1 August - 7 August 1942

1 August 1942

Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico : German submarine U-155 torpedoed and sank Dutch cargo ship Kentar at 0220 hours (17 were killed, 62 survived) and British cargo ship Clan MacNaughton at 1800 hours (5 were killed, 77 survived) southeast of Barbados. 100 miles east of Trinidad, Italian submarine Tazzoli torpedoed and sank Greek cargo ship Kastor; 4 were killed, 31 survived.

Arctic Ocean : German submarine U-601 received orders to go into the Kara Sea as a part of Operation Wunderland. En route, she would intercept , torpedo and sink Soviet transport Krestyanin with one torpedo, killing seven.

El Alamein , Egypt : General Auchinleck , CiC Middle East and Eighth Army commander produced his own Appreciation, which was much more offensively minded than Dorman-Smith’s earlier one. Accepting that Eighth Army could not mount a large-scale offensive until at least mid-September, there were ways it could carry the fight to the enemy and maintain the initiative. The Object spelled out in Auchinleck’s Appreciation made this clear:

OBJECT : While Eighth Army is on the defensive, to cause the greatest possible loss to the enemy and to disturb his plans. Auchinleck envisioned this pressure being applied to Panzer Army Afrika through a series of raids mounted by mobile elements of Eighth Army, but also using the Long Range Desert Group, the Royal Navy, and the Desert Air Force. As Auchinleck made clear: “Our policy should be to harass the enemy by all possible means (moral as well as physical), so as to keep him stretched and impede his preparation for attack. All this while keeping ourselves concentrated.” Both corps of Eighth Army were to prepare large-scale raids which would be activated if Rommel made the mistake of deploying Italian infantry in vulnerable locations. However, Auchinleck’s plans looked beyond Eighth Army operations. A whole series of raids would be mounted through the use of combined forces15 at the disposal of General Headquarters Middle East. The Royal Navy, in conjunction with the Directorate of Combined Operations, would prepare raids on the coastal flank and the Long Range Desert Group, along with all the other ‘private armies’, would mount raids from the Qattara Depression. The Desert Air Force would play a key part in all of these projected operations to damage the Axis rear areas and lines of communication.

This strategic idea , although showed that Auchinleck lost none of his offensive spirit , displayed that Auk still could not get that commando raids in large scale raids were no raid at all but planning for failure (his naval raid idea above would lead Operation Agreement in 15th September that caused a huge fiasco and defeat for Royal Navy due to large forces allocated to raiding to Tobruk from sea) and even worse Auchinleck still did not learn from his previous mistakes , still committing and deploying his forces piecementally in smaller detachments only to be crushed one by one again piecementally despite paying lip service to concentrating them.

Besides Eighth Army had barely strength left for a defensive battle that moment let alone stage an offensive operation. General Gott had no illusions as to the capability of 13th Corps, which was currently composed of an under-strength infantry division and an armoured division made up of 4th and 22nd Armoured Brigade and 7th Motor Brigade. He commented wryly, ‘These forces are barely sufficient to hold the present corps front. No opportunity to train or prepare these forces for offensive operations.’ He estimated that facing him were 30,000 men and 250 tanks, and he calculated that this force could be ready to attack 13th Corps by 15 August – just two weeks away.

Brigadier Charles Richardson from Eighth Army HQ has painted a bleak picture of Auchinleck at the end of July: “When I observed him, day after day, sitting in the sand spending long hours staring through binoculars at the distant void horizon I asked myself: ‘Has he anything left to offer ?”

Mediterranean Sea : German submarine U-77 sank Egyptian sail boat St. Simon with her deck gun 35 miles northwest of Beirut, French Syria-Lebanon at 1335 hours; all aboard survived.

Moscow , Russia : Marshal Andrey Yeryomenko was appointed the commanding officer of the Soviet Southeastern Front, charged with planning the defense of Stalingrad in southern Russia.
Lt. Gen. Andrei Yeremenko, twice wounded in battle, faces a Moscow doctor. Yeremenko struggles to walk on his wounded leg without a stick, and can only move half a dozen steps. The doctor refuses to clear Yeremenko for duty. Yeremenko says, “Tell me, professor, hand on heart, if you were suffering from an illness like mine, in its present stage, could you sit calmly on one side, knowing that hundreds of people were dying from wounds and waiting for your help, yours, Professor, no-one else?”

The doctor clears Yeremenko for duty. Near midnight, Yeremenko gets a phone call from Stalin himself. Stalin has a new and important job for Yeremenko. His hour has come.

Kalach , Don River , Russia : German 4th Panzer Army attacked Kotelnikovo located 100 miles southwest of Stalingrad, surprising Soviet defenders. Meanwhile Soviet resistance convinced General Paulus that German Sixth Army was not strong enough to cross the Don by itself, so he waited for Fourth Panzer Army to fight its way north.

With Paulus’s Sixth Army locked in the battles of the Don bend, its force plainly insufficient to flatten Soviet resistance, the Soviet command nevertheless learned to ts consternation of the development of a major new threat from the south-west, where Hitler had swung Fourth Panzer Army away from the drive into the Caucasus, ordering this formation to strike from its bridgeheads on the Don at Tsymlanskaya to drive north-east along the Tikhoretsk-Stalingrad railway line and into the Soviet flank behind Kalach.

On 1st August, Fourth Panzer Army crashed into Kolomiits’s flimsy Soviet 51st Army and pushed it aside in a drive for Kotelnikovo. Gordov, although given control of 51st Army, had to do some speedy regrouping: in Soviet 62nd Army, Kolpakchi was relieved of his command and replaced by Lopatin who had practically lost an army during the earlier retreats to the Don, while at 64th Army Shumilov, who had begun the war with his corps in Lithuania took over full command as Chuikov established and controlled a southerly ‘operational group’, an improvised force which finally backed on the river Aksai, there to bar the way against Fourth Panzer. Gordov had now to face a double threat, from the north-west (Kalach-Stalingrad) and the south-west (from the Aksai to Stalingrad), his whole front running for some 400 miles, a fact which gave rise for concern in Moscow where Stalin and the GKO sat considering the problems of the Stalingrad Front, and in particular how to counter the peril from the south.

Caucasian Front , Russia : German 1st Panzer Army captured Salsk, Russia. The Germans cut the railway line linking Stalingrad to Krasnodar at Salsk.

Rzhev-Vyazma Front , Russia : Marshall Georgy Zhukov launched a feint attack at Yukhnov, Russia, drawing German attention away from Rzhev where the main attack by Soviet 20th, 29th, 30th, and 31st Armies would soon commence.

London , UK : Winston Churchill prepares to fly to Cairo to check on the Egyptian front, and thence Moscow to personally explain Operation Torch to Josef Stalin. Churchill writes the King, “The materials for a joyous meeting are meager indeed. Still I may perhaps make the situation less edged.”

General Alan Brooke , Imperial Chief of Staff , left London to Gibraltar and then Malta to visit the island fortress in Mediterranean then to Cairo , Egypt.

The same day, Col. John Bevan is appointed head of the “London Controlling Section,” whose job is to deceive the Germans about Allied intentions. They put three deceptions into action, Operation Solo (a fake invasion of Norway), Operation Overthrow (a fake invasion of the Pas de Calais) and Operation Kennecott, a false invasion of Greece. The Germans, who get their intelligence straight from the Allied “Double Cross” system, are suitably fooled.

Bevan also set up two deception schemes, whereby the two commanders of Operation Torch, General Eisenhower and Admiral Cunningham, on their arrival in Gibraltar to take charge of the final planning, were thought respectively to have been ‘recalled to Washington’ and ‘posted to the Far East’ via his Double Cross agents planting false information to Germans.

UK : The British Army Air Corps and Glider Pilot Regiment were established

USA : The United States Navy Bureau of Ordnance admitted problems with torpedoes, but only that they were running 10 feet to deep, refusing to address the detonator failure issue.

Kokoda Track , South West Pacific : There was a pause in the Japanese advance. Remaining companies of the Australian 39th Militia Battalion arrived overland and Major Allan Cameron, Brigade Major of the 30th Brigade was appointed to assume command of the force.

Guadalcanal , Solomon Islands , SW Pacific : Guadalcanal scout and government clerk Daniel Pule provides Martin Clemens with a detailed report with a map of Lunga plain showing tents, workshops, bomb sheds, and a wireless station. Trenches and dugouts are marked in red pencil. Clemens radios this to Townsville, Australia. Townsville immediately asks for the exact location of the radio station. Clemens provides it.

Pacific Ocean : American submarine USS Narwhal torpedoed and sank Japanese freighter Meiwa Maru and tanker Koan Maru in the Tsugaru Strait between Hokkaido Prefecture and Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

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2 August 1942

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-510 misidentified Uruguay cargo ship Maldonado, torpedoed and sank her 250 miles southeast of Bermuda at 0545 hours; all 49 board survived but the captain would be taken prisoner. At 0927 hours, U-254 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Flora II 145 miles southeast of Reykjavik, Iceland; all 30 aboard survived.

At 1818 hours, U-160 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Treminnard 200 miles east of Trinidad; all 39 aboard survived but the captain would be taken prisoner.

Scotland , UK : Operation Pedestal started. At precisely 2000 hours on Sunday evening, August 2, the fourteen merchantmen quietly slipped out of the Clyde, closely escorted by the destroyers HMS Amazon and HMS Zetland. They formed a column led by the 7,500-ton freighter Deucalion, spread out over fifty-two minutes to the 7,800-ton freighter Almeria Lykes, the only other all-American ship besides the Santa Elisa. The British manned tanker Ohio is in middle. The escort was simply astonishing. There were two huge Royal Navy battleships, HMS Rodney and HMS Nelson, three aircraft carriers, HMS Eagle, HMS Indomitable and HMS Victorious, seven cruisers and twenty-four destroyers, together with some smaller corvettes. Yet another carrier, HMS Furious, with her own escort of eight destroyers, soon joined them. This would be Do Or Die Attempt of Royal Navy to break throıugh blockade of Malta.

