Yesterday           Tomorrow

1935   (FRIDAY)

GERMANY: Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer-SS and chief of the German Police, issues an order forbidding members of the S.S. to take any leading role in religious organizations, including the German Faith movement, and strictly forbids all manifestations of religious intolerance or scorn of religious symbols.


1938   (TUESDAY) 

CZECHOSLOVAKIA: After several days of contemplation, the Czech government rejects thosal that Czech Prime Minister Milan Hodza accept the German terms for annexation of the Sudetenland. Instead, the Czech government requests arbitration on the basis of the Czechoslovak-German Locarno Treaty of 1925. The British and French governments immediately reject the arbitration request as inadequate.

September 20th, 1939 (WEDNESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Westminster: The British government was denounced by the Labour opposition in parliament this afternoon for failing to help Poland enough against the German and Russian invaders. The strong criticism came after the prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, had given one of his periodic reviews of the war. Arthur Greenwood, the deputy opposition leader, told MPs: "It is a matter of very deep regret that once an understanding was reached with Poland she was not provided far more generously with sorely needed assistance." He warned that the nation's now active allies might become merely passive friends unless Poland gets more help.

Tory, Labour and Liberal MPs all rejected what they deemed a spurious peace offer by Hitler in a recent speech in which the German leader said that he harbours no ill will towards Britain and France. Parliaments view was that Britain should not be deflected.

The US freighters SS Ethan Allen and SS Ipswich are detained by the British.

GERMANY: Aachen: RAF aircraft clash with the Luftwaffe; two RAF Fairey Battles and one Messerschmitt are downed.

Admiral Hipper class Heavy Cruiser Blücher is commissioned.

FREE CITY OF DANZIG: Hitler makes his triumphant entrance to the city. The German population cheers his presence.

POLAND: German troops in eastern Poland withdraw to the line agreed upon in the German-Soviet treaty of 26 August 1939. The Soviet Army moves in behind them to occupy the formerly German territory.

AUSTRALIA:  The Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies, announces that the government is offering the British the men to equipment four RAAF bomber and two fighter squadrons plus supporting units for use in Europe and/or the Mediterranean. 

ATLANTIC OCEAN: After sinking trawlers off the northern Hebrides, U-27 (Type VIIA) is located in position 58.35N, 09.02W and sunk by depth charges from destroyers HMS Fortune (H 70) and HMS Forester (H 74). All 38 U-boat crewmen survive.

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20 September 1940

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September 20th, 1940 (FRIDAY)


RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - marshalling yards at Hamm - Flushing Docks- industrial targets at Brussels, Krefeld, Mannheim and Osnabruck.

10 Sqn. Ten aircraft to Hamm. All bombed, four damaged by Flak.

58 Sqn. Three aircraft to Osnabruck. All bombed. Two aircraft to Mannheim, both bombed. One aircraft to Flushing. Bombed.

77 Sqn. Seven aircraft to Krefeld, Brussels and Flushing. All bombed.

Battle of Britain:

Heavy fighter sweeps towards London lead to dogfights, the outcome favouring the Luftwaffe more than usual. At night London is bombed, along with Bath and targets in the Gloucester and Bristol areas.

The weather is fair with bright periods and then showery. During the day, one major attack at 1100 hours by a force of about 100 Luftwaffe aircraft, consisting mostly of fighters, is made on East Kent with apparently London as the final objective. The attack is broken up and casualties are inflicted. Reconnaissance flights round the Coasts are also carried out. In the North and North East, one raid is plotted off the Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Coast in the afternoon. In the East Coast, a reconnaissance aircraft off East Anglia reported on a convoy at 1600 hours. In the South East from 0600 hours to 1030 hours German aircraft made reconnaissance in the Estuary, round North Foreland, Dover and westwards to Beachy Head. At 1040 hours German aircraft started to mass in the Calais, France, area. At 1100 hours a formation of 20+ aircraft at 15,000 feet (4 572 meters) apparently led in by a single aircraft at 21,000 feet (6 401 meters), flew inland at Dungeness. Other formations of from 12+ to 30+ aircraft crossed the coast at Dover, Lympne and Deal, between 1100 and 1110 hours. One raid flew up the Estuary without crossing the coast. The Luftwaffe aircraft converged on East London and the attack reached Biggin Hill, Kenley, the Inner Thames Estuary and Hornchurch. Twenty fighter squadrons are detailed to meet the attack while four squadrons are patrolling. The Luftwaffe turned back at 1135 hours. Between 1300 and 1700 hours, various reconnaissances are made in the Straits and in the Kent and Sussex areas, penetrating in some cases inland up to10 miles (16 kilometers). Throughout the day observation balloons are flying over long range guns on the French Coast. In the South and West from 0600 to 1500 hours slight activity by single aircraft took place as far West as the Lizard. Three small raids are plotted off Anglesey in the late afternoon but they did not threaten Liverpool.

