Skip to comments.DEWEY ELECTED GOVERNOR IN STATE SWEEP; REPUBLICANS MAKE WIDE GAINS IN NATION (11/4/42)
Posted on 11/04/2012 4:31:34 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Axis defeated at El Alamein
Wednesday, November 4, 1942 www.onwar.com
Axis retreat from El Alamein [photo at link]
In North Africa... Battle of El Alamein. The British 10th Corps (Armored) reaches open ground. Heavy fighting with the Italian Ariete, German 90th Light and even German headquarters units leads to great losses on the Axis side. They break off to retreat. German General Von Thoma is captured while leading an advance. During the night, while Rommel’s forces are retreating to Fuka, the British 8th Army does not follow despite orders from General Montgomery to do so. The battle as been a great success for the British as they have taken 30,000 Axis prisoners, over 1000 guns and the remain of 450 tanks. The once proud German divisions are to regimental level strength and the Italian formations are destroyed. The victory has a cost however, 13,500 British and Commonwealth casualties, 150 tanks destroyed and 300 damaged.
In the Solomon Islands... On Guadalcanal, American forces land in regimental strength at Aola, 25 miles east of the main American position. They bring engineers to attempt to build a second airstrip on the island. This idea has been dismissed as futile by local commanders because of the difficult terrain. They are correct. Raiders from this landing move out in an attempt to connect with the main position.
From London... The first meeting of the Cabinet Anti-U-boat Warfare Committee. Prime Minister Churchill is the Chairman. Other members include the service chiefs, government ministers and scientists from the fields of radar and operational research. This single decision making body gives the Allies a great advantage for the sharing of information and operational planning and is representative of the type of working relationship which the two nations have built for the war effort.
In the Mediterranean... 19 German and 21 Italian submarines begin to patrol around Gibraltar due to the increase of Allied shipping traffic in preparation for Operation Torch. They will achieve some success, but 6 submarines will be sunk and the destination of the transports will not be discovered.
November 4th, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Churchill takes the chair of the Cabinet Anti-U-Boat Warfare Committee. Including the service chiefs, some government ministers and scientists in radar and operational research. This type of committee is unmatched by the Axis powers.
Britain: Now that winter has come the hazards facing airmen are significantly increased. One of the worst is fog, which especially affects RAF bomber crews returning from long flights over Germany. Trying to land a heavy bomber in fog, especially if it has been damaged is highly dangerous, and many aircraft have been written off and crews killed as a result.
Some months ago Mr. Churchill ordered the Petroleum Warfare Department to investigate methods of dispersing fog at airfields. It has now arrived at a solution, Fog Investigation Dispersal Operation (Fido). This consists of petrol burners positioned at intervals at he edges of runways. These are lit shortly before take-off and landing and have proved successful in reducing the fog, as well as providing additional illumination.
The plan is to install Fido at three emergency landing strips, Carnaby (Yorks), Manston (Kent) and Woodbridge (Suffolk). Crippled bombers, using an emergency radio system codenamed “Darkee”, will be guided to one of these airstrips, which also have the latest approach-and-landing aids. Later other airfields will also have Fido fitted. The complexity of the system, which involves laying much underground piping, makes it unlikely that the system will be operational this winter.
Whilst on a training exercise in Loch Striven, Scotland, miniature submarine X-3 sinks when her induction trunk valve failed, and she floods and bottoms in 100 feet of water. All three crew make successful escapes and the submarine is raised later the same evening and returned to Vickers for repair. (Under the guarantee?) (Alex Gordon)(108)
Destroyer HMS Rockwood commissioned.
ASW trawler HMS Mullet commissioned.
FRANCE: Paris: The annual congress of the PPF opens. 88 organisations are represented by 7,198 delegates, of whom 1,566 were ex-communists, 588 ex-socialists, 1,007 from Colonel de la Rocque’s preware Croix de Feu, and 420 from Action Française. The theme of the congress was how the PPF was to come to power. This question is debated at meetings in the Salle Pleyel and the Salle Wagram, the Palais de la Mutualité and the Gaumont-Palace cinema. In a speech lasting eight hours, Doriot recapitulated the party’s position and prospects. He was supported on the platform by Deloncle.
GERMANY: Obermaschinist Alfred Wernicke died after an accident onboard U-197 in Kiel.
U-1191, U-1192 laid down.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Following up on shipping concentrations at Gibraltar, their are 10 German and 21 Italian submarines patrol in the western Mediterranean. They will have some success during the next two weeks.
NORTH AFRICA: British X Corps reaches open ground. The fighting causes heavy losses of the Ariete, 90th Light and HQ units before they break off the action and retreat. German General Von Thoma is captured. Despite Montgomery’s orders the British fail to advance, while the Axis forces retreat toward Fuka.
Many will remember the huge October moon that bathed the desert that night - even more than they will remember the ear-splitting crash of the first artillery salvo. The moon was the last thing of beauty that they would see for 11 terrible days and nights of fighting.
For the soldiers who went out under that barrage with fixed bayonets and experienced the horror of battle at close quarters, the memories will be more vivid.
