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Dec 24

World War II Today: December 24

1939
Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas appeal for peace.

World War II Today: December 241940
US refuses to admit Jewish refugees, believing it will lead to expulsion of all Jews from Europe.

Bonus Christmