20 Sep 1941

Atlantic Ocean
  • An accidental fire aboard HMS Eagle killed one aircraft mechanic and damaged many Swordfish aircraft while sailing in the South Atlantic. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-124 sank British ships Baltallinn and Empire Moat of Allied convoy OG-74 500 miles west of Brest, France at 2331 hours; 60 survivors were rescued by British rescue ship Walmer Castle. Meanwhile, a Martlet Mk II fighter of No. 802 Squadron from escort carrier HMS Audacity shot down a German Fw 200 C Condor aircraft attempting to shadow OG-74; it was the first kill by a British carrier-based aircraft. ww2dbase [Main Article | AC]
  • German submarine U-552 sank two tankers and U-74 sank catapult armed merchant ship Empire Burton, all of Allied convoy SC-44, 200 miles east of Iceland between 0113 and 0327 hours; 102 survivors were rescued by British corvette HMS Honeysuckle. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-111 sank British ship Cingalese Prince 500 miles east of Brazil; 57 were killed, 20 survived in lifeboats. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • At 0327 hours, off east coast of Greenland, the 6,325-ton Norwegian motor tanker Barbro carrying 9,000 tons of petrol was torpedoed by German submarine U-552 (Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp). Two torpedoes hit the ship and she immediately burst into flames, trapping the 34 crew on board. Other ships in convoy SC-44 could only watch helplessly as she sank. German submarine U-69 (Kapitänleutnant Zahn) had fired a torpedo to finish the vessel off but this failed to detonate. The crew included 3 Swedes, 1 Dane, 5 British and 4 Canadians apart from the Norwegians. The Barbro's master, Lauritz Knudsen had previously commanded the motor tanker Britta that was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-47 (Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien) on 6 Dec 1939. ww2dbase [HM]
Gibraltar
  • Scirè launched three manned torpedoes into Gibraltar harbor, which sank tanker Fiona Shell (killing 1), damaged tanker RFA Denbydale, and damaged freighter Durham. All six Italian personnel manning the three torpedoes swam to Spain and would eventually return to Italy as heroes. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Libya
  • British minelaying cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Kimberley, and HMS Hasty delivered 1,000 troops and 120 tons of supplies to Tobruk, Libya after sundown. They departed for Alexandria, Egypt 30 minutes after arrival. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Lithuania
  • The Karl Jäger report, issued on 1 Dec 1941, noted that on this date 128 adult male, 179 adult female, and 99 children, all Jews, were killed in Nemencing, Lithuania for a total of 403 people. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The ferry vessel SS Portsdown sank in the Solent between the Isle of Wight and England, United Kingdom after hitting a mine. There had been disquiet for some time that that no minesweeping had been carried out in the eastern Solent, despite enemy mines becoming an increasing problem. The day before the sinking a meeting of steamer captains agreed by a majority of 4 to continue the night time sailings to the island and Captain H. Chandler, who was commodore of the Southern Railways Company fleet, decided he would take command of the next night crossing which was to be a 4 am mailboat, the SS Portsdown. Captain Chandler died along with 20 crew members, military personnel (going home on leave) and one civilian. ww2dbase [AC]

20 Sep 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
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935