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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30, 1940: Lucy and Desi Marry


Saturday 30 November 1940

30 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com London Blitz
"Liverpool Street Underground Station Shelter: A woman watches her children sleeping in the station tunnel.Baltimore" November 1940. © IWM (D 1577) Photographer: Bill Brandt.

Italian/Greek Campaign: The Greek 13th Division of 3rd Army Corps on 30 November 1940 now is 20 miles past Korçë and captures much of Pogradec on Ohrid Lake. The city is not particularly significant, but the manner of its loss is troubling: the Italian troops simply abandon it. The local Italian commanders say that the Italian defensive stance is in poor shape. Mussolini loses confidence and considers asking for a truce through Germany (something that the London media has been hinting about for some time). This crisis of confidence will have consequences for the Italian command. However, the Italian defense already is stiffening.

Greek 3rd Infantry Division attacks around Kazania and Boularat.

The Greeks are on the heights overlooking Argyrokastro. However, the Italians there have decided to fight.

Greek civilian air raid casualties since the beginning of the war on 28 October: 604 killed, 1070 seriously injured.

European Air Operations: The Luftwaffe, which has been targeting individual medium-sized cities for attacks over consecutive nights, switches to Southampton and its suburbs. They send 128 bombers and cause (estimated) 137 deaths and 370 other casualties. The King visits during the day to inspect the damage, which is concentrated in the downtown area. Water pressure drops because 74 water mains are cut, hampering fire-fighting efforts. The Luftwaffe increasingly has been using incendiary bombs to start fires, then high explosives to spread them. In general, fire-fighting efforts are ineffective in most of the city and the strongest efforts are made to preserve the docks and most important downtown areas.

During the day, the Luftwaffe sends a large fighter-bomber raid over southern England. A few of the raiders make it to London.

RAF Coastal Command makes a dawn raid on U-boat base Lorient. However, RAF Bomber Command cancels its night operations due to poor weather.

British air raid casualties for November:
  • 4588 killed
  • 6202 wounded

30 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com London Blitz
"Liverpool Street Underground Station Shelter: The floor of a tunnel crammed with sleeping Londoners." November 1940. © IWM (D 1574) Photographer: Bill Brandt.

Battle of the Atlantic: Another short, sharp surface engagement takes place in the English Channel. Two Royal Navy motor torpedo boats engage in a sweep off Flushing and run into a German convoy off the Schelde Estuary. Both sides take damage, the British to MTB 31 and the Germans to 5943 ton German freighter Santos.

U-101 (Kptlt. Ernst Mengersen), on her 5th patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 5378 ton British freighter Aracataca in the shipping lanes about 700 km west of Ireland. There are 8 deaths. The Aracataca, incidentally, is a banana boat coming from Jamaica, and its sinking somewhat justifies Lord Woolton's recent decision to stop the importation of bananas in favor of oranges.

Royal Navy 505 ton minesweeper trawler HMT Chestnut hits a mine and sinks off North Foreland, Kent. Everyone survives.

The Luftwaffe damages 187 ton Dutch freighter Gorecht off Southampton.

The weather in the western North Atlantic is terrible, with a hurricane passing near the Canadian coast. Destroyer HMCS St. Croix sustains damage and returns to St. John.

German cruiser Admiral Hipper departs from its anchorage at Kiel in the Elbe River on a raiding mission in the Atlantic.

German freighter Helgoland, which embarked on an extremely risky trip from Columbia to Europe, safely arrives at St. Nazaire.

Convoy OB 252 departs from Liverpool, Convoy FN 347 departs from Southend, Convoys FS 348 and FS 349 depart from Methil, Convoy FS 350 is cancelled, Convoy SC 14 departs from Halifax, Convoy BS 9B departs from Aden, Convoy BS A departs from Suez.

During the month of November 1940, the following Allied shipping losses occur (the figures appear differently in different sources, usually due to slight definitional variations):
U-boat sinkings - 146,613 tons
Aircraft sinkings - 66,438 tons
German raiders - 123,671 ton
Mines - 46,672 tons
Total: 86 Allied ships of 294,054 tons in the Atlantic, 11 Allied ships of 91,661 tons elsewhere.

The Kriegsmarine loses two U-boats (one is presumed lost in November, but may in fact be lost in December). The Italians also lose a submarine.

U-boat sinkings of shipping have fallen by over 50% from October - 352,407 tons - but the other causes of sinkings have increased. The Germans have 27 U-boats available for patrols in the Atlantic. Typically, about 1/3 will be on patrol at any one time.

German destroyer DD Z-25 is commissioned.

Soviet submarine K-21 is commissioned.

30 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com London Blitz
"Liverpool Street Underground Station Shelter: Close-up of sleeping people, their heads resting against the arched walls of the underground tunnel." November 1940. © IWM (D 1575). Photographer: Bill Brandt.

Battle of the Mediterranean: Royal Navy headquarters Mediterranean reports that the Malta supply situation has eased due to the attack on Taranto, which caused the dispersion of the Italian fleet, and the British presence at Suda Bay. RAF reconnaissance, though, has been hurt by the dispersion of the Italian fleet, and the Taranto thus has had the unexpected effect of making it harder to keep track of Italian fleet operations. This has impaired efforts to attack Italian convoys.

Battle of the Indian Ocean: German raider Pinguin, with captured freighter Storstad following, has headed to the southwest in the mid-Indian Ocean, taking it away from a searching Australian cruiser. The crew has painted the ship black. The crew spots a freighter and closes, opening fire and destroying the radio. After the first salvo, the freighter is a flaming wreck, its captain dying. It is 8301 ton British refrigerated ship Port Wellington - a sister ship of the Pinguin's last victim, Port Brisbane. The Pinguin takes the 82-man crew and seven women passengers as prisoners (the captain and one other perish from injuries), then sinks the ship - but not before the Pinguin's first officer personally returns to the burning ship to retrieve clothing for the women (many in only their nightgowns). The Pinguin now has 405 prisoners on board.

