Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 335 July 31, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 22. Luftwaffe mounts numerous small raids on shipping all along the South coast of England. 1 Messerschmitt and 2 Spitfires are shot down off Folkestone. Göring is convinced by wild overestimates of RAF losses, as well as Royal Navy’s withdrawal of warships from the English Channel, that Luftwaffe has control of the skies. He believes he can proceed to Phase 2 of his plan, to eliminate RAF by direct attacks on their airfields. In fact RAF losses in July are 77 aircraft destroyed & 43 damaged (67 men killed, 23 wounded). Britain produced 496 fighters in July (50% above projected output) and has more serviceable aircraft than at the beginning of July, although still far fewer than Germany. British civilian casualties from bombing in July are 258 killed & 321 wounded.

Hitler revises his plans for an invasion of Britain by the middle of August. German Admiral Raeder convinces Hitler that Operation Sealion cannot be launched until middle of September.

U-99 sinks 2 British steamers 50 miles off the North coast of Ireland. At 1.38 AM, Jamaica Progress (2179 tons of fruit from Jamaica) is sunk with 7 lives lost. 17 survivors reach Barra in the Outer Hebrides in lifeboats while 25 crew members plus 1 gunner and 4 passengers are picked up by British trawler Newland and landed at Fleetwood, England. At 1.24 PM, British steamer Jersey City in convoy OB-191 is sunk (2 killed). 43 crew are picked up by British steamer Gloucester City, transferred to destroyer HMS Walker and landed at Liverpool. U-99 is depth charged by the escorts but is undamaged. Another attack on convoy OB-191 is foiled by a flying boat which bombs U-99, again without damage.

Off Harwich, British destroyer HMS Whitshed hits a mine head on and loses most of the bows. She is towed to Harwich stern first by destroyer HMS Wild Swan. HMS Whitshed will undergo repairs at Chatham until 21 December.

German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin sinks British steamer Domingo De Larringa in the South Atlantic 1000 miles east of Pernambuco, Brazil. 8 crew are killed & 30 taken prisoner (1 crewman Juan Garcia will die in Milag Nord PoW Camp and is buried in Becklingen War Cemetery).

British submarine HMS Spearfish departs Rosyth to patrol off the Norwegian coast.

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