1940 German troops invade Denmark and Norway simultaneously. There is very little opposition by the surprised Danes, with Copenhagen being captured within 12 hours. The Germans make sea-borne landings in Norway at Oslo, Kristiansand, Bergen, Trondheim and Narvik. An airborne landing is also made against the airfield at Stavanger. Norwegian defenders move inland. Major Quisling sets up ‘National Government’ in Oslo.
The Kriegsmarine loses the cruisers Blacher, which is sunk by Norwegian coastal batteries, plus Koenigsberg and Karlsruhe to British naval and air attack.
1941 Rommel’s forces take Bardia.
German forces capture Nis and Monastir in Yugoslavia. German tanks enter Thessalonika, trapping the Greek 2nd Army in the Metaxas line, forcing them to surrender.
The RAF attack Kiel in an attempt to knock out the port facilities.
1942 The Germans make some limited advances towards their surrounded units at Kholm-Staraya Russa. Russian troops attack furiously at Kerch in the Crimea, but there have no success because of the stubborn German defense.
Mahatma Gandhi arrested in India.
US-Filipino forces on Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines surrender. 78,000 troops are captured, including 12,000 Americans, but 2,000 escape to Corregidor. This is the largest capitulation in US History. Japanese aircraft sink the British carrier Hermes, the destroyer Vampire and three other warships in Indian Ocean.
1943 Exterminations at Chelmno cease. The camp will be reactivated in the spring of 1944 to liquidate ghettos. In all, Chelmno will total 300,000 deaths.
1944 The remains of the 1st Panzer Army regain the German lines after a 150-mile forced march. The Red Army breaks through the German lines at Kerch in the eastern Crimea.
Fierce fighting across the District Commissioner’s tennis court at Kohima. The Japanese renew their struggle with the 17th Indian Division, South West of Imphal.
1945 The British Eighth Army launches its final offensive in Italy with a 1,800-plane and 1,500-gun bombardment of the German positions East of Bologna. The U.S. Fifth Army begins its offensive toward Bologna and the Po river valley. Army Group E is now completely isolated from the main German forces, but continues its struggle against Tito’s partisan forces in Yugoslavia.
Russians secure Koenigsberg, after the commander of “fortress Koenigsberg” General Lasch surrenders.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 25 WWII Today: February 22 WWII Today: December 19
1939 Italy invades Albania.
1940 British submarines torpedo three German ships. Destroyer Glowworm is sunk after reporting German fleet movements and ramming cruiser Hipper.
British minelayers arrive off Norway and are surprised by German navy preparing to invade Norway. In heavy fighting, the destroyer HMS Glowworm is sunk while ramming German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper.
The Polish submarine ‘Orzel’ sinks the German transport ship ‘Rio de Janeiro’ at 11:50.
1941 After a temporary lull, the Luftwaffe launches a heavy attack against Coventry.
The British ‘Northern Force’ captures Massawa, the last Italian stronghold in Eritrea. This removes any remaining threat to British convoys sailing through the Red Sea.
1942 A US delegation led by special presidential advisor Harry L. Hopkins and joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General George C. Marshall arrive in Britain to discuss US and British strategy on the Second Front. The proposal they brought from Roosevelt, was for major landings on the French coast in the summer of 1943, with Antwerp as the initial objective, and for a similar but smaller operation in 1942 to take advantage of a sudden German disintegration or to stave off an imminent Russian collapse.
The badly damaged cruiser HMS Penelope limps in to Gibraltar.
1944 The Russians reach the Slovakian border. The also continue their advance into Romania. The final Russian offensive to destroy the German 17th Army in Crimea begins.
1945 The 2nd Ukrainian front continues its advance into northern Czechoslovakia and establishes a bridgehead across the rivers Morava and Donau (East and Northeast of Vienna). Heavy fighting in the centre of Vienna. The Red Air Force drops 1,500 tons of bombs on Konigsberg.
