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World War II Database

17 Jan 1940

Atlantic Ocean
  • The Norwegian 1,140-ton steam merchant Enid carrying wood pulp to Dublin, Ireland was one of two ships sunk 7 miles north of Muckle Flugga, Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom. The other vessel was the 4,751-ton British freighter Polzella. The Enid went to the assistance of the British ship which sank quickly after the torpedo fired by U-25 (Viktor Schütze) struck (all crew members aboard Polzella would be lost), but the submarine surfaced and fired a shot across the bow to stop her. Enid turned away, fired three shots from her deck gun, and then was abandoned by her crew, who took to two lifeboats. The Germans then fired 21 rounds from the deck gun and hit Enid seven times, setting her on fire. At 1410 hours, a coup de grāce was fired that broke the ship in two. The forepart sank immediately while the burning stern remained afloat and was later scuttled by the destroyer HMS Firedrake (H 79), which had been sent to the area to hunt for the submarine together with HMS Fortune (H 70) and several anti-submarine trawlers. Eight survivors in one lifeboat made landfall after 3 hours at Burra Firth on Unst, one of the northern Shetland Islands. The master and 7 crew members were picked up by the Danish motor merchant Kina. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC, HM]
  • Belgium revealed to the German ambassador that Belgium had learned German plans and not-yet-executed orders for the invasion of Belgium. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Finland registered temperatures as low as -45 degrees Celsius (-49 Degrees Fahrenheit). The cold weather posed problems for both Finnish and Soviet troops fighting in Finland. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Polish cryptographers in Paris, France cracked the German air force's Enigma codes, making it possible to intercept and read all the Luftwaffe's secret transmissions. ww2dbase [Main Article | AC]
Photo(s) dated 17 Jan 1940
Finnish troops inspecting destroyed Soviet vehicles, Finland, 17 Jan 1940

17 Jan 1940 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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Famous WW2 Quote
"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue."

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945