Sunday 22 September 1940
Battle of the Atlantic: The wolfpack shadowing Convoy HX 72 on 22 September 1940 about 600 miles west of Ireland already has a bunch of successes, but it is not done yet. The U-boats sink a remarkable amount of tonnage in this convoy during a running battle that takes several days and ends today.
U-100 (Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke) at 00:22 resumes his successful attack on the convoy, torpedoing 6561 ton British iron ore freighter Empire Airman. There are four survivors while 33 men perish. The ship is taken in tow, but sinks on the 23rd. There is a memorial to the men lost on the ship at the Tower Hill Memorial in London.
U-100 torpedoes 10,525 ton British tanker Frederick S. Fales. There are 32 survivors and 11 men perish. The dead crewmen perish when the ship capsizes on their lifeboat.
U-100 torpedoes 3940 ton British lumber/cotton freighter Scholar using its stern tubes. The ship remains afloat and is taken in tow, but eventually becomes unmanageable and is scuttled. All 45 men on board survive.
U-100 torpedoes 6031 ton Norwegian freighter Simla. There are 31 survivors. The ship sinks within minutes, and five men perish when they jump overboard in a panic. Fortunately, there is a ship nearby that picks up the survivors in under an hour.
U-100 also attacks the 5415 ton Harlingen, but misses. The Harlingen returns fire accurately with its stern gun and causes some minor damage to the U-boat.
U-32 (Kapitänleutnant Hans Jenisch) then attacks a straggler from HX 72. It performs a rare surface attack, shelling British freighter Collegian from long range (7 km) and damaging it. The freighter returns fire and escapes as it runs off. This practically defines a "low probability attack."
HX72 now is in ruins, scattered all across the north Atlantic. In total, it has lost 11 ships of 72,727 tons. Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke sinks a phenomenal seven ships in the convoy, while Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer in U-99 sinks three. They achieve their successes by infiltrating the convoy and attacking from within. Credit ultimately belongs to Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien, who spotted and reported the convoy but could not attack himself because he was out of torpedoes. The rest of the 30 ships make it to port.
|Anti-aircraft duty in Paris, 1940.|
U-31 (Kapitänleutnant Wilfried Prellberg), a hundred miles south of the Faroe Islands, also uses its deck gun. This attack at 17:55 is more successful, as it sinks a local Faroese trawler, the 87 ton Union Jack. All seven men survive, reaching land late on the 23rd.
Kriegsmarine auxiliary minesweeper M-1604 Österreich sinks about 40 miles west of Hoek van Holland. The cause has not been definitively determined, most likely from a mine laid by HMS Cachalot.
Royal Navy trawler HMT Loch Inver (1930, Captain Thomas Hardcastle) is torpedoed and sinks off Harwich just after midnight. All 14/15 crew perish (no survivors). The Board of Enquiry reports states that Loch Inver, on patrol, was sunk by torpedo, though some sources say it hit a mine. This sinking may have taken place on 21 September, the sources are unclear, but the Board of Enquiry report suggests shortly before 00:50 on the 22nd. This sinking occurs during an attack by E-boats, and a little sleuthing suggests that German E-boat S13 sank the Loch Inver. Fellow trawler Edwina, on patrol with the Loch Inver, observes the attack from a distance and then engages the E-boats, but is undamaged. The Loch Inver is declared missing and presumed lost on 24 September 1940, which leads some sources to pin that as the date of loss, which is correct only in a legalistic sense.
Kriegsmarine 356 ton auxiliary minesweeper (Sperrbrecher 2) Athen is badly damaged by RAF air attack in the harbor of Boulogne. Hit by an aerial mine, it is beach. The ship can be refloated.
The Luftwaffe damages Dutch tanker Barendrecht in the River Thames.
Some accounts have HMS Tuna sinking Norwegian liner (and German prize ship) Tirranna today, but sources vary and I placed that on the 21st.
Convoy OA 218 departs from Methil, Convoy FN 288 departs from Southend.