British SAS Brigade paratroops into eastern Holland, to clear the way for Canadians troops who are moving North. The British Second Army reaches Hildesheim, while the US Seventh Army captures Pforzheim near the upper Rhine.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 1 WWII Today: January 19 WWII Today: October 3
1940 The RAF spots units of the Kriegsmarine steaming North towards Narvik and Trondheim loaded with troops and equipment.
1941 British war budget raises income tax.
Germans break towards Salonika.
Great Britain severs diplomatic relations with Hungary.
German troops capture Skopje in Macedonia forcing the Yugoslav forces to withdraw in the south of the country, which exposes the Greek flank. British promise allegiance to Yugoslavia.
Derna is captured by the 5th Light Afrika Division along with Generals Neame and O’Connor later in the day.
1942 The U.S. Treasury lends 40,000 tons of silver to Electric Generator plants to replace copper being used in conductors; the copper will be used for military production instead.
After 4 days of desperate fighting on Bataan, the Japanese have managed to penetrate 4 miles in to the US-Filipino lines, bringing General Wainwright’s forces to the brink of collapse.
1943 Hitler spends the better part of four days at Klessheim Castle near Salzburg (which has recently been refurbished as a Nazi Party conference center and spa) alternately browbeating and cajoling Mussolini to keep Italy in the war. Concerned by Mussolini’s evaporating morale, Hitler spends the rest of April summoning to Klessheim the leaders Vichy France, Norway, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Croatia for a series of pep talks. With the war’s tide clearly turning against the Axis, the Fuhrer has limited success.
Eighth Army joins up with the U.S. 2nd Corps in central Tunisia, while the British First Army makes progress in the North forming a solid line against the German army.
The Japanese air force begins a 10-day, round-the-clock bombing offensive against US shipping in the Solomon’s.
1944 Goebbels takes overall control of Berlin.
Two Jewish inmates escape from Auschwitz-Birkenau and make it safely to Czechoslovakia. One of them, Rudolf Vrba, submits a report to the Papal Nuncio in Slovakia which is forwarded to the Vatican.
1945 The U.S. First Army takes G0ttingen, 25 miles Northeast of Kassel. The US Ninth Army captures Hameln and Eisenach.
Army Group Centre under General Schorner continues with its attacks against the 2nd and 4th Ukrainian front.
In Yugoslavia, German Army Group E under General Lohr evacuates it remaining troops from Sarajevo.
The battle of East China Sea begins as U.S. aircraft from Task Force 58 sink the Japanese super-battleship Yamato in a three-hour battle, 60 miles to the Southeast of Japan. Japanese casualties are reported as 2,488 sailors killed, four destroyers sunk, 58 aircraft destroyed.
US Third Army finds Nazi art and gold stash in salt mine in Merkers worth $500 million.
B29s fly their first fighter-escorted mission against Japan with P-51 Mustangs based on Iwo Jima.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 18 WWII Today: October 10 WWII Today: January 18
1938 The United States recognizes Nazi Germany’s conquest of Austria.
1940 British Ministry of Food announces “Kitchen Front” campaign to save food.
Germany recalls all 1, 2, 5, and 10-pfennig coins to reclaim copper & bronze; will use zinc instead.
1941 German, Italian and Hungarian forces begin the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. The Luftwaffe carries out several devastating bombing raids against Belgrade and all but wipes out the Yugoslav air force on the ground.
The Luftwaffe launches an air attack against the Greek port of Piraeus from bases in Bulgaria. During the raid, the British ammunition ship Clan Fraser is hit and explodes in a massive fireball, wrecking the harbour and port facilities.
Australian forces capture Benghazi along with six senior Italian Generals. Italian forces make repeated attempts to break through the weak British blocking forces at Beda Fomm, but cannot.
Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel is appointed to command the German forces being sent to Africa.
Six Beaufort torpedo-bombers attack the German cruiser Gneisenau, anchored in Brest harbour. One, piloted by Fg Off Kenneth Campbell, makes a successful attack before being shot down, inflicting serious damage that took six months to repair. For this, Campbell was awarded a posthumous VC.
1942 Axis bombers attack the port of Alexandria in Egypt.
The Japanese make landings on Manus Island in the Bismarck Archipelago.
