23 - 29 August 1941

23 August 1941

Rastenburg , East Prussia : Adolf Hitler rejected Heinz Guderian’s advice to attack Moscow, Russia; instead, he moved troops to the south.

Leningrad , USSR : STAVKA re organises Leningraf Front as Leningrad Front in south and Karelian Front in north

Atlantic Ocean : Battle of convoy OG71 (Outbound Gibraltar 71) started west of Portugal. German submarine U-201 torpedoed and sunk British cargo ships Aldergrove and Stork. U-564 torpedoed and sunk Norwegian cargo ship Spind and Royal Navy corvette HMS Zinnia escorting the convoy. U-143 torpedoed and sunk Norwegian cargo ship Inger.

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS Tetrarch attacked an Axis convoy with torpedoes in Gulf of Sirte off Libya , sinking two coasters. A RAF Bleinheim bomber from Malta also attacked the convoy , bombed and sunk another coaster

Baltic Sea : Finnish cargo ship Cisil struck a mine and sunk off Kolberg , Germany. Soviet minesweeper T-204 struck a mine and sunk off Kronstadt.

24 August 1941

Ukraine : Romanian forces suffered heavy losses during the Soviet counter attack near Odessa, Ukraine. Meanwhile General Guderian’s 2nd Panzer Group crosses Dnieper river and begins its attack into deep Ukraine to cut through rear of Soviet Southern Front
France : Vichy France passed anti-terrorist laws, punishable with death sentences, to deal with the resistance movement.
Germany : Adolf Hitler ordered the end of the euthanasia program that had already killed 70,273 mentally-ill people. Some doctors would continue to kill the mentally-ill through the end of the European War.
Tobruk , Libya : Relief of 9th Australian Division back to Egypt and replacing it with 70th British Infantry Division and Polish and Czech brigades continued. At night time a convoy of eight ships took hundreds of Australians from Tobruk back to Alexandria.
Baltic Sea : Soviet destroyer Engels struck a mine and sunk off Estonia. Two more Soviet minesweepers T-214 and T-209 also struck mines and both sunk off Keri island. Soviet cargo ship VT-532 was bombed and sunk Luftwaffe JU-88 bombers off Prangil island

25 August 191

Iran : Operation Countenance (invasion of Iran ) starts when British Commonwealth from south over Iraq and Soviet Union from north Caucasian frontier , begin their coordinated invasion while ambassadors of both countries request Iranian goverment to accept their “protection”. Aim of this operation is safeguard oilfields and refineries in Iran , getting rid of all German and Axis nationals , intelligence operatives and agents still in function over the region and establish a secure supply link for Soviet Union from Basra and Indian Ocean all the way to Caspian Sea and Caucaus. When Churchill was reminded by his secretary Coleville that they might be violating Iranian neutrality illegally Churchill replied with an Ancient Greek quote dated from Cicero : “Inter Arma Silent Leges” (In times of war , the law stays silent)

44th , 47th and 51th Soviet Armies under command of General Kozlov from Transcaucasian Front entered Iran from Caucasian border while two Indian divisions and three independent brigades from British Commonwealth forces under command of General Quinan landed on Abadan in south and cross Iraq border at east. Two Iranian gunboats were sunk in Adaban by Royal Navy sloops HMAS Yarra and HMS Shoeham. Italian cargo ship Caboto and German cargo ship Hohenfels were captured by Allied troops in Bandar Shapur port. Cabato was renemed as Empire Kohinoor and Hohenfels was remed Empire Kamal and pressed to British merchant navy. German cargo vessels Sturmfels and Weisenfels scuttled themselves at Bandar Shapur.

France : Vichy France Prime Minister Pierre Laval was shot four times by student turned to resistant Paul Collete as he saw off French volunteers going off to fight with the Germans in Russia. Laval survived the assassination attempt, but was seriously wounded particularly by a bullet that penetrated his body about an inch from his heart.

Rastenburg , East Prussia : Mussolini arrived Hitler Rastenburg headquarters for talks. During their meeting Hitler rails against Spain’s reluctance to join Axis

USSR : Soviet Byransk Front commander General Yeremenko promised Stalin that he would crush that scoundrel Guderian

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-452 was located and bombed on the surface by a RAF Coıastal Command PBY Catalina flying boat off Iceland. U-452 was badly damaged and unable to dive when Royal Navy armed trawler HMS Vascama came to the scene following RAF Catalina flying boats call for assistance. HMS Vascama opened fire with her deck gun on U-Boat and when German submarine dived , HMS Vascama dropped a series of depth charges that totally destroyed U-452.

