Yesterday          Tomorrow

February 9th, 1939 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The government promises free air-raid shelters for London's poor.

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Yesterday                Tomorrow


9 February 1940

Yesterday     Tomorrow

February 9th, 1940 (FRIDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: RAF Fighter Command: Luftwaffe aircraft attacked shipping off the east coast. Two enemy aircraft were destroyed, two naval trawlers were sunk, three merchant ships damaged. Two more German aircraft were severely damaged.

FINLAND: Helsinki: Fierce fighting continued today as General Timoshenko pressed his massive and well organised attack on the Mannerheim Line. The offensive opened with a concentrated barrage of 300,000 shells on the Finnish positions near Summa.

The Russian guns are virtually wheel to wheel, at the same time as Red Air Force bombers attack Finnish lines of Communication and reserve bases.

The Russians have assembled 1500 aircraft including the new Ilyushin I16/17 fighter and are using troop-carrying armoured cars mounted on sledges, armed with machine-guns, for the first time. These dash forward, laying smoke screens, dropping off their troops and carrying on. Tanks, each accompanied by a group of soldiers, are then sent forward through the smoke to attack the Finnish positions. In the way the Russians hope to avoid the heavy casualties they suffered in the first round of fighting when massed ranks of infantry were driven into the Finnish machine gun fire.

GIBRALTAR: U.S. freighter SS Scottsburg, detained by British authorities yesterday, is released. 

TURKEY: The government dismisses 80 German technical advisers. 


AMC conversion for HMCS Prince David awarded to Halifax Shipyard Halifax , Nova Scotia.

AMC conversion for HMCS Prince Robert awarded to Burrard Drydock N. Vancouver , British Columbia.

USA: Washington: The under-secretary of State, Sumner Welles, is to be sent to Europe to try to negotiate a peace.

The motion picture "Broadway Melody of 1940" is released. Directed by Norman Taurog, this musical stars Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, George Murphy and Frank Morgan.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0105, the Chagres (Master Hugh Roberts) struck a mine, laid on 6 January by U-30 and sank 5.5 miles 270° from the Bar Lightvessel, Liverpool. Two crewmembers were lost. The master and 61 crewmembers were picked up by HMS Loch Montreith and landed at Liverpool.

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Yesterday      Tomorrow


9 February 1941

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February 9th, 1941 (SUNDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Churchill broke five months of radio silence today. He explained his absence from the airwaves by talking of "deeds, not words."

It was a speech of praise and encouragement for both the forces and the civilians. "We have stood our ground and faced the two dictators in the hour of what seemed their overwhelming triumph, and we have shown ourselves capable, so far, of standing up against them alone." The Prime Minister reserved particular praise for the victory two months ago over the Italians in Libya:  "In barely eight weeks a campaign which will long be studied as a model of the military art, an advance of over 400 miles has been made."

He went on to speak of the vital importance of American aid, concluding: "We shall not fail, or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we shall finish the job."


VICHY FRANCE: Marshal Philippe Petain today announced that he had appointed Admiral Francois Darlan as not only vice-premier, but also minister for foreign affairs, replacing Pierre-Etienne Flandin. And to underline Darlan's triumph in the backstairs conflict with the former vice-premier, Pierre Laval, the marshal designated the admiral as his successor.

A year ago Darlan seemed the cheerful ally of the Royal Navy. Born into a family that has held commissions in the French navy since Trafalgar, Darlan was head of the officer's training school, and in the 1930s helped to re-equip the fleet with new ships, including Strasbourg and Dunkerque. However, he was embittered by the British sinking of "his" ships at Oran last July.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Force H with HMS Ark Royal, HMS Renown and HMS Malaya sails into the Gulf of Genoa. The big ships bombard the city of Genoa firing 300 tons of shells onto dock installations, warehouses and the Ansaldo Electric works, while carrier aircraft bomb Leghorn, a major railway junction at Pisa and other rail connections, and lay mines off Spezia. An Italian battlefleet sorties but fails to make contact.