The Japanese air raid on Vizagapatam and Cocanada, India tips India into Allied camp.
First U.S. troops arrive in Australia.
Germany cuts rations of bread, meat, fats.
Due to heavy Luftwaffe raids, British begin to withdraw surface ships from Malta to Gibraltar and Alexandria.
700 Japanese-Americans are assembled at Santa Anita Racetrack.
1943 British and American forces in Tunisia launch an attack against the 5th Panzerarmee.
1945 Sarajevo falls into the hands of Yugoslav partisans.
Preceded by a tremendous artillery and air bombardment, the 3rd Belorussian Front with Four armies, 137,000 men, 530 tanks and 2,400 aircraft begin their final assault against KÃ¶nigsberg, which is held by 35,000 Germans troops. The Battle for Vienna begins.
Japanese launch air counterattack (‘Floating Chrysanthemum I’.) on the U.S. Fleet off Okinawa: 800 planes, including 355 kamikazes, strike US naval and ground forces; 400 shot down.
Yugoslav Partisans liberate Sarajevo.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 31 WWII Today: December 3 Words at War: Gunners Get the Glory
1940 British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, tells the British people that Hitler has ‘missed the bus’, meaning that a German invasion of the west is now unlikely to succeed.
Norway and Sweden are both informed of the allied intention to mine Norwegian waters.
RAF launch attacks against ships at Wilhelmshaven.
1942 Fuhrer Directive 41 rolls off the mimeograph machines in Rastenberg and the Wehrmacht has its marching orders for 1942. Leningrad is to finally be captured, but that’s a secondary objective. The big plan is in the South, which involves 2nd Army and 4th Panzer Army breaking through to Voronezh on the Don. The 6th Army will break out South of Kharkov and combine with the 4th Panzer Army to surround the enemy. After that, the 4th Panzer Army and 6th Army will drive East under the command of Army Group B and surround Stalingrad from the North, while Army Group A’s 17th Army and 1st Panzer Army will do so from the South. Once Stalingrad is taken, the 6th Army will hold the flank defense line while Army Group A drives South into the Caucasus to seize the oilfields and become the northern punch of a grand pincer movement (the southern half being Rommel) to seize Suez, the Nile Delta, the Middle-East and its oilfields.
One hundred and eighty Japanese planes from five aircraft carriers attack the Royal Navy’s base at Colombo in Ceylon. These came from Admiral Nagumo’s 1st Air Fleet under Admiral Kondo’s Southern Force which was tasked with destroying the Royal Navy’s Fleet in the Indian Ocean. However, the British received prior warning and sailed the bulk of their fleet to the Maldives, although the armed merchant cruiser Hector and destroyer Tenedos were sunk. Fifty-three Japanese carrier-aircraft did however locate and sink the Royal Navy’s heavy cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall, to the south east of Ceylon, in just 22 minutes.
1943 The British 8th Army attacks the next blocking position of the retreating Axis forces at Wadi Akarit.
1944 The RAF and USAAF conduct the first of 24 round-the-clock raids on the Ploiesti oil refineries in Romania.
A Jewish inmate, Siegfried Lederer, escapes from Auschwitz-Birkenau and makes it safely to Czechoslovakia. He then warns the Elders of the Council at Theresienstadt about Auschwitz.
1945 During a raid on Kiel by the U.S. 8th Air Force, severe damage is caused to the cruisers Hipper and Emden.
A U.S. military government is established on Okinawa.
The US 8th Air Force carries out another heavy attack (450 bombers) against Kiel.
The 3rd Ukrainian Front reaches the railway North West of Vienna, cutting rail link with Linz.
Eighteen U.S. divisions begin the clearance of Ruhr Pocket. The French First Army captures Karlsruhe on the upper Rhine.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 5 WWII Today: August 9 WWII Today: July 6
1940 In France, spreading Communist or antiwar propaganda is declared a capital offense.
1941 Field Marshal Erwin Rommel captures the British held town of Benghazi in North Africa.
Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, is abandoned by Italians.
