October 9th, 1939UNITED KINGDOM: War conditions have allegedly brought food profiteering, with tenpenny steak selling for 3/6. This is a 320% increase.
Armed merchant cruiser HMS Carnarvon Castle commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: Montgomery issues his Divisional Operation Instruction No. 1 to bring 3 Div. to operational readiness, eventually.
GERMANY: Hitler issues war directive number six, ordering preparations for
"Plan Yellow" - an attack on Holland, Belgium and France.
Führer Directive #6 for the Conduct of the War.
(i) No time should be lost in going over to the offensive should it become clear that Britain and France are not disposed to bringing the war to an end. Further delay will reduce the confidence of neutral nations in ultimate German success.
(ii) An offensive will be planned on the northern flank of the Western front through the Low Countries, to be launched at the earliest possible moment in the greatest possible strength. The aim is to defeat the French Army and its allies and to gain territory to serve as a base for the prosecution of the air and sea war against Britain. The exact timing is dependent on the readiness of the mobile forces required and prevailing weather conditions.
(iii) Apart from these preparations the Wehrmacht must be ready at all times to meet any Anglo-French movement into Belgium or Holland as far forward as possible.
(iv) All preparations should be camouflaged such that they appear to be precautionary measures in response to increasing enemy strength on the frontiers. (Marc Roberts)
Der Adler reports from the Luftwaffe: "...we took off from an airfield in north-western Germany for out first attack on units of the British navy operating in the North Sea. ...we flew for hours and hours across the sea. An autumn hurricane raced over the North Sea and lashed the waves as high as houses. It seemed as if we had become the plaything of the elements."
"After several hours we were recalled by radio. Other aircraft had preceded us into the attack and the British fleet had sheered off. Unfortunately, on the return flight the wind was blowing straight into out noses, and we ought to have sighted the land long ago. But as far as the eye could reach, all we saw was water - water - sky - clouds - water. My flight mechanic crawled forward to me and said frankly: "Lieutenant, I don't believe we will ever get home again. But for the time being we still have enough fuel." At least that was one comfort.
Slowly it began to get dark. Then finally a narrow dark strip cropped up on the horizon: land, land at last! Now we could begin to imagine how explorers and seafarers must have felt when they finally saw land again. It was high time too, damn it! With our last drop of fuel we landed in darkness at our base. We had gotten a small foretaste of the air war against England, the battle in the Atlantic."
U-351, U-352, U-353, U-354, U-651, U-652, U-653, U-654, U-655, U-656, U-657, U-658, U-659, U-660, U-661, U-662, U-701, U-702, U-703, U-704, U-705, U-706, U-751, U-752, U-753, U-754, U-755, U-756, U-757, U-758, U-759, U-760, U-761, U-762 ordered. (Dave Shirlaw)
FINLAND: Helsinki: The Finnish negotiator Juho Paasikivi receives his instructions from government. As the cabinet at Helsinki wants to stay firmly in control, Paasikivi is given virtually no other powers but to find out what the Soviets want. Paasikivi was to stress that Finland will defend her neutrality by all means available and reject all proposals not befitting Finland's neutrality and political situation. Military co-operation pact, border changes, military bases and naval stations were to be rejected. The islands on eastern Gulf of Finland (with the expection of Suursaari/Gogland) could be discussed, if the Soviet Union is ready to exchange territories.
This all was far from what Stalin had in mind. At this point the Soviet *minimum* demands were:
1) In Karelian Isthmus Finland was to hand over southern parts of the Province of Viipuri (this would include the southern end of the Finnish main defence line, also known as the Mannerheim line).
2) On eastern Gulf of Finland, Finland would hand over the islands of Lavansaari, Peninsaari and Seiskari.
3) In far north, Finland would hand over western half of the Kalastajansaarento (Rybachi) peninsula.
4) Soviet Union would receive naval and air force bases in Hanko peninsula (in southern Finland) and in the island of Suursaari on Gulf of Finland.
5) Finland was to agree not to fortify the Ahvenanmaa (Aland) islands (on Baltic Sea) without Soviet agreement, and to give the Soviet Union the right to control the agreement by a naval commission.
Stalin was willing to exchange the wanted territories for a swathe of Soviet northern Karelia.
