Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 290 June 16, 1940

Pro-armistice elements in French cabinet push for peace. Prime Minister Paul Reynaud is unwilling to negotiate a separate peace with Germany (either to preserve his honour or unable to face the failure of his policies). He is asked to resign by French President Albert Lebrun and replaced with 84 year-old Philippe Pétain, WWI hero of Verdun, who is determined to end hostilities with Germany. Reynaud will be arrested on Pétain's orders in September 1940 and imprisoned by the Germans in the Itter Castle near Wörgl, Austria, until the end of the war. Pétain will be imprisoned after the war as a traitor and German collaborator, dying in prison in 1951.

Mediterranean. French sloop La Curieuse forces Italian submarine Provana to surface 30 miles South of Cabo de Palos, Spain. La Curieuse rams Provana, sinking her. British submarine HMS Grampus is sunk by depth charges from Italian torpedo boats Polluce and Circe, 105 miles East of Sicily (all 59 crew lost).

Operation Ariel continues evacuating Allied troops from Cherbourg and begins at the ports of St Malo, Brest and St. Nazaire. Over the next 3 days, 21,474 are embarked at St Malo, 54,411 at St. Nazaire and 32,584 from Brest – mostly British.

Soviets have established bases in Estonia and Latvia, following agreements in 1939. Soviet army invades Estonia and Latvia, assisted by Soviet troops breaking out from these bases.

After tracking British armed merchant cruiser HMS Andania for 3 days, UA finally sinks her just after midnight, 230 miles west-northwest of the Faroe Islands. All 347 crew are rescued by Icelandic trawler Skallagrímur and transferred to British destroyer HMS Forester arriving at Scapa Flow June 17. At 4.45 PM, U-101 sinks British MV Wellington Star with torpedoes and deck gun, 300 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain. All 69 crew drift in 4 lifeboats for 8 days. On June 24, 52 crew are picked up by the French steamer Pierre L.D. and the other 17 in 1 lifeboat make land at Figuera da Foz, Portugal.

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