Monday, November 23, 2009

70 Years Ago Today 23/11/39

Krakow: The Nazi Governor General of Poland Dr Hans Frank orders all Jews over the age of ten to wear arm bands with the mark of the star of David.

Berlin: Adolf Hitler summons his generals to the Reich Chancellery in order to criticise them for their opposition to war on the western front. It is believed that he fiercely argued with his senior generals over their lack of faith in his ability to wage war.

North Atlantic: Just North of the Faroe Islands the armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi engages two vastly superior German battle cruisers,the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau as they were attempting to break through into the North Atlantic. In a battle that has gone down in British Naval folklore the Rawalpindi fought bravely against two of Germany's most powerful vessels for forty minutes before she was sunk. The Rawalpindi was however able to contact the admiralty and inform them of the location of the German ships forcing them to retreat. 275 of her 312 crew were lost. The German ships retrieved the 37 survivors.

The HMS Rawalpindi (above) was sunk by the German battleships Gneisenau and the Scharnhorst (below)

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