     During the night of 20/21 September, the German raids concentrated on London. At 1950 hours London Central received a "red" warning. This is occasioned by raids of single aircraft from Le Havre, France, crossing the coast between Beachy Head and Selsey Bill. Activity is on a very much smaller scale than on the previous night. From 2100 to 2300 hours German aircraft started to approach in fair numbers from Cherbourg and Calais, France, and Ostend, Belgium, entering over Shoreham and Dungeness and North of the Thames Estuary. The number of Luftwaffe aircraft operating soon diminished and at midnight the country is clear; London is given the “all clear” signal at 0014 hours. Minelaying activity is fairly certain off the North East Coast, St Abb's Head to the Tees, also from the Humber to the Norfolk coast as far as Cromer. At 0100 hours a further stream of German aircraft started to come over Beachy Head and Dungeness from Dieppe, France, and London Central received a "red" warning at 0119 hours.

RAF Fighter Command claimed 4-1-2 Luftwaffe aircraft while the anti-aircraft batteries claimed 2-0-0. The RAF lost seven aircraft with four pilots killed or missing.


CHINA: The Chinese Eighth Route Army attacks Japanese lines, launching the second phase of a Communist "Hundred Regiments Offensive."

CANADA: The third group of 6 "overage" destroyers being transferred to the RN in the destroyers-for-bases agreement arrive at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

     The War Technical and Scientific Development Committee approves a request by Dr. Frederick Banting to begin bacterial warfare research. Banting, who discovered insulin in 1922 and was awarded a Nobel Prize for it, is serving as a liaison officer between the British and North American medical services. In February 1941, Banting is killed when the aircraft he is flying in from Canada to the U.K. crashes in Newfoundland.

ATLANTIC OCEAN:  The Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (D 84) intercepts the French light cruiser FR Gloire, which is sailing from Casablanca to Dakar, French West Africa. The French ship is forced to return to Casablanca. 

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20 September 1941

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September 20th, 1941 (SATURDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Enigma decodings give Britain and the USSR advance warning of an all-out German assault on Moscow.

The first successful sortie by the photo-reconnaissance variant of the de Havilland Mosquito was made today when W 4055 (LY-T) of the RAF Photographic Development Unit based at RAF Benson flew a daylight reconnaissance over Brest, La Pallice and Bordeaux, returning over Paris. Although it was chased by three Messerschmitt Me 109 fighters, the Mosquito easily outpaced them at 23,000 ft. (22)

FRANCE: Paris: A curfew is imposed between 9pm and 5am.

While flying an offensive sweep over Northern France, the pilots of No. 452 Squadron, RAAF, equipped with Spitfire Mk. VBs and based at Kenley, Surrey, England, claims seven Luftwaffe Bf 109s shot down and two damaged. 

GIBRALTAR: The converted Italian submarine Scire, moored off the Spanish coast, launches three two-man Human Torpedoes led by Prince Giunio Borghese, to attack ships in Gibraltar. They penetrated the defences and sink a 2,444 British tanker and damage a 8,145 ton fleet oiler and a 10,893 ton motor freighter. The two man crew of the torpedoes successfully escape by swimming to Spanish shores.

MALTA: The first 'Hurribomber' Hawker Hurricane fighter-bomber conversions go into service today. They can carry two 250-lb bombs. (22)

JAPAN: Tokyo receives reports on the U.S. fleet movements from both Manila, Philippine Islands, and Seattle, Washington, U.S.

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: The U.S. Army Air Forces activated the Philippine Department Air Force, later redesignated Far East Air Force and still later 5th Air Force, at Nichols Field, Luzon. This unit is not manned and all USAAF units in the Philippines remain under the control of Air Force, U.S. Army Forces in the Far East.

UNITED STATES: The Congress passes the Revenue Act of 1941 which lowers exemption levels and increases taxes on excess profits being made on the war effort. These changes do more than simply increase revenues; they expand the tax base to include all but the lowest-paid workers.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Convoy OG-74 is sailing with escort carrier HMS Audacity in the escort. Today an aircraft, from Audacity, downs a FW-Condor shadowing the convoy. 6 of 27 ships in the convoy are lost during the crossing.

Whilst escorting convoy SC.44, Flower class corvette HMS Levis is torpedoed and sunk by U-74 South of Ireland at 60 07N 38 37W. Levis sinks within a minute of the torpedo striking. (Alex Gordon)(108)

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20 September 1942

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September 20th, 1942 (SUNDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The outline plan for Operation TORCH, the invasion of North Africa,  is issued; D Day is set for 8 November. 

GERMANY: RAF bombers flew 1,200 miles to raid Munich last night, killing 65 people; other aircraft hit Saarbrucken.

The bomber force consisted of 68 Lancasters and 21 Stirlings; 3 Lancasters and 3 Stirlings were lost. Approximately 40 per cent of the crews dropped bombs within 3 miles (4.8 kilometres) of the center of Munich but most of the bombs fell in the western, southern and eastern suburbs of the city.

U.S.S.R.: Stubborn street fighting is in progress in Stalingrad. The town of Terek, in the Caucasus, falls to German Army Group A. 

