Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 356 August 21, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 43. Clouds, wind and rain prevent large raids but Luftwaffe continues the tactics of small raids (1-2 aircraft) flying at most 20 miles inland. RAF airfields on the South and Southeast of England are bombed with little damage (2 RAF personnel killed, 40 wounded). Some coastal towns are also bombed (4 civilians killed, 178 wounded) and many merchant ships are sunk or damaged. 13 German bombers are destroyed and 1 RAF Hurricane is shot down.

In the mid-Atlantic 1000 miles off the West coast of Africa, German armed merchant cruiser Widder sinks British collier Anglo Saxon and machineguns the lifeboats (34 crew killed, 7 men escape in one lifeboat). After drifting 2500 miles in 71 days, only 2 survivors make land at Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Widder’s Captain Ruckteschell will be convicted as a War Criminal for this attack in May 1947 (dying in jail in 1948), following the testimony of survivor Able Seaman Robert Tapscott.
The Anglo Saxon’s Jolly Boat which carried the survivors 2500 miles is preserved at the Mystic Seaport Museum

Italian submarine Dandolo damages Dutch tanker Hermes, 200 miles West of Lisbon, Portugal.

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