Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 428 November 1, 1940

Greece. In the middle of the Italian front, 11,000 elite mountain troops of 3rd Alpine Division Julia have the task of taking the mountain pass at Metsovo. 25 miles from Albania, this pass carries the only road for Greek movements East-West through the Pindus Mountains. They are faced by 2,000 Greek troops (2 infantry battalions, a cavalry troop and 2 artillery batteries, commanded by Colonel Konstantinos Davakis) who use their knowledge of the terrain to move along the hill tops and trap the Julia Division in the Vovousa valley 5 miles short of their objective.
British cruiser HMS Ajax lands troops (2nd Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment) to reinforce the garrison at Suda Bay on the Greek island of Crete. Italian bombers attack HMS Ajax, scoring several near misses but doing no serious damage.

German bombers attack shipping in the Thames estuary, sinking steamer Letchworth (1 killed) and badly damaging patrol sloop HMS Pintail (10 killed, 3 wounded). HMS Pintail will be under repair in London until February 1941. They also sink minesweeping trawler HMT Tilbury Ness (10 killed; survivors are rescued by anti-aircraft ship Royal Eagle, which also shoots down one of the bombers, and tug Salvo).

At 7.06 AM, 400 miles Northwest of Ireland, U-124 sinks British SS Empire Bison carrying 6067 tons of scrap steel and 94 trucks from USA. 30 crew and 1 gunner are killed. 3 crew and 1 passenger are picked up by Danish merchant Olga S.

Sloop HMS Black Swan hits a mine in the Firth of Forth, Scotland (no fatalities). Black Swan will be towed to Dundee for repairs, completed in April 1941.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 427 October 31, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 114 – Last Day. Despite cloud, haze and drizzle, Luftwaffe mounts numerous reconnaissance flights and ineffective single aircraft bombing raids on RAF airfields in South England. The weather and lack of real threat prevent RAF from responding so there are no losses on either side. Bad weather also hampers overnight bombing. London is bombed from 6.30 – 9 PM while London and the Midlands are bombed from 2.45 – 6 AM. Although night bombing continues for many months and there are sporadic German daytime raids, Luftwaffe has been contained by RAF and the threat of a German invasion of Britain is over. RAF has lost 915 fighters while 1733 German planes have been shot down. RAF recognizes 2936 Fighter Command aircrew (mostly pilots) from14 countries who were awarded the Battle of Britain Clasp to the 1939–45 Star by flying at least one authorised operational sortie from July 10 to October 31 1940. 544 were killed in Battle of Britain and another 795 died later in the war, leaving 1597 who survived WWII. About 100 of those are still alive today.

At 9.58 PM, 300 miles Northwest of Ireland, U-124 sinks British SS Rutland which is carrying bananas from Jamaica (all 24 hands lost).

German armed merchant cruiser Widder arrives at Brest after 179 days at sea in the mid-Atlantic, sinking 10 ships for 58,645 tons. Captain Helmuth von Ruckteschell will be convicted after the war as a war criminal for his conduct on this short voyage and die in prison.

Italy’s invasion of Greece begins to stall. Their troops lose momentum in the face of resistance from Greek screening forces in the rugged terrain of the Epirus Mountains along the Albanian border. Many Italians die in frontal assaults on well dug-in Greek positions. With the agreement of the Greek government, British forces land on the islands of Lemnos and Crete in the Aegean Sea, as a defensive move to prevent their occupation by an Italian amphibious landing. Greek destroyers Spetsai and Psara depart the Gulf of Patras and use their 120mm guns to bombard Italian troops on the Ionian coast of Albania and Northern Greece. Greek naval activity and the presence of the British Royal Navy persuade the Italian Navy to abandon plans for landing on Corfu.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 426 October 30, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 113. Despite low cloud and continuous drizzle, there are a few German reconnaissance flights over South England and patrols in the English Channel. Luftwaffe sends 2 sweeps of 130-150 fighters over Kent and London at 11.30 AM and 3.40 PM. Some RAF squadrons cannot take off due to the weather and consequently bombs are dropped in Kent and Southeast London. 8 Messerschmitt Bf109 fighters and 1 Heinkel He111 bomber are shot down. RAF loses 5 fighters (4 pilots killed). Overnight, London and towns in Southeast England are heavily bombed from 6.30 – 9 PM and then sporadically until 1 AM. Towns in the Midlands are also attacked but all German planes have returned to base by 3.30 AM.

2 days after sinking liner Empress of Britain, U-32’s captain Hans Jenisch attacks British SS Balzac in a rainstorm 100 miles Northwest of Ireland. At 12.40 PM, U-32 fires a torpedo which explodes prematurely. Balzac’s radio alert is picked up 45 miles away by destroyers HMS Harvester and Highlander, escorting convoy SC-8. Highlander arrives as U-32 is preparing to fire another torpedo. U-32 dives and tries to torpedo Highlander but is damaged by depth charges. At 7.08 PM, U-32 surfaces hoping to escape in the rain and darkness but is shelled by the destroyer (killing 9 crew). Unable to dive again, the crew abandons ship and scuttles U-32 (29 crew rescued by HMS Harvester and 4 by HMS Highlander). To hide the capture of Hans Jenisch (U-boat ace, Knights Cross recipient and celebrated sinker of Empress of Britain), German propaganda broadcasts a fake account of his triumphant return home.

2 British destroyers come to grief in stormy weather off Scotland. At 00.41, HMS Fearless collides with steamer SS Lanark off Gourock, causing heavy damage to her bow which will take until the end of the year to repair. HMS Sturdy runs aground and is wrecked on Tiree, an island in the Inner Hebrides (5 sailors drown swimming ashore and are buried on the island in the Soroby burial ground).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 425 October 29, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 112. Despite overcast skies, Luftwaffe mounts strenuous attacks from 10.25 AM until 5 PM (4 raids towards London and 2 over Portsmouth on the South coast). These are more than the nuisance raids of previous days, with up to 40 medium bombers escorted by Messerschmitt fighters (London and Portsmouth both suffer some bomb damage). At dusk, airfields in East Anglia, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire are attacked by dive bombing Ju88s and Bf109s. Germans lose 22 Bf109s, 3 Bf110s and 2 Dornier Do17 bombers. RAF loses 7 fighters including 2 destroyed by bombs when taking off from North Weald airfield (2 pilots killed). 15 Fiat BR20M bombers of the Corpo Aereo Italiano bomb Ramsgate in formation, wing tip to wing tip, and 5 are hit by anti-aircraft fire. There is heavy night bombing of Birmingham and Coventry & London is also bombed.

