Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

Aug 18

World War II Today: August 18

1940 Further heavy raids by Luftwaffe on southeast England and southern London. Major damage is done to RAF airfields and fighter commands control system. British claim 144 Germans shot down, later revised to 67 with RAF losses of 33 planes lost but eight pilots safe.

The last of the British rearguard in British Somaliland slip away in darkness, race into Berbera and embark on the morning. British bombers attack Italian units at Laferug and the airfield at Addis Abeba.

Italian aircraft attack Berbera, but there are no more military targets.

Walter P. Chrysler, founder of Chrysler Corporation, dies at age 65.

German-American Bund (Nazi) and Ku Klux Klan hold anti-war rally in New Jersey.

1941 Russians withdraw across the Dnieper River, allowing the 1st Panzer Group to establish a bridgehead across the river at Zaporozhe, in the Ukraine.

President Roosevelt signs extension of Selective Service Act, extending draftees’ service from 12 to 30 months.

Radio Belgrade plays obscure recording of “Lili Marleen” by Lale Andersen, which becomes an instant hit with German troops in North Africa.

John Gillespie Magee Jr., an American serving in the RCAF (age 19) writes his famous poem “High Flight.”

1942 Alexander replaces Auchinleck as C-in-C of the Middle East. Montgomery’s appointment officially announced.

Japan sends a crack army to Guadalcanal to repulse the U.S. Marines fighting there.

1943 Portugal, invoking her 1373 alliance with Great Britain, agrees to allow Allied forces the use of the Azores Islands for naval and air bases.

A U.S. cruiser and destroyer force shells Gioia, Taura and Palmi on the coast of Italy.

1944 Allied air forces fly 3,057 sorties against the Falaise pocket.

The German Seventh Army moves across the Orme but 18,000 prisoners are taken. The Germans begin the evacuations of their troops stationed near the Spanish border and the Gulf of Biscay.

The Red Army recaptures Sandomir in Galicia.

A Japanese escort carrier is sunk by a U.S. submarine off northwestern Luzon, Philippine Is. A Japanese cruiser is sunk by a U.S. submarine east of Samar, Philippine Islands.

1945 In last air conflict of war, US reconnaissance planes are attacked by flak and fighters over Tokyo, 1 killed (photographer Sgt. Anthony Marchione), the last American killed in the war, 2 Japanese fighters are shot down.

US begins parachuting medical teams into Japanese POW camps.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: July 22 WWII Today: July 14 WWII Today: July 24

Aug 17

World War II Today: August 17

1940 Hitler announces that a total maritime blockade is to be placed around Britain, with any neutral ships transporting cargo to Britain to be sunk without warning.

Axis financial meeting decides Berlin will replace London as European financial centre after victory.

Duke of Windsor sworn in as governor-general of Bermuda.

British warships bombard Italian ports in Libya. The 5th Indian Division is deployed to the defense of Sudan.

1941 Army Group North in its drive toward Leningrad captures Narva.

The Romanians seal off and begin a siege of the Black Sea port of Odessa.

Sinking of the US-Panama freighter Sessa.

The USA reply’s to Admiral Nomura’s proposals of the 6th August, rejecting any high level meeting until the present differences between Japan and the USA have been resolved.

1942 US Eighth Air Force flies first official bombing mission: 12 B-17s of 97th Bomb Group hit marshalling yards in Rouen, France.

US Marine Raiders “Carlson’s Raiders” made up of 221 Marines conduct two-day raid on Makin in the Gilbert Islands to destroy a radio station; first amphibious landing from subs.

The Germans claim to have reached the Don, less than 100 miles from Stalingrad. Fighting starts in foothills of the Caucasus.

1943 The first Quebec summit opens with the allied plans for the invasion of France being approved by Roosevelt and Churchill.

597 RAF bombers attack Peenemunde on the Baltic coast, the birthplace of the ‘V’ weapons. 376 B-17’s and B-24’s of the US 8th Air Force carry out double raids against the ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt and the Messerschmitt fighter works at Regensburg, losing 80 aircraft in the process.

German and Italian forces successfully evacuate Sicily across the Strait of Messina, with little interference by the Allies. This allows Montgomery and Patton enter Messina. The whole of Sicily is now in allied hands. The shelling of the Italian mainland from Messina begins.