1943 Newly built gas chamber/crematory V opens at Auschwitz.
1944 Charles de Gaulle becomes the head of Free French armed forces in place of Giraud. Army Group Centre, under General Busch launches a counterattack which succeeds in reaching German units surrounded at Kovel in the Pripet swampsÂ since the 19th March.
The 17th Indian Division reaches the Imphal plain after a 20-day fighting retreat. Japanese forces begin five weeks of attacks to reach Imphal from the South and begin their attack on Kohima, Assam.
1945 The US Third Army advancing toward Leipzig takes Suhl and Gotha and finally clears Kassel of German resistance. The British Second Army captures OsnabrÃ¼ck. The French First Army enters Karlsruhe.
The First Belorussian Front breaks through at Stargard and drives towards Stettin and also establishes a new bridgehead across the Oder to the South ofÂ Frankfurt.
The US 8th Air Force launches its heaviest raid to date (700 bombers) against Kiel on the Baltic.
US Third Army liberates Ohrdruf concentration camp, the first liberated by US troops.
The Russian 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian front complete the liberation of Hungary. Troops of the 2nd Ukrainian front capture Bratislava. The Germans forces counterattack in Moravska-Ostrava and Nitra.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 5 WWII Today: September 17 Words at War: Full Employment in a Free Society 1941 German and Italian troops enter Benghazi unopposed. 1943 Newly built gas chamber/crematory V opens at Auschwitz. 1944 De Gaulle becomes the head of Free French armed forces in place of Giraud. Army Group Centre, under General Busch launches a counterattack which succeeds in reaching German units surrounded at Kovel in the Pripet swamps since the 19th March. The 17th Indian Division reaches the Imphal plain after a 20-day fighting retreat. Japanese forces begin five weeks of attacks to reach Imphal from the South and begin their attack on Kohima, Assam. 1945 The US Third Army advancing toward Leipzig takes Suhl and Gotha and finally clears Kassel of German resistance. The British Second Army captures OsnabrÃ¼ck. The French First Army enters Karlsruhe. The First Belorussian Front breaks through at Stargard and drives towards Stettin and also establishes a new bridgehead across the Oder to the South of Frankfurt. The US 8th Air Force launches its heaviest raid to date (700 bombers) against Kiel on the Baltic. Ohrdruf camp is liberated by the Americans.
1940 War Cabinet reshuffle, Churchill to chair committee directing general war policy.
Soviets begin massacre of 20,000 Polish officers in Katyn Forest.
The United States Congress cuts military spending 10 percent and refuses to fund heavy bombers as “aggressive weapons.”
1941 Hungarian Prime Minister Pál Teleki commits suicide rather than collaborate with Germany.
In Iraq, military officer Rashid Ali overthrows Regent Abdul Illah and forms pro-Axis government.
1942 Japanese aircraft bomb Mandalay in central Burma, killing 2,000. They met no opposition from the RAF as all its aircraft had by now been withdrawn to India.
The final Japanese offensive on Bataan begins with a five hour artillery and air bombardment, after which the Japanese launch infantry attacks supported byÂ some tanks, which allows them to make penetrations in to US-Filipino defensive positions.
United States Navy Task Force 39 arrives at Scapa Flow to cover the Murmansk and Mediterranean runs, the first unit of the US Atlantic Fleet in British waters.
1944 Forty-two Royal Navy, fleet Air Arm Barracuda torpedo-bombers from the British aircraft carriers HMS Victorious and Furious hit the Battleship Tirpitz 14 times in a daring raid on the Alten Fjord, in Norway.
1945 The British Second Army reaches Munster; the U.S. Ninth Army captures Recklinghausen in the Ruhr, while the US First Army takes Fulda and Kassel.
The Austrian resistance leader Major Szokoll and Russian military authorities confer about co-operation on the Russian offensive against Vienna.
The 2nd Ukrainian front advances close to Vienna. The Russians breaches the German defensive lines between Wiener Neustadt and Neusiedler lake. Hard fighting continues as the Red Army advances towards Bratislava.
British commandos secure islands in Lake Comacchio, Italy.
MacArthur is appointed as C-in-C of land forces in the Pacific.
