Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

1940 FDR appoints former Republicans to counter isolationists:

Henry Stimson as Secretary of Army Frank Knox as Secretary of Navy They join Hull, Morgenthau, and Hopkins as the “war cabinet”

Both Houses of Parliament meet in secret session to discuss Home Defense.

German troops capture Lyons and the vital port of Brest in Brittany. French envoys drive behind German lines to receive armistice terms. Italian forces begins an offensive along the Riviera coast into France.

The RAF bomb Rouen airfield.

The German heavy cruiser Gneisenau is damaged by a torpedo from the British submarine Clyde.

1941 President Roosevelt, in a message to Congress, denounces the sinking of the American merchant ship Robin Moor by U-69 as ‘an act of piracy’.

The U.S. Army Air Forces is established, replacing the Army Air Corps.

1942 Fort Lenin in Sevastopol falls to the Germans.

Declaring that “icicles sprouted in Hell today,” the director of the Erie Railroad announces the company will pay its shareholders a dividend for the first time in seventy years. The fifty-cents-a-share payoff is possible largely because of profits earned from transporting troops and war material.

1943 The RAF institutes ‘shuttle bombing’ runs, with planes leaving England, bombing Germany, reloading in North Africa, bombing Italy and the returning to England begin, with 60 RAF bombers attacking the radar works at Friedrichshafen.

The British announce a five-day U-boat attack on the Atlantic convoys and claim that 97% of ships survived.

1944 U.S. troops attack the outer defenses of Cherbourg.

Eighth Army take Perugia as its advance North continues.

The Red Army captures Viipuri on the Soviet-Finnish border.

The Japanese retreat from Imphal in Manipur towards the Burmese frontier.

Vice Admiral Marc Mitchner, commander of the U.S. Task Force 58, orders all lights on his ships turned on to help guide his carrier-based pilots back from the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The greatest aircraft carrier duel.

1945 Australians troops land at Lutong on Sarawak and gain 25 miles to the Seria oilfields

1940 FDR appoints former Republicans to counter isolationists: Henry Stimson as Secretary of Army Frank Knox as Secretary of Navy They join Hull, Morgenthau, and Hopkins as the “war cabinet”Both Houses of Parliament meet in secret session to discuss Home Defense.German troops capture Lyons and the vital port of Brest in Brittany. French envoys drive behind German lines to receive armistice terms. Italian forces begins an offensive along the Riviera coast into France.The RAF bomb Rouen airfield.The German heavy cruiser Gneisenau is damaged by a torpedo from the British submarine Clyde.1941 President Roosevelt, in a message to Congress, denounces the sinking of the American merchant ship Robin Moor by U-69 as ‘an act of piracy’.The U.S. Army Air Forces is established, replacing the Army Air Corps.1942 Fort Lenin in Sevastopol falls to the Germans.Declaring that “icicles sprouted in Hell today,” the director of the Erie Railroad announces the company will pay its shareholders a dividend for the first time in seventy years. The fifty-cents-a-share payoff is possible largely because of profits earned from transporting troops and war material.1943 The RAF institutes ‘shuttle bombing’ runs, with planes leaving England, bombing Germany, reloading in North Africa, bombing Italy and the returning to England begin, with 60 RAF bombers attacking the radar works at Friedrichshafen.The British announce a five-day U-boat attack on the Atlantic convoys and claim that 97% of ships survived.1944 U.S. troops attack the outer defenses of Cherbourg.Eighth Army take Perugia as its advance North continues.The Red Army captures Viipuri on the Soviet-Finnish border.The Japanese retreat from Imphal in Manipur towards the Burmese frontier.Vice Admiral Marc Mitchner, commander of the U.S. Task Force 58, orders all lights on his ships turned on to help guide his carrier-based pilots back from the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The greatest aircraft carrier duel.1945 Australians troops land at Lutong on Sarawak and gain 25 miles to the Seria oilfields

1940 If invaders come leaflet is issued by Ministry of Information to all households. The British Jockey Club announces no more racing until further notice.

