1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913 | 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919
1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929
1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939
1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949

1 Jan 1940
  • Age of conscription increased to 27 in the United Kingdom, thus adding two million potential conscripts for military service. [TH]
  • German submarine U-58 sank neutral Swedish steamer Lars Magnus Trozelli with one torpedo 50 miles northeast of Aberdeen at 1100 hours, killing 7. The survivors were picked up Norwegian merchant ship Ask. [CPC]
  • 1,000 men from the Finnish 9th Division under the command of Captain Eino Lassila skied into their attacking position; when they arrived at 2300, they were looking down a large Russian tank and artillery concentration on the Raate Road. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Between the start of the European War on 1 Sep 1939 and this date, 15,600 British men registered themselves as conscientious objectors. [AC]
  • 10,000 Japanese troops launched a counter-attack in eastern Shanxi Province in China in an attempt to relieve the nearly-surrounded Japanese 36th Division. It would be driven back by stiff Chinese resistance within the next two days. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Tingfang Bie passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Gunner LAC T. Gibbin became the first airman from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom to be killed in World War II when Spitfire fighters from No. 602 Squadron intercepted returning Hampden bombers and, mistaking them for German aircraft, shot down two of the bombers. The other seven crewmen were picked up by fishing boats. [AC]
France
  • Lorraine was transferred to 2nd Battleship Division of 1st Squadron of the French Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Robert von Greim was promoted to the rank of Generalleutnant. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • British authorities detained several American ships at Gibraltar to search for contraband. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German aircraft bombed RAF Coastal Command at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom damaging light cruiser HMS Coventry and ground facilities with the loss of one Ju 88 bomber. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Jan 1940
  • The Irish government introduced emergency powers to intern IRA members without trial. [AC]
  • Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano sent a secret message to Belgium and the Netherlands, warning them of the German invasion plan. The Germans intercepted this message. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland
  • Battle of the Raate Road: At midnight in the very start of this day, after one hour of preparations, Finnish Army Captain Eino Lassila launched an attack on a 500 meter section of Russian artillery on the Raate Road. At 0700, Russian troops attempted a counterattack with tanks, but the Finnish troops were able to bring two Bofors anti-tank guns to the front to halt the counterattack, destroying 7 of the Russian tanks. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Jan 1940
  • American freighter Mormacsun was intercepted by the Royal Navy and diverted to Scotland for searches. [CPC]
  • Soviet submarine S-2 was sunk after hitting a naval mine in the Sea of Aland; all 50 aboard were lost. [CPC]
Finland
  • Battle of the Raate Road: Troops of Finnish 9th Division continued to attack the Russian concentration along the Raate Road, they failed to cut the column but they did manage to pin down the Russians. Finnish troops focused on attacking field kitchens and bonfires to keep the Russians in the cold. Meanwhile, Finnish Colonel Siilasvuo dispatched another two regiment-sized task forces, traveling toward Raate Road on skis, to aid the assault. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Jan 1940
  • British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax sent a diplomatic note to Norway, with a copy sent to Sweden, asking for permission to send British Royal Navy ships into Norwegian waters, citing German sinking of British merchant ships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first Norwegian volunteers departed Oslo, Norway for Finland. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • HMS Mauritius was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Jan 1940
  • Oliver Stanley became the Secretary of State for War with the resignation of Leslie Hore-Belisha. [TH]
  • Finnish troops continued to pin Soviet troops along the Raate Road. Many Russians suffered frostbite, gangrene, and other effects from the severely cold weather; however, they fought back valiantly, causing heavy casualties on the Finnish side as well. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Germany forbade the transport of any form of aide into Finland across German territory. [CPC]
  • The United Kingdom requested Norway for permission to send Royal Navy vessels into Norwegian waters, citing the German attacks on British ships in Norwegian waters as the reason. Secretly, this request also served as means to deliver British and French troops to Finland through Norway, should the need arise. [CPC]
  • As the first Norwegian volunteer fighters left Oslo for Finland, the first Swedish volunteers arrived. In light of these events, Soviet Union accused Norway and Sweden of pursuing "unneutral" policies by allowing their citizens to volunteer to fight for Finland. [CPC]
6 Jan 1940
  • At 0300 hours, Finnish troops cut the Soviet column on Raate Road in Finland at several locations. Soviet troops began to become demoralized and many fled into the nearby forest. Soviet tanks began to counterattack to but little effect. Soviet 44th Division's commanding officer Vinogradov ordered a general retreat. Also on this day, Finnish Air Force Lieutenant Jorma Sarvanto shot down 6 of 7 Soviet bombers he attacked in only 5 minutes. In neighboring Sweden and Norway, the governments there reasserted their neutrality, both rejecting British requests to operate in their waters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler postponed the attack of France and the Low Countries until spring 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • The United States liner Manhattan was detained at Gibraltar by the British Contraband Control. A protest was made by the American government. [AC]
7 Jan 1940
  • Battle of Raate Road ended with the Finnish 9th Division routing the Soviet 44th Division over the past few days. On the same day, General Semyon Timoshenko took command of Soviet Army forces in Finland. [Main Article | TH]
  • Vessels of German First Minesweeper Flotilla sank British submarine HMS Seahorse southeast of Helgoland, Germany. Entire crew of 36 was lost. [CPC]
  • At 0940 hours, British submarine HMS Undine spotted three trawlers 20 miles west of Helgoland, Germany and moved in to attack. The trawlers, actually minesweepers, counterattacked, forcing Undine to dive. A depth charge attack caused damage to Undine's hydroplanes, leading to the scuttling. The crew of 27 was later rescued by the German minesweepers. [CPC]
8 Jan 1940
  • The government of the United Kingdom introduced rationing, allowing each citizen 112 grams (4 ounces) of bacon and 336 grams (12 ounces) of sugar per week. [TH]
  • In Finland, Finnish 9th division took possession of Raate Road at dawn after taking 1,000 Soviet prisoners of war, 43 tanks, 70 field guns, 278 vehicles, 300 machine guns, 6,000 rifles, and 1,170 horses. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Soviet troops were killed in the Battle of Raate Road, while 700 would be successful in escaping back into Soviet lines, but many of them would be shot by NKVD agents for treason for retreating. The Finnish forces suffered 2,700 casualties in the battle. [Main Article | TH]
  • Benito Mussolini sent a message to Adolf Hitler, cautioning against waging war with the United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Jan 1940
  • German bombers sank three Allied merchantmen in the North Sea. [CPC]
  • British submarine Starfish attacked German minesweeper M-7 off Helgoland, but the torpedoes misfired. M-7 counterattacked with depth charges for hours, causing damage. At 1820 hours, Lieutenant Thomas Turner of Starfish ordered the submarine to surface and surrendered. This loss led to the Royal Navy's decision to suspend submarine operations in Belgoland Bight. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-19 torpedoed and sank Norwegian merchant vessel Manx northeast of Scotland at 0221 hours; only six men survived. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British liner SS Dunbar Castle hit a naval mine and sank off Ramsgate in southeastern England, United Kingdom. 9 were killed immediately, including the captain. Chief Officer Herbert Robinson of Dunbar Castle was later awarded the Order of the British Empire for evacuating 189 survivors. [CPC]
10 Jan 1940
  • Hitler set the start date for Fall Gelb, the invasion of France and the Low Countries for 17 Jan; however, a German aircraft with plans aboard (against orders) crashed in Belgium, and Belgian intelligence recovered some of the papers. Germany postponed the invasion indefinitely in light of this breach. [Main Article | TH]
  • Unofficial peace talks began between the Soviet Union and Finland, but the fighting continued. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
11 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-23 torpedoed and sank Norwegian coal carrier Fredville, which had just picked up coal from Methil, Scotland, about 100 miles east of the Orkney Islands at 1632 hours. 11 men were killed, 5 men were rescued by a Swedish ship. [CPC]
  • Training began for 350 Hungarian men to fight in Finland. Nearly 25,000 others waited for the approval for their volunteer service. [CPC]
  • Finnish IV Corps pinned Soviet 168th Division north of Lake Lagoda in Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Fleet Landing Exercise No. 6 began in the Caribbean Sea, participated by US Navy and US Marine Corps personnel. The Marine participants were the 1st Marine Brigade and the 1st Marine Aircraft Group under the command of Brigadier General Holland M. Smith, taking part. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Captain Tomozo Kikuchi was named the commanding officer of light carrier Hosho. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Germany
  • Karl von Le Suire was awarded the Sudetenland Medal. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British oil tanker SS El Oso hit a naval mine and sank 6 miles west of the Bar Lightship, Liverpool, England, at about 1100 hours. 3 men were killed, 32 were rescued by destroyer HMS Walker. [CPC]
12 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-23 torpedoed and sank Danish oil tanker Danmark off Orkney Islands Scotland at 0650 hours. Her crew of 40 escaped safely, but the 14,000 tons of fuel destined for the Allied war effort were lost. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 12 Jan 1940
Finnish ski troops in northern Finland, 12 Jan 1940
13 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-20 torpedoed Swedish steamer Sylvia at 0430 hours northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Sylvia sank within a minute, taking the lives of the entire crew of 20. [CPC]
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-324 attacked an Axis convoy in the Sea of Aland, but all torpedoes missed. Finnish Navy converted yacht Aura II retaliated with depth charges, but the wooden yacht was destroyed when one of the depth charges exploded in the thrower, killing 26; 15 survived the sinking. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Yakovlev YA-26 prototype, later to become the Yak-1 fighter, took flight. This prototype would be lost in an accident in Apr 1940. [Main Article | AC]
  • Adolf Hitler postponed the attack of France and the Low Countries. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German Navy Operations Division reported that while Norway presented strategic importance, Germany should not invade the neutral country if there was little risk of a British violation of Norwegian neutrality. [Main Article | CPC]
14 Jan 1940

United Kingdom
  • British cryptologists at the Government Code and Cypher School, Bletchley Park deciphered the German Enigma code with help of Polish experts. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-44 torpedoed and sank Norwegian steamer Fagerheim in the Bay of Biscay at the early hours of the day, killing 15. The 5 survivors were taken to Vigo, Spain. At 0700 hours, U-44 fired shots at Dutch merchant freighter Arendskerk; realizing his ship could not out run the German submarine, captain of the Arendskerk gave the abandon ship order. Arendskerk was subsequently torpedoed and sank, but all 65 of her crew members survived, rescued by Italian steamer Fedora. [CPC]
  • British government revealed that nearly twice as many people had been killed on the roads than the number of people killed in enemy action. The blackout was among the chief reasons. [CPC]
  • Kapitän zur See Ernst Kretzenberg took command of cruiser Köln. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Jan 1940
  • Kichisaburo Nomura stepped down as Foreign Minister of Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • After penetrating Heligoland Bight, the British submarines Seahorse, Undine, and Starfish were reportedly sunk by the Germans. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-44 torpedoed and sank the Greek ship Panachrandos in the Bay of Biscay at 0611 hours. She sank within three minutes, killing all 31 aboard. [CPC]
Germany
  • Due to the compromise of Fall Gelb plans, Adolf Hitler postponed the attack on France and the Low Countries. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • British tanker Inverdargle, with 12,000 tons of aviation fuel aboard, struck a naval mine in the Bristol Channel at 1619 hours. All 49 aboard were killed. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Jan 1940
Oiler Patoka off the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, United States, 16 Jan 1940; note SOC floatplane amidships, with its wings foldedUS Navy NAS Jacksonville (Florida, United States) commanding officer
17 Jan 1940

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-25 torpedoed and sank British steamer Polzella near the Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom. When the Norwegian ship Enid came to rescue any potential survivors, U-25 shelled, torpedoed, and sank her. Polzella's entire crew was killed, while Enid's crew of 16 were later rescued by British trawler Granada and Danish merchant ship Kina. [CPC]
Belgium
  • Belgium revealed to the German ambassador that Belgium had learned German plans and not-yet-executed orders for the invasion of Belgium. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland
  • Finland registered temperatures as low as -45 degrees Celsius (-45 Degrees Fahrenheit). The cold weather posed problems for both Finnish and Soviet troops fighting in Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Polish cryptographers in Paris, France cracked the German air force's Enigma codes, making it possible to intercept and read all the Luftwaffe's secret transmissions. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Jan 1940
Finnish troops inspecting destroyed Soviet vehicles, Finland, 17 Jan 1940
18 Jan 1940

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-44 sank the Danish vessel Canadian Reefer, sailing for Britain with fruit, in the Bay of Biscay. The crew of 26 were rescued by a Spanish trawler. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-25 sank Swedish merchant ship Pajala with three torpedoes in the North Sea at 1625 hours. Escort HMS Northern Duke rescued 35 after unsuccessfully depth charging U-25. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-55 sank Swedish merchant ship Foxen in the North Sea, killing 17, at 1745 hours. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-9 attacked Swedish merchant ship Patricia with two torpedoes in the North Sea at 2353 hours, but the torpedoes went astray, hitting and sinking Flandria instead. Norwegian merchant ship Balzac would rescue four survivors two days later. [CPC]
Finland
  • Having already destroyed Soviet 163rd and 44th Divisions, Finnish Army Colonel Siilasvuo was ordered to take the Finnish 9th Division 30 miles south to Kuhmo to attack the Soviet 54th Division under the command of Chuikov. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Tatsuta Maru departed San Francisco, California, United States; 512 civilian seamen from the scuttled German liner Columbus were supposed to be aboard, but they canceled their journeys at the last moment in fear of possible British interception of the liner which might lead to their imprisonment. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
19 Jan 1940

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-9 torpedoed and sank Swedish merchant ship Patricia, which escaped U-9's first attack on two hours prior, in the North Sea at 0145 hours. 19 men were killed; 4 survivors were later picked up by Swedish merchant ship Frigg. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-55 sank Norwegian vessel Telnes off the Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom; 18 lives were lost. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-59 torpedoed and sank French steamer Quiberon off Great Yarmouth, England, United Kingdom at 2100 hours. All men aboard were killed. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-44 began tracking Greek steamer Ekatontarchos Dracoulis at 2200 hours in the Bay of Biscay. Around midnight, U-44 fired a torpedo at the Greek ship, but the torpedo detonated prematurely before reaching the target. [CPC]
  • British submarine Sunfish fired 4 torpedoes at German submarine U-14 off Helgoland, Germany; all torpedoes missed. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British destroyer Grenville hit a naval mine and sank in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom at 1250 hours, killing 77. 108 survivors were rescued by two destroyers that braved the minefield. [CPC]
United States
  • Senator William Borah, leader of the isolationists in the United States, died suddenly of cerebral hemorrhage in Washington DC. [AC]
20 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-44 torpedoed and sank Greek steamer Ekatontarchos Dracoulis off Portugal at 0415 hours, killing 6. U-44 had been hunting for Ekatontarchos Dracoulis for the past 6 hours. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-57 torpedoed and sank Norwegian steamer Miranda 30 miles off of Scotland at 0826 hours, killing 14. 3 survivors were rescued on the next day by exploration ship Discovery II and taken to Kirkwall. [CPC]
  • British tanker MV Caroni River hit a mine laid the day before by German submarine U-34 in Falmouth Bay, England, United Kingdom and sank; she was on her sea trials. during sea trials in Falmouth Bay, England. All 43 aboard survived. [CPC]
  • British First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, speaking to the Parliament, voiced support for Finland while criticizing brutal Soviet attacks. The Finnish government presumed that this meant British support would soon arrive, but it never did. The German government interpreted the speech as a hint on British involvement in Scandinavia, thus plans for the invasion of Norway were re-prioritized. [CPC]
  • Chinese troops captured Licheng, Shanxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Yukikaze was commissioned into service with Commander Kenjiro Tobita in command. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Corvette Trillium was ordered. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Jan 1940
  • The sinking of the HMS Grenville is announced by the Admiralty. 8 were reported killed and 73 were reported as missing and presumably dead. [CPC]
  • Soviet 8th Army launched unsuccessful attack on Finnish Group Talvela on the River Aittojoki near Ladoga, Karelia. [Main Article | TH]
  • A German officer shot Mr. Opacki in the streets of Kraków simply because Mr. Opacki had not shown sufficient respect when stepping out of the way for the German officer. [CPC]
  • Swedish steam merchant vessel Andalusia, along with her crew of 21 men, became missing early in the morning off the western coast of Scotland; she was believed to be sunk by German submarine U-55. [CPC]
  • British cruiser Liverpool stopped Japanese liner Asama Maru 35 miles off of Japan. 21 German sailors, survivors of the German liner Columbus which was scuttled off the US coast on 19 Dec 1939, were imprisoned. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German submarine U-22 attacked British merchant vessel Cyprian Prince in the Moray Firth in Scotland, United Kingdom at 0538 hours but failed to hit her. At 0600 hours, she torpedoed and sank destroyer HMS Exmouth off Wick, killing 189, which was the entire crew. At 0711 hours, she torpedoed Danish ship Tekla, killing 4; 9 crew members survived, rescued by HMS Sikh and Norwegian ship Iris. [CPC]
22 Jan 1940
  • Norwegian merchant vessel Segovia, with 750 tons of general cargo (including 140 tons of oil) became missing off western Scotland; her crew of 23 was never seen again. She might had been attacked and sunk by German submarine U-55. [CPC]
  • British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax criticized First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill's speech of 20 Jan 1940, noting that by stating support for Finland in the war with Soviet Union he was meddling with foreign policy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Finns, with Swedes and Norwegians already fighting with them, announced the formation of a "Foreign Legion" which would include British volunteers. [AC]
23 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-19 discovered a group of 20 unescorted steamers off Northumberland. With one torpedo each, she sank Norwegian ship Pluto at 0843 hours and British ship Baltanglia at 0855 hours. [CPC]
  • Finnish 9th Division arrived at the village of Kuhmo to prepare for a planned attack on the Soviet 54th Division. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British carrier HMS Illustrious left Malta for Alexandria, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Britain lowered the road speed limit to 20 miles per hour at night time in populated area in response to the sharp rise in night time automobile accidents due to the blackout. [AC]
  • Britain was gripped in the coldest winter since 1894; Southampton docks and parts of the river Thames were frozen over. [AC]
24 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-44 torpedoed and sank French cargo ship Alsacien 4 miles off of Lisbon, Portugul at 1140 hours, killing 4. The cargo to phosphate from Africa, destined for France, was lost. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-23 torpedoed and sank Norwegian cargo ship Varild off of the eastern coast of Scotland at 1900 hours, killing the entire crew of 15. [CPC]
  • Finnish Army Force Talvela and Soviet 8th Army exchanged attacks at Kolla in Finland, along the Aitto River. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chinese troops captured Dongyangguan Pass, Shanxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A Czechoslovakian branch of the French Army was established. [CPC]
25 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-14 sank Norwegian ship Biarritz 36 miles off of the Dutch coast; 37 men were killed and 21 survivors were rescued by Norwegian steamer Borgholm. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-19 sank Latvian ship Everene 5 miles off of the eastern coast of Britain; 1 man was killed and 30 were rescued by fishing boats Dole and Evesham. Several hours later at 0930 hours, U-19 sank Norwegian ship Gudveig; 10 men were killed and 8 were rescued. [CPC]
Portugal
  • German submarine U-44 torpedoed and sank French ship Tourny, which was a part of convoy 56-KS, 20 miles off of Porto, Portugal at 0411 hours. 8 men were killed and 9 were rescued by Spanish steamer Castillo Monforte. [CPC]
26 Jan 1940
  • American minesweeper Quail arrived at Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific Ocean to construct a naval air station. [CPC]
  • Expiration of the US-Japan Trade Treaty of 1911. [CPC]
  • British Royal Navy ship Durham Castle, a recently acquired passenger ship, hit a mine laid by German submarine U-57 five days earlier on 21 Jan 1940, sinking 11 miles off of the northeastern coast of Scotland. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Believing that Germany would not be able to directly attack Britain, about half of the 750,000 children evacuated from London, England, United Kingdom since Sep 1939 had returned to their homes in the city. [CPC]
  • Roderick Carr was named the commanding officer of No. 61 Group RAF. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-20 torpedoed and sank Danish ship Fredensborg (at 2052 hours, killing 20) and Danish ship England (at 2124 hours, killing 20) off the Orkneys as the crews of those two ships approached the damaged Norwegian ship Faro in attempt to rescue survivors. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-20 torpedoed and sank Norwegian ship Hosanger; 17 men were killed and 1 was rescued. [CPC]
  • Finnish Army General Hägglund ordered the Finnish IV Corps to attack the Pieni-Kelivaara and Lemetti West encirclements to test various tactics. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Submarine Tautog was launched. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered Wilhelm Keitel to continue with the planning of an invasion of Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • Construction work at Palmyra Atoll began to improve its military facilities. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Jan 1940
Launch of submarine Tautog, 27 Jan 1940
28 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-34 torpedoed Greek merchant ships Eleni Stathatou 100 miles off of Brest, France at 0252 hours. With Eleni Stathatou keeping afloat, U-34 remained to observe. At 0421 hours, after observing that the Greek ship was now moving once again, U-34 fired her last torpedo and sank the ship, killing 12. [CPC]
  • Soviet artillery continued to bombard Poppius, Million, and other forts along the Finnish defensive Mannerheim Line on the Karelian Isthmus. Meanwhile, Finnish troops eliminate Soviet forces trapped in the Pieni-Kelivaara pocket on the north shore of Lake Lagoda, capturing 2 field guns, 2 anti-tank guns, 9 mortars, 9 machine guns, and 100 rifles. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chinese troops captured Lucheng, Shanxi Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese 26th Division attacked Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Portugal
  • German submarine U-44 torpedoed and sank Greek coal carrier Flora off 20 miles off Portugal at 2000 hours. [CPC]
29 Jan 1940
  • Finnish Army 9th Division attacked the Soviet 54th Division starting at 0500 hours near the road junction at Kuhmo, Finland. Meanwhile, Soviets began negotiating with Finland by sending a note stating "Soviet Union has no objection in principle to a possible agreement with the Ryti government" to Sweden. [Main Article | TH]
  • German aircraft attacked unarmed British lightship East Dudgeon; 7 crew membered died as their lifeboat capsized later. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-51 torpedoed and sunk Norwegian ship Eika, carring salt from Spain, at 1530 hours. 14 men were killed, while at 2 (Harald Støle and Alfred Johansen) were rescued by U-51 who would be delivered to Wilhelmshaven on 8 Feb 1940. [CPC]
  • Germany renamed Reichsgau Posen, in occupied Poland, to Reichsgau Wartheland. [CPC]
30 Jan 1940
  • German aircraft bombed shipping in the English Channel and the North Sea, sinking British cargo steamers Highwave, Giralda, and Bancrest off the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland. British ship Voreda was badly damaged and beached near Winterton, England. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-55 sank British tanker Vaclite, part of convoy OA-80G, 50 miles off of Land's End in southwestern England at 0700 hours. The crew of 35 was rescued by Italian steamer Pollenzo. At 1100 hours, U-55 sank Greek ship Keramlai. Later that day, U-55 was found and depth charged by British (HMS Whitshed, and HMS Fowey) and French (Valmy and Guépard) destroyers and a No. 228 Squadron RAF Sunderland aircraft. 41 of the German crew surrendered; Kapitänleutnant Werner Heidel chose to go down with his ship. [CPC]
  • German torpedo boat Iltis mis-identified German submarine U-15 as a hostile vessel and rammed her 50 miles north of Wilhelmshaven, Germany. U-15 sank, killing the entire crew of 25. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • The first confirmed U-Boat kill by an aircraft occurred when British destroyer HMS Whitshed, British sloop HMS Fowey, French destroyer Valmy, French destroyer Guépard, and a British No. 228 Squadron S.25 Sunderland aircraft sank German submarine U-55 with depth charges. [Main Article | AC, DS]
Photo(s) dated 30 Jan 1940
Schlesien in the western Baltic, late Jan 1940Prime Minister Mackenzie King visiting No. 110 (City of Toronto) Squadron RCAF, 30 Jan 1940; note Lysander aircraft in background
31 Jan 1940
  • German submarine U-13 torpedoed and sank Norwegian steamer Start about halfway between Stavanger, Norway and Aberdeen, Scotland, killing the entire crew of 16. Start was carrying coal from Sunderland, northern England. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-21 fired two torpedoes at Danish ship Vidar, but both malfunctioned. A third torpedoed, however, struck Vidar 25 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland, killing 16 and rendering her dead in the water. Danish steamer Disko rescued 18 survivors while surviving a hit from another malfunctioning torpedo from U-21. Vidar would remain afloat until the next day. [CPC]
  • Soviet forces gathered in the Summa sector in the Karelian Isthmus now grew to the size of 12 divisions and 400 heavy artillery pieces. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Desperately short of aircraft, the British made a secret approach to Italy (not yet in the war) to buy fighters. The deal was later vetoed by Germany. [AC]
  • Sir John Simon of Britain announced that food subsidies were running at £1,000,000 per week. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 31 Jan 1940
Frozen dead Russian soldier in Finland, 31 Jan 1940
1 Feb 1940
  • Soviet artillery pieces fired 300,000 shells in the Summa sector of the Karelian Isthmus on this date at the start of a new Soviet offensive against the Finnish forces. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-13 torpedoed and sank Swedish steamer Fram in the Aberdour Bay, Scotland at 0143 hours. 9 were killed and 14 were rescued by destroyer HMS Khartoum and armed trawler HMS Viking Deeps. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-59 torpedoed and sank British coaler Ellen M. 20 miles east of Southwold, Suffolk, England, killing the entire crew of 9. [CPC]
  • In Russia the noted stage director, Vsevolod Meyerhold, having been tortured into confessing that he was the leader of an anti-soviet Trotskyite, was convicted in camera, and was executed on the following day. [AC]
  • The keel of refrigerated cargo ship Telemachus was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was awarded the Pilot's Badge. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • SS-Reichsführer Himmler ordered inspections of potential sites for a planned concentration camp. Among those inspected was the camp at Oswiecim, Poland, known in German as Auschwitz. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain, the Admiralty took over the responsibility for the building and repair of merchant shipping and concluded an arrangement to buy old cargo ships from the United States. [AC]
  • In the British House of Commons, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declined to accept a suggestion by Herbert Morrison that a Minister of War Economy should be appointed on the grounds that such a post would do nothing which was not already being done. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • The keel of battleship Alabama was laid down at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Feb 1940
Keel laying of battleship Alabama, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia, United States, 1 Feb 1940
2 Feb 1940
  • Soviet troops continued to assert pressure on Finnish defensive positions on the Karelian Isthmus. Meanwhile, Finnish 9th Division continued their attempt to encircle troops of the Soviet 54th Division near Kuhmo. At the Viipuri Bay, Soviet troops attempted to launch an offensive, but was disrupted by Finnish aircraft. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-59 torpedoed and sank British steamer Creofield at 0624 hours 20 miles off of Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, killing 9. At 2040 hours, in the same general area, she torpedoed and sank British steamer Portelet, killing 2 with 9 survivors rescued by Finnish steamer Oscar Midling. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 2 Feb 1940
Tirpitz fitting out, 2 Feb 1940A sailor of cruiser Helena studied Admiral Graf SpeeView of Admiral Graf SpeeA hole
See all photos dated 2 Feb 1940
3 Feb 1940
  • German bombers attacked British minesweepers Sphinx, Speedwell, and Skipjack at 0930 hours near the mouth of the Moray Firth in northern Scotland. Sphinx was struck by a bomb on the aft deck, killing many including the captain. Survivors were taken to HMS Speedwell, and Sphinx capsized 19 hours later. Total loss of lives with the sinking of HMS Sphinx amounted to 54 men. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-25 torpedoed and sank British steamer Armanistan at 1432 hours about 100 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. The entire crew was rescued by Spanish vessel Monte Abril and brought to the island of Tenerife of the Canary Islands. [CPC]
  • The first enemy aircraft to crash in England was a Heinkel He 111 aircraft shot down near Whitby, North Yorkshire by Flight Lieutenant Peter Townsend flying a Hurricane fighter of 43 Squadron. Two of the four German crewmen were killed. After the war Townsend became a household name for his ill-fated romance with Princess Margaret. [Main Article | AC]
  • The British Air Ministry issued specification E.28/39 to the Gloster Aircraft Company to prepare an airframe for flight testing the pioneering W.1 gas turbine designed by Frank Whittle and built by Power Jets Ltd. [AC]
  • Japanese 26th Division captured Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-58 chased Estonian vessel Reet for 13 hours, sinking her with torpedoes in the North Sea halfway between Stavanger, Norway & Aberdeen, Scotland, killing 18. [CPC]
4 Feb 1940
  • Members of the Balkan Entente (Romania, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey) declared neutrality. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese 26th Division captured Linhe, Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 Feb 1940
Destroyed Lutheran church of Sortavala, Finland, 4 Feb 1940
5 Feb 1940
  • German submarine U-41 damaged Dutch tanker Ceronia at 0330 hours. At 1310 hours, she torpedoed and sank British ship Beaverburn 150 miles south of Ireland, killing 1, with the remaining 76 rescued by British tanker Narragansett. Shortly after, U-41 was sunk by British destroyer HMS Antelope, killing all 49 aboard; it was the first time a lone British destroyer destroyed a German submarine, and Lieutenant Commander White of Antelope was awarded the DSO award. [CPC]
France
  • After meeting in Paris, France, the Allied Supreme War Council agreed to send two divisions of British troops to Finland via Narvik, Norway, despite Norway's proclamation of neutrality. They also decided that, while the troops marched into Finland, they would take control of Swedish iron ore mines and the port of Luleå, despite Sweden had likely proclaimed neutral in the war. [CPC]
6 Feb 1940
  • Finnish 9th Division completed its encirclement of the Soviet 54th Division at Kuhmo. To the south, Soviet troops continued to shell Finnish defensive positions on the Mannerheim Line on the Karelian Isthmus, but actual advances were limited. [Main Article | TH]
  • The "Carreless Talk Costs Lives" slogan debuted, designed to prevent war gossip. [CPC]
  • Vultee received an order from the Swedish government for 144 Vanguard fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Estonian steamer Anu sank after hit a mine 30 miles east of Dundee, Scotland, United Kindgom, killing the captain, his wife, the cook, and four crew members. The mine was laid by German submarine U-13 on 12 Dec 1939. [CPC]
7 Feb 1940
  • Information regarding Allied Supreme War Council's decision to send aid to Finland was leaked to British and French newspapers. [CPC]
  • Soviet troops attacked the Summa gap in Finland for the 7th consecutive day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Belfast-Liverpool ferry boat Munster, with 45 crew and 190 passengers on board, hit a mine (laid by German submarine U-30 on 6 Jan 1940) at 0600 hours. All aboard were rescued by British steamer Ringwal. [CPC]
  • Convicted IRA terrorists Peter Barnes and James Richards were executed at Wilson Green prison, Birmingham, England for their part in a street bombing in Coventry which killed five innocent passers-by. [AC]
  • Douglas Bader joined the British No. 19 Squadron RAF flying Spitfire fighters. [Main Article | AC]
8 Feb 1940
  • The Soviet Union asked Finland to choose an island in the Gulf of Finland for a Soviet military base as part of the terms of peace negotiations. Artillery and aerial bombardment on the Mannerheim Line continued, however, together with periodic assaults in the Summa sector. At the Lake Ladoga area in Finland, the various pockets of Soviet troops surrounded by Finnish troops were wiped out one by one; Soviet General Timoshenko did not have any plans to reinforce or rescue these pockets. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 3 Hawk 75 fighters of the Chinese 18th Squadron intercepted 27 Japanese aircraft en route to Mengzi, Yunnan, China at 1505 hours. One of the Chinese fighters was heavily damaged and was forced to crash land, injuring pilot Yang Tzu-fan. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 8 Feb 1940
P-36 Hawk fighter based at Hickam Field in flight over Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, 8 Feb 1940
9 Feb 1940
  • Winston Churchill made a radio broadcast to warn Bulgaria against joining the Tripartite Pact. [TH]
  • The Finnish defensive Mannerheim Line in the Summa sector began to fall apart, with Soviet troops taking control of a bunker near the village of Karhula. Finnish troops brought up reserves to counterattack, but failed to retake the bunker. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German destroyers Z3, Z4, and Z16 deployed 110 mines in the Shipwash, a busy sea lane in the North Sea east of Harwich, England. [CPC]
  • British vessel Chagres, carrying 1,500 tons of Cameroonian bananas, hit a mine deployed by German submarine U-30 on 6 Jan 1940. Chagres sank 10 miles from her destination, killing 2. The remaining 62 men were rescued by anti-submarine trawler HMS Loch Montreith. [CPC]
  • Submarine Squalus was renamed USS Sailfish. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Feb 1940
No. 21 Squadron RAAF Flying Officer James Herbert Harper flying a Wirraway aircraft over Laverton, Victoria, Australia, 9 Feb 1940
10 Feb 1940
  • Soviet troops penetrated the Finnish defensive Mannerheim Line, crossing the Munasuo swamp into the Merkki sector. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Two wooden British ships HMS Salve and HMS Servitor successfully swept for magnetic mines on the sea bed, dragging a long charged electrical cable which detonated the mines in their wake. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 stopped Dutch steamer Burgerdijk, transporting grain from the United States to Rotterdam), inspected the cargo, and then sank the ship 40 miles from Land's End in southwestern England. The ship's crew, floating in lifeboats, were rescued by Dutch steamer Edam 12 hours later. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 torpedoed and sank Norwegian steamer Silja, transporting salt from Gibraltar to Bergen, southwest of Ireland at 2100 hours. All 16 men aboard were killed. [CPC]
Germany
  • Jews from Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland) and Stralsund in Pommern, Germany were deported to ghettos in Lublin, Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • In Washington DC, United States, President Franklin Roosevelt confronted a booing demonstration of 4,446 members of the American Youth Congress who had marched up Constitutional Avenue with banners condemning the prospect of the US being drawn into an imperialistic war. Angrily he told the demonstrators that American sympathy is overwhelmingly in support of Finnish efforts to stave off invasion, and warned them not to pass resolutions on subjects of which they have no complete knowledge. [Main Article | AC]
11 Feb 1940
  • Finnish troops were forced to withdraw to secondary defensive positions as the Red Army pierced the Mannerheim Line. [Main Article | TH]
  • A comprehensive trade agreement was signed between Germany and the USSR in which Soviet raw materials and food would be exchanged for German machinery and military equipment. [AC]
Canada
  • Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor-General of Canada, died in Montreal. [AC]
United States
  • The second Vultee Model 48 Vanguard prototype aircraft took its first flight.  [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 Feb 1940
Oiler Patoka at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone, 11 Feb 1940; note two SOC floatplanes amidships
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. [Main Article | 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. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Hasty intercepted and captured German blockade runner Morea 300 miles west of Porto, Portugal. Morea had departed from Vigo, Spain and was bound for Germany. [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. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-26 sank Norwegian ship Nidarholm west of Ireland. The entire crew of 25 were rescued by Norwegian ship Berto about 10 hours later. [CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel was named the commanding officer of the 7. Panzer-Division. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The first deportation of German Jews into occupied Poland took place. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Feb 1940
  • German submarine U-50 fired several torpedoes at Norwegian tanker Albert L. Ellsworth at 0200 hours, missing with all of them. The crew of the tanker panicked and abandoned the ship, with 2 survivors of merchant vessel Snestad (rescued on 11 Feb 1940) drowning in the process. After realizing the ship was not harmed, 42 men reboarded Albert L. Ellsworth and continued on with their journey to Bergen, Norway. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-25 fired two torpedoes at Norwegian ship Chastine Mærsk before dawn, with both missing. At dawn, she surfaced and sank Chastine Mærsk with her deck gun. The entire crew of 30 were rescued by Norwegian ship Hilda. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-53 sank Swedish ship Norna west of Ireland, killing 18. [CPC]
  • Finnish troops tried to seal the hole on the Mannerheim Line in the Lähde sector, but Soviet tanks stopped the attack. Elsewhere, Finnish troops retook the Kirvesmäki fort on the Taipale River on the Mannerheim Line. In Stockholm, Finnish Foreign Minister Tanner asked Sweden to send troops to Finland; Sweden declined in fear of invasion by both the United Kingdom and Germany as a response. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US Senate approved in principle, by a vote of 49 to 27, a loan of US$20,000,000 to be made to Finland, with restriction that none of it to be used fors "arms, ammunition or implements of war". A further two weeks however would elapse before the bill would be passed. [AC]
  • 3 Hawk 75 fighters of the Chinese 18th Squadron intercepted 27 Japanese bombers en route to bomb the bridge on the Xi River near Xiaolongtan, Yunnan, China. One bomber was claimed to be destroyed. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Feb 1940
Destroyed Russian T-26 light tank, Finland, 13 Feb 1940
14 Feb 1940
  • German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee's supply ship Altmark reached Norwegian territorial waters off Trondheim. It was Captain Heinrich Dau's intension to remain in neutral Norwegian waters to avoid an attack by the British. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-57 torpedoed British tanker Gretafield 20 miles east of Wick, Scotland. 10 men were killed while 31 survivors were rescued by trawlers HMS Peggy Nutten and HMS Strathalladale. With 13,000 tons of fuel oil on board, she drifted as the oil burned, eventually running aground. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-53 sank Danish ship Martin Goldschmidt west of Ireland at 0500 hours. 5 men were killed while 5 survivors were rescued by Norweigan ship Berto. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-26 sank British steamer Langleeford 70 miles northwest of Fastnet, Ireland at 0800 hours, killing 4. U-26 picked up 30 survivors, interrogated them, and then sent them to County Clare, Ireland. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 sank British merchant ship Sultan Star 200 miles west of Land's End, southwestern England at 1700 hours, killing 1 man. Destroyers Whitshed, Vesper, and Acasta retaliated with 22 depth charges but they did not hit U-48. 72 survivors were rescued by Whitshed and delivered to Plymouth, England on the next day. [CPC]
  • Finnish troop began withdrawing from the Lähde sector of the Mannerheim Line. Meanwhile, after heavy bombardment, Soviet troops retook the Kirvesmäki fort on the Taipale River on the Mannerheim Line. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British government agreed to allow British volunteers to serve in the Finnish armed forces. [AC]
15 Feb 1940
  • North of Lake Ladoga in Finland, Finnish troops destroyed the pocket of surrounded Soviet troops near the village of Lavajärvi, capturing 2 tanks, 5 field guns, 2 anti-tank guns, 8 trucks, 3 machine guns, 4 field kitchens, and rifles. Finnish Commander-in-Chief C. G. E. Mannerheim ordered the II Army Corps to abandon the Mannerheim Line at 2000 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-50 sank Danish ship Maryland west of Scotland at 0207 hours, killing the entire crew of 34. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank Danish ship Aase en route to Bristol at 0545 hours, killing 15. HMS Verity would rescue the sole survivor two days later. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-26 sank Norwegian ship Steinstad 75 miles west of Aran Island, Ireland at 0837 hours, killing 13. The 11 survivors in a lifeboat would not reach land until 20 Feb. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 sank Dutch tanker Den Haag (carrying 11,800 tons of oil) 150 miles west of Ouessant at the northwestern tip of France at 1400 hours, killing 26. British ship Glenorchy rescued 13 survivors in a lifeboat. [CPC]
  • Major General Erwin Rommel took command of the 7th Panzer Division. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hubert Lanz was made the Chief of Staff for XVIII Armeekorps. [Main Article | CPC]
Canada
  • No. 110 Army Co-operation (Auxiliary) Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force departed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for Britain. [CPC]
16 Feb 1940
  • German freighter Altmark, former supply ship for pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, was found by Hudson aircraft of No.233 Squadron RAF in Jøssingfjord, Norway. HMS Cossack captured Altmark and rescued 299 British prisoners of war aboard. [Main Article | TH]
  • Finnish troops abandoned the Mannerheim Line overnight, falling back to the V-line by 1545 hours. On the same day, troops of the Finnish 9th Division wiped out the surrounded Soviet "Dolin" ski brigade. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-14 sank Danish ships Rhone (killing 9) and Sleipner (killing 13) shortly after midnight; 41 survivors were later picked up by Swedish trawler Standard and HMS Kipling. Later in the day, at 2125 hours, U-14 torpedoed and sank Swedish coal ship Osmed 20 miles north of Kinnaird Head in eastern Scotland, killing 13; 7 survivors were rescued by British trawler Loch Hope. At 2135 hours, U-14 struck one more time on this date, sinking Swedish coal ship Liana with one torpedoe; 10 men were killed, 2 were rescued by British trawler Loch Hope, and 8 were rescued by Swedish steamer Santos. [CPC]
  • In Egypt, the 7th Armoured Division "The Desert Rats" was created out of the Mobile Division, with Major General Michael Creagh in command. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Feb 1940
Altmark at Jøssingfjord, 16 Feb 1940
17 Feb 1940
  • Norway protested British neutrality violation of attacking the German ship Altmark in Norwegian waters. [Main Article | TH]
  • As it was customary for new corps commanding officers to dine with the Führer, Hitler's aide Colonel Schmundt arranged such a meeting for Hitler and Manstein. Manstein presented his plan for the invasion of France and the Low Countries, which impressed Hitler. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-10 sank Norwegian ship Kvernaas off the Dutch coast at 0200 hours. The crew of 20, in two lifeboats, were rescued by Dutch ship Oranjepolder. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank British ship Pyrrhus 75 miles west of La Coruña, Spain at 1600 hours, killing 8. 77 survivors were rescued by British merchant ships Uskside and Sinnington Court, which delivered them to Gibraltar. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 sank Finnish ship Wilja south of Bishop Rock, Isles of Scilly, southwestern England at 2036 hours. All 27 crew members were rescued by Dutch steamer Maasdam and were to Havanna, Cuba. [CPC]
18 Feb 1940
  • British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Daring (Commander Sydney Alan Cooper), whilst escorting Allied convoy HN12 from Norway, was sunk by German submarine U-23 (Kapitänleutnantm Otto Kretschmer) 40 miles east of the Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom, killing 157. [AC]
  • German submarines sank six merchant vessels that each flew French, Spanish, Greek, Panamanian, Dutch, and Norwegian flags. A total of 40 men were killed on the six vessels. [CPC]
Finland
  • Finnish troops destroyed a pocket of Soviet troops north of Lake Ladoga, capturing 32 field guns, 30 anti-tank guns, 1 mortar, 20 tanks, 15 machine guns, 25 trucks, and 32 field kitchen; the Soviets suffered 1,000 deaths and 250 men taken prisoner; Finnish losses were only 166 deaths. At the defensive V-line, however, the Finnish units were overwhelmed and began to be overrun at two locations. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • German Army General Franz Halder, reluctantly, as ordered by Adolf Hitler, incorporated General Erich von Manstein's planned thrust through the Ardennes Forest into the invasion plans for France. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Feb 1940
Roosevelt and his Naval Aide, Captain Daniel J. Callaghan, taking the salute of a composite Battalion of the 14th Infantry at Gatun Locks, Panama Canal Zone, 18 Feb 1940
19 Feb 1940
  • The Soviet 18th Division attacked across the frozen Lake Suvanto in the Taipale Sector near Lake Lagoda in eastern Karelian Isthmus. Finnish defenders, with concentrated artillery fire, halted the attack after inflicting nearly 1,000 fatalities. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-23, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer, torpedoed and sank Britisher steamer Tiberton east of the Orkney Islands, Scotland at 0405 hours. Tiberton sank in 30 seconds, taking the lives of the entire crew of 30. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler, alarmed by the Altmark Incident of 16 Feb 1940, ordered to hasten the planning of the invasion of Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US Secretary of State Cordell Hull extended the American moral embargo to include the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Feb 1940
  • General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst was appointed to command the German invasion of Norway. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-129 sank Norwegian ship Nordvangen 25 miles east of Trinidad at 0425 hours, killing the entire crew of 2. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-156 torpedoed and crippled American ship Delplata 60 miles west of Martinique, at 1131 hours. The crew of 53 abandoned ship and were rescued by USS Lapwing on the next day, which also scuttled Delplata with gunfire. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-54 became missing in the North Sea and its crew of 41 were never seen again. It was believed that she ran into mines laid by HMS Ivanhoe and HMS Intrepid in early Jan 1940. [CPC]
  • Soviet troops began penetrating the Finnish V-line as deep as 1 kilometer in some places. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The keel for corvette Trillium was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-96 sank British merchant ship Empire Seal 75 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, killing 1. 56 survivors were rescued by British ship Empire Flame. Empire Seal was carrying steel from the United States to Belfast. At 0453, U-96 struck again, sinking American merchant ship Lake Osweya at 0453 hours, killing the entire crew of 39. [CPC]
Poland
  • Representatives of the German Gestapo organization (including Adolf Eichmann) and the Soviet NKVD organization (including Grigoriy Litvinov) met at Zakopane, Poland to coordinate the suppression of Polish resistance efforts. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Feb 1940
Finnish soldiers on skis with reindeers, near Jäniskoski, Finland, 20 Feb 1940
21 Feb 1940
  • The British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Gurkha (Commander A. W. Buzzard) and the French destroyer La Fantasque shared in the depth charging and destruction of the 753-ton German submarine U-53. [AC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-50 torpedoed and sank Dutch ship Tara 50 miles southwest of Cape Finisterre, Spain at 0300 hours. The entire crew escaped harm. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-57 damaged British steamer Loch Maddy 25 miles southeast of Wick, Scotland, United Kingdom, killing 4. She would be sunk by U-23 on the following day. 35 survivors were picked up by destroyer HMS Diana. [CPC]
Finland
  • The Finnish V-line on the Karelian Isthmus continued to be overwhelmed; Soviet penetrations in the line now began to move toward Viipuri, Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler authorized the Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway. Lieutenant General Falkenhorst was ordered to submit his final invasion plan by 1700 hours on the same day. Having no clue he was to be assigned this commanding role prior to the meeting and given little time to prepare, Falkenhorst purchased a traveler's guide to Norway and used it to design a general invasion plan; the general plan he would devise in his hotel room in the next few hours would generally agree with the plan the OKW had come up with thus far. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • The future site of Auschwitz Concentration Camp was found in Poland. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Emergency measures were introduced in Britain to deal with a coal shortage caused by the severe winter. On the railways, passenger train services are cut back. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Feb 1940
Finnish Army machine gun crew during the Winter War, 21 Feb 1940; note Maxim M32/33 machine gun
22 Feb 1940
  • Six German destroyers were launched into the North Sea during Operation Wikinger, which attempted to attack British fishing boats that had been reporting the movement of German warships. He 111 aircraft of the German Luftwaffe, never been notified of such an operation, misidentified the destroyers and attacked them, sinking destroyer Z1 Leberecht Maas at 1945 hours, killing 282 while 60 survived. Destroyer Z3 Max Schultz was able to evade the bombs, but ran into a minefield, detonated a mine, and sank, killing 308. [CPC]
  • Georg von Küchler ordered his subordinates to stop all forms of criticism toward Nazi racial policies. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • In the Atlantic Ocean, German submarine U-23 sank British steamer Loch Maddy, which was damaged by U-57 and abandoned by its crew on the previous day. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-50 sank British tanker British Endeavour 125 miles west of Vigo, Spain, killing 5. 32 men were rescued by British steamer Bodnant, which landed them on the Portuguese island of Madeira. [CPC]
Finland
  • Soviet 43rd Division attacked across frozen waters of the Gulf of Finland, capturing the islands of Lasisaari and Koivisto. Before Koivisto was given up, Finnish troops sabotaged all the gun barrels in the coastal batteries. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Irish Republican Army bombs injured 12 in London, England, United Kingdom. [TH]
23 Feb 1940
  • Sweden denied British and French troops passage across her borders with Finland. [TH]
  • In return for withdrawing from Petsamo, USSR demanded ceding of Karelian Isthmus and shores of Lake Ladoga, along with a 30-year lease on the Hangö Peninsula and a mutual assistance treaty. [Main Article | TH]
  • British destroyer HMS Gurkha sank German submarine U-53 by depth charges 25 miles south of the Faroe Islands in the North Sea, killing the entire crew of 42. [CPC]
  • The Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire, including relics of Christian mythology, were removed from public display in Nürnberg, Germany. They were moved after dark to a secret location for safe storage. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The citizens of London, England, United Kingdom cheered the officers and men of HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax as they returned from South American waters. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Feb 1940
  • Foreign ministers from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden reasserted the neutrality of their home countries, jointly declaring that they would not assist Finland and would not allow foreign troops to enter their territories. Ignoring this declaration, British envoy to Finland Sir George Gordon Vereker continued to promise 20,000 to 22,000 Allied fighters for Finland if Finland would make such a request by 5 Mar 1940. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-63 sank Swedish merchant ship Santos 70 miles east of the Orkney Islands, Scotland at 2100 hours, killing 31. 12 survivors were rescued by HMS Gallant on the next day. [CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain condemned Hitler's aggression but said that he was prepared to negotiate with an alternative German government. [Main Article | AC]
  • Hitler gave approval to detailed plans for the invasion of France and the Low Countries. [Main Article | AC]
Italy
  • Commander Mario Giorgini took command of 1a Flottiglia MAS, a motor torpedo boat flotilla. [CPC]
25 Feb 1940
  • British submarine HMS Narwhal, escorting convoy HN-14 from Bergen, Norway to Methil, Scotland, spotted German submarine U-63 on the surface at 0755 hours, which dove to avoid attack. Destroyers Escapade, Escort, Inglefield, and Imogen attacked the submarine with depth charges for nearly 2 hours, finally forcing her to surface at 0950 hours. U-63 was scuttled 100 miles east of Wick, Scotland. Of the German crew, 1 was killed, and 24 were captured by Inglefield and Imogen. The German prisoners of war were landed at Leith, Scotland on 27 Feb 1940; they would remain in Britain until the end of the war. [CPC]
  • No. 110 Army Co-operation (Auxiliary) Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force arrived in Britain. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Feb 1940
Blenheim light bomber of the RAF being towed away by horses after landing on the frozen Jukajärvi lake, near Juva village, Finland, 25 Feb 1940
26 Feb 1940
  • Soviet troops continued to attack toward Viipuri, Finland. The Finnish 23rd Division counterattacked with 8 Mark E light tanks in the Battle of Honkaniemi, destroying 3 Soviet tanks but all 8 light tanks were lost during the engagement. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Newly-constructed British large passenger liner Queen Elizabeth left Clydeside, Glasgow, Scotland on the spring tide. To prevent German attack, false intelligence regarding her destination being Southampton in southern England was generated, but her actual destination was New York in the United States. She would reach New York for her final fitting. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Feb 1940
  • Soviet troops launched a pincer movement intended at surrounding Viipuri, Finland; at 1900 hours, Finnish Army Lieutenant General Erik Heinrichs ordered his troops to fall back from the defensive positions on the V-line and withdraw into Viipuri. Meanwhile, the government of Finland requested assistance from Norway and Sweden for the war against Russia, but Norway and Sweden continued to express that they were neutral in the conflict and could not assist Finland. On the same day, 300 Finnish children were evacuated to Stockholm, Sweden. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Feb 1940
  • At 0045 hours, Soviet High Command permitted the surrounded 34th Tank Brigade to retreat from the East Lemetti pocket in Finland. Finnish troops eased pressure and allowed 2,750 wounded Russian soldiers to escape on foot. About 1,000 out of the 1,250 who escaped to the south returned safely, but all 1,500 who escaped to the east were later caught by Finnish ski troops and killed. Finnish attacks on the East Lemetti pocket continued later in the day. On the Karelian Isthmus, however, Soviet troops were able to penetrate the second defensive line. Finally, troops of the Swedish Volunteer Corps took over front line duties against Soviet troops at Salla, Lapland in northern Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The United Kingdom and France offered military assistance for Finland, but they were waiting for Finland to issue a formal request for such aid. [CPC]
29 Feb 1940
  • Negotiations to end the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union began, but fighting continued. Soviet troops crossed the frozen Gulf of Finland and landed 15 miles west of Viipuri in an attempt to surround the city, but they were defeated by Finnish troops, capturing only Teikari Island. Elsewhere, Finnish troops wiped out the surrounded Soviet troops in the East Lemetti pocket at 0400 hours, capturing 5 field guns, 1 anti-tank gun, 71 tanks, 12 armored cars, 6 anti-aircraft machine guns, 206 trucks, and 70 machine guns. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-20 torpedoed and sank Italian steamer Maria Rosa in the English Channel, killing 12. 17 people were rescued. [CPC]
  • German steamers Heidelberg and Troja left the Dutch island of Aruba in the Caribbean Sea after dark in an attempt to evade Allied patrols. Troja was intercepted 10 miles from Aruba from British cruiser Despatch; her crew set fire to the ship and abandoned her, which sank on the next day. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler approved Nikolaus von Falkenhorst's invasion plan for Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • RMS Queen Elizabeth set sail from Scotland, United Kingdom for New York, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California (because of the war) physicist Ernest Lawrence received the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from Swedish Consul General in San Francisco. [CPC]
1 Mar 1940
  • Adolf Hitler issued a formal war directive for Weserübung, the invasion of Norway and Denmark. [Main Article | AC]
  • The Libyan 1st and 2nd Divisions were formed by the Italian Army. [CPC]
  • Gusztáv Jány was named the commanding officer of Hungarian 2nd Army. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • US Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles arrived in Berlin, Germany on a peace mission, and met with German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop on the first day of his visit. [Main Article | TH]
2 Mar 1940
  • The United Kingdom and France once again requested Sweden and Norway to allow passage of Allied troops through their borders in order to aid Finland, should Finland formally requested such aid from the Allies. [Main Article | CPC]
  • O'Brien was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • The cargo-liner SS Domala carrying mainly British Indian subjects repatriated from Germany was bombed and machine gunned off the Isle of Wight by a German He 111 aircraft with the loss of 108 lives. Dutch ship Jong Willem, which rescued 48 of the 183 survivors, was also strafed. Beached and later repaired, she went back into service under the name Empire Attendant only to be torpedoed and sunk south of the Canary Islands in Jul 1945 with the loss of all 59 hands. [AC]
  • British cruiser HMS Berwick stopped German steamer Wolfsburg, which was disguised as Norwegian ship Aust, north of Iceland. Wolfsburg was scuttled by her crew of 54, who were all subsequently rescued by Berwick. Berwick sank Wolfsburg by gunfire before departure. [CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Dunedin stopped German steamer Heidelberg 60 miles west of Aruba in the Caribbean Sea. Heidelberg was scuttled by her crew of 25, who were all subsequently rescued by Dunedin and later delivered to Jamaica. [CPC]
Finland
  • Soviet troops attempted to establish a beachhead west of the Finnish city of Viipuri across the frozen Viipuri Bay, while pressure was asserted on the city from its south and east. An attempt was orchestrated on 29 Feb 1940 without success; likewise, this newly dispatched unit failed to establish a beachhead, however, the Soviet troops were able to capture the coastal battery on the island of Tuppuransaari, which had caused high casualties on both attempts. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hungarian volunteers reached a training facility in Finland after 3 weeks of travel. They immediately began training with the Finnish Army, but they would not complete the training before the end of the Winter War. [CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler met with US Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Mar 1940
  • Italy protested UK-proposed ban on Italian imports of German coal. [TH]
  • Two days after the offered peace ultimatum expired, Soviet forces launched a major offensive against the Finns. A beachhead on the frozen Viipuri Bay west of the Viipuri city was reinforced, while the island of Uuras was captured. Finnish General Wallenius was dishonorably discharged for getting drunk during this key moment in the defense; Lieutenant General Lennart Oesch was appointed to succeed him. [Main Article | TH]
  • British cruiser HMS York stopped German steamer Arucas 50 miles south of Iceland. Arucas' crew of 42 Arucas scuttled the ship; 3 died in the process. 39 men were rescued by York and delivered to Kirkwall, Scotland on 10 Mar 1940. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-29 laid mines in the Bristol Channel. British steamer Cato hit one of them later on this date, killing 13; 2 survivors were rescued by minesweeper HMS Akita. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler decided that the invasion of Norway would take place prior to the invasion of France. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Hermann Göring met with US Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • In a session of the Soviet Politburo in Moscow, Russia, Joseph Stalin and the five Politburo members approved the execution of captured Polish officers and land owners. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • As the large passenger liner Queen Elizabeth sailed for New York, British agents released false information regarding the final destination being Southampton in southern England, United Kingdom. German intelligence apparently picked up this information as Luftwaffe aircraft appeared to bomb Southampton on this date, the date when Queen Elizabeth was falsely said to arrive. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Mar 1940
  • French steamer S.N.A.1 collided with British ship Thurston 30 miles north of Land's End in southwestern England at about 0000 hours. S.N.A.1 sank, with 30 survivors rescued by Thurston. At 0523 hours, however, German submarine U-29 sank Thurston, killing 64. 3 British and 1 French were subsequently rescued. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-29 sank British ship Pacific Reliance at 1239 hours, destroying the cargo of aircraft parts. The entire crew of 53 were rescued by British merchant ship Macville and delivered to Newlyn, Cornwall, England. [CPC]
  • Soviet and Finnish troops continued to fight near Viipuri, Finland, particularly near the Vuoksi River near Äyräpää church. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Chief Executive Officer of the American firm General Motors James Mooney, holder of the German Grand Cross of the German Eagle medal for his services to Germany, met with Adolf Hitler in an attempt to dissuade Hitler from escalating the war. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • US Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles departed Berlin, Germany. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 Mar 1940
Soviet soldier in prone position with rifle and shield, Viipuri, Finland, 4 Mar 1940
5 Mar 1940
  • The Soviet Politburo declared the Polish officers in captivity "enemies of the Soviet Union" and ordered death sentences for all of them, fearing that, if released back into the population, they would organize resistance movements against the Soviet occupation. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Despite heavy casualties delivered by the Finnish Air Force, Soviet forces captured more islands in Viipuri Bay in Finland and asserted more pressure on the city of Viipuri. The Soviet Union renewed its peace offer, and this time it was seriously considered by Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-17 torpedoed and sank Dutch steamer Grutto 20 miles off Belgium at 2100 hours. Grutto sank within 6 minutes of the attack, killing all 18 aboard. [CPC]
