Friday, April 22, 2016

October 3, 1939: The Diamantis Incident



Tuesday 3 October 1939


U-35 featured on the cover of Life Magazine.

Battle of Poland: German units begin returning to the Reich on 3 October 1939. In particular, the German 10th Army heads toward the Western Front. Some 30 Divisions of the 53 originally committed will remain in Poland for the time being, including the 3rd, 8th and 14th Armies.

At Kock, General Otto now realizes that the Poles are not ready to surrender. He sends his entire division on an assault with the aim to split the Polish defenses. The Poles, on the other hand, decide to launch a flank attack on the Germans, the object to send the Germans back behind a nearby river (the river Wieprz). After heavy fighting, the Germans are stopped after making slight gains. The Polish counter-attack is stopped almost immediately. Otto decides to commit more forces late in the day, and that too is unsuccessful.

Western Front: The French wind up Operation Saar by completing their withdrawal from the Warndt Forest/Saarbrücken salient. The French claim to have occupied 154 square miles of German territory.

Elsewhere, the BEF mans a section of the Western Front.

Battle of the Atlantic: U-35 (Kptlt. Werner Lott) torpedoes the Greek ore freighter Diamantis. She is a legitimate target because, although neutral, is carrying cargo for Great Britain. Lott, in an extraordinary act of kindness and at risk to himself, transports the crew to the Irish coast, where his U-boat is seen by civilians in Ventry on shore unloading the 28 Greek sailors. Lott later is later reprimanded by his commanders for jeopardizing his command, but also was featured on the cover of Life Magazine.

British Government: PM Chamberlain address the House for the fifth time about the war. He states:
“No mere assurance from the present German government could be accepted by us. For that government has too often proved in the past that their undertakings are worthless when it suits them that they shall be broken.”
House members are angry, and round on Lloyd George when he suggests that peace offers should at least be considered.

Turkey: Turkish Foreign Minister M Sarajoglu remains in Moscow. A Turkish military mission arrives in London.

Lithuania: Foreign Minister M. Urbsy arrives in Moscow for talks with Molotov.

Future History: Lott and his crew from the U-35 survived the war because they were captured by British naval forces after he scuttled his boat on 29 November 1939. Once again, Lott was involved in a dramatically unusual humanitarian gesture, but this time on the receiving end: the attacking British ships stopped and sent lifeboats to pick up all the German sailors, one of the very few times that happened during World War II.

The event is not forgotten. On Saturday, 17 October 2009, a special day was set aside in Ventry, Ireland to commemorate the event. A memorial stone was unveiled and the German Ambassador attended.

The Diamantis (Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart).

October 1939

October 1, 1939: Occupation of Warsaw
October 2, 1939: Hel Peninsula Falls
October 3, 1939: The Diamantis Incident
October 4, 1939: Otto Kretschmer Gets Rolling
October 5, 1939: Polish Resistance Ends
October 6, 1939: Hitler Peace Effort
October 7, 1939: The British Have Arrived
October 8, 1939: First RAF Kill from UK
October 9, 1939: "City of Flint" Incident
October 10, 1939: Lithuania Under Pressure
October 11, 1939: The Atomic Age Begins
October 12, 1939: England Rejects Hitler's Peace Offer
October 13, 1939: Charles Lindbergh Speaks Out
October 14 1939: Royal Oak Sunk
October 15, 1939: Cuban Rockets
October 16, 1939: First Aircraft Shot Down Over UK
October 17, 1939: Marshall Mannerheim Returns
October 18, 1939: Prien Receives His Award
October 19, 1939: Preliminary Plan for Fall Gelb
October 20, 1939: Hitler Grapples with the Jews
October 21, 1939: Hurricanes to the Rescue!
October 22, 1939: Goebbels Lies Through His Teeth
October 23, 1939: Norway the Center of Attention
October 24, 1939: German "Justice" Gets Rolling
October 25, 1939: Handley Page Halifax Bomber First Flies
October 26, 1939: Jozef Tiso Takes Slovakia
October 27, 1939: King Leopold Stands Firm
October 28, 1939 - First Luftwaffe Raid on Great Britain
October 29, 1939: Tinkering with Fall Gelb
October 30, 1939: Defective Torpedoes
October 31, 1939: Molotov Issues an Ultimatum


2016

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