Sunday, August 28, 2022

June 18, 1942: Rommel Reaches Tobruk

Thursday 18 June 1942

General Erwin Rommel, North Africa, 18 June 1942
Erwin Rommel in North Africa, 18 June 1942 (Gemini, Ernst A., Federal Archives Image 146-2002-010-05A).

Eastern Front: The German advance toward Sevastopol, Crimea, gains a second wind on 18 June 1942 following the fall of key Soviet fortress Maxim Gorki north of Severnaya Bay. Luftwaffe operations over the port become much less hazardous as bombers of KG 51 destroy an effective Soviet anti-aircraft platform in the bay.

The Germans continue their mopping up of Soviet resistance north of the bay. The 132nd Infantry Division accepts the surrender of the Soviet 95th Rifle Division and Coastal Battery 12 at 09:00, while the 24th Infantry Division captures Bartenyevka at the mouth of the bay and the 22nd ID catches up with them. The Soviet defenders counterattack with the 138th Naval Brigade, which has no artillery or air support and is wiped out. In the south, the Wehrmacht attack remains stalled before Sapun Ridge, though Romanian troops are moving up the Chernaya River toward Sevastopol.

At Fuhrer Headquarters, Hitler has returned from his vacation. General Franz Halder briefly notes in his war diary the success at Sevastopol, but lavished much more ink on the partisan situation farther north:

In [Army Group] Center, [Soviet] Corps Belov ... has been split into several groups. We must reckon with the ability of some elements to fight their way through the forests toward Kirov, and that the enemy at Kirov will support these breakout attempts by launching an attack of his own.

He also notes in passing that the Soviet troops trapped on the Volkhov "are running short of food."

Battle of the Black Sea: German Kriegsmarine motor torpedo boat S 102 torpedoes and sinks 2048-ton Soviet freighter Belostok near Balaklava, Crimea. There are 388 deaths.

An Italian mini-submarine scores another success when it sinks another Soviet submarine sailing on the surface near Cape Sarych, Crimea. This is the second such sinking in four nights.

British POWs in North Africa, 18 June 1942
British POWs under guard behind barbed wire, near Bir Hacheim, North Africa, 18 June 1942 (Bockelmann, Werner, Federal Archives Picture 101I-443-1583-11).

Battle of the Pacific: Three 11th Air Force USAAF B-17s, an LB-30, and four B-24 bombers attack Japanese shipping at Kiska in the Aleutian Islands and sink 6537-ton Japanese oiler Nissan Maru. There is one death. One B-24 is lost with casualties, the Japanese possibly lose two scout planes.

Japanese aircraft raiding Port Moresby bomb and badly damage 4561-ton Australian passenger ship MV Macdhui. There are 10 deaths. The ship's remains are still visible on the reef south of Tatana Island.

Japanese  2206-ton freighter Tairyu Maru runs aground and is wrecked off Gyoji Island, Korea. Casualties are unknown.

Luftwaffe Bf 109 over North Africa, 18 June 1942
A Bf 109 fighter of JG 53 escorting a reconnaissance plane in North Africa (Bockelmann, Werner, Federal Archive Picture 101I-443-1588-09).

Battle of the Atlantic: U-159 (Kptlt. Helmut Friedrich Witte), on its second patrol out of Lorient, uses its deck gun to sink 1417-ton Dutch freighter Flora north of Manaure, Colombia. Conserving torpedoes is important on these missions far from home port, so U-boat captains like to use their gun instead of torpedoes even though it is somewhat riskier and less certain. There are one death and 36 survivors, who are briefly questioned by the U-boat crew and then land on the Colombian coast on 19 June. The ship is only in this location because it picked up some survivors from two other recently sunk ships, Surrey and Ardenvohr, and dropped them off at Cristobal.

U-172 (Kptlt. Carl Emmermann), also on its second patrol out of Lorient, similarly uses its deck gun to sink a ship in the Caribbean, this one 1958-ton British tanker Motorex northwest of Colón, Panama. There are one death and 20 survivors. This is a continuation of a quite successful patrol for U-172, which now has sunk seven ships and is running low on torpedoes.

U-124 (Kptlt. Johann Mohr), on its ninth patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and badly damages U.S. tanker Seattle Spirit south of Greenland/ east of Newfoundland and Labrador. Seattle Spirit is sailing with Convoy ONS-102 in rough seas. The ship is armed, but the sinking takes place too quickly to use the guns. One of four torpedoes hits in the engine room and the ship quickly floods, but the crew and seven Canadian passengers manage to get off in three lifeboats. There are four deaths and 51 survivors, who are picked up by HMCS Agassiz. The Canadian corvette then scuttles Seattle Spirit. After this, Mohr heads back to base having sunk seven ships of 32,429 tons on this patrol.

Royal Navy destroyer HMS Albrighton, accompanied by steam gun boats HM SGB 6, 7, and 8, sinks German minesweeper R 41 during a sweep of the Seine Bay. The British lose SGB 7 during the raid. 

During the same action, German 810-ton freighter Turquoise is running from the gunboats when it runs aground six nautical miles (11 km) from Port-en-Bessin-Huppain, Lower Normandy, France. The ship is a total loss.

Luftwaffe Me 110 in North Africa, 18 June 1942
A Luftwaffe Lieutenant on the field telephone in front of an Me 110 fighter plane in North Africa near Bir Hacheim, 18 June 1942 (Bockelmann, Werner, Federal Archives Picture 101I-443-1588-11). 

Battle of the Mediterranean: German General Erwin Rommel's panzers advance rapidly against fading British resistance, reaching Gambut (Kambut), Libya. This is the site of a major RAF base, and the airfield is perfectly positioned for the Luftwaffe to bomb Tobruk.

Now on the outskirts of the port, Rommel's troops advance with their 2 German and one Italian armored divisions for a frontal assault after clearing out any pockets of resistance. Rommel's plan is to attack the southeastern perimeter, held by the 2/7th Gurka Rifles at the coast and the 2/5th Mahrattas and 2nd Cameron Highlands further inland, in a couple of days. He will use his two German panzer divisions, 15 and 21 Panzer, near the coast and the Italian Trieste and Ariete Divisions further inland.

British tug SS Vsion sinks at Mersa Matruh, Egypt, of unknown causes. No casualties.

