17 May 1940
  • HMS Effingham departed Harstad, Norway with 1,020 troops, 10 Bren Gun Carriers, and 130 tons of supplies on board for BodÝ, Norway. En route, she hit the southern edge of the Faksen Shoal off BodÝ, Norway and was seriously damaged. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Colonel Charles de Gaulle of the French 4th Armored Division launched a 200-tank counterattack at Montcornet, France; the French forces saw initial success, capturing 500 prisoners, but the momentum quickly waned. Guderian seized upon the opportunity and launched his own counterattack in France, driving the French back several kilometers. In Belgium, British Expeditionary Force commander General Lord Gort, fearful of being surrounded, ordered his troops to fall back to the Scheldt River; this move allowed German General Reichenau to capture Brussels. Meanwhile, Dutch resistance to the German invasion comes to an end with the evacuation, by French destroyers, of the survivors of the Franco-Dutch forces in Zeeland and on the islands of Walcheren and Beverland. ww2dbase [Main Article | TH]
  • Erwin Rommel was awarded the 1939 clasp to his Iron Cross Second Class medal. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • German oil storage facilities in Bremen and Hamburg were destroyed by the RAF. ww2dbase [Main Article | TH]
United States
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt announced the plans for recommissioning 35 additional flush deck destroyers to meet the requirements of fleet expansion and the Neutrality Patrol. ww2dbase [Main Article | Event | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 May 1940
Vehicles of the German 4th Panzer Division in France, 17 May 1940SdKfz 10/4 vehicle with a mounted 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun, France, May 1940, photo 1 of 3SdKfz 10/4 vehicle with a mounted 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun, France, May 1940, photo 2 of 3SdKfz 10/4 vehicle with a mounted 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun, France, May 1940, photo 3 of 3

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

17 May 1940 Interactive Map




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Famous WW2 Quote
"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944