LIBYA: The British advance comes to a halt at El Agheila. There is little Italian opposition to prevent a further move, but General Archibald Wavell, Commander in Chief Middle East Command, is being compelled to withdraw troops which will be sent to Greece. He is also responsible for the campaign in East Africa and for making some provision for the defence of Palestine. In the near future, this will demand more of his attention because of German activity in Iraq and Syria. 

ETHIOPIA: Italian ace Mario Visintini dies when he crashes into a mountain. (Mike Yared)(284)

CANADA: HMS Mayflower and Snowberry (with Canadian COs) departed Halifax as local escort for the 47-ship convoy HX-108, bound for Liverpool. Both ships were Flower-class corvettes. Both ships had recently been delivered from Canadian shipyards and were subsequently completed in British yards on the Tyne River. Mayflower was fitted with a ‘dummy’ 4-inch gun built of wood for the transit to the U.K., an infamous example of the inferior condition of the early wartime Emergency Expansion Plan warships of the RCN. Although guns were acquired later, technological inferiority plagued the RCN until relatively late in the war.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0430, U-37 fired torpedoes at the convoy HG-53 about 160 miles southwest of Cape St. Vincent, Portugal and sank two ships, Courland and Estrellano. At 0545 another attack was made in grid CG 7554, but the torpedo missed the ships in station #61 and #31 and did not hit a ship beyond them, as thought. The master and 25 crewmembers from Courland (Master Robert Cecil Smith) were lost. Two crewmembers and two gunners were picked up by sloop HMS Deptford and landed at Liverpool. The master, 19 crewmembers and one gunner from Estrellano (Master Fred Bird) were picked up by the Brandenburg, transferred to HMS Deptford and landed at Liverpool. Six crewmembers were lost.

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Yesterday        Tomorrow


9 February 1942

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February 9th, 1942 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Soap rationing comes into force today as the British government cuts supplies by 20% in order to save imported oils and fats for food rations. Despite elaborate efforts to keep the soap rationing plans secret - government communiqués referred to nutmegs - some London chemists reported a run on soap before the official announcement. People will be entitled to four ounces of household soap, or two ounces of toilet soap, soap flakes or chips per person per month. Emergency measures might have to be taken for workers in "dirty" trades.

The Pacific War Council, composed of representatives from the U.K., Australia, Netherlands East Indies, and New Zealand, is formed in London.   

Scotland: Gnr J. T. Etherington (911161) celebrates his 21st birthday in Glasgow where he is stationed.

Minesweeper HMS Bowen laid down.

Salvage vessel HMS Salveda launched.

GERMANY: U-260 launched.

INDIA: Chiang Kai-shek arrives to urge nationalists to join the fight against Japan.

SINGAPORE: After a series of huge artillery barrages, Japanese assault troops succeeded in crossing the Johore Strait last night and stormed the mangrove-fringed north-west shore of Singapore Island itself. General Tomoyuki Yamashita concentrated the weight of all three of his divisions on the long, thinly-held line manned by the two brigades of the Australian 8th Division.

Early reports indicate that the Australians have been thrown back by the overwhelming weight of the hordes of Japanese who charged their positions with bayonets. By dawn, the Japanese were pouring through a massive gap in the line and Tengah airfield, the initial objective of the Japanese assault, fallen to the enemy. Within a few hours, more than 4,000 Japanese troops came ashore in assault craft. Tanks and infantry are being ferried across on rafts. It is estimated that 30,000 Japanese have been successfully landed on Singapore.

The assault by the Japanese 5th and 18th Divisions came after arguments to build stronger defences were resisted by some senior British commanders as damaging to local morale. Also rejected were  plans to concentrate defences on the north-west shore; more were sent to the north-east shore and then bypassed by Japan's move. Despite this, some Australian battalions held firm all day. Then, surprised by the speed of enemy attacks, commanders ordered premature retreats.

