Thursday, April 6, 2017

Monkeys Murdered In Indian Ocean

Artist's conception.
MON 6 APR 1942
Indian Ocean
Japanese Operation C continues: Second Expeditionary Fleet, Malay Force (Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo) raids Allied shipping off the east coast of India.
  • Japanese Northern Group (Rear Admiral Kurita Takeo) attacks Allied convoy; unarmed U.S. freighter Exmoor is sunk by gunfire of heavy cruisers Kumano and Suzuya, and destroyer Shirakumo, 19°53'N, 86°30'E (there are no casualties among the 37-man crew), as are British merchantmen Silksworth, Autolycus, Malda and Shinkuang.
  • Southern Group (Captain Sakiyama Shakao), consisting of heavy cruisers Mogami and Mikuma and destroyer Amagiri, sink British merchantmen Dardanus, Gandara and Indora.
  • Central Group, formed around carrier Ryujo, heavy cruiser Chokai, light cruiser Yura, and destroyers Yugiri and Asagiri, attacks shipping in a third area.
  1. After planes from carrier Ryujo attack unarmed U.S. freighter Bienville, heavy cruiser Chokai shells and sinks the American merchantman at 17°50'N, 84°50'E; Japanese gunfire renders all lifeboats useless and kills 19 of the 41-man crew. Five more crewmen die later of wounds suffered in the attack. Lost with the ship is its cargo of 500 monkeys (which are most likely earmarked for infantile paralysis research in the United States).
  2. Floatplanes from Chokai bomb unarmed U.S. freighter Selma City (17°40'N, 83°20'E) and British freighter Ganges, sinking both. Two men wounded by bomb fragments constitute the only casualties on board Selma City; her 29-man crew reaches Vizagapatam later the same day by boat.
  3. Yura and Yugiri, meanwhile, sink Dutch motorships Banjoewangi and Batavia, and British steamer Taksang.
  4. Planes from Ryujo bomb and sink British steamer Sinkiang, and Dutch motorship Van der Capellen (the latter sinks on 8 April) and, at Vizagapatam, bomb and damage British motorship Anglo Canadian.
Unarmed U.S. freighter Washingtonian, en route from Suez to Ceylon, is torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-5 at 07°25'N, 73°05'E; all hands (39-man crew and two passengers) survive the attack and reach the Maldive Islands in less than a day's rowing.

Advance elements of the U.S. Army 41st Division reach Melbourne, Australia.

River gunboats Mindanao (PR-8) and Oahu (PR-6) engage Japanese landing barges, claiming the destruction of at least four, in a night surface action in Manila Bay. Mindanao is damaged by return fire.

Destroyer Sturtevant (DD-240), directed to the scene by a patrolling USAAF plane, rescues 31 merchant seamen and the 7-man Armed Guard from sunken U.S. tanker Catahoula, sunk by U-154 on 5 April.

Unarmed U.S. tanker Bidwell, bound from Corpus Christi, Texas, to New York City, is torpedoed by German submarine U-160 about 30 miles east of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, 34°25'N, 75°57'W, but manages to reach Hampton Roads under her own power. One man of her 33-man crew is lost in the torpedoing.

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