The Germans invite the French to send a representative to discuss armistice terms as their troops reach River Loire, advance on Lyons, capture Strasbourg, Brest and Tours. Rommel takes Cherbourg.

More than 100 German bombers make raids over Britain.

French ships seek refuge in British ports.

1941 Germany and Italy expel US consular officials in retaliation for American moves.

The Russians order a black-out of all major cities and towns near the border. However, they still do not allow their troops to take up battle positions, in spite of information given by two German deserters of an imminent attack.

Churchill and Roosevelt meet to discuss the number of conflicting offensive plans which might be launched against Germany in 1942. The main ones were ‘Rutter’, a 24-hour cross Channel raid on Dieppe. ‘Sledgehammer’ using six division to establish a lodgment on the French coast at Cherbourg and ‘Jupiter’ which called for a lodgement in northern Norway. Discussion were also had on the up and coming operation ‘Gymnast’, which was the proposed Anglo-American landing in French North Africa later in the year.

Plans for the offensive in to the Caucasus are captured by the Russians when a staff officer from the 23rd Panzer Division is shot down. Against all order, he was carrying the plans on his person. 40th Panzer Corps commander, General Stumme and his chief of staff are immediately sacked and imprisoned on Hitlers express orders. No changes were made to the plan as although the Russians considered them authentic, they believed that it was only a subsidiary thrust and that the main objective was still Moscow, which suited the Germans.

Rommel launches a surprise attack from the southeast against Tobruk. This throw’s the garrison into confusion which allows German troops to breach the outer defenses.

1943 RAF carries out a raid on the Schneider armaments works at Le Creusot.

Goebbels declares Berlin to be Judenfrei (cleansed of Jews).

1944 A violent storm in the English Channel wrecks the U.S. Mulberry Harbour at St. Laurent (Omaha Beach). 20 allied divisions now oppose 16 German in Normandy.

The Air Ministry release the first official details of the V1s (range 150 miles, speed 300-350 mph, 2,000lb bomb) as AA gunners start calling them Doodlebugs.

Lt. Vraciu signals six “Judy” kills, which he accomplished in less than eight minutes during the now famed “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”

U.S. Navy carrier-based planes shatter the remaining Japanese carrier forces in the “Battle of the Marianas”. Also known as the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot,” Americans shoot down 402 Japanese planes while only losing 20.

1945 The Australians are now in control of both sides of the Brunei Bay entrance.

1940 French Army in general retreat as German troops capture Le Mans and Cherbourg. The garrisons of Belfort, Metz and Dijon surrender. Hitler and Mussolini meet in Munich to discuss French request for peace. General de Gaulle forms the French National Committee in London and vows to continue the war on the side of Britain, saying that ëFrance has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war.

Churchill speaks to Commons: let us so bear ourselves that . . . men will still say, “This was their finest hour”.

German planes raid Thames Estuary and East Coast.

Hitler and Mussolini meet in Munich.

1941 British press give details of development of ëradio locationí (radar) and its use in Battle of Britain.

Free French troops occupy Damascus in Syria. Germany and Turkey sign a ten-year non-aggression pact.

1942 The British Eighth Army evacuates Sidi Rezegh and El Adem.

Germans announce the killing of Heydrichís assassins, just two hours after ultimatum demanding information expired. German troops seize Fort Maxim Gorky in Sevastopol, digging out Russian naval infantry (in their black Sailor hats) with flame-throwers.

1943 Field Marshal Wavell is to become the Viceroy of India, with General Auchinleck becoming the C in C of India. A new East Asia Command is to be established.

Radar (Radio Detection and Ranging) becomes the official term for Radiolocation.

1944 The US First Army cuts off and isolates the German forces defending Cherbourg.

The Eighth Army take Assisi.

