20 Sep 1941

Atlantic Ocean
  • 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 [F4F Wildcat | 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]
  • An accidental fire aboard HMS Eagle killed one aircraft mechanic and damaged many Swordfish aircraft while sailing in the South Atlantic. ww2dbase [Eagle | 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 GĂĽnther Prien) on 6 Dec 1939. ww2dbase [HM]
  • Leonardo da Vinci sighted another submarine in the Atlantic Ocean at 0035 hours. She was later identified as fellow Italan submarine Luigi Torelli. ww2dbase [Luigi Torelli | Leonardo da Vinci | CPC]
  • Comandante Cappellini sighted French fishing vessel Petite HĂ©lène in the Atlantic Ocean at 1935 hours; she took no action. ww2dbase [Comandante Cappellini | CPC]
  • Morosini set sail for Bordeaux, France at 2020 hours after discovering mechanical defects. ww2dbase [Morosini | CPC]
  • 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 [Scirè | CPC]
  • 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 [Siege of Tobruk | Tobruk | CPC]
Lithuania 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 [England | AC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1941
A German sentry overlooking the Pechersk Lavra Monastery and Dnieper River in Kiev, Ukraine, 20 Sep 1941.

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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