Survey ship Herald, which had been damaged in an air raid, is abandoned and scuttled in dockyard at Singapore. Raised by the Japanese and recommissioned as Heiyo, she is mined and sunk in the Java Sea on 14 November 1944. (Alex Gordon)(108)

Although reinforcements are sent to the West Area from other sectors, the Japanese reach Tengah airfield. Beginning at 2100 hours, the Japanese 4th Guards Regiment lands in the area just west of the causeway. Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, General Office Commanding Malaya Command, orders the garrison to defend the southern part of the island, where Singapore town, Kalang airdrome, the reservoirs, and supply depots are located. The Far East War Council meets for the last time.   

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES:  In the I Corps area on Bataan, Japanese remnants from Little Pocket are destroyed while seeking to escape. 1st Division, Philippine Army, is now free to join in the battle against Big Pocket, which is being compressed and from which the Japanese are trying to escape. In the South Sector, the 2d Battalion, 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, replaces the 3d Battalion in the center of the line in the Anyasan-Silaiim region and makes limited progress against the Japanese. 
    The Japanese get radio station KZRH in Manila on the air again, and broadcast propaganda to the embattled American and Filipino forces, playing American songs to make GIs feel homesick, including "Waiting for Ships That Never Came in." 

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: Celebes: Japan occupies Makassar. About 8,000 Japanese troops land near Makassar City and south of Makassar at Jeneponto on Celebes Island. They immediately head for Makassar City, where they capture a bridge and the Dutch troops who were guarding the bridge. A company of native soldiers opens fire on the Japanese causing casualties and in reprisal, the Japanese tie the Dutch soldiers  in groups of three and throw them from the bridge into the water to drown. 
     A flight of three USAAF 5th Air Force A-24 Dauntlesses, nine P-40s and an LB-30 Liberator guide, on a flight from Australia to Java, arrives over Koepang Airdrome on Timor and finds the base closed by weather. The LB-30 returns to Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, but the A-24s and P-40s must land. All nine P-40s are destroyed while attempting to land and the three A-24s are shot up by Dutch AA gunners. One A-24 continues to Java tomorrow but the other two must return to Australia for repairs. 
     Japanese aircraft bomb Batavia, Surabaya, and Malang, Java. 

Submarines USS Saury and Porpoise departed Surabaya for their second war patrol.

PACIFIC OCEAN:  Submarine USS Trout (SS-202) torpedoes and sinks a Japanese gunboat 53 miles (85 kilometres) off Keelung, Formosa.   

MIDWAY ISLAND: Japanese submarine HIJMS I-69 shells Sand Island with its 100mm deck gun. It is strafed and damaged by a USMC F2A Buffalo of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Hundred Twenty One (VMF 221)

BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: Four destroyers from Rabaul land troops of the Japanese 144th Infantry at Gasmata, a coastal town on southern New Britain Island. 

TERRITORY OF HAWAII:12 USAAF 7th Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses are detached and released to the USN’s Commander-in-Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC); they will cover the advance of Task Force Eleven (TF 11) (Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr.) into the South Pacific. 

CANADA: Anti-conscription candidates are soundly defeated in four by-elections.

U.S.A.: The Screen Actors Guild rejects General Hershey's plan to defer movie stars that was announced yesterday.

78th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) and its three subordinate units, the 82d, 83d and 84th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor), USAAF are activated at Baer Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The 85,000 ton French passenger liner SS Normandie, built in 1931 and regarded by many as the most elegant ocean liner ever built, burns and sinks in New York Harbor during its conversion to a USN transport to be named Lafayette (AP-53). When France surrendered to the Germans in June 1940 and the puppet Vichy regime was installed, the Normandie was in dock at New York City. The US Navy immediately placed it in "protective custody," since the U.S. government did not want a ship of such size and speed to fall into the hands of the Germans, which it certainly would if it returned to France; the Navy took control of the ship shortly after Pearl Harbor. While undergoing conversion to a transport, a welder accidentally set fire to a pile of flammable life preservers with his torch, and by early the next morning the ship lay capsized in the harbour, a gutted wreck.  Salvage from this ship will be auctioned in July 1945. It almost certainly was some sort of carelessness that caused the fire, but it was not the fire that sank the ship. Tied up with only some ballast in her hull while she was being converted, it was the vast amount of firehose water that flooded upper compartments but had no way out, and gradually overweighted the balance and tipped her over. (Jack McKillop and Dave Shirlaw)
     On this day, Congress pushes ahead standard time for the United States by one hour in each time zone, imposing daylight saving time--called at the time "war time." 