The British 2nd Division manages to advance 14 miles towards Imphal.

1945 Eisenhower arrives in Washington to a heroes welcome.

British demobilization begins.

Japanese resistance ends on Mindanao in the Philippines.

The USAAF begins the fireblitzing of 58 smaller Japanese cities.

Truman approves OPERATION DOWNFALL with the JCS predicting 200,000 US casualties.

1940 Liner Lancastria, with 3,000 British troops aboard, bombed and sunk at St. Nazaire, in North West France.

German troops cross the Loire near Orleans. Petain orders French to stop fighting and sues for ‘honourable’ peace terms. Churchill broadcasts to the nation, saying the British will defend their island home and fight on until the curse of Hitler is removed. Unemployment in Britain falls 114,000 in May to new low of 767,000.

The USSR announces that Estonia and Latvia have agreed to the free passage of troops and to the formation of new governments.

1941 Rommel beats back the British attack at Sollum. ‘Operation Battleaxe’ fails with 1,000 British casualties and 100 tanks lost.

1942 The Eighth Army’s withdrawal reaches the Egyptian frontier, leaving behind a garrison of some 30,000 troops at Tobruk, which is now again under siege.

Yank a weekly magazine for the U.S. armed services, begins publication.

1943 The British battleships Valiant and Warspite are transferred from Scapa Flow to Oran and Alexandria in North Africa in preparation for Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily.

1944 General de Lattre de Tassigny’s Free French land on Elba and complete its capture in just two days.

German troops evacuate the island of Elba off the west coast of Italy.

1940 French front cracking as the Germans break through in Champagne to Dijon, with units of 19th Panzer Korps reaching Besancon on the Swiss border. German forces, supported by heavy artillery and Stuka dive bombers, continue their assault against the Maginot Line on a broad front.

The French government of Paul Reynaud resigns and is replaced by one led by Marshal Petain who immediately appoints Weygand as Minister of National Defence. 57,000 British troops are evacuated from Nantes and St. Nazaire.

The Red Army occupies Latvia and Estonia. Tens of thousands of “hostile’ natives and their families are rounded up and deported to NKVD prison camps around the Soviet Union.

U-101 sinks the British merchant ship Wellington Star in the Bay of Biscay.

The British submarine Grampus is sunk by four Italian torpedo boats off Syracuse, Sicily.

1941 The US State Department orders the closing by the 10th July of all German consular offices and tourist agencies in the United States. Italians closed down on 19th June.

British unemployment figures for May lowest yet at 243,656 out of work, 400,000 less than a year ago.

The British attempt to continue their offensive, but suffer heavy tank losses to German 88mm Flak guns.

1942 After intense air attacks and Italian fleet sorties, the Gibraltar convoy reaches Malta, but the Alexandria convoy is forced back. During these attempts to reach Malta the losses between both convoys stand at the cruiser Hermione (sunk by U-205, South of Crete), five destroyers and 40 aircraft.

Lieutenant General Ritchie gives General Norrie permission to withdraw XXX Corps past Tobruk and as far as Mersa Matruh to re-equip. General

Gott’s XIII is ordered to take up defensive positions on the Egyptian frontier. This left the city exposed to another siege, for which its defenses were inadequate, having been allowed to deteriorate during the winter.

1943 93 out of 94 Japanese planes are destroyed during a massive attack on allied shipping round Guadalcanal.

1944 The real flying bomb offensive on Britain begins as 95 V1’s cross the coast before 6am and a total of 244 reaching England that day. The German press calls it the ‘beginning of the day of vengeance’.

The Eighth Army captures Foligno and Spoleto, east of Orvieto and approach Perugia.

U.S. Marines repulse the Japanese counter-attacks on Saipan.

1940 Roosevelt assures Reynaud that US aid will be redoubled.

Germans take Verdun. German forces of the 7th Army cross Rhine and break into the Maginot Line above Strasbourg. Weygand refuses to surrender French Army on its own. 30,600 British and Canadian troops are evacuated from Cherbourg, Brest and St. Malo.

