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World War II Database

20 Sep 1865

  • Jiangnan Arsenal was established in Shanghai, China. Li Hongzhang was named its first commanding officer. ww2dbase [Jiangnan Arsenal | Shanghai | CPC]

20 Sep 1865 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1880

20 Sep 1905

20 Sep 1913

Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1913
Japanese battlecruiser Hiei fitting out at Yokosuka, Japan, 20 Sep 1913

20 Sep 1913 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1918

20 Sep 1920

20 Sep 1922

  • British Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon held several angry meetings with French Prime Minister Raymond Paincar√© regarding the Chanak Crisis, finally reaching an agreement to negotiate an armistice with the Turks. ww2dbase [Paris | AC]
20 Sep 1931

United Kingdom
  • A run on the pound caused by panic in the London Stock Market led to the British national government abandoning the Gold Standard. ww2dbase [London, England | AC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1931
Kenji Doihara (in Army uniform) in Mukden, China, 20 Sep 1931Japanese troops disarming Chinese soldiers in northeastern China, circa Sep-Oct 1931Japanese Kwantung Army troops marching in a town in northeastern China, northeastern China, Sep 1931
20 Sep 1933
  • Rudolf H√∂ss applied for a transfer into the SS organization and was given the rank of a SS recruit, SS-Anw√§rter. ww2dbase [Rudolf H√∂ss | CPC]
  • Rudolf H√∂ss applied to join the Nazi SS organization. ww2dbase [Rudolf H√∂ss | CPC]
20 Sep 1935

20 Sep 1936

  • A TB-3-4AM-34FRN aircraft, piloted by A. B. Yumashev, broke the payload-to-altitude record by carrying a 12,000-kilogram load to the altitude of 2,700 meters. ww2dbase [TB-3 | CPC]
20 Sep 1937

  • Liu Cuigang, flying a Hawk III fighter, damaged a Japanese D1A1 dive bomber and shot down an E8N seaplane near Nanjing, China. Both Liu and his wingman Lieutenant Yuan Baokang each claimed an E8N shot down, but Japanese records showed only one lost. ww2dbase [Liu Cuigang | Nanjing | CPC]
  • John Wong, flying a P-26 fighter, damaged a Japanese floatplane over China. ww2dbase [John Wong | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1937
Machine gun crew of Chinese 88th Division covering an infantry advance, Shanghai, China, Sep-Oct 1937; note Germany-supplied helmetsSoldier of Chinese 88th Division guarding a position in Shanghai, China, Sep-Oct 1937

20 Sep 1937 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1938

Czechoslovakia Germany
20 Sep 1939
  • Werner M√∂lders scored his first kill of the European War; the victim was a P-36 fighter. For this victory, he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class. ww2dbase [Werner M√∂lders | CPC]
  • Bl√ľcher was commissioned into service. ww2dbase [Bl√ľcher | CPC]
  • Ferdinand Sch√∂rner was awarded Iron Cross 1st class. ww2dbase [Ferdinand Sch√∂rner | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-27 was sunk by destroyers HMS Fortune and HMS Forester off Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • U-27 was sunk by British destroyers HMS Fortune and HMS Faulknor west of Scotland, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-27 | CPC]
French Indochina
  • Josef Frantisek was shot down near Zlocz√≥w, Poland (now Zolochiv, Ukraine) but escaped unharmed. ww2dbase [Josef Frantisek | Zlocz√≥w | CPC]
  • The RAF and Luftwaffe clashed for the first time over the Westwall, the German defensive line on the border with France. The British lost two aircraft, the Germans one. ww2dbase [AC]
  • Georg von Bismarck was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class. ww2dbase [Georg von Bismarck | CPC]
  • Fleet escort ship F6 completed her conversion into a fleet tender and was recommissioned K√∂nigin Louise. ww2dbase [F6 | CPC]
Japan Poland
  • German General Johannes Blaskowitz noted in his order of the day that, at the Battle of the Bzura in Poland, also known as Battle of Kutno to the Germans, his troops was fighting "in one of the biggest and most destructive battles of all times." Elsewhere, German troops withdrew to the agreed demarcation line in Poland, with Soviet forces moving in behind them. Finally, also on this day, the remaining Polish garrison in Grodno managed to kill 800 Soviet troops and at least 10 tanks. ww2dbase [Invasion of Poland | TH]
United States Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1939
Polish policemen and civilians, captured by Russian troops, marching in a column, Sep 1939Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler, Erwin Rommel, and Walter von Reichenau in Poland, Sep 1939

