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July 27th, 1939 (THURSDAY)

U.S.A.: The Douglas B-23 Dragon (a modified B-18 Bolo) makes its maiden flight.

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27 July 1940

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July 27th, 1940 (SATURDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Destroyer HMS Wren (D 88) is bombed and lost off Aldeburgh, Sussex on the east coast at 52 10N, 02 06E, as she gives Anti-Aircraft cover to minesweepers. He-111s of Bomber Wing (Kampfgeschwader) 53 (KG 53) took the credit. (Alex Gordon)(108)

Destroyer HMS Codrington D 65) is sunk in an air raid on the port of Dover. The ferocity of this attack (another destroyer and a sloop were also damaged) caused the Admiralty to abandon the use of Dover as an advanced base for destroyers. (Alex Gordon)(108)

RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group (Whitley). No ops due to bad weather.

RAF Fighter Command: Weather, clear, then stormy. Luftwaffe attacks shipping. 4 Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed, 1 RAF aircraft lost.

Bombs fall for the first time on Faversham and Sheppey in Kent.

17 HE bombs dropped on Canvey Island, Essex.

About 30 Ju87s of I/StG 77 were dispatched to intercept a convoy off Swanage, escorted by JG 27. Three Hurricanes of 238 Sqn. arrived just as the Stukas were peeling off into the attack and Flg. Off Davis destroyed one, by the time the second wave of Stukas arrived three Hurricanes and the Spitfires of 609 Sqn. were protecting the convoy.

Thundery weather delayed any further attacks until late afternoon, when Dover was hit. The barracks and marine station were hit and four direct hits on HMS Codrington causes its boilers to explode. This event and the discovery that the Germans are building emplacements for long-range, heavy-calibre guns near Calais, forces the Admiralty to move the destroyer flotilla from Dover to the Nore.

At 18:46 Hurricanes of 615 Sqn. down an air-sea rescue He59 off the Foreland.

A night attack highlighted the inadequacy of defences and the vulnerability of the west. 20 bombers had operated over Ireland and Anglesey, while others were busy over the south-east dropping 60 He’s and an oil bomb on Gillingham as well as bombs on Maidstone and Sevenoaks.

GERMANY: Bavaria: Bulgaria’s Prime Minister confers with Hitler at Berchtesgaden; yesterday Romania’s Premier did the same.

CANADA: Corvette HMCS Collingwood launched Collingwood, Ontario.

Patrol vessel HMCS Cleopatra assigned to Quebec City, Province of Quebec.

U.S.A.: The first of 81 Grumman Martlet Is (F4F-3 - US designation) is delivered to the British Purchasing Commission.

Warner Brothers releases a cartoon entitled "A Wild Hare" the first cartoon in which Bugs Bunny is fully recognizable.

The motion picture "They Drive by Night" is released. Directed by Raoul Walsh, this drama about truck driving brothers from A.I. Bezzerides' novel stars George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Hale and Roscoe Karns.


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27 July 1941

Yesterday      Tomorrow

July 27th, 1941 (SUNDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: After ten weeks of peace, German bombers attack London tonight.

GERMANY: Keitel orders all copies of the directive of May 13, concerning courts-martial destroyed.

GIBRALTAR: The ships that escorted Convoy Substance to Malta arrive safely back in Gibraltar.

BALTIC STATES: Vilna: The Germans murder two members of the Judenrat [Jewish council] when the community fails to pay an enormous bribe.

U.S.S.R.: Soviet forces in and around Smolensk are cut off by the German pincer movement.

German radio announces that the Wehrmacht has advanced to within 45 miles of Leningrad and that they have reached the neighbourhood of Volosovo.

ICELAND: The first section of the US Army 5th Infantry Division arrives. (Dave Hornford)

CHINA: Chungking: There is bitter criticism of Roosevelt's policy of supplying American oil to Japan.

FRENCH INDOCHINA: Saigon: Japan will station troops within striking distance of Thailand when she lands at least 24,000 men in southern Indo-China. 8,000 troops will be garrisoned at Pnom-Penh, 4,000 will be garrisoned at the naval base of Cam Ranh Bay, the north-east of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City).

