1940In the House of Commons, prime minister Churchill declares,’ I leave the judgment of our actions with confidence to Parliament. I leave it to the nation and I leave it to the United States. I leave it to the world and to history.’
German Stukas and MTBs attack a British convoy South of Portland, sinking 5 merchant ships.
In direct response to the devastating British attack on the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, the Vichy French government of Marshal Petain breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain.
Italian bombers raid Malta.
Italian bombers raid Alexandria. Italian forces attack from Abyssinia and Eritrea and capture the British outposts of Kassala and Gallabat on the Sudanese border.
1941In and Independence Day Fireside Chat radio broadcast, Roosevelt warns the American public that the USA ‘will never survive as a happy and prosperous oasis in the middle of a desert of dictatorship’.
British Communist Party officially drops peace campaign and backs the war.
Units of Army Group Centre capture Ostrov.
British Communist Party decides to support war effort.
Communist Yugoslavian leader Tito (Joseph Broz) calls for Yugoslavians to revolt against Nazi rule.
1942Bad weather delays operation ‘Rutter’, which is now scheduled for the 7th July.
Convoy PQ-17, now reinforced with the 7 warships of the cruiser force which had come up during the night, comes under heavy attack from Luftwaffe dive-bombers and torpedo planes during the morning. An American merchant (7,200 tons) was badly hit by a torpedo and had to be abandoned, although U-457 found and sank it. U-457, also incorrectly reported that it had seen a battleship with the convoys escorts. Because of this report, Admiral Raeder believed that the British distant covering force, which included an aircraft-carrier had arrived to help the convoy. He therefore refused permission for the German battleship Tirpitz, pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, heavy cruiser Hipper, 7 destroyers and 2 E-boats to put to sea until the British aircraft-carrier had been sunk. In the afternoon, larger numbers of Luftwaffe planes attacked convoy PQ-17 twice, severely damaging 3 merchants, two of which later sank. Later that day, the British First Sea Lord Dudley Pound, thought that the German surface force had sailed to attack the PQ-17 and would in all probability wipe out the convoy along with the covering cruiser force. He therefore made the catastrophic decision to withdraw the cruiser force and “scatter” PQ-17 in the hope that this might save most of the convoy. Almost immediately, the U-boats benefited, with U-703 sinking 2 merchants for 12,100 tons, U-88 sank 2 merchants for 12,300 tons, U-334 sank 1 merchant for 7,200 tons and U-456 sank a merchant for 7,000 tons. On the downside the Luftwaffe, having difficulty in spotting friend from foe, damaged U-334 and U-456 forcing them to return to Norway for repairs.
For the first time, 6 Douglas A-20/Boston bombers of the USAAF’s 15th Bombardment Squadron were combined with 6 Douglas A-20/Boston bombers from the RAF’s 226 Squadron for raids on German airfields in Holland. 2 USSAF and 1 RAF aircraft failed to return.
The Germans claim to have pushed the Russians back across the Don along a broad front.
First American Red Cross Service Club opens in London, the Washington Club.
1943General Sikorski and several other Polish leaders of the London-based anti-Communist Polish government-in-exile, die in plane crash just after take-off from Gibraltar, which some suspect is the result of deliberate sabotage.
1944The general strike in Copenhagen ends with the Germans withdrawing the curfew to avoid further popular risings in Denmark.
In Normandy, one U.S. division gains only 200yds and six German prisoners for nearly 1,400 casualties.
The Soviet 1st Baltic Front begins an offensive toward Riga, capturing Polotsk and threatening to isolate Army Group North during its fighting retreat from Estonia.
1945The British 7th Armoured Division, ‘The Desert Rats’ enters Berlin to establish the British sector.
Canadian troops riot in Aldershot, England, over not being shipped home; no damage or injuries.Take a look at these other WWII July 4th related Posts: WWII Today: June 15 WWII Today: October 8 WWII Today: September 14
Words At War, the series that brings you radio versions of the leading war book another adaptation of an important war book, “What to Do With Germany”. A program set in the future (1985) that was broadcast on the opening day of the Yalta Conference. Now that Americans are slaves of Germany, a look back at how Germany won World War III! Harsh proposals for Germany and Germans, just a few months before the end of the European war.https://www.wwiidogtags.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/1945-02-13NbcWordsAtWar84WhatToDoWithGermany.mp3
Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 12 WWII Today: May 18 WWII Today: April 6
1940 Fifty nine French warships that had sought refuge at Plymouth and Portsmouth are seized by the Royal Navy, but only after overcoming armed French resistance in some cases.