An unusual German rescue concludes when U-83 makes port in Messina, Italy. The U-boat rescued the crew of a downed DO-24T-2 of Seenofstaffel 7 based at Suda (Souda), Crete. The Dornier had rescued a downed Bf-109 pilot, Lt. Heinrich Hesse of 7./JG 53, but then lost its tail while trying to take off and been left floating aimlessly in the Mediterranean. U-83 then was vectored to the Dornier by a passing Heinkel He 111.

New York Times, 18 June 1942
The 18 June 1942 NY Times manages to get every key fact in its headlines wrong in a jingoistic sort of way.

Spy Stuff: There are now two German spy rings in the United States operating as Operation Pastorius. One ring is in a Manhattan hotel, while the other is traveling north by train from their landing at Ponte Vedra, Florida. The leader of the New York group, George John Dasch, already has begun the process of turning himself and his confederates over to the FBI, but for now, both groups remain unrestrained and with full freedom of action.

POWs: The first of two wartime prisoner exchanges between the Allies and Japan begins today. The U.S. government has chartered the Swedish cruise ship M.S. Gripsholm for such exchanges, and today it leaves with a load of Japanese civilians for Rio de Janeiro and then Mozambique, where the exchange is to be made. Spain represents Japan and Switzerland represents the Allies in these negotiations. The Gripsholm's passengers are mainly Japanese diplomats or businessmen who happened to be in the U.S. when war broke out. The Japanese have brought1554 Allied prisoners there to be picked up by the Gripsholm. The Japanese prisoners are picked up in Mozambique and taken to Japan aboard the Asamu Maru and Conte Verde. The Gripsholm will arrive back in New York on 25 August with its exchanged Allied prisoners. The next exchange will be in August 1943.

German Military: Luftwaffe squadron 7./JG 54 moves to Kotly near Leningrad and begins sweeps to protect German minesweepers in the Gulf of Finland.

Having been placed on leave for getting his 100th victory, Luftwaffe ace Oblt. Hans-Joachim Marseille of 3./JG 27 is informed that he has been awarded the Schwerter (swords) to his Ritterkreuz (Iron Cross). Marseille departs from North Africa for Fuhrer Headquarters on a Junker Ju 52/3m.

British Army Stuart tanks in North Africa, 18 June 1942
Two Stuart tanks advancing in the Western Desert, 18 June 1942 © IWM E 13534.

US Military: Bernard Whitfield Robinson becomes the first black U.S. Navy commissioned officer.

The air echelon of the 69th Bombardment Squadron, 38th BG (Medium) flies from Hickam Field in Hawaii with its B-26s to New Caledonia. It will fly reconnaissance missions for the rest of the year.

Major General Carl Spaatz arrives in London to formally take command of Eighth Air Force.

The U.S military begins developing the first medical air evacuation service. This will begin operation later in the year during the construction of the Alcan Highway and in Burma, New Guinea, and Guadalcanal.

German Homefront: Following a lengthy investigation when a partisan provides information in exchange for cash, German troops find and gun down the two assassins of Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia Reinhard Heydrich. The two men, Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík, are found in Cyril and Methodius Cathedral in Prague. After a ferocious six-hour gun battle, German security troops overcome the opposition at a cost of 14 of their own number. This follows a brutal two-week period during which 13,000 Czechs are arrested and tortured. The two men, flown into the Reich as part of British/Czech Operation Anthropoid, receive many posthumous honors.

British Homefront: Free French leader Charles de Gaulle gives a "unity" speech at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

American Homefront: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C. The Americans want to invade France, but Churchill convinces them that invading French North Africa makes more sense. The two sides also discuss atomic research and agree to share information. This is not the best time for Churchill to be visiting, with his troops struggling in North Africa, but everything seemed fine when he left London.

Future History: James Paul McCartney is born in Liverpool, England to a volunteer firefighter, James, and a licensed nurse. Both parents are of Irish descent. An excellent student, McCartney tests into the Liverpool Institute grammar school in 1953, and around this time his father encourages him to embrace music. One day on the bus to the Institute, he meets younger student George Harrison. McCartney's mother passes away on 31 October 1956, and on 6 July 1957 he meets older John Lennon at a church festival. Lennon leads a band, the Quarrymen, and McCartney soon joins, followed a year later by Harrison. The band has some local success and in 1960 gets a gig in Hamburg, Germany. After several personnel changes, the band renames itself The Beatles and goes on to international success, with McCartney and Lennon writing the vast majority of their oeuvre. As of this writing, McCartney remains a performer, songwriter, and influencer in the music scene while leading his own band.

Roger Joseph Ebert is born in Urbana, Illinois. He becomes a celebrity film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times until his death on 4 April 2013, hosting television review shows along with Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel. 

Nicholas John Tate is born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. He becomes a character actor best known for roles in "Space: 1999" in the 1970s and the Australian soap opera "Sons and Daughters." He remains active as an actor as of this writing.

Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki is born in Mbewuleni, Eastern Cape, South Africa. He becomes the second president of South Africa, following Nelson Mandela, from 14 June 1999 to 24 September 2008. He remains active in South African politics as of this writing.

A Japanese decoy airfield on Kiska in the Aleutians, 18 June 1942
Japanese decoy "aircraft" on Kiska Island in the Aleutians, 18 June 1942 (U.S. Navy).


Sunday, August 21, 2022

June 17, 1942: The Mersa Matruh Stakes Begin

Wednesday 17 June 1942

Maxim Gorki fortress after the German capture 17 June 1942
Maxim Gorki fort after the German capture, 17 June 1942 (Glanz, Federal Archive RH 82 Bild-00146).  

Battle of the Mediterranean: The North African campaign breaks wide open on 17 June 1942 as British attempts at forming a new defensive line east of Tobruk fail. The British 8th Army continues to lose its grip on the approaches to Tobruk. Before dawn, it evacuates the defensive box at El Adem, and later in the day at Sidi Rezegh. A counterattack by the British 4th Armored Brigade at Sidi Rezegh loses 30% of its tanks.

Afrika Korps commander General Erwin Rommel leads the 21st Panzer Division personally in his command car. They take RAF Gambut by 22:00, capturing 15 flyable aircraft and fuel supplies. The panzers reach the coastal road south to Bardia at 23:30, effectively encircling Tobruk and cutting its defenders off from Egypt except by naval resupply. 

