11 July 1942
Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico : German submarine U-203 torpedoed and sank Panamanian tanker Stanvac Palembang 50 miles northeast of Trinidad at 0352 hours; 5 were killed, 45 survived. American pilots John Haggin and Wynant Farr of the Civil Air Patrol based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States reported the sinking of an enemy submarine 25 miles east of Absecon, New Jersey; this sinking was not confirmed by the US Navy.
German submarine U-166 sank Dominican sailing vessel Carmen with the deck gun 8 miles off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic at 1900 hours; 1 was killed, 7 survived.
Atlantic Ocean : On 10th July , German submarine U-201 deployed by German U-Boat command to locate Allied convoys in South Atlantic and on Gibraltar , discovered Allied convoy Outbound South OS-33 west of Maderia islands and called for three more submarines to attack convoy , forming Wolfpack HAI.
A hard convoy battle raged over the next seventy-two hours. However initial attacks made by German submarines went wrong or them at first. 325 miles west of Madeira archipelago, Free French destroyer Léopard, Royal Navy frigate HMS Spey, and sloop HMS Pelican , all of which adroitly capitalized on radar and Huff Duff , trapped and sank German submarine U-136 with four depth charges (all 45 aboard were killed) as the three warships escorted Allied convoy OS-33.
North Sea : German naval trawler V 1236 struck a mine and sank off Holland.
El Alamein , Egypt : After a heavy and accurate artillery fire from British and Australian guns , Australian 26th Brigade infantry battalion 2/24 and British tanks from 44th Royal Tank Regiment attacked Point 24 at the western end of Tel el Eisa hill , near El Alamein, Egypt, capturing it in the early afternoon without suffering a single casaulty and routing two Berseglia battalions and a battalion of Sabratha infantry division , fortified Point 24 after capturing it and then went on to successfully defend the captured height against Axis counterattacks. Meanwhile, another column of Allied tanks and motorized infantry from 24th Australian Brigade nicknamed Daycol raided Deir el Abyad, capturing about 1,100 Italian troops from Trieste Motorised Infantry Division.
By early afternoon, Point 24 was captured by Australian infantry and was then held against a series of Axis counter-attacks throughout the day. All day the 2/48th Battalion had been under heavy Axis shell fire but Australian infantry had toiled on, improving weapon-pits and laying mines. Every concentration of Axis troops to attack Point 24 had been dispersed by heavy and accurate Brtitish artillery fire .
By the next morning the Australian 2/48th battalion had suffered 39 casualties, but they had taken 89 German prisoners and 835 Italians and captured 27 Italian guns of 35-mm to 75-mm calibre . In all the brigade knocked out 18 tanks and took 1,150 prisoners.
Meanwhile a small column of British armour, Australian motorised infantry, and guns nicknamed Daycol then set off to raid Deir el Abyad , captured eight more Italian guns and caused a battalion of Italian infantry from Trieste Infantry Division to surrender. Its progress was checked at the Miteirya ridge and it was forced to withdraw that evening to the Tel el Eisa. During the day, more than 1,100 more Italian prisoners were taken by this column. Italian Sabratha infantry division was out of action for good.
The battle report of the Armoured Army of Africa gives the German version of British 30th Corps’ operations on the 11th including those of the 2/24th Battalion against Point 24 :
"Early next morning the enemy again attacked after a very heavy preliminary bombardment. In this attack two Bersaglieri strongpoints, which had held firm the previous day, fell very soon . A battalion of Trieste division which was committed to plug a gap was overrun and wiped out. This made the situation so serious that almost the whole of the army artillery had to be committed in the northern sector . Before evening all the other battalions of the Trieste Division were brought forward to the Point 21 area to seal off the advance . Reconnaissance Detachment 3 was moved into the area south-west of Point 237 to prevent the enemy from breaking through to the west. “I was compelled to order every last German soldier out of his tent or rest camp up to the front,” Rommel wrote later, “for, in face of the virtual default of a large proportion of our Italian fighting power, the situation was beginning to take on crisis proportions.”
On 11th July Rommel decided to smash the British penetration with a strong counter-stroke using the 21st Panzer Division . He brought the division up from the south on the 12th and decided to capture the Alamein Box next day and cut off the Australians on Tel el Eisa . "The attack was to be supported by every gun and every aeroplane we could muster. "
The damage had been done however and Rommel only hoping to seal of Tel el Eisa penetration made by Australian 9th Division , would lose more than thirty tanks against the Tel el Eisa positions in the next five days in failed counter attacks to recapture the ridge. His losses in tank crews were also “heavy.” Infantry strenghth in Afrikakorps divisions reduced to 1.300 fighting men in avarege on 12th July. After the second day of the Australian action, a chastened Rommel recorded in his diary:
“There could be no question of launching any large-scale attack in the immediate future. I was compelled to order every last German soldier out of his tent or rest camp to the front, for, in face of the virtual default of a large proportion of our Italian fighting power, the situation was beginning to take on crisis proportions.”
