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February 6th, 1939 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Destroyer HMS KHARTOUM is launched.

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6 February 1940

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February 6th, 1940 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM:
London: An IRA bomb explodes at Euston station injuring four people.

Westminster: Pressure from the admiralty led to new guidelines for BBC war reporting being agreed at Broadcasting House today. From now on the sinking of a small ship may be mentioned only once on a BBC news bulletin. Sinkings of larger ships, like the Canadian Pacific freighter 'Beaverburn', sunk today, may still be mentioned in consecutive bulletins. The government is worried by the rising effectiveness of German U-boats, and fears that zealous reporting by the BBC will give the impression that British losses are even greater than they are.

A nationwide campaign to stamp out war gossip has been launched under the slogan "Careless Talk Costs Lives." The Ministry of Information is distributing 2.5 million posters to offices, hotels, shops, banks and public houses about the dangers of giving information to enemy sympathisers.
'Punch' cartoonist "Fougasse" (Kenneth Bird) has been drafted into put humour into the message with a series of cartoons showing Hitler eavesdropping from train luggage racks, telephone kiosks or concealed in framed portraits on the walls. Artist Norman Wilkinson has painted a torpedoed ship sinking with the reminder "A few careless words may end in this" and a seductive siren listening in at an officers club with the caption "Keep mum, she's not so dumb." The posters are snappier than an earlier MoI effort which read: "Do not discuss anything which might be of national importance. The consequence of any such indiscretion may be the loss of many lives."

Women who turned out of their beds at dawn yesterday to help drag a north-east coast lifeboat a mile across land before it could be launched showed the determination and energy which there is to be tapped by war industries.
Talks between Ernest Brown, the Minister of Labour and National Service, and the National Executive of the Amalgamated Engineering Union began yesterday to work out ways of speeding up the supply of women workers to the ammunition factories. Pressure is also growing for equal pay to be given to new recruits.

The government produces a white paper on the SS Asamu Maru incident where the British light cruiser HMS Liverpool stopped the passenger liner on 21 January 35 miles (56 kilometres) off the Japanese coast and removed 21 German citizens from the ship. 

SS Anu struck a mine laid on 12 Dec 1939 by U-13 in the entrance to River Tay and sank.

The Government issues new regulations regarding the start of Summer Time. The original Summer Time order stated that the clock would be advanced from 0200 hours Greenwich Mean Time on the day following the third Saturday in April, i.e., 21 April 1940. The new order changes the start date of Summer Time to the day after the fourth Saturday in February, i.e., 24 February 1940.

Destroyer HMS Pakenham laid down.

Tug HMS Alligator commissioned.

NORWAY:  German freighter SS Konsul Horn, which had departed Aruba, Netherlands West Indies, on 7 January, reaches Norwegian waters having eluded or deceived the U.S. Neutrality Patrol as well as British and French warships. 

U.S.A.: The Radio Corporation of America (RCA), the owner of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), demonstrates an electronic color television system to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) but the results are poor and a public demonstration is cancelled. 

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6 February 1941

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February 6th, 1941 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM:

Minesweeping trawler HMS Coriolanus commissioned.

Destroyer HMS Quantock commissioned.

GERMANY: Hitler offers Rommel command of a new formation to be made up of the 5th Light Division and 15 Panzer Division and intended for operations in North Africa. This force was designated Afrika Korps and equipped with PzKw III and IV tanks. The operation will be codenamed 'Sunflower'

Berlin: Hitler issues his War Directive No. 23 - Directions for Operations against the English War Economy. It says that the bombing campaign has had "least effect of all, so far as we can see, on the morale and the will to resist of the English people. No decisive success can be expected from terror attacks on residential areas."

However, bombing is to be intensified on shipping and the ports to inflict the greatest possible damage on the British economy "and also to give the impression that an invasion is planned for this year."

U-176 laid down.

U-556 commissioned.

 

LIBYA: 4th Armoured Brigade arrive to strike the blocked Italians in the flank at Beda Fomm further north than Combeforce. The Italians fought hard and bravely throughout the day but by evening their position was desperate. 7th Armoured pinned down a mass of vehicles and men in complete confusion along some 20 miles of the one possible escape road from Solluch to Agedabia. In repeated attempts to break through the Italians lost more than 80 tanks.

