Monday 18 November 1940
Italian/Greek Campaign: The Greek offensive continues on 18 November 1940, but it is not without problems of its own. To the "K" Group of Divisions (OMK), which is III Corps, is now added the 11th Division, so it now has the original III Corps, 11th and 13th Divisions. It is commanded by Lieutenant-General Georgios Kosmas. K Group is advancing on the Korçë plateau against the Italian 9th Army toward the valley of the Devoli river, which would give access to central Albania and ultimately the ports on which the Italians rely for supplies. The main Greek objectives are the city of Korçë and the summit of Morava, which provide the key to the valley.
The K Group's newly added 13th Division has a bad baptism of fire when certain elements within it panic under fire. An attack, poorly coordinated, stalls, and the Italians almost regain the initiative in the sector. Kosmas replaces the 13th Division's commander with Major-General Sotirios Moutousis, who manages to hold the line. The Greek advance continues after this brief interlude.
The Greeks now have captured Kortytsa, but the Italian 9th Army by-and-large has escaped along the roads because the Greeks are travelling on foot and have restricted mobility - though this does help them with their penetrations along the craggy mountains.
Along the coastal Thesprotia sector, the Greek Liuba Detachment levers the Italians out of Igoumenitsa and back across the Kalamas River. The Greek 8th Division continues hammering away at the Kalams Sector.
European Air Operations: During the night, the RAF raids the Scholven/Buer hydrogenation plant at Gelsenkirchen. This is a key part of the fuel chain for aviation fuel. The bombers also raid the Gelsenberg-Benzin-AG plant, a synthetic oil installation. Another target, hit by 11 bombers, is the Leuna synthetic oil facility in Merseburg.
The Luftwaffe sends 70 bombers against London and other targets during the night.
Battle of the Atlantic: U-65 (K.Kapt. Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen), on its extended fifth patrol, torpedoes and sinks 5056 ton British tanker Congonian in the mid-Atlantic. The first torpedo hits at about 18:02, the second at 18:12. There is one death and 35 survivors, with British cruiser HMS Devonshire picking up the survivors and taking them to Freetown.
Italian submarine Maggiore Baracca (Entico Bertarelli) torpedoes and sinks 4866 ton British freighter Lillian Moller (Skipper William Fowler), dispersed from Convoy SL 53, west of Ireland at 17:04. There are no survivors among the 49-man crew. Fowler and half a dozen other crew members are commemorated on Tower Hill. The ship is notable for having, aside from officers, an entirely Chinese crew, who are commemorated on the Hong Kong War Memorial.
A Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor (1,/KG 40) bombs and sinks 4274 ton British freighter Nestlea in the Celtic Sea south of Ireland. Everybody aboard survives.
The Luftwaffe bombs and sinks 293 ton British coaster Ability, on its way from London to Great Yarmouth and carrying cement bags, about 5 km off Clacton-on-Sea. Everybody aboard survives.
The Lufwaffe (Heinkel He 115 seaplanes of 506 Küstendliegergruppe) bomb and sink 2569 ton Free French freighter S.N.A. 8 in the North Sea off Barrow Sand (near Swin Light Vessel).
The Luftwaffe also damages 5298 ton British freighter Biela, 4908 ton British freighter Langleetarn, and 2826 ton Norwegian freighter Favorit in various actions.
British 100 ton naval trawler/drifter HMT Go Ahead sinks after a collision at Sheerness, southeast England.
Royal Navy sloop HMS Lowestoft, escorting Convoy FS 336, shoots down a Heinkel He 111 bomber.
The Royal Navy sends five minelayers to extend the SN1 and SN2 minefields in St. Georges Channel. This new effort becomes SN3.
Convoys OB 245 and OG 46 depart from Liverpool, Convoy FN 337 departs from Southend, Convoy FS 338 departs from Methil, Convoy BN 9 departs from Aden, Convoy BS 9B departs from Port Sudan.
|Italian officers and a soldier at Agrinio, Italy. 18 November 1940.|
Battle of the Mediterranean: The Royal Navy continues shuttling troops between Egypt and Greece. Today, cruiser HMS York departs from Port Said with a battalion of troops to reinforce the British presence at Suda Bay, Crete, and also some anti-aircraft artillery bound for Piraeus to protect RAF airfields near Athens.
