Monday November 20 1939
|A Heinkel He 115, used to drop magnetic mines.|
Western Front: Adolf Hitler issues another order for Fall Gelb on 20 November 1939, Directive No. 8, "Further Preparations for Attack in the West." The important thing is that it does not specify an attack date anytime soon. It details the occupation of Holland and Belgium. Otherwise, the Front is quiet.
Battle of the Atlantic: The London agents of the Royal Netherlands Steamship Co. report that the number of fatalities in the mined Simon Bolivar was 83.
British submarine HMS Sturgeon sinks Kriegsmarine patrol vessel V-209 in the Heligoland Bight. It is the first success for a British submarine in the war. The crews later report that the U-boat opened fire without warning.
U-33 (Kapitänleutnant Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky) happens upon a group of small fishing trawlers near Tory Island, north of Ireland. Fortunately for the crews, there area is a popular fishing spot and other trawlers later happen along to pick most of them up some hours later. In order:
U-33 also sinks 276 ton British fishing trawler Thomas Hankins in the morning. Everyone survives.
U-33 sinks 250 ton British fishing trawler Delphine with gunfire in the afternoon. All 13 crew survive.
U-33 also sinks 329 British fishing trawler Sea Sweeper with gunfire just before sunset. Everyone survives after the lifeboat makes land. The chief engineer exercises his extensive technical knowledge about engines and mechanics to block a hole in the lifeboat with his foot for 22 hours.
German liner Windhuk leaves Lobito, Portuguese East Africa, armed as a raider.
German He 115 seaplanes drop more magnetic mines in the English Channel shipping lanes and near the Thames estuary.
Kriegsmarine destroyers Z-21 Wilhelm Heidkamp, Z-19 Hermann KÃ¼nne and Z-11 Bernd von Arnim deposit more magnetic mines off the Thames estuary during the (preceding) night. The mines are moored, but have a tendency to break free and drift.
British armed trawler HMS Mastiff T-10 blows up near the Thames estuary while trying to recover a German magnetic mine in a fishing net for further study. Six crew perish.
The German crew scuttles freighter Bertha Fisser rather than have it captured by Royal Navy armed merchant cruiser Chitral.
Swedish torpedo boat Munin intervenes in an inspection of a neutral vessel by Kriegsmarine minesweeper Hansestadt.
The British detain US freighter Exambion at Gibraltar.
Convoy OZ 38 departs from Southend and Convoy OB 38 from Liverpool.
European Air Operations: There are numerous Luftwaffe reconnaissance flights, both over France (Rhone Valley, Normandy) and Great Britain (Kent, Essex, Thames estuary, the Orkneys). The Luftwaffe loses one Heinkel He 111 over England and another over Holland, shot down by Dutch fighters. It is the first Dutch kill of the war. The Luftwaffe makes an abortive raid on a British destroyer in the southern part of the North Sea.
Soviet Military: There is a planning conference for the anticipated campaign against Finland.
German Opposition: The local Prague authorities have called in the Waffen SS, the militarized formations of the Nazi Party's Schutzstaffel (SS, "Protective Squadron"). While some proto-Waffen SS formations participated in the Battle of Poland, they did not play a major role in the fighting. However, since then, the piecemeal SS regiments used there (Deutschland, Germania, and Der Führer regiments) have been combined into one unit, the SS-Verfügungs-Division. It gets useful practical experience suppressing the unarmed students and teachers in Prague and quickly gain control of the city.
Anglo/Polish Relations: Colin Gubbins heads to Paris to be the UK's military liaison with the Polish Government-in-Exile.
Holocaust: All assets in banks within the Polish General Gouvernment are blocked.
American Homefront: Today marks the first appearance of two classic comic book heroes, Flash and Hawkman, in DC Comics Flash Comics #1 (the cover date is January 1940).
|Focke-Wulf Fw 58 (a trainer) Weihe with passengers (Dutch fighter pilots) before leaving for Soesterberg on 20 November 1939. From left to right: Mr Aarts, Ottes, Lub, Nijhuis and Kuhn. The pilot was adjutant DH Lambermont (Royal Netherlands Air Force).|
November 1939November 1, 1939: The Jet Flies Again
November 2, 1939: The Soviets Devour Poland
November 3, 1939: Amending the Neutrality Act
November 4, 1939: Roosevelt Signs Neutrality Laws
November 5, 1939: The Spirit of Zossen
November 6, 1939: First Dogfight
November 7, 1939: More Lies About SS Athenia
November 8, 1939: Hitler Almost Killed
November 9, 1939: The Venlo Incident
November 10, 1939: Dutch Panic
November 11, 1939: Poignant Armistice Day
November 12, 1939: Peace Efforts Made and Rejected
November 13, 1939: First Bombing of Great Britain
November 14, 1939: The Dyle Plan
November 15, 1939: Elser Confesses to the Bürgerbräukeller Bombing
November 16, 1939: Martial Law in Prague
November 17, 1939: International Students Day
November 18, 1939: Magnetic Mines
November 19, 1939: Walls Around the Warsaw Ghetto
November 20, 1939: First RN Submarine Victory
November 21, 1939: Salmon & Gluckstein on the Prowl
November 22, 1939: British Recover A Magnetic Mine
November 23, 1939: HMS Rawalpindi Sunk
November 24, 1939: Japanese Enter Nanning
November 25, 1939: The Olympics are a War Casualty
November 26, 1939: Soviets Stage an "Incident" at Mainila
November 27, 1939: German Marriage Becomes Perilous
November 28, 1939: Judenrats in Poland
November 29, 1939: The Soviets Prepare to Invade Finland
November 30, 1939: Winter War Begins