WWII Dog Tags Blog

A home for World War II History, Pin Ups, Quotes and more

Feb 22

World War II Today: February 22

1940 Two IRA bombs explode in London; 12 people injured.

n North Sea, Luftwaffe accidentally sinks German destroyer Leberecht Maass; during rescue,German destroyer Max Schultz is sunk by mine.

1941 The first mass round-up of Jews in Amsterdam; 430 deported in reprisal for murder of Dutch Nazi party member.

Bread ration in Jewish ghetto in Warsaw reduced to 3 oz per day.

The Afrika Korps, newly arrived in Libya, launch their first probing attacks against the unpleasantly surprised British Army at El Agheila.

1942 Air Marshal A. T. (Bomber) Harris is appointed C-in-C of Bomber Command.

British forces in retreat less than 100 miles from Rangoon, the capital of Burma.

President Franklin Roosevelt orders General Douglas MacArthur to leave the Philippines.

New car sales in the United States end for the duration of the war

1943 Churchill is said to be ‘on the mend’ after a severe fever.

Army Group Centre begins a counterattack in the area between the Dnieper and Donets.

Allied commando raid on Myebon, South of Akyab in the Arakan, western Burma.

Norway, Nazi collaborationist Quisling orders conscription of 35,000 Norwegian men for military construction.

Battleship USS Iowa is commissioned, New York Naval Yard, first of four Iowa class battleships, the last US battleships.

1944 Malinovsky completes the capture of the mining area around Krivoi Rog.

Heavy Japanese losses as the U.S. Navy bombards the Marianas in the Pacific.

1945 Allied Air Forces launch Operation Clarion, a concerted effort to wipe out all forms of transport available to the Germans in 24 hours. Nearly 9,000 aircraft, operating from bases in England, France, Holland, Belgium and Italy attack over 250,00 square miles of territory, targeting railways, bridges, ports and roads.

After a heavy four-day battle, the U.S.Fifth Army takes the Upper Reno Valley in northern Italy between Bologna and Florence.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 2 WWII Today: November 19 WWII Today: December 16

Feb 21

World War II Today: February 21

1940 Britain reduces passenger train service due to coal shortage.

1941 Third and final day of Swansea Blitz (Luftwaffe bombing of Swansea, Wales): 230 killed, but docks and facilities are undamaged.

1942 Convoy ON-166 (60 ships) sailing from Britain to North America, is attacked in the North Atlantic by 19 U-boats from wolfpacks Ritter and Knappen between the 21st and 26th February. 14 allied ships are lost for 87,901 tons. 4 U-boats U-225, U-606, U-529, U623 were sunk during the battle.

House of Representatives begins hearings about removal of Japanese-Americans from West Coast.

German spy Bernard Julius Otto Kuehn convicted of espionage for sending information about Pearl Harbor to the Japanese before and during the attack.

1943 The 25th Anniversary of the creation of the Red Army is celebrated in all allied countries.

1944 U.S. Marines complete the capture of Eniwetok Atoll, suffering 339 dead.

Hideki Tojo becomes chief of staff of the Japanese army.

1945 The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Guben.

The US 8th Air Force bombs Nurnberg with over 1,000 bombers.

The British 2nd Division establishes another Irrawaddy bridgehead, while the British 36th Division breaks through at Myitson, in northern Burma. Meanwhile further British forces cross the Irrawaddy in central Burma.

Off Iwo Jima, Japanese kamikazes sink US escort carrier Bismarck Sea and damage the Aircraft Carriers Saratoga and Lunga Point.

US Sixth Army secures Bataan Peninsula on Luzon.

Scottish Olympic runner Eric Liddell (memorialized in Chariots of Fire) dies in Japanese internment camp in China, where he had served as a missionary.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: August 19 WWII Today: September 13 WWII Today: July 14

Feb 20

World War II Today: February 20

1938 Hitler demands self-determination for Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia.

1940 General von Falkenhorst is appointed to command the German invasion of Norway.

1941 The Australian Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies arrives in Britain for talks with Churchill.

The United States sends war planes to the Pacific.

1942 Lt. Edward “Butch” O’Hare of USS Lexington shoots down five Japanese planes in six minutes in his F4F Wildcat over Rabaul, becoming the first US Navy ace of war, receives Medal of Honor.

First US Eighth Air Force officers arrive in England.

Japanese forces land on the Portuguese Island of Timor.

Japanese troops having suffered heavy casualties over the past few weeks from battle and disease, begin to slacken their pressure in Bataan. President Quezon of the Philippines leaves for Australia in a US submarine.

