October 23rd, 1942 (FRIDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Convoy HX-212 arrived Liverpool having lost 5 of its 43 ships to U-boats. U-436, KpLt GŁnther Seibicke, Knights Cross, CO, sank 2 ships and shared in the sinking of a third. U-606 and U-624 each sank a ship and shared in the sinking of another.
Destroyer HMS Limbourne commissioned.
FRANCE: Eight RAF Bomber Command Wellingtons lay mines off La Pallice.
NETHERLANDS: During the day, three RAF Bomber Command Mosquitos hit the Stork diesel engine factory at Hengelo with the loss of one aircraft.
GERMANY: Berlin radio states that Britain would be excluded from the post-war "European Charter" because "she has estranged herself from Europe more and more under Churchill's regime."
During the day, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 26 Wellingtons to bomb two targets in the Ruhr: seven bomb Essen and four bomb Krefeld. These aircraft bombed estimated positions through cloud without loss.
NORWAY: During the night of 23/24 October, six RAF Bomber Command Wellingtons lay mines off Stavanger; one aircraft is lost.
CRETE: US Army, Middle East Air Force bombers sent to attack Candia turn back short of the target due to bad weather.
ITALY: During the night of 23/24 October, RAF Bomber Command sends 122 aircraft, 53 Halifaxes, 51 Stirlings and 18 Wellingtons, to bomb Genoa; 92 bomb the target with the loss of two Halifaxes and a Stirling. The target area is found to be almost completely cloud-covered and it is later discovered that the raid has actually fallen on the town of Savona, 30 miles (48 kilometers) along the coast from Genoa. Four aircraft bomb Turin where two people are killed and ten injured.
NORTH AFRICA: The invasion transports are bound from the US and UK for the "Torch" landings. There are 21 German U-Boats operating in the Gibraltar area. Due to their pre-occupation with convoy SL-125 they do not sight the invasion ships.
FRENCH MOROCCO: Admiral Francois Darlan, Commander in Chief of the Armistice (Vichy) Army, arrives in Rabat to rally Vichy colonies.
ALGERIA: General Mark Clark is landed by submarine to see French General Mast. Mast agrees to accept the authority of General Giraud, who is to be smuggled out of Vichy France and into North Africa. This compromise, like most, turns out to be unworkable.
LIBYA: US Army, Middle East Air Force bombers sent to attack and Bengasi turn back short of the target due to bad weather.
EGYPT: Montgomery launches the Second Battle of El Alamein with a heavy artillery barrage.
The El Alamein offensive by the British Eighth Army, Operation LIGHTFOOT, begins at 2140 hours local with an artillery barrage by 1,000+ guns aimed at Axis batteries; at 2200 hours, the barrage switches to the forward positions as British troops move forward; heavy fighting continues during the night of 23/24 October with XXX Corps on the north making the main effort and XIII Corps conducting diversionary actions on the south. The 12 Italian and German divisions amount to 80,000 men (53,000 of which are Italian). The Commonwealth forces amount to 230,000 men divided among ten divisions. As far as the tanks are concerned, only the German Panzer IV (35 total) are equal to the Commonwealth's American M4 Sherman (252 total) and M3 Grant (170 total) tanks. The British attack the sector defended by the Italian Folgore Parachute Division. The Italian forces include 3,500 paratroopers, 1,000 Guastatori d'Africa, 80 artillery pieces and five tanks of German origin. The Folgore prepare their defenses among a 15 kilometer (9.3 mile) barrier and realize they are the last defense before the rear of the Italo-German Army. The fighting lasted for one week and constituted four separate battles; the central sector on the 23rd, the northern sector near Naqb Rala on the 24th, the central sector again on the 24th and 25th, and the southern sector on the 25th, 26th and 29th. The British are thrown back after every attempt with a considerable loss of life and are ordered a stop any further initiatives on that front. Total dead, wounded or missing amount to 1,100 for the Folgore. Eventually General Montgomery's forces claim victory over the Axis forces in El Alamein and Rommel orders the Folgore to withdraw on the 2nd of November, leaving their defenses still intact. Eventually, the remaining Folgore forces thin out during the difficult withdrawal through the desert.
RAF and USAAF fighter aircraft maintain constant air patrols over Axis airfields after a four-day bombing campaign wipes out most of the opposing forces.
BURMA: Advance units of British forces reach Buthidaung. A brief skirmish with the Japanese, who have advanced from Akyab, leaves the Japanese units in control of Buthidaung.
NEW GUINEA: In Papua New Guinea, Australian troops attack the Japanese at Eora Creek on the Kokoda Track but are unable to break through the Japanese lines. In the air, USAAF Fifth Air Force A-20 Havocs bomb and strafe Deniki and the Deniki-Kokoda Track.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: During the night of 23/24 October, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses attack shipping at Rabaul on New Britain Island.
