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June 11th, 1940 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM:

RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - aero-engine works at Turin and Genoa, Italy - road and rail communications in France.

10 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Turin. Five aborted, three bombed. Five aircraft to Somme/Abbeville. Four bombed, one FTR.

51 Sqn. Seven aircraft to Turin. One aborted, six bombed. Four aircraft to Somme/Abbeville. One returned early, three bombed.

58 Sqn. Six aircraft to Turin. Five aborted, one bombed.

77 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Turin. Six aborted, one bombed, one FTR.

102 Sqn. Seven aircraft to Turin. Five took off, three aborted, one bombed Turin, one bombed Genoa. One aircraft to Somme/Abbeville, successful.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill again sends a telegram to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking for destroyers especially since the Royal Navy now must deal with Italian submarines. Churchill states, "To this, the only counter is destroyers. Nothing is so important as for us to have 30 or 40 old destroyers you have already had reconditioned." (Jack McKillop)

Prior to the Italian declaration of war, the British and French governments had jointly agreed that in the eventuality of Italy joining forces with Germany, the Allies would commence air operations against her. Thus a force of bombers code-named 'Haddock Force' was created, comprising Wellingtons from Nos. 99 and 149 Squadrons of 3 Group. 'Haddock Force' was to be based on the French airfields at Salon and Le Vallon, to which an advance party had been despatched on June 7th. On the morning of June 11th, the Wellingtons of No. 99 Squadron arrived at Salon where they were immediately refuelled and bombed-up for a raid on Italian industrial targets that night. However the local French Air Force commander, backed up by a deputation from local authorities were aware that the Italians had already bombed Cannes and Nice that morning. They were fearful of possible Italian attacks in retaliation and objected to such a raid. Despite protests from the RAF commander that they had the approval of the French government and the personal intervention of Churchill to the French Premier Reynaud, the local authorities refused to budge. As the Wellingtons began to taxi out the airfield was blocked by French Army trucks and other vehicles. In order to prevent a clash the raid was called off and the Wellingtons ordered back to England to prevent sabotage by the French.

The RAF had taken out insurance by moving 4 Group Whitleys to the Channel Islands. The aircraft took off from the small airfields at Jersey and Guernsey bound for the Fiat aero-engine works at Turin and the Ansaldo factories at Genoa as the alternative. Electrical storms of great severity hampered the force and caused twenty crews to abort.

The prototype Hawker Hurricane Mk II makes it maiden flight. It is 20 mph faster than the Mk I.

FRANCE:

Paris: The military governor, General Hering, declares Paris an open city. Meanwhile, a great exodus of citizens has been underway, organised by George Mandel, the Minister of the Interior.

Soissons: The French Army pulls back across the Aisne river.

The Germans have established three bridgeheads across the Seine and have crossed the Marne, thus separating the French 4th and 6th Armies. They have also captured Reims.

Briare, near Orleans: Churchill arrived here this afternoon with senior figures including Mr. Anthony Eden and Sir John Dill, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, to find out what the French are planning to do. Weygand, established in a railway carriage, greeted the British with the news the "the last line of defence has been pierced ... We are going to have to ask how France can continue the war."

This evening, after dinner, Reynaud told Churchill that Marshal Petain had already written down an appeal to the Germans for an armistice, but, Reynaud said: "He is ashamed to show it to me." Churchill told the gloomy French leaders that no matter what they did "we shall fight on forever."

Destroyers HMCS St Laurent and Restigouche exchanged fire with German artillery battery at St. Valery-en-Caux during the evacuation of the British 51st Highland Division and French troops. These were the first shots fired in anger by the RCN during World War II. (Dave Shirlaw)

NORWEGIAN CAMPAIGN: (Mark Horan) 0800 saw the departure of another search, this time by nine Swordfish out to 120 miles between 181 northward to 359 degrees. Nothing was sighted, but thick weather ahead was reported.

At 0830, Lt. G. E. D. Finch-Noyes section of 800 Squadron (three Skuas) went up after another snooper but it was a friendly Coastal Command flying boat. At 1200, Ark Royal entered the weather front and flying was suspended.

Meanwhile, word had come in via Coastal Command photo recon efforts that the elusive German warships whish had sunk Glorious (by now the Germans had announced their success to the world) were in Trondheim harbour. In an effort to rid themselves of the enemy's remaining capital ships, Ark Royal was going to strike the enemy where they lay. Unfortunately, for the FAA crews would would be involved, Trondheim is not Bergen ...

MALTA:

The first Italian air raid of the war destroys one of the four Gloster Gladiator fighters defending the island. The remaining three 'Faith', 'Hope' and 'Charity' are flown by flying-boat pilots as the RAF has no presence on the island.

Italian bombers (SM 79s) with fighter escort (Mc 200s), attack Grand Harbour, Halfar and Kalafrana.

Station Fighter Flight of Sea Gladiators (Faith, Hope and Charity) in action. In seven attacks 11 civilians and six soldiers are killed and 130 civilians and some soldiers are injured.

LIBYA: at 12:01 a.m. on June 11, men of the 11th Hussars armored regiment begin cutting gaps in the barbed-wire fences marking the frontier, and are soon attacking Italian truck traffic along the coast road. (Mike Yaklich)

AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND and REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA declare war on Italy.

U.S.A.: Washington: Congress passes the Naval Supply Act, giving $1,500 million to the US Navy.

The German submarine U-101 stops the U.S. passenger liner SS Washington which is enroute from Lisbon, Portugal, to Galway, Eire, with 1,020 American citizens, to pickup more U.S. citizens leaving Europe. The sub captain believes the ship is a Greek vessel and orders all passengers and crew to abandon ship prior to it being sunk. Blinker signals between the two vessels eventually confirm Washington's identity and she is allowed to proceed. (Jack McKillop)

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