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 1941
  • Negotiations began between Germany and Bulgaria to use Bulgarian territory as a staging area for Operation Marita, the German invasion of Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • In Hitler's New Year's Order of the Day, he promised the Wehrmacht the completion of the "greatest victory in our history" on the Western Front. [Main Article | TH]
  • The United Kingdom suppressed the Daily Worker, a Communist publication. [TH]
  • British General O'Connor's Western Desert Force in Egypt was reorganized as the British 13th Corps. Meanwhile, in Libya, RAF aircraft continued to bomb the port of Bardia and the airfields at Tobruk, Derna, and Benina. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In the Gibraltar Strait, British destroyers HMS Duncan, HMS Firedrake, HMS Foxhound, HMS Jaguar, and HMS Hero stopped a French convoy from Casablanca, French Morocco. The convoy was consisted of French ship Chantilly, French tankers Octane and Suroit, and Danish ship Sally Maersk. HMS Jaguar attacked Chantilly, causing 2 killed and 4 wounded, leading to the convoy's capture. [CPC]
  • The BBC aired the Brains Trust for the first time. This radio programme which had five men discussing such diverse subjects as philosophy, art and science was surprisingly a great success, frequently having a regular audience of ten million listeners. [AC]
  • George Giffard was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Arthur Coningham was Mentioned in Despatches. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Jan 1941
B-18 Bolo bomber port wing with low-drag experimental panel, Langley Field, Virginia, United States, 1 Jan 1941; note P-43 Lancer fighter in background
2 Jan 1941
  • German leaders Himmler and Heydrich categorized concentration camps into three categories for different types of prisoners, but in practice this categorization had little actual effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombing severely damaged the Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, British artillery pieces moved into position near Bardia, Libya. During the day, British monitor HMS Terror and British gunboats HMS Ladybird and HMS Aphis bombarded Bardia; Italian aircraft responded without success. After sun down, Wellington bombers of No. 70 Squadron RAF and Bombay bombers of No. 216 Squadron RAF attacked Italian positions at Bardia. Troops of the Australian 6th Division began to prepare for the ground assault. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-65 sank British ship Nalgora 250 miles west of Port-Étienne, French West Africa at 2207 hours. As the military equipment destined for British troops in Egypt went down with the ship, 105 survivors took to lifeboats and would eventually make land at the Cape Verde Islands or rescue by other ships. This would be U-65's eighth and final sinking during the 49-day-long patrol. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 was detected by a convoy escort ship 300 miles northwest of Ireland, which attacked with depth charges. U-38 was slightly damaged but was able to continue with the patrol without needing immediate repairs. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, a rescue party dug for six hours to rescue a six-year-old child trapped under the staircase where he had taken shelter from German bombing. Throughout the rescue the child was heard singing "God Save the King". He later explained that his father, a coal miner, had told him that when men were buried underground they kept singing to guide the rescuers, and this was the only tune that he knew the words. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 2 Jan 1941
Crew of HMS Ladybird operating a 6-inch 50-caliber Mk XIII gun during the bombardment of Bardia, Libya, 2 Jan 1941
3 Jan 1941
  • Luftwaffe X Fliegerkorps arrived in Italy. [TH]
  • At 0530 hours, the British artillery barrage began, hitting Italian defensive positions at Bardia, Libya. At 0600 hours, Australian 6th Division began its assault from the west, clearing anti-tank obstacles for the 23 tanks of the British 7th Royal Tank Regiment that began attacking at 0650 hours. Between 0810 and 0855 hours, battleships HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant, and HMS Barham, along with destroyers, monitors, and gunboats, bombarded Bardia with 244 15-inch shells, 270 6-inch shells, 250 4.5-inch shells, and many smaller caliber shells. The ground forces would penetrate 2 miles into the Italian lines. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers attacked Bristol, England, United Kingdom overnight for 12 hours, targeting the docks and the railway station. 149 were killed and 351 were wounded. The granary on Princes Wharf was destroyed, along with most of the 8,000 tons of grain inside. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Corpo Aereo Italiano, which had been participating in the Battle of Britain alongside Luftwaffe units at Belgian bases, was recalled to Italy after suffering heavy losses. [AC]
Albania
  • The Italians launched a counter-offensive to the north and west of Korcë, Albania; two fresh Italian divisions were committed to the Klissoura sector on the Vlorë road to regain the initiative. [Main Article | AC]
Germany
  • RAF bombers attacked Bremen and the Kiel Canal in Germany. The Kiel Canal Bridge suffered a direct hit and collapsed on Finnish ship Yrsa. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Jan 1941
Official document signed by Joachim Ribbentrop, Galeazzo Ciano, Hiroshi Oshima, and Bogdan Filov, entering Bulgaria into the Axis alliance, 3 Jan 1941Port quarter view looking forward showing submarines Gar and Grampus fitting out, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 3 Jan 1941
4 Jan 1941
  • After an entire day of fighting, Allied troops reached Bardia, Libya at about 1600 hours, splitting the Italian defenders into two groups, shaking Italian morale, causing large numbers of Italian troops to surrender. Jokingly emulating Winston Churchill, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden said "[n]ever has so much been surrendered by so many, to so few." On the same day, Italian General Bergonzoli and his staff withdrew from Bardia toward Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British torpedo bombers attacked an Italian supply convoy off Cape Bon, Tunisia in failure. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 Jan 1941
Australian troops rushing through the streets of Bardia, Libya, 4 Jan 1941Fort Capuzzo, Libya just after British capture, 4 Jan 1941; note shrapnel damage to the Roman eagle column on the right
5 Jan 1941
  • Australian 6th Division troops, supported by 6 remaining British Matilda tanks, captured the last Italian defensive position at Bardia, Libya, and the remaining Italian force surrendered soon afterwards. In the battle for Bardia, the Italians suffered 1,000 killed, 3,000 wounded, and 36,000 taken prisoner; 2,000 Italians were able to withdraw to Tobruk, Libya. Australians suffered 130 killed and 326 wounded. The Allies captured a large quantity of Italian equipment, including 26 coastal guns, 7 medium guns, 216 field guns, 26 anti-aircraft guns, 41 infantry guns, 146 anti-tank guns, 12 medium tanks, 115 tankettes, 708 trucks, and water pumps capable of producing 400 tons of fresh water per day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian ship Vulcano hit a mine and sank off Tobruk, Libya. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Cappellini sank British ship Shakespeare 100 miles northeast of the Cape Verde Islands at 1045 hours with her two 100-mm deck guns, killing 20. Before Shakespeare sank, her return fire hit Cappellini's aft gun and killed gunner Sergeant Ferruccio Azzolin. Cappellini rescued 22 survivors and took them to Sal Island nearby. [CPC]
  • British sloop HMS Lowestoft, while operating with Allied convoy FS.378, was damaged by a mine in the Thames Estuary in England, United Kingdom. She would be under repair at Chatham, England until 3 Oct. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Amy Johnson, record-breaking aviation pioneer of the 1930s, was killed when the Airspeed Oxford trainer she was delivering as an Air Transport Auxiliary ferry pilot came down in the Thames Estuary in Southern England, United Kingdom. It was sadly ironic that a woman who navigated her way solo from England to Australia got lost in bad weather. Running out of fuel, she baled out thinking she was over London. Landing in the freezing water, she was dragged under a rescue boat by her parachute and chopped to death by the propellers. Her body was never found. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Jan 1941
Portrait of Alfred Rosenberg, 5 Jan 1941
6 Jan 1941
  • A Free French force under Lieutenant Colonel Jean Colonna d'Ornano attacked Murzuk airfield in southwestern Libya from Chad, capturing the airfield, but d'Ornano was killed in action. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British 4th Armoured Division advanced 50 miles from Bardia, Libya to capture Belhamed to the east of Tobruk and the airfield at El Adem 8 miles to the south. Patrols were now conducted 10 miles west of Tobruk at Acroma. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Overnight, Greek destroyers shelled the Albanian port of Vlorë. 20 miles south, Italian destroyers Alfieri, Carducci, Fulmine, and Gioberti, and torpedo boats Partenope, Pallade, Romeda, and Altair shelled Greek positions at Porto Palmermo. The Greek offensive against Italian positions in the mountains of Albania reached the strategically important Klisura Pass on the river Vjosë, which, if captured, would allow Greek forces in the center of the front to link up with troops on the coast, but it was met with stiff resistance. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ship Empire Thunder 200 miles northwest of Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 1137 hours; 9 killed and 30 survived. [CPC]
  • German raider Kormoran stopped Greek ship Antonis in the Atlantic Ocean 200 miles northwest of Cape Verde Islands. Antonis was scuttled when 4,800 tons of British coal was found on board. All 29 crew and 7 sheep were taken on board Kormoran. [CPC]
  • In his State of the Union address, US President Franklin Roosevelt enunciated the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Neutral Ireland sent a note of protest to Germany after Dublin was "accidentally" bombed three nights in succession by "stray" Luftwaffe aircraft. [AC]
  • The keel of battleship Missouri was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
Egypt
  • British cruisers HMS Gloucester and HMS Southampton, escorted by destroyers HMS Ilex and HMS Janus, departed Alexandria, Egypt, at 1315 hours to carry 510 Army and RAF personnel to Malta and to meet Excess convoy which had departed from Gibraltar on the same day. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • British convoy Excess (British ships Essex, Clan Cumming, Clan Macdonald, and Empire Song) departed from Gibraltar for Malta and Greece, escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Bonaventure (carrying 400 troops) and destroyers HMS Hereward, HMS Jaguar, HMS Hasty, and HMS Hero. [Main Article | CPC]
Puerto Rico
  • US 22nd, 23rd, and 32nd Fighter Squadrons, both operating P-40 Warhawk fighters, was assigned to Losey Field in Puerto Rico. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British destroyers HMS Mashona and HMS Sikh collided in the naval base at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 Jan 1941
US President Franklin Roosevelt delivering his annual State of the Union speech to the US Congress, 6 Jan 1941A column of Italian prisoners captured during the assault on Bardia, Libya, 6 Jan 1941Greek Army bugler near Kleisoura, northern Greece, 6 Jan 1941
7 Jan 1941
  • Australian 6th Division and British 4th Armoured Division nearly surrounded Tobruk, Libya after capturing Acroma 10 miles to the west. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Rover attacked an Italian convoy off the coast of Libya 25 miles west of Tobruk. Italian torpedo boats Clio and Castore counterattacked, damaging HMS Rover, putting her out of commission for the following 13 months for repairs at Malta. [CPC]
  • German torpedo boats Kondor and Wolf laid a minefield off Dover, England, United Kingdom but Wolf sank in a British minefield north of Dunkirk, France on the way home. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Giacomo Nani attacked Allied convoy HX.99 200 miles south of Iceland without success. British corvette HMS Anemone and French corvette La Malouine counterattacked, sinking Nani; all 58 Italian sailors and officers were rescued and taken prisoner. [CPC]
Egypt
  • Admiral Cunningham's Mediterranean Fleet, consisted of battleship HMS Warspite, battlesip HMS Valiant, aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, and 7 destroyers departed Alexandria, Egypt, to meet the Excess convoy. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • Admiral Somerville's Force H, consisted of battlecruiser HMS Renown, battleship HMS Malaya, aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, cruiser HMS Sheffield, and 7 destroyers, departed Gibraltar to cover the Excess convoy which left Gibraltar on the previous day. [Main Article | CPC]
8 Jan 1941
  • During the night, 7 British Wellington bombers from Feltwell, Lincolnshire attacked battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, which suffered light damage from near misses. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement and hero of the Boer War, died in Kenya at the age of 84. [AC]
  • British Wellington bombers from Malta attacked Italian battleships Guilio Cesare and Vittorio Veneto moored in Naples, Italy. Guilio Cesare was badly damaged by 3 near misses but Vittorio Veneto was hit without serious damage. Both ships would be moved to La Spezia, Italy and repaired, out of the range of the Malta bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian 6th Division began reconnaissance patrols around Tobruk, Libya. Overnight, a patrol reached the Italian defensive perimeter. [Main Article | CPC]
French Indochina
  • Royal Thai Air Force aircraft attacked French positions at Siem Reap and Battambang in Cambodia, French Indochina. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler hosted a two-day military conference at his Berghof residence in southern Germany, where he stated that Germany would continue to support Italian efforts in North Africa despite it being a secondary theater, the Soviet Union must be brought down, southern France might need to be occupied, and, for the first time, told the military leaders to prepare Germany for the possibility of American entry into the war. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Malta
  • British cruisers HMS Gloucester and HMS Southampton arrived at Malta to disembark 510 Army and RAF personnel, escorted by destroyers HMS Ilex and HMS Janus. HMS Gloucester, HMS Southampton, and HMS Ilex continued west to meet the Excess convoy from Gibraltar. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt requested the US Congress to pass a defense budget in the size of US$10,811,000,000 for fiscal year of 1942. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Jan 1941
  • Australian 6th Division and British 7th Armoured Division completed the encirclement of Tobruk, Libya. 25,000 Italian troops were now trapped. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Pandora sank Italian ships Palma and Valdivagna off Cape Carbonara, Sardinia, Italy. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Parthian sank Italian ship Carlo Martinolich off Calabria, Italy. [CPC]
  • Italian destroyers Ascari, Carabiniere, Folgore, and Fulmine shelled Greek positions on the Albanian coast at Porto Palmermo. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-105 sank British ship Bassano 300 miles south of Iceland at 1814 hours; 1 was killed and 56 survived. [CPC]
  • The Avro Lancaster heavy bomber took flight for the first time. [Main Article | AC]
  • Mr. Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt's personal envoy, arrived in England, United Kingdom. [AC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler and his top military leaders completed the two-day conference at Hitler's residence of Berghof in München-Oberbayern, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Escort duties for the British Excess convoy was passed from Force H (from Gibraltar) to the Mediterranean Fleet (from Alexandria, Egypt); most of Force H turned back for Gibraltar at nightfall, but cruiser HMS Bonaventure and destroyers HMS Hereward, HMS Jaguar, HMS Hasty, and HMS Hero would remain with the convoy. On the same day, 12 Italian C.200 fighter-bombers attempted to attack Malta; 4 were shot down by defending Hurricane fighters of No. 261 Squadron RAF. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • US Navy transport William Ward Burrows arrived at Wake Island with the first group of 80 civilian workers who would start to excavate the channel between Wilkes and Wake Islands. [CPC]
10 Jan 1941
  • A new German-Soviet treaty was signed confirming spheres of influence and affirming trade agreements. [TH]
  • Greek troops, with the recently arrived Greek 5th Cretan Division, captured Klisura Pass in Albania after 4 days of fighting. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 300 German bombers attacked Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom overnight, killing 171 and wounding 430. The Guildhall was heavily damaged and would remain closed until 1959. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Italian torpedo boats Vega and Circe attacked the Allied convoy Excess in the Strait of Sicily at dawn; cruiser HMS Bonaventure's gunfire and destroyer HMS Hereward's torpedo sank Vega. At 0815 hours, the convoy made rendezvous with the Mediterranean Fleet (with two battleships, one carrier, and seven destroyers). Shortly after, destroyer HMS Gallant hit a mine, killing 58 and wounding 25; she was towed to Malta for repairs. At 1235 hours, German Stuka dive bombers, newly arrived to the theater, attacked HMS Illustrious, hitting her with 6 bombs, destroying the elevator and starting fires in the hangar deck, killing 124; she also sailed to Malta to receive repairs. Illustrious being out of service meant the Axis now had air superiority in the theater. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 10 Jan 1941
HMS Illustrious under Stuka dive bomber attack in the Mediterranean Sea near Malta, 10 Jan 1941Greek tankers at Kleisoura, northern Greece, 10 Jan 1941Greek troops near Kleisoura, northern Greece, circa Jan 1941
11 Jan 1941
  • During the night 16 British aircraft from Scampton, Lincolnshire attacked battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, Germany to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian 7th Infantry Division Lupi di Toscana and the remnants of Italian 3rd Alpine Division Julia launched a failed counterattack on Klisura Pass in Albania, which was captured by the Greeks on the previous day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Task Force 38 in the South China Sea received orders to bombard a Japanese position on the Cam Ranh Bay in Indochina on the next day. [CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler issued Führer Directive 22, which called for Operation Alpine Violets, which was to deploy German units in North Africa and Albania to aid Italian war efforts. [Main Article | TH]
Mediterranean Sea
  • German Luftwaffe Oberst Werner Ennecerus led a dive bomber attack on British cruisers HMS Gloucester and HMS Southampton 120 miles east of Sicily, Italy, hitting Gloucester with one 500kg bomb that failed to explode (9 killed, 13 wounded) and Southampton with two 500kg bombs (98 killed). Southampton was abandoned by the 727 survivors at 1900 hours, then was scuttled by a torpedo from cruiser HMS Orion at 2000 hours. Further east, the Allied convoy Excess, which the cruisers were protecting, reached their destinations of Malta, Egypt, and Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Jan 1941
  • British armored divisions rushed in their efforts to repair tanks and put them into operational status for the upcoming attack on Tobruk, Libya. Meanwhile, HMS Protector departed Bardia, Libya with 1,058 Italian prisoners of war, sailing for Alexandria, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • British aircraft based on Malta attacked the Axis airbase at Catania, Sicily, Italy. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • In Norway, the Germans began recruiting for the Nordland Regiment of 5.SS-Wiking Division. [TH]
13 Jan 1941
  • Wellington bombers of No. 57 Squadron RAF attacked Ostend, Belgium. [CPC]
  • RAF bombers attacked the German submarine base at Lorient, France overnight. [CPC]
Bulgaria
  • Bulgaria stalled in response to German demand to join the Tripartite Pact. [Main Article | TH]
French Indochina
  • Admiral Jean Decoux ordered Capitaine de Vaisseau Régis Bérenger to plan an attack on the Thai Navy within the coming days. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German aircraft dropped 106 high explosive bombs on Plymouth, England, United Kingdom, damaging the Sherwell Congregational Church on Tavistock Road, City Hospital at Freedom Fields, gas works at Coxside, and Corporation electricity works at Prince Rock (26 killed, 117 wounded). Electricity would be restored on the following day, but gas would not be restored for three weeks. Patrol Officer George Wright and Leading Fireman Cyril Lidstone of Auxiliary Fire Service would be awarded George Medals for putting out a fire on an oil tank that might otherwise have exploded. [Main Article | TH]
14 Jan 1941
  • British Commander-in-Chief Middle East General Wavell met Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas and Greek Commander-in-Chief General Alexandros Papagos in Athens, Greece. Papagos asked Wavell for 9 divisions of British troops plus air support, but Wavell only offered 2 or 3 divisions. Papagos, who thought 2 to 3 divisions was too few to effectively deter a German invasion while still putting Greece in an indebted position, rejected the offer. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin captured almost an entire Norwegian whaling fleet (whale oil tanker Solglimt, factory ships Ole Wegger and Pelagos, and 11 of their attendant whalers) without firing a shot in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica; three whalers escaped and provided warning to another whaling fleet nearby. Pinguin captured 20,000 tons of whale oil and 10,000 tons of fuel oil with this success. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Cappellini and British auxiliary cruiser Eumaeus engaged in a gun fight for three hours 100 miles west of Freetown, British West Africa. Cappellini suffered three casualties and was badly damaged, but was able to sink Eumaeus, killing 27. [CPC]
15 Jan 1941
  • Overnight, Wellington bombers of No. 57 Squadron RAF attacked Emden, Germany while 76 RAF bombers attacked Wilhelmshaven, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minelaying cruiser HMS Adventure hit a mine and became damaged in Liverpool Bay en route from Milford Haven, Wales, United Kingdom. She was towed into Liverpool for repairs. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Luigi Torelli attacked an Allied convoy 350 miles west of Ireland, sinking Norwegian ship Brask (12 killed, 20 survived) and Greek ship Nemea (17 killed, 14 survived). [CPC]
  • The Japanese Navy formed the 11th Air Fleet with the 21st, 22nd, and 24th Air Flotillas with Vice Admiral Eikichi Katagiri in command and Rear Admiral Takijiro Onishi as his chief of staff. [Main Article | CPC]
French Indochina
  • Ships of the French Groupe Occasionnel squadron made rendezvous at 1600 hours 20 miles north of Poulo Condore (Con Dao) archipelago south of French Indochina, and began moving toward the Thai-Cambodian border at 2115 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
Iceland
  • In Iceland, 133 miles-per-hour winds sank three PBY Catalina aircraft of US Navy squadron VP-73 and sank two PBM Mariner aircraft of US Navy squadron VP-74. [CPC]
Netherlands
  • Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld achieved his second victory, shooting down a British Whitley bomber over northern Netherlands. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Jan 1941

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-96 sank British troopship Oropesa with three torpedoes 150 miles northwest of Ireland at 0616 hours; 106 were killed. Survivors drifted in 6 lifeboats, but only 5 lifeboats, containing 143, were found and rescued. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Luigi Torelli attacked an Allied convoy 350 miles west of Ireland, sinking Greek ship Nicolas Filinis (3 killed, 26 survived). [CPC]
French Indochina
  • French troops launched a successful counterattack against Thai troops at the villages of Yang Dang Khum and Phum Preav in Cambodia, French Indochina, but poor intelligence forced the French to back off from any territory gained. The Thais were unable to pursue the retreating French, as their forward tanks were kept in check by the guns of the French Foreign Legion. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
Germany
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille began a period of rest at home in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • 80 German Luftwaffe Stuka dive bombers attacked Valletta Harbor, Malta, trying to finish off damaged British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. HMS Illustrious, British destroyer HMS Decoy, and Australian cruiser HMAS Perth, and British ship Essex were damaged, but none sank. 10 German aircraft were lost. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) was founded in Britain. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Desiree hit a mine and sank in the Thames estuary in southern England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
17 Jan 1941

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-96 attacked British liner Almeda Star 200 miles west of Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0745 hours, firing four torpedoes and her deck gun. Four lifeboats were launched before Almeda Star sank, but when seven British destroyers arrived, none of them were found, thus all aboard were lost (137 crew, 29 gunners, and 194 passengers). [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Marcello approached an Allied convoy off the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom, but was detected by an escort destroyer, which attacked the submarine with five depth charges. Marcello suffered damage in her forward trim tank, forcing her end her war patrol to return to base. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 sank British ship Zealandic off the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom with three torpedoes. 73 survivors took to three lifeboats, but none were ever found. [CPC]
Malta
  • German Luftwaffe Stuka dive bombers attacked Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
Thailand
  • A French naval squadron attacked the Thai anchorage at Ko Chang island near the Thai-Cambodian border, sinking two gunboats, damaging a coastal defense ship, and killing 36 men. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British corvette HMS Rhododendron hit a mine in Liverpool Harbor, England, United Kingdom. She was to remain out of action for three months for repairs. [CPC]
18 Jan 1941

Atlantic Ocean
  • German cruiser Admiral Scheer captured Norwegian tanker Sandefjord 1,000 miles off the coast of Angola, Portuguese West Africa. The ship, along with her cargo of 11,000 tons of crude oil, was sent to France as a prize ship. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran sank British tanker British Union 700 miles west of the Canary Islands, killing 10. 28 survivors were captured by Kormoran and 7 survivors were rescued by British auxiliary cruiser HMS Arawa on the following day. [CPC]
Malta
  • German Luftwaffe Stuka dive bombers attacked Malta for the third consecutive day, destroying 6 RAF aircraft and damaging many more at the Luqa and Hal Far airfields. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British destroyer HMS Castleton was damaged by German bombing while under repair at Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
19 Jan 1941

Abyssinia
  • Emperor Haile Selassie of Abyssinia crossed the border between Sudan and Italian Eritrea, traveling toward his home country behind advancing British and Commonwealth troops. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
  • British and Commonwealth troops attacked Italian Eritrea. 4th and 5th Indian Infantry Divisions captured the railway junction at Kassala, Sudan, on the border with Italian Eritrea. This allowed the column led by British General William Platt to march south. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Benito Mussolini visited Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden in Germany, accepting German assistance in North Africa, but not Albania. Hitler noted that he would launch an invasion of Greece if British troops there began to threaten the oil refineries at Ploiesti, Romania. [Main Article | TH]
Greece
  • British transport ships Clan Cumming, Clan MacDonald, and Empire Song departed Pireaus, Greece for Alexandria, Egypt at 0800 hours. At 1153 hours, 25 miles south of Pireaus, Italian submarine Neghelli attacked, damaging Clan Cumming with a torpedo. Escorting destroyer HMS Greyhound sank Neghelli with depth charges, killing the entire crew of 46. Escorting destroyer HMS Janus escorted Clan Cumming back to Pireaus while the rest of the convoy sailed on. [CPC]
Malta
  • German Luftwaffe Stuka dive bombers attacked Valletta Harbour, Malta for the fourth consecutive day in their attempt to finish off the damaged British carrier HMS Illustrious, which was only further damaged with near missed. Destroyers HMS Imperial and HMS Decoy were also damaged by the attack. One Stuka aircraft was shot down by a Fulmar aircraft, which was also shot down later in the battle. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German Luftwaffe aircraft bombed RAF Feltwell in England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Jan 1941
  • The Iron Guard rebellion in Romania was put down by Marshal Antonescu. [TH]
  • Japan expanded annual intelligence budget to $500,000 to gather more intelligence on the United States. [CPC]
  • Compulsory Fire Watch duty was instituted in the United Kingdom. [TH]
  • In reprisal for partisan attacks, Germans executed 2,324 males in the Yugoslavian town of Kragujevac, including 144 boys who were herded out of school. Furious at the partisan activity, Hitler had decreed that for every German soldier wounded in attacks, 100 civilians would be executed. [AC]
  • German submarine U-94 sank British ship Florian 200 miles southeast of Iceland at 0042 hours, killing the entire crew of 41. [CPC]
  • German Kriegsmarine ordered the construction of 75 new submarines. [CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Scheer sank British ship Stanpark and captured Dutch ship Barneveld 1,000 miles off the coast of Angola. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In the Atlantic Ocean, Italian submarine Luigi fired a spread of three torpedoes at a group of three Allied destroyers but none hit. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Marcello, en route to Bordeaux, France for repairs, encountered Belgian ship Portugal and sank her with the deck gun. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Relonzo hit a mine and sank off Liverpool, England, United Kingdom, killing 19. [CPC]
  • RAF Wellington and Blenheim bombers, monitor HMS Terror, and gunboats HMS Gnat and HMS Ladybird attacked Italian positions at Tobruk, Libya overnight. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • At Adolf Hitler's Berghof residence near Berchtesgaden, Germany, Hitler mentioned to Benito Mussolini and Galeazzo Ciano that Germany viewed the Soviet Union as a threat, but did not reveal the plan to invade. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Lieutenant Commander Clement Bridgman was named the equipping officer of HMS Dianthus. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Jan 1941
Inaugural program of Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Wallace, 20 Jan 1941Himmler and Mussert at Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany, 20 Jan 1941, photo 1 of 2Himmler and Mussert at Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany, 20 Jan 1941, photo 2 of 2
21 Jan 1941
  • The British government suppressed the publication of communist newspaper 'The Daily Worker'. [CPC]
  • The Allies began attacking Tobruk, Libya, starting with an artillery barrage at 0540 hours. Australian engineers cleared a path for 18 British Matilda tanks and a few captured Italian tanks to pass through, leading infantrymen. Blenheim aircraft flew overhead throughout the day to provide support. 8,000 Italians were captured in overrun defensive positions, including General Petassi Manella. After nightfall, the headquarters of the Australian 19th Brigade offered Manella a ceasefire, but it was rejected, as the Italian general had orders from Benito Mussolini to fight until the last man. Overnight, Italian bombers attacked the British forward base; some bombs fell on the buildings holding prisoners of war, killing 50-300 Italians. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers sank British rescue tug HMS Englishman 50 miles off the coast of County Donegal, Ireland; the entire crew of 18 were killed. [CPC]
  • Commander Arthur Reid Pedder was named the commanding officer of HMS Mauritius. [Main Article | CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • The last recorded charge by cavalry against a British battery occurred in Eritrea, Italian East Africa when a battery of the 144th (Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry) Field Regiment Royal Artillery was surprised by about sixty mounted Eritreans, led by an Italian officer, who came on at the gallop firing from the saddle and lobbing grenades as they charged; the Battery replied with shell ands small arms fire, and the cavalry retired leaving about forty of their number killed or wounded on the field. Elsewhere, Indian 5th Infantry Division advanced 50 miles into Eritrea, capturing Aicota unopposed. Finally, Indian 10th Infantry Brigade and 2nd Battalion of the British Highland Light Infantry marched for Keru. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
22 Jan 1941
  • Italian cruiser San Giorgio was scuttled by her own crew at Tobruk, Libya at 0415 hours. In the afternoon, Brigadier General Vincenzo della Mura surrendered the Italian 61 Infantry Division "Sirte". Meanwhile, Allied troops continued the attacks throughout the day, with monitor HMS Terror and gunboats HMS Gnat and HMS Ladybird continuing to offer support with their guns. British aircraft sank Italian liner Liguria. Before the end of the day, Admiral Massimilian Vietina surrendered to the Australian troops. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first massacre of Jews in Romania took place. [CPC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau departed from Kiel, Germany for Operation Berlin. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 4th Indian Division attacked Italian positions at Keru, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, leading to General Fongoli surrendering his 1,200 men. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Luda Lady hit a mine and sank in the Humber estuary in northern England, United Kingdom, without any casualties. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Jan 1941
Troops of the 11th Infantry Battalion, Australian 6th Division at Tobruk, Libya, 22 Jan 1941
23 Jan 1941
  • Charles Lindbergh testified before the US Congress, recommending that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany. [CPC]
  • Allied troops captured Tobruk, Libya, but fighting would continue at outposts outside the city for another day. In the harbor, British minesweeping trawlers HMT Arthur Cavanagh and HMT Milford Countess began clearing sunken Italian ships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Arizona became the flagship of Battleship Division 1's Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Fw 200 aircraft bombed British ship Lurigethan 200 miles west of Ireland; 16 were killed in fires while 35 were taken off. [CPC]
  • British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, damaged by Stuka dive bombers on 10 Jan, completed temporary repairs and departed Malta for Alexandria, Egypt with destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Juno, HMS Janus, and HMS Greyhound in escort. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German pocket battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were spotted in the Great Belt between mainland Denmark and the island of Zealand by a British agent who alerted the Admiralty in London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer USS Edsall attacked a submarine contact in the Vernon Islands 30 miles northwest of Darwin, Australia; Edsall suffered damage from one of her own depth charges in this attack. [CPC]
Italy
  • Commander Vittorio Moccagatta was made the head of the Special Weapons Section of 1a Flottiglia MAS at La Spezia, Italy. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Jan 1941
British 6-inch CWT BL Howitzers attacking Italian positions at Tobruk, Libya, 23 Jan 1941Captured Italian M13/40 and M11/39 tanks pressed into Australian service, North Africa, 23 Jan 1941
24 Jan 1941
  • All Italian outposts surrounding Tobruk, Libya were captured by the Allies. Meanwhile, en route to Derna, Libya, Allied troops encountered units of the newly organized Italian Special Armoured Brigade and defeated them near Mechili, destroying 9 Italian tanks at the cost of 7 British tanks. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German He 114 seaplane from armed merchant cruiser Atlantis attacked British ship Mandasor 300 miles east of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. Atlantis soon arrived, stopping Mandasor with gunfire, killing 6. A launch from Atlantic drove away sharks with machine gun fire as the Germans rescued 82 survivors. Mandasor was eventually sunk with a torpedo. As the He 114 aircraft attempted to land in the water for recovery, the rough seas caused her to capsize and become lost. Four Allied cruisers later arrived on the scene in response, but Atlantis had already departed. [CPC]
  • Lord Halifax arrived at Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, United States aboard battleship HMS King George V. He had arrived to take up his new post as the British ambassador to the United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-123 sank Norwegian ship Vespasian with a torpedo 200 miles west of Ireland at 2148 hours, killing the entire crew of 18. [CPC]
French Indochina
  • Thai aircraft bombed the airfield at Angkor near Siem Reap, Cambodia, French Indochina; the resulting dogfights would be the final air battle of the Franco-Thai War. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 24 Jan 1941
Matilda tank en route into Tobruk, Libya, 24 Jan 1941; note British soldiers displaying a captured Italian flag
25 Jan 1941
  • Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African, and South African troops of 11th African Division under British General Harry Edward de Robillard Wetherall and 12th African Division under British General Reade Godwin-Austen crossed into the Italian Somaliland from Kenya. Italian troops withdrew 100 miles behind the Juba River in response. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Illustrious arrived at Alexandria, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After sundown, British minelaying cruiser HMS Latona and destroyers HMS Hero, HMS Hotspur, and HMS Encounter departed Alexandria, Egypt for Tobruk, Libya. They were discovered and attacked by 10 German Stuka dive bombers and 2 Italian S.79 medium bombers 35 miles away from their destination. HMS Latona was hit by a 500kg bomb and sank at 2230 when the fire detonated the magazine; 27 were killed. HMS Hero was damaged by three near misses. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Adhering to orders given by General Yasuji Okamura in which all Chinese villages suspected of harboring Chinese communist guerrilla fighters were to be wiped out, 1,230 residents of Panjiayu, Hebei, China were massacred by troops of the Japanese Army. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British Admiral Sir John Tovey departed Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom with a fleet to intercept German pocket battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau believed to be in the Iceland-Faroes passage. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
26 Jan 1941
  • In Libya, Italian troops evacuated Mechili while Allied troops captured Derna. General O'Moore Creagh of British 7th Armored Division was ordered to cut the coastal road south of Benghazi. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-105 attacked British ship Lurigethan and the escorting corvette HMS Arabis 200 miles west of Ireland; Lurigethan was already damaged by German aircraft three days earlier. Two torpedoes were fired at HMS Arabis, both of which missed. At 0212 hours, Lurigethan was hit and sank, killing 16. HMS Arabis picked up 35 survivors. [CPC]
27 Jan 1941
  • British troopship Ulster Prince (which would soon depart with Italian prisoners of war) and transports Cingalese Prince, Rosaura, and Chakla (the three brought in supplies and men) became the first Allied ships to arrive in the harbor of recently captured Tobruk, Libya. 100 miles to the northwest, Australian 6th Division captured Fort Rudero near Derna, capturing 290 Italian prisoners and 5 field guns, but the Italian garrison at Wadi Derna nearby continued to pose a serious threat. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British No. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Swordfish torpedo bombers from Malta sank German ship Ingo 100 miles north of Tripoli, Libya. Survivors were picked up by Italian torpedo boat Orione. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Darogah hit a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark ordered the 3rd Defense Battalion of the US Marine Corps to Midway, 1st Defense Battalion to Johnston and Palmyra, and 6th Defense Battalion to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. [CPC]
Italy
  • Italian manufacturing firm Caproni delivered midget submarines CB-1 and CB-2 to the Italian Navy at La Spezia, Italy. [CPC]
28 Jan 1941
  • British cruiser HMS Naiad spotted German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the Iceland-Faroes passage at 0649 hours. Fearing this might lead to the arrival of a stronger British fleet, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau turned to the north, attempting to enter the Atlantic Ocean via the Denmark Strait instead. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian artillery at Wadi Derna, Libya continued to pin down Australian 6th Division. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Luigi Torelli sank British submarine Urla 250 miles west of Ireland; the entire crew of 42 survived. [CPC]
  • British corvette HMS Bluebell and destroyer HMS Westcott collided off Ireland; the former would be under repair until 4 Mar. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Upholder damaged German ship Duisberg off Cape Bon, Tunisia. Duisberg was towed to Tripoli, Libya for repairs. [CPC]
French Indochina
  • B-10 medium bombers of the Thai 50th Bomber Squadron, escorted by 13 Hawk 75N fighters of the Thai 60th Fighter Squadron, bombed Sisophon, Cambodia, French Indochina. The effective date of the cease fire to be signed on 31 Jan 1941 would backdate to this date. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
29 Jan 1941
  • M. A. Korizis took over as the new Premier of Greece upon his predecessor's death. [TH]
  • British forces based in Kenya led by General Sir Alan Cunningham began attacking the Italian colonial garrison. Meanwhile. the South African troops came ashore in Italian Somaliland. This combined with British advances through Eritrea made the Italian armies in the Horn of Africa increasingly in danger of being surrounded. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran sank British ships Afric Star (75 captured) and Eurylochus (11 men killed, 43 men captured, 16 crated engine-less bombers captured) 600 miles west of Freetown, British West Africa. [CPC]
  • During the night 25 British Wellington bombers attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Ioannis Metaxas died of toxaemia in Athens, Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Elements of British 7th Armoured Division outflanked Italian artillery overlooking Derna, Libya, forcing General Bergonzoli to withdraw the guns overnight. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines attacked Allied convoy SC-19 en route from Nova Scotia, Canada to Britain at about 200 miles northwest of Ireland. Between 0348 and 0405 hours, U-93 sank British ship King Robert, British tanker W. B. Walker, and Greek ship Aikaterini. At 0629 hours, U-94 sank British ship West Wales. At 0715 hours, U-106 sank Egyptian ship Sesostris. U-101 also attempted to attack, but she was chased off by British destroyers. [CPC]
  • Submarine Marlin was launched, sponsored by Mrs. John D. Wainwright. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The prototype Tupolev ANT-58 (which would later be developed into the successful Tu-2 medium bomber) made its maiden flight. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • Secret US-British staff talks began in Washington DC, United States regarding the possible US involvement in the European War. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Jan 1941
  • Rudolf Höss was promoted to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-94 attacked Allied convoy SC-19 northwest of Ireland at 0310 hours, sinking British ship Rushpool; the entire crew of 40 survived and rescued by destroyer HMS Antelope. Rushpool was the sixth and final ship sunk in a series of German submarine attacks in 24 hours, totaling 33,723 tons. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Upholder attacked Italian ships Motia and Delfin 30 miles north of Zavia, Libya. Italian torpedo boat Aldebaran chased off HMS Upholder before she was able to damage any Italian ships. [CPC]
  • Otto Skorzeny was promoted to the rank of Untersturmführer; he would not receive the notification for this promotion until Mar 1941, however. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Germany announced that any ship bringing goods into Britain, regardless of nationality, would be attacked. [CPC]
Russia
  • Lavrentiy Beria was promoted to the rank of State Security General Commissar. [Main Article | CPC]
31 Jan 1941
  • In Oslo, Reichsführer-SS Himmler accepted the oath of the first group of Norwegian enlistees in the Waffen-SS. [TH]
  • Free French forces from Chad, French Equatorial Africa attacked the Italian forces at Kufra, Libya, supported by T Patrol of the British Long Range Desert Group. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Indian 4th Division flanked and then captured Agordat, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. 1,000 Italian troops and 43 field guns were captured. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian torpedo boat Francesco Stocco hit a mine, broke in two, and sank off Fiume, Italy (now Rijeka, Croatia). [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Dandolo sank British tanker Pizarro 350 miles southwest of Ireland after dark with torpedoes; 23 killed and 6 survived. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis stopped British ship Speybank with gunfire and captured the ship. Speybank would soon set sail for Bordeaux, France where she would be converted into an auxiliary minelayer named Schiff 53/Doggerbank and serve in the German Navy. [CPC]
  • Destroyer USS Edison (DD-439) was commissioned with Lieutenant Commander A. C. Murdaugh in command. [AC]
  • Oberstleutnant Hans Korte stepped down as the commanding officer of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing. [CPC]
French Indochina
  • The cease fire ending the Franco-Thai War was signed aboard Japanese cruiser Natori at Saigon, French Indochina, effective 28 Jan 1941. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
United States
  • Submarine Grayback was launched in Groton, Connecticut, United States, sponsored by the wife of Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, who was the Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 31 Jan 1941
Launch of submarine Grayback, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 31 Jan 1941
1 Feb 1941
  • At Maug Island in the Mariana Islands, Orion received one Japanese-built E8N float plane, purchased from Japan earlier that year, from German ship Munsterland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 sank Greek ship Nicolas Angelos with a torpedo and shots from the deck gun south of Iceland at 2215 hours. The crew was took to the lifeboat, which was never found. [CPC]
  • The US Marine Corps brigades stationed on the east and west coasts of the United States were reorganized as the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisoins, respectively; it was the first time the USMC organized units on the divisional level. To the south on the island of Cuba, the US Marine Corps 4th Defense Battalion arrived at Guantanamo Bay from Parris Island, South Carolina, United States. [CPC]
  • Oberstleutnant Benno Kosch was named the commanding officer of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing. [CPC]
  • Captain William Derek Stephens was named the commanding officer of HMS Mauritius. [Main Article | CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • Indian 4th Division captured Agordat, Eritrea, Italian East Africa while Indian 5th Division captured Metemma, Abyssinia. 2nd Lieutenant Premindra Singh Bhagat of the Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners won the first Victoria Cross for the British Indian Army in WW2 for a "...continuous feat of sheer cold courage" clearing 15 minefields and 55 miles of roads in 48 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain, the Air Training Corps was established to provide pre-entry training for cadets over the age of 16 intending to enter the Royal Air Force or Fleet Air Arm. [AC]
2 Feb 1941
  • Indian 5th Division captured Italian fortifications defended by 8,000 troops and 32 field guns at Barentu, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. To the east in the Indian Ocean, British aircraft carrier HMS Formidable launched aircraft in the Indian Ocean to mine the harbor of Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian troops advanced west from Derna, Libya, continuing to push back the Italian troops. Meanwhile, Richard O'Connor received the authorization from Archibald Wavell to use tanks of British 7th Armoured Division to flank the Italian retreat. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Torpedo bombers from British carrier HMS Ark Royal attacked the hydroelectric plant at the Santa Chiara Dam on the Tirso River on Sardinia, Italy. The attack failed to damage the facilities. One Swordfish aircraft was shot down, with its crew of 3 taken prisoner. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British trawler HMT Almond hit a mine and sank off Falmouth, England, United Kingdom, killing 19. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis stopped and captured Norwegian tanker Ketty Brøvig in the Indian Ocean overnight. With 6,370 tons of fuel oil and 4,125 tons of diesel oil from Bahrain aboard, Ketty Brøvig was to be used as a supply ship for German raiders and warships deployed at sea. [CPC]
3 Feb 1941
  • Mussolini sent Fascist Party leaders to the Albanian front to bolster morale. [Main Article | TH]
  • General Erwin Rommel was appointed as the head of an unit temporarily named "German Army Troops in Africa"; it would later become the Afrika Korps. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian troops in Eritrea, Italian East Africa withdrew into towns in the mountains. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Empire Citizen 300 miles south of Iceland at 0223 hours; 77 were killed, 5 survived. At 2333 hours, U-107 struck again, sinking British ship HMS Cirspin; 20 were killed, 121 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-93 attacked British ship Dione II 50 miles northwest of Ireland at 1410 hours; the torpedo missed. A German Fw 200 aircraft arrived later in the day and bombed the ship, causing damage. At 2300 hours, U-93 surfaced near Dione II and engaged in a brief gun battle. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Arctic Trapper was sunk by German bombing off Ramsgate, Kent, England, United Kingdom; 17 were killed, 3 were wounded. [CPC]
  • German military leaders presented detailed plans for Operation Barbarossa to Adolf Hitler. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Marine Corps Air Station Ewa was commissioned in US Territory of Hawaii after five months of conversion work; it had previously been a US Navy airship base. [CPC]
Hawaii
  • USS Arizona arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • The US Marine Corps established an airfield near the Ewa villages at Kapolei, Honolulu County, US Territory of Hawaii with the aircraft of Marine Aircraft Group 2 originally based at Naval Air Station Ford Island, also on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Vsevolod Merkulov was named the People's Commissar of State Security of the Soviet NKGB with responsibilities to oversee espionage and intelligence activities. The new ministry NKGB would last only until the German invasion when it would be merged back into the NKVD. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
  • Kliment Voroshilov was awarded the Order of Lenin for the third time. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Henry Arnold was promoted to the permanent rank of major general. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Feb 1941
  • The United Service Organizations, USO, was established to maintain the morale of American military personnel. [CPC]
  • The Italians began evacuating Benghazi, Libya. At dawn, British 7th Armoured Division departed from Mechili, Libya to move across the desert toward Jebel El Akhdar 150 miles away in an attempt to cut off the Italian retreat. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-93, having damaged British ship Dione II on the previous day with gunfire northwest of Ireland, sank the ship at 0440 hours with the deck gun and the anti-aircraft gun; 28 were killed, 5 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-52 sank Norwegian ship Ringhorn 500 miles west of Ireland at 0838 hours; 14 were killed, 5 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-123 sank British ship Empire Engineer 1,000 miles west of Ireland at 1644 hours; the entire crew of 39 was lost, some during the sinking while others, aboard rafts, were never found. [CPC]
  • British bombers attacked Düsseldorf, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German pocket battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau broke out into the Atlantic Ocean via the Denmark Strait undetected by the British Royal Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder thought that the US entry into the war might be advantageous for the Germans as it would force Japan into belligerency. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The American newspaper Chicago Tribune featured an article on the US government's secret plan for war, including details such as a 10,000,000-strong military, half of which were to be destined for the to-be-established American Expeditionary Force for fighting in Europe. [CPC]
5 Feb 1941
  • After crossing 150 miles of desert in 30 hours, armored cars of British 7th Armoured Division set up roadblocks at Sidi Saleh south of Benghazi, Libya, just in time to meet and stop the leading elements of the retreating Italian Tenth Army. In the evening, the British 4th Armoured Brigade reached Beda Fomm 10 miles north of the roadblocks, preventing Italian retreat to the east. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British and Indian troops attacked Italian-held hills near Dongolaas Gorge en route to Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMT Tourmaline was sunk by German aircraft off North Foreland, Kent, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Sealion sank Norwegian ship Ryfylke 2 miles off the Norwegian coast near Stadlandet. [CPC]
  • The keel of submarine Finback was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Transport ship No. 74 under construction at Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation's shipyard at Kobe, Japan was named Irako. She was assigned to the Sasebo Naval District. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Feb 1941
Cruiser Mk IV tank and Light Tank Mk VIB of 3rd County of London Yeomanry of British 1st Armoured Division on exercise at Arundel, Sussex County, England, United Kingdom, 5 Feb 1941
6 Feb 1941
  • Adolf Hitler made his final appeal to Francisco Franco to bring Spain into the war on the Axis side. [TH]
  • The British House of Commons voted for the first £1,600,000,000 war credit of the year. [CPC]
  • On the Benghazi-Tripoli road in Libya, the trapped Italian Tenth Army attempted to break out without success. Australian 6th Division captured Benghazi while 7th Support Group of British 7th Armoured Division captured Sceleidima; these captures further secured the envelopment of the Italian Tenth Army. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German High Command issued the order for Operation Sonnenblume, which called for the organization and transfer of a German force to reinforce Italian forces in North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Near Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, Indian 3rd Battalion of 14th Punjab Regiment attacked Brig's Peak but was pushed back by Italian 65th Infantry Division "Granatieri di Savoia". [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Motor Torpedo Boats S.30, S.54, S.58, S.59 sank British ship Angularity on the east coast of England, United Kingdom; 2 were killed, 1 was captured by S.30. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank Canadian ship Maplecourt 250 miles northwest of Ireland at 1752 hours, killing the entire crew of 37. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • HMS King George V arrived at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom after delivering Lord Halifax to the United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
7 Feb 1941
  • The Italian Italian Special Armoured Brigade saw some initial success in a dawn attempt to break out of the encirclement of the Italian Tenth Army on the Benghazi-Tripoli road in Libya, but the breakthrough was quickly contained by Allied field guns. The 25,000-strong Italian Tenth Army formally surrendered before the end of the day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British and Indian troops continued to hold the Cameron Ridge near Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, which was a ridge named after the British infantry regiment Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders which had initially taken it at the start of the Battle of Keren. On the other side of the Gorge, Indian 4th Division launched an attempt to flank the Italian troops at Dologorodoc Fort by moving through the Scescilembi Valley. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first Beaufighter IF fighter (T4623) built at the Fairey factory in Stockport near Manchester, England, United Kingdom made its maiden flight. [Main Article | AC]
8 Feb 1941
  • Pétain offered Laval a cabinet seat in the Vichy government, but the offer was declined. [TH]
  • The newly formed German Afrika Korps began departing Naples, Italy for North Africa. [Main Article | TH]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau detected Allied convoy HX-106, but did not attack due to the presence of British battleship HMS Ramillies. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Bulgaria agreed to allow German troops to transit within its borders. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Grampus began patrolling in the Caribbean Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
Canada
  • Mr. Malcolm MacDonald was appointed to be the British High Commissioner in Canada. [AC]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain, Lord Moyle became Secretary of State for the Colonies, Ernest Brown became Minister of Health, and the Duke of Norfolk became the Joint Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture. [AC]
9 Feb 1941
  • Admiral Darlan became the new Vice Premier of Vichy France. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • 13 British aircraft from Scampton, Lincolnshire attacked battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The air crews reported to have caused damage, but in actuality no hits were scored. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Allied troops captured El Agheila, Libya, marking an end of Operation Compass. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel was promoted to the rank of Generalleutnant. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Force H, including two battleships and one cruiser, with carrier HMS Ark Royal supporting from a distance, bombarded Genoa, Italy at 0815 hours. 273 15-inch shells and 782 6-inch shells were fired. Four merchant ships and a training vessel were sunk, 18 ships were damaged, harbor facilities and nearby industrial areas were damaged, and the cathedral was also hit. 144 Italians were killed, most of whom were civilians. The British lost 1 Swordfish torpedo bomber. Italian battleships Vittorio Veneto, Cesare, and Doria, supported by cruiser and destroyers, were launched to intercept the British fleet but failed to find them. [CPC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau detected Allied convoy HX-106 off Newfoundland at 0830 hours. Because it was escorted by British battleship Ramilies, the German fleet withdrew at 1000 hours per orders not to engage British capital ships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 attacked Allied convoy HG-53 435 miles west of Gibraltar at 0430 hours, sinking British ships Estrellano (5 killed, 21 survived) and Courland (3 killed, 27 survived). U-37 had also reported the sighting to aircraft based in Bordeaux, France, which led to the arrival of five Fw 200 Condor bombers, which sank British ships Jura, Dagmar I, and Brittanic and Norwegian ship Tejo. [CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Neptune was damaged by German bombing at Plymouth, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
10 Feb 1941
  • The Stirling aircraft made its operational debut as bombers of No. 7 Squadron RAF bombed oil storage facilities at Rotterdam, the Netherlands. [Main Article | TH]
  • Werner Mölders claimed his 56th victory. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 attacked Allied convoy HG-53 600 miles west of Gibraltar at 0633 hours, sinking British ship Brandenburg, killing entire crew of 23 plus 26 of the 27 passengers on board. The passengers were survivors of the ship Courland, which had just been sunken by U-37 on the previous day. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-52 sank British ship Cranford Chine 200 miles west of Ireland at 1435 hours, killing the entire crew of 35. [CPC]
  • 222 British aircraft attacked Hannover, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Churchill ordered General Wavell to prioritize the campaign in Greece over that in North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German convoy carrying the newly formed German Afrika Korps, with one Italian destroyer and three torpedo boats in escort, departed Palermo, Sicily, Italy for Tripoli, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 1st Punjab Regiment of Indian 3rd Battalion captured Brig's Peak near Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. To the south, British General Cunningham launched Operation Canvas against Italian positions on the Juba River in Italian Somaliland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 6 Whitley bombers of No. 91 Squadron RAF delivered 38 paratroopers of British No. 11 Special Air Service Battalion to the Tragino aqueduct in southern Italy at 2200 hours in what was codenamed Operation Colossus. They were to plant explosives on one of the columns to stop supplies of fresh water to nearby military and civilian centers. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Feb 1941
Canadian troops at their Lewis machine gun position overlooking the main highway at Iceland, 10 Feb 1941
11 Feb 1941
  • In Operation Colossus, British paratroopers blew up the Tragino aqueduct in southern Italy. All but one were captured during their escape, remaining prisoners of war until 1943. The aqueduct they destroyed would soon be repaired and returned to service. [CPC]
  • Indian 3rd Battalion captured Sanchil hill in the Dongolaas Gorge near Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, but the Italian Savoia Grenadiers conterattack recaptured the hill as well as Brig's Peak by the end of the day. To the South, British troops from Kenya captured the road junction at Afmadow at the north end of the Juba River. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British monitor HMS Erebus bombarded Ostend, Belgium between 0100 and 0140 hours. [CPC]
  • The first German troops arrived at Tripoli, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Snapper, en route from the River Clyde in Scotland, United Kingdom to the Bay of Biscay off France. The crew of 41 was never seen again. She probably ran into a minefield or was sunk by German minesweepers M-2, M-13, and M-25. [CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Hipper sank British ship Iceland of Allied convoy HX53 800 miles west of Gibraltar; the entire crew of 23 survived and were picked up by Admiral Hipper. Admiral Hipper would soon detect the rest of the convoy on radar at the distance of 15 kilometers. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
12 Feb 1941
  • General Erwin Rommel arrived in Tripoli, Libya, to take command of the Afrika Korps. [Main Article | TH]
  • German cruiser Admiral Hipper attacked Allied convoy HX53 800 miles west of Gibraltar at 0618 hours, sinking 7 ships (British ships arlaby, Westbury, Oswestry Grange, Shrewsbury, and Derrynane; Norwegian ship Borgestad; and Greek ship Perseus). At 0740 hours, Admiral Hipper broke off the attack as rain helped the remaining Allied transports escape. Admiral Hipper had nearly expended all of her 203-mm shells in this attack. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Indian and Italian troops continued the fighting on the north side of the Dongolaas Gorge and in Happy valley on the south side of the gorge near Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A second convoy, consisted of ships Adana, Aegina, Kybfels, and Ruhr with troops of German Afrika Korps troops on board, departed Naples, Italy for North Africa. Italian destroyer Camicia Nera and torpedo boat Procione escorted the transports. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • In Abyssinia, Captain Richhpal Ram led an Indian attack despite having his right foot blown off. Even when he was fatally wounded he still encouraged his men on to victory. Captain Ram would be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. [AC]
Russia
  • Viktor Abakumov arrived at Moscow, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British Foreign Secretary and Chief of Imperial General Staff left London, England, United Kingdom for Cairo, Egypt to coordinate military assistance to Greece. They were also trying to create an anti-Axis agreement, which would soon be rebuffed by Yugoslavia and Turkey. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 12 Feb 1941
Rommel arriving at Tripoli, Libya, 12 Feb 1941Italian General Italo Gariboldi welcoming German Generals Erwin Rommel and Johannes Streich to Tripoli, Libya, 12 Feb 1941
13 Feb 1941
  • Two German submarines attacked Allied convoy HX-106 225 miles south of Iceland. U-96 sank British tanker Clea at 1508 hours, killing the entire crew of 59. U-103 stopped British tanker Arthur F. Corwin by two torpedoes, allowing U-96 to sink her at 1950 hours, killing the entire crew of 46. [CPC]
  • British carrier HMS Formidable launched 14 Albacore aircraft against Massawa, Italian East Africa, sinking Italian ship Moncalieri and damaging others. Two Albacore aircraft were shot down with six crew members taken prisoner. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A German Fw 200 aircraft sank British antisubmarine trawler HMT Rubens 275 miles southwest of Ireland, killing the entire crew of 21. [CPC]
14 Feb 1941
  • Hitler pressured Yugoslavia to join the Tripartite Pact. [Main Article | TH]
  • The second convoy of German Afrika Korps troops arrived at Tripoli, Libya, which included the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion and the 39th Anti-Tank Battalion. [Main Article | CPC]
  • African Commonwealth troops captured the port city of Kismayu, Italian East Africa, with gunfire support from cruisers HMS Shropshire, HMS Hawkins, HMS Ceres, and HMS Capetown. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis, with a fleet of two prize ships and one supply ship, made rendezvous with German cruiser Admiral Scheer. The ships transferred supplies amongst each other while prize ship tanker Ketty Brøvig refueled Admiral Scheer. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 sank British ship Holystone 400 miles west of Ireland at 2257 hours, killing 40. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Bianchi sank British ship Belcrest west of Ireland. [CPC]
  • British motor torpedo boat MTB.41 hit a mine and sank in the North Sea, killing 8. [CPC]
  • Grayson was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
  • The 14th Demi-Brigade de marche de la Légion Étrangère under the command of Colonel Raoul Magrin-Vernerey landed unopposed at Port Sudan, Sudan. [Main Article | AC]
Japan United States
  • Kichisaburo Nomura presented his credentials to Franklin Roosevelt at the White House, Washington DC, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • The rear echelon of the US Marine Corps 3rd Defense Battalion arrived at Midway. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 14 Feb 1941
Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura arriving at the White House with his credentials, Washington DC, United States, 14 Feb 1941
15 Feb 1941
  • The United Kingdom broke off diplomatic relations with Romania. [TH]
  • German submarine U-123 sank British ship Alnmoor 600 miles west of Ireland at 0038 hours, killing the entire crew of 55. [CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Hipper arrived at Brest, France, after a short but successful cruise that sank 8 Allied ships totalling 34,000 tons. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British General Platt suspended the piecemeal attacks on Italian positions at Dongolaas Gorge near Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. Instead, he began to plan for a larger offensive. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The US Congress approved the construction of a new base for the US Marine Corps' Fleet Marine Force at New River, North Carolina, United States. [CPC]
  • An advance echelon of the US Marine Corps 1st Defense Battalion departed San Diego, California, United States aboard USS Enterprise for Johnston Island and Palmyra Atoll via Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Feb 1941
  • British cruiser HMS Neptune, in dock for repairs, was damaged again by German bombing at Chatham, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Ormonde was sunk by German aircraft 25 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom, killing 19. [CPC]
  • British Swordfish aircraft of No. 830 Squadron from Malta sank Italian ship Juventus 5 miles off Chebba, Tunisia. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Feb 1941
Danish police chief Dahl, Dr. Karl Ritter von Halt, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, Kurt Daluege, and Karl Wolff at the Sportpalast, Berlin, Germany, 16 Feb 1941
17 Feb 1941
  • An Italian Auto-Saharan Company detachment counterattacked Free French and British forces near Kufra, Libya in failure. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 sank British ship Gairsoppa 370 miles west of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom shortly after 0000 hours, killing 84. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 damaged British tanker Edwy R. Brown with five torpedoes 100 miles south of Iceland between 0633 and 0833 hours, eventually sinking the tanker. 50 took to two lifeboats, but they were never seen again. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-69 sank British ship Siamese Prince 200 miles northwest of Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 2212 hours. 57 took to lifeboats, but they were never seen again. [CPC]
  • Turkey and Bulgaria signed a friendship agreement in Sofia, Bulgaria. Under pressure from Germany, Turkey also agreed to not protest German troop movements through Bulgaria. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Admiral Sir Percy Noble was appointed Commander-in-Chief Western Approaches. [AC]
18 Feb 1941
  • The German 5th Light Division (later renamed the 21st Panzer Division) was formed for operations in North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Free French forces besieged El Tag fort at Kufra, Libya, bombarding the fort with 75-millimeter field guns (whose range was longer than their Italian counterparts) and 81-millimeter mortars. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German aircraft mined the Suez Canal in Egypt, forcing the transit of carrier HMS Formidable into the Mediterranean Sea to be delayed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-96 sank British ship Black Osprey 140 miles south of Iceland at 0227 hours; 25 were killed, 11 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank British ship Seaforth 330 miles south of Iceland at 2133 hours. 59 survivors took to lifeboats, but they were never seen again. [CPC]
Abyssinia
  • South African 1st Division captured Mega, Abyssinia. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler met with tank generals and tank designers at his residence Berghof in southern Germany. He insisted on using larger (either 50-millimeter or 75-millimeter) high velocity guns for Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. He also demanded some soldiers to be released from the front to man tank factories. [Main Article | CPC]
19 Feb 1941
  • The Australian 8th Division arrived in Singapore. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers began a three-day campaign against the port city of Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, Chief of the General Staff John Dill, Commander-in-Chief Middle East General Archibald Wavell, and Mediterranean Fleet chief Admiral Andrew Cunningham met in Cairo, Egypt to discuss diverting forces from North Africa to aid Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The name German Africa Korps (Deutsches Afrikakorps) was established for German forces in North Africa. It began to patrol out of Tripoli, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Motor Torpedo Boats S.28, S.101, and S.102 raided the coast of Norfolk, England, United Kingdom, sinking British ship Algarve off Sheringham, killing the entire crew. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tigris sank French ships Jacobsen and Guilvinec 60 miles west of Bayonne, France. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-69 sank British ship Empire Blanda west of Scotland, United Kingdom at 0818 hours, killing 39. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank Norwegian ship Benjamin Franklin 360 miles northwest of Ireland at 2222 hours; the entire crew of 36 survived. [CPC]
20 Feb 1941
  • Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies arrived in Britain for talks with Winston Churchill. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German Africa Korps made contact with British patrols for the first time in North Africa, near El Agheila between Benghazi and Tripoli in Libya. In the sea, British submarine HMS Regent attacked German ships Arta, Heraklea, Menes, and Martiza carrying German Afrika Korps troops from Naples, Italy to Tripoli escorted by Italian destroyers Freccia, Saetta, and Turbine; Menes was damaged by a torpedo hit but was able to be towed to Tripoli; Saetta counterattacked HMS Regent, causing damage. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Ouse hit a mine and sank off Tobruk, Libya; 12 were killed and 9 survived. [CPC]
  • Italian ship Eritrea, Italian armed merchant cruisers Ramb I and Ramb II, and German supply ship Coburg broke out of Massawa, Eritrea, Italian East Africa and sailed into the Indian Ocean. Ramb I and Ramb II were ordered to sail east to raid Allied shipping in the Pacific Ocean. [CPC]
  • German heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer sank Greek steamer Grigorios C II (27 survivors were taken prisoner) and captured British tanker British Advocate west of the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. Advocate was to be sent to France as a prize ship. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Luftwaffe bombed Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom for the second consecutive night. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first Beaufighter IF figher (X7540) built at Bristol's new factory at Weston-super-Mare, England, United Kingdom was completed. [Main Article | AC]
France
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille returned to his unit at Berck-sur-Mer, France after a period of rest at home. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Feb 1941
US Senators Meade and Thomas riding a Willy Quad as it climbed steps in front of the US Congress building, Washington, DC, United States, seen on 20 Feb 1941 issue of newspaper Washington Daily News
21 Feb 1941
  • Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom was attacked for the third consecutive and final day as bombers flew over the port city from 1950 hours until after midnight. Over the course of the three days, 35,000 incendiary bombs and 800 high explosive bombs were dropped on Swansea, killing 230 and wounding 409, but the strategically important docks and nearby oil refineries were relatively unaffected. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer sank British ship Canadian Cruiser 575 miles west of the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. Before being taken prisoner, the crew radioed for help, which was received by British cruiser HMS Glasgow. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British antisubmarine trawler HMT Lincoln City shot down a German bomber but was then bombed and sunk at Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, a constituent country of Denmark, killing 8. [CPC]
  • British aircraft carrier HMS Formidable, in the Red Sea awaiting transit through the Suez Canal while it was swept for mines, launched 7 Albacore aircraft to attack the harbor of Massawa, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, causing little damage. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Ursula attacked an Italian convoy it was en route between Trapani, Sicily, Italy and Tripoli, Italy. Italian ship Sabbia was damaged, but Ursula was damaged after being counterattacked by Italian torpedo boat Montanari. [CPC]
22 Feb 1941
  • 430 Dutch Jews were deported from Amsterdam to Auschwitz Concentration Camp as reprisal for the murder of a Dutch Nazi Party member. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau attacked a convoy of unescorted empty cargo ships en route to the United States, sinking three British cargo ships and two tankers, totaling 25,431 tons. 10 were killed and 180 were taken prisoner. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British 11th and 12th African Divisions attacked and overran Italian positions at Jilib, Somaliland, Italian East Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Greek King George II and Commander-in-Chief General Alexander Papagos met with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and General Archibald Wavell in Athens, Greece, designing a defense plan that assumed Yugoslavia would remain neutral. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British monitor HMS Terror was spotted at about noon by a German Ju-88 aircraft off the Libyan coast. 5 Ju-88 aircraft were launched from Sicily, Italy at 1533 hours, and they intercepted HMS Terror 10 miles north of Derna, Libya at 1830 hours. Heavily damaged by near misses, HMS Terror was abandoned by her crew at 2200 hours. Minesweeper HMS Fareham and corvette HMS Salvia attempted to tow her back to port, but this effort would ultimately fail. [CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Scheer sank Dutch collier Rantau Pandjang off the east coast of Africa. Distress signals were received by British cruiser HMS Glasgow, which was already aware of Admiral Scheer's presence by the sinking of British ship Canadian Cruiser on the previous day. HMS Glasgow launched her seaplane to search for the German raider, but the aircraft would return without any findings. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Filipp Golikov was awarded the Order of Lenin for the first time. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Feb 1941
  • British monitor HMS Terror sank off the Libyan coast at 0420 hours after receiving fatal damage from German aircraft on the previous day. [CPC]
  • A German Fw 200 Condor aircraft led German submarines U-69, U-73, U-96, U-107, and U-123 and Italian submarines Bianchi and Barbarigo to Allied convoy OB-288 300 miles south of Iceland. Just before midnight, U-69 sank British ship Marslew (13 killed, 23 rescued) and U-96 sank British ship Anglo-Peruvian (29 lost, 17 rescued). U-107 and Bianchi damaged and chased British ocean boarding vessel HMS Manistee through the night. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Upright sank Italian ship Silvia Tripcovich 50 miles off Sfax, Tunisia. [CPC]
  • Prime Minister Alexandros Korizis of Greece accepted British offer of aid, but British and Greek commanders debated on the defense strategy against a German invasion through Bulgaria. The Greeks preferred to dig in along the Metaxas Line, while the British argued for a line further southwest along the Vermion Mountains and the Haliacmon River. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop hosted Hiroshi Oshima in his home in Germany, where Ribbentrop attempted to persuade the Japanese ambassador that it was the time for Japan to strike British territories in Asia. Ribbentrop argued that there was little worry regarding the United States as American possessions in Asia could be bypassed easily, but should the Americans decide to go to war, the Japanese Navy was vastly superior to the US Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
Italian Somaliland
  • British 12th African Division marched up the Juba River in Somaliland, Italian East Africa toward the Abyssinian border while the motorized British Nigerian Brigade of the 11th African Division drove up the coastal road toward Mogadishu. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg chemically identified the recently discovered new element Plutonium in the 60-inch cyclotron at the University of California at Berkeley, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Feb 1941
  • British Manchester bombers of No. 207 Squadron from Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom made the Manchester model's operational debut by bombing Brest, France overnight and into the next day. [Main Article | TH]
  • Omar Bradley was promoted to the temporary rank of brigadier general. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian ship Sabbia, damaged by a unsuccessful attack by British submarine HMS Ursula three days prior, nearly made it to Tripoli, Libya when she was intercepted and sunk by British submarine HMS Regent. [CPC]
  • 300 miles south of Iceland, German submarine U-107 sank British ship HMS Manistee, killing the entire crew of 141, after a chase since the previous day. German submarines U-95 and U-96 and Italian submarine Bianchi attacked the other ships of Allied convoy OB-288 which HMS Manistee was a part of, sinking 7 merchant ships before dawn. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-97 sank 3 British ships and damaged Norwegian tanker G.C. Brøvig of Allied convoy OB-289 south of Iceland. [CPC]
  • A German patrol with tanks, armored cars, and motorcycles ambushed a British and Australian patrol west of El Agheila, Libya, taking 3 prisoners. It was the first time British and German Afrika Korps troops clashed in North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Three German He 111 bombers attacked British destroyers HMS Dainty and HMS Hasty in Tobruk harbor, Libya at 1900 hours. HMS Dainty was sunk by a 500kg bomb, killing 16. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 24 Feb 1941
Buffalo Mark I fighter at Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom, 24 Feb 1941
25 Feb 1941
  • February Strike: In occupied Amsterdam, a general strike began in response to increasing anti-Jewish measures instituted by the Nazi occupation administration. [CPC]
  • German battleship Tirpitz was commissioned to Kapitän zur See Friedrich Karl Topp. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Upright attacked an Italian convoy 45 miles off Sfax, Tunisia at 0343 hours, sinking Italian cruiser Armando Diaz; 464 were killed, 147 survived. The convoy was traveling from Naples, Italy to Tripoli, Libya. [CPC]
  • Nigerian Brigade of the British 11th African Division captured Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland, Italian East Africa and the 400,000 gallons of fuel in its stores. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Exmoor either hit a mine and sank or was sunk by German motor torpedo boat S-30 12 miles off Lowestoft, England, United Kingdom; 105 killed, 32 survived. [CPC]
Russia
  • Viktor Abakumov was named the NKVD deputy commissar. [Main Article | CPC]
26 Feb 1941
  • Before dawn, British destroyer HMS Decoy, destroyer HMS Hereward, and gunboat HMS Ladybird landed 200 commandos and 24 Royal Marines on the Italian-held Dodecanese island of Castelorizo, off the coast of Turkey, capturing a small Italian garrison. Italian aircraft responded, damaging HMS Ladybird, but was able to retrieve the raiders and sail for the British Crown Colony of Cyprus. The codename for the raid was Operation Abstention. [TH]
  • Werner Mölders claimed his 60th victory. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American scientists Glenn Seaborg and Arthur Wahl discovered Plutonium. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 attacked Allied convoy OB-290 190 miles northwest of Ireland before dawn, sinking 3 merchant ships and damage 1. U-47 was attacked by depth charges, which called for assistance in the form of Fw 200 bombers of I. Gruppe KG 40 based in Bordeaux, France. The aircraft attacked the convoy from 0900 to 1845 hours, sinking 8 ships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers sank 4 merchant ships and German motor torpedo boats sank 1 merchant ship at various locations on the British coast. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-70 sank Swedish ship Gotenborg south of Iceland. [CPC]
  • Francisco Franco refused Hitler's 6 Feb 1941 request for Spain to enter the war. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Feb 1941
  • During the night, 30 British Wellington bombers from Wyton in Cambridgeshire, Marham in Norfolk, and Stradishall in Suffolk attacked battleship Tirpitz. The 26 aircraft that arrived attacked and reported success, though the actual results were questionable. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Norwegian tanker Sandefjord, captured by German cruiser Admiral Scheer in the Atlantic Ocean on 18 Jan 1941, arrived in France with the cargo of 11,000 tons of crude oil. She was to be renamed Monsun and pressed into German service. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, Italian torpedo boats Lupo and Lince landed 240 troops on the Greek island of Kastelorizo near Turkey, then bombarded British positions after daybreak, killing 3 and wounding 7. The action was commenced to counter the British Operation Abstention. British destroyers HMS Decoy and HMS Hereward, instead of counterattacking the Italian torpedo boats, departed for Egypt. [CPC]
