1940 Lord Beaverbrook, Minister for Aircraft Production, says ‘the sky is the limit’ for plane purchases from US, with spending running at Â£2.5 million per day on aircraft.
Marshal Henri Pétain assumes position as Chief of State of Vichy France, with Pierre Laval as Prime Minister
Admiral Raeder, C-in-C of the German Navy expresses his reservations about any invasion of Britain.
1941 Stalin replaces 3 major Soviet commanders appointing Voroshilov for the northern, Timoshenko for the central and Budjenny for the southern fronts. Armored units of Panzer Group 1 advance within 10 miles of Kiev.
Vichy government rejects Syrian armistice terms but Dentz accepts.
US establishes Office of Coordinator of Information under William Donovan to coordinate intelligence and propaganda.
1943 The attacking German forces at Kursk have been depleted by heavy losses in men and armor and have nearly spent their momentum, even though the 4th Panzer Army and Army Detachment Kempf in the southern sector have succeeded in capturing the pivotal town of Prokhorovka. To prevent further attrition, especially of the vital armored forces, Field Marshals von Kluge and von Manstein urge Hitler to call off the operation, but Hitler refuses.
Allied transport planes fired on by US Navy ships in the Sicily invasion-reform of Army Air Force and Navy coordination results.
1944 The US VIII Corps continues its attacks from the Carentan area toward St. Lo, but is meeting with strong German resistance.
The United States formally recognizes the provisional French government of General de Gaulle in London as the de facto government of France.
The Red Army captures the remnants (35,000) of the encircled 4th Army.
1945 At Waw, Burma, British repel attack by remnant of Japanese army.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Words at War: It’s Always Tomorrow WWII Today: January 2 WWII Today: January 29
1940 Birthday Honors list includes only service recipients. British Union Party (Fascists) banned.
Preliminary phase of Battle of Britain begins with German air attacks on Channel convoys with the aim of tempting the RAF in to battle. The Luftwaffe launches its first large scale attack on Britain as 70 aircraft attack the dock facilities at Swansea and the Royal Ordnance Factory at Pembrey in Wales.
1941 Panzer Group 1 repulses a violent Soviet counter-attack in the area of Korosten to the west of Kiev.
The Finnish Karelian Army begins an offensive toward Lake Ladoga to the Northeast of Leningrad.
Germans urge Japan to enter war.
1942 General Carl Spaatz becomes the head of the U.S. Air Force in Europe.
The first two ships of the ill-fated Arctic convoy PQI7, arrive at Archangel.
Germans admit substantial Russian forces are east of the Don. Panzer units of 4th Panzer Army and 6th Army of Army Group B join up just North of Kalach on the Don, while 17th Army and 1st Panzer Army of Army Group A continue their advance toward Rostov.
Admiral Chester Nimitz is awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for meritorious service, with special attention focused on the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway.
1943 Operation ‘Husky’, the Allied invasion of Sicily, is now fully underway with 12 divisions (160,000 men and 600 tanks) of the British Eighth and U.S. Seventh Armies being brought ashore by 3,000 landing craft (200 sunk by rough seas) on the south-east coast of Sicily. While the British approaching Syracuse meet with little German resistance, the U.S. forces are held back by strong counter-attacks of the Hermann Goring and the Italian Livorno Divisions.
1945 The USSR, U.K. and U.S. agree on the administration of greater Berlin and decide that France is to be included.
U.S. carrier-based aircraft begin airstrikes against Japan in preparation for invasion.
1000 bomber raids against Japan begin.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 21 Words at War: Scapegoats In History Combat America Movie by Clark Gable
1940 Commons passed War Credits of £1,000,000,000. Tea rationing of 2oz per head per week introduced in Britain.
RAF begins night bombing of Germany.
The British submarine Salmon is lost south-west of Stavanger, Norway. The German raider Komet leaves Bergen in Norway for operations in the Pacific via the Northwest Passage in the Arctic Ocean assisted by Russian icebreakers.
