‘WWII History’

1938 Herman Goering warns all Jews to leave Austria.

1941 The German Army High Command gives approval to RSHA and Heydrich on the tasks of SS murder squads (Einsatzgruppen) in occupied Poland.

The British Cruiser York is severely damaged and then beached at Suda Bay in Crete, when it is hit by an Italian motor boat loaded with explosives.

1942 Two of the freighters from the recent relief convoy are sunk in port by the Luftwaffe. These two ships were still almost fully loaded as damage to the docks at Valletta has prevented their swift unloading. Of the 26,000 tons of supply that had been sent from Egypt on this latest convoy, only 5,000 tons were eventually unloaded.

General Blamey becomes the Commander-in-Chief of Australian Military Forces.

Churchill tells the conservatives, ‘It now seems very likely that we and our allies cannot lose this war, except through our own fault’.

1943 The Eighth Army wins the battle of the Mareth line, forcing the axis troops to retreat to the North.

1944 Koniev’s armies reach the River Pruth on a 50-miles front. The Russians recapture Kamenets-Podolsk. in the Ukraine.

1945 The U.S. Third Army reaches Main and establishes contact with U.S. Seventh Army on the East side of Rhine, near Worms. The US Third Army captures Darmstadt.

The Russians take Papa and Devecser, both German strong points covering the approaches to the Austrian border. The Reichsführer-SS is replaced by General Heinrici as Commander in Chief of Army Group Weichsel.

The last organised Japanese troops on Iwo Jima make a suicide attack. Total U.S. killed on Iwo Jima is 6,891, with more than 20,000 Japanese being killed and only 216 captured.

1941 Under heavy pressure Yugoslavia finally signs the Tripartite pact.

1942 US troops occupy the Society Islands.

1943 Greek partisans temporarily take over Samos Island from the Italian garrison

1944 Manstein persuades Hitler to allow the First Panzer Army to break out to the west of Lvov, not south.

1945 The U.S. First Army breaks out of the Remagen bridgehead. The British Second Army captures Wesel which has been nearly 100% destroyed by Allied bombing.

The U.S. Navy begins the pre-invasion bombardment of Okinawa firing more than half a million shells and rockets in a week.

1941 Berlin suffers its first raid of the year by the RAF.

German troops on parade in the city of Cherbourg have their show spoiled when British bombers hit the parade ground in the middle of the event.

Rommel conducts a limited offensive to recapture El Agheila from the British, which succeeds with startling ease. This encourages Rommel to push forward towards Mersa Brega. British Somaliland is now clear of Italians.

1942 The British Government refuses to hold an inquiry into the loss of Singapore during a Lords debate.

The start of deportation of Slovak Jews to Auschwitz.

The Japanese begin an intensive bombing campaign of Bataan and Corregidor. General Homma’s 14th Army receives reinforcement ready for its final offensive against the Bataan and Corregidor. This takes the form of the Japanese 4th Division, which has been shipped from Shanghai.

1944 The US Fifth Army’s bridgehead at Anzio is bombarded by German heavy long-range guns and Luftwaffe aircraft using guided bombs, causing severe casualties in men, ships and equipment. Persistent US and British attacks against the Gustav Line at Cassino are repulsed by the German defenders. In response to the killing of 35 German soldiers in Rome by the Italian resistance, SS Colonel Herbert Kappler orders the execution of 335 Italians, at least 255 of whom are civilians in reprisal. All are shot by German troops in the Fosse Ardeantine caves outside of Rome.

A Russian tank army crosses the Dnieper near Czech border. Malinovsky makes crossings of the Bug near the Black Sea.

The Luftwaffe attacks London with 90 medium bombers (He-111s and Ju-88s), while the RAF bombs Berlin with 810 heavy Lancaster bombers. The RAF loses 72 bombers in this, the 16th and heaviest raid of war on Berlin. The ‘Battle of Berlin’ is now over.

Wingate, leader of the Chindits is killed in plane crash.

The Japanese counter-attack on Bougainville is decisively beaten.

President Roosevelt issues a statement condemning German and Japanese ongoing “crimes against humanity.”

In response to the killing of 35 German soldiers in Rome by the Italian resistance, SS Colonel Herbert Kappler orders the execution of 335 Italians, at least 255 of whom are civilians in reprisal. All are shot by German troops in the Fosse Ardeantine caves outside of Rome.

