Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 482 December 25, 1940

Admiral Wilhelm Meisel commanding German cruiser Admiral Hipper blows the chance to disrupt British troop convoy WS.5 to the Middle East. Attacking out of the mist and rain at 8.08 AM, Hipper shells troopship Empire Trooper (16 soldiers killed) and freighter Arabistan (just missing a munitions store) but is chased off by corvette HMS Clematis firing her single 4 inch gun and then by cruisers HMS Berwick, Bonaventure & Dunedin. Hipper hits Berwick’s rear gun turret (killing 4 of the gun crew) and escapes into the mist undamaged, heading for Brest, France. Aircraft from British carriers HMS Argus & Furious search in vain for Hipper in the bad weather. Later in the day, 150 miles to the East, Hipper sinks unescorted British steamer Jumna with shellfire and 2 torpedoes. Admiral Wilhelm Meisel caps a bad day by steaming away, leaving 111 men to drown including 44 Indian lascar sailors returning home to Calcutta after surviving a previous sinking.

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