Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 812 November 20, 1941

Operation Crusader. 15th Panzer Division finally responds to the concentration of British tanks in the desert but arrives to find only 4th Armored Brigade at Gabr Saleh. The heavier German tanks decimate the thinly-armored American M3 ‘Stuart’ tanks. The Stuarts often explode when hit, due to volatile aviation fuel used to power the Continental R-670 7-cylinder radial engine. 15th Panzer Division then withdraws back towards Tobruk, followed by the remaining tanks of 4th and 22nd Armored Brigades. Overnight, British cruisers HMS Ajax & HMS Neptune and Australian cruiser HMAS Hobart shell German positions at Bardia.

Siege of Leningrad Day 74. Near starvation point, daily bread rations are reduced to 500g for soldiers, 250g for engineers and technical workers, 125g from other workers and children (a 60-80% decrease since June). The ice on Lake Ladoga is 12 cm thick, enough to support a horse. In the morning, Captain Murov takes a convoy of horse-drawn sleighs from Kokorevo (20 miles from Leningrad) via Karedzhskiy Island, arriving in the evening at Kobona on the Eastern shore. Horses and drivers are fed while the sleighs are loaded up with flour, sugar and fat for the return journey.

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