Following invasion by Italian troops from Albania, Greece requests help from Britain by invoking Chamberlain’s guarantee of 13 April 1939 ("in the event of any action being taken which clearly threatened the independence of Greece, His Majesty's Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend all the support in their power"). A joint reconnaissance party of all 3 British services lands at Suda Bay on the island of Crete in a flying boat. A flotilla of 4 British battleships, 2 aircraft carriers, 19 destroyers and various other vessels leaves Alexandria, Egypt, to sweep the seas around Crete of Italian warships. They are carrying 158 sailors from damaged cruiser HMS Liverpool as a base defense party to reinforce Suda Bay.

At 10.00 PM, U-31 torpedoes and sinks the drifting wreck of SS Matina (destroyed by U-28 on October 26). In the Bay of Biscay, U-29 rendezvous with German armed merchant cruiser Widder. Widder is returning from raiding in the mid-Atlantic with worn out engines at a speed of 5 knots (the journey has taken 13 days).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 424 October 28, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 111. Mist and fog over Northern France and Southeastern England in the morning hamper operations, but Luftwaffe launches 3 raids in the afternoon. At 1 PM and 2.30 PM, 20 Messerschmitt Bf109 fighters fly across Kent towards Biggin Hill but are turned back. From 4.30 PM until 5.10 PM, several groups of 30-80 German aircraft (mainly bomb-carrying Bf109s with some medium bombers) attack simultaneously across Kent and South coast of England. They do not reach London but many sites in Southern England are bombed. Bomb-laden Bf109s do not provide much protection for the medium bombers and 2 Ju88s are shot down plus 2 Bf109s. RAF loses no fighters in the action. London and Birmingham are again bombed overnight, but not heavily.

At 2.05 AM, 50 miles Northwest of Aran Island, Ireland, U-32 sinks British troop carrier Empress of Britain with 2 torpedoes (25 crew and 20 passengers killed). At 42,348 tons, Empress of Britain is the largest U-boat victim and the largest liner sunk during WWII.

At dawn, before the expiry of the Italian ultimatum, 85,000 Italian troops cross the border from Albania into Greece, supported by 400 aircraft and 163 tanks. They are faced by 30,000 Greek troops with no tanks and only 77 aircraft. 5,000 Italian troops advance 5 miles along the Ionian coast and are able to cross the Kalamas River. Further inland, however, the Italians make little progress in the steep mountainous terrain where their tanks are useless and bad weather grounds their air support.

Between October 28 and November 7, German raider Pinguin and auxilliary minelayer Passat (converted Norwegian taker Storstad) laid mines off the ports of Sydney, Newcastle and Hobart, off Adelaide in the Banks Strait, off Tasmania and in the Bass Strait on the approaches to Melbourne.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 423 October 27, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 110. Despite cloudy weather, Luftwaffe sends 5 raids of 50-60 aircraft between 8AM and 5 PM (mostly bomb-carrying Messerschmitt Bf109 fighters with a few medium bombers). At dusk, German bombers attack 14 RAF airfields, causing much minor damage. RAF shoots down 6 Luftwaffe fighters and 2 bombers. 2 more German bombers are downed by anti-aircraft fire. RAF loses 8 fighters (4 pilots killed). Night bombing is widespread but London and Liverpool are the main targets. Italian Fiat BR20M bombers of the Corpo Aereo Italiano (Italian Air Corps) are in action again attacking Ramsgate.

At 9.30 AM, a boarding party from destroyer HMS Broke attaches tow ropes to the burning hulk of liner Empress of Britain which was bombed yesterday. Rescue tugs HMS Marauder and HMS Thames take Empress of Britain in tow towards the Clyde River in Scotland, escorted by destroyers HMS Broke and Sardonyx (with air cover from Sunderland flying boats until nightfall). However, U-32 vectors in on the small convoy, remaining submerged to avoid the Sunderlands.

70 miles Southeast of the Azores, Italian submarine Nani sinks Swedish steamer Meggie (all hands rescued).

Free French forces from Cameroon invade Vichy French Gabon (in French Equatorial Africa). They penetrate 70 miles and take the town of Mitzic.

Late in the evening, Italian ambassador in Athens Emanuele Grazzi issues an ultimatum from Mussolini, demanding that Italian troops be allowed occupy strategic points in Greece. Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas rejects the ultimatum, noting "Alors, c'est la guerre" (Then, it's war). The Greeks know of the Italian plans and have already mobilized in the areas facing the expected attack.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 422 October 26, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 109. From 7 AM to 6.30 PM, there are continuous small raids of German fighter/bombers (mostly Messerschmitt Bf109s) over Kent and a major sweep of 80 aircraft at 11.30, with several aircraft reaching London. Again, there is little damage to airfields or towns including London. Germans lose 4 Bf109s. 2 RAF fighters are shot down (both pilots killed). At 5.45 PM, German bombers at very low altitude attack RAF Lossiemouth in Northeast Scotland, destroying 1 Blenheim and damaging 2 more. 1 Heinkel He111 is caught in the explosion of its own bombs and crashes. Overnight, London, Manchester, Liverpool and other cities in the Midlands are bombed.

At 4.32 AM, U-28 hits British SS Matina (carrying 1500 tons of bananas from Jamaica) with a torpedo 250 miles Northwest of Ireland. U-28 surfaces and hits Matina with 15 rounds from her deckgun. 67 crew and 2 gunners abandon ship in the lifeboats but are never seen again.

At 9.20 AM, 70 miles Northwest of Aran Island, Ireland, two 250kg bombs from a German Fw200 Condor bomber set fire to British liner Empress of Britain (now converted into a troop ship, carrying military personnel and their families from Egypt to Britain). Most of the 416 crew members, 2 gunners and 205 passengers abandon ship and are rescued by British destroyer HMS Echo, anti-submarine trawler HMS Cape Arcona and Polish destoyer Burza.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 421 October 25, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 108. Overnight, while RAF bombs Hamburg and Berlin causing considerable casualties, 16 Italian Fiat BR20M bombers of the Corpo Aereo Italiano bomb Felixstowe and Harwich from bases in Belgium (1 crashes on take off, 2 others get lost on the return flight and crash). During the day, clouds lift and visibility improves. Luftwaffe steps up activity, with increased reconnaissance flights and patrols in the English Channel. 4 groups of 50-200 Messerschmitt Bf109s sweep over Kent and of up to 30 fighters reach London. However, there is little damage to airfields or towns, including London. Germans lose 14 Bf109s and 10 RAF fighters are shot down (3 pilots killed). Minesweeping trawler HMT Lord Inchcape hits a mine and sinks off Plymouth. At dusk, He111 bombers raid Montrose airfield, Scotland. Overnight, London and Birmingham are the main targets, but Pembroke, Cardiff and Liverpool and the Midlands are also bombed. A German bomber is shot down by 219 Squadron in the English Channel near Brighton.

