Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 285 June 11, 1940

France. Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division captures Le Havre and then turns back to drive 30 miles Northeast up the coast to St-Valery-en-Caux, encircling 46,000 French and British troops. Fog and German shelling have prevented a full-scale evacuation of St-Valery-en-Caux but destroyer HMS Broke and corvette HMS Gardenia embark the wounded. Empty British troopship Bruges is sunk by German bombing near Le Havre (all 72 crew survive). Guderian’s Panzers capture Reims.

Following Italy’s declaration of war, Italian troops begin traversing the Alps towards the French border. 10 Italian Royal Air Force Cant Z.1007 Alcione bombers attack Grand Harbour, Hal Far and Kalafrana in Malta (1 civilians and 6 soldiers killed, 130 wounded). Italian forces stationed in Libya and the British and Commonwealth forces stationed in Egypt begin a series of raids on each other. British 11th Hussars armored cars cross into Libya and capture Italian prisoners who are unaware they are at war.

Winston Churchill and British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden fly to France for a Supreme War Council meeting at Chateau du Muguet near Briare. There is a palpable air of French defeatism. Churchill refuses a request for RAF support. Horrified at the prospect of a French surrender, Churchill reiterates the March 28 agreement that neither country will conclude a separate peace with Germany. Admiral François Darlan assures Churchill that the French fleet will not fall into German hands.

37 survivors from HMS Glorious and 2 from HMS Acasta are picked up by Norwegian trawler Borgund and landed on the Faroe Islands June 13. Destroyers HMS Veteran and Forester go to the Faroes on June 16th and take them to Scapa Flow.

U-boats harass shipping off Cape Finisterre, Spain. U-48 and U-101 sink Greek steamers SS Violando N. Goulandris and SS Mount Hymettus. U-46 torpedoes British tanker Athelprince which does not sink. Athelprince will be salvaged and return to service in January 1941.

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