Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 200 March 18, 1940

Mussolini and Hitler meet in the Brenner Pass at the Austrian-Italian border to reaffirm their pact of Steel. Mussolini makes vague promises to enter the war on the side of Germany "at an opportune moment", believing that Hitler is overoptimistic in his plans for dominance in Europe. Things will move faster than he thinks.

The British and French public and newspapers clamour for explanations for the failure to help Finland in the Winter War. The French government of Édouard Daladier comes under particular criticism for the lack of action in Finland, as well as Poland and on the German border.

German bombers of KG26 bomb and strafe Dutch trawler Protinus off the Dutch coast, near Ijmuiden (the captain and first mate are killed). 10 crewmembers abandon ship in a lifeboat but 2 more die at sea. After 6 days in the open boat, the remaining 8 crew will be rescued by British submarine HMS Unity and landed on the East coast of Scotland.

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