Saturday 21 October 1939
|No. 46 Squadron, a Great War unit, re-formed in the 1930s and saw early action.|
Battle of the Atlantic: German mine-laying in recent days pays off on 21 October 1939, as three ships are sunk.
British freighter Orsa, 1,478 tons, strikes a mine in the North Sea and sinks, with eleven dead and four survivors.
French freighter Capitaine Edmond Laborie, 3,087 tons, also strikes a mine and sinks in the North Sea.
Norwegian freighter Deodata strikes a mine off eastern England. All 23 crew survive.
German vessel Gloria captured by Royal Navy cruiser Sheffield.
US freighter Meanticut is detained by the British at Gibraltar.
The French Force de raide is put into service to escort convoys.
Convoy OA 23 departs from Southend. Convoy OB 23 departs from Liverpool.
|The Heinkel He 115 B/C Seaplane. These were the biggest seaplanes during World War Two|
European Air Operations: A flight of Luftwaffe He 115B seaplanes flying at sea level to avoid detection attacks a convoy off the Humber. RAF fighters out of RAF Digby shoot down 4 of the nine or twelve (depending upon the source) attacking planes. British forces suffer no casualties or damage. Squadron Leader Barwell and Pilot Officer Plummer both received credit for victories.
The Hawker Hurricane begins to prove its worth today. Hurricanes compose the "A" Flight of 46 Squadron that intercepted the Heinkels on the Lincolnshire Coast. Two 72 Squadron Spitfires also engaged the Heinkels, but the Hurricanes got all four kills. On the other hand, the Heinkel He 115s are not suitable for operations in contested airspace.
There was some over-claiming in this incident, as the Spitfires claimed two victories but got none, whereas the Hurricanes claimed five downed planes but were determined to have only gotten four. Both sides of the conflict will be very studious about disallowing pilot claims that have no backing evidence.
Western Front: There are artillery barrages but little other action as the heavy rains continue.
General Gamelin, Allied Commander-in-chief, states that French forces are under orders not to attack Germany, and to withdraw into the Maginot Line upon any attack.
German Government: Hitler summons Gauleiters to Berlin for consultations.
Finland: Negotiators return to Moscow for a second round of talks.
Slovakia: Hitler promises to return Slovakian territory that has been "taken from it" by Poland.
Philippines: A new US High Commissioner, Sayre, arrives in Manila.
China: Claire Chennault, who resigned from the US Army in 1937, departs for Hong Kong to organize the Chinese Air Force.
Population Transfers: Germany and Italy reach agreement on "return" of ethnic Germans to the Reich from the South Tyrol. Under the terms of the South Tyrol Option Agreement, ethnic The "option" is that Germans can either emigrate to the Reich or remain where they are and become Italianized.
October 1939October 1, 1939: Occupation of Warsaw
October 2, 1939: Hel Peninsula Falls
October 3, 1939: The Diamantis Incident
October 4, 1939: Otto Kretschmer Gets Rolling
October 5, 1939: Polish Resistance Ends
October 6, 1939: Hitler Peace Effort
October 7, 1939: The British Have Arrived
October 8, 1939: First RAF Kill from UK
October 9, 1939: "City of Flint" Incident
October 10, 1939: Lithuania Under Pressure
October 11, 1939: The Atomic Age Begins
October 12, 1939: England Rejects Hitler's Peace Offer
October 13, 1939: Charles Lindbergh Speaks Out
October 14 1939: Royal Oak Sunk
October 15, 1939: Cuban Rockets
October 16, 1939: First Aircraft Shot Down Over UK
October 17, 1939: Marshall Mannerheim Returns
October 18, 1939: Prien Receives His Award
October 19, 1939: Preliminary Plan for Fall Gelb
October 20, 1939: Hitler Grapples with the Jews
October 21, 1939: Hurricanes to the Rescue!
October 22, 1939: Goebbels Lies Through His Teeth
October 23, 1939: Norway the Center of Attention
October 24, 1939: German "Justice" Gets Rolling
October 25, 1939: Handley Page Halifax Bomber First Flies
October 26, 1939: Jozef Tiso Takes Slovakia
October 27, 1939: King Leopold Stands Firm
October 28, 1939 - First Luftwaffe Raid on Great Britain
October 29, 1939: Tinkering with Fall Gelb
October 30, 1939: Defective Torpedoes
October 31, 1939: Molotov Issues an Ultimatum