Wednesday, February 28, 2018

June 4, 1941: Kaiser Wilhelm Passes Away


Wednesday 4 June 1941

Babe Ruth Lou Gehrig funeral 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Babe Ruth attends the open casket funeral of Lou Gehrig’s. June 4, 1941.

Syrian/Lebanon Campaign: The pro-British government in Iraq on 4 June 1941 is now firmly installed. Regent Prince Abdullah is in charge. The British continue mopping up, solidifying their control over Mosul and negotiating surrenders where necessary.

The Japanese Ambassador in Baghdad, Miyazaki, sends his counterpart in Ankara, Turkey a cable reporting the British takeover in Iraq. The Turkish ambassador, Kurihara, sends Tokyo a blunt message:
Unless some direct and summary measures are taken by Germany and Italy in following up this recent incident, it is feared that the whole Arabian movement will be severely hampered in its development. At this time, when it is thought that the Iraqi oil field pipeline and the railroad line connecting this city with Basra has been destroyed, British interests chiefly lie in the Habbaniya base which serves as a point in air and land transport from Trans-Jordan. Inasmuch as there are large oil reserves maintained in underground reservoirs and other subterranean facilities, please do your very utmost to have the German and Italian authorities bomb this base immediately.
The Germans and Italians, however, no longer have any airplanes with the ability to bomb targets in Iraq.

 Avro Ansons 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"On June 4, 1941, at No. 1 Air Navigation School in Rivers, Manitoba, a trio of Commonwealth airmen walk down a line of Avro Ansons to the aircraft that will carry them on a navigation training flight. From left to right are Sergeant J. A. Mahood, Royal Air Force, Sergeant E.M.D. Romilly, Royal Canadian Air Force, and Sergeant W.H. Betts, Royal Australian Air Force." PHOTO: PL-3738, DND Archives.

European Air Operations: During the day, RAF Bomber Command sends planes from 2 Group, Nos. 18, 107 and 139 Squadrons to attack Dutch airfields. The RAF also sends 54 aircraft on anti-shipping  missions.

Four Luftwaffe Heinkel He 111s of III./KG 27 bomb the Bristol area during the night, around 02:30 on the 4th. The targets are airfields and aircraft factories at Cheltenham and Bristol. The Germans bomb some buildings and destroy a Gloster plane on the ground. The Luftwaffe loses a Junkers Ju 88C in a separate intruder mission when it flies into a hill at Skelder Moor near Whitby just after midnight - all three crew perish.

After dark, the Luftwaffe attacks the Midlands and Medway areas. These attacks do not cause much damage, the bombs falling on undeveloped ground.

RAF Fighter Command conducts Roadstead operations over occupied France.

There is fighter action over Folkestone. Feldwebel Janke and Fw. Helmut Jürgens of IV./JG 51 record claims.

Unteroffizier Heinrich Rühl of 1./JG 53 goes missing in Bf 109 F-2 "Black 3" (W.Nr. 6707) near Dover following aerial combat with Spitfire fighters (he apparently collides with a Spitfire). Rühl has five victories. This is Rühl's second time in the Channel, the first having been on 2 September 1940. In the earlier instance, Rühl was picked up by a Dornier Do-18 rescue plane, but this time he is not found.

The British record in the British Home Security Situation Report that for the week ending at 06:00 on 4 June 1941, there were about 178 deaths due to the Blitz, with 185 seriously injured.

New Castle News 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
New Castle News, New Castle, Pennsylvania, 4 June 1941.

East African Campaign: Nigerian 23rd Infantry Brigade, advancing south from Addis Ababa, begins crossing the Omo at Abalti in Galla-Sidamo.

Gideon Force is disbanded. Orde Wingate is reduced in rank to that of major. He leaves for Cairo, Egypt. The reduction in rank may be related to friction he has had with higher British authorities regarding decorations and back pay for his men. Wingate is very put out by his peremptory treatment - he is not even given leave to say goodbye to his comrade in the jungle, Emperor Haile Selassie - and he determines to write an angry report about his experiences and the British officers who have obstructed his efforts on behalf of Abyssinian freedom. At this time, Wingate already may be infected with malaria, though he does not yet show symptoms.

 Lou Gehrig's funeral 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
June 4, 1941: Lou Gehrig's funeral/members of the High School of Commerce bow their heads with their gloves and caps in hands and pay respect to their hero.

Battle of the Atlantic: The Royal Navy continues seeking out the Kriegsmarine's supply vessels throughout the North and South Atlantic. Today, the British find and dispose of three such vessels:

  1. 8923 ton tanker Gedania (captured by ocean boarding vessel Marsdale, renamed Empire Garden for British use);
  2. 4104 ton supply ship Gonzenheim (scuttled by crew when intercepted by battleship HMS Nelson);
  3. 9849 ton tanker Esso Hamburg (scuttled by crew when intercepted by heavy cruiser HMS London)

There are 63 survivors from the Gorzenheim and 87 from the Esso Hamburg. Basically, nobody dies during these events, but the German ability to supply U-boats and surface craft in the Atlantic to extend their operations is severely damaged. These sinkings and seizures cut the remaining number of Kriegsmarine supply ships almost in half.

U-101 (Kptlt. Ernst Mengersen), on its 8th patrol out of Lorient and on patrol in the mid-Atlantic west of Brest, at 05:03 torpedoes and sinks 5271 ton British freighter Trecarrell. The encounter is a little unusual because U-101 rams Trecarrell at 06:40 in the bow to hasten its sinking. There are four deaths and 43 survivors. It is not a happy day on U-101, though, because it loses a crewman, Matrosenobergefreiter Horst Jackl, overboard.

The Luftwaffe attacks Convoy WN 36. It bombs and sinks 3911 ton British freighter Queensbury. There are 11 deaths, the entire crew.

British 2879 ton suction dredger Robert Hughes hits a mine and sinks at the mouth of the Lagos River. This was one of the mines laid by U-69 (Kptlt. Jost Metzler) recently. There are 14 deaths and 17 survivors.

Dutch minelayer Van Meerlant hits a mine and sinks in the Thames Estuary off the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. There are three deaths and one crewman is wounded.

Convoy OG-64 departs from Liverpool bound for Gibraltar, Convoy HG-64 departs from Gibraltar bound for Liverpool.

Philippines President Manuel L. Quezon 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
On June 4, 1941, Philippines President Manuel L. Quezon signs into law Commonwealth Act No. 616, known as An Act to Punish Espionage and other offenses against National Security.

Battle of the Mediterranean: After dark, the Luftwaffe mounts a surprise raid on Alexandria. There are 170 killed and 200 injured.

Martin Maryland bombers of the RAF based on Malta bomb and sink Italian freighters Beatrice C and Montello off the coast of Tunisia. Some sources list this incident as having occurred on 3 June.

The Royal Navy sets off another supply mission to Malta. Operation Rocket features aircraft carriers HMS Ark Royal and Furious being escorted by battleship Renown and many other vessels. The plan is to deliver 43 Hawker Hurricane Is to the beleaguered island.

Invasion jitters continue on Malta. Building on lessons learned on Crete, the British emphasize killing or capturing the German paratroopers (fallschirmjäger) upon descent or immediately thereafter, before they can defend themselves. British troops have occupied the island of Gozo, normally left unguarded. Otherwise, it is a quiet day on Malta, with just one Luftwaffe fighter sweep that results in no damage or bombs dropped.

Anson aircraft at No. 1 Air Navigation School, RCAF Rivers, Manitoba 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"On June 4, 1941, RCAF Sergeant E. Romilly, the Royal Australian Air Force’s W. Betts, and the Royal Air Force’s J. Mahoud practise navigation techniques on board an Anson aircraft at No. 1 Air Navigation School, RCAF Rivers, Manitoba." PHOTO: DND Archives.

Spy Stuff: Hitler having told Japanese Ambassador Ōshima his plans for Operation Barbarossa on the 3rd, the latter dutifully cables Tokyo with this information. British military intelligence intercepts the coded message. The Japanese codes have been broken, but British intelligence does not forward the coded translation to The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) for decoding until the 12th. In any event, it would just add to the pile of warnings from numerous sources that Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin has been ignoring.

