Skip to comments.U.S. AND FRENCH TROOPS 13 MILES FROM BIZERTE; AIR CRASH KILLS GEN. ANDREWS, BISHOP LEONARD (5/5/43)
Posted on 05/05/2013 6:18:58 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
In considering the allocation of building labour please bear in mind that it is most important to complete the airfields required for the American Air Force.
Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate
Soviet forces push into the Kuban Peninsula
Wednesday, May 5, 1943 www.onwar.com
Red Army troops advancing past a burning German tank destroyer [photo at link].
On the Eastern Front... In the Caucasus, the Red Army advance further into the Kuban Peninsula where the German 17th Army continues to maintain a foothold. They capture Krymsk and Neberjaisk.
In Tunisia... British forces recapture Djebel Bou Aoukaz late in the day. The British 5th Corps is now commanded by Horrocks and includes the 6th and 7th Armored Divisions and the 4th Indian Division.
May 5th, 1943 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: London: Just over a week after Stalin broke with the exiled Polish government he and General Sikorski have patched up their quarrel in the interest of defeating Germany. But Sikorski insists that certain “facts” divide them, probably a reference to the cause of the split: the German discovery at Katyn, in eastern Poland, of a mass grave of Polish officers, allegedly massacred by Soviet troops in 1940.
Salvage vessel HMS Help launched.
Destroyer HMS Zealous laid down.
Submarine HMS Viking launched.
Monitor HMS Abercrombie commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-471, U-544, U-976 commissioned.
U-1171 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
BALTIC SEA: U-421 hit a mine in the Baltic Sea during exercises and was badly damaged. (Dave Shirlaw)
FINLAND: Four boats of XII Squadriglia MAS purchased and they join the Finnish Navy as the Jymy-class. (Dave Shirlaw)
BULGARIA: Sofia: During the two-day curfew in Sofia, the authorities have seized 1,000 people, including 400 said to be communists. The Bulgarian capital was sealed off while troops conducted a house-to-house search for the killers of Colonel Georgi Pantev, the chief of police, who was shot down as he entered his house two nights ago. Pantev is the third senior official to be assassinated this year. Only relatives, military officers and state officials are to be allowed to attend the police chief’s funeral.
U.S.S.R.: The Soviets take Krymsk and Neberjaisk in the Kuban.
NORTH AFRICA: General Horrocks takes command of the British V Corps which now includes the 6th and 7th Armored and 4th Indian Division.
The British capture Djebel Bou Aoukaz securing their left flank.
CHINA: Changsha: A large force of Japanese troops stormed the beaches on the southern shores of Tungting Lake today as Japan launched a new two-pronged offensive in central China. The landings out the Japanese within 50 miles of the war torn capital of Hunan province, Changsha, where the Chinese Nationalists have managed to repulse three previous attacks.
At the same time as the landings an estimated 7,000 - 8,000 Japanese troops, heavily supported by air force bombers, struck southward from southern Hupeh, capturing four towns on the Hunan border, north of the lake.
The combination of the two attacks has left Allied strategists unsure as to whether this new offensive is intended to take Changsha, or if the invaders are planning to encircle Chinese forces to the west, enabling the Japanese to ruin or seize the ripening rice crop in one of China’s most fertile regions.
CANADA: Frigate HMCS Springhill laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Three Boeing XF8B-1s are ordered by the USAAF. Although classified as a fighter, this aircraft should have been classified as a bomber torpedo (BT) aircraft like the Douglas BT2D (later AD) Skyraider and the Martin BTM (later AM) Mauler. It had a bomb bay that could accommodate four 500-pound (227 kg) or two 1,600-pound (726 kg) bombs or a torpedo plus bombs on external wing racks. Armament consisted of six wing guns, either 50-calibre (12.7 mm) or 20 mm.
The machine was powered by a 3,000 hp (2237 kW) Pratt and Whitney XR-4360-10 28-cylinder, 4-row, air-cooled radial engine. In order to keep the propeller diameter and landing gear size within limits, two 3-bladed contra-rotating propellers were used. Speaking of the landing gear, it rotated 90 degrees and folded back into the wing so that the wheels lay flat, ala the Curtiss P-40. Boeing had developed this type of landing gear and licensed it to Curtiss in the 1930s.
This aircraft had tremendous range, 3,500 miles (5,633 km), but cruised at 190 mph (306 km/h) which means the pilot would have been exhausted by the time he got there.
