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23 May 1941
  • Battleship Bismarck sighted British cruiser Suffolk on her portside at 1922 hours, then cruiser Norfolk at 2030 hours. Her main battery fired at Norfolk but did not score any hits. At 2200 hours, Bismarck reversed course to chase Suffolk, but Suffolk would be able to escape. ww2dbase [Bismarck | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler issued Directive 30 to send forces to aid Iraq in its war against the British. At Fallujah, Iraq, fighters of the German Fliegerführer Irak squadron strafed British positions. ww2dbase [Campaigns in the Middle East | CPC]
  • German battleship Bismarck and cruiser Prinz Eugen were spotted by British cruisers HMS Suffolk and HMS Norfolk in the Denmark Strait at 1922 hours. Bismarck forced the British cruisers to back off with her guns, but the cruisers would follow at a safer distance to report the German position. ww2dbase [Battle of Denmark Strait | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank Dutch ship Berhala 200 miles off Guinea, French West Africa at 2020 hours; 3 were killed, 59 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Grampus was commissioned into service. ww2dbase [Grampus | CPC]
  • Hermann Göring ordered the plunder and destruction of Soviet industrial centers since the conquered Soviet population would be no more than low laborers for Germany. ww2dbase [Hermann Göring | CPC]
Germany
  • Fleet escort ship F1 was renamed Libelle during her rebuild. ww2dbase [F1 | CPC]
Greece
  • HMS Kelly commanded by Lord Louis Mountbatten, great grandson of Queen Victoria, was sunk 35 miles south Crete, Greece at 0800 hours, shortly a bombardment mission; 181 were killed, 297 survived. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | Kelly | AC]
  • Bitter fighting continued on Crete, Greece. During the day, German reinforcements arrived at Maleme airfield, but the attempts to land troops by sea were rebuffed. The Germans now controlled the west end of the island. On the same day, German bombing of Suda Bay sank 5 British motor torpedo boats. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | AC]
  • British destroyer HMS Kashmir (F 01) was bombed and sunk by German Stuka dive bombers south of Crete, Greece. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | HM]

23 May 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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Famous WW2 Quote
"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

George Patton, 31 May 1944