War Diary 8th to 14th February 1940

Thursday February 8th

  • Battle in Karelian Isthmus reaches its ninth day, and Finns were reported to be still standing firm against repeated attacks.
  • Russian battalion which attempted to come to relief of division encircled at Kuhmo, central Finland, was driven back.
  • Reported that the Swedish brigade in Finland, consisting of 6,000 men, had been in action on the Salla front.
  • French steamer ‘Marie Dawn’ sunk by mine in North Sea.
  • Third contingent of Canadian Active Service force landed at a West Coast fort.
  • Labour Party issued a declaration of its Peace Aims.

Friday February 9th

  • Admiralty announced that two U-boats had been sunk by one British destroyer while they were attacking a convoy.
  • German bomber shot down near Firth of Forth during raids on shipping in North Sea. Two other bombers believed to have been damaged. Other raiders engaged at various points ranging as far north as Peterhead.
  • Russian offensive on Mannerheim Line still held in check. Attacks made not only at Summa, but also between Punnusjoki and over ice of Taipale River.
  • Finns claimed to have improved their positions in Kuhmo sector. In far north Finnish patrols attacked Soviet positions at Salmijaervi.
  • Paris reported artillery activity between the Moselle adn the Saar; also a severe encounter during reconnaissance, when losses were suffered on both sides.
  • British steamer ‘Chagress’ sunk by enemy action of the North West coast.
  • President Roosevelt announced that he was sending Mr Summer Welles, US Under Secretary of State, to collect information about conditions in Italy, France, Germany and Great Britain.
  • Reported from Istanbul that about 80 German Specialists employed in a munitions factory, a naval dockyard and in coalfields had been dismissed.

Saturday February 10th

  • Field Marshall Mannerheim reported to have taken over command on Karelian Isthmus front.
  • Russians continued their attacks here, first bombing Finnish troops by aeroplane, accompanied by heavy artillery fire, then pushing forward succeeding waves of men all along the line. Finns claimed that all attacks were repulsed.
  • Admiralty announced loss by enemy action of HM Trawlers ‘Robert Bowen’ and ‘Fort Royal’ with loss of four officers and 18 ratings.
  • Swedish Government protested to Moscow against sinking on February 5 of Swedish steamer ‘Wirgo’ by Russian bombers.

Sunday February 11th

  • Wave of intense cold returned to Europe. Reported that 58 degrees of frost Fahrenheit were recorded at Stockholm, and that it was possible to walk across the frozen Kattegat from Jutland to Sweden.
  • Fierce fighting continued unabated on the Karelian Isthmus.
  • North of Lake Ladoga Finns destroyed column of 60 lorries.
  • Finnish Command issued a summary of Russian losses after 10 weeks of warfare. They included 327 planes, 594 tanks, and 206 guns captured in addition to those destroyed. Russian casualties in personnel were not mentioned.
  • Norwegian tanker ‘Gallia’ mined off South East Coast.
  • Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor-General of Canada, died at Montreal.

Monday February 12th

  • Russian attacks on Finnish defences on Karelian Isthmus increased in violence. In Summa sector several infantry divisions were flung into the line, supported by a large tank force. It was stated that everywhere the Finns stood firm.
  • Russians launched simultaneous attacks farther north-east on the Isthmus, between Lake Muola and the Vuoksi river, and also near Taipale.
  • Two German aircraft sighted near Orkney Islands. No bombs were dropped.
  • Dutch steamer ‘Burgerdijk’ reported sunk by U-boat on February 10th.
  • Estonian steamer ‘Linda’ reported sunk by enemy action.
  • First contingent of Second Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force arrived at Suez.

Tuesday February 13th

  • German bomber over Thames Estuary driven off by RAF fighters.
  • Russians believed to have captured advanced positions of Mannerheim Line.
  • Admiralty announced that German Steamer ‘Wakama’ had been scuttled off Brazilian coast.
  • British trawler ‘Togimo’ and Swedish steamer ‘Orania’ reported sunk by U-boat.
  • RAF planes made reconnaissance flight over North West Germany.
  • Second Australian Imperial Force arrived in Palestine.

Wednesday February 14th

  • Finnish Command admitted that Russians had captured advanced positions in Summa sector, but stated that the advance was checked by second line of defences.
  • Stated that a general licence has been granted to British subjects to enlist in Finnish forces.
  • Admiralty announced destruction of two U-boats concerned in sinking of three British ships.
  • British tankers ‘Gretafield’ and ‘British Triumph’ and cargo liner ‘Sultan Star’ sunk by U-boats.
  • Mr Churchill stated that soon all British ships would be armed against murderous attacks of German air raiders in North Sea.
  • Swedish steamer ‘Dalarao’ reported torpedoes and shelled by U-boat on February 12th.
  • Danish ship ‘Chastine Maersk’ sunk by U-boat off Norwegian coast.
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