Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 193 March 11, 1940

The Soviet noose tightens around Viipuri, with fighting in many suburbs. 5 Soviet tanks reach Tammisuo station in northeast Viipuri. At 6 PM, Finnish delegates in Moscow meet for final talks at the Kremlin and agree to Soviet terms to end the Winter War. The Finnish public is told for the first time about the Moscow peace talks.

British and French governments, under public pressure to do something to aid Finland, decide to send troops into Scandinavia to capture Swedish iron mines before a Soviet-Finnish peace robs them of an excuse. The Allies hope for cooperation from Norway and Sweden, despite repeated statements that they will resist. The question of whether, or how, to respond to Norwegian or Swedish armed resistance is left unanswered.

An Italian volunteer in the Finnish Air Force, Diego Manzochi is killed when his plane runs out of fuel. He had flown his own Fiat fighter to Finland in Dec 1939.

At 3.17 AM, U-28 hits Dutch tanker Eulota with 1 torpedo 125 miles west of Quessant, France. Eulota breaks in two and catches fire but she does not sink. All 42 crew abandon ship after the torpedo hits but reboard. British destroyers HMS Broke and Wild Swan pick up the survivors and scuttle Eulota.

On sea trials in Jade Bay near Wilhelmshaven submarine base, U-31 is sighted by a British Bristol Blenheim of 82 squadron (RAF Bomber Command) which drops 4 antisubmarine bombs, scoring 2 hits (58 lives lost, all 48 crew and 10 dock workers). Interestingly, U-31 will be refloated later in March and sunk again by depth charges from HMS Antelope on Nov 2 1940, becoming the only German submarine to sink twice in WWII.

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