20 June 1942

20 June 1942

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20 June 1942



North Africa

German troops attack Tobruk

June 20, 1942 – Auschwitz prisoners steal uniforms, guns and a car to escape

On this day in 1942 four prisoners of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz staged a daring escape utilizing a stolen SS member’s personal vehicle, a Steyr 220 sedan, to drive right out the front gate. The escapees were three Polish prisoners, Kazimierz Piechowski, Stanisław Gustaw Jaster and Józef Lempart, along with a prisoner who was from Czortków, now Ukraine, and a camp auto mechanic, named Eugeniusz Bendera. To pull off the escape the four men posed as a rollwagenkommando, German for haulage detail, which involved a group of men pulling a cart of items, work normally reserved for horses.

Above: Steyr 220, similar to the car used in the escape
Top: The main gate of Auschwitz

They pushed the cart through the well known gate of Auschwitz, which reads Arbeit Macht Frei, and once outside Bendera, the mechanic, made for the motor pool while the others went to a warehouse where uniforms and weapons were stored. Piechowski, the leader of the group, had inside knowledge of the camp as a Leichenkommando, one who was supposed to deliver bodies to the crematorium. As those three men stole uniforms and weapons the mechanic took the Steyr 220 belonging to SS-Hauptsturmführer Paul Kreuzmann. He was not questioned about taking the car because as a mechanic he regularly test drove vehicles to ensure they were in good working order. He drove to the warehouse where he changed into a Nazi uniform with the others before attempting their final getaway.

Kazimierz Piechowski

Armed with machine guns and grenades, the four men got into the car and drove toward the main gate leading into the camp. They also carried an intelligence report from a man who was purposely imprisoned at the camp to identify what was happening. That person would escape the next year. As the men approached the gate it did not open as they had anticipated. They rolled to a halt at the gate and Piechowski leaned out of the vehicle so the gate attendant could see the fake rank on his uniform and in less than perfect German, he ordered the soldier to open the gate. The guard raised the bar and the prisoners drove off into freedom.


On June 20, 1942, the Japanese submarine I-25 torpedoes and shells the SS Fort Camosun off Cape Flattery. The crew abandons ship, but before it sinks it is towed to safety in Neah Bay. The freighter is saved by the crews of rescuing ships and by the fact that its cargo of plywood provides bouyancy. No lives are lost.

In May 1942, the Imperial Japanese Navy dispatched submarine I-25 to patrol the U.S. and Canadian West Coast to look for shipping that might be headed to the Aleutian Islands where the Japanese had invaded the islands of Attu and Kiska. Just after midnight on June 20, I-25, under the command of Commander Meiji Tagami, encountered the SS Fort Camosun approximately 70 miles south southwest of Cape Flattery. The new coal-burning freighter was on her maiden voyage from Victoria to England with zinc, lead, plywood, and other raw materials. The I-25 launched a torpedo, which hit the Fort Camosun. The submarine then surfaced and Commander Tagami ordered the deck gun to open fire, causing further damage.

The Royal Canadian Navy corvette Quesnel raced to the scene, arriving after about six hours. The Quesnel attacked a submerged submarine and with another corvette, the Edmunston, providing cover, rescued the 31-man crew. I-25 left the area and reported the Fort Camosun sunk. But after 24 hours, the freighter was still afloat, although low in the water and unable to steer. The crew of the Edmundston took the freighter under tow and was assisted by the tug Henry Foss from Tacoma, the U.S. Navy tug USS Tatnuck, and the tug Salvage Queen.

The Fort Camosun reached safety in Neah Bay. She was then towed to Esquimalt, B.C., then to Victoria, then to Seattle for repairs. She returned to help in the war effort and survived another torpedoing in the Gulf of Aden.

U.S. destroyers sank the I-25 in 1943.

S.S. Fort Camosun (c.) with Canadian Navy corvette Edmuston (l.) under tow to Neah Bay, June 22, 1942

Courtesy Archives of Canada (in Webber, Retaliation


Bert Webber, Retaliation: Japanese Attacks and Allied Countermeasures on the Pacific Coast in World War II (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1975), 19-20.

June 20, 1942: Prisoners disguised as SS officers make a daring escape from Auschwitz

On 20 June 1942, four prisoners escape Auschwitz through the front gate, disguised as SS officers. Among them is the Polish 22-year-old Kazimierz Piechowski. During the first days of the war, he saw how the Germans killed his friends from the boy scouts, who were perceived as potential sources of resistance. Knowing that he will suffer a similar fate if he doesn't flee, Piechowski decided to run for the Hungarian border to join the Polish forces in exile.

Piechowski was arrested before he could cross the border, but he wasn't executed as he had feared. Instead, the Germans sent him to various prisons before leaving him at Auschwitz. There, Piechowski was put to work as a construction worker and, once the crematorium was done, as a body hauler. He found new comrades among the camp's underground resistance and did not think of escape until he learned that his friend Eugeniusz Bendera was on the death list.

Together, they begin plotting their escape, bringing two more men on board. Although they simply aim to save their own skin, they also bring along one of Witold Pilecki's reports on the camp's practices to let the world know what is happening at Auschwitz.

Today, the four set their plan in motion. After a final prayer, they pass through the first gate with relative ease by posing as a rubbish haulage detail. Piechowski and two others then head for the warehouse where the SS has its uniforms and weapons stored. They break in through the coal cellars and quickly swap their striped pajamas for shiny SS uniforms, while Bendera, a mechanic, steals a Steyr 220 car belonging to one of the high-ranking camp commandants.

The four escapees drive towards the main gate, praying that the guards will let them through without checking any papers. As they approach the checkpoint, the gate stays shut, and it looks as if their disguise is about to be compromised. In a last-ditch effort to fool the guards, Piechowski shouts at one of them in his best German to hurry and open the gate. Miraculously, it works, and the Steyr races off into the Polish countryside.

Milford, CT – June 20, 1942

On June 20, 1942, 2nd Lt. Eugene E. Barnum was flying in the No. 2 position in a three plane string formation over the Bridgeport, Connecticut, metropolitan area when his aircraft, a P-47B, (Ser. No. 41-5919), began having engine trouble after the trio came out of a step dive and leveled off at 3,000 feet. First the engine started to misfire, then it began throwing oil, and trailing smoke. Lt. Barnum dropped out of formation and attempted to fly back towards Bridgeport airport, but as he was passing over Milford, his engine abruptly stopped, with the propeller frozen. Knowing he could not make the airport, Lt. Barnum crashed landed in a marsh area. The plane suffered heavy damage, but Lt. Barnum escaped with minor injuries. After climbing out of his plane, he sat and waited for help to arrive.

At the time of this forced landing Lt. Barnum was assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron at Bridgeport, Connecticut. He received his pilot’s wings on April 29, 1942.

June 20, 1942 - 𧿪rless' Freddie Mills finishes Leonard 'Len' Harvey in round two.

JUNE 20, 1942: Legendary British boxer ‘Fearless’ Freddie Mills knocked out Len Harvey in a spectacular wartime fight at White Hart Lane on this day in 1942. The 22-year-old stunned a crowd of 30,000 at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club’s stadium by emphatically winning the British light heavyweight title. In the second round Mills put the 34-year-old seasoned champion down for a count of nine after smashing him with his powerful trademark left hook.

When Harvey got up, Mills wholloped him with a left uppercut, forcing him through the ropes and knocking him out. British Pathé cameras caught one of the greatest moments in boxing during the match, which was held in the day because of the night-time blackout. It turned the father-of-two from Bournemouth into an overnight sensation, with talk of him being a suitable challenger for world heavyweight champion Joe Louis.

But Mills, whose victory over Harvey had won him a world title only recognised in Britain, would not get a chance to become undisputed champion until 1946. The former apprentice milkman was unable to leave the UK during World War II, and was largely restricted to morale-boosting entertainment fights for the RAF. In this capacity, Mills, who was nicknamed Fearless Freddie due to his ability to take punishment, became a fans’ favourite.

When he finally got a shot at the world light heavyweight title in a fight against U.S slugger and undisputed champion Gus Lesnevich in May 1946, he lost. But he took his opponent all the way to the tenth round when the bout was stopped by the referee – and a hotly anticipated rematch was eventually scheduled for 1948.

This time, Mills, who had prepared by taking on some heavyweight boxers in the interim, won the bruising encounter on points after taking it to the fifteenth round. He remained champion for two more years until his what became his last ever fight when he lost to Joey Maxim on January 24, 1950. Mills, who relied on raw aggression rather than fighting finesse, was floored by American ‘beautiful boxer’ Joey Maxim at Earls Court in London.

Mills, who was knocked down in the tenth round, then humiliatingly fell over during the count as he sat on the canvas. After retiring, he remained a popular personality and even became the subject of a 1961 episode of This Is Your Life presented by Eamonn Andrews. He also made cameo appearances in several movies, including Carry on Constable, and became a BBC presenter for a pop music programme Six-Five Special.

After this his life took a turn for the worst when he became friends with London gangsters the Kray Twins and opened a night club in the capital. His investment failed and he was left heavily in debt to a crime syndicate, which left him fearing for his life. In 1965, at the age of 46, he was dead in his car with a gunshot wound to his head and a rifle next to him in the vehicle.

An inquest determined that he had committed suicide after becoming depressed. Experts have also blamed heavy blows to the heads and repeated concussion for high depression rates among boxers. A total of 15 championship-winning fighters are known to have committed suicide since 1928. Mills was buried in Camberwell New Cemetery in south London and among his pall bearers was boxing legend Henry Cooper.

1 Mile So. of Grenier Field, NH – June 20, 1942

On June 20, 1942, 2nd Lt. Clevio R. Rogo, 25, took off from Grenier Field in Manchester, New Hampshire for a scheduled two hour training flight in a P-39D-1 aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-28317). Twenty minutes later he was returning to the field due to what was later assumed by investigators to be engine trouble. In the official accident investigation report it was stated, “No contact was made with the tower and it is the concensus of the committee that engine trouble may have been experienced which did not enable the pilot to maintain sufficient flying speed on his turn into the field to avoid going out of control.” Lt. Rogo was killed when his plane crashed and burned about one mile south of the airfield.

Lt. Rogo obtained his pilot’s rating on December 12, 1941. He was assigned to the 5th Fighter Squadron stationed at Grenier Field in Manchester.

Endless Summer

In 2014 the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before appearing on U.S. screens the following year. Paul Dano earned a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of a young Wilson (actor John Cusack was cast as the older Wilson, Paul Giamatti appearing as Eugene Landy), and the legendary musician also scored a nomination for contributing the song “One Kind of Love,” co-written with Scott Bennett. That same year, Wilson released a new solo album, No Pier Pressure, which reached No. 23 on the album charts.

In October 2016, the memoir I Am Brian Wilson was published. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine to promote the book, the 74-year-old legend announced that he would begin work on a new album, Sensitive Music for Sensitive People, later that year.

By MIDN 2/C Sydney Tse, USN

USS Long Island (CVE-1) (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archives)

On June 2, 1941, the USS Long Island (AVG-1) was commissioned as the first Auxiliary Aircraft Escort Carrier. The design led to more experimentation, turning merchant ships into aircraft carriers. By the end of World War II, there were more escort carriers than aircraft carriers.

You are probably wondering what is an escort carrier? Don’t you mean an aircraft carrier? Wasn’t the first carrier called the Langley?

Yes, the aircraft carrier came before the escort carrier. During World War II, there was a shortage of aircraft transport vessels. As a result, the escort carrier was created out of merchant ships to act as a make-shift aircraft carrier.


In the Proceedings July 1932 article “The Need for Additional Aircraft Carriers,” by Major General James E. Fechet, states, “the only way to oppose hostile air forces arriving by sea is with fighting aircraft based at sea. This is done through the medium of the aircraft carrier.” At the time, there were only two carriers in the fleet: the USS Lexington and USS Ranger. Fechet argued the carrier is a weapon for fighting a weaker but faster fleet.

How the Escort Carrier Evolved

In December 1940, Rear Admiral William F. Halsey sent a letter to CNO Harold R. Stark stating the entry of the U.S. into the European war would require all six aircraft carriers deployed immediately. Thus, the U.S. would be left with nothing to transport our aircraft to overseas bases and restrict training exercises.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s naval aide, Captain Daniel Callahan, proposed to increase convoy protection, “a 6,000- to 8,000-ton merchant vessel capable of attaining a speed of at least 15 knots be converted into an experimental carrier equipped with a flight deck that could accommodate ten helicopters or ten planes with low-landing speeds.” In less than three months, the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock completed the conversion of the C-3 into the first Auxiliary Aircraft Escort Carrier USS Long Island.

USS Long Island (AVG-1) (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archives)

The 10,000 ton Mormacmail, a C-3 merchant ship, was the first ship converted into escort carrier. “[S]he had a flush flight deck extending 362 feet abaft and above the pilothouse, a catapult installed to launch planes off her port bow, and a single elevator. Designed to carry 16 carrier scouting planes (SOCs), she was also armed with two 3-inch/50-caliber guns on her forecastle and a single 5-inch/51 gun at her stern. Following flight-testing on board the carrier later that summer, in September 1941 the Bureau of Ships authorized adding 77 additional feet to her flight deck by extending it forward over the pilothouse.” (Jeffrey G. Barlow, “The Navy’s Escort Carrier Offensive” Naval History November 2013,)

More Auxiliary Vessels

Following the attack of Pearl Harbor, the board on Navy Auxiliary Vessels recommended the requisition of 24 additional merchant hulls to convert into more auxiliary aircraft carriers. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox approved and the Maritime Commission agreed to give the Navy 20 C-3 freighters.

As World War II continued the need increased. In the June 2019 Proceedings, Ensign G. I. “Ike” Heinemann, USN, wrote about the usefulness of the light aircraft carriers (CVL) that closed the gaps in the fleet and their operations as independent naval air fleets. The ships were so useful the majority of the Navy’s carriers were escort carriers CVEs. Ultimately, of the 151 aircraft carriers built in WWII, 122 were escort carriers.

Often one auxiliary carrier was part of each surface-support group and operated offensively in “killer operations,” for example the USS Bogue (CVE-9). It sunk the German U-Boat U-118 on 12 June 1943 near the Canary Islands.

USS Bogue (CVE-9) (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archives)

U-118 is attacked and sunk by U.S. Navy aircraft from the USS Bogue (CVE-9) (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archives)


The USS Long Island (AVG-1) participated in the transportation of reinforcement planes in the Battle of Guadalcanal.

A Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat fighter is lifted on board USS Long Island (ACV-1) from USS Kitty Hawk (APV-1), at Fila Harbor, New Hebrides, 28 August 1942. This plane was en route to Guadalcanal as part of the second group of U.S. Marine Corps planes to be based at Henderson Field. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph)

The planes, 19 Grumman F4F Wildcats and 12 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers aboard the USS Long Island (ACV-1) (reclassified as ACV in 1942), were some of the first to reach Henderson Field. These planes became instrumental in the air assault campaign. ( Morison, Samuel Eliot (2010). The Struggle for Guadalcanal: August 1942 – February 1943. Naval Institute Press.)

U.S. Navy transports at anchor off Guadalcanal Island in 1943. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archives)

Beached Japanese transports burn at Guadalcanal as a SBD Dauntless dive bomber flies by in the foreground, 26 November 1942. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archives)

Following V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) the USS Long Island (CVE-1) participated in Operation Magic Carpet, along with many escort carriers. The ship reclassified as CVE, an escort aircraft carrier or “baby flattop.” The mission was to repatriate the millions of A`merican military personnel from the multiple theaters of the Pacific, Europe, and Asia.

Post-war the Long Island was decommissioned in 1946 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. In 1948, it was converted for merchant use, renamed Nelly in 1949, and served as an immigrant carrier for Europe and Canada. (Silverstone, Paul H. (1968). U.S. Warships of World War II. Doubleday & Company)

Ultimately, it scrapped in Belgium in 1977. The Long Island’s awards include one battle star for service in WWII.

Why is this important?

The escort carrier is an example of the Navy’s adaptability. Converting merchant ships to transport aircraft in 3 months is astoundingly productive rather than building a carrier from scratch. This practice continues today, the use of commercial-off-the-shelf technology integration in the Navy is applied even to the most complex of vessels, our submarines. микрозайм

Moving to Other Seasons

After the June solstice, the sun follows a lower and lower path through the sky each day in the Northern Hemisphere until it reaches the point where the length of daylight is about 12 hours and eight to nine minutes in areas that are about 30 degrees north or south of the equator.

Areas 60 degrees north or south of the equator have daylight for about 12 hours and 16 minutes. This is the September Equinox, the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

Earth does not move at a constant speed in its elliptical orbit. Therefore the seasons are not of equal length: the times taken for the sun to move from the March Equinox to the June solstice, to the September equinox, to the December solstice, and back to the March equinox are roughly 92.8, 93.6, 89.8 and 89.0 days respectively.

The consolation in the Northern Hemisphere is that spring and summer last longer than autumn and winter.

Watch the video: 20. Juni 1942 - Anne Frank