SWITZERLAND: The German government, arguing that their country remains a subjected power, decides to withdraw from the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments in Geneva. The Germans demand equality of rights with the other countries participating in the negotiations. (Jack McKillop)
ITALY: Italy rejects a League of Nations compromise on the Abyssiisis.. (Jack McKillop)
UNITED STATES: President Franklin D. Roosevelt forbids American Government owned ships to carry munitions to China and Japan. Although Roosevelt is loathe to invoke the Neutrality Act of 1937, because it would have worked against the Chinese, the administration did forbid the transportation of munitions to both China and Japan on U.S. government ships. President Roosevelt also warns private American shippers that they operate in the Far Eastern war zone at their own risk. The Japanese, with a considerably larger merchant fleet, benefit from this policy. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: The rigid airship Graf Zepplin II, LZ 130, the largest airship ever built, makes its first flight. Because of the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, this airship is designed to use helium instead of hydrogen. LZ 130 makes several propaganda flights but never goes into commercial service, although it is used for radar and electronic work. (Jack McKillop)
UNITED STATES: A U.S. Navy (USN) radio-controlled Curtiss N2C-2 Fledgling target drone engaged in a simulated dive-bombing attack against the miscellaneous auxiliary (ex battleship) USS Utah (AG-16, ex BB-31) in test firing of antiaircraft battery. The proponents of guided missile development view this as the first demonstration of the air to surface missile.
September 14th, 1939 (THURSDAY)UNITED KINGDOM: In the Atlantic HMS Ark Royal (91) receives a distress call from SS Fanad Head, which is 200 nautical miles (370km) away under pursuit from the surfaced U-30 (267 pp 75-8). Ark Royal launches aircraft to aid the merchant ship but is spotted by U-39, which launches two torpedoes. Lookouts spotted the torpedo tracks and Ark Royal turns toward the attack, reducing her cross-section and causing the torpedoes to miss and explode harmlessly astern. Three F class destroyers, HMS Faulkner (H 62), HMS Firedrake (H 79) and HMS Foxhound (H 69) escorting the carrier begin to depth charge U-39, and force her to the surface northwest of Ireland, in position 58.32N, 11.49W. The German crew abandon ship before U-39 sinks; 44 crewmen are captured. This is the first U-boat sinking of the war. The attack failed because of a premature magnetic-pistol torpedo explosion.
Ark Royal's aircraft reached Fanad Head, which was in the hands of a German boarding party. The Skuas unsuccessfully attacked U-30: two crashed when caught by the blast of their own bombs. The U-boat escaped after rescuing the boarding party and the pilots of the downed aircraft (both observers had drowned), and torpedoing the Fanad Head. (Dave Shirlaw)
Aircraft carrier HMS Victorious launched.
Destroyer HMS Kingston commissioned.
U-30 shots down two FAA Blackburn Skua aircraft. (Dave Shirlaw)
From the "Diaries and Letters of Harold Nicholson [MP]": "...The Ministry of Information...has been staffed by duds at the top and all the good people are in the most subordinate positions.. John Gunther [American writer and war correspondent] told me that he had asked one of the censors for the text of our leaflet which we dropped over Germany. The request was refused on the grounds of disclosing information that might be of use to the enemy. When Gunther pointed out that 2 million had been dropped over Germany, the man blinked and said, "Yes, something must be wrong there..."
FRANCE: The US freighter SS City of Joliet is detained by the French for 3-weeks.
POLAND: The Germans enter Gdynia, west of Danzig.
Elements of the 10th Panzer Division, consisting of the
Reconnaissance Battalion and of Panzer Regt. 8, break through the line of
fortified positions outside and reach Brzesc (Brest-Litovsk) on the Bug River. The defenders have withdrawn into the
city's stout walled inner citadel and blocked the entrance gate with an old tank.
Guderian orders the whole corps to advance with all speed on Brest in order to exploit this surprise success. (95)(Russ Folsom)
The two fortress cities of Warsaw and Modlin are surrounded and under air and artillery bombardment. In Warsaw the Jewish quarter, Nalewski, has been heavily bombed; water mains are ruptured by shellfire; food is scarce, some 700 horses, among them prize Polish thoroughbreds, are slaughtered daily for meat: the shells come in two per minute. The Royal Castle is hit, the electrical power plant wrecked, a fine dust of wind-blown rubble and smoke pervades the city. A shell hits St. John's Cathedral during mass killing many at prayer.
HUNGARY: Budapest: Hungary restrains from declaring its neutrality on the grounds that it is not threatened by Hitler.
U.S.S.R.: Pravda launches an anti-Polish propaganda campaign.
Submarine K-21 is launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
CANADA: Canada, the last of the great Dominions to declare war, will become the arsenal of the Allies, providing food, industries, convoy escorts and air training facilities, according to the prime minister, Mr. Mackenzie King. He said: "Canada's liberties came down from those men in England and France who never hesitated to lay down their lives when their freedom was threatened."
Mr. King will not bring in conscription, though, particularly not during an election campaign. Like most Canadians he abhors the idea of Canadians being fed into the Western Front as happened in W.W.I, and prefers the more profitable role of supplier of raw materials rather than men.
U.S.A.: Igor Sikorsky makes the first tethered flight in his VS-300 helicopter at Stratford, Connecticut. (Jack McKillop)
Atlantic Squadron Neutrality Patrol ships deploy. The forces deployed include 4 heavy cruisers, 17 destroyers, 5 patrol squadrons and supporting vessels. These ships patrol from Argentia, Newfoundland in the north to the Lesser Antilles in the south. Held in reserve are an aircraft carrier and 3 battleships. (Dave Shirlaw)
Secretary of State Cordell Hull states that the United States has not abandoned any of its rights under international law. (Jack McKillop)
The motion picture "Honeymoon in Bali" is released. This romantic comedy, directed by Edward H. Griffith, stars Fred MacMurray, Madeleine Carroll, Allan Jones, Akim Tamiroff and Helen Broderick; Monty Woolley appears in an uncredited bit part. The plot has career woman Carroll, who is determined not to marry, meeting MacMurray with the inevitable consequences. (Jack McKillop)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: The USN deploys the Atlantic Squadron Neutrality Patrol; the forces deployed include 4 heavy cruisers, 17 destroyers, 5 patrol squadrons and supporting vessels. These ships patrol from Argentia, Newfoundland in the north to the Lesser Antilles in the south. Held in reserve are an aircraft carrier and 3 battleships. (Jack McKillop)
U-28 sinks SS Vancouver
U-29 sinks SS British Influence.
U-30 sinks SS Fanad Head. (Dave Shirlaw)
Top of Page