The Royal Hellenic Air Force bombs and sinks Italian freighter Ardita IV at Vlorë, Albania.
The Regia Aeronautica attacks Alexandria again and damages 323 ton British tanker El Nawras.
In Operation Rope, heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire bombards Dante, Italian Somaliland.
At Malta, the government removes restrictions on shop hours (stores have had to open later and close earlier than they would prefer in honor of the civilian curfew from 20:30-06:00 curfew). However, it retains the civilian curfew. This news is welcomed by shop owners whose customers have had difficulty shopping on their to and from work.
Battle of the Indian Ocean: German raider Pinguin is still travelling in company with captured Norwegian freighter Storstad, which was temporarily renamed Passat during minelaying operations south of Australia. Storstad, acting as a scout ship, spots a large freighter at night. Pinguin comes up and puts a warning shot over its bows, and the men of the Pinguin boards it. The ship is the 7920 ton British freighter Nowshera (named for a city in India) on its way from Adelaide to Durban and thence the UK, and it carries zinc ore, wheat, wool, and similar items.
The Pinguin takes what it needs from the Nowshera - which is armed with a 4-inch gun on its stern and a Lewis gun on its bridge - and then scuttles it. The 113-man crew - 103 Indian crew - is transferred to the Pinguin. The Europeans on board become POWs and ultimately wind up at Stalag XB (Marlag und Milag Nord) near Westertimke, Germany.
Meanwhile, the Royal Navy, knowing that the Ole Jacob has been sunk by a surface raider, has been searching for the Pinguin. However, the Indian Ocean is vast, and the Pacific even vaster. With no leads to go on, Australian heavy cruiser Canberra returns to port.
Applied Science: A Sunderland flying boat fitted with experimental Air-to-Surface-Vessel (ASVI) radar equipment uses it to locate a U-boat approaching a convoy. This is a first for the equipment.
|Hitler meets with Count Ciano, 18 November 1940.|
German/Italian Relations: Italian Foreign Minister Count Ciano travels to the Obersalzberg for a meeting with Adolf Hitler. It is not a happy meeting. Hitler is irate that the Italians have invaded Greece and thus brought that country into the war. His real concern, though, is always the British.
The problem for Hitler with the invasion of Greece is not the failed Italian offensive itself; it is that the Italian/Greek war now has given the British a reason to set up air bases in Greece. This Hitler cannot abide, because they are within range of the Romanian oil fields. Hitler's absolute priority at all times is the protection of the oil fields centered around Ploesti, Romania, because they essentially fuel the entire Wehrmacht and are irreplaceable. The new RAF presence on mainland Greece threatens those oil installations, he tells Ciano.
Hitler at this point still is uncertain what to do about Greece: either pledge neutrality, or invade. In particular, he hopes to avoid invading Yugoslavia. However, something will have to be done eventually. Planning for Operation Marita, the invasion of Greece from Bulgaria, continues in the OKW.
German/Spanish Relations: Hitler, who likes to combine diplomatic events in one or two days, also meets with Spanish Foreign Minister Serrano Suner. As usual, Suner is noncommittal about Spain entering the war on the side of Germany.
German/Bulgarian Relations: Hitler also meets with King Boris. Bulgaria is a somewhat shaky ally of Germany, but Hitler needs Bulgarian cooperation for Operation Marita.
US/Vichy French Relations: The US is displeased with Vichy France's refusal to sell its battleships. Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles asks Chargé d'Affaires ad interim H. Freeman Matthews to reiterate the US concerns about the battleships - the Jean Bart and Richelieu - and that the US would be willing to buy them "as well as any other vessels of the French Navy."
Holocaust: The Wagner-Bürckel-Aktion is generally considered to have been concluded on or about this date. It expelled about 7000 Jews from 137 Baden communities in the Lorraine region of France to concentration camps - particularly the Gurs camp - in southern France.
American Homefront: "Phantom of Chinatown" is released, starring Keye Luke as Mr. Wong. Directed by Phil Rosen and produced by Paul Malvern.
Future History: Qaboos bin Said al Said, future Sultan of Oman, is born in Salalah, Oman.
|Life Magazine, 18 November 1940.|
Below is an episode of radio serial "Adventures of Superman" that aired on 18 November 1940. Fans of the later television series will recognize the introduction.
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