Oiler USS Chicopee commissioned.

USS YMS-54 commissioned.


SS Tolosa (master Harald N. Kruse) disappeared on route from Kingston to Chester with her 22 men crew (16 Norwegians, 2 Swedes, 2 Danes, 1 American, 1 Briton). Believed sunk by U-108.

At 0538, the unescorted Anna Knudsen was torpedoed by U-586 northwest of Scotland, but kept afloat by her crew and arrived safely in Britain.

At 0034, U-654 fired three single torpedoes at convoy ON-60. Just as a hit on corvette FFL Alysse (ex-HMS Alyssum) was observed, a second explosion took place beyond. A freighter of 7000 grt stopped and was later attacked with a coup de grâce by the U-boat, but missed.

At 2020, the Empire Fusilier (Master William Reid), dispersed from convoy ON-60, was torpedoed and sunk by U-85 southeast of St. John's, Newfoundland. Nine crewmembers were lost. The master, 31 crewmembers and six gunners were picked up by corvette HMCS Barrie and landed at Halifax.


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Yesterday        Tomorrow


9 February 1943

Yesterday     Tomorrow

February 9th, 1943 (TUESDAY)

U.S.S.R.: The Red Army liberates Bielograd.

Polar Fleet and White Sea Flotilla: HS "Hydrolog" - lost in a storm, in Kolskii Gulf (Sergey Anisimov)(69)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Flower class corvette HMS Erica is sunk in a minefield laid by submarine HMS Rorqual in July 1942(?), but whose existence had not been plotted! Fortunately, there are no casualties, the entire 73 man crew being rescued by HMS Southern Maid. Location: between Beghazi and Derna at 32 48N 21 01E. (Alex Gordon)(108)

Submarine HMS Unbending sinks Italian minelayer Eritrea (2517 BRT) east of Monopoli, Italy.

Italian submarine Malachite torpedoed and sunk near Cape Spartivento, Sardinia, Italy in position 38.42N, 08.52E by the submarine HNLMS Dolfijn.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: 1st Battalion of the US Armies 164th Regiment meets a patrol from the 2nd Battalion of the US Army's 132nd Regiment at the village of Tenaro, on the western end of Guadalcanal about 1650 in the afternoon. These two units of the Americal Division have confirmed that organized Japanese resistance on Guadalcanal has ended.

General AA Patch, USA radios: "Total and complete defeat of Japanese forces on Guadalcanal effected 1625 today. ... Tokyo Express no longer has a terminus on Guadalcanal."

Japanese stragglers on Guadalcanal will continue. The last known survivor will surrender in 1947.

AUSTRALIA: Submarine USS Gar departed Fremantle for her sixth war patrol.

PACIFIC OCEAN: Submarine USS Tarpon torpedoes and sinks the Japanese troop transport Tatsuta Maru (16975 BRT) some 42 miles east of Mikura Jima in position 33.45N, 140.25E.

U.S.A.: Washington: As a step towards a second front in Europe, a minimum working week of 48 hours was decreed today by President Roosevelt, but it will apply only in 32 "labour shortage areas". Wages and prices are also being kept down by government order.

Submarine rescue vessel USS Penguin laid down.

USS SC-1285 laid down.

Destroyer USS Smalley laid down

Net tender USS Stagbush laid down.

Destroyer USS Haggard launched.

USS YMS-348 launched.

Destroyer USS John Rodgers commissioned.