O'Connor orders a fast-moving detachment - about a brigade group in strength - along the main road from Barce to Benghazi and on to Ghemines, to complete the encirclement of the Italians.

Benghazi: British and Australian troops enter the town.

 

Telegram from HQ RAF ME to the Air Ministry:

We continue to attack Italian Air Force and harass his retreating army, Cyrenaica, Abyssinia and Eritrea. Every available operational aircraft, including Gauntlets, employed full intensity.

Only squadron with defensive role is No. 33 Hurricane defending Alexandria and Suez Canal, where German mine laying has sunk three ships in the canal and temporarily blocked it.

There is a great shortage of spares, tools and equipment of all sorts ... no less than 32 Merlins now in depots awaiting spares before overhauls can commence. ...behind programme in Blenheims (over 90). Mohawks out of sight with major engine defect and Tomahawks unknown quantity.

AUSTRALIA: Destroyer HMAS Quickmatch laid down.

U.S.A.: Washington: John Gilbert Winant is appointed the new ambassador to Britain. 

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The Canadian United Towing and Salvage Co. merchantman Maplecourt (3,388 GRT) was sunk west of Northern Ireland in position 55.39N, 015.56W, by U-107, Kptlt GŁnther Hessler, Knight’s Cross, CO. All of her thirty-seven crewmembers and DEMS gunners were lost. Maplecourt had been travelling in Convoy SC-20 and was bound for Preston, England. She was one of four ships sunk by U-107 on her first combat patrol. Although Maplecourt was a member of convoy SC-20, most sources indicate that SC-20 arrived in Liverpool on 08 Feb 41 with all of its 38 ships intact. This probably indicates that she was either a ‘straggler’ or she had already detached and was proceeding independently for her destination. British records do not indicate convoy losses for ships that were lost outside of the main body of the convoy.

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6 February 1942

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February 6th, 1942 (FRIDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Corvettes HMCS Eyebright and Drumheller arrived Londonderry with Convoy SC-66.

FRANCE: During the night of the 6-7th, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 57 Wellingtons and 3 Stirlings to attack the German fleet at Brest; only 21 aircraft claimed to have bombed the primary target area, in thick cloud; one Wellington is lost.

GERMANY: In Berlin, Adolf Hitler orders the Minister of Armaments and War Production, Dr. Fritz Todt, to chair a committee to coordinate all ministries involved in armaments design, manufacture and production. One of the grave problems facing Germany is its inability to organize its war effort. The various companies, ministries, and Nazi party organizations bicker and feud amongst themselves for priorities and resources, hamstringing the war effort. 
     During the day, the RAF Bomber Command dispatches 33 Hampdens and 13 Manchesters to carry out minelaying operations in the Frisian Islands; one Hampden is lost.

EGYPT: Cairo: A new Wafd (nationalist) government is formed under British pressure.

BURMA: Two P-40 pilots of the 1st Fighter Squadron, American Volunteer Group (AVG, aka, “The Flying Tigers”) shoot down four Nakajima Ki-27, Army Type 97 Fighters (later given the Allied Code Name “Nate”) near Rangoon at 1000 hours. One pilot shoots down one while the second gets three. 

Robert Neale of the AVG becomes and ace today in this action. (Skip Guidry)

SINGAPORE: (by Jim Paterson) Men of the 2/29th Battalion AIF take up positions in reserve between the 22nd Brigade on the north-west coast and the 27th brigade positions on the north coast near the Causeway. The battalion had received a new commander and replacements for the 500 enlisted men and 19 officers lost during the Maur River battles. The 2/29th was a Victorian unit with most of the men from the Collinwood area, the replacements however were from all over Australia; they included 220 Queenslanders, 150 New South Welshmen, 70 Tasmanians and 100 Victorians. The new commander Col S.A Pond noted that the Queenslanders seemed to be the best trained. Under normal circumstances these men would have gone to a training depot behind the lines before being sent to fighting battalion while the battalion was undergoing a period of reorganization and refit, this was impossible in Singapore. When these men 1,907 men in all, along with the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion arrived in port a rumour done the rounds of Singapore that they were paroled criminals and the sweepings of every port in Australia. Another rumour that half of the 2/4th MG Battalion, a fully trained veteran unit, had jumped ship in Perth, Western Australia were accurate to a degree, 94 men from 400 jumped ship. The men were normal recruits. Lt-Col Anderson VC commander of the 2/19th Battalion received 640 replacements, Anderson comments to, another officer that 'scores of them don't know how to load a rifle; while hand grenades and mortars were absolute mysteries!'

