Skip to comments.HOUSE VOTES 7 BILLION FUND, 337 TO 55, WITHOUT A CHANGE (3/20/41)
Posted on 03/20/2011 6:47:08 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Yugoslav ministers resign in protest
Thursday, March 20, 1941 www.onwar.com
In Belgrade... In a meeting of the Royal Council it becomes clear that Regent Paul is ready to agree to Hitler’s demand that Yugoslavia join the Tripartite Pact and allow free passage of German troops. Four ministers resign in protest.
March 20th, 1941
RAF Bomber Command: 2 Group: While attacking a convoy off France one aircraft of 82 Sqn. and its crew are lost.
Telegram from Admiralty to C-in-C Mediterranean:
A. Argus is embarking 2 Skuas and 12 Hurricanes for Malta.
B. These are to transferred to Ark Royal at Gibraltar.
C. A signal will follow giving ... flying-off plan from long. 6 degrees 30 minutes east.
Plymouth: The King and Queen spent the day in Plymouth as guests of Lord Mayor Waldorf Astor and his wife, Lady Nancy Astor, MP. They talked to citizens, visited headquarters of various services, inspected defenses, and made a tour of the city. After tea with the Astors at their home at 3 Elliot Terrace, the King and Queen left on a train at 6 p.m. As they were boarding, the alert sounded. Nobody paid much attention, because until then Plymouth had only seen occasional bomb damage.
At 8:30 p.m., the Astors and their remaining guests, including Robert Menzies, Australian Prime Minister, heard the guns start. After a bomb smashed the whole of one side of the street, an air raid warden ordered everybody into basements, where the party spent the rest of the night. An incendiary bomb fell on the roof, and everybody started going up and down the stairs to dump sandbags on it. Most of the central city was destroyed.
What was left of the city centre was destroyed the next night. Heavy raids continued until October.
Some reporter asked Lady Astor on March 21 what was the strangest sight she saw during the raid. She said she saw very little because she was in the basement most of the time, but once on the stairs she looked out a window: “At the height of the raid I saw a man who walked along calmly exercising two dogs.” (58)(Carter Jefferson)
Minesweeping trawler HMS Romeo launched.
Minesweeping trawler HMS Juliet commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: Daily Keynote from the Reich Press Chief:
The remarks of Colonel Lindbergh stating that the United States has barely as many combat-ready aircraft as Germany produces in a single week, would (we are told) lend itself well to commentary by the German press and the translating and interpreting service.
Hitler appoints Alfred Rosenberg “Delegate for Central Planning for Questions of the Eastern European Area.”
YUGOSLAVIA: In a meeting of the Royal Council it becomes clear that the regent, Prince Paul, is ready to agree to Hitler’s demand that Yugoslavia join the Tripartite Pact and allow free passage of German troops across the country. Four ministers resign in protest. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.S.R.: Moscow: General F I Golikov, chief of army intelligence, assures Stalin that while Britain remains undefeated, Hitler will never attack the USSR.
LIBYA: Australian troops begin an assault on Giarabub, 140 miles (225 kilometres) south of Bardia. (Jack McKillop)
BRITISH SOMALILAND: The small British force that landed at Berbera on 16 March and elements of the 11th African Division meet at Hargeisa near the Ethiopian border. (Jack McKillop)
AUSTRALIA: A US Naval squadron comprising two cruisers and five destroyers pays a visit to Australia and New Zealand. It is commanded by Admiral Newton who, at a dinner given by the Commonwealth government to himself and his officers, declared that the US was behind Britain and her dominions in their great fight for freedom. American sailors and marines who marched through Sydney followed by detachments of militia and the Royal Australian Air Force, receive a tremendous welcome from the people of the city.
This was Vice Admiral John H Newton, Jr, then Commander, Cruisers, Scouting Force, Pacific Fleet. Apparently, the voyage was quite hush-hush at the US end; I had no idea the Australians “blew the cover” by public festivities. The voyage was not covered by the American press. (Marc Small)
CANADA: Patrol vessels HMCS Leelo and Moolock ordered.
