Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category
1940 Hitler orders the postponement of his attack in the west until the Spring. Likely reasons for this are the compromise of ‘Fall Gelb’ and increasing criticism from some commanders that the plan was too predictable. Led by Gerd von Rundstedt, they proposed instead that the main blow should come through the wooded Ardennes region in southern Belgium as the allies would not expect this.
British submarines Seahorse, Undine and Starfish reported sunk after penetrating Heligoland Bight
Soviet artillery pounds the Mannerheim Line near Viipuri, Finland.
1941 French forces in Indochina launch an offensive against Thailand after numerous border provocations, but are unable to make much headway on land.
French inflict a naval defeat on Thai forces at Koh-Chang.
The Germans bomb Malta for the first time, killing 50 people, destroying 200 buildings and damaging the capital city of Valletta.
The British troopship Oropesa is sunk in the Western Approaches by the German submarine U-96.
German submarine U-77 was commissioned.
1942 Heavy US losses on the Bataan Peninsula as the Japanese troops press the defenders back.
In the Battle of Muar in Malaya, the Japanese 5th Infantry Division crossed the Muar River and captured Muar itself.
President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9024, creating the War Production Board.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill becomes the first head of state to cross the Atlantic Ocean by plane, following the First Washington Conference with President Franklin Roosevelt.
1943 The Eighth Army destroys Rommel’s rearguard at Buerat, in Libya and is now just 300 miles from the Tunisian frontier. Iraq enters the war against all three Axis powers.
Berlin is bombed for the first time in 14 months, as the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force bombers began the heaviest raid ever on the German capital. During the night raid, 1,000 tons of bombs fell and fires were visible for 100 miles.
The Battle for Velikiye Luki ended in Soviet victory. Iraq entered World War II, declaring war on Germany, Italy and Japan.
1944 Dwight D. Eisenhower formally assumed the duties of the Commander in Chief of the Allied Expeditionary Forces.
Japanese forces make their last counter-attack on New Britain.
Japanese submarine I-181 ran aground and was wrecked on Gneisenau Point at Kelanoa Harbour, New Guinea.
German submarine U-544 was sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by rockets and depth charges from Grumman TBF Avenger planes from the escort carrier USS Guadalcanal.
1945 The Battle of the Bulge ends as US First and Third Armies meet in Houffalize, Belgium, cutting off the tip of the Bulge.
Hitler enters his bunker under the Chancellery and will never leave Berlin again.
The Soviet 1st Belorussian Front captured Radom, Poland.
German submarine U-248 was depth charged and sunk by U.S. destroyer escorts north of the Azores.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: March 6 WWII Today: July 8 WWII Today: May 28
1940 Britain announces nearly twice as many Britons have been killed on the roads since blackout started than by enemy action.
Belgium denies British & French troops the right to cross its territory.
1941 US labor leader Philip Randolph calls for march on Washington to protest discrimination and segregation in the armed forces and defense industry.
1942 Army Group Centre evacuates the Kaluga sector and takes up winter positions 20 miles to the West.
The Japanese begin their invasion of Burma from Thailand, attacking up the Kra Isthmus. They quickly capture the British airfields around Tenasserim, enabling Japanese fighters to now escort bomber attacks against Rangoon.
ABDA Command headquarters (American, British, Dutch, Australian) opens under Gen. Sir Archibald Wavell at Batavia, Java.
Jawaharlal Nehru succeeds Gandhi as head of India’s Congress Party.
President Franklin Roosevelt asks the baseball commissioner to continue the sport during the war.
1943 US forces launch their final offensive on Guadalcanal.
The Red Army captures Velikiye Luki in the Valday Hills.
Field Marshall Montgomery and the 8th Army begins offensive at Buerat, Libya against Rommel.a
1944 The U.S. Fifth Army gains Monte Trocchio, overlooking Rapido River as the Germans withdraw across it. French troops under General Juin capture Monte Santa Croce.
Lt. Gen. Ira Eaker assumes command of Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (US 12th & 15thAir Forces, as well as RAF, Italian and French air units in the Mediterranean).
The Russians launch another new offensive around Leningrad.
The Peruvian Government announces its discovery of Axis backed conspirators plotting a coup.
