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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
The first all-American bombing raid in Europe is conducted against Rouen by Eighth USAAF.

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

US Marine Raiders attack Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands from two submarines.

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 Führer. 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.

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