Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category
1941 Berlin suffers its first raid of the year by the RAF.
German troops on parade in the city of Cherbourg have their show spoiled when British bombers hit the parade ground in the middle of the event.
Rommel conducts a limited offensive to recapture El Agheila from the British, which succeeds with startling ease. This encourages Rommel to push forward towards Mersa Brega. British Somaliland is now clear of Italians.
1942 The British Government refuses to hold an inquiry into the loss of Singapore during a Lords debate.
The start of deportation of Slovak Jews to Auschwitz.
The Japanese begin an intensive bombing campaign of Bataan and Corregidor. General Homma’s 14th Army receives reinforcement ready for its final offensive against the Bataan and Corregidor. This takes the form of the Japanese 4th Division, which has been shipped from Shanghai.
1943 In the Yellow Sea near Port Arthur, US sub Wahoo sinks 3 Japanese cargo ships.
The first Chindit Raid ends (British/Indian raids in Japanese-occupied Burma); although one-third of men were lost, raid raised morale.
1944 The US Fifth Army’s bridgehead at Anzio is bombarded by German heavy long-range guns and Luftwaffe aircraft using guided bombs, causing severe casualties in men, ships and equipment. Persistent US and British attacks against the Gustav Line at Cassino are repulsed by the German defenders. In response to the killing of 35 German soldiers in Rome by the Italian resistance, SS Colonel Herbert Kappler orders the execution of 335 Italians, at least 255 of whom are civilians in reprisal. All are shot by German troops in the Fosse Ardeantine caves outside of Rome.
A Russian tank army crosses the Dnieper near Czech border. Malinovsky makes crossings of the Bug near the Black Sea.
The Luftwaffe attacks London with 90 medium bombers (He-111s and Ju-88s), while the RAF bombs Berlin with 810 heavy Lancaster bombers. The RAF loses 72 bombers in this, the 16th and heaviest raid of war on Berlin. The ‘Battle of Berlin’ is now over.
Wingate, leader of the Chindits is killed in plane crash.
The Japanese counter-attack on Bougainville is decisively beaten.
President Roosevelt issues a statement condemning German and Japanese ongoing “crimes against humanity.”
In response to the killing of 35 German soldiers in Rome by the Italian resistance, SS Colonel Herbert Kappler orders the execution of 335 Italians, at least 255 of whom are civilians in reprisal. All are shot by German troops in the Fosse Ardeantine caves outside of Rome.
1945 Montgomery’s 21st Army Group attacks across the Rhine, 15 miles North of Duisberg in the Wesel area, after 3,500-gun barrage. 16,870 paratroops land across the river Rhine in Operation ‘Plunder’ and succeed in linking up with advancing British troops and establishing four bridgeheads. The US Third Army captures Speyer and Ludwigshafen on the upper Rhine.
US Fifteenth Air Force based in Italy sends 660 bombers to Berlin for first time as a diversion for Rhine crossings. The escorting 332nd Fighter Group (the African-American Tuskegee Airmen), shoots down 3 German Me 262 jets and earns Distinguished Unit Citation.
The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Neisse in Upper Silesia.
U.S. Marines seize islands off coast of Okinawa in Pacific.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: May 22 WWII Today: March 9 WWII Today: April 18
1940 Germany requires car owners to donate batteries and requires church bells to be melted down.
1941 Heavy Luftwaffe attack on Malta leads RAF to withdraw bombers and flying boats.
1942 During World War II, the U.S. government began moving Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to detention centers.
The British convoy, have escaped serious damage are approaching Malta. However, it is here that they come under concentrated air attack which sinks 1 freighter and damages another, although the other two freighters make it safely in to the port of Valleta. However, air attacks Â against the docks at Valletta made it very difficult to unload.
The Japanese occupy the Anadaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.
Port Moresby is again attacked by Japanese aircraft.
1943 In the heaviest air raid to date, RAF drops 2000 tons of bombs on Dortmund, Germany.
In the Battle of El Guettar in Tunisia, US infantry manages to defeat German armor.
1944 Italian partisan bombing decimates a German SS police unit in Rome, 33 Germans & 10 Italian civilians are killed.
1945 The RAF launches a devastating raid (300 bombers) against Hildesheim near Hannover, a small city of little military and industrial importance.
