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February 7th, 1939 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Minesweeper HMS Sphinx launched.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Prague: In conversation with the Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs, the French Minister in Prague, M. V. De Lacroix, is told that the Germans place an importance to the Jewish question which is out of all proportion to the other questions remaining between themselves and the Czechs, such as the status of the current frontiers.

He relates that the Foreign Minister of the Reich (von Ribbentrop), as well as the Chancellor (Hitler), are said to have stated emphatically that it was not possible to given a German guarantee to a State which does not eliminate the Jews:

"Do not imitate the sentimental and leisurely manner in which we ourselves treated this problem," the two statesmen are reported to have said. "Our kindness was nothing but weakness, and we regret it. This vermin must be destroyed. The Jews are our sworn enemies, and at the end of this year there will not be a Jew left in Germany. Neither the French, nor the Americans, nor the English are responsible for the difficulties in our relations with Paris, London, or Washington. Those responsible are the Jews. We will give similar advice to Romania, Hungary, etc.... Germany will seek to form a bloc of anti-Semitic States, as she would not be able to treat as friends the States in which the Jews, either through their economic activity or through their high positions, could exercise any kind of influence."

(Above from the Avalon Project at the Yale Law School.)

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

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7 February 1940

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February 7th, 1940 (WEDNESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Birmingham, Winson Green Prison: Peter Barnes of Banagher and James MacCormack of Mullingar, both in the Republic of Ireland, are the IRA men hanged for the Coventry bomb murders of 25 August 1939.

GERMANY: U-562 laid down.

FINLAND: In Soviet air raids 4 died at Kajaani.

U.S.S.R.: Soviet submarine SC-311 received the Red Banner Award (Orden Krasnogo Znameni).

CANADA: Flower-class corvettes HMCS Napanee, Sudbury and Prescott ordered.

U.S.A.: The motion picture "Pinocchio" premiers at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. This Walt Disney animated feature contains the song "When You Wish Upon A Star."

ATLANTIC OCEAN: About 0600, SS Munster struck a mine laid on 6 January by U-30 in the Queens Channel and sank. The master, 44 crewmembers and 190 passengers were picked up by the British coaster Ringwall and landed at Liverpool.

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7 February 1941

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February 7th, 1941 (FRIDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Command headquarters for the Western Approaches is moved from Plymouth to Liverpool.

Stockport, Cheshire: The first Fairey built Bristol Beaufighter makes its maiden flight.

GERMANY: U-564 and U-652 launched.

ALBANIA: Weather has held up operations successfully started by Greek 5 Division with capture of Zrebeshinj Mountain. Floods had against swept away bridges, Greek II Corps having to be supplied from Koritsa instead of Janinna. When weather improves further advance of 5 Division westward should secure fall of Tepelene. Italians now have equivalent of 30 Divisions in Albania.

U.S.S.R.: Soviet submarine K-55 launched.

LIBYA: Agedaba falls to the British.

Beda Fomm: At 11 am the Italian Chief of Staff surrenders to the HQ of 4th Armoured Brigade. Later General Annibale Bergonzoli surrenders along with the rest of 10th Army. 20,000 men, 6 generals and a vast horde of weapons, transport and supplies along with a shower caravan and mobile brothel with a dozen women. The cost of the battle to 7 Armoured Div. was nine men killed and 15 wounded.

It was a brilliantly orchestrated attack, which took the Italian defenders entirely by surprise when British armour - traversing barren and waterless tracks from Tobruk - suddenly appeared at Beda Fomm cutting any chance of Italian retreat. Australian infantry and tanks then swept in from the north to join the British from the south and west. With Benghazi taken O'Connor's men continue westwards - advanced units have arrived at Sirte, with Tripoli itself now under threat.

Free French troops under General Leclerc besiege the Italian garrison at Koufra.

CHINA: Sinyang: After 13 days of bitter fighting, Chinese forces have crushed a major Japanese offensive in central China intended to make Japan's garrison at Wuhan safer. By this morning Chinese troops had re-occupied Sinyang and all points north. The strategically crucial city along the Wuhan-Peking railway had fallen on 25 January when three Japanese divisions broke through Chinese lines before advancing and taking the town.

The turning-point in the battle for southern Henan came when Japanese forces suffered heavy losses as they attempted to take Fangcheng to the north-west of Sinyang and were forced to retreat.