Battle of Britain: The weather is fine over most of England, with only some morning fog, but the Luftwaffe continues scaling down its daylight operations now that Operation Sealion has been suspended. Some Bf 109s do a "freie jagd" over London in the morning, and they ease their boredom by attacking RAF Fowlmere. There, they do some damage, destroying a Spitfire and damaging others. A Junkers Ju 88 is shot down south of the Isle of Wight by RAF No. 234 Squadron. Otherwise, there are only some lone raiders doing minimal damage
After dark, things change. The Luftwaffe sends heavy raids against London, and by some accounts this is the heaviest attack to date. Fires start at the Royal Arsenal Timber Field which spread, causing a major conflagration. This results in the loss of 100 residences lost and another 100 damaged. Direct hits on two air raid shelters kills dozens of people and injures more, while the supposedly safe Tube system suffers a direct hit at Mile End. The British Museum takes a hit, but the treasures have been secreted to underground storage. The fires are very difficult to put out and serve as a beacon for more waves of bombers.
The Luftwaffe is trying a new tactic of sending its own night fighters over England to engage RAF ones. Tonight, they shoot down a Whitley from RAF No. 58 Squadron, their first victory.
Three Hurricanes of RAF No. 85 Squadron crash in foul weather along the coast after running out of fuel. Overall, the losses are fairly minimal on both sides, basically those mentioned above.
|A Luxembourgish policeman gives the Hitler salute to Heinrich Himmler during the latter's visit to Luxembourg in September 1940 (Federal Archives).|
European Air Operations: RAF Bomber Command attacks the Channel ports and airfields along the coast with 95 aircraft. It also targets the big aluminum factory about 25 miles northeast of Dresden (Lauta), a repeated target until the last months of the war. A raid on Berlin causes minimal damage.
HMS Furious, parked 50 miles off Trondheim, launches six Skuas and 11 Swordfish at around 03:00. The weather fails to cooperate, and the raid turns into a disaster ... for the British. A Swordfish and a Skua wind up crashing in Sweden, while three Swordfish crash in Norway and a Swordfish runs out of fuel and crashes while looking for the carrier. Overall, three men perish, 9 are captured in Norway, and five are interned in Sweden. Furious returns to Scapa Flow.
Battle of the Mediterranean: With the Italians digging in at Sidi Barrani, the RAF and Royal Navy take turns bombing and shelling them. The Italians are moving their camps further inland to avoid the daily bombardments, today by British destroyers HMS Jervis, Janus, Juno and Mohawk on the airfield at Sidi Barrani.
The Italians respond by raiding Mersa Matruh 80 miles ahead of their own lines.
British submarine HMS Osiris torpedoes and sinks 875 ton Italian Navy torpedo boat Palestro west of Durrës in the Adriatic.
British submarine HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. Hugh Alfred Vernon Haggard), on its first Mediterranean patrol, torpedoes and sinks 8459 ton Italian freighter Provvidenza 3.5 nm off Punta Imperatore, Ischia (10 miles west of Naples) in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
At Malta, at 11:30 the Italians send five SM 79 bombers escorted by four CR 42 fighters to bomb Luga Airfield. While the airfield receives minimal damage, the poor aim of the bombers completely devastates the village of Luga. One civilian boy is killed. Several unexploded bombs in the village cause further problems, but are quickly found to be inactive (they have safety pins in place). At Kalafrana Airfield, a French Latecoere plan leaves to drop leaflets over Bizerta and Tunis in Tunisia.
Italian aircraft raid Cyprus for the first time.
|Danish actress Anna Katrina, born 22 September 1940.|
German Military: The unpowered airframe of the Heinkel He 280 twin turbojet fighter is taken aloft, towed by a Heinkel He 111B, for gliding tests. The He 280 V1 is sort of a follow-up to the Heinkel He 178 that flew in August 1939 (this project originally had the designation He-180). The Luftwaffe is not particularly interested, having other jet planes in development so Ernst Heinkel, with designer Robert Lusser, has been pursuing the project on his own. The HeS 8 engines, however, are nowhere near ready yet. Among the innovations of the Heinkel He 280 is the first compressed-air powered ejection seat.
German/Finnish Relations: The Germans and Finns continue negotiating the terms of transit rights for Wehrmacht troops and supplies to Narvik via ports of the Gulf of Bothnia. The Germans agree to supply the Finns with arms.
Soviet/German Relations: The Soviets broadcast that the British have destroyed the German invasion fleet assembling in the English Channel.
