November 6th, 1940
RAF Coastal Command: 608 Sqn. retires its Blackburn Bothas after only brief service.
A Luftwaffe bomber is brought down by a British radio beacon sending signals which convince the pilot that he is over France. Alex Gordon adds that this may have been a result of the “Meaconing” subterfuge, set in operation in August 1940.
The German airforce used RF beacons (200-500kHz) for general navigation. These low power beacons were spread around German Occupied territory and transmitted a continuous, omni-directional carrier with a morse identification on an allotted frequency. The position of these beacons (acting somewhat like invisible lighthouses) were marked on German charts, and by using normal direction finding equipment, and two beacons, aircrew could “fix” their position.
The British set up receivers fitted with directional aerials around the south and east coasts of England, and tuned into the enemy beacons. The received signals were sent by landline to counterfeit beacon transmitters elsewhere in Britain, and radiated the enemy beacon signal on the same frequency but (obviously) from a false location. However the enemy signal was changed, the counterfeit transmitter continued to reproduce it faithfully and deceive the enemy aircrew’s DF.
This “masking” began in August 1940, and proved very successful. A slight refinement was possible when German aircrews requested a bearing from their ground station. Then the aircraft transmitter would be re-radiated from a spurious ground transmitter which was DF’d by the ground crew, on the same frequency so that they might give a position report that could be as much as 100 miles in error.
London (via British Embassy):
From Former Naval Person (Churchill) to President:
I did not think it right for me as a foreigner to express any opinion upon American policies while the Election was on, but now I feel you will not mind my saying that I prayed for your success and that I am truly thankful for it.
Destroyer HMS Queenborough laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
Algiers: Professor Louis Rougier and Weygand meet. Rougier had come from London where he met with Halifax and Churchill to broker a peace between Britain and Vichy. Although Rougier has no power to negotiate and Churchill conveyed no message to Petain or Weygand he was thought to be useful in persuading the French of the high state of morale in Britain and the certainty of British victory. They discuss a plan whereby Vichy defends it colonies and bases from German control, refrains from attempts to win back its dissident colonies by force or to interfere with those sponsored by de Gaulle and at an opportune moment to re-enter the war at England’s side.
News reaches England that yesterday the British at last take Fort Gallabat, in East Africa, from the Italians.
There were two frontier stations, Gallabat on the Sudanese (British) side and Metemma on the (Italian) Ethiopian. The two were about a half a mile apart, separated by a wide, dry wadi or stream bed, and connected by a road. The Italians moved across and occupied Gallabat, defended at that time only by a handful of Sudanese troops with British advisers, not long after joining the war in summer 1940. The British attack, by an Indian brigade with attached artillery and tank support, under General Slim of later Burma fame, commenced I thought on November 6th, and the British retook Gallabat rather easily in the first rush, also repelling with heavy losses a prompt and spirited counterattack from Metemma across the wadi.
However, the attempt to move against Metemma failed, as Italian air attacks caused some panic among the British troops, and the combination of rough terrain (big rocks) and mines put most of the British tanks out of action.
Slim hung around for several weeks, shelling and otherwise harassing the Italians at Metemma, and in the end the Italian losses were probably as great as or greater than the British (on the first day or two the British/Indian forces suffered 167 casualties, including 42 dead, and lost
6 of their 10 available fighter planes, and 9 of their 12 tanks (albeit temporarily in the latter case, as most were repairable). (Andy Etherington and Mike Yaklich)
Major John Hewitson, a Commonwealth fighter ace also fought here.
CANADA: Corvette HMCS Saskatoon launched Montreal, Province of Quebec.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Submarine FAA Di Bruno sunk by destroyers HMCS Ottawa and HMS Harvester in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Ireland. There were no survivors from her crew of 57. Ottawa and Harvester were ordered to the assistance of an independently routed merchantman, the Melrose Abbey (2,500 GRT), which had reported that it was being pursued by a submarine. As they drew near, both destroyers sighted the submarine and opened fire with their main armament. The submarine dove and Ottawa conducted 4 depth charge attacks and Harvester conducted 5. The 2 destroyers expended at total of 83 depth charges. After Harvester’s last attack, 2 secondary underwater explosions occurred and contact was lost. At first light the next morning a large amount of oil was sighted on the surface. Although the ships’ CO’s and the Admiralty were certain a submarine had been sunk, the U-boat Assessment Committee felt there was insufficient evidence to award a kill. It was not until Post WW.II, that record reconstruction has proven that FAA Di Bruno was sunk. Vice-Admiral Mainguy died before he could know that he had participated in the first sinking of a submarine by Canadian naval forces. FAA Di Bruno was a long-range Marcello-class submarine. She was commissioned on 23 Oct 39 and deployed on her first patrol on 31 Oct 40. She had not sunk or damaged any ships up to the time of her loss. (Dave Shirlaw)
Day 433 November 6, 1940
At 12.25 PM off Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, British destroyer HMS Encounter mistakes HMS Utmost for an enemy submarine and rams her. HMS Utmost reaches Gibraltar tomorrow and will be taken to Malta for repairs, completed in February 1941. HMS Encounter will require repairs at Gibraltar until November 23.
Comandante Faà Di Bruno, the first Italian submarine operating in the North Atlantic, shells British steamer Melrose Abbey 200 miles Northwest of Ireland. Canadian destroyer HMCS Ottawa and British destroyer HMS Harvester force the submarine to dive with shellfire and then sink her with depth charges (all 57 hands lost).
Minesweeping whaler HMS Sevra hits a mine and sinks off Falmouth, Southwest England (no casualties).
In Greece, Greek 2nd Army Corps starts pushing Italian Julia Division out of the Pindus Mountains while, further West, Italian forces continue to batter fruitlessly against the Greek defenses on the Kalamas River.
That is sooooo Italian.
Actually (and with respect), up till now the only Italian commanders seeming to show any dash are the small unit commanders of the navy. The skipper of the destroyer Nullo, for example, who went down with his ship a few weeks back. Italian submariners also seem to be taking a lot of hits trying to carry out missions.