General Montgomery’s British Second Army crosses Rhine at Wesel, Germany.
French General Charles de Gaulle grants limited self-government to French Indochina.
The U.S. Third Army crosses the Rhine North of Worms, as the British Second and Canadian First Armies begin their assault across the Rhine above the Ruhr.
The Russian reach the outskirts of Danzig and Gotenhafen.
Colonel Benjamin O. Davis prepares to fly cover with the 332nd Fighter Group on a bombing mission over Berlin. Davis will later become the first African-American to be promoted to the rank of Major GeneralWWII Today: October 8 WWII Today: May 6 WWII Today: November 16
1940 U-boats sink seven neutral ships.
1941 US 99th Pursuit Squadron activated, the first black unit in the Army Air Corps.
Grand Coulee Dam opens in Washington state, the world’s largest source of electric power.
1942 Late in the afternoon after an unsuccessful Italian torpedo-aircraft attack, Admiral Iachino’s squadron engages the British convoy. The convoy protected itself with a smokescreen, but the cruiser HMS Cleopatra was damaged. Admiral Philip Vian, commanding the British escorts, sent his destroyers to torpedo attack the Italian battleship Littorio. Getting dark and so Admiral Iachino turned away from the British convoy and sailed for home.
Japanese aircraft attack Darwin.
A Polish newspaper editor is beheaded for listening to the BBC, as German terror continues in Poland.
Britain agrees to allow US to deliver emergency flour supply to Vichy France.
British statesman Sir Stanford Cripps tries to persuade Gandhi to encourage India to help war effort.
1943 German troops recapture Belgorod.
Newly built gas chamber/crematory IV opens at Auschwitz.
Nazis extend work week in Netherlands to 54 hours.
Patton’s forces occupy Maknassy, Tunisia.
1944 British tanks rout a Japanese tank force at Tamu in India.
New Zealanders make final failed assault on Monte Cassino, Italy.
In US, “A” gas rationing cards cut from 3 gallons/wk to 2 gal/wk.
1945 The U.S. First Army’s bridgehead at Remagen is now 30 miles long.
General George Patton’s US Third Army crosses Rhine at Nierstein & Oppenheim at night, surprising the Germans.
US Eighth Army secures Panay in the Philippines.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: December 12 General Patton Quote WWII Today: September 16
1940 Paul Reynaud becomes Prime Minister of France, with Edouard Daladier being made Minister of Defense and War.
First German merchant ship sunk by British sub: British submarine Ursula sinks German freighter Heddernheim.
1941 The last Italian post in East Libya, North Africa, falls to the British.
1942 In a repeat of Force H’s mission on the 7th March 1942. Sixteen more Spitfires are delivered to Malta. The Axis, now aware of the large British supply convoy sailing towards Malta, dispatches Admiral Iachino from Taranto with the Battleship Littorio and 4 destroyers. Admiral Parona also sets sail from Messina with 3 cruisers and 4 destroyers.
President Roosevelt signs bill making violation of Executive Order 9066 (removal of Japanese-Americans from the west coast) a federal offense.
1943 Hitler breaks his four-month silence with a Hero’s Day speech.
Another failed assassination attempt on Hitler’s life, at Heroes Day celebration.
In Tunisia, US Rangers ambush Italians near Gafsa and take 1000 POWs.
Cornelia Fort becomes first WAFS (Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, precursor of WASPs) member killed in action, ferrying BT-13 in Texas.
1944 Eruption of Mount Vesuvius buries villages of San Sebastiano and Massa; 6-km-high lava fountains are seen.
1945 Units of the U.S. First Army advances from the Remagen bridgehead toward Siegburg.
The Russians capture Stuhlweissenburg in Hungary.
The US 8th Air Force launches a major attack (650 bombers) against Hamburg.
Allied bombs for Copenhagen Gestapo HQ hit school; kill 86 students and 17 teachers.
Japanese use rocket-powered Ohka kamikaze plane for first time, but cause little damage to US fleet.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: November 14 WWII Today: November 10 WWII Today: May 10
1940 The British Royal Air Force conducts an all-night air raid on the Nazi airbase at Sylt, Germany.
French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier resigns after vote of no confidence from Parliament.
