Tuesday, December 24, 2019

March 10, 1942: US Navy Attacks Japanese Landings at Lae

Tuesday 10 March 1942

Raid on Lae-Salamaua area on 10 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"View from a VT-5 TBD-1, showing KIYOKAWA MARU (Japanese seaplane tender, 1937-1945) under attack. Note bomb splash astern and what may be a "hit" aft. Planes were from USS YORKTOWN (CV-5)." 10 March 1942. Naval History and Heritage Command NH 95444.
Battle of the Pacific: On the Huon Peninsula in Papua, New Guinea, Japanese landings continue on 10 March 1942. Having secured Lae and Salamaua, the Japanese take Finschhafen. Japanese aircraft based at Rabaul in the Solomon Islands support the landings and also attack Port Moresby. US Navy Task Forces 11 (Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr.) and 17 (Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher) attack the Japanese ships in the Huon Gulf. This is a technically impressive feat because the carriers are 201 km (120 miles) away and the Dauntlesses must fly over the 15,000 Owen Stanley Range to reach their target. The planes and later B-17 bombers flying from Garbutt Field at Townsville sink three Japanese transport vessels (Kongō Maru, Tenyō Maru, and Yokohama Maru) and damage several other ships. This US Navy raid has far-reaching consequences, as Japanese military strategists decide that they will need aircraft carrier support in order to take Port Moresby. This leads to the Battle of the Coral Sea.

Raid on Lae-Salamaua area on 10 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Enlargement of picture of KIYOKAWA MARU (Japanese seaplane tender, 1937-1945), showing what appears to be a bomb hole aft. Note planes on deck-three Mitsubishi F1M2 ("Pete") and one E8N2 ("Dave"). Taken by a VT-5 TBD-1, from the USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) air group." 10 March 1942. Naval History and Heritage Command NH 95446.
Pleased with the bombing attack on Hawaii (Operation K) carried out by two Kawanishi H8K "Emily" flying boats on 4 March, the Japanese try again on 10 March 1942. This time, only one flying boat takes off from Wotje Atol, once again piloted by Pilot Lieutenant Hisao Hashizume, who led the first mission. The Americans have been closely monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts about the raid and are ready and waiting for another attempt. Brewster F2A Buffalo fighters of Squadron 221 (VMF-221) intercept Hashizume's flying boat southwest of Midway Atoll, killing him and his crew. The US Navy guards the French Frigate Shoals, the refueling site being used by the Japanese, for the remainder of the war.

Raid on Lae-Salamaua area on 10 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"View is taken from a VT-5 plane, a Douglas TBD-1 "Devastator" showing ships below maneuvering off Salamaua. Plane at upper right is TBD-1 (BuNo 0319) flown by Lieutenant Joe Taylor, USN Commanding Officer of VT-5. Radioman is ACRM (PA) H. S. Nobbs, USN. Note weathered markings and individual plane No. (1) on the fuselage." 10 March 1942. Naval History and Heritage Command NH 95442.
In the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur informs Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright, Commanding General I Corps, that he will be leaving the Philippines shortly. Wainwright will take over command of all forces on Luzon. However, MacArthur makes clear that he intends to continue exercising control through orders to Colonel Lewis C. Beebe, who will be deputy chief of staff of USAFFE. MacArthur and his party, including Mrs. MacArthur, will depart from Corregidor Island to Mindanao aboard PT-41.

Japanese troops continue their occupation of the Solomon Islands, landing at Buka Island (north of Bougainville).

In Burma, the British 17th Indian Division and 7th Armoured Brigade complete a difficult withdrawal northwards to the Tharawaddy area.  Chinese troops begin arriving in the Sittang River region, covered by the 1st Burma Division.

The Japanese make Lieutenant-General Hitoshi Imamura the new governor of Java and Madura. His boss is Field Marshal Count Hisaichi Terauchi, Supreme Commander of the Southern Army.

Japanese submarine I-62 uses its deck gun to sink 235-ton British sailing ship Lakshmi Govinda in the Indian Ocean. Japanese collier Kosei Maru hits a mine and sinks in Lingayen Gulf, Philippines. There are 13 deaths on the Kosei Maru.

Raid on Lae-Salamaua area on 10 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"View taken from a VS-5 SBD shows KONGO MARU (Japanese armed merchant cruiser, 1933-1942) sinking off Lae. Note paint finish: Dark gray with light mast tops, reminiscent of U.S. Measure 1." 10 March 1942. Naval History and Heritage Command NH 95434.
Eastern Front: German Fifth Panzer Division captures part of Soviet I Guards Cavalry Corps in a pocket south of Vyazma. After this, a blizzard hits the area which stops all movement for almost a week. The unusually heavy snowfall (even for the area) hampers the Uckermann relief attempt toward the Kholm pocket and creates dangerous icing conditions on the Luftwaffe's planes that are keeping the pocket from collapsing.

European Air Operations: RAF Bomber Command launches a large raid on Essen. The raid is notable for the first use of Lancasters in a raid on a German target. All told, 126 bombers (56Wellingtons, 43 Hampdens, 13 Manchesters, 12 Stirlings, and two Lancasters) set off. However, as has often been the case recently, the results of the raid are poor due to weather conditions. Only 85 bomber crews report bombing Essen, and the authorities in Essen see only limited damage (two bombs hit railway lines near the target, the Krupps factory). There are five deaths and 12 injured. A Polish service worker perishes when a spent anti-aircraft shell explodes near him. There are subsidiary raids on Bochum, Duisburg, and Gelsenkirchen. Two bombers attack Boulogne, while another bomber attacks the Rotterdam port area.

