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November 18th, 1942 (WEDNESDAY)


The USAAF Eighth Air Force's VIII Bomber Command flies Mission 21: 65 bombers are dispatched to hit targets against U-boat bases in France: (1) 19 B-17 Flying Fortresses hit the U-boat pens at La Pallice with the loss of one aircraft; (2) 19 B-17s hit targets of opportunity at St. Nazaire; and (3) 13 B-24 Liberators bomb the U-boat pens at Lorient.

During the night of 18/19 November, four RAF Bomber Command aircraft drop leaflets over the country.

Submarines HMS Varne and Vulpine laid down.

Corvette HMS Linaria launched.

Minesweeper HMS Horsham commissioned.

Destroyer ORP Orkan (ex-HMS Myrmidon) commissioned.

VICHY FRANCE: Pierre Laval is granted, by Marshal Petain, the authority to issue decrees solely on his own authority. This move underscores the decreasing practical importance of Petain.


U-245, U-319, U-400 laid down.

U-307, U-419 commissioned.

ITALY: Twelve RAF Spitfire fighter-bombers from Malta each slung with two 500 pound (227 kilogram) bombs attack a chemical factory at Pachino, Sicily.

During the night of 18/19 November, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 77 aircraft to bomb Turin; 71 hit the target. Many fires are started in the city-center area and hits are also achieved on the Fiat motor factory. Turin records show that 42 people were killed and 72 injured.

FINLAND: Finnish motor torpedo boats Syöksy, Vinha and Vihuri sink enemy gunboat Krasnoje Znamja in Lavansaari.

MALTA: The British minelayer HMS Welshman (M 84) arrives with more essential supplies.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: British light cruiser HMS Arethusa (26) escorting Convoy MW-13 (Operation STONEAGE) from Alexandria, Egypt to Malta, is hit by a aerial torpedo dropped by a low-flying aircraft with the loss of 156 crewmen. She is heavily damaged and towed back to Alexandria and undergoes total repair in the U.S. Naval Shipyard, Charleston, South Carolina.

NORTH AFRICA: The British Brigade at Djebel Abiod, Tunisia successfully defends against a German attack. Simultaneously French troops at Medjez el Bab also repel an attack. General Louis Barre, the C-in-C of the French 19h Corps, rejects a German ultimatum to evacuate, signalling a switch from Vichy to the Allies.

ALGERIA: Several USAAF"> USAAF Twelfth Air Force P-38 Lightnings are damaged in an Axis air raid on Maison Blanche Airfield.

LIBYA: USAAF Ninth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb the marshalling yard and docks at Bengasi.

TUNISIA: The British First Army's 36th Brigade, 78th Division, repels a German attack at Djebel Abiod, but the Hart Force (11th Brigade), spearheading the drive, becomes isolated in the region east of Djebel Abiod. The Germans attack French forces of the XIX Corps at Medjez el Bab, 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of Tunis and 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Mateur.

NEW GUINEA: In Papua New Guinea, the Australian 16th Brigade, Maroubra Force, reaches Popondetta, where airfield construction is immediately begun, and continues toward Soputa without making contact with the Japanese. In the Gona area, the Australian 2/33rd Battalion, 25th Brigade, takes Jumbota and continues on towards Gona. The U.S. 32d Infantry Division's 126th Infantry Regiment is ordered to establish contact with the Australians. Because of supply problems, Task Force Warren remains in place.

In Northeast New Guinea, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-25 Mitchells bomb the airfields at Lae Aerodrome and Salamaua Airstrip while B-26 Marauders bomb and strafe the area between Cape Endaiadere and Buna. B-17 Flying Fortresses attack Japanese Navy ships near Buna, Gona and Cape Ward Hunt, Papua New Guinea, damaging two destroyers.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Guadalcanal, the 2nd Btn 182nd Infantry crosses the Matinakau River with cover provided by the 8th Marines. They reach the top of Hill 66 around noon against only minor resistance.

Brigadier General Edmund Sebree, Commanding General of the Western Sector, begins moving forces toward the line of departure west of the Matanikau River (from Point Cruz southward along the ridge containing Hills 80, 81 and 66) in preparation for a full-scale westward offensive. 2d Battalion, 182d Infantry Regiment, covered by the 8th Marine Regiment, which remains east of the Matanikau River, crosses the river about 700 yards (640 meters) from its mouth and takes Hill 66, southernmost point of the line of departure.

Eleven USAAF Fifth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses and four B-26 Marauders with eight P-38 Lightning escorts sink a Japanese merchant cargo ship off Kahili Airfield on southern Bougainville Island.


BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: USAAF Fifth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses attack Japanese warships 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Gasmata, New Britain Island.

JAPAN: A Central Agreement between the Chief of Staffs of both the Japanese Army and Navy is issued. A scaled down order after setbacks in November, this plan calls for securing "important areas" in New Guinea to prepare for future operations. The 8th Area Army command is created including the 17th Army for Guadalcanal and the 18th Army for New Guinea. Previously both islands had been covered by the 17th Army. The 8th Area Army receives the 6th Division from China, the 65th Brigade and the 6th Air Division of the JAAF. An attack for January 20 to retake Guadalcanal is included.


Frigate HMCS Outremont laid down Quebec City, Province of Quebec.

HMC ML 103 commissioned.

Minesweeper HMCS Goderich damaged collision with Tanker Iocoma off Halifax. After three weeks under repair, she was returned to service and saw extensive escort duty in the western Atlantic until the end of the war.

U.S.A.: Destroyer USS Hobby commissioned.

Corvette HMCS Lethbridge arrived New York for duty under USN Commander Eastern Frontier. Employed escorting New York-Guantanamo convoys, Nov 42-Mar 43.

CARIBBEAN SEA: Spanish tanker CAMPARES rescues nine survivors (including six Armed Guard sailors ) from US freighter WEST KEBAR, sunk on October 29.

This is the third group of survivors to be rescued. The first group of 34 was rescued on November 8 and the second group of eight on November 10. (Rodney Sanders)(83)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0851 hours, corvette KNM Montbretia, while escorting Convoy ONS-144, was hit in the starboard bow by one of three torpedoes fired from U-262, while she was investigating a radar contact. The corvette had already been missed earlier that night by a torpedo from U-624 at 0603 hours. The torpedo explosion opened a large hole in the bow, the forecastle deck twisted upwards and caused the ammunition of the 4in gun to explode, sending debris of the gun platform over the after deck killing three men. The roof of the Asdic deck came down, the bridge distorted and the bulkheads in the wheelhouse stowed in, killing the helmsman. The commander gave order to abandon ship and three carley floats were launched until a second torpedo struck on the port side in the boiler room, breaking the ship in two and caused the ship to sink rapidly. First it was thought that the corvette was hit by two different U-boats, but U-262 had fired a single torpedo at 08.57 hours on a second escort vessel, apparently the corvette turned around after the first hit and was hit by the same U-boat. KNM Potentilla picked up 20 survivors from two carley floats and five from a cork net. Some of them were badly injured and two later died and were buried at sea that same afternoon.

U-154 sank SS Tower Grange.

U-43 torpedoed SS Brilliant in Convoy SC-109. Damaged beyond repair.

U-522 sank SS Yaka in Convoy ONS-144.

U-624 sank SS Parismina, President Sergent and damaged SS Yaka in Convoy ONS-144.

U-67 sank SS Tortugas.

Spanish tanker Campares rescues nine survivors (including six Armed Guard sailors) from US freighter West Kebar, sunk on October 29.

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