20 Sep 1939 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1940

Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-A sank Panamanian collier Tuira 400 miles west of Ireland at 0027 hours, killing 2. German submarine U-46 torpedoed and damaged Greek ship Leonidas M. Valmas 50 miles northwest of Ireland at 2150 hours; she would not sink due to its cargo of wood, but 16 crew members died in the fire; 2 survivors were rescued by British destroyer HMS Arrow. 10 miles north of Malin Head, Ireland, German submarine U-138 fired three torpedoes at Allied convoy OB-216 between 2120 and 2126 hours; all three torpedoes hit, sinking Yugoslavian collier Boka was sunk (8 killed, 26 survived) and British passenger liner City of Simla (3 killed, 182 crew and 165 passengers survived); British whale factory ship New Sevilla was damaged but would remain afloat until the next day (2 killed, 282 survived). ww2dbase [First Happy Time | CPC]
Belgium French Indochina Indian Ocean
  • Allied convoy BN-5, which had so far successful in evading the Italian destroyers and submarines in pursuit, was detected and attacked by Italian aircraft in the Red Sea. British ship Bhima was damaged by near misses and had to be towed to Aden to be beached. Escorting New Zealand cruiser HMS Leander was attacked but did not sustain any damage. One Italian bomber was shot down. ww2dbase [Red Sea | CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis sank French passenger liner Commissaire Ramel in the Indian Ocean about halfway between Madagascar and Australia, killing 3. 63 crew members, mostly Australians, were imprisoned abord Atlantis. Fregattenkapit√§n Rogge of Atlantis had wanted to transfer his 230 prisoners to Commissaire Ramel and send the French ship back to German as a prize ship, but situation did not allow him to do so. On the same day, the British Royal Navy formed a task force composed of Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra, Australian armed merchant cruiser Westralia, British cruiser HMS Capetown, and British cruiser HMS Durban to find and sink Atlantis. ww2dbase [Atlantis | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Three waves of German Bf 109 fighters totaling over 100 aircraft flew across the English Channel for London, England, United Kingdom; they successfully lured out British fighters and shot down 7 of them (killing 4 pilots) at the cost of 2 of their own. Overnight, London was attacked by German bombers. ww2dbase [Battle of Britain | London, England | CPC]
  • Werner M√∂lders shot down two Spitfire fighters of No. 92 Squadron RAF near Dungeness, England, United Kingdom, which were the 39th and 40th victories. ww2dbase [Werner M√∂lders | Dungeness, England | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1940
A Dornier Do-17 bomber dropping a string of bombs on London, England, United Kingdom, 20 Sep 1940

20 Sep 1940 Interactive Map

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 (Kapit√§nleutnant 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 (Kapit√§nleutnant 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 (Kapit√§nleutnant G√ľnther Prien) on 6 Dec 1939. ww2dbase [HM]
  • Scir√® 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 [Scir√® | 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]

20 Sep 1941 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1942
  • As of this date, American Liberty ship production exceeded the rate of sinkings. ww2dbase [Liberty-class | CPC]
  • Some of Mutsu's anti-aircraft personnel were disembarked to train ground-based anti-aircraft personnel at Rabaul, New Britain. ww2dbase [Mutsu | CPC]
  • US Navy Pacific Fleet's chief communications officer John Redman recommended the relief of radio intelligence officer Joseph Rochefort. ww2dbase [Joseph Rochefort | CPC]
  • German submarine U-515 sank British ship Reedpool 120 miles northeast of Georgetown, British Guyana at 0815 hours; 5 were killed, 53 survived but 1, the captain, was captured. At 1517 hours, U-596 attacked Allied convoy SC-100 300 miles southeast of Iceland, sinking British ship Empire Hartebeeste (all 46 aboard survived). ww2dbase [Second Happy Time | CPC]
  • German submarine U-435 sank British minesweeper HMS Leda of Allied convoy QP-14 180 miles west of Spitsbergen, Norway at 0631 hours; 14 were killed, 66 survived. At 1815 hours, U-255 sank US freighter Silver Sword of QP-14; 1 was killed, 63 survived. At about 1900 hours, escort carrier HMS Avenger and cruiser HMS Scylla were detached from QP-14 to head back to base. At 1955 hours, U-703 damaged British destroyer HMS Somali also of QP-14; 47 were killed, 67 survivors were taken off, and 80 survivors remained aboard as she was taken in tow by destroyer HMS Ashanti. ww2dbase [Arctic Convoys | CPC]
  • Aubrey Fitch was made the commanding officer of US Navy Aircraft South Pacific Force, replacing John McCain. ww2dbase [Aubrey Fitch | DS]
Caroline Islands
  • Tenryu arrived at Truk, Caroline Islands. ww2dbase [Tenryu | Truk | CPC]
Japan Pacific Ocean
  • USS Wahoo attacked a Japanese freighter and her escort southeast of Namonuito Atoll, Caroline Islands, hitting the freighter with 1 of 4 torpedoes. She claimed to have sunk the freighter, but the study of Japanese records after the war showed no ships lost on this date in the area. ww2dbase [Wahoo | CPC]
Russia Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1942
AEC Mk I armored car in the Western desert, Egypt, 20 Sep 1942Portrait of Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Marseille, mid-Sep 1942; note KnightPortrait of Hans-Joachim Marseille, Sep 1942Portrait of Hans-Joachim Marseille, Sep 1942
See all photos dated 20 Sep 1942