Admiral Nimitz is appointed as C-in-C of all naval forces in the Pacific.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 12 WWII Today: December 9 Survival of a crippled B-17
Carole Landis was born on New Year’s Day in 1919 in Fairchild, Wisconsin, as Frances Lillian Mary Ridste. Her childhood was, for the most part, normal. Her father, a railroad mechanic, was of Norwegian descent and her mother was Polish. Her father left the family and Carole, her mother and an older brother and sister were left to fend for themselves.
Once she graduated from high school, she married Irving Wheeler, but the union lasted a month before the marriage was annulled because Carole was only 15 at the time. The couple remarried in August of 1934 and the two headed to California to start a new life. For a while she worked as a dancer and singer, but it wasn’t long before the glitter of show business drew her to Los Angeles.
She won a studio contract with Warner Brothers, but was a bit player for the most part in such films as “A Star Is Born” (1937), “A Day at the Races” (1937), and “The Emperor’s Candlesticks” (1937). The following year started out much the same way with more bit roles. Carole’s career was stalled. By 1939, she was getting a few more into speaking roles, although mostly one-liners, and that year ended much like the previous two years with more bit roles, plus a divorce from Wheeler.
In 1940 she was cast as Loana in the Hal Roach production of “One Million B.C.” (1940), where her beauty (and skimpy outfit) finally got her recognition, and her career finally began moving. She didn’t star in big productions but began getting parts in B pictures. Although she had a fine acting talent, the really good roles were snatched up by the established stars of the day. Warner Brothers then sold her contract to 20th Century-Fox. She played “B” leads and “A” supporting roles in her first 12 Fox films, with a notable dramatic performance in “I Wake Up Screaming” (1941). Critics dwelled on her fresh-faced beauty, seldom mentioning her acting and comedy potential. Her busiest year ever turned out to be 1942, with roles in six films such as “Manila Calling” (1942), “The Powers Girl” (1943) and “A Gentleman at Heart” (1942). It seemed that her films never really attracted good critical reviews, and if they were reviewed at all it was in reference to Carole’s breathtaking beauty.
During World War 2 Carole spent more time visiting troops than any other actress. She took time off from her career and dedicated herself to the war effort. Carole toured the country selling war bonds and entertained soldiers all over the world. The press called her “a heroine” and “pride of the yanks”. She joined the Hollywood Victory Committee and worked tirelessly with the Red Cross, the Naval Aid Auxiliary, and Bundles for Blue Jackets. Carole collected cigarettes for the soldiers, taught first aid, and donated blood as often as she was allowed. She never turned down a request to help and visited more than 250 military bases across the United States. When she went to Camp Bowie for a three day appearance in 1942 she danced with 200 soldiers, sang 15 songs, and signed 1000 autographs. In September 1942 she visited the Mare Island Navy Yard where she sang for the injured men in the hospital ward. Carole became one of the soldier’s favorite pin-up girls and they nicknamed her “The Blonde Bomber”. When she appeared on the Command Performance radio show one soldier requested that she “just sigh” into the microphone. In November 1942 Carole started a five month tour of Europe and Africa with Mitzi Mayfair, Kay Francis, and Martha Raye. She met her husband Tommy Wallace during this tour and she wrote about her experiences in her 1944 book “Four Jills In A Jeep”. In the film version, “Four Jills in a Jeep” (1944), you can get a glimpse of the kind of talent she really had, and which Fox was wasting.
Carole was a hostess at the Hollywood Canteen and she invited soldiers to her beach house every weekend. In June 1944 she began a U.S.O. tour with Jack Benny, singer Martha Tilton, harmonica player Larry Adler, and pianist June Bruner. During their camp shows Carole sang and jitterbugged with the boys. She spent much of her time visiting wounded soldiers and she wrote hundreds of letters to their families. Jack Benny said “You soon forgot she was Carole Landis, the sex symbol, the Hollywood star, the sweater girl, because she was a real human being and had a warm heart that spilled over with kindness”.
