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July 16th, 1942 (THURDAY)


Escort carrier HMS Ravager launched.

Destroyer HMS Rapid launched.

Minesweeping trawler HMS Neave launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

FRANCE: Paris: The roundup of Jews begins. Its scale earns it the name "La Grande Rafle," The Great Raid. The five arrondissements are sealed off. Whole parts of the city are dislocated. Some advance warnings are leaked out, spreading by word of mouth through the Jewish community, with the result that almost half of those on the lists have left home and escaped arrest.

9,000 French police combed the city, snatching every foreign born Jew they could find. They have arrested 14,000 registered "stateless" Jews. 6,000 have been sent to Drancy, the first stop on the long journey to Auschwitz; 3,000 children are among nearly 7,000 Jews gathered in the huge sports stadium called the Velodrome d'Hiver, waiting for their turn to go.

The weather is very hot. They have a single water tap and ten latrines between them. Some of those arrested last night have not clothes at all. The guards are brutal, the squalor unimaginable.

GERMANY: RAF bombers swooped through cloud to bomb the Ruhr and other targets in north-west Europe at dusk tonight. They were relatively minor raids, using cloud cover as a new tactic to thwart the Kammhuber Line of ground-controlled interception "boxes" in which Luftwaffe fighters patrol. First introduced in 1940, the system now has no fewer than 250 fighters. The RAF has been attempting to detour the boxes, but they are being extended to stretch from northern Denmark to south of Paris.

U-323, U-324, U-325, U-326, U-327, U-328, U-903, U-904, U-1171, and U-1172 ordered

U-631 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

CROATIA: In a western world beset by gloom, at least one anti-Nazi army is winning victory after victory - but few know about it. Gathering strength every day as it fights its way into Croatia, Tito's partisan army has succeeded in capturing several major towns and hundreds of villages in this country ruled by the pro-German Ustachi under their leader Ante Pavelich.

The fighting has been savage, with countless atrocities - particularly by the fanatical, long-haired, bearded Ustachi as they retreat before Tito's disciplined partisans. Captured Ustachi and their collaborators can expect no mercy from Tito's People's Courts. Mass executions are commonplace.

Tito is wasting no time in turning "liberated" Croatia into a soviet state with its own newspaper, postal service, schools and health services. Volunteers are cleaning up and repairing desecrated Orthodox churches.

A courier service - mostly of young girls on cycles or horseback - is playing a vital role in partisan communications.

U.S.S.R.: Russian resistance to the Germans stiffens as the Germans near Rostov.

NEW ZEALAND: Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley, USN, issues Operation Plan 1-42 identifying the command structure for the upcoming operations in the Solomon Islands. Vice Admiral Frank J. Fletcher commands the Solomons Expeditionary Force; Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes command the Air Support Force consisting of three carrier air groups; Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner commands the Amphibious Force; and Rear Admiral John S. McCain will command the land-based Allied air units as Commander, Air Solomons (ComAirSols).  (Jack McKillop)

CANADA: Corvette HMCS Kitchener arrived Halifax from builder Quebec City, Province of Quebec. (Dave Shirlaw)

CARIBBEAN SEA: About 0900, the unescorted and unarmed Gertrude was ordered to stop by U-166 about 30 miles northeast of Havana, Cuba. The crew was asked to abandon ship and they left immediately in a 14-foot motorboat. U-166 then sunk the trawler by gunfire or by a scuttling charge. The motorboat with the crew ran out of fuel before reaching shore and drifted for 78 hours before being spotted by a Civil Air Patrol aircraft about three miles south of Alligator Reef Lighthouse. A boat out of Whale Harbor brought the three men ashore. (Jack McKillop and Dave Shirlaw)

At 0934, the unescorted Beaconlight was struck by one torpedo from U-160 on the starboard side between #8 and #9 tanks and five minutes later by a second torpedo on the same side in the engine room. The ship began to sink immediately about ten miles NW of Galera Point, Trinidad. One crewman was lost. 38 crewmen and two British gunners (the ship was armed with one 12pdr aft and two .30cal machine guns on each side of the bridge) abandoned ship in three lifeboats. They were picked up six hours later by the small steam passenger ship Trinidad and landed at Port of Spain the same day. The drifting wreck had to be sunk by the Dutch tug Roode Zee in position 1058N/6110W, to prevent her being a menace to navigation. U-160 misidentified the tanker as the Gallia.

At 1543, U-161 attacked Convoy AS-4 about 500 miles north of St Thomas, Virgin Islands and observed two hits on a first ship after 2 minutes 32 seconds and heard a third detonation after 3 minutes 35 seconds. Achilles reported one ship sunk and another possible damaged. In fact, only two torpedoes sank the Fairport. The Fairport in station #12 was struck on the port side in the #4 hold by the first torpedo and in the #1 hold about 12 feet below the waterline by the second. The first blew off the #4 hatch cover and started a fire that incoming seawater quickly extinguished. The other torpedo opened up a large hole 30 feet long by 25 feet wide in the hull. The engines were secured immediately and the gun crew fired one shot to indicate the direction of the torpedoes. Five minutes after the hit, all ten officers, 33 crewmen, 14 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four .50cal and two .30cal guns) and 66 US Army personnel on board abandoned ship in two lifeboats and five rafts. After ten minutes the vessel sank stern first. USS Kearny picked up all survivors after the destroyer had dropped depth charges and landed in New York on 21 July. (Dave Shirlaw)



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