Skip to comments.JAPANESE FLEET QUITS SOLOMONS; U.S. FLIERS DAMAGE ENEMY CARRIER (10/31/42)
Posted on 10/31/2012 4:17:21 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
I’m not having any luck with the andrew etherington daily log today. I will try again later and post it if it becomes available.
Desert war focused on El Alamein
Saturday, October 31, 1942 www.onwar.com
British 8th Army anti-tank gun under fire at El Alamein [photo at link]
In North Africa... Battle of El Alamein. Fierce fighting continues between Australian and German forces near Tell el Eisa.
Note the report of the ships assembled at Gibraltar. I wonder where they are going?
Probably just delivering supplies to the Gibraltar garrison. Idle speculation can start harmful rumors. MYOB. Loose lips sink ships.
And I’m sure the ships at Gibraltar have nothing to do with Eisenhower being recalled to Washington for consultation. We’re not supposed to talk about that stuff anyway.
Probably just a break for Eisenhower and the ships are yet another convoy for Malta....
The fact that FDR chided the Times for reporting on the movements of Eisenhower, and then the Times reported on being chided about it, should send out some red flags here. But it is nice to see that the Times is concerned about what they report as affecting the national security of the United States and the lives of our boys in the Armed Forces.
Today they just don’t give a damn so long as it moves the cause “forward,” comrade.
Interesting p9 comment about 10K tons of graphite being shipped from Madagascar to the United States. I wonder how much went to the University of Chicago?
October 31st, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Canterbury: A week after the RAF bombed the industrial city of Milan the Luftwaffe today attacked historic Canterbury, dropping 52 tons of bombs and causing extensive casualties. In a single incident, an attack on a bus, ten people died. The raid followed the tactic masterminded by the RAF: a low-level approach to the target at dusk, the delivery of a short but intensive barrage, and a follow-on raid by night. 68 fighter-bombers flew in the earlier raid and 68 fighters. Only three were lost.
Corvette HMS Dittany launched.
Destroyer HMCS Sioux (ex-HMS Vixen) laid down.
Escort carrier HMS Premier laid down.
Escort carrier HMS Battler commissioned.
Destroyer HMS Loyal commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-856 laid down.
U-308, U-736, U-801, U-802, U-849 launched.
U-856 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
POLAND: This month, the Nazis have murdered 64,000 Jews and gypsies at Belzec and 82,000 at Treblinka.
U.S.S.R.: The German offensive towards the Caucasus mountains of southern Russia is petering out in the face of strong Soviet resistance and the onset of winter. The 1st Panzer Army of General von Kleist is currently stuck five miles west of Ordhonikidze with serious supply problems. Ironically, it is lack of oil which has most handicapped what began as a drive through the Caucasus to the oilfields near Baku. At first progress was swift, but neither of the original objectives of the 1942 southern offensives - the oilfields and the capture of Stalingrad - has been secured.
NORTH AFRICA: The German 90th Light Division continues to slog it out with the Australians north and east of Tell el Eisa in the Battle of El Alamein.
El Alamein: As Allied shells crashed around his headquarters, Rommel wrote his daily letter to his wife, Lu, today. Gone was the confidence that had made him the master of desert warfare. He wrote of “rivers of blood poured out over miserable strips of land that not even the poorest Arab would have bothered about”. The blood is not just German and Italian, as the Allies suffered more losses than the Axis forces, but the “miserable strip of land” was a key point in his defences, the “Kidney Ridge”, and it is now broken.
Both sides have sustained heavy losses in armour. The Kidney Ridge assaults have cost the 25th Panzers all but 31 of their 119 tanks. Further to the north, the British XXX Corps lost 200 tanks driving a two-mile wedge into the German positions to clear the way for the 9th Armoured Brigade and the 7th and 10th Armoured Divisions with the New Zealand infantry. The Australians in the north are fighting a relentless battle to take Tel el Eisa and break through to the coastal road.
Fortune has deserted Rommel. He was flown here from a sick-bed in Germany when his stand-in as the head of the Afrika Korps, General Stumme, died of a heart attack when his car was caught in crossfire on 24 October. Even the massive “devil’s garden” - the five-mile deep minefield - that Rommel had planted was failing to hold the weight of Allied armour and the determination of the infantry.
Other generals have failed to out-manoeuvre the Desert Fox. His new opponent, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery, is fighting a war of attrition based on superior numbers - he began this battle with 195,000 men to Rommel’s 104,000, 1,029 tanks (including 252 Shermans) to 489, 2,311 guns to 1,219 and 750 planes to 675 - and detailed preparations which exploit Allied codebreaking. He knew Rommel’s strengths and plans: a secret and possibly vital element in his chances of success.