Raid on Lae-Salamaua area on 10 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"U.S. Navy Douglas TBD-1 Devastator aircraft from torpedo squadron VT-5, assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5), prepare to attack Japanese shipping with bombs in the Huon Gulf supporting the Japanese invasion of Lae-Salamaua, New Guinea, on 10 March 1942. Two Japanese ships, possibly the auxiliary vessel Noshiro Maru and minesweeper Hagoromo Maru, can be seen making a smoke screen below in anticipation of the air attack. The first plane on the left was piloted by Joe Taylor, the second by Leonard E. Ewoldt, and the third by Francis R. Sanborn." Scanned from the book: Cressman, Robert (2004), That Gallant Ship USS Yorktown (CV-5), Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, p. 75.
Battle of the Atlantic: U-161 (Kptlt. Albrecht Achilles), on its second patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and damages two ships in the harbor of Port Castries, St. Lucia. Achilles fires two torpedoes at 04:49. The first hits 7970-ton Canadian passenger ship Lady Nelson, while the second torpedo strikes 8141-ton British freighter Umtata. While both ships sink to the harbor bottom, the silver lining for the Allies is that the harbor is shallow and both ships are later raised. There are 18 deaths on board the Lady Nelson, including fifteen passengers, but all 92 people on board the Umtata survive.

U-588 (Kptlt. Victor Vogel), on its second patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 6776-ton US tanker Gulftrade about three miles off of Barnegat Light (near Toms River, New Jersey). There are 18 dead and 16 survivors.

An unidentified U-boat or Italian submarine torpedoes and sinks 9957-ton Norwegian tanker Charles Racine in the mid-Atlantic northeast of the British Virgin Islands.

Battle of the Mediterranean: Supermarine Spitfires which only arrived on Malta on the 7th get their first kill, downing Bf 109 piloted by Heinz Rahlmeier of Luftwaffe unit 8/JG53. The victorious pilot is Flt Lt Heppell of RAF No. 249 Squadron. The Spitfires and Hurricanes disrupt attacks on Luqa airfield.

Raid on Lae-Salamaua area on 10 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Failed propagandist Jane Anderson.
Propaganda War: On 6 March 1942, Jane Anderson, a Georgia socialite (nicknamed "The Georgia Peach"), broadcast English-language propaganda from Berlin. She praised Adolf Hitler and denounced the usual targets: Jewish people, the Western press, and Winston Churchill. She described the fine dining available in Berlin. After hearing this, the Allies decide to translate the speech into German for the benefit of citizens of the Reich. They rebroadcast it today to the Reich in order to anger ordinary Germans subsisting on reduced rations with no frills. This works exactly as intended. As a result of this broadcast and its unexpected results, the German broadcasting service (Rundfunk) takes Anderson off the air.

Manhattan Project: The Office of Scientific Research and Development contracts with Johns Hopkins University to open the Applied Physics Laboratory.

Raid on Lae-Salamaua area on 10 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Douglas SBD-3 "Dauntless" dive bombers en route to the target, at an altitude of 16,000 feet. Planes are from the USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) air group." 10 March 1942.Naval History and Heritage Command NH 95435. 
US/Anglo Relations: President Roosevelt follows up his suggestions for reorganizing the war effort with another telegram to Winston Churchill. In this one, FDR broaches the delicate topic of India, which he admits "all of you good people know far more about than I." Roosevelt suggests setting up a "temporary government, headed by a small representative group covering different castes" that would lead to a "more permanent government." He justifies this suggestion by referring to "the world changes of the past half-century."

US/Iran Relations: The United States extends Lend-Lease to Iran. Iran is becoming a major conduit for aid to the Soviet Union.

US Military: US Fifth Air Force transfers the 3rd Bombardment Group and 13th Bombardment Squadron from Brisbane to Charles Towers.

A P-40E Kittyhawk of the 20th Pursuit Squadron, 4th Air Depot Group, based at Laverton piloted by Captain Joseph Potter McLaughlin crashes into mountains near Aberfeldy in Victoria, Australia. The plane and pilot's remains are not found until 1948.

Chinese Military: Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek appoints US Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell as his Chief of Staff.

Raid on Lae-Salamaua area on 10 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
British freighter Umtata, Sunk in Port Castries, St. Lucia on 10 March 1942 by U-161.
US Government: The US House of Representatives approves an increase in the national debt limit from $65 billion to $125 billion.

British Government: Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden makes a speech in the British House of Commons about Japanese atrocities in Hong Kong.

The government reports that it already has spent over nine billion pounds on the war, more than during the entire First World War.

American Homefront: Universal Pictures releases "Unseen Enemy," a wartime drama about German spies in San Francisco. "Unseen Enemy" is notable for being one of the first Hollywood films, if not the first, to put the title and credits after the film rather than before it. Only the Universal Logo appears before the action.

Raid on Lae-Salamaua area on 10 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Lady Nelson, sunk today by U-161 in Port Castries, St. Lucia.

2020

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