Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 431 November 4, 1940

150 miles West of Ireland, U-99’s battle with British convoy escorts continues through the night. While HMS Patroclus is picking up crew from HMS Laurentic, U-99 torpedoes Patroclus at 00.22, 00.44 and 1.18 AM and then dives to avoid return fire from the Patroclus’ deck gun and a Sunderland flying boat. U-99 surfaces and sinks HMS Laurentic at 4.35 AM, with a torpedo that explodes her store of depth charges, and HMS Patroclus at 5.25 AM (56 killed). British destroyer HMS Hesperus arrives and unsuccessfully depth charges U-99 until giving up the chase to pick up survivors from HMS Patroclus and HMS Laurentic.

Greece. In the Pindus Mountains, Italian Julia Division is trapped in the Vovousa valley, under attack by Greek 2nd Army Corps which has been brought in to reinforce the sector. Julia calls for help but they are too far away from reinforcements which are dispatched from Albania. Further West on the Ionian coast, Italian troops cross the Kalamas River and secure a bridgehead but are unable to breakout and outflank the Greek defenses further inland.

British cruiser HMS Ajax continues shuttling reinforce between Alexandria, Egypt, and Crete, to reinforce the garrison at Suda Bay. Ajax departs Alexandria with Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney with 14th Armoured Brigade HQ, anti-aircraft guns and troops.

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