16 Jun 1940
  • Marshal Philippe Pétain became Prime Minister of France when Paul Reynaud's government resigned. ww2dbase [Philippe Pétain | TH]
  • German submarine U-101 sank British merchant ship Willington Star in Bay of Biscay. ww2dbase [TH]
  • The Soviet invasion of Latvia and Estonia began. ww2dbase [Annexation of the Baltic States | CPC]
  • François Darlan was named the Vichy French Minister of the Navy. ww2dbase [François Darlan | CPC]
  • HMS Cumberland detached from convoy on arrival in Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Cumberland | DS]
  • The 8,215-ton Norwegian diesel motor vessel James Stove was steaming through the Gulf of Aden with 10,800 tons of aviation fuel when her master Olaus Eliassen was informed that the ship was being followed by a submarine; Eliassen had determined that the submarine was British. When the ship started to head for the port of Aden the submarine, now revealed to be the Italian submarine Galileo Galilei, ordered her to stop and announced that in 15 minutes an attack would commence. Despite some panic with Chinese crew members, the lifeboats pulled away and the submarine torpedoed the ship from 500 yards range. After two hits the Norwegian vessel started to sink, and the Galileo submerged only to re-surface and launch another torpedo. This struck amid-ships and the vessel burst into flames and sank about 12 miles south of the port of Aden. The crew were rescued, with some difficulty due to burning oil, by the British Admiralty anti-submarine Trawler HMS Moonstone. ww2dbase [HM]
Atlantic Ocean
  • The German submarine UA, which had been following British armed merchant cruiser HMS Andania for the past three days, fired two torpedoes south east of Iceland at 0029 hours; one of them struck the ship aft. Another torpedo launched eight minutes later also hit but failed to detonate. The Andania opened fire with her guns after seeing the torpedo wake but owing to rough seas and the darkness scored no hits. The ship was sinking by the stern and her 347 crew, two of them injured, were taken off by the Icelandic trawler Skallagimur which later transferred the to the destroyer HMS Forester (D 74) and they were taken to Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom. UA fired two more torpedoes at the sinking Andania, but both missed or were duds. The Andania had been a Cunard White Star Line Passenger Liner before being requisitioned by the Admiralty in Sep 1939. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | UA | HM]
  • At 1302 hours the 13,212-ton unescorted British motor merchant ship Wellington Star was hit in the bow by a G7a torpedo from German submarine U-101 about 300 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain. After the crew abandoned ship in four lifeboats, the submarine fired three coups de grâce at her, all three hit, but only one detonated, underneath the bridge. The U-101, commanded by Fritz Frauenheim, surfaced, questioned the survivors then sank the ship with 31 rounds from the deck gun at 1645 hours. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-101 | HM]
  • The British T-class submarine HMS Tetrarch (N 77) (Lieutenant Commander R. G. Mills) torpedoed and sank the 5,978-ton German tanker Samland south west of Lista, Norway. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | North Sea | HM]
  • The 6,465-ton German ship Konigsberg II, built in 1924 and owned by the Nord-Deutscher Lloyd, was scuttled off Vigo, Spain to avoid capture by the Allies. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | HM]
  • 114 Japanese aircraft attacked Chongqing, China after sundown; four I-16 fighters of Chinese 24th Pursuit Squadron rose to intercept, shooting down one bomber near Fuling County near the city, with one fighter shot down by the Japanese. ww2dbase [Bombing of Shanghai, Chongqing, and other Cities | Chongqing | CPC]
France Mediterranean Sea
  • The 1,249-ton Italian merchant Steamer Rastrello was attacked and sunk by British aircraft off the port of Genoa, Italy. The vessel previously, when named Atle Jarl, had been captured by the German submarine U-78 on 21 Oct 1916, and declared a prize. ww2dbase [HM]
  • The French Requin-class submarine Morse (Lieutenant J. G. C. Paris) struck a mine off Kerkennah Islands, Tunisia. All officers and men aboard were lost. ww2dbase [HM]
  • At 1900 hours, Italian torpedo boat Circe spotted a periscope east of Sicily, Italy. Circe and Polluce, another torpedo boat, attacked the position with depth charges; a mass of wreckage was observed after the ninth depth charge pattern. The destroyed submarine was likely the British submarine HMS Grampus. ww2dbase [HM]
United Kingdom
  • Reginald Jones warned Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding and Air Marshal Sir Philip Joubert that the Germans could have developed a radio navigation system for the guidance of bombers. ww2dbase [Reginald Jones | AC]
  • Company Sergeant Major George Gristock of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment, British Army died in Brighton, England, United Kingdom, from wounds he had received while winning the Victoria Cross on 21 May 1940 in an action near the River Escault, Belgium. ww2dbase [Brighton, England | AC]
United States

16 Jun 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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