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.

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