The British and Italian fleets make contact at Battle of Cape Spartivento.
The British force includes 1 Aircraft Carrier and 3 Battleships, while the Italian squadron under Admiral Campioni consists of 2 Battleships, 6 heavy and 12 light cruisers. The Italians brake off contact after their flag ship Giulio Cesare is hit and damaged, although they still claim a naval victory.
1941 Panzer Group 3 defeats Russian blocking forces and capture Vitebsk.
General Dentz sues for peace in the Middle East.
1942 Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the attic above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.
Renewed German attacks against the British defenses at El Alamein bog down in the face of stubborn British resistance.
1943 Operation ‘Husky’ begins, with the US 82nd and the British 1st Airborne Divisions making the first landings on Sicily at night. However, due to navigational errors, hundreds of U.S. paratroopers are dropped in the sea and are drowned, while many others are widely scattered and miss their assigned targets.
The Russians say that the German attack at Kursk has been held and claim that 2,000 tanks have been destroyed in four days.
At least 12 die as a German hit and run bomber hits East Grinstead cinema during an afternoon performance.
1944 Units of the British Second Army enter Caen which has been reduced to a heap of rubble due to the preceding heavy aerial and artillery bombardments by the British. U.S. XIX Corps begins its push for St. Lo.
A major Russian offensive begins towards Rezekne, to the East of Riga in order to cut off Army Group North in Baltic States. The 2nd Belorussian Front attacks northwest from Vitebsk, the 3rd Belorussian Front attacks West from Psovsk and the Leningrad Front attacks southwest toward Narva.
All Japanese resistance in the Ukhrul area on India-Burma border crushed by the British.
U.S. Marines defeat the Japanese on Saipan after a final Banzai charge. 27,000 Japanese and 3,116 Americans were killed on Saipan.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 29 WWII Today: December 1 WWII Today: January 3
1940 British Metropolitan Police to be armed when guarding vulnerable positions.
The Swedish government agrees to transport German war material across Sweden to Norway.
Swordfish aircraft damage the French battleship Richelieu at Dakar after the French reject demilitarization proposals.
1941 Soviet military mission arrives in London.
Twenty B-17s fly in their first mission with the Royal Air Force over Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
Litvinov Broadcasts in English from Moscow saying that the UK and Russia must strike at Germany together. Panzer Group 4 of Army Group North captures Pskov and advances toward Novgorod and Leningrad.
Germany and Italy announce the dissolution of the state of Yugoslavia, with large portions annexed to Italy.
1942 The 4th Panzer Army at Voronezh begins an offensive southeast along the west bank of the Don, with the aim of meeting up with 6th Army which is advancing East toward the Don from Kharkov. The objective is to establish bridgeheads across the river in the Kalach area and then continue on to Stalingrad. However, heavy rain and lack of fuel slowed the advance, allowing the Russians time to withdraw their armies intact. Army Group A’s, 1st Panzer Army crosses the Donet’s river.
Axis bombers carry out raids on the harbor facilities at Valetta in Malta.
British forces in North Afrika devise a new method of destroying the enemy’s water supply. They put fish oil into the wells that are to fall into German hands, making the water undrinkable.
1943 As the battle of Kursk reaches its climax, the exhausted German forces are unable to make any further gains while losing vast numbers of men, tanks and planes. Soviet claims for the day are 304 tanks and 161 aircraft, while the Germans claim 400 tanks and 193 aircraft.
American B-24 bombers strike Japanese-held Wake Island for the first time.
1944 The British Second Army begins a major offensive ‘Operation Charnwood’ aimed at capturing Caen.
The Russians capture Baranovichi, 80 miles South West of Minsk. Lieutenant General MÃ¼ller, the commander of German 12th Corps surrenders with 57,000 men. Street fighting is reported as the Russians enter Vilna. Army Group Centre’s losses have now reached 300,000 men (28 divisions) in less than three weeks.
The Japanese Fifteenth Army is ordered to retreat to the Chindwin after losing 53,000 men and 17,000 horses since the 7th March.
