WW2 Chronology 1940
By the time the U.S. entered WW2, the war had been going on for over two years and three months in Europe, five years in Africa, and ten years in China.
- Japan had invaded China in 1937.
- Mussolini had invaded parts of NE Africa.
- Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia for "peace in our time".
- Spanish Civil War had ended .
- Hitler and Stalin agree to divide Europe between themselves
and invaded Poland.
- War in Europe was declared but had little activity, "the phony war".
- USN trails and broadcasts location of German ships.
US Census shows 126,947 Japanese ; 60% of Issei (immigrants) and 30% of Nisei (children) hold Japanese citizenship.
Jan 1 . US delivers "vigorous protest" to the British Foreign Office concerning the British removing and censoring U.S. mail from ships.
Jan 2 . British authorities detaining U.S. vessels at Gibraltar to search for contraband, taking from a few hours to several weeks. Continues into mid-March.
Jan 3 . U.S. freighter Mormacsun is intercepted by British navy and diverted to Scotland, a combat area.
Jan 5 . Transport of aid to Finland across Germany forbidden.
Jan 6 . First ANZAC convoy to North Africa starts to assemble from Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne.
Jan 8 . Rationing begins in Great Britain.
Jan 9 . Colonial troops,begin to arrive in France to join the BEF.
Jan 10. Luftwaffe planes attack ships off the British coast and sink three.
Jan 11. Prototype high speed transport USS Manley (APD-1) proves her worth in Fleet Landing Exercise.
Jan 12. RAdm Byrd, USN (Ret.) surveys the land and sea areas of Antarctica.
Jan 13. Low countries in state of neutral readiness.
Jan 14. USAS North Star and USS Bear (AG-29) establish Antarctic bases for Adm Byrd expedition.
Jan 15. Belgium refuses to allow Allied troops to move through their territory.
Jan 16. Degaussing of British ships begins at rate of 300 ships per month.
Jan 18. Soviet troops retreat in Finland.
Jan 20. HMS Liverpool (CL.11) stops Japanese liner Asama Maru 35 miles off Nozaki, Japan, and removes 12 Germans reservists.
Jan 21. Ships sunk every day by submarines and mines.
This includes both belligerent and neutral shipping.
Jan 25. Minesweeper Quail (AM-15) arrives at Palmyra Island with construction party to build a naval air station.
Subs are being sunk, also; three in one day.
Jan 26. United States-Japanese Trade Treaty of 1911 expires.
Jan 27, Hitler orders planning for the taking of Norway.
Jan 27. U.20 sinks four steamers off Copinsay, Orkneys.
Jan 29. Large Luftwaffe raids over Britain.
Jan 30. ANZAC convoy arrives Columbo. Consists of ten passenger liners of troops.
Jan 31. 38 RN destroyers are out of service undergoing repairs,
Sep thru Jan.. RN captured 24 German merchant ships (103,037 tons) and intercepted 23 ships (139,236 tons) which were scuttled.
Feb 1 . Russia re-attacks Finland with 45 divisions.
Feb 2 . Canadian troop convoy #3 of five liners escorted by 2 BB met by 12 destroyers to thru western approaches.
Feb 3 . Based on European war experience, USN aircraft are to be equipped with self-sealing fuel tanks and armor for pilots and observers.
Feb 5 . Light cruiser Helena (CL-50) arrives at Santos, Brazil, on her shakedown cruise
Feb 6 . Three neutral ships sunk off England. Several British ships and trawlers a day.
Feb 7 . Heavy fighting in Summa sector and north east of Lake Ladoga, Finland
Feb 8 . Third convoy of Canadian troops arrives in Britain.
Feb 9 . Squalus (SS-192) renamed Sailfish (SS-192). Recommissioned on 15 May'40.
Feb 11. Four U-boats sink five ships, typical of the period.
Feb 11. German-Soviet Economic Pact -- USSR provides aid to Germany up to the German invasion.
Feb 12. ANZAC convoy arrives Suez.
Feb 12. Soviets finally break Finnish defences on the Karelian Isthmus.
Feb 14. Four U-boats sink five ships, as I said, typical of the period.
Feb 14. Britain announced that all merchant ships would be armed.
Feb 15. Hitler ordered that all British merchant ships would be considered warships.
Feb 15. Five U-boats sink six ships.
Feb 16. Brits boarded Altmark in Norwegian waters releasing prisoners captured by Graf Spee. An international incident.
Feb 17. Five U-boats sink six ships, again.
Feb 18. Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, (BB) and Admiral Hipper (CA) attempt breakout; ice forced them back.
