Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

1940 Two IRA bombs explode in London; 12 people injured.

The German destroyer Z3 ‘Max Schultz’, hits a mine and sinks whilst trying to evade an air attack in the North Sea.

1941 430 Jewish hostages are deported from Amsterdam after a Dutch Nazi is killed by Jews.

The Afrika Korps, newly arrived in Libya, launch their first probing attacks against the unpleasantly surprised British Army at El Agheila.

1942 Air Marshal A. T. (Bomber) Harris is appointed C-in-C of Bomber Command.

British forces in retreat less than 100 miles from Rangoon, the capital of Burma.

President Franklin Roosevelt orders Gen. Douglas MacArthur to leave the Philippines.

1943 Churchill is said to be ‘on the mend’ after a severe fever.

Army Group Centre begins a counterattack in the area between the Dnieper and Donets.

Allied commando raid on Myebon, South of Akyab in the Arakan, western Burma.

1944 Malinovsky completes the capture of the mining area around Krivoi Rog.

Heavy Japanese losses as the U.S. Navy bombards the Marianas in the Pacific.

1945 Allied Air Forces launch Operation Clarion, a concerted effort to wipe out all forms of transport available to the Germans in 24 hours.  Nearly 9,000 aircraft, operating from bases in England, France, Holland, Belgium and Italy attack over 250,00 square miles of territory, targeting railways, bridges, ports and roads.

After a heavy four-day battle, the U.S.Fifth Army takes the Upper Reno Valley in northern Italy between Bologna and Florence.

1942 Convoy ON-166 (60 ships) sailing from Britain to North America, is attacked in the North Atlantic by 19 U-boats from wolfpacks Ritter and Knappen between the 21st and 26th February. 14 allied ships are lost for 87,901 tons. 4 U-boats U-225, U-606, U-529, U623 were sunk during the battle.

1943 The 25th Anniversary of the creation of the Red Army is celebrated in all allied countries.

1944 U.S. Marines complete the capture of Eniwetok Atoll, suffering 339 dead.

Hideki Tojo becomes chief of staff of the Japanese army.

1945 The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Guben.

The US 8th Air Force bombs Nürnberg with over 1,000 bombers.

The British 2nd Division establishes another Irrawaddy bridgehead, while the British 36th Division breaks through at Myitson, in northern Burma. Meanwhile further British forces cross the Irrawaddy in central Burma.

1940 Destroyer HMS Daring torpedoed, 157 are killed.

1942 Under increasing threat of being outflanked by the advancing Japanese, the 17th Indian Division is finally given permission to withdraw across the river Sittang.

Largest Japanese air raid since Pearl Harbor occurs against Darwin, Australia as the Japanese attack twice in one day.

The Battle of Badung Strait results in a Japanese victory, as an American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDA) naval squadron attempts to prevent the Japanese landing on Bali. The Allies lose 1 Dutch destroyer sunk and 2 Dutch cruisers and a US destroyer damaged. Executive Order 9066 is signed by President Roosevelt, authorizing the transfer of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans living in coastal Pacific areas to concentration camps invarious inland states (and including inland areas of California). The interned Japanese-Americans lose an estimated 400 million dollars in property, as their homes and possessions are taken from them.

Japanese invade Bali.

General Gamelin, Leon Blum and Paul Reynaud are put on trial at Riom by the Vichy government, charged with being responsible for the French defeat of 1940. The trial is never concluded. Blum defends himself so brilliantly that the trial is suspended. He remains a prisoner until 1945.

1943

The first Chindit action against Japanese occurs.

A two-day U-boat attack on Convoy ONl16 in the North Atlantic ends with 15 allied ships sunk.

1944 Danish saboteurs attack the rail lines round Aarhus.

The U.S. Eighth Air Force and Royal Air Force begin “Big Week,” a series of heavy bomber attacks against German aircraft production facilities.

The RAF saturates Leipzig, dropping 2,300 tons of bombs, but loses 78 of 823 bombers.

A Japanese convoy is smashed by allied aircraft in the Bismarck Archipelago.

1945 German forces re-establish communications between Königsberg and the port of Pillau, thus again enabling tens of thousands of German refugees to be evacuated to the west by ships of the Kriegsmarine. ‘Operation Sonnenwende’ is finally ended in the face of ever strengthening Red Army resistance. The operation was a complete military failure, although did show that the German Army could still organize and mount limited counter-attacks.

After a heavy bombardment, 30,000 US Marines land on Iwo Jima, but suffer 2,420 casualties on the first day.

