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31 May 1942
  • USS Colorado patrolled 650 miles west of San Francisco, California, United States. ww2dbase [Colorado | CPC]
  • British airfield RAF Bassingbourn's station log noted that from this date, when there were missions, "all personnel, officers, NCOs, and airmen to be served in the future in the airmen's mess." ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Unyo was commissioned into service. ww2dbase [Unyo | CPC]
  • Lord Gort stepped down as the Governor of Gibraltar. ww2dbase [John Vereker | CPC]
  • USS Pollack damaged a small boat with her deck gun off Kyushu, Japan. ww2dbase [Pollack | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Proteus sank Italian merchant ship Gino Allegri 90 miles west of Benghazi, Libya. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • USS St. Louis arrived at Kodiak, Alaska after having been redirected from Cold Bay, Alaska. St. Louis departed later the same day for an Alaskan patrol. ww2dbase [St. Louis | Kodiak | DS]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-432 sank Canadian ship Liverpool Packet off Nova Scotia, Canada at 0140 hours; 2 were killed, 19 survived. At 0252 hours, U-506 sank British ship Fred W. Green with gunfire 200 miles southeast of Bermuda; 5 were killed, 36 survived. In the South Atlantic, Italian submarine Comandante Cappellini sank British Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Dinsdale, hitting her with 4 of 6 torpedoes fired; 5 were killed. ww2dbase [Second Happy Time | CPC]
  • Comandante Cappellini fired two bow torpedoes at British Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship RFA Dinsdale in the Atlantic Ocean east of Pernambuco, Brazil at 0233 hours; they missed, and the British ship began evasive maneuvers. At 0318 hours, the Italian submarine fired two bow torpedoes at the distance of 450 meters as the British began firing her deck gun; two torpedoes struck RFA Dinsdale. At 0330 hours, the Italians heard an explosion. At 0547 hours, an Italian shell struck the engine room. At 0604 hours, another shell struck the engine room. The British ship sank at 0612 hours. 5 were killed during the attack, and 44 survived. The survivors were later picked up by Spanish ship Monte Orduna. ww2dbase [Comandante Cappellini | Second Happy Time | CPC]
  • Japanese submarines I-22, I-24, and I-27 launched three midget submarines 7 miles off of Sydney, Australia. At 2235 hours, one was caught in torpedo nets and was scuttled by her own crew of two (both were killed in the process). The two others continued into Sydney Harbor. ww2dbase [Type A-class | Japanese Midget Submarine Warfare in World War II | Sydney | CPC]
Black Sea
  • Soviet submarine ShCh-214 sank Turkish ship Mahbubdihan in the Black Sea; Mahbubdihan was suspected of carrying supplies for German troops. ww2dbase [CPC]
Hawaii Libya
  • 50 trucks reached Bir Hakeim in Libya, bringing badly-needed fresh water and evacuating Indian troops and Italian prisoners of war. After sundown, Axis tanks attacked westward from within the Cauldron on the southern end of the Gazala Line, assaulting positions held by British 150th Brigade. ww2dbase [Battle of Gazala | Bir Hakeim | CPC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille shot down the P-40 fighter piloted by Major Andre Duncan at 0726 hours near Fort Acroma, Libya. Two minutes later, he shot down his first victim's wingman. At 0734 hours, he scored his third kill of the day. His score stood at 68 by the end of this date. ww2dbase [Hans-Joachim Marseille | Acroma | CPC]
Madagascar Pacific Ocean
  • I-168 arrived in the Midway Atoll vicinity. ww2dbase [I-68/I-168 | CPC]
Poland United Kingdom United States Photo(s) dated 31 May 1942
Cruiser USS Chicago underway in Sydney Harbor, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, before the Japanese midget submarine attack that took place later that night, May 31, 1942US Navy sailors honoring fellow sailors killed during the Pearl Harbor attack, Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, possibly 31 May 1942

31 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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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945

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