JAPAN: Tokyo: Masatsune Ogura, Japan's Finance Minister, declares that the urgent thing for Japan to do is to "forge ahead towards establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity sphere."

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: Douglas MacArthur      "> MacArthur is promoted to Lieutenant General today after having been recalled to active duty yesterday as a Major General. MacArthur      "> MacArthur had never previously held this rank, though his father had been one of the few Lieutenant Generals in the US Army from the Civil War until World War II. MacArthur would hold this rank until he was promoted to full General following the Japanese assault on the US and its possessions in December, 1941. MacArthur      "> MacArthur was subsequently promoted, over his protest, to temporary General of the Army and then to permanent General of the Army, the rank he held at his death in 1964. (Marc Small)

U.S.A.: The ground echelon of the USAAF's 33d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) sails for Iceland in the transport American Legion. The ship is part of Task Force 16 consisting of the battleship USS Mississippi (BB-41), the heavy cruisers USS Quincy (CA-39) and USS Wichita (CA-45), five destroyers, the miscellaneous auxiliary USS Semmes (AG-24), the store ship USS Mizar (AF-12), and the cargo ship USS Almaack (AK-27). Within a few days, TF 16 is joined by the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7), carrying the air echelon of the 33d Pursuit Squadron, the heavy cruisers USS Vincennes (CA-44), and the destroyers USS Walke (DD-416) and USS O'Brien (DD-415).

Washington: Japanese diplomats deliver a protest to the U.S. State Department regarding the shipment of U.S. supplies to Vladivostok, USSR, through Japanese waters.

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27 July 1942

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July 27th, 1942 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The first RAF unit to get the North American P-51 Mustang is No. 2 Squadron, RAF Army Co-Operation Command based at RAF Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire. In April 1942 they swapped their CurtissMk. I and IIA (P-40) Tomahawks for the Mustangs.

Today is their first mission.

The mission assigned to No. 2 Squadron on 27 July 1942 was a harassment of the shipping in the Ruhr industrial complex. The manufacturing city of Dortmund received ore and coal through a system of canals connected with the Ems River, the Rhine River and the North Sea. The aqueduct system at Dortmund carried 400 trainloads a day between the Rhineland and central Germany. This would be the first crossing of the German border by fighter airplanes of any type during World War II from bases in England. Sixteen Mustang aircraft left Sawbridgeworth and flew eastward across the Netherlands.

The first target was a German military installation on the Dutch border. Several strafing passes were made over the camp and then the squadron reformed and headed into Germany. On crossing the Ems River, the formation turned south and the first city in Germany presenting desirable targets was Lathan. The Mustangs strafed a factory and petroleum storage tanks at Lathan and followed the river toward the manufacturing center of Dortmund. The canal leading into the city from the Ems River was congested with barges and the formation raised havoc with the ore laden boats and lock gates along the canal. The formation reassembled and headed towards England. The pilots were pleased with the results of the mission and the fact that no enemy aircraft had been encountered. After crossing the Dutch border, the squadron leader sought still one more target. This was presented on the Zuider Zee, along the Dutch coast, in the form of two large ships. The Mustangs again attacked and left one ship afire and the other shattered by an explosion. All 16 aircraft returned to home base and the mission debriefing. There was praise for the Mustang from every quarter.


GERMANY: RAF bombers raid Hamburg.

U.S.S.R.: Army Group B, including the German 6th Army of General Paulus, meets heavy Russian resistance in their battle to clear the elbow of the Don River.

Moscow: The Red Army is pulling back to the river Don where Marshal Timoshenko, who has withdrawn his main forces in good order, is setting up a new defence line.

The Germans have already claimed the recapture of Rostov-on-Don from which they were driven last December. But many Russian soldiers remain in the shattered city, and, holed up in the ruins of big blocks of apartments, are causing the Germans heavy casualties as they work their way house by house through the city.

