Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 158 February 5, 1940

U-41 damages Dutch tanker Ceronia (3.30 AM, no casualties) and sinks British SS Beaverburn 150 miles south of Ireland (1.10 PM, 1 killed, 76 crew rescued by British tanker Narragansett and landed at Falmouth). However, U-41 is sunk with depth charges by HMS Antelope (all 49 hands lost). Antelope's Captain, Lt. Cdr. White wins the DSO for the first U-boat sinking by a lone destroyer.

Allied Supreme War Council meets in Paris. France enthusiastic agrees to send British troops to Finland via landings at Narvik, seizing Swedish iron ore mines and the port of LuleĆ„ en route, despite the declared neutrality of Norway and Sweden! However, the operation is assigned only 2 British divisions, which only exist on paper and will have to be diverted from BEF in France. British Chief of Staff General Sir Edmund Ironside notes in his diary “everyone purring with pleasure”, unaware of detailed German plans to invade Norway with much larger forces.

BEF’s Chief of Staff General Henry Pownall is furious, recording in his diary “For five months we have been struggling to make fit for action in the Spring a force that was dangerously under-equipped and untrained. There were signs that we were getting some reasonable way to our goal. If this business [the invasion of Norway] goes through, we shall be cut by 30%. Of all the harebrained projects I have heard of, this is the most foolish.”

No comments:

Post a Comment