They passed through the North Channel and steamed north of Ireland, out into the open sea. The masters all carried thick manila envelopes with detailed instructions, marked “Not To Be Opened Until 0800/10th August,” which was when the convoy was scheduled to enter the Mediterranean to meet its fate.

Gibraltar : As the Operation Pedestal convoy steamed away from the Clyde at dusk on August 2, Winston Churchill took off from a Gibraltar airfield in the “Commando,” a converted B-24 Liberator bomber with a couple of mattresses thrown into the back on shelves where the bomb racks had once been. He had spent the day in Gibraltar after leaving from London the previous midnight and flying all night, sitting for the first couple of hours in the copilot’s seat as the plane flew low over the south of England, with its young American pilot hoping that word had reached the antiaircraft guns not to shoot them down.

Now they were headed off over enemy territory in Africa toward Cairo, with Churchill again riding shotgun, his oxygen mask modified so a cigar could fit between the nosepiece and chin rest. “He looked exactly as though he was in a Christmas party disguise,” said the officer in charge of oxygen.

Malta : General Brooke , Chief of Imperial General Staff , had left England one day earlier, so he could stop in Malta and visit Governor Gort. His B-24 Liberator took a more dangerous route over the Mediterranean, risking the nearly full moon, and landed before dawn between the bomb craters on Hal Far airfield.

After his brief vist , General Alan Brooke was concerned about Lord Gort , the Governor of Malta , who insisted on living on reduced food rations, “in spite of the fact that he was doing twice as much physical and mental work as any other member of the garrison. Owing to the shortage of petrol he was using a bicycle in that sweltering heat, and frequently had to carry his bicycle over demolished houses.”

“The conditions prevailing in Malta at that time were distinctly depressing, to put it mildly,” said General Brooke. “Shortage of rations, shortage of petrol, a hungry population that rubbed their tummies looking at Gort as he went by, destruction and ruin of docks, loss of convoys just as they approached the island, and the continual possibility of an attack…without much hope of help or reinforcements.”

With the beginning of August, the sirocco arrived, blowing the heat and sand of the North African desert over the sea and adding to the discomfort of the Island. Kesselring had promised to pound Malta into dust, and he had been true to his word although Axis air raids reduced to minimum at the end of July due to heavy German aircraft losses anmd transfer of Luftdlootte II squadrons to Eastern Front. Dust was everywhere in Malta : on all the houses, in the streets, covering the piles of rubble, swirling about the air whenever there was the slightest breeze; it made food and drink taste gritty, caused eye infections, clogged the back of one’s throat, caused blisters on one’s feet. The pilots were covered in the stuff every time a plane took off. Raoul Daddo-Langlois described watching a section of four take to the air. ‘Then they were all away, roaring across the parched field until they were lost to sight in a dense cloud of dust which got into one’s hair and eyes and from which there was no escape, except to get off the Island.’

Much of the Island lay in ruins, a constant reminder of how Malta had suffered. And the population was now even hungrier. The bread ration had been cut again, and at the beginning of July pasteurized milk was restricted to hospitals and children between the ages of two and nine. Farmers had been ordered to hand over all their crops to the Government, a necessary move but one that caused deep suspicion. Supplies of potatoes were also now exceedingly short. As Lord Gort pointed out in a letter to the Prime Minister, ‘Nations at War have managed to ration either bread or potatoes, but not both. It does not matter whether the calorific or vitamin content of a diet is sufficient scientifically to maintain health if the psychological side of the diet is wrong. To be told you will not starve, but to be conscious at the same time that your stomach is an aching void, is apt to leave the average person discontented.’ Gort understood this only too well: as Governor, he’d decided he needed to set an example and so was living off the same rations as everyone else. For the most part, he also refused to travel by car, instead riding a bicycle and even carrying it over the piles of rubble.

The destruction is inconceivable and reminds one of Ypres, Arras, Lens at their worst during [the] last war,’ Alan Brookr noted in his diary. Brooke spoke at length with Gort, Vice-Admiral Leatham and Keith Park. The Target Date for surrender had now been put back to the end of September thanks to the June convoy and the Magic Carpet services. But for Gort, managing the Island’s meagre stocks was a never-ending and thankless juggling act. Because it was now high summer the lack of kerosene was less of a problem than it would be once winter arrived, when a whole host of further difficulties would arise. With this in mind, he was eager to keep reserves of potatoes for use as seed rather than for eating. But there was a limit to how much could be home-grown, and attempts at using human faeces to fertilize the soil had backfired badly, causing an outbreak of typhoid that killed 99 people.

Mediterranean Sea : RAF Wellington bombers and B-26 bombers from Desert Air Force hit and sank German fast minesweepers R-9 and R-11 off Bardia , Libya.

El Alamein , Egypt : The commander of 13 Corps, Lieutenant General William Strafer Gott, also produced an Appreciation on August 1. Drafted by Gott’s two talented principal staff officers, Brigadier “Bobby” Erskine and Major Freddy de Butts, Gott’s Appreciation predicted the likely shape of Rommel’s next offensive and how it could be countered. The Alam el Halfa Ridge was the key:

"ALAM EL HALFA and GEBEL BEIN GABIR point like fingers to SW and provide all the observation and the good going to the coast road. These features and particularly ALAM EL HALFA are vital for any advance down the Coast to Alexandria—they are also vital to us for holding our present positions. "

Gott’s Appreciation predicted that Rommel would attempt to capture the Alam el Halfa Ridge before cutting the coast road and driving for Alexandria. Gott, who knew the terrain better than any other serving British officer, was certain that this would be Rommel’s only viable course of action:

"There are many possible variations in the details of such a plan but it is the only one which he could carry out with his present shortage of infantry if he is making ALEXANDRIA his objective. "

Barr has called Gott’s Appreciation “a vital document” that “predicted almost exactly” the scale, scope, and objective of Rommel’s next attack in late August 1942. Barr concluded that “Gott and his staff, rather than Dorman-Smith or Auchinleck—or any other British ­commander—should be given the full credit for this.”

Gott’s Appreciation accurately predicted Rommel’s next attack and how best to counter it. All three, and another Appreciation prepared by Auchinleck on August 2, provided a solid foundation for Eighth Army’s future success. Despite what Montgomery would write about developing a “master plan” for the next two battles of El Alamein, these “actually originated with Auchinleck and his corps commanders.” Some of Auchinleck’s senior staff officers deserve a share of the credit too.

To counter Rommel’s next attack, Eighth Army altered its positions in the southern sector. In the north, the positions remained unchanged, with the 9th Australian Division holding the coastal section including the El Alamein railway station and the newly won sector of Tel el Eisa. To their south, the 1st South African Division occupied the El Alamein Box, while the 5th Indian Division held Ruweisat Ridge. These three infantry divisions made up 30 Corps under the command of Lieutenant General W.H. Ramsden. To the south of Ruweisat Ridge, the 2nd New Zealand Division began the construction of the New Zealand Box. The western edge of this box covered the five miles from Ruweisat to the Alam Nayil feature and it constituted the southern end of the Alamein position.24 To the south of the New Zealand Box, the armored cars and mobile gun-columns of the 7th Armoured Division patrolled the broken desert as far as the impassable Qattara Depression. The New Zealanders and 7th Armoured formed 13 Corps under Lieutenant General Gott. Close behind the center of the line, where it could assist either corps, was the bulk of the British armored formations. These were being reorganized by Auchinleck and classified according to the types of tank available. The 22nd Armoured Brigade, with all of the Grant and some Crusader tanks, was the “heavy” formation. The Valentine tanks were placed in 23 Armoured Brigade, while 4 Light Armoured Brigade was equipped with all the Stuart (Honey) tanks and the leftover Crusaders. Eighth Army Iawaited massive reinforcement of the men and materiel in transit to Suez. Some 300 Sherman tanks were on their way, but would not arrive before the end of August. (actually their engines and assembly with chassis and bodies would extend availibility of M4 Shermans till mid September since all these components were incoming in different ships)

Strafer concluded that Rommel would almost certainly:

“attack with Alam el Halfa as his first objective, going round anywhere south of Alam Nyal Ridge [also spelt Alam Nayil, about 4 miles south of Alam el Halfa] and thrusting straight for Alexandria. A raid down the Barrel track towards the delta might be combined with this. This is much the most likely course and the most difficult to meet.”

He also concluded that any attack north of Alam Nyal in the gap between it and Alam El Halfa was unlikely as the enemy would have to cope with British minefields and well-prepared positions. The ground was broken and that would add to the difficulty but he mused that ‘there are many possible variations in the details of such a plan, but it is the only one that he could carry out with his present shortage of infantry if he is making Alexandria his objective.’