NEW HEBRIDES ISLANDS: Japanese submarine HIJMS I-7 shells Espiritu Santo Island.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: General Vandegrift leaves Guadalcanal for a conference with Admiral Halsey at Noumea. General Gieger, USMC, is in charge. General Gieger has been in command of the Cactus Airforce and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
A raid of 12 Zeros on a fighter sweep and then16 Bettys with 17 Zeros escorting is intercepted by 24 Wildcats and 4 P-39s, commanded by Lt. Col. Harold Bauer, USMC, MOH. Losses: 6 Zeros; 1 Betty; 1 Wildcat scrapped and 6 more damaged. Capt. Joe Foss, USMC, MOH claims 4 and lands with a "dead stick" in one of the damaged Wildcats. Capt. Foss will later serve as Governor of South Dakota.
The Japanese soldiers south of Henderson Field drop their packs and move out for the starting points. Many scouts fail to return, others report jungle in every direction. By mid afternoon, most advance units are still in thick jungle. Lieutenant General Kawaguchi Kiyotake, commander of the 35th Brigade, changes his part of the attack plan, moving east. Lieutenant General Maruyama Masao, commander of the 2nd Division, orders no changes allowed. Kawaguchi argues and Maruyama dismisses him from command.
1800 hours: At dusk, the Japanese artillery barrage begins with the heaviest fire to date.
The attack, under Colonel NAKAGUMA Tadamasu, commander of the 4th Infantry Regiment, makes a determined but futile efforts to cross the Matanikau River mouth and overrun the 3d Battalion of the 1st Marine Regiment. The attack begins with nine tanks moving out. Marine anti-tank guns take on the tanks. Four batteries of Marine artillery respond. The Japanese sustain heavy losses: 600 are estimated killed and at least eight tanks are knocked out. The Marine casualties are 25 killed and 14 wounded. The attacks by Colonel OKA and General MARUYAMA which are supposed to start at the same time do not. They are still fighting the jungle.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Submarine USS Kingfish (SS-234) sinks a converted gunboat at 33-12 N, 135-14 E. (Skip Guidry)
A PBY Catalina spots a Japanese fleet carrier heading for Guadalcanal Island, Solomon Islands. Three PBYs mount a night attack against the carrier and escorting ships but the attack is unsuccessful. This carrier will meet USN forces in the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October.
ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Armed reconnaissance by seven USAAF Eleventh Air Force bombers, escorted by six P-38 Lightnings, is flown over Japanese-held Kiska Island installations, chiefly the submarine base and Main Camp; visibility is excellent and direct hits are scored, including one on the submarine base.
NEWFOUNDLAND: Corvettes HMCS Ville de Quebec, Summerside and Alberni departed St John's for Liverpool with Convoy HX-212 and subsequent support of Operation Torch, North African Landings.
U.S.A.: Forces from the U.S. begin a movement to North Africa in preparation for Operation TORCH, the invasion of northwest Africa. The first detachment of the Western Naval Task Force, under Rear Admiral Henry K. Hewitt, sails from Hampton Roads, Virginia.
A commercial airliner and a USAAF bomber collide in the air over Mount Jacinyo, Palm Springs, California, at 1715 hours local killing all 12 aboard the airliner. The commercial airliner is Douglas DC-3-178, msn 1555, registered NC16017 by the U.S. airline American Airlines; the bomber is a Lockheed (Model 137-27-02) B-34-VE Lexington. The midair collision at 9,000 feet (2 743 meters) destroys the rudder of the DC-3 causing it to crash, the B-34 lands safely with minor damage. The accident report blames the reckless and irresponsible conduct of the bomber pilot in deliberately maneuvering a bomber in dangerous proximity to an airliner in an unjustifiable attempt to attract the attention of the first officer, his friend aboard the airliner. Composer and song writer Ralph Rainger, 41, is among the dead . Rainger's compositions include "Thanks for the Memory," "June in January," "Blue Hawaii" and "Ebbtide."
Anti-Aircraft cruiser USS Flint laid down.
Minesweeper USS Knave laid down.
Anti-Aircraft cruiser USS Oakland launched.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: The Canada Atlantic Transit Co. merchantman Canatco (2,415 GRT), was lost when she grounded on Gannet Rock and sank off the Labrador coast, in position 53.56N, 056.25W. She was proceeding as part of convoy LN-11 at the time of her loss. The Flower-class corvette HMCS Arrowhead rescued the crew. There was no loss of life in this incident.
U-129 sank SS Reuben Tipton.
U-161 damaged HMS Phoebe.
U-504 sank SS City of Johannesburg.
U-615 sank SS Empire Star.
U-621 sank SS Empire Turnstone in Convoy ONS-136.
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