18 - 24 April 1942

18 April 1942

Atlantic Ocean : German armed merchant cruiser Michel intercepted British tanker Patella with gunfire 136 miles east of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at dawn, killing 3; the remaining crew of 60 were taken off before the ship was scuttled.

German submarine U-136 torpedoed and damaged US tanker Axtell J. Byles 5 kilometers off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, United States.

North Sea : German cargo ship Seefahrer struck a mine and sank off Borkum , North Sea.

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS Torbay torpedoed and sank German army transport ship Bellona 60 miles east of Cape Colonna, Italy at 1125 hours.

Operation Calendar : American aircraft carrier USS Wasp along with her escorts passed through the Strait of Gibraltar en route to Malta to ferry Spitfire fighters to besied island.

Rzhev-Vyazma Front , Russia : The destruction in German-occupied Russia, of a Soviet partisan force in Dorogobuzh; its commander, Colonel Yefremov, having been severely wounded in the back, unable to help his men and unwilling to be taken prisoner, put a pistol to his temple. ‘Boys,’ he said, ‘this is the end for me, but you go on fighting.’ Then he shot himself; his men, fighting on, though almost beaten, never gave up. Some, reaching the nearby front line, returned in due course to harry the Germans behind the lines.

London , UK : Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov arrives London to open talks for a Second Front in Western Europe (something British are absolutely against)

Vichy France : François Darlan stepped down as the Vichy French Vice Premier as well as the Minister of the Navy.

Rabaul , New Britain : B-26 Marauder bombers of US 5th Air Force attacked Simpson Harbor and Lakunai airfield at Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago at 1030 hours. Japanese cargo ship Akomaki Maru was sunk (killing 11), as was another Japanese cargo vessel Komaki Maru as her load of aviation fuel detonated. Lakunai airfield received light damage. After the attack, 80 Australian prisoners of war were executed by the Japanese for having cheered during the attack.

Panay , Philippines : The 1st Battalion of the 63rd Infantry Regiment of the 61st Philippine Division under Captain Julian Chaves pushed back Japanese troops at Mount Dila-Dila on Panay, Philippine Islands.

Burma : Although the 113th Regiment of the Chinese 38th Division under General Sun Liren and the British 7th Armoured Brigade had reached near Yenangyaung, Burma, they could not prevent the Japanese troops from capturing the city; the final elements of British troops fleeing out of the city destroyed the power station to prevent Japanese use.

Elsewhere Japanese destroy 55th Chinese Division at Mauchi , the supply route to Lashio is threatened.

Andaman Islands , Burma : Hudson bombers of No. 139 Squadron RAF from Akyab island, Burma attacked Japanese facilities on the Andaman Islands which had been the Squadron’s base until it was abandoned in Mar 1942.

Japan : Doolittle Raid : 16 US Army Air Force B-25 bombers launched from USS Hornet attacked Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, and other targets in the Japanese home islands at about 1200 hours.

Most of the bombers would fly on to crash land in or bail out over China their crews were rescued by Nationalist Chinese , while one landed in Russia and the crew were interned by the Soviets, who had a non-aggression treaty in place with Japan. Two other bombers crash-landed on Japanese controlled territory; of their eight crew members, captured by the Japanese, three were executed. Angered by the raid, which showed that the heart of the Empire of the Rising Sun was not invulnerable, the Japanese occupied the Chinese province of Chekiang, intending thereby to prevent further overlying missions.

Melbourne , Australia : General MacArthur was appointed to command the Southwest Pacific Theater.

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19 April 1942

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-136 torpedoed and sank US freighter Steel Maker 200 kilometers southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, United States, killing 1 of 45 aboard.

German submarine U-130 attempted to bombard oil storage tanks near Willemstad on the island of Curaçao but her deck gun jammed and exploded before opening fire was driven away by alerted coastal defense guns before any damage was done.

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS Umbra torpedoed and sank heavily escorted Italian cargo ship Assunta de Gregori (full of supplies to Libya) off Sfax, Tunisia.

Murmansk , Kola Peninsula , Russia : The seven ships of dispersed Allied convoy PQ-14 arrived at Murmansk, Russia with their cargoes.

Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Edinburgh arrived at Murmansk, Russia.

Pacific Ocean : Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku departed Mako, Pescadores Islands to participate in Operation MO in the Coral Sea commencing 20 Apr 1942.

Corregidor , Philippines : Philippine cargo ship El Cano was shelled and sunk by Japanese shore batteries off Corregidor

Burma : Slim, Wavell, and Alexander met to start discussing plans for a major retreat of Allied personnel out of Burma.