  • Hermann Göring complained that he was not consulted for the planning of the Norwegian invasion. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Communist Chinese troops laid siege to Yanchuan County seat, Shaanxi Province, China; the local paramilitary forces loyal to the Nationalists would quickly surrender. [CPC]
6 Mar 1940
  • Finnish diplomats arrived in Moscow. [TH]
  • Based on a compromise of the original plan, modifications to the German invasion plan of the west were approved by Hitler. [TH]
  • British cruiser HMS Berwick intercepted German freighter Uruguay northeast of Iceland. Just as the boarding began, Uruguay's crew set the ship on fire. Berwick sank Uruguay with gunfire after withdrawing the boarding party and bringing the German crew on board. [CPC]
  • Fighting between Finnish and Soviet forces continued south, east, and west of Viipuri, Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Dutch submarines O9, O10, and O11 departed from Den Helder Naval Base. Before they left the harbor, O11 collided with the armored tug BV3; 3 men were killed as they were trapped in O11 while she sank. [CPC]
  • The French battleship Jean Bart was launched. [Main Article | AC]
  • Major General Wilhelm S¸ssmann stepped down as the commanding officer of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing. [CPC]
Finland
  • Simo Häyhä was shot in the lower left jaw by a Soviet soldier in combat in Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
7 Mar 1940
  • The British boarded 9 Italian ships from Rotterdam carrying German coal in the English Channel and detained all ships at The Downs, off Deal, Kent, England. The Italians believed that it was an attempt for the British to force the Italians to sell them weapons. [CPC]
  • Soviet troops began to break through the final defense line at Viipuri, Finland. Meanwhile, Finnish Prime Minister Ryti and his diplomatic party arrived in Moscow, Russia in an attempt to negotiate peace. In the United Kingdom, British Chief of the Imperial General Staff Edmund Ironside offered military assistance to Carl Mannerheim of Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler allocated 8 divisions for the invasion of Norway and Denmark. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Oberst Alois Stoeckl was named the commanding officer of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing. [CPC]
United States
  • RMS Queen Elizabeth arrived at New York, New York, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
8 Mar 1940
  • As Soviet troops entered the suburbs of Viipuri, Finnish diplomats in Moscow sought an immediate ceasefire while negotiations were still proceeding, but were refused as Soviet troops were on the verge of taking Viipuri. [Main Article | TH]
  • British cruiser HMS Dunedin and Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine captured German steamer Hanover near Jamaica. Hannover would later be converted into escort aircraft carrier HMS Audacity. [CPC]
  • British steamer Counsellor, flagship of Rear Admiral Franklin of convoy HX-22 convoy, struck a mine in Liverpool Bay, England. The Admiral, his 7 naval staff, and the entire crew of 70 were rescued by destroyer HMS Walpole and landed at Liverpool. The mines were laid on 6 Jan 1940 by German submarine U-30; these mines had claimed 6 ships totaling 33,000 tons. [CPC]
9 Mar 1940
  • The British released the Italian coal ships detained on 7 Mar 1940 and announced that the United Kingdom would allow Italy to continue to import German coal but only via overland routes. [TH]
  • Soviet troops captured the village of Tali on the outskirts of Viipuri and for the most part were in control of the Bay of Viipuri. Finnish leader Mannerheim suggested that surrender might be Finland's only option at this stage. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-14 sank 3 British steamers 5 miles off of the Belgian coast near Zeebrugge: SS Borthwick at 0542 hours, no lives lost; SS Abbotsford at 2330 hours, killing 19; SS Akeld 2345 hours, killing 12. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 fired a warning shot from its deck gun toward 6 neutral Irish trawlers 10 miles north of Aran Island, Ireland at the distance of 200 meters at 2113 hours. Trawler Leukos was hit by the warning shot, killing the entire crew of 11 during the sinking. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-28 torpedoed and sank Greek steamer P. Margaronis 125 miles west of Brest, France at 2317 hours, killing the entire crew of 30. [CPC]
Taiwan
  • Lieutenant General Mikio Uemura was named the chief of staff of the Taiwan Army. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Mar 1940
Finnish 76-mm field gun camouflaged in snowy terrain, Viipuri, Finland, 9 Mar 1940
10 Mar 1940
  • German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop met with Mussolini in Italy, informing him Hitler's wish to invade France and lobbied for him to conduct a joint-invasion. Mussolini promise to join Germany, but only when he felt Italy was ready. [CPC]
  • Repair ship Akashi was commissioned into service with Captain Shutoku Miyazato in command. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Japan
  • Captain Gunji Kogure was named the commanding officer of Settsu. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Death of the noted Russian writer and playwright, Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940), whose work Joseph Stalin liked but would not allow to be staged or read. When Bulgakov's play about Stalin's early life was turned down in 1939, he became ill and depressed, and died less than a year later. His crowning achievement, the novel The Master and Margarita, was not published until 1968. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Mar 1940
Finnish coastal defense ship Ilmarinen anchored at Turku harbor, Finland, 10 Mar 1940Battleship Kirishima at Kure, Japan, 10 Mar 1940Adolf Hitler at Memorial Day celebration with Wilhelm Keitel, Walther von Brauchitsch, Erich Raeder, and Hermann Göring (behind Hitler), Berlin, Germany, 10 Mar 1940
11 Mar 1940
  • 5 Soviet tanks reached Tammisuo Station in northeast Viipuri, Finland while Finnish delegates in Moscow negotiated peace terms. At 1800 hours, the two sides came to an agreement that would be signed into a peace treaty on the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British and French governments dispatched troops to Sweden in an attempt to capture Swedish iron mines. Norway and Sweden made the statement that they would resist such an invasion. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-28 torpedoed and sank Dutch tanker Eulota 125 miles west of Quessant, France at 0317 hours. The ship broke in two but remained afloat until HMS Broke and HMS Wild Swan arrived to rescue the entire crew of 42. Eulota was scuttled upon completion of the rescue. [CPC]
  • Blenheim bombers of 82 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command attacked German submarine U-31, on sea trials, in Jade Bay near Wilhelmshaven. 2 of the 4 anti-submarine bombs hit U-31, killing all 58 (48 crew, 10 dock workers) on board. U-31 would later be refloated only to be sunk again, the only WW2 ship to suffer the misfortune of being sunk twice in the war. [CPC]
  • German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop met with Mussolini in Italy regarding German-Italian cooperation in the war. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • French battleship Bretagne and cruiser Algerie, escorted by destroyers Vauban, Aigle, Maille Breze, departed Toulon carrying 2,379 bars of gold totaling 147 tons. The gold from the French gold reserves were to be sent to Canada for safekeeping. [Main Article | AC]
12 Mar 1940
  • At 0900 hours, Finnish President Kyösti Kallio authorized his delegates in Moscow full powers to negotiate peace terms. Soviet representatives had drafted a document dated today, ready for the Finnish delegation to sign. The document called for Finland to give up 35,000 square kilometers of territory to Russia, which constituted about 10% of the country, including Salla, the Karelian Isthmus, and Ladoga Karelia, housing about 12% of the entire Finnish population. The Hanko Peninsula was also forced to be leased to the Soviets for 30 years for use as a military base. [Main Article | TH]
  • Swedish offered Finland a defensive alliance, but it was too late to help Finland as it was about to surrender to the Soviet Union. [CPC]
  • A transport of 1,000 German Jews was forced to march through cold weather toward the Lublin Ghetto. 72 German Jews died of exposure. [CPC]
  • US Under Secretary for State Sumner Welles returned to the US from a fact finding mission, during which he met with one Pope, two Kings, one Führer, One Duce, and three Premieres. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler met with Colin Ross, whom Hitler considered to be his top adviser on the United States. Ross told Hitler that the United States, run by Jews, had imperialist tendencies in terms of foreign policy. Ross also advised Hitler that Franklin Roosevelt, who had come to power around the same time as Hitler, was jealous of Hitler's greater success thus was plotting with the Western Allies to defeat Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop continued his meeting with Mussolini in Italy, setting up a conference between Hitler and Mussolini to be held some time on or after 19 Mar 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 20,000 British troops embarked on transport ships at Rosyth, Scotland and waited for the order to sail to Norway, through which country they would march into Finland to aid in the war against Soviet Union as well as to secure iron mines in Sweden. [TH]
United States
  • Henry Arnold received a warning from Franklin Roosevelt for having voiced complaints against policies set forth by Roosevelt's cabinet. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Mar 1940
  • At 0200 hours in Moscow (0100 hours Finland time) Finnish and Soviet representatives signed the Moscow Peace Treaty prepared on the previous day. Finnish President Kyösti Kallio noted that the treaty was "the most awful document I have ever had to sign." Ceasefire would take place at 1100 hours; both sides continued to bombard the other with ferocity until the ceasefire time came. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British troops originally Norway-bound were disembarked from their transports without ever having left port. [CPC]
  • Punjabi nationalist Udham Singh assassinated the former British governor of Punjab Sir Michael O'Dwyer. [CPC]
  • The Fleet Landing Exercise No. 6 in the Caribbean Sea, participated by personnel of the US Navy and US Marine Corps, drew to a close. [CPC]
Finland
  • Simo Häyhä regained consciousness after being severely injured in the face in combat a week prior in Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop informed the Italians that Adolf Hitler would like to push the date of the upcoming Brenner Pass meeting with Benito Mussolini up to on or about 18 Mar 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
14 Mar 1940
  • The Finnish Parliament met and debated over the ratification of Moscow Peace Treaty. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first of the over 450,000 Finnish civilians in the territories ceded to Russia per the Moscow Peace Treaty began to move into Finland. Some of them burned their homes to the ground to leave as little to the conquerors as possible. [CPC]
  • According to Alfred Jodl's diary entry for this date, Adolf Hitler was actively searching for excuses that would justify the planned invasion of Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Eagle suffered an accidental bomb explosion while off the Nicobar Islands, killing 14 and damaging many aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Viktor Abakumov was promoted to the rank of State Security Major. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • First "bombe" decipher machine became operational at Bletchley Park in England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • British Foreign Minister Lord Halifax began to ask Finland to return some of the supplies that the British had given to Finland for the Winter War. He retracted the request shortly after Finnish Ambassador to London G. A. Gripenberg reminded him that Finland had paid for the relatively small amount of goods that Britain offered. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Mar 1940
  • In Romania, King Carol granted amnesty to members of the fascist Iron Guard party after they swore allegiance to him. [CPC]
  • British RAF bombers dropped propaganda leaflets over Warsaw, Poland. [CPC]
  • The Finnish parliament ratified the Moscow Peace Treaty, 145 votes for and 3 votes against. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Royal Navy armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla impounded Soviet steamer Vladimir Mayakovsky, which was carrying American copper and bound for Germany, in the Sea of Japan. [CPC]
Malaya and Singapore
  • HMS Eagle arrived at Singapore for repairs for damage caused by the accidental explosion of 14 Mar 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Mar 1940
Captain Albert C. Read inspected Saratoga
16 Mar 1940
  • Benito Mussolini held peace talks with US envoy Sumner Welles in Rome. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Yugoslavian steamer Slava hit a mine laid by German submarine U-29 on 2 Mar 1940 and sank in the Bristol Channel, killing 1. 33 were rescued. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 32 German Ju 88 dive bombers bombed the Royal Navy Home Fleet base at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. HMS Norfolk was hit with one bomb, blowing a hole below the water line and killing 6. James Isbister became the first British civilian to be killed by a German bomb when his house in the nearby village of Bridge of Waithe. [Main Article | TH]
17 Mar 1940
  • German submarine U-38 torpedoed and sank Danish merchant vessel Argentina east of the Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom at 2325 hours, killing the entire crew of 33. [CPC]
  • Dr Fritz Todt was appointed the German Reich Minister for Armaments and Munitions. [CPC]
  • British miners from Nottinghamshire, England voted to forgo vacations to support the war effort. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In the wake of a German raid on Scapa Flow, the British Admiralty admitted that the Home Fleet base was vulnerable to air attacks. The fleet was ordered to depart Scapa Flow between 19 and 26 Mar. In anticipation of this move, German submarines U-57, U-19, U-21, and U-22 began to move toward Scapa Flow in an attempt to attack the departing warships. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Mar 1940

Netherlands
  • German bombers attacked Dutch trawler Protinus off Ijmuiden, the Netherlands, killing several people including the captain and the first mate. 10 found their way to the lifeboat but 2 of them would perish before they were found by submarine HMS Unity 6 days later. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • HMS Edinburgh arrived at Tyne, England, United Kingdom for a refit. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Alan Turing's first electromechanical machine, "bombe", was installed. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Mar 1940
Finnish Canet 152mm/45 naval gun in coastal defense role, Hästö-Busö, Finland, 18 Mar 1940
19 Mar 1940
  • In retaliation for the Scapa Flow raid, the RAF attacked the German seaplane base on Sylt Island, but with little effect. Meanwhile, British Whitley bombers of 10 Squadron No. 4 Group RAF Bomber Command dropped 1,500 pounds of bombs over the Hornum seaplane base in Germany also as part of the retaliatory bombing. [TH]
  • German submarine U-19 sank Danish steamer Minsk in the Moray Firth, Scotland at 0935 hours, killing 11. Destroyer HMS Esk rescued 9 survivors. At 1037 hours, U-19 struck again, sinking Danish steamer Charkow, killing the entire crew of 20. [CPC]
  • Members of the British House of Commons debated Britain's lack of action during the Winter War and criticized Prime Minister Chamberlain. Chamberlain noted that Finland never officially requested British military aid. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The French Parliament criticized Prime Minister Daladier for the French inaction during the Winter War. Daladier resigned after a vote of no confidence. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Jervis collided with Swedish steamer Tor northeast of Blyth, England at 0300 hours, killing 2 aboard Jervis. She would be under repair until Jul 1940. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Mar 1940
Result of Lieutenant Jimmy Thach
20 Mar 1940
  • British bombers sank converted minesweeper Sperrbrecher 12 (former steamer Altenfels) off the Dutch coast. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-22 departed Wilhelmshaven. Communications with the submarine was lost shortly after, its crew of 27 was never seen again. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-19 sank Danish steamer Viking in the Moray Firth, Scotland at 0500 hours, killing 15; 2 survived. At 0515 hours, she sank Danish steamer Bothal, killing 15; 5 survived. [CPC]
  • HMS Fortune sank German submarine U-44 off Narvik, Norway. [CPC]
  • Chinese troops attacked Japanese-occupied Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Lavrentiy Beria dispatched 11 NKVD killing squads to Ukraine and Byelorussia to arrest, execute, and deport resistance elements. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • RMS Queen Mary departed New York, New York, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Mar 1940
  • Paul Reynaud was named the Prime Minister of France. [TH]
  • German submarine U-38 sank neutral Danish merchant ship Algier 15 miles north of the Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0100 hours, killing 5; British trawler Manx King rescued 18 survivors At 0326, U-38 torpedoed another Danish ship, Christiansborg, killing 1; HMS Discovery II rescued 24 survivors from the damaged Danish ship. [CPC]
  • British and Turkish delegations met in Syria. [CPC]
  • Chinese troops captured Japanese-occupied Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Semyon Timoshenko was made a Hero of the Soviet Union for the first time and the Order of Lenin for the second time. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
22 Mar 1940
  • French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud named his predecessor Édouard Daladier as Minister of War despite their opposite political views. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines sank 7 neutral ships. [TH]
  • Soviet military personnel began to arrive at the Hanko Peninsula in Finland, which had been leased by the Soviet Union as part of the Moscow Peace Treaty that ended the Winter War. [CPC]
  • The Royal Navy increased patrols in Norwegian waters. [CPC]
  • The British government was warned of the possibility of a German nuclear weapon. [CPC]
  • Chinese troops secured major roads leading into Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. A small Japanese force was immediately deployed to counterattack, with more troops being transferred to reinforce the counteroffensive. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • American gunboat USS Asheville arrived at Gulangyu island, an international zone, near Xiamen, China. [CPC]
23 Mar 1940
  • Dutch fighters accidentally shot down a RAF bomber near Rotterdam. [TH]
  • The British Malaya Force was formed to observe German merchant ships in Dutch East Indies. [CPC]
  • British submarine (HMS Truant or HMS Trident) intercepted German merchant ship Edmund Hugo Stinnes IV 6 miles off of the western coast of Denmark at 2330 hours. The German ship sailed closer to shore before being scuttled by its crew. The abandoned ship was later torpedoed and sunk by the submarine. [CPC]
  • IRA prisoners at Dartmoor, England staged a riot. [CPC]
  • Deportation of Jews in German-occupied Eastern Europe continued despite of Hermann Göring's order for a temporary pause. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Mar 1940
  • French destroyer La Railleuse suffered an accidental torpedo detonation as she was departing Casablanca, Morocco. La Railleuse was lost; 28 were killed and 24 were wounded. [CPC]
25 Mar 1940
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Pál Teleki met with Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano; Teleki voiced neutrality for Hungary. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Swiss inteliigence warned Norway regarding evidence of a German invasion, but Norway chose to ignore the warning. [CPC]
  • French Prime Minister Reynaud wrote to the British War Cabinet, proposing ideas to undermine any possibility of further Soviet expansion in Scandinavia. British Prime Minister Chamberlain refused to cooperate as he refused to build hostility with the Soviet Union. [CPC]
  • The British government forbade captured servicemen to participate in enemy propaganda radio broadcasts. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 sank Danish steamer Britta 30 miles north of Scotland at 0540 hours, killing 13. 5 survivors were rescued by Danish steamer Nancy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-57 sank British tanker Daghestan 9 miles east of Orkney Islands, Scotland at 0811 hours, killing 3. 29 survivors were picked up by armed anti-submarine trawlers HMS Northern Wave and HMS Brontes. [CPC]
  • The United States gave contractors to the US Army Air Corps the authority to sell to anti-Axis governments the most modern types of combat aircraft. [AC]
  • By this date, the strength of the Japanese counteroffensive near Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China had grown to 3,000 men with artillery and aircarft support. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Mar 1940
  • German submarine U-38 stopped Norwegian merchant ship Cometa 65 miles northwest of Noup Head, Orkney Islands, Scotland and gave Cometa's crew one hour to abandon ship. At 0220 hours, U-38 hit the abandoned Cometa with one torpedo. The crew of 31, 6 Swedish passengers, and 5 British sailors were later rescued by HMS Northern Sky. [CPC]
  • French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud called for his country to wage total war against Germany. [CPC]
  • Stalin refused to meet Hitler to discuss an issue regarding a border dispute in occupied Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-22 became missing in the North Sea, its crew of 27 was never seen again. It was probable that she hit a mine. [CPC]
  • Chinese troops evacuated Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British War Cabinet debated French Prime Minister Reynaud's proposal of attacking Soviet oilfields at Baku on the Caspian Sea and Soviet shipping in the Black Sea. Agreeing with the British Prime Minister Chamberlain, the proposals were rejected by the cabinet. [CPC]
27 Mar 1940
  • New Zealand Prime Minister Michael Savage died from cancer. [CPC]
France
  • The French government requested the Soviet Union to recall its ambassador to Paris, France. [CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • A dredge was towed to Midway Atoll to begin work to enlarge the basin and channels between the two main islands. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Mar 1940
  • Although the United Kingdom rejected French suggestion to expand the war by attacking the Soviet Union, the two nations agreed on naval mining. Operation Wilfred (mining Norwegian waters) and Operation Royal Marine (mining the Rhine River) were both planned to commence on 5 Apr 1940; the latter was pending approval of the French War Committee. [CPC]
  • Norwegian steamer SS Burgos hit a German mine and sank 30 miles west of Skegness, England. Survivors were rescued by British sloop HMS Pelican. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Mar 1940
Damaged Vittorio Veneto after Battle of Matapan, late Mar 1940
29 Mar 1940
  • To prepare for the planned mining of Norwegian waters, the British General Staff prepared Plan R4 to react against a possible German intervention by invading Norway. It called for the 1st Cruiser Squadron to deliver an infantry brigade to Narvik and a battalion to Trondheim and for transports to deliver a battalion to each of Stavanger and Bergen. [CPC]
  • British armed merchant cruiser HMS Transylvania intercepted German freighter Mimi Horn between Iceland and Greenland. Mimi Horn's crew of 41 scuttled the ship to prevent enemy capture. The crew were rescued by Transylvania. [CPC]
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov declared the Soviet Union neutral in the on-going European War. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 29 Mar 1940
Prime Minister Mitsumasa Yonai speaking to children of his home town who had recently lost their fathers in service during the war, 29 Mar 1940
30 Mar 1940
  • Germany supplied weapons to the Soviet Union. [CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Churchill acknowledged Soviet neutrality in the European War. [CPC]
  • French Minister of Defense Daladier persuaded the French War Committee not to ratify British proposal to mine the Rhine River. British responded by threatening to abandon the plan to mine Norwegian waters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese troops began to evacuate Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japan installed a puppet government in Nanjing, China under the leadership of Wang Jinwei. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland Photo(s) dated 30 Mar 1940
Gladiator fighter of Flying Regiment 19
31 Mar 1940
  • British Prime Minister Chamberlain called off the mining of the Norwegian coast in protest of the French resistance to the mining of the Rhine River. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German WWI-era battleship Hessen (serving as ice breaker) and armed merchant cruisers Atlantis, Orion, and Widder departed from Kiel, Germany for their various anti-Allied shipping missions. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Mussolini informed King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy that Italy would soon enter the European War. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese troops completed the evacuation of Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The armed merchant raider Atlantis set sail from Germany. [AC]
United Kingdom
  • The British Ministry of Informations introduced paper rationing to publishing and printing industries. The ration, based on consumption over the year 1938-1939, would continue until 1948. [AC]
1 Apr 1940
  • Hitler set the date of the Denmark and Norway invasion to be 9 Apr 1940. 2 divisions were allocated for Denmark and 6 division for Norway, while a bulk of the German Navy was to support the overall operation. Coordinated support in the air from the Luftwaffe was also planned. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Royal Navy Vice Admiral Max Horton, in charge of submarines operating in Britain, dispatched 9 British submarines, 2 French submarines, and 1 Polish submarine to patrol the waters near Norway and Denmark in anticipation of a German invasion of the two countries. [CPC]
  • The towns of Ota, Kuai, Sawano, and Niragawa in Gunma Prefecture, Japan were merged to form a new town of Ota. [CPC]
  • The fourth group of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing was established. [CPC]
China
  • Chinese troops captured Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), created by Act of Parliament on 24 Nov 1939, took over the activities of British Airways and Imperial Airways. [AC]
United States
  • USS Skipjack departed San Diego, California, United States for the Hawaiian Islands area for training exercises. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Apr 1940
South Dakota under construction at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, United States, 1 Apr 1940Submarine Gar under construction, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 1 Apr 1940, photo 1 of 2; topside bow view looking aftSubmarine Gar under construction, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 1 Apr 1940, photo 2 of 2; topside stern view looking forward
2 Apr 1940
  • Germans attacked Scapa Flow and North Sea convoys. [TH]
  • In the afternoon, Adolf Hitler issued the directive for the invasion of Denmark and Norway, with the planned launch date to be 9 Apr 1940. Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was made aware of the invasion for the first time so that his office could help develop excuses for the invasion. Meanwhile, Dutch border guards were placed on full alert due to the detected German deployments. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank Finnish steamer Signe of convoy HN-23A at 0021 hours, killing the entire crew of 19. [CPC]
  • British submarines began to patrol waters that Vice Admiral Max Horton suspected to be routes of German invasion of Norway. For example, HMS Unity patrolled the Heligoland Bight while HMS Sunfish patrolled the Kattegat between Denmark and Sweden. [CPC]
  • Werner Mölders shot down Flight Lieutenant C. D. Palmer's Hurricane fighter of No. 1 Squadron RAF. On this date, he also received the Iron Cross 1st Class award. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Apr 1940
  • Katyn Massacre: Over 20,000 Polish police, military officers, and intellectuals were massacred by the Soviet NKVD. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill was appointed to chair a committee for war policy in Neville Chamberlain's cabinet. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A pro-Axis government came to power in Iraq. [TH]
  • German supply ships began departing for the invasion of Norway. The British cabinet was warned of this action and the German concentration of troops within hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Submarine Orzel departed Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom to patrol the coast off Kristiansand, Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Flight Lieutenant Ryder of No. 41 Squadron RAF became the first RAF pilot to be shot down on home defence duties when he ditched his Spitfire fighter in the sea off Redcar, England, United Kingdom after bringing down a Heinkel 111 bomber. Ryder and the German crew were picked up safely. [AC]
  • Chinese troops secured the Wuyuan region in Suiyuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A British Short Sunderland flying boat on patrol off Norway attacked by six Junkers Ju 88 aircraft successfully shot one down, forced another to land immediately and drove the rest off. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Grayback was laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
4 Apr 1940
  • Aktion 14 F 13 began; it was the first documented proof that the Nazi German regime conducted mass extermination of the handicapped in concentration camps. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British newspapers reported concentrations of troops in German ports. [CPC]
  • British Vice Admiral Max Horton ordered British submarine HMS Snapper to depart Harwich naval base for the Skagerrak between Denmark and Norway and French submarines Amazone and Antiope (under British command) to depart Harwich for the Frisian Islands and Heligoland. [CPC]
France
  • Winston Churchill traveled to Paris, France to persuade the French on a plan to mine Norwegian waters. Unable to convince French leadership to mine the Rhine River at the same time, Churchill decided that the British would mine Norwegian waters without French cooperation. [Main Article | CPC]
Netherlands
  • The Netherlands declared itself in a state of siege. [TH]
5 Apr 1940
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced that a German invasion of Western Europe would not be successful. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Spearfish departed Blyth for the Danish coast in search for potential German invasion fleets for Denmark and Norway. [CPC]
China
  • Song Zheyuan passed away in Mianyang County, Sichuan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • British RAF aircraft attacked German shipping at Wilhelmshaven. [Main Article | TH]
  • Norwegian ambassador in Berlin warned Danish and Norwegian capitals of a possible invasion, as did British intelligence. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom informed Norway and Sweden of its intent to mine Norwegian waters; British warships departed Scapa Flow at 1830 hours for this operation. [Main Article | TH]
6 Apr 1940
  • RAF Bomber Command suspended leaflet dropping missions in Germany. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-59 torpedoed and sank Norwegian steamer Navarra 20 miles off the Scottish coast at 0316 hours, killing 12. Finnish steamer Atlas rescued 14 survivors in a lifeboat. [CPC]
  • British submarines Truant and Seal departed Rosyth, Scotland for the Norwegian coast, while Tarpon was ordered to patrol the German coast near Helgoland Bight. [CPC]
  • RAF aircraft conducted a photo reconnaissance mission over Kiel, Germany to monitor preparations for the German invasion of Norway. German Kriegsmarine's Marine Gruppe 1 departed Cuxhaven, Germany for Narvik, Norway with 2,000 soldiers on 10 destroyers escorted by battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Marine Gruppe 2 departed Wesermünde, Germany for Trondheim, Norway with 1,700 soldiers on 4 destroyers escorted by cruiser Admiral Hipper. Both departures were made after nightfall to escape British detection. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-1 disappeared in the North Sea, and the crew of 24 were never seen again. The submarine most likely was lost to a British naval mine. [CPC]
  • Orion departed Germany on her first raiding mission. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 Apr 1940
Heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper embarking German troops for the invasion of Norway, 6 Apr 1940
7 Apr 1940
  • Hudson reconnaissance aircraft of 220 Squadron RAF spotted a part of German Marine Gruppe 1 and reported the presence of 1 cruiser and 6 destroyers at 1325 hours, sailing in a northward direction; 12 Blenheim and 24 Wellington bombers were dispatched to attack this group but the attack was not successful. The British Admiralty, receiving reports of major German naval movements, incorrectly assumed the Germans were launching a major attack into the Atlantic Ocean. The Home Fleet departed from Scapa Flow at 2115 hours, while the 1st Cruiser Squadron disembarked the troops already on board in order to prepare for a battle on the open seas. Nevertheless, British submarines continued to patrol the European coast for German activity rather than going out to the open seas; HMS Shark and HMS Seawolf departed Harwich naval base to patrol off Dutch coast, while HMS Clyde and HMS Thistle departed Scapa Flow to patrol the coast of Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 7 Apr 1940
Settsu at anchor, Kure, Japan, 7 Apr 1940
8 Apr 1940
  • Polish submarine Orzel, under British command, sank the German transport ship Rio de Janeiro in the Skagerrak at 1150 hours. German sailors rescued by Norwegian ships admitted that they were en route to attack Bergen. [Main Article | TH]
  • British destroyer HMS Glowworm discovered German Navy Marine Gruppe 1 at 0800 hours and was fired upon by cruiser Admiral Hipper at close range. Outgunned, Glowworm's captain decided to ram the German cruiser, which caused heavy damage for Admiral Hipper but it also led to her sinking, which killed 118, including commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Gerard Broadmead Roope, who received a posthumous Victoria Cross, the first of the war; captain Hellmuth Heye of Admiral Hipper spoke highly of Roope's courage. Off Narvik, British destroyers Esk, Icarus, Impulsive, and Ivanhoe mined Vestfjord at 0500 hours in preparation for landings by British and French forces at Namsos, Narvik, and Andalsnes; Norway was informed of this action at 0600 hours. Meanwhile, German Navy Marine Gruppe 3 departed Wilhelmshaven, Germany for Bergen, Norway (1,900 troops aboard 2 cruisers, 1 transport, 1 minelayer, and 5 torpedo boats), Marine Gruppe 4 and Marine Gruppe 6 departed Cuxhaven, Germany for southern Norway (1,250 troops), and Marine Gruppe 5 departed Swinemünde, Germany for Oslo, Norway (2,000 troops aboard 3 cruisers, 8 minesweepers, and 3 torpedo boats). In Britain, Vice Admiral Max Horton dispatched 6 more submarines to intercept these additional German invasion fleets; many of his peers were against this decision, believe there would not be any additional fleets being dispatched by the Germans. Among the 6 newly dispatched British submarines included HMS Ursula, HMS Triad, and HMS Sterlet, which departed to patrol the Skagerrak between Denmark and Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Field Marshal Keitel ordered the transfer of active military servicemen who were 50% Jewish and those who were married to women who were 50% Jewish to reserve or militia units. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 8 Apr 1940
German light cruiser Emden in the North Sea en route to Oslo, Norway, 8 Apr 1940German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper or Blücher in the North Sea en route to Oslo, Norway, 8 Apr 1940; photo taken from light cruiser Emden seen in the foreground
9 Apr 1940
  • German troops crossed into Denmark at 0500 hours, with landings near Copenhagen unopposed; the Danish government surrendered within the same day, and Germany completed the conquest Denmark with only 20 casualties. To the north in Norway, German troops attacked four locations. At Narvik, German destroyers sank Norwegian coastal cruisers Eidsvold and Norge, killing 276. At Trondheim, German warships pretended to be British ships and sailed by the coastal batteries without being hassled, thus the city was captured with relative ease. At Bergen, the coastal batteries at Fort Kvarven damaged German cruiser Königsberg and minelayer Bremse. Off Bergen, German Ju 88 and He 111 aircraft attacked British battleship HMS Rodney and destroyer HMS Gurkha at 1400 hours; Rodney was hit by a dud 500-kg bomb, and Gurkha sank at 1600 hours, killing 15; only four German Ju 88 aircraft were lost in this attack. Finally, at Oslo, the batteries at Oscarborg sank German cruiser Blücher in the Oslofjord, killing 830. Out at sea, British battlecruiser HMS Renown intercepted German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau after they had successfully escorted Marine Gruppe 1 to Narvik; Renown fired first, hitting Gneisenau three times, but received two hits before the German ships disengaged from the battle. Given the dire situation, the Norwegian royal family, the government, and the country's gold reserves (with over 48 tons of gold) departed from Oslo at 0830 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Truant torpedoed and heavily damaged German cruiser Karlsruhe in the Skagerrak at 1957 hours. After the crew was rescued, German torpedo boat Grief scuttled Karlsruhe. [CPC]
  • French submarine Sybille, under British command, departed Harwich, England to patrol the North Sea west of Denmark. [CPC]
  • Cruiser Köln participated in the invasion of Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • HMS Rodney was hit by a German aerial bomb off Karmøy, Norway; the bomb failed to detonate. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • HMS Howe was launched at Govan, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Apr 1940
Blücher capsized at Oslo fjord, Norway, 9 April 1940Königsberg under British aircraft attack, Bergen, Norway, 9 April 1940German paratroopers at the Masnedoe Fort, Denmark, 9 April 1940German military journalist reporting from Copenhagen, Denmark on the day of its capitulation, 9 Apr 1940
See all photos dated 9 Apr 1940
10 Apr 1940
  • German submarine U-4 sank HMS Thistle at Stavanger, Norway at 0213 hours, killing the entire crew of 53. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tarpon attacked a German armed merchant vessel with torpedoes 50 miles off of the Danish coast, which fought back with depth charges. Tarpon was sunk during the counterattack, killing the entire crew of 53. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 torpedoed Swedish motor tanker Sveaborg 10 miles north of the Faroe Islands between Scotland and Iceland at 0215 hours, killing 5. Norwegian merchant vessel Tosca arrived to rescue the 29 survivors on and around the burning Sveaborg. At 0323 hours, U-37 returned and sank Tosca with one torpedo, killing 2. Survivors from both ships were later rescued by British armed boarding vessel HMS Northern Chief. [CPC]
  • Henry Tizard established the Military Application of Uranium Detonation (MAUD) Committee in the United Kingdom to investigate the feasibility of an atomic weapon. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Nikolaus von Falkenhorst was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Fleet Air Arm Skua dive bombers sank the German cruiser Königsberg in Bergen harbour in Norway. She was the first major warship to be sunk by dive bombing in the war. [Main Article | AC]
Iceland
  • The Icelanic parliament, Althing, granted full powers of government to the Icelandic cabinet, thus effectively declaring independence from Denmark, which was then under German occupation. [CPC]
Norway
  • At the First Battle of Narvik, 10 German destroyers were attacked in the Ofot fjord by 5 British destroyers. 2 German destroyers, 11 merchant ships, and 1 supply ship were sunk. 2 British destroyers were lost. Both commanding officers, British Captain Bernard Warburton-Lee and German Commodore Friedrich Bonte, were killed in the action. Warburton-Lee was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross and Bonte the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Apr 1940
  • British submarine HMS Spearfish damaged the German pocket battleship Lützow, knocking it out of action for one year as one of the six torpedoes fired nearly ripped off the German ship's stern. Not realizing Lützow was unescorted, Spearfish fled from the action as soon as she fired her torpedoes. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Norway, the German 196th Division moved north from Oslo up the Gudbrandsdal and Østerdal valleys in an attempt to link up with the German forces in Trondheim. In an attempt to halt the German advances, RAF attacked the Stavanger airfield in southern Norway. Norwegian Army General Kristian Laake was relieved of command for his failures in the opening chapters of the German invasion; General Otto Ruge took over as his successor. Meanwhile, German collaborator Vidkun Quisling sent a message to King Haakon VII of Norway, asking him to return to Oslo; seeing through his plot to use him as a puppet, the king chose to ignore the request. Seeing a lack of response from the king and his government, German bombers attacked the village where they were hiding in a failed attempt to wipe out Norwegian leadership. In Britain, Winston Churchill spoke at the House of Commons and used Norway as an example to urge other smaller neutral European countries to join the Allies before Germany violated their neutrality as well. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British troops occupied the Faroe Islands between Scotland and Iceland. [CPC]
  • Cruiser Köln returned from Norway, arriving at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In a report to the War Office in London, British General Lord Gort of Limerick, VC, stated that his five regular-army divisions were effective, although not up to the standards of the British Expeditionary Force of 1914. The remaining eight Territorial divisions, he reported were, fit only for static warfare. [Main Article | AC]
12 Apr 1940
  • Norwegian artillery Major Hans Holtermann and 250 volunteers began reactivating the old fort at Ingstadkleiva near Trondheim, Norway, which would become known as Hegra Fortress for defense against the Germans. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British Cyprus Regiment was established from volunteers from the Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus. [AC]
Germany
  • Luftflotte 5 was formed in Hamburg, Germany under the command of Generaloberst Erhard Milch for operations in Norway. Milch would soon establish his headquarters in Oslo, Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German submarine U-37 sank British ship Stancliffe with one torpedo 45 miles northeast of the Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0942 hours, killing 21. 16 survivors in one lifeboat would later make a landing at nearby Unst Island. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 12 Apr 1940
German SdKfz. 223 armored radio car in Denmark, 12 Apr 1940
13 Apr 1940
  • RAF Hampden bombers of No. 44, No. 49, No. 50, No. 61, and No. 144 Squadrons began laying magnetic mines in German coastal waters. [AC]
  • Oswald Mosley's son Max Rufus Mosley was born. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • At Narvik, Norway, a British naval force consisted of battleship HMS Warspite and 9 destroyers under the command of Vice Admiral William Whitworth entered Ofotfjord; in the Second Battle of Narvik, Warspite's Swordfish torpedo bomber sank German submarine U-64 with bombs, while surface vessels sank 3 destroyers, with another 5 German ships scuttled by their own crews after suffering extensive damage; three British ships were damaged in the battle; without their ships, 2,600 German sailors went on land and served as infantrymen; Whitworth radioed London, noting that German forces at Narvik were now stranded, and a single brigade could defeat them. Meanwhile, off Trondheim, Norwegian cruiser-minelayer Frøya was damaged by German warships while defending the Agdenes fortress; German submarine U-34 scuttled Frøya to prevent salvage. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Apr 1940
Warspite and a British destroyer during Second Battle of Narvik, 13 Apr 1940
14 Apr 1940
  • German minesweeper M6 sank British Royal Navy submarine Tarpon. [CPC]
  • 350 British Royal Marines landed at Namsos, Norway to prepare for the arrival of the 146th Territorial Brigade; these Marines were the first British forces to land in Norway. German paratroopers of the 7th Flieger Division were paradropped into Dombås, Norway; after heavy casualties incurred largely due to the fact that they landed right into Norwegian 11th Infantry Regiment's camp, they successfully damage the nearby railways and occupied farmhouses, thus able to hamper with Norwegian transportation efforts for several days. Out at sea, British submarine HMS Sterlet damaged the German gunnery training ship and minelayer Brummer in the Skagerrak between Norway and Sweden with torpedoes; Brummer would remain afloat until the next day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • King Haakon of Norway appealed to his people to resist but the Germans warned that any civilians aiding the British will be rounded up and shot. [Main Article | AC]
15 Apr 1940
  • British unemployment figure decreased to 973,000, which was the lowest figure since 1920. [CPC]
  • British destroyers Fearless and Brazen sank German submarine U-49 with depth charges near Narvik, killing 1. 41 Germans were taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • The British 15th Brigade boarded transports in France and were sent for Norway. [CPC]
  • Vidkun Quisling was removed from power in Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
Australia
  • Edmund Herring departed Australia for Palestine as a part of Major General Iven Mackay's headquarters. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Walter Grabmann was named the commanding officer of the Zerstörergeschwader 76 wing. [Main Article | CPC]
Korea
  • Admiral Nishizo Tsukahara was named the commanding officer of Chinkai Guard District in southern Korea. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • British troops landed in the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway in response to German invasion; their original objective was to secure the rail line to Swedish iron ore fields. Also in northern Norway, instead of making a landing directly at Narvik against an unknown number of German defenders, British Major General Pierse Mackesy decided to land his troops north of the city at an undefended location; due to the large amounts of snow on the ground, his troops would have to wait before making a major advance at Narvik. Further south, the British 146th Territorial Brigade landed at Namsos and was immediately ordered to march south toward Trondheim, which saw attacks by RAF Blenheim bombers based in the United Kingdom; it was the first time the Bomber Command sent aircraft based in the UK against targets overseas. [Main Article | CPC]
Yugoslavia
  • Italian "Barfile" naval infantry battalion landed on Krk (Italian: Veglia), Croatia, Yugoslavia. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Apr 1940
Crew of an 8.8 cm FlaK gun in Denmark, 1940German Army artillery troops getting hot food from a mobile field kitchen, Denmark, 1940
16 Apr 1940
  • The ill-equipped British 24th Brigade landed at Harstat, Norway 37 miles north of Narvik. Meanwhile, at Namsos, the reserve unit 148th Territorial Brigade boarded cruisers HMS Carlisle and HMS Curacoa for Trondheim, without their anti-aircraft weapons due to lack of space. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-3 and British submarine HMS Porpoise engaged in combat with torpedoes 10 miles southwest of Egersund, Norway. No hits were scored. [CPC]
Denmark
  • Allied troops landed at the Faroe Islands, a constituent country of Denmark. [TH]
Iceland
  • Iceland declared independence from Denmark and asked United States for recognition. [Main Article | CPC]
17 Apr 1940

Australia
  • RMS Queen Mary arrived at Sydney, Australia. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • Before dawn, British cruiser HMS Suffolk shelled the German-controlled airfield of Sola at Stavanger, Norway. Suffolk's Walrus seaplane, used to drop flares over the airfield, was shot down early in the bombardment, thus the shelling was largely inaccurate and destroyed only 4 aircraft. After sunrise, Suffolk was repeated attacked by German aircraft. She was hit twice and heavily damaged, and was placed out of action until Feb 1941. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the British War Cabinet approved direct troop landings at Trondheim, Norway (rather than the landing done at Narvik in which troops were dropped off at undefended beaches far away). The landing was to be supported by simultaneous landings at Namsos in the north and Åndalsnes in the south. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German submarine U-13 torpedoed and sank British steamer Swainby 25 miles north of the Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom at 1733 hours. 38 survivors reached Norwick Bay in the Shetland Islands on lifeboats. [CPC]
Yugoslavia
  • Italian "Grado" naval infantry battalion landed at Sibenik, Croatia, Yugoslavia. [CPC]
18 Apr 1940
  • British submarine HMS Sterlet disappeared off Norway. It was either sunk by German anti-submarine trawlers UJ-125, UJ-126, and UJ-128, or sunk after hitting a mine. [TH]
  • The German submarine U-99 was commissioned with Captain Otto "Smiling Otto" Kretschmer in command. U-99 would be responsible for sinking 282,000 tons of Allied shipping before being cornered and sunk in Mar 1941. Depth charged to the surface and sunk, U-99's captain and crew were taken prisoner by Donald Macintyre of the corvette HMS Walker. [AC]
Norway
  • The Norwegian government declared war on Germany after several days of fighting. On the same day, German troops advanced past Oslo, but were held up by Norwegian forces north of the city in the village of Bagn. The British 148th Brigade arrived in Åndalsnes overnight; commanding officer Brigadier Morgan was given conflicting orders, one ordering him to march north to Trondheim, while the other ordered him to march south to support Norwegian troops in the Gudbrandsdal and Østerdal valleys north of Oslo. Meanwhile, troops of the German 181st Infantry Division began to arrive at Trondheim as reinforcements via aircraft, transport ships, and submarines. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 18 Apr 1940
Émile Bertin off Norway, Apr 1940
19 Apr 1940
  • Japan informed the United States that Japan had no aggressive intentions toward the Dutch East Indies. [CPC]
  • The first engagement between British and German troops in Norway took place at Verdal, north of Trondheim, when the British 146th Brigade and Norwegian troops clashed with troops of the German 138th Gebirgsjäger Regiment; later on the same day, 45 German paratroopers surrendered to the Norwegian forces at Dombås. Norwegian General Ruge convinced British Brigadier Morgan to lead the British 148th Brigade in an effort to block the German advance from Oslo. Overnight, 3 battalions of French mountain troops arrived at Namsos, Norway, but without their skis, mules, and anti-aircraft weapons. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Three Neubaufahrzeug prototype heavy tanks arrived in Oslo, Norway largely as a show of force to intimidate Norwegians. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Germany announced the formation of the Reich Commissariat for the occupied Norwegian Territories. [CPC]
Norway
  • Émile Bertin was damaged by German aircraft off Namsos, Norway; she would be sent to Brest, France for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Apr 1940
Three German Neubaufahrzeug heavy tanks at Oslo, Norway, 19 Apr 1940
20 Apr 1940
  • Adolf Hitler authorized the creation of a joint Norwegian-Danish-German SS regiment. [CPC]
  • The British 148th Brigade arrived at Lillehammer, Norway by train at 0250 hours and began to march south toward the front lines held by Norwegian troops on both sides of Lake Mjøsa. At Namsos, Norway, German aircraft destroyed large quantities of British supplies and equipment piled near the docks; the British could do little to fight back as they were short on anti-aircraft weapons; in an attempt to remedy this, the 263 Squadron RAF dispatched 18 Gladiator biplanes to Scapa Flow, where they would be ferried to Norway by HMS Glorious. In the United Kingdom, the British War Cabinet canceled the plans for direct landings at Trondheim, Norway (Operation Hammer) in fear of heavy casualties; a failure in communications meant that the British 146th Brigade remained in precarious positions near Trondheim. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Keith Park took command of the 11 Group of the Royal Air Force Fighter Command. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders shot down a French P-36 fighter near Saarbrücken, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Denmark
  • Danish Army began to demobilize. [TH]
Germany
  • German High Command issued a secret order to discharge servicemen with mixed Jewish heritage and servicemen who were married to Jewish women. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Apr 1940
German Panzer II and Panzer I light tanks in a town in Denmark, Apr 1940German officer and troops with a 10.5 cm K 35(t) field gun at Hornbaek, Denmark, 1940Panzer I light tank in Norway, Apr 1940German naval photographer in Denmark, Apr 1940
See all photos dated 20 Apr 1940
21 Apr 1940
  • German troops landed at Verdal and Kirknessvag, Norway, causing the British 146th Brigade near Trondheim to withdraw to Vist. Around Lake Mjøsa, British 148th Brigade reinforced Norwegian positions, but on the same day German forces broke through the line, causing the entire Norwegian-British force to withdraw north toward Lillehammer. Out at sea, German submarine U-26 sank British merchant vessel Cedarbank of convoy AP-1 50 miles northwest of Ålesund, killing 15; destroyer HMS Javelin rescued 30 men, but the vehicles, anti-aircraft weapons, ammunition, and food destined for the British 148th Brigade near Lillehammer were all lost. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American air attaché to the Nordic countries, US Army Captain Robert Losey, was killed while observing a German bombing on the railway junction at Dombås, Norway; Losey was the first American military casualty of WW2. US Minister to Sweden Frederick A. Sterling ordered Naval Attaché Lieutenant Commander Ole E. Hagen to Norway to retrieve Losey's remains. [CPC]
Yugoslavia
  • Italian "Grado" naval infantry battalion landed at Split (Italian: Spalato), Croatia, Yugoslavia. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Apr 1940
Damaged ships at Narvik, Norway, Apr 1940, photo 1 of 2Damaged ships at Narvik, Norway, Apr 1940, photo 2 of 2
22 Apr 1940
  • British 146th Brigade began to retreat toward Namsos, Norway as German troops began to surround their positions. British 148th Brigade defended against German attacks north of Lillehammer, Norway and were flanked by mountain troops. The British troops fell back 20 miles to the north overnight and formed a new line at Tretten Gorge. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Two British Hudson bombers attacked German submarine U-43 in the North Sea. U-43 escaped with minor damage. [CPC]
France
  • An Inter-Allied Supreme War Council, also attended by Poland and Norway, met in Paris, France. The meeting was characterized by the political fighting between French leaders Reynaud and Daladier. [TH]
Yugoslavia
  • Italian "Grado" naval infantry battalion landed on Hvar (Italian: Lesina), Croatia, Yugoslavia. [CPC]
23 Apr 1940
  • Budget Day in Britain saw the increase of tax on beer by 1 penny, whisky by 9 pence, and postage by 1 penny. [CPC]
  • Members of the Parliament in Britain criticized that the earlier estimate of 1940 war expenditure of £2,000,000,000 was too low. [CPC]
  • British 146th Brigade retreated to Namsos, Norway; the brigade had thus far suffered 19 dead, 42 wounded, and 96 missing. British 148th Brigade's defense line at Tretten Gorge in Norway suffered a heavy artillery barrage in the morning, an attack by light tanks in the early afternoon, and a surprise mountain troops attack from behind the lines; they began to retreat northward at 1900 hours, strafed by German aircraft in the process; the 148th Brigade had thus far suffered 705 killed, wounded, or missing. Near Oslo, British aircraft conducted a raid on German-controlled airfields. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Apr 1940
German Colonel General Erhard Milch inspecting Luftwaffe pilots, Trondheim, Norway, 23 Apr 1940; note Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers in background
24 Apr 1940
  • Josef Terboven was appointed the Reichskommissar of Norway. [CPC]
  • France urged Italy to stay out of the European War. [CPC]
  • Orion sank the ship Haxby in the Atlantic Ocean. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Naval Attaché in Norway Lieutenant Commander Ole E. Hagen escorted a group of American citizens fleeting Norway into Sweden. [CPC]
  • Cruiser Georges Leygues was ordered to sail to Mers-el-Kébir, French Algeria. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • In Norway, 18 Gladiator biplanes of the 263 Squadron RAF arrived at the frozen Lake Lesjaskogsvatnet in Norway, which was to become their base of operations; the field had no anti-aircraft defense. Troops of the British 15th Brigade landed at Åndalsnes after a 9-day journey by sea from France; they immediately marched south toward Lillehammer, Norway. Troops of the Norwegian 6th Brigade attacked German positions north of Narvik, Norway; Gratangsbotn was briefly re-captured by Norwegian troops. German troops repelled a British attack near Trondheim. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • British House of Commons approved a trade agreement with Spain; it was the first since the Spanish Civil War. [TH]
25 Apr 1940
  • A new evacuation scheme was introduced in Britain as a Ministry of Health survey showed that only 8% of eligible children had been registered. Later studies revealed that 19% of parents refused to register their children, while 73% of them simply did not respond to the registration. [CPC]
  • 3,000 troops of the British 15th Brigade were engaged by 8,500 troops of the German 196th Division at the village of Kvam in Norway, 55 kilometers south of Dombås; despite German numerical advantage and being supported by dive bombers, the British troops held ground and stopped the German advance. Elsewhere, a group of RAF Gladiator aircraft operating on the frozen Lake Lesjaskogsvatnet in Norway was discovered by the Germans. German aircraft bombed the rough airfield on and off for eight hours, destroying 13 aircraft on the ground. Three German He 111 bombers were shot down by RAF aircraft. By the end of the day, Squadron Leader Donaldson ordered the position to be abandoned; the 5 surviving Gladiator aircraft were to be withdrawn to Stetnesmoen. [Main Article | CPC]
  • An Irish Republican Army land mine killed 6 in Dublin, Ireland. [CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt announced that the United States recognized the state of war between Germany and Norway, and reaffirmed American neutrality in that conflict. To that end, he specifically forbade Norwegian submarines from entering American territorial waters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wasp (Wasp-class) was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Apr 1940
  • Gladiator biplanes based out of Stetnesmoen, Norway intercepted a group of German He 111 bombers, downing one of them; this RAF unit would run out of fuel and ammunition by the end of this engagement, however. Adolf Hitler, unhappy that the British 15th Brigade was able to land in Norway without German interference, ordered Åndalsnes, Norway to be bombed the entire day; part of the British 15th Brigade's supplies were destroyed by the bombing while they continued to hold their line against attacks by the German 196th Division at Kvam, 172 kilometers from Åndalsnes. In the evening, the British 15th Brigade fell back 3 kilometers to form a new line at Kjorem. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-13 torpedoed and sank British steamer Lily at 0117 hours, killing the entire crew of 24. [CPC]
  • Satisfied with the progress in Norway, Adolf Hitler ordered his generals to resume planning for the invasion of France. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Apr 1940
  • A British attempt to deliver much-needed anti-aircraft weapons by ground to Åndalsnes, Norway was turned back by a three-hour German aerial bombardment. At Kjorem, after holding the line against attacks by the German 196th Division throughout the day, the British 15th Brigade withdrew 17 kilometers to the north to form a new line at Otta. Meanwhile, the German 196th Division captured the Østerdal valley in Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Lorraine departed France for Alexandria, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Chief of the German SS organization Heinrich Himmler gave the order to convert the 22 former artillery barrack buildings at Oswiecim, Poland into a concentration camp, later to be more commonly known by its German name, Auschwitz. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Apr 1940
  • Vittorio Veneto was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • The British War Cabinet ordered the withdraw of British troops at Trondheim, Norway to the dismay of Norwegian leaders. Meanwhile, troops of the British 15th Brigade held their line against attacks by the German 196th Division at Otta throughout the day before they fell back 25 miles to the north to Dombås overnight. [Main Article | CPC]
29 Apr 1940
  • British submarine HMS Unity collided with Norwegian freighter Atle Jarl in the harbor of Blyth, England in foggy weather at 1730 hours. Unity sank within 5 minutes, killing 4. Lieutenant John Low and Able Seaman Henry Miller were posthumously awarded the George Cross for their self-sacrifice while helping fellow comrades in their escape. [CPC]
  • Troops of the German 196th Division marched out of the Gudbrandsdal Valley in Norway and linked up with German troops near Trondheim, threatening to surround the British 15th Brigade. In the United Kingdom, British destroyers HMS Kelly, HMS Maori, and HMS Imperial and French destroyer Bison departed Scapa Flow, Scotland to evacuate British troops at Namsos, Norway; they were escorted by cruisers and other destroyers. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • King Haakon VII and the Norwegian government evacuated to Tromsø, Norway via British cruiser HMS Glasgow. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • The US Department of State ended its investigation on the 5 Sep 1939 incident during which British personnel forcefully boarded Filipino Don Isidro at Port Said, Egypt and removed German engineers. Although the Americans did not receive a satisfactory explanation from the British, they assumed that "similar instances will not be permitted to occur in the future." [CPC]
30 Apr 1940
  • At Greenock, Scotland, French destroyer Maille Breeze suffered an accidental detonation of two of her torpedoes in the forward section of the ship and sank. 25 men were killed while 48 were wounded. [CPC]
  • British minesweeper HMS Dundoon hit a mine at Smith's Knoll near Great Yarmouth and sank, killing 27. [CPC]
  • The German 196th Division arrived at Dombås, Norway on foot as their vehicles had been rendered useless after encountering blown bridges; their initial attacks were held off by the British 15th Brigade; despite causing heavy casualties to the Germans, the British withdrew their defensive line at dusk by train toward Åndalsnes. Near Oslo, RAF bombers conducted attacks on German-controlled airfields in Stavanger and Fornebu, escorted by naval fighters launched by HMS Ark Royal and HMS Glorious; Germans detected the location of the British carriers and successfully launched a fighter attack that drove off the carriers. Off Namsos, Norway, German Ju 87 aircraft attacked British anti-submarine sloop HMS Bittern, hitting her with a bomb and starting a fire on the stern that killed 20; destroyer HMS Janus rescued the survivors and scuttled HMS Bittern to prevent capture. Off Trondheim, Norway, German aircraft sank British trawler HMS Warwickshire; her wreck was later raised by the Germans and put into service. In the United Kingdom, a British fleet consisted of cruisers HMS Manchester and HMS Birmingham and destroyers HMS Inglefield, HMS Diana, and HMS Delight, under the command of Vice Admiral Layton, departed Scapa Flow, Scotland for Norway; its mission was to evacuate the British 148th and 15th Brigades from Åndalsnes and Molde. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Nikolaus von Falkenhorst was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Firefighters from the US Navy Sixth Naval District fought off a fire that had broken out on the Norwegian tanker Willy, which was carrying a load of aviation gasoline, in the Cooper River off Charleston, South Carolina, United States. [CPC]
Greece
  • Italian "Barfile" naval infantry battalion landed on Cephalonia, Greece. [CPC]
Poland
  • The first guarded Jewish ghetto was established at Lodz, Poland; it was later sealed off with 230,000 Jews inside. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Apr 1940
Two British soldiers inspecting an unexploded German bomb at the railway station at Grong, near Namsos, Norway, 30 Apr 1940; note Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles
1 May 1940
  • Roosevelt urged Italy to stay out of the European War; Mussolini's response noted that Germany could not be defeated. [CPC]
  • Swiss intelligence learned of a potential attack on France to be launched soon and informed the French military attaché, who promptly reported this to Paris. Meanwhile in Germany, Adolf Hitler pushed the invasion decision date to 5 May 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Orion crossed the Equator. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Otto Skorzeny was promoted to the rank of Unterscharführer. [Main Article | CPC]
  • King Haakon VII and the Norwegian government established the provisional government at Tromsø, Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops began to march toward Yichang, Hubei Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • Norwegian troops in Lillehammer surrendered. En route to Åndalsnes, Norway for evacuation, the train carrying troops of the British 15th Brigade crashed into a bomb crater at 0115 hours, killing 8 and wounding 30; the surviving troops marched 17 miles through deep snow, arriving at Åndalsnes at 0900 hours. British Vice Admiral Layton's task force consisted of cruisers Manchester and Birmingham and destroyers Inglefield, Diana, and Delight arrived at Åndalsnes, Norway to evacuate the British 148th and 15th Brigades; they embarked 5,084 men overnight and departed at 0200 hours on the next day. Joining the British evacuation was Norwegian General Ruge, who departed Åndalsnes aboard British destroyer HMS Diana to join the Norwegian government at Tromsø. Four British destroyers arrived at Namsos to evacuate the British 146th Brigade and other Allied troops in the area; heavy fog delayed the operation, and only 850 French troops were embarked overnight. In the Kattegat, British submarine HMS Narwhal fired six torpedoes at a German merchant convoy carrying parts of 2nd Gebirgsjager Division to Norway; German steamer Buenos Aires was hit by one of the torpedoes and sank, killing 62 men and 240 horses; another transport, Bahia Castillo, was hit but did not sink, killing 10 men and 26 horses. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Rudolf Höss was appointed the first Commandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp in German-occupied Poland. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Puerto Rico
  • The US Navy established the Naval Air Station, San Juan, Puerto Rico as a part of the Tenth Naval District. The first commanding officer of the base was Captain Virgil C. Griffin, Jr. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British government passed a trade union agreement which allowed women to work in munitions factories. [TH]
  • A German bomber crashed in Essex, England, United Kingdom, killing the crew and two civilians, wounding a further 150 people. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 1 May 1940
Quincy underway, 1 May 1940
2 May 1940
  • German forces reached Aandalesnes, Norway. In southern Norway, British troops began to withdraw, but continued to fight in the north to interrupt the flow of iron to Germany. British Vice Admiral John Cunningham arrived in Namsos, Norway with 3 cruisers, 5 destroyers, and 3 transports to aid with the evacuation of the British 146th Brigade; German aircraft attempted to interfere, damaging HMS Maori with a near miss, killing 5 and wounding 18; through the end of the night, 5,350 men were embarked. [Main Article | TH]
  • Mussolini offered that Italy would not go to war with the United States if the United States would stay out of Europe. [CPC]
  • 93 German combat divisions prepared to invade France and the Low Countries. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 2 May 1940
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Ford Island Naval Air Station, Oahu, Hawaii, May 2, 1940.