Feb 19. Finns rout the Soviet 18th Division north of Lake Ladoga
Feb 20. Three French troopships escorted by French DDs leave Med headed for Finland.
Feb 21.,Germans began construction of Auschwitz concentration camp.
Feb 22. Six German DD attacked by Luftwaffe and forced into a British mine field, two DD sink.
Feb 22. Three more French troopships with escort depart for Finland.
Feb 23. Television was developed that was capable of airborne operation.
Feb 24. Scandinavian Neutrality Conference.
Feb 25. Five U-boats sunk this month.
Feb 27. Battleship HMS Malaya and 6 escorts depart with gold for Halifax.
Feb 27. Contract for Vought "Flying Flapjack" fighter (V-173) awarded, promises high speed (500 mph) with low takeoff speed.
(Never completed; why? See XF5U. )
Feb 28. Forty-ship convoys depart daily from several ports. Finns retreat.
Mar 1 . Hitler includes Denmark in plans to occupy Norway.
Mar 2 . Ango-French request transit of 135,000 troops across Norway and Sweden to aid Finland.
Transit of troops of belligerents refused. Seen (correctly) as an attempt to occupy region.
Mar 5 . Stalin orders the massacre at Katyn, Poland. Soviets shoot 20,000 Polish military officers who had been taken prisoner during the invasion.
Russia speeds up attacks.
Mar 6 . U.S. freighter Exeter, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities has over 300 sacks of mail removed. ,
Mar 7 . The Superliner Queen Elizabeth , launched 28Feb, arrives NYC on maiden voyage.
Mar 8. Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine stops German freighter off the Dominican Republic ;
Hannover will be converted into the escort carrier HMS Audacity (CVE.10).
Mar 9 . U.S. freighter Exeter, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities has over 300 sacks of mail removed.
Mar 10. Submarine and armed merchant cruisers used as convoy escorts due to shortage of destroyers.
Mar 11. French battleship Bretagne and heavy cruiser Algeria carrying 147 tons of gold to be deposited in the United States, depart Toulon for Halifax.
Mar 12. Finland signs peace with USSR with Russo-Finnish Treaty .
Finland gives up land Russian "needs" for her defense, but remains independent.
Mar 13. US Marine Fleet Landing Exercise concludes at Puerto Rico developing techniques for rubber boat landings, getting heavy combat materiel ashore, and improving ship-to-shore supply.
Mar 14. Finnish population begins to evacuate the areas that have been ceded to the Soviet Union. (c 470,000 people)
Mar 15. British carrier Eagle in the Bay of Bengal damaged when a 250 pound bomb exploded in an operational mishap.
Mar 16. German air raid on Scapa Flow by Ju.88's damage heavy cruiser Norfolk.
Mar 17. Development of guided missiles initiated at Naval Aircraft Factory to put radio controls in a torpedo-carrying TG-2 training glider.
Mar 18. Mussolini meets Hitler at the Brenner Pass and agrees to join in Germany's war against France and Britain.
Mar 19. Home fleet departs to escort convoys and Operation DU -- 3 BB, 2 CB, 15 DD.
Mar 20. Light forces -- 4 CL, 8 DD -- join operation DU to clear North Sea of German subs and warships.
Mar 21. Bear (AG-29) and North Star depart Antarctica leaving behind men who will spend the long winter night.
Mar 22. RMS Queen Mary leaves New York for a secret destination. (To Sydney, to carry Australian and New Zealand soldiers to the United Kingdom.)
Mar 23. British Malaya Force was formed to watch German merchant ships in Dutch East Indies.
Mar 24. After the canceled Finland operations, French troop and warships return to Oran.
Mar 25. The U.S. agrees to give Britain and France access to all American warplanes.
Mar 26. Convoys, convoys, convoys. BEF takes on another sector in France
Mar 27. Britain and France agree not to make a separate peace. The agreement will not be kept.
Mar 28. Aircraft carriers Ark Royal and Glorious in exercises at Malta, Mediterranean.
Mar 29. French troopship and destroyers departed Casablanca to return to Brest for Norwegian operations.
Mar 30. Allied merchant loses 548,000 tons (161 ships) since 1st of year. 114 from U-boats.
Mar 31. German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis departed Kiel to raid in the South Atlantic.
Mar-Apr. Katyn and Miednoje Massacre continues -- 21,768 Polish military officers, intellectuals and priests murdered by Soviets.
April . USN Fleet Problem XXI is training for Pacific war.
Apr 4 . Royal Navy warned of German fleet preparations. Fails to mobilize for defense of Norway.
