Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 530 February 11, 1941

Operation Colossus. At 0.30 AM, British paratroops of X Troop blow up the Tragino aqueduct, Southern Italy. They head West towards the coast to meet submarine HMS Triumph, but they are soon captured (remaining POWs until 1943, except Lieutenant Deane–Drummond who escapes, returns to England in 1942 and joins 1st Airborne Division). Although water supplies are temporarily interrupted, the aqueduct is quickly repaired and no harm is done to the Italian war effort or morale.

At 1 AM, British monitor HMS Erebus bombards Ostend, Belgium, for 40 minutes escorted by destroyers HMS Quorn and HMS Eglinton.

Convoy carrying the first German troops arrives at Tripoli, despite an unsuccessful attack by British submarine HMS Unique.

Another submarine HMS Snapper disappears en route from the Clyde to the Bay of Biscay (all 41 hands lost), either lost on a German minefield or depthcharged 70 miles Southwest of Brest, France, by German minesweepers M-2, M-13 and M-25.

East Africa. In the Dongolaas Gorge near Keren, Eritrea, Indian 3rd Batt/1st Punjab Regiment advances and takes the next peak, Sanchil. Italians respond with shell and mortar fire all day and a counterattack by Savoia Grenadiers. Indian troops are forced off both Sanchil and Brig's Peak, retreating back to Cameron Ridge. Further South in Italian Somaliland, Cunningham’s forces from Kenya take the road junction at Afmadow, at the North end of the Juba River.

800 miles West of Gibraltar, German cruiser Admiral Hipper (which left Brest, France, on February 1) sinks British SS Iceland carrying 962 tons of oranges from Seville, Spain, to Britain. Hipper picks up all 23 crew who are taken prisoner. SS Iceland is a straggler from convoy HX53. Just before midnight, Hipper locates the convoy on radar at 15km and shadows it all night.

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