Heavy US air attacks on the Japanese airfields at Wewak on the North coast of New Guinea, with 215 Japanese planes destroyed for loss of just six USAAF aircraft.

In New Guinea, a Japanese plane is hit during a raid and crashes into a church. The chaplain is killed and several soldiers attending the service are injured.

1944 The remnants of the Vichy French regime in the French capital take flight for Germany as the Resistance comes out into the open and seizes strong points throughout the city. They establish a comic-opera “government-in-exile” in the German city of Sigmaringen until the end of the war. The Citadel at St. Malo surrenders after heavy fighting. Falaise falls to the Canadians and Monty orders the pocket to be sealed. U.S. armor frees Chartres, Orleans and Chateaudun. Field Marshal Model takes over command of German forces in the West from Field Marshal von Kluge who committed suicide because of his involvement in the 20th July bomb plot. Marshal Petain and his staff are interned at Belfort by order of the Fuhrer. The Vichy French government under Premier Laval resigns.

The mayor of Paris, Pierre Charles Tattinger, meets with the German commander Dietrich von Choltitz to protest the explosives being deployed throughout the city.

The Russians reach the East Prussian/Lithuanian border.

1945 U-977 arrives in River Plate estuary and surrenders. The 600-ton U-boat left Kiel on the 13th April.

Three of the Emperor’s family are dispatched to China to carry the news of cease-fire to Japanese troops still fighting there.

Upon hearing confirmation that Japan has surrendered, Sukarno proclaims Indonesia’s independence.

The country of Korea is divided between the United States and the Soviet Union.The Soviets will control everything north of the thirty-eighth parallel, while the United States will oversee the southern portion.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 2 WWII Today: January 25 President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Speech

Aug 16

World War II Today: August 16

1940 Test platoon of 48 volunteers from 29thInfantry Regiment makes first US Army parachute jump from an aircraft.

Luftwaffe again raids southern England.

Death of Hector Bywater, author of 1925 Great Pacific War.

1941 Stalin acknowledges UK and US aid plan and agrees to the ‘apportionment of our joint resources’.

Anglo-Soviet exchange agreement signed. 56th Panzer Korps of Panzer Group 4 takes Novgorod on the road to Leningrad. German and Romanian forces of Army Group South captures Nikolaev, an important Soviet naval base on the Black Sea.

1943 U.S. troops enter Messina in North eastern Sicily in a final push to clear the island. Axis evacuation of 100,000 troops has been completed.

The Red Army launches an offensive against the Mius line toward Stalino.

The Bialystok Ghetto is liquidated.

1944 Radio Paris, the German-controlled collaborationist radio station, goes off the air. General de Lattre de Tassigny’s French First Army begins to land in force in southern France. Hitler orders the withdrawal of all German forces in southern France. The French Resistance steps up its attacks on German posts along the Swiss border, assaulting Machilly, Saint-Julien and Valleiry. The first two surrender with minimal bloodshed, but the 20 German customs officers at Valleiry are shot out of hand by resistants following their surrender, along with two French women who were with them. A German relief column arrives too late, shooting seven civilians and burning 20 houses in retaliation.

US Eighth Air Force suffers first attack by Luftwaffe jet fighters (Me 163s), has first loss to a jet, and also destroys a German jet for first time.

Organized Japanese resistance ends on Burma-India border.

1945 Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese on Corregidor on May 6, 1942, is released from a POW camp in Manchuria by U.S. troops.

Japanese parliament resigns.

Soviets land on Sakhalin Island.

Churchill first uses term “iron curtain” in speech to House of Commons: “the iron curtain which at the moment divides Europe in twain.”

Checkout these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: July7 WWII Today: July 29 WWII Today: December 14

Aug 15

World War II Today: August 15

1940 Although ‘Eagle Day’ was the 13th August, due to poor results, Goering decides that the 15th August with instead be known as ‘Eagle Day’. The Luftwaffe launches its greatest attacks so far against the RAF’s airfields, involving more than 1,000 German planes and 1,786 sorties. The Luftwaffe lost 76 aircraft, although these were mainly from Luftflotte 5 which made diversionary attacks from Norway, while the RAF lost 35 fighters and its airfields suffered heavy damage. Twenty German JU88 aircraft from Denmark attack Driffield, Yorkshire, destroying ten Whitley aircraft on the ground.

Off Greece, Italian sub Delfino sinks WWI-era Greek cruiser Helli to try to provoke Greece into war.

1942 The first foreign newspaper since the Revolution appears in Russia. Units of Army Group A reach the foothills of the Caucasus.

The last of 6 remaining merchant of the Pedestal convoy, the tanker Ohio, with 10,000 tons oil on board is towed into Malta by three British warships.

The Japanese submarine I-25 departs Japan with a floatplane in its hold which will be assembled upon arriving off the West Coast of the United States, and used to bomb U.S. forests.

1943 34,436 US and Canadian troops land on Kiska to find the island evacuated.

Portsmouth has heaviest raid for two years when its bombed by 91 German planes.

The United States ships 60,000 alarm clocks to Britain, to be distributed to workers in war production plants to improve on-time performance.

The Swedish government forbids all German traffic and transport from crossing over it’s territory.

1944 The allies launch Operation ‘Dragoon’, a combined assault on the South coast of France from Toulon to Nice. 9,000 airborne troops are landed, along with 90,000 by sea. Six towns and 2,000 prisoners are taken. About 200,000 Germans (23 divisions) are in the 40-mile long, 1l-mile wide (at narrowest point)

Argentan-Falaise gap, but start to pull out as Anglo-Canadian troops resume the attack to the North. Adolf

Hitler describes this as ‘The worst day of my life’.

Kluge’s staff car is strafed. He is replaced by Model who retreats to the Seine.

1945 Gasoline and fuel oil rationing ends in the United States.

VJ-Day is declared in Britain and huge crowds cheer King and Queen en route to Westminster for the State opening of Parliament. The British release details of one of most closely guarded secrets of war, RADAR.

The Japanese Government resigns and the war minister commits suicide. MacArthur becomes the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers in the Pacific.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: July 28 Evelyn Ankers WWII Pin Up WWII Today: November 11

Aug 14

World War II Today: August 14

1940 Air activity less pronounced, but Germans attack Southampton and Hastings; reported losses Germans 31, RAF 7.

Ministry of Home Security announces that parachutes had been found in Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Scotland, but no evidence of Germans discovered.

As Italians advance in British Somaliland, British evacuate Berbera, the capital.

A plane crash in Canberra, Australia kills top Army officers and government ministers, leading to fall of Menzies government.

1941 Roosevelt and Churchill sign the Atlantic Charter declaring general principles for a free post-war world.

President Roosevelt announces US will not allow U-boats to attack British shipping in western hemisphere.

Franciscan priest Maximilian Kolbe volunteers to be executed in place of a condemned man at Auschwitz; he will be canonized.

74% of Americans still oppose war.

1942 German forces cross the upper Kuban river at Krasnodar in the Caucasus.

Dwight D. Eisenhower is named the Anglo-American commander for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa.

1943 The Eighth Army is now only 29 miles from Messina. Italy declares Rome to be an open city by Italians.

The U.S. government sets aside 10 million barrels of beer, a sixth of the the nation’s production, for use

by the military. This gives the armed services enough beer for each soldier to have a bottle a day, except on Sunday.

1944 Roosevelt and Churchill meet at Quebec where they initial the Morgenthau Plan that calls for the division of post-war Germany and its transformation into a purely agricultural country.

Monty launches Operation ‘Tractable’ towards Falaise with a carpet bombing by 800 planes.

The Russians begin an offensive from their Vistula bridgeheads, 100 miles to the South of Warsaw.

1945 Chiang Kai-shek’s representatives sign a treaty of alliance with the Russians.

USAAF B29’s launch the last air raid of the war against Kumagaya.

Japanese military coup and assassination attempt on Emperor Hirohito fails, and Hirohito signs acceptance of unconditional surrender.

The US government orders resumption of civilian car manufacturing.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: June 30 Words at War Episode 27 “Mother America” WWII Today: August 13

Aug 13

World War II Today: August 13

1940 Roosevelt agrees to supply 50 First World War destroyers to Britain in return for the lease of naval bases in the Caribbean. Colonel E.L.M. Burns proposes developing a Canadian parachute force. The idea is rejected by the Director of Military Operations in headquarters.

