World Aviation in 1939

4 January
The German Air Ministry circulates a top secret paper, ‘Preliminary technical guidelines for high-speed fighters with turbojet propulsion’.

26 January
Barcelona, the Republican capital, is captured by Spanish Nationalist forces.

3 March
The first Pan American World Airways Boeing 314 flying boat is named ‘Yankee Clipper’ by Mrs Franklin D. Roosevelt at a ceremony in Washington DC.

14 March
Hitler announces that Czechoslovakia has become a German Protectorate and its occupation begins the following day.

28 March
Madrid and Valencia surrender to General Franco’s Nationalist forces.

30 March
Piloted by Flugkapitän Hans Dieterle, Heinkel He100V-8 establishes new world speed record of 746kph (463mph) at Oranienburg, Germany.

2 April
The Spanish Civil War ends.

7-9 April
Italy occupies Albania.

26 April
Flugkapitän Fritz Wendel, flying Messerschmitt Me209V1, establishes a new world top speed record of 755kph (469mph). This record will not be broken for 30 years.

20 May
The first large scale air battle between Soviet and Japanese aircraft occurs in Outer Mongolia near Khalkin Gol.

31 May
A German/Danish non-aggression pact is signed in Berlin.

7 June
Germany signs non-aggression pacts with Latvia and Estonia.

20 June
The first flight of the Heinkel He176 is piloted by Flugkapitän Erich Warsitz at Peenemünde in Germany. This is the first flight of a manned, specifically designed rocket-powered aircraft.

28 June
Germany and Italy undertake discussions which will lead to “the closest co-operation between German and Italian Air Forces.”

The first operational use of Soviet 82mm RS82 air-to-ground rockets takes place near Khalkin Gol in Outer Mongolia.

25-29 July
A plane of Deutche Lufthansa flies from Berlin to Bangkok in Siam, inaugurating a regular service operated by Focke Wulf Fw200 aircraft.

23 August
A non-aggression pact is signed between Germany and Soviet Union in Moscow.

27 August
The Heinkel He178 makes the first flight of a turbojet powered aircraft. Flug Kapitan Erich Warsitz pilots the aircraft from the factory airfield at Rostock-Marienche in Germany.

30 August
A Pan American World Airways flying boat, ‘California Clipper’ lands at Auckland in New Zealand after a flight from San Francisco. This is intended to be the start of a fortnightly service.

1 September
Germany invades Poland. Although Hitler states, “I will not war against women and children. I have ordered my air force to restrict itself to attacks on military objectives.” Early bombing attacks are made on Polish cities, including Warsaw.

2 September
Eire declares its neutrality.

3 September
European air services are temporarily suspended.

28 September
Warsaw surrenders.

3 October
Poland capitulates with Germany and the Soviet Union partition the country.

4 November
The United States lifts an arms export embargo, allowing the Cash and Carry delivery of weapons. As the Royal Navy has blockaded German ports only the Allies can benefit from this policy.

30 November
Soviet Union invades Finland and Soviet planes bomb Helsinki and other Finnish towns.

2 December
General H.H. Arnold, Chief of the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC), has his project for a four-engined bomber with a 2,000 mile radius of action approved. This will lead to the production of the Boeing B29 Superfortress.

28 December
Germany’s Lufthansa and Russia’s Aeroflot agree to resume air services in 1940 between the two capitals.