Archive for WWII Today

Today in World War II History. On these pages you will find of some of the most important events that shaped World War 2.

1933
Nazis order a ban on all Jews in businesses, professions and schools.

1940
Dutch fighters shoot down a British bomber near Rotterdam by mistake, killing one flier.

The British and French decide to start mining neutral Norwegian waters from the 8th April 1940.

1941
In an attempt to intercept British convoys sailing to Greece, the Italian navy puts a force of 1 Battleship, 8 Cruisers and 9 Destroyers out to sea. However, they are spotted by an RAF flying boat which alerts Admiral Cunningham who orders the Mediterranean fleet to slip anchor and intercept the Italians the next day.

Anti-Axis demonstrations in Yugoslavia.

1942
Naval and Commando raid against St. Nazaire. A British ship, the HMS Campbeltown, a Lend-Lease American destroyer, which was specifically rammed into a German occupied dry-dock in France, explodes, knocking the area out of action for the German battleship Tirpitz.

Under the new tactical doctrine of area saturation bombing, introduced by Air Vice Marshal Harris, the RAF launches a heavy incendiary attack (234 bombers) against Lübeck on the Baltic
that devastates 265 acres of the old city. The RAF lost 13 aircraft and from one of these the Germans were able to obtain their first specimen of the GEE equipment. In retaliation for the raid on Lübeck, Hitler orders the Luftwaffe to bomb historic British towns and cities.

Fritz Sauckel named Chief of Manpower to expedite recruitment of slave labour.

In response to General Stilwell’s request for a British counter-attack to relieve the pressure on Chinese forces around Toungoo, Alexander orders the 1st Burma Corps to attack at Paungde and Prome in the Irrawaddy valley.

1943

The British First Army goes onto the offensive in northern Tunisia.

1944
The Russians recapture Nikolaev on the Black Sea and enter Romanian territory.

Merrill’s ‘Marauders’ begin a 10-day defensive action against 1,300 Japanese at Nhpum Ga Ridge.

1945
Argentina declares war against Germany.

The British Second Army begins its drive towards the Elbe as the U.S. First Army captures Marburg, 60 miles Northeast of Koblenz. The US Third Army captures Limburg on the Lahn.

The Russians capture Gdynia, along with 9,000 prisoners, after a long struggle. The 1st Belorussian Front captures Gotenhafen north of Danzig. Hitler replaces General Guderian with General Krebs as chief of OKH.

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1941
A coup in Yugoslavia by General Simonic and other army officers overthrows the pro-German government. King Peter takes control and a new cabinet is formed. This upsets Hitler, who decides to delay his surprise attack on the Soviet Union in order to launch “Operation Union”, whose intent is the destruction of Yugoslavia.

British troops finally take Keren, although they suffer nearly 4,000 casualties in the process, while the Italians lose some 3,000 men. The  Italians are forced to withdraw towards Asmara. The 11th African Division captures Harar in Abyssinia after the Italians have declared it an  ‘open town’.

Tokeo Yoshikawa arrives in Oahu, Hawaii, to begin spying for Japan on the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

1942
The British raid the Nazi submarine base at St. Nazaire, France

Filippino President and Government arrive in Australia.

The start of deportation of French Jews to Auschwitz.

One thousand Jews leave Drancy, France for the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1944
Thousands of Jews are murdered in Kaunas, Lithuania. The Gestapo shoots forty Jewish policemen in the Riga, Latvia ghetto.

1945
General Dwight Eisenhower declares that the German defenses on the Western Front have been broken.

The allied bridgehead north of Ruhr is now 700 square miles. 16,257 POW’s are taken for 6,781 allied casualties in four days. The U.S. Third Army captures Aschaffenburg.

The 1,115th and last V2 to reach England lands in Kynaston Rd., Orpington, Kent, England.

Bitter street fighting in Danzig as the Russians force their way into the City defences. A German counterattack from the Frankfurt bridgehead toward Küstrin bogs down after only a few miles.

B-29s lay mines in Japan’s Shimonoseki Strait to interrupt shipping.


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1938
Herman Goering warns all Jews to leave Austria.

1941
The German Army High Command gives approval to RSHA and Heydrich on the tasks of SS murder squads (Einsatzgruppen) in occupied Poland.

The British Cruiser York is severely damaged and then beached at Suda Bay in Crete, when it is hit by an Italian motor boat loaded with explosives.

1942
Two of the freighters from the recent relief convoy are sunk in port by the Luftwaffe. These two ships were still almost fully loaded as damage to the docks at Valletta has prevented their swift unloading. Of the 26,000 tons of supply that had been sent from Egypt on this latest convoy, only 5,000 tons were eventually unloaded.

General Blamey becomes the Commander-in-Chief of Australian Military Forces.

Churchill tells the conservatives, ‘It now seems very likely that we and our allies cannot lose this war, except through our own fault’.

1943
The Eighth Army wins the battle of the Mareth line, forcing the axis troops to retreat to the North.

1944
Koniev’s armies reach the River Pruth on a 50-miles front. The Russians recapture Kamenets-Podolsk. in the Ukraine.

1945
The U.S. Third Army reaches Main and establishes contact with U.S. Seventh Army on the East side of Rhine, near Worms. The US Third Army captures Darmstadt.

The Russians take Papa and Devecser, both German strong points covering the approaches to the Austrian border. The Reichsführer-SS is replaced by General Heinrici as Commander in Chief of Army Group Weichsel.

The last organised Japanese troops on Iwo Jima make a suicide attack. Total U.S. killed on Iwo Jima is 6,891, with more than 20,000 Japanese being killed and only 216 captured.

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1941
Under heavy pressure Yugoslavia finally signs the Tripartite pact.

1942
US troops occupy the Society Islands.

1943
Greek partisans temporarily take over Samos Island from the Italian garrison

1944
Manstein persuades Hitler to allow the First Panzer Army to break out to the west of Lvov, not south.

1945
The U.S. First Army breaks out of the Remagen bridgehead. The British Second Army captures Wesel which has been nearly 100% destroyed by Allied bombing.

The U.S. Navy begins the pre-invasion bombardment of Okinawa firing more than half a million shells and rockets in a week.

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Mar
24

World War II Today: March 24

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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.

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.

The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Neisse in Upper Silesia.

U.S. Marines seize islands off coast of Okinawa in Pacific.

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