Apr 5 . Operation Wilfred: British mining of Norwegian waters begins. Norway protests.
Apr 6 . Kriegsmarine sails for Operation Weser, occupation of Norway and Denmark.
Apr 7 . Scharnhorst and Gneisenau formed primary covering force for the invasions of Narvik and Trondheim in Norway. Sink British aircraft carrier Glorious.
Apr 8 . Royal Navy sails. HMS Glowworm* (DD.92) attacks Hipper. RN diverts from Norway in search for German Fleet.
Apr 9 . Germany invades Norway with aid of Quisling. German paratroops take airfield at Oslo, Norway.
Apr 9 . Germany occupies Denmark in 2-hours. **
Apr 10. First naval battle of Narvik, north Norway - 5 UK DD vs 10 German DD. Each lose two.
* Captain of Glowworm awarded first Victoria Cross of WW2 supported by recommendation of German captain of Hipper.
Apr 12. Italy annexed Albania.
** Denmark yields to German ultimatum. Of 15,000 Danes under arms, 13 killed.
Apr 13. Returning German fleet mauled by British. All ten destroyers sunk or disabled.
Apr 14. British start landing on Harstad , Norway, so. of Narvik, Withdraw 4June.
Apr 15. Incomplete German heavy cruiser (Hipper class) sold and towed to Russia, renamed Petropavlovsk
Apr 16. Iceland declares its independence from occupied Demark and asks the United States for recognition.
April . US considers selective service (draft for one year).
Apr 18. British landing at Trondheim, in Norway. (withdraw 3May)
Apr 19. Japanese government informs U.S. they have no aggressive intentions toward the Netherlands East Indies.
Apr 20. French troops land in Norway.
Apr 21. German aircraft drop mines off England, three ships sunk, convoys stopped.
Apr 22. Rear Adm. Joseph Taussig testified before US Senate Naval Affairs Committee that war with Japan is inevitable.
Apr 23. British defeated by German paratroops at Trtten, Norway.
Apr 24. U.S. Naval Attaché escorts party of American citizens from Oslo to the interior into neutral Sweden.
Apr 25. USS Wasp (CV-7) commissions.
Apr 26. Allies retreat from Lillehammer, Norway
Apr 28. Rudolf Hoess became commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp.
Apr 29, Norwegian King Haakon and government flee to England.
Apr 30. U.S. Census shows 126,947 Japanese ; 60% of Issei (immigrants) and 30% of Nisei (their children) hold Japanese citizenship.
May 1 . The 1940 Olympics were canceled.
May 2 . British withdraw from central Norway.
May 3 . Greenland, a crown colony of Denmark, seeks U.S. protection, so that Danish sovereignty can be maintained during the German occupation of the homeland.
May 4 . HMS Seal (SS) sunk laying mines, refloated surrendered to a German seaplane.
May 5 . Norwegians form government in exile in London.
May 6 . Three allied destroyers lost off Norway.
May 7 . Pacific fleet ordered to Pearl Harbor indefinitely as a warning to Japan.
May 7-8 Motion of Censure in the House of Commons of Neville Chamberlain over reverses in Norway.
May 8 . German commandos in Dutch uniforms crossed to hold bridges for the advancing German army.
May 10. P.M. Chamberlain resigns. Winston Churchill forms government.
May 10. German invades Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg with 29 divisions. FDR proclaiming American neutrality
Luftwaffe loses 304 aircraft, 51 damaged, greatest one day loss of the any nation.
May 11. Allied troops land on Curacao and Aruba, Dutch possessions in the Caribbean.
May 12. Germany invades France with 40 divisions.
May 13. Churchill -- "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
May 14. Holland surrenders after bombing of Rotterdam that left 600-900 dead.
May 15. "Former Naval Person" (Churchill) ) pleads for U.S. aid in a personal message to President FDR -- 50 DD, etc.
May 16. Mussolini reassures Greece and Yugoslavia that Italy will not invade .
May 17. US to recommission 35 more "flush deck" destroyers for "Neutrality Patrol" and fleet expansion (for Britain).
May 18. Churchill to FDR . -- "if American assistance is to play any part it must be available [soon]."
May 19. Colonel de Gaulle makes attack on Guderian - stopped by Stukas.
May 20. Igor Sikorsky unveiled his helicopter invention.
May 21. British army surrounded at Dunkirk.
May 22. British reinforcements arrive at Boulogne and Calais.
May 23. First great battle with Spitfires.
May 24. Allied Supreme Command decides to evacuate its forces from Norway.
May 25. Hitler stops panzer advance on surrounded Dunkirk.
