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24 May 1941
  • King George II of Greece departed Crete, Greece for Cairo, Egypt. ww2dbase [George II | TH]
  • British battlecruiser HMS Hood and battleship HMS Prince of Wales engaged German battleship Bismarck and cruiser Prinz Eugen at 0552 hours at the distance of 24 kilometers. At 0600, a 15 inch shells from Bismarck penetrated Hood's thin deck armor, detonating a magazine and sinking her with almost all killed. Prince of Wales broke off from the battle at 0604 hours after being hit 7 times. Bismarck was hit 3 times and began to sail south for repairs. At 2350 hours, 8 British Swordfish torpedo bombers from aircraft carrier HMS Victorious attacked Bismarck and scored one torpedo hit. ww2dbase [Battle of Denmark Strait | CPC]
  • The British government collected £124,000,000 in donations after a week-long War Weapon Week event. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • At 0552 hours, battleship Bismarck reported 'in fight with two heavy units' as she was engaged by British warships. Between 0555 and 0601 hours, she was hit on the port side by three shells from HMS Prince of Wales, but by 0601 she was able to sink HMS Hood. Between 0602 and 0609, she scored four hits on HMS Prince of Wales. At 0801 hours, Bismarck reported damage with electric plant no. 4 and boiler room no. 2; she would head for Saint-Nazaire due to her low fuel levels. ww2dbase [Bismarck | CPC]
  • Prinz Eugen engaged in combat with HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Hood alongside of German battleship Bismarck. She scored the first hit on HMS Hood. ww2dbase [Prinz Eugen | CPC]
  • Allied troops began to fall back southward in Crete, Greece. German bombers attacked Chaniá on the northern coast, causing great damage. After dark, British minelayer HMS Abdiel transported 200 British commandos from Alexandria, Egypt to Suda Bay, Crete; another effort to transport 800 commandos to Port Lutro, Crete was canceled due to bad weather. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank British ship Vulcain off British West Africa at 0249 hours, killing 7. In the same general area, U-103 sank Greek ship Marionga at 0356 hours, killing 26. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis sank British ship Trafalgar 850 miles off South Africa; 12 were killed, 33 survived. ww2dbase [Atlantis | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • HMS Rodney received orders to abandon her sortie to Boston, Massachusetts, United States for repairs and instead turn north to attempt to intercept and engage Bismarck. ww2dbase [Rodney | DS]
  • British Lieutenant Commander Malcolm Wanklyn of the submarine HMS Upholder won the Victoria Cross for sinking 18,017-ton Italian transport Conte Rosso 20 miles southeast of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy and surviving 37 depth charges in 20 minutes. Conte Rosso was one of the largest (maximum passenger capacity of 2,366) and most luxurious passenger ships built at the Dalmuir Shipyards in Scotland, United Kingdom; at her launch she stuck on the slips and it took two weeks before she was re-launched. She was converted into a troop ship in 1940. 1,291 perished as Conte Rosso sank. By the end of the year Wanklyn would sink 140,000 tons of enemy shipping; Wanklyn and Upholder would be lost off Tripoli, Libya in Apr 1942. ww2dbase [Sicilia | AC, HM]
United Kingdom
  • Cargo ship Matronna was bombed and sunk by German aircraft while in Dale Roads off Milford Haven, Wales, United Kingdom and on passage from Port Talbot, Wales for St. John's with cargo of anthracite. ww2dbase [Milford Haven, Wales | HM]
United States Photo(s) dated 24 May 1941
Shells from Hood fell near cruiser Prinz Eugen, 24 May 1941Bismarck firing on Hood and Prince of Wales, Battle of Denmark Strait, 24 May 1941, photo 1 of 8; photographed from Prinz EugenBismarck firing on Hood and Prince of Wales, Battle of Denmark Strait, 24 May 1941, photo 2 of 8; photographed from Prinz EugenBismarck firing on Hood and Prince of Wales, Battle of Denmark Strait, 24 May 1941, photo 3 of 8; photographed from Prinz Eugen
See all photos dated 24 May 1941

24 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
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935

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