Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 173 February 20, 1940

War comes to the waters of the Americas. 75 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, U-96 sinks British MV Empire Seal at midnight (carrying steel from USA to Belfast, 1 dead, 56 survivors picked up by the British CAM ship Empire Flame and landed at Halifax) and neutral American MV Lake Osweya at 04.53 (en route to Iceland, all 39 lives lost). In the Caribbean, U-129 sinks Norwegian SS Nordvangen at 4 AM 25 miles east of Trinidad (all 24 dead) & U-156 hits American SS Delplata with 3 torpedoes at 11.31 AM 60 miles west of Martinique. All 53 crew abandon ship and are picked up the next day by USS Lapwing, which scuttles Delpata with gunfire after finding her unsalvageable.

U-54 goes missing in North Sea (all 41 hands lost), probably lost to mine barrages laid by the British destroyers HMS Ivanhoe and HMS Intrepid in early Jan 1940.

Finland, Soviets tanks dragging troops on armoured sleds penetrate the Finnish V-line as far as 1 km in places.

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