27 May 1941
  • German troops captured Canea, Crete, Greece, thus securing the use of the anchorage at Suda Bay. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | TH]
  • US Navy transferred ships from the Pacific Fleet to the Atlantic Fleet. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt announced unlimited state of emergency, which enabled him to send more war supplies to the United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Franklin Roosevelt | CPC]
  • At 0710 hours, battleship Bismarck sent in what would become her last radio report. She was sighted by battleships HMS King George V and HMS Rodney at 0844 hours, and their guns fired 3 minutes later, hitting Bismarck and quickly disabling her guns. Heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk and HMS Dorsetshire joined in on the attack shortly after. After receiving about 400 gunfire hits from the British ships and several torpedo hits from HMS Dorsetshire, Bismarck's crew set off scuttling charges in the boiler room to scuttle her. She sank at 1039 hours; 2,091, most of her crew, were killed. ww2dbase [Bismarck | CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Colonial off Guinea, French West Africa at 0146 hours; the entire crew of 100 survived and rescued by HMS Centurion. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Allied forces advanced toward Baghdad, Iraq in two columns. From the south, Indian 20th Brigade advanced north along and on the Euphrates River while Indian 21st Brigade advanced on the Tigris River from Basra. From the west, British forces departed Fallujah. Also on this date, 12 Italian CR.42 biplane fighters arrived at Mosul to reinforce the German and Iraqi forces in the area. ww2dbase [Campaigns in the Middle East | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • HMS King George V and HMS Rodney closed to within 23,000 yards of Bismarck and opened fire. ww2dbase [Rodney | DS]
  • Ermland departed La Pallice, La Rochelle, France to support damaged battleship Bismarck, but the battleship's sinking led to Ermland's return before the end of the day. ww2dbase [Ermland | La Rochelle, Poitou-Charentes | CPC]
  • Scirè launched three manned torpedoes into Gibraltar harbor; they failed to damage any enemy vessel. ww2dbase [Scirè | CPC]
  • Jack Kleiss earned the nickname "Dusty" after making an unauthorized landing at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa on the island of Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, stirring up a giant cloud of red dust. ww2dbase [Ewa Marine Corps Air Station | Jack Kleiss | Kapolei, Oahu | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain a secret War Office memo banned Fascists and Communists from joining the Home Guard. All those already in the service are to be dismissed as "Services no longer required". ww2dbase [AC]
United States
  • While at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in California, Captain George A. Rood relieved Captain Charles Morrison as commanding officer of cruiser USS St. Louis. ww2dbase [St. Louis | Vallejo, California | DS]
Photo(s) dated 27 May 1941
Battleship Bismarck burning in the distance as seen from a British warship, 27 May 1941Survivors of battleship Bismarck being pulled aboard HMS Dorsetshire, 27 May 1941HMS Rodney firing on German battleship Bismarck, 27 May 1941Map showing the final boundaries of the United States Atlantic Neutrality Zone that became effective 27 May 1941.

27 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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