North of Rostov, the Germans are pushing on to Stalingrad. Formerly called Tsaritsyn, it has a special affection for Stalin who was active in its defence during the civil war. Today it is a vital industrial and communications centre, guarding the approaches to the Caucasus. There can be no doubt that the Russians will fight for it.

NEW GUINEA: USAAF B-26 Marauders and A-24 Dauntlesses support Australian troops by bombing Gona and targets along the Buna trail. 

All Allied air units in the South Pacific Area are placed under the command of Rear Admiral John S. McCain, USN, Commander, Aircraft South Pacific Area (ComAirSoPac).

PACIFIC: The light cruiser USS Boise (CL-47) departs Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii via Midway Islands towards Japan. The Boise is tasked with emitting enough radio traffic to create the impression of an approaching American task force. 

US Navy Motor Torpedo Squadron 3 is recommissioned and sent to the Solomon Islands.

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: The bombardment of Kiska Island by the 2 heavy cruisers, 3 light cruisers and destroyers of the USN's Task Force 8, is postponed due to limited surface visibility and the ships retire to Kodiak. While covering TF 8, four USN PBY Catalinas bomb Kiska.

U.S.A.: German submarine U-166 completes mining operations off the Mississippi River Delta south of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

U-90 is sunk by HMCS St Croix as she is escorting convoy ON113. (Ron Babuka)

Singer Peggy Lee records her first hit record in New York City. With the backing of the Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, Miss Lee sings "Why Don’t You Do Right" for Columbia Records.


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27 July 1943

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July 27th, 1943 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The US VIII Air Support Command flies Mission Number 5; 17 B-26Bs bomb Tricqueville Airfield, France at 1825 hours.

Westminster: Churchill says that if Italy does not surrender, it will be "scarred and blackened from one end to the other."

London: The Polish government in exile has received word of a new wave of mass murder in eastern Poland, as German forces clear the area to set up new lines of defence.

According to a report in today's Daily Telegraph, the Germans are expelling and murdering Poles from a belt 60 miles wide, settling ethnic Germans there in order to boost defences. Lublin, Cracow and Radom are understood to be the centre of the killings, in which the Germans are accused of massacring the entire population, mainly peasants.

Whole towns and villages have been emptied in the terror, and up to 100,000 people have fled to the forests for sanctuary, abandoning their farms and livestock. It is said that the SS are rounding up Polish civilians by cordoning off areas and using artillery and tanks to flush them out.

GERMANY: Rastenburg: Hitler orders Mussolini's liberation and his restoration as puppet leader in a German-occupied Italy.

U.S.S.R.: Polar Fleet and White Sea Flotilla: HS "Academic Shokalskii" - by U-boat gunfire, in Karsk Sea, close to Cape Sporii-Navolok  (Sergey Anisimov)(69)

In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, the premier and dictator, issues Order Number 227 to motivate both the military and civilians in and around Leningrad; the order becomes known as the "Not one step backward" order. The order states that "panic makers and cowards must be liquidated on the spot. Not one step backward without orders from higher headquarters! Commanders…who abandon a position without an order from higher headquarters are traitors to the Fatherland."

ITALY: Northwest African Strategic Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses hit the airfield at Capua and the railroad at Lioni.

SICILY: The fighting at Agira and Nicosia is heavy and inconclusive.

On the ground in Sicily, the US Seventh Army reaches Tusa and San Mauro and pushes toward Nicosia. In the air, USAAF Ninth Air Force P-40s attack tactical targets in battle area in northeastern Sicily, and others hit shipping at Catania. Northwest African Strategic Air Force B-25 Mitchells and B-26 Marauders bomb the landing ground at Scalea while Northwest African Tactical Air Force fighters and light bombers continue bombing and strafing of ports, shipping, bridges, landing grounds, and motor transport.

INDIA: The Chinese-American Composite Wing (CACW) manned by American-trained Chinese pilots, is activated at Karachi and assigned to the USAAF's Fourteenth Air Force. The first two operational units are the 1st CACW Bombardment Group with B-25 Mitchells and the 5th CACW Fighter Group with P-40s. Each wing consists of four squadrons. These Chinese Air Force units will begin training in August and operational missions are scheduled to begin in October.

