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27 May 1942
  • Yamato was deemed operational. ww2dbase [Yamato | CPC]
  • US Marine Corps Fighter Squadron 212 began operations from Efate, New Hebrides. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Thai forces captured Kengtung, Burma. ww2dbase [Invasion of Burma | CPC]
  • From Saipan and Guam in the Mariana Islands, an invasion fleet carrying 5,000 Japanese troops departed for Midway Atoll under Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka. In the northern Pacific Ocean, Japanese submarine I-25 launched her floatplane for a reconnaissance mission over Kodiak Island, US Territory of Alaska, which spotted a US cruiser and two destroyers. To the west, still in the Aleutian Islands, I-19 was preparing to launch her floatplane when lookouts spotted an American aircraft; the submarine dove for cover, destroying the floatplane in the process. In Japan, the naval leadership affected a radio encryption coding change for all fleets and bases. At Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, Joseph Finnegan and Wesley Wright, two intelligence officers working under Joseph Rochefort, broke the Japanese encryption used to secure operational dates after working on it for the entire previous night; with this new knowledge they determined that the Japanese were going to raid Dutch Harbor in Alaska on 3 Jun 1942 and to attack Midway Atoll on 4 Jun 1942. Finally, Rochefort visited Chester Nimitz's office to help him convince other admirals and generals of their belief that Midway was soon to be a Japanese target. ww2dbase [Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands | CPC]
  • German submarine U-578 sank Dutch ship Polyphemus 340 miles north of Bermuda just after 0000 hours; 15 were killed (all of Chinese ethnicity), 60 survived. German submarine U-172 sank British tanker Athelknight 1,260 miles northwest of Saint Barthélemy island at 0319 hours; 9 were killed, 25 survived. ww2dbase [Second Happy Time | CPC]
  • German submarine U-558 sank US Army transport Jack 100 miles southwest of Port Salut, Haiti at 1051 hours; 37 were killed, 23 survived. German submarine U-753 sank Norwegian tanker Hamlet in the Gulf of Mexico at 1103 hours; all 36 aboard survived. ww2dbase [Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico Campaigns | CPC]
Arctic Ocean
  • He 111 bombers of German Luftwaffe unit I./KG 26 and Ju 88 dive bombers of KG 30 attacked Allied convoy PQ-16 southeast of Bear Island (Bjørnøya), Norway in multiple waves. The first attack arrived over PQ-16 at 0320 hours, causing no damage. At 1100 hours, US freighter City of Joliet suffered a near miss. At 1310 hours, US freighter Alamar was hit by two bombs and was abandoned 20 minutes after with all aboard surviving. At 1315 hours, US ship Mormacsul was sunk by 1 bomb hit and 3 near misses; 3 were killed, 45 survived. At 1410 hours, British catapult aircraft merchantman Empire Lawrence was sunk after receiving 5 hits; 25 were killed. In the afternoon, Russian ship Stari Bolshevik, British ship Empire Baffin, and Polish destroyer Garland were damaged by German attacks, followed by US ship City of Joliet being damaged after being struck by a crashing German dive bomber (she would be abandoned at the end of the day). At 1945 hours, British merchant ship Empire Purcell was hit by 2 bombs and was abandoned. Finally, at 1950 hours, British merchant ship Lowther Castle was hit by a torpedo from a I./KG26 He 111 bomber and sank. I./KG 26 recorded the loss of two crews on this day. ww2dbase [Arctic Convoys | Barents Sea | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • British minesweeper HMS Fitzroy hit a British mine and sank in the North Sea 43 miles east of Great Yarmouth, England, United Kingdom; 12 were killed. ww2dbase [North Sea | CPC]
  • Alpino Bagnolini sighted a tanker in the Atlantic Ocean at 1934 hours. ww2dbase [Alpino Bagnolini | CPC]
British Western Pacific Territories
  • Engineers and staff officers of the Japanese 25th Air Flotilla and 8th Base Force arrived at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands by flying boat to inspect prospective airfield building sites. ww2dbase [Guadalcanal Campaign | Guadalcanal | CPC]
  • Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich departed his home in Panenské Brežany for his office at the Prague Castle in Prague, Czechoslovakia in the morning without his usual escort. British-trained Czech soldier Jozef Gabcík and others attacked his car at Liben, seriously wounding Heydrich with a grenade. ww2dbase [Reinhard Heydrich | Libeň | TH, CPC]
France Germany
  • The 152 members of a student group that openly displayed anti-Nazi posters in Berlin, Germany were executed. ww2dbase [TH]
Hawaii Japan
  • Akagi departed Hashirajima, Japan at 0600 hours for Battle of Midway as flagship of Vice Admiral Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force (Carrier Divisions 1 and 2). ww2dbase [Akagi | Hashirajima, Yamaguchi | CPC]
  • Kaga departed Hashirajima in Hiroshima Bay, Japan for Midway Atoll. ww2dbase [Kaga | Hashirajima , Yamaguchi | CPC]
  • The main offensive against the Gazala Line in Libya, which was a mobile tank assault around the southern end of the line, was launched by Axis armor divisions. Several Allied supply bases were overrun, including those guarded by men of the Indian 3rd Motor Brigade, but the French-held fort at Bir Hakeim, Libya would prove to be troublesome for the Axis forces for many days. While the left side of the offensive paused at Bir Hakeim, the right side reached El Adem by mid-morning, capturing the headquarters element of the British 7th Armored Division, including the commanding officer General Frank Messervy. ww2dbase [Battle of Gazala | CPC]
Marshall Islands
  • Kamoi arrived at Wotje, Marshall Islands. ww2dbase [Kamoi | Wotje | CPC]
Poland Russia
  • Light cruiser Voroshilov delivered troops of the Russian 9th Naval Infantry Brigade to Sevastopol, Russia, suffering damage by German air attack but also claiming two He 111 aircraft shot down. ww2dbase [Voroshilov | Sevastopol | CPC]
  • German Luftwaffe commenced Operation Froschlaich which mined waters in the vicinity of Kronstadt and Leningrad, Russia; the operation would last nearly three weeks. ww2dbase [Leningrad | CPC]
Ukraine United Kingdom
  • A German Ju 87 Stuka aircraft sank British anti-submarine trawler HMT Arctic Pioneer off Portsmouth Harbour, England, United Kingdom; 18 were killed, 16 survived. ww2dbase [Portsmouth, England | CPC]
United States Photo(s) dated 27 May 1942
Yorktown arrived at Pearl Harbor after the Battle of Coral Sea, 27 May 1942, with her crew paraded in whites on the flight deckAstoria arriving at Pearl Harbor with Task Force 17, 27 May 1942Doris Miller wearing the the Navy Cross medal, having just been awarded from Admiral Chester Nimitz, onbard carrier Enterprise, Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, 27 May 1942Doris Miller receiving the Navy Cross award from Admiral Chester Nimitz, onboard carrier Enterprise, Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, 27 May 1942; photo 1 of 2
See all photos dated 27 May 1942

27 May 1942 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
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939

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