3 May 1940
  • Dutch intelligence detected further hints of German troop gathering near its border; this information was forwarded on to Belgium. Meanwhile, in Germany, forecast of bad weather caused a postponement of the invasion. [Main Article | TH]
  • Danish constituent country of Greenland sought American protection as her mother country was now occupied by Germany. [CPC]
  • Norwegian troops south of Trondheim surrendered to the Germans. The Allies completed the evacuation at Namsos, Norway. The British destroyer HMS Afridi, left behind to shell British vehicles on the dock that could not be evacuated, departed at 0445 hours. German aircraft found part of the evacuation fleet and attacked the convoy at 0945 hours, sinking French destroyer Bison at 1010 hours, killing 103. HMS Afridi was bombed at 1400 hours and sank 45 minutes later, killing 49 men of the crew, 13 men of 146th Brigade, and 30 rescued men of Bison. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British RAF aircraft attacked German airfields in Denmark and Norway. [CPC]
Malta
  • British destroyer Garland, under repair in Malta, was loaned to the Polish Navy, which commissioned the destroyer on the same date. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British and French troops evacuated from Åndalsnes, Norway arrived safely at Scapa Flow, Scotland. The French troops were transferred onto French passenger ships bound for Brest. [Main Article | CPC]
4 May 1940
  • German He 115 aircraft bombed British submarine HMS Seal in the Kattegat at 0230 hours. Seal dove from the surface to the depth of 30 meters in response while continuing to deploy mines, her primary mission. While evading anti-submarine trawlers at 1830 hours, she hit a mine and began to settle to the sea floor. [CPC]
  • 30,000 Allied troops were present near Narvik, Norway, including units of the French Foreign Legion, French mountain troops, Polish troops, the British 24th Brigade, and Norwegian troops, aiming to take Narvik from the Germans. Meanwhile, German 2nd Gebirgsjäger Division's mountain troops began marching 350 miles north from Trondheim, Norway to relieve the German 139th Gebirgsjäger Regiment in Narvik; detecting this, the Allies deployed 300 to 500 men each at Mosjöen, Mo, and Bodö in an attempt to stop this movement. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
5 May 1940
  • Adolf Hitler pushed the decision date for the invasion of France to the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German aircraft attacked the surfaced HMS Seal, heavily damaged after hitting a mine on the previous day, at 0230 hours in the Kattegat. The British submarine surrendered with a white table cloth. The crew of 60 were captured at around 0530 hours after failing to scuttle the ship. The submarine would later be towed to Frederikshavn, Denmark, repaired, and commissioned into German service. [CPC]
  • After a 25-day battle, the Norwegian fortress of Hegra surrendered at 0525 hours. The 190 men were the last Norwegian troops actively resisting German invasion in southern Norway. Civilian nurse Anne Margrethe Bang was also captured. They would all be released within the next two months by the order of Adolf Hitler in recognition of their bravery during the defense. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Norway established a government-in-exile in London, England, United Kingdom. [TH]
6 May 1940
  • Fall Gelb, the German invasion of France, was once again postponed by Hitler. Meanwhile, Pope Pius XII shared the intelligence gathered by Vatican agents that Germany was planning on invading the Low Countries with the Princess of Piedmont Marie José, who was the sister of King Leopold III of Belgium and wife of Italian Crown Prince Umberto. On the same day, a massive German armoured motorised column many miles long was spotted driving west through the Ardennes forest but the Belgian Army did not respond. [Main Article | AC]
  • British submarine HMS Sealion attacked German transports Moltkefels and Neidenfels in the Skagerrak at 1400 hours. All 6 torpedoes missed. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Snapper attacked German armed merchant cruiser Widder 30 miles east of Denmark at 1525 hours. Both torpedoes missed. [CPC]
  • Littorio was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • John Steinbeck won the Politzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath. [AC]
Norway
  • German mountain troops of the 2nd Gebirgsjäger Division continued their slow march north from Trondheim, Norway to Narvik, where South Wales Borderers of the British 24th Brigade, French Chasseurs Alpins mountain infantry, and French colonial artillery troops continued to assert pressure on the German troops. Off Narvik, British cruiser HMS Enterprise was slightly damaged by a near miss by an aerial bomb, killing one Royal Marine. Meanwhile, the Norwegian gold reserves arrived in London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 May 1940
Kondo at a luncheon at the Tokyo Naval Club on 6 May 1940, front 3rd (Nagano, front center)
7 May 1940
  • Adolf Hitler pushed the decision date for the invasion of France to the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Dutch Army suspended all leaves. [TH]
  • Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Neville Chamberlain faced criticism during the Norway Debate. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Luftwaffe aircraft attacked British cruiser HMS Aurora off Narvik, Norway at 1641 hours, putting A and B turrets out of action and killing 7 Royal Marines. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • US President Roosevelt ordered the US Navy Pacific Fleet to remain in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii indefinitely as a deterrent to Japanese expansionism. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Russia
  • Kliment Voroshilov stepped down as the People's Commissar for Defense of the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
8 May 1940
  • The opposition party in the United Kingdom, the Labour Party, called for a vote of no confidence for Prime Minister Chamberlain's government. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister David Lloyd George called for Chamberlain to step down for the good of the country. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler pushed the decision date for the invasion of France to the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • American river gunboat Tutuila ran aground on a reef and became stranded in the Yangtze River at Chongqing, China. [CPC]
  • Chinese Communist Brigadier General Chen Yi recommended his superiors to launch an offensive against Nationalist positions in Jiangsu Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta Russia
  • Semyon Timoshenko was appointed the Soviet commissar for defense. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 8 May 1940
Troops of 6th Infantry Regiment of Japanese 3rd Division crossing the Bai River north of Yichang, Hubei, China, 8 May 1940
9 May 1940
  • Conscription maximum age in the United Kingdom was raised again to 36. [TH]
  • German submarine U-9 torpedoed and sank the French submarine Doris 40 miles off of the Dutch coast at 0014 hours, killing 45 French and 3 British sailors. [TH]
  • British Prime Minister Chamberlain offered to form a coalition government with the opposition Labour Party, but the attempt was unsuccessful. In the afternoon, Chamberlain began to discuss with Halifax and Churchill, the two leading contenders to be his successor, about the possibility of his resignation. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Four Polish battalions arrived at Narvik, Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Kelly with Lord Louis Mountbatten aboard went on patrol in the Skagerrak between Sweden and Germany, escorted by cruiser HMS Birmingham and destroyers HMS Kandahar, HMS Bulldog, HMS Kimberley, and HMS Hasty. Five German torpedo boats attacked this fleet in the evening. Torpedo boat S-31 damaged HMS Kelly with one torpedo, killing 27; she would require HMS Bulldog to tow her back to port. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler issued the order to commence the invasion of France and the Low Countries at dawn on the following day. Meanwhile, Belgium declared a state of emergency and placed the army on alert for a potential German invasion. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British troops occupied Iceland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler and his staff arrived at the Felsennest headquarters in the Westwall fortifications on the German-French border. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • At noon German meteorologists made a firm forecast of clear skies on the following morning. Adolf Hitler gave the meteorology officer a medal on the spot. [Main Article | AC]
Malaya and Singapore
  • HMS Eagle completed her repairs at Singapore and departed for Colombo, Ceylon. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The first Vultee Model 48 Vanguard prototype aircraft collided with a Sirius aircraft at Vultee Field in Downey, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 May 1940
Sims off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, United States, 9 May 1940, photo 1 of 3Sims off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, United States, 9 May 1940, photo 2 of 3Sims off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, United States, 9 May 1940, photo 3 of 3
10 May 1940
  • Germany invaded the Allied nation of France and the neutral Low Countries. In France, Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed many French aircraft on the ground. German tanks crossed into neutral Luxembourg with relative ease, reaching the edge of the Ardennes Forest; the royal family of Luxembourg was evacuated to the south. In the Netherlands, German paratroopers quickly secured key bridges and airfields around Rotterdam and the Hague, but the plan to land troops at the Ypenburg airfield to capture the Dutch political leaders was foiled when Dutch fighters shot down 18 German Ju 52 transport planes; German tanks penetrated more than 10 miles into the Dutch border by the end of the day. In Belgium, 10 gliders landed 78 German airborne soldiers atop Fort Ebel Emael at the crossings of the Albert Canal and the River Meusse, pinning down the 700 Belgian defenders. British and French leaders enacted the Dyle Plan in response to the invasion, moving troops toward the Dyle River in Belgium where they were to form a defensive line. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had decided overnight to resign from this post, but the news of the German invasion of France and the Low Countries gave him second thoughts. Nevertheless, he decided to continue his plan to resign. Later in the day, Winston Churchill was asked to assume the post left vacant by Chamberlain. [Main Article | TH]
  • US Secretary of State Hull reiterated that the United States would not stand for any country establishing a protectorate over the Dutch East Indies; in response, the Japanese Foreign Minister indicated Japan's desire to maintain the political and economic status quo in the Pacific region. [Main Article | CPC]
Belgium
  • General Bernard Montgomery's forward units arrived, just after dark, to take up their designated positions on the eastern approaches to Brussels. They were were fired upon by Belgian soldiers who took them for German infiltrators. [Main Article | AC]
France
  • James Lacey was relocated with the No. 501 Squadron RAF to Bétheniville, Marne, France. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • RAF Kirton in Lindsey was officially opened as the Fighter Command base responsible for the air defence of the Humber area in northern England, United Kingdom. It had its satellites Coleby Grange, south of Lincoln, and Hibaldstow, just three miles away. No. 222 Squadron, whose pilots included the legendary Douglas Bader, were moved north with their Spitfire fighters from Duxford and were joined by the Hurricane fighters of No. 253 Squadron from Kenley. Bader was later to recall his time at Kirton as the period of "fun" for the squadron. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 10 May 1940
German troops with a camouflaged 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun in Belgium, May 1940German vehicles and troops in Maastricht, the Netherlands, 10 May 1940
11 May 1940
  • King George VI of the United Kingdom signed the proclamation canceling the Whitsun holiday. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Switzerland mobilized its military forces in response to the German invasion of the neutral Low Countries on the previous day. Civilians in towns near the German-Swiss border fled south. [CPC]
  • British troops landed on Dutch islands of Aruba and Curaçao in the Caribbean Sea. US President Roosevelt announced that these actions were not contrary to the Monroe Doctrine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Germany occupied Luxembourg. In Belgium, German airborne troops captured the "impregnable" Fort Eben Emael while tanks crossed Albert Canal bridges in an attempt to move behind Belgian defensive lines. Troops of the German 9th Panzer Division crossed the Meuse River; at 1200 hours, they found an undefended bridge over the Zuid-Willemsvaart canal 50 miles from Rotterdam, where airborne troops of the German 22nd Flieger Division held on to bridges along the Nieuwe Maas River, awaiting the arrival of ground troops. Seven German armored divisions began to spearhead into the Ardennes Forest, brushing aside the few French cavalry units guarding this route into France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill named Lord Beaverbrook the head of the Ministry of Aircraft Production. This ministry reported to the War Cabinet, and was responsible for setting aircraft production priorities. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt announced that the US was now officially recognizing the state of war between Germany and the Low Countries and reaffirmed American neutrality in that conflict. He restricted submarines of any of the nations involved in that conflict to use American ports and territorial waters, exclusive of the Panama Canal Zone. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appointed Anthony Eden as Secretary of State for War. [Main Article | AC]
12 May 1940
  • The United Kingdom began the internment of German civilians. [TH]
Belgium
  • The first tank battle of the European War took place at Hannut in central Belgium between the German 3rd and 4th Panzer Divisions and two French armored divisions; French S35 and H35 tanks overwhelmed their German counterparts, destroying large numbers of Panzer I and II tanks. In the air over Belgium, five Fairey Battle aircraft of No. 12 Squadron RAF flown by volunteer crews attacked the vital road bridges over the Albert Canal in the face of extremely heavy ground fire; the attack was pressed home with considerable gallantry and one bridge was seriously damaged, but at the cost of all five aircraft. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
  • Adolf Galland achieved his first three victories near Liège, Beligum. [Main Article | AC]
France
  • German armored columns pushed out of the Ardennes region and into France, preparing to cross the Meuse River at Sedan, Monthermé, and Dinant. [Main Article | CPC]
Netherlands
  • In the Netherlands, German 9th Panzer Division reached Moerdijk bridges 10 miles south of Rotterdam, relieving the paratroopers who had been holding the bridges since 10 May. After evaluating the situation, Dutch Crown Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard departed for Harwich, England, United Kingdom aboard HMS Codrington. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill appointed the newly created Viscount Simon (former Sir John Simon) to the post of Lord High Chancellor, the Chief Law Officer to the Government, succeeding the Viscount Caldecote. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 12 May 1940
A Dutch family amidst a devastated town after the German invasion, May 1940German SdKfz. 10/4 half-track vehicles with 2-cm flak guns driving through the village of Gourgançon, Marne, France, May 1940German Army SdKfz. 232 vehicle in the Ardennes Forest, France, May 1940; still from US War Department film British and French prisoners of war in Belgium, May 1940
13 May 1940
  • UK Prime Minister Churchill made the famous "Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Toil" speech. [Main Article | TH]
  • At midnight, which was light due to the latitude, British cruiser HMS Aurora, cruiser HMS Effingham, and battleship HMS Resolution bombarded Narvik, Norway in preparation of the 0100-hour amphibious operation at Bjerkvik, which was the first of the European War. French Foreign Legion and light tanks came ashore at Bjerkvik in landing craft, suffering 36 casualties, then reached and captured Øyjord unopposed. Many Norwegian civilians died during the attack. [Main Article | CPC]
  • While on the previous day the inferior German tanks suffered against their French counterparts in Belgium, German tank commanders amassed their tanks (while the French commanders decided to divide their tanks to cover a wider front) and punched a hole in the French lines; French troops began falling back toward Gembloux; the Battle of Hannut ended with the French losing 105 tanks and the Germans 160. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands departed for London at 1200 hours aboard HMS Hereward, while the Dutch government would leave at 1720 hours aboard HMS Windsor; meanwhile, the German 9th Division reached the outskirts of Rotterdam, which was a part of the final Dutch defensive line, Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Utrecht. In France, Germany Army Group B established bridgeheads at the Meuse River near Dinant and Sedan after penetrating a 50-mile gap in French defensive lines; by the evening, pontoon bridges were set up for tanks to cross. [Main Article | TH]
China
  • American river gunboat Tutuila, stranded on a reef in the Yangtze River off Chongqing, China since 8 May, was refloated. [CPC]
France
  • James Lacey shot down a German He 111 bomber, a Bf 109 fighter, and a Bf 110 fighter over Sedan, Ardennes, France. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The Dutch Royal Family and the Dutch government arrived in London, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • Winston Churchill appointed Leo Amery as Secretary of State for India and Burma. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 13 May 1940
Searaven making full speed while running trials off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States, 13 May 1940, photo 1 of 3Searaven making full speed while running trials off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States, 13 May 1940, photo 2 of 3Searaven making full speed while running trials off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States, 13 May 1940, photo 3 of 3Searaven during trials, off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States, 13 May 1940, photo 1 of 3
See all photos dated 13 May 1940
14 May 1940
  • Anthony Eden, UK Secretary of State for War, called for volunteers to create the Local Defense Volunteers (LDV); more than 250,000 enrolled within the first 24 hours. . [TH]
  • General Rudolf Schmidt's German 9th Panzer Corps threatened the Dutch city of Rotterdam with aerial bombardment, and the Dutch garrison surrendered; some Luftwaffe aircraft, however, did not get the order to abort; 95 tons of bombs were dropped on Rotterdam, killing 1,000 civilians and rendering 85,000 homeless. Elsewhere in the Netherlands, Dutch Commander-in-Chief General Winkelman ordered his forces to cease fighting as the situation became hopeless. In Belgium, Erwin Rommel personally led a 30-tank charge near Dinant, pushing back French and Belgian forces three miles. Near Sedan, France, Heinz Guderian's three armored divisions crossed the Meuse River. In central Belium, German Gernal Erich Hoepner sent 3rd and 4th Panzer Divisions in pursuit of the French defeated at the Battle of Hannut in the previous two days, but French anti-tank artillery fire destroyed many pursuers. [Main Article | TH]
  • The British Admiralty required the owner of large boats to send in specifications within two weeks. [TH]
  • Werner Mölders was shot down over Sedan, France, but was able to bail out to safety. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill told American Ambassador to the United Kingdom Joseph Kennedy that even if Britain was to be conquered by Germany, the British government would continue the fight from Canada with the Royal Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 14 May 1940
German troops crossing the Meuse River in a rubber raft, near Aiglemont, France, 14 May 1940
15 May 1940
  • The Netherlands surrendered to Germany at 1015 hours; Dutch General Winkelman signed the surrender document. The Battle of Gembloux in Belgium ended with the Germans losing about 250 tanks, which was the equivalent of an entire armored division; the weakened French forces, however, were unable to hold the line despite their effective 75mm artillery and 25mm anti-tank guns; they fell back toward the Belgian-French border. [Main Article | TH]
  • The British War Cabinet decided to attack the German oil industry, communications centers, and forests and crops; attacks on industrial areas were to focus on the Ruhr region. Also, due to the costly daylight bombings, attacks were to be launched at nights. On the same day these directives were issued, the RAF began attacking industrial targets in the Ruhr, with 99 bombers flying the first mission. The decision to begin bombing civilian property outside of combat zones was the direct result of the German bombing of Rotterdam on the previous day. [Main Article | TH]
  • British butter ration was reduced from 8 ounces to 4 ounces per person per week. [CPC]
  • Winston Churchill sent a message to Franklin Roosevelt, asking for 40 to 50 destroyers, hundreds of fighters, anti-aircraft guns, steel, among other war-related materials. He also asked the US President to order a visit by US Navy warships to Ireland as a show of force. In regards to the situation in the Pacific Ocean, he requests Roosevelt to intimidate the Japanese, offering the Americans the use of Singapore if deemed necessary. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Communist Party of the Netherlands held a meeting to organize underground resistance during German occupation. [CPC]
  • US Minister in Uruguay Edwin C. Wilson reported to US Secretary of State Cordell Hull that there had been an increase in German activities in Uruguay. Although Uruguayan police had been moving against the Germans to a certain degree, the general indifference by the government was beginning to worry him. [CPC]
  • Paul von Kleist was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • At 0730 hours, French Prime Minister Reynaud called his British counterpart Churchill on the telephone, saying "[w]e are beaten. We have lost the battle." Later on the same day in Paris, France, a reported German breakthrough at Sedan caused panic, with fleeing civilians jamming roads and blocking military traffic south and west of the city. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • In London, England, United Kingdom, at a British cabinet meeting attended by Winston Churchill, Archibald Sinclair, Lord Beaverbrook, and Cyril Newall, Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding argued the case for expanding the strength of RAF Fighter Command to 52 squadrons for the immediate air defence of Britain. Despite his insistence that no more squadrons should be sent to France orders were still given to send four more squadrons to France. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • The fast food chain McDonalds opened its first restaurant at San Bernardino, California, United States. [AC]
US Pacific Islands
  • A 12-foot clamshell dredge arrived at Johnston Atoll to dredge the lagoon to widen and deepen the entrance channel. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 May 1940
Interior of a He 111 P bomber while in flight over France, mid-May 1940A Flak 18 gun and its crew in Belgium, May 1940; note British Morris C8 tractor and German BMW R18 and DKW NZ350 motorcycles in foregroundGerman General Heinz Guderian (in SdKfz. 251/3 halftrack vehicle) speaking with General Adolf Kuntzen of 8th Panzer Division, France, May 1940German General Heinz Guderian in a SdKfz. 251/3 halftrack vehicle, France, May 1940, photo 1 of 6; note Enigma machine
See all photos dated 15 May 1940
16 May 1940
  • German 6th Army broke through the Dyle Line; British troops withdrew west of Brussels and the Belgian government evacuated to Ostend. From its Meuse River bridgeheads, German Army Group A tanks broke through the French lines, capturing thousands of surrendering French troops. Guderian's units reached Montcornet, while Rommel's units reached Avesnes-sur-Helpe. Fearful that this advance into France would expose the invasion's flanks, the German High Command ordered Army Group A to halt its spearheads so that the infantry could catch up. [Main Article | TH]
  • French Prime Minister Reynaud ordered Maxime Weygand to return from Syria to Paris, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Remy Van Lierde was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over Belgium, becoming captured. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt requested the US Congress to appropriate US$546,000,000 for the US Army, US$250,000,000 for US Navy and US Marine Corps, and US$100,000,000 for his own office for national defense purposes. He also requested the authorization for the military and his own office to issue contracts in the amount of US$186,000,000 and US$100,000,000, respectively. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt responded to British Prime Minister Churchill's telegraph from the previous day, noting that any military aid to Britain must have the authorization from the US Congress, and that the US fleet would remain concentrated at Hawaii in the Central Pacific for the time being. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • British Prime Minister Winston Churchill flew to Paris, France to meet with his French counterpart Paul Reynaud; witnessing the burning of government archives, he inquired about the strategic reserve, and received the answer "Aucune" ("There is none"). On the same day, Churchill also sent his Italian counterpart Benito Mussolini a message, urging him to keep Italy out of the European War. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
United States
  • The first P-43 Lancer fighter delivery was made to the United States Army. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 May 1940
A Belgian civilian and a German soldier looking at an abandoned French Char B1 heavy tank, Ermeton-sur-Biert, Belgium, mid-May 1940Scuttled French Char B1 heavy tank in Beaumont, Belgium, 16 May 1940, photo 2 of 2Map noting German advances in France and the Low Countries between 10 and 16 May 1940HMS Effingham at anchor in Norway, 16 May 1940
17 May 1940
  • Colonel Charles de Gaulle of the French 4th Armored Division launched a 200-tank counterattack at Montcornet, France; the French forces saw initial success, capturing 500 prisoners, but the momentum quickly waned. Guderian seized upon the opportunity and launched his own counterattack in France, driving the French back several kilometers. In Belgium, British Expeditionary Force commander General Lord Gort, fearful of being surrounded, ordered his troops to fall back to the Scheldt River; this move allowed German General Reichenau to capture Brussels. Meanwhile, Dutch resistance to the German invasion comes to an end with the evacuation, by French destroyers, of the survivors of the Franco-Dutch forces in Zeeland and on the islands of Walcheren and Beverland. [Main Article | TH]
  • Erwin Rommel was awarded the 1939 clasp to his Iron Cross Second Class medal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt announced the plans for recommissioning 35 additional flush deck destroyers to meet the requirements of fleet expansion and the Neutrality Patrol. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Effingham departed Harstad, Norway with 1,020 troops, 10 Bren Gun Carriers, and 130 tons of supplies on board for Bodø, Norway. En route, she hit the southern edge of the Faksen Shoal off Bodø, Norway and was seriously damaged. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • German oil storage facilities in Bremen and Hamburg were destroyed by the RAF. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 17 May 1940
Vehicles of the German 4th Panzer Division in France, 17 May 1940SdKfz 10/4 vehicle with a mounted 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun, France, May 1940, photo 1 of 3SdKfz 10/4 vehicle with a mounted 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun, France, May 1940, photo 2 of 3SdKfz 10/4 vehicle with a mounted 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun, France, May 1940, photo 3 of 3
18 May 1940
  • German troops captured Antwerp, Belgium; meanwhile, the German government re-incorporated into its borders the territory that Germany ceded to Belgium per the Versailles Treaty. In France, Erwin Rommel's German 7th Panzer Division reached Cambrai where it halted to consolidate his supply lines; in the past 5 days the division advanced 85 miles and captured 10,000 French prisoners and tanks, suffering only 150 casualties. The French called the German 7th Panzer Division the "Ghost Division" for its ability to strike in unexpected and vulnerable places. Elsewhere in France, German troops captured Petonne and Amiens. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarines U-60 and U-62 departed Kiel. [CPC]
  • Arthur Seyß-Inquart was appointed Reich Commissar of the Netherlands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Churchill sent a telegram to US President Roosevelt, noting "if American assistance is to play any part it must be available [soon]." [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Effingham was scuttled by torpedo after suffering serious damage incurred on the previous day after striking the Faksen Shoal off Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Walter Grabmann, flying a Bf 110 heavy fighter, was shot down by British Hurricane fighters over Douai, France; he parachuted to safety but was captured. [Main Article | CPC]
19 May 1940
  • French Army General Maxime Weygand replaced General Maurice Gamelin as Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief; Marshal Philippe Pétain was made Deputy Prime Minister. [Main Article | TH]
  • German General Guderian resumed his attack, capturing territories between Saint-Quentin and Péronne. His troops were now within 50 miles of the English Channel and had cut off the Allied troops in Belgium. British Expeditionary Force commander General Lord Gort issued the order to withdraw toward port cities, including Dunkirk, while Colonel de Gaulle's French 4th Armored Division made a failed attempt to attack Guderian's flank at Montcornet. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-37 sank Swedish merchant vessel Erik Frisell off Scotland at 0631 hours. The crew of 34 were later rescued by armed trawler HMS Cobbers. [CPC]
  • The British Royal Air Force had lost over half of the aircraft it had deployed to France and Beligum by this date. To retain strength for a potential invasion of Britain, the RAF began recalling remaining squadrons back home. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 May 1940
Destroyed Belgian A.C.G.1 tank, Antwerp, Belgium, 19 May 1940
20 May 1940
  • In France, Rommel's troops began a new offensive but was held up at Arras. Meanwhile, Guderian's troops continued to advance, capturing Amiens at 0900 hours, Abbeville at 1900 hours, and Noyelles-sur-Mer at 2000 hours; they had reached the English Channel. At Dunkerque on the French coast, small seacraft began gathering for an Allied evacuation. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Foreign Secretary Halifax contacted Swedish businessman Dahlerus, telling him to approach Hermann Göring for possible Anglo-German negotiations to end the war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano began to carry only war news published by the Italian government. [CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Churchill sent a telegram to US President Roosevelt, again requesting for destroyers; "If they were here in 6 weeks, they would play an invaluable part." [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt expressed his concern regarding the Uruguayan-German tension to Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles. Welles reported to Roosevelt that the Uruguayan government had taken steps to investigate Nazi Party activities in Montevideo. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • 24 Japanese bombers, en route for Chongqing, China, were intercepted by eight I-16 fighters of Chinese 24th Pursuit Squadron; the Chinese claimed three bombers and one reconnaissance aircraft shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 May 1940
German PaK 36 fighting in France, 1940
21 May 1940
  • German General Rommel bypassed Arras, France and advanced west toward the English Channel. 74 British tanks spearheaded two infantry divisions in an attempt to counter Rommel's offensive, but it was defeated by Rommel's use of 8.8 cm FlaK anti-aircraft guns in an anti-tank role. Elsewhere, the French 9th Army was surrounded and destroyed; commanding officer General Giraud was captured. [Main Article | TH]
  • German bombers attacked British ports on the English Channel while RAF bombers attacked refineries near Rotterdam, the Netherlands. [TH]
  • The British government announced that over 250,000 men had enrolled in the Local Defence Volunteers organization within the first 24 hours of its existance. [CPC]
  • British Royal Air Force 263 Squadron and 46 Squadron arrived in Narvik, Norway with 18 Gladiator and 18 Hurricane aircraft to provide additional, but still not adequate, protection for Allied warships in the area. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Orion rounded Cape Horn and entered the South Pacific. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel was awarded the 1939 clasp to his Iron Cross First Class medal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • An official British Admiralty communiqué noted that "[t]he Secretary of the Admiralty regrets to announce that as the result of damage sustained through striking an uncharted rock off the Norwegian coast, HMS Effingham (Captain JM Howson, RN), has become a total loss". [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Émile Bertin completed her repairs at Brest, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General Gaston Billote, commander of the French First Group of Armies, was fatally injured when his driver crashed into a truck returning from the Ypres conference. [AC]
  • In Paris, France, General Robert Altmayer, a retired cavalry general who had retired four years earlier as Inspector-General of Cavalry, was summoned by Maxime Weygand to take command of Group A (later renamed Tenth Army) consisting of the 9th Corps, 10th Corps and 3rd Division Legere Mecanique. He was also told that all BEF troops south of the Somme (1st Armoured Division and 51st Highland Division) would also come under his orders. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 21 May 1940
Map noting German advances in France and the Low Countries between 16 and 21 May 1940Charred remains of a British soldier of the Royal Sussex Regiment, Amiens, France, 21 May 1940
22 May 1940
  • In Northern France, Rommel held his ground at Arras as he mistakenly believed he was facing 5 division of Allied troops when he was only facing 2 divisions and 2 tank battalions. Guderian, however, advanced toward Calais, Dunkirk, and Boulogne. [Main Article | TH]
  • The United Kingdom passed the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, giving the government authority over persons and property for the duration of the war. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 attacked British armed merchant vessel Dunster Grange with four torpedoes and then surfaced to attack with the deck gun off of Land's End in Southwestern England. All four torpedoes missed, and Dunster Grange was able to fight off the attack and arrive in Liverpool safely two days later. [CPC]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • French Air Force withdrew Potez 630 heavy fighters from front line service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General Gaston Billote died from injuried sustained during an automobile accident on the previous day. [AC]
Germany
  • German pilot Hauptmann Wolfgang Falck was ordered to establish Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 wing for the night fighter defence of Germany. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • Cryptologist in Bletchley Park, England broke the Luftwaffe Enigma code. [Main Article | TH]
  • In London, England, United Kingdom, a Home Morale Emergency Committee was set up to advise the Ministry of Information on how to combat defeatism in Britain. Its chairman was the diplomat, author and wit, Mr. (later Sir) Harold Nicolson, a junior Minister for Information. Another member of the board was the Director of the National Gallery and future Television presenter, Kenneth (later Lord) Clark. [AC]
23 May 1940
  • German submarine U-9 torpedoed and sank captured (by Belgium on 10 May) German steamer Sigurd Faulbaum 15 miles northeast of Zeebrugge, Belgium. [CPC]
  • The German 6th Army crossed the Scheldt River in Belgium. In France, British General Lord Gort withdrew his troops from Arras despite being able to halt Rommel's momentum. Elsewhere, German 2nd Panzer Division attacked Boulogne while the German 1st Panzer Division's forward elements reached Calais. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Submarine Marlin was laid down at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery in Maine, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Arrests began for British fascists across the United Kingdom as well as known IRA operatives in Northern Ireland. [TH]
  • Oswald Mosley and 747 other British Union members were arrested (including ninety-six women including Lady Diana) and interned without charge. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 23 May 1940
British prisoners of war in Calais, France, May 1940; note Panzer I light tank in foreground
24 May 1940
  • German submarine U-37 sank Greek ship Kyma 200 miles west of Brest, France at 0248 hours, killing 7. Aboard were 6,000 tons of corn and 90 tons of trucks from Argentina to Britain. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German aircraft sank British destroyer Wessex off the coast of Calais, France. [TH]
Belgium
  • King Leopold III assumed command of the Belgian Army. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German troops captured Ghent and Tournai, Belgium. [Main Article | TH]
Brazil
  • The President of Panama expressed support for the Dominican Republic in terms of the 8 Mar 1940 incident where a Canadian destroyer attacked German freighter Hannover in Dominic Republic's territorial waters. He called for the Chairman of the Inter-American Neutrality Committee in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to investigate this violation of the Pan-American Neutrality Zone. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • In France, the German 10th Panzer Division began an attack on Calais and captured the town of Boulogne (capturing 5,000 Allied troops), Maubeuge, and Saint-Omer. To the north, the German 1st Panzer Division reached the Aa Canal 10 miles from Dunkerque in an attempt to cut off the Allied troops in Belgium. At this key moment, Adolf Hitler interfered and ordered the tanks to pull back; he was promised by Hermann Göring that the Luftwaffe would be able to prevent the Allied evacuation from taking place; German Army generals protested, but to no avail. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Lieutenant Christopher Furness, the son of Viscount Furness, was killed in hand to hand fighting near Arras, France after his Bren gun carrier group engaged a vastly superior enemy force in order to allow a convoy to escape. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. [AC]
  • Walter Grabmann was liberated by German troops in France. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British War Cabinet issued the order to withdraw the British troops in Norway in light of the situation in France. [Main Article | CPC]
25 May 1940
  • British trade union executives accepted Aneurin Bevan's proposal for the Labour Supply Board and Production Council. [CPC]
  • The first transport of prisoners arrived at the Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp in occupied Austria region of southern Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Illustrious was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Béarn made rendezvous with light cruisers Jeanne d'Arc and Émile Bertin in the Atlantic Ocean and transferred French central bank gold bullions to the light cruisers, which would carry them to Canada. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Crown Prince Yi Un was made the commanding officer of the Japanese 4th Division. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Adolf Hitler continued to hold off his tanks from engaging on an offensive even though those armored division were merely 10 miles from Dunkerque, France. At Calais, France, Heinz Guderian obediently, albeit frustratingly, ordered his tanks to halt per Hitler's orders, but the field commanders continued to push back the British and French troops. In the evening, British Expeditionary Force commanding general Lord Gort began to fall back to Dunkerque. On the same day, the French Army relieved 15 generals of their commands. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • A unit of the newly formed US Marine Corps Defense Battalions began the Minor Landing and Base Defense Exercise at San Clemente Island, California, United States. [CPC]
26 May 1940
  • In Britain, Empire Day was declared as a national day of prayer. [CPC]
  • German Ju 88 aircraft attacked and sank British anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Curlew off Narvik, Norway, killing 9. HMS Curlew was equipped with the only early warning radar set. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-13 departed Kiel, Germany. [CPC]
  • German submarines U-48 departed Kiel, Germany. [CPC]
  • US Minister in Uruguay Edwin C. Wilson, in a telegram to US Secretary of State Cordell Hull, reported tension between the Uruguayan and German governments as the Germans were accusing the Uruguayan police in mistreating German citizens living in Uruguay. [CPC]
  • HMS Eagle arrived in the Mediterranean Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • At Dunkerque, France, British Expeditionary Force commanding general Lord Gort received the formal authorization for a withdraw; Operation Dynamo, the code name of the massive evacuation, was headed by British Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey. Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler rescinded the order to halt the offensive near Dunkerque. At Calais, after a heavy aerial and field artillery bombardment, German troops crossed the canals and moved toward the Citadel; at 1600 hours, Brigadier Claude Nicholson surrendered. Elsewhere, the French 1st Army was nearly encircled by the Germans, while the Belgians was pushed back to the Leie/Lys River. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In the United Kingdom, General Sir John Dill became Chief of the Imperial General Staff and Sir Edmund Ironside became Commander-in-Chief of Home Defense. [Main Article | TH]
  • United Kingdom government declared the coastal regions from Folkestone to Great Yarmouth designated evacuation areas. [TH]
Photo(s) dated 26 May 1940
British Cruiser Mk IV tank at Huppy, France, 26-29 May 1940British Cruiser Mk IV tank crew repairing tank track, Blangy-sur-Ternoise, France, 26-29 May 1940
27 May 1940
  • The British sugar ration was reduced from 12 ounce to 8 ounce per person. [CPC]
  • The British government abandoned the notion to introduce conscription to Northern Ireland. [CPC]
  • German tanks and aircraft maintained pressure on the Allies in France, pushing them back four miles toward the coast and placing Dunkirk within artillery range; meanwhile, the first 7,669 British troops were evacuated from Dunkirk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Troops of the German 3rd SS Panzer Totenkopf Division, commanded by Hauptsturmführer Fritz Knöchlein, massacred 97 British prisoners of war by machine gun fire at the village of Le Paradis in France. Two survivors of the massacre would later provide testimony during the post-war war crimes trials against Knöchlein. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank British ship Sheaf Mead 150 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain; 32 men were killed and 5 were rescued. U-37 also forced the Argentinian ship Uruguay to scuttle; 15 men became missing and presumed dead, and 13 were rescued. [CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel was awarded the Knight Cross medal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders claimed his 19th and 20th victories southwest of Amiens, France; the victims were both P-36 fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British General Edmund Ironside stepped down from the position of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. [CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down two German He 111 bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
Belgium
  • King Leopold III of Belgium offered surrender terms to Germany and decided to remain in the country. Germany responded at 2200 hours, demanding an unconditional surrender. [Main Article | TH]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China in three waves. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 May 1940
Posted notices in Calais, France just before German occupation, 27 May 1940Dead British soldiers in Calais, France, at 1330 hours on 27 May 1940; note Bedford MW truckDestroyed British Cruiser Mk IV tank near Huppy and Saint-Maxent, France, on or shortly after 27 May 1940
28 May 1940
  • German submarine U-37 sank French liner Brazza 100 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain at 0924 hours, killing 79 crew and 300 passengers. 53 crew and 144 passengers were later rescued by French gunboat Enseigne Henry and British armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire. [CPC]
  • The National Defense Advisory Committee was established in the United States as a group of advisors for US President Roosevelt. Its membership included business and industry leaders such as William Knudsen, Edward Stettinius, and Sidney Hillman and academics such as economist Leon Henderson. [CPC]
  • American ambassador to France, William Bullitt, sent a telegram to the United States asking President Roosevelt to dispatch a cruiser to Bordeaux, France to bring weapons for the French police to quell a feared "Communist uprising" and to embark French and Belgian gold reserves. Heavy cruiser USS Vincennes would sortie from Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States with destroyers USS Truxtun and USS Simpson in response to the ambassador's request. [Main Article | CPC]
Belgium
  • King Leopold III of Belgium officially surrendered unconditionally to Germany at 0400 hours; he made this decision without consulting his government nor the Allied nations. [Main Article | TH]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China in multiple waves. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • In France, 11,874 Allied personnel were evacuated from Dunkerque harbor and 5,930 from the nearby beaches; the latter was possible due to the arrival of many small fishing boats and pleasure craft. At Lille, seven German Divisions trapped the 40,000-strong French First Army. At Abbeville, the crew of French Char B1 Bis tank "Jeanne d'Arc" gallantly fought on against a German attack despite receiving 90 hits. Across the front lines, between eighty and ninety British prisoners of the 2nd Warwickshire Regiment, the Cheshire Regiment, and the Royal Artillery were murdered by members of No. 7 Company, 2nd Battalion SS Liebstandarte at Wormhoudt, France. [Main Article | TH, AC]
Norway
  • Allied forces consisted of British, French, Norwegian, and Polish troops attacked Narvik, Norway across the Rombaksfjord and by land starting at 0015 hours. German aircraft did not arrived until 0430 hours, but they were able to force the Allied fleet to withdraw after damaging cruiser HMS Cairo (killing 10 and wounding 7). At 1200 hours, Allied troops captured the city. German troops withdrew to nearby hills. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 28 May 1940
French soldiers firing 75mm cannon against German armor at Dunkirk, late May 1940British trawler rescuing Allied troops escaping from Dunkirk, France, May 1940
29 May 1940
  • Allies evacuated 33,558 men from the harbor at Dunkirk, France and 13,752 from the nearby beaches. German aircraft interfered, attacking ships in the sea as well as men waiting on the docks. Destroyer HMS Grenade was hit by three bombs, one of which went down her funnel, in Dunkirk harbor and sank, killing 19. Destroyer HMS Jaguar was badly damaged by a bomb, killing 13 and wounding 19. Minesweeper HMS Waverley, with 600 troops already aboard, was sunk by a bomb, killing 350. Elsewhere in France, German troops captured Lille, Ostend, and Ypres. Also on the same day, French auxiliary cruiser Ville d'Oran took on 200 tons of gold from the French reserve for shipment to Casablanca, French Morocco. [Main Article | TH]
  • German torpedo boat S-30 sank British destroyer HMS Wakeful 13 miles north of Nieuwpoort, Belgium at 0040 hours, killing 97 crew and 640 solders rescued from Dunkirk, France. 25 crew and 1 soldier were rescued by minesweepers HMS Gossamer and HMS Lydd, destroyer HMS Grafton, and armed trawler HMS Comfort. Later in the day, German submarine U-62 torpedoed HMS Grafton, killing 4; destroyer HMS Ivanhoe scuttled HMS Grafton after rescuing the survivors. Nearby, HMS Comfort was mistaken for another German torpedo boat and was rammed by HMS Lydd, killing 4 crew and 2 soldiers. [TH]
  • German submarine U-37 sank French steamer Marie José and British oil tanker Telena off Cape Finisterre, Spain. 18 were killed and 18 survivors were later rescued by Spanish fishing boats. [CPC]
  • Werner Mölders was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, the first fighter pilot to receive this award. [Main Article | CPC]
  • No. 264 Squadron RAF based at Manston, England, United Kingdom claimed no less than thirty-eight enemy aircraft destroyed in a single day. The Luftwaffe fighter pilots having mistaken No. 264 Squadron's two-seat Defiant fighters for Hurricane fighters and had dived on the supposedly defenceless tails of the British fighters only to be greeted by a withering concentration of fire. By the end of the month No. 264 Squadron's Defiant fighters would have claimed some sixty-five kills, but the German pilots had learned from their mistakes and adopted new tactics to deal with the Defiant fighters. [Main Article | AC]
  • Friedrich Christiansen became the commanding officer of the German military in the Netherlands. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 29 May 1940
British troops in a ship off of Dunkirk, France, late May 1940US Senator Morris Sheppard, Major General George Lynch, and Senator A. B. Chandler comparing M1941 Johnson rifles and the M1 Garand rifles, Washington, DC, United States, 29 May 1940German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers in flight, 29 May 1940
30 May 1940
  • The British Admiralty ordered all modern destroyers to leave Dunkirk, France due to the previous day's losses by German Luftwaffe, leaving 18 older destroyers to continue the evacuation; 24,311 were rescued from the harbor and 29,512 were rescued from the nearby beaches on this date. Despite poor weather, German aircraft damaged destroyers HMS Anthony and HMS Sabre, minesweeper HMS Kellet, armed boarding vessel HMS King Orry, and steamers St. Julien & Normannia. French destroyer Bourrasque was damaged by a mine and finished off by German artillery off Ostend, Belgium; 660 were either killed or swam to shore and became captured, while about 300 were rescued. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Allied troops began pushing German troops from the Narvik, Norway region back toward the Swedish border. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 sank British ship Stanhall off Cape Finisterre, Spain, killing 1. 36 survivors were rescued by British steamer Temple Moat. [CPC]
  • President Roosevelt rejected a request from US Ambassador to France William Bullitt of 28 May 1940, which asked for an American fleet to move into the Mediterranean Sea. Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who communicated the rejection to Bullitt, added that the "presence of the fleet in the Pacific at this time is a very practical contribution to the maintenance of peace in the Pacific". [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Minister in Uruguay Edwin C. Wilson reported to his superiors Washington DC, United States noting Nazi German leanings in the public sentiment. [CPC]
Italy
  • Benito Mussolini advised Adolf Hitler that Italy was ready to enter the war. [Main Article | TH]
Japan United Kingdom
  • Operation Fish: British battleship HMS Revenge, troop transport HMS Antonia, and troop transport HMS Duchess of Richmond with £40 million, £10 million, and £10 million in gold, respectively, departed from Britain for Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The gold was destined for the vaults of the Bank of Canada in Ottowa for safe keeping during war time. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 May 1940
Allied troops aboard the ship Guinean after being evacuated during Operation Ariel, off Western France, late May 1940Destroyed British Cruiser Mk IV tank in France, on or shortly after 30 May 1940
31 May 1940
  • Poor weather clouded over Dunkirk, France and gave the British a chance to bring in the modern destroyers into the area to assist the evacuation with less fear of German air attacks; 68,014 (45,072 from harbor and 22,942 from beaches) were rescued on this date, including British Expeditionary Force commanding general Lord Gort. French destroyer Leopart and British destroyers HMS Express, HMS Icarus, HMS Keith, and HMS Winchelsea were damaged by German aerial bombing. German torpedo boats damaged French destroyers Sirocco and Cyclone; Sirocco was finished off by German aircraft, killing 59 crew and 600 troops. [Main Article | TH]
  • British sloop HMS Weston sank German submarine U-13 with depth charges 14 miles southeast of Lowestoft, England. The entire crew of 26 were taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 attacked Allied convoy HG-31F and sank British ship Orangemoor with 8,150 tons of iron on board west of Guernsey, killing 18. The convoy's escorts attacked U-101 with 41 depth charges over the course of 8 hours; the submarine survived the attack. [CPC]
  • US Ambassador to Argentina Norman Armour and US Minister in Uruguay Edwin C. Wilson met in Montevideo, Uruguay regarding the deteriorating political situation in Uruguay. They jointly requested Secretary of State Cordell Hull to ask President Roosevelt to sent 40 to 50 warships to the eastern coast of South America as a show of force to prevent Uruguay from partnering with Germany. Later in the day, Hull would inform them that heavy cruiser USS Quincy was dispatched for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil per their suggestion, and she would visit Montevideo on the journey. State Department official Laurence Duggan would suggest Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles to publicize USS Quincy's South American tour. [Main Article | CPC]
Belgium
  • No. 829 Squadron FAA took their newly issued Fairey Albacore aircraft into action for the first time with attacks on German E-boats off Zeebrugge, Belgium and road and rail targets at Westende, Belgium. [AC]
France
  • UK Prime Minister Churchill traveled to Paris, France for a Supreme Allied War Council meeting. [Main Article | TH]
  • US-built DB-7 medium bombers of the French Air Force saw combat for the first time against German columns near Saint-Quentin in the Picardy Region of northeastern France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Oliver Leese was evacuated from a beach near Dunkerque, France. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • The US Marine Corps 14th Naval District dispatched Captain Samuel G. Taxis to survey Midway Atoll with a small reconnaissance party for the planning of building a US Marine Corps presence there. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 31 May 1940
Aerial view of the destruction at Rotterdam, circa late May 1940Troops of the Japanese 18th Infantry Regiment at the west bank of the Han River, Battle of Zaoyang-Yichang, China, 31 May 1940; note Type 11 light machine gunsOil tanks on fire in the port of Calais, France, set aflame by retreating Allied troops, at 1530 hours on 31 May 1940Sand dunes on the beaches near Calais, France, 31 May 1940; note grave of a soldier to the right
See all photos dated 31 May 1940
1 Jun 1940
  • Overnight, British troops pulled out of the defensive line around Durkirk, France and headed for the ships, leaving French troops to hold a reduced perimeter. After day break, German bombing sank French destroyer Le Foudroyant (killing 19), British destroyers HMS Basilisk (killing 9; scuttled by destroyer HMS Whitehall), HMS Havant (killing 8, scuttled by minesweeper HMS Saltash), and HMS Keith (killing 36). British minesweeper HMS Skipjack was bombed after embarking 275 soldiers from the beach, taking down 19 crew and most of the boarded soldiers. British steamer Scotia was bombed and sunk, killing 32 crew and 200 to 300 soldiers. 47,081 Allied troops were evacuated from the harbor and 17,348 from the beaches. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British unemployment figure decreased by 92,000 in May 1940 to 881,000. [CPC]
  • The wreck of British trawler HMS Warwickshire, sunk by aircraft on 30 Apr 1940 off Trondheim, Norway, was raised and put into service. She would remain in German service until sunk by Soviet submarine S-56 on 19 Jul 1943. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank Greek ship Ioanna 120 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain at 2300 hours. The entire crew survived. [CPC]
  • US freighter Charles R. McCormick departed Bergen, Norway for the United States. [CPC]
  • Lord Gort was made the aide-de-camp to King George VI. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heinz Guderian was named the commander of Panzer Group Guderian. [Main Article | AC]
  • Douglas Bader achieved his first kill, which was a German Bf 109 fighter. [Main Article | AC]
  • Slovakia established diplomatic relationship with the Japanese-sponsored puppet state of Manchukuo. [CPC]
France
  • French industrial targets in the Rhône Valley were bombed by the German Luftwaffe. [Main Article | TH]
  • Under a heavy German air raid at Dunkerque, France, Sergeant George Benton, RAMC, was carrying wounded men on stretchers to a ship at the East Mole when a bomb blew a hole in the walkway. Unflinching, he calmly placed a stretcher over the gap and carried on with the evacuation of the wounded. [AC]
Norway
  • British troops at Narvik, Norway began evacuating to reinforce Britain itself from a potential invasion. British ambassador to Norway Sir Cecil Dormer informed Norwegian King Haakon VII of the news and recommended the royal family and the government to evacuate as well. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • Signposts were taken down throughout Britain to prevent use by possible enemy parachutists. [TH]
United States
  • Battleship Washington was launched at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, United States. She was the first American battleship to be launched since the 1921 launching of battleship West Virginia. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • A unit of the newly formed US Marine Corps Defense Battalions completed the Minor Landing and Base Defense Exercise at San Clemente Island, California, United States. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Jun 1940
Destruction in the waterfront area of Calais, France, at 1230 hours on 1 Jun 1940Destroyed houses and church in Calais, France, afternoon of 1 Jun 1940Aerial view of burned out trucks at Calais, France, 1 Jun 1940Launching of battleship Washington, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Pennsylvania, United States, 1 Jun 1940, photo 1 of 2
See all photos dated 1 Jun 1940
2 Jun 1940
  • Due to costly air attacks, British Admiralty decided that evacuation from Dunkirk, France would only be undertaken at night, particularly because nearly all British troops had already left Dunkirk by this time. On this date, 19,561 troops were evacuated from the harbor and 6,695 from the beaches. [Main Article | TH]
  • The Allies dispatched Polish and French troops to push German troops eastward from Narvik, Norway, while evacuated British troops. Carriers HMS Ark Royal and HMS Glorious provided air cover for the evacuation of 26,000 British troops. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 sank British ship Polycarp 41 miles south of Lands End in southwestern England at 0300 hours. The entire crew of 43 were rescued by French ship Espiguette. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-58 sank British coastal defense vessel HMS Astronomer 20 miles off the northeast coast of Scotland at 0600 hours after a six-hour chase and three torpedoe hits. 4 were killed; 52 civilian crewmen, 1 gunner, and 48 Royal Navy sailors were rescued by anti-submarine trawlers HMS Stoke City and HMS Leicester City. [CPC]
  • In Norway, New Zealand Pilot Officer Louis Jacobsen of No. 263 Squadron RAF shot down six enemy bombers while flying a near obsolete Gladiator biplane fighter. Jacobsen himself would be dead in less than a week. [AC]
Ireland
  • US ship President Roosevelt departed Galway, Ireland with 720 American citizens fleeing the European war zone. [CPC]
Italy
  • US passenger liner Manhattan departed Genoa, Italy with 1,905 passengers fleeing the European war zone. [CPC]
3 Jun 1940
  • After nightfall, the Allies began to evacuate Narvik, Norway. Through the night and the following day's daybreak, British destroyers and Norwegian fishing boats ferried Allied personnel to six troops transports in various fjords nearby. [Main Article | TH]
  • The last group of British troops at Dunkirk, France was evacuated before the break of dawn. At 1050 hours, Royal Navy Captain William Tennant signaled the completion of Operation Dynamo, but he was overruled by this superiors as there were still some French troops in Dunkirk. During the day, the British Admiralty acknowledged that 222 British naval vessels and 665 other craft were employed for the Dunkirk evacuation; 6 destroyers, 24 small armed vessels, and 226 other ships were lost. British ships returned to Dunkirk after night fall. By this time, German troops were only 2 miles away. [Main Article | TH]
  • The British government banned aliens and stateless persons in Britain from leaving home between 2230 hours and 0600 hours. [CPC]
  • French armed merchant cruiser Ville D'Oran, with 212 tons of gold from the French reserves, departed from Pauillac, France. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank Finnish ship Snabb with the deck gun 300 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain, killing 1. Greek ship Kyriakoula rescued 20 survivors. [CPC]
  • The Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross award was established in Germany. [CPC]
France
  • Luftwaffe bombed Paris, France, killing 254 civilians. [Main Article | TH]
Russia
  • Soviet troops began the preparation for the invasion of the Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill ordered the formation of commando units for raiding occupied Europe. [Main Article | TH]
4 Jun 1940
  • German Admiral Wilhelm Marschall launched Operation Juno, sending Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Admiral Hipper, and several destroyers from Kiel for Norway, aiming at disrupting the Allied supply lines to Narvik. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Overnight, 26,175 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk, France. At 1020 hours, German troops occupied the city and captured the 30,000 to 40,000 French troops, 2,000 British field guns, and 60,000 British vehicles. In total, 338,226 Allied personnel were evacuated through Operation Dynamo. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Churchill delivered the "We shall never surrender" speech to House of Commons. [Main Article | TH]
  • The United Kingdom banned any recreational camping within 10 miles of the east and southeastern coasts, including the Isle of Wight. [TH]
  • Konstantin Rokossovsky was promoted to the rank of major general. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader, while attacking a German Do 17 aircraft, nearly collided with the target. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In order to maintain the vital link with North America, British Overseas Airways Corporation commenced a twice-weekly air service between Heston, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom and Lisbon, Portugal, to connect with the scheduled Pan-American Airways New York-Lisbon route. [AC]
Germany
  • French l'Armee d'Aire attacked München (Munich) and Frankfurt in Germany in response to the German bombing of Paris, France on the previous day. [TH]
Photo(s) dated 4 Jun 1940
Burning railway car at the rail station in Calais, France, 4 Jun 1940
5 Jun 1940
  • Germany began the second phase of the invasion of France, Fall Rot. 130 infantry divisions and 10 armored divisions attacked cross the Somme and Aisne Rivers. 66 French divisions attempted to hold the Weygand Line. Across the English Channel, the Allies transported French troops recently evacuated from Dunkirk back into France via ports still under French control; additionally, the Canadian 1st Infantry Division, elements of British 1st Armored Division, and the British 51st Highland Division were also sent to France. [Main Article | TH]
  • French General de Gaulle was appointed the Undersecretary of State for War by Prime Minister Reynaud. [Main Article | TH]
  • Small groups of mobile armed men called Ironsides, after the Home Defense Commander, were formed in the United Kingdom to protect against enemy parachutists. [TH]
  • Werner Mölders was shot down by French pilot René Pomier-Layrargues near Compiègne, France; he bailed out to safety but was captured by the French. He would be released later upon the French armistice. [Main Article | TH]
  • 4,900 Allied troops boarded transport ships at Narvik, Norway during the evacuation operation. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 shelled and sank British armed merchant ship Stancor 80 miles northwest of Scotland at 1118 hours. The entire crew of 19 survived. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In a BBC radio broadcast the noted author J. B. Priestley berated the British Establishment for its lack of planning and amateurish attitudes. [AC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt ordered US Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark to prepare a US Marine Corps brigade for future deployment to Iceland. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Jun 1940
German military camera crew filming in Dunkirk, France shortly after the conquest, Jun 1940View of ruins of Calais, France from a broken shop window, 5 Jun 1940Sun Liren and wife, 5 Jun 1940Aircraft Mechanic Class 2A posing for their graduation photo in front of a B-18 Bolo bomber at Hickam Field, Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, 5 Jun 1940
6 Jun 1940
  • German 5th and 7th Panzer Divisions bypassed the strongpoints on the French Weygand defensive line, penetrating near Abeville, Amiens, and Petonne. Nevertheless, the French hedgehog defense along the Weygand Line inflicted German tank losses, with the obsolete 75mm field guns performing surprisingly well as anti-tank guns. [Main Article | TH]
  • All Austrian and German citizens in the United Kingdom were ordered to turn in privately-owned radios. [TH]
  • The British government banned the manufacture of a large number of household goods. [TH]
  • German submarine U-46 sank the British armed merchant cruiser Carinthia off the coast of Ireland. [TH]
  • 5,100 Allied personnel were transported to troop transports hiding in fjords near Narvik, Norway over the previous night. They then departed the area with about 15,000 troops aboard, escorted by destroyer HMS Arrow and sloop HMS Stork for the first phase of their trip back to Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-46 torpedoed British armed merchant cruiser HMS Carinthia west of Galway Bay, Ireland. Carinthia would remain afloat for another 30 hours before sinking. [CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was appointed Gruppenkommandeur III/JG 26. [Main Article | AC]
  • Adolf Hitler arrived at the Wolfsschlucht headquarters at Brûly-de-Pesche, Belgium. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese Army aircraft attacked Baishi Yi airfield near Chongqing, China; one of the I-15bis fighters of Chinese 21st Pursuit Squadron claimed one Japanese Ki-21 bomber shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The Kremlin issued an ultimatum to Latvia, demanding it the allow Soviet occupation. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 6 Jun 1940
Soldiers of Japanese 13th Division crossing a tributary Han River south of Shayangzhen, Hubei, China, 6 Jun 1940
7 Jun 1940
  • French armed merchant cruiser Ville D'Oran arrived at Casablanca in French Morocco with 212 tons of gold from the French reserves. [CPC]
  • Rommel's troops marched down the French coast toward Rouen, while Kleist's troops were held up by French defensive lines between Amiens and Péronne. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Between midnight and 0330 hours, at about 10 miles north of Ireland, German submarine U-48 sank British ship Francis Massey (killing 33 and sinking 7,500 tons of iron ore) and damaged British ship Eros (no deaths). [CPC]
Germany Norway
  • King Haakon VII of Norway, Crown Prince Olav, and members of the Norwegian government departed Tromsø in Northern Norway at 2000 hours aboard British cruiser HMS Devonshire. They were headed for Britain. [Main Article | TH]
  • The troop transports of British Group II arrived at Narvik, Norway and embarked 5,200 men overnight. Nearby, British pilots without proper carrier landing training safely land 10 Gladiator and 8 Hurricane aircraft aboard HMS Glorious, completing the evacuation of 46 and 263 Squadrons RAF from Norway. Out at sea, troop transports of Group I which had departed Narvik on the previous day were spotted by German aircraft, but they were mis-identified as empty supply ships heading back to Britain, thus spared from attack. [Main Article | TH]
8 Jun 1940
  • French and Polish troops left dummies on the front lines to trick their German foes and fell back into Narvik, Norway for evacuation. British Group II troop transports took on the final 4,600 Allied troops and departed Narvik, escorted by carrier HMS Ark Royal, cruisers HMS Southampton and HMS Coventry, and 11 destroyers. German aircraft conducted nearly continuous attacks on the convoy, while German troops on land quickly realized the situation and moved into Narvik. [Main Article | CPC]
  • During Operation Juno, German cruiser Admiral Hipper sank British tanker Oil Pioneer and escorting armed trawler HMS Juniper; 20 were killed and 29 survivors were captured by the crew of Admiral Hipper. Admiral Hipper moved on to sink troop transport Orama; 19 were killed and 280 survivors were captured by German destroyers. When Admiral Hipper encountered hospital ship Atlantis, she allowed her to departed unsolicited. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German 5th and 7th Panzer Divisions crossed the Seine River in France, and the troops of the 5th Panzer Division captured the city of Rouen. To the east, the 14th Panzer Corps broke through at Amiens, but the 16th Panzer Corps continued to be held down in Péronne by hedgehogs manned by troops of the French 7th Army. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Captain Guy D'Oyly Huges of HMS Glorious failed to launch scouting aircraft as the carrier sailed for Britain, thus was caught unprepared when German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau (amidst Operation Juno) intercepted the group 170 miles off of the Norwegian coast. At 1630 hours, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau opened fire at the distance of 24 kilometers, scoring at least one hit at that long distance. Escoring destroyer HMS Ardent was destroyed by gunfire at 1720 hours, killing 151. Aircraft aboard Glorious could not be launched to participate in the battle due to flight deck damage, and all aircraft were lost when the carrier sank at 1910 hours; 1,162 sailors and 59 RAF personnel were killed. Escorting destroyer HMS Acasta hit Scharnhorst with one torpedo but was sunk by gunfire at 1920 hours, killing 161. German Navy Admiral Wilhelm Marschall ordered his flagship Gneisenau's flag to be lowered to half mast to honor the crew of the British destroyers who attempted to fight off the attack despite being outgunned. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 8 Jun 1940
Scharnhorst firing her forward guns against HMS Glorious, 8 Jun 1940Troops of 2nd Battalion of 23rd Infantry Regiment of Japanese 13th Division fighting in Sha, Hubei, China, 8 Jun 1940
9 Jun 1940
  • The Norwegian 6th Division, essentially the last Norwegian unit still actively fighting the German invasion, surrendered to the Germans. An armistice was to take effect at midnight. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American cruiser USS Vincennes and destroyers USS Truxton and USS Simpson arrived at Casablanca, French Morocco. They began taking on what would be 200 tons of gold from the French reserves to be brought back to the United States for safekeeping. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British hospital ship Atlantis made rendezvous with battleship HMS Valiant at 1030 hours and reported the sinking of troop transport Orama by German cruiser Admiral Hipper on the previous day. This was the first time the British Admiralty had solid information on the German sortie known as Operation Juno, which had already completed. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-46 sank Finnish ship Margareta 350 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain at 1300 hours, killing 5. 19 survivors would remain adrift in a lifeboat for four more days before being rescued. [CPC]
  • Destroyer USS Dickerson departed Casablanca, French Morocco with American passengers for Lisbon, Portugal, where they would board US passenger liner Washington for Ireland and then the United States. [AC]
France
  • The German 7th Panzer Division under Rommel pushed the French 10th Army and British 51st Highland Division to the sea at St-Valery-en-Caux, France. To the east, the 14th Panzer Corps under Kleist advanced near Amiens, but his 16th Panzer Corp remained held down at Péronne. Further east, Guderian's tanks attacked toward Reims. French General Weygand announced that the battle was lost and France should attempt to negotiate an armistice. Meanwhile, the French government evacuated Paris, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey was forced to crash land into a swamp in France, which near drowning him. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The Soviet Union issued the order for its military to complete preparations for the invasion of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia by 12 Jun 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Jun 1940
British Cruiser Mk IV tank on the back of a Scammell tank transporter at Le Neubourg, France, circa 9 Jun 1940
10 Jun 1940
  • Norway surrendered to Germany. [Main Article | TH]
  • Italy declared war on France and the United Kingdom, to be effective on the following day. [TH]
  • American cruiser USS Vincennes and destroyers USS Truxton and USS Simpson departed Casablanca, French Morocco for the United States with 200 tons of gold from the French reserves. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German aircraft attacked and sank British armed boarding vessel HMS Vandyck off Andenes, Norway, killing 7. 161 survivors were taken prisoner after reaching shore. [CPC]
  • British transport ships of Group I reached Clyde, Scotland at 0600 hours with troops evacuated from Narvik, Norway. [CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt gave a speech at the graduation ceremony of the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, declaring that the Italian declaration of war on France was like "the hand that held the dagger has struck it in the back of its neighbor". His son, Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., was among those who received degrees that day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Canada declared war on Italy. [CPC]
  • Destroyer USS O'Brien arrived at Bahia, Brazil during her shakedown cruise. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China at 1300 hours; Chinese fighters claimed 5 Japanese aircraft shot down in Bishan County west of the temporary capital, including one G3M bomber. [Main Article | CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • The Gestapo organization took control of the Theresienstadt Fortress in occupied Czechoslovakia and began its conversion into a concentration camp. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
France
  • Erwin Rommel's troops continued to march down the French coast, now west of Paris, France. To the east, Heinz Guderian's tanks advanced towards Chalons-sur-Marne, threatening Paris, causing the French government to move to Tours, declaring Paris an open city. In Operation Cycle, 3,321 Allied troops embarked aboard ships at St-Valery-en-Caux for evacuation, and 11,059 embarked ships at Le Havre to be transferred to Cherbourg for continued fighting. Off of Le Havre, British destroyers HMS Bulldog and HMS Boadicea were damaged by aircraft, killing 6. HMS Bulldog would have to be towed back and remained out of commission until Feb 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
Portugal
  • Rear Admiral David M. LeBreton relieved Rear Admiral Charles E. Courtney as Commander of US Navy Squadron 40-T on board light cruiser USS Trenton at Lisbon, Portugal. [CPC]
  • US passenger liner Washington arrived at Lisbon, Portugal to embark Americans desiring passage to the United States via Ireland. Destroyer USS Dickerson arrived from French Morocco with Americans who wished to board the passenger liner. [CPC]
11 Jun 1940
  • German 7th Panzer Division under Rommel captured Le Havre, France, then turned back and drove 30 miles to the northeast to St-Valery-en-Caux, where the German troops succeeded in encircling 46,000 French and British troops. Elsewhere in northern France, troops under Guderian captured Rheims. In the south, Italian troops began crossing the Alps toward the French border. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Foreign Minister Anthony Eden traveled to France for a Supreme War Council meeting at Chateau du Muguet near Briare. Churchill, detecting feelings of defeat, reminded the French that the 28 Mar agreement noted that none of the two countries could seek a separate peace with Germany without the other country's consent. During this meeting, French Navy Admiral François Darlan assured Churchill that the French fleet would not fall into German hands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British law dictated that all British citizens who owned an Anderson shelter must have it installed by this date. [TH]
  • RAF aircraft attacked German vessels at Trondheim, Norway. [TH]
  • RAF aircraft bombed Turin and Genoa in Italy. [TH]
  • Armored cars of the British 11th Hussars crossed into Libya and capture Italian prisoners who were unaware they were already at war. [CPC]
  • Norwegian trawler Borgund rescued 37 survivors of sunken HMS Glorious and 2 survivors of sunken HMS Acasta. [CPC]
  • German submarines U-48 and U-101 sank Greek ships Violando N. Goulandris and Mount Hymettus off Cape Finisterre, Spain. Nearby, U-46 torpedoed British tanker Athelprince, but failed to sink her; Athelprince would be salvaged and returned to service by Jan 1941. [CPC]
  • Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa declared war on Italy. [CPC]
  • Due to the Italian entry into the European War, US President Roosevelt declared the Mediterranean Sea and mouth of Red Sea to be combat zones for American ships in accordance with the Neutrality Act. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Churchill sent a telegram to US President Roosevelt urging the US to send more destroyers to the United Kingdom especially in light of the Italian entry into the European War. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US passenger liner Washington, en route from Lisbon, Portugal to Galway, Ireland with 1,020 Americans passengers aboard, was stopped by German submarine U-101 as the German submarine misidentified her as a Greek ship. After her identity became clear via blinker signals, U-101 allowed Washington to continue with her journey. [CPC]
  • The first Hurricane Mk II prototype aircraft, actually a converted production Mk I example, took its first flight. [Main Article | CPC]
France Malta
  • Ten Italian Z.1007 Alcione bombers attacked Grand Harbour, RAF Hal Far, and Kalafrana in Malta, killing 1 civilian and 6 soldiers. RAF Hal Far was the first of the three major Malta airfields to be attacked during the war. [Main Article | Facility | TH, CPC]
12 Jun 1940
  • British transports of Group II arrived in the Clyde, Scotland at 2300 hours with troops evacuated from Narvik, Norway. The French troops evacuated were later sent to Brest and Lorient to join the fight against the invading German forces. [CPC]
  • The Commander-in-Chief of Home Defense of the United Kingdom Edmond Ironside completed a plan for defense against a potential German invasion. [TH]
  • German submarine U-101 sank British ship Earlspark off Cape Finisterre, Spain at 1200 hours, killing 7 and sinking 7,500 tons of coal. Also off Cape Finisterre, U-46 sank British ship Barbara Marie at 1938 hours, killing 32 and sinking 7,200 tons of iron ore, and then sinking Willowbank at 1946 hours. [CPC]
  • The Navy Department of the United States placed contracts for 22 new warships. [CPC]
  • The Japan-Thailand Non-Aggression Pact was announced. [CPC]
  • USS Quincy arrived at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet Baltic Fleet received orders to blockade Estonia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class medal. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • 154 Japanese aircraft attacked Chongqing, China at 1200 hours; Chinese fighters claimed 5 Japanese aircraft shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • German tanks under Guderian crossed the Marne River at Chalons-sur-Marne, 80 miles east of Paris, France. Meanwhile, in the French capital, US Ambassador William Bullitt, the last ambassador of a major nation left in the city, was named the provisional governor of Paris as the French government moved to Tours. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
13 Jun 1940
  • After sundown and through until the next morning, Orion laid mines off Auckland, New Zealand. [Main Article | TH]
  • At dawn, 0243 hours, 15 British Fleet Air Arm Skua aircraft from HMS Ark Royal dive bombed German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at Trondheim, Norway. Scharnhorst was hit by a 500-pound bomb, but it failed to explode. 8 Skua aircraft were shot down; 6 airmen were killed and 10 were taken prisoner. The remaining 7 aircraft returned to Ark Royal at 0345 hours. Nearby, Ark Royal's escorting destroyers HMS Antelope and HMS Electra collided in fog; both sustained damage that would take them out of action until Aug 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Odin attacked Italian cruisers Fiume and Gorizia. Odin was sunk by destroyers Strale and Baleno, killing the entire crew of 56. It was the first naval skirmish in the Mediterranean Sea. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-25 sank British armed merchant cruiser HMS Scotstoun 80 miles west of Outer Hebrides, Scotland, killing 7. 345 survivors were rescued by British destroyer HMS Highlander and would be landed at the Clyde on 14 Jun. [CPC]
  • Rear Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. relieved Vice Admiral Charles A. Blakely as Commander Aircraft, Battle Force of the US Navy on board carrier USS Yorktown at Lahaina Roads, Maui, US Territory of Hawaii. Halsey received the temporary rank of vice admiral for this assignment. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Maxime Weygand declared Paris, France an open city. Italian aircraft attacked the naval base at Toulon, France. British Prime Minister Churchill flew to Tours, France for what would become the last meeting of the Supreme War Council. Both Britain and France now acknowledged that defeat would be imminent. Churchill encouraged the French to withdraw to North Africa to continue the fight; his French counterpart Reynaud, however, said that France would like to secure Britain's permission to seek an armistice; Churchill refused the request. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet troops began amassing on the borders of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The American armed vessel Eastern Prince, first of her kind, set sail for Britain. [TH]
  • The battleship USS North Carolina was launched at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York, United States. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Jun 1940
Launching of North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 13 Jun 1940, photo 1 of 2North Carolina shortly after launching, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 13 Jun 1940Christening of North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 13 Jun 1940; note Isabel Young Hoey breaking champagne bottleLaunching of North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 13 Jun 1940, photo 2 of 2
See all photos dated 13 Jun 1940
14 Jun 1940
