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.

1 comment:

  1. The Cincinnati Reds win their 2nd World Series in a deciding game seven attended by only 26,854 fans.