Tuesday 19 March 1940
|Gandhi greeting well-wishers, 1940.|
Battle of the Atlantic: The Admiralty calculates that up to 13 March 1940, the Royal Navy had escorted 12,816 ships in convoy, losing only 28 while under RN protection.
U-19 (Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke) is operating in the Moray Firth, Scotland. It torpedoes and sinks 1,229-ton Danish freighter Minsk at 22:21. There are 9 survivors, 11 perish.
U-19 quickly follows that success up at 22:37 by torpedoing and sinking the 1,026-ton Danish freighter Charkow. All 20 aboard perish.
Destroyer HMS Jervis collides with Swedish freighter Tor northeast of Blyth at 03:00. The destroyer suffers heavy damage and 2 killed, 15 missing.
HMS Norfolk, seriously damaged in the 16 March raid on Scapa Flow, heads down to the Clyde under her own power for repairs.
Convoy OA 113GG departs from Southend, Convoy OB 113 departs from Liverpool.
European Air Operations: The RAF mounts a major night raid composed of 50 bombers - 30 Whitleys and 20 Hampdens of 10 Squadron No.4 Group RAF Bomber Command - against the Germans' Sylt seaplane base. They attack the Hornum airbase at the island's southern end. This supposedly is in "retaliation" for the embarrassing 16 March 1940 raid on Scapa Flow. Little damage is caused to the German base, and the British lose a bomber. However, PM Chamberlain is able to make a dramatic announcement about it to the House of Commons while it is in progress, which goes a long way toward saving his job.
It is the first (intentional) British air attack against an enemy land target. The lack of effectiveness forces some soul-searching about the RAF's conduct of operations and the accuracy of the bombing. To the crews involved, however, the raid is a tonic: RAF Gunner Larry Donnelly states, "The atmosphere is charged with excitement that we're dropping bombs instead of bloody propaganda leaflets.”
As a footnote to the incident where an RAF bomber accidentally lands in a German field and then took off again after the crew conversed with locals, one of them, German Albert Kartes, 17, is imprisoned for 2 years for "aiding the enemy."
Norway: The Norwegians file another official protest with Berlin regarding the air attack against Norwegian freighter Bott.
India: The All-India Nationalist Congress votes Mahatma Gandhi leader of its campaign to win independence from British rule. He threatens civil disobedience to achieve those aims.
British Government: Prime Minister Chamberlain makes a speech before the House of Commons explaining what went wrong in Finland. He explains that Great Britain and France were prepared to send a 100,000-man expeditionary force to Finland, but were unable to due to Norwegian and Swedish intransigence. The Allies had, he states, sent large quantities of arms, planes, and munitions.
The MPs, especially Harold Macmillan, heavily criticize the conduct of operations. However, Chamberlain survives.
French Government: After Prime Minister Edouard Daladier calls for a vote of confidence, the French Chamber of Deputies casts a 239-1 vote in his favor. Because well over half of the 551 deputies abstain from voting, which Daladier recognizes as lack of confidence in him, Daladier resigns.
US Government: US Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles has one last meeting with Count Ciano before leaving Italy.
United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Canada James H.R. Cromwell in which he condemns Hitler and Hitlerism for openly destroying the social and economic order vital for western civilization. It is the first open attack on the German Reich by a US official. Furthermore, he states that the US should join the Allies, which earns him criticism from Isolationist politicians.
|James H.R. Cromwell and wife Doris Duke.|
March 1940March 1, 1940: Soviet Breakthroughs Past Viipuri
March 2, 1940: Soviets Swarm West in Finland
March 3, 1940: Soviets Across Gulf of Viipuri
March 4, 1940: USSR Apologizes to Sweden
March 5, 1940: Katyn Forest Massacre Approved
March 6, 1940: Finns Head to Moscow
March 7, 1940: The Coal Ships Affair
March 8, 1940: Peace Talks Begin in Moscow
March 9, 1940: Soviets Harden Peace Terms
March 10, 1940: Germany Draws Closer to Italy
March 11, 1940: Winter War Peace Terms Finalized
March 12, 1940: War is Over (If You Want It)
March 13, 1940: Winter War Ends
March 14, 1940: Evacuating Karelia
March 15, 1940: The Bletchley Bombe
March 16, 1940: First British Civilian Killed
March 17, 1940: Enter Dr. Todt
March 18, 1940: Mussolini To Join the War
March 19, 1940: Daladier Resigns
March 20, 1940: Soviets Occupy Hango Naval Base
March 21, 1940: Paul Reynaud Leads France
March 22, 1940: Night Fighters Arise!
March 24, 1940: French Consider Alternatives
March 25, 1940: Reynaud Proposes Action
March 26, 1940: C-46 First Flight
March 27, 1940: Himmler Authorizes Auschwitz Construction
March 28, 1940: Allies Ponder Invading Norway
March 29, 1940: Soviets Prefer Neutrality
March 30, 1940: Allied Uncertainty
March 31, 1940: The Tiger Cage