Vichy French/Japanese Relations: The entire situation in Indochina is confused and fluid. The local Vichy French agree to give the Japanese three airfields in French Indochina during their continued discussions about the Japanese presence there. On or about this date the two sides sign an agreement for the Japanese to send troops into the country. The Japanese already are sending troops into French Indochina, sometimes against French resistance - the Japanese 5th Infantry Division crosses into Indochina at Lang Son by force and force the French to retreat. The Japanese appeal to anti-Western elements in the country and urge local communists to rise up against the colonial administration. Many do, and they set up local communist governments in some areas where French administration is weak. The French are not beaten, however, and later suppress many of these revolts. The revolutionary fervor, however, has been ignited.
A 50-year-old itinerant Vietnamese who has spent most of his life abroad serving in the Comintern and working as a sort of community organizer, Nguyễn Ái Quốc, is in China as an adviser to the Chinese Communist armed forces. Some time around this date in 1940 - nobody knows exactly when - Quốc begins regularly using the name "Hồ Chí Minh." This is a Vietnamese name combining a common Vietnamese surname (Hồ, 胡) with a given name meaning "He Who has been enlightened" (from Sino-Vietnamese 志 明: Chí meaning 'will' (or spirit) and Minh meaning "bright"). He keeps a close eye on developments in his homeland.
|It is hunting season in parts of the United States. Here are 73 Deer hanging at the Klamath Falls, Oregon Train Depot. September 22, 1940.|
Vichy French/German Relations: The German Armistice Control Commission sends a delegation to Dakar in French West Africa. The visit is timely, as the Royal Navy is about to pay a visit as well in Operation Menace.
Free France: Charles de Gaulle expresses support for former French Indochina Governor Admiral Decoux, who he sees as his representative in Asia.
Latvia: The Soviets integrate Latvian submarines Ronis and Spidola into the Navy. Since Latvia now is part of the USSR, it is wrong to characterize this as a "seizure."
Australia: Convoy US 5 departs from Freemantle, composed of Dutch liners Christian Huygens, Indrapoera, Nieuw Holland and Slamat. There are 4262 troops embarked, and its first stop is Colombo.
American Homefront: Ben Musick a.k.a. Bill Morris of Dallas Texas, widely rumored to be associated in some tangential fashion with the moonshine business, wins the time trials at the Big Car Races at the Kansas State Fairgrounds. Attendance "In excess of 12,000." He does one lap at the half-mile track in 26.63 and later wins the 15-lap Sweepstakes Race in 7:14.
Future History: Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer is born in Solbjerg, Denmark. Under the name Anna Karina, she becomes a major collaborator/muse/wife of Jean-Luc Godard during the French New Wave in the 1960s. She starred in classic films such as "A Woman is a Woman" (1961) and "Alphaville" (1965). Anna Karina appears to have retired from the business, her last film was "Victoria" in 2007.
|In Section 6 of the 22 September 1940 Chicago Sunday Tribune, Dick Tracy shows how a private dick cross-dresses.|
September 1, 1940: RAF's Horrible Weekend
September 2, 1940: German Troopship Sunk
September 3, 1940: Destroyers for Bases
September 4, 1940: Enter Antonescu
September 5, 1940: Stukas Over Malta
September 6, 1940: The Luftwaffe Peaks
September 7, 1940: The Blitz Begins
September 8, 1940: Codeword Cromwell
September 9, 1940: Italians Attack Egypt
September 10, 1940: Hitler Postpones Sealion
September 11, 1940: British Confusion at Gibraltar
September 12, 1940: Warsaw Ghetto Approved
September 13, 1940: Zeros Attack!
September 14, 1940: The Draft Is Back
September 15, 1940: Battle of Britain Day
September 16, 1940: italians Take Sidi Barrani
September 17, 1940: Sealion Kaputt
September 18, 1940: City of Benares Incident
September 19, 1940: Disperse the Barges
September 20, 1940: A Wolfpack Gathers
September 21, 1940: Wolfpack Strikes Convoy HX-72
September 22, 1940: Vietnam War Begins
September 23, 1940: Operation Menace Begins
September 24, 1940: Dakar Fights Back
September 25, 1940: Filton Raid
September 26, 1940: Axis Time
September 27, 1940: Graveney Marsh Battle
September 28, 1940: Radio Belgique Begins
September 29, 1940: Brocklesby Collision
September 30, 1940: Operation Lena