Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 592 April 14, 1941 (Easter Monday)

At Tobruk, German infantry finally fill the anti-tank ditch & cut the wire at 2.30 AM but they are held by artillery & machinegun fire. Corporal John Edmondson (2/17th Battalion, Australian 9th Division) wins the Victoria Cross for a bayonet charge, despite being shot in the stomach and neck (he later dies of his wounds). At 5.20 AM, 38 tanks move through the gap. Australian troops are trained to let the tanks pass and trap the following infantry in crossfire. 2 miles ahead, German tanks are hit by a screen of British anti-tank guns and 25-pounder howitzers firing high explosive shells over open sights. In the air, British Hurricanes dogfight German and Italian fighters while 40 Stukas dive bomb the harbour. Germans withdraw in disarray at 7.30 AM (losing 17 tanks, 150 killed and 250 prisoners). General Streich will later be removed from command of 5th Light Division by Rommel for failing to secure and expand the penetration.

British gunboat HMS Aphis bombards Bardia, Libya. Gunboat HMS Gnat shells German troops at Sollum, Egypt, but is badly damaged by German bombers and steams back to Mersa Matruh (1 sailor killed).

As the Yugoslavian surrender is imminent, young King Peter flees the country and flies to Athens, Greece. In the evening, the Yugoslav Government asks General van Kleist (1st Panzer Group) for a ceasefire.

In Greece, there is heavy fighting when German 73rd Infantry Division blocks the Greek withdrawal from Albania at Kastoria Pass. Overnight, on the East coast of Greece, German troops are held by Allied positions at the narrow pass at Platamon between Mount Olympus and the Aegean Sea.

At 1.17 AM 400 miles Southwest of Iceland, U-52 sinks Belgian passenger ship Ville de Liège (40 killed, 10 crew members and 2 passengers survive).

Overnight, Swordfish torpedo bombers of 815 Squadron from Paramythia, Greece, sink Italian steamers Luciano and Stampalia at the port of Vlorë, Albania. 1 Swordfish is shot down (1 killed and 2 POWs).

No comments:

Post a Comment