Skip to comments.HITLER TO TAKE OVER ALL FRANCE AND CORSICA; OUR TROOPS IN ORAN, SPEEDING TOWARD LIBYA (11/11/42)
Posted on 11/11/2012 5:37:49 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
German 6th Army begins final offensive
Wednesday, November 11, 1942 www.onwar.com
A German soldier in Stalingrad [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... In Stalingrad, German General Paulus begins his last major attack on the city. Vicious fighting ensues with heavy casualties on both sides. The Soviets continue to have the upper hand in the street fighting as they are able to disrupt the German attack and their communications, reducing the attack to individual groups without coordinated actions. Ice on the Volga River is making supply transportation difficult for the Soviets.
In the Solomon Islands... On Guadalcanal, the American attacks to the west are halted when news of Japanese supply convoys comes in.
In Algeria and Tunisia... French officials sign an armistice. Casablanca is occupied. The British 11th Brigade moves east from Algiers and the harbor at Bougie is taken in a landing by the 36th Brigade. Unfortunately, these forward forces have little or no air cover and the Luftwaffe begins sinking ships carrying important equipment. The Germans have now amassed 1000 troops in Tunisia.
From Berlin... Hitler orders German troops to advance into Vichy France.
In North Africa... Units of the British 8th Army reach Halfaya Pass. They cross into Libya and capture Bardia without opposition. The advance of the New Zealand Division is halted on the Egyptian border for reorganization.
In the Indian Ocean... A notable mismatched sea battle takes place when two Japanese merchant raiders attack the Indian minesweeper Bengal and the tanker Ondina. The Bengal armed with only one 3 inch gun, sinks the Hokoku Maru and drives the other ship, Aikoku Maru off. Both Japanese ships are armed with six 6 inch guns.
In New Guinea... The Australians face heavy fighting around Gorari.
November 11th, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Escort carrier HMS Begum launched.
Submarine HMS Stubborn launched.
ASW trawler HMS Sapper launched.
1942 - HMC ML 087 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: German troops marched into unoccupied France today, allegedly to save Vichy from invasion. Codenamed Operation ANTON (the name was changed from ATTILA), the move was ordered by Hitler after Laval resisted pressure from Berlin to let German forces occupy Tunisia.
A letter from Hitler to Marshal Petain justified the occupation by saying that he wanted to protect the south of France from an Allied invasion.
The occupation was carried out by German and Italian units. Within 24 hours they controlled the whole of the territory formerly ruled by Vichy except for a small enclave round the naval base at Toulon. Field Marshal von Rundstedt, the German commander, said that the “attitude of the population is indifferent”, except in Marseilles.
Although the invasion was a defensive response to the Anglo-US “Torch” landings in North Africa, Hitler admitted in his letter to Petain that it was the escape of General Henri Giraud “which chiefly made me behave in this manner.” Giraud, who escaped with a home-made rope from the castle of Konigstein, made his way last week to North Africa with the help of British intelligence and a British submarine.
GERMANY: Hitler orders German troops into Vichy.
U-532 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: The last major German attack at Stalingrad begins. The Soviets fragment the German effort and within two days the offensive degenerates into a series of unconnected actions. Both sides suffer heavy casualties. While some German units penetrate to the Volga, others are cut off. Floating blocks of ice in the Volga cause problems with Soviet resupply efforts.
NORTH AFRICA: Advance units of the British 8th Army reach Halfaya Pass and move into Libya and capture Bardia, without firing a single shot.
French authorities in North Africa sign an armistice with the Allies.
At 2.30 this morning, the guns stopped firing over Algeria as both sides paused to lick their wounds. Three days of combat brought heavy losses: at Oran, 17 French warships were sunk, while the entire fleet at Casablanca, in Morocco, has been blasted out of existence.
The human casualties have been great. Over 4,000 men died in the fierce struggle between the Allied invasion force and local French troops under the command of Admiral Jean-François Darlan. In the end, it was Darlan who agreed an armistice with the General Mark Clark, the US commander-in-chief, in defiance of Marshal Petain’s orders to resist.
The war is not yet won, however. Hitler started to airlift German troops into Tunis today.
The British 11th Brigade moves east from Algiers in strength. The 36th Brigade lands and captures Bougie.
INDIAN OCEAN: Japanese merchant raiders attack the Indian minesweeper Bengal and tanker Ondina. Bengal sinks the Hokoku Maru and drives off the Aikoku Maru. The Allied ships mount 1 four inch and 1 three inch gun, against 6 5.5 inch guns and torpedoes on both of the Japanese ships.