  • New Zealand cruiser HMNZS Leander sank Italian armed merchant cruiser Ramb I 200 miles west of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean; 113 survivors were picked up by HMNZS Leander and taken to Addu Atoll, Maldives. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Remillo hit a mine and sank in the Humber Estuary, England, United Kingdom, killing 17. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Bianchi British ship Baltistan west of Ireland; 51 were killed, 18 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-47 sank British ship Holmelea west of Ireland overnight; 27 were killed, 11 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau refueld from tankers Ermland and Friedrich Breme 1,000 miles west of the Azores. They also transferred 180 prisoners taken from Allied ships sunk on 22 Feb. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The former US Ambassador to France made a public announcememt in which he accused the United States of not doing nearly enough or working fast enough in the present international crisis. [AC]
Taiwan
  • Vice Admiral Koki Yamamoto was named the commanding officer of the Mako naval port at Pescadores islands, Taiwan. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Feb 1941
  • British destroyers HMS Decoy and HMS Hereward land 200 more British troops on the Greek island of Kastelorizo in the Dodecanese Islands to reinforce Operation Abstention; as the Italians reinforced the two torpedo boats in the area, Lupo and Lince, with destroyer Crispi, destroyer Sella, and two more torpedo boats, the British decided to cancel Operation Abstention; 40 British commandos were left behind and captured in the hastened retreat. To the north, German troops began to across into Bulgaria. Meanwhile, one squadron of RAF Hurricane fighters and one squadron of RAF Gladiator biplane fighters shot down 27 Italian aircraft over the Albanian mountains in support of Greek troops on the ground. [Main Article | TH]
  • Bread ration was reduced from 350g to 280g in Vichy France. [TH]
  • During the night 23 British Hampden aircraft from Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom attacked battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Low clouds resulted in only 4 aircraft locating the battleship, and they failed to hit their target. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian forces at Kufra, Libya began surrender negotiations with Free French and British forces. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British liner Anchises, damaged by a German Fw 200 aircraft of I./KG 40 on the previous day, began sinking slowly at 1130 hours. The remaining 33 crew members took to a lifeboat; 12 of them would be killed when the lifeboat was accidentally sucked under corvette HMS Kingcup's bow, which had arrived to rescue them. In the afternoon, German aircraft returned and completed Anchises' sinking with bombs. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-108 sank British ship Effna 200 miles south of Iceland at 2332 hours, killing the entire crew of 33. [CPC]
1 Mar 1941
  • German troops entered Romania. [CPC]
  • US Navy established the Support Force Atlantic Fleet for the purpose of providing protection for merchant shipping. [CPC]
  • Bulgarian Prime Minister Bogdan Filov signed the Tripartite Pact, which gave Germany the option of invading Greece through Bulgaria. Bulgaria was promised territories lost to Yugoslavia and Greece after WW1. [Main Article | TH]
  • Bread rations in Italy was halved in order to increase food export to Germany. [TH]
  • Free French forces from Chad captured Kufra in southeastern Libya. The Italians suffered 3 killed (all 3 were Libyan colonial troops), 4 wounded, and 282 captured (29 Italians, 273 Libyan colonial troops); the French suffered 4 killed and 21 wounded. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Scheer entered the South Atlantic from the Indian Ocean. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT St. Donats collided with destroyer HMS Cotswold and sank 45 miles east of Grimsby, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • Larissa, Greece suffered a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. [CPC]
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
  • In Port Sudan, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, as HMS Formidable waited for mine clearing operations to complete in the Suez Canal, she launched 5 Albacore aircraft to bomb Massawa, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, causing little damage. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was promoted to the rank of Oberfähnrich. [Main Article | CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • Two battalions of Indian 4th Division and 2 Free French battalions reached Mescelit Pass 15 miles northeast of Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa; lacking artillery, the force's goal was only to tie down Italian forces in the region. On the same day, Italian submarines Gauleo Ferraras, Perla, and Archimede departed Massawa, Eritrea for the long journey around Africa for Europe. [Main Article | CPC]
Korea
  • Lieutenant General Hiroshi Takahashi was named the chief of staff of the Japanese Chosen Army in occupied Korea. [CPC]
Poland
  • Heinrich Himmler paid his first visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. During the visit, he ordered Commandant Rudolf Höss to expand the current camp to hold a total of 30,000 prisoners, expand the camp to Birkenau with capacity for 100,000 prisoners, supply 10,000 prisoners to work for the nearby I.G. Farben factory, and to expand the camp's agricultural and industrial output. [Main Article | Event | Facility | CPC]
Taiwan
  • Lieutenant General Takaji Wachi was named the chief of staff of the Taiwan Army. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Mr. John Winant, the new United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, was greeted by the Duke of Kent on his arrival by air. On his way to London by rail he was met and welcomed by His Majesty the King. [Main Article | AC]
2 Mar 1941

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarines U-552, U-95, and U-147 attacked Allied convoy HX-109 170 miles northwest of Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom. At about midnight, U-552 sank tanker Cadillac (37 killed, 5 survived) while U-95 sank the ship Pacific (34 killed, 1 survived). Near the end of the day at 2212 hours, U-147 sank Norwegian ship Augvald (29 killed, 1 survived). [CPC]
British Somaliland
  • British 11th African Division began marching from Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland toward Jijiga, Abyssinia in pursuit of retreating Italian forces. [Main Article | CPC]
Bulgaria
  • German Twelfth Army moved from Romania into Bulgaria the day after Bulgaria joined the Axis alliance. [Main Article | TH]
Germany
  • The RAF conducted a heavy bombing raid on Köln (Cologne), Germany. [TH]
Libya
  • At Kufra, Libya, Free French Major Philippe Leclerc pledged not to lay down his weapons until the French flag once again flew over the cathedral at Strasbourg, France. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom severed diplomatic relations with Bulgaria. [TH]
3 Mar 1941
  • Erwin Rommel moved German 5th Light Division to a narrow pass 17 miles west of the Allied forward positions at El Agheila, Libya to block any Allied advances toward Tripoli. He also ordered the construction of defensive positions in the desert to the south to prevent the Allies from bypassing the pass. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian aircraft bombed Larissa, Greece; 5 bombers were shot down by RAF Hurricane fighters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau reached the Cape Verde Islands area in Central Atlantic. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submariner Bootsmannsmaat Artur Mei fell overboard from U-97 440 miles west of Ireland. He was never seen again. [CPC]
  • The US Marine Corps set up 8 men (6 Marines and 2 US Navy corpsmen) and 2 5-inch guns on Johnston Island. [CPC]
4 Mar 1941
  • Prince Paul, Regent of Yugoslavia, arrived in Berchtesgaden in Germany where Hitler applied further pressure for Yugoslavia to join Tripartite Pact. Hitler offered to cede Salonika and part of Macedonia to Yugoslavia in return for allowing German troops to transit into Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • Four British freighters departed Alexandria and Port Said, Egypt with men and equipment, escorted by destroyers HMS Hereward and HMS Stuart, for Greece; it was codenamed Operation Lustre. Meanwhile, British General Wilson arrived in Athens, Greece to take command of all Allied ground forces; he discovered the Greek troops were still manning the Metaxas Line on the Bulgarian-Greek border rather than the agreed upon Aliakmon Line. From the sea, Italian warships bombarded Greek coastal positions in Albania. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian Walrus seaplane of HMAS Canberra spotted German ship Coburg and captured Norwegian tanker Ketty Brøvig, which was being used to supply German armed merchant cruisers. The German ships escaped HMAS Canberra's interception attempt. [Main Article | CPC]
Norway
  • British landing ships HMS Queen Emma and HMS Princess Beatrix, escorted by five destroyers, landed 500 British Commandos, Royal Engineers, and Free Norwegian troops at four ports in the Loftoten Islands, off Narvik, Norway at dawn. Operation Claymore, the first large scale commando raid of the war, saw the destruction of fish oil factories (along with 3,600 tons of fish oil, used for high explosives) and nine merchant ships. An unexpected bonus was the discovery of coding rotors for the Enigma cryptographic sysyem found aboard German trawler Krebs. The raiders withdrew without a single casualty along with 228 German captives. [AC]
5 Mar 1941
  • British reinforcement from North Africa arrived in Greece. On the same day, the British government broke off diplomatic relations with Bulgaria in response to their alliance with Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hermann Göring met with General Antonescu in Vienna, Austria, demanding Romanian participation in the upcoming German invasion of the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Triumph sank Italian ships Marzamemi and Colombo Lo Faro 20 miles east of Catania, Sicily, Italy. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-95 sank Swedish ship Murjek, which had been broadcasting its neutral status continuously, with 5 torpedoes 200 miles south of Iceland at 0525 hours. The entire crew of 31 was killed. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler issued the order to the German Foreign Ministry to try to draw Japan into the war by attacking British possessions in Asia, but it was still important to keep the United States out of the war at this point. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Mar 1941
Antonescu and Göring at the Belvedere Palace, Vienna, Austria, 5 Mar 1941
6 Mar 1941
  • Two British convoys departed from Alexandria, Egypt for Greece; the first convoy, consisted of British cruisers HMS York, HMS Bonaventure, and HMS Gloucester departed with troops to reinforce Greece; the second, consisted of freighters Clan Macauley and Cingalese escorted by destroyers, departed with tanks and equipment. At 0715 hours, an empty convoy returning from Greece to Egypt was attacked by Italian submarine Anfitrite east of Crete; Anfitrite was counterattacked and forced to the surface and was scuttled by her own crew. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Keryado hit a mine and sank in the English Channel, killing 9. [CPC]
  • New German laws decreed that Polish farm workers were not to complain, were denied from any cultural events, and were forbidden to have sexual intercourse. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Battleship Bismarck departed Hamburg, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
7 Mar 1941
  • Battleship Bismarck entered the Kiel Canal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Günther Prien passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sighted an Allied convoy near Azores, but did not attack due to the presence of British battleship HMS Malaya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-47, U-70, U-90, and U-A attacked Allied convoy OB-293 320 miles northwest of Scotland, United Kingdom. British whaling factory ship Terje Viken (largest in the world) and British tanker Athelbeach were sunk, while two others were damaged. U-47 was lost with all 48 on board to unknown causes on the same day. U-70 was rammed by Dutch tanker Mijdrecht, then suffered a four-hour depth charging by corvettes HMS Camellia and HMS Arbutus, killing 20; the 25 survivors eventually surrendered. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank Greek ship Mentor in the North Atlantic. [CPC]
  • 12 German motor torpedo boats attacked British ships of convoys FN.426 and FS.429 off East Anglia, England, United Kingdom, sinking 5 ships, damaging 1 ship, and killing 59. [CPC]
Germany
  • German Jews began to be pressed into forced labor. [CPC]
Greece
  • British cruisers HMS York, HMS Bonaventure, and HMS Gloucester arrived at Piraeus, Greece, disembarking troops from North Africa. [Main Article | TH]
8 Mar 1941
  • Battleship Bismarck exited the Kiel Canal and entered Dock C of Deutsche Werke Kiel. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Panzer Regiment of German 5th Light Division departed Naples, Italy aboard freighters Alicante, Arcturus, Wachtfels, and Rialto bound for Tripoli, Libya in two convoys. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British freighters Clan Macauley and Cingalese, escorted by destroyers HMS Nubian, HMS Mohawk, and HMS Wryneck Prince arrived in Piraeus, Greece with tanks and equipment from North Africa. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-A sank British ship Dunaff Head of Allied convoy OB-293 150 miles south of Iceland at 0119 hours; 5 were killed and 38 survived. Destroyer HMS Wolverine counterattacked and damaged U-A. [CPC]
  • Off Western Africa, German submarines U-105, U-106, and U-124 received sighting reports of Allied convoy SL-67 from surface ships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. They searched for the escorting battleship HMS Malaya in failure; instead, U-105 sank British ship Harmodius at 0341 hours and U-124 sank four ships between 0547 and 0608 hours. U-105 received damage from depth charges as she was counterattacked. A total of 62 British sailors were killed; 300 survivors were picked up. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder warned Adolf Hitler of a possible American landing in northwest Africa should the United States enter the war. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Mar 1941
  • Benito Mussolini visited Tiranë, Albania; he announced on radio that he would personally lead a renewed offensive against Greece. On queue, 12 Italian divisions attacked Greek lines through the Trebeshinë heights between Osum and Vjosë Rivers, but the Greek First Army was generally able to hold the lines. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarines HMS Unique, HMS Upholder, HMS Upright, and HMS Utmost detected an Italian convoy 35 miles off the coast of Tunisia. HMS Utmost made an unsuccessful attack on the armed merchant cruiser Deffenu but was able to sink the freighter Capo Vita. [CPC]
  • Minesweeping work completed in the Suez Canal in Egypt, allowing British carrier HMS Formidable to sail through from the Red Sea into the Mediterranean Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German cruiser Scharnhorst sank Greek ship Marathon 250 miles north of Cape Verde Islands after taking the entire crew prisoner. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Gulfoss hit a mine and sank in the English Channel 3 miles south of Dungeness, Kent, England, United Kingdom, killing 10. [CPC]
  • British RAF Bomber Command was ordered to mount attacks on German U-Boat bases, construction yards and industries associated with their manufacture.  [AC]
France
  • Vichy France announced that authorization was now needed for Jews to sell or rent a company. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Polish Jews from the city of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) began to be deported to the town of Chrzanow in southern Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German aircraft bombed London, England, United Kingdom overnight, damaging Buckingham Palace and destroying the underground nightclub Café De Paris; 80 patrons were killed at the latter. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • A Japanese intelligence network was established in San Diego, California, United States to observe the transportation of war materials. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Mar 1941
Adolf Hitler shaking Wilhelm Keitel
10 Mar 1941
  • The German 5th Panzer Regiment arrived in North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • French diplomat Gaston Henry-Haye was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in the United States. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-552 sank Icelandic trawler Reykjaborg with surface weapons 460 miles southeast of Iceland at midnight, killing 12. Of the 3 survivors, 1 of them would die before being rescued by British corvette HMS Pimpernel four days later. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS H.28 was damaged during a collision with a freighter in the Irish Sea. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Unique sank Italian ship Fenicia 100 miles northwest of Tripoli, Libya. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom overnight, killing 10 people on shore, sinking minesweeping trawler HMT Revello (killing 1) and damaging destroyer HMS Sherwood, destroyer HMS Witherington, destroyer HMS Tynedale, training ship HMS Marshal Soult, and 4 minesweeping trawlers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Nikolai Voznesensky stepped down as the Chairman of the State Planning Committee of the Soviet Union and took the new role as the First Deputy Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Maksim Saburov became the Chairman of State Planning Committee of the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • The British Nigerian Brigade engaged Italian units at Degehabur, Abyssinia, about 100 miles south of Jijiga. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Mar 1941
Cruiser Mk IV tanks parading through Alton, Hampshire county, England, United Kingdom, 10 Mar 1941
11 Mar 1941
  • German submarine U-74 attacked Icelandic trawler Frodi with her deck gun 192 miles southeast of Iceland at 0800 hours. 5 were killed in the attack. Frodi would be able to escape to Vestmannaeyjar Island on the next day. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 sank British ship Memnon 200 miles west of Senegal, French West Africa, killing 5. Of the 69 survivors, 4 were captured by German battlecruiser Gneisenau, 22 made land in Senegal on 21 Mar, and 43 made land in Sierra Leone on 24 Mar. [CPC]
  • The Panzer Regiment of German 5th Light Division completed disembarking from freighters at Tripoli, Libya. A parade was staged with the newly arrived tanks, with some of the tanks going around the town multiple times to make their numbers seem greater. The tanks headed east toward Sirte after the parade. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 135 German aircraft dropped 122 tons of high explosive bombs and 830 incendiary bombs on Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • During the night of 11 to 12 Mar, six British Handley Page Halifax bombers of No. 35 Squadron of No. 4 Group from RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom attacked Le Havre, France. It was the operational debut of the four-engine heavy bomber. It was marred by the accidental shoot-down of one of them by an RAF nightfighter. [Main Article | TH]
French Indochina
  • Japan dictated that France would return parts of Cambodia and Laos, which the French had gained from Thailand about 40 years prior, to Thailand. [Main Article | CPC]
Turkey
  • As English diplomats arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, a bomb smuggled into their luggage exploded, killing 2. [TH]
United States
  • US President Roosevelt signed the Lend Lease Act into law, which allowed Allied nations to purchase weapons and other supplies from the United States on credit. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 11 Mar 1941
Roosevelt signing the Lend-Lease bill, 11 Mar 1941
12 Mar 1941
  • Winston Churchill thanked the US for "a new Magna Carta", referring to the Lend-Lease Act signed into law on the previous day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Benito Mussolini visited Italian troops in Albania to bolster morale. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-37 sank Icelandic trawler Pétursey with surface weapons 300 miles south of Iceland at 1805 hours. All 10 crew members were reported to have taken to lifeboats, but they would never been seen again. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German bombers attacked Merseyside (containing the city of Liverpool), England, United Kingdom. 8 merchant ships were sunk, one floating crane was destroyed, and 174 people were killed in the town of Wallasey. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Mar 1941
  • Germany repeated demands for Yugoslavia to join the Axis alliance. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 236 German bombers attacked Glasgow and Clydeside, Scotland, United Kingdom for the first time, targeting munitions factories and docks, sinking 3 cargo ships and damaging 2 destroyers. To the south, German bombers attacked Liverpool for the second night in a row, pushing total casualty to about 500. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler appointed Alfred Rosenberg the minister of the eastern occupied territories, while further conquests would be assigned to Heinrich Himmler. Hermann Göring was given the responsibility of exploiting the resources in conquered Soviet territory. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel moved his headquarter to Sirte, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British sloop HMS Scarborough intercepted Norwegian whalers Star XIX and Star XXIV, which were captured on 15 Jan 1941 by German merchant raider Pinguin, 400 miles north of the Azores. Both whalers were scuttled by their German crews to prevent capture. [CPC]
  • Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld was wounded in combat. [Main Article | CPC]
14 Mar 1941
  • Battleship Bismarck began embarking supplies at Scheerhafen, Kiel. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Tatsuta Maru arrived at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii; among the passengers disembarked was Kita Nagao, the newly appointed Japanese Consul General to hawaii. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Seeing the Greeks had repeated repulsed Italian attacks in the past few days, Italian Chief of the Supreme Command General Ugo Cavallero recommended Benito Mussolini to halt the Primavera Offensive. On the same day, 5 British Swordfish torpedo bombers from Paramythia, Greece struck Vlorë, Albania, sinking Italian hospital ship Po and ship Santa Maria at the loss of one aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Emo sank British ship Western Chief 250 miles south of Iceland, killing 22. [CPC]
  • 203 German bombers bombed Glasgow and Clydebank, Scotland, United Kingdom for the second night in a row, damaging shipyards and the Rolls Royce aircraft engine factory. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British Admiralty placed an order for a new battleship (to a design by Sir Stanley Goodall) to be built at Clydebank, Scotland, United Kingdom. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 14 Mar 1941
British Hurricane fighter of No. 85 Squadron RAF taxiing at Debden, Essex, England, United Kingdom at night, 14 Mar 1941; note navigation lights on wingtips
15 Mar 1941
  • Indian 4th and 5th Divisions attacked Italian positions at 0700 hours near Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, capturing hilltops on either side of the gorge after an entire day of fighting in which both sides suffered heavy casualties. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US shipping company American Export Lines announced that it would stop taking orders from Lisbon, Portugal because there were too many refugees waiting in its ports. [CPC]
  • Japanese troops launched an offensive towards Shanggao, Jiangxi Province, China. [CPC]
  • Belgian politicians formed the cross-party resistance organization Independence Front at Liege. [CPC]
  • Battleship Bismarck received two aircraft at Scheerhafen, Kiel. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau attacked an Allied convoy 950 miles east of Nova Scotia, Canada, sinking 3 tankers (killing 7, most of the survivors were captured) and capturing 3 tankers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 made rendezvous with armed merchant cruiser Kormoran 650 miles southwest of Cape Verde Islands and received 7 torpedoes and other supplies. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-110 detected Allied convoy-112, consisted of 41 merchant ships escorted by 7 warships, and shared the finding with U-37, U-74, U-99, and U-100. Overnight, U-110 set British tanker Erodona on fire with a torpedo, killing 36, but she would be towed to Iceland for repairs. [CPC]
Italy
  • Italian Navy's Special Weapons Section of 1a Flottiglia MAS, based at La Spezia in Italy, was renamed 10th MAS Flotilla, which served only as a cover name as the special forces function of the unit would not change. [CPC]
United States
  • Benjamin Kelsey was promoted to the war time rank of major. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Mar 1941
  • At Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, British 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment climbed up the steep mountain to attack Italian positions at Fort Dologorodoc overnight; to the British troops' advantage, some of the Italian troops had departed from the fort to attack Indian 5th Mahratta Light Infantry Regiment at the base of the mountain, allowing the fort to be captured at 0630 hours after about 2 hours of combat, yielding 400 prisoners of war. In British Somaliland, 2 Indian battalions conducted an amphibious landing at Berbera; the port was defended by only 60 Italian troops, who surrendered without resisting. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-100 became the first submarine to be tracked by radar. It was sunk by HMS Vanoc with depth charges. Only 6 of the 44 crew survived; commanding officer Joachim Scepke went down with U-100. In the same action, U-99 was scuttled after being damaged by HMS Walker; most of the crew survived, including the captain Otto Kretschmer. [AC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau attacked an Allied convoy 950 miles east of Nova Scotia, Canada between 0428 and 1550 hours, sinking or capturing 10 ships. Danish ship Chilean Reefer sent distress signals and returned fire with her deck gun, and was sunk by Gneisenau's 11-inch shells, killing 9. British battleship HMS Rodney received the distress signals, but arrived only after the German ships had already departed the area. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Italian Primavera Offensive was called off after 8 days after the Italians had suffered 12,000 casualties. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers sank British anti-submarine trawler HMT Lady Lilian and damaged HMT Angle 85 miles west of Ireland. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Parthian damaged Italian steamer Giovanni Boccaccio 50 miles east of Malta. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 sank Dutch ship Almkerk 220 miles off the coast of Gambia, British West Africa. The entire crew of 66 survived the attack and took to 2 lifeboats, and all would survive. [CPC]
  • 162 German bombers attacked Bristol, England, United Kingdom overnight, targeting the docks at Avonmouth and the city center; 257 were killed, 391 were wounded. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler predicted that the United Kingdom would fall by 1942. [Main Article | CPC]
17 Mar 1941
  • US Coast Guard cutter Cayuga delivered American representatives to Greenland in search of suitable locations for bases. [CPC]
  • In Britain, jam and marmelade rationed to 8 ounces per person per month. [CPC]
  • German submarines U-99 and U-100 attacked Allied convoy HX-112 250 miles southeast of Iceland; U-99 sank 2 freighters and three tankers, while damaging another tanker. At 0318 hours, destroyers HMS Walker and HMS Vanoc depth charged U-100, forcing her to surface, then HMS Vanoc rammed U-100; as U-100 sank, 38 were killed, including commanding officer Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke. At 0343 horus, HMS Walker dropped 6 depth charges on U-99, killing 3 and forcing her to surface from heavy damage. U-99 was scuttled by her crew. 6 U-100 and 40 U-99 officers and men were captured by the British, including U-99's commanding officer Korvettenkapitän Otto Kretschmer. [CPC]
  • Battleship Bismarck departed Kiel, arriving at Gotenhafen on the same day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel sent a message to the besieged Italian garrison at Giarabub in southeastern Libya, asking the troops to hold on for a few more weeks and promising that his forces would arrive in relief in that time. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Frenchman Francois Scornet, 22, became the only civilian to be executed by firing squad in Jersey of the Channel Islands throughout the German occupation. Scornet was one of 16 young Army Cadets who had fled France in a small boat with the intention of joining the Free French forces in England, United Kingdom. Lost in rough weather, they sailed into Guernsey, Channel Islands believing it to be the Isle of Wight and were captured. As an example to other escapees, Scornet was picked out as the ringleader and shot. After the war his remains were reinterred in his home village in Brittany, France. [AC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran and submarine U-124 made rendezvous with cruiser Admiral Scheer 1,150 miles southwest of Cape Verde Islands. U-124 transferred quartz aboard Admiral Scheer for her radar; although planned, the transfer of torpedoes from Kormoran to U-124 was canceled due to rough seas. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-106, after tracking Allied convoy SL-68 for the past two days, struck 250 miles west of Dakar, French West Africa at 2107 hours, sinking British ship Andalusian and Dutch ship Tapanoeli. [CPC]
Abyssinia
  • British 11th African Division captured Jijiga, Abyssinia, Italian East Africa unopposed. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • HMS Dianthus was commissioned into service with Lieutenant Commander Clement Bridgman in command. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Richard Saul was made Companion of the Order of the Bath. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Mar 1941
Bow view of submarine Gar, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 17 Mar 1941
18 Mar 1941
  • US and Canada declared a joint defense pact, which included cooperation in ship building efforts on the Great Lakes. [CPC]
  • Italian troops bombarded Fort Dologorodoc near Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, which British and Indian had only recently gained. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel departed North Africa for a meeting with Adolf Hitler. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US Marine Corps 7th Defense Battalion arrived at American Samoa. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler met with Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, and Erich Raeder; Raeder urged Hitler to convince Japan to attack Singapore and recommended Hitler to reveal the plans of the Soviet invasion to Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
Albania
  • British bombers attacked Vlorë, Albania, sinking Italian torpedo boat Aldebaran. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-105 attacked Allied convoy SL-68 west of Senegal, French West Africa at 0400 hours, sinking British ship Medjerda, killing the entire crew of 52 and 2 gunners. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran transferred 7 torpedoes to submarine U-124 1,050 miles southwest of Cape Verde Islands. [CPC]
Baltic Sea
  • Battleship Bismarck entered the Baltic Sea for trials. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Germany centralized all coal mining and distribution. [CPC]
Libya
  • British armed boarding vessel Rosaura, carrying Italian prisoners of war, hit a mine and sank off Tobruk, Libya. 14 crew, 5 guards, and 59 Italians were killed. [CPC]
  • British Swordfish torpedo bombers of Fleet Air Arm 830 Naval Air Squadron based in Malta bombed the harbor at Tripoli, Libya; 1 Swordfish aircraft was shot down, with its crew of 2 taken prisoner. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The French government-in-exile in Britain established a central bank. [TH]
  • German 1st S-boat Flotilla (with 6 motor torpedo boats) raided shipping on the east coast of England, United Kingdom, sinking French ship Daphne II off the Humber Estuary. [CPC]
  • Douglas Bader was promoted to the rank of wing commander. [Main Article | CPC]
19 Mar 1941
  • The French government-in-exile in Britain established a central bank. [CPC]
  • Mass-produced vegetable casseroles went on sale in Britain for 8 pence per pound. [CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel met with Adolf Hitler, Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Brauchitsch, and Chief of Staff General Franz Halder. Rommel was told to expect no reinforcements in Libya until May, when the German 15th Panzer Division would be assigned to him. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler gave Prince Paul of Yugoslavia an ultimatum, asking him to join the Tripartite Pact within five days, or face invasion. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-105 sank Dutch ship Mandalika of Allied convoy SL-68 350 miles west of Nouakchott, Mauritania, French West Africa. 3 were killed and 62 survivors were rescued by British corvette HMS Marguerite. [CPC]
  • Scharnhorst and Gneisenau began their return voyage to Brest, France. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 370 German Luftwaffe aircraft bombed London, England, United Kingdom, killing 750. Several freighters and auxiliary anti-aircraft ship Helvellyn were sunk or damaged in London docks. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Mar 1941
  • Indian troops captured Hargeisa in Italian-occupied British Somaliland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joseph Stalin was assured by this staff that Germany would not attack the Soviet Union until United Kingdom was defeated. Meanwhile, the United States shared the intelligence of a possible German invasion of the Soviet Union with Soviet Ambassador Konstantin Umansky. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler appointed Alfred Rosenberg the Delegate for Central Planning for Questions of the Eastern European Area. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel received Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were detected by aircraft of the British Coastal Command; they were met by German aircraft at 1900 hours, escorting them as they headed for Brest, France. Meanwhile, two ships that they had captured 5 days prior, tankers Bianca and San Casimiro, were spotted by British aircraft from carrier HMS Ark Royal; battleship HMS Renown would advance in an attempt to recapture. The German crew scuttled both tankers before surrendering themselves along with the 46 prisoners of war aboard the two ships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • King George and Queen Elizabeth visited Plymouth, England, United Kingdom where they took tea with Lady Nancy Astor, the first woman to take a seat in the commons. The local people took the Royal visit as a "gala day" with bands and dancing on the Hoe, but no sooner had the Royal party departed 125 German bombers appeared overhead causing great damage to the docks (sinking British tug HMS Sir Bevois (9 killed), tug HMS Elan, and transport Mari II) and city centre. [Main Article | AC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-106 damaged Dutch ship Meerkerk of Allied convoy SL-68 and escorting battleship HMS Malaya 550 miles west of Nouakchott, Mauritania, French West Africa at 2323 hours. HMS Malaya received temporary repairs at Trinidad and then was sent to New York Naval Yard in the US for permanent repairs which would last for four months. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Heß, Fritz Todt, Reinhard Heydrich, and other top Nazi German official met in Berlin, Germany to discuss plans for resettling Eastern Europe with Germans. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • A flight of three Manchester bombers from RAF Waddington in England, United Kingdom set out to bomb German submarines at Lorient, France. Less than thirty minutes into the mission one aircraft developed an engine fire which forced its captain to order the crew to abandon the stricken aircraft. Four crewmen jumped but only two survived and two others were killed. The pilot (with one other crewman still aboard) then attempted to bring the aircraft home but in attempting to land struck a tree and crashed, killing both airmen. Aircraftsman Charles Leonard Wheatley, seeing that the fire threatened to explode the high-explosive bombs still aboard, bravely fought the fire, from only two yards away, and successfully prevented any further damage to the base. For this gallant action Wheatley would be awarded the George Medal from the King on 4 Nov 1941. [AC]
United States
  • Tatsuta Maru arrived at San Francisco, California, United States; among the disembarked passengers was Colonel Hideo Iwakuru, who was dispatched by Prime Minister Hideki Tojo to Washington DC to help the Japanese Embassy in reconciling relations with the United States. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Yugoslavia
  • Rather than accepting dictated German terms, four Yugoslavian ministers resigned their posts. [TH]
Photo(s) dated 20 Mar 1941
Rudolf Heß, Heinrich Himmler, Philipp Bouhler, Fritz Todt, Reinhard Heydrich and Erich Ehrlinger meeting in Berlin, Germany to discuss plans to settle Eastern Europe, 20 Mar 1941
21 Mar 1941
  • Yugoslavians protested Prince Paul's pact with Hitler. Many ministers resigned in protest. [CPC]
  • After laying siege to the Italian garrison at Giarabub in southeastern Libya for the past three months, Australian forces finally gathered enough strength to begin a large scale assault. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were detected by aircraft of the British Coastal Command. They were met by friendly aircraft at 1900 hours, escorting them as they headed for Brest, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-105 attacked Allied convoy SL-68 500 miles west of Cap blanc, French West Africa at 0046 hours, sinking British ships Clan Ogilvy (61 killed, 24 survived) and Benwyvis (34 killed, 21 survived). At 2200 hours, U-105 attacked the same convoy again, sinking British ship Jhelum (8 killed, 49 survivors). [CPC]
  • German aircraft attacked Allied convoy AS-21 en route between Piraeus, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt, sinking Greek ship Embiricos Nicolaos (2 killed) and damaging Norwegian tanker Solheim (1 killed). [CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Nigerian Brigade of British 11th African Division attacked Italian defenses at Marda Pass east of Hadew in eastern Abyssinia at 1200 hours. Italian defenses held off the attacks for hours before falling back after sundown. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German aircraft attacked British shipping off various ports in England, United Kingdom; minesweeping trawler HMT Asama was sunk near Plymouth, ship Millisle was sunk off Bristol (10 killed), and ship London II was sunk off Swansea (4 killed). [CPC]
United States
  • Tatsuta Maru departed San Francisco, California, United States; among the passengers was German Army General Werner Thiel. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • George Murray was named the commanding officer of USS Enterprise. [Main Article | CPC]
22 Mar 1941
  • Britain agreed to allow American ships to deliver emergency flour to Vichy France. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran stopped empty British tanker Agnita with shellfire in the Mid-Atlantic about halfway between Brazil and British West Africa. After capturing the crew, the Germans sank Agnita with demolition charges, nine 105mm shells, and one torpedo. [CPC]
  • The first production Beaufighter IIF fighter (R2270) with 1,280 hp Merlin XX engines was completed. [Main Article | AC]
France
  • German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were met by friendly destroyers at 0300 hours as they approached Brest, France. They docked shortly after 0700 hours, ending Operation Berlin. [Main Article | CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • British and Indian troops continued to hold Fort Dologorodoc in Eritrea, Italian East Africa despite repeated Italian counterattacks and shelling. Elsewhere, in Abyssinia, Italian troops declared Harar an open city. [Main Article | CPC]
23 Mar 1941
  • Anti-Axis demonstrations were held in Yugoslavia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian troops captured Giarabub in southeastern Libya. The commander of the Italian garrison, Lieutenant Colonel Castagna, was captured and would spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war in India. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-110 fired a spread of three torpedoes at Norwegian ship Siremalm 200 miles southwest of Iceland at 0427 hours. One torpedo hit but failed to explode, while the other two missed. U-110 next attempted to attack with her deck gun, but a crewman had forgotten to remove the water plug from the gun, causing it to explode, wounding three men and causing some damage. [CPC]
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMT Visenda sank German submarine U-551 in the North Atlantic, killing the entire crew of 45. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-97 sank British tanker Chama 600 miles west of Land's End, England, United Kingdom at 2326 hours, killing the entire crew of 59. [CPC]
  • Greek submarine Triton attacked an Italian convoy 20 miles east of Brindisi, Italy. The transport Carnia was damaged; she would be towed to Brindisi where she intended to receive repairs, but she would ultimately be lost. [CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel departed Europe for Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
British Somaliland
  • South African 2nd Division arrived in the recently recaptured Berbera, British Somaliland by sea. In Abyssinia, Nigerian Brigade of British 11th African Division advanced 36 miles toward Addis Ababa to Babile Pass, where they were paused for several hours by Italian defensive positions. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Mar 1941
  • Axis forces opened Rommel's offensive in North Africa at 0600 hours. Australian troops on the front line destroyed a leading German armored car, but they were soon overwhelmed by German tanks. Axis forces would capture El Agheila, Libya, the furthest point of the British advance against the Italians. British 2nd Armoured Division fell back 30 miles to Marsa Brega. [Main Article | AC]
  • Erwin Rommel returned to Libya after a series of meetings in Germany and Italy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German and Italian ships continued to leave Massawa, Eritrea, Italian East Africa ahead of Allied advances, while Allied warships attempted to intercept them. British sloop HMS Shoreham intercepted German ship Oder, which was scuttled by her own crew to prevent capture. British Royal Navy aircraft detected Italian freighter India; to prevent capture by British warships that were sure to come, the crew entered the port of Assab nearby. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-97 sank Norwegian ship Hørda 750 miles west of Land's End, England, United Kingdom at 1643 hours, killing the entire crew of 30. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Veniero sank British ship Agnete Maersk in the Atlantic Ocean, killing the entire crew. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 sank British ship Eastlea 40 miles east of Boa Vista, Cape Verde Islands, killing the entire crew of 37. [CPC]
  • It was announced that the Soviet Union had given Turkey an assurance that the USSR would stay neutral if Turkey found herself in conflict with a third power. [AC]
  • James Lacey, flying a Spitfire fighter, damaged a German Fw 190 aircraft. [Main Article | AC]
Germany
  • The RAF conducted its first bombing raid on Berlin, Germany for the year. [Main Article | TH]
25 Mar 1941
  • British and Indian troops attacked Italian positions on the heights above the Dongolaas Gorge in Eritrea, Italian East Africa at 0300, capturing 2 small hills and 500 prisoners by 0530 hours, gaining control of the road through the gorge. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank British liner Britannia 750 miles west of Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa. 203 crew and 281 passengers (most of which were British military personnel) took to lifeboats. Thor began to rescue the survivors, but after taking on only one man, Thor detected British radio transmissions and fled the area before British warship arrived (which never came). 255 survivors of Britannia would be lost. Later on the same day, Thor sank Swedish merchant ship Trolleholm, capturing the entire crew of 31. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran captured empty Canadian tanker Canadolite in the Mid-Atlantic about halfway between British West Africa and Brazil; Canadolite was sent to Brest, France as a prize ship. [CPC]
  • Italian destroyers Crispi and Sella departed Leros, Dodecanese Islands in Greece, each carrying three 2-ton motor assault boats loaded with 300-kg explosives. At 2330 hours, the destroyers released the motor boats 10 miles off Suda Bay, Crete, Greece to attack British warships. [CPC]
  • Rodolfo Graziani stepped down as the Governor-General of Italian Libya, succeeded by Italo Gariboldi. [Main Article | CPC]
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
  • Two Swordfish aircraft squadrons of HMS Eagle were temporarily transferred to Port Sudan, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. [Main Article | CPC]
Austria
  • Prime Minister Dragisa Cvetkovic of Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact at Vienna, Austria; in secret, Yugoslavia had also allowed German troops to travel on Yugoslavian railroads for an attack on Greece. Upon hearing of the signing of this document, anti-Axis demonstrations escalated in Belgrade. [Main Article | TH]
Japan Romania
  • Petre Dumitrescu was named the commanding officer of Romanian 3rd Army. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Jams and marmalade ration in Britain was reduced to 8 ounces per person per month and meat ration cut to 6 ounces per person per week. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Mar 1941
Greek Army Major Ioannis Paparrodou in Voskopojë (Moscopole), Albania, 25 Mar 1941
26 Mar 1941
  • The German Army High Command authorized the RSHA organization to operate death squads (Einsatzgruppen) in occupied Poland. [CPC]
  • Six Italian explosive motor boats crippled Norwegian tanker Pericles and British cruiser HMS York (killing 2) in Suda Bay, Crete, Greece at 0446 hours; all six Italian boat drivers survived the attack, but all were captured. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British conscripts could now opt for civil defense duties. [CPC]
  • Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto, 5 cruisers, and 10 destroyers sortied out of Naples, Taranto, and Brindisi in Italy to patrol the area of the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt and Greece; the goal was to attack Allied convoys bringing troops and supplies to Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Anti-Axis demonstrations continued in Yugoslavia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill sent a message to Archibald Wavell, hinting at Wavell's timidity in countering the recent Axis advances in Libya; he said "[w]e are naturally concerned at rapid German advance to El Agheila. It is their habit to push on wherever they are not resisted. I presume you are only waiting for the tortoise to stick his head out far enough before chopping it off." [Main Article | CPC]
  • Canadian armed yacht HMCS Otter caught fire and sank off Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, killing 19. [CPC]
  • In a radio broad cast to the American people, US Colonel William Donovan said about the East African campaign, "The British have done a superb job, a better job than they have let the world discover". [AC]
Germany
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka arrived in Berlin, Germany. He was not met by Joachim von Ribbentrop immediately as his German counterpart was busy with the recent political developments in Yugoslavia. [Main Article | CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • Allied troops repaired the road running through Dongolaas Gorge in Eritrea, Italian East Africa. Italian troops at nearby heights only realized this after nightfall, by then it was too late to stop the Allied column that was starting to advance, thus the Italians began to withdraw to Keren. Meanwhile, in Abyssinia, The British Nigerian Brigade captured Harar unopposed. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 26 Mar 1941
Grampus during her trials, off Groton, Connecticut, United States, 26 Mar 1941, photo 1 of 2Grampus during her trials, off Groton, Connecticut, United States, 26 Mar 1941, photo 2 of 2
27 Mar 1941
  • The US Congress approved US$7,000,000,000 for the Lend-Lease program. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-98 sank British ship Koranton 400 miles southwest of Iceland at 1350 hours, killing the entire crew of 34. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered Operation Barbarossa to be postponed due to changing political situations in the Balkan Peninsula. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Allied tanks and infantry captured heights beyond the Dongolaas Gorge in Eritrea, Italian East Africa. By 1000 hours, Keren was captured without opposition as Italian troops fled toward Asmara. The Battle of Keren ended with 536 Allies killed and 3,229 wounded, while the Italians suffered 6,500 casualties. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battleship HMS Warspite, battleship HMS Barham, battleship HMS Valiant, carrier HMS Formidable, and nine destroyers of the British Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria, Egypt to hunt for an Italian fleet known to have departed bases in Italy. Four cruisers and four destroyers also departed from Piraeus, Greece, launching spotter planes to search for the Italian fleet, locating it at noon. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Oberleutnant zur See Helmut Pöttgen of German submarine U-46 fell overboard from the submarine and was lost. [CPC]
Germany
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka met with German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Berlin, Germany in the morning; Ribbentrop noted to Matsuoka that the United States was intimidated by the Axis alliance thus would not enter into the war even if Japan joined in to strike at British possessions in Asia. In the afternoon, Matsuoka met with Adolf Hitler. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first transfers of prisoners out of Oflag IV-C camp at Colditz Castle in Germany took place; 27 Polish officers were moved to Oflag VII-B in Eichstätt, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • Japanese spy Takeo Yoshikawa arrived at the US Territory of Hawaii aboard the passenger liner Nitta Maru, under the guise of a diplomat. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • American and British representatives met at Washington DC, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Yugoslavia
  • General Dusan Simovic and other anti-German officers overthrew the pro-Axis government in Yugoslavia, placing Regent Prince Paul with King Petar II and intending to back out of the Tripartite Pact. Upon hear the news, Adolf Hitler ordered an invasion of Yugoslavia; the German foreign ministry prepared messages to Hungary, Bulgaria, and Italy for them to join in the partition Yugoslavia. On the same day, 500 German military aircraft were dispatched for Bulgaria and Romania. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 27 Mar 1941
Matsuoka and Hitler in Germany, late Mar 1941Vittorio Veneto firing during Battle of Matapan near Gavdos, Greece, 27 Mar 1941
28 Mar 1941
  • 150 miles off Cape Matapan, Greece at 0635 hours, Italian seaplane spotted a group of four Allied cruisers, and three Italian cruisers moved in to attack, engaging in combat at 0812 hours, to be joined by the big guns of Italian battleships at 1055 hours; after the morning's exchange of shellfire, all four Allied cruisers were damaged by near misses. At 1200 and 1509 hours, Allied torpedo bombers from HMS Formidable attacked, putting battleship Vittorio Veneto out of action for about 90 minutes at the cost of one aircraft. At 1936 hours, HMS Formidable's aircraft returned, joined by land-based aircraft from Crete, Greece, putting cruiser Pola out of action, but failed to catch Vittorio Veneto as she had received temporary repairs and was already en route back to Taranto, Italy. After dark, British battleships HMS Barham, HMS Valiant, and HMS Warspite moved in within 3.5 kilometers of the Italian cruisers undetected, opening fire at 2330 hours on the unsuspecting Italians. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Armored cars of Indian 4th Division and Indian 5th Division pursued Italian troops withdrawing from Keren, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. Italian rear guards fought a series of delay action engagements, slowing Allied advances by taking advantage of the terrain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian torpedo boat Chinotto hit a British mine and sank off Palermo, Sicily, Italy. The mines in the region were laid by British submarine HMS Rorqual on 25 Mar 1941. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Utmost sank German ship Heraklea and damaged German ship Ruhr off the coast of Tunisia, Italian North Africa. [CPC]
  • En route to Brest, France, German cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were spotted by a British Spitfire fighter pilot. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka again met with German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Before dawn in Berlin, Germany, General Franz Halder completed the German invasion plan for Yugoslavia. [Main Article | CPC]
Yugoslavia
  • Anti-Axis demonstrations continued in Yugoslavia. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 28 Mar 1941
Vittorio Veneto after being struck by aerial torpedo at Battle of Matapan, 28 Mar 1941Hans Lammers, Wilhelm Keitel, and Georg von Stahmer in conversation with Yosuke Matsuoka at the Japanese Embassy in Berlin, Germany, 28 Mar 1941
29 Mar 1941
  • Vichy France established an office to deal with Jewish affairs, placing Xavier Vallat at its helm. [CPC]
  • British battleships HMS Barham, HMS Valiant, and HMS Warspite continued to shell the Italian fleet off Cape Matapan, Greece. Italian cruiser Fiume, cruiser Zara, destroyer Alfieri, and destroyer Carducci were sunk, while destroyer Oriani was heavily damaged. At 0400 hours, British destroyers HMS Jervis and HMS Nubian approached damaged Italian cruiser Pola, captured her crew, and sank her with torpedoes. British ships rescued 905 Italian sailors but hurriedly departed at daybreak, fearing Luftwaffe attack; the Royal Navy would provide coordinates of remaining survivors to Italian ship Gradisca to continue to rescue. The Battle of Cape Matapan would close with 5 Italian warships lost, killing 2,303 men; the British suffered only 3 killed, the air crew of a single torpedo bomber lost on 28 Mar 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After 3 days of inaction caused by sandstorms, German tanks and armored cars advanced at El Agheila, Libya, engaging British counterparts in the desert between El Agheila and Mersa Brega. Behind Allied lines, Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed an Allied train carrying gasoline. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 attacked Allied convoy HX-115 120 miles south of Iceland between 0619 and 0806 hours, sinking 3 freighters. Most survivors were picked up by British corvette HMS Dianella. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-46 sank Swedish ship Liguria 300 miles southwest of Iceland at 1750 hours; 19 were killed, 10 survived. [CPC]
Abyssinia
  • South African 1st Brigade relieved the Nigerian Brigade in the Allied assault into Italian-occupied Abyssinia, capturing railway town of Diredawa and its airfield. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka again met with German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Berlin, Germany. Ribbentrop offered Matsuoka that, should the Soviet Union attack Japan while Japan embarked on a military campaign against British possessions in Asia, Germany would lend military assistance. Matsuoka countered, noting that the Soviet Union seemed to be friendly toward Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Mar 1941
  • Construction of defenses for the US Navy base at Palmyra and Jonston Islands began. [CPC]
  • An aircraft carrying British Air Marshal Arthur Tedder crash-landed in the Western Sahara; Tedder was not injured. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-69 sank British ship Coultarn 300 miles southwest of Iceland at 0734 hours, killing 3. 39 survivors were later picked up by British armed merchant cruiser HMS California. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Rorqual sank Italian tanker Laura Corrado 33 miles northwest of Trapani, Sicily, Italy with torpedoes and the deck gun. [CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel ordered German 5th Light Division commander General Johannes Streich to capture Mersa Brega, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Dagabur attacked British cruiser HMS Bonaventure, escorting Allied convoy GA-8, in the Mediterranean Sea between Crete, Greece and Egypt at 2027 hours. The attack failed to damage the British ship. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ship Umona 90 miles southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 2300 hours. 102 were killed and 5 survived. [CPC]
  • The British RAF launched 109 aircraft after sundown to attack German cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at Brest, France. [CPC]
Germany
  • In a lengthy speech in the Cabinet Room of the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Hitler told his assembled commanders of his intention to "exterminate" communism "for all time". [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • At a conference in Washington DC, United States, the US and the United Kingdom agreed on military coordination in the event of US entry into the war. In accordance to another agreement made in the conference, the Americans seized 2 German, 26 Italian, and 35 Danish ships in US ports; 850 Italian and 63 German officers and men were imprisoned. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Mar 1941
Starboard quarter view looking forward showing USS Gar and USS Grampus fitting out, 30 Mar 1941
31 Mar 1941
  • British Army Dental Corps Private Coe arrived in Switzerland after escaping from a German prisoner of war camp. He was the first to successfully do so. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, 109 RAF bombers attacked German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in Brest, France, scoring no hits. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German 5th Light Division attacked British 2nd Armoured Division at Mersa Brega, Libya starting at 0745 hours, supported by dive bombers. After holding off the offensive for most of the day, German tanks broke through at 1730 hours, capturing the town by 1900 hours. As the sun slowly set, British commanders decided not to counterattack with their tanks, but instead withdraw 30 miles northeast toward Agedabia. The day's engagement cost the British 60 men killed, 8 armored carriers destroyed, and 1 anti-aircraft gun destroyed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Ambra sank British cruiser HMS Bonaventure 125 miles south of Crete, Greece at 0244 hours. Bonaventure was escorting Allied convoy GA8 from Greece to Alexandria, Egypt at the time. 138 were killed, 310 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-46 sank Swedish tanker Castor 300 miles east of the southern tip of Greenland at 1033 hours, killing the entire crew of 15. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Rorqual sank Italian submarine Pier Capponi by torpedo 28 miles northwest of Messina, Sicily, Italy, killing the entire crew of 49. [CPC]
  • Prince of Wales was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • Husband Kimmel and Walter Short received a report noting the weakness of the base at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii to surprise air attacks. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • British and Indian troops broke through the roadblocks on the road between Keren and Asmara in Eritrea, Italian East Africa, capturing 560 Italian troops; continuing the push south, Indian 5th Infantry Division engaged Italian troops near Adi Tekelezan, which was less than 50 kilometers from Asmara and was the last town before Asmara. To the east, Italian destroyers Leone, Pantera, and Tigre departed Massawa, Eritrea to attack British port facilities at Port Sudan, British Sudan; Leone struck underwater rocks en route, and Pantera and Tigre were forced to sink Leone by gunfire, and the attack was called off with two surviving ships heading back to Massawa. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
1 Apr 1941
  • Pro-German officers under Rashid Ali began their move against the government; Rashid Ali declared himself the "Chief of the National Defence Government." [Main Article | AC, CPC]
  • To avoid being captured by the Americans and Canadians, 8 German merchant ships were scuttled by their own crews in various South American ports. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers sank British tanker San Conrado and Norwegian tanker Hidlefjord 45 miles west of Milford Haven, Wales, United Kingdom, killing the entire crew of 29 of the latter. Three other tanks were also damaged during this attack. [CPC]
  • George Giffard was mentioned in a despatch for his service in the Middle East between 1939 and 1940. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was promoted to the rank of Leutnant. [Main Article | CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • In Italian East Africa, advancing British tanks were met by 2 police officers from Asmara, declaring the Eritrean capital an open city; troops of Indian 5th Division entered the city at 1000 hours, accepting the surrender of 5,000 Italian prisoners of war, while British armored cars under Colonel Bernard Fletcher raced toward Adigrat to cut off the Italian retreat into Abyssinia. To the east, German merchant ships continued to leave the port of Massawa; British destroyer HMS Kandahar intercepted German ship Bertram Rickmers, which was scuttled by her own crew. [Main Article | CPC]
Puerto Rico
  • 4th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of 13th Composite Wing of 72nd Observation Group of US Army Air Corps was assigned to Losey Field in Puerto Rico. [Main Article | CPC]
2 Apr 1941
  • German troops captured Agedabia and Zuetania in North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battleship Bismarck received two aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 sank British ship Beaverdale with one torpedo and deck gun 300 miles southwest of Iceland at 0150 hours; 21 were killed and 58 survived. [CPC]
  • Canadian armed merchant cruiser Prince Henry intercepted two German merchant ships off Peru; the German ships were scuttled by their own crews to prevent capture. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked Allied convoy AS23 25 miles south of Crete, Greece, sinking 2 freighters and damaging 2 others. [CPC]
  • Allied convoy SC-26 ran into a patrol line formed by eight German submarines 460 miles southwest of Iceland. Overnight, German submarines U-46, U-69, U-73, and U-74 sank 6 merchant ships, damaged 1 merchant ship, and damaged the escorting British armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire; 110 men were killed. [CPC]
Germany
  • Subhash Chandra Bose arrived in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii Italian Eritrea
  • In Eritrea, Italian East Africa, British troops offered surrender terms to Italian Admiral Mario Bonetti's fleet which had sortied out of Massawa on the previous day; Bonetti chose to press on with his planned attack on Port Sudan in British Sudan. British armored cars under Colonel Bernard Fletcher cut off the Italian retreat from Eritrea at Adigrat. Finally, in Abyssinia, 22nd East African Brigade of the British 11th African Division reached the Awash River. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a Hurricane fighter near Tobruk, Libya at 1250 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Apr 1941
  • Overnight, RAF unsuccessfully attacked German cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at Brest, France, but some German naval officers were killed when a bomb struck the Continental Hotel in the city. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Axis troops marched toward Benghazi, Libya. British troops evacuated the city per General Philip Neame's orders. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German aircraft conducted a heavy raid on Bristol, England during the night. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Pál Teleki passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian Admiral Mario Bonetti's fleet of 5 destroyers and smaller warships, which had sailed out of Massawa, Italian East Africa on the previous day, was detected and attacked by a force of British aircraft. Without air cover, one by one the Italian ships became so damaged by bomb hits that they had to be abandoned. The last survivor, the torpedo boat Orsini, tried to flee back to Massawa but being badly damaged by the British air attacks, she eventually settled and had to be scuttled before reaching the port. With British ground forces only an hour away from entering the port the remaining Italian ships there (Acerbi and half a dozen small MAS boats) were destroyed with demolition charges. [Main Article | AC]
  • Winston Churchill recommended Richard O'Connor as the new British commander in Libya, but O'Connor declined. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-76 sank Finnish ship Daphne 150 miles south of Iceland, killing both crew members. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tigris sank German tanker Thorn 100 miles southwest of Saint-Nazaire, France. [CPC]
  • German bombers sank British munitions ship Northern Prince 17 miles west of Crete, Greece. All crew members survived. [Main Article | CPC]
Iraq
  • The Iraqi Parliamentary government was overthrown by the military coup d’état that began two days prior. [Main Article | AC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • HMS Argus and HMS Ark Royal, ferrying 12 Hurricane fighters and 3 Skua dive bombers, successfully launched them to reinforce Malta, completing Operation Winch. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill warned Joseph Stalin (via the Soviet ambassador in London, England, United Kingdom) German troop movements into Poland detected by British intelligence. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Apr 1941
  • German submarines continued their attack on Allied convoy SC-26 250 miles southwest of Iceland, which was initially intercepted two days prior. Between 0000 and 0344 hours, U-94 and U-98 sank three ships; 36 were killed and 70 survived. At 1956 hours, U-76 sank Athenic; the entire crew of 40 were rescued. Destroyer HMS Wolverine and sloop HMS Scarborough were able to locate U-76 and launched depth charges, damaging the submarine. [CPC]
  • Hitler promised ambassador Matsuoka that in case of war between US and Japan, Germany would lend assistance. [CPC]
  • The anti-British propaganda film Ohm Kruger was released. [CPC]
  • Axis troops captured Benghazi, Libya, which was evacuated by British forces on the previous day. They pushed further east to the Green Mountain, where they were held by 3 companies of the Australian 9th Division. In the desert to the south, while German 5th Light Division was held in place waiting for a resupply of fuel, the British did not realize the German offensive through the desert had paused and continued to fall back. From the air, German Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed a convoy of 21 trucks, destroying 1,600 gallons of gasoline. [Main Article | CPC]
  • George Patton was promoted to the temporary rank of major general. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German raider Thor and British armed merchant cruiser Voltaire engaged in a 55-minute gun duel 900 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands at the distance of 9 kilometers. Voltaire was sunk, killing 74; Thor picked up 195 survivors. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-97 sank British ship Conus 500 miles southwest of Iceland at 2006 hours, killing 59. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ship Marlene 75 miles west of Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa; 13 were killed, 47 survived. [CPC]
  • British mooring vessel HMS Buffalo wondered into a minefield laid by friendly vessels, struck a mine, and sank off Singapore, killing 32. [CPC]
  • Italian bombers sank Greek torpedo boat Proussa and Greek freighter Sussanna off Corfu, Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers sank Free French sloops Suippe and Conquerant at Falmouth, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • After securing Asmara, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, Indian 5th Division moved east toward Massawa while Indian 4th Division was withdrawn from the region to reinforce Libya where a renewed Axis offensive was underway. 6 German and 7 Italian freighters were scuttled at Massawa to prevent Allied capture, while British RAF aircraft sank Italian torpedo boat Acerbi in the harbor. In Abyssinia, Italian troops were evacuated out of Addis Ababa as British 11th African Division advanced. [Main Article | CPC]
5 Apr 1941
  • At Moscow, Russia, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union entered into a non-aggression treaty. [CPC]
  • Axis forces advanced toward Msus and Mechili in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Before dawn, shortly after midnight, British destroyer HMS Wolverine, corvette HMS Arbutus, and sloop HMS Scarborough, escorting Allied convoy SC-26, forced German submarine U-76 to surface 250 miles south of Iceland. The German crew scuttled the submarine to prevent capture. During the attack on the submarine, 1 German crewman was killed; the 42 survivors were captured by the British. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-105 sank British ship Ena de Larrinaga 800 miles northwest of Natal, Brazil at 0338 hours; 5 were killed, 38 survived. [CPC]
  • The US Congress passed the "Fifth Supplemental National Defense Appropriation Act, 1941", which allocated US$14,575,000 for establishing a Marine Corps training ground on the east coast of the United States. [CPC]
  • The German embassy in Moscow, Russia reported that Soviet exports to Germany had dramatically increased in the month of Mar 1941, but the flow of goods from Germany to the Soviet Union had slowed. [CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • Indian 5th Division reached Massawa, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. Italian Admiral Bonetti, the head of the 10,000-strong garrison who had ignored surrender demands previously, asked for surrender terms at 1330 hours. Before the Allies responded, however, his superiors in Rome, Italy ordered him to fight until the last man. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Apr 1941
German 15 cm sFH 37(t) howitzer shelling Metaxas Line fortifications, Greece, early Apr 1941
6 Apr 1941

Abyssinia
  • British 11th African Division captured the Abyssinian capital Addis Ababa unopposed; the Italian garrison originally based in Addis Ababa had withdrawn north to Gondar and Amba Alagi. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • British armed merchant cruiser HMS Comorin, carrying military personnel for British West Africa, caught fire 450 miles west of Ireland; 20 were killed, 405 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-94 sank Norwegian tanker Lincoln Ellsworth 100 miles southwest of Ireland at 1700 hours with 2 torpedoes and 121 rounds from the deck gun. The entire crew survived in 2 lifeboats. [CPC]
France
  • RAF Beaufort aircraft torpedoed German battlecruiser Gneisenau at Brest, France. During this attack, Flying Officer Kenneth Campbell of No. 22 Squadron RAF Coastal Command, who scored the hit with an Mk XII torpedo, was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed with the loss of the entire crew. Campbell would be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his gallantry. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
Libya
  • British and Australian troops hurriedly evacuated Barce and Derna, Libya, falling back toward Tobruk to avoid being cut off by the advancing German troops. On the same day, Axis troops captured Msus, Libya, a major fuel and supply dump; the fuel was destroyed by the Allies before German capture. German troops besieged Mechili by 1700 hours. After dark, British generals General Neame and O'Connor began evacuating themselves to Tmimi west of Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • A transport of 1,021 prisoners from Pawiak Prison in Warsaw, Poland arrived at Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Famous actors Bronislaw Dardzinski, Tadeusz Hertman Kanski, Stefan Jaracz, Zbigniew Nowakowski, and Leon Schiller were among them, arrested for the murder of actor Igo Sym who collaborated with German propaganda efforts. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Yugoslavia
  • Before dawn, German, Hungarian, and Italian forces invaded Yugoslavia from Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. German Luftwaffe swiftly destroyed Yugoslavian Air Force on the ground and devastated Belgrade with aerial bombing between 0700 and 0830 hours, killing 4,000 civilians; on the ground, German forces spearheaded by armor reached the Skopje and Veles areas in southern Yugoslavia. On the same day, German, Hungarian, and Italian forces invaded Greece from Bulgaria. Unlike the success in Yugoslavia, the invasion was slowed by Greek and British troops at the Metaxas Line. After sundown, a Luftwaffe raid on Piraeus, Greece got an unexpected boost when the ammunition ship Clan Fraser was hit, with the resulting blast doing more damage to the port facilities than the aerial bombs dropped by the Germans; the explosion also caused the sinking of 11 other freighters. [Main Article | TH]
7 Apr 1941
  • US Navy transferred 3 battleships, 1 carrier, 4 light cruisers, 18 destroyers, and other ships from the Pacific Fleet to the Atlantic Fleet. [CPC]
  • The British government raised income tax again, by another 1 shilling and 6 pence to 10 shillings in the pound. [AC]
  • British armed merchant cruiser HMS Comorin, damaged by a fire on the previous day, was scuttled by the guns of destroyers HMS Broke and HMS Lincoln 450 miles west of Ireland after all survivors were rescued. [CPC]
  • Yugoslavian troops were forced to withdraw to southern Macedonia when the Germans captured Skopje, exposing their flank. German 2nd Panzer Division had reached Strumica, Yugoslavia by the end of the day, which was only 10 miles from the Greek border, from which point it would be able to bypass the Metaxas Line defenses, where German troops conducted a failed frontal assault on this day. The United Kingdom promised aid to Yugoslavia and broke off relations with Hungary; meanwhile, RAF bombers conducted a raid on Sofia, Bulgaria. [Main Article | TH]
  • A US Navy base began operations in Bermuda, which was leased to the United States for 99 years in exchange for destroyers. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, a motor column containing British military governor of Cyrenaica, Libya Lieutenant General Philip Neame and British Lieutenant General Richard O'Connor got lost and became captured by a German patrol between Mechili and Derna. During the day, Axis troops captured Derna, Libya. 50 miles to the south, British, Australian, and Indian troops prepared their defenses at Mechili, which had been surrounded by Axis troops since the prior day. The Axis forces had not yet attacked Mechili due to sandstorms; Rommel ordered that an attack must be launched on the next day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 229 RAF bombers conducted a raid on Kiel, Germany. [CPC]
  • German bombers sank minesweeping trawler HMT Rochebonne off the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, killing 11. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank Canadian ship Portadoc with 1 torpedo and 24 rounds from the deck gun 240 miles west of Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 1750 hours. The entire crew fo 20 survived in 2 lifeboats. [CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Capetown bombarded Massawa, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. Italian torpedo boat MAS.213 counterattacked and seriously damaged HMS Capetown with a torpedo at 2315 hours, but Capetown was able to escape despite the damage. She would be towed to Bombay, India for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Gloster E.28/39 jet powered prototype piloted by Chief Test Pilot P.E.G.Sayer commenced taxiing trials at Gloster's Hucclecote airfield in Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | AC]
8 Apr 1941
  • German bombers conducted a raid on Coventry, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | TH]
  • German 2nd Panzer Division crossed from southern Yugoslavia into northern Greece near Dojran Lake. Elsewhere, German 73rd Infantry Division moved into the Monastir Valley and captured Prilep, Yugoslavia and prepared to move south toward Salonika, Greece. German 6th Mountain Division penetrated the Metaxas Line by crossing a 7,000 feet mountain range. Finally, German bombers attacked Belgrade, Yugoslavia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British, Indian, and Free French troops captured hill forts surrounding Massawa, Eritrea, Italian East Africa. RAF aircraft sank Italian minelayer Ostia in the Massawa harbor; avoiding capture, Italian destroyer Orsini and 12 other vessels were scuttled, leaving the harbor nearly unusable with so many wrecks. Shortly after, British General Heath accepted the formal surrender by Italian Admiral Bonetti and his 10,000-strong garrison. Prior to the surrender, ammunition and supply dumps were destroyed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Before dawn, some of the British, Australian, and Indian troops fled from Mechili, Libya, which would be captured by Axis troops by the end of the day. Major General John Lavarack assumed the duties of Lieutenant General Philip Neame as the British military governor of Cyrenaica, Libya; Neame was captured by a German patrol on the previous day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Eskdene with 2 torpedoes and 104 rounds from the deck gun 200 miles south of the Azores at 0742 hours; the entire crew of 39 survived. At 1940 hours, U-107 sank British ship Helena Margareta in the same region; 27 were killed, 9 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ship Tweed 150 miles off Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 1225 hours; 3 were killed, 22 survived in 2 lifeboats. [CPC]
  • The Gloster E.28/39 jet powered prototype made a series of short hops along the Hucclecote airfield runway in Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom before being dismantled and moved by road to RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire, England where it was felt that the longer runway would be an advantage for flight tests. [Main Article | AC]
  • USS Astoria arrived at Long Beach, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Josias was promoted to the rank of General der Polizei. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Apr 1941
  • German troops reached the Monastir Gap in Macedonia, southern Yugoslavia, preparing to cross into Greece to outflank the Metaxas Line and the Aliakmon Line. German troops also arrived at Nis, Yugoslavia and Salonika, Greece on this day. [Main Article | TH]
  • RAF bombers attacked the German naval base at Kiel. [TH]
  • 237 German bombers conducted a raid on Birmingham, England, United Kingdom, dropping 285 tons of high explosive bombs and 1,110 incendiary bombs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian 27th Division "Brescia" and German 5th Light Division reached Tobruk, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Danish ambassador to the United States Henrik Kauffmann signed an agreement with the US that made Greenland an American protectorate for the duration of the war. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Harparthian 400 miles northeast of Canary Islands at 0037 hours; 4 were killed, 39 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-98 sank Dutch ship Prins Willem II 200 miles southeast of Iceland at 0216 hours; 3 were killed, 22 survived in 2 lifeboats. [CPC]
  • North Carolina was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
Egypt
  • HMS Eagle departed Alexandria, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • The P.111 prototype aircraft took its first flight. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Prince Hiroyasu stepped down as the chief of the Japanese Navy General Staff. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The head of the Soviet Air Force Directorate Pavel Rychagov complained to Joseph Stalin that his pilots were flying in "coffins", referring to the poor condition of aircraft due to state neglect. [CPC]
10 Apr 1941
  • The Germany Navy, Kriegsmarine, ordered the construction of 60 submarines. [CPC]
  • In Yugoslavia, German troops capture the Croatian capital of Zagreb; Croatian Fascist chief Ante Pavelic returned from exile to proclaim the independent state of Croatia. Further South, German 9th Panzer Division and Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment moved through the Monastir Gap, moved across the Greek border, and captured the town of Florina. British troops fell back from the Aliakmon Line southwest of Salonika, Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • Franklin Roosevelt approved the transfer of 10 Lake-class Coast Guard Cutters to the British Royal Navy; the transfers were completed between 30 Apr and 30 May 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Seiichi Ito was named the chief of staff of the Japanese Navy Combined Fleet. [CPC]
  • 206 Luftwaffe aircraft attacked Birmingham, England, United Kingdom, dropping 246 tons of high explosive bombs and 1,183 incendiary bombs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Overnight, RAF aircraft attacked German battlecruisers in Brest, France, hitting Gneisenau with 4 bombs and causing extensive damage. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German 15th Panzer Division under General Heinrich von Prittwitz und Gaffron attacked Tobruk, Libya from the west. Prittwitz was killed while personally leading a reconnaissance mission by armored cars. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British tanker Duffield at 0345 hours; 25 were killed, 28 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-52 sank Dutch ship Saleier 500 miles southwest of Iceland at 1955 hours. The entire crew of 63 abandoned ship in 3 lifeboats and were rescued by American destroyer USS Niblack. [CPC]
  • American destroyer USS USS Niblack attacked a German submarine off Iceland; the submarine escaped without being damaged. It was the first shot fired between the US and Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chuichi Nagumo was named the commanding officer of the First Air Fleet. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Nigerian troops of the British 11th African Division marched from Addis Ababa toward Jimma in Abyssinia, while Indian 5th Division marched from Massawa, Eritrea toward Amara, Abyssinia. At Assab, Eritrea, Italians scutled 7 freighters to prevent capture. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Teiichi Yoshimoto was named the chief of staff of Kenkichi Ueda (Japanese Kwantung Army in northeastern China). [CPC]
Germany
  • Overnight, RAF aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany, destroying the historical Opera House. It would be restored by 1943, but would again be bombed in Feb 1945. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Paul von Kleist was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Netherlands
  • Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld shot down a British Wellington bomber shortly after 0000 hours over the IJsselmeer in the Netherlands. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Apr 1941
German vehicles in Yugoslavia or Greece, Apr 1941; sIG 33 self-propelled gun at left, DKW NZ350 motorcycle at right, SdKfz 10 in background
11 Apr 1941
  • Italian forces redoubled their efforts to link up with units in Albania. In northern Greece, German troops captured Vevi. In the evening, British, Australian, and New Zealand troops engaged German troops in Greece for the first time just south of Vevi, stopping the advance of Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment at Klidi Pass. [Main Article | TH]
  • 153 Luftwaffe aircraft bombed Bristol, England, United Kingdom; it was nicknamed the "Good Friday Raid". The city's docks, St Philip's Bridge, and residential areas were damaged. The city tramways power supply line was destroyed by the bomb that hit St Philip's Bridge; it was decided that the damage was too severe to repair and all the tram cars were soon to be scrapped for the war effort; none of the tram cars were preserved for historical purposes. [Main Article | TH]
  • Italy and Hungary joined the German invasion of Yugoslavia. [Main Article | AC]
  • Erwin Rommel performed a flanking movement in Libya, cutting the road east of Bardia at 1300 hours; all attacks on the city itself, however, were repulsed. On the same day, German aircraft bombed Tobruk harbor, damaging British ship Draco. [Main Article | CPC]
  • George Patton was made the commanding officer of the 2nd Armored Division. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank Greek ship Aegeon 200 miles southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 2100 hours; 4 were killed, 27 survived. [CPC]
  • German armored train Atlas arrived at Mönichkirchen, Germany (occupied Austria) to prepare the village for Adolf Hitler's arrival on the following day. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini concluded their four-day meeting at Salzburg in occupied Austria, during which Hitler convinced Mussolini to remain in the war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed that the Red Sea was to be no longer considered as a war zone so as to enable it to be used by American shipping. [Main Article | AC]
Germany
  • French Lieutenant Alain le Ray became the first Allied serviceman to escape from Colditz Castle, site of the prisoner of war camp Oflag IV-C, in Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • Destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Janus, HMS Nubian, and HMS Mohawk of the British 14th Destroyer Flotilla arrived in Malta to act as a night striking force. [Main Article | AC]
12 Apr 1941
  • German troops captured Belgrade in the Serbia region of Yugoslavia as Hugarian troops also crossed the border into Yugoslavia, joining the invasion. On the Danube River in Yugoslavia, German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers, sinking river monitor Drava (54 were killed, 13 survived) while forcing three others, Morava, Sava, and Vardar, to be scuttled. To the south in Greece, German SS troops overran British and Australian troops south of Vevi, forcing the Allies to fall back from the Aliakmon Line to the Mount Olympus Line to block the German troops at Vevi from advancing further. On the same day, British anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Coventry, destroyer HMS Decoy, destroyer HMS Encounter, and troopship Glenroy evacuated a battalion of troops, 1,000 tons of supplies, and 40 vehicles from the Greek island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea near Salonika. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ship St. Helena 100 miles southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 0509 hours; all 41 aboard survived and were rescued by destroyer HMS Wishart. [CPC]