During their two month tour of the South Pacific Carole almost died when she contracted malaria and amoebic dysentery. She was hospitalized for weeks, lost 15 pounds, and suffered with these illnesses for the rest of her life. Carole became an Air Raid Warden, a commander in the Aerial Nurses Corps, and an honorary Colonel in the American Legion. She auctioned off her favorite opal ring to raise money and she donated several movie projectors to bases overseas. Carole traveled more than 125,000 miles during the war. She performed for soldiers in Australia, Brazil, Algeria, Bermuda, Scotland, England, New Guinea, Ireland, Guam, and New Zealand. Carole said “Whatever we do for soldiers can’t be enough in return for what they do for us. They are wonderful!”
By the middle 1940s her career was beginning to short-circuit. Her contract with 20th Century-Fox had been canceled, failed marriages to Willis Hunt Jr. and Thomas Wallace, her current marriage to Horace Schmidlapp on the skids, plus a battle with poor health spelled disaster for her professionally and personally. Her final two films were released in 1948, “Brass Monkey” (1948) and “Noose” (1948). On July 5, 1948, Carole committed suicide by taking an overdose of seconal in her Brentwood Heights, California, home. She was only 29 and had made 49 pictures, unfortunately, mostly forgettable ones. If Hollywood moguls had given Carole a good chance, she could have been one of the brightest stars in its history.
Height: 5′ 5″ (1.66 m)
Nicknames: The ‘Ping’ Girl The Blonde Bomber The Chest
Carole protested strongly and publicly against the nonsensical nickname “Ping Girl” (apparently short for “purring”) coined by Hal Roach publicist Frank N. Seltzer in April 1940.
She knew how to fly a plane. Carole started taking flying lessons with her second husband Willis Hunt and got her pilots license in 1941. During World War 2 she flew for the Civilian Air Patrol.
In 1944 Carole appeared in ads for Chesterfield cigarettes. During her career she was also featured in ads for Lipton tea, Schaefer beer, Jergens lotion, Sinclair oil, and Nescafe coffee.
On her family’s official web site they claim that Carole’s death was not a suicide, they believe someone murdered her.Check out these other WWII Yank Magazine Pin Ups: Elyse Knox Rita Heyworth Barbara Bates
1940 Hitler gives orders that the invasion of Denmark and Norway is to begin on the 9th April 1940.
Germans again attack Scapa Flow and North Sea convoys.
1941 The 5th Light Division recaptures Agedabia from the British and fans out into three columns, two of which race across the desert in an attempt to cut off the retreating British, while the third pushes up the coast road towards Benghazi. Rear Admiral Bonnetti, the commander of the Italian Red Sea Flotilla orders his seven destroyers out on ‘do or die’ missions. All the destroyers are sunk or captured without achieving any worthwhile results.
1942 The aircraft carrier USS Hornet,with 16 B-25 Mitchells of the Doolittle attack group, departs Alameda, CA en route to launch a bombing raid on Tokyo
British retreat from Prome, upper Burma.
Axis air forces begin a bombing campaign against La Valetta, the British naval base on Malta.
In Burma, Japanese take Prome and Akyab, securing Arakan Peninsula.
In the United States, tin tubes for toothpaste & shaving cream must be turned in to buy new tube; restrictions placed on use of tin in consumer packaging.
1944 The Russians announce their entry into Romania and threaten to shoot one third of all German POWs if the 18 divisions of the trapped 1st Panzer Army do not surrender. The Russian army crosses the river Prut, East of Cernovcy and liberates the little city Gerca.
1945 The 3rd Ukrainian Front and Bulgarian forces take Nagykanizsa, thereby gaining control of the main Hungarian oil production region. 2nd Ukrainian front under Malinovsky conquers the industrial area of Mosonmagyarovar and reaches the Austrian border between Dounau and the Neusiedler lake.
The British 7th Armoured Division enters Rhine on Dortmund-Ems canal, 60 miles Northeast of Essen.
The US Tenth Army crosses Okinawa, dividing the island.
On Okinawa, United States opens Yontan and Kadena airfields for emergency and reconnaissance use.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 23 WWII Today: February 11 WWII Pin Up: Larna Darnell