20 May 1944
  • Eisenhower addressed French Resistance groups via a broadcast in preparation for the planned cross-Channel invasion. On the same day, 5,000 Allied bombers conducted coordinated strikes against many rail targets and 9 airfields in France and Belgium. ww2dbase [Normandy Campaign, Phase 1 | TH]
  • USS Gar began her twelfth war patrol. ww2dbase [Gar | CPC]
  • Destroyer USS Taussig (DD-746) was commissioned with Commander Joseph A. Robbins in command. ww2dbase [AC]
  • USS Baya was commissioned into service with Commander A. H. Holtz in command. ww2dbase [Baya | CPC]
  • Iceland began a four-day plebiscite on whether to terminate the personal union with the King of Denmark and establish a republic. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese troops evacuated the forward-most positions near Imphal, India. Meanwhile, a bloody clash took place between Japanese and Anglo-Indian troops at Torbung. ww2dbase [Battle of Imphal-Kohima | Imphal, Manipur | CPC]
Italy Mariana Islands
  • USS Wasp's aircraft attacked Japanese positions in support of the upcoming Mariana Islands invasion. ww2dbase [Wasp (Essex-class) | CPC]
  • Members of the Polish underground captured a top secret V2 rocket intact. Since the Germans set up a test site at Bliza, Poland, the underground had operated a chain of small units responsible for bearing the Germans to the sites of crashed test rockets and salvaging whatever they could before the soldiers arrived. One V2 landed in a marsh close to the banks of the River Bug 80 miles east of Warsaw. The resistance got there first and found it sticking out of the mud. They pushed it deeper into the water to hide it and later dismantled the missile and flew vital parts to England, United Kingdom via an RAF Dakota aircraft. ww2dbase [AC]
US Pacific Islands Photo(s) dated 20 May 1944
Inflated tanks used by the Allies as deception before Normandy, late May 1944Shimakaze during her trials, circa mid-May 1943; this is the only known photo of this shipTroops of 325th Glider Infantry of US 82nd Airborne Division in a Horsa glider, training or preparing for Normandy, France invasion, England, United Kingdom, May-Jun 1944UK Royal Air Force Stirling bombers, acting as glider tugs, lining at the runway at Tarrant Rushton, England, United Kingdom, May-Jun 1944; note invasion strips
See all photos dated 20 May 1944

20 May 1944 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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