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World War II Database

20 Sep 1939
  • Werner Mölders scored his first kill of the European War; the victim was a P-36 fighter. For this victory, he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class. ww2dbase [Werner Mölders | CPC]
  • Blücher was commissioned into service. ww2dbase [Blücher | CPC]
  • Ferdinand Schörner was awarded Iron Cross 1st class. ww2dbase [Ferdinand Schörner | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-27 was sunk by destroyers HMS Fortune and HMS Forester off Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • U-27 was sunk by British destroyers HMS Fortune and HMS Faulknor west of Scotland, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | U-27 | CPC]
French Indochina
  • Josef Frantisek was shot down near Zloczów, Poland (now Zolochiv, Ukraine) but escaped unharmed. ww2dbase [Josef Frantisek | CPC]
Germany
  • The RAF and Luftwaffe clashed for the first time over the Westwall, the German defensive line on the border with France. The British lost two aircraft, the Germans one. ww2dbase [AC]
  • Georg von Bismarck was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class. ww2dbase [Georg von Bismarck | CPC]
  • Fleet escort ship F6 completed her conversion into a fleet tender and was recommissioned Königin Louise. ww2dbase [F6 | CPC]
Japan
  • Rear Admiral Koken Nikaido was made the commanding officer of Maizuru Naval Arsenal in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. ww2dbase [Maizuru Naval Arsenal | CPC]
Poland
  • German General Johannes Blaskowitz noted in his order of the day that, at the Battle of the Bzura in Poland, also known as Battle of Kutno to the Germans, his troops was fighting "in one of the biggest and most destructive battles of all times." Elsewhere, German troops withdrew to the agreed demarcation line in Poland, with Soviet forces moving in behind them. Finally, also on this day, the remaining Polish garrison in Grodno managed to kill 800 Soviet troops and at least 10 tanks. ww2dbase [Invasion of Poland | TH]
United States
  • Tatsuta Maru arrived at San Francisco, California, United States. ww2dbase [Tatsuta Maru | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Sep 1939
Polish policemen and civilians, captured by Russian troops, marching in a column, Sep 1939Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler, Erwin Rommel, and Walter von Reichenau in Poland, Sep 1939

20 Sep 1939 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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USS Langley underway, 1945


Famous WW2 Quote
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Winston Churchill, on the RAF