The 113th Regiment of the Chinese 38th Division under General Sun Liren captured Twingon, Burma then repulsed a Japanese counterattack that saw heavy casualties on both sides. To the east, Japanese 55th Infantry Division captured Pyinmana.

Chinese Expeditionary Force holds Tweingon near Yenanyaung , enables over 7.500 Allied troops from Burma Corps escape from Japanese.

Washington , US : President Rossevelt announced in a press briefing that US bombers that attacked Tokto previous day lifted off from a base in mystical land Shangri-La

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20 April 1942

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-654 torpedoed and sank Swedish cargo ship Agra off Cape Hatteras , North Carolina the United States. Not too far away, German submarine U-572 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Empire Dryden and U-109 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Harpagon.
75 miles north of the Turks and Caicos Island east of Cuba, U-154 torpedoed and sank empty Canadian ship Vineland.

North Sea : German minesweeper M406 Neuwerk struck a mine and sank off Morlaix , Finistere , France.

British cargo ship Plwsworth and Belgian freighter Vae Vidis , both struck mines and sunk off Suffolk

Greenland : Recently constructed US Air Force and Naval airfields on Greenland became operational

Norwegian Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS Trident torpedoed and sank German freighter Hödur 1.5 miles off the coast near Namsos, Norway at about 1200 hours.

Malta : Operation Calendar : American aircraft carrier USS Wasp delivered 47 RAF Spitfire fighter airtcraft to Malta , launching them 700 miles off the island. Unfortunetely during their flight from USS Wasp to Malta they were tracked by German radars in Sicily and right after landing during refueling process they were caught defenceless on the ground during an Axis air raid on airfields on Malta. 30 of the 47 Spitfires were destroyed on the ground.

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS P42 landed four French resistance agents near Cannes , France.

Rzhev-Vyazma Front , Russia : German troops broke out of the Demyansk Pocket in Russia through the Ramushevo corridor.

Rennes , France : An assassination attempt by French Resistance on the head of French Fascist organization Jacques Doriot took place; it resulted in failure.

Vichy , France : Pierre Laval adresses French people on radio , warns that Soviet Union must not be allowed to win the war and calls for closer collaboration with Germans , calling Hitler “a generous conquerer who did not abuse his victory” while in the same day German military occupation authorities executed 30 French hostages at Rennes for an alleged French resistance attack on a German troop train

Germany : German Jews were banned from using public transportation.

Philippines : A Type 96 240mm howitzer was brought to the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon, Philippine Islands by the Japanese for the purpose of bombarding the island of Corregidor. On the same day, on the island of Panay, Japanese Army troops declared the island secure.

South West Pacific : American aircraft carrier USS Lexington arrived in the South Pacific.

Burma : Japanese troops captured Taunggyi, Burma, capital of the southern Shan States, along with its large gasoline store. In central Burma, troops of the Japanese 56th Division pushed Chinese troops out of Loikaw, while troops of the Japanese 18th Division clashed with Chinese troops at Kyidaunggan.

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21 April 1942

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-84 torpedoed and sank Panamanian cargo ship Chenango 30 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, United States at 0300 hours; 30 were killed, 2 survived. German submarine U-576 torpedoed and sank US freighter Pipestone County 450 kilometers east of Virginia, United States at 1854 hours; all 35 aboard survived and were rescued by US Coast Guard cutter USS Calypso.

German submarine U-752 torpedoed and sank US freighter West Imboden 150 kilometers east of Boston, Massachusetts, United States; all 35 aboard survived.

At 0236 hours, German submarine U-201 torpedoed and sank Norwegian cargo ship Bris in the middle of the North Atlantic; 5 were killed, 21 survived.

Meanwhile, German Milk Cow class supply submarine U-459 departed from Germany on a resupplying mission for other submarines; she was the first of such supply submarines in the German Navy. These milk cow supply submarines of German Navy with no offensive capabilities, but laden with stores, spare parts, and seven hundred tons of diesel fuel each, six hundred tons of which were available for the refuelling of fourteen combat submarines. Helped by this independent source of fuel supply far from their French coastal bases, thirty-two German submarines operated off the East Coast of the United States, and in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, sinking Allied merchant ships as they sailed northward to join the Atlantic convoys.

Iceland : Allied convoy QP-10 arrived at Reykjavík, Iceland.

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS Torbay sank German tanker Delpa II with gunfire on the surface 12 miles north of Crete, Greece at 1536 hours with her surface guns; Germans counterattacked with coastal guns followed by the dispatch of two torpedo boats, but HMS Torbay would be able to dive and escape.

Malta : Italian aircraft bombed and sank British anti-submarine trawler HMT Jade at Grand Harbour, Malta.

