Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 317 July 13, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 4. Göring’s strategy of Kanalkampf (Channel battles), harassing shipping and bombing coastal facilities, continues. However, coastal fog prevents flying for most of the morning. Convoy CW5 is attacked leaving Dover by German bombers. Escort destroyer HMS Vanessa is damaged by near misses and towed by destroyer HMS Griffin to Sheerness for repairs (completed November 4). Convoy “Bread” is again attacked off the Dorset coast. Hurricanes from 56 & 238 Squadrons and Spitfires of 64 Squadron respond and shoot down 6 German bombers. Several British fighters are shot down and 3 pilots are killed.

While U-boats prowl the busy sea lanes around Britain and the Mediterranean, armed merchant cruisers (surface raiders) are more effective in the wide open Ocean spaces using lookout to spot smokestacks of their victims. In the Indian Ocean 500 miles South of Ceylon, German raider Atlantis sinks British steamer Kemmendine bound for Burma filled with whisky (57 crew, 25 passengers taken prisoner). 200 miles Northeast of Antigua, raider Widder sinks British steamer King John (taking prisoner 5 crew and 21 survivors from the Panamanian ship Santa Margarita sunk by U-29 July 2). Widder now has 100 prisoners, so most are put into King John’s lifeboats & set towards the West Indies.

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