Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 616 May 8, 1941

In the Arabian Sea 400 miles off Somaliland, British cruiser HMS Cornwall responds to distress signals yesterday from tanker British Emperor. A Walrus seaplane finds German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin (disguised as the Norwegian MV Tamerlane). Both ships open fire at 5.14 PM. HMS Cornwall is stopped by a shell which floods the engine room (1 killed, 3 wounded). Outgunned, Pinguin’s crew prepares to abandon ship when she obliterated by an 8-inch shell which hits a store of 130 mines (341 crew and 214 prisoners killed, 60 crew and 22 prisoners rescued by HMS Cornwall). In 357 days, Pinguin sailed 59,000 miles sinking or capturing 28 ships and laying mines that sank 4 more (total 154,710 tons).

At dawn, Indian troops close in on the Italian stronghold at Amba Alagi, Ethiopia, taking the Falagi Pass to the East and 3 small peaks (Centre Hill, Khaki Hill and Castle Hill) to the South. Italians counterattack, recovering Centre and Khaki Hills.

In the middle of the North Atlantic, U-97 sinks British SS Ramillies (29 dead and 12 survivors).

Overnight, Luftwaffe bombs Hull for the second night. In one of the heaviest RAF raids so far, 359 bombers attack targets in Germany, including Hamburg and Bremen.

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