The Algonquin Regiment leaves Port Arthur, Canada 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Algonquin Regiment leaves Port Arthur, Canada on June 4, 1941 (Thunder Bay Public Library).

British Military: Lieutenant Commander R.C. Robison, RAN is awarded the DSC for "bravery and enterprise" while serving on destroyer HMAS Stuart during the battle of Cape Matapan (when the Italian Navy suffered a serious defeat).

Higgins Boat 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
On June 4, 1943, 381st Port Battalion Company "C" Scouts practice disembarking from a Landing Craft, Mechanized (LCM) in Newport News, Virginia. (Army Signal Corps Photograph/ Library of Virginia). This is a "Higgins Boat," designed by Andrew Jackson Higgins, one of the most recognizable landing craft of all time. These initial tests resulted in the Navy and Marine Corps accepting the design.

US Military:  Chief of Staff of the United States Army George Marshall sends a memo to General Richardson regarding development of a unit that comes to be composed by men called the Tuskegee Airmen. Marshall writes:
Dr. Patterson, head of Tuskegee Institute, has been doing a very fine thing in assisting the Air Corps in the development of a negro aviation unit. He has been under heavy attack from the Chicago and Harlem elements, and for a time it appeared that they would succeed in emasculating the Tuskegee Air program for national defense.
Marshall suggests crafting "a definite program of publicity" to support the program.

 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Image of Japanese female factory workers from Shashin Shūhō 171, June 4, 1941. Shashin Shūhō was a propaganda magazine established in 1938 by the Cabinet Information Office. Interestingly, it shows the factory workers engaging in exercises decades before this became popular elsewhere.

China: The Japanese follow through on past threats to interrupt British efforts to supply the Nationalist Chinese government in Chungking. The Imperial Japanese Navy sends bombers based at Hanoi in French Indochina to bomb bridges along the Burma Road.

Holocaust: The Republic of Croatia orders all Jews to wear a star with the letter Z. The Reich prohibits Jews from using beaches and swimming pools.


 4 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in exile in Doorn in the Netherlands, 1933 (German Federal Archives, Bild 136-C0804).

Dutch Homefront: Wilhelm II, former Kaiser of the German Empire and King of Prussia, passes away at his home in Doorn at the age of 82, The Netherlands. He has not set foot in Germany since 10 November 1918, vowing not to return until the restoration of the monarchy, and has lived at Doorn since 15 May 1920.

The Dutch government in the past has protected Wilhelm II from prosecution by the Allies by refusing to extradite him as required by Article 227 of the Treaty of Versailles. While a lukewarm supporter of Hitler and his NSDAP party in the 1920s, Wilhelm II soured on them as the 1930s wore on due to their persecution of the Jews. As he stated in December 1938:
For a few months I was inclined to believe in National Socialism. I thought of it as a necessary fever. And I was gratified to see that there were, associated with it for a time, some of the wisest and most outstanding Germans. But these, one by one, he [Hitler] has got rid of or even killed... He has left nothing but a bunch of shirted gangsters!
That said, Hitler has used Wilhelm for propaganda purposes at times, including publishing a brief, perfunctory telegram congratulating Hitler on his victory over The Netherlands in 1940. For his part, Hitler for many years has taken a dim view of Wilhelm II, calling him an "idiot" and other disparaging terms.

Hitler makes no plans to attend the funeral and is furious when he learns that the local Wehrmacht commander has provided an honor guard for the funeral procession. Wilhelm is buried in a mausoleum on the grounds of his Doorn home.

American Homefront: The funeral of baseball legend Lou Gehrig takes place at Christ Episcopal Church of Riverdale. His remains are cremated and he is buried at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.

"Power Dive," directed by James P. Hogan and starring Richard Arlen, Don Castle and Jean Parker, premieres. A typically short 1940s film (67 minutes) from Pine-Thomas Productions (as Picture Corporation of America), the film features a revolutionary new airplane made of plastic. The film is in the public domain due to the failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright.



June 1941

June 1, 1941: Farhud Pogrom
June 2, 1941: Massacres on Crete
June 3, 1941: Kandanos Massacre
June 4, 1941: Kaiser Wilhelm Passes Away
June 5, 1941: Death in Chungking
June 6, 1941: Hitler's Commissar Order
June 7, 1941: Commandos Strike at Pessac
June 8, 1941: British Invade Syria and Lebanon
June 9, 1941: Litani River Battle
June 10, 1941: British Take Assab
June 11, 1941: Hitler Thinking Beyond Russia
June 12, 1941: St. James Agreement
June 13, 1941: Lützow Damaged
June 14, 1941: Latvian June Deportations
June 15, 1941: Operation Battleaxe
June 16, 1941: The Old Lion
June 17, 1941: British Spanked in North Africa
June 18, 1941: Turkey Turns Its Back
June 19, 1941: Cheerios Introduced
June 20, 1941: Birth of US Army Air Force
June 21, 1941: Damascus Falls
June 22, 1941: Germany Invades Russia
June 23, 1941: A Soviet KV Tank Causes Havoc
June 24, 1941: Kaunas and Vilnius Fall
June 25, 1941: Finland Declares War
June 26, 1941: Bombing of Kassa
June 27, 1941: Encirclement At Minsk
June 28, 1941: Minsk Falls
June 29, 1941: Brest Fortress Falls
June 30, 1941: Mölders Becomes Top Ace

2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

June 3, 1941: Kandanos Massacre


Tuesday 3 June 1941

Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Oshima Meets Hitler 3 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Oshima Meets Hitler at the opening of the Japanese art exhibition in Berlin in 1939.

Syrian/Lebanon Campaign: Now that the situation in Iraq has stabilized on 3 June 1941, the British turn their full attention to Syria. The Vichy French hold on Syria only has become an issue because of the French decision to allow its use to the Axis as a transport hub to Iraq, but even though that is no longer an issue, the ball is rolling toward a British invasion. Today, the RAF bombs and strafes oil installations in Beirut, French Lebanon.

The Vichy French government states that it will defend both Syria and Tunisia against the British.

The British begin stockpiling landing craft and equipment in Port Said for Operation Exporter, the invasion of Syria. Royal Navy troopship Glengyle heads there from Alexandria, while two destroyers (HMS Hotspur and Ilex) leave Alexandria for Famagusta, Cyprus to embark commandos for transfer to Glengyle for upcoming Exporter.

In Iraq, the British continue mopping up. Gurkha troops (2/4 Gurkha Rifles) fly into Mosul and occupy it. Baghdad settles down after the two-day Farhud of 1-2 June, with the British and local police enforcing a strict curfew. The hundreds of dead are being buried.

Maori Battalion 3 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Maori Battalion performing the Haka for the King of Greece at Helwan, Egypt during June 1941. This is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand. The Maori Battalion are hard fighters, leading German General Erwin Rommel to comment, “Give me the Maori Battalion and I will conquer the world.”

European Air Operations: The Luftwaffe attacks Hull and Tweedmouth before dawn. A lone raider bombs and strafes the village of Boulmer. There are strafing attacks across northern England.

A private British de Havilland Dragon aircraft unwisely is taken up for private use for a flight between St. Mary's on the Isles of Scillies to Penzance. Unfortunately for the people on the Dragon, a passing German Heinkel He 111 bomber (I./KG 28) on its way back from bombing England spots it. The Heinkel shoots down the Dragon, killing all six aboard, including two girls aged 9 and 11. Pilot Captain W.D. Anderson DFC (Australian) and the entire Leggitt family is killed, including the mother of Mrs. Leggitt. Mrs. Sheelagh Leggitt was the Secretary to Sir Walter Monckton, Director-General of the Ministry of Information. A group of six Hawker Hurricanes of RAF No. 87 Squadron was withdrawn from the island only days before.

East African Campaign: A fierce battle on the approaches to Gondar, a key Italian stronghold in Abyssinia, develops. The British take Debarech, but then the Italians take it back. The town seesaws back and forth, but ultimately the British wind up with it. It is about 100 miles west of Amba Alagi, which fell in May, and the fierce battle shows that the Italians are going to put up a fierce battle for their remaining bastions in East Africa.

