Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 384 September 18, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 71. Luftwaffe sends 2 more big raids during the day. 70 Ju88 bombers escorted by 100 Bf109 fighters fly over English Channel at noon and are intercepted by AVM Park’s No. 11 group, with about 60 bombers reaching London. At 4 PM, 200 bombers in several waves (with fighter escorts) attack targets in Kent. In addition to squadrons from No.11 group, a Big Wing from No. 12 group joins in (repeating its success of September 7). 23 German bombers and 10 Messerschmitt fighters are shot down, while RAF loses 12 fighters (3 pilots killed). Overnight, London is bombed repeatedly and Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol and the North East Coast between Humber and Newcastle are also attacked.

At 1 minute past midnight, U-48 fires another torpedo at British liner SS City of Benares. The torpedo hits City of Benares in the stern and she lists heavily (preventing many of the lifeboats from being launched) and sinks within 30 minutes (121 crew and 134 passengers are lost, including 77 of the 90 children being evacuated from Britain to Canada). Destroyer HMS Hurricane arrives 24 hours later and rescues 105 survivors. 1 lifeboat with 42 survivors including 6 British children is missed. They will be spotted 8 days later by an Australian Sunderland flying boat and rescued by destroyer HMS Anthony. At 00.07, U-48 sinks British steamer Marina carrying 5700 tons of general cargo (2 killed, 17 crew and 3 gunners picked up by HMS Hurricane next day, another 17 crew members picked up after 8 days by 8 British merchant vessel Carlingford). At 6.49 PM, U-48 sinks British SS Magdalena carrying 4600 tons of iron ore (all 31 hands lost).

Near Porto, Portugal, Italian submarine Bagnolini sinks Spanish steamer Cabo Tortosa (Spanish steamer Monte Ayala rescues the entire crew).

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