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17 Sep 1940
  • Battleship Bismarck exited the Kiel Canal at 1448 hours, then arrived at Scheerhafen, Kiel. ww2dbase [Bismarck | CPC]
  • Franco-Japanese negotiations for Indochina re-opened; the Japanese increased their demands and openly threatened France with military action. ww2dbase [Indochina Campaign | CPC]
  • British Swordfish torpedo bombers from carrier HMS Illustrious attacked the port of Benghazi, Libya, bombing shipping and laying mines. Italian destroyer Borea was sunk by torpedoes and destroyer Aquilone was damaged by a mine. Italian merchant ships Gloria Stella and Maria Eugenia were also sunk. ww2dbase [Illustrious | CPC]
  • British cruiser HMS Kent was damaged by a torpedo launched by an Italian aircraft at 1155 hours, killing 31. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British destroyers HMS Janus and HMS Juno departed Alexandria, Egypt and bombarded Italian positions at Sidi Barrani, Egypt at 1100 hours. At 1130 hours, British gunboat HMS Ladybird bombarded the coastal highway near Sollum, Egypt. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Hitler postponed Operation Sealion via order Nr. 00 761/40 g. Kdos., ordering that no new barges would arrive, but those that were already there (1700 barges and 200 ships, capable of carrying 500,000 men) would remain. British intelligence would continue to think that a German invasion was still probable; as a result, Churchill announced to the Parliament on this date that the next few weeks would be "grave and anxious". ww2dbase [CPC]
  • No. 29 Squadron RAF became fully operational with the Beaufighter IF fighters. Meanwhile two more Squadrons (Nos. 600 and 640) were working up with the type. ww2dbase [Beaufighter | AC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. ww2dbase [Hans-Joachim Marseille | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-48 attacked British passenger liner City of Benares 400 miles west of Scotland, United Kingdom; City of Benares was evacuating 90 British children and their families to Canada but this fact was unknown to the German captain; both torpedoes missed and U-48 would continue to stalk her prey. German submarines U-99 sank British ship Crown Arun of Allied convoy HX-71 200 miles west of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0832 hours; the entire crew of 25 were rescued by destroyer HMS Winchelsea. German submarines U-65 sank British ship Tregenna of Allied convoy HX-71 200 miles west of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom at 1626 hours; 33 were killed and 4 were rescued by British ship Filleigh. ww2dbase [First Happy Time | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • At 1400 hours, German Ju 88 bombers attempted to attack factories in Bristol, England, United Kingdom but were turned back by Spitfire fighters of No. 152 Squadron RAF. At 1530 hours, a formation of converted Bf 109 fighter-bombers attacked Kent; 4 were shot down by British fighters without doing much damage. In Berlin, Adolf Hitler postponed Operation Seelöwe indefinitely, but Hermann Göring was allowed to continue the aerial attacks on Britain. Meanwhile, in London, Winston Churchill announced that 2,000 civilians were killed and 8,000 were wounded during the Blitz thus far. Overnight, more than 350 tons of bombs were dropped on London, South Wales, and Liverpool. ww2dbase [Battle of Britain | England | TH]
  • James Lacey was shot down over Ashford, England, United Kingdom by Bf 109 fighters. ww2dbase [James Lacey | Ashford, England | CPC]
  • The British Royal Air Force resumed operations at RAF West Drayton, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom for radar training, thus forcing the WAAF recruit depot at that location to relocate to Harrogate, Yorkshire, England and later to Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England. ww2dbase [WAAF: Women in the WW2 Royal Air Force | West Drayton, England | AC]

17 Sep 1940 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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