The U.S. Navy shells Guam in the Pacific.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 22 Words at War: Wild River WWII Today: February 26
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1940 A French naval squadron that has sought refuge at Alexandria is disarmed and interned by the British Navy.
Italy allows French Mediterranean bases to remain armed.
At Dakar, French West Africa, British torpedo bombers damage French battleship Richelieu when she refuses to surrender.
1941 Under the pretext of defending the western hemisphere against Axis incursions, the U.S. 1st Marine Brigade is landed in Iceland to relieve the British garrison that has been there since the previous year.
1942 Operation ‘Rutter’ is again delayed. The date for the attack is now postponed until the 19th August. However, General Montgomery calls for the attack to be cancelled because too many people know about it, but General Paget and Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten and General Paget insist the attack should be mounted.
Two pro-German spies, Jose Key and Alphons Timmerman are hanged at Wandsworth prison.
4th Panzer Army enter Voronezh, 150 miles to the east of Kursk. Army Group A begins its offensive in to the Donets Basin. The STAVKA (Red Army High Command) creates the Voronezh Front under General Rokossovsky and is to cover the widening gap between the Bryansk and South-West Fronts.
Himmler grants permission for sterilization experiments at Auschwitz.
China makes a plea for the allied forces to make the Pacific rather than Europe the focus of action. The Chinese cite that they have been under attack by the Japanese since 1936, long before the European nations went to war.
1943 Off the coast of Brazil, U-185 (Kptlt. Maus) sinks 3 merchant ships.
Adolf Hitler makes the V-2 missile program a top priority in armament planning.
The German forces engaged at Kursk are still unable to achieve a major breakthrough in the face of stiffening Soviet resistance, which is reinforced by the arrival of strong tank and infantry reserves. Lt. Hartmann of II/JG 52, downs 7 Soviet aircraft near Kursk, bringing his total since the start of the offensive to 22.
China enters the seventh year of ‘The Double Seven War’, which started on 7/7/1936.
1944 450 heavy RAF bombers carry out a saturation raid (2,300 tons) on the German defenses in and around Caen. 1,129 USAAF bombers attack aircraft factories and oil plants in the Leipzig area.
Attacks by the US Seventh Army in the Carentan area of the Cotentin peninsula are blunted by violent German counter-attacks.
Vice-Admiral Nagumo and General Saito, commit suicide as the Japanese position on Saipan deteriorates.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 27 WWII Today: March 3 WWII Today: February 26
1940 After spending 8 weeks in the west supervising the German offensive, a triumphant Hitler returns to Berlin and is cheered wildly by the population of Berlin.
German aircraft and minesweepers sink 4 British submarines, Narwhal, Spearfish, Shark and Thames. The first German U-boat base in France is opened at Lorient.
First German U-boat base opens in France, at Lorient; first U-boat (U-30) arrives.
1941 Army Group North continues its advance, reaching a line from Lake Peipus through Reval to Parun, North of the Gulf of Riga.
Axis aircraft bomb Tobruk and Sidi Barrani.
1942 U-132 (Kptlt. Vogelsang) enters the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the Canadian East coast and sinks 3 merchant ships.
Despite continuous attacks by the British Eighth Army, Panzer Army Afrika manages to hold on to its positions before El Alamein.
1943 The battle of Kursk continues with unabated ferocity, with the northern pincer of 9th Army is struggling to make any significant progress, the southern pincer of 4th Panzer Army advances some 12 miles.
1944 Churchill makes a statement about the ‘Doodlebugs’ and say that 2,754 have been launched, causing 2,752 dead and 8,000 injured so far.
The Soviet 1st Belorussian Front recaptures Kovel to the southeast of Brest-Litovsk.
The British Eighth Army captures Osimo 20 miles South of Ancona.
1945 Operation Overcast begins in Europe–moving Austrian and German scientists and their equipment to the United States.
Norway declares war on Japan. More than 800 Norwegians are in Japanese POW camps.
B-29 Superfortress bombers attack Honshu, Japan, using new fire-bombing techniques.
