Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 583 April 5, 1941

Overnight, 350 miles South of Iceland, prolonged depth-charge attack by British destroyer HMS Wolverine, corvette HMS Arbutus and sloop HMS Scarborough forces U-76 to the surface. U-76 is scuttled crew by her crew to prevent capture by a British boarding party (1 dead, 42 survivors rescued by the British ships).

At 3.38 AM 800 miles Northwest of Natal, Brazil, U-105 sinks British SS Ena de Larrinaga carrying coal from Britain to Argentina (4 crew, 1 gunner killed). 38 survivors are rescued (1 lifeboat is found after drifting for 13 days) and taken to Brazil.

Afrika Korps races across the desert towards British position at Msus and Mechili, Libya.

The new Yugoslavian regime of Prime Minister Dušan Simović and young King Peter II agrees a Soviet-Yugoslav Nonaggression Pact in Moscow. Despite pressure from Britain to join the Allies, Simović has reaffirmed Yugoslavia’s commitment to the Tripartite Pact to avert the risk of German invasion, but it is too late to placate Hitler.

5th Indian Division reaches Massawa, Eritrea, on the Red Sea. At 1.30 PM, Italian Admiral Bonetti asks for surrender terms for his garrison of 10,000 (troops withdrawn from Keren, a naval battalion, coastal defense and customs). Bonetti seeks clearance from Rome before surrendering but he is ordered to defend the port to the last man, so hostilities resume at 1 AM next morning.

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