The Soviet marines and soldiers holding the grain silos are almost out of ammunition and they have no water. Tonight in a frantic search for something to drink, Lt. Khoyzyanov leads his men out of the tower door, across the field, the main road and into a gully, where they stumbled upon an enemy mortar battery. In the resulting melee, the startled Germans fled, leaving gallons of ice-cold drinking water that the marines gulped down gratefully. Completely dehydrated, Khoyzyanov suddenly felt faint from the water, and collapsed on the ground. When he woke up, he was in a dark celler and standing over him was a soldier from the German 14th Panzer division. The grain elevator he had defended so heroically had passed into enemy hands.

The Germans quickly put out the fires and saved most of the wheat, which would be significant in the weeks to come. (Russell Folsom)(232)

ARCTIC OCEAN: Whilst astern of convoy QP.14, minesweeper HMS Leda (N 93) is torpedoed and sunk by U-435 in the Barents Sea, West of Bear Island at 75 48N 06 00E.

Tribal class destroyer HMS Somali (G 33) is torpedoed by U-703, West of Bear Island at 75 40N 02 00E. The midships section of the port side is blown away and the ship held together only by the starboard side and the keel. The port turbine fell through the bottom of the ship. All non-essential crewmembers are taken off and destroyer HMS Ashanti (F 51) takes Somali in tow. When the weather worsened, and a violent storm broke, Somali folded into two, and the stern section sank quickly. Survivors were rescued by trawler Lord Middleton and Ashanti. Location: of sinking, 69 11N 15 32W. (Alex Gordon)(108)

NEW GUINEA: Australian units continue to patrol along Imitra Ridge on the Kodoka Track. 
USAAF Fifth Air Force A-20s bomb and strafe troops and installations at Sangara, Arehe, and along the Popondetta-Andemba road in the Owen Stanley Range, and P-40s strafe the airfield at Kokoda, bridges on the trail near Wairopi, and troops at Myola, Efogi, and Kagi. 

AUSTRALIA:  Responding to questions from the Australian government regarding the effect on the RAAF of the formation of the USAAF's Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific Area, General MacArthur replies that "due to unavoidable conditions" the majority of the units assigned to the Coastal defence Unit would be Australian although the majority of RAAF units would not be assigned to this command. He continued saying that the formation of the Fifth Air Force would not affect the full employment of the RAAF in combat operations. 


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20 September 1943

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September 20th, 1943 (MONDAY)

FRANCE: During the night of 20/21 September, RAF Bomber Command sends 20 Wellingtons on minelaying missions against three targets: six each aircraft laid mines off Brest and Lorient, and five off St. Nazaire.

GERMANY: During the night of 20/21 September, eight RAF Bomber Command Mosquitos bomb Berlin.

BALTIC SEA: The German submarine U-346 is sunk in the Baltic Sea near Hela, in position 54.25N, 19.50E, in a diving accident. 6 of the 43-man U-boat crew survive.

U.S.S.R.: General Yeremenko's forces liberate Velizh and Kholm, northwest of Smolensk.

An announcement published in the Soviet newspaper “Pravda” of the formation of a "Union of German Officers," composed of prisoners of war in the Soviet Union.

ITALY: The Allies launch an assault on Naples as British and US units link up at Eboli to form a solid line from Salerno to Bari.

Canadian units of the British 8th Army enter Potenza. General Lucas takes command of US VI Corps from General Dawley.

The US Seventh Army starts into the mountains north of Salerno.

The U.S. 82d Airborne Division is ordered to concentrate in the Crotone area and be prepared to assist the advance of VI Corps. The U.S. 3d and 45th Infantry Divisions start northward into the mountains north of Salerno, the 3d driving through Battipaglia toward Acerno and the 45th on the right along Highway 91.

The US Ninth Air Force flies its last mission to Italy. B-24s of 98th and 376th Bombardment Groups (Heavy) are dispatched to the Castelfranco Veneto marshalling yard. Clouds obscure the target, but the 98th Group drops bombs on the estimated time of arrival. The 376th bombs a marshalling yard and airfield at Pescara during the return trip.

US Twelfth Air Force B-17s and B-26s bomb the Castelnuovo road junction, the town of Formia, the Torre Annunziata area roads, and roads and railroad southwest of Sarno; XII Air Support Command A-36 Apaches attack and disperse enemy tank and troop concentrations forming near Nocera for a counterattack. Other USAAF and RAF aircraft of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force hit enemy movement in the Avellino-Naples-Potenza-Benevento-Calabritto-Pomigliano-Pescopagano areas.

During the night of 20/21 September, 50 RAF Liberators of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group bomb the North railroad bridge at Benevento.

LIBYA: The US Ninth Air Force's 98th and 376th Bombardment Groups (Heavy), based in Libya, along with the 43d Service Group and several military police and engineer units, are to be transferred to the US Twelfth Air Force, effective on the date they transfer to Tunisia.