Black Sea : Luftwaffe JU-88 bombers hit and sank Soviet troop transport Kalinn off Novorossyisk

St. Nazaire , France : 20 French civilians were executed by German military at Saint-Nazaire, France in retaliation of the 28 Mar 1942 raid by British commandos.

Berlin : After rebuking German paratroop commander General Kurt Student for his insistence to initiate Operation Herkules (invasion of Malta) Hitler cancels invasion of Malta operation till mid summer reasoning that Italian Navy and Army that were supposed to attack the island jointly with Germans , are totally unreliable and in any case Italian Navy lacked enough fuel

Port Moresby , Papua New Guinea : Japanese aircraft based in Rabaul, New Britain attacked Port Moresby, Australian Papua.

Burma : Japanese 18th Division captured Kyidaunggan, Burma from Chinese troops.

Pacific Ocean : Despite an intense search by Japanese Imperial Navy to locate US carriers that launched Dolittle Raid , that US Task Force made up from USS Hornet and USS Enterprise along with their escorts returned to Hawaii

Pearl Harbour , Hawaii : Joseph Rochefort’s cryptanalytic team based in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii intercepted a Japanese Navy radio message noting that Carrier Division 5 (Shokaku and Zuikaku) were being detached from the Mobile Force for operations with the 4th Fleet in the South Pacific.

Washington , USA : US President Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all patents owned by enemy nations

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22 April 1942

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-201 torpedoed and sank US freighter San Jacinto 375 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, United States at 0329 hours, killing 14 of 183 aboard. Hours later, at 0905 hours, U-201 struck again, torpedoed and sinking British cargo ship Derryheen; all 51 aboard survived.

Arctic Sea : Soviet submarine M-173 torpedoed and sank German cargo ship Blankenese in the Barents Sea 3 miles off the northeastern tip of Norway.

Malta : Due to heavy Axis air raids and naval blockade , Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet ordered 10th Submarine Flotilla to leave Malta and all submarines in Malta to head to Alexandria , Egypt.
NOTE : Ironicaly just at this time Hitler cancelled Operation Herkules , invasion of Malta indefinetely and on top of that most of Luftflotte II based in Sicily to supress Malta begin to be transferred out to Eastern Front at the end of April.

Germany : 64 British Wellington bombers and 5 Stirling bombers from RAF Bomber Command attacked Köln (Cologne), Germany using the new Gee radio transmitter system for blind navigation and bombing. About 15 aircraft were able to bomb accurately, killing 4 civilians and wounding 8, while a few bombers released their bombs as far as 10 miles from Köln. Two Wellington bombers were lost during this raid.

Boulogne , France : Canadian and British commandos raided the beaches near Boulogne, France in Operation Abercrombie, which failed to capture any German prisoners for interrogation and failed to destroy searchlight equipment , returening back to UK without suffering any casaulties.

UK : “Tube Alloys” Committee , researching German nuclear research and a future German nuclear bomb development possibility , decided and informed British govermernt that GHerman controlled Vermork heavy water facility in Norway should be destroyed.

Pearl Harbour , Hawaii : Joseph Rochefort’s cryptanalytic team based in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii detected a concentration of Japanese warships at Rabaul, New Britain, including five carriers; while they correctly determined that Shokaku, Zuikaku, and Shoho being at Rabaul, they had mistakenly placed two others (including Kaga) at this location

British Western Pacific Territories : USS Lexington arrived at Tongatapu, Tonga.

Philippines : American submarine USS Sailfish departed Australia with ammunition for the American troops at Corregidor in the Philippine Islands; the island garrison would surrender before this mission was completed.

Burma : British and Indian troops from Burma Corps fell back to Meiktila, Burma while Indian 17th Infantry Division fell back from Taungdwingyi to Mahlaing to protect Mandalay.

Assam , India : In order to ensure continuing supplies to China, Assam in India, and Burma, China Ferry Command was established to airlift essential needs over the Himalayan “Hump” route.

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23 April 1942

Atlantic Ocean : t 2053 hours, German submarine U-125 torpedoed and sank US cargo ship Lammot Du Pont 500 miles southeast of Bermuda; 6 were killed, 48 survived.

Before dawn, German armed merchant cruiser Michel launched torpedo boat LS-4 Esau to attack US tanker Connecticut in the middle of the South Atlantic, which successfully torpedoed and sank the tanker with two torpedoes; 36 were killed, 18 survived.

North Sea : British cargo ship Chatwood struck a mine and sank off Norfolk.

