Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 74 November 13, 1939

Battle of the Atlantic. During the night, 4 German destroyers (Zerstörer Z20, Z18, Z19, Z21) lay magnetic mines in mouth of the river Thames. 5.26 AM Cruiser HMS Adventure and destroyers HMS Basilisk and Blanche sail into the minefield; Adventure detonates a mine (23 lives lost) but safely reaches harbor. 8.20AM Blanche, escorting Adventure, is badly damaged by another mine (1 dead, 12 injured). She is towed by tugboat Fabia but capsizes, becoming the first British destroyer lost to enemy action. Two merchant vessels SS Ponzano and SS Matra are also sunk by these mines.
An excellent website dedicated to the mining of HMS Adventure and HMS Blanche, maintained by the grandson of a casualty on HMS Adventure. Includes photographs of the damage to HMS Adventure and accounts from the captains of both HMS Adventure and HMS Blanche.

Winter War. Finnish diplomacy has failed. Paasikivi and Tanner leave Moscow for the last time before the outbreak of hostilities. Paasikivi will return to surrender in March 1940. Tanner is tried in 1946 for war crimes and spends 3 years in jail.

King Carol of Romania offers to mediate peace after the Allies rebuff Dutch and Belgian royalty. He too is viewed as acting for Hitler.

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