Sunday, May 1, 2016

November 25, 1939: The Olympics are a War Casualty

Saturday, November 25, 1939

25 November 1939 Japanese special naval landing force troops
Japanese Special Naval Landing Force troops train with a Type 99-1 7.7mm heavy MG), 1939.
Battle of the Atlantic: On 25 November 1939, Germany continues laying its game-changer magnetic mines, this time off southwest Sweden. They are within the four-mile limit of Swedish territorial waters. This is a key strait for international shipping traffic and neutral ships are bound to be affected.

Several neutral nations - Italy, Japan, Sweden, Denmark - make inquiries to the British foreign office as to exactly what "reprisals" Prime Minister Chamberlain has in mind as payback for Germany's magnetic mines.

U-28 (Kapitänleutnant Günter Kuhnke) torpedoes and sinks 5,144-ton British freighter, Royston Grange, off Land's End. Everyone survives. It has been sailing with convoy SL-8B.

U-28 also engages in some mine-laying on this patrol.

U-43 (Korvettenkapitän Wilhelm Ambrosius) torpedoes and sinks 2,483-ton freighter Uskmouth off Cape Finisterre, Spain. Two perish and 23 survive. After two torpedoes malfunction, Captain Ambrosius gets so frustrated that he surfaces and rakes the ship with his deck gun, but it continues trying to evade. Another try with a torpedo misses. Finally, after 149 rounds of shells - an unheard-of amount by a U-boat - the Uskmouth sinks after a two-hour drama.

Kriegsmarine patrol vessel V-301 hits an mine and sinks.

The Gneisenau having had a successful cruise, it gets a new commander, Harald Netzbandt.

The French Force de Raide heads north to hunt for the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

Convoy OA 41 departs from Southen, OB 41 from Liverpool, HSF 10 from Halifax and SL 10F from Freetown.

European Air Operations: There are more Luftwaffe reconnaissance flights over the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

The RAF also conducts aerial reconnaissance, over Wilhelmshaven and Heligoland.

Romania: Prime Minister Tararescu forms his cabinet, which is significantly less pro-German than the previous one.

British Homefront: New Forest ponies are in danger from the blackout and thus are removed to safer areas.

US Navy: A brand new destroyer, the USS Yarnall (DD 143), drifts ashore at Lynnhaven Roads. It is refloated but needs repairs.

Olympics: International Olympic Committee President Henri de Baillet-Latour officially cancels the 1940 Winter Olympics because they were to be held (again) at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The games were just awarded to Germany in June 1939 after plans collapsed to hold them at St. Moritz, Switzerland. Hitler had stepped in then to offer an easy alternative. There is some dispute over whether the IOC pulled the games from Germany on its own or Hitler withdrew the invitation due to the war situation, but in any event, it would prove to be impossible to hold them anywhere.

The Summer Olympics, originally scheduled to be held in Tokyo but then switched to Helsinki, Finland at Japanese request, are still officially up in the air. However, especially with tensions growing between Finland and the USSR, it does not look promising.

China: In the Battle of South Kwangsi, the Chinese forces have taken a beating at Nanning and are retreating northward to Wuming as the Japanese take control of the town. The Japanese now have cut off Chunking, as intended.

25 November 1939 David Low cartoon
A David Low cartoon from 25 November 1939.

November 1939

November 1, 1939: The Jet Flies Again
November 2, 1939: The Soviets Devour Poland
November 3, 1939: Amending the Neutrality Act
November 4, 1939: Roosevelt Signs Neutrality Laws
November 5, 1939: The Spirit of Zossen
November 6, 1939: First Dogfight
November 7, 1939: More Lies About SS Athenia
November 8, 1939: Hitler Almost Killed
November 9, 1939: The Venlo Incident
November 10, 1939: Dutch Panic
November 11, 1939: Poignant Armistice Day
November 12, 1939: Peace Efforts Made and Rejected
November 13, 1939: First Bombing of Great Britain
November 14, 1939: The Dyle Plan
November 15, 1939: Elser Confesses to the Bürgerbräukeller Bombing
November 16, 1939: Martial Law in Prague
November 17, 1939: International Students Day
November 18, 1939: Magnetic Mines
November 19, 1939: Walls Around the Warsaw Ghetto
November 20, 1939: First RN Submarine Victory
November 21, 1939: Salmon & Gluckstein on the Prowl
November 22, 1939: British Recover A Magnetic Mine
November 23, 1939: HMS Rawalpindi Sunk
November 24, 1939: Japanese Enter Nanning
November 25, 1939: The Olympics are a War Casualty
November 26, 1939: Soviets Stage an "Incident" at Mainila
November 27, 1939: German Marriage Becomes Perilous
November 28, 1939: Judenrats in Poland
November 29, 1939: The Soviets Prepare to Invade Finland
November 30, 1939: Winter War Begins


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