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Selected: March 20
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1922 — , March 20

  • USA: The US Navy commissions its first aircraft carrier, the USS LANGLEY. This "covered wagon" of aircraft carriers was the platform from which essential Naval Aviators undertook the development of carrier operating techniques and tactics that were essential to victory in World War II.
    Spotlight...

    The USS LANGLEY, circa 1922

    Shown here at anchor with an Aeromarine 39-B airplane landing on her flight deck.

    May 1928: The USS LANGLEY in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, with 34 planes on her flight deck.

    Note the booms rigged out from her sides, used for hoisting many things aboard.

    The USS LANGLEY photographed in 1937, following conversion to a seaplane tender (or seaplane carrier), providing facilities for operating seaplanes.

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1933 — , March 20

  • Germany: The Dachau Concentration Camp is established by the order of Heinrich Himmler. It is to be guarded by men of the SS.
  • CBI - China: Day 79 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.

1937 — , March 20

  • Spain: Day 247 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , March 20

  • Spain: Day 612 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 257 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 42 of 124 of the Battle of Henan. The Japanese 10th Division captures Hanzhuang and Yixian. However, Chinese troops are able to halt the Japanese offensive just beyond Hanzhuang.

1939 — , March 20

  • Eastern Front: German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop demands that Memel be ceded from Lithuania.
  • Spain: Day 977 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 622 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 4 of 54 of the Battle of Nanchang.

1940 — , March 20

  • Atlantic: German sub U-22 departs from Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Shortly after, however, all communications with the submarine is lost and its crew of 27 is never seen or heard from again.
  • Atlantic: RAF bombers sink the minesweeper SPERRBRECHER 12 off the Dutch coast.
  • Atlantic: German submarine U-19 sinks the Danish steamer VIKING in the Moray Firth, Scotland, and later she sinks the Danish steamer BOTHAL.
  • Atlantic: HMS FORTUNE sinks German sub U-44 off the coast of Narvik, Norway.
  • CBI - China: Day 988 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 127 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
    • Day 53 of 67 of the Battle of Wuyuan. The Chinese launch a full attack on the city.

1941 — , March 20

  • USA: Japanese oceanliner TATSUTA MARU arrives at San Francisco. Among the passengers is Colonel Hideo Iwakuru, who is heading to Washington DC to "help" the Japanese Embassy.
  • Atlantic: German sub U-106 attacks a convoy 550 miles off Nouakchott, French West Africa, damaging the Dutch ship MEERKERK and the HMS MALAYA.
  • Atlantic: Two German-captured ships, tankers BIANCA and SAN CASMIRO, are spotted by planes from the carrier HMS ARK ROYAL. The battleship HMS REKNOWN attempts to recapture them, but both are scuttled.
  • ETO - UK: Day 196 of 258 of the Blitz. King George and Queen Elizabeth visit Plymouth for tea with Lady Nancy Astor. As soon as the Royal party leaves, German bombers attack the docks and city.
  • Germany: Top Nazi German officials meet in Berlin to discuss plans for resettling Eastern Europe with Germans.
  • USSR: Stalin is assured by his staff that Germany will not attack the USSR until the UK is defeated. Meanwhile, the US shares their intelligence with the USSR saying a German invasion is very possible.
  • MTO - Yugoslavia: Rather than accept Hitler's dictated terms, four Yugoslavian ministers resign from their posts.
  • East Africa: Day 284 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt. Indian troops and the 11th African Division capture Hargeisa inside British Somaliland.
  • East Africa - Eritrea: Day 44 of 56 of the Battle of Keren.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,353 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 7 of 27 of the Battle of Shanggao.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 171 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1942 — , March 20

  • Atlantic: Day 66 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
    • U-71 sinks US tanker OAKMAR off the coast of Hampton Roads, Virginia.
  • Norway: About 1,000 school teachers are arrested in by the Norwegian police and sent to German prisons and concentration camps.
  • Germany: Gas chambers of Block I of Auschwitz II (Birkenau) Concentration Camp begin conducting extermination operations.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 194 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 41 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 57 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 72 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 72 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 18 of 49 of the Battle of Rzhev, Russia, a diversion to pull more German troops away from Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 142 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula. The German 22nd Division is wiped out during their failed counter-attack at Sevastopol. The Soviets suffer heavy losses in a renewed attack up at Kerch.
  • MTO - Malta: The Luftwaffe steps up its bombing campaign against Malta.
  • MTO - Libya: The Allies attack Benghazi and Derna to divert attention away from an important British convoy heading for Malta.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 97 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. Japanese troops attack the Chinese 5th Army north of the Kan River and the Chinese 6th Army at Toungoo.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,718 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 87 of 99 of the 3rd Battle of Changsha.
  • PTO - Borneo: Day 95 of 107 of the Battle of Borneo.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 30 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 103 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines. 5th Air Force provides air support.

