1940 Roosevelt agrees to supply 50 First World War destroyers to Britain in return for the lease of naval bases in the Caribbean. Colonel E.L.M. Burns proposes developing a Canadian parachute force. The idea is rejected by the Director of Military Operations in headquarters.
‘Eagle Day’, the first day of the maximum offensive by the Luftwaffe to destroy RAF airfields and gain air supremacy over England in preparation of Operation Sea Lion. The Luftwaffe launches 1,485 sorties, but because of confusion and delays, the main attacks were not mounted until the afternoon. Some airfields were attacked, but not the primary fighter bases. Luftwaffe losses were heavy with 39 aircraft being lost (mainly Ju-87 Stuka’s), while the RAF lost just 15 aircraft. Twelve RAF Blenheim bombers attack Hemsteds airfield in Holland. Only one plane returns.
An air crash in Canberra kills three UAP ministers and Chief of the Australian General Staff.
1941 Canadian Women’s Army Corps established.
Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) formed.
Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery assumes command of British Eighth Army in Egypt.
Japanese secure Buna-Kokoda Trail on New Guinea.
US Army forms Manhattan Engineering District for secret atomic research.
1943 US 10th Engineer Btn. builds “bridge in the sky” along steep seaside cliff at Cape Calava, Sicily.
1944 British & Indian troops cross into northern Florence via historic Ponte Vecchio, securing city with help of Italians.
1945 The Mongolian People’s Republic declares a Holy War against the Japanese.
Surrender documents are sent to MacArthur in Philippines.
Lt. Oscar Perdomo of US 507th Fighter Group becomes the last air ace of the war when he shoots down 5 Japanese fighters over Kyushu.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 30 WWII Today: May 11 WWII Today: May 21
1940 The Luftwaffe attacks Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and all along Kent and Sussex coast. They also attack forward RAF airfields and radar stations in preparation for ‘Eagle Day’. British claims are high as they report 62 Luftwaffe planes shot down against the RAF’s 13, while in reality it was just 26 Luftwaffe and 22 RAF planes lost.
The Dortmund-Ems canal in Germany is blocked by low flying British bomber, the pilot is later awarded VC.
Wasting food becomes illegal in Britain.
1941 The draft extension passes in the House by only one vote.
US Navy takes over patrolling convoy routes in the North Atlantic and tracking German submarines for the Royal Navy in violation of Neutrality Act.
Churchill and Roosevelt sign the Atlantic Charter an eight-point declaration of peace aims.
French Marshal Henri Philippe Petain announces full French collaboration with Nazi Germany.
Hitler issues Directive No.34 which temporarily abandons Moscow as an objective in favour of the Ukraine.
Soviet forces counterattack at Staraya Russa south of Lake Ilmen.
1942 Himmler is made responsible for order in Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway.
In their advance south toward the Grozny oilfields, units of Army Group A capture Elista near the Caspian Sea.
Churchill arrives in Moscow for talks with Sralin. During 4 days of often acrimonious talks, Stalin was eventually forced to accept that there would be no ‘second front’ during 1942.
Light cruiser USS Cleveland performs successful test of VT proximity-fuzed antiaircraft shells in Chesapeake Bay.
Actor Clark Gable enlists in US Army Air Force.
1943 The Heaviest RAF attack so far on northern Italy, with more than 1,000 tons dropped on Milan in under 30 minutes.
Hitler orders the construction of a fortified defensive line (Panther Line)
1944 Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. (brother of the future president) is killed in a top-secret Aphrodite mission from England, in which planes loaded with bombs are guided by remote control to the target after the pilots bail out.
First PLUTO (Pipeline under the Ocean) becomes operational, taking fuel from Isle of Wight to Cherbourg.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 15 WWII Today: June 6 D-Day Quote WWII Today: August 14
1940: The Battle of Britain begins in earnest with 400 German planes attacking channel convoys and the coastal areas of Britain including Dover, Weymouth and Portland.