June 17, 1942, is usually considered the start of the second siege of Tobruk (the first being a successful British/ Australian defense from 10 April - 17 December 1941). This is a disaster that stuns Winston Churchill and makes him look around for yet another military commander in North Africa.

The situation is chaotic for the British, and General Ritchie orders the complete abandonment of Libya by any British forces that can escape. They are to head for Mersa Matruh, Egypt - if they can make it there ahead of General Rommel's panzers (a garrison of 30,000 is left in Tobruk). This becomes known sarcastically within the 8th Army as the "Mersa Matruh Stakes" (after horseracing Stakes races) and the "Gazala Gallop." Mersa Matruh is a full 100 miles/ 160 km to the east and the Afrika Korps appears to be unstoppable, so the need for speed is evident.

The Staffelkapitaen of 3./JG 27, Oblt. Hans-Joachim Marseilles, raises his victory score to 99 early in the day. Toward sunset, his fellow pilots convince him to fly another mission to hit the century mark, and indeed that is what happens. Marseilles shoots down a lone Hawker Hurricane south of Gambut Airfield,, becoming only the 11th Luftwaffe fighter to hit that mark and the first to do so entirely against the Western Allies (victories against the Russians are considered much easier). But Marseilles does not stop there, he also climbs from his first "low victory" to claim a high-flying Photo-reconnaissance Spitfire for victory 101. He claims another six RAF planes in total during the day. JG 27 is aided by recaptured airbases closer to the front, its new Ain-el-Gazala base was recaptured only on 16 June.

Having become a propaganda hero now when not long ago he was considered something of a malcontent and screwup, Marseilles now is put on a 2-month leave and sent to Fuhrer Headquarters to receive a new decoration.

Germans at Soviet Fort Maxim Gorki 17 June 1942
Germans enter shattered Fort Maxim Gorki, 17 June 1942 (Glanz, Federal Archive RH 82 Bild-00150).

Eastern Front: There are still Soviet holdouts in the Maxim Gorki fortress in Crimea who control underground passages and some gun emplacements. These need to be eliminated to clear the way to Severnaya Bay and take Sevastopol from the north. A Junkers Ju 87 Stuka pilot, Oberleutnant Maue, scores a direct hit on the fort's 30.5cm eastern naval gun, knocking it out. Heavy siege howitzers (such as the massive Dora and Karl guns) are working on the other heavy Soviet guns and Wehrmacht engineers who reach the fort late in the day. There still are about 1000 Soviets hiding out in the three-level fortress.

Luftwaffe General Wolfram von Richthofen, already ordered to report to a new assignment but still in the theater until the 23rd, writes:

During the night, the 54th Army Corps positioned itself, then overran the Red front lines and took the majority of the forts north of Severnaya Bay. We [the Luftwaffe] pin down the artillery east of Sevastopol and at the front and destroy much. We [hit] the forts again and again.

Richthofen is not exaggerating - the Luftwaffe has flown a total of 3899 sorties and dropped 3086 tons of bombs since 13 June. Later in the day, he adds in typical WWII German Nietzschean rhetoric that "our giant fire-magic fell on Battery Headland. The infantry were very enthusiastic!"

Around this date - the German and Soviet versions differ on several key points, including the dates - Soviet General Belov, who is leading a large mixed force of Soviet troops and partisans, escapes a huge German dragnet for him. He escapes with some of his men (again, how many is unclear) across the Rollbahn (main road) that the Germans control about ten miles east of Roslavl. Reflecting an enduring and somewhat bizarre German fascination with some adversaries, General Franz Halder writes in his war diary:

Cavalry Corps Belov is now floating around the area west of Kirov. Quite a man, that we have to send no less than seven divisions after him.

Halder does not mention that Belov has accomplished little beyond making the Germans ignore other important things to focus on him as he hides out in the woods and swamps near Bryansk.

The remaining Soviet pocket in the north near Velizh also receives attention in Halder's notes for the day:

In [the] North, we have neither positive nor negative evidence on the enemy's intention of giving up the Velizh pocket. In any event, [Army Group] North has freed the larger part of Eight Armored Divisions for a southward drive through Demyansk. On the Volkhov, attacks were again repelled and the sack further compressed.

Unknown to Halder, who has been paying little attention to this sector (which probably reflects the same about Hitler), the Volkhov pocket contains a very big prize: Soviet General Andrey Vlasov, the leader of Second Shock Army. His forces penetrated deep into the German lines during the latter stages of the winter counteroffensive, but now they are trapped. Unlike Belov, he has little hope of escape on the ground, and he refuses to abandon his men and fly out. Unknown to anyone but himself, Vlasov also is an anti-Bolshevist who believes that Stalin is an enemy of the people. Or, perhaps he is just the ultimate opportunist. In any event, with no way to fight out of the trap his army is in and little hope of rehabilitating his career following this complete defeat, Vlasov soon must make important and far-reaching decisions about his allegiance.

Hangar deck of USS Long Island, 17 June 1942
A Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat on the hangar deck of escort carrier USS Long Island (AVG-1), 17 June 1942. Also visible are other Wildcats and a Curtiss SOC-3A Seagull (Naval History & Heritage Command 80-G-14524).

Battle of the Pacific: The USAAF 11th Air Force plans a bombing run on the Japanese positions on Kiska Harbor, but it is scrubbed due to bad weather. Other patrol missions also are canceled.

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Saratoga flies off P-40s of the 73rd Fighter Squadron, 18th Fighter Group to Midway Island. These replace planes lost during the Battle of Midway. The P-40s immediately commence dawn to dusk patrols that last until 23 June 1943.

Syracuse Post-Standard, 17 June 1942
The Syracuse, New York, Post-Standard has quite a fanciful headline about a supposed battering of the Italian Fleet. In fact, there were no "U.S. Fliers" involved in the battle of 15 June 1942, and it was the British Fleet, not the Italian, that was "battered." This particularly egregious headline reflects the standards during the first year of the (U.S.) war, when there were insufficient "good" military successes and so some were just fabricated by the press to sell newspapers.

