FRANCE: The French government promises unlimited solidarity of action in the matter of military, air, and naval assistance to the U.K. if she is attacked stating, "The British Government . . . offers the French Government the assurance that it will not take the initiative in any measure against Italy which would not be in conformity with the decisions taken, or to be taken, by the League of Nations in full agreement with France." (Jack McKillop)
UNITED KINGDOM: Britain reassures Italy that it has no intention of taking independent action in the Mediterranean Sea. (Jack McKillop)
AUSTRIA: Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg of Austria is proclaimed Front Fuehrer, consolidating his dictatorial powers over the republic. (Jack McKillop)
CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Sudeten Germans demand immediate autonomy for German districts. (Jack McKillop)
PALESTINE: In early October, Arab extremists occupied the old city of Jerusalem. The British army sent in troops to regain control of the city. (Jack McKillop)
October 18th, 1939 (WEDNESDAY)UNITED KINGDOM:
U.S. freighter SS West Hobomac is detained by British authorities. (Jack McKillop)
London: Chamberlain announces that 8 Nazi planes have been shot down, and Churchill claims that one in three of the German submarine force has been sunk.
After the attacks on the Home Fleet in Scapa Flow, the Admiralty transfers the Home Fleet to safe anchorage on the Clyde. This move significantly weakens the Fleet's strike effectiveness against any German naval unit that might put out to sea in the Atlantic or approach the eastern coast of Great Britain. The Germans fail to act upon this strategic advantage. The German aerial operations against the fleet also reveal the ineffectiveness of the German SC 550lb bombs. Göring orders the development of heavier bombs.
issues Führer Directive #7 for the Conduct of the War.
(i) In the lead up to the planned Western offensive some existing operational restrictions are to be relaxed. Ground forces may now cross the French frontier with patrols so far as is necessary for reconnaissance, and to maintain contact with enemy forces in withdrawal. Fighter escorts are permitted for air reconnaissance over enemy territory. Air attack on naval ships in port are permitted. The Kriegsmarine may attack passenger ships in convoy or proceeding without lights. The Führer will decide on measures to intensify the Trade War against Britain once the political and economic effects have been considered.
(ii) Should Belgium, Holland, or Luxembourg enter the war, air units may cross the French frontier to attack Anglo-French movements into those countries. Air attacks on industrial targets or targets which highly endanger the civilian populations of those countries are forbidden.
(iii) Close attention should be paid to security measures in order to conceal our plans for attack. (Marc Roberts)
Stockholm: The Scandinavian Kings meet Finland's president to discuss the Russian threat. Today and tomorrow, the Scandinavian heads of state and foreign ministers meet at Stockholm. Present are Gustaf V of Sweden, Christian X of Denmark, Haakon VII of Norway and the Finnish President Kyösti Kallio. The conference is a show of Scandinavian solidarity, but doesn't even try to achieve anything concrete. (Mikko Härmeinen)
BALTIC STATES: Red Army troops arrive at their bases in Estonia. (Mikko Härmeinen)
CHINA: A USN landing force from gunboats USS Asheville (PG-21) and USS Tulsa (PG-22) and destroyer USS Whipple (DD-217) is withdrawn from Kulangsu where it had been protecting the American Consulate and the Hope Memorial Hospital since 17 May. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.A.: President Franklin D. Roosevelt bars belligerent submarines from U.S. ports and waters. (Jack McKillop)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: German armoured ship Admiral Graf Spee transfers crews of British freighters SS Newton Beech and SS Ashlea to tanker Altmark. The two German ships then part company for a time. (Jack McKillop)
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