1945 Montgomery’s 21st Army Group attacks across the Rhine, 15 miles North of Duisberg in the Wesel area, after 3,500-gun barrage. 16,870 paratroops land across the river Rhine in Operation ‘Plunder’ and succeed in linking up with advancing British troops and establishing four bridgeheads. The US Third Army captures Speyer and Ludwigshafen on the upper Rhine.

The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Neisse in Upper Silesia.

U.S. Marines seize islands off coast of Okinawa in Pacific.

1942 During World War II, the U.S. government began moving Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to detention centers.

The British convoy, have escaped serious damage are approaching Malta. However, it is here that they come under concentrated air attack which sinks 1 freighter and damages another, although the other two freighters make it safely in to the port of Valleta. However, air attacks  against the docks at Valletta made it very difficult to unload.

The Japanese occupy the Anadaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Port Moresby is again attacked by Japanese aircraft.

1945 The RAF launches a devastating raid (300 bombers) against Hildesheim near Hannover, a small city of little military and industrial importance.

The U.S. Third Army crosses the Rhine North of Worms, as the British Second and Canadian First Armies begin their assault across the Rhine above the Ruhr.

The Russian reach the outskirts of Danzig and Gotenhafen.

Colonel Benjamin O. Davis prepares to fly cover with the 332nd Fighter Group on a bombing mission over Berlin. Davis will later become the first African-American to be promoted to the rank of Major General

1940 U-boats sink seven neutral ships.

1942 Late in the afternoon after an unsuccessful Italian torpedo-aircraft attack, Admiral Iachino’s squadron engages the British convoy. The convoy protected itself with a smokescreen, but the cruiser HMS Cleopatra was damaged. Admiral Philip Vian, commanding the British escorts,  sent his destroyers to torpedo attack the Italian battleship Littorio. Getting dark and so Admiral Iachino turned away from the British convoy and sailed for home.

Japanese aircraft attack Darwin.

A Polish newspaper editor is beheaded for listening to the BBC, as German terror continues in Poland.

1943 German troops recapture Belgorod.

Newly built gas chamber/crematory IV opens at Auschwitz.

1944 British tanks rout a Japanese tank force at Tamu in India.

Alexander halts the frontal attacks on Cassino.

1945 The U.S. First Army’s bridgehead at Remagen is now 30 miles long. Units of the US Third Army cross the Rhine at Oppenheim south of Mainz against minimal German resistance.

1940 Paul Reynaud becomes Prime Minister of France, with Edouard Daladier being made Minister of Defense and War.

1941 The last Italian post in East Libya, North Africa, falls to the British.

1942 In a repeat of Force H’s mission on the 7th March 1942. Sixteen more Spitfires are delivered to Malta. The Axis, now aware of the large British supply convoy sailing towards Malta, dispatches Admiral Iachino from Taranto with the Battleship Littorio and 4 destroyers. Admiral Parona also sets sail from Messina with 3 cruisers and 4 destroyers.

1943 Hitler breaks his four-month silence with a Hero’s Day speech.

1945 Units of the U.S. First Army advances from the Remagen bridgehead toward Siegburg.

The Russians capture Stuhlweissenburg in Hungary.

The US 8th Air Force launches a major attack (650 bombers) against Hamburg.

Allied bombs for Copenhagen Gestapo HQ hit school; kill 86 students and 17 teachers.

1940 The British Royal Air Force conducts an all-night air raid on the Nazi airbase at Sylt, Germany.

1941 Four Yugoslav ministers resign rather than accept German terms.

The Berbera force and elements of the 11th African Division meet at Hargeisa inside British Somaliland.

1942 Kesselring launches an intensified air offensive against Malta, which by the end of March had racked up 4,927 sorties for the Luftwaffe, as opposed to 2.497 during February.

The Red Army offensive at Kerch in the Crimea is defeated with heavy losses to the Russians.

About 1,000 schoolteachers are arrested in Norway.

In what was to become known as the 2nd Battle of Sirte, 4 freighters, escorted by 3 cruisers, 1 anti-aircraft cruiser and 17 destroyers leave Alexandria bound for Malta. This force would later be strengthened by the cruiser Penelope and a destroyer from Force K.

Japanese troops, reinforced by the 18th and 56th Division which had arrived by sea at Rangoon a few days earlier, attack the 6th Chinese Army near Toungoo in Burma.

1943 The Eighth Army continues its attacks against the Mareth line in southern Tunisia.

1944 The Russians recapture Vinnitsa in the Ukraine, the site of Hitler’s Headquarters during in 1943.

1945 German troops of Army Group Weichsel evacuate their bridgehead across the Oder at Stettin. The Russians capture Braunsberg, 40 miles South of Königsberg.