Iwo Jima Flag Raising

1940 Destroyer HMS Daring torpedoed, 157 are killed.1942 Under increasing threat of being outflanked by the advancing Japanese, the 17th Indian Division is finally given permission to withdraw across the river Sittang.In Australia, Darwin is attacked twice in one day by Japanese aircraft.The battle of Lumbok Strait results in a Japanese victory, as an Allied naval squadron attempts to prevent the Japanese landing on Bali. The Allies lose 1 Dutch destroyer sunk and 2 Dutch cruisers and a US destroyer damaged. Japanese Carrier based planes raid Darwin in northern Australia, inflicting severe damage to the port.

Executive Order 9066 is signed by President Roosevelt, authorizing the transfer of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans living in coastal Pacific areas to concentration camps invarious inland states (and including inland areas of California). The interned Japanese-Americans lose an estimated 400 million dollars in property, as their homes and possessions are taken from them.

1943 The first Chindit action against Japanese occurs.

1944 Danish saboteurs attack the rail lines round Aarhus.

The RAF saturates Leipzig, dropping 2,300 tons of bombs, but loses 78 of 823 bombers.

A Japanese convoy is smashed by allied aircraft in the Bismarck Archipelago.

1945 German forces re-establish communications between Königsberg and the port of Pillau, thus again enabling tens of thousands of German refugees to be evacuated to the west by ships of the Kriegsmarine. ‘Operation Sonnenwende’ is finally ended in the face of ever strengthening Red Army resistance. The operation was a complete military failure, although did show that the German Army could still organize and mount limited counter-attacks.

After a heavy bombardment, 30,000 US Marines land on Iwo Jima, but suffer 2,420 casualties on the first day.

1941 Parts of the Australian 8th Division arrive in Singapore.

1943 In the wake of the Stalingrad disaster, Dr. Goebbels, speaking before an enthusiastic audience of soldiers and civilians in Berlin, announces the implementation of “total war” which, for the first time, mandates the employment of German women in the war effort.

Nazis arrest White Rose resistance leaders in Munich.

German General Erwin Rommel takes three towns in Tunisia, North Africa.

1944 Mosquitoes, escorted by Typhoon fighter-bombers, launch a daylight low-level attack on the prison at Amiens, France, in order release French patriots; 258 prisoners escaped (including many criminals), but 102 inmates were killed.Renewed allied attacks at Cassino are broken off. The Germans make further gains at Anzio but are repulsed by allied artillery and warships.

The Red Army recaptures Staraya Russa, as Army Group North falls back to the line Narva-Pleskau-Oposhka.

The Germans conduct their heaviest night raid on London since 1941 as the Luftwaffe intensifies the ‘Little Blitz’.

The Cruiser Penelope is sunk by U-410 off Naples and earns the distinction of being the last British cruiser to be lost in the war.

U.S. Marines begin landing on Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

U.S. Marines begin landing on Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

1945 The Red Army encircles Graudenz on the Vistula. Troops of the 11th SS Army are brought to a stand still by stiffening Soviet resistance to ‘Operation Sonnenwende’.

A Russian torpedo hits the ex-’Strength through Joy’ Nazi cruise liner leaving Danzig for Denmark with 5,000 refugees and 3,800 U-boat personnel on board. Only 1,000 are reported as saved.

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

1940 Norway protests to Britain over violation of neutrality.

1942 German vessel disguised as a British merchantman is reported sunk by a U-boat off Azores.

Japanese invade Bali, despite allied naval interception and bomb Darwin on Northern Australia.

1943 The Eighth Army occupies Medenine in southern Tunisia. 5th Panzerarmee’s advance beyond the Kasserine Pass is temporarily suspended.

1944 German troops encircled in the Cherkassy pocket achieve a breakout, but at a heavy cost in men and equipment. The Russians claim the annihilation of the trapped German divisions at Korsun. They also begin to storm Krivoi Rog.

U.S forces land on Eniwetok atoll in the South Pacific.

Operation Hailstone begins as U.S. carrier-based planes bomb the Japanese naval base at Truk in the Caroline Islands.

1945 The U.S. Third Army launches a new offensive into Germany, having pierced the Siegfried Line on an 11-mile front.

U.S. troops capture the whole of the Bataan Peninsula, which commands Manila Bay in Philippines.

Gen. MacArthur’s troops land on Corregidor in the Philippines.

1940 The British destroyer Cossack, enters a Norwegian fjord, captures the German freighter Altmark, former supply ship of the Graf Spee and frees 300 British merchant seamen who were captured from vessels sunk by the Graf Spee in the South Atlantic.

1942 Dönitz orders all available U-boats in the Atlantic to attack British and American shipping off the US eastern seaboard. German U-boats, with their deck guns, bombard oil storage facilities and refineries on the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curacao in the southern Caribbean.

The Australian Prime Minister Curtin calls the surrender of Singapore ‘Australia’s Dunkirk’.