Some details of Brigadier Dorman-Smith’s appreciation and defensive schemes were downright faulty. Especially thinning of defences in southern lank of Alamein line where 13th Corps was supposed to stage a moden mobile(!) defence (Dorman-Smith was still alien to the state or culture of the army he was serving)

General Inglis commander of 2nd New Zealand Infantry Division did not like the details:

“The plan for occupation of ALAM HALFA posn, . . . as now prepared, provides for two Bde boxes out of mutual supporting distance. I want to occupy it as a Div posn with bulk of arty centrally situated and able to cover whole Western and Southern fronts. Corps Comd requests outline plan accordingly.” Gott took account of these reservations and, after he and Inglis had scouted the positions on 2 August, the western end of the defences on Alam el Halfa ridge were redug and the minefields relaid. Gott spent 31 July - 3 August going round the New Zealand Division sector , ‘inspecting 25 posns in detail, and forward OPs in 21 Bn area’. Nothing was left to chance. Meanwhile, Inglis met with the newly promoted Brigadier G. P. B. ‘Pip’ Roberts, commander of 22nd Armoured Brigade, who was tasked with supporting the New Zealand Division in the event of a German attack. There was time for British armour and the infantry they were to support to discuss and plan coming operations in detail.

Moscow , Russia : After spending most of the day studying maps of Stalingrad and the surrounding area, Andrey Yeryomenko had a second conference with Stalin. Yeryomenko protested that two Russian fronts in the same area meant that trying to co-ordinate Stalingrad’s defence with another commander would be “utterly confusing, if not tragically impossible,” and asked to command the Stalingrad Front in the north rather than the Southeastern Front. Stalin firmly said that everything would be left as it was already outlined.

Black Sea : Italian torpedo boats and German He 111 torpedo bombers attacked Soviet light cruiser Molotov off Feodossiya, Ukraine, scoring one torpedo hit, killing 18, and put the ship out of commission until 31 Jul 1943.

Kalach , Don River , Russia : German 4th Panzer Army captured Kotelnikovo, Russia.

General von Richthofen commander of Luftflotte IV , on the basis of the air reconnaissance reports, noted in his diary on 2 August: ‘The Russians are throwing forces from all directions towards Stalingrad.’

Warshaw , Poland : Further deportations of Jewish community from Warshaw ghetto to Teblinka Extermination camp initiated by SS.

Papua New Guinea : Five B-17 bombers attacked Japanese shipping near Buna, Australian Papua; 9 Zero fighters of the Tainan Air Group intercepted the attackers, forcing the bombers to release their bombs before reaching their targets; one bomber was lost on this mission.

Indian Ocean : Free Dutch Navy submarine O 23 attacked a Japanese convoy in the Indian Ocean 55 miles west of Penang, British Malaya at 0842 hours, torpedoed and fatally damaging Japanese Army transport ship Zenyo Maru (27 were killed) which sank later and sinking freighter Ohio Maru.

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3 August 1942

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-552 detected Allied convoy ON-115 330 miles east of St. John’s, Newfoundland, and submarines U-71, U-217, U-597, U-553, and U-704 moved in to attack in coordination; ships of the convoy became disarrayed as the convoy attempted to change course to evade the attack.

The previous aggressive maneuvering by the Canadian escorts (that sunk U-588 last week) burned fuel oil at a great rate. Therefore the destroyers HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena were compelled to leave the convoy and go directly to St. John’s, Newfoundland for refueling. To make matters worse, the corvette HMCS Wetaskiwin separated from the convoy, became lost in the fog, and also went directly to St. John’s. These departures temporarily reduced the escort to merely three corvettes, but two other destroyers, the British HMS Witch and the Canadian four-stack HMCS Hamilton, and another corvette, HMCS Agassiz, put out from Newfoundland to reinforce the group. Although convoy Outbound North 115 was sailing into the protective fog of the Newfoundland Bank and ever closer to radar-equipped land-based ASW aircraft, Dönitz directed the eight remaining boats of group Wolf to reinforce the six of group Pirat and attack as they completed refueling. The first of the Wolf boats to find the convoy was Erich Topp in U-552. He gave the alarm and shadowed, bringing up boats of both groups.

In the confused, fogbound attacks which ensued on the night of August 2–3, , German submarine U-552 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Lochkatrine (9 were killed, 81 survived) and damaged British tanker G. S. Walden (1 was killed) at 0305 hours; at 0401 hours, U-553 torpedoed and damaged Belgian cargo ship Belgian Soldier.

Further out in the North Atlantic, German submarine U-605 torpedoed and sank British trawler HMS Bombay 190 miles southeast of Reykjavik, Iceland at 1654 hours, killing all 13 aboard.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Saracen sank German submarine U-335 300 kilometers northwest of Bergen, Norway at 2130 hours (43 were killed, 1 survived and captured by HMS Saracen)
On August 1, British Admiralty informed the new Royal Navy submarine HMS Saracen, which was in workup north of the Shetlands, to be on the lookout for two German submarines that might pass through her area during the next two days. Admiralty probably got that intelligence from signals intercept since they could still read German naal Enigma code in bits and partially especially German dockyard Werft code and three rotor Enigma machine output German Navy had in Norway.

HMS Saracen, commanded by Lt. Michael G. R. Lumby, went on full alert.

Late in the afternoon of August 3, while running submerged, the periscope watch of HMS Saracen picked up Germnan submarine U-335 at 3,000 yards. Three minutes later, Lumby commenced firing all six bow tubes at seven-second intervals. One or more torpedoes hit Gerrman submarine and U-335 blew sky-high. Upon surfacing to collect debris for proof of a kill, Lumby found one German body and two survivors. When he attempted to fish them out, one refused to be rescued and deliberately drowned himself, Lumby reported. The other, Rudolf Jahnke, a signalman who was thrown from U-335’s bridge when the torpedo struck, willingly came on board. HMS Saracen reloaded her tubes and remained on alert, hoping to find and kill the other boat, but she had no further luck.

English Channel : German fast torpedoboat HS-1 Holstein was sunk in the English Channel off the coast of Brittany , France by [Royal Navy MGB (motor gun boats)

Cairo , Egypt : Churchill and General Alan Brooke Imperial Chief of Staff arrived in Cairo on 3 August.

General Alan Brooke arrived in Cairo before the Prime Minister and took the chance to interview Lieutenant General Corbett, Auchinleck’s Chief of General Staff (CGS). Brooke was highly unimpressed and recorded in his diary:

“One interview with him was enough to size him up. He was a very, very small man. Unfit for his job of CGS and totally unsuited for command of the Eighth Army, an appointment that The Auk had suggested. Consequently, Corbett’s selection reflected very unfavourably on The Auk’s ability to select men and confirmed my fears in that respect.” Brooke decided to sack Corbett (who was indeed a very inefficient Chşief odf Staff for Commander ib Chief Middle East) on the spot.

Before leaving London , Alan Brooke had already heard previously relieved General Ritchie and General Norrie’s accounts of recent events. Now he talked to General Messervy previous commander of 7th British Armored Division , 13th Corps commander General Gott and others. He heard a lot about Auchinleck’s poor judgement of character and particularly about the arrogant and meddling Chink Dorman-Smith, who, he was told, shared Auchinleck’s tent and was responsible for a good deal of trouble and bad feeling. Alan Brooke is becoming more and more convinced that half of Eighth Army problems were due to bad leadership choices and decisions of Auchinleck and his close circxle of commanders and staff.

Described as hardworking, perceptive, strong, “utterly professional” and ruthless, Brooke knew that Eighth Army had serious problems and that these began the top. Auchinleck and other senior officers were anxious about the visit as indeed they should have been. After a year in command under Auchinleck, Eighth Army “had suffered over 100,000, mostly Commonwealth casualties—100 per cent of its original strength.” There was little to show for these heavy casualties: a string of defeats, two sacked army commanders, and an army that had lost its confidence after finally halting Rommel on the Alamein position.

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS Thorn torpedoed and sank Italian cargo ship Moroviso (which had been hit and badly damaged by RAF Beaufort torpedo bombers from Malta) off Tobruk , Libya

Kalach , Don River , Russia : Fourth Panzer Army crossed Don river at Tsimlyansky , German vanguard began attacking Kletskaya , slowly cutting rear of Soviet 62nd Army rear at Kalach bridgehead

Caucasian Front , Russia : German First Panzer Army captured Stavropol in southern Russia. The advance guıard of First Panzer Army began invading Kuban plains and overrun Voroshilovsk which fell on 5th August. The 23rd Panzer Division punched out the Caucasian Cavalry Corps, destroying 68 tanks in one hour, and capturing the corps’ chief of staff. Meanwhile other German troops reached Stavropol in the Caucasus.

Soviet ‘Don’ and ‘Coastal’ groups were pulled back to the river Kuban, while frenzied work went on both to evacuate food stocks and equipment from the Kuban and to mobilize the Trans-Caucasian Front, which had become fully operational. Under the direction of the GKO, the industrial equipment in Armavira, Krasnodar and Maikop was loaded on to trucks, on to which however refugees also scrambled, fleeing as best they might to the Caspian.

Although German Army Group A made a quick advance, by 3 August the vanguard comprised only light mobile forces and most of the tanks lagged behind, due to lack of fuel and supply breakdowns, despite the efforts of 4th Luftwaffe Air Corps, which flew in supplies around the clock.

“The heat of the Kuban steppe was stifling,” writes Gen. Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg, a panzer corps commander. “We were glad to approach the Caucasus Mountains and breathe cooler air. By this time my corps had spent over a month behind the Soviet lines. Rumors of disagreements at Supreme Headquarters on account of the eccentricity of the maneuvers – southward toward the Caucasus and northeastward against Stalingrad – did not worry us at this time, but difficulties with fuel supply were already being felt.”

