Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 301 June 27, 1940

Churchill still worries that Germany will capture the French fleet, particularly the vessels at Mers-el-Kébir, restoring German sea power lost in the Norwegian campaign. Despite Admiral Darlan’s assurances, War Cabinet instructs Royal Navy to neutralise, seize or destroy French warships in various British and North African ports (Operation Catapult). Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville is ordered to take newly-formed Force H to Algeria.

U-47 sinks 2 merchant ships Southwest of Ireland. At 4 AM, U-47 shells Norwegian MV Lenda carrying timber, which catches fire (1 dead, 27 survivors abandon ship in 2 boats). At 5 PM, U-47 shells Dutch tanker Leticia carrying 2568 tons of fuel oil (2 dead). 25 crew get off in 2 lifeboats. 3 men are rescued from the water by U-47 and brought to the lifeboats, where they are given first aid material, sausages and wine. Survivors from both ships are picked up in the afternoon by British destroyers HMS Hurricane and Havelock and taken to Plymouth, England.

Italian submarine Console Generale Luizzi is sunk by destroyers HMS Dainty, Defender and Ilex south of Crete. HMS Voyager and Dainty rescue the survivors. Off the coast of Eritrea near Port Sudan, beached Italian submarine Macalle is destroyed by shelling from British destroyers HMS Kandahar and Kingston & light cruiser HMS Leander (serving in the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy). HMS Leander's aircraft also dropped four bombs on the submarine.

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