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

World War II Today: December 12

1937 The Japanese fire on British and U.S. ships on the Yangtze River in China, sinking the American ship Panay. The Japanese apologize to the United States and pay reparations; the British refuse to accept any Japanese apology.

1939 Finnish have some success against Russian troops at Tolvajrvi, inflicting heavy casualties.

Two German cruisers which are accompanied by 5 destroyers are damaged by torpedoes from the British submarine HMS Salmon as they are return from a mine laying operation of the northeast coast of England. Later in the day, HMS Salmon also gives warning under the ‘rules of war’ to a German liner, although it reaches the port of Bremen safely.

1940 Sheffield is heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe.

Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian, British ambassador to the US, dies in Washington DC

1941 The ship “Struma” leaves Romania for Palestine carrying 769 Jews but is later denied permission by British authorities to allow the passengers to disembark. In Feb. 1942, it sails back into the Black Sea where it is intercepted by a Soviet submarine and sunk as an “enemy target.”

Britain declares war on Bulgaria.

Bulgaria declares war on both Britain and the United States.

Hungary  and Romania declare war on the United States.

The United States. declares war on Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria after receiving those country’s declarations of war.

1942 Manstein launches his counter attack with a hastily assembled force of 13 divisions, including three Panzer divisions with about 230 tanks to try and relieve Sixth Army at Stalingrad.

The 1,500 ton destroyer HMS Partridge is sunk off the coast of Algeria by U-565, commanded by Wilhelm Franken.

1943 Rommel becomes C in C of Army Group B, which covers the coastal defenses from Holland to Bay of Biscay.

A Czech-Soviet treaty of friendship is signed in Moscow.

1944 The underground V-weapon factory at Wittring is captured by the U.S. Third Army.

British launch Third Arakan Campaign toward Akyab, Burma

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 11 WWII Today: December 5 WWII Bell Telephone Ad, December 1942

Dec 11

WWII Quote General George Patton Jr.

“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” – General George S. Patton, Jr.

George Smith Patton, Jr. (11/11/1885 — 12/21/1945) was a US Army officer best known for leading troops as a general during World War II. He commanded in North Africa, Sicily, and the European Theater of Operations. Patton was well known for his controversial outspokenness and jeopardized his career by slapping a soldier recuperating from battle fatigue in a hospital. George S. Patton, Jr died as the result of a car accident in Germany and is buried in the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Hamm, Luxembourg along with other members of the Third Army. It was Patton’s request to be buried with his men.

 

 

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Bell Telephone Ad WWII Today: November 15 WWII Today: November 8

Dec 11

World War II Today: December 11

1939 Finnish ski troops attack Soviet supply line on Raate Road.

1940 Sidi Barrani is captured along with over 20,000 Italians, bringing the total captured to nearly 38,000 in 2 days, along with 237 guns and 73 tanks. At this time, Wavell decides to withdraw the 4th Indian Division and send it to the Sudan. It will be replaced by the 6th Australian Division, although it will take some days for it to be ready.

Battleship HMS King George V is commissioned.

1941 The British garrison in Hong Kong begins to withdraw from the mainland to Hong Kong Island itself. As a result of command and control problems, rumors and many desertions, the 11th Indian Division withdraws from Jitra towards Alor Star in northern Malaya, even though the Japanese troops facing them were inferior in numbers. The US garrison in Peking is forced to surrender to the Japanese.

Japanese troops attempt to land on Wake Island, but US Marine gunners and airmen repulse the first landing attempt and sink two Japanese destroyers in the process. Further Japanese landings take place in the Philippines.

In a speech before the Reichstag, Hitler, after denouncing the un-neutral and warlike anti-German policies of President Roosevelt and citing Germany’s obligations under the Tri-Partite Pact with Japan and Italy, declares war on the United States. Italy follows suit some hours later.

In response to Germany and Italy’s declaration of war, the US reciprocates and declares war on both Germany and Italy.  Costa  Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua also declare war on  Germany and Italy.

In the last week the Royal Navy has lost the destroyers Pentlan, Porcupine and Blean, off Algeria.

1943 A heavy USAAF raid on Emden kills 1,000 and makes 12,000 homeless.

Moroccan troops successful in first combat against Germans in Italy.

Field Marshal Kesselring permits German troops to occupy Monte Cassino in Italy, excluding the abbey itself.

1944 US Eighth Air Force launches largest mission to date—1586 bombers hit rail targets in western Germany.

First Japanese balloon bomb found in US, in Montana.

1945 William Halsey promoted to fleet admiral.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 16 WWII Today: February 23 WWII Today: April 9

Dec 10

World War II Today: December 10

1939 France bans sale of meat on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.

1940 Sidi Barrani is surrounded. Italian troops from the camps at Sofafi and Rabia flee west as the 7th Armoured divisions thrust threaten to encircle them.

