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.

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