  • At dawn, 4 French cruisers and 11 destroyers shelled oil storage tanks at the port of Genoa, Italy. French destroyer Albatros was hit by Italian coastal artillery, killing 12, but she was able to return. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 sank British ship Balmoralwood southwest of Ireland; the crew of 41 would later be rescued. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 stopped Greek ship Antonis Georgandis 300 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain with two warning shots from the submarine's 20mm deck gun. After the crew abandoned the ship, U-101 sank her with the deck gun. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank Greek ship Mount Myrto southwest of Ireland, killing 4. [CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt signed the Naval Expansion Act, which increased the carrier, cruiser, and submarine tonnage of the US Navy by 167,000 tons, increased auxiliary shipping by 75,000 tons, and increased the number of authorized naval aircraft to 4,500 planes. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer USS O'Brien departed Bahia, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Fleet Air Arm Swordfish aircraft from "a training squadron" (later to become No. 830 Squadron on Malta) made the first air attack on Italy, hitting Genoa with French bombs. [AC]
Estonia
  • The Soviet Union presented an ultimatum to Lithuania, forcing it to allow the establishment of a new Soviet government. Meanwhile, Soviet aircraft and warships blockaded the Estonian coast, shooting down a Finnish passenger aircraft (killing 9, including American and French diplomats) shortly after takeoff at Tallinn to show that the threat was not empty. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • In France, German troops captured the open city of Paris, France without any opposition. To the north, the coastal city of Le Havre fell under German control. To the east, the German 1st Army under General Erwin von Witzleben broke through the Maginot Line near Saarbrücken. The French government moved from Tours to Bordeaux and appealed for the United States to enter the war. Also on this date, all remaining British troops in France were ordered to return. [Main Article | TH]
Italy
  • Cruiser Dupleix, as a part of the French 3rd Squadron (4 heavy cruisers and 11 destroyers in total), bombarded Genoa, Italy, damaing oil storage tanks and military facilities. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Foch bombarded Vado, Italy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Colbert bombarded Genoa, Italy as a part of Operation Samoyède. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The giant French Farman F.220 bomber "Jules Verne" attacked Italian oil storage tanks at Porto Marghera, Venice, Italy. Eight bombs were dropped and at least one oil tank was seen to be set on fire. [Main Article | AC]
Poland
  • A group of 728 Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first prisoners of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 14 Jun 1940
A French civilian weeping as German soldiers marched into Paris, France, 14 Jun 1940
15 Jun 1940
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt approved a revised copy of the Naval Expansion Act which he had approved on the previous day; it increased naval aviation to a strength 10,000 aircraft instead of the previously lower quantity of 4,500. He also replied to the French Premier's "last appeal", saying that America would redouble her efforts if the Allies continue to resist the dictators. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
  • German submarine U-38 attacked Allied convoy HX-47 60 miles west of the Isles of Scilly off of southwestern England at 0100 hours, sinking Norwegian tanker Italia (killing 19, 16 were recsued) and Canadian ship Erik Boye (21 were rescued). British sloop HMS Fowley would bring the survivors to Plymouth, England on the following day. [CPC]
  • Quintin Brand was appointed the commanding officer of the No. 10 Group at the rank of acting air vice marshal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Churchill sent a telegram to US President Roosevelt to again request destroyers, noting that the United Kingdom would carry on the struggle "whatever the odds... but it may well be beyond our resources unless we receive every reinforcement and particularly do we need this reinforcement on the sea". [Main Article | CPC]
  • Submarine tender USS Bushnell completed hydrographic surveys of an area of 2,200 square nautical miles off the coast of Venezuela between Cape San Roman and Bahia Vela de Coro, which began on 9 Apr 1940. [CPC]
  • Construction began on the new Führer Headquarters Wolfschlucht II in France; it would be halted within days, however, as the German campaign in France would soon end. [CPC]
France
  • The German 7th Army under General Friedrich Dollmann crossed the Rhine River into France about 40 to 50 miles north of the Swiss border and penetrated the Maginot Line. To the north, the city of Verdun was captured by German troops. On the coast of the English Channel, the Allies launched Operation Ariel to evacuate troops from Cherbourg and St Malo. In Berlin, Germany, Adolf Hitler gave the German Army the permission to demobilize some divisions once the French campaign drew closer to its end. [Main Article | TH]
Ireland
  • US passenger liner Washington embarked an additional 852 American citizens and set sail from Galway, Ireland for New York, United States. She now carried a total of 1,872 passengers. [CPC]
Latvia
  • Soviet troops engaged Latvian border guards at Maslenki, Latvia. [Main Article | TH]
Lithuania
  • Soviet troops began the occupation of Lithuania; the United States refused to recognize the Soviet occupation. [Main Article | TH]
16 Jun 1940
  • Marshal Philippe Pétain became Prime Minister of France when Paul Reynaud's government resigned. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-101 sank British merchant ship Willington Star in Bay of Biscay. [TH]
  • The Curie Laboratory in France transferred 410 pounds of Norwegian heavy water to the British. [CPC]
  • The Soviet invasion of Latvia and Estonia began. [Main Article | CPC]
  • François Darlan was named the Vichy French Minister of the Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • 114 Japanese aircraft attacked Chongqing, China after sundown; four I-16 fighters of Chinese 24th Pursuit Squadron rose to intercept, shooting down one bomber near Fuling County near the city, with one fighter shot down by the Japanese. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Germans broke through to Dijon and reach Besancon in France, while continuing a wide assault on the Maginot Line. [Main Article | Facility | TH]
  • 57,000 more British troops withdrew from France via Nantes and St. Nazaire. [Main Article | TH]
17 Jun 1940
  • Soviet troops entered Latvia and Lithuania without little resistance. In Estonia, although a Signal Battalion would resist in Tallinn until 21 Jun, the government, along with the Army and the Estonian Defence League militia organization, surrendered to Soviet occupation. NKO Commissar Semyon Timoshenko ordered the disbanding of the military organizations of the Baltic States, leaving the task of border protection to NKVD troops. In North America, the United States refused to recognize the Soviet occupation of the two Baltic countries. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill announced to the British people that the United Kingdom would continue to fight until Adolf Hitler was removed from power. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British unemployment figure decreased by 114,000 in May 1940 to a new low of 767,000. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-46 sank Greek ship Elpis 250 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain; the entire crew of 28 survived. [CPC]
  • French Minister for Foreign Affairs Paul Baudouin privately informed Deputy US Ambassador to France Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., that the French fleet "would never be surrendered to Germany". [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold R. Stark asked for US$4,000,000,000 to construct a "Two-Ocean Navy". [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heavy cruiser USS Quincy departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for Montevideo, Uruguay. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The deposed German Emperor Wilhelm II sent a congratulatory telegram to Adolf Hitler regarding the victory over France. [CPC]
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov sent German Ambassador Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg a message of congratulations for the successful German conquest of France. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Prime Minister Philippe Pétain ordered the French Army to stop fighting and sued for an honorable peace as the Germans crossed the Loire River near Orleans, France. Taking advantage of the initial demoralizing effect and confusion this caused, the German 7th Panzer Division under Erwin Rommel advanced 125 miles toward Cherbourg; to the east, tanks under Heinz Guderian reached the Swiss border at Pontalier, encircling 17 French divisions on the Maginot Line. Meanwhile, the Allied evacuation operation, Operation Ariel, continued in Cherbourg, Saint-Malo, Brest, and Saint-Nazaire. At Saint-Malo, private vessels of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club of Jersey arrived to assist with the evacuations. In the Loire estuary near Saint-Nazaire, British passenger liner Lancastria, with 4,000 to 9,000 British civilians and military personnel on board, was sunk by three bombs by Ju 88 aircraft, causing about 3,000 deaths; it was the worst maritime loss in British history. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Hawaii
  • Civilian contractors began working on the expansion of the US Navy airfield on Maui, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Jun 1940
  • The German 7th Panzer Division under Rommel advanced another 75 miles since the prior date, reaching Cherbourg, France but not before most of the Allied personnel had already evacuated the city; also on this date, Le Mans, Belfort, Metz, and Dijon fell under German control. Elsewhere, the Allies completed the Operation Ariel evacuation of La Pallice and Saint-Nazaire, but all the heavy equipment were left behind in the latter location. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Sweden allowed passage of German troops between Oslo, Norway, and Trelleborg, Sweden, on Swedish rail lines, with the only demand being that the number of troops coming from Germany must equal to the number being evacuated, so that it could not be said that Sweden was helping Germany reinforce the front lines. [TH]
  • Charles de Gaulle made the "Appeal of June 18" speech, asking the French people to resist German occupation. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Brest, French cruisers El Djezair, El Kantara, El Mansour, Ville d'Oran, and Ville d'Alger departed 1,200 tons of French gold for Casablanca, French Morocco while the cruiser Victor-Schoelcher transported 198 tons of Belgian gold (originally held in French banks) from Lorient to the port of Dakar in French West Africa; the French gold would arrive in Casablanca on 21 Jun 1940, but the Belgian gold would be captured by the Germans. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-28 sank Finnish ship Sarmatia southwest of Ireland. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-32 sank Spanish trawler Sálvora, Spanish trawler Nuevo Ons, and Norwegian ship Altair southwest of Ireland. [CPC]
  • US Secretary of State Cordell Hull directed Deputy US Ambassador to France Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. to inform the French government that if France failed to keep its fleet out of German hands, France would "permanently lose the friendship and goodwill of the Government of the United States". French Minister for Foreign Affairs Baudouin reiterated that the French fleet "would never be surrendered to Germany". [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Minister in Uruguay Edwin C. Wilson reported that Uruguayan government had arrested eight Nazi leaders and that Uruguay's Chamber of Deputies, in secret session the day before, had begun considering a report on Nazi Party activities in their country. [CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met in Munich, Germany to discuss the French peace request. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made the "the Battle of France is over... I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin" speech before the House of Commons. "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour'." On the same day, Churchill wrote to the Commander-in-Chief Home Forces asking for ideas for the creation of "Storm Troops" to be "ready to spring at the throat of any small landing or descent"; secretly he intended to use such a force as the basis for Commando raids on the continent. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
  • The British War Office placed an order for 300 Canal Defence Light (CDL) tanks, Matilda tanks mounting a large searchlight in the turret that had been suggested by a Mr. Mitzakis in September 1939. [Main Article | AC]
19 Jun 1940
  • Households in the United Kingdom received pamphlets with information on what to do in case of invasion. [TH]
  • French ships sought refuge in British ports. [TH]
  • The British Jockey Club announced that horse racing would cease until further notice. [CPC]
  • Troops of the German 7th Panzer Division under Rommel shelled fortifications defending the port of Cherbourg, France; Cherbourg surrendered at 1700 hours. On the same day, the 5th Panzer Division captured Brest, but found the port facilities destroyed by Allied personnel who had already been evacuated. Along the coast, Operation Ariel continued, evacuating British, and Polish troops from Saint-Nazaire, La Pallice, Bayonne, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, and Gironde. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Kandahar and anti-submarine trawler HMS Moonstone forced Italian submarine Galileo Galilei to surface with depth charges in the Gulf of Aden. Galileo Galilei attempted to fight HMS Moonstone with her deck gun, and HMS Moonstone returned fire, killing the Italian captain. Galileo Galilei was captured and towed to Aden by HMS Kandahar and would be renamed X 2 and would be used for training purposes. [CPC]
  • Orion captured Norwegian ship Tropic Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lord Beaverbrook, the Minster of Aircraft Production, announced that British aircraft production had since 10 May 1940 exceeded losses from all causes. [Main Article | AC]
Jersey
  • James Lacey was relocated to the island of Jersey in the English Channel together with the No. 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron RAF. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Jun 1940
French refugees on a road near Gien, France, 19 Jun 1940
20 Jun 1940
  • Although the French had already reached out to Rome for peace, the Italians were determined to capture French territory in order to bargain for colonial holdings in North Africa; 32 divisions organized in 2 armies stood ready on the Italian-French border. Meanwhile, German troops captured Brest and Lyons. 9,000 Polish soldiers fighting in France were evacuated from Bayonne aboard the Polish ships Batory and Sobieksi. Also on this date, British RAF bombers attacked the German-controlled airfield at Rouen, France. [Main Article | TH]
  • The British Parliament met in a secret joint session to discuss the defense against a potential German invasion. [CPC]
  • Five weeks after the German conquest of the Netherlands, Dutch civilians began to be conscripted as forced laborers. During the war, 431,500 Dutch civilians would meet this fate. [CPC]
  • German battlecruiser Gneisenau and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper departed Trondheim, Norway for operations near Iceland as a diversion for battleship Scharnhorst's cruise to Kiel, Germany for repairs. British submarine HMS Clyde detected Gneisenau and hit her with a torpedo 80 miles northwest of Trondheim and forced her to return for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battlecruiser Gneisenau and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper departed Trondheim, Norway for operations near Iceland as a diversion for battleship Scharnhorst's cruise to Kiel, Germany for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-30, U-38, U-48, and U-122 each sank a merchant vessel in the waters surrounding the United Kingdom and in the Bay of Biscay. In total, 61 were killed and 68 survived. [CPC]
  • Bureau of Ships was established in the United States with Rear Admiral Samuel M. Robinson as its chief; this new bureau replaced the former Bureau of Construction and Repair and the former Bureau of Engineering. Also, Office of Undersecretary of the Navy was created in the United States for duration of national emergency. [CPC]
  • USS Quincy reached Montevideo, Uruguay, as part of the American effort to counteract German propaganda in Latin America. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer USS O'Brien reached Buenos Aires, Argentina. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vichy France opened northern Indochina to Japanese military mission and supporting troops. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light cruiser Voroshilov was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Robert von Greim was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • Light cruiser USS Phoenix departed Lahaina, Maui, US Territory of Hawaii for the Panama Canal Zone. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • After sundown and into the next date, Lorraine bombarded Italian positions at Bardia, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Portugal
  • Destroyer USS Herbert departed Lisbon, Portugal for French Morocco. [CPC]
Russia
  • Lavrentiy Beria sent Joseph Stalin a list containing names of 232 Soviet prisoners of war returned by Finland and recommended everyone on the list to be executed; in fact, 158 of them had already been killed. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • American cruiser USS Vincennes and destroyers USS Truxton and USS Simpson arrived at New York, New York, United States with 200 tons of gold from the French reserves. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Jun 1940
  • French cruisers El Djezair, El Kantara, El Mansour, Ville d'Oran, and Ville d'Alger arrived at Casablanca, French Morocco with 1,200 tons of French gold. [CPC]
  • French and German representatives met to negotiate peace at the 1918 Armistice site at Compiègne, France, using the very same rail carriage where the WW1 armistice, brought from a French museum, for the negotiations. Hitler personally attended the negotiation, but at 1530 hours abruptly left the meeting to show disrespect for the French. At 2030 hours, French General Huntzinger called his government and informed that the Germans allowed no room for negotiations and demanded harsh terms; he was told to accept the German terms. Meanwhile, in southern France, the 32 Italian divisions deployed on the French border marched through the Little Saint Bernard Pass in the Alps and along the French Riviera; some of the Italians were met with a heavy snow storm and the latter halted by a very small group of French troops at Menton, which was about 5 miles from the border. According to the diary of Galeazzo Ciano, Benito Mussolini was extremely embarrassed by the inability of his troops to break through the French lines. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-28 sank British decoy ship HMS Prunella south of Ireland. 2 men were killed, 54 were missing and would be never found, and 40 were rescued. [CPC]
  • An German Ar 196 aircraft from battlecruiser Scharnhorst mistook German submarine U-99 for an enemy submarine and damaged her with a bomb. U-99 was already en route back to Wilhelmshaven, Germany with a sick sailor; she would now require a longer time to complete repairs. [CPC]
  • The Estonian Independent Signal Battalion engaged in fighting with Soviet troops at Raua Street in Tallinn, Estonia. The Estonians would be defeated during the night. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder met with Adolf Hitler to discuss the invasion of Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
Brazil
  • Heavy cruiser USS Wichita, with Commander Cruiser Division Seven Rear Admiral Andrew C. Pickens embarked, arrived at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil en route to join heavy cruiser USS Quincy at Montevideo, Uruguay. [CPC]
Canada
  • The first successful west-to-east navigation of Northwest Passage began at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. [CPC]
French Morocco
  • Destroyer USS Herbert arrived at Casablanca, French Morocco. [CPC]
Guernsey
  • As the British evacuated from Guernsey, the control of the island was turned over to a Controlling Committee under the presidency of Attorney General Ambrose Sherwill. [CPC]
Jersey
  • Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey James Murray Robert Harrison was withdrawn to Britain, leaving Bailiff Alexander Coutanche the sole civilian leader. [CPC]
Portugal
  • Destroyer USS Dickerson departed Lisbon, Portugal for Bilbao, Spain. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Jun 1940
Carrier Graf Zeppelin under construction, Kiel, Germany, 21 Jun 1940William Shirer and another journalist reporting on the French surrender, Compiègne, France, 21-22 Jun 1940
22 Jun 1940
  • At Compiègne, France, in the very same rail carriage and at the same location as when the WW1 armistice was signed, French General Huntzinger and German General Keitel signed the armistice at 1830 hours to end the invasion of France. Meanwhile, France dispatched officials to go to Rome to negotiate peace with Italy. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarines sank two cargo ships and two tankers south of Ireland and in the Bay of Biscay. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-122 became missing in the Atlantic Ocean somewhere off of the British coast; the crew of 49 were never seen again. [CPC]
  • The US Congress adopted national defense tax measures designed to yield US$994,300,000 per year. [CPC]
Egypt
  • Duguay-Trouin was interned by the British at Alexandria, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Yosuke Matsuoka was named the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Japanese Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoe's new government. [Main Article | CPC]
Spain
  • Destroyer USS Dickerson arrived at Bilbao, Spain to safeguard American interests. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain, the second evacuation plan by the London County council resulted in over 100,000 children being evacuated to the west. [TH]
  • Charles de Gaulle broadcast a speech from London, England, United Kingdom on the BBC; in this broadcast, he used the term Free French for the first time, while declaring himself the French leader in exile. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Foreign Secretary Halifax had his undersecretary Richard Butler contact Swedish Minister in London, England, United Kindom Björn Prytz for a possible Anglo-German negotiations. Germans intercepted Prytz's report back to Stockholm and concluded that the war with Britain was likely to end by the end of the summer. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Communist Party of Great Britain published a manifesto calling for a "People's Government", claiming that "the same kind of leaders who brought France to defeat are in high places in Britain". Furthermore the manifesto called upon workers to oust their own ruling classes which would encourage German workers to bring down Adolf Hitler. [AC]
  • Noor Inayat Khan arrived at Falmouth, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom with her family. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Jun 1940
Hermann Göring, Rudolf Heß, Adolf Hitler, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Walther von Brauchitsch before the railroad car that hosted the French surrender, Compiègne, France, 22 Jun 1940Keitel in front of the rail car that hosted the German surrender of 1918 and would soon host the French surrender of 1940, Compiègne, France, 22 Jun 1940French Minister of Defense General Charles Huntzinger signing the Franco-German armistice document, Compiègne, France, 22 Jun 1940Hitler (hand on hip) looking at statue of F. Foch before meeting with French delegation for negotiation of the armistice document, Compiègne, France, 22 Jun 1940; still from 1943 film
See all photos dated 22 Jun 1940
23 Jun 1940
  • Battleship Bismarck entered floating drydock No. V-VI to install propellers and the MES magnetic system. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Using information from Italian submarine Galileo Galilei (captured on 19 Jun), British sloop HMS Shoreham located Italian submarine Evangelista Torricelli and forced her to surface with depth charges. Evangelista Torricelli engaged three British destroyers, HMS Kandahar, HMS Kingston, and HMS Khartoum, with her deck gun, but was sunk near Perim Island at the mouth of the Red Sea. Later in the day, HMS Khartoum was badly damaged when one of her own torpedoes explodes on deck, killing one. Khartoum was beached on Perim Island to prevent sinking, but she would eventually be declared lost. [CPC]
  • French Army Commander-in-Chief General Maxime Weygand expelled Charles de Gaulle from the French Army. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-99, damaged on 21 Jun by German battlecruiser Scharnhorst in a friendly fire incident, was en route to Wilhelmshaven, Germany for repairs when she was bombed by friendly aircraft twice on this date; she suffered only minor additional damage. [CPC]
  • The German ambassador in Spain noted that the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, was traveling through Portugal. [CPC]
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov sent German Ambassador Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg a message noting that the Soviet Union would like to gain Bessarabia and Bukovina from Romania. This greatly alarmed the German OKW as the German military was dependent on Romania as a source of oil and fodder. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British Long Range Desert Patrol (later to become the Long Range Desert Group) was formed under the command of Major Ralph Bagnold to undertake long-range reconnaissance patrols behind Italian lines in North Africa. [AC]
France
  • Adolf Hitler arrived in Paris, France and did some sightseeing early in the morning; this would be his only visit to Paris. Although Germany and France had already signed an armistice, fighting between Italy and France continued while French delegates negotiated in Rome; General Huntzinger, who signed the German-French armistice at Compiègne on 22 Jun, was once again the a member of the French delegation. [Main Article | TH]
French Morocco
  • Destroyer USS Herbert departed Casablanca, French Morocco for to Lisbon, Portugal with American refugees. [CPC]
Portugal
  • Portuguese police arrested American 30 sailors of light cruiser USS Trenton in a street brawl in Santo Amaro Oerias outside of Lisbon. Three Americans were injured during the arrest. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Jun 1940
Erwin Rommel in the Paris, France victory parade, late Jun 1940German troops marching in Paris, France, late Jun 1940Adolf Hitler inspecting troops in France with Günther von Kluge, Jun 1940Speer, Hitler, and sculptor Arno Breker in Paris, France, 23 Jun 1940
See all photos dated 23 Jun 1940
24 Jun 1940
  • British commandos launched an aborted raid on Le Touquet, France. [TH]
  • As French warships scattered throughout Dakar, Casablanca, Algiers, and Mers-el-Kébir in French colonies in Africa, Alexandria in Egypt, and Plymouth and Portsmouth and Britain, French Admiral Darlan promised British Prime Minister Churchill that they would not fall into German hands. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 sank Panamanian ship Cathrine with the deck gun about 300 miles west of Land's End in southwestern England. As the entire crew of 19 escaped to lifeboats, they were given food and red wine by the crew of U-47 before being set adrift for their eventual rescue. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British sloop HMS Falmouth sank Italian submarine Luigi Galvani in the Gulf of Oman. [CPC]
  • Japan requested Britain to close the Burma Road, a land supply route into China. [CPC]
Germany
  • Robert von Greim was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • The Franco-Italian armistice was signed at Villa Olgiata near Rome, Italy by French General Huntziger and Italian General Badoglio. Fighting would continue until the following day when the agreement would take effect. [Main Article | TH]
Malta
  • Malta received its first strike aircraft with the arrival and creation of No. 830 Squadron with Fairey Swordfish Mk.1 aircraft; they were left behind by HMS Argus when she departed the Mediterranean Sea. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • Charles Edison resigned as the Secretary of the Navy of the United States; Lewis Compton, Assistant Secretary of the Navy since 9 Feb 1940, took over as the acting secretary. [CPC]
  • Rear Admiral Charles A. Blakely relieved Rear Admiral Joseph R. Defrees as the Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District and the Commandant of the Naval Operating Base in San Diego, California, United States. [CPC]
25 Jun 1940
  • An act by the United States Congress abolished the US Navy Construction Corps. [CPC]
  • Destroyer USS O'Brien departed Buenos Aires, Argentina for Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Franco-German Armistice, signed on 22 Jun, took effect at 0030 hours. After fighting ceased, French losses totaled 92,000 killed, 250,000 wounded, and 1,500,000 captured. British losses were 68,111 killed, wounded, or captured. German losses were 29,640 killed and 133,573 wounded and missing. Italian losses were 631 killed, 4,782 wounded, and 616 missing. France declared a National day of mourning, while Hitler ordered the flying of flags and pealing of bells in Germany to celebrate "the most glorious victory of all time". [Main Article | CPC]
  • After the Germans made the French surrender at Compiègne, France, the site of the German surrender in 1918, Adolf Hitler ordered the site destroyed, including the rail car used for both 1918 and 1940 surrenders. The statue of Marshal Ferdinand Foch was spared. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-51 attacked Allied convoy OA-172 about 370 miles west of Land's End in southwestern England between 1545 and 1930 hours, sinking British steamer Windsorwood (all 40 survived) and British tanker Saranac (4 killed, 39 survived). [CPC]
  • Canadian destroyers HMCS Fraser and HMCS Restigouche and British cruiser HMS Calcutta were sent to evacuate 4,000 Allied troops near Bordeaux, France. En route, in rough seas and poor visibility, HMCS Fraser collided with HMS Calcutta. The smaller Canadian destroyer broke into three pieces and sank. 47 of Fraser's crew and 19 of Calcutta's crew were killed. [CPC]
  • British Minister of Health Malcolm MacDonald returned to Dublin, Ireland with a proposal from Winston Churchill for a joint union between Eire and Ulster to afford sanctruary for British troops and Irish ports for Royal Navy use. [AC]
  • The Franco-German armistice became effective, officially ending all hostilities. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lord Gort departed Britain by flying boat for Rabat, French Morocco to speak with French ministers; political situations would prevent him from successfully meeting with the French. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Isolationist advertising appeared in the American newspaper New York Times; Germany secretly funded this advertising. [CPC]
  • Working together with the Germans, Spain agreed to assist with the German attempt to detain the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • Pierre François Boisson was named the Governor-General of French West Africa. [CPC]
Germany
  • Wolfgang Falck arrived at Düsseldorf, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Jun 1940
Map detailing the German and Italian advances in France, 13-25 Jun 1940Damaged dock facilities and sunken tug boat at Brest, France, Jun 1940
26 Jun 1940
  • General de Gaulle created the French Volunteer Legion in United Kingdom. [Main Article | TH]
  • The United Kingdom extended the blockade to include the all of France. [TH]
  • Norwegian merchant ship Crux was sunk 300 miles west of Cape St. Vincent, Portugal at 0228 hours by a German submarine; the crew of 30 took to lifeboats and would be rescued on the following day. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-29 stopped Greek ship Dimitris with a shot across her bow off Cape Finisterre, Spain at 1530 hours. After the crew abandoned ship, the Greek ship was sunk by gunfire. [CPC]
  • Soviet Union presented an ultimatum demanding territory in Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from Romania. Adolf Hitler suggested the Romanians government to give in and satisfy the Soviet demands as Hitler was fearful that Romanian resistance might lead to a Soviet occupation of the entire Romania, which would threaten the oil and fodder that the German military was dependent upon. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Corvette Trillium was launched. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The French Foreign Minister of the Bordeaux Government announced that the French Ambassador in London, M. Corbin, had resigned. [AC]
  • Wolfgang Falck was officially named the commanding officer of the German nightfighters, Nachtjagdfliegerdienst. [Main Article | CPC]
  • RMS Queen Mary, with 5,000 British troops aboard, set sail for the Middle East. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow, Russia called for a 7-day work week and banned the quitting of jobs without official authorization. Also, being late to work for more than 20 minutes was now a criminal offense punishable by prison terms of two to six months. [CPC]
United States
  • Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, United States received the license from Rolls-Royce to build Merlin engines for the P-51 Mustang fighters. [Main Article | CPC, DS]
27 Jun 1940
  • German forces reached the Franco-Spanish border. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-47 shelled Norwegian merchant ship Lenda off southwest Ireland at 0400 hours; 1 was killed and 27 survived. At 1700 hours, U-47 shelled Dutch tanker Leticia in the same area; 25 of the crew took to lifeboats, while the other 3 who dove into the water were rescued by U-47 and brought to the lifeboats; the crew of U-47 offered the survivors first aid material, sausages, and wine before leaving. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Romania ceded Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt declared a national emergency and re-invoked the Espionage Act of 1917 to control shipping in American waters and in waters near the Panama Canal Zone. On the same day, he also established the National Defense Research Committee under chairman Vannevar Bush to coordinate the development of war related sciences and technologies. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heavy cruiser USS Wichita, with Commander Cruiser Division Seven Rear Admiral Andrew C. Pickens aboard, departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [CPC]
  • Destroyer USS O'Brien arrived at Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The escaping French battleship Jean Bart, which had been fitting out at Saint-Nazaire when France fell, reached safety at Casablanca, French Morocco. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • Despite Admiral Darlan's previous assurances that French ships would not fall into German hands, the British War Cabinet ordered the Royal Navy to seize or destroy all French warships in British and North African ports. In turn, Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville was ordered to take the newly-formed Force H to Algeria. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The keel for battleship Iowa was laid down at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard in New York, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Jun 1940
Submarine Gar under construction, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 27 Jun 1940; topside view looking aftRear Admiral Clark Woodward driving the first rivet for battleship Iowa at the keel laying ceremony, New York Naval Shipyard, New York, United States, 27 Jun 1940
28 Jun 1940
  • Soviet Union occupied Bessarabia and the Northern Bukovina, ceded by Romania. [Main Article | TH]
  • General Charles de Gaulle was recognized by the United Kingdom as the leader of Free French forces. [Main Article | TH]
  • Pope Pius XII offered to be a mediator for the warring powers. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Blenheim bomber attacked Tobruk in North Africa. Following the raid, Italian Governor-General of Libya Marshal Italo Balbo returned from a reconnaissance flight. Italian anti-aircraft crews, still jumpy from the raid, mis-identified his aircraft for a British bomber and opened fire, killing Balbo. Given Balbo's opposition to Mussolini's alliance with Germany, some believe this friendly fire incident was actually an assassination. [TH]
  • German submarine U-30 sank British ship Llanarth 250 miles west of Brest, France at 0200 hours. [CPC]
  • British trawler Castleton became missing in the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland, probably sunk by U-102 which did not return from this patrol. [CPC]
  • Stafford Cripps was appointed the British Ambassador to the Soviet Union. [CPC]
Guernsey
  • The British Channel Islands were partially evacuated after being demilitarized to minimize casualties to be caused by the imminent German attacks. On the same day, German Luftwaffe aircraft bombed Guernsey and Jersey, killing 33 and injuring 40. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • Douglas Bader was named the commanding officer of No. 242 Squadron RAF, flying Hurricane fighters, based at RAF Coltishall at Norwich, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Jun 1940
Soviet BA-10 armored cars entering Romania, late Jun 1940Soviet T-26 tank leading a column of BA-10 armored cars into Romania, circa late Jun 1940Soviet BA-10 armored cars in Romania, circa late Jun 1940
29 Jun 1940
  • Operation Catapult: The British Admiralty gave Vice Admiral Somerville explicit instructions to secure the transfer, surrender, or destruction of the French warships at Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria. Force H under his command consisted of battleships HMS Valiant and HMS Resolution, battlecruiser HMS Hood, aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, cruisers HMS Arethusa and HMS Enterprise, and 11 destroyers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 was again subjected to friendly fire. Upon leaving Wilhelmshaven, Germany, she was attacked by a German aircraft with 3 bombs. She dove under the surface to avoid the bombs, but sustained minor damage when she hit the sea floor. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-51 sank British decoy ship HMS Edgehill with three torpedoes southwest of Ireland. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 torpedoed and sank British ship Empire Toucan southwest of Ireland, which broke in half; 3 were killed and 31 were rescued. Destroyer HMS Hurricane scuttled the aft portion of the ship which remained afloat. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-26 sank Greek steamer Frangoula B. Goulandris southwest of Ireland; 6 were killed and 32 were rescued. [CPC]
  • Destroyer USS O'Brien departed Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil for Santos, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler arrived at his headquarters at Tannenberg in southern Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Maximilian von Weichs was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt departed Washington DC, United States aboard the yacht Potomac; the ship was accompanied by auxiliary vessel Cuyahoga. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Jun 1940
  • German submarine U-65 and U-43 attacked Allied convoy SL-25 300 files west of Brest, France. At 2227 hours, U-43 sank British ship Avelona Star; 1 was killed and 84 were rescued. U-65 damaged British ship Clan Ogilvy, which would need to be towed away; she would remain out of commission until Oct 1940. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 sank Greek ship Georgios Kyriakides west of Ireland; all 30 crew members survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • As of this date, the US Navy reported the strength of 1,099 vessels and 203,127 personnel (160,997 Navy, 28,384 Marine Corps, and 13,766 Coast Guard). In a separate report, the US Marine Corps reported the active duty strength to be 1,732 officers and 26,545 enlisted men for the total of 28,277. [CPC]
  • Heavy cruiser USS Wichita, with Commander Cruiser Division Seven Rear Admiral Andrew C. Pickens aboard, arrived at Montevideo, Uruguay, joining USS Quincy that was already there. The visit was "to furnish a reminder of the strength and the range of action of the armed forces of the United States". [CPC]
  • Alfred Jodl noted in his diary that the United Kingdom was certain to fall in time, regardless of the fact whether an actual invasion was necessary. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-26 sank Estonian ship Merkur (killing 4) and Norwegian ship Belmoira (all 25 crew members survived) off of France. [CPC]
Guernsey
  • Three German personnel landed on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel by aircraft and demanded surrender from a local policeman. [TH]
  • A German reconnaissance aircraft landed on Guernsey in the Channel Islands and unofficially received the surrender of the islanders. [CPC]
Russia
  • Submarine S-7 was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt returned to Washington DC, United States after touring the Potomac River aboard the presidential yacht Potomac. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Jun 1940
Battleship North Carolina off New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, late Jun 1940
1 Jul 1940
  • German forces took Jersey, completing the occupation of the Channel Islands. [TH]
  • Marshal Philippe Pétain's government moved to from Bordeaux to Vichy, France. [TH]
  • Germany requested neutral nations to withdraw their diplomatic missions from Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, and Luxembourg. [TH]
  • By this date, about 900,000 tons of Allied shipping had been sunk by German U-boats in 6 months of war. [TH]
  • British milk price ceiling was increased to 4 pence per pint. [CPC]
  • Operation Seelöwe (Sealion), a plan for the invasion of Britain, was first mentioned by the German General Staff. On the same day, German bombers began a campaign against British industrial centers, beginning with a daylight raid on Hull, England and Wick, Scotland, killing 12 and wounding 22. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines attacked various Allied ships off the French coast. 300 miles west of Brest at 0400 hours, U-30 sank British ship Beignon of Allied convoy SL-36, 6 were killed, 30 crew and 81 survivors of British ship Avelona Star, sunk on the previous day, were rescued. U-102 sank British ship Clearton of Allied convoy SL-36, killing 8; British destroyer HMS Vansittart found U-102 and sank her with depth charges, killing the entire crew of 43; 26 survivors from Clearton were picked up by HMS Vansittart. U-65 sank Dutch ship Amstelland; 1 was killed and 39 survived. U-29 sank Greek ship Adamastos; all 25 crew members survived. Meanwhile, southwest of Ireland, German submarine U-26 damaged British steamer Zarian of Allied convoy OA-175; British corvette HMS Gladiolus forced U-26 to surface with depth charges, which was then bombed by a Sunderland aircraft of the No. 10 Squadron RAAF; the crew of U-26 scuttled the boat before surrendering. [Main Article | CPC]
  • King Carol II of Romania renounced the guarantees given to him by the United Kingdom in 1939 and announced that hence-forward his country's alliegance would be with Germany. [AC]
  • Joseph Stalin told his Ambassador to Tokyo that the non-aggression pact with Germany "was dictated by the desire to unleash war in Europe". [AC]
  • British RAF Fighter Command chief Hugh Dowding's son Derek became a pilot with the No. 74 Squadron. [CPC]
  • Quintin Brand was promoted to the temporary rank of air vice marshal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The responsibility for nuclear fission research in the United States was transferred to the National Defense Research Committee under Vannevar Bush. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Rodolfo Graziani was named the Governor-General of Italian Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer USS O'Brien arrived at Santos, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US Navy issued contracts for the construction of 44 new ships. [CPC]
  • US Navy awarded a US$30,870,000 contract to build naval facilities across the Pacific. [CPC]
  • Albrecht Lanz was declared the military governor of the Channel Islands. [CPC]
  • Maximilian von Weichs was promoted to the rank of Generaloberst. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • US Ambassador to France William C. Bullitt met with French Marshal Philippe Pétain, who ensured that orders had been given "to every captain of the French Fleet to sink his ship rather than permit [it] to fall into German hands". Later on the same day, Bullitt visited French Admiral François Darlan, who noted that French ships had been ordered to sail for Martinique and Guantanamo should there be a risk that the Germans would gain the French fleet, and if sailing not possible, the ships would be scuttled. [Main Article | CPC]
Guernsey
  • German troops landed on the island of Guernsey off the French coast, meeting no opposition. [CPC]
Jersey
  • German troops landed on the island of Jersey off the French coast, meeting no opposition. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British liner Arandora Star departed Liverpool, England for Canada with 479 German and 734 Italian civilian internees, 86 German prisoners of war, and 374 British crew and guards. Some of the civilian internees were Jewish refugees who had previously been able to escape from Nazi Germany. Arandora Star failed to display a red cross to denote that she was carrying civilians and prisoners of war. [CPC]
  • The Free French government-in-exile established its own Military Intelligence Service under Major André Dewavrin - Service de Renseignements. [AC]
  • Winston Churchill recorded in his diary that during a meeting with the US Ambassador, Joseph Kennedy had stated that Britain was beaten and that Adolf Hitler would be in London by the 15th of August. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • The Headquarters Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force was established at the Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California, United States under Brigadier General Ross E. Rowell. [CPC]
  • The noted American aviator James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle was recalled to active service as a Major and began assisting US car manufacturers as they switched to aircraft production. [Main Article | AC]
2 Jul 1940
  • The British government canceled the Aug 1940 bank holiday. [CPC]
  • The US Congress passed the Export Control Act, giving the US President the power to control the export of military equipment whenever he thought it was "necessary in the interest of national defense". [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-47 sank the British liner Arandora Star off the coast of Ireland; the liner was carrying 1,500 Italian and German prisoners of war to Canada. [Main Article | TH]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler ordered the planning to begin for Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain. [TH]
Guernsey
  • German troops traveled from Guernsey to the islands of Alderney and Sark in the Channel Islands, meeting no opposition. [CPC]
3 Jul 1940
  • Due to such heavy losses from the Luftwaffe the British suspended all traffic through the English Channel. Meanwhile, the British decided that harbors on the Channel coast and German shipping should be the primary targets of bombing. [TH]
  • Battle of Mers-el-Kébir: At 0545 hours, Vice Admiral James Somerville and his British Royal Navy Force H arrived off of Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria where a power fleet under French Admiral Marcel Gensoul resided. At 1756 hours, after Gensoul refused to surrender, the British fleet opened fire for 10 minutes. The magazine of French battleship Bretagne was hit, sinking her, taking down 977 French sailors. Battleship Provence, battleship Dunkerque, and destroyer Mogador were damaged. In total, 1,297 French sailors were killed and 350 were wounded. After the battle, French battleship Strasbourg, carrier Commandant Teste, and four destroyers were able to escape from Mers-el-Kébir. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General Franz Halder, the German Army Chief of Staff, asked his staff to consider a "military blow" in the east, to keep the Soviet armed forces at arm's length. [Main Article | AC]
  • At dawn, the British Royal Navy boarded two French battleships, nine destroyers, and a number of other smaller warships that were docked at Plymouth and Portsmouth, England; 3 British and 1 French sailors were killed. [CPC]
  • Upon hearing the news of British attacks on French warships, six French cruisers and 4 destroyers left various ports in Algiers for Toulon, France. They were attacked by British Swordfish carrier aircraft from HMS Ark Royal en route, but they would arrive at Toulon on 4 Jul 1940. [CPC]
  • German Luftwaffe aircraft bombed Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Tautog was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British founded the Long Range Desert Group under the command of Acting Brigadier Ralph Bagnold with purpose of long range reconnaissance patrols behind the Italian lines, into Libya, to gather intelligence. [AC]
  • USS Wichita and USS Quincy departed Montevideo, Uruguay for Brazilian waters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS O'Brien departed Santos, Brazil, for Pará, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
Egypt
  • British Navy Vice Admiral Sir Andrew Cunnigham demanded the French warships under French Admiral René-Émile Godfroy, docked at Alexandria in Egypt, to surrender. Negotiations would continue until 7 Jul 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • USS Phoenix arrived at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone. [Main Article | CPC]
Spain
  • Destroyer USS Dickerson departed Bilbao, Spain. [CPC]
  • USS Dickerson departed Bilbao, Spain, for Lisbon, Portugal. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Jul 1940
French battleship Strasbourg under attack at Mers-el-Kébir, French Algeria, 3 Jul 1940French destroyer Mogador burning after being damaged at the Battle of Mers-el-Kébir, French Algeria, 3 Jul 1940French battleship Bretagne under attack during the Battle of Mers-el-Kébir, French Algeria, 3 Jul 1940French warships during Battle of Mers-el-Kébir, French Algeria, 3 Jul 1940
See all photos dated 3 Jul 1940
4 Jul 1940
  • Despite having his left leg shattered by a bomb blast, British Leading Seaman Jack Mantle continued to fire his anti-aircraft guns as the merchant cruiser HMS Foylebank sank beneath him during an air raid on Portland naval base in England, United Kingdom. Mantle was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross medal. [AC]
Algeria
  • British submarine HMS Pandora sank French gunboat Rigault de Genouilly off Oran, Algeria at 1530 hours. [Main Article | TH]
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
  • Italians forces captured a number of British forts, including Kassala and Gallabat, in East Africa. The Italian forward units paused to establish anti-tank defenses. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Kanalkampf: German Stuka dive bombers and motored torpedo boats attacked British Allied Convoy OA178 south of Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom, which was near Portland. Five merchant ships were sunk, which were British ships Elmcrest and Dallas City, Dutch ships Britsum and Decalion, and Estonian ship Kolga; several other ships were damaged. Meanwhile, German aircraft bombed the Royal Navy base in Portland, sinking British auxiliary anti-aircraft ship Foyle Bank, killing 176, as well as tug boat Silverdial. [Main Article | TH]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China in multiple waves. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • French battleship Strasbourg and four destroyers arrived at Toulon, France after fleeing from the Battle of Mers-el-Kébir. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Marseillaise arrived at Toulon, France. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Vichy French government broke off all relations with the United Kingdom. [TH]
French West Africa
  • The French Navy ordered submarines, armed merchant cruisers, and destroyers based in Dakar to sortie to attack British shipping. [Main Article | TH]
Gibraltar
  • French bombers attacked the British fleet at Gibraltar, causing no damage. [Main Article | TH]
Guernsey
  • The Dame of Sark, ruler of the island of Sark in the English Channel, surrendered to the German forces. [CPC]
  • Sark in the Channel Islands, having been occupied by the Germans since two days prior, officially surrendered. [CPC]
Malta
  • Italian bombers again raided Malta. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill received his first standing ovation in the House of Commons as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after delivering a speech justifying the attack on French warships. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 Jul 1940
Tautog
5 Jul 1940
  • Romania announced that it had joined the Axis Powers. [Main Article | TH]
  • RAF launched night bombing raids on Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, Germany. [Main Article | TH]
  • The United States banned the trade of strategic materials with Japan. [CPC]
  • Nine British Royal Navy Swordfish aircraft of 813 Squadron from HMS Eagle flew 100 miles west from Sidi Barrani, Egypt to attack the Italian naval base at Tobruk, Libya. Destroyer Zeffiro was sunk, destroyer Euro's bow was blown off, troop transport Liguria was damaged and was beached to prevent sinking, merchant vessel Manzoni was sunk, and merchant vessel Serenitas was damaged. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-34 sank British destroyer Whirlwind off Land's End, southwestern tip of England, United Kingdom. 50 miles southwest of Ireland, U-34 torpedoed British destroyer HMS Whirlwind, killing 59; 51 survivors were rescued by destroyer HMS Westcott before Wescott scuttled Whirlwind. Also off Ireland, U-99 damaged Canadian steamer Magog, breaking her into two; the stern section sank immediately, but the remainder of the ship remained afloat largely due to the timber she was carrying; 23 survivors were rescued by Swedish merchant ship Fidra. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German auxiliary minesweepers M1803 (trawler Spitzbergen), M1806 (trawler Cuxhaven), and M1807 (trawler Mulsum) attacked and damaged British submarine HMS Shark in Boknafjord near Stavanger, Norway at 2200 hours. [CPC]
  • Vichy France broke off diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt used the power given by the Export Control Act, which was was just passed into law three days prior, to restrict the export of strategic minerals, strategic chemicals, aircraft engines, aircraft engine parts, and other equipment to Japan without special license. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Wichita and USS Quincy arrived in Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hitler presented the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross to Generalluftzeumeister Ernst Udet, the Director General of Luftwaffe Equipment. [AC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler departed from his headquarters at Tannenberg in southern Germany, returning to Berlin. [Main Article | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • USS Phoenix departed Balboa, Panama Canal Zone for Valparaiso, Chile. [Main Article | CPC]
Portugal
  • USS Omaha relieved USS Trenton as Rear Admiral David M. LeBreton's flagship for Squadron 40-T at Lisbon, Portugal. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Operation Fish: British battleship HMS Revenge, cruiser HMS Bonaventure, destroyer HMS Garth, and troop transports Monarch of Bermuda, Sobieski, and Batory departed Greenock, Scotland at 0545 hours. The cargo of US$1,750,000,000 worth of gold and securities from the Bank of England was destined for the Bank of Canada's vault in Ottawa. They would arrive at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada safely on 12 Jul. [CPC]
  • In Britain, the south coast of England for twenty miles inland from Bexhill was declared to be a "Defence Area". [AC]
United States
  • Admiral James O. Richardson arrived in Washington DC, United States to meet with US President Franklin Roosevelt, officials from the Department of the Navy, and the State Department regarding the retention of the US Fleet in Hawaiian waters. [CPC]
6 Jul 1940
  • The first German U-boat base in France was opened at Lorient. [TH]
  • German aircraft and minesweepers sank four British submarines (Narwhal, Spearfish, Shark, and Thames). [TH]
  • Operation Lever: British Royal Navy Force H under Vice Admiral James Somerville returned to Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria. At dawn, Swordfish aircraft from carrier HMS Ark Royal scored several torpedo hits on French battleship Dunkerque, killing 154 and wounding 8. One torpedo hit patrol boat Terre Neuve, detonating depth charges, killing 8; shock waves from the explosion further damaged Dunkerque. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British cruisers HMS Capetown and HMS Caledon and destroyers HMS Janus, HMS Juno, HMS Ilex, and HMS Imperial shelled Bardia, Libya near the Egyptian border at 0537 hours, sinking Italian ship Axum and damaged another merchant ship. Italian bombers arrived at 0820 hours, but caused no damage against the British warships. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Shark, damaged by attacks from German auxiliary minesweepers M1803 (trawler Spitzbergen), M1806 (trawler Cuxhaven), and M1807 (trawler Mulsum) in Boknafjord near Stavanger, Norway on the previous day, became captured by the Germans. She was in the process of being towed by the German ships when she suddenly sank, killing 3. The remaining 32 crew members were rescued and became prisoners of war. [CPC]
  • German radio stations played the song "Denn wir fahren gegen Engeland" for the first time. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-34 sank Estonian collier Vapper south of Cape Clear, Ireland; 1 was killed and 32 took to lifeboats; German submarine U-99, which had chased Vapper for the past 90 minutes, observed the sinking. To the south, U-30 sank Egyptian ship Angele Mabro west of Brest, France, killing all aboard. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 Jul 1940
Ordnance QF 4.5 inch Howitzer and its New Zealand Expeditionary Force crew during an inspection by King George VI at Burley in the New Forest, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, 6 Jul 1940
7 Jul 1940
  • Italy granted France permission to keep her Mediterranean bases armed. [TH]
  • Kanalkampf: Six British fighters were shot down during aerial battles with German aircraft, killing four. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 sank British ship Sea Glory at the very start of the day, killing the entire crew of 29. Toward the end of the day, U-99 struck again, sinking Swedish ship Bissen 80 miles south of Cape Clear, Ireland; the entire crew of 20 survived. Also on this date, U-34 sank Dutch tanker Lucrecia 100 miles west of Land's End in southwestern England, United Kingdom, killing 2; 30 survivors were later rescued by Portuguese ship Alfarrarede. [Main Article | CPC]
Egypt
  • René-Émile Godfroy agreed to keep the French Navy Force X at Alexandra, Egypt, which included the battleship Lorraine and four cruisers, according to British demands. Godfroy secured Andrew Cunningham's pledge that the ships would remain under Godfroy's command and that the sailors would be repatriated. [Main Article | CPC]
French West Africa
  • Operation Catapult: British Swordfish torpedo bombers from carrier HMS Hermes attacked the French battleship Richelieu in dock at Dakar, French West Africa. A torpedo hit caused a 40-foot hole, bringing her to the bottom of the harbor (the harbor was shallow enough for her to be refloated shortly after). [Main Article | CPC]
Guernsey
  • British submarine HMS H43 landed Lieutenant Hubert Nicolle on the Channel Island of Guernsey during the night to collect intelligence for the planned commando raid code named Operation Ambassador. [CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt informed the US Congress that he intended to deploy a US Marine Corps brigade to Iceland. [Main Article | CPC]
8 Jul 1940
  • Expanding on their previous agreement, Sweden allowed Germany to transport war materiel across their rail lines. [TH]
  • British Metropolitan Police was ordered to be armed when guarding important locations. [CPC]
  • Operation Catapult: British Swordfish torpedo bombers from carrier HMS Hermes hit French battleship Richelieu at Dakar, French West Africa for the second consecutive day, despite that Richelieu had already touched bottom from the attacks on the previous day. At Casablanca, French Morocco, British motor torpedo boats attacked French battleship Jean Bart, causing damage. In England, General Charles de Gaulle denounced these attacks by the British. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 sank British ship Humber Arm of Allied convoy HX-53 60 miles south of Ireland at 0753 hours; 42 crew members and 1 passenger were later rescued by destroyer HMS Scimitar. The submarine was attacked with 107 depth charges from various escorting vessels for the following 14 hours, but the German boat under the command of Otto Kretschmer would be able to escape harm. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Marconi torpedoed and damaged destroyer HMS Escort southwest of Minorca, Balearic Islands, in the Mediterranean Sea, killing 2 and wounding 13; HMS Escort would sink later while under tow by destroyer HMS Forester. On the same day, Italian aircraft bombed cruiser HMS Gloucester, hitting the compass platform of the bridge, wounding 9 and killing 12; the commanding officer was among those killed. [CPC]
  • British bombers attacked German heavy cruiser Lützow in dock at Kiel, Germany. Lützow, under repair for extensive torpedo damage to her stern caused by HMS Spearfish on 11 Apr 1940, was hit by a bomb that failed to detonate. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British RAF Fighter Command established the 10 Group for the defense of southwestern Britain. [CPC]
  • USS Wichita and USS Quincy departed Santos, Brazil for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Phoenix departed Valparaiso, Chile for Callao, Peru. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US Joint War Planning Committee completed a plan calling for an expeditionary force to be dispatched from New York, New York, United States to the French colony of Martinique; the US 1st Marine Brigade was earmarked for the initial landing force. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Tea went on ration in Britain at two ounces per person per week. [AC]
9 Jul 1940
  • RAF considered this date the official start of their night bombing campaign against Germany. [TH]
  • British submarine HMS Salmon was lost 60 miles off of Stavanger, Norway; the entire crew of 39 was never heard from again. She was presumed to have hit a naval mine. [TH]
  • The German raider Komet left Bergen, Norway for operations in the Pacific Ocean via the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic Ocean assisted by Russian icebreakers. [TH]
  • British government implemented rationing on tea: each person was allowed 2 ounces of tea per week. [CPC]
  • British House of Commons passed a £1,000,000,000 war credit. [CPC]
  • During the night, 11 British Hampden aircraft (out of 14 dispatched) attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Luftwaffe aircraft attacked shipping in the English Channel and off the British coast. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS O'Brien arrived at Pará, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Nachtjagdgeshchwader 1 wing scored its first kill. [AC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-34 sank Estonian ship Tiiu southwest of Ireland at 1232 hours; the crew of 20 were rescued by a British trawler. In the same general area, at 2119 hours, German submarine U-43 sank British ship Aylesbury; the crew of 35 were rescued by destroyers HMS Harvester and HMS Havelock. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Battle of Calabria: At 1515 hours, 50 miles south of Italy, heavily escorted Italian convoy for Benghazi, Libya ran into an equally powerful British convoy for Malta. British battleship HMS Warspite hit Italian battleship Giulio Cesare at the range of 24 kilometers, making it one of the longest naval gun hits of the war. Although Italian ships withdrew first, Italian aircraft forced the British ships back by 1700 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Douglas Bader's No. 242 Squadron RAF, based at RAF Coltishall at Norwich, England, United Kingdom, was declared fully operational. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Dianthus was launched at Leith, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • King George VI made a royal visit to RAF Digby during which he presented a Distinguished Flying Cross to Flying Officer Guy Gibson, the future leader of the Dambusters Squadron. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • US Coast Guard cutter Campbell arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, United States with US Consul to Greenland James K. Penfield, Governor of North Greenland E. Brun, and a group of Danish officials on board. They came to Boston to discuss commerce and trade of Greenland as an independent entity due to the German occupation of Denmark. [CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • US Marine Corps Captain Kenneth W. Benner was ordered to continue the survey of Midway Atoll with another officer, 8 enlisted Marines, and 2 US Navy corpsmen. He was to relieve Captain Samuel G. Taxis who had been been there since early Jun 1940 on the same mission. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Jul 1940
Zara firing during the Battle of Calabria, 9 Jul 1940
10 Jul 1940
  • The Japanese deployed the new A6M Zero fighters against Chinese forces. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British government banned the fascist British Union Party. [CPC]
  • The British authorities put 200 Italian prisoners of war, 251 German prisoners of war, 55 British Nazi sympathizers, and 2,036 civilians from Germany (mostly Jewish refugees), collectively categorized as "enemy aliens", on the British troop ship Dunera whose intended passenger capacity was only 1,600. Over the next 57 days, while en route to Australia, these people would be robbed, beaten, and in one case bayoneted by the British guards while many of them suffered from dysentery. Several of the guards were later court-martialed, including Lieutenant Colonel William Scott. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Scirè sank French ship Cheik 54 miles northwest of Sicily, Italy. Cheik's crew was rescued by Scirè. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank British ship Davisan 500 miles of the coast of Florida, United States. The entire crew of Widder was taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-34 sank Finnish ship Petsamo close to the southern coast of Ireland, killing 4. On the same day, U-61 torpedoed Dutch ship Alwaki 10 miles off Cape Wrath, Scotland, United Kingdom; the torpedo failed to detonate, but it knocked a hole in the hull, and the ship listed to port; all 41 crew and 10 passengers aboard were rescued by British ship Harmonic. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Henry Stimson became the United States Secretary of War. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Kanalkampf: A large German aerial formation attacked one of the eight British convoys in the English Channel; the target convoy was code named Bread, escorted by 6 Hurricane fighters. Upon detecting the incoming aircraft, four squadrons of British fighters were launched to counter the attack. At the end of the battle, seven British aircraft were destroyed and one of the Bread ships was sunk. The Germans lost 13 aircraft. This surprising victory led to the British announcing that 10 Jul was the start of the Battle of Britain. Elsewhere, the German Luftwaffe's first major targets on land included the Swansea docks and the Royal Ordnance Factory in Pembrey. The British tanker Tascalusa was sunk during one of the attacks. [Main Article | CPC]
Guernsey
  • British Lieutenant Hubert Nicolle, who had been conducting reconnaissance in the Channel Island of Guernsey, returned to Britain. he reported that there were 469 German soldiers on the island, mainly in St. Peter Port, with machine gun posts 2 to 5 miles away along the coast. He estimated that a commando raid would have 20 minutes to wipe out the machine gun posts before reinforcements from St. Peter Port would arrive. [CPC]
Italy
  • Nine British Swordfish torpedo bombers from carrier HMS Eagle attacked Augusta, Sicily, Italy at 0940 hours, sinking destroyer Leone Pancaldo. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Jul 1940
Hungarian Prime Minister Pál Teleki and Hungarian Foreign Minister István Csáky in München, Germany, 10 Jul 1940; note German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop at left
11 Jul 1940
  • Marshal Philippe Pétain declared himself head of state of the French Republic. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Minister for Aircraft Production Lord Beaverbrook announced that there would be virtually no limit to expenditures on US aircraft, with costs working out to over £2 million per day on planes for the RAF. [Main Article | TH]
  • Battle of Britain: German aircraft attacked the British Royal Navy Base at Portland in southern England; 1 British Hurricane fighter, 2 British Spitfire fighters, 2 German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers, and 2 German Bf 109 fighters were shot down. Off the eastern coast of England Hurricane fighters of No. 66 Squadron RAF attacked a Do 17 bombers on a reconnaissance mission, shooting it down but they also one of their own. Off the coast of Kent, a German rescue seaplane escorted by 12 Bf 109 fighters was shot down by the British while en route to rescue downed German airmen; 2 of the 6 Spitfire fighters and 2 of the 12 Bf 109 fighters were also lost. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis sank British ship City Of Baghdad 400 miles southeast of Ceylon. 2 men were killed and 81 were taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-34 sank Norwegian ship Janna 100 miles southwest of Ireland at 0700 hours. The entire crew of 25 took to lifeboats and would reach Mizen Head, Ireland 3 days later. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Tarantini sank Panamanian tanker Beme 60 miles south of Cyprus. The entire crew was rescued by Tarantini. [CPC]
  • US Army approached 135 American automotive manufacturers to submit designs to replace its existing, aging light motor vehicles. They were told that they must submit their first prototypes within 49 days and have 70 test vehicles prepared in 75 days. [Main Article | DS]
  • Bernard Montgomery was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Frank Knox took office as the US Secretary of the Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Wichita and USS Quincy departed Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil for Santos, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Captain Laurence Wild relieved Captain Edward W. Hanson as Governor of American Samoa and Commandant of Naval Station, Tutuila, Samoa. [CPC]
  • Erich Raeder met with Adolf Hitler at Obersalzberg, München-Oberbayern, Germany to discuss the invasion of Britain and the establishment of navy bases in Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop requested Spain to assist in the detaining of the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Do 17 aircraft off the coast of Norfolk, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Richard Saul was Mentioned in Despatches. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Richard O'Connor was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Pierre Laval became the 120th Prime Minister of France with the title of the Vice President of the Council. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Jul 1940
  • Battle of Britain: German He 111 and Do 17 bombers attacked Allied convoy code named Booty off of Essex and Suffolk, England; 2 British Spitfire fighters and 1 British Hurricane fighter were lost in the battle, but they prevented sinkings. In southern England, German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers attacked Portland and Exeter, losing two aircraft. At Aberdeen, Scotland, a He 111 bomber on a reconnaissance mission was intercepted and shot down, but was able to release one bomb on the city before crashing into the city's ice rink. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Phoenix arrived at Valparaiso, Chile on a mission "to cultivate friendly relations". [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS O'Brien departed Pará, Brazil for La Guaira, Venezuela. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived at Pará, Brazil with Marines for cruisers USS Wichita and USS Quincy. [CPC]
  • The Turkish Prime Minister stated that Turkey intended to remain faithful to her friendships, but that any threat to her independence would be met by resort to arms. [AC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-56 attacked British transport ship Dunera with a torpedo in the North Channel between England, United Kingdom and Ireland; the torpedo glanced off the ship without exploding; the commanding officer of U-56 did not realize that Dunera was carrying, among others, Italian and German prisoners of war bound for Australia. To the southwest, 160 miles southwest of Ireland, German submarine U-99 sank Greek ship Ia at 0200 hours; 3 were killed and 27 were later rescued. At 2300 hours, U-99 struck again and fired a torpedo at Estonian ship Merisaar, but missed; with shots from the deck gun, she stopped the Estonian ship and forced her to sail into the German-occupied French port of Bordeaux (before reaching Bordeaux, however, a German aircraft would sink her on 15 Jul). [Main Article | CPC]
Canada
  • Operation Fish: British ships arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada with US$1,750,000,000 worth of gold and securities from the Bank of England was destined for the Bank of Canada's vault in Ottawa. [CPC]
China
  • Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong ordered his troops to move against Nationalist positions in Jiangsu Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Jean de Lattre de Tassigny was made a Grand Officier of the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • In the Mediterranean Sea, Italian bombers attacked British battleship HMS Warspite and cruiser HMS Liverpool between 0850 and 1150 hours. HMS Liverpool was hit by a dud, but it still killed 1 and wounded 2. One Italian bomber was shot down by a Sea Gladiator carrier biplane fighter from HMS Eagle. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Graf Zeppelin was towed to Gotenhafen, Germany (now Gdynia, Poland). [Main Article | CPC]
Portugal
  • US passenger liner Manhattan departed Lisbon, Portugal with about 800 American citizens and their families fleeing the European War. [CPC]
13 Jul 1940
  • Kanalkampf: German bombers attacked Allied Convoy CS5 near Dover, England; escorting destroyer HMS Vanessa was damaged by near misses and had to be towed to port by destroyer HMS Griffin. Convoy Bread was attacked once again, this time off the Dorset coast; 6 German bombers were shot down while several British fighters were also lost, killing 3 pilots. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German raider Atlantis sank British steamer Kemmendine 500 miles southeast of Ceylon; 57 crew and 25 passengers were taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • German raider Widder sank British ship King John 200 miles northeast of Antigua; 5 crew and 21 survivors of Panamanian ship Santa Margarita (sank on 2 Jul) were taken prisoner. The total prisoner count aboard Widder was now 100, exceeding her capacity, thus some were put to lifeboats so that they could paddle toward islands in the Carribean Sea on their own. [CPC]
  • USS Wichita and USS Quincy (CA-39) arrived at Santos, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Walke and USS Wainwright departed Pará, Brazil for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [CPC]
  • The British Army's new parachute force began training at Ringway Airport, Manchester, England, United Kingdom. [AC]
  • Adolf Hitler met with top German military leaders at Obersalzberg, München-Oberbayern, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov leaked diplomatic communications between Britain and the Soviet Union, which should had been held confidentially between the two countries per general rules of international diplomacy, to Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • While under heavy attack by Axis aircraft, Sea Gladiator aircraft launched from HMS Eagle shot down three Italian bombers in the Mediterranean Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Kichisaburo Nomura was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Tatsuta Maru arrived at San Francisco, California, United States; among the passengers disembarked were 40 Jewish refugees from Russia, Austria, Germany, Norway, and Britain. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
14 Jul 1940
  • Battleship Bismarck departed the drydock after completing the propeller and MES magnetic system installation. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British armed merchant cruiser HMS Esperance Bay departed Plymouth, England at 1250 hours with £10,000,000 in gold. She was intercepted and bombed by German aircraft 100 miles west of the port, killing 7, but she was able to return to Plymouth without losing her cargo. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank British ship Gracefield 500 miles off the coast of Brazil. The crew of 36 was taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-A sank Norwegian tanker Sarita 100 miles west of Cape Verde at 1145 hours. The entire crew of 29 survived and was rescued by British ship Dunstan on 18 Jul. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-52 sank Greek ship Thetis A. off Brest, France at 1818 hours. 9 were killed and 20 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German aircraft attacked the Allied convoys in the English Channel, sinking or damaging only 5 ships despite the large number of aircraft sent. German bombers also attacked RAF airfield at Manston in Kent in southern England, United Kingdom and a destroyer in Swanage Harbor, Dorset, causing little damage. BBC reporter Charles Gardner provided the first eyewitness radio report of the Battle of Britain as he watched German aircraft attacking a convoy in the English Channel. Meanwhile, the British Royal Air Force leadership directed its pilots to ignore German aircraft with Red Cross markings, as such aircraft were suspected of conducting military reconnaissance missions in the English Channel. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vichy French bombers attacked Gibraltar, causing no damage. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British RAF Bomber Command launched raids against two Luftwaffe bases in Germany, with 9 Whitley bombers of No. 102 Squadron hitting Paderborn and 12 Whitley bombers of No. 10 Squadron and No. 51 Squadron hitting Diepholz. [Main Article | CPC]
Guernsey
  • The British commando raid on Guernsey was met with little result. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • Free French leader Charles de Gaulle celebrated Bastille Day at the Cenotaph in London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Jul 1940
  • Italians captured British territories in Kenya. [CPC]
  • Unemployment figure in Britain increased by 60,431 to 827,266 in Jun 1940 when compared to the previous month, but it was still drastically lower than the level one year prior. [CPC]
  • The British Home Office banned fireworks, flying kites, and flying balloons. [CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: Low cloud and rain kept most aircraft grounded, but small formations of German bombers still ventured into British air space. The attack along the Scottish coast was unfruitful, and the raid on the Westland Aircraft factory at Yeovil, Somerset, England damaged one runway and one hangar. German bombers were also sent to attack the convoy code named Pilot, but British fighters drove off the bombers before they reached the convoy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-34 sank Greek ship Evdoxia 40 miles southwest of Ireland at 0321 hours; 1 was killed and 22 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The YO-49 Vigilant prototype aircraft took its first flight with pilot Al Schramm. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Richelieu was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The rector of Old Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom was sentenced to four weeks in prison for ringing his church bell, which violated the 14 Jun 1940 restriction. [CPC]
  • Corvette HMS Godetia was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • The keel of British corvette Mignonette was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of British destroyer HMS Panther was laid down. [CPC]
  • Germany demanded unrestricted access through French North Africa. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-108 was launched. [CPC]
  • The Soviet Union announced that recently held plebiscites in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia revealed that the three Baltic States show near-unanimous support for joining the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Captain Shutoku Miyazato was relieved as the commanding officer of repair ship Akashi. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German aircraft bombed and sank Estonian ship Merisaar off Cobh, County Cork, Ireland. The bombers failed to realize that the ship had been captured by the German Navy back on 12 Jul. The German crew survived the sinking, but would be rescued by the British and would become prisoners of war. [CPC]
Guernsey
  • Operation Ambassador: Destroyers HMS Scimitar and HMS Saladin delivered 140 British commandos to the Channel Island of Guernsey. 40 men from the No. 3 Commando reached the shore on launches, but found their target barracks actually not used by Germans; 37 men returned to the destroyers, leaving 3 who could not swim behind to later become prisoners of war. Elsewhere, some of the launches landed at the Channel Island of Sark by mistake. [CPC]
Poland
  • Erich Mußfeldt was assigned to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Portugal
  • USS Trenton departed Lisbon, Portugal with members of the royal family of the Duchy of Luxembourg aboard. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United States Marine Corps established the Marine Detachment, London in Britain, consisted of the 12th Marine Company. [CPC]
  • Hampden bombers from RAF Hemswell in England, United Kingdom were sent, in one of the most daring attacks of the war, to raid Wilhelmshaven, Germany in an attempt to cripple the Tirpitz and Admiral Scheer. Six aircraft were detailed to attack Tirpitz and two to attack Admiral Scheer. Other aircraft were detailed to carry out diversionary raids. The raid was not a success. Four bombers were shot down and most of the survivors damaged (one was found to have 150 holes on its return). No damage was incurred by the German warships. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Jul 1940
Midshipmen and sailors boarding a 50-foot motor launch from New York, during the summer 1940 US Naval Academy Midshipmen
16 Jul 1940
  • British destroyer HMS Imogen collided with cruiser HMS Glasgow in heavy fog off Pentland Firth and Duncansby Head, in northern Scotland, United Kingdom. She caught fire and was later abandoned, drifting 20 miles before sinking; 17 were killed and 133 were rescued. HMS Glasgow saw 2 killed and suffered a 6-foot hole above the waterline; she would be under repair at Liverpool, England until 4 Sep. [TH]
  • Vichy France revoked the French citizenship of naturalized Jews. Meanwhile, in German-occupied Alsace-Lorraine, 22,000 French citizens were forcibly deported to France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler issued Führer Directive 16 for the preparation of an invasion plan for southern Britain in mid-Aug. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: Low cloud, fog, and heavy rain kept aircraft grounded until the early afternoon. In the mid-afternoon, German bombers crossed the English Channel. One German Ju 88 bomber was shot down over the Isle of Wight by Spitfire fighters of No. 601 Squadron, and one German He 111 bomber was shot down in northeastern Scotland during the bombing of Fraserburgh and Peterhead by Spitfire fighters of No. 603 Squadron. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Phoenix attacked Italian torpedo boat Albatros southeast of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, with all torpedoes missing their target. Albatros responded with torpedoes of her own, sinking HMS Phoenix and killing the entire crew of 55. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank British ship Wendover in the South Atlantic, killing 4 and capturing 36 civilian crew and 1 Royal Navy gunner. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-61 torpedoed British tanker Scottish Minstrel 130 miles northwest of Ireland, killing 9; 32 were later rescued by corvette HMS Gardenia. With her cargo of 9,200 tons of fuel oil burning, the tanker would remain afloat for another day before sinking. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vichy France de-naturalized its Jewish citizens. [CPC]