Nicaragua becomes the first nation to ratify the United Nations Charter. US President Harry Truman establishes the Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for civilians.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 30 WWII Today: April 5 WWII Ad: Pennsylvania Rail Road
1940 President Roosevelt lays down ‘five fundamentals of freedom’: freedom from fear, of information, of religion, of expression, and from want.
The RAF carries out night raids on Kiel and Wilhelmshaven.
The British destroyer Whirlwind is sunk by U-34 off Land’s End.
Romania announces its alignment with the Axis powers.
In retaliation for the British action at Mers-el-Kebir, Vichy French warships based at Dakar capture 3 British merchant ships, while French aircraft stationed in Morocco attack British shipping off Gibraltar.
1941 Foreign Secretary Eden categorically rules out possibility of negotiating with Hitler.
The RAF carries out night raids on Munster and Bielefeld.
Units of German 6th Army break through the Stalin Line East of Lvov, while Panzer Group 1 continues its advance toward Zhitomir and Berdichev in the Ukraine.
General Wavell is relieved of his command as C-in-C of the Middle East, by General Sir Claude Auchinleck.
1942 Advanced units of 4th Panzer Army reach the Don north and south of Voronezh, which causes the Russians to begin its evacuation.
Upon learning that the covering force for PQ-17 had fled and the convoy had scattered. Admiral Raeder secured Hitlers approval to use the German surface force, although caution was to be exercised in order not to risk the sinking or damage of the Battleship Tirpitz, pocket battleship Admiral Scheer or heavy cruiser Hipper. Escorted by 7 destroyers and 2 E-boats, the 3 big German ships sailed from Altenfiord at 3pm. As the force left moved in to open seas, the soviet submarine K-21 saw and attacked the Tirpitz, but its torpedos missed. An hour later an RAF Coastal Command Catalina reported the force as at sea and a further two hours later HMS Unshaken, radioed in a sighting and an exact description of the force. Hearing of these allied sightings through allied intelligence, Admiral Raeder became nervous and cancelled the sortie, ordering the surface fleet to return to port leaving the Luftwaffe and U-boats to finish off PQ-17.
Axis troops start laying minefields in front of their positions at El Alamein.
1943 The Germans launch operation ‘Citadel’, their last major offensive on Russian Front on a 200-mile front, with the 9th Army attacking from the North and 4th Panzer Army attacking from the South. The Germans have deployed 37 divisions totaling 900,000 men, which include 11 Panzer divisions with 2,500 tanks and assault guns, 10,000 guns and Nebelwerfers, as well as 1,800 aircraft. Against this, the Red Army has 1,300,000 troops in deeply echeloned defensive positions, protected by 8,000 land mines per square mile, 3,300 tanks, 20,000 guns and 2,500 aircraft. Taken together, the opposing forces in this operation constitute the largest concentration of military power ever assembled in history. In the northern sector, the Germans advance 6 miles, while in the southern sector they manage 25 miles against stubborn Soviet resistance which inflicts heavy casualties.
A Naval battle erupts in Kula Gulf, North of New Georgia. The US Navy loses the cruiser Helena, but claims eight or nine Japanese ships have been sunk.
1944 German U-boats begin operations off the Normandy coast, sinking 4 small allied warships and damaging the British cruiser Dragon.
1945 SHAEF says of the 5.8m displaced persons (found in the Anglo-American Zone, 3.26m have been repatriated and 2.53m, mostly Eastern Europeans) still remain in repatriation camps.
MacArthur announces the liberation of the whole of the Philippines, although sporadic fighting continues until after the Japanese surrender. U.S. losses total 11,921 dead and 42,970 injured or captured.
The Australian Prime Minister, John Curtin, dies.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 7 WWII Today: March 25 WWII Today: March 6
1940 In 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.
1941 In and Independence Day 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.
1942 Bad 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.
1943 General 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.
1944 The 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.
1945 The 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 Posts: WWII Today: June 15 WWII Today: October 8 WWII Today: September 14