Events occurring on Thursday, April 1, 1943  
  Naval Action in the Mediterranean  
  Fourteen Junkers Ju52s, loaded with petrol and unescorted in the air, were all shot down by U.S. Lightnings off the Tunisian coast, and bombers set fire to three supply ships, blowing up a destroyer escort in the process.  
   
  RAF Wellingtons bombed targets near the seaport of Sfax in Tunisia and destroyed railway stations, barracks, and factories.  
   
  The Alaskan Campaign  
  Lt. General John L. DeWitt ordered preparations for Operation Landgrab, the invasion of Attu Island.  
   
  American planes attacked Japanese targets on Kiska.  
   
  The Southwest Pacific Theater  
  USAAF B24 Liberators and B-17 Flying Fortresses from the U.S. 5th Air Force bombed a Japanese convoy off Kavieng, New Ireland and sank the merchant cargo ship Kokoko Maru.  
   
  The Battle of the Atlantic  
  British coastal fighters and torpedo planes engaged the Italian blockade-runner Pietro Orseolo off the coast of Spain in the Bay of Biscay in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Escorting German destroyers shot down five of the attacking aircraft, but the submarine USS Shad (SS-235), commanded by Lt. Commander Edgar J. MacGregor, III, hit the ship with a torpedo and caused substantial damage.  
   
  The Battle of the Atlantic  
  The submarine USS Gato (SS 212), commanded by Lt. Commander Robert J. Foley, was damaged by depth charges off New Ireland. She was forced back to base at Brisbane for temporary repairs from April 11 to April 20 after which she continued her patrol.  
   
  The Atomic Bombs  
  Fencing of the property at Oak Ridge, Tennessee was completed. Oak Ridge was now closed off to public access.  
   
  Construction began on the plant for manufacturing gaseous diffusion barriers in Decatur, Ill. although no barrier materials of usable quality had yet been produced.  
   
  A contract was concluded with the University of California to manage Los Alamos, acting as paymaster, accountant, and procurement agency. This contract (back dated to Jan. 1 for work already performed) is still in existence and serves as the basis for University of California management of both the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore laboratories.  
   
  Ships Commissioned  
  A ship's commissioning was when the ship was handed over, post fittings and trials, to the end user which, in this case, was a combatant navy.  
  The destroyer USS Thorn (DD 647) was commissioned. Her first commander was Lt. Commander Edward Brumby.  
   
  The destroyer escort USS Reuben James (DE 153) was commissioned. Her first commander was Lt. Commander Frank D. Giambattista.  
   
  The sloop HMS Starling (U 66) was commissioned. Her first commander was Captain Frederick J. Walker.  
   
  The submarine U-971 was commissioned. Her first commander was Oberleutnant zur See Walter Zeplien.  
     
   
  April 1943 Calendar  
   
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