Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 513 January 25, 1941

General Alan Cunningham launches the Southern front in Italian East Africa. He sends Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African troops of 11th African Division (commanded by British General Harry Edward de Robillard Wetherall) and 12th African Division (commanded by British General Reade Godwin-Austen) into Italian Somaliland from British-held Kenya. They meet little resistance from Italian forces who have withdrawn 100 miles behind the Juba River.

Following damage in a Stuka attack on January 10 and initial repairs at Malta, British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious arrives for further repairs at Alexandria, Egypt. This is beyond the range of German X. Fliegerkorps bombers operating from Sicily.

At 11.20 PM, British Admiral Sir John Tovey departs Scapa Flow to intercept German pocket battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the Iceland-Faroes passage. His flotilla comprises battleships HMS Nelson, Repulse & Rodney, cruisers HMS Arethusa, Galatea, Aurora, Mauritius, Naiad, Phoebe, Edinburgh & Birmingham plus destroyers HMS Bedouin, Matabele, Tartar, Punjabi, Escapade, Echo, Electra, Beagle, Brilliant, Keppel & Piorun.

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