Wednesday, May 11, 2016

January 18, 1940: New Hope for Allied Shipping

Thursday 18 January 1940

18 January 1940  mine-sweeping gear
Towed, electric cables of Double-L, magnetic–mine sweeping gear being deployed behind a Royal Navy minesweeper. Note the boat is wooden.
Winter War Army Operations: The Soviet 9th Army at Salla completes its withdrawal to Maerkaejaervi on 18 January 1940.

General Siilasvuo takes his Finnish 9th Division 30 miles south to Kuhmo. There, he attacks another division of Vasily Chuikov's 9th Army, the 54th Division.

Winter War Air Operations: Soviet bombers raid the port of Kotka, damaging Finnish icebreaker Tarmo. The Finns claim to have brought down five Soviet bombers.
US Navy Attacks Japanese Shipping

Western Front: There is an artillery duel to the west of the Saar.

Battle of the Atlantic:  The Kriegsmarine orders unrestricted U-boat warfare on Britain and France. This follows months of warfare bound by the international Law of Prize, though the first British passenger ship was sunk on the very first day of the war, 3 September 1939 (apparently mistaken for a warship). U-boats are authorized to sink, without warning, all ships "in those waters near the enemy coasts in which the use of mines can be pretended." Exceptions were to be made in the cases of the United States, Italian, Japanese and Soviet ships. This marks the institution of full and illegal unrestricted submarine warfare for the first time since 1918. [This is according to evidence produced by Admiral Doenitz at the Nuremberg Court following World War II. The Allies argued that 3 September 1939 was the commencement of unrestricted U-boat warfare by Germany. The court did not specify which date was correct but did find Admiral Doenitz guilty on two counts.]

A rush order for buoyant electrical cable is delivered to the Admiralty by the British Insulated Callendar's Cable Company. It is to be used by wooden trawlers dragging it along behind, with the magnetic field sufficient to detonate nearby magnetic mines. This gives new hope to Allied shipping which has been taking a beating from the magnetic mines.

U-25 (Kapitänleutnant Viktor Schütze) continues its lucky streak. It torpedoes and sinks 6,873-ton Swedish freighter Pajala near the Hebrides. British destroyer HMS Northern Duke, escorting the Pajala, rescues the 35 crew and depth-charges the U-25, which escapes.

U-44 (Kapitänleutnant Ludwig Mathes) also continues its lucky patrol. It stops 1,831-ton Danish freighter Canadian Reefer and disembarks the crew northeast of Cape Villano, Spain. All 26 survive.

U-55 (Kapitänleutnant Werner Heidel) is believed to have sunk 1,304-ton Swedish freighter Foxen off of Pentland Sound in the North Sea. There are only 2 survivors, 1 perish. U-55 does not return from its patrol.

U-9 (Oberleutnant zur See Wolfgang Lüth)  torpedoes and sinks 1,179-ton Swedish freighter Flandria north of Ymuiden, Holland. There are four survivors, 17 perish.

British authorities in the Bermuda Islands remove European-bound mail from the Lisbon-bound Pan American Airways Boeing 314-ton American Clipper. The US consul on hand issues a written protest.

Convoy OG 15F forms at Gibraltar.

Holland: The crown declares a state of siege in several coastal areas, extending such areas from the German border.

British Homefront: Five workers at Waltham Abbey Royal gunpowder factory in Essex are blown up in a suspicious accident.

Holocaust: The Gestapo executes 250 Jews outside Warsaw. This is due to the Germans' arrest of Jewish-born-turned-Catholic resistance leader Andrzej Kott.

18 January 1940 Kotka Finland fortifications
Fortifications at the port of Kotka, Finland.

January 1940

January 1, 1940: Finns Carve up the Soviets
January 2, 1940: Finnish Counterattacks Continue
January 3, 1940: Soviets Trapped
January 4, 1940: Soviet Breakout Attempts Fail
January 5, 1940: Dicing Up the Soviets
January 6, 1940: Soviet 44th Division Runs
January 7, 1940: Shakeup in Soviet High Command
January 8, 1940: Ratte Road Battle Ends
January 9, 1940: British Submarines in Peril
January 10, 1940: Mechelen Incident
January 11, 1940: Finns Surround More Soviets
January 12, 1940: New Soviet Attacks at Taipale
January 13, 1940: Fall Gelb Postponed
January 14, 1940: Japan's Government Falls
January 15, 1940: Soviets Prepare More Carefully
January 16, 1940: German Atrocities Uncovered
January 17, 1940: Bletchley Park in Action
January 18, 1940: New Hope for Allied Shipping
January 19, 1940: Finnish Attacks at Salla
January 20, 1940: Churchill Urges Cooperation
January 21, 1940: Asam Maru Incident
January 22, 1940: Dissension Within British Government
January 23, 1940: Dissension in South Africa
January 24, 1940: NKVD Blocking Detachments
January 25, 1940: Auschwitz Site Selected
January 26, 1940: Millionaire Bunker Destroyed
January 27, 1940: U-20 Sinks Four Ships
January 28, 1940: Softening Up the Finns
January 29, 1940: Moscow Willing to Talk
January 30, 1940: Hitler Throws Down the Gauntlet
January 31, 1940: Timoshenko Is Ready


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