Wednesday, May 11, 2016

January 24, 1940: NKVD Blocking Detachments

Wednesday 24 January 1940

An NKVD blocking detachment. They are not there to fight the enemy, but their own fleeing comrades.
Winter War: On 24 January 1940, Other nations continue contributing to the Finnish war effort. Two planes full of medical supplies depart from London for Helsinki. In addition, there are reports that 30 British aircraft have arrived in Finland to help with air defense.

Winter War Army Operations: The Soviets resort to a typical tool to keep men at their guns. They create special NKVD "preventative detachments" or "blocking detachments" (zagraditelnyi otriad). These are set up in the rear of Soviet front-line units and are armed with machine guns just like regular army units. If troops retreat without orders, they are shot.

Group Talvela is at Kollaa, defending successfully against the Soviet 8th Army. The two sides throw alternating attacks at each other at Aittojoki River (Joki = river in Finnish).

Winter War Air Operations: Soviet aircraft bomb Finnish hospitals, 19 killed.

Battle of the Atlantic: U-44 (Kapitänleutnant Ludwig Mathes) torpedoes and sinks 3,819-ton French freighter Alsacien 5 miles west of Lisbon at 11:40. Four crew perish.

U-18 (Oberleutnant zur See Ernst Mengersen) torpedoes and sinks 1,000-ton Norwegian freighter Bisp. All 14 men on the ship perish.

U-23 (Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer) has been tailing 1,085-ton Norwegian freighter Varild off northeast Scotland since 20:00 on the 23rd. Kretschmer finally gets within range and fires a torpedo, but it jams in the tube. He tries a second torpedo in another tube, but it misfires and becomes a circle-runner (kreisläufer). Kretschmer, exercising all sorts of patience, fires a third torpedo at 19:00 and it runs true.  All 15 crew perish.

Yugoslavian destroyer Ljubljana runs into a reef at the port of Šibenik and sinks before it can get to shore. The Captain is arrested pending an investigation. The ship is refloated.

Convoy OB 78 departs from Liverpool, HG 16 departs from Gibraltar, SL 18 departs from Freetown.

European Air Operations: The Luftwaffe drops four bombs on the Shetland Islands but they do no material damage.

British Government: The King reviews Canadian 1st Division training at Aldershot.

British/ Belgian Relations: Prime Minister Chamberlain, attempting to smooth over some of the drama from the Mechelen Incident, tells Belgium that it will aid in their defense if attacked by Germany.

Spain: The Spanish Council of Ministers bans Freemasonry.

China: The Chinese 2d War Area captures Licheng, Tungyangkuan, and She Hsien during the continuing Chinese Winter Offensive.

Paavo Talvela and Marshal Mannerheim.

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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