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Dec 18

World War II Today: December 18

1939 First Canadian troop convoy, TC-1, arrives at Liverpool.

Lavrenti Beria, head of the NKVD, orders the start of large-scale deportation of Poles to the USSR.

The Finnish 40th Infantry Regiment of the Lapland Group, forces the Russian 273rd Infantry Regiment of the 9th Army to retreat at Pelkosenniemi.

The RAF launch another daylight raid against German shipping in the Schillig Roads, but lose 12 out of 24 bombers. This was the culmination of a series of RAF daylight raids which had cost an increasing number of aircraft. This eventually caused the RAF to switch to night raids to reduce casualties.

1940 Hitler issues Directive No. 18, confirming plans for Operation ‘Barbarossa’, previously Operation ‘Otto’, the attack against the Soviet Union. The aim of this new plan was to destroy the Red Army in western Russia, before moving against Moscow. All preparations were to be completed by the 15th May 1941.

1941 Field Marshal von Brauchitsch’s resignation as head of OKH is accepted by Hitler, who now assumes personal command of the Army and its operations on the Eastern front. Hitler sacks Army Group Centre’s commander, Field Marshal von Bock and replaces him with Field Marshal von Kluge. Stalin creates the Bryansk Front, which is to operate between the West and South West Fronts and lend added weight to the southern prong of the double envelopment of Army Group Centre.

Japanese troops force landings on Hong Kong island.

In Britain, all unmarried women ages 20-31 are called up and required to choose between ATS, WRNS, WAAF, Civil Defense, Land Army, or war industry work, the first military conscription of women in any country.

Congress passes First War Powers Act, giving president power to reorganize governmental agencies, and authorizing censorship of mail and communications.

1942 US submarine Albacore sinks Japanese light cruiser Tenryu off New Guinea.

US lands on Musita Island off Buna, New Guinea.

1943 The Kharkov four are sentenced to death.

1944 ‘Operation Wacht am Rhein’ begins to bog down in the face of stiffening U.S. resistance and the lack of adequate logistical support, notably fuel for the armored Kampfgruppen of the 6th SS and 5th Panzer Army’s.

In its first mass incendiary raid, 84 US 20th Bomber Command B-29s destroy Japanese-held Hankow, China.

In typhoon off Samar, US Third Fleet loses destroyers Hull (202 killed), Monaghan (257 killed), and Spence (315 killed)—only 91 survive on all three ships.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 25 WWII Today: January 24 WWII Today: January 23

Dec 17

World War II Today: December 17

1938 Italy declares the 1935 pact with France invalid, because ratifications had not been exchanged. France denies the argument.

1939 Unable to complete the repairs to the Admiral Graf Spee within 24 hours, the time limit stipulated by international law for foreign warships in neutral ports to leave and under strict orders by OKM not to go in to internment in Uruguay, Captain Langsdorff takes his ship outside the harbor of Montevideo and orders his crew to scuttle her, thus denying the British fleet that’s converging on the River Plate the opportunity of destroying her in an unequal battle.

Russian forces launch heavy attacks at Summa, Finland.

1940 Home Office announces third German spy hanged at Pentonville Prison. Winchester housewife sentenced to death for spying. Rations increased temporarily in Britain for Christmas week.

Fifty British Bomber Command Whitley and Hampden bombers attack German seaplane bases on the island of Sylt, part of the Frisian Islands.

While pursuing the retreating Italians, the British forces in North Africa take Sollum, Fort Capuzzo and several other crucial Italian defensive positions. They also capture another 38,000 Italians along the way.

Destroyer Acheron sunk by mine off Isle of Wight.

1941 After strong resistance, Rommel’s forces retreat from the Gazala defensive area.

Japanese troops make gains in northern Malaya and are now only 10 miles from Penang, as British and Commonwealth forces begin to fall back to the river Perak.

Japanese forces make landings in northern Borneo.

1942 The British Parliament vows to avenge Nazi crimes against Jews, as Eden announces that the Germans ‘are now carrying into effect Hitler’s often

repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe’. U.S. declares those crimes will be avenged.

The Final US-Australian assault on Buna begins.

1943 The U.S. Fifth Army captures the village of San Pietro in central Italy after 10 days of heavy fighting.

Roosevelt reveals a plot to assassinate him at Teheran.

U.S. forces invade Japanese-held New Britain Island in New Guinea.

Wings are first awarded to WASPs (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots).

1944 U.S. approves end to internment of Japanese Americans. U.S. Major General Henry C. Pratt issues Public Proclamation No. 21, declaring that Japanese American “evacuees” from the West Coast could return to their homes effective January 2, 1945.

