Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

1939 The German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee sinks the liner Doric Star off the western coast of South Africa.

1940 Greeks capture Premeti, Pogradec and the Albanian port of Sarande.

1941 Temperature falls to -31°F (-37°C) on Russian Front.

The Japanese Embassy in Washington begins to leave, destroying code books and personal files in the process.

1942 The U.S. 5th Air Force launches its first raid against the Italian port of Naples.

German forces in Tunisia capture Tebourba.

1943 Tito’s Partisans set up a provisional government in the liberated part of Yugoslavia.

Units of the German 11th Army begin an offensive to eliminate the Soviet bridgehead at Kerch in the eastern Crimea.

The second Cairo conference opens with Churchill, Roosevelt and the Turkish President Inonu.

Bolivia declares war on all the Axis powers.

1944 Athens is now under martial law.

1945 The U.S. Senate votes to allow the USA to join the UN and to permit the UN to use American forces to preserve peace and security.

1939 The RAF scores a number of direct hits on German warships at the Heligoland Bight naval base.

Finnish troops withdraw in good order towards the Mannerheim line defensive position.

1942 Several German divisions ordered to be transferred from Western Europe begin arriving in the area of Army Group Don southwest of Stalingrad in preparation of ‘Operation Winter Tempest’, the relief of the encircled 6th Army.

1943 The RAF conduct a heavy attack against Leipzig killing 1,500 and making 40,000 homeless.

1944 Britain’s Home Guard, the civilian force assigned to the defense of Britain in the event of German invasion, is stood down after five years. King George VI declares the “You have fulfilled your charge”.

Armored units of the US 3rd Army succeed in penetrating the fortified German lines of the Westwall near Saarlautern.

1939 Russian troops capture Petsamo in the extreme north of the Finland.

The German liner Watussi is scuttled after her interception by South African Defence Force bombers.

1941 Churchill introduces a new National Service Bill, including compulsory service for women.

Germans patrols are just five miles from the Kremlin.

Soviet troops evacuate the last territory in Karelia, taken from Finland in the 1939-1940 war.

Hitler issues Directive No.38 which tasks Kesselring as C-in-C South, with gaining air superiority and naval supremacy over the area between southern Italy and Libya in order to deny British supplies to Malta and Libya. To assist with this, he was reinforced by Fleiger Korps II, which was transferred from Russia. This, together with the existing air units of Fleigerkorps X were to form Luftflotte 2 and give the axis a significant numerical superiority over the RAF.

The Battleship Prince of Wales and the Battle Cruiser Repulse arrive in Singapore.

1942 At the University of Chicago the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction is realized by Professor Fermi and a team of scientists working under the name of the “Manhattan Engineering District.”

The Allies repel a strong Axis attack in Tunisia, North Africa.

1943 Allied bombers resume the ‘Battle of Berlin’ dropping 1,500 tons, but losing 41 aircraft.

A Luftwaffe raid against the Allied naval base at Bari in Italy, hits an ammunition ship which explodes, sinking 17 other ships.

Ernie Bevin announces the conscription to mines as coal output continues to flag in Britain.

Hitler orders the conscription of German Youth for active service.

German forces in Yugoslavia begin a major operation against Tito’s partisan’s.

The first transport of Jews from Vienna arrives at Auschwitz.

1944 General George S. Patton’s troops enter the Saar Valley.

The British 11th East African Division takes Kalewa and advance to the Chindwin from India.

1945 59 Japanese are arrested on suspicion of war crimes.

1946 The United States and Great Britain merge their German occupation zones.

1939 The Soviet Union creates a puppet Finnish government in Moscow under the leadership of a Finnish communist, Otto Kuusinen, who immediately accedes to the Soviets territorial demands. Finnish coastal guns at Russarö engage the Russian cruiser Kirov and its screen of destroyers. The Kirov and one destroyer damaged.

1940 The Italian submarine Argo torpedoes Royal Canadian Navy destroyer Saguenay, killing 21, but not sinking the ship. Saguenay had been escorting an eastbound convoy 300 miles west of Ireland.

1941 State of Emergency is declared in Malaya and Hong Kong is put on ‘stand by’.

Japan fixes the date of its attack against Pearl Harbour as the 7th December 1941.

US-Japanese talks continue and Roosevelt curtails holiday.

1942 Coffee joins the list of rationed items in the US.

The Australians take Gona in New Guinea.