The British claim 65 Luftwaffe planes down for the loss of 26 RAF fighters. It actuality, only 35 Luftwaffe planes were shot down, while the RAF had lost 29.
(NOTE: British historians regard the battle as running from 9 July to 31 October 1940, which represented the most intense period of daylight air raiding. German historians begin the battle in mid-August 1940 and end it in May 1941, on the withdrawal of the bomber units in preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the attack on the USSR.)
In Paris, Nazis form Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg to loot art from Jews.
1941 Soviet bombers raid Berlin but cause little damage.
1942 The ‘Pedestal’ convoy is spotted by a German U-boat. The German submarine U-73 attacks the Malta-bound British convoy and sinks HMS Eagle, one of the world’s first aircraft carriers. Over the coming days 21 German and Italian submarines, nearly 800 aircraft, 23 torpedo boats, and units of the Italian fleet move in to intercept the convoy.
US War Production Board orders entire crop of wine grapes be made into raisins for the military.
Actress Hedy Lamarr applies for a patent for a frequency-hopping system to prevent interception and jamming of radio communications; although not used in WWII, the technology made cellular phones possible.
1943 German night evacuation of Sicily begins, using 134 small craft covered by 500 AA guns.
1944 U.S. troops capture Nantes and Angers and drive South across the Loire.
The Russians renew their offensive towards the Estonian border at Pskov, breaking through the Mavlenburg Line. The Germans assault the old town area of Warsaw from three sides.
1945 General Douglas MacArthur is declared Allied Supreme Commander, with the authority to accept Japanese surrender.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 3 WWII Today: June 27 WWII Today: May 23
1940 Due to poor weather conditions, the Luftwaffe delays ‘Eagle Day’ until the 13th
U-56 sinks armed merchant-cruiser HMS Transylvania off Northern Ireland.
Germans ban speaking of French in Luxembourg and listening to BBC in Belgium.
In Luxembourg, Germans ban speaking French.
British agree to withdraw from Shanghai and northern China to appease Japan and to reinforce Singapore and India.
1941 Great Britain and the Soviet Union promise aid to Turkey if it is attacked by the Axis Powers.
1942 The British convoy ‘Pedestal’ (14 merchants, 2 battleships, 3 aircraft-carriers, 14 destroyers and 3 anti-aircraft cruisers), which had left Britain on the 2nd August en-route to Malta, reaches the Straits of Gibraltar, where it is reinforced with 3 heavy cruisers (Manchester, Nigeria, and Kenya) and 11 more destroyers. For a time, the aircraft-carrier HMS Furious joins the convoy with a complement of 38 Supermarine Spitfires which are to be flown off towards the embattled island.
With the support of von Richthofen’s 4th Air Fleet, which had been transferred from Army Group A, the 6th Army crosses the Don and reaches the outskirts of Stalingrad.
1944 The U.S. 5th Armored and 2nd French Armored Divisions cover 15 miles to Alencon.
Organized Japanese resistance on Guam finally ends with them suffering 18,250 killed and the U.S. more than 1,744 killed.
1945 The Japanese sue for peace after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To date nearly 55 million people have died in the Second World War.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 2 WWII Today: April 29 WWII Today: June 11
1940 Italian ground forces make slow progress in British Somaliland. Both the Italians and the British conduct air raids against each other.
British troops to be withdrawn from Shanghai and North China.
1941 President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill meet at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. The meeting produces the Atlantic Charter, an agreement between the two countries on war aims, even though the United States is still a neutral country.
German Army Group South resumes its offensive to the east, along the river Bug, with 11th and 17th Armies.
1942 Convoy SC-94 lose 7 British, U.S. and Dutch ships, torpedoed by German U-boats in the North Atlantic.
The 1st Panzer Army captures the Maikop oilfields, which were left burning furiously by the Red Army, so little refined fuel was found. German 17th Army which was advancing behind the 1st Panzer Army reaches Krasnodar, on the river Kuban.
Gandhi is arrested.