JAPAN: Tokyo: Peace talks between Vichy French Indochina and Thailand open under the auspices of Japan, a week after an armistice was signed.

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: Hart ordered to insist on US command of any Allied fleet which arose from the discussions with British and Dutch representatives he was conducting. (Marc Small)

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7 February 1942

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February 7th, 1942 (SATURDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Minesweeping trawler HMS Egilsay launched.

GERMANY: East Prussia: The Nazi armaments and munitions minister, Fritz Todt, returning to Berlin after talks with Hitler, is killed when his plane crashes on take-off. Albert Speer is appointed as Minister of Munitions in his place.

During the day, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 32 Hampdens on a minelaying mission in the Frisian Islands; Luftwaffe fighters attack and three Hampdens are lost. 

FINLAND: The month-long battles at Maaselkä Isthmus culminate today as the Finnish reinforced 3rd Brigade (Lt-Col. Kai Savonjousi) finish destroying the encircled Soviet 367th Rifle Division in Krivi. The recapture of Krivi, which the Red Army had captured on the first day of their offensive on 1 Jan, brings the battles to close, and the front-line is back where it was before the Soviet offensive.

The encircled Russians fought back furiously, and the last two days have been bloody. The final Finnish offensive starts at 3 am, and by 2.45 pm the pocket has been destroyed. Finns count 4000 Russian corpses from the battlefield, only 152 POWs are taken. Finnish losses are 121 killed or missing. During the last month, both sides have suffered heavy losses and are now exhausted.

U.S.S.R.: Soviet forces attack Rzhev, to the west of Moscow. 

NORTH AFRICA: Rommel's forces stop near the Gazala Line. He has recaptured the ground he lost last year.

BORNEO: Nine USAAF 5th Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses based at Singosari Airdrome on Java, attempt to bomb Japanese shipping at Balikpapan but are driven off by fighters. 

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: Four additional USAAF 5th Air Force P-40s arrive at Blimbing Airdrome on Java from Australia. 

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: On Bataan, the I Corps opens an all-out attack against enemy pockets and partially encircles both. The 1st Division, Philippine Army (PA) is employed against Little Pocket. The 92d Infantry of the 91st Division, PA, makes the main attack against Big Pocket from the west and is supported by elements of the 11th and 51st Divisions, PA. In the South Sector, after the Philippine Scouts on the left flank come up against enemy positions in the Anyasan-Silaiim area and are brought to a halt, Filipino air corps troops and a Philippine Constabulary battalion are committed to form a continuous line from Silaiim Bay to Quinauan Point. The methodical destruction of Japanese remnants at Quinauan Point continues. A Japanese relief force attempting to evacuate troops from the southwestern coast is attacked by P-40s and shore guns and forced back to Olongapo. 

AUSTRALIA: The Japanese submarine HIJMS I-25 launches a Yokosuka E14Y1, Navy Type 0 Small Reconnaissance Seaplane (later given the Allied Code Name “Glen”), to recconnoitre Sydney, New South Wales. 

USN announced that the combined naval forces of the Australian-New, Zealand area had been placed under command of Vice Admiral Herbert F. Leary, of the United States Navy, with the title of "Commander Anzac Forces" .

Destroyer HMAS Warramunga launched.

CANADA: Canadian Government merchantman Maurienne (3,259 GRT) was damaged by fire while at Pier 27/28 in Halifax Harbour. She was salvaged, repaired, and returned to service in 1943.

Ch/Skr (Chief/Skipper) Henry William Stone, RCNR, was appointed to HMCS Avalon, a depot ship berthed at St. John’s, while awaiting subsequent transfer to HMCS Cowichan, a Bangor-class minesweeper. Avalon was a Great Lakes passenger steamer that had been requisitioned for use in St. John’s, as the base facilities there were rudimentary. She was used as an administrative support and temporary accommodation facility, supporting minor warships until the end of the war. Later in the war, William Stone returned to Cowichan on 23 Apr 45, this time as Skpr/Lt. (Skipper/Lieutenant), the rank designation for a Commanding Officer from the RCNR. He remained with the ship until she decommissioned on 09 Oct 45. Skippers, Chief/Skippers, and Skipper/Lieutenants, were ranks in the RCNR, whereas Skipper/Coxswains and Coxswains were Fisherman Reserve ranks. Fishermen Reserve officer ranks were supposedly equivalent to warrant ranks. Fishermen Reserve Officers did not wear braid, which made them difficult to distinguish from Padres.