1943 The British 10th Corps opens the U.S. Fifth Army’s offensive on the Garigliano.

Russian forces isolate the Germans in Crimea and control the northern half of the Dnieper bend.

The Conclusion of the Tehran Conference, with the three Allies in substantial agreement on the division of post-war Germany, the westward movement of the Polish eastern and western frontiers and the summary execution of 50,000 German officers.

1944 Princess Elizabeth launches HMS Vanguard, the last and biggest battleship ever built in Britain.

1939 After breaking off diplomatic relations, the Soviet Union attacks Finland by land and air without declaring war. During the Red Air Forces first raid on the Helsinki, only 91 civilians are killed due the capitals excellent air defence system. Stalin alleges provocation.

The Admiralty announces the completion of a 300 square mile minefield from Thames Estuary to the Netherlands.

1940 British civilian casualty figures for November: 4,588 killed, 6,202 injured.

1941 Near Riga, a mass shooting of Latvian and German Jews.

Japan finally resolves itself to attack the USA, although portions of the governments are still unsure.

1942 An Italian radio broadcast, reports of large-scale evacuations of Turin, Genoa and Milan.

1945 Rudolph Hess causes consternation at the Nuremberg trials by announcing that he has been shamming insanity and amnesia all this time.

1939 The USSR forces Soviet citizenship on all residents of Polish territory under their control.

1940 German High Command issues draft plan for invasion of Russia.

British and New Zealand troops under General Freyberg occupy the whole of the Greek island of Crete in the Mediterranean.

1941 Depleted by continuous savage fighting, blizzards and sub-zero temperatures, Army Group Centre’s offensive begins to grind to a halt as German units find it increasingly difficult to make ground. The Russians launch a counter-attack at Rostov-on-Don, forcing the German to evacuate the city and withdraw west towards the river Mius.

1942 Prime Minister Churchill warns the Italian government that RAF bombing of Italian cities will continue until Italy abandons the war.

British paratroops drop south of Tunis.

1943 The Australians chase the retreating Japanese towards Wareo in New Guinea.

1944 Russian troops cross Danube into southwest Hungary, making large gains.

1945 Films of concentration camp atrocities are shown at the Nuremberg trials.

1939 The Soviet Union scraps its nonaggression pact with Finland.

The Australian Cabinet agrees to the sending of Australian troops overseas.

1941 Overextended and short of supplies, the III Panzerkorps evacuates Rostov and withdraws to the Mius river, 30 miles to the West.

The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise departs from Pearl Harbor to deliver F4F Wildcat fighters to Wake Island. This mission saves the carrier from destruction when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.

1943 The Teheran summit conference opens with Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, who discuss the future of post-war Germany and Poland.

The Eighth Army offensive on Sangro continues, with a second bridgehead being established.

1944 The U.S. Ninth Army reaches the Roer from Julich to Linnich. The French First Army closes its pincers at Bumhaupt, but only part of German 63rd Corps is trapped, 17,000 prisoners and 120 guns have been taken since 14th October.

The first shipment of supplies reach Antwerp by convoy, a new route for the Allies.

British actor Arthur Treacher agrees to be raffled off at a series of bond rallies to the person buying the largest number of War Bonds.

Treacher, who has made a career of playing the perfect butler, will work as a butler at an occasion of the winner’s choosing.

1945 The official Hiroshima and Nagasaki casualty figures are announced as between 110,000 and 165,00 dead.

1939 The Scharnhorst and Gneisenau put in to Wilhelmshaven after returning from their successful sortie in to the North Atlantic.

Australia and Britain establish the Empire Air Training Scheme.

1940 Romanian extremists, “Iron Guard”, begin a murder campaign with 64 executions.

The British Admiralty decides to send the Battleship Ramillies and 2 Cruisers from the Mediterranean fleet to reinforce the Atlantic fleet. They are to sail to Malta with a supply convoy, link up with Force H and then sail onto Gibraltar. Just as the reach the rendezvous point, Ramillies, the 2 Cruisers, the Aircraft Carrier Ark Royal and 10 Destroyers are intercepted by Admiral Campioni’s squadron of 2 Battleships, 7 Cruisers and 16 Destroyers. However, as soon as the Battleship Renown from Force H joined in, the Italians withdrew with 1 Cruiser and 2 Destroyers damaged, while the British suffered damage to the heavy cruiser HMS Berwick.