Fleet Tender C 3 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"View of Fleet Tender C, off Lincolnshire Coast." This photograph is from early October 1941 taken from a passing destroyer, HMS Whaddon, while escorting a convoy. You can see how the liner Mamari was disguised to look like an aircraft carrier. © IWM (A 5915).

Battle of the Atlantic: In order to prevent more German surface raiders from emerging like the Bismarck, and also to crimp the U-boat offensive, the Royal Navy has made it a priority to hunt down the Kriegsmarine's overseas supply network of disguised oil tankers and freighters. The Germans have nine such supply ships cruising the Atlantic in support of the abortive German Operation Rheinübung. Today, cruisers HMS Aurora and Kenya spot 6367 ton German tanker Belchen about 80 miles southwest of Greenland. The cruisers badly damage the German ship, and the Belcher's crew scuttles it. U-boat U-93 (Kptlt. Claus Korth), which the Belcher was in the process of refueling, stays nearby and rescues about 50 men after the British leave.

U-48 (Kptlt. Herbert Schultze), on its 12th patrol out of Lorient, is operating in the mid-Atlantic west of Brest (650 miles north of the Azores). It is shadowing Convoy OB-327, which recently has dispersed. At 01:01, U-48 torpedoes and damages 9456 ton British tanker Inversuir. Schultze gets impatient and fires a second torpedo at 01:11, then surfaces and uses his deck gun. Some accounts claim that U-75 (Kptlt. Helmuth Ringelmann), also involved in attacks at the same location, actually sinks the Inversuir with a coup de grace torpedo at 03:59. The entire crew survives.

U-75, operating with U-48 in the mid-Atlantic east of Brest and on its second patrol out of Lorient near U-48, torpedoes and sinks 4801 ton Dutch freighter Eibergen. There are four deaths, and 35 survivors are picked up by anti-aircraft vessel HMS Cairo on the 7th.

SS Prince Rupert City 3 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
SS Prince Rupert City, sunk on or about 3 June 1941 by the Luftwaffe.

The Luftwaffe bombs and sinks 4749 ton British tramp steamer Prince Rupert City in the mid-Atlantic. Some sources place this sinking on 2 June. There are 4 deaths.

The Luftwaffe bombs and damages 2187 ton British freighter Royal Fusilier in the English Channel east of High Buston. The ship sinks about four miles from May Island. Everyone survives.

The Luftwaffe bombs and damages 1600 ton British freighter Dennis Rose about 50 miles southwest of Start Point. The Dennis Rose makes it to port.

The Luftwaffe bombs and damages Royal Navy minesweeper Franklin as it is laying mines in the North Sea. The damage is not serious and the Franklin continues with its mission.

Royal Navy decoy shop Fleet Tender C (formerly the Mamari aka liner Zealandic), disguised as aircraft carrier Hermes, hits a sunken wreck (tanker Ahamo, sunk by a mine on 8 April) southeast of Grimsby. It cannot get unstuck, and during the night, German S-boats attack. The Mamari is a write-off, but the entire crew survives. The half-sunken ship becomes a prominent "landmark" off the coast for years.

A Royal Navy stores ship, City of Dieppe, arrives in St. John's to join the fledgling Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF). The NEF's first convoy operation already is at sea, having sailed on 2 June, but there are very few support facilities in St. John's for the large and growing force. The British and Canadians are making plans to bring more ships and construct shore infrastructure to support the fleet.

Royal Navy battleship Rodney, fresh off the victory over the Bismarck, heads from the Clyde to Boston, US to refit.

Submarine P.32, damaged on its journey by the Bay of Biscay by air attack, limps into Gibraltar.

Convoy WS 9A (Winston Special) departs from Liverpool en route to Freetown, Capetown, Durban, Aden and Suez.

SS Inversuir 3 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Inversuir, sunk today in the North Atlantic.

Battle of the Mediterranean: Royal Navy submarine HMS Parthian torpedoes and badly damages 5232 ton Italian tanker Strombo in Salamis Bay. The Strombo's master manages to beach the ship, but it is a write-off.

Royal Navy submarine Unique torpedoes 736 ton Italian freighter Arsia off Lampedusa. The Arsia manages to make it to Trapani, Sicily.

Royal Navy submarine Torbay uses its deck gun to sink a caique carrying oil drum off Mitylene.

Royal Navy motor torpedo boat MTB 215 sinks Turkish schooner Iki Kardeshler a few miles off Anamur, Turkey (north of Cyprus). This is a violation of Turkish neutrality, the Royal Navy explains this by arguing that it thought the ship was involved in covert operations ("false orders").

The Luftwaffe damages a Royal Navy service ship, the KLO, during an air raid on Mersa Matruh. The ship's master and one other man are killed (the other man, Lt. Pullman, dies of his wounds on 2 July).

A large Italian force that includes light cruisers Atttendolo, Duca D'Aosta, and Eugenio D'Savoia of the 7th Cruiser Squadron, and light cruisers Bande Nere and Di Guissano of the 4th cruiser squadron, lays two minefields northeast of Tripoli. This is an area where Royal Navy submarines like to lie in wait for Axis convoys coming and going from Tripoli.

An Italian convoy of six transports/freighters departs Naples bound for Tripoli.

On Malta, RAF Martin Maryland and Blenheim bombers of No. 89 and 139 Squadrons on patrol claim to attack a convoy off Tunisia and sink a freighter while setting fire to another. The sunk ship apparently are Italian freighters Montello and Beatrice C.. The RAF loses a Blenheim during the patrol, hit by flying debris as the first ship hit explodes.

There is one minor bombing raid on Malta by the Luftwaffe which causes no damage, while the RAF claims a victory over an Italian tri-motor transport west of Malta.

Invasion fears are rampant on Malta. The British troops garrison Gozo, normally uninhabited, and practice fighting paratroopers. The War Office issues an alert to expect an invasion within a week by a force of 6000 Axis troops based on spy sources.

Kandanos sign 3 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A German sign at the site of Kandanos (one of two, with separate wording) which reads: “Kandanos was destroyed in retaliation for the bestial ambush murder of a paratrooper platoon and a half-platoon of military engineers by armed men and women.” (Segers, German Federal Archive, Bild 101I-779-0003-22)

War Crimes: Following on atrocities committed at Kondomari and Alikianos, Crete on 2 June, the German 1III Battalion of the 1st Air Landing Assault Regiment (most probably led by Oberleutnant Horst Trebes) storms into the village of Kandanos. Acting pursuant to standing orders of temporary island commandant General Kurt Student, the Germans raze the town. This is in retaliation for civilian resistance during Operation Mercury. The German troops execute most of the population, about 180 people, and kill the livestock.

The Germans declare Kandanos a "dead zone" which nobody can visit or inhabit. The Germans post two warnings in both German and Greek, one of which reads: "Here stood Kandanos, destroyed in retribution for the murder of 25 German soldiers, never to be rebuilt again." A war memorial using this exact language will be built after the war at the site of the village.

The Germans also attack the villages of Floria and Kakopetro.

Spy Stuff: German Ambassador Graf von Schulenburg is strongly opposed to Operation Barbarossa. He violates his duty by telling the head of Soviet International Affairs that Adolf Hitler had decided to begin war with the Soviet Union on June 22. The Soviets treat this as proof that the Germans are engaging in a disinformation campaign and that there will not be any invasion.

German/Japanese Relations: Adolf Hitler meets with Japanese ambassador Hiroshi Ōshima at the Berghof. He informs Ōshima of upcoming Operation Barbarossa. There are some hopes within the German high command that Japan will join Germany in attacking the Soviet Union.

USS Prometheus 3 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Repair ship USS Prometheus (AR-3) laid up at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, while being reconditioned for a return to active service after lying "in mothballs" since 1924, 3 June 1941 (Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives). 

German/Finnish Relations: Following up on preliminary negotiations during May, German members of the OKW arrive in Helsinki to discuss upcoming operations. Specifically, agreements are negotiated regarding Finnish use of its army and air force, both of which the Germans consider of top quality. While the Germans are coy about the likelihood of Operation Barbarossa, it is hard to believe that the Finns can't figure out that the Germans intend to invade the Soviet Union, and soon. These meetings last until 6 June.

