Yesterday     Tomorrow

October 10th, 1942

UNITED KINGDOM: USAAF 31st Fighter Group is taken off operational status and their Spitfires are to be shipped to Gibraltar.

Submarines HMS Spirit, Vivid and Voracious laid down.

Frigates HMS Dart and Trent launched.

Minesweeper HMS Mutine launched.

Submarine HMS Spark laid down.

Destroyer HMS Melbreak commissioned.

FRANCE: During the night of 10/11 October, RAF Bomber Command aircraft lay mines off Biscay Bay ports: nine lay mines off Gironde, six off St. Nazaire, five off La Pallace and four each off Brest and Lorient.

NETHERLANDS: During the night of 10/11 October, ten RAF Bomber Command aircraft lay mines in the Frisian Island and five lay mines off Texel Island.

GERMANY: Eva-Marie Buch, a bookseller who also works for the Schutze-Boysen-Harnack resistance group (The Red Orchestra), is arrested today for passing messages to French slave workers in factories. She is sentenced to death by the People’s Court on 3 February and hanged in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, on 5 August1943.

The Germans set the bread ration for Allied PoWs at 800 grams (or 28.21 ounces) per day while sick prisoners are entitled to 225 grams (or 7.9 ounces) of sugar per week and the beer ration stood at 3 to 5 litres per month. Furthermore, to assure the prisoners that they were receiving an adequate food supply "it was standard practice to publish a complete menu indicating the calories and rations, thus allowing the Men of Confidence ["Vertrauensmaenner" or Camp Representatives] and the Protecting Power delegates to compare the prisoners' menu to the official German rations. Most importantly as regards discipline, all collective disciplinary measures are prohibited by the Geneva Convention." (175, P.55) (Peter Kilduff)

U-1161 laid down.

U-341, U-422, U-735 launched

U-197 and U-386 commissioned.

BALTIC SEA: Soviet submarine Shtsh-308 mined in Gulf of Finland.

The submerged U-339 collided in the Baltic Sea with the cruiser Nürnberg.

U.S.S.R.: The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued a decree establishing a single command and abolishing political commissars in the army. The commissars have gained military experience and their former status has become superfluous. The decree is issued to free responsible military commanders from any hindrances in carrying out their duties and to add to their ranks.

Black Sea Fleet and Azov Flotilla: ML "Comintern" - flooded at Hop river opening as a breakwater (Sergey Anisimov)(69)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: A submarine duel occurred on this day in the Mediterranean. The British submarine P 247 fired two torpedoes at U-605, but missed. The U-boat replied with four torpedoes, but these also missed.

MALTA: The Axis commences a massive assault on Malta. Italian and German bombers hammer the island, flying between 200 and 270 sorties daily until 19 October. The Axis runs into considerable trouble, however, as Malta is now well-guarded by squadrons of Spitfire Mk Vs and Beaufighters, which are more than a match for the German Ju 88 and Italian SM 79 bombers. The RAF knows the attacks are coming from breaking the German Enigma messages allowing Spitfires to intercept the Germans over the sea sparing Malta a good deal of bombs.

LIBYA: US Army, Middle East Air Force B-24s bomb shipping and the dock area at Bengasi, Libya, while B-25s hit landing grounds.

NEW GUINEA: In Papua New Guinea, Australian troops are still not making progress against the Japanese on the Kokoda Track.  The main body of the 2d Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 32d Infantry Division, with supporting units, leaves Kalikodobu on foot for Jaure. 

In the air, USAAF Fifth Air Force A-20 Havocs hit targets along the Buna-Kokoda trail and, with P-400 Airacobras, strike villages in the area of Asisi and Sanananda.

AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Pirie commissioned.

PACIFIC OCEAN: Two U.S. submarines sink a Japanese merchant transport and a collier.

Submarine USS Tautog sinks a transport-cargo ship at 10-20 N, 108-43 E.

BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: Twenty one USAAF Fifth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb Rabaul and nearby Lakunai Airfield on New Britain Island.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: In anticipation of a Japanese counteroffensive on Guadalcanal, the marines strengthen defense positions and patrol aggressively. Three battalions of the 1st and 7th Marine Regiments plus elements of the Special Weapons Company take responsibility for the east bank of the Matanikau River, where permanent positions are established at the river mouth.