May 26. Panzers take Calais.
May 27-Jun 4. Dunkirk evacuation of 338,200 men by 860 boats and ships (240 sunk).
May 28. Belgium surrenders. French Foreign Legion takes Narvik, north Norway ; Allies withdraw 7June.
May 29. British order 320 Mustang I fighters.
May 29. F4U Corsair first flew. First combat 13Feb43, 12,571 built. 11.3 to 1 kill ratio.
May 30. French 1st Army, at Lille under siege.
May 31. Quincy (CA-39) to proceed immediately to Montevideo for "friendly visits of courtesy and strength" to counter Uruguay pro-Nazi movement.
June 1. Battleship Washington (BB-56) is launched ; first American battleship since November 1921.
June 2 , Submarine Tambor (SS-198) commissions. She was off Wake when the war started and made twelve war patrols.
June 3. Evacuation of Dunkirk winding down, 26,746 French troops reach Britain.
June 4. German troops enter Paris. A synthetic rubber tire was unveiled.
June 5. Battle for the rest of France begins.
June 6. Rommel breaks through French lines
June 7. British and French withdraw from Norway.
June 8. German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst sink British aircraft carrier Glorious (Cv.77) and her two escorts, Acasta and Ardent.
June 8. Allied evacuation of Dunkirk and Norway complete ; Norwegian King escapes to London.
June 9. Norway armistice
Jun 10. Italy declares war on Britain and France. "The hand that held the dagger has plunged it into the back of its neighbor." -- FDR
Jun 10. 27 Italian steamers seized in British ports and taken for allied use.
Jun 11. Vincennes (CA-44) with 2 destroyers load the 200 tons of French gold for Fed Bank of New York
Jun 11. The Italian Air Force bombs British fortress at Malta in the Mediterranean.
Jun 12. British raid into Italian North Africa (Libya).
Jun 13. FDR promises all aid short of war. Australian and New Zealand navy ships operating in Mediterranean
Jun 14. German army reaches Paris. US Naval Expansion Act to add 3 aircraft carriers and up to 4,500 airplanes..
Jun 15-17. Soviets invade Lithuania. Occupy Estonia, Latvia.
Jun 16. Curie laboratory (Fr) transfer 410 pounds of Norwegian heavy water to the British.
Jun 17. French armistice. Evacuation at St. Nazaire. Lancastria sunk by Ju 88s with 5,800 dead
Jun 18. Churchill urged conduct in a manner that future generations will say, "This was their finest hour."
Jun 19. Marshall Petain asks Germans and Italians for terms for Armistice.
Jun 20. Heavy cruiser Quincy (CA-39) reaches Montevideo, Uruguay.
Jun 20. 450,000 Italians attack French General Orly's 185,000 men. Advance 2 miles and stopped. Saved southern third of France (Vichy) .
Jun 21. Vichy France opens northern Indochina to Japanese military mission and supporting troops.
Jun 22. USSR invades Romania which must join Axis. France signs armistice with Hitler.
Jun 23. New Japanese cabinet with General Tojo Hideki as Minister of War .
Jun 24. France signs armistice with Italy.
Jun 25. USN flight training program expanded to 150 students per month .
Jun 26. Rumania yields to Soviet ultimatum and cedes Bessarabia and northern Bukovina.
Jun 27. President Roosevelt declares a national emergency and invokes Espionage Act of 1917.
Jun 28. Hitler confides to Mussolini his plan to ship Jews to Madagascar.
Jun 29. Germans take Guernsey ; Jersey and other Channel Islands next days ; only British territory occupied by Nazi.
Jun 30. U.S. Navy Personnel --160,997; Marine Corps--28,364; Coast Guard--13,766. Total naval personnel--203,127.
July Hitler plans to invade England in mid-September with Operation Sea Lion.
July 2 . British seize French ships in British ports.
July 3 . British attack French Fleet at Oran which refused to surrender.
July 4 . Italians take cities in Sudan.
July 5 . US bans aviation gasoline to Japan.
July 6 . Convoy BC of 6 troopships departed Freetown for England.
July 7 . Youth Congress refuses to consider suppression of civil status in totalitarian states.
July 7 . Sub base at Lorient, France, receives its first U-boat
July 8 . Adm Richardson tells FDR Pearl Harbor is not a good place for the fleet.
July 9 . Battle of Carabria -- RN Mediterranean Fleet and Italian Fleet units, both on convoy escort missions.
July 10. Aerial Battle of Britain starts with German raids on the coast .
July 10. Mitsubishi A6M2 "Zero" fighter enters service in China.
