Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 504 January 16, 1941

80 Luftwaffe Stuka dive-bombers attack Valletta Harbour, Malta, trying to finish off British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious which was badly damaged by Stukas while escorting the Excess convoy on January 10. HMS Illustrious, destroyer HMS Decoy (on the day when repairs from bomb damage in November 1940 are completed) and Australian cruiser HMAS Perth are hit or damaged by splinters from near misses, but none sink. British steamer Essex is also damaged. 10 Stukas are shot down.

British minesweeping trawler HMT Desiree hits a mine and sinks in the Thames estuary.

At 6.16 AM 150 miles Northwest of Ireland, U-96 sinks British troopship SS Oropesa with 3 torpedoes (99 crew, 1 gunner and 6 passengers killed). 109 crew, 1 gunner and 33 passengers in 5 lifeboats are picked up by destroyer HMS Westcott and tugs HMS Superman and HMS Tenacity and landed at Liverpool. Another lifeboat is launched but never found. Italian submarine Luigi Torelli continues the attack on a small convoy West of Ireland, sinking Greek SS Nicolas Filinis (3 crew killed, 26 rescued).

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