Yesterday           Tomorrow

July 20th, 1939 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: London: Jewish immigration to Palestine is to be limited.

Light cruiser HMS Uganda laid down.

FREE CITY OF DANZIG: 2,000 Nazi guards, believed armed, arrive from Germany.

U.S.A.: Battleship USS Massachusetts laid down.

Top of Page

Yesterday               Tomorrow


20 July 1940

Yesterday                           Tomorrow

July 20th, 1940 (SATURDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Whilst escorting Channel convoy CW7, Destroyer HMS Brazen is attacked by a large force of German bombers off Dover at 51 01N 01 17E. She is taken in tow, but later sinks. (Alex Gordon)(108)

RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - industrial plant at Dusseldorf and Dornier factory at Wismar.

10 Sqn. Nine aircraft to Dusseldorf. Eight bombed. Opposition severe. One hit by flak.

51 Sqn. Three aircraft to Wismar. All bombed. Opposition severe.

58 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Wismar. Six got off, one returned early, four bombed primary, one bombed alternate. Two hit by flak.

78 Sqn. One aircraft to Wismar. Bombed, but hit by flak.

The buying and selling of new cars is banned.

Now that the so-called "phoney war" is over, women all over Britain are expecting to be asked to play a larger part in the war effort - whether they want to or not.

For many, work in a munitions factory, even on a part-time basis, seems out of the question. Caring for children and elderly relatives, just keeping a home together, takes even more time and energy now than in peacetime. There are long queues for essential provisions; little economies around the home to make things last longer and go further all take time. Many are also taking the full responsibility of raising families alone with their husbands away.

The reluctance felt by many women about taking jobs outside the home is reinforced by their men-folk’s disapproval. There have been public outcries over every new opening, however small, for women that the war has created. The Land Girls have been seen as a threat to agricultural training programmes and moral standards, the women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary have been accused of taking the jobs not "for the sake of doing something for the country but for the sake of publicity."

Add these popular beliefs to the very real burdens of caring for a family in war time, and it’s no wonder that many women prefer to remain at home.

Submarine HMS P-612 launched.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Tobruk: While HMS Eagle is in Alexandria with the main portions of the Mediterranean Fleet, 824 Sqn, FAA was detached to Sidi Barrani Aerodrome to continue operations against Italian shipping. In the late evening of 20 July, six Swordfish I aircraft, carrying torpedoes, departed to attacking shipping known to be in Tobruk harbor, 95 miles away. In a daring attack in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire they succeeded in torpedoing and sinking the destroyers Nembo and Ostro. (Mark Horan)

Submarine HMS Parthian landed an agent on Crete.

CANADA: Patrol vessel HMCS Ambler departed refit Quebec City for Riviere du Loup patrol duties.
Corvette HMCS Trail laid down North Vancouver British Columbia.
Patrol craft HMCS Norsal (ex yacht Norsal) hired from the Powell River Co. Built Vancouver, British Columbia, 168/21, 122.3x19x10.5ft, 10kts, crew 3/17, 1-.303mg.  Returned to owners 1945. Renamed 1973 Maui Lu.

U.S.A.: "Billboard" magazine publishes its first listing of best-selling single records. Ten tunes are listed.

Top of Page

Yesterday        Tomorrow


20 July 1941

Yesterday                           Tomorrow

July 20th, 1941 (SUNDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: London: Tighter centralised control of British news and propaganda services was announced today when Brendan Bracken, the swashbuckling Tory MP who has been Churchill's Parliamentary Private Secretary, took over as Minister of Information (MOI). It is expected that there will be a more systematic and rigorous censorship in future. This follows calls from politicians in all parties for greater and more ruthless use of propaganda as a main war weapon. That goes particularly for the BBC's overseas services.

Lord Moyne, the Colonial Secretary, said in the House of Lords last week: "We must remember that we alone in the Old World have a free press, and that no other country now enjoys our advantage of quick information and well-informed comment which the British press provides." In Fleet Street, journalists smiled. What they print is already vetted by the MOI.


A "V for Victory" campaign was launched by the BBC at midnight last night. It began with a message from Churchill for occupied EUROPE: "The V sign is the symbol of the unconquerable will of the people of the occupied territories and a portent of the fate awaiting Nazi tyranny."

