Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 380 September 14, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 67. Again, the weather is cloudy and rainy. Hitler postpones any German invasion of Britain until September 17 to give Luftwaffe more time to tame RAF. However, the lull in fighting since September 9 allows RAF to return to operational strength with newly-manufactured and repaired fighters. They also repair airfields & radar stations and integrate newly trained pilots with rested veterans. AVM Park has reshuffled squadrons so that Hurricanes (to attack bombers) and Spitfires (to attack the fighter escorts) work in pairs. 150 German aircraft cross the coast to bomb London at 3.30 PM and another 100 attack London and some airfields at 6 PM. Most bombers do not get through to their targets. RAF shoots down 4 German bombers and 11 Messerschmitt fighters but RAF loses 12 fighters also (4 pilots killed). Despite good weather overnight, there is little bombing of London. Leicester is also bombed.

Operation Menace. Prior to landing Free French troops at Dakar, French sloops Commandant Domine and Commandant Duboc, British battleships HMS Barham and HMS Resolution and several British destroyers arrive at Freetown, Sierra Leone, to refuel. Aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and cruisers HMS Devonshire and HMAS Australia are 300 miles North, patrolling off Dakar to prevent the arrival of 3 Vichy French cruisers which are suspected of reinforcing Vichy troops holding Dakar. However, the French cruisers are already there, dealing a critical blow to the operation.

Egypt, North Africa. Italian troops make slow inroads into Egyptian territory. As the main British force prepares defenses at the railhead at Mersa Matruh (which is the expected target of the Italian advance), covering forces harass the Italians without becoming seriously engaged as they fall back. Italian intelligence becomes conviced they are facing many more British troops than in reality.

German antisubmarine trawler Hinrich Wesselhoft is a total loss after running aground in the Hardangerfjord near Bergen, Norway. 500 miles West of Porto, Portugal, Italian submarine Emo torpedoes and shells British steam tanker Saint Agnes en route from Vizagapatam, India to Hull.

No comments:

Post a Comment