1943 — , March 20

  • Atlantic: The Battle of the Atlantic climaxes with 27 merchant ships sunk by German U-boats.
  • ETO: Churchill's post war plans, broadcast over radio, is criticized as being very socialist.
  • Germany: The newly built gas chamber/crematory IV opens for business at Auschwitz.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 559 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 39 of 51 of the USSR's Operation POLAR STAR, a failed offensive north of Leningrad, hoping to take the southern shore of Lake Ladoga, Russia.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 320 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket, USSR lays siege to the Kholm Pocket but the Germans hold out for a about a year and a half.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 19 of 30 of the 3rd Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia.
  • MTO - Tunisia: Day 124 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support. Day 5 of 12 of the UK's Operation PUGILIST. The British 8th Army breaks through the Mareth line and gains a bridgehead across the Oued Zigzaou.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 90 of 104 of the 1st Battle of Arakan. US 10th Air Force provides air support. The British stop their offense in Arakan Peninsula and begin falling back to the Maungdaw-Buthidaung line.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 41 of 79 of the Allied Operation LONGCLOTH.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,083 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 287 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
  • PTO: The Japanese Navy is ordered to execute all Allied personnel captured at sea.
  • PTO: The USS POLLACK damages a Japanese freighter between Jaluit and Makin Atolls in the area of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.
  • PTO: Major John Sapp, US Marine Torpedo-Bomber Squadron 143, leads the first American aerial mine-laying mission in the South Pacific off the Solomon Islands.

1944 — , March 20

  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb targets in Germany.
  • ETO - France: US 9th Air Force B-26s and A-20s bomb four V-weapon targets and the Creil marshalling yard while P-47s dive-bomb airfields at Abbeville, Poix and Conches.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 48 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops in the Baltic region go on the defensive.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 88 of 113 of the USSR's Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in southwestern Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 17 of 45 of the Battle of Chernovtsy, Ukraine. Soviet troops recapture Vinnitsa, the site of the opposing German Headquarters in 1943.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 15 of 44 of the Battle of Snigirevka, Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Romanian troops arrive in Hungary to assist in the German occupation.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 3 of 6 of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. In the evening, the entire surrounding area vibrates even more strongly with a loud roar.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 64 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 59 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 82 of 99 of the 2nd Battle of Arakan.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 16 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 11 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,449 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - India: Day 13 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima. Day 1 of 7 of the Battle of Sangshak. Japanese troops capture Ukhrul, defeating the Indian Parachute Regiment and a brigade from the British 23rd Division.
  • PTO - Japan: The USS POLLACK sinks Japanese freighter HAKUYO MARU in the Nanpo Islands.
  • PTO - Marshall Islands: US 7th Air Force attacks targets in the Marshalls.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 21 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 184 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 97 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 141 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , March 20

  • ETO - France: Day 233 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 187 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO: Day 61 of 66 of the Battle to the Rhine. Day 15 of 20 of the Battle of Ramagen. US 7th Army takes Saarbrücken.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 14 of 46 of the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. US 3rd Army reaches Mainz. US 9th Air Force provides air support.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 29 of 36 consecutive RAF night raids on Berlin. The RAF also attacks a Gestapo building in Copenhagen, Denmark, killing 100 Germans and 6 prisoners. A school nearby was also hit, killing 112 Danish civilians, 86 of whom are children.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force bombs targets at Hamburg.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 187 of 223 of the Lapland War. Finland and Russia have joined forces to kick the Germans out of Finland's most northern province.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 157 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 55 of 75 of the Battle of Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia).
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 8 of 10 of the Battle of Braunsberg, East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 54 of 63 of the Battle of the Heiligenbeil Pocket in East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 39 of 54 of the Battle of East Pomerania, Germany. German troops evacuate their bridgehead across the Oder at Stettin.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 36 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland).
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 6 of 17 of the USSR's Upper Silesian Offensive in Germany (today Poland).
  • Russian Front - South: Day 15 of 16 of the Battle of Drava (a river in Bulgaria). Germans attack the Bulgarians, hoping to distract the Soviet advance on Berlin.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 8 of 34 of the Battle of Vienna, Austria.
  • MTO: US 15th Air Force bombs targets in Austria.
  • MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support for the Allied ground units.
  • CBI: US 14th Air Force attacks targets in French Indochina.
  • CBI: The USS BAYA sinks a Japanese destroyer in the South China Sea.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 61 of 61 of the Battles of Meiktila and Mandalay. The US 10th Air Force provides air support. The British 19th Indian Division captures Mandalay.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 45 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. The US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,814 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Japanese troops begin an offensive aimed at capturing the US bases at Laohokow and Ankong.
  • PTO - Japan: The USS BLENNY attacks a Japanese convoy and sinks three transports.
  • PTO - Japan: The USS KETE sends a weather report from south of the Colnett Strait in the northern Ryukyu Islands and is never heard from again.
  • PTO - Japan: US 7th Air Force attacks targets on Chichi Jima Island.
  • PTO - Japan: Day 30 of 36 of the Battle of Iwo Jima. US 7th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 449 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 333 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 152 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 96 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 11 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 3 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. 5th Air Force provides air support.

1946 — , March 20

  • USA: The last of the Japanese-American internment camps, at Tule Lake, California, is closed. At its peak, it had a population of 18,789.

Day-By-Day listings for March 20 were last modified on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
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