Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 650 June 11, 1941

Indian 3rd Battalion 15th Punjab Regiment captures Assab, Eritrea, clearing the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden coastlines of Italian forces. This will allow President Roosevelt to declare the area a non-combat zone and permit US ships to proceed through the Suez Canal, providing much relief to British forces in the Mediterranean.

Operation Sommerreise. German heavy cruiser Lutzow (repaired after damage from Norwegian shellfire and a British torpedo attack during the invasion of Norway in April 1940) departs Kiel for Norway, escorted by light cruisers Emden and Leipzig plus 6 destroyers.

At 8.51 PM 150 miles West of Iceland, U-79 sinks Norwegian SS Havtor (6 killed). 14 survivors, including 9 wounded, abandon ship in a lifeboat and are picked up by a fishing boat. Able seaman Ole Normann Lorentzen has now survived 3 sinkings in the North Atlantic in 9 months since September 15 1940.

15 miles South of Greek island of Lesbos, British submarine HMS Torbay rams and sinks a Greek fishing boat carrying German troops and supplies. British submarine HMS Taku sinks German steamer Tilly LM Russ in Benghazi Harbour.

Overnight, RAF Bomber Command begins 20 nights of raids on the Germany industrial heartland (Ruhr area and the Rhineland) and the port towns of Hamburg and Bremen.

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