The British Auxiliary AA ship Foyle Bank is sunk in German air attacks on the docks at Portland, Dorset.
Due to heavy losses at the hands of the Luftwaffe the British suspend all future convoy from passing through the English Channel.
Heavy units of the British Navy, code named Force H (Somerville), launch an attack (Operation Catapult) on the French fleet stationed at Mers-el-Kebir near Oran in Algeria, sinking the battleship Bretagne and heavily damaging the battleship Provence and the battlecruiser Dunkerque. 1,300 French sailors are killed and hundreds wounded.
1941 For the first time since the beginning of the German attack on the Soviet Union, Stalin speaks to the Russian people over the radio. Demanding utmost resistance ‘in our patriotic war against German Fascism’ and says ‘A grave threat hangs over our country.’ He calls for a policy of scorched earth if the Red Army is forced to yield ground and the formation of ‘people’s partisan’ groups behind enemy lines, as well as the summary execution of all cowards and shirkers.
Army Group Centre eradicates the Bialystok pocket capturing 290,000 prisoners, 2,500 tanks, 1,500 guns in the process.
1942 Sevastopol, the Crimean capital, finally falls to Germans, along with 97,000 Soviet prisoners. The German and Romanian forces lost 24,000 men.
Eleven U-boats in the area begin to close in on convoy PQ-17 or place themselves along the route of the convoy. 6 U-boats make attack runs throughout the day, but have no success and either lose contact or fall behind the convoy.
Due to exhaustion and lack of supplies, especially fuel for the armored divisions, Rommel orders his German and Italian forces to suspend all offensive operations before El Alamein and begin constructing defensive positions.
1943 The RAF carries out a heavy night raid on Cologne, causing considerable damage and killing hundreds of civilians.
The opening of operation ‘Citadel’, the massive German offensive to encircle and destroy the Soviet forces in the Orel-Belgorod salient near Kursk, is delayed by one day because of heavy Soviet air attacks against the German deployment areas.
US troops from Nassau Beach link up with the Australians who are under heavy attack at Mubo in New Guinea. Operation ‘Cartwheel’ continues with further advances in the Solomon’s.
1944 The U.S. First Army opens a general offensive to break out of the hedgerow area of Normandy, France.
The U.S. VIII Corps drives southwards to Coutances.
French troops take Siena, only 30 miles South of Florence.
Minsk, the capital of Byelorussia is captured by the Russians, trapping 100,000 Germans in a pocket to the East.
Prime Minister Curtin returns to Australia after the Commonwealth conference in Britain.
1945 U.S. troops land at Balikpapan and take Sepinggan airfield on Borneo in the Pacific.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 18 WWII Today: March 1 WWII Today: January 15
1940 The British liner Arandora Star, carrying 1,500 German and Italian prisoners of war to Canada, is sunk by U-47 off the west coast of Ireland, with many casualties.
Hitler orders preparation of ‘Operation Sealion’ the plan for the invasion of Britain. Germans issue casualty figures for French campaign: 17,000 killed and 1,900,000 French prisoners claimed. August Bank holiday canceled in Britain.
1941 The RAF carries out night raids on Bremen and Cologne.
Troops of the German 11th, Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies begin an offensive from Moldavia toward Vinnitsa and the Black Sea port of Odessa.
China breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany and Italy.
1942 Allied convoys QP-13 and PQ-17 pass each other while the German battleships Tirpitz and Hipper prepare to attack PQ-17 in the North Atlantic.
The British hold El Alamein despite heavy attacks, Rommel is now down to 26 tanks.
JCS approves Pacific strategy-a dual Army-Navy attack.
hurchill’s government overcomes a parliamentary Motion of Censure in an overwhelming vote.
US Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps is ordered disbanded, completed 30 June 1943.
1943 Greek guerrillas to come under the direct control of the supreme allied command in the Middle East. U.S. Fifteenth Air Force, raids three airfields in southern Italy.
US troops land on New Georgia in the Solomons.
1944 The end of the battle of the ‘Scottish Corridor’ in Normandy result in the German counter-attacks failing to eliminate it. Field Marshal von Rundstedt, C-in-C West, is replaced by Field Marshal von Kluge.