Moscow , Russia : Early in August Colonel-General Yeremenko, recovering from leg wounds received in the spring, was summoned to a session of the GKO, to one of those night-time conferences in the large, oblong-shaped room with its subdued lighting; Stalin told Yeremenko that the GKO had decided to split the Stalingrad Front into two, and that he was a candidate for one Front command. Both Yeremenko and Vasilevskii were to report back after studying the information available at the General Staff. Here Yeremenko spent the whole of 2 August. That evening, together with Vasilevski, Major-General V.D. Ivanov of the General Staff and Lieutenant-General Golikov (nominated as 1st Guards Army commander, a force assembled from Moscow district paratroops) Yeremenko attended Stalin’s nightly conference. Colonel-General Vasilevskii presented a brief report on what was involved in terms of forces in splitting the Front, while Ivanov outlined the provisional decision on the map. With the draft directive on the table in front of the officers, Yeremenko asked Stalin for permission to make some points, since the final decision had not been taken. To this Stalin agreed, and Yeremenko pointed out the need to adjust the Front boundary lines, so that Stalingrad itself lay within one Front area. This provoked an irritable outburst from Stalin who swung on Vasilevskii and ordered him to finalize the directive: ‘Everything stays as we proposed. Stalingrad Front is split into two fronts: the boundary line between the fronts is to run along the line of the river Tsarits and then on to Kalach.’ In between pacing the room, Stalin asked for the name for the new front, whereupon one voice suggested that the front to the north should retain the old name, Stalingrad, the one to the south should be called South-Eastern. Stalin agreed and the directive was signed on the spot; on candidates for Front commands, two names came up – Gordov and Yeremenko, the latter to take the South-Eastern Front. At 03.00 hours the session was finished, the directive signed and the instruction that the staffs of both Fronts would be located in Stalingrad itself incorporated: two commands, two Fronts, two staffs, two sets of forces to defend the same objective.

Black Sea : Italian torpedo boats raided Novorissisk , Russia, torpedoed and damaging Soviet destroyer Kharkov.

UK : A German Do 217 medium bomber attacked Middlesbrough, England, United Kingdom at 1308 hours, damaging the railway station, killing 8 civilians, and wounding 56.

Milne Bay , Papua New Guinea : The Japanese discovered that a new US airfield was being built on the coast of Milne Bay in Australian Papua.

Espiritu Santo , South West Pacific : US Navy destroyer USS Tucker struck a friendly mine and sank near Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides at 2145 hours; 6 were killed, 152 survived.

Pacific Ocean : American submarine USS Gudgeon torpedoed and sank Japanese passenger/cargo ship Naniwa Maru 80 miles west of Truk, Caroline Islands at 0400 hours; 31 were killed.

Japanese submarine I-175 damaged Australian trawler Dureenbee with her deck gun and machine gun 20 miles off Moruya, Australia; 3 were killed and 9 survivors abandoned the burning wreck.

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4 August 1942

Caribbean Sea : German submarine U-160 torpedoed and sank Norwegian tanker Havsten 200 miles east of Trinidad at 0159 hours; 2 were killed, 31 survived but 2 were captured by U-160. At 1615 hours, U-155 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Empire Arnold 600 miles east of Trinidad; 9 were killed, 48 survived but the captain was captured by U-155.

Atlantic Ocean : At 0229 hours, German submarine U-607 torpedoed and sank already-damaged Belgian cargo ship Belgian Soldier straggling rear of Allied convoy ON-115 330 miles east of St. John’s, Newfoundland; 21 were killed, 39 survived.
At 1558 hours, U-176 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Richmond Castle 1,100 miles southeast of Newfoundland; 14 were killed, 50 survived.

Cairo , Egypt : During his visit to Cairo, Winston Churchill is told by General Alan Brooke , Imperial Chief of Staff that if the Germans take the Caucasus, they will threaten the Persian Gulf. Alan Brooke tells the Prime Minister that if Russians could not hold Caucaus , then Egypt and North Africa would have to be abandoned, to protect the Persian Gulf and Britain’s oil supplies.

Brooke recommends to Churchill that Gen. Sir Claude Auchinleck’s place should be that of Commander-in-Chief, not head of Eighth Army as well, and that Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery (General Alan Brooke’sa own protegee) , the planned commander of the British First Army in Operation Torch, be given the Eighth Army instead. Churchill initialy proposes command of Eighth Armny to Alan Brooke which he politely turns down. Then Churchill prefers Gen. Strafer Gott to command Eighth Army , whom Churchill likes for his fighting record , frontline action and besides according to Churchill , Gott is on the spot and could work out immediate plans for an offensive. Auchinleck’s future would be determined in a conferance at Eighth Army field. HQ next day

Mediterranean Sea : German submarine U-372 was detected on surface by a radar equipped RAF Wellington bomber 50 miles southwest of Haifa, Palestine and alerted Royal Navy ships close by. While Royal Navy destroyers HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Croome, and HMS Tetcott closed in on the location, Wellington bomber marked the location of diving U-372 with flares.

Two big destroyers, HMS Sikh and HMS Zulu, peeled out. HMS Sikh promptly got a good sonar contact and carried out six dogged depth-charge attacks while HMS Zulu carried out one. U-372 got away but when she later surfaced, a lookout in HMS Sikh’s crow’s nest saw the damaged German submarine, and the two Royal Navy destroyers opened fire with their 4.7” main batteries, forcing U-372 under again. Assisted by aircraft, Royal Navy destroyers each carried out three more depth-charge attacks. Two other destroyers, HMS Croome and HMS Tetcott, arrived about noon with full loads of depth charges and each carried out three attacks. Finally, at 1:30 P.M., the battered and wrecked U-372 rose to the surface and was scuttled. The destroyers captured Captain Neumann and forty-five other Germans.

Kalach , Don River , Ruıssia : Elements of German Fourth Panzer Army crossed the Aksay River en route to Stalingrad, Russia.

While waiting for its motor fuel and ammunition stocks to be replenished, German Sixth Army was getting Headquarters, 11th German Corps, which had been held at Kamensk-Shakhtinsky with two infantry divisions as the OKH reserve. On 4 August, when his mobile units had enough fuel to go about thirty miles, General Paulus , commander of Sixth German Army ordered the attack on the Kalach bridgehead to start on the 8th. However, the next day the OKH asked to have the attack start at least a day earlier because Hitler was worried that the Soviet troops would escape across the Don if Paulus waited longer. Hitler also ordered Richthofen to support Sixth Army’s new attack at Kalach west of the Don River on 7 August. Richthofen flew first to Paulus’s command post and then to Army Group B’s headquarters, where the supreme commander of Army Group B , General Maximilian von Weichs was furious at the listlessness of the Italian and Hungarian units under his command authority. Both Paulus and Weichs were highly optimistic about the success of the offensive. Weichs and Richthofen carefully coordinated an all-out land-air Schwerpunkt on Kalach, which Richthofen planned to hit with everything he had.

As Stalin formed his new Front, the situation in the Don bend deteriorated drastically: breaking through 62nd Army’s right wing, German units reached the Don on a front of some nine miles in the Malogolubaya area, splitting the Soviet forces in two. Gordov now proposed to use 21st Army with 1st and 4th Tank Armies again in an attempt to nip off this German penetration. Lopatin had already tried to get Gordov to examine the danger to the flanks of 62nd Army, and asked for permission to pull back to the Don. Gordov refused to listen and pressed on with his counter-attack plans involving tank corps with only fifteen tanks apiece. To the south-east, Fourth Panzer had reached Abganerovo on 5th August.

On 4 August, the Germans were still 97 km (60 mi) from Stalingrad

Stalingrad , Russia : General Yeremenko flew down to Stalingrad in a Douglas transport aircraft. Commissar Nikita Khrushchev met him at the airport with a car and they drove to the city’s headquarters. Yeremenko is give four days to set up his defenses. He puts his headquarters in the new Tsaritsyn Bunker. The dividing line between his front and Gordov’s runs right through the center of the city.

Rzhev-Vyazma Front , Russia : Soviet 20th Army and 31st Army attacked Rzhev, Russia from the south while 29th Army and 30th Army attacked from the north.

Auschwitz , Poland : Deportation of Belgian Jews to Auschwitz Concentration Camp began.

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5 August 1942

Caribbean Sea : German submarine U-155 forced the 16 crewmen of Dutch freighter Draco to abandon ship and then sank her with gunfire 325 miles east of Barbados at 1145 hours.

Atlantic Ocean : At 1613 hours, German submarine U-458 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Arletta of Allied convoy ON-115 170 miles south of Newfoundland; 36 were killed, 5 survived.

Battle of Convoy SC-94 started. A new German submarine wolfpack, STEINBRINK composed initially of eight submarines (six left over from group Wolf and two newly arrived), formed in the “air gap” southeast of Greenland. On August 5, one of the latter, U-593 from France, found and shadowed an eastbound convoy. This was Slow Convoy 94. Composed of thirty-three heavily laden merchant ships, it was escorted by Canadian group C-1. There were seven warships in the escort group: the (ex-British) Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine, and three Canadian and three British corvettes. Although nominally Canadian, the group was commanded by a British officer, A. Ayer, in the British corvette HMS Primrose. None of the escorts had Huff Duff. Only one vessel, the Royal Navy corvette HMS Nasturtium, had Type 271 centimetric-wavelength radar.

After other submarines reported contact on the convoy, U-593 attacked an element of the formation that had separated from the main body. At 1848 hours, German submarine U-593 torpedoed and sank Dutch cargo ship Spar of Allied convoy SC-94 500 miles east of Newfoundland; 3 were killed, 36 survived.

Lorient , France : Japanese submarine I-30 arrived at Lorient, France, disembarking 3,300 pounds of mica, 1,452 pounds of shellac, and blueprints of the Type 91 aerial torpedo.