July 11. Light cruisers of Home Fleet deployed in the south of England for invasion defense -- thru August.
July 12. Army submits requirements to 135 automobile manufacturers for what becomes the Jeep.
July 13. German armed merchant cruisers operating in Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
July 14. German Ju-88 bombers attacked Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.
July 15. Italians take city in Kenya.
July 16. Prince Konoye appoints Prime Minister of Japan.
July 18. HMS Cumberland (CA.57) departs Simonstown to search for German armed merchant cruiser Thor.
July 18. 1st successful helicopter demonstration is made at Stratford, Conn. Vought-Sikorsky VS-300.
July 19. "Two Ocean Navy" Act : U.S. to build 257 ships ; 7 BB, 11 CV, 50 CL, 100 DD.
July 19. Italian light cruisers engaged by HMAS Sydney (CL.48) in Aegean off Crete. Colleoni later scuttled.
July-August. British light cruisers and destroyers ordered to South of England for invasion defense.
July 21. Hitler begins planning for invasion of Soviet Union.
July 22. British submarines fire on other British submarines on two occasions, six torpedoes miss.
July 22. British SOE established from several security branches.
July 23. Mining and sweeping conducted by both sides amongst sinkings. "Blitz," the all-night air raids on London.
July 24. Luxembourg Royal Family arrives Norfolk, VA aboard Trenton (CL 11),
July 25. US embargoes scrap metal and petroleum to Japan.
July 26. Fourteen British submarines ordered to Norwegian coast.
July xx. German armed merchant cruisers sink steamers, take POWs in Indian and S. Atlantic Oceans.
July 28. Pres Roosevelt, Sec Navy Knox and House Naval chairman Carl Vinson in Presidential yacht Potomac (AG-25) inspect Norfolk Navy Yard,
July 29. 11 British business leaders and newsmen arrested secretly in Japan.
July 30. Bombing lull ends first phase of the Battle of Britain.
July 30. Destroyer Flotilla (6 DD) from Scapa Flow to south England for invasion defense.
July totals : Germany lost 139 aircraft and the RAF 52.
Aug 1 . Planned invasion of Britain put back by one month.
Aug 2. Gen. Charles de Gaulle sentenced to death in absentia for treason by a Vichy military court.
Aug 3. Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere formally announced by Japan's Foreign Minister.
Aug'40-Aug'41. Labor strikes lose 19 million man-days of production in US.
Aug 5 . Italians invade, occupy British Somaliland.
Aug 5 . US-Fr agreement concerning status of Vichy French warships and aircraft in French West Indies.
Aug 6 . U.S. Army transport American Legion arrives Finland to embark American nationals returning to the United States from Europe.
Aug 7 . Churchill recognized the De Gaulle government in exile.
Aug 8 . Air battle over Libya.
Aug 9 . New Hebrides remain loyal to De Gaulle.
Aug 10. Japanese naval blockade of coast of China is extended to South China.
Aug . German merchant raider Komet, aided by Soviet icebreaker Lenin, transits Arctic Ocean to attack Allied shipping in the Pacific.
Aug . The Armies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were reorganized as territorial rifle corps of the Red Army
Aug 13. Day of the Eagle, Luftwaffe all-out attack on Britain / RAF begins with 1,137 German planes against 620 RAF fighters.
Aug 14. British troops withdraw in Somaliland.
Aug 15. RAF loses 50 aircraft while downing 76 German.
Aug 15. High level delegation of USN, USAAF, and USA arrive in London for staff conversations with British officers
Aug 16. American Legion departs carrying a crated twin-mount 40-millimeter Bofors gun.
Aug 17. President Roosevelt and Canadian Prime Minister King agree to set up a joint defense commission.
Aug 17. German government establishes "total blockade" of the British Isles, and warns that all ships will be sunk without warning.
Aug 18. British troops leaving cities in China.
Aug 19. Radar is first used by the British during the Battle of Britain
Aug 20. "Never was so much owed by so many to so few" -- Churchill
Aug 21. Leon Trotsky assassinated in Mexico City.
Aug 23. German battleship Bismarck commissions.
Aug 24. London bombed by German bombers confused by British radio countermeasures. Changes course of air war.
Aug 25. RAF bombs Berlin in retaliation. Hitler orders change in targets from RAF to London.
Aug 26. Contract issued for the research into proximity fuse.
Aug 27. Compulsory military service established in U.S. (the )
Aug 28. RAF bombs Germany while Luftwaffe bombs England.
Aug 29. British Tizard Mission shares radar information with US.
