Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 496 January 8, 1941

British Wellington bombers from Malta attack Italian battleships Guilio Cesare and Vittorio Veneto moored in Naples harbour. Guilio Cesare is badly damaged by 3 near misses but Vittorio Veneto is hit without serious damage. Both ships will be moved to La Spezia and repaired, out of the range of the Malta bombers.

Operation Compass. Australian 6th Division begins reconnaissance patrols around Tobruk. Overnight, a patrol reaches the Italian defensive perimeter. As at Bardia, Italian defenses consist of an antitank ditch and barbed wire fences in front of 2 concentric lines of open concrete gun pits (posts).

British cruisers HMS Gloucester and HMS Southampton arrive at Malta to disembark 510 Army & RAF personnel, escorted by destroyers HMS Ilex and Janus. HMS Gloucester, Southampton and Ilex continue West towards Gibraltar to meet the Excess convoy.

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