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May 13

World War Today: May 13

1940 The Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth gives support to Churchill’s government by 2,413,000 votes to 170,000. Churchill makes ‘blood, sweat, tears and toil’ speech. Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch royal family arrive in London.

Supported by waves of Luftwaffe Stuka dive-bombers, the two German Panzer Korps of Heeresgruppe B establish bridgeheads across the Meuse river, tearing a 50-mile gap in the French defenses between Dinant and Sedan. The 7th Panzer Division (Rommel) is the first division across. Dutch troops withdraw to their second and final line of defense on the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Utrecht line.

1941 German aircraft begin to operate over Iraq in support of the rebellion by anti-British Iraqi forces.

1942 The British Chiefs of staff approve a major raid against the French port of Dieppe. Initially code-named ‘Rutter’, the plan had been under consideration since March by Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, who wanting to explore the problems of an opposed landing on the French coast.

The siege of Leningrad continues. Tanya Savicheva, a young girl, writes in her address book, “Mummy 13th May at 7.30 morning 1942. The Savichevs are dead, all dead, only Tanya remains.” Her book also lists the death of her brothers, grandmother, and two uncles. Evacuated to Gorky on the Volga, Tanya herself dies of chronic dysentery in the summer of 1943.

1943 For the first time in the war, the British now claim more German prisoners than the Germans have British.

The Royal Navy begin the bombardment of Pantelleria Island, between Tunisia and Sicily.

Marshal Messe, the Italian C in C of Tunisia, surrenders to Montgomery.

1944 The allies take Sant’ Angelo and Castelforte, thereby opening the way to Rome.

Jail Hill and other key Kohima features are recaptured by the British.

1945 The British Royal Family and allied military leaders attend a thanks giving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Crown Prince Olav, some members of the exiled government and the head of the allied mission, Gen. Sir Andrew Thorne arrive in Oslo.

Rear Admiral Brüning, the commander of German naval forces, arrives at Felixstowe to sign the unconditional surrender of all boats under his command.

The last pockets of German resistance in Czechoslovakia are crushed by the Red Army.

U.S. troops capture Del Monte air base on Mindanao. The Australians clear the Wewak peninsula in New Guinea.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Words At War: Still Time To Die WWII Today: January 29 Admiral Bull Halsey Quote

May 12

Linda Darnell – Yank Pin Up May 12, 1944

Linda Darnell, was born Monetta Eloyse Darnell, in Dallas, Texas on October 16, 1923. She was one of five children of a post office worker and his wife. A Texas-born beauty, her mother encouraged her to model.→ Read more

May 12

World War II Today: May 12

1940 French forces withdraw behind the Meuse river between Dinant and Sedan as advance German panzer columns push out from the Ardennes.

Germans troops continue their advance through Holland, crossing the Yssel and Meuse rivers at several points.

Massive German artillery bombardments are maintained on western front, the Luftwaffe continues to reek havoc across Northern France and Belgium, causing refugees to stream west, clogging the roads for allied forces.

Internment of Germans begins in Britain.

1941 A British convoy, codenamed ‘Tiger’, arrives at Alexandria with much needed tanks and aircraft.

1942 The first contingent of the US Eighth Army Air Force arrives in Britain.

Timoshenko’s offensive grinds forward into Army Group South with two pincer attacks, one Northwest out of the Izyum bulge by the 6th Red Army and the other West then Southwest by the 28th Red Army from the Volchansk area, designed to converge west of Kharkov. The Red Army falls back towards Kerch in the Crimea.

1943 Surrender of all German and Italian forces in Tunisia (130,000 German and 120,000 Italian prisoners). General von Arnim and 25 other axis generals are claimed captured, so ending the life of the once mighty ‘Afrika Korps’ and marking the end of the three-year North African campaign.

1944 800 bombers of the US 8th Air Force carry out attacks against the synthetic fuel plants at Leuna-Merseburg, Lützkendorf, Zeitz and Brüx.

Fierce German counter-attacks are put in by the German defenders at Monte Cassino.

