Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 823 December 1, 1941

Operation Typhoon. At the urging of Army Group Center commander Field Marshal von Bock, von Kluge finally sends German 4th Army into action 16 days after the beginning of the renewed advance on Moscow. This delay has allowed Red Army to move troops away from this sector to defend Moscow from the attacks from the North and South. At 4 AM, 3 infantry and 1 Panzer divisions move along the Minsk-Moscow highway, shattering the well-prepared defenses of Soviet 33rd Army and capturing the town of Naro-Fominsk (43 miles Southwest of Moscow) and crossing the Nara River.

Operation Crusader. In the morning, 15th Panzer Division again attacks New Zealand 2nd Division around Sidi Rezegh airfield but they are chased off by a counterattack by British 4th Armoured Brigade tanks. Despite this, New Zealand 2nd Division withdraws in the late afternoon. Rommel has pulled off the remarkable feat of breaking up the relief of Tobruk despite being outnumbered 7:1 by the British tanks.

British air reconnaissance from Malta spots an Italian supply convoy for Rommel in Libya and torpedo bombers sink tanker Iridio Mantovani (carrying 10,000 tons of fuel oil). 60 miles off the coast of Libya, British cruisers HMS Aurora & HMS Penelope (escorted by destroyer HMS Lively) sink steamer Adriatico. Later, Italian destroyer Alvise Da Mosta, which is rescuing survivors from Iridio Mantovani, attacks HMS Aurora & Penelope with torpedoes and 120 mm guns but is blasted into oblivion by 6 inch shellfire from the British cruisers (200 killed).

In the South Atlantic 1150 miles West of South Africa, British cruiser HMS Dorsetshire locates German supply ship Python refuelling submarines UA and U-68. Python is scuttled and HMS Dorsetshire leaves due to the submarine threat. 414 crew and survivors from the sinking of raider Atlantis are rescued by 4 German submarines and 4 Italian submarines.

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