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5 Jan 1941
  • Australian 6th Division troops, supported by 6 remaining British Matilda tanks, captured the last Italian defensive position at Bardia, Libya, and the remaining Italian force surrendered soon afterwards. In the battle for Bardia, the Italians suffered 1,000 killed, 3,000 wounded, and 36,000 taken prisoner; 2,000 Italians were able to withdraw to Tobruk, Libya. Australians suffered 130 killed and 326 wounded. The Allies captured a large quantity of Italian equipment, including 26 coastal guns, 7 medium guns, 216 field guns, 26 anti-aircraft guns, 41 infantry guns, 146 anti-tank guns, 12 medium tanks, 115 tankettes, 708 trucks, and water pumps capable of producing 400 tons of fresh water per day. ww2dbase [Operation Compass | CPC]
  • Italian ship Vulcano hit a mine and sank off Tobruk, Libya. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Cappellini sank British ship Shakespeare 100 miles northeast of the Cape Verde Islands at 1045 hours with her two 100-mm deck guns, killing 20. Before Shakespeare sank, her return fire hit Cappellini's aft gun and killed gunner Sergeant Ferruccio Azzolin. Cappellini rescued 22 survivors and took them to Sal Island nearby. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British sloop HMS Lowestoft, while operating with Allied convoy FS.378, was damaged by a mine in the Thames Estuary in England, United Kingdom. She would be under repair at Chatham, England until 3 Oct. ww2dbase [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Comandante Cappellini sighted British cargo ship Shakespear in the Atlantic Ocean at 1000 hours. The British ship was carrying 8,000 tons of coal. At 1045 hours, the British ship opened fire, and the Italian submarine returned fire. At 1100 hours, a British shell exploded in the water near the submarine's aft gun, knocking gunner Giuseppe Bastoni into the water. At 1127 hours, after being hit several times, the British ship, already starting to take on water, hoisted a white flag. Shakespear would sink moments later. 20 crew members of the British cargo ship were killed during the sinking. 22 survivors were picked up by Comandante Cappellini after the Italian submarine attempted to, without success, find Bastoni; one of the rescued British survivors would die later from wounds; these survivors were later landed at Sal, Cape Verde islands. Portuguese destroyer Goncalves Zarco picked up 25 survivors and later landed them at São Vicente, Cape Verde islands. Destroyer HMS Velox arrived shortly after but did not find any survivors. ww2dbase [Comandante Cappellini | CPC]
  • A 9,000-strong contingent of the Chinese Communist New Fourth Army became surrounded by overwhelming Chinese Nationalist force at Maolin, Anhui Province, China. ww2dbase [New Fourth Army incident | Maolin, Anhui | CPC]
  • Alessandro Malaspina conducted a gyrocompass test at 0800 hours out of Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France. At 1630 hours, she departed Le Verdon-sur-Mer once again, starting her third war patrol. ww2dbase [Alessandro Malaspina | Le Verdon-sur-Mer, Aquitaine | CPC]
  • Alpino Bagnolini arrived at Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Aquitaine, France at 1350 hours. ww2dbase [Alpino Bagnolini | Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Aquitaine | CPC]
  • Morosini departed Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France at 1004 hours, arriving at La Pallice, La Rochelle, France at 1910 hours. The Italian submarine was escorted by German minesweeper M9 and German submarine chasers UJ-D and UJ-E. ww2dbase [M9 | Morosini | Le Verdon-sur-Mer, Aquitaine | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Amy Johnson, record-breaking aviation pioneer of the 1930s, was killed when the Airspeed Oxford trainer she was delivering as an Air Transport Auxiliary ferry pilot came down in the Thames Estuary in Southern England, United Kingdom, near Herne Bay. It was sadly ironic that a woman who navigated her way solo from England to Australia got lost in bad weather. Running out of fuel, she baled out thinking she was over London. Landing in the freezing water, she was dragged under a rescue boat by her parachute and chopped to death by the propellers. Her body was never found. ww2dbase [Amy Johnson | Herne Bay, England | AC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Jan 1941
Portrait of Alfred Rosenberg, 5 Jan 1941

5 Jan 1941 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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Famous WW2 Quote
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935

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