Japanese/Chinese Relations: The Japanese recognize and conclude a treaty with their Chinese puppet government led by Wang Ching-wei.
Being desirous that these two countries should respect their inherent characteristics and closely cooperate with each other as good neighbors under their common ideal of establishing a new order in East Asia on an ethical basis, establishing thereby a permanent peace in East Asia …
Wang Ching-wei's government is based in Nanking. Setting up puppet governments in occupied territory is a typical tactic used throughout World War II by several governments. Essentially, it is just a propaganda move. The Nationalist Chinese government in Chungking led by Chiang Kai-shek has rejected secret peace feelers from the Japanese, and this is the result.

US/China Relations: The US extends $100 million in aid ($50 million for currency stabilization, $50 million in purchase credits) to China.

30 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com London Blitz
"Liverpool Street Underground Station Shelter: A family sleeps in the underground tunnel; even the girl's doll has its own improvised bed." November 1940. © IWM (D 1582). Photographer: Bill Brandt.

German/French Relations: The Germans have deported the Jewish residents of Lorraine (within their zone of occupation) under the Wagner-Burckel Aktion. They also have changed place names from French back to German (Germany held the territory prior to World War I). They even have required the French residents to change their French names to German (e.g., from Pierre to Peter). Failure to comply with the name changes are punishable by arrest and deportation to Germany. All that, however, was just a prelude to today's action: outright annexation of Lorraine to the Reich. The German press agency states:
Lorraine's return to the Reich has closed an historical chapter which liberated age-old German land and righted a political wrong. The century-long battle for the Rhine has now been ended. Within this territory the complete economical and political union of Lorraine and Saarpfalz will be effected.
US/Latin American Relations: In a telegram to Secretary of STate Cordell Hull, US Ambassador to Uruguay Edwin C. Wilson once again warns of virulent pro-Nazi sentiment in the country. Such worries about Uruguay and Argentina are what have led to the succession of "Show the Flag" operations that are still on-going. Wilson paints a picture of a weak government unable to stop the growth in pro-Nazi sentiment which he claims could lead to an "armed movement."

30 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball wedding photo.

US/French Relations: President Roosevelt instructs Secretary of State Hull to reject former Ambassador to Vichy France Bullitt's request that the US send its fleet to the Mediterranean to over-awe the Fascists (the American embassy in Vichy is being run by Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Robert Murphy due to Bullitt's dismissal). In a somewhat ironic reply (in light of later events), Hull now tells Murphy:
The presence of the fleet in the Pacific at this time is a very practical contribution to the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Bullitt, meanwhile, is a controversial figure who is marked for replacement by Admiral Leahy.

British Military: Prime Minister Winston Churchill appoints legendary Air Marshal Hugh Trenchard to a new position reorganizing the military's intelligence services. Trenchard is a believer in the RAF fighters taking the fight to France and not remaining in a purely defensive posture - "lean toward France."

Romania: The turmoil in Romania continues, largely stirred up by the Iron Guard but also flowing from the country's recent territorial losses. The police are making mass arrests. It is the second anniversary of announcement of the murder of Iron Guard Founder Corneliu Zelea Codreanu. The body of Codreanu, which the government dissolved in acid and placed under seven tons of concrete in the prison, is reburied. The Luftwaffe, reflecting a deep German interest in Romania, flies over the ceremony and drops wreaths over the open casket.

Codreanu, incidentally, remains a very popular figure in Romanian society in the 21st Century, fairly recently (2006) coming in 22nd in a Romanian Television poll of "100 Greatest Romanians" of all time. It is illegal in Romania, however, to talk about the fascist Iron Guard in a positive way, and where exactly that line is drawn with regard to Codreanu has become a very controversial issue in Romanian society.

China: The Japanese 11th Army, facing heavy Chinese counterattacks, retreats to its start line in the Central Hubei sector (Han River Operation). The Chinese 5th War Area re-occupies all territory lost during the failed Japanese offensive.

US Homefront: Navy wins the annual Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia, 14-0. It is the 50th game in the series.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz have eloped to Connecticut. They get married with a wedding ring purchased at the last minute from Woolworth's:
Eloping with Desi was the most daring thing I ever did in my life. I never fell in love with anyone quite so fast. He was very handsome and romantic. But he also frightened me, he was so wild. I knew I shouldn't marry him, but that was one of the biggest attractions.
"Lucy and Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple," Warren G. Harris (Simon & Schuster 1991).

30 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz
Having eloped yesterday, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz get married today. The two met earlier in 1940 while filming the Rodgers and Hart stage hit Too Many Girls.

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


December 1940


December 1, 1940: Wiking Division Forms
December 2, 1940: Convoy HX 90 Destruction
December 3, 1940: Greeks Advancing
December 4, 1940: Italian Command Shakeup
December 5, 1940: Thor Strikes Hard
December 6, 1940: Hitler's Cousin Gassed
December 7, 1940: Storms At Sea
December 8, 1940: Freighter Idarwald Seized
December 9, 1940: Operation Compass Begins
December 10, 1940: Operation Attila Planned
December 11, 1940: Rhein Wrecked
December 12, 1940: Operation Fritz
December 13, 1940: Operation Marita Planned
December 14, 1940: Plutonium Discovered
December 15, 1940: Napoleon II Returns
December 16, 1940: Operation Abigail Rachel
December 17, 1940: Garden Hoses and War
December 18, 1940: Barbarossa Directive
December 19, 1940: Risto Ryti Takes Over
December 20, 1940: Liverpool Blitz, Captain America
December 21, 1940: Moral Aggression
December 22, 1940: Manchester Blitz
December 23, 1940: Hitler at Cap Gris Nez
December 24, 1940: Hitler at Abbeville
December 25, 1940: Hipper's Great Escape
December 26, 1940: Scheer's Happy Rendezvous
December 27, 1940: Komet Shells Nauru
December 28, 1940: Sorge Spills
December 29, 1940: Arsenal of Democracy
December 30, 1940: London Devastated
December 31 1940: Roosevelt's Decent Proposal


2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 29, 1940: Trouble in Indochina


Friday 29 November 1940

29 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com London underground shelter Aldwych
"Shelterers read the paper and prepare for sleep in a dimly-lit tunnel of the London Underground network, probably at Aldwych in November 1940. More shelterers can be seen further down the tunnel, past a pile of ladders visible on the left." © IWM (D 1680). (Photo: official government photographer Bill Brandt).