New Russo-German frontier agreement announced.

The Red Army advances across the Lithuanian border.

The Germans open Auschwitz concentration camp, officially to provide 100,000 labor force for I.G Farben factory.

The Communist Party of Australia is declared as illegal.

1941 German formation commanders receive confirmation of the date and time that the attack on the Soviet Union will begin. This is to be 03:30 on the 22nd June 1941. German Panzer units begin to move up to their final jump-off positions.

The British Army begins ‘Operation Battleaxe’ to relieve Australian held Tobruk and then advance towards Derna. However, they meet fierce counter attacks by the Afrika Korps and are unable to make any headway.

1942 U-552 (Kptlt. Topp) sinks 5 ships of Convoy HG-84 in the northern Atlantic.

An Italian naval squadron intercepts the ‘Harpoon’ convoy and disables two British destroyers, as well as damaging the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo, although the the Italians lost a destroyer in the process. Axis aircraft then attacked and sank 2 freighters, the tanker Kentucky and 1 destroyer. Another Italian naval squadron had sailed from Taranto to intercept ‘Vigorous’, which reversed course in the face of this threat. While it was doing this, German E-boats moved in and sank a destroyer and damaged a cruiser with torpedo’s. At this point British torpedo aircraft from Malta attacked the Italian naval squadron, disabling a cruiser, which was later sunk by a British submarine. In the meantime ‘Vigorous’ turned towards Malta again, but further reports of the Italian naval squadron steaming south, forced another course reversal. German Stukas attacked the convoy at this point and damaged a cruiser and sank a destroyer. The Italian naval squadron moved now moved north, removing the threat to the ‘Vigorous’ convoy, but Admiral Vian commanding the ‘Vigorous’ convoy decided that he did not have enough ammunition left to resume his course to Malta and so continued back to Alexandria, during which U-205 sank the cruiser HMS Hermione south of Crete and Stukas sank another destroyer. However, as consolation, British aircraft did manage to torpedo the Italian Battleship Littorio, which spent the next two months under repair.

Rommel launches an attack against Eighth Army’s new defensive line, but is repulsed. However, General Norrie was worried that XXX Corps lacked sufficient tanks to defend this line for very long.

Admiral Chester Nimitz is widely criticized in Washington for not pursuing and destroying the damaged Japanese fleet after the battle of Midway.

1943 The German raider Michel sinks 2 ships off the west coast of Australia.

1944 Roosevelt outlines his plans for the post-war United Nations.

The RAF launches heavy attacks (600 bombers) against Le Havre and Boulogne.

The second Finnish defensive zone is smashed by the Russians.

USAAF B-29s from China pound the Yawata steel works in the first land based air attack on Japan.

U.S. Marines meet strong opposition to their Saipan Island landing despite the heavy bombardment of the Marianas islands during past week. 3,000 US dead; 30,000 Japanese soldiers dead; 22,000 civilians commit suicide–Causes the downfall of Tojo.

1945 B-29’s begin destruction of 60 mid-sized cities in Japan, killing roughly 250,000.

1940 Germans enter Paris as Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division takes Le Havre. The French government leaves Tours for Bordeaux. Army Group C, with 24 divisions, prepares to cross the upper Rhine to attack the Maginot Line in Alsace. All remaining British troops in France are ordered to return to England.

Spanish troops enter Tangier. British troops capture Fort Capuzzo and Maddalena, destroy the fixed guns and emplacements and then retire back to Egypt.

1941 President Roosevelt orders the freezing of all German and Italian assets, as well as those of occupied countries.

The RAF begins fighter sweeps over Northern France.

Croatia joins the Tripartite Pact.

Hitler meets with his top generals to discuss matters concerning the upcoming campaign against the Soviet Union. The ‘Lucy’ spy ring passes information to the Soviet Union, detailing the start date for a German attack as the 22nd June.