1945 During its drive toward the Oder river, the Red Army captures Kielce in western Poland.
U.S. troops now hold 45 miles of the Lingayen Gulf coast.
Japanese launch drive toward isolated US Fourteenth Air Force bases in eastern China and toward the Hengyang-Canton railroad.
In the US, a nationwide dim-out is ordered to conserve fuel.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: August 24 WWII Today: May 1 WWII Today: September 20
1940 Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai forms a new government in Japan, but he is opposed by the pro-war military.
British chemists (pharmacists) granted an exemption to sugar rationing in order to coat pills.
1941 Off Antarctica, German auxiliary cruiser Pinguin captures 14 Norwegian whaling ships without firing a single shot or causing a single casualty.
1942 General Wavell arrives at Batavia in Java to setup ABDA headquarters. The Japanese launch an attack against the US-Filipino 1st Corps positions on the western side of Bataan.
At the so called Arcadia Conference held in Washington, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill agree to concentrate the Allied war effort on the European theatre. President Roosevelt also orders that all aliens are to register with the government. This is the beginning of a plan to move Japanese-Americans into internment camps in the belief that these people might aid the enemy.
The German battleship Tirpitz, arrives at Trondheim in Norway, to threaten the Arctic convoys, but it wasn’t until the 23rd January that the British became aware of this threat.
Off Long Island, German U-boat U-123 sinks Panamanian tanker Norness, the first sinking in US waters.
Ports of Boston, Portsmouth, and Portland, ME closed temporarily due to U-boat warning.
In US “enemy aliens” are required to register with Department of Justice.
Canada designates 100-mile security zone in British Columbia, all males of Japanese ancestry 18-45 ordered to vacate; 23,000 men will be sent to labor camps, women and children deported to six inner BC towns.
1943 Roosevelt and Churchill’s summit Conference opens near Casablanca in Morocco with the Allied joint staff under General Dwight D. Eisenhower in attendance.
1945 In Burma, the British 19th Indian Division attempts to cross the Irrawaddy River at Thabaikkyin but withdraws under fierce Japanese bayonet attack.
Zhukov’s 1st Belorussian Front continues its attacks South of Warsaw from two Vistula bridgeheads, one of which holds 400,000 men and 1,700 tanks. Rokossovsky’s 2nd Belorussian Front begins its offensive from its Narev bridgehead against Elbing in East Prussia.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 6 WWII Today: February 6 WWII today: February 1
1940 Belgium orders military mobilization.
Netherlands cancels all Army leaves.
FBI arrests 17 members of pro-Nazi “Christian Front” for plotting to kill congressmen; later acquitted.
1941 Hitler demands that Bulgaria joins the Tripartite pact, but the Bulgarians play for time.
The Luftwaffe launches a heavy attack against Plymouth.
Author James Joyce dies at age 58 in Zürich, Switzerland.
1942 A Japanese attack just to the east of Mount Natib, begins to pose a threat to the left flank of the US-Filipino 2nd Corps.
The allied conference in London pledges to punish axis war criminals after victory.
First use of an ejection seat—by German test pilot Helmut Schenk in He 280 jet.
The Arnold-Portal agreement specifies the number of aircraft the US will provide to Britain, while building the US Army Air Forces to a goal of 115 groups.
1943 The call-up for single girls in Britain is lowered to 19.
Students at the University of Munich riot after Nazi speaker says Stalingrad situation is due to student malingerers.
US Thirteenth Air Force formed in South Pacific under Brig. Gen. Nathan Twining, based in Espiritu Santo, New Caledonia.
In “Sleepy Lagoon” case in Los Angeles, 17 Mexican-Americans are wrongly convicted of murder; convictions overturned 2 years later.
1944 The Chinese strengthen their position in the Hukawng Valley in northern Burma.
1945 The British make further gains in central Burma and are now only 30 miles from Mandalay.
The U.S. First Army attacks the Germans between Stavelot and Malmady.
German forces of Army Group E complete their withdrawal from Greece and Albania.
Zhukov’s 1st Belorussian Front begins an offensive toward Pillkallen in East Prussia, against which there is stiff resistance from the 3rd Panzer Army.