Italian/Greek Campaign: The Greek forces continue grinding forward on 29 November 1940. Italian forces in Pogradec to evacuate the town. The Greek 13th Greek Division captures a key defensive point outside the town, Point 1292, forcing the Italians to withdraw. Some advance Greek troops enter Pogradec. Greek 2nd Infantry Division captures Sucha Pass.

The Italians, realizing the danger to the southern ports, are now transferring stocks of supplies from Valona and Durazzo to San Giovanni di Medua (Shëngjin).

The RAF, supporting the Greeks, raids Tepelene.

Greek submarine Papanicolis attacks 6168 ton Italian freighter Chisone off Durazzo but causes no damage.

Italian submarine Delfino attacks two Greek destroyers twelve miles east of Kalojeri, but also cause no damage.

General Bernard Freyberg of New Zealand disposes the accumulated British and New Zealand troops on Crete to protect naval bases and strong points.

European Air Operations: The Luftwaffe does little during the day, with only scattered raids on the south coast by fighter-bombers. It focuses on London during the night. It is a heavy raid involving 300+ bombers. Among the areas damaged to one extent or another are:
  • Cloisters/crypt of Houses of Parliament;
  • St. James' Church in Piccadilly;
  • The Old Bailey and Tower of London;
  • St. Martin's Ludgate.
The Italian CAI sends 9 bombers to attack the Ipswich/Lowestoft/Yarmouth region.

RAF Bomber Command raids the ports of Bremen, Hamburg, Cologne, Boulogne and Le Havre.

29 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com London underground shelter Liverpool Station
Liverpool Street Underground Station Shelter: Masses of people lie huddled together on either side of an arched tunnel in the station. © IWM (D 1573). November, 1940. (Photo: official government photographer Bill Brandt).

Battle of the Atlantic: The Germans conduct another destroyer sweep off the coast of southern England. These actions tend to be short and sharp, and this one is no exception. Kriegsmarine destroyers Beitzen, Galster and Lody depart their base in Brest and come upon some ships about 20 miles (30 km) south of the Lizard, which they promptly attack. These include:
  • 134 ton British tug Aid (sunk, 5 survivors, 5 deaths);
  • 290 ton Barge B.C.H. 10 (sunk, 5 survivors, 3 deaths);
  • Dutch/British pilot boat Stroomloodsvartuig 4;
  • 126 ton French tug Abeille 14 (damaged).
The Royal Navy has ships on patrol nearby, and they quickly come to intervene. German destroyer Lody puts two torpedoes into destroyer HMS Javelin, first on the scene. These destroy her bow and stern, but do not cause the Javelin to sink. There are 46 deaths on the British ship. Javelin is later towed to Devonport and is under repair until December 1941. Lord Mountbatten is aboard the Javelin and unharmed. This action is a fine example of his fighting spirit.

Royal Navy destroyers HMS Jupiter, Kashmir, Jersey and Jackal arrive shortly after the Javelin is hit. They save the Javelin, but the Kriegsmarine ships make good their escape, though with varying degrees of minor damage.

Elsewhere, 95 ton British drifter Young Fisherman runs aground at Oban, Scotland and is written off.

Royal Navy 214 ton minesweeping trawler HMT Calverton hits a mine and sinks at the mouth of the Humber. There are two deaths. This area has been heavily mined and this is the second ship claimed there recently (the other being HMT Manx Prince on the 28th).

In Convoy HX 88, 4872 ton British freighter Parthenia collides with another ship (the Robert F. Hand) in rough seas and sin about 13 km southwest of Sandra Lightship.

The German coastal guns at Cap Gris Nez (Hellfire Corner) score another minor success when they damage 759 ton British freighter Fermain at Dover.

Convoy FS 346 departs from Southend, Convoy HX 92 departs from Halifax, Convoy BHX 92 (from Bermuda) is cancelled for lack of ships and the freighters directed to Halifax to join the next HX convoy.

Royal Navy corvette HMS Orchis (K 76, Lt. Arthur D. White) is commissioned.

USS Grenadier is launched.

29 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com London Underground shelter Liverpool Station
Liverpool Street Underground Station Shelter: A group of men occupy their time by playing a game of draughts on the station floor. © IWM (D 1581). November, 1940. (Photo: official government photographer Bill Brandt).

Battle of the Mediterranean: The weather is stormy in the Mediterranean as winter starts to bite. The large Royal Navy ships, including aircraft carrier Ark Royal and battleship Ramillies, from Force H engaged in Operation Collar return to port at Gibraltar. Convoy ME 4 from Malta and its accompanying escort arrives at Alexandria. This concludes Operation Collar.

New Zealand cruiser HMNZS Leander attacks Banda Alulu, near Cape Guardafui, Italian Somaliland. It fires 98 6-inch rounds and damages a factory and radio station. The Italian Aero Aeronautica attacks the Leander without success.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Olympus departs from Malta after completing repairs incurred in part during an air raid on 6 July. Otherwise, the day is fairly quiet and routine at Malta.

29 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz
Rising young starlet Lucille Ball and touring Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz elope on 29 November 1940 (this photo is from much later).

