Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 226 April 13, 1940

2nd Battle of Narvik. British battleship HMS Warspite & 9 destroyers, under Vice-Admiral William Jock Whitworth, enter Ototfjord to destroy the remaining German flotilla at Narvik. A Fairey Swordfish launched from Warspite bombs & sinks U-64 (8 dead, 38 survivors make a free ascent to the surface). Germans lose 8 destroyers; 3 are sunk (100 dead) & 5 scuttled, out of fuel or ammunition. 2600 sailors survive & join General Dietl’s forces in the defense of Narvik. German destroyers shell but do not sink HMS Punjabi (14 dead, 28 wounded) & HMS Cossack, which runs aground (9 dead, 21 wounded). HMS Eskimo’s bow is blown off by a German torpedo but she does not sink. Whitworth signals London that the Germans are beaten & Narvik can be taken with a single Brigade. http://www.battleguide.net/Narvik.htm

The 38 survivors from U-64 are rescued by German mountain troops. Out of respect, the crew will adopt the Edelweiss as the emblem for their new submarine U-124 when they are reassigned in June 1940. http://www.uboat.net/special/emblems/u124.html

Norwegian Cruiser-minelayer HNoMS Frøya, protecting the fortress of Agdenes at Trondheim, is damaged by German warships and beached. U-34 administers a coup de grâce to prevent salvage.

British War Cabinet dithers between landings at Trondheim, to help secure southern Norway from German advance, and the original strategic goal of Narvik to interfere with Swedish iron ore traffic. Churchill presciently warns of “the grave danger that we should find ourselves committed to a number of ineffectual operations along the Norwegian coast, none of which would succeed”.

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