Thursday, February 16, 2017

Torpedo On The Beach

MON 16 FEB 1942
Operation NEULAND begins with simultaneous attacks on Dutch and Venezuelan oil ports to disrupt production and flow of petroleum products vital to the Allied war effort; German submarine U-156 shells refinery on Aruba, N.W.I. and torpedoes and damages U.S. tanker Arkansas as she lies alongside Eagle Dock; a second torpedo misses the ship and runs up on the beach. There are no casualties among the 37-man crew. The enemy does not emerge from the action unscathed, however, for the explosion of a shell prematurely in a gun barrel injures two men on board U-156, which will receive permission to put in to Martinique (see 20-21 February).

Unarmed U.S. tanker E.H. Blum blunders into U.S. minefield off Cape Henry, Virginia, 36°57'N, 75°52'W and is damaged by mine and breaks in half (see 17 February).

Coast Guard cutter Calypso (WPG-104) rescues 42 survivors from Brazilian steamship Buarque, that had been sunk by German submarine U-432 the day before (see 17 February).

Japanese planes bomb U.S. Timor-bound convoy, escorted by heavy cruiser Houston (CA-30) and destroyer Peary (DD 226); U.S. Army transport Miegs and U.S. freighter Mauna Loa are damaged by near-misses. On board the latter, one crewman is killed; of the 500 troops embarked, one is killed and 18 wounded. Houston's heavy antiaircraft fire saves the convoy from destruction, but the imminent fall of Timor results in the recall of the convoy and its routing back to Darwin (see 19 February).

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