El Alamein , Egypt : Winston Churchill dons his siren suit and pith helmet, and goes out to 8th Army’s Tac HQ and visit forces in the desert. He breakfasts at Eighth Army, and meets with 2 New Zealand Division commander and his personal friend Gen. Bernard Freyberg, who has recovered from his neck wound he suffered at Mersa Matruh , and is now suffering from a frightful body rash. Freyberg was given the wrong medication.

Churchill has breakfast with some troops in the desert sun, amid a cloud of flies.

“Now for a short time I became ‘the man on the spot,’” Churchill writes later. “Instead of sitting at home waiting for news from the front I could send it myself. This was exhilarating.”

Then Churchill and Brooke flew to Burg el Arab , Eighth Army HQ where they were met by Auchinleck, RAF Air Marshal Tedder and Vice Air Marshal Coningham. Auchinleck’s chief military consultant (and hated by everyone else) Brigadier Eric Dorman-Smith sensed Churchill’s hostility immediately. He felt the ‘chill; this was not going to be a nice visit’. The cortege drove off to front but Churchill and Auchinleck were seated in separate cars. The ‘sinisterly funerial’ convoy drove to El Alamein where Auatralian division commander General Morshead and South African commander General Pienaar greeted the Prime Minister. The Australian troops gathered round to see the great war leader, but ‘Auchinleck was still off stage. The Prime Minister in a tropical suit stumped along alone. The chill could be felt through the desert glow.’ As Churchill left, some of the Australian soldiers indulged their mordant sense of humour. One remembered that ‘One of the 4th ack-ack blokes yelled out “When are you going to send us home, you fat old bastard?” and all the chaps laughed like hell. The Tommy provosts looked blue murder at everyone then.’

It was lucky that Churchill did not hear this shout but some humour was desperately needed when he sat down for breakfast at Auchinleck’s Headquarters at the camel tracks. He did not approve of the flies, the spartan mess or the unappetising fried breakfast which was presented to him. He ‘looked hot and unhappy’. It was evident that Auchinleck had given no thought to the hosting of his political and military superiors – and they noticed ! The atmosphere became worse when Auchinleck and Dorman-Smith gave Churchill a very inept and negative situation briefing alone in the operations caravan of Auchinleck with the current war maps hanging on the walls. Churchill unveiled the plan for Operation Torch. He explained that, before its launch, a spectacular victory of British arms in Egypt was imperative. This would encourage Vichy troops in north-west Africa to support the Allied cause, and discourage the Spanish from intervening on Hitler’s behalf.

Therefore Churchill urged an immediate offensive, reminding Auchinleck that strong reinforcements were on their way to Rommel and Malta was in danger of being starved out under Axis blockade and to protect Malta convoys it was essential to capture Derna airfields at Libya. Churchill did not seem to have paid much attention to the briefing and Dorman-Smith related that Prime Minister :

"quickly began to demand that Eighth Army should attack afresh. He thrust stubby fingers against the talc; ‘Here’, he said, ‘or here’. We were alone with him, for the Chief of Staff Alan Brooke had gone forward up the line. It was a little like being caged with a gorilla. Eventually Auchinleck said quietly and finally, ‘No, Sir, we cannot attack again yet’. The Prime Minister swung round to Dorman-Smith: ‘Do you say that too; why don’t you use the 44th Infantry Division (recently arrived from UK) ?’ ‘Because Sir, that division isn’t ready and anyhow a one-division attack would not get us anywhere’. Churchill, rose, grunted, stumped down from the caravan and stood alone in the sand, back turned to us. The chill was now icy

Auchinleck and Dorman-Smith’s fates were sealed by this disastrous briefing. They had not been able to tell the Prime Minister of their plans to meet a future offensive by Rommel or the details of their planned offensive in September because they have not planned anything and put into paper yet. In fact it was doubtful for many of Auchinleck’s subordinates that if the incoming attack of Panzer Army in August could be stopped at Alamein line at all. There was a serious crisis of confidence against army and theater command. The opinions which they heard from Commonwealth division commanders like Morsehead , Pienaar , Freyberg , says General Jackson, ‘were many and varied and did not flatter the senior commanders’. The leaders of the divisions from the Dominions, as the self-governing parts of the British Commonwealth were then called, were particularly direct in their comments.

Churchill’s insistence on offensive action had been baulked by Auchinleck too many times previously. Auchinleck’s persistent delays over Acrobat in the spring of 1942 , and his defeats from Bengazi to Gazala to Tobruk were coming back to haunt him. Quietly but firmly, the Auk explained that fresh troops, untrained and unacclimatized to desert conditions, were simply not ready to be thrown against the skill and experience of the Germans straight away. (implying as if since July 1941 he took over Command of Middle East Theater he had done northing for training , acclimatizing troops and preparing equipment) Now Auchinleck finalised his briefing that he could stage no further attack before mid-September which was unacceptable for Churchill. On top of that Auchinleck initially proposed that Eighth Army command should be taken by his Chief of Staff General Tom Corbett , therefore destroying whatever sympathy or support General Alan Brooke had for him since Alan Brooke himself interviewed Tom Corbett the day before , decided that he was totally inadequate officer and a small man and sacked him !

Churchill did not want excuses and he did not want to be told what could not be done. He had come to Egypt with a shuffling of senior officers in mind and now his shuffling would be rather more robust. A poor breakfast, an unsatisfactory briefing, a hot day, clouds of flies and then Churchill not in the best frame of mind met General Gott, Inglis (2nd NZ Division) and Renton (7th Armoured Division). Gott had arranged a 13th Corps conference, expecting his meeting with the Prime Minister to be little more than social but, to his surprise, Churchill asked Gott to drive with him back to Berg el Arab.

Breakfast was followed by lunch for Prime Minister and his party in RAF Desert Air Force HQ 40 miles away (because Auchinleck and staff still could not establish a proper liason with RAF). This time food was brought up from the Shepheard’s Hotel kitchens in Cairo by RAF staff in a rich buffet and a table was laid out on the beach. It was clear British airmen knew how to entertain Prime Minister and set him in good mood better than army. The cooling breeze, the claret and the absence of flies did much for the Prime Minister’s temper. The tough, professional men of the Desert Air Force were succinct and forthright. Air Marshal Tedder, who had concluded some time ago that the army was characterised by ‘an excess of bravery and a shortage of brains’, told Churchill that Auchinleck was not ruthless enough with his subordinates and was consequently surrounded by too many ‘nice chaps’.

Churchill retired unusually early that night, saying that he needed to think. The following morning he burst into General Alan Brooke’s bedroom while the Chief of the Imperial General Staff was still only half dressed. The Prime Minister had decided that Auchinleck’s command should be split. The Auk should be given Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia set up as Iraq and Iran Command and a new Commander-in-Chief found for the Eastern Mediterranean and Africa. For General Brooke, 6th August was ‘one of the most difficult days of my life, with momentous decisions to take as far as my own future and that of the war was concerned’. At one point Churchill offered him the new job as new Commander in Chief Middle East and Mediterranean. Brooke was very tempted, but felt that he had taken some pains to establish a moderating influence over Churchill, and feared what might happen if a weaker-willed man replaced him as Imperial Chief of Staff. (a complately justified conclusion.Brooke himself argued that he could better serve the nation by staying at Churchill’s side though – for obvious reasons – he could hardly say this to the Prime Minister’s face. ‘I felt I could exercise some control over him,’ he wrote later. ‘I had discovered the perils of his impetuous nature. I was now familiar with his method of suddenly arriving at some decision without any kind of logical examination of the problem. I had, after many failures, discovered the best methods of approaching him. I knew that it would take at least six months for any successor taking over from me to become as familiar as I was with him and his ways. During those six months anything might happen.’ According to his own account, Brooke turned down the offer with ‘many heart-gnawing regrets’. It was a blessing that he did. )

Instead both Churchill and Alan Brooke decided on General Harold Alexander , former commander in Chief during retreat from Burma and right now awaiting orders in London. As later events proved that would be a wise choice for Commander in Chief Middle East and Mediterranean since General Alexander had skills and personal charm to manage strategy and liason for such a complex field of operations. Alexander was a suave, immaculately turned-out Guardsman with a strong reputation for courage, sound tactical skills and an acute sense of diplomacy. He had come to prominence during the Second World War in his role as a ‘fireman’ during the Dunkirk and Rangoon evacuations. Even in the midst of defeat and despair, Alexander had projected calm, phlegmatic authority.

A new leader was needed for Eighth Army too, to work under Alexander. Churchill favoured General William Strafer Gott while Alan Brooke recommended his protegee General Bernard Montgomery. Churchill, who wanted to use Montgomery for Operation Torch, prevailed. He sent the suggested changes to London for approval by the War Cabinet, concluding that he trusted that this would ‘impart a new and vigorous impulse to the Army and restore confidence in the Command, which I regret does not exist at the present time’.

Churchill’s choice of Army commander was impetuous and wrong. Strafer Gott was a brave and inspiring soldier. Most of his corps staff adored him and he had a legendary satus among several (not all though) British officers in Eighth Army due to his battlefield record and personal risks he took during operations at front. Besides it was his assessment on August 1st that foresaw Rommel’s Panzer Army attack on southern flank of Alamein line and he along with Eighth Army Chief of Engineers Brigadier Kitsch ordered first defences to be put on this sector. (though there were severe defects in these defences initially)

Unfortunetely Gott had very bad relations with some Commonwealth division and unit commanders serving in his corps in previous battles. He could not impose his authority on them and constantly argued with them due to pre war lack of operational doctrine in between British Commonwealth forces. Besides he still deployed his forces piecementally in brigades and Jock Columns disregasrding concentration of forces and firepower essential for British Army during active operations. It caused considerable consternation in many parts of Eighth Army. That the man whom many held responsible for the debacles of the Sidi Rezegh , Gazala stakes, Mersa Matruh, Deir el Shein, Minqar Qaim, Ruweisat Ridge, El Mreir, and more should now be the Army commander seemed like a bad joke for most of New Zealand , South African and even some British officers. One of the New Zealand official histories was frank in its assessment that Gott’s appointment “may seem astonishing in the light of his record.”