1941 Karel Richter, a German spy who parachuted into Hertfordshire is executed at Wandsworth Prison.

British forces that had pushed into southern Thailand begin to fall back along with those from northern Malaya after the Japanese capture Kota Bharu airfield.

Due to the RAF’s heavy losses, the British Battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse are attacked and sunk of the north eastern coast of Malaya by Japanese aircraft flying from occupied French Indo-China.

Japanese troops land on and capture Guam. Japanese troops make landings on the northern tip of Luzon and the island of Camiguin in the Philippines.

British enter Tobruk, Libya, relieving 242-day German siege.

First US bombing mission of the war, as B-17s of the 19th Bomb Group attack Japanese ships off Luzon in the Philippines.

1942 The first transport of Jews from Germany arrives at Auschwitz.

Australian troops capture Gona and now control the whole of the Gona area in New Guinea.

1943 Allied forces bomb Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill that postpones a draft of pre-Pearl Harbor fathers.

In Italy, British Eighth Army takes Vino Ridge in drive for Ortona.

1944 The US Third Army captures Hagenau and Saargemand.

Norwegian paratroopers cut rails to prevent German retreat from northern Norway.

On Leyte in the Philippines,U.S. 77th Infantry Division captures Ormoc, the main supply base, and clears Buri Airfield.

Japanese make their last seaborne reinforcement of Leyte.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 22 WWII Today: November 14 WWII Today: May 27

Dec 09

World War II Today: December 9

1939 In friendly fire incident near Metz, France, Cpl. Thomas Priday becomes the first British soldier killed in WWII.

1940 The Western Desert Force which is 30,000 strong and under the command of Wavell takes to the offensive ‘Operation Compass’. The 4th Indian division captures the Italian camps at Nibeiwa, Tumar East and West, while the 7th Armoured drives south of the camps at Sofafi and Rabia and turns north towards Buq Buq on the coast road. As column also advances along the coast road from Mersa Matruh towards Maktila as British warships bombard both Maktila and Sidi Barrani. Italian troops eating breakfast at Nibeiwa in are interrupted by British and Indian tanks crashing through their camp. The Italian commander ignored a report of approaching tanks given earlier by a scout plane.

1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt tells Americans to plan for a long war.

The Red Army recaptures Tikhivin. Zhukov issues an order forbidding frontal attacks, in favor of envelopment and outflanking maneuvers, as he says frontal attacks merely allow the Germans to withdraw in good order.

China declares war on Japan, Germany and Italy.

Bangkok is occupied by Japanese troops as they to push through Thailand towards the Burmese border. The Japanese also continue to land troops along the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand and at Kota Bharu in north eastern Malaya.

Japanese aircraft attack Alor Star airfield, Malaya. From the two squadron of Blenheims based there, only one aircraft survives; its pilot, Flt Lt A S K Scarf single-handedly overcame strong enemy defences to attack Singora airfield in the North. After recovering to Alor Star, Flt Lt Scarf died from his wounds, and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross five years later when the full facts of his heroism were established.

Japanese troops land on Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert islands.

 

New England and New York City have first air raid alert; schools and defense plants are evacuated.

1942 Fresh US troops relieve the besieged 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal.

1943 The Establishment of the Council of Freedom in Denmark is announced in Britain.

The Chinese retake Changteh in Hunan.

1944 The Russians reach the Danube north of Budapest.

In Formosa Strait, US subs Redfish and Sea Devil damage Japanese carrier Junyo beyond repair.

Bulgar and Yugoslav armies drive last German forces from Serbia and Macedonia.

1945 General Patton is seriously injured in car crash in Germany.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 27 WWII Today: January 19 WWII Today: May 14

Dec 08

President Roosevelt ‘s Pearl Harbor Quote

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense…With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.” – President F.D. Roosevelt (December, 8, 1941)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (01/30/1882 — 04/12/1945), also known by his initials FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and the only president elected into more than two terms in office. FDR was a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the U.S. during a time of worldwide economic crisis and war, and worked closely with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War II.

In July of 1941, after Japan occupied the rest of Indo-China, FDR cut off all sales of oil to Japan, causing them to lose more than 95% of their oil supply. While he continued negotiation with the Japanese government, he shifted the long-range B-17 force to the Philippines. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed a declaration of war against Japan on December 8, 1941 and made his famous speech, quoted above.

On the afternoon of April 12, 1945, while sitting for a portrait painting by Elizabeth Shoumatoff (see image), President Roosevelt said, “I have a terrific pain in the back of my head.” He slumped forward in his chair unconscious and had to be carried to his room. His doctor, Dr. Howard Bruenn, diagnosed FDR with a massive stroke, and that day, at 3:35 p.m. Roosevelt passed away. The moment Roosevelt fought so hard for, V-E Day, came on May 8th, less than a month after his death.

 

Tale a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: October 19 WWII Today: April 7 Words at War: Wild River