12 Feb 1940
  • At 0500 hours, Soviet tanks dragged sleds with explosives on board up to the Million Fort on the Mannerheim Line in Finland. When the sleds were detonated, all defenders inside the fort were killed, but the Soviet 7th Army did not pass through this breach on the Mannerheim Line. Later on this day, near the eastern end of the Mannerheim Line, Soviet troops captured the Kirvesmäki stronghold in Taipale (now Solovyovo, Russia). By the end of the day, the Finnish government agreed that it has little hope other than to seek peace. ww2dbase [The Winter War | CPC]
  • British Royal Navy minesweeper HMS Gleaner located German submarine U-33 laying mines in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland at 0250 hours. U-33 was badly damaged by depth charges and surfaced at 0522 hours, but the submarine began to sink shortly after surfacing, killing 25 men, including commanding officer Kapitänleutnant Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky. One of the 17 survivors had 3 Enigma rotors in his pockets, which was sent to Alan Turing at the Government Code and Cypher School for further study. ww2dbase [Enigma Code Broken | CPC]
  • German submarine U-53 sank Swedish ship Dalarö west of Scotland, killing the captain. 29 survivors were rescued by Belgian trawler Jan de Waele. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel was named the commanding officer of the 7. Panzer-Division. ww2dbase [Erwin Rommel | CPC]
  • USS Helena arrived at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. ww2dbase [Helena (St. Louis-class) | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • British destroyer Hasty seized 4,709-ton German merchant ship Morea (4,709-tons) 300 miles west of Porto, Portugal. Morea had sailed out of Vigo, Spain on 9 Feb in an attempt to break the Allied blockade. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | CPC, HM]
  • The Norwegian freighter Nidarholm was torpedoed amidships just after 0930 hours by U-26 (Kapitänleutnant Heinz Scheringer) after she had been ordered to stop west of Ireland. The explosion cut the ship in two, the bridge section flying high before crashing overboard. The aft section caught fire with burning cotton bails floating around the lifeboats. The submarine went around the lifeboats and fired between them and the wreck which was not sinking. The Nidarholm's master John Blakseth thought that the Germans were warning him not to approach the burning wreck. The freighter Berto, another Norwegian merchant picked the survivors up and took them to Gibraltar. ww2dbase [HM]
  • Anthony Eden, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs of the United Kingdom, welcomed the first Australian and New Zealand troops to arrive in Suez, Egypt. ww2dbase [Anthony Eden | Suez | AC]

12 Feb 1940 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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