The remains of German Seventeenth Army in Crimea are destroyed, with the Russians taking 36,000 Axis troops prisoner.

The Japanese attacks to the South East of Imphal are broken off.

1945 British relief troops land at St Hélier in Jersey, to an ‘overwhelming’ welcome.

The German garrison in Crete under Major General Bentach surrenders

General Vlasov, commander of the anti-Bolshevist Russian Liberation Army is handed over to the Russians by the Americans and will be executed for treason in August, 1946.

Very heavy fighting continues on Okinawa, with 125 Japanese aircraft being reported as shot down.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 30 Words At War: Barriers Down WWII Today: March 21

May 11

World War II Today: May 11

1940 The King signs proclamation canceling Whitsun holiday.

Seven out of eight Fairey Battle Bombers fail to return from an attack on enemy forces in Luxembourg. No. 114 Sqn’s Blenheims are annihilated on the ground in a low-level German raid.

German troops occupy the Duchy of Luxembourg. A glider-borne parachute detachment of 1st Fallschirmjager Regiment led by Hauptmann Koch and Leutnant Witzig captures the “impregnable” Belgian border fortress of Eben-Emael.

President Roosevelt expresses his dismay to King Leopold of Belgium about the German invasion.

Allied troops land in Dutch West Indies.

1941 The RAF launches a heavy raid against Hamburg.

German troops complete the occupation of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

Japan makes proposals to the USA in order to improve relations. They demand that the USA stop supplying war materials to China and that they normalize trade relations. These are rejected by the USA, although both sides agree to continue talks.

The Luftwaffe sinks three British destroyers, Lively, Kipling and Jackal to the South of Crete.

German troops continue their attack at Sevastopol, surrounding some defenders at Ak-Monay. The Luftwaffe is making about 1,800 sorties per day.

British retreat across Chindwin completed.

1943 The British evacuate Maumgdaw before the monsoon arrives in the Arakan. All ground gained since September 1942 for the loss of 5,000 battle casualties is lost.

1944 The British Eighth and U.S. Fifth Armies begin an attack on Gustav Line in central Italy with a 2,200-gun bombardment.

72,000 Chinese begin an advance along the Burma Road.

1945 The German garrison at Dunkirk surrenders to Czech troops.

The Red Army launches a final assault against the remnants of Army Group Centre, which is still holding out in Moravia.

In a new offensive, the U.S. Tenth Army reaches the suburbs of Naha, the capital of Okinawa. Wewak is captured by the 6th Australian Division.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 1 WWII Today: September 4 WWII Today: January 22

May 10

World War II Today: May 10

1940 At 5.35am, the Wehrmacht begins ‘Operation Yellow’, the invasion of Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg, employing Army Group A (von Rundstedt) and B (von Bock), with Army Group C (von Leeb) in reserve. The attacking forces comprise 10 Armored, 5 Motorized, and 75 infantry divisions. The 19th Panzer Korps (Guderian), 20th Panzer Korps (Hoth) and the 41st Panzer Korps (Reinhardt) field between them 2,445 tanks, most of which are of the light Marks I, II, 35(t) and 38(t) type, against 3,373 French and British tanks. In his Order of the Day, Hitler declares, “Soldiers of the Western Front! The battle which is beginning today will decide the fate of the German nation for the next thousand years. Go forward now and do your duty!” Airborne troops seize airfields and strategic bridges near Amsterdam and Rotterdam in Holland. The Luftwaffe, using hundreds of level and dive bombers, attacks Allied airfields, troop assembly areas and rear communications.

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigns and is replaced by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, who forms a coalition government from all three main parties.

German Fallschirmjäger attack Fort Eben-Emael by glider in the first Airborne Operation in history.

The Luftwaffe launches a massive attack against London, the heaviest so far received by the capital. One third of all streets within Greater London are rendered impassible and 155,000 family’s are left without gas, water and electricity. Westminster Abbey, House of Commons, Tower of London and the Royal Mint are all hit. A record 1,436 people are killed and 1,792 are seriously injured.

Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy and former World War 1 fighter pilot, flies from Augsburg to Scotland to persuade anti-Churchill politicians that England should stop the war with Germany, adopt a neutral attitude and allow Germany to eliminate the Bolshevik menace and gain Lebensraum in the East. He is taken to a secret location, interrogated and then held incommunicado at various places until the end of the war, later to be charged and condemned as a major war criminal at Nuremberg.

1942 Kesselring declares that Malta has been neutralized. However, that same day the Axis air forces found themselves outnumbered for the first time in the sky over Malta, losing 12 aircraft in return for 3 RAF Spitfires. This marked a definite turning point in the fortunes of Malta with Axis air activity slackening noticeably as aircraft were drawn off to Russia.

Winston Churchill warns that Britain will use poison gas on Germany if the Germans do so on the Soviet Union. The battle for Sevastopol rumbles on, with the Russian Coastal Army fielding 106,000 men, 600 guns, 100 mortars, 38 tanks, and 55 planes. The Germans hurl 204,000 men, 670 guns, 450 mortars, 720 tanks, and 600 aircraft at Sevastopol. The Germans also move in 19 motor torpedo boats, 30 patrol boats, eight ASW boats, and a unit of 150 bombers trained in anti-shipping operations. German artillery ranges from 76mm field guns to mammoth 800-mm railway-mounted super-heavy siege mortars.

The Germans open up a new death camp just outside Minsk, near the village of Maly Trostenets. Russian POW’s and Jews have been forced to build the barracks for 600 slave labourers and their German and Ukrainian guards. Tens of thousands of Austrian, German, and Czech Jews are shipped there and driven towards the village in mobile gas chambers. When the vans reach the camp, all inside them are dead. At the camp, the slave labourers bury the bodies in deep pits. Maly Trostenets remains a tight German secret.

General William Sharp, commanding the Central Philippines orders the surrender of the remaining US and Filipino forces to the Japanese, thus ending resistance throughout the whole of the Philippines.

1943 The British First Army reaches Hammamet.

U.S. troops invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands.

1944 The Free French claim that the resistance now numbers 100,000 and plead for more military aid.

1945 The first U-boat to surrenders, U-249 puts in at Portland.

Russians troops are now in control of Prague after five days of fierce street fighting between German and Czech Partisans comes to an end, during which 5,000 civilians have been killed.

The Fourteenth Army moves South in central Burma and links up with troops from Arakan in the west, trapping all Japanese to the west of the river Irrawaddy.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 16 Words at War: Malta Spitfire WWII Today: May 21

May 09

World War II Today: May 9

1940 The French submarine Doris is sunk by U-9 off the Dutch coast.

Age for conscription in Britain is raised to 36.

Hitler orders ‘Operation Yellow’, the great offensive in the West, to begin at 5:35 a.m.the next day.

1941 The Luftwaffe launches a massive night raid (507 bombers) against London which causes many fires and cripples the rail system in the city. Liverpool has its 7th consecutive night air raid. Belfast, Clydeside and Humberside also suffer in a heavy week of raids. The RAF attacks Bremen and Hamburg, but with little effect.

U-110 (Kptlt. Lemp) is forced to the surface by depth-charges of HMS Aubretia. A top-secret Enigma cipher machine is recovered before she sinks while being towed back to port.

A British Brigade sized column (Habforce), moves across the Iraqi border from Palastine.

A peace treaty is signed between Vichy France and Thailand, which cedes back portions of Indochina that had been lost by Thailand 40 years earlier.

1942 The turning point on Malta—62 RAF Spitfires are delivered by HMS Eagle and USS Wasp; the Luftwaffe will be diverted to other theaters.

Off North Carolina, US Coast Guard cutter Icarus sinks U-352, rescuing 33, the first German POWs taken by any US forces in WWII.

1943 The US II Corps breaks through to Tunisian east coast; all Axis troops north of Tunis surrender.

The Japanese begin 3-day massacre of 30,000 civilians in Changjiao, Hunan Province.

