Skip to comments.AXIS IN SOUTH FRANCE, FLEETíS FATE A MYSTERY; U.S. AND NAZI FORCES RACE TO OCCUPY TUNISIA (11/12/42)
Posted on 11/12/2012 5:05:41 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Panzers escape encirclement in Caucasus
Thursday, November 12, 1942 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... At Stalingrad, fierce fighting, sometimes house to house continues as some of General Paulus’ forces reach the Volga while others remain trapped in the city. Communications have been severed and the Germans are effectively fighting in independent groups. In the Caucasus, the Germans rescue the 13th Panzer Division from encirclement south of Terek, but still face heavy fighting.
In Algeria and Tunisia... An Allied combined sea and air assault take the port at Bone and the nearby airfield. The first German supply ships dock at Bizerta despite the resistance of the local French commanders.
In New Guinea... Heavy fighting continues as the Australians attempt to prevent the Japanese from withdrawing across the Kumusi River.
In the Solomon Islands... Near Guadalcanal, a large American convoy carrying supplies and reinforcements retreats upon the approach of a large Japanese naval force. The Japanese carry out air attacks on the American land positions as well as their shipping.
In North Africa... Units of the British 1st and 7th Armored Divisions enter Tobruk, in Libya.
From Washington... The age for selective service is lowered from 20 to 18. President Roosevelt estimates that the American armed forces will reach 10,000,000 men by the end of 1943.
November 12th, 1942
NORTH SEA: U-336 collided with the escort minesweeper M 1906. The damaged U-boat had to return to base. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: German troops occupy Marseilles and approach Toulon, where the Vichy fleet is ordered to sail to Africa to avoid capture.
GERMANY: First flight of the Heinkel He219 Night Fighter Prototype. (Ron Babuka)
U-292, U-399 laid down.
U-360, U-648 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
BALTIC SEA: U-272 sunk near Hela, in position 54.45N, 18.50E, after a collision with U-664. 29 dead and 19 survivors.
During training in the Baltic Sea, U-665 collided with the support ship Wilhelm Bauer. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: The Germans extricate their 13th Panzer division after it is encircled south of Terek in the Caucasus.
Baltic Fleet, Ladoga and Onega Flotillas: Submarine “Sch-306”is mined or sunk due to collision with U-boat, at the West part of Finland Gulf. (Sergey Anisimov)(69)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Minesweeper HMS Algerine is torpedoed and sunk off Bougie at 36 47N 05 11E by the Italian submarine Ascianghi.
U-660 scuttled in the Mediterranean near Oran, in position 36.07N, 01.00W, after damages by depth charges from corvettes HMS Lotus and Starwort. 2 dead and 45 survivors. (Dave Shirlaw)
LIBYA: Units of the British 1st and 7th Armoured Division enter Tobruk. The town is a shell, its port installations largely destroyed.
TUNISIA: German reinforcements land.
NEW GUINEA: During the Japanese retreat across the Kumusi River. General Horii is drowned during the retreat and 600 soldiers die. Japanese resistance outside their beachheads at Buna and Gona has collapsed.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: 6 US transports and their escort are anchored off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal at first light. These are reported to Rabaul, by Japanese observers, as 3 BB, 3 CA, 11 DD and 5 transports. Their unloading is interrupted shortly afternoon by a IJNAF air strike.
The successful evasion of these torpedo planes is marred by a 5” AA shell (friendly) hitting destroyer Buchanan, 5 killed, and a Betty crashing into cruiser San Francisco, 24 killed, 45 wounded, and the complete loss of the after fire control radar, during this 8 minute attack.
US search planes spot IJN battleships Hiei and Kirishima, under Admiral Abe, steaming south at 25 knots. They also spot IJN destroyer division 4 and Admiral Tanaka’s supply convoy steaming south to join the battleships.
Admiral Turner pulls his transports out in the evening. He leaves Admiral Daniel Callaghan with Admiral Norman Scott and cruisers San Francisco, Portland, Helena, Atlanta and Juneau; destroyers Cushing, Laffey, Sterett, O’Bannon, Aaron Ward, Barton, Monssen and Fletcher to face the Japanese battleships. Admiral Callaghan is in tactical command, due to 15 days seniority over Admiral Scott. Scott had successfully commanded the US forces in their victory at the Battle of Cape Esperance in October.