The merchant ship Empire Star is finally allowed the berth along side the wharves, she had a cargo of 16 tanks and 2,000 tons of ammunition. The local dock workers and stevedores know her cargo and refuse to unload the ship so the ships crew had to do the work themselves. As soon as the ship made fast to the docks Japanese aircraft appeared overhead and attacked the ship, in a panic lines were cast off and the ship made clear of the docks. Each time the ship tried to unload the same thing happened, he master suspected Japanese fifth columnist were to blame.

After off loading the survivors of Empress of Asia HMAS Woolongong's crew spent the their last day in Singapore. Her captain, Lt Gordon Keith RANR purchased a 40mm Bofors from the army store for a crate of Gin. In the last few days people getting out of Singapore had been driving their cars up the wharves and boarding ships, in most cases leaving the keys in the ignition. 'Bunny' Barton CPO from HMAS Woolongong acquired a brand new large black Buick. He drove the car around Singapore, visiting friends and naval stores depots mustering provisions. At the depot near the Causeway the gate had a large sign with "No Smoking, Cigarettes to be surrendered to guard" The guard was a mean looking Gurkha, so the sailors gave over their cigarettes. The Gurkha looked over the packets took a cigarette from the brand he favored, lit it and handed all the cigarettes back to the sailors!

The evacuation of Singapore continued unabated, HMS Danae, HMIS Sutlej and HMAS Yarra left Singapore escorting Convoy EMU consisting of Devonshire and Felix Roussel for India and City of Canterbury for Batavia. These ships had arrived the previous day as part of BM.12A with the 18th Division aboard.

Japanese plans are now in place, staff advise General Yamashita to leave the Sultans palace because it comes under frequent enemy artillery fire. Yamashita refuses! Order are send that all preparation be completed by the 7th. When it appears that this target will not be met the General postpones X Day by 24 hrs. Yamashitas greatest fear is that the British will open the oil fed lines into the straits. The oil contained in Singapore is enough to fuel the entire Royal Navy for six months. If the oil is deliberately released into the straits and ignited the whole operation may be in doubt. For this reason he orders the oil tank farms destroyed by artillery fire, this is carried out and the great oil fire is started, soon the entire island is hidden under thick black smoke.

General YAMASHITA Tomoyoki, General Office Commanding 25th Army, summons his top officers at 1100 hours to give them their orders. The Imperial Guards Division, whose men are 6 feet (1,8 meters) tall and drilled for ceremonial, will feint on the evening of 7 February, by taking Palau Ubin Island opposite Changi (today the international airport) in the northeast. Next day, the 5th and 18th Divisions will assault Singapore Island's northwest corner. The plan is a replica of British Field Marshal Allenby's victory in Palestine in 1918. That evening, British chief engineer Brigadier Ivan Simson tells Lieutenant General Ernest Percival, General Office Commanding Malaya Command,  that the Japanese will probably attack the northwest corner of Singapore Island. So Percival orders Simson to concentrate supplies in the EAST. 
 

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: A small Japanese force lands and occupies the town of Gorontalo on Minahassa Peninsula, west of Menado, on Celebes Island. On Sumatra, the first Japanese air raids hit Palembang P1 Airfield at 1100 hours; two Blenheims and four Hurricanes are shot down and two Buffaloes are destroyed on the ground.


