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18 May 1941
  • Battleship Bismarck anchored in the bay at 1200 hours to embark supplies and fuel for Operation Rheinübung. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Prinz Eugen departed for Operation Rheinübung. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • British battleship HMS Nelson and aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, en route from Cape Town, South Africa to Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa in search of German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis, sailed within 7 kilometers of the German ship without detecting her. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • After sundown, German battleship Bismarck and cruiser Prinz Eugen departed Gotenhafen, Germany (now Gdynia, Poland) for the North Atlantic. The fleet was commanded by Admiral Günther Lütjens aboard Bismarck. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italy annexed Dalmatia into its borders. ww2dbase [TH]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Piako 130 miles west of Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 2227 hours; 10 were killed, 65 survived and rescued by British sloop HMS Bridgewater. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German dive bombers attacked British hospital ship Aba 50 miles south of Crete, Greece. Petty Officer Alfred Sephton of British light cruiser HMS Coventry won the Victoria Cross for directing anti-aircraft fire against the German aircraft despite being partially blinded by a machine gun bullet; he would die from his injuries on the next day. In anticipation of a German invasion of Crete, Greece, 700 Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders were transported from Port Said, Egypt, on troopship Glengyle; they would land at Tymbaki, Crete after sundown. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • British aircraft from RAF Habbaniya bombed Iraqi positions in Falluja throughout the day. Meanwhile, Arab troops loyal to Britain relieved the besieged RAF Habbaniyah which was defended only by out-of-date training aircraft. The base had been under attack from the pro-German forces of General Rashid Ali using Bf 110 and He 111 aircraft. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Abyssinia
  • General Mosley Mayne, British commander of Indian 5th Division, had lunch with Italian commander Duke of Aosta at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia. The Italian duke agreed to not destroy guns, to not destroy supplies, and to dismantle or identify mines. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Soviet leadership began a purge against Soviet Air Force officers. ww2dbase [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 18 May 1941
Battleship Bismarck as seen from heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in the Baltic Sea, mid-May 1941

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
"All that silly talk about the advance of science and such leaves me cold. Give me peace and a retarded science."

Thomas Dodd, late 1945