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20 Apr 1941
  • German submarine U-73 sank British ship Empire Endurance 400 miles west of Ireland at 0332 hours; the ship was the former German ship Alster, having been captured in Norway in the previous year. 65 were killed and the military supplies destined for Egypt were lost. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Athens, Greece was heavily bombed by German dive bombers; one of seven RAF Hurricane aircraft lost in beating off the raid was flown by Squadron Leader Marmaduke "Pat" Pattle, believed to be the Allies' top scoring fighter pilot of the war with at least 50 kills (that number could not be officially recognised as his record of service in Greece was lost); Pattle died trying to protect a fellow pilot. Piraeus, Greece was also attacked from the air, sinking Greek destroyer Psara with 37 killed; 22 German aircraft were lost while the British lost 10 Hurricane fighters. Unable to withstand the German advances, British forces withdrew from Mount Olympus toward Thermopylae on the same day that King George II led a new government. To the north in Albania, General Tsolakoglou surrendered the Greek Epirus Army, without authorization, to the German Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment; Italian leader Mussolini protested, requesting that the surrender must be accepted by an Italian general. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | AC]
  • British Commander-in-Chief Middle East General Wavell requested for more tanks to reinforce Tobruk, Libya. Prime Minister Churchill agreed and ordered a convoy to sail directly into the Mediterranean Sea to deliver 295 tanks to Tobruk. ww2dbase [Siege of Tobruk | CPC]
  • Erich Raeder attempted to convince Adolf Hitler to allow German submarines to attack American ships; Hitler rejected the request, citing his unwillingness to provoke the Americans to fully enter the war. ww2dbase [Erich Raeder | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler celebrated his birthday at the temporary headquarters Frühlingssturm in eastern Austria. ww2dbase [Adolf Hitler | CPC]
  • Ferdinand Schörner was awarded the Knight's Cross the Iron Cross medal. ww2dbase [Ferdinand Schörner | CPC]
  • Georgios Tsolakoglou surrendered the III Army Corps to the Germans. ww2dbase [Georgios Tsolakoglou | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • British anti-submarine trawler HMT Topaze was accidentally rammed by British battleship HMS Rodney and sank in the Clyde Estuary, Scotland, United Kingdom, killing 18. ww2dbase [Rodney | Scotland | CPC]
  • The bombing of London, England, United Kingdom which began on the previous date ended before dawn; 449 were killed. Via a speech made in Ireland, Irish Prime Minister Eamon De Valera protested the German bombing of Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom; "they are our people", he said, "we are one and the same people, and their sorrows in the present instance are also our sorrows". ww2dbase [Battle of Britain | London, England | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Apr 1941
Fuso conducting a flooding and drainage test at Kure, Japan, 20 Apr 1941Troops of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler negotiating difficult terrain in Greece, 1941Battleship Oregon in the Willamette River at Portland, Oregon, United States, 20 Apr 1941Battleship Oregon in the Willamette River, Portland, Oregon, United States, 20 Apr 1941

20 Apr 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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Winston Churchill, on the RAF

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