Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 466 December 9, 1940

Operation Compass. British artillery and bombers bombard Italian fort Nibeiwa from 5 to 7 AM. At 7.15 AM, Western Desert Force moves forward and turns North to attack the Italian forts from the rear. They are quickly spotted by Colonel Vittorio Revetra, commander of Italian fighter forces in Libya flying a Fiat CR-42 between airfields, but it is too late. Indian 4th Infantry Division and British 7th Royal Tank Regiment take the camp at Nibeiwa at 8.30 AM, Tummar West at 4 PM and Tummar East by nightfall. 4th Armoured Brigade (part of 7th Armoured Division) drives to the coast, preventing an Italian withdrawal by cutting the only road. British monitor HMS Terror and gunboats HMS Ladybird & HMS Aphis shell forts at Sidi Barrani and Maktila from the Mediterranean to clear out the coastal defenses and further frustrate any retreat. British take 4,000 prisoners.

At 1.32 AM, U-103 sinks SS Empire Jaguar 250 miles west of Ireland (all 37 hands lost).

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