Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 539 February 20, 1941

Libya, North Africa. Africa Korps patrols make contact with British patrols for the first time in the desert, near Allied forward positions at El Agheila between Benghazi and Tripoli. British submarine HMS Regent attacks German ships Arta, Heraklea, Menes & Martiza carrying Afrika Korps troops from Naples to Tripoli escorted by Italian destroyers Freccia, Saetta & Turbine. Transport ship Menes is torpedoed but stays afloat and is towed into Tripoli. Italian destroyer Saetta counterattacks HMS Regent causing some damage (Regent returns to Malta on March 1). Minesweeping trawler HMT Ouse hits a mine and sinks off Tobruk, Lybia (12 killed with 9 survivors, all wounded).

Italian sloop Eritrea, Italian armed merchant cruisers Ramb I & Ramb II and German supply ship Coburg break out of Massawa, Eritrea, and sail into the Indian Ocean. Ramb I is sent to raid shipping off the Dutch East Indies while Ramb II will sail to Japan to raid in the Pacific.

West of the Seychelles, German heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer sinks Greek steamer Grigorios C II (27 crew taken prisoner) and captures British tanker British Advocate which is sent to France as a prize ship.

Luftwaffe bombs Swansea, Wales, for the second night.

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