Epecially towards Italian units under his command Rommel was becoming more harsh , dismissive and insulting : The place of every man of the Panzer Army is at the front,’ he said. ‘Recreation homes, recreation camps and such like institutions will be disbanded immediately. There is no such thing as replenishment behind the front.’ And to the Italians corps commanders he fired off an even more threatening note: ‘Cases where soldiers leave the battlefield without a fight are becoming more frequent … You must not shrink from inflicting the death penalty.’
In the meantime, Commander of 13th Corps General Strafer Gott made preliminary moves for an attack by 13th Corps over Ruweisat Ridge to Deir el Abyad, where he hoped to join hands with 30th Corps’ exploitation forces. At first light on the 11th, Briish 2nd Armoured Brigade completed the occupation of the Alam Nayil feature. With this position firmly in hand, Gott called on Brigadier Inglis , temporary commander of 2nd New Zealand Division at midday with orders for New Zealand and 1st Armoured Divisions to secure a start line running north-east from Alam Nayil to a point on Ruweisat Ridge three-quarters of a mile east of the junction of the northern extension of Barrel track and the eastern Alamein-Himeimat track. The start line, with New Zealand Division on the left, was to be secured immediately.
At the end of the day Auchinleck, noting that Rommel was transferring armour to the north, set in train preparations for an attack from the south and centre in the Ruweisat Ridge region similar to the operation which had been in contemplation when the 24th Brigade’s raid in that sector was
being planned . The staff of Eighth Army, however, did not know that although one of the enemy’s armoured divisions and about 30 German tanks (approximately two-thirds of the total German tank strength) wer e in the north, the bulk of his armoured forces were still in the south under the firm command of the Afrikakorps (Lieut-General Nehring) and poised to undertake the projected offensive as soon as the detachments inthe north returned .
The successful attack at Tel el Eisa left the Australians brimming with confidence. One of the infantry battalions involved summarized the operation as two nights and a day of “hard fighting” but “the Bn with its supporting arms had shown itself more than equal to anything the Germans could produce.”
There was a telling feature in the Australians’ defense of Tel el Eisa, one that Rommel must have noticed and would cost him dearly in his next large-scale attack at the end of August. An Australian operational narrative recorded of it:This was the first campaign in which 9 Australian Division was fully supported from the air. Co-operation between land and air forces was complete, and within an hour of calling for support Boston bombers and fighter bombers would be blasting enemy troops and positions.
Fuka , Egypt : A SAS detachment of four jeeps equipped witch Browning and Vickers heavy machine guns under command of Captain Paddy Mayne staged a night raid on recently established Axis airfields at Fuka , Egypt , destroying 20 German ME-109 fighters on the ground as well as fuel depots and retreated without loss back to its field base in south
Mediterranean Sea : South African armed whaler HMSAS Protea, South African armed whaler HMSAS Southern Maid, and a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Walrus aircraft located and sank Italian submarine Ondina on the surface with depth charges 60 miles off Beirut, Syria-Lebenon.
German cargo ship Brook was hit and sunk by RAF Desert Air Force Martin Baltimore and Boston A-20 bombers off Mersa Matruh.
German cargo ship Delos was hit and fatally damaged by RAF Coastal Command Beaufort bombers from Malta and beached near Tobruk , declared total loss.
Danzig , East Prussia : 24 British Lancaster bombers (of 44 launched for this mission) bombed the German submarine yards at Danzig, Germany, losing two aircraft in the attack; this was the longest mission by British bombers to date.
Caucasian Front , Soviet Union : Only two weeks into the operation, on 11 July, the Germans began to suffer logistical difficulties, which slowed the advance. The German Sixth Army was continually delayed by fuel shortages though it reached Lisichansk on Don River , dividing Soviet South West Front into two which later became defunct. Next day from remants of South West Front , STAVKA created Stalingrad front commanded by Marshal Timoshenko.
Soviet 5th Tank Army, commanded by Major General A.I. Liziukov began a series of counter attacks to retake Voronezh but heavy Luftwaffe air raids inflict heavy casaulties and checks its advance then force it to retreat north of Voronezh within four days. Between active anti tank defence of 23rd and 24th Panzer Divisions around Voronezh and heavy Luftwaffe air raids , 5th Soviet Tank Army lose about half of its tanks in the process tilkl 14th July. However these Soviet counter attacks also delay deployment of 4th Panzer Army to south towards Don and Caucaus oil fields till mid July.
Moscow , Soviet Union : Joseph Stalin began moving massive numbers of troops into the Stalingrad area. Soviet Marshal Semyon Timoshenko was placed in overall command of the new Stalingrad Front
Rastenburg , East Prussia : Increasingly confident of victory, on July 11 Hitler issued a directive for the planning of Operation Blücher, a German attack from the Crimea across the Kerch Straits and into the Caucasus.
Berlin , Germany : On July 11, Martin Bormann, head of the Nazi Party Chancellery, informed SS leaders, ‘by order of the Führer’, that henceforth, ‘in public discussion of the Jewish question any mention of a future total solution must be avoided. However, one may discuss the fact that all Jews are being interned and detailed to purposeful compulsory labour forces’.
Wellington , New Zealand : The US Marines headquarters unit arrived in New Zealand.
Aleutian islands : US military personnel captured the “Akutan Zero”, a Zero fighter that had crashed in the Aleutian Islands to study it.