Aug 30. Fighter Command lost 39 and the Luftwaffe lost 41 airplanes.
Aug 30. Vichy France consents to Japanese military occupation of ports, airfields, and railroads in northern Indochina.
Aug 31. President Roosevelt calls 60,000 National Guardsmen into federal service.
Sept 1 . Luftwaffe attacks air bases in England
Sept 2 . U.S. trades Britain 50 destroyers restored from US WWI reserve fleet for leases on bases.
Average age 20 years, not new, but not junkers, as often implied.
Sept 3 . Hitler postpones Operations Sea Lion, the invasion of England, by a week to 21 Sept.
Sept 4 . Blockade of Germany begins.
Sept 5 . RAF attacks aircraft factories.
Sept 6 . Contracts for prototypes of B-29 and B-32. (Upgraded B-17 and B-24).
Sept 7 . Bombing of London,"The Blitz", begins with 300 bombers against the Port of London.
Sept-Oct. Luftwaffe concentration on London allows RAF to recover.
Sept 9 . US Navy awards contracts for 210 new ships including 12 aircraft carriers and 7 battleships.
Sept 9 . First eight US destroyers transferred to the Royal Navy at Halifax .
Sep 10. Buchanan (DD-131) becomes HSM Campbelltown, expended at St.Naritz.
Sep 11. British chase after French force making for Dakar.
Sep 12 "Fireside chat," declaring that Germany had been guilty of an act of piracy and authorized first strike by American ships and planes "in the waters which we deem necessary for our defense."
Sep 13. Italians invade Egypt from Italian North Africa (Libya).
Sep 15. Peak day in Battle of Britain. 56 Germans and 26 RAF downed.
Sep 16. First of 13 YP-38 fighter delivered, 2 per month for six months
Sep 16. U.S. Selective Training and Service Act, first peacetime , men aged 21-35 for 12 months.
Sep 17. Russian troops enter Poland.
Sep 17. Invasion of England canceled.
Sep 17. Carrier HMS Courageous sunk by U-29.
Sept . British and Italian naval units engage throughout the month.
Sept . UK orders 1,500 P-40 Kittyhawk fighters.
Sep 21. Production of mustard gas for artillery shells begins at Edgewood Arsenal.
Sep 22. Norwegian steamer Tirrana carrying captives from raider Atlantis sunk by Brit sub.
Sep 22. Vichy France signs pact at Hanoi ceding airfields and agreeing to admit Japanese troops into northern Indochina.
Sep 23. Eight more US destroyers transferred to Royal Navy at Halifax.
Sep 24. Six US destroyers transferred to Canadian Navy under lend lease.
Sep 25. US reduces oil exports to Japan.
Sep 25. Operation Menace, the British-Free French attempt to take Dakar, is abandoned as Vichy French resistance proves surprisingly vigorous.
Sep 27. Japan joins Germany and Italy in Tripartite Pact -- ten year military agreement to support each other's military aims ; forms Axis.
And Japan complained because export shipments of oil and steel were then curtailed and stated that as part of their explanation for going to war !
Sep 28. French port of Nouméa, New Caledonia, sides with Free France. Will become major US base.
Sep 29. Third Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force arrives on Midway Island to begin construction of defenses.
Sept Totals : U-boat fleet is 57 boats, 28 lost and 28 built during the month.
Oct 1 .140 tons of Belgium Congo uranium ore shipped to Staten Island for safekeeping.
Oct 2 . British convoys escorted by DD only during the last 3 days to England because of shortage.
Oct 3 . US seeks samples of British radar and IFF.
Oct 4 . Destroyer HMS Douglas makes high speed runs in Scapa Flow in view of suspected minelaying to fire acoustic mines. None found.
Oct 5 . The first Gato class submarine was laid down at Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn. 72 bullt, 19 lost.
Oct 5 . Organized Reserve put on short notice for call to active duty had been on a voluntary basis.
Oct 6 . Fourth group of ships in the destroyers-for-bases agreement are turned over to Royal Navy crews at Halifax.
Oct 7 . Admiral Richardson conferences with the FDR, Navy and State Department against the retention of the U.S. Fleet in Hawaii.
He was fired, but he was oh so right about it being too exposed.
Oct 8 . U.S. advises citizens leave Far East.
Oct 8 . British Mediterranean Fleet including 4BB, 2CV escort convoy to Malta. Italian fleet with 4 BB at sea.
Oct 9 . 24 of new submarines to be equipped to carry aviation gasoline for seaplanes .
Oct 10. USS Bear (AG-29) sails for the Antarctic, part of Byrd expedition.