German troops evacuate Siena.
The Russians cut the railways to the West of Minsk.
US Army troops land on Noemfoor Island in Geelvink Bay, New Guinea.
US Marines take Garapan, Saipan; Japanese fall back to final defensive line on northern Saipan.
1945 The U.S. submarine Trenchant sinks a Hagura Class Japanese cruiser in the Southwest Pacific.
The British capture secret documents concerning a planned breakout of Honda’s 33rd Army in Burma.
USS Barb attacks Kaihyo Island with the first use of rockets by a sub against shore installations.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: October 7 WWII Today: December 1 WWII Bell Telephone Christmas Ad
1940 In the first 6 months of the year, German U-boats have sunk 900,000 tons of Allied shipping.
German troops occupy Jersey and complete the capture of the Channel Islands, the only British territory ever captured by Germany during World War 2. The French government of Marshal Petain moves from Bordeaux to Vichy. Germany asks the USA and other neutrals to withdraw diplomatic missions from Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Norway. British milk price maximum is raised to 4d a pint.
Marshal Balbo is replaced by Marshal Graziani as C-in-C of the Italian forces in Libya.
1941 Icelandic-American exchange of letter respecting defense of Iceland.
Coal deliveries to all establishments in Britain limited to one ton per month.
RAF starts daylight air offensive over Northern France, English Channel and Occupied Europe.
German armoured forces of Panzergruppe 4 of Heeresgruppe Nord cross the Dvina and capture Riga, while units of Panzergruppe 2 of Heeresgruppe Mitte reach the Berezina near Borisov.
Auchinleck becomes C-in-C of the Middle East.
Wavell becomes C-in-C, India. The Axis recognises the Japanese backed government of China.
1942 German troops capture Sevastopol, Crimea, in the Soviet Union.
Rommel captures 2,000 prisoners from the El Alamein ‘box’ but loses 18 of his 55 remaining tanks.
1943 Hitler addresses the generals taking part in the imminent operation ‘Citadel’ at Kursk.
1944 The invasion of southern France is fixed for the 15th August. Since D-Day, the Allies have landed 920,000 troops, 177,000 vehicles and 600,000 tons of supplies and equipment. In the 24 days of fighting, they have lost 62,000 men killed, wounded and missing. Beginning of the Bretton Woods Conference convened to deal with postwar financial and economic problems. The establishment of the International Monetary Fund for Reconstruction and Development is announced.
The Fifth Guards Tank Army of the 3rd Belorussian Front takes Borisov, less that 50 miles North East of Minsk.
The Japanese Imphal-Kohima survivors are encircled at Ukrul.
1945 The U.S. 2nd Armoured Division from Halle enter Berlin in accordance with the four-power agreement over the division of Germany into zones.
The Australian 7th Division lands at Balikpapan on South East coast of Borneo after a 15-day bombardment.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 24 WWII Today: October 16 WWII Today: July 18
*1934 Adolf Hitler began his ”blood purge” of political and military leaders in Germany. Among those killed was one-time Hitler ally Ernst Roehm, leader of the Nazi stormtroopers.
1940 Germans troops land on Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
The last French defenders of the Maginot Line surrender.
Governor General of Hong Kong orders evacuation of women and children to the Philippines as Japanese blockade colony.
1941 Vichy France breaks off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
Army Group Centre continues to constrict the Bialystok pocket to the west of Minsk. Pilots of Luftwaffe fighter wing JG-51 down 100 Soviet bombers attacking German panzer forces east of Minsk, with its CO, Oberst MË†lders, accounting for 5 of them. German forces of Army Group South capture Lemberg (Lvov).
1942 The costliest fiscal year in U.S. history comes to a close. More that $32 billion has been spent, $26 billion on war expenditures alone. The total exceeds the amount on WWI in its entirety.
Returning from a successful patrol in the Gulf of Mexico (12 ships sunk), U-158 (Kptlt. Rostin) is destroyed by a US Mariner flying boat off Bermuda.
