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.

1940
Destroyer Exmouth torpedoed off Wick, Scotland by U-22; all hands killed.

1941
The Destroyer HMS Hyperion sunk by mine off Cape Bon.

Tobruk surrenders to British and Australian troops who capture 25,000 Italians, along with 208 guns and 87 tanks. Combined British and Australian losses were about 450. The British government now orders Wavells XIII Corps to capture Benghazi.

1942
Rommel’s command is redesignated as Panzer Army Afrika. German panzers capture Agedabia and trap part of the British 1st Armored Division in the Antelat – Sannu area, destroying about 70 of its tanks.

Rommel Panzer Army Afrika

 

Reinforcements reach Singapore as an Indian Brigade is landed.

General MacArthur orders the withdrawal of US and Filipino troops to the Bagac-Orion line, which is the
final defensive position in Bataan. After dark the Japanese make two Battalion sized landings at Quinauan Point and Longoskawayan Point to the rear of the US-Filipino positions in Bataan. However, U.S. and Filipino reserves successfully contain these beachheads.

1943
Japanese forces are routed at Sanananda, putting paid to their resistance in Papua. On Guadalcanal, the Americans make important gains in the battle round Henderson field.

1945
The land route from India to China through Burma is declared free of Japanese and now open to convoys.

The Red Army captures Insterburg and Allenstein in East Prussia.

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1940
Admiralty announce sinking of the Grenville, 8 dead, 73 missing, presumed dead.

The Russian 8th Army launches an attack against the Finnish forces of Group Talvela, without success. The Finnish 9th Division is transferred from Suomussalmi to Kuhmo.

1941
Communist newspaper, The Daily Worker is suppressed in Britain.

The US informs the Soviet Union that the “moral embargo” imposed on it after its 1939 attack on Finland no longer applies.

British and Australian forces breach the defenses at Tobruk.

1942
The Luftwaffe, with 400 aircraft available, begins a series of raids against London and ports in southern England.

Without consulting higher authority, Rommel launches a counter-offensive against the 8th Army. The 21st Panzer Division quickly seizes Mersa Brega, while the 15th Panzer Division advances to Wadi Faregh and swings north towards Agedabia, brushing aside the attempts by the 1st Armoured Division to stop them.

General Joseph W. Stillwell is appointed as Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek.

First Japanese bombing of New Guinea.

1943
The Combined Chiefs of Staff issue the Casablanca Directive. Its principal aim was to weld RAF and USAAF strategic bomber forces into one mighty air arm able to crush the German industrial, military and economic system. It was also decided that to defer the cross-channel invasion until 1944.

The Russians claim the capture of the Caucasian railway town of Voroshilovskiy and say that 500,000 Germans have been killed and 200,000 captured in the last two months of fighting.

1944
The largest Luftwaffe raid on Britain for some time, with 90 planes being spotted over Southeast England during the ‘Little Blitz’. Mosquito night-fighters equipped with radar account for 129 of the 329 aircraft shot down during the 5 month Little Blitz.

The RAF sends 648 bombers to Magdeburg, but loses 55 for just 4 Luftwaffe fighters.

1945
Tannenburg is taken by Red Army, but only after the Germans blow up the memorial.

British forces enter Monywa, 60 miles to the West of Mandalay.

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1941
Compulsory fire watching duty introduced in Great Britain.

With Hitler’s tacit support, Marshal Antonescu suppresses a rebellion by the Iron Guard in Romania.

Emperor Haile Selassie crosses the Abyssinian border at Um Idla.

1942
In the Wannsee suburb of Berlin, the formal adoption of the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Problem’ takes place. In practice this meant that all

Jews in occupied Europe were to be transported to the east. The able bodied were worked until they died, while the remainder were put to death.

British troops capture Benghazi.

The Japanese 55th Division crosses the Thai-Burmese border from Raheng. They quickly threaten Moulmein in Burma, using the same tactics as in

Malaya of outflanking British forces through the Jungle.

1943
Daylight raid by the Luftwaffe hits a school in London, killing 44 children and one teacher.

Russian progress continues in the Caucasus.

1944
The RAF makes its heaviest raid on Berlin, with 700 bombers dropping more than 2,300 tons during the 11th raid of the ‘Battle of Berlin’.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder is appointed Deputy Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force.

Allied forces in Italy begin unsuccessful operations to cross the Rapido River and seize Cassino.

The Red Army recaptures Novgorod.

1945
The French First Army under de Lattre attacks against the Colmar Pocket in Alsace.

Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated for his fourth term.

The Allies sign a truce with the Hungarians.

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1941
Hitler and Mussolini meet at Berchtesgaden, with Mussolini accepting German military help in North Africa, but not Albania.

British troops under General Platt, re-occupy Kassala in the Sudan and advance into Eritrea.

1942
Two Axis transports, the Mongevino and Ankara land 45 German tanks at Benghazi as reinforcement, while axis forces evacuate the city.

General Wavell warns Churchill that Singapore cannot be held as little had been done to prepare the landward facing defences. Churchill replies that Singapore must be defended and that ‘no question of surrender be entertained until after protracted fighting among the ruins of Singapore city’. General Wavell orders General Percival to prepare Singapore Island for a siege.

Japanese troop capture Tavoy as their advance continues in Burma.

The Japanese have now secured all of British North Borneo.

1943
Russians claim further victories during a 75-mile advance towards Kharkov on the Voronezh front, with the Russians claiming 52,000 axis prisoners on this front alone.

The Eighth Army captures Homs and Tarhuna, near Tripoli.

1944
The Eire government announces the arrest of two ‘Quisling’ Irishmen, parachuted into County Clare by German planes.

Germans forces are surrounded in Novgorod, 100 miles to the South of Leningrad, but manage to break out.

1945
Hitler orders that all divisional sized and larger attacks or retreats must have his approval.

The Russians cross 1939 Poland-Silesia frontier taking Kracow. East Prussia is also entered from south by Russian troops. Red Army forces capture Lodz.

USAAF B29 bombers destroy the Kawasaki aircraft works near Kobe, in Japan.

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1942
The Red Army cuts the main supply route for the German 2nd and 10th Corps at Demyansk near Lake Ilmen, forcing the Luftwaffe to begin flying in supplies. Field Marshal von Bock takes over command of Army Group South from Field Marshal von Reichenau who died of a heart attack. The Soviet South West Front launches an offensive across the river Donets, to the South of Kharkov in an attempt to cut of all German forces north of the Sea of Azov. German troops of 11th Army recapture Feodosiya and seal off the Soviet bridgehead at Kerch in the Crimea.

1943
The Russians break through the German stranglehold on Leningrad to relieve the city from the East. In the Caucasus, the Russian advance continues. Cherkessk is captured by the Red Army, who are now less than 250 miles south east of Rostov.

First resistance by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

The Germans counter attack in Tunisia. They gain ground against the Free French, but are repulsed by British forces.

Australian troops capture Cape Killerton and Wye Point in Papua, New Guinea.

1944
German forces of Army Group Centre repel repeated Red Army attacks in the area of Vitebsk.

1945
German troops evacuate Kracow. A German offensive begins from Lake Balaton, with the aim of lifting the Red Army’s siege of Budapest.

British Empire casualties to November 1944 are announced as 282,162 killed, 80,580 missing, 386,374 wounded and 294,438 captured.

Nazis evacuate 66,000 inmates from Auschwitz back into Germany.

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