Skip to comments.ALLIES REPEL STRONG ATTACK IN TUNISIA (12/3/42)
Posted on 12/03/2012 4:24:53 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Germans armored advance in Tunisia
Thursday, December 3, 1942 www.onwar.com
German motorized column moves forward in Tunisa [photo at link]
In Tunisia.. Djedeida and Tebourba are captured by troops from the German 10th Panzer Division after a series of attacks.
In the Solomon Islands... Admiral Tanaka leads 10 destroyers in a supply operation to bring food to the desperate Japanese soldiers on Guadalcanal. To avoid air attacks, the cargo is dropped not landed. Only about 300 of the 1500 containers reach the Japanese forces.
December 3rd, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Whilst escorting convoy PW.257, destroyer HMS Penylan is torpedoed and sunk by German S-boats 5 miles South of Start Point at 50 08N 08 39W. There are 117 survivors. The merchant ship Gatinais is also sunk. (Alex Gordon)(108)
Aircraft carrier HMS Venerable laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-761, U-951 commissioned.
U-959, U-960 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: Soviet troops break through German positions west of Rzhev.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: A Royal Navy force of three cruisers and two destroyers caught an Axis convoy laden with reinforcements including tanks headed for North Africa at night. RAF aircraft dropped illumination flares, and radar-controlled gunnery proved devastating, sinking the four ships in the convoy plus its escort. (Dave Shirlaw)
TUNISIA: The 10th Panzer Division withdraws from both Djedeida and Tebourba, Tunisia.
Tebourba: Maj. Herbert Wallace Le Patourel (1916-79), Hampshire Regt., led four men who, after silencing several guns, all became casualties. He fought on alone until his capture. (Victoria Cross)
ALGERIA: Algiers: Allied troops advancing towards Tunis came face to face with a monster new weapon today - 56-ton “Tiger” tanks mounting 88mm guns. Hitler has sent five of these giants to Tunisia as an “experiment”. Two of them played a significant part in a major defeat at Terbourba today.
Bad weather and the ferocity of German dive-bombing attacks slowed down the two-pronged offensive, with American officers complaining to Lt-Gen Eisenhower during a visit to the front line about the lack of Allied air cover. “Why do we see nothing but Heinies?” asked one.
General Nehring, the German commander, had reacted quickly to the Allied advance. Small detachments, mostly paratroopers, raced to take the vital towns of Sousse, Sfax and Gabes from bewildered French garrisons.
The main Allied thrust along the hilly coastal road was checked by a German ambush at Djefna. British and American commandos landed on the coast to the east of this battle and blocked the road, but a fresh assault failed to relieve them and they were forced to withdraw.
In Tunis, Field Marshal Kesselring ordered Nehring to be more aggressive. On 1 December, 40 tanks with anti-tank weapons advanced on the town. Repulsed at first by artillery fire, Nehring called up every available unit. Although much of the Allied “Blade Force” managed to escape over mountain roads, the Germans have captured more than 1,000 prisoners and more than 50 tanks.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Admiral Tanaka brings 10 Japanese destroyers to Guadalcanal in another Tokyo Express Run. 300 of 1500 drums loaded with supplies actually reach Guadalcanal.
NEW GEORGIA: US bombers start intensive attacks on Munda Point to prevent Japan from building an airfield.
AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Cootamundra launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: The motion picture “You Were Never Lovelier” opens at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Directed by William A. Seiter, this musical comedy stars Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Adolphe Menjou, Xavier Cugat and Larry Parks. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer escort USS Sturtevant launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-183 sank SS Empire Dabchick in Convoy ONS-146.
U-508 sank SS Solon II.
U-552 sank SS Wallsend. (Dave Shirlaw)
Fred and Rita? We'll send Crowther.
FDR and Churchill hoping to meet Stalin in Africa. Good luck with that. Stalin never leaves the area controlled by the Red Army.
Isn't it interesting that a couple of generations ago "Anglo-American" meant "British and American". Now it has been perverted to mean "an American citizen of white European ancestry". The derivation of "Anglo" is England. As an "Anglo", I resent that the popular culture, including the media, apparently can't speak English.
Stalin just wasn’t one of those world-traveling dictators. Come to think of it, not many are. Too many worries about who has your back while you are away.
Better to be a President; you can go whenever and wherever you want.
“U-183 sank SS Empire Dabchick in Convoy ONS-146.
U-508 sank SS Solon II.
U-552 sank SS Wallsend. (Dave Shirlaw)”
The Germans may not be “winning” the Battle of the Atlantic right now, but they certainly aren’t losing it, either. Too many ships are being sunk to say the Trans-Atlantic route is secure. I think this is a nagging worry and is a strong consideration whether a full-out invasion of Europe can be supported. Add to it that the Luftwaffe is still an effective aerial force. If the RAF could keep the Germans from crossing the Channel in 1940, then it looks like the Luftwaffe can do the same in 1942 and 1943. Works both ways.
It’s also looking like the USSR isn’t going down to defeat either. They should be able to stay in the war for at least another year.
My father worked on these ships before he went in the Army.
By December, however, things were converging that would turn the tide. American shipbuilding is turning out large numbers of escort destroyers and carriers. The Rad Lab was turning out radars that made detection easier. The Mid-Atlantic gap was effectively closed by using long range B-24's and escort carrier aviation. Finally, enough ships became available to form hunter-killer groups of destroyers and carriers that were not tied to specific convoys. It was one such squadron that captured the U 505, still on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Still, winning this "Battle" was a long, hard slog that cost the lives of many Merchant Marine and Navy sailors.
A great book on the turnaround in the Battle of the Atlantic is Michael Gannon’s “Black May”. I highly recommend it.