26 May 1941
  • Battleship Bismarck was detected by Allied PBY Catalina aircraft 700 miles west of Land's End, England, United Kingdom at 1030 hours, and Royal Navy's Force H was ordered to attack. Carrier-based Swordfish torpedo bombers attacked between 2047 and 2115 hours. Two or three torpedoes hit her, one of which hit the stern and jammed her rudder at 12 degrees to port. At 2140 hours, she radioed in the message "Ship unable to maneuver. We will fight to the last shell. Long live the Führer." Within hours, Allied warships closed in on her. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Six Albacore carrier aircraft from HMS Formidable attacked Italian airfields on Scarpanto in the Dodecanese Islands in Operation MAQ3. German bombers counterattacked the carrier, hitting her twice and killing 12; escorting destroyer HMS Nubian was also hit, seriously damaging the stern and killing 15. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Operation Skorpion: German Colonel Maximilian von Herff launched an offensive and captured Halfaya Pass in Egypt, near the border with Libya. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • During the day, German aircraft misidentified the German column moving from Galatas, Crete, Greece toward Canea on the Suda Bay. After sundown, poor communications and conflicting orders caused 1,000 Allied troops at Canea to become surrounded. Also during the night, British minelayer HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Hero and HMS Nizam arrived at Suda Bay from Alexandria, Egypt and disembarked 750 British commandos under Colonel Robert Laycock; they evacuated personnel from the naval base as they departed. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese fighters intercepted 18 I-15 fighters of the Chinese 29th Pursuit Squadron while in transit in Gansu Province, China; nearly all Chinese fighters were destroyed. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler met with tank generals and tank designers at his residence Berghof in southern Germany. In a similar meeting three months prior he had asked for 75-millimeter guns for Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. Because 75-millimeter guns relied on special tungsten shells, Hitler now asked for 88-millimeter guns to be used for future heavy tanks. He also demanded 100-millimeter frontal armor and 60-millimeter side armor. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Iraqi forces received supplies by train from Vichy French forces in Syria, including 8 155mm guns, 6,000 shells, 30,000 grenades, and 32 trucks. By this date, all German fighters in Iraq had become unserviceable after 10 days of engagements with British fighters; the Germans then evacuated their main base at Mosul, Iraq before the Commonwealth forces could overrun it. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC, AC]
Photo(s) dated 26 May 1941
Two A6M2 Type 0 Model 11 Zero fighters in flight from Yichang, Hubei Province to attack Nanzheng, Shaanxi Province in China, 26 May 1941

26 May 1941 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
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal