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17 Oct 1939
  • Tribune was commissioned into service. ww2dbase [Tribune | CPC]
  • Germans forced back French troops in Saarland, Germany. ww2dbase [TH]
  • Reinhard Heydrich ordered all Gypsy populations to cease travelling or face a concentration camp. ww2dbase [Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust | Reinhard Heydrich | AC]
  • The Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich issued the "Decree relating to a special Jurisdiction in Penal Matters for members of the SS and for members of Police Groups on Special Tasks" which, in effect, was to free the armed SS from the legal jurisdiction of the Wehrmacht. ww2dbase [AC]
United Kingdom
  • German aircraft attacked the British naval base at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom, damaging the training ship HMS Iron Duke. ww2dbase [Scapa Flow | Scapa Flow, Scotland | CPC]
  • In Britain, the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps (AMPC) was created to provide manpower to act as labourers on the BEF supply lines in France. Built around a nucleus of reservists considered too old or unfit for front-line service the Corps soon became filled with a mix of volunteers of German, Austrian or Italian descent (barred from other forms of service), newly called up conscripts and men recruited from similar civilian jobs. Given little or no military training and issued with just one uniform for both work and parade, they quickly gained a reputation for scruffiness and poor discipline. Morale further declined when three quarters of the rifles issued to the AMPC were withdrawn to provide weapons for newly formed infantry units. By the end of 1939 more than 18,000 AMPC men were working in France, mostly far behind the lines to unload ships, move supplies and build railways and camps for the "real" soldiers. ww2dbase [AC]

17 Oct 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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"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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