Norwegian Sea : Soviet submarine ShCh-401 attacked a German supply convoy just off Gamvik in northern Norway, torpedoed sinking German manned Norwegian merchant ship Stensaas (all aboard survived). Later on the same day, ShCh-401 attacked German submarine chaser UJ 1110, but was driven off by UJ 1110’s depth charges. ShCh-401 reported in her position in the evening, but it would be the last time she was heard from; she likely ran into a minefield and sank shortly after the report.

Mediterranean Sea : German submarine U-565 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Kirkland 35 miles northeast of Sidi Barrani, Egypt at 0255 hours; 1 was killed, 22 survived.

Red Sea : British cargo ship Jersey struck a mine and sank off Suez , Red Sea

Loustari , Finland : No. 1 Squadron of Soviet 95th Fighter Aviation Regiment attacked the German airfield at Luostari, Finland, destroying 17 German aircraft (16 of which on the ground)

Germany : 161 RAF bombers (93 Wellington, 31 Stirling, 19 Whitley, 11 Hampden, 6 Manchester, and 1 Lancaster bombers) conducted a raid on Rostock, Germany; 143 of them attacked the town while 18 attacked the nearby Heinkel aircraft factory, both with extremely poor results. Four bombers were lost during this attack , shot down by German anti aircraft batteries

UK : In retaliation of latest RAF bombings , Luftwaffe began attacking “cathedral cities” in Britain, starting with Exeter, England, United Kingdom. 45 Luftwaffe bombers attack on Exeter , but fail to locate the target and cause minimum damage. Three German bombers shot down but British anti airctaft gunners and RAF night fighters.

Berlin , Germany : The German government , Reich Labour Services led by Fritz Sauckel ordered that all boys between the age of 14 and 16 and girls between the age of 16 and 17 to perform mandatory agricultural service.

Pretoria , South Africa : South Africa broke diplomatic relations with Vichy France.

Burma : General Stilwell tries to organise a Chinese counter attack towards Taunngyi but Nationalist Chinese obey orders to attack only after a large cash reward. Meanwhile Japanese 56th Division captured Loilem.

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24 April 1942

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-136 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Empire Drum 280 miles southeast of New York, United States at 2348 hours; all 41 aboard survived.

Rostock , Germany : 91 RAF bombers attacked Rostock, Germany for the second night in a row, causing damage in the town, but the aircraft attacking the nearby Heinkel aircraft factory again failed to do much damage. One Hampden bomber was lost during this attack.

Netherlands : 12 British RAF DB-7 Boston bombers attacked Vlissingen, the Netherlands, damaging docks without any losses.

Exeter , UK : In the first series of Baedeker Raids , 60 Luftwaffe bombers hit Exeter during night , causing considerable damage in downdown. Seventeen German bombers were shot down by British anti aircraft gunners and RAF night fighters

Bath , UK : 150 Luftwaffe bombers hit Bath during the night in a series of Baedeker Raids , causing heavy damage on ancient Roman town in Britain , killing 400 civilians

London , UK : Churchill asked Roosevelt to authorize the American aircraft carrier USS Wasp to make a second dash with RAF fighter reinforcements to Malta. ‘Without this aid’, Churchill warned, ‘I fear Malta will be pounded to bits.’ Its defence, however, was in Churchill’s view ‘wearing out the enemy’s Air Force and effectively aiding Russia’.

Moscow , Soviet Union : Aleksandr Vasilevsky was named the acting Chief of Staff as his superior Boris Shaposhnikov had fallen ill.

Port Moresby , Papua New Guinea : Zero fighters of the Japanese Navy Tainan Air Group (based in Rabaul, New Britain) attacked Seven Mile airfield near Port Moresby, Australian Papua, shooting down 3 Kittyhawk fighters in combat and destroying 1 PBY Catalina and 2 B-26 Marauder aircraft on the ground. Later in the day, four B-17E Flying Fortress bombers of US 30th Bomb Squadron arrived at Seven Mile in preparation for a raid on Rabaul, New Britain on the next day.

Burma : Japanese 18th Infantry Division captured Yamethin, Burma.

Delhi , India : At Delhi, India, Brigadier Orde Wingate noted his preference of a proactive long range penetration strategy for his irregular troops.

New Caledonia , South West Pacific : American troops landed in French New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean.

Pearl Harbour , Hawaii : Joseph Rochefort’s cryptanalytic team based in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii had intercepted Japanese Navy radio messages mentioning the existence of task forces bearing names such as MO Covering Force, MO Attack Force, RZP Occupation Force, RXB Occupation Force, etc. Rochefort would quickly arrive at the hypothesis that these task forces were organized for an attack in the Port Moresby, Australian Papua region.

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