Tojo outlines Japan’s war aims to the Diet, referring to “new order of coexistence” in East Asia.

1943 Dr. Mildred Harnack-Fish, a member of the German resistance sentenced to death by the German government, is beheaded at Berlin’s Plotzensee Prison

The Russians take Kharkov and Voroshilovo after nine days of heavy street fighting.

Norwegian SOE Commandos are parachuted into the mountains 40 miles north of the German ‘heavy water’ plant at Telemark. They met up with the reconnaissance party, which had arrived the previous October.

1944 The British Air Minister says that bomber losses for 1943 were 2,369 U.K. and 997 U.S. planes down.

The Japanese pressure in Arakan forces the British to retreat.

Kesselring launches seven divisions in a second major attack against the US 5th Army’s bridgehead at Anzio.

The U.S. Navy pounds the Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline’s.

1945 U.S. forces begin the intensive bombardment of Iwo Jima, 600 miles South of Japan.

A USN Task Force reports pounding targets around Tokyo.

The remaining Korps of the 11th SS Army launch their attacks in support of ‘Operation Sonnenwende’.

U.S. paratroops land on Corregidor Island, a Japanese stronghold in Manila Bay.

U.S. paratroops land on Corregidor Island

1940 Hitler orders that all British merchant ships will be considered warships.

1941 Great Britain breaks off diplomatic relations with Romania as it is now clear that the Romanians are firmly allied to the Germans.

1942 Churchill broadcasts to the nation and says the Mediterranean will close to all allied shipping.

Singapore surrenders to the Japanese, a decision prompted as much as anything by the plight of the 1,000,000 civilian inhabitants of the island. 9,000 British, Australian and Empire troops are killed and 130,000 captured, many of which will find themselves working as slaves on the notorious Burma-Thai Railway. The Japanese casualties’ amount to around 9,000 killed or wounded.

1944 Monte Cassino is devastated by 422 tons of bombs as the Indian and New Zealanders begin their offensive to capture the monastery which is now occupied and defended by paratroopers (the Green Devils) of 1st Fallschirmjäger Division.

Hitler permits Field Marshal Models troops to withdraw to Panther Line and also allows the Korsun pocket defenders to break out towards the relieving forces.

The heaviest raid ever on Berlin is conducted, during which 2,500 tons of bombs are dropped.

The USAAF decimate a Japanese convoy off New Ireland.

1945 Japanese forces are now trapped in the Manila rectangle, which is just 5,000yds by 2,000yds.

Russian troops are now covering the approaches to Danzig. The Red Army captures Sagan in Silesia. The German 11th SS Army begins a counterattack ‘Operation Sonnenwende’ with three Korps (39th Panzer, 3rd SS Panzer and the 10th SS Korps). However, only the 3rd SS Panzer Korps (11th SS Panzer Grenadier Division “Nordland” and the 27th SS Grenadier Division “Langemarck”) are ready and begin their attack South towards Arnswalde,about 30-35 kms southeast of Stargard.

1939 Germany launches the battleship Bismarck.

1940 Britain announces that all merchant ships will be armed.

1941 Hitler starts to apply pressure on Yugoslavia to join the Tripartite pact.

Kurmuk near the Ethiopian border in Sudan is recaptured by British forces. Leading elements of the German 5th Light Division arrive at Tripoli and are immediately moved up to Sirte to take up defensive positions.

Western Africa front: South African forces conquer Kismayu in the Italian Somalia.

1942 Bomber Command is issued with Directive No.22, which ends the recent period of aircraft conservation by the RAF, although attacks are still not to be pressed in the face of bad weather or ‘extreme hazard’. The reason for this change is that the new Lancaster bomber, was just entering service and that Bomber Command was now equipped with a new navigation device called GEE, which it was hoped would make locating targets easier. However, it only had a range of 400 miles and could be jammed.

The Russians introduce universal labour conscription.

The Japanese being their invasion of Sumatra with airborne landings at Palembang.

1943 The 5th Panzerarmee under von Arnim, forces the retreat of the US 2nd Corps, inflicting very heavy losses in the battle of the Kasserine Pass.

Dakotas of No. 31 Sqn and Hudsons of No. 194 Sqn begin air supply missions to Chindit forces working behind enemy lines in Burma. Chindits were small pockets of highly trained British troops, usually with local guides, who operated behind enemy lines, cutting enemy lines of communication. The name was taken from that of a mythical Burmese God.

The VMF-124 Corsairs joing other fighters escorting Liberators on a raid to Kahili, Bougainville. They meet 50 enemy aircraft and only 3 Zeros are shot down while 10 US aircraft are lost; 4 P-38s, 2 P-40s, 2 Liberators and 2 of the Corsairs. This engagement becomes known as the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”, an inauspicious debut for the Corsair.

