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12 March 2012

12 March 1942: jellied beef & bloater paste

12 Thur. Rather cold, dull, bitter east wind. To grocers to take the week-end order, also to buy jellied beef and bloater paste. Cut up some of the ash tree boughs for firewood.
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On this day: 17,5000 U.S forces land at Noumea in New Caledonia. Meanwhile in the English Channel 3 major German warships, the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and the Prinz Eugen had left Brest on Wed 11th making for the North Sea. They were spotted by RAF Spitfire pilots who delayed reporting them in order to maintain radio silence, then they were attacked unsuccessfully by Swordfish torpedo bombers - all the Swordfish were shot down and no torpedoes hit; six Royal Navy destroyers from Harwich also failed to damage them. Two of the German warships suffered some mine damage. The German dash through the English Channel - on 11th - 13th - was  a great success for them - but probably the wrong strategic decision as they could have hindered Allied efforts more in the Med. 
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