Cairo: Taking part in General Montgomery’s attacks at El Alamein is a new tank, the American M4 Sherman. Four British armoured brigades are equipped with the tank, deliveries of which were made in mid-September. It is armed with a 75mm turret-mounted gun and three machine guns and has a five-man crew: commander, gunner and loader in the turret plus driver and co-driver. With a battle weight of just under 30 tons, it is capable of speeds of up to 24mph. Like the Grant tank, it can fire high-explosive shells, crucial in dealing with the German 88mm anti-tanks guns.
LIBYA: Miteiriya Ridge: Sgt. William Henry Kibby (b.1903), Australian Military Forces, died assaulting an enemy position. For a week he had shown brilliant courage in leading his platoon. (Victoria Cross)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Guadalcanal: Col. Tsuji arrives at the Japanese 17th Army HQ in Kokombona. He has retraced the route of the IJA 2nd Division in 2.5 days wracked with malaria. Fresh men took a week to make this hike. He describes the failed attack and current situation. They abort plans to land the 38th Division east of the Lunga perimeter.
PACIFIC OCEAN: 1800 hours: Submrine USS Thresher (SS-200) sinks a cargo ship at 04-40 S, 118-54 E.
Submarine USS Grayback (SS-208) sinks a cargo ship at 04-37 S, 152-30 E, Rabaul area. (Skip Guidry)
U.S.A.: “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter orchestra reaches Number 1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the U.S. The song is from the motion picture “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. This song, which debuted on the charts on 10 October 1941, was charted for 15 weeks, was Number 1 for 11 weeks and was ranked Number 1 for the year 1942. (Jack McKillop)
Twenty-six men from the 100th (Company B, Third Platoon) leave Camp McCoy, Wisconsin for Ship Island and Cat Island off the Mississippi Gulf coast, on special assignment to be used to train dogs to recognize and attack Japanese, based on their supposedly unique scent. (Gene Hanson)
Minesweeper USS Serene launched.
Destroyer USS Maddox commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Convoy SL-125 loses its 13th ship in a week’s harrying by U-boats.
U-521 was attacked by a Hudson aircraft from RAF 145 Sqn and sustained minor damage. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-103 sank SS Tasmania in Convoy SL-125.
U-510 damaged SS Alaska in Convoy SL-125.
U-172 sank SS Aldington Court. After sinking the Aldington Court, U-172 captured the vessel’s First Officer.
U-174 sank SS Marylyn.
U-504 sank SS Empire Guidon and SS Reynolds. (Dave Shirlaw)
I've posted the version clipped from the movie "Holiday Inn" a couple times. This one I believe is the version heard over and over on the radio in 1942.
Obviously we need more pencils for the war effort.
I don’t think any of it went to the University of Chicago. That reactor has already been built. My guess is that the graphite is headed to Hanford Washington to make plutonium for “Fat Man.”
I’ll check Richard Rhodes “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” to see where the graphite came from. He had an extensive discussion of how the graphite was used as a moderator, and that the Germans made a “wrong turn” in their nuclear research by rejecting graphite. It turns out that naturally occurring graphite is laced with boron, which acts as a neutron absorber and kills the reaction. But when the boron is removed, pure graphite is a perfect moderator. The American scientists realized this, Heisenberg did not.
I liked the comment on the article by the French, complaining that the instant shipment of 10,000 tons of graphite to the United States was proof that we wanted the colony for economic, not strategic purposes. Well, yes, we did. But I doubt the French knew why we were so anxious to ship 10,000 tons of graphite, of all things. Even before the colony had been completely secured, why would graphite be at the top of the list?
I just noticed something in the photo on pg. 5. Is President Obama paying a visit to Gen. Vandegrift on Guadalcanal?
The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands may have been a tactical defeat for us, but the Japanese fleet ended up withdrawing. Many benefits to having a fighting admiral like Halsey in command.
Wonder if he needs any help with that?
Yes! That's it! LOL!
I skimmed through Richard Rhodes “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” last night and didn’t find any reference to the source of graphite for the Hanford reactors. While the test reactor at University of Chicago didn’t go active until December, it appears that all the graphite necessary for it was already on hand and processed by this date in 1942. The Hanford reactors required considerably more graphite. I have no doubt that a lot of the graphite seized from Madagascar went there.
Spotting that little news blurb about 10,000 tons of graphite, and realizing what it really meant was a great pick up on your part. I overlooked it.
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