Red Army battles to victory
Tuesday, December 29, 1942 www.onwar.com
Red Army soldiers engaged in an assault [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... The Soviets recapture Kotelnikovo after heavy fighting and continue to make advances along the front.
In North Africa... The advance elements of the British 8th Army halt before Axis positions at Buerat.
December 29th, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Destroyer HMS Armada laid down.
Frigate HMS Bann launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: During the day, RAF Bomber Command Mosquitos bomb three marshalling yards (M/Ys): two each bomb the M/Y at Amiens and Tergnier and one hits the M/Y at Laon. (Jack McKillop)
During the night of 29/30 December, 14 RAF Bomber Command Lancasters lay mines in the River Gironde. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: During the night of 29/30 December, RAF Bomber Command dispatches three Oboe Mosquitos to attack steel plants at Essen and Meiderich in 10/10th cloud conditions. Two bomb Meiderich and one bombs Essen; in the latter case, the bombs fall 500 meters (547 yards) east of the Krupps factory. (Jack McKillop).
U-349, U-1194 laid down
U-713 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: Kotelnikovo, south-west of Stalingrad, falls to the Soviets after fierce fighting.
Italian GENERAL ENRICO PEZZI, commander of the Italian air forces on the Russian front dies. Pezzi personally flew along on a resupply flight into a small pocket of Italian and German soldiers holding out at Chertkovo in the wake of the Soviet offensive which shattered and routed the Italian 8th Army along the Don. He made it in, but his SM81 transport vanished during the return flight, presumed shot down by the Soviets. (Michael F. Yaklich)
LIBYA: Advance elements of the British 8th Army (armoured cars of the 4th Light Armoured Brigade) halts in front of the Buerat position of the Afrika Korps. Buerat and Bu Ngern are found to be free of Germans. A lull follows as the British prepare for attack.
BURMA: Twelve USAAF Tenth Air Force B-24 Liberators attack shipping in the vicinity of Rangoon.
PACIFIC OCEAN: High speed minesweeper (ex-destroyer) USS Wasmuth was escorting a convoy through a heavy Alaskan storm when two depth charges were wrenched from their tracks by the pounding sea, fell over the side, and exploded beneath the ship’s fantail. The blasts carried away part of the ship’s stern and the ship began to founder; in the gale, the pumps could not make headway against the inexorably rising water below. Despite the heavy sea, the oiler USS Ramapo came alongside the crippled and foundering Wasmuth in a display of seamanship and daring. For three and one-half hours, the tanker remained with the sinking high-speed minesweeper, battling the waves while proceeding with the ticklish business of transferring the latter’s officers and men (134) and two passengers. After completing that heroic rescue, Ramapo pulled away; Wasmuth eventually sank early on 29 December. (Dave Shirlaw)
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators carry out single-bomber attacks on the airfield at Gasmata on the south coast of New Britain Island. (Jack McKillop).
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: A USAAF Eleventh Air Force B-24 Liberator flies a negative reconnaissance over Rat and Amchitka Islands. A scheduled attack on Japanese-held Kiska Island and the reconnaissance mission over Amchitka Island are cancelled by bad weather. (Jack McKillop)
CANADA: Minesweeper HMCS Clayoquot began refit Halifax, Nova Scotia. Later moved to Liverpool and Pictou, Nova Scotia. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 2356, SS Ingerfem was hit by one torpedo from U-631 amidships. The ship had been in the convoy ONS-156, but had engine problems and lost the convoy after three days. The most crewmembers abandoned ship in two lifeboats, while the master, third mate and a gunner were seen struggling with a third lifeboat midships, but before it was launched the ship broke in two and sank ten minutes after the hit. One of the lifeboats, carrying 33 men, was later lost. The other with eight men in it, also had problems in the bad weather, it was taking water and finally capsized three days later. All men get into it again, but the first mate and two crewmen died, standing upright in the boat, that same day. After one week, the boat had taken too much water and turned over again. The remaining men managed to straighten it out, but that night four of them died, leaving the gunner Ole Næss (age 22) alone in the boat. He “buried” the dead in the sea, but it had all been too much for him and he jumped overboard, but a wave immediately washed him on board again. Then he drank large amounts of seawater in an attempt to end his life, but that did not succeed either. On 11 January, the lifeboat was spotted about 500 miles west of Scotland by the American steam merchant Staghound. The sole survivor was then unconscious and could not be straightened out so he was lifted in sitting position onto the vessel, where the doctor on board gave him the best care possible, until he could be taken to the hospital in Ards District near Belfast two days later, suffering from severe shock and salt water sores. He was nursed back to health again, though his legs for a long time were threatened by gangrene, but he was spared from amputation.
U-225 captured the master of the sunken ship President Francqui.
Battle for Convoy ON-154 continued unabated. U-123 sank SS Baron Cochrane and damaged Empire Shackleton; U-336 sank SS President Francqui; U-435 sank SS Empire Shackleton and Norse King; U-591 sank SS Zarian; U-628 sank SS Lynton Grange; U-662 sank SS Ville de Rouen. (Dave Shirlaw)