Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 785 October 24, 1941

Operation Typhoon. After the fall of Mtensk, an ad hoc formation of 4th Panzer Division under Colonel Heinrich Eberbach (Kampfgruppe Eberbach) advances 18 miles to Chern, on the road to Tula.

Further South, Germans rapidly encircle the major Soviet industrial city of Kharkov in the Eastern Ukraine. Infantry divisions from 6th & 17th Armies, using horse-drawn artillery and supplies, take Kharkov without any tanks or armored vehicles which have been diverted for Operation Typhoon. However, most heavy industry has been moved East beyond the Ural mountains (over 70 factories dismantled and loaded onto 320 trains) and the city is defended only by Soviet 216th Rifle Division.

Odessa massacre continues. At 5 PM, Romanian troops set fire to 3 warehouses at Dalnik containing the survivors, mainly women and children, from yesterday’s machinegunning. A fourth building with the men is left until tomorrow.

U-563 and U-564 attack convoy HG-75 300 miles west of Gibraltar. At 00.38, U-563 badly damages British destroyer HMS Cossack with 1 torpedo (159 killed, 60 survivors on rafts picked up by destroyer HMS Legion and corvette HMS Carnation). HMS Cossack will be towed towards Gibraltar and sink in heavy weather on October 27. At 6.36 AM, U-564 fires 5 torpedoes sinking 3 small British steamers (SS Carsbreck, SS Ariosto and SS Alhama; 30 killed, 96 survivors).

British minesweeping trawlers HMS Lucienne Jeanne and HMT Emilion hit mines and sink in the Thames estuary.

Germans execute 50 communist activists at Camp Souge, France, in retaliation for the killing 3 days ago of Dr. Hans-Gottfried Reimers, a civilian working for the German occupation forces.

Operation Cultivate. Overnight, British minelaying cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Kandahar, Kingston & Griffin make the round trip from Alexandria, Egypt, carrying troops and supplies to Tobruk, Libya, and bringing out Australian 9th Division.

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