At 1100 the first Japanese air raids struck Palembang P1 airfield. The Japanese were still unaware of the existence of P2. By the end of the day the Allies had lost two Blenheims with the loss of all six aircrew shot down by Sgt Maj Hiroshi Onozaki of 59th Sentai. Two Hurricanes were shot down with one pilot killed and a further two Hurricanes remained missing. Two Hurricanes came in damaged; One of these BG678 was piloted by a South African Sgt Dick Parr who came in with his severed little finger from his left hand in his shirt pocket after a 20mm shell exploded in his cockpit. Two Buffaloes were also destroyed on the ground as a result of the raids and by days end the airfield was covered in debris and burning aircraft. Of the two missing 258 Squadron Hurricanes the wreckage of the plane and the body of Plt Officer Cardwell Kleckner and American was latter found in the jungle, Plt Officer Campbell-White a New Zealander returned to base shaken and bedraggled four days latter, escorted by helpful natives. In return Plt Officer Reg Bainbridge of 232 Squadron claimed a single Ki 43 shot down. 

The evacuation of Singapore continued unabated, HMS Danae, Sutlej and HMAS Yarra left Singapore escorting convoy E.M.U. consisting of Devonshire and Felix Roussel for India and City of Canterbury for Batavia. These ships had arrived the previous day as part of BM.12A with the 18th Division aboard. At midnight HMAS Woolongong departed Singapore Harbor, she would be the last allied warship to enter or leave the harbor for 4 years.

 


 

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: In the I Corps area on Bataan, the Japanese receive reinforcements and attack late in the day to relieve pockets. While some elements increase pressure against the1st and 11th Divisions, Philippine Army, others drive toward Big Pocket until stopped by the 11th Division 800 yards (732 meters) from their objective. A small salient in the corps main line of resistance is thus formed and called Upper Pocket. In the Manila Bay area, Japanese artillery, emplaced along the south shore of the Bay in the vicinity of Ternate, begins a daily bombardment of fortified islands. Forts Drum and Frank receive the main weight of shells. 

CANADA: Steel derrick scows BD 9 and BD 10 ordered for RCN.

NEWFOUNDLAND: Corvettes HMCS Nanaimo and Matapedia left St John's to escort Convoy SC-68 to Londonderry.
 

U.S.A.: The first Combined Chief of Staff Conference in Washington, DC. begins. This is a follow up to the Arcadia Summit of December, 1941.

The Navy Department redesignates Naval Coastal Frontiers--Eastern, Gulf, Caribbean, Panama, Hawaiian, Northwest, Western, Philippine–as Sea Frontiers. 

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The British ships HMS ROCHESTER and HMS TAMARISK, escorting convoy OS-18, sink attacking U-boat U-82 (Type VIIC), in position 44.10N, 23.52W, by depth charges. All 45 submariners are lost. They were returning from operations off the US east coast (Operation Drumbeat). (Alex Gordon)

An unarmed U.S. freighter, en route from Fajardo, Puerto Rico, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-107. There are no survivors from the 35-man crew. 
     The five German U-boats that have been raiding Allied shipping along the U. S. east coast break off Operation Drumbeat to return to their bases in France. They have sunk 25 ships in 25 days, including nine by U-123. Still, precautions along the coast are few: many oceanside communities are not blacked out at night; lighthouses and buoys are still lit; ships do not zig-zag; and the Navy has too few vessels to organize convoys. Admiral Karl Donitz is sending 15 subs to replace the first five; ten will stalk the Atlantic seaboard and five will prowl the Caribbean. During February this second wave of U-boats will sink 48 ships nearly half of them tankers. 

At 0530, the unescorted SS Halcyon was shelled by U-109 after two torpedoes missed at 0007 and 0242. The U-boat fired 200 shells with the 10.5cm gun and about 60 rounds with the 3.7cm Flak, until the vessel sank at 0745

At 1608, the unescorted and unarmed SS Major Wheeler was hit by one torpedo from U-107 amidships and sank by the stern within two minutes east of Cape Hatteras. The U-boat had spotted another freighter, but disengaged and followed the Major Wheeler. None of the eight officers and 27 crewmen survived.

At 1210, the unescorted MS Opawa was hit amidships by one torpedo from U-106 about 400 miles NNE of Bermuda. The ship had been chased since 0832 hours and stopped after the hit. The U-boat dived to get closer and observed the launching of four lifeboats. At 1417, U-106 surfaced and shelled the ship with 93 rounds until she sank at 1459. However, 54 crewmembers and two gunners were lost. The master and 14 crewmembers were picked up by the Dutch merchantman Hercules and landed at New York.