European Air Operations: The Bay of Biscay is of vital importance to the Axis as the route of U-boats to the open ocean, so it maintains constant patrols. British destroyer HMS Wild Swan, sailing through a pack of Spanish trawlers after refueling as a convoy escort (not of the trawlers, the convoy is over the horizon), is spotted and attacked by a dozen Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 88 bombers. At the cost of six of their own planes, the bombers score four near-misses that destroy Wild Swan's steering control. It collides with one of the trawlers, and both ships sink. The bombers also sink three other trawlers. There are 31 dead due to exposure after the sinking, with 133 survivors and 11 additional survivors from the trawler Wild Swan had collided with (some sources say there are 158 total survivors, perhaps including some from the other sunk trawlers, all picked up in any event by HMS Vansittart). Wild Swan commander Claude Sclater receives the DSO for the gallant action despite losing his ship.

Michigan Daily, 17 June 1942
The Michigan Daily of 17 June 1942 buries a gripping story of tourists in Virginia Beach, Virginia, watching U-boat sinkings. Much more prominence is given on the same page to a water main break in Seattle. 

Battle of the Atlantic: U-129 torpedoes and sinks 3274-ton U.S. freighter Millinocket north of La Isabela, Cuba. There are 11 dead and 24 survivors, who are picked up by Cuban fishing boats.

U-158 torpedoes 1560-ton Norwegian tanker Moira southeast of Port Isabel, Texas. There are one dead and 18 survivors, who are rescued by U.S. fishing boats. 

U-158 gets a second victim, 3601-ton Panamanian freighter San Blas, east of Matamoros, Mexico/McAllen, Texas. There are 30 deaths and 14 survivors, who are picked up by a U.S. Navy Consolidated PBY Catalina.

Axis mines laid in the Chesapeake Bay by U-701 (Kptlt. Horst Degen) early on 13 June 1942 claim another victim, 7177-ton U.S. collier Santore. The ship capsizes and sinks in less than two minutes. The burning ship can be seen from shore. There are three deaths and 43 survivors, who are rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. The wreck is raised and scrapped in 1954. This mining of Chesapeake Bay claims five ships (only 15 mines were laid) and is considered the most successful mining operation in American waters during World War II.

Spy Stuff: Either later on 16 June or early on 17 June, U-202 lands four German agents at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. They follow four other German spies who landed on Long Island on 12/13 June as part of Operation Pastorius. The New York group (or at least their leader) already is planning to defect to the FBI. Unlike the other group, the Florida spies do not wear their uniforms ashore, only bathing suits and their military caps. They promptly put on civilian attire and board trains to Chicago, Illinois, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Joyce Randolph on cover of first issue of Yank, 17 June 1942
Actress Joyce Randolph on the premiere cover of "Yank" magazine, 17 June 1942. Randolph, 97 as of the time of writing, becomes famous as Trixie Norton on "The Honeymooners." 

US Military: Flight Captain Jackie Cochran, RAF Air Transport Auxiliary, who will go on to form the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), begins a mission that will see her become the first woman to ferry a bomber across the Atlantic. She leaves Montreal to pick up her plane at Gander, Newfoundland and will arrive in the British Isles on 19 June aboard her twin-engine Lockheed Model 414 Hudson Mk.V. 

Today is the first issue of "Yank, the Army Weekly." It is written by enlisted rank soldiers. Never available for public purchase, "Yank" eventually reaches a circulation of over 2.5 million in 41 countries. It lasts until the last day of 1945. Popular cartoons include "G.I. Joe," "Sad Sack," and work by Bil Keane of Family Circus. The 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss revives the magazine in 2014.

President Roosevelt signs a bill raising the minimum service pay to $50 per month.

Japanese Homefront: Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo survives an assassination attempt by 31-year-old Park Soowon of Korea. Tojo is hit in the left arm near the old war ministry building in Tokyo. Soowon is immediately dispatched in a hail of bullets.

Radio Tokyo today finally acknowledges the Doolittle Raid of mid-April, calling it a “stunt raid of very little consequence.” While this, in actuality, is quite true, it was a great morale boost for the Allied side. The propaganda newscaster goes to great lengths to point out that only 11 crewmen escaped to Cairo and the remaining 61 were being hunted down or were dead already (a great exaggeration). The Americans are warned that further "pointless stunts" will result in harsh reprisals and "100% loss" of the enemy fliers. 

American Homefront: President Roosevelt orders the Army to oversee the construction of an atomic weapons complex. This will be done by the US Army Corps of Engineers. This is the first step in the building of the Oak Ridge, Tennessee nuclear facility, Hanford, Washington, reactor, and the weapons lab at Los Alamos, New Mexico as part of the Manhattan Project. 

Green Bay Packers newsletter, 17 June 1942
A Green Bay Packers newsletter dated 17 June 1942. Reflecting the times, it contains a "Packers Honor Roll" of players now serving in the armed forces.


June 16, 1942: German Breakthrough in Crimea

Tuesday 16 June 1942

Focke Wulf Fw 190A, 16 June 1942
Focke Wulf Fw 190A 3.JG2 Yellow 13 Josef Heinzeller WNr 325 France June 16 1942.

Eastern Front: As 16 June 1942 begins in Crimea, General Manstein's 11th Army is still blocked on the approaches to Sevastopol. However, there are glimmers of hope for the Wehrmacht in the northern axis of attack. The main remaining obstacle there is the Soviet Maxim Gorky fort. At dawn, 27 Stukas from II./StG 77 attack, and then the 132nd Division breaks through the decimated Soviet line and takes the fort in a stunningly swift attack. The Soviet holdouts, unwilling to accept defeat, do as others before they have done at Kerch, Brest-Litovsk, and elsewhere and retreat to underground galleries rather than surrender. They hold out until the 20th.

This begins a general crumbling of the entire Soviet line. Using heavy artillery and remote-controlled Goliath tracked bombs and Nebelwerfer rockets, the 22nd, and 24th Infantry Divisions capture the nearby forts named Molotov, Schishkova, Volga, and Siberia. 

Soviet commander Petrov is horrified. he rushes the newly arrived 138th Naval Brigade to the breach, and this is the only thing that prevents the Germans from reaching Severnaya Bay on the 16th. But now the Soviets are badly outnumbered in the sector - the Brigade only has 2600 men - and the path into the port is now open for the Germans.

German III Panzer Corps of Field Marshal von Bock's and General Paulus' Sixth Army completes Operation Wilhelm, a small preliminary offensive across the Burluk River begun on 10 June. It meets up with VIII Corps near Belyy Kolodez. While the firstsuccessful preliminary operations sete stage for Case Blau, Wilhelm does not live up to expectations because the jaws of the pincer movement are too shallow. This allows most of the Soviet defenders of the 28th Army to escape to the east. The Germans count 24,800 prisoners. 

