Yesterday Tomorrow

July 27th, 1942 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The first RAF unit to get the North American P-51 Mustang is No. 2 Squadron, RAF Army Co-Operation Command based at RAF Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire. In April 1942 they swapped their CurtissMk. I and IIA (P-40) Tomahawks for the Mustangs.

Today is their first mission.

The mission assigned to No. 2 Squadron on 27 July 1942 was a harassment of the shipping in the Ruhr industrial complex. The manufacturing city of Dortmund received ore and coal through a system of canals connected with the Ems River, the Rhine River and the North Sea. The aqueduct system at Dortmund carried 400 trainloads a day between the Rhineland and central Germany. This would be the first crossing of the German border by fighter airplanes of any type during World War II from bases in England. Sixteen Mustang aircraft left Sawbridgeworth and flew eastward across the Netherlands.

The first target was a German military installation on the Dutch border. Several strafing passes were made over the camp and then the squadron reformed and headed into Germany. On crossing the Ems River, the formation turned south and the first city in Germany presenting desirable targets was Lathan. The Mustangs strafed a factory and petroleum storage tanks at Lathan and followed the river toward the manufacturing center of Dortmund. The canal leading into the city from the Ems River was congested with barges and the formation raised havoc with the ore laden boats and lock gates along the canal. The formation reassembled and headed towards England. The pilots were pleased with the results of the mission and the fact that no enemy aircraft had been encountered. After crossing the Dutch border, the squadron leader sought still one more target. This was presented on the Zuider Zee, along the Dutch coast, in the form of two large ships. The Mustangs again attacked and left one ship afire and the other shattered by an explosion. All 16 aircraft returned to home base and the mission debriefing. There was praise for the Mustang from every quarter.


GERMANY: RAF bombers raid Hamburg.

U.S.S.R.: Army Group B, including the German 6th Army of General Paulus, meets heavy Russian resistance in their battle to clear the elbow of the Don River.

Moscow: The Red Army is pulling back to the river Don where Marshal Timoshenko, who has withdrawn his main forces in good order, is setting up a new defence line.

The Germans have already claimed the recapture of Rostov-on-Don from which they were driven last December. But many Russian soldiers remain in the shattered city, and, holed up in the ruins of big blocks of apartments, are causing the Germans heavy casualties as they work their way house by house through the city.

North of Rostov, the Germans are pushing on to Stalingrad. Formerly called Tsaritsyn, it has a special affection for Stalin who was active in its defence during the civil war. Today it is a vital industrial and communications centre, guarding the approaches to the Caucasus. There can be no doubt that the Russians will fight for it.

NEW GUINEA: USAAF B-26 Marauders and A-24 Dauntlesses support Australian troops by bombing Gona and targets along the Buna trail. 

All Allied air units in the South Pacific Area are placed under the command of Rear Admiral John S. McCain, USN, Commander, Aircraft South Pacific Area (ComAirSoPac).

PACIFIC: The light cruiser USS Boise (CL-47) departs Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii via Midway Islands towards Japan. The Boise is tasked with emitting enough radio traffic to create the impression of an approaching American task force. 

US Navy Motor Torpedo Squadron 3 is recommissioned and sent to the Solomon Islands.

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: The bombardment of Kiska Island by the 2 heavy cruisers, 3 light cruisers and destroyers of the USN's Task Force 8, is postponed due to limited surface visibility and the ships retire to Kodiak. While covering TF 8, four USN PBY Catalinas bomb Kiska.

U.S.A.: German submarine U-166 completes mining operations off the Mississippi River Delta south of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

U-90 is sunk by HMCS St Croix as she is escorting convoy ON113. (Ron Babuka)

Singer Peggy Lee records her first hit record in New York City. With the backing of the Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, Miss Lee sings "Why Don’t You Do Right" for Columbia Records.


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