1940

Dec

21

1940

Liverpool Blitzed

Liverpool after the raids in 1941. No city outside London suffered from the attentions of the Luftwaffe as much as Liverpool

Liverpool was probably the most important, wartime mercantile port, the destination of many convoys from America. Furthermore it was easy to locate by air, with the lights of Dublin burning across the Irish Sea. It had already received much attention from the Luftwaffe. On the night of the 28th November one direct hit on a shelter at Durning Street had killed at least 166 people…

Dec

20

1940

North African campaign boosts morale

An Italian position destroyed during Operation Compass. The military success was welcome news in Britain.

What made people happiest was the perfect timing, slickness, and coordination of the attack, showing that the bitter lessons of France and Flanders have been well and truly learned. “Speed” and “brilliance” had been ruefully looked upon as exclusively Nazi nouns for so long that it was certainly heady to find them back in the British vocabulary again.

Dec

19

1940

The Italian base at Bardia besieged

A Matilda II tank of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment in the Western Desert, 19 December 1940.

With each passing second we drew closer to the defences, and what an opportunity this was to penetrate them before the ‘gate’ was closed. I gave the order to advance with all speed and as my tank was on the road, I was soon well in the lead. We could not have been more than half a mile from the barrier when the whole desert seemed to erupt about me.

Dec

18

1940

Hitler gives the order for Barbarossa

Adolf Hitler attends a Christmas party in December 1940 with Sepp Dietrich, seated to left of micrphone, SS Obergruppenfuhrer with the Waffen SS. Ditetrich had been an early Nazi party member and had demonstrated his loyalty to Hitler with murder of SA members during the NIght of the Long Knives.

And even today the unified racial core in Germany remains the largest by far; not only in value, in itself highly significant, but also in numbers, it is the greatest. By contrast, if we compare the percentage of Lebensraum occupied by the German Volk to that of the earth as such, then we must remark that our Volk is one of the most disadvantaged peoples of the world. … In other words: the German Volk, in terms of the space it occupies, is by far the most modest there is on this earth

Dec

17

1940

Roosevelt explains the need for ‘Lend-Lease’

The United States had already agreed to supply Britain with 50 old destroyers in exchange for use of Naval bases in the Caribbean. Roosevelt's proposal now went a lot further.

Suppose my neighbor’s home catches fire, and I have a length of garden hose four or five hundred feet away. If he can take my garden hose and connect it up with his hydrant, I may help him to put out his fire. Now, what do I do? I don’t say to him before that operation, “Neighbor, my garden hose cost me $15; you have to pay me $15 for it.” What is the transaction that goes on? I don’t want $15—I want my garden hose back after the fire is over.

Dec

16

1940

RAF bombing raid starts fires burning in Mannheim

Aerial image of effects of bombing on Mannheim

‘the sole objective was the industrial centre of Mannheim on which 108 tons of highexplosive and over 13,000 incendiary bombs were dropped. Countless fires were started and aircraft which arrived late in the night reported that many blocks in the Western and South-Eastern areas were ablaze. Aircraft visited the town on the two following nights and reported many fires still burning after the previous attacks, and smoke hanging over the town.’

Dec

15

1940

HMS Thunderbolt sinks Italian submarine

HMS Thunderbolt started out as HMS Thetis which had sunk during sea trials in 1939. The salvaged boat had been renamed and was now very much operational.

When 130 degrees on the U-Boat’s starboard quarter, periscope range estimated to be 4,000 yards, the disposition of the trawlers was thought to be reminiscent of the start of an A/S exercise. Thunderbolt therefore allowed the enemy a low nominal speed of 6 knots, and altered a few degrees to reach the firing course. Commencing at 0920, six torpedoes were fired at 12 second intervals, an alteration of three degrees to port being made after the third torpedo.

Dec

14

1940

Australian troops replace Indians in the Desert

Troops from the 4th Indian Division in Egypt. They had been in the thick of the battle during the early part of the campaign.

The decision was now made to continue the pursuit of the Italians forces into Libya. Intelligence had been discovered that showed that they had hugely overestimated the British forces that they faced. They were now falling back in disarray. Advanced elements of the British forces led by the 11th Hussars were now way out in the desert, travelling parallel to the main coast road. On the 14th December they crossed the coast road to the west of the Italian base at Bardia. Soon another huge Italian force would be trapped in their coastal garrison.

Dec

13

1940

Sheffield blitzed

The centre of Sheffield on fire

An attack lasting nearly nine hours was made on the night of the 12th-13th and was concentrated mainly on the centre, north-west and south-east of the City. Although over 200 incidents were reported, the main Steel Valley largely escaped, and onlv four cases of substantial damage have been reported. The attack on the night of the 15th-16th lasted three hours, and was mainly in the east and east centre; many factories were hit, but only nine of these suffered substantial damage.

Dec

12

1940

Italian Air Force bombed in the Desert

Indian troops encounter the remains of the Italian Air Force as they advance, in this case a Sa

Still heavier attacks by combined forces of Blenheims and Wellingtons from Egypt were made on Benina and El Adem aerodromes, where concentrations of enemy aircraft were known to exist. Considerable damage was caused to hangars, administrative buildings, bomb and petrol dumps and aircraft on the ground. It is believed that at Castel Beninto alone thirty-five aircraft were destroyed or damaged. Repeated daylight attacks have also been made on other enemy aerodromes and landing grounds.