World War Two Daily: April 1, 1940: Weserubung is a Go

Friday, May 20, 2016

April 1, 1940: Weserubung is a Go

Monday 1 April 1940

1 April 1940 Neubaufahrzeug tank
A rare Neubaufahrzeug tank. That appears to be an 88mm to the right.

European Air Operations: The RAF conducts an armed reconnaissance of the North Sea on 1 April 1940 and attacks enemy patrol boats. One aircraft does not return.

Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 88 bombers attack British ships. One is shot down.

While some of its planes already have gone on operations, today is the official establishment of No. 75 New Zealand Squadron of the RAF.

Battle of the Atlantic: The German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis disguises itself as the 5,114 Soviet fleet auxiliary Kim and, escorted by torpedo boats Leopard and Wolf along with U-37, bolts for the North Atlantic.

Convoy OA 121 departs from Southend, Convoy OB 121 departs from Liverpool.

HMS Rapid, a R class destroyer, is ordered today.

Western Front: There is heavy German artillery fire in the Saar region.

German Military: Hitler gives final approval for Operation Weserübung ("Weser River Exercise") and sets a date of 9 April 1940 - which just happens to be the actual holiday for the Weser River. He authorizes a 6-division operation, including 20 light tanks and 3 experimental heavy Neubaufahrzeug tanks. There also are two divisions which will invade Denmark by land and parachute. The Luftwaffe will make a major effort to provide support.

British Military: Vice-Admiral Max Horton, commander of Royal Navy Home Fleet submarines, anticipates a German invasion of Norway in the near future. He directs a dozen submarines, including two French boats and one Polish boat, to patrol the southern area of the North Sea in the vicinity of Denmark. Their mission is to intercept any German warships. HMS Sealion departs first, from Harwich, and heads to the Kattegat east of Denmark.

French Government: A government decree authorizes construction of a massive navey of 53 warships: 2 battleships, 1 aircraft carrier, 3 cruisers, 27 destroyers and 20 submarines. Such a navy typically would take at least a decade or two to complete under favorable conditions.

The French Minister of Information Frossard arrives in London to consult with Sir John Reith, legendary former head of the BBC and Minister of Information in the Chamberlain government.

Norway: The Norwegian government receives a report from its ambassador in Berlin that a German invasion is imminent. The report is filed.

Berlin issues a statement that it will take "suitable countermeasures" if iron ore shipments flowing through Norway are interrupted.

Sweden: The Swedish government makes a presentation in the legislature (the Riksdag) regarding diplomatic steps taken in connection with the Winter War.

South Africa: The South African assembly passes a Jan Smuts War Measures Act 75-55. It provides for white troops to be sent to North Africa, while black troops serve as auxiliaries.

1 April 1940 Grumman Skyrocket
Not all planes become legends - some don't go beyond the prototype stage. This is a Grumman F5F Skyrocket (XF5F-1), which had its maiden flight on 1 April 1940. Designed for the US Navy, the Navy passed on it due to its high landing speed and the two engines. Just a what-might-have-been.

British Homefront: The Home Secretary appoints 12 regional advisory committees to review and reconsider the cases of aliens in England due to the war, the treatment of whom has been the subject of public outcry.

In a rare wartime bit of wit by the BBC, it broadcasts an unknown speech by Adolf Hitler. Hitler is shown reciting that Columbus had only discovered America with the use of German technology, and thus part of America belong to Germany. All American citizens of German/Czech/Polish descent are under German overlordship, and thus German dominion rightfully extends over the United States government. Hitler's plans include removing the Statue of Liberty to improve traffic congestion in Manhattan, and to rename the White House the Brown House.

CBS picks up the broadcast and rings the BBC to find out where it got this Hitler speech. The caller is told that it is just an April Fool's Day hoax and that the voice of Hitler had been impersonated by actor Martin Miller.

China: Chinese 8th War Area guerilla forces and cavalry column occupy Wuyuan. The 11th Provisional Division recaptures Wu-pu-lang-kou. The Japanese continue retreating east.

In the Battle of South Kwangsi, the Japanese 22nd Army retains Nanning while the Chinese regroup.

Holocaust: Germany rejects a Vatican request to send humanitarian aid to Poland and for the placement of observers to oversee conditions there.

1 April 1940 US census
If one looks closely, you can see that the rate of population increase was unusually low during the 1930s - due to the hardships of the Great Depression. It picked back up in the 1940s and especially the 1950s and has remained high ever since.

American Homefront: The 1940 United States Census is conducted. Privacy laws provide that the personal information contained therein will become available to historians exactly 72 years later, on April 2, 2012 (the 1st is a Sunday). It finds 132.2 million people living in the 48 states.

The historic Ridotto Building in downtown Bay City, Michigan burns down in a fire.

Soap opera "Portia Faces Life" premieres in syndication.

The Franklin Astronomy Institute issues a press release announcing that the world will end at 15:00. The report is picked up on news services and the institute receives hundreds of calls.

1 April 1940 Ridotto Building Bay City
On April 1, 1940, 75 years ago today, the elegant landmark Ridotto Building on the corner of Madison and Center avenues in downtown Bay City was consumed by flames. (Photo Courtesy Bay County Historical Society).

April 1940

April 1, 1940: Weserubung is a Go
April 2, 1940: British Subs On Alert
April 3, 1940: Churchill Consolidates Power
April 4, 1940: Missed the Bus
April 5, 1940: Mig-1 First Flight
April 6, 1940: Troops Sailing to Norway
April 7, 1940: Fleets At Sea
April 8, 1940: HMS Glowworm and Admiral Hipper
April 9, 1940: Invasion of Norway
April 10, 1940: First Battle of Narvik
April 11, 1940: Britain Takes the Faroes
April 12, 1940: Germans Consolidate in Norway
April 13, 1940: 2d Battle of Narvik
April 14, 1940: Battle of Dombås
April 15, 1940: British in Norway
April 16, 1940: Germans Cut Norway in Half
April 17, 1940: Trondheim the Target
April 18, 1940: Norway Declares War
April 19, 1940: Dombås Battle Ends
April 20, 1940: Germans Advancing in Norway
April 21, 1940: First US Military Casualty
April 22, 1940: First British Military Contact with Germans
April 23, 1940: British Retreating in Norway
April 24, 1940: British Bombard Narvik
April 25, 1940: Norwegian Air Battles
April 26, 1940: Norwegian Gold
April 27, 1940: Allies to Evacuate Norway
April 28, 1940: Prepared Piano
April 29, 1940: British at Bodo
April 30, 1940: Clacton-on-Sea Heinkel


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