‘Eagle Day’, the first day of the maximum offensive by the Luftwaffe to destroy RAF airfields and gain air supremacy over England in preparation of Operation Sea Lion. The Luftwaffe launches 1,485 sorties, but because of confusion and delays, the main attacks were not mounted until the afternoon. Some airfields were attacked, but not the primary fighter bases. Luftwaffe losses were heavy with 39 aircraft being lost (mainly Ju-87 Stuka’s), while the RAF lost just 15 aircraft. Twelve RAF Blenheim bombers attack Hemsteds airfield in Holland. Only one plane returns.

An air crash in Canberra kills three UAP ministers and Chief of the Australian General Staff.

1941 Canadian Women’s Army Corps established.

Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) formed.

1942

Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery assumes command of British Eighth Army in Egypt.

Japanese secure Buna-Kokoda Trail on New Guinea.

US Army forms Manhattan Engineering District for secret atomic research.

1943 US 10th Engineer Btn. builds “bridge in the sky” along steep seaside cliff at Cape Calava, Sicily.

1944 British & Indian troops cross into northern Florence via historic Ponte Vecchio, securing city with help of Italians.

1945 The Mongolian People’s Republic declares a Holy War against the Japanese.

Surrender documents are sent to MacArthur in Philippines.

Lt. Oscar Perdomo of US 507th Fighter Group becomes the last air ace of the war when he shoots down 5 Japanese fighters over Kyushu.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: July 30 WWII Today: May 11 WWII Today: May 21

Aug 12

World War II Today: August 12

1940 The Luftwaffe attacks Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and all along Kent and Sussex coast. They also attack forward RAF airfields and radar stations in preparation for ‘Eagle Day’. British claims are high as they report 62 Luftwaffe planes shot down against the RAF’s 13, while in reality it was just 26 Luftwaffe and 22 RAF planes lost.

The Dortmund-Ems canal in Germany is blocked by low flying British bomber, the pilot is later awarded VC.

Wasting food becomes illegal in Britain.

1941 The draft extension passes in the House by only one vote.

US Navy takes over patrolling convoy routes in the North Atlantic and tracking German submarines for the Royal Navy in violation of Neutrality Act.

Churchill and Roosevelt sign the Atlantic Charter an eight-point declaration of peace aims.

French Marshal Henri Philippe Petain announces full French collaboration with Nazi Germany.

Hitler issues Directive No.34 which temporarily abandons Moscow as an objective in favour of the Ukraine.

Soviet forces counterattack at Staraya Russa south of Lake Ilmen.

1942 Himmler is made responsible for order in Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway.

In their advance south toward the Grozny oilfields, units of Army Group A capture Elista near the Caspian Sea.

Churchill arrives in Moscow for talks with Sralin. During 4 days of often acrimonious talks, Stalin was eventually forced to accept that there would be no ‘second front’ during 1942.

Light cruiser USS Cleveland performs successful test of VT proximity-fuzed antiaircraft shells in Chesapeake Bay.

Actor Clark Gable enlists in US Army Air Force.

1943 The Heaviest RAF attack so far on northern Italy, with more than 1,000 tons dropped on Milan in under 30 minutes.

Hitler orders the construction of a fortified defensive line (Panther Line)

1944 Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. (brother of the future president) is killed in a top-secret Aphrodite mission from England, in which planes loaded with bombs are guided by remote control to the target after the pilots bail out.

First PLUTO (Pipeline under the Ocean) becomes operational, taking fuel from Isle of Wight to Cherbourg.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: July 15 WWII Today: June 6 D-Day Quote WWII Today: August 14

Aug 11

World War II Today: August 11

1940: The Battle of Britain begins in earnest with 400 German planes attacking channel convoys and the coastal areas of Britain including Dover, Weymouth and Portland.

The British claim 65 Luftwaffe planes down for the loss of 26 RAF fighters. It actuality, only 35 Luftwaffe planes were shot down, while the RAF had lost 29.

(NOTE: British historians regard the battle as running from 9 July to 31 October 1940, which represented the most intense period of daylight air raiding. German historians begin the battle in mid-August 1940 and end it in May 1941, on the withdrawal of the bomber units in preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the attack on the USSR.)

In Paris, Nazis form Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg to loot art from Jews.

1941 Soviet bombers raid Berlin but cause little damage.

1942 The ‘Pedestal’ convoy is spotted by a German U-boat. The German submarine U-73 attacks the Malta-bound British convoy and sinks HMS Eagle, one of the world’s first aircraft carriers. Over the coming days 21 German and Italian submarines, nearly 800 aircraft, 23 torpedo boats, and units of the Italian fleet move in to intercept the convoy.

