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26 Mar 1941
  • British conscripts could now opt for civil defense duties. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Anti-Axis demonstrations continued in Yugoslavia. ww2dbase [The Tripartite Pact | CPC]
  • Winston Churchill sent a message to Archibald Wavell, hinting at Wavell's timidity in countering the recent Axis advances in Libya; he said "[w]e are naturally concerned at rapid German advance to El Agheila. It is their habit to push on wherever they are not resisted. I presume you are only waiting for the tortoise to stick his head out far enough before chopping it off." ww2dbase [Operation Sonnenblume | CPC]
  • Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto, 5 cruisers, and 10 destroyers sortied out of Naples, Taranto, and Brindisi in Italy to patrol the area of the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt and Greece; the goal was to attack Allied convoys bringing troops and supplies to Greece. ww2dbase [Battle of Matapan | CPC]
  • In a radio broad cast to the American people, US Colonel William Donovan said about the East African campaign, "The British have done a superb job, a better job than they have let the world discover". ww2dbase [AC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Canadian armed yacht HMCS Otter caught fire and sank off Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, killing 19. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Leonardo da Vinci departed Pauillac, France at 0800 hours and sailed out of the Gironde estuary for trials. Upon completion, she briefly docked at Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France at 1503 hours, and then set sail for Bordeaux, France at the southern end of the estuary, arriving at 1825 hours. ww2dbase [Leonardo da Vinci | Pauillac, Aquitaine | CPC]
  • The German Army High Command authorized the RSHA organization to operate death squads (Einsatzgruppen) in occupied Poland. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka arrived in Berlin, Germany. He was not met by Joachim von Ribbentrop immediately as his German counterpart was busy with the recent political developments in Yugoslavia. ww2dbase [Yosuke Matsuoka | Berlin | CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS York was heavily damaged by an Italian explosive boat raid at Suda Bay, Crete, Greece at about 0445 hours. Two men were killed. All six Italian boat drivers survived the attack, but all were captured. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | York | MT | Crete | CPC]
  • The 8,324-ton Norwegian motor tanker Pericles, in British Admiralty Royal Fleet Auxiliary service, was struck by a torpedo during an Italian torpedo boat raid into Suda Bay, Crete, Greece. The torpedo struck the starboard, causing oil to gush out of the damaged tanks and the pump room was partly flooded. She listed about 40 degrees to starboard, but effective damage control prevented capsizing. Naval Control would soon order Pericles to be towed out of Suda Bay for repairs in Egypt. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | Crete | HM]
Italian Eritrea
  • Allied troops repaired the road running through Dongolaas Gorge in Eritrea, Italian East Africa. Italian troops at nearby heights only realized this after nightfall, by then it was too late to stop the Allied column that was starting to advance, thus the Italians began to withdraw to Keren. Meanwhile, in Ethiopia, The British Nigerian Brigade captured Harar unopposed. ww2dbase [Invasion of Italian East Africa | CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • The 1,470-ton Italian tanker Ticino was sunk by a mine laid the previous day by the British submarine Rorqual north of Trapani, Sicily, Italy. The 1,450-ton steam merchant Verde following also struck a mine and sank. ww2dbase [HM]
Pacific Ocean
  • The 287-ton fishing vessel Millimumul (Captain Rixom) was on voyage from Sydney, Australia with fish and a crew of 12, when she sank after hitting by a mine, laid by the German raider Pinguin, north-east of Sydney, 33 miles east of Broken Bay. Seven of her crew died. ww2dbase [Pinguin | HM]
United Kingdom
  • The 5,533-ton cable laying ship Faraday was to join a convoy of 25 ships out of Falmouth, England, United Kingdom for Milford Haven, Wales, United Kingdom; due to bad weather only five of the vessels, including the Faraday, set out. Due to fog banks the ships lost sight of each other. At 1945 hours after the cloud lifted, the Faraday came under attack from a single Heinkel 111 aircraft which dropped two bombs and strafed the ship in a low level attack. Eight of the crew were killed, and 25 were injured. One of the bombs exploded in the oil bunker causing a serious fire. The German plane was hit by the return fire and crashed into the sea, never having regained height. The crippled ship ran aground off St. Ann's Head on the Pembrokeshire coast, South Wales. ww2dbase [Dale, Wales | HM]
Photo(s) dated 26 Mar 1941
Grampus during her trials, off Groton, Connecticut, United States, 26 Mar 1941, photo 1 of 2Grampus during her trials, off Groton, Connecticut, United States, 26 Mar 1941, photo 2 of 2

26 Mar 1941 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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"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"

Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943

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