18 Dec 1940
  • German cruiser Admiral Scheer captured British ship Duquesna in the South Atlantic 800 miles south of Cape Verde Islands, capturing 91 crew and 8 passengers. Captain Theodor Krancke of Admiral Scheer purposefully allowed Duquesna to radio to help in order to distract the Royal Navy, hoping to indirectly help cruiser Admiral Hipper to break out into the Atlantic Ocean from the Denmark Strait. Duquesna, with 3,500 tons of frozen beef and 15 million eggs on board, was kept in operation by the Germans in the South Atlantic until 18 Feb 1941 to supply German ships in the area. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Führer Directive 21 was issued, confirming the plans for Unternehmen Barbarossa. ww2dbase [TH]
  • British submarine HMS Tuna sank French tug Chassiron and attacked (in failure) Italian submarines Brin and Bianchi in the Bay of Biscay 40 miles off of the Gironde Estuary, France. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British minesweeping trawler HMT Refundo was damaged by a mine, killing 2. Another ship attempted to tow her, but she sank 1 miles off the coast of Suffolk, England, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-96 damaged Dutch tanker Pendrecht at 1615 hours with torpedo. The crew began to abandon ship, but as two armed tankers arrived to drive away U-96, the crew reboarded, set her toward Scotland, United Kingdom for repairs. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-100 sank British ship Napier Star at 9820 hours, killing 59 crew and 12 passengers; 5 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Veniero damaged Greek ship Anastassia in the North Atlantic with a torpedo, killing 18. 10 were taken prisoner. The Italians let the disabled ship drift away. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Italian cruisers Eugenio and Montecuccoli and destroyers Pigafetta, Da Recco, Pessagno, and Riboty shelled Greek forces on the Albanian coast near Corfu. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Triton sank in the Otranto Strait off Taranto, Italy; the exact cause was unknown. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, US Navy scout-bomber, took its first flight. ww2dbase [Main Article | AC]
  • Otto Skorzeny departed the Netherlands for northern France as a member of 2nd SS Division "Das Reich". ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 Dec 1940
Directive No. 21 Directive No. 21 Directive No. 21 Directive No. 21
See all photos dated 18 Dec 1940

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis




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Famous WW2 Quote
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Winston Churchill, on the RAF