  • British destroyer Whaddon was launched. [CPC]
  • The keel of British destroyer Dulverton was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of British submarine Saracen was laid down. [CPC]
  • Hugh Dalton was appointed the political chief of the British Special Operations Executive. [CPC]
  • Italian bombers attacked the British base at Haifa, British Mandate of Palestine. [CPC]
  • British and Australian warships bombarded Bardia, Libya. [CPC]
  • Spanish agents met with the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, and warned him that his fellow countrymen were sending him to be the governor of the Bahamas to remove him from power. [CPC]
China
  • 54 Japanese aircraft based in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China attacked Chongqing, China in two waves; 31 Chinese fighters (I-15bis, I-16, and Hawk III models) rose to intercept, claiming damage on several bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
17 Jul 1940
  • The United Kingdom announced that the Burma Road would be closed as it diverted resources to deal with the war at home. [CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: German bombers attacked Bristol in western England and Scottish industrial towns on the east coast. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian bombers sank Finnish ship Wiiri 30 miles off of Malta; the entire crew of 26 survived. [CPC]
  • Admiral of the Fleet Roger Keyes became the first Director of Headquarters, Combined Operations, a War Office department tasked with organising raids against enemy occupied Europe. [AC]
  • After sundown, British bombers attacked Caen, France. [CPC]
  • British mooring vessel HMS Steady struck a mine and sank off Newhaven in southern England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • The keel of British destroyer Beaufort was laid down. [CPC]
  • The German Luftwaffe placed Colonel Josef Kammhuber in charge of organizing nightfighter units to counter British bombings. [CPC]
  • Destroyer USS Plunkett was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • The German OKW assigned forces for the invasion of Britain, planning to put 90,000 men on British shores on the first attack wave. [CPC]
  • Lieutenant Colonel Dunford-Slater, Second Lieutenant Peter Young and Regimental Sergeant Major Harry Beesley landed on the German-occupied island of Guernsey in the first Commando raid of the war. [AC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-34 sank Greek ship Naftilos south of Ireland at 0110 hours (all 28 abandoned the ship, but 1 of them would later die of wounds suffered during this attack); 135 miles northwest of Bloody Foreland, Ireland at 1040 hours, U-43 sank British ship Fellside (12 were killed and 21 were rescued). 120 miles south of Ireland, German bombers sank Estonian ship Leola, killing 2. North of Scotland, United Kingdom, U-57 sank Swedish ship O. A. Brodin (at 0455 hours; 3 were killed and 21 were rescued) and British ship Manipur (at 2222 hours; 14 were killed and 65 were rescued). Meanwhile, 5 miles off the Netherlands, British submarine H31 sank German anti-submarine trawler Steiermark; other anti-submarine trawlers attacked with depth charges in response, but failed to destroy H31. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Admiral James O. Richardson concluded the conferences in Washington DC, United States regarding the rentention of the US Fleet in Hawaiian waters. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Jul 1940
Fumimaro Konoe at a press conference at the Peerage Club House in Tokyo, Japan upon being asked to form a new government, 17 Jul 1940
18 Jul 1940
  • Battle of Britain: 15 Spitfire fighters of No. 152 and No. 610 Squadron engaged 30 Bf 109 fighters off Beachey Head on the southern coast of England, resulting in 1 British fighter lost. Elsewhere, German bombers attacked Montrose Aerodrome on the east coast of Scotland, killing 2 and wounding 3. Further to the south, German bombers sank the East Goodwin Light Vessel. In the evening, at 1900 hours, the British retaliated by sending 18 British Blenheim bombers, escorted by 24 fighters, to attack German barges at Boulogne, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Cumberland departed Simonstown, near Cape Town, South Africa in search for the German armed merchant cruiser Thor, suspected to be off the Brazilian coast. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 sank British ship Woodbury 150 miles southwest of Ireland; the entire crew of 35 survived and took to lifeboats. German submarine U-58 sank Norwegian ship Gyda 30 miles northwest of Ireland at 1641 hours; 11 were killed and 9 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was promoted to Major. [Main Article | AC]
  • British bombers attacked the Dortmund-Ems Canal in Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer Cotswold was launched. [CPC]
  • British minesweeper Polruan was launched. [CPC]
  • German began broadcasting propaganda through Radio Caledonia, aiming at urging Scottish separatism. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-95 was launched. [CPC]
  • Canadian corvette Wetaskiwin was launched in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. [CPC]
  • The Canadian Navy placed an order for 12 motor torpedo boat with Canadian Power Boat Company, Limited in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; this order would later result in MTB 332 through 343. [CPC]
Austria
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille completed flight training at Jagdfliegerschule 5 in Schwechat, Austria. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • French aircraft bombed Gibraltar in retaliation for recent British attacks on French warships, but most of the bombs fell into the sea. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom recognized the Czechoslovakian government-in-exile in London, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt received an almost unanimous invitation at the Democrat Convention in Chicago, Illinois, United States to stand as the party's candidate for the 1940 presidential election. If elected he would become the first US President to remain in office for more than two terms. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
19 Jul 1940
  • The Two-Ocean Navy Act was passed by the US Congress. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British General Alan Brooke took over as Commander-in-Chief of Home Forces, relieving Edmund Ironside. Ironside was promoted to Field Marshal as consolation; he had only been at the helm of Home Forces for two months. [Main Article | TH]
  • Battle of Britain: Defiant turret fighters of No. 141 Squadron RAF were launched to protect a convoy off Folkestone, England but they were inadequate in defending against German aerial attacks. 6 of them were shot down by 12 German Bf 109 fighters within the first eight minutes of combat (10 killed, 2 survived), with the 3 remaining saved only by the arrival of Hurricane fighters of No. 111 Squadron RAF. Elsewhere, German bombers attacked various targets in southern and eastern Britain, leading to the loss of 3 Hurricane fighters, the death of 42 civilians in Glasgow, damage aboard destroyers HMS Griffin and HMS Beagle, and the sinking of tanker War Sepoy. The Germans lost 3 bombers and 3 fighters on this day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Günther von Kluge was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hermann Hoth was promoted to the rank of general. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hermann Göring was promoted to the rank of Reichsmarschall, a rank created for him so that he would outrank all Field Marshals of the German military. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battle of Cape Spada: British destroyers HMS Hyperion, HMS Hasty, HMS Ilex, and HMS Hero engaged Italian cruisers Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and Bartolomeo Colleoni. As the British destroyers began to flee from fight, Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney and British destroyer HMS Havock arrived to lend help. Sydney disabled Bartolomeo Colleoni with gunfire, and Ilex and Hyperion launched torpedoes to sink her, killing 121. Giovanni dalle Bande Nere was able to withdraw. 555 survivors of Bartolomeo Colleoni was rescued by Ilex and Hyperion after the battle. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-62 sank a British ship 30 miles northwest of Ireland; 13 were killed and 26 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank Dutch ship Tela off the coast of Brazil. The entire crew of 33 were taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • Hugo Sperrle was promoted to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wilhelm Keitel was promoted to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders was promoted to the rank of Major. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Daphne Pearson was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal for her 31 May 1940 rescue of a pilot from a crashed bomber at RAF Detling, unspent ammunition exploding all around her. The medal was later updated to the George Cross in 1941. [CPC]
  • The British Army Intelligence Corps was established. [AC]
  • The British Government removed the right of workers to strike. [AC]
  • Cruisers USS Wichita and USS Quincy arrived at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived later on the same day with Marines for Wichita and Quincy, respectively. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heinz Guderian was promoted to the rank of Generaloberst (Colonel General). [Main Article | AC]
  • Eduard Dietl became the first person to receive Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Ernst Udet was promoted to Generaloberst (equivalent to Air Chief Marshal of the British RAF). [AC]
  • Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Denmark withdrew from the League of Nations. [CPC]
  • Wolfgang Falck was ordered to see Hermann Göring; during this meeting, Falck would be promoted to the rank of Major. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler spoke to the German Reichstag about Allied warmongering and asked the United Kingdom to listen to reason and avoid war. Within an hour of the conclusion of the speech, the BBC broadcast an unofficial rejection to Hitler's bid for peace. [Main Article | TH]
  • British bombers attacked Bremen, Gelsenkirchen, Kassel in Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Robert von Greim was promoted to the rank of General der Flieger. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • British troopship Royal Ulsterman departed from Gibraltar for Madeira with evacuated civilians; she was escorted by destroyer HMS Velox. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The first prototype of the cavity magnetron was delivered to the British radar research center near Swanage, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • The keel of British corvette HMS Kingcup was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of British submarine HMS Umbra was laid down. [CPC]
  • British corvette HMS Bluebell was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • British corvette HMS Picotee was launched. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS P611 was launched. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMS Crestflower was bombed and sunk by German aircraft off Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt departed Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC, United States aboard presidential yacht Potomac, along with auxiliary vessel Cuyahoga, for a cruise in the Chesapeake Bay. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Jul 1940
Fumimaro Konoe, Yosuke Matsuoka, Zengo Yoshida, and Hideki Tojo at the Ogikubo Talk at Konoe
20 Jul 1940
  • German aircraft sank transport Pulborough and damaging destroyer HMS Brazen off Dover, England, United Kingdom at the cost of 3 aircraft, shot down by Brazen's anti-aircraft guns. 10 miles off of the Isle of Wight, destroyer HMS Acheron was bombed and damaged by near misses. The day's actions cost the RAF 5 Hurricane fighters, 1 Spitfire fighter, and 1 Blenheim bomber, while 7 pilots and 1 gunner were killed; the Germans lost at least 6 fighters, 2 bombers, and 1 seaplane. The British government released the report that claimed 40 German aircraft shot down in the past week. [Main Article | CPC]
  • During the night, British aircraft from Hemswell-Lincolnshire attacked Tirpitz to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Six British Swordfish torpedo bombers from carrier HMS Eagle attacked Tobruk, Libya in search of Italian cruiser Giovanni dalle Bande Nere that escaped the Battle of Cape Spada on the previous day. The cruiser was not found in port, thus destroyers Ostro and Nembo and transport Sereno were attacked and sank instead. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil. [CPC]
  • German pilot Werner Streib of the Nachtjagdgeschwader 2 wing achieved the first night kill of the unit by shooting down a British Whitley bomber. [CPC]
Canada
  • Canadian patrol vessel HMCS Ambler departed Quebec City, Quebec, Canada to patrol Riviere du Loup. [CPC]
  • The keel of Canadian corvette HMCS Trail was laid down in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. [CPC]
  • Canadian patrol craft HMCS Norsal was commissioned into service. [CPC]
Germany
  • British bombers attacked Düsseldorf and Wismar, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Greece
  • British submarine HMS Parthian disembarked a British agent on Crete, Greece. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British government banned the sale of new cars. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS P612 was launched. [CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down his first enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain, a Bf 109E fighter of German Jagdgeschwader 27 wing. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Jul 1940
HMS Eagle at Alexandria, Egypt, 20 Jul 1940; note HMS Warspite in background
21 Jul 1940
  • Battleship Bismarck underwent an inclining test. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Hampden bombers from No. 61 and No. 144 Squadrons attacked German cruiser Admiral Scheer at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, causing no damage. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Hampden bombers from No. 61 and No. 144 Squadrons attacked German battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, causing no damage. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: German aircraft attacked convoys in the English Channel. 1 British Hurricane fighter and 1 British Spitfire fighter were shot down, while the Germans lost 3 fighters and 1 Do 17 bomber. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-30 sank British ship Ellaroy 180 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain. The entire crew of 16 took to lifeboats and were later rescued by Spanish trawler Felix Montenegro. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • British Blenheim bombers of No. 107 Squadron RAF attacked Caen, Morlaix, and Querqueville in France. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The German Army High Command submitted a plan to Adolf Hitler for an operation in the Baltic States and the Ukraine. [Main Article | AC]
  • 3 bombers of No. 51 Squadron RAF attacked Hamm, Germany; the rail marshalling yard was the primary target. 10 bombers of No. 77 Squadron RAF and 10 bombers of No. 102 Squadron RAF attacked Kassel, Germany; the aircraft factory was the primary target. Finally, 5 bombers of No. 78 Squadron RAF attacked Soest, Germany; the rail marshalling yard was the primary target. [Main Article | CPC]
Lithuania
  • The Soviet Union revealed the result of plebiscites in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania held on 14 Jul 1940, claiming that the citizens of the three countries approved the Soviet annexation of their countries. The Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic was declared. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Edvard Beneš established the Czechoslovakian government-in-exile in London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt returned to Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC, United States after a cruise in the Chesapeake Bay aboard presidential yacht Potomac. [Main Article | CPC]
22 Jul 1940
  • British submarine HMS Clyde fired 6 torpedoes at another British submarine HMS Truant, off Fejeosen, Norway in an episode of mis-identification. All torpedoes missed their target. [CPC]
  • The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was created by the United Kingdom to foment and support resistance in occupied Europe. [TH]
  • British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Lord Halifax rejected Hitler's proposal for peace of 19 Jul 1940. "No one here wants the war to go on for a day longer than is necessary. But we shall not stop fighting until freedom, for ourselves and others, is secure." This was a departure from his previous stance, urging Churchill to negotiate a peace with Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru departed Yokohama for Seattle. Aboard were 82 Jewish refugees originally from Germany. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: During the day, German Luftwaffe flew only reconnaissance missions over the English Channel today, launching no attacks despite of the good weather; British Hurricane fighters of No. 145 Squadron shot down a lone Do 17 bomber off Selsey Bill, West Sussex in southern England. After sundown, many small German raids bombed coastal towns or lay naval mines off the coast; one Do 17 bomber was shot down during the night. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hideki Tojo was appointed the Army Minister in Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe's new cabinet. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Phoenix arrived at Callao, Peru. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Prince Fumimaro Konoe became the 38th Prime Minister of Japan. This was his second time in this office. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wolfgang Falck received a call from Hermann Göring, who thanked him for the efforts to create an effective nightfighting unit within the Luftwaffe. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Jul 1940
Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe and his second cabinet at the Kantei, Tokyo, Japan, 22 Jul 1940
23 Jul 1940
  • The British Secretary of War announced that 1,300,000-strong Local Defence Volunteers was to be renamed the Home Guard. [TH]
  • British Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Kingsley Wood announced the third War Budget, rise in various taxes, and the estimation that war expenditure would be about £3,470,000,000 in the following next year. [CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: German aircraft conducted raids on coastal cities in Britain and deployed naval mines overnight. A German Do 17 bomber of 1/KF1Gr 606 attacked British submarines HMS Narwhal and HMS Truant 125 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland, sinking the former. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 8,077 Canadian troops bound for Britain departed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on troopships Batory, Antonia, Monarch Of Bermuda, Sobieski, Duchess Of York, and Samaria, escorted by Canadian destroyers HMCS Assiniboine and HMCS Saguenay and British cruiser HMS Emerald. The convoy would arrive safely in Scotland on 1 Aug 1940. [CPC]
  • The British third war budget raised Income Tax to 8 shillings and 6 pence per pound. [AC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived at Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British Minister of State for Air Sir Archibald Sinclair reported that the British bomber fleet was capable of dropping 65-70 tons of bombs on Berlin every night for one week. It was a goal to increase that number of 200 tons in the near future. [CPC]
  • Sydney Camm, Chief Designer at Hawker aviation, managed to get the Typhoon and Tornado programmes reinstated with reduced priority after the British Air Ministry had decided to throw all resources at the manufacture and repair of existing types. [Main Article | AC]
24 Jul 1940
  • During the night, 14 British Whitley aircraft attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: At 0630 hours, German Luftwaffe aircraft bombed the Rolls Royce factory at Glasgow, Scotland, but instead the nearby printing works was damaged. At 0730 hours, German Ju 88 bombers attacked shipping in the Bristol Channel, with 1 Ju 88 shot down by British Spitfire fighters of the No. 92 Squadron. At 1200 hours, 18 Do 17 bombers escorted by 40 Bf 109 fighters attacked shipping in the Thames estuary, sinking minesweeping trawler Fleming, killing 19; ensuing dogfight above resulted in 9 Bf 109 fighters and 2 Spitfire fighters shot down. Finally, German bombers sank anti-submarine trawler Kingston Galena (killing 16) and minesweeper Rodino (killing 4) off Dover. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 1,277 French Navy sailors captured by the British on 3 Jul departed Southampton, England, United Kingdom aboard French passenger liner Meknes for Marseilles in southern France for repatriation. At 2230 hours, German torpedo boat S-27 fired a torpedo at the French ship off the northern Brittany coast in the English Channel despite her displays of neutrality, killing 416. British destroyers HMS Viscount, HMS Wolverine, HMS Sabre, and HMS Shikari rescued the survivors. [TH]
  • Reports of the Lancastria disaster (which was sunken by air attack on 17 Jun 1940 with 1,738 killed) were released in London, England, United Kingdom after Winston Churchill lifted the media ban. [CPC]
25 Jul 1940
  • The German Reich Economic Minister outlined the New Order for Europe, citing use of forced labor from occupied nations. [TH]
  • Commander of the Swiss military General Henri Guisan vowed that Switzerland would defend against any German or Italian invasion. [TH]
  • The United States banned the sale of scrap metal and petroleum to Japan. [CPC]
  • German battleship Gneisenau completed its torpedo damage repairs and departed Trondheim, Norway for Kiel, Germany for more thorough repairs. She was escorted by cruiser Nürnberg and destroyers Galster, Lody, Jacobi, and Ihn; torpedo boats Luchs, Jaguar, Kondor, Iltis, and T.5 would join the convoy overnight near Stavanger, Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Wichita and USS Quincy departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for Bahia, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Trenton arrived at Annapolis, Maryland, United States and disembarked members of the royal family of the Duchy of Luxembourg. [CPC]
Gibraltar
  • The United Kingdom evacuated women and children from Gibraltar. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • German aircraft attacked shipping and naval bases at Dover, Portsmouth, Poole, and Portland in Britain; also on this day, aircraft and torpedo boats attacked convoy CW8 in the Dover Strait, sinking 5 vessels and killing 9 men. By the end of the day, 21 German aircraft and 6 British fighters were lost. The British claimed that 25 German aircraft were shot down on this day, which was the highest daily claim yet. [Main Article | TH]
26 Jul 1940
  • Joseph Avenol, the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, resigned from his post. [TH]
  • Battle of Britain: Several German raids launched against Britain were turned away by a combination of bad weather and timely RAF fighter arrivals. On this day, 3 German Bf 109 fighters and 1 British Hurricane fighter were shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Thames detected the convoy centered around German battleship Gneisenau 50 miles southwest of Stavanger, Norway; it was bound for Kiel, Germany. A torpedo was fired at Gneisenau, but it hit torpedo boat Luchs instead, sinking her immediately. Thames was never heard from again; it was not certain whether she was lost during this action or hit a naval mine shortly after. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-34 attacked convoy OB-188 with three torpedoes 320 miles west of Ireland at 1447 hours, sinking British passenger ship Accra (which was also carrying 1,700 tons of cargo on this trip), killing 24; 465 survivors were rescued by British ship Hollinside, Norwegian ship Loke, British sloop HMS Enchantress, and British corvette HMS Clarkia. British merchant ship Vinemoor was also hit but without any fatalities; she would remain afloat until the following day after her crew of 32 were rescued by HMS Clarkia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt, using powers granted to his office by the Export Control Act, restricted the export of aviation gasoline and certain classes of iron and steel scrap to Japan without special license. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Phoenix departed Callao, Peru. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop was updated by German agents in Spain and Portugal regarding the attempt to dissuade the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, from leaving for the Bahamas. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Jul 1940
  • 15 German dive bombers attacked 6 British minesweeping trawlers and escort destroyers in the English Channel 20 miles off Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England. Destroyer HMS Wren sank after one of the several near misses she suffered made a large hole below the waterline (killing 37), while destoyer HMS Montrose lost her bow and had to be towed to Harwich, Essex. German aircraft also bombed Dover in southern England, sinking destroyer HMS Codrington who was undergoing boiler cleaning (wounding 3). At the end of the day, the Germans lost 2 fighters and 1 Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber, while the British lost 1 Spitfire fighter and 1 Hurricane fighter. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-34 attacked Allied convoy OB-188 350 miles west of Scotland, United Kingdom before sunrise, sinking British ship Sambre at 0258 hours and British tanker Thiara at 0313 hours. British destroyer HMS Winchelsea rescued Sambre's entire crew of 48 and 36 of 61 of Thiara's crew (25 were killed). [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first five Beaufighter IF fighters were handed over to the RAF for evaluation. [Main Article | AC]
  • A Board of Enquiry was held regarding the sinking of HMS Effingham two months prior. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, and US Congress House of Representatives' Naval Affairs Committee chairman Carl Vinson departed Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC, United States aboard presidential yacht Potomac for Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Jul 1940
Romanian Prime Minister Ion Gigurtu and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Salzburg, German-occupied Austria, 27 Jul 1940
28 Jul 1940
  • All rail lines between occupied France and Vichy France were cut by the Germans. [TH]
  • President Jozef Tiso and Prime Minister Vojtech Tuka of the Slovak Republic met with Hitler and Ribbentrop at Berchtesgarden. [TH]
  • Battle of Britain: 100 German aircraft in 5 waves crossed the Straits of Dover at 1335 hours and were intercepted by 4 squadrons of British fighters; 5 German Bf 109 fighters, 2 German He 111 bombers, and 2 British Spitfire fighters were destroyed during the ensuing battle. A few hours later, the Royal Navy withdrew all destroyers from Dover to Portsmouth. Overnight, German aircraft deployed mines and bombed British coastal cities. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British HMS Alcantara was hit by 3 shells from German armed merchant ship Thor 740 miles off Brazil, near the island of Trindade; 2 were killed and 7 were wounded; as Thor turned away to disengage from battle, Alcantara fired and hit Thor with 2 shells, killing 3. On the same day, German submarine U-99 sank British merchant ship Auckland Star 80 miles west of Ireland at 0557 hours. The entire crew of 74 were taken to lifeboats and would make it to the Irish shore. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders flew his first combat sortie in the Battle of Britain; he sustained injuries after being hit by RAF Flight Lieutenant J. L. Webster over Dover, England, keeping him out of action for a month. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German Army examined closely the German Navy's draft plan for an invasion of England, United Kingdom, but it was horrified to note that the Navy estimated that it would take ten days to put the first assault ashore in the Dover area. [AC]
China
  • More than 100 Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China in five waves; 16 fighters from Chinese 4th Pursuit Group and 5th Pursuit Group rose to intercept, claiming one bomber shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Japanese police arrested nine British nationals residing in Japan. [AC]
29 Jul 1940
  • 40 German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers attacked Dover Harbor in southern England, United Kingdom at 0730 hours, escorted by 40 Bf 109 fighters; British fighters from No. 41, No. 43, No. 56, and No. 64 Squadrons shot down 8 German dive bombers and 7 fighters and anti-aircraft guns shot down 2 German dive bombers, while 2 British Spitfire fighters and 1 British Hurricane fighter were shot down. At 1700 hours, destroyer HMS Delight left Portland in southern England; at about 1830 hours, she was hitting by a bomb from a German aircraft from Cherbourg, France, killing 18 and wounding 59, but she was able to return to Portland under her own power. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Air Ministry accused Germany of using rescue aircraft with Red Cross markings for reconnaissance purposes. [TH]
  • At a conference held in a converted railway carriage, Colonel-General Alfred Jodl, Adolf Hitler's Chief of Operations, announced that the Führer had decided "once and for all" to rid the world of the Soviet menace. However, recognizing that the war against the United Kingdom took a higher priority at this point in time, Hitler pushed the invasion date to the spring of 1941. [Main Article | AC]
  • British submarine HMS Sealion detected German submarine U-62 on the surface 60 miles southwest of Stavanger, Norway and attacked with 3 torpedoes (which all missed) followed by shots from the deck gun. U-62 dove and escaped the area. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 sank British ship Clan Menzies 80 miles west of Ireland at 0215 hours; 5 were killed and 88 took to lifeboats. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, and House Naval Affairs Committee chairman Carl Vinson arrived at Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, United States, via presidential yacht Potomac, for an inspection. After the navy yard, they also visited US Army's Langley Field and the Newport News Ship Building and Drydock Company. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright departed Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil for Buenos Aires, Argentina. [CPC]
  • Sea Gladiator fighters from HMS Eagle shot down an Italian SM.79 bomber while escorting a convoy in the Mediterranean Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Portugal and Spain added a clause to the 1939 friendship treaty; it was later known as the Iberian Pact. [CPC]
Germany
  • German naval command (Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine) issued a memo noting that the mid-Sep 1940 invasion date for Britain as demanded by Adolf Hitler was possible, but considering the present state of affairs, a postponement to May 1941 was suggested. Meanwhile, a special economic board was set up to oversee the looting of British industry upon conquest. [TH]
Japan
  • The Japanese reported that Mr. Melville Cox, one of nine British residents arrested in Japan on the previous day, had "committed suicide" by throwing himself out of a police station window. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 29 Jul 1940
Slovakian President Jozef Tiso and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Salzburg, German-occupied Austria, 29 Jul 1940, photo 1 of 2German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop shaking hands with Slovakian President Jozef Tiso, Salzburg, German-occupied Austria, Jul 1940Slovakian President Jozef Tiso and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Salzburg, German-occupied Austria, 29 Jul 1940, photo 2 of 2Slovakian Prime Minister Vojtech Tuka, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Slovakian President Jozef Tiso, Salzburg, German-occupied Austria, 29 Jul 1940
30 Jul 1940
  • Battle of Britain: Low clouds and rain restricted flying all day. Five German raids targeted the northeastern British coast in the morning, while other waves of aircraft attacked convoys in the English Channel off Essex and Suffolk, England. A small number of German aircraft were shot down on this day at no cost to the British RAF. Overnight, German bombers conducted raids over southern and central England and southern Wales. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Act of Havana was signed by the representatives from 21 nations in the Americas; it provided an emergency establishment of a regime of provisional administration "when islands or regions in the Americas now under the possession of non-American nations are in danger of becoming the subject of barter of territory or change of sovereignty". [CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived at Buenos Aires, Argentina. [CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • USS Phoenix arrived at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt returned to Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC, United States via presidential yacht Potomac. [Main Article | CPC]
31 Jul 1940
  • German submarine U-99 sank British ship Jamaica Progress at 0138 hours (killing 7) and British ship Jersey City at 1324 hours (killing 2) 50 miles north of Ireland. She was attacked by depth charges by escort vessels and a bomb from a flying boat, but she was able to escape undamaged. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Whitshed hit a mine off Harwich, Essex, England and lost most of her bow, but she able to be towed to Harwich by the stern by destroyer HMS Wild Swan. She would remain under repair at Chatham, Kent, England until 21 Dec 1940. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin sank British ship Domingo De Larringa in the South Atlantic 1,000 miles east of Pernambuco, Brazil. 8 were killed and 30 were taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Spearfish departed Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom to patrol off the Norwegian coast. [CPC]
  • Heavy cruisers USS Wichita and USS Quincy arrived at Bahia, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler announced that he would decide whether the invasion of Britain was to take place in mid-Sep 1940 or May 1941 in a few days; the progress of the Luftwaffe campaign over Britain would be among the key factors in his decision process. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop, upon learning that the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, was departing for the Bahamas soon, issued an order to send the British royalty another message overnight, stressing the fact that Germany was attempting to avoid armed conflict with the United Kingdom, which could be achieved with the duke was willing to assist, beginning by not departing Europe for the Bahamas. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • At Adolf Hitler's residence near Berchtesgaden, München-Oberbayern, Germany, German military leaders were advised of Hitler's plan to attack the Soviet Union. Hitler made it clear that an invasion of the USSR was a way of securing mastery of Europe, as the fall of the USSR would certainly force Britain to surrender. The military leaders were told to expect the invasion to start in May 1941, and would likely last about five months. [Main Article | TH]
Japan
  • Mitsubishi delivered the first production Zero fighter to the Japanese Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • While German Army and Navy leadership continued to disagree over the plans for the invasion of Britain (with Admiral Erich Raeder convincing Adolf Hitler to delay the invasion until mid-Sep 1940), the Luftwaffe moved forth with its plans and began to shift the main target from English Channel shipping to RAF airfields in southern England. Although 77 RAF aircraft were destroyed and 43 were damaged (along with 67 airmen killed and 23 wounded), aircraft production during the month was greater than aircraft lost. [Main Article | TH]
  • American ambassador in London, England, United Kingdom Joseph Kennedy relayed to US Secretary of State Cordell Hull another request from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill for destroyers. "If we cannot get reinforcement," Churchill noted, "the whole fate of the war may be decided by this minor and easily remediable factor." [Main Article | CPC]
1 Aug 1940
  • Soviet Foreign Minister reaffirmed Soviet neutrality while bad-mouthing the United States and the United Kingdom. [TH]
  • A convoy consisted of 6 troop transports carrying 8,077 Canadian troops arrived in Scotland from Nova Scotia. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-34 detected British submarine HMS Spearfish on the surface in the North Sea and sank Spearfish with her last torpedo at 1904 hours, killing 41; one survivor, Able Seaman William Pester, was taken aboard U-34 as a prisoner of war. German submarine U-59 sank Swedish ship Sigyn at 0345 hours 60 miles northwest of Ireland; the entire crew was rescued. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian destroyer Ugolino Vivaldi detected British submarine HMS Oswald on the surface 15 miles south of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea, charging batteries and performing routine maintenance. Oswald was sunk by ramming and depth charges. 3 were killed and 52 were taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Goffredo Mameli sank Greek ship Roula 40 miles south of Crete, Greece; the entire crew was rescued. [CPC]
  • Dutch submarine O-21 fired two torpedoes at German submarine U-60 at the distance of 2 kilometers off Norway, but both of them missed their target. [CPC]
  • The US Navy established the new Alaskan Sector command within the Thirteenth Naval District. [CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was awarded the Knights Cross for achieving 17 kills. [Main Article | AC]
  • The Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, received German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop's message. He turned down Ribbentrop's request for him to help bring peace between Britain and Germany, citing his loyalty to the British government. He did, however, maintain a channel of communications with Germany in the future should his assistance be helpful once again. To Ribbentrop's dismay, the duke departed for the Bahamas by the end of the day, ending the German attempt to use him to form a new pro-German leadership in Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Franz Halder and his staff began planning for the invasion of the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Yoshijiro Umezu was promoted to the rank of general. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • In the morning, a British Spitfire fighter on a photo reconnaissance mission found a build-up of German aircraft on the Cotentin Peninsula in France. At 1540 hours, 13 British bombers escorted by 10 fighters attacked, causing some damage but in turn losing 1 bomber and 2 fighters. [Main Article | TH]
Germany
  • Helmuth Brinkmann was named the commanding officer of German cruiser Prinz Eugen. [Main Article | CPC]
  • RAF bombers attacked the Krupp factory in Essen, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • U-576 was laid down by the firm Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka asked French Ambassador to Tokyo Arsène Henry whether Japanese troops might be allowed to enter Indochina to occupy certain airfields; Henry implied that his government would reject such a request. Meanwhile, Japanese Army aircraft were transferred from Northern China to Southern China. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Operation Hurry: British carrier HMS Argus set sail for Malta with 12 Hurricane fighters for reinforcement. She was escorted by Force H with battlecruiser HMS Hood, battleship HMS Valiant, aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, cruisers HMS Arethusa and HMS Enterprise, and 10 destroyers. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean fleet departed Alexandria, Egypt to conduct diversionary maneuvers in the area of Crete, Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 30 German He 111 aircraft reached Norwich, England, United Kingdom and bombed the Boulton-Paul Aircraft Works and the Norwich railway station without any opposition, killing 6 and wounding 54 civilians. Meanwhile, in Germany, Hitler issued Directive No. 17, calling for a temporary halt on attacks on British shipping, shifting attention to the RAF. [Main Article | TH]
2 Aug 1940
  • Lord Beaverbrook was appointed to the British War Cabinet. [Main Article | TH]
  • French military court sentenced General de Gaulle to death in absentia. [Main Article | TH]
  • Battle of Britain: Before dawn, two German He 115 seaplanes attacked British ship Highlander of convoy FN.239 20 miles south of Aberdeen, Scotland; one of the aircraft was shot down by sloop HMS Weston, while the other crashed onto Highlander's poop deck after clipping the mast. During the day, German aircraft attacked convoys in the English Channel and along the east coast of Britain, sinking anti-submarine trawler HMT Cape Finesterre off Harwich, Essex, England, killing 1. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Overnight, British submarine HMS Thames hit a mine and sank southwest of Stavanger, Norway, killing the entire crew of 62. [CPC]
  • German Ju 87 aircraft attacked German submarine U-60 with bombs by mistake off Hagesund, Norway; U-60 was able to escape without damage. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 torpedoed British merchant ship Alexia, British merchant ship Lucerna, and Norwegian merchant ship Strinda of convoy OB-191. All three were damaged but none of them sank. No men were killed as the result of the attack. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt and his cabinet discussed the methods to which the transferring 50 or 60 destroyers to the United Kingdom could be conducted. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hulbert was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Operation Hurry: 12 British Hurricane fighters were launched from carrier HMS Argus southwest of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea and flew about 300 miles to Malta; they were to form the new No. 261 Squadron. The escorting surface warships turned back for Gibraltar and England, while the escorting carriers (escorted by battlecruiser HMS Hood, cruiser HMS Enterprise, and 4 destroyers) launched an attack consisted of 8 Swordfish torpedo bombers on the Italian airfield at Cagliari, Sardinia, destroying several aircraft and deploying several mines. [Main Article | CPC]
Moldova
  • Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was formed. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Josef Frantisek joined the British Royal Air Force and was assigned to No. 303 Squadron based at RAF Northolt in South Ruislip near London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Aug 1940
  • Winston Churchill warned the British people against believing rumors that invasion threat is over. [CPC]
  • Japanese luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru disembarked 82 Jewish refugees at Pier 89, Seattle, becoming the first Japanese ship to take on Jewish refugees to North America. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: Heavy fog restricted the German Luftwaffe to conducting only a small number of raids on Britain during the day. Overnight, German bombers attacked Bradford, Liverpool, Crewe, and the Firth of Forth. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-57 sank Swedish ship Atos at 0810 hours north of Ireland; 1 was killed and 27 were rescued. German submarine U-A stopped Yugoslavian ship Rad at 1900 hours 300 miles off of the coast of Senegal in western Africa and later found out she was carrying chemicals from the United States for South Africa; the crew of 29 was put to lifeboats, and U-A sank Rad with a torpedo. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic became a member nation of the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Rear Admiral H. Kent Hewitt was assigned the Commander Special Service Squadron aboard gunboat Erie, relieving Rear Admiral John W. Wilcox, Jr. [CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright departed Buenos Aires, Argentina for Santos, Brazil. [CPC]
  • A second batch of five Beaufighter IF fighters were handed over to the RAF for evaluation. [Main Article | AC]
British Somaliland
  • Italian General Guglielmo Nasi led an invasion force of 25,000 troops into British Somaliland from Abyssinia. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • Two Japanese businessmen were arrested in London, England, United Kingdom. In response to a protest by the Japanese Ambassador, the authorities denied that their arrest was a reprisal for the arrest of British citizens in Japan six days prior. [AC]
4 Aug 1940
  • Italian troops marched in three columns toward Berbera, British Somaliland. The main column marched along the main road through Hargeisa, while two smaller columns flanked to the east and west. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-58 sank Greek ship Pindos with two torpedoes 10 miles from the Irish coast at 2120 hours; 3 were killed and 29 took to lifeboats. 300 miles northwest of Ireland, German submarine U-52 sank three transports in convoy HX-60: Geraldine Mary (3 killed, 48 survived), Gogovale (all 37 survived), and King Alfred (7 killed, 34 survived); U-52 was depth charged by Royal Navy escort vessels, causing significant damage, but she was able to escape and sail to Kiel, Germany for repairs; she would be out of action until 17 Nov 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Sealion sank Norwegian ship Torun off of the Norwegian southern coast. [CPC]
  • After sundown, German armed merchant cruiser Widder stopped Norwegian tanker Beaulieu with one shot from her gun in the Atlantic Ocean about 1,700 miles east of Florida, United States, killing 4 in the process. 28 survivors were taken to lifeboats and abandoned; they would be rescued by British tanker Cymbeline on 13 Aug 1940. Beaulieu was sunk by scuttling charges. [CPC]
  • Three British minesweeping trawlers hit German naval mines on this date at different locations on the British coast and were all destroyed: HMT Drummer (2 killed), HMT Marsona (11 killed), and Oswaldian (12 killed, 7 survived). [CPC]
  • German anti-submarine trawler Perseus (UJ-175) hit a naval mine and sank off Ameland Island off northwestern Netherlands. [CPC]
Germany
  • Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld was transferred to the Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 wing based in Gütersloh, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Aug 1940
  • The United Kingdom and Poland signed a military agreement. [TH]
  • Churchill and de Gaulle agreed on Free French forces organization. [TH]
  • Germany announced that all citizens will be required to carry a Certificate of Ancestry (Ahnenpass) that proves their Aryan purity dating back to 1800. [TH]
  • During the night, British Hampden aircraft attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lieutenant General Bertoldi's Italian troops captured Zeila, British Somaliland, preventing forces in French Somaliland from reinforcing the British forces from the west. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: Large Luftwaffe formations patrolled the Dover Straits and attacked convoys off the east and southeast coast of England; 4 German Bf 109 fighters and 1 British Spitfire fighter were shot down as RAF fighters rose to intercept. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-56 attacked British ship Boma at 2138 hours 20 miles north of Ireland; 3 were killed and 50 survived; Boma would sink on next day. British ship Cape St. George hit the wreck of Yugoslavian ship Rad off of the coast of Senegal in western Africa, which was sunk by German submarine U-A two days earlier; as Cape St. George sank, the crew of 65 were rescued by British ship Grodno, which was carrying the survivors of Rad. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT River Clyde hit a naval mine off Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England and sank, killing 12. [CPC]
  • The US Navy Chief of Naval Operations established general ground rules to govern the exchange of scientific and technical information with the British mission under Sir Henry Tizard. [CPC]
  • Heavy cruisers USS Wichita and USS Quincy departed Bahia, Brazil for Pernambuco, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
Latvia
  • The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic was officially incorporated into the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US Navy Rear Admiral John W. Greenslade and French Vice Admiral Georges A. M. J. Robert amicably discussed the presence of French warships (aircraft carrier Béarn, light cruiser Émile Bertin, training cruiser Jeanne d'Arc, and auxiliary cruisers Esterelle, Quercy, and Barfleur) and aircraft (44 SBC-4 dive bombers, 15 Hawk 75 fighters, and 6 Brewster fighters) in the western hemisphere. [CPC]
6 Aug 1940
  • Italian troops under Brigadier General Bertello captured Odweina, British Somaliland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: At 0630 hours, Hurricane fighters of No. 85 Squadron RAF shot down a German Do 17 aircraft on a reconnaissance mission over a convoy east of Lowestoft, Suffolk, England. Also on this day, a lone German aircraft bombed the RAF station at Llandow, South Wales. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Sealion was rammed by German anti-submarine vessel UJ-123 while running at periscope depth attacking a convoy 20 miles off the South coast of Norway. Sealion would be able to return to the Tyne on 15 Aug and would remain in repair until 23 Oct. [CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived at Santos, Brazil. [CPC]
Burma
  • Ba Maw, the pro-Japanese anti-British former Premier of Burma, was arrested for attacking Premier U Pu's policy of supporting Britain in the war against Germany. Ba Maw received a one year jail sentence. [Main Article | AC]
Finland
  • US Army transport American Legion reached Petsamo, Finland to embark American nationals from Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands wishing to return to the United States. [CPC]
Malta
  • Operation Tube: British submarine HMS Pandora reached Malta from Gibraltar with ground equipment and spare parts for the Hurricane fighters delivered by aircraft carrier HMS Argus 2 Aug during Operation Hurry. [Main Article | CPC]
7 Aug 1940
  • The 1st Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment arrived in British Somaliland to reinforce against the Italian invasion. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 torpedoed and sank British troopship Mohamed Ali El Kebir 160 miles off Ireland at 2140 hours en route from England to Gibraltar, killing 86 of the 697 military passengers and 10 of the 165 crew aboard. Destroyer HMS Griffin depth charged U-38 for two hours and then returned to pick up all 766 survivors. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: German aircraft bombed one convoy, but otherwise very little activity was seen during the day over and near Britain. Overnight, German aircraft bombed coastal cities and laid mines in the English Channel and between Land's End and Liverpool. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders returned to duty without receiving medical clearance. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American destroyer Grayson was launched. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Lord Halifax of the United Kingdom and US Ambassador to Tokyo Joseph Grew voiced concerns over Japanese demands for French Indochina. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Phoenix arrived at San Pedro, Los Angeles, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
8 Aug 1940
  • Laws restricting education and employment were introduced in Romania. [TH]
  • Wages of British military personnel increased by 6 pence per day; with this increase, a British Army private's weekly pay was increased to 17 shillings and 6 pence. [CPC]
  • Troops of the 2nd Battalion, UK (Scottish) Black Watch arrived in British Somaliland to reinforce against the Italian invasion. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank British ship Upwey Grange, carrying 5,380 tons of frozen beef from Argentina to Britain, 200 miles west of Ireland at 0114 hours; the entire crew of 86 took to lifeboats, but one of the boats, carrying 36, was never seen again. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered Walter Warlimont, Alfred Jodl's deputy, to determine the positions of Soviet troops in preparation for Operation Barbarossa. On the same day, Wilhelm Keitel signed the Aufbau Ost directive, which called for the mobilization of the German military in eastern Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Edward Brooks was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • After several days of little action, the Germans launched continuous operations against the large convoy CW9, codenamed Peewit, of 25 merchant ships with Royal Navy escorts in the Strait of Dover. Torpedo boats attacked before dawn, sinking British ships Ouse, Holme Force (killing 6), and Fefe Coast (killing 5). As the convoy traveled westward, 300 Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers escorted by 150 fighters struck, sinking Dutch ship Ajax (killing 4), British ship Coquetdale, and British ship Empire Crusader (killing 5); as the British fought back, 17 Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers, 26 Bf 109 fighters, and 9 Bf 110 fighters were shot down, but the RAF also lost 13 Hurricane fighters, 4 Spitfire fighters, and 1 Blenheim bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank Dutch collier Oostplein carrying 5,850 tons of coal from Britain to Buenos Aires, Argentina; the entire crew of 34 were rescued by Widder. [CPC]
Japan Malta
  • Operation Tube: British submarine HMS Proteus reached Malta from Gibraltar with spares for the newly-arrived Hurricane fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Aug 1940
  • Hermann Göring believed Luftwaffe had control of the air having successfully attacked many convoys and excluded Royal Navy ships from the English Channel during daylight. Overestimated downed RAF planes and underestimated Luftwaffe losses further convinced him the RAF was almost beaten; in reality, RAF was stronger than a month ago, with losses (84 fighters) less that half the Luftwaffe's (227 aircraft). Göring ordered new tactics to destroy RAF's fighting capacity by attacking their airfields, control centers and radar. These tactics could not be put into effect, however, as cloudy weather allowed only reconnaissance patrols; 1 He 111 aircraft was shot down. At 1645 hours, R. D. Ritchie of No. 605 Squadron crashed his Hurricane fighter into the sea and died off Dunbar on the east coast of Scotland. [Main Article | AC]
  • Orion was ordered to make rendezvous with supply ship Regensburg in the Marshall Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heavy cruisers USS Wichita and USS Quincy arrived at Pernambuco, Brazil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright departed Santos, Brazil for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [CPC]
  • The Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic was officially incorporated into the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Friederich Schumacher was named the civilian administrator of the Channel Islands. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-30 sank Swedish merchant ship Canton 70 miles west of Ireland at 2032 hours; 16 were killed and 16 survived. Canton was carrying 7,900 tons of cargo (including iron) from India and South Africa to Britain. [Main Article | AC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • Gunboat USS Erie, with Rear Admiral H. Kent Hewitt aboard, departed from the Panama Canal Zone for Ecuador. [CPC]
10 Aug 1940
  • German submarine U-56 struck HMS Transylvania 20 miles north of Ireland at 0100 hours with U-56's last torpedo, killing 36. Destroyer HMS Ashanti and several trawlers rescued 300 survivors, and then attempted to tow Transylvania back to port, but Transylvania would sink during the process. [Main Article | TH]
  • German occupation government in Luxembourg deemed the French language illegal; the German occupation government in Belgium declared that listening to BBC broadcasts was illegal. [TH]
  • Romania passed anti-Semitic laws. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Widder stopped Finnish sailing ship Killoran 300 miles southwest of the Azores. Most of the German crew were against sinking this old ship built in 1900, Widder's on-board surgeon wanted a dramatic finale for a film he was making, and persuaded Captain Ruckteschell to sink the sailing ship by gunfire after detaining the crew of 18. [CPC]
  • Allied convoy OA-196's Dutch ship Albula and American ship Crescent City collided just north of Scotland; Albula sank with the entire crew taken aboard by destroyer HMS Jaguar. [CPC]
  • Orion detected ship Triona off Brisbane, Australia but determined that she was not fast enough to attack this ship. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [CPC]
  • The Japanese naval blockade of China was expanded to cover southern China. [CPC]
  • The British government announced the withdrawal of all its forces from Shanghai and other concessions in northern China. [CPC]
France
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was assigned to I. (Jagd) Lehrgeschwader 2 based in Marck on the northern coast of France. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • British troop ship SS Neuralia departed Gibraltar, escorted by destroyer HMS Gallant, with 2,000 civilian evacuees bound for the Portuguese island of Madeira 600 miles to the west in the Atlantic Ocean. [CPC]
Italy
  • The Italian Naval Staff issued its first operational order of WW2 for a Sep 1940 mission against Alexandria, Egypt and an Oct 1940 mission against Gibraltar. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Hermann Göring's Adler Tag offensive against RAF airfields was canceled due to the weather; only reconnaissance patrols and small attacks on isolated trawlers and merchant ships were launched. Overnight, German aircraft mined the coast of Britain. No aircraft were lost by either side on this day. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • In the United States, President Roosevelt inspected Portsmouth Navy Yard in New Hampshire and Boston Navy Yard in Massachusetts, making the travel aboard presidential yacht Potomac. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Aug 1940
  • Battle of Britain: Although the weather was fine, the German Luftwaffe did not start its offensive against RAF airfields, instead mounting a carefully prepared feint. Starting at 0730 hours, Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighters bombed and strafed Dover Harbor in southern England as a prelude to a larger attack on Portland Naval base and Weymouth, aiming to draw RAF fighters. Spitfire fighters of No. 64 and No. 74 Squadrons responded, but most RAF units remain on the ground per Keith Park's strategy of sending up only enough fighters to counter the German attack and withholding the remaining in reserve. As a larger formation consisted of 56 Ju 88 bombers and 20 He 111 bombers arrived with 97 Bf 110 fighters in escort was detected in the direction of Cherbourg, France at 0945 hours, there were enough British fighters to counter that attack; the ensuing battle caused 20 British Hurricane fighters, 5 British Spitfire fighters, 27 German bombers, and 10 German Bf 110 fighters to become destroyed. The day's German bombing damaged 4 British destroyers: HMS Windsor in the Thames Estuary, HMS Esk at Harwich, and HMS Scimitar and HMS Skate in Portland Harbor. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Major General Reade Godwin-Austen arrived in Berbera, British Somaliland to take over the defense. The British had maintained prepared defenses at Tug Argan on 6 hills overlooking the Hargeisa-Berbera road, knowing that this was the most likely invasion route. Italian troops attacked 3 of the hills and captured the one defended by the 3rd Battalion of the 15th Punjab Regiment. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank British ship Llanfair 125 miles west of Ireland at 1519 hours; 3 were killed and 30 were rescued by American merchant ship California. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • With the three Baltic States now annexed by the Soviet Union, Vyacheslav Molotov asked Germany to recall their ambassador to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia within the next two weeks, and to close the embassies by 1 Sep 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British Commander-in-Chief Middle East Major General General Wavell was in London, England, United Kingdom to discuss the defense of British colonies in Africa and the Middle East. Seeing events in Somaliland and expecting an Italian attack on Egypt, Winston Churchill's War Cabinet made a far-reaching decision to send tanks to defend the vital Suez Canal. Despite the ongoing threat of invasion, 150 tanks (about half the total in Britain), 48 anti-tank guns, 48 field guns, and 20 Bofors anti-aircraft guns were ordered to Egypt. [CPC]
United States
  • US President Roosevelt departed Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts, United States aboard presidential yacht Potomac, escorted by destroyer USS Mayrant, for Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, arriving later on the same day. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Aug 1940
  • It officially became illegal to waste food in the United Kingdom. [TH]
  • Battle of Britain: 20 German Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighters, especially converted as fighter-bombers, raided British radar stations along the coast. As the radar station operations were disrupted, almost 100 Ju 88 bombers escorted by 145 Bf 110 fighters attacked Portsmouth and the Ventnor radar station on the Isle of Wight, while Do 17 bombers attacked RAF airfields of Manston, Lympne, and Hawkinge near Kent. Most of the radar stations would be repaired by the end of the day, but the Ventnor radar station would be out of commission for two weeks. Portsmouth was also bombed, killing 100 civilians. Minesweeping trawler HMT Pyrope was sunk (killing 6), so was HMT Tamarisk (killing 7), by German aircraft during this day. 55 German aircraft were shot down during aerial combat at the cost of 6 British Spitfire fighters and 9 British Hurricane fighters. British anti-aircraft guns claimed 7 bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian troops renewed the attack at Tug Argan, British Somaliland, capturing the hill defended by the Northern Rhodesian Regiment as well as two of the four 3.7-inch howitzers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Malaspina sank British tanker British Fame with 6 torpedoes near the Azores, killing 3. Malaspina spent the remainder of the day towing a lifeboat full of survivors to safety. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Flight Lieutenant Rod Learoyd of 49 Squadron based at RAF Scampton won a Victoria Cross for pressing home an attack on the Dortmund-Ems Canal despite his Hampden bomber being badly shot up. [AC]
  • Gunboat USS Erie, with Rear Admiral H. Kent Hewitt aboard, arrived at Guayaquil, Ecuador for a goodwill visit. [CPC]
  • The Military Collegium of the Soviet NKVD sentenced Red Army divisional commanding officer Grigoriy Fyodorovich to death for deserting his unit in combat during the Winter War. [CPC]
Italy
  • Iride departed La Spezia, Italy for Libya with four manned torpedoes on board. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom United States
  • US President Roosevelt departed Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, United States aboard presidential yacht Potomac, escorted by destroyer USS Mayrant, for Newport, Rhode Island, United States to inspect the Torpedo Station and the Naval Training Station with Secretary of the Navy Knox, Senator David I. Walsh and Rear Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus. He then sailed for the Submarine Base at New London, Connecticut, United States, inspecting submarine operations en route and visiting Electric Boat Company facilities in New London. Finally, he set sail for Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC, United States, arriving at night. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Aug 1940
  • The British Royal Navy cruiser HMS Carlisle shot down an Italian aircraft attacking Berbera, British Somaliland. On the same day, destroyer HMS Kimberley and sloop HMS Auckland shelled the port of El Sheikha, which had recently been captured by Italian forces. On the ground, Italian troops attacked British defenses at Tug Argan, but the defense held. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-60 sank Swedish ship Nils Gorthon 10 miles north of Ireland at 2147 hours; 5 were killed and 16 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt met with Secretary of the Navy Knox, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, and Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles regarding the possibilities of transferring destroyers to the United Kingdom. Later on the same day, Roosevelt sent a telegram to British Prime Minister Churchill via Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles and Ambassador to London Kennedy, noting that "it may be possible to furnish to the British Government... at least 50 destroyers" in exchange for the promise of the Royal Navy never turning over its ships to the Germans even in the event of a Germany victory over the United Kingdom and for 99-year leases for land for military bases. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heavy cruisers USS Wichita and USS Quincy departed Pernambuco, Brazil for Montevideo, Uruguay. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first shells fired from the French side of the English Channel fell upon Dover, England, United Kingdom. [AC]
  • Erich Raeder met with Adolf Hitler and attempted to convince Hitler to reduce the landing front for the planned invasion of Britain as the German Navy had little means to maintain the security of a wide landing area. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Admiral Thomas C. Hart of the US Navy Asiatic Fleet shifted his flag from heavy cruiser USS Augusta to submarine USS Porpoise at Qingdao, Shandong, China and departed for Shanghai. It was the first time a Asiatic Fleet chief had traveled in a submarine. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German Luftwaffe launched Adlerangriff, Eagle Attack, in the afternoon, but miscommunications in the morning meant some aircraft took off early and suffered heavy casualties. At 1500 hours, 300 German aircraft were launched. 86 British Fleet Air Arm and 1 RAF Fighter Command aircraft were destroyed on the ground and 13 RAF Fighter Command aircraft (2 Spitfire and 11 Hurricane) shot down; the Germans lost 87 airmen killed or captured; 40 German bombers and 36 German fighters were lost. Overnight, German aircraft damaged aircraft factories in Belfast and Castle Bromwich. The minesweeping trawler HMT Elizabeth Angela was sunk by air attack on this day off Dover, killing 1. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey was shot down by a German He 111 aircraft over Britain. [Main Article | AC]
14 Aug 1940
  • Roosevelt approved what later became the Two-Ocean Navy Act. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British Ministry of Home Security announced that parachutes had been found in Derbyshire, Yorkshire, and Scotland, though there were no evidence of German troops on British soil. [CPC]
  • British and Commonwealth troops engaged in heavy fighting with Italian forces near Berbera, British Somaliland; British commander in area Major General Godwin-Austen requested permission to fall back into Berbera and to prepare for evacuation. [Main Article | CPC]
  • On his way to ignite a coup in the Irish Republic and an uprising against Ulster, IRA Chief of Staff, Sean Russell, died aboard a German U-boat of a perforated ulcer. Trained in sabotage by the Germans, he was buried at sea wrapped in a Swastika flag. [AC]
  • Cloudy weather prevented Germans from launching large scale raids against Britain early in the day as planned. At 1200 hours, 300 German aircraft flew over the Dover Strait and attacked Dover and Folkestone in southern England, which drew out the No. 65 Squadron RAF for defense, leaving RAF Manston undefended during the attack that came shortly afterwards (though anti-aircraft gun crews were able to shoot down two Bf 110 fighters). At 1545 hours, RAF Middle Wallop in Hampshire was bombed by Ju 87 dive bombers and He 111 medium bombers, killing 3 airmen and 1 civilian. In Portland Harbour, British sloop HMS Kingfisher and tug Carbon were damaged by bombing. On this day, the Germans lost 30 aircraft while the British lost 3 Spitfire fighters and 5 Hurricane fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-59 sank British ship Betty 15 miles north of Ireland at 2034 hours, killing 30. 4 survivors were later rescued by British anti-submarine trawler HMS Man o' War. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Malcolm, destroyer HMS Verity, and three motor torpedo boats attacked a German convoy of 6 trawlers escorted by three motor torpedo boats off Texel Island, the Netherlands. One German motor torpedo boat and one German trawler were sunk. [CPC]
  • Orion spent most of this day looking for her Ar 196 floatplane which had been forced to make a water landing due to mechanical issues while conducting reconnaissance on Nouméa, New Caledonia. The aircraft was found and recovered. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for Bahia, Brazil. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler heard from Walther von Brauchitsch, who insisted that the German Army would like to attack Britain on a wide front with four or more main landing sites. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Oberst Alois Stoeckl, the commanding officer of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing, was killed in action. [CPC]
China
  • US Navy Asiatic Fleet chief Admiral Thomas C. Hart arrived in Shanghai, China aboard USS Porpoise. Upon arrival, he transferred his flag to yacht Isabel. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Aug 1940
  • Roosevelt approved the National Defense Research Committee, which was a collection of civilian scientists working for the military. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian troops continued the attack at Tug Argan, British Somaliland, taking another one of the six hills overlooking the main road. Overnight, British forces withdrew towards Berbera, with African troops, Indian troops, and troops of the Scottish regiment Black Watch forming a rearguard at Barkasan. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian Air Force bombers attacked Greek destroyers Vasilissa Olga and Vasilevs Georgios I near the islands of Tinos and Syros. Meanwhile, Italian submarine Delfino sank WWI-era Greek cruiser Helle at anchor. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-A sank Greek ship Aspasia 700 miles west of Gibraltar at 2000 hours with two torpedoes, killing the entire crew of 19. Far to the north, 190 miles northwest of Rockall, Ireland, German submarine U-51 sank British tanker Sylvafield, which was carrying 7,860 tons of fuel oil, killing 3; 20 survivors were rescued by Belgian trawler Rubens and 16 survivors were rescued by British minesweeping trawler HMS Newland. In Germany, German Navy ordered the construction of 86 new submarines. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Eric Wilson of British Somaliland Camel Corps manned his machine gun during the Italian attack at Tug Argan Gap, British Somaliland despite being overpowered. A retreat order had already been given but it never got to him. He was captured; he was subsequently freed and joined the Long Range Desert Group. He would later win the Victoria Cross for the action at Tug Argan Gap. [CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Churchill responded to US President Roosevelt's telegram of 13 Aug 1940 regarding the offer of destroyers, noting "moral value of this fresh aid from your Government and your people at this critical time will be very great and widely felt." [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US Navy established a Naval Air Station in Miami, Florida, United States with Commander Gerald F. Bogan in command. [CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived at Bahia, Brazil. [CPC]
  • Oberstleutnant Hans Korte was named the commanding officer of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing. [CPC]
Greece
  • Elli was sunk by Italian submarine Delfino at Tinos island, Greece at 0825 hours; 9 were killed, 24 were wounded. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • As the weather over Britain cleared up, the German Luftwaffe launched a major strike, with aircraft from Norway and Denmark joining their counterparts based in France. A formation of 1,100 German aircraft crossed the Dover Strait before diverging to different targets, damaging aircraft, runways, hangars, and radar stations. At 1850 hours, German Bf 110 fighter-bombers bombed Croydon airfield south of London, England, United Kingdom by mistake, meeting stiff resistance; one of the shot down Bf 110 aircraft crashed into a London suburb, killing 60 and wounding 120. At the end of the day, 161 aircraft, mostly bombers, were lost, leading to the nicknaming of this day Black Thursday. The RAF lost 34 fighters and 18 pilots. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Assistant Chief of Naval Operations Rear Admiral Robert L. Ghormley, US Army Air Corps Major General Delos C. Emmons, and US Army Brigadier General George V. Strong arrived in London, England, United Kingdom for an informal meeting with British officers. [CPC]
  • James Lacey damaged a German Do 17 aircraft over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Aug 1940
  • British and Commonwealth troops began evacuating Berbera, British Somaliland, while Italian troops marched closer to the capital, though very cautiously and did not attack the British rearguard at Barkasan. Italian aircraft, for the most part, allowed the evacuation operation to take place in order to maintain good relations with Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Despite fine weather, German attacks on Britain were limited to small raids. At noon, German bombers attacked shipping in the Thames estuary and various airfields in southern England; at 1630 hours, some of the same targets were hit a second time. Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers attacked RAF Tangmere and Ventnor radar station, destroying many Hurricane fighters and Blenheim bombers in the hangar at the former and damaging radar installations at the latter. Pilot Officer W. M. "Billy" Fiske, an American pilot in the RAF, would become injured during one of the raids and would die on the following day, becoming the only American killed in combat during the Battle of Britain. On this day, the RAF lost 22 fighters while the Luftwaffe lost 72. In Germany, the 5th Directive (intelligence section) of the German Luftwaffe High Command reported the RAF Fighter Command only had about 300 fighters left; in actuality, it had about 400 Hurricane fighters and 200 Spitfire fighters available at the time, which was twice of the estimate. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Despite being badly wounded and with his Hurricane fighter on fire, Flight Lieutenant James Nicolson shot down a German Bf 109 fighter before bailing out. He would later win the only Victoria Cross awarded to a fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain. [CPC]
  • British submarine Osiris sank Italian ship Morea 50 miles west of Durrës, Albania. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-100 sank British ship Empire Merchant 150 miles northwest of Ireland, killing 7. 48 survivors were rescued by tug HMS Salvonia. 150 miles further northwest, a German submarine wolfpack consisted of U-30, U-46, and U-48 attacked Allied convoy OB-197, sinking Swedish ship Hedrun (8 killed, 20 survived) and British ship Clan Macphee (67 killed, 41 survived), and damaging Dutch ship Alcinous. In the same general area 170 miles northwest of Ireland, British Coastal Command Sunderland flying boats of 210 Squadron attacked German submarine U-51 with depth charges; U-51 narrowly survived the attack; this was the first successful use of aircraft against a German submarine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hungary and Romania began negotiating over Transylvania, which Hungary wished to take over from Romania. The negotiation soon turned into a deadlock. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Orion attacked and sank French ship Notu which was en route to Nouméa, New Caledonia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Galland recieved the Pilot's Badge in Gold with Diamonds from Hermann Göring. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt announced in a press conference that the United States had engaged with the United Kingdom to acquire land for military bases in the Western Hemisphere. No mention was made regarding the transfer to destroyers from the US to the UK. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Army Transport American Legion departed Petsamo, Finland for New York, United States with Crown Princess Martha of Norway and her three children on board. Also on board was a 40-millimeter Bofors gun purchased by the US Navy. American Legion was the last neutral ship to be allowed to depart from Petsamo. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wilhelm Keitel issued the order that, per Adolf Hitler's decision, the landing area in the invasion plan for Britain was to be slightly narrowed as a compromise between the Army (which wanted a wide front) and the Navy (which lacked the warships to secure too many landing sites). [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • James Lacey claimed a probable kill on a German Bf 109 fighter over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • A "Test" Platoon led by Major William Lee and consisting of 48 volunteers from the US 29th Infantry Regiment made the first US Army parachute jump from an aircraft in order to explore the prospect of bringing troops and equipment into battle by air. [AC]
17 Aug 1940
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright departed Bahia, Brazil for Pará, Brazil. [CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler announced an air and sea blockade of Britain, threatening that all ships approaching Britain would be sunk without warning. [Main Article | TH]
  • German leaders designated Berlin as the European financial center after Germany's victory. [TH]
18 Aug 1940
  • The British evaucation of Berbera, British Somaliland was completed after troopships Chakdina, Chantala, Laomedon, and Akbar and hospital ship Vita departed the port, destined for Aden. Australian cruiser HMAS Hobart was left behind to collect stragglers and destroy vehicles, fuel, and stores. Colonial troops of the Somaliland Camel Corps chose to remain in their homeland; their British officers respected their decision and allowed them to keep their weapons. [Main Article | CPC]
  • No. 302 (Polish) and No. 310 (Czechoslovakian) squadrons were activated by the RAF. [CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt and Canadian Prime Minister King signed the Ogdensburg Agreement which established the Permanent Joint Board for the Defense of the United States and Canada. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • On this "Hardest Day", German aircraft attacked Kenley and Biggin Hill airfields in southern England in the United Kingdom, among other locations, subjecting the airfields to heavy bombing. Losses on both sides were heavy with the Germans losing 69 aircraft and the RAF Fighter Command 29. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • The keel of Columbia was laid down by New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Aug 1940
Wreckage of a Do 17 aircraft in Britain, 18 Aug 1940
19 Aug 1940
  • Italian troops captured Berbera, British Somaliland. The 17 day conflict has cost the British 250 casualties but the Italians more than 2,000. [Main Article | AC]
  • German submarine U-48 sank Belgian passenger ship Ville de Gand off Ireland just after midnight; 15 were killed and 38 survived. Also off Ireland, at 0154 hours, U-101 sank British ship Ampleforth; 9 were killed and 29 were rescued by British destroyer HMS Warwick. U-A sank British ship Hungarian Kelet off Ireland at 1000 hours, killing 6, all of whom were survivors of the ship Clan Macphee that was sunk by U-30 on 16 Aug 1940; 33 crew and 35 other Clan Macphee survivors were rescued by Norwegian merchant ship Varegg. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber took its first flight. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Twelve A6M2 Model 11 Zero fighters escorted fifty four G3M2 Type 96 bombers on a mission against the Chinese city of Chongqing; this was the first combat mission of the Zero fighter. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Cloud and rain limited German reconnaissance capability in the morning. In the afternoon, German Luftwaffe changed its tactics, sending single aircraft, mainly Ju 88 bombers, to attack targets along the southern coast of England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The Germans lost 1 Bf 109 fighter and 4 Ju 88 bombers during the day, while the British lost 1 Spitfighter fighter in the fighting and 1 Blenheim fighter over southern Norway during a reconnaissance mission. Meanwhile, the government in London declared the entire United Kingdom a defense area. To reinforce the RAF, a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron arrived in Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS R-5 was recommissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Aug 1940
Working on the rudder of battleship North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 19 Aug 1940
20 Aug 1940
  • Battle of Britain: At 1445 hours, 190 German aircraft flew over the Thames Estuary in search of British shipping, but failed to find any; British fighters arrived and shot down five German aircraft. Meanwhile, RAF Manston was attacked; 1 Spitfire fighter was shot down while attempting to defend the airfield. In total, 7 Luftwaffe aircraft and 3 RAF aircraft were lost today. At the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made the "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" speech. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hermann Göring sent peace proposals to Britain via Dutch and Turkish foreign ministries, but the proposals were ignored by the British. [CPC]
  • Joseph Stalin's political enemy Leon Trotsky was attacked in his home in Mexico with an ice axe by undercover NKVD agent Ramón Mercader. Trotsky would die on the next day. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Cachalot torpedoed and sank German submarine U-51 in the Bay of Biscay 100 miles west of St. Nazaire, France, killing the entire crew of 43. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Orion spotted British ship Turakina 350 miles east of New Plymouth, New Zealand, finally sinking her with gunfire and one torpedo after a prolonged chase; 38 crew members were killed. Despite knowing the New Zealand Navy might already be on the way, Orion's commanding officer nevertheless decided to remain in the area for 5 hours to rescue 21 of Turakina's survivors. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Theodor Osterkamp, the commanding officer of Jagdgeschwader 51, was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz). Forty-eight year old Osterkamp was one of only a handful of aviators to see combat in both World Wars. During the Great War he had been awarded both the Knight's Cross of the Royal Hohenzollern House Order with Swords and the Pour le Mérite, and finished the war with thirty kills to his name. In 1940 he added six more victories before his superiors insisted that his further career should be chairbound. [Main Article | AC]
China
  • Chinese communist forces launched the Hundred Regiments Offensive in Hebei and Shanxi Provinces in China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Luftwaffe leadership ordered that no more Ju 87 Stuka aircraft were to be sent into action over Britain, after suffering unsustainable loss rates; almost 60 were shot down in the past 11 days. [Main Article | TH]
21 Aug 1940
  • Joseph Stalin's political enemy Leon Trotsky died of severe brain damage as the result of the previous day's assassination attempt by undercover NKVD agent Ramón Mercader. [CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: Bad weather prevented large formations of bombers from forming, so the German Luftwaffe dispatched only small one- to two-aircraft raids against coastal Britain. On this day, 1 Hurricane fighter was shot down, 2 RAF personnel were killed on the ground, and 40 RAF personnel were wounded; 4 civilians were killed, and 178 were wounded; several merchant ships were damaged or sunk. On the German side, 13 bombers were shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank British collier Anglo Saxon 1,000 miles west of Africa. Survivors in lifeboats were machine gunned. In total, 34 crew members were killed. 7 survivors got away in a lifeboat, but would not reach land, Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, 2,500 miles away, for 71 days; by that time, only 2 were still alive. One of the survivors, Able Seaman Robert Tapscott, would later provide testimony to convict Captain Ruckteschell of Widder as a war criminal. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Dandolo damaged Dutch tanker Hermes 200 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived at Pará, Brazil. [CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Do 17 aircraft off Great Yarmouth, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Iride, with four manned torpedoes on board intended for an attack on British ships in Alexandria in Egypt, was sunk by British torpedo bombers in the Gulf of Bomba off Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom House of Commons authorized foreign troops of occupied nations to conduct training in Britain under their own flags. [TH]