The South African historian J.A.I. Agar-Hamilton was scathing in his assessment of this appointment: “Gott was impossible…. It has not been unknown for a commander to pass from disaster to disaster, but it is quite without precedent for any commander to pass from promotion to promotion as a reward for a succession of disasters”

Besides Gott was also very tired and needed a rest. He had been campaigning in Africa for almost sixteen months. Indeed, it was reinforced when General Gott admitted to Alan Brooke in a private interview on August 5 that he needed a three months leave and he was out of ideas on how to defeat the Germans anyway and, as a result, he lacked self-confidence. “I think what is required here is some new blood. We want someone with new ideas and plenty of confidence in them” (Gott’s quote) Brooke wrote that this meeting “confirmed my opinion that [Gott] was probably not the man to lead the Eighth Army in an offensive to turn the tide of the war.” However Gott’s army command career would be limited for only one day.

Alan Brooke accepted Gott’s appointment with some misgivings but then he and Churchill set about their wholesale cleaning of HQ Middle East. Auchinleck, Lieutenant General Tom Corbett, the Chief of Staff, Dorman-Smith, and Ramsden (30th Corps) were all sacked. The shopping list looked like this:

Lieutenant General Alexander to replace Auchinleck who would be assigned to Iraq-Iran Command

Lieutenant General Montgomery to succeed General Alexander in Operation Torch

Lieutenant General Gott to command Eighth Army

Lieutenant General Corbett to be relieved – sacked

Lieutenant General Ramsden to be relieved – sacked

Major General Dorman Smith to be relieved – sacked

The changes were “drastic and immediate,” but it was not quite a “clean sweep.”

Caucausian Front , Russia : Troops of the German First Panzer Army captured Voroshilovgrad, Ukraine. German troops from same army also crossed the Kuban river at Kropotkin and pressed on towards Armavir, racing for the Caucasus oilfields.

Don River , Russia : Fourth Panzer Army captured Kotelnikovo

The Soviet STAVKA used elements of the Stalingrad Front to form a new Southwest Front.

Baltic Sea : Soviet submarine S-7 sank Finnish freighter Pohjanlahti with her deck gun 10 miles off Pavilosta, Latvia; the captain was captured, and charts of German and Finnish minefields in the Baltic region were acquired by the Soviets.

Greece : Leading Greek resistance leader Colonel Andreas Papadakis and his family were evacuated from Crete, Greece by the Greek submarine Papanikolis. Colonel Papadakis later became the commandant of the Greek forces in the Jerusalem garrison.

UK : With consent of House of Commons , US servicemnen based in UK were exempted from British law.

USA : Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands visited the White House and addressed U.S. Congress

Guadalcanal , Solomon Islands , SW Pacific : Coastwatcher Don McFarland has little luck providing his masters in Australia with information, radioing at 3:30 p.m., “Cannot obtain anything reliable. Native reports very conflicting.” Five hours later, his Fijian scout Kelemende turns up having escaped a Japanese work detail. He spews out a pile of information, including the fact that the airfield runway is made of gravel and clay vice cement, and the Japanese have a working road roller.

Pacific Ocean : American submarine USS Greenling torpedoed and sank Japanese troopship Brasil Maru (more than 200 of the 600 aboard were killed) and freighter Palau Maru 450 miles southwest of Guam, Mariana Islands

American submarine USS Pike torpedoed and sank Japanese cargo ship Sanju Maru off Marcus island

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Weird , isn’t it ? The high command and army command of Allies in Africa and Midle East were decided upon due to badly prepared breakfast and well prepared lunch for taste of Churchill

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6 August 1942

Atlantic Ocean : Battle of Slow Convoy SC-94 continues. German submarines U-71, U-210, U-379, U-454, U-593, U-595, U-597, U-607, and U-704 attacked Allied convoy SC-94 520 miles southeast of the southern tip of Greenland; U-454 and U-595 were seriously damaged by depth charge attacks of convoy escorts and turned for their home ports in France.

Meanwhile German submarine U-210 , trying to approach the convoy , was sunk by Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine by gunfire and ramming (6 were killed, 37 survived). In afternoon, August 6, the Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine, commanded by Lt. Commander John H. Stubbs, got a contact on her Type 286 meter-wavelength radar at about 2,000 yards. Moments later lookouts saw a German submarine stopped dead on the surface. HMCS Assiniboine fired one round from her 4.7″ main battery, set up a salvo of shallow-set depth charges, and went ahead full speed to ram. Her target was the new U-210, commanded by Rudolf Lemcke, who had earlier found convoy Outbound North ON 113, but had not yet fired a torpedo. Astonishingly, the single round from HMCS Assiniboine’s gun hit U-210 in a fuel ballast tank, impairing her ability to dive. Lemcke rang up maximum speed and ran for a patch of fog.

John Stubbs in HMCS Assiniboine was not to be denied that day. Tracking U-210 through fog patches by radar, he closed and fired several more rounds from his main battery. Maneuvering wildly to get so close to the destroyer that she could not depress her main guns, Lemcke’s men shot back at point-blank range with bridge guns. The German fire from deck gun of submarine killed one man, wounded thirteen others, and set the destroyer’s bridge on fire. However, three or four 4.7″ rounds from HMCS Assiniboine hit U-210, one at the bridge. It blew Lemcke to pieces, killed five other men, and smashed the bridge and conning tower.

Although wounded in the chest, U-210’s first watch officer, twenty-two-year-old Günther Göhlich, crew of 1938, assumed command of the wrecked boat. In desperation he fired a torpedo at HMCS Assiniboine but missed. Meanwhile, belowdecks, the chief engineer, Heinz Sorber, dived the boat. But it was too late. HMCS Assiniboine rammed U-210 twice and dropped shallow-set depth charges, which savaged the boat. When it was clear that the game was lost, Göhlich ordered the crew to scuttle and abandon ship. After opening the vents of one ballast tank, Göhlich and Sorber and thirty-five others clambered topside through the torpedo-loading hatch and jumped into the sea. Following correct procedure, a radio operator threw two Enigma boxes overboard. Thirty-eight minutes after HMCS Assiniboine first got radar contact, U-210 upended and sank. In the meantime, the Royal Navy corvette HMS Dianthus appeared out of the fog and assisted HMCS Assiniboine in fishing the Germans from the sea. HMS Dianthus picked up twenty-seven men, HMCS Assiniboine ten. During the search, HMCS Assiniboine’s commander realized that his own ship was too badly damaged to continue the voyage to the British Isles, so he took six Germans from HMS Dianthus and turned about for Canada.

The oft-maligned Royal Canadian Navy had reason to be proud. The U-210 was the fourth confirmed U-boat to be sunk by Canadian air or surface ships within a period of two weeks.

At 1908 hours, U-86 sank US schooner Wawaloam with 3 torpedoes (all missed) and deck gun 525 miles southeast of Nova Scotia, Canada; all 7 aboard survived.

At 1719 hours, U-66 torpedoed and sank small Polish freighter Rozewie 180 miles east of Tobago in the Central Atlantic; 3 were killed, 16 survived but the captain was captured by U-66.

Bay of Biscay , France : German submarine U-578 struck a mine and sank with all hands in Bay of Biscay.

Mediterranean Sea : German submarine U-77 sank Egyptian sailboat Ezzet and damaged Egyptian sailboat Adnan with her deck gun 85 miles east of Cape Greco, Cyprus at 0700 hours.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Thorn went missing off southern Crete, probably while trying to attack an Italian merchant ship off Sicily , she was located , depth charged and sunk with all hands by the Italian torpedo boat Pegaso.

Germany : 216 British bombers from RAF Bomber Command attacked Duisburg, Germany, destroying 18 buildings and killing 24 civilians; 5 bombers were lost on this mission.

Caucasian Front , Russia : German 17th Army captured Tikhoretsk and reached River Chelbas in southern Russia while 1st Panzer Army crossed the Kuban River en route toward Armavir to the southeast which fell next day. Soviet troops in the region launched the Armavir-Maikop Defensive Operation.

Baltic Sea : German submarine U-612 sank after colliding accidently with U-444 in thick fog in the Baltic Sea off Gotenhafen (Gdynia), occupied Poland; 2 were killed, 43 survived.

Dzyatlava Massacre , Poland : SS Einsatzgruppen special execution squads wiped out entire population of Dzyatlava , East Poland. The massacre started on August 6, 1942, and lasted for three days, as many Jews hid in prepared bunkers. During the course of the clearance of the ghetto, some 2,000 to 3,000 Jews were shot by SS squads into three mass graves in the Jewish cemetery on the southern outskirts of Zdzięcioł, roughly 1,000 people in each. Just over 200 Jewish craftsmen were transferred to the ghetto in Nowogródek. This was the end of the ghetto and the end of the Jewish community of Zdzięcioł. Several hundred Jews, including the Kaplan family, who had hidden, fled once the massacre was over, some forming a family camp in the Nakryszki forest, where they managed to survive until the liberation.

