Archive for WWII History

Today in World War II History. On these pages you will find of some of the most important events that shaped World War 2.

1933
The burning down of the Reichstag building in Berlin gives the Nazis the opportunity to suspend personal liberty with increased power.

1941
The first encounter of the Afrika Korps and the British forces.

1942
The Battle of the Java Sea begins and continues for three days, during which the Allies, under the command of the Dutch Admiral, Karel  Doorman lose five cruisers and six destroyers, while the Japanese lose just 4 transports.

British Commandos raid a German radar station at Bruneval on the French coast.

1943
Jews working in Berlin armaments industry are sent to Auschwitz.

USAAF bomber aircraft make their first raid on Germany.

1944
About 60,000 Japanese are reported to be trapped in New Britain and New Ireland, in the South West Pacific.

1945
SHAEF reports that spectacular gains by the U.S. First and Ninth Armies on the Cologne Plain have been made.

Under Russian pressure, the Romanian King, Michael I is forced to appoint a Communist government.

The US 8th Air Force launches another heavy attack against Berlin which devastates the center of the city.

Army Group Courland repulses heavy Red Army attacks in the area of Prekuln.

U.S. Marines land on Verde Island, to the Southeast of Manila.

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1936
Japanese military troops march into Tokyo to conduct a coup and assassinate political leaders.

1941
Franco, in response to Hitler’s appeal to enter the war, says ‘I stand today already at your side, entirely and decidedly at your disposal,’ but refuses to enter the war.

British take the Somali capital in East Africa.

1942
The RAF launches an attack against the battleship Gneisenau, which is being repaired at Kiel’s floating dock. The damage caused is severe and the battleship is never again put to sea under her own power.

Churchill exhorts General Auchinleck to launch an offensive against the German and Italian forces that are gathering in front of the Gazala line. He reminds Auchinleck that the longer he waits, the more time Rommel will have to rebuild his strength. To this General Auchinleck reply’s that his intention is to first build up an armoured striking force as quickly as possible and strengthen the defenses of the Gazala line. Only then would he mount a major offensive, which he advised Churchill would be in early June.

While carrying Army fighters to the Netherlands East Indies, the first U.S. carrier, the USS Langley, is sunk by Japanese bombers.

1943
Von Arnim launches a five-day counter attack in northern Tunisia, gaining some ground. Montgomery issues the plan Operation ‘Pugilist’, which is to smash the Mareth defensive Line in southern Tunisia.

U.S. B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators pound German docks and U-boat lairs at Wilhelmshaven.

1944
Bad weather ends ‘Big Week’, during which 26 German aircraft production related factories are hit putting German monthly production down by 20%.

1945
The attacks by the US Ninth Army into the Hürtgen Forest make little progress.

Army Group Courland repulses heavy Red Army attacks in the area of Prekuln.

Syria declares war on Germany and Japan.

U.S. Marines land on Verde Island, to the Southeast of Manila.

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1941
British Commando’s land on the Italian held Island of Castelorizzo in the Dodecanese.

The British submarine, HMS Upholder, sinks the Italian Cruiser Armando Diaz to the southwest of Malta.

British Nigerian troops of the 11th African Division occupy Mogadishu, the capital of Italian Somaliland, having advanced up the coast. Meanwhile the 12th African Division pushes up the river Juba in Italian Somaliland towards the Abyssinian border town of Dolo.

1942
After the withdrawal of ABDA HQ from Java, Wavell himself now leaves for Australia.

The debate in the House of Commons comes to a close with many speakers being sharply critical of government policy, with the bombing of Germany being called in to question.

1943
The RAF begins a round the clock bombing campaign in Tunisia, with 2,000 raids in the next 48 hours.

1944
Convoy JW-57 (43 ships and 19 escorts) sailing the Loch Ewe to the Kola Peninsula, is attacked on 25 February off Norway. One destroyer, HMS Mahratta, is sunk by U-990 for 1,920 tons.

U.S. forces destroy 135 Japanese planes in Marianas and Guam.

1945
Turkey declares war against Germany.

400 RAF bombers carry out attacks against Dortmund and Rheine.

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1941
The 2-engine Manchester bomber is used for the first time during an RAF raid against Brest.