1943 Fierce fighting in continues in central Tunisia after the German breakout through the Kasserine Pass, but further offensive operations by the Afrika Korps are halted in order for them to withdraw to the Mareth line.

1944 ‘Big Week’ rolls on with the largest ever daylight raid of war by the USAAF on Germany as 970 bombers carry out attacks against Hamburg,

Leipzig and Braunschweig. The RAF pound Stuttgart with 2,000-tons of bombs.

A ferry boat, carrying the remaining ‘Heavy Water’ production from Telemark in Norway, back to Germany for safety is sabotaged and sunk  on Lake Tinnsjo.

The Admiralty announces an 11-day battle with U-boats in Straits of Gibraltar, during which three ships are sunk and several damaged.

U.S. carrier-based and land-based planes destroy the Japanese base at Rabaul.

1945 US Marines take Airfield 1 on Iwo Jima.

The RAF launch the first of 36 consecutive night raids on Berlin.

Red Army attacks against the lines of Army Group Courland fail in the face of stubborn German resistance.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: September 25 Words at War: Lost Island WWII Today: February 7

Feb 19

World War II Today: February 19

1940 Destroyer HMS Daring torpedoed, 157 are killed.

1941 Luftwaffe switches focus from attacking London to attacking shipping centers, such as Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bristol, and Cardiff.

US Coast Guard Auxiliary (non-military) and Reserve (military) is established.

1942 Under increasing threat of being outflanked by the advancing Japanese, the 17th Indian Division is finally given permission to withdraw across the river Sittang.

Largest Japanese air raid since Pearl Harbor occurs against Darwin, Australia as the Japanese attack twice in one day.

The Battle of Badung Strait results in a Japanese victory, as an American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDA) naval squadron attempts to prevent the Japanese landing on Bali. The Allies lose 1 Dutch destroyer sunk and 2 Dutch cruisers and a US destroyer damaged.

Executive Order 9066 is signed by President Roosevelt, authorizing the transfer of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans living in coastal Pacific areas to concentration camps invarious inland states (and including inland areas of California). The interned Japanese-Americans lose an estimated 400 million dollars in property, as their homes and possessions are taken from them.

Japanese invade Bali.

General Gamelin, Leon Blum and Paul Reynaud are put on trial at Riom by the Vichy government, charged with being responsible for the French defeat of 1940. The trial is never concluded. Blum defends himself so brilliantly that the trial is suspended. He remains a prisoner until 1945.

1943 The first Chindit action against Japanese occurs.

A two-day U-boat attack on Convoy ONl16 in the North Atlantic ends with 15 allied ships sunk.

1944 Danish saboteurs attack the rail lines round Aarhus.

The U.S. Eighth Air Force and Royal Air Force begin “Big Week,” a series of heavy bomber attacks against German aircraft production facilities.

The RAF saturates Leipzig, dropping 2,300 tons of bombs, but loses 78 of 823 bombers.

A Japanese convoy is smashed by allied aircraft in the Bismarck Archipelago.

1945 German forces re-establish communications between Königsberg and the port of Pillau, thus again enabling tens of thousands of German refugees to be evacuated to the west by ships of the Kriegsmarine. ‘Operation Sonnenwende’ is finally ended in the face of ever strengthening Red Army resistance. The operation was a complete military failure, although did show that the German Army could still organize and mount limited counter-attacks.

After a heavy bombardment, 30,000 US Marines land on Iwo Jima, but suffer 2,420 casualties on the first day.

Iwo Jima Flag Raising

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: December 17 WWII Today: February 27 WWII Today: February 51940 Destroyer HMS Daring torpedoed, 157 are killed.1942 Under increasing threat of being outflanked by the advancing Japanese, the 17th Indian Division is finally given permission to withdraw across the river Sittang.In Australia, Darwin is attacked twice in one day by Japanese aircraft.The battle of Lumbok Strait results in a Japanese victory, as an Allied naval squadron attempts to prevent the Japanese landing on Bali. The Allies lose 1 Dutch destroyer sunk and 2 Dutch cruisers and a US destroyer damaged. Japanese Carrier based planes raid Darwin in northern Australia, inflicting severe damage to the port.Executive Order 9066 is signed by President Roosevelt, authorizing the transfer of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans living in coastal Pacific areas to concentration camps invarious inland states (and including inland areas of California). The interned Japanese-Americans lose an estimated 400 million dollars in property, as their homes and possessions are taken from them.1943 The first Chindit action against Japanese occurs.1944 Danish saboteurs attack the rail lines round Aarhus.

The RAF saturates Leipzig, dropping 2,300 tons of bombs, but loses 78 of 823 bombers.

A Japanese convoy is smashed by allied aircraft in the Bismarck Archipelago.

1945 German forces re-establish communications between Königsberg and the port of Pillau, thus again enabling tens of thousands of German refugees to be evacuated to the west by ships of the Kriegsmarine. ‘Operation Sonnenwende’ is finally ended in the face of ever strengthening Red Army resistance. The operation was a complete military failure, although did show that the German Army could still organize and mount limited counter-attacks.

After a heavy bombardment, 30,000 US Marines land on Iwo Jima, but suffer 2,420 casualties on the first day.

Feb 18

Chili Williams Yank Pin Up Girl Feb. 18, 1944

Known as "The Polka Dot Girl" of World War II pinups, Chili Williams (born Marian Sorenson Uhlman on December 18, 1922) was discovered by a modeling agent in 1943 at Fire Island in New York.→ Read more

Feb 18

World War II Today: February 18

1940 Chinese forces drive Japanese out of Nanning, China.

1941 Parts of the Australian 8th Division arrive in Singapore.

1943 In the wake of the Stalingrad disaster, Dr. Goebbels, speaking before an enthusiastic audience of soldiers and civilians in Berlin, announces the implementation of “total war” which, for the first time, mandates the employment of German women in the war effort.

The first class of 39 flight nurses graduates at Bowman Field, Kentucky.

A B-29 Superfortress bomber crashes in test flight into a meat-packing plant in Seattle, 33 killed

Nazis arrest the ringleaders of the White Rose resistance group at the University of Munich.

German General Erwin Rommel takes three towns in Tunisia, North Africa.

Madame Chiang Kai-shek addresses joint session of Congress, the first woman and the first Chinese to do so

1944 Mosquitoes, escorted by Typhoon fighter-bombers, launch a daylight low-level attack on the prison at Amiens, France, in order release French patriots; 258 prisoners escaped (including many criminals), but 102 inmates were killed.Renewed allied attacks at Cassino are broken off. The Germans make further gains at Anzio but are repulsed by allied artillery and warships.

The Red Army recaptures Staraya Russa, as Army Group North falls back to the line Narva-Pleskau-Oposhka.

The Germans conduct their heaviest night raid on London since 1941 as the Luftwaffe intensifies the ‘Little Blitz’.

The Cruiser Penelope is sunk by U-410 off Naples and earns the distinction of being the last British cruiser to be lost in the war.

U.S. Marines begin landing on Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

U.S. Marines begin landing on Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

1945 The Red Army encircles Graudenz on the Vistula. Troops of the 11th SS Army are brought to a stand still by stiffening Soviet resistance to ‘Operation Sonnenwende’.

A Russian torpedo hits the ex-’Strength through Joy’ Nazi cruise liner leaving Danzig for Denmark with 5,000 refugees and 3,800 U-boat personnel on board. Only 1,000 are reported as saved.

British Empire casualties to November 1944 are announced as 282,162 killed, 80,580 missing, 386,374 wounded and 294,438 captured.

US Army Air Forces Band (under Maj. Glenn Miller before his death) performs at Paris Opera House, the first time popular music was performed at this venue.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:Yank Magazine Pin Up: Gloria Dehaven WWII Today: January 28 Words at War: Fair Stood the Wind for France

Feb 17

World War II Today: February 17

1940 Norway protests to Britain over violation of neutrality.

1941 Off Ireland, U-101 sinks British freighter Gairsoppa (85 killed) carrying 2800 bars of silver to fund war (110 tons  of silver were recovered in 2011).

1942 German vessel disguised as a British merchantman is reported sunk by a U-boat off Azores.

First Seabees arrive in the Pacific, on Bora Bora in American Samoa to build an airfield.

In Singapore, Japanese send 3,000 British civilians to Changi prison and 50,000 British, Australian, and Indian POWs to Selarang Barracks.

Japanese invade Bali, despite allied naval interception and bomb Darwin on Northern Australia.

1943 The Eighth Army occupies Medenine in southern Tunisia. 5th Panzerarmee’s advance beyond the Kasserine Pass is temporarily suspended.

In Tunisia, US evacuates Fériana & Thélepte Airfields; Germans occupy the airfields and the towns of Sbeïtla and Kasserine.

Baseball player Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees enlists in the US Army.

Aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-16) is commissioned at Quincy, MA.

1944 German troops encircled in the Cherkassy pocket achieve a breakout, but at a heavy cost in men and equipment. The Russians claim the annihilation of the trapped German divisions at Korsun. They also begin to storm Krivoi Rog.

US Army & Marines land on Eniwetok Atoll in Marshalls.

Operation Hailstone begins as U.S. carrier-based planes bomb the Japanese naval base at Truk in the Caroline Islands.

1945 The U.S. Third Army launches a new offensive into Germany, having pierced the Siegfried Line on an 11-mile front.

U.S. troops capture the whole of the Bataan Peninsula, which commands Manila Bay in Philippines.

Gen. MacArthur’s troops land on Corregidor in the Philippines.

For the second day in a row, carriers of US Fifth Fleet hit Tokyo.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: August 26 WWII Today: March 30th WWII Today: June 13

Feb 16

World War II Today: February 16

1940 The British destroyer Cossack, enters a Norwegian fjord, captures the German freighter Altmark, former supply ship of the Graf Spee and frees 300 British merchant seamen who were captured from vessels sunk by the Graf Spee in the South Atlantic.

1942 Dönitz orders all available U-boats in the Atlantic to attack British and American shipping off the US eastern seaboard. German U-boats, with their deck guns, bombard oil storage facilities and refineries on the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curacao in the southern Caribbean.

The Australian Prime Minister Curtin calls the surrender of Singapore ‘Australia’s Dunkirk’.

Tojo outlines Japan’s war aims to the Diet, referring to “new order of coexistence” in East Asia.

1943 Dr. Mildred Harnack-Fish, a member of the German resistance sentenced to death by the German government, is beheaded at Berlin’s Plotzensee Prison

The Russians take Kharkov and Voroshilovo after nine days of heavy street fighting.

Norwegian SOE Commandos are parachuted into the mountains 40 miles north of the German ‘heavy water’ plant at Telemark. They met up with the reconnaissance party, which had arrived the previous October.

1944 The British Air Minister says that bomber losses for 1943 were 2,369 U.K. and 997 U.S. planes down.

The Japanese pressure in Arakan forces the British to retreat.

Kesselring launches seven divisions in a second major attack against the US 5th Army’s bridgehead at Anzio.

The U.S. Navy pounds the Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline’s.

1945 U.S. forces begin the intensive bombardment of Iwo Jima, 600 miles South of Japan.

A USN Task Force reports pounding targets around Tokyo.

The remaining Korps of the 11th SS Army launch their attacks in support of ‘Operation Sonnenwende’.

U.S. paratroops land on Corregidor Island, a Japanese stronghold in Manila Bay.

U.S. paratroops land on Corregidor Island

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: February 14 WWII Today: May 14 Francis Rafferty: Yank Magazine Pin Up

Feb 15

The Other D-Days in WW2

Where does the name “D-Day” come from, and how D-Days were there?.

What is the actual meaning of the D in D-Day?.  A popular view in France is that it stands for disembarkation or debarkation, referring to the invading Allied troops disembarking from their landing craft. Another, more romantic, explanation is decision, deliverance or doom. None of these are the true meaning of “D-Day.”

In 1964 the former Supreme Allied Commander and President Eisenhower was asked what “D-Day” meant. President Eisenhower’s executive assistant Brigadier General Robert Schulz,  responded, writing  “General Eisenhower asked me to respond to your letter. Be advised that any amphibious operation has a ‘departed date;’ therefore the shortened term ‘D-Day’ is used.”

“Departed date” comes from a rather authoritative source but it still doesn’t paint a complete picture. Schulz’s statement might have reflected how the phrase was understood specifically during the planning of amphibious operations, however, the historical use doesn’t seem to fully support the claim.  It appears, the U.S. military first used the term D-Day on September 7, 1918, during the World War I, referring to a planned attack: “The First Army will attack at H hour on D day with the object of forcing the evacuation of the St. Mihiel Salient.” The attack on the German-held area protruding into French lines started on September 12 and was the first and only offensive of the war launched entirely by American troops. Catching the Germans mid-retreat and with their artillery out of position, the battle saw the First Army victorious, thanks in part to the exploits of then-Lieutenant Colonel George Patton.

A brief anecdote about this first D-Day is in order. During the battle, Patton happened to meet Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, another officer who reached the apex of his fame in World War II, on a hilltop. While the two were talking, a German creeping artillery barrage started up, each barrage landing closer and closer to the hill. Both officers had a reputation for fearlessness and neither wanted to flinch in front of the other, so they ignored the approaching peril and carried on their chat until the barrage passed over them, leaving both men unharmed.

