24 May 1940

  • The Polish destroyer Burza was ordered to join the British destroyers HMS Vimiera (L 29) and HMS Wessex (D 43) and shell German positions in Calais area on the French coast. At 1620 hours the Allied vessels opened fire on a German armoured column at Sangatte Hill, west of Calais. Ten minutes later they were attacked by 27 German aircraft which hit and sank HMS Wessex about 5 miles off of the coast. HMS Vimiera managed to escape. Then the entire enemy air group concentrated on the Polish destroyer. The two 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns jammed due to shrapnel hits. Three bombs exploded in the water and they caused boiler damage and loss of speed. The commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Wojciech Francki, ordered to emergency launch the torpedoes and drop all depth charges, trying to avoid additional explosions. Shortly after this, two bombs hit the Burza and badly damaged her. However the airplanes had dropped all of their bombs and broke off the attack. The crew managed to stop the leakage and return to Dover, England, United Kingdom. One German airplane was shot down during the action. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | Burza | Calais, Nord-Pas de Calais | HM]
25 Sep 1944

  • Having taken Boulogne, France, Canadian 3rd Division assaulted Calais where their operation to capture the port would be complicated by the presence of 20,000 French civilians who have not been evacuated. ww2dbase [Calais, Nord-Pas de Calais | TH, AC]

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

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