Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 316 July 12, 1940

In the North Channel between England and Ireland, U-56 hits British transport ship Dunera with a torpedo that glances off without exploding. Dunera is carrying 2,542 “enemy aliens” (many are survivors from British liner Arandora Star sunk July 2).

Battle of Britain Day 3. Typical British summer weather (low clouds, rain showers and occasional sunny periods) restricts flying across most coastal areas. British fighters engage He111 and Do17 bombers and fighter escorts targeting a large convoy (codenamed "Booty") off Essex and Suffolk (2 Spitfires, 1 Hurricane lost, no ships sunk). In the West of England, Stukas covered by Messerschmitt Me110s bomb Portland and Exeter. Stukas are vulnerable to attack pulling out of their dive and 2 are shot down. Twin-engine Me110s are too slow to provide much cover. A lone Heinkel He111 from Stavanger is shot down doing reconnaissance near Aberdeen, Scotland, and drops its bombs on the city before crashing into the Ice Rink.

160 miles Southwest of Ireland, U-99 sinks Greek steamer Ia carrying 6666 tons of wheat at 2 AM (3 dead and 27 survivors) and stops Estonian steamer Merisaar (carrying lumber) with the anti-aircraft gun at 11 PM, after missing with a torpedo. Rough seas prevent sinking Merisaar with torpedoes or deck gun, so she is ordered to go to Bordeaux, France. However, Merisaar will be sunk off Cork, Ireland, by a German bomber July 15.

After the Battle of Calabria, Italian bombers attack British battleship HMS Warspite and cruiser HMS Liverpool from 8.50 to 11.50 AM, with no damage. HMS Liverpool is hit by a bomb that did not explode (1 killed and 2 wounded). A Sea Gladiator of 801 Squadron from aircraft carrier HMS Eagle shoots down an Italian bomber then makes a forced landing alongside HMS Liverpool, which rescues the seaplane.

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