Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 436 November 9, 1940

Gabon,West Africa. Free French forces under General Koenig fight their way into the Vichy-held capital Libreville. Free French Westland Lysanders from Douala, Cameroon, bomb the airfield at Libreville allowing Koenig to overcome Vichy defences and capture the airfield. Illustrating the irony of these fraternel conflicts, Vichy sloop Bougainville is sunk off Libreville by shellfire from her sister ship, Free French sloop Savorgnan de Brazza. Vichy armed merchant cruiser Cap Des Palmes tries to scuttle herself but is captured by Free French sloop Commandant Domine.

Former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain dies of bowel cancer at the age of 71.

Sebastiano Visconti Prasca is relieved as commander of Italian operations in Greece after the failure of the offensive and ongoing rout of the Alpine Julia Division in the Pindus Mountains. He is replaced by General Ubaldo Soddu who is no better and will be removed in a few weeks.

Before dawn in the Bay of Bengal, German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis poses in the dark as British auxiliary cruiser HMS Antenor. Atlantis sends a boarding party onto Norwegian tanker Teddy, carrying 10,000 tons of fuel oil and 500 tons of diesel oil, which is captured without a shot (all 32 crew will be sent to Japan on another captured Norwegian tanker Ole Jacob). This allows Atlantis to refuel and extend her voyage.

Swedish SS Vingaland, damaged yesterday by German bombers West of Ireland, is sunk by Italian submarine Marconi (19 survivors were picked up by British steamer Danae II).

American steamer City Of Rayville sinks on a mine laid by German auxiliary minelayer Passat 20 miles off Cape Otway, South Australia (1 killed). 39 crew escape in 2 lifeboats and make landfall at Apollo Bay.

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