CHINA: 27 Japanese bombers and 20 fighters attack the airfield at Kunming, China; 24 US Fourteenth Air Force P-40s and 3 P-38 Lightnings intercept, claiming 17 airplanes shot down; 1 US fighter is lost; damage to the airfield is negligible.

BURMA: US Tenth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb Sagaing and Naba.

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES:  B-25s bomb Penfoei on Timor Island. 

NEW GUINEA: In Northeast New Guinea the Australian 2/6th Independent Company kills another 100 Japanese north of Kaiapit. 
     In the air, Fifth Air Force B-25s and B-17s hit roads from Kaiapit to Madang, destroying 3 key bridges; P-39s strafe and dive-bomb the Bogadjim-Yaula area; and B-24s bomb Wewak and Boram airfields. 

SOLOMON ISLANDS: 27th Infantry Regiment forces on Sagekarasa Island find that Japanese have withdrawn from the island. On the mainland of Arundel Island, the rest of the 27th Infantry suspends their attack while patrols try in vain to locate the 172d Infantry’s position. 
     In the air First Lieutenant Henry Meigs II (of the 6th Night Fighter Squadron), flying a P-38 against Japanese night attackers over Bougainville Island, shoots down two aircraft within 60 seconds. 

General Imamura gives the order to reinforce Finschhafen. "With the co-operation of the navy, the essential places of the Dampier Strait and Bougainville Islands will be held. The Army, Navy and Air Forces will combine their strength to eliminate the enemy on land and sea". (Mike Mitchell)

U.S.A.: General Marshall and Admiral King testify before the US Congress about the Selective Service (draft). They tell the Senate that failure to draft fathers may prolong the war.

The Lockheed XPB4Y-2 Privateer makes its maiden flight. This aircraft had a lengthened fuselage, single vertical tail surfaces and unsupercharged engines.

Douglas (Model DC-3A-457) C-53D-DO, msn 11656, USAAF s/n 42-68729, crashes near Laurinburg-Maxton AAB, North Carolina, killing all 25 aboard. The aircraft crashes into a wooded area after nearly colliding with a glider being towed by another aircraft. The evasive maneuver caused the C-53D to stall and crash.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The German submarine U-338 is listed as missing in the North Atlantic in approximate position 57N, 30W. All 51 hands on the U-boat are lost. 

     Three warships escorting Convoy ON-202 (U.K. to North America) are struck by T5 acoustic torpedoes (Zaunkoenig or Gnat) fired by German submarines:

     - At 0256 hours GMT British frigate HMS Lagan (K 259) has her stern blown by U-270 while the ship is about 450 nautical miles (834 kilometers) south-southwest of Reykjavik, Iceland, in position 57.09N, 27.28W. She is towed back to the UK by the rescue tug HMS Destiny (W 115) arriving on 24 September, but is not repaired. (Alex Gordon)(108)

     - At 1756 hours GMT, Canadian destroyer HMCS St Croix [I 81, ex USS McCook (DD-252)] is struck by a torpedo fired by U-305 and brought to a stop. At about 1856 hours GMT, another torpedo fired by the same U-boat sinks her about 481 nautical miles (891 kilometers) southwest of Reykjavik, Iceland in position 57.30N, 31.10W. Eighty survivors are taken aboard the British frigate HMS Itchen (K 227). (Alex Gordon)(108)

     - At 2236 hours GMT the British Flower class corvette HMS Polyanthus (K 47) is sunk by U-952 about 507 nautical miles (939 kilometers) southwest of Reykjavik, Iceland, in position 57.00N, 31.10W. Only one survivor is picked by the British frigate HMS Itchen (K 227). (Alex Gordon)(108)

     In addition to the above three warships, two merchant ships in Convoy ON-202 are sunk and one damaged today.

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20 September 1944

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September 20th, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)

NETHERLANDS: Arnhem: After four days and three sleepless nights, Allied paratroopers are holding out in spite of heavy shelling and repeated attacks by infantry and Panzers. But the British are fighting in scattered units, with radio links disrupted, by trees and tall buildings. Ground-to-air radio contact has also been disrupted and this has led to RAF resupply drops falling on zones still held by the enemy.

The command post in the Hartenstein Hotel is out of contact with the 150 men holding the northern end of the road bridge. All attacks across the bridge by German armoured cars and half-tracks have been repelled, but food, water and ammunition are running low.

In an operation dogged by misfortune, the British battle plan has fallen into German hands; it was found in a crashed glider. So when Brigadier John Hackett's 4th Parachute Brigade arrived, the enemy was waiting and picked off the men as they hung helplessly beneath their parachutes.

The planned link-up with the beleaguered paratroopers has been mounted by the Guards Armoured Division, driving north from the Dutch border. Americans paras captured the Maas bridges, but were unable to gain the next crossing over the Waal, which is the south branch of the Lower Rhine, until the Guards arrived to link up at Nijmegen. A concerted drive from there towards Arnhem has since encountered strong Panzer resistance.