JAPAN: The Japanese Navy begins laying the LaPerouse minefield between Hokkaido and the Kurile Islands. This is an attempt to prevent US submarines from operating in this area.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: US Thirteenth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb airfields at Kahili on Bougainville Island and Ballale Island; 8 P-38 Lightnings and 70+ US Navy and Marine Corps aircraft again attack the Munda area on New Georgia Island, hitting positions on Bibolo Hill and targets at Gurasai, Munda Point, and Munda Airfield.

US forces assault Horseshoe Hill in New Georgia and sink two Japanese destroyers at Rabaul.

Japanese submarine I-24 is sunk by the USS Scamp (SS-277) off the Admiralty Islands. (Mike Yared)(144&145)

TERRRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: 12 bombers and 20 fighters of the US Eleventh Air Force take off on 5 attack missions to Kiska Island. Several of the fighters jettison bombs. The other aircraft hit Main Camp, North Head and Little Kiska Island. The Japanese Navy's Operation "KE GO," the evacuation of their forces from Kiska, continues. The light cruisers HIJMS Kiso and HIJMS Abukuma and escorting destroyers take off 5,183 men undetected by US forces. Three midget submarines based on Kiska are destroyed by the retreating troops.

U.S.A.: It all started as a barroom dare, when two Army Air Corps pilots challenged each other to fly through a tropical storm. So, Maj. Joe Duckworth flew a propeller-driven, single-engine North American AT-6 "Texan" trainer into the eye of a tropical storm. Duckworth flew into the eye of that storm twice that day, once with a navigator and again with a weather officer.

These were generally considered to be the first airborne attempts to obtain data for use in plotting the position of a tropical cyclone as it approached land. Duckworth's pioneering efforts paved the way for further flights into tropical cyclones. (Drew Halevy)

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27 July 1944

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July 27th, 1944 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: No. 616 Squadron RAF flies its first mission with the Gloster Meteor jet against V1s,  but with little success at first owing to difficulties firing the guns. (Jack McKillop and 22)

The US Eighth Air Force in England flies three missions.

- Mission 498: 26 B-17s are dispatched to hit coastal batteries at Ostend and Cap Gris Nez/Calais area but weather prevents bombing. In Belgium, of 120 B-24s, 34 hit a Luftwaffe communication center at Brussels/Vilvorde, 20 hit a coastal battery at Gravelines, 11 hit oil installations and industrial plants at Ghent and 1 hits a target of opportunity without loss.

Escort is provided by 154 P-38s, P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs; 1 P-51 is lost.

- Mission 499: 193 P-38s, P-47s and P-51s fly fighter-bomber mission against rail traffic south of Rouen and Amiens; 2 P-38s and 1 P-51 are lost.

- Mission 500: 7 B-17s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and France during the night.

FRANCE: The US VII Corps breaks through between Lessay and Periers.

Lyon: Five prisoners of the Gestapo are shot dead after a Resistance bomb attack on a restaurant used by German officers.

HUNGARY: The US Fifteenth Air Force dispatches 366 B-17s and B-24s to bomb an armament works at Budapest; 24 other B-24s attack Pecs marshalling yards; P-38s and P-51s escort the Budapest mission.

EASTERN FRONT: The First Ukraine Front, under Konev, takes Lvov and Stanislav. The Second Belorussian Front, under Zakharov, captures Bialystock. The First Baltic Front, under Bargamyan, takes Siauliai. The Second Baltic Front, under Yeremenko, takes Daugavpils and Rezekne.

: Polar Fleet and White Sea Flotilla: (Sergey Anisimov)(69)Submarine loss. "V-1" (ex- "S-81 Sunfish") - accidentally, by British aviation, off English coast.

ITALY: General Mark Clark presents the Distinguished Presidential Unit Citation to the 100th Infantry Battalion at Vada, Italy for action at Belvedere. (Gene Hanson)

GUAM: The US 77th Division is preparing an attack on Mount Tenjo.

