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23rd October 1942

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Events On This Day

The British Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers again carried out a major raid on Genoa by night. Savona and Turin were also bombed.

Russian Front. Renewed German attacks beaten off at Stalingrad.

In Africa. 9:30 p.m. the second battle of Alamein begins with massive barrage of artillery fire from a thousand guns onto the Italian and Afrika Corps positions. The attack totally surprises the Afrika Corps. To make matters worse. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel has been in Germany for a few weeks and has been temporarily superseded by general Georg Stumme. The Afrika Corps forces have been ordered not to respond to the British artillery fire, to save ammunition. This is a very difficult moment for the British. A few days earlier, Sir Winston Leonard Spenser Churchill cabled Alexander, the generalissimo of British armed forces in the middle East, that all our hopes rested on the outcome of the battle. The British are markedly superior to the Afrika Corps in manpower and materials. They can deploy 195,000 men versus the Afrika Corps 105, 000, 1, 029 tanks, including the American Sherman tank, against the Afrika Corps 490 Panzers, more than 1, 000 guns versus their enemies 480, 530 aircraft versus 350, and 1400 anti-tank guns versus only 744. Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery has under him the XXX, X and XIII Corps, deployed respectively at the North, centre and south of the line. On the other side the Afrika Corps 15. Panzer-Dvision and the 164th division have taken position at the North of the line with the Italian Littorio division, the Italian Trento, Bologna and Brescia divisions in their centre and the Afrika Corps 21. Panzer-Division and two more Italian divisions, the Ariete and Folgore, in the South. The Italians undertaking is to hold their positions while any possible attack will be executed by the Afrika Corps armour which is disabled by having to be spread widely along the front and so losing its striking power. The British plan is for the conclusive attack to be delivered in the north by the infantry of the XXX Corps and the armoured divisions of X Corps and the XIII Corps is to accomplish indirect actions. 10 p.m. the three British Corps launch their attacks against the Afrika Corps forces are taken by complete surprise at this unforeseen offensive, but respond swiftly.

In Australasia. Allied air force bombers sank or damaged ten Japanese surface ships at Rabaul.

United States of America. United States Liberator bombers raided Japanese submarine base at Kiska.

Mrs. Roosevelt arrived in London.

United States Army, Middle East Air Forces (USAMEAF). United States Army Air Force (USAAF) B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers and B-24 Liberator heavy bombers sent to attack Candia and Bengasi turn back short of target due to bad weather. El Alamein offensive by British Eighth Army begins at 2140 with artillery barrage by more than 1,000 guns aimed at enemy batteries. At 2200 barrage switches to enemy forward positions as British troops move forward. Heavy fighting continues during 23-24 October 1942.

Fifth Air Force. United States Army Air Force (USAAF) A-20 Havoc light bombers bomb and strafe Deniki and Deniki-Kokoda trail. B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers thoroughly pound shipping at Rabaul.

South Pacific (SOPAC). Henderson Field is again made operational by Seabees, and Marine and Army Air Forces fighters begin to inflict heavy losses on naval aircraft. Japanese ground forces assault defence lines around the airfields but are thrown back.

Eleventh Air Force. Armed reconnaissance by 7 bombers, escorted by 6 P-38 Lightning fighters, is flown over Kiska installations, chiefly the submarine base and Main Camp. Visibility is excellent and direct hits are scored, including 1 on submarine base.

Go To: 24th October
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Sources

The Second Great War.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

The War Illustrated.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

2194 Days Of War.
ISBN-10: 086136614X

For a complete list of sources
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