The Jarstad Bridge is blown up by the Norwegian resistance, killing 70 Germans.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: July 3 WWII Today: August 3 WWII Today: November 12
1940 Soviet bombers raid cities in Finland.
1941 Recruiting of Norwegians for the ‘Nordland’ Regiment of the 5th SS Motorized Division ‘Wiking’ begins.
1942 Hitler orders Admiral Otto Ciliax, who commands the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the cruiser Prinz Eugen at Brest, to prepare to return to Germany. The new German battleship Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck is ordered to Norway.
British capture Sollum.
Japan formally declares war on the Dutch East Indies.
Field Marshal von Leeb, C-in-C of Army Group North, requests permission to withdraw his forces south of Lake Ilmen behind the river Lovat, as the 2nd Corps at Demyansk is in serious danger of being cut off. Hitler refuses von Leebs request who resigns in protest. His place as C-in-C of Army Group North is taken up by Field Marshal von Kuechler.
Off Nova Scotia, German U-boat U-123 sinks British freighter Cyclops, the first loss in Germany’s “Operation Paukenschlag.”
Col. Charles Lindbergh is refused a military command due to his vocal pre-war isolationist work.
US forms National War Labor Board to deal with union wage demands.
In US, Victory Book Campaign begins to collect reading material for servicemen.
1943 The Red Army begins an offensive to restore the land communications with the encircled city of Leningrad. The Germans abandon a 300 miles salient in Caucasus. And withdraw towards the Kuban Bridgehead. The Red Army gains several more streets in the bloody battle for Stalingrad.
Gen. Leclerc drives the last Germans troops out of the Fezzan in Southern Libya with his Free French forces from Chad.
1944 Churchill and de Gaulle meet for talks at Marrakesh.
1945 The German ‘Nordwind’ offensive is stopped 13 miles from Strasbourg. British and U.S.forces link up in the Laroche area.
Koniev’s 1st Ukrainian Front launches a major winter offensive from its bridgehead across the Vistula at Baranov in southern Poland.Take a look a these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: September 24 WWII Today: January 26 WWII Today: March 1
1941 Hitler confirms in Directive No.22, his intentions to send military support to the Italians in Albania. The operation is to be named ‘Alpine Violets’.
The Cruisers HMS Southampton and HMS Gloucester are attacked by German aircraft in the Sicilian channel. HMS Gloucester receives damage, while HMS Southampton is sunk. British submarines begin to make attacks German and Italian convoys crossing to Libya.
Hitler confirms in Directive No.22, his intentions to send military support to the Italians in Libya. The operation is to be named ‘Sunflower’.
In Luftwaffe raid to London, a direct hit on the Bank underground station kills 111.
1942 The Japanese 5th Division enters Kuala Lumpur, which is the main supply base for the Indian 3rd Corps. By this time Japanese forward elements are coming in to contact with the 8th Australian Division, which puts up fierce resistance, although Japanese amphibious landings to their south force them to retreat and ends British hopes of a protracted defence of Johore.
The Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies begins with landings at Tarakan (Borneo) and Manado (Celebes).
The Kriegsmarine begins Operation Drum Beat, the first coordinated attack carried out by five U-boats initially against US shipping along the East Coast of the United States. Their first victim is the 9,000 ton British steamer Cyclops which is sunk by U-123 (Kptlt. Hardegen), 300miles to the east of Cape Cod.
1943 President Roosevelt submits his budget to the U.S. Congress. $100 billion of the $109 billion budget is identified with the war effort.
1944 Ciano and 17 others are shot by firing squad.
660 heavy bombers of the U.S. 8th Air Force carries out attacks against industrial targets at Braunschweig, Magdeburg and Ascherleben.
In the US Eighth Air Force raid on Brunswick, the 94th Bomb Group makes a rare second run on the target and receives the Presidential Unit Citation; however, the group loses 8 B-17s.
Avenger aircraft from US escort carrier Block Island attack a U-boat using forward-firing rockets for the first time.
1945 British troops capture Laroche, 20 miles Northwest of Bastogne.
U.S. troops establish a firm hold on the Luzon beachhead.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:Combat America by Clark Gable WWII Today: February 9 WWII Today: January 7
1940 German planes attack 12 ships off the British coast; sinking 3 ships and killing 35 people.
Hitler informs his commanders that the attack in the west will begin on the 17th January. On this same day a German light aircraft makes a forced landing at Malines in Belgium, near the German border. The planes occupants were carrying details of the German plans, which alerted the Belgium and Dutch governments to German intentions.