USMC F4F Wildcat pilots shoot down 10 IJN floatplanes over New Georgia Sound and Rekata Bay at 0640 hours local.

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: The Eleventh Air Force dispatches 10 B-24 Liberators, 7 B-17 Flying Fortresses, and 4 P-38 Lightnings to fly 4 missions to Kiska Island; the third mission (3 B-17s) does not make contact; the others bomb and strafe the Main Camp area, hit shipping in Trout Lagoon and off South Head, where gun positions and installations are also blasted; fires are started in the Main Camp and hangar areas.

CANADA: Minesweeper HMCS Westmouth and Minesweeper HMCS Milltown arrived Halifax from builder Port Arthur, Ontario.

Minesweeper HMCS Kentville commissioned.

U.S.A.: The record of "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter orchestra is released today. The song, featured in the motion picture "Holiday Inn" starring Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds, remains on the best selling retail records chart for 15 week, 13 of them in first place, and goes on to become the Number 1-selling single of all time with over 30 million records sold.

The U.S. Senate approves the largest tax bill in history. Americans will pay US$8.5 billion (US$84.2 billion in year 2000 dollars) in corporate and income taxes during 1943.

Minesweepers USS Triumph and Logic laid down

Destroyer USS Stephen Potter laid down

Destroyer USS Aulick commissioned

Minesweeper USS Strive commissioned

Destroyers USS Bush and Spence launched.

Destroyer USS The Sullivans laid down.

Submarines USS Lapon and Balao launched.

Destroyer USS Mullany launched.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: After a refit in the U.K. British submarine HMS/M Unique (N 95) left Holy Loch, Scotland, on 7 October. She is ordered to patrol in the Bay of Biscay while en route from Britain to Gibraltar. She left her escorts off Lands End on the 9 October and is not heard from again. HMS/M Ursula (N 59) on patrol off the coast of Spain reports hearing the sounds of explosions like depth charges, but no Axis claims have been made for this loss, and it seems likely that she is the victim of a drifting mine or an accident. She is reported overdue on 24 October when she fails to arrive at Gibraltar. (Alex Gordon) (108)

The German submarine U-172 torpedoes the 23,456 ton British troop transport SS Orcades about 124 nautical miles (230 kilometers) north of Cape Town, South Africa, in position 31.51S, 18.30E. The U-boat has to fire five more torpedoes before the ship sinks. Of the 1,065 aboard the ship, 1,017 survive.

U-177 encountered a US battleship with a destroyer escort, but had no opportunity to attack the ship.

On board U-442, bad weather caused an accident in which one man was badly injured.

U-436 damaged SS Frontenac, Gurney E Newlin and sank HMS LCT-2281, SS Sourabaya in Convoy HX-212.

U-509 sank SS Pacific Star and SS Stentor in Convoy SL-125.

U-604 sank SS Anglo Mærsk (already torpedoed the previous day) in Convoy SL-125.

After an explosion during torpedo loading on U-67 one man was killed. [Matrosenobergefreiter Heinz Hartmann].

The same day 3 men were washed overboard from the U-706, 2 men died but the third was saved by U-463. [Leutnant zur See Erich Eichmann, see right, Matrosenobergefreiter Ralf Köhler].

U-117 laid some mines off Iceland, but no sinkings resulted from this field.

The Canadian Pacific Steamships Line passenger liner Duchess of Atholl (20,119 GRT), Captain Moores, Master, was sunk in the South Atlantic, 200 miles east of Ascension Island, in position 07.03S, 011.12W, by U-178, KptzS Hans Ibbeken, CO. Duchess of Atholl was carrying 529 passengers, 104 from the sinking of Princess Marguerite (sunk on 17 Aug) and 37 from SS Gazcon. Only four crewmembers were lost in the original explosion and all 821 survivors were able to abandon the ship into lifeboats as the ship sank slowly on an even keel. HMS Corinthian, an armed merchant cruiser, rescued the survivors the next morning after speeding to the scene upon hearing their distress signal.

Top of Page

Yesterday             Tomorrow