Battle of Savo Island begins as 7 Japanese cruisers and a destroyer approach undetected west of Savo Island, Solomon Islands and sinks the U.S. heavy cruisers, Quincey, Vincennes and Astoria and the Australian cruiser Canberra. They also damage 1 cruiser and 2 destroyers. The allied ships depart leaving the Guadalcanal area is in the control of the Japanese forces.
1944 German Panzers fight viciously with the Canadians and Poles who make only slow progress towards Caen. The U.S. 5th Armored Division take Le Mans. Eisenhower sets up a HQ in France.
Soviet Army massed at the Manchurian border sweeps into northern China and northern Korea overwhelming the Japanese defense.
Truman broadcasts from Washington about Potsdam conference and the atom bomb.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 6 WWII Today: July 25 WWII Today: December 17
1940 The Luftwaffe renews its attacks against Channel convoys and its escorts, with heavy air battles occurring over the Channel. The Germans lose 31 aircraft against the RAF’s 16.
The Home Secretary announces July civilian air raid casualty figures as 258 killed and 320 seriously injured.
British forces pay increased by 6d per day; privates’ pay up to 17s 6d a week.
Romania introduces anti-Jewish measures restricting education and employment, then later begins “Romanianization” of Jewish businesses.
1941 Uman pocket eliminated. 103,000 Russian prisoners taken by the Germans.
1942 Six convicted Nazi saboteurs who had landed in the United States were executed in Washington, D.C.
The commander of US ground forces, Eisenhower establishes a HQ in the UK.
U.S. Marines take the unfinished airfield on Guadalcanal and name it Henderson Field after Maj. Lofton Henderson, a hero of Midway.
Japanese naval counter-attack beaten off in Solomon Islands.
1943 A Royal decree places Italy under a state of siege.
Lt. John F. Kennedy and PT-109 crew rescued from island in the Solomons by Navy patrol boat.
The US Seventh Army lands at Sant’ Agata on Sicily’s north coast to outflank Axis, takes San Fratello Ridge and Sant’ Agata, but fails to cut off German retreat.
1944 3,462 tons of bombs are dropped on the German lines South of Caen by 1,020 RAF planes.
Patton’s Third Army takes Le Mans.
The Canadians launch Operation ‘Totalize’ South of Caen, with 600 tanks and 720 guns. Canadians take the Falaise Road.
American troops complete the capture of the Mariana Islands.
Eight German officers are hanged in Berlin for their role in the July 20 Hitler assassination plot; by February 3, 1945, 4,980 will be executed.
1945 President Harry S. Truman signed the United Nations Charter.
Soviets declares war on Japan.
Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 24 WWII Today: July 5 WWII Pin Up Anne Gwynne
1941 Mussolini’s son Bruno killed in test-flight crash of P-108 bomber near Pisa.
The United States Senate extends National Service to 18 months.
Joseph Stalin appoints himself Generalissimo of the Red Army.
Konoye asks FDR for summit meeting. He also proposes a Chinese police corps with Japanese officers and a timetable for a withdrawal of troops from China.
1942 Units of the 6th Army cross the Don river at Kalach during their advance toward Stalingrad.
The creation of Palestine Regiment of the British Army is announced. General Gott, the Eighth Army’s commander designate, is shot down while en route for Cairo. Montgomery is chosen instead.
The U.S. 1st Marine Division under General A. A. Vandegrift lands on the islands of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon islands. This is the first American amphibious landing of the war.
1944 The German 2nd, 116th, 1st SS and 2nd SS Panzer divisions, with 145 tanks to the East of Mortain launch ‘Operation Luttich’, to counter-attack against the U.S. 3rd Army’s sweep to the South. The Germans move against Avranches and achieve some success at Mortain. Assisted by RAF Typhoons, the Americans are able to stop the Germans by the atfernoon. U.S. 15th Corps is turned north to meet the Canadians in Falaise.
Allied air patrols over Paris prevent Axis fighters from reaching Mortain.
The Russians advance into the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, near the Slovak, Hungarian, Russian borders.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 3 WWII Today: June 16 WWII Today: August 1