Aki Solomos

Traveler, writer, reviewer, all-round observer. I like anything cool & fast, but occasionally sit at a cafe watching the world go by.

NEWS FLASH – Feb. 25-28, 1940 – The Roving Reporter, Aki Solomos, Covering The News 75 Years Ago Today

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In honor of WWII and the courageous vets of the time, this is my reporting and take of the news, 75 years ago today

February 25-28, 1940
As Russia continues to push, and Germany plans their next move, your Roving Reporter brings you the news as it happens to give you folks at home the stories of the day…

‘Brits Prepares For War’

1940 RCAF poster

1940 RCAF poster

In England, the first Auxiliary Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force arrived the other day. It’s safe to say that more are expected to come during these trying times as Germany threatens to swallow up Europe. Out at sea, while escorting a convoy from Norway to Scotland, the vigilant British submarine HMS Narwhal spotted the German submarine U-63. For 2 hours, four destroyers attacked the Uboat with depth charges until it was forced to surface. Scuttling their submarine 100 miles off the coast of Scotland, 24 Germans were captured. And being careful to protect against the warmongering Nazis, the Germans were fooled with false reports, safeguarding the actual route of the passenger liner RMS Queen Elizabeth as she left Glasgow, Scotland on her way to New York for her final fitting.

RMS Queen Elizabeth in NY Harbor 1940

RMS Queen Elizabeth in NY Harbor 1940

‘Soviets Continue Attacks On Finland’

Finnish Ski Troops in defensive position during the Winter War 1940

Finnish Ski Troops in defensive position during the Winter War 1940

Despite their demands of exchanging their withdrawal from Petsamo, for relinquishing the Karelian Isthmus, the shores of Lake Ladoga, and a 30-year lease on the Hango Peninsula with a mutual assistance treaty, the Soviets continue their attacks on Finland and broke through the second line of defense on the Karelian Isthmus. Near Viipuri, west of Helsinki, the Finnish 23rd Division counterattacked in the Battle of Honkaniemi. Although losing all 8 light tanks, 3 heavy Soviet tanks were destroyed. The following day, while Soviet troops attempted to surround the Finns, Lt. General Erik Heinrichs ordered his troops to withdraw into Viipuri from their defensive positions. As a result of Norway’s and Sweden’s refusal to assist, 300 Finnish children evacuated to Stockholm, Sweden. During the push and pull attacks, the Finns also evacuated the Koivisto coastal fortress which lies to the right of the Mannerheim Line. As a show of compassion though, Finnish attacks eased off to allow over 2700 wounded Russian soldiers to retreat on foot. 1000 out of 1250 retreating south survived the trek, while 1500 that attempted to escape east were killed by Finnish ski troops. In contrast, the starving 34th Moscow Tank Brigade near Kitelae were overrun by the Finns, capturing over 300 trucks, cars, and tanks. And finally, good news for Finland came in the form of the Swedish Volunteers Corps as they took up their position on the front line at Salla, in northern Finland, and under the command of Lt. Kermit Roosevelt, son of Teddy Roosevelt, the first group of British volunteers also arrived to help in the effort to fend off the invading Soviets.

British RAF Blenheim bomber towed by horses in FInland 1940

British RAF Blenheim bomber towed by horses in FInland 1940

‘U.S. Tries Diplomacy’
With a tour scheduled to end on March 20, US Envoy Sumner Welles begins his series of meetings with European leaders, which include Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini, Reynaud, and the Pope, offering US mediation. Meanwhile, the US War Department brings in Brigadier General James Chaney for the newly activated Air Defense Command.

US Envoy Sumner Welles with Winston Churchill and Joseph Kennedy 1940

US Envoy Sumner Welles with Winston Churchill and Joseph Kennedy 1940

That’s it for now. Your Roving Reporter, Aki Solomos, signing off.

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