Oct 11. German e-boats attack near Isle of Wight.
Oct 12. Carrier Wasp (CV-7) launches 24 USAAC P-40s and 9 O-47s to gather data --first time Army planes flown off carrier.
Oct 13. Three U.S. passenger liners to Japan and China to repatriate American citizens from that region in view of prevailing "abnormal conditions" there.
Oct 14. Pocket battleship Admiral Scheer sets sail for convoy raiding in three oceans.
Oct 14. North American P-51 Mustang first flew. First operational unit 1 Dec 1942
Oct 15. 400 bombers hit London.
Oct 16. Sixteen million men register for the -- Selective Training and Service Act.
Oct 17. Three British destroyers run aground in heavy swells. Two require a year to repair.
Oct 18. German destroyers and E-boats sortie to raid shipping, chased by British light cruisers, but get away.
Oct 19. German and Italian U-boats attack convoys daily; multiple sinkings daily.
Oct 20. Convoy of Australian troops arrive Suez.
Oct 21. Italian destroyers attack convoy, driven off by cruiser escort, both sides damaged.
Oct 22. Troopships regularly arrive Gibraltar for escort through dangerous waters on to England.
Oct 23. Fifth group of ships (10 DD) turned over to England at Nova Scotia.
Oct 24. USN mobilies 1/3 of aviation squadrons ordered to active duty by 7 Nov 40 and all by 1Jan1941.
Oct 25. FDR son, James, ordered to report to the Marines.
Oct 26. United States, Great Britain and Holland refuse to sell the oil to Japan that it urgently needed for the war in China.
Oct 27. Franco of Spain tells Hitler he does not intend to enter the war.
Oct 28. Italians invade Greece.
Oct 29. U.S. drawing to select 800,000 men for service. Eventually ten million inducted.
Oct 28. Pilot armor and fuel protection begin to go into service and within a year all US fleet aircraft will have it.
Oct 29. RN 5 BB, 2 CV, 15 DD escort troops from Alexandra to Crete.
Oct 29. U.S. draft drawing to select 800,000 men for service. Evenutally ten million inducted.
Oct 30. German auxiliary Passat lays mines in Bass Strait between Australia and Tasmania.
Oct 31. British occupy Crete
Oct 31, 63 U-boats were sunk this month
Nov 1 . Out numbered Greek forces advance to repel the Italian Army in the Battle of Elaia-Kalamas in Epirus.
Nov 2 . Last of nightly attacks on London; the Blitz become sporadic.
Nov 3 . RAF to southern Greece.
Fifty mobile canteens for air raid relief provided by Americans.
Nov 4 . Auxillary Merchant Cruisers Laurentic and Patroclus are sunk by U-boats
Nov 5 . President Roosevelt wins third term for the presidency.
Nov 6 . Admiral Scheer (CB; 6-11") sinks 7 ships of convoy. Nineteen on 2-month voyage.
Nov 7 . British freighter Cambridge is sunk by German mine laid by Passat between Australia and Tasmania.
Nov 8 . U.S. freighter City of Rayville is sunk by mine laid by German minelayer Passat off Australia; first U.S. merchant ship sunk in World War II.
Nov 8 . Greek troops take 5,000 Italian prisoners
Nov 9 . Former PM Chamberlain dies. He had bought a year of peace in which both England and Germany gained strength.
Nov 10. Libreville (Gabon) surrenders to the Free French. And joins with DeGaul.
Nov 11. British Fleet Air Arm from Illustrious attack Italian fleet at Taranto; 3 BB disabled. Japanese planners pay attention.
Nov 12. Germany prepares to help Mussolini in Greece.
Novem. Carrier version of Mitsubishi A6M2 "Zero" fighter enters service. Reports of superior Zero taken as only poor performance by Chinese pilots.
Nov 14. Coventry, England, bombed. Not evacuated to protect code-breaking secret ;1,000 killed.
Nov 15. Large seaplane tender Curtiss (AV-4) commissions, 8,700 ton.
Nov 16. Destroyer McCormick (DD-223), on "neutrality patrol" off Tampico, Mexico, radios attempt of German freighter Orinoco to make for European waters. Destroyer Plunkett (DD-431), by her presence, thwarts German tanker Phrygia's bid for freedom; Phrygia's crew scuttles her.
Nov 17. PBYs begin operations from Bermuda supported by seaplane tender USS Badger (AVD-3).
Nov 18. The abbreviation "RADAR" authorized. RAdio Detection And Ranging.
Nov 19. Italian troops are pushed back across the Kalamas River in Greece.
