Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 470 December 13, 1940

Operation Compass. Repeating yesterday’s successful manoeuver by 7th Armored Brigade, it is 4th Armored Brigade’s turn to cross the desert (between Halfaya and Sidi Omar) to outflank the important Italian position at Bardia and cut the road to Tobruk. Italians deploy submarines Naiade, Narvalo and Neghelli against the British warships shelling the coastal road and forts. At 8.42 PM, Neghelli torpedoes British anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Coventry 40 miles Northeast of Sidi Barrani. Coventry loses most of her bow below the waterline and steams stern first to Alexandria, escorted by destroyers HMS Jervis and Janus (under repair until January 20 1941).

In response to the possibility of British air bases in Greece which would threaten Germany’s oil supply from the Ploieşti oilfields in Romania, Hitler issues Directive 20 for the invasion of Greece by German troops (Operation Marita).

British submarine HMS Truant sinks Italian steamer Sebastino Bianchi 20 miles off the Southern tip of Italy. At 8.46 PM 450 miles West of Lands End, England, U-43 damages British MV Orari (carrying 10,908 tons of food and general cargo) with the last 2 torpedoes. Orari is patched up and sails to the Clyde for repairs lasting until March 1941.

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