U-82 sunk north of the Azores, in position 44.10N, 23.52W, by depth charges from sloop HMS Rochester and corvette HMS Tamarisk. 45 dead (all hands lost).


 


 

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6 February 1943

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February 6th, 1943 (SATURDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMS Helford launched.

GERMANY: Rastenburg: Hitler privately admits blame for the defeat at Stalingrad.

Hitler, infuriated by the continual Soviet advance in southern Russia, had Field Marshal von Manstein flown to his "Wolf's Lair" headquarters in East Prussia today. It was his intention to refuse von Manstein permission to make any more withdrawals, but military reality and the shock of Stalingrad have forced him to allow von Manstein to fall back from the Donets to the river Mius, leaving only a rearguard to cover Rostov-on-Don.

The fall of Rostov, which is now imminent, means that the Seventeenth Army, left behind by von Kleist in his retreat from the Caucasus, is now confined to the "Gothic Line" positions around the Taman peninsula between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

Hitler plans to use this army as the springboard for another attack on the Caucasus, but Stalin plans to treat it as he did the Sixth Army in Stalingrad. Two days ago Soviet amphibious forces landed on the peninsula to cut the Germans off from the Crimea. But the Seventeenth Army had been listening to Soviet radio and knew that the assault was coming. They slaughtered the Russians as they were coming ashore at two of their landing beaches; but another force, put ashore at Novorossiisk, has dug in and is expanding its beach-head. 

Meanwhile, General Malinovsky is racing on from the Donets, forcing von Manstein back to Taganrog and the Mius even without Hitler's permission. The Russians now seem poised to take the whole of the Donets basin. It is the same story further north where Hitler has been forced to give General von Kluge, the commander of Army Group Centre, permission to abandon the vulnerable Rzhev salient. Von Kluge now seems likely to lose Kursk in the next few days.

There is one city that Hitler has ordered to be held at all costs: Kharkov, the fourth largest city in the Soviet Union. The newly-formed SS Panzer Korps has been ordered to defend it to the death.

Berlin: Himmler receives an inventory of goods taken from murdered Polish Jews, including 825 rail wagons of clothing for redistribution in Germany and a wagon full of women's hair.

Rastenburg: The official three days of mourning for Stalingrad ordered by Hitler are over, but it is doubtful if the German people will ever recover from that terrible defeat. They still cannot come to terms with the crushing of the Wehrmacht by the Untermenschen [subhumans] of Russia.

Hitler has added to the shock felt in the higher echelons of the Nazi Party by telling a group of Gauleiters here at his "Wolf's Lair" "What you are witnessing is a catastrophe of unheard-of magnitude ... If the German people fails then it does not deserve that we should fight for its future; then we can write it off with equanimity."
General Dietmar, Germany's chief military commentator, echoed Hitler's doom-laden message in an extraordinary broadcast from Berlin last night in which he said: "The bitter experience of Stalingrad still weighs heavily on our souls. For the first time we are experiencing the entire tragedy of the reverse. For the first time an entire German army has ceased to exist."

"What we used to inflict on the others has happened to us. We have been encircled, attacked from all directions, compressed into a narrow space, split up into pockets. It is still difficult to realize. We feel it like a sharp physical pain."

Even more painful for the hundreds of thousands of German families are the last letters from fathers, sons and brothers killed in the final days of the debacle or marched off across the steppes into captivity by the Russians.

The tale of horror told in these letters and the longing for home which permeate them contrast sadly with the bombastic broadcast of GŲring  in which he boasted "in spite of everything Germany's ultimate victory was decided there."
In the midst of all the sorrow there is a threat. Goebbels is invoking an old Prussian war decree of 1689 which says: "Whoever, in the midst of battle, begins to retreat, shall be put to death without mercy."

U-481, U-1131, U-1195 laid down.

U-426, U-427 launched.

U-389, U-841 commissioned.

