1 May 1942
North Atlantic : At 2046 hours, German submarine U-162 torpedoed and sank Brazilian cargo ship Parnahyba near Trinidad; 7 were killed, 65 survived
Royal Navy battleship HMS King George V, in thick Atlantic fog, accidentally rammed and sank destroyer HMS Punjabi escorting her 165 miles northeast of Iceland at 1545 hours. HMS Punjabi was broken in half, with the stern sinking, depth charges exploding meanwhile, killing 49. The forward piece remained afloat for some time, allowing 169 people to be taken off. An additional 40 survivors were picked from the sea. HMS King George V suffered a 40-foot gash in the bow, forcing her to leave her convoy escort station to sail for Britain for repairs.
US Navy battleship USS Washington suffered slight damage northeast of Iceland during the accident which saw HMS King George V ramming HMS Punjabi, detonating HMS Punjabi’s depth charges.
Norwegian Sea : Four Luftwaffe Ju 88 aircraft attacked Allied convoy QP-11 at 0540 hours 150 miles southeast of Bear Island with air launched torpedoes , Norway; all their torpedoes missed though.
At 1345 hours, German destroyers Z7 Hermann Schoemann, Z24, and Z25 were sighted by convoy escorts aproaching from south ; the first round of the exchange of torpedoes by German destroyers and the Allied escorts happen at 1407 hours , all missed, but a shortly after Royal Navy destroyer HMS Amazon was hit by gunfire from German counterparts and damaged. Still she holds her position screening the convoy. Through 1742 hours, the German destroyers attempted to close in five more times, but they were not successful and each time they were intercepted and repulsed by Royal Navy escort destroyers ; German destroyers broke off after 1742 hours to pursue damaged HMS Edinburgh in the direction of Murmansk, Russia.
Elsewhere, six German Ju 88 bombers attacked Allied convoy PQ-15 west of Norway at 2200 hours without success, losing one aircraft to anti aircraft guns of convoy in the process.
Mediterranean Sea : A RAF Coastal Command Hudson bomber of British No. 233 Squadron based at Gibraltar sighted , attacked and severely damaged German submarine U-573 with depth charges 40 miles northwest of Ténès, Algeria at 1556 hours. Based upon sighting , Royal Navy immediately dispatches destroyers HMS Wishart and HMS Wrestler from Gibraltar to finish off German submarine, while the German Navy dispatched U-74 and U-375 and the Italians dispatched submarines Emo and Mocenigo to assist her.
Eventually too badly damaged to escape , U-573 had to seek refugee in neutral Spanish port Cartanega (Spain is sympatetic to Axis though) and interned at Cartagena, Spain on 2 May 1942. The damaged German submarine was sold to Spain by German Navy on 2 Aug, 1942. U-573 became the Spanish submarine G 7. (though due to battle damage she did not sail again till 1947) Her German crew was shipped back to German occupied France by Spanish authorities at the end of 1942.
Berlin , Germany : In Berlin, the German High Command recorded that units on the Eastern Front were currently 308,000 men understrength.
Soviet Union : On May 1, in German-occupied Russia, Soviet partisans in one region put up forty-five Red Flags, to which mines were attached to blow up anyone trying to pull them down. Elsewhere, May Day festivities were arranged with the local population, with village dancing and the singing of patriotic songs.
Moscow , Soviet Union : In a press statement due to May 1st , Workers Day , Stalin released a press announcment , declaring that neither he , nor Soviet Union have any territorial ambitions abroad , Soviet Union is fighting a “patriotic war of liberation” and had no aim of “seizing foreign countries” or “conquering foreign peoples.”
Poland : On May 1 the German Nazi Gaulitier of the Warthegau, Arthur Greiser, wrote to SS Chief Himmler from Poznan to propose that Poles with tuberculosis should be sent to Chelmno for ‘special treatment’. That same May, more than nineteen thousand Jews were gassed at Chelmno, as well as more than six thousand at Auschwitz, five thousand at Belzec and thirty-six thousand at Sobibor.
Dubno , German occupied Russia : That same month, in German-occupied Russia, five thousand Jews in Dubno, judged ‘non-productive’ for the German war effort, were taken outside the town and killed in a hail of rifle and machine-gun fire.
Burma : Japanese 18th Infantry Division captured Mandalay, Burma. 300 kilometers the northeast, Japanese and Chinese troops clashed at Hsenwi. 50 miles west of Mandalay, Japanese troops blocked the British retreat at Monywa on the Chindwin River and then attacked from the rear by surprise, capturing the headquarters of the 1st Burma Division.
General William Slim met with Field Marshal Harold Alexander at Monywa, Burma.
Pacific Ocean : American submarine USS Triton torpedoed and sank Japanese auxiliary transport ship Calcutta Maru in the western Pacific Ocean east of China at 1645 hours.
American submarine USS Drum torpedoed and sunk Japanese seaplane tender Mizuho 40 miles off Omae Zaki. 101 from her crew killed.
American submarine USS Grenadier, mistaking Soviet cargo ship Angarstroy for a Japanese ship, torpedoed and sank her in the Pacific Ocean; 60 survived and were rescued by Japanese ship Kayo Maru.
Philippines : In the Philippine Islands, Corregidor was subjected to heavy Japanese artillery and aerial bombardment,
Meanwhile Japanese troops recently reinforced by 14th Army , defeated the Filipino 61st Infantry Regiment on the southern island of Mindanao.
Rabaul , New Britain : Eleven Japanese troop transports arrived Rabaul, New Britain for the invasion of Port Moresby, Australian Papua; they were escorted by seven cruisers and one light carrier; on the same day, Type 1 and Type 6 land attack aircraft of Genzan Air Group arrived at Rabaul for future use with the Port Moresby invasion. On the same day, three B-26 Marauder bombers of US 22nd Bomb Group struck Rabaul, causing minor damage to an airfield.
Tulagi , Solomon Islands : Tulagi in the Solomon Islands, another target of the Japanese offensive operation, was bombed by Japanese aircraft, destroying one Australian PBY Catalina aircraft.
New Hebrides , South West Pacific : Near the New Hebrides islands, US Navy Task Force 11 (containing US Navy fleet carrier USS Lexington) and Task Force 17 (containing fleet carrier USS Yorktown) made rendezvous. US Task Force 17 was established under command of Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher to operate in the Coral Sea.
Pearl Habour , Hawaii : At Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, Joseph Rochefort furnished a report for Chester Nimitz and Ernest King that noted Port Moresby as the likely Japanese target, northern Australia was not being targeted for now, and Japanese reconnaissance operations seemed to be targeting Hawaiian Islands and Aleutian Islands.
Samoa Islands , South West Pacific : The US Marine Corps 8th Defense Battalion arrived at Wallis Island from Tutuila, American Samoa.
Tokyo , Japan : The Japanese Imperial Navy code book change, originally set to take place on this date, was delayed.