German planes bomb Allied shipping at Bari, Italy, sinking and
damaging a number of U.S. freighters moored there. John M. Schofield
and Grace Abbott are damaged by flying fragments (the latter also
by a dud bomb); the former suffers no casualties among the 44-man
merchant complement, 28-man Armed Guard and an indeterminate number
of British Army stevedores on board to work cargo while the latter
has only one merchant seaman wounded from among her 41-man civilian
and 28-man Armed Guard complement. Samuel J. Tilden is hit by
two bombs and catches fire; 17 of the 209 embarked troops perish
as the soldiers abandon ship. The 41-man merchant crew and the
28-man Armed Guard remain at their posts to battle the blaze that
eventually burns out of control and forces her crew off the ship.
Ten of the ship's civilian complement die in the conflagration
(see 3 December 1943). John L. Motley, carrying a cargo of ammunition,
is hit by at least three bombs; direct hits and near-misses set
nearby John Bascom afire; four of 44 merchant seamen perish as
do 10 of 28 Armed Guard sailors. The survivors, in addition to
one passenger, abandon ship as the flames burn out of control.
Her mooring lines burnt through, John Bascom drifts near the burning
John L. Motley, which explodes, killing all on board (42 of the
46-man merchant complement and 22 of the 29-man Armed Guard) (the
only survivors are on shore at the time of the attack and thus
escape the fate of their shipmates). Debris from John L. Motley
damages gasoline tanker Aroostook (AOG-14), 41°06'N, 16°52'E,
and sets fire to Lyman Abbott. John Harvey, moored originally
between John L. Motley and Joseph Wheeler, is showered by burning
debris, and catches fire herself, drifting into the harbor where
she explodes, showering debris on the unfortunate Lyman Abbott.
Tragically, John Harvey's cargo includes mustard gas which subsequently
kills and injures many of the local inhabitants, in addition to
harming many among the 42 merchant seamen and 29 Armed Guards
on board Lyman Abbott. Consequently, 2 of the ship's civilian
crew and one Armed Guard sailor, in addition to the ship's sole
passenger, succumb to shrapnel wounds or mustard gas burns. Joseph
Wheeler is hit by one bomb that touches off her ammunition cargo
and the ship disintegrates, killing all on board: 15 of 41 merchant
seamen and 13 of the 28-man Armed Guard, in addition to the single
passenger, perish in the cataclysmic blast. Fifteen Armed Guard
sailors and 26 merchant sailors escape the fate of their shipmates
only because they were away from the ship, on shore, when she
3 December, Fri. Second Cairo Conference
begins, attended by President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill,
and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
Abandoned U.S. freighter Samuel J. Tilden, damaged in the German
air raid on Bari, Italy, the night before, is scuttled by two
torpedoes from British warships.
U.S. tanker Touchet is torpedoed twice (the second torpedo is
a dud) by German submarine U-193 at 25°15'N, 86°15'W, and abandoned
by most of the 50-man merchant complement and 30-man Armed Guard.
The latter's commander and nine men, however, stay with the ship,
manning the 5-inch gun aft. U-193's third torpedo finishes off
the tanker, though, and she sinks, taking nine of the ten Armed
Guards who manage to reach a raft (they are swept off as the ship
goes under), as well as the detachment commander, down with her
(see 5 and 6 December 1943).
Naval Air Facility, Sao Luiz, Brazil
Planes from Lexington (CV-16) and
small carrier Independence (CVL 22) sink collier Asakaze Maru,
cargo ship Tateyama Maru, auxiliary submarine chaser No.7 Takunan
Maru, and guardboat No.5 Mikuni Maru and damage light cruisers
Nagara and Isuzu, stores ship Kinezaki, auxiliary vessel Fujikawa
Maru, and transports Eiko Maru, Kenbu Maru, and No.18 Mikage Maru.
During Japanese retaliatory air
strikes, three U.S. ships suffer damage: carrier Lexington (CV-16)
by aerial torpedo, 13°30'N, 171°25'E; light cruiser Mobile (CL-63)
when one of her 5-inch mounts accidentally fires into one of her
own 40-millimeter mounts, 12°47'N, 170°57'E; and destroyer Taylor
(DD-468) by friendly fire from light cruiser Oakland (CL-95),
Submarine Apogon (SS-308) sinks
Japanese gunboat Daido Maru northeast of Ponape, 08°22'N, 159°02'E.
Submarine Gunnel (SS-253) sinks
Japanese transport Hiyoshi Maru northeast of Haha Jima, 29°436'N,
145°54'E, and eludes counterattacks by destroyer Inazuma.
Submarine Sailfish (SS-192) torpedoes
and sinks Yokosuka-bound Japanese escort carrier Chuyo southeast
of Honshu, 32°27'N, 143°49'E. Unbeknown to Sailfish, Chuyo is
carrying survivors from sistership Sculpin (SS-191).
Japanese seaplane carrier Sanuki
Maru is damaged by mine, Pomelaa, as she sails for Singapore.
U.S. tanker Chapultepec en route from Aruba, N.W.I., to Cristobal,
C.Z., is torpedoed by German submarine U-530 at 10°33'N, 79°10'W.
While there are no fatalities among the 53-man merchant complement
or the 28-man Armed Guard, two of that aggregate total are injured.
The ship reaches her destination under her own power and discharges
her cargo of fuel oil.
Subsequently, U.S. tanker Esso
Buffalo, en route from Aruba, N.W.I., to the Canal Zone (ultimate
destination: Melbourne, Australia), most likely accidentally rams
U-530 at 10°25'N, 78°28'W. There are no casualties among the 47-man
merchant complement or the 28-man Armed Guard.