21 Jan 1940
  • The sinking of the HMS Grenville is announced by the Admiralty. 8 were reported killed and 73 were reported as missing and presumably dead. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Soviet 8th Army launched unsuccessful attack on Finnish Group Talvela on the River Aittojoki near Ladoga, Karelia. ww2dbase [The Winter War | TH]
  • A German officer shot Mr. Opacki in the streets of Kraków simply because Mr. Opacki had not shown sufficient respect when stepping out of the way for the German officer. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Swedish steam merchant vessel Andalusia, along with her crew of 21 men, became missing early in the morning off the western coast of Scotland; she was believed to be sunk by German submarine U-55. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British cruiser Liverpool stopped Japanese liner Asama Maru 35 miles off of Japan. 21 German sailors, survivors of the German liner Columbus which was scuttled off the US coast on 19 Dec 1939, were imprisoned. ww2dbase [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Finnish merchant ship Onto (Master Ivar Ström) struck a mine in the North Sea 40 kilometers northeast of Great Yarmouth, England, United Kingdom at 2213 hours. The mine was laid by U-56 on 8 Jan 1940. The ship sank, and all 20 aboard survived in two lifeboats. One lifeboat, with 14 aboard, was rescued by a Greek steam merchant; the other was rescued by HMS Auckland. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-56 | North Sea | CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • Asama Maru was intercepted by British light cruiser HMS Liverpool 56 kilometers from the island of Niijima south of Yokohama, Japan. British sailors boarded the ship and removed 21 passengers suspected of being German sailors from the previously scuttled German liner Columbus before letting Asama Maru go. Britain and Japan had not yet entered a state of war at this time. ww2dbase [Asama Maru | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German submarine U-22 attacked British merchant vessel Cyprian Prince in the Moray Firth in Scotland, United Kingdom at 0538 hours but failed to hit her. At 0600 hours, she torpedoed and sank destroyer HMS Exmouth off Wick, killing 189, which was the entire crew. At 0711 hours, she torpedoed Danish ship Tekla, killing 4; 9 crew members survived, rescued by HMS Sikh and Norwegian ship Iris. ww2dbase [Scotland | CPC]

21 Jan 1940 Interactive Map

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




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