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Aug 20

World War II Today: August 20

1940
World War II Today: August 20 - British poster, WWII (Imperial War Museum)Churchill reviews the progress of air war in Commons and says ‘Never in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many, to so few’.

The Luftwaffe withdraws the Ju-87 Stuka dive bomber from strategic operations against England after losing 20 per cent of their Stuka force to the RAF.

Mao Tse-Tung launches ‘100 regiments’ guerrilla offensive against the Japanese in China.

1941
Adolf Hitler authorizes the development of the V-2 missile.

German 11th Army captures Kherson on the Black Sea and opens the gate to the Crimea. German 11th Army captures Kherson on the Black Sea and opens the gate to the Crimea.

1942
The Russians counter-attack to the north of Stalingrad, but elsewhere German troops reach the Volga. The German 48th Panzer Corps, attacks northeast from Abganerovo, but can not break clear of the Russian defences in the hills of Tundutovo. On their northern flank, 4th Corps is also facing resolute Russian resistance.

31 U.S. aircraft touchdown on the newly completed Henderson Field airstrip on Guadalcanal to help the Marines fighting over the control of the island.

1944
The allies seal the Falaise gap, with blocking forces taking 4,000 prisoners. However, the Germans in the Falaise pocket break out along a single road and stream out of the pocket for six hours before the pocket is resealed. The Allies estimate that 10,000 Germans have died in the pocket and 50,000 prisoners taken. Although one German division (77th Infantry Division) is annihilated, 26 extremely weak divisions do escape the pocket. The U.S. 79th Division reaches the west bank of the Seine above Paris. Free French forces rise in Paris, while de Gaulle is reported in France.

The Russians launch an offensive into Romania with 900,000 men (96 divisions), 1,400 tanks and 1,700 aircraft. Advances up to 12 miles are reported as the Russian plan to surround 23 German divisions (360,000 men) takes shape.

1945
Further negotiations in Manila. The Japanese leave at 1pm. MacArthur says that U.S. troops will land on the Japanese mainland within 10 days of signing the surrender.

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