Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 600 April 22, 1941

Libya. At Tobruk, Australians conduct aggressive patrolling beyond the perimeter wire, remembering that control of no-mans land was essential to the capture of Bardia and Tobruk from the Italians. At dawn, General Morshead sends out 3 raids on Axis positions in front of the wire, including Carrier Hill (named after a wrecked carrier) which is sheltering Italian infantry and a field gun battery. 455 Italian prisoners are captured and artillery & anti-aircraft guns destroyed (27 Aussies killed, 28 wounded). German bombers again attack Tobruk, badly damaging British hospital ship Vita (437 patients, 6 doctors & 6 nurses taken off by Australian destroyer HMAS Waterhen). HMS Valiant detonates a mine and suffers slight damage, returning to Alexandria from shelling Tripoli.

Greece. Luftwaffe attacks RAF airstrips near Athens, so the remaining Hurricanes are withdrawn to Argos on the Peloponnese peninsula. Dive bombers pound shipping in the Saronic Gulf, sinking Greek minelayer Aliakmon, hospital ship Sokratis, 11 freighters and 1 tanker. At 6 PM, 35 Stukas dive bomb Greek destroyer Hydra at Piraeus, sinking her in 15 minutes (41 killed, 115 survivors reach the small nearby Island of Lagossa). British cruiser HMS York is damaged by near misses at Suda Bay, Crete. Yugoslav torpedo boats Kajmakcalan and Durmitor arrive at Suda Bay, having escaped from Yugoslavia.

In Ethiopia, 1st South African Brigade captures Camboicia Pass, South of Dessie on the road to Amba Alagi, taking 1200 Italian prisoners.

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