3 RAF Lockheed Hudson bombers attack U-46 in the Atlantic, wounding Matrosengefreiter (Able Seaman) Plaep who dies next day.

British gunboat HMS Aphis bombards Italian troops 15 miles East of the Italian garrison at Sidi Barrani, Egypt.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 420 October 24, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 107. Low cloud and drizzle again restrict Luftwaffe to reconnaissance flights. 1 Dornier Do17 is shot down in the English Channel and another approaching Coventry. There are no RAF losses. Overnight bombing of London is light but Birmingham is heavily bombed.

In Operation DNU, British battlecruisers HMS Hood and Repulse plus 2 cruisers and 8 destroyers conduct a sweep of the Norwegian coast hoping to engage German shipping. Their only victim is German weather ship WBS5 (trawler Adolf Vinnen) sunk by destroyers HMS Somali, Matabele & Punjabi, 30 miles off the Stadlandet peninsula between Bergen and Trondheim.

At 11.35, in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, a depth charge on board British destroyer HMS Mendip explodes, blowing off her stern. Mendip will be repaired at the Tyne until February 17, 1941.

Hitler's armoured train arrives in Montoire, France, to meet French Prime Minister Philippe Pétain. After meeting with Franco yesterday, Hitler tries to persuade France to join the war against England. Pétain indicates he is only willing “to collaborate”, words that will cost him his freedom in 1945.,_Henry_Philippe_Petain_und_Adolf_Hitler.jpg

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 419 October 23, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 106. The weather deteriorates further with poor visibility due to low cloud and drizzle. Luftwaffe mounts only reconnaissance flights and sporadic raids of single bomb-carrying fighters. No fighters are shot down by either side. There is relatively light night bombing of London and Glasgow and minelaying off the Yorkshire coast in Northeast England.

In an attempt to bring Fascist Spain into the war on the side of Germany, Hitler travels to Hendaye, Southern France, to meet General Franco. Over 9 hours of negotiations, Hitler offers Gibraltar and territory in North Africa to Spain but Franco demands French Catalonia (North of the Pyrenees), almost all of Morocco and a large chunk of Algeria. Hitler later confides (to Mussolini) that he would rather have 3 or 4 teeth pulled out than continue the discussions.

10 more WWI-era US Navy destroyers are transferred to Royal Navy at Halifax, Nova Scotia, for escort duty as part of the “destroyers for bases” deal between Churchill and Roosevelt.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 418 October 22, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 105. Widespread fog in the morning restricts Luftwaffe to reconnaissance flights. In the afternoon, fog clears to rain and Luftwaffe sends 2 fighter sweeps, 1 over Kent and 1 over Southeast London and Thames Estuary (3 Bf109s shot down, 6 REF fighters shot down with 4 pilots killed). 2 minesweeping trawler hits mines and sink. HMT Joseph Button sinks 6 miles off Aldeburgh, Suffolk, (5 killed) and HMT Hickory sinks in the English Channel, South of Weymouth (24 killed). Night bombing of London is light but Liverpool is attacked and Coventry is heavily bombed from 8-10 PM, starting 150 fires and causing much damage.

Canadian destroyer HMCS Margaree, escorting convoy OL-8, collides with freighter Port Fairy 300 miles West of Ireland and sinks (142 crew lost, 34 rescued by Port Fairy). HMCS Margaree had previously been in the Royal Navy as HMS Diana and had been commissioned into the Canadian Navy on September 6. Most of the crew had survived the sinking of destroyer HMCS Fraser on June 25 after a collision with cruiser HMS Calcutta.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 417 October 21, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 104. Typical British Autumn weather (clouds, fog and drizzle) restricts Luftwaffe to reconnaissance and numerous single aircraft raids, mainly from 11 AM to 2 PM. Fog on the ground prevents many RAF squadrons from taking off in response. As a result, there is bombing of London, Lancashire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex and Kent. 1 Ju88 bomber is shot down and RAF loses no fighters. Dover is shelled again from 2-4 PM but most of the 6 shells do not explode. British motor torpedo boat MTB-17 hits a mine and sinks off Ostend. Minesweeping trawler HMS Waveflower hits a mine and sinks off Alderburgh, Suffolk (15 dead, 7 rescued by another minesweeping trawler HMS Thomas Leeds). London, Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Liverpool and South Wales are bombed heavily until 1 AM.

At 2.19 AM, in the Red Sea, Italian destroyers Manin, Sauro, Battisti & Nullo, from Massawa in Italian-held Eritrea, attack convoy BN-7 from Bombay. New Zealand cruiser HMNZS Leander and other convoy escorts drive the Italian destroyers away. Italian destroyer Nullo is badly damaged by shellfire from British destroyer HMS Kimberley & Australian sloop HMAS Yarra. Nullo is chased back towards base at Massawa by HMS Kimberley but runs aground on nearby Hormi Island (and is later destroyed by British bombing). HMS Kimberley is hit by shore guns at Massawa (3 wounded).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 416 October 20, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 103. Luftwaffe takes advantage of clearing mist to send 5 raids of fighters, some carrying bombs, over Kent towards London, between 9.30 AM and 3 PM. Luftwaffe loses 6 Bf109s and 1 Bf110 while RAF loses 3 fighters (none of the pilots are killed). Dover is again shelled by German heavy artillery in Calais but only 15 out of 50 explode. Italian BR20 bombers, Cant Z1007 long range bombers, G50 fighters and CR42 fighters are reported to be in Belgium to begin operations against England. From 7 PM to 1 AM, there is heavy bombing of London, Coventry and Birmingham.