The U.S. Seventh Army takes Saarbrücken.

The British 19th Indian Division completes the capture of Mandalay.

1936 The Soviet Union signs a pact of assistance with Mongolia against Japan.

1940 The RAF retaliates against the Luftwaffe’s bombing of Scapa Flow, by attacking the German seaplane base at Hornum on the island of Sylt with 50 bombers. Later photo reconnaissance reveals little damage to the target.

Helsinki releases figures showing that 26,662 Finns were killed in the 105 day war with the Soviet Union.

1941 Churchill forms the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ committee in order to afford the highest level of co-ordination against the U-boat menace.

German Naval staff complain to the Italians about their lack of effort to intercept British convoys to Greece.

1942 An offensive by Army Group North cuts off the Soviet 2nd Shock Army, commanded by General Vlasov, in a salient between Novgorod and Gruzino. Operation ‘Munich’ is launched. Joined by a new air detachment, German troops attack partisan bases around Yelnya and Dorogobuzh.  Operation ‘Bamberg’ kicks off near Bobruisk, with SS Police troops attacking Russian villages. The German security forces burn many villages and kill 3,500 people, which only infuriate the Russian civilians more, which encourages many of them join the partisans, making the whole exercise very counter-productive. The 3rd Panzer Army diaries says “There are indications that the partisan movement in the region of Velikiye Luki, Vitebsk, Rudnya, Velizh, is now being organised on a large scale. The fighting strength of the partisans hitherto active, is being bolstered by individual units of regular red army troops.”

General Bill Slim is appointed as commander of the 1st Burma Corps, which covers all British, Indian and Burmese troops in Burma. This left  General Alexander to concentrate on co-ordination with the Chinese.

1943 The British Eighth Army begins its offensive against German and Italian defenders of the Mareth line.

1944 The RAF launch Operation Strangle, aimed at German communications in Italy.

The German 352nd Infantry Division deploys along the coast of France.

In order to ensure Hungary’s continued support as an axis partner, Hitler orders its occupation Operation Margaret. Eleven German divisions cross the border from Austria into Hungary, encountering minimal resistance.

Hungary’s 750,000 Jews, which have so far remained unmolested by the Germans are about to endure a nightmare of mass deportation to the concentration camps as Eichmann arrives in Hungary with his “Special Section Commandos”.

1945 The US 8th Air Force carries out another heavy attack (200 bombers and 700 fighters) against Berlin.

The U.S. Seventh Army take Worms, 60 miles to the Southeast of Koblenz. Hitler orders the demolition of all German industrial, utility and transport facilities in danger of falling into enemy hands; this order (Verbrannte Erde Scorched Earth) is sabotaged by armaments minister Speer and most local commanders.

The Japanese evacuate Mandalay.

The USN hit Kure naval base in the Inland Sea, Southwest of Tokyo.

About 800 people were killed as Kamikaze planes attacked the U.S. carrier Franklin off Japan; the ship, however, was saved.

1940

Mussolini and Hitler meet in the Brenner Pass in northern Italy, Mussolini agreeing to Italy’s entry into the war “at an opportune moment”.

Russia assures Sweden of its safety after Finland’s surrender.

1942 Lord Mountbatten is appointed Chief of Combined Operations.

US forces occupy the New Hebrides in order to help protect Australia’s west coast from direct Japanese invasion.

1943 Chindit forces cross the Irrawaddy in Burma.

1944 A New Zealand tank attack on Monte Cassino is repulsed, with the loss of all 17 tanks.

1945 Kolberg falls to the Polish 1st Army, of the 2nd Belorussian Front, although the Germans manage to evacuate 80,000 refugees and wounded first.

The US Third Army captures Boppard on the Rhine.

1941 The 11th African Division captures Jijiga in central Abyssinia; having advanced 744 miles up the Italian built Strada Imperiale in just seventeen days.

1942 General MacArthur arrives in Australia from the Philippines.

The deportation of Jews from Lublin to Belzec begins.

1943 Bulgaria states opposition to deportation of its Jews.

The Japanese attack British positions in Arakan, western Burma.

1944 The British blow up the Manipur bridge South of Imphal.

New Zealand troops take Cassino railway station.

1945

The U.S. Third Army takes Koblenz. The Ludendorff bridge at Remagen, seized by US troops on the 7th March, suddenly collapses, killing dozens of US Army engineers working to reinforce it.