Red Army Shatters Hungarian Defenses
Tuesday, January 12, 1943 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... The Soviet Voronezh Front (General Golikov) and Bryansk Front (General Reiter) attack the Hungarian 2nd Army and the German 2nd Army, respectively. The Hungarian defenses are quickly shattered. Soviet forces breaking through drive toward Kharkov. To the south, Army Group Don (Field Marshal Manstein) is also being pressured by Soviet attacks aimed at reaching Rostov and cutting off German Army Group A in the Caucasus. The Soviet breakthrough to the north represents a threat to the position of Manstein’s army group.
In the Aleutian Islands... Amchitka Island is occupied by a small US force led by General Jones. The destroyer Warden is lost in an accident.
In New Guinea... Australian infantry and tanks attack Japanese positions north and west of Gona.
January 13th, 1943
UNITED KINGDOM: Sloop HMS Whimbrel is commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: Berlin: Adolf Hitler today issued a decree which entitles the authorities to order German men and women to undertake war tasks deemed necessary for the defence of the Reich. This first step towards “total mobilization” is intended to release all able-bodied men for military duty or other work at the front.
The decree says it is “necessary to locate all men and women whose efforts towards this goal are not yet or not yet fully utilised and to harness their full energies”. Large scale and extended “training and re-orientation” will be introduced. Older men and married women are among the prime targets of this new labour mobilization, which is likely to begin later this month.
U-421 and U-536 are commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
BULGARIA: Sofia: Thirty-six people are executed and 200 arrested in anti-Nazi protests.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: U-224 (Type VIIC) (OLtzS Hans-Carl Kosbadt CO) is sunk in the western Mediterranean west of Algiers, in position 36.28N, 00.49E, by ramming and depth charges from the Canadian corvette HMCS Ville de Quebec. 45 dead, one survivor. Ville de Quebec was escorting Gibraltar to North Africa convoy TE-13 when she detected U-224. She attacked with depth charges, which blew the submarine to the surface. Ville de Quebec then rammed the submarine just as the Weapons Officer, LtzS Dankworth, emerged from the conning tower hatch to survey the damage. He was thrown clear of the boat and became the only survivor. He was rescued 30 minutes later by HMCS Port Arthur. (Alec Gordon)
NEW GUINEA: Lieutenant-General Robert Eichelberger takes command of Allied operations.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The attack of yesterday by the US 2/27 is renewed, but held off by the Japanese on Guadalcanal. The horses neck, Sims Ridge, is the holdup. Capt. Davis Btn Exec leads 4 men, to within 10 yards of the Japanese position. When his rifle jammed he waves the others on in full view of both Japanese and US troops. This action is cited by General Collins as leading to the final capture of the Galloping Horse feature by Noon.
PACIFIC: Submarine U.S.S. Triton (SS-201), on her fifth patrol, in the Bismarck Archipelago area, spots a large tanker while on the surface.
In the morning twilight, Triton fires eight torpedoes. One hits and lightly damages XAO Akebono Maru (10,182T) north of the St. Matthias Island group in position 00°45’S, 148°56’E.
Submarine U.S.S. Whale (SS-239), carrying out a submerged daylight patrol in the Marshalls on her second patrol, sinks XAC Iwashiro Maru (3359T) with three of four fish fired. The Japanese naval collier sinks about 40 miles north of Kwajalein in position 09°54’N, 167°07’E. (Chris Sauder)
U.S.A.: Destroyer escort USS Frost laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-507 a Type IXC is sunk 13 Jan, 1943 in the South Atlantic north-west of Natal, in position 01.38S, 39.52W, by depth charges from a US Catalina aircraft (VP-83/P-10). 54 dead (all hands lost).
U-507 (along with U-156 and U-506 and Italian submarine Cappellini) took part in the rescue operations after the sinking of SS Laconia in September 1942 off Africa. About 1500 men were saved by these boats and French ships from Dakar (which arrived on Sept 16, 4 days after the sinking). (Alex Gordon)
During a meeting of the milk cow U-117 and U-455, the doctor from U-117 transferred to U-455 and remained onboard. (Dave Shirlaw)