Nov 20. Hungary joins Tripartite Pact. Rumania and Slovakia join on Nov 23.
Nov 21. Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, (CB, 6- 11"), light cruisers Köln and Leipzig. and several destroyers conducted a sweep between Iceland and the Faroe Islands; sink British merchant cruiser Rawalpindi
Nov 22. French refuse to sell battleships at Dakar to U.S. which attempts to get them out of the war.
Nov 23. Romania joins Tripartite Pact. Admiral Leahy appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Vichy France.
Nov 24. Nine British ships sunk or damaged by mines on this one day.
Nov 25. German armed merchant cruisers Orion and Komet sink New Zealand steamer Holmwood.
Nov 26. Last group of 10 DD turned over to England in swap for bases.
Nov 27. Italian force of 2 BB, 6 CA, engage four British cruisers off Sardinia. Damaged are Italian DD and British CA.
Nov 28. Report is published on Germany spying in the United States
Nov 29. Two USN DDs on Neutrality Patrol off Tampico, Mexico, trail and report two German freighters attempting to go home.
Nov 30. British civilians killed this month, 4,588.
Dec 1 . Greeks win in the hills, but have no armor for use the plains. Italians start reinforcement with 10 new divisions.
Dec 2 . U-boats ravish convoys, many whole crews perish.
Dec 3 . FDR inspects bases obtained from British, begins thinking of Lend Lease idea.
Dec 4 . German raider Kormoran departs for Central and South Atlantic, Indian and Pacific ; she carries 320 mines.
Dec 5 . Admiral Leahy resigns as Gov Puerto Rico to become Ambassador to Vichy France.
Dec 6 . Luftwaffe units move into Italy.
Dec 7 . British raid starts to push Italians out of Egypt.
Dec 7 . One year until Pearl Harbor.
Dec 8 . USS Sturtevant (DD-240) stands by while light cruiser HMS Diomede intercepts German freighter Idarwald that scuttles herself.
Dec 8 . Massive Luftwaffe attack on London lasting 24 hours,
Dec 9 . British troops stage first counter-attack in Egypt.
Dec 10. Two Australian/New Zealand convoys arrive Suez. RAF attacks channel invasion ports.
Dec 11. German freighter Rhein, having been tailed by destroyer Simpson (DD-221) and, later, MacLeish (DD-220), is intercepted by Dutch destroyer leader Van Kinsbergen near the Florida Straits, and is scuttled by her crew to avoid capture.
Dec 12. U.S. extends "neutral zone" to 300 miles.
Dec 13. Italian advance on Egypt defeated at Sidi Barrani with 38,000 POWs taken.
Dec 14. Italians expelled from Egypt . British enter Libya.
Dec 15. Plutonium-238 is first isolated. Chemically identified on 23Feb41. Preferred for A-bombs, all after first were plutonium.
Dec 16. RAF attacks Berlin, Frankfort, Kiel, and Bremen.
Dec 17. RAdm King becomes Commander Patrol Force, U.S. Fleet, aboard Texas (BB-35).
Dec 18. Australians enter fight for Libya.
Decem. Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcat" naval fighter enters service. Over 6,200 will be built.
Decem. Civilian Pilot Training Program (1938-1944) has 18 schools. At its peak has 1,132 educational institutions and 1,460 flight schools participating and train 435,165 people to fly.
Dec 21. British Mediterranean Fleet refuels at Malta and Alexandria between bouts with the Italian Navy.
Dec 22. RAF attacks Wilhelmshaven, Brest, Lorient.
Dec 23. Chiang Kai-shek outlaws Communist associations in China.
Dec 24. British battleship forces regularly patrol to intercept in- or outbound raiders.
Dec 25. German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper attacks troop convoy, damages escorting cruiser Berwick (CA.65), but driven off
Dec 26. Greeks push Italian troops to retreat beyond the Chimara. Albanian coast
Dec 27. IJN light carrier Zuiho commissioned. - Philippines, DutchEastIndies, Midway, Santa Cruz, Philippine Sea, -> Leyte Gulf
Dec 28. President Roosevelt proclaimed the U.S. is the 'arsenal of democracy.'
Dec 29. Germans begin incendiary bombing on London causing "fire storm."
Dec 30. All U.S. fleet aircraft be painted in non-specular gray with blue-gray on top.
Dec 31. Nine USN ships operating with experimental CXAM radar.
1937 , 1938 ,
Return to: WW2
About this page: 1940 - World War 2 started seventy-five years ago . This is a chronology of interesting events leading to that war to help in understanding the period.
Created July 10, 2009