1941 Roosevelt introduces his ‘Lend Lease’ bill to the House of Representatives as House Resolution 1776 (H.R. 1776), after recognizing that neither Britain or China could continue paying indefinitely for material supplied. This allowed the fighting allies to pay the USA back in kind, but after the war. He likened this to ‘lending a neighbor a garden hose to put out a fire’.
The RAF begins Circus operations – co-ordinated bomber and fighter attacks on targets in France. Six Blenheims, escorted by six/nine squadrons of Spitfires and Hurricanes attack supply dumps south of Calais.
Heavy air attacks begin on Malta.
German aircraft surprise the Mediterranean fleet, which is escorting 3 merchant ships to Greece. 40 Ju-87 Stukas attack them, scoring 6 hits on HMS Illustrious and severely damaging her. HMS Warspite also receive damage. Both ships make for Malta and arrive the next day.
Germany and the Soviet Union sign a fresh treaty, which recognizes their existing spheres of influence and affirms current trade agreements.
1942 Colonel-General Ernst Udet, head of Luftwaffe aircraft production and development, commits suicide because of his failure to provide adequate replacements and new improved aircraft models to the Luftwaffe.
1943 After a 55-minute bombardment by thousands of guns and rocket-launchers and employing seven armies, the Red Army begins Operation Ring, the final annihilation of the tattered remnants of 6th Army defending themselves desperately against all odds in the ruins of Stalingrad.
1944 All but one of the Fascist ex-ministers on trial are sentenced to death at Castel Vecchio.
The Russians capture Lyudvipol, 2-3 miles across the Polish border. The Russians propose new Polish border further west on the so-called ‘Curzon Line’. German forces in Dnieper bend are attacked by the Russians for the next five days, but and early thaw aids the German defense.
1945 The German 7th Gebirgsdivision retreats from it’s positions in LÃ¤tÃ¤seno. Only a very small portion of Finland is still in German hands.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 16 WWII Today: January 3 WWII Today: July 30
1940 German bombers sink three merchantmen in North Sea.
Australian Comforts Fund reestablished, for women to send care packages to soldiers.
The British submarine Starfish was sunk in the Heligoland Bight by German minesweeper trawlers.
1941 The Avro Manchester III makes its first flight equipped with four Rolls-Royce Merlin engines in place of the two Rolls-Royce Vultures used on earlier marks. Ordered into production as the Lancaster, it becomes possibly the most famous RAF bomber of all time, after bearing the brunt of the Bomber Command offensive in Europe.
British & Australian troops surround Italians at Tobruk, Libya.
Hitler held a conference with his generals to discuss plans to attack the Soviet Union. Hitler said that German success in Russia would encourage Japan to attack the United States, thus keeping the Americans too occupied to get involved in the war in Europe.
1942 Japanese troops launch an attack against the eastern side of the Santa Rosa-Natib defence line on Bataan, making some gains, although US-Filipino counter-attacks forces them back to their start-line.
Soviets begin offensive at Moscow and Smolensk (Battle of the Valdai Hills).
In Malaya, British begin withdrawal into Johore to protect Singapore.
The Battle of Dražgoše began between the Slovene Partisans and Nazi occupying forces.
The British destroyer HMS Vimiera struck a naval mine and sank in the Thames Estuary.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto made a statement to Taketora Ogata that may have been the basis for the apocryphal sleeping giant quote attributed to him when he said, “A military man can scarcely pride himself on having ‘smitten a sleeping enemy’; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten. I would rather you made your appraisal after seeing what the enemy does, since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack.”
1943 Soviet planes drop leaflets on the surrounded Germans in Stalingrad requesting their surrender with humane terms. The Germans refuse.
Italian destroyer Corsaro sank off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a mine.
First flight of prototype Lockheed C-69 Constellation, fastest US transport plane of war.
1944 Countess Ciano escapes to Switzerland and is interned.
British forces take Maungdaw, Burma, a critical port for Allied supplies.
