21 Jun 1940
  • French cruisers El Djezair, El Kantara, El Mansour, Ville d'Oran, and Ville d'Alger arrived at Casablanca, French Morocco with 1,200 tons of French gold. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • An German Ar 196 aircraft from battlecruiser Scharnhorst mistook German submarine U-99 for an enemy submarine and damaged her with a bomb. U-99 was already en route back to Wilhelmshaven, Germany with a sick sailor; she would now require a longer time to complete repairs. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The Estonian Independent Signal Battalion engaged in fighting with Soviet troops at Raua Street in Tallinn, Estonia. The Estonians would be defeated during the night. ww2dbase [Annexation of the Baltic States | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder met with Adolf Hitler to discuss the invasion of Britain. ww2dbase [Erich Raeder | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • At 0846 hours, HMS Cape Howe (X 02), a Special Service Vessel, disguised as the Prunella, was hit on the starboard side near the bridge by one of two torpedoes fired by German submarine U-28 about 100 miles west of the Isles of Scilly at the southwestern tip of Britain. The explosion blew open the hatches of No. 1 hold, put the Asdic and steering gear out of order and mortally injured two crewmen. The panic party abandoned the now slowly circling ship in two lifeboats but the submarine did not surface but fired a coup de gr√Ęce after about an hour that hit on port side amidships, causing her to slowly settle by the bow until sinking with a list to port at 1230 hours. 54 became missing and would be never found; 40 would be rescued. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-28 | CPC, HM]
  • The 7,638-ton French tanker Brumarire was sunk by German aircraft in the Atlantic Ocean. The crew of 37 was saved by the British destroyer HMS Griffin (H 31) and landed in England, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | HM]
  • At 0411 hours the 1,144-ton unescorted Finnish freighter Hilda was hit by one torpedo from German submarine U-52 commanded by Kapit√§nleutnant Otto Salman and sank in a few minutes in the Bay of Biscay, killing 5. The master and ten crew members survived aboard a lifeboat. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-52 | Bay of Biscay | HM]
  • At 2007 hours, German submarine U-47 under command of Kapit√§nleutnant G√ľnther Prien fired a torpedo at a tanker in the middle of Allied convoy HX-49 in a position 50 miles south-southwest of Cape Clear in the southwestern tip of Ireland. The tanker was the 13,056-ton British San Fernando which was carrying 13,500 tons of crude oil and 4,200 tons of fuel oil, and she was hit and came to a stop. Prien then fired two more torpedoes but did not observe the result as he had to submerge rapidly to avoid being seen by a nearby steamer. The damaged San Fernando was taken under tow by two tugs. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-47 | HM]
  • At 1636 hours the 8,627-ton British merchant steamer Yarraville in Allied convoy 65-X was hit by a single torpedo from German submarine U-43, caught fire and sank southwest of Figueira da Foz, Portugal. Five crew members were lost. The master and 44 crew members (seven of them wounded) were picked up by the French trawler Marie Gilberte and landed at Gibraltar. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-43 | HM]
  • At 1753 hours the 5,809-ton unescorted Belgian freighter Luxembourg was hit aft by a G7e torpedo from German submarine U-38 and sank west of Saint-Nazaire, France. The ship had been bound for Antwerp, Belgium but was diverted to Bordeaux, France and anchored at Le Verdon on 20 Jun 1940 when she was ordered to leave for Falmouth, England, United Kingdom. Five men were killed and one wounded of the 46 crew members on board. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-38 | Celtic Sea | HM]
Brazil
  • Heavy cruiser USS Wichita, with Commander Cruiser Division Seven Rear Admiral Andrew C. Pickens embarked, arrived at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil en route to join heavy cruiser USS Quincy at Montevideo, Uruguay. ww2dbase [Rio de Janeiro | CPC]
Canada
  • The first successful west-to-east navigation of Northwest Passage began at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. ww2dbase [Vancouver, British Columbia | CPC]
France
  • French and German representatives met to negotiate peace at the 1918 Armistice site at Compi√®gne, France, using the very same rail carriage where the WW1 armistice, brought from a French museum, for the negotiations. Hitler personally attended the negotiation, but at 1530 hours abruptly left the meeting to show disrespect for the French. At 2030 hours, French General Huntzinger called his government and informed that the Germans allowed no room for negotiations and demanded harsh terms; he was told to accept the German terms. Meanwhile, in southern France, the 32 Italian divisions deployed on the French border marched through the Little Saint Bernard Pass in the Alps and along the French Riviera; some of the Italians were met with a heavy snow storm and the latter halted by a very small group of French troops at Menton, which was about 5 miles from the border. According to the diary of Galeazzo Ciano, Benito Mussolini was extremely embarrassed by the inability of his troops to break through the French lines. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | Compi√®gne, Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie | CPC]
  • At 0817 hours, the 1,177-ton unescorted Dutch steamer Berenice, carrying 1,000 tons of manganese ore and 22 passengers, was hit by one torpedo amidships by German submarine U-65 (Kapit√§nleutnant Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen) just off the island of Belle √éle, France, causing her to sink within three minutes, killing 21 passengers and some of the crewmembers. A coastal vessel picked up nine survivors, including the master and Marsman's wife, the only surviving passenger. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-65 | Bangor, Bretagne | HM]
  • The 4,281-ton French merchant steamer Mecanicien Principal Carvin was bombed and sunk by German aircraft at Verdon, France on the river Gironde. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | HM]
  • The 4,277-ton Greek freighter Adamantios was bombed by German aircraft and forced to beach on the √éle de R√© off the west coast of France. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | Ile de Re, Aquitaine | HM]
French Morocco
  • Destroyer USS Herbert arrived at Casablanca, French Morocco. ww2dbase [Casablanca | CPC]
Guernsey
  • As the British evacuated from Guernsey, the control of the island was turned over to a Controlling Committee under the presidency of Attorney General Ambrose Sherwill. ww2dbase [CPC]
Jersey
  • Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey James Murray Robert Harrison was withdrawn to Britain, leaving Bailiff Alexander Coutanche the sole civilian leader. ww2dbase [CPC]
Netherlands Portugal
  • Destroyer USS Dickerson departed Lisbon, Portugal for Bilbao, Spain. ww2dbase [Lisbon | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At the urging of Intelligence scientist, Dr. Reg Jones, Winston Churchill ordered up a RAF search aircraft which successfully discovered, in the frequency range predicted by Jones, the Knickebein radio signaled which were used to guide Luftwaffe bombers over Britain. ww2dbase [Reginald Jones | AC]
  • HMS Campbell (D 60) landed 38 survivors of steam merchant Empire Conveyor, sunk by German submarine U-122 on the previous day, at Liverpool, England, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Liverpool, England | HM]
Photo(s) dated 21 Jun 1940
William Shirer and another journalist reporting on the French surrender, Compiègne, France, 21-22 Jun 1940Carrier Graf Zeppelin under construction, Kiel, Germany, 21 Jun 1940

21 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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Famous WW2 Quote
"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue."

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945