The German Sixth Army and First Panzer Army are now preparing for Operation Fridericus II, a similar operation slightly to the south toward Gorokhvatka on the Oskol River northeast of Izyum. It is scheduled to begin on the 17th, but Hitler is still vacationing at the Berghof, and the generals kind of assume it will be forgotten about. Hitler, however, is sending messages that he wants it done anyway, so preparations are underway to begin it on the 22nd - which is uncomfortably close to the planned start date for Blau, which was to be ready to start beginning on the 23rd.

Luftwaffe General Wolfram von Richthofen, architect of the successful (so far) air campaign in Crimea, hands over command to Oberst von Wild (he remains in the theater until 23 June), as Richthofen is heading to the main front to help with Case Blau. The two men have a meeting in which Richthofen insults von Wild, telling him he "lacked experience in every respect" and needs to share power with Richthofen's (and von Wild's) subordinate Oberstleutnant Christ. Von Wild, who has been in charge of anti-shipping operations, agrees to place Christ in charge of daily operations.

Jewish residents of Lazy, Poland, being deported, 16 June 1942
Deportation of Jewish residents of the mining town of Lazy, Poland (near Katowice) on 16 June 1942. They are destined for Auschwitz or, for a few, to labor camps in Bedzin and Sosnowiec (as the photo caption shows). Yad Vashem Photo Archives 757/1.  

With the Fuhrer off in Berchtesgaden and victory messages pouring in from all fronts, General Franz Halder, writing in East Prussia, is in a good mood. He captions his daily diary entry "Fuhrer away. Victories in Africa and the Mediterranean." He notes:
Notwithstanding Eleventh Army's contention that the assault had little chance of success in the absence of infantry reinforcements, the enemy's situation at Sevastopol seems to deteriorate progressively. Good gains in the southern sector. Sixth Army is regrouping preparatory to Fridericus II. They are quite short on infantry. Romanian participation is rather embarrassing. 

He also notes that General Belov's partisan force "has again broken out," which is "Nothing that we could brag about!"  The Germans have a certain admiration for Belov, who has evaded multiple attempts to catch him.

Battle of the Baltic: Soviet submarine ShCh-317 torpedoes and sinks Finnish  2513-ton freighter Argo in the Gulf of Finland between Bogskär and Utö, Finland. There are nine deaths.

Lt. Chester Namola, KIA 16 June 1942
Lt. Chester Namola a few days before his death on 16 June 1942. he had previously survived another crash landing on 28 March 1942, but today his luck runs out. There is a plaque dedicated to him at the Berridale State School in Australia, the site of that previous crash landing.

Battle of the Pacific: Japanese forces near Middleton Island, 75 nautical miles (139 km) south of Cordova, Alaska, destroy 5094-ton U.S. freighter Coldbrook. It is unclear what happens to her, either outright sunk or beached and written off.

27 Japanese Zero A6M2 fighters of the Tainan Kokutai make a sweep over Port Moresby, accompanied by an equal number of B4M ("Betty") bombers. 32 P-39 and P-400 (export version) Aircobras of the 39th and 40th Fighter Squadrons rise to the bait. A wild dogfight ensues, during which the Japanese Zeros shoot down four Aircobras and heavily damage two others (the Japanese pilots claim 17 victories) while losing none themselves (some sources say they lose two bombers and two fighters). One Allied pilot (Lt. Chester Namola) is lost (officially MIA) and the three others return to duty.

B-26 bombers of the 22nd BG and B-17s of the 19th BG bomb Lae, while B-25s of the 3rd BG attack Salamaua. The target is airfields, and good results are achieved. One escorting P-39 is lost.  

European Air Operations: The mid-war lull continues with no major operations.

U-455 returning from a mission, 16 June 1942
U-455 returns to Saint-Nazaire, France after its third wartime patrol, 16 June 1942, during which it sunk 13,908 tons of shipping (two British freighters, British Workman and Geo H. Jones, off the coast of Canada). As is customary, the commander (Kptlt. Hans-Heinrich Giessler) is presented with a bouquet of flowers. Waiting for the submarine would be mothers, wives, girlfriends, etc. (Kramer, Federal Archives Bild 101II-MW-6435-38A).

Battle of the Atlantic: U-87 (Kptlt. Joachim Berger), on its third patrol out of St. Nazaire, torpedoes and sinks 5896-ton U.S. passenger ship Cherokee northeast of Cape Cod and Provincetown, Massachusetts, using two torpedoes. There are 86 deaths and 83 survivors, who are rescued by USCGC Escanaba and freighter Norlago.

U-87 gets a second victim, 8402-ton UK freighter Port Nicholson, in the same general vicinity 30 nautical miles (56 km) east of Provincetown. This is an "accidental" sinking because Berger was firing at another ship and missed - but the errant torpedo apparently hit this ship. The Port Nicholson and Cherokee are part of Convoy XB 25. Carrying automobile parts and military stores, the Port Nicholson is a major loss. It sits in 700 feet (210 m) of water. There are six deaths and 85 survivors.

A slight mishap aboard U-455 as it enters port, 16 June 1942
Somewhat embarrassingly, one of the crew of U-455 falls into the water as it sails into port in front of the crowd of onlookers, the brass band, and top naval brass on 16 June 1942 (Kramer, Federal Archive, Bild 101II-MW-6435-34A).

U-126 (Kptlt. Ernst Bauer), on its fourth patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 6997-ton U.S. freighter Arkansan 70 nautical miles (130 km) west of Grenada in the Caribbean. The freighter crew was alert and spotted the surfaced U-boat at 02:30. Almost immediately, however, a torpedo hit, and the ship sinks in 20 minutes. There are four deaths and 36 survivors, who are picked up by USS Pastores.

U-126 gets a second victim when it torpedoes and sinks 6062-ton U.S. freighter Kahuku west of Grenada. There are 17 dead and 92 survivors, who are picked up by USS Opal, USS YP-63, and Venezuelan freighter Minataora.

