Tuesday 21 November 1939
|A German magnetic mine laid in the Thames Estuary near Shoeburyness around 21 November 1939.|
Battle of the Atlantic: Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on 21 November 1939 goes before the House of Commons and announces that he has decided to retaliate for recent illegal sinkings of Allied and neutral vessels, most recently by magnetic mines. He declares a blockade on German exports. This means that any exports of German origin will be seized regardless of a vessel's flag country. All goods in Great Britain that had been destined for Germany are seized.
Elsewhere, it is a very busy day at sea indeed.
U-33 (Kapitänleutnant Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky) continues its attacks on fishing trawlers. Today, it sinks 287 British trawler Sulby and 276 tone William Humphreys. Five perish in the first, while seven survive. All thirteen crew perish in the latter. Dresky gives the Sulby a warning shot to allow the crew to leave. Nobody knows what happened with the Humphreys since nobody lived to give a statement. The seas in the North Atlantic are rough and lifeboats are easily swamped.
U-41 (Kapitänleutnant Gustav-Adolf Mugler) also sinks a French fishing trawler, the Les Barges II. Everyone survives because Mugler stops and disembarks his victims before sinking them with gunfire. Mugler also stops a total of 17 trawlers during the day, but lets them go because they are Spanish.
British destroyer HMS Gipsy strikes a mine and sinks (30 perish) near Harwich. HMS Belfast, a brand new cruiser strikes a mine but makes it back to harbor. Belfast is severely damaged and 21 injured despite the hole made being small because there is extensive internal damage. British vessel Geraldus also strikes a mine and sinks.
Japanese liner Terukuni Maru strikes a mine off the Thames estuary and sinks. French minesweeping trawler Ste. Claire somewhat ironically strikes a mine and sinks off Folkestone. All eleven crew members perish.
Kriegsmarine patrol vessel V-701 strikes a mine and sinks.
The German crew of German freighter Teneriffe scuttles the ship to avoid capture by Royal Navy cruiser Transylvania.
German naval forces seize and detain a Finnish freighter, the Asta, off the Åland Islands. So far, the Kriegsmarine has seized 17 Finnish vessels.
German freighter Rheingold has been seized by the Royal Navy and brought to a Scottish port.
The Admiral Graf Spee rounds the Cape of Good Hope and returns to the Atlantic after its unproductive sortie into the Indian Ocean. There is a fleet of Allied ships looking for it there.
German pocket battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst (code-named "Salmon and Gluckstein" by the British after a venerable tobacconist), having just completed their sea trials, leave Germany and head north. They are headed for the Iceland-Faroes passage. They are accompanied by the light cruisers SMS Köln and SMS Leipzig.
French battleship Strasbourg departs Dakar for Brest.
US freighters Express and Scanmail are released by the British.
U-55 is commissioned.
US Government: The US authorities require US merchant ships to obtain certificates of non-enemy origin for their cargoes before departure. This is known as the "Navicert" system and was first implemented in 1915, but discontinued after the First World War.
|Dornier Do 17s, the "flying pencils."|
European Air Operations: RAF fighters shoot down a Dornier DO 17 reconnaissance plane off Deal. Other Luftwaffe planes are spotted over Sunderland (a Heinkel He 111) and over the Orkneys.
Slovakia: German grants Slovakia, a German satellite under Monsignor Tiso, 225 square miles of former Polish territory (which had been part of Czechoslovakia in the not-too-distant past).
Lithuania: Antanas Merkys becomes Prime Minister.
China: The Japanese 5th Infantry Division and Taiwan Brigade continue advancing from the coast toward their objective, Nanning, and reach the Yung River.
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