  • British bombers conducted a raid on the fish oil factories in Hammerfest, Norway. [CPC]
  • US established air and naval bases in Greenland. [CPC]
  • German troops captured Bardia, Libya. At Tobruk, the German probing attacks with tanks and armored cars were repulsed. Meanwhile, columns of Axis troops were dispatched to move toward the Libyan-Egyptian border to cut off the Allied forces in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tetrarch sank Italian tanker Persiano 55 miles northeast of Tripoli, Libya. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Kormoran sank Greek ship Nicolaos D. L. 920 miles southwest of British West Africa, capturing the entire crew of 38. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler arrived at Mönichkirchen, Germany (occupied Austria) via his personal train Amerika. He would remain in his village to oversee the operations in the Balkan Peninsula. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Alexander Löhr was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • The 8th airfield in the Panama Canal Zone was declared operational. [CPC]
13 Apr 1941
  • Soviet Union and Japan signed a 5-year neutrality pact. In Moscow, Russia, German ambassador Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg reported that Joseph Stalin was unexpectedly friendly to both Japanese and German diplomats on this date. [Main Article | TH]
  • The German Leibstandarte SS Regiment attacked through the Metsovon Pass in an attempt to flank the Greek positions on the front with Albania. To prevent this, Greek General Papago ordered Greek troops in Albania to fall back, allowing Italian 11th Army to capture Korçë, Permet, and Porto Palermo in Albania. Further south, German aircraft attacked Piraeus, Greece, sinking Greek destroyer Psara and damaging destroyer Vasilevs Georgios I. [Main Article | TH]
  • Axis artillery bombarded Allied defensive positions at Tobruk, Libya at 1700 hours, and 30 minutes later German 5th Light Division, Italian Ariete Division, and Italian Trento Division commenced an attack. Australian troops repulsed the repeated attacks. Further east, German troops captured Fort Capuzzo near the Libyan-Egyptian border. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-108, having tracked and unsuccessfully attacked the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Rajputana for the past two days, sank her with a torpedo 100 miles west of Iceland at 0743 hours; 40 were killed, 283 were rescued by destroyer HMS Legion. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ship Corinthic 75 miles west of Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 2229 hours; 2 were killed, 39 survived. [CPC]
  • Alarmed by the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, US President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the US Navy to scale back operations in the Atlantic Ocean to avoid war with Germany, as naval resources might need to be diverted to the Pacific Ocean to counter this new threat. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The two Swordfish aircraft squadrons of HMS Eagle which had been temporarily transferred to Port Sudan, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan three weeks prior returned to the carrier shortly after she had transited the Suez Canal. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Paul von Kleist was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • Luftwaffe aircraft conducted a raid on Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British battleship HMS King George V, light cruiser HMS Nigeria, and destroyers HMS Mashona, HMS Electra, and HMS Escapade departed Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0107 hours in poor weather. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • The forty Manchester bombers on the strength of Nos. 207 and 97 Squadrons were grounded for engine modifications. During the work alterations were also made to allow the carriage of 4000-pound HC (high capacity) bombs; the first of which was dropped by a No. 207 Squadron aircraft on Berlin, Germany on the night of 8 to 9 May 1941. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • USS Astoria entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States for a refit. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Apr 1941
Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka signing the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, 13 Apr 1941, photo 1 of 3; note Molotov and Stalin in background2 pounder gun of Australian 1st Anti-Tank Regiment and its crew near Vevi, northern Greece, 13 Apr 1941Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka signing the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, 13 Apr 1941, photo 2 of 3; note Molotov and Stalin in backgroundSoviet Foreign Minister Molotov signing the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, 13 Apr 1941; note Matsuoka and Stalin in background
See all photos dated 13 Apr 1941
14 Apr 1941
  • Corporal John Edmondson of 2/17th Battalion of Australian 9th Division led a bayonet charge at Tobruk, Libya despite being shot in the stomach and neck, later dying of these wounds. He would be awarded a Victoria Cross. [CPC]
  • The Greek Epirus Army continued to withdraw from Albania, and German 73rd Infantry Division attempted to block it at Kastoria Pass, resulting in heavy fighting. On the eastern coast of Greece, the German advance was halted at Platamon between Mount Olympus and the Aegean Sea. King Petar II of Yugoslavia fled to Athens, Greece as German troops advanced on his capital; in the evening, the Yugoslavian government asked General Ewald von Kleist of the German 1st Panzer Group for a ceasefire. [Main Article | TH]
  • King Farouk of Egypt invited Adolf Hitler for a discussion on Egyptian independence from the United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • British gunboat HMS Aphis bombarded Bardia, Libya, while gunboat HMS Gnat bombarded German troops at Sollum, Egypt. German aircraft damaged HMS Gnat, killing 1. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-52 sank Belgian passenger ship Ville de Liège 400 miles southwest of Iceland at 0117 hours; 40 were killed, 12 survived. [CPC]
  • British Swordfish torpedo bombers of No. 815 Squadron based in Paramythia, Greece sank Italian steamers Luciano and Stampalia at the port of Vlorë, Albania overnight; 1 Swordfish aircraft was shot down, with 1 airman killed and 2 captured. [CPC]
  • At Tobruk, Libya, German infantry filled anti-tank ditches and cutting wires at the El Adem road starting at 0230 hours, with the work interrupted periodically by Allied fire. At 0520 hours, 36 tanks of German 5th Panzer Regiment moved through the gap created by the infantry, but were halted by British guns and dug-in Crusader tanks 2 miles beyond the line. In the air, British, German, and Italian fighters engaged in combat in the air while 40 German Stuka dive bombers attacked the Tobruk harbor. At 0730 hours, the Axis offensive was called back after losing 16 tanks and 400 men (150 killed, 250 captured). [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British cargo ship, Fort Stikine, carrying 1,400 tons of explosives and 124 gold bars worth £1 million, caught fire in Bombay harbour, India and exploded, showering the docks with blazing debris. The blast and tidal wave which followed sank four ships and damage a further eleven, one of which, a troopship, was hurled out of the water and onto the roof of a warehouse. Half an hour later, the wreck of the Fort Stikine was devastated by a second massive explosion which threw debris 3,000 feet into the air and over a square mile of the docks and city. The two explosions killed 231 and injured a further 476. The bodies of more than 500 dock workers and civilians were also recovered, another 1,000 people simply disappeared and 2,000 were hospitalised. Eleven ships were lost. In 1960 a dredger working in the harbour recovered a single gold bar. [AC]
  • A US Marine Corps garrison designated Marine Detachment, 1st Defense Battalion, was established at Palmyra Atoll. [CPC]
France
  • The first major mass arrest of Jews in Paris, France took place. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Australian infantry outside Tobruk, Libya reported the sighting of a number of "long-barrelled guns on strange carriages". This was the first indication that the Germans were deploying the dreaded 88-mm anti-tank gun in the Western Desert (although on this occasion the guns were soon withdrawn when German infantry failed to create a gap). [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • USS Gar was commissioned into service at New London, Connecticut, United States with Lieutenant D. McGregor in command. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Apr 1941
  • Yugoslavian 2nd Army surrendered Sarajevo to the Germans, effectively ending the country's official resistance; many fighters, however, fled into the mountains and would later fight as guerrillas. In Greece, German aircraft bombed the British RAF airfield at Larisa at dawn, destroying 10 Blenheim aircraft on the ground. Troops of Leibstandarte SS Regiment took the road to Greneva, isolating the Greek Epirus Army which was attempting to move from Albania back into Greece. This move also exposed the flank of the Allied Mount Olympus Line; in response, British General Wilson ordered the Mount Olympus Line abandoned at 1000 hours, with Australian and New Zealand troops acting as rear guards for several more days as the remaining Allies fell back to the Thermopylae Line. As the situation grew dire, British Admiral Cunningham begins began considering a general evacuation from Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • Starting at 2300 hours, a heavy German air raid by 200 Luftwaffe bombers attacked Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. The attack would last until 0500 hours on the next day. [Main Article | TH]
  • Franklin Roosevelt approved the formation of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) of combat pilots in China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Achates departed Greenock, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0840 hours for Scapa Flow to the north, but was rerouted to Loch Alsh at 1400 hours. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Tazzoli sank British ship Aurillac 500 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal, killing 1. [CPC]
  • 1,000 Italian troops attacked Tobruk, Libya at 1730 hours, overrunning Australian defensive lines, but they were driven back at 1815 hours the arrival of an Australian reserve company and heavy artillery. 250 Italians were killed and 113 were captured in this failed attack. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Flying in a Bf 109 fighter en route to Theo Osterkamp's birthday party, Adolf Galland took a detour toward Britain in search of targets. After shooting down one Spitfire fighter, he was shot down by another Spitfire. He was rescued from the water a few hours later. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • HMS Edinburgh completed escort duties with Allied convoy SL.69 and arrived at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
16 Apr 1941
  • The first US Lend-Lease food shipment arrived in Britain. [TH]
  • British aircraft carrier Furious, under repair at Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom was damaged by German bombing. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Janus, HMS Nubian, and HMS Mohawk, aided by Ultra intercepts of German communications, ambushed an Axis convoy on the Tunisian coast after sundown. 4 German troopships and 1 Italian ammunition ship (carrying German 15th Panzer Division less its tanks) as well as Italian destroyers Luca Tarigo, Baleno, and Lampo; 1,800 were killed, 1,200 survived. Luca Tarigo was able to fire two torpedoes at HMS Mohawk, which hit and killed 43 men; HMS Mohawk would soon be scuttled in a hurry, leaving behind secret documents outlining Alexandria, Egypt defenses for Italian divers to capture shortly after. [CPC]
  • Yugoslavians negotiated with the Germans for armistice terms in Belgrade, but the first emissary dispatched did not have sufficient authority to sign the surrender document. In Zagreb, Croatian leader Ante Pavelic formally came into power as the head of the Independent State of Croatia. In Greece, German troops attacked the Platamon Pass between Mount Olympus and the Aegean Sea, forcing New Zealand troops to withdraw across the river at the bottom of the Tempe Gorge, a move that greatly alarmed Allied leadership. Meanwhile, German 6th Mountain Division attacked across Mount Olympus using goat paths, taking heavy casualties. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Troops of the Italian 62nd "Trento" Regiment attacked Tobruk, Libya in the late afternoon; the attack was personally observed by Erwin Rommel. The attack was driven back by heavy artillery fire, and the entire 1st Battalion of the Italian 62nd Regiment, 775 men and 25 officers, was captured. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor stopped Swedish ship Sir Ernest Cassell with two warning shots 500 miles southwest of Cape Verde Islands. The crew of Sir Ernest Cassell was taken aboard, and the ship was scuttled with demolition charges. [CPC]
  • The German embassy in Moscow, Russia continued to report unexpectedly friendliness from the Soviets toward Germany. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 0500 hours, the German air raid on Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom which began at 2300 hours on the previous date ended; the 203 tons of high explosive bombs, 80 parachute mines, and 800 incendiary bombs dropped killed 758, wounded 1,500, and destroyed 56,000 homes; 100,000 residents were made homeless. At the end of the day and into the next day, 681 German aircraft bombed London, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | TH]
  • British destroyer HMS Achates departed Loch Alsh, Scotland, United Kingdom and arrived at Scapa Flow at 2100 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Minister of Labour, Ernest Bevin, announced a National Registration of Women for war work. The first registrations, for women in the age group 20 and 21, was to commence on 19 April 1941. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Apr 1941
Major General Galland, Colonel Mölders, and Major Lützowplatz celebrating OsterkampMajor General Galland, Colonel Mölders, and Major Lützowplatz celebrating OsterkampMajor General Galland, Colonel Mölders, and Major Lützowplatz celebrating OsterkampMajor General Galland, Colonel Mölders, and Major Lützowplatz celebrating Osterkamp
See all photos dated 16 Apr 1941
17 Apr 1941
  • German motor torpedo boats S.41 S.42 S.43 S.55, S.104 attacked Allied convoy FS464 off Great Yarmouth, England, United Kingdom, sinking 2 small freighters and damaging a large steamer. The German S-boats were engaged by British motor gun boats MGB.60, MGB.59, and MGB.64, without success. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-123 sank Swedish MV Venezuela 600 miles west of Ireland at 1730 hours; the crew of 49 abandoned ship in lifeboats, but they were never seen again. [CPC]
  • Egyptian steamship Zamzam, with American passengers aboard, was shelled and sunk by German auxiliary cruiser Atlantic in the South Atlantic; 138 Americans were rescued. [CPC]
  • Rashid Ali al-Gaylani's 16-day old Iraqi government submitted a request to Germany for military assistance in its attempt to remove British forces from Iraq. Meanwhile, Iraqi forces surrounded the RAF airbase at Habbaniya while British 1st Battalion King's Own Royal Regiment, originally based in Karachi, India, arrived at RAF Shaibah near Basra. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian infantry and tanks attacked Tobruk, Libya in the early afternoon, but it was repulsed. After dark, 12 Axis tanks engaged Allied counterparts along the line; 3 Axis tanks were destroyed. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Masafumi Arima became the deputy commanding officer of Yokosuka Naval Air Corps and the chief training officer of the same unit. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • British submarine HMS Truant sank Italian barque Vanna off the Libyan coast; Vanna was carrying ammunition and fuel to Derna, Libya. [CPC]
Poland
  • SS-Untersturmfuehrer Maximilian Grabner at Auschwitz Concentration Camp announced that urns containing the ashes of Polish political prisoners who died at Auschwitz no longer needed to be sent to their families. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • King Petar II of Yugoslavia arrived at London, England, United Kingdom via Athens, Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The bombing of London, England, United Kingdom which began on the previous date ended before dawn. 1,179 were killed. [Main Article | CPC]
Yugoslavia
  • Yugoslavia formally surrendered to Germany as Foreign Minister Cincar-Marcovic signed the armistice with German and Italian representatives in Belgrade. Germans captured Yugoslavian destroyers Beograd and Dubrovnik at Kotor, but destroyer Zagreb was scuttled by her crew (2 killed in the process). In Greece, New Zealand 21st battalion reinforced by Australian 2/2nd Battalion demolished the Pinios River railway bridge and held the Tempe and Pinios Gorges, delaying the German advance down the Aegean coast, allowing other Allied troops to withdraw to new defenses on the Thermopylae line. British Prime Minister Churchill agreed to the proposal for the evacuation of Allied troops from mainland Greece to the island of Crete, should it become necessary; this plan was then communicated to the government of Greece shortly after. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 17 Apr 1941
Grayson off the Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina, 17 Apr 1941, photo 1 of 2Grayson off the Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina, 17 Apr 1941, photo 2 of 2GraysonNorth Carolina fitting out at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 17 Apr 1941, photo 2 of 2
See all photos dated 17 Apr 1941
18 Apr 1941
  • German 3rd Regiment and 2nd Panzer Division crossed the Pinios River in Greece while German 6th Mountain Division reached Mount Olympus in Greece, putting the Australian and New Zealand troops at the Pinios Gorge in danger. As German troops continued to move south in Greece, Prime Minister Alexandros Koryzis committed suicide in the evening; in response to this suicide, Athens was placed under martial law by the government to maintain stability. [Main Article | TH]
  • Indian 20th Infantry Brigade landed at Basra, Iraq unopposed. It was originally based in Karachi, India and had arrived in Iraq in 8 transports which were escorted by carrier HMS Hermes, cruiser HMS Emerald, cruiser HMNZS Leander, 6 sloops, and gunboat HMS Cockchafer. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Urge sank Italian tanker Franco Martelli in the Bay of Biscay north of Spain. [CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Newark and HMS Volunteer collided just off the northern coast of Ireland. Both were seriously damaged and would be under repair at Belfast until Aug 1941. [CPC]
  • Australian General Leslie Morshead reorganized the defenses at Tobruk, Libya, creating additional reserve brigades and building secondary defensive lines, all in order to create additional depth to the city's defenses. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis attacked Egyptian passenger liner ZamZam without warning 1,400 miles west of South Africa at 0600 hours, mistaking it for a British troop ship. All 129 crew and 202 passengers escaped in lifeboats before the Germans scuttled the ship with demolition charges. Life magazine photographer David Sherman, who was aboard ZamZam during the attack, took a photograph of Atlantis. [CPC]
  • German dive bombers sank empty British troopship HMS Fiona 50 miles northwest of Sidi Barrani, Egypt, killing 54. [CPC]
  • US Navy Admiral Kimmel wrote a letter to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Stark requesting additional resources for base construction at Wake Island and for a US Marine Corps defense battalion to be stationed there. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The groundbreaking ceremony for the future Consolidated-Vultee aircraft plant in Fort Worth, Texas, United States was held, attended by General Gerald Brant and local civic leader Amon Carter. [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • The United States declared that the Pan-American Security Zone, last defined with the 3 Oct 1939 Declaration of Panama, to be extended to 26 degrees west longitude, 2,300 nautical miles east of New York on the east coast of the United States. It was just 50 nautical miles short of Iceland, which was a major Allied convoy staging area. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt told a Press Conference that he did not think that public opinion in America was yet fully aware of the gravity of the military crisis in Europe or its implications for the safety of the United States. [Main Article | AC]
19 Apr 1941
  • German troops captured Larisa, Greece, theoretically allowing them to move south along the eastern coast of Greece, thus this movement was to be hampered by roads and bridges that were destroyed by retreating Allied troops. Elsewhere, troops of German Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment captured Ioannina 50 miles from the western coast of Greece, further frustrating the southward retreat of Greek Epirus Army from Albania. British General Wavell flew to Athens, Greece for a meeting with King George II where the king agreed that the Allies could not hold Greece, and preparations should begin immediately to evacuate troops to Crete to prevent further destruction of the country. General Wilson was ordered to prepare for a stand at Thermopylae with a small rearguard force to protect the southward evacuation of British troops. [Main Article | TH]
  • 450 British commandos conducted an amphibious raid against Axis forces in Bardia, Libya. An Italian supply dump and a coastal artillery battery were destroyed. While most men were successfully evacuated after the raid, 1 was killed by friendly fire and 67 were captured after getting lost and going to the wrong beach. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel personally inspected the front lines in the Libyan-Egyptian border area. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Indian 5th Division (marching south from Amara, Eritrea, Italian East Africa) and British 1st South African Brigade (marching north from Addis Ababa, Abyssinia) attacked toward the 7,000-strong Italian garrison at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • 712 German bombers conducted a heavy raid on London, England, United Kingdom starting in the evening hours. Although the primary target was the London docks, the Old Place School in Poplar, East London, which was being used as a sub-fire station, was struck by a stray bomb, killing 13 London firefighters of both genders and 21 male Beckenham firemen; it was the largest single loss of firefighters in British history. The bombing continued past midnight. [Main Article | TH]
20 Apr 1941
  • German submarine U-73 sank British ship Empire Endurance 400 miles west of Ireland at 0332 hours; the ship was the former German ship Alster, having been captured in Norway in the previous year. 65 were killed and the military supplies destined for Egypt were lost. [CPC]
  • Athens, Greece was heavily bombed by German dive bombers; one of seven RAF Hurricane aircraft lost in beating off the raid was flown by Squadron Leader Marmaduke "Pat" Pattle, believed to be the Allies' top scoring fighter pilot of the war with at least 50 kills (that number could not be officially recognised as his record of service in Greece was lost); Pattle died trying to protect a fellow pilot. Piraeus, Greece was also attacked from the air, sinking Greek destroyer Psara with 37 killed; 22 German aircraft were lost while the British lost 10 Hurricane fighters. Unable to withstand the German advances, British forces withdrew from Mount Olympus toward Thermopylae on the same day that King George II led a new government. To the north in Albania, General Tsolakoglou surrendered the Greek Epirus Army, without authorization, to the German Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment; Italian leader Mussolini protested, requesting that the surrender must be accepted by an Italian general. [Main Article | AC]
  • The American Liberty ship, Paul Hamilton, loaded with men and explosives, was hit by an aerial torpedo off Algiers, French Algeria and blew to pieces. Not one of the 580 men on board, the vast majority US Army Air Force personnel, survived. Only one body was ever recovered. [AC]
  • British Commander-in-Chief Middle East General Wavell requested for more tanks to reinforce Tobruk, Libya. Prime Minister Churchill agreed and ordered a convoy to sail directly into the Mediterranean Sea to deliver 295 tanks to Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder attempted to convince Adolf Hitler to allow German submarines to attack American ships; Hitler rejected the request, citing his unwillingness to provoke the Americans to fully enter the war. [Main Article | CPC]
Greece
  • Georgios Tsolakoglou surrendered the III Army Corps to the Germans. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMT Topaze was accidentally rammed by British battleship HMS Rodney and sank in the Clyde Estuary, Scotland, United Kingdom, killing 18. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The bombing of London, England, United Kingdom which began on the previous date ended before dawn; 449 were killed. Via a speech made in Ireland, Irish Prime Minister Eamon De Valera protested the German bombing of Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom; "they are our people", he said, "we are one and the same people, and their sorrows in the present instance are also our sorrows". [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Apr 1941
Troops of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler negotiating difficult terrain in Greece, 1941Fuso conducting a flooding and drainage test at Kure, Japan, 20 Apr 1941Battleship Oregon in the Willamette River at Portland, Oregon, United States, 20 Apr 1941
21 Apr 1941
  • German air and ground forces attacked British, Australian, and New Zealand troops at Thermopylae, Greece; dive bombers sank Greek torpedo boat Thyella, hospital ship Ellenis, hospital ship Esperos, and several freighters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Operation MD2, British battleships HMS Warspite, HMS Barham, and HMS Valiant, supported by cruiser HMS Gloucester and 9 destroyers, bombarded Tripoli before dawn. Aircraft from carrier HMS Formidable dropped flares to aid the bombardment as it took place before dawn. Italian torpedo boat Partenope and 6 freighters were damaged. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Calchas 300 miles north of the Cape Verde Islands at 1500 hours; 24 were killed, 89 survived. [CPC]
  • US Marine Corps established the temporary command Marine Aircraft, South Pacific to assist with administrative and logistical duties of 1st and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wings. [CPC]
  • HMCS Trillium rescued 24 survivors of the British merchant ship Empire Endurance, which was sunk between Iceland and Ireland on the previous day by German submarine U-73. [Main Article | CPC]
Greece
  • Georgios Tsolakoglou signed the surrender of the entire Greek Army to Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • The town of Nigata and the village of Hiro were merged into Kure, Japan. [CPC]
Libya
  • 24 German bombers escorted by 21 fighters attacked Tobruk, Libya, sinking 2 ships and damaging another 2. RAF Hurricane fighters of No. 73 and No. 273 Squadrons shot down 4 German aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Starting after sundown and lasting until the next day, German bombers attacked Plymouth, England, United Kingdom, damaging cruiser HMS Kent, destroyer HMS Lewes, and destroyer HMS Leeds. [Main Article | CPC]
22 Apr 1941
  • British warships bombarded Tripoli, Libya. On the return trip, battleship HMS Valiant hit a mine and was lightly damaged. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel received the Gold Medal of Military Valor in Silver. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US Congress passed an act that would increase the authorized enlisted strength of the US Navy and the US Marine Corps; the latter's active list was to be 20% of the former. [CPC]
  • The Soviet Union protested to Germany regarding border violations by German troops and aircraft. Among the evidence presented was a downed German aircraft in Soviet territory which contained maps of the Soviet Union, aerial photographic equipment, and rolls exposed film. The Soviets, however, remained generally friendly toward Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder reported to Adolf Hitler regarding American belligerency despite of neutrality pledges. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • British 1st South African Brigade captured Camboicia Pass, Abyssinia and 1,200 Italian prisoners of war. [Main Article | CPC]
Greece
  • German aircraft attacked British-controlled airfields near Athens, Greece, forcing remaining British fighters in the region to be withdrawn to Argos in southern Greece. In the Saronic Gulf, German dive bombers sank Greek minelayer Aliakmon, hospital ship Sokratis, 11 freighters, and 1 tanker. At 1800 hours, 35 German dive bombers sank Greek destroyer Hydra at Piraeus; 41 were killed, 115 survived. Further south, German aircraft damaged cruiser HMS York at Suda Bay, Crete with near misses. Finally, on the same day, Yugoslavian torpedo boats Kajmakcalan and Durmitor arrived at Suda Bay and joined the Allied fleet. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Australian troops raided Axis positions surrounding Tobruk, Libya, capturing 455 Italian prisoners of war and destroying a number of field guns and anti-aircraft guns. 27 Australians were killed and 28 were wounded in this action. From above, German aircraft bombed Tobruk harbor, hitting British hospital ship Vita, forcing the 437 patients, 6 doctors, and 6 nurses to be evacuated. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Light cruiser HMS Birmingham arrived at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0602 hours after completing escort duties which began on 8 Feb. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
23 Apr 1941
  • German troops attacked westward in Greece from Ioannina. Meanwhile, German paratroopers landed on Aegean Islands. On the same day, German bombers destroyed 13 British Hurricane fighters on the ground at Argoes (forcing the survivors to evacuate to Crete) and sank Greek torpedo boat Kios, minelayer Nestos, hospital ship Policos, battleship Kilkis, battleship Lemnos, 12 freighters, and 1 tanker; damaged Greek torpedo boat Doris was scuttled to prevent capture. King George II of Greece, Crown Prince Paul, Prime Minister Emmanuel Tsouderos and other important figures of the Greek government were evacuated by the RAF to Crete, where an attempt to evacuate personnel from Crete to Egypt had begun; King George II instructed that his wine cellar should be distributed to the Allied troops who fought to defend his country. [Main Article | TH]
  • An Axis convoy was spotted by British aircraft in the Mediterranean Sea sailing toward Tripoli, Libya. British destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Jaguar, HMS Janus, and HMS Juno failed to intercept. Overnight, however, destroyer HMS Juno was able to find and sink empty Italian troopship Egeo off the Libyan coast. [CPC]
  • German Luftwaffe bombers attacked Tobruk habor in Libya, sinking several ships at the cost of 6 German aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers attacked Plymouth, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • At the America First Committee meeting in New York City, New York, United States, Charles Lindbergh publicly called for the United States to stay out of the war. [CPC]
Germany
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor arrived at Hamburg, Germany, ending a 322-day raiding mission that covered 57,532 miles which saw the sinking of 11 merchant ships and 1 British armed merchant cruiser. [CPC]
  • Alexander Löhr was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Greece
  • Lemnos was beached at Salamis, Greece during a German air raid to prevent sinking. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille scored his 8th kill, a British Hurricane II fighter, over Tobruk, Libya during the morning sortie. In the afternoon sortie, he was shot down and safely landed in German territory. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Apr 1941
Kilkis under attack, 23 Apr 1941Kilkis Sunk at Salamis, Greece, 23 Apr 1941
24 Apr 1941
  • German paratroopers captured the Corinth Canal in Greece. Meanwhile, German aircraft sank hospital ship Andros and 11 freighters off the coast and damaged British cruiser HMS York and submarine HMS Rover at Suda Bay, Crete; Greek torpedo boats Aigli, Alkyoni, and Arethousa were scuttled to prevent capture. British troops held off German attacks through the afternoon at Thermopylae, destroying 15 German tanks, before withdrawing after sundown. At 1900 hours, Greek luxury yacht Hellas was bombed at Piraeus while boarding 500 British civilians and 400 wounded Allied soldiers, killing 500. [Main Article | TH]
  • US Navy extended its range for Neutrality Patrols to as far east as Iceland and as far south as Rio de Janeiro. [CPC]
  • The German Naval Attaché in Moscow, Russia reported back to German Navy headquarters that it had been learned that the British had deduced the German invasion of the Soviet Union to take place around 26 Jun 1941, and the British had shared this information with the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Italian infantry attacked two points of the Tobruk, Libya defenses at 0700 hours; the attacks were halted within an hour with heavy casualties and 107 captured. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Apr 1941
  • German submarine U-103 sank Norwegian ship Polyana 200 miles southwest of Cape Verde Islands at 0038 hours, killing the entire crew of 25. [CPC]
  • Allied rearguard forces from Thermopylae, Greece traveled 100 miles within 12 hours and reached the Greek capital of Athens around noon time; while crowds welcomed their arrival, diplomats of various countries burned papers as Axis capture was imminent. Just to the south, British troopship Pennland was damaged by German aircraft while attempting to evacuate troops, resulting in 4 deaths; other ships were able to evacuate 5,500 Allied personnel on this day. Out at sea, German aircraft sank 6 merchant ships and 1 yacht; 6 Greek destroyers and 5 submarines were able to escape toward Alexandria, Egypt. Finally, on this date, Hitler issued Führer Directive 28 for the attack on Crete, Greece, which was to be codenamed Operation Merkur. [Main Article | TH]
  • The Axis offensive on the Libyan-Egyptian border resumed despite the lack of progress at Tobruk, Libya; German troops engaged British patrols near Fort Capuzzo. The 2 remaining Hurricane fighters in Tobruk were withdrawn to Egypt to join the mere 13 Hurricane fighters there, leaving Tobruk with only Lysander aircraft to perform artillery spotting duties and no aircraft capable of air defense. Out at sea, British submarine HMS Upholder sank Italian ship Antonietta Lauro off the Tunisian island of Kerkenah. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin attacked British ship Empire Light, stopping the ship. After the 70 crew members were taken off, Pinguin scuttled Empire Light. [CPC]
  • The German 8th Panzer Regiment departed Italy in three convoys for North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Tanikaze was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt called Charles Lindbergh an appeaser in response to Lindbergh's 23 Apr 1941 calls for the United States to stay out of the war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey, flying a Spitfire fighter, damaged a German Fw 190 aircraft. [Main Article | AC]
26 Apr 1941
  • German troops attack British and Australian positions at Halfaya Pass on the Libyan-Egyptian border. Allied troops held the pass all day, but after dark they withdrew to Buq Buq, Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German paratroopers attacked the Corinth Canal bridge in Greece early in the morning; the bridge was blown up as the German approached; by the end of the day, however, German engineers would erect temporary crossings at this point of the canal. Overnight, 8,300 Allied troops were evacuated from beaches south of Athens while 12,950 were evacuated from beaches on the Peloponnese Peninsula. German aircraft sank Greek torpedo boat Kydonia and 3 other ships on this date. To the north in Yugoslavia, British destroyer HMS Defender evacuated the crown jewels of Yugoslavia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General Georgy Zhukov, the recently appointed Soviet Chief of Staff, ordered a creeping mobilization to begin, in response to widespread evidence that German forces were moving eastward. [Main Article | AC]
  • General MacArthur issued his third plan for the seizure of the New Britain, New Guinea, and New Ireland area, emphasizing cooperation between the US Army and US Navy as the two services each moved toward the Japanese stronghold at Rabaul. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German Nachtjagdfliegerdienst nightfighter unit scored its 100th night kill. [CPC]
  • General Lord Gort was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Gibraltar. [Main Article | AC]
Abyssinia
  • South African 1st Brigade captured Dessie, Abyssinia, taking 4,000 Italians as prisoners of war. [Main Article | CPC]
Kenya Netherlands
  • Wolfgang Falck, stationed at Deelen in the Netherlands, was ordered to attend a meeting at Hamburg, Germany. He would use the opportunity to learn more about new aircraft-mounted radar systems under development: Morgenstern, Flensburg, and SN-2 (Lichtenstein). [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British freighters Clan Chattan, Clan Campbell, Clan Lamont, Empire Song, and New Zealand Star, carrying 295 tanks for Egypt, departed from the Clyde in Scotland, United Kingdom in Operation Tiger. They were escorted by battleship HMS Rodney, cruiser HMS Naiad, destroyer HMS Havelock, destroyer HMS Hesperus, and destroyer Harvester. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Apr 1941
  • At 0400 hours, Dutch passenger liner Slamat departed Nauplia in southern Greece with 211 crew and 500 evacuating Allied troops; Slamat and escorting destroyers HMS Diamond and HMS Wryneck were all sunk by German Stuka dive bombers at 0700 hours, killing about 900. Later in the same morning, German 2nd Panzer Division captured Athens, raising the Nazi German flag above the Acropolis as a sign of victory and capturing large quantities of fuel, ammunition, and heavy vehicles; surrendered Greek officers were allowed to retire to their homes with their sidearms without being interned as prisoners of war. German 5th Panzer Division moved across the Corinth Canal all day and Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment crossed onto the Peloponnese Peninsula in southern Greece at Patras at 1730 hours. 4,200 Allied troops were evacuated from beaches south of Athens. [Main Article | TH]
  • Heinrich Himmler visited Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-110 sank British ship Henri Mory 300 miles west of Ireland at 0130 hours; 28 were killed, 4 survived. 80 miles south of Iceland, U-552 sank British trawler Commander Horton at 0210 hours, killing the entire crew of 14. Shortly after, at 0242 hours, 100 miles southwest of the Faroe Islands, U-147 sank Norwegian ship Rimfakse; 11 were killed, 8 survived. At 1612 hours, U-147 struck again, sinking British ship Beacon Grange; 2 were killed, 82 survived. [CPC]
  • German medium and dive bombers attacked Tobruk, Libya, destroying 4 anti-aircraft guns (killing 8); 1 German aircraft was lost. After these losses, the British moved the anti-aircraft guns to conceal positions while dummy guns were constructed in the old anti-aircraft gun positions. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • German Deputy Chief of Staff Friedrich Paulus arrived in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Apr 1941
Heinrich Himmler visiting the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria, 27 Apr 1941, photo 1 of 2Heinrich Himmler meeting a man at the rank of SS-Obersturmführer, Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria, 27 Apr 1941Heinrich Himmler visiting the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria, 27 Apr 1941, photo 2 of 2
28 Apr 1941
  • German aircraft sank Greek torpedo boat Kyzikos and 2 other ships during the day. 2 companies of the German 5th Panzer Division captured the port of Kalamata, Greece, disrupting evacuation of Allied troops; though Allied forces would recapture the port by the end of the day, all British ships had already departed from Kalamata. Overnight, 4,170 Allied troops were evacuated from the Peloponnese Peninsula in southern Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Sergeant Jack Hinton of New Zealand 2nd Division led an attack to retake the quay at Kalamata, Greece, clearing out 3 machine gun nests and a mortar with grenades and capturing a 6-inch gun. He was shot in the stomach and taken prisoner. He would later win the Victoria Cross. [CPC]
  • At 0600 hours, German bombers attacked Tobruk, Libya. During the day, German Deputy Chief of Staff Friedrich Paulus ordered Erwin Rommel to delay the planned ground assault on Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-123 detected Allied convoy HX121 150 miles south of Iceland and radioed the finding to 5 other submarines. At 0415 hours, U-552 sank a tanker. At 0725 hours, U-96 sank 2 tankers and 1 freighter. While attacking, U-65 was sunk by depth charges launched by British destroyer HMS Douglas, killing the entire crew of 50. [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin attacked British ship Clan Buchanan in the Arabian Sea 1,200 miles east of Mogadishu, British Somaliland. Before the crew of 110 surrendered and the ship scuttled, a distress signal was sent out, and British warships were dispatched to the area to hunt for Pinguin. [CPC]
  • British Stirling bombers of No. 7 Squadron RAF attacked Emden, Germany during the day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Churchill, without reference to the Chiefs of Staff, issued a directive stating that there is no need at the present time to make provisions for the defence of Malaya and Singapore. [Main Article | AC]
Germany
  • In Berlin, Germany, German ambassador to the Soviet Union Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg attempted to convince Adolf Hitler that the Soviet Union was generally friendly toward Germany, and the two nations could achieve greater friendship by working closer together. [CPC]
Greece
  • Günther Altenburg was made the Reich Plenipotentiary for Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down his 8th kill, a British Blenheim light bomber, over the water off Tobruk, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • German bombers attacked Malta overnight, badly damaging destroyer HMS Encounter in the drydock and destroying minesweeper HMS Fermoy. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Caroline, manned by Dutch sailors, hit a mine and sank off Milford Haven, Wales, United Kingdom, killing the entire crew. [CPC]
United States
  • Charles Sweeney joined the United States Army Air Corps; he would later become the pilot of B-29 Superfortress bomber Bockscar that delivered the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
29 Apr 1941
  • Allied resistance on mainland Greece ended at 0530 hours when 8,000 British, New Zealand, Australian, Greek, and Yugoslavian troops surrendered at Kalamata, Greece. On the same day, British intelligence picked up positive information about the German invasion of Crete; in response, most British troopships at Suda Bay in Crete were dispatched to Alexandria, Egypt to prevent being attacked by German aircraft. [Main Article | TH]
  • Charles Lindbergh resigned from the US Army reserves. [CPC]
  • Overnight, German bombers attacked Plymouth, England, United Kingdom, damaging cruiser HMS Trinidad and sinking auxiliary patrol vessel Pessac. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-75 hit British passenger liner City of Nagpur 500 miles west of Ireland with 4 torpedoes between 0230 and 0600 hours, ultimately sinking her and killing 16; 452 survivors were picked up by destroyer HMS Hurricane. 10 miles off the coast of England, United Kingdom in the North Sea, German motor torpedo boats sank British ship Ambrose Fleming, killing 11. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked Allied defenses at Tobruk, Libya as well as its harbor, sinking HMS Chakla. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Indian 20th Infantry Brigade arrived at Basra, Iraq from Bombay, India. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British Admiralty issued a request for six C-3 Liberty hulls to be converted to fighter aircraft carriers. Five of these (HMS Archer, Avenger, Biter, Dasher and Tracker) would enter service in 1943 equipped with Martlet and Swordfish aircraft. [AC]
30 Apr 1941
  • New Zealand General Bernard Freyberg was appointed commander of Allied forces on Crete, Greece, commanding a garrison of poorly-armed 29,000 British, Australian, and New Zealand troops and 9,000 Greek troops. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 6,000 Iraqi troops with 30 artillery pieces departed Baghdad, Iraq on an ostensibly training exercise before dawn. At first light, they reached a plateau overlooking the RAF airbase at Habbaniya 45 miles west of Baghdad. British Ambassador Kinahan Cornwallis warned British civilians to leave Baghdad; 230 of them would soon flee to Habbaniya while 350 and 150 would seek shelter in the British Embassy and the American Legation, respectively. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Friedrich Paulus gave Erwin Rommel the authorization to begin a ground assault on Tobruk, Libya, which was launched at 2000 hours after an entire day of artillery shelling at Ras el Madauar near Tobruk. German tanks broke through the defensive perimeter, and infantry overran several Australian positions, penetrating as far as 3 kilometers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British gunboats HMS Aphis and HMS Ladybird bombarded Axis positions at Gazala, Libya and Sollum, Egypt. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Lassell 300 miles southwest of Cape Verde Islands at 2200 hours; 2 were killed, 51 survived. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler set the launch date of Operation Barbarossa to 22 Jun 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
Greece
  • Georgios Tsolakoglou was named the Prime Minister of the German puppet Hellenic State. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • German aircraft bombed Malta; a bomb passed through British cruiser HMS Gloucester without detonating. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Four old US Coast Guard Cutters were commissioned into British Royal Navy service at New York, New York, United States; they were christened HMS Banff, HMS Culver, HMS Fishguard, and HMS Hartland and were manned by crew members of battleship HMS Malaya, which was currently under repair. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Apr 1941
The crew of a British Cruiser Mk IV tank studying a map in the Western Desert, Egypt, 30 Apr 1941Sunken Kilkis (foreground) and beached Lemnos (background), Salamis, Greece, circa late Apr 1941
1 May 1941
  • British ocean boarding vessel HMS Cavina captured Italian tanker Sangro 400 miles north of the Azores islands. [CPC]
  • At 2215 hours, German bombers began attacking Liverpool, England, United Kingdom; it was to be the first of seven consecutive nightly bombings on the city. [Main Article | TH]
  • German tanks attacked Tobruk, Libya at 0715 hours; slowed by a minefield, they were attacked by 2-pounder anti-tank guns and then by British tanks; the Germans lost 12 tanks in this engagement while the British lost 4. In the evening, Australian 2/48th Battalion conducted a counterattack but it was repulsed with heavy casualties. 300 kilometers to the west, RAF aircraft attacked Benghazi and sank an Italian freighter. [Main Article | TH]
  • Kapitän zur See Friedrich Hüffmeier took command of cruiser Köln. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Iraqi forces overlooking RAF Habbaniya grew to 9,000 men, 50 artillery pieces, 12 armored cars, and a few light tanks. They demanded the airfield to cease flight operations, but the local RAF commander ignored the threat, a decision backed by Winston Churchill. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Upholder sank freighters Arcturus and Leverkusen off Kerkenah island, Tunisia. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-552 sank British passenger liner Nerissa 100 miles north of Ireland at 0027 hours; 207 were killed, 83 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank British ship Samsø 200 miles off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 1834 hours. [CPC]
  • Groß-Rosen Concentration Camp, formerly a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, became an independent camp. It was located in Groß-Rosen, Lower Silesia, Germany (now Rogoznica, Poland). [Main Article | CPC]
  • Generalleutnant August Krakau succeeded Robert Martinek as the commanding officer of the German 7th Mountain Division. [CPC]
  • The Marine Barracks of New River, North Carolina, United States was established with Lieutenant Colonel William P. T. Hill in command. [CPC]
  • HMS Eagle was ordered to sail for Durban, South Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Viceroy of Italian East Africa Duke of Aosta and 7,000 troops were trapped at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia by Indian 5th Indivision to the north and South African 1st Brigade in the south. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down his 10th and 11th kills, two British Hurricane fighters, while escorting German Stuka dive bombers to Tobruk, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • HMS Jersey hit a mine in Valetta, Malta, and later sank during a German air raid. [Main Article | CPC]
2 May 1941
  • Sandstorms at Tobruk, Libya limited the offensive capabilities of German tanks on this date. 100 kilometers to the west, British gunboat HMS Ladybird bombarded Axis positions at Derna. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British ship Parracombe, with 21 crated Hurricane fighters on board for Malta, hit a mine and sank off Cape Bon, Tunisia. [CPC]
  • At 0500 hours, during Muslim morning prayers, 33 British aircraft from RAF Habbaniya and 8 Wellington bombers from RAF Shaibah attacked the Iraqi artillery positions which had been threatening RAF Habbaniya for the past two days. Iraq troops responded by shelling RAF Habbaniya, killing 13 and wounding 29. Elsewhere, RAF aircraft attacked the Rashid airfield near Baghdad, Iraq, destroying 22 aircraft on the ground. The RAF lost 5 aircraft in Iraq on this date. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After sundown, German bombers attacked Liverpool, England, United Kingdom for the second consecutive night. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Alberic and destroyer HMS St. Albans collided in Pentland Firth between the Orkney Islands and Britain. HMT Alberic sank with the loss of 13 crew. The HMS St. Albans sailed to Southampton, England, United Kingdom for repairs to her bow. [CPC]
  • British aircraft sank German anti-submarine trawler Vp 808 off the island of Borkum near the Dutch-German border. [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Jersey hit a mine and sank off Grand Harbour, Malta, killing 35 and wounding 48. [CPC]
  • A German memorandum noted that the plan to remove large quantities of food out of Eastern Europe to feed German civilians and military personnel would likely result in the starvation of millions of Eastern Europeans especially through the winter. The plan would continue to be implemented, however. [CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was promoted to the rank of Unteroffizier while stationed in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The British Royal Navy commissioned convoy escort ship HMS Lulworth, a former US Coast Guard Cutter, into service at New York, United States. She was manned by former crew members of battleship HMS Resolution, which was under repair in the US at the time. [CPC]
3 May 1941
  • Australian troops launched a counterattack at Tobruk, Libya. Italian troops repulsed the counterattack, losing only one bunker. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Alexander Löhr was promoted to the rank of colonel general. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Allied and Italian troops engaged in heavy fighting at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia. [Main Article | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • The Panama Canal Zone was placed under the Panama Sector of the US Caribbean Defense Command. [CPC]
South Africa
  • General Jan Smuts announced to the House of Assembly the deployment of South African troops to Egypt. [AC]
4 May 1941
  • Allied aircraft conducted a raid on Baghdad, Iraq. [Main Article | CPC]
  • As the Axis offensive on Tobruk, Libya began to stall, Paulus ordered Rommel to besiege rather than eliminate Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank Swedish ship Japan off the coast of French Guinea at 1915 hours; her deck gun exploded during the attack, injuring the gun crew. The entire crew of 54 of Japan survived. [CPC]
  • The German bombing on Liverpool, England, United Kingdom that began on the previous date ended before dawn on this date, killing 850 people and destroying ammunition ship Malakand in the harbor. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In a speech, Adolf Hitler said Winston Churchill was not a capable leader, both on political and military fronts. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh supported the raid on Lofoten Islands, Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • 29th Brigade of the Indian 5th Division launched another attack at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia, capturing 3 hills between 0415 and 0730 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • German aircraft sank British minesweeper Fermoy in dock at Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The Politburo appointed Joseph Stalin the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, thus taking over as the actual head of the Soviet government, which position was previously held by Vyacheslav Molotov. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 May 1941
Joachim von Ribbentrop and Joseph Goebbels at a Reichstag session, Kroll Opera House, Berlin, Germany, 4 May 1941
5 May 1941
  • Major General Bernard Freyberg was appointed the commander of British and Commonwealth forces at Crete, Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • A shipment of US flour arrived in Vichy France. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler, Wilhelm Keitel, and Günther Lütjens embarked battleship Bismarck. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler visited the German naval yard at Gdynia and inspected battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank British ship Queen Maud 200 miles off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 1117 hours; 1 was killed, 43 survived. [CPC]
  • In the United Kingdom, German aircraft bombed naval facilities at Belfast in Northern Ireland (carrier HMS Furious, seaplane tender HMS Pegasus, destroyer HMS Volunteer, and corvettes HMS Bryony, HMS Buttercup, and HMS La Malouine suffered minor damage), Liverpool in England (bombed consecutively since 1 May 1941), and the Clyde Estuary in Scotland (HMS Marksman, submarine HMS Traveller, and submarine HMS Trooper suffered damage). [Main Article | CPC]
  • Operation Tiger: British freighters, with 295 tanks destined for Egypt, passed through the Strait of Gibraltar. [CPC]
  • Australian destroyers HMAS Voyager and HMAS Waterhen entered Tobruk, Libya, becoming the first ships to bring in supplies since the city became besieged. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Taku sank Italian ship Cagliari off the east coast of Italy. [CPC]
  • Stalin announced at a passing-out ceremony for military cadets that there did exist a threat from Germany for which the Red Army had to prepare itself rapidly. [Main Article | AC]
Abyssinia
  • 3/2nd Punjab Battalion advanced toward the Italian stronghold at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia at 0415 hours. They were pinned down by 12 Italian machine guns for the most of the day. The attack was called off at dusk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Abyssinian Emperor Haile Selassie returned to his capital Addis Ababa. He had fled the city exactly five years during the Italian invasion. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 May 1941
Adolf Hitler inspecting battleship Bismarck with Admiral Lutjens and Captain Lindemann, Gotenhafen, Germany (now Gdynia, Poland), 5 May 1941, photo 1 of 3Adolf Hitler inspecting battleship Bismarck with Admiral Lutjens and Captain Lindemann, Gotenhafen, Germany (now Gdynia, Poland), 5 May 1941, photo 2 of 3Adolf Hitler inspecting battleship Bismarck with Admiral Lutjens and Captain Lindemann, Gotenhafen, Germany (now Gdynia, Poland), 5 May 1941, photo 3 of 3; Lutjens not seen in this photo
6 May 1941
  • Overnight, Iraqi troops withdrew from the plateau overlooking RAF Habbaniya after suffering 1,000 casualties, largely by RAF aircraft, abandoning large amounts of weapons and supplies. They were pursued by the British King's Own Royal Regiment, which caught up with the Iraqi troops at Sinn El Dhibban, taking 433 prisoners at the cost of 7 British troops killed and 14 wounded. To the south, the 21st Infantry Brigade of the Indian 10th Division arrived by sea at Basra. Meanwhile, Vichy France and Germany signed the Paris Protocol, which gave permission for German troops to march through Syria for Iraq to reinforce the Iraqis; in return, Germany lowered the tribute that France had to pay Germany from 20 million to 15 million Reichsmarks daily. German Luftwaffe Colonel Werner Junck was ordered to establish Fliegerführer Irak with 12 Bf 110 fighters and 12 He 111 bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-103 and U-105 sank 3 more British freighters off Sierra Leone, British West Africa, killing 12; the crew of U-103 stopped to help the survivors righting a listing lifeboat. [CPC]
  • British submarines HMS Taku and HMS Truant sank Italian ship Bengasi off Italy. [CPC]
  • The German 8th Panzer Regiment arrived in North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft took its maiden flight. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General Bernard Freyberg received intelligence that the Germans were likely to launch a large airborne assault on Crete, Greece on 17 May; he would continue to expect the invasion to come from the beaches rather than the sky, however. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Polish doctor Zygmunt Klukowski noted in his diary that, on this date, he observed Germans conscripting Polish civilians to build military airfields and air raid bunkers even though there was no active war in Eastern Europe. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-97 sank British ocean boarding vessel HMS Camito and recently captured Italian tanker Sangro 500 miles west of Ireland, killing 28. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 May 1941
USS Grayback during her shakedown cruise, Long Island Sound, United States, 6 May 1941
7 May 1941
  • German aircraft conducted the first of the two consecutive nightly raids on Hull, England, United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Liverpool, England was bombed for the seventh (and final) consecutive night, damaging destroyer HMS Hurricane; by this time, 75% of Liverpool's port capacity had been destroyed. [Main Article | TH]
  • HMS Somali captured the German weather ship München off Iceland along with an Enigma cypher machine and code book. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first of the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers in Britain arrived at RAF Watton. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stopped small British tanker British Emperor 400 miles off British Somaliland with gunfire, whose crew was able to send distress signals before being taken prisoner. The tanker was scuttled with torpedoes from Pinguin. Meanwhile, British cruiser HMS Cornwall sailed toward the location of the distress signal. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-94 sank British ship Ixion and Norwegian ship Eastern Star 150 miles south of Iceland at 2300 hours. Destroyer HMS Bulldog and sloop HMS Rochester dropped 98 depth charges over 4 hours, but U-94 was able to escape with only minor damage. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Tazzoli sank Norwegian ship Ferlane off West Africa. [CPC]
  • During the day, German bombers sank British minesweeper HMS Stoke at Tobruk, Libya, killing 21. After nightfall, British cruiser HMS Ajax and destroyers HMS Havock, HMS Hotspur, and HMS Imperial bombarded Benghazi, Libya, sinking Italian ships Tenace and Capitano Cecchi. [CPC]
  • Indian 20th and 21st Brigades marched out of Basra, Iraq to attack nearby port of Ashar. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Bf 109 aircraft and claimed another probable. [Main Article | CPC]
8 May 1941
  • German aircraft conducted the last of the two consecutive nightly raids on Hull, England. [Main Article | TH]
  • A Walrus seaplane from British cruiser HMS Cornwall spotted German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin 400 miles off British Somaliland. The two ships fired on each other at 1714 hours; Pinguin was fatally damaged by Cornwall's superior firepower, but Cornwall was also hit, killing 1 and wounding 3. Shortly after Pinguin's commanding officer gave the abandon ship order, an eight-inch shell hit Pinguin, detonating her store of 130 naval mines and sinking her; 341 crew and 214 prisoners were killed, 66 crew and 22 prisoners survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-97 sank British ship Ramillies in the North Atlantic; 29 were killed, 12 survived. [CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Indian troops attacked Amba Alagi, Abyssinia at dawn, taking the Falagi Pass and three hills east and south of the city, respectively. Later in the morning, Italian troops counterattacked and recaptured two of the hills. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • 359 British RAF bombers attacked Hamburg and Bremen in Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
9 May 1941
  • German submarine U-110 and U-201 attacked Allied convoy OB-318, sinking 3 British freighters. U-201 was damaged by 99 depth charges but was able to return to her home port for repairs. U-110 was forced to surface by 10 depth charges from British corvette HMS Aubretia, then shelled by destroyers HMS Bulldog and HMS Broadway. The German crew thought the submarine had already been fatally damaged and sinking, and abandoned ship. Recognizing the opportunity to capture the ship, the commanding officer of HMS Bulldog quickly rescued many of the German crew and put them belowdecks so they could not observe (but submarine commander Lemp died in the water, possibly shot as he attempted to swim back to the submarine), and sent a boarding party to capture her. The capture was completed at 1245 hours, yielding an Enigma cipher machine and code book. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler disembarked battleship Bismarck. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German intelligence intercepted a British radio transmission containing weather information in the Libyan-Egyptian border region; this gave suspicion that an offensive was about to be taken place. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British transport ship Empire Song hit two mines and sank in off Malta; in addition to the 18 men killed, 57 tanks aboard were also lost. [CPC]
  • After nightfall, Australian destroyer HMAS Vendetta departed Alexandria, Egypt and arrived in Tobruk, Libya to embark wounded troops. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank British ship City of Winchester 700 miles west of Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 2309 hours; 6 were killed, 92 survived. In the same area, Italian submarine Tazzoli sank Norwegian tanker Alfred Olsen; the entire crew survived. [CPC]
  • The Soviet Union declared that it no longer recognised the diplomatic standing of Belgium, Norway and Yugoslavia. [AC]
Japan
  • A peace treaty was signed between Thailand and France in Tokyo, Japan, officially ending the Franco-Thai War; the French was coerced by the Japanese to relinquish their hold on the disputed border territories. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
United Kingdom
  • At RAF Waddington in Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom, a direct hit by a German bomb on the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) station and a nearby air-raid shelter killed three airmen and seven women who worked in the NAAFI, including Mrs. Raven, the manageress. [Main Article | AC]
10 May 1941
  • Sparking a controversy that will last long after the war, Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess landed in Scotland, United Kingdom with a Bf 110 fighter in an attempt to dissuade Duke of Hamilton to introduce him to King George VI in order to broker peace between the United Kingdom and Germany. This mission was not authorized by Adolf Hitler. He landed 12 miles from the Duke's residence, broke his ankle, and was arrested by a farmer. He was taken into custody and remained so until his death. [Main Article | TH]
  • A German rocket engine test reached the speed of 1,002 kilometers per hour. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-556 attacked Allied convoy OB-318 between Greenland and Iceland, sinking British ship Empire Caribou (34 killed, 11 survived) and Belgian ship Gand (1 killed, 43 survived) and damaging British ship Aelybryn (1 killed). [CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Kelly, HMS Kipling, HMS Jackal, HMS Kashmir, and HMS Kelvin from Malta bombarded Benghazi, Libya at 1700 hours; German dive bombers fought back but caused no damage. After nightfall, also in Libya, British gunboat HMS Ladybird shelled Gazala 30 miles west of Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-110, captured by HMS Bulldog on the previous day, sank while being towed toward Iceland. Her Enigma cipher machine and code book, however, had already been retrieved by the British. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The 200th Beaufighter aircraft was completed. [Main Article | AC]
  • Bulgaria established diplomatic relationship with the Japanese-sponsored puppet state of Manchukuo. [CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Indian troops marched out the Falagi Pass, which was captured on the previous day, toward the 11,400-foot Mount Gumsa east of Amba Alagi, Abyssinia. Italian troops who held Mount Gumsa would be withdrawn into Amba Alagi after sundown. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • RAF bombers conducted a raid on Hamburg, Germany. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Lieutenant Anthony "Peter" Allan escaped the Oflag IV-C prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle, Germany by hiding in a straw mattress that was being carried out of the camp by cooperative French laborers. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Italian manufacturing firm Caproni delivered midget submarines CB-3, CB-4, CB-5, and CB-6 to the Italian Navy at La Spezia, Italy. [CPC]
Taiwan
  • Vice Admiral Toshio Shimazaki was named the Chief of Staff of the Mako naval port at Pescadores islands, Taiwan. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German bombers mounted what would turn out to be the last major raid on London, England, United Kingdom. Low tide on the River Thames made firefighting difficult as it was harder to draw water, thus fires caused more damage than usual. The Houses of Parliament were among the buildings damaged during this night. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 May 1941
The wreckage of Rudolf Heß
11 May 1941
  • German forces completed the occupation of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Brigadier Kingstone departed Haifa, Palestine with a column of horse cavalry and armored cars to reinforce RAF Habbaniya, Iraq. Meanwhile, the first 3 German Luftwaffe aircraft from Greece landed at Mosul, Iraq. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank British ship City of Shanghai with the last torpedo 750 miles southwest of Sierra Leone at 0130 hours after tracking her for 16 hours; 6 were killed, 67 survived. [CPC]
  • The first combat mission by the RAF's new four-engine Halifax bombers failed to succeed when the bombers failed to find their French targets. [Main Article | AC]
  • Adolf Hitler summoned top Nazi Party officials to discuss how to handle Rudolf Heß's unauthorized flight to the United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Galland was ordered by Hermann Göring to dispatch his pilots to search for and shoot down Rudolf Hess' Me-110 aircraft somewhere over the North Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • South African 1st Brigade arrived at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • RAF bombers attacked Hamburg and Bremen in Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • John Colville, secretary to Winston Churchill, observed great fires burning on the southern shore of River Thames in London, England, United Kingdom, result of the previous night's bombing. During the day, German Luftwaffe aircraft bombed RAF Feltwell in England. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 May 1941
Hitler Youth Hour of Commemoration in front of the Town Hall in Tomaszow, occupied Poland, 11 May 1941
12 May 1941
  • Admiral Günther Lütjens and other staff officers embarked battleship Bismarck. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian torpedo boats Pleiadi and Pegaso sank British submarine HMS Undaunted off Tripoli, Libya at 2030 hours, killing the entire crew of 32. [CPC]
Egypt
  • The British convoy carrying 135 infantry tanks, 82 cruiser tanks, 21 light tanks, and 43 Hurricane fighters arrived at Alexandria, Egypt having traveled through the dangerous Mediterranean Sea. [CPC]
Germany
  • Polish Lieutenant Mietek Chmiel and Lieutenant Miki Surmanowicz failed in their attempt to escape the Oflag IV-C prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • 47 German dive bombers sank British gunboat HMS Ladybird in Tobruk harbor, Libya with two bomb hits, killing 4 and wounding 14; Ladybird's gunners damaged two German dive bombers in return. Although she settled in 10 feet of water, her 6-inch gun was still above water, and thus she would remain useful as a stationary anti-aircraft gun platform while repairs were being done. Admiral Andrew Cunningham sent the message to her commanding officer "Great fighting finish worthy of highest ideals and tradition of the Navy and an inspiration for all who fight on the seas." [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • British submarine HMS Rorqual sank two small Greek vessels carrying German troops off the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea. [CPC]
United States
  • Three former US Coast Guard Cutters were commissioned into Royal Navy at New York, United States as HMS Sennen, HMS Walney, and HMS Totland. Like cutters commissioned shortly before them, they were manned by the crew of battleship HMS Malaya, which was currently under repair in the United States. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 12 May 1941
DrumHans FrankCanon de 75 modèle 1897 gun, Morris-Commercial C8 artillery tractor, and crew of 3rd Battery, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Polish Corps, St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom, 12 May 1941
13 May 1941
  • Battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen conducted refueling exercises. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen conducted refueling exercises. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British troops began gathering for the Operation Brevity offensive in the Libyan-Egyptian border region. Axis aircraft discovered and bombed one tank concentration. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-98 and U-111 attacked Allied convoy SC-30 off Greenland in the morning, sinking British ship Somersby (entire crew of 43 survived and rescued by Greek ship Marika Protopapa) and armed merchant cruiser HMS Salopian (3 were killed, 287 survived). Also in the morning, U-105 sank British ship Benvrackie at 0748 hours 700 miles off Sierra Leone, British West Africa; 28 were killed, 55 survived. [CPC]
  • British gunboat HMS Gnat shelled the German airfield at Gazala, Libya 30 miles west of Tobruk after sundown in an attempt to disrupt the German aerial campaign against the besieged Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A shipment of Vichy French weapons arrived in Mosul, Iraq from French Mandate of Syria, containing 15,500 rifles, 6 million rounds of ammunition, 200 machine guns, 4 75-mm field guns, and 10,000 shells. Meanwhile, a British mobile column from Palestine reached Rubah, Iraq, finding it already abandoned by Iraqi forces. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Red Army commenced the movement of substantial forces to the western frontier, but out of the thirty-three divisions deployed only four or five were fully equipped by the outbreak of war. [Main Article | AC]
  • In Germany, a new Decree on wartime military jurisdiction was published, which removed crimes against civilians from the sphere of courts martial and suspended any obligation to punish offences against "hostile civilian persons" committed by soldiers. [AC]
14 May 1941
  • The British RAF formed No. 121 Squadron, also known as the second Eagle Squadron. It was consisted of American volunteers. [CPC]
  • Romania passed laws which required all adult Jews to become forced laborers. [CPC]
  • Axis aircraft attempted to locate British troop concentrations near the Libyan-Egyptian border as a British offensive was suspected; none were found. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battleship Bismarck and light cruiser Leipzig conducted exercises; the port side crane was damaged during the exercises. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battleship Bismarck and light cruiser Leipzig conducted exercises. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A British Blenheim bomber flying reconnaissance over Syria spotted a German Ju 90 transport aircraft at the Vichy French airfield at Palmyra. The British government gave permission to attack, and RAF fighter soon attacked the airfield, damaging two He 111 bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Dido departed Suda Bay, Crete, Greece and headed for Alexandria, Egypt with £7,000,000 worth of Greek gold aboard. She was escorted by destroyers HMS Stuart, HMS Vendetta, HMS Janus, and HMS Isis. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis sank British ship Rabaul with shellfire 500 miles west of South Africa; 7 were killed, 51 were captured. [CPC]
  • Victorious was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lord Gort was appointed the Governor of Gibraltar. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • 3,600 French Jews in Paris, France were arrested. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
15 May 1941
  • At midnight, British cruisers HMS Gloucester and HMS Fiji completed the transfer of the 2nd Battalion Leicester Regiment from Alexandria, Egypt to Heraklion, Crete, Greece. During the day, German Luftwaffe aircraft attacked Salamis Navy Yard at Suda Bay, Crete, sinking Greek destroyer Leon. [Main Article | TH]
  • British losses in France and Norway were publicly announced to be 13,250 killed and 41,000 captured out of 437,000 deployed. [TH]
  • Admiral Darlan returned from meeting with Hitler and Ribbentrop; Vichy-French cabinet approved German concessions as well as French counter-concessions. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Minister of Labour Ernest Bevin declared that he would not negotiate with Rudolf Heß. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Axel von Blomberg passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In the Libyan-Egyptian border region, British forces advanced in three columns and captured Halfaya Pass and Fort Capuzzo before noon, capturing 347 Axis prisoners (mostly Italians). A German Panzer battalion counterattacked, recapturing Fort Capuzzo by 1445 hours, taking 70 British prisoners. [Main Article | CPC]
  • An Iraqi Blenheim bomber attacked the British column moving from Palestine into Iraq, causing no damage. British Swordfish aircraft from HMS Hermes attacked the Al Qushla barracks in Samawah, Iraq; one aircraft was shot down. Meanwhile, British bombers again attacked French airfields at Palmyra and Damascus, Syria. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-105 sank British ship Benvenue 400 miles off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 2029 hours; 2 were killed, 55 survived and rescued by British liner Empire Trader. To the north, 430 miles west of Brest, France, German submarine U-43 sank French sail Notre Dame du Châtelet; 28 were killed, 10 survived. [CPC]
  • In Russia a document from military planners was issued recommending a short strike against any assembling forces threatening Soviet territory. [Main Article | AC]
  • Washington was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Graph was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Dr. Sigmund Rascher requested Heinrich Himmler via a letter requesting concentration camp prisoners to be placed in his disposal to conduct experiments in decompression chambers which simulated high altitude environments. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • South African and Indian troops linked up at Triangle Hill near Amba Alagi, Abyssinia; they were also joined by Abyssinia guerrilla forces. Meanwhile, Allied shelling of the Italian fortress damaged a oil tank, causing a major oil leak into the garrison's only source of drinking water. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • RAF aircraft conducted raids on Berlin, Cuxhaven, and Hannover in Germany. [Main Article | TH]
Guernsey
  • The Dame of Sark Sibyl Mary Hathaway was reported to be transferred to a German concentration camp as reprisal for civil disobedience. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Gloster's E.28/39 prototype jet fighter took its first flight. The test pilot was Lieutenant Gerry Sayer. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 May 1941
Dodge WC9 1/2 ton ambulance, 15 May 1941
16 May 1941
  • RAF aircraft conducted raids on Köln (Cologne) and Bramsfield in Germany; at the latter target the Atlantik rubber works was damaged. [Main Article | TH]
  • German bombers sank British troopship Archangel 10 miles off Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom; 52 were killed, 435 survived. [CPC]
  • The damaged port side crane aboard Bismarck was repaired. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian sappers cleared barbed wires and mines. The subsequent attack on Tobruk, Libya saw Italian troops capturing several bunkers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Brigadier Gott withdrew British tanks and infantry from the desert around Sollum and Fort Capuzzo, Libya to consolidate a hold on Halfaya Pass on the Egyptian-Libyan border. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The final British reinforcements arrived on Crete, Greece. On the same day, German aircraft bombed various British positions on Crete (including airfields) as well as the shipping in Suda Bay (sinking several freighters and damaging HMS York). [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Me 110 and He 111 bombers attacked RAF Habbaniyah in Iraq, surprising the British; the British and the Germans each lost one aircraft during the attack. Meanwhile, German aircraft strafed British reinforcements traveling eastward from Palestine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-105 attacked British ship Rodney Star 400 miles west of Sierra Leone, British West Africa between 0548 and 0930 hours, hitting her with torpedoes and gunfire; Rodney Star sank; the entire crew of 83 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-109 stumbled upon an American fleet containing a battleship and several destroyers. She dove and avoided attack. [CPC]
  • Vsevolod Merkulov reported to Joseph Stalin regarding the final deportation plan for the Baltic States, which targeted political leaders, land owners, officers, and others, plus their families. He recommended 8-year imprisonment in labor camps for them, and the exile to faraway lands in the Soviet Union for their families. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • With drinking water fouled in the Italian stronghold of Amba Alagi, Abyssinia, the Italian Viceroy Duke of Aosta requested the British to send in fresh water. When the British refused, he called for a ceasefire in order to begin surrender negotiations. By this point, his forces had suffered incurring 289,000 casualties. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • German bombers damaged British destroyer HMS Encounter in drydock at Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wing Commander J. Warfield was named the commanding officer of RAF Station Takali on Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German bombers conducted what would turn out to be the last major raid against London, England, United Kingdom, as most Luftwaffe units were being transferred to the Eastern Front. [Main Article | TH]
17 May 1941
  • Pilot Officer Mike Kolendorski, an American serving in the British RAF, became the first No. 121 Squadron RAF member to be killed. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 attacked Dutch tanker Marisa with a torpedo at midnight, killing 2; U-107 allowed the 47 survivors to abandon ship before sinking her with guns. [CPC]
  • Operation Brevity: German Colonel Maximilian von Herff launched a counterattack in the area near Bir Wair and Musaid after 1600 hours. British Brigadier General William Gott withdrew his troops into the Halfaya Pass, Egypt, ending his offensive operation. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire delivered fresh Australian troops to Tobruk, Libya at 0100 hours; the artillery pieces that arrived with the destroyer were deployed on the front lines as early as 0530 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British bombers attacked Bramsfeld, 12 kilometers northwest of Köln, Germany; the Atlantik rubber plant was hit with 2 high explosive and 44 incendiary bombs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Arthur Compton and the United States National Academy of Sciences published a report noting the success rate of developing an atomic weapon was favorable. On the same day, Vannevar Bush created the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Viceroy of Italian East Africa Duke of Aosta surrendered Amba Alagi, Abyssinia to the British at 1730 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
Iraq
  • Sonderkommando Junck, a special formation of German Luftwaffe fighters, bombers and transports which had been hastily painted with Iraqi markings, commenced (with a dozen Bf 110 aircraft of 4./ZG 76) air attacks on British positions, especially those at Habbaniya, Iraq; or the next ten days the Bf 110 aircraft attacked, losing several aircraft in the process. Late in the evening, the British force from Palestine arrived at Habbaniya. After sundown, British and colonial troops crossed the Euphrates River toward Fallujah. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
18 May 1941
  • After sundown, German battleship Bismarck and cruiser Prinz Eugen departed Gotenhafen, Germany (now Gdynia, Poland) for the North Atlantic. The fleet was commanded by Admiral Günther Lütjens aboard Bismarck. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italy annexed Dalmatia into its borders. [TH]
  • Battleship Bismarck anchored in the bay at 1200 hours to embark supplies and fuel for Operation Rheinübung. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Prinz Eugen departed for Operation Rheinübung. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Piako 130 miles west of Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 2227 hours; 10 were killed, 65 survived and rescued by British sloop HMS Bridgewater. [CPC]
  • British battleship HMS Nelson and aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, en route from Cape Town, South Africa to Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa in search of German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis, sailed within 7 kilometers of the German ship without detecting her. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German dive bombers attacked British hospital ship Aba 50 miles south of Crete, Greece. Petty Officer Alfred Sephton of British light cruiser HMS Coventry won the Victoria Cross for directing anti-aircraft fire against the German aircraft despite being partially blinded by a machine gun bullet; he would die from his injuries on the next day. In anticipation of a German invasion of Crete, Greece, 700 Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders were transported from Port Said, Egypt, on troopship Glengyle; they would land at Tymbaki, Crete after sundown. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British aircraft from RAF Habbaniya bombed Iraqi positions in Falluja throughout the day. Meanwhile, Arab troops loyal to Britain relieved the besieged RAF Habbaniyah which was defended only by out-of-date training aircraft. The base had been under attack from the pro-German forces of General Rashid Ali using Bf 110 and He 111 aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • General Mosley Mayne, British commander of Indian 5th Division, had lunch with Italian commander Duke of Aosta at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia. The Italian duke agreed to not destroy guns, to not destroy supplies, and to dismantle or identify mines. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet leadership began a purge against Soviet Air Force officers. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 May 1941
Battleship Bismarck as seen from heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in the Baltic Sea, mid-May 1941
19 May 1941
  • Iraqis surrender the town of Fallujah after it was subjected to aerial and artillery bombardment by the British; 300 Iraqi troops were taken prisoner. On the same day, German bombers attacked RAF Habbaniya in Iraq. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German aircraft attacked British airfields on Crete, Greece. To prevent destruction, the British RAF evacuated all aircraft from Crete to Egypt. [Main Article | TH]
  • Vichy France announced the repatriation of 100,000 French prisoners of war. [TH]
  • Battleship Bismarck departed Gotenhafen at 0200 hours and made rendezvous with heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen and destroyers Z-16 Friedrich Eckoldt and Z-23 off Rügen Island at 1200 hours. At 2230 hours, destroyer Z-10 Hans Lody joined the group. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen made rendezvous with battleship Bismarck off Rügen Island at 1200 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-96 sank British ship Empire Ridge 50 miles northwest of Ireland at 0324 hours; 31 were killed, 2 survived and rescued by destroyer HMS Vanquisher. [CPC]
  • "Guidelines for the behaviour of the troops in Russia" demanded that German troops use "ruthless and energetic action against Bolshevik agitators, guerrillas, saboteurs (and) Jews" and approved the complete liquidation of any "active or passive resistance". [AC]
Abyssinia
  • 4,777 Italian and colonial troops formally surrendered at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia at 1115 hours, parading out of the fortress with rifles on their shoulders. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Army Sergeant Nigel Leakey was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross after being killed in action single-handedly knocking out Italian tanks in Abyssinia. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 19 May 1941
Bismarck at sea, seen from Prinz Eugen, 19 May 1941, photo 1 of 3
20 May 1941
