Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 510 January 22, 1941

Operation Compass. Italian resistance at Tobruk collapses. At 4.15 AM, cruiser San Giorgio (used as a floating battery in the harbour) is scuttled. General Vincenzo della Mura surrenders Italian 61 Infantry Division “Sirte” in the morning, precipitating a widespread capitulation. Allied troops capture the remaining gun posts with sporadic resistance. Monitor HMS Terror and gunboats Gnat and Ladybird continue shelling. Italian liner Liguria is sunk by British bombing. Australian infantry drive into the town unopposed and take the surrender of Tobruk from Admiral Massimilian Vietina. Australian losses are 49 dead, 306 wounded. In all, 25,000 Italian prisoners are captured along with 236 field guns and medium guns, 23 medium tanks and 200 other vehicles. Tobruk’s sheltered harbour is intact as are wells and pumps to produce 40,000 gallons of fresh (if brackish) water per day.

Eritrea, East Africa. 4th Indian Division attacks Italian position at Keru, which were flanked yesterday by 5th Indian Division. The Italians at Keru, who were expected to hold out for several weeks, surrender (General Fongoli, his staff, 1200 men and several field guns are captured).

Minesweeping trawler HMT Luda Lady sinks on a mine in the Humber (no casualties).

Operation Berlin. German pocket battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sail from Kiel in a second attempt to break out into the Atlantic for convoy raiding operations.

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