Saturday, May 14, 2016

February 18, 1940: Operation Nordmark

Sunday 18 February 1940

18 February 1940 Scharnhorst Gneisenau Arado AR 196
The Scharnhorst photographed from the Gneisenau. The photo appears to have been taken just after launching one of the Gneisenau's Arado Ar 196 aircraft.
Winter War Army Operations: The Soviet 13th Army assaults the Taipale sector on 18 February 1940. Bludgeoning their way forward with their armor, the Soviets create breaches in the V-Line in two places.

The Finns north of Lake Ladoga complete the destruction of the "regimental motti" of part of the Soviet 18 Rifle Division. They capture 32 field guns, 30 antitank guns, 1 mortar, 20 tanks, 15 machineguns, 25 trucks & 32 field kitchens. The Soviets lose some 1,000 dead, 250 prisoners and uncounted wounded. The Finns complete their efficient operation with only 166 dead. While things are not going well for them further south, the operations in the north continue to favor the Finns.

Winter War Air Operations: The Soviets bomb Tampere, Pori, the Karelian Isthmus, and several smaller towns. The Finns claim to have shot down another 24 Soviet planes.

Battle of the Atlantic: German pocket battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper, along with destroyers Wilhelm Heidkamp, Karl Galster, and Wolfgang Zenker, make a sortie towards the Shetland Islands. This is "Operation Nordmark" and is intended to intercept British convoys (the "HN" route) between Bergen, Norway and Great Britain. In the evening, Wolfgang Zenker has to return to port when it takes on water. There are several U-boats providing escort duties to the surface ships.

U-23 (Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer) sinks Royal Navy destroyer Daring with two torpedoes off the Pentland Firth while escorting convoy HN-12 from Norway. The sinking is 40 miles east of the Orkney Islands, Scotland; 156 perish, and there are 4-15 survivors (sources vary). This sinking is an ancillary benefit of Operation Nordmark. Attacking destroyers is considered quite risky, so this adds to Kretschmer's already huge reputation.

The British tanker Imperial Transport torpedoed on 11 February 1940 by U-53 (Korvettenkapitän Harald Grosse) has remained afloat - at least the stern half has. The crew returned to it as it drifted. They are spotted by a passing ship and landed in Scotland.

HMS Hasty brings the German freighter Morea, which it intercepted trying to run the blockade, into a West Country port.

Dutch cargo vessel Ameland hits a mine and sinks in the North Sea.

Spanish freighter Banderas sinks after an explosion of undetermined cause.

The British protest to the Norwegian government that it should intern the Altmark for violating the neutrality laws.

Convoy OA 94 departs from Southend, Convoy OB 94 departs from Liverpool, Convoy SL 21 departs from Freetown, Convoy HX 21 departs from Halifax.

Western Front: A small German infantry detachment, supported by heavy mortars, makes an unproductive raid on a French post near the Moselle.

Following his meeting with General von Manstein, Hitler instructs General Halder to re-cast the Fall Gelb plan to include a major thrust through the Ardennes Forest. This is the decisive moment in the transition of the Fall Gelb plan for the invasion of France and the Low Countries from a conventional regurgitation of the von Schlieffen Plan of August 1914 into its final 1940 form.

Franco/Polish Relations: The French government agrees to allow the Polish Air Force to re-establish its units on French soil.

British Government: The government approves the formation of a Cyrus Regiment.

US Government: US Secretary of State Cordell Hull states that the "moral embargo" indicated by President Roosevelt extends to the Soviet Union.

Iraq: Prime Minister Nuri al-Sa'id resigns.

China: In the Battle of South Kwangsi, the Japanese 22nd Army evacuates Kaofengyi and the Chinese recover it. There are reports that Nanning is lost as well.

In the Shangtung Operation, Japanese naval troops land at the tip of Shangtung Peninsula.

18 February 1940 Scharnhorst Gneisenau
Photo of the Gneisenau (far left) from underneath the Arado Ar 196 floatplane showing two destroyers as seen from the Scharnhorst off the Friesian island of Wangerooge, 18 February 1940.

February 1940

February 1, 1940: Second Battle of Summa
February 2, 1940: Soviet Assaults at Summa February 3, 1940: Soviets Capture a Bunker
February 4, 1940: Peace Talks in Stockholm
February 5, 1940: Allies to Invade Norway
February 6, 1940: Careless Talk Costs Lives
February 7, 1940: IRA Terrorists Executed
February 8, 1940: Spies!
February 9, 1940: The Welles Mission
February 10, 1940: Confiscation of Jewish Goods
February 11, 1940: Soviets Attack Mannerheim Line
February 12, 1940: Breaches In Mannerheim Line
February 13, 1940: Soviets Inching Forward in Finland
February 14, 1940: Soviets Batter Mannerheim Line
February 15, 1940: Finns Retreat
February 16, 1940: Altmark Incident
February 17, 1940: Manstein and Hitler Discuss Fall Gelb
February 18, 1940: Operation Nordmark
February 19, 1940: King Gustav Says No
February 20, 1940: Falkenhorst Commands Weserubung
February 21, 1940: Radar Advances
February 22, 1940: Friendly Fire
February 23, 1940: Soviets Present Their Demands
February 24, 1940: Fall Gelb Revised
February 25, 1940: Mr. Welles Comes to Visit
February 26, 1940: Battle of Honkaniemi
February 27, 1940: Finns Retreat Again
February 28, 1940: Overseas Volunteers Help Finland
February 29, 1940: Finns Accept Soviet Terms In Principle


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