Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 444 November 17, 1940

Overnight, RAF bombers raid Hamburg for the second night running.

12 Hurricanes and 2 Skuas fly off British aircraft carrier HMS Argus destined for Malta but many get lost en route. 6 Hurricanes crash in the sea (1 pilot rescued by a Sunderland Flying Boat) and 1 Skua crash lands on Sicily (pilot and observer taken prisoner).

Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding is removed as commander of RAF Fighter Command, despite his brilliant performance conserving fighters and pilots in the Battle of Britain. Nonetheless, he will be rewarded with a peerage in 1943 as Baron Dowding of Bentley Priory. Newly appointed Chief of the Air Staff Charles Portal replaces him with rival (and advocate of big-wing tactics) Sholto Douglas.

40 miles North of Ireland, U-137 sinks 2 ships in convoy HG-46; British MV Saint Germain at 8.14 PM (all 18 crew picked up by corvette HMS Mallow) and Swedish SS Veronica at 8.40 PM (17 crew killed, 3 survivors on a raft picked up after five days by a fishing trawler). http://www.uboat.net/allies/merchants/ships/658.html

3 days after leaving base at Lorient, France (and traveling 300 miles West), torpedo mechanic (Mechanikergefreiter) Fritz Pfeifer is washed overboard from U-123. Despite losing one of the torpedo crew, U-123 will go on to sink 5 ships in 2 days.

There is heavy fighting between Greek 3rd Army Corps and Italian 9th Army near Korçë, Albania.

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