After some deep penetrations into the lines of the unprepared American forces, the Germans make only slow progress due to limited roads as well as difficult terrain and weather conditions in the Ardennes, not reaching any assigned first day objectives. The allies rush reinforcements to the Ardennes.

The German Army renews the attack on the Belgian town of Losheimergraben against the defending Americans during the Battle of the Bulge.

The bodies of 81 American soldiers from Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, killed by Waffen SS troops, Dec. 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge near the Belgian town of Malmedy.

U.S. troops capture San Jose airbase on Mindoro.

The U.S. Army Air Force begins preparations for dropping the Atomic Bomb by establishing the 509th Composite Group to operate the B-29s that will deliver the bomb.

1945 The Senate votes for U.S. help in establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 19 WWII Pin Up: Ida Lupino WWII Today: January 7

Dec 16

WWII Bell Telephone Ad, December 1942

WAR needs the wires this Christmas: War can't wait -- not even for Christmas. So please don't make Long Distance calls to war-busy centers this Christmas unless they're vital.....BELL TELEPHONE SYSTEM→ Read more

Dec 16

World War II Today: December 16

1939 Finnish ski troops fight Soviets with first use of homemade “Molotov Cocktails.”

1940 134 RAF bombers attack Mannheim in revenge for German attacks against British cities. This is the RAF’s largest attack on a single target thus far in the war. 115 German civilian’s were killed or injured and 1,266 made homeless. It is also the first reprisal raid, approved by the War Cabinet, for German attacks on British towns.

British troops carry out an air raid on Italian Somalia.The British begin winning battle after battle, Italian tanks were no match to the British Matilda’s and British naval bombardments. Within 2 weeks of combat, The Italians are forced back 200 miles to Tobruk and lose 139,000 Italian and African colonials who had surrendered or been captured.

1941 During a cabinet meeting, Hans Frank, Gauleiter of Poland, states – “Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourselves of all feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews wherever we find them and wherever it is possible in order to maintain the structure of the Reich as a whole…”

Japanese troops land on Penang Island off the eastern coast of of Malaya.

Japanese forces land in Sarawak and Brunei in Borneo.

1942 The Red Army begins another offensive in the direction of Rostov-on-Don to cut off the German forces in the Caucasus. The Italian 8th Army’s precarious position on the Don threatens Stalingrad relief attempt.

1943 A Further blitz of Berlin brings the allied total to 18,500 tons of explosive dropped on the city.

The chief surgeon at Auschwitz reports that 106 castration operations have been performed.

1944 The German Army in the West begins ‘Operation Wacht am Rhein’ (The Battle of the Bulge), with the objective of splitting the allied forces and capturing the strategic port of Antwerp. Under the control of Heeresgruppe B, the attacking forces pouring forth from the Ardennes forest comprise of the 6th SS Panzer Armee, 5th Panzer Armee and the 7th Armee providing flank support to the south of the line of advance. The German offensive manages to breakthrough the American front on a 70-mile front.As the center of the Allied line falls back, it creates a bulge, leading to the name–the Battle of the Bulge.

Betsie ten Boom, sister of Corrie ten Boom (author of The Hiding Place) dies at Ravensbrück concentration camp, age 59.

German V-2 rocket hits Rex Cinema in Antwerp, killing 567, including 296 Allied servicemen, the largest death toll ever from a V-weapon.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 16 WWII Today: August 16 Words at War: Silence of the Sea Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade WWII

Dec 15

Positive Identification – Why Two Dog Tags

POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION ~ important for Soldiers . . . and Checks

Today, every American Soldier wears two identical tags bearing his serial number, inoculation record and essential data >> Why two tags?  Because Uncle Same plays safe — takes no chances of slip-ups in identification of personnel. >> For similar reasons of security, leading Banks and Business Houses today  use checks which are DOUBLY IDENTIFIED! Not only issuing organization’s name lithographed or printed on the check — or it’s trademark or special design is repeated front and back –in the check itself!  This individualized Safety Paper, organized  by George La Monte & Son’s, is available through your lithographer or printer >> Such DOUBLY IDENTIFIED offer maximum protection against alteration and counterfeiting.

Take a look at these other Posts: WW2 Dog Tags Capt. Crowe Quote WWII Today: January 29

Dec 15

World War II Today: December 15

1938 Washington sends its fourth note to Berlin demanding amnesty for Jews.

1939 A fifth British division arrives in France.

The Uruguayan government gives the Admiral of the Graf Spee 36 hours to leave harbour.

The Russians launch heavy attacks against Finnish forces at Taipale.

1940 The coffin of Napoleon II is moved from Vienna to Les Invalides in Paris.

1941 The American Federation of Labor adopts no-strike policy in war industries.

Many US universities agree to cut undergraduate programs to three years by going year-round.

British retreat in Malaya and Burma’s southern most tip. Artillery battle rages at Hong Kong.

US Secretary of the Navy tells Congress that 2,729 were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

First Japanese merchant ship sunk by a U.S. submarine.

Stalin orders all functions of the Soviet state to relocate back to Moscow now that he is sure that the threat to the capital has been removed. Stalin also orders that the counter offensive should be extended along the whole of the eastern front. Klin is recaptured by the Red Army. Stalin orders that Army Group Centre should be destroyed by a double envelopment from the north and south.

The Eighth Army attacks the German and Italian positions at Gazala. Rommel, fearful that the British will outflank him, orders the retreat.

Japanese troops move into southern Burmese territory on the Kra Isthmus and seize Victoria Point, which had been vacated by the British two days earlier. Japanese artillery and aircraft pound Hong Kong in an attempt to soften it up.

1942 Convoy JW-51A sets sail from Lock Ewe in Scotland with 16 merchants bound for the Kola Inlet.

1943 Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union all break off diplomatic relations with the Yugoslav government in exile and recognize Tito’s Communist Popular Liberation Committee as the Yugoslav government to be.

The war crimes trial at Kharkov of the four captured Germans opens with all plead the defendants pleading guilty. One of the defendants says that more than 30,000 Russians were exterminated at Kiev.

TheUS Army lands on Arawe, New Britain near Cape Gloucester, to the South West of Rabaul.

US Navy approves commissioning first African American officers (22 men); 36 commissioned African American officers by end of war.

1944 Army Air Force Band leader and trombonist Glenn Miller boarded a single-engine C-64 Norseman in England for a flight to France, where he was to make arrangements for a Christmas broadcast. The plane never reached France and no trace of it or its occupants was ever found. Iowa-born Glenn Miller became a professional musician after graduating from high school. By the time he volunteered for military service in 1942, the Glenn Miller Orchestra was world famous and had appeared in two motion pictures. Miller persuaded the U.S. Army to accept his service to “put a little more spring into the feet of our marching men and a little more joy into their hearts.” For the next 18 months, Miller’s 50-member band stayed busy with morale-building concerts and radio broadcasts. No cause has ever been established for the loss of Miller’s aircraft, but the Norseman did not have de-icing equipment on board and it is likely that icy weather forced the plane down in the English Channel. Another theory is that his plane was lost due to RAF bombers dumping unused bombs from higher altitude returning aborted mission over Germany.

The Chinese finally take Bhamo itself in northern Burma after the Japanese evacuate at night.

The 19th Indian Division meets the British 36th Infantry Division at Indaw, making the first connected front in Burma.

The US 24th Army Division lands on Mindoro Island in the western Philippines without loss.

A third Japanese prison ship is mistakenly sunk by US planes off the Philippines, with less than half of POWs surviving, to be recaptured.

1945 The Permanent Headquarters for UN are to be established in the USA.

General Douglas MacArthur orders end of Shinto as Japanese state religion. .

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 22 WWII Today: June 21 WWII Today: November 8

Dec 14

Marine Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe – WW2 Quote

“Goddam it, you’ll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!” – Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe (January 13, 1943 – Guadalcanal)

Captain Henry Pierson “Jim” Crowe (1899-1991) could be considered one of the most famous Marines of World War II. He served in World War I and was commissioned as a Gunnery Warrant Officer in WWII and then promoted to captain after Pearl Harbor. In November of 1942, Captain Crowe landed with the 8th Marines in Guadalcanal where he later received the Silver Star for his actions. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery on Tarawa and then a Purple Heart for his leadership on Saipan in June of 1944 which ended his combat service. He continued to serve for the USMC until he retired in the late 1950s.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Yank Magazine Pin Up: Chili Williams Words at War: They Shall Inherit the Earth WWII Today: October 13

Dec 14

World War II Today: December 14

1937 The Japanese change the name of Peiping to Peking. They also begin what will be known as the Rape of Nanking, during which they massacre an estimated quarter of a million Chinese.

1939 Because of its brutal aggression against Finland, the Soviet Union is expelled from the League of Nations.

1940 Australian troops relieve Indian troops in Egypt; Indian troops are sent to the Sudan

1941 German Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel orders the construction of defensive positions along the European coastline.

As German forces evacuate Kalinin, 100 miles to the Northwest of Moscow, Hitler furious at what he sees as weakness by his Generals, countermands Field Marshal von Brauchitsch’s plans for withdrawal.

Convoy HG76 (32 ships), sets sails from Gibraltar with heavy escort.

Royal Navy destroyers sink two Italian Light Cruisers off Cape Bon. Both Cruisers were carrying much needed fuel for Panzer Armee Afrika. U-557 sinks the British Cruiser Galatea outside of Alexandria harbor.

