Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 17, 1939; Ships Concentrate for Major Engagement Off Uraguay:


British and German Ships
Concentrate for Major
Engagement Off Uruguay,

'Nazis Seek Extension of
Deadline for Warship to
Depart From Montevideo,

MONTEVIDEO, Dec. 16.—(INS)—Her nose pointed to the open sea, the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was poised in Montevideo harbor tonight for a command from Adolf Hitler that may at any moment send the shell-scarred vessel on a reckless dash for her liberty—or her doom.

At midnight the British minister at Montevideo informed newspaper correspondents that the Uruguay government has given the Admiral Graf Spee until 5:30 p. m. (3 p. m. C. S. T.) Sunday to leave Uruguayan waters. 'The minister said this deadline was "definite."

Emergency repairs aboard the pocket battleship were said to be virtually-completed and the warship ready to sail any time after midnight tonight.

German and allied warships and submarines deployed near Uruguay's coast for what may develop into a major naval engagement within the 300-mile-wide Pan-American "neutrality belt." At least 14 British and French fighting vessels were estimated to be taking up battle stations, while Nazi naval reinforcements were approaching.
Amid reports that the pocket battleship may slip out of Montevideo under a drizzling rain before daylight Sunday, although .she has permission to stay until Sunday evening, German Minister Dr. Otto Langmann held an urgent conference with Uruguayan Foreign Minister Alberto Ouanl.





Chief Foreign Correspondent of Hearst Sunday Newspapers and for 28 years outstanding American Political Observer In Europe and The Far East.

COLOGNE, Dec. 16.—Germany has some  secret weapons" that have not yet made their appearance in the war declared against Hitler by Britain and France. This seems to have been no idle boast by Adolf Hitler in his .Danzig speech.

That ominous remark has created widest speculation in the High Commands and General Staffs of all European armies as to its truth  and significance. They have called on their men of science in chemistry, physics, ballistics and other branches, for hypotheses as to what Hitler's arsenal of "secret weapons" may possibly contain.

It has spurred military secret intelligence services to strenuous efforts to find out.

Not a few such agents, motivated by patriotism, adventure, greed or romantic Hollywood films, have already paid with their lives before a firing squad or under the headsman axe, in trying to solve the enigma of Hitler's remark in Danzig.
No Exception
Every great war brings its surprises on one or both sides in technical achievements of "secret weapons" which upset or force an alteration of the enemy's plans. In view of the tremendous technical progress in all branches of science in the last 20 years, it is highly Improbable this war will be an exception.


Defenders Destroy 14 Tanks
and Capture 4; Count;
Hundreds of Slain Reds

Special Cable to I.N.S.
HELSINKI, Dec. 16. — Finnish troops on two widely separated fronts hurled back combined tanks and Infantry attacks and inflicted enormous losses" on men and mechanized artillery of the Red army, Finland's high command announced tonight.

A Soviet attack Against the Finnsh Mannerheim line in the Karelian isthmus along the Taipale River was hammered to pieces with the destruction of 14 tanks and capture of four more, the announcement said.

"Hundreds of enemy dead" were piled in front of the strong Finnish positions on the Karelian front, according to the Finnish communique, which revealed the Russian offensive was headed by a vanguard of 50 tanks.


In addition to the smashing of this Soviet salient, it was learned, the Finns on the northern central front recaptured the important village of Kuolajaeivi, second Finnish objective, following the recapture Wednesday of the nearby strategic garrison town of Salla.

This defeat of the Russian forces set back on its heels a huge Russian column aiming its blows toward Rovaniemi, rail and road function not far from the northern tip of the Gulf of Bothnia, the official Finnish statement of the day's military activities also said.

Jap-British Clash
Near on Blockade

LONDON, Dec. 16.—(INS)—While the Allied-German sea warfare accounted for 11 more .ships in the past 48 hours, a. severe international crisis loomed tonight between Britain and Japan over the allied plan to seize all German exports carried in neutral bottoms.

The Japanese freighter Sanyo Maru, currying a cargo of German potash and machinery, was brought into a British port this evening for examination by British contraband control officers. The vessel left Rotterdam for an undisclosed port in an attempt to test Britain's blockade of German exports.



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