Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 782 October 21, 1941

Operation Typhoon. Rain and light snow turn roads in Western USSR to deep mud which hampers movement of wheeled movement of trucks, horse-drawn artillery & wagons and some tracked vehicles. This rasputitsa (quagmire season) and overextended German supply lines begin to slow the Panzers advance on Moscow.

Soviet submarine M58 sinks on a Romanian mine in the Black Sea near the Danube River (all 19 hands lost).

At 3.34 AM 30 miles Northeast of Bardia, Libya, U-79 torpedoes British gunboat HMS Gnat (returning from Tobruk to Alexandria), blowing away 20 feet of her bow all the way back to the 6 inch gun mount (no casualties). HMS Gnat is towed to Alexandria, beached and used as an anti-aircraft defense platform until the end of the war.

At 4.28 AM 400 miles West of Ireland, U-123 torpedoes British armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania escorting convoy SL-89, causing a 25 degree list to port. Before the ship is righted, 6 men launch a lifeboat which is then swamped (2 killed, 3 rescued by destroyer HMS Croome, Leading Seamen Bertie Shaw is taken prisoner by U-123). HMS Aurania will be under repair at Rothesay Bay for 19 months and then return to service as base repair ship HMS Artifex. At 10 PM, U-82 attacks convoy SL-89 sinking SS Serbino (14 killed, 51 crew picked up by corvette HMS Asphodel) and SS Treverbyn (all 36 crew and 10 gunners lost).

Operation Cultivate. British cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Napier, Hasty & Decoy make the round trip overnight from Alexandria, Egypt, to bring supplies to Tobruk, Libya, and remove Australian 9th Division troops.

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