Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 621 May 13, 1941

Iraq. The first shipment of Vichy French armaments from Syria arrives in Mosul. The Iraqi army receives 15,500 rifles, 6 million rounds of ammunition, 200 machineguns, 4 75 mm field guns and 10,000 shells. Kingcol (British mobile column from Palestine) arrives at Rutbah, Iraq, over halfway to RAF Habbaniya. The fort at Rubah (protecting the oasis spring and an airstrip for refueling British civilian aircraft flying to India) had been occupied by Iraqi troops on May 2 but abandoned on May 10 after bombing by RAF Bristol Blenheims of 203 Squadron from Basra.

In the morning off Greenland, U-98 and U-111 attack convoy SC-30 sinking British SS Somersby (all 43 hands rescued by Greek steamer Marika Protopapa) and convoy escort armed merchant cruiser HMS Salopian (3 killed 287 survivors in lifeboats picked up next morning by destroyer HMS Impulsive).

At 7.48 AM 700 miles off Sierra Leone, U-105 sinks British SS Benvrackie after chasing her for 34 hours. 13 crew and 15 survivors from MV Lassel are killed (MV Lassel was sunk by U-107 on April 30). 41 crew, 4 gunners and 10 Lassel survivors are rescued after 13 days in lifeboats by British hospital ship Oxfordshire.

Overnight, British gunboat HMS Gnat shells the German airfield at Gazala, Libya, 30 miles West of Tobruk.

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