With an empty weight of 14,190 pounds (6436 kg), it was the heaviest USN carrier-based aircraft of WWII. (Jack McKillop)
Submarines USS Sea Devil and Hammerhead laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 1120, the unescorted Holmbury was torpedoed by U-123 about 170 miles west of Cape Palmas. The vessel was sunk by 26 rounds of 10.5cm gunfire. Two crewmembers were lost. The master was taken prisoner, landed at Lorient on 8 June and taken to the POW camp Milag Nord. 37 crewmembers and six gunners landed at Tradetown, Liberia.
At 0302 and 0303, U-264 fired two spread of two torpedoes at Convoy ONS-5 about 500 miles south of Cape Farewell and observed the sinking of two ships with two hits each. The ships sunk were the West Maximus and Harperley. At 0305, U-264 fired a single torpedo and observed a hit on another ship, but this is not confirmed by Allied sources. The Harperley later sank in 55°03N/42°56W. Nine crewmembers and one gunner were lost. The master, 32 crewmembers and six gunners were picked up by armed trawler HMS Northern Spray and landed at St John’s. Harperley suffered six killed.
At 2150, U-266 fired four torpedoes at Convoy ONS-5 and reported one ship sunk, one probably sunk and that two detonations had been heard. In fact the three ships Selvistan, Gharinda and Bonde on stations #91, #101 and #84 were hit within three minutes and all sank. The Bonde was the smallest ship in the convoy and was hit by one torpedo and sank slowly. Eleven survivors were picked up from a lifeboat and a raft by frigate HMS Tay one hour later. The master was allowed to go back to his ship and found another survivor. The master Rodney Rosbrook Stone, 81 crewmembers and ten gunners from the Gharinda were picked up by frigate HMS Tay and landed at St John’s, Newfoundland. One crewmember and five gunners from the Selvistan were lost. The master, 38 crewmembers and one gunner were picked up by HMS Tay and landed at St John’s.
At 0422 and 0428, U-358 fired torpedoes at Convoy ONS-5 south of Cape Farewell and observed two ships sinking. In fact, the Bristol City sank after 20 minutes and Wentworth remained afloat and sank later that morning. Eleven crewmembers and four gunners from the Bristol City were lost. The master, 26 crewmembers and seven gunners were picked up by HMS Loosestrife and landed at St John’s. Wentworth was scuttled by HMS Loosestrife.
SS West Madaket sunk by U-584 in Convoy ONS-5.
Between 0243 and 0246, U-628 fired six torpedoes at Convoy ONS-5 about 500 miles south of Cape Farewell and reported one ship sunk, one ship probably sunk, one ship burning and two end-of-run detonations. However, only the Harbury (Master Walter Edward Cook) was hit. Six crewmembers and one gunner were lost. The master, 33 crewmembers and eight gunners were picked up by HMS Northern Spray and landed at St John’s. It is possible that Hasenschar thought that the ships sunk by U-264 (Looks) at the same time were his own victims. At 0502, U-628 fired her last torpedo against a corvette and observed a huge tongue of flame after 28 seconds and a heavy explosion afterwards, the target disintegrating. However, Allied sources do not report the loss of any escort vessel. At 1651, U-628 finished off the wreck of the Harbury with 40 rounds of 88-mm and 100 rounds of 20-mm gunfire. The vessel capsized to starboard at 1737 and sank in 55°10N/42°58W (grid AJ 6453).
At 1400, the Dolius in Convoy ONS-5 was torpedoed and sunk by U-638 NE of Belle Isle. Three crewmembers and one gunner were lost. The master, 57 crewmembers and eight gunners were picked up by HMS Sunflower and landed at St John’s. The corvette had sunk the U-boat after the attack.
At 0222, the North Britain, a straggler from Convoy ONS-5 (about five miles behind), was hit by one of three torpedoes fired by U-707 and sank by the bow within two minutes south of Cape Farewell. The master, 27 crewmembers and seven gunners were lost. Ten crewmembers and one gunner were picked up by HMS Northern Spray and landed at St John’s.
U-358 was depth charged in the North Atlantic by destroyer escort HMS Pink. The boat was damaged so badly that she had to return to base.
U-406 and U-600 had a collision in the North Atlantic. Both boats were damaged so badly that they had to return to base.
U-648 had to return to base to due severe technical difficulties. (Dave Shirlaw)
Imagine the howls of protest from the left should such a scene as at the top of p3 occur today.
Algeria would be a great place to drop Mickey Weinstein. He’d finally be somewhere he wouldn’t have to worry about Christian proselytizing.