Market Garden: The U.S. 101st Airborne Division:

At 0615 German infantry and tanks attack the road leading from the south bank of the Wilhelmena Canal at Zon. The attack in beaten off by US Infantry and British Armour. It closes the road for several hours. The division CP displaces from Zon to St. Odenrode. 1/501 attacks west to seize Dinther and expand width of corridor. (Jay Stone)
     The British Guards Armoured Division and U.S. 82nd Airborne Division:. The Grenadier Group with the 2/505 under command continues to attack through Nijmegan to seize the southern end of the railroad and road bridges across the Waal. 3/504 of the 82 Airborne is given the mission of crossing the Waal River in wood and canvas boats of XXX Corps Royal Engineers, seizing the northern bank and then securing the northern end of the road bridge. Support will be provided by RAF Typhoons, 30 tanks of the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards and 100 Field Artillery and mortar tubes. The river is 400 yards wide with flat areas of from 200 to 800 yards on the northern bank and a 15 to 20 foot dyke.

But first, the place chosen for the crossing needed to be cleared of enemy. This entailed clearing the German defenses dominated by the Valkhof which is a fort that had been selected by the Roman Second Legion as the key to Nijmegen and which now housed cleverly sited SS infantry and anti-tank defenses. This house-by-house clearing was done by infantry of the 1st Grenadier Guards and D Company 505 PIR with tanks in support commanded by Captain Neville.

Shortly after this battle started, II Falschirm Corps mounted a seven-battalion assault on 82nd Airborne positions, driving the Americans out of Wyler, Mook and Beek on the southeastern sector of the Allied stronghold. General Gavin appealed to the Coldstream Guards for tank support and got it. He became totally pre-occupied with events on that sector and learned of events of the river crossing assault only second hand.

 H-Hour is set for 1500. At 1430, with the boats still en route, it is too late to reschedule the support of the Typhoons and they arrive overhead and fire rockets and machine guns at the northern bank. Ten minutes later the boats arrive and the men of 3/504 and the engineers begin assembling them. Each boat should have eight paddles, some have two. Of the 32 assault boats delivered, 6 are destroyed by artillery before being unloaded from the truck. The boats are assembled and carried over the open bank to the water. As the boats begin the crossing they are taken under fire by German machine guns and mortars. Of the remaining 26 boats that begin the assault carrying 3rd Battalion commanded by Major Julian A Cook, only 11 return to pick up the second wave. Combat Engineers of C Company, 307th US Airborne Engineer Battaloi, 82nd Airborne Division, ferry anti-tank guns across the river to protect the parachute infantry from armoured attack. The assault goes in at 1500 following a smoke bombardment which is lifted to fire HE at the German positions. Over 100 British and American guns fire this bombardment while two squadrons of Irish Guards tanks fire in support, shooting at anything and at any time, paying particular attention to the 20mm flak emplacements in the Fortress West. Mortars and artillery engage the Germans but this does not stop their fire which continues to fall on 3/504. As the first boats reach the shore the men attack toward the dyke and the bridge while the boats return for more soldiers. The engineers made five trips across the river in order to bring the 3/504 across. Initially the Germans on the northern end of the road bridge resist but with the pressure from 3/504 and the Grenadier Group from the south they break and run north from their positions and from the bridge. Many are cut down by American fire. By 1700 the northern end is secured and by 1900 British and Americans reach the southern end of the bridge. A platoon of No. 1 Squadron, 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards crosses the bridge and links up with the Americans who have established a beachhead with a depth of 1/4 mile. The Guards move to Lent but are ordered to remain there because they have no infantry with them. For much of the night of 20/21 the only Germans between them and the south bank of the Lower Rhine are a few pickets.  (Jay Stone)
     In the two actions which secured the bridge the resistance of the Germans was fierce and Allied casualties were heavy especially within the 3/504 which lost half of the of the soldiers who made the river crossing.  (Jay Stone)
     Commentary: In the circumstances the decision by General Horrocks not to order the advance of the Guards Armoured was wise. The division was strung out over the road to the south and several of its units, particularly infantry, had been committed to assist the 82nd and 101st in their missions. Still, the 1st Airborne was dying at Arnhem and one has to ask what was the plan to relieve it after the bridge was crossed. The short answer is that there was no plan. General Adair, the commander of the Guards Armoured was surprised at the road over which his division would have to travel to Arnhem. This, despite the fact that there were aerial photographs of the position of the 1st Airborne at Arnhem available. Surely a photo reconnaissance mission of the road could have been flown at the time the Arnhem mission was flown. It should have been flown before Market Garden began. British soldiers had fought hard, died and accomplished much but their senior commanders had not done their homework.  (Jay Stone)
     1st Airborne Division: Attacks by German tanks and infantry continue against the position of 2 Para on the northern side of the Arnhem Bridge. Almost all of the buildings which it occupies are rubble and wounded fill the cellars. At 1000 hours communications between division headquarters and the elements of 1 Para Brigade headquarters at the bridge are establish. General Urquhart tells Colonel Frost that XXX Corps is expected to arrive within hours. He does not say how many hours. XXX Corps is still south of the Waal. Colonel Frost is wounded during the afternoon. In the evening a two hour truce is arranged and the Germans take the severely wounded from the cellars and make them prisoners. Colonel Frost remains with his battalion as do lightly wounded paras. The Germans take advantage of the truce to move into positions around the British positions. The situation for 2 Para is, indeed, grave.  (Jay Stone)
     The situation for the remainder of the division is also grave. Germans have established positions on three sides of the division which has its back to the river and holds a shallow horseshoe shaped beachhead centered on the division CP in the vicinity of Osteerbeek. (Jay Stone)
     In the air, 679 USAAF Eighth Air Force  P-38s, P-47s and P-51s are dispatched to support the First Allied Airborne Army in the Arnhem and Nijmegen areas of the Netherlands; 644 aircraft strafe and bomb ground targets; intense light flak claims 1 P-51 plus 1 P-38, 1 P-47 and 1 P-51 damaged beyond repair and 3 P-47s and 4 P-51s damaged; air attacks aid ground troops in taking valuable bridges in the area and in the advance toward Arnhem. 