The battle, however, was not an amphibious attack, so Schulz’s post-World War II explanation is incorrect. The version accepted by the military today is that D simply stands for “day””and H for “hour.” While the phrases sound generic, their use, however, is pretty specific. Large, complex operations that take multiple days must be planned in great detail and comprise numerous dates and times for various actions and deadlines. If an operation starts early or late, as the Normandy invasion did due to bad weather, all of these times must be changed as well. Rather than setting every date and time in the traditional way and then possibly having to scramble to change it, the starting day and hour of the operation are simply designated D-Day and H-hour regardless of when exactly they would occur. All preceding and subsequent times are given relative to them. For example, D-3 means three days before and H+75 means 75 minutes after the operation commences. Numbers added to or subtracted from H-Hour could also represent hours. This way, last-minute changes in the schedule of the operation don’t force planners to rewrite every single document, nor others to use outdated texts with incorrect times.

The terms D-Day and H-hour saw use numerous times until the most famous example, Operation Overlord. The invasion of Normandy, however, was such a major effort that its very existence caused a decline in the use of the phrases elsewhere. With so much effort, supplies, transport capacity and personnel tied up in the landing in Western Europe, other major operations in the same year received different codes for their starting times to avoid confusion. Thus, the October 20, 1944 invasion of the Island of Leyte in the Philippines started on A-Day, while the first day of the landing on Okinawa, on April 1, 1945, was L-Day, for “landing.”

X-Day was planned to be the invasion of Japan on November 1, 1945, and Y-Day the invasion of Tokyo Plains on March 1, 1946 but these attacks never manifested due to the war ending. J-Day was used as a general term for the date of a specific assault in both world wars. Z-Day was the landing of Australian forces to liberate Brunei in North Borneo on June 10, 1945 and Q-Day was June 23, 1945 rehearsal for Trinity, the first atomic bomb test.

Check out these other WW2 Posts:Dead Man’s Corner – Normandy WW2 American Slang D-Day: June 6, 1944

Feb 15

World War II Today: February 15

1940 Hitler orders that all British merchant ships will be considered warships.

1941 Great Britain breaks off diplomatic relations with Romania as it is now clear that the Romanians are firmly allied to the Germans.

Norwegian Lutheran bishops denounce Nazi brutality.

1942 Churchill broadcasts to the nation and says the Mediterranean will close to all allied shipping.

Singapore surrenders to the Japanese, a decision prompted as much as anything by the plight of the 1,000,000 civilian inhabitants of the island. 9,000 British, Australian and Empire troops are killed and 130,000 captured, many of which will find themselves working as slaves on the notorious Burma-Thai Railway. The Japanese casualties’ amount to around 9,000 killed or wounded.

“Enemy aliens” ordered to be removed from restricted military zones in California.

1943 British Eighth Army arrives at German Mareth Line in Tunisia.

Actress and pin-up girl Betty Grable leaves prints from hands & one leg at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

1944 Monte Cassino is devastated by 422 tons of bombs as the Indian and New Zealanders begin their offensive to capture the monastery which is now occupied and defended by paratroopers (the Green Devils) of 1st Fallschirmjäger Division.

Hitler permits Field Marshal Models troops to withdraw to Panther Line and also allows the Korsun pocket defenders to break out towards the relieving forces.

The heaviest raid ever on Berlin is conducted, during which 2,500 tons of bombs are dropped.

The USAAF decimate a Japanese convoy off New Ireland.

1945 Japanese forces are now trapped in the Manila rectangle, which is just 5,000 yards by 2,000 yards.

US Sixth Army lands at Mariveles on tip of Bataan peninsula on Luzon, takes Mariveles and its airfield.

As Japanese advance, US Fourteenth Air Force evacuates last of its eastern China airfields, can no longer raid South China Sea.

Russian troops are now covering the approaches to Danzig. The Red Army captures Sagan in Silesia. The German 11th SS Army begins a counterattack ‘Operation Sonnenwende’ with three Korps (39th Panzer, 3rd SS Panzer and the 10th SS Korps). However, only the 3rd SS Panzer Korps (11th SS Panzer Grenadier Division”Nordland” and the 27th SS Grenadier Division “Langemarck”) are ready and begin their attack South towards Arnswalde,about 30-35 kms southeast of Stargard.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:General MacArthur Quote WWII Today: December 13 WWII Today: January 5