1942 Air Marshal Harris is recognized for his achievements with the recent 1,000 bomber raids with a knight-hood.

German troops of the 16th Regiment of the 22nd Airlanding Division take Fort Stalin in Sevastopol.

Auchinleck tells Ritchie that Tobruk must be held, a fact that Churchill reiterates to him. The Eighth Army now holds a line directly in front of Tobruk, running from the coast to Acroma, then southeast to El Adem and then directly south to Bir El Gobi.

The first axis attacks are made against the ‘Harpoon’ and ‘Vigorous’ convoys. ‘Harpoon’ loses a freighter and receives damage to a cruiser from an axis air attack off the Tunisian coast. ‘Harpoons’ escorting aircraft carriers turn back at this point. In the late afternoon, the ‘Vigorous’ convoy passes out of air cover range and promptly losses two freighters to axis air attacks. Another freighter is forced to return to Alexandria as it is deemed to slow.

1943 RAF Coastal Command begins daily patrols over the Bay of Biscay with aircraft equipped with new detection devices to locate and destroy German U-boats leaving and entering their bases on the French coast.

A German report shows that 100,000 cases of typhus were reported on the Russian front during 1942, with a fatality rate of 15%.

1944 His Majesty the King and de Gaulle visit the Normandy front (separately). Carentan is finally in U.S. hands after a week’s fighting in Normandy.

The allies take Orvieto, 65 miles Northwest of Rome.

1940 Germans troops advance on both sides of Paris. General Weygand declares the French capital an open city.

Armed merchant-cruiser Scotstown is torpedoed by U-25 off Ireland, 6 crew lost. The first US arms ship, ‘Eastern Prince’, sets sail for Britain.

Italian bombers attack the French naval base at Toulon.

The British submarine Odin is sunk by the Italian destroyer Strale in Gulf of Taranto.

The German raider Orion lays mines off Auckland, New Zealand.

1941 The Luftwaffe carries out a raid on the British naval base at Chatham, but with little success.

29 People Killed, when German dive-bombers sink the Great Western Railway steamer St. Patrick.

Russian news agency Tass, denies German threat on its borders and calls rumors ëabsurd and obviously sheer hostile propaganda.í The Russians begin to arrest those in the Baltic States who might support a German occupation. In all, about 50,000 are rounded up, with the majority never to be seen alive again.

Russo-Japanese trade agreement announced in Tokyo.

1942 President Roosevelt authorizes the creation of the U.S. Office on War Information (OWI). The first director is Elmer Holmes Davis, a CBS commentator and novelist.

German tanks and anti-tank batteries destroy 138 British tanks in and around the Knightsbridge pocket. This left the Eighth Army with only 75 armoured vehicles operational and threatened the main British supply route along the Trigh Capuzzo, which in turn threatened the 1st South African and British 50th Division which were still defending the northern part of the Gazala line. Lieutenant General Ritchie, without informing General Auchinleck, who wanted to hold west of Tobruk, ordered these two divisions to pull back towards Tobruk.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of June 13, four men landed on a beach near Amagansett, Long Island, New York, from a German submarine, clad in German uniforms and bringing ashore enough explosives, primers, and incendiaries to support an expected two-year career in the sabotage of American defense-related production. On June 17, a similar group landed on Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida, equipped for a similar career in industrial disruption. However, all are captured within days and six are executed after a trial.

1943 Night fighter ace Wing Commander John Cunningham, brings down his 16th victim over southern England.

1944 The first V1 flying bomb is launched against Britain during Operation ‘Rumpelkammer’ and hits Swanscombe in Kent at 0418, causing shock and near panic among the civilian population.

Near Villers-Bocage, a single Tiger tank from the 12th SS Panzer Division (Michael Wittmann’s) destroys 25 tanks and other vehicles of the British 7th Armoured Division.

