Friday, July 8, 2016

July 2, 1940: Arandora Star

Tuesday 2 July 1940

2 July 1940 Arandora Star
The Arandora Star, sunk on 2 July 1940.
Battle of the Atlantic: U-47 (Kptl. Günther Prien) torpedoes and sinks 15,501-ton British liner Arandora Star on 2 July 1940 about 75 miles west of Bloody Foreland, Ireland at 06:58. The liner is carrying 734 interned Italian men, 479 interned German men, 86 German POWs and 200 military guards. There are 174 crewmen. There are 868 survivors, of whom 586 are internees. About 865 men perish (sources vary).

Prien does not break any rules of war, and this solidifies his already outsized reputation as a master U-boat commander. The Arandora Star, which is not in convoy because liners are assumed to be better protected by their fast speed, is not properly identified as a POW or refugee ship and sinks quickly. The ship is painted grey like a warship and has no Red Cross sign. An Admiralty Net Defence anti-torpedo system had been fitted to the liner but removed a few months prior to the voyage.

With only room for 400 in the lifeboats, there is a mad scramble. The ship loses 805 people, including 37 of the military guard, 42 crew, 12 ship's officers, and the Captain. The oil from the ship makes swimming extremely difficult. The Arandora Star goes under within 35 minutes, still swarming with men who have no chance.

There are several instances of outstanding heroism, including internee Captain Otto Burfeind of the scuttled Adolph Woermann, who organizes his fellow internees to the end, maintains some order, and goes down with the ship. Canadian commander Harry DeWolf also is cited for his heroism in the rescue. Captain Douglas Moulton of the Arandora Star receives a posthumous Lloyd's Medal for Bravery at Sea. Canadian destroyer HMCS St. Laurent picks up the survivors. Bodies wash up on Ireland throughout August, many unidentifiable.

U-29 (Kapitänleutnant Otto Schuhart) torpedoes and sinks 8,999-ton British tanker Athellaird hundreds of miles off Cape Finisterre, Spain. All 42 on board survive.

U-29 also surfaces and sinks 4,919-ton Panamanian freighter Santa Margarita by gunfire. All 39 onboard survive.

The Luftwaffe bombs and sinks British ship Aenaes in the North Sea.

Convoy HG Y departs from Gibraltar.

Corvette HMS Mallow (K 81, Lt. William R. B. Noall) is commissioned.

2 July 1940 German Orders Channel Islands Jersey
The Orders of the Commandant to the people of Jersey, 2 July 1940.
Western Front: The Germans send a small force to occupy Alderney in the Channel Islands, where few inhabitants remain.

Kommandant Lanz of the Channel Islands issues typical rules for occupied areas, such as a curfew, no radios, no attempts to leave and so forth. Among the more inconsequential changes that annoy many islanders is changing the time zone to that of continental Europe and also changing the rules of the road to driving on the right. The currency is changed to Occupation Reichsmarks (scrip), and that becomes the payment for locals employed by the occupation forces.

Life continues much as it had previously in the Channel Islands, with performances by the German military band, cinemas open, and so forth, but there are gradual changes through the course of the war which are not always for the better. Basically, the islanders go along to get along and do their best to hide their underlying resentment. There are islanders who have fled to England who view all that remained as collaborators, and many of the remaining islanders miss their children, family, and friends who have left.

Battle of Britain: Subsequent to recent deliberations by OKW about the future direction of the war, it issues an order, "The War Against England." It starts off that "The Fuhrer and Supreme Commander has decided that a landing in England is possible."

This is not a Fuhrer Directive, which carries more weight, but a good indication that one is coming. Luftwaffe boss Hermann Goering issues orders to the Luftwaffe to intensify the air campaign against the RAF. He wants special attention given to British shipping, which is considered the main threat to any invasion. The proposed operation has the codename Operation Sealion.

European Air Operations: During the night, the RAF raids Kiel and hits heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in dry dock with 2 small bombs. The docks also are set on fire. This is the raid in which F/O Guy Gibson drops a 2,000 bomb near the Scharnhorst and wins the DFC.

The Fleet Air Arm, in conjunction with RAF Coastal Command, attacks shipping and barges in Rotterdam. This is the first attack directly designed to prevent an invasion.

The Luftwaffe raids northeast England during the evening, killing twelve and injuring 123. A raid also takes place over Wales, but the bombs drop in open country.

2 July 1940 Stuka France 1940
Ju 87 B Stuka of the 9/StG 77, Flers, France, July 1940. The use of Stukas is a key component of projected Operation Sealion.
Battle of the Mediterranean: After a day of respite, the bombers appear over Malta at 09:25, but the bombs drop out to sea due to effective anti-aircraft fire. Owners of businesses throughout the island agree to open their doors to passersby for shelter during raids.

US Government: Congress passes the Export Control Act. This gives President Roosevelt the power to control the export of goods with military uses, anything "necessary in the interest of national defense."

British Government: General Percival assumes command of the 44th Infantry Division.

Colonel Gubbins continues forming the Commando force for future operations.

French Foreign Legion volunteers form the 1st Brigade de Legion Francaise of Free France in England.

The Foreign Office decides to no longer recognize King Zog, now living at The Ritz in London, as ruler of Albania. He still maintains a retinue and retains a following among exiled Albanians.

Holland: Former Dutch Commander-in-chief General Winkelman is arrested and deported to Germany.

Poland: General Sikorski in London vows to fight on from English soil.

India: The British government arrests nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose for inciting violence.

China: At the Battle of South Kwangsi, the Japanese 22nd Army captures Lungchin.

The bombing of Chiang Kai-shek's capital, Chungking, continues. There is a meeting of the Kuomintang.

2 July 1940 Channel Islands Wehrmacht troops
German officers hanging out in Guernsey, one of the best billets in the Wehrmacht.

July 1940

July 1, 1940: Vichy France
July 2, 1940: Arandora Star
July 3, 1940: Operation Catapult at Mers El Kébir
July 4, 1940: Romania In Crisis
July 5, 1940: The Five Freedoms
July 6, 1940: Hitler's High Point
July 7 1940: Dakar And Ringo
July 8, 1940: Tea Rationing in England
July 9, 1940: Battle of Calabria
July 10, 1940: Battle of Britain Begins
July 11, 1940: "Nous, Philippe Petain"
July 12, 1940: Enter Laval
July 13, 1940: German Surface Raiders Attack!
July 14, 1940: Bastille/Mourning Day
July 15, 1940: Tallest Man Dies
July 16, 1940: Plans for Sea Lion
July 17, 1940: Burma Road Closed
July 18, 1940: FDR Runs Again
July 19, 1940: Last Appeal To Reason
July 20, 1940: First Night Fighter Victory
July 21, 1940: Soviets Absorb Baltic States
July 22, 1940: First RAF Night Fighter Victory
July 23, 1940: Invasion False Alarm
July 24, 1940: The Meknés Incident
July 25, 1940: Black Thursday for RAF
July 26, 1940: Capture The Duke?
July 27, 1940: What's Up, Doc?
July 28, 1940: Destroyers Pulled From Dover
July 29, 1940: Barbarossa On The Burner
July 30, 1940: Hitler Delays Sealion
July 31, 1940: Bloody Wednesday of Olkusz


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