Tentative plans are formed for the Germans to occupy northern Finland and use that as a springboard to invade the Soviet Union in the far north and take the Soviet port of Murmansk. The Finns are not doing the Germans any favors - they want assistance to recover their historic territory lost during the Winter War.

German/Vichy France Relations: Premier Petain, supported by his Council of Ministers, refuse to ratify Vice Premier Admiral Darlan's recently negotiated Paris Protocols. However, they have gone into effect anyway.

HMS SUFFOLK 3 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"HMS SUFFOLK's Supermarine Walrus amphibian taxi-ing back to the ship after a flight over the Arctic ice. Ice can be seen in the background." June 1941 on Arctic patrol in the Denmark Strait. © IWM (A 4185).

US Military: Due to a shortage of pilots, the US Army has decided that it needs to train enlisted men as pilots. There have long been enlisted pilots in the Army (the Air Corps Act of 1926 authorized their training, but trained pilots have served beginning in 1912), but the educational requirements are stiff and few enlisted men can meet them to get trained. To meet that need, Public Law 99 goes into effect today. For the first time it authorizes the US Army Air Corps (and its successors) to select men without a college education. With the introduction of Sergeant pilots, the average age of pilots goes down to between 18 and 22. Enlisted pilot candidates will train six days a week in class or in the air and spend Sundays doing drills.

British Government: A memorandum drafted by Clement Attlee which provides that "A necessary prelude to a just peace is a total victory" is approved at a Labour Party conference by 2,430,000 to 19,000.

China: The new Nakajima Ki-43 Type 1 Fighter ‘Hayabusa’ (Allied codename "Oscar") is allocated to the Japanese 59th Sentai at Hankou. The unit begins transferring them from Japan. The Ki-43, however, turns out to have wing problems which require repair.

Camp Polk, Louisiana 3 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Aerial view of the construction progress of Camp Polk, Louisiana on 3 June 1941.

June 1941

June 1, 1941: Farhud Pogrom
June 2, 1941: Massacres on Crete
June 3, 1941: Kandanos Massacre
June 4, 1941: Kaiser Wilhelm Passes Away
June 5, 1941: Death in Chungking
June 6, 1941: Hitler's Commissar Order
June 7, 1941: Commandos Strike at Pessac
June 8, 1941: British Invade Syria and Lebanon
June 9, 1941: Litani River Battle
June 10, 1941: British Take Assab
June 11, 1941: Hitler Thinking Beyond Russia
June 12, 1941: St. James Agreement
June 13, 1941: Lützow Damaged
June 14, 1941: Latvian June Deportations
June 15, 1941: Operation Battleaxe
June 16, 1941: The Old Lion
June 17, 1941: British Spanked in North Africa
June 18, 1941: Turkey Turns Its Back
June 19, 1941: Cheerios Introduced
June 20, 1941: Birth of US Army Air Force
June 21, 1941: Damascus Falls
June 22, 1941: Germany Invades Russia
June 23, 1941: A Soviet KV Tank Causes Havoc
June 24, 1941: Kaunas and Vilnius Fall
June 25, 1941: Finland Declares War
June 26, 1941: Bombing of Kassa
June 27, 1941: Encirclement At Minsk
June 28, 1941: Minsk Falls
June 29, 1941: Brest Fortress Falls
June 30, 1941: Mölders Becomes Top Ace

2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

June 2, 1941: Massacres on Crete


Monday 2 June 1941

Kondomari Crete massacre 2 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Victims and fellow townspeople of Kondomari, Crete are herded to the site of hostage executions, 2 June 1941 (Franz Peter Weixler, Federal Archive).

Anglo-Iraq War: Jamil al-Midfai is named Prime Minister of Iraq on 2 June 1941. In Baghdad, the "Farhud" attacks continue against the Jewish Quarter. While the instigation and causes of the Farhud are subject to debate, but what is known for certain is that it ends today during the afternoon. It is unknown exactly how many deaths result from the Farhud, but estimates range from 100-1000, wich larger numbers of wounded.

Regent Abdul Illah (Abdullah) ends the Farhud riots, according to the Iraqi Commission Report, when he orders forces loyal to him into Baghdad. They use machine guns to kill many rioters. Another version of events is that the British are the ones that restore order. The two versions may be reconciled by assuming that the Regents asks the British to restore order, but that is unclear. In any event, hundreds of people on both sides of the Farhud - rioters and Jewish victims - perish. This incident begins the gradual elimination of the centuries-old Jewish presence in Baghdad.

In Syria, Vichy French forces claim to shoot down a British Blenheim reconnaissance plane over Syria-Lebanon.

Kondomari Crete massacre 2 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
German troops choose which hostages to execute in Kondomari, Crete, 2 June 1941 (Franz Peter Weixler, Federal Archive).

European Air Operations: RAF Bomber Command attacks the Ruhr River Valley of Germany with 44 bombers.

RAF Bomber Command sends 9 Blenheims of 2 Group, 105 Squadron to raid the Kiel Canal. This includes the naval barracks at Friedrichskoog and various villages along the canal. The RAF planes sink two small ships that block the canal for ten days.

RAF Bomber Command also sends bombers of 107 Squadron to raid the region between the Ems and the Elbe.

RAF Bomber Command also targets the liner Europe, tied up at Bremerhaven.

RAF Bomber Command sends 150 aircraft to attack Dusseldorf and 25 aircraft to attack Duisburg overnight.

The Luftwaffe attacks Manchester during the night of 1-2 June, killing 70 and injuring 86. This is the Manchester Blitz.

The Luftwaffe bombs Park Grove, Hull. This is Hull's fiftieth raid of the war. There are 27 killed and 11 wounded, and the tragedy is that the "all clear" mistakenly had sounded and the victims had just exited their shelters.

The RAF shoots down a Junkers Ju 88A northeast of Tynemouth at 22:29. There are two deaths, and two crew become POWs.

East African Campaign: East African 22nd Infantry Brigade begins crossing the Omo at Sciola in Galla-Sidamo.

Kondomari Crete massacre 2 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Victims at Kondomari, Crete lining up for their executions, 2 June 1941 (Franz Peter Weixler, Federal Archive).

Battle of the Atlantic: U-147 (Oblt. Eberhard Wetjen), operating in the Northwest Approaches on its third patrol, attacks Convoy OB-329. It torpedoes and damages 4996 ton Belgian freighter Mokambo. The Mokambo makes it to the Clyde under tow. However, Royal Navy destroyer HMS Wanderer and corvette Periwinkle attacks and sinks U-147 with a depth charge attack. There are 24-26 deaths - the entire crew - on U-147.

U-108 (Kptlt. Erich Hilsenitz), on its third patrol out of Lorient, spots Convoy OB-327 in the mid-Atlantic. It torpedoes and sinks 7628 ton freighter Michael E, which happens to be the first catapult aircraft merchant (CAM) ship. There are four deaths on the Michael E. The ship has no time to launch its fighter plane, but the pilot manages to survive the sinking along with 61 others. It is an inauspicious debut of the CAM ship force.

The Luftwaffe bombs and damages Royal Navy submarine HMS P.32 off Finisterre. P.32 is able to continue on to Gibraltar, though its batteries are damaged and it is unable to submerge.

Royal Navy escort ship Hartland (formerly a US Coast Guard cutter) collides with 646 ton British freighter Welsh Coast. The Hartland makes it to Falmouth for repairs and a scheduled refit.

Dutch submarine O.14 is involved in a collision. The submarine makes it to Grangemouth for repairs that take a month.

The Luftwaffe bombs and damages 2477 ton British freighter Beaumanoir in Robin Hood's Bay. The ship is taken under tow, but the Luftwaffe returns and sinks the Beaumanoir.

The Luftwaffe bombs and sinks 4749 ton British freighter Prince Rupert City north of Loch Eriboll, Scotland. There are four deaths.

The Luftwaffe bombs and sinks 197 ton Belgian trawler John 90 miles southeast of Inglos Hofdi. Everyone survives.

The Luftwaffe bombs and damages 2183 ton British freighter Thorpebay about six miles from Coquet Lighthouse, Northumberland. The Thorpebay makes it back to the Tyne for repairs.

The Luftwaffe bombs and damages 195 ton British trawler Ben Screel east of Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland. The Ben Screel makes it back to the Tyne for repairs.