U-46 and U-47 continue attacking convoy HX-79 50 miles Northwest of Ireland, joined by U-100 fresh from the attack on convoy SC-7. They sink 7 ships and damage 1 more between midnight and 7.20 AM. U-100 sinks British SS Loch Lomond (1 killed). 111 survivors, including all 72 men rescued last night from SS Matheran, are picked up by minesweeper HMS Jason. 200 miles further West, U-124 sinks Norwegian SS Cubano (2 killed) and British SS Sulaco (63 crew members and 2 gunners killed). 29 crew from Cubano escape in lifeboats and pick up the sole survivor from Sulaco, chief cook James Thompson Harvey. They are all rescued the next day by destroyer HMCS Saguenay.

Using papers captured from submarine Durbo on October 18, British destroyers HMS Gallant, Griffin & Hotspur locate Italian submarine Lafole in the Mediterranean off Mellila, Morocco. HMS Hotspur rams Lafole which sinks (37 crew killed, 2 rescued by HMS Gallant and 7 by Hotspur). Hotspur’s bow is severely damage and she will be under repair until February 20 1941.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 415 October 19, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 102. Clouds and mist in the English Channel and Northern France again restrict Luftwaffe to reconnaissance and a few single aircraft raids. 2 Ju88 bombers are shot down, 1 near Maidstone, Kent, and another near Falmouth, Cornwall. 60 German fighters, some carrying bombs, fly over Kent to Central London at 2.30 PM and are engaged by 5 RAF squadrons. 2 RAF fighters are shot down (1 pilot killed). Destroyer HMS Venetia hits a mine and sinks in the Thames Estuary, 10 miles North of Herne Bay, Kent (35 crew killed, 18 wounded). There is very heavy night bombing London, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Coventry.

U-99, U-100, U-101 and U-123 continue attacking convoy SC-7, 100 miles Northwest of Ireland, and 10 ships are torpedoed between midnight and 5 AM. U-123 sinks British SS Shekatika which was abandoned yesterday after being hit by U-100 and U-123 (it has taken a total of 5 torpedoes to sink her). U-99 sinks Norwegian SS Snefjeld (all 21 crew escape in a launch and accumulate survivors from other ships until picked up by corvette HMS Clematis on October 23).

150 miles further West, U-38, U-46 and U-47 attack convoy HX-79, sinking 5 ships and damaging tanker SS Shirak.

A violent storm in the Gulf of St. Lawrence sinks Canadian auxiliary minesweeper HMCS Bras d'Or (all 30 hands lost), escorting Rumanian freighter Ingener N. Vlassopol from Quebec to Sydney, Nova Scotia (where slower merchant ships assembled before setting out in convoy for Britain).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 414 October 18, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 101. Again, fog in Southern England restricts Luftwaffe activity to reconnaissance and single aircraft raids throughout the day. There are few engagements and no aircraft are shot down. Between 11.37 AM to 1.11 PM, German guns near Calais fire 10 shells at Dover but only two explode. Anti-submarine trawler HMT Kingston Cairngorm hits a mine in the English Channel and is taken in tow but sinks the next day. Night bombing of London is on a reduced scale but the Rose and Crown Pub in Lambeth is demolished by a direct hit at 8.25 PM, killing 42 with 6 injured. Liverpool and Birmingham are heavily bombed, receiving considerable damage.

Off Alboran Island, 120 miles East of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean, 2 Saro London flying boats of RAF 202 Squadron from Gibraltar spot Italian submarine Durbo. British destroyers HMS Firedrake & Wrestler attack with depth charges forcing Durbo to the surface. The crew scuttles Durbo but, before she sinks, British sailors manage to go aboard and capture secret papers revealing the location of other Italian submarines in the Mediterranean. Durbo’s crew of 48 is taken prisoner, taken to Gibraltar and sent to England aboard troopship Reina Del Pacifico (and later to camps in USA).

German submarine chasers (U-Jäger) UJ-116 and UJ-118 sink British WWI-era submarine H-49 (21 killed, 1 survivor taken prisoner) off Texel Island on the Dutch coast.

At 6.36 AM, U-38 torpedoes British SS Carsbreck in convoy SC-7, which stays afloat on its cargo of lumber. 4 other U-boats (U-99, U-100, U-101 and U-123) converge and attack convoy SC-7, 100 miles Northwest of Ireland. Between 10 PM and midnight, 10 steamers are torpedoed. U-99 sinks British Fiscus (38 killed, 1 survivor clings to floating debris and will be found next day by a lifeboat from another ship). U-100 and U-123 both torpedo British SS Shekatika but she does not sink (all 36 crew escape in lifeboats). 400 miles further Northwest, at 10.25 PM, U-48 sinks British SS Sandsend (5 killed).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 413 October 17, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 100. Luftwaffe takes advantage of the return of bright weather and sends 4 raids of fighters, some carrying bombs, over Kent and the Thames Estuary towards London between 8.30 AM and 4.30 PM. The largest raid of about 80 aircraft at 3.10 PM is met over East London, Kenley and Biggin Hill by 14 RAF squadrons, which shoot down 4 Messerschmitt Bf109s. RAF loses 3 fighters (all 3 pilots killed). Overnight, London, Liverpool and Birmingham are all heavily bombed.

Minesweeper HMS Dundalk hits a mine 20 miles Northeast of Harwich on the East coast of England (4 killed, 7 wounded) and is taken in tow but sinks early the next day. German motor torpedo boats S-24 and S-27 attack convoy FN.311 in the North Sea, 10 miles off Lowestoft, Norfolk. British steamer Hauxley is torpedoed (1 crewman lost) and taken in tow by destroyer HMS Worcester but sinks the next day.

4 German destroyers and 6 torpedo boats leave Brest, France, to attack shipping in the Bristol Channel but they are spotted by British reconnaissance aircraft at 7.19 AM. British cruisers HMS Newcastle & Emerald and 5 destroyers leave Plymouth at 11.00 AM and sight the German ships at 4 PM. After an exchange of shellfire at a distance of 11 miles lasting until 6 PM, both sides retire with no damage reported.

