Skip to comments.BRITISH CALL NORWAY REMISS IN DUTY; DEMAND EXPLANATION ON ALTMARK (2/19/40)
Posted on 02/19/2010 5:22:27 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Books of the Times - 7-8
Reviews - The New World Order and Travels of a Republican Radical in Search of Hot Water, by H.G. Wells
Best Sellers of the Week Here and Elsewhere *
* Checking this feature once a quarter or so will help us keep tabs on our popular culture as we move along. Here is the list from last October for comparison. (Image #6.)
Mein Kampf was a best seller back in October. I guess everybody is up to speed on Hitlers trip by now. The Grapes of Wrath continues quite popular. I dont see Capt. Horatio Hornblower on any of todays lists, but it must be doing OK since there was a full-page ad for it in yesterdays (Sundays) book review supplement. Some new best sellers since October: Kitty Foyle, by Christopher Morley, is hot all across the fruited plain. Your Income Tax is on a few of the non-fiction lists. The Nazarene, by Sholem Asch, is big on the fiction lists. And in Atlanta, How to Play Winning Checkers, by Millard Hopper, is #2.
Soviet tanks break Finnish line
Monday, February 19, 1940 www.onwar.com
The Winter War... The Finnish intermediate defense line is broken in some places by Soviet tank attacks.
From Stockholm... King Gustav announces his support for his government’s decision to refuse Finland military aid. He says: “from the first hour I informed Finland that she unfortunately could not count on military intervention from Sweden.”
In Berlin... Hitler orders more rapid progress with Operation Weserubung, the codename for the invasion of Norway and Denmark.
February 19th, 1940
UNITED KINGDOM: RAF Bomber Command: Daylight reconnaissance - Heligoland area. 102 Sqn. Two aircraft. No ships sighted. Heavy opposition from shore batteries.
Night-time reconnaissance of the Heligoland Bight. Ice-bound German warships bombed by 18 Wellingtons in bad weather.
RAF Fighter Command: Four trawlers were attacked off north-east Scotland by a single Luftwaffe aircraft. The German bomber was driven off by the trawlers’ machine-guns.
GERMANY: Chancellor Adolf Hitler orders more rapid progress with Operation Weserubung, the code name for the invasion of Norway and Denmark. (Jack McKillop)
SWEDEN: King Gustav announces his support for his government’s decision to refuse Finland military aid. He says “from the first hour I informed Finland that she unfortunately could not count on military intervention from Sweden.” (Jack McKillop)
FINLAND: Newly promoted Lt. Gen. Erik Heinrichs relieves Lt. Gen. Hugo Österman as the commander of the Isthmus Army (Kannaksen Armeija). The situation at the Isthmus has considerably worsened since the Soviet breakthrough of Mannerheim line, and now the Red Army has also punctured the second line of defence. Mannerheim, who had expected the second line to hold far longer, refuses all requests for a retreat to the third line of defence (which was, like the second line, in reality more a line on a paper than an actual fortified line). Österman advocates a more flexible approach, and is supported by the forceful commander of IInd Corps, Lt. Gen. Harald Öhquist, whose men bear the brunt of fighting.
These disagreements are exarberated by the desperate situation, and finally Österman has to ask for a sick leave. This is what happened as told by Heinrichs years later:
In morning of 19 February Mannerheim rung to Heinrichs (who was the commander of the IIIrd Corps) and told him to go without delay to Imatra to the HQ of Isthmus Army. “I have nominated the General [Heinrichs] from this day on the commander of Isthmus Army.” Heinrichs asked what had happened to Österman. “He’s sick and can no more hold the command.” answered Mannerheim. In afternoon Heinrichs arrived at Imatra and went to Österman’s HQ. Österman sat there behind his table. When Heinrichs asked how he was, Österman answered he’s well. No, he wasn’t sick. No, he hadn’t heard that Heinrichs was to replace him. Heinrichs told him what Manerheim had told him. “Well, I guess I’m sick if the Marshal [Mannerheim] says so.” answered Österman and began to write his resignation.
Mannerheim was well known for his reluctance to tell bad news to people in person, and often delegated these responsibilities to others. And he was also notorious for his ability to hold grudges: if Mannerheim felt, fairly or unfairly, that an officer had let him down in one way or other, the officer in question usually found his career stopped dead. Gen. Österman never again held a front command. Gen. Öhquist subsequently was made CO of the Isthmus Group in the Continuation War from January 1942 to March 1944.
On this day also a new Ist Corps is founded to hold the line at the middle Isthmus. Its commander is Maj. Gen. Taavetti Laatikainen.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: The destroyer HMS Daring is torpedoed, with the loss of 157 lives.
SS Tiberton sunk by U-23. (Dave Shirlaw)
Day 172 February 19, 1940
Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmers rampage in U-23 continues, after sinking HMS Daring yesterday. At 4.05 AM, British steamer SS Tiberton, carrying iron ore from Norway, is hit with 1 torpedo east of the Orkney Islands, Scotland. She sinks in 30 seconds with all 33 crew. http://www.uboat.net/allies/merchants/ships/271.html
Finland. In a repeat of the battles of late Dec 1939, a Soviet division attacks across the ice of frozen Lake Suvanto (in the Taipale sector, near Lake Lagoda on the Eastern end of the Karelian Isthmus). Again, Finnish defenders punish the Soviets with concentrated artillery fire, leaving 700-1,000 dead on the ice.
Alarmed by the Altmark incident on Feb 16, Hitler increases the pace of planning for the invasion of Norway and Denmark.
Karelian Isthmus: in Taipale, Finnish troops repulse the strongest enemy assault so far: this particular assault was concentrated on the Terenttilä strongholds. The bodies of 300 Russian soldiers are left lying in the trenches.
Finns beat back strong enemy assault in Taipale