www.onwar.com
A vehicle used by the Long Range Desert Group [photo at link]
In North Africa... The airfields at Benghazi and Barce are attacked by British units of the Long Range Desert Group. The British also attempt an amphibious landing at Tobruk, it is repelled with heavy losses.
In the Solomon Islands... On Guadalcanal, the Japanese attacks intensify. The American forces hold them off with difficulty, aided by effective artillery support.
In the Arctic... Convoy PQ-18 leaves for Archangel. It is provided with a large escort including a carrier, fares much better than the last convoy (in June). It loses 13 ships in the course of the voyage (September 12-18), but the Germans will lose 20 planes and 2 U-boats.
September 13th, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Salisbury, Wiltshire: Lt. William George Foster (b.1881), Home Guard, threw himself onto a grenade which had rolled back into his trench. He died instantly. (George Cross)
FRANCE: VICHY FRANCE: The authorities have instituted a Service National du Travail (STO) [National Work Service] which introduces compulsory labour for all men aged between 18 and 50 and unmarried women between 21 and 35.
GERMANY: The most bombed city in Europe, Bremen in northern Germany, suffers its 1,000th air raid. (Jack McKillop)
NORWEGIAN SEA: German aerial and submarine attacks begin against convoy PQ 18, bound for Archangel, USSR, approximately 100 miles (161 kilometres) southwest of Spitsbergen. U.S. freighter SS Oliver Ellsworth is torpedoed by German submarine U-589 and abandoned; one Armed Guard sailor is killed in the attack. Survivors (42 merchant seamen and 27 Armed Guard crewmen) are rescued by merchantman SS Copeland and British armed trawler HMS St. Kenan; the latter scuttles the crippled Oliver Ellsworth with gunfire. Later that day, German planes attack, torpedoing freighter SS John Penn; three of the 40-man merchant crew are killed. British destroyer HMS Eskimo and minesweeper HMS Harrier rescue the survivors, who include the 25-man Armed Guard; SS John Penn is scuttled by escort vessels. Shortly thereafter, freighter SS Oregonian is also torpedoed; escort vessels rescue 21 of the 40-man crew, in addition to 8 of the 14-man Armed Guard. (Jack McKillop)
U-408 sank SS Oliver Ellsworth and SS Stalingrad in Convoy PQ-18.
U-589 rescued four Luftwaffe airmen in the Arctic. She did not have the chance to bring them to shore as she was herself sunk the very next day. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: The perimeter held by the Red Army at Stalingrad is closed to 30 miles. General Chuikov is appointed to command the Soviet 62nd Army at Stalingrad.
Female Soviet fighter pilot Lidya Litvyak shoots down two German aircraft on her third mission, including one piloted by a decorated German ace. (K. Jean Cottam)
Convoy QP-14 sailed from Archangel. (Dave Shirlaw)
NORTH AFRICA: The British Long Range Desert Group and the SAS Unit under David Stirling attack airfields at Benghazi and Bare. Attempts at amphibious landings at Tobruk are beaten off with heavy casualties.
LIBYA: During the night of 13/14 September, US Army, Middle East Air Force B-24s attack Tobruk and shipping in Benghazi harbor while B-25 Mitchells hit landing grounds southeast of Matruh, Egypt. (Jack McKillop)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Marine defenders defeat an IJA ground attack to seize Henderson Field. During the day, aerial reinforcements arrive: (1) pilots from USS Hornet (CV-8) ferry 18 F4F Wildcats to the island; and (2) in the afternoon, 12 SBD Dauntlesses of the USN’s Scouting Squadron Three (VS-3) and 6 TBF Avengers of Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8), both assigned to the USS Saratoga (CV-2), are flown to Henderson Field while the Saratoga returns to Hawaii fro repairs. 4 of the 18 new F4Fs are lost in air battles during the day.(Jack McKillop).
Staff Officers from the IJA 17th Army at Rabaul scout Guadalcanal aboard “Irving” recon aircraft. Despite interception by 28 Wildcat replacement fighters from Henderson Field, they report the airstrip held by the Japanese.