1941 Four Yugoslav ministers resign rather than accept German terms.
The Berbera force and elements of the 11th African Division meet at Hargeisa inside British Somaliland.
Luftwaffe bombs Plymouth right after a visit by King George & Queen Elizabeth.
1942 Kesselring launches an intensified air offensive against Malta, which by the end of March had racked up 4,927 sorties for the Luftwaffe, as opposed to 2.497 during February.
The Red Army offensive at Kerch in the Crimea is defeated with heavy losses to the Russians.
About 1,000 schoolteachers are arrested in Norway.
In what was to become known as the 2nd Battle of Sirte, 4 freighters, escorted by 3 cruisers, 1 anti-aircraft cruiser and 17 destroyers leave Alexandria bound for Malta. This force would later be strengthened by the cruiser Penelope and a destroyer from Force K.
Japanese troops, reinforced by the 18th and 56th Division which had arrived by sea at Rangoon a few days earlier, attack the 6th Chinese Army near Toungoo in Burma.
1943 The Eighth Army continues its attacks against the Mareth line in southern Tunisia.
1944 The Russians recapture Vinnitsa in the Ukraine, the site of Hitler’s Headquarters during in 1943.
Destroyer escort USS Mason commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard, the first US Navy ship with a predominately African-American enlisted crew.
1945 German troops of Army Group Weichsel evacuate their bridgehead across the Oder at Stettin. The Russians capture Braunsberg, 40 miles South of Konigsberg.
The U.S. Seventh Army takes Saarbrucken.
Onn Luzon, a force of Filipinos takes San Fernando, led by US Col. Russell Volckmann, who refused to surrender to the Japanese in 1942
The British 19th Indian Division completes the capture of Mandalay.
Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 17 WWII Today: November 26 WWII Pin Up: Francis Rafferty
1936 The Soviet Union signs a pact of assistance with Mongolia against Japan.
1940 The RAF retaliates against the Luftwaffe’s bombing of Scapa Flow, by attacking the German seaplane base at Hornum on the island of Sylt with 50 bombers. Later photo reconnaissance reveals little damage to the target.
Helsinki releases figures showing that 26,662 Finns were killed in the 105 day war with the Soviet Union.
1941 Churchill forms the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ committee in order to afford the highest level of co-ordination against the U-boat menace.
German Naval staff complain to the Italians about their lack of effort to intercept British convoys to Greece.
1942 An offensive by Army Group North cuts off the Soviet 2nd Shock Army, commanded by General Vlasov, in a salient between Novgorod and Gruzino. Operation ‘Munich’ is launched. Joined by a new air detachment, German troops attack partisan bases around Yelnya and Dorogobuzh. Â Operation ‘Bamberg’ kicks off near Bobruisk, with SS Police troops attacking Russian villages. The German security forces burn many villages and kill 3,500 people, which only infuriate the Russian civilians more, which encourages many of them join the partisans, making the whole exercise very counter-productive. The 3rd Panzer Army diaries says “There are indications that the partisan movement in the region of Velikiye Luki, Vitebsk, Rudnya, Velizh, is now being organised on a large scale. The fighting strength of the partisans hitherto active, is being bolstered by individual units of regular red army troops.”
General Bill Slim is appointed as commander of the 1st Burma Corps, which covers all British, Indian and Burmese troops in Burma. This left Â General Alexander to concentrate on co-ordination with the Chinese.
1943 The British Eighth Army begins its offensive against German and Italian defenders of the Mareth line.
1944 The RAF launch Operation Strangle, aimed at German communications in Italy.
The German 352nd Infantry Division deploys along the coast of France.
In order to ensure Hungary’s continued support as an axis partner, Hitler orders its occupation Operation Margaret. Eleven German divisions cross the border from Austria into Hungary, encountering minimal resistance.
Hungary’s 750,000 Jews, which have so far remained unmolested by the Germans are about to endure a nightmare of mass deportation to the concentration camps as Eichmann arrives in Hungary with his “Special Section Commandos”.
