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21 Jul 1941
  • Hiroaki Abe was transferred out of Japanese Navy Destroyer Squadron 6. ww2dbase [Hiroaki Abe | CPC]
  • German submarine U-140 sank the 161-ton Soviet submarine M94 by torpedoes in the Baltic Sea. The survivors were rescued by M98 operating nearby off Hiiumaa Island. ww2dbase [AC]
  • Japan secured an agreement from the Vichy-French government to permit a virtual Japanese occupation of Indo-China. ww2dbase [AC]
  • German submarine U-109 refueled from German supply ship Thalia off Cadiz, Spain. ww2dbase [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • Orion rounded Cape Horn and entered the Atlantic Ocean. ww2dbase [Orion | CPC]
  • Luigi Torelli sank Norwegian tanker Ida Knudsen in the Atlantic Ocean about 400 kilometers west of Rabat, Morocco, killing 5 of 38 aboard; she was carrying 13,000 tons of fuel oil toward Gibraltar. ww2dbase [Luigi Torelli | CPC]
Byelorussia Canada Egypt
  • Free French leader Charles de Gaulle met with British Minister of State in Cairo Oliver Lyttleton in Cairo, Egypt, complaining of the shortcomings in the arrangement in the Middle East where Free French troops were placed under British command. De Gaulle noted that Free France would assume direct control of troops in the theater as of noon of 24 Jul 1941. ww2dbase [Ding Delong | Cairo | CPC]
  • The Allied convoy "Substance" departed Gibraltar to supply Malta; it contains six transports, carrier Ark Royal, battlecruiser Renown, battleship Nelson, several cruisers, and six destroyers. ww2dbase [Malta Campaign | CPC]
  • 195 German Luftwaffe bombers, most of which were He 111 bombers, took off from an airfield near Smolensk, Russia to attack the Soviet capital of Moscow in multiple waves during the night; the resulting air alarms were the first to be sounded in the city. Moscow had strong anti-aircraft defences, the city was protected by 170 fighters, and the citizens were able to take shelter in the newly completed underground railway stations, but German air crews reported the presence of very few Soviet fighters after sunset. On the next day the Soviets would report the downing of 22 German bombers, but German records only showed 6 bombers failing to return. ww2dbase [Battle of Moscow | Moscow | AC, CPC]
  • Soviet troops evacuated from the positions along the Dniestr River in western Ukraine. ww2dbase [Operation Barbarossa | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The keel of British minesweeper HMS Cadmus was laid down. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Hugh Dalton informed Winston Churchill that his Special Operations Executive was now ready to support covert operations in German-occupied Europe. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The Norwegian merchant steamer Inga I departed Oban, Scotland, United Kingdom upon completion of repairs. She sailed with Convoy OG 69 for Gibraltar with a cargo of 1,670 tons of coal and coke. ww2dbase [Oban, Scotland | HM]
  • Jean Knox was made the director of the British Auxiliary Territorial Service. ww2dbase [Jean Knox | England | CPC]
  • The keel of British minesweeper HMS Circe was laid down. ww2dbase [CPC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Gunnel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut, United States. ww2dbase [Electric Boat Company | Gunnel | Groton, Connecticut | CPC]
  • The keel of US minesweeper Velocity was laid down. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The keel of US minesweeper Tumult was laid down. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The keel of US minesweeper Token was laid down. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The keel of US destroyer Evans was laid down. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The keel of US destroyer John D. Henley was laid down. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Franklin Roosevelt asked the United States Congress to modify the Selective Service Act, increasing the period of service from one year of active service to also include 30 months in reserve. ww2dbase [Franklin Roosevelt | Washington | CPC]

21 Jul 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
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal

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