In late afternoon 12 SBDs of VS-3 from Saratoga arrive to join the Cactus Airforce on Henderson Field. There have been a total of 60 new planes join the Cactus AF during the last 3 days.
Col. Oka again radios General Kawaguchi to ask for a delay in his attack against the west flank of the Lunga Perimeter. The answer is No! Edson regroups his units on the ridge after the fighting last night. He pulls back 200 yards to stronger positions that will be unfamiliar to the Japanese. His line consists of small combat groups of approximately platoon strength at 100 yard intervals. He cannot man a continuous line. Col. Merrill B. Twining visits the line and recommends immediate replacement of these troops. Division Reserve, 2nd Bn, 5th Marines moves up, but not into place by nightfall. At 1830 hours Kawaguchi attacks again.
At 2130 hours, bombardment of the perimeter begins, IJN light cruiser Sendai, and destroyers Shikinami, Fubuki and Suzukaze are offshore. Then an attack against the ridge begins. Col Edson has a combined 840 men between his Raider Battalion and the attached Marine Parachute Battalion. General Kawaguchi has 3 battalions, with 2,506 men, attacking. But the jungle has slowed the arrival of 2 battalions, his attack is very disjointed. The also get bogged down between the ridge and the Lunga River. Finally about 1 hour before daybreak the Japanese commanders begin to gain control of their units. They regroup to attack the next night.
By 2130 Marine artillery (75s) is dropping 200 yards in from of the line.
By 2200 the 105s are also involved. Division Command Post (near Henderson Field) is under sniper fire. Major Bailey brings forward a re-supply of grenades and ammo at 0300. Reserves are fed into the line around 0400. 7th Company, 4th Regiment IJA breaksthough a gap in the US lines and reaches the fighter airstrip about 0530 and are stopped by HQ Co and Co. D.
Daylight brings the attacks to a near stop. Kawaguchi finds that 1 Bn did not find the front line, but its CO and Exec are dead; Col Oka has not attacked despite orders; the attack against the eastern perimeter did not take place either. Col. Matsumoto, from the 17th Army, radios back to Rabaul on the 14th that the major attack will occur tonight due to the heavy jungle. The Battle of Edson’s (Bloody) Ridge had already happened.
NEW GUINEA: US 5th Air Force B-26 Marauders pound the airfield at Lae while B-17 Flying Fortresses unsuccessfully attack a cruiser southeast of Rabaul, New Britain Island, Bismarck Archipelago. P-40s strafe buildings on Goodenough Island. (Jack McKillop)
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIANS: The US 11th Air Force dispatches an LB-30 Liberator and 2 P-38 Lightnings to fly a photo reconnaissance, antisubmarine coverage and strafing mission over Kiska Island lakes and harbor; a tender in the harbor is slightly damaged, 1 Japanese float fighter is downed; a P-38 is hit by AA fire and fighters damage the LB-30. (Jack McKillop)
CANADA: Corvettes HMCS Dundas, Edmunston, Timmins, Quesnel and New Westminster depart Esquimalt for Halifax. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Minesweeper USS Prevail launched.
Destroyer USS Wickes launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: German U-Boat torpedoes destroyer HMCS Ottawa; BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC growing in intensity.
A man from U-66 took his own life. [Matrose II (Masch.) Horst Keller]
U-506 sank SS Lima.
U-515 sank SS Ocean Vanguard and Nimba.
U-558 sank SS Empire Lugard, Suriname and damaged SS Vilja in Convoy TAG-5.
U-594 sank SS Stone Street in Convoy ON-127
the government rented typewriters.lol
"Jews made significant contributions in the military effort to defeat Hitler.
Estimates suggest that almost one and a half million Jewish soldiers fought against the Nazis as members of Allied military units.
"Eminently motivated, Jews served in proportionately much greater numbers in every Allied country than their percentage of the total population.
United States forces included 550,000 Jews from a total American-Jewish population of 5,500,000.