Baltic Sea : Luftwaffe JU-88 bombers bombed and sunk Soviet tanker Zheleznodrozhnik and three cargo ships Daugava , Kosmos and Lunacharski in Gulf of Finland.

Barents Sea : Soviet minesweepers Nenetz and T-898 were both torpedoed and sunk off Kola Peninsula by German submarine U-752

26 August 1941

Baltics : Soviet forces in Velikije Luki were surrounded and destroyed by German Army Group North
Arctic Sea : A combined force of Canadian, British, and Norwegian commandos landed on Spitzbergen. The coal-mining installations and equipment there were destroyed and the Norwegian civilian populace was evacuated
Iran : British and Indian troops captured Abadan, Iran, along with the oil-related installations there. Far to the north, Soviet troops captured Tabriz while aircraft bombed Tehran.
Ukraine : German Army Group South captured important industrial town Dnepropetrovsk in Dnieper industrial basin. The Hungarian Army rounded up 18,000 Jews at Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine. Adolf Hilter and Benito Mussolini inspected Axis troops at Uman, Ukraine.
Barents Sea : German submarine U-571 seriously damaged Soviet submarine supply ship Marija Uljanova with two torpedoes 27 miles north of Teriberskij lighthouse in northern Russia in the Barents Sea at 0459 hours; Marija Uljanova would be written off as a loss on the next day.

27 August 1941

Russia : German 250th Infantry Division, consisted of Spanish volunteers, began to march on foot from the Polish-Lithuanian border toward Smolensk, Russia

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-570 surfaced at 1050 hours in the Atlantic Ocean and was spotted by a RAF Coastal Command Hudson aircraft, which attacked the submarine with four 250-pound depth charges and returned for strafing. U-570 eventually surrendered when her crew panicked and overwhelmed their officers ; while awaiting the British to send a capture party, German crew destroyed their Enigma machine but leave their confidential secret papers intact to be captured. Next day , two British ASW trawlers HMS Northern Chief and HMS Kingston Agate and Canadian destroyer HMCS Niagara evacuated crew of U-570 from their boat as POWs and towed captured German submarine to Iceland. She will be renamed as HMS Graph and join Royal Navy.

Meanwhile , German submarine U-557 attacked Allied convoy OS-4 with torpedoes 300 miles west of Ireland between 0125 and 0426 hours, sinking four British ships : Embassage , Saudor , Seguda (Norwegian) , Tremoda.

Murmansk , Kola Peninsula : First Allied supply convoy (Dervish Convoy) reached Russian port of Murmansk

Iran : Reza Shah of Iran appointed Mohammad Ali Foroughi as the Prime Minister, who immediately began negotiations with the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom to end the hostilities.

Estonia , Baltics : German Army Group North reached outskirts of the city , capturing it next day. That night, the Russians began the evacuation of 23,000 soldiers and civilians by sea from the Baltic port of Tallinn. In this Baltic ‘Dunkirk’, Soviet Admiral Tributs commanded an evacuation fleet of 190 ships which had to traverse 150 miles of water between two coasts occupied by the Germans and Finns. Of his twenty-nine large troop transports, twenty-five were sunk by Luftwaffe air attacks and German mines , and more than five thousand soldiers and civilians drowned. On top of that four Soviet destroyers and three submarines from Soviet Baltic Fleet were slso sunk by German minefields and Luftwaffe bombers. The heroism of the sailors entered into legend; of the thirty-five crew members on one troop transport, the Kazakhstan , only seven survived; each one was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

The Soviet evacuation of Tallinn succeeded in evacuating 165 ships, 28,000 passengers and 66,000 tons of equipment. At least 12,400 are thought to have drowned in circumstances little known outside the former Soviet Union. The event was long downplayed by the Communist regime after the war. The evacuation may have been the bloodiest naval disaster since the battle of Lepanto.

