Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 816 November 24, 1941

Operation Crusader. While British tanks reorganize and repair after the battle at Sidi Rezegh, Rommel gambles that the Allied excursion into Libya can be routed by further disrupting the rear echelons and supply lines (a tactic Rommel used so successfully in France last year). His aim is a repeat of Crüwell’s ride around the British yesterday, although on a broader sweep - to swing his Panzers behind the British tanks from the South, scatter the Allied infantry, link up with the German garrisons at Bardia, Sollum & Halfaya Pass and then advance into Egypt. At 10.30 AM, he leads 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions in a “dash to the wire”.

Operation Typhoon. Elements of LVI Panzer Corps advance 10 miles East from Klin to capture the town of Rogachevo and threaten Moscow from the North. 100 miles South of Moscow, Guderian relaunches his attempt to encircle and bypass the city of Tula. XXIV Panzer Corps (3rd, 4th & 17th Panzer Divisions) charges Northeast and captures the road junction at Venyov 30 miles East of Tula.

At 3.21 PM 650 miles East of Natal, Brazil, U-124 hits British cruiser HMS Dunedin with 2 torpedoes. HMS Dunedin sinks in 17 minutes (about 250 crew killed immediately and 250 escape into the water). 72 survivors on 6 Carley floats are found 3 days later by American merchant SS Nishmaha (the others drowned, died of injuries or sharks). 5 more die on board SS Nishmaha, leaving only 67 survivors from a crew of 486.

On the Normandy coast, British landing ship HMS Prince Leopold, escorted by 4 Motor Gun Boats, lands 90 British commandos (No. 9 Commando) at Butte de Houlgate. The commandos do not destroy their target (guns at Batterie de Tournebride) or take any prisoners but they capture some secret papers, then reboard and return to Portsmouth without loss.

In the North Sea off the coast of East Anglia, German 4th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla attacks convoy FS.654, sinking British tanker Virgilia (23 killed, 17 survivors) and Dutch steamer Groenlo (10 lost).

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