Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 4, 1940: Romania In Crisis

Thursday 4 July 1940

4 July 1940 NYC World's Fair bombing
A bomb at the New York City World's Fair on 4 July 1940 kills two policemen. The incident remains unsolved and is a prime example of terrorism in the United States decades ago.
European Air Operations: Today is sometimes referred to as the beginning of the Kanalkampf, or English Channel Battle. The battles are said to take place on the Kanalfront.

The German recently have been focusing on British convoys sailing north past Spain and France, but today, 4 July 1940, they score some major successes at England itself with Convoy OA178. Kriegsmarine E-boats join with 33 Stukas of III/StG51 to mangle a British convoy at Portland, sinking auxiliary anti-aircraft vessel HMS Foyle Bank (157 men rescued, 176 crew lost), tug boat Silverdial and five freighters (Dallas City, Britsum, Deucalion, Kolga, and Elmcrest) in the Portland Harbor. The attackers lose one Stuka to anti-aircraft fire. One of the British seamen in the attack, Jack Foreman Mantle, receives the VC - posthumously - for firing his anti-aircraft gun to the end and going down with the ship.

There also are dogfights near the Kent coastline between III/JG27 and RAF No. 54 Squadron. Each side loses a couple of fighters.

A Heinkel of III/KG54 bombs the Bristol Aeroplane Company and damages the roof before getting shot down by RAF No. 92 Squadron.

During the day, the RAF attacks refineries near Hannover and Emmerich, and also airfields in Holland. After dark, the target is Kriegsmarine bases such as Wilhelmshaven, Emden, and Kiel, along with related naval targets such as the Dortmund-Ems Canal.

General Ernst Udet, Director General of Luftwaffe Equipment, and the Kommodore of KG76, Generalmajor Stephan Fröhlich, both receive the Knight's Cross (Ritterkreuz). Udet already has the Pour le mérite from World War I.

4 July 1940 Winnipeg Free Press
The Winnipeg Free Press of 4 July 1940 notes hopefully in its headline "British Get French Navy." Well, that's not exactly what happens.
Battle of the Atlantic: The French government issues an all-points bulletin to French ships to attack British vessels on sight due to yesterday's attack on the French fleet in Algeria.

Convoy SL 38F departs from Freetown.

Battle of the Mediterranean: At 15:30, British submarine HMS Pandora sinks French mine-layer Rigault de Genouilly off Oran, Algeria. This is part of Operation Catapult.

French battleship Strasbourg and destroyers Volta, Tigre, and Le Terrible complete their journey to Toulon from Mers el Kebir.

The French raid Gibraltar with little impact, but the British hurry up plans to evacuate women and children.

At Malta, there is an air raid alert at first light, 05:55. The Italian fighters conduct a strafing attack without causing any damage.

The Italians are broadcasting propaganda in Maltese to undermine morale. Malta’s own Rediffusion radio service begins counter-programming.

The French fleet is now the subject of interest to both sides. The Pétain government claims that the fleet at Alexandria has been recalled, but also says they are to be scuttled if they can't escape due to the wishes of Hitler that they do not fall into British hands.

At Alexandria, Admiral Cunningham and Admiral Godfroy agree to demobilize Godfroy's ships, but he does not turn them over. Talks continue.

4 July 1940 Dame of Sark
Mrs. Hathaway, the Dame of Sark, greets the Germans.
Western Front: The Germans complete their unopposed occupation of the Channel Islands by sending a token detachment from Guernsey to Sark. Dame Sibyl Mary Hathaway, DBE rules the island independently by charter and has an American husband, and thus feels free to adopt a neutral stance. As the hereditary ruler of the island, she receives the German delegation cordially, sorts matters out quickly, and then serves them lobster dinner (which becomes notorious back in England). When the German commander asks if she is afraid, Dame Hathaway (her official title) replies, "Is there any reason why I should be afraid of German officers?"

North Africa: Italian troops advance north across the Abyssinia/Sudan border and take two British outposts, Kassala and Galabat. It is quite an aggressive move for a poorly equipped colonial garrison.

The Regia Aeronautica raids Alexandria and Malta. They lose 7 CR-42 fighters in various actions over the desert.

German/Romanian Relations: The Germans warn Romania to concede Hungarian territorial aspirations if it wants closer ties.

German/Hungarian Relations: The Germans warn Hungary against taking military action against Romania, but broadly hint that Hungary will get the territory it seeks from Romania.

Romanian Government: The political upheavals caused by the recent occupation of eastern territories continues. The Tatarescu government falls. Ion Gigurtu becomes Prime Minister, and the fascist Iron Guard goes from being imprisoned only weeks ago to having two members - Manoilesca (Foreign Minister) and Sima (Minister for Arts) - in the cabinet. Mr. Gigurtu, a wealthy industrialist, has extensive contacts with the Germans, including - according to him - friendship with Hermann Goering.

At the same time, the government expels 22 British oil technicians in an indirect swipe at the British for failing to keep the Soviets away. Romania is casting about for a "big brother" protector against the Soviets, and this is yet another indication that Germany is it.

French Government: The final rupture between former allies takes place when the Vichy government severs diplomatic relations with London.

Charles de Gaulle becomes a wanted man when a Toulouse court sentences him in absentia to four years in prison for treason.

Finnish Government: The Finnish Foreign Minister tells German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop that his country desires closer relations with Germany.

British Government: Winston Churchill goes before the House of Commons and receives his first standing ovation as Prime Minister when he denies:
“...that we have the slightest intention of entering into negotiations in any form and through any channel with the German and Italian Governments. We shall, on the contrary, prosecute the war with the utmost vigour by all the means that are open to us.”
China:  Japanese bombers attacked Chungking, China.

4 July 1940 NYC World's Fair bombing
A bomb exploding at the World's Fair is big news in New York.
Terrorism: A bomb explodes at the New York World's Fair. Since it is at the British exhibit, German saboteurs are suspected. Two policemen are killed. Many countries' exhibits already are closing, since their home countries have been occupied.

Canadian Homefront: The government is banning many US publications. Today, the New York Post and Chicago Tribune join 115 others.

German Homefront: The German demobilize some troops to release them for industries that badly need workers.

American Homefront: Sonja Henie, Norwegian skating champ, marries baseball executive Dan Topping in Chicago.

The United States celebrates independence day as one of only 14 quasi-democracies remaining in the world. The others are Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Iceland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Chile.

Future History: During a professional appearance at the Manistee National Forest Festival, a faulty brace irritates the ankle of Robert Pershing Wadlow. At 8' 11", he is the tallest person ever recorded in human history. The chafing causes a blister and subsequent parasitic infection. Doctors treat him with a blood transfusion and emergency surgery, but his condition worsens due to an auto-immune disorder, and on July 15, 1940, he dies in his sleep at age 22.

Karolyn Grimes is born today. She becomes a child actress who concludes "It's a Wonderful Life" in 1946 with the line, "Look, Daddy. The teacher says every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings” as Zuzu Bailey.

4 July 1940 Jimmy Stewart Karolyn Donna Reed Grimes It's A Wonderful Life
Karolyn Grimes, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in "It's a Wonderful Life."
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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