Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 643 June 4, 1941

Royal Navy continues rounding up German supply ships all over the Atlantic. 750 miles Southwest of Cape Verde islands, cruiser HMS London and destroyer HMS Brilliant intercept tanker Esso Hamburg which is then scuttled by her crew (all 87 hands rescued). 380 miles Northeast of the Azores, supply ship Gonzenheim is located by armed merchant cruiser HMS Esperance Bay and aircraft from carrier HMS Victorious. Battleship HMS Nelson and cruiser HMS Neptune intercept and attempt to board but then Gonzenheim is scuttled (63 crew rescued by HMS Neptune). In the same area, tanker Gedania (carrying 48 torpedoes) is captured by ocean boarding vessel HMS Marsdale. Gedania will be renamed Empire Garden and used by the British.

At 5.03 AM 1200 miles West of Brest, France, U-101 stops British SS Trecarrell with torpedoes (4 crew lost). 39 crew and 4 gunners abandon ship in 3 lifeboats and a raft (later picked up by British steam merchant Cornerbrook and landed at Halifax). U-101 tries to finish her off with the deck gun but Matrosenobergefreiter Horst Jackl is thrown overboard by the recoil and lost. At 6.40 AM, U-101 rams the wreck, bending her bow, and then gives up and allows SS Trecarrell to sink on her own.

British dredger Robert Hughes hits a mine (laid by U-69 on May 27) and sinks in Lagos Harbour, Nigeria (14 killed, 17 crew members rescued).

Dutch minelayer HNLMS Van Meerlant hits a mine and sinks in the Thames Estuary (3 killed).

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