20 Sep 1942 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1943
  • HMS Polyanthus (Lieutenant J. G. Aitken) was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-952, whilst on escort duties southwest of Iceland. ww2dbase [AC]
  • The Japanese Navy formed the 13th Air Fleet on paper with Vice Admiral Shiro Takasu in command and Rear Admiral Takeo Tada as the chief of staff. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • De Havilland Vampire jet fighter took its first flight. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Rudolf H√∂ss' fifth child Annegret was born. ww2dbase [Rudolf H√∂ss | CPC]
Australia Australian Papua Caroline Islands
  • Repair ship Akashi began repairing tanker Notoro at Truk, Caroline Islands. ww2dbase [Akashi | Truk | CPC]
  • The Japanese Autumn Mop-up Operation began in Hebei, Shandong, and Henan Provinces in China; 30,000 men were deployed to wipe out Chinese Communist guerrilla forces. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Air operations at Naval Air Station Kahului on Maui, US Territory of Hawaii officially commenced with the arrival of Composite Squadron VC-23 and their SBD Dauntless scout bombers. ww2dbase [Kahului Naval Air Station | Kahului, Maui | DS]
  • British Eighth Army captured Bari, Italy. Meanwhile, Venice was bombed by Allied planes. ww2dbase [Operation Avalanche | TH]
Marshall Islands
  • Shokaku arrived at Eniwetok, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Shokaku | Eniwetok | CPC]
  • Naka arrived at Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Naka | Mili | CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • USS Haddock fired 6 torpedoes on oiler Notoro in the Pacific Ocean, damaging her with 3 hits; Notoro, originally saililng for Japan, turned toward Truk, Caroline Islands for repairs. ww2dbase [Haddock | CPC]
  • USS Haddock fired a total of 12 torpedoes across the span of the day in the Pacific Ocean, damaging transport Shinyubari Maru with 3 hits and damaging another with 4 hits. Haddock was counterattacked several times on this date. ww2dbase [Haddock | CPC]
  • German Armeegruppe S√ľd began withdrawing to a new line running from Melitopol to Zaporozhe in Ukraine. ww2dbase [TH]
Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1943
German PaK 40 gun near Salerno, Italy, late Sep 1943

