On this day… 70 years ago



German cadet spotting the fall of the shells aimed at the Polish navy depot at Westerplatte, from the German Navy’s training ship SMS Schleswig-Holstein.

(Click to see German newsreel clip, via You Tube.)

At the end of August 1939, a German Navy training ship, the WW I battleship SMS Schleswig-Holstein, sailed to Gdansk, under the pretext of a courtesy visit, and anchored in the channel near Westerplatte. On, 1 September 1939 at 4.45 a.m. she began to fire 280mm and 170mm shells at the small Polish naval depot there. The Second World War had begun.


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