Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 243 April 30, 1940

German 196th Division infantry arrive at Dombås on foot (their vehicles are blocked by the blown bridges) and are held by 15th Brigade inflicting heavy casualties. At dusk, the British troops withdraw from Dombås by train, destined for Åndalsnes to be evacuated. Meanwhile at Namsos, General de Wiart’s 146th Brigade awaits evacuation by Mountbatten’s destroyer squadron which is en route.

RAF bombs German airfields in Norway at Stavanger & Fornebu (Oslo) to reduce German air attacks on the planned evacuations. This is only marginally successful. British aircraft carriers HMS Ark Royal & Glorious, bringing fighter support to cover the evacuation sites, are driven off by Luftwaffe bombing. Germans will dominate the skies during the evacuations.

At 5 PM, cruisers HMS Manchester & Birmingham and destroyers HMS Inglefield, Diana & Delight, under Vice Admiral Layton, depart Scapa Flow to evacuate 15th Brigade from Åndalsnes and nearby Molde.

Allied warships suffer several defeats and disasters.

French destroyer Maille Breeze sinks at Greenock, Scotland when 2 torpedoes of her own discharge accidentally in the forward section (25 dead, 48 wounded).

Minesweeper HMS Dundoon hits a mine at Smith's Knoll near Great Yarmouth and sinks (27 lives lost).

Anti-submarine sloop HMS Bittern, on anti-aircraft duty off Namsos, is dive bombed by Ju 87s and set on fire in the stern (20 lives lost). Destroyer HMS Janus takes off survivors, then torpedoes and sinks Bittern to prevent the capture of her anti-submarine detection equipment. Anti-aircraft ships have proved vulnerable & ineffective at defending shore targets (only 9 German bombers shot down during 1050 sorties).

ASW trawler HMS Warwickshire is sunk by German aircraft off Trondheim, Norway. She will be raised by the Germans on June 1 and used until 19 July 1943 when sunk again near Narvik by Soviet submarine S-56.

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