Arnhem: L/Sgt John Daniel Baskeyfield (b.1922), South Staffs Regt., was wounded but fired an anti-tank gun alone; he later crawled to another, scoring a direct hit before he was killed. (Victoria Cross)

Arnhem: Lt. John Hollington Grayburn (b.1918), Parachute Regt., inspired his men with his supreme courage, despite wounds from which he died. (Victoria Cross)

Wing-Commander Guy Gibson, awarded a Victoria Cross for leading the spectacular raid against three Ruhr dams last year, died when his Mosquito crashed near the village of Steenbergen. At his own request he had left a desk job to go on a raid against a German communications centre at Rheydt in the Ruhr. He acted as a pathfinder and master bomber for a Lancaster force. It is thought that his aircraft either developed engine trouble or was shot down by flak, and it seems that he was flying too low for him or his navigator, Sqn-Ldr J. B. Warwick DFC, to parachute out.

Gibson had seemed untouchable - the only survivor out of 25 aircrew who enlisted at the same time. He had narrow escapes flying Blenheims before Dunkirk. After the Battle of Britain he flew night fighters on 99 missions in two months, destroying six enemy planes. He also crash-landed between trees with a wounded crewman. As a bomber pilot he was on the first 1,000-plane raid against Cologne before the "Dambuster" epic; after leading the attack, he stayed to protect others. Aged 25, he won a DSO and DFC as well as his VC.

USAAF: STRATEGIC OPERATIONS: 679 US Eighth Air Force P-38s, P-47s and P-51s are dispatched to support the First Allied Airborne Army in the Arnhem and Nijmegen areas of the Netherlands; 644 aircraft strafe and bomb ground targets; intense light flak claims 1 P-51; air attacks aid ground troops in taking valuable bridges in the area and in the advance toward Arnhem.

In the Canadian First Army's 2 Corps area, Polish armor overruns Hulst and Axel. 

BELGIUM: In the Canadian First Army's 2 Corps area, Polish armor overruns Hulst and Axel.

FRANCE: Cap Blanc-Nez, Normandy: 646 Allied bombers drop 5,600 high explosive bombs on two hours on the German guns.

     During the day, RAF Bomber Command sent 646 aircraft, 437 Lancasters, 169 Halifaxes and 40 Mosquitos, to attack German positions around Calais; 633 bomb the target. Visibility is good and the bombing is accurate and concentrated. One Lancaster is lost.

