Thursday, May 12, 2016

January 28, 1940: Softening Up the Finns

Sunday 28 January 1940

A photo of men about to go on a road trip in Mikkeli. Note the battered, winter-camouflaged car in the endless ankle-deep snow.
Winter War Army Operations: At Lahde on 28 January 1940, the artillery of the 24th Corps Artillery Regiment, having destroyed the "Millionaire bunker" on the 27th, switches targets. The next most-prominent bunker is the "Poppius bunker." While not as elaborate as the other one, the Poppius bunker lies in the middle of the Finnish defenses of the Mannerheim Line and is/now was an anchor of the defense. The Soviets' two 152 mm guns open fire at 12:00, and they quickly destroy the bunker's western casemate, killing four men inside. The two bunkers remain usable, but their defensibility is impaired.

Nearby at Summa, the 7,000 shells/day artillery barrage continues, with an increase in tempo.

At Salla, small advance Soviet forces remain surrounded.

At Kuhmo, Group Talvela of the Finnish 9th Division attacks the Soviet 54th Division. It cuts the Soviets' lines of communications and splits the division into three different sections ("mottis"). The Soviet 23rd Division launches a relief attempt that makes some progress. The Finns destroy the Pieni-Kelivaara motti during the day, capturing 2 field guns, 2 antitank guns, 9 mortars, 9 machineguns, and 100 rifles. The West Lemetti motti, however, holds out, and the Finns continue attacking it.

Battle of the Atlantic: At 02:52, U-34 (Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Rollmann) torpedoes 5,625-ton Greek freighter Eleni Stathatou 200 miles east of Isles of Scilly in the Atlantic Ocean. It takes two torpedoes, the first only damages the freighter; the second at 04:21 finishes her off. Those are U-34's last two torpedoes, so its patrol is over. Of the crew, 12 perish.

U-44 (Kapitänleutnant Ludwig Mathes) torpedoes and sinks with one torpedo 2,980 ton Greek coal carrier Flora west of Figuera la Foz, Portugal. All 25 crewmen perish.

The 1,487-ton British freighter Eston hits a mine laid by U-22 on 20 December 1939 in the Bristol Channel and sinks. All 18 crew perish.

The British at Gibraltar detain the US freighter Sarcoxic for several hours and then send it on its way. US freighter Waban also is temporarily detained, and the British seize an item of contraband and 34 items for further investigation.

Convoy OA 81 departs from Southend, Convoy SL 18F departs from Freetown, Convoy HXF 18 departs from Halifax.

British Homefront: The Director of Censorship has been preventing publication of the details of the severe winter weather. Today, though, it allows publication. It is the coldest winter since 1894, and both the River Thames (at Kingston and between Teddington and Sunbury) and Southampton Docks have frozen over. The sea has frozen over at various points on the coast as well. London's reservoirs have a foot of ice. At Buxton, there is 18°C (33°F) of frost. Of course, the rest of Europe is suffering, too.

King George announces that his court will not be held this year due to the war.

China: The Chinese 2d War Area captures Lucheng, while the Chinese 3rd War Area ceases active operations and reverts to the defensive.

Huntington Beach, California oil derricks, 28 January 1940.

January 1940

January 1, 1940: Finns Carve up the Soviets
January 2, 1940: Finnish Counterattacks Continue
January 3, 1940: Soviets Trapped
January 4, 1940: Soviet Breakout Attempts Fail
January 5, 1940: Dicing Up the Soviets
January 6, 1940: Soviet 44th Division Runs
January 7, 1940: Shakeup in Soviet High Command
January 8, 1940: Ratte Road Battle Ends
January 9, 1940: British Submarines in Peril
January 10, 1940: Mechelen Incident
January 11, 1940: Finns Surround More Soviets
January 12, 1940: New Soviet Attacks at Taipale
January 13, 1940: Fall Gelb Postponed
January 14, 1940: Japan's Government Falls
January 15, 1940: Soviets Prepare More Carefully
January 16, 1940: German Atrocities Uncovered
January 17, 1940: Bletchley Park in Action
January 18, 1940: New Hope for Allied Shipping
January 19, 1940: Finnish Attacks at Salla
January 20, 1940: Churchill Urges Cooperation
January 21, 1940: Asam Maru Incident
January 22, 1940: Dissension Within British Government
January 23, 1940: Dissension in South Africa
January 24, 1940: NKVD Blocking Detachments
January 25, 1940: Auschwitz Site Selected
January 26, 1940: Millionaire Bunker Destroyed
January 27, 1940: U-20 Sinks Four Ships
January 28, 1940: Softening Up the Finns
January 29, 1940: Moscow Willing to Talk
January 30, 1940: Hitler Throws Down the Gauntlet
January 31, 1940: Timoshenko Is Ready


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