Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 508 January 20, 1941

At 00.42 AM 200 miles Southeast of Iceland, U-94 torpedoes British steamer Florian, which sinks in 42 seconds (all 41 hands lost). West of Ireland, Italian submarine Luigi fires a spread of 3 torpedoes at a group of 3 Allied destroyers but none hit. Italian submarine Marcello, returning to base at Bordeaux for repairs, sinks Belgian SS Portugal with the deck gun.

Kriegsmarine orders the construction of 75 new U-boats.

1000 miles off the coast of Angola, German cruiser Admiral Scheer sinks British steamer Stanpark and captures Dutch steamer Barneveld (sunk the following day). Among the prisoners taken from the 2 vessels are 3 Royal Navy officers on their way to take up appointments on warships the Mediterranean.

Minesweeping trawler HMT Relonzo sinks on a mine off Liverpool (19 killed).

Overnight, Italian positions at Tobruk, Libya, are bombarded from the air by RAF Wellington and Blenheim bombers and from the sea by monitor HMS Terror and gunboats HMS Gnat & Ladybird (escorted by Australian destroyers HMAS Stuart, Vampire & Voyager). Australian infantry and British tanks & artillery move into position to start the land attack on the Italian defenses.

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