The US Army 182nd Regiment lands on Guadalcanal.
CANADA: Corvette HMCS Kamsack commenced refit Liverpool, Nova Scotia.
U.S.A.: The draft age is lowered from 20 to 18. It is estimated that US armed forces will amount to 10 million by the end of 1943.
Submarine USS Billfish launched.
Canadian SS Lillian E Kerr sunk after a collision off Massachusetts Bay. No survivors. (Dave Shirlaw)
GUATEMALA severs diplomatic relations with France. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Whilst covering the returning convoy MKF.1 escort carrier HMS Archer is torpedoed and sunk West of Gibraltar at 36 15N 07 45E by U-155 (Kapitanleutnant Adolf Piening). The torpedo caused a sympathetic explosion of the contents of the carriers bomb room and she sank very quickly leaving only 12 survivors to be rescued by HMS Gladiale.
HMS Sanguenay collides with merchant ship Azara, East of Newfoundland, and accidental release of her depth charges blows off her stern. She is towed to St. Johns and then Halifax but never repaired. (Alex Gordon)(108)
Off Dutch Curacao The gun boat USS Erie is torpedoed by U-163. She has to be beached and is gutted by fire. (Jack McKillop)
U-163 torpedoed gunboat USS Erie in Convoy TAG-20. Damaged beyond repair.
U-130 sank transports USS Edward Rutledge, Hugh L. Scott and Tasker H. Bliss in Convoy UGF-1.
U-224 sank SS Buchanan.
U-515 sank destroyer tender HMS Hecla and damaged destroyer HMS Marne during Operation Torch.
U-77 damaged sloop HMS Stork.
U-593 sank SS Browning in Convoy KMS-2.
U-521 transferred an ill crewmember to U-117; and U-413 transferred an ill crewmember to U-71, both in the North Atlantic. (Dave Shirlaw)
No news from Stalingrad today. Huh, not much happening there I guess.
American troops in Belgian Congo? I got out my Cram’s Atlas of the world, and the Belgian Congo is thousands of miles away from any action. Why send troops there? (wink wink; I don’t think they are there to fight Germans, not directly anyway).
I see several intriguing articles on the front page shot that I didn't copy for posting. One of the is "Nazis Said to Drain East Front of Men." That article might have included general news from Stalingrad. On days with a whole bunch of important stories I struggle with what to save and what to omit. In this case I opted for the Guadalcanal story over the East Front story.
In many ways, November ‘42 is a major turning point of the war. Torch, upcoming events at Stalingrad, the rout of Rommel, Guadalcanal becoming hopeless for the Japanese.
It’s amazing to think of American logistical largesse during the war. 400,000 pounds of frozen beef is the spare change of an invasion. Not only that, we keep it frozen and ship it across an ocean. The Germans, Russians and Japanese can only dream of such things.
Herman Wouk is among those who agree with your assessment. His fictitious German general character wrote the following in his "memoirs."
"The Global Waterloo was in fact a swift, roaring, flaming reverse all around the earth of our war effort, history's greatest - on the seas, in desert sands, on beaches, in jungles, in city streets, on tropical islands, in snowdrifts. In November 1942, the world-adventurer Hitler, to whom we Germans had given our souls, lost the initiative once for all. Thereafter the hangmen were closing in on him, and he was fighting not for world empire but for his neck."
Maybe a few extra tons of ground round would have helped in the campaign to take Tunis. While preparing the posts for the next month I was reminded of the time in the fall of 1939 when we read day after day about the massive French offensive against the West Wall while Germany was occupied in Poland. The French campaign went on and on unabated, yet somehow the lines showing the positions of the opposing forces on the situation maps remained unchanged. We will see the same sort of thing in North Africa.
I have a feeling that you will be posting some Stalingrad articles soon...maybe in a week or so.
Belgian Congo had copper and Uranium mines that the US needed.
Is uranium used in the production of pencils? Like that graphite from Madagascar?
“Is uranium used in the production of pencils? Like that graphite from Madagascar?”
As a matter of fact, it is!