Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 562 March 15, 1941

950 miles East of Nova Scotia, German battlecruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst encounter an unescorted convoy of empty merchant ships returning to USA, sinking 3 tankers (6 crew and 1 gunner killed, most rescued). Gneisenau also captures 3 tankers which will sail with prize crews for France (only Norwegian tanker Polykarb will reach Bordeaux).

Battle of Keren, Eritrea. Since February, Italian defenses in the Dongolaas Gorge have been reinforced to 25,000 troops. 4th and 5th Indian Divisions (13,000 men) resume the attack at 7 AM, taking hilltops either side of the Gorge during heavy fighting all day and night. Ground changing hands several times and there are heavy casualties on both sides. Italians still hold the dominating position in Fort Dologordoc.

In mid-Atlantic 650 miles Southwest of Cape Verde Islands, German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran meets U-124 to resupply her with provisions and 7 torpedoes. The sea is too rough so they head South looking for calmer waters.

South of Iceland, U-110 spots convoy HX-112 (41 merchant ships, escorted by 5 destroyers and 2 corvettes) and summons U-37, U-74, U-99 & U-100. Overnight, U-110 torpedoes British tanker Erodona, setting her cargo of fuel oils from Aruba on fire (32 crew and 4 gunners lost). Convoy escorts drop 24 depth charges and chase off U-110, which is not damaged. MV Erodona’s burnt out hulk will be towed to Iceland and repaired (returning to service in February 1944).

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