War Diary February 1st to 7th 1940

Thursday February 1st 1940

  • Reported that battle in Kuhmo sector of Central Finland, in which Finns were attempted to encircle a Russian division, was reaching critical stage.
  • Russian forces said to be entrenching themselves on the front North of Lae Ladoga.
  • Soviet troops launches a violent attack at Summa, in centre of Mannerheim Line in Karelian Isthmus.
  • Russian planes bombed Rovaniemi and Kemi, on Lapland front.
  • Announced that both British and American aircraft had reached Finland and been in use for past fortnight.
  • Balkan Entente conference opened in Belgrade, Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Greece meeting to discuss questions of Balkan policy.
  • Reported that Greek cargo ship, “Eleni Statathos’ has been sunk bu u-boat on Jany 28th and British steamer ‘Bancrest’ by enemy air attack on Jany 29th or 30th.
  • Lord Mayor’s Red Cross and St John Fund reached over £1,000,000.

Friday February 2nd 1949

  • Russians continued violent attacks on Kerelian Isthmus using armoured sledges pushed forward by tanks. Their advance was repulsed after heavy fighting.
  • Helsinki announced that at least five enemy planes were shot down in the Isthmus.
  • Twenty places bombed in Southern Finland, including Helsinki and Sortavala.
  • British tanker ‘British Councillor’ sunk by enemy action on North Sea.
  • Reported that on Jan 31 Danish steamer ‘Vidar’ had been sunk by bombing and Swedish steamer ‘Fram’ by mine or torpedo.
  • Announced that the whole of the crewe of submarines ‘Starfish’ and ‘Undine’ sunk in January in Heglioland Bight were prisoners of war in Germany. No survivors of ‘Seahorse’ so far reported.

Saturday February 3rd

  • German aircraft made further raids on unarmed vessels in North Sea. RAF machines made contact on several occasions shot down three raiders and disabled a fourth. Once crashed in Yorkshire, another in sea off mouth of Tyne.
  • Fighting was intense at Summa in Karelian Isthmus, this being third day of new Russian offensive. Four fierce attacks repulsed by Finns.
  • Army communique stated that Finns had brought down at least 13 planes over Isthmus.
  • Mass Soviet raids on Finland, the worst being at Kupio. Attack went as far west as Pori, on Bothnian coast.
  • Norwegian ship ‘Tempo’ sunk by bombing off North-east Coast.
  • New Anglo-Turkish trade agreement signed in London.

Sunday February 4th

  • Helsinki stated that Russians had attacked positions newly occupied by Finns in Kuhmo sector, but had been repulsed.
  • North of Lake Ladoga enemy forces were almost all entrenched.
  • Finnish communique claimed that 22 more enemy planes had been brought down.
  • Vilpuri suffered severe bombing raids, with some loss of life and much material damage. Other attacks were made at Ekenaes, Aabo, and Rovaniemi.
  • First British airmen – flight-Lt RV Jeff to be decorated by the French, awarded the Croix de Guerre by General Vuillemin.
  • Reported that British ship ‘Polzella’ and Norwegian steamer ‘Varild’ were both overdue and must be considered lost.
  • Meeting of Balkan Entente at Belgrade ended with declaration of the four States to maintain solidarity of S.E. Europe in spirit of ‘regional neutrality’.
  • Reported that German arms were being send by sea to Russian forces at Persamo and Murmansk.

Monday February 5th

  • Russians stated to have got nearer to Mannerheim defences and to be now 29 miles from Vilpuri.
  • Finns reported to have gained another big victory to course of which Russian 18th Division, operating north-east of Lake Ladoga, was almost annihilated.
  • Russian air raids continued; objectives included churches and amublances. Island monastery of Valamo on Lake Ladoga bombed ans et on fire.
  • Admiralty announced that H.M. minesweeper ‘Sphinx’ foundered after being damanged by enemy air attacks on Feb 3rd.
  • Reported that Canadian-Pacific lined ‘Beaverburn’ had been sunk by u-boat in Atlantic.
  • British steamer ‘portelet’ reported mines in North Sea.
  • Stockholm announced that Swedish steamer ‘Andalusia’ was overdue and was feared lost.
  • Fifth and largest meeting of Sumpreme War Council took place in Paris.
  • M. Pampunchi, French Minister of Marine, stated that 40 of Germany’s 55 submarines at sea in September had been sunk.

Tuesday February 6th

  • Finnish Army Command stated that new attacks by large Russian forces and tanks in Summa sector of Mannerheim Line were repulsed after 16 hours of fighting.
  • Reported that Russian parachute troops had been dropped behind Finnish lines both on Isthmus and at Rovaniemi, in Lapland, but were either killed or taken prisoner.
  • Swedish steamer ‘Wirgo’ sunk by Russian bombers
  • Estonian cargo ship ‘Anu’ mines in North Sea.
  • Norwegian motor-ship ‘Segovia’ reported overdue and feared lost.
  • Notes exchanged between Britain and Japan, over removal on Jan 21 of 21 Germans from the ‘Asama Maru’ were published as a White Paper.
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