19 May 1940
  • French Army General Maxime Weygand replaced General Maurice Gamelin as Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief; Marshal Philippe PĂ©tain was made Deputy Prime Minister. ww2dbase [Maxime Weygand | TH]
  • German General Guderian resumed his attack, capturing territories between Saint-Quentin and PĂ©ronne. His troops were now within 50 miles of the English Channel and had cut off the Allied troops in Belgium. British Expeditionary Force commander General Lord Gort issued the order to withdraw toward port cities, including Dunkirk, while Colonel de Gaulle's French 4th Armored Division made a failed attempt to attack Guderian's flank at Montcornet. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | TH]
  • The British Royal Air Force had lost over half of the aircraft it had deployed to France and Beligum by this date. To retain strength for a potential invasion of Britain, the RAF began recalling remaining squadrons back home. ww2dbase [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-37 (Victor Oehrn) hit the unescorted 5,066-ton Swedish motor merchant Erik Frisell with one G7a torpedo in the Atlantic Ocean west of Scotland, United Kingdom at 0631 hours. The crew of 34 abandoned ship only after the submarine fired a shot across the bow and the Germans had to order them back to the ship to take the last two men off. Afterwards the ship was sunk by gunfire. She had originally been en route to Stockholm, Sweden with a cargo of animal fodder but was ordered to Liverpool, England, United Kingdom. The survivors were picked up by the British armed trawler HMS Cobbers and landed at Stornoway, Scotland, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-37 | CPC, HM]
  • A German Heinkel bomber bombed the 263-ton SS Belgica, an ex-barque Norwegian whaler and whale processing ship that was currently being used by the British as an ammunition depot ship, in Isfjorden, Svalbard, Norway. It was thought at the time that a near miss sprang some of her plates and this caused her to sink. However it was later generally accepted that the British scuttled her to prevent capture as the wreck was found to be relatively unharmed and that next to her was a barge, intact with scuttling charges placed in her bilges. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | Svalbard | HM]
United Kingdom
  • The 2,197-ton HMS Princess Victoria, an old steam ferry requisitioned by the British Admiralty for use as an auxiliary-minelayer, part of the Humber Force, struck a mine at the River Humber entrance on the east coast of England, United Kingdom and sank quickly taking over 30 of her crew with her. She was equipped with an outfit of up to 244 mines, one single 10.16-centimeter QF (4-inch Quick-Firing) gun and two single 5.44-kilogram (12-pounder) anti-aircraft guns. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | England | HM]
Photo(s) dated 19 May 1940
Destroyed Belgian A.C.G.1 tank, Antwerp, Belgium, 19 May 1940

19 May 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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