Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 493 January 5, 1941

Operation Compass. Italian garrison at Bardia surrenders. Having split the fortress in half yesterday, Australian 6th Division moves North and South with the 6 remaining Matilda tanks to capture the last Italian gun ‘posts’. In all, Italians casualties are 1,000 killed, 3,000 wounded, 36,000 taken prisoner and only 2000 escape to Tobruk on foot or in boats. Allies capture 26 coastal artillery pieces, 7 medium guns, 216 field guns, 26 anti-aircraft guns, 41 cannone da 65/17 infantry guns, 146 antitank guns, 12 medium tanks, 115 L3 tankettes and 708 trucks plus wells and pumps to produce 400 tons fresh water per day and enough fuel for 4 weeks pumping. Australian losses are 130 dead, 326 wounded. British mines sink Italian coastal steamer Vulcano off Tobruk.

At 10.45 AM 100 miles Northeast of the Cape Verde Islands, Italian submarine Cappellini opens fire on British steamer Shakespeare from 3 km with both 100 mm deck guns. Shakespeare returns fire hitting Cappellini‘s aft gun and killing gunner Sergeant Ferruccio Azzolin. Cappellini finally sinks Shakespeare (18 crew and 2 gunners killed) and rescues 22 survivors clinging to wreckage, taking them to Sal Island, Cape Verde. Cappellini‘s captain Salvatore Todaro will be honoured for his chivalry in March 2006, by the naming of an Italian U212-class submarine after him.

Sloop HMS Lowestoft, arriving with convoy FS.378, is damaged on a mine in the Thames Estuary (under repair at Chatham until October 3).

1 comment:

  1. The story of the Kabalo
    On the night of October 16, 1940, during a mission off the island of Madeira, sighted the steamship Belgian Kabalo Todaro (5186 tons) and, after unsuccessfully launched three torpedoes, sank it using the cannon on board. After making the sinking Todaro came and picked up the twenty-six survivors of the Belgian ship and towed them, on a raft for four days. When the raft broke the tow rope, Todaro did not hesitate to host the castaways on the submersible to land them, unharmed, on the coast of the Azores islands.

    This generous behavior was not appreciated by the German submarine commander in chief, Admiral Karl Dönitz, who severely criticized the "Don Quixote of the sea." Moreover, the sinking of the ship led to the declaration of a state of war between Italy and Belgium, later, however, revealed that the Karbalo was a ship of the British convoy dispersed and OB.223 carrying aircraft spare parts: the sinking was therefore fully justified.

    We can well understand the feelings that have felt when he learned of the horrendous crimes committed against Italian prisoners of shipwrecked Laconia, [2] largely remained in the holds and other prisoners who had their hands chopped off to prevent them from boarding the lifeboats. At the end of the shipwrecked Italians dead will be well out of a total 1,350 1,800, cruelly abandoned to their fate.