Thai/French Conflict: In a little-remembered campaign, Thailand takes the opportunity of French weakness to infiltrate disputed territory west of the Mekong River. In addition, they issue an order for French nationals to evacuate the area immediately. Thailand has ancient grievances against France - well, as ancient as 1893, at least - and its leaders feel that Thailand is entitled to large areas of Laos and western Cambodia. The key areas are the Cambodian provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap, Lao Sayaboury, and west-bank Champassak. While the Vichy French have been defeated in Europe, they remain a potent force in the region. This is the beginning of an opportunistic border war. The Japanese, who themselves now occupy part of Indochina, look on bemused.

US/German/Anglo Relations: German freighters Idarwald (6031 tons) and Rhein (5181 tons), which made an abortive attempt to return to Occupied Europe a month earlier, make another try. They depart from Tampico, Mexico. US destroyers USS Simpson and Broome are on Neutrality Patrol outside the harbor, knowing that the German ships may try again. The US destroyers, as is usual in such cases, follow the two German freighters but do not stop them. However, they broadcast the German ships' position in the clear so that the British are sure to learn about the situation. The two German freighters once again return to port, but their captains remain determined to run the blockade.

Adolf Hitler, incidentally, mentions this series of incidents involving the United States Navy in his declaration of war on 11 December 1941. There is no question that the US ships are aiding the British war effort even if technically acting within the scope of international law.

29 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Black Eye Peas
The Black Eye Peas are appearing at the Lexington Casino. Trenton Times, 29 November 1940.

US/Mexican Relations: US Vice President-elect Henry A. Wallace meets with President Lazaro Cardenas in Mexico City. He is there to attend the upcoming inauguration of President Elect Manuel Avila Camacho on 1 December. Wallace faces protesters at the US Embassy because the country is still divided over the controversial election that elected Camacho over General Juan Almazan. Wallace's visit is a show of support for the incoming President.

German Military: Having reviewed and discounted Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov's proposed agreements of 25 November, the German leadership continues its planning for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. A draft completed today enlarges upon earlier earlier attempts. It sets forth three more-or-less equal axes of attack, one through the Baltic States to Leningrad, the second on the high road to Moscow, and the third in the south aiming toward Kiev. The front will be 1800 miles long - earlier drafts foresaw a much smaller front only in the north. This is not the plan's final form, but it is the first draft that closely resembles the framework of the actual invasion in June 1941.

29 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Jeep Ban BRC
BRC-1007, the seventh Bantam BRC built, is delivered on November 29, 1940 along with 21 others. This Jeep was used until 1944 and has 15,941 miles showing. The BRC is displayed at Pittsburgh's Heinz Museum by way of the Smithsonian.

US Military: The US Army Air Corps is so certain about the quality of the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver bomber design that it orders mass production before the first test flight. However, the USAAC also specifies a number of modifications, including self-sealing and enlarged gas tanks. While the military is extremely enthusiastic about the plane, all of the changes will take an extended amount of time to work out. The Helldiver is intended the replace the Douglas SBD Dauntless but, despite this early order, the Helldiver will not enter combat until 11 November 1943. The entire production process becomes a matter of great controversy and investigations which many blame for the eventual collapse of the Curtiss Corporation.

Heavy cruiser USS Louisville makes port in Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil as part of its "Show the Flag" mission.

India: Subhas Chandra Bose, in prison for protesting against the British rule in India, begins a hunger strike. It will last until 5 December.

China: In Hubei, the Japanese Han River operation has been been blunted by the Chinese 5th War Area. The Japanese 11th Army withdraws, and the Chinese recover some ground unopposed.


29 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Bela Lugosi postcard
A postcard sent by Bela Lugosi to his sister, 29 November 1940.

French Homefront: Charles de Gaulle broadcasts to France from London. He is quite uncomplimentary to the Vichy regime, opening his speech by saying:
It has now been proved beyond any shadow of doubt that though the sword of France has been shattered by unworthy leaders, the nation refuses to submit to disaster.
He later adds:
Yes, the flame of French resistance, briefly smothered under the ashes of treason, is once again alight and burning. And we, the Free French, have the glorious duty and supreme dignity of being the soul of the nation's resistance.
De Gaulle also goes out of his way to emphasize that he is not just talking through his hat, but commands serious forces:
Well, at this very moment we have 35,000 men under arms, twenty warships in commission, sixty merchantmen at sea, a thousand airmen, a number of technicians engaged on armament work, territories active on behalf of our cause in Africa, French India, and the Pacific, important centres in all parts of the world, growing financial resources, newspapers, wireless stations, and, above all, the certain knowledge that at every minute of the day we are present in the hearts and minds of all our fellow-countrymen in France.
This is but one in a series of speeches by Charles de Gaulle. Recently, his appeals in person to captured Vichy soldiers in Gabon have not produced many converts, and as a national leader he remains a creation of the British government. However, he is a brilliant orator and is fine-tuning that skill with each speech.

American Homefront: Universal Pictures releases classic W.C. Fields comedy film "The Bank Dick" (aka "The Bank Detective" in England). Directed by Edward F. Cline and written by "Mahatma Kane Jeeves" (aka W.C. Fields himself), the film is full of edgy puns for the era and slapstick. It is considered by many to be WC Field's best work (alongside "My Little Chickadee" with Mae West). Shemp Howard of The Three Stooges makes a cameo appearance as a bartender. Also starring Una Merkel and Cora Witherspoon.

Also released today is the film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Men." It nominally stars Kay Francis, but everyone familiar with the film knows the real draw is the famous Elsie the Cow playing Buttercup.


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


2016


Monday, November 28, 2016

November 28, 1940: Wick Perishes


Thursday 28 November 1940

28 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Ethel Gabain East London
Artist Ethel Gabain, a commissioned artist hired by the Ministry of Information to record Blitz scenes, in East London, 28 November 1940.

Italian/Greek Campaign: The Greek offensive in Albania grinds forward on 28 November 1940, the men braving blizzards and rocky terrain to push the Italians back. There are few villages to mark their progress, but they are making good ground that is gradually bringing them closer to important Italian bases.