1941 German Panzer’s only 19 miles from Moscow. Some armed patrols have penetrated in to the western suburbs of the city and managed to get a good look at the Kremlin.

The Tobruk garrison links up the New Zealand Division of the Eighth Army at El Duda. Rommel forces, now under constant attack by the RAF are forced to turn his forces around in order to deal with this new development. Gondar, the last Italian held town in East Africa surrenders to British forces after a tough battle. The Italian commander, General Nasi surrenders 23,500 men, while the British suffer 500 casualties.

Japan rejects the USA’s demand for their withdrawal of forces from China.

US Pacific forces put on war alert.

1942 Continuing their occupation of Vichy France, German troops take the naval base of Toulon.

Army Group Don under Manstein is formed to relieve Stalingrad.

The French scuttle 79 warships docked at Toulon as German troops enter the City, but four submarines manage to escape.

British troops are only 22 miles from Tunis.

1943 The British 8th Army begins an offensive across the Sangro river.

1944 The Red Army breaks through the German-Hungarian defensive lines and captures Mohacs.

The German ship €˜Rigel’ is sunk. Over 2,570 are drowned, most of them prisoners of war.

B29 bombers from Saipan again pound Tokyo, but this time the Japanese reply with raids against the U.S. airbases on Saipan.

1938 Poland renews nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union to protect against a German invasion.

1939 The Soviet Union charges Finland with artillery attack on border.

1940 The Western Desert Force, begins Training Exercise No.1. This was a dress rehearsal for ‘Operation Compass’. Surprise was vital and so not even the troops involved were told of the rehearsals significance.

The half-million Jews of Warsaw, Poland, were forced by the Nazis to live within a walled ghetto.

1941 Due to Rommel’s bold move, General Cunningham wants to halt the offensive and fall back to the frontier. General Auchinleck overrides him on this and replaces him as commander of the Eighth Army with General Ritchie.

U.S. secretary of state puts his final proposal to the Japanese.

Japanese 1st Air Fleet sets sail for Pearl Harbor, from its anchorage in the Kurile Islands. Commanded by Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, its consists of 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, 9 destroyers and 8 oil tankers and has strict orders to observe strict radio silence. They await the signal “Climb Mount Nitaka”, the order to attack Pearl Harbor.

1942 President Roosevelt ordered nationwide gasoline rationing, beginning December 1.

The Germans make the first large deportation of Jews from Norway.

The Russians throw Germans rearguards back across the Don.

1943 The largest USAAF raid so far on Bremen. A fifth consecutive night raid on Berlin by RAF.

German forces of Army Group Centre evacuate Gomel in Byelorussia.

The HMT Rohna, a British troop transport, is attacked in the eastern Mediterranean by a Luftwaffe plane using a radio-guided bomb, sinking the ship and killing 1,015 American GIs and 135 British and Australian service men. It is the largest loss of U.S. servicemen at sea in the war. The disaster is kept secret, as the Allies did not wish to disclose that the Germans possessed such an intimidating weapon. Consequently, the destruction of the Rohna will remain virtually unknown to the public for many years after the war.

1944 The Russians advance in Slovakia.

1939 Germany reports four British ships sunk in the North Sea, but London denies the claim.

1941 Hitler takes time out from monitoring the assault on Moscow to meet with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in Berlin. While the Fuhrer refrains from giving an unqualified endorsement of Arab nationalist aims in the Middle East (he did not wish to upset Vichy France), the two agree on the need for the “destruction” of the “Jewish element.”

The Germans continue their advance against Moscow, throwing all their available strength in to the attack in a final attempt to capture the Russian capital.

Rommel continues his attacks at the rear of the Eighth Army.

U-331 (Kplt. Tiesenhausen) sinks the British battleship Barham in the Mediterranean.

1943 The US Navy Department announces that very few Japanese are left alive in the Gilbert Islands. On Tarawa, 1,090 Marines were killed and 2,193 wounded, with only 100 Japanese out of garrison of 4,836 being taken prisoner, with only 17 of them being soldiers. Sattelberg in New Guinea falls to the 9th Australian Division.

A Destroyer action off Cape St. George results in the Japanese being routed to the north west of Bougainville and losing three destroyers out of five in the process.

1944 The French take Belfort.

Himmler orders the destruction of the crematories at Auschwitz.

The last Japanese resistance in Peleliu ends. 14,000 Japanese are killed or captured for 9,300 U.S. casualties.