The broadcaster in charge of the campaign, "Colonel Britton", said: "Tomorrow the V army, Europe's invisible army of many millions, will come into being. You are asked to do two things. Take a vow to continue this fight for your country's independence. Second, to demonstrate to the Germans by putting V's on the wall, and everywhere you can out them, and beating out the V sound whenever you get the chance." The "V"-sign began to appear in Europe last January after a BBC broadcast to Belgium in which Victor de Lavelaye suggested that Belgians who were chalking up the letters RAF should add a V for 'vrijheid' (Flemish for freedom). V also stands for victoire, the French for victory.

"Colonel Britton" (a pseudonym for Douglas Ritchie of the BBC European Service) suggested an audible V, using the morse code rhythm - three dots and a dash. This is the rhythm of the opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which is now used as a station call-sign by the BBC in its broadcasts to Europe.

RAF Bomber Command: 2 Group: 'Channel Stop' aircraft of 18 and 139 Sqns. sink a 7,000-ton ship between Le Touquet and Berck. Two aircraft lost and one Bf109 shot down.

Destroyer HMS Lively commissioned.

FINLAND: Lt. Fred Luther and of the 2nd Rannikkoiskukompania (Coastal Shock Company) are landed as reinforcements on the strategically important Finnish island of Bengtskär, whose 52m lighthouse provides a commanding view of the entry to the Gulf of Finland and thus the approach to Leningrad. (Cris Wetton)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Submarine HMS Union is sunk by depth charges dropped by the Italian torpedo boat Circe SSW of Pantellaria at 36 26N 11 50E. (Alex Gordon)(108)

U.S.S.R.: Moscow: Stalin, the "man of steel" has taken over the position of commissar of defence from Marshal Timoshenko and is now in supreme command of the Soviet Union's armed forces, a post traditionally occupied by a soldier. Stalin has thus gathered all military and civilian power into his own hands. It will be a heavy burden, but there is no doubt that the ruthless Georgian leader will bear it with his customary resilience.

Soviet Northern Fleet destroyer Stremitel'ny bombed and sunk by Stukas in Kolafjord.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0100, U-126 sighted the unescorted Canadian Star and followed her until 0242, when two torpedoes were fired at the ship in 49°15N/21°W (grid BE 1932). Both missed and Bauer decided to attack with the gun. The U-boat shelled her victim for about 10 minutes but hit only a few times. Then the gunners on the ship fought back with a great accuracy and forced Bauer to cease the attack.

At 0505, U-95 fired two torpedoes at the unescorted Palma but missed. The U-boat then tried to stop the merchant with gunfire at 0528, but had to break off the gun duel after 11 minutes due to problems with the deck gun and gave up the chase because the ship was running zigzagging courses at high speeds. They reported one hit, but in fact three had been scored.

Top of Page

Yesterday        Tomorrow


20 July 1942

Yesterday                           Tomorrow

July 20th, 1942 (MONDAY)

ITALY: Rome: Mussolini returns, having given up the idea of a victory march on Cairo.

NEW GUINEA: In New Guinea, 24 G4M "Bettys" and 15 A6M "Zekes" attack Port Moresby.

PACIFIC: The US 1st Marine Division issues it's plan for Operation Watchtower. The Marines are just about finished the massive task of singlehandedly unloading and reloading their ships for the invasion of the southern Solomon Islands. They have had no help from the New Zealand weather or the Dock Unions.

NEW ZEALAND: Suzanne Walker first Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service rating.

TERRITORY of ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: - Three 11th Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb Kiska Island (especially the barracks) with incendiaries and demolition charges. 4 P-38 Lightnings try to intercept 4 fighters reported by US Navy (USN) aircraft but no contact is made.

- three Kawanishi H6K, Navy Type 97 Flying Boats, Allied Code Name "Mavis," attack the seaplane tender, (destroyer) USS Gillis (AVD-12, ex DD-260) at Adak Island without causing any damage. A dud bomb lands 10 feet from the ship and the rest of the bombs dropped miss their target. This was the last offensive air operation by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Aleutians.

- Naval Air Facility (NAF) and Naval Operating Base (NOB) Dutch Harbor, Territory of Alaska are established.

U.S.A.: Admiral William D. Leahy, USN (Retired), is named Chief of Staff to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The first members of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACS) began training at Fort Des Moines, 5 miles (8 km) south of Des Moines, Iowa.