Finnish 5417 ton freighter Kasteholm hits a mine and sinks northeast of the Faroe Islands. There is one death, the rest of the crew makes it to Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.

Canadian minesweeper (former Norwegian whale factory ship) HMCS Suderøy V is commissioned, minesweeper Caraquet is launched, minesweepers Grandmère and Vegreville are laid down.

US escort aircraft carrier USS Long Island (AVG-1) is commissioned (Commander Donald B. Duncan) at Newport News, Virginia. The Long Island is a conversion from cargo ship SS Mormacmail.

Royal Navy minelayer Plover lays minefield BS.57 in the English Channel.

Convoy OB 330 departs from Liverpool.


Kondomari Crete massacre 2 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
German troops line up to execute hostages in Kondomari, Crete, 2 June 1941 (Franz Peter Weixler, Federal Archive).

Battle of the Mediterranean: The Wehrmacht High Command issues a communique:
The battle for Crete is over. The whole island has been freed from the enemy. Yesterday German troops occupied the last base of the beaten British, the port of Sfakion, capturing 3,000 more prisoners in the process.
For once, the Germans understate their achievement - they actually capture more than 3,000 men at Sfakia.

The British War Cabinet discusses the future of Cyprus, which it believes may be next on Hitler's agenda in the Mediterranean. The Greek government would like to set up its capital in Cyprus, and there is some support within the British government for ceding the island to Greece for that purpose. The Cabinet concludes that the entire matter should be left to postwar peace settlement discussions.

Navy 353 ton whaler HMT Kos XXII attempts to make a run from Crete to Alexandria, but sinks along the way. Royal Navy HMS LCT 16 also is sunk by the Luftwaffe off Canea, Crete.

Royal Navy submarine Clyde fires a torpedo at an Italian freighter off Terranova, but misses.

On Malta, the British notice a new, large incendiary bomb being used by the Italian bombers. The anti-aircraft defenses claim to have shot down a Junkers Ju 52 transport off the coast.

Kondomari Crete massacre 2 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
German troops raise their rifles to execute hostages in Kondomari, Crete, 2 June 1941 (Franz Peter Weixler, Federal Archive).

War Crimes: Pursuant to a standing order of temporary Crete commander General Kurt Student (sanctioned by Hermann Goering), German paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger) decide to settle some scores with the local population. Four trucks full of soldiers from the III Battalion of Luftlande-Sturm-Regiment 1 under the command of Oberleutnant Horst Trebes arrive at the village of Kondomari. The Germans force all civilians into the town square, and then pick out male hostages. The 23-60 men are taken to a nearby olive grove and executed. The whole event is filmed by a Wehrmacht war correspondent, Franz-Peter Weixler, who secretly opposes the action.

Other Fallschirmjäger surround the village of Alikianos. The Germans take 42 men from the village to a churchyard and execute them. Other civilians are executed at Agia (12 men shot) and Kyrtomado (25 men shot).

These incidents will be included in charges of war crimes made after the war against Student and others.

German/Italian Relations: Hitler and Mussolini unexpectedly meet at the Brenner Pass. It is their first meetings since 20 January 1941, their third at the Brenner Pass, and their fifth conference since the start of the war. Also attending the meeting are German Foreign Minister Joachim Ribbentrop and Italian Foreign Minister Count Galeazzo Ciano. Exactly what is said at this private meeting has been the subject of much conjecture and debate.

It is believed that Mussolini urges a joint strategy against Great Britain in the Mediterranean, which Hitler rejects. This would jibe with Kriegsmarine Admiral Raeder's "peripheral strategy" which has been working well to date.

According to Joseph Goebbels, Hitler tells Mussolini about Operation Barbarossa at this meeting. However, Ciano writes in his diary, "The general impression is that for the moment Hitler has no precise plan of action." If Hitler does tell Mussolini, the latter does not tell even his closest government cronies. The official communique simply states that the meeting lasted for several hours and was conducted in a spirit of cordial agreement.

After the meeting, Mussolini - who has a tendency to disparage the Germans after such meetings, but not Hitler personally - supposedly says:
I wouldn't be at all sorry if Germany in her war with Russia got her feathers plucked.
Many believe that the Italians are, indeed, aware of Operation Barbarossa by this date, as evidenced by Italian troop movements in the Balkans.


Manchester Blitz 2 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The old Salford Royal building in Manchester takes a direct hit on June 2, 1941, with the attack claiming the lives of 14 nurses and their tutor.

German/Vichy French Relations: Pursuant to the Paris Protocols, the Vichy French government grants the Reich the use of port facilities in Bizerte, Tunis (Tunisia). While this is farther from the Libyan front, it also is closer to Naples than Tripoli. This makes Bizerte ideal for quick and relatively safe convoys across the Tyrrhenian Sea for items that are not not time-critical. However, for the time being, only non-military supplies are allowed through the port.

Anglo/Turkish Relations: The Turkish government informs the British government that it prefers to remain neutral and declines a request to join an invasion of Vichy French Levant.

Anglo/US Relations: The US Army-Navy Board officially adopts the U.S.-British Commonwealth joint Basic War Plan, or, as it later became known, Rainbow Five. In the event of a worldwide conflict, the plan is for the Allies to make their priority defeating Italy and Germany first. As for Japan, Allied "strategy, in the Far East will be defensive" because "the United States does not intend to add to its present military strength" there. Rainbow Five basically foresees the loss of the Philippines. However, no plans are made for evacuating the Americans in the islands.

Admiral Ernest J. King 2 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Admiral Ernest J. King on the cover of Time magazine, 2 June 1941.

US Military: Cryptanalyst Joseph Rochefort reports to the main US Navy building at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii for his new duty as head of the cryptanalysis section.

Australian Military: The RAAF established its No. 3 Base Stores Depot at Spring Hill.

Channel Islands: Hitler is worried about the defense of the islands. He asks to have maps of them brought to him.

China: The Chinese (commander of the Chinese 3rd PG, Lo Ying-Teh) decline a shipment of Hawk 81A (P-40C) fighter aircraft. They thus become the property of Claire Chennault’s Flying Tigers.

Holocaust: The Vichy French government orders a census of Jews. It also bans Jews from holding public office.


USS West Point 2 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The U.S. Navy troop transport USS West Point (AP-23) under initial conversion and painting at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Virginia (USA), 2 June 1941. She was previously SS America. The aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) is in the background. Note the neutrality markings on West Point's side and the repainting operations (US Navy, National Archives).

American Homefront: Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig passes away in Riverdale, the Bronx, New York from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an incurable neuromuscular disorder later referred to in North America as Lou Gehrig's disease. Mayor Fiorella La Guardia ordered flags in New York to be flown at half-staff. His remains are interred at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. At the time of his death, Gehrig - "The Iron Horse" - holds the record for the number of consecutive games played, 2130, which will not be broken until 1998.

Chief Justice of the United States Charles Evans Hughes informs President Roosevelt that he will be retiring effective July 1.

Former 1936 Presidential candidate Alf Landon gives a speech at the commencement of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. He urges caution and deliberation before going to war. Landon notes, in reference to the rush to war:
We find a fatalistic acceptance of the inevitable.
He warns that the country runs the risk of falling into "dictatorship, of the right or of the left," due to the "weakening [of] our checks upon the majority."

Future History: Walter Stacy Keach Jr. is born in Savannah, Georgia. Keach goes on to a renowned acting career, which includes the CBS television series Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and The New Mike Hammer from 1984 to 1987. Stacy Keach continues to act as of this writing, including serving as the narrator for CNBC series "American Greed" and hosting The Twilight Zone" radio series.

Charles Robert Watts is born in Kingsbury, London. He becomes a talented drummer and, in mid-1962, meets Brian Jones, Ian "Stu" Stewart, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In January 1963, Watts joins The Rolling Stones, which goes on to become one of the top rock groups of all time. As of this writing, he continues to be a member of the group despite having experienced some health problems.

USS Long Island 2 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
USS Long Island (CVE-1) on June 10, 1944, in San Francisco Bay. Photos taken by NAS Alameda.