  • German invasion of Crete, Greece began with an airborne assault at 0800 hours, capturing Maleme airfield on the northern coast. At 1615 hours and 1730 hours, the second airborne assault was conducted at Rethimnon and Heraklion, respectively; 1,856 German airborne troopers were killed during the second attack wave. At Suda Bay, Crete, German bombers sank British minesweeper HMS Widnes. After sundown, British destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Nizam, and HMS Ilex bombarded the German-controlled airfield on the Greek island of Karpathos. [Main Article | TH]
  • Prime Minister Churchill noted that he was not prepared to make a statement on the arrival of Rudolf Heß in Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Swedish cruiser Gotland detected German battleship Bismarck in the Kattegat at 1300 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Swedish cruiser Gotland detected German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in the Kattegat at 1300 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Thomas Adlerson of British Air Raid Precautions was presented the George Cross award by King George VI. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Swedish seaplane-cruiser Gotland spotted German warships Bismark and Prinz Eugen in the Kattegat between Denmark and Sweden. This information was passed on to the British naval attaché in Stockhlom, Sweden Henry Denham, who in turn passed it to the British Admiralty. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-94, U-98, U-109, and U-556 attacked Allied convoy HX-126 250 miles southeast of Cape Farewell, Greenland, sinking 7 ships. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-138 sank British ship Javanese Prince 155 miles northwest of Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Otaria sank British ship Starcross 430 miles west of Ireland; the entire crew survived. [CPC]
  • Polish Lieutenant J. Just, a prisoner of war of Oflag IV-C at Colditz Castle in Germany, escaped from the hospital at Villingen, Germany but was captured near Basel on the Swiss-German border. [CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Viceroy of Italian East Africa Prince Amedeo, the Duke of Aosta, surrendered himself into British captivity. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 May 1941
German paratroops jumping from Ju 52 transports over Crete, Greece, 20 May 1941A Ju 52 aircraft flying low over Crete, Greece, 20 May 1941German paratroopers landing in Crete, Greece, 20 May 1941OS2U-2 Kingfisher of Scouting Squadron 2 on the seaplane ramp at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, United States, Mar 20 1941. Photo 1 of 2
See all photos dated 20 May 1941
21 May 1941
  • At a meeting of the Central Committee War Section in Moscow, Russia, the intelligence reports, provided by Communist sympathisers in Germany, that an attack on the Soviet Union was imminent was greeted with much apprehension. Stalin however still refused to accept the intelligence, believing that the reports must be either deliberate provocation of misinformation by the British to get the Soviet Union involved in the war. When General Proskurov, the head of Soviet Intelligence, argued personally with Stalin, he was duly arrested and shot. [Main Article | AC]
  • In the early hours of the day, 3 British cruisers and 4 destroyers intercepted and sank 11 small Axis vessels, killing 297 Germans. In the morning, 650 men of the German 5. Gebirsgäger Division landed on Crete, Greece in time to support the paratroopers already in position against a British counter attack at Maleme airfield. Many of the transport aircraft that delivered the troops would be damaged or destroyed on the airfield before they could take off. New Zealand General Freyberg held back his reserves despite German presence at Maleme, believing that the main German invasion was still to come at the beaches. At the nearby island of Milos, 19 fishing boats and 2 small passenger ships disembarked 2,331 German infantry. Out at sea, German aircraft damaged HMS Dido, HMS Orion, and HMS Ajax while Italian bombers sank HMS Juno (128 killed, 97 survived). [Main Article | TH]
  • The Women's Land Army in the United Kingdom was declared to have over 11,000 members. [TH]
  • A Vichy French military court sentenced 56 enlisted soldiers who sided with de Gaulle to death or hard labor, in absentia. [TH]
  • Vichy France government confiscated all property owned by Free French troops. [TH]
  • German submarine U-69 sank unarmed American freighter Robin Moor by torpedo and gunfire 800 miles off the coast of British West Africa at 0525 hours; Robin Moor was the first American merchantman to be sunk by a German submarine in WW2. All 46 aboard survived. US President Roosevelt protested the sinking and unsuccessfully demanded compensation from Germany. At midnight at the very end of the day, U-69 struck again, sinking British ship Tewkesbury; all 42 aboard survived. [CPC]
  • The German fleet containing Bismarck was spotted by a British Coastal Command Spitfire aircraft at 1315 hours in the Korsfjord. It departed Korsfjord at 2000 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German fleet containing Prinz Eugen was spotted by a British Coastal Command Spitfire aircraft at 1315 hours in the Korsfjord. It departed Korsfjord at 2000 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battleship Bismarck and cruiser Prinz Eugen stopped in Grimstadfjord, Norway to refuel Prinz Eugen. At 1315 hours, RAF Flying Officer Michael Suckling, flying a Spitfire fighter, spotted the warships. British Home Fleet commander Admiral John Tovey dispatched all available warships to prevent the Germans from breaking out to the North Atlantic. The German ships completed refueling at 1900 hours and began moving westwards. After dark, British bombers attacked the empty Grimstadfjord. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-93 sank Dutch tanker Elusa off Greenland; 5 were killed, 49 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-98 sank British ship Marconi; 22 were killed, 56 survived and rescued by US Coast Guard patrol boat General Greene. [CPC]
  • 8 I-15 fighters of the Chinese 29th Squadron intercepted 27 Japanese G3M bombers over Lanzhou, Gansu, China, shooting down one and damaging another. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Photo(s) dated 21 May 1941
Bismarck in Norway, seen from Prinz Eugen, 21 May 1941Bismarck near Bergen, Norway, 21 May 1941, photo 1 of 2German paratroopers in Crete, Greece, late May 1941Bismarck near Bergen, Norway, 21 May 1941, photo 2 of 2
22 May 1941
  • The first flight of the Curtiss Hawk 81 fighters, known as Kittyhawk I to the British and P-40D to the Americans, was ordered by both the British Royal Air Force and the US Army. [Main Article | AC]
  • US Navy transferred ships from the Pacific Fleet to the Atlantic Fleet. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, British warships searched for an Axis convoy off the Greek island of Milos; after sunrise, German aircraft spotted the ships, damaging HMS Naiad (6 killed), HMS Calcutta (14 killed), and HMS Kingston (1 killed) at 1000 hours. At 1200 hours, HMS Greyhound was sunk (76 killed) and HMS Warspite was damaged (43 killed). Shortly after, HMS Gloucester (722 killed) and HMS Fiji (257 killed) were also sunk. Meanwhile, at Crete, Greece, Australian and New Zealand troops counterattacked at Maleme at 0330 hours, but German 5. Gebirsgäger Division troops repulsed the attack. During the day, additional Ju 52 aircraft brought two more battalions of troops to Maleme. Australian and New Zealand troops were pulled back from Maleme to Suda Bay to protect the main supply point while regrouping for another counterattack. [Main Article | AC]
  • Himmler formed a Norwegian SS organization, modeling it after the German counterpart. [TH]
  • HMS King George V patrolled the waters off Iceland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Iraqis counterattacked the British troops at Fallujah, Iraq with Italian-made light tanks. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British aerial reconnaissance confirmed the German battleship Bismarck and cruiser Prinz Eugen had left Grimstadfjord, Norway. The German aerial reconnaissance to Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom, seeing dummy warshipsk, reported that the British fleet was still in port. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-111 sank British ship Barnby 400 miles southwest of Ireland at 1340 hours; 1 was killed, 44 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank British tanker Grenadier 50 miles off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at midnight; the entire crew of 49 survived. [CPC]
  • New Zealand Second Lieutenant Charles Upham commanded a forward platoon in an attack on Maleme, Crete, Greece, during which he led his unit in advancing 3,000 yards, destroying many enemy defensive positions along the way, including wiping out a machine gun post with a grenade by himself. While falling back, he helped a wounded man out of the battle zone under fire and helped an isolated company back to friendly lines. He would later win the Victoria Cross award. [CPC]
  • 7 I-16 fighters of the Chinese 24th Pursuit Squadron and 1 SB bomber of the Chinese 9th Bomb Squadron were ordered to intercept the incoming 25 Japanese G3M bombers at Lanzhou, Gansu, China. Bad weather forced the Chinese aircraft to land at Chung Chuan Chun Airfield, but upon sighting the Japanese bombers overhead the Chinese fighters were able to takeoff and shoot down one bomber and damaging another. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh intercepted German ship Lech in the Bay of Biscay. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vyacheslav Molotov met with Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg in Moscow, Russia. Schulenburg, the German ambassador, reported that Molotov was extremely friendly. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder responded to Adolf Hitler's inquiry regarding a German occupation of the Azores islands as long range bomber bases (although Germany had no such bombers at that time) as difficult, as the German Navy was not strong enough to guard the islands should they be taken. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 May 1941
Palls of smoke rising above the countryside, Crete, Greece, late May 1941A group of British soldiers in a trench with fixed bayonets, Crete, Greece, late May 1941
23 May 1941
  • HMS Kelly commanded by Lord Louis Mountbatten, great grandson of Queen Victoria, was sunk 35 miles south Crete, Greece at 0800 hours, shortly a bombardment mission; 181 were killed, 297 survived. On the island itself, bitter fighting continued. During the day, German reinforcements arrived at Maleme airfield, but the attempts to land troops by sea were rebuffed. The Germans now controlled the west end of the island. On the same day, German bombing of Suda Bay sank 5 British motor torpedo boats. [Main Article | AC]
  • Battleship Bismarck sighted British cruiser Suffolk on her portside at 1922 hours, then cruiser Norfolk at 2030 hours. Her main battery fired at Norfolk but did not score any hits. At 2200 hours, Bismarck reversed course to chase Suffolk, but Suffolk would be able to escape. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler issued Directive 30 to send forces to aid Iraq in its war against the British. At Fallujah, Iraq, fighters of the German Fliegerführer Irak squadron strafed British positions. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German battleship Bismarck and cruiser Prinz Eugen were spotted by British cruisers HMS Suffolk and HMS Norfolk in the Denmark Strait at 1922 hours. Bismarck forced the British cruisers to back off with her guns, but the cruisers would follow at a safer distance to report the German position. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank Dutch ship Berhala 200 miles off Guinea, French West Africa at 2020 hours; 3 were killed, 59 survived. [CPC]
  • Grampus was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hermann Göring ordered the plunder and destruction of Soviet industrial centers since the conquered Soviet population would be no more than low laborers for Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
24 May 1941
  • King George II of Greece departed Crete, Greece for Cairo, Egypt. [Main Article | TH]
  • British battlecruiser HMS Hood and battleship HMS Prince of Wales engaged German battleship Bismarck and cruiser Prinz Eugen at 0552 hours at the distance of 24 kilometers. At 0600, a 15 inch shells from Bismarck penetrated Hood's thin deck armor, detonating a magazine and sinking her with almost all killed. Prince of Wales broke off from the battle at 0604 hours after being hit 7 times. Bismarck was hit 3 times and began to sail south for repairs. At 2350 hours, 8 British Swordfish torpedo bombers from aircraft carrier HMS Victorious attacked Bismarck and scored one torpedo hit. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British government collected £124,000,000 in donations after a week-long War Weapon Week event. [CPC]
  • At 0552 hours, battleship Bismarck reported 'in fight with two heavy units' as she was engaged by British warships. Between 0555 and 0601 hours, she was hit on the port side by three shells from HMS Prince of Wales, but by 0601 she was able to sink HMS Hood. Between 0602 and 0609, she scored four hits on HMS Prince of Wales. At 0801 hours, Bismarck reported damage with electric plant no. 4 and boiler room no. 2; she would head for Saint-Nazaire due to her low fuel levels. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Prinz Eugen engaged in combat with HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Hood alongside of German battleship Bismarck. She scored the first hit on HMS Hood. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Lieutenant Commander Malcolm Wanklyn of the submarine HMS Upholder won the Victoria Cross for sinking an Italian transport off Sicily, Italy and surviving 37 depth charges in 20 minutes. By the end of the year he had sunk 140,000 tons of enemy shipping. Wanklyn and Upholder were lost off Tripoli in Apr 1942. [AC]
  • Allied troops began to fall back southward in Crete, Greece. German bombers attacked Chaniá on the northern coast, causing great damage. After dark, British minelayer HMS Abdiel transported 200 British commandos from Alexandria, Egypt to Suda Bay, Crete; another effort to transport 800 commandos to Port Lutro, Crete was canceled due to bad weather. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank British ship Vulcain off British West Africa at 0249 hours, killing 7. In the same general area, U-103 sank Greek ship Marionga at 0356 hours, killing 26. [CPC]
  • German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis sank British ship Trafalgar 850 miles off South Africa; 12 were killed, 33 survived. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 24 May 1941
Bismarck firing on Hood and Prince of Wales, Battle of Denmark Strait, 24 May 1941, photo 8 of 8; photographed from Prinz EugenShells from Hood fell near cruiser Prinz Eugen, 24 May 1941Bismarck firing on Hood and Prince of Wales, Battle of Denmark Strait, 24 May 1941, photo 1 of 8; photographed from Prinz EugenBismarck firing on Hood and Prince of Wales, Battle of Denmark Strait, 24 May 1941, photo 2 of 8; photographed from Prinz Eugen
See all photos dated 24 May 1941
25 May 1941
  • After being reinforced through Maleme airfield on Crete, Greece, German Stuka dive bombers attacked Allied lines at 1600 hours, softening defenses for a ground assault toward Galatas on the northern coast. Elsewhere on the island, German aircraft bombed Heraklion. [Main Article | TH]
  • Battleship Bismarck sailed for Saint-Nazaire, closely monitored by Allied aircraft and warships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British cruisers HMS Suffolk and HMS Norfolk lost radar contact with German battleship Bismarck at 0306 hours as the German ship unexpectedly turned west. Several hours later, the British learned of Bismarck's general area after intercepting a radio message sent by Admiral Lütjens. All British attempts to locate Bismarck on this date, however, failed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-103 sank Egyptian ship Radames off Monrovia, Liberia at 1631 hours, killing 1. At 2213 hours, U-103 struck again, sinking Dutch ship Wangi Wangi, killing 1. [CPC]
  • Luftwaffe Lieutenant-General Kurt Student arrived at Maleme in Crete, Greece. [Main Article | AC]
  • HMS Eagle arrived at Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa and refueled. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Pierre Laval criticized the Vichy French government during an interview with American journalist Ralph Heinzen in Paris, France. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 May 1941
Aerial photograph of Wake taken from a PBY Catalina on 25 May 1941, looking west along the northern side, with Peale Island in the center and Wilkes Island in the left distance
26 May 1941
  • Battleship Bismarck was detected by Allied PBY Catalina aircraft 700 miles west of Land's End, England, United Kingdom at 1030 hours, and Royal Navy's Force H was ordered to attack. Carrier-based Swordfish torpedo bombers attacked between 2047 and 2115 hours. Two or three torpedoes hit her, one of which hit the stern and jammed her rudder at 12 degrees to port. At 2140 hours, she radioed in the message "Ship unable to maneuver. We will fight to the last shell. Long live the Führer." Within hours, Allied warships closed in on her. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Operation Skorpion: German Colonel Maximilian von Herff launched an offensive and captured Halfaya Pass in Egypt, near the border with Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Six Albacore carrier aircraft from HMS Formidable attacked Italian airfields on Scarpanto in the Dodecanese Islands in Operation MAQ3. German bombers counterattacked the carrier, hitting her twice and killing 12; escorting destroyer HMS Nubian was also hit, seriously damaging the stern and killing 15. [Main Article | CPC]
  • During the day, German aircraft misidentified the German column moving from Galatas, Crete, Greece toward Canea on the Suda Bay. After sundown, poor communications and conflicting orders caused 1,000 Allied troops at Canea to become surrounded. Also during the night, British minelayer HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Hero and HMS Nizam arrived at Suda Bay from Alexandria, Egypt and disembarked 750 British commandos under Colonel Robert Laycock; they evacuated personnel from the naval base as they departed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese fighters intercepted 18 I-15 fighters of the Chinese 29th Pursuit Squadron while in transit in Gansu Province, China; nearly all Chinese fighters were destroyed. [CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler met with tank generals and tank designers at his residence Berghof in southern Germany. In a similar meeting three months prior he had asked for 75-millimeter guns for Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. Because 75-millimeter guns relied on special tungsten shells, Hitler now asked for 88-millimeter guns to be used for future heavy tanks. He also demanded 100-millimeter frontal armor and 60-millimeter side armor. [Main Article | CPC]
Iraq
  • Iraqi forces received supplies by train from Vichy French forces in Syria, including 8 155mm guns, 6,000 shells, 30,000 grenades, and 32 trucks. By this date, all German fighters in Iraq had become unserviceable after 10 days of engagements with British fighters; the Germans then evacuated their main base at Mosul, Iraq before the Commonwealth forces could overrun it. [Main Article | CPC, AC]
Photo(s) dated 26 May 1941
Two A6M2 Type 0 Model 11 Zero fighters in flight from Yichang, Hubei Province to attack Nanzheng, Shaanxi Province in China, 26 May 1941
27 May 1941
  • German troops captured Canea, Crete, Greece, thus securing the use of the anchorage at Suda Bay. [Main Article | TH]
  • US Navy transferred ships from the Pacific Fleet to the Atlantic Fleet. [CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt announced unlimited state of emergency, which enabled him to send more war supplies to the United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • At 0710 hours, battleship Bismarck sent in what would become her last radio report. She was sighted by battleships HMS King George V and HMS Rodney at 0844 hours, and their guns fired 3 minutes later, hitting Bismarck and quickly disabling her guns. Heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk and HMS Dorsetshire joined in on the attack shortly after. After receiving about 400 gunfire hits from the British ships and several torpedo hits from HMS Dorsetshire, Bismarck's crew set off scuttling charges in the boiler room to scuttle her. She sank at 1039 hours; 2,091, most of her crew, were killed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Colonial off Guinea, French West Africa at 0146 hours; the entire crew of 100 survived and rescued by HMS Centurion. [CPC]
  • Allied forces advanced toward Baghdad, Iraq in two columns. From the south, Indian 20th Brigade advanced north along and on the Euphrates River while Indian 21st Brigade advanced on the Tigris River from Basra. From the west, British forces departed Fallujah. Also on this date, 12 Italian CR.42 biplane fighters arrived at Mosul to reinforce the German and Iraqi forces in the area. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • Scirè launched three manned torpedoes into Gibraltar harbor; they failed to damage any enemy vessel. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain a secret War Office memo banned Fascists and Communists from joining the Home Guard. All those already in the service are to be dismissed as "Services no longer required". [AC]
Photo(s) dated 27 May 1941
Survivors of battleship Bismarck being pulled aboard HMS Dorsetshire, 27 May 1941Battleship Bismarck burning in the distance as seen from a British warship, 27 May 1941HMS Rodney firing on German battleship Bismarck, 27 May 1941
28 May 1941
  • British General Archibald Wavell ordered Operation Battleaxe against Axis positions in Libya; it was to be launched on 7 Jun. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The evacuation of British and Commonwealth troops from Crete, Greece began before dawn; the evacuation centered around Sphakia on the southern coast of Crete, while Colonel Laycock commanded a rearguard force to guard the evacuation. British cruisers HMS Ajax, HMS Orion, and HMS Dido and destroyers HMS Decoy, HMS Jackal, HMS Imperial, HMS Hotspur, HMS Kimberly, and HMS Hereward departed Alexandria, Egypt for Heraklion, Crete to help with the evacuation; German aircraft damaged HMS Ajax (killing 6, wounding 18, and forcing her to turn back) and HMS Imperial (wounding 1); the force, less Ajax, arrived at Heraklion at 2330 hours. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Lord Woolton announced experimental egg rationing and further restrictions on fish and milk. [CPC]
  • In the United Kingdom, successful prosecutions under Food Control Orders now totaled 17,319. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked HMS Tartar and HMS Mashona 100 miles west of Ireland in the morning, killing 36 men as a bomb hit Mashona. HMS Tartar rescued 184 survivors and destroyers HMS Sherwood and HMCS St. Clair scuttled Mashona with gunfire. [CPC]
  • Indian 20th Brigade, en route to Baghdad in Iraq, reached the city of Ur. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank Greek ship Papalemos off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 1600 hours; 2 were killed and 27 survived. [CPC]
  • South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts was appointed as a Field Marshal in the British Army. He was the first South African to hold the rank. [AC]
  • Jan Smuts was given the rank of field marshal in the British Army. [Main Article | CPC]
29 May 1941
  • US Navy extended its boundaries of Neutrality Patrol to North and South Atlantic. On the same day, a joint US Army-US Navy plan was drafted to occupy the Portuguese Azores islands with 14,000 Marines and 14,000 troops; the proposed commanding officer was US Marine Corps Major General Holland M. Smith. [CPC]
  • Prinz Eugen arrived at Brest, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A British force of cruiser and destroyers embarked 3,486 men at Heraklion, Crete and departed for Egypt at 0245 hours. At 0400 hours, HMS Imperial's steering failed; she transferred her crew and passengers, and then was scuttled by HMS Hotspur. After dawn, HMS Hereward was bombed by Italian aircraft, 76 were killed and 89 survivors were captured. Cruisers HMS Orion and HMS Dido were also attacked, killing 105 crew and 260 passengers on the former and 27 crew and 100 passengers on the latter. The force would finally arrive at Alexandria, Egypt at 2000 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-557 sank British ship Empire Storm in the North Atlantic at 2043 hours; 3 were killed, 40 survived and were rescued by Norwegian ship Marita. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank British ship Tabaristan 250 miles off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 2350 hours; 21 were killed, 39 survived and were rescued by British armed trawlers HMS Bengali and HMS Turcoman. [CPC]
  • The German Navy began to execute its plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Eagle began patrolling the South Atlantic for German shipping. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • 13 British and Polish prisoners of war of Oflag IV-C at Colditz Castle, Germany attempted to escape via a tunnel, but the attempt was a failure. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 29 May 1941
Washington off the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, United States, 29 May 1941A-20A Havoc bomber of US 58th Bomb Squadron flying over Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, 29 May 1941USS Washington, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 29 May 1941
30 May 1941
  • Erich Raeder recommended Adolf Hitler an attack on the Suez Canal in Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Before dawn, a force of British cruiser and destroyers embarked 6,029 troops and departed Sphakia, Crete, Greece for Egypt. En route, they were attacked by Axis aircraft; a bomb hit on cruiser HMS Perth killed 13, but RAF fighter escorts prevented Axis aircraft from dealing the kind of damage they did on the previous day against a different evacuation convoy. Destroyer HMS Kelvin, sailing north from Egypt, was damaged by a bomb en route, killing 1. On land, German aircraft strafed evacuation beaches at and near Sphakia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British and Indian forces reached the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq, causing Rashid Ali's government to collapse. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 sank British ship Silveryew near Cape Verde Islands at 0036 hours, killing 1. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank British ship Empire Protector off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 1407 hours, killing 5. [CPC]
31 May 1941
  • At 0200 hours, Dublin, Ireland was accidentally bombed by German bombers intending to hit Liverpool, England, United Kingdom; 28 were killed and 87 were wounded, while about 25 homes were destroyed and about 300 homes were seriously damaged. Germany would later offer compensation. [TH]
  • British destroyers HMS Napier and HMS Nizam embarked 1,510 troops at Sphakia, Crete, Greece and departed before dawn for Egypt; they were attacked by Axis aircraft en route, causing minor damage. At 0600 hours, British cruiser HMS Phoebe, minelayer HMS Abdiel, and destroyers HMS Jackal, HMS Kimberley, and HMS Hotspur departed Alexandria, Egypt for Sphakia to evacuate more troops. On the same day, 54 senior level Allied officers, including General Freyberg, were evacuated from Crete by aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The mayor of Baghdad, Iraq surrendered to British Ambassador Sir Kinahan Cornwallis at the Washash Bridge. As a sign of good faith, the British allowed the Iraqi Army to return to their barracks, and all captured equipment were returned. Both sides released captured prisoners of war with the exception of German and Italian troops captured by the British. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-69 sank British ship Sangara at Accra harbor, Gold Coast at 0025 hours. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank Norwegian ship Rinda off Liberia at 0024 hours; 13 were killed, 18 survived and were rescued by British anti-submarine trawler HMS Pict. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 sank British ship Clan MacDougall near Cape Verde Islands at 0334 hours; 2 were killed, 85 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Sire off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 0739 hours; 3 were killed, 46 survived and were rescued by British corvette HMS Marguerite. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-147 sank British ship Gravelines 100 miles northwest of Ireland; 11 were killed, 25 survived and were rescued by British sloop HMS Deptford. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-204 sank small Icelandic fishing boat Holmsteinn northwest of Iceland at 0515 hours, killing the entire crew of 4. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, German bombers attacked Merseyside, England, United Kingdom in the early hours of the day. [Main Article | CPC]
Austria
  • After successfully escaping the Oflag IV-C prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle, Germany earlier in the month, British Lieutenant Anthony "Peter" Allan failed to secure assistance from the US Consulate at Vienna in occupied Austria. Giving up, he turned himself in at a local police station and was eventually returned to Colditz. [CPC]
Russia
  • A Soviet decree stated that children of traitors could be criminally charged after they reached the age of 15. [CPC]
US Virgin Islands
  • US 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons, both operating P-40 Warhawk fighters, was assigned to St. Croix Airfield, US Virgin Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 31 May 1941
Map depicting the German assault on Crete, Greece, 20-31 May 1941Wounded British troops disembarking at an Egyptian port after being evacuated from Crete, Greece, 31 May 1941
1 Jun 1941
  • A pro-British government was established in Iraq under Amir Abdul Illah, restoring the monarchy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Before dawn, British cruiser HMS Phoebe, minelayer HMS Abdiel, and destroyers HMS Jackal, HMS Kimberley, and HMS Hotspur embarked 3,710 Allied troops at Sphakia, Crete, Greece and departed; the force would arrive safely at Alexandria, Egypt later on the same day. Anti-aircraft cruisers HMS Calcutta and HMS Coventry were dispatched from Alexandria to cover this force; HMS Calcutta was attacked by Axis aircraft, sinking at 0945 hours with 118 lost and 255 wounded. Although the Allied efforts had evacuated 16,511 men from Crete, 5,000 still remained; they would be surrendered by Australian Lieutenant Colonel Theo Walker by the end of the day, thus ending the German campaign on Crete. [Main Article | TH]
  • Mildred Tuttle married David Axton and took her husband's last name. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-105 sank the ship Scottish Monarch southwest of the Cape Verde Islands at 0052 hours; 1 was killed, 44 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Alfred Jones 140 miles off Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 1409 hours; 14 were killed, 62 survived and rescued by British corvette HMS Marguerite. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, German bombers attacked Merseyside, England, United Kingdom in the early hours of the day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In the Soviet Union, 793,500 conscripts were called up. [AC]
  • HMS Edinburgh was ordered to patrol the Denmark Strait. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erich Müller was made the military governor of the Channel Islands, succeeding Rudolf von Schmettow. [CPC]
France
  • German cruiser Prinz Eugen arrived in Brest, France to join battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau docked there for refits. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • Clothing rationing was introduced in Britain. Everyone was allowed 66 clothing coupons a year; equivalent to about one complete outfit. A man's overcoat cost 16 coupons; a dress 11; a pair of pyjamas eight; a nightdress six; underpants four; a pair of stockings two; a handerchief could be had for half a coupon. [AC]
2 Jun 1941
  • Before dawn, German bombers attacked Manchester and Salford in England, United Kingdom in the early hours of the day; 70 were killed and 86 were seriously injured. [Main Article | TH]
  • In light of the successful campaign at Crete, Greece, Göring boasted that there was no such thing as an unconquerable island, hinting a similar fate for Britain. As for the killings of German paratroopers by civilians at Crete, Göring officially ordered reprisals to be conducted as if the killers were partisan fighters. [Main Article | TH]
  • RAF bombers conducted a raid in the Ruhr region of Germany. [TH]
  • Vichy French government published anti-Semitic legislation based on German laws; among it was the banning of Jews from holding public office. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-147 attacked Allied convoy OB-329 northwest of Ireland, damaging Belgian ship Mokambo (all 47 aboard survived), but was destroyed by depth charges from British destroyer HMS Wanderer and corvette HMS Periwinkle, killing all 26 German sailors aboard. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-108 sank British catapult-armed merchant ship Michael E. about 1,050 miles west of Land's End, England, United Kingdom at 2043 hours; 4 were killed, 47 survived. The Hurricane fighter aboard was also lost. [CPC]
  • Long Island was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Vichy French aircraft claimed a British Blenheim aircraft shot down over Syria-Lebanon. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • Joseph Rochefort reported to the main US Navy building at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii for his new duty heading up a cryptanalysis section. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Italy
  • Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met again at the Brenner Pass on the Italian-Austrian border. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 2 Jun 1941
Killed Greek civilians in Kondomari, Crete, Greece, 2 Jun 1941
3 Jun 1941
  • The Attlee memorandum approved by 2,430,000 to 19,000 at Labour Party conference in Britain. [CPC]
  • A German He 111 bomber encountered a British de Havilland Dragon aircraft en route back to France and shot it down. The aircraft turned out to be a civilian joy-riding aircraft from St Mary's island of the Isles of Scilly off the tip of southwestern England, United Kingdom. The pilot and all 5 passengers were killed. [CPC]
  • British cruisers HMS Aurora and HMS Kenya attacked German tanker Belchen 80 miles southwest of Greenland as the tanker refueled submarine U-93. U-93 escaped, but Belchen was damaged by shellfire and a torpedo from Aurora; her crew scuttled the ship. 5 were killed during the attack; U-93 later returned and picked up 50 survivors. The attack on Belchen was enabled by Ultra intercepts. To the south, U-48 and U-75 attacked Allied convoy OB-327 950 miles west of Brest, France, sinking Dutch ship Eibergen (4 killed; 35 survived) and British tanker Inversuir (45 survived). [CPC]
  • British passenger liner Mamari, modified to look like carrier HMS Hermes, was attacked by German aircraft off Cromer, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom. She became stuck on the wreck of tanker Ahamo while evading the attack. After sundown, German E-boats arrived and hit Mamari with torpedoes. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, German bombers attacked Hull and Tweedmouth in England, United Kingdom in the early hours of the day. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Jun 1941
  • British cruiser HMS London and destroyer HMS Brilliant intercepted German tanker Esso Hamburg 750 miles southwest of Cape Verde islands based on Ultra intercepts; Esso Hamburg's entire crew of 87 survived the attack and the tanker was scuttled. Also from Ultra intercepts, British armed merchant cruiser HMS Esperance Bay and aircraft from HMS Victorious spotted German supply ship Gonzenheim 380 miles northeast of the Azores; battleship HMS Nelson and cruiser HMS Neptune approached to board but not before Gonzenheim was scuttled; all 63 aboard survived and picked up by Neptune. Finally, ocean boarding vessel HMS Marsdale captured German tanker Gedania also off the Azores; Gedania would later be pressed into British service as Empire Garden. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 attacked British ship Trecarrell 1,200 west of Brest, France at 0503 hours, killing 4; 41 abandoned ship. At 0640, U-101 rammed Trecarrell, bending Trecarrell's bow, and then left Trecarrell to sink on her own. [CPC]
  • British dredger Robert Hughes hit a mine, which was laid by U-69 on 27 May 1941, and sank in Lagos Harbor, Nigeria; 14 were killed, 17 survived. [CPC]
  • Dutch minelayer HNLMS Van Meerlant hit a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom, killing 3. [CPC]
  • The British Home Security Situation Report noted that, for the week ending at 0600 hours on 4 Jun 1941, about 178 were killed by German bombing in Britain, and 185 were seriously injured. [Main Article | CPC]
Netherlands
  • Former German Emperor and King of Prussia Kaiser Wilhelm II died in Doorn, Netherlands. [TH]
5 Jun 1941
  • Germany announced that 15,000 British and Commonwealth prisoners of war were captured at Crete, Greece. [Main Article | TH]
  • Japanese luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru departed Yokohama for Vancouver, with some Jewish refugees on board. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 sank British ship Wellfield 670 miles north of the Azores at 0131 hours; 8 were killed, 30 survived. [CPC]
  • The German Kriegsmarine issued orders for 102 new submarines to be constructed. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Triumph sank Italian gunboat Valoroso and two small transports, Frieda and Trio Frassinetti, off the coast of Libya with her deck gun. [CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS London and destroyer HMS Brilliant, using Ultra intercepts, intercepted and attacked German tanker Egerland 700 miles southwest of Cape Verde islands. Egerland's crew scuttled the ship; all 94 aboard survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Before dawn, German bombers attacked Birmingham, England, United Kingdom in the early hours of the day; the bombs mostly missed their targets and fell outside the city. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese aircraft flew more than 20 sorties against Chongqing, China over a 3-hour period, dropping bombs on civilian sections of the city. In the Jiaochangkou air raid shelter tunnel, more than 1,000 Chinese died from asphyxiation. [Main Article | CPC]
6 Jun 1941
  • Hitler implemented the Kommissarbefehl, or Commissar Order, which would bring about the summary execution of any captured Soviet political commissars; this order would be ignored by most German Army commanders. [Main Article | TH]
  • The British Air Ministry issued a contract to Avro for the supply of 454 Lancaster Mk I heavy bombers powered by four Merlin XX engines, plus two prototype Lancaster Mk II fitted with four Bristol Hercules VI engines. [Main Article | AC]
  • Italian submarine Marconi sank British ship Baron Lovat (the entire crew survived) and Swedish ship Taberg (15 killed) 350 miles west of Gibraltar. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 sank British ship Sacramento Valley 250 miles west of Cape Verde Islands at 0503 hours; 3 were killed, 39 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-43 sank Dutch ship Yselhaven 930 miles northwest of the Azores at 2024 hours; 24 were killed, 10 survived. Three hours later at 2325 hours, 630 miles northwest of the Azores, U-48 sank British ship Tregarthen, killing all 45 aboard. [CPC]
  • Aircraft from HMS Eagle sank German blockade runner Elbe in the South Atlantic. [Main Article | CPC]
British Palestine
  • RAF fighters shot down a French 167F bomber over Palestine. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 Jun 1941
German prisoners under British guard, Crete, Greece, 6 Jun 1941A crashed German glider with two of its occupants lying dead alongside, Crete, Greece, 6 Jun 1941Ante Pavelić and Joachim von Ribbentrop in Salzburg, German occupied Austria, 6 Jun 1941
7 Jun 1941
  • British Operation Battleaxe, an offensive against Axis positions in Libya, was delayed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Polish physician Zygmunt Klukowski's diary entry for this date noted his observation of heavy German military traffic moving east. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt learned that Germany was unlikely to invade the Iberian Peninsula, and suspended the planning for the occupation of the Portuguese Azores islands. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet Armaments Commissar Boris Vannikov was arrested. [CPC]
8 Jun 1941
  • Germany experienced the largest RAF bombing raid thus far. [TH]
  • Commonwealth and Free French forces in northern Palestine crossed the border into southern French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon; the Free French promised the counties full independence for their co-operation. Troops of the British No. 11 (Scottish) Commando was to conduct an amphibious raid in an attempt to secure a crossing on the Litani River for the Australian troops, but bad weather delayed their arrival by sea. [Main Article | AC]
  • After two German air raids on Alexandria, Egypt, which had killed 400 people, 40,000 residents were evacuated from the city. [AC]
9 Jun 1941
  • The United Kingdom established a national Fire Service Council. [TH]
  • As the British commando raid to secure crossings on the Litani River in French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon had been delayed by weather, Australian troops crossed the river in canvas boats. The commandos later arrived and joined the Australians in the assault. French destroyers Valmy and Guépard bombarded Allied troops in the Litani River area, but they were driven off by New Zealand cruiser HMNZS Leander and British destroyers HMS Janus, HMS Hotspur, HMS Isis, HMS Jackal (HMS Janus was badly damaged in the engagement). Further off the coast, French submarine Caiman attacked British cruiser HMS Phoebe, but without success. The Allies were able to secure several strongpoints on the opposite shore of the Litani River by the end of the day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-46 sank British ship Phidias in the North Atlantic with the deck gun in the early hours of the day; 8 were killed, 43 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 sank British ship Trevarrack in the North Atlantic at 1835 hours; 45 survived the attack in 3 lifeboats, but they were never found. [CPC]
  • At Berchtesgaden, Germany, Adolf Hitler issued the summons for his top military leaders to gather for the final planning meeting for Operation Barbarossa. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Jun 1941
Seyß-Inquart, Mackensen, Canaris, Christiansen, Haase, and Densch at the funeral of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Doorn, Netherlands, 9 Jun 1941
10 Jun 1941
  • Desperate for sources of raw materials, Japanese leadership was infuriated when the United States won the contract to purchase all the Tungsten mined in Bolivia over the next three years. [AC]
  • Allied troops captured several villages in the French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon as they advanced toward Beirut. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British steamship Royal Scot hit an acoustic mine and sank in the Humber estuary on the eastern coast of England, United Kingdom. Patrol vessel HMS Pintail arrived to assist, but also struck a mine, sinking immediately; 55 were killed aboard Pintail, 22 survived. [CPC]
  • Lord Simon met with Rudolf Heß for 2.5 hours, during which Hess asked Lord Simon to work with the British government to negotiate peace with Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Jun 1941
Ion Antonescu and Adolf Hitler at Munich, Germany, 10 Jun 1941; note Keitel and Ribbentrop in background
11 Jun 1941
  • The 15th Punjab Regiment of the Indian 3rd Battalion captured Assab, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, thus securing the Red Sea. [CPC]
  • German heavy cruiser Lützow departed Kiel, Germany for Norway, escorted by light cruisers Emden and Leipzig and six destroyers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-79 sank Norwegian ship Havtor 150 miles west of Iceland at 2051 hours; 6 were killed, 14 survived. [CPC]
  • British Submarine HMS Torbay rammed and sank a Greek fishing boat being used as a German troop transport 15 miles south of the island of Lesbos, Greece. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Taku sank German ship Tilly LM Russ in Benghazi Harbor, Libya. [CPC]
  • Major General Douglas Wimberley took over command of British 51st Highland Division from Sir Neil Ritchie who moved to a staff appointment in British Eighth Army. [AC]
Germany
  • After dark, British bombers conducted the first of 20 consecutive nightly raids on the Ruhr and Rhineland industrial areas in Germany. Several German port cities such as Hamburg and Bremen were also hit. [Main Article | TH]
Hawaii
  • USS Arizona departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for Long Beach, California, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 Jun 1941
Bantam BRC 40 Light Reconnaissance Vehicle built by Checker Cab Company under contract, 11 Jun 1941
12 Jun 1941
  • Men of the US Naval Reserve were called to active duty. [CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Sheffield sank German tanker Friedrich Breme with shellfire in the Atlantic Ocean; 2 were killed 86 survived. [CPC]
  • Indian and Free French forces under French General Paul Legentilhomme captured Deraa, Sheikh Meskine, and Ezraa in southwestern French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon, but were held up Kissoué. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Taku sank Italian ship Silvio Scaroni 70 miles west of Benghazi, Libya; Italian torpedo boats Pallade and Polluce counterattacked without success. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Torbay sank Italian schooner Gesue E Maria off the island of Skiros, Greece. [CPC]
  • Dutch submarine O.24 sank Italian tanker Fianona and auxiliary patrol ship Carloforte 10 miles north of the island of Elba, Italy. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-48 sank British ship Empire Dew in the North Atlantic; 23 were killed, 18 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-371 sank British ship Silverpalm in the North Atlantic, killing the entire crew of 68. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-558 sank British ship Susan Mærsk (all 24 aboard killed) and Norwegian tanker Ranella (all 29 aboard survived) in the North Atlantic. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-552 sank British ship Chinese Prince west of Ireland; 45 were killed 19 survived. [CPC]
  • German heavy cruiser Lützow, light cruiser Emden, light cruiser Leipzig, and destroyers passed through the Kattegat between Denmark and Sweden. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The South African Air Force embarked on its first combat mission in North Africa. [CPC]
Germany
  • A three-day conference of SS men of SS-Gruppenführer rank began at the SS castle of Schloß Wewelsburg in Büren, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Jun 1941
  • The Soviet news agency TASS denied any German threat and labeled such rumors as hostile propaganda. Meanwhile, those in the Baltic States who might support such a German invasion were arrested. [TH]
  • Luftwaffe bombers conducted a raid on the British naval base at Chatham, England with little effect. [TH]
  • Vichy French troops held up the Australian 7th Division at Jezzine in southern French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian Private James Gordon won the Victoria Cross medal for single-handedly neutralizing a French machine gun post while fighting in the French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-77 sank British ship Tresillian 300 miles off Newfoundland, Canada at 0545 hours; all 46 aboard survived and rescued by US Coast Guard cutter Duane. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank Greek ship Pandias 300 miles north of the Azores islands at noon; 11 were killed, 23 survived. 4,894 tons of coal and 1,050 tons of military equipment, including 11 crated Spitfire fighters, originally destined for Alexandria, Egypt for the Allied troops, were lost. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Brin sank British ship Djurdjura (33 killed, 5 survived) and Greek ship Eirini Kyriakides (entire crew of 31 killed) of Allied convoy SL75 100 miles east of the Azores islands. [CPC]
  • German heavy cruiser Lützow, light cruiser Emden, light cruiser Leipzig, and destroyers passed through the Skagerrak between Denmark and Norway. Despite aerial cover by Bf 110 fighters, a British force of Beaufort torpedo bombers with fighter escort was still able to get through and attack, damaging Lützow with a torpedo hit in the engine room. Lützow was forced to return to Kiel, Germany for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Marine Corps Major General Holland M. Smith relinquished command of the 1st Marine Division to become the commanding general of the I Corps (Provisional) attached to the US Navy Atlantic Fleet. The mixed Marine-Army corps was consisted of the 1st Marine Division and the 1st Infantry Division. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Walther von Brauchitsch returned to Berlin, Germany from an inspection of invasion forces in Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Jun 1941
Winston Churchill took aim with a Sten gun during a visit to the Royal Artillery experimental station at Shoeburyness in Essex, England, United Kingdom, 13 Jun 1941
14 Jun 1941
  • British destroyers HMS Jervis and HMS Griffin bombardeded Sidon, French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon. Two French destroyers based in Beirut counterattacked at 1620 hours, but was chased off by New Zealand cruiser HMNZS Leander and British destroyers; 8 German Ju 88 aircraft also attempted to attack, but were driven off by P-40 Tomahawk fighters of No. 3 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force based in the British Mandate of Palestine, shooting down 3 Ju 88 aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British RAF began daylight fighter sweeps across northern France. [TH]
  • Croatia became the newest member of the Tripartite Pact. [Main Article | TH]
  • Adolf Hitler met with his High Command regarding Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, including a planned start date; the "Lucy" spy ring in Germany promptly passed along this information. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russia, Vyacheslav Molotov informed Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg that the Soviet Union was to publish, on the next day, that the rumors of a German attack on the Soviet Union were all fabricated by the British. [Main Article | TH]
  • Assets of German and Italian nationals in the United States were frozen. [TH]
  • The June Deportation, which was the first major wave of Soviet mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, began. [CPC]
  • British tanks gathered on the Egyptian-Libyan border to prepare for a major offensive; Germans reinforced the front lines and strengthened the siege on Tobruk, Libya as they detected the British movement. After sundown, German artillery bombarded Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-751 sank British ship St. Lindsay 700 miles west of Ireland at 0346 hours, killing all 44 aboard. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Clyde sank Italian ship Giovanni Bottigliere south of Sardinia, Italy. [CPC]
  • Molotov was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • German Luftwaffe ace Oberfeldwebel Robert Menge was shot down and killed near Marquise, France by Squadron Leader James E. Rankin of No. 92 Squadron RAF. At the time of his death Menge had 18 kills to his credit. [AC]
Gibraltar
  • British aircraft carriers HMS Ark Royal and HMS Victorious, escorted by cruiser HMS Renown and 7 destroyers, set sail from Gibraltar for Operation Tracer and launched 47 Hurricane fighters for Malta; 43 of them would reach their destination safely. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille suffered damage in the engine of his fighter and was forced to crash land in friendly territory in Libya. He returned to based, took off in another fighter, and later was shot down once again, and again was able to crash land and escape unharmed. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Jun 1941
  • German units moved into their start positions for the invasion of the Soviet Union. Likewise, the Soviet Union moved the new conscript units into forward positions. [Main Article | TH]
  • The British launched the Operation Battleaxe offensive toward in Libya at 0200 hours, engaging Axis defenses by 0600 hours. On the first day of the offensive, British troops were able to besiege Halfaya Pass and capture Fort Capuzzo, but at the high price of about half of their tank strength. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Galeazzo Ciano sent a message to his Hungarian counterpart, advising that Hungary should prepare to deal with a potential Soviet attack, which might be forthcoming due to suspected German aggression against the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light cruiser Voroshilov began participation in a week-long exercise. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Aircraft from HMS Eagle damaged German tanker Lothringen in the South Atlantic, allowing the ship to later become captured by the crew of HMS Dunedin. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • US government criticized the Japanese raids on civilian sections of Chongqing, China. Meanwhile, unrelated to the US complaint, the Japanese air raid on Chongqing damaged the US embassy. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Indian and Free French troops attacked Kissoué in the French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon at 0400 hours, capturing it by 0900 hours. 5 miles to the west, Vichy French troops threatened to capture Quneitra. At sea, British destroyers bombarded Sidon in the French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon and was retaliated against by German Ju 88 aircraft; HMS Jackal, HMS Ilex, and HMS Isis were damaged and were ordered out of the area for repairs. In the evening, aircraft of French 4th Naval Air Group bombed British naval units off the Syrian coast. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Japanese spies Itaru Tachibana and Toraichi Kono were arrested in the United States. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Jun 1941
Carrier Graf Zeppelin in Stettin, Germany, 15 Jun 1941
16 Jun 1941
  • The United States forced the closure of German and Italian consulates, expelling the diplomats. [CPC]
  • British unemployment figures for May 1941 was at its lowest, showing 243,656, compared to over 600,000 one year prior. [CPC]
  • German troops launched limited counterattacks at British positions in Libya; the attack at British troops at Fort Capuzzo was fought off, but the series of skirmishes toward Hafid Ridge saw many British tanks destroyed by the superior German Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. At 1600 hours, Erwin Rommel decided to launch a decisive counterattack on the next day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vichy French tanks defeated the British Royal Fusiliers battalion which had been surrounded at Quneitra, French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon; 177 officers and men surrendered at 1900 hours. Further north, Indian and Free French troops advanced toward Damascus. Out at sea, British torpedo bombers sank Vichy French destroyer Chevalier Paul carrying ammunition from Toulon, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill received an honorary degree from the Rochester University in New York, United States. In his radio address shortly after receiving this degree, he urged the American people to join the Allies in the fight against Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US Marine Corps established the 1st Marine Brigade (Provisional) at Charleston, South Carolina, United States under the command of Brigadier General John Marston. The brigade was soon to be transferred to Iceland. [CPC]
  • Galeazzo Ciano met with Joachim von Ribbentrop in Venice, Italy. When Ciano asked Ribbentrop about the rumors of a German attack on the Soviet Union, Ribbentrop denied the rumors, but he shared the confidence that, should war really break out, a German victory would be achieved very quickly. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille suffered heavy damage with his fighter while in combat in North Africa. Unable to see due to oil-smeared windscreen, he still landed successfully, guided down over the radio by his flight leader Reiner Pöttgen. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Jun 1941
German tanks near Sollum, Egypt, circa 16 Jun 1941
17 Jun 1941
  • Finland began to secretly mobilize its military for Operation Silver Fox, the Finnish invasion of the Soviet Union in concert with the German Operation Barbarossa. [Main Article | TH]
  • A German counterattack launched at 0430 hours broke through the Allied lines in Libya, threatening to cut off the Allied forces attacking Halfaya Pass. In the afternoon, the Allied leadership decided to call off the Operation Battleaxe offensive. The British 7th Armoured Division tanks formed a rearguard against pursuing German tanks until 1600 hours to allow Allied troops to fall back. The failure of the operation, especially in regards to the heavy losses in tank strength, would soon cost Wavell his position as the British commander-in-chief in the region. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Guards Armoured Division was established by the British Army with Major General Sir Oliver Leese in command. [Main Article | AC]
  • German submarine U-43 sank British ship Cathrine 250 miles southwest of Ireland at 0315 hours; 24 were killed, 3 survived. [CPC]
Egypt
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down two Hurricane fighters over Halfaya Pass in Egypt while escorting Stuka dive bombers; they were his 12th and 13th kills. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • British bombers attacked a French destroyer, carrying ammunition which she had brought from France, in the port of Beirut in French Syria-Lebanon. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Jun 1941
Remains of a Matilda tank of C Squadron, UK 4th Royal Tank Regiment, Libya or Egypt, 17 Jun 1941
18 Jun 1941
  • British press reported details of development of radiolocation technology (later more popularly known by its American acronym RADAR) and its use in Battle of Britain. [TH]
  • The keel for the civilian ship Steel Architect was laid down at Tacoma, Washington, United States by Todd Pacific Shipyards. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-552 sank British ship Norfolk 150 miles northwest of Ireland at 0438 hours; 1 was killed, 70 survived. [CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Fearless, HMS Forester, HMS Foresight, and HMS Foxhound sank U-138 with depth charges 100 miles west of Gibraltar; all 27 German crew members of U-138 survived and were all taken prisoner. [CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was granted medical leave; he would depart Libya for Berlin, Germany shortly. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Jun 1941
Benito Mussolini at Lubiana, Italy (occupied Ljubljana, Yugoslavia), 18 Jun 1941
19 Jun 1941
  • The Soviet Union ordered black-outs in all cities along the border with Germany and the camouflaging of airfields, but still did not deploy for defense; the latter order, the camouflaging of airfields, would be scarcely commenced when the invasion took place. [Main Article | TH]
  • US Consular officials in Germany and Italy were expelled in retaliation to a similar action by the US three days prior. [CPC]
  • Indian and Free French troops launched a two-prong attack on Damascus in French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon from the south. Elsewhere in the region, Vichy French troops held Free French troops at Qadim while the Indian 5th Infantry Brigade became surrounded at Mezze. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht bulletin of the headquarters of the German Wehrmacht. [Main Article | CPC]
20 Jun 1941
  • Franklin Roosevelt addressed the US Congress in regards to the sinking of American freighter Robin Moor by German submarine on 21 May 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Alfred Rosenberg delivered a speech in which he stated that the job of feeding Germans was the top German priority, while feeding the conquered peoples in Eastern Europe was not of Germany's concern. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German troops amassing on the border with the Soviet Union were told that they were undergoing a large scale exercise. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 2 Indian and 2 Free French companies attempted to relieve the surrounded Indian 5th Infantry Brigade at Mezze, French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon, but the attack on Vichy French would result in failure. After sundown, Free French, British, and Australian troops captured Qadim. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-123 sank Portuguese ship Ganda off Casablanca, French Morocco at 2030 hours; 5 were killed, 61 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-203 sighted USS Texas in the North Atlantic 750 miles west of Ireland and took no action. [CPC]
  • Light cruiser Voroshilov completed a week-long exercise. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was renamed the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) under the command of Major General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold. The USAAF was to be autonomous from the US Army. [Main Article | AC]
  • US Navy placed a contract with the Douglas Aircraft Company for two prototype aircraft of a new carrier torpedo/dive bomber design. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Jun 1941
Light cruiser Voroshilov, 20 Jun 1941
21 Jun 1941
  • Soviet military attaché to France Major General Ivan Sousloparov warned his superiors in Moscow, Russia of a potential German invasion, which Joseph Stalin immediately disregarded as British provocation. Stalin's opinion was agreed by head of Soviet State Security Lavrentiy Beria, who told Joseph Stalin that Germany would not attack the Soviet Union in 1941. Georgy Zhukov disagreed, but it would not be until 1905 hours when the military attaché to Germany Mikhail Vorontsov provided concrete evidence of German movement when Stalin and the Politburo were finally convinced to organize two new wartime fronts (rather than peacetime military districts) to prepare the defenses. By the time the telegrams were deciphered many units would already be bombed by German aircraft. Elsewhere, in the evening, Soviet Foreign Minister Vycheslav Molotov met with German Ambassador Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg and asked him regarding the rumors of invasion, which Schulenburg denied as false. Within hours, however, to Schulenburg's surprise, he would receive orders from his superiors to destroy documents, code books, ciphers, and communications equipment, and he would receive a declaration of war to be delivered to Molotov in the morning. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
  • Vichy France enacted a law to exclude Jews from schools. [CPC]
  • Free French troops captured the city of Damascus in the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon, but fighting would continue in the surrounding villages. Elsewhere in the region, at the village of Mezze, the Indian 5th Infantry Brigade surrendered to Vichy French troops after being surrounded for two days; the victorious Vichy French troops, however, would fall back toward Beirut, allowing Australian troops to capture the village later on the same day. [Main Article | AC]
  • After dark, German bombers bombed Southampton, England, United Kingdom and dropped many naval mines in surrounding waters. The bombing caused a leak in the King George V Dry Dock, and demolished the down-line platform of the Southern Railway Central Station, blocking much rail traffic. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In the afternoon, Adolf Hitler wrote a message to Benito Mussolini, informing him of the upcoming invasion of the Soviet Union. This message would not reach Mussolini until early in the next day, less than an hour before the operation began. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet aircraft engineer A. M. Isayev proposed to use compressed air rather than a pump to force propellant into the rocket engine that he was developing for a new fighter design. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Over France, Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland was shot down for the first time after scoring his 68th and 69th victories, both of which were British Blenheim aircraft; the fighters that shot him down were British Spitfire fighters from No. 145 Squadron RAF; Galland crash landed his fighter in a grassy field, returned to base, and took off from another mission by the afternoon. After achieving his 70th kill in the afternoon, he was shot down again. This time he ditched the aircraft, his parachute barely opening before reaching ground, and was brought to a first aid station by French civilians using a horse-drawn cart. When he returned to base that evening, he found that he had been awarded Swords to his Knight's Cross for achieving 69 kills. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Bf 109E aircraft off Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Poland
  • Semyon Timoshenko belatedly ordered the manning of fortifications along the Molotov Line in Soviet-occupied Poland, but only some would be ready for fighting when the German invasion commenced in few hours time. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Jun 1941
German Army SdKfz. 251 halftrack vehicles advancing toward the Russian border, 21 Jun 1941Troops of the Indian 4th Division decorating the side of their truck with
22 Jun 1941
  • Churchill offered whatever aid possible to the Soviet Union. [TH]
  • Jews from the Dorohoi district of Romania were branded as communists and spies and transported by cattle cars to concentration camps in Tirgu and Craiova. [Main Article | CPC]
  • At about 0300 hours, Benito Mussolini was awaken as an urgent message was received from Adolf Hitler's office, informing Mussolini of the invasion of the Soviet Union; though annoyed by not having been notified earlier, he dutifully declared war on the Soviet Union. Romania would also make a declaration of war on the Soviet Union on this date. [Main Article | AC]
  • Werner Mölders shot down three Soviet bombers and one fighter; he was awarded Swords of his Knight's Cross, to be presented to him by Adolf Hitler on 3 Jul. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-141 sank Swedish ship Calabria 100 miles north of Ireland at 0329 hours; 3 were killed, 21 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-77 sank British weather ship Arakara 550 miles east of St. Johns, Newfoundland at 2236 hours; all 33 aboard were killed. [CPC]
  • After dark and into the next date, a British fleet of two cruiser and six destroyers attacked French destroyer Guepard off Syria; Guepard was able to flee under the cover of darkness. [Main Article | CPC]
Byelorussia
  • General Dmitry Pavlov ordered, belatedly as the German invasion had already begun, his troops to man the fortified regions in his sector at 0300 hrs. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • At about 0100 hours, the Red Army was ordered to assume defensive posture, but it was too late to improve defenses significantly as Germany tore up the non-aggression pact and launched Operation Barbarossa. At 0325 hours, Georgy Zhukov woke Joseph Stalin by phone to inform him of the news of the invasion; initially, Stalin refused to give Zhukov the permission to strike back at the Germans, believing it to be a German provocation. At 0630 hours, Stalin finally realized it was a full scale invasion and gave his authorization for the Red Army to fire back. At a strength of 3.5 million men, Operation Barbarossa was the largest military operation in history, overwhelming Soviet defenses which were further disadvantaged by poor communications. In support, German aircraft destroyed 2,000 aircraft, many on the ground, allowing the Germans to gain air superiority across the entire front. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov announced the German invasion to the Soviet people at 2300 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Jun 1941
Russian tanks moved westward to fight the German invasion, 22 Jun 1941
23 Jun 1941
  • Slovakia declared war on the Soviet Union. [TH]
  • US Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Stark ordered the 1st Defense Battalion of the Fleet Marine Force of the US Marine Corps to be established at Wake Island as soon as possible. [CPC]
  • The German 6th Panzer Division encountered Soviet KV tanks for the first time at the Dubysa River in Lithuania. German General Reinhard was surprised to learn that the Soviet military possessed such a heavy tank, especially after learning that some German 105-millimeter shells were bouncing off the thick armor, and that some KV tanks had reportedly crushed German vehicles and guns by driving over them. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The 5,000 man 1st Greek Brigade was established by the British in Palestine under the command of Colonel Ev. Antoniou. The Brigade (under Colonel Pafsanias Katsotas) would later see action in 1942 at El Alamein in Egypt as a part of the British 50th Division. [AC]
Baltic Sea
  • German submarine U-144 sank Soviet submarine M-78 9 miles west of Vindava, Latvia at 0654 hours, killing all 15 aboard. [CPC]
  • Soviet destroyer Gnevniy hit a mine and sank off the island of Hiiumaa, Estonia. [CPC]
Black Sea
  • Soviet destroyer Bystryb hit a mine and sank off Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine). [CPC]
Germany
  • The Soviet Army armored counter attack near Tilsit, Ostpreußen, Germany (now Sovetsk, Russia) was beaten back. Meanwhile, German forces crossed the Bug River, penetrating 50 miles beyond the Soviet lines. From the air, German Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed another 1,200 Soviet aircraft on this day. [Main Article | TH]
  • German Gestapo leader Mueller issued directives to the Gestapo office in the city of Tilsit, Germany (now Sovetsk, Russia) to set up Einsatkommando Tilsit which would be responsible for killing Jews in Lithuania. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler arrived for the first time at his new secret Wolfsschanze (English: The Wolf's Lair) headquarters, which had been constructed in the Masurian woods near Rastenburg, Germany (now Ketrzyn, Poland). [Main Article | AC]
Latvia
  • Soviet submarines Ronis, Spidola, and S-1 were scuttled by their own crews at Libau, Latvia to prevent German capture. [CPC]
Romania
  • Light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded Constanza, Romania. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The Southern Railway Central Station in London, England, United Kingdom, damaged by German bombing over the night of 21 to 22 Jun 1941, was cleared of debris and returned to full operational status. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Jun 1941
Women fleeing from German bombing in Grushki district, Kiev, Ukraine, 23 Jun 1941
24 Jun 1941
  • German Armeegruppe Nord moved into Lithuania and Byelorussia, seizing Vilnius and Kaunas. [Main Article | TH]
  • Japan asserted pressure on France for Indochina. [CPC]
  • Large demonstrations began in Madrid, Spain in support of the German invasion of the Soviet Union; demonstrations soon spread to other parts of Spain. [CPC]
  • Hungary broke relations with the Soviet Union. [TH]
  • British House of Commons voted for the second £1,000,000,000 war credit of the year as war expenditure now exceeded £10,250,000 per day. [CPC]
  • British bombers attacked Düsseldorf, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Russia a Council of Evacuation was set up with emergency powers to oversee the evacuation of machinery, skilled workers and food stuffs on a large scale, away from the German advance. [AC]
  • The German E-Boat S35 discovered the Soviet submarine S3 (N. A. Kostromityev) off Steinort, Germany and fired several torpedoes which all missed. S3 was then sunk by depth charges and hand grenades. [AC]
  • Adolf Hitler arrived at the Wolfsschanze headquarters in East Prussia, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China, damaging the British Consulate among other buildings. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • Scirè launched manned torpedoes into Grand Harbour, Malta; they failed to damage any enemy vessels. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet Air Force Directorate chief Pavel Rychagov, as well as his wife Maria Nesterenko, a famed aviatrix, were arrested during the purge of the Soviet Air Force. [CPC]
  • Soviet Deputy Defense Commissar General Kirill Meretskov was arrested by agents of the 3rd NKO Directorate. He would later be cleared of suspicion in Sep 1941 and was given front line command once again. [CPC]
Ukraine
  • Ivan Bagramyan attempted to launch a counterattack against German advances in Ukraine, but it would fail to achieve much due to the unprepared state of his troops. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 24 Jun 1941
Byelorussian children in a bomb shelter, Minsk, Byelorussia, 24 Jun 1941Citizens of Leningrad, Russia running as the air alarm sounded, 24 Jun 1941German vehicles in a town in the Soviet Union, Jun 1941; note Soviet BA-10 armored car on the side of the road
25 Jun 1941
  • Soviet Air Force attacked several Finnish airfields, hoping to destroy Luftwaffe aircraft believed to be stationed there. [Main Article | TH]
  • Lithuanian militiamen in Kovno were encouraged by German security officers to stage a pogrom, and that night 1,500 Jews were murdered with particular savagery. [Main Article | AC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down two German Bf 109F aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Parthian sank French submarine Souffleur by torpedo off Syria. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • French Lieutenant E. Boulé, a prisoner of war at Oflag IV-C at Colditz Castle, Germany, was nearly successful at his escape. Dressed as a young German woman and readily walking away from the castle, he accidentally dropped his watch and was caught when a German guard returned the watch to him. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Colonel General Vasily Kuznetsov was ordered by Semyon Timoshenko to organize a defense along the Daugava River (Western Dvina). [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • German Army 1.Panzergruppe captured Dubno and Lutsk in Ukraine. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • During the day, a report was released that, for the week ending at 0600 hours on 25 Jun 1941, about 39 people were killed and 116 were seriously injured in Britain due to German bombing; none of the casualties were from London, England, United Kingdom. After dark, German bombers bombed Southampton, England, United Kingdom and dropped many naval mines in surrounding waters. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Jun 1941
A British truck and trailer burning after attacked by German Luftwaffe aircraft, Crete, Greece, 25 Jun 1941A pall of smoke hanging over the habor in Souda Bay, Crete, Greece where two ships, hit by German bombs, were burning, 25 Jun 1941, photo 1 of 2A pall of smoke hanging over the habor in Souda Bay, Crete, Greece where two ships, hit by German bombs, were burning, 25 Jun 1941, photo 2 of 2German anti-aircraft gunners near a SdKfz. 251 halftrack vehicle for field medics, Russia, Jun 1941, photo 1 of 2
See all photos dated 25 Jun 1941
26 Jun 1941
  • James Johnson shot down a German Bf 109 fighter. [Main Article | CPC]
Finland
  • Finland issued declaration of war against the Soviet Union. [Main Article | TH]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Tomahawk fighters of No. 3 Squadron RAAF destroyed 5 French D.520 fighters and damaged a further six on the ground at Homs Airfield in Syria. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler officially named Hermann Göring his successor. [Main Article | TH]
Latvia
  • German 56th Panzer Corps reached Daugava River (Western Dvina); 8th Panzer Division and 3rd Motorized Division established bridgehead near Daugavpils, Latvia. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • German Panzer units closed the Bialystok pocket in Poland. [Main Article | TH]
Russia
  • Aircraft of the German Luftwaffe began to bomb Leningrad, Russia. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • In the Soviet capital of Moscow, Joseph Stalin visited the General Staff headquarters twice, voicing frustration at the heavy losses that the Red Army was suffering against the invading German forces. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Spain
  • Spain officially began to organize a unit of volunteers to fight in Russia on the side of the Axis. [CPC]
United States
  • The mixed Marine-Army I Corps (Provisional), which was attached to the US Navy Atlantic Fleet, was redesignated Task Force 18 of the Atlantic Fleet. [CPC]
27 Jun 1941
  • German troops captured Bobruisk in Byelorussia and Przemysl in Poland. [Main Article | TH]
  • Hungary declared war on the Soviet Union. [TH]
  • British bombers attacked Bremen, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Kaunas, Lithuania, a group of Lithuanian nationalists gathered more than 50 Jewish men in a horse stable and beat them violently with iron bars in public view. None of the victims survived the Lietukis Garage Massacre. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Joseph Stalin gave permission to military tribunals to give out death sentences to members of the Red Army without his personal approval. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The US Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the offices of the Socialist Workers Party in Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota, United States, seizing large quantities of Communist literature. [AC]
Yugoslavia
  • The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia appointed Tito as Commander-in-Chief of the Yugoslavian Peoples Army. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Jun 1941
Battleship Iowa under construction, New York Navy Yard, New York, United States, 27 Jun 1941
28 Jun 1941
  • German troops captured Minsk, Byelorussia, encircling 27 Soviet Army divisions in the process. [Main Article | TH]
  • Albania declared war on the Soviet Union. [TH]
  • Scirè's mission to attack Grand Harbour, Malta was canceled. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop sent a message to the Japanese embassy in Berlin, Germany, asking the Japanese to jointly invade the Soviet Union by tearing up the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and attack Vladivostok, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The Soviet NKVD, NKGB, and the Chief Prosecutor Office signed a top secret joint order to coordinate the investigation of traitors. [CPC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Whale was laid down at Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, California, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • The keel of submarine Wahoo was laid down at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Jun 1941
Keel laying ceremony of submarine Whale, Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California, United States, 28 Jun 1941, photo 1 of 2Keel laying ceremony of submarine Whale, Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California, United States, 28 Jun 1941, photo 2 of 2
29 Jun 1941
  • The German Army 20.Gebirgsarmee began advancing on Murmansk in northern Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • Lord Beaverbrook became the British Minister of Supply. [CPC]
  • Former US President Herbert Hoover warned against aiding the Soviet Union. "If we go further and join the war and we win, then we have won for Stalin the grip of communism on Russia.... [I]f we join the war and Stalin wins, we have aided him to impose more communism on Europe and the world." [CPC]
  • A haggard and tense Stalin set up a Soviet Defence Committee consisted of Molotov, Voroshilov, Malenkov, Beria, and himself, and then retired to his dacha on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, staying there until the following day writing a speech to the Soviet people and drafting two important directives on the Soviet war effort. [Main Article | AC]
China
  • Japanese bombers attacked Chongqing, China; among the property damaged were the British Embassy in the city and American gunboat USS Tutuila at Lungmenhao lagoon. [Main Article | CPC]
Latvia
  • Colonel General Vasily Kuznetsov was ordered by Semyon Timoshenko to maintain pressure on the German bridgehead on the Daugava River (Western Dvina) near Daugavpils, Latvia. Kuznetsov would use all his reserves to mount a counterattack that would be repulsed by the Germans. [Main Article | CPC]
Romania
  • Romanian troops conducted a pogrom against Jews in the town of Jassy, killing 10,000. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 29 Jun 1941
Prototype of Re.2003 reconnaissance aircraft, which was based on the Re.2002 Ariete design, photo 1 of 3Prototype of Re.2003 reconnaissance aircraft, which was based on the Re.2002 Ariete design, photo 2 of 3Prototype of Re.2003 reconnaissance aircraft, which was based on the Re.2002 Ariete design, photo 3 of 3
30 Jun 1941
  • Vichy France broke off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. [TH]
  • Werner Mölders shot down three Soviet bombers, bringing his total score to 82 victories and surpassing the record set by Manfred von Richthofen, "Red Baron", during WW1. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The active duty strength of the US Marine Corps was reported to be 3,339 officers and 51,020 enlisted men for the total of 54,359. [CPC]
  • The Netherlands Purchasing Commission placed an order with North American Aviation to purchase 162 B-25C bombers for the Dutch government-in-exile. These aircraft were intended for the Dutch East Indies to counter the growing Japanese threat. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Handley Page Halifax bomber made its first daylight operation during a raid on Kiel, Germany but it did not take long to discover that its defensive armament was inadequate for daylight use and by the end of the year Halifax bombers were only used on night raids. [Main Article | AC]
Byelorussia
  • At least 100 of the Soviet bombers attacking German tanks near Minsk, Byelorussia were shot down by aircraft of Oberst Werner Mölders' JG-51. [Main Article | TH]
Malta
  • Scirè launched manned torpedoes into Grand Harbour, Malta; they failed to damage any enemy vessels. [Main Article | CPC]
Netherlands
  • Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld's Bf 110 aircraft collided with another Bf 110, piloted by Rudolf Schoenert while in exercise over northern Netherlands. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The Soviet Union formed the State Defense Committee (GKO) to coordinate defense efforts; it was consisted of Joseph Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Kliment Voroshilov, Georgy Malenkov, and Lavrentiy Beria. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Grayback was commissioned into service with Lieutenant Willard Saunders in command. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Jun 1941
Enterprise underway in the Pacific, late Jun 1941SdKfz. 251/3 communications vehicle, northern Russia, Jun 1941German SdKfz. 251/1 halftrack vehicle at a rail crossing, Aiviekstes, Latvia, Jun 1941Panzer III tank and SdKfz. 251 halftrack vehicle near Aiviekste, Latvia, Jun 1941; note rangefinder on the halftrack
See all photos dated 30 Jun 1941
1 Jul 1941
  • Coal deliveries to all establishments in Britain were limited to one ton per month. [CPC]
  • RAF began daylight bombing raids in France and the Low Countries. [TH]
  • Erwin Rommel was promoted to the rank of General der Panzertruppe. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British Special Air Service (initially titled "L" Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade) was formed by Colonel David Stirling. [AC]
  • Stalin returned to the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia as Chairman of the new State Defence Committee, set up by law the day before. [Main Article | AC]
  • Under the provisions of a German Law on the use of Prisoner Labour, Russian prisoners of war were permitted to be sent to work camps for employment in agriculture, construction or heavy industry. The death rate on these camps would be extremely high. [AC]
  • The American Volunteer Group, also known as the Flying Tigers, was officially formed. [CPC]
  • Soviet Naval Air Unit 401 IAP went into action with its new MiG-3 fighters and destroyed four German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters on its first operation. This unit was commanded by a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, Lieutenant-Colonel Stepan Suprun (who was already an ace with fifteen Civil War victories), Hero of the Soviet Union. Many of Suprun's pilots were pre-war test pilots and therefore highly experienced airmen. During the next two days the 401st IAP destroyed eight enemy aircraft for no loss. [Main Article | AC]
  • Soviet submarine M81 was sunk by a German mine in the Baltic Sea. [AC]
  • Crown Prince Yi Un was made the commanding officer of the Japanese 51st Division. [Main Article | CPC]
Byelorussia
  • The German 2.Panzergruppe reached Berezina, Byelorussia. [Main Article | TH]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • British mechanized cavalry and an Arab Legion desert patrol broke up a Vichy French mobile column northeast of Palmyra, Syria, capturing four officers and 60 men. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Latvia
  • The German 4.Panzergruppe captured Riga, Latvia. [Main Article | TH]
Moldova
  • German 11th Army, Romanian 3rd Army, and Romanian 4th Army crossed Prut River into the Bessarabia and Bukovina regions of Moldova. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Jul 1941
Soviet troops at Smolensk, Russia, 1 Jul 1941; note PPSh-41 and Mosin-Nagant weapons
2 Jul 1941
  • While in the dock at Brest, France, Prinz Eugen was hit by a bomb during an Allied air raid. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Romanian Third Army, Romanian Fourth Army, and German Eleventh Armies attacked out of Moldavia towards Vinnitsa and Odessa, Ukraine. To the north, 4.Panzergruppe breaks through near Ostrov, Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • The Japanese Army ordered a conscription of one million men. [CPC]
  • RAF bombed the German cities of Bremen and Köln overnight. [TH]
  • The British Military Application of Uranium Detonation (MAUD) Committee assigned the responsibility of writing its final draft of the report of its findings on the development of atomic weapons to James Chadwick. [Main Article | CPC]
  • While flying against a formation of British Blenheim bombers, Adolf Galland's fighter was damaged by 20-millimeter shells fired by an escorting British Spitfire fighter. Though injured, his life was saved by a recently-installed armor plating in the cockpit. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader was awarded the Bar to his Distinguished Service Order. Later on the same day, he claimed one Bf 109 fighter destroyed and another damaged. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • French Lieutenant Pierre Mairesse Lebrun, a prisoner of war at Oflag IV-C at Colditz Castle, Germany, escaped the camp by leaping the wire fence and scaling outer brick wall. He would eventually successfully make it to Switzerland. [Main Article | CPC]
Latvia
  • The local police in Riga, Latvia was organized by a German commander to murder 400 Jews and burn down all Riga's synagogues. [Main Article | AC]