The Herald-Tribune reports: "A new Coast Guard regiment, made up of tough, hand-picked men, all heavily armed and with the headquarters company mounting machine guns in speedy jeep cars, has been organized for extra protection of the Port of New York, it was announced yesterday." (Patrick Holscher)

Destroyer escort USS Moore laid down.

Destroyer USS Prichett laid down.

Submarine USS Ray laid down.

Minesweeper USS Chickadee launched.

Submarines USS Scamp and Scorpion launched.

Destroyer USS Chevalier commissioned.

CANADA: At 1839, the Frederika Lensen in Convoy QS-19 was torpedoed and damaged by U-132 in the Gulf of St Lawrence near Anticosti Island. Four crewmembers were lost. The vessel was towed by corvette HMCS Weyburn to Grand Vallee Bay and was beached there. Because her back was broken, the ship was declared a total loss. The master and 35 crewmembers were rescued by Weyburn and landed at Sydney NS. Six crewmembers landed at Grande Vallee Bay, Quebec.

Top of Page

Yesterday        Tomorrow


20 July 1943

Yesterday                           Tomorrow

July 20th, 1943 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Submarines HMS Spirit and Vampire launched.

Escort carrier HMS Ameer commissioned.

GERMANY: U-242, U-292, U-1165 launched.

ITALY: On the ground in Sicily, the US Seventh Army and British Eighth Army continue to push northwest and north. The US 82d Airborne Division takes Sciacca and Menfi; the US 9d Infantry Division clears Santo Stefano Quisquina and the heights north of Mussomeli; the US 2d Armored Division, with British units, takes Enna and drives on to Villapriolo. The Canadian 1 Division pushes to the Leonforte area; the British 51 Division attacks the German airfield near Sferro; 13 Corps is halted by strong opposition on the Catania Plain.

During the night of 19/20 July, Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) Wellingtons bomb Aquino, Sicily, and Capodichino, Italy, Airfields while Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF) medium and light bombers attack vehicles, roads, and town areas around and in Randazzo, Santo Stefano di Camastra, Orlando, and Nicosia, Sicily. During the day, NASAF fighter-bombers attack targets of opportunity in western Sicily while NASAF medium bombers strike Montecorvino Airfield. Joining the attack are USAAF Ninth Air Force B-25s which attack Randazzo and Taormina; and RAF heavy bombers which hit Vibo Valentia Airfield.

U.S.S.R.: Soviet forces, under heavy fire from the Luftwaffe, push the Germans out of Mtensk.

The National Committee for a Free Germany broadcasts its manifesto to the German people and army.

Moscow: The STAVKA has issued an order to all partisans units declaring a "rail war" against the German railway system. From now on every effort will be made to prevent supplies and reinforcements reaching the front. The Germans have already been forced to use armoured trains to fight off partisan attacks and many units have suffered severe casualties on the way to the front. Now, the railways are going to become even more hazardous.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: - 18 Thirteenth Air Force B-24s bomb airfields at Kahili on Bougainville Island and on Ballale Island.

During the night of 19/20 July,USNPBY Catalinas and eight USMC TBF Avengers attack an IJN surface force between Vella Lavella and Choiseul Islands sinking a destroyer and damaging a heavy cruiser and a destroyer. During the day, USAAF"> USAAF B-25 Mitchells sink another destroyer.

- Navy PBY Catalinas spot a Japanese task force coming down "The Slot" and it is attacked by Marine TBF Avengers which sink a destroyer and damage a cruiser. A second wave of B-25 Mitchells and TBFs attack without success but a third wave of B-25s sink a destroyer using skip-bombing techniques. Fighters strafe barges in Pakoi Bay, New Georgia Island.

Territory of Hawai'i: The underground oil storage facility at Red Hill, Pearl Harbor is completed. (Edward S. Miller)

ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: In the Aleutian Islands, the destroyers USS Aylwin (DD-355) and USS Monaghan (DD-354) bombard Kiska Island with 100 rounds each of 5-inch (127 mm) shells.

CANADA: Frigates HMCS Prestonian and Sea Cliff laid down Lauzon, Province of Quebec.
Corvettes HMCS Asbestos and Hawkesbury laid down Quebec City, Province of Quebec.