Word spread among the Jews in the labor camps of Dworzec (Dworets), Nowogródek and other towns, about the Zhetel partisan detachment formed by the Soviets. A number of Jews (about 120 people) joined them at the Lipichany forests after their successful escape from the German massacre of August 1942

Northern Australia : Japanese submarine RO-33 attacked Australian passenger-cargo ship Mamutu with her deck gun in the Gulf of Papua and machine gunned those who jumped into the water; 114 were killed, 27 survived.

Guadalcanal , Solomon Islands , South West Pacific : Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher’s carriers peel off with their escorts to take station south of Guadalcanal. The rest of the US Marine invasion force plows on. Bad weather allowed the Allied expeditionary force to arrive in the vicinity of Guadalcanal unseen by the Japanese on the morning of 7 August. On the mess deck of the American Legion, a young Leatherneck does some exaggerated jitterbugging. On the flagship USS McCawley (known as the “Wacky Mac”), Rear Adm. Richmond Kelly Turner reads the words of the well-known British military thinker Capt. Basil Liddell Hart (a prime inventor of blitzkrieg warfare), “A landing on a foreign shore in the face of hostile troops has always been one of the most difficult operations of war. It has now become almost impossible.” (needless to say Hart was proven wrong with an exagerrated sense of self importance in a lot of times)

On Guadalcanal, Martin Clemens has spent a fruitless day. His scouts report that the airstrip is ready, but don’t know if planes have landed there. Clemens is disgusted, depressed, and hungry. Besides, his feet hurt. He diaries, “Is nothing going to happen after all?”

Pacific Ocean : American submarine USS Tautog torpedoed and sank Japanese troop transport Ohio Maru in South China Sea.

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7 August 1942

South Atlantic : German submarine U-108 torpedoed and sank Norwegian cargo ship Brenas off Trinidad

German submarine U-572 torpedoed and sank Dutch cargo ship Delfshaven 800 miles west of Freetown, British West Africa at 0225 hours; 1 was killed, 38 survived.

German submarine U-109 first torpedoed then shelled and sank 6.030-ton Norwegian steam tanker Arthur W. Sewall 1,400 miles west of Freetown, British West Africa.

North Sea : German anti submarine ship/minelayer Sperrbecher 170 Maria struck a mine and sank in the North Sea north west of Ostend, West Flanders, Belgium

Egypt : General William Gott, Winston Churchill’s choice to replace Claude Auchinleck as the head of the Eighth Army, was killed when his Bombay light bomber aircraft was shot down by German ME- 109 fighters while traveling from Borg el-Arab to Cairo in Egypt.

Gott was on his way to Cairo to celebrate his new appointment and preferred to take ride on a Bombay bomber turned to transport craft that carried troops for his appointment with his dentist in Cairo and the air space was considered relatively benign. However, two German Me 109 fighters had been forced down to ground level after a dogfight with British fighters when they spotted the lumbering Bombay transport plane. Rapid bursts of cannon fire damaged Bombay aircraft, wounded the pilots, and forced a crash landing. Gott and seventeen other passengers died when the crippled Bombay suddenly burst into flames. Only pilot , co pilot of Bombay and three passangers survived. The New Zealand brigadier Howard Kippenberger reached the crash site just an hour later. He was haunted by what he saw. “There were,” he recalled, “about 14 burnt bodies lying around.”

On returning to their landing ground, the German fighter pilots that shot down that particular Bombay aircraft were greeted by a very senior officer who congratulated them on successfully killing ‘the new commander of the Eighth Army.’ It appears that German intelligence intercepted an uncoded RAF radio message from Burg el Arab that a very senior officer was about to fly to Cairo and they decided to amnbush him by assigning their fighters on this air space.

Despite the horrific nature of General Gott’s death and grief it caused in British Army upper echalons at Egypt especially in 13th Corps staff where he was lionised, some in Eighth Army regarded the event as fortunate. 2nd New Zealand Division commander General Freyberg wrote to General Inglis soon after that while Gott’s death had been tragic and that Gott himself had “great personal qualities,” nevertheless “the change of regime here has been drastic and I think necessary.”

The South African general Dan Pienaar commanding 2nd South African Division and a bitter enemy of Gott since Operatiıon Crusader , is alleged to have said, on learning of Gott’s death: “Now I know that Heaven is on the side of the British.” (Ironically, General Pienaar would also be killed in an air crash traveling back to South Africa in December 1942.) But even someone as sensitive as the Chief of Imperial General Staff, General Alan Brooke, could see divine intervention in Gott’s fate. Brooke later wrote:

“It seemed almost like the hand of God suddenly appearing to set matters right where we had gone wrong. Looking back on those days with the knowledge of what occurred at Alamein and after it I am convinced that the whole course of the war might well have been altered if Gott had been in command of the Eighth Army.”

There is little doubt that Gott as Eighth Army commander would surely have been a disaster for Allies leading it to even more Eighth Army defeats. As Bierman and Smith aptly surmised, "With Gott’s appointment to army command , the scene was surely now set for another disastrous failure of British leadership in the Western Desert.” With Gott’s demise however, the path had been cleared for Brooke’s preferred candidate for the job: Lieutenant General Bernard Law Montgomery.

Cairo , Egypt : On 7th August Churchill visited the newly arrived 51st Highland Division and then attended a dinner at the British embassy in Cairo.

He met Viscount Cranley there. Cranley had gone down with dysentery in late July and, running a temperature of 104 degrees, was sent to hospital in Cairo. While convalescing, he had been invited to the embassy dinner and found himself recounting to Churchill his own experience of the recent fighting. Churchill, attentive, heard him out and then announced, ‘I have listened to this boy with great interest, as only those who have been in the frying pan have the right to speak of the heat of the fire.’

Later Churchill received word that Gott had been killed in a plane crash that afternoon. With his death, an urgent decision about new commander of Eighth Army was required. General Alan Brooke recommended Bernard Montgomery again, and this time Churchill agreed. He announced the appointment that night and wrote a letter to be handed to Auchinleck anouncing his relief. Alan Brooke later wrote “a telegram has been sent to Cabinet ordering Montgomery out to take command of Eighth Army. I hope we get Alexander and Montgomery out soon so that I may settle details of corps commanders and chiefs of staff with them.”

Meditterranean Sea : Guided by information from British codebreakers , Royal Navy submarine HMS Proteus intercepted , torpedoed and sank German freighter Wachtfels (which was full of supplies for Panzer Army Afrika and en route to Tobruk) 100 miles south of Athens, Greece.

After that in midnight off Crete , HMS Proteus intercepted , shelled and sank German schrooner Marigula full of German troops and supplies en route to Africa.

Palestine : British Middle East Command create a Palestine Regiment from seperate Jewish anmd Arab battalions

Kalach , Don River , Russia : Elements of German Sixth Army crossed the Don River near Kalach-na-Donu, southern Russia, west of Stalingrad and began advancing to link up with leading panzer divisions of Fourth Panzer Army to encircle and destroy Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies west of Don river.

At dawn on 7 August, 14th and 24th Panzer Corps shredded the Soviet front line near Kalach from the north and the south, all the while receiving immense support from Fiebig’s air corps and parts of Pflugbeil’s. From the northeast and southwest, tight against the Don River, 14th and 24th Panzer Corps struck into the Kalach bridgehead. Their spearheads made contact southwest of Kalach by late afternoon, trapping the main body (eight rifle divisions) of the Soviet 62nd Army in an encirclement. Joined by 51st German Corps the Germans began systematically destroying the surrounded Soviet forces.

Stalingrad : Panic breaks out in the city. Military police and NKVD troops force civilian refugees off the roads, while an improvised force of tanks, AT guns, and Katyusha rocket launchers are rushed down the road to face Hoth’s panzers at Abanerovo. Fierce tank clashes follow.

Even so, German morale is high. A German soldier diaries, "Our company is tearing ahead. Today I wrote to Elsa, ‘We shall soon see each other. All of us feel that the end, Victory, is near.’

Berlin , Germany : Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering presided over a meeting to discuss the German Four Year Plan for industrial production. Slave labour was to be an essential part in the plan. But as the notes of the discussion show, there were areas from which Jewish labour could no longer come. In White Russia, the meeting was told, ‘Only a few Jews are still alive. Tens of thousands were eliminated.’

Netherlands : 987 Dutch Jews were transported to Auschwitz , Poland.

Rabaul , New Britain : At 0730 hours, 13 US B-17 Flying Fortress bombers took off from Port Moresby, Australian Papua to attack Rabaul, New Britain. Between 0950 and 1045 hours, prior to the arrival of the US attack, 17 Zero fighters of the Japanese Tainan Air Group, 27 Type 1 G4M aircraft of 4th Air Group, and 9 Type 99 D3A aircraft of 2nd Air Group were launched from Rabaul area airfields to join the battle in the Guadalcanal area in the Solomon Islands. The US attack caused minimal damage to runways and minor damage to 12 defending Zero fighters.

Guadalcanal - Tulagi , Solomon Islands , South West Pacific : US Marines landed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands with the aim of safeguarding the sea supply lines between Australia and America and to form the first of the island “stepping stones” which would carry the Americans across the Pacific to Japan; the recently constructed Japanese airfield on the island provided the Marines with a vital facility. In the morning , after a heavy air and naval gunfire bombartment on Japanese positions , the first attack waves of 11.000 strong 1st US Marine Division landed on northern shore of Guadalcanal between Koli Point and Lunga Point without meeting any resistance. About 2.600 Japanese and Korean forced labourers and engineers (who were not combat troops) panicked and mostly escaped to jungle to further south and west) US Marines quickly established a beachead perimeter that was enlarged towards Japanese airfield.