June 1941

June 1, 1941: Farhud Pogrom
June 2, 1941: Massacres on Crete
June 3, 1941: Kandanos Massacre
June 4, 1941: Kaiser Wilhelm Passes Away
June 5, 1941: Death in Chungking
June 6, 1941: Hitler's Commissar Order
June 7, 1941: Commandos Strike at Pessac
June 8, 1941: British Invade Syria and Lebanon
June 9, 1941: Litani River Battle
June 10, 1941: British Take Assab
June 11, 1941: Hitler Thinking Beyond Russia
June 12, 1941: St. James Agreement
June 13, 1941: Lützow Damaged
June 14, 1941: Latvian June Deportations
June 15, 1941: Operation Battleaxe
June 16, 1941: The Old Lion
June 17, 1941: British Spanked in North Africa
June 18, 1941: Turkey Turns Its Back
June 19, 1941: Cheerios Introduced
June 20, 1941: Birth of US Army Air Force
June 21, 1941: Damascus Falls
June 22, 1941: Germany Invades Russia
June 23, 1941: A Soviet KV Tank Causes Havoc
June 24, 1941: Kaunas and Vilnius Fall
June 25, 1941: Finland Declares War
June 26, 1941: Bombing of Kassa
June 27, 1941: Encirclement At Minsk
June 28, 1941: Minsk Falls
June 29, 1941: Brest Fortress Falls
June 30, 1941: Mölders Becomes Top Ace

2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

June 1, 1941: Farhud Pogrom


Sunday 1 June 1941

Farhud riot 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Farhud Riot, Baghdad, 1 June 1941.

Anglo/Iraq War: Prince 'Abd al-Ilah (Abdullah), who has been waiting patiently at the British airbase at Habbaniya, returns to Baghdad as the Regent on 1 June 1941. The pro-British monarchy and government are put back in place. British troops by and large remain outside Baghdad because they are vastly outnumbered by Iraqi troops and the city's populace.

There now begins two days of violence in Baghdad that occur during the Jewish  holiday of Shavuot. This is known as the Farhud (pogrom, literally "violent dispossession") and is directed against the Jewish Quarter. The incident begins (this is disputed) when a delegation of Jewish Iraqis leaves their homes journey to the Palace of Flowers (Qasr al Zuhur) to pay their respects to the newly returned regent. An Arabic mob attacks them as they cross Al Khurr Bridge. The riot builds in intensity throughout the day.

This begins a long process and persecution that virtually eliminates historic communities of Sephardic Jews from the Arab world. This incident is sometimes referred to as the "forgotten pogrom." It apparently is a spontaneous reaction to the British defeat of the Rashid Ali government, because Jews have lived in Iraq for hundreds and hundreds - 1200 - years.

Everything about the Farhud is disputed, including what actually happens during it and its long-term effect. It is estimated that 130-180 Jews - maybe hundreds more - are killed during the Farhud pogrom. There also are 1000 injured. Many non-Jews also are killed, some when they attempt to intervene to protect Jews. Some 900 Jewish homes are destroyed and there is widespread looting of Jewish property. Some call this part of the Holocaust, others define it as a separate event.

Farhud riot 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Another view of the Farhud pogrom in Baghdad, 1 June 1941.

European Air Operations: In order to cover up the movement of the mass of its planes to the East, the Luftwaffe raids Great Britain with 110 aircraft. The main target is Manchester. Another force of about 130 planes bombs Merseyside (Liverpool).

The Luftwaffe begins making command appointments preparatory to Operation Barbarossa. Oblt. Wilfried Balfanz becomes Gruppenkommandeur of I / JG 53. Major Joachim Seegert is made Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 77.

Premier fighter squadron JG 26 (Adolf Galland) moves to new bases. I group to Clairmarais near St. Omer, II Gruppe to Maldegem in Belgium and III Gruppe to Ligescourt (Liegescourt) north of Abbeville. While elements of JG 26 fight at various times in the Mediterranean and the Soviet Union, most of the formation remains on the Channel Front throughout the war.

Royal Navy sailors 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
British sailors bring their kits aboard a Lend-Lease vessel, ready to sail her across the Atlantic, on June 1, 1941 (AP Photo)/

Battle of the Atlantic: U-105 (Kapitänleutnant Georg Schewe), on its extended second patrol out of Lorient and operating off Freetown, Sierra Leone, torpedoes and sinks 4719 ton British collier Scottish Monarch southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. There is one death and 44 survivors rescued by Dutch freighter Alphard and British freighter Christine Marie.

U-107 (K.Kapt. Günther Hessler), on its second patrol and operating 140 miles off Sierra Leone, Freetown, torpedoes and sinks 5013 ton British freighter Alfred Jones. The Alfred Jones is part of Convoy OB 320 and, among other things, carries RAF planes bound for Gambia (and thence Egypt). There are two deaths, the 62 survivors are picked up by corvette HMS Marguerite.

U-204 (Kptlt. Walter Kell), operating northwest of Dyrafjord, Iceland, is on its first patrol and en route to Wolfpack West when it spots a fishing trawler. Kell surfaces and uses his deck gun to sink 16 ton Icelandic trawler Holmsteinn. Some sources place this on 31 May.

Italian submarine Marconi uses its deck gun to sink 318 ton Portuguese fishing trawler Exportador I about 137 miles southwest of Cape St. Vincent. There are two deaths, twenty crew are rescued.

The Luftwaffe bombs and damages 4333 ton Norwegian freighter Fernbank off Peterhead, Scotland. The ship makes it into Aberdeen before the end of the day.

Rural House Georgia 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
June 1941. "Interior of Negro rural house. Greene County, Georgia." Negative by Jack Delano, Farm Security Administration (Shorpy). 

Prinz Eugen sails into the French port of Brest unnoticed by the Royal Navy. Prinz Eugen has engine trouble that requires extensive repairs, and it will spend the rest of 1941 being repaired. This concludes Operation Rheinübung, a failure by the Kriegsmarine.

Prinz Eugen joins idle battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the port. They all sit idle in the port with no plans for use, which likely would have been the fate of battleship Bismarck as well had it survived. German warships no longer will challenge Royal Navy supremacy on the high seas, though there will still be occasional deadly encounters. The U-boat fleet, however, remains as deadly as ever and is increasing in size and range.

The Royal Navy now begins a concerted effort to find and eliminate the Kriegsmarine's highly effective overseas supply network. These "milch" ships have been supplying both German surface raiders and the U-boat fleet. The German supply ships typically sail under false flags, but their true defense is simply operating in areas outside the shipping lanes and depending upon the vastness of the Atlantic to hide them.

The US Coast Guard establishes the South Greenland Patrol under Commander Harold G. Belford, USCG. This consists of Coast Guard cutters USCGC Modoc (CGC-39) and USCGC Comanche (CGC-57); yard tug USCGC Raritan (CGC-72); and the U.S. Navy's unclassified auxiliary vessel USS Bowdoin (IX-50), a schooner. Their patrol line is Cape Brewster in the northeast to Cape Farewell to Upernivik Island on the northwest coast.

RAF No. 120 Squadron forms at Nutts Corner, Northern Ireland. It uses American-built Consolidated Liberator long-range maritime patrol aircraft. There remains a large mid-ocean gap where aerial reconnaissance remains impossible at this time, but this covers of the Northwest Approaches makes that area much safer for Allied ships.

Royal Navy minelayer HMS Teviotbank lays minefield BS.63 in the English Channel.

Convoy HX 130 desparts from Halifax with a heavy escort including battleship HMS Ramillies, Convoy SC 33 departs Sidney, BC.

 First Aid Nursing Yeomanry riot 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Female members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) unit attached to the 1st Polish Corps (commanded by Diana Napier) doing a maintenance work on their ambulance at Cupar, 1 June 1941." © IWM (H 10164).

Battle of the Mediterranean: On Crete, 3710 British troops and others are taken off by the Royal Navy during the night of 31 May/1 June. After that, evacuations end. A total of about 16,511 people out of the starting force of 32,000 make it off the island to safety in Egypt.

During the day, the Luftwaffe (Junkers Ju 88) hits retreating cruiser HMS Calcutta with two bombs. The cruiser sinks within minutes about 100 miles northwest of Alexandria. There are 255 survivors and 118 perish.

