Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 934 March 22, 1942

2nd Battle of Sirte. At 2.30 PM, 1 Italian battleship, 3 cruisers and 10 destroyers intercept British convoy MW10 in the Gulf of Sirte (halfway between Benghazi, Libya, and Malta). 4 British cruisers and 17 destroyers fend off the superior firepower of the Italian ships, while the 4 freighters escape under cover of a smokescreen. In the exchange of shellfire and torpedoes lasting until 7 PM, Royal Navy has 3 cruisers and 6 destroyers damaged (39 killed) while Italian battleship Littorio is slightly damaged. The battle is interrupted by a gathering storm which sinks Italian destroyers Lanciere (201 killed, 5 survivors) and Scirocco (189 killed, 2 survivors).

At 11.50 AM 50 miles Northwest of Derna, Libya, an RAF Blenheim (203 Squadron) spots U-73 on the surface and drops four 250lb anti-submarine bombs. U-73 is severely damaged and forced to abort the patrol.

Eastern Europe. Aiming to link up with the German breakout from Demyansk, German troops attack Soviet 11th Army and 1st Shock Army at Staraya Russa. Germans begin mass exterminations of Jews at Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland, by dropping Zyklon B pellets, generating cyanide gas, into bunkers crowded with 800 - 1,200 Jews.

New Guinea. At 6.30 AM, 9 Australian RAAF Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks take off from Port Moseby (led by brothers John Jackson and Les Jackson) to strafe the Japanese airfield at Lae. They destroy 14 aircraft (9 fighters and 3 bombers) out of 26 standing on the airfield and 2 Zero fighter patrolling the skies above (1 P-40 shot down).

Burma. At dawn, Chinese troops (600th Regiment, 200th Division) ambush Japanese 122nd Regiment (55th Division) advancing into Oktwin. Japanese attempt to flank the Chinese positions but are pushed back by counterattacks.

Luzon, Philippines. Following the arrival of 60 twin-engine bombers from Malaya, Japanese bomb US artillery batteries, supply depots and command centers on Bataan and Corregidor, including night bombing. Americans correctly assume this is softening up for a renewed Japanese ground offensive.

At 5.09 AM 300 miles East of Atlantic City, New Jersey, U-373 sinks British MV Thursobank (30 killed, 22 Chinese crew and 4 British officers picked up after 3 days by Norwegian tanker MV Havsten). The Chinese crew will be arrested for mutiny after throwing away their oars and refusing to share food and clothing with the British officers. 200 miles further East at 5.56 PM, U-123 sinks US tanker Muskogee (all 34 hands lost).

1 comment:

  1. On the same day, Wilhelm Furtwangler conducted the Beethoven 9th symphony in D minor "The Choral Symphony" in Berlin in presence of the nazi leaders and general public. That rendition of the 9th was recorded and is considered as one of the best ever.