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Today in World War II History—June 17, 1940 & 1945

HMT Lancastria sinking off St. Nazaire, France, 17 June 1940 (Imperial War Museum: HU 3325)

HMT Lancastria sinking off St. Nazaire, France, 17 June 1940 (Imperial War Museum: HU 3325)

80 Years Ago—June 17, 1940: As German troops cross the Loire near Orléans, French Prime Minister Philippe Pétain offers the surrender of France and orders French troops to stop fighting.

German Gen. Erwin Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division advances 240 km in one day, a world record, as Panzers move to trap the French 10th Army in Normandy.

Off St. Nazaire, France, the Luftwaffe sinks liner HMT Lancastria carrying soldiers & refugees evacuating from France, the worst maritime loss in British history (about 3400/5800 killed).

Soviets occupy Estonia and Latvia.

75 Years Ago—June 17, 1945: US begins B-29 incendiary raids on medium-sized Japanese cities; missions carried out using radar-bombing.