Ukraine
  • Riots broke out in Lvov, Ukraine against racist laws. [CPC]
3 Jul 1941
  • In his first public speech of the new war, Stalin ordered a scorched earth policy to be put into effect as German troops were pushed back; meanwhile, the Bialystok pocket in Poland was eliminated by German troops, taking 300,000 prisoners. [Main Article | TH]
  • Werner Mölders was presented Swords to his Knight's Cross by Adolf Hitler. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Biscayne was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The only daylight bombing on Britain during the week of 2 Jul to 9 Jul occurred on this date at Land's End in southwestern England, United Kingdom; the German aircraft dropped bombs but they failed to explode. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet Naval Air unit 402 IAL, based at Idritsa in Russia and commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel P. Stefanovsky, went into action with its new MiG-3 fighters and destroyed six enemy aircraft, followed by a similar number on the next day. The unit's primary task was close support and low level fighter reconnaissance, and its pilots had orders to avoid combat if possible. The unit's adjutant, Major K. A. Gruzdev however was an aerobatic champion and soon devised a tactic to bring the enemy to battle. This involved making a steep spiral climb to between 15,000 and 18,000 feet where the MiG-3 fighters enjoyed a performance advantage over the German fighters. The German pilots almost always followed the climb, believing they were chasing a novice pilot, only to realise their mistake when Gruzdev suddenly stall-turned and shot them down. By the end of the year this talented pilot had no less than nineteen confirmed victories top, his credit. [Main Article | AC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • William Slim of Iraq Command outflanked Vichy French troops at Deir ez-Zor, Syria. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • British bombers attacked Essen, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • In a radio address, Joseph Stalin called the Soviet people "brothers and sisters" for the first time. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Jul 1941
  • German troops captured Ostrov in northern Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • British Communist Party decided to stop campaigning for peace; instead, they supported the national war effort. [TH]
  • US Marines arrived at Iceland for occupation duties, freeing British troops for war efforts elsewhere. [CPC]
  • Wing Commander Hughie Edwards of 105 Squadron RAF won the Victoria Cross for leading a low level attack on Bremen, Germany in which his Blenheim bomber was hit twenty times. [AC]
  • While flying a MiG-3 fighter Lieutenant-Colonel Stepan Suprun, commanding officer of Soviet Naval Air Unit 401 IAP, was shot down by a German Fw 200 aircraft. [AC]
  • Douglas Bader collided with a German Bf 109E fighter during a dogfight; the German fighter was scored as a probable kill. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet NKVD arrested Colonel General Dimitry Pavlov for not attacking German forces as Joseph Stalin had ordered. [CPC]
5 Jul 1941
  • British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden officially ruled out any chance of negotiations with Germany. [Main Article | TH]
  • 63 British Wellington bombers attacked Münster, Germany at between about 0050 hours and 0250 hours local time with 396 500-pound bombs, 50 250-pound bombs, and almost 6,000 4-pound incendiary bombs. The railway station was the intended main target. German authorities at Münster estimated 240 high explosive bombs and 3,000 incendiary bombs were dropped. 21 were killed and several fires were started. It was the first time Münster was subjected to large scale bombing. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British troopship HMT Anselm, carrying RAF peronnel to Africa, was tropedoed in the Atlantic Ocean. RAF Volunteer Reserve Herbert Cecil Pugh would later be awarded a posthumous George Cross in 1947 for tending to the wounded, helping with life rafts, and finally asking to be lowered into the flooding hold to be with his comrades who could not escape. [CPC]
China
  • Vice Admiral Hidehiko Ukita succeeded Vice Admiral Teruhisa Komatsu 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]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Australian 21st Brigade arrived at the Damour River in Lebanon. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The Soviet Special Group (later 4th NKVD Directorate) was formed, initially with 5,000 members, with the goal of terrorizing the enemy rear areas. [CPC]
Ukraine
  • German 6th Army broke through near Lvov, Ukraine, while German 1st Panzer Group drove toward Zhitomir and Berdichev, Ukraine. On the same day, Romanian 3rd Army captured Chernivtsi, Ukraine. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Jul 1941
HMS Repulse off Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom, 5 Jul 1941
6 Jul 1941
  • Lieutenant Roden Cutler won the Victoria Cross for clearing enemy positions in Syria. Wounded, he lay in the open for 26 hours before comrades could get to him, by which time his leg required amputation. [AC]
  • After sundown, German bombers conducted a light attack on Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Bf 109 aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Australian troops attacked French troops at El Atiqa and El Boum in Lebanon, capturing both positions by nightfall. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The Military Collegium of the Soviet NKVD sentenced four teenagers to death for being the son and nephews of Nestor Lakoba, political enemy of Lavrentiy Beria (already killed in Dec 1936). [CPC]
7 Jul 1941
  • Stalin replaced top army commanders, putting Marshal Kliment Voroshilov in command of the Northern Front, Marshal Semyon Timoshenko in the Central Front, and Marshal Semyon Budyonny on the Southern Front. On the same day, the German 4.Panzergruppe captured Pskov, Russia as it moved towards Leningrad. [Main Article | TH]
  • Reversing former statements, Maxim Litvinov broadcasted from Moscow in English that the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom must work together against Germany. [TH]
  • US Marine Corps organized Marine Air Group 1. [CPC]
  • With one of his engines on fire, second pilot Sergeant James Ward tied a rope around himself and climbed out onto the wing of his Wellington bomber to extinguish the flames. Although he was badly burned, the aircraft made it home. The New Zealander is awarded the Victoria Cross but never received the medal, being killed on a raid two months later. [AC]
  • Occupied Yugoslavia was carved up between Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria, with Croatia becoming an independent state. [AC]
  • British bombers attacked Münster, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After sundown, German bombers attacked Southampton, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
Byelorussia
  • German 20th Panzer Division crossed the Daugava River (Western Dvina), threatening to outflank the Polotsk Fortified Region in Byelorussia. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Australian troops outflanked French positions at Damour, Lebanon. [Main Article | CPC]
Iceland
  • Iceland, coerced by the United Kingdom, allowed the United States to oversee the defense of the island. US 1st Marine Brigade arrived later on the same day and began to relieve the British garrison. [CPC]
Korea
  • General Seishiro Itagaki was named the commanding officer of the Japanese Chosen Army in occupied Korea, relieving Kotaro Nakamura. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The US Marine Corps established the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Quantico, Virgina, United States under Lieutenant Colonel Louis E. Woods. [Main Article | CPC]
8 Jul 1941
  • British B-17 bombers were deployed on a combat mission for the first time as three of them were ordered to attack Wilhelmshaven, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Jews in the Baltic states were forced to wear the Star of David. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German troops captured Pskov, Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • Before dawn, British bombers attacked Münster, Germany. During the day, German anti-aircraft guns began arriving at the city in response to the recent successive night bombings. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Rationing of basic foodstuff begins in Moscow, Leningrad and other major Soviet Union cities. [AC]
  • After sundown, German bombers conducted a light attack on Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Australian troops cut off the road leading into the northern part of Beirut, Lebanon. South of Beirut, Australian 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion and elements of the 6th Divisional Cavalry Regiment also approached Beirut. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii Japan United Kingdom
  • A Soviet military mission arrived in London, England, United Kingdom. [TH]
Photo(s) dated 8 Jul 1941
German generals Fedor von Bock, Hermann Hoth, Wolfram von Richthofen, and Walther von Hünsdorff (not in photo), Russia, 8 Jul 1941
9 Jul 1941
  • The US Congress authorized the funding of $14,990,000 for the construction of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point over 32 square-kilometers of land in North Carolina, United States. [CPC]
  • Troops of the German 3.Panzergruppe captured Vitebsk, Byelorussia. [Main Article | TH]
  • The British Air Ministry instructed Bomber Command to concentrate its efforts against the German transportation system and breaking the morale of the civilian population. At about 0130 hours, British bombers attacked Münster, Germany; the reading room of the state archive, warehouse of the state theater, the post office at the Domplatz, and the eastern wall of the cathedral were destroyed. [Main Article | AC]
  • The head of Gosplan, the young economist Nikolai Voznesensky, was given responsibility for drafting a new war production plan for the whole Soviet economy. [Main Article | AC]
  • A British report noted that, for the week ending at 0600 hours on 9 Jul 1941, an estimated 78 people were killed by German bombing while an estimated 67 people had been seriously injured. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt announced that American troops were to relieve British troops in the occupation of Iceland. Adolf Hitler responded by publicly noting that it was a clear act of aggression against Germany; however, when Erich Raeder asked Hitler whether it was time for the German Navy to deliberately attack American vessels, Hitler still rejected the request. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The French High Commissioner in Syria, General Henri Dentz, applied to the British authorities for discussions to begin which would lead to an armistice. [Main Article | AC]
  • Douglas Bader claimed one probable German aircraft shot down and another damaged. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet aircraft engineers met to compile a report on their rocket-powered fighter development, which was to be forwarded to Joseph Stalin. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Submarine Flying Fish was launched at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, United States, sponsored by the wife of US Navy Admiral Husband Kimmel. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Jul 1941
Launching of submarine Flying Fish, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, United States, 9 Jul 1941, photo 1 of 2Launching of submarine Flying Fish, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, United States, 9 Jul 1941, photo 2 of 2Submarine Flying Fish shortly after launching, with tugs Yaqui and Pennacook, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, United States, 9 Jul 1941Astoria
10 Jul 1941
  • Finnish Army began an attack toward Lake Ladoga north of Leningrad, Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • After sundown, Private James Gordon of Australian 7th Division crept forward under heavy fire during fighting in Syria and took out a enemy post by grenade and bayonet. For this act of gallantry along with continued bravery exhibited through the following day, he would later be awarded the Victoria Cross in Oct 1941. [AC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop again asked the Japanese to attack Vladivostok, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down a German Bf 109 fighter. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Douglas Bader claimed one German Bf 109 aircraft over Bethune, Pas-de-Calais, France, and later shot down a Bf 109E aircraft over nearby Calais. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Five French D.520 fighters intercepted a flight of Blenheim bombers of No. 45 Squadron RAF escorted by 7 Tomahawk fighters of No. 3 Squadron RAAF over Syria; 3 British bombers and 4 French fighters were destroyed in the engagement. On the ground, troops of Australian 21st Brigade neared Beirut, Lebanon. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Russia
  • Lev Mekhlis was apointed the deputy commissar of the Soviet NKO. [CPC]
Ukraine
  • German 13th Panzer Division captured Zhytomyr, Ukraine. Further east, German troops crossed the Dnieper River. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
United States
  • The US Marine Corps established the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at San Diego, California, United States under Colonel Francis P . Mulcahy. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Jul 1941
Light cruiser Maxim Gorkiy receiving a new bow after mine damage, Kronshtadt, Russia, 3-21 Jul 1941
11 Jul 1941

Japan Russia
  • As the German 1.Panzergruppe marched near Kiev, Ukraine, Stalin replaced Army commanders. Marshal Voroshilov was given responsibility in the north, Marshal Timoshenko in the center, and Marshal Budyonny in the south. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • USS Astoria completed her refit at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 Jul 1941
US President Harry Truman, Secretary of State James Byrnes, and Captain James Foskett aboard USS Augusta, 11 Jul 1945, photo 2 of 2Astoria off Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 Jul 1941, photo 1 of 2Astoria off Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 Jul 1941, photo 2 of 2
12 Jul 1941
  • Werner Mölders reported that under his command JG 51 had destroyed 500 Soviet aircraft at the cost of only three casualties during the first 20 days of Operation Barbarossa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 1st US Marine Brigade completed taking over the occupation of Iceland from British troops. [CPC]
France
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Bf 109 fighter and damaged three others over Pas-de-Calais, France. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • French Lieutenant-General Joseph-Antoine-Sylvain-Raoul de Verdillac attended the French-British negotiations for a ceasefire in the French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon. Making progress in the discussions during the day, the process to draft the Armistice of Saint Jean d'Acre began at 2200 hours near Acre, British Mandate of Palestine. Meanwhile, French naval vessels and aircraft were ordered to go to neutral Turkey, where they were interned. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Four days after the Soviet military mission arrived in London, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union signed an agreement of mutual assistance, noting that neither country would negotiate a separate peace with the Axis powers. [TH]
Photo(s) dated 12 Jul 1941
British Ambassador Stafford Cripps signing a mutual assistance agreement between the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, Moscow, Russia, 12 Jul 1941
13 Jul 1941
  • The first of the Spanish volunteers began leaving Spain for military training in Germany. [CPC]
  • The German Armeegruppe Nord continued advancing towards Luga in northern Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • The Armistice of Saint Jean d'Acre negotiations at Acre, British Mandate of Palestine was stalled as the French rejected British demands. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The newspaper The New York Times reported that the famed Polish Jewish violinist Henri Czaplinski (aka. Genrikh Maksimovich Chaplinsky in Soviet documents) had escaped an NKVD prison in Lvov, Ukraine during a German bombing. [CPC]
14 Jul 1941
  • Observing the German forces reaching the River Luga thus expecting a rapid victory in northern Russia., Hitler ordered the arms industry to switch production from guns and tanks to aircraft and submarines. [Main Article | TH]
  • French High Commissioner for Syria and the Lebanon signed the Armistice of Saint Jean d'Acre at Acre, British Mandate of Palestine, surrendering his command to the British. In exchange, he received the British agreement for the French soldiers to retain their personal arms and full honors. The agreement contained no reference to the Free French. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wilhelm Keitel appeared on the cover of the American news publication Time Magazine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Amon Göth was promoted to the rank of SS-Untersturmführer. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Blenheim bombers of No. 2 Group attacked Le Havre, France, damaging dock facilities at a cost of two bombers shot down by German fighters. [CPC]
  • The keel of submarine Simoom was laid down. [CPC]
  • The British anti-submarine trawler HMS Quadrille was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • German Ju 88 bombers based in Crete, Greece attacked Suez, Egypt, damaging harbor facilities and ships in port. [CPC]
  • The keel of submarine Herring was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Oshima informed German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop that, in regards to the 10 Jul 1941 request for Japan to attack Vladivostok, Russia, Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka was in agreement with the proposal but the Japanese cabinet in general did not agree with such a suggestion. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down a German Bf 109 fighter. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Katyusha rocket launchers were used in combat for the first time at Rudnya, Smolensk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Jul 1941
  • Erwin Rommel was officially declared the commanding officer of Panzergruppe Afrika. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders claimed his 100th and 101st victories over the Soviet Union. He was awarded Diamonds to his Knight's Cross for achieving 100 victories, which was to be presented later by Adolf Hitler personally. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British Military Application of Uranium Detonation (MAUD) Committee issued its final report on atomic weapons. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Kashii was commissioned into service. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • The keel of Canadian destroyer Huron was laid down at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • The keel of German submarine U-223 was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of German submarine U-224 was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of German submarine U-623 was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of German submarine U-624 was laid down. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-507 was launched. [CPC]
  • Soviet troops began a counter offensive in the Lake Ilmen area near Leningrad, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet commandos attacked the island of Morgonland in Finland and captured the 5 men stationed at the observation station. [CPC]
  • Honoring Charles de Gaulle's previous proclamation that the Allies had invaded the Vichy-held French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon as liberators rather than conquerors, the British who had accepted the Vichy surrender on the previous day handed control of the territory to the locals. [Main Article | CPC]
  • All pilots of the US Army 3rd Pursuit Squadron and 20th Pursuit Squadron based in the Philippine Islands were certified to fly the P-35A fighters. [CPC]
  • The United States established a Naval Air Station and a Naval Operating Base at Argentia Bay, Newfoundland. [CPC]
  • The keel of carrier Cabot was laid down at Quincy, Massachusetts, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The keel of cruiser Oakland was laid down. [CPC]
  • ShCh-401 attacked German auxiliary submarine chasers UJ 177 and UJ 178 off Kiberg, Norway with a torpedo; the torpedo missed. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Inigo Campioni was appointed governor of the Italian Aegean Islands, also known as the Italian Dodecanese. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia Ukraine
  • German 228th Regiment cleared four Stalin Line bunkers and crossed the Ljadowa River, a tributary of the Dniester River, in Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The US Marine Corps activated the Marine Detachment at the American Embassy in London, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Jul 1941
Light cruiser Kashii, July 15, 1941
16 Jul 1941
  • Germany reversed a prior decree by allowing those who were 50% Jewish and those who were married to women who were 50% Jewish to serve in the military. [CPC]
  • Vichy France enacted a law to exclude Jewish lawyers. [CPC]
  • Alfred Rosenberg's appointment as the Reich Minister for Occupied Eastern Territories was confirmed by Adolf Hitler during a conference at Adolf Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia, Germany. In that conference, which was led by Hitler and also attended by Hermann Göring, Wilhelm Keitel, Martin Bormann, and Hans Lammers, Hitler provided his vision of the future of Eastern Europe in which the Baltic States were to be incorporated into Germany, Crimea to be populated with ethnic Germans, Caucasus to be a German concession, and Leningrad given to Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • French corvette Lobelia was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-701 was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-408 was launched. [CPC]
  • Soviet Army Lieutenant Jacob Jughashvili, son of Joseph Stalin, was taken prisoner by the Germans. [CPC]
  • Charles de Gaulle protested the Armistice of Saint Jean D'Acre between the United Kingdom and Vichy France for it made no mention of the Free French. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Army General Leonard Gerow recommended General George Marshall to activate the Philippine Army and to provide it additional funding. He also recommended that Douglas MacArthur to be asked to return from the retired list as the commander in chief in the Philippine Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler instructed that Ukraine and the Kola Peninsula in northern Russia were to be annexed into Greater Germany in the future, while East Karelia in northern Russia was to be given to Finland. In secret, he instructed other German leaders to prepare plans for a possible future annexation of Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Anatoliy Mikheev accused Semyon Timoshenko was being a traitor. Joseph Stalin did not order Timoshenko's arrest, but he would relieve Timoshenk as the defense commissar (NKO) several days later and would assume the title himself. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • General Wladyslaw Sikorski was presented with the Standard of the Polish Air Force at RAF Swinderby in England, United Kingdom. Smuggled out of Poland, via Stockholm in Sweden, the Standard would subsequently be held by each Polish Squadron in the United Kingdom during the war years. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • American transport USS West Point embarked 137 Italian and 327 German citizens off Staten Island, New York, United States and set sail for Lisbon, Portugal at 1455 hours. [CPC]
  • USS Astoria departed Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Jul 1941
View of Rotterdam, the Netherlands during an aerial attack, 16 Jul 1941, seen from the dorsal turret of a Blenheim bomber
17 Jul 1941
  • The first elements of the Spanish Volunteer Division arrived at the large training camp at Grafenwöhr in southern Germany. Spanish uniforms were exchanged for German; the only item of clothing retained being the Falangist dark blue shirt, from which the title "Blue Division" (officially the 250th Infantry Division) was derived. [AC]
  • Alfred Rosenberg officially took on the position of Reich Minister for Occupied Eastern Territories. Among his responsibilities were the Germanization of the occupied lands and the exploitation and extermination of Jews. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After sundown, German bombers attacked Hull, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom. 160 fires displaced 3,500 people and several factories were damaged. 111 were killed and 108 were seriously injured. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Corvette HMS Narcissus was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • Heinz Guderian was awarded Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. [Main Article | AC]
  • German Navy placed an order for four submarines; this order would later yield U-487, U-488, U-489, and U-490. [CPC]
  • The keel of German submarine U-449 was laid down. [CPC]
  • German submarine was U-579 commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • The Italian Navy introduced a new cipher. [CPC]
  • The Political Commissars were re-introduced into the Soviet Army and Soviet Navy organizational structures. [CPC]
  • Field Marshal Keitel's son Hans-Georg Keitel died from wounds received in combat. [CPC]
  • Reinhardt Heydrich ordered the four SS Einsatzgruppen under his command to exterminate Jewish and Roma communities in his sphere of influence. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMCS Grizzly was assigned to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada to serve as a stationary defensive vessel. [CPC]
  • Destroyer USS Ingraham was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • George Marshall approved Leopard Gerow's recommendation to re-activate Douglas MacArthur from the retired list and plans regarding the Philippine Army; Marshall forwarded Gerow's proposals to US Secretary of War Henry Stimson for further review and implementation. [Main Article | CPC]
  • James Lacey shot down a German He 59 seaplane. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Yasunori Yoshioka was named the chief of staff of Japanese 44th Army, also known as the Kwangtung Defense Army, based in Xinjing, northeastern China. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The Oflag IV-C prisoners of war camp at Colditz Castle in Germany hosted a visit from the Orthodox Bishop of Dresden, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • Axis aircraft attacked airfields on Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The Soviet 3rd NKO Directorate was merged back into the NKVD, becoming NKVD's Special Departments Director (UOO). Viktor Abakumov was named UOO's chief and Solomon Milshtein was named the deputy. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • German Armeegruppe Sud encircled 20 Soviet Army divisions near Uman, Ukraine. Further south, troops of the Romanian 3rd Army reached the Dniester River, captured a row of bunkers on the far bank, and repulsed a series of Soviet counterattacks. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull met with Japanese Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura in Washington DC, United States in an attempt to open negotiations bewteen the two countries regarding peace in the Pacific region. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Jul 1941
Knox observing maneuvers at New River Inlet, North Carolina, flanked by Marines, 17 Jul 1941
18 Jul 1941
  • British ASV radar equipment was deployed to one PBY Catalina and two PBM Mariner aircraft. [CPC]
  • Prince Fumimaro Konoe retained his office as he was named the 39th Prime Minister of Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Three Blenheim bombers of No. 21 Squadron of No. 2 Group RAF damaged a German tanker in the English Channel off Gravelines, France; one of the three bombers were shot down by anti-aircraft fire. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-703 was launched. [CPC]
  • In Canada, Canadian corvette HMCS Algoma arrived at Montreal, Quebec, and corvette HMCS Shediac arrived at Quebec City, Quebec. [CPC]
  • Works Progress Administration Assistant Commissioner Corrington Gill reported to the House of Representatives of the US Congress that 5,000,000 Americans would remain unemployed in the latter half of 1941. [CPC]
  • Finland established diplomatic relationship with the Japanese-sponsored puppet state of Manchukuo. [CPC]
Germany
  • The Orthodox Bishop of Dresden, Germany completed his two-day visit of the Oflag IV-C prisoners of war camp at Colditz Castle and departed. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The Soviet Union signed a friendship treaty with the Czechoslovakian government-in-exile in London, England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
19 Jul 1941
  • British radio station BBC broadcasted about the "V Army", informing the general public on the resistance movements in occupied Europe. [TH]
  • British citizen George Armstrong was executed at Wandsworth prison for spying. [CPC]
  • Captured (by German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis on 10 Nov 1940) Norwegian tanker Ole Jacob arrived at Bordeaux, France, carrying aviation fuel and the captured crew of tanks Ole Jacob and Teddy. [CPC]
  • Submarine HMS Umpire collided with a trawler off Kent, England, United Kingdom during her sea trials, sinking in 60 feet of water; 22 men were lost. [CPC]
  • 11 British Blenheim bombers attacked an 8-ship German convoy escorted by 6 anti-aircraft ships off the Hague, Netherlands, sinking four of the transports and damaging another. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered that American shipping were not to be attacked by German forces in order to keep the United States from fully entering the war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-66 sank transport Holmside northeast of Cape Verde islands at 1042 hours; 21 were killed, 16 survived. [CPC]
Fiji
  • Fijian ship Viti departed Suva, Fiji for Gilbert and Ellice Islands with New Zealand military servicemen aboard; she was to drop off small reconnaissance parties on many of the atolls and small islands to act as lookouts, or "coastwatchers", to watch for German surface raiders. [CPC]
Germany
  • German submarine U-153 was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-375 was commissioned into service. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered the German 2nd Panzer Group to move south toward Kiev, Ukraine as soon as the group completed the conquest of Smolensk, Russia. Heinz Guderian, commanding officer of the 2nd Panzer Group, protested and cited Moscow, Russia as the logical primary target, but Hitler would overrule him. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Italo Gariboldi stepped down as the Governor-General of Italian Libya, succeeded by Ettore Bastico. [CPC]
Russia
  • Joseph Stalin declared himself the Soviet Defense Commissar (NKO). [Main Article | TH]
  • Heavy fighting between German and Soviet forces took place near Lake Peipus near Leningrad, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Viktor Abakumov officially assumed the role as the head of UOO of the Soviet NKVD. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill decided to share military intelligence gained by deciphering the German Enigma-encoded messages with the Soviets, but the Soviets would not be told how the intelligence was gained; instead, they were told that the intelligence was gained through a spies in Berlin. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The keel of US destroyer Baldwin was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of US minesweeper Swallow was laid down. [CPC]
20 Jul 1941
  • Japanese luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru arrived at Osaka, completing her 73rd round trip across the Pacific. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • The Soviet Union resumed diplomatic relations with the countries occupied by Germany. [TH]
  • 6 British Blenheim bombers damaged a tanker off Le Touquet, France with three high explosive bombs and several incendiary bombs, forcing the ship to beach near Berck-sur-Mer to prevent sinking. Two British aircraft and one German Bf 109 fighter were shot down. [CPC]
  • Italian torpedo boat Circe sank British submarine HMS Union with depth charges southwest of the Italian island of Pantellaria between Sicily and Tunisia. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-126 spotted transport Canadian Star in the Atlantic Ocean at 0100 hours and proceeded to attack at 0242 hours with both torpedoes fired missing; U-126 and Canadian Star engaged in a duel with surface guns, and U-126 was forced to abandon the attack. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-95 attacked transport Palma in the Atlantic Ocean at 0505 hours with both torpedoes fired missing. At 0528, U-95 opened fire with her deck gun, hitting Palma three times (though the German lookouts only spotted and recorded one hit), but Palma would be able to escape. [CPC]
  • In a broadcast to the people of occupied Europe, Prime Minister Winston Churchill inaugurated the "V" (for victory) campaign. [Main Article | AC]
Finland
  • The German 2nd Rannikkoiskukompania arrived at Bengtskär island, Finland at the entry of the Gulf of Finland. [CPC]
Germany
  • Werner Mölders was promoted to the rank of Oberst and was transferred to the Reich Air Ministry in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet destroyer Stremitel'ny was sunk by German aircraft in Kolafjord north of Murmansk, Russia. [CPC]
  • Vsevolod Merkulov stepped down as the People's Commissar of State Security of the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Brendan Bracken was named the British Minister of Information. [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Lively was commissioned into service. [CPC]
21 Jul 1941
  • Orion rounded Cape Horn and entered the Atlantic Ocean. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hiroaki Abe was transferred out of Japanese Navy Destroyer Squadron 6. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-140 sank the 161-ton Soviet submarine M94 by torpedoes in the Baltic Sea. The survivors were rescued by M98 operating nearby off Hiiumaa Island. [AC]
  • German submarine U-109 refueled from German supply ship Thalia off Cadiz, Spain. [CPC]
  • The keel of US minesweeper Velocity was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of US minesweeper Tumult was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of US minesweeper Token was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of US destroyer Evans was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of US destroyer John D. Henley was laid down. [CPC]
  • Japan secured an agreement from the Vichy-French government to permit a virtual Japanese occupation of Indo-China. [AC]
Byelorussia
  • Outside Minsk, Byelorussia, German SS troops ordered 30 Byelorussians to bury 45 Jews alive in a pit; upon meeting refusal, the SS men executed the entire group of 75 by machine gun fire. [Main Article | CPC]
Canada
  • Canadian minesweeper HMCS Guysborough was launched in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. [CPC]
Egypt
  • Free French leader Charles de Gaulle met with British Minister of State in Cairo Oliver Lyttleton in Cairo, Egypt, complaining of the shortcomings in the arrangement in the Middle East where Free French troops were placed under British command. De Gaulle noted that Free France would assume direct control of troops in the theater as of noon of 24 Jul 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • The Allied convoy "Substance" departed Gibraltar to supply Malta; it contains six transports, carrier Ark Royal, battlecruiser Renown, battleship Nelson, several cruisers, and six destroyers. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • The Majdanek Concentration Camp near Lublin, Poland became operational. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Russia
  • 127 German Luftwaffe bombers took off from an airfield near Smolensk, Russia to attack the Soviet capital of Moscow in multiple waves during the night; the resulting air alarms were the first to be sounded in the city. Moscow had strong anti-aircraft defences and the citizens were able to take shelter in the newly completed underground railway stations, but German air crews reported the presence of very few Soviet night fighters. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
Ukraine
  • Soviet troops evacuated from the positions along the Dniestr River in western Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Hugh Dalton informed Winston Churchill that his Special Operations Executive was now ready to support covert operations in German-occupied Europe. [CPC]
  • The keel of British minesweeper HMS Cadmus was laid down. [CPC]
  • The keel of British minesweeper HMS Circe was laid down. [CPC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Gunnel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt asked the United States Congress to modify the Selective Service Act, increasing the period of service from one year of active service to also include 30 months in reserve. [Main Article | CPC]
22 Jul 1941
  • Vichy France enacted a law that required Jews to register their businesses, which in effect excluded all Jews from commerce and industry. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Remy Van Lierde arrived in Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler sent an armored train equipped with anti-aircraft weapons to Benito Mussolini as a birthday present. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Italian Count Galeazzo Ciano noted in his diary that Benito Mussolini had staged a mock air raid over Rome, Italy on this date, with anti-aircraft positions firing. The purpose of this production was to give the citizens the impression that a serious war was going on. [Main Article | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • The last Japanese ship departed the Panama Canal Zone. [CPC]
Russia
  • In captivity at the Lefortovo Prison in Moscow, Russia, Colonel General Dimitry Pavlov explained that out of the 600 artillery fortifications on the western border, only 169 of them actually had guns inside, and other similar facts explained why he could not counterattack the German forces as Joseph Stalin had ordered. Regardless, he was found guilty and was executed before the end of the day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet NKGB was merged into the NKVD. [CPC]
23 Jul 1941
  • German troops captured Brest-Litovsk, Byelorussia after a month-long siege. [Main Article | TH]
  • A German Hudson aircraft, while on convoy escort duty, shot down a German aircraft 107 miles west-southwest of Achill Head, Achill Island, Ireland; the German crew was later rescued and interrogated. [CPC]
  • Scharnhorst was detected by British RAF Coastal Command aircraft at La Pallice, La Rochelle, France by the results of a photo reconnaissance flight at 0915 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Manchester suffered an aerial torpedo hit on the port quarter in the Mediterranean Sea while escorting a convoy for Malta. [CPC]
  • Repair ship Akashi operated off Indochina. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Bf 109 aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • A British No. 44 Squadron Hampden bomber, returning from to Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom from a minelaying sortie, crashed into the staff residence of Lincoln Girls High School on Lindum Hill in the nearby city of Lincoln. The crew of four were all killed immediately as was the senior French mistress who died trying to escape from the burning building. Four other members of staff were injured and exploding ammunition peppered the surrounding area, seriously hampering the work of the fire and rescue teams. [AC]
United States
  • In Washington DC, United States, Senator Wendell Willkie (the defeated Republican candidate at the 1940 Presidential election) urged America to give unlimited aid to Britain. [AC]
24 Jul 1941
  • US Marine Corps established a Marine Detachment under the 1st Defense Battalion at Johnston Island. [CPC]
  • The RAF submitted a report for the week ending 24 Jul 1941. Coastal Command flew 252 patrols (364 sorties) and escorted 94 convoys (264 sorties). Fighter Command flew 704 shipping protection patrols (1,476 sorties). [CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh arrived at Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Astoria departed San Pedro, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Free France, distrustful of British command of its troops in the Middle East, took back control effective at 1200 hours. [CPC]
  • James Lacey engaged two German Bf 109 fighters and claimed kills on both of them after the two German aircraft collided in mid-air during the dogfight. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • 68 Dutch officers arrived at the Oflag IV-C camp at Colditz Castle in Germany; they were the first Dutch prisoners at this prisoners of war camp. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Jul 1941
  • Lieutenant Commander Otoji Nakamura became the commanding officer of I-68. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Quintin Brand was appointed the commanding officer of the No. 20 (Training) Group. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders traveled to the Wolf's Lair at Rastenburg, East Prussia, Germany and met with Adolf Hitler, Wilhelm Keitel, and Hermann Göring. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British bombers took off at 2230 hours on the previous day, reaching Kiel, Germany at about 0145 hours on this date; bombs were dropped on the Deutsche Werke shipyard facilities; surviving attacks landed at their bases in Britain at about 0600 hours. On the same day, Bombers of British No. 102 Squadron RAF attacked Hanover, Germany after sundown. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh was attacked by a German torpedo bomber at Malta; the torpedo missed. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • General Paul von Kleist's 1st Panzer Group clashed with no fewer than six Soviet mechanised corps under the capable General Mikhail Kirponos in Ukraine. A sprawling tank battle, the largest of the war up to that point, swayed backwards and forwards across the steppes for four days, before superior German tactical handling and communications, plus their use of 88-mm guns, won the day. Kiponos was forced to retreat eastward towards Kiev. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Jul 1941
Adolf Hitler flanked by Werner Mölders, Wilhelm Keitel, and Hermann Göring, WolfPuget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, United States, 25 Jul 1941, photo 1 of 4; note AVPs Barnegat, Biscayne, Casco, Mackinac, BB Colorado, AG Utah, AK Aroostook, and AR PrometheusPuget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, United States, 25 Jul 1941, photo 2 of 4; note AVPs Barnegat, Biscayne, Casco, Mackinac, BB Colorado, AG Utah, AK Aroostook, and AR PrometheusPuget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, United States, 25 Jul 1941, photo 3 of 4; note AVPs Barnegat, Biscayne, Casco, Mackinac, BB Colorado, AG Utah, AK Aroostook, and AR Prometheus
See all photos dated 25 Jul 1941
26 Jul 1941
  • US Army recalled Douglas MacArthur to active service as the commander of units in the Far East; Philippine troops already under MacArthur's command were integrated into the US Army. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Three full Soviet armies were trapped and destroyed near Mogilev, Byelorussia. [Main Article | TH]
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt passed executive orders to freeze all Japanese and Chinese assets, forbade the export of oil, iron, and rubber to Japan, as well as marking the Panama Canal off-limits to Japanese shipping. UK and the Netherlands followed suit. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders was presented Diamonds to his Knight's Cross by Adolf Hitler. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German aircraft bombed Moscow, Russia. Many bombs fell near the Kremlin, and the images were captured on film by journalist Margaret Bourke-White. [CPC]
  • US Navy Admiral Husband Kimmel ordered long range air patrols to be conducted from various Pacific Ocean bases in case Japan reacted aggressively against US President Franklin Roosevelt's executive order to freeze Japanese assets. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Commander Ernesto Forza took over command of 10th MAS Flotilla at La Spezia, Italy, which was in actuality a special forces unit for the Italian Navy. [CPC]
Lithuania
  • 3,800 Lithuanian Jews were killed during a pogrom in Kovno. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • Six Italian E-boats escorted by MC.200 fighters attempted to attack shipping in Valletta's Grand Harbour at Malta. The Hurricane fighters of Nos. 126 and 185 Squadrons were scrambled and set about the E-boats, sinking four and causing the other two to surrender. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • Roderick Carr was named the commanding officer of No. 4 Group RAF. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 26 Jul 1941
San Diego sliding down her shipways during her launching at the Bethlehem Steel Company shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts, United States, 26 Jul 1941Grace Legler Benbough christened San Diego during launching ceremonies at the Bethlehem Steel Company shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts, United States, 26 Jul 1941
27 Jul 1941
  • The Japanese Imperial General Headquarters officially decided to pursue a southern advance, abandoning the previous ambitions against Russia. [CPC]
  • The United Kingdom nationalized railroads for the duration of the war. [TH]
  • Douglas MacArthur was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German leader Adolf Hitler requested Romanian leader Ion Antonescu to conquer and occupy the Ukrainian territory between Dniester and Bug Rivers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wilhelm Keitel ordered all copies of the 13 May 1941 order, which effectively allowed German military personnel to murder Soviet civilians, destroyed. Several copies would remain, however, and surface during the Nuremberg Trials. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Five British motor torpedo boats (MTB) sailed from Dover, England, United Kingdom to attack a German destroyer in the English Channel. Two of the boats narrowly escaped collision when crossing each other's bows at top speed by only ten feet. When the attack took place the torpedoes were fired at too great a range scoring no hits, in fact one torpedo actually just missed one of the friendly MTBs. On the way home one of the MTBs opened fire on a British aircraft which came down to investigate them. [AC]
Estonia Malta
  • Italian manned torpedoes and motor torpedo boats attacked Grand Harbour, Malta, causing minor damage to British vessels and installations but nearly all Italian vessels were lost in the attack. Commander Vittorio Moccagatta was among the Italian fatalities. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Four teenagers, son and nephews of Nestor Lakoba, political enemy of Lavrentiy Beria (already killed in Dec 1936), were executed in Moscow, Russia as sentenced by the Military Collegium of the Soviet NKVD. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Jul 1941
Fairlie Mortars, or
28 Jul 1941
  • Japan froze American assets in retaliation of a similar action committed by the US on 26 Jul 1941. [TH]
  • German troops began crushing the Smolensk pocket in Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • Finland severed diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom. [TH]
  • Tatsuta Maru set a new trans-Pacific crossing record. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • The joint US Army and US Marine Corps unit Task Force 18, attached to the US Atlantic Fleet under Major General Holland M. Smith, was redesignated the 1st Joint Training Force. [CPC]
Poland
  • A special commission created on Heinrich Himmler's orders arrived at Auschwitz Concentration Camp to select prisoners within the framework of the "Euthanasia Program" for the incurably ill, extended in 1940 to Jews and in the middle of 1941 to prisoners of concentration camps. The 573 selected, most were sick Polish prisoners from Block 15, were told that they were to be transferred to other camps for easier work because of their conditions. At last moment, two German criminals Johann Siegruth and Ernst Krankemann were added to the list. The 575 were sent to Sonnenstein Castle under the supervision of Franz Hössler and were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in a gas chamber disguised as a shower room. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Jul 1941
Soviet 85 mm M1939 (52-K) anti-aircraft guns at Gorky Park, Moscow, Russia, 28 Jul 1941
29 Jul 1941
  • Marshal Georgy Zhukov resigned as Chief of Staff of the Soviet forces. [Main Article | TH]
  • Orion sank the ship Chaucer by gunfire in the South Atlantic. The entire crew of 48 was rescued by Orion. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British merchant seaman David Hay was awarded an Albert Medal for his daring rescue of a fellow sailor from shark infested waters during the journey between Liverpool, England, United Kingdom and Takoradi, British Gold Coast. [CPC]
  • Joseph Rochefort reported to US Navy Admiral Husband Kimmel that the Japanese fleet detected outside of Japanese home waters were heading back to Japan, thus there was no immediate threat of an aggressive Japanese response to Franklin Roosevelt's decision to freeze Japanese assets. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 29 Jul 1941
TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bomber of Torpedo Squadron 6 in flight over carrier Enterprise in landing pattern, as indicated by the down arrestor hook and wheel, 29 Jul 1941
30 Jul 1941
  • A committee consisted of US Treasury, State, and Justice Department officials granted an exception of the rule to freeze Japanese national assets so that Tatsuta Maru's owners could withdraw enough funds to pay for fuel for a return trip to Japan. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
31 Jul 1941
  • Reinhard Heydrich received instructions from Hermann Göring to prepare the implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish question, Endlösung. [Main Article | TH]
  • Reichskommissar Josef Terboven declared Norway under a state of emergency. [TH]
  • Romanian leader Ion Antonescu formally accepted German leader Adolf Hitler's request for Romanian troops to conquer and occupy the Ukrainian territory between Dniester and Bug Rivers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet destroyer Sokrushitelny made rendezvous with British minelayer HMS Adventure near the Gorodetski lighthouse at the entrance to the White Sea in northern Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii Photo(s) dated 31 Jul 1941
Spanish General Agustín Muñoz Grandes being inducted into German Army service, Grafenwöhr, Germany, 31 Jul 1941
1 Aug 1941
  • The United States announced an oil embargo against all aggressor states. [TH]
  • Hiroaki Abe became the commanding officer of Japanese Navy Cruiser Division 8. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber took flight for the first time. [Main Article | AC]
  • USS Marlin was commissioned into service with Lieutenant George A. Sharp in command. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Nine British Blenheim bombers escorted by Hurricane fighters attacked Axis vehicles at Sidi Omar, Libya. [CPC]
  • Denmark established diplomatic relationship with the Japanese-sponsored puppet state of Manchukuo. [CPC]
  • German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels fabricated a quote from US Secretary of War Henry Stimson suggesting that Stimson thought the British war situation was hopeless. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Walter Grabmann was named the commanding officer of the Zerstörerschule 2 training unit based in Memmingen, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Joseph Stalin, satisfied with the progress of the rocket-powered fighter development project, issued an ordered in late Jul (and dated for 1 Aug 1941) for a prototype aircraft to be completed in a little more than a month. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minelayer HMS Adventure arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia and delivered a supply of naval mines. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Britain broke off diplomatic relations with Finland for invading Russia. Just over a year earlier, Britain had supported the Finns against the Russians. [AC]
US Pacific Islands
  • The US Navy established the Naval Air Station at Midway under Commander Cyril T. Simard. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Aug 1941
Soviet policeman on Gorky Street, Moscow, Russia, 1 Aug 1941Six P-40 Warhawk fighters based at Hickam Field in flight over Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, 1 Aug 1941, photo 1 of 2Six P-40 Warhawk fighters based at Hickam Field in flight over Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, 1 Aug 1941, photo 2 of 2
2 Aug 1941
  • All civilian radios in Norway were confiscated by the German occupation. [TH]
  • Two Australian companies attacked Italian positions near Tobruk, Libya with the support of over 60 field guns. The attacks were repulsed after suffering heavy casualties. This particular attack represented the last Australian attempt to regain positions lost in early May 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German dive bombers attacked an Allied convoys off Libya, but they were driven away by British fighters; about 3 German aircraft were shot down at a loss of 3 British Hurricane fighters. [CPC]
  • The Soviet submarines M99 and S11 were sunk by German mines in the Baltic Sea. [AC]
  • Croatia established diplomatic relationship with the Japanese-sponsored puppet state of Manchukuo. [CPC]
  • Soviet NKVD operatives were ordered to arrest those who injure themselves on the front lines just as they would arrest deserters. [CPC]
United States
  • The keel of light cruiser Miami was laid down by the Cramp Shipbuilding Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
3 Aug 1941
  • The battle at Roslavl in Russia ended with 38,000 encircled Soviet soldiers being taken prisoner. [Main Article | TH]
  • Lieutenant Robert Everett RNVR of British No. 804 Squadron Fleet Air Arm became the first pilot launched from a CAM ship (HMS Maplin) to shoot down a German Focke-Wulf Condor aircraft which had sighted the Atlantic convoy SL81 en route from Sierre Leone, British West Africa. [AC]
  • 21 British Maryland bombers attacked Axis positions at Tobruk, Libya while fighters swept nearby airfields. [CPC]
Ukraine
  • General Nicolae Ciuperca's Romanian 4th Army crossed the Dniester River in Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Aug 1941
  • Adolf Hitler visited Fedor von Bock's Army Group Center headquarters in the Soviet Union. The anti-Nazi officer plotted to arrest Adolf Hitler upon arrival, but failed to do so as he had under-estimated Hitler's personal guards. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered Hermann Hoth's 3rd Panzer Group to aid Wilhelm von Leeb in the north and Heinz Guderian's 2nd Panzer Group to assist Paul von Kleist in the south. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • Tatsuta Maru departed San Francisco, California, United States with US$2,500,000 worth of raw silk and 85,589 gallons of oil, both which was only allowed after Captain Toichi Takahata fought hard for due to the recently passed executive order to freeze Japanese assets in the United States. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
5 Aug 1941
  • Thailand established diplomatic relationship with the Japanese-sponsored puppet state of Manchukuo. [CPC]
Ukraine
  • Romanian troops arrived in the vicinity of Odessa, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
6 Aug 1941
  • US Navy aircraft based in Reykjavik, Iceland began routine patrols of the North Atlantic. [CPC]
  • The first German strategic reports on progress in Russia claimed that Germany had taken nearly 900,000 prisioners and destroyed or captured 13,100 tanks, 9,100 aircraft and more than 10,000 heavy guns. [Main Article | AC]
  • The clearing of the land to build a US Marine Corps airfield (future Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point) began in North Carolina, United States. [CPC]
  • British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden issued another warning to Japan stating that any action against the independence of Thailand would be regarded as a threat to imperial security. [Main Article | AC]
  • Leutnant Hans Thurner of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The first Bell Airacobra fighter arrived in the United Kingdom. By the end of Sep 1941, eleven machines had been received by No. 601 Squadron RAF, but during trials by the Air Fighting Development Unit at Duxford it was found that the much publicised performance figures claimed by the manufacturer were much overrated (having been obtained by a highly polished machine weighing a ton less than the production aircraft delivered to the RAF). The maximum speed for example being some 33 mph slower than anticipated and, although pleasant enough to fly, was definitely inferior to the Hurricane and Spitfire in climb rate and ceiling. [Main Article | AC]
7 Aug 1941
  • Stalin promoted himself to Generalissimo of the Soviet Army. [Main Article | TH]
  • Bruno Mussolini, Benito Mussolini's son, was killed in a plane crash. [TH]
  • Werner Mölders was named the Inspector General of Fighters of the Luftwaffe. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • After dark, 84 British aircraft were launched to attack Essen, Germany (108 tons of high explosive bombs and 5,720 incendiary bombs were dropped, damaging the Krupp coke oven batteries), 31 launched against Hamm (damaging rail marshalling yard), 32 launched against Dortmund, 88 launched against Kiel (104 tons of high explosive bombs and 4,836 incendiary bombs were dropped, damaging Deutsche Werke Shipyards), and a number of bombers were launched against Hamburg (poor visibility and results were not observed). [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 7 Aug 1941
British 9.2-inch coastal artillery gun crew in exercise, Needles Battery, Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom, 7 Aug 1941
8 Aug 1941
  • Yugoslavia was dissolved, with Italy annexing large areas. [CPC]
  • US Army aircraft and troops embarked for Iceland. [CPC]
  • The construction for trawler Anticosti was ordered. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Romanian General Staff issued Directive No. 31 calling for the capture of Odessa and the defeat of Soviet forces between the Dniester River and the Tiligulskiy Estuary in Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet destroyer Valerian Kuibyshev made rendezvous with British submarine HMS Tigris off northern Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • During the night, the first Soviet air attack was made on Berlin, Germany by naval Ilyushin Il-4 twin-engine bombers. [Main Article | AC]
  • Alexander Löhr was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Russia
  • Joseph Stalin ordered the formation of eight Guards mortar regiments directly under the control of the Stavka to operate Katyusha rocket launchers. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • The 6th and 12th Soviet Armies in the Uman Pocket in Ukraine were wiped out by German troops; over 100,000 Soviet prisoners were taken. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 8 Aug 1941
British cruiser Dorsetshire at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom, 8 Aug 1941
9 Aug 1941
  • Atlantic Charter Conference began between US and UK leadership. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet Shchuka-class submarine ShCh-307 (Treska) commanded by N. I. Petrov torpedoed and sank the German submarine U-144 west of Hiiumaa Island in the Baltic Sea. [Main Article | AC]
France
  • Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Douglas Bader was involved in a mid-air collision with a German Bf 109 fighter over northern France. He parachuted from his crippled aircraft by releasing and leaving behind in his Spitfire fighter one of his two artificial legs. [Main Article | AC]
Ukraine
  • Romanian 30th Dorobanti Regiment captured the village of Ponyatovka, Ukraine while other Romanian units captured the railway town of Razdelnaya. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Aug 1941
Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and RooseveltWinston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Roosevelt
10 Aug 1941
  • Franklin Roosevelt and his staff visited HMS Prince of Wales to attend British religious services. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Aug 1941
Prince of Wales at Argentia, Newfoundland, 10-12 Aug 1941USS McDougal alongside HMS Prince of Wales during Atlantic Charter Conference, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, Aug 1941Religious service on board HMS Prince of Wales during Atlantic Charter Conference, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 10 Aug 1941; note Roosevelt, Churchill, King, Marshall, Dill, Stark, and Pound in presence; USS Arkansas in backgroundRoosevelt and Churchill at the Atlantic Charter Conference, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 10-12 Aug 1941; Hopkins, Harriman, King, Marshall, Dill, Stark, and Pound behind them
See all photos dated 10 Aug 1941
11 Aug 1941
  • Matome Ugaki was named the chief of staff of the Japanese Navy Combined Fleet. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vichy France enacted a law to exclude Jewish doctors. [CPC]
Japan US Pacific Islands
  • Lieutenant Colonel Harold D. Shannon, executive officer of the US Marine Corps 6th Defense Battalion, arrived at Midway to prepare for his battalion to relieve the 3rd Defense Battalion. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Aug 1941
  • The Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party ordered the security forces to deport the entire population of the Volga German Autonomous Republic to destinations in Central Asia and Siberia. [AC]
  • The US Army-US Marine Corps 1st Joint Training Force under Major General Holland M. Smith was redesignated the Atlantic Amphibious Force. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, British bombers attacked railway yards at Hanover, Germany. After sundown, 78 British bombers, escorted by 485 fighters, conducted the heaviest daylight attack against Germany to date, targeting the powerplants near Köln (Fortuna Power Station in Knapsack and Goldenburg Power Station in Quadrath) and other targets in a wide area. The Germans were only able to scramble few fighters, but anti-aircraft fire was heavy. The Germans suffered four fighters shot down (plus five likely shot down) and heavy damage to both powerplants; the British suffered 12 British Blenheim bombers shot down and 10 British fighters shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Picotee (Lieutenant R. A. Harrison) was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-568 in the North Atlantic. [AC]
  • Zhao Chengshou signed a secret armistice with the Japanese. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho became the flagship of Carrier Division 3. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
China
  • Crown Prince Yi Un was assigned to Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • French Marshal Philippe Pétain appointed Admiral François Darlan as Minister for War, the Navy, the Air and the Colonies. General Maxime Weygand was thus placed under Darlan's orders. [Main Article | AC]
Japan Russia
  • The Soviet Politburo granted thousands of Polish prisoners of war amnesty for the formation of a Polish unit under General Wladislaw Anders to fight against Germany. [CPC]
  • Semyon Timoshenko drafted an order calling for the execution of deserters; it would be revised by Joseph Stalin and issued as Order No. 270 four days later. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • No. 489 (NZ) Squadron RAF was formed at RAF Leuchars, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom from New Zealand personnel under the command of Wing Commander J. A. S. Brown. The squadron would see extensive service on anti-shipping strikes in the North Sea and protection of the North Cape convoys. [AC]
United States
  • The United States Congress passed a modification to the Selective Service Act, which extended the service period of draftees as requested by Franklin Roosevelt, by a single vote. [CPC]
13 Aug 1941
  • Stalin released the Polish prisoners of war taken in Sep 1939, ostensibly to form a Polish Army in Russia. [Main Article | AC]
  • Journalist Richard Capell paid tribute in a radio broadcast the defenders of Tobruk, Libya, with specific mention of anti-aircraft gunners but also generally of Australians, Indians, and British "[b]oys", who "within weeks, turn[ed] into hardened men." [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Dutch prisoners Dufour and Imitescaped the Oflag IV-C prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle in Germany; they would be recaptured within a few days. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Aug 1941
British Army Lieutenant General Arthur Percival leaving a plane on his arrival to Singapore as the new commander of British forces in Malaya and Singapore, 13 Aug 1941
14 Aug 1941
  • Roosevelt and Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter. [Main Article | TH]
  • Overnight, British bombers attacked railway yards at Hanover, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet transport ship Sibir, carrying 2,500 wounded soldiers from Estonia, was bombed by German aircraft. There were few survivors. [AC]
  • Edmund Herring was promoted to the temporary rank of major general and was given command of Australian 6th Division in Egypt. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Aug 1941
  • Douglas MacArthur oversaw the induction of the Philippine Army Air Corps. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Orion reached Spanish territorial waters and disguised herself as the Spanish ship Contramestre Casado. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Germany it became a criminal offence for Jews not to wear the yellow Star of David. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • German parachutist Josef Jakobs, captured in Britain on 1 Feb 1941, was executed by firing squad at the Tower of London in England, United Kingdom at 0715 hours. He was the last person to be executed at that site. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Aug 1941
Douglas MacArthur at the induction ceremony of Philippine Army Air Corps, Zablan Field, Camp Murphy, Rizal, Philippine Islands, 15 Aug 1941Captured German Ju 88 aircraft on display in Sverdlov Square, Moscow, Russia, 15 Aug 1941
16 Aug 1941
  • Stalin agreed to an aid plan from US and UK. [TH]
  • German troops captured Novgorod, Russia. [TH]
Germany
  • Dutch prisoners Steinmetz and Larive escaped the Oflag IV-C prisoners of war camp at Colditz Castle in Germany; they would later become the first successful Dutch escapees of Colditz. [Main Article | CPC]
Philippines
  • Douglas MacArthur received word from his superiors in Washington DC, United States that the Philippine Islands would start receiving reinforcements, shipped from the US no later than 5 Sep 1941. This included the 200th Coastal Artillery Regiment, a tank battalion, and an ordnance battalion. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Joseph Stalin issued Order No. 270, ordering all deserters executed and deserters' families arrested. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • German troops of Armeegruppe Sud captured the Soviet naval base at Nikolaev in Ukraine on the Black Sea. Nearby, Romanian troops launched a renewed attack on Odessa. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 16 Aug 1941
Winston Churchill visiting US Marines on Iceland, 16 Aug 1941; note Ensign Franklin Roosevelt, Jr. and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Smith also present
17 Aug 1941
  • Overnight, British bombers attacked the rail station at Duisburg, Germany. Air crews reported poor visibility due to bad weather. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American ship Longtaker was sunk by a German submarine while delivering supplies to the US military garrison in Iceland. [CPC]
Estonia Japan Ukraine
  • Romanian troops captured the water reservoirs of Odessa, Ukraine with heavy casualties. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt arrived in Washington DC, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Aug 1941
  • British War Cabinet member Mr. Butt wrote a report to the RAF Bomber Command, noting "[o]f those aircraft recorded as attacking their target, only one in three got within five miles" of the intended targets. The conclusion was reached after studying post-bombing reconnaissance photos taken between 2 Jun and 25 Jul 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Radio Belgrade played an obscure German record which had been found in a pile of dusty 78s in the cellar of Radio Vienna. The song, Lili Marleen, sung by Lale Andersen, was an instant success. Within a week the station was receiving thousands of requests from the soldiers of the Deutsche Afrika Korps for it to be played over and over again. The song's success did not end there for, with English lyrics, it would become equally popular with the British and Commonwealth soldiers fighting in the Western Desert. [AC]
Ukraine
  • In southern Ukraine, German troops established a bridgehead across the Dnieper River at Zaporizhia. Further southwest along the river, German troops began an attack on the city Kherson situated on the western bank of the river. Out at sea, Two Romanian torpedo boats, NMS Viscolul and NMS Vijelia, damaged a Soviet destroyer south of Odessa, Ukraine. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt announced that Pan American Airways had agreed to ferry Lend-Lease US warplanes to British forces in the Middle East.  [Main Article | AC]
19 Aug 1941
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop requested Japan to join in the attack on the Soviet Union by attacking Vladivostok in eastern Russia; Japan responded by saying that such a venture would require much time for deliberation and planning. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German X Corps narrowly averted being encircled near Lake Illmen in northern Russia, saved by a counterattack by LVI Corps. [Main Article | TH]
France
  • Replacement prosthetic leg for captured Douglas Bader was dropped by a British bomber over Saint-Omer, Pas-de-Calais, France with permission by German Luftwaffe leaders. After the delivery, the British bomber took the opportunity to surprise-attack a power station in occupied France (though the attack would fail to materialize due to weather). [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • The first permanent military garrison was established at Wake Atoll, which consisted of 449 men of the US Marine Corps 1st Defense Battalion under the command of US Navy Commander Winfield Scott Cunningham. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Aug 1941
Humber armored cars of the Inns of Court Regiment, UK 9th Armoured Division on parade at Guisborough, Yorkshire, England, UK, 19 Aug 1941
20 Aug 1941
  • German 250th Infantry Division, nicknamed "Blue Division" and consisted of Spanish volunteers, was formed and began to move to Poland. [CPC]
  • The German siege of Leningrad, Russia began. [Main Article | TH]
France
  • After sundown, the Germans conducted another round-up of Jews in Paris, France. Their French passports were confiscated, and they would eventually be deported to the Drancy Concentration Camp and later to various concentration camps in Germany and Eastern Europe. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Japan
  • Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki stepped down as the chief of staff of Kure Naval District, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • German Eleventh Army captured Kherson, Ukraine. Romanian aircraft destroyed a Soviet armored train at Odessa Ukraine. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 20 Aug 1941
USS North Carolina at anchor, New York, New York, United States, 19-20 Aug 1941
21 Aug 1941
  • Hitlers ordered that the Russian city of Leningrad was to be besieged, not captured. [Main Article | TH]
China
  • Japanese aircraft sank Chinese gunboats Jiangxi and Jiangkun at Bazhong, Sichuan Province, China. [CPC]
France
  • A German naval cadet became the first victim of French Resistance, shot in a Metro station in Paris, France. Over 150 Parisians were shot in reprisal. [Main Article | TH]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler directed the transfer of units away from the Moscow, Russia area in order to bolster the siege on Leningrad (aiming for the linking up with Finnish forces) and the battles in Ukraine (aiming for the oil fields in the Caucasus region). [Main Article | CPC]
Iceland
  • The first Allied Arictic convoy, codenamed Dervish, set sail from Hvalfjörður, Iceland for Arhangelsk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
22 Aug 1941

Russia
  • Soviet passenger ship Pomorie hit a mine and sank in the White Sea in northern Russia; 60 were killed, 20 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Aug 1941
View aboard USS North Carolina during trials, 22-31 Aug 1941
23 Aug 1941
  • Adolf Hitler rejected Heinz Guderian's advice to attack Moscow, Russia; instead, he moved troops to the south. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Orion arrived at Gironde, Bordeaux, France. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Zinnia was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-564 off the coast of Portugal. [AC]
Japan Photo(s) dated 23 Aug 1941
Carrier Shokaku at Yokosuka, Japan, 23 Aug 1941, photo 1 of 2Carrier Shokaku at Yokosuka, Japan, 23 Aug 1941, photo 2 of 2A Soviet soldier teaching partisan fighters how to operate a Browning Hi-Power handgun, near Smolensk, Russia, 23 Aug 1941
24 Aug 1941
  • Romanian forces suffered heavy losses during the Soviet counter attack near Odessa, Ukraine. [Main Article | TH]
  • Vichy France passed anti-terrorist laws, punishable with death sentences, to deal with the resistance movement. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered the end of the euthanasia program that had already killed 70,273 mentally-ill people. Some doctors would continue to kill the mentally-ill through the end of the European War. [CPC]
  • Oberleutnant Hans Philipp became the 33rd member recipient of the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross. [CPC]
25 Aug 1941
  • The United Kingdom and the Soviet Union jointly attacked pro-German regime in Iran. While the British troops crossed the western border and Soviets to the north, the respective ambassadors in Tehran demanded Iran to accept British and Soviet protection of oil supplies. British forces sank two small Iranian warships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-752 sank Soviet minesweeping trawler T-898 in the Barents Sea 80 miles east of Cape Chernyi, northern Russia at 1011 hours; 41 were killed, 2 survived. [CPC]
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMS Vascama and a British Catalina aircraft sank German submarine U-452 with depth charges in the North Sea, killing all 42 aboard. [CPC]
  • The German Navy placed orders for 61 submarines to be constructed. [CPC]
  • Destroyer HMS Wolsey rammed and sank British minesweeper Kos XVI (with Norwegian crew) 30 miles off Grimsby, England, United Kingdom just before midnight. [CPC]
  • Richard "Dick" Winters enlisted in the US Army. [CPC]
  • German Navy issued the order to build the future submarine U-869. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Submarine Finback was launched, sponsored by Mrs. A. E. Watson. [Main Article | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • A British RAF Catalina Mk. 1 of No. 209 Squadron cooperating with naval forces sank German submarine U-453 off Iceland. [AC]
France
  • Pierre Laval was shot four times by student Paul Collete as he saw off French volunteers going off to fight with the Germans in Russia. Laval survived the assassination attempt, but was seriously wounded particularly by a bullet that penetrated his body about an inch from his heart. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
Germany
  • Held responsible for the failure of the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, and believing that his superiors had abandoned him, and convinced that his arch rival Inspector General Erhard Milch was plotting his down fall, the normally ebullient Ernst Udet (who was already showing signs of illness through depression and strain) reported sick. His duties were assumed by Milch. [AC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille returned to Ain el Gazala, Libya from his home leave in Berlin, Germany to Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Aug 1941
Map of Operation Barbarossa, 22 Jun to 25 Aug 1941Launching of submarine Finback, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, United States, 25 Aug 1941Submarine Finback shortly after launching, off Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, United States, 25 Aug 1941
26 Aug 1941
  • Soviet forces in Velikije Luki were surrounded and destroyed by the German Armeegruppe Nord. [Main Article | TH]
  • A combined force of Canadian, British, and Norwegian commandos landed on Spitzbergen. The coal-mining installations and equipment there were destroyed and the Norwegian civilian populace was evacuated. [TH]
  • Otto Skorzeny was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class medal for recovering a damaged vehicle under enemy fire at the bridgehead in Yelnya, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-571 seriously damaged Soviet submarine supply ship Marija Uljanova with two torpedoes 27 miles north of Teriberskij lighthouse in northern Russia in the Barents Sea at 0459 hours; Marija Uljanova would be written off as a loss on the next day. [CPC]
  • British troops captured Abadan, Iran, along with the oil-related installations there. Far to the north, Soviet troops captured Tabriz while aircraft bombed Tehran. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wing Commander David Lascelles, a cousin of the British Royal family, was killed leading a daylight anti-shipping strike. Lascelles was No. 82 Squadron's seventh commanding officer in eleven months and the third to be killed. [AC]
France
  • Paul Collete was arrested after shooting and wounding Pierre Laval; Laval would recommend giving Collete a light sentence, citing that the young man was likely only a pawn used by more senior plotters behind the scenes. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Germany
  • Paul von Kleist was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • The Hungarian Army rounded up 18,000 Jews at Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hilter and Benito Mussolini inspected Axis troops at Uman, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 26 Aug 1941
USS North Carolina firing her forward guns during trials, 26-27 Aug 1941
27 Aug 1941
  • German 250th Infantry Division, consisted of Spanish volunteers, began to march on foot from the Polish-Lithuanian border toward Smolensk, Russia. [CPC]
  • The British government took over the control of railways for the duration of the war; the private owners and operators were to receive £43,000,000 per year as compensation. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-570 surfaced at 1050 hours in the Atlantic Ocean and was spotted by a British Hudson aircraft, which attacked the submarine with four 250-pound depth charges and returned for strafing. U-570 eventually surrendered; while awaiting the British to send a capture party, confidential papers and the cipher machine were dumped overboard. [CPC]
  • Reza Shah of Iran appointed Mohammad Ali Foroughi as the Prime Minister, who immediately began negotiations with the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom to end the hostilities. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-557 attacked Allied convoy OS-4 300 miles west of Ireland between 0125 and 0426 hours, sinking four ships. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-202 sank British trawler Ladylove off Iceland at 1435 hours, killing the entire crew of 14. [CPC]
Estonia
  • The German Armeegruppe Nord captured Tallinn, Estonia. [Main Article | TH]
Germany
  • Paul von Kleist was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a Hurricane fighter near Gambut, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Aug 1941
  • Australian Prime Minister Menzies resigned. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Mohammad Ali Foroughi signed a treaty allowing the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union to occupy oil fields and the Trans-Iranian Railway in Iran, as well as closing down German, Italian, Hungarian, and Romanian legations in Tehran. However, he refused to allow British and Soviet troops in the capital city. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet NKVD blew up Zaporozhye hydroelectric dam on the River Dnieper in Ukraine to prevent German use. Thousands of civilians who resided downstream were killed by the flooding. [CPC]
  • The Soviet Baltic Fleet departed from Estonia for Kronstadt, Russia under the command of Vice Admiral Vladimir Tributs. En route, the fleet was slowed by a minefield off Cape Juminda, and it was soon targeted by shore-based artillery, German aircraft, and German and Finnish torpedo boats. 15 warships and 15 transports would be sunk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Submarine HMS Rorqual sank Italian ship Cilicia 130 miles west of Crete, Greece. Italian torpedo boat Antares counterattacked by ramming the submarine, damaging the periscope. [CPC]
  • German submarines U-101 and U-558 attacked Allied convoy OS-4 330 miles west of Ireland; U-558 sank British merchant ship Otaio (13 were killed, 58 survived); U-101's attack was unsuccessful and invited a 3-hour counterattack by 30 depth charges which caused little damage. [CPC]
  • Axis troops launched a renewed offensive against Odessa, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The final P-43 Lancer fighter delivery was made to the United States Army. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Tenryu was assigned to Truk, Caroline Islands to join Cruiser Division 18 of Japanese 4th Fleet. Captain Mitsutaro Goto was named her new commanding officer. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Germany
  • British prisoner of war Lieutenant Airey Neave attempted to escape the Oflag IV-C camp at Colditz Castle in Germany with a fake German guard uniform; he was spotted near the front gate and captured. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Libya
  • On his first combat mission after reutrning from home leave to recover from dysentery, Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a South African Air Force Hurricane fighter flown by Lieutenant V. F. Williams; it was his 14th kill. [Main Article | CPC]
Netherlands
  • 18 British Bleinheim bombers attacked German targets at Rotterdam, the Netherlands; 7 bombers were shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Lewis Puller returned to the United States from China. [Main Article | CPC]
29 Aug 1941
  • Soviet troops evacuated the Karelian Isthmus as Finnish forces retook Viipuri in northern Russia. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 29 Aug 1941
North Carolina firing her after 16-inch guns during her shakedown cruise, 28-29 Aug 1941
30 Aug 1941
  • German troops captured Mga, Leningrad Oblast, Russia, severing the last railway leading into the city of Leningrad. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Panzergruppe 1 of Army Group South under Paul von Kleist and Panzergruppe 2 of Army Group Center under Heinz Guderian began to envelope the Soviet Southwestern Front under Mikhail Kirponos at Kiev, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Romanian troops captured Kubanka, Ukraine, but Soviet forces recaptured the city later in the day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop asked Soemu Toyoda regarding a possible Japanese attack on Vladivostok, Russia; the Japanese Navy admiral responded by saying that Japan was preparing for such a venture, and required more time to complete the preparations. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet destroyers Grozny, Oritsky, and Kuibyshev escorted the Allied convoy Dervish into the Dvina River and on to Arkhangelsk, Russia. Crewmen of the merchant ships of this first Allied convoy to arrive in Arkhangelsk reported poor cooperation from the Soviets. No stevedores were found so the crewmen attempted to unload the cargo themselves, only to be stopped by Soviet armed guards because they did not have the proper passes to step onto the shore; the situation was only improved after the arrival of higher ranking Soviet officers later in the day. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Aug 1941
Soldiers of the Soviet Voroshilov Regiment in training, Moscow, Russia, 30 Aug 1941
31 Aug 1941
  • The Soviet Baltic Fleet completed its evacuation from Tallinn, Estonia to Kronstadt off Leningrad, Russia. 165 vessels arrived in Leningrad with 28,000 military personnel and civilians on aboard. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked Alexandria, Egypt, killing 2 British Royal Navy officers but otherwise doing little to no damage to ships and port facilities, which were the primary targets. [CPC]
Japan United Kingdom
  • A mixed-gender anti-aircraft battery with 200 men and an equal number of women was established, with great public interest, in Richmond Park, London, England, United Kingdom. The women were the first to take a combat role in Britain. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 31 Aug 1941
North Carolina during her shakedown cruise, 22-31 Aug 1941North Carolina during her shakedown cruise, 22-31 Aug 1941, photo taken from a destroyerSignalmen hoisting and stowing signal flags aboard USS North Carolina, 22-31 Aug 1941OS2U Kingfisher aircraft preparing for launch aboard North Carolina during the ship
1 Sep 1941
  • Cruiser Köln began supporting the invasion of Dagö and Ösel islands and disabled Soviet coastal batteries at Cape Ristna. [Main Article | CPC]
  • All Jews above the age of six in Germany and occupied lands were ordered to wear the yellow Star of David with the word "Jude" inscribed in black within; this was to be effective 19 Sep 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The 9th Company of German Police Battalion 322 participated in the murder of more than 900 Jews from the Minsk area in Byelorussia. On the same day, the Police Regiment South reported shooting 88 Jews, and Battalion 320 reported shooting 380. [CPC]
  • Mineichi Koga was named the head of the China Area Fleet of the Japanese Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Battleships USS Idaho, USS Mississippi, and USS New Mexico, escorted by 2 cruisers and 13 destroyers, were dispatched to patrol the Denmark Strait to protect American merchant shipping. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Nobutake Kondo was named the commanding officer of the Japanese 2nd Fleet. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • In China, the American Consul-General at Shanghai, the commander of the Yangtze Patrol, and the commanding officer of the 4th Marine Regiment at Shanghai recommended that all naval forces in China be withdrawn. [CPC]
Japan
  • Captain Chiaki Matsuda was named the commanding officer of Settsu. [Main Article | CPC]
Korea
  • Vice Admiral Ikuta Sakamoto was named the commanding officer of Chinkai Guard District in southern Korea. [Main Article | CPC]
Philippines
  • Douglas MacArthur mobilized the Filipino military. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The BI-1 rocket-powered prototype aircraft was ready for unpowered flight at Khimki, Moscow Oblast, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Sep 1941