Greek II Corps is reinforced again, this time with the Cavalry Division. The Corps now has received two fresh divisions in two days. The Cavalry Division crosses the Legatitsa River and continues the advance toward Përmet (Premeti).

Greek III continues moving toward Pogradec, the most significant objective off its front.

Greek troops occupy the heights above Argyrokastro (Gjirokastër), a historic town in Epirus. However, the Italians still hold the town and are fighting hard to keep it.

Italian destroyers Pigafetta, Da Recco, Pessagno, and Riboty, accompanied by torpedo boats Prestinari and Bassini, bombard Greek positions on Corfu. The Italian high command has given up early plans to invade the island. The RAF raids the ports of Porta Santi Quaranta in southern Albania, Durazzo, Brindisi and Elbasan in central Albania.

European Air Operations: RAF Bomber Command sends bombers against Mannheim, Dusseldorf, the synthetic oil installation at Politz, Stettin, Cuxhaven, Antwerp, Boulogn and Le Havre.

The Luftwaffe sends over 40 fighter-bombers (Jabos) during the day, but they accomplish little. Daylight raids are increasingly pointless, particularly with the shortening hours of daylight, but the Luftwaffe continues with occasional Jabo sweeps. Losses are about even, with half a dozen planes lost by each side.

The Luftwaffe, recently having pounded several other moderate-sized English cities such as Coventry and Brighton with large-scale raids, turns its attention to Liverpool during the night. It sends 340 bombers which drop massive parachute land mines. The raid kills 164-166 and injures 96 more when a landmine scores a direct hit on a shelter at Edge Hill Training College on Durning Road. The scene is gruesome, as it is not the blast that kills everyone, but rather boiling water released from a boiler and gas from damaged pipes.

28 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com John Charles Dundas
John Charles Dundas, who perished on 28 November 1940 after shooting down Luftwaffe ace Helmut Wick. Dundas had 12 victories.

Helmut Wick, one of the Luftwaffe's leading aces, has a good day that turns horribly wrong. He gets a victory in the morning, his 55th, and then during the afternoon scores his 56th confirmed kill. This finally catches fellow Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland, who Wick has been chasing since the war began.

However, shortly after, Wick meets his own fate. It is believed to be at the hands of Flight Lieutenant Dundas (RAF No. 609 Squadron) off the Isle of Wight. Dundas probably never knows who he shot down, however, because minutes later he himself is killed in the same air battle.

Wick is last seen baling out over the Channel and likely landed while still alive in the water. The winter weather is unforgiving, the sea is cold, and rescue can't happen enough. In fact, Wick's body is never found. As happens more than once in the continuing battle, the downed airman's Luftwaffe colleagues circle above the downed pilot as long as they can. One, Hptm. Rudi Pflanz, stays so long that he has to crash land in France because he runs out of fuel. One of the crueler aspects of the Battle of Britain - and war in general, on both sides - is that so many men must watch their friends and colleagues die  moments after they were alive, well and at the top of their game.

Wick is a propaganda hero, and in one of those freaky coincidences is on the cover of that day's German propaganda publication, Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung (BIZ). He is standing beside Hermann Goering, whose wayward decisions have sabotaged the Luftwaffe effort and helped keep the RAF strong.

The new Kommodore of JG 2, replacing Wick, is Hptm. Karl-Heinz Greisert.

Lt Harold Reginald Newgass earns the George Cross for disarming a land mine lodged in a fuel tank full of coal gas.

28 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Goering Wick
The cover of BIZ No. 48, 28 November 1940. That is Helmut Wick on the right (I believe).

Battle of the Atlantic: The weather is very rough in the mid-Atlantic. This makes the merchant marine service increasingly all-or-nothing around this time, because either you make it across or have a ship close at hand to rescue you if you get torpedoed - or you don't. And, if you don't, your odds of survival are not good. The action is erratic, with equipment not always acting the way it would in more normal weather and more unsuccessful attacks than usual.

U-104 (Kptlt. Harald Jürst) and its 49 crewmen, after having torpedoed two ships on the 27th (and sinking one), disappears into the sea, with nobody surviving. The most common theory is that the U-boat wandered into a defensive Royal Navy minefield (SN 44, laid on 8 November) northwest of Londonderry, County Derry, Northern Ireland. It is not known when it sinks, either, as it is not considered missing by the Kriegsmarine until well into December.

U-103 (Kplt. Viktor Schütze), on its second patrol out of Lorient, is operating in the Atlantic sea lanes about 930 km from Bishop Rock (200 miles southwest of Rockall). It downs two ships. First, it torpedoes 3578 ton Greek freighter Mount Athos. There are 19 deaths. Mount Athos is a straggler from Convoy OB 248 and sinks within four minutes. However, even in that short time the wireless operator manages to get out a message with the ship's position. Nine survivors are picked up on the 30th by an escort from Convoy OB 251, HMS Vanquisher.

U-103 also torpedoes and sinks 4940 ton British freighter St. Elwyn. There are 16 survivors and 24 men perish. Survivors are picked up by British freighter Leeds City.

U-95 (Kptlt. Gerd Schreiber), on its first patrol out of Kiel, fires two torpedoes at 1298 ton Norwegian collier Ringhorn and misses with both. It is possible that the torpedoes are defective - there are problems with torpedoes in the cold during the war's early years. In any event, Schreiber, undoubtedly frustrated at wasting so much ordnance on a relatively small ship, surfaces and uses his deck gun. The Germans damage the freighter and the crew abandons ship, expecting it to sink. However, they later reboard it and bring it to port at Belfast.

Greek 2950 ton freighter Eugenia Cambanis, travelling in convoy SC 13 in the Atlantic off Newfoundland, sinks in a gale after its cargo shifts. Sources are unclear on what happens to the crew, either they all live or all perish - the story of the Battle of the Atlantic. The crew abandons the ship, certain it will capsize and sink... but it doesn't sink. The derelict, in fact, does not go to the bottom until finally shelled by Norwegian patrol boat Hilda Knudsen on 19 December.

