Thursday, November 24, 2016

November 22, 1940: Greeks Take Korçë

Friday 22 November 1940

22 November 1940 Eastbourne Blitz damage
Damage at Terminus Road, Eastbourne from a lone Dornier Do 17 bomber which drops 16 bombs. One plane can cause extensive damage.
Italian/Greek Campaign: The Greek offensive continues at a steady pace on 22 November 1940. On the Korçë Plateau front, the Greek K Group (primarily a reinforced III Corps) under Lieutenant General Georgios Kosmas (the spearhead is 9th Division) captures the Albanian city of Korçë, which is the greatest success of the offensive to date. The Greeks continue moving forward to capture the remainder of the plateau.

Korçë is about 15 km inside Albania, which gives an indication of the status of the Italian invasion of Greece. Along with the city, the Greeks take 2000 prisoners and capture 135 artillery pieces and 600 automatic weapons. The Italian IX Army withdraws in good order because the Greeks are on foot and the Italians, by and large, have transport. However, just because the Italians can run does not mean that they can hide.

Greek II Corps also is across the Albanian border and captures Leskovik.

Greek 8th Infantry Division continues attacking in the Kalamas sector, where the line is very close to the border.

Three RAF Blenheim bombers based on Malta, escorted by nine Gladiator fighters, bomb the Italian lines of communication at Pogradets. This raid causes extensive damage. The British keep the actual source of these raids very low-profile in the media because they do not want the Italians to view Malta as more of a threat.

The Italians bomb Cephalonia, Corfu, and Tigani (later Pythagoreio), Samos. The attack on Samos is coordinated with an attack by four Italian destroyers based on Leros (Lèro), where the Italians have had a base since 1912.

22 November 1940 Eastbourne Blitz damage
Another shot of the damage caused by the Dornier Do 17 on Terminus Road, Eastbourne on 22 November 1940.
European Air Operations: RAF Bomber Command raids the Ruhr and Merignac airfield (Bordeaux). RAF Coastal Command chips in with an attack on the Luftwaffe seaplane base at Stavanger, Norway.

The Luftwaffe sends 204 bombers against Birmingham during the night, another devastating blow to the city. Birmingham is being absolutely creamed, but the British government and media do not give this series of bombings prominence as with the earlier Coventry bombing. The Luftwaffe also raids towns on the southern coast and in the Home Counties. The West Midland region takes a lot of damage, along with the usual overnight raids of London.

The big German coastal guns at Cap Gris Nez shell the Dover area.

22 November 1940 Junkers Ju 88 Luftwaffe bomber
A Junkers Ju 88 of KG 40, November 1940 (Striemann, Federal Archive).
Battle of the Atlantic: U-123 (Kptlt. Karl-Heinz Moehle), on her second patrol out of Lorient, chances upon a straggler from Convoy SL 53 west of Ireland. It is British 4791-ton freighter Cree. Captain Moehle pumps a torpedo into it, sinking the freighter. All 45 onboard perish.

It is often the case that, shortly after the Germans seed an area with mines, multiple ships (usually smaller, local craft) hit them and sink. Such is the case today near the mouth of the Tyne River, as Luftwaffe aircraft recently have dropped mines there about a kilometer east of the Tyne entrance. Mines have been dropped recently in other areas, too, and they take their toll.

Royal Navy 276-ton trawler HMT Ethel Taylor, serving as a patrol boat, hits a mine and sinks off the mouth of the Tyne. There are two deaths.

British 82-ton tug Hercules hits a mine and sinks off the mouth of the Tyne while towing hopper barge No. 116 (full of rubbish). There are five deaths. The barge the Hercules was towing is towed back to port with little damage.

British barge Glen hits a mine in the River Forth, off Low Torry, Fife. Apparently, nobody is injured.

Royal Navy 73-ton Fairmile B motor launch ML-127 (T/Lt E. Kneen RNVR) hits a mine and sinks in the Thames Estuary off Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. All 11 onboard perish.

British 3683-ton freighter Pikepool hits a mine and sinks about 40 km south of Linney Head, Pembrokeshire. There are 17 deaths.