Thailand formally allies herself with Japan.

Japanese troops continue to land throughout the Philippines.

1942 A three day tank battle begins South of Stalingrad.

1943 German strength on Eastern Front is now only 2,086,000, with 188,000 allied and satellite troops. German casualties for 1943 were 900,000.

1944 Congress passes and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law an act authorizing the creation of the ranks of General of the Army and Fleet Admiral, so that the highest American officers can attain a rank equivalent to that of Field Marshal. Over the next week, George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Henry “Hap” Arnold are promoted to the rank in the Army, while William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King and Chester Nimitz are made Fleet Admirals. Subsequent to the war, William F. “Bull” Halsey will be promoted Fleet Admiral and Omar N. Bradley will become the last General of the Army.

U.S. troops capture an important Japanese supply post on Leyte, at the southern tip of the “˜Yamashita defense line”.

1945 SS personnel convicted of atrocities at Belsen and other concentration camps, are hanged.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 4 WWII Today: November 18 Yank Magazine Pin Up: Ingrid Bergman

Dec 13

World War II Today: December 13

1937 The Japanese army occupies Nanking, China.

1939 In the south Atlantic, the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, fights an action against three British cruisers, HMS Achilles, HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter, which results in serious damage to both sides. HMS Exeter is rendered a blazing hulk and the Graf Spee withdraws to the neutral Uruguayan port of Montevideo for repairs.

1940 Petain dismisses his Vice-Premier, Laval.

British General Richard O’Conner decides his tank raid against Italian troops is going so well he will make it a full-fledged offensive. One of O’Conners officers reports having captured “five acres of officers, 200 acres of other ranks,” as the Italians surrender en masse.

Hitler issues Directive No. 20, the order for the preparation of Operation ‘Marita’, the plan for sending German forces to revive the bogged-down

Italian offensive in Albania.

Twenty four German divisions begin their redeployment to Romania, through Hungary as part of Directive No. 20, Hitler’s order for the preparation of Operation ‘Marita’, the attack on Greece.

1941 The Soviet press issues a triumphant statement on the repulse of the German Armies before Moscow. The Red Army launches a new counter-offensive using Timoshenko’s South West Front in an attack northwest against the juncture of Panzer Group 2 and the German 2nd Army between Yelets and Livny. This results in Panzer Group 2’s right flank being left open as the 2nd Army is forced to withdraw in order to save itself. Field Marshal von Brauchitsch meets Field Marshal von Bock, C-in-C of Army Group Centre and decide that Army Group Centre must withdraw some 90 miles west to take up a ‘winter line’. Secret orders are passed to this effect.

The British manage to turn back an Italian convoy, which is taking supplies to Libya, by making it believe that its under threat from the Mediterranean Fleet.

The British Governor of Hong Kong rejects a Japanese demand for his garrisons surrender. British troops in the southern tip of Burma begin to withdraw north towards Rangoon.

A US naval task force under Rear-Admiral Frank J. Fletcher sets sail from Pearl Harbor with orders to relieve Wake Island.

1942 Rommel begins to retreat from his positions El Agheila, as the Eighth Army continues advance in to Libya.

The Japanese make successful new landings North of Buna.

1943 Captain. James Stewart of the US 445th BG flies his first mission in a B-24 Liberator bomber for the US Eighth Air Force in England.

54 Mustangs escorted B-17s 490 miles on a raid over Kiel, Germany, and for the first time in the war successfully defended the bombers for 40 minutes over the targets, shooting down enemy fighter planes.

A war criminals trial at Kharkov accuses four Germans of murdering thousands of Russians in specially equipped carbon-monoxide murder vans. Army Group Centre becomes engaged in a series of heavy defensive battles in the area of Vitebsk.

1944 The USAAF make the first damaging raid on Japanese industrial targets.

German forces of 7th Armee withdraw in to the fortified positions of the Westwall.

The U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze suicide attack that claimed 138 lives.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 18 WWII Today: July 2 WWII Today: Jun 9

Dec 12

NBC Words At War Episode 49 “Lifeline“

Words At War Episode 49 “Lifeline“ Released May 17, 1944.

Words At War, the series that brings you radio versions of the leading war book another adaptation of an important war book, “Lifeline”.

The story of “Screwy Louie” and other merchant sailors who keep the “lifline” open for the fighting men. Well done, exciting stories of the sea. Lifeline is a story of the United States merchant marine, about the bravery of the crews who risk their lives for the love of their country in return for a pittance.

https://www.wwiidogtags.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/1944-05-16NbcWordsAtWar49Lifeline.mp3 Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 10 WWII Pin Up: Ginger Rogers WWII Today: November 17