Royal Navy 221 tom trawler HMT Manx Prince hits a mine and sinks off the mouth of the Humber in the North Sea, about 5 km from Spurn Point, Yorkshire. Everybody aboard survives, taken aboard minesweeping trawler HMS Cortina.

The German coastal guns at Cap Gris Nez (Hellfire Corner) score a rare long-range success - sort of - when they hit 1167 ton British freighter Skipjack at Dover. However the ship is only damaged, and at that distance there is little chance of a successful follow-through. The Skipjack makes it to port for repairs.

Italian submarine Dessie fires torpedoes at light cruiser HMS Glasgow in the Atlantic and misses.

Convoy OB 251 departs from Liverpool, Convoys Sl 575 and SL 57 depart from Freetown.

Australian destroyer HMAS Napier (G 97, Captain Stephen H. T. Arliss) is commissioned.

28 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com PBY San Diego Consolidated
Consolidated Model 28 - U.S. Navy PBY - flying boats in final assembly at the Consolidated Aircraft factory in San Diego in November 1940. Photo credit: Consolidated Aircraft.

Battle of the Mediterranean: British submarine HMS Regulus goes missing in the Aegean. It is presumed lost due to a mine. Nobody survives.

Operation Collar continues, with battleship HMS Malaya covering the return of Convoy ME 4 - the outward-bound voyage of the Malta convoy MW 4 - to Alexandria.

Operation Canned commences off Italian Somaliland. Light cruiser HMS Leander departs from Aden in a mission to bombard Italian positions at Banda Alulu.

At Malta, there are several air raids as ships arrive at 14:30 in Grand Harbour from the Operation Collar convoys. The Italians are active because they know that there are many British ships operating in the area due to Operation Collar. A raid by half a dozen CR 42 fighters, followed by ten bombers escorted by another ten fighters, around 13:30 is particularly fierce. The Italians lose a SM 79 bomber and a fighter. The British freighters, meanwhile, sustain no damage and unload quickly.

28 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Henry Maitland Wilson
Henry Maitland Wilson, Italy, 30 April 1944 (Imperial war Museum TR 1762).

North Africa: British Middle East Commander Archibald Wavell is busy planning Operation Compass, the planned offensive against the Italians in Egypt. He orders the Commander of British Troops Egypt, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, to prepare a limited five-day operations. He writes to Wilson:
I do not entertain extravagant hopes of this operation but I do wish to make certain that if a big opportunity occurs we are prepared morally, mentally and administratively to use it to the fullest.
The general plan of attack will be to send British and Indian troops through the Sofafi–Nibeiwa gap, with armoured formations attacking Nibeiwa from the west.

German/Yugoslavian Relations: Yugoslavian Foreign Minister Aleksandar Cincar-Markovic meets with Hitler in Berlin. Hitler pressures Yugoslavia to sign the Tripartite Pact, but the Serb-dominated officer corps violently opposes this. Regent Prince Paul of Yugoslavia knows that signing the agreement will only cause trouble and is extremely leery, so the Yugoslavs pass. Hitler proposes a bizarre swap, a Yugoslavian alliance in exchange for the Greek seaport of Salonika - which the Greeks still possess. At this point in time, Hitler is offering potential allies territory which he has no ability to give, and the offers themselves illustrate his intentions.

Soviet Military: Konstantin Rokossovsky, a former prisoner accused of treason (on fabricated evidence) but released from  Kresty Prison in Leningrad for unexplained reasons on 22 March 1940, assumes command of the newly formed 9th Mechanized Corps in the Kiev Military District. It has the 19th and 20th Tank Divisions and the 131st Motorized Division. Soviet records can be obscure, but it appears Rokossovsky takes over from the start. Rokossovsky only survived the 1930s officer purges because he refused to sign a false statement, but was badly beaten for doing so. He never blamed Stalin for his mistreatment, but rather the NKVD (Soviet secret police).

Romania: Following the Iron Guard's brutal assaults on its political enemies on the 27th, Ion Antonescu's government declares a state of emergency.

China: The commander of the Japanese 11th Army in Hubei Province (Han River sector), Lieutenant General Waichiro Sonobe, orders a retreat under pressure from the continuing Chinese offensive. The Japanese engage in a scorched earth policy, burning down villages and inflicting heavy casualties on civilians and the advancing Chinese troops.

Holocaust: German Reserve Police Battalion 101 is assigned to guard the perimeter of the Lodz ghetto and shoot anyone who tries to leave.

German Homefront: The German film industry remains quite active throughout the war. Today, it releases its most notorious films, "The Eternal Jew" (Der ewige Jude), likely the most anti-Semitic film ever made. Directed by Fritz Hippler and with screenplay by Eberhard Taubert, it interweaves documentary footage with acting. Many view this film as a response to a 1934 British film of the same name which portrayed Jews in a sympathetic light.

British Homefront: The government increasingly is trying to shape the lives of its citizens to better withstand what now looks to be a long-term siege of Great Britain. Two different authority figures weigh in, and their news is not good. However, it is judicious and necessary from a medical perspective.

Lord Horder, who chairs the British Medical Committee, has grown increasingly concerned about the risk of epidemics due to the devastation being wrought to dwellings and the other signs of aerial combat (such as dead bodies). He cautions the public that "We have more to fear from germs than Germans."

Lord Woolton, the Minister of Food who recently ended banana imports, has further bad news. he announces a cut in milk rations during the winter months. The government further advises that milk may be unsafe without first boiling it to reduce the risk of typhoid.


28 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Parsons School of Design New York
Opening Fashion Exhibit at the Parsons School of Design. New York City, 28 November 1940.