U-67 (Kptlt. Günther Müller-Stöckheim), on its fourth patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 2220-ton Nicaraguan freighter Managua southeast of Key West in the Strait of Florida. The torpedo is spotted about 300 feet away but there is nothing the crew can do. The U-boat approaches a lifeboat, takes two men aboard to question them, and then returns the men and departs. All 25 aboard survive when the two lifeboats make landfall in Cuba and Pigeon Key.

U-161 (Kptlt. Albrecht Achilles), on its third patrol out of Lorient, comes across Dominican Republic 30-ton sailing vessel Nueva Altagracia northeast of Curacao and shells and sinks it. All eight crew survive because the U-boat takes them (and their cargo of fresh fruits and chickens) aboard and releases the crew to another Dominican sailing vessel they encounter, the Comercio.

Royal Navy trawler 294-ton HMT Tranquil sinks after colliding with freighter Deal east of the town of Deal in "The Downs."

German 2449-ton freighter Plus hits a mine and sinks in the Weser River.

HMAS Pribilof shortly before being scuttled, 16 June 1942
HMAS Nestor sitting low in the water with bomb damage prior to being scuttled south of Crete, 16 June 1942 (Australian War Memorial 301085)

Battle of the Mediterranean: The British disaster that is Operation Vigorous is heading back toward Alexandria in tatters, but before it reaches safety it suffers another crushing loss. U-205 (Korvettenkapitän Franz-Georg Reschke) torpedoes and sinks the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hermione south of Crete. The cruiser quickly capsizes, with 88 dead and about 400 survivors. 

Air attacks (unclear if by Stukas or the Italians) during the evening of the 15th crippled the Australian destroyer HMAS Nestor. While under tow on the 16th, the ship settles too low in the order and the tow line breaks twice - due to fears of enemy action, it must be scuttled. Built by a Scottish shipbuilding company on the Clyde, Nestor never sees Australia, the only major HMAS warship with that claim. 

After this, Operation Julius (the combined convoy operation from both ends of the Mediterranean to Malta) is over. Only two of six freighters sailing from Gibraltar as part of Operation Harpoon have made it to Malta, while none from Operation Vigorous sailing from Alexandria have made it. The shattered remnants reach port in the evening. While quickly forgotten like a bad dream by the British, it is the greatest victory of the war for the Italian Navy. Admiral Harwood writes today that "We are outnumbered both in surface ships and Air Force and very gallant endeavor of all concerned cannot make up for...the deficiency." He later blames the loss on insufficient RAF support.

Polish Navy destroyer OPR Kujawiak hits a mine near Malta and sinks. There are 13 deaths and 147 survivors.

On land, the German advance toward Tobruk is achieving its objectives. Today, it forces British defenders at Point 187 to evacuate and puts two other defensive positions at El Adem and Sidi Rezegh under extreme pressure. This is the last line of defense before the port itself.

South African Major John Frost, the highest-scoring ace of the SAAF with 15 victories (some South Africans flying with the RAF have more), goes missing after being shot down while escorting Douglas Bostons near Bir Hakeim. He may have fallen victim to Luftwaffe ace Hans-Joachim Marseille, who is credited with 6 victories during the day, or Günter Steinhausen with 4 victories today. Frost and his plane have never been found.

US Military: Congress authorizes an increase in the number of US Navy airships to 200. These are used primarily for coastal reconnaissance and convoy protection, and sometimes for tasks such as the one that delivered important supplies to the ships heading for Japan during the Doolittle Raid in April 1942.

Refugees of the Pribilof Islands being taken to camps in Alaska, 16 June 1942
Unangan people from the Pribilof Islands travel to Southeast Alaska aboard the USAT Delarof, 15-16 June 1942. These evacuations to internment camps are "for their own protection." (Image titled “nara_80_g_12163”: National Archives and Records Administration, NARA-80-G-12163).

US Government: Executive Order 9181 is published in the Federal Register today. It provides for the administration of federal government services in Alaska, specifically the establishment of the Alaska War Council to be headed by the Governor. EO 9181 orders that military leaders "to the fullest extent possible, give consideration to civilian needs and problems arising from the war situation in Alaska." It is obvious from the text that the military now has the final say over policy in Alaska.

U-455 returning from a mission, 16 June 1942
The crew of U-455 assembled for its return to port, 16 June 1942 (Kramer, Federal Archive Image 101II-MW-6434-27).

American Homefront: Universal Pictures releases "Eagle Squadron," a standard patriotic offering for the time based on a story by C.S. Forester (of Horatio Hornblower fame). The film, directed by Arthur Lubin and starring Robert Stack, Diana Barrymore, and John Loder, is a big success. Alan Hale Jr. (later star of "Gilligan's Island"), who enters the U.S. Coast Guard around this time, appears in a small role.

Future History: John Rostill is born in Birmingham, England. He begins performing with bands in the 1950s and achieves his greatest fame as bassist and composer for The Shadows. John Rostill passes away on 26 November 1973, aged 31, after overdosing on barbituates in a death ruled a "suicide while in a depressed state of mind." 

Giacomo Agostini is born in Brescia, Italy. He becomes a top motorcycle racer, with 122 Grand Prix wins and 15 World Championship titles in the 1960s and 1970s. He appears to be retired as of this writing.

Eddie Levert is born in Bessemer, Alabama. He becomes the lead vocalist of the singing group The O'Jays and currently still performs with that group.

German patrol boats off St. Nazaire, 16 June 1942
A German patrol vessel at sea off St. Nazaire, 16 June 1942 (Kramer, Federal Archive Picture 101II-MW-6435-04A).


Sunday, August 14, 2022

June 15, 1942: Great Day For The Italian Navy

Monday 15 June 1942

HMS Bedouin sinks near Pantelleria, 15 June 1942
Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer HMS Bedouin sinking during Operation Harpoon, 15 June 1942 (Ministero Della Difesa-Aeronautica, Regia Aeronautica). 

Battle of the Mediterranean: The Italian military gets a lot of grief from post-war armchair generals, but the navy proves it can fight and inflict heavy damage on 15 June 1942. This becomes known as the Battle of Pantelleria and merits a later visit (25 June) by Mussolino to congratulate the crews. Of course, the Battle of Pantelleria (In Italy, "Battaglia di Mezzo Giugno") is not played up in Allied post-war histories, rarely mentioned except occasionally as just another convoy battle.

