US Marines land near Cape Esperance
Monday, February 1, 1943 www.onwar.com
American Marines land on Guadalcanal [photo at link]
In the Solomon Islands... On Guadalcanal, US forces land at Verahue near Cape Esperance where the Japanese evacuation begins. The Americans are aware of Japanese naval activity but they believe it to be Japanese reinforcements arriving for a new offensive. In fact, 20 Japanese destroyers remove about 5000 troops. One of the destroyers is sunk by an American air attack.
On the Eastern Front... The Soviet offensive toward Kharkov continues. They capture Svatovo between Kupyansk and Starobelsk.
In Burma... British forces renew the attack on Donbaik, in the Arakan, but they do not make any gains.
February 1st, 1943
Minesweeper HMS Shepparton commissioned.
Submarine HMS Subtle laid down.
Submarine HMS Surf laid down.
Escort carrier HMS Trouncer laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: Rastenburg: Hitler holds a military conference at which he accuses his generals of disloyalty.
Baron Maximilian von Weichs, Ewald von Kleist and Ernst Busch are promoted to Field Marshal. (Glenn A. Steinberg and Steen Ammentorp)
U-794 laid down
U-488 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The fast minelayer HMS Welshman, which took urgent stores to Malta from Alexandria during the siege, is sunk by the U-boat U-617 45 miles east of Tobruk at 32 12N, 24 52E. There are 152 casualties. (Alex Gordon)(108)
An explosion occurred at 0615 in the diesel engine room of U-77, resulting in some damage to the boat
NORTH AFRICA: American tanks and infantry are battered at German positions in Faid Pass (In Tunisia, roughly east-northeast from Kasserine). (Michael Ballard)
On 30 January von Arnim’s Fifth Panzer Army had driven the French out of the Faid Pass and then attacked them at Pichon. Combat Command A of the U.S. 1st Armored Division then attempted to retake Faid, but was repulsed. Other U.S. and British forces (I don’t know which units) were sent to Pichon and restored some stability along the front. About two weeks later Faid Pass was one of the staging points for the German counteroffensive against the U.S. Army around Kasserine. (Keith Allen)
NEW GUINEA: The Australians repel the Japanese less than 400 yards from Wau airfield.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The 2nd Btn 132nd Regiment with 4 75mm howitzers of the 4th Battery 10th Marines is landed on the south coast of Guadalcanal north of Verahue. A Japanese recon pilot reports the escorting destroyers as cruisers. This misidentification results in an airstrike which sinks destroyer DeHaven 2 miles southeast of Savo Island in the afternoon. Six Japanese planes attack. Three of them are shot down but the remaining three drop their bombs and flee. The hits destroyed the bridge, killing the captain. A fourth bomb split the hull plates and the DeHaven capsized and sank with 167 of her men from a crew of 299. (Dave Shirlaw)
18 Japanese destroyers make the trip down the slot to Guadalcanal. They are on the first of the evacuation runs. Loading 4,935 troops as Kamimbo and Cape Esperance against fierce opposition from US PT Boats, they return to the Shortlands with the loss of one destroyer, Makikumo. Either a mine or torpedo for a PT boat left her without power and she was scuttled. US destroyers Radford, Fletcher and Nicholas are spotted by a “Pete” which drops flares. The loss of surprise renders any chance of success for Captain Briscoe and Desron 21 futile.
NEW ZEALAND: Bill Paull lands in Wellington. These US Marines arrive after spending six months on Tulagi and Guadalcanal. (William T. Paull)
CANADA: Destroyer HMCS Columbia commenced refit Saint John, New Brunswick.
Trawler HMS Liscomb collided with minesweeper HMCS Minas off Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Frigates HMCS Antigonish, St Stephen, Capilano, Strathadam, Northumberland, Wulastock, Stone Town, Hallowell, Royalmount (ex-Alwington), Poundmaker, Tisdale, Hardrock, Ste Agathe, Victoriaville, Pressiville, Toronto (ex-Giffard), Ste Therese, Lasalle, Coaticook, St Pierre, Prestonian (ex-Beaucharnois, Sea Cliff, Rouyn, Buckingham (ex-Royalmount), Inch Arran, Sussexvale (ex-Valdorian), Carlplace, Foster and Megantic ordered. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: In response to a growing need for Naval Intelligence Officer (NIO) support to senior government diplomatic and military staffs, an 8-10 week school, built on the NACIOS (Naval Air Combat Intelligence Officers School) concept, was established for advanced intelligence training. (William L. Howard)
Destroyer USS Cogswell laid down.
Aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard laid down.
Minesweepers USS Pinnacle, Phanton and Peril laid down.
Heavy cruiser USS Bremerton laid down.
Destroyer USS Stevens commissioned.
The USN aircraft colour scheme is changed so that the upper portion of the fuselage is painted flat sea blue with flat intermediate blue applied to the fuselage sides, vertical tail and rudder surfaces. The upper surfaces of the wings and horizontal tail surfaces are to be painted semi gloss sea blue and the under surfaces to be painted flat insignia white. (Jack McKillop)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 2310, MFV Joseph Elise was shelled and sunk by U-66 after a torpedo had missed at 2300. (Dave Shirlaw)