Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 765 October 4, 1941

Operation Typhoon. As Soviet Western Front falls back along the main Smolensk/Moscow road in the face of Army Group Center’s attack, Hoth's Panzergruppe 3 bypasses them to the North while Hoepner's Panzergruppe 4 advances from the South (capturing the cities of Kirov and Spa-Demensk). The German aim is a massive double encirclement, converging on Vyasma, to trap the Soviet Western Front (31 rifle Divisions, 3 cavalry Divisions, 2 motorised Divisions and 3 tank Brigades, under General Ivan Konev). 3 German infantry Armies follow behind the Panzers to fence in Soviet troops for the coming battle of annihilation. Despite the obvious encircling of large Soviet forces at Vyasma and Bryansk, Stalin repeats the mistake of Kiev and refuses to allow a withdrawal.

225 miles West of Tenerife, British anti-submarine trawler HMS Lady Shirley brings U-111 to the surface with 3 depth charges. After a gun battle, U-111 is scuttled by the crew (8 dead and 44 survivors picked up by HMS Lady Shirley, 1 sailor on HMS Lady Shirley is killed by machinegun fire). Another anti-submarine trawler HMS Whippet (previously a Norwegian whaler taken over by the Admiralty in October 1940) is sunk by German bombing 30 miles North of Bardia, Libya (1 killed).

British submarine HMS Talisman sinks French steamer Theophile Gautier in a convoy from Crete to the Greek mainland (escorted by Italian torpedo boats Monzambano, Calatafimi and Aldebaran).

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