ALGERIA: Whilst escorting convoy KMS.8 from Gibraltar to Bone, Flower class corvette HMCS Louisberg is sunk by an Italian torpedo-bomber 60 miles N of Oran at 36 15N 00 15E. The convoy came under attack by German and Italian bombers and torpedo-bombers as it move eastward towards Sicily and away from Gibraltar-based fighter cover. At 19 -00, several enemy aircraft converged on the convoy from different directions and executed an aggressive low-level bombing attack. A few minutes later, five Italian torpedo-bombers swept in from ahead of the convoy and launched their weapons. Louisburg, who was stained in the van, was hit at 19 -10 by a torpedo that struck her on the port side amidships. The torpedo was dropped at such short range that there was no time to take evasive action. The attacking aircraft was hit and flew off trailing smoke but did not crash. The explosion of the torpedo killed the entire engine room staff. The order "Abandon Ship" was given immediately and the ship sank within three minutes. Louisburg sank with the loss of 42 crewmembers (two officers, 35 ratings, five RN), including the Commanding Officer. The rest are rescued by HMS Lookout. The majority of casualties were caused by the detonation of her own depth charges as the ship went down so quickly that there was no opportunity to set them to "Safe". Louisburg was a Flower-class corvette (1939-40 Program) built by Morton Engineering and Drydock Company, at Quebec City,, Province of Quebec. She was commissioned on 02 Oct 41 and arrived in Halifax on 15 Oct. Louisburg was assigned to the Sydney Force and then was transferred to Newfoundland Command, where she had an active career. She was assigned to Operation Torch and deployed to the UK. After a refit for additional AA weapons, she was rammed by the Shoreham-class sloop HMS Bideford, which necessitated five weeks of repairs in Belfast. As soon as repairs were completed, she deployed to the Mediterranean. Louisburg was sunk soon after resuming operations. (Alex Gordon)(108)

NEW GUINEA: Australian reinforcements arrive at Wau; above them, 37 Allied fighters shoot down 26 out of 70 Japanese raiders.

U.S.A.: In an opinion poll released today the American public were asked: 

If Hitler offered peace terms now to all countries on the basis of not going further, but of leaving matters as they are now, would you favor or oppose such a plan?

Favor 4%

Oppose 92 %

No Opinion 4%

(Jay Stone)

Washington: The US High Command is restructured, creating a European theatre under General Andrews and leaving General Eisenhower in charge of North Africa.

The European Theater of Operations, United States Army (ETOUSA) had been established on 8 June 1942 by presidential directive to command all U.S. Army personnel in Europe and Africa. Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower had been named Commanding General ETOUSA during the same month.

Recognizing the importance of the North African operations, the formal separation of operations in England and Africa is finalized as the North African Theater of Operations, United States Army (NATOUSA) is established today with Lieutenant General Eisenhower in command; NATOUSA is responsible for all U.S. Army personnel in North Africa. The U.S. Army Air Forces' Lieutenant General Frank M. Andrews, currently Commanding General U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East, is named to replace "Ike" as Commanding General ETOUSA, which now controls all U.S. Army forces in the U.K., Iceland and Greenland.

Los Angeles: A jury acquits actor Errol Flynn of three counts of statutory rape. (Drew Halevy)

Flynn was charged with the statutory rape of two teenage girls aboard his yacht. The publicity resulted in the catch phrase "In like Flynn."

Destroyer escort USS Doherty commissioned.

Destroyer escorts USS Bostwick, George W Ingram, Howard D Crow and Pettit laid down.
Light cruiser USS Pasadena laid down.
Escort carrier USS Wake Island laid down.

Destroyer escort USS Reuben James and Sims launched.

Destroyer USS Dashiell launched.

Minesweepers USS Concise and Salute launched.

ATLANTIC OCEAN:

SS Zagloba sunk by U-262 at 56.32N, 16W.

At 1917, SS Polyktor was torpedoed by U-266 and sank after two coups de gr‚ce at 1930 and 1932. The ship was straggling from Convoy SC-118 due to problems with the rudder. Two survivors were taken prisoner.

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February 6th, 1944 (SUNDAY)

FINLAND: 150 heavy Soviet bombers attack Helsinki as a part of Stalin's plan to soften Finland to separate from Germany and conclude peace. Thanks to the efficient Finnish air-defences, mostly equipment purchased from Germany, the damage to the city is limited, but still 103 people are killed.

Patrol Boat VMV 12 is destroyed in Helsinki bombing while in dock.

ITALY: Both on the Cassino front and on the beachhead south of Rome, Allied troops were forced to withdraw under heavy German counterattacks.