U.S.A.: "A String of Pearls" by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra reaches Number 1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the U.S. This song, which debuted on the charts on 10 January 1942, was charted for 18 weeks, was Number 1 for 2 weeks and was ranked  Number 7 for the year 1942.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9054 establishing the War Shipping Administration (WSA) to bring the control and operation of all U.S. merchant shipping under a single head. The WSA's most pressing task is to mobilize the shipping capacity of the country (the majority of which is still in private hands by the end of the year 1941) to bring it under single control so that vessels can be allocated more readily on the basis of overall shipping needs of the U.S. and the Allies. 
     The federal government orders passenger car production stopped and the automobile industry converted to wartime purposes. The government offers automakers guaranteed profits regardless of production costs throughout the war years. Furthermore, the Office of Production Management allocates US$11 billion to the construction of war manufacturing plants that would be sold to the automobile manufacturers at remarkable discounts after the war. 

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0552, the unescorted SS Empire Sun was torpedoed and sunk by U-751 south of Halifax. Eight crewmembers, two gunners and one RAF personnel were lost. The master, 34 crewmembers, twelve gunners and seven RAF personnel landed at Liverpool , Nova Scotia.


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7 February 1943

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February 7th, 1943 (SUNDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Rescue tug HMS Mindful launched.

GERMANY: Rastenburg: Hitler says that if Germany loses the war, the German people, rather than the Nazi party will be to blame.

U.S.S.R.: Polar Fleet and White Sea Flotilla: Submarine "K-22" sunk supposedly due to onboard malfunction, close to cape Harbaken. (Sergey Anisimov)(69)

The Russians retake Azov.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Minesweeping trawler HMS Tervani sunk off Cape Bougaroni, Algeria in position 37.22N-06.14E by Italian submarine Acciaio.

At 0200, U-77 fired a spread of four torpedoes at Convoy KMS-8 west of Algiers and sank the ships in station #13 and #14, the Empire Webster and Empire Banner. The master Jeffrey James Bedford OBE, 46 crewmembers, 15 gunners and ten passengers (army personnel) from the Empire Banner were picked up by corvette HMCS Camrose and landed at Algiers. The master Alexander Roderick Duncan, 49 crewmembers, one gunner and eight Army personnel from the Empire Webster were picked up by Camrose and landed at Algiers. Three crewmembers and one gunner were lost.

INDIA: New Delhi: Chiang Kai-shek agrees to provide manpower to help to reconquer Burma in exchange for US aid.

PACIFIC OCEAN: Submarine USS Growler is on her fourth war patrol under Commander Gilmore. During the night a Japanese gunboat closes range and prepares to ram Growler. Cdr. Gilmore daringly manoeuvres to avoid the crash and rams the attacker, ripping into her port side at 11 knots and bursting wide her plates. In the terrific fire of the sinking gunboats heavy machineguns, Cdr. Gilmore calmly gave the order to clear the bridge, and refusing safety for himself, remains on deck while his men preceded him below. Struck down by the fusillade of bullets and having done his utmost against the enemy, in his final living moments, Cdr. Gilmore have his last order to the officer of the deck, "Take her down." The Growler dived; seriously damaged but under control, she was brought safely to port by her well trained crew inspired by the courageous fighting spirit of their dead captain. (MOH) (Joe Sauder)

SOLOMON ISLANDS: The six-month Battle of Guadalcanal ends as Japanese ships evacuate the last of their troops, giving the US uncontested control of the land, sea and air campaign that was the major turning point in the war in the Pacific.

U.S.A.: Destroyer escorts USS Fechteler and Reeves laid down.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-609 (Type VIIC) is sunk in the North Atlantic, position 55.17N, 26.38W, by depth charges from the Free French corvette Lobelia. 47 dead (all hands lost).