Reconnaissance elements of the German 5th Light Division clash with British forces for the first time in Africa, at Nofilia near El Agheila

1942
Parliament begins a two day debate on the conduct of the war.

USS Enterprise attacks the Japanese garrison on Wake Island.

1944
Hitler speaks to a closed door meeting of Nazi Party leaders and activists at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich on the occasion of the anniversary of the proclamation of the Party Program in 1920. Hitler refuses Goebbels requests that the speech be broadcast and even prohibits any mention of it in the newspapers.

‘Big Week’ continues with a co-ordinated RAF and USAAF attacks on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing factory.

1945
A haggard and aged-looking Hitler addresses his Gauleiters and Reichsleiters for what proves to be the last time in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the proclamation of the Nazi Party program. Perhaps sensitive to the likelihood of public scepticism and derision, he refuses to allow the speech to be broadcast or even reported to the public at large.

A German counter attack wipes out the Russian Hron bridgehead over the Danube to the northwest of Budapest.

German U-boats sink 8 ships and 2 destroyers from a convoy bound for the Russian port of Murmansk.

U.S. Marines capture a second airfield on Iwo Jima.

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1938
welve Chinese fighter planes drop bombs on Japan.

1940
Sweden announces that she will not permit British or French troops to cross through her territory on their way to Finland.

The Soviet Union announces its final conditions for peace. Finland must hand over the Karelia Isthmus and the shores of Lake Ladoga. It must also grant a 30 year lease on the Hangö Peninsula and sign a mutual assistance treaty, guaranteeing the security of the Gulf of Finland against external threats. In return for all this, the Russians will withdraw from the Petsamo area.

Crews of Exeter and Ajax cheered through London after return from South America.

1941
Alexandros Korizis, the Greek premier formally accepts Britain’s offer of troops.

Stuka’s sink a British Destroyer and the Monitor Terror off the North African coast, near Tobruk.

Free French forces land in Eritrea.

1942
Air Marshal A. T. (Bomber) Harris is appointed C-in-C of Bomber Command. Harris already had a reputation of being a determined and forceful character and was totally convinced that the bombing of Germany could bring her to her knees and be decisive in winning the war.

The British submarine HMS Trident, torpedo’s the cruiser Prinz Eugen which is sailing to Norway from Kiel, forcing its return to Germany for substantial repairs.

While the 17th Indian Division is withdrawing across the river Sittang, the Japanese launch an attack to capture the Bridge. Lieutenant General Smyth, orders the bridge to be blown, even though more than half his division has still to cross. The remnants of the 17th Indian Division, withdraw to Pegu, where they are joined by the 7th Armoured Brigade, which had recently arrived from the Middle East. For prematurely blowing up the bridge on the river Sittang, Lieutenant General Smyth is removed from command of the 17th Indian Division by General Wavell.

Wavells ABDA HQ leaves Java for Australia, where upon its arrival it is disbanded. Against the wishes of Churchill, the Australian Prime Minister, Curtin orders all Australian Divisions to return home.

A Japanese submarine shells an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, the first Axis bombs to hit American soil.

1944
Total U.S. casualties so far are put at 19,499 killed, 45,545 wounded, 26,339 missing and 26,754 captured.

U.S. carrier-based planes attack the Mariana Islands. Only 1,300 miles from Tokyo.

General Lucas is sacked from the Anzio command and is replaced by Major General Truscott. German counter-attacks drives the Anzio beachhead back further.

Merrill’s ‘Marauders’ (US 5307th Composite Unit) begins Stilwell’s Sino-American advance into northern Burma.

1945
The US Ninth Army begins an offensive from its bridgeheads on the Roer river leading to the bloody battle of the Hürtgen Forest.

The Russians capture the fortress of Posen after a month-long siege.

US paratroops spring 2,146 detainees from a Japanese camp South of Manila in surprise attack, during which 243 Japanese are killed for loss of just two U.S. killed and two injured.

U.S. Marines storm Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima and raise the U.S. flag.

1946
Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita is hanged in Manila, the Philippines, for war crimes.


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