July 3, 2018




MS Batory was a Polish luxury passenger ship, launched on July 3, 1935 in the port of Gdynia. The vessel was named after Stefan Batory, the famous sixteenth-century king of Poland.  The MS Batory was mobilized at the outbreak of World War II, surviving countless dangers, through waters where German U-boats stalked allied vessels, and she had an active role in many military missions  including the evacuation of the French-Polish-British corps from Narvik (1940), evacuation of allied troops from St. Nazaire and St. Jean de Luz (1940), invasion of Algier and Sicily (1942), military voyages to India (1943), served for  six months services as a troop carrier from Egypt to Italy (1943), and the invasion of southern France. She earned the nickname, "Lucky Ship". She sailed for 36 years, the longest service of any vessel.  After the war, transported asylum seekers to the free world. The Batory was later turned into a hotel and restaurant. Then by the orders of the communist regime in Poland, she was sent to Hong Kong on March 30, 1971 to be scrapped.


British Royal Navy Bombed French destroyers:   On July 3, 1940 the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, battleships HMS Valiant and Resolution, the aircraft carrier Ark Royal and an escort of cruisers and destroyers converged on a planned attack against the French fleet anchored in the harbor at Mers El Kébir on the coast of French Algeria.  British Fairey Swordfish planes escorted by Blackburn Skuas from Ark Royal dropped magnetic mines in the harbour exit. French Curtiss H-75 fighters intercepted and shot down a Skua, resulting in the loss of two crew members, the only British casualties in the action. Shortly thereafter, Churchill gave the order and British ships commenced  fire from 17,500 yd (9.9 mi; 16.0 km). The third salvo hit its target and resulted in a massive explosion aboard the Bretagne. It sank in minutes with 977 of her crew.  Provence, Dunkerque and the destroyer Mogador were damaged and run aground by their crews.  Strasbourg and four destroyers evaded the magnetic mines and escaped to the open sea pursed by a fleet of Swordfish from Ark Royal. The French ships responded with anti-aircraft fire and shot down two Swordfish. (The British crew were rescued by the destroyer HMS Wrestler.) The British War Cabinet feared the consequences had the French ships been confiscated by the Kriegsmarine (German Navy), thus giving the Germans a greater advantage in the Battle of the Atlantic. Churchill knew that the French fleet was powerful, and was second largest in Europe after that of the British Navy.


Soviet Operation Bagration:   The Red Army broke through German defence lines and recaptured Minsk on July 3, 1944.  The Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army attacked from the north-east while the 2nd Guards Tank Corps advanced from the east, and the 65th Army advanced from the north, thus tightening an encirclement of the German Fourth Army.  In the meantime,  four German divisions of XXXIX Panzer Corps commenced a rapid retreat and headed for the crossings at Berezino, south of Borisov, in an effort to escape the trap. A column of German vehicles stretched back for many kilometres, under constant air attack, as the bridge was repeatedly damaged by bombing.  Lieutenant-General Otto Schünemann, replacement corps commander had been killed on June 29, after which the entire corp began to disintegrate. Over 100,000 German soldiers were trapped in a Soviet vice-grip. The Operation was a complete victory of the Red Army which liberated Minsk and destroyed much of the German Army Group Centre.  Germans casualties were 40,000 killed, and the rest captured.

No comments:

Post a Comment