Tug HMCS Glenlea launched Owen Sound, Ontario.

U.S.A.: President Roosevelt issues a firm order that atomic information should be shared with the British. There will be staff discussions on this topic at the Quebec Conference next month.

Escort carrier USS Nehenta Bay laid down.

Escort carrier USS Natoma Bay launched.

Minesweeper USS Sway commissioned.

Frigate USS Sausalito launched.

Destroyer escorts USS Burke and Scott commissioned.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: German submarine U-558 is sunk in the Bay of Biscay northwest of Cape Ortegal, Spain, in position 45.10N, 09.42W, by depth charges from an RAF Halifax Mk II of No. 58 Squadron and a USAAF B-24 Liberator of the 19th Antisubmarine Squadron (Heavy); both aircraft are based at St. Eval, Cornwall, England. Only 5 of the 50-man sub crew survive.

One man was lost (Matrosenobergefreiter Arthur List) during an air attack on U-195 in the Bay of Biscay.


Top of Page

Yesterday        Tomorrow


20 July 1944

Yesterday                           Tomorrow

July 20th, 1944 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The Eighth Air Force in England flies two missions.

- Mission 484: 1,172 bombers and 542 fighters are dispatched to hit oil and industrial targets in central Germany; 19 bombers and 8 fighters are lost:

1. Of 417 B-17s dispatched, 107 hit Dessau, 69 hit Kothen, 56 hit Leipzig/Mockau, 45 hit the Leipzig bearing industry, 36 hit Nordhuasen Airfield, 23 hit Kolleda Airfield, 20 hit targets of opportunity, 12 hit Bitterfeld, 12 hit Giessen Airfield, and 12 hit Rudolstadt; they claim 11-9-7 Luftwaffe aircraft; 15 B-17s are lost. Escort is provided by 253 P-38 Lightnings, P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs; they claim 5-0-3 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 2-0-0 on the ground; 2 P-47s and 4 P-51s are lost.

2. Of 295 B-17s dispatched, 155 hit Merseburg, 53 hit Lutzkendorf, 47 hit Wetzlar and seven hit targets of opportunity; two B-17s are lost. Escort is provided by 178 P-38s, P-47s and P-51s; they claim 1-1-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 1-0-4 on the ground; a P-51 is lost. 

3. Of 460 B-24s dispatched, 123 hit Erfurt Nord and 11 hit Erfurt/Bindersleben Airfields; 80 hit Schmalkalden; 72 hit Gotha; 24 hit Freiburg, 18 hit Fulda, 12 hit Idstein, 10 hit Bad Salzungen, 10 hit Wernhausen and nine hit Homburg marshalling yards; 21 hit Berka, 12 hit Bad Nauheim, seven hit Koblenz, six hit Boppard and sxi hit targets of opportunity; a B-24 is lost. Escort is provided by 45 P-47s; they claim 6-0-3 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground; a P-47s is lost.

- Mission 485: 6 B-17s drop leaflets in France during the night.

- 12 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions.

HMS Crescent (later HMCS Crescent) launched Glasgow.

Minesweeper HMS Jewel launched.

Boom defence vessel HMS Precise launched.

Submarine HMS Vengeful launched.

Destroyers HMS Whirlwind and Zest commissioned.

FRANCE: British 21st Army Group has now accumulated 52,165 casualties since D-Day. There are 2,837 replacements available. (Jay Stone)
The British attacks south and east of Caen are wearing down by the German antitank defence units.

Operation Goodwood, a bold attempt by Dempsey's Second Army to smash through the German defences south of Caen, has been called off after the British suffered 5,537 casualties and lost 400 tanks. The operation is widely seen by Allied leaders as a failure, despite claims by Montgomery that it was merely a diversionary exercise.

At dawn on 18 July, British and US bombers dropped 7,700 tons of bombs on German positions. The unceasing  bombardment was such that some Germans committed suicide. Then, three armoured divisions of VIII Corps rolled forward east of Caen. Rapid progress was made, but by mid-morning the British were stuck in a long tailback behind the narrow bridgehead over the Orne river, hedged in by one of their own minefields and harried by the enemy.

