Monday, May 16, 2016

March 3, 1940: Soviets Across Gulf of Viipuri

Sunday 3 March 1940

3 March 1940 Viipuri Finnish artillery
Finnish artillery during the battle of Viipuri.
Winter War: The Finns on 3 March 1940 continue resisting the urge to convey their acceptance of the Soviet peace terms, which technically have expired. Finland’s Foreign Minister Väinö Tanner instead phones Sweden’s Foreign Minister Christian Günther and proposes an alliance between the two countries. Finland is ready to capitulate if the Soviets would drop their demand for the cession of Viipuri and Sortavala.

Winter War Army Operations: There is hand-to-hand fighting in the Viipuri suburbs. The Soviets capture the main railway station.

Marshal Mannerheim dishonorably discharges Major-General Kurt M. Wallenius from his position of coastal defense west of Viipuri. The Soviets have consolidated their bridgehead there, and Wallenius is said to be drinking heavily. Mannerheim vows never to re-employ Wallenius and removes him from the Defence Forces officer list. Lieutenant General Karl Lennart Oesch replaces Wallenius.

The fighting in Viipurinlahti Bay, Wallenius' command, is extremely dangerous to the Finnish strategic position, threatening a breakout to the Finnish industrial heartland. The Soviet 86th Motorized Rifle Division pushes across the frozen Gulf of Viipuri, taking the short route to the mainland. They take the island of Uuras and consolidate the beachhead on the western shore.

At Mikkeli, the Finnish HQ orders the staff of the army of the Isthmus to plan for a major withdrawal to the Virolahti-Kivijärvi-Saimaa-Hiitola line.

Winter War Air Operations: The Finns claim to have brought down 28 Soviet planes over the weekend.

Battle of the Atlantic: The crew of the 3,359-ton German freighter Arucas scuttles the ship rather than be captured by British heavy cruiser HMS York (Captain Reginald H. Portal) south of Iceland. Three crew perish.

British freighter Cato hits a mine and sinks in the Bristol Channel. The mine was laid on 2 March 1940 by U-29. There are 2 survivors, 13 perish.

Italy lodges a protest with the British about the blocking of German coal deliveries by sea.

The Luftwaffe takes First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill's bait and bombs Southampton, the wrong destination he previously leaked to the press for Queen Elizabeth. Not so good for the people of Southampton, perhaps, but Queen Elizabeth is safely on her way to New York.

Convoy OA 103GF departs from Southend, Convoy OB 103 departs from Liverpool.

European Air Operations: RAF bombers over-fly Berlin again. The Germans notice and anti-aircraft guns and fighters intervene, but all of the British planes return to base.

RAF sorties over the seaplane bases on the Friesian Islands are met with anti-aircraft fire.

Some Luftwaffe fighters over-fly Belgium and shoot down one Belgian fighter while damaging two others.

US Government: US Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles follows up his interview with Hitler by meeting with Hermann Goering at Carinhall and Rudolf Hess in Berlin. Goering adheres to the party line, but Welles thinks he has a slightly broader perspective than the other top Nazis and takes a relatively favorable impression. Welles then departs for Paris by train, stopping in Basel.

Terrorism: A mysterious bomb explodes in the Stockholm offices of communist newspaper Norrskensflamman. There are five dead.

American Homefront: Artie Shaw and His Orchestra (with an arrangement by William Grant Still) record "Frenesi" for Victor Records. Alberto Domínguez had composed "Frenesi for his marimba band - it means "frenzy" in Spanish. "Frenesi" will hit number one on the Billboard pop chart on December 21, 1940, and stay there for 13 weeks.

3 March 1940 Queen Elizabeth military gray
The good ship Queen Elizabeth in military drab gray.

March 1940

March 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


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