In the U.S.. Third Army area, the boundary between XII and XV Corps is adjusted to give Foret de Vitrimont, Luneville, and Foret de Parroy to the XV Corps. In the XX Corps area, the 10th and 2d Regiments, 5th Infantry Division, renew efforts to take Pournoy-la-Chetive and Coin-sur-Seille despite weather conditions unfavorable for air support and diminishing supply of artillery ammunition; 2d Battalion of the 10th Infantry, reinforced, seizes Pournoy-la-Chetive but is greatly disorganized in the process; 1st Battalion of the 2d Infantry, against fire from Sillegny, overruns Coin-sur-Seille. CCA, 7th Armored  Division, replaces badly mauled CCR in front of Sillegny and, together with CCB, attacks toward the Seille; bypassing Sillegny, CCA reaches the river, where it comes under heavy fire; CCB also reaches the river but falls back under fire. In XII Corps area, 80th Infantry Division elements push into Bois de la Rumont. The Germans counterattack 134th Infantry Regiment troops of 35th Infantry Division and recover Agincourt; the l37th Infantry Regiment attempts in vain to drive through Foret de Champenoux to Amance plateau but the artillery ammunition supply runs out. CCA, 4th Armored  Division, begins an attack northeast toward Sarreguemines but, upon reaching Hampont on the  left and the Dieuze area on the right, returns to the Arracourt region because of another enemy tank attack, this time by only 8 tanks, all of which are knocked out. The area will be systematically mopped up before the offensive is continued. Small tank duels occur as CCA sweeps through Ley and Moncourt. CCB continues efforts to advance in the Chateau-Salins area, where secondary routes are impassable. In XV Corps area, the 313th Infantry Regiment of the 79th Infantry Division drives through Luneville and turns southeast in an effort to outflank enemy's Meurthe River line; the 34th reaches the Meurthe southeast of Luneville, where it comes under heavy fire. The French 2d Armored  Division patrols from their current positions; CCL moves east to rejoin main body as the 45th Infantry Division of the  Seventh Army draws up to the Moselle. 
     In U.S. Seventh Army's VI Corps area, Lieutenant General Lucien K Truscott orders corps to cross the Moselle River and seize communications centers in the Vosges Mountains to open the way to the Alsatian Plain and the Rhine River. The 45th Infantry Division upon crossing the Moselle at Epinal, is to seize Rambervillers and Baccarat and force the Saverne Gap. The 36th Infantry Division is to cross the Moselle in the Eloyes area and take St Die near Saales Pass. The 3d Infantry Division is to cross the Moselle in the Rupt area and seizes Gerardmer near the Schlucht Pass. The 36th begins a reconnaissance  in force of the proposed Moselle crossing site near Remiremont. The site near Eloyes is reported to be suitable, and the 141st Infantry Regiment  moves forward to it during the  night of 20-21 September. To the left, the 45th moves up to the Moselle in the Remiremont area. On the corps’ right flank, the 3d is advancing toward the river.
The French 1st Army now holds the sector to the right of the U.S. Seventh Army, the 2d Corps taking up positions in new sector to the left of the 1st Corps. 
     In the air, USAAF Ninth Air Force fighters provide air cover for the US XV and XX Corps in the Nancy area. 

GERMANY:  In The U.S. First Army's XIX Corps area, the assault on the West Wall is postponed because of unfavorable flying conditions. Other deterring factors are the very short supply of arty ammunition and exposed left flank of corps. In the VII Corps area, the enemy decides to go on the defensive instead of counterattacking as planned. CCA, 3d Armored Division, is methodically clearing the Muensterbusch area; Task Force Hogan, is moving forward stealthily, and takes the enemy on Weissenberg Hill by surprise and gains the crest of this much fought over prize; Task Force Mills and CCB, secures positions on the Donnerberg River under a smoke screen but is hit hard by the enemy when smoke disappears. 1st Battalion of the 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, attached to the 60th Infantry Regiment, drives east from Zweifall to Weisser Weh Creek, near the village of Huertgen. A battalion of the 6oth, to the right, attempts to drive southeast from Zweifall in order to cut the Lammersdorf-Huertgen highway at Germeter but makes little headway. In the V Corps area, IX Tactical Air Command again assists corps in maintaining positions. 
     In the air, about 40 USAAF Ninth Air Force B-26s hit the marshalling yard at Trier and defensive positions at Herbach to complicate rail transportation and aid in the Allied ground attack on Aachen; fighters fly air cover for the US V and VII Corps in western Germany near the Dutch boundary, and fly armed reconnaissance over the Bonn, Mannheim, Hamburg, Koblenz, and Ruhr Valley areas. 

CZECHOSLOVAKIA: USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb three targets: 111 bomb Malacky Airfield, 28 bomb the Apollo oil refinery at Bratislava and 28 bomb a synthetic oil refinery at Bratislava.

The British 8th Army enters the Republic of San Marino, in their drive up the Italian peninsula.

HUNGARY: USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24s escorted by P-38s and P-51s bomb five targets: 117 bomb the marshalling yard at Hatvan; 56 bomb the railroad bridge at Szob; 56 bomb the South railroad bridge and 53 bomb the North railroad bridge both in Budapest; and 54 bomb the marshalling yard at Gyor. Two B-17s are lost.

     During the night of 20/21 September, 58 RAF Liberators of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group bomb the marshalling yard at Hegyeschalom; four aircraft are lost.

ITALY:  In the British Eighth Army area, the battle for the Rimini Line ends as the Germans withdraw, during the night of 20-21 September, behind the Marecchia River under cover of a drenching rain. In the 5 Corps area, San Marino, in the small independent Republic of San Marino, falls to the Indian 4th Division. The 46th Division holds La Torraccia against counterattacks. The 1st Armoured Division joins the 56th Division in the fight for Ceriano ridge, where the enemy continues to resist tenaciously throughout the day before withdrawing. In the Canadian I Corps area, the Canadian 1st Division battles the encircled enemy at San Fortunato, frustrating German efforts to break out. 
     In the U.S. Fifth Army's IV Corps area, Regimental Combat Team 6 of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force gains positions on Mount Prano but cannot reach the crest. The 1st Armored  Division regroups in order to release CCA to the II Corps: the 37th Infantry Division, whose 1st Battalion relieves the 14th Armored Infantry Battalion, takes command of the CCA zone. The South African 6th Armoured  Division extends its left flank to a road northeast of Pescia; reinforces the right flank in the Mt. Moscoso area. In the II Corps area, the 91st and 85th Infantry Divisions continue to pursue the enemy toward the Santerno River. 337th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division, crosses it east of Firenzuola at San Pellegrino. The 362d Infantry Regiment, 91st Infantry Division, gets into position for an assault on the  Futa Pass, the 3d Battalion pushing across an anti-tank ditch near San Lucia. The Corps' reserve division, the 88th, is ordered to attack through right flank of the 85th Infantry Division down the Santerno valley toward Imola on 21 September. In the British 13 Corps area, the enemy withdrawal from Casaglia Pass permits the 1st Division to push rapidly eastward toward the Indian 8th Division. 
     In the air, the USAAF’s XII Fighter Command, Twelfth Air Force, begins operations in support of the U.S. Fifth Army; weather again grounds medium bombers and severely restricts fighters which fly uneventful reconnaissance missions. 