1944 Allied air forces begin a campaign of large scale raids against German airfields and rail communications in France in preparation for D-Day.

The Russians capture Sevastopol as Hitler finally changes his mind and orders evacuation of the city.

1945 The German garrison in the Channel Islands agree to surrender to British troops after five years of occupation. The surrender terms are signed aboard the destroyer HMS Bulldog, which is moored off St. Hellier.

The German garrisons at Lorient, St Nazaire and La Rochelle on the French Atlantic Coast finally surrender. Reich Marshal Goring and his wife, children and staff, surrender to Brigadier General Stack, of the U.S. 36th Division, near Salzburg. Field Marshal Kesselring, C-in-C West, is captured by U.S. troops at the village of Saalfelden, in western Austria.

A British naval squadron arrives in Copenhagen harbor to receive the surrender of the remains of German fleet.

Stalin announces the end of the war. German forces of Army Group Kurland surrender.

German forces in the Greek islands surrender.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 16 WWII Today: August 10 WWII Today: September 22

May 08

World War II Today: May 8

1940 Opposition censure motion against Chamberlain’s conduct of the war; rejected by 281 to 200, but over 30 government MPs vote for it.

German commandos in Dutch uniforms cross the Dutch border to hold bridges for the advancing German army.

1941 During an attack against convoy OB318, U-110 commanded by Julius Lemp suffers serious damage and is forced to surface and scuttle. Unfortunately for the Germans, the scuttling charges failed to detonate, allowing the British destroyer HMS Bulldog to put across a boarding party and seize an enigma machine and other vital secret material. The British put U-110 under tow, but the damaged U-boat later sinks.

The German raider Penguin is sunk by HMS Cornwall off the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean.

1942 The German 11th Army begins its summer offensive in order to clear the Eastern Crimea. The 11th Army has thirteen Infantry, one Panzer, and one Cavalry division. Luftwaffe support is provided by Fliegerkorps 8 and naval support comes from German E-boats and Italian midget submarines, which attack Russian supply ships reinforcing Sevastopol. The Germans hit Gen. D.T. Kozlov’s Crimean Front along Feodosiya Bay and crash through the 44th Army’s two divisions, relying on Junkers 87 Stukas to do the damage.

The aircraft carriers HMS Eagle and USS Wasp fly off Spitfires from positions in the Western Mediterranean to reinforce the air defences of Malta.

The Battle of the Coral Sea between the Japanese Navy and the U.S. Navy ends. At about 0800 hours both the Japanese and American carrier groups spot each other and send out attack aircraft. The Japanese succeed in torpedoing the Lexington, which severely damaged and later abandoned, while the Americans disable the Shokaku, which is withdrawn to Truk. Later in the day, the Japanese launch more attacks to destroy the remainder of Admiral Fletchers force, but this had withdrawn out of range.

Japanese troops capture Myitkyina in northern Burma.

1943 Thousands of Korean-Americans petition to have their status converted from that of enemy aliens to friendly aliens. In December 1943, this is granted.

British forces withdraw from Buthidaung, just inside Burma.

Joint Strategic Plan approved at Cairo: South Pacific to the Philippines (MacArthur); China to Hong Kong (Chiang); Central Pacific to Formosa (Nimitz)

1944 Eisenhower decides that D-Day will be the 5th June.

Rudolf Höss returns to Auschwitz, ordered by Himmler to oversee the extermination of Hungarian Jews.

1945 VE-Day (Victory-in-Europe Day). Germany surrenders unconditionally, and the war in Europe ends. The Royal Observer Corps is also stood-down from its war footing and assumes its peacetime role. At this time there were 32,000 observers based at 1,420 posts around the UK.

