June 1940

Jun

28

1940

Italo Balbo shot down over Tobruk

Italo Balbo, the Commander in Chief of Italian Forces was killed when his plane was shot down, while attempting to land at Tobruk.

Italo Balbo’s plane was shot down by Italian guns as he into land at Tobruk in North Africa just moments after a British air raid on the Italian base. Subsequent conspiracy theories have suggested that he had argued with Mussolini over the North African strategy and was assassinated as a consequence.

Jun

27

1940

Bombing of Britain intensifies

The Scharnhorst in a United States identification manual: On 21. June RAF Coastal Command planes spotted Scharnhorst group off the Isle of Utsire, and around 15:00 six Swordfish torpedo planes attacked, but were easily repulsed by anti-aircraft fire. At 16:30 nine Beauforts attacked with 227-kilogram armor-piercing bombs, but were also driven off by anti-aircraft fire and German fighters. In these attacks the ship expended 900 rounds of 105 mm, 1.200 rounds of 37 mm and 2.400 rounds of 20 mm ammunition. When German interception of British radio messages revealed that much of the British Home Fleet was at sea, the Scharnhorst was ordered into Stavanger

There were extensive enemy raids over Great Britain on the nights of the 21st/22nd, 24th/25th, 25th/26th and 26th/27th June. On the first of these nights about 40 aircraft were engaged, coming from bases in France, Belgium and Holland. Bombs were dropped at points on the East Coast from Tyneside to Clacton and, while the enemy’s objectives may have been aerodromes and R.D.F. stations, little damage was done except to small houses, to transport facilities at Grimsby and to electric pylons near Ravenscar.

Jun

25

1940

The Germans also have losses

German war dead 1940

Poor Vraz. Poor Vraz? No, brother. You are rich, immensely rich. You have given the best, the finest, the noblest for your fatherland. You have ‘Fallen for greater Germany

Jun

23

1940

Hitler's early morning tour of Paris

Adolf_Hitler_in_Paris_1940

After a last look at Paris we drove swiftly back to the airport. By nine o’clock in the morning the sightseeing tour was over. ‘It was the dream of my life to be permitted to see Paris. I cannot say how happy I am to have that dream fulfilled today.’ For a moment I felt something like pity for him: three hours in Paris, the one and only time he was to see it, made him happy when he stood at the height of his triumphs.

Jun

22

1940

The French sign the Armistice

Hitler and Goring await signing of Armistice.

Hitler, we soon observe, has no intention of remaining very long, of listening to the reading of the armistice terms themselves. At three forty-two p.m., twelve minutes after the French arrive, we see Hitler stand up, salute stiffly, and then stride out of the drawing-room, followed by Goring, Brauchitsch, Raeder, Hess, and Ribbentrop. The French, like figures of stone, remain at the green-topped table. General Keitel remains with them. He starts to read them the detailed conditions of the armistice.

Jun

20

1940

Bombing of Britain begins

Evacuation of British military supplies from Cherbourg

This week has been marked by the initiation of German air attacks against industry in this country, though so far damage and casualties have not been heavy considering the number of aircraft employed. During the week 380 fighter sorties were flown over England : 4 fighters were lost and 15 enemy bombers probably destroyed.

Jun

18

1940

Churchill 'The battle of Britain is about to begin …'

Winston Churchill: appointed Prime Minister on 10th May 1940

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’

Jun

17

1940

The Lancastria bombed and sunk

HMT Lancastria at sea

Although I had a lifejacket on, I still had my doubts about being in the water as I was a non-swimmer. We were all saturated with oil. I kicked off from the side of the Lancastria on my back. I kept thinking “got to escape the suction of the ship”. The Lancastria continued to roll over to port. Hundreds of men were now clinging to the upturned hull. Some of those standing on the turning hull started to sing “Roll out the Barrel”.

Jun

16

1940

Civilians continue to flee the War

French refugees flee

Half conscious, but curiously alert to danger, I flung myself into ditches all through the day. It is impossible to judge the trajectory of machine-gun bullets striking from the air; sometimes when the aircraft seemed overhead they went wide, sometimes inexplicably close and once, I felt them thudding into the earth a few inches from my head.

Jun

15

1940

The RAF bomb Italy

A high level RAF aerial reconnaissance flight photograph of Genoa taken June 1940.

On the 15th/16th June eight Wellingtons were despatched from aerodromes in Southern France to bomb Genoa. Heavy local thunderstorms were encountered and only one aircraft bombed the target; several hits were registered.