Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 348 August 13, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 35. Believing they have crippled British radar warning systems, Luftwaffe launches Adlertag (Eagle Day) to mark the start of large bomber raids against RAF airfields. The objective is to clear the sky over Southern England within 4 days. Despite cloudy weather, there are heavy raids along the South coast of England. As the weather clears through the afternoon, Luftwaffe launches a massive attack of 300 aircraft at 3 PM to bomb RAF airfields, including Detling in Kent where 68 men are killed by a direct hit on the mess hall. However, Eagle Day goes badly for Germany as many bomber raids are beyond the range of their fighter support. Germans lose 40 bombers & 36 fighters, while RAF losses are 2 Spitfires & 11 Hurricanes (remarkably, only 3 pilots are killed). At 7.50 PM, a Spitfire crashes during night flying practice (pilot is killed baling out). Minesweeping trawler HMT Elizabeth Angela is sunk by German bombing off Dover (1 killed).

Royal Navy contributes to the defense of British Somaliland. British cruiser HMS Carlisle shoots down an Italian aircraft attacking Berbera. 40 miles West of Berbera, destroyer HMS Kimberley and sloop HMS Auckland shell the port of El Sheikha, now in Italian hands. Italian troops again attack British defenses at Tug Argan but are held off.

At 9.47 PM, 10 miles North of Ireland, U-60 sinks Swedish steamer Nils Gorthon, carrying wood pulp (5 dead, 16 survivors).

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