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. ww2dbase [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. ww2dbase [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. ww2dbase [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. ww2dbase [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. ww2dbase [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). ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • Viceroy of Italian East Africa Duke of Aosta surrendered Amba Alagi, Abyssinia to the British at 1730 hours. ww2dbase [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. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC, AC]

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, 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