Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 522 February 3, 1941

Eritrea, East Africa. Italians withdraw into the mountains that run down the middle of Eritrea, where they will make their stand at the town of Keren. The road and railway, leading to the capital city Asmara and the Red Sea ports, pass through the narrow and heavily-defended Dongolaas Gorge.

Hitler appoints Erwin Rommel to command the newly-created Deutsches Afrikakorps which will soon be sent to Libya. Hitler considers Erich von Manstein before deciding on Rommel to replace Hans von Funck who is already in Libya making preparations but lacks attacking spirit.

300 miles South of Iceland, U-107 sinks British SS Empire Citizen at 2.23 AM (64 crew, 1 gunner and 12 passengers lost, 4 crew and 1 gunner picked up by corvette HMS Clarkia) and British ocean boarding vessel HMS Crispin at 11.33 PM (20 crew lost, 8 survivors picked up by rescue ship Copeland and 113 rescued by destroyer HMS Harvester).

At 2.10 PM 50 miles off the Northwest coast of Ireland, U-93 fires a torpedo that misses British SS Dione II, carrying 2650 tons of iron ore from USA to Britain. Later, Dione II is bombed and damaged by a German Fw200. At 11 PM, U-93 and Dione II engage in a brief gun duel in very rough seas.

British minesweeping trawler HMT Arctic Trapper is sunk by German bombing off Ramsgate (17 killed, 3 wounded survivors).

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