Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 165 February 12, 1940

Finland. 5 AM, Soviet tanks drag explosive-laden sleds up to the Million Fort which is destroyed, killing everyone inside. The Mannerheim Line is truly breached but Soviet 7th Army does not pour through. Soviets capture the Kirvesmäki stronghold in Taipale and resist Finnish attempts to retake it. This is the beginning of the end for the Finns.

U-33 & Kapitänleutnant von Dresky’s inglorious war ends. At 2.50 AM, Royal Navy minesweeper HMS Gleaner locates U-33 laying mines in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, and drops depth charges. U-33 is badly damaged and forced to the surface at 5.22 AM and then sinks rapidly (25 lives lost, including von Dresky). Despite orders to remove the rotors from the secret Enigma code machine and throw them into the sea, one man among the 17 survivors has 3 rotors in his pockets. These are sent to Alan Turing’s naval cryptanalysis section of Government Code and Cypher School (2 of the rotors are only used by the Kriegsmarine).

Battle of the Atlantic. U-53 sinks Swedish SS Dalarö west of Scotland (captain lost, 29 survivors picked up by Belgian trawler Jan de Waele). U-26 sinks Norwegian Nidarholm west of Ireland (all 25 crew picked up 10 hours later by the Norwegian SS Berto).

British also enforce their blockade of Germany. Royal Navy destroyer HMS Hasty intercepts and captures German blockade runner SS, 300 miles west of Porto, Portugal. Morea is en route from Vigo, Spain to Germany, cargo unknown. 12 miles off Cabo Frio, Brazil, aircraft from British cruiser HMS Dorsetshire spot German freighter SS Wakama. HMS Dorsetshire stops Wakama but her crew set her on fire, so that Wakama will not fall into British hands, and take to the lifeboats. 46 survivors are picked up by HMS Dorsetshire.

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