November 7th, 1942 (SATURDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: London: As Britain prepares to ring out the bells for victory, one man's name is on everyone's lips. "Monty" is the general who gave El Alamein to a country desperate for success. "Monty" is the hero.
Until now, Bernard Montgomery has been completely unknown to the British public. Today his picture occupies pride of place on every front page. Future war historians may question many of his decisions at Alamein, but few would dare to do so in Britain today. For the first time since the agonies of Dunkirk, Singapore and Tobruk, the country has a winner. Rommel is on the run - thanks to "good old Monty". Alamein was won by meticulous planning and Montgomery's insistence on retraining the Eighth Army and ensuring that every man taking part in the battle knew exactly what was expected of him. From the moment that he arrived in Egypt, he was everywhere - planning, bullying, hectoring, cajoling, inspiring his troops and firing any officer whom he regarded as "defensive minded". He woos his troops with care, wearing at least three regimental badges on his array of hats - although he seems now to have settled for the black beret of the Royal Tank Corps.
The 556 paratroopers of Colonel Edson Raff's Second Battalion, the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, take off from Cornwall aboard 39 C-47 transports for the American airborne's first mission. They are destined for French North Africa in the vanguard of Operation Torch. They are setting out on the longest journey for an airborne division that has ever been tried, flying 1600 miles to two airstrips near Oran, Algeria, which they are to seize.
Many of the planes become lost and miss their objective, and when Colonel Raff bails out, he smashes into a large rock, breaking two ribs. He is 35 miles from his destination, the Tafaraoui airstrip. By the time that the paratroopers get there by jeep, it will already have been taken by seaborne troops.
Destroyer HMS Zodiac laid down.
Submarine HNLMS Dolfijn commissioned.
The air movement of the USAAF Twelfth Air Force from the U.K. to North Africa begins. Other elements of the Twelfth Air Force moving from the U.K. and U.S. are aboard Allied ships approaching the Algerian and Moroccan coasts.
BELGIUM: During the day, two RAF Bomber Command medium bombers attack the marshalling yard at Courtrai with the loss of one aircraft.
NETHERLANDS: During the day, one RAF Bomber Command medium bomber attack Flushing Airfield.
During the night of 7/8 November, RAF Bomber Command Wellingtons lay mines: seven aircraft lay mines in the Frisian Islands and two lay mines off Texel Island. One aircraft is lost.
FRANCE: The USAAF Eighth Air Force's VIII Bomber Command flies Mission 16: 23 B-17 Flying Fortresses and 11 B-24 Liberators attack the U-boat pens at Brest; they claim 4-3-7 Luftwaffe aircraft. Seven B-24 Liberators fly a diversion.
During the day, six RAF Bomber Command Mosquitos carry out a successful low-level attack on the 5,000 ton German ship SS Elsa Essberger in the mouth of the River Gironde. The merchant ship is escorted by an armed naval vessel. The Mosquitos claim to have hit both ships but one Mosquito is shot down.
GERMANY: RAF Bomber Command medium bombers attack Duisburg and Gelden.
DENMARK: During the night of 7/8 November, six RAF Bomber Command Wellingtons lay mines in the Little Belt, the 30-mile (48 kilometer) strait between Fyn Island and the Danish mainland, without loss.
SWEDEN: The Swedish Foreign Minister declares in the Riksdag (Parliament) that Sweden is determined to maintain her neutrality, meeting force with force if necessary, and that a free Finland and a free Norway are indispensable for the survival of Sweden as a free State.
ITALY: During the night of 7/8 November, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 175 aircraft, 85 Lancasters, 45 Halifaxes, 39 Stirlings and six Wellingtons, to bomb Genoa; 147 aircraft hit the city with the loss of six aircraft, four Halifaxes, a Lancaster and a Wellington. Returning crews claim a very successful and concentrated raid and this is confirmed by photographs. One aircraft bombs Turin as a target of opportunity.
GIBRALTAR: General Giraud arrives aboard the British submarine Seraph. He is to meet General Eisenhower. Giraud has been chosen by the Allies to minimize French resistance. He believes he will take command of the whole operation. This difference of opinion is unfortunate and while causing much worry on the Allied side, is of little practical consequence.
