Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 497 January 9, 1941

Operation Compass. Australian 6th Division and British 7th Armoured Division complete the encirclement of Tobruk, Libya. 25,000 Italian troops are now trapped.

Transfer of the Excess convoy from Force H (Gibraltar) to the Mediterranean Fleet (Alexandria, Egypt). Cruisers HMS Gloucester & Southampton and destroyer HMS Janus from Alexandria (via Malta) meet the convoy off Cape Bon, Tunisia. As usual for convoys in this area, they are attacked inaccurately by Italian SM79 bombers. Most of Force H (battlecruiser HMS Renown, battleship HMS Malaya, aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, cruiser HMS Sheffield and 7 destroyers) reverses course at nightfall and returns to Gibraltar but cruiser HMS Bonaventure and destroyers HMS Hereward, Jaguar, Hasty & Hero continue on with the convoy.

British submarine HMS Pandora sinks Italian SS Palma and SS Valdivagna off Cape Carbonara, Sardinia. Submarine HMS Parthian sinks Italian SS Carlo Martinolich off Calabria, Southern Italy.

Italian destroyers Ascari, Carabiniere, Folgore and Fulmine shell Greek positions on the Albanian coast at Porto Palmermo.

At 6.14 PM 300 miles South of Iceland, U-105 sinks British SS Bassano carrying 5000 tons of iron and steel and 600 tons of grain from USA to Britain (1 killed; 49 crew, 2 gunners and 5 passengers picked up by destroyer HMS Wild Swan and armed merchant cruiser Esperance Bay).

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