U-93 continues the attack on convoy OA-228 300 miles Northwest of the Outer Hebrides, sinking Norwegian SS Dokka at 3.17 AM (10 killed, 7 crew escape on two rafts and are picked up by sloop HMS Folkestone and landed in Sydney, Australia, on October 23) and British SS Uskbridge at 3.39 AM (2 killed, 6 crew picked up and transferred to British SS Cristales and landed at Bermuda). U-93 is attacked 3 times during the day (depth charged at 4 AM by HMS Folkestone, depth charged again at 10.15 AM, and bombed in the evening by a Sunderland aircraft) but suffers no damage. At 5.53 AM, U-48 fires 3 torpedoes at convoy SC-7 400 miles Northwest of Ireland, sinking British SS Scoresby and stopping British tanker Languedoc (carrying 13,700 tons of fuel oil). Corvette HMS Bluebell scuttles tanker Languedoc with gunfire and also picks up all 39 crew from Scoresby and all 39 crew from Languedoc (landed at Gourock, Scotland, on 20 October). At 10.52 AM, U-38 sinks Greek SS Aenos with the deck gun (4 killed, 25 survivors picked up by Canadian SS Eaglescliffe Hall).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 412 October 16, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 99. Widespread fog over France and Germany severely limits operations during the day. There are some German patrols in the English Channel and single aircraft fly over Kent, the Thames Estuary, Liverpool, Swansea, Cardiff and Gloucester. There are limited engagements with 1 German aircraft damaged over Ashford, Kent, and 1 Hurricane lost (pilot is safe). British motor torpedo boat MTB-106 hits a mine and sinks near the Nore Light Vessel in the Thames Estuary. However, there is heavy overnight bombing of London and other targets in South Wales, Midlands Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham and Perth (Scotland) are bombed until midnight. 2 German bombers crash of unknown causes around 7.30 PM, 1 near Bishops Stortford and another near Denbigh.

At 3.50 AM, U-124 sinks Canadian SS Trevisa 400 miles Northwest of Ireland (7 killed, 14 crew picked up by corvette HMS Bluebell and landed at Gourock, Scotland). British submarine HMS Tigris sinks tiny French trawler Cimcour with gunfire in the Bay of Biscay, 120 miles West of La Rochelle, France.

Aircraft from British carrier HMS Furious bomb oil storage tanks and a German seaplane base at Tromso, Norway, and also attack shipping.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 411 October 15, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 98. Cloudy in the Straits of Dover but clear over Southern England. Luftwaffe makes 6 fighter-only sweeps, 5 coming in over Kent or up the Thames Estuary to London from 8.15 AM to 4 PM and 1 over Southampton at 12.15 PM. German losses are 16 fighters and 3 bombers while RAF loses 15 fighters (6 pilots killed). Overnight, there is very heavy bombing of London, concentrated on railway lines, dockyards and the old City. In clear moonlight, 400 Luftwaffe bombers drop 530 tons of high explosive bombs (400 killed, 900 injured). German bombers from Cherbourg attack Bristol and bomb Birmingham heavily.

At 1 AM, 100 miles South of Taranto, Italy, British submarine HMS Triad, running on the surface, encounters Italian submarine Enrico Toti. HMS Triad fires first, scoring 2 hits with 4-inch shells from the deck gun but missing with a torpedo. Enrico Toti cannot dive due to a mechanical breakdown but hits Triad with 2 shells and machinegun fire, forcing Triad’s gun crews to take cover below deck. As HMS Triad dives, she is hit by a torpedo & sinks at 1.30 (all 59 hands lost).

Italian submarine Foca sinks while laying a minefield off Haifa, Palestine (now Israel). Italian submarine Comandante Cappellini (one of only 2 submarines to serve in Italian, German and Japanese navies) sinks Belgian steamer Kabalo 800 miles West of Casablanca, Morocco (1 killed, survivors picked up by American steamer Pan American).

U-93 and U-138 attack convoy OA-228 100 miles Northwest of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Just after midnight, U-93 sinks British SS Hurunui (2 killed, 72 survivors). Between 5.10-5.15 AM, U-138 sinks British SS Bonheur (all crew picked up by anti-submarine trawler HMS Sphene) and damages British tanker MV British Glory (3 killed). At 7.33 PM, U-103 sinks British SS Thistlegarth, 100 miles Northwest of the Outer Hebrides (29 crew members and 1 gunner lost, 9 crew picked up by corvette HMS Heartsease).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 410 October 14, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 97. Clouds and rain limit flying to reconnaissance over the English Channel, Straits of Dover and Thames Estuary and isolated raids on the English coast (from East Anglia to Portsmouth, Hampshire). No British or German aircraft are lost. Anti-submarine trawler HMT Lord Stamp hits a mine and sinks off Dorset in the English Channel (25 lives lost). Overnight, London is bombed as well as Birmingham, Coventry, Liverpool, Blackburn and Preston. At 8.02 PM, a 1400kg armour piercing bomb hits Balham Tube Station, part of the London Underground, which is being used as an air raid shelter. Fractured water mains and sewers flood the Station killing 66 civilians but over 500 escape from shoulder-high water in darkness.

British Mediterranean Fleet is returning from Malta to Alexandria. Aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious detaches to launch air strikes against the Italian Dodecanese island of Leros (now part of Greece), escorted by cruisers HMS Gloucester & Liverpool and 4 destroyers. The group then heads for Alexandria. At 6.55 PM, 50 miles South of Crete, an Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM79 bomber hits cruiser HMS Liverpool with a torpedo, causing an explosion in the aviation fuel store which blows off her bow (30 crew killed, 35 wounded). Liverpool will be towed to Alexandria and then sail with a false bow across the Pacific Ocean to California to be repaired, not returning to service until December 1941.

At 9.28 PM, 100 miles Northwest of Ireland, British armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire is hit by one torpedo from U-137, but does not sink. 220 crew members are taken off by Canadian destroyer HMCS Skeena and British corvette HMS Periwinkle. HMS Cheshire will be beached at Belfast and then taken to Liverpool for repairs lasting 6 months.

German armed merchant cruiser Orion stops and scuttles Norwegian steamer Ringwood in the Pacific 600 miles Northwest of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea (35 crew and 1 cat taken prisoner).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 409 October 13, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 96. Fog in the morning restricts flying but then clears. Luftwaffe again mounts raids of mostly fighters. There are 4 raids of 25-50 aircraft from 12.30-4 PM, attacking London and airfields in Kent. Luftwaffe and RAF lose 2 fighters each (both RAF pilots survive). Rescue tug HMRT Danube III hits a mine and sinks off Sheerness, Kent, in the mouth of the Thames Estuary (11 killed). There is widespread bombing of London from 7 PM to 6 AM and 250 civilians are killed at Stoke Newington by a direct hit on a block of flats which collapses on the air raid shelter underneath. There is also heavy overnight bombing in the North of England (Middlesborough, Hull, Huddersfield, Grantham, Liverpool and Manchester).