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



2016


Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 27, 1940: Cape Spartivento Battle


Wednesday 27 November 1940

27 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Cape Spartivento Vittorio Veneto
An Italian battleship (probably the Vittorio Veneto) firing at the Battle of Cape Spartivento, 27 November 1940.

Battle of the Mediterranean: The Royal Navy is engaged on 27 November 1940 in one of their typical supply convoys to Malta - Operation Collar - but they go to the well once too often. Trying to pull the same trick as in August, with the successful Operation Hurry, Force H goes to the well once too often. The Italian Navy, meanwhile, regains a small measure of self-respect after the disaster at Taranto two week ago.

The Italian intelligence service has spotted the Royal Navy south of Sardinia. The British force is seen to be of moderate size. Two Italian battleships and supporting ships set out to intercept. Italian torpedo boat Sirio spots the British fleet late on the 26th and reports its position. The Royal Navy ships then steer north to put open water between them and the freighters. At 09:45, an Italian IMAM Ro.43 floatplane from cruiser Bolzano spots the Royal Navy ships. RAF planes spot the Italian fleet nine minutes later, and the game is on.

Admiral Somerville in command of Force F splits his force, which now fortuitously is joined by Force D from Alexandria, into two main battle groups. The forces are fairly evenly matched. Fire between the two fleets commences at 12:22 at a range of 23,500 meters.

Italian destroyer Lanciere suffers serious damage (towed to port). Royal Navy cruiser HMS Berick takes an 8 inch (203 mm) shell to her Y turret that kills seven men and wounds nine others. Another shell shell destroys its remaining aft turret. Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Renown intervenes, but then Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto comes within range and opens fire. This forces the Royal Navy ships to retire, and the battle is over after 54 minutes. It is a minor Italian victory, both because of the damage to the British cruiser Berwick and the fact that the Royal Navy vessels are forced to retire.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is not happy. He believes that Admiral Somerville lacks the necessary aggressive spirit and should not have broken off the engagement. A board of inquiry exonerates Somerville. In fact, it is the Italians who had more cause to be upset, because the Vittorio Veneto could have pursued the British ships and perhaps dealt them more damage. Admiral Campioni in charge of the Italian fleet loses prestige as a result of this operation, which, in the absence of any RAF attacks, could have yielded better results.

Separately, Insect class gunboat HMS Ladybird bombards Italian bases in North Africa.

27 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Cape Spartivento HMS Ark Royal
Bombs falling astern of HMS Ark Royal during an attack by Italian aircraft during the Battle of Cape Spartivento (photograph taken from the cruiser HMS Sheffield).

Italian/Greek Campaign: A blizzard hits the higher elevations. On balance, this helps the Italians, who are on the defensive now.

The Greeks continue advancing. II Corps, moving in the direction of Frashër, is reinforced with with the 11th Division.

In the western Macedonia sector was held by the Western Macedonia Army Section (TSDM), the Greeks complete the capture of the Korçë plateau. The TSDM has suffered 624 dead and 2348 wounded in this operation. The Greeks continue to move forward toward the center of Albania, with the 13th Division advancing on Pogradec.

The Greek Liuba Detachment continues its march along the coast toward the Bistritsa River.

The Italian Regia Aeronautica is in action, bombing Epirus, Corfu, Cephalonia, Patras, and Crete.

Mussolini is growing increasingly concerned about the Italian collapse in the mountains. Rumors continue to fly that he will seek a separate peace.


27 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Cape Spartivento Walrus amphibious plane
A Supermarine Walrus amphibious plane used for shell spotting at the Battel of Cape Spartivento, 27 November 1940.

European Air Operations: The Luftwaffe continues its sustained assault on Bristol, attacking it for the fourth time in three days. Plymouth, though, receives the most attention, with 107 bombers. The new German strategy appears to be to focus on mid-sized towns and try to cripple them rather than just relentlessly beating against London (though it is bombed as well, by 57 bombers).
RAF Bomber Command attacks attacks Cologne with 62 bombers and also Boulogne. A Blenheim bomber crashes due to pilot error while trying to land back at Swanton Morley, and another gets lost in the foul weather and its crew bails out over Manchester. Another dozen bombers are sent against Antwerp and Le Havre.

A Bf 109E piloted by Lt. Wolfgang Teumer is damaged and force lands at RAF Manston. It is repaired and joins the RAF "Ratwaffe."

27 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Cape Spartivento HMS Renown
HMS Renown firing its two forward (A +B) turret guns while underway at the Battle of Cape Spartivento, 27 November 1940 (Imperial War Museum).

Battle of the Atlantic: U-103 (Kplt. Viktor Schütze), on its second patrol out of Lorient, stalks Convoy OB 248 in the sea lanes 300 km west of Ireland. It torpedoes and sinks 4393 ton British freighter Glenmoor. There are two survivors and 31 deaths, the survivors picked up by escorts HMS Harvester and Havelock.

U-104 (Kptlt. Harald Jürst) stalks Convoy HX 87, which apparently is close to Convoy HX 88 because the U-boat attacks ships from both in the same day, one from each convoy. The attacks take place in the sea lanes northwest of County Donegal, Ireland. Shortly after this, U-104 disappears and is presumed lost. Speculation is that it sinks in British minefield SN 44. Everybody on board U-104 is lost at sea.

U-104 torpedoes and sinks 8240 ton British freighter Diplomat, a straggler from Convoy HX 88. There are 39 survivors and 14 deaths.

U-104 torpedoes and damages 10,516 British tanker Charles F. Meyer in Convoy HX 87. Tankers are notoriously difficult to sink due to their compartmentalized structure, and the Meyer makes it to port.

U-95 (Kptlt. Gerd Schreiber) is on its first patrol out of Kiel. It torpedoes and sinks 1860 ton British freighter Irene Maria in the Atlantic northwest of County Donegal (not far from where U-104 is operating). All 25 on board perish.