“Monty’s” order was to “hit the enemy for six out of Africa”. Lieutenant George Greenfield was serving with the Buffs at Alamein, “It was not too hard to sit in the pavilion of army headquarters and urge the others out in the face the fast bowling.” He will always remember holding a fellow soldier’s leg while it was amputated. “I was left squatting on the sand, stupidly holding the unattached leg, still in it’s stocking, webbing gaiter and boot, across my knee. I had never realised before the utter dead weight of a solitary leg.” Others will remember the piper, Duncan McIntyre, aged 19, who led the Black Watch to the first ridge. Twice wounded, he continued playing “The Road to the Isles” until a burst of machine-gun fire silenced him for ever.
As Panzer Army Afrika was being ground into dust and bones by the British offensive, General Von Thoma rode a tank of his headquarters unit directly into the fire of the British lines, and after having it shot out from under him, he climbed out of the burning hulk and waited for capture. He dined with General Montgomery that same night. (Russ Folsom)
AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Gympie commissioned
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Companies C and E of the 2nd marine Raider Btn land unopposed at Aola Bay in Eastern Guadalcanal. Their landing is the result of the cancellation of the landings on Ndeni on the Santa Cruz Islands. Admiral Turner’s idea is to build another airfield there. Coastwatcher Martin Clemens and General Vandegrift have opposed this plan. They are to be followed by the 147th Infantry and Seabees.
General Vandegrift halts offensive operations west of the Matanikau River, due to seeming urgency of the action east of the Lunga perimeter on Guadalcanal. The 2nd Marine Raider Battalion is ordered to march west from Aola Bay to assist with the action east of the Lunga perimeter.
PORTUGESE TIMOR: The Australian signaller, Laidlaw, of Sparrow Force who had witnessed the air battle over Dili yesterday between American Marauder bombers and Japanese Zero fighters, once more breaks into the USAAF radio net and asks ‘did Hitchcock make it?’ The bomber crews though are too busy to reply. But later this night a message is received from the United States Army Air Force Command in Darwin: “Thanks Diggers. Hitchcock made it. Crash landed on Bathurst Island.” The effect of this action on the troops on Timor was immeasurable in lifting their morale, for the first time in months they felt they were not alone in the fight against the Japanese, Hitchock and his plight will be discussed up and down the lines for the next few days. (William L. Howard)(188, 189, 190, 191)
AUSTRALIA: The USAAF’s 90th Bombardment Group (Heavy) and its four component squadrons, the 319th, 320th, 321st and 400th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy) arrive at Iron Range, Queensland. They are equipped with the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. (Jack McKillop)
CANADA: HMCS Dawson, a Flower-class corvette, A/LCdr. Anthony Hubert Storrs RCNR CO, returned to Esquimalt,, British Columbia., from the Aleutian Campaign. ‘Tony’ Storrs was a reserve officer and was the first of the very few to transfer to the RCN and subsequently reach flag rank. Rear-Admiral Storrs was often at odds with the professional officers of the RCN, both during the war and afterwards (see Marc Milner’s comments about Storrs in Canada’s Navy: The First Century). He found them to be a largely unintelligent and poorly educated group that was slavishly devoted to their RN customs and traditions. He refused to mimic the British accents and manners of his contemporaries and was adored by his crews during the war, partly as a result of his complete lack of hubris. He was a calm and quick thinking warrior, along the lines of Vice-Admiral Herbert Rayner, rather than the much more aggressive Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf. Storrs appointments included command of the aircraft carrier Magnificent, Commandant of the National Defense College at Kingston and, after retirement, Director of Marine Operations for the Canadian Coast Guard, where he was instrumental in the founding of the Canadian Coast Guard College at Point Edward, Nova Scotia. Tony Storrs built, in the face of substantial institutional opposition, a reputation as an outstanding intellectual and an original thinker. He, along with Rayner, was among the officers considered for commemoration when the name ‘DeWolf Hall’ was selected for the recent expansion to the Canadian Forces College. His awards and honours included: Distinguished Service Cross and Bar, Legion of Merit, Legion d’Honneur, Croix de Guerre avec palmes, Honorary Commodore of the Canadian Coast Guard. Tony Storrs died in 2002, at the age of 95.
Minesweeper HMCS Mulgrave commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: The I WO of U-108 fell overboard in a heavy sea, but the crew rescued him within fifteen minutes.
U-126 sank SS Oued Grou.
U-132 sank SS Empire Lynx and Hobbema in Convoy SC-107.
U-442 and U-132 sank SS Hatimura in Convoy SC-107.
U-89 sank SS Daleby in Convoy SC-107.
U-178 sank SS Hai Hing and Trekieve.
U-354 sank SS William Clark.
REPUBLICANS MAKE WIDE GAINS IN NATION
Interesting to note political maps of 1942 election:
US House of Representatives membership by state, red = Republican, blue = Democrat
Gains & losses from election:
Some real meat here. Stalingrad/Caucasus, Guadalcanal, and El Alamein all going on at the same time, and gains for the good guys on the home front!
H_J_Simpson, I’m really enjoying these series of historical posts, as the S Pacific heats up. I’m only reading about 50% of your posts due to medical isssues that have reduced my FR time. You’re great with a cup of coffee in the morning!
Amazing that during the FDR and Truman years, Massachusetts still had a majority GOP House delegation.
Amazing to think now, but MA was a pretty solid Republican state from the 1850s until the late 1950s. It only turned reliably Democrat in the JFK era.
I sorry to hear about your health issues, Zuben. I hope it is smething that will get cleared up so you can get back to 100%, not just for these threads but for life in general. You are one of the earliest enrollees at WWII +70. Thanks for hanging in with us for all that time.
How dare they oppose FDR in a time of war?
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