U-624 (Type VIIC) is sunkin the North Atlantic, position 55.42N, 26.17W, by depth charges from a British B-17 Fortress aircraft (Sqdn. 220/J). 45 dead (all hands lost). (Alex Gordon)

At 2359, Convoy MKS-7 ran into a minefield laid by U-118 on 1 and 2 February west of Gibraltar and lost three ships - Baltonia, Mary Slessor and Empire Mordred. Nine crewmembers and one gunner from Baltonia were lost. The master, 42 crewmembers and nine gunners were picked up by the British merchant Kingsland, transferred to HMCS Alberni and landed at Londonderry. Twelve crewmembers and three gunners from the Empire Mordred were lost. The master, 41 crewmembers and 13 gunners were picked up by HMS Scarborough and landed at Londonderry. The Mary Slessor later sank in 35°55N/06°02W in the Strait of Gibraltar. 28 crewmembers, two gunners and two passengers (military personnel) were lost. The master, 32 crewmembers, 12 gunners and three passengers were picked up by HMS Landguard and landed at Liverpool

At 0636, SS Afrika in Convoy SC-118 was torpedoed and sunk by U-402 southeast of Cape Farewell. The master, 18 crewmembers and four gunners were lost. 29 crewmembers, six gunners and two passengers were picked up by corvettes HMS Campanula and Mignonette and landed at Liverpool.

At 0438, SS Daghild in convoy SC-118 was hit by one torpedo from U-402 (Forstner) in grid AK 6666. All 39 crewmembers abandoned ship in lifeboats and were picked up by the French corvette Lobelia. The corvette later encountered the Greek steam merchant Adamas (4144 tons) in sinking condition after she had been rammed by a destroyer in 56.35N/22.23W, while proceeding in the same convoy. The Lobelia picked up eleven men and ordered the remaining men on the ship to stay on board until daylight. But many jumped overboard and died in the cold water. The corvette could only pick up two men and revive them. Not long afterwards they encountered a wreck drifting around upside down (perhaps the Daghild) and was ordered to sink it, but after several attempts they had to stop because her engine was damaged and could only made two knots. At 0237 hours on 8 February, the wreck of the Daghild was sunk by one coup de grâce from U-608 and with her the British landing craft HMS LCT-2335. The corvette Lobelia had now over 100 people on board, a damaged engine and the U-boat danger was ever present. The next morning the Admiralty sent a destroyer to assist, which took the corvette in tow until that evening, when the destroyer had to search for a lifeboat with 15 men in it, which was sighted by an aircraft. The destroyer returned the next morning, without having found the lifeboat, but at that time Lobelia was able to do 8 knots on her own and proceed alone, because the destroyer, having about 140 shipwrecked people on board had to go to port. The corvette arrived safely at Greenock on 12 February.

At 0659, SS Henry R. Mallory in station #33 of convoy SC-118 was torpedoed by U-402 about 600 miles south-southwest of Iceland. One torpedo struck on the starboard side at the #3 hold. The explosion damaged the main steam line, destroyed the oil pump and engine room gauges and blew off the #4 hatch covers. The stern settled quickly and gradually began to list to port until it sunk 30 minutes after the hit. The ship had ten lifeboats for the nine officers, 68 crewmen, 34 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, two 3in and eight 20mm guns) and 383 passengers (136 US Army, 72 US Marine Corps, 173 US Navy and 2 civilians). Two of them were destroyed by the explosion, a third could not be launched and two more on either side capsized in the rough seas. Only three boats with 175 men cleared the ship, many others jumped into the water and tried to reach the rafts. None of the other ships in the convoy knew that the troop transport had been hit. The destroyer USS Schenck searched for survivors from Toward and saw lights in the distance. The skipper requested permission to investigate the lights, but it was denied. The survivors were found four hours after the sinking by USCGC Bibb, it was only then that it was discovered the Henry R. Mallory had been hit. The cutter rescued 205 survivors of which three later died and another US Coast Guard cutter, Ingham picked up 22 additional survivors, but two of them died later. The master, 48 crewmembers, 15 armed guards and 208 passengers were lost.

At 0735, SS Kalliopi in Convoy SC-118 was torpedoed and sunk by U-402.

U-402 sank tanker SS Robert E Hopkins and convoy rescue ship SS Toward in Convoy SC-118.

At 1708, HMS LCI (L)-162 was torpedoed by U-596 and exploded.