1944 Eisenhower sets up the SHAEF HQ in Britain.

The Americans announce that the Japanese remaining in Solomon’s are now trapped.

1945 Uruguay declares war against Germany.

Day two of the allied bombing of Dresden.Canadian and British troops reach the Rhine, 40 miles Northwest of Duisberg.

The 1st Ukrainian Front encircles Breslau which has been declared a fortress under the command of Gauleiter Hanke.

The siege of Budapest ends as the Soviets take the city. Only 785 German and Hungarian soldiers managed to escape.

The British Indian 4th Corps begins to cross Irrawaddy and strike into the Japanese rear. The first use of napalm is made in Burma.

1940 Russian troops capture forts on Karelia Isthmus.

1942 In the early hours of the morning, the Scharnhorst puts into Wilhelmshaven, while the Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen reach Kiel a short while later.

The Russians advance in to White Russia, but meet strong German resistance.

Vidkun Quisling visits Berlin.

1944 The allies halt the German attack around Cassino. The Italians in Cassino Monastery are warned that it will be bombed.

Another British counter-offensive begins in Arakan, Burma.

1945 U.S. troops capture the last Japanese naval base and airfield on Luzon.

Budapest is reported as fully captured by the Russians. The Red Army captures Schneidemül in Pomerania

1938 Japan refuses to reveal naval data requested by the U.S. and Britain.

1940 First deportation of German Jews into occupied Poland.

Germany and Russia agree new trade pact, that provides for the delivery of vital war materials (grains, oil, strategic minerals) by the Russians, in return for German manufactured goods.

Anthony Eden greets the first Australian and New Zealand troops arriving in Suez.

1941 The British foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden and General Sir John Dill, Chief of the Imperial General Staff leave London for a tour of the Balkan capitals in order to try and establish an anti-axis pact. However, Yugoslavia refuses to see them and Turkey refuses their proposals. Only Greece shows and interest.

Again, the Italians make further breakout attempts, which all fail. Later in the day the Italians surrender 20,000 men, 200 guns and 120 tanks to just 3,000 British troops.

Anthony Eden makes a speech parodying Winston Churchills famous ‘Battle of Britain’ speech. He says “Never has so much been surrendered, by so many, to so few”.

General Gariboldi is the new Italian Army Commander in North Africa.

Erwin Rommel arrives in Tripoli, Libya with a Panzer and Motorized Infantry Division. He assumes command of the Deutsches Africa Korps.

Rommel receives assistance from the Fliegerkorps X and long range aircraft from Sicily.

Churchill congratulates Wavell for his success, and orders him to prepare to help the Greeks.

German planes attack Benghazi, the first action by the Luftwaffe in Africa.

1942 At 11.00 hours, British aircraft spot the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen as they enter the straits of Dover. At 12.00 hours the British launch MTB attacks against Admiral Ciliax’s squadron, but were forced to fire at extreme range and so missed. An hour later at 13.00 hours the British again launch torpedo attacks, this time using six Swordfish aircraft, but five were shot down and all torpedo’s missed. At 14.30 hours the battleship Scharnhorst hits a mine off the Dutch coast. The mine inflicts only minor damage and the Scharnhorst is able to continue towards Germany. A short time later the British again launch attacks against the three German ships, this time using destroyers from the port of Harwich and aircraft from both Bomber and Coastal commands, but without success. At 20.35 hours the battleship Gneisenau hits a mine, while at 20.55 hours the Scharnhorst hits its second mine of the day, although both ships are able to continue towards Kiel.

1943 Rostov is captured by Russians. German troops evacuate Krasnodar and reach the defensive positions in the Kuban bridgehead.

German bombers attacked port of Bari on Adriatic, sinking 16 freighters including an American ship carrying poison mustard gas shells, causing heavy casualties in the port.

Rommel and Von Arnim’s forces launch a counter attack against the American 2nd Corps in central Tunisia, forcing them back in some disarray.

Wingate’s first Chindit guerrilla campaign begins behind the Japanese lines in Burma.

VMF-124 lands on Guadalcanal, becoming the first Corsair squadron deployed for combat.

1944 The Red Army recaptures Luga.

1945 British and Canadians troops advancing from Southeast Holland take Cleve in western Germany.

Simultaneous announcements in Moscow, London and Washington about the Yalta agreement. Agreement is reached about the allied occupation of Germany, the founding of the United Nations, the “resettlement” of the inhabitants of the eastern German territories to be ceded to Poland and the entry of the Soviet Union into the war against Japan.

Thus far, the Kriegsmarine has evacuated 374,00 German refugees by sea from East and West Prussia.

The British 20th Indian Division crosses the river Irrawaddy Southwest of Mandalay.

Peru declares war against Germany.