A major section of Seraph's conning tower and a couple of its instruments are now a permanent memorial on the grounds of the famous South Carolina Military Academy known as "The Citadel". It is there because the American officer who led the pickup effort was a graduate of that institution, which ranks with the Virginia Military Institute, Norwich (Connecticut), Texas A and M, and West Point as producers of fine Army officers. The monument is the only place in the United States that permanently flies a White Ensign, which is ceremonially replaced annually by an RN delegation from the British Embassy in Washington DC.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Operation TORCH invasion armada from U.S. and U.K. closes in along the northern African coast. The U.S. transport USS Thomas Stone (AP-29) is torpedoed about 150 miles from Algiers and disabled; troops aboard are transferred to landing boats but do not reach Algiers until after its surrender.
EGYPT: Allied troops enter Mersa Matruh, which has been deserted by the Germans. The British Eighth Army's pursuit of Axis forces is delayed in the Matruh area as heavy rainfall immobilizes supporting vehicles. The Axis forces seize the opportunity to withdraw some forces. By this time, four German and eight Italian divisions are ineffective as fighting units. The British have taken 30,000 prisoners, among them nine generals.
LIBYA: Italian submarine R. Smg Antonio Sciesa is sunk by USAAF aircraft off Tobruk.
INDIAN OCEAN: The 5,642 ton U.S. freighter SS La Salle is torpedoed and sunk with all hands (including 13 Armed Guard) by German submarine U-159 about 394 nautical miles (730 kilometers) south-southeast of the Cape Town, South Africa, in position 40.00S, 21.30E. When the merchantman, which is carrying ammunition, explodes, the cataclysmic blast rains debris on her U-boat's decks nearby, wounding three German submariners.
CHINA: Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell, Commander in Chief US China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of Operations, Chief of Staff to Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek and Commander in Chief Northern Area Combat Command (NCAC) in Burma, with the approval of Chinese Foreign Minister T. V. Soong, sends for Major General Raymond Wheeler, head of the Services of Supply, CBI Theater, to survey the Chinese supply situation in preparation for projected campaign in spring of 1943.
NEW GUINEA: USAAF Fifth Air Force A-20 Havocs bomb and strafe forces at Kakandeta in the Owen Stanley Range, Papua New Guinea while B-25 Mitchells attack seaplanes at Lasonga Island.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Battle of Santa Cruz Island. USS Hornet (CV-8) lost and USS Enterprise (CV-6) badly damaged. (Robert K. Wear)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Guadalcanal: US troops attack at Koli Point.
On Guadalcanal, the Army's 164th Infantry Regiment enveloping force completes their northward movement along the east bank of the Nalimbiu River to Koli Point and joins the 7th Marine Regiment. The combined force then moves east along coast without opposition to within a mile (1,6 kilometers) of the Metapona River.
Seven Marine SBD Dauntlesses and three Navy TBF Avengers escorted by 21 Marine F4F Wildcats and nine USAAF P-39 Airacobras from Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, attack a Japanese convoy, damaging destroyers HIJMS Naganami and Takanami. The 12 transports in the convoy are carrying 12,000 Japanese troops of the 38th Division for Japan's fourth attempt to take Henderson Field, Guadalcanal.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: USAAF Fifth Air Force B-25 Mitchells attack shipping at Maklo Island off the south coast of New Britain Island.
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Six USAAF Eleventh Air Force B-24 Liberators and two B-26 Marauders attack the submarine base in Japanese-held Kiska Island Harbor, slightly damaging float fighters and a seaplane beached by a storm; a B-17 Flying Fortress flies reconnaissance over the airfield west of Holtz Bay on Japanese-held Attu Island, and bombs the submarine base and a previously-damaged freighter in Gertrude Cove on Kiska Island.
Minesweeper USS Revenge launched.
U-505 sank SS Ocean Justice.
U-508 sank SS Lindenhall and Nathaniel Hawthorne in Convoy TAG-19.
U-566 sank SS Glenlea in Convoy ON-143.
U-613 sank SS Roxby.
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