Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 168 February 15, 1940

Generalmajor Rommel takes command of 7th Panzer Division. After providing Hitler's personal protection in Poland, Rommel sought a divisional command. After rejecting a specialized mountain division (Rommel’s forte in WWI), he lobbies hard for a Panzer division. With Hitler's tacit support he is given 7th Panzer.

Finland: Finnish Commander-in-Chief decides to abandon his Mannerheim Line. At 8 PM, he orders II Army Corps to withdraw to intermediate defensive positions (the “V-line”) on the Isthmus.

North of Lake Ladoga, Finns destroy the motti around Lavaj√§rvi village taking 2 tanks, 5 field guns, 2 antitank guns, 8 trucks, 3 machineguns, 4 field kitchens, numerous rifles and ammunition. Finnish 9th division surrounds Soviets “Dolin” ski brigade (Colonel Dolin is already dead; his brigade is reduced to 800 men).

Neutral shipping suffers the German blockade of Britain. 4 steam merchant (carrying ore, oil cake, oil and fruit) are sunk for a total of 16,600 tons.

At 02.07, U-50 sinks Danish SS Maryland, carrying oil cake, west of Scotland (all 34 hands lost).

At 05.45, U-37 sinks Danish SS Aase carrying Spanish fruit to Bristol (15 lives lost). 1 survivor is picked up by HMS Verity on 17 Feb.

At 08.37, U-26 sinks Norwegian SS Steinstad 75 miles west of Aran Island, Ireland (13 dead). A lifeboat with 11 survivors makes landfall at Arranmore Island on 20 Feb.

At 14.00, U-48 sinks Dutch tanker MV Den Haag (11800 tons of oil) 150 miles west of Ouessant (26 dead). The U-boat had spotted the tanker about five hours earlier, but waited to evade a flying boat. 13 survivors in one lifeboat are picked up by British MV Glenorchy.

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