22 Aug 1940
  • British Swordfish torpedo bombers of 812 Squadron from HMS Peregrine bombed German invasion barges at Daedereide, the Netherlands. One Swordfish aircraft was shot down, with its crew of two taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • Three Swordfish torpedo bombers of 824 Squadron of HMS Eagle sank Italian submarine Iride, killing most of the crew of 45, and the depot ship Monte Gargano in the Gulf of Bomba, Libya. Italian torpedo boat Calypso was also damaged. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James V. Forrestal, former Administrative Assistant to the US President and Wall Street broker, was named the first Undersecretary of the Navy responsible for procurement and materiel in the Navy Department. [CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was appointed Geschwaderkommodore JG 26 "Schlageter". [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • Harrow in northwest London, England, United Kingdom received a German bomb at 0330 hours, the first to fall within the borders of the London Civil Defence Area. After daybreak, bad weather once again prevented large German raids. At 0900 hours, German 38-centimeter guns at Cape Gris Nez, France shelled the convoy "Totem" in the Strait of Dover for 80 minutes, but no ships were hit. At 1300 hours, German Ju 88 bombers, escorted by Bf 109 fighters, attacked the same convoy, but were engaged by Spitfire fighters of No. 54 Squadron and Hurricane fighters of No. 610 Squadron; 1 Ju 88, 1 Spitfire, and 1 Hurricane aircraft were shot down, wit the Hurricane fighter shot down by friendly fire. In the evening, the 38-centimeter gun fired again, this time at the city of Dover; British 14-inch gun "Winnie" returned fire. From 1830 hours through the night, German bombers raided British cities, including Aberdeen, Bristol, and Hull. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill visited RAF Kenley in southern London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Aug 1940
TBD-1 Devastator aircraft of Torpedo Squadron 3 with McClelland Barclay experimental camouflage design number 7, Naval Air Station, North Island, California, United States, 22 Aug 1940, photo 1 of 3TBD-1 Devastator aircraft of Torpedo Squadron 3 with McClelland Barclay experimental camouflage design number 7, Naval Air Station, North Island, California, United States, 22 Aug 1940, photo 2 of 3TBD-1 Devastator aircraft of Torpedo Squadron 3 with McClelland Barclay experimental camouflage design number 7, Naval Air Station, North Island, California, United States, 22 Aug 1940, photo 3 of 3TBD-1 Devastator aircraft of Torpedo Squadron 3 with McClelland Barclay experimental camouflage design number 8, Naval Air Station, North Island, California, United States, 22 Aug 1940, photo 1 of 3
See all photos dated 22 Aug 1940
23 Aug 1940
  • German propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels launched a new campaign that stressed the British fighting spirit in an attempt to rally Germany behind the war effort. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Hostile hit a mine 18 miles off Cape Bon, Tunisia at 0317 hours, killing 5 and wounding 3. After the survivors were taken aboard by destroyers HMS Hero and HMS Mohawk, HMS Hero scuttled Hostile with torpedoes. [CPC]
  • Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney, Australian destroyer HMAS Stuart, and British destroyers HMS Diamond, HMS Ilex, HMS Juno bombarded the Italian seaplane base at Bomba, Libya. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 torpedoed Norwegian ship Keret in the Atlantic Ocean 500 miles west of Ireland at 0222 hours, killing 13; 7 survivors in a lifeboat and a raft were rescued by British ship Trident. In the general area, at 1250 hours, U-37 sank British ship Severn Leigh, killing 32 crew and 1 gunner; 10 survivors would make it to Outer Hebrides, Scotland on 5 Sep. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heavy cruisers USS Wichita (with chief of Cruiser Division 7 Rear Admiral Andrew C. Pickens on board) and USS Quincy arrived at Montevideo, Uruguay. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright departed Pará, Brazil for the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. [CPC]
  • James Lacey was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The British RAF flew a retaliation strike against Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Rain and clouds prevented the Germans from mounting large raids against Britain, giving the British airmen a chance to rest and crews a chance to repair airfields. Single-aircraft raids were, however, mounted against southern and central England, as were raids against shipping; two merchant ships were sunk and one was damaged by He 115 torpedo bombers. Overnight, German bombers raided British cities; British fighters shot down two of the night raiders with no losses of their own, while anti-aircraft gunners claimed a third. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Aug 1940
  • German submarine U-57 attacked Allied convoy OB-202 2 miles north of Ireland just after midnight; British ships Saint Dunstan and Cumberland were sunk, killing 14 and 4, respectively; British ship Havildar was damaged. German submarine U-48 sank British tanker La Brea, carrying 9,410 tons of fuel oil, 130 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 1414 hours, killing 2; 31 survived and made it to the Outer Hebrides on lifeboats. 500 miles west of Ireland, German submarine U-37 sank British ship Brookwood at 0314 hours, killing 1; 35 crew and 1 gunner would remain adrift for 5 days before being picked up by British merchant ship Clan Macbean. At 2038 hours, U-37 struck again, sinking British sloop HMS Penzance escorting Allied convoy SC-1, killing 90; 7 survivors were rescued by British ship Blairmore. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis sank British ship King City, carrying 7,300 tons of coal and coke for Singapore, 900 miles east of Madagascar, killing 6. Atlantis remained in the area, in very rough seas, to pick up the survivors. [CPC]
  • Bismarck was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Before dawn, the London Blitz began as a misguided group of German bombers of KG1 unloaded their bombs London's Thames Haven oil terminal, which also damaged the church of St. Gile in East End; Göring demanded to know the crews that did this so to punish them. Clear weather allowed the German attacks to restart in size. German bombers arrived in waves against RAF Hornchurch, RAF North Weald, and RAF Manston in southern England; the Germans lost 22 fighters and 18 bombers, while the British lost 20 fighters. At 1600 hours, 50 German aircraft bombed Portsmouth in southern England, killing 100 civilians and wounding a further 300, while damaging HMS Acheron (killing 2, wounding 3) and HMS Bulldog (killing the commanding officer) in the harbor. Overnight, deliberate bombing of London, England, United Kingdom began, hitting north, east, and west of the city. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down a German Ju 88 aircraft and a Do 17 bomber over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille scored his first kill, a British Hurricane Mk I fighter, over Kent, England, United Kingdom. While he was congratulated by his commanding officer, he was also reprimanded because he achieved the kill after abandoning his wingman to pursue the target. Later that evening, in his diary, he noted great sadness when he thought about the enemy pilot's mother not being able to see his son again. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 24 Aug 1940
Commissioning ceremony of German battleship Bismarck, 24 Aug 1940, photo 01 of 10Commissioning ceremony of German battleship Bismarck, 24 Aug 1940, photo 02 of 10; Captain Ernst Lindemann coming aboardCommissioning ceremony of German battleship Bismarck, 24 Aug 1940, photo 03 of 10; portrait of Captain Ernst LindemannCommissioning ceremony of German battleship Bismarck, 24 Aug 1940, photo 04 of 10; Captain Ernst Lindemann reviewing crew
See all photos dated 24 Aug 1940
25 Aug 1940
  • Battleship Bismarck fired 52 3.7cm and 400 2cm shells against raiding British aircraft without any hits. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: At 1700 hours, German bombers attacked the RAF airfield at Warmwell and the harbor of Dover; during the defense, Czechoslovakian pilot Count Manfred Czernin, flying a Hurricane fighter for the RAF, shot down three Bf 110 fighters in one minute. Overnight, German bombers attacked South Wales, Bristol, Birmingham, and other cities in the Midlands. In total, the Germans lost 38 fighters and 14 bombers, while the British lost 16 fighters and 2 bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Allied convoy HX-65 from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada to Liverpool, England, United Kingdom was tracked and attacked by German submarines all day; at 0245 hours, German submarine U-48 sank the ship Empire Merlin (35 were killed and 1 was rescued by corvette HMS Godetia) and tanker Athelcrest (30 were killed and 6 were rescued by HMS Godetia) 90 miles north of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland; at 0748 hours, German submarine U-57 sank tanker Pecten (49 were killed and 8 were rescued) 75 miles north of Ireland; between 2350 and 2356 hours, German submarine U-124 fired four torpedoes at the convoy 23 miles north of the Outer Hebrides, sinking British ships Harpalyce (42 were killed) and Fircrest (entire crew of 39 was lost), while damaging Stakesby. Also on this date, German submarine U-37 sank British ship Blairmore 500 miles west of Ireland at 0146 hours; 5 were killed and 36 were rescued by Swedish ship Eknaren. Closer to the Irish coast, German submarine U-100 sank British ship Jamaica Pioneer, killing 2. At about 2345 hours, U-37 struck again, sinking British ship Yewcrest. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • 81 British Hampden bombers of No. 49 and No. 50 Squadrons attacked Berlin, Germany in the first retaliation attack for the raid on London, England. Clouds led to bombs falling largely in suburban lawns and gardens, killing only 6. Nevertheles, Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring was shocked and embarrassed that the British bombers were able to get through in such great numbers. [Main Article | TH]
26 Aug 1940
  • Chad declared war on Germany and Italy. [TH]
  • Battle of Britain: With clear weather, the Germans launched three major raids. At 1200 hours, 150 aircraft flew over the Strait of Dover from Calais in France; No. 616 Squadron's Spitfire fighters of RAF Kenley and No. 264 Squadron's Defiant fighters were attacked and devastated by escorting German Bf 109 fighters; the German bombers split up after reaching Britain and bombed RAF Biggin Hill, RAF Kenley, and various towns in Kent. At 1500 hours, 170 German aircraft flew up the Thames estuary, but most were turned back by British fighters; 6 Do 17 bombers made it through the fighter defense and bombed RAF Debden, causing heavy damage. At 1600 hours, 55 German bombers of KG55 escorted by about 100 fighters attacked Portsmouth, but the group was repulsed by 5 No. 11 Group and 3 No. 10 Group squadrons. In total, the RAF lost 28 fighters and the Luftwaffe lost 22 bombers and 24 fighters. While the machine losses were heavy for both sides, the RAF only lost 6 airmen, while most of the downed German crews were killed or captured. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Dandolo sank British steamer Ilvington Court, killing 8. [CPC]
  • German torpedo bombers attacked two British ships 10 miles east of Kinnaird Head, Scotland; Remuera would sink and Cape York would remained afloat until the next day. Both crews survived. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin's seaplane attacked Norwegian tanker Filefjell off Madagascar at 1748 hours. Pinguin soon arrived to capture the ship which was carrying 10,000 tons of gasoline and 500 tons of oil. [CPC]
  • The British RAF bombed Leipzig, Leuna, Hanover, Nordhausen in Germany as well as Turin and Milan in Italy. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered the transfer of 10 infantry divisions and 2 armored divisions from France to Poland. To avoid Soviet suspicion, he made plans to make this transfer appear as if these fresher troops were coming in to relieve older men who were going to be released back into the work force. [Main Article | CPC]
Canada
  • The American-Canadian Permanent Joint Board on Defense convened in Ottawa, Canada. The American attendees were Fiorello H. LaGuardia (President, U.S. Conference of Mayors), Lieutenant General Stanley D. Embick (US Army commander of the Fourth Corps Area), Captain Harry W. Hill, and Commander Forrest P. Sherman (US Navy War Plans Division), Lieutenant Colonel Joseph T. McNarney, and John D. Hickerson (Assistant Chief of Division of European Affairs of the US Department of State). [Main Article | CPC]
Ireland
  • Ireland lodged a protest in Berlin, Germany after bombs were dropped over Wexford, Ireland. [TH]
27 Aug 1940
  • Battle of Britain: Bad weather limited the Germans to flying reconnaissance missions only during the day. Overnight, German bombers attacked industrial centers and RAF airfields. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt signed the joint resolution authorizing him to call Army Reserve components and National Guard into federal service for one year; meanwhile, at the US Congress, the legislation that allowed US Navy and US Marine Corps reserve aviators to be called up to active duty was enacted. On the same date, Roosevelt met with Secretary of the Navy Knox, Secretary of War Stimson, and Secretary of State Hull regarding a compromise that might persuade the opponents of the destroyers-for-bases exchange to back down. Subsequently, Roosevelt met with US Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Stark, Secretary of the Navy Knox, Secretary of State Hull, and British Ambassador Lord Lothian to continue destroyers-for-bases discussions; Stark certified that the destroyers in question were available for British use without concerns of weakening US defense. Finally, Roosevelt received a ruling from Attorney General Robert H. Jackson which suggested that the destroyers-for-bases exchange was legal. Meanwhile, out at sea, German submarines continued to attack Allied shipping in the Atlantic Ocean. German submarine U-46 attacked British armed merchant cruiser Dunvegan Castle with three torpedoes 75 miles northwest of Ireland; 27 were killed and 250 were rescued by destroyer HMS Harvester and corvette HMS Primrose; Dunvegan Castle would sink on the following day. German submarine U-28 sank Norwegian ship Eva 200 miles northwest of Ireland at 1603 hours, killing 1. Finally, German submarine U-37 sank Greek ships Theodoros T. 300 miles west of Ireland at 2231 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stopped British tanker British Commander off Madagascar at 0418 hours. Shortly after, she stopped Norwegian ship Morviken. Pinguin would imprison both crews and sink both ships by gunfire. [CPC]
  • Wilhelm Keitel revealed an invasion plan for Britain that featured four separate main landing sites. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Caproni's C.C.2 prototype motorjet aircraft took its first flight. [CPC]
28 Aug 1940
  • Radio broadcast in Vichy France announced that laws protecting Jews in France had been removed. [Main Article | TH]
  • Battle of Britain: Shortly after 0800 hours, German bomber formations were detected above Calais, France; the incoming 33 bombers and 120 Bf 109 fighters would drop 100 bombs on Eastchurch, but failed to disable the RAF airfield. At 1235 hours, 30 German fighters attacked RAF Rochford, which received 30 bombs. Two additional raids would reach airfields in southern England in the afternoon. During the day, the Germans lost 14 Bf 109 fighters, 8 modern bombers, and 1 WW1-era Gotha biplane bomber; the British lost 15 fighters; despite the fighter losses, after Winston Churchill's tour of some airfields, he was much more concerned about the German ability to damage runways, which could seriously disrupt fighter operations, thus he ordered more manpower to be assigned to the RAF for airfield repairs. Overnight, Birmingham, Coventry, Derby, Sheffield, Manchester, and South Yorkshire were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 torpedoed Finnish ship Elle 200 miles northwest of Ireland at 0425 hours, killing 2; after the 27 survivors were rescued by sloop HMS Leith and delivered to Greenock, Scotland, HMS Leith returned on 30 Aug to scuttle the ship with gunfire. German submarine U-28 sank British ship Kyno 200 miles northwest of Ireland at 2100 hours; 4 were killed and 33 were rescued by British ship Queen Maud. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders' wingman Oberleutnant Kircheis was shot down and became captured; Oberleutnant Georg Claus took over as his new wingman. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Army transport American Legion, with destroyers USS Biddle and USS Blakeley in escort, arrived from from Petsamo, Finland to New York City, United States with Norwegian Crown Princess Martha. Also aboard was a 40-millimeter Bofors gun, smuggled in for the US Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heavy cruisers USS Wichita (with Rear Admiral Andrew C. Pickens on board) and USS Quincy departed Montevideo, Uruguay for Buenos Aires, Argentina. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered troops to prepare for an occupation of Romania should war break out in that country. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland
  • Simo Häyhä was promoted from the rank of corporal directly to the rank of second lieutenant by Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Overnight, British bombers attacked Berlin, Germany, damaging Görlitzer railway station, killing 8 and wounding 21. [Main Article | CPC]
29 Aug 1940
  • The United Kingdom rejected Germany's proposal to use Red Cross ships to recover downed German airmen in the English Channel. [TH]
  • The British Tizard Mission shared radar technology with the United States. [CPC]
  • Ribbentrop and Count Ciano met Romanian and Hungarian Ministers in Vienna, Austria. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The French colonies of Equatorial Africa and the Cameroons declared support for Charles de Gaulle. Governor Georges Pierre Masson of Gabon, however, retracted the support after pressure from the French naval commander at Gabon, who sided with the Vichy government. [CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: Low clouds and rain in the morning prevented Germans from launching attacks on Britain; reconnaissance flights were mostly left alone by the British. At 1500 hours and 1915 hours, the Germans launched large groups of fighters in an attempt to draw out British fighters, which was initially successfully, but very quickly Air Vice Marshal Keith Park saw through the German attempt and recalled the fighters; only 9 fighters were lost on either side. On this day, RAF leadership decided to stop using Defiant turret fighters as daylight intercepters as they were no match for German fighters. Overnight, German bombers attacked Portsmouth, Tyneside, Hartlepool, Swansea, Manchester, and Liverpool; decoy fires were lit in the countryside to lure German bombing, which were partially successful. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-100 hit five ships in Allied convoy OA-204 150 miles northwest of Ireland. British ship Hartismere was damaged at 0023 hours; British ship Dalblair was sunk also at 0023 hours (4 killed, 37 survived); British ship Astra II was sunk at 0140 hours (5 killed, 20 survived); Swedish ship Alida Gorton was sunk at 0336 hours (11 killed, 13 survived; 20 survivors of Dalblair were also killed); and British ship Empire Moose was sunk at 0427 hours (all 36 survived). [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heavy cruisers USS Wichita (with Rear Admiral Andrew C. Pickens on board) and USS Quincy arrived at Buenos Aires, Argentina. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Rear Admiral John Downes relieved Rear Admiral William C. Watts as the Commandant of the US Navy Ninth Naval District and as the commanding officer of the US Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois, United States. [CPC]
  • Red Army divisional commanding officer Grigoriy Fyodorovich was executed for deserting his unit in combat during the Winter War. [CPC]
Ireland
  • Berlin formally apologized to Ireland for bombing Wexford. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • James Lacey shot down a Bf 109 fighter of German Jagdgeschwader 3 wing over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The first mass jump by American paratroopers was carried out at Fort Benning, Georgia, United States in front of a high ranking audience with complete success. [AC]
30 Aug 1940
  • In exchange for a German guarantee of security, Romania ceded the region of Dobrudja to Bulgaria and ceded Transylvania to Hungary. This move was forced on Romania by Hitler in an effort to prevent a possible war between Romania and Hungary. [Main Article | TH]
  • No. 303 (Polish) Squadron RAF was deemed operational in Britain. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-32 sank three ships of Allied convoy HX-66A four miles off Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom between 0200 and 0248 hours; British ship Mill Hill was sunk with the entire crew of 34 lost, British ship Chelsea was sunk with 24 lost and 11 rescued by armed trawler HMS Lord Cecil, and Norwegian ship Norne was sunk with 17 lost and 11 survivors rescued by corvette HMS Hibiscus. Several hours later, German submarine U-59 attacked two ships of Allied convoy OB-205 70 miles northwest of Ireland between 0934 and 0953 hours; British tanker Anadara was damaged but remained float and without any casualties, and would be towed to the Clyde in Scotland by tug HMS Schelde; Greek ship San Gabriel also took on damage without sinking, but suffered 2 kills (she would later be declared a loss and her remaining 22 survivors would be taken off by destroyer HMS Warwick). Finally, also on this date, German submarine U-25 sank with all hands near Terschelling, the Netherlands after one of her own mines exploded. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Rear Admiral Charles S. Freeman relieved Rear Admiral Edward B. Fenner as the Commandant of the US Navy Thirteenth Naval District and as the Commandant of the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington, United States. [CPC]
  • The brand-new armoured aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious, and a powerful escort left Gibraltar. Although her air group was small (only 15 fighters and 18 bomber aircraft), Illustrious was one of the first warships to be fitted with air-warning radars which gave her a big advantage in fleet defence, as she could detect and track hostile aircraft and give her aircraft time to gain altitude. With both Illustrious and Eagle under his command, Admiral Cunningham could now take the offensive. [Main Article | AC]
  • Captain Leicester Charles Assheton Curzon-Howe was named the commanding officer of HMS Mauritius. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • The Japanese-sponsored puppet state Manchukuo established a flight school in Fengtien Province to train military and civilian pilots. [CPC]
Germany
  • RAF Bomber Command aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • French Ambassador to Tokyo Arsène Henry announced to the Japanese that the French government would allow 6,000 Japanese troops to station in Indochina and would allow the military use of ports, airfields, and railroads in the region. However, the French government attempted to delay on the implementation of the plan as long as they could. [Main Article | CPC]
Netherlands
  • British RAF Bomber Command aircraft attacked oil refineries near Rotterdam, the Netherlands. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Albert Kesselring knew that the British were used to large raids every few hours by this time, so he changed tactics by dispatching smaller raids every 20 to 30 minutes. The airfield at Biggin Hill in England, United Kingdom was attacked repeatedly, but for the most part bombs fell on the town instead of the airfield, killing 39 and wounding 26; nevertheless, the few bombs that hit the airfield did damage the operations room and briefly brought down defense coordination at this site. Other targets attacked by German bombers on this day include Dietling (placed out of commission for remainder of day), Debden, North Weald, Duxford, Eastchurch, Croydon, and Hornchurch. The Ken radars were also brought offline briefly as power lines were damaged. This day, with 1,310 sorties flown by the Luftwaffe, would become RAF Fighter Command's day of greatest casualties, with 40 aircraft destroyed, 9 people killed, and 18 people seriously injured. German losses were great as well: 33 fighters and 30 bombers. Heavy attacks continued in England after nightfall, with Liverpool, London, Portsmouth, Manchester, Worcester, and Bristol bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader's No. 242 Squadron RAF was moved from RAF Coltishall at Norwich, England, United Kingdom to RAF Duxford at Duxford, England. On the same day, the squadron claimed downing 10 German aircraft, with two of which, Bf 110 heavy fighters, claimed by Bader. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After shooting down a German He 111 bomber and damaged a Bf 110 fighter over the Thames estuary in southern England, United Kingdom, James Lacey's Hurricane fighter was badly damaged, but he was able to successfully glide the aircraft and crash land the aircraft at Gravesend to the north. [Main Article | AC]
31 Aug 1940
  • By the end of Aug 1940, a little over 51,000 British citizens had registered as conscientous objectors. [TH]
  • Battleship Bismarck fired 46 3.7cm shells against raiding British aircraft without any hits. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battle of Britain: Overnight, the British did enough repairs to bring RAF Biggin Hill back to operational status. At 0800 hours, radar installations at Kent picked up German formations; it was soon discovered to be all fighters, thus fighters already dispatched to intercept were called back, and only 3 fighters (all Canadian) were lost. Before noon, the real German raids arrived. 200 bombers attacked Essex; No. 56 Squadron RAF shot down 1 bomber but lost 4 fighters to German escort fighters from III./ZG26 and III./JG26. Debden, North Weald, Eastchurch, Dietling (strafed by fighters), Croydon (bombed by Bf 109 fighter-bombers of Erprobungsgruppe 210), and Hornchurch were all attacked in the morning. In the afternoon, Hornchurch was attacked again, destroying 2 Spitfire fighters on the ground but at the cost of 5 Bf 109 fighters. At 1800 hours, Biggin Hill was bombed from low level, destroying 2 of the 3 remaining hangars, cutting telephone lines, and destroying the operations room. On this day, the RAF lost 41 fighters and 9 pilots, while the Luftwaffe lost 56 fighters and 29 bombers. After sundown, Liverpool was bombed for the fourth consecutive night; other cities received bombs, too. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Five British destroyers, ordered to intercept German ships, sailed into a new German airfield. HMS Express hit a mine and received serious damage; 56 were killed. HMS Esk moved closer to HMS Express to assist, but also ran into a mine, caused her sinking; 135 were killed and 25 survivors were captured on the beach. HMS Ivanhoe, also trying to help HMS Express, hit a mine and was damaged, killing 8 and wounding 3; she would be scuttled on the next day, and 23 of her survivors would be taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • 8,000 British and French troops departed from Britain for Freetown, Sierra Leone, escorted by British cruisers HMS Devonshire and HMS Fiji and five destroyers. Their destination would ultimately be Dakar in French West Africa, which was still under Vichy control. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders claimed two victories against British Hurricane fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt called 60,000 men of the National Guard into federal service with the US Army. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chen Cheng was relieved from his position as the head of the political bureau of the Nationalist military. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Allied convoy OB-205 was attacked by German submarines 100 miles north of Ireland; at 0000 hours, German submarine U-60 hit Dutch passenger ship Volendam, carrying 273 crew and 606 British passengers (many were children) for Canada, killing 1 though the death occurred during the evacuation rather than during the attack; at 0206 hours, German submarine U-59 sank British ship Bibury, killing the entire crew of 38 and 1 gunner; at 0615 hours, German submarine U-38 sank British ship Har Zion; 33 were killed and 1 survived (rescued by Polish destroyer Blyskawica on the next day). To the west, 100 miles northwest of Ireland, German submarine U-46 sank Belgian passenger ship Ville de Hasselt; the entire crew of 53 survived on 4 lifeboats. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • RAF bombers attacked targets in Berlin, Cologne, Hanover, and Emden, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • The Ca.331 OA prototype aircraft took its first flight at Ponte San Pietro, Italy with test pilot Ettore Wengi at the helm. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • While escorting the Operation Hats convoy toward Malta, Garland was lightly damaged by Italian aircraft in the Mediterranean Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • James Lacey shot down a German Bf 109 fighter over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
1 Sep 1940
  • British Destroyer HMS Ivanhoe sank after hitting a mine off the Dutch coast. [TH]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Royalo hit a mine and sank off Penzance, Cornwall, England; 7 were killed. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Sunfish collided with patrol launch Mesme shortly after departing Grangemouth, Scotland, United Kingdom. Mesme sank with the entire crew of 3 lost. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 sank Greek ship Efploia 100 miles northwest of Ireland just after 0000 hours; the entire crew survived on two lifeboats and were rescued by British destroyer HMS Anthony. 200 miles west of Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom at 1725 hours, U-32 attacked British cruiser HMS Fiji, killing 5 and badly damaging the ship; Fiji would be able to sail to the Clyde, Scotland under her own power for repairs. To the south, near Brest, France, British submarine HMS Tigris sank the small French fishing vessel Sancte Michael with the deck gun. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Cruisers HMS Orion and HMAS Sydney and destroyers HMS Decoy and HMS Ilex shelled the Italian Dodecanese islands of Scarpanto (now Karpathos) and Stampalia (now Astypalea) in the Aegean Sea. HMS Ilex rammed and sank Italian motor torpedo boat MAS537. [CPC]
  • Otto Skorzeny was promoted to the rank of Oberscharführer and was transferred to the 2nd SS Division "Das Reich". [Main Article | CPC]
  • German naval shipping began to move from North Sea ports to ports to the south in preparation for the invasion of Britain. [CPC]
  • Vyacheslav Molotov complained that the Second Vienna Arbitration was in violation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed in 1939. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • The Italian Navy established a frogmen training school at the Naval Academy at Livorno, Italy under the command of Lieutenant Wolk. [CPC]
Poland
  • The coke-fired two-retort furnace in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp crematorium was put into service for the disposal of bodies. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Formations of German fighters arrived in Britain in the morning to lure British fighters, but the tactic did not succeed. At 1100, 1330, and 1730 hours, large German raids attacked Debden, Biggin Hill, Hawkinge, Lympne, Kenley, Detling, Eastchurch, Tand Sherburn, as well as the Tilbury Docks in the East End of London. Luftwaffe lost 17 fighters and 8 bombers, while the RAF lost 15 fighters (with 6 pilots killed). Overnight, German bombers attacked Kent, Bristol Channel, and South Wales. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • The US Marine Corps Midway Detachment of the Fleet Marine Force, consisting of 9 officers and 168 enlisted Marines and approximately one-third of the 3rd Defense Battalion's equipment, was established. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Sep 1940
  • Battle of Britain: In the morning, German bombers attacked Eastchurch (destroyed buildings and down to only one runway), Rochford (bombs fell on Gravesend instead of the airfield), Northweald (most bombers forced back), and Biggin Hill (suffered heavy damage). In the afternoon, Hornchurch (most bombs missed), Eastchurch (bomb dump detonated), and the Vickers bomber factory at Brooklands, Weybridge, Surrey was attacked. On this day, the RAF shot down 27 German fighters and 10 bombers, while British anti-aircraft fire shot down a further 1 fighter and 3 bombers; 20 RAF fighters were shot down, with 10 pilots killed. Overnight, German bombers attacked Liverpool, Manchester, and Sheffield. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Sturgeon sank German troop ship Pionier off Skagen, Denmark at 2000 hours. Most of the 750 to 1,000 German troops aboard Pionier, en route to Frederiksstad, Norway, were killed. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 sank Belgian ship Ville de Mons with four torpedoes 200 miles west of Isle of Lewis, Scotland at 1900 hours. All 54 aboard survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-58 departed Lorient, France; only 30 miles out of the port, she was detected by British submarine HMS Tigris, which fired a spread of torpedoes at her; all torpedoes missed. German submarine U-46 sank British ship Thornlea 200 miles northwest of Ireland at 2200 hours, killing 3; 19 survivors were rescued by Canadian destroyer HMCS Skeena, while another 14 survivors would be rescued on the following day by the Norwegian ship Hild. 200 miles west of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom, German submarine U-47 sank Belgian ship Ville de Mons with four torpedoes at 1900 hours; all 54 aboard survived. Far to the south, German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank British tanker Cymbeline with the deck gun and a torpedo in the Central Atlantic 800 miles west of the Canary Islands, killing 7; Widder remained in the area for four hours and rescued 26 survivors. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt approved the "destroyers for bases" deal with the United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Secretary of State Hull and British Ambassador Lord Lothian concluded the destroyers-for-bases deal. The United States was to provide the United Kingdom with 50 WW1-era destroyers; the United Kingdom, in return, was to provide 99-years leases on land in the Bahamas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Jamaica, and British Guiana to build American military bases and to provide land in Newfoundland and Bermuda as gifts to the US. Planning was quickly placed in motion for the dispatch of US Marine Corps units to these newly gained future bases. [CPC]
  • No. 25 and 29 Squadrons RAF each received their first Beaufighter fighters. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a British Spitfire fighter, his second kill, over Kent, England, United Kingdom. He received minor damage in the engagement and ran out of fuel, but successfully crash landed on a beach near Calais, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down two German Bf 109 fighters and a Do 17 aircraft over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Josef Frantisek, flying a Hurricane fighter, scored his first kill, a German Bf 109E fighter, as a RAF pilot. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Sep 1940
  • German submarine U-57 collided with Norwegian ship Rona at Brunsbüttel, Germany. U-57 sank with 6 lost; there were 19 survivors. She would later be raised to serve as a training ship. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-60 sank British collier Ulva about 150 miles southwest of Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0326 hours; 3 were killed and 17 survived. A British convoy escort vessel depth charged German submarine U-101 200 miles west of Ireland, damaging her and causing flooding, but U-101 would survive and reach Lorient, France on 16 Sep for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop denied that the Second Vienna Arbitration had violated any terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, as Vyacheslav Molotov had accused. Furthermore, Ribbentrop complained that the manner in which the Soviet Union had take over the Baltic States was in itself a violation of the pact. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • He Yingqin ordered Nationalist 18th Army to counter the Communist advance along the Yangtze River in Jiangsu Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • Vojtech Tuka convinced the Slovak assembly to enact Constitutional Law 210 which gave the government powers to establish anti-Semitic laws. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Germany began planning Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • 50 German Do 17 bombers escorted by 80 Bf 110 fighters and 40 Bf 109 fighters flew up the Thames Estuary in souther England, United Kingdom, then split up to hit RAF airfields at North Weald, Hornchurch, and Debden. All three airfields were badly damaged, but all remained operational. Biggin Hill also saw two minor raids on this date. Luftwaffe lost 17 fighters and 8 bombers, while the RAF lost 20 fighters and 2 bombers (to friendly fire). During a meeting on this date, Kesselring recommended Göring to cease the bombing of British fighter airfields because there were too many of them; instead, he suggested to bomb London and use the threat of civilian deaths to force large numbers of British fighters to come to battle. Overnight, German bombers attacked Kent, Liverpool, and South Wales. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt announced the destroyers-for-bases deal to the public. Captain Ferdinand L. Reichmuth, the commanding officer of destroyers of the US Navy Atlantic Squadron was placed in charge of the transfer of destroyers to Britain. [CPC]
  • Light cruiser USS St. Louis departed Norfolk, Virginia with Rear Admiral John F. Greenslade on board, who was placed in charge to survey land recently gained from the United Kingdom for building military bases. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Sep 1940
TBD-1 Devastator showing damage to fuselage after a landing accident on Yorktown, 3 Sep 1940US Navy pilot C.M. OCruiser Mk IV tanks of British 3rd Royal Tank Regiment on exercise in East Anglia, England, United Kingdom, 3 Sep 1940, photo 1 of 2Cruiser Mk IV tanks of British 3rd Royal Tank Regiment in a village in East Anglia, England, United Kingdom, 3 Sep 1940
See all photos dated 3 Sep 1940
4 Sep 1940
  • French Army General Maurice Martin took over Franco-Japanese negotiations for Indochina. Japanese intelligence intercepted a French cable that detailed Indochina affairs to the United States and the United Kingdom, signaling that the US and the UK still had influence in Indochina politics. Japanese Army argued that force must now to be used before US and UK openly asserted pressure. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German motor torpedo boats attacked Allied convoy FS.271 off Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. S-21 sank ships Corbrook and New Lambton, S-22 sank Fulham IV (entire crew survived), S-18 sank British ship Joseph Swan (only 1 survived) and Dutch ship Nieuwland (8 killed), and S-54 damaged ship Ewell. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-45 sank Irish ship Luimneach 200 miles west of Brest, France at 2000 hours. 3 were rescued by U-45 and 15 were rescued by a French fishing boat. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 sank British ship Titan of Allied convoy OA-207 250 miles northwest of Ireland at 0128 hours, killing 6. 89 survivors were rescued by escorting destroyer HMCS St. Laurent. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Romanian King Carol II handed power over to the pro-German General Ion Antonescu. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Prince Nagahisa passed away in an airplane crash at Zhangjiakou in Japanese puppet state of Mengjiang in northern China. [Main Article | CPC]
Greece
  • Fairey Swordfish aircraft from the British Fleet Air Arm's 815 and 819 Squadrons attacked the Calato and Gadurra airfields on Rhodes, Greece. They should had been accompanied by Swordfish aircraft from 813 and 824 Squadrons but these were delayed in their departure from HMS Eagle and when they arrived the Italian defences were alerted with fighters waiting for them. Four of the Swordfish aircraft were shot down. The Italians lost two aircraft destroyed and seven damaged on the ground. [AC]
United Kingdom
  • German bombers attacked RAF airfields at Eastchurch, Lympne, and Rochford, along with the Short Brothers factories at Rochester and the Vickers-Armstrong aircraft factory at Brooklands in Surrey (55 killed, 250 wounded). RAF Group Captain Grice at Biggin Hill decided to blow up his own hangars to prevent further German attacks; he was later censured in a Court of Enquiry for this action, but no conclusions were made in court. On this day, the Germans lost 6 Bf 109 fighters, 13 Bf 110 fighters, and 1 He 111 bomber; the British lost 9 Spitfire fighters and 6 Hurricane fighters and combat. Meanwhile, Hitler addressed a crowd of factory workers, nurses, and relief workers during the Winter Relief Campaign at the Berlin Sportpalast, declaring that Germany would now answer British night raids on German cities with greater ferocity. Overnight, British cities in South Wales and the Midlands were attacked by German bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Sep 1940
  • Japanese troops crossed the border into Indochina without French permission; French negotiator Maurice Martin suspended all talks in protest. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hungarian troops entered Northern Transylvania, territory that German and Italy forced Romania to cede to Hungary. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 6 Blenheim IV bombers and 6 Hurricane fighters arrived in crates at Takoradi at the British Colony of the Gold Coast. These aircraft would soon be assembled and flown to RAF Abu Sueir, Egypt near the Suez Canal for the war against Italy in North Africa. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Komet completed its voyage across the Northern Sea Route and entered the Pacific Ocean via the Bering Strait. [CPC]
  • Matrosenobergefreiter Heinrich Mantyk fell overboard from German submarine U-47 300 miles northwest of Ireland while operating the deck gun. He was lost. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan United Kingdom
  • In the morning, German bombers attacked RAF airfields at Eastchurch, Lympne, North Weald, Kenley, and Biggin Hill in England, United Kingdom; in the afternoon, German bombers attacked RAF airfields at Detling and Biggin Hill, as well as the Hawker factories at Brooklands and oil storage tanks at Thameshaven. Eastchurch and Biggin Hill were placed out of action after sustaining heavy damage, while the fires at Thameshaven could be seen from London. When Churchill spoke to the House of Commons on this day, he promised compensation for families who had lost homes due to German attacks. On this day, 23 German aircraft were lost, as were 20 RAF fighters. Overnight, London, Manchester, and Liverpool were bombed by German bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down two German Bf 109 fighters over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
6 Sep 1940
  • US military issued contracts for the construction of B-29 and B-32 prototype bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tribune attacked German submarine U-56 40 miles west of Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland; all torpedoes fired missed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • All French colonies supporting General de Gaulle had the British naval blockade lifted. [TH]
  • British troop ship Dunera arrived in Australia with 200 Italian prisoners of war, 251 German prisoners of war, 55 British Nazi sympathizers, and 2,036 civilians from Germany (mostly Jewish refugees). They were robbed and abused by British guards in the past 57 days, and those who committed the abuse were later court-martialed. These "enemy aliens", as they were categorized, were to be trained to the town of Hay, New South Wales, Australia. [CPC]
  • German aircraft damaged British merchant ship Melbourne Star 180 miles west of Ireland and Greek ship Aegeon 30 miles southeast of Dublin. [CPC]
  • HMS Argus launched 30 Hurricane fighters for Takoradi in the British Colony of the Gold Coast. They would later be flown to RAF Abu Sueir in Egypt to participate in the Desert War against the Italians. [CPC]
  • Erich Raeder met with Adolf Hitler in regards to the invasion of Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Rudolf von Schmettow was made the military governor of the Channel Islands, succeeding Albrecht Lanz. [CPC]
China
  • A Nationalist Chinese brigade was wiped out by Communist Chinese forces near Yingxi, Jiangsu Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, battleship HMS Barham, battleship HMS Resolution, and 10 destroyers departed Gibraltar for Dakar. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • A German paratrooper dressed in civilian clothes with a Swedish passport was dropped in Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom at 0300 hours to report damage to airfields; he was injured upon landing and would be captured at 1720 hours. At 0900, 1300, and 1800 hours, German bombers flew up the Thames Estuary and bombed RAF airfields at Heston, Kenley, and Biggin Hill, as well as the Hawker factories at Brooklands (only minor damage) and the oil storage tanks at Thameshaven (caused large fires). The Germans lost 37 fighters and 7 bombers on this day, while the British lost 22 fighters. Overnight, German bombers attacked London. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • A Vultee Model 48C Vanguard aircraft, the first of the batch ordered by Sweden, took flight. [Main Article | CPC]
7 Sep 1940
  • German submarine U-47 sank British ship Neptunian (killing all 36), British ship José de Larrinaga (killing all 40), and Norwegian ship Gro (killing 11; 21 survived) 300 miles northwest of Ireland between 0400 and 0533 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down two German Bf 110 heavy fighters; his Hurricane fighters was heavily damaged in a subsequent encounter by a Bf 109 fighter, but was able to return to base despite the damage. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Ignoring the RAF airfields, German bombers instead attacked London, England, United Kingdom as the new Operation Loge commenced; Göring rode his personal train Asia to Pas-de-Calais, France in a freshly made uniform to personally oversee the first night of the operation. At 1600 hours, 300 bombers and 200 Bf 110 fighter-bombers escorted by 600 Bf 109 fighters. British fighters expected the attacking force to split up to attack airfields, thus were unprepared when they flew straight for East End, London. By the time the British fighters arrived, the bombers had already unloaded their bombs. However, as the Bf 109 fighters had already left due to low fuel levels, German bombers became easy prey. During the day, 53 German bombers were shot down, as was 21 Bf 109 fighters; the British lost 27 fighters. Overnight, German bombers continued to attack East End, which saw 490 killed and 1,200 wounded on this day. This would mark the first of 57 consecutive nights of German bombings on the British capital. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 7 Sep 1940
German He 111 bomber over Surrey Docks, London, England, United Kingdom at 1700 hours on 7 Sep 1940Installation of the No. 3 turret of battleship North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 7 Sep 1940, photo 1 of 2Installation of the No. 3 turret of battleship North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 7 Sep 1940, photo 2 of 2
8 Sep 1940
  • British cruiser HMS Aurora, escorted by 3 destroyers, shelled German shipping and invasion barges in the harbor of Boulogne, France. [CPC]
  • Battleship Bismarck fired 72 3.7cm and 65 2cm shells against raiding British aircraft without any hits. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British torpedo boats MTB-14, MTB-15 and MTB-17 sank a German ammunition ship off Ostend, Belgium. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Widder stopped Greek collier Antonios Chandris in the Central Atlantic. Captain Ruckteschell of Widder ordered the crew of 29 to abandon ship. The Greek ship would be sunk by demolition charges on the next day. [CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was nearly shot down on the French coast by fellow pilot Ulrich Steinhilper in an episode of mis-identification. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 1200 hours, 20 German bombers escorted by 30 Bf 109 fighters flew for London, England, United Kingdom, but the group was intercepted by British fighters; 3 German bombers and 1 German fighter were shot down at the cost of 4 British fighters. At 1930 hours, 30 German bombers dropped incendiary bombs on London, causing fires for the purpose of marking target zones for bombers that would arrive during the night. The night time raid saw bombs dropped on East End in London once more; 3 of the German night raiders were shot down by anti-aircraft guns. Meanwhile, the British War Cabinet was convinced that the German invasion of Britain would take place very soon. The warnings passed to local Home Forces commanders led to many church bells across England being rung as some commanders thought the invasion had already started; some of them went as far as blowing up bridges. Finally, on this day, the British government declared the National Day of Prayer. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Sep 1940
  • All political parties in Norway were dissolved except for Quisling's Nasjonal Samling Party, which was installed as the pro-Nazi Norwegian government. [TH]
  • The US Navy awarded contracts for the construction of 210 new ships, including 12 aircraft carriers and 7 battleships. [CPC]
  • Italian Army Marshal Rudolfo Graziani ordered his troops in Libya to march toward British positions, with troops of the Italian 10th Army under General Mario Berti as spearhead; the Italian goal was to capture the Suez Canal. Italian aircraft bombed British defensive positions while British aircraft flew sorties against Italian supply dumps and troop concentrations. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Greek collier Antonios Chandris, abandoned by her crew as forced by German armed merchant cruiser Widder, was sunk by demolition charges at dawn. Lifeboats containing 22 of her crew of 29 would be rescued by Portuguese freighter Serpa Pinto on 8 Oct 1940. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 sank Greek ship Possidon of Allied convoy SC-2 70 miles north of Ireland at 0024 hours; 17 were killed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-28 sank British ship Mardinian of Allied convoy SC-2 70 miles north of Ireland at 0447 hours; 6 were killed and 22 survived. Italian submarine Comandante Faà di Bruno damaged British tanker Auris 750 miles west of Gibraltar. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Skua aircraft of 801 Squadron took off from Royal Naval Air Station Hatston, Orkney, Scotland to attack German shipping off Bergen, Norway; 1 of the Skua was lost during the attack, with two airmen killed. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis sank British tanker Athelking (without any cargo) 1,200 miles east of Madagascar; 6 were killed and 40 were captured. [CPC]
  • Walther von Brauchitsch issued a plan for the future military occupation of Britain which, among other things, called for the rounding up of males between the age of 17 and 35 to be sent to continental Europe as forced laborers and the systematic looting of British goods; this type of harsh treatment was not even implemented in German-occupied Poland at this time. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Do 17 aircraft and damaged the rudder of a He 111 aircraft using his propeller. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was awarded Iron Cross 2nd Class. [Main Article | CPC]
Canada
  • At Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, the first eight of many American submarines were transferred to the British Royal Navy. [CPC]
France
  • French intelligence reported a possible invasion of Dakar in West Africa by General de Gaulle's forces, supported by the British. In response, French cruisers Georges Leygues, Montcalm, and Gloire, supported by three destroyers, departed Toulon in southern France to reinforce Dakar. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Montcalm departed Toulon, France. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of Britain. [TH]
Greece
  • Aircraft from HMS Illustrious and HMS Eagle attacked Italian airfields on the island of Rhodes, Greece; Eagle lost 4 aircraft in this attack. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German long-range guns shelled Dover, England. [TH]
  • A large German raid crossed the English Channel at 1700 hours and flew toward London, England, United Kingdom in two pincers. Unexpectedly, a British "Big Wing" formation came to intercept, shooting down 29 bombers and 21 Bf 109 fighters and prevented most of the German bombers from reaching London. The British lost 20 fighters (6 pilots killed) in the battle. Overnight, London was heavily bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
10 Sep 1940
  • Battleship Bismarck fired 6 3.7cm shells against raiding British aircraft without any hits. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian troops crossed the Libyan-Egyptian border. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The French Navy informed the British Naval Attaché in Madrid, Spain at 1800 hours that three cruisers and three destroyers were sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar. Unaware that these ships were en route to Dakar in West Africa, a British-Free French joint target, the British Royal Navy allowed the French warships to pass. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis sank British ship Benarty 1,250 miles east of Madagascar. The entire crew of 49 were taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Sturgeon attacked German submarine U-43 in failure 50 miles southwest of Norway. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler postponed the decision for launching Operation Sealion to 14 Sep 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Bad weather restricted the Germans to flying reconnaissance missions only through most of the day. At 1715 hours, 6 small raids approached London, England, United Kingdom; 2 bombers were shot down and all of the rest were turned back by British fighters at the cost of one Spitfire fighter. Also on this date, ocean-going ships were banned from the port of London as these easy targets attracted German attackers. Overnight, the East End section of London was bombed, damaging the Buckingham Palace among others; South Wales, West Midlands, and Liverpool were also attacked during the night. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Sep 1940
  • Japanese Army Major General Issaku Nishihara reported to Tokyo, complaining that French authorities were delaying negotiations regarding Indochina matters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • At 0835 hours, six French warships passed through the Strait of Gibraltar at the speed of 25 knots. Realizing they were heading for Dakar in French West Africa, HMS Renown and three destroyers departed at 1600 hours in an attempt to intercept. Overnight, the French fleet stopped at Casablanca to refuel. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-28 attacked Dutch ship Maas (sank, killing 20) and British ship Harpenden (seriously damaged, killing 1), both of Allied convoy OA-210, 200 miles northwest of Ireland between 0326 and 0328 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 sank British ship Albionic at 0716 hours, killing 25. [CPC]
  • Winston Churchill noted that the coming week was to be dangerous as intelligence showed a German amphibious invasion was about to be launched. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The United States Navy ordered the construction of six Cleveland-class light cruisers for fiscal year 1941. All six ships were to be built by the William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. [CPC]
France
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille scored his third kill when he shot down a British Hurricane fighter over the French coast at 1705 hours. His fighter received heavy damage and he was forced to crash land at Wissant, France. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • After an entire morning without attacks, 300 German bombers flew across Kent in southern England, United Kingdom and up the Thames Estuary in 2 waves at about 1500 hours. British figthers from No. 11 Group RAF engaged the escorting fighters, while British fighters of No. 12 Group RAF attacked the bombers. Some of those bombers got through and bombed the East End of London. On the same day, Portsmouth and Southampton were also bombed. Off Ramsgate, Kent, destroyers HMS Atherstone and HMS Fernie were attacked in the Strait of Dover, badly damaging HMS Atherstone, which also suffered 6 deaths. Overnight, London and Liverpool were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Sep 1940
  • Hungary completed the occupation of Northern Transylvania, Maramures, and part of Crisana; these were territory Germany and Italy forced Romania to cede. Meanwhile, the Germans established a military mission in Bucharest, ostensibly to train the Romanian Army, but the intended goal was to safeguard the Romanian oil fields. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After refueling at Casablanca overnight, three of the six French warships (the three cruisers) departed at 0400 hours, sailing full speed for Dakar in French West Africa. Behind them, HMS Renown's group, now with six destroyers in escort, chased in an attempt to intercept. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Italian 10th Army advanced slowly toward the Libyan-Egyptian border. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin intercepted British ship Benavon 330 miles east of Madagascar. Benavon resisted with her 4-inch gun, but her inexperienced gun crew failed to fit the shell with fuse caps, thus one of the shells that hit Pinguin right next to the magazine failed to detonate. Pinguin returned fire. After 24 deaths, the remaining 25 members of Benavon's crew surrendered. [CPC]
  • In a report to his superiors dated this day regarding German aerial attacks on Britain, Keith Park wrote "confidence is felt in our ability to hold the enemy by day and to prevent his attaining superiority in the air over our territory, unless he greatly increases the scale or intensity of his attacks." [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German Navy noted that British naval shelling and air bombing were significantly undermining the German efforts to gather naval forces for the planned invasion of Britain. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Bad weather restricted German activity to small reconnaissance flights over Britain during the day. Overnight, 50 bombers attacked London, England, United Kingdom. St. Paul's Cathedral was hit by a bomb which failed to detonate; Royal Engineers Lieutenant R. Davies and Sapper J. Wylie were later awarded the George Cross for defusing this bomb. On this night when two of the German bombers were shot down, London searchlight and anti-aircraft gun crews attempted to improve their coordination. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lieutenant Robert Davies' company of the British Royal Engineers successfully removed an unexploded one-ton bomb from the southwestern corner of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England, United Kingdom and then brought it to the countryside to detonate it. Davies and fellow sapper George Wylie were awarded the George Cross medals. [CPC]
13 Sep 1940
  • Italian troops of the 1st "23 March" Blackshirt Division captured Fort Capuzzo in Libya, which was captured by the British at the onset of the war. [Main Article | TH]
  • Three French ships carrying troops from North Africa to France hit mines west of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea. Transports Ginette Le Borgne and Cassidaigne sank, and Cap Tourane was damaged. [CPC]
  • German minesweeping trawler Hermann Krone hit a mine and sank off Hanstholm, Denmark. [CPC]
  • British passenger ship City of Benares departed Liverpool, southern England for Quebec and Montreal, Canada as the flagship of Allied convoy OB-213 commanded by Rear Admiral Mackinnon. She was carrying 90 British children being evacuated to Canada. [CPC]
  • Sergeant J. Hannah was awarded the Victoria Cross. An 18-year old wireless operator/gunner on a Hampden bomber of No. 83 Squadron RAF that was hit by intense flak during an attack on invasion barges at Antwerp, Belgium. The wireless operator's and rear gunner's stations were set ablaze by a direct hit on the aircraft's bomb-bay. After two of the crewmen had baled out and with two fuel tanks pierced, Sergeant Hannah single-handedly fought the fire for ten minutes, using a fire extinguisher and his own log book, while rounds of ammunition detonated all around him and the aluminium fuselage beneath his feet melted in the heat. Such unselfish dedication to duty allowed his pilot to bring the wrecked bomber safely home. [AC]
  • The P-44 Rocket project, a plan to modernize the P-43 Lancer fighter design, was scrapped. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • 13 Zero fighters escorted bombers on a mission to raid Chongqing, China; the Zero fighters downed 27 of the Chinese I-15 and I-16 Russian-made fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Bad weather restricted the size of German raids, but still a continuous stream of single-bomber raids attacked London and surrounding RAF airfields in England, United Kingdom throughout the day; one of the bombs landed in front of the Buckingham Palace and another in the palace courtyard. Three of the German bombers were shot down during the day. Meanwhile, Royal Navy transferred battleships HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney to Rosyth and battleship HMS Revenge to Plymouth to deter a possible German landing through the next few days during tide conditions favoring landings. Overnight, German bombers attacked London and Cardiff. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey pursued the He 111 bombers of German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing which had bombed the Buckingham Palace in London, England, United Kingdom and shot down one of them. After the attack, he had to bail out of his Hurricane fighter due to battle damage. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
  • HMS Rodney arrived at Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
14 Sep 1940
  • The Japanese Imperial General Headquarters gave the orders for troops to move into Indochina on 22 Sep 1940 regardless of the state of the Franco-Japanese negotiations. British intelligence intercepted this message, but it would not be deciphered until 20 Sep 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion once again, to 17 Sep 1940. In the evening, the British RAF mounted a major attack on several launching points for the invasion of Britain, destroying several ships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British battleships HMS Barham and HMS Resolution, several British destroyers, and French sloops Commandant Domine and Commandant Duboc arrived at the Crown Colony of Freetown in West Africa to refuel. These warships were en route to French-controlled port of Dakar. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German anti-submarine trawler Hinrich Wesselhoft ran aground near Bergen, Norway in the Hardangerfjord. The damage was so great that she would later be scuttled. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Emo attacked British tanker Saint Agnes 500 miles west of Porto, Portugal with torpedo and deck gun. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. [Main Article | CPC]
French West Africa
  • Montcalm arrived at Dakar, French West Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Cruiser Georges Leygues arrived at Dakar, French West Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Walter Grabmann was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 1530 hours, 150 German aircraft crossed the coast for London, England, United Kingdom; another 100 approached at 1800 hours. Most bombers were unable to reach their targets due to British fighter opposition. Overnight, there was little bombing of London. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 14 Sep 1940
Japanese Ki-21 bomber dropping bombs on a target near the Yangtze River, China, 14 Sep 1940
15 Sep 1940
  • German submarine U-99 attacked Canadian ship Kenordoc with the deck gun 200 miles northwest of Ireland just after midnight, killing 7 and wounding 13; heavily damaged, she would later be scuttled by Canadian destroyer HMCS St. Laurent and British destroyer HMS Amazon after the destroyers took the survivors aboard. German submarine U-48 sank British sloop HMS Dundee northwest of Ireland at 0025 hours; 12 were killed and 83 were rescued. At 0123 hours, U-48 attacked Greek ship Alexandros with a torpedo, killing 5; 23 survivors were rescued by destroyer HMS Wanderer. At 0300 hours, U-48 yet attacked again, sinking British ship Empire Volunteer; 6 were killed and 33 were rescued. 180 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0605 hours, German submarine U-65 sank Norwegian ship Hird; the entire crew of 30 survived, rescued by Icelandic trawler Þórólfur. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Sergeant John Hannah, age 18, of RAF Scampton (today home to the Red Arrows display team) won the Victoria Cross for beating out flames with his bare hands to save his damaged Hampden bomber. [AC]
  • British RAF attacked German launching points for the invasion of Britain. [CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Do 17 aircraft and damaged a Do 17 aircraft and a Ju 88 aircraft over southern England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • B5N bombers of Japanese 12th Naval Air Group based in Yichang, Hubei Province, China attacked Chongqing, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Battleship Bismarck departed Hamburg, Germany for the first time. At 1658 hours, while steaming down the Elbe River, she collided with bow tug Atlantik without damage. At 1902, she anchored in Brunsbüttel roads. During the night, she fired 13 10.5cm, 136 3.7 cm, and 191 2cm shells during a British air raid, without any hits. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille scored his fourth kill, a British Hurricane fighter, over southeastern London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • At 1130 hours, 250 German bombers with fighter escort crossed the English Channel, with 100 of them targeting London, England, United Kingdom. At 1430 hours, another 250 bombers arrived in 2 waves, with 70 of them reaching London. At 1600 and 1800 hours, the aircraft factory at Woolston in Southampton, building Spitfire fighters, was bombed, but with little damage. On this day, 56 German aircraft and 29 British aircraft were shot down; 136 German airmen were killed or captured and 12 British pilots were killed. Overnight, the German Luftwaffe conducted heavy bombing raids over Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Southampton. [Main Article | TH]
  • James Lacey shot down a German He 111 bomber and three Bf 109 fighters over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Sep 1940
Battleship Bismarck at Brunsbüttel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, 15 Sep 1940A tugboat guiding Bismarck at Brunsbüttel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, 15 Sep 1940, photo 1 of 7A tugboat guiding Bismarck at Brunsbüttel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, 15 Sep 1940, photo 2 of 7A tugboat guiding Bismarck at Brunsbüttel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, 15 Sep 1940, photo 5 of 7
See all photos dated 15 Sep 1940
16 Sep 1940
  • US Congress passed the Selective Training and Service Act. [TH]
  • Battleship Bismarck entered the Kiel Canal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian troops of the 1st Blackshirt Division "23 Marzo" captured Sidi Barrani, Egypt and stopped the advance due to supply problems. This would prove to be the farthest the Italians would go. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British bombers attacked German invasion barges in French ports along the English Channel, interrupting an amphibious training exercise and causing many casualties. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 sank Norwegian ship Lotos north of Ireland at 0241 hours; the entire crew of 17 survived in two lifeboats. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers damaged British troop ship Aska in the Irish Sea, kill 11 British crew and 19 French soldiers. [CPC]
  • French ship Poitiers, sailing from Libreville, French Equatorial Africa to Dakar, was intercepted by British cruiser HMS Cumberland. After taking the entire crew aboard, HMS Cumberland sank Poitiers by gunfire. [CPC]
  • The presence of German troops in Finland, despite the fact that they were ultimately destined for Norway, alarmed the Soviet Union. [CPC]
China
  • Communist Chinese New 4th Army captured Jiangyan (now a district of Taizhou), Jiangsu Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 0730 hours, more than 100 German Bf 109 fighters made a raid on Kent, England, United Kingdom to draw British fighters, which never rose to meet them. Overnight, German bombers attacked London, Liverpool, Manchester, Coventry, Birmingham, and Bristol. [Main Article | CPC]
17 Sep 1940
  • Battleship Bismarck exited the Kiel Canal at 1448 hours, then arrived at Scheerhafen, Kiel. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Franco-Japanese negotiations for Indochina re-opened; the Japanese increased their demands and openly threatened France with military action. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 attacked British passenger liner City of Benares 400 miles west of Scotland, United Kingdom; City of Benares was evacuating 90 British children and their families to Canada but this fact was unknown to the German captain; both torpedoes missed and U-48 would continue to stalk her prey. German submarines U-99 sank British ship Crown Arun of Allied convoy HX-71 200 miles west of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0832 hours; the entire crew of 25 were rescued by destroyer HMS Winchelsea. German submarines U-65 sank British ship Tregenna of Allied convoy HX-71 200 miles west of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom at 1626 hours; 33 were killed and 4 were rescued by British ship Filleigh. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Swordfish torpedo bombers from carrier HMS Illustrious attacked the port of Benghazi, Libya, bombing shipping and laying mines. Italian destroyer Borea was sunk by torpedoes and destroyer Aquilone was damaged by a mine. Italian merchant ships Gloria Stella and Maria Eugenia were also sunk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Kent was damaged by a torpedo launched by an Italian aircraft at 1155 hours, killing 31. [CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Janus and HMS Juno departed Alexandria, Egypt and bombarded Italian positions at Sidi Barrani, Egypt at 1100 hours. At 1130 hours, British gunboat HMS Ladybird bombarded the coastal highway near Sollum, Egypt. [CPC]
  • Hitler postponed Operation Sealion via order Nr. 00 761/40 g. Kdos., ordering that no new barges would arrive, but those that were already there (1700 barges and 200 ships, capable of carrying 500,000 men) would remain. British intelligence would continue to think that a German invasion was still probable; as a result, Churchill announced to the Parliament on this date that the next few weeks would be "grave and anxious". [CPC]
  • No. 29 Squadron RAF became fully operational with the Beaufighter IF fighters. Meanwhile two more Squadrons (Nos. 600 and 640) were working up with the type. [Main Article | AC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 1400 hours, German Ju 88 bombers attempted to attack factories in Bristol, England, United Kingdom but were turned back by Spitfire fighters of No. 152 Squadron RAF. At 1530 hours, a formation of converted Bf 109 fighter-bombers attacked Kent; 4 were shot down by British fighters without doing much damage. In Berlin, Adolf Hitler postponed Operation Seelöwe indefinitely, but Hermann Göring was allowed to continue the aerial attacks on Britain. Meanwhile, in London, Winston Churchill announced that 2,000 civilians were killed and 8,000 were wounded during the Blitz thus far. Overnight, more than 350 tons of bombs were dropped on London, South Wales, and Liverpool. [Main Article | TH]
  • James Lacey was shot down over Ashford, England, United Kingdom by Bf 109 fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Sep 1940
  • German submarine U-48 sank British ship Marina at 0007 hours; 2 were killed and 37 survived. At 1849 hours, U-48 struck again, sinking British ship Magdalena, killing the entire crew of 31. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Bagnolini sank Spanish ship Cabo Tortosa off Porto, Portugal; all members of the crew survived the attack and were rescued by Spanish ship Monte Ayala. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS S-31 was recommissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Do 17 aircraft and a Ju 88 aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • U-48 hit the British passenger liner City of Benares, a ship evacuating 90 British children and their families to Canada, with a torpedo 600 miles west of Ireland at 0001 hours. The ship listed heavily, which prevented many of the lifeboats from being launched. She sank at about 0030 hours, taking down 121 crew and 134 passengers (including 77 children). Destroyer HMS Hurricane arrived on the following day and rescued 105 survivors. After this incident, the British government suspended the policy of sending children aboard. [TH]
France
  • The American Library in Paris, France reopened. [CPC]
French West Africa
  • Montcalm departed Dakar, French West Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Cruiser Georges Leygues departed Dakar, French West Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan United Kingdom
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille scored his fifth kill, a British Spitfire fighter, over Dover, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 70 German Ju 88 bombers escorted by 100 Bf 109 fighters crossed the English Channel at noon and were intercepted by British fighters of No. 11 Group RAF; 60 of the bombers would reach London, England, United Kingdom and drop their bombs. At 1600 hours, 200 bombers in multiple waves attacked targets in Kent in southern England; they were engaged by fighters of No. 11 and No. 12 Groups and suffered 23 bombers and 10 fighters lost, but they were able to shoot down 12 British fighters in exchange. Overnight, London was bombed by several waves of bombers; Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, and other cities were also attacked. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Sep 1940
Pattern of condensation trails left by British and German aircraft after a dog fight over Britain, 18 Sep 1940
19 Sep 1940
  • Wellington, Hampden, and Whitley bombers of the British RAF attacked German invasion barges in ports along the French coast. One Hampden bomber was lost. After the attack, Adolf Hitler ordered the barges to disperse to minimize further losses. Thus far, 214 of the 1,918 barges assembled for the planned invasion had been destroyed by British aerial attacks. [TH]
  • British Minister of Labour Ernest Bevin announced that, as of the end of Aug 1940, there were 51,261 registered conscientious objectors in Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British bombers sank German torpedo boat T-3 at Le Havre, France, killing 9 and wounding 12. T-3 would later be raised and repaired. [CPC]
  • Italian submarines Archimede and Guglielmotti and destroyers Leone, Pantera, Battisti, and Manin searched in the Red Sea for Allied Convoy BN-5. They failed to locate their target. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Comandante Faa Di Bruno attacked a ship 700 miles west of Gibraltar without success. Italian submarine Guglielmo sank Spanish trawler Almirante Jose De Carranza in the Bay of Biscay north of Spain; only 1 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Serpente mis-identified Italian submarine Marcantonio Colonna as hostile and fired a torpedo 59 miles south of Italy. The torpedo missed. [CPC]
Ceylon
  • Rohan Amerasekera signed up for the British Royal Air Force. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • During the Imperial Conference, Prince Hiroyasu of Fushimi expressed concerns regarding the alliance between Japan and Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Bad weather restricted aerial activity during the day, thus the Germans only launched reconnaissance missions. 5 Ju 88 bombers dispatched on reconnaissance missions were lost, including one that was forced to land at RAF Oakington at 1500 hours due to engine trouble. Overnight, London, England, United Kingdom was bombed several times between 2000 hours and midnight. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Sep 1940
  • German submarine U-A sank Panamanian collier Tuira 400 miles west of Ireland at 0027 hours, killing 2. German submarine U-46 torpedoed and damaged Greek ship Leonidas M. Valmas 50 miles northwest of Ireland at 2150 hours; she would not sink due to its cargo of wood, but 16 crew members died in the fire; 2 survivors were rescued by British destroyer HMS Arrow. 10 miles north of Malin Head, Ireland, German submarine U-138 fired three torpedoes at Allied convoy OB-216 between 2120 and 2126 hours; all three torpedoes hit, sinking Yugoslavian collier Boka was sunk (8 killed, 26 survived) and British passenger liner City of Simla (3 killed, 182 crew and 165 passengers survived); British whale factory ship New Sevilla was damaged but would remain afloat until the next day (2 killed, 282 survived). [Main Article | CPC]
  • Allied convoy BN-5, which had so far successful in evading the Italian destroyers and submarines in pursuit, was detected and attacked by Italian aircraft in the Red Sea. British ship Bhima was damaged by near misses and had to be towed to Aden to be beached. Escorting New Zealand cruiser HMS Leander was attacked but did not sustain any damage. One Italian bomber was shot down. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis sank French passenger liner Commissaire Ramel in the Indian Ocean about halfway between Madagascar and Australia, killing 3. 63 crew members, mostly Australians, were imprisoned abord Atlantis. Fregattenkapitän Rogge of Atlantis had wanted to transfer his 230 prisoners to Commissaire Ramel and send the French ship back to German as a prize ship, but situation did not allow him to do so. On the same day, the British Royal Navy formed a task force composed of Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra, Australian armed merchant cruiser Westralia, British cruiser HMS Capetown, and British cruiser HMS Durban to find and sink Atlantis. [CPC]
  • Werner Mölders shot down two Spitfire fighters of No. 92 Squadron RAF near Dungeness, England, United Kingdom, which were the 39th and 40th victories. [Main Article | CPC]
French Indochina
  • Jean Decoux allowed Japanese forces to enter Haiphong harbor, French Indochina. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Three waves of German Bf 109 fighters totaling over 100 aircraft flew across the English Channel for London, England, United Kingdom; they successfully lured out British fighters and shot down 7 of them (killing 4 pilots) at the cost of 2 of their own. Overnight, London was attacked by German bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Sep 1940
  • German submarine U-138 attacked Allied convoy OB-216 10 miles off Malin Head, Ireland at 0227 hours, damaging British ship Empire Adventure, killing 21. Empire Adventure was taken in tow, but would sink on 23 Sep. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 detected Allied convoy HX-72 400 miles west of Ireland. With only one torpedo left and seeing so many potential targets (the convoy contained 41 merchant ships and had only 4 destroyers, 1 sloop, and 2 corvettes in escort), commanding officer of U-47 Günther Prien radioed the finding to eight other German submarines. Between 0312 and 0447 hours, German submarine U-99 sank British tanker Invershannon (16 killed, 32 survived), British ship Baron Blythswood (entire crew of 34 killed), and British ship Elmbank (2 killed, 54 survived). At 0614 hours, German submarine U-48 sank British ship Blairangus (6 killed, 28 survived). At 2310 hours, German submarine U-100 sank British ship Canonesa (1 killed, 62 survived), British ship Dalcairn (entire crew of 48 survived), and British tanker Torinia (entire crew of 55 survived). At 2338 hours, U-48 struck again, damaging British ship Broompark (1 killed). [Main Article | CPC]
  • British carrier HMS Ark Royal, battleship HMS Barham, battleship HMS Resolution, cruiser HMS Devonshire, French sloop Commandant Domine, French sloop Commandant Duboc, and French sloop Savorgnan De Brazza, and several destroyers and troop transports departed Freetown, West Africa for Dakar. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders was awarded Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal for being the first fighter pilot to achieve 40 victories. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Through out most of the day, the German Luftwaffe only dispatched reconnaissance missions against Britain. The only major raid of the day came at 1800 hours when over 200 aircraft flew toward London, England, United Kingdom; this attack was turned back by British fighters. In London, the British government officially sanctioned the usage of the Tube underground rail stations as air raid shelters, though this usage had already been in place for some time; many stations had already been equipped with first aid stations, food canteens, bunks, and toilets. The Tube tunnel near the Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly Line was reinforced with concrete and was used to store antiques and artifacts from the British Museum such as the Elgin Marbles. Overnight, London and Liverpool were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
22 Sep 1940
  • Moscow radio reported that RAF bombing had largely destroyed the German invasion fleet along the English Channel. [TH]
  • France tentatively agreed to meet increased Japanese demands for Indochina. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Allied convoy HX-72 continued to be attacked by German submarines in the Atlantic Ocean after being detected and attacked in the previous day. Between 0022 and 0214 hours, German submarine U-100 sank British ship Empire Airman (33 killed, 4 rescued), British tanker Frederick S. Fales (11 killed, 32 rescued), British ship Scholar (entire crew of 45 survived), Norwegian ship Simla (5 drowned after jumping overboard, 31 survived), and three other ships. At 0740 hours, U-32 attacked British ship Collegian with her deck gun, but return fire from Collegian drove off the attack. Meanwhile, 100 miles south of the Faroe Islands, German submarine U-31 sank Faroese trawler Union Jack at 1755 hours by deck gun fire; the entire crew of 7 survived. 1 mile off the French coast near Bordeaux, British submarine HMS Tuna sank Norwegian passenger liner Tirranna; the commanding officer of HMS Tuna did not know that Tirranna was a prize ship taken by German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis back in Jun, and it carried 274 prisoners; of the 88 killed, only one was German; the remainder were all civilians of friendly nations. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Royal Navy launched 11 Swordfish torpedo bombers and 6 Skua fighters/dive bombers from carrier HMS Furious at 0300 hours to attack German positions at Trondheim, Norway. Rough waters due to bad weather forced HMS Furious to turn back for Scotland ahead of schedule. When the aircraft returned, 1 Swordfish aircraft ran out of fuel while looking for HMS Furious (3 killed), 3 Swordfish aircraft crash landed in Norway (9 captured), and 1 Swordfish and 1 Skua aircraft cash landed in Sweden (5 interned). [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Janus, HMS Juno, and HMS Mohawk bombarded Italian positions at Sidi Barrani, Egypt. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Truant sank Italian ship Provvidenza 10 miles west of Naples, Italy. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Osiris sank Italian destroyer Palestro in the Adriatic Sea 75 miles east of Bari, Italy. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Bad weather restricted flying on both sides; only 1 German aircraft (Ju 88 bomber on reconnaissance mission shot down near the Isle of Wight, with entire crew captured) and 3 British Hurricane fighters (became lost in fog while on patrol) destroyed during the day. Overnight, London, England, United Kingdom received a heavy bombing from German bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Sep 1940