During the day, the embarkation port of Sfakia falls to the Wehrmacht. About 5000 Commonwealth troops (Australian Lieutenant Colonel Theo Walker) defending Sfakia surrender and immediately go into captivity. It is estimated that about 12,000 British and Dominion troops and uncounted thousands of Greek troops remain on the island. Some of them surrender now, some of them surrender later at some point during 1941, some of them go into hiding in the numerous caves on the island and work with partisans, and some still attempt to somehow make it to Egypt, with little success.

The remnants of Layforce, Australian 19th Infantry Brigade and Brigadier Vasey all surrender. A large group of Commonwealth troops that has successfully defended Retimo (Rethymno) also surrenders.

The British Air Ministry announces:
After twelve days of the bitterest fighting of the war so far, it has been decided to withdraw our forces from Crete. Although the enemy has suffered massive losses of men and material, we would not in the long term have been able to continue successful troop operations on the island without substantial support from the aerial and naval forces.
The battle for Crete is over: German Operation Mercury has been a resounding success. That the Germans have scored an impressive victory using a new kind of warfare - airborne troops - is undeniable. However, in achieving the victory, the Germans have taken a lot of casualties (as have the British). The numbers lost on both sides have been studied endlessly, and all of the results have methodological assumptions that call into question how accurately they reflect the fighting on Crete during May 1941. Let's go through this briefly.

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. sits with schoolchildren in his office at the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. June 1, 1941. (The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum).

The tendency is to overestimate the number German troops lost during Operation Mercury. Winston Churchill claims that the Germans have lost over 15,000 casualties, while Admiral Andrew Cunningham pegs the figure well above there. Over Allied assessments place the figure in that general vicinity. The United States Army Center of Military History places the number of German casualties around 6,000-7,000 men.

The actual number almost certainly is far lower than the amounts claimed by the Allies. Figures as low as 1,990 Germans killed, 2,131 wound, and 1,995 missing for a total of 6,116 total casualties have been thrown out. Generally, German sources place the figure far lower. Daniel Marcus Davin, in his "The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War, put the figures at 2,124 Germans killed and 1,917 missing, totalling 4,041 killed and missing. Add to that 2,640 wound and 17 Germans captured and you come up with 6,698 total German casualties during Operation Mercury - some of whom could be healed and returned to action. So, realistically the Germans lost roughly 5,500 soldiers to death and incapacitating wounds in taking Crete, but any number you use is subject to attack.

British losses are vastly higher than the German losses. The British began the Crete battle with about 32,000 men. Their losses on Crete are listed as 1,742 killed, 1,737 wounded, and 11,835 taken prisoner. British Major General I.S.O. Playfair and his colleagues in 1956 come up with 3,579 British Commonwealth men killed and missing (presumed to be the same thing), with an additional 1,918 wounded and 12, 254 captured for 17,754 total British permanent losses on land.

However, to those British land losses must be added 1,828 Royal Navy crewmen killed and 183 wounded. In addition, 5,255 of 10,000 Greek refugees from the mainland are listed as captured. In addition, thousands of civilians perish during the battle, partly due to bombing, but also partly due to the fact that many take up guns and try to defend their own villages. The best figures on Cretan deaths during Operation Mercury are 6,593 men, 1,113 women and 869 children. The Cretan civilian casualties, however, are just beginning, so it is difficult to attribute some to Operation Mercury and others to post-battle German reprisals.

Petticoat Lane 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"A woman makes a purchase of silk stockings at a stall in London’s famous Petticoat Lane on June 1, 1941" Stockings now are rationed, along with other clothing - but not used clothes, which can be bought without rations coupons (AP Photo).

The Royal Navy has lost cruisers HMS Calcutta, Fiji and Gloucester and destroyers Greyhound, Hereward, Juno Kashmir, and Kelly. It also has incurred serious damage to aircraft carrier Formidable, battleships Barham and Warspite, cruisers Ajax, Dido, and Perth, submarine Rover, and destroyers Kelvin and Nubian. Heavy cruiser York, beached on 26 March and used thereafter as a gun platform, now is a total write-off.

The Luftwaffe certainly has taken losses, as the British claim 22 aircraft definitely destroyed, 11 probably destroyed, and 21 damaged. However, the Luftwaffe has thousands of planes available. In the broadest sense, the battle between the Luftwaffe and the Royal Navy - the RAF barely intervened in the battles off Crete - has proven decisively that airpower is superior to naval power. Big ships cannot operate when the skies are dominated by the enemy.

In sum, the battle for Crete has been a complete disaster for the Royal Navy and the British Commonwealth in general. Its strength is now reduced to two battleships and three cruisers. The Italian Navy in the Mediterranean now outnumbers it with four battleships and eleven cruisers, but the Italians don't use their big ships very often, preferring to maintain them as a "fleet in being."

Operation Mercury also proves something more troubling to the British: simply knowing in advance what the Germans are going to do doesn't mean they can be stopped. It is certain that the British government knows before the first airborne troops land on Crete that it is going to be invaded, and how. This, however, does not prevent the German victory - though it likely contributed to the size of Wehrmacht casualties. When Adolf Hitler decides to no longer use airborne troops in offensive operations, it is a wise decision because the British Ultra decrypts enable the British to kill the descending German soldiers at their most vulnerable points and isolate those that survive. Hitler doesn't know about Ultra - but his decision to shelve future projects such as an airborne invasion of Malta probably avoids some disasters due to Ultra.

The war on Crete is not over - in some respects it is just beginning. The Germans already have orders from temporary island commander Luftwaffe General Kurt Student to enact reprisals against Greek civilians. Crete is a hugely valuable German defensive bulwark against British attacks on southeastern Europe, but otherwise it is a relatively useless victory that brings little profit.

Afrikakorps cooking an egg 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Some Afrikakorps boys have some fun cooking eggs on their Panzer II tank, mid-1941.

The British begin reorganizing their RAF command in the Middle East. Arthur William Tedder, 1st Baron Tedder is appointed Air Officer Commanding in Chief, RAF Middle East Command. Previously, he has been Air Officer Commanding in Chief, RAF Middle East Command. He retains his temporary rank (since 29 November 1940) of air marshal. Winston Churchill previously, in December 1940, sent Air Vice-Marshal Owen Tudor Boyd to take over the position, but Boyd's plane crash-landed on Sicily and he was taken prisoner. Marshal Tedder commands the RAF in its continuing operations over North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean.

Air Vice-Marshal Hugh Lloyd becomes Air Officer Commanding Malta, replacing Air Commodore F. H. M. Maynard. Lloyd previously was Senior Air Staff Officer at RAF No 2 (Bombing) Group Abingdon in England. His mission is to bomb Axis convoys between Naples and Tripoli.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Clyde torpedoes and sinks 3076 ton Italian freighter San Marco about five miles off Capo Carbonara, southeast of Sardinia. The Clyde misses with a torpedo fired at another ship.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Torbay uses its deck gun to sink a caique carrying Wehrmacht troops in the Doro Channel (east of Athens).

The Royal Navy sends 758 ton tanker Balmaha from Alexandria to supply the garrison at Tobruk. It is a hazardous journey that will take days, and the tanker has escorts of sloop Auckland and trawler Southern Maid.

An Axis convoy leaves Naples bound for Tripoli with a heavy escort that includes two cruisers and six destroyers.

Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Furious arrives at Gibraltar carrying 48 Hawker Hurricane Mk II planes. It transfers 24 to fellow carrier Ark Royal and sends 4 ashore. Taking aboard the aircraft from aircraft carrier Argus, Furious then prepares to lead another supply mission to Malta, Operation Rocket.

The Shadow magazine 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Shadow magazine, 1 June 1941.

Spy Stuff: Soviet sleeper spy Richard Sorge makes another covert wireless transmission to Moscow. He tells them that German Lt. Colonel Edwin Scholl has told him that the Germans have massed 170-190 divisions along the Soviet border and plan to invade on 15 June. In Moscow, Stalin is tired of reading these endless warnings. The transmission is marked "suspicious" and "provocative." If Sorge were to return to Moscow at this time, he likely would be cashiered and perhaps imprisoned. However, the staff in the Kremlin maintains a record of the warnings for possible future use.