The Germans were well prepared. The I SS Panzer Corps - 80 Panther and Tiger tanks commanded by the dashing SS General Josef "Sepp" Dietrich - rushed north to Bourgebus Ridge, south of Caen. By the end of the day the British and Canadian troops, already contained to the east, were halted at the ridge to the south. Over the last few days the Germans have held off repeated attacks on the ridge. Rather than risk more men and tanks in a bloody assault on superior forces, Montgomery today called off the attack. The Americans have accused him of being unadventurous, but Montgomery maintains that keeping up the pressure will wear down the enemy to the point when he will break. The British commander also argues that the attack has achieved the aim of obliging the Germans to rush troops to the east, thus making it easier for the Americans under Bradley to push out of Avranches in the west.

Weather prohibits morning operations by the USAAF's Ninth Air Force; in the afternoon 62 A-20 Havocs and B-26 Marauders strike the Senonches fuel dump and Chaulnes marshalling yard; fighters escort the bombers and transports and fly armed reconnaissance against rail lines, bridges, and gun positions south of the frontlines.

Destroyer HMS Isis suffers a violent explosion in Seine Bay, believed caused either by a  mine or a Niger or Marder or a Dackel (slow running circling air launched) torpedo strike. Her loss was not discovered until 0219 the following day when HMS Hound picked up 20 survivors from the water. (Alex Gordon)(108)

Frigate HMCS Matane is damaged by a glider bomb off Brest. Two are killed.

ITALY: The Fifteenth Air Force in Italy dispatches about 450 B-17s and B-24s to bomb targets in Germany; B-17s attack the airfield at Memmingen; B-24s bomb the airfield, Zeppelin works, and aircraft factory at Friedrichshafen; P-38s and P-51s provide escort and, with the bombers, claim 19 Luftwaffe aircraft shot down.

GERMANY: A bomb planted in the Lagebaracke, Hitler's conference room at the "Wolf's Lair", Rastenburg, East Prussia, explodes at 12.42pm. Colonel Count Claus von Stauffenberg has planted this bomb on behalf of a wide-ranging conspiracy of senior officers and a few politicians.

Hitler was studying a map with a magnifying glass while he listened to a report on the calamitous situation on the eastern front. The briefing officer, General Adolf Heusinger, was stopped in mid-sentence by the powerful explosion that sent mangled bodies flying out of windows in a rush of smoke and flame.

A few hundred yards away von Stauffenberg is sure that Hitler must have been killed. He brushed past guards and hurried to the airfield to fly back to Berlin and join his fellow conspirators.

Hitler is only injured. Assuming that he is dead, the coup goes on. Von Stauffenberg takes a three-hour flight to Berlin, goes to the War Ministry expecting to find the coup in full swing. But nothing had been done. The planned telephone call from a supporter at Rastenburg had come through, but the line had been poor and it was not certain that Hitler was dead. 

Once it is clear that Hitler has survived, the plot falls apart. The briefcase in which von Stauffenburg had left the bomb had, by pure mischance, been moved by an officer seeking to get closer to the map that the Fuhrer was studying. Four officers died from injuries received in the blast. Suspicion fell on von Stauffenberg when a sergeant recalled that "the one-eyed colonel" had left the room in a hurry. Staff officers then remembered that von Stauffenberg had placed the briefcase under the table. It was some hours before Hitler and his staff discovered the extent of the conspiracy. For the present, the Fuhrer, his eardrums punctured, his right arm temporarily paralysed and his legs burnt, had to turn his attention to receiving Mussolini, himself the victim of an Italian coup. The effects of this bomb are wide ranging. Hitler's distrust of his generals increases; the physical deterioration caused by the dubious combination of medicines combined with the shock of the explosion further weaken his ability to concentrate; the remaining military are further weakened in their efforts to argue for any type of rational military response to events.

Berlin: The conspirators had planned to replace Hitler with General Ludwig Beck as head of state. Beck had resigned in 1938 as chief of the army general staff in protest at Hitler's war plans. Carl Goerdeler, a former lord mayor of Leipzig, was chosen as chancellor; he had broken with the Nazis in 1936. His vice-chancellor was to be Wilhelm Leuschner, the former trade union leader. Rommel had agreed to be C-in-C of the army. Ulrich von Hassell, a career diplomat and pre-war ambassador to Rome, was chosen as foreign minister. Of the 12 ministers named, only two, Beck and Rommel, were military men.

