Traveler, writer, reviewer, all-round observer. I like anything cool & fast, but occasionally sit at a cafe watching the world go by.
February 20-23, 1940
While Russia and Germany fan the flames of war in the Atlantic and Europe, your Roving Reporter brings you the news as it happens to give you folks at home the stories of the day…
‘Misfortunes For Germany’
Under the command of Capt. Gunter Kutschmann, the German submarine U-54 goes missing in the North Sea. Suspecting it might have been a mine that caused the incident, all 41 sailors are presumed dead. In another German misfortune, their Luftwaffe attacked 6 of their own destroyers as they were conducting night operations in the North Sea, mistaking them for a convoy of British ships. The Leberecht Maass was sunk after being hit by 2 bombs, killing 282 out of 342 sailors, and the Max Schultz was destroyed after hitting a mine while taking evasive actions, killing all 308 aboard. Despite this, German attacks on merchant vessels continue. The Dutch steamer Tara and the British steamer Loch Maddy were both torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic. But today, the British destroyer HMS Gurkha scored a victory when it sunk the German submarine U-53 with depth charges in the North Sea, killing all 42 aboard.
‘Winter Takes Toll On Russia’
Showing signs that invading Finland during the winter was a bad idea, a heavy Soviet attack across the frozen river Taipale on Feb 20 were fought off by the Finns. The following day, Finland was saved from another attack as a blizzard hindered the Russians in their attempt at the Karelian Isthmus. And the encircled 34th Moscow Tank Brigade near Kitelae, the Ladoga Front, is barely surviving as they ate the last of their pack horses, and aircraft had to drop supplies such as starvation rations and rusks. But the other day, Russian forces did succeed in their assault on the Koivisto Islands from the mainland. Before withdrawing across the Viipurinlahti Bay under the cover of a snowstorm, the Finnish garrison stationed there destroyed the guns and fortifications, denying the Russians of any much needed supplies. Meanwhile, just 5 miles across the Finnish border, 7 Soviet aircraft bombed the village of Pajala, Sweden yesterday. Responding to Swedish protests of the attack, the TASS news agency described the reports as “mendacious and malicious allegations.”
‘Coal Shortage In England’
Due to the severe winter season, England proceeded with emergency measures to conserve coal, which includes reduced passenger rail service. Meanwhile, uncaring of the impending dangers with Germany, the IRA explode a bomb on Oxford Street in London, seriously injuring seven. In other news, RAF Squadron Leader Douglas Farquhar took the very first British gun-camera footage of the air war while shooting down a German Heinkel He 111 over Coldingham, England. And cheers engulfed the air today as 700 sailors from the HMS Ajax and Exeter march to London’s Guildhall to celebrate their victory over the Graf Spee during the Battle of the River Plate off the coast of Uruguay and Argentina -the first naval battle during this Second World War which took place in December.
“…never in the field of human conflict, were so much owed by so many to so few…” Winston Churchill
(various air battles caught on gun-camera film, with a speech from Winston Churchill expressing the British resolve against the Nazis, and urging the Americans to help defeat Hitler)
‘Tibet Enthrones 6-Year Old’
At the tender age of 6, Dalai Lama Jampel Ngawang Lobsang Yishey Tenzing Gyatso was enthroned in Lhasa, Tibet yesterday, Feb 22. I am told that his name means Tender Glory, Mighty in Speech, Excellent Intellect, Absolute Wisdom, Holding to the Doctrine, and Ocean Wide.
That’s it for now. Your Roving Reporter, Aki Solomos, signing off.