BURMA: Major-General Orde Wingate leads a special force of Indian, British and US soldiers to engage the Japanese at Myitkyina.

CANADA: Frigate HMCS St Stephen launched Esquimalt , British Columbia.

U.S.A.:

Light cruiser USS Atlanta launched.

Minesweepers USS Design, Density and Invade launched.

Destroyer USS Lowry launched.

Destroyer USS Hugh W Hadley laid down.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The IWO of U-965 fell overboard and drowned. [Leutnant zur See Gustav-GŁnther Schoop] (Alex Gordon)

U-177 sunk in the South Atlantic west of Ascension Island, in position 10.35S, 23.15W, by depth charges from a USN VB-107 Sqn Privateer. 50 dead and 15 survivors.

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February 6th, 1945 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Corvette HMCS Owen Sound departed Londonderry as escort for Convoy ON-283 to Halifax.

Submarine HMS Alderney laid down.

FRANCE: William Herbert Eaton, Brig. Gen USAAF, is killed in the crash of a B-25 near Vichy. He is survived by his wife, Louise, and daughter Patricia, my mother, (Drew Halevy)

GERMANY: Himmler's attempt, under the influence of his masseur Felix Kersten, to transfer some Jews from German camps to Switzerland is foiled when Hitler bans all evacuations.

U-2536 commissioned.

NORWAY: U-1302 sails on her first and final patrol.

POLAND: The Soviets cross the Oder near Breslau.

HUNGARY: The Soviets have pushed back the Germans from Budapest and surrounded the town of Sashegy.

Conditions for the defending German troops were catastrophic - at this point they were existing on one slice of bread and some horsemeat per day, with most supplementing their diet with food taken from the local civilian population. Distribution of supplies was wellnigh impossible, fuel was scarce, the streets were only passable at night and only on foot, as rubble and shell craters had made roads impassable to vehicles.

The Germans’ situation was deteriorating fast. The hungry population attempted to plunder the supply canisters dropped by German aircraft, an act for which summary execution was quickly imposed. Hungarian and German soldiers frequently fought amongst themselves for access to supply canisters - although only those containing food. In field hospitals soiled bandages were reused on the newly wounded.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: Manila: General Douglas MacArthur tonight claimed that the recapture of Manila was imminent, as house-to-house fighting continued in the Philippine capital and US troops fought fire started deliberately by the retreating Japanese. MacArthur accused them of "general sabotage and destruction", saying that they had "wantonly set fire to the downtown business district."

Since the US 1st Cavalry took Manila's Santo Tomas prison camp three days ago, freeing 3,700 PoWs, US XIV Corps troops have fought for every street in their downtown advance. The Japanese commander, Admiral Iwabuchi, defying General Yamashita's orders to evacuate, believes that his 16,000 men can hold out for weeks from inside the walls of the old city.

INDIAN OCEAN: At 1640, the unescorted US Liberty Ship Peter Silvester was hit by two torpedoes from U-862 SW of Australia. Both torpedoes struck on the starboard side at the #3 hold, but it was reported that one went straight through the ship while the other detonated in the hold, rupturing the deck forward of the bridge, blew off the hatch cover and caused the flooding of the hold and the engine room. As the ship settled by the bow, she was hit at 17.10 hours by two more torpedoes on the starboard side at the traverse bulkhead between holds #2 and #3. The eight officers, 34 crewmen, 26 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and 107 US Army troops abandoned ship in four lifeboats and six rafts. Shortly thereafter, the vessel was hit by a coup de gr‚ce at the #1 hold, causing her to break in two just forward of the superstructure. The forward section sank immediately, while the after section stayed afloat and was last seen deep in the water in the evening of 8 February.

CANADA: HMC ML 094 of the 77th Flotilla paid off.

U.S.A.:: Submarine USS Runner commissioned.

Minesweeper USS Roselle commissioned.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-1017 attacked Convoy TBC-60 SE of Durlston Head and claimed hits on two 6000 tons freighters. However, the only ship hit was Everleigh. Six crewmembers were lost. The master, 42 crewmembers and seven gunners were picked up by landing craft HMS LCI-33 and landed at Portland.

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