Berlin: Von Stauffenberg spent months in hospital recovering from injuries sustained in Tunisia. He lost his right hand, two fingers of his left and his left eye in a minefield explosion in April 1943. One day when he was visited by his wife, Countess Nina, he said: "I feel I must do something now to save Germany. We officers must accept our responsibility."
A Catholic and a monarchist, he had not, at first, been opposed to the Nazis. Posted to the Berlin War Academy in 1936, he became a general staff officer two years later. His doubts about the Führer began to form during the anti-Jewish pogroms just before the war. His experience of SS atrocities in Russia finally convinced him of the evil of Nazism.

Berlin: The circle of anti-Hitler conspirators was widened after von Stauffenberg became an active member. He rejected the safety-first conservative regime envisaged by the older generation of anti-Nazis, and insisted that socialists and trade unionists should be invited to join them.

Though it was accepted that military units in and around Berlin would have to be used for the seizure of power, it was agreed that the army must not dominate the new government. In order to end the war, the western Allies must be persuaded that German militarism was not being perpetuated.

These visionary plans now lie in ruins. Despite the failure to kill Hitler, von Stauffenberg insisted on going ahead with the coup. The task of surrounding government offices in the Wilhelmstrasse fell to a Major Otto Remer, who was also ordered to arrest Goebbels. When Remer arrived, the propaganda minister got Hitler on the phone and persuaded him to speak to Remer. A few hours later the dumb-founded conspirators heard a radio announcement that Hitler would be broadcasting to the people.

Germany Remembers Plot to Kill Hitler:

Plötzensee Memorial Center:

U-3001 commissioned

U-2335 laid down.

PACIFIC: In the Mariana Islands, the pre-invasion bombardment of Guam continues by both carrier-based aircraft and ships. Seventh Air Force P-47s based on Saipan continue preinvasion strikes against Tinian Island while Far East Air  Force B-24s bomb the western part of Yap Island. Underwater demolition teams (UDTs) have removed over 900 beach obstacles on Guam for the invasion tomorrow. A total of 640 obstacles were removed on Asan and 300+ on Agat beaches. 

PB4Y-1 Liberators of US Navy Patrol Bomber Squadron One Hundred Nine (VB-109) based at Isley Field on Saipan bomb airfields on Iwo Jima, Haha Jima and Chichi Jima in the Bonin and Volcano Islands.


CANADA: Corvette HMCS Cobalt completed foc'sle extension refit Liverpool, Nova Scotia.

U.S.A.: The US Democratic Convention began in Chicago yesterday and will end tomorrow. Franklin D. Roosevelt is nominated 1086 to Senator Byrd with 89 and James Farley with 1. Harry Truman receives 1031 votes for the nomination as Vice President to Henry Wallace with 105 votes.
The US Army Pearl Harbor Board, consisting of Lieutenant General George Grunert and Major Generals Henry D. Russell and Walter A. Frank, are directed to "ascertain and report the facts relating to the (Japanese) attack" on 7 December 1941.

The U.S. Army establishes a Pearl Harbor Board consisting of Lieutenant General George Grunert and Major Generals Henry D. Russell and Walter A. Frank, to "ascertain and report the facts relating to the attack" on Hawaii on 7 December 1941. Their report will be completed on 20 October 1944.

In U.S. baseball, Nels Potter, a pitcher for the St. Louis Browns, is banned for ten days for throwing a spitball; he is the first pitcher ever banned for this practice. Potter will end the season with a 19-7 record for a team that wins the American League pennant.

The motion picture "Since You Went Away,'' based on Margaret Buell Wilder's novel "Together," is released in the U.S. The film is directed by John Cromwell and stars Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple, Monty Wooley, Robert Walker, Lionel Barrymore, Hattie McDaniel, Agnes Moorehead, Guy Madison, Craig Stevens and Keenan Wynn; Dorothy Dandridge, Rhonda Fleming and Ruth Roman appear in bit parts while John Derek and Terry Moore are in uncredited bit parts. This tearjerker has Colbert as the wife of a GI overseas who takes in Wooley as a boarder and then watches as her daughter (Jones) falls in love with Wooley's grandson (Walker). The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress (Colbert), Best Supporting Actor (Wooley) and Best Supporting Actress (Jones); it won a Best Music award.

