Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 175 February 22, 1940

The Gulf of Finland is frozen solid. Soviet 43rd Division attacks with trucks and tanks across the ice and captures Lasisaari and Koivisto islands. Finns spike the guns of the coastal battery on Koivisto before withdrawing across Viipuri Bay.

Operation Wikinger. Without informing the Luftwaffe, 6 German destroyers sortie into the North Sea through a narrow lane between minefields, to disrupt scouting of German warships by British fishing boats. In the moonlight, Heinkel 111s from 4/KG26 mistake the destroyers for Allied ships and bomb the rear of the convoy. At 7.45 PM, destroyer Z1 Leberecht Maas is hit by two bombs and sinks (282 lives lost, 60 survivors). Destroyer Z3 Max Schultz takes evasive action, hits a mine and sinks with her crew of 308.

U-50 sinks British tanker SS British Endeavour 125 miles west of Vigo, Spain (5 lives lost). 32 crew members are picked up by British steamer SS Bodnant and landed on the Portuguese island of Maderia.

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