USS SC-727 commissioned.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Twenty U-boats have launched a sustained attack on a slow-moving Atlantic convoy, SC-118, over the last five days. Thirteen merchant ships have been sunk from the original 63, despite the presence of ten escort vessels and long-range air cover. Three more U-boats were sunk and two more are believed to have been seriously damaged in a battle where the long winter nights helped protect the U-boats from Allied aircraft. Admiral Dönitz has concentrated a large force near the "black gap" which Allied aircraft cannot reach, off the coast of Greenland.

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9 February 1944

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February 9th, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The King and Queen eat a 1/- (one shilling) lunch with Yorkshire miners and declare "It is a long time since we had a better meal."

Westminster: The bishop of Chichester, Dr. George Bell, speaking in  the House of Lords today, questioned the morality of the RAF's policy of area bombing. He said that he was not forgetting Warsaw or Coventry; his concern was whether the government understood what area bombing was destroying now.

It was not only the vast material damage, much of it irreparable, but also the implications for the future relationships of the people of Europe, as well as morality. Speaking of Berlin, he added: "Men and women have been overwhelmed in a tornado of smoke and flames. It is said that 74,000 persons have been killed. The policy of obliteration openly acknowledged. That is not a justifiable act of war."

He referred to Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris's threat to bomb Berlin until "the heart of Nazi Germany ceases to beat", and argued that "to justify methods inhumane in themselves by arguments of expediency smacks of the Nazi philosophy that might is right."

The bishop's qualms are doubtless shared by many but will carry little weight in the context of total war. In reply to Dr. Bell, Viscount Cranborne, the secretary of state for the Dominions, denied that the RAF indulged in terror raids. He said Britain would continue bombing "with more crushing effect until the final victory is secure."

London: The unease expressed by the Bishop of Chichester about the RAF's policy of area bombing has raised questions about the effectiveness of the campaign as well as its morality. Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris's view that strategic bombing will bring about the downfall of Germany without the need for a costly invasion of Europe is well known. But is it correct?

Area bombing, such as the great firestorm of Hamburg last July, which killed 42,000 people, is known to have affected worker morale and industrial output seriously in the days immediately following the raids. But the Germans are resilient people; they soon recover; and in the case of Hamburg only 50 working days were lost.

In fact, because of the efforts of Albert Speer, the armaments minister, production of weapons in Germany is steadily rising. Tank production had increased from 760 a month at the beginning of 1943 to 1,229 in December, while the production of aircraft rose from 15,288 in 1942 to 25,094 in 1943.

Perhaps the main achievement of Bomber Command's valiant effort has been the massive diversion of resources to the air defence of the Reich, which has deprived the Wehrmacht in Russia and Italy of vital air support.

Frigate HMS Wye commissioned.

FRANCE: 12 Lancasters of 617 "Dambuster" Squadron, led by Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, last night devastated the important Gnome and Rhone aero-engine factory at Limoges with 12,000lb bombs, the heaviest of the war so far.


U-1209, U-1210 launched.

U-1169, U-1231 commissioned.

FINLAND: Finnish government decides to send Juho Kusti Paasikivi, the former Finnish ambassador at Moscow, to Stockholm to find out what are the Soviet terms for peace.

U.S.S.R.: Generals Malinkovsky and Konev start to wipe out the German Eighth Army at Kirovograd.

INDIAN OCEAN: SS Viva (Master Oscar Andersen) was hit by a torpedo and sunk. Her crew was picked up next day by SS Marwarri and landed in Aden.

BURMA: The 1/7th Gurkha's position on "Bare Patch" is completely wired; Japanese grenade dischargers during the day have no effect, and the Gurkhas are replying with 2-inch mortars. (Daily Telegraph, 21.10.2003, p.27)

PACIFIC OCEAN: While on her 3rd war patrol USS Bonefish torpedoes and damages the Japanese tanker Tonan Maru No.2 (19262 BRT) off French Indochina in position 11.30N, 109.10E.