US War Production Board orders entire crop of wine grapes be made into raisins for the military.

Actress Hedy Lamarr applies for a patent for a frequency-hopping system to prevent interception and jamming of radio communications; although not used in WWII, the technology made cellular phones possible.

1943 German night evacuation of Sicily begins, using 134 small craft covered by 500 AA guns.

1944 U.S. troops capture Nantes and Angers and drive South across the Loire.

The Russians renew their offensive towards the Estonian border at Pskov, breaking through the Mavlenburg Line. The Germans assault the old town area of Warsaw from three sides.

1945 General Douglas MacArthur is declared Allied Supreme Commander, with the authority to accept Japanese surrender.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: August 3 WWII Today: June 27 WWII Today: May 23

Aug 10

World War II Today: August 10

1940 Due to poor weather conditions, the Luftwaffe delays ‘Eagle Day’ until the 13th

U-56 sinks armed merchant-cruiser HMS Transylvania off Northern Ireland.

Germans ban speaking of French in Luxembourg and listening to BBC in Belgium.

In Luxembourg, Germans ban speaking French.

British agree to withdraw from Shanghai and northern China to appease Japan and to reinforce Singapore and India.

1941 Great Britain and the Soviet Union promise aid to Turkey if it is attacked by the Axis Powers.

1942 The British convoy ‘Pedestal’ (14 merchants, 2 battleships, 3 aircraft-carriers, 14 destroyers and 3 anti-aircraft cruisers), which had left Britain on the 2nd August en-route to Malta, reaches the Straits of Gibraltar, where it is reinforced with 3 heavy cruisers (Manchester, Nigeria, and Kenya) and 11 more destroyers. For a time, the aircraft-carrier HMS Furious joins the convoy with a complement of 38 Supermarine Spitfires which are to be flown off towards the embattled island.

With the support of von Richthofen’s 4th Air Fleet, which had been transferred from Army Group A, the 6th Army crosses the Don and reaches the outskirts of Stalingrad.

1944 The U.S. 5th Armored and 2nd French Armored Divisions cover 15 miles to Alencon.

Organized Japanese resistance on Guam finally ends with them suffering 18,250 killed and the U.S. more than 1,744 killed.

1945 The Japanese sue for peace after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To date nearly 55 million people have died in the Second World War.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: April 2 WWII Today: April 29 WWII Today: June 11

Aug 09

World War II Today: August 9

1940 Italian ground forces make slow progress in British Somaliland. Both the Italians and the British conduct air raids against each other.

British troops to be withdrawn from Shanghai and North China.

1941 President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill meet at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. The meeting produces the Atlantic Charter, an agreement between the two countries on war aims, even though the United States is still a neutral country.

German Army Group South resumes its offensive to the east, along the river Bug, with 11th and 17th Armies.

1942 Convoy SC-94 lose 7 British, U.S. and Dutch ships, torpedoed by German U-boats in the North Atlantic.

The 1st Panzer Army captures the Maikop oilfields, which were left burning furiously by the Red Army, so little refined fuel was found. German 17th Army which was advancing behind the 1st Panzer Army reaches Krasnodar, on the river Kuban.

Gandhi is arrested.

Battle of Savo Island begins as 7 Japanese cruisers and a destroyer approach undetected west of Savo Island, Solomon Islands and sinks the U.S. heavy cruisers, Quincey, Vincennes and Astoria and the Australian cruiser Canberra. They also damage 1 cruiser and 2 destroyers. The allied ships depart leaving the Guadalcanal area is in the control of the Japanese forces.

1944 German Panzers fight viciously with the Canadians and Poles who make only slow progress towards Caen. The U.S. 5th Armored Division take Le Mans. Eisenhower sets up a HQ in France.

1945 U.S. B-29 “Bocks Car” drops atomic bomb “Fat Man” on Nagasaki, Japan. Two-thirds of the city of 250,000 inhabitants is destroyed and 113,000 people die.

Soviet Army massed at the Manchurian border sweeps into northern China and northern Korea overwhelming the Japanese defense.

Truman broadcasts from Washington about Potsdam conference and the atom bomb.

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