As can be seen, the Soviet and Finnish positions were far from each other. As the negotiations progressed, both sides made some concessions, but the two sticking points were to be the border changes in Karelian Isthmus and the base at Hanko. Finland was never willing to give over as much territory in Karelian Isthmus as the Soviets wanted. A Soviet base at Hanko was absolutely unacceptable to Finns, while the Soviets considered the base an absolute necessity.
Finland and the Soviet Union also had a very different attitude towards the negotiations. Finns were afraid that any significant concessions would only lead to greater Soviet demands later. It was better to stay firm and not to make any compromises that would give the Soviets a toehold in Finland. It was not believed that Stalin would risk a war, especially when winter was coming. Not everybody shared this optimism. Paasikivi, Mannerheim and Finance Minister Väinö Tanner were not so sure of Stalin's unwillingness to invade, and advocated a more flexible attitude. The leading advocates of uncompromising line were Foreign Minister Eljas Erkko (Paasikivi later, rather uncharitably, dubbed the Winter War 'Erkko's war') and Minister of Defence Juho Niukkanen.
Stalin, on the other hand, originally expected Finland to go the way of the Baltic republics, to succumb rapidly to all Soviet demands. The Finnish intransigence puzzled him and made him suspicious. Stalin, who always counted the divisions, could not believe Finland was resisting him without foreign backing. This lead to the later Soviet propaganda that Britain and France (Germany was thrown in after 1941) had encouraged the foolish Finns to reject the perfectly reasonable and moderate Soviet wishes. For Stalin, neutrality and independence was a luxury not meant for the small states.
The Soviet attitude was also aggravated by badly flawed intelligence. Wildly over-optimistic reports from their agents had led the Soviet leadership to believe Finland was on verge of social revolution. On the moment the Red Army marched in, the oppressed Finnish masses would rise and welcome them with open arms. The Finnish Army was not a factor - only nine poorly equipped divisions of demoralized reservists against the might and revolutionary fervour of the Red Army.
All things considered, it was no wonder the negotiations led nowhere. (Mikko Härmeinen)
U.S.S.R.: Isvestia states that "the government of the Soviet Union and the government of Germany undertook the task of establishing peace and order on the territory of the former Poland and to give to the peoples inhabiting that territory a peaceful existence which would correspond to their national characteristics."
U.S.A.: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in memorandum for the Acting Secretary of the Navy, expresses displeasure with "the slowness of getting the East Coast, Caribbean, and Gulf Patrol under way," the "lag between the making of contacts and the follow-up of the contact," and the weakness of the liaison between the Navy, the Coast Guard and the State Department. The Chief Executive emphasizes that "in this whole patrol business time is of the essence and loss of contact with surface ships will not be tolerated." Roosevelt urges that patrol planes and naval or Coast Guard ships "may report the sighting of any submarine or suspicious surface ship in plain English." (Jack McKillop)
The first generator at Boulder (later Hoover) Dam began transmitting electricity to Los Angeles.
Destroyer USS Woolsey laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: A US Cargo ship, the City of Flint, has been captured by the German battleship Deutschland as part of efforts to damage British trade. The Germans searched the ship and seized her when found supplies for Britain which they said were "contraband" under the Prize Rules for war at sea. Now the City of Flint is headed for the Russian port of Murmansk with a German Prize crew, which is hoping eventually to bring her to a German port.
The British Northern Patrol continues operations between the Shetlands, Faeroes, and Iceland. The light cruiser HMS Belfast successfully intercepts the German liner SS Cap Norte which is trying to return to Germany disguised as a neutral vessel. The liner is boarded and sent under armed guard to a British port. Cap Norte is the largest enemy merchant ship intercepted to date and under Admiralty law HMS Belfast's crew received "prize money" in the form of a cash gratuity for her capture. The ship is renamed Empire Trooper by the British. (Jack McKillop)
HMS Ark Royal is redeployed to Freetown to operate off the African coast in the hunt for the German commerce raider Graf Spee. The carrier is assigned to Force K, and sails with the battlecruiser HMS Renown to the South Atlantic. Today aircraft from Ark Royal spot the German tanker Altmark, which supplies the Graf Spee. The tanker is disguised as the US vessel Delmar, which fools the British into passing her.
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