TERRITORY OF HAWAII:  Submarine USS Gar: USS Gar (LCdr. G.W. Lautrup, Jr) ended her tenth war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

CANADA: Tug HMCS Glenwood 155 tons, 80'x19'8"x7'6", wood, one Enterprise diesel, 6 cylinders (12"x15") 400 hp, 10kts ordered from J.H. LeBlanc Shipbuilding Co Weymouth NS. Cancelled during construction, 59% complete, completed 1946, sold 1947 to Saint John Tugboat Co. Saint John , New Brunswick, renamed Ocean Weka #179312. Broken up 1969 and removed from register.

Tug HMCS Glencove laid down Russel Bros Owen Sound, Ontario.

U.S.A.: Destroyer escort USS Weeden commissioned.

USS PCS-1378 commissioned.

Net tender USS Oneota laid down.

LCdr. A.C. Burrows was relieved as Commanding Officer by LCdr. J.B. Grady of submarine USS Whale.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The very successful anti-submarine group led by Captain F J Walker in HMS Starling fought a notable action in defence of convoy SL.147, sinking U-238 and U-734. Over 150 depth charges were used in a long and relentless battle, one of the depth charges successfully exploding a German torpedo just a few yards before it would have hit Starling. Exhausted by his relentless patrols of the North Atlantic, Captain Walker, awarded the Distinguished Service Order no less than four times, suddenly died aboard ship in July 1944.

U-238 Kl.VIIC is sunk in the North Atlantic south-west of Ireland, in position 49.45N, 16.07W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Kite, Magpie and Starling. 50 dead (all hands lost). (Alex Gordon)

U-734 sunk in the North Atlantic southwest of Ireland, in position 49.43N, 16.23W by depth charges from sloops HMS Wild Goose and Starling. 49 dead (all hands lost).

U-193 was damaged by aircraft in the Bay of Biscay.

At 1300, the Kelmscott in convoy HX-278 was torpedoed by U-845 off St. Johns. The ship developed a heavy list but was towed to St John's and after temporary repairs left for Baltimore on 17 August.

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9 February 1945

Yesterday                Tomorrow

February 9th, 1945 (FRIDAY)


   Sir, ----Reports favourable to the behaviour of Germans during the occupation of France are rare. It will interest your readers to know that a German Admiral who had commandeered my house in Bordeaux had my beautiful furniture stored while he was residing there. Before being expelled from Bordeaux he had the whole of the house re-papered and re-painted.
What courtesy!

Meanwhile, another German was thrust upon the board of directors of my French company in Bordeaux. He claimed and was paid a high salary (altogether 500,000f.) to supervise my British interests. Each year he appropriated the totality of my share of the profits and that of my children. Needless to say that he sent to Germany the said profits. What a fiend!

                                                                        Yours, etc., B.H. Seward.
                                                                    The Times

Frigate HMCS Teme arrived Londonderry to join EG-6.

The following AP report was released to the newswires: Long-range German submarines, sniping at Allied convoys bound into and out of Canadian ports this winter, torpedoed a Canadian warship and five merchantmen within one period of 22 days off the Nova Scotia coast, it was disclosed tonight. The enemy undersea craft apparently were making a desperate attempt to cut the Allied North Atlantic supply line at its western anchor. The sinkings included the Canadian minesweeper Clayoquot, a Canadian merchant ship, and four vessels of other nationalities. A total of 36 men, 8 navy men and the rest seamen, lost their lives in the six sinkings. [The Clayoquot was sunk on 24 December, 1944 by U-806 (Hornbostel).] The following AP report was released to the newswires: German submarine activity increased slightly in January, but losses of Allied merchant shipping did not change substantially, the monthly Anglo-American statement reported tonight. The Statement, issued under the authority of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, said U-boats, by making use of new devices, "penetrated further into focal areas of shipping close to shore," but described counter-measures as "encouraging." No figures on losses were given. The British submarine HMS Venturer, commanded by James S. Launders, torpedoed and sank the U-864. This is the only known incident in all of naval warfare in which one submarine sinks another while both are submerged.

