Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Bad Luck & Trouble

SAT 6 JUN 1942
Battle of Midway concludes as planes from carriers Enterprise (CV-6) and Hornet (CV-8) attack retiring Japanese force. SBDs bomb and sink heavy cruiser Mikuma (30°00'N, 173°00'E); near-misses damage destroyers Asashio and Arashio. At Admiral Spruance's expressed orders (because of the destruction of three torpedo squadrons on 4 June), TBDs (VT 6) that accompany the strike do not attack because of the antiaircraft fire from the Japanese ships. After recovering planes, TF 16 changes course to eastward to refuel and breaks contact with the enemy.

Meanwhile, Japanese submarine I-168 interrupts salvage operations on Yorktown (CV-5), which is under tow of the tug (ex-minesweeper) Vireo (AT-144) and screened by destroyers, torpedoing Yorktown and torpedoing and sinking destroyer& Hammann (DD-412) while she lies alongside the carrier (30°36'N, 176°34'W). Screening destroyers depth-charge I-168, but the Japanese boat, although damaged, escapes destruction.

The Battle of Midway, one of the most decisive battles in naval history, marks the turning point of the Pacific War. In the wake of the battle, efforts to locate downed aviators persist over the ensuing days.

U.S. freighter George Cylmer, disabled by a broken main shaft and drifting, is torpedoed by German motor torpedo boat Esan, launched from auxiliary cruiser Michel (Schiffe 28) at 14°28'S, 18°37'W; one crewmen perishes below. George Cylmer is abandoned (see 7 and 8 June).

Indian Ocean
U.S. freighter Melvin H. Baker is torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-10 approximately 45 miles off the coast of Mozambique, 21°44'S, 36°38'W; all hands abandon ship. British steamship Twickenham rescues the 48 men: 34 merchant seamen, 6-man Armed Guard, and the eight passengers (six of whom had been survivors of U.S. freighter Bienville, sunk on 6 April).

Panamanian tanker Stanvac Calcutta battles German auxiliary cruiser Stier (Schiffe 23) about 500 miles off the coast of Brazil. Two of the nine-man Armed Guard are wounded by shrapnel during the action; Stier rescues the survivors, ultimately transferring 26 merchant seamen and 9 Armed Guard sailors to Japanese custody. One man is sent to prison camp in Germany.

British motor vessel Ardenvour rescues 17 survivors (13 merchant seamen and four Armed Guard sailors) from U.S. freighter Velma Lykes, sunk by German submarine U-158 on 4 June (see 10 June).

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