July 5th, 1943 (MONDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: ASW trawler HMS Grilse commissioned. Frigate HMS Ekins laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: At 1543, U-593 attacked Convoy KMS-18B NE of Cap Bengut and sank the ship of the convoy commodore, the Devis. She had 289 Canadian troops and two British landing crafts (LCTs) on board for the Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. 52 soldiers were lost. One of the LCTs sank with the ship; the other was damaged but remained afloat. The master, the convoy commodore, six naval staff members, 38 crewmembers, eight gunners and 237 soldiers were picked up by HMS Cleveland and landed at Bougie. (Dave Shirlaw)U.S.S.R: On the Eastern Front around Kursk both the Germans and the Red Army have assembled large groups of land and air forces. The Germans hope to cut of the Kursk salient and exploit the resulting gap in the Soviet lines. The Soviets, knowing the general German intentions, are following the advice of Zhukov and prepare to stand on the defensive rather that mount their attack first. The northern German forces, commanded by General Model and Kluge, are the XLVII Panzer Corps of the 9th Army. The southern German forces, commanded by General Hoth and Manstein, are the 5th Panzer Army and Operational Group Kempf. The Soviet northern defence is commanded by Rokossovsky and Zhukov and the Soviet southern defence is commanded by Vatutin and Vasilievsky, the Soviet reserve is commanded by Konev. The German attack begins at dawn today along a 170-mile front. PanzerKampfwagen V [Panther] tanks are used for the first time.
At 02:25 a.m., the Germans begin
"Operation Citadel" to cut off the Kursk salient and thereby shorten the eastern
front and free up considerable forces for offensive operations. On the northern
side of the salient, troops of Army Group Centre (GFM Guenther von Kluge) are
assembled in 9th Army (GO Walter Model) and include XXIII Army Corps, XLI
Panzer Corps, XLVI Panzer Corps, and XLVII Panzer Corps. On the southern side of
the salient, troops of Army Group South (GFM Erich von Manstein) are assembled
in the 4th Panzer Army (GO Hermann Hoth) and Provisional Army Kempf (Gen. d.
PzTr. Werner Kempf) and include XLVIII Panzer Corps, SS Panzer Corps, III Panzer
Corps, and "Korps Raus." (Jeff Chrisman)
Polar Fleet and White Sea Flotilla: Submarine "M-106" - sunk by surface ASW ships Uj1206 and Uj1207 by depth charges and ramming, at Varanger-fjord. (Sergey Anisimov and Dave Shirlaw)(69)
Soviet submarine SC-422 damaged by depth charges of German hunter-group and rammed by Uj-1217 near cape Bludschutudde. All hands lost. (Dave Shirlaw)
Brooklyn-class light cruiser USS Helena broke in half after being hit by 3 Japanese torpedoes at the battle of Battle of Kula Gulf, off New Georgia. Her bow was sunk the following morning by US destroyers. US Admiral Ainsworth is trying to stop Japanese reinforcement of New Georgia. Shortly after midnight, (1) the USN's Task Group 36.1 consisting of cruisers and destroyers bombards Vila and Kolombangara Islands and Bairoko Harbor, New Georgia Island; and (2) the 1st Marine Raider Battalion and one battalion each from the Army's 145th and 148th Infantry Regiments land at Rice Anchorage. In the afternoon, the Allies learn that ten Japanese destroyers, the "Tokyo Express," are sailing towards New Georgia Island and by 2400 hours local 5 July, TG 36.1 is positioned off the NW corner of New Georgia to meet them. (Dave Shirlaw)
The 1st US Marine Raider Battalion and one battalion each from the US Army's 145th and 148th Infantry Regiments land at Rice Anchorage.
In the afternoon, the Allies learn that ten Japanese destroyers, the "Tokyo Express," are sailing towards New Georgia Island and by 2400 hours local 5 July, TG 36.1 is positioned off the northwest corner of New Georgia to meet them. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer USS Strong sunk after being torpedoed by a Japanese destroyer off New Georgia, Solomon Islands. 46 of her crew were lost. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: The first turbojet engine developed for the U.S. Navy, the Westinghouse I9A, completes its 100-hour endurance test. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer escorts USS Creamer, Finnegan, Gustafson, Hollis, Samuel S Miles laid down.
Destroyer escorts USS Baron and J Richard Ward commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
CARIBBEAN SEA: At 0330, the Maltran in Convoy GTMO-134 was torpedoed by U-759 about 70 miles west of Port Salut, Haiti. One torpedo struck on the starboard side at the #2 hatch. The explosion blew the hatch cover off and threw portion of the cargo over the deck and into the sea. As the ship settled rapidly the engines were secured and she first listed to starboard but then settled on even keel. The armed guards fired one round to indicate the direction of the U-boat. As the water reached the forward deck after ten minutes, the eight officers, 27 crewmen and 12 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, two .50cal and two .30cal guns) abandoned ship in two lifeboats and three rafts. The overboard discharge from the condenser swamped one of the boats. The ship sank by the stern 15 minutes after the torpedo hit. The survivors were picked up by USS SC-1279 about two and a half hours after the attack and taken to Guantanamo the same day. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-535 sunk NE of Cape Finisterre, Spain, in position 43.38N, 09.13W, by depth charges from an RAF 53 Sqn Liberator. 55 dead (all hands lost). (Dave Shirlaw)
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