Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 546 February 27, 1941

Operation Abstention. Overnight, Italian torpedo boats Lupo and Lince from Rhodes land 240 soldiers on the island of Castelorizo at daybreak and shell British positions with 4-inch guns (3 British commandos killed, 7 injured). British destroyers HMS Decoy and HMS Hereward fail to engage the torpedo boats and yield control of the area to the Italians (for which they are criticized in the after-action report). Instead, they return to Alexandria, Egypt, to embark more troops.

Indian Ocean, 200 miles West of the Maldives. New Zealand cruiser HMNZS Leander intercepts Italian armed merchant cruiser Ramb I which has just left Massawa, Eritrea. Ramb I sinks after a brief exchange of gunfire (113 survivors in lifeboats picked up by HMNZS Leander and taken to Addu Atoll, Maldives).

British minesweeping trawler HMT Remillo sinks on a mine in the Humber Estuary (17 killed).

Atlantic Ocean. West of Ireland, Italian submarine Bianchi sinks British SS Baltistan (51 killed, 18 survivors). Overnight, U-47 sinks British SS Holmelea in the same area (27 killed, 11 escape in a lifeboat and are rescued by Icelandic trawler Baldur on March 5). 1000 miles West of the Azores, German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau refuel from tankers Ermland & Friedrich Breme and transfer 180 prisoners from ships sunk on February 22.

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