NORTH SEA: U-864 Kl. IXD2 is sunk west of Bergen, Norway, in position 60.46N, 04.35E, by torpedoes from the British submarine HMS Venturer. 73 dead (all hands lost). While submerged west of Bergen, Lt Chalmers was in the control room when he heard faint underwater sounds on the hydrophones, and Launders spotted a periscope at about 5,000 yards range. Chalmers trimmed the boat in silence for three hours while Launders the CO stalked his quarry, calculating the range by the loudness of its noise. U-864, commanded by Korvettenkaptän Ralf-Reimar Wolfram, was making "suicidal" use of its periscope, which was protruding about four feet above the surface. Venturer fired four torpedoes, and two minutes 12 seconds later there was a loud explosion. This is the only known sinking of one submarine by another when both boats were submerged throughout the engagement. Venturer was cued by Ultra on to U-864, which carried an Me 163 rocket-powered interceptor, 64 tons of mercury, heavy water, and some 20 Luftwaffe officers as well as German and Japanese engineers. (Alex Gordon and Dave Shirlaw)

FRANCE: The "Colmar pocket" is cleared.

NETHERLANDS: Nijmegen: After an overnight attack by heavy bombers and a 1,000-gun bombardment, linked to a second air strike, British and Canadian troops swept forward into the Siegfried Line. The front edge soon collapsed and the Canadians, crossing the flooded lowlands by amphibious trucks, reached the Rhine here today. Upstream, the US First Army is poised to seize the Roer dams, hoping to prevent the Germans from opening the floodgates. The enemy's front line is partly manned by men regarded as invalids, but behind them are the tough Panzer forces, which could yet trouble the Allies.

GERMANY: U-923 Sunk in Kiel Bay, in position 54.31N, 10.18E, by a mine. 48 dead (all hands lost).

U-2543, U-2544 launched.

KG(J)-54 sends up ten Me-262 jets to intercept a US bomber formation, but loses six jets while claiming one bomber danaged. (Mike Yaklich)

HUNGARY: In Mészáros utca near Déli railway station László Deseő, 15 years old at the time of the siege, kept an hourly diary of the destruction that raged around him:

February 9. Half past eight in the morning. I'm standing on the cellar steps. A short time ago 17 Germans defending the house were hit. An SS soldier of English origin is also among them. There are five of them standing near me. We don't speak. They are very jittery. They smoke one cigarette after another. Their hands are shaking...They'. Half past eight in the morning. I'm standing on the cellar steps. A short time ago 17 Germans defending the house were hit. An SS soldier of English origin is a February 10. Quarter past nine. One of the soldiers looked out of the living room window (So curious!) there was a puff - headshot! When I was in the living room and wanted to crawl under this window (I wasn't in the mood to show myself) I accidentally touched the bloody mass of brains which had flowed out onto the floor. At lunch it occurred to me that I hadn't washed my hands since then, but despite this I carried on eating. Hand washing is a luxury.

NORWAY: 32 RAF Bristol Beaufighters and ten Mustangs take off from Scotland for an anti-shipping operation off the Norwegian coast. Twelve German fighters take off from Herdla, north of Bergen to meet the force. Ten Allied and five German aircraft are shot down. Fourteen allied and two German airmen being killed during the battle. Ten of the Allied airmen are from Canada. (Torstein)

BURMA: Indian troops complete the capture of Ramree Island.


Submarine USS Loggerhead commissioned.

USS PGM 32 commissioned.

PARAGUAY: The government here today declared war on Germany and Japan, boosting the growing tide of South American countries which are joining the Allies to secure an invitation to the "United Nations" conference. A Caracas newspaper today reports that Venezuela is considering declaring war on the Axis. Meanwhile Chile is denying rumours to the same effect. Ecuador declared war on Germany and Japan on 2 February.

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