TINIAN: US construction begins on the newly captured airfield at Ushi Point.

PACIFIC: Supporting the US invasions in the Mariana Islands, Seventh Air Force B-24s from the Marshall Islands bomb Truk Atoll.

In the Caroline Islands, USAAF Far East Air Force (FEAF) B-24s hit the airfield on Woleai Atoll and supply areas on Mariaon and Tagaulap Islands in the Caroline Islands. Carrier-based aircraft of the USN's Task Groups  58.1 continue their attacks on Fais and Ngulu Islands and Sorol, Ulithi and Yap Atolls while aircraft of Task Groups 58.2 and 58.3 attack targets in the Palau Islands.

CANADA: HM S/M Unseen arrives Digby, Nova Scotia for ASW training.

U.S.A.: The 10-minute documentary "Battle Stations" is released in the U.S. Narrated by James Cagney and Ginger Rogers, this short describes the role of the U.S. Coast Guard's SPARS and how they are freeing men for service overseas in World War II.

In the U.S., the top four pop songs today are (1) "I’ll Be Seeing You" by Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra with vocal by Frank Sinatra; (2) "Swinging on a Star" by Bing Crosby which becomes the Number 1 song of the year; (3) "Amor" by Bing Crosby; and (4) "Straighten Up and Fly Right" by The (Nat) King Cole Trio.

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Home 27 July 1945

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July 27th, 1945 (FRIDAY)

GERMANY: The Potsdam Declaration calling for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese is delivered to the Japanese government. They ignore the ultimatum and US President Harry S Truman subsequently approves the plans to drop atomic bombs on Japan.

UNITED KINGDOM: Clement Richard Attlee, now 62, got briskly down to business on his first full day as prime minister. He was probably as surprised as much of the nation was to find himself in the job, but he did not show it. Attlee is a calm, undemonstrative and taciturn man. He is probably the most self-effacing tenant 10 Downing Street has ever had. In contrast to Mr. Churchill he will not be haranguing his cabinet, and he intends to run it like an active company chairman and not a dictator.

This quiet, pipe-smoking cricket-loving premier knows his Whitehall onions. Apart from Mr. Churchill himself he is the only politician to have served in the war cabinet from start to finish.

As deputy premier he presided over key cabinet committees and had a pivotal role throughout. At crucial moments he also had an important restraining influence on Churchill. He managed that without raising his voice or ever saying anything more violent than "That's a bit think, Winston." The two men have far greater mutual affection that their election campaign insult-swopping suggests, and Churchill does not pretend that he meant it when he quipped: "Attlee is a modest man and he has plenty to be modest about."

Labour's leader - one of the public-school, middle-class socialists - drifted into politics through doing good works in London's impoverished East End.

London: The Chiefs of Staff have their last conference with Churchill.

CANADA: Minesweepers HMCS Comox and Fundy paid off.

Minesweeper HMCS Willow Lake launched Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Cruiser HMCS Uganda relieved by HMS Argonaut and departs for Esquimalt. Preparation for a Canadian all-volunteer "Pacific Tiger Force" for the invasion of Japan provoked a manning review that led to a vote by the majority of Uganda's crew to return home.

JAPAN: US aircraft drop leaflets on 11 cities prior to targeting them for bombardment. The leaflets say: "Heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately."

During the night of 27/28 July, US Twentieth Air Force B-29 Superfortresses fly Mission 296 a mining mission; 24 B-29s drop mines in Shimonoseki Strait, at Fukuoka, Niigata, Maizuru, Senzaki, and in Fukawa Bay; 1 other mines an alternate target; 3 B-29s are lost to heavy flak and 1 crash lands on Iwo Jima and is subsequently scrapped. During the day, 60+ Fifth and Seventh AF B-24s pound a marshalling yard at Kagoshima, Kyushu and 50 escorting P-51s attack numerous nearby targets of opportunity; 150+ P-47s over Kyushu hit communications and industrial targets, including a tunnel south of Kurino, bridges at Okasa, Hitosuse-gawa, and Matsubase, and factories and a power plant at Yatsushiro.

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