At 0411, U-614 fired a spread of three torpedoes at Convoy SC-118 SE of Cape Farewell and observed two detonations on the target and one on a ship beyond. However, the only ship hit was the Harmala, which sank. The master, 31 crewmembers, ten gunners and one naval signalman were lost. 11 crewmembers were picked up by the Free French corvette Lobelia and landed at Greenock.

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7 February 1944

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February 7th, 1944 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Frigates HMS Hargood and Sarawak commissioned.

GERMANY: U-1015 launched.

BALTIC SEA: During the boat's trials in the Baltic near Hela one man died when he fell overboard from U-1003 while transferring to an outpost boat (V-Boot). [Funkgefreiter Werner Guhl].

U.S.S.R.: Hitler orders German troops trapped in the Korsun pocket to break out.

ITALY: Anzio: Maj. William Philip Sidney (b.1909), Grenadier Guards, led two attacks which forced off the enemy; later, he refused to have wounds seen to until the position was secure. (Victoria Cross)

BURMA: Imphal Last night the 1st/7th Gurkhas attacks a Japanese position known as "Bare Patch". This position (also known to the Gurkhas as "Nango") is a strongly-held network of trenches and bunkers on high-ground east of the Tiddim-Fort White Road. Major Peter Sanders led his men of the 1st/7th Gurkhas down a difficult winding path for 1,500 feet, before beginning a 1,200 foot climb up to the objective. There was no path, and it was so steep that both hands and feet had to be used - a considerable challenge for Sanders, who had lost an arm in action on the North-West  Frontier five years earlier; all stores had to be carried by the men.

When the assault began at 8.30 pm, there was fierce resistance. Repeated efforts to find a way into or around the enemy’s elaborate defences were unsuccessful, and Sanders decided to dig in on the rocky ground just 20 yards from the Japanese trenches and to hold on till dawn. A thick morning mist gave his men the chance to consolidate their positions and do some wiring but, as the day progressed, casualties mounted form enemy light machine gun and mortar fire, and from sniping and grenade attacks.

Under Sander’s leadership the Gurkhas held their ground throughout the day and night, while aggressive patrolling around the Japanese flanks succeeded in locating their water point. (Daily Telegraph, 21.10.2003, p.27)

CANADA: Destroyer HMCS Algonquin (ex-HMS Valentine) commissioned.

Frigate HMCS Meon commissioned.


Escort carrier USS Salerno Bay laid down.

Destroyer escort USS Gandy commissioned.

Submarine USS Sea Owl laid down.

Destroyer escort USS Melvin R Nawman launched.

Aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga launched.

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7 February 1945

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February 7th, 1945 (WEDNESDAY)


U-4706 commissioned.

U-3038 launched.

SOUTH AFRICA: The following UP report was released to the newswires - Capetown, South Africa - The British liner Orcades, the largest and finest ship of the Orient line, was sunk near here October 12, 1942, the Navy revealed today. More than 1000 survivors were rescued by the Polish liner Narwik, and approximately 40 lives were lost. En route to England with a passenger load of soldiers and several hundred civilians, many of who were women and children, the Orcades was hit by six torpedoes. The Narwik steamed up in the darkness to pick up survivors while covering the submarine - which surfaced several miles away - with its stern gun. [The Orcades was actually sunk on 10 October 1942 by U-172 (Emmermann)].

BURMA: Flt Sgt Stanley James Woodbridge (b.1921), RAFVR, was beheaded. he was one of six airmen caught after crashing; the Japanese tortured and beheaded his comrades, then tortured him further to try to learn radio secrets. They failed. (George Cross)

PACIFIC OCEAN: 2nd Lt. Louis Curdes, USAAF, 4th FS (Commando), 3rd FG (Commando), shoots down a Japanese Dinah, while flying a P-51D thirty miles SW of Formosa. This feat makes him one of three aces to have shot down enemy aircraft of three Axis powers. (Stuart Kohn)

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: General Douglas MacArthur enters Manila, Luzon. (Drew Halevy)

NEWFOUNDLAND: Corvette HMCS Merrittonia departed St John's to escort Convoy ON-283.

U.S.A.: The motion picture "Ministry of Fear" opens at the Paramount Theater in New York City. Directed by Fritz Lang, this spy drama based on a Graham Greene novel stars Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds and Dan Duryea.

Submarine USS Carbonero commissioned.

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