Soviet troops in a trench in Leningrad, Russia, 1 Sep 1941; note DP machine gunMachine gunners of Soviet 20th Army on the Dnieper River near Dorogobuzh, Russia, 1 Sep 1941Georgi Zhukov speaking in Moscow, Russia, 1 Sep 1941Soviet soldier teaching civilians how to disarm a un-exploded German incendiary bomb, Sverdlov Square, Moscow, Russia, 1 Sep 1941
2 Sep 1941

France
  • RAF bombers began daylight bombing of targets in northern France. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Photo(s) dated 2 Sep 1941
German soldier capturing a Soviet soldier near the Dnieper River in the Soviet Union, 2 Sep 1941; note MP 40 submachine gunMajor General Arthur Allen, commander of Australian 7th Division, and Lieutenant Colonel Murray Moten, commander of Australian 2/27th Infantry Battalion, Hammana, Lebanon, 2 Sep 1941
3 Sep 1941
  • The equivalent of a whole Red Army Division under NKVD officers was sent south to round up and deport all the Soviet Union's ethnic Germans they could find. By Jan 1942, 800,000 Germans from all parts of the Soviet Union had been shipped eastward. [AC]
  • Operation EGV.1, which involved an air attack on German targets at Tromsø, Norway by carrier aircraft from HMS Victorious, was cancelled due to lack of cloud cover. [CPC]
  • German bombers damaged British ship Fort Richepanse at noon in the Atlantic Ocean; at 2042 hours, German submarine U-567 caught up with the damaged ship 450 miles west of Ireland, sinking her with 41 deaths; 22 survived. [CPC]
  • In England, United Kingdom, Alan Brooke inspected 70 Welsh Young Soldiers’ Battalion at Duxford, A Company of 70th King's Royal Rifle Corps at Debden, and B Company of 70th King's Royal Rifle Corps at Castle Camp in the morning. After lunch with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he inspected A and B Companies of 70th Suffolks regiment at Martlesham and A and B Companies of 70th Essex regiment at Southend. He was disappointed by the progress of the training of the Essex regiment. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German and Romanian troops captured the village of Vakarzhany, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese aircraft sank Chinese vessel Ganlu at Bazhong, Sichuan Province, China. [CPC]
Poland
  • Experimental trials of gas chambers at Block II of Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland began, using Soviet prisoners of war as test subjects. Zyklon-B was used. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
4 Sep 1941
  • Finnish troops captured Beloostrov, which was 20 miles from Leningrad, Russia. Germany requested Finland to immediately press on against the city, but Finland rejected, noting that Finland was only attempting to reclaim territory lost to the Soviets. [Main Article | TH]
  • American destroyer Greer pursued German submarine U-652 for 2 hours 190 miles southwest of Iceland; the two ships attacked each other but no damage was inflicted on either side. The torpedoes fired at USS Greer represented the first German attack on a US warship. [CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Scheer departed the Baltic Sea for Oslo, Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 Sep 1941
RMS Queen Mary (right), RMS Queen Elizabeth (left), and HMAS Sydney (foreground) off Wilson
5 Sep 1941
  • Japanese Navy Captain Shutoku Miyazato (former commanding officer of Naka) was posted as the Chief Equipping Officer of Battleship No. 1. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • British bombers attacked chemical works at Hüls, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British 1st Parachute Brigade was founded with Brigadier Richard Gale in command. [AC]
  • Remy Van Lierde joined the British Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Captain Karou Umetani was named the commanding officer of light carrier Hosho; Hosho was relieved the duty of being Carrier Division 3's flagship. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team detected sudden increase in Japanese naval radio traffic. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • The exhibition "Le Juif et la France" ("The Jews and France") opened in Paris, France based on the work of the anti-Semitic French Professor George Montandon with the urging of the Nazi German occupation. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • A song in mourning of Prince Nagahisa was released in Japan. The music was composed by Yuji Koseki, the lyrics were written by Count Yoshinori Futara, and it was performed by popular singer Akiko Futaba and veteran Takeo Ito. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Sep 1941
Cruiser Mk IV tank and Infantry Mk II Matilda tank at a depot in Egypt, 5 Sep 1941
6 Sep 1941
  • Hitler issued Directive 35 for Operation Typhoon, which he intended should destroy in a swift blow any remaining Soviet resistance. [Main Article | AC]
  • HMS Brora was wrecked off the Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom. [AC]
  • The keel of hull number 533 was laid down for the future USS Wilkes-Barre. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Red Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda ("Red Star") noted that it was a shame to become captured by the enemy. [CPC]
Japan
  • Emperor Showa of Japan agreed with the proposal that, unless peace could be achieved by 10 Oct 1941, Japan was to prepare for war. [Main Article | CPC]
Lithuania
  • The Vilna Ghetto was established in Lithuania, containing 40,000 Jews. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt arrived at Hyde Park, New York, United States to see his ailing mother Sara Roosevelt. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 Sep 1941
Atlanta christened by author Margaret Mitchell during her launching ceremony, Kearny, NJ, 6 Sep 1941Atlanta slid down the building ways at her launching ceremony, Kearny, NJ, 6 Sep 1941San Juan christened by Mrs. Margarita Coll de Santori, during launching ceremonies at the Bethlehem Steel CompanyOS2U Kingfisher aircraft recovered alongside battleship Arizona, near US Territory of Hawaii, 6 Sep 1941, photo 1 of 2; note flag just forward of main pontoon
See all photos dated 6 Sep 1941
7 Sep 1941
  • The German 6.Armee broke through near Konotop, Ukraine. [Main Article | TH]
  • The autonomous Volga German Republic was formally abolished; all German males were formed into construction brigades working as forced labourers wherever the regime directed them in conditions littler different from the Gulag camps. [AC]
  • German motor torpedo boats S.48, S.49, S.50, S.52, and S.107 attacked an Allie convoy off the coast of Norfolk, England, United Kingdom, sinking British ship Duncarron (9 killed) and Norwegian ship Eikhaug (15 killed, 4 survived). [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Thunderbolt attacked an Axis convoy and sank Italian ship Sirena 50 miles west of Benghazi, Libya. [CPC]
  • British cruisers HMS Nigeria and HMS Aurora attacked a German convoy in Hammerfjord in northern Norway at 0130 hours, sinking German gunnery ship Bremse; HMS Nigeria was damaged in the bow and was sent back to Britain for repairs. Elsewhere, British Albacore aircraft from HMS Victorious searched for German shipping off Tromsø, Norway. [CPC]
Russia
  • HMS Argus delivered Hurricane fighters of No. 81 Squadron RAF and No. 134 Squadron RAF to Vaenga near Murmansk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Sara Roosevelt, mother of the US President, passed away at Hyde Park, New York, United States shortly before 1200 hours.  [Main Article | CPC]
8 Sep 1941
  • Leningrad in northern Russia became completely surrounded as German troops reached Lake Ladoga at Orekhovets. German aircraft attacked the city with primary targets being warehouses that might be holding food. [Main Article | TH]
  • British destroyer HMS Croome forced Italian submarine Maggiore Baracca to surface 275 miles northeast of the Azores islands, then proceeded to ram the submarine, resulting in her sinking. 23 Italian sailors were killed; 34 survived. HMS Croome was damaged in the stern and was ordered to Gibraltar for repairs. [CPC]
  • British Flying Fortress bombers unsuccessfully attacked the German cruiser Admiral Scheer in Oslofjord, Norway. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British sloop HMS Rosemary and Polish destroyer Burza collided at Milford Haven, Wales, United Kingdom; both suffered minor damage. [CPC]
  • German aircraft attacked and damaged British destroyers HMS Kipling, HMS Kimberley, and HMS Decoy as the ships carried supplies from Alexandria, Egypt for besieged Tobruk, Libya. [CPC]
  • USS Grampus began patrolling in the Caribbean Sea. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team detected increased radio traffic between carriers and land bases, and interpreted it as the Japanese Navy conducting fitting out operations of carriers with new air groups. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan United States
  • USS Grayback departed New London, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
9 Sep 1941
  • Dutch submarine O.24 sank Italian ship Italo Balbo 2 miles east of Corsica, France. [CPC]
  • British carrier HMS Ark Royal launched 14 Hurricane fighters to reinforce Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-81 sank British ship Empire Springbuck 50 miles east of Greenland at 0655 hours, killing all 42 on board. [CPC]
  • German cruiser Admiral Scheer was ordered to sail from Oslo, Norway for Swinemünde, Germany (now Swinoujscie, Poland). [Main Article | CPC]
  • General Nicolae Ciuperca was replaced by Lieutenant General Iosif Iacobici as the commanding officer of the Romanian 4th Army. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Iranian Government accepted the Soviet and British terms, which included the closure of Axis legations and the surrender of German nationals. [Main Article | AC]
Czechoslovakia
  • Vojtech Tuka, with the guidance of German SS-Hauptstrumführer Dieter Wisliceny, enacted the Ordinance Judenkodex which required Slovakian Jews to wear the yellow Stars of David, annulled all debts owed to Jews, confiscated Jewish property, and deported all Jews from the capital Bratislava. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a Hurricane fighter over the Bay of Sollum in the morning, his 15th kill. In the afternoon, on another mission, he shot down another Hurricane fighter, the 16th kill, while escorting Stuka dive bombers toward Bardia, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
10 Sep 1941
  • The first B-24 Liberator bombers were en route for Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Generalleutnant August Krakau succeeded Robert Martinek as the commanding officer of the German 7th Mountain Division. [CPC]
  • HMCS Moosejaw and another Flower-class corvette HMCS Chambly shared the sinking of the German submarine U-501 by depth charges and ramming; 11 German sailors were killed along with 1 Canadian sailor who boarded the sinking submarine; 37 German sailors survived. [AC]
  • German submarines U-81, U-82, U-85, U-432, and U-652 attacked Allied convoy SC-42 100 miles east of Greenland, sinking 6 merchant vessels and damaging 2 more. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-111 sank Dutch merchant ship Marken 300 miles north of Brazil; all 37 aboard survived and were given food by U-111's crew. The survivors would later be rescued by a Spanish ship on 21 Sep 1941. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Thunderbolt sank Italian boat Svam I off Sirte, Libya. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Topazio sank British ferry Murefte off Haifa, Palestine. 1 was killed; the survivors were picked up by Egyptian ship Talodi. [CPC]
  • German Panzergruppe 1 and Panzergruppe 2 completed the crossing of the Dnieper River in southern and northern Ukraine, respectively, and were both heading toward Kiev. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vice Admiral Nishizo Tsukahara was named the commanding officer of the Japanese Navy 11th Air Fleet. [CPC]
Italy
  • Scirè departed La Spezia, Italy for Gibraltar with three manned torpedoes on board. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Shokaku became the flagship of Carrier Division 5. She would remain at Yokosuka, Japan for the rest of the month. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Koichi Shiozawa stepped down as the commanding officer of the Yokosuka Naval District, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The US 88th Infantry Battalion commenced training to convert to an air-landed role, following in the footsteps of the 550th Battalion which had successfully converted in late 1940. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Sep 1941
Nurses tending to a wounded man after a German bombardment on Leningrad, Russia, 10 Sep 1941
11 Sep 1941
  • Konstantin Rokossovsky was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. [Main Article | CPC]
  • King Leopold III of Belgium, whilst a prisoner of the Germans, secretly married London-born Lilian Baels. As this had no validity under Belgian law a second ceremony was conducted on 6 Dec 1941. [Main Article | AC]
  • US President Roosevelt announced that American warships will attack German and Italian submarines on sight during his "fireside chat" radio address, equating the attacks to piracy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German artillery bombarded Leningrad, Russia throughout the day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-82, U-202, U-207, U-432, and U-433 attacked Allied convoy SC-42, sinking seven merchant ships 100 miles east of Greenland. [CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Leamington and HMS Veteran sank German submarines U-207, killing all 41 aboard. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Thunderbolt sank German ship Livorno 65 miles southwest of Benghazi, Libya. [CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille claimed shooting down a South African Maryland bomber over Libya, but the kill was not confirmed. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • US Marine Corps 6th Defense Battalion relieved the 3rd Defense Battalion as the garrison force at Midway. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 Sep 1941
Major General Edmund Herring, Lieutenant General John Lavarack, Major General Leslie Morshead, and Major General Samuel Burston at the Gezira Sports Club, Cairo, Egypt, 11 Sep 1941
12 Sep 1941
  • United States Coast Guard cutters intercepted and boarded Norwegian trawler Buskoe in Mackenzie Bay, Greenland; the trawler was operated by Germans, attempting to establish weather stations in the North Atlantic. [CPC]
  • German troops reported the first snowfall on the Russian front. [Main Article | TH]
  • The daily bread ration in Leningrad, Russia was cut to 500 grams for manual workers and 300 grams for office workers and children under 12. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Operation EGV2, British Albacore aircraft of carrier HMS Victorious damaged the Glomfjord hydroelectric power plant and the ships at anchor at Bodo in Norway. [CPC]
  • Three Allied corvettes (British HMS Gladiolus, Canadian HCMS Wetaskiwin, and Free French Mimosa) and eight destroyers (British HMS Douglas, British HMS Veteran, British HMS Leamington, British HMS Saladin, British HMS Skate, American USS Sims, American USS Russell, and American USS Charles F. Hughes) added to Allied convoy SC-42's escort force. In the air, British Catalina aircraft also appeared to provide protection during the day. [CPC]
  • Axis troops launched a renewed offensive against Odessa, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 993 adult male, 1,670 adult female, and 771 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 3,334 people. [Main Article | CPC]
Caroline Islands United Kingdom
  • British Air Vice-Marshal G. R. Bromet was appointed Air Officer Commanding, No. 19 Group RAF with the primary task of attacking surfaced German submarines in the Bay of Biscay. [AC]
13 Sep 1941
  • The German OKW determined that Soviet prisoners of war would receive fewer rations than prisoners of other nationalities. [TH]
  • Werner Mölders married Luise Baldauf (née Thurner), widow of a friend who had been killed in combat. They would have one daughter, Verena, born after Mölders' death. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Submarine HMS Tigris sank Norwegian coastal steamer Richard With off Breisund, northern Norway. [CPC]
  • Finnish coastal defense ship Ilmarinen struck a mine and sank in the Gulf of Finland; 271 were killed, 132 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A Soviet motor torpedo boat sank German auxiliary patrol boat VP 308 off of the Porkkala Peninsula in the Gulf of Finland. [CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a British Hurricane fighter over Sofafi, Libya, his 17th kill. The Hurricane fighter was flown by Sergeant Nourse. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • General Georgy Zhukov arrived in Leningrad, Russia to replace Marshal Kliment Voroshilov as the commanding officer of the city's garrison. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Sep 1941
Torpedo Squadron 5 TBD-1 Devastator aircraft parked at  Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, United States, 13 Sep 1941; note SBD-3, F4F, and SB2U aircraft beyond
14 Sep 1941
  • The German Armeegruppe Mitte encircled two full Soviet Armies near Kiev, Ukraine. [Main Article | TH]
  • The German XXXXI Armeekorps (mot[orized]) attacked Soviet positions southwest of Leningrad, Russia, while Soviet troops counterattacked into the flanks of the German assault. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down the Australian Hurricane fighter flown by Lieutenant Pat Byers over Bardia, Libya, his 18th kill. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Sep 1941
  • The 1st Battalion of the British Parachute Regiment was established. [AC]
  • Lieutenant Commander Hirota Tachibana was named the commanding officer of destroyer Yuzuki. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet 8th and 42nd Armies clashed with the German XXXXI Armeekorps (mot[orized]) southwest of Leningrad Russia on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-94 sank British ship Newbury at 0816 hours (all 45 aboard survived but were never seen again), Greek ship Pegasus at 2038 hours (16 killed after lifeboat capsized, 13 survived), and British ship Empire Eland at 2348 hours (all 38 survived but were never seen again) 800 miles west of Ireland; all three ships were members of Allied convoy ON-14. [CPC]
  • After sundown, British destroyers HMS Napier, HMS Nizam, and HMS Havock set sail from Alexandria, Egypt to the besieged city of Tobruk, Libya with supplies; they would all return to Alexandria in the morning of the next day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet troops outside of Odessa, Ukraine withdrew southeast toward the city. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein was awarded the Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe goblet. [Main Article | CPC]
China France
  • German soldiers were attacked by resistance fighters in Paris, France. [Main Article | TH]
Germany
  • British bombers attacked the rail station at Hamburg, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
16 Sep 1941
  • 5 PBM Mariner aircraft and 1 PBY Catalina aircraft received radar to help these American aircraft conduct their neutrality patrols. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German XXXXI Armeekorps (mot[orized]) successfully cut off the Soviet 8th Army in the Oranienbaum Pocket southwest of Leningrad, Russia after two days of fighting. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-98 sank British ship Jedmoor of Allied convoy SC-42 100 miles northwest of Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom at 2316 hours; 31 were killed, 5 survived. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Smeraldo sank in the Mediterranean Sea to unknown cause, killing all 45 aboard. [CPC]
  • Without authorization, Hans-Joachim Marseille flew over an Australian airfield in Libya, amidst anti-aircraft fire, to deliver a message that pilot Lieutenant Pat Byers, whom he shot down two days prior, was being treated at a German hospital in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • German Generals Guderian and Kleist's Panzergruppen linked up east of Kiev, Ukraine, encircling 5 Soviet Armies. [Main Article | TH]
  • German troops massacred Jews en masse in Vinnitsa, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Romanian troops captured the heights northwest of Gross-Liebenthal district of Odessa, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Sep 1941
German Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber in North Africa, 16 Sep 1941, photo 2 of 2German Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber in North Africa, 16 Sep 1941, photo 1 of 2
17 Sep 1941
  • Japanese troops crossed the Sinchiang River during advance on Changsha, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • At a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, German physicist Werner Heisenberg warned his mentor Niels Bohr that Germany had embarked on atomic weapon research and gave him a drawing of a reactor as proof. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian 9th Division continued to be withdrawn from Tobruk, Libya. Relieving them was the British 70th Infantry Division, currently in Beirut in the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon awaiting transportation by British cruisers HMS Ajax, HMS Neptune, and HMS Hobart which had just departed from Alexandria, Egypt. After sundown, British minelaying cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Jaguar, and HMS Hasty made a roundtrip from Alexandria to Tobruk with supplies for the besieged city. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first operation conducted by a British Mosquito aircraft was launched to take photographs of German-controlled ports. [Main Article | CPC]
  • At Adolf Hitler's Wolfsschanze headquarters in East Prussia, Germany, Erich Raeder once again asked Hitler for permission to attack American shipping; Hitler again rejected him. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • The general deportation of German Jews began. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Lithuania
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 337 adult male, 687 adult female, and 247 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 1,271 people. 4 Communists were also executed in Vilnius by Jager's Einsatzgruppen on this date. [Main Article | CPC]
Philippines
  • Admiral Thomas Hart proposed to move his naval forces in the Philippine Islands south to combine with the British allies to better counter the more powerful Japanese Navy should it attack. He would change his mind on this plan before the start of the Pacific War. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Sep 1941
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt requested US Congress to allocate US$1,500,000,000 for the Lend-Lease program. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet Union announced conscription for all men aged 16-50. [TH]
  • Change of German strategy against Leningrad, Russia, switching from assault to besieging, led to the tanks of the German 4th Panzer Army were loaded onto trains at for Moscow, Russia. This shift in strategy partially resulted from Adolf Hitler's order earlier on this date that Leningrad was to be razed to the ground. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British aircraft located a convoy of three Italian troopships escorted by four destroyers from Taranto, Italy, sailing for Tripoli, Libya. Submarines HMS Upholder, HMS Upright, HMS Ursula, and HMS Unbeaten were dispatched to attack. HMS Upholder sank troopships Neptunia and Oceania over a four hour period about 70 miles east of Tripoli (384 killed, 6,500 survived), while HMS Ursula attacked troopship Vulcania unsuccessfully. [CPC]
  • After dark, British minelaying cruiser HMS Latona and destroyers HMS Napier, HMS Havock, and HMS Nizam sailed from Alexandria, Egypt and delivered supplies to the besieged garrison at Tobruk, Libya. They would return to Alexandria in the morning of the next day. HMS Nizam was damaged on the return trip when she hit the wreck of Italian ship Serenitas at Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Admiral Soemu Toyoda was named the commanding officer of Kure Naval District, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
19 Sep 1941
  • Japanese troops crossed the Milo River during advance on Changsha. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lord Woolton called the black market in Britain "a thorn in our side". [CPC]
  • German submarine U-74 sank Canadian corvette HMCS Lévis of Allied convoy SC-44 125 miles east of Iceland at 0603 hours; 18 were killed, 40 survived). At 1433 hours, German submarine U-372 attacked the same convoy 100 miles east of Iceland, sinking already-damaged British ship Baron Pentland; 2 were killed, 39 survived). [CPC]
  • Cruisers HMS Ajax, HMS Neptune, and HMAS Hobart arrived in Alexandria, Egypt after delivering supplies to Tobruk, Libya and began to embark troops of the UK 70th Infantry Division. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded Axis troop positions near Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine). [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • German troops captured Kiev, Ukraine, along with 600,000 prisoners, 2,500 tanks, and 1,000 artillery pieces. [Main Article | TH]
20 Sep 1941
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ships Baltallinn and Empire Moat of Allied convoy convoy OG-74 500 miles west of Brest, France at 2331 hours; 60 survivors were rescued by British rescue ship Walmer Castle. Meanwhile, a Martlet Mk II fighter of No. 802 Squadron from escort carrier HMS Audacity shot down a German Fw 200 C Condor aircraft attempting to shadow OG-74; it was the first kill by a British carrier-based aircraft. [Main Article | AC]
  • German submarine U-552 sank two tankers and U-74 sank catapult armed merchant ship Empire Burton, all of Allied convoy SC-44, 200 miles east of Iceland between 0113 and 0327 hours; 102 survivors were rescued by British corvette HMS Honeysuckle. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-111 sank British ship Cingalese Prince 500 miles east of Brazil; 57 were killed, 20 survived in lifeboats. [CPC]
  • British minelaying cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Kimberley, and HMS Hasty delivered 1,000 troops and 120 tons of supplies to Tobruk, Libya after sundown. They departed for Alexandria, Egypt 30 minutes after arrival. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 128 adult male, 179 adult female, and 99 children, all Jews, were killed in Nemencing, Lithuania for a total of 403 people. [Main Article | CPC]
  • An accidental fire aboard HMS Eagle killed one aircraft mechanic and damaged many Swordfish aircraft while sailing in the South Atlantic. [Main Article | CPC]
Gibraltar
  • Scirè launched three manned torpedoes into Gibraltar harbor, which sank tanker Fiona Shell (killing 1), damaged tanker RFA Denbydale, and damaged freighter Durham. All six Italian personnel manning the three torpedoes swam to Spain and would eventually return to Italy as heroes. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Sep 1941
  • German Stuka dive bombers sank Soviet battleship Marat in shallow water at Kronstadt near Leningrad, Russia with two 1,000-kilogram bombs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-201 sank British ships Runa, Lissa, and Rhineland of Allied convoy OG-74 500 miles west of Brest, France at 2320 hours. While British rescue ship Walmer Castle came to aid the survivors, a German Fw 200 aircraft attacked her, killing 16 previously-rescued survivors onboard the ship; Walmer Castle sustained heavy damage in the attack and was scuttled by British corvette HMS Marigold and sloop HMS Deptford. [CPC]
  • Allied convoy ON.18 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom with destroyers HMS Leamington, HMS Saladin, HMS Skate, and HMS Veteran in escort. [CPC]
Russia
  • Joseph Stalin sent a message to Georgy Zhukov, Andrei Zhdanov, Nikolai Kuznetsov, and Vsevolod Merkulov, noting that if the Germans used Russian civilians as messengers to request Soviet troops at Leningrad, Russia to surrender, those civilians must be all killed for that they were "more dangerous than the fascists". [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • Soviet forces attacked the Romanian 15th Infantry Division near Odessa, Ukraine by landing 1,617 troops of the 3rd Naval Rifle Regiment (by Soviet cruiser Krasni Kavkaz, cruiser Krasni Krym, destroyer Boyki, destroyer Besposhchadny, destroyer Bezuprechny, and destroyer Frunze) and by launching 157th and 421st Rifle Divisions on the ground. Destroyer Frunze was sunk by German Stuka dive bombers in the action. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Sep 1941
Soviet troops in action, 21 Sep 1941
22 Sep 1941
  • German submarine U-562 sank British ship Erna III 200 miles east of Iceland at 0233 hours, killing all 25 aboard. [CPC]
  • German submarines U-68 attacked Allied convoy SL-87 300 miles west of the Canary Islands at 0222 hours, damaging British merchant ship Silverbelle. At 2346 hours, U-103 attacked the same convoy, sinking British merchant ships Edward (all 63 aboard survived) and Niceto de Larrinaga Blyden (2 killed, 53 survived). [CPC]
  • British minelaying cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Kandahar, HMS Jaguar, and HMS Griffin departed Alexandria, Egypt with supplies for Tobruk, Libya. They would arrive overnight and return on the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 512 adult male, 744 adult female, and 511 children, all Jews, were killed in Riess, Lithuania for a total of 1,767 people. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US 1st Marine Brigade (Provisional) was placed under the command of the US Army's Iceland Base Command. [AC]
  • Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. [Main Article | CPC]
Black Sea
  • German Stuka dive bombers damaged Soviet destroyer Bezuprechny at 1300 hours, destroyer Besposhchadny at 1630 hours, and destroyer Boyki in the Black Sea off Odessa, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British cruiser HMS London departed Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom with Lord Beaverbrook and Averell Harriman aboard for Archangel, Russia for Lend-Lease discussions. She was escorted by Soviet and British destroyers. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • King George II of the Hellenes, with members of his family and government who have escaped from Crete, Greece arrived in England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Sep 1941
Machine gun crew of Japanese 4th Division near Miluo River in Hunan Province, China, during Second Battle of Changsha, 22 or 23 Sep 1941
23 Sep 1941
  • German Stuka dive bombers attacked Soviet warships at Kronstadt near Leningrad, Russia, hitting battleship Marat (already sunk in shallow water on 21 Sep 1941) with two bombs, igniting the forward magazine. The shipyard in Leningrad were also attacked, sinking submarines P-2 and M-74; cruisers Maksim Gorki and Kirov were also attacked. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • The German authorities in Paris, France issued a decree that stated that any French man concealing or assisting a British Airman would be shot, and any woman would be sent to a concentration camp. [Main Article | AC]
24 Sep 1941
  • US Marine Corps 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was detached from US Navy jurisdiction for service with the US Army in Iceland. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-67 sank St. Clair II at about 0000 hours. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 and U-67 attacked Allied convoy SL-87 and sank four British ships 350 miles west of Madeira island; 16 were killed, 197 survived. [CPC]
  • Allied convoy ON.18 became the first westbound convoy to be escorted by American ships as it made rendezvous with US destroyers USS Madison, USS Gleaves, USS Lansdale, USS Hughes and USS Simpson in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. [CPC]
  • German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran stopped, evacuated, and scuttled Greek ship Stamatios G. Embiricos in the Indian Ocean 600 miles west of the Maldives islands; the crew of 31 were captured. [CPC]
  • British minelaying cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Napir, HMS Kingston, and HMS Hotspur departed Alexandria, Egypt with troops and supplies for the besieged Tobruk, Libya; they would set sail to return to Alexandria overnight, arriving in the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
Egypt
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a Maryland bomber and five Hurricane fighters near Buq Buq, Egypt, his 19th through 24th kills. Among his victims were South African Captain C. A. van Vliet, South African Second Lieutenant J. Mac Robert, South African Lieutenant B. E. Dodd, and New Zealand Pilot Officer D. F. Westenra. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Tobacco ration in Paris, France dropped to 4 cigarettes per day for men and 0 for women. [TH]
Ukraine
  • The German Armeegruppe Sud started its offensive from southern Ukraine towards Crimea, Russia (now Ukraine). [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • The German Einsatzgruppe C set up its headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Arthur Coningham was made Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 24 Sep 1941
Firefighters battling a fire at a hotel in Kiev, Ukraine, 24 Sep 1941A building on fire in Kiev, Ukraine, 24 Sep 1941
25 Sep 1941
  • Hitler ordered a halt to attacks on Leningrad in northern Russia, instead ordering that the city be starved into submission. [Main Article | TH]
  • Zuikaku was commissioned into service. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ship Empire Stream 500 miles north of the Azores islands at 0744 hours; 8 were killed, 27 survived. [CPC]
  • John Kennedy enlisted in the US Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 215 adult male, 229 adult female, and 131 children, all Jews, were killed in Jahiuna, Lithuania for a total of 575 people. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Captain Tsunekichi Fukuzawa was named the commanding officer of repair ship Akashi. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Russia
  • German and Romanian troops reached the Perekop Isthmus in Russia (now Ukraine) and began to cut off the Crimean Peninsula. [CPC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Sunfish was laid down at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Sep 1941
Zuikaku on her first day of service, 25 Sep 1941, photo 1 of 2Zuikaku on her first day of service, 25 Sep 1941, photo 2 of 2
26 Sep 1941
  • German battleship Tirpitz sailed with other warships to patrol off of the Aaland Islands in the Baltic Sea to prevent Soviet naval maneuvers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General de Gaulle's Free French government signed an alliance with the Soviet Union. [TH]
  • Soviet troops in Kiev, Ukraine were beginning to run out of food and ammunition. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-124 and U-203 attacked Allied convoy HG-73 500 miles north of the Azores islands and sank 6 merchant ships; HMS Larkspur counterattacked U-203 with depth charges but caused no damage. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tetrarch sank Italian ship Citta Di Bastia off Greece; the Italian ship was en route from Piraeus to Crete. [CPC]
  • British minelaying cruiser HMS Latona and destroyers HMS Jackal, HMS Kimberley, and HMS Hasty departed Alexandria, Egypt with troops and supplies for the besieged Tobruk, Libya; they would set sail to return to Alexandria overnight, arriving in the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • ShCh-320 fired a torpedo at a merchant ship north of Danzig Bay; the torpedo missed. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Sep 1941
  • The first rains fell on Eastern Front of the European War; mud began to become an issue for the attacking German forces. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • German submarine U-66 sank Panamanian tanker I. C. White after sundown; 3 were killed, 34 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-201 attacked Allied convoy HG-73 600 miles north of the Azores islands, sinking two merchant ships and the anti-aircraft ship HMS Springbank; 32 were killed, 201 survived. [CPC]
  • 14 Liberty Ships were launched in the United States; they were to be transferred to the United Kingdom via the Lend-Lease program. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Upright sank Italian submarine chaser Albatros between Sicily and mainland Italy. German submarine U-371 rescued 42 survivors. [CPC]
  • British minelaying cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Kandahar, HMS Jaguar, and HMS Griffin departed Alexandria, Egypt after sundown with supplies for Tobruk, Libya. This would be the final Operation Supercharge supply run for the besieged city. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 989 adult male, 1,636 adult female, and 821 children, all Jews, were killed in Eysisky, Lithuania for a total of 3,446 people. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • The Italian garrison at Wolchefit Pass in Abyssinia surrendered to British King's African Rifles regiment. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Japanese troops in plain clothes infiltrated the north gate of the walled city of Changsha, Hunan Province, China, but failed to complete their sabotage mission. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • Joseph Rochefort warned US commanders at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii that the Japanese communication codes were being changed. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • An Italian torpedo bomber hit British battleship HMS Nelson in the bow with a torpedo in the Mediterranean Sea between Sardinia, Italy and Tunisia; Nelson was escorting the Operation Halberd convoy for Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • HMS London arrived in Archangel, Russia with Lord Beaverbrook and Averell Harriman aboard. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet GKO issued the Directive to Organize a Strategic Defense, which proved to be disastrous as it led to over 50 divisions of Soviet troops being trapped at Vyazma and Bryansk in Russia shortly after. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • 23,000 Jews were massacred at Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
28 Sep 1941
  • US and British representatives traveled to Moscow, Russia to discuss the matter of western aid to the Soviet Union. [TH]
  • The Second Battle of Changsha commenced. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British transferred the airfield RAF Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom to the US Army. The airfield would soon house the USAAF 91st Bombardment Group, which would remain until the end of the war. [CPC]
  • The Oak Leaves and Swords to the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross award, and Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, were both established in Germany. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tetrarch damaged German ship Yalova 20 miles south of Naples, Italy; Yalova was beached to prevent sinking. [CPC]
  • British corvette HMS Hyacinth sank Italian submarine Fisala 35 miles west of Palestine. [CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh arrived at Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho became the temporary flagship of Carrier Division 3. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Georgy Zhukov announced to his troops that family members of those who become captured by the enemy would be arrested and shot. [Main Article | CPC]
Greece
  • A uprising against Bulgarian occupation began in Macedonia region of Greece. [CPC]
Hawaii
  • Joseph Rochefort warned US commanders at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii that the recent Japanese Navy communications changes might mean the preparation of a large exercise or another major action. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Malta
  • The Allied Operation Halberd convoy arrived in Malta and began to disembark 50,000 tons of supplies aboard its ships. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Allied convoy QP-1, which was consisted of 14 British and Soviet merchant ships escorted by British cruiser HMS London and four minesweepers, departed Arkhangelsk, Russia at about 1200 hours for Britain. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • A notice was posted in Kiev, Ukraine, requiring all Jews in the region to gather at Dorogozhitshaya Street at 0700 hours the next day. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Sep 1941
UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill inspecting the ruins of the Coventry Cathedral, England, United Kingdom, 28 Sep 1941
29 Sep 1941
  • Reinhard Heydrich was named Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The first Allied convoy for the Arctic departed Hvalfjörður, Iceland (having originated from Scotland, United Kingdom) at 1845 hours with 11 merchant ships escorted by cruiser HMS Suffolk, destroyer HMS Antelope, destroyer HMS Impulsive, and four minesweepers. By the end of the year five other convoys had followed it, landing 120,000 tons of supplies at Murmansk, Russia, including 600 tanks, 800 aircraft and 1,400 motor vehicles. It was somewhat embarrassing to the Germans that, between 29 Sep and 31 Dec 1941, all 55 vessels of these first six convoys reached their destination without loss. [AC]
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, British Minister of Supply Lord Beaverbrook, and American envoy Harriman met in Moscow, Russia to discuss lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-319 attacked German minesweepers M151 and M203 off Liepaja, Latvia and then disappeared; she was presumed lost after striking a naval mine. [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered that Leningrad, Russia was to be wiped out by artillery and aerial bombardment. Germany could not and would not feed its population, which was of no use for the future of Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho was relieved the duty of being Carrier Division 3's temporary flagship. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Germany
  • After sundown, 10 bombers of British No. 102 Squadron were launched from RAF Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom for an attack on Stettin, Germany; the anti-aircraft fire was reported to be heavy. Another group of bombers took off to attack Hamburg, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Iceland
  • Allied convoy PQ-1 departed Hvalfjörður, Iceland. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • The German Einsatzgruppen massacred somewhere between 50,000 and 96,000 Ukrainians, 33,771 of whom Jews, at the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev. [Main Article | TH]
  • Soviet resistance prevented the Germans from moving from southern Ukraine into the Krym (Crimea) region of Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
30 Sep 1941
  • The RAF withdrew B-17 bombers from service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chinese troops at Changsha declared victory at the Second Battle of Changsha after pushing Japanese troops back to the Yueyang region. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German Operation Typhoon got an unofficial start when Guderian's Panzergruppe 2 attacked two days ahead of the rest of the operation. [Main Article | TH]
  • The detention center in Peel, Isle of Man had its guard forces strengthened after disturbances; 20 arrested British fascists were transferred to Liverpool as another result. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked shipyards at Tyneside in northern England, United Kingdom; submarine HMS Sunfish was badly damaged during the attack. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 366 adult male, 483 adult female, and 597 children, all Jews, were killed in Trakai, Lithuania for a total of 1,446 people. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Representatives of France and Thailand further defined the boundaries between Thailand and French Indochina per the 9 May 1941 peace treaty. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • Pierre Laval was discharged from the hospital after recovering from the wounds sustained during the unsuccessful assassination attempt against him on 25 Aug 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • British bombers attacked Stettin and Hamburg in Germany after sundown for the second consecutive night. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Italian submarine Adua attacked British ships sailing for Malta to Gibraltar (having just completed escorting the Operation Halberd on the previous day) 250 miles east of Gibraltar. British destroyers HMS Gurkha and HMS Legion counterattacked with depth charges, sinking the Italian submarine, killing all 46 aboard. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • The leadership of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet began to consider evacuating forces in Odessa, Ukraine to the Crimean region of Russia (now also in Ukraine). [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Sep 1941
Soviet troops capturing a German forward position at Vitovka near Bryansk, Russia, 30 Sep 1941
1 Oct 1941
  • The British House of Commons voted for the third £1,000,000,000 war credit of year. [CPC]
  • German government reports published this month noted that 2,139,553 foreign workers were employed, about half of which, 1,007,561, were Polish. [CPC]
  • The protocol produced at the end of the US-UK-USSR aid conference determined immediate and long-term deliveries to the Soviet Union, with the agreement subject to annual review. [TH]
  • The Italian "M" battalions were established. [CPC]
  • King George VI of the United Kingdom granted the name Royal New Zealand Navy to the New Zealand ships fighting within the British Royal Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British RAF reported internally on Hugh Dowding's (forced) retirement. When Prime Minister Winston Churchill learned of it, he was extremely displeased, and demanded the RAF to find a new position for Dowding. Dowding had originally conceded to political pressure and was preparing his retirement, but ultimately yielded to Churchill's wish and accepted whatever new position the RAF would give him. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Finnish troops reached Petrozavodsk, the capital of Soviet Republic of Karelia, further cutting off Leningrad in northern Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Edinburgh departed Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wilhelm Keitel ordered that, in regards to the hostages the German military had been holding and executing in retaliation of partisan attacks, choice of victims would be important, as well-known victims would have greater effect in keeping the occupied peoples in line. [Main Article | CPC]
  • ShCh-320 fired a torpedo at a merchant ship north of Danzig Bay; the torpedo missed. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Operations began at Majdanek Concentration Camp near Lublin, Poland. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Russia
  • The Soviet NKVD ordered the release of 51,257 Polish prisoners of war for the formation of a Polish unit under General Wladislaw Anders to fight against Germany. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Oct 1941
Soviet sailors marching in Leningrad, Russia, 1 Oct 1941Soviet 76 mm M1938 anti-aircraft guns at Leningrad, Russia, 1 Oct 1941Russian civilians building defensive fortifications in Moscow, Russia, 1 Oct 1941Soviet 203 mm Howitzer M1931 (B-4) field gun and crew, Moscow, Russia, 1 Oct 1941
2 Oct 1941
  • The remainder of the German Armeegruppe Mitte launched Operation Typhoon, the attack on Moscow, Russia. Meanwhile, the German Panzergruppe 2 under General Guderian was split into two pincers at Sevsk, Russia; the northern pincer moved toward Bryansk while the northeastern pincer moved toward Orel. [Main Article | TH]
  • After sundown, in England, United Kingdom, German bombers attacked the Tyneside and Tees-side areas in northern England (50 were killed, 250 buildings were destroyed, shipbuilding and repairing facilities at South Shields severely damaged) and Dover area in southeastern England (10 killed). [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-94 chased and attacked British tanker San Florentino 600 miles west of Ireland over a course of six hours, sinking her at 0552 hours; 23 were killed, 35 survived. 250 miles east of Iceland at 0652 hours, German submarine U-562 sank British catapult armed merchant ship Empire Wave; 29 were killed, 31 survived. At 0709 hours, west of Ireland, German submarine U-575 sank Dutch merchant ship Tuva; 1 was killed, 34 survived. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Perseus sank German ship Castellon 60 miles west of Benghazi, Libya. [CPC]
  • The third Messerschmitt Me 163A rocket-powered prototype aircraft, piloted by Heini Dittmar, achieved an unofficial world speed record of 623.85 mph. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • The keel of Britain's last battleship, HMS Vanguard, was laid down at Clydebank, Scotland, United Kingdom. [AC]
3 Oct 1941
  • The official copy of the British Military Application of Uranium Detonation (MAUD) Committee Report, written by James Chadwick, reached Vannevar Bush. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Russia, Panzergruppe 2 of the German Armeeguppe Mitte captured Orel 220 miles south-southwest of the Soviet capital in Moscow. Elsewhere, German troops attempted to encircle the Soviet Bryansk Front. [Main Article | TH]
  • The number of deaths in motor vehicle accidents in Britain during this second year of war had increased by 65% when compared to pre-war figures. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Talisman sank the already beached German ship Yalova south of Naples, Italy. [CPC]
  • At about 0001 hours, German submarine U-431 sank British ship Hatasu 650 miles east of Newfoundland; 40 were killed, 7 survived. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked and damaged British destroyer HMS Vivacious in the North Sea. [CPC]
  • British motor torpedo boat MTB56 sank Norwegian tanker Borgny off Bergen, Norway. [CPC]
  • A British Walrus reconnaissance aircraft from British cruiser HMS Kenya spotted German supply ship Klara 300 miles northeast of the Azores islands. HMS Kenya closed in and sank Klara, but did not stop to pick up survivors due to the presence of German submarine U-129. [CPC]
  • Dutch submarine O.21 sank Vichy French ship Oued Yquem off Sardinia, Italy. [CPC]
Germany
  • At the Berliner Sportpalast in the German capital, Adolf Hitler announced during a rally that the Germans had captured 2,500,000 Soviet prisoners of war, destroyed or captured 22,000 guns, destroyed or captured 18,000 tanks, destroyed 14,500 aircraft, and since 1939 had expanded Germany by an area four times as large as Britain. He stressed that the Soviet Union had been broken and would never rise again. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 3 Oct 1941
Battleship Iowa under construction, New York Navy Yard, New York, United States, 3 Oct 1941, photo 1 of 2Battleship Iowa under construction, New York Navy Yard, New York, United States, 3 Oct 1941, photo 2 of 2
4 Oct 1941
  • German submarine U-129 picked up 119 survivors of German supply ship Klara, sunken by British cruiser HMS Kenya on the previous day, 300 miles northeast of the Azores islands. [CPC]
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMS Lady Shirley forced German submarine U-111 to the surface with depth charges 225 miles west of Tenerife, Canary Islands. U-111's crew scuttled the submarine after a brief gunfire exchange; U-111 suffered 8 killed and 44 captured, while HMS Lady Shirley suffered 1 killed. [CPC]
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMS Whippet was sunk by German bombing 30 miles north of Bardia, Libya, killing 1. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Talisman sank French ship Theophile Gautier in a convoy from Crete to the Greek mainland. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 432 adult male, 1,115 adult female, and 436 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 1,983 people. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Friedrich Knackfuss was named the civilian administrator of the Channel Islands. [CPC]
Hawaii
  • US Navy awarded a contract to build Dock No. 4 and a 20,000-kilowatt bomb-proof power plant at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • German Panzergruppe 3 and Panzergruppe 4 began to surround rear elements of the Soviet Western Front in Russia, capturing Kirov and Spa-Demensk in the process. The German troops continued to advance toward Vyasma to complete the envelopment. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British motor torpedo boat MTB56 and Norwegian destroyer Draug arrived at the Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom. [CPC]
5 Oct 1941
  • US and UK naval commanders met in Singapore. [CPC]
  • Field Marshal Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist was named the commander of German 1.Panzerarmee. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German Second Panzer Group was reorganized as the Second Panzer Army; Heinz Guderian remained the unit's commanding officer. [Main Article | AC]
  • A Blenheim bomber of No. 1404 Meteorological Flight of British RAF Coastal Command attacked German submarines U-563 and U-565 in the Bay of Biscay; a 250-lb bomb missed U-563 at about 1030 hours, and another 250-lb bomb hit the conning tower of U-565 at 1102 hours but it failed to explode. [CPC]
Australia
  • Allied convoy SC-48 departed Sydney, Australia for the United States. [CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Swordfish torpedo bombers of British No. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm based in Malta attacked an Italian convoy en route from Naples, Italy to Tripoli, Libya 67 miles north of Misrata, Libya, sinking tanker Rialto; the 145 survivors were rescued by Italian destroyer Gioberti. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The leading German formations reported that they were only about 100 kilometers from Moscow, Russia. On the same day, Moscow-based Soviet fighters discovered German vehicles as close as 50 kilometers from Moscow; when Moscow Military District's Air Force Fighter Command chief Nikolai Sbytov reported this to his supeiors, he was investigated by the NKVD for disseminating false rumors, but he was lucky that Joseph Stalin believed him. For precaution, Stalin ordered the Soviet Western Front to withdraw to Vyazma to form a new defensive line under a new commanding officer, Georgy Zhukov, replacing Ivan Konev. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
6 Oct 1941
  • Eight Soviet Armies were encircled at Bryansk and Vyazma, Russia by a surprise maneuver conducted by German 17th Panzer Division. In less than two weeks, the Germans have taken nearly 700,000 prisoners and destroyed or captured 1,200 tanks and 5,000 heavy guns. [Main Article | AC]
  • German submarine U-129 transferred 119 rescued survivors of sunken German supply ship Klara to a Spanish tug. [CPC]
  • German bombers attacked shipping in the Gulf of Suez east of Egypt, sinking British ship Thistlegorm, which carry aboard, among other items, two steam locomotives; 9 were killed. Australian ship Salamaua, Norwegian tanker Norfold, and British ship Scalaria were also damaged during this attack. [CPC]
  • Heinz Guderian noted in his diary that he had observed snow for the first time in the campaign in the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 213 adult male, 359 adult female, and 390 children, all Jews, were killed in Semiliski, Lithuania for a total of 962 people. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • In Russia, Georgy Zhukov departed Leningrad for Moscow to take command of Soviet Western Front. General Ivan Fedyuninsky assumed command at Leningrad. [Main Article | CPC]
7 Oct 1941
  • In an effort to boost morale in the Soviet Union, Stalin lifted the ban on religion. [Main Article | TH]
  • The United Kingdom demanded Finland to stop fighting the Soviet Union; the demand was ignored. [TH]
  • German submarine U-502 damaged British whaling ship Svend Foyn 100 miles south of Iceland at 1617 hours; Svend Foyn was to be towed to Liverpool, England, United Kingdom for repairs. [CPC]
Russia
  • German 10th Panzer Division captured Vyasma, Russia at 1030 hours, surrounding 5 Soviet Armies. Georgy Zhukov, who had been recalled from Leningrad, Russia and sent to report on the situation on the West Front, arrived at Ivan Konev's headquarters to discover that there was no information concerning the Vyasma encirclement. He was forced to report to Joseph Stalin that there was no longer a continuous front in the west, and the large gaps could not be closed because the command had run out of reserves. [Main Article | TH, AC]
8 Oct 1941

Japan
  • Shokaku arrived at Kure, Japan and joined new sister ship Zuikaku for the first time. She moved around in Kure, Oita, Saeki area in the remainder of the month. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Russia
  • British RAF airmen in Murmansk and Arkhangel areas in northern Russia began to hand over their aircraft and related equipment to their Soviet counterparts. [CPC]
Ukraine
  • German Panzergruppe 1 reached Berdyansk and Mariupol in Ukraine in an attempt to reinforce the German 11th Army against Soviet 9th and 18th Armies. Across many sectors of the Eastern Front of the European War, heavy rain set in, resulting in mud that crippled the German Panzers' mobility and held up supplies. [CPC, AC]
9 Oct 1941
  • Hitler publicly announced that the war against the Soviet Union is all but over. [TH]
  • Georg von Bismarck was named the commanding officer of the 20th Panzer Division. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vannevar Bush took the British Military Application of Uranium Detonation (MAUD) Committee Report to US President Franklin Roosevelt, who agreed to work together with the British to develop atomic weapons. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The keel of trawler Anticosti was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 1,169 adult male, 1,840 adult female, and 717 children, all Jews, were killed in Svenciany, Lithuania for a total of 3,726 people. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A trade agreement was signed between Turkey and Germany under which the latter would get no deliveries of chrome until 1943. [AC]
France
  • No. 601 Squadron RAF mounted a mission with four P-39 Airacobra aircraft, strafing German barges near Dunkerque, France. This was to be the final Airacobra mission with the RAF. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • A detachment of Soviet NKVD troops prevented a company of German Brandenburg 800 Division saboteurs from destroying the Istra Water Reservoir near Moscow, Russia. [CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Allied convoy QP-1 arrived at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Oct 1941
Conscripts of the Soviet Universal Military Training program marching in Leningrad, Russia, 9 Oct 1941Barrage balloon being transported along Nevsky Prospekt in Leningrad, Russia, 9 Oct 1941First aid post near the Narva Triumphal Arch in Leningrad, Russia, 9 Oct 1941Civilians browsing Soviet propaganda, Kazan Cathedral, Leningrad, Russia, 9 Oct 1941, photo 1 of 2
See all photos dated 9 Oct 1941
10 Oct 1941
  • The German 250.Infanterie Division, also known as the Blue Division, entered service on the Eastern Front. This division was notable as being made up of Spanish volunteers. [TH]
  • General Zhukov took command of a new Soviet Western Front, which was made up of the remnants of the former Western Front, the Southwestern Front, and the Reserve Front. He immediately called for the formation of a new defensive Mozhaysk Line to protect Moscow, Russia, stretching from Tula south of the city to Volokolamsk to the northwest. [Main Article | TH]
  • The German 1.Panzergruppe reached the Sea of Azov. [TH]
  • Indomitable was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Field Marshal Walther von Reichenau issued the "Severity Order" in which he ordered the annihilation Bolshevism and the extermination of Jews. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-126 sank British ship Nailsea Manor 150 miles northeast of the Cape Verde Islands at 0543 hours; all 51 survived and were picked up by British corvette HMS Violet. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Thunderbolt sank Italian ship Citta di Simi northeast of Crete, Greece. [CPC]
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-322 departed Kronstadt near Leningrad, Russia. [CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • Reinhard Heydrich established a camp-ghetto in Sudetenland in southern Germany (occupied Czechoslovakia) that would later be known as the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. He recommended the site to be used to house deported German, Austrian, and Czechoslovakian Jews. He placed Adolf Eichmann and Rolf Günther in charge of establishing this camp-ghetto. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler ordered a stop to night intruder operations over RAF airfields in eastern England; 1/NJG2 who have been conducting successful harrying of returning RAF bombers were consequently transferred to the Mediterranean. [Main Article | AC]
Russia
  • The Soviet 32nd Rifle Division began to arrive at Mozhaysk, west of the Soviet capital of Moscow in Russia, from Siberia. Further west in Gzhatsk in Smolensk Oblast, 40 miles west of Mozhaysk and 32 miles east of Vyasma, Soviet 18th and 19th Tank Brigades halted a German offensive. German 4th Panzer Division reached Mtsensk, Russia in Oryol Oblast, but it would be held there for many days by stubborn Soviet resistance. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Allied convoy QP-1, which was consisted of 14 British and Soviet merchant ships escorted by British cruiser HMS London and four minesweepers, from Arkhangelsk, Russia arrived at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Oct 1941
TBD-1A experimental floatplane in low-level flight during torpedo drop tests at the Newport Torpedo Station, Rhode Island, United States, 10 Oct 1941Soviet T-26 tanks in a Russian village, 10 Oct 1941Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, Oct 10, 1941. Carrier Enterprise and Repair Ship Curtiss are moored alonfside Ford Island on the right of the photograph.Russian militiamen with rifles and grenades, Moscow, Russia, 10 Oct 1941
11 Oct 1941
  • At Bryansk, Russia, enveloped Soviet 3rd and 13th Armies counterattacked positions held by troops of German Panzergruppe 2 and broke through. [CPC]
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-322 was lost in the Gulf of Finland to unknown reason; all 40 aboard were killed. She had most likely struck a mine. [CPC]
  • Soviet submarine S8 departed Kronstadt near Leningrad, Russia. [CPC]
Germany
  • Paul von Kleist was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Alexander Löhr was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Malta-based British bombers of No. 830 Squadron attacked an Italian convoy 100 miles north of Tripoli, sinking ships Zena and Casaregis. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Thousands fled Moscow, Russia based on rumors of an imminent German capture of the Soviet capital. To the west, the enveloped Soviet troops at Vyasma suffered a heavy artillery and air bombardment that caused heavy casualties. [Main Article | TH]
  • Allied convoy PQ-1, consisted of 11 merchant ships escorted by 7 British warships, arrived in Arkhangelsk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Oct 1941
  • German 250th Infantry Division of Spanish volunteers was deployed on the River Volkhov near Leningrad, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German troops captured Bryansk and Kaluga in Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • Soviet submarine S8 was lost off Öland, Sweden in the Baltic Sea to unknown reason; all 48 aboard were killed. She presumably struck a mine. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-83 stopped Portuguese ship Corte Real 100 miles off Portugal at 1400 hours. Upon discovering that Corte Real was en route to Canada and Australia, the Germans removed the 42 crew members onto 3 lifeboats and then sunk Corte Real. U-83 towed the lifeboats for 3 hours toward Lisbon, Portugal before cutting the tow lines. [CPC]
  • German motor torpedo boats S41, S47, S53, S62, S104, and S105 attacked Allied convoy FN531 just off the coast of East Anglia, England, United Kingdom, sinking British ship Chevington (9 killed) and Norwegian ship Roy (3 killed). [CPC]
  • In Operation Cultivate, British cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Hero, HMS Kipling, and HMS Nizam departed Alexandria, Egyupt for Tobruk, Libya. German submarine U-75 discovered them and attacked 35 miles west of Tobruk, sinking two landing craft which resulted in the killing of 34 Allied personnel and 2 Italian prisoners of war. U-75 picked up one survivor, whom would be delivered to Germany for interrogations. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After dark, 118 British bombers took off to attack Hüls and Bremen, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After dark, German bombers attacked Manchester, Clayton, Denton, and Oldham in England, United Kingdom, causing generally light damage. 23 were killed at Oldham. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heinz Guderian noted in his diary that snow continued to fall amidst the campaign in the Soviet Union. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Paul von Kleist was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Alexander Löhr was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • The American and Japanese Press announced that Tatsuta Maru would depart Yokohama, Japan for San Francisco, California, United States via Honolulu on 15 Oct 1941. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille scored his 24th and 25th kills as he shot down P-40 fighters piloted by Flying Officer H. G. Roberts and Sergeant Derek Scott over Bir Sheferzan, Libya. He also damaged another P-40 fighter on this day. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • 11,000 Jews of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine were massacred. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 12 Oct 1941
Buffalo Mark I fighters of Nos. 21 and 453 Squadrons RAAF being inspected by RAF personnel, Sembawang airfield, Singapore, 12 Oct 1941
13 Oct 1941
  • German troops captured Kalinin (now Tver) and Rzhev northwest of Moscow, Russia; the Soviet 30th Army was encircled and wiped out at Rzhev. West of the Soviet capital, Soviet 18th and 19th Tank Brigades fell back from Gzhatsk (now Gagarin) toward Mozhaysk 30 kilometers closer to Moscow where the new main defensive line was being constructed. [Main Article | TH]
  • A production order was placed for the improved Republic P-47D Thunderbolt fighter. [Main Article | AC]
  • General Fedyuninsky was ordered to plan a breakout from Leningrad, Russia by attacking the area south of Lake Ladoga, which was to take place by 20 Oct 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heinrich Kreipe was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Allied convoy PQ-2 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Joseph Rochefort was promoted to the rank of commander, retroactively effective 1 Apr 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
14 Oct 1941
  • German submarine U-206 sank British corvette HMS Fleur de Lys (Lieutenant A. Collins; escorting Allied convoy OG-75) 60 miles west of Gibraltar at 0336 hours; 71 were killed, 3 survived and were rescued by a Spanish ship. [AC]
  • The German Kriegsmarine placed orders for 49 more submarines to be constructed. [CPC]
Germany
  • Germany announced that all Jews within the 1933 border would be deported; these Jews were beginning to be deported to ghettos in Poland, Byelorussia, and Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Tatsuta Maru was acquired by the Japanese Navy and was assigned to the Yokosuka Naval District, Japan. Her civilian crew was replaced by that from the military. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Russia
  • The Soviet troops in the Bryansk pocket in Russia were eliminated (50,000 captured), while the Vyazma pocket was within days of the same fate. In Berlin, Germany, Adolf Hitler ordered that the Soviet capital of Moscow was to be enveloped, not attacked directly. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Joseph Stalin briefed 23 senior Soviet military and civilian officials between 1530 and 1815 hours on a plan to evacuate the city in an orderly fashion; he ordered four theater groups (Lenin State Theater, Maxim Gorkiy Artistic Academic Theater, Little Academic Theater, and Vakhtangov Theater) to be evacuated first. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 14 Oct 1941
Lexington leaving San Diego, California, 14 Oct 1941, with F2A-1 fighters parked forward, SBD scout-bombers amidships, and TBD-1 torpedo bombers aft
15 Oct 1941
  • Japanese Navy Captain Shutoku Miyazato, Chief Equipping Officer of Battleship No. 1, was promoted to the rank of rear admiral. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • US Marine Corps Major James P. S. Devereux relieved Major Lewis A. Hohn as the commanding officer of the Wake Island Marine Detachment. Devereux also took on the responsibility of the island's overall commander. [CPC]
  • British authorities reported that, in the week ending at 0600 hours on 15 Oct 1941, an estimated 61 people were killed and 69 seriously injured by German bombing. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-553 attacked Allied convoy SC-48 500 miles west of Ireland at 0815 hours, sinking British ship Silvercedar (21 killed, 26 survived) and Norwegian ship Ila (14 killed, 7 survived). Merchant ship Silverelm attempted to ram the submarine, and hours later Canadian destroyer HMCS Columbia attacked with depth charges, but none damaged U-553. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-558, en route to attack Allied convoy SC-48, came across and sank Canadian ship Vancouver Island in the Atlantic Ocean at 2317 hours; all aboard were lost. [CPC]
  • German SS-Brigadeführer Franz Stahlecker of Einsatzgruppe A sent a 130-page report to Berlin, Germany on this date. He reported that, among other things, 71,105 Jews had been liquidated in Lithuania and 30,000 Jews in Latvia, and 3,387 Communists in Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German SS General Hans Frank, the Nazi Governor-General of occupied Poland, issued a general order proclaiming that any Jews leaving the Warsaw ghetto would be liable for the death penalty as would any person who knowingly gave shelter to such Jews. [Main Article | AC]
  • ShCh-320 fired a torpedo at a merchant ship north of Danzig Bay at 1115 hours; the torpedo missed. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille arrived at Munich-Riem Airfield in Germany to be introduced to the new Bf 109E-7 and Bf 109F4 variant designs. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Tatsuta Maru departed Yokohama, Japan for the United States; she carried American nationals who wished to return to the US due to the rapidlyl deteriorating US-Japan relations. She would maintain radio silence throughout the entire journey. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Russia
  • In Russia, German 1st Panzer Division turned northwest, thus away from Moscow, to attack Soviet Northwestern Front from the rear. The Soviet GKO ordered the NKVD, various agencies, and various foreign legations to evacuate from Moscow to Kuibyshev (now Samara). [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Lubyanka Prison staff began the evacuation from Moscow, Russia, transferring the first group of prisoners to Kuibyshev (now Samara) and Saratov on this day. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • In southern Ukraine, Soviet troops set off explosive charges to destroy port facilities and defensive structures at Odessa in preparation of the evacuation of 35,000 Soviet troops from Odessa to Sevastopol in Russia (now Ukraine), which would commence after sundown. [Main Article | CPC]
16 Oct 1941
  • Tanks of SS Reich Division and 10th Panzer Division attacked the Mozhaysk Line at Borodino, Russia 125 kilometers west of the Soviet capital of Moscow; lacking infantry support, Soviet troops halted the attacks. While thousands of civilians continued to flee the city, the Soviet government and diplomatic corps moved to Kuibyshev 1,500 miles to the east; Joseph Stalin, however, chose to stay. [Main Article | TH]
  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe submitted his letter of resignation. He recommended Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni as his successor. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-568 sank British ship Empire Heron of Allied convoy SC-48 400 miles west of Ireland at 0114 hours; 42 were killed, 1 survived and picked up by escorting corvette HMS Gladiolus (Lieutenant Commander H. M. C. Sanders). Later in the day, however, HMS Gladiolus was lost from an unknown cause. [AC]
  • RAF Pilot Officer A. J. Heyworth was able to return hom to Britain after his Wellington bomber suffered serious damage while bombing Mannheim, Germany. He flew most of the way on only one engine while the other was aflame. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German merchant raider Kormoran made rendezvous with supply ship Kulmerland off Cape Leeuwin, Australia and began to take on fuel and supplies. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 382 adult male, 507 adult female, and 257 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 1,146 people. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • A round of mass deportation of Jews from Germany began. [Main Article | CPC]
Latvia
  • A large group of Latvian military leaders was executed by the Soviets. [CPC]
Russia
  • The Soviets executed the wives of Mikhail Tukhachevsky and his fellow accused (and already executed) conspirators. [CPC]
Ukraine
  • The final Soviet evacuation ships departed Odessa, Ukraine at 0510 hours. In the past two weeks, 121,000 troops and civilians were evacuated from the city, along with 1,000 trucks and 20,000 tons of ammunition. Romanian troops entered the city later on this date, capturing the city. [Main Article | TH]
17 Oct 1941
  • American destroyer USS Kearney, escorting Allied convoy SC-48, was damaged by a torpedo from German submarine U-568 off Iceland, killing 11. On the same day, U-432 and U-558 each sank three freighters in this convoy. [CPC]
  • The first transport of deported Czech Jews departed for various locations in Eastern Europe. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-97 attacked a small Allied convoy 50 miles west of Alexandria, Egypt at 0325 hours, sinking Greek ship Samos (31 killed, 3 survived) and British tanker Pass of Balmaha (all 20 aboard were killed). [CPC]
  • German SS Reich and 10th Panzer Divisions made slow advances along the Moscow Highway and Minsk Highway toward the Soviet capital of Moscow, Russia. The Soviet 5th Army slowly fell back toward Mozhaysk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Latona and destroyers HMS Jackal, HMS Havock, and HMS Nizam departed Alexandria, Egypt for Tobruk, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Guam
  • The US began evacuating non-essential personnel from Guam, Mariana Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • Harold Stark informed Husband Kimmel that in his personal opinion that while he expected Japan to take action some time in the near future, an attack on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii was not likely. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Luxembourg
  • The German propaganda ministry declared Luxembourg Judenfrei, "Free of Jews". [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • German troops captured Taganrog in southern Russia, a port city on the Sea of Azov. [TH]
Photo(s) dated 17 Oct 1941
Vickers machine gun crew of the British 1st Manchester Regiment, Malaya, 17 Oct 1941
18 Oct 1941
  • Hideki Tojo was named 40th Prime Minister of Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Latona and destroyers HMS Jackal, HMS Havock, and HMS Nizam arrived in Alexandria, Egypt from Tobruk, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-101 attacked Allied convoy SC-48 west of Iceland, damaging destroyer HMS Broadwater with one torpedo at 0420 hours; 46 crew and 11 previously rescued survivors were killed, 85 crew survived. HMS St. Apollo scuttled HMS Broadwater by gunfire at 1541 hours. [CPC]
  • German SS Reich and 10th Panzer Divisions captured Mozhaysk, Russia. In the evening, a motorcycle battalion of SS Reich Division found the Minsk Highway toward Moscow, Russia, 90 kilometers to the east, undefended. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-132 sank Soviet ship Argun in the Barents Sea 5 miles off the Russian coast at 1320 hours; all aboard survived. At 2017 hours, U-132 struck again, sinking trawler RT-8 Seld; all aboard were killed. [CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Eleven Albacore and two Swordfish aircraft of British No. 828 Squadron took off from HMS Ark Royal to reinforce Malta. One Swordfish torpedo bomber was lost en route, however. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Lavrentiy Beria ordered the execuation of Nikolai Rychagov, Rychagov's wife, and other conspirators. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • German Colonel General Erich von Manstein launched his Eleventh Army against the Perekop Isthmus in Russia (now Ukraine) but fierce Soviet resistance on a narrow front caused the German advance to proceed extremely slowly. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Oct 1941
Prime Minister Tojo and his cabinet ministers outside the Kantei (Prime Minister
19 Oct 1941
  • German submarine U-126 torpedoed and sank American freighter Lehigh 100 miles west of Freetown, British West Africa at 1051 hours; all 38 aboard survived. U-126 had misidentified the American ship as a Greek vessel. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-204 sank British tanker Inverlee carrying 35 miles southwest of Tangier, Spanish Morocco at 0300 hours; 22 were killed, 21 survived. In the same region, German submarine U-206 sank British ship Baron Kelvin at 0614 hours; 26 were killed, 16 survived. British corvettes from Gibraltar were dispatched to hunt for these submarines; HMS Mallow was able to find and sink U-204 at 2146 hours with depth charges. [CPC]
  • British gunboat HMS Gnat bombarded a German artillery battery near Tobruk, Libya after sundown. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German troops began rounding up men over the age of 16 in the Serbian town of Kragujevac in Yugoslavia. Of the 2,324 gathered, about 300 of them were students from the First Boys High School. [CPC]
Russia
  • German troops defeated the Soviet forces within the Vyazma pocket in Russia and captured 670,000 men, 1,000 tanks, and 4,000 artillery pieces. At Volokolamsk, the northwest end of the Mozhaysk defensive line, newly arrived Soviet 316th Rifle Division halted the attack by German 4th Panzer Army. In Moscow, Lavrentiy Beria advised the Soviet GKO to evacuate the capital "or they will strangle us like chickens", but it was rejected by Joseph Stalin; however, Stalin did order the Politburo (less Stalin, Beria, and Georgy Malenkov) to evacuate. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
20 Oct 1941
  • Japanese luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru departed Yokohama for Seattle. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • In reprisal for partisan attacks the Germans executed 2,324 Serbian men and boys in the Yugoslavian town of Kragujevac, including 300 boys who were herded out of the First Boys High School on the previous day. Local German authorities announced that the mass execution was in resopnse to a recent attack that saw 10 Germans killed and 26 wounded. Furious at partisan activity, Adolf Hitler had previously decreed that for every German soldier killed in attacks, 100 civilian would be executed, and for every German wounded, 50 would be executed. [AC]
  • Hornet (Yorktown-class) was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After sundown, British cruiser HMS Latona and destroyers HMS Kingston, HMS Encounters, and HMS Nizam departed Alexandria, Egypt for Tobruk, Libya, returning in the early hours of the next day. To protect them, British cruisers HMS Ajax and HMS Galatea and Australian cruiser HMAS Hobart, escorted by destroyers HMS Griffin and HMS Jaguar, bombarded German coastal guns near Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In northern Russia, Soviet General Fedyuninsky launched an attack south of Lake Ladoga with 70,000 troops and 97 tanks in an attempt to break through the Leningrad siege. Meanwhile, German troops moved to attack the rail and road junction at Tikhvin 120 kilometers to the east to strengthen the siege. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-126 damaged British tanker British Mariner 80 miles off British West Africa at 0554 hours; 3 were killed, 48 survived; the tanker would be towed to Freetown where she was written off as a loss but would remain in service as an oil hulk. U-126 shadowed another tanker nearby, but was chased away by an escorting vessel before she could launch an attack. [CPC]
  • The United Kingdom and France concluded a Treaty of Mutual Assistance with Turkey. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Oct 1941
TBD-1 Devastator aircraft 6-T-9 of Torpedo Squadron 6 dropped a Mark XIII torpedo during exercises in the Pacific, 20 Oct 1941TBD-1 Devastator aircraft 6-T-19 of Torpedo Squadron 6 dropped a Mark XIII torpedo during exercises in the Pacific, 20 Oct 1941TBD-1 Devastator aircraft of Torpedo Squadron 6 dropped a Mark XIII torpedo during exercises in the Pacific, 20 Oct 1941, photo 1 of 2TBD-1 Devastator aircraft 6-T-10 of Torpedo Squadron 6 dropped a Mark XIII torpedo during exercises in the Pacific, 20 Oct 1941
See all photos dated 20 Oct 1941
21 Oct 1941
  • Civilian ship Steel Architect was launched. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The cruisers HMS Aurora (Captain W. G. Agnew) and HMS Penelope (Captain A. D. Nicholl) arrived in Malta and with the destroyers HMS Lance and HMS Lively formed a small squadron known as Force K. For some reason Force K always seemed to go to sea on a Saturday. [AC]
  • German submarine U-79 hit British gunboat HMS Gnat with a torpedo 30 miles northwest of Bardia, Libya at 0334 hours, blowing away 20 feet of her bow but caused no casualties. Gnat would be successfully towed back to Alexandria, Egypt where she would serve as a stationary anti-aircraft gun platform. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-123 damaged British armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania with a torpedo 400 miles west of Ireland at 0428 hours; a lifeboat launched sank with 2 killed, 3 rescued by destroyer HMS Croome, and 1 captured by U-123; Aurania was escorting Allied convoy SL-89 and would be successfully towed to port for repairs. At 2200 hours, German submarine U-82 attacked the same convoy, sinking the ships Serbino (14 were killed, 51 survived) and Treverbyn (all 46 aboard were killed). [CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Napier, HMS Hasty, and HMS Decoy departed Alexandria, Egypt with supplies for Tobruk, Libya, returning with men of the Australian 9th Division in the early hours of the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A civilian on the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic spotted a submarine off its coast, but the report was not regarded as important. The submarine was most likely German submarine U-68, which would strike on the next day. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 departed Lorient, France. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 718 adult male, 1,063 adult female, and 586 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 2,367 people. [Main Article | CPC]
Black Sea
  • Soviet submarine M58 hit a mine laid by the Romanians and sank in the Black Sea near the opening of the Danube River, killing all 19 aboard. [CPC]
Germany
  • Georg von Küchler was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • Troops of the German 6.Armee captured Stalino in the Donets Basin in southern Ukraine. [TH]
22 Oct 1941
  • An explosion at the Romanian Command Headquarters in Odessa, Ukraine killed 67, including Romanian General Glogojeanu and four German Navy officers. The explosion was caused by a time-delayed bomb left by Soviet Coastal Army personnel during the evacuation. Antonescu ordered 100 Jews and Communists would die for each enlisted man and 300 for each officer killed in this explosion. [CPC]
  • The assassination of Colonel Karl Hotz in Nantes, France two days prior brought reprisal deaths of 48 French civilians (mostly communist resistance fighters) with the promise of 50 more deaths if the assassin was not caught. The shooting of a German major in Bordeaux, France brought 100 arrests and 50 immediate executions. [TH]
  • Georgy Zhukov took command of Soviet central sector. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German Panzergruppe 2, resupplied with fuel and ammunition, continued the northeastward advance on Moscow, Russia. German 4th Panzer Division resumed the attack on Mtsensk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-68 sank British oiler RFA Darkdale off St. Helena in the South Atlantic at 0142 hours, destroying 3,000 tons of fuel oil, 850 tons of aviation fuel, and 500 tons of diesel oil; 41 were killed, 4 survived including the captain. Darkdale was the first British ship to be sunk south of the Equator in WW2. [CPC]
  • Marshal Philippe Pétain and Admiral François Darlan broadcast an appeal to the French nation calling restraint from any actions against the occupying German troops which could bring down reprisals on hostages. [Main Article | AC]
Japan
  • Prince Takahito married Yuriko Takagi. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 22 Oct 1941
Launching of Trigger, Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California, United States, 22 Oct 1941; note submarine Sunfish and submarine tender Sperry in background
23 Oct 1941
  • Tatsuta Maru arrived at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii at 1000 hours and disembarked American nationals who wished to return to the US due to the rapidly deteriorating US-Japan relations. Two Japanese intelligence agents who carried instructions for the consulate and a supply of radios for civilian spies already in place on Oahu, Hawaii were also disembarked. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • In Odessa, Ukraine, as reprisals to the previous day's bombing, 5,000 Jews were murdered by shooting, 19,000 Jews were murdered by burning, and 20,000 civilians (mostly Jews) were arrested. [CPC]
  • Charles de Gaulle met with leaders of resistance movements, asking them to bide their time and protect the lives of innocents. [Main Article | TH]
  • The German government banned the emigration of Jews. [CPC]
  • German merchant raider Kormoran completed taking on 4,000 tons of diesel oil and 6 months of supply from supply ship Kulmerland off Cape Leeuwin, Australia. [CPC]
  • The Soviet attempt to break out of Leningrad, Russia south of Lake Ladoga was halted by the Germans. Meanwhile, 120 kilometers to the east, two divisions of the Soviet 54th Army were dispatched to reinforce Tikhvin, which had been under attack by the Germans. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The 3rd Panzer Division of the German Panzergruppe 2 outflanked Soviet troops at Mtensk, Russia, 100 kilometers south of Moscow. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Four crew members of German submarine U-106, on watch on the deck, were swept overboard in the Bay of Biscay and were all lost. [CPC]
  • Soviet submarine SC.323 sank German merchant ship Baltenland in the Baltic Sea. [CPC]
  • British cruisers HMS Ajax, HMS Neptune, and HMS Hobart, escorted by destroyers HMS Eridge and HMS Avonvale, departed Alexandria, Egypt and bombarded Bardia, Libya. Meanwhile, also from Alexandria, British destroyers HMS Napier, HMS Nizam, HMS Jupiter, and HMS Hasty bombarded Sollum, Egypt. [CPC]
Japan Poland
  • 2,014 German Jews originally from Cologne, Germany arrived at the Lodz Ghetto in Poland. [Main Article | CPC]
24 Oct 1941
  • German troops captured Belgorod, Russia. [TH]
  • German troops captured Kharkov, Ukraine. [Main Article | TH]
  • Elements of the German 4th Panzer Division moved from Mtsensk, Russia northward toward Moscow, reaching Chern 20 kilometers away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Romanian troops massacred Ukranian civilians in the village of Dalnik near Odessa, setting fire to warehouses full of people. [CPC]