At dawn, a Sunderland flying boat spots Italian destroyer Artigliere under tow by destroyer Camicia Nera. Attacks by aircraft from British carrier HMS Illustrious force Camicia Nera to abandon Artigliere. British cruisers HMS York and Ajax (which damaged Artigliere yesterday) & 4 destroyers respond to the action and HMS York sinks Artigliere with torpedoes. The British warships drop rafts for the survivors who are picked up next day by an Italian Navy hospital ship. The Battle of Cape Passero costs Italy about 200 sailors from destroyer Artigliere and the 2 torpedo boats Ariel and Airone sunk yesterday.

At 8.46 AM, U-103 torpedoes Estonian SS Nora 200 miles West of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Nora does not sink but the lifeboats are destroyed so U-103’s Korvettenkapitän Viktor Schütze sends a distress message with the steamer’s position. 19 survivors will be picked up by sloop HMS Leith on October 18. At 7.57 PM, in the same area, U-37 sinks British SS Stangrant (8 killed). 30 survivors are rescued by a Sunderland flying boat (10 Squadron RAAF) and landed at Oban, Scotland.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 408 October 12, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 95. Despite fog across much of England, it is another very busy day. There are reconnaissance fights from 6.50 to 9 AM and then a steady stream of larger raids from 9 AM to 5.15 PM. These consist of 20-150 aircraft, mostly 25% medium bombers and 75% escort fighters, many of which penetrate to London. German losses are 9 Bf109 fighters and 1 Arado Ar95 seaplane patrolling in the Straits of Dover. RAF loses 10 fighters (4 pilots killed). Overnight, there is relatively light bombing of London but Birmingham and Coventry in the Midlands are also attacked.

German Governor-General of Poland Hans Frank orders 138,000 Jews in Warsaw to move into "Jewish residential quarters". The Ghetto will comprise 2.4 percent of the city's land contain 30% of population of 400,000 people.

Battle of Cape Passero. At 2 AM, East of Malta, British cruiser HMS Ajax (part of the Mediterranean fleet returning to Alexandria after resupplying Malta) is attacked by Italian torpedo boats Ariel, Alcione and Airone with torpedoes and 99mm shells. Ajax returns fire sinking Ariel and Airone. At 2.15 AM, Ajax’s radar detects Italian destroyers Artigliere and Aviere which do not have radar and are unaware of Ajax’s presence. Ajax fires 6 inch shells badly damaging Aviere and crippling Artigliere (which hits Ajax with 4 120mm rounds). Artigliere is taken in tow by another destroyer Camicia Nera. HMS Ajax retires with damaged gun turrets and disabled radar (13 dead, 20 wounded).

U-48, U-59 and U-101 attack convoy HX.77 150 miles Northwest of Ireland, sinking Norwegian tanker Davanger carrying 10.000 tons of fuel oil just after midnight (17 crew killed, 12 survivors escape in lifeboats), British MV Pacific Ranger at 6 PM (all 55 hands escape in lifeboats) and Canadian steamer Saint Malô at 11.25 PM (28 dead, 16 survivors in lifeboats will be picked up by British tug HMS Salvonia on October 22).

Minesweeping trawler HMS Resolvo hits a mine in the Thames estuary (2 wounded) and will be beached and abandoned the next day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 407 October 11, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 94. Fair weather brings a very busy day. Luftwaffe mounts reconnaissance fights, patrols in the English Channel and small raids (less than 10 aircraft) over Southeast England all day. From 10.20 AM until 4 PM, there is a steady stream of larger raids (25-90 aircraft, mostly fighter-only but some have 25% medium bombers), causing damage to towns in Southern England but not penetrating to London. Germans lose 1 Do17 bomber and 4 Bf109s. RAF loses 8 fighters (3 pilots killed). There are overnight bombing raids on London, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol and the Tyne and Tees areas, but these are halted at midnight by fog. 3 Dornier bombers are shot down by No 611 Squadron over Anglesey after bombing Liverpool (1 RAF fighter shot down, pilot wounded).

Operation Medium. From 3.33 to 3.51 AM, battleship HMS Revenge and destroyers Javelin, Jaguar, Jupiter, Kashmir, Kelvin & Kipling bombard Cherbourg. They are screened by a number of motor torpedo boats, cruisers and destroyers, which see off an attack by German torpedo boats.

Overnight, in the English Channel off the Isle of Wight, German torpedo boats Falke, Greif, Kondor, Seeadler & Wolf sink British anti-submarine trawler HMT Warwick Deeping (no lives lost), French submarine chasers CH.6 (9 killed, 12 taken prisoner) and CH.7 (12 killed, 8 taken prisoner) and French armed trawler Listrac (12 killed, 25 wounded).

The convoy of 4 merchant ships arrives safely at Malta from Alexandria, escorted by 4 battleships, 2 aircraft carriers, 6 cruisers, 16 destroyers and 6 submarines. At 11.05 AM, 15 miles South of Delimara, Malta, destroyer HMS Imperial hits a mine (1 killed) and is badly damaged (under repair at Malta until April 28). British Mediterranean Fleet begins the return journey to Alexandria but is spotted by an Italian civilian plane 100 miles Southeast of Malta. Italian destroyers and torpedo boats set out to intercept the British warships.

At 9.20 AM, British destroyer HMS Zulu detonates an acoustic mine in the Firth of Forth, Scotland. There are no casualties but Zulu is badly damaged and will be under repair at Rosyth until January 1941.

250 miles Northwest of Ireland, U-48 attacks convoy HX-77 in gale force conditions. At 9.50 PM, Norwegian MV Brandanger is sunk (6 killed, 16 survivors in a lifeboat and on a raft picked up next morning by corvette HMS Clarkia, 8 survivors in another lifeboat picked up on October 16 by British SS Clan Macdonald). At 10.09 PM, British MV Port Gisborne is sunk and the crew abandons ship (26 lost in a lifeboat that capsized). 38 crew are rescued by tug HMS Salvonia on October 22 and by British steamer Alpera on October 24.

