Skip to comments.U.S. SEIZES 4 PLANE PLANTS; STILWELL’S CHINESE ARMY HURLS BACK FOE IN BURMA (4/21/42)
Posted on 04/21/2012 5:05:05 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Germans relieve Demyansk pocket
Tuesday, April 21, 1942
On the Eastern Front... The encircled German force at Demyansk, which has been maintained by air drops of food and supplies is relieved after two and one half months. This success sets a precedence for the use of air relief for encircled troops.
In Switzerland... General Giraud arrives after escaping German captivity. He does not, however, stay in the neutral country, but returns to Vichy, (unoccupied France).
In Burma... The Japanese and Chinese 6th Army engage in heavy fighting near Taunggyi.
April 21st, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Minesweeper HMS Wedgeport commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: The Germans shoot 20 French hostages “for complicity” during the raid on St. Nazaire last month.
Louise Leahy, wife of Admiral William D. Leahy, USN (Retired), Ambassador to France, dies of an embolism in Vichy. Her death, on the eve of their departure from Vichy, is a “crushing emotional shock” to the admiral, “beyond the understanding of anyone who has not had an identical experience.” (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: U-238, U-365, U-843 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
SWITZERLAND: General Giraud reaches safety after escaping from German captivity. he will return to unoccupied France.
ITALY: Malta is nearly defenseless and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini urges an assault led by German parachute units. Hitler is hesitant, recalling the heavy losses his paratroopers suffered in 1941 when they drove the British from Crete. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.S.R.: Germany relieves the 100,000 troops who have been trapped in the Demyansk pocket, supplied by airlifts only, for ten weeks.
The Germans request the assistance of the Italian Navy to deal with the ramshackle Soviet flotilla on Lake Ladoga (estimated at 6 gunboats, 2 large and 5 small torpedo boats, 32 armed minesweepers, 9 armed transport ships, 17 armed tugboats and 1 submarine, plus another 25 other boats).
The Italian Navy promptly agreed and sent the four torpedo boats (MAS 526 to 529) of 12th MAS Flotilla, commanded by Capitano di Corvetta (Lt-Comm) Bianchini, with four officers, 19 NCO’s, and 63 other ranks. (Arturo Lorioli)
MALTA: ASW trawler HMS Jade bombed and sunk. (Dave Shirlaw)
CANADA: First arrivals at detention camp in Greenwood, British Columbia. (Jack McKillop)
Corvette HMCS Prescott completed refit Liverpool , Nova Scotia. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Washington: Roosevelt orders all patents owned or controlled by enemy nations to be seized in order to forestall German interference in US industry.
The federal government decides to build the “Big Inch” oil pipeline from Texas to New York so Allied tankers won’t have to run the German submarine gauntlet along the East Coast. (Jack McKillop)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 1854, the unescorted unarmed U.S. freighter Pipestone County, en route from Trinidad, B.W.I., to Boston, Massachusetts was hit by one torpedo from U-576 about 475 miles east of Cape Henry, Virginia. The torpedo struck in the #1 hold, which was flooded but the engine room was still intact and the ship was still moving. At 1914, a coup de grâce was fired that struck in the #2 hold and caused the ship to sink after six minutes. The nine officers, 28 crewmen and nine armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four .50cal and four .30cal guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats and one raft. They were questioned by the U-boat, which also gave provisions to the men in one of the boats. The survivors on the raft were transferred into the boats, which were later separated because of rain and moderate seas. The 23 men in two of the boats were picked up by the British steam merchantman Tropic Star on 24 April and landed at Boston the next day. The eleven crewmembers and two armed guards in a third boat were picked up by USCGC Calypso on 7 May and taken to Norfolk, Virginia. The ten men in the last boat were rescued on 8 May by the American fishing vessel Irene and May and landed at Cape May, after they were spotted by an USCG aircraft from Elizabeth City, North Carolina
At 0236, the unarmed U.S. freighter Bris was torpedoed and sunk by U-201 while en-route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, approximately 475 miles (764 km) south-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina. The survivors abandoned ship in two lifeboats and some jumped overboard, three of them were caught in the swirl of the screw and were killed. The next day they found an overturned lifeboat that was righted and the master and eight men transferred into it. The boats were separated in bad weather and the boat of the master capsized three times, causing the loss of food and equipment, but they managed to right it each time. On 3 May, they were picked up by the American motor tanker Chester D. Swain five nautical miles off Cape Fear, after having been spotted by two aircraft the day before which dropped supplies. The third engineer died the same day and the others were brought to the USCG base at Charleston. On 4 May, the 13 men in the other lifeboat were picked up by YT-132, attached to the Parris Island Marine Base and were landed there. (Jack McKillop and Dave Shirlaw)
U-576 gave some provisions to the shipwrecked survivors of the sunken American ship Pipestone County.
SS West Imboden sunk by U-752 at 41.14N, 65.55W.
At 0030, the unescorted and unarmed Chenango was struck by one torpedo from U-84 on the port side between #4 and #5 hatches blasting a huge hole in the hull. The cargo caused the ship to sink within one minute 60 miles southeast of Cape Henry. One boat was launched but it capsized, the other boat went down with the ship, like all the regulation rafts on the ship, because they were improperly stowed on deck instead of in quick release racks. Two men managed to reach a raft, which had floated free when the ship sank. This raft had been condemned in New York and the only supplies on the raft were water and a fishing line. Twelve days later the raft was sighted by an US Army aircraft in position 34.30N/74.25W. Six hours later they were picked up by a USCG PBY Catalina and were taken to the Marine Hospital in Norfolk, but one of the rescued men died two days later. The crew of 32 men was made up of 12 different nations, there were Americans, Danes, Norwegians, Estonians, Swedes, Chileans, French, Portuguese, Canadians, Colombians, Belgians and Irish. Only one Irish Fireman survived. (Dave Shirlaw)
More great stories tonight Homer. Interesting about the Brewster Aviation take-over. And, I never knew about the North American Aviation take-over. They went on to build some great a/c.
Why'd you say Burma?
Every single story is about the war.
Keep in mind that a Tuesday edition probably has 20-30 pages of news. My sample covers only a small part of it. Plus I am naturally focusing mostly on war stories. But normally I do get a regular news item or two by accident.
Besides being a great study in primary source history, your daily efforts reveal that 70 years ago, even the NYT was reporting facts in its stories, not the opinions of the writers. The facts were limited by wartime censorship, but the Times reporters weren’t inventing anything to push an agenda. Times have changed.
Is there a literary type today who is even capable of not immediately sympathizing with the Palestinians, or Al Qaeda insurgents in Pakistan, or welfare state hucksters?
I'm not so sure. From what I have been reading in later histories I don't believe there was much hurling back of foe going on at this point in the Burma campaign. Whether that headline is better characterized as disinformation or wishful thinking I can't say. That is the word from Chungking via London. Reporters closer to the front would no doubt paint a different picture
It wasn’t all that easy to get reports out of Burma. The reporters probably had to rely on the official communiques. Similar to what we are getting out of the USSR and the Philippines. Heck, a month ago I thought Java was secure.
This is true. As we have seen, this New York Times errs to the side of optimism for the Allies. Just think, Poland was holding out pretty well, then it was suddenly done. France was going to mount this great comeback, then it just surrenders. If you go by the NYT, the Germans never had a real steller day during the Battle of Britain. I think what really is striking us as odd in these reports is that we are seeing an American media outlet pulling for the good guys.
In today’s media we would have the Baldwin equivalent writing on how misunderstood Hitler was and telling us why we deserved Pearl Harbor and that the Pacific was a race war which we started because we are the only racist people on the planet.
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