World War II Day by Day: October 1939

After months of diplomatic wrangling and ‘appeasement’ bargaining, war erupted when Germany invaded Poland. Germany’s Blitzkrieg offensive, which plunged Europe into conflict, heralded a new and dramatic style of modern warfare. Although there was no Allied advance into Germany in Western Europe, fighting flared up on the Eastern Front between the Soviet Union and neighboring Finland.

14 October

Sea War, North Sea

The British battleship Royal Oak is sunk, with 786 lives lost, after U-47 passes through antisubmarine defenses at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys, where the Home Fleet is anchored. Defenses are improved at the base after this dramatic attack.