1945 The US 8th Air Force carries out another heavy attack (200 bombers and 700 fighters) against Berlin.
The U.S. Seventh Army take Worms, 60 miles to the Southeast of Koblenz. Hitler orders the demolition of all German industrial, utility and transport facilities in danger of falling into enemy hands; this order (Verbrannte Erde Scorched Earth) is sabotaged by armaments minister Speer and most local commanders.
The Japanese evacuate Mandalay.
The USN hit Kure naval base in the Inland Sea, Southwest of Tokyo.
About 800 people were killed as Kamikaze planes attacked the U.S. carrier Franklin off Japan; the ship, however, was saved.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 17 WWII Today: January 12 WWII Today: July 7
Mussolini and Hitler meet in the Brenner Pass in northern Italy, Mussolini agreeing to Italy’s entry into the war “at an opportune moment”.
Alan Turing’s Bombe electromechanical decipher machine becomes operational at Bletchley Park, England to decrypt German Enigma messages.
Russia assures Sweden of its safety after Finland’s surrender.
1941 The United States and Canada sign joint defense pact.
German spy Capt. Ulrich von der Oster is struck and killed by a car in New York City; his briefcase is swiped by fellow spy Kurt Ludwig; FBI launches investigation.
The Luftwaffe bombed Liverpool and Birkenhead.
Erwin Rommel departed North Africa for a meeting with Adolf Hitler.
The British armed boarding vessel Rosaura struck a naval mine off Tobruk and sank.
1942 Lord Mountbatten is appointed Chief of Combined Operations.
US forces occupy the New Hebrides in order to help protect Australia’s west coast from direct Japanese invasion.
: President Roosevelt creates War Relocation Authority under Milton Eisenhower to remove all Japanese-Americans from West Coast.
1943 Chindit forces cross the Irrawaddy in Burma.
The United States II Corps takes El Guettar, Tunisia.
After successful US Eighth Air Force mission to Vegesack, Germany, experiment with daylight bombing is declared a success.
1944 A New Zealand tank attack on Monte Cassino is repulsed, with the loss of all 17 tanks.
Hitler forces Hungary’s regent, Admiral Miklós Horthy, to agree to new terms of alliance, including occupation by German troops and deportation of Hungary’s 750,000 Jews.
1945 Kolberg falls to the Polish 1st Army, of the 2nd Belorussian Front, although the Germans manage to evacuate 80,000 refugees and wounded first.
The US Third Army captures Boppard on the Rhine.
US Fifth Fleet strikes Kyushu, Shikoku, and Honshu in Japan in preparation for Okinawa landings.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: September 29 WWII Today: April 30 WWII Today: February 13
1940 Fritz Todt named German Minister for Armaments and Munitions.
1941 The 11th African Division captures Jijiga in central Abyssinia; having advanced 744 miles up the Italian built Strada Imperiale in just seventeen days.
In convoy HX-112, British destroyer Walker causes U-99 to scuttle (40/43 captured, including famous captain Otto Kretschmer).
British begin to ration jam & marmalade (8 oz per month).
162 planes of the Luftwaffe bombed the Avonmouth district of Bristol
1942 General MacArthur flown by B-17 from Mindanao to Australia.
The deportation of Jews from Lublin to Belzec begins.
Britain begins rationing fuel and electricity.
The first mass gassings began at the Belzec Concentration Camp, near Lublin, on March 17, 1942
1943 Bulgaria, an Axis power allied with Germany, refused to comply with a German demand that Bulgarian Jews be deported to Nazi concentration camps. The Parliament voted unanimously to revoke plans that had been made by government minister Alexander Belev to arrest Bulgaria’s Jewish citizens (although deportations had taken place in the conquered territories of Macedonia and Thrace). “As a result of these protests,” it was observed, “no Bulgarian Jews were deported to the gas chambers from Bulgaria itself.
The Japanese attack British positions in Arakan, western Burma leading to Indian retreat.
Lieutenant General George Patton launches drive in Tunisia from Fériana, and occupies Gafsa.
1944 The British blow up the Manipur bridge South of Imphal.
New Zealand troops take Cassino railway station.
The U.S. Third Army takes Koblenz.
