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.

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