Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 408 October 12, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 95. Despite fog across much of England, it is another very busy day. There are reconnaissance fights from 6.50 to 9 AM and then a steady stream of larger raids from 9 AM to 5.15 PM. These consist of 20-150 aircraft, mostly 25% medium bombers and 75% escort fighters, many of which penetrate to London. German losses are 9 Bf109 fighters and 1 Arado Ar95 seaplane patrolling in the Straits of Dover. RAF loses 10 fighters (4 pilots killed). Overnight, there is relatively light bombing of London but Birmingham and Coventry in the Midlands are also attacked.

German Governor-General of Poland Hans Frank orders 138,000 Jews in Warsaw to move into "Jewish residential quarters". The Ghetto will comprise 2.4 percent of the city's land contain 30% of population of 400,000 people.

Battle of Cape Passero. At 2 AM, East of Malta, British cruiser HMS Ajax (part of the Mediterranean fleet returning to Alexandria after resupplying Malta) is attacked by Italian torpedo boats Ariel, Alcione and Airone with torpedoes and 99mm shells. Ajax returns fire sinking Ariel and Airone. At 2.15 AM, Ajax’s radar detects Italian destroyers Artigliere and Aviere which do not have radar and are unaware of Ajax’s presence. Ajax fires 6 inch shells badly damaging Aviere and crippling Artigliere (which hits Ajax with 4 120mm rounds). Artigliere is taken in tow by another destroyer Camicia Nera. HMS Ajax retires with damaged gun turrets and disabled radar (13 dead, 20 wounded).

U-48, U-59 and U-101 attack convoy HX.77 150 miles Northwest of Ireland, sinking Norwegian tanker Davanger carrying 10.000 tons of fuel oil just after midnight (17 crew killed, 12 survivors escape in lifeboats), British MV Pacific Ranger at 6 PM (all 55 hands escape in lifeboats) and Canadian steamer Saint MalĂ´ at 11.25 PM (28 dead, 16 survivors in lifeboats will be picked up by British tug HMS Salvonia on October 22).

Minesweeping trawler HMS Resolvo hits a mine in the Thames estuary (2 wounded) and will be beached and abandoned the next day.

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