Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 813 November 21, 1941

Operation Crusader. A massive clash of armor begins, lasting 3 days, as 15th Panzer Division and British 7th Armored Division converge on the airfield at Sidi Rezegh (largest tank battle in North Africa so far). New Zealand 2nd and Indian 4th infantry Divisions bypass German garrisons at Bardia, Sollum and Halfaya Pass and march to the guns to support the battle at Sidi Rezegh. Simultaneously, the Tobruk garrison attacks East to link up with the forces coming from Egypt. German infantry block the breakout, holding the Allied troops at the El Duda ridge. Rommel is so desperate for fuel that Italian cruiser Cardona leaves Brindisi unescorted carrying fuel drums lashed to the deck, arriving at Benghazi next day.

Siege of Leningrad Day 75. In the morning, Captain Murov’s horses and drivers return from Kobona on the Eastern shore of Lake Ladoga carrying much-needed flour, sugar and fat, making the 40 mile round trip across the ice in 24 hours. The ice is 18 cm thick and the Road of Life is now open.

In Southern USSR, General von Kleist’s 1st Panzer Army captures Rostov-on-Don (the gateway to the Caucasus).

At 11.12 PM 10 miles East of Catania, Sicily, British submarine HMS Utmost torpedoes Italian cruiser Trieste, which is able to reach Messina, Sicily, under her own steam.

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