Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 517 January 29, 1941

Operation Compass. Derna, Libya. There is heavy fighting along Wadi Derna as elements of British 7th Armoured Division (brought North from Mechili) outflank Italian artillery overlooking the town. Italian commander at Derna General "Electric Whiskers" Bergonzoli, who recently escaped on foot from Bardia, withdraws his troops and artillery overnight.

Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas, who declined British offers of assistance, dies of throat cancer. His replacement Alexandros Koryzis will quickly accept British help against Italy.

200 miles Northwest of Ireland, U-93 U-94 U-101and U-106 attack convoy SC-19 from Nova Scotia to Britain. Between 3.48 and 4.05 AM, U-93 sinks British SS King Robert, British tanker W.B. Walker and Greek SS Aikaterini (which tries to ram U-93). At 6.29 AM, U-94 sinks British SS West Wales. At 7.15 AM, U-106 sinks Egyptian SS Sesostris. Destroyers HMS Anthony & HMS Antelope and antisubmarine trawler HMS Lady Madeleine rescue most of the crewmen. U-101 is chased off with gunfire and 3 depth charges from the destroyers.

600 miles West of Freetown, Sierra Leone, German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran sinks British SS Afric Star carrying 5,790 tons of meat from Argentina to Britain (72 crew and 3 passengers taken prisoner, including 2 sunbathing British women) and liner Eurylochus carrying 16 crated British bombers without engines from Liverpool to Takoradi, to be flown to Egypt (11 crew killed, 43 taken prisoner, 28 survivors picked up by next day Spanish SS Monte Teide).

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