Blohm & Voss BV 141 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A Blohm & Voss BV 141. The engine is on the left fuselage, the right fuselage is just a gondola for the observer.

German Military: First flight of the Blohm & Voss BV 141 tactical reconnaissance aircraft. Its distinctive design includes a separate, engine-less fuselage that serves as an observation gondola. A total of 20 will be built, but the Luftwaffe prioritizes other planes which use engines that are more readily available.

US Military: The United States military commissions a naval and air base at Chaguaramas, Trinidad. This has been in the works since the USS St. Louis brought a party of workers to the site on 10 October 1940. It is not yet at full operation (that doesn't happen until 1943). British Governor Young of Trinidad is unhappy - he does not like that the US base displaces locals and closes the nearby beaches. Authority is pursuant to the Lease Land Agreement, the Defence Regulations, and by the Trinidad Base Agreement. This base will remain open (as Waller Air Force Base) until 1949, with some Americans remaining there until 1977.

Camp located is completed in Hitchcock, Texas (located at the present site of Jack Brooks Park in Hitchcock). It is an Army Basic Training Camp that ultimately includes 399 buildings and is operational from 1941 to 1946.

Victory Loan Parade 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"A view of the Canadian Munition Plants float with the slogan, "Shell out for Shells" in the Victory Loan Parade, June 1, 1941, Port Arthur, Ontario." (Thunder Bay Public Library, Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History).

Channel Islands: Major General Erich Muller relieves Rudolf von Schmettow as military governor of the Channel Islands. Von Schmettow, however, remains in command of Jersey. During the month, Infantry Division 319 relieves ID 216 on the islands.

China: A Japanese air raid destroys four Chinese Soviet SBs of the 12th BG at Zhaotung.

Vatican: Pope Pius XII makes a radio broadcast in celebration of the feast of Pentecost. The speech is entitled "The Individual Right Cannot in Any Way Be Suppressed." The Pope only obliquely references the war, noting that he is making the speech at a time that "pregnant with events that are known only to the divine counsels which rule the story of nations and watch over the church," a statement that can be interpreted as implying that, being behind Axis lines, the Church cannot speak out more about the war. He does make occasional veiled references to "the growing paganism of public life" and emphasizes the importance of private property.

Diana Napier 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Diana Napier, a section commander of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) unit attached to the 1st Polish Corps, at the wheel of one of her section's ambulances in conversation with a Polish Army Major at Cupar, 1 June 1941. The unit was presented with 62 ambulances from the USA in last 10 months. Mrs Napier was a creator of this medical unit and a first ambulance was a gift from her." © IWM (H 10146). Diana "Mollie" Napier, incidentally, was at the time a well-known English film actress. She joined the  the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in April 1940.

German Homefront: The German government bans all Catholic publications in the Reich.

British Homefront: Minister of Food Lord Woolton begins rationing of clothing. It is based on a points (coupon) system. Every person is allotted 66 points per year, and different articles of clothing have their own points: 16 points for a woman's raincoat (mackintosh), a woman's petticoat 4 points, 2 points for a pair of stockings (if you can find them), and so on. The point values for men are 13 points for a jacket, 8 for pants, 7 for shoes, 5 for a waistcoat, socks 3 points. Coupons can be passed around within families. The good news is that used clothing is not rationed, only new clothing. Women flock to Petticoat Lane today to buy stockings.

Victory Loan Parade 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Brockville, Ontario Victory Loan Parade, King St W, June 1, 1941 (Handbook of Brockville History).

American Homefront: Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen delivers a speech at the commencement of Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. He tags "the decline of patriotism in America" to "a decline of religion" which causes people to "cease to love their neighbor." The speech is pro-intervention in Europe, with Sheen noting:
And if there are certain things that are not worth fighting for, there are some things that are; above all else, that one thing is the foundation of our rights and liberties.
More pointedly, he concludes:
Democracy has within itself no inherent guarantee of freedom; these guarantees are from without. That is why I say our Declaration of Dependence on God is the condition of a Declaration of Independence of Dictatorship.
Sheen equates being religious with defeating what he views as anti-religious impulses in the world, which can only mean the Axis.

In Chicago, Jenny Dolly of The Dolly Sisters, a popular Hungarian twins act of the 1920s, hangs herself after years of depression. She is buried in  Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.

Chuck Aleno 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Chuck Aleno of the Cincinnati Reds.

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Chuck Aleno goes hitless in New York. This ends his 17-game hitting streak, which set a Major League record because they were the first 17 games of Aleno's Major League career. The record is tied in 2016 by Colorado Rockies leftfielder David Dahl, but it never has been broken. In the same game, Mel Ott of the New York Giants hits his 400th career home run and gets his 1500th RBI at the Polo Grounds in a 3-2 Giants win.

In Cleveland, Joe DiMaggio extends his current hitting streak to 18 games by getting hits in both ends of a twin-bill that results from a rained-out game on Saturday.

Future History: Wilmer Dean Chance is born in Wooster, Ohio. He becomes a Major League Baseball pitcher and wins the 1964 Cy Young Award, the youngest at the time to win the award. He also will found the International Boxing Association during the 1990s. Dean Chance passes away October 11, 2015.

The Farhud pogrom will be virtually forgotten until the 21st Century. Then, beginning around 2005, some books will mention it. The United Nations designates June 1, 2015 as International Farhud Day.

Farhud riot memorial 1 June 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Farhud Memorial in Ramat Gan, Baghdad.

May 1941

May 1, 1941: British Hold Tobruk
May 2, 1941: Anglo-Iraq War
May 3, 1941: Liverpool Hammered
May 4, 1941: Hitler Victory Speech
May 5, 1941: Patriots Day
May 6, 1941: Stalin In Command
May 7, 1941: May Blitz
May 8, 1941: Pinguin Sunk
May 9, 1941: U-110 Captured
May 10, 1941: Hess Flies Into History
May 11, 1941: The Hess Peace Plan
May 12, 1941: Tiger Arrives Safely
May 13, 1941: Keitel's Illegal Order
May 14, 1941: Holocaust in Paris
May 15, 1941: Operation Brevity
May 16, 1941: Blitz Ends
May 17, 1941: Habbaniya Relieved
May 18, 1941: Croatia Partitioned
May 19, 1941: Bismarck at Sea
May 20, 1941: Invasion of Crete
May 21, 1941: Robin Moore Sinking
May 22, 1941: Royal Navy Destruction Off Crete
May 23, 1941: Crete Must Be Won
May 24, 1941: Bismarck Sinks Hood
May 25, 1941: Lütjens' Brilliant Maneuver
May 26, 1941: Bismarck Stopped
May 27, 1941: Bismarck Sunk
May 28, 1941: Crete Lost
May 29, 1941: Royal Navy Mauled Off Crete
May 30, 1941: Sorge Warns, Stalin Ignores
May 31, 1941: British Take Baghdad

June 1941

June 1, 1941: Farhud Pogrom
June 2, 1941: Massacres on Crete
June 3, 1941: Kandanos Massacre
June 4, 1941: Kaiser Wilhelm Passes Away
June 5, 1941: Death in Chungking
June 6, 1941: Hitler's Commissar Order
June 7, 1941: Commandos Strike at Pessac
June 8, 1941: British Invade Syria and Lebanon
June 9, 1941: Litani River Battle
June 10, 1941: British Take Assab
June 11, 1941: Hitler Thinking Beyond Russia
June 12, 1941: St. James Agreement
June 13, 1941: Lützow Damaged
June 14, 1941: Latvian June Deportations
June 15, 1941: Operation Battleaxe
June 16, 1941: The Old Lion
June 17, 1941: British Spanked in North Africa
June 18, 1941: Turkey Turns Its Back
June 19, 1941: Cheerios Introduced
June 20, 1941: Birth of US Army Air Force
June 21, 1941: Damascus Falls
June 22, 1941: Germany Invades Russia
June 23, 1941: A Soviet KV Tank Causes Havoc
June 24, 1941: Kaunas and Vilnius Fall
June 25, 1941: Finland Declares War
June 26, 1941: Bombing of Kassa
June 27, 1941: Encirclement At Minsk
June 28, 1941: Minsk Falls
June 29, 1941: Brest Fortress Falls
June 30, 1941: Mölders Becomes Top Ace

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