Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 10, 1940: Fala and Doc Strange

Sunday 10 November 1940

10 November 1940 Roosevelt Fala
Franklin Roosevelt and Fala.
Italian/Greek Campaign: With the Italians having gone over to the defensive by 10 November 1940, the Greeks focus on massing troops for a counter-offensive. In the coastal sector, the Greek 8th Division continues launching local counterattacks to pressure the Italians into giving up their bridgehead over the Kalamas River.

European Air Operations: During the day, the RAF attacks shipping in Boulogne and Calais. The weather is terrible during the night, with heavy storms and icing, but RAF Bomber Command sends its planes to attack several targets within Germany. These include industrial facilities in Dresden, Danzig, Essen, and northern Italy. The RAF loses five bombers. This is the first RAF attack on Danzig, which is at the outer limits of the RAF's current bombers.

During the day, the Luftwaffe mounts fighter-bomber (Jabo) raids on some towns along the Kent and Sussex coasts. Some of the Jabos strafe the Scilly Isles. The Luftwaffe also is operational after dark despite the weather. After dark, it puts 170 bombers in the air with London as the main target.

Battle of the Atlantic: Royal Navy 550 ton anti-submarine trawler HMT Kingston Alalite (Skipper R. A. Read RNR) hits a mine and sinks off Plymouth in the English Channel. There are six deaths.

Royal Navy 64 ton boom defense ship HMT Marcelle hits a mine and sinks in the Bristol Channel. There are four survivors and one death.

The Luftwaffe damaged destroyer HMS Cattistock in the English Channel, but the damage is minimal and the ship is repaired in one day.

Convoy OB 239 departs from Oban (rerouted from Liverpool due to the Admiral Scheer attack), Convoy FN 331 departs from Southend, Convoy HX 86 (previously delayed due to the Admiral Scheer attack) departs from Halifax, Convoy BH 87 departs from Bermuda. Convoy BH 87 later joins Convoy HX 86 at sea, the numbers not matching because of the latter's delay in Halifax. Convoy AS 5 departs from Piraeus for Port Said. Today's convoys give a nice illustration of the hidden benefits of having a surface raider at large.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Unbeaten (N 93, Lt. Edward A. Woodward) is commissioned.

10 November 1940 Doc Strange
Unfamiliar with Doc Strange? Well, the way Hollywood runs through comic book heroes, someday you may. Incidentally, there has been a Marvel character named "Doctor Strange," but he is not related to this Doc Strange. There are similarities to other comic book heroes, such as Batman (both have a teenaged sidekick, for instance). Thrilling Comics #10 (November 1940), cover by Alex Schomburg.
Battle of the Mediterranean: At Malta, there are air raid alerts, but no actual attacks - the Italian planes have a well-established pattern now of approaching the island but then veering off and returning to base.

Convoy ME 3, Operation Coat from Alexandria, arrives in Malta in the morning. None of the ships is damaged. The five freighters (Devis, Plumleaf, Rodi, Volo, and Waiwera) unload and are back out to sea. The accompanying naval ships shoot down six Italian planes on the way. As part of the operation, ships also arrive in Malta from Gibraltar. These include battleship HMS Barham, two cruisers and three destroyers. In all, about 2000 troops, anti-aircraft guns, and I-tanks arrive at Malta.

The seesaw campaign between the Italians and the British over the insignificant border town of Gallabat in southern Sudan continues. The British push the Italians out again.

Before dawn, Royal Navy gunboat HMS Aphis bombards Italian positions at Sidi Barrani during the night.

The RAF loses two Swordfish today, and three in two days from No. 815 and 819 Squadrons, under mysterious circumstances unrelated to enemy action from HMS Illustrious. An investigation reveals the cause is contaminated fuel. All of the crews are saved, but the Royal Navy is out three planes.

Italian submarine Capponi spots the Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet south of Malta and attacks. However, it misses battleship HMS Ramillies. Other Italian submarines vector in on the British ships. Italian submarine Barbarigo also attacks a destroyer but similarly misses.

The British continue beefing up their presence at Suda Bay, Crete. Monitor HMS Terror arrives there today.

10 November 1940 Doc Strange
Doc Strange is called upon to fight "this Fascistic terror."
Battle of the Indian Ocean: German raider Atlantis is posing as armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor in the Bay of Bengal and having great success intercepting various cargo ships. Today, it stops and captures 830-ton Norwegian tanker Ole Jacob. The Norwegian ship manages to get off distress signals, and the Australians dispatch HMAS Canberra, Capetown, Durban and Westralia to hunt the Atlantis down. The crew of the Atlantis, meanwhile, renames the Ole Jacot as "Benno" and later sends the ship to Kobe, Japan. It is the start of a long journey for Benno which ultimately takes it to Bordeaux on 19 July 1941.