1945 U.S. and Australian troops enter Brunei, in Borneo.

1940 General Sir Edmond Ironside, C-in-C of British Home Forces, completes plans for the defense of Britain against German invasion.

On the orders from General Weygand, C-in-C of the French Army, the French forces opposing the advance of Army Group A withdraw to the South, offering little resistance. The Germans cross the River Marne, consolidate bridgehead South of the Seine and claim to have occupied Rheims. Four French divisions and most of the British 51st Highland Division is cut off and captured by Rommel at St. Valery-en-Caux.

The Soviet Union issues an ultimatum to Lithuania, demanding that the Red Army be allowed to occupy the country.

RAF bomb docks in Tobruk, Libya.

Italian submarine Bagnolini sinks British cruiser Calypso south of Crete.

1941 The RAF raids the Ruhr, Rhineland and German ports in the first of 20 consecutive night raids.

The German pocket battleship L¸tzow (formerly Deutschland) is attacked and damaged by RAF aircraft off the southern coast of Norway.

1942 Rommel, having now brought up tank reserves, could now muster 124 tanks against the 248 British tanks. He therefore attacked the British positions between Knightsbridge and El Adem, trapping much of the British armor.

1943 The RAF launches a heavy raid on Bochum in the Ruhr. The Luftwaffe carries out a night attack against Plymouth.

King George VI lands in Morocco, only his second sanctioned visit of the war to forces overseas.

1944 U.S. troops fighting for Carentan, link up with British troops, thereby completing a solid line along a 50-mile battle front. So far, the allies have landed 326,000 men and 54,000 vehicles onto the Normandy beaches.

Rosenberg orders operation ‘Hay Action’, the kidnapping of 40,000 Polish children aged ten to fourteen for slave labour in Germany.

1945 Eisenhower is awarded the Order of Merit and becomes the first U.S. recipient.

1940 Householders in possession of Anderson shelters must by law have them up and earthed by today.

The French government of Premier Reynaud leaves Paris for Tours. German forces capture Rheims.

Italian aircraft bomb Malta.

Paris prepares for siege as the Luftwaffe pounds the city. The RAF attacks Turin and Genoa with 36 Whitley bombers.

RAF attack German ships in Trondheim harbour, Norway.

Australia and New Zealand declare war on Italy.

South Africa declares war on Italy. RAF bomb airfields and petrol dumps in Italian East Africa and Libya.  British armored cars cross into Libya from Egypt and ambush a number of Italian trucks near Fort Capuzzo. Italian aircraft bomb Aden and Port Sudan.

1942 U-boats begin laying mines off Boston, Delaware and Chesapeake Bay.

The court-martial of a German army captain Michael Kitzelmann ends in Orel. Kitzelmann, who won an Iron Cross Second Class for bravery, has spoken out against atrocities being committed on the eastern front. “If these criminals should win,” he has told his fellow officers, “I would have no wish to live any longer.” Kitzelmann’s wish is granted. He is shot by a firing squad that day.

The United States and the Soviet Union signed a lend lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort.

Simultaneous British convoys set sail for Malta from Gibraltar and Alexandria. The Gibraltar convoy (codenamed ‘ Harpoon’), consisted of 5 freighters and a US tanker. It was initially escorted by a battleship, 2 aircraft carrier, 3 cruisers and 8 destroyers and was later reinforced by an anti-aircraft cruiser and 9 destroyers. The Alexandria convoy (codenamed ‘Vigorous’), had eleven freighters and was escorted by 7 light cruisers and 26 destroyers.

1943 Operation ‘Corkscrew’, the invasion of Pantelleria meets little resistance after a 20-day aerial bombardment of the island.

The US 8th Air Force raids the German naval base at Wilhelmshaven (200 B-17s), while the RAF attacks Münster and Düsseldorf.

1945 SEAC estimate that 108,240 Japanese have been killed in Burma since February 1944.