The Luftwaffe bombs 1781-ton Swedish freighter Bifrost at Alfred Dock, Birkenhead.

Royal Navy destroyers HMS Faulknor and Forester capture Vichy French freighter (and a former AMC) Charles Plumier about 200 km west of Gibraltar (off Melilla). A French destroyer accompanying the freighter, the Boulonnais, decides not to offer combat and returns to port. The Boulonnais later becomes the HMS Largs in British employ, serving as a Royal Navy Command Ship.

Convoy FN 340 departs from Southend, Convoy FS 342 departs from Methil, Convoy SC 13 departs from St. John (with no ocean escort).

Canadian corvette HMCS Arrowhead (K 145, Lt. Victor H. Torraville) is commissioned.

22 November 1940 The War Illustrated
The War Illustrated, 22 November 1940.
Battle of the Mediterranean: The Italian Regia Aeronautica bombs and damages 821-ton British tanker Zahra off Alexandria.

The RAF raids Bari.

At Malta, the government announces that, to date, 96 civilians have been killed and 188 injured in air raids. In addition, 290 houses have been wholly or partially destroyed.

There is an Italian fighter sweep over Malta around 09:15. They cause little damage, and British anti-aircraft fire shoots down one of the CR 42 fighters.

Battle of the Indian Ocean: German raider Atlantis captured Yugoslavian freighter Durmitor on 22 October, loaded it with 216 POWs and a skeleton crew, and sent it to Italian Somaliland. The ship, however, was provided with nowhere near enough provisions for that many men, so the voyage has been hellish (not unheard of in prison ships on both sides crossing the Indian Ocean during the war, incidentally). Today, the Durmitor arrives at the port of Warsheik, 45 miles north of Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland. Italy is not at war with Yugoslavia, and neither is Germany, so it is a tricky situation in terms of who will wind up with the ship. As a political solution, the German commander of the Durmitor intentionally runs the Durmitor aground near the port. The Italians then "salvage" the ship and take possession.

22 November 1940 Atlantis
German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis.
Anglo/Latin American Relations: Around this time, Lord Willingdon holds meetings on a goodwill/trade mission to South America on behalf of the Ibero-American Institute. Accompanying him are other distinguished British economic figures, including Sir Henry Getty Chilton. Their first stop is Rio de Janeiro, where they on this date are having discussions with the government and "influential private citizens." The next stop will be Santos. The mission will last into 1941. This incident is not very well publicized in the history books but receives extensive attention in the Brazilian press (and throughout the British Commonwealth).

Holocaust: At Auschwitz, SS men wreak vengeance on defenseless prisoners for an assault on a police officer. They take 40 men, natives of Katowice, Poland, and shoot them between 00:00 and 00:20. This is the first execution by firing squad at the camp.

French Indochina: Local insurgents seize the Vichy French military base at Chau-Toc.

Future History: Terrence Vance "Terry" Gilliam is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The family moves to Los Angeles in 1952, and Terry graduates from Occidental College in 1962. He becomes an animator and strip cartoonist and moves to England (becoming a dual citizen) due to difficulties with the police in LA. There, he meets Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin while doing animated sequences for children's series "Do Not Adjust Your Set," and together they all form comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus. Terry Gilliam contributes the animation sequences to their films such as "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (which he co-directs with Terry Jones) and many other works. He also renounces his American citizenship in January 2006, which curtails the amount of time that he can spend in the United States to 29 days per year. Terry Gilliam goes on to become a top Hollywood director, becomes involved in charities, and remains a force in the entertainment field to this day. He splits his time primarily between North London and the Umbria-Tuscany region in Italy.

Roy William Thomas, Jr. also is born, in Jackson, Missouri. He develops an early love of comic books, and this develops into a career as a comic book writer and editor. Among many other things, Thomas is known for introducing the pulp magazine hero Conan the Barbarian to American comics, with a series that added to the storyline of Robert E. Howard's character and helped launch a sword and sorcery trend in comics. Thomas also becomes Stan Lee's first successor as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.

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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