March 4th, 1943 (THURSDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMS Towy launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
FINLAND: Marshal Mannerheim states to Gen. Waldemar Erfurth, the German representative at the Finnish GHQ, that there will be no more Finnish attacks. "I have already lost too many men." (Mikko Härmeinen)
U.S.S.R.: Black Sea Fleet and Azov Flotilla: MS "T-514" (ex-"Ost") - mined close to cape Mishako (Sergey Anisimov)(69)
INDIAN OCEAN: At 0110, U-160 made a second attack at Convoy DN-21 ENE of East London and reported hits on two ships; one of which was thought to have been sunk and the other left in sinking condition. In fact, Empire Mahseer was hit by two torpedoes and sank within two minutes. 17 crewmembers and one gunner were lost. The master, 29 crewmembers and six gunners were picked up by armed trawler HMS Norwich City and landed at Durban.
At 0346, U-160 fired two torpedoes at Convoy DN-21 ENE of East London and hit two ships after 1 minute 6 seconds and 1 minute 14 seconds. The Marietta E was sunk and Sheaf Crown damaged. Four crewmembers and one gunner from Marietta E were lost. The master, 33 crewmembers and six gunners were picked up by the SAAF crash launch R-8 and landed at Durban. The following British landing craft were lost with the Marietta E - HMS LCP(R)-673, HMS LCP(R)-680, HMS LCP(R)-684, HMS LCP(R)-685, HMS LCP(R)-689, HMS LCP(R)-692, HMS LCP(R)-693 and HMS LCP(R)-727 (each 10 tons). (Dave Shirlaw)
BURMA: Operation Cannibal, an Allied drive to recapture Akyab, is stopped by strong Japanese resistance.
PACIFIC OCEAN: The 3 day Battle of Bismarck Sea ends in a US victory. (Michael Ballard)
ARASHIO IJN, Japanese Destroyer, Sunk 55 miles south-east of Finschhafen by USAAF B-17 aircraft.
ASASHIO IJN, Sunk 45 miles south-east of Finschhafen by USAAF B-25 aircraft.
U.S.A.: Submarine USS Cavalla laid down.
Destroyer USS Bell commissioned.
Submarine USS Skate launched.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-87 (Kptlt Joachim Bergerm, CO) is sunk west of Leixoes, 41.36N 13.31W by depth charges from corvette HMCS Sheliac and destroyer HMCS St. Croix. The Canadian ships are escorting 57 ship convoy KMS-10 from the UK to Algeria. There are no survivors from the U-boats crew of 49 men. the convoy has been under air attack by German 'Kondor' long-range aircraft for two days. Shediac obtained a sonar contact, which the two escorts attacked repeatedly before it vanished without giving any indication of success. Post-war record examination confirmed that U-87 had been destroyed. German records do not indicate that U-87 was one of the three U-boats assigned to attack KMS-10. It is probable that she was merely transiting through the area when she was detected and attacked. (Alex Gordon and Dave Shirlaw)
U-83 sunk SE of Cartagena, Spain in position 37.10N, 00.05E, by 3 depth charges from an RAF Hudson. 50 dead (all hands lost).
U-333 shot down RAF 172 Sqn Wellington when Leigh Light switched on. This aircraft had sunk the U-268 in Feb.
At 0609, the unescorted City of Pretoria was torpedoed by U-172; exploded and sank WNW of the Azores. The master, 108 crewmembers, 24 gunners, seven passengers (DBS) and 5 apprentices were lost.
The unescorted California Star was torpedoed and sunk by U-515 NW of the Azores. 40 crewmembers, eight gunners and four passengers were lost. The master, 18 crewmembers and three passengers landed at Flores, Azores. (Dave Shirlaw)
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