INDIA: The All-India Congress begins today in Bombay and continues until 23 September. Under the leadership of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru, they consider the British government's offer of India autonomy. The delegates call the plan unsatisfactory and demand the British to "quit India."

BURMA: US Tenth Air Force P-47 Thunderbolts hit the Kadu rail siding Nyaungbintha, Indaw, and troops at Hkaungtung; 3 B-25s weathered out of the Bhamo area hit alternates at Indaw; C-47 Skytrains continue large-scale operations to several points in the CBI.

CHINA: U.S. General Joseph Stilwell learns that his plan for the defense of Kweilin has been accepted by Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and issues orders accordingly.

27 US Fourteenth Air Force B-25s bomb Lingling, Chuanhsien, and Kiyang and hit targets of opportunity throughout the Chuanhsien area; 100+ P-51 Mustangs and P-40s on armed reconnaissance over wide areas of southeastern China attack troops, horses, trucks, shipping, and other targets of opportunity, particularly concentrating on areas around Chuanhsien, Lingling, Kiyang, Changsha, and Yiyang.

PALAU ISLANDS: On Peleliu, the firm Japanese defense of the central ridge system on western arm virtually halts forward movement of the 1st and 7th Marines. The 1st Marines is so depleted in strength that 7th Marines relieves all its troops but those along West Road. The 5th Marines is mopping up eastern arm. 
     On Angaur, Major General Paul J Mueller declares organized resistance at an end as the Army’s 321st Infantry Regiment drives to the southern end of island and begins mopping up scattered Japanese. The  Japanese remaining on Angaur are concentrated in northwestern part of the island and are prepared for a prolonged defence of a broad, deep, bowl-shaped depression in the Lake Salome area. The 322d Infantry Regiment tries to reach the bowl from different directions, but makes little headway. Airdrome construction is begun in the southern part of the island. 

WESTERN PACIFIC: USAAF Seventh Air Force B-25s pound Nauru Island. 

MARIANA ISLANDS: USAAF Seventh Air Force P-47s from Saipan bomb and strafe gun positions on Pagan Island. 

MARSHALL ISLANDS: USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24s bomb Jaluit Atoll. 

NEW GUINEA: USAAF Far East Air Forces fighter-bombers hit AA guns and targets of opportunity at Moemi and Ransiki Airfields and hit a supply dump further east along the Orai River. 

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: On Morotai, the beachhead perimeter has been expanded to provide space for additional airfield construction, extending about 1,000 yards (914 meters) north of the original site and some 10,000 yards (9.14 kilometres) east along the shore to the Sabatai River. 
     In the air, despite poor weather over Celebes Island, the USAAF’s Far East Air Forces attacks the Menado area and B-24s hit Mapanget and Sidate Airfields and supply dumps and other targets of opportunity. On Halmahera Island, B-24s hit Djailolo and A-20s and P-47s during the night of 19/20 September strike Kaoe Airfields. B-24s, B-25s, and fighter-bombers, striking during the night of 19/20 September and during the day, pound airfields at Amahai on Ceram Island, Namlea on Buru Island, Liang and Laha on Amboina Island, the town of Lautem on Timor Island, and several targets of opportunity. During the night of 20/21 September a few B-24s again hit the Menado and Sidate area on Celebes Island. 

No. 14 RAAF Airfield Construction Squadron begins work on Wama airfield. (Mike Alexander)

NORTH PACIFIC:  A lone Seventh Air Force B-24 on armed reconnaissance, bombs Marcus Island. 


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20 September 1945

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September 20th, 1945 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The first turboprop powered aircraft flies when Eric Greenwood, Gloster's chief test pilot takes up a Meteor modified to accommodate two Rolls-Royce Trent turboprops.

GERMANY: The Allied Control Council for the government of the whole of Germany passes its first act, which is to repeal the Law for the Protection of National Symbols of 19 May, 1933 and the Reich Flag Law of 15 September, 1935 which gave Goebbels control over flag usage and established the swastika as the German national flag. This act effectively abolishes the swastika.

U.S.A.: The first group of seven German guided-missile scientists signed by contract under Operation Paperclip, arrive at Fort Strong, New York. From here they will be taken to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. (William L. Howard)

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