  • Japanese troops invaded Indochina despite French agreement to Japanese demands during negotiations on the previous day. [Main Article | TH]
  • Operation Menace: General Charles de Gaulle arrived with 3,600 Free French troops at Dakar, French West Africa held by Vichy France; his forces were supported by 4,300 British troops and a powerful fleet. The Vichy French forces imprisoned the crew of two Free French aircraft that had landed at Dakar, and then fired upon a boat containing Free French personnel approaching to negotiate (wounding 2). At 1000 hours, British warships approached the harbor, and were also fired upon (killing 5). At 1130 hours, British ships fell back out of the range of shore batteries; at about the same time, Vichy French submarine Persee was sunk while attempting to torpedo the cruiser Dragon. In the afternoon, cruiser HMAS Australia attacked Vichy French destroyer L'Audacieux, forcing her to beach after 81 were killed. De Gualle's first attempt at a landing, at Rufisque Bay, was repulsed, and he began to show reluctance of killing fellow countrymen. Having heard of this sentiment, Winston Churchill urged de Gaulle to "[s]top at nothing". [Main Article | CPC]
  • The United Kingdom received 7 American destroyers at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. [CPC]
  • British submarine H-49 sank German ship Heimdal 7 miles northwest of Terschelling Island, the Netherlands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • King George VI of the United Kingdom instituted the George Cross award as the equivalent of the Victoria Cross for civilians. [CPC]
  • USS R-1 was recommissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Bantam delivered a prototype, officially named the "Pilot" but nicknamed the "Blitz Buggy", to the US Army vehicle test center at Camp Holabird, Maryland, United States for a requirement that would result in the Jeep. [Main Article | DS]
Germany
  • The British RAF Bomber Command sent 129 bombers for a night raid against Berlin, Germany, causing minimal damage. [Main Article | TH]
  • Werner Mölders was presented Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross medal by Adolf Hitler in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Two German raids approached London, England, United Kingdom at 0930 hours and 1730 hours, but few aircraft reached London, turned back by RAF fighters; the Germans lost 10 Bf 109 and 1 Bf 110 fighters, while the British lost 11 fighters. Overnight, German bombers attacked London and Liverpool. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Sep 1940
  • In Britain, gasoline price rose to 2 shillings and 2 pence per gallon. [CPC]
  • Japanese troops occupied Lang Son, Indochina. [Main Article | TH]
  • Operation Menace: Overnight, Governor of French West Africa, Pierre Boisson, rejected Free French demand for the surrender of Dakar. At 0700 hours, British destroyer HMS Fortune detected Vichy French submarine Ajax, which was forced to surface by depth charges and then sunk with gunfire after the crew of 61 was captured. British battleship HMS Barham shelled French battleship Richelieu in Dakar harbor; Richelieu was damaged with two shells and a misfire of her own. French coastal batteries was able to force back the British fleet at 1000 hours. In the afternoon, the British fleet returned. French coastal artillery opened fire again, hitting Barham with four shells, and forced back the British fleet once again. Far to the north, 64 Vichy French bombers from Algeria and Morocco bombed Gibraltar in retaliation, damaging one ship. [Main Article | AC]
  • British submarine HMS Cachalot attacked a German submarine in the Bay of Biscay off France without success. Meanwhile, British submarine HMS Tuna sank German catapult ship Ostmark 35 miles west of Saint-Nazaire, France. 10 miles off Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom, German motor torpedo boat S-30 sank British ship Continental Coaster in the North Sea, killing 4. [Main Article | CPC]
  • King George VI of the United Kingdom instituted the George Cross medal to award those who displayed courage not in the face of the enemy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader was promoted to the war time rank of flight lieutenant. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Scirè departed La Spezia, Italy for Gibraltar with three manned torpedoes on board. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 0830 and then again at 1115 hours, 200 German bombers, escorted by 400 fighters, were launched to attack targets in Kent in southern England, United Kingdom; Portsmouth, Southampton, and the nearby Spitfire fighter factory at Woolston were among the targets. Meanwhile, as the British government announced plans to expand evacuation, 444,000 children had already been evacuated from the London area. The arrival of German bombers on this night marked the 18th consecutive night in which London had been bombed; Liverpool, Dundee, and other cities and towns were also bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Sep 1940
  • Vichy France instituted a court-martial body for crimes committed against the state. There was no appeal, and sentence was to be carried out within 24 hours. [TH]
  • The German merchant ship Weser was captured off the coast of Manzillo, Mexico by the Royal Canadian Navy armed merchant cruiser Prince Robert. [TH]
  • France surrendered Indochina to Japan, but fighting continued. [Main Article | TH]
  • Operation Lucid: The British Royal Navy filled each of the two old tankers War Nizam and War Nawab with 2,000-3,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, diesel oil, and gasoline, then dispatched them from Sheerness in southeast England and Portsmouth in southern England with destroyers, minesweepers, and torpedo boats as escorts. These two oil tankers were meant to act as fire ships against the German invasion barges which had gathered in French ports along the English Channel, but the operation was canceled when War Nizam broke down. [CPC]
  • Operation Menace: The British fleet bombarded Dakar in French West Africa in the morning. At 0900 hours, French submarine Beveziers attacked British battleship HMS Resolution, damaging her; she had to be towed back by battleship HMS Barham while the rest of the British warships fell back. The British War Cabinet decided to cancel the operation after all attempts to enter Dakar failed. Meanwhile, Vichy French bombers from Algeria and Morocco again bombed Gibraltar in retaliation to the British and Free French attacks on Dakar, lighting damaging port facilities and sinking British anti-submarine trawler Stella Sirius. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-32 sank British ship Mabriton 500 miles west of Ireland at 0325 hours; 12 were killed and 25 survived. German submarine U-43 sank British ship Sulairia 400 miles west of Ireland at 1330 hours; 1 was killed and 56 survived. Shortly after at 1400 hours in the same general area west of Ireland, German submarine U-29 attacked British ship Eurymedon; she would sink two days later; the final casualty list included 20 crew and 9 passengers killed; 42 crew and 22 passengers survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was awarded Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross by Adolf Hitler for achieving 40 kills. [Main Article | AC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop alerted the German embassy in the Soviet Union that Japan was likely to join Germany and Italy in an alliance. Should this happen, the ambassador was to alert the Soviet Union of this news, and to ensure the USSR that this alliance was meant to deter the United States from entering the war and in no way was meant to be formed against Soviet interests. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 1145 hours, 27 German bombers escorted by 30 fighters attacked the Bristol Aeroplane Company factory at Filton in southwestern England, United Kingdom; construction sheds and 8 newly-built aircraft were destroyed, while 132 were killed and 315 were wounded; the Germans lost 6 aircraft (8 killed, 10 taken prisoner), while the British lost 4 fighters (1 killed). At 1647 hours, 24 German bombers escorted by 12 Bf 110 fighters attacked Plymouth in southern England, losing 1 bomber. Overnight, London and other cities were bombed, while other German bombers laid mines in the Thames Estuary. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Sep 1940
Gun camera footage from a Spitfire Mk I fighter of No. 609 Squadron RAF, showing its tracer ammunition hitting a German He III aircraft over Filton, Bristol, England, United Kingdom, 25 Sep 1940
26 Sep 1940
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank Norwegian whaling factory ship Kosmos 400 miles northwest of Natal, Brazil with her deck gun after imprisoning the crew of 89; Captain Kahler of Thor would later be criticized for not transferring Kosmos' valuable cargo of whale oil aboard before sinking the ship. German submarine U-137 fired three torpedoes at Allied convoy OB-218 10 miles off the Mullet Peninsula, Ireland between 0050 and 0052 hours, sinking British ship Manchester Brigade (44 crew and 8 navy personnel killed, 4 survived) and damaging British ship Ashantian (4 killed). At 0135 hours, U-137 struck again, sinking British ship Stratford of the same convoy; 2 were killed and 32 survived. About 20 minutse later, German submarine U-46 sank British ship Coast Wings 350 miles southwest of Ireland at 0153 hours, killing the entire crew of 16. Further out to sea, at 0234 hours, German submarine U-32 attacked an Allied convoy 400 miles west of Ireland, damaging British ship Corrientes (entire crew of 50 rescued by Swedish ship Kolsnaren), sinking Norwegian ship Tancred (entire crew of 36 survived) at 0811 hours, and sinking British ship Darcoila (entire crew of 31 killed) at 0137 hours. In the evening at 2120 hours, U-64 struck again, sinking Swedish ship Siljan; 9 were killed and 18 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tribune fired four torpedoes at German submarine U-138 off Lorient, France. All torpedoes missed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In the late evening, the German ambassador in the Soviet Union shared the news that Japan was about to join Germany and Italy in a military alliance. The Soviet Union immediately complained that, according to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the text of such an alliance should have been shared with the USSR prior to the pact being signed, including any secret clauses. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder met with Adolf Hitler, noting that the Italian territories in the Mediterranean Sea was in danger of being attacked by the British as he deduced from the importance the British had placed on the region historically. To prevent this, he recommended Hitler to make plans to seize Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, and the Suez Canal. [Main Article | CPC]
French Indochina
  • Japan conducted an amphibious landing at Dong Tac, Indochina; later that day, Japanese troops captured the Gia Lam airfield and several rail yards near Hanoi. In the evening, Emperor Showa ordered fighting to stop in Indochina since the French had already surrendered on the previous day. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 1630 hours, 100 German aircraft attacked Southampton in England, United Kingdom, causing damage to the factory at Woolston producing Spitfire fighters. RAF fighters claimed 16 bombers and 16 fighters shot down, which was likely over-estimated, while losing 10 fighters and 3 pilots. Overnight, London, England was bombed for the 26th consecutive night, while Liverpool and other towns and cities were also attacked. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 26 Sep 1940
King Christian X of Denmark riding through Copenhagen on his 70th birthday, 26 Sep 1940Formations of German He 111 bombers flying over Britain, seen through the the gun camera of British Pilot Officer J. D. Bisdee
27 Sep 1940
  • Germany, Italy, and Japan signed the Tripartite Pact. [Main Article | TH]
  • 300 miles west of Ireland, German submarine U-31 sank Norwegian ship Vestvard at 1113 hours (1 killed, 30 survived in one lifeboat) and German submarine U-37 sank Egyptian ship Georges Mabro shortly before midnight (all aboard were killed). 500 miles west of Saint-Nazaire, France, German submarine U-46 dove suddenly due to mechanical failure, killing Oberbootsmaat Heinrich Schenk and Matrosenobergefreiter Wilhelm Reh; control was regained, and the commanding officer aborted the mission to return to Saint-Nazaire for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeper HMS Halcyon hit a mine at the mouth of River Tees in the North Sea off northern England and was heavily damaged. [CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Bf 109 aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 0900 hours, 80 German bombers escorted by 100 fighters flew over Kent toward London, England, United Kingdom; most of the bombers were turned back near Maidstone and Tonbridge, but some got through and released their bombs over London. At 1120 hours, 25 bombers escorted by 45 Bf 110 fighters were intercepted before they reached their industrial targets in Bristol. Between 1200 and 1230 hours, 300 German aircraft, mostly fighters, conducted a sweep and engaged in dogfights near London; 20 bombers within this group were able to bomb London. By the end of the day, the Germans lost 21 bombers and 34 fighters while the British lost 27 fighters with 13 pilots killed. Overnight, London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Nottingham were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down a German Bf 109 fighter over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down his 6th kill, a British Hurricane fighter, over London, England, United Kingdom. In doing so, he abandoned his duty as wingman to flight leader Staffelkapitän Adolf Buhl, and Buhl would happen to be shot down in combat in this engagement. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British newspaper The Daily Herald, on its front page story, reported that six evacuee children from the liner City of Benares, which had been torpedoed by Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Bleichrodt on 17 Sep 1940, had been rescued from a lifeboat in the mid-Atlantic. [AC]
28 Sep 1940
  • The first of the purchased US destroyers arrived in Britain. [TH]
  • Battleship Bismarck departed Kiel for Gotenhafen and then into the Baltic Sea for her trials. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-32 sank British ship Empire Ocelot 350 miles west of Ireland at 1609 hours; 2 were killed and 32 were rescued by British destroyer HMS Havelock. German submarine U-37 sank the already-abandoned British ship Corrientes at 2000 hours; she was damaged by U-32 on 26 Sep. German destroyers Eckholdt, Riedel, Lody, Galster, Ihn, and Steinbrinck departed Brest, France and laid mines in Falmouth Bay at the western end of the English Channel. Meanwhile, British anti-submarine trawler Recoil hit a mine and sank in the English Channel off Portland Bill in southern England, United Kingdom; 25 were killed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German tanker Shell II was sunk by British bombers in the River Scheldt in the Netherlands. [CPC]
  • Australian destroyer HMAS Stuart and British aircraft sank Italian submarine Gondar 12 miles off Egypt. Gondar was carrying three piloted torpedoes intended for use against the British Mediterranean Fleet, thus this plan to attack on the fleet at Alexandria was thwarted. Gondar's entire crew of 43 and the 4 torpedo pilots were rescued by HMAS Stuart. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Pandora sank Italian ship Famiglia 10 miles off Libya between Benghazi and Tobruk. Italian torpedo boat Enrico Cosenz counterattacked unsuccessfully. [CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down his 7th kill, a British Spitfire fighter, over the English Channel. His fighter received damage in the engagement, but he was able to crash land in France. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 1000 hours, over 120 German aircaft crossed the coast of Kent in southern England, United Kingdom in two waves; British fighters intercepted most of them, and only 6 bombers were able to reach London to release their bombs. At 1330 hours, 35 German bombers escorted by 125 fighters attacked targets in Kent; this group was turned back by 1410 hours. At 1415 hours, 60 German aircraft flew toward Portsmouth, southern England from Cherbourg, France; they were intercepted over the English Channel, released their bombs into the water, and returned to base. Although most German missions failed to reach their targets, the kill ratio of the day favored the Germans; 16 British fighters were shot down with 9 pilots killed, while the Germans only lost 6 fighters. Overnight, London was heavily bombed, while Liverpool was also attacked; meanwhile, German aircraft mined the Thames Estuary. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Nearly half a million mothers and children began evacuating London, England, United Kingdom. [AC]
United States
  • Sumner Welles, US Under-Secretary of State, in a statement said that the overwhelming majority of the American nation was determined to render all material support and assistance to the people of Britain "successfully defending their homes with a heroism which is worthy of the finest traditions of that proud people". [AC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Sep 1940
German Bf 109 fighter after force-landing on a French beach, 1940-1941; this might have been Hans-Joachim MarseilleSubmarine Gar under construction, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 28 Sep 1940, photo 1 of 2; topside stern view looking forwardSubmarine Gar under construction, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 28 Sep 1940, photo 2 of 2; topside bow view looking aft
29 Sep 1940
  • Having dispersed Allied convoy OB-218 with previous attacks, German submarine U-32 caught up with British ship Bassa, now sailing alone, from behind and damaged her with a torpedo near the stern southwest of the island of Rockall between Britain and Iceland at 0053 hours. Bassa's crew members were observed by U-32 to have abandoned ship, but captain George Edward Anderson, the other 48 members of the crew, and the 1 navy gunner were never to be seen again. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British warships from Alexandria, Egypt bombarded the coastal road in Libya and attacked Italian shipping along the Libyan coast. [CPC]
  • While at sea, Scirè's mission to raid Gibraltar with manned torpedoes was canceled. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 1600 hours, a large group of German aircraft, mostly fighters, conducted a sweep in Kent in southern England, United Kingdom; this sweep failed to draw British fighters. Overnight, London was heavily bombed, while Liverpool was also attacked. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • The US Marine Corps Midway Detachment of the Fleet Marine Force, under the command of Major Harold C. Roberts, arrived on Midway and began making camp and installing defenses. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Sep 1940
  • British monitor HMS Erebus fired 17 15-inch shells at German gun emplacements near Calais from the Strait of Dover, escorted by destroyers HMS Vesper and HMS Garth. [CPC]
  • British armed yacht HMY Sappho and minesweeping trawler HMT Comet were sunk by German mines laid by destroyers Eckholdt, Riedel, Lody, Galster, Ihn, and Steinbrinck on 28 Sep off Falmouth in southwestern England. 29 and 15 were killed, respectively. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank British ship Samala 300 miles west of Ireland at 1013 hours, killing everyone aboard (65 crew, 1 gunner, and 2 passengers). At 2156 hours, in the same area, U-37 sank British ship Heminge, killing 1; 24 crew and 1 gunner were rescued by British merchant ship Clan Cumming. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hugh Dowding was made Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Bath. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Georg von Bismarck was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Thomas Adlerson of British Air Raid Precautions was gazetted for a George Cross award for the daring and skillful rescue of many civilians in Bridlington in Aug 1940. [CPC]
China
  • Communist Chinese New 4th Army withdrew from Jiangyan (now a district of Taizhou), Jiangsu Province, China and moved toward nearby town of Huangqiao ("Yellow Bridge"), where it intended on fighting against the detected Nationalist attack. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 4 German raids, each consisting of 60 to 200 bombers and escorted by large numbers of fighters, crossed into southern England, United Kingdom at 0900, 1000, 1300, and 1600 hours; some got through to London, but some did not drop their bombs as they had little visibility due to low clouds, overshooting their targets as radar operators misread the Knickebein radio beacon signals. Meanwhile, 2 groups of about 100 bombers each attacked cities on the southern coast. On this day, the Germans lost 14 bombers, 28 Bf 109 fighters, and 1 Bf 110 fighter, while the British lost 19 fighters with 8 pilots killed. Today's daylight attacks would represent the last major raids of such type conducted by the Luftwaffe. Overnight, London, Liverpool, and several others cities were bombed; the aircraft factory at Yeovil was attacked but was only lightly damaged as most bombs fell on the town instead. [Main Article | TH]
  • James Lacey damaged a German Ju 88 aircraft over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Over Britain, Josef Frantisek scored his final kill as a fighter pilot. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Arizona arrived at Long Beach, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Sep 1940
Battleship Iowa under construction, New York Navy Yard, New York, United States, 30 Sep 1940, photo 1 of 2Battleship Iowa under construction, New York Navy Yard, New York, United States, 30 Sep 1940, photo 2 of 2
1 Oct 1940
  • Italian submarine Maggiore Baracca sank Greek ship Aghios Nicolaos 400 miles west of Porto, Portugal. German submarine U-38 sank British ship Highland Patriot 300 miles west of Ireland at 0647 hours; 3 crew were killed, 136 crew and 33 passengers were rescued by sloop HMS Wellington. German submarine U-32 sank Dutch ship Haulerwijk 400 miles west of Ireland; 4 were killed and 27 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British troops reinforced the garrison on Malta. [AC]
  • US Navy and US Marine Corps began the Special Landing Operation No. 2 in the Caribbean Sea. [CPC]
  • Luftwaffe ace Erich Hartmann began basic training with Friegerausbildungsregiment 10 at Neukuhren, near Königsberg in East Prussia, Germany. Hartmann would achieve 352 "kills" during the war before being sentenced, as a war criminal, to 50 years forced labour by the Soviets. [AC]
  • Hermann Göring officially awarded Wolfgang Falck the Knight Cross medal, but it would be not be presented to Falck until 7 Oct 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
  • George Brett was promoted to the rank of major general. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hubert Lanz was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for gallantry during the invasion of France. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Small raids of 20 to 70 aircraft each attacked RAF airfields in England, United Kingdom; London was not targeted during the day. The Germans lost 4 fighters and the British lost 5 fighters with 4 pilots killed. London was bombed overnight. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Belgium Congo uranium began to arrived at Staten Island, New York, United States for safekeeping; a total of 1,140 tons of uranium would arrive throughout this month. [CPC]
  • Clarence Tinker was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Oct 1940
  • British destroyers HMS Havock and HMS Hasty sank Italian submarine Berillo 50 miles south of Crete, Greece; all 45 aboard Berillo were rescued. [CPC]
  • British cruisers HMS Orion and HMS Sydney bombarded the Italian-controlled port of Maltezana, Stampalia, Greece. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-32 sank British ship Kayeson 400 miles west of Ireland at 1825 hours; the crew abandoned ship in lifeboats but none were seen again. [Main Article | CPC]
  • George Patton was promoted to the temporary rank of brigadier general. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered Hans Frank and other Nazi officials in occupied Poland to keep the standard of living low and to deprive the Polish population of education, for that the Polish people were now mere low laborers of Germany. Additionally, he ordered that the Polish gentry to be exterminated. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • A German Ju 88 bomber became lost in the darkness during an early-morning reconnaissance mission and landed at Brightlingsea, Essex, England, United Kingdom at 0630 hours and was captured. During the day, the German Luftwaffe launched 6 raids of Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighters and fighter-bombers against London and Kent in southern England; only one of the raids contained bombers. The Germans lost 5 bombers and 5 Bf 109 aircraft, while the British lost 1 fighter without the loss of its pilot. Overnight, London, Manchester, and Newcastle were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Oct 1940
  • British politician Neville Chamberlain resigned as Lord President of the Council for health reasons. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Vichy France passed anti-Semitic laws that excluded Jews from positions in the army, government, commerce, industries, and the press. The law was signed by Philippe Pétain, Pierre Laval, Raphaël Alibert, Marcel Peyrouton, Paul Baudouin, Yves Bouthillier, Charles Huntzinger, and François Darlan. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Prince Kotohito stepped down as the Chief of the Japanese Army General Staff. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • London, Worcester, Birmingham, and Wellingborough in England, United Kingdom were attacked by single-bomber raids. The British suffered damage at the De Havilland aircraft factory at Hatfield, while the Germans lost one Ju 88 bomber to ground-based anti-aircraft fire. Overnight, London was the target to several small German raids. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Oct 1940
  • The British Admiralty announced the sinking of seven German submarines. [Main Article | TH]
  • British submarine HMS Rainbow collided with Italian ship Antonietta Costa and sank in the Adriatic Sea 20 miles north of Brindisi, Italy. All 55 aboard were lost. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Triton attacked various targets at Vado Ligure and Savona, near Genoa, Italy with her deck gun, damaging shore installations and sinking ship Franca Fassio. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tetrarch attacked an Italian merchant ship west of Italy without success. [CPC]
  • General Charles de Gaulle arrived in Douala, French Cameroon via British cruiser HMS Devonshire to organize the invasion of Gabon, which was controlled by Vichy French forces. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Operation Lucid: British tankers War Nizam and War African, filled with oil and gasoline and to be used as fire ships, departed Sheerness and Harwich with 11 destroyers, 6 minesweepers, and a number of torpedo boats in escort. They were dispatched to destroy ports on the English coast that housed German invasion barges, but rough seas caused the mission to be canceled shortly after commencing. [CPC]
  • 6 Hawk 75 fighters of the Chinese 18th Squadron were in transit when they came across 27 Japanese G3M bombers escorted by 8 A6M Zero fighters, en route to attack Chengdu, Sichuan, China. The Zero fighters shot down 1 and forcing 2 to crash land. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Nationalist Chinese troops launched an attack on Communist Chinese New 4th Army in Huangqiao ("Yellow Bridge"), Jiangsu Province, China, nearly taking the town. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Adolf Hitler met Benito Mussolini in the Brenner Pass on the Italian-Austrian border. Benito Mussolini was happy to notice that Adolf Hitler seemed to have given up on any talks of invading Britain. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain, German bombers attacked Kent in southern England and the area near London, damaging homes, farms, and factories. The Germans lost 2 Ju 88 bombers and the British lost 3 fighters with 1 pilot killed. Overnight, London was bombed between 1900 and 2100 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Sir Cyril Newall retired as British Chief of Air Staff and was replaced by Sir Charles Portal. [Main Article | AC]
  • Sir Richard Peirse became Commander-in-Chief of the British RAF Bomber Command. [AC]
5 Oct 1940
  • British submarine HMS Regent sank Italian ship Maria Grazia 10 miles off of Bari, Italy by ramming. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Nani sank British trawler HMT Kingston Sapphire 20 miles south of Cádiz, Spain; 3 were killed and the remaining rescued by a Spanish trawler. British submarine HMS Tigris attacked an Italian submarine (possibly submersible torpedo boat Otario) in the Bay of Biscay without success. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox ordered all organized reserve divisions and aviation squadrons of the US Marine Corps to be on call for active duty. [CPC]
  • The US Marine Corps organized the Air Detachment, Marine Barracks, Parris Island in South Carolina, United States; it would later be renamed Marine Corps Air Station, Parris Island. [CPC]
  • Hauptmann Helmut Wick, the Gruppenkommandeur of 1/JG 2, claimed the destruction of five RAF fighters in one day. This took his overall total to 41. [AC]
China
  • Communist Chinese New 4th Army counterattacked and defeated Nationalist Chinese troops at Huangqiao ("Yellow Bridge"), Jiangsu Province, China, capturing great quantities of weapons and ammunition. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Between 0930 and 1600 hours, 4 German raids of mainly fighters attacked southern England, United Kingdom. At 2035 hours, the Royal Navy base at Portland was bombed. The Germans lost 2 bombers and 20 fighters, while the British lost 9 fighters with 2 pilots killed. Overnight, London suffered a heavy raid which started a large fire at the West India Dock on the River Thames in the East End area of the city. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Henry Arnold submitted a proposal for the reorganization of US Army air units to US Army Chief of Staff George Marshall; the proposal called for a separate staff for air apart from the ground and supply units. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Oct 1940
British Cruiser Mk IV tanks being loaded onto railway trucks at an Egyptian quayside after being unloaded from ships, 5 Oct 1940
6 Oct 1940
  • German submarine U-123 sank British ship Benlawers 400 miles west of Ireland at 1304 hours; she was carrying military supplies from Britain to Egypt, including trucks; 23 crew members and 1 Royal Navy gunner were killed, and 27 were rescued by British ships Bengore Head and Forest. German submarine U-103 sank Norwegian tanker Nina Borthen west of Ireland at 2204 hours, killing the entire crew of 35. German submarine U-37 damaged British tanker British General with a torpedo west of Ireland at 1855 and then again at 2310 hours; U-37 could not surface to finish off the tanker with the deck gun because the British ship was armed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Tricheco sank Italian submarine Gemma 5 miles south of the Greek island of Karpathos in a case of mis-identification. [CPC]
  • Hauptmann Helmut Wick, the Gruppenkommandeur of 1/JG 2, was awarded Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross, making him only the third German fighter pilot (after Mölders and Galland) to be so honoured. [AC]
United Kingdom
  • German Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighter-bombers conducted day time raids against British factories and RAF airfields, accompanied by a small number of medium bombers. On this day, the Germans lost one Do 17 bomber and the British lost one fighter with the pilot killed. Overnight, London, England, United Kingdom sustained a small raid. [Main Article | CPC]
7 Oct 1940
  • Operation Lucid: British tankers War Nizam and War African, filled with oil and fuel and to be used as fire ships, departed for French channel ports to attack German invasion barges. The mission was once again canceled, this time after destroyer HMS Hambledon hit a mine off the coast near Folkestone, Kent, England. [CPC]
  • In the morning, Hermann Göring presented Wolfgang Falck the Knight Cross medal, which was officially awarded to Falck six days prior; the medal was placed around Falck's neck by Major Bernd von Brauchitsch, son of the army chief of staff and Göring's adjutant. During the lunch after the award ceremony, Falck asked Erhard Milch to consider changing the Luftwaffe rule which stated that the family of servicemen who died with less than 10 years of service received no pension. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-59 sank Norwegian ship Touraine 50 miles northwest of Ireland at 1600 hours; 1 was killed and 34 survived in 3 lifeboats. German submarine U-37 hit British tanker British General with two torpedoes 400 miles west of Ireland at 2000 hours after already damaging her with two torpedoes on the previous day; British General sank with all 47 hands lost. [Main Article | CPC]
Indian Ocean
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stopped Norwegian tanker Storstad 500 miles northwest of Australia. With 12,000 tons of diesel oil on board, Storstad was taken as a prize ship and sent back to Germany; she would later be commissioned into German Navy service as Passat. 25 of Storstad's crew became captives aboard Pinguin, while 5 of them chose to serve the Germans aboard Storstad/Passat. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German Luftwaffe dispatched large raids of 50 to 100 aircraft against southern England, United Kingdom, with fighters being 66% to 75% of each wave. On this day, 21 German fighters and 6 bombers were shot down, while the British lost 16 fighters with 6 pilots killed. Overnight, London, Bristol, Liverpool, Firth of Forth, and other locations were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey claimed a probable kill on a German Bf 109 fighter over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
8 Oct 1940
  • During the night, 17 British aircraft from Waddington, Lincolnshire attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Orion made rendezvous with raider Komet and Komet's supply ship Kulmerland. Orion and Komet began operating together against Allied shipping. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The United States transferred 8 more old destroyers to the British Royal Navy as part of the Destroyers for Bases Agreement. [CPC]
  • Czech-born fighter ace Sergeant Josef Frantisek of No. 303 "Warsaw-Kosciuszko" Squadron RAF was killed when his Hurricane crashed whilst landing at RAF Northolt at Ruislip near London, England, United Kingdom. At the time of his death Frantisek had a score of 17 kills and had been awarded the British Distinguished Flying Medal. Posthumously he was commissioned lieutenant, and awarded a Bar to his DFM, the Czech Military Cross, the Polish Cross of Valour (with three bars) and the Polish Virtuti Militari. [AC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • British submarine HMS Trident and German submarine U-31 exchanged fire in the Bay of Biscay off France; Trident hit U-31 with the deck gun, causing minor damage; both torpedoes fired missed. German submarine U-58 hit British ship Confield 88 miles west of Barra Head, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 2131 hours with two torpedoes, killing 1; the ship remained afloat, allowing the remaining 36 to escape via lifeboats. Far to the south, 350 miles northeast of Natal, Brazil, German armed merchant cruiser Thor attacked British refrigeration ship Natia, killing 2; after the remaining 83 crew members were captured, Natia was sunk by a torpedo and two more shells from Thor's 150-mm gun; after this attack, Thor now had 368 prisoners aboard, outnumbering her crew. [Main Article | CPC]
Egypt
  • The British Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria, Egypt to escort a supply convoy to Malta. The fleet consisted of battleship HMS Warspite, battleship HMS Valiant, battleship HMS Malaya, battleship HMS Ramillies, aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, 12 cruisers, 16 destroyers, and 6 submarines; they escorted four British transport ships. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The German Luftwaffe mounted 4 raids of 30 to 160 aircraft consisted mostly of fighter-bombers and fighters, with few medium bombers, against London, England, United Kingdom; various government offices in Whitehall and the Charing Cross Railway Station were damaged by bombs. The Germans lost 1 Bf 109 fighter and 3 bombers; the British lost 4 fighters with all 4 pilots killed. Overnight, London, East Anglia, East Midlands, Portsmouth, and Southampton were bombed, with a serious fire damaging wharves and nearby warehouses. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Josef Frantisek passed away in Ewell, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The United States Department of State released an announcement advising American citizens to leave the Far East and return to the US. [CPC]
9 Oct 1940

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-103 attacked Allied convoy SC-6, sinking Greek ships Zannes Gounaris (1 killed) and Delphin (all survived) and damaging British ship Graigwen (7 killed, 27 survived). U-103 was subjected to a depth charge attack, but escaped unharmed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMS Sea King hit a mine and sank 28 miles east of Grimsby, England, United Kingdom; 14 were killed. [CPC]
France
  • British Albacore biplanes of No. 829 Squadron from Royal Navy station HMS Peregrine attacked Brest, France overnight, damaging German destroyers Eckholdt, Lody, and Riedel with near misses. 1 Albacore aircraft was shot down with its three crew captured, including squadron commander Lieutenant Commander Stevinson. [CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • British submarine HMS Regent hit Italian merchant ship Antonietta Costa 20 miles west of Durrës, Albania with a torpedo; Antonietta Costa did not sink but went aground and was lost 10 miles off the coast near Durrës. [CPC]
Netherlands
  • The occupation government in the Netherlands banned Jews and half-Jews from public employment. [Main Article | CPC]
Romania
  • German troops began to secure oil fields in Romania, which was vital for the German war effort. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill became the head of British Conservative Party. [Main Article | TH]
  • German fighter-bombers dropped bombs in London, Maidstone, Hastings, Falmouth, and other British towns. 3 German fighters and 1 German Ju 88 bomber was shot down, while the British lost 1 fighter with the pilot unhurt. Overnight, London, Liverpool, and Manchester were bombed; St. Paul's Cathedral in London was hit, destroying choir stalls and the High Altar but the building was not structurally damaged. [Main Article | CPC]
10 Oct 1940
  • During the night, 14 British aircraft from Waddington, Lincolnshire and Lindholme, Yorkshire attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • British ship Graigwen, damaged on the previous day and abandoned, was sunk by German submarine U-123 at 2333 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British motor torpedo boats MTB-22, MTB-31, and MTB-32 attacked a German convoy in the middle of the Dover Strait, sinking German trawler Nordenham and capturing 34 prisoners. [CPC]
China
  • Communist Chinese New 4th Army linked up with Communist Chinese 8th Route Army at Baiju Village, Dongtai County, Jiangsu Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler initiated the Führer-Sofortprogramm, an emergency program to build shelters for the urban populations of Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • A lone German Do 17 bomber on a reconnaissance mission was caught over RAF Tangmere in England, United Kingdom by British fighters. While attempting to shoot it down, two British fighters collided, killing both pilots. Then, another fighter, piloted by Sergeant Ellis, was damaged by the German bomber's guns, and crash landed The Do 17 bomber sustained heavy damage, but was able to make it back to France, crash landed, and saved all of its photographs. During the day, four German raids of 20 to 100 aircraft were mounted, with bombs dropping on London and other towns. Through the day, the British lost 5 fighters with 3 pilots killed, while shooting down 3 German fighters and 1 Do 17 bomber. Between 1824 and 1844 hours, Dover was struck by 18 shells from German guns at Calais, France. Overnight, London, Manchester, and various airfields were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Oct 1940
British Morris Quad vehicle towing an Ordnance QF 4.5 inch Howitzer of 51st Highland Division on the Huntly-Turniff road in Banffshire, Scotland, United Kingdom, 10 Oct 1940
11 Oct 1940
  • During the night, 4 British Hampden aircraft (out of 5 launched) from Lindholme, Yorkshire attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Operation Medium: Between 0333 and 0351 hours, British battleship Revenge and destroyers Javelin, Jaguar, Jupiter, Kashmir, Kelvin, and Kipling bombarded Cherbourg, France. German torpedo boats attempted to interfere, but the attack was fought off. [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Zulu hit an acoustic mine in the Firth of Forth, Scotland at 0920 hours, badly damaging the ship, but incurred no casualties. She would remain under repair at nearby Rosyth until Jan 1941. [CPC]
  • German torpedo boats Falke, Greif, Kondor, Seeadler, and Wolf sank British anti-submarine trawler HMT Warwick Deeping (no deaths), French submarine chasers Ch.6 (9 killed, 12 captured) and CH.7 (12 killed, 8 captured), and French armed trawler Listrac (12 killed, 25 wounded) off the Isle of Wight overnight. German submarine U-48 attacked Allied convoy HX-77 250 miles northwest of Ireland in the evening; at 2150 hours, Norwegian ship Brandanger was sunk (6 killed, 24 survived); at 2209 hours, British ship Port Gisborne was sunk (26 killed when lifeboat capsized, 38 survived). [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian bombers attacked Allied convoy BS.6 in the Red Sea 50 miles off of Italian East Africa, damaging escorting vessel British sloop HMS Auckland. [CPC]
  • Werner Mölders claimed his 43rd victory over Canterbury, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Charles Hunziger presented the Order of Merit and the Croix de Guerre medals to the American Hospital in Paris, France. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Malta
  • A convoy of 4 merchant ships arrived at Malta from Alexandria, Egypt. The escorting British Mediterranean Fleet began to sail back to Alexandra, but was spotted by an Italian civilian aircraft 100 miles southeast of Malta. Italian destroyers and torpedo boats were dispatched to intercept. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Garland entered drydocks at Malta for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • While small raids of 10 or few aircraft harassed southern England, United Kingdom all day, a number of larger raids, with 25 to 90 aircraft, attacked larger towns. The larger raids were composed mostly of fighters as the Germans continued to try to wear down British fighter strength. On this day, the Germans lost 1 Do 17 bomber and 4 Bf 109 fighters, while the British lost 8 fighters with 3 pilots killed. Overnight, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, and the Tyne and Tees areas were bombed; 3 Do 17 bombers were shot down over Anglesey after attacking Liverpool, at the cost of 1 British fighter. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Oct 1940
  • A new German military mission was set up in Bucharest, Romania to direct the training program for the Romanian Army. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarines U-48, U-59, and U-101 attacked Allied convoy HX.77 150 miles northwest of Ireland, sinking Norwegian tanker Davanger just after 0000 hours (17 killed, 12 survived), British ship Pacific Ranger at 1800 hours (entire crew of 55 survived), and Canadian steamer Saint Malô at 2325 hours (28 killed, 16 survived). [Main Article | TH]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMS Resolvo hit a mine in the Thames estuary in southern England, wounding 2. She would be beached and abandoned the next day. [CPC]
  • Werner Mölders shot down three British Hurricane fighters over England, United Kingdom, bringing his total kills count to 51. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The TsKB-57 prototype aircraft of the Soviet Ilyshin Il-2 Shturmovik ground attack aircraft design made its maiden flight. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Eagle was damaged by near misses from bombs released by Italian SM.79 bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Germany postponed Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain, until the spring of 1941. Preparations and training for the invasion would be scaled back, but not eliminated, in order to put continuous pressure on Britain. [TH]
Hawaii
  • US Navy awarded a contract for various construction projects immediately outside the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard in the Hawaiian Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Battle of Cape Passero: On the previous day, the British Mediterranean Fleet departed Malta after an escort mission, and was detected by Italian aircraft. At 0200 hours, Italian torpedo boats Ariel, Alcione, and Airone caught up with the fleet and attacked British cruiser HMS Ajax east of Malta; Ariel and Airone were sunk by Ajax. At 0215 hours, Ajax's radar detected Italian destroyers Artigliere and Aviere and opened fire, damaging Aviere and rendering Artigliere dead in the water; Artigliere returned fire and hit Ajax four times, damaging gun turrets and disabled the radar while killing 13 and wounding 20. Ajax was able to retire from the battle under her own power, while Artigliere was towed away by destroyer Camicia Nera. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • German Governor-General of occupied Poland Hans Frank ordered 138,000 Jews in Warsaw to move into the city's ghetto. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German reconnaissance aircraft scouted England, United Kingdom between 0650 and 0900 hours, and then between 0900 and 1715 hours several raids attacked southern England, many of which reached London. During this day, Germans lost 9 Bf 109 fighters and 1 Ar 95 seaplane over the Dover Strait; the British lost 10 fighters with 4 pilots killed. Overnight, London received light bombing, while Birmingham and Coventry were also attacked. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down a German Bf 109 fighter over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Oct 1940
  • During the night, many British aircraft were launched to attack battleship Tirpitz in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, but in poor weather only 4 Hampden aircraft were able to locate the port. Not hits were scored on Tirpitz. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British rescue tug HMRT Danube III hit a mine in the mouth of the Thames Estuary and sank off Sheerness, Kent in southern England; 11 were killed. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-103 attacked Estonian ship Nora 200 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0846 hours with a torpedo; as Nora remained afloat, Korvettenkapitän Viktor Schütze of U-103 realized Nora's lifeboats were all destroyed during the attack, and broadcasted a distress message with the damaged ship's position; British sloop HMS Leith would arrive several days later and would rescue 19 survivors. German submarine U-37 sank British ship Stangrant west of Scotland, United Kingdom at 1957 hours; 8 were killed and 30 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • At dawn, a British flying boat spotted Italian destroyer Camicia Nera towing destroyer Artigliere, which was damaged on the previous day during the Battle of Cape Passero east of Malta. Aircraft from HMS Illustrious forced Camicia Nera to cut the tow line, and then cruisers HMS York and HMS Ajax and four destroyers sank Artigliere with torpedoes. The British warships dropped rafts for the Italian survivors before departing; many of the survivors would be rescued by an Italian hospital ship on the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Four raids of 25 to 50 aircraft attacked southern England, United Kingdom between 1230 and 1600 hours, consisted mostly of fighters. The Germans and the British each lost 2 fighters. Overnight, London was bombed from 1900 hours until 0600 hours of the next day; Middlesborough, Hull, Huddersfield, Grantham, Liverpool, and Manchester were also attacked overnight. [Main Article | CPC]
14 Oct 1940
  • Three American passenger liners were sent for Japan and China to repatriate American citizens. [CPC]
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMT Lord Stamp hit a mine and sank off Dorset, England, United Kingdom in the English Channel; 25 were killed. German submarine U-137 hit British armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire with a torpedo 100 miles northwest of Ireland at 2128 hours; Cheshire remained afloat, and the 220 crew members were rescued by Canadian destroyer HMCS Skeena and British corvette HMS Periwinkle. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Orion stopped and scuttled Norwegian ship Ringwood in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles northwest of New Ireland, Bismarck Islands. The crew of 35 was taken prisoner. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Major Friedrich Kless of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. [CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • En route from Malta to Alexandra, Egypt, aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious detached from the British Mediterranean Fleet and launched an air attack against the Italian Dodecanese Island of Leros. Later in the day, at 1855 hours, an Italian SM79 bomber attacked the fleet 50 miles south of Crete, hitting cruiser HMS Liverpool with a torpedo and blew off her bow after detonating the aviation fuel store, killing 30 and wounding 35; Liverpool would survive the attack and would be towed to Alexandra to receive temporary repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Poor weather limited German ability to attack southern England, United Kingdom, thus only a few small attacks were launched against coastal areas; no losses were suffered on either side on this day. Overnight, London, Birmingham, Coventry, Liverpool, Blackburn, and Preston were bombed; at 2002 hours, a 1,400-kg armor piercing bomb hit Balham Tube Station in London, causing flood that killed 66 of the about 600 civilians using the station for shelter. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Oct 1940
  • British submarine HMS Triad detected Italian submarine Enrico Toti while running on the surface 100 miles south of Taranto, Italy at 0100 hours. Triad hit Enrico Toti twice with her deck gun, but the torpedo fired missed; Enrico Toti's damage prevented her from diving. Enrico Toti returned fire, hitting Triad twice with the deck gun and sprayed her with machine gun. As Triad attempted to dive, Enrico Toti scored a hit with a torpedo, sinking Triad at about 0130 hours and killing the entire crew of 59. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Foca sank while laying a minefield off Haifa, British Mandate of Palestine. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-93 sank British ship Hurunui of Allied convoy OA-228 100 miles northwest of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom just after 0000 hours; 2 were killed and 72 survived. Five hours later in the same general area, German submarine U-138 sank British ship Bonheur (all survived) and damaged British tanker British Glory (3 killed) of Allied convoy OA-228 between 0510 and 0515 hours. German submarine U-103 sank British ship Thistlegarth 100 miles northwest of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 1933 hours; 30 were killed and 9 survived. Far to the south, Italian submarine Comandante Cappellini sank Belgian ship Kabalo 800 miles west of Casablanca, Morocco; 1 was killed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Marine Corps mobilized its reserve battalions, ordering that these reserve personnel to be assigned to active duty no later than 9 Nov 1940. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler noted that about half the Czechs in occupied western Czechoslovakia could be assimilated into the German population. The other half, which included the intellectuals, were to be eliminated. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan United Kingdom
  • The German Luftwaffe launched 5 fighter sweeps toward London and 1 over Southampton, both in England, United Kingdom; the Germans lost 16 fighter and 3 bombers, while the British lost 15 fighters with 6 pilots killed. Overnight, 400 German bombers dropped 530 tons of high explosives on London, killing 400 and wounding 900; Bristol and Birmingham were also attacked. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Oct 1940
Adolf Hitler, Erich Raeder, Wilhelm Keitel, Erhard Milch, and Friedrich Fromm at the funeral of Admiral Adolf von Trotha, Berlin, Germany, 15 Oct 1940A London bus after falling into a massive bomb crater in the center of Balham High Road, London, England, UK, Oct 15 1940.
16 Oct 1940
  • British motor torpedo boat MTB-106 hit a mine and sank near the Nore lightship at the mouth of the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom. German submarine U-124 sank Canadian ship Trevisa 400 miles northwest of Ireland at 0350 hours; 7 were killed and 14 survived. British submarine HMS Tigris sank small French trawler Cimcour with gunfire in the Bay of Biscay 120 miles west of La Rochelle, France. The 30-ship Allied convoy SC-7 was attacked by 7 German submarines on the last leg of its journey from Sydney, Australia to Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom; attacks followed for 3 more days, and the overall losses amounted to 20 ships totaling 79,646 tons. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Aircraft of British carrier HMS Furious bombed German oil storage tanks, seaplane base, and shipping at Tromsø, Norway. [CPC]
  • Battleship King George V departed Newcastle upon Tyne, England for Rosyth, Scotland, both of which were in the Unite Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • German authorities ordered the establishment of Warsaw ghettos for Jews in occupied Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Two ARP rescue workers who helped themselves to £16 they found in a bombed-out house were each jailed for 12 months at the Old Bailey in central London, England, United Kingdom for looting. [AC]
  • Heavy fog during the day limited operations, thus the day's losses were limited to 1 German aircraft damaged and 1 British Hurricane fighter lost. Overnight, London, Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham, Perth, and other locations in the United Kingdom were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
17 Oct 1940
  • German submarine U-93 attacked Allied convoy OA-228 300 miles northwest of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom, sinking Norwegian ship Dokka at 0317 hours (10 killed, 7 survived) and British ship Uskbridge at 0339 hours (2 killed, 6 survived); U-93 was depth charged at 0400 hours by HMS Folkestone, depth charged at 1015 hours, and attacked by aerial bombs in the evening; none of the attacks caused damage. Meanwhile, German submarine U-48 fired 3 torpedoes at Allied convoy SC-7 400 miles northwest of Ireland at 0553 hours, sinking British ship Scoresby and damaging British tanker Languedoc; British corvette HMS Bluebell scuttled Languedoc with gunfire and rescued the 39 survivors from Scoresby and 39 survivors from Languedoc. At 1052 hours, German submarine U-38 sank Greek ship Aenos with the deck gun in the Atlantic Ocean; 4 were killed and 25 survived. In the North Sea, German motor torpedo boats S-24 and S-27 attacked Allied convoy FN.311 10 miles off Lowestoft, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom; British ship Hauxley was damaged by a torpedo, killing 1, sinking on the next day. In England, British minesweeper HMS Dundalk hit a mine 20 miles northeast of Harwich, killing 4 and wounding 7; she was towed into the harbor for repairs, but she would sink on the next day. Finally, also on this date, 4 German destroyers and 6 torpedo boats departed from Brest, France to attack shipping in the Bristol Channel, but they were detected by British reconnaissance aircraft at 0719 hours; British cruiser HMS Newcastle, cruiser HMS Emerald, and 5 destroyers were dispatched from Plymouth at 1100 hours to intercept; at 1600 hours, the British ships found their targets and exchanged fire at the range of 11 miles; no hits were made by either side. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • A message from Joachim von Ribbentrop to Joseph Stalin to invite Vyacheslav Molotov to Berlin, Germany to speak about the recent deterioration of German-Soviet relations was delivered, at a few days delay, to Vyacheslav Molotov. Ribbentrop was not happy regarding the delay, and the fact that the letter was delivered to the Soviet foreign ministry rather than to Stalin himself. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The German Luftwaffe mounted four raids against southern England, United Kingdom during the day. Meanwhile, at 1530 hours, at the Air Council room at the Air Ministry in London, British fighter commanders including Portal, Douglas, Dowding, Park, Bader, and others gathered to discuss strategy; specifically, Park's approach was attacked by some of the others. Overnight, London, Liverpool, and Birmingham were heavily bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Oct 1940
  • Vichy France officially published the Statute of 4 Oct 1940 in which Jews who were not French citizens were no longer protected by French law. 'Special camps' were established to begin housing these stateless Jews. [CPC]
  • German submarines attacked Allied convoy SC-7 all day; U-38 attacked British ship Carsbreck at 0636 hours; U-99 sank British ship Fiscus 100 miles northwest of Ireland, killing 38 of 39 aboard; U-100 and U-123 damaged British ship Shekatika 100 miles northwest of Ireland at 2225 hours, with all 36 aboard surviving. German submarine U-48 sank British ship Sandsend 500 miles west of Ireland at 2225 hours, killing 5. German submarine chasers UJ-116 and UJ-118 sank British WW1-era submarine H-49 off Texel Island, the Netherlands; 21 were killed and 1 survived and captured. British anti-submarine trawler HMT Kingston Cairngorm hit a mine in the English Channel; she was able to be towed back to the harbor, but would sink on the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Two British flying boats of No. 202 Squadron RAF spotted Italian submarine Durbo 120 miles east of Gibraltar off Alboran Island. British destroyers HMS Firedrake and HMS Wrestler attacked with depth charges, forcing Durbo to the surface and be scuttled. British sailors managed to capture information regarding Italian submarine dispositions from the submarine before she sank. Durbo's crew of 48 was taken prisoner. [CPC]
  • German guns near Calais, France fired 10 shells at Dover, England, United Kingdom; two of the shells detonated. [CPC]
Burma
  • Britain reopened the Burma Road, the over-land supply route to China. [AC]
United Kingdom
  • Foggy weather limited German ability to attack southern England, United Kingdom, thus only few aerial battles were fought with no losses for either side. Overnight, London was bombed, hitting the Rose and Crown Pub which resulted in 42 killed and 6 injured; Liverpool and Birmingham were also attacked. [Main Article | CPC]
19 Oct 1940
  • German submarines U-38, U-46, U-47, and two others attacked Allied convoy HX-79 200 miles west of Ireland, sinking 5 ships and damaging tanker Shirak. [Main Article | TH]
  • While escorting Romanian freighter Ingener N. Vlassopol Canadian auxiliary minesweeper HMCS Bras d'Or sank during a storm in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in northeastern Canada, killing the entire crew of 30. [CPC]
  • German submarines U-99, U-100, U-101, and U-123 continued to attack Allied convoy SC-7 100 miles northwest of Ireland. U-123 sank British ship Shekatika as Shekatika received her fifth torpedo hit. U-99 sank Norwegian ship Snefjeld; the entire crew of 21 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Venetia hit a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary 10 miles north of Herne Bay, Kent in southern England; 35 were killed and 18 were wounded. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • During the day, a German Ju 88 bomber was shot down near Maidstone, Kent and another near Falmouth, Cornwall in England, United Kingdom. A raid of 60 German fighters and fighter-bombers for London was intercepted by 5 RAF squadrons over Kent at 1430 hours; 2 British fighters were shot down during the battle with 1 pilot killed. Overnight, London, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, and Coventry were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Oct 1940
Prime Minister Mackenzie King visiting a Canadian Navy warship, 19 Oct 1940
20 Oct 1940
  • During the night 7 British Wellington bombers attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Orion and Komet were replenished by supply ship Kulmerland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Gallant, HMS Griffin, and HMS Hotspur located Italian submarine Lafole off Mellila, Morocco in the Mediterranean Sea, using information captured from Italian submarine Durbo on 18 Oct. Hotspur sank Lafole by ramming; 37 Italians were killed and 9 survived and captured. Hotspur's bow was damaged, forcing her to be out of commission until 20 Feb 1941 for repairs. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank Norwegian ship Cubano (2 killed, 29 survived) and British ship Sulaco (65 killed, 1 survived) 200 miles west of Ireland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-46, U-47, and U-100 attacked Allied convoy HX-79 50 miles northwest of Ireland, sinking 7 and damaging 1 between 0000 and 0720 hours. U-100 sank British ship Loch Lomond; 1 was killed and 111 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian BR20 bombers, Z1007 bombers, G50 fighters, and CR42 fighters arrived in Belgium and began to prepare their missions against Britain. [CPC]
  • German guns near Calais, France fired 50 shells at Dover, England, United Kingdom; 15 of the shells detonated. [CPC]
  • Werner Mölders was promoted to the rank of Oberstleutnant. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 5 raids consisted of German fighters and fighter-bombers flew over Kent in southern England, United Kingdom toward London between 0930 and 1500 hours; the Germans lost 6 Bf 109 fighters and 1 Bf 110 fighter, while the British lost 3 fighters without losing any pilots. Between 1900 hours and 0100 hours of the next day, London, Coventry, and Birmingham were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Oct 1940
  • Italian destroyers Manin, Sauro, Battisti, and Nullo attacked Allied convoy BN-7 in the Red Sea at 0219 hours. Nullo was damaged by HMS Kimberley and Australian sloop HMAS Yarra as the escorts counterattacked; she fled back towards Massawa, Italian East Africa and ran aground, but drew Kimberley close enough to the shore guns to hit the British ship, killing 3. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMS Waveflower hit a mine and sank off Alderburgh, Suffolk, England; 15 were killed and 7 survived. [CPC]
  • British motor torpedo boat MTB-17 hit a mine and sank off Ostend, Belgium. [CPC]
  • German guns near Calais, France fired 6 shells at Dover, England, United Kingdom between 1400 and 1600 hours; only some of the shells detonated. [CPC]
  • Friedrich Ruge was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Scirè departed La Spezia, Italy for Gibraltar with three manned torpedoes on board. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Between 1100 and 1400 hours, heavy fog limited Germans to small raids against southern England, United Kingdom and kept British fighters on the ground; as the result, bombs were successfully dropped on London, Lancashire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex, and Kent; 1 Ju 88 bomber was lost. Overnight, London, Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Liverpool, and South Wales were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
22 Oct 1940
  • British Ambassador to Moscow attempted to distance the Soviet Union away from Germany. [TH]
  • Aktion Burckel: 29,000 Jews in Alsace-Lorraine, Saarland, and Baden were deported to Southern France. [CPC]
  • Canadian destroyer HMCS Margaree of Allied convoy OL-8 collided with the freighter Port Fairy in poor visibility 400 miles west of Ireland; 142 were killed as she sank. 34 survived the ordeal. [TH]
  • British minesweeping trawlers HMT Joseph Button hit a mine and sank 6 miles off Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom, killing 5; HMT Hickory also hit a mine and sank in the English Channel South of Weymouth, England, killing 24. [CPC]
  • Werner Mölders claimed his 50th victory. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Benito Mussolini set the date of the invasion of Greece to 28 Oct 1940. He had decided to attack Greece without informing Germany, as Germany had a history of starting wars without sharing advance information with Italy. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Heitaro Kimura was named the chief of staff of Kenkichi Ueda (Japanese Kwantung Army in northeastern China). [CPC]
Russia
  • Joseph Stalin accepted Joachim von Ribbentrop's invitation for Vyacheslav Molotov to visit Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • As the heavy fog dissipated in the afternoon, two German fighter sweeps attacked southern England, United Kingdom; 3 German fighters and 6 British fighters were shot down. Overnight, London, Liverpool, and Coventry were bombed; Coventry suffered 150 fires. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Oct 1940
  • Ten WW1-era American destroyers were transferred to the British Royal Navy at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, including destroyer USS Twiggs which was renamed HMS Leamington. [CPC]
France
  • Adolf Hitler met with Francisco Franco on the Franco-Spanish border at Hendaye, France. Franco promised Spain will fight at Germany's side, but refused to commit his nation to war. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • Germans only mounted small raids against southern England, United Kingdom due to poor weather; no aircraft were shot down on either side during the day. Overnight, light bombing hit London, England and Glasgow, Scotland. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Oct 1940
Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco, Hendaye train station, France, 23 Oct 1940, photo 1 of 2Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco shaking hands, Hendaye train station, France, 23 Oct 1940Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco, Hendaye train station, France, 23 Oct 1940, photo 2 of 2
24 Oct 1940
  • The British government declared that the daylight-savings Summer Time was to be continued throughout the coming winter winter. [CPC]
  • Operation DNU: British battlecruisers HMS Hood and HMS Repulse, 2 cruisers, and 8 destroyers conducted a sweep off the Norwegian coast in search of German shipping. German weather trawler WBS5 was sunk by destroyers HMS Somali, HMS Matabele, and HMS Punjabi 30 miles off the Stadlandet Peninsula; she would be the only target destroyed during the operation. [CPC]
France
  • Adolf Hitler met with Philippe Pétain at Montoire, France, agreeing in principle with collaboration but Pétain refused to declare war on Britain. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • British destroyer HMS Mendip suffered an accidental depth charge detonation in Scapa Flow, Scotland at 1135 hours, ripping off her stern. She would survive the explosion and would be undergoing repairs for the next four months. [Main Article | CPC]
  • During hte day, poor weather restricted German efforts against Britain, limiting missions to that of reconnaissance only; one Do 17 bomber was shot down on such a mission. Overnight, London and Birmingham were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 24 Oct 1940
Philippe Pétain and Adolf Hitler, Montoire-sur-le-Loir, France, 24 Oct 1940; note Paul Schmidt and Joachim von Ribbentrop in background
25 Oct 1940
  • US Navy began to mobilize its aviation arm. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Lord Inchcape hit a mine and sank off Plymouth, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • Three RAF Hudson bombers attacked German submarine U-46 in the Atlantic Ocean, wounding Matrosengefreiter Plaep, who would die from his injuries on the next day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British gunboat HMS Aphis bombarded Italian troops 15 miles east of Sidi Barrani, Egypt. [CPC]
Germany
  • British bombers attacked Hamburg and Berlin in Germany, causing heavy casualties. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • The Italian Navy formed the Forza Navale Speciale (FNS) under Vice Admiral Vittorio Tur. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 16 Italian BR20M bombers attacked Felixstowe and Harwich in Britain; 1 crashed on take off and 2 crashed on the return flight. Meanwhile, four groups of German Bf 109 fighters swept southern England, United Kingdom, shooting down 10 British fighters while losing 14 of their own. At dusk, German He 111 bombers attacked Montrose airfield in Scotland. Overnight, London, Birmingham, Pembroke, Cardiff, and Liverpool were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Oct 1940
  • Italy lodged a protest against Greece, citing its anti-Italian attitude. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Ministry of Food subsidised fish and chip shops to encourage potato consumption. [CPC]
  • Thunderbolt was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The P-51 Mustang fighter, NA-73X, took its maiden flight. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hubert Lanz was given command of 1. Gebirgs-Division. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-28 hit British ship Matina 250 miles northwest of Ireland at 0432 hours with a torpedo, then surfaced to hit her with 15 shells with the deck gun; 67 crew members and 2 gunners of Matina abandoned the ship in lifeboats, but they would never to be seen again. On the same day, German Fw 200 Condor bomber discovered and hit British troop ship Empress of Britain with two 250kg bombs 70 miles northwest of Aran Island in the Atlantic Ocean; most of the 416 crew, 2 gunners, and 205 passengers survived the attack and abandoned ship; German submarines were alerted, and would close in for the kill. [Main Article | AC]
China
  • Japanese aircraft raided the CAMCO factory at Loiwing (Leiyun), China, destroying recently arrived kits of CW-21 fighters. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The German Luftwaffe conducted the longest night time raid on London, England, United Kingdom to date. [Main Article | TH]
  • James Lacey shot down a German Bf 109 fighter over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The US Marine Corps organized a Marine Parachute Detachment at the Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey, United States. [CPC]
27 Oct 1940
  • Free French forces from Cameroon attacked Vichy French forces in Gabon, penetrating 70 miles across the border and capturing the town of Mitzic. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Men of British destroyer HMS Broke was ordered to attach tow lines on the troop ship Empress of Britain, which was disabled on the previous day by German aircraft. Tugs HMS Marauder and HMS Thames arrived to tow the former luxury liner for Clyde River, Scotland, United Kingdom with destroyers and aircraft in escort. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Nani sank Swedish ship Meggie 70 miles southeast of the Azores Islands; the entire crew of Meggie survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Late in the evening, Italian ambassador in Athens Emanuele Grazzi issued an ultimatum, demanding that Italian troops be allowed occupy strategic positions in Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British intelligence intercepted a German radio message referring to the continuation of training for the invasion of Britain, and determined that if German troops were still in this early stage of preparations, than an invasion would not take place in the very near future. [CPC]
Greece
  • Aircraft from HMS Eagle struck the Italian seaplane base at Maltezana, Rhodes, Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 5 raids of 50 to 60 German aircraft attacked Britain throughout the day, most of which were German fighter-bombers and medium bombers, but Italians also contributed several BR20M bombers for the attack on Ramsgate, England, United Kingdom; 6 German fighters and 4 bombers were shot down, while the British lost 8 fighters with 4 pilots killed. Overnight, London and Liverpool were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Oct 1940
Wasp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, 27 Oct 1940Texas on Navy Day, 27 Oct 1940USS Wasp (Wasp-class) in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, 27 Oct 1940
28 Oct 1940
  • Hitler traveled to Florence, Italy for a meeting with Mussolini in an attempt to stop the Italians from attacking Greece, but it was too late. [Main Article | TH]
  • Pierre Laval became the Foreign Minister of Vichy France. [Main Article | TH]
  • German raider Pinguin and auxilliary minelayer Passat began to lay mines off Sydney, Newcastle, Hobart, Melbourne, and other locations along the long Australian coast line. [CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh completed her refitting at Tyne, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Eagle patrolled the western coast of Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-32 sunk British troop ship Empress of Britain, under tow as she was damaged by aircraft two day prior, with two torpedoes 50 miles northwest of Aran Island, Ireland at 0205 hours, killing 25 crew and 20 passengers. At 42,348 tons, she would become the largest German submarine victim. [AC]
Greece
  • Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas rejected the Italian ultimatum; realizing the Italians were already preparing for an invasion, he noted "Alors, c'est la guerre" ("Then, it's war"). 85,000 Italian troops crossed the border from Albania, outnumbering the 30,000-strong Greek Army. [Main Article | Event | TH]
United Kingdom
  • Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain pledged support for Greece against the Italian invasion. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
  • An additional 489,000 children had been evacuated from the greater London area in England, United Kingdom. [TH]
  • At 1300 and 1430 hours, German fighters conducted sweeps towards the British airfield at Biggin Hill in England, United Kingdom, but were turned back. Between 1630 and 1710 hours, Bf 109 fighter-bombers and Ju 88 bombers attacked various sites in southern England; 2 Bf 109 and Ju 88 aircraft were shot down without any British aircraft losses. Overnight, London and Birmingham were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
29 Oct 1940
  • The first British troops arrived at Suda Bay, Crete in Greece; meanwhile, a fleet of 4 battleships, 2 carriers, and 19 destroyers departed from the British naval base at Alexandria, Egypt for Crete. To the north, the Italian invasion advanced slowly. [Main Article | TH]
  • Conscription, as allowed by the Selective Training and Service Act, began; it was the first military draft during peacetime in US history. [CPC]
  • The full mobilization of the Italian Blackshirt units began. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-31 sank the drifting wreck of British ship Matina, which was damaged by U-28 on 26 Oct and had already been abandoned, at 2200 hours. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-29 made made rendezvous with German armed merchant cruiser Widder, which was returning from her merchant raiding mission for repairs, in the Bay of Biscay west of France. [CPC]
  • Werner Mölders claimed his 54th victory. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The British RAF conducted the 25th raid on Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | TH]
Gibraltar
  • Scirè launched three manned torpedoes into Gibraltar harbor. The mission was a failure as one of the torpedoes broke down and the crew of the two torpedoes aborted due to breathing equipment issues. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German bombers conducted several raids in southern England, United Kingdom all day, escorted by Bf 109 fighters, damaging areas of London and Portsmouth. At dusk, German Ju 88 aircraft, acting as dive bombers, attacked airfields in East Anglia, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire. Italian BR20M bombers bombed Ramsgate in formation. During the day, the Germans lost 22 Bf 109 fighters, 3 Bf 110 fighters, and 2 Do 17 bombers; the British lost 7 fighters with 2 pilots killed; the Italians lost 5 bombers. Overnight, London, Birmingham, and Coventry were bombed. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Oct 1940
  • RAF Bomber Command received orders to begin area bombing. [TH]
  • German submarine U-32 attacked British ship Balzac in a rain storm 100 miles northwest of Ireland at 1240, but the torpedo detonated prematurely, alarming Balzac's crew, which called for support. British destroyers HMS Harvester and HMS Highlander raced from 45 miles away to attack U-32. U-32 dove, but was damaged by depth charges. At 1908 hours, U-32 surfaced in an attempt to flee, but HMS Highlander's crew was able to detect U-32 despite a stormy night. Hit by gunfire that killed 9, U-32's crew scuttled the submarine. Back in Germany, a fake news regarding U-32's triumphant return was broadcast shortly after to hide the news of the loss. [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Fearless collided with British ship Lanark in stormy weather off Gourock, Scotland, United Kingdom. HMS Fearless was heavily damaged and would remain in repair until the end of the year. [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Sturdy ran aground at Tiree, Scotland, United Kingdom in stormy weather; 5 men drowned while swimming ashore. [CPC]
  • Adolf Galland claimed his 50th victory. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • Wing Commander J. R. O'Sullivan was ordered to form a fighter squadron at the civilian airfield at Ta' Qali, Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The German Luftwaffe launched two raids over southern England, United Kingdom at 1130 and 1540 hours; the Germans lost 8 Bf 109 fighters and 1 He 111 bomber, while the British lost 5 fighters with 4 pilots killed. London was bombed overnight. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down a German Bf 109 fighter and damaged another over Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS R-5 was assigned to US Submarine Division 42 at New London, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
31 Oct 1940
  • RAF bombers attacked Naples, Italy. [TH]
  • As the Italian invasion of Greece began to slow to a stop in the Epirus Mountains, British forces landed on the islands of Lemnos and Crete in southern Greece to prevent Italian landings on Greek islands. Greek destroyers Spetsai and Psara departed the Gulf of Patras and used their 120-mm guns to bombard Italian troops on the Ionian coast of Albania and northern Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ship Rutland 300 miles northwest of Ireland at 2158 hours, killing the entire crew of 24. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Widder arrived at Brest, France after a 179-day long operation in the Atlantic Ocean that saw the sinking of 10 ships totaling 58,645 tons. [CPC]
  • HMCS Trillium was commissioned into service with Lieutenant Commander Ronald Fraser Harris in command. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • According to a British Air Ministry pamphlet published in 1941, this date was the official end of the Battle of Britain, but bombings on London, England, United Kingdom would continue. [Main Article | TH]
1 Nov 1940
  • 11,000 Italian mountain troops marched for the pass at Metsovo, Greece but were trapped by 2,000 Greek troops, who knew the terrain far better than the Italians, in the Vovousa Valley 5 miles before they reached the pass. In southern Greece, British destroyers Ajax landed more troops at Suda Bay, Crete while under attack by Italian bombers. Meanwhile, Turkey declared neutrality in the Italo-Greek war. [Main Article | TH]
  • The British mined the Bay of Biscay off France. [TH]
  • German bombers attacked British shipping in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom, sinking Letchworth (1 killed), sinking minesweeping trawler HMT Tilbury Ness (10 killed), and heavily damaging sloop HMS Pintail (10 killed, 3 wounded); one German bomber was shot down by the anti-aircraft ship Royal Eagle. On the same day, a force of around ten Italian BR.20 bombers escorted by forty CR.42 fighters set off to attack the docks at Harwich, England; eight of the bombers were claimed as destroyed by the RAF, which contributed to the Italian decision to withdraw from the Battle of Britain in the next few weeks. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ship Empire Bison 400 miles northwest of Ireland at 0706 hours, killing 30 crew and 1 gunner. 6,067 tons of scrap steel and 94 trucks, all from the United States, were lost with the ship. 4 survivors were rescued by Danish merchant ship Olga S. [CPC]
  • British sloop HMS Black Swan was damaged by a mine in the Firth of Forth, Scotland. She would remain under repair until Apr 1941. [CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was promoted to the rank of Oberstleutnant. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chuichi Nagumo was named the commandant of the Japanese naval war college. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Rear Admiral Keizo Tanimoto replaced Rear Admiral Isamu Takeda as the chief of staff of Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya (Ryojun Military Port, northeastern China). [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The German Oflag IV-C prisoner of war camp at the Colditz Castle, until now a transit camp, was redesignated an actual holding camp as Polish prisoners of war were transferred there from nearby Oflag IV-A and Oflag VIII-B. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • During this month, Japanese Navy began receiving the carrier version of the A6M Zero fighter. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Captain Shunji Izaki was named the commanding officer of Settsu. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Nov 1940
  • British destroyer HMS Antelope attacked German submarine U-31 with depth charges, killing 2. Forced to the surface, the crew of U-31 scuttled the submarine before abandoning her. As HMS Antelope rescued the 43 German survivors, the wrecked hull of U-31 drifted into her, causing damage that would keep HMS Antelope under repair until Dec 1940. U-31 had previously been sunk by British aircraft on 11 Mar 1940, but was later raised and put back into action; she was the only German submarine to be sunk twice during the war. [CPC]
  • Turkey moved 37 divisions to the Bulgarian border and warned Bulgaria not to participate in the Italo-Greek war. Meanwhile, Italian troops reached the main Greek defensive line on the Kalamas River between Elia and Kalamas. Off Suda Bay, Crete, as British warships departed after unloading troops, Italian bombers scored near misses against them but failed to cause damage. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Intrepid hit a mine off Hartlepool, Durham, England, United Kingdom, damaging both of her engines; she would remain under repair until late Dec 1940. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Rinovia hit a mine and sank 10 miles south of St. Austell, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, killing 15. [CPC]
3 Nov 1940
  • In the Pindus Mountains in northern Greece, Greek Pindus detachment counterattacked against Italian Julia Division, recapturing the villages of Samarina and Vovousa. Further west, Italian tanks were brought up to attack the Greek defenses on the Kalamas River, but the terrain was poorly suited for mobile operations. Far to the south, British troops began arriving on mainland Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • British submarine HMS Sturgeon sank Danish ship Sigrun in the Oslofjord, Norway. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 sank British ship Casanare 150 miles west of Ireland at 2140 hours, killing 9. Casanare sent out a distress signal prior to her sinking, which brought British armed merchant cruisers HMS Laurentic and HMS Patroclus to the area; U-99 disabled HMS Laurentic after hitting her with torpedoes at 2250 hours, 2310 hours, and 2330 hours, killing 49; 368 survivors abandoned the ship and were rescued by Patroclus. [TH]
United Kingdom
  • The British capital of London experienced the first night in 57 nights without seeing any bombing. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Nov 1940
  • German submarine U-99 attacked British armed merchant cruiser HMS Patroclus 150 miles west of Ireland while she was rescuing survivors of HMS Laurentic, which was disabled by U-99 at the end of the previous day. U-99 fired torpedoes at 0022 hours, 0044 hours, and 0118 hours from the surface, and then dove to avoid attacks. At 0435 hours, U-99 resurfaced, sinking HMS Laurentic with a torpedo which detonated Laurentic's depth charges. Patroclus was sunk at 0525 hours, killing 56. British destroyers HMS Hesperus arrived and chased away U-99 with depth charges. [CPC]
  • The Italian Julia Division continued to be trapped in the Vovousa valley in northern Greece, incurring heavy casualties as Greek troops mounted repeated attacks in an attempt to eliminate this pocket. Further west, Italian troops established a bridgehead across the Kalamas River, but failed at their first attempt to break out. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler met with his top military leaders in Berlin, Germany to explore the possibility of attacking Gibraltar, Azores Islands, Madeira, and Portugal as means to block the British Royal Navy from entering the Mediterranean Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Nov 1940
  • Roosevelt was re-elected as President of the United States. [Main Article | TH]
  • German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer approached Allied convoy HX-84 in the North Atlatic in the late afternoon, and British armed merchant cruiser Jervis Bay moved in to intercept. Hopelessly outgunned, Jervis Bay was sunk within 15 minutes of the gun battle; 190 were killed and 65 survived; Captain Fegen of Jervis Bay would be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his efforts to slow Admiral Scheer. Nevertheless, Admiral Scheer was able to sink 5 additional British ships in the convoy before the convoy scattered and escaped, killing an additional 208 sailors. [Main Article | TH]
  • Free French troops captured Lambaréné, French Equatorial Africa (in present day Gabon) about 100 kilometer inland up the Ogooué River. Meanwhile, Free French, Foreign Legion, and Colonial troops set sail from Douala, French Cameroun for another Vichy-held city in French Equatorial Africa, Libreville. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 sank British tanker Scottish Maiden 180 miles northwest of Ireland at 0255 hours, killing 16; she was carrying 3,000 tons of diesel oil and 6,500 tons of marine fuel. British destroyer HMS Beagle picked up 28 survivors. [CPC]
  • Greek cavalry troops under General Georgios Stanotas began a new attack on the enveloped Italian Julia Division in the Vovousa valley in northern Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
Egypt
  • While at Alexandria, Egypt, a leak was found in the fuel system of HMS Eagle, requiring her to receive repairs; the damage was caused by near misses by Italian bombers on 12 Oct 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Hermann Göring issued an order to loot the art treasures at the Louvre museum in Paris, France, which were to be distributed to German museums and private collections of Nazi leaders, with a large portion of the art reserved for himself. [Main Article | CPC]
6 Nov 1940
  • The British promise of financial aid to Greece was cemented with an advance of £5,000,000. [TH]
  • The British Under-Secretary for War announced measures to provide the Home Guard better equipment without altering its 'local and friendly character'. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Comandante Faà Di Bruno attacked British ship Melrose Abbey 200 miles northwest of Ireland with her deck gun. As Canadian destroyer HMCS Ottawa and British destroyer HMS Harvester approached with guns firing, Comandante Faà Di Bruno dove under the surface. The subsequent depth charging by the destroyers successfully destroyed the Italian submarine, killing the entire crew of 57. [TH]
  • British destroyer HMS Encounter misidentified British submarine HMS Utmost for an enemy submarine and rammed her off Cape St. Vincent, Portugal at 1225 hours. HMS Utmost sustained damage, but did not sink. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping whaler HMS Sevra hit a mine and sank off Falmouth, England, United Kingdom without any casualties. [CPC]
  • The Greek 2nd Army Corps mounted another attack on the enveloped Italian Julia Division in the Pindus Mountains region in northern Greece. To the west, Italian forces at the Kalamas River continued their attempt to break out of the bridgehead. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Three Canadian prisoners of war who had previously served in the British Royal Air Force arrived at the Oflag IV-C camp at the Colditz Castle. The men were Donald Middleton, Keith Milne, and Howard Wardle. They were transferred from Oflag IX-A/H. [Main Article | CPC]
7 Nov 1940
  • Krupp factories were bombed again by the RAF. [TH]
  • Vichy French submarine Poncelet fired a torpedo at the Allied invasion fleet sailing for Libreville, French Equitorial Africa 50 miles southwest of Libreville, hitting sloop HMS Milford, but the torpedo failed to explode. Poncelet was forced to surface by Milford's depth charges, and then was damaged by bombs from two Walrus biplanes of HMS Devonshire. All but one of Poncelet's complement of 61 surrendered after scuttling the ship; commanding officer Commander de Saussine decided to go down with the ship. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT William Wesney hit a mine and sank in the North Sea 13 miles east of Harwich, England, United Kingdom; 5 were killed and 7 survived. [CPC]
  • Free French minesweeping trawler Poulmic hit a mine and sank off Plymouth, England, United Kingdom; 11 were killed and 7 survived. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Swordfish hit a mine and sank 7 miles south of the Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom, killing the entire crew of 39. [CPC]
  • Seven German torpedo boats were dispatched from Trondheim, Norway to attack an Allied convoy off northern Scotland, United Kingdom. Torpedo boat T.6 hit a mine in a unexpected minefield and sink 40 miles north of the convoy, forcing the entire attack party to return to Trondheim without carrying out their mission. [CPC]
  • British ship Cambridge hit a naval mine laid by German ship Passat and sank 6 miles off Wilson's Promontory, South Australia; 1 was killed and 57 were rescued by Australian auxiliary minesweeper Orara. [CPC]
  • Rammed by British destroyer HMS Encounter in an episode of misidentification on the previous day, the damaged British submarine HMS Utmost reached Gibraltar, where she would remain for repairs until 23 Nov 1940. [CPC]
  • Submarine Gar was launched, sponsored by the wife of Rear Admiral George Pettengill. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 7 Nov 1940
Wellington bomber at Vickers-Armstrongs factory, Broughton, Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom, 7 Nov 1940Close-up of submarine GarTugboat pushing submarine Gar to the fitting dock immediately after launching, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 7 Nov 1940A Wellington bomber built at the Vickers-Armstrongs factory in Broughton, Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom in flight shortly after its completion, 7 Nov 1940
See all photos dated 7 Nov 1940
8 Nov 1940
  • After failing to expand from the Kalamas River bridgehead in western Greece, Italian troops in that region began to pull back. In the Pindus Mountains in northern Greece, the enveloped Italian Julia Division also began to attempt to break out for a retreat. [Main Article | TH]
  • RAF bombed Munich, Germany, narrowly missing Hitler. [Main Article | TH]
  • French Legionnaires and colonial troops from Senegal and Cameroun landed north and south of Vichy-French-held Libreville, French Equitorial Africa. Heavy fighting began immediately. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Operation Crack: Aircraft of British carrier HMS Ark Royal attacked the seaplane base at Elmas near Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. [CPC]
  • British tug HMS Muria hit a mine and sank off the Isle of Thanet near Dover, England, United Kingdom, killing the entire crew. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked a convoy in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom, sinking or damaging several merchant ships. Two Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers were shot down by destroyer HMS Winchester, which soon hit a mine and was damaged. [CPC]
  • German bombers damaged Swedish ship Vingaland 300 miles west of Ireland. [CPC]
  • Dutch submarine O-22 disappeared in the North Sea 40 miles southwest of Norway; 42 Dutch and 3 British sailors were missing and were presumed dead. [CPC]
Malta
  • RAF Station Takali was officially operational on Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 8 Nov 1940
Greek soldier posing with a wrecked Italian L3/33 tankette during the Battle of Elaia-Kalamas, northern Greece, early Nov 1940
9 Nov 1940
  • Neville Chamberlain passed away of cancer. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Free French froces entered Libreville, Gabon, French Equatorial Africa, engaging in street fighting with Vichy French forces. Off Libreville, Free French sloop Savorgnan de Brazza sunk Vichy sloop Bougainville by gunfire (they two were sister ships of the same class), while Free French sloop Commandant Domine prevented Vichy armed merchant cruiser Cap Des Palmes' crew from scuttling the ship and captured her. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Sebastiano Visconti Prasca was relieved as commander of Italian operations in Greece for the failures to breakthrough Greek defense lines in northern Greece. He was replaced by General Ubaldo Soddu. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis, disguised as British auxiliary cruiser HMS Antenor in the darkness before dawn, closed in on Norwegian tanker Teddy in the Bay of Bengal and captured the ship with a boarding party without firing a shot. Atlantis refueled from Teddy's cargo of 10,000 tons of fuel oil and captured the crew of 32. [CPC]
  • Swedish ship Vingaland, damaged on the previous day by German bombers west of Ireland, was sunk by Italian submarine Marconi; the 19 survivors were picked up by British ship Danae II. [CPC]
  • American ship City Of Rayville hit a naval mine (laid by German ship Passat) and sank 20 miles off Cape Otway, South Australia, Australia; 1 was killed and 39 survived. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Nov 1940
Installation of a gun of No. 2 turret of battleship North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 9 Nov 1940, photo 1 of 2Installation of a gun of No. 2 turret of battleship North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 9 Nov 1940, photo 2 of 2
10 Nov 1940
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMS Kingston Alalite hit a mine and sank off Plymouth, England, United Kingdom, killing 6. [CPC]
  • In northern Greece, Greek troops continued to push Italian troops back toward the Albanian border both in the coastal region as well as in the Pindus Mountains. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British monitor HMS Terror departed Malta for Suda Bay, Crete, Greece to serve as a guard ship. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis, disguised as British auxiliary cruiser HMS Antenor in the darkness before dawn, closed in on Norwegian tanker Ole Jacob in the Bay of Bengal. After a tense stand-off, the Norwegian captain decided to surrender, fearing that a gunfight might ignite the cargo of 11,000 barrels of high-octane aviation fuel. Ole Jacob was captured as a prize ship and sent first to Japan and then to France, carrying a cargo of aviation fuel and the captured prisoners from Ole Jacob and Teddy. Ole Jacob's distress signal would resulted in the dispatching of Australian cruisers Canberra, Capetown, and Durban, but they would fail to catch Atlantis. [CPC]
  • British gunboat HMS Aphis shelled Italian positions at Sidi Barrani, Egypt overnight. [CPC]
  • The Director of the US Marine Corps Reserve formally integrated his organization into the regular US Marine Corps. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The first Avro Manchester Mk. 1 bomber to be delivered went to No. 207 Squadron RAF (Squadron Leader Noel Challis Hyde) based at RAF Waddington in the county of Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | AC]
11 Nov 1940
  • At 2300 hours, 21 Swordfish aircraft of British carrier HMS Illustrious flew over Taranto Italy, where the Italian fleet was harbored. 11 aircraft attacked with torpedoes, sinking battleship Conte di Cavour was sunk, and damaging battleships Littorio and Caio Duilio. 10 aircraft attacked the inner harbor, causing minor damage on shore facilities. 2 aircraft were shot down (2 killed, 2 captured). [Main Article | TH]
  • At 1330 hours, British radar at Essex, England picked up incoming aircraft, which turned out to be 12 Italian BR.20M bombers and 12 CR.42 biplane fighters heading for Harwich. Hurricane fighters from No. 257, No. 46, and No. 17 Squadrons RAF were launched to intercept over the Thames Estuary, shooting down 3 bombers and 3 fighters, while damaging 2 bombers, without incurring any losses. Winston Churchill would later quip that the Italian aircraft "might have found better employment defending the fleet at Taranto", referring to the successful British raid to take place later on the same day. [Main Article | TH]
  • British destroyer HMS Vega hit a mine and was badly damaged 5 miles north of Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, England, United Kingdom while escorting a convoy; she would later be towed to Sheerness, Kent for repairs. On the same day, British minesweeping trawler HMT Stella Orion hit a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary without any casualties. [CPC]
  • British corvette Rhododendron attacked German submarine U-103 with depth charges 200 miles northwest of Ireland; U-103 would be able to escape without any damage. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis stopped British ship Automedon with gunfire in the Bay of Bengal, killing 7 crew and 1 gunner. The crew of Atlantis boarded Automedon, capturing 87 survivors, cargos of food and cigarettes, and top secret Royal Navy documents detailing military deployment in Asia and code schemes. [CPC]
  • The US army took delivery of its first Jeep. The origin of the name is still a mystery. Some say it is from the Army designation GP (General Purpose) but others prefer the reference to a character from the Popeye cartoon strip known as Eugene the Jeep. The character could walk through walls, climb trees, fly and go just about anywhere it wanted, and it is thought that soldiers at the time were so impressed with the new vehicle’s versatility that they named it after the Jeep. [Main Article | CPC]
  • No. 640 Squadron RAF recorded the first Beaufighter "kill" when a German Ju 88A aircraft was shot down with the aid of the A.I.IV radar. [Main Article | AC]
12 Nov 1940
  • The 19 surviving Swordfish aircraft of the 21 sent to attack Taranto, Italy at 2300 hours on the previous day returned to the British carrier HMS Illustrious. Italian battleships Vittorio Veneto, Andrea Doria, and Giulio Cesare, having survived the attack, departed the harbor with cruisers in escort for Naples, Italy, to avoid being caught by a second attack by the British, which was indeed planned but failed to launch due to bad weather. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vichy French forces in Gabon, French Equitorial Africa surrendered to Free French forces at Port Gentil 70 miles south of Libreville. Having successfully negotiated the surrender, Governor Georges Pierre Masson committed suicide shortly after the agreement was reached. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler issued Directive 18 for the capture of Gibraltar, Azores Islands, Madeira, and Portugal. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov arrived in Berlin, Germany for discussions about spheres of influence in the Balkan Peninsula and in Finland. In the morning, German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop reassured Molotov that Germany had no further interest in eastern and southern Europe. In the afternoon, Molotov met with Adolf Hitler and relayed Joseph Stalin's request for Hitler to explain the recently formed German-Italian-Japanese military alliance and the recent German move into Romania; before Hitler gave a concrete answer, he noted that as the hour was getting late, the risk of British bombing was getting greater, thus the meeting should be broken up. [Main Article | TH]
  • Adolf Hitler issued a directive to the German army to be prepared in invade Greece so that the Luftwaffe could attack airfield from which the RAF might attack the oilfields of Romania. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • A captured German airman warned of a planned bombing against the British city of Coventry; British intelligence officers thought the airman was fed incorrect information in case he was captured, and the actual target would be London. On 14 Nov, a massive raid on Coventry by 440 German bombers killed 568, injured 863, and destroyed the city's 14th century cathedral. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 12 Nov 1940
Conte di Cavour sinking in Taranto harbor, 12 Nov 1940Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop, Berlin, Germany, 12 Nov 1940
13 Nov 1940
  • Hitler, Ribbentrop, and Molotov continued their meeting in Berlin, Germany. Hitler attempted to divert Soviet aggression out of the Balkan Peninsula and Finland, and instead focus, together with Germany, to defeat the United Kingdom, with the ultimate prize being the partition of the British Empire among Germany, the Soviet Union, Italy, and Japan. Molotov, who was not moved, asked Hitler whether Germany would feel comfortable with a Soviet guarantee of Bulgarian borders much like how Germany had recently guaranteed Romanian borders; unable to answer that question, Hitler again broke off the discussion on the excuse of potential British bombings as the hours were getting late. Indeed, having known that Molotov was visiting Berlin, the British RAF launched bombers to attack Berlin as a show of force to convince Molotov that Britain was still in the fight. Ribbentrop and Molotov continued the meeting in a underground bunker amidst the bombing where Ribbentrop failed to entice Molotov with a four-power (Germany, Italy, Japan, and Soviet Union) military alliance proposal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • By the end of the day, Greek troops had pushed most Italian troops in northern Greece back to the Albanian border. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-137 torpedoed and sank British ship Cape St. Andrew, which was under tow by tug HMS Salvonia, 100 miles northwest of Ireland at 2108 hours. 14 crew and 1 gunner were killed. 53 survivors were picked up by Salvonia. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tigris sank French trawler Charles Edmonde 100 miles west of Bordeaux, France. [CPC]
  • Italian bombers damaged British destroyer HMS Decoy at Alexandria, Egypt, killing 8 and wounding 3. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Garland was seriously damaged by a storm while escorting battleship HMS Revenge in the Atlantic Ocean. Two men were killed. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
14 Nov 1940
  • As Greek troops began to cross into Albanian borders, the Axis suffered its first land defeat of the war. [Main Article | AC]
  • German bombers raided Alexandria, Egypt, sinking Egyptian steamer Zamzam. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • A massive night time raid on Coventry, England by 437 German He 111 bombers, dubbed Operation Moonlight Sonata, killed 568, injured 863, and destroyed 60,000 buildings (including the city's 14th Century cathedral) with 450 tons of high explosive bombs, 50 parachute bombs, and 36,000 incendiary bombs. Only one German bomber was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. British intelligence officers received this information two days prior from a captured German airman, but they incorrectly thought the information was meant for deceit and the actual target would be London. [Main Article | AC]
  • Neville Chamberlain's funeral was held at Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, or Westminster Abbey, in London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 14 Nov 1940
Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop shaking hands, Anhalt Station, Berlin, Germany, 14 Nov 1940Greek Canon de 85 modèle 1927 Schneider field gun in action during Battle of Morava-Ivan, southern Albania, 14-23 Nov 1940
15 Nov 1940
  • Isoroku Yamamoto was promoted to the rank of admiral. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A convoy of 5 transports, escorted by British warships, departed from Alexandra, Egypt for Pireaus, Greece, carrying 4,230 troops, 700 trucks, gasoline, and other supplies. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-65 sank British ship Kohinur 200 miles southwest of Sierra Leone at 1511 hours; 17 were killed. As Norwegian tanker Havbør stopped to pick up the 68 survivors, U-65 attacked her with a torpedo at 1816 hours, igniting her cargo of 11,500 tons of cruide oil, killing 28 of her crew and 31 survivors of Kohinur. Only 36 from Kohinur and 4 from Havbør would ultimately survive. [CPC]
  • British tug HMS Guardsman hit a mine and sank in the mouth of the Thames Estuary, England, United Kingdom, killing 2. [CPC]
  • Hiroaki Abe became the commanding officer of Japanese Navy Destroyer Squadron 6. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Vice Admiral Teruhisa Komatsu succeeded Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya as the commanding officer of the Ryojun Military Port (previously known as Port Arthur; now Lushunkou, Liaoning Province, China), Kwantung Leased Territory in northeastern China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • A heavy British air raid on Hamburg, Germany caused extensive damage. [Main Article | TH]
Japan Korea
  • Rear Admiral Shigeki Ando was named the chief of staff of Chinkai Guard District in southern Korea. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • The Warsaw ghetto in Poland was sealed from the rest of the city, enclosing 400,000 Jews inside. [Main Article | TH]
16 Nov 1940
  • American destroyer Punkett intercepted German tanker Phrygia; Phrygia's crew scuttled the ship to avoid capture. [CPC]
  • The Greek 3rd Army Corps broke through the Italian 9th Army defensive line at Korcë, Albania. Far to the south, 4,230 British troops arrived at Pireaus, Greece by sea. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-65 sank British ship Fabian with torpedo and her deck gun 250 miles southwest of Sierra Leone, killing 6. 33 survivors were briefly interrogated, given food and water, and placed in lifeboats; they would later be rescued by British tanker British Statesman. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-137 sank British ship Planter 30 miles north of Ireland at 2015 hours; 13 were killed and 60 survivors were picked up by British destroyer HMS Clare. [CPC]
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMT Arsenal collided with Polish destroyer Burza 4 miles south of Toward, Clyde River estuary, Scotland, United Kingdom. Arsenal sank as her depth charges were detonated, which damaged HMS Arrow which came to rescue survivors. Tug Superman also participated in the rescue. [CPC]
  • Heinz Guderian was named commander of Panzer Group 2. [Main Article | AC]
Germany
  • RAF bombers attacked Hamburg, Germany again for the second day in a row. [Main Article | TH]
17 Nov 1940
  • Adolf Galland claimed his 53rd, 54th, and 55th victories. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding was removed as the head of RAF Fighter Command after losing a political struggle with Sholto Douglas and other Big Wing proponents. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-137 attacked Allied convoy HG-46 40 miles north of Ireland, sinking British ship Saint Germain at 2014 hours (entire crew of 18 survived) and Swedish ship Veronica at 2040 hours (17 killed, 3 survived). [CPC]
  • Greek 3rd Army Corps engaged in heavy fighting with Italian 9th Army near Korcë, Albania. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld scored his first victory; his victim was a British Wellington bomber. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Pierre Barjot was assigned to Marseille, France to oversee merchant shipping. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Overnight, RAF bombers raided Hamburg, Germany for the second consecutive night. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • British aircraft carrier HMS Argus launched 12 Hurricane and 2 Skua aircraft to reinforce Malta, but 6 Hurricane aircraft were ditched at sea and 1 Skua aircraft crash landed on Sicily, Italy after becoming lost. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Nov 1940
  • Overnight, RAF bombers raided Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr region of Germany, bombing the Scholven/Buer hydrogenation plant, which made aviation fuel, and Gelsenberg-Benzin-AG plant, which converted bituminous coal to synthetic oil. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-65 sank British tanker Congonian 125 miles west of Freetown, Sierra Leone at 1802 hours; 1 was killed and 35 survived. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Baracca sank British ship Lilian Moller 250 miles northwest of Ireland, killing the entire crew. [CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS York departed Port Said, Egypt with a battalion of troops for Suda Bay, Crete, Greece, and anti-aircraft guns for Piraeus, Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh departed Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom to escort Allied convoy WS4B to Freetown, British West Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Nov 1940
An American-built B-24 Liberator bomber en route to the United Kingdom as part of the Lend-Lease program, 18 Nov 1940Vyacheslav Molotov and Adolf Hitler at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, 18 Nov 1940; note Wilhelm Keitel in backgroundInstallation of a gun of No. 3 turret of battleship North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 18 Nov 1940
19 Nov 1940
  • 357 German aircraft bombed Birmingham, England, United Kingdom overnight, dropping 403 tons of high explosive bombs and 810 incendiary bombs. About 900 were killed and 2,000 injured. [Main Article | TH]
  • German bombers attacked an Allied convoy in the North Sea 12 miles off the coast of East Anglia, England, United Kingdom, sinking minesweeping trawler HMT Fontenoy and damaging 3 freighters. Sloop HMS Lowestoft shot down one German bomber. [CPC]
  • Italian troops were driven across the Kalamas River in northwestern Greece by Greek troops. To the south, British cruiser HMS York arrived at Suda Bay, Crete, Greece and disembarked a battalion of troops. [Main Article | CPC]
  • RAF bombers attacked the Skoda armament plant at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia with little effect. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Noor Inayat Khan joined the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force, receiving the rank of Aircraftwoman 2nd Class. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Nov 1940
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Teleki and Foreign Minister Csaky signed a protocol in Vienna, Austria, joining the Tripartite Pact. [Main Article | TH]
  • British cruiser HMS York delivered anti-aircraft guns to Piraeus, Greece and returned to Alexandria, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British bombers sank Italian ship Ardita III in the Red Sea off Assab, Italian East Africa. [CPC]
  • Italian torpedo boat Confienza sank after colliding with Italian armed merchant cruiser Capitano A. Cecchi off Brindisi, Italy. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stopped British ship Maimoa with gunfire in the southern Indian Ocean after a long chase. The crew of 87 were taken prisoner and the ship was scuttled. [CPC]
  • 116 German bombers dropped 132 tons of high explosive bombs and 296 incendiary bombs on Birmingham, England, United Kingdom overnight. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • No. 261 Squadron RAF was transferred to RAF Station Takali. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Nov 1940
Greek troops in Korçë, Albania, Nov 1940
21 Nov 1940
  • Greek troops defeated the Italian IX Army and captured Koritza, Albania. The Greeks took 2,000 prisoners and captured 135 field guns and 600 machine guns. The surviving elements of the Italian IX Army was able to escape without being harassed as the Greeks were poorly motorized and could not give chase. [Main Article | TH]
  • German warships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Köln, and Leipzig departed for a sweep against Allied shipping between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German 6th Army exercised a simulated invasion of Ireland. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin attacked British freighter Port Brisbane in the southern Indian Ocean after sundown, killing the radio operator in the process; 67 were taken prisoner and 27 escaped in a lifeboat. Port Brisbane was sunk by torpedo after scuttling charges failed to sink her. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 fired torpedoes from a surfaced position at Allied convoy OB-244 200 miles northwest of Ireland at 0740 hours, sinking British ship Daydawn (2 killed, 36 survived) and Greek ship Victoria (entire crew of 27 survived). A ship in the convoy attempted to ram U-103, but U-103 dodged the ramming attack; U-103 fired a torpedo at her attacker, but that torpedo, though striking the target, failed to detonate. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • A German aircraft bombed the British Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom, damaging the diplomatic section, the telephone exchange, and the typists room. There were no casualties. The attack was almost certainly accidental, as the Germans did not know of the importance of this site. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British No. 2 Commando Battalion was redesignated 11th Special Air Service Battalion for training as paratroopers. [CPC]
22 Nov 1940
  • Italian 9th Army was defeated in Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • British destroyers HMS Faulknor and HMS Forester approached Vichy French destroyer Boulonnais and freighter Charles Plumier off Spanish Morocco. Boulonnais backed off from the engagement, thus allowing Charles Plumier to be captured. Charles Plumier would later be pressed into British service as amphibious command ship HMS Largs. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-123 sank British ship Cree 365 miles west of Ireland shortly after midnight, killing the entire crew of 45. [CPC]
  • British motor launch ML.127 hit a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom, killing all 11 aboard. [CPC]
  • Italian aircraft bombed Alexandria, Egypt, damaging British tanker Zahra. [CPC]
Poland
  • The first execution by shooting took place at Auschwitz Concentration Camp; 40 men from Katowice, Poland were shot between 0000 and 0020 hours by SS men in retaliation of assault on a police official. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
23 Nov 1940
  • German submarine U-100 attacked Allied convoy SC-11 100 miles off Ireland throughout the day, sinking 6 ships totaling 24,601 tons and killing 119. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-123 attacked Allied convoy OB-244 250 miles west of Ireland between 0416 and 0914 hours, sinking 4 ships totaling 20,885 tons and killing 119. After one of the attacks, U-123 collided with one of the sinking ships, damaging the periscope and conning tower, forcing her to sail for Lorient, France for repairs. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked Southampton, England, United Kingdom overnight, damaging British troopship Llandovery Castle and paddle minesweeper Duchess Of Cornwall. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese 11th Army began to prepare for an offensive in Hubei Province, China. The army was organized into five groups under the overall command of Lieutenant General Waichiro Sonobe. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Ion Antonescu of Romania signed the Tripartite Pact in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | TH]
Japan
24 Nov 1940
  • Prime Minister Vojtech Tuka of Slovakia signed the Tripartite Pact. [Main Article | TH]
  • The British Treasury canceled the bank holiday Boxing Day. [CPC]
  • German destroyers Galster, Lody, and Beitzen departed Brest, France after sundown to attack British shipping off Cornwall, southwestern England, United Kingdom, sinking Belgian trawler Marguerite Simonne and Dutch ship Apollonia (killing 15). Five British destroyers were dispatched to hunt down the attackers, but failed to locate them. [CPC]
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMT Amethyst hit a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom; the entire crew of 7 survived. [CPC]
  • German heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer stopped British ship Port Hobart near the Azores; the crew was imprisoned and Port Hobart was scuttled. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers dropped 156 tons of high explosive bombs and 12,500 incendiary bombs on Bristol, England, United Kingdom. Historical buildings such as the Dutch House and St Peter's Hospital, and various buildings in the historical Castle Park district, were damaged. 207 were killed, 689 were injured, and 1,400 were made homeless. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Formidable was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • After dark and into the next date, aircraft from HMS Eagle struck Tripoli harbor, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Operation Collar: Allied convoy ME4, with 3 merchant ships and a powerful escort fleet, passed the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea, sailing for Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Nov 1940
  • During the night 5 British aircraft attacked battleship Tirpitz in bad weather conditions; they scored no hits. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A Hitler decree (the basic law of social housing construction) gave Robert Ley's German Labour Front the project of building 6 million homesteads, at the rate of 300,000 per year. Priority was given to providing homes for German families with children and Hitler alone kept personal responsibility for deciding how many houses should be built. The decree stated that houses were to have a minimum floor area of 62 square metres, a kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, hallway and balcony. Each home was also to have an air-raid shelter built to resist a direct hit and large enough to house everyone in the family. [Main Article | AC]
  • German armed merchant cruisers Orion and Komet stopped New Zealand ship Holmwood 500 miles east of New Zealand, capturing 17 crew, 12 passengers (civilians from the Chatham Islands), and 1,370 sheep. Holmwood was then sunk by gunfire, killing 1 horse. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Jewish paramilitary group Irgun destroyed British liner Patria in Haifa Harbor, Palestine as Patria began to embark Central European Jewish refugees. 213 refugees were killed along with 50 of the 130 British crew. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Conquistador collided with another vessel and sank in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Kennymore hit a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom, killing 4. [CPC]
  • British motor launch ML-111 hit a mine and sank 10 miles off Grimsby in the Humber Estuary in England, United Kingdom, killing 2. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Talisman disabled a German tanker with a torpedo and captured the French trawler Le Clipper in the Bay of Biscay 10 miles south of Lorient, France. [CPC]
China
  • Japanese 11th Army launched an offensive in Hubei Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • Operation Collar: British Royal Navy Force H under Admiral Somerville departed from Gibraltar to escort Allied convoy ME4 to Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Nov 1940
A lance corporal of the British Army East Surrey Regiment posed with a Thompson sub-machinegun, Chatham in Kent, England, United Kingdom, 25 Nov 1940
26 Nov 1940
  • 10 more old US Navy destroyers were handed over to the British Royal Navy. [CPC]
  • German aircraft torpedoed and sank Free French armed patrol ship Medoc, captained by Polish Commander Stankiewicz and manned by a mostly British crew, in the English Channel. The entire crew of 41, 3 Polish and 38 British, was killed. [CPC]
  • Lord Rothermere, the proprietor of the Daily Mail and a former Air Minister, passed away. He had championed the advancement of British aviation from the early days of flight. [AC]
  • James Lacey was awarded a Bar to his Distinguished Flying Medal. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Libya
  • Eight Swordfish aircraft from British aircraft carrier HMS Eagle attacked Tripoli, Libya at 0520 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Operation Collar: Aircraft from British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious raided the Italian seaplane base in Port Laki, Leros, Dodecanese Islands to distract Italian forces while Allied convoy ME4 sailed for Malta from Gibraltar, but the Italians did not fall for the feint and launched a powerful fleet westward to intercept the convoy. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British 27th Armoured Brigade was established, under the command of Brigadier C. W. Norman, from the conversion of the 1st Armoured Reconnaissance Brigade. The Brigade would be mainly employed in the trialing of specialised armoured vehicles. [AC]
  • No. 826 and No. 829 Squadrons of the British Fleet Air Arm embarked on carrier HMS Formidable for convoy escort duties to Cape Town, South Africa. [Main Article | AC]
27 Nov 1940
  • In Romania, the ruling party Iron Guard arrests and executes over 60 of exiled King Carol II of Romania's aides, including former minister Nicolae Iorga. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruisers Orion and Komet stopped the 16,712-ton passenger ship Rangitane 400 miles east of New Zealand at 0300 hours. Of the 201 crew and 111 passengers, 16 were killed during the attack and the remainder were captured. Due to the distress signal sent out by Rangitane's crew, the Germans only had time to transfer the captives aboard but not the 14,000 tons of food and 45 bars of silver before Komet sank Rangitane with a torpedo. Rangitane was the largest passenger ship to be sunk by German merchant raiders during WW2. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-95 sank British ship Irene Maria northwest of Ireland at 0100 hours, killing the entire crew of 25. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-104 damaged British tanker Charles F. Meyer and sank British ship Diplomat (14 were killed, 39 survived). [CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank British ship Glenmoor northwest of Ireland at 1956 hours; 31 were killed, 2 survived. [CPC]
China
  • Chinese 27th, 31st, and 44th Divisions counterattacked against the Japanese offensive in Hubei Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Battle of Spartivento: At 1000 hours, spotter aircraft from British Force H (Operation Collar; escorting Allied convoy ME4) and the Italian interception fleet found each other, and a surface battle soon broke out. The British were initially outgunned (especially as the carrier aircraft were held back), but at 1130 hours the arrival of battleship HMS Ramillies and cruisers HMS Berwick and HMS Newcastle evened up the two sides. Italian Admiral Campioni, with orders to avoid combat unless his forces were superior, began to withdraw at about 1230 hours; battleship Vittorio Veneto's heavy fire stopped the British pursuit. British cruiser HMS Berwick was hit by cruiser Fiume twice at 1222 and 1235 hours (7 killed), while Italian destroyer Lanciere had to be towed back to port after being hit by cruiser HMS Manchester. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • Kichisaburo Nomura was named the Japanese Ambassador to the United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Nov 1940
Vittorio Veneto firing on British ships, Battle of Cape Spartivento, 27 Nov 1940Italian cruiser Bolzano, during the Battle of Cape Spartivento, 27 Nov 1940Bombs falling astern of Ark Royal during Battle of Cape Spartivento, 27 Nov 1940Portrait of German Luftwaffe Oberstleutnant Werner Mölders, 27 Nov 1940; note Knight
28 Nov 1940
  • German Reserve Police Battalion 101 was deployed to the Lodz ghetto and was given orders to shoot anyone who came too close to the fence. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Manx Prince hit a mine and sank in the mouth of the Humber Estuary in England, United Kingdom. The entire crew survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-104 disappeared off the northern coast of Ireland, presumably sunk by a mine. The crew of 49 was never heard from again. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank Greek ship Mount Athos northwest of Ireland at 0842 hours (19 killed) and sank British ship St. Elwyn at 2024 hours (24 killed, 16 survived). [CPC]
  • German submarine U-95 attacked Norwegian ship Ringhorn with two torpedoes 300 miles northwest of Ireland, with both missing. At 1025 hours, U-95 fired her deck gun and temporarily stopped Ringhorn; seeing the ship did not sink and U-95 had left the area, the escaped crew reboarded the ship and sailed the ship to Belfast. [CPC]
  • Italian destroyers Pigafetta, Da Recco, Pessagno, and Riboty bombarded Greek positions on the island of Corfu. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Flight Lieutenant John Dundas of No. 609 squadron shot down Major Helmut Wick in air combat over the English channel, south of the Isle of Wight. Wick, the Geschwaderkommodore of JG 2, was Germany's current highest scoring ace of the war at the time with 56 kills to his credit. Major Wick was seen to parachute from his Messerschmitt and drift towards the water but his body was never recovered. By a cruel twist of fate, on the day that he died, Major Wick was pictured standing with Hermann Göring on the front cover of the Berlin magazine Illustrirte Zeitung. [AC]
China
  • Lieutenant General Waichiro Sonobe ordered the Japanese 11th Army to fall back in Hubei Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Captain Tokuji Mori was named the commanding officer of Settsu. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Operation Collar: British Royal Navy Force H handed off the responsibility of escorting Allied convoy ME4 to the Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet. At 1430 hours, British freighters Clan Forbes and Clan Fraser of this convoy reached Malta. British freighter New Zealand Star would continue sailing, escorted by cruisers and destroyers, for Alexandria, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German Luftwaffe bombers attacked Liverpool, England, United Kingdom overnight. A parachute mine hit Edge Hill Training College on Durning Road, the site of a large underground shelter; the blast, boiling water from a damaged boiler, and gas from damaged pipes killed 166 of the about 300 civilians taking shelter there. 96 were seriously injured. [Main Article | AC]
29 Nov 1940
  • General Freyberg's British and New Zealand troops occupied all of Crete. [Main Article | TH]
  • Draft plan issued by German military leaders for the invasion of the Soviet Union. [TH]
  • German destroyers Galster, Lody, and Beitzen departed from Brest, France and raided British shipping off southern England, United Kingdom. British tug Aid, Free French tug Abeille, and British barge BHC10 were attacked and sunk. Royal Navy destroyers HMS Javelin, HMS Jersey, HMS Jackal, HMS Jupiter, and HMS Kashmir intercepted the raiders and engaged in combat 20 miles south of the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall; HMS Javelin was sunk by two torpedoes from Lody (46 killed), but she was successfully towed to Devonport for repairs. The Germans suffered no casualties. [CPC]
  • New Zealand cruiser HMNZS Leander bombarded a factory and a radio station at Banda Alulu, Italian Somaliland at 1038 hours. Italian aircraft counterattacked without success. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Delfino attacked Greek destroyer Spetsai south of Piraeus near Athens, Greece, without success. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Calverton hit a mine and sank in the mouth of the Humber Estuary in England, United Kingdom, killing 2. [CPC]
30 Nov 1940
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin attacked British ship Port Wellington in the southern Indian Ocean overnight. 2 were killed and 87 were captured. Seeing some of the female captives were shivering in their nightgowns, Pinguin's First Officer personally returned to the burning wreck and retrieved clothes for the women. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 sank British ship Aracataca 400 miles northwest of Ireland at 0204 hours. 36 were killed and 34 survived. [CPC]
  • British motor torpedo boats MTB.30 and MTB.31 attacked an anchored German convoy off the mouth of the Scheldt River off the Netherlands. German ship Santos was damaged by a depth charge from MTB.31, while MTB.30 was damaged by gunfire. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Chestnut hit a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom. The entire crew survived. [CPC]
  • Chinese troops halted the offensive launched by the Japanese 11th Army five days prior. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • The Japanese-sponsored puppet government in Nanjing, China established diplomatic relationship with fellow puppet state Manchukuo. [CPC]
1 Dec 1940
  • Italian submarine Argo torpedoed Canadian destroyer HMCS Saguenay 200 miles west of Ireland, destroying the bow and killing 21. Saguenay would later able to reach Barrow in Furness, England, United Kingdom for repairs that would last until 22 May 1941. [TH]
  • Werner Mölders claimed his 55th victory. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Norwegian troop ship Oslofjord hit a mine and sank in the River Tyne, England, United Kingdom at 0820 hours; 1 was killed and 179 survived. [CPC]
  • German heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer sank British ship Tribesman 500 miles west of the Cape Verde islands; 8 were killed and 14 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank British ship Palmella 200 miles west of Porto, Portugal at 2022 hours. 1 was killed; 28 survivors were picked up by Spanish trawler Navemar. [CPC]
  • Allied convoy HX-90 became undefended 340 miles west of Ireland after her ocean escorts departed and coastal escorts failing to arrive due to poor weather. At 2012 hours, German submarine U-101 sank the already-damaged British tanker Appalachee (7 killed, 32 survived) and damaged British ship Loch Ranza. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 sank the already-damaged British tanker Appalachee (7 killed, 32 survived) and damaged British ship Loch Ranza. [CPC]
  • Major General Thomas Holcomb was appointed to a second term as the Commandant of the US Marine Corps. [CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was promoted to the rank of Oberst. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Romania established diplomatic relationship with the Japanese-sponsored puppet state of Manchukuo. [CPC]
2 Dec 1940
  • German submarine U-99 attacked British armed merchant cruiser HMS Forfar with five torpedoes between 0546 and 0657 hours, sinking her; 172 were killed, 21 survived. Shortly after, German submarines U-47, U-52, U-94, U-99, and U-101 attacked Allied convoy HX-90 unescorted 300 miles west of Ireland between 0400 and 0730 hours; her ocean escorts had departed on the previous day, and her coastal escorts failed to arrive due to poor weather. 5 ships were sunk (totaling 22,868 tons), while 2 were damaged; 119 were killed. After the coastal escorts finally arrived, U-94 pressed one further attack after dark, sinking two more ships, killing 5. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank Swedish ship Gwalia at 0418 hours (16 killed, 4 survived) and British ship Jeanne M. at 0446 hours (7 killed, 19 survived); both attacks were about 230 miles north of Cape Roca, Portugal. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-43 sank British ship Pacific President at 0901 hours (entire crew of 50 killed) and British tanker Victor Ross at 0941 hours (entire crew of 44 killed). [CPC]
  • German submarine U-99 sank Norwegian ship Samnanger at 2050 hours, killing the entire crew of 30. [CPC]
  • Overnight, German bombers bombed Britstol, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Crown Prince Yi Un was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in the Japanese Army. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • British Admiral of the Fleet William Boyle (Earl of Cork and Orrery) arrived at Gibraltar aboard destroyer HMS Jersey to conduct a Board of Inquiry into Admiral James Somerville's decision to disengage at the Battle of Spartivento. [Main Article | CPC]
Taiwan
  • Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma was named the commanding officer of the Taiwan Army. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Henry Arnold was promoted to the permanent rank of brigadier general. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Dec 1940
  • Allied convoy HX-90 was attacked by German submarine U-99 (which sank the damaged and abandoned British ship Conch at 1058 hours), a German Fw 200 aircraft (which sank British ship W. Hendrik, killing 5), and German submarine U-140 (which sank British ship Victoria City at 2142 hours, killing the entire crew of 43). [CPC]
  • Greek troops pushed Italian troops back 15 miles, capturing Sarandë, Albania. To the far south, Italian torpedo bombers attacked the British naval base at Suda Bay, Crete, Greece at 1540 hours, damaging British cruiser HMS Glasgow with two torpedoes (3 killed, 3 wounded). [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Campbeltown collided with British tanker Conus off Liverpool, England, United Kingdom; she would be out of commission for repairs until 28 Mar 1941. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran departed Gotenhafen, German (Gdynia, Poland) to raid Allied shipping, carrying supplies for 12 months, 280 naval mines, 40 land mines, and spare parts and torpedoes to supply submarines. [CPC]
  • 51 German aircraft bombed Birmingham, England, United Kingdom, dropping 55 tons of high explosive bombs and 448 incendiary bombs. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Dec 1940
  • F4F-3 Wildcat fighters entered service with the US Navy; VF-41 received the first of these aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Greek forces captured Përmet (capturing 500 Italians), Pogradec, and Sarande in Albania. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-37 sank Swedish ship Daphne 15 miles southwest of Cabo Espichel, Portugal at 0457 hours; 18 were killed, 1 survived. [CPC]
  • 62 German bombers dropped 77 tons of high explosive bombs and 184 incendiary bombs on Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Dec 1940
  • Scottish Independent Labour Party politician John McGovern's peace amendment was rejected by the British House of Commons, 341 votes against the amendment to 4 votes in favor. [CPC]
  • Battleship Bismarck completed her trials in the Baltic Sea and set sail for Hamburg, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Cameron was damaged by German aircraft while in drydock at Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom, killing 14. As the drydock flooded, she capsized, and would remain so until Feb 1941. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor and British armed merchant cruiser HMS Carnarvon Castle exchange 6-inch shells 300 miles south of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. HMS Carnarvon Castle was hit 27 times (4 killed, 32 wounded) while Thor was able to disengage unharmed. HMS Carnarvon Castle would soon receive temporary repairs at Montevideo, Uruguay, using steel plates salvaged from the scuttled German pocket battleship Graf Spee. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Sunfish sank Finnish ship Oscar Midling off the Stadlandet peninsula, Norway, killing all aboard. [CPC]
  • British motor torpedo boats MTB.32, MTB.29, and MTB.31 patrolled the coast of the Netherlands near the mouth of River Scheldt, sinking German ship Paranagua. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Argo sank British ship Silverpine 250 miles west of Ireland, killing 35. [CPC]
  • Italian torpedo boat Calipso hit a mine and sank 6 miles off Cape Misurata, Libya. [CPC]
  • Hitler received the military plans for an invasion of the USSR. He duly approved them all, and proposed a timetable for invasion in May of the following year. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Dec 1940
Portrait of Lieutenant General Rikichi Ando, 5 Dec 1940
6 Dec 1940
  • Santi Quaranta, Albania was taken by Greek forces. [Main Article | TH]
  • Italian General Cavallero replaced Marshal Badoglio who had resigned at his own request. [Main Article | TH]
  • Vichy France held a War Guilt trial, indicting Blum, Daladier, La Chambre, and Gamelin. [TH]
  • German armed merchant cruisers Komet and Orion stopped freighter Triona with gunfire 200 miles south of Nauru, killing 3 in the process. 54 crew and 7 passengers were taken off the ship before Orion sank Triona with a torpedo. German Navy admirals would later criticize this use of torpedo as a waste. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Captured (by German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis on 10 Nov) Norwegian tanker Ole Jacob arrived in Japan, carrying aviation fuel and the captured crew of tanks Ole Jacob and Teddy. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Regulus hit a mine and sank in the Strait of Otranto between Italy and Albania; the entire crew of 55 were killed. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Triton attacked and damaged Italian ship Olimpia 40 miles off Brindisi, Italy. Italian torpedo boats Altair and Andromeda counterattacked, but HMS Triton was able to escape unharmed. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-43 sank Norwegian ship Skrim 400 miles west of Ireland at 2248 hours; the entire crew of 23 was killed. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked Bristol, England, United Kingdom overnight. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British 7th Armoured Division, British 16th Infantry Brigade, and Indian 4th Infantry Division began preparing for Operation Compass in Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Flying Fish was laid down by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
7 Dec 1940
  • Admiral Hipper departed Kiel, Germany for an anti-shipping sortie in the Atlantic. [Main Article | TH]
  • Battleship Bismarck entered the Kiel Canal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Orion and Komet sank the ship Vinni off Nauru; shortly after, Komet sank the ship Komata. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Fairey Barracuda dive bomber took its first flight. [Main Article | AC]
  • The 100th Beaufighter aircraft rolled off the production line at Filton, South Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | AC]
8 Dec 1940
  • British light cruiser Diomede intercepted German freighter Idarwald while American destroyer Sturtevant stood by without any interference. [CPC]
  • Franco determined Spain was not ready to enter the war. [Main Article | TH]
  • Battleship Bismarck exited the Kiel Canal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British launched Operation Compass from Egypt, aiming to push back Italian troops into Libya. The forces moved through the gap between Italian camps Nibeiwa and Sofafi without being detected. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Orion sank the ships Triadic (1 killed, 11 captured) and Triaster (64 captured) off Nauru. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank British liner Calabria 295 miles west of Ireland at 2058 hours. 360 were killed, 230 of whom were Indian sailors who were being ferried to Britain to crew other ships; 21 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-140 sank Finnish sail ship Penang 75 west of Ireland at 1226 hours, killing the entire crew of 18. At 2025 hours, U-140 struck again, sinking British ship Ashcrest, killing the entire crew of 37. [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Windsor hit and mine off Aldeburgh, Surrey, England, United Kingdom; she would be towed to Harwich, England by HMS Garth. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Komet sank Komata off Nauru, killing 2 and capturing 33. [CPC]
Albania
  • Greek troops captured Gjirokastra and Delvinë in Albania. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Italy
  • Inigo Campioni was relieved of command with the Italian Navy 1st Naval Squadron. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Dec 1940
  • Beginning at 0500 hours, Allied artillery and aircraft bombarded the Italian camp at Nibeiwa, Egypt for two hours. At 0715 hours, ground troops began moving toward the rear of the fort for attack; they were spotted by Italian aircraft, but it was too late for the Italians to reorganize the defenses. Troops of the Indian 4th Infantry Division, supported by tanks of the British 7th Royal Tank Regiment, captured the camp at 0830 hours. Italian positions at Tummar West and Tummar East were also captured by dusk. Along the coast, tanks of the British 4th Armoured Brigade cut off the main road to prevent an Italian withdrawal. Meanwhile, British monitor HMS Terror and gunboats HMS Ladybird and HMS Aphis bombarded Italian positions at Sidi Barrani and Maktila. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank British ship Empire Jaguar 250 miles west of Ireland at 0132 hours, killing the entire crew of 37. [CPC]
  • The Special Landing Operation No. 2 exercise, conducted by US Navy and US Marine Corps in the Caribbean Sea, was completed. [CPC]
French Indochina
  • The French Groupe Occasionnel squadron was formed in French Indochina, consisted of a light cruiser and four avisos. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Battleship Bismarck arrived at Hamburg, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
10 Dec 1940
  • Georg von Bismarck was named the commanding officer of the 20th Rifle Brigade. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Before dawn, colonial troops of the Libyan 1st Division withdrew from Maktila, Egypt. In the afternoon, Indian 4th Infantry Division and British 7th Royal Tank Regiment captured Sidi Barrani, pushing Italian 4th Blackshirt Division and another Libyan colonial division into the desert. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A shell fired randomly across the English Channel from one of Germany’s massive 280mm rail guns fell within a few feet of the British 13.5in "Peacemaker" rail gun at Martin Mill, England, United Kingdom severely damaging one of its bogies and mortally wounding one of the Royal Marine gunners. [AC]
United States
  • USS R-1 departed Groton, Connecticut, United States with Submarine Squadron 3 of Submarine Division 42. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS R-5 departed New London, Connecticut, United States for Cocos Solo, Panama Canal Zone. [Main Article | CPC]
11 Dec 1940
  • German freighter Rhein, already being monitored by American destroyers Simpson and MacLeish, was intercepted by Dutch destroyer Van Kinsbergen near the Florida Straits; her crew scuttled the ship to avoid capture. [CPC]
  • British 7th Armored Brigade attacked Buq Buq, Egypt, forcing Italian 64th Infantry Division to surrender; meanwhile, Indian 4th Infantry Division and British 7th Royal Tank Regiment forced the surrender of Italian 4th Blackshirt Division and two colonial Libyan divisions in the desert. On the coast, British battleships HMS Barham and HMS Valiant bombarded Italian positions at Sollum, Egypt. The Allied forces had now captured 38,000 Italian prisoners of war, 237 guns, and 73 tanks. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-96 attacked Allied convoy HX-92 125 miles northwest of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom, sinking British liner Rotorua at 1512 hours (21 were killed, including HX-92 commodore Rear Admiral Fitzgerald; 108 survived) and Norwegian ship Towa at 2242 hours (18 were killed, 19 survived). [CPC]
  • German submarine U-94 sank British ship Empire Statesman 225 miles west of Ireland at 1912 hours, killing the entire crew of 31. [CPC]
  • 278 German aircraft attacked Birmingham, England, United Kingdom, dropping 277 tons of high explosives and 685 incendiary bombs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS King George V was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Dec 1940
  • Hungary and Yugoslavia signed the Treaty of Eternal Friendship. [CPC]
  • Philip Kerr passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British 7th Armored Brigade moved into the desert to outflank Italian forces at Sollum, Egypt and to cut the road to Bardia, Libya, as the latter port was subjected to carrier aircraft attack by HMS Illustrious. Meanwhile, the first groups of Italian prisoners of war began to arrive by truck at the British headquarters at Mersa Matruh, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-96 attacked Allied convoy HX-92 12 miles south of St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom, sinking Swedish ship Stureholm at 0156 hours (killing entire crew of 32) and Belgian ship Macedonier at 0431 hours (4 killed, 37 survived). [CPC]
  • Maxim Gorkiy was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Philippe Pétain received an invitation from Adolf Hitler to attend the ceremony in which Napoleon II's remains were to be returned from Austria to the Les Invalides cemetery in Paris, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vichy-France established diplomatic relationship with the Japanese-sponsored puppet state of Manchukuo. [CPC]
United Kingdom
13 Dec 1940
  • Führer Directive 20 was issued to prepare for Operation Marita, the invasion of Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • German Army units began redeployment in preparation for Operation Barbarossa. [TH]
  • British 4th Armored Brigade crossed the desert between Halfaya and Sidi Omar in Egypt in an attempt to cut the road to Tobruk, Libya. To counter the British naval bombardment, Italian submarine Neghelli attacked British cruiser HMS Coventry 40 miles northeast of Sidi Barrani, Egypt at 2042 hours, nearly blowing off her bow; she was able to sail under her own power to Alexandria, Egypt for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Truant sank Italian ship Sebastino Bianchi 20 miles off the southern tip of Italy. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-43 torpedoed and damaged British ship Orari 450 miles west of Land's End, England, United Kingdom at 2046 hours. [CPC]
  • HMS Manchester arrived in Britain from the Mediterranean Sea. [CPC]
  • Douglas Bader was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. [Main Article | AC]
France
  • Pierre Laval was dismissed as the Vice President of the Council, which in effect was the Prime Minister of France. He was placed under arrest shortly after. [Main Article | TH]
14 Dec 1940
  • Plutonium-238 was first produced and isolated. [CPC]
  • Philippe Pétain declined Adolf Hitler's invitation to attend the ceremony during which the remains of Napoleon II would be re-interned at the Les Invalides cemetery in Paris, France. In the same message, he also told Hitler that Pierre Laval had been dismissed from his leadership position in Vichy France, which angered Hitler. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Dec 1940
  • Italian troops were driven out of Egypt by the British Operation Compass offensive. At Bardia, Libya, British monitor HMS Terror bombarded the port from 1220 to 1717 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Thunderbolt sank Italian submarine Tarantini 2 miles off of the Gironde Estuary, France in the Bay of Biscay, killing the entire crew of 58. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Free French submarine Narval hit a mine and sank in the Mediterranean Sea 40 miles northeast of Sfax, Tunisia, killing the entire crew of 54. [CPC]
  • German motor torpedo boat S.58 sank Danish ship N. C. Monberg off Yarmouth, England, United Kingdom, killing 9. [CPC]
France
  • The remains of Napoleon II were relocated to the Les Invalides cemetery in Paris, France. Benito Mussolini continued to assert his objection to this friendly gesture by Adolf Hitler to France. [TH, CPC]
  • Pierre Laval was freed from imprisonment. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Dec 1940
  • 134 RAF bombers attacked Mannheim, Germany in retaliation for German raids on British cities; 34 civilians were killed, 81 were injured, and 1,266 homes destroyed by 100 tons of high explosive bombs and 14,000 incendiary bombs. This was the first Allied area bombing raid of the war against a populated target, as opposed to targets of military or industrial value. [Main Article | TH]
  • Korvettenkapitän Adalbert Schneider became the acting commanding officer of battleship Bismarck while Captain Lindemann was away on Christmas leave. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British 4th Armoured Brigade captured Sidi Omar, Egypt, taking 900 Italian troops prisoner. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 attacked wooden Spanish ship San Carlos off Cape Juby, Morocco at 1950 hours, stopping her with one torpedo and 21 shells from the deck gun, killing 1. German sailors scuttled the ship after the 28 survivors took to 2 lifeboats. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Truant sank Italian tanker Bonzo in the Ionian Sea 2 miles off the coast of Calabria, Italy. [CPC]
Taiwan
  • Admiral Kiyoshi Hasegawa was named the governor-general of Taiwan. [CPC]
United States
  • US Marine Corps Reserve aviation units were disbanded, and their men were assigned to active duty in the regular US Marine Corps. On the same day, US Marine Corps established the 7th Defense Battalion at San Diego, California, United States. The infantry-artillery battalion was to be assigned to Tutuila, American Samoa. [CPC]
17 Dec 1940
  • British Home Office announced the hanging death of a third German spy. On the same day, a British housewife was sentenced to death for spying. [TH]
  • German seaplane base on Sylt Island was bombed. [TH]
  • The British government announced a ration increase for Christmas week. [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Acheron hit a mine and sank while running sea trials 5 miles southwest of the Isle of Wight at 0640 hours, killing 153 crew and 22 shipyard workers; 13 crew and 3 shipyard workers survived. [TH]
  • British monitor HMS Terror and gunboat HMS Ladybird bombarded Bardia, Libya, sinking Italian ships Galata, Vincenzino, and Giuseppina D. in the harbor. On the same day, the British announced that they had captured 20,000 Italian prisoners, including three generals, in Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Air Vice Marshal Richard Saul became the commanding officer of No. 12 Group RAF. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • President Roosevelt held a press conference in Washington DC, United States, revealing the Lend-Lease program to journalists. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Dec 1940
  • Führer Directive 21 was issued, confirming the plans for Unternehmen Barbarossa. [TH]
  • British submarine HMS Tuna sank French tug Chassiron and attacked (in failure) Italian submarines Brin and Bianchi in the Bay of Biscay 40 miles off of the Gironde Estuary, France. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Refundo was damaged by a mine, killing 2. Another ship attempted to tow her, but she sank 1 miles off the coast of Suffolk, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-96 damaged Dutch tanker Pendrecht at 1615 hours with torpedo. The crew began to abandon ship, but as two armed tankers arrived to drive away U-96, the crew reboarded, set her toward Scotland, United Kingdom for repairs. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-100 sank British ship Napier Star at 9820 hours, killing 59 crew and 12 passengers; 5 survived. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Veniero damaged Greek ship Anastassia in the North Atlantic with a torpedo, killing 18. 10 were taken prisoner. The Italians let the disabled ship drift away. [CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Scheer captured British ship Duquesna in the South Atlantic 800 miles south of Cape Verde Islands, capturing 91 crew and 8 passengers. Captain Theodor Krancke of Admiral Scheer purposefully allowed Duquesna to radio to help in order to distract the Royal Navy, hoping to indirectly help cruiser Admiral Hipper to break out into the Atlantic Ocean from the Denmark Strait. Duquesna, with 3,500 tons of frozen beef and 15 million eggs on board, was kept in operation by the Germans in the South Atlantic until 18 Feb 1941 to supply German ships in the area. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian cruisers Eugenio and Montecuccoli and destroyers Pigafetta, Da Recco, Pessagno, and Riboty shelled Greek forces on the Albanian coast near Corfu. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Triton sank in the Otranto Strait off Taranto, Italy; the exact cause was unknown. [CPC]
  • The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, US Navy scout-bomber, took its first flight. [Main Article | AC]
  • Otto Skorzeny departed the Netherlands for northern France as a member of 2nd SS Division "Das Reich". [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Dec 1940
Directive No. 21 Directive No. 21 Directive No. 21 Directive No. 21
See all photos dated 18 Dec 1940
19 Dec 1940
  • British battleships HMS Valiant and HMS Warspite shelled Italian defensive positions at Vlorë, Albania overnight in support of Greek advances. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 mistakenly torpedoed and sank Vichy French submarine Sfax (4 killed, 69 survived) and support ship Rhône (11 killed) 7 miles north of Cape Juby, Morocco. The captain of U-37 chose to not record this incident on the ship's logs. [CPC]
  • British gunboat HMS Aphis bombarded Bardia, Libya in support of Operation Compass. Meanwhile, General O'Connor reported that in the first 10 days of the offensive his forces had suffered 141 killed or missing and 387 wounded. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Bagnolini sank British ship Amicus 200 miles west of Ireland, killing all aboard. [CPC]
Poland
  • Archbishop Sapieha of Krakow, Poland sent a letter to Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss requesting permission for Christmas mass to be held in the camp for Catholic prisoners. Höss turned down the request because the camp rules did not permit religious observations, but did agree that approximately 6,000 one-kilogram food parcels could be sent to all the prisoners over the holidays. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British destroyers HMS Veteran and HMS Verity collided in Lough Foyle near the Royal Navy base at Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. HMS Verity's engine room was flooded, requiring her to remain out of commission for repairs until 5 Mar 1941. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Dec 1940
Matilda tank of the UK 7th Royal Tank Regiment in North Africa, 19 Dec 1940Former President Kyösti Kallio of Finland (resigned) and Field Marshal C.G.E. Mannerheim at Helsinki railway station, Finland, 19 Dec 1940; Pres Ryti, Lt Gen Heindrichs, and Col Paasonen in background
20 Dec 1940
  • 15 British carrier aircraft from HMS Illustrious attacked an Italian convoy off Kerkennah islands, Tunisia between 0515 and 0615 hours, sinking two of the three ships in the convoy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Calvi sank British ship Carlton 300 miles west of Ireland, killing 31. [CPC]
  • British destroyer Berkeley hit a mine in the River Medway in southern England, United Kingdom; she was damaged but did not sink. [CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt named a four-member defense board under William A. Knudsen to prepare defense measures and to hasten the aid to the United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Two Spitfire fighters of No. 66 Squadron from RAF Biggin Hill in London, England, United Kingdom carried out a sweep over Breck and Le Touquet in France, strafing power transformers, camps and road traffic. This marked a change in RAF fighter tactics to a more offensive role. [AC]
Malta
  • The British Royal Navy battleship, HMS Warspite, arrived at Malta's Grand Harbour to a rapturous welcome from the islanders. [Main Article | AC]
Russia
  • The Defense Committee of the Council of People's Commissars of the Soviet Union officially adopted the PPSh-41 submachine gun. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Liverpool, England, United Kingdom was bombed by the Luftwaffe. 42 were killed when two official shelters collapsed, 72 were killed when bombs destroyed a shelter in the Blackstock Gardens tenement, and a further 42 were killed when an unofficial shelter at Bentinck Street under railway arches was hit. [Main Article | TH]
21 Dec 1940
  • German raiders Komet and Orion and support ship Kulmerland released 514 prisoners captured from various ships, mainly women, children and the injured, at Emirau Island, Bismarck Islands. They were given food before being turned over to two English families living on that island. British ship Nellore would arrive on 29 Dec to pick them up. 150 prisoners remained aboard Orion. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-65 attacked Panamanian tanker Charles Pratt with 2 torpedoes 250 miles west of Freetown, British West Africa (now Sierra Leone) at 1600 hours. The cargo of 96,069 barrels of fuel was ignited, but only 2 were killed. 40 survivors took to two lifeboats; they would be rescued 4 to 5 days later by British ships. [CPC]
  • Allied convoy MG1 departed Malta at noon for Gibraltar. The convoy consisted of British merchant ships Clan Fraser, Clan Forbes, and Ulster Prince; it was escorted by battleship HMS Malaya and eight destroyers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Luftwaffe bombers struck Liverpool, England, United Kingdom overnight. [Main Article | CPC]
  • RAF bombers bombed Porto Marghera, Italy, hitting docks and oil tanks. [CPC]
  • The rear echelon of the newly established US Marine Corps 7th Defense Battalion arrived at Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samoa. [CPC]
Germany
  • Berlin, Germany suffered minor damage from a British RAF bombing raid. [Main Article | TH]
22 Dec 1940
  • Italian submarine Serpente attacked Allied convoy MG1 24 miles east of Cape Bon, Tunisia in the Strait of Sicily at 0156 hours as the convoy attempted to sail from Malta to Gibraltar. Destroyer HMS Hyperion was damaged, killing 2 and wounding 14. HMS Ilex took off the survivors, and then HMS Janus scuttled Hyperion before sunrise. [CPC]
  • 270 Luftwaffe bombers attacked Manchester, England, United Kingdom, dropping 272 tons of high explosive bombs and 1,032 incendiary bombs; the Piccadilly area was engulfed in large fires, while the Gibsons shelter at the Hulme Town Hall collapsed without any deaths. During the same night, Liverpool was bombed for the third night in a row. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill replaced Anthony Eden with Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury David Margesson (later Viscount Margesson) as the Secretary of State for War in the British Cabinet. [AC]
Albania
  • Himarë, Albania was captured by the Greek army. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Dec 1940
  • Anthony Eden was appointed Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom. [Main Article | TH]
  • Greek submarine Papanikolis sank the Italian motor ship Antonietta. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Albania, Greek forces pushed back Italian troops another 20 miles up the Ionian coast. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Libya, Commander-in-Chief of Italian North Africa General Rodolfo Graziani replaced General Mario Berti of Italian 10th Army with his Chief of Staff General Giuseppe Tellera after the failures in the initial stages of the British Operation Compass offensive. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Havock collided with battleship HMS Valiant during gunnery practice, causing the destroyer to be out of commission for repairs until 20 Feb 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Lord Haw Haw warned of a second night of bombing for Manchester, England, United Kingdom. Overnight, from 1915 until 0129 hours the next day, 171 German aircraft attacked the still-burning Manchester with 195 tons of high explosive bombs and 893 incendiary bombs. In two nights, 363 civilians were killed and 1,183 were wounded. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho was deemed not suitable for modern carrier aircraft [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
24 Dec 1940

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-65 sank British tanker British Premier 50 miles off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 1641 hours, killing 32. 9 survivors were picked up by cruiser HMS Hawkins on 3 Jan 1941; another lifeboat of 4 survivors was not discovered until 3 Feb 1941. [CPC]
  • German 1st Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron attacked a British convoy in the North Sea off Aldeburgh, England, United Kingdom. S-28 sank British minesweeping trawler HMT Pelton, killing 20. British destroyer HMS Verdun reported sinking one of the torpedo boats. [CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Hipper detected Allied convoy WS.5 700 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain late in the afternoon. The convoy was consisted of 19 troopships and freighters; not noticing that it was escorted by two carriers, three cruisers, and four corvettes, the German commander Admiral Wilhelm Meisel prepared the crew for an attack in the morning. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Greek submarine Papanikolis sank the 3,952-ton troop transport Firenze near Sazan Island in the southern Adriatic Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The US 1st Marine Aircraft Wing completed its transfer to the west coast of the United States. On the same day, the 2nd Marine Brigade was activated under the command of Colonel Henry L. Larsen at Camp Elliott, California, United States. [CPC]
25 Dec 1940
  • German Admiral Wilhelm Meisel aboard cruiser Admiral Hipper ordered an attack on Allied convoy WS.5 in the morning, taking advantage of mist and rain; the convoy had been detected on the previous day and the ship's crew had been shadowing it through the night, but failing to realize it was heavily escorted. At 0808 hours, Admiral Hipper fired on troopship Empire Trooper (16 soldiers killed) and freighter Arabistan, but she was soon chased off by a corvette and three cruisers. In retreat, Admiral Hipper fired at her pursuers, striking cruiser HMS Berwick at the rear gun turret, killing 4. Carriers HMS Argus and HMS Furious launched aircraft to hunt for Admiral Hipper as she retreated toward Brest, France for repairs, but the German cruiser would not be found. Later on the same day, 150 miles to the east, Admiral Hipper detected and sank British ship Jumna; 111 survivors in the water were left to drown. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • Two FAA Martlet I fighters of No. 804 Squadron RAF, on patrol over Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom, intercepted and destroyed a prowling Junkers Ju 88 aircraft, the first victory for a US-built aircraft in British service. [Main Article | Facility | AC]
26 Dec 1940
  • Australian destroyer HMAS Waterhen stopped Italian schooner Tireremo Diritto in the Mediterranean Sea between Bardia and Tobruk, Libya. After removing the crew, Waterhen sank Tireremo Diritto. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Bonaventure intercepted German ship Baden 500 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain. Baden's crew abandoned the ship after setting scuttling charges to prevent capture; HMS Bonaventure then sank Baden with one torpedo. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-95 damaged British ship Waiotira with two torpedoes 300 miles south of Iceland at 2003 hours, but fled before she could deliver a fatal blow due to the arrival of three Allied destroyers. [CPC]
27 Dec 1940
  • German armed merchant cruiser Komet arrived at Nauru and warned the British dock personnel to evacuate without signaling any alarm. Upon the completion of the evacuation, Komet shelled the facilities, destroying much of the port. Nauru's dock would be rebuilt in 10 weeks, but the port never returned to full capacity during the war. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Tazzoli sank British ship Ardanbhan 200 miles south of Iceland, killing the entire crew of 37. [CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Hipper arrived at Brest, France, ending an one-month patrol in the Atlantic Ocean. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-65 attacked Norwegian ship Risanger with shells and one torpedo 300 miles off Senegal, French West Africa. at 2331 hours. The entire crew of 29 survived. [CPC]
  • British ship Waiotira, damaged by German submarine U-95 300 miles south of Iceland in the previous night, was detected by U-38, which sank Waiotira at 0146 hours; 1 was killed and 89 survived. [CPC]
  • Zuiho was commissioned into service. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Germany
  • Erich Raedar met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Dec 1940
  • Mussolini requested German aid against the Greeks in Albania. [Main Article | TH]
  • British monitor HMS Terror bombarded Bardia, Libya keeping up pressure on the 40,000 besieged Italian troops. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers attacked two destroyers under construction at Southampton, England, United Kingdom; future destroyer Norseman was blown in half, and future destroyer Opportune was also heavily damaged. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Valorous collided with minesweeping trawler HMT Libyan in Sheerness Harbour in the Thames Estuary, England, United Kingdom. HMS Valorous would be repaired at Chatham, England until 11 Jan 1941. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Dec 1940
Carrier Zuiho at Yokosuka, Japan, 28 Dec 1940
29 Dec 1940
  • Greek submarine Proteus attacked Italian ships Sardegna, Italia, and Piemonte 40 miles east of Brindisi, Italy, sinking Sardegna. Escort torpedo boat Antares dropped 11 depth charges, forcing Proteus to the surface, which was then rammed and sunk by Antares, killing the entire crew of 48. [CPC]
  • In Libya, British aircraft bombed Bardia and airfields at Tobruk, Derna, and Benina. Meanwhile, troops of Australian 6th Division rehearsed attacks on defensive positions similar to those at Bardia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt broadcasted a fireside chat, urging the country to increase production in preparation for war, but also promising to keep the United States out of the fighting. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 244 German Luftwaffe bombers dropped 30,000 incendaries on the historic city center of London, England, United Kingdom, destroying the London Guildhall and eight Wren churches. St. Paul's Cathedral, however, was saved by clergymen who successfully prevented the flames on the roof from spreading. In the aftermath the Government ordered that "fire-watchers" be stationed on all factories, offices, and shops to act as spotters to provide early warning. This order proved to be very unpopular with Trade Unions. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 29 Dec 1940
25-Pounder Mark II gun of Sergeant Pearse of 1st Battery, A Troop, Australian 2/1st Field Artillery Regiment bombarding Bardia, Libya, 29 Dec 1940St. Paul
30 Dec 1940
  • In Libya, RAF bombers continued to bomb Italian defensive positions at Bardia and airfields at Tobruk, Derna, Benina. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMT Bandolero collided with Australian destroyer HMAS Waterhen off Sollum, Egypt; Bandolero sank with no casualties. [CPC]
  • HMAS Waterhen entered Port Taufiq on the Suez Canal in Egypt for repairs, which would be completed in Jan 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian destroyer HMAS Voyager captured Italian sailing craft Zingarella on the Libyan coast, transporting British prisoners of war from Bardia to Tobruk. Zingarella would later serve in the British Royal Navy as a store carrier. [CPC]
  • Destroyer HMS Venomous hit a mine off Liverpool, England, United Kingdom but did not sink. She would remain in Liverpool for repairs until 18 Feb 1941. [CPC]
  • British ship Calcium hit a mine in the North Sea (killing 1), and then collided with British ship Sodium. Calcium would ultimately sink. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Dec 1940
Battleship Iowa under construction, New York Navy Yard, New York, United States, 30 Dec 1940
31 Dec 1940
  • Allied merchant shipping sunk by German submarines world-wide in the year of 1940 was 567 ships, totaling 2,771,483 gross tons. 24 German submarines were lost in the same time period. [TH]
  • Captain Lindemann returned to Bismarck from his Christmas leave and assumed command of the battleship. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Mikio Furusho passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Greek submarine Katsonis sank Italian tanker Quinto with the deck gun off Vlorë, Albania. [CPC]
  • RAF bombers attacked Vlorë, Albania. [CPC]
  • RAF bombers attacked Rotterdam and Ijmuiden, the Netherlands. [CPC]
  • RAF bombers attacked the bridge over the Rhine River at Emmerich, Germany and Köln, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Dainty stopped Italian schooners Tiberio and Maria Giovanni between Bardia and Tobruk, Libya and forced them to sail to Sollum, Egypt for capture. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank Swedish ship Valparaiso 200 miles south of Iceland at 2312 hours; 35 survivors drown in the freezing water. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-65 damaged British tanker British Zeal with two torpedoes 200 miles off Dakar, French West Africa. The crew abandoned the ship, but after U-65 departed the scene, the crew reboarded and successfully maneuvered the damaged ship to Freetown, British West Africa. [CPC]
United Kingdom Photo(s) dated 31 Dec 1940
XSB2C prototype aircraft in flight, late 1940HMS Eagle at Alexandria, Egypt, 31 Dec 1940

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




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