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July 2nd, 1943 (FRIDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Merchant Aircraft Carrier SS EMPIRE MACMAHON is launched.

ITALY: Heavy Allied air raids continue on major ports in central and southern Italy. (Glenn Steinberg)

USAAF's Ninth Air Force dispatches B-24 Liberators to bomb airfields at Lecce, Grottaglie and San Pancrazio Salentino. 

In Sicily, Ninth Air Force B-25 Mitchells hit the airfield and surrounding area at Sciacca; P-40s, escorting bombers to Sciacca, shoot down a fighter and damage one; two P-40s are lost. Northwest African Strategic Air Force Wellingtons hit Palermo and Cagliari during the night of 1/2 July; and Northwest African Tactical Air Force B-25s hit Castelvetrano during the day.

U.S.S.R.: Polar Fleet and White Sea Flotilla: Submarine "Sch-422" - mined and then finished by surface ASW ships, close to Maakur lighthouse, in Varde area. (Sergey Anisimov)(69)

INDIAN OCEAN: At 2107, the unescorted Hoihow was torpedoed and sunk by U-181 105 miles WNW of Mauritius. The master, 90 crewmembers, seven gunners and 47 passengers were lost. Three crewmembers and one passenger were picked up by the American SS Mormacswan and landed at Montevideo on 25 July.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: The Japanese forces on Rendova Island in the Solomon Islands hold on in the face of the US build up on the island. A IJN naval force bombarded US positions during the night.

Aerial support for the invasion of New Georgia includes B-25s and US Navy F4Us bombing and strafing a small vessel in the anchorage at Bairoko, New Georgia. 
In the early afternoon, all Allied air support is withdrawn because of a approaching weather front. 
The Japanese use this opportunity to dispatch an estimated 18 Navy Type 1 Attack Bombers, Allied Code Name "Betty," and 20 Mitsubishi A6M Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighters, Allied Code Name "Zeke," to attack US ground forces on Rendova Island; 59 Americans are killed in the bombing raid which start at 1330 hours local time.
During the night, the IJN cruiser HIJMS YUBARI and nine destroyers bombard US beachhead positions on Rendova. The IJN warships are engaged by three USN motor torpedo boats but the PTs do not score any hits.
New Georgia: The MacKechnie Forces, holding a beach-head at Nassau Bay makes contact with the Australian 3rd Division.

NEW GUINEA: Supporting the invasion of Nassau Bay, New Guinea, B-25s pound defenses in the Kela Point area and a trail near Logui while a lone B-24 bombs the Salamaua area. The Allied invasion force (the MacKechnie Force) holds firm a beachhead on Nassau Bay, and makes contact with Australian forces to the north. B-17s and B-24s again attack airfields at Rabaul on New Britain Island in the Bismarck Archipelago. 

Allied aircraft fail to detect ten Japanese bombers that make unopposed bombing and strafing attacks on the Allied beachhead.

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: In the Aleutian Islands, the US Eleventh Air Force dispatches 3 bombers and 4 P-38s to fly 4 reconnaissance missions over Kiska and Segula Islands. 17 B-24s and 16 B-25s then attack Kiska Island in 5 missions, 2 of them radar-guided. Fires are started at several of the targets, which include Gertrude Cove, the harbor, and buildings in the Main Camp area. Intense AA fire damages 3 aircraft. 2 B-25s on a submarine attack hit the Kiska seaplane ramp after making no contact with the target. 2 P-40s cover US troops that make an unopposed landing on Rat Island.

The Japanese task force tasked with evacuating personnel from Kiska Island.

The second XB-32, s/n 41-142, finally flew; this aircraft had a stepped cockpit canopy but the AAF soon reported that this aircraft was obsolete and recommended a large number of changes. 

(Operation KE) departs Paramushiru Island in the Kurile Islands.

U.S.A. Destroyer escort USS William C Miller commissioned.

CANADA: Frigate HMCS Lauzon (ex HMCS Glace Bay) laid down Levis Province of Quebec.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The unescorted Empire Kohinoor was torpedoed and sunk by U-618 about 250 miles SW of Freetown. Six crewmembers were lost. The master, 72 crewmembers and eight gunners were rescued. The first boat was rescued by destroyer HMS Wolverine and landed at Takoradi. The second boat was rescued by the British merchantman Gascony and the third landed at Lumley Beach, Sierra Leone on 7 July.

At 0008, the unescorted Bloody Marsh was on her maiden voyage, when the ship´s torpedo indicator sounded after detecting the approach of a torpedo from U-66. The master ordered a course change to hard left, but 30 seconds later the torpedo struck the port side at the engine room, destroying the room completely, flooding the compartment and killing one officer and two men on watch below. The hull was ruptured on the port side from midship to the engine room. As the tanker settled slowly by the stern, gradually losing headway, the after gun crew reported a conning tower but could not open fire because the explosion had jammed the gun. The forward gun did not get into action because it could not be brought to bear. Most of the ten officers, 40 men and 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) left the ship in four lifeboats and three rafts, with the exception of the armed guard commander and three of his men. 20 minutes after the attack, a second torpedo struck the port side amidships, broke the ship in two and immediately sank the tanker about 75 miles east of Savannah, Georgia. The four armed guards jumped overboard as the water reached the after gun platform. At 06.00 hours, a Navy blimp sighted the survivors and signaled that help was on the way. USS SC-1048 picked them up at 0900 and landed them at Charleston, South Carolina.

U-543 (Type IXC/40) sunk in the mid-Atlantic SW of Tenerife, in position 25.34N, 21.36W, by depth charges and a homing torpedo from an Avenger aircraft (VC-58) of the US escort carrier USS Wake Island. 58 dead (all crew lost).


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