French 2594 ton freighter Lisieux (seized at Portland, Oregon, USA on 27 May 1940 and sailing under British flag), travelling in Convoy SC 13 from Halifax, founders in rough weather after the convoy is dispersed. Sixteen men are rescued by fellow freighter Bernhard, but an undetermined number, mostly French, are lost at sea. The sinking occurs because the ship's cargo, paper pulp and lumber, gets wet and inflates, cracking open the hull. This was her first Atlantic crossing after being seized.

Royal Navy 9600 ton auxiliary minesweeper HMS Port Napier explodes and sinks in Loch Alsh, Argyllshire due to an engine fire. The ship is loaded with mines for her first minelaying operation, and as a precaution the ship is towed out to a safe distance from shore. A volunteer crew manages to jettison some of the mines and escape right before the ship and its mines and ammunition explodes. The wreck is still viewable partly above water at low tide to this day, and is a popular wreck dive.

Royal Navy 181 ton trawler HMT Elk hits a mine and sinks off Plymouth in the English Channel. Everybody survives.

Norwegian freighter Havborg is torpedoed and sunk in the Weser River by RAF aircraft. There are four deaths.

German 405 ton trawler Peter runs aground and is lost on the Swedish coast.

Royal Navy destroyer HMS Wallace collides with the Newarp Light Float and suffers minor damaged. She is repaired within two days and back in service.

Royal Navy submarine HMS H.33 collides with corvette HMS Heather and requires repairs at Oban.

British 585 ton freighter Galacum hits a mine and is damaged.

Trawlers Rattray (182 tons) and Charmouth (195 tons) are damaged by the Luftwaffe off Milford Haven.

Some sources place the incident involving the Rangitane off New Zealand on the 27th. We discuss it on the 26th. There are going to be many discrepancies like that due to the global nature of the conflict.

Convoy FN 345 departs from Southend, Convoy FS 347 departs from Methil, Convoy BN 10 departs from Bombay.

U-150 (Hinrich Kelling) commissioned.

Soviet submarine K-3 is commissioned.

Escort carrier HMS Avenger, corvette HMS Lavender and submarine HMS Uproar are all launched, with corvette HMS Borage laid down.

27 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Cape Spartivento HMS Renown
HMS Renown at the Battle of Cape Spartivento, 27 November 1940 (Imperial War Museum).

Battle of the Indian Ocean: Australian troop convoy US 7 departs from Fremantle. It includes 14287 ton Polish liner Batory, 23,371 ton British liner Orion, 23,428 ton Strathmore, and 23,722 ton Stratheden. There is a heavy escort of two cruisers for this convoy, bound for Suez.

Japanese/US Relations: Kichisaburo Nomura becomes the new Japanese ambassador to the United States.

British Government: Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Kingsley Wood gives an accounting of the government's expenditures on the war. During the war's first year (beginning 3 September), the cost was £5,300,000/day. During the subsequent 17 days at the beginning of the second year, the cost has risen to £9,100,000/day. Clearly, the government cannot sustain these types of expenditures indefinitely. Ambassador to the US Lord Lothian already has broadly hinted to the Americans that the days of cash-and-carry are dwindling and likely to end in 1941. In addition, £475,532,981 has been raised for the war.

Middle East: The Battle of Cape Spartivento claims an unexpected victim when the plane carrying the new Vichy High Commissioner of Syria and Lebanon, Jean Chiappe, is shot down.

General Archibald Wavell, Middle East Commander, responds to Prime Minister Churchill's telegram of the 26th regarding Operation Compass, the planned attack on the Italian positions in Egypt. Wavell states that Operation Compass will proceed as planned and that he and the other service commands believe that landings behind the Italian forward lines would offer little benefit.

27 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Cape Spartivento HMS Renown
HMS Renown at the Battle of Cape Spartivento, 27 November 1940 (Imperial War Museum).

Romania: The wild political reverberations of the Vienna Awards continue in Romania. In a scenario reminiscent of the 1934 German Night of the Long Knives, the Iron Guard engages in a savage night of retribution against its political enemies. Known primarily as the Jilava Massacre, most of the events take place at the Jilava prison during the night of 26/27 November. Death squads are a common tool of the Iron Guard, and they kill 64 political prisoners, 46 officers and guards, and other political detainees. The political prisoners are supporters of exiled King Carol II.

Nicolae Iorga and Virgil Madgearu are killed as well. Iorga is kidnapped during the afternoon of 27 November by Traian Boeru and shot nine times outside Ploiești with different handguns. Madgearu also is kidnapped by Iron Guard members and killed. Iorga is a particularly high-value target because many Iron Guard members blame Iorga, a former anti-Fascist Premier, for the death of Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the Guard's founder. It does not pay to be known as an anti-Fascist in Romania at this time.

Kenya: The South African 5th Infantry Division arrives in Mombasa.

China: In Hubei Province, along the Han River, the Chinese counterattack the Japanese with the 27th, 31st and 44th Divisions. The Japanese 11th Army continues advancing in the region of Hoyuantien, Tangchianfan, and Huantanchen.

Future History: Lee Jun-fan is born in Chinatown, San Francisco. His parents are from Hong Kong, and he grows up in Kowloon. He becomes a child actor in Hong Kong beginning in 1946 and appears in several films. Lee moves to the US in 1949 to study at the University of Washington at Seattle. Around this time, Lee begins teaching martial arts. He continues to star in Hong Kong films and eventually breaks into the Hollywood film industry, adopting the stage name Bruce Lee. He first gains notice in television series "The Green Hornet" (1966-67). His films such as "Fists of Fury (1972) and "Enter the Dragon" (1973) become classic martial arts works and spark interest in the entire field that lingers on. Lee passes away suddenly in Hong Kong on 20 July 1973 at the age of 32. Many questions surround his death, with some speculating that it was partly the result of medications taken to soothe chronic back pain arising from his martial arts fighting.

27 November 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Bruce Lee
Lee Jun-fan aka Bruce Lee.

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


2016