That constituted a military representation of ten percent, when Jews made up less than three percent of the total American population.
"American Jews fought in every theater of the war, some flying bombing missions over Germany before the arrival of U.S. ground forces.
About 8,000 American Jews died in fighting, and thousands more were wounded.
"In the Soviet Union, Jewish submarine Captain Israel Fisanovich stalked German shipping in the Arctic and sank many ships.
Spirited Cossack commander General Lev Dovator contributed to the stalling of the German offensive in southern Ukraine, which had been pushing toward the oil fields of the Caucasus.
"British Army units included about 30,000 Jewish volunteers from Palestine, 5,000 of whom served in the Jewish Brigade, which saw action in Italy in 1944.
It was the only unit in World War II to fight under the Jewish flag."
Just an observation about the layout of the Times today, as part of a trend I’ve noticed over the past few months.
The average reader may not appreciate it, but we are at the crucial turning point of the war. With the invasion of Midway and the battles in New Guinea, the Japanese expansion has been stopped and the battles of attrition on her perimeter have begun. The Germans are at high tide in Africa, and while they had the British on the run in July, Montgomery appears to have checked them at El Alamein. The biggest pending threat is at Stalingrad, where it appears the fate of the war is being decided.
In other words, these are absolutely momentous historical events. Yet the front page of the Times has condensed the news of the fighting into one article, and while it is the major story, it’s sharing a lot of space on the front page.
I think this is an indication that the war has been “normalized” into the daily fabric of American life, and is now just as accepted as a fact of life, almost like the weather and the major league pennant races.
Let's see, back on August 13 he filed from Fayetteville, N.C. After that it was -
Aug. 15 At Sea with the Inshore Patrol
Aug. 19 Leesville. La.
Aug. 21 Temple, Texas
Aug. 25 Palm Springs, Calif.
Aug. 27-Sept. 4 San Francisco
That was the last we heard from HWB. Of course, the index by author is complete through September 30 in case you want to peek into the future.
I don’t know where Baldwin is, but his substitute, Parker, just wrote an absolutely brilliant piece analyzing the importance of Stalingrad.
Some things he got right:
The Soviet threats to the German flanks at Voronezh and Kletskaya are very real, as we will see in a few months. And he is correct that the Soviets will have to wait until winter to capitalize on them.
The economic losses to the USSR, and the potential losses if the Germans seize and hold Stalingrad, are significant. The USSR war economy would be in quite a pinch if the Germans can interdict the flow of oil from the Caucasus. Holding Stalingrad permits them to do just that. Even though the map attached identifies a rail line from Astrakhan to Saratov that bypasses Stalingrad, shipping oil by rail is not as effective as shipping by river barge, and the Germans can interdict that rail line with an air campaign. I always thought that the Germans did not have to seize the Caucasian oil so much as they had to deny it to the Soviets. Holding Stalingrad would accomplish that.
Parker did not specifically quote Order 227 “Not One Step Back” (I’m not sure it has been made public to the west; I’ll have to check Wertz’ “Russia at War.”) But it’s been made pretty clear to the Soviet people and the western correspondents that the Soviet leadership realizes that they simply cannot retreat any more. Until now, they could trade space for time, but they’ve just about run out of valuable space to give up.
On the other hand, Parker underestimates the Soviet powers of continued resistance. The relocation of factories to the east has pretty much been completed and the Soviet war machine is getting cranked up. They are turning out tanks at a rate of about 2000 per month now. They still have a very large field army and are replacing losses much better than the Germans. The Soviets’ Rzhev-Sychevka Operation from August makes it pretty clear that their forces in the central sector of the front are quite potent.
In other words, it ain’t over yet, and the Soviets are not in as crucial spot as they are letting on. Parker is relaying the impression he’s getting that they are.
More on my strategic Stalingrad thoughts later; I do go back and forth on a couple issues as to whether the Germans could have held their front along the Don in November, and if they had held that front through the Spring of 1943, would it have crippled the USSR war effort?