Skip to comments.BARDIA FALLS TO BRITISH ASSAULT; 25,000 TROOPS, 6 GENERALS SEIZED (1/6/41)
Posted on 01/06/2011 5:33:09 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Winston S. Churchill, The Grand Alliance
Roosevelt talks of four freedoms
Monday, January 6, 1941 www.onwar.com
In Washington... President Roosevelt, in his State of the Union message, talks of four essential freedoms, of speech and worship and from fear and want. He again refers to the United States as the “arsenal of democracy.”
In North Africa... Advance units of the Allied force reach the outer defenses of Tobruk after taking El Adem airfield to the south. Patrols to examine the Italian defenses begin immediately. The Tobruk garrison is 25,000 men with 220 guns and 70 tanks. General Mannella is in command. There are other Italian units still in positions farther west in Libya.
January 6th, 1941
UNITED KINGDOM: London: Churchill today promised that Britain would go to the help of Greece in the event of a German advance in the Balkans. In a letter to the Chiefs of Staff Committee the Prime Minister says: “It is quite clear to me that supporting Greece must have priority after the western flank of Egypt has been secured.”
He says that more Hurricane squadrons should be sent from the Middle East along with some artillery regiments and “some or all of the tanks of the 2nd Armoured Division, now arrived and working up in leisurely fashion in Egypt.”
Corvette HMS Dianella commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Malta Convoy: Operation ‘Excess’ - Another complex series of convoy movements around Malta lead to carrier HMS Illustrious being badly damaged and the RN losing its comparative freedom of operation in the Eastern Mediterranean. This follows the arrival of the Luftwaffe in Sicily.
‘Excess’ leaves Gibraltar for Malta and Greece covered by Force H. At the same time the Mediterranean Fleet from Alexandria prepares to cover ships to Malta and bring empty ones out. Mediterranean Fleet cruisers HMS Gloucester and HMS Southampton carry troops to Malta and then carry on west to meet ‘Excess’. Force H returns to Gibraltar.
Ju87s of the Luftwaffe’s X, Fliegerkorps under General Geisler begin operating out of Sicily.
LIBYA: Advance units of the Allied force reach the outer defenses of Tobruk after taking El Adem airfield to the south. Patrols to examine the Italian defenses begin immediately. The Tobruk garrison is 25,000 men with 220 guns and 70 tanks. Lieutenant General Enrico P. Manella is in command. There are other Italian units still in positions farther west in Libya. (Jack McKillop)
Wavell flies to Khartoum to see Platt and urge him to bring forward his attack on the Italians in Eritrea, now assisted by 4th Indian Division. He also sees Haile Selassie to discuss he re-entry to his country.
SOUTH AFRICA: The heavy cruiser USS Louisville (CA-28) departs Simonstown for New York, having taken on board US$148,342,212.55 in British gold for deposit in U.S. banks. (Considering inflation, that is over US$1.9 trillion in year 2002 dollars.) (Jack McKillop)
CHINA: The Chinese buy the Curtiss P-40B fighters used until now by the American Flying Tigers. (Chuck Baisden)
U.S.A.: Washington: President Roosevelt today promised that the United States would serve as an arsenal for the democracies, and would support all those who struggle on behalf of the four freedoms: freedom of speech and of religion, freedom from want and from fear. He also proposed that the United States should not lend money to Great Britain, but should supply weapons to be paid for after the war was over.
The President said that Britain and its allies did not need American manpower. They did need billions of dollars’ worth of weapons. The time was near, the President went on, when the Allies would not be able to pay for those weapons in ready cash: “We cannot and we will not tell them they must surrender because of their present inability to pay for weapons which we know they must have.” The President therefore did not recommend to Congress that the United States should grant Britain and the Allies loans which would have to be repaid in dollars.
“I recommend,” he said, “that we make it possible for those nations to continue to obtain war materials in the United States, fitting their orders into our own programme.” Mr Roosevelt said that he spoke at a moment of unprecedented danger in American history.
“The democratic way of life,” he said “ is at this moment being directly assailed either by arms or by the secret spreading of poisonous propaganda.” Recalling the example of Norway, he said that German agents might seize strategic points in America.
Boston: MIT, A prototype centimetric radar is operational on the roof of the Radiation Laboratory, three weeks after work started on the project. (Cris Wetton)
Destroyers USS Fitch and Forrest laid down.
Battleship USS Missouri laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: SS Empire Thunder, a straggler from convoy OB-269 due to an engine breakdown, was torpedoed and sunk by U-124 NNE of Rockall. Nine crewmembers were lost. The master and 29 crewmembers were picked up by the armed boarding vessel HMS Kingston Onyx and landed at Stornoway, Hebrides on 8 January. (Dave Shirlaw)
Day 494 January 6, 1941
Albania. Overnight, Greek destroyers shell the Albanian port of Vlorë. 20 miles South, Italian destroyers Alfieri, Carducci, Fulmine and Gioberti plus torpedo boats Partenope, Pallade, Romeda and Altair shell Greek positions on the Albanian coast at Porto Palmermo. The Greek offensive against Italian positions in the mountains of Albania reaches the strategically important Klisura Pass on the river Vjosë, which will allow Greek forces in the center of the front to link up with troops on the coast. They meet stiff Italian resistance, including the new Fiat-Ansaldo M13/40 tanks which are devastated by Greek artillery.
Operation Compass. British 4th Armoured Division advances 50 miles from Bardia to take Belhamed to the East of Tobruk and the airfield at El Adem (8 miles South of Tobruk) unopposed. They also probe another 10 miles further to Acroma, West of Tobruk.
At 11.37 AM, U-124 sinks British SS Empire Thunder 200 miles Northwest of Outer Hebrides, Scotland (9 killed, 30 crew picked up by British armed boarding vessel HMS Kingston Onyx). British destroyers HMS Mashona and Sikh collide in the naval base at Scapa Flow, Scotland.
Convoy Excess (British steamers Essex, Clan Cumming, Clan Macdonald & Empire Song) leaves Gibraltar bound for Malta and Greece, escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Bonaventure (carrying 400 troops) and destroyers HMS Hereward, Jaguar, Hasty & Hero. British cruisers HMS Gloucester & Southampton, escorted by destroyers HMS Ilex & Janus, depart Alexandria, Egypt, at 1.15 PM to carry 510 Army & RAF personnel to Malta and to meet Excess convoy.
German raider Kormoran stops Greek steamer Antonis in the Atlantic, 200 miles Northwest of Cape Verde Islands. Antonis is scuttled when 4,800 tons of British coal is found on board. All 29 crew and 7 sheep are taken on board Kormoran. The sheep are cooked and the crew taken prisoner.
Is that the type of plane that crashed in California?
"I am certainly very fortunate to have been promoted and even more fortunate to be in temporary command of a division. With any luck I hope to get this temporary command made permanent." - George S. Patton to Major General Frank R. McCoy
He is also downplaying the 2nd's success in the maneuvers completed last month.
"I fear we did not do so well as the papers imagine but I do feel that the 2d Armored Division can be said to be ready and willing to fight whenever the country may need us." - George S. Patton to Edward E. Wilcox, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin
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