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21 Jan 1941
  • The British government suppressed the publication of communist newspaper 'The Daily Worker'. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The Allies began attacking Tobruk, Libya, starting with an artillery barrage at 0540 hours. Australian engineers cleared a path for 18 British Matilda tanks and a few captured Italian tanks to pass through, leading infantrymen. Blenheim aircraft flew overhead throughout the day to provide support. 8,000 Italians were captured in overrun defensive positions, including General Petassi Manella. After nightfall, the headquarters of the Australian 19th Brigade offered Manella a ceasefire, but it was rejected, as the Italian general had orders from Benito Mussolini to fight until the last man. Overnight, Italian bombers attacked the British forward base; some bombs fell on the buildings holding prisoners of war, killing 50-300 Italians. ww2dbase [Operation Compass | CPC]
  • German bombers sank British rescue tug HMS Englishman 50 miles off the coast of County Donegal, Ireland; the entire crew of 18 were killed. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Commander Arthur Reid Pedder was named the commanding officer of HMS Mauritius. ww2dbase [Mauritius | CPC]
Italian Eritrea
  • The last recorded charge by cavalry against a British battery occurred in Eritrea, Italian East Africa when a battery of the 144th (Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry) Field Regiment Royal Artillery was surprised by about sixty mounted Eritreans, led by an Italian officer, who came on at the gallop firing from the saddle and lobbing grenades as they charged; the Battery replied with shell ands small arms fire, and the cavalry retired leaving about forty of their number killed or wounded on the field. Elsewhere, Indian 5th Infantry Division advanced 50 miles into Eritrea, capturing Aicota unopposed. Finally, Indian 10th Infantry Brigade and 2nd Battalion of the British Highland Light Infantry marched for Keru. ww2dbase [Invasion of Italian East Africa | CPC, AC]

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
"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944

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