Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 809 November 17, 1941

Siege of Leningrad Day 71. Air reconnaissance indicates Lake Ladoga is frozen over. At 8 AM, teams set out to confirm and mark routes from Kokorevo (on the Western shore near Leningrad) via various tiny islands to the small port of Kobona on the ‘mainland’ side of Lake Ladoga, 18 miles away. Due back at 6 PM, they finally return at 4 AM next morning to report the ice on the lake is 10cm thick (half the thickness needed to support a laden 1 ton truck).

Operation Typhoon. At Musino near Volokolamsk, 70 miles West of Moscow, Soviet 44th Cavalry Division (recently arrived from Central Asia) charges German 106th Infantry Division (3rd Panzer Army) in broad daylight. 105mm howitzers supporting the German infantry decimate the Russian horsemen (claiming 2000 killed).

Operation Flipper. Keyes’ commandos again shelter during the day. At midnight, they attack Afrika Korps quartermasters HQ at Beda Littoria, which they have mistaken for Rommel’s HQ. They kill 4 Germans but Keyes is killed and another commando is wounded and captured. Another group of commandos on a diversionary raid a few miles away are nearly all killed or captured. Only 3 commandos are able to reboard British submarines to return to Alexandria. Colonel Robert Laycock and Sergeant Terry walk for 34 days through the desert, returning to British lines on Christmas Day.

U-331 lands 8 German commandos on the Egyptian coast to mine the railway line near Daba, 60 miles West of Alexandria. They are all captured within a day before completing the mission.

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