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).

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