28 August 1941

Iran : New Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Foroughi signed a treaty allowing the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union to occupy oil fields and the Trans-Iranian Railway in Iran, as well as closing down German, Italian, Hungarian, and Romanian legations in Tehran and sending all Axis nationals out of country. However, he refused to allow British and Soviet troops in the capital city.

Ukraine : The Soviet NKVD blew up Zaporozhye hydroelectric dam on the River Dnieper in Ukraine to prevent German use. Thousands of civilians who resided downstream were killed by the flooding. Meanwhile Romanian and German troops started a renewed offensive against Odessa.

Baltic Sea : Soviet Baltic Fleet , under command of Admiral Vladimir Tributs , en route from Talinn to Kronstadt , shipping evacuees from Talinn , was attacked by Luftwaffe bombers , German and Finnish toroedoboats and again re entered minefields , nine more Soviet cargo ships , oner Soviet hospital ship and one Soviet depot ship plus two Soviet Navy training ships were sunk , the rest of the evacuation convoy reached Kronstadt next day.

Leningrad : 18th German Motorised Division captured town of Chudovo , severing railway link between Leningrad-Moscow. There is frenzied activity in Leningrad perimeter now , Leningrad Front command and local Communist Party leadership hurriedly put hundreds of civilians and workers to dig and build anti aircraft positions , artillery positiopns , entrenchments and fortifications around the city.

Kedainiai , Lithuania , Baltics : SS Einsatzgruppen shot and executed over 2.000 Jews and buried them into pits out of the town

Spitzbergen , Arctic Sea : Operation Gauntlet which started the day before contined. British and Norwegian commandos and naval landing parties demolished almost all coal mines , mining facilities and equipment and evacuated Norwegian and Russian miners

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS Rorqual torpedoed and sunk Italian cargo ships Cilicia and Silicia off Crete.

Sicily : A landing party from Royal Navy submarine HMS Triumph demolished an important railway bridge in Carsonia

Atlantic Ocean : Battle of Convoy OS4 continued. German submarine U-558 torpedoed and sunk 10.000 GRT British cargo vessel Otario.

Netherlands : 18 RAF Bleinheim bombers attacked German targets at Rotterdam, the Netherlands; 7 bombers were shot down by German air defences.

29 August 1941

Karelian Front , Baltics : Soviet troops evacuated the Karelian Isthmus as Finnish forces bolstered by the news that only eight Red Army division left facing the in Karelia , began to advance against abandoned Soviet defences and retook Viipuri in northern Russia (ex-Finnish territory) Next day they captured ex Finnish border town Terioki and halted. Finnish goverment , despite German pressure had no intention to go on and invade Soviet territory beyond its old frontiers.

Leningrad , USSR : Communist Party and Leningrad Front sent a desperate message of aid to Moscow , asking for emergency rations to be shipped out by rail to the east of Lake Ladoga then to be dispatched to the city down to Neva River , flowing out of Lake but in a few days German forces will occupy left bank of Neva River , so this option is out. Leningrad will be cut off soon and complately besieged with 750.000 civilian inhabitants and hundreds of thousands of Red Army troops and sailors and the city was mostly unprepared for a long siege. Soviet Leningrad Front still holding Osinovets , a vital railway junction weastern shore of the Lake Ladoga and although its port and railway facilities were not adequate to handle large scale of cargo necesasary to sustain the city (especially Luftwaffe bases were so close) , some supplies still could be shipped to there across Lake Ladoga by boat or plane

Kamanets - Podolsk , Western Ukraine : Twenty-three thousand Jews were being murdered at Kamenets Podolsk. They had been deported from Hungary by the Hungarian Government. The German civil authorities in the region had demanded that the Jews be taken back, as they ‘could not cope’ with them. The Hungarian Government had refused. It was then that an SS General, Franz Jaeckeln, had assured the German civil administration that he would ‘complete the liquidation of those Jews by September 1’. Marched to a series of bomb craters outside the city, and ordered to undress, the Jews were then mown down by machine gun fire by SS cavalry troops and Einsatzgruppen execution squads. Many of them, gravely wounded, died under the weight of the bodies that fell on top of them, or were ‘finished off’ with pistol shots. By August 29, the task was done, two days in advance of Jaeckeln’s promised date. Operational Situation Report No. 80 gave the precise figures of those shot as 23,600 ‘in three days’.