Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 800 November 8, 1941

Siege of Leningrad Day 62. German Army Group North finally captures Tikhvin, taking 10,032 casualties in the offensive since October 16. Tikhvin is the road and rail junction thru which flows the meager supply of food and ammunition for Leningrad (then carried 50 miles North by road to the small town of Syas'stroy on Lake Ladoga and by barge across the Lake to the besieged city, a hazardous journey under Luftwaffe attack). Leningrad Military District orders a ‘corduroy’ road of logs to be cut through the forest for 200 miles, around Tikhvin to a railhead further East at Zabor’ye.

British Royal Navy is aware from Ultra intercepts of a supply convoy for Rommel sailing from Italy. “Beta” convoy consists of 5 freighters (German SS Duisburg & SS San Marco and Italian MV Maria, SS Sagitta & MV Rina Corrado) carrying 145 Italian & 78 German troops, 389 vehicles and 34,473 tons of munitions. In addition, 2 Italian tankers Conte di Misurata & Minatitlan carry 17,281 tons of fuel for tanks, trucks and planes. Regia Marina provides an escort of 7 destroyers, with cruisers Trieste & Trento and 4 more destroyers as distant cover. 200 miles East of Malta, RAF Martin Maryland (69 Squadron), on reconnaissance from Malta, deliberately locates Beta as a cover for Ultra. British cruisers HMS Aurora & HMS Penelope and destroyers HMS Lance & HMS Lively are sent out from Malta to intercept the convoy overnight.

In the Black Sea, Soviet submarine M-59 is lost to mines near Constanza, Romania (all hands lost).

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