As the Panzer’s roll eastward in Russia, they haul in hordes of Russian POW’s. With five German armies (two panzer), two Romanian, one Italian (including a number of mountain divisions) and one Hungarian Army in the van, all tolled 89 divisions on the offensive. While the Panzer’s are fully motorized, the bulk of the remaining forces depend on horses for transport and supply. As the advance lengthens, so do the supply lines, and shortages soon begin to appear at the sharp end. The Russian garrison at Sevastopol begins to evacuate itself by night. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, chief of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, telegraphs his troops, “In line with the prestige and dignity of the German Army, every German soldier must maintain distance and such an attitude with regard to Russian POW’s as takes account of the bitterness and inhuman brutality of the Russians in battle.” Prestige and dignity will be maintained, Keitel continues, as follows “Fleeing prisoners of war are to be shot without preliminary warning to stop. All resistance of POW’s, even passive, must be entirely eliminated immediately by the use of arms.” Russian POW’s are placed into camps where the dead lie undisturbed for weeks on end. German guards periodically enter the camps to get rid of bodies with flame-throwers.
At Auschwitz, a second gas chamber, Bunker II (the white farmhouse), is made operational at Birkenau due to the number of Jews arriving.
U-372 sinks the British submarine depot ship Medway. The loss of the torpedo’s she was carrying put a severe brake on British submarine operations in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Fleet evacuates Alexandria for Haifa, Port Said and Beirut. The port facilities are also prepared for demolition incase axis forces reach the city.
Rommel spearheads reaches El Alamein. The port facilities at Alexandria are prepared for demolition, should the axis forces not be stopped at El Alamein. In what became known as ‘Ash Wednesday’, British HQ is Cairo begins to destroy classified papers and prepares for evacuation to Palestine. A brave but disorganized Eighth Army is addressed by General Auchinleck, who tells them, that ‘He (Rommel) hopes to take Egypt by bluff. Lets show him where to get off.’ This comes as ‘Ultra’ interceptions told them that Rommel would attack their positions at El Alamein the following day.
1943 The British publish aircraft losses incurred to date, with Axis losses of 18,031 aircraft and RAF losses of 9,906 aircraft.
Operation ‘Cartwheel’ continues with the occupation of Rendova, north west of Guadalcanal. The Trobriand and Woodlark islands between Solomon’s and New Guinea are also occupied.
1944 The United States breaks off diplomatic relations with Finland.
The remaining 6,000 Germans in the Cherbourg peninsula surrender. The Germans forces retake Hill 112 from the British 2nd Army.
1945 The Chinese take Liuchow and capture towns on the Indo-Chinese border.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 13 WWII Today: December 2 WWII Today: February 24
Ann Miller was born Johnnie Lucille Ann Collier on April 12, 1923 in Chireno, Texas, the daughter of Clara Emma (Birdwell) and John Alfred Collier, a criminal lawyer who represented the Barrow Gang, Machine Gun Kelly, and Baby Face Nelson, among others. Miller’s maternal grandmother was Cherokee. Miller’s father insisted on the name Johnnie because he had wanted a boy, but she was often called Annie. She took up dancing to exercise her legs to help her rickets. She was considered a child dance prodigy.
At the age of 13 Ann had been hired as a dancer in the Black Cat Club in San Francisco (she had told them she was 18). It was there she was discovered by Lucille Ball and talent scoutcomic Benny Rubin. And in 1937, RKO asked her to sign on as a contract player, but only if she could prove she was 18. Though she was really barely 14, she managed to get hold of a fake birth certificate, and so was signed on, playing dancers and ingÃ©nues in such films as Stage Door (1937), You Can’t Take It with You (1938), Room Service (1938) and Too Many Girls (1940). In 1939 she appeared on Broadway in George White’s Scandals and was a smash, staying on for two years. Eventually RKO released her from her contract, but Columbia Pictures snapped her up to appear in such WW II morale boosters as True to the Army (1942) and Reveille with Beverly (1943). When she decided to get married, Columbia released her from her contract. The marriage was sadly unhappy and she was divorced in two years. This time MGM picked her up, showcasing her in such films as Easter Parade (1948), On the Town (1949), and Kiss Me Kate (1953). In the mid-’50s she asked to leave to marry again, and her request was granted. This marriage didn’t last long, either, nor did a third.
Ann Miller invented pantyhose in the 1940s as a solution to the problem of continual torn stockings during the filming of dance production numbers. The common practice had been to sew hosiery to briefs worn by Miller. If torn, the entire garment had to be removed and resewn with a new pair. At Ann’s request, hosiery was manufactured for her as a single pantyhose.