An RAF Catalina damages U-320 near Bergen off the coast of Norway. The boat is then scuttled by the crew, no hands lost, becoming the final German submarine lost as a result of combat action in World War 2. German unconditional surrender signed in Reims, France on 7th May takes effect fifty-nine minutes before midnight this date (VE Day–Victory in Europe Day). Allied merchant shipping sunk to U-boats, world-wide from January to the end of hostilities is 103 ships, equaling 403,760 gross tons. 120 U-boats were lost worldwide in the same period. For the entire war the allies lost 3,500 ships. equaling 17,467,818 gross tons, whilst the Germans lost 769 U-boats.

In deference to the Russians, the surrender ceremony to the western allies at Rheims of the previous day is repeated before Marshall Zhukov and other Soviet generals at Karlshorst, a suburb of Berlin. After radio appeals early in the day for protection against heavy German shelling, the Prague resistance reaches an agreement with the Germans for the capitulation of the city, as the U.S. 4th Armoured Division from the West and Koniev’s troops from the East approach.

The last convoys of German refugees from Eastern Germany arrive in western Baltic ports, ending the largest rescue operation by sea in history. Since the 25th January, a total of 420,000 civilians and wounded soldiers have been evacuated.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 14 WWII Today: October 8 Words At War: Pacific Victory

May 07

World War II Today: May 7

1940 British PM Neville Chamberlain resigns.

All Dutch Army leave suspended.

1941 British capture U110 and its Enigma machine.

The Luftwaffe launches the first of two consecutive night raids against the British port of Hull.

1942 Dutch Jews are forced to wear the yellow ‘Star of David’ badge.

Vichy French resistance ends in Madagascar.

The Battle of the Coral Sea begins, as the Japanese Striking Force (Admiral Inouye), which consists of the carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, 2 cruisers and 6 destroyers make the first strike. This is against the oiler Neosho and her escorting destroyer, which are on their way to rendezvous with Admiral Fletchers Task Force 17, which includes the carriers Yorktown and Lexington, 8 cruisers and 11 destroyers. The Neosho takes serious damage and eventually has to be scuttled. Admiral Fletcher then orders a cruiser squadron consisting of HMAS Australia, Hobart, USN Chicago and 2 destroyers to attack the Port Moresby invasion force, but this soon comes under Japanese air attack, although it did divert Japanese attention away from the American carriers. At the same time, Admiral Inouye orders the Invasion Force to turn away from the Jomard Passage until the American carriers have been dealt with. Admiral Fletcher now launched a strike from the Yorktown against what he thought was a major Japanese task force, but which turned out to be only 2 light cruisers and 2 gunboats. However, aircraft from the Lexington spotted the Japanese carrier Shoho and sank her. Later that afternoon the Japanese launched 27 aircraft against the US carrier Task Force, but they failed to locate their targets and only 6 returned safely. At midnight, Admiral Inouye decided to postpone the invasion of Port Moresby for two days.

1943 The last major German strongholds in North Africa–Tunis and Bizerte–fall to Allied forces.

In a speech to Nazi Party Reichsleiters and Gauleiters in Berlin, Hitler says that U-boat warfare will be stepped up as the surest way to “cut the arteries of the enemy.” Even as the Fuhrer speaks, however, the calamity of “Black May” for the U-boat force is unfolding in the Atlantic.

1944 The US 8th Air Force launches a 1,500-bomber raid against Berlin.

300,000 Japanese troops begin their preliminary moves prior to an offensive from the Canton and Hankow area in eastern China, with the aim of capturing allied airfields.

1945 U-2336 sinks the last allied merchant ships of the war off the Firth of Forth, these are the Norwegian vessels Sneland I and the British Avondale Park.

General Böhne announces the unconditional surrender of German troops in Norway.

The German Chief-of-Staff, General Jodl, signs Germany’s unconditional surrender to the western allies and Russia at 2:41am. Operations are to cease at 1 minute after midnight (GMT) on the 8th May. General Böhne announces the unconditional surrender of German troops in Norway. British troops enter Utrecht to a tumultuous reception.

The British Eighth Army crosses the Italian/Austrian border.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 29 WWII Today: March 23 WWII Today: December 14

May 06

World War II Today: May 6

1940 Hitler again delays X-Day, this time till the 10th May.

Francis Sayre is sent to Tokyo for talks with Foreign Minister Arita.

