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20 Jul 1942
  • US Marines sailed from New Zealand for exercises at Fiji. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • USS S-28 received orders to patrol the area surrounding Sirius Point, Aleutian Islands. ww2dbase [S-28 | CPC]
  • The US submarine Scorpion was launched, sponsored by Ms. Elizabeth T. Monagle. ww2dbase [Scorpion | CPC]
  • Wilhelm Keitel entertained with the idea of branding Soviet prisoners of war/slave laborers on the buttocks similar to how one would treat cattle. ww2dbase [Wilhelm Keitel | CPC]
  • US 1st Marine Division issued the Operation Watchtower plans for the invasion of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. ww2dbase [Guadalcanal Campaign | CPC]
  • Japanese submarine I-11 sank Greek ship G. S. Livanos 75 miles south of Sydney, Australia. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • 3 B-17 bombers of US 11th Air Force attacked Kiska, Aleutian Islands. At Adak Island, seaplane tender USS Gillis was attacked by Japanese H6K flying boats, received one hit, but sustained no damage as the bomb failed to explode. Finally, on Unalaska Island, the US Navy established Naval Air Facility Dutch Harbor and Naval Operating Base Dutch Harbor. ww2dbase [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Morosini was ordered to move to a new patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean at 1900 hours. ww2dbase [Morosini | CPC]
  • German 3rd Torpedo Boat Flotilla (T4, T10, T13, and T14) laid two minefields in the English Channel. ww2dbase [T13 | T14 | T10 | T4 | Second Happy Time | English Channel | CPC]
Australia Australian New Guinea
  • Tenryu departed Rabaul, New Britain for Buna, Australian Papua. ww2dbase [Tenryu | Rabaul, New Britain | CPC]
  • USS S-43 embarked Flight Officer Cecil John Trevelyan Mason of the Royal Australian Air Force at New Ireland; Mason had been put ashore to make contact with friendly agents, but had failed to find them. ww2dbase [S-43 | New Ireland | CPC]
Australian Papua
  • 24 Japanese G4M bombers and 15 A6M fighters attacked Port Moresby, Papua on the island of New Guinea. Meanwhile, at Rabaul, New Britain, 5th Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force of the Japanese Navy and Yokoyama Detachment of the Japanese 17th Army departed on three transports. ww2dbase [New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 2 | Port Moresby | CPC]
  • German submarine U-132 damaged transport Frederika Lensen of Allied convoy QS-19 off Anticosti Island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in Canada at 1839 hours; 4 were killed, 36 survived. Frederika Lensen would be beached to prevent sinking although she would ultimately be declared a total loss due to extensive damage. ww2dbase [U-132 | Second Happy Time | Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Quebec | CPC]
  • Vichy France changed the monthly payments to wives of German-held prisoners of war. Those with one child saw a decrease from 630 francs to 600 frances. Those with two children an increase from 840 to 900. Those with three children an increase from 1,060 to 1,200. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • HMS Eagle departed Gibraltar with 31 Spitfire fighters and 4 Swordfish torpedo bombers for Malta in Operation Insect. ww2dbase [Eagle | CPC]
Indian Ocean
  • German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank British ship Indus 1,950 miles west of Australia; 22 were killed, 49 survived. ww2dbase [Raids into the Indian Ocean | Thor | CPC]
Italy New Zealand
  • Suzanne Walker became the first enlisted member of the Women's Royal New Zealand Naval Service. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Soviet troops retook the German bridgehead at Voronezh, Russia. ww2dbase [Caucasus Campaign | Voronezh | TH]
  • Nikolai Kamanin received orders to travel to Moscow, Russia to take command of the newly formed 292nd Ground Attack Air Division. ww2dbase [Nikolai Kamanin | CPC]
  • British steam merchant Empire Tide arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia and disembarked the survivors of Dutch merchant steamer Paulus Potter and US merchant steamer Washington. ww2dbase [Arctic Convoys | Arkhangelsk | HM]
United States
  • USS R-1 arrived at New London, Connecticut, United States. ww2dbase [R-1 | New London, Connecticut | CPC]
  • The US Army officially activated the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, United States. ww2dbase [Toccoa, Georgia | CPC]
  • The first members of the US Women's Army Auxiliary Corps began training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, United States. ww2dbase [Des Moines, Iowa | CPC]
  • The keel of US destroyer escort Moore was laid down. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The keel of US destroyer Prichett was laid down. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The keel of US submarine Ray was laid down by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, United States. ww2dbase [Ray | Manitowoc, Wisconsin | CPC]
  • US minesweeper Chickadee was launched. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • US submarines Scamp was launched. ww2dbase [Scamp | CPC]
  • Destroyer USS Chevalier was commissioned into service. ww2dbase [CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Jul 1942
Willys MB Jeep in the service of Australian 2/48th infantry battalion in EgyptLaunching ceremony of Scamp (left) and Scorpion (right), Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, United States, 20 Jul 1942; note Snook on far rightCaptured A6M Zero fighter

20 Jul 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
"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944

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