British sloop HMS Auckland, escorting convoy BS.6, is bombed by Italian bombers in the Red Sea, 50 miles off the coast of Italian-held Eritrea.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 406 October 10, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 93. With sunshine and some showers, Luftwaffe mounts 4 raids of 20-100 aircraft into Kent and towards London. Bombs fall on London and towns on the South and Southeast coast. RAF loses 5 fighters (3 pilots killed) while shooting down 3 German fighters and 1 Do17 bomber. Another Ju88 bomber is shot down by anti-aircraft fire. Between 6.25 and 6.44 PM, Dover is hit by 18 shells from German guns near Calais but there is little damage and no casualties. Overnight bombing is heavy with London, Manchester and 15 airfields attacked. There are isolated raids on numerous other cities and towns.

At 11.33 PM, British steamer Graigwen (abandoned after being torpedoed yesterday by U-103) is sunk by U-123. British motor torpedo boats MTB-22, MTB-31 & MTB-32 attack a German convoy in the middle of the Straits of Dover, sinking German trawler Nordenham and capturing 34 prisoners.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 405 October 9, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 92. Despite bad weather, with rain in northern France and the Straits of Dover and clouds over the Channel, Luftwaffe mounts several large raids (consisting mainly of bomb-carrying Messerschmitt fighters) in the Southeast of England and towards London. Bombs are dropped at London, Maidstone, Hastings, Falmouth and other towns. 3 German fighters and 1 Ju88 bomber are shot down. RAF loses 1 fighter (pilot is safe). Overnight, London, Liverpool and Manchester are bombed. St Paul's Cathedral in London is hit, destroying choir stalls and the High Altar but the building is not structurally damaged. Fairey Albacore biplane torpedo bombers of 829 Squadron from HMS Peregrine (Royal Navy air station at Ford, Sussex) bomb Brest during the night, damaging German destroyers Eckholdt, Lody and Riedel by near misses. 1 Albacore is shot down and 3 aircrew are taken prisoners of war, including the squadron commander, Lt. Cdr. Stevinson.

At 10.11 PM, 20 miles Northwest of Ireland, U-103 attacks convoy SC-6 sinking Greek steamers SS Zannes Gounaris (1 killed) and SS Delphin (all hands rescued) and damaging British SS Graigwen (7 killed, 26 crew and 1 gunner picked up by HMS Enchantress and landed at Londonderry). U-103 is then depth charged by a convoy escort but not damaged.

British submarine HMS Regent torpedoes Italian merchant ship Antonietta Costa, 20 miles West of Durrës, Albania. Antonietta Costa does not sink but goes aground and is lost 10 miles off the coast near Durrës.

British minesweeping trawler HMS Sea King hits a mine and sinks 28 miles East of Grimsby, England (14 lives lost).

German troops enter its ally, Romania, to provide protection to the oilfields vital to the German war effort.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 404 October 8, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 91. Luftwaffe reverts to fighter-only flights (along with a handful of medium bombers), mounting 4 raids of 30-160 bomb-carrying Bf109s into Kent and towards London. RAF intercepts these formations as early as possible to minimize damage to the intended targets. The Messerschmitt pilots tend to drop their bombs quickly wherever they are challenged, knowing that the bomb-load makes them less maneuverable and more vulnerable to the RAF fighters. However, Government offices in Whitehall (Paymaster General's Office, Ministry of Agriculture and Great Scotland Yard) and Charing Cross Railway Station are bombed. 1 Bf109 and 3 German bombers are shot down but RAF has a bad day losing 4 fighters (all 4 pilots killed). London, East Anglia, East Midlands, Portsmouth and Southampton are bombed overnight. Serious fires develop in London, at the wharves and warehouses of Bermondsey and LEP transport in Chiswick.

At 9.31 PM, U-58 hits British SS Confield with 2 torpedoes 88 miles west of Barra Head, Outer Hebrides, Scotland (1 killed, 36 crew take to the lifeboats) but Confield remains afloat. The next day, 5 survivors are picked up by sloop HMS Weston (which shells and sinks Confield) and 31 survivors are picked up by corvette HMS Periwinkle. In the Bay of Biscay, British submarine HMS Trident and U-31 exchange gunfire; Trident hits U-31 with the deck gun, causing some minor damage, but misses with torpedoes.

British Mediterranean Fleet leaves Alexandria, Egypt, to escort a supply convoy to Malta though the dangerous waters South of Italy. Battleships HMS Warspite, Valiant, Malaya & Ramillies, aircraft carriers HMS Eagle & Illustrious, 6 cruisers, 6 anti-aircraft cruisers & 16 destroyers escort 4 British steamers, covered by 6 submarines.

350 miles Northeast of Natal, Brazil, German armed merchant cruiser Thor shells empty British refrigeration steamer Natia which stops after a chase (2 killed, 83 crew abandon ship in lifeboats and are taken prisoner). Natia stays afloat on the empty refrigerated chambers but is finally sunk with a torpedo and 35 150mm shells. Thor now has 368 prisoners on board, outnumbering the crew.

8 more old US Navy destroyers are transferred to Royal Navy for escort duty under the destroyers for bases deal brokered between Churchill and Roosevelt.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 403 October 7, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 90. Visibility improves, although there are clouds and some rain. Luftwaffe again tries the tactic of sending over large raids of 50-100 aircraft, with bombers escorted by 3 times the number of fighters to overwhelm the RAF defenses. Again it fails and RAF claims 21 German fighters & 6 bombers shot down for the loss of 16 RAF fighters (6 pilots killed). London is subjected to heavy night bombing again but there is also widespread bombing of other cities including Bristol, Liverpool and towns in East Anglia, Wales and Scotland (where naval and dock facilities in the Firth of Forth are attacked).

Operation Lucid. Fire ships (tankers War Nizam & War African filled with a flammable floating cocktail) sail for the French channel ports but the operation is again cancelled when escort destroyer HMS Hambledon is badly damaged on a mine just off the English coast near Folkestone (under repair until May 1941).

50 miles off the Northwest Irish coast, at 4 PM, U-59 sinks Norwegian MV Touraine (1 killed, 34 survivors abandon ship in 3 lifeboats). 400 miles West of Ireland, British tanker British General finally sinks at 8 PM, after being hit by 2 more torpedoes from U-37 (all 47 hands lost).