Escort carrier USS Gilbert Islands launched.

Submarine USS Tigrone launched.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-965 is attacked by an aircraft, 1 man was killed and 1 wounded. [Matrosenhauptgefreiter Willibald Niederle] (Alex Gordon)

Troop transport Vital de Oliviera sunk by U-861 at 22.29S, 41.09W.

Top of Page

Yesterday        Tomorrow


20 July 1945

Yesterday                           Tomorrow

July 20th, 1945 (FRIDAY)

BELGIUM: Brussels: The premier, Achille Acker, tells King Leopold he should abdicate because of his "grave and unpardonable mistakes."

GERMANY: Potsdam: Truman says that the Allies are making no territorial claims, wanting only peace and prosperity and "man's greatest age."

PACIFIC: In the Kurile Islands, 8 Eleventh Air Force B-24s fly the heaviest and most successful mission of the month, bombing hangars and revetments at Matsuwa Airfield on Matsuwa Island.

JAPAN: The Twentieth Air Force's 393d Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy), 509th Composite Group, begins a series of 12 precision attacks over Japan for the purpose of familiarizing the crews with the target area and tactics contemplated for the scheduled atomic bomb missions; the strikes (on 20, 24, 26, and 29 Jul) are mostly against (or near) cities previously bombed, in the general area of cities chosen for possible atomic attack, and involve from 2 to 6 aircraft in order to accustom the Japanese to sight of small formations of B-29 Superfortresses flying at high altitudes. 

These are known as the Pumpkin Raids.

David Hebditch has chronicled these missions:

Ops. Miss. Date Aircraft Cdr. Crew   Bombing Target Lat Long Result
20 4 20/07/45 44-27296 Price B-7 Primary Radar Fujikoshi Steel, Yoyama     Unobserved
20 4 20/07/45 44-27298 Taylor A-1 Primary Visual Aluminum plant, Toyama     Poor
20 4 20/07/45 44-27299 Devore A-3 Primary Visual Nippon Soda, Toyama     Very Poor
20 2 20/07/45 44-27300 Bock C-13 Primary Radar Light Industry, Fukushima     Unobserved
20 1 20/07/45 44-27301 Eatherly C-11 Opport. Radar RR Station, Tokyo     Unobserved
20 1 20/07/45 44-27302 McKnight B-8 Secondary Radar Otsu urban     Unobserved
20 3 20/07/45 44-27303 Wilson B-6 Secondary Radar Taira urban     Unobserved
20 1 20/07/45 44-27304 Marquardt B-10 Secondary Radar Taira urban     Unobserved
20 2 20/07/45 44-27353 Albury C-15     Aborted      
20 3 20/07/45 44-27354 Classen A-4?? Primary Radar Tsugami-Atagi Manfg Company     Unobserved


94 P-51s based on Iwo Jima are dispatched against targets, mainly airfields, at Kamezaki, Meiji, Okazaki, Nagoya, Kagamigahara, Hamamatsu, and Komaki, Japan; they claim 1-11 Japanese aircraft on the ground; 3 P-51s are lost.

CANADA: Corvettes HMCS Oakville, Prescott and St Lambert paid off Sorel, Province of Quebec.
Patrol vessels HMCS Ambler, Reindeer, Caribou and Moose and HMC ML 078 paid off Sydney, Nova Scotia.

U.S.A.: Washington: Congress ratifies the Bretton Woods monetary agreement.

The top songs on the pop charts today are 
(1) "Dream" by The Pied Pipers; 
(2) "The More I See You" by Dick Haymes; 
(3) "Sentimental Journey" by Les Brown and his Orchestra with vocal by Doris Day; and 
(4) "Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima" by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.

The motion picture "A Thousand and One Nights" is released in the U.S.Directed by Alfred E. Green, this period adventure film stars Cornel Wilde, Evelyn Keyes, Phil Silvers and Adele Jergens; Shelley Winters appears in a bit part. Wilde is fast-talking Aladdin who romances the Sultan's daughter until he finds out. Aladdin then uses a magic lamp with Keyes as the genie to try to win the daughter but the genie falls in love with him and tries to sabotage his plans. The film is nominated for two technical Academy Awards.

Top of Page

Yesterday        Tomorrow