Ann was famed for her speed in tap dancing. Studio publicists concocted press releases claiming she could tap 500 times per minute, but in truth, the sound of ultra-fast 500 taps was looped in later. Because the stage floors were slick and slippery, she actually danced in shoes with rubber soles. Later she would loop the sound of the taps while watching the film and actually dancing on a tap board to match her steps in the film.
She was known, especially later in her career, for her distinctive appearance, which reflected a studio-era ideal of glamor massive black bouffant hair, heavy makeup with a slash of crimson lipstick, and fashions that emphasized her lithe figure and long dancer’s legs. Her film career effectively ended in 1956 as the studio system lost steam to television, but she remained active in the theater and on television. She starred on Broadway in the musical Mame in 1969, in which she wowed the audience in a tap number created just for her. In 1979 she astounded audiences in the Broadway show Sugar Babies with fellow MGM veteran Mickey Rooney, which toured the United States extensively after its Broadway run. In 1983 she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theater.
She appeared in a special 1982 episode of The Love Boat, joined by fellow showbiz legends Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Della Reese, Van Johnson, and Cab Calloway in a storyline that cast them as older relatives of the show’s regular characters. In 2001 she took her last role, playing Coco in auteur director David Lynch’s critically acclaimed Mulholland Drive. Her last stage performance was a 1998 production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, in which she played the hardboiled survivor Carlotta Campion and received rave reviews for her rendition of the anthemic I’m Still Here.
Ann Miller also performed a guest appearance on the TV series Home Improvement as a dance instructor to Tim and Jill. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Ann Miller has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6914 Hollywood Blvd.
Ann was parodied on Saturday Night Live. She was played by Molly Shannon as a talk show host, with Debbie Reynolds (played by Cheri Oteri), on a show called Legs Up.
She died in Los Angeles, California on January 22, 2004 at the age of 80 from cancer, which had metastasized to her lungs, and was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Pin Up: Joan Dixon WWII Pin Up: Claire Trevor WWII Pin Up: Diana Lewis
1940 Japan declares the South Seas to be in its sphere of influence.
President Roosevelt signs the Alien Registration Act; 5 million foreigners will register and be fingerprinted.
1941 Lord Beaverbrook becomes Minister of Supply in Cabinet reshuffle.
Goering is named Hitler’s successor.
Russian defense Committee is formed with Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov, Malenkov and Beria.
The German 20th Mountain Army launches Operation ‘Silver Fox’, an offensive to capture the Soviet port of Murmansk, while the Finnish Karelian Army activates its offensive towards Leningrad.
Local Finnish forces attack along the border in southern Finland.
Romanian troops conduct a pogrom against Jews in the town of Jassy, killing 10,000.
Germany demands that Japan launches an attack against Russia. The Japanese consider this, but in the end only agree to strengthen their forces in this area.
1942 The drive on the Caucasus roars on as German columns kick up dust clouds that can be seen 40 miles away and leave behind burning villages and town. “It is the formation of the Roman Legions, now brought up to date in the 20th century to tame the Mongol-Slav horde,” exults German propaganda. In Sevastopol, German troops attack from their bridgehead, while more forces blast in across the Fedyukhin Heights, forcing the Russians back.
Rommel takes Mersa Matruh after heavy fighting and captures 6,000 prisoners along with large quantities of supplies. British disarray increases as German advance units mix with British rear units which are reatreating as fast as possible for the relative safety of the El Alamein defensive position. Mussolini arrives at Derna in Libya to prepare for the triumphal entry into Cairo. Alexandria is bombed.
Two ships leave the port of Shanghai carrying more than four hundred North and South American Diplomats and their dependents. The passengers are to exchanged for and equal number of Japanese nationals being held in the Western Hemisphere.
1943 US Marines land on Nassau beach near Lae in New Guinea during Operation ‘Cartwheel‘.
The US Army Air Force insignia changed to “stars and bars,” with a red border around bar.
1944 The RAF carries out a saturation raid (250 Lancasters) against the 2nd and 9th SS Panzer Divisions at Villers-Bocage near Caen.
The US VII Corps captures the last harbor fort at Cherbourg, but the port rendered completely useless for three weeks.
70,000 troops of Army Group Centre that are encircled near Bobruisk surrender to the Red Army. The Russians report that 16,000 Germans have been killed and 18,000 captured near Minsk.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 6 WWII Today: June 23 WWII Quote: FDR