500 miles Northwest of Australia, German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stops Norwegian tanker Storstad (carrying 12,000 tons of diesel oil from British North Borneo to Melbourne). Storstad is taken as a prize ship, loaded with 110 mines from Pinguin, renamed Passat and commissioned into the German Navy as an auxiliary minelayer. 30 of Storstad’s crew are taken prisoner while 5 continue to serve with the German prize crew of Passat.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 402 October 6, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 89. Göring again changes tactics, tiring of the heavy losses in recent days despite the high fighter:bomber ratio and the RAF showing no sign of weakening. In fact, AVM Park’s policy of not responding to small fighter-only raids has been very successful in avoiding unnecessary and costly engagements. Göring begins saving his bombers mostly for night operations, leaving Messerschmitt Bf109s & Bf110s to bring their smaller bomb loads during daylight along with occasional conventional medium bombers. They target mainly factories and RAF airfields. Luftwaffe loses 1 Do17 bomber and RAF loses 1 fighter (pilot killed). It is a quiet night with relatively little bombing of London.

At 1.04 PM, 400 miles West of Ireland, U-123 sinks British steamer Benlawers carrying supplies for the British Army in Egypt, including trucks (23 crew members and 1 gunner are lost, 27 survivors rescued by British steamers Bengore Head and Forest). In the same area, U-103 sinks Norwegian tanker Nina Borthen at 10.04 PM (all 35 crew lost) and British tanker British General is torpedoed by U-37 at 6.55 and 11.10 PM but refuses to sink. U-37 stays nearby throughout the night but cannot surface and use her deck gun because British General is armed.

Italian submarine Tricheco accidentally sinks Italian submarine Gemma, 5 miles South of the Greek island of Karpathos.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 401 October 5, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 88. The weather improves, with some sunny periods, and Luftwaffe resumes bombing raids up to 150 aircraft (mainly fighters supporting smaller numbers of bombers). Between 9.30 AM and 4 PM, 4 raids cross the Straits of Dover into Kent and there are raids across the Channel towards Southampton at 1.30 PM and 5.15 PM. Luftwaffe loses 2 bombers and 20 fighters while RAF has 9 fighters shot down (only 2 pilots killed). There is again widespread bombing on a small scale overnight (including Portland Naval base which is bombed at 8.35 PM). London is heavily bombed, starting a large fire at the West India Dock on the River Thames in the East End of London.

Italian submarine Nani sinks British armed boarding trawler HMT Kingston Sapphire in the Atlantic, 20 miles South of Cadiz, Spain (3 killed, survivors rescued by a Spanish trawler and landed at Huelva, Spain). Lieutenant Commander Browne, captain of British submarine HMS Regent, uses the unusual technique of ramming to sink Italian steamer Maria Grazia in the Adriatic Sea, 10 miles off the coast of Italy near Bari. Submarine HMS Tigris attacks an Italian submarine (possibly Glauco class submersible torpedo boat Otario) without success in the Bay of Biscay.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 400 October 4, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 87. Rain and mist again cause poor visibility over Southern England and Luftwaffe sends a steady stream of reconnaissance flights and single bomber raids with peak intensity around 3 PM. Bombs are dropped in Kent and near London hitting mainly homes, farms and few factories. 2 Ju88 bombers are shot down for the loss of 3 RAF fighters (1 pilot killed). There is widespread bombing on a small scale overnight but London is heavily bombed between 7 and 9 PM.

Operation Lucid. Fire ships (tankers War Nizam & War African filled with 50% heavy fuel oil, 25% diesel oil and 25% petrol) depart Sheerness and Harwich escorted by 11 destroyers, 6 minesweepers and torpedo boats. However, rough seas force the operation to be cancelled.

General Charles de Gaulle arrives in Douala, French Cameroon (which is sympathetic to the Free French) on board British cruiser HMS Devonshire, to organize the invasion of neighbouring Gabon (loyal to Vichy France). After the failed invasion of French West Africa at Dakar, de Gaulle is keen rally support for the Free French cause in Equatorial Africa, to mount operations from Chad into Italian-held Libya and to deny Germany use of the Atlantic coast for basing submarines and surface raiders to disrupt Allied shipping around Africa.

British submarine HMS Rainbow collides with Italian steamer Antonietta Costa and sinks in the Adriatic Sea, 20 miles North of Brindisi, Southern Italy (all 55 hands lost). Submarine HMS Triton shells shore installations at Vado Ligure and Savona, near Genoa, Northern Italy. Triton also sinks Italian steamer Franca Fassio 20 miles to Southwest of Savona, in the Ligurian Sea. Submarine HMS Tetrarch attacks another Italian merchant ship nearby, without success.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 399 October 3, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 86. Clouds, rain and mist, with poor visibility over the Channel, lead to a light day. Luftwaffe does not send over any formations of aircraft but instead there is a steady stream of reconnaissance flights and single bomber “nuisance” raids. Bombs are dropped on London, Worcester, Birmingham and Wellingborough. At 11.26 AM, anti-aircraft guns shoot down a Ju88 which had just bombed the De Havilland aircraft factory at Hatfield. RAF fighters do not respond to these attacks and no Luftwaffe or RAF aircraft are lost in dogfights. There is relatively little bombing of London overnight, by small groups of bombers or single aircraft.

Neville Chamberlain has been absent from London for several days, incapacitated by incurable bowel cancer. He resigns his position as Lord President of the Council in Churchill’s War Cabinet (where he has served loyally since resigning as Prime Minister), ending a political career that began in 1914.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 398 October 2, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 85. A Ju88 leaves Amsterdam at 3 AM on a reconnaissance flight but gets lost and lands at 6.30 AM at Brightlingsea, Essex, Southeast England. From 9 AM to 4.30 PM, Luftwaffe sends 6 raids of Messerschmitt Bf109 and Bf110 fighters (some carrying bomb loads) to harass Kent and London but bombers are only present in 1 attack. A few bombs fall on Kent and London. RAF shoots down 5 bombers and 5 Bf109 fighters. RAF loses only 1 fighter (pilot safe). Overnight, London is bombed again as well as Manchester and Newcastle.

British destroyers HMS Havock and Hasty sink Italian submarine Berillo 50 miles south of Crete (all 45 crew rescued). Cruisers HMS Orion and Sydney bombard the port of Maltezana on the Italian-held Greek island of Stampalia (now Astypalaia).

At 6.25 PM, 400 miles West of Ireland, U-32 sinks British steamer Kayeson (carrying 2800 tons of general cargo and 3900 tons of coal from Liverpool) with the last torpedo. All 38 crew abandon ship in the lifeboats, but are never found.