20 Sep 1943 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1944
  • USS Franklin crossed the Equator. ww2dbase [Franklin | CPC]
  • Indian 4th Division captured San Marino in the early afternoon. In nearby Italy, Canadian troops broke through German lines along the Ausa River. At Rimini, Italy, Greek troops reached the southern outskirts of the city. ww2dbase [Gothic Line Offensive | TH, CPC]
  • British XXX Corps linked up with US airborne troops at Nijmegen, the Netherlands; nearby, Geldrop, Someren, and Terneuzen were captured by Allied troops. ww2dbase [Operation Market Garden | TH]
  • From his headquarters in Chongqing, China, Milton Miles sent SACO's first comprehensive weather map to US Navy Pacific Fleet Command. These reports would continue daily until the end of the war for the planning of Leyte, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa invasions. ww2dbase [Milton Miles | Chongqing | CPC]
Dutch East Indies Hawaii Japan Pacific Ocean
  • USS Whale arrived at waters southeast of Taiwan. ww2dbase [Whale | CPC]
  • Kamoi departed Talampulan, Palawan, Philippine Islands at 0617 hours and arrived at Manila at 2122 hours. ww2dbase [Kamoi | Talampulan, Palawan | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • German Air Force III/KG3 flew 21 sorties and 68 Squadron RAF was vectored to a position over the Dutch coastal Islands. A Mosquito aircraft flown by Flight Sergeant John Jenkins failed to return. It was presumed that the aircraft was brought down by the explosion of its target, which was a V-1 flying bomb. One of the V-1 flying bombs launched by the German bombers impacted on the beach next to the perimeter of the Experimental Radar Facility at Bawdsey Manor near Felixstowe eastern United Kingdom. One that fell in a farmer's field at Chediston in the County of Suffolk had the number 701422 and another that destroyed 3 houses at Hacheston near Ipswich in the same County was 701427. This numbering only appeared on the air launched bombs. ww2dbase [V-Weapons Campaign | Vergeltungswaffe 1 | England | HM]
United States
  • The FR Fireball fighter took its first piston-jet mix-powered flight. ww2dbase [FR Fireball | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1944
Children wearing orange ribbons and waving Dutch flags during celebrations in Eindhoven, the first major town in Holland to be liberated, 20 Sep 1944Carriers of 1/5th Welch Regiment, British 53rd Division crossing the Meuse into Holland, 20 Sep 1944An US Marine giving his wounded comrade a drink of water from a canteen, Peleliu, Palau Islands, Sep 1944Captured British paratroopers being marched away by German troops, circa 17-25 Sep 1944
See all photos dated 20 Sep 1944

20 Sep 1944 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1945
  • Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru demanded British troops to leave India. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • USS R-1 was decommissioned from service at Key West, Florida, United States. ww2dbase [R-1 | CPC]
  • Captain Kunizo Kaneoka was named the commanding officer of light carrier Hosho. ww2dbase [Hosho | CPC]
  • Joseph Stalin expressed disapproval of Georgy Zhukov's 9 Sep 1945 order in which Zhukov ordered his troops to stop committing crimes against the German people; Stalin noted that such orders failed to improve discipline. ww2dbase [Joseph Stalin | CPC]
  • Naoshi Kanno was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain. ww2dbase [Naoshi Kanno | CPC]
French Indochina Hawaii Japan
  • USS Ticonderoga departed Tokyo, Japan with American servicemen aboard for San Francisco, California, United States (as part of Operation Magic Carpet). ww2dbase [Ticonderoga | Tokyo Bay | DS]
  • USS Iowa departed Tokyo Bay, Japan with US servicemen and liberated prisoners of war on board. ww2dbase [Iowa | Tokyo Bay | CPC]
  • USS Alabama departed Japan. ww2dbase [Alabama | CPC]
  • USS Ancon departed Japan. ww2dbase [Ancon | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone Thailand
  • Racial tensions between Thai and Chinese residents in Bangkok, Thailand led to a number of gun fights in the Chinese district. Chinese merchants, who dominated the Thai economy, commenced a general strike a few days later. Things would de-escalate after a month after concessions by both sides. 27 Chinese and 9 Thai were killed in the month of violence. ww2dbase [Bangkok | CPC]
United States
  • Lieutenant Commander John B. Carroll was named the commanding officer of USS Preston. ww2dbase [Preston (Fletcher-class) | CPC]
  • Harry Truman ordered the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to disband in 10 days. ww2dbase [Harry Truman | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1945
Japanese soldier walking through a barren section of Hiroshima, Japan, Sep 1945

20 Sep 1945 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1946

United States
20 Sep 1950

Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1950
Marine Col Chesty Puller (standing) visited by Army General Douglas MacArthur (seated) as Puller pushed toward Seoul, South Korea, Sep 20 1950. Driving is Army MGen Ned Almond and in the rear are Marine Generals MGen OP Smith & LGen Lem Shepherd.US Marines fighting in Korea, 20 Sep 1950; note M1 Carbines

20 Sep 1950 Interactive Map

20 Sep 1958

United States
  • Captain Wilson McConnell Coleman was named the commanding officer of USS Ticonderoga. ww2dbase [Ticonderoga | CPC]
20 Sep 1962


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
"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