Minesweepers HMCS Truro and Digby laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: A Gallup poll published today shows that 17% of the people would vote for war, and that 83% would vote to stay out.
Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles meets with the Soviet Ambassador Oumansky. In a report on the meeting, Welles writes, The Ambassador asked if I had any further information in confirmation of what I stated to him secretly in our last interview, namely, that this Government believed that Germany was planning to attack the Soviet Union. I said that I had additional information in confirmation of that report. (Jack McKillop)
Sabotage discovered on Italian vessel at Wilmington, North Carolina. Coast Guard investigated all Italian and German vessels in American ports and took 28 Italian (27 damaged). 2 German (1 damaged) and 35 undamaged Danish vessels into protective custody, 850 Italian and 63 German officers and crew were imprisoned. Two months later these vessels were requisitioned by order of Congress for the Latin American trade. (Dave Shirlaw)
TERRITORY OF HAWAII: Admiral Bloch states in a letter that the depth of water at Pearl Harbor is 45 feet, and for that and other reasons, he does not recommend anti-torpedo baffles. CinCPac agrees, until such time as a light efficient net is developed. (Al Nofi from this website http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/pha/narrative/07.html.)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: HMS Malaya is now with convoy SL68 off the west coast of Africa. Torpedoed and damaged by U-106, she becomes the first British ship repaired in the United States under Lend-Lease arrangements. The convoy loses seven merchantmen to the U-boats.
Tug HMS Sir Bevois lost; cause unknown. (Dave Shirlaw)
Day 567 March 20, 1941
Indian troops advance 100 miles from Berbera to Hargeisa, British Somaliland. British and Dominions troops, under Generals Cunningham and Platt, are now in position to attack the heart of Italian East Africa, Ethiopia.
550 miles West of Nouakchott, Mauritania, U-106 takes over the attack on convoy SL-68. At 11.23 PM, U-106 torpedoes Dutch SS Meerkerk and British battleship HMS Malaya (no casualties). SS Meerkerk is slightly damaged and returns to Freetown under her own steam. HMS Malaya is listing badly due to flooding and sails to Port of Spain, Trinidad, escorted by corvette HMS Crocus (then to New York, USA, for repairs lasting 4 months).
Tankers Bianca and San Casimiro (captured 5 days ago by German battlecruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst) are spotted by British aircraft from carrier HMS Ark Royal and approached by battleship HMS Renown. German prize crews scuttle the tankers but 46 British prisoners are rescued and the German sailors are taken prisoner.
Generalleutnant Erwin Rommel receives Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross from Adolf Hitler.
German bombing sinks British tugs HMS Sir Bevois (9 killed) and Elan plus steamer Mari II at Plymouth. British trawler Bianca is destroyed in the Irish Sea when she snags a German aerial torpedo or bomb in her nets (5 killed).
Confidential 20 March 1941.
From: Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District.
To : The Chief of Naval Operations.
Subject: Anti-torpedo baffles for protection against torpedo plane attacks.
Reference: (a) CNO Classified Itr serial 010230 of February 17. 1941.
1. In reply to reference (a) the following comment and recommendation on anti-torpedo baffles for vessels moored in Pearl Harbor is submitted.
(a) The depth of water in and alongside available berths in Pearl Harbor does not exceed forty-five (45) feet.
(b) There is limited maneuvering area in Pearl Harbor for vessels approaching and leaving berths which prevents the departure of a large group of vessels on short notice.
(c) Most of the available berths are located close aboard the main ship channels, which are crossed by cable and pipe lines as well as ferry routes. The installation of baffles for the fleet moorings would have to be so extensive that most of the entire channel area would be restricted.
2. Other harbors in the Fourteenth Naval District have a water depth limitation similar to Pearl Harbor.
3. In view of the foregoing the Commandant does not recommend the installation of baffles for moorings in Pearl Harbor or other harbors in the Fourteenth Naval District.
C. C. Bloch.
cc: to CINCPACIFIC
Since the depth of Pearl is only 45 feet and the degree in which the harbor would be restricted by ant-torpedo baffles were deciding factors in their recommendation not to install this protection for the ships. This will have some serious consequences later.