The disaster that is Operation Julius, a conventional British resupply of Malta from both ends of the Mediterranean simultaneously, continues with more Allied losses. The situation has become so chaotic and untenable that the eastern half of the operation, Operation Harpoon, is temporarily called off, but then the order is reversed due to the "fog of war" - overly optimistic reports from Allied aircrews sent to attack the Italian fleet. 

It is a day of repeated Axis air attacks, many near misses and bombers shot down, and lost opportunities. After dark, Admiral Harwood finally cancels Operation Vigorous. Most of the ships are lost due to mines and the Italian surface fleet - two of the original six freighters make it to Malta despite the cancellation, delivering 15,241 tons of supplies. The failure of the tanker Kentucky to make port causes a fuel crisis on the island.

Italian Regia Aeronautica aircraft, which have been particularly effective during these attacks, bomb and severely damage Australian destroyer Nestor off Crete. It survives until the 16th, when it must be scuttled.

German E-boat S-56 (some sources say S-66) torpedoes Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Newcastle, severely damaging it. Newcastle does not become operational again until March 1943. British destroyer Hasty, damaged in the same way by E-boat S-55 before dawn, must be scuttled off Crete.

The Italian surface fleet also gets into the act. At dawn, Italian cruisers aided by the Regia Aeronautica hit the British off Pantelleria south of Sicily. Air attacks disable British tanker Kentucky (9457 tons) and freighters Chant, Bedouin, and Burdwan - all eventually sink due to naval gunfire or torpedoes.   

The British are able to strike back, though the weight of arms is heavily against them. Four Wellingtons out of Malta attack the Italian ships and score a torpedo hit on the cruiser Trento. Royal Navy submarines Maydon and Ultimatum spot battleship Vittorio Veneto and attempt attacks, but with no success due to the effective screen of cruisers. Submarine Umbra later finds Trento, dead in the water, and sinks it with two torpedoes.

Littorio bomb damage 15 June 1942
Damage to battleship Littorio from a 500-lb bomb hit by a USAAF B-24. The bomb apparently hit Turret No. 1, killing one man and injuring 12 but causing only superficial damage to the turret.

The Italian fleet, less Trento, continues south and is attacked by B-24 bombers, with battleship Littorio taking a hit from a 500-lb bomb and, much later, a torpedo hit that causes little damage. A later RAF attack and a dogfight ensues, the Luftwaffe shooting down two Beauforts and badly damaging five others (one crashes).

Ships Lost:

  • Trento (Italian cruiser) - 570 dead, 581 survivors.
  • HMS Airedale (destroyer) - 45 dead, 133 survivors
  • HMS Bedouin (destroyer) - 28 dead, 213 survivors
  • HMAS Nestor (destroyer) - four dead, scuttled 16 June.
  • Burdwan (6,069-ton British freighter)  
  • Chant (5601-ton U.S. freighter) - four dead, 81 survivors.
  • Kentucky (9308-ton British tanker) - damaged by Stukas, finished off by Italian surface fleet.
  • Burdwan (6069-ton British freighter) - damaged by Stukas, finished off by Italian surface ships.
  • HMS Newcastle (Town-class cruiser) - torpedoed and damage by S 56, towed to port and returned to service in March 1943.
  • Italian 215-ton minesweeper RD 7 - hits a mine and sinks off Saronikus, Greece.

On land, the situation is even worse for the British. Their struggling forces are pushed out of Knightsbridge, the Point 650 box lost, and General Erwin Rommel's 21st Panzer Division reaches Sidi Rezegh. The 15th Panzer Division cuts the road east of Tobruk, but the South African Division escapes before then. The struggling British Eighth Army does get some relief because the Luftwaffe is occupied with the convoys out at sea. This is one of the darkest days of the Mediterranean campaign for the British, with the certainty of more bad days to follow as they draw back on Tobruk.

The Fuhrer's staff apparently is pleased, and in any event he is still at the Berghof, so it is a good day at headquarters in East Prussia. General Franz Halder notes in the war diary that "Army Corps 'Africa' has broken through to the coast west of Toburk. Cheering success!

General Erwin Rommel, June 1942 North Africa
Colonel-General Erwin Rommel with Major-General Georg von Bismarck, commander of the 21st Panzer Division, ca. 15 June 1942 (Otto, Albrecht Heinrich, Federal Archive Picture 101I-785-0286-31).

Eastern Front: General Manstein's attack toward Sevastopol continues making good progress, especially in the north. The Soviets are still fighting hard, though, and have plenty of ammunition remaining. Heavy operations continue on land, air, and sea, where an Italian mini-submarine has an unusual success when it torpedoes and sinks a surfaced Soviet submarine sailing off Cape Sarych. at Fuhrer Headquarters, General Franz Halder notes blandly in his war diary, "Advancing in southern and northern sector Sevastopol, and at Volchansk."

The German 132nd Division is leading the main attack in the north and now is within 900 meters of the Maxim Gorky fortress perimeter. The Soviet defenders of the 95th Rifle Division and 7th Naval Brigade are down to just 1000 men - basically, a single regiment. However, the Wehrmacht also has taken a staggering number of casualties just to get this far.

In the south, the Germans are stopped before Balaklava and the Soviets still hold the critical Sapun Ridge. Somewhat dismaying for the Germans is that they have captured only about 1000 Soviet soldiers but a staggering 1500 mortar projectiles, suggesting the defenders have plenty of ammunition while they themselves are always short.

The Luftwaffe, though, is making up for the German deficiencies on the ground. It has been averaging about 780 sorties a day since the start of the offensive with virtually no let-up. Attacks on Sevastopol cause first that can be seen in Feodosiya, 150 km away. From 13-17 June, the planes drop 3,086 tons of bombs.

Luftwaffe General Wolfram von Richtofen, a chief architect of the brewing German success at Sevastopol (and who rightfully deserves as much credit as Manstein), gets news that disgusts him. Reichsmarschall Goering phones him - usually quite an honor - and informs him that he is to be transferred north to Kursk to prepare for Case Blue - the summer attack toward Stalingrad. He will retain control of Fliegerkorps VIII, but his chief of staff, Oberstleutnant Torsten Christ, will remain behind and guide operations henceforth. 

Battle of the Baltic: Soviet submarine M-95 hits a mine east of Suursaari Island around this date, when she is declared missing. All hands are lost, the wreck is discovered in 2015. Also lost on this date is Soviet G-5-class motor torpedo boat No. 61.

