Skip to comments.GERMANS SLOW SOVIET ADVANCES; ALLIES DEEPEN BREACH IN TUNISIA (12/1/42)
Posted on 12/01/2012 4:24:53 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
America introduces gas rationing
Tuesday, December 1, 1942 www.onwar.com
An American gasoline ration card [photo at link}
In the United States... Gasoline rationing is introduced throughout the country.
In the Mediterranean... Axis supply problems continue to Africa continue. Four Italian convoys are threatened by a British squadron of three cruisers and two destroyers. Three of the convoys are recalled. The fourth loses four freighters and one of the escorts ships. Two more of the escort ships are damaged. The British lose one destroyer in the action to air attack.
December 1st, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Goxhill, Lincolnshire: The USAAF 78th Fighter Group arrive. They are assigned to VIII Fighter Command, Eighth Air Force. (Jack McKillop)
Westminster: Britain will become one of the world’s first “welfare states” if proposals published today for postwar social security are implemented when peace returns. Under a comprehensive scheme prepared by Sir William Beveridge, the Liberal economist, the entire adult population would be brought into a compulsory insurance scheme covering sickness, unemployment, old age and benefit for families.
It was said in Whitehall tonight that the coalition government sees the scheme as a key element in postwar reconstruction and will give it earnest consideration. The Beveridge report envisages state provision effectively from the cradle to the grave - including free medical care for everybody.
Its proposals are based on the poll-tax principle of flat-rate weekly contributions of 4/3 for men workers and 3/6 for women, with an employer’s contribution of 3/3 for men and 2/6 for women. Benefits would include a national health service, £2 a week retirement pensions and unemployment pay, and £20 death grants.
London: Sydney Silverman, a Labour MP, reports that over two million Polish Jews have been exterminated by the Nazis.
NORTH AFRICA: General Spaatz becomes the commanding general of the USAAF Twelfth Air Force in North Africa. (Jack McKillop)
ETHIOPIA: Addis Ababa: The country declares war on Germany, Italy and Japan.
Portugese Timor: Whilst on a routine mission to take relief personnel to the Timor garrison, minesweeper HMAS Armidale is attacked and sunk by IJ aircraft at 10S 128E. 30 survivors on two boats are recovered by HMAS Kilgourlie and an RAAF flying boat. HMS (Alex Gordon)(108)
Commodore Pope, the naval C-in-C in Darwin has not understood what has happened to the three ships he sent to Timor yesterday. He orders HMAS Kalgoorlie to sail out in support of her two sister ships. Kuru finds the other two ships in the morning and transfers her passengers to HMAS Castlemaine; Castlemaine is then ordered to a position some 120 miles south of Betano Bay to look for two RAAF Beaufighter aircrew who were in the water after crash landing. Kuru and HMAS Armidale set course for Betano Bay. At around midday both ships reported air attack and requested fighter cover; at this stage the ships were not in company and had lost sight of each other. Over the next six hours Kuru reported attacks by up to 44 enemy aircraft, and that she was the target of up to 200 bombs. She suffers some engine damage and reports to Pope her intention to return to Darwin: Pope insists that the operation go ahead. At around 8pm however, he received reports of two Japanese cruisers in the area and orders the abandonment of the operation. At 8.30 these ships are attacked by Hudson aircraft of the RAAF. But by this time Armidale presents no target for anyone. She had been lying on the bed of the Timor Sea for five hours.
She did not however die without a fight.
Lieut-Commander Richards commander of Armidale, knew he was in trouble, alone and less than 30 minutes from a major enemy air base with 10 hours of daylight left. He sent a signal to pope at around 3pm “”Enemy bombing. No fighters arrived”, then followed up with another signal “Nine bombers, four fighters. Absolutely no fighter support” Pope sent back the signal “Air attack is to be accepted as ordinary, routine secondary warfare”. This signal so puzzled his superiors, when the loss of the ship was latter investigated, that is was classified and not shown to the board of inquiry or the prime-minster; in fact the whole matter was covered up which is a shame because it prevented a brave man from receiving the Victoria Cross he deserved.
HMAS Armidale had been hit by two air launched Torpedoes and was listing heavily and sinking; the captain had given the order to abandon ship. Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheean, from Latrobe Tasmania, a youngster still 27 day short of his 19th birthday had abandoned his action station as a loader number on the after Oerlikon and was helping to get the ship’s motor-boat into the water when Japanese planes streaked in at sea level, machine-gunning the ship and the survivors in the water. He was himself unwounded and could have taken cover, or gone over the side in an attempt to save himself. He did none of these things instead he scrambled back to the Oerlikon gun abaft the funnel and strapped himself in. The ship was sinking fast by this stage - He poured a stream of 20mm into the enemy plane and sent one cartwheeling into the sea. A zero targeted him with machine-gun fire and tore his chest and back wide open, still he continued to fire sending another Zero off trailing smoke, and forcing the others away from his shipmates in the water. As the water rose up around him; the men in the water saw the desperate youngster wheel his gun from target to target. Then the ship plunged down and the sea rose up past his shattered chest but still he kept firing, then he disappeared from sight but the barrel of the gun remained firing before it to disappeared. For a moment the sea was silent then as a Japanese plane dove in, incredibly tracer fire from Sheean’s gun arced up at it from beneath the sea to meet the incoming plane.
Two officers and 38 Ratings were lost or missing along with the two Dutch officers and 59 troops. Some survivors were not picked up until eight days later. (William L. Howard)(188, 189, 190, 191)
U.S.A.: Gasoline (petrol) rationing begins on the U.S. West Coast, followed soon throughout the country. (Jack McKillop)