Just across the water to the north, Brigadier General William H. Rupertus, Deputy Commander of the US 1st Marine Division, led an assault on Tulagi and smaller neighboring islands Gavatu and Tanbambogo. After heavy air attacks on Japanese targets from US Navy carriers USS Saratoga and USS Wasp in the morning that destroyed 15 Japanese flying boats on Tulagi harbour , Lieutenant Colonel Merritt A. Edson’s 1st Raider Battalion landed on Tulagi first, followed by Lieutenant Colonel Harold E. Rosecran’s 2nd Battalion 5th Marines. 1.000 men strong Japanese defenders from elite 3rd Kure Special Naval Detachment defending Tulagi , put up a much stiffer resistance than their comrades on Guadalcanal (though Japanese marksmanship was very poor) but by nightfall with tank support , Edsons’s Marines had reached the former British residency overlooking Tulagi’s harbour and dug in for the night on a hill overlooking the Japanese final positions , destroyed or overrun most of Japanese defences on the way. At the same time the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines with air strikes suppoort from US Navy carriers had fought their way through to the north shore clearing the sector of enemy positions at Tulagi, after which they moved into support of the Raiders. The fight for Tulagi was very violent but shorter than expected since Japanese naval garison trooops from Kure Detachmernt usually made suicidal counter attacks against US Marine advancing positions and these coıunter attacks were crushed by firepower of Marines. The days fighting had cost the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines 56 men killed and wounded, whilst the 1st Raiders had suffered 99 casualties. Japanese casaulties are over 800.

Gavutu was assaulted by the U.S. Marine 1st Parachute Battalion consisting of 397 men. The assault was scheduled for noon because there were not enough aircraft to provide air cover for the Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Gavutu landings at the same time. The preceding naval bombardment had damaged the seaplane ramp, forcing the naval landing craft to land the Marines in a more exposed location on a nearby small beach and dock. Japanese machine gun fire began inflicting heavy casualties, killing or wounding one in ten of the landing Marines as they scrambled inland in an attempt to get out of the crossfire coming from the two islets.

Surviving Marines were able to deploy two M1919 Browning machine guns to provide suppressing fire on Gavutu’s caves, allowing more Marines to push inland from the landing area. Seeking cover, the Marines became scattered and were quickly pinned down. Captain George Stallings—the battalion operations officer—directed Marines to begin suppressive fire with machine guns and mortars on the Japanese machine gun emplacements on Tanambogo. Shortly thereafter, US Navy dive bombers dropped several bombs on Tanambogo, diminishing some of the volume of fire from that location.

After about two hours, Marines reached and climbed Hill 148. Working from the top, the Marines began clearing the Japanese fighting positions on the hill, most of which still remained, with explosive charges, grenades, and hand-to-hand combat. From the top of the hill, the Marines were also able to put increased suppressive fire on Tanambogo. The Marine battalion commander on Gavutu radioed General Rupertus with a request for reinforcements before attempting to assault Tanambogo.

Most of the 240 Japanese defenders on Tanambogo were aircrew and maintenance personnel from the Yokohama Air Group. Many of these were aircraft maintenance personnel and construction units not equipped for combat. One of the few Japanese soldiers captured recounts fighting armed with only hand sickles and poles. Rupertus detached one company of Marines from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment on Florida Island to assist in assaulting Tanambogo, in spite of advice from his staff that one company was not enough. Incorrectly believing Tanambogo to be only lightly defended, this company attempted an amphibious assault directly on Tanambogo shortly after dark on 7 August. Illuminated by fires started during a U.S. naval bombardment of the islet, the five landing craft carrying the Marines were hit by heavy fire as they approached the shore, with many of the U.S. Navy boatcrews being killed or wounded, as well as heavily damaging three of the boats. Realizing the position was untenable, the Marine company commander ordered the remaining boats to depart with the wounded marines, and he and 12 men who had already landed sprinted across the causeway to cover on Gavutu. The Japanese on Tanambogo suffered 10 killed in the day’s fighting.

As the Americans invade, desperate Japanese garrison at Tulagi fires off a stream of messages in angry Japanese to headquarters. The last one is at 8:05, “We pray for enduring fortunes of war,” and pledge to fight “to the last man.” Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the entire Imperial Navy, gives a simple order; counterattack.

The Japanese are preparing an attack on Milne Bay in New Guinea, so their 32 Betty bombers at Rabaul are already bombed- up. 11th Air Fleet orders them south. The strike is led by the two prides of Mitsubishi, the Betty bomber and the Zero fighter. Both have ruled the Pacific since Pearl Harbor. But both planes lack self-sealing fuel tanks and armor protection, unlike the American F4Fs. The Betty is quite vulnerable. It’s official designation is “Type One Land Attack Plane,” but its crews call it the “Type One Lighter.” More importantly, the Zeros streaking south, being the land-based version, do not carry radios.

The American F4F, which looks like a knock-kneed bumblebee, has a quicker rate of roll and faster dive than the Zero, and can take more punishment.

Most importantly, the Imperial Navy has started the war with 3,500 well-trained elite pilots. They have taken increasingly serious losses, most notably at Coral Sea and Midway. They are the best pilots in the world. But they have no replacements behind them.

The 53-plane strike is seen heading south by a British Coastwatcher on Bougainville, Paul Mason, who teleradios from Malabaita Hill at 10:37, “From STO, 27 bombers headed southeast.”

On Australian light cruiser HMAS Canberra ,embedded in US Task Force off Guadalcanal the 1MC blares, “This ship will be attacked at noon. Hands will pipe to lunch at 11 a.m.”

Australian Coastwatcher Martin Clemens writes at noon, “On combat radio I hear Tulagi is taken, and at 1205 Marines land on Gavutu. Wizard!”

At 12:30 the enemy air force turns up. Radar picks up an enemy force headed for Tulagi. Intercepting fighters spot 30 twin-engine Betty bombers in a tight V of Vs, escorted by Zero fighters, coming in at 180 knots. Four F4Fs attack this massive force at once. Lt. Vince DePoix splashes one Zero, and then another. The Japanese counterattack, and the four Americans escape.

The Americans send in more F4Fs from all three carriers, and the Japanese discover that the F4F Wildcat can take considerable punishment. The Americans go for the bombers, and splash two before the Zeros can counterattack. The Japanese shoot down three Enterprise fighters.

Lt. James Southerland of Saratoga finds himself facing three Zeros. He damages two, but is forced to bail out, at the hands of famed ace Saburo Sakai. “Flaps and radio hade been put out of commission. The after part of my fuselage was like a sieve,” Southerland says. He survives to fight again.

Sakai rejoins his buddies and shoots down an SBD, his 60th kill. The other SBDs in the group open up and riddle Sakai’s Zero, grievously wounding the aviator. He loses blood, which generates a potentially lethal anesthetic. Sakai strikes himself on the wound to produce jolts of pain to stay awake, and he nurses the crippled plane back, despite losing one eye, over the 565 miles back to Rabaul. Incredibly, he will return to duty.

The bombers arrive at 1:15 p.m., and their aim is disrupted by cloud cover. No hits.

The Japanese try another airstrike that afternoon at 2:30 p.m., this time using dive bombers to hit the anchored transports, and Lt. A.O. Vorse splashes a bomber. The Americans claim more kills than Japanese planes present. The Japanese put a hit on destroyer Mugford’s afterdeck house, knocking out two guns and killing 19 men.

The Americans lose half their Wildcats that fight in the battle, but the Japanese lose five Bettys, nine Val dive bombers, and two Zeros, for one nonfatal hit on a destroyer. The Japanese also lose the services of a 60-kill ace, Sakai.

While all this is going on, the Japanese Navy is also active. The soft-spoken intellectual Rear Adm. Gunichi Mikawa, 53, is fast asleep at his flag quarters in Rabaul when Tulagi is invaded, and his staff communicator, Capt. Teraoka Hadai, rushes in, trembling and shocked, to deliver the bad news. The groggy Mikawa reads the message, “Tulagi under severe bombardment from the air and sea. Enemy task force sighted. One battleship, two carriers, three cruisers, 15 destroyers, 30 to 40 transports.” Mikawa bolts uprights, and snaps, “Wake the staff. Arrange for all charts and maps. Find out the disposition of our forces here and at Kavieng.”

Mikawa, a veteran cruiser admiral, fires off a stream of orders. He hurls his aircraft (mentioned earlier) at Guadalcanal, diverts submarines to the area, and scrapes up 310 riflemen and machine gunners of the Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force, loads them on the transport Meiyo Maru, and sends them south. Finally, Mikawa summons his Cruiser Division 6, heavy cruisers Chokai, Aoba, Kinugasa, Furutaka, and Kako, back to Rabaul.

At 1 p.m. the big ships arrive in Rabaul, and Mikawa adds the light cruisers Tenryu and Yubari and the ancient destroyer Yunagito the mix. He boards his flagship Chokai at 2:30 and the force (which never gets a name until historians call it the Striking Force) heads to sea.

At 7:37, the still-anonymous force stumbles over the US submarine S-38 off Cape St. George. The antique submarine fires off a radio contact report of three cruisers and two destroyers on course 140. The message does not get to Turner until 7 a.m. the next day.

Kiska , Aleutian islands , Northern Pacific : American light cruiser USS Nashville shelled Japanese shore installations on Kiska Island in the Aleutians causing considerable damage

Pacific Ocean : American submarine USS Tambor torpedoed and sank Japanese auxiliary net layer Shofuku Maru off Wotje, Marshall Islands

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YYIIHAAAA now we are in business on Guadalcanal

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I made some additional extra paragraphs especially in command changes in Eighth Army and Middle East Commanmd. Montgomery (whose record I intend to write throughly) is coming

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