Battle of Pantelleria 15 June 1942
The crew of Italian cruiser Raimondo Montecuccoli watches tanker Kentucky and freighter Burdwan burn, 15 June 1942 (Regia Marina).

Battle of the Pacific: Following the decisive victory at Midway, the Americans are reorganizing and making new plans. Admiral Nimitz reorganizes his carrier force, making Admiral Fitch temporarily commander of Task Force 11 in place of Admiral Fletcher, who takes a badly needed break for a couple of weeks. The first plan for Task Force 11 is to resupply Midway with aircraft. Later it is to head to the Southwest Pacific in July.

In the Aleutian Islands, bad weather aborts a bombing mission to Kiska Island by 3 B-17 and 2 B-24 bombers of the 11th Air Force.

US Navy submarine USS Seawolf torpedoes and sinks Japanese auxiliary gunboat Nampo Maru off Corregidor.

European Air Operations: Major General Carl Spaatz, new Commanding General of the USAAF's 8th Air Force, arrives to take up his command in the UK. The VIII Bomber Command establishes the 1st Bombardment Wing (Provisional) at Brampton Grange, England.

U-751 commander Gerhard Bigalk, 15 June 1942
U-751 commander Gerhard Bigalk at St. Nazaire, 15 June 1942. He has just this day returned from U-751's sixth war patrol, during which it has sunk two American ships totaling 4555 tons of shipping (Federal Archive Bild 101II-MW-6433-39).

Battle of the Atlantic: U-172 (Kptlt. Carl Emmermann), on its second patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 2438-ton Norwegian freighter Bennestvet in the Caribbean. There are 12 dead and 13 survivors, who are rescued by USS PC-458.

U-552 (Kptlt. Erich Topp), on its ninth patrol out of St. Nazaire, has a big day against a British convoy, with five ships sunk. This is one of the top totals of the war. He sinks 15,858 tons of shipping in one day in one convoy not too far from his base and then quickly heads back to port to stock up again on torpedoes.

First, it torpedoes and sinks 2759-ton British freighter City of Oxford west of Cape Finisterre, Spain. It is part of convoy HG 84. There are one death and 42 survivors, who are picked up by freighter Stockport.

U-552 gets another one in the same convoy in the same general vicinity west of A Coruña, Spain. This victim is 1943-ton British freighter Etrib. There are four deaths and 41 survivors, who are rescued by HMS Marigold.

U-552's third victim in the convoy is 1346-ton British freighter Pelayo. There are 17 deaths and 30 survivors, rescued by freighter Copeland.

U-552's fourth ship is the 2436-ton British freighter Thurso. There are 13 deaths and 28 survivors, rescued by HMS Marigold.

U-552 also gets a fifth victim, Royal Navy 7374-ton tanker Slemdal, also 400 nautical miles northwest of A Coruña. All 37 crew survive. It is unconfirmed whether this was by U-552.

Battle of Pantelleria 15 June 1942
Italian destroyers watch Allied ships burn, 15 June 1942. Photo taken from destroyer Oriani, with Ascari and Oriani ahead.

U-502 (Kptlt. Jürgen von Rosenstiel), on its fourth patrol out of Lorient, also has a big day. It sinks three ships to end its patrol with 54,045 tons of shipping sunk.

First, it torpedoes and sinks 5010-ton Panamanian freighter Cold Harbor 100 nautical miles (190 km) northwest of Trinidad. There are seven deaths and 44 survivors, who are rescued by U.S. ships Exmouth and Kahlua and U.S.S. Opal.

U-502 also torpedoes and sinks 8001-ton U.S. freighter Scottsburg 90 nautical miles (170 km) west of Grenada. There are five dead and 46 survivors, rescued by U.S. ship Kahuku.

U-502 also torpedoes and sinks 5702-ton U.S. Freighter West Hardaway 30 nautical miles (56 km) west of Grenada. All 50 crew are rescued by Venezuelan ship Maracaibo.

U-68 (KrvKpt. Karl-Friedrich Merten), on its fourth patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 9242-ton Vichy French tanker Frimaire northeast of Santa Maria, Columbia. All 60 crewmen perish.

U-126 (Kptlt. Ernst Bauer), on its fourth patrol out of Lorient, shells and sinks 125-ton British sailing freighter Dutch Princess east of St. Lucia and northwest of Barbados. All nine crewmen survive.

In the South Atlantic off the coast of Brazil, Italian submarine Archimede torpedoes and sinks 5586-ton Panamanian freighter Cardinia.

U-701 (Kptlt. Horst Degen), on its third patrol out of Lorient, recently has laid mines at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, and today they pay off dramatically with multiple hits.

Royal Naval trawler HMT-Kingston Ceylonite hits a mine and sinks in the Chesapeake Bay off Virginia Beach, Virginia while with Convoy KN 109. There are 18 deaths and 14 survivors. U.S. 11,615-ton tanker Robert C. Tuttle also hits a mine in the same vicinity and sinks, with one dead and 46 survivors. Tuttle, however, is later raised, repaired, and returned to service.

U.S. 9310-ton tanker F.W. Abrams sinks after hitting a U.S. mine off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on 11 June. The tanker had been hiding in the minefield for safety when it blundered into one in heavy rain, then drifted into a second one. Attempts to salvage have failed, and it finally sinks today about 20 km off Ocracoke. Every one of the 36-man crew survives, with one injured.

Royal Navy motor torpedo boat (MTB) 201 is badly damaged by German surface warships off Dover and sinks while under tow.

F.W. Abrams sinking, 15 June 1942
U.S. tanker F.W. Abrams sinking off Cape Hatteras, 15 June 1942 (The Mariner's Museum).

Spy Stuff: The leader of the German spy ring that is staying at a Manhattan hotel, George Dasch, has called the New York office of the FBI and told them about his operation in an effort to surrender. Displeased at the result, however, he sits and brews, waiting until the weekend to take a train down to Washington, D.C., to surrender.

U.S. Military: 63d Bombardment Squadron, 43d BG, 5th Air Force moves from Sydney to Charleville with its B-17s.

American Homefront: Exiled Greek King George II addresses the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.

Coogee Beach, Sydney, 15 June 1942
Coogee Beach, Sydney, Australia, 15 June 1942, taken 13,000 feet by an Adastra Airways plane as part of a survey (Royal Australian Historical Society).