The Ludendorff bridge at Remagen, seized by US troops on the 7th March, suddenly collapses, killing dozens of US Army engineers working to reinforce it. —American engineers erect new pontoon bridge in ten hours.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 5 WWII Today: October 22 WWII Today: August 6
1935 Adolf Hitler orders a German rearmament and violates the Versailles Treaty.
1939 Germany occupies the rest Czechoslovakia.
1940 The Luftwaffe attacks the British Fleets anchorage at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. This raid causes the death of a British civilian, the first of the war.
1941 The Kriegsmarine loses two of its most successful U-boat commanders, Kretschmer (U-99) and Schepke (U-100) to British escorts from convoy HX112.
British troops from Aden land at and capture Berbera in Italian occupied British Somaliland.
1943 Wolfpack ‘Raubgraf’ and attacks convoys HX-229 (37 ships) between until the 19th March, sinking 12 ships for 86,326 gross tons damaging 4. Another wolfpack, named ‘StÃ¼rmer’, attacks SC122 and over a period of four days and nights sinking 11 ships (54,740 tons) for the loss of just one U-boat, U-384 (Oblt. von Rosenberg-Gruszinski).
1944 The ‘Chindit’ ‘White City’ base at Mawla severs Japanese communications in northern Burma.
Oswald Job, a British subject, is hanged for spying at Pentonville Prison.
The British Eighth Army continues to batter itself against Monte Cassino.
A Japanese advance through Burma isolates the British garrison at Imphal. During the three-month siege, 150,000 men had to rely entirely on air supply for their survival. More than 400 tons of stores had to be flown daily into a heavily guarded valley, with only three squadrons of Spitfires available for air defence and six squadrons of Hurricanes for attack.
1945 Iwo Jima is declared secure by U.S. forces although small pockets of Japanese resistance still exist.
Two fresh Soviet armies of the 3rd Ukrainian Front counter attack the German offensive towards Budapest.
The US 8th Air Force launches a massive attack (675 bombers) against the HQ complex of the OKH at Zossen 20 miles south of Berlin, but with minimal effect.
The German Heavy Cruisers Schlesien and Prinz Eugen give supporting fire forces of Heeresgruppe Kurland in their defense of the Kurland pocket.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 7 WWII Today: September 27 WWII Today: February 22
1935 Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda bans four Berlin newspapers.
1939 Germany occupies Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia.
1941 Roosevelt broadcasts to the nation announcing ‘the end of compromise with tyranny.
The British ‘Northern Force’ having concentrated the 4th and 5th Indian Divisions begin their offensive for Italian fortress of Keren in Eritrea.
German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sink 15 Allied ships in the North Atlantic over next two days.
1942 U-503 is sunk near the Grand Banks, off Newfoundland, by another aircraft from the US squadron, VP-82.
Norwegian resistance members seize ship SS Galtesundand sail to Britain.
Off Newfoundland, US Navy PBO Hudson sinks U-503, the same pilot (CPO Donald Mason) who had radioed “Sighted sub—sank same” in January, vindicating himself
1943 Germans re-capture Kharkov.
The climax of the Battle of the Atlantic: U-boats sink 21 ships, with only one U-boat lost.
The US Navy establishes numbered fleet system; fleets in the Pacific assigned odd numbers and those in the Atlantic even.
The British Navy launches first X-class midget submarines.
1944 The heaviest RAF raid of war is made against Stuttgart, with 3,000 tons dropped from 863 bombers, for the loss of only 36 planes.
The allies pound Cassino, dropping 1,250 tons of bombs dropped and firing 195,969 in 7 and a half hours, but the troops make slow headway.
The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front breaks through German defenses and reaches the Bug river, the starting point in 1941 for Operation ‘Barbarossa’.
The U.S. 1st Cavalry Division lands on Manus in the Admiralty Islands.
The Japanese begin crossing the Chindwin for an advance against Kohima.
1945 Attacks by troops of the US First Army to expand the Remagen bridgehead further, meet with little success.
The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front begins an offensive in the Ratibor area of Upper Silesia.
U.S. troops report slow progress on Luzon in the Philippines.
1949 Almost four years after the end of World War II, clothes rationing in Great Britain ends.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 14 WWII Today: January 12 WWII Winston Churchill Quote