21 Feb 1940
  • The British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Gurkha (Commander A. W. Buzzard) and the French destroyer La Fantasque shared in the depth charging and destruction of the 753-ton German submarine U-53. ww2dbase [AC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-50 torpedoed and sank Dutch ship Tara 50 miles southwest of Cape Finisterre, Spain at 0300 hours. The entire crew escaped harm. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-57 damaged British steamer Loch Maddy 25 miles southeast of Wick, Scotland, United Kingdom, killing 4. She would be sunk by U-23 on the following day. 35 survivors were picked up by destroyer HMS Diana. ww2dbase [North Sea | CPC]
  • British cruiser Manchester and destroyer Kimberly of the Northern Patrol captured 4,709-ton German merchant ship Wahehe in the Atlantic Ocean. Wahehe had sailed out of Vigo, Spain on 9 Feb in an attempt to break the Allied blockade. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | HM]
  • The Finnish V-line on the Karelian Isthmus continued to be overwhelmed; Soviet penetrations in the line now began to move toward Viipuri, Finland. ww2dbase [The Winter War | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler authorized the Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway. Lieutenant General Falkenhorst was ordered to submit his final invasion plan by 1700 hours on the same day. Having no clue he was to be assigned this commanding role prior to the meeting and given little time to prepare, Falkenhorst purchased a traveler's guide to Norway and used it to design a general invasion plan; the general plan he would devise in his hotel room in the next few hours would generally agree with the plan the OKW had come up with thus far. ww2dbase [Invasion of Denmark and Norway | CPC]
Poland United Kingdom
  • Emergency measures were introduced in Britain to deal with a coal shortage caused by the severe winter. On the railways, passenger train services are cut back. ww2dbase [AC]
  • The cavity magnetron, a device that produced stable high-power short-wave radio waves for what would become "Centrimetric radar" was operated for the first time at the physics department of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Edgbaston, England | AC]
Photo(s) dated 21 Feb 1940
Finnish Army machine gun crew during the Winter War, 21 Feb 1940; note Maxim M32/33 machine gun

21 Feb 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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Famous WW2 Quote
"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939

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