Flight nurses and medics from the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron who crash-landed in Albania arrive in Italy after two months behind enemy lines.
1945 The U.S. Third Army counter-attacks towards Houffalize, on the southern side of the Ardennes salient.
British troops enter Thebes, to the Northwest of Athens.
U.S. troops land at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon. 100,000 men are ashore in a single day, which is the largest Pacific operation so far.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: April 15 WWII Today: March 3 WWII Today: January 3
1940 In Britain, ration books are introduced as program expands—each person to receive 4 oz of bacon or ham, 8 oz of butter, and 12 oz of sugar weekly.
Finnish troops capture 1,000 Russian soldiers near Suomussalmi.
1941 96,000 people now are sleeping in the Underground and Tube stations, 40,000 less than in October.
President Roosevelt submits his budget, 60% ($17,500,000,000) of which is designated for defense.
1942 US Army Forces in British Isles (USAFBI) established under Maj. Gen. James Chaney.
Japanese take Jesselton, capital of British North Borneo.
James Landis named to succeed Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia as head of US Office of Civil Defense.
1943 General Rokossovsky, C-in-C of Don Front, issues a surrender ultimatum to the 6th Army, guaranteeing “their lives and safety and after the end of the war their return to Germany”. He also promises that “…medical aid will be given to all wounded, sick and frost-bitten…” Paulus rejects this demand for surrender.
Count Ciano, Mussolini’s one-time foreign minister, ambassador, and son-in-law, faces a tribunal for his role in the vote to oust Il Duce. His wife will escape to Switzerland the next day, but the count will die before a firing squad on January 11.
British turn over control of Madagascar, except Diego Suarez area, to Free French.
US takes Tarakena, New Guinea.
1944 Kirovograd falls to Russians.
The trial of Count Ciano and 18 other Fascists responsible for Mussolini’s downfall opens at Castel Vecchio, in Verona.
First flight of Lockheed XP-80 jet plane at Muroc Army Air Base, but it won’t be ready for combat until the war is over.
1945 Germans demolish Ruhr floodgates, flooding area west of Köln (Cologne).
Japanese execute Filipino resistance leader Col. Pastor Martelino.
In Placer County, CA, the home of a recently returned Japanese-American family is attacked (shed burned, shots fired); first of 30 similar incidents on West Coast.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: November 25 WWII Today: April 30 WWII Today: June 17
1940 General Semyon Timoshenko takes command of all Soviet forces in Finland and begins to build up his forces for a decisive offensive.
Battle of Raate Road ends in Finnish victory; over 10,000 Soviets killed.
1941 Tobruk is surrounded, but the British are unable to assault it immediately as supplies and reinforcements need to be brought up.
1942 British forces continue to retreat south through central Malaya as the Japanese force a crossing of the river Slim. The British commander, General Arthur E. Percival, hopes to be able to hold at Johore until at least mid February.
Japanese troops complete their capture of Sarawak and also take Jesselton in northern Borneo.
In Malaya, Japanese break through Indian defenses at the Slim River.
In the Philippines, Japanese begin siege of the Bataan Peninsula.
Off Honshu, sub USS Pollack sinks Japanese collier Unkai Maru No.1, the first confirmed sinking by a US sub in the Pacific.
US Navy issues warning that 16 U-boats are suspected to be near the East Coast.
Roosevelt’s first War Budget includes $13,250 million of defense expenditure.
The Soviet North West Front begins an offensive south of Lake Ilmen in an attempt to encircle Demyansk. At the same time the newly created Volkhov Front launches an attack to force the Germans back from around Leningrad.
1944 The U.S. Air Force announces the production of the first jet-fighter, Bell P-59 Airacomet.
French resistance sabotages electricity supply in Tulle.
In Second Arakan Campaign in Burma, RAF & US Tenth Air Force begin air supply to West African troops.
1945 U.S. air ace Major Thomas B. McGuire, Jr. is killed in the Pacific.
German Navy begins evacuating troops trapped by the Soviet advance along the Baltic in Lithuania.
Off Manila Bay, US destroyers Charles Ausburne, Braine, Russell, and Shaw sink Japanese destroyer Hinoki; the last surface naval engagement of the Pacific war.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: March 23 Words at War: They Call It Pacific WWII Today: February 26