Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 394 September 28, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 81. With fair weather and clouds over the Channel, Luftwaffe sends daylight raids with particularly large numbers of fighters. At 10 AM, 120+ aircraft cross the Kent Coast in 2 waves but they are intercepted and only 6 reach bombers London. At 1.30 PM, 35 bombers and 125 fighters attack targets in Kent. All squadrons of AVM Park’s No. 11 Group and 5 Squadrons of AVM Leigh-Mallory’s No. 12 Group converge on the German planes who, by 2.10, head back to France. At 2.15 PM, 60 aircraft fly towards Portsmouth from Cherbourg. They are engaged by 9 RAF squadrons and the bombers drop their bombs into the Channel and head for home. The large proportion of fighters in the Luftwaffe raids allows them to down 16 RAF fighters (9 pilots killed) while losing only 6 Messerschmitts. London is pounded continuously again overnight with raids from Holland, Northern France and Cherbourg. Liverpool is also bombed and mines are laid in the Thames Estuary.

At 4.09 PM, U-32 sinks British steamer Empire Ocelot 350 miles West of Ireland (2 killed, 32 crew picked up by British destroyer HMS Havelock and landed at Liverpool). At 8 PM, U-37 finishes off British steamer Corrientes which was abandoned after being damaged by U-32 on September 26.

German destroyers Eckholdt, Riedel, Lody, Galster, Ihn and Steinbrinck depart Brest and lay mines at the end of the English Channel in Falmouth Bay, Cornwall (right under the nose of Royal Navy squadron based at Plymouth).

British anti-submarine trawler Recoil (previously German trawler Blankenburg, captured in April off Norway) hits a mine off Portland Bill in the English Channel and sinks (25 crew killed). German tanker Shell II is sunk by British bombers in the River Scheldt, Holland.

A busy day off the coast of North Africa. 12 miles off Egypt, in the busy sea lane between the British bases at Mersa Matruh and Alexandria, Italian submarine Gondar is sunk by Australian destroyer HMAS Stuart and British aircraft called from Alexandria. Gondar is carrying 3 human torpedoes intended for use against the Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria. All 43 crew from Gondar and the 4 frogmen to drive the human torpedoes are all picked up by HMAS Stuart and taken prisoner. 10 miles off Libya, in the busy sea lane between the Italian bases at Benghazi and Tobruk, British submarine HMS Pandora sinks Italian steamer Famiglia. HMS Pandora is then counterattacked by Italian torpedo boat Enrico Cosenz but not damaged.

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