Spy Stuff: There is a legend that Walt Disney begins serving as an informer for the Los Angeles office of the FBI on this date. His role is to tell the G-Men anything that he learns about Hollywood subversives. Disney supposedly is helping to fight Communism. This allegation is made in the Marc Eliot book, "Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince," which says:
On November 10, 1940, Disney apparently struck the following deal with the Bureau. It appears that in exchange for its continuing assistance in his personal search to find out the truth of his own parentage, Walt agreed to assist Hoover's crusade against the spread of communism in Hollywood by becoming an official informant of the FBI.
This allegation remains highly controversial. It may or may not be true. It is known that Disney had many labor troubles in his studio caused by communist agitators around this time and later testified about that. He also had certain arrangements with the government in the 1950s. However, Eliot's "proof," to the extent that it exists, about this 1940 agreement remains suspect. Some consider the whole issue to be a hoax, alongside Errol Flynn's supposed German sympathies, cooked up by a biographer looking to create a stir.

10 November 1940 Doc Strange

Anglo/US Relations: A flight of seven Lockheed Hudson bombers departs from Gander, Newfoundland. It will land on the morning of the 11th at Aldergrove, Northern Ireland. The flight lasts 10 hours and 17 minutes. This is the first such flight by bombers over the Atlantic, which heretofore had to be transported, disassembled, by ship.

US Ambassador to the Court of St. James Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., back in the states on holiday, gives an infamous interview to the Sunday Boston Globe. Always pessimistic about Great Britain's chances in the war, and breaking ranks a bit with his friend Franklin Roosevelt's government, he is quoted as saying, "Democracy is finished in England. It may be here." He elaborates a bit further:
It's all a question of what we do with the next six months. The whole reason for aiding England (sic) is to give us time ... As long as she is in there, we have time to prepare. It isn't that [the UK is] fighting for democracy. That's bunk. She's fighting for self-preservation, just as we will if it comes to us..... I know more about the European situation than anybody else, and it's up to me to see that the country gets it.
This is not an isolated view within the United States, as many people are pessimistic about England's chances in the war. However, it is undeniably Isolationist at a time when President Roosevelt is becoming increasingly interventionist. Needless to say, these comments do not go over well either in Washington or in England. Repercussions will follow in the coming weeks.

US Military: The US Marine Corps Reserves joins the regular US Marine Corps.

British Military: The Avro Manchester formally enters service with newly reformed No. 207 Squadron of Bomber Command. The Squadron Leader is Noel Challis Hyde, and the squadron is based at RAF Waddington. However, it will be some time before they actually engage in combat missions.

Gabon: The Vichy French forces in Libreville formally surrender to General Koenig's Free French Foreign Legion troops. Next up is the Vichy base at Port Gentil, under the command of Governor Masson.

10 November 1940 Doc Strange

Romania: The Vrancea earthquake in the Bucharest/Ploesti region registers 7.7 on the Richter scale. It kills 1000 people and damages much property, including oil installations.

Canada: The government opens the Little Norway air training center in the Toronto bay area.

American Homefront: President Roosevelt receives a gift: a Scottish terrier named "Big Boy." The President renames him "Murray the Outlaw of Falahill," after one of his Scottish ancestors. Quickly nicknamed Fala because, well, try saying "Murray the Outlaw of Falahill" every time you want to take your dog for a walk, Fala finds a home at the White House.

The Copacabana nightclub opens in New York City at 10 East 60th Street (just off Central Park and two blocks from the Plaza Hotel, later home to Rouge Tomato restaurant until August 2014, then Avra Madison Restaurant). Mob boss Frank Costello is behind the club. The club is eccentric, with a Brazilian theme and pink-haired "Copacabana Girls" who greatly resembled later Las Vegas nightclub acts (before Las Vegas became full of them).

In an NFL game, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia play a rare penalty-free game.

10 November 1940 Roosevelt Fala
President Roosevelt and Fala.

November 1940

November 1, 1940: Hitler Irate
November 2, 1940: U-31 Sunk - Again
November 3, 1940: Kretschmer's Master Class
November 4, 1940: Spain Absorbs Tangier
November 5, 1940: Jervis Bay Meets Admiral Scheer
November 6, 1940: San Demetrio Incident
November 7, 1940: Galloping Gertie
November 8, 1940: Italian Shakeup in Greece
November 9, 1940: Dutch Fascists March
November 10, 1940: Fala and Doc Strange
November 11, 1940: Taranto Raid
November 12, 1940: Molotov Takes Berlin
November 13, 1940: Molotov Foils Hitler
November 14, 1940: Moonlight Sonata
November 15, 1940: Warsaw Ghetto Sealed
November 16, 1940: France Keeps Battleships
November 17, 1940: Malta Hurricane Disaster
November 18, 1940: Hitler Berates Ciano
November 19, 1940: Birmingham Devastated
November 20, 1940: Hungary Joins Axis
November 21, 1940: Dies White Paper
November 22, 1940: Italians Take Korçë
November 23, 1940: U-Boat Bonanza!
November 24, 1940: Slovakia Joins In
November 25, 1940: Molotov's Demands
November 26, 1940: Bananas Be Gone
November 27, 1940: Cape Spartivento Battle
November 28, 1940: Wick Perishes
November 29, 1940: Trouble in Indochina
November 30, 1940: Lucy and Desi Marry


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