Sept 1 . Germany invades Poland : War in Europe.
Sept 4 . U.S. cruisers establish patrol off the eastern seaboard to observe and report the movements of foreign men-of-war.
Sept 8 . FDR proclaims limited state of emergency in US.
Sept 13. 40 mothballed WWI destroyers to be reconditioned for "neutrality patrol".
The US had commissioned about 280 destroyers in 1919 and 1920, most mothballed.
Oct 16. Ranger (CV-4) and San Francisco (CA-38) are mobilized to locate and trail German tanker departed Tampico, Mexico, for Admiral Graf Spee.
Oct 20. USN to use plain language radio reporting of contacts.
Nov 4 . Cash & Carry amendment to Neutrality Act allowed U.S. to supply munitions to Allies.
Dec 19. German liner Columbus scuttled off Virgina under the eye of USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37) which rescued passengers and crew taking them to NYC.
May 3 . Greenland, a crown colony of Denmark, seeks U.S. protection, so that Danish sovereignty can be maintained during the German occupation of the homeland.
Aug 27. Compulsory military service established (the draft)
Sep 3 . U.S. trades Britain 50 destroyers from USN WWI reserve fleet for leases on bases.
Nov 16. Destroyer McCormick (DD-223), on neutrality patrol off Tampico, Mexico, radios attempt of German freighter Orinoco to make for European waters. Destroyer Plunkett (DD-431), by her presence, thwarts German tanker Phrygia's bid for freedom; Phrygia's crew scuttles her.
Dec 8 . Destroyer Sturtevant (DD-240) stands by while British light cruiser HMS Diomede intercepts German freighter Idarwald.
Dec 11. German freighter Rhein, having been tailed by destroyer Simpson (DD-221) and, later, MacLeish (DD-220), is intercepted by Dutch destroyer leader Van Kinsbergen near the Florida Straits, and is scuttled by her crew to avoid capture. MacLeish and McCormick (DD-223) are present as the German ship's bid to escape fails.
U.S. extends "neutral zone" to 300 miles.
See British ships repaired by U.S. shipyards before we were in WW2.
Most of these ships were damaged in Mediterranean combat with the Italian Navy.
March 1. Support Force Atlantic Fleet established for protection of convoys in North Atlantic.
Mar 11. U.S. votes Lend-Lease Act to aid England.
Mar 17. Coast Guard cutter Cayuga takes South Greenland Survey Expedition, U.S. representatives to locate sites of bases on Greenland's soil.
Mar 27. ABC Conference. Atlantic Fleet is to help the Royal Navy convoy ships across the Atlantic. The agreement inextricably links the U.S. Navy in the effort against Germany.
Mar 30. U.S. seizes Axis ships in U.S. ports.
April 10. Niblack (DD-424) a new, Benson class destroyer on "Neutrality Patrol", rescuing survivors, depth charged a contact off Iceland.
Apr 10. FDR authorizes the transfer of 10 "Lake"-class Coast Guard cutters to the Royal Navy. Transfers completed Apr30-May30.
Apr 18. U.S. declares Greenland and Iceland in its sphere of interest.
Apr 24. Neutrality Patrol is extended east to 26°W, Iceland, and 20°S, almost to Rio.
Apr 26. U.S. to supply French North Africa.
May 22. Part of U.S. Pacific fleet ordered to Atlantic.
May 24. USN PBYs from Newfoundland search for Bismarck in the western Atlantic.
May 26. USN observers flying two separate RAF Catalinas sight Bismarck. British fleet units converge on the lone German capital ship.
May 27. Roosevelt proclaims unlimited state of emergency, including delivery of supplies to Britain, because of Axis battleship incursion of western Atlantic.
May 27. Elements of Pacific fleet move to Atlantic patrol.
May 29. U.S. begins "Neutrality Patrols" in North, Central and Southern Atlantic.
June 12. Naval Reserve called to active duty.
June 14. U.S. freezes German and Italian assets.
June 16. U.S. closed German and Italian consulates.
June 20. FDR addresses Congress concerning the German sinking of U.S. freighter Robin Moor.
Jun 22. Germany invades USSR.
July 4 . U.S. marines under U.S. air cover relieve British troops in Iceland for duty elsewhere.
Aug 1 . US-USSR accord signed.
Aug 8 . U.S. Army and Air units convoyed to Iceland.
Aug 9 . Atlantic Charter, a strategy meeting in Newfoundland between President FDR and Prime Minister WSC. Agree, when the U.S. enters the war, Germany first. U.S. warships to escort British merchant ships between the United States and Iceland.
Sept 4 . Recommissioned destroyer Greer (DD-145), tracked U-652 for several hours. Each attacked the other without injury.
Sep 10. First Liberator bomber to England.
Sep 11. FDR broadcasts "shoot on sight" order.
Sep 12. Coast Guard cutters seize Norwegian trawler Buskoe in Mackenzie Bay, Greenland, thwarting establishing German radio weather stations.
Oct 5 . Naval Conference between U.S. and British commanders in Singapore.
Oct 16-Nov 1. DDs escorting Atlantic convoy make depth charge attacks daily after six merchant ships sunk in five hours.
Oct 25-Nov 8. Yorktown (CV-5), New Mexico (BB-41), and 11 other American warships were screening convoys to and from MOMP.
Oct 28. Screening destroyer Anderson picked up a submarine contact and dropped depth charges noticing "considerable oil slick".
Nov 1-4. PBYs and PBMs provide air coverage for convoy ON 31.
Nov 4 . Omaha (CL-4), Memphis (CL-13) and 3 DDs search for German surface raider.
Nov 6 . Omaha (CL-4) and Somers (DD-381), en route to Recife, Brazil, returning from the 3,023-mile patrol, captures German blockade runner Odenwald, disguised as U.S. freighter Willmoto, in Atlantic equatorial waters . See reader provided story.
Nov 10. First United States-escorted troop convoy, transporting more than 20,000 British troops, in six USN ships sailed from Halifax for the Far East.
Nov 10-20. DDs attack numerous sound contacts.
Nov 11. Lend Lease for de Gaulle's Free French.
Nov 11. Navy ordered to attack any vessel threatening U.S. shipping.
Nov 13. Amend Neutrality Act : to arm U.S. ships, enter war zones.
Nov 17. Archer (BAVG 1) is the first of 38 escort carriers transferred to the UK during the war under Lend-Lease program.
Nov 25. U.S. troops to Dutch Guiana to protect bauxite mines.
Dec 3 . Turkey has "for sometime" been receiving lend lease aid.
Sept 3 . Submarine U-30 torpedoes British passenger liner Athenia without warning in the belief that she is an armed merchant cruiser; 28 American citizens are among the dead.
Sep 10. U.S. freighter Wacosta, bound from Scotland to New York is stopped by German submarine for three hours.
Jan 30. Germany announces that ships of any nationality bringing aid to Great Britain will be torpedoed.
Apr 17. Neutral Egyptian steamship Zamzam is shelled and sunk by German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis (Schiffe 16) in South Atlantic; 138 Americans (including 24 ambulance drivers) are among rescued passengers . See reader provided story.
May 21. Unarmed U.S. freighter Robin Moor, en route to South Africa and Mozambique, is stopped and sunk by German submarine U-69 (torpedo and gunfire) about 700 miles off the west coast of Africa. First American merchantman sunk by a U-boat in World War II. Crew given food and directions by submarine.
Jun 19. Germany and Italy request closure of U.S. consulates.
Sep 7 . SS Steel Seafarer bombed and sunk in Red Sea.
Oct 17. Kearney (DD-432) escorting a convoy was attacked by U-boat off the coast of Iceland with 11 killed.
Oct 19. Unarmed U.S. freighter Lehigh is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-126 off Freetown, Sierra Leone
Oct 28. Oiler Salinas (AO-19), in convoy ON 28, is torpedoed by German submarine U-106 about 700 miles east of Newfoundland.
Oct 31. Reuben James (DD-245), an older destroyer on convoy duty west of Iceland, was sunk by U-boat with loss of 115 men.
Oct 31. DuPont (DD-152) is attacked by U-boat, but missed.
Dec 2 . German submarine U-43 torpedoes and sinks unarmed U.S. tanker Astral and her 37 man crew.
Dec 3 . Unarmed U.S. freighter Sagadahoc is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-124 in South Atlantic.
German espionage rings in the U.S. were destroyed in a sweep on June 28, 1941, well before Pearl Harbor and formal U.S. entry into the war. A naturalized U.S. citizen, was threaten with blackmail to become a radio operator for the Abwar. William Sebold sought the advice of the American Consul and became a double agent sending large quantities of approved information. He was considered so valuable in Germany that he was put in contact with all German agents in the U.S. Thirty-three people were rounded up after 16-months of operation..
Jan 26. Minesweeper Quail (AM-15) arrives at Palmyra Island with construction party to build a naval air station.
May 7 . Pacific fleet ordered to stay at Pearl Harbor indefinitely.
July 5 . Ban of strategic materials to Japan.
July 19. Naval Expansion Act for "Two Ocean Navy": to build 11 BB, 11 CV, 50 CL, 100 DD.
Sep 25. Reduce oil exports to Japan.
Oct 8 . U.S. advises citizens leave Far East
Oct 14. Three U.S. passenger liners to Japan and China to repatriate American citizens from that region in view of prevailing "abnormal conditions" there.
U.S. did not close Japanese consulates, as it had German and Italian, thus allowing Japan to continue gathering military intelligence, including monitoring U.S. fleet movements.
Jan 9 . Transport William Ward Burrows (AP-6) arrives at Wake Island with first increment of workmen (Contractors Pacific Naval Air Bases) to begin building a naval air station there.
Mar 30. Elements arrive Palmyra Island in Antares (AKS-3) to begin construction of defenses.
Mar 30. Elements arrive Johnston Island in Boggs (DMS-3) to begin construction of defenses.
Apr 15. FDR authorizes forming the American Volunteer Group (AVG), which will become known as the "Flying Tigers." Over half of the pilots will be from the Navy and Marine Corps.
Apr 27. American-Dutch-British Conference at Singapore on combined operating plan in the event of war.
July 26. U.S. freezes Japanese assets and stops export of oil to Japan.
July 26. Philippine military forces are called into service with U.S. Army.
MacArthur recalled to active duty in the U.S. Army as commander of United States Armed Forces in the Far East
Oct 4 . Suspend oil shipments to Japan.
Nov . Flying Tigers arrived China, planes assembled, pilots trained. First combat Dec 20.
Nov 14. "China Marines" ordered to Philippines.