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.
Coventry bombedÂ The Luftwaffe launches 449 bombers in a heavy night attack against the major manufacturing city of Coventry, dropping around 400 tons of bombs causing severe damage to industrial and civilian installations. The city centre is badly damaged, with 21 factories being destroyed and the cathedral wrecked but for its spire. The raid kills or injures 1,419 people and makes thousands homeless. A new word is created in both the English and German languages, ‘Coventrate’ and ‘Coventrieren’, meaning the physical and psychological destruction of a city.
Greek army repels Italians back into Albania.
De Lattre launches an attack in the snow near the Swiss border, to take Belfort. The U.S. 95th infantry Division begins to capture the Metz forts. The British begins their attack on Maas in central Holland
HMS Blanche struck a mine and sank off the Thames Estuary. She was the first Royal Naval destroyer lost in the war. Two German supply ships are scuttled when cornered by the Royal Navy.
German bombers attacked British territory for the first time, with a bombing raid on the Shetland Islands. No serious damage was done.
Temperature near Moscow drops to -80Â°F (-22.2Â°C).
President Roosevelt announces the arming of American merchant vessels carrying Lend-Lease cargo to Britain. The US Congress and Senate, vote by a small majority to repeal the 1939 Neutrality Act.
British aircraft carrier Ark Royal is torpedoed off Gibraltar by U-81 and later sinks.
The Eighth Army captures Tobruk and Montgomery says: ‘We have completely smashed the German and Italian armies’.
First sea battle off Guadalcanal in the Pacific begins in confusion.
German troops evacuate Skopje in Yugoslavia.
Free French forces under General Leclerc attack from Alsace towards the upper Rhine.
General de Gaulle is elected headÂ of the provisional French government.
Negotiations between Russia and Finland over territorial dispute reach deadlock.
Germany prepares to enter war in Greece.
Colonel Burns again proposes a Canadian parachute force to the Chief of General Staff. The idea is shelved, and no action is taken.
The British 8th Army retakes Sollum and Bardia, while Panzer Army Afrika continues its withdrawal toward Tripoli.
U.S. Navy battles Tokyo Express off Guadalcanal
US President Roosevelt embarks on USS Iowa to go to the Allied conferences at Teheran and Cairo.
German troops invade Leros by sea and drop 500 paratroops.
The Russians take Zhitomir in Ukraine. The Kiev bridgehead is now 95 miles deep and 150 miles wide.
Heavy bombers of the RAF, after several previous attempts, succeed in sinking the battleship Tirpitz, the sister ship of the Bismarck, which is lying at anchor in a fjord near Tromso in Norway. Over 1,000 men of her crew trapped in her capsized hull are lost.
The institute of France awards Churchill a gold medal.
General George S. Patton is born.
At 11 a.m. World War I, the war to end all wars, ends.
Queen Elizabeth broadcasts a message to the women of the Empire, calling them to join the war effort.
On the anniversary of the end of World War I, several hundred Paris students stage a disorganized protest on the Champs Elysee over the arrest of a popular professor. Although Gaullists in London report several deaths, it appears no one was killed, but 123 students are arrested. Although it is the first sign of organized anti-German feeling since the armistice in June, German authorities report to Berlin that the small size and unorganized nature of the protest demonstrates that pro-Gaullist feeling is minimal.
Italian aircraft attack Thames Estuary with little success: first and last Italian air attack on Britain.
The British Fleet launches an air attack against the Italian fleet at Taranto. Swordfish aircraft from the Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious damage three battleships, two cruisers, two destroyers and two auxiliaries craft. This British victory, forces the Italians to temporary withdraw their big surface units to the safer ports on the west coast of Italy.
The RAF’s first offensive air operations in Greece are carried out by Blenheims in a low-level attack on Valaca airfield.
In the United States the draft age is lowered to 18
The United States extends Lend-Lease aid to the Free French Forces under General de Gaulle.
German forces begin the occupation of those parts of France controlled by the Vichy government. In a letter to Marshal Petain, Hitler declares that the purpose of this move is “to protect France” against the allies.
French Admiral Jean Francios Darlan joins French General Alphonse Juin in calling an all-out cease fire for French forces throughout Africa.
6th Army launches its last major attack to capture Stalingrad and succeeds in reaching the Volga near the Red October factory on a frontage of 600 yards. The 13th Panzer-Division of III Panzer Corps begins to disengage its units halted before Ordshonikidse to avoid being cut off by the heavy Soviet attacks against its communications.
Auschwitz Kommandant HÃ¶ss is promoted to chief inspector of concentration camps. The new kommandant, Liebehenschel, then divides up the vast Auschwitz complex of over 30 sub-camps into three main sections.
FDR Secretly Leaves the U.S. on the USS Iowa
American air power continues to hit Rabaul.
The German First Army HQ leaves Metz as the U.S. Third Army gains three bridgeheads over the Moselle.
Private Eddie Slovik is convicted of desertion and sentenced to death for refusing to join his unit in the European Theater of Operations.
A torpedo bomber raid cripples the Italian fleet at Taranto, Italy.
Churchill’s Mansion House Speech: Tells Japan that war on US means war on Britain. The Japanese Foreign Minister says their aim is to make the US and UK retreat from East Asia.
The Americans capture Oran. Petain takes command of all Vichy forces. British successes in Egypt continue with the capture of Sidi Barrani.
Admiral Jean Darlan orders French forces in North Africa to cease resistance to the Anglo-American forces.
President Roosevelt announces the breaking-off of diplomatic relations with Vichy France.
The Red Army achieves a breakthrough near Gomel in Byelorussia.