Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 793 November 1, 1941

Red Army begins evacuating 28,000 troops and their equipment to Leningrad from Hango Peninsula in Finland (USSR leased a naval base here in the Moscow Peace Treaty, March 12, 1940). Overnight, Soviet destroyers Slavny and Stoiki sail from island of Suursaari in the Gulf of Finland (escorted by minelayer Marti, 4 T-class minesweepers and 5 MO-class submarine hunters) and embark 4230 troops at Hango. On the return journey, Marti and T-210 are damaged by mines while submarine Kalev (captured from the Estonian Navy on August 19, 1940) does not return from covering the evacuation, presumably lost on a mine.

At Sevastopol, Soviet 30th coastal battery (called Fort Maxim Gorky I by the Germans) shells German 132nd Infantry Division as they assemble at 12.30 PM between Alma railway station and Bazarchik village. Planned German attack on Soviet 8th Naval Brigade is broken up by 68 rounds from the 305mm guns. Von Manstein’s 11th Army lacks enough tanks and air support to take Sevastopol by storm, so they fan out to surround and besiege the city.

At 6.54 AM 300 miles off the coast of South West Africa (now Namibia), U-68 sinks British MV Bradford City (carrying 9500 tons of sugar and rum from Mauritius). All 37 crew and 8 gunners abandon ship in 2 lifeboats and make land near Walvis Bay, South West Africa. U-68 collides with the sinking ship but is not badly damaged.

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