Both BENGAL and, ONDINA claimed the decisive hit on HOKOKU MARU and no account I have seen has come down definitely in favour of one ship or the other. According to Roskill, and quoted in Gill:
The Japanese account says that, ONDINA hit the first raider, but the BENGAL’s report is emphatic that it was her own gunfire which did the damage.’ (Ric Pelvin)
PORTUGESE TIMOR: Colonel Spence of Sparrow Force, signals Darwin that his men of the 2/2nd Company are in urgent need of relief after fighting a guerrilla war for the last 10 months. Darwin agrees and a flotilla of two Bathurst corvettes, HMAS Castlemaine and HMAS Armidale along with Kuru are earmarked to take them out. The 2/2 with 363 all ranks plus 150 Portugese troops and 190 Dutch troops from a Dutch “Stay behind” unit are to be lifted over the nights of the 30th November to the 5th of December: 61 Dutch native troops with two Dutch officers and 3 AIF men are to be landed during the same operation and embarked aboard the HMAS Armidale. (William L. Howard)(188, 189, 190, 191)
NEW GUINEA: Papua: The Australians outflank the Japanese to take the town of Oivi; 600 Japanese died in the battle.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The US advance towards Kokumbona on Guadalcanal continues, inspite of General Sano’s order to his 2nd Btn 228th Infantry to destroy the US forces west of the Matanikau River. The offensive halts shortly after noon and the units ordered to withdraw. The troops could not be told the real reason for the withdrawal. Another Japanese offensive to retake Guadalcanal was in the offing.
Admiral Halsey orders Admiral Kincaid to get carrier USS Enterprise underway and to “be prepared to strike enemy targets in Cactus [Guadalcanal] area.”
Frigate HMCS Wentworth laid down Esquimalt, British Columbia.
Corvette HMCS Owen Sound laid down Collingwood, Ontario.
U.S.A.: The motion picture “Road to Morocco” is rushed to the Paramount Theater in New York City to take advantage of the publicity from yesterday’s landing of Allied troops in North Africa. Directed by David Butler, this comedy stars Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Bob Hope, Anthony Quinn, Monte Blue and Yvonne De Carlo. This is the second Crosby/Hope/Lamour “Road” film. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyers USS Stockton, Stevenson, Schroeder and Ringgold launched.
Submarine USS Tullibee launched.
Destroyer escorts USS Osterhaud and Parks laid down.
Minesweeper USS Salute laid down.
Minesweeper USS Staff commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U class submarine HMS Unbeaten operating a patrol in the Bay of Biscay is not heard form again after 6 November. An investigation into her probable cause of loss suggests that she was the victim of an attack made on 10 November at 1745 by Wellington aircraft F of 172 Squadron RAF on a submarine at 46 50N 06 51W which was within ten miles of Unbeatens estimated position. There are no survivors. (See Evans A.S. Beneath the Waves, London, William Kimber 1986 pp327.) Officially the file remains open.
Repair ship Hecla which was proceeding to Gibraltar to augment dockyard repair facilities is torpedoed and sunk 180 miles west of Gibraltar at 35 43N 09 57W by U-515 (Kapitanleutenant Werner Henke). Henke thought his target was a Southampton class cruiser, and just two hours later blew the stern off destroyer HMS Marne which was escorting Hecla. Marne, however made port at Gibraltar. (Alex Gordon)(108)
Submarine FS Sidi Ferruch sunk off Fedhala Roads, Morocco by aircraft from escort carrier USS Suwannee.
U-160 sank SS City of Ripon.
U-407 sank SS Viceroy of India in Operation Torch.
U-380 sank SS Nieuw Zeeland in Operation Torch.
U-173 damaged USS Hambleton and Winooksi and sank USS Joseph Hewes in Convoy UGF-1.
U-354 lost one man overboard [Fähnrich zur See Horst Mayen]. (Dave Shirlaw)
"A gentile courier for the Polish government-in-exile, Jan Karski took extraordinary risks to bring first-hand accounts of what was happening to Jews in Poland to the outside world.
"Through contact with Menahem Kirschenbaum, a Zionist leader, and Leon Feiner, who represented the Bund, Karski--disguised as a Jew-- gained entrance to the Warsaw Ghetto.
His eyewitness accounts of the suffering made him a persuasive advocate.
In another brave venture, Karski impersonated a guard and secretly entered a concentration or death camp.
There he saw Jews being herded to their deaths inside boxcars filled with quicklime.
"Karski delivered his reports to the Polish government-in-exile in London and met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Driven by urgency, he traveled to Washington, where he asked President Franklin Roosevelt to act quickly to stop the murder of Jews."
It will be smooth sailing after Kasserine.
It was Hitlers ill-fortune that the battle [Stalingrad] perfectly suited the elemental spirit of the Red Army.
A panzergrenadier officer wrote:
We have fought for fifteen days for a single house, with mortars, machine-guns, grenades and bayonets. The front is a corridor between burnt-out rooms The street is no longer measured in metres, but in corpses. Stalingrad is no longer a town. By day it is an enormous cloud of burning, blinding smoke; it is a vast furnace lit by the reflection of the flames. And when night arrives one of those scorching, howling, bleeding nights the dogs plunge into the Volga and swim desperately for the other bank. The nights of Stalingrad are a terror for them. Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure.
Max Hastings-All Hell Let Loose