1941 Bob Hope gives his first USO show at California’s March Field.

US Secretary for War advocates US Navy protection for British supply convoys.

Stalin declares himself ‘Chairman of the Council of Peoples Commissars’.

The last Brigade of the British 10th Indian Division arrives at Basra with its commander Major General Bill Slim. Axis aircraft begin to land at the Mosul airfield in northern Iraq.

1942 Corregidor surrenders after five months resistance, with 15,000 prisoners taken by 1,000 Japanese.

B-17’s from Australia spot the Port Moresby Invasion Fleet south of Bougainville. They attack the Japanese Carrier Shoho but miss. Admiral Fletcher is now convinced that the main Japanese force would make for the Jomard Passage between Papua and the Louisiade Archipelago and so organizes his forces for the coming battle.

1943 Hitler makes one of his increasingly rare visits to Berlin for Viktor Lutze’s funeral.

1944 In India, British release Gandhi from prison on medical grounds – Gandhi opposed India supporting the British war effort without a promise for independence. He had been imprisoned since August 1942.

1945 The last U-boats of the war sunk with all hands: U-853 and U-881 in the North Atlantic by US destroyer escorts, and U-3523 in the Baltic by the RAF.

Axis Sally makes her final propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

The U.S. Fifth Army enters Austria from Italy.

Breslau surrenders after an 82-day siege, during which the Russians inflicted 29,000 civilian and military casualties and took more than 40,000 prisoners.

German SS troops try to crush uprising in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

All of Italy is occupied by the Allies.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: October 24 WWII Today: November 3 WWII Today: May 2

May 05

World War II Today: May 5

1940 Germans advance north to Trondheim.

Norwegian government-in-exile established in London.

1941 Major General Bernard Freyberg VC, is appointed by General Wavell to command approximately 40,000 British, New Zealand, Australian and Greek troops which are stationed on Crete. While a strong force on paper, these troops have virtually no artillery or tanks and are very disorganised after their hurried evacuation from Greece.

Emperor Haile Selassie returns to Addis Ababa 5 years after his country was occupied by the Italians.

1942 Convoy PQ-15 arrives at Murmansk.

British forces land at Diego Suarez and Antsirene on Vichy French held Madagascar in an pre-emptive strike to stop the Japanese from using it as an advanced base.

The Japanese advance into China along the Burma Road.

Japanese troops make amphibious landings against the US-Filipino garrison on Corregidor.

The main Japanese striking force which is built around the carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, enters the Coral Sea and bombs Port Moresby.

Japanese begin preporations to invade Midway and the Aleutian Islands.

1943 British forces break through the defenses of the 5th Panzerarmee to the South of Tunis.

1944 The Russians launch their attack the fortress city of Sevastopol in the Crimea.

1945 The U.S. Third Army prepares to drive on to Prague.

German troops in Holland surrender to Canadian army.

German forces in Denmark surrender.

A civilian uprising begins in Prague and is aided by defecting units of the anti-Bolshevist Vlasov Army.

Admiral von Friedeburg arrives at General Eisenhower’s HQ in Rheims. General Blaskowitz, the German C-in-C of the Netherlands, surrenders at a ceremony in the small Dutch town of Wagenungen in the presence of Prince Bernhard. The first British victory salvo of war is fired at 3pm from Montgomery’s HQ. Amsterdam is liberated. Eisenhower announces the capitulation of German Army Group ‘C’, which was covering the front from Linz to Swiss frontier. The U.S. Third Army takes Pilsen, Karlsbad and prepares to drive towards Prague.

Mauthausen concentration camp is liberated.

Reverend Archie Mitchell and his wife and five children discover a deflated Japanese balloon containing a bomb that had been let loose in the West Winds traveling over the pacific to land in Oregon. It killed the wife and children, the only civilian casualties of the war on the continental United States.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 27 WWII Today: March 11 WWII Today: February 23