Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 368 September 2, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 55. Between 8 AM and 5.30 PM, 4 Luftwaffe raids fly up the Thames Estuary to bomb airfields in the Southeast of England. RAF is better able to cope using Air Vice Marshall Keith Park’s strategy to attack the massed bombers before they split up. Damage to airfields is consequently reduced; however, Detling & Hornchurch are still bombed and Eastchurch is put out of action indefinitely. Aircraft factories at Rochester and Weybridge are also bombed. RAF shoots down 27 German fighters and 10 bombers (antiaircraft guns account for 1 Bf109 and 3 more bombers). 20 RAF lose fighters with 10 pilots killed. Overnight, there is widespread bombing of towns in the Midlands, including Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, which promptly stops at 1.30 AM.

At 7 PM, U-47 sinks Belgian passenger and freight ship Ville de Mons (carrying 4378 tons of general cargo, 1280 boxes of pears, 648 tons of corn and 536 tons of wheat from new York) with 4 torpedoes 200 miles West of Isle of Lewis, Scotland. All 54 on board survive. At 10 PM, U-46 sinks British SS Thornlea 200 miles Northwest of Ireland (3 crew lost). 19 crew are picked up by Canadian destroyer HMCS Skeena. Another 14 survivors will be rescued next day by the Norwegian steamer Hild and landed at Sydney, Australia, on 15 September.

U-58 departs base in the French port of Lorient, in the Bay of Biscay, and is attacked 30 miles out by British submarine HMS Tigris (all torpedoes miss U-58). At 8 PM, British submarine HMS Sturgeon sinks German SS Pionier off Skagen, Denmark. Pionier is carrying 750-1000 German troops, supplies and equipment from Frederikshavn, Denmark, to Frederiksstad, Norway (almost all are killed).

German armed merchant cruiser Widder sinks British tanker Cymbeline with the deck gun and a torpedo (7 crew killed) in the Central Atlantic 800 miles West of the Canary Islands. Wider spends 4 hours picking up 26 survivors. Cymbeline’s Captain, First Officer and Third Engineer escape in a lifeboat and will be rescued on September 16 by tanker Yolonda and taken to Venezuela.

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