  • German submarines U-563 attacked Allied convoy HG-75 300 miles west of Gibraltar at 0038 hours, damaging British destroyer HMS Cossack with a torpedo; 159 were killed, 60 survived. At 0636 hours, U-564 joined in on the attack, sinking British ships Carsbreck, Ariosto, and Alhama; 30 were killed, 96 survived. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawlers HMS Lucienne Jeanne and HMT Emilion struck naval mines and sank in the Thames Estuary in southern England, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • 50 communists were executed by the Germans at Camp Souge, France in retaliation for the killing of German occupation administrator Hans-Gottfried Reimers three days prior. [CPC]
  • After sundown, British minelaying cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Kandahar, HMS Kingston, and HMS Griffin departed Alexandria, Egypt with troops and supplies for Tobruk, Libya, returning with troops of Australian 9th Division early in the next day. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt hosted Princess Märtha of Sweden (Crown Princess of Norway) at his home in Hyde Park, New York, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
25 Oct 1941
  • A Canadian brigade under the command of Brigadier John Lawson MC sailed from Vancouver, Canada to reinforce the garrison on Hong Kong. [Main Article | AC]
  • As German victories had now rendered Nikolai Voznesensky's first war production plan redundant, a new economic plan was published for what was left of Soviet territory in the centre and east of the country. [Main Article | AC]
  • The US State Department issued a bulletin denouncing German practice of rounding up and executing civilians in retaliation of partisan attacks. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Galileo Ferraris attacked Allied convoy HG-75 500 miles west of Gibraltar and was discovered by a British Catalina aircraft; Galileo Ferraris' crew scuttled the submarine after being attacked by the aircraft and destroyer HMS Lamerton, but the Italians were able to hit Lamerton with the deck gun before the engagement was over; 6 Italians were killed in the engagement, 44 survived. Later in the same day, German submarine U-563 attacked HG-75, but she was driven away by British corvette HMS Heliotrope. [CPC]
  • Romanian troops set a warehouse, full of Ukrainian civilians, mostly Jews, on fire at Dalnik, Ukraine. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 1,776 adult female and 812 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 2,578 people. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Oct 1941
Juneau ready for launching, Federal Shipbuilding Company yard, Kearny, New Jersey, United States, 25 Oct 1941Juneau just after being launched at the Federal Shipbuilding Company yard, Kearny, New Jersey, United States, 25 Oct 1941Juneau sliding down the ways at the Federal Shipbuilding Company yard, Kearny, New Jersey, United States during her launching ceremonies, 25 Oct 1941
26 Oct 1941
  • General Fedyuninsky was transferred from Leningrad, Russia to lead the Soviet 54th Army at Tikhvin about 120 kilometers to the east. The relieved commanding officer of the Soviet 54th Army, General Mikhail Khozin, who had previously served in Leningrad in 1938, was assigned to direct the defenses there. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-83 attacked Allied convoy HG-75 in the central Atlantic at 0354 hours and damaged British fighter catapult ship HMS Ariguani with a torpedo, killing 2. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tetrach departed Malta for Gibraltar. [CPC]
Germany
  • Karl von Le Suire was awarded the Order of the Cross of Liberty 1st Class with Swords. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • HMS Eagle arrived off Greenock, Scotland, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
27 Oct 1941
  • Soviet forces launched multiple counter-attacks around Moscow, Russia, trying to blunt the German advance. German troops were now positioned in the west at Volokolamsk 60 kilometers from Moscow and in the south at Plavsk 110 kilometers from Moscow. [Main Article | TH]
  • Mountbatten replaced Roger Keyes as the British Chief of Combined Operations. [Main Article | AC]
  • President Franklin Roosevelt addressed his country, noting that the German attack on the destroyer USS Kearny "was to frighten the American people off the high seas - to force us to make a trembling retreat", claiming that the "American spirit" was now "aroused". [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Cossack, damaged by German submarine U-563 300 miles west of Gibraltar on 24 Oct 1941, sank while under tow. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Tetrach, one day out of Malta, hit an Italian naval mine and sank between Sicily and Tunisia; all 62 aboard were killed. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 946 adult male, 184 adult female, and 73 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 1,203 people. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • USS Arizona entered the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, US Territory of Hawaii for overhaul, during which she would receive a mounting atop her foremast for future installation of a search radar. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Philippines
  • Admiral Thomas Hart, having changed his mind on moving the US fleet at the Philippine Islands south to combine with the British allies, decided to base his main force in Manila Bay. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Erich von Manstein's German Eleventh Army broke through the mud and fog on the Perekop Isthmus into the Crimean Peninsula in Russia (now Ukraine). [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • The trial of twenty-eight people indicted on a charge of being in violation of the 1861 Sedition Act and the Smith Act begins at the Federal District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. [AC]
28 Oct 1941
  • 34,000 Jews were massacred in Kiev, Ukraine. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American destroyer Anderson detected a submarine contacted and dropped depth charges; shortly after, she reported seeing "considerable oil slick". [CPC]
  • German submarine U-432 sank British ship Ulea 320 miles northeast of the Azores islands at 0500 hours; 19 were killed, 9 survived and were rescued by British corvettes HMS La Malouine and HMS Bluebell. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 sank British ship King Malcolm in the North Atlantic, killing all 38 aboard. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-68 sank British ship Hazelside 600 miles southeast off the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic at 0343 hours; 2 were killed, 44 survived and picked up by British merchant ship Malayan Prince. [CPC]
  • Axis forces rehearsed for the planned assault on the besieged city of Tobruk, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Aleksandr Vasilevsky was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • Zang Shiyi signed a document in Nanjing, China that formally recognized Manchukuo's recognition of fellow Japanese-sponsored puppet state in the formal Chinese capital. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet General Grigoriy Savchenko was executed without trial. [CPC]
  • Nikolai Rychagov, Rychagov's wife, and other accused conspirators were executed by the Soviets near Kuibyshev (now Samara), Russia. [CPC]
  • The Soviet Military Collegium evacuated Moscow, Russia for Chkalov (now Orenburg), Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 28 Oct 1941
F4F-3 Wildcat inside USS EnterpriseF4F-3 Wildcat undergoing maintenance in USS EnterpriseHMS Edinburgh off Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom, 28 Oct 1941
29 Oct 1941
  • German submarine U-106 torpedoed and damaged American tanker Salinas off Iceland. [CPC]
  • 15,000 Jews were massacred in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania. Their remains were buried in mass graves at the Ninth Fort. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General Walter Kuntze was named the commanding officer of the German 12th Army. [CPC]
  • The Atlantic Amphibious Force, consisted of both US Army and US Marine Corps units and commanded by Major General Holland M. Smith, was redesignated Amphibious Force of the US Navy Atlantic Fleet. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMS Flotta ran aground off the east coast of Scotland, United Kingdom and became damaged. [CPC]
Hawaii Russia
  • Kampfgruppe Eberbach of German 4th Panzer Division reached Tula, Russia, which was about 110 kilometers south of Moscow. The group dug in near Tula to organize an offensive in the next day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German forces pushed Soviet units back to Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine). [Main Article | TH]
  • Aleksandr Vasilevsky was slightly wounded by a German bomb while working at his office in Moscow, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill visited the Harrow School in London, England, United Kingdom, which he attended in his younger days. In a speech there, he gave the advice "Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." [Main Article | CPC]
30 Oct 1941
  • In Russia, Kampfgruppe Eberbach of German 4th Panzer Division began to advance north from Tula toward Moscow at 0530 hours; it was soon turned back by heavy anti-tank fire. Another attempt was made at 1000 hours, again at 1300 hours, and a final time at 1600 hours, inflicting heavy casualties on the Soviets but failing to break through. During the night, Soviet 32nd Tank Brigade arrived to reinforce Tula, while the German troops began to feel the cold Russian winter. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-106 damaged oiler USS Salinas 700 miles east of Newfoundland at 0900 hours. While USS Salina limped to Argentia, Newfoundland for repairs, U-106 was chased by escort vessels for nine hours, surviving but sustaining serious damage. [CPC]
  • The British cabinet received the report that, in the week ending 29 Oct 1941, 886 ships (including 24 ships flying flags of neutral nations) were convoyed; 113 destroyers (including 24 American destroyers), 117 smaller ships, and 9 anti-aircraft ships were deployed as convoy escorts. During the war thus far, a total of 86,687 ships had been convoyed, of which 451 were lost by enemy action. In terms of goods transported, the report indicated that, in the week ending 25 Oct 1941, 1,435,869 tons of supplies were imported into Britain, which was an increase from 789,286 tons from the previous seven-day period. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 382 adult male, 789 adult female, and 362 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 1,553 people. [Main Article | CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • Reinhard Heydrich appointed Siegfried Seidl the commandant of the camp-ghetto soon to be known as the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in occupied Czechoslovakia. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Russia
  • German 132nd Infantry Division reached the outskirts of Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine). After sundown, Soviet cruiser Krasnyi Kavkaz brought in the Soviet 8th Naval Infantry Brigade from Novorossiysk as reinforcements, while the Soviet Black Sea Fleet relocated many of its warships out of Sevastopol as a safety measure. [Main Article | TH]
  • Allied convoy PQ-2 arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Tatsuta Maru arrived at San Francisco, California, United States and disembarked non-Japanese passengers who departed due to the rapidly deteriorating US-Japan relations, including El Savadorian Consul General Leon Siguenza and Commander P. D. Perkins of the American Foreign Office in Japan. She then embarked Japanese nationals who wished to leave the US for similar reasons, and departed San Francisco. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 30 Oct 1941
Yamato on trials, 30 Oct 1941, photo 1 of 4British Army Lieutenant General Arthur Percival welcoming US envoy Averell Harriman at Sembawang Airfield, Singapore, 30 Oct 1941Yamato on trials, 30 Oct 1941, photo 2 of 4Yamato on trials, 30 Oct 1941, photo 3 of 4
See all photos dated 30 Oct 1941
31 Oct 1941
  • German submarine U-552 attacked Allied convoy HX-156 725 miles west of Iceland at 0834 hours, sinking American destroyer USS Reuben James (115 killed, 45 survived); USS Reuben James was the first American warship lost in the Atlantic Ocean in WW2. [CPC]
  • A German submarine fired a torpedo at American destroyer USS DuPont; the torpedo missed its target. [CPC]
  • The British 1st Airborne division was formed on under the command of Major General Frederick "Boy" Browning. [Main Article | AC]
  • To ease labour shortages, Hitler agreed that Soviet prisoners of war could be used in the Reich, as long as they were isolated from the Home population. [Main Article | AC]
  • German submarine U-374 sank British ship Rose Schiaffino 120 miles east of St. John's, Newfoundland at 0903 hours; all 41 aboard were killed. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-96 sank Dutch ship Bennekom 400 miles west of Iceland at 1047 hours; 8 were killed, 46 survived. British sloop HMS Lulworth counterattacked with 27 depth charges in failure. [CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • It was announced that RAF aircraft operating out of Malta had destroyed 76,500 tons of enemy shipping in the Mediterranean Sea. [Main Article | AC]
Russia
  • Soviet destroyer Bodry and other warships shelled German tank concentrations 25 miles north of Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine). Meanwhile, German dive bombers attacked Soviet warships in the harbor, causing 50 casualties but failing to cause damage to the ships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Solomon Milshtein reported to Lavrentiy Beria that, from the start of the Russo-German war and 10 Oct 1941, 657,364 troops were arrested for falling back without authorization, 249,969 of whom by agents of UOO and 407,395 by agents of NKVD. The majority of them were returned to the front, while 10,201 were executed, 3,321 of whom were executed in front of their units to set an example. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS R-5 arrived at New London, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
1 Nov 1941
  • Roosevelt placed the US Coast Guard under the control of US Navy for the duration of national emergency. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American PBY Catalina aircraft provided air cover for Atlantic convoy ON 30. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Three US destroyers, screening Atlantic convoy HX 157, carried out depth charge attacks on sound contacts off St. John's, Newfoundland. [CPC]
  • General der Gebirgstruppe Rudolf Konrad was named the commanding officer of the German 7th Mountain Division. [CPC]
  • Drum was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After sundown, the Red Army evacuated the first group, 4,230 men, of the 28,000 men from the Hanko Peninsula, Finland to Leningrad, Russia via naval vessels. On the return trip to Hanko, Soviet minelayer Marti and minesweeper T-210 were damged by mines, and submarine Kalev was lost, probably to a mine as well. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-68 sank British ship Bradford City 300 miles off German South-West Africa at 0654 hours; all 45 aboard survived in 2 lifeboats. U-68 accidentally collided with the sinking ship but did not suffer serious damage. [CPC]
  • Zhao Chengshou began to distance himself from the Japanese and the Chinese collaborators. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein was made the commanding officer of the 9th Squadron in the German Nachtjagdgeschwader 2 wing. [Main Article | CPC]
  • On this date, Japan time, the Combined Fleet Order No. 1 was issued for additional radio communications to be generated to make US cryptanalytic efforts more difficult. Meanwhile, on the other side of the international date line, Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team of the US Navy in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii reported that all Japanese Navy call signs had changed. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • US Navy formed the Pacific Escort Force at Pearl Harbor to protect transports and certain merchant vessels carrying troops and valuable military cargoes between Hawaii and the Far East. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Japanese Navy Captain Gihachi Takayanagi (former commanding officer of battleship Ise) relieved Rear Admiral Shutoku Miyazato as the Chief Equipping Officer of Battleship No. 1, as Miyazato was being transferred to become the Chief of Personnel for Kure Naval District. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Russia
  • Troops of the German 11.Armee captured Simferopol, Russia (now Ukraine). To the southwest in Sevastopol, the Soviet 30th Coastal Battery bombarded the German 132nd Infantry Division at 1230 hours near the village of Bazarchik, slowing its preparations for an assault. [Main Article | TH]
United Kingdom
  • HMS Eagle arrived at Liverpool, England, United Kingdom. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A newly issued Typhoon fighter of British No. 56 Squadron plunged into the ground near East Harling, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom, killing Pilot Officer J. F. Deck. Subsequent investigations revealed that he had suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning leading to the entire Typhoon fleet being grounded for modifications to cockpit sealing and the fitting of improved extended exhausts, although the problem was never satisfactorily resolved. [Main Article | AC]
United States
  • US Marine Corps established the 2nd Joint Training Force at Camp Elliot, California, United States under Major General Clayton B. Vogel. It was composed of the US Marine Corps 2nd Marine Division and the US Army 3rd Infantry Division. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Nov 1941
Soviet field guns and troops on a muddy road near Leningrad, Russia, 1 Nov 1941Soviet troops near Zvenigorod, Russia, 1 Nov 1941Soviet troops marching in Moscow, Russia, 1 Nov 1941Preparing barrage balloons on Bolshaya Ordynka Street, Moscow, Russia, 1 Nov 1941
See all photos dated 1 Nov 1941
2 Nov 1941
  • German submarine U-208 sank British ship Larpool 250 miles southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland at 0526 hours; 26 were killed, 17 survived. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Proteus made the first successful radar attack by a submarine as she damated Italian tanker Tampico off Andros 50 miles southeast of Athens, Greece. Italian torpedo boats Monzambano and Castelfidardo counterattacked and chased off the British submarine. [CPC]
  • Tatsuta Maru arrived at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii, embarked Japanese nationals who wished to return to Japan due to the rapidly deteriorating US-Japan relations, and then departed for Japan; she would become the last passenger ship to leave the US before the start of the Pacific War. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Over 2,000 enslaved Jews from Zagare, Poland attacked their Lithuanian guards, wounding seven. As reprisal, 150 of them were shot on the spot, and the rest were executed later. [CPC]
  • Hugh Woods and William L. Boyd of the China National Air Corporation (CNAC) made the first flight over the Hump, the China-Burma air supply route. [AC]
  • Wake Island received reinforcement from the US Marine Corps 1st Defense Battalion in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. The island's defense now consisted of 15 officers and 373 enlisted Marines. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light cruiser Voroshilov was damaged by two 250-kilogram bombs from German aircraft, flooding a magazine, causing a fire in turret No. 3, and jamming the rudder. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • German 132nd Infantry Division attacked toward Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine) and was halted at Bakhchisaray by Soviet 8th Naval Brigade. Nearby, ships of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet evacuated troops from Yalta, Yevpatoria, and Feodosiya, transporting them to Sevastopol; cruiser Voroshilov was damaged by German aircraft during this effort. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain the Minister of Food announced an extension of food rationing to include canned meat, canned fish and canned beans to become effective from 17 Nov 1941. [AC]
  • Aircraftsman Charles Leonard Wheatley received the George Medal for gallantry while putting out a fire threatening to detonate high explosive bombs on a crash-landed Manchester bomber. [AC]
3 Nov 1941
  • German submarine U-202 sank British ships Flynderborg (3 were killed, 21 survived) and Gretavale (38 were killed, 6 survived) of Allied convoy SC-52 200 miles northeast of Newfoundland at 0500 hours. At 1828 hours, U-203 attacked the same convoy, sinking British ships Everoja (all 41 aboard survived) and Empire Gemsbuck (all 43 aboard survived). [CPC]
  • In Russia, German Panzer Army 2 attacked Tula while other German units captured Kursk 180 miles to the southwest to protect the southern flank of the assault toward Moscow. [Main Article | TH]
  • American PBY Catalina aircraft provided air cover for Atlantic convoy ON 31. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American destroyer Upshur, escorting convoy HX 157, depth charged sound contact. [CPC]
  • Chief of the Japanese Naval General Staff Admiral Osami Nagano approved the draft plan for the attack on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. On the other side of the international date line, Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team of the US Navy in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii was realizing that the Japanese were inflating the amount of radio traffic. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Heinz Guderian noted in his diary that the first cold wave had hit Russia, bringing temperature to the freezing point. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Japanese plan to occupy Rabaul, Bismarck Islands and to transform it into a forward base was presented to Emperor Showa. [Main Article | CPC]
Black Sea
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-214 sank Turkish schooner Kaynakdere with gunfire in the Black Sea. [CPC]
Germany
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was awarded the silver Honor Cup (Ehrenpokal) in Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Allied convoy QP-2 departed Arkhangelsk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
4 Nov 1941
  • Before dawn, Soviet destroyers Smetlivy and Surovy evacuated troops from the naval base at Hanko in southern Finland; Smetlivy was damaged by coastal artillery during the process and would sink en route to Leningrad, Russia, killing several hundred passengers. At the end of the day, Finnish troops recaptured Hanko. [TH]
  • German 170th Division captured Feodosiya, Ukraine. [Main Article | TH]
  • American cruisers Omaha and Memphis, accompanied by three destroyers, sortied to hunt for German surface raiders. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The repair work on light cruiser Voroshilov, damaged two days prior by German aircraft, began. [Main Article | CPC]
Black Sea
  • Soviet submarine M-34 was lost somewhere off Constanza, Romania in the Black Sea; she was presumed to have struck a mine. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 Nov 1941
Porter off Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 4 Nov 1941
5 Nov 1941
  • At a conference with Emperor Showa, Japanese leaders decided to go to war with the United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands in early Dec 1941 should diplomatic relations with the US did not improve by 1 Dec. [CPC]
  • Japanese passenger ship Kehi Maru hit a Soviet mine and sank 75 miles off Korea in the Sea of Japan; 131 were killed, 379 survived. [CPC]
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-324 was lost in the Baltic Sea off Tallinn, Estonia; she had presumably hit a mine. All 38 aboard were killed. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Cordell Hull had learned, via Magic intercepts of Japanese messages to Kichisaburo Nomura, that 25 Nov 1941 was Japan's final deadline for the decision on war. [Main Article | CPC]
Black Sea
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-214 sank Italian tanker Torcello in the Black Sea. [CPC]
Hawaii
  • Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team in US Territory of Hawaii detected improvements in security of Japanese naval communications and the recall of some of the merchant ships back to home waters. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Nov 1941
Kurusu en route to the United States, 5 Nov 1941
6 Nov 1941
  • American light cruiser Omaha and destroyer Somers captured German blockade runner Odenwald, which was disguised as the American freighter Willmoto, off Permanbuco, Brazil. Odenwald was transporting rubber from Japan to Germany. [CPC]
  • Frostbite began to make its appearance among German troops fighting in the Soviet Union. [Main Article | TH]
  • The Finnish advance into Russia was halted. [TH]
  • American destroyer Madison, escorting convoy ON 39, depth charged contacts. [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMS Flotta was lost when she foundered off the east coast of Scotland, United Kingdom. She was damaged running aground on 29 Oct 1941. [AC]
  • A small number of Wellington bombers based in Malta conducted an attack on Naples, Italy after dark. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 340 adult male, 749 adult female, and 252 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 1,341 people. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Ivan Bagramyan was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for the first time. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Clarence Tinker was named the commanding officer of the US 3rd Fighter Command. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Japanese military mobilized for war. [CPC]
Hawaii
  • Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team in US Territory of Hawaii continued to encounter a great deal of dummy radio traffic being sent by the Japanese Navy. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Taiwan
  • General Rikichi Ando was named the commanding officer of the Taiwan Army. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt had dinner with Princess Märtha of Sweden (Crown Princess of Norway) at the White House in Washington DC, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
7 Nov 1941
  • Japanese Navy conducted a carrier exercise. [CPC]
  • Three American destroyers escorting Atlantic convoy ON 30 made depth charge attacks on sound contact. [CPC]
  • Soviet hospital ship Armenia departed Yalta, Ukraine at 0800 hours with 7,000 civilians and wounded troops aboard, against orders forbidding sailing during daylight hours. At 1129 hours, despite the red cross marking, she was attacked and sunk by a He 111 bomber of German KG26. Only 8 people survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British merchant ship Nottingham, on her maiden voyage, spotted German submarine U-74 in the North Atlantic and attempted to ram her. At 2234 hours U-74 counterattacked, sinking Nottingham. All 62 aboard escaped in lifeboats, but they were never seen again. [CPC]
  • Heinz Guderian noted in his diary that his troops were beginning to suffer severe frostbite in Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • After dark, 160 British RAF bombers attacked Berlin, Germany. 20 bombers were shot down. The Germans reported minimal damage. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Joseph Stalin made a speech during the October Revolution anniversary celebration predicting that even though German troops were less than 100 miles from Moscow, they were facing disaster. Meanwhile, in Berlin, the German Army High Command (OKH) was determined to continue the advance on Moscow in spite of up to 80 Soviet Army divisions in front of them. [Main Article | TH]
Photo(s) dated 7 Nov 1941
A parade of Soviet tanks, Moscow, Russia, 7 Nov 1941KV-1 tank on a street in Moscow, Russia, 7 Nov 1941
8 Nov 1941
  • Troops of the German Armeegruppe Nord captured Tikhvin near Leningrad, Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • Per the Great Army Instruction No. 992, the Japanese Army and Navy were ordered to coordinate their plans for the opening phases of the Pacific War. [CPC]
  • At the annual Beer Hall Putsch speech, Adolf Hitler claimed that the war with Soviet Union was effectively won, citing 3.6 million prisoners taken, and by conjecture the Soviet forces must had suffered eight to ten million casualties thus far. In regards to the United States, Hitler noted that the aggressive US President Franklin Roosevelt had ordered American ships to deliberately attack any German submarines they crossed, while Hitler continued to order restraint for German submarine captains; nevertheless, he noted that the submarines would fight back fiercely should they be fired upon. [Main Article | CPC]
Black Sea
  • Soviet submarine M-59 struck a mine and sank off Constanza, Romania in the Black Sea; all men aboard were killed. [CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • British cruisers HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope and destroyers HMS Lance and HMS Lively were dispatched from Malta to intercept an Axis convoy (intelligence gained through Ultra; a Maryland aircraft was dispatched to create the illusion that the convoy was spotted) that had just departed from Italy consisted of German freighters Duisburg and San Marco; Italian freighters Maria, Sagitta, and Rina Corrado; and Italian tankers Conte di Misurata and Minatitlan. This convoy carried 223 troops, 389 vehicles, 34,473 tons of supplies, and 17,281 tons of fuel. The convoy was escorted by 2 Italian cruisers and 7 Italian destroyers. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 8 Nov 1941
B-17C Fortress I bomber of British Royal Air Force in flight over North Africa, 8 Nov 1941
9 Nov 1941
  • Heinrich Müller ordered that all Soviet prisoners of war bound to be executed who were not fit to travel to the places of execution were to be killed at their places of imprisonment. This was to avoid allowing civilians the see these malnourished and diseased prisoners as it could damage morale. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 76 adult male, 77 adult female, and 18 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 171 people. [Main Article | CPC]
Black Sea
  • Hungarian freighter Ungvar struck a mine (previously laid by Soviet submarine L-4) and sank in the Black Sea. Nearby Romanian torpedo boats Viforul and Vijelia were also destroyed in the explosion. [CPC]
Japan Mediterranean Sea
  • At 0100 hours, British cruiser HMS Aurora, cruiser HMS Penelope, destroyer HMS Lance, and destroyer HMS Lively, which had sailed from Malta late on the previous day, intercepted their target, an Axis convoy that was bound for Libya. All five freighters (German freighters Duisburg and San Marco; Italian freighters Maria, Sagitta, and Rina Corrado; and Italian tankers Conte di Misurata and Minatitlan) and Italian destroyer Fulmine were sunk with radar gunnery, while damaging destroyers Grecale and Maestrale. At 0640 hours, British submarine HMS Upholder attacked Italian destroyer Libeccio, which was busy rescuing survivors of the night time battle; an attempt was made to tow her back to port for repairs, but Libeccio would sink en route. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The 19,894-strong Soviet Independent Coastal Army, with 10 T-26 tanks and 152 guns, arrived in Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine) from Odessa, Ukraine, significantly bolstering the city's defenses. 40 kilometers east of Sevastopol, German troops captured Yalta. [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt had dinner with Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd in Washington DC, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
10 Nov 1941
  • American warships including carrier USS Ranger began to escort a troop convoy with more than 20,000 soldiers from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for Britain; the troop ships were US Navy ships as well. [CPC]
  • American destroyer Ericsson, escorting convoy HX 157, depth charged sound contact. [CPC]
  • US Navy Asiatic Fleet issued orders to withdraw Yangtze River river gunboats and US Marines from China. [CPC]
  • Operation Flipper was launched, with submarines HMS Torbay and HMS Talisman, with commandos aboard, to be delivered behind enemy lines in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Walther von Brauchitsch suffered a heart attack. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Proteus sank German ship Ithaka off the island of Milos, Greece. [CPC]
  • Greek submarine Glaukos damaged German ship Norburg north of Crete, Greece. [CPC]
Gibraltar
  • The Operation Perpetual convoy, escorted by battleship HMS Malaya, cruiser HMS Hermione, and seven destroyers, departed from Gibraltar. At the center of the convoy, British carriers HMS Ark Royal and HMS Argus were tasked with delivering 37 Hurricane fighters for Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • The Italian "San Marco" naval infantry regiment formed a 3rd battalion by drawing three companies from the two existing battalions. [CPC]
Russia
  • German General Erich von Manstein launched a major assault against Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine) with 50th Infantry Division, followed by the 132nd Infantry Division on the next day. On the Soviet side, Vice Admiral F. S. Oktyabrsky (with Major General I. A. Petrov as his deputy) mobilized 52,000 men, of whom 21,000 were sailors, together with 170 guns (some were in modern steel and concrete emplacements), for the defence of Sevastopol. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Tunny was laid down at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt ordered protection for dams, power plants, and other important infrastructure sites. In the evening, he had dinner with Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Nov 1941
Long Island, probably off Norfolk, Virginia, United States, 10 Nov 1941; note seven SOC-3A and one F2A aircraft on deckJapanese Special Envoy Saburo Kurusu and Ambassador Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura, Nov 1941Vertical aerial photograph of Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, 10 Nov 1941; note Battleship Row on top, USS Lexington at bottom, and PBY aircraft at upper rightW. N. Simons and Robert F. Cooke, honorary keel layers of submarine Tunny, posing with the sign at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States, 10 Nov 1941
11 Nov 1941
  • I-68 joined the Advance Expeditionary Force for the Pearl Harbor attack; she departed Saeki, Japan for Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • German government report published on this date noted there were 700,000 Soviet prisoners of war employed as forced laborers. [CPC]
  • American Lend-Lease program expanded to include Free France based in Britain. [CPC]
  • American destroyer Edison, en route to escort Atlantic convoy ON 34, depth charged sound contact. [CPC]
  • American destroyer Decatur, escorting Atlantic convoy HX 159, depth charged sound contact off the Grand Banks, Newfoundland. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-580 collided with target ship Angelburg and sank 33 miles west of Klaipeda, Lithuania by accident; 12 were killed, 32 survived. [CPC]
  • British Hudson aircraft of No. 53 Squadron RAF damaged German submarine U-203 with four depth charges in the Bay of Biscay at 1415 hours. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-561 sank Panamanian ship Meridian at 2335 hours, killing all 26 aboard. [CPC]
  • After dark, Soviet destroyers Stoiki and Leningrad, minelayer Ural, troop transport Andrei Zhdanov, and three minesweepers departed the island of Gogland (known in Finnish as Suursaari) in the Gulf of Finland for the Hanko Peninsula in southern Finland. After Andrei Zhdanov was sunk by a mine (7 were killed, 66 survived) and Leningrad damaged by a mine, the convoy abandoned its mission to evacuate Soviet troops from Hanko and sailed back to Gogland. [CPC]
Japan
  • Ten Japanese submarines departed from Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan for Kwajalein of the Marshall Islands, where they would proceed for US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Kaga entered the drydocks at Sasebo Naval Shipyard, Japan. [Main Article | Facility | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
United States
  • Robert Johnson completed aviation cadet training and began his service with the US Army at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Nov 1941
  • Charles Huntziger passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-203, with one engine and aft diving planes damaged by a British air attack on the previous day, arrived in Brest, France. [CPC]
  • After sundown, the temperature in the Moscow region of Russia dropped to 5 degrees Fahrenheit or -15 degrees Celsius, which was harsh on the troops on either side, but particularly to the Germans who were less prepared to deal with the weather. The vehicles that had not been frozen, however, were now able to move as the mud hardened, and the 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies prepared to take advantage of the situation for an offensive. Meanwhile, 22 infantry divisions, 14 cavalry divisions, and 11 ski battalions began to arrive to reinforce the Soviet capital. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet submarine S-34 was lost off the Bulgarian coast near Cape Emine, presumably to a mine; all 51 aboard were lost. [CPC]
  • Finnish vessels laid mines in the Gulf of Finland to disrupt the Soviet attempts to evacuate personnel from Hanko in southern Finland. [CPC]
  • Oberleutnant Adalbert Karbe and Hauptmann Heinrich Wittmer of the German Kampfgeschwader 55 wing were awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. [CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • British aircraft carriers HMS Ark Royal and HMS Argus from the Operation Perpetual convoy launched 37 Hurricane fighters to reinforce Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Stuka dive bombers of German StG 77 damaged Soviet cruiser Chervona Ukraina with 3 bombs at Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine). Destroyers Sovershenny and Besposhchadny were also damaged, with the former capsizing at the naval shipyard. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Nov 1941
  • German troops fighting near Moscow, Russia were fighting temperatures as low as -8° F (-22° C). As the mud freezes, however, the Germans prepared for a new offensive amidst increasing casualties due to weather. [Main Article | TH]
  • Japanese Admiral Yamamoto gathered his commanders at Iwakuni air base at Yamaguchi, Japan to discuss Pearl Harbor tactics. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered the German Navy to restraint from attacking American ships, but should German warships be fired upon by the Americans, they were to fire back in defense. [Main Article | CPC]
  • After sundown, Soviet destroyers Gordy and Surovy departed Gogland, Russia for Hanko, Finland, escorted by minelayer Ural, four T-class minesweepers, and four MO-class submarine chasers. En route, Surovy, T-206, and MO-301 struck Finnish naval mines and sunk. [CPC]
  • General Kirill Meretskov attacked German troops at Tikhvin, Russia with Soviet 4th, 52nd, and 54th Armies. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-81 sank British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal in the Mediterranean Sea 150 miles east of Gibraltar at 0437 hours; 1 was killed, 1,487 survived. Destroyer escorts counterattacked with 130 depth charges, but U-81 would escape. HMS Ark Royal was taken in tow. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-126 sank British merchant vessel Peru at 0042 hours, all 50 aboard survived and were rescued by South African whale factory ship Uniwaleco. [CPC]
Malaya and Singapore
  • Allied troops established a new defensive line from the mouth of the Muar River to Gemas in British Malaya. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet cruiser Chervona Ukraina, damaged by German aircraft on the previous day, sank at Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine). Her guns would be salvaged to be used on shore. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The British Air Ministry instructed Sir Richard Pierse, the Commander-in-Chief Bomber Command, to curtail drastically the scale of sorties against Germany, especially in bad weather. The War Cabinet stated the instruction "having stressed the necessity to conserve our resources in order to built a strong force to be available by the spring of next year". [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Nov 1941
Legion sailing alongside of Ark Royal in attempt to evacuate the carrierLegion sailing alongside of Ark Royal in attempt to evacuate the carrier
14 Nov 1941
  • British carrier HMS Ark Royal sank off Gibraltar at 0813 hours from the damage sustained from the previous day's German submarine attack. [Main Article | TH]
  • Soviet destroyer Gordy struck a mine and sank en route to Hanko, Finland. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-561 sank Panamanian ship Crusader in the North Atlantic; 33 were killed, 1 survived. [CPC]
  • Soviet submarine L-2 struck three mines in a minefield off Keri, Estonia in the Baltic Sea between 0107 and 0617 hours, eventually sinking, killing 50 of 53 aboard. [CPC]
  • Soviet submarine M-98 struck a mine and sank in the Gulf of Finland, killing all aboard. [CPC]
Black Sea
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-211 was lost to unknown reason off Varna, Bulgaria in the Black Sea, presumably lost of a Romanian mine. [CPC]
China
  • US Marines in China (Shanghai, Beiping, and Tianjin) were ordered to evacuate to the Philippine Islands. [CPC]
Japan Libya
  • Operation Flipper: After dark, submarines HMS Torbay and HMS Talisman delivered 36 (of planned total of 59, due to rough seas) British commandos of No. 11 (Scottish) Group behind enemy lines in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • The British launched unescorted freighters disguised as French, Italian, and Spanish ships with supplies for Malta. Meanwhile, Operation Astrologer was commenced with transports Empire Defender and Empire Pelican, also with supplies for Malta; Empire Pelican was found and sunk by Italian SM.79 torpedo bombers near the Galite Islands off Tunisia, killing 1. [Main Article | CPC]
15 Nov 1941
  • German Panzergruppen 1, 2, and 3, with 2, 4, and 9.Armeen, resumed the attack on Moscow, Russia. Soviet 30th Army was pushed back from the Volga Reservoir and Moscow Sea Reservoir areas 75 miles north of Moscow. Across the Eastern Front, the temperature fell to -20 degrees Celsius, freezing both men and machines; the German offensive was generally slowed to a yard-by-yard advance from this date on. [Main Article | TH, AC]
  • US Army dispatched troops to Dutch Guiana to protect bauxite mines; this was agreed upon by the Dutch government-in-exile. [CPC]
  • Saburo Kurusu arrived in the United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-752 attempted to attack Soviet minelayer ZM-93 Jushar southeast of Murmansk, Russia at 1700 hours, but escorting minesweeping trawler T-889 forced U-752 to dive. At 1849 hours, U-752 fired a torpedo at T-889, sinking her and killing all 43 aboard. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-583 collided with U-153 and sank 90 miles northeast of Danzig at 2148 hours, killing all 45 aboard. [CPC]
  • Lieutenant Henry Drummond Campsie was named the commanding officer of HMCS Trillium. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld was named the commanding officer of the 5th Squadron of the Nachtjagdgeschwader 2 wing. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Italian SM.79 torpedo bombers sank British freighter Empire Defender of the Operation Astrologer convoy near the Galite Islands off the Tunisian coast, killing 4. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Erich Mußfeldt was transferred from Auschwitz Concentration Camp to Majdanek Concentration Camp as the chief of the crematorium. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Puerto Rico
  • US 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons, both operating P-40 Warhawk fighters, was assigned to Losey Field in Puerto Rico. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Free French Air Force pilots formed the Paris and Versailles squadrons. They operated out of Britain, flying Blenheim and Hurricane aircraft. [AC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt had lunch with Princess Märtha of Sweden (Crown Princess of Norway) at the White House in Washington DC, United States, followed by a private showing of the film Dumbo. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Nov 1941
Russian civilians digging trenches in Moscow, Russia, 15 Nov 1941
16 Nov 1941
  • Japanese carrier fleet exercised in the Kurile Islands. [CPC]
  • Canadian troops arrived at Hong Kong. [CPC]
  • British Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Keyes' team, tasked with capturing or assassinating Erwin Rommel in Libya, hid during daylight and moved into positions after sundown. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German 3rd Panzer Party established a crossing over the Lama River 70 miles west of Moscow, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British corvette HMS Marigold damaged German submarine U-433 with depth charges 50 miles east of Gibraltar at 2255 hours. After U-433 surfaced, Marigold continued to attack her with guns. U-433's crew scuttled the boat after suffering 6 killed; the 38 survivors were captured. [CPC]
Iceland
  • Allied convoy PQ-3 departed Hvalfjörður, Iceland in stormy weather. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan
  • Obsolete Japanese battleship Settsu began to sail around the Inland Sea in Japan to generate fake radio communication messages at different ports. [Main Article | Event | CPC]
  • Crown Prince Yi Un was attached to the training department of the Japanese Army. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • On this Sunday, a Catholic Mass was secretly held in a dark aisle between bunks on the second floor of Block 4 at Auschwitz Concentration Camp. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Russia
  • The German 11.Armee captured Kerch, Russia (now Ukraine). Soviet Deputy Navy Commissar Admiral Gordei Levchenko was arrested after being deemed responsible for this defeat. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Nov 1941
Japanese Navy Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa, Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Expeditionary Fleet, Saigon, French Indochina, 16 Nov 1941
17 Nov 1941
  • US Congress amended the Neutrality Act of 1939, thus allowing American merchant ships to be armed and allowing them to enter war zones. [CPC]
  • The United States delivered escort carrier Archer to the United Kingdom, the first of 38 escort carriers that would be delivered during the war under Lend-Lease. [CPC]
  • The Reichskommissariat Ostland was established under Alfred Rosenberg to administer territories taken from the Soviet Union. [Main Article | TH]
  • German troops near Moscow, Russia fought Central Asian troops for the first time (Soviet 44th Cavalry Division) at Musino, Russia, 70 miles west of the capital. German artillery blunted the cavalry charges, with the Germans claiming 2,000 killed. [Main Article | TH]
  • Japanese Navy Admiral Yamamoto revealed the Pearl Harbor attack plan to the naval leadership. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-331 landed eight commandos on the Egyptian coast to mine the railway line near Daba, 60 miles west of Alexandria. They would soon be captured before they completed their mission. [CPC]
  • Soviets dispatched several small teams to test the thickness of the ice on Lake Ladoga near Leningrad, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Allied convoy QP-2 arrived at Kirkwall, Scotland, United Kingdom and convoy PQ-4 departed Hvalfjörður, Iceland. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Following twelve months of illness, depression and strain at the Luftwaffe's increasing losses on the Eastern Front, Generaloberst Ernst Udet, the German Director General of Air Armament, commited suicide by shooting himself. Udet, Germany's second highest fighter ace of the First World War (behind the Red Baron) with 62 kills, had already lost favour with Hitler after the air force's performance in the Battle of Britain. The official version was that he had died whilst testing a "new weapon" and Jagdgeschwader 3 was named in his honour. Udet was accorded a state funeral at which he was eulogised by Hermann Göring, who described him as his "best friend". [AC]
Japan Libya
  • British Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Keyes led the daring Operation Flipper commando raid to either kill or capture Rommel at his Afrika Korps Headquarters at Sidi-Rafa. He was mortally wounded and the other commandos were forced to withdraw. Only two men made it back, the rest being either killed or captured. Keyes would be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross even though the raid was doomed from the start - Rommel was not even at Sidi-Rafa. [Main Article | AC]
United Kingdom
  • The ration of canned meat, canned fish, and canned beans began in the United Kingdom; this was announced 15 days earlier by the British Minister of Food. [AC]
United States
  • Japanese special envoy Kurusu Saburo arrived in Washington DC and met with US Secretary of State Cordell Hull. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Nov 1941
Nomura and Kurusu at the US State Department, 17 Nov 1941Japanese Ambassador Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura and Special Envoy Saburo Kurusu with US Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Washington DC, United States, 17 Nov 1941
18 Nov 1941
  • Japanese luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru arrived at Yokohama, completing her 74th and last round trip across the Pacific. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • British, New Zealand, and Indian troops launched Operation Crusader, a major offensive from Egypt into Libya. Surprise was achieved, and the attack met no serious resistance on the first day. The Germans would later call this offensive Winterschlacht. After sundown, British cruisers HMS Naiad and HMS Euryalus and destroyers HMS Kipling and HMS Jackal bombarded German positions at Halfaya Pass. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Five large Japanese carrier submarines, each containing midget submarines, departed from Kure Naval Base, Japan for Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. Meanwhile, Joseph Rochefort's US Navy cryptanalytic team reported no Japanese carrier movement. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Archer was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General John Dill, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. [Main Article | AC]
  • Japan requested Germany to not conclude a separate peace with any common enemies of the two countries, but did not share its plans to attack the United States. [CPC]
  • The teams dispatched on the previous day out of Leningrad, Russia to Lake Ladoga returned to the besieged city at 0400 hours, reporting that the ice on the lake was about 10 centimeters thick, which made light travel possible, but not for heavy equipment such as 1-ton trucks. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German 4th Panzer Army launched a 400-tank attack 70 miles west of Moscow, Russia, supported by 3 infantry divisions; Soviet 30th Army fell back northward to Klin, while Soviet 16th Army was pushed south to Istra. 120 miles south of Moscow, German 3rd Panzer Army was held up at Tula, with its latest attempt to surround the Soviet garrison there foiled by the newly-arrived Soviet 413th Rifle Division. [Main Article | CPC]
19 Nov 1941
  • British newspaper The Times estimated that 82,000 Polish people had been killed since Poland became occupied. [CPC]
  • Franz Halder noted in his diary that, in a meeting Adolf Hitler held with his top military leaders on this date, Hitler no longer talked about ending the war in 1941; instead, plans for Soviet targets east of Moscow, Russia were made for spring and summer of 1942. Meanwhile, 70 miles west of Moscow, German 4th Panzer Army attempted to penetrate the gap between the Soviet 30th and 16th Armies which were pushed back on the previous day, but stubborn Soviet resistance slowed the German advance in the area of Istra. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMAS Sydney was intercepted by German raider Kormoran 140 miles west of Shark Bay, Australia, with Kormoran firing the first shot at 1730 hours. Both ships were heavily damaged after the 20-minute battle. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In northern Russia, Soviet 4th and 52nd Armies continued to attack Tikhvin, held by the Germans, 120 kilometers east of Leningrad. Meanwhile, near Leningrad, General Feofan Nikolaevich Lagunov drove an American-built M1 Scout Car across the frozen Lake Ladoga and declared it safe to use as a truck route. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German 2nd Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla attacked Allied convoy FS.650 10 miles east of Lowestoft, England, United Kingdom, sinking tanker War Mehtar and transports Aruba and Waldinge. German torpedo boat S.41 collided with a convoy escort and sank. British destroyer HMS Garth was damaged by friendly fire during the engagement. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 6 prisoners of war and 8 Polish Jews were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • During this month, the excavated fossils of the Peking Man were packed up at the Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Beiping Union Medical College, and the US Marines stationed in China, who already received orders to be withdrawn, were supposed to bring the bones back to the United States for safekeeping. During the hurried transit between Beiping and the port of Qinghuangdao, the boxes vanished, and had not been found to this day. [CPC]
Japan Libya
  • Italian Ariete Division halted the advance of British 22nd Armoured Brigade at Bir el Gubi, Libya; 40 British Crusader tanks were destroyed or disabled. Elsewhere, British 7th Armoured Brigade continued its advance toward Tobruk, capturing Sidi Rezegh airfield in the process. To the north, tanks of the British 4th Armoured Brigade engaged German tanks of the 21st Panzer Division. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The Japanese embassy in Washington DC, United States was instructed that, should war be decided with the United States, Japanese public radio broadcast would include the code phrase "higashi no kaze ame" (“east wind rain”), with the Soviet Union "ita no kaze kumori" ("north wind cloudy"), and with the United Kingdom "nishi no kaze hare" ("west wind clear"). This clear preparation for a likely war was intercepted by the Americans. [CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • A ground echelon from US Marine Aircraft Group 21 was dispatched to Midway Island to prepare the island to receive aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 19 Nov 1941
An Italian soldier surrendering to an Indian soldier in North Africa at the onset of Operation Crusader, Nov 1941Alfred Rosenberg speaking at a press conference regarding his appointment to the eastern territories, 19 Nov 1941; also present were Gauleiter Alfred Meyer and state press chief Wilhelm WeissWC-4 truck and 37 mm Gun M3 of US 30th Division in exercise, south of Peedee River, Cheraw, South Carolina, United States, 19 Nov 1941
20 Nov 1941
  • Kurt von Briesen passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German troops captured Rostov, Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • The Norwegian government-in-exile officially endorsed the resistance movement Milorg. [TH]
  • Japanese ambassador to the US Nomura presented Japan's final proposal to keep peace in Asia and the Pacific. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMAS Sydney sank some time after midnight from the damage sustained in the engagement with German raider Kormoran; all 645 aboard were lost. Kormoran, likewise heavily damaged, was abandoned at 1900 hours and was scuttled three hours later; 81 were killed and 318 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The daily bread rations in besieged Leningrad, Russia was reduced to 500 grams for military personnel, 250 grams for engineers and technical workers, 125 grams for other workers and children. The situation was hoped to be improving soon, however, as the first successful crossing of the frozen Lake Ladoga was made with horse-drawn sleighs, hoping to bring back food from Kobona. [Main Article | CPC]
  • One of the ships of Allied convoy PQ-3 struck an iceberg and another developed mechanical problems; both were turned back toward Iceland. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Vilnius, Lithuania, 3 prisoners of war were executed as later reported by the Jager Report on 1 Dec 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • The Japanese-controlled Ryojun Military Port (previously known as Port Arthur; now Lushunkou, Liaoning Province, China), Kwantung Leased Territory in northeastern China was upgraded to the status of a Guard District. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Crown Prince Yi Un was assigned to Guangdong Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • The British 7th Armoured Brigade repulsed a counter attack launched by the German 90th Light Infantry Division and the Italian Bologna Division. In the afternoon, the British 4th Armoured Brigade engaged with heavier tanks of the German 15th Panzer Division, losing several American-built M3 tanks. After dark, British cruisers HMS Ajax and HMS Neptune and Australian cruiser HMAS Hobart bombarded Bardia, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • The two crematoria of Auschwitz Concentration Camp were inactivated for servicing; camp commandant ordered that corpses of prisoners were to be transported to Birkenau (not yet a camp) for burying in mass graves until the servicing was done on 3 Dec 1941. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Taiwan
  • The Japanese naval base at Mako in Pescadores Islands, Taiwan was upgarded to full Guard District status. [Main Article | CPC]
21 Nov 1941
  • American destroyer Shaw and oiler Sabine were damaged in a collision in Hawaiian waters. [CPC]
  • The construction of the future Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point began in North Carolina, United States. [CPC]
  • Heinz Guderian wrote Franz Halder from Russia, noting the miserable cold and fierce Soviet resistance. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The horse-drawn sleigh team returned to Leningrad, Russia from Kobona, bringing back flour, sugar, and fat across the frozen Lake Ladoga for the first time since the city was surrounded. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Utmost attacked and damaged Italian cruiser Trieste 10 miles east of Catania, Sicily, Italy at 2312 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was officially awarded the German cross in Gold, but he would not physically receive this medal until 17 Dec 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • Joseph Rochefort's US Navy cryptanalytic team in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii detected the arrival of a Japanese submarine squadron in the Marshall Islands. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Japan
  • Japanese Navy acquired luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru for use as a hospital ship; Hikawa Maru was assigned to the Yokosuka Naval District, Japan. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Libya
  • The Allied garrison at Tobruk, Libya attempted a breakout to link up with the main attack force coming from Egypt, which engaged with German 15th Panzer Division in a large-scale tank battle that would last for the next three days near Sidi Rezegh. Pressed for fuel, Erwin Rommel dispatched Italian cruiser Cardona from Brindisi, unescorted, to bring fuel to Benghazi. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Nov 1941
Adolf Hitler saluting the Ernst UdetHermann Göring at the funeral of Ernst Udet, 21 Nov 1941; note Adolf Galland serving as a honor guardCoffin of Ernst Udet being carried after the funeral service, 21 Nov 1941; note Adolf Galland serving as a honor guardErwin Rommel speaking to German Colone Diesener and Italian General Navarini, North Africa, 21 Nov 1941
22 Nov 1941
  • The German 3.Panzerkorps captured Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia. [TH]
  • US Navy issued Task Force Ultrasecret Operation Order 1: warships were to proceed to Hawaiian waters in secrecy, with mission to conduct pre-emptive strikes on any potential threats against Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Werner Mölders was killed during a landing accident while traveling as a passenger aboard a He 111 aircraft. Hours later, Jagdgeschwader 51 was christened "Mölders" in his honor. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A Swordfish torpedo bomber of British No. 830 Squadron damaged Italian cruiser Abruzzi at 0038 hours off Sicily, Italy; the aircraft was shot down in the process, with 1 killed and 1 captured. [CPC]
  • As the ice on Lake Ladoga reached 20 centimeters in thickness, 60 trucks made the crossing, aiming to bring back food into Leningrad, Russia on their return trip on the next day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The British Royal Navy dispatched cruisers HMS Devonshire, HMS Dorsetshire, and HMS Dunedin to the South Atlantic to search for the German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis. HMS Devonshire successfully found Atlantis, fueling submarine U-126. While U-126 was able to escape, Atlantis' crew had no choice but to scuttle her. [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Sardonyx collided with anti-submarine trawler HMT St. Apollo near the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom. Sardonyx received damage while St. Appollo would sink. [CPC]
  • Allied convoy PQ-3 crossed the Arctic Circle west of Norway. Later in the same day, German Stuka dive bombers attacked the convoy without success; two dive bombers were lost during the mission. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Robert von Greim was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Paul von Kleist was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Libya
  • Italian cruiser Cardona arrived at Benghazi, Libya with fuel badly needed by Axis vehicles on the front line; the journey was made without any escorts due to the pressing need. On land, New Zealand and Italian troops engaged in fighting near Sollum, Egypt while the Indian 7th Brigade captured Sidi Omar, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The Japanese embassy in Washington DC, United States was instructed that the proposal submitted by Japanese diplomats two days prior would be the final proposal. The deadline for a successful conclusion was pushed back to 29 Nov 1941, upon which date, should the proposal be rejected, the war plans would be executed. [CPC]
23 Nov 1941
  • I-68 departed Kwajalein, Marshall Islands for her first war patrol in the Hawaii Islands area. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • German forces captured Solnechnogorsk, Russia advanced to within 35 miles of the Soviet capital of Moscow. [Main Article | TH]
  • US Army troops arrived in Dutch Guiana and occupied the region on behalf of the Dutch government-in-exile in order to protect bauxite mines. [CPC]
  • Japanese carriers made a rendezvous at Hitokappu Bay, Kurile Islands, Japan in preparation for the Pearl Harbor attack. On the other side of the international date line, Joseph Rochefort reported to his superiors that his cryptanalytic team had detected a Japanese submarine squadron moving into the Marshall Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer Yuzuki departed Sakaide, Shikoku, Japan, escorting a troop convoy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The German ambassador in Japan Eugen Ott warned Germany that the Japanese military seemed to be on the verge of a war, its military preparing to move southward. He was not aware of Japan's plans to attack the United States. [CPC]
  • 60 trucks brought in 33 tons of flour and 2.5 tons of sugars and fats into besieged Leningrad, Russia, driving across the frozen Lake Ladoga; this was the first of many over-ice truck runs that would ramp up to bring in 100 tons of supplies each day. The population of Leningrad, however, required about 600 tons of supplies for survival. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Captain Philip Gardner led two Matilda tanks in the rescue of the crews of two armored cars pinned under enemy fire at Tobruk, Libya, becoming wounded in the process. He was later awarded the Victoria Cross award. [CPC]
Italy
  • The Italian High Command in Rome, Italy agreed to put the Italian XX Mobile Corps, which included the Ariete Division and the Trieste Division, under Erwin Rommel's direct command. On the same day, at the Battle of Totensonntag, Axis troops outflanked British forces south of Sidi Rezegh, Libya, inflicting heavy casualties and forcing the British 7th Armored Division to withdraw 20 miles. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 23 Nov 1941
Japanese battleship Kirishima, carrier Kaga, and battleship Hiei at Hitokappu Bay, Etorofu, Kurile Islands, 23 Nov 1941
24 Nov 1941
  • German Luftwaffe Leutnant Heinz Schnabel and Oberleutnant Harry Wappler received 28-day solitary confinement sentences by their British captors for their nearly-successful escape attempts from a prisoner or war camp in Britain. Masquerading as Dutch pilots in the RAF, they managed to get airborne before realizing they had not enough fuel to reach France, causing them to turn back to Britain. [TH]
  • Elements of German LVI Panzer Corps captured Rogachevo, Russia, north of Moscow. To the south of the Soviet capital, XXIV Panzer Corps captured the road junction at Venyov 30 miles east of Tula. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British cruiser HMS Dunedin 650 miles east of Natal, Brazil at 1521 hours, hitting her with two torpedoes. 236 were killed; 250 survived the sinking, but only 67 would survive the entire ordeal, succumbing to wounds, drowning, and shark attacks. [CPC]
  • British landing ship HMS Prince Leopold landed 90 men of British No. 9 Commando battalion at Butte de Houlgate, France, who captured some classified documents and immediately returned to Britain aboard the same ship. [CPC]
  • German 4th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla attacked Allied convoy FS.654 off East Anglia, England, United Kingdom, sinking British tanker Virgilia (23 killed, 17 survived) and Dutch ship Groenlo (10 killed). [CPC]
  • The United States government announced the takeover of the defence of Dutch Guiana in South America as a precaution against the Germans securing the use of the French base at Dakar in Africa. [AC]
Czechoslovakia
  • The Theresienstadt camp was established in occupied Czechoslovakia to serve as a transit point for Jews en route to concentration camps to the east. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Libya
  • German and Italian tanks advanced and split the British XXX Corps in Libya, but Allied aircraft halted the attack. The offensive was uncoordinated and achieved little. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Gar departed New London, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 24 Nov 1941
Erwin Rommel with the German 15th Panzer Division in Libya, 24 Nov 1941; note Hanomag Kfz. 15 and SdKfz. 221/222 vehiclesAerial photograph of Midway Atoll, 24 Nov 1941
25 Nov 1941
  • German 2nd Panzer Division was halted by British-built Matilda tanks of the Soviet 146th Tank Brigade at Peshki, 35 miles northwest of Moscow. 30 miles west of Moscow, German 10th Panzer Division and SS Reich Division attacked Istra, which was being defended by Soviet 78th Rifle Division. Finally, German XXIV Panzer Corps launched a new attack 100 miles south of Moscow, cutting the rail line to Moscow near Tula. [Main Article | TH]
  • Adolf Hitler met with Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, agreeing on the need for the elimination of the "Jewish element". [Main Article | TH]
  • American submarines Triton and Tambor arrived at Wake Island on "simulated" war patrols. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Indian 7th Brigade repulsed an attack by the German 5th Panzer Regiment at Sidi Omar, Libya. Australian troops from Tobruk linked up with advancing New Zealand forces at Ed Duda, Libya. After dark, Erwin Rommel conducted an inspection of the front, got lost, and was forced to wait until daybreak to find his way back. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-331 torpedoed British battleship HMS Barham in the Mediterranean Sea, which went down after a magazine ignited. Fewer than 400 of her crew of 1,258 survived. [AC]
  • Captain James Jackson was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for organising defences at Tobruk, Libya, where he was killed by a mortar splinter. [AC]
  • Soviet patrol vessel CKP-25 rammed German submarine U-578 in the Arctic Sea, causing light damage. [CPC]
  • The Jager Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 9 adult male, 46 adult female, and 8 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 63 people. Additionally, 1 Polish national was also executed for possession of arms. [Main Article | CPC]
Taiwan
  • Japanese troops transports en route to Malaya were detected off Taiwan. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Henry Stimson noted in his diary that, during a cabinet meeting, Franklin Roosevelt thought Japan was likely to attack the United States in as soon as one week, and it would provide Roosevelt the reason to take the United States into the war. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 25 Nov 1941
BarhamMemo from Australian Secretary to the War Cabinet Frederick Shedden to John Curtin, the first formal advice to the Prime Minister that the HMAS Sydney was believed lost, 25 Nov 1941
26 Nov 1941
  • The Japanese carrier fleet departed Hitokappu Bay, Kurile Islands, Japan for Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. At Pearl Harbor, Joseph Rochefort sent a report for his superiors that his cryptanalytic team had detected Japanese fleet movements and that the Japanese warships were seemingly staging for actions in the South Pacific. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US intelligence detected Japanese troop movements in Indochina. In response, US Secretary of State Cordell Hull submitted the final proposal to Japanese diplomats for readjustment of US-Japanese relations, demanding the Japanese to withdraw all troops from China and Indochina, and with full expectation that the Japanese were not going to entertain this demand in any way. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American aircraft ferry USS Kitty Hawk was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German and Italian forces fought the New Zealand 5th Brigade en route to Fort Capuzzo, Libya. Meanwhile, Erwin Rommel's staff recalled the troops at Sidi Rezegh, Libya, allowing British 7th Armoured Division to capture the town. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet troops re-opened the Tula-Moscow rail line in Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Libya, Lieutenant Colonel H. C. J. Yeo took the British 44th Royal Tank Regiment on a spectacular night attack which broke through the besiegers' lines and effected a link up with the Tobruk garrison. Many had suggested that the attack was impossible, but Colonel Yeo and his men had proven them wrong, and reinforced the matter with a similar operation against Barcia on 1 Jan 1942. [Main Article | AC]
  • The keel of submarine Pompon was laid down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer Yukikaze departed Kyushu, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
French Syria and Lebanon
  • Free French General Georges Catroux announced that France would place Syria and Lebanon on a course for full independence. [CPC]
Japan
  • Akagi, flagship of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's First Air Fleet, departed Hitokappu Bay in the Kurile Islands leading the Carrier Striking Force ("Kido Butai") in the "Hawaii Operation", the surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • With Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's First Air Fleet, Shokaku departed Hitokappu Bay in the Kurile Islands for the Hawaii Operation, the attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Kaga departed Hitokappu Bay, Etorofu Island, Kurile Islands. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Naka became the flagship of Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura of Japanese 4th Destroyer Squadron; she departed the Terashima Strait near Sasebo, Japan. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday in Warm Springs, Georgia, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 26 Nov 1941
Atlanta running trials off Rockland, Maine, United States, 26 Nov 1941Sailors of carrier Zuikaku winching up the anchor on the quarter-deck after leaving Hitokappu Bay, Itrup, Kurile Islands, 26 Nov 1941; she was en route to attack Pearl Harbor
27 Nov 1941
  • In Russia, German SS Reich Division captured Istra west of Moscow while 7th Panzer Division advanced to the Moskva-Volga canal at Yakhroma east of Moscow. The forward-most German troops were reported within 19 miles of the Soviet capital, and noted the sighting of the Kremlin. [Main Article | TH]
  • US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark warned commanders of Pacific and Asiatic Fleets that attacks on Malaya, Philippine Islands, and Dutch East Indies were now a possibility. US Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall sent a similar message to commanders of US Army Hawaii and Philippine Departments. [Main Article | CPC]
  • As the German 21st Panzer Division withdrew to the west for resupplying, the 15th Panzer Division captured Sidi Azeiz, Libya, taking 700 prisoners. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer Yuzuki arrived at Haha Jima, Japan. [Main Article | CPC]
  • New Zealand 2nd Division supported by 90 tanks penetrated the German encirclement of Tobruk, Libya and broke into the besieged city. Tanks of German 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions moved in to counterattack, but Australian and British troops halted it during the day; German tanks would attempt to close in on the city after sundown. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-559 sank Australian sloop HMAS Parramatta and ammunition ship Hanne 40 miles northeast of Tobruk, Libya at 0046 hours, killing a total of 168. [CPC]
  • Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo rejected the American counter-proposal for peace. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Russian partisan fighter Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was captured by the Germans. [CPC]
  • Allied convoy QP-3 departed Arkhangelsk, Russia and convoy PQ-5 departed Hvalfjörður, Iceland. [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • The Italian garrison at Gondar, Abyssinia surrendered as the British 12th (African) Division captured two mountain passes overlooking the town. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • US Navy-chartered passenger liner President Madison departed from Shanghai, China for the Philippine Islands with the 2nd Battalion of the US 4th Marine Regiment. [CPC]
Hawaii
  • Husband Kimmel met with Joseph Rochefort at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii in the late afternoon to discuss possible moves Japan might take should Japan and United States continued to head toward a military conflict. Rochefort believed that the main Japanese thrust would be toward the South Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands did not seem to be in direct danger for now. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Libya
  • In Libya, German pilot Otto Schulz took off, shot down a British Bristol twin-engine aircraft, and landed safely near Gazala, Libya all within three minutes. Several British SAS personnel were killed aboard the Bristol aircraft. [CPC]
Philippines
  • American radio intelligence analysts stationed in the Philippine Islands reported their suspicion that, contrary to the findings of their counterparts in the Hawaiian Islands, the Japanese warships detected to have been recently moved into the Marshall Islands were likely to take actions eastward rather than southward. Also, they concluded that main Japanese carrier force was still at Sasebo, Japan rather than in the Marshall Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt traveled to Warm Springs, Georgia, United States for a belated Thanksgiving holiday break. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 27 Nov 1941
SB2U Vindicator scout bomber flying anti-submarine patrol over an American convoy en route for Capetown, South Africa, 27 Nov 1941; note cruisers Vincennes and QuincyBritish Crusader tank passing a burning German Panzer IV tank in North Africa during Operation Crusader, 27 Nov 1941Japanese Ambassador Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura and Special Envoy Saburo Kurusu after meeting with US President Roosevelt, White House, Washington, DC, United States, 27 Nov 1941
28 Nov 1941
  • The German 3.Panzerkorps evacuated Rostov-on-Don, Russia due to lack of supplies; the city was reoccupied by Soviet forces later on the same day. [TH]
  • The air echelon of US Marine Fighter Squadron 211 secretly flew 12 F4F-3 fighters from Ewe to Ford Island for further transfer to USS Enterprise. Later on the same day, USS Enterprise set sail for Wake Island. En route, Captain G. D. Murray of the USS Enterprise informed his subordinates that the carrier was now operating under war conditions. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Navy Commander W. S. Cunningham relieved US Marine Corps Major James P. S. Devereux as the overall commanding officer of Wake Island. 9 US Navy officers and 58 sailors arrived with Cunningham aboard seaplane tender USS Wright. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German 7th Panzer Division crossed the Yakhroma bridge over the Moskva-Volga canal 37 miles north of Moscow, Russia at 0330 hours, but it would be driven back at the end of the day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British 7th Armored Division attacked German 15th Panzer Division with numerical superiority, but the Germans continued to press on toward Tobruk, Libya. Nearby, commanding officer of the German 21st Panzer Division General Johann von Ravenstein was captured by troops of the New Zealand 2nd Infantry Division. [Main Article | CPC]
  • While being shadowed by German submarine U-95, Dutch submarine O-21 fired two stern torpedoes at its stalker 125 miles east of Gibraltar, sinking the German boat; 35 were killed, 12 survived and captured. [CPC]
China
  • US Navy-chartered passenger liner President Harrison departed from Shanghai, China for the Philippine Islands with the final elements of the US 4th Marine Regiment. [CPC]
Germany
  • A state funeral was held for Werner Mölders in Berlin, Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop met with Hiroshi Oshima in Berlin, Germany, promising that Germany would declare war on the United States should Japan and the US enter a state of war; Ribbentrop, however, did not know Japan was planning on starting the war soon. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Allied convoy PQ-4 arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
Taiwan Photo(s) dated 28 Nov 1941
Martin Bormann, Julius Schaub, Adolf Hitler, Karl Brandt, and Erhard Milch at the funeral service of Werner Mölders at the Reich Air Ministry, Berlin, Germany, 28 Nov 1941
29 Nov 1941
  • Operation Crusader: Italian Ariete Division overran the New Zealand 21st Battalion at Point 175 in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Stark directed that defense recommendations made by Major Alfred R. Pefley was to be implemented immediately, consisting mostly of the construction of defensive gun positions on various Pacific islands. [CPC]
  • US Marine Corps Major Walter L. J. Bayler arrived at Wake Island with a detachment of Marines from Marine Aircraft Group 21 to set up air base communication facilities. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese ambassador in Germany Hiroshi Oshima reported that, on the previous day, Joachim von Ribbentrop had verbally promised a German declaration of war on the United States should Japan and the US enter a state of war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Russian partisan fighter Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was publicly executed by hanging by the Germans. [CPC]
  • The German 4th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla attacked Allied convoy FN.564 off the coast of East Anglia, England, United Kingdom, sinking British tanker Asperity and freighters Empire Newcomen and Cormarsh. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-43 sank British ship Thornliebank 240 miles north of the Azores islands at 0411 hours, killing all 75 aboard. The navigator of U-43 was injured by showering debris. [CPC]
  • German 7th Panzer Division completed the evacuation of the Yakhroma bridgehead near Moscow, Russia; 45 were killed in the unsuccessful attempt to cross the Moskva-Volga canal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet destroyer Slavny, destroyer Stoiki, troop ship Iosif Stalin, and other vessels, escorted by 5 minesweepers, 4 torpedo boats, and 7 submarine chasers, departed Kronstadt, Russia for Hanko, Finland to evacuate troops. German aircraft discovered the force, attacked, and sank icebreaker ship Oktyabr. [CPC]
China
  • US Navy river gunboats Luzon and Oahu departed Shanghai, China for Manila, Philippine Islands. [CPC]
Greece
  • British aircraft from Malta sank Italian tanker Berbera and damaged Italian tanker Volturno at Navarino (now Pylos), Greece. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • British Royal Navy Force B (cruiser HMS Ajax, cruiser HMS Neptune, destroyer HMS Kimberly, and destroyer HMS Kingston) under the command of Rear Admiral Bernard Rawlings arrived in Malta. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • The British Royal Air Force's No. 151 Wing, which had been conducting successful combat missions in Northern Russia, handed over its Hurricane fighters to Lieutenant Colonel Boris Safonov's Soviet 72nd Air Regiment before sailing back home. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 29 Nov 1941
Erwin Rommel speaking to German officers near Tobruk, Libya, 29 Nov 1941
30 Nov 1941
  • Emperor Showa ordered Prime Minister Hideki Tojo to proceed with plans to start the Pacific War, and subsequently Tojo rejected US proposals to de-escalate tension in the Far East. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Passenger liner President Madison, chartered by the US Navy, arrived at Olongapo, Philippine Islands, disembarking the 2nd Battalion of the US 4th Marine Regiment before continuing on to Singapore. [CPC]
  • New Zealand 24th and 26th Battalions were battered by Axis attacks at Sidi Rezegh, Libya. German forces launched a fresh attack on Tobruk, Libya. Out at sea, British aircraft from Malta sank Italian ship Capo Faro and damaged Italian ship Iseo, which were en route from Brindisi, Italy to Benghazi, Libya; they were carrying fuel and other supplies that were very much needed for the Axis campaign in North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The United States Marine Corps reported the strength of 65,881 personnel. [CPC]
  • Shoho was commissioned into service. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • The Japanese ambassador in Germany Hiroshi Oshima was informed by his superiors that war with the United States was near, and he was to inform Adolf Hitler and Joachim von Ribbentrop of such news. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A Soviet force consisted of two destroyers, a troop ship, and other minor vessels arrived at Hanko, Finland to evacuate troops, while another force consisted of troop ship Maya, 3 minesweepers, 2 submarine chasters, and 1 gunboat departed Kronstadt, Russia for Hanko. [CPC]
  • Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau replaced Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt as the commanding officer of German Army Group South in the Caucasus region of southern Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-206 became missing in the Bay of Biscay west of France, possibly lost in a British minefield. All 46 men aboard were lost. [CPC]
  • Whitley bombers of No. 502 Squadron RAF based in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom attacked German submarines U-71 and U-563 with depth charges in the Bay of Biscay, damaging U-71. This attack marked the first successful use of air-to-surface vessel radar. [CPC]
  • The warming of temperature in the region around Leningrad, Russia meant a decrease in the ice thickness over Lake Ladoga, which led to the decrease of supplies delivered by ground vehicles driving over ice; only 61 tons of food made its way into the city on this date. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Elements of German 2nd Panzer Division captured the railway station at Lobnya 19 miles north of Moscow, Russia. Meanwhile, Georgy Zhukov was ordered by Joseph Stalin to organize a counterattack. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-96 dove to evade attacks by a British Swordfish aircraft off Gibraltar at 2235 hours. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-43 sank British ship Ashby 170 miles south of the Azores islands at 1926 hours; 17 were killed, some survived and were rescued by Portuguese destroyer Lima. U-43 survived the subsequent depth charging without any damage. [CPC]
  • Winston Churchill sent Franklin Roosevelt a message requesting a conference on the impending war with Japan. Roosevelt would reject the request to avoid appearing like he was taking the United States toward war for the defense of the British Empire. [Main Article | CPC]
Fiji
  • Japanese submarine I-10 launched a scout aircraft for a reconnaissance mission over Suva Bay, Fiji. [CPC]
Germany
  • German armed merchant cruiser Komet arrived at Hamburg, Germany after a 516-day, 87,000-mile, circumnavigating journey. She sank 5 ships, captured 1 ship, and shared credit for another two sinkings on this mission. [CPC]
Japan
  • Japanese destroyers Akembono and Ushio departed Tokyo Bay, Japan for Midway, where they were to bombard US military facilities when hostilities would begin. [CPC]
Latvia
  • Latvian and German Jews were massacred near Riga, Latvia. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Grayback arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States for a scheduled overhaul. [Main Article | CPC]
1 Dec 1941
  • Japanese luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru entered Mitsubishi Zosen yard for conversion into a hospital ship; naval surgeon Captain Kanai Izumi took command of the ship. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Japanese Navy changed its communications code. [CPC]
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt ordered US Navy yacht Isabel and two other small vessels to be deployed off of the coast of Indochina; they were planned to be bait for the Japanese to fire the first shot, should war become unavoidable. [CPC]
  • American river gunboats Luzon and Oahu, submarine rescue vessel Pigeon, and minesweeper Finch set sail from China toward Philippine Islands, under the watchful eyes of a Japanese floatplane and several naval vessels. [CPC]
  • German 15th Panzer Division practically wiped out the 20th Battalion of New Zealand 2nd Division at Belhamed, Libya, but the attack was driven off by tanks of the British 4th Armoured Brigade. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Japanese ambassador in Germany Hiroshi Oshima was ordered to secure Joachim von Ribbentrop's signature on a document which stated that Germany would declare war on the United States should Japan and US enter a state of war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • SS-Standartenfuhrer Jager submitted a report dated on this day, noting that his Einsatzgruppen, operating in Lithuania, had killed 99,804 Jews in that country to this date. In the same report, the detachment also under Jager sent to Minsk, Byelorussia reported killing 620 adult male, 1,285 adult female, and 1,126 children, all Jews; 19 communists were also executed in Minsk by this detachment. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-96, having escaped British air attacks in the Bay of Biscay, surfaced at 0445 hours and returned to France. [CPC]
  • Three German infantry divisions and one German armored division advanced along the Minsk-Moscow highway, penetrating through the lines of the Soviet 33rd Army, capturing Naro-Fominsk 43 miles southwest of Moscow, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Dorsetshire located German supply ship Python refueling submarines UA and U-68 in the South Atlantic 1,150 miles west of South Africa. Python was scuttled as her crew sighted Dorsetshire, but Dorsetshire backed off due to the threat of the two submarines. Two additional German submarines and four Italian submarines arrived to join UA and U-68 in rescuing Python's survivors. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A Soviet force consisted of troop ship Maya, 3 minesweepers, 2 submarine chasters, and 1 gunboat arrived in Hanko, Finland to evacuate troops. [CPC]
  • Destroyer Yukikaze arrived at Palau Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Eduard Neumann and General der Flieger Hans Geisler awarded Hans-Joachim Marseille the German Cross in Gold. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Marine Corps established a Marine Corps Air Station at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands under Lieutenant Colonel Ford O. Rogers (redesignated from Marine Corps Air Facility, Bourne Field). [CPC]
Hawaii
  • US Marine Corps 2nd Defense Battalion and 4th Defense Battalion arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Radio messages sent from Sasebo, Japan using outdated call signs tricked US Navy cryptanalysts in US Territory of Hawaii into believing that carrier Akagi was still in home waters. Later on the same day, the cryptanalysts realized that all Japanese warships' call signs had changed. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Japan
  • Japanese Navy Destroyer Division 7 sailed from Tokyo, Japan sailed for Midway, soon to join the rest of the Midway Neutralization Unit. [CPC]
  • Repair ship Akashi departed Kure, Japan. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • At an Imperial Conference held in Tokyo, Japan, the decision was taken to go to war with the United States. According to Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, Emperor Showa, the country's devine ruler, did not utter a single word in response. [Main Article | AC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Malta-based British reconnaissance aircraft spotted an Italian supply convoy traveling for North Africa. The subsequent attack 60 miles off Libya saw the sinking of tanker Iridio Mantovani (with 10,000 tons of fuel) by aircraft and the sinking of transport Adriatico by cruisers HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope. HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope were attacked by Italian destroyer Alvise Da Mosta with torpedoes and gunfire, but the British cruisers fought back, sinking the destroyer and killing 200. [Main Article | CPC]
Philippines
  • Passenger liner President Harrison arrived at Olongapo, Philippine Islands with elements of US 4th Marine Regiment recently withdrawn from Shanghai, China; the liner departed for China later on the same day to embark the last US Marines stationed in China. [CPC]
Taiwan
  • During this month, the Japanese Army established the Research Department within the Taiwan Army. One of the missions of this department was to develop jungle warfare tactics. [CPC]
United States
  • As US-Japan relations rapidly deteriorated, the Japanese Consulate General in California began to destroy its records, as did the Consulate General, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and the Japan Institute in New York City. [CPC]
  • Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor of New York City and Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, signed Administrative Order 9, creating the Civil Air Patrol. [CPC]
  • US Marine Corps established a Marine Corps Air Station at Cunningham Field, Cherry Point, North Carolina, United States under Colonel Thomas J. Cushman. [CPC]
  • US Marine Corps established a Marine Corps Air Station at Quantico, Virginia, United States under Major Ivan W. Miller (redesignated from Base Air Detachment 1, Marine Barracks). [Main Article | CPC]
  • The keel of submarine Harder was laid down by the Electric Boat Company at Groton, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Dec 1941
Citizens of Leningrad, Russia fetching water from a shell hole in Ostrovsky Square, 1 Dec 1941A German soldier being captured, near Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941Soviet troops mining a railroad near Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941Soviet troops guarding a wooded area outside of Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941
See all photos dated 1 Dec 1941
2 Dec 1941
  • Edward Rydz-Śmigły passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Motorcycle patrols from the German 2nd Panzer Division at Moscow, Russia reached Khimki and claimed that they were as close as 10 miles northwest from the Kremlin. The 2nd Panzer Division, however, was unable gather enough strength to exploit the weakly defended lines that the reconnaissance troops discovered. To the west, additional Soviet reinforcements reached Naro-Fominsk. To the south of Moscow, another German attack on Tula cut the Tula-Moscow rail line. [Main Article | TH]
  • US PBY Catalina patrol aircraft reported 20 Japanese transports congregating in Cam Ranh Bay off Indochina. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Churchill's new National Service Bill included compulsory service for women. [Main Article | TH]
  • German submarine U-43 torpedoed and sank the unarmed US tanker Astral with a crew of 37. [CPC]
  • Soviet troopships Iosif Stalin and Maya, along with a number of other warships and transport vessels, departed Hanko, Finland with the last of the 12,000 troops aboard. This marked the final Soviet evacuation from Finnish territory occupied by the Soviet Union at the conclusion of the Winter War. [TH]
  • Japanese embassies in United States, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, and Philippine Islands were ordered to destroy certain documents and code books. [CPC]
  • Japanese carrier fleet refueled in the North Pacific at 42 degrees north and 170 degrees east; at 2000 hours, the code "Niitaka Yama Noboru 1208" was issued, indicating that the attack on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii was to be launched on 8 Dec 1941 Tokyo time, 7 Dec on the other side of the international date line. Meanwhile, at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel was briefed of the disposition of the Japanese fleet, with the whereabouts of Carrier Division 1 and Carrier Division 2 (four fleet carriers total) not known; the best American guess was that they were at Kure, Japan. Finally, at Honolulu, Hawaii, Consul-General Nagao Kita was asked to provide a report regarding the presence of any barrage balloons or torpedo nets. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Axis attack on Tobruk, Libya that began on 30 Nov 1941 was halted as Axis tank losses reached such a level that repairs must be made before any further operations were possible. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Prince of Wales arrived at Singapore. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Repulse arrived at Singapore. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-562 sank British ship Grelhead in the Atlantic Ocean 2 miles off Morocco at 0119 hours; 41 were killed, 2 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-557 sank Norwegian ship Fjord east of Gibraltar at 2033 hours; 14 were killed, 22 survived. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-43 attacked US tanker Astral near the Azores islands just after 0000 hours; all torpedoes missed. At 0924 hours, U-43 attacked Astral again, destroying the tanker with two torpedo hits; all 37 aboard were killed. [CPC]
Japan
  • Tatsuta Maru departed Yokohama, Japan for San Francisco, ostensibly for the second repatriation voyage to bring Japanese nationals in the United States to Japan. Her planned voyage would take her to Honolulu and San Francisco in the United States, then Manzanillo in Mexico, followed by Balboa in the Panama Canal Zone. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • American submarine USS Trout began a "simulated war patrol" off Midway. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 2 Dec 1941
British Royal Navy Rear Admiral Arthur Palliser and Admiral Sir Thomas Philips at Singapore, 2 Dec 1941
3 Dec 1941
  • US Navy yacht Isabel set sail for the coast of Indochina on Roosevelt's orders; she was planned to be one of three vessels that would attempt to draw first fire from Japanese warships should hostilities become unavoidable. [CPC]
  • The Japanese carrier fleet tasked with the Pearl Harbor attack turned south after refueling on the previous day, approaching the Hawaii Islands with increased speed. At Pearl Harbor, the American intelligence report on the location of Japanese Navy warships had "no information on submarines or carriers". Elsewhere in Hawaii, Consul-General Nagao Kita received orders to burn code ciphers and important papers; this was noticed by the Americans, who also received intelligence that several Japanese embassies around the world were doing the same. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US PBY Catalina patrol aircraft reported 30 Japanese transports congregating in Cam Ranh Bay off Indochina, 10 more than the previous day. Meanwhile, a Japanese fleet departed Hainan Island in southern China for Thailand. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank the unarmed US freighter Sagadahoc in the South Atlantic with torpedoes. [CPC]
  • Japanese Navy issued the order to its senior admirals that hostilities against United States, Britain, and the Netherlands would begin on 8 Dec 1941 (Tokyo time). [CPC]
  • Japanese submarines began forming lines in Central and East Pacific. [CPC]
  • Carrier USS Enterprise began to launch F4F Wildcat fighters of the US Marine Corps for Wake Island. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hitler issued a decree on "Simplification and Increased Efficiency in our Armaments Production" (commonly known as the "Rationalization Decree") in which he chided German firms for failing to adopt the practice of large factories and simple production methods, and ordered the military to simplify and standardize the design of all weapons to make possible "mass production on modern principles". [AC]
  • Japan asked Italy to declare war on the United States should Japan and US enter a state of war. [CPC]
  • The Soviet evacuation convoy that had departed Hanko, Finland on the previous day sailed into the Corbetha minefield in the Gulf of Finland. One minesweeper was sunk and several other vessels were damaged. The passengers and crew aboard troop ship Iosif Stalin, which was seriously damaged by a mine, abandoned ship; about 4,000 of the nearly 6,000 that went overboard died in the water. [CPC]
  • German 4th Army was halted at Naro-Fominsk west of Moscow, Russia, thus exposing the flank of the German 2nd Panzer Army, which was assaulting the Tula region south of Moscow. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Axis attempt to reach Bardia in Libya and Sollum and Halfaya Pass in Egypt failed to breach the Allied positions that stood in the way. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank US ship Sagadahoc 1,250 west of South Africa at 2147 hours; 1 was killed, 34 survived. She was to be the last American merchant ship to be lost to the German Navy before the US officially entered the war. [CPC]
  • Dispersed ships of Allied convoy QP-3 began to arrive in Allied waters. [Main Article | CPC]
Italy
  • Scirè departed La Spezia, Italy for Alexandria, Egypt with three manned torpedoes on board. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille returned to his unit at Ain el Gazala, Libya after duties in Germany. [Main Article | CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • American submarine USS Argonaut began a "simulated war patrol" off Midway. [Main Article | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone
  • USS Gar reached the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • The two crematoria of Auschwitz Concentration Camp that was inactivated on 20 Nov for service were reactivated. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United States
  • President Franklin Roosevelt announced that Lend-Lease aid would be given to Turkey, as the safety of that country was considered vital to American defence. [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Dec 1941
Map depicting Japanese plans for occupying China immediately before launching the third attack on Changsha, China, 3 Dec 1941Soviet 122mm gun in action near Moscow, Russia, 3 Dec 1941
4 Dec 1941
  • Carrier USS Enterprise completed launching F4F Wildcat fighters of the US Marine Corps for Wake Island and set sail for Hawaii Islands, scheduling to arrive on 6 Dec 1941. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Schedule of Pearl Harbor attack was transmitted to the Japanese submarine fleet along with the latest intelligence and weather information. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese invasion fleets departed from various locations for their destinations in Malaya and Thailand. Later this day, American PBY Catalina patrol aircraft reported that the 30 Japanese transports detected on the previous day in Cam Ranh Bay off Indochina were no longer there. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 12 F4F-3 fighters of US Marine Fighter Squadron 211 arrived at Wake Island, delivered by USS Enterprise; they began daily patrols immediately. Meanwhile, Japanese aircraft scouted Wake Island undetected. [Main Article | CPC]
  • On the Eastern Front of the European War, temperature dropped to -31 degrees Fahrenheit (-37 degrees Celsius). In this cold weather, Günther von Kluge ordered German Army Group Center to fall to defensive positions. [Main Article | TH]
  • American river gunboats Luzon and Oahu, submarine rescue vessel Pigeon, and minesweeper Finch reached Manila, Philippine Islands from China. [CPC]
  • American river gunboat Mindanao set sail from Hong Kong for Manila, Philippine Islands. [CPC]
  • Keith Park was made a companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Arizona conducted a night gunnery exercise. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer Yuzuki departed Haha Jima, Japan with Destroyer Division 23, escorting the invasion fleet for Guam, Mariana Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Curtiss-Wright Corporation opened a new factory complex in Columbus, Ohio, United States. [CPC]
  • The British 4th Armoured Brigade moved east to counter the Axis advance toward Bardia, Libya and Sollum, Egypt. Erwin Rommel responded by pulling back the advances toward Bardia and Sollum for a concentrated attack toward Tobruk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Perseus sank Italian freighter Eridano 6 miles off Lefkada, Greece. [CPC]
China
  • American river gunboats Wake and Tutuila remained near Shanghai and Chongqing, respectively, to maintain communications with American diplomatic offices in China. [CPC]
Czechoslovakia
  • Adolf Eichmann appointed Jacob Edelstein, originally from Prague, the chairperson of the Council of Jewish Elders of Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in occupied Czechoslovakia. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Russia
  • At an event at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Joseph Stalin noted to Aleksandr Vasilevsky his surprise that Vasilevsky only had a single Order of the Red Star and a medal on Vasilevsky's uniform; the Soviet leader had expected the general to be better decorated. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 4 Dec 1941
Battleship HMS Prince of Wales mooring in Singapore, 4 Dec 1941
5 Dec 1941
  • Japanese invasion fleet boarded a Norwegian freighter and destroyed her radio. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese submarines surrounded Hawaii Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japan announced that recent troop movements in Indochina were merely precautionary. [CPC]
  • The Germans canceled Operation Typhoon on this date during which the lowest temperature dropped to -36 degrees Fahrenheit (-38 degrees Celsius). Meanwhile, Soviet General Zhukov launched Konev's Kalinin Front against German forces northwest of Moscow, Russia at 0300 hours, meeting strong resistance. From Germany, Adolf Hitler ordered the transfer of the German 2nd Air Corps from Russia to the Mediterranean Sea region. [Main Article | TH]
  • British 4th Armoured Brigade remained in the Libyan-Egyptian border region despite observing the withdrawing of Axis troops, unsure of Erwin Rommel's intentions. Meanwhile, German tanks attacked positions held by the Indian 11th Brigade near Tobruk, Libya. On the same day, Rommel was advised that supply situation would turn badly soon, and he considered withdrawing to the Gazala Line. [Main Article | CPC]
  • U-175 was commissioned into service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop gave Japanese ambassador Hiroshi Oshima a draft document which noted that Germany would declare war on the United States should Japan and the US enter a state of war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian pilot Clive Caldwell, in a Tomahawk fighter, shot down five Stuka dive bombers in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet General Meretskov launched a final assault on German positions in Tikhvin, Russia, which was 110 miles east of Leningrad. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The E15K floatplane took its maiden flight. [Main Article | CPC]
Baltic Sea
  • The Germans captured the damaged and abandoned troop ship Iosif Stalin near the Estonian coast with 2,000 survivors still on board. [CPC]
Hawaii
  • USS Lexington departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Islands to ferry US Marine Corps SB2U Vindicator dive bombers to Midway Atoll. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • USS Arizona arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii and was moored at Ford Island. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • USS Astoria departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii to join Task Force 12. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Japan Korea
  • Crown Prince Yi Un toured Keijo (now Seoul), Korea. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a British Hurricane fighter while escorting Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers south of Bir el Gubi Libya at 1525 hours. It was his 26th kill. [Main Article | CPC]
Philippines
  • Japanese aircraft conducted reconnaissance flights over the coasts of Luzon, Philippine Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 5 Dec 1941
Map depicting the German advance on Moscow, Russia, 26 Aug-5 Dec 1941Abandoned German vehicles on the Volokolamsk Highway near Moscow, Russia, 5 Dec 1941
6 Dec 1941
  • Tatsuta Maru was in the Pacific en route for San Francisco, California, United States; her planned passenger list after arriving in the United States now included employees of the Japanese Raw Silk Intelligence Bureau, the Silk Department of Mitsui and Company, Gunze Corporation, Asahi Corporation, Japanese Cotton and Silk Trading Company, Hara and Company, Katakura and Company, Morimura and Company, Arai and Company, and Shinyai and Company. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • The United Kingdom declared war on Finland, Hungary, and Romania. [AC]
  • US Navy yacht Isabel was detected by a floatplane from Japanese seaplane carrier Kamikawa Maru off Indochina; Isabel was later ordered to abort her current mission as bait for first fire and to sail for Manila, Philippine Islands. Shortly after, nearby, a Japanese Zero fighter covering the Malaya invasion force found and shot down a British PBY Catalina patrol aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet troops launched a counteroffensive in the Moscow region in Russia at 0600 hours. Georg Hans Reinhardt ordered his 3rd Panzer Army to fall back to Klin, while Heinz Guderian's 2nd Panzer Army held the areas near Tula south of Moscow. Field Marshal Fedor von Bock had not yet realized that he was now facing an all-out Soviet counteroffensive. [Main Article | TH]
  • Japanese carrier fleet reached the rendezvous point at 34 degrees north, 158 degrees west, and then began a high speed approach for Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. At the same time, the 30 Japanese submarines in the Hawaii area began to tighten the ring around the islands; I-74 spotted USS Lexington, but no action was taken. At Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel told a reporter from the news agency Christian Science Monitor that the chance of a war in the Pacific Ocean involving the United States was slim. Nearby, Vice Admiral William Pye told Kimmel (via intelligence officer Edwin Layton) that war with Japan was inevitable, although Pearl Harbor was not a likely target, thus there was no need to send the battleships out to sea as a precaution. Finally, at Honolulu, Hawaii, Consul-General Nagao Kita sent a cable to Japan that he observed no barrage balloons over Pearl Harbor and he did not believe there were torpedo nets around the battleships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt sent a personal message to Emperor Showa, attempting to calm situation in Indochina. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Enterprise encountered heavy weather which delayed her refueling operation for destroyers and delayed the arrival at Pearl Harbor. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer US Decatur, escorting convoy ONS 39, depth charged suspicious contacts in the North Atlantic off Iceland. [CPC]
  • USS Arizona began receiving maintenance work by the crew of repair ship USS Vestal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vannevar Bush and Arthur Compton assigned Harold Urey to develop research into gaseous diffusion as a uranium enrichment method and Ernest Lawrence to investigate electromagnetic separation methods. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The official wedding ceremony between King Leopold III of Belgium and Lilian Baels was held; they had already secretly wed on 11 Sep 1941. [Main Article | AC]
  • Oberst Adolf Galland was appointed General der Jagdflieger. [Main Article | AC]
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo ordered Ambassador Hiroshi Oshima to continue to press Germany to formally agree to declare war on the United States should Japan and US enter a state of war. Oshima was also ordered to avoid any German demands on a Japanese-Soviet war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The log road between Zabor'ye and Lake Ladoga near Leningrad, Russia was completed. Thousands of civilians, pressed into service as forced laborers, had died during the construction of this road in the past month. This opened another way to bring supplies into the besieged city. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Ryujo departed Palau Islands for the Philippine Islands. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • German submarine U-131 sank British ship Scottish Trader with 6 torpedoes south of Iceland, killing all 43 aboard. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Perseus struck an Italian mine while recharging her batteries on the surface 2 miles off Kefalonia, Greece. She sank, killing 60. [CPC]
  • Destroyer Yukikaze departed the Palau Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Repair ship Akashi arrived at Palau Islands. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Black Sea
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-204 was sunk by Bulgarian aircraft in the Black Sea 24 miles south of Varna, Bulgaria. [CPC]
Hawaii
  • Japanese spy Yoshikawa reported US ship locations in Pearl Harbor; the message was decrypted aboard Japanese carrier Akagi 36 minutes later. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Battleships USS Oklahoma arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Islands. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Battleships USS Nevada arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Islands. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down two Hurricane fighters, his 27th and 28th kills, over El Adem, Libya at 1210 and 1225 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
Taiwan
  • 27 Japanese troop transports departed from Taiwan, sailing for the Philippine Islands; 400 Japanese pilots stationed at Taiwan were briefed of the attacks to be commenced on the next day. Elsewhere, a Japanese invasion fleet boarded and scuttled a Norwegian freighter. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The US Navy leadership in Washington DC, United States was warned of the burning of papers at the nearby Japanese embassy. [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 6 Dec 1941
Group photo of the flight officers of Shokaku, 6 Dec 1941Japanese B5N torpedo bomber crews posing before a B5N aircraft aboard carrier Kaga, 6 Dec 1941Carrier Akagi, battleship Hiei, and battleship Kirishima in the Pacific Ocean en route toward US Territory of Hawaii, 6 Dec 1941Flight leader Masao Sato (second row, third from right) with his pilots aboard Zuikaku, 6 Dec 1941; note Tetsuzo Iwamoto second row, right-most
See all photos dated 6 Dec 1941
7 Dec 1941
  • At about midnight at the very beginning of the day, Tatsuta Maru was ordered to reverse course. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Fusata Iida passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Naoji Iwasa passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Erwin Rommel ordered his forces to pull back by about 10 miles toward the Gazala Line, abandoning the Tobruk objective. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American steam-powered schooner Cynthia Olson, under charter of the US Army, was shelled and sunk by Japanese submarine I-26 with no survivors; two US Army personnel were on board. [CPC]
  • Japanese troops invaded Khota Baru, Malaya, two hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. A series of landings in nearby Thailand initially met stiff resistance, but the Thai government negotiated for an armistice within hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese aircraft bombarded Singapore, Guam, and Wake, while two Japanese destroyers shelled Midway Atoll, causing 14 casualties and damaging much equipment. [CPC]
  • Hitler published his notorious Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) decree which allows the Gestapo to dispose of their prisoners without trace. [TH]
  • After suffering a heart attack, Feldmarschall von Brauchitsch tendered his resignation. [Main Article | TH]
  • The office of the US Navy Chief of Naval Operations ordered unrestricted air and submarine warfare against Japan. [CPC]
  • USS Arizona received two bomb hits during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. The second bomb hit led to the detonation of her forward ammunition magazine, which led to her sinking. 1,177 were killed, including Battleship Division 1 commanding officer Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd and her commanding officer Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Isaac Kidd became the first US Navy flag officer to be killed in action during WW2. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Mitsuo Fuchida led the Pearl Harbor attack, remaining over the target area throughout both waves of attacks to observe the degree of damage done to the American fleet. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The commanding officer of the US Marine Corps 7th Defense Battalion at American Samoa ordered his troops to man their positions as he was informed of the attacks on American positions across the Pacific Ocean. He also called the Samoan Marine Reserve Battalion to active duty. [CPC]
  • Soviet forces captured Tikhvin, Russia east of Leningrad. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet 30th Army attacked German 3rd Panzer Army at Klin while Soviet 50th Army attacked German 2nd Panzer Division near Moscow, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Harvester and HMS Hesperus sank German submarine U-208 115 miles west of Gibraltar, killing the entire crew of 45. [CPC]
  • Canadian corvette HMCS Windflower, escorting Allied convoy SC-58 off Newfoundland, collided with Dutch freighter Zypenberg in poor visibility due to fog and sank; 23 were killed. [CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho departed the Inland Sea, Japan with a large fleet. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • It was announced that from midnight the British Empire would be at war with Finland, Hungary and Romania. [AC]
Australian New Guinea
  • One day prior to the opening of the Pacific War (owing to the International Date Line), the first three Australian Hudson medium bombers arrived at Rabaul, Bismarck Islands; they were under the command of Flight Lieutenant John Murphy. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • River gunboat USS Wake was captured by the Japanese in Shanghai, China. [CPC]
  • Japanese armored cruiser Izumo sank British river gunboat HMS Peterel in Shanghai, China. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Hawaii
  • Two strike waves were launched against Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Akagi's torpedo planes were instrumental in sinking the battleships USS Oklahoma and West Virginia. Vice Admiral Nagumo ordered a withdrawal following recovery of the second attack wave. [Main Article | Facility | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Operation Z: 360 Japanese carrier aircraft (104 bombers, 135 dive bombers, 40 torpedo bombers, and 81 fighters) attacked Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, sinking or damaging 8 battleships, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, 1 anti-aircraft training ship, 1 minelayer; destroying 188 aircraft; and killing 2,459 (57 of which were civilian) and wounding 1,282 (35 of which were civilian). The Japanese lost only 29 aircraft and 5 midget submarines; 55 were killed and 10 were wounded. [Main Article | Facility | TH]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a British Hurricane fighter, his 29th kill, at 0930 hours near Sidi Omar, Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • Shokaku participated in the two strike waves against Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Chuichi Nagumo ordered a withdrawal following recovery of the second attack wave. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Taiwan United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill had lunch with Duchess of Marlborough Alexandra Mary Cadogan and her son Marquess of Blandford John Spencer-Churchill. He had dinner with US Ambassador John Gilbert Winant and W. Averell Harriman; after dinner, they learned of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor in the US Territory of Hawaii. He would later write that he "slept the sleep of the saved and thankful", relieved that the United States was finally in the war, and Britain was no longer alone. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British RAF airmen returning from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk areas of northern Russia began to arrive in Britain by ships. [CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt met with Chinese ambassador Hu Shih at the White House in Washington DC, United States, had lunch with Harry Hopkins, and at 1347 hours he was interrupted by a telephone call from Frank Knox, informing him of the Pearl Harbor attack. At 2030 hours, Roosevelt gave a briefing to a small group of Congressmen. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 7 Dec 1941
USS Maryland burning in foreground and USS Oklahoma capsizing in the backDestroyer USS ShawDraft number 1 of RooseveltDraft number 1 of Roosevelt
See all photos dated 7 Dec 1941
8 Dec 1941
  • The rebuilding of the interior of Japanese luxury ocean liner Hikawa Maru began. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • I-68 traveled to the entrance of Pearl Harbor to rescue any surviving midget submarine crews. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • RAF Hudson aircraft bombed Japanese invasion shipping off Kota Bharu, British Malaya, setting cargo ship Awajisan Maru afire. The Japanese 143rd Infantry Regiment of 55th Division (under command of 25th Army) landed on four beaches in southern Thailand; local Thai forces, unaware of their government's agreement to allow free passage to the Burma border, put up a fierce resistance and killed 79 Japanese soldiers. Japanese aircraft began arriving at Songkla in southern Thailand to prepare for air raids against targets in British Malaya. [Main Article | TH]
  • Soviet offensive broke through German Armeegruppe Mitte near Moscow, Russia, cutting the Klin-Kalinin road. German units began making hasty withdrawals to prevent encirclement, abandoning large numbers of immobilized equipment in the process. Adolf Hitler issued Führer Directive 39 which called for German troops to hold their ground. [Main Article | TH]
  • Japanese submarine I-123 mined Balabac Strait in Philippine waters while I-124 mined the entrance to Manila Bay. [CPC]
  • Striking Force of the US Navy Asiatic Fleet departed from Iloilo, Philippine Islands for Makassar Strait. [CPC]
  • Japanese naval aircraft from carrier Ryujo attacked seaplane tender USS William B. Preston in Davao Gulf; the ship escaped in tact, but two of the PBY Catalina flying boats she was tending were destroyed. [CPC]
  • Japanese forces invaded the British colony of Hong Kong. British and Canadian garrison at Hong Kong was hopelessly outnumbered and beyond reach of any Allied help. Within less than two days the defenders would be forced to retreat to Hong Kong island itself. [Main Article | AC]
  • Japanese invasion fleet for Wake Island departed from Kwajalein while aircraft of the Japanese Navy 24th Air Flotilla (based at Roi-Namur, Kwajalein) attacked Camp One, Camp Two, and the airstrip on Wake; Japanese aircraft destroyed seven of the Eight F4F-3 fighters were destroyed as well as a 25,000-gallon capacity aviation gas tank. Meanwhile, Pan American Airways aircraft evacuated Caucasians from Wake Island, leaving airline staff of Chamorro ethnicity behind. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In the Mariana Islands, Japanese land-based aircraft from Saipan attacked Guam, damaging various facilities and sinking minesweeper USS Penguin in Apra Harbor (1 killed, 60 wounded). [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer Yuzuki conducted anti-submarine operations in the Mariana Islands area. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue gave the order to the Japanese Navy Fourth Fleet at Truk, Caroline Islands to began executing the plans to capture Wake, Guam (Mariana Islands), Makin (Gilbert Islands), Tarawa (Gilbert Islands), and other islands and atolls in the Pacific Ocean. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler ordered the German Navy to begin attacking American shipping. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Galeazzo Ciano called Joachim von Ribbentrop to discuss the American entry into the war; Ciano later noted that Ribbentrop was happy with this latest development. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German bombers sank British minesweeping trawlers HMT Milford Earl (5 killed) and HMT Phineas Beard off the east coast of Scotland, United Kingdom. [CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho passed through the Bungo Strait between Kyushu and Shikoku, Japan. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Costa Rica, Dominica, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua declared war on Japan. [CPC]
Australian New Guinea
  • The fourth Australian Hudson medium bomber arrived at Rabaul, Bismarck Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
Canada
  • Canada declared war on Japan. [CPC]
China
  • In China, Colonel William W. Ashurst surrendered the US Marine Corps detachments in Tianjin, Beiping, Qinhuangdao (Camp Holcomb), and the American embassy to the Japanese. In Shanghai, Japanese Special Naval Landing Force troops captured US Navy river gunboat Wake before the gunboat's crew could scuttle her. US passenger liner President Harrison, en route to northern China to evacuate US Marines, was captured by the Japanese at Sha Wai Shan, China; she was later refloated and pressed into service as Kakko Maru and later Kachidoki Maru. [CPC]
  • China, having already been engaged in war with Japan since Jul 1937, formally declared war on Japan and Germany. [CPC]
Germany
  • Japanese ambassador in Germany Hiroshi Oshima sent a note to Joachim von Ribbentrop, requesting Germany to declare war on the United States. [Main Article | CPC]
Iceland
  • Allied convoy PQ-6 departed Hvalfjörður, Iceland. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down a P-40 fighter, his 30th kill, over El Adem, Libya at 0845 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
Marshall Islands Philippines
  • Japanese Navy 11th Air Fleet land-based aircraft from Taiwan attacked US Army airfields on Luzon island, Philippine Islands as well as shipping in Manila Bay; at the latter location, American freighter Capillo was abandoned after receiving heavy damage. Japanese Army aircraft joined in on the attack on this date also, striking Baguio and Tuguegarao at 0930 hours. North of Luzon, a Japanese force landed on Batan Island and established an air base. [Main Article | CPC]
Poland
  • Chelmno Concentration Camp near Lodz, Poland began gassings; it was the first large camp established for the purpose of mass exterminations. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • United Kingdom declared war on Japan. [CPC]
  • The French government-in-exile in Britain declared war on Japan. [CPC]
  • The Dutch government-in-exile in Britain declared war on Japan. [CPC]
United States
  • United States Congress declared war on Japan after Franklin Roosevelt's "a date which will live in infamy" speech. [CPC]
  • USS Saratoga departed San Diego, California for Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The keel of submarine Runner was laid down at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Edward Murrow and his wife Janet had dinner at the White House in Washington DC, United States with Eleanor Roosevelt. The dinner was arranged prior to the Japanese attack, and Murrow had expected the invitation to be canceled, but surprisingly Franklin Roosevelt insisted that the plans be kept; although Roosevelt was too busy to join them at the meal, he would make sure to meet with Murrow for some time late in the evening. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 8 Dec 1941
Light cruiser Raleigh fights to stay afloatThe repair ship Vestal beached off AieaRoosevelt delivered the Franklin Roosevelt signing the Declaration of War against Japan, 8 Dec 1941
See all photos dated 8 Dec 1941
9 Dec 1941
  • Japanese troops seized Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands. [CPC]
  • Japanese submarines RO-63, RO-64, and RO-68 bombarded Howland and Baker Islands; it was believed that the US Navy had seaplane bases on those islands, but that intelligence was incorrect. [CPC]
  • Transport William Ward Burrows, en route to Wake Island, was re-routed to Johnston Island. [CPC]
  • After more than four years of full scale war, China finally formally declared war on Japan. Cuba and Panama also declared war on Japan on this day. [CPC]
  • US Navy purchased 25 airborne search radar sets for service test in dive bombers and torpedo planes. [CPC]
  • Soviet troops recaptured Tikhivin, northern Russia. [Main Article | TH]
  • When the rest of his flight was jumped on take-off by Japanese fighters, RAF Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf went on alone to bomb his target in Malaya. Attacked by 12 fighters on the way back, he was fatally wounded but landed his Blenheim bomber and saved his crew. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. [AC]
  • Japanese submarine I-10 shelled and sank unarmed Panamanian-flag motorship Donerail 200 miles southeast of Hawaii; only 8 out of the 40 people onboard survived. [CPC]
  • Bitter fighting between British and Japanese troops took place for the airfield at Kota Bharu in British Malaya, while two groups of Indian troops crossed into Thailand to destroy roads and railroads. In Thailand, the Japanese entered Bangkok. Out at sea, Japanese aircraft and submarine I-65 spotted British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse; torpedo bombers were launched from Saigon, occupied French Indochina, but they failed to locate the ships. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USN river gunboat Mindanao, en route from Hong Kong to Manila, captured a Japanese fishing vessel and took her Taiwanese crew of ten aboard as prisoners. [CPC]
  • USS Swordfish became the first US submarine to attack the enemy when she fired on a Japanese ship 150 miles west of Manila. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS R-1 patrolled the New England coast of northeastern United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese aircraft commenced the bombing of Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands; among the first targets in the capital city region was the US Army airbase Nichols Field. [Main Article | AC]
  • Japanese aircraft bombarded American defensive positions at Guam, Mariana Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese troops breached a western segment of the British Gin Drinker's Line, which stretched from the Gin Drinker's Bay (Zuijiu Wan) in the west to the White Sands Bay (Baisha Wan) in the east, at 225 High Ground north of Hong Kong Island. 27 prisoners were taken. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-652 sank French ship Saint Denis 50 miles south of the Balearic Islands at 1400 hours, killing 3; the ship was sunk in a case of misidentification, as she flew the flag of Vichy France. [CPC]
  • German submarine U-134 mistakenly sank German ship Steinbek 20 miles off of northern Norway at 2100 hours; 12 survived. [CPC]
  • Japanese destroyers Ayanami and Yugiri discovered Dutch submarine O 20 twenty miles east of Kota Bharu, British Malaya and attacked her with depth charges from 1100 to 1730 hours. O 20 was finally forced to surface after sundown and was scuttled. 7 were killed during the attack; 32 survived and were captured. [CPC]
  • Winston Churchill sent Franklin Roosevelt a message requesting a conference on the war with Japan. Roosevelt initially intended to reject this request, wishing to give his top generals more time to research the situation to avoid the British dominating the conference. [Main Article | CPC]
Australian New Guinea
  • Australian Hudson medium bombers began patrolling out of Rabaul, Bismarck Islands. They spotted an unidentified aircraft that was suspected to be Japanese, but they failed to intercept it. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Adolf Hitler arrived in Berlin, Germany at 1100 hours. He decided to declare war on the United States on this date, but decided to withhold the announcement until 11 Dec in order to have enough time to draft his speech. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii Philippines
  • USS Skipjack departed Manila, Philippine Islands for her first war patrol. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet 30th Army attacked north of Moscow, Russia, capturing many trucks and field guns abandoned by the German 3rd Panzer Army. South of Moscow, Soviet troops captured Venev and Yelets. Despite the victories, Soviet logistic situation was extremely poor largely due to the destruction of many vehicles at the hands of the Germans in the past few months; for example, Viktor Abakumov reported on this day that on 25 Nov 1941 Soviet 18th Ski Battalion went without any food. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Franklin Roosevelt had his first "Fireside Chat" radio address since the United States had entered the war, noting that the Axis powers had been tainted with "a decade of immorality". [Main Article | CPC]
  • Bob Feller enlisted in the United States Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • At Wake Atoll, Japanese Navy 24th Air Flotilla aircraft bombed Naval Air Station on Peale Island and Batteries A and E at Peacock Point. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 9 Dec 1941
Six British Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Sea Hurricane aircraft operating from Yeoviton, United Kingdom flying in formation, 9 Dec 1941Royal Canadian Navy officer questioning Japanese-Canadian fishermen, 9 Dec 1941Governer General of Australia Lord Gowrie signing the declaration of war against Japan with Prime Minister John Curtin looking on, at 1115 hours, 8 Dec 1941 (2015 hours, 9 Dec 1941 local time)P-40 Warhawk aircraft damaged in a taxiing accident with another P-40 at Bellows Field, Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, 8 Dec 1941, photo 2b of 2
See all photos dated 9 Dec 1941
10 Dec 1941
  • Thomas Phillips passed away. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Operation Crusader: The siege of Tobruk, Libya was lifted. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese Destroyer Squadron 6 conducted amphibious invasion on Wake and Wilkes islands in failure, losing one destroyer and three other craft to shore battery and one destroyer to US aircraft, making them the first Japanese ships to be sunk in the Pacific War; this invasion was the only time in the Pacific War that shore defenders overcame an amphibious landing. In the air, USMC Captain Elrod shot down a Japanese G3M2 Type 96 land attack aircraft at Wake, which was the first USMC air-to-air kill of the Pacific War. On the same day, Japanese aircraft destroyed a 125-ton dynamite cache, and the resulting explosion caused damage to coastal batteries. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Aircraft from USS Enterprise sank Japanese submarine I-70 in Hawaiian waters. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German spy Karel Richter was executed at Wandsworth Prison in Britain. [TH]
  • In the Mariana Islands, 1,400-strong landing party of the Japanese Navy 5th Defense Force from Saipan landed on Dungcas Beach at Guam. At the same time, 5,500 men of the Japanese South Seas Detached Force landed at Tumon Bay, near Merizo, and at Talafofo Bay. US military governor of Guam, Captain McMillin, surrendered the island to the Japanese Navy commanding officer. Two patrol craft, thirteen lighters, one dredge, three barges, and one auxiliary vessel at Guam were turned over to the Japanese. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese submarine I-58 spotted British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse off British Malaya, launched five torpedoes, but all of them missed; beginning at 1117 hours, Japanese aircraft began to attack. Overwhelmed, HMS Repulse was sunk at 1233 hours (513 killed), followed by HMS Prince of Wales at 1318 hours (327 killed); destroyers HMS Electra, HMS Express, and HMS Vampire rescued 1,862 survivors. On land, the British commanders dispatched the 1st Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Gurkha Rifles regiment to Changlun and Asun in northern British Malaya to counter the Japanese advance; contact was made at Changlun at 2100 hours, where two Japanese tanks were destroyed before the Punjabi troops fell back toward Asun. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British troops withdrew onto Hong Kong island after the defensive Gin Drinker's Line collapsed. [Main Article | AC]
  • USS R-1 patrolled the New England coast of northeastern United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill transferred Burma under the operational command of Archibald Wavell in India. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Japanese Navy 11th Air Fleet was reorganized to contain three air flotillas, a destroyer division, three transports, and two Special Naval Landing Forces. [CPC]
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop ordered the German chargé d'affaires in Washington DC, United States to avoid provoking the United States, as Adolf Hitler would like to declare war on the United States first. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet troops encircled three German divisions at Livny, south of Moscow, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-130 attacked Allied convoy SC-57 200 miles southwest of Ireland just before midnight at the end of the day, sinking British transport Kurdistan, British transport Kirnwood, and Egyptian transport Star of Luxor. [CPC]
  • Captain Karou Umetani of light carrier Hosho received a US submarine sighting report and decided to launch aircraft to hunt for the submarine even though the late launch meant he would have to turn on the flight deck lights after dark when the aircraft returned. No hostile submarines made use of the flight deck lights to attack the carrier, but the landing operations caused Hosho to be separated from the fleet. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Russian ship Kuzbass and tug Arcos, Stragglers of Allied convoy QP-3, were found by Soviet ice breaker Fyodor Litke, rescue ship Squall, and Soviet patrol ship SKR-19 at 0900 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • Joseph Rochefort and his team in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii began working on decrypting the main Japanese Navy operational code. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down the South African P-40 fighter piloted by Lieutenant B. G. S. Enslin near El Adem, Libya at 0850 hours. It was his 31st kill. [Main Article | CPC]
Philippines
  • Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippine Islands was heavily damaged by Japanese aircraft; destroyers Peary and Pillsbury, submarines Seadragon and Sealion, and submarine tender Otus were damaged; ferry Santa Rita was sunk; minesweeper Bittern was destroyed by fire; about 60% of US Navy Asiatic Fleet's torpedoes were destroyed at Cavite. A PBY Catalina aircraft, fleeing from the attack on Cavite Navy Yard, was attacked by three Zero fighters; gunner Chief Boatswain Payne shot down one of the Zero fighters, thus scoring the US Navy's first verifiable air-to-air kill of a Japanese aircraft in the Pacific War. Elsewhere, Japanese aircraft attacked Manila Bay area, damaging American freighter Sagoland. Finally, Japanese troops of the 2nd Taiwan Regiment of the 48th Division landed on Camiguin Island and at Gonzaga, Vigan, and Aparri on Luzon Island. [Main Article | CPC]
  • While guarding transports which disembarked troops on Luzon, Philippine Islands, Naka was attacked by US B-17 bombers, P-35A fighters, and P-40B fighters, receiving slight damage from strafing. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
United States
  • USS Gar arrived at San Diego, California, United States. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Flying Fish was commissioned into service with Lieutenant Commander Glynn Donaho in command. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt tore up a letter he drafted for Winston Churchill intending to delay Churchill's request for a conference as he heard news of the Japanese sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse off Malaya and realized the urgency of having to plan for a campaign against the Japanese. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 10 Dec 1941
Remains of destroyers Cassin and Downes, 10 Dec 1941Attack on Prince of Wales and Repulse, 10 Dec 1941, photo 1 of 2Attack on Prince of Wales and Repulse, 10 Dec 1941, photo 2 of 2; photo taken by a Japanese pilot; note destroyer Electra or Express in foregroundFires at Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands, resulting from the 10 Dec 1941 Japanese air raid
See all photos dated 10 Dec 1941
11 Dec 1941
  • Japanese infantrymen under the command of Colonel Shizuo Saeki overran the defenses set up by Punjabi troops between Changlun and Asun, British Malaya, and gave chase into Asun, where Gurkha troops slowed the Japanese advance by destroying the two Japanese tanks in the spearhead; the Gurkha positions, however, would be captured by 1900 hours, killing or capturing 350 men. Nearby, Japanese troops also under Saeki reached the outskirts of Jitra, British Malaya, which was defended by troops of the 11th Indian Division. Out at sea, Japanese pilot Lieutenant Ito, flying a torpedo bomber over the location where Repulse and Prince of Wales were sunk on the previous day, dropped a wreath to honor the killed British sailors. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; United States responded with a declaration of war. [TH]
  • US Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox arrived at Hawaii to personally assess the damage inflicted on 7 Dec 1941 by the Japanese. Meanwhile, Japanese submarine I-9 shelled the unarmed US freighter Lahaina about 800 miles northeast of Honolulu. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US submarine Triton successfully attacked a Japanese ship south of Wake Island. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese troops landed at Legaspi, Luzon, Philippine Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In North Africa the Italians reformed the line running south from the coast at Gazala with their armour on the right flank. Rommel's Afrika Korps, reduced to just forty operational tanks after the Operation Crusader battles, protected the open southern flank. [Main Article | AC]
  • USS R-1 arrived at Bermuda. [Main Article | CPC]
  • North of Moscow, Russia, Soviet 16th Army captured Istra while Soviet 20th Army reached Solnechnogorsk. South of Moscow, Soviet troops captured Stalinogorsk. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-374 sank British anti-submarine trawler HMS Lady Shirley in the Strait of Gibraltar at 0421 hours, killing all 33 aboard. 21 minutes later, U-374 sank British patrol yacht HMS Rosabelle, which attempted to locate U-374; 30 were killed, 12 survived and rescued by patrol yacht HMS Sayonara. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Truant fired two torpedoes at Italian tankers in Suda Bay, Crete, Greece; one of them hit torpedo boat Alcione, killing 20. [CPC]
  • British destroyer HMS Farndale forced Italian submarine Caracciola to surface 30 miles northeast of Bardia, Libya and sank her with gunfire; 1 was killed (a passenger with the rank of an army general), 53 survived. [CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho rejoined the fleet; in the previous night, she fell out of formation as she slowed to conduct a night time landing operation. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler announced that since the start of the war against the Soviet Union, the German forces had captured 3,806,865 Soviet prisoners of war. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Permit began her first war patrol in Philippine waters. [Main Article | CPC]
Hong Kong
  • Japanese troops advanced southward along the Kowloon Peninsula north of Hong Kong, capturing Stonecutter's Island. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down the British P-40 fighter piloted by Canadian Flight Sergeant M. A. Canty southeast of El Adem, Libya. It was his 32nd kill. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • While bombarding US installations at Wake Atoll, Tenryu was strafed by a US Marine Corps F4F-3 Wildcat fighter, wounding 5 sailors and mildly damaged three torpedoes in the No. 1 mount. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 11 Dec 1941
Franklin Roosevelt signing the Declaration of War against Germany, 11 Dec 1941; Senatorr Tom Connally stood by with watch to mark exact time of declarationUSS North Carolina, 11 Dec 1941Adolf Hitler receiving salutes from the German Reichstag upon declaring war on the United States, Berlin, Germany, 11 Dec 1941German Reichstag saluting Adolf Hitler shortly after Germany
See all photos dated 11 Dec 1941
12 Dec 1941
  • Japanese Navy 11th Air Fleet aircraft attacked the US Navy base at Olongapo in Luzon, Philippine Islands. At Legaspi, Japanese troops captured an airfield and moved north. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox departed from Oahu, Hawaii after personally inspecting damages. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The United Kingdom declared war on Bulgaria while Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania declared war on the United Kingdom and the United States. [TH]
  • Germans reported widespread typhus on the Eastern Front of the European War. [TH]
  • Refugee ship SS Struma departed Romania with 769 Rumanian Jews on board, sailing for Palestine. [CPC]
  • US submarine S-38 claimed sinking the first Japanese ship in the Pacific War by an American vessel, but the sinking was not confirmed. [CPC]
  • Churchill placed the defence of Burma under Wavell's command, promising four fighter and six bomber squadrons and matérial reinforcements, together with the 18th Division and what remained of 17th Indian Division (since two of its Brigades had been diverted to Singapore). On the same day, the 3rd Squadron of the American Volunteer Group was transferred to Rangoon, Burma. [Main Article | AC]
  • In a meeting with Adolf Hitler, Erich Raeder noted to Hitler that the Americans would most likely divert warships to the Pacific Ocean which was advantageous for the German Navy. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wilhelm Keitel clarified Adolf Hitler's Nacht und Nebel decree to the leaders of the German military. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Colonel Shizuo Saeki led elements of the Japanese 5th Division attacked Jitra, British Malaya. After sundown, British General Lewis Heath gave the order for the 11th Indian Division to withdraw from Jitra. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian cruisers Alberto da Giussano and Alberico da Barbiano departed Palermo, Sicily, for Tripoli, Libya with 135 men and 950 tons of various types of fuel. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Destroyer Yukikaze escorted the Japanese invasion force for Legaspi, Luzon, Philippine Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Australian government decided to abandon Rabaul in the Bismarck Islands should the Japanese invade; only civilians, restricted to women and children, were allowed to be evacuated. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Philippines Russia
  • Semyon Timoshenko of Soviet Southwestern Front and Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Military Council ordered the arrest of the head of the Special Department of the 1st Tank Brigade and the assistant to the Technical Department of the Tank Regiment for "overreaching their authority" and "unauthorized shootings" for the execution, while intoxicated, of a lieutenant of the 1st Tank Brigade without reason. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • Japanese reconnaissance flying boats bombed Wake and Peale Islands in a pre-dawn raid, followed by daylight bombing by land-based attack aircraft from Majuro, Marshall Islands; neither bombing caused significant damage. Aircraft from US Marine Fighter Squadron 211 reported a possible sinking of a Japanese submarine 25 miles southwest of Wake Atoll. [Main Article | CPC]
13 Dec 1941
  • I-68 was attacked by American depth charges on this day and following days, damaging many battery cells and flooded the aft torpedo tubes. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • New Zealand and Indian troops of the British Eighth Army launched an attack on the Gazala Line in Libya while the Germans launched a counterattack. British tanks exploited the gap opened by Indian troops, but the advance was soon halted by German tanks. Both sides incurred heavy casualties in men and equipment after the day's fighting. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Niihau Incident: Downed Japanese pilot attempted to recover sensitive documents seized from him by Niihau islanders; two of the islanders attacked and killed the pilot. [Main Article | CPC]
  • General Timoshenko's Southwest Front assaulted German lines at junction of 2.Panzergruppe and 2.Armee. 2.Armee withdrew, leaving 2.Panzergruppe's flank unprotected. Feldmarschall von Bock secretly ordered Armeegruppe Mitte to withdraw to a winter line 90 miles west of current positions, without informing Hitler. [Main Article | TH]
  • Chinese troops mounted an offensive against Japanese troops in the Hong Kong area; earlier on the same day, the last British troops in Kowloon on the mainland were evacuated onto Hong Kong island. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese Navy aircraft again struck the US Navy base at Olongapo at Subic Bay at Luzon, Philippine Islands. Various other bases and airfields in the Manila Bay area were attacked as well. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Sikh, HMS Maori, and HMS Legion and Dutch destroyer HNLMS Isaac Sweers defeated Italian light cruisers Alberto da Giussano and Alberico da Barbiano and torpedo boat Cigno off Cape Bon, Tunisia at 0325 hours. The two Italian cruisers sank (1,020 killed, 645 survived) with nearly 2,000 tons of aviation fuel meant for Axis forces fighting in North Africa. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Goebbels wrote in his diary "The World War is here, the extermination of the Jews must be the necessary consequence." [Main Article | AC]
  • The United States Marine Corps formed the Marine Garrison Forces, 14th Naval District at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii. [CPC]
  • Just after 0000 hours, Dutch submarine O.16 entered Mueang Patani, Thailand and damaged four Japanese freighters with six torpedoes, sinking a number of them in shallow water. All ships would later be repaired and put back into service. At 0200 hours, rearguard Indian troops blew up the bridge at Jitra, British Malaya before joining the main body falling back toward Gurun to the south. Later on the same day, Japanese troops arrived at the abandoned airfield at Alor Setar, British Malaya, capturing bombs and aviation fuel. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Upright sank Italian transports Fabio Filzi and Carlo del Greco in Gulf of Taranto, Italy. [CPC]
  • British battleship HMS Duke Of York departed the Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom with Winston Churchill on board, sailing for the United States. The battleship was escorted by destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Foresight, and HMS Matabele. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto departed Naples, Italy. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • USS Pollack departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for her first war patrol. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • USS Astoria arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille scored his 33rd and 34th kills, both South African P-40 fighters, when he shot down Flying Officer Thomas Trimble and either Lieutenant Connel or Lieutenant Meek northeast of Tmimi, Libya at 1600 and 1610 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
Marshall Islands Puerto Rico
  • US 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons, both operating P-40 Warhawk fighters, was assigned to Vega Baja Auxiliary Airdrome in Puerto Rico. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Allied convoy PQ-5 arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 13 Dec 1941
Cruiser Honolulu drydocked for damage suffered during Pearl Harbor attack, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, 13 Dec 1941, photo 1 of 2Cruiser Honolulu drydocked for damage suffered during Pearl Harbor attack, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, 13 Dec 1941, photo 2 of 2
14 Dec 1941
  • British 4th Armored Brigade moved south toward Bir Halegh el Eleba, Libya in a plan to outflank Axis forces on the Gazala Line. On the same day, the Polish Independent Brigade was deployed under a New Zealand division in Libya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Congress authorized the US Navy to keep enlisted men in service past their enlistment expiration. [CPC]
  • US Navy Task Force 11 with USS Lexington, three cruisers, and nine destroyers set sail for the Marshall Islands, acting as decoy in attempt to lure Japanese naval vessels out of the Wake Island area. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Franz Halder and Günther von Kluge gave permission for a limited withdrawal for troops of the Army Group Center (Armeegruppe Mitte) in the Moscow area to the west of the Oka river, without Hitler's approval. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese submarine shelled Kahului and Maui, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Seawolf fired a torpedo at Japanese seaplane carrier Sanyo Maru off Aparri, Philippine Islands; the torpedo hit its target but failed to detonate. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Hiroshi Oshima was awarded the German medal Order of the German Eagle 1st Class. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Urge attacked Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto in the Strait of Messina between southern Italy and the island of Sicily; the heavy damage caused by this torpedo attack would put the battleship out of action for several months. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Dagabur attacked British cruiser HMS Galatea while en route to Alexandria, Egypt at 1955 hours, causing no damage. Just before midnight, German submarine U-557 conducted a second attack on HMS Galatea, sinking her 35 miles west of Alexandria. 470 were killed in the sinking and 154 survived. [CPC]
  • The British authorities at Hong Kong refused the Japanese demand for surrender. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A battalion from the Japanese 143rd Infantry Regiment occupied Victoria Point, Burma on the Kra River near the Thai-Burmese border. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Thai Prime Minister Plaek Pibunsongkhram signed a secret agreement with Japan which formally allowed Japanese troops to operate in Thailand. [CPC]
  • In the Philippine Islands, three US B-17 bombers took off from the Del Monte airfield on Mindanao to attack the Japanese beachhead at Legaspi, Luzon. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 10 Japanese troop transports departed Cam Ranh Bay, Indochina, with the Borneo invasion force on board. The convoy was escorted by 3 cruisers and 6 destroyers. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Libya
  • German pilot Oberfeldwebel Hermann Förster was strafed by a British fighter while he was descending in a parachute. Some thought the British pilot might had been Clive Caldwell. [Main Article | CPC]
Malaya and Singapore
  • At 1500 hours, Japanese troops overran Allied defenses near Gurun, British Malaya but failed to reach the town. [Main Article | AC]
Taiwan United States
  • The 2nd Marine Brigade was created by the US 2nd Marine Division at Camp Elliott, California, United States for the task of defending American Samoa. [AC]
US Pacific Islands
  • Japanese reconnaissance flying boats from Wotje and Roi, Marshall Islands bombed Wake Island in a pre-dawn raid, damaging Camp One facilities, the airstrip, and a fighter; Wake Atoll's aircraft was now operating on only one airstrip. After daybreak, more Japanese land-based attack aircraft struck the atoll. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 14 Dec 1941
Troops of the Japanese 15th Army preparing to cross into Burma, late Dec 1941
15 Dec 1941
  • Erwin Rommel ordered the Cyrenaica region of Libya abandoned, using his remaining tanks to guard Point 204 on the Gazala Line as rearguard for the troops that would begin to fall back. To the southwest, British 4th Armoured Brigade arrived at Bir Halegh el Eleba at 1500 hours where they planned to outflank the Axis forces. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Submarine sank first Japanese merchantman. [TH]
  • To the north of Moscow, Russia, Soviet tanks cut the road west of Klin; to prevent encirclement, the German 3rd Panzer Army abandoned Klin at 2130 hours and fled to the southwest, abandoning most of its heavy equipment. On the same day, Soviet state offices moved back to Moscow. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Navy seaplane tender Tangier, oiler Neches, and four destroyers sailed from Pearl Harbor for Wake Island. [CPC]
  • Japanese submarine I-22 shelled Johnston Island, destroying a 1,200-gallon oil tank; another submarine, I-1, shelled Kahului, Maui, Hawaii Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The American Federation of Labor established a no-strike policy in war industries. [CPC]
  • The construction of submarine Tang was ordered. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Archibald Wavell received a cable from Winston Churchill, which warned him of a likely Japanese invasion of Burma. [Main Article | CPC]
  • A group of 300 Japanese troops crossed the Lye Mun Channel onto Hong Kong island at 0300 hours, but the Allied defenders on the beach drove off this amphibious attack. Starting on this date, the Japanese artillery and aerial bombardment on the northern coast of Hong Kong island began. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese troops overran the Allied defenses at Gurun, British Malaya, opening up the road toward Penang. On the same day, the British abandoned the RAF base at Butterworth near Penang, flying all of of the remaining aircraft to Singapore. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The US B-17 bombers at the Del Monte airfield on Mindanao, Philippine Islands were ordered to fly to Australia on the following day. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Australian destroyer HMAS Nestor sank German submarine U-127 with depth charges 200 miles west of Gibraltar, killing all 51 aboard. [CPC]
  • Dutch submarine HNMS O 16 struck a mine and sank 22 miles northeast of Tioman Island, British Malaya at 0230 hours, killing 41. [CPC]
  • Edward Brooks was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. [Main Article | CPC]
Australian New Guinea
  • Australian Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Erwin spotted the Japanese invasion fleet, 19 barges and 1 transport, gathering at Kapingamarangi northeast of Rabaul, Bismarck Islands. Hudson medium bombers were dispatched to attack, but they caused no damage. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • USS Saratoga arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Japanese reconnaissance flying boats bombed Wake Island. Meanwhile, US Navy Task Force 14 (USS Saratoga, USS Astoria, USS Tangier, with escorts; under Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher), carrying a US Marine Corps expeditionary force consisted of elements of the 4th Defense Battalion and Marine Fighter Squadron 211, departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii to reinforce Wake. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Latvia
  • German SS personnel began killing the remaining Jews in Liepaja, Latvia, most of whom were women and children. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • Henry Arnold was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Dec 1941
A column of smoke from burning rubber Malayan rubber plantation as the British retreated to Singapore, Dec 1941Stocks of rubber, held by a factory on a rubber plantation in Malaya, were burned during the British retreat to Singapore, Dec 1941Pearl Harbor chart found in Japanese submarine Ha-19US Navy machine gun crew, possibly at Naval Air Station Ford Island, US Territory of Hawaii, circa mid-Dec 1941
See all photos dated 15 Dec 1941
16 Dec 1941
  • Captain Gihachi Takayanagi, Chief Equipping Officer of Battleship No. 1, was commissioned as Yamato's first commanding officer. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Japanese troops landed on British Borneo at 0500 hours and captured the oil fields at Miri and Seria and the oil refinery at Lutong. British and Dutch authorities began to issue orders to destroy other oil related facilities to avoid further capture. [Main Article | TH]
  • As Axis troops in North Africa began to fall back towards El Agheila in Libya in earnest, British 4th Armoured Brigade failed to outflank the retreat in the Bir Halegh el Eleba region. To supply the Axis forces operating in Libya, the Italian Navy dispatched a convoy of four freighters from Taranto, Italy, escorted by a powerful fleet of four battleships, five cruisers, twenty destroyers, and one torpedo boat. [Main Article | TH]
  • US Navy expanded its pilot training program from 800 students per month to 2,500 per month. [CPC]
  • Hiryu, Soryu, Tone, Chikuma, and two destroyers broke from the Pearl Harbor attack force to reinforce the Wake Island attack force. Meanwhile, Japanese naval land-based aircraft bombed Wake Island. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US submarine Tambor, damaged, departed from Wake Island area for repairs. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Enterprise task force returned to Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii after failing to find the Japanese Pearl Harbor attack force. [Main Article | CPC]
  • During a cabinet meeting, Hans Frank, Gauleiter of Poland, asked his peers to shed any feeling of pity for the victims of the genocide. [Main Article | CPC]
  • US submarine Swordfish was credited with the first confirmed sinking of a Japanese ship in the Pacific War. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Vice Admiral William Pye replaced Admiral Husband Kimmel as the acting Commander-in-Chief of the USN Pacific Fleet; he would soon be relieved by the newly-appointed permanent Pacific Fleet chief Rear Admiral Chester Nimitz, who was already en route to Hawaii. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese continued to bombard the northern shore of Hong Kong island by artillery and aircraft. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet forces captured Kalinin, Russia. The lowest temperature recorded in this region of Russia on this date was -42 degrees Fahrenheit (-41 degrees Celsius). [Main Article | CPC]
  • European civilians began to evacuate from Penang, Malaya while Allied troops destroyed guns, ammunition dumps, and other military facilities to prevent Japanese capture; the radio station and the ships in the harbor, however, were overlooked and would later be pressed into Japanese service. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian torpedo boat Orione mis-identified German submarine U-557 as a British submarine and rammed her 18 miles west of Crete, Greece at 2144 hours. U-557 sank, killing all 43 aboard. Orione sailed to Suda Bay, Crete to receive repairs for damage sustained during the ramming. [CPC]
  • Five German U-Boats departed from Biscay ports along the French coast for Operation Paukenschlag (Drumbeat) off the American coast. [Main Article | AC]
Hawaii
  • USN Task Force 14, centered around USS Saratoga, departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii to relieve Wake Island. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • A Japanese floatplane flew near Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii in a reconnaissance mission. [Main Article | CPC]
Latvia
  • The German SS slaughter of Jews in Liepaja, Latvia continued. [Main Article | CPC]
Malta
  • Five German motor torpedo boats from Sicily, Italy entered Malta's Valletta harbour during the night and drop seventy mines there. [Main Article | AC]
Philippines
  • US B-17 bombers at Del Monte airfield on Mindanao in the Philippine Islands departed for Australia. [Main Article | CPC]
Turkey
  • The refugee ship Struma arrived in Istanbul, Turkey with 769 Romanian Jews aboard; without permission to enter Palestine, they would remain on the ship for the following two months. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Yorktown departed Norfolk, Virginia, United States to return to the Pacific Fleet. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 Dec 1941
SOC-3A Seagull floatplane of US Navy Scouting Squadron 201 (VS-201) parked on the deck of escort carrier Long Island, 16 Dec 1941, photo 1 of 3SOC-3A Seagull floatplane of US Navy Scouting Squadron 201 (VS-201) parked on the deck of escort carrier Long Island, 16 Dec 1941, photo 2 of 3SOC-3A Seagull floatplane of US Navy Scouting Squadron 201 (VS-201) parked on the deck of escort carrier Long Island, 16 Dec 1941, photo 3 of 3Japanese troops marching in Hong Kong, mid-Dec 1941
17 Dec 1941
  • Seaplane from Japanese submarine I-7 conducted a reconnaissance mission on Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. [CPC]
  • USS Lexington ordered to sail north to join Task Force 14 to reinforce Wake Island. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese submarines RO-62 and RO-66 collided 25 miles southwest of Wake Island at 2020 hours in bad weather while recharging their batteries on the surface. RO-66 sank; all 63 inside the submarine were killed, while the 3 men on duty atop the ship survived the sinking. [CPC]
  • Walther von Brauchitsch again requested permission for him to resign due to health reasons. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Japanese artillery and aerial bombardment on the northern coast of Hong Kong island, which began on 15 Dec 1941, ceased at 1130 hours as the Japanese observed the raising of a white flag from the defensive positions on the beaches. At 1430 hours, Governor of Hong Kong Sir Mark Young again rejected the Japanese demand for surrender. The bombardment would resume shortly after. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Fedor von Bock was relieved as the commander-in-chief of German Army Group Center; the official reason was health concerns. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British and Indian troops established a defensive line 65 miles south of Penang, British Malaya near the Perak River. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarines U-67, U-107, U-108, U-131, and U-434 shadowed Allied convoy HG-76 en route from Gibraltar to Britain. At 0925 hours, 230 miles northeast of Madeira, a Martlet aircraft from carrier HMS Audacity discovered U-131. At 1247 hours, U-131 was forced to surface. U-131 opened fire and shot down the Martlet aircraft (which was the first Allied aircraft to be shot down by an enemy submarine), but she was soon damaged by British warships. U-131 was scuttled at 1330 hours; all 47 aboard were captured. [CPC]
  • The 1,100-strong Australian Gull Force arrived at Ambon, Dutch East Indies to reinforce the Dutch garrison. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British minesweepers HMS Hazard and HMS Speedy, in escort of Allied convoy PQ-6 30 miles north of Cape Gorodetski in northern Russia, were attacked by German destroyers Z23, Z24, Z25, and Z27; Speedy was hit 4 times (2 were killed) and was forced to turn back. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In North Africa, No. 3 Squadron RAF received its first Kittyhawk fighters. [CPC]
Germany
  • Five French prisoners of Oflag IV-C prisoners of war camp at Colditz Castle in Germany were sent to the town dentist for treatment. On the way back, escorted by two guards, three of them ran in three different directions; they would ultimately reach neutral territory successfully. [Main Article | CPC]
Latvia
  • 2,749 Jews, mostly women and children, were killed on the beach near Liepaja, Latvia. Most Jews of Liepaja were now eliminated, short of a small left alive to be used as slave laborers. [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille scored his 35th and 36th kills as he shot down two South African Hurricane fighters southeast of Derna, Libya at 1100 and 1128 hours; he also damaged another enemy fighter in combat. Later in the day, Albert Kesselring personally presented him the German Cross in Gold medal. [Main Article | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • Allied and Italian naval forces engaged in the First Battle of Sirte as convoys of each side unexpectedly came across each other 185 miles northwest of Benghazi, Libya. Italian battleships Littorio, Andrea Doria, and Giulio Cesare fired on Allied cruisers and destroyers from the distance of 32 kilometers, which was too far to hit accurately, but did still damage British destroyer HMS Kipling and Australian destroyer HMAS Nizam with near misses. [Main Article | CPC]
Philippines
  • American passenger ship Corregidor departed Manila, Philippine Islands with about 1,200 civilians on board; a short distance later, while still in Manila Bay, she struck a mine previously laid by Japanese submarine I-124 and sank, killing many. To the north, 24 transports with 7,000 Japanese troops aboard departed from the Ryukyu Islands, heading for Lamon Bay at eastern Luzon island. [Main Article | CPC]
  • 1st Lieutenant Boyd "Buzz" Wagner became USAAC's first ace in WW2 after shooting down a Japanese aircraft over the Philippine Islands. [CPC]
Russia
  • Another German assault on Sevastopol, Russia (now Ukraine) was launched, consisted of 15,551 men. [Main Article | CPC]
Sarawak
  • Japanese troops landed at Sarawak; British troops nearby, not strong enough to counter the Japanese offensive, destroyed oil refineries and withdrew. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • The keel of the large cruiser USS Alaska (CB-1) was laid down by New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey, United States. [Main Article | AC]
  • Columbia was launched in Camden, New Jersey, United States, sponsored by Miss J. A. Paschal. [Main Article | CPC]
US Pacific Islands
  • A PBY Catalina flying boat led 17 SB2U-3 Vindicator dive bombers of Marine Scout-Bomber Squadron 231 from Hickam Field, Oahu, Hawaii Islands to Midway Atoll; at 9 hours and 45 minutes covering 1,137 miles, it was the longest mass over-water flight by single-engined aircraft to date. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • Japanese aircraft attacked Wake Atoll, igniting a diesel oil tank on Wilkes Island and damaged an evaporator unit that was vital for the island's water supply. [Main Article | CPC]
18 Dec 1941
  • US Congress passed the First War Powers Act, giving the US President complete authority to reorganize the executive branch, independent government agencies, and government corporations during the time of war. It also authorized the US President to censor mail and other forms of communication between the United States and foreign countries. [CPC]
  • As oil refineries on the northern coast of Hong Kong island burned with thick black smoke, 3,500 Japanese troops crossed the Lye Mun Channel and established a beachhead at 2200 hours. Two hours later, another force of 4,000 would follow. Japanese troops executed 20 colonial Chinese prisoners of war at Sai Wan Hill, while 26 male medical personnel and 2 wounded soldiers were executed by beheading at the Salesian Mission Advanced Dressing Station; the female medical personnel at the latter location were set free after being forced to witness the beheading. [Main Article | TH]
  • Hitler finally accepted Brauchitsch's resignation, and took personal command of the Army and all Eastern Front operations. He fired Feldmarschall Bock, replacing him with Kluge. [Main Article | TH]
  • The Soviet Army created the Bryansk Front between the West and Southwestern Fronts. [TH]
  • A Dutch Do 24 bomber attacked and sank Japanese destroyer Shinonome off Miri, Borneo, killing all 219 aboard. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American cruiser Indianapolis returned to Pearl Harbor after failing to find the Japanese carrier fleet. [Main Article | CPC]
  • American seaplane tender Wright transported 126 Marines to Midway. [CPC]
  • The S-1 Section of the United States Office of Scientific Research and Development, the forerunner of the Manhattan Project, held its first meeting. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Five German Type IX submarines departed Lorient, France for the east coast of the United States in preparation for Operation Paukenschlag. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Nazi German philosopher Alfred Rosenberg declared "... biological extermination of the whole of European Jewry was to take place on Soviet territory." [Main Article | AC]
  • Archibald Wavell flew to Calcutta, India to meet with General Henry Pownall. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British 4th Armoured Brigade reached Mechili, Libya, too far behind the main body of the retreating Axis forces to achieve its goal of out-flanking the retreat, specifically the German tanks. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In Russia, German 3rd Panzer Army and 4th Panzer Army shook off the persuing Soviet forces and reached Lama River and Ruza River, respectively, on their retreat from the Moscow. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Stanley and HMS Blankney, escorting Allied convoy HG-76, discovered shadowing German submarine U-434, one of four submarine shadowing the convoy, 560 miles west of Gibraltar at 0945 hours. U-434 was forced to surface. The 44 crew members of U-434 scuttled the submarine and jumped into the water; 42 would be captured while 2 were killed by HMS Blankney accidentally while the British destroyer approached. [CPC]
  • British bombers attacked Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at Brest, France during the daylight hours at about 1230 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Günther von Kluge's Chief of Staff, Günther Blumentritt, took over command of the German Fourth Army pending the arrival of General Ludwig Kubler on 26 Dec 1941. [AC]
Australian New Guinea
  • Two Japanese reconnaissance aircraft were spotted flying over Rabaul, Bismarck Islands. Wirraway fighters were scrambled, but they were not fast enough to intercept. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • The 1st and 2nd Squadrons of the American Volunteer Group was transferred to Kunming, Yunnan, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • At Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii, the Roberts Commission began investigating the American preparations prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. [Main Article | CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • US Navy Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet Chester Nimitz ordered the submarines of Task Force 7 near Wake Atoll to move south out of the area until reinforcements arrived. [Main Article | CPC]
Philippines
  • Japanese troops captured Naga, Luzon, Philippine Islands. To the north, the invasion convoy for the Lingayen Gulf assault departed from Taiwan and the Pescadores islands. [Main Article | CPC]
Portuguese Timor
  • Dutch and Australian troops occupied Portuguese Timor to establish a defense against advancing Japanese forces. [Main Article | CPC]
Taiwan United States
  • Robert Johnson was assigned to the Missouri Institute of Aeronautics in Sikeston, Missouri, United States for flight training. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Dec 1941
M3 light tank, crew, and supplies at Fort Benning, Georgia, United States, 18 Dec 1941; Three of the men were L. D. Sample, Harold Postner, and Pelak GilleyM3 light tank crew peering out from opened hatches, Fort Benning, Georgia, United States, 18 Dec 1941
19 Dec 1941
  • Adolf Hitler relieved Walther von Brauchitsch as army commander-in-chief and took over command of the army himself, promising "to educate it to be National Socialist". Among the first orders he issued was the "no retreat" order, condemning thousands of troops to die in position outside of Moscow, Russia, without the chance to maneuver in defense. On the same day, the Soviet Military Collegium, having previously evacuated to Chkalov (now Orenburg), Russia, returned to Moscow. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • Japanese troops captured Penang, Malaya. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese troops reached the Wong Nai Chung Gap in central Hong Kong island where they were held by Canadian and colonial Chinese troops. Seven ships of the British Royal Navy (river gunboat HMS Tern, minelayer HMS Redstart, boom vessel HMS Watergate, boom vessel HMS Barlight, boom vessel HMS Aldgate, tug HMS Poet Chaucer, and tug HMS Alliance), along with several merchant vessels, were scuttled in the Hong Kong harbor to prevent Japanese capture. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Generalmajor Wilhelm Weiß succeeded Rudolf Konrad as the commanding officer of the German 7th Mountain Division. [CPC]
  • In India, General Wavell received a telegram from Chiang Kaishek in which the Generalissimo offered to join any plan pro