Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 107 December 16, 1939

In Montevideo, British diplomats play for time to contain Graf Spee, dispatching another merchant vessel from Montevideo at 5 PM to prevent Graf Spee sailing for another 24 hours. However, Uruguay insists the British cease this ploy as Graf Spee’s stay of 3 days expires at 8 PM tomorrow. Graf Spee continues her rapid repairs. Commodore Harwood refuels his ships in anticipation of renewed battle. Harwood receives news he is promoted to Rear-Admiral and knighted.

A signal from the Admiralty stated Commodore Henry Harwood was promoted Rear Admiral from the 13th. of December, and the King bestowed the Knight Companion of the Bath ( KCB ) on him, and the Companion of the Bath ( CB ) on the three cruiser Captains, C.H.L Woodhouse in Ajax, W.E. Parry in Achilles, and F. S. Bell in Exeter. Much rejoicing in the British ships lying in wait off the River Plate.


In Finland, Soviet ‘road strategy’ fails to get men and equipment in force to the point of contact. Finnish resistance becomes a rout in places. Finnish IV Corps, having scattered Soviet 139th division in Tolvaj√§rvi on Dec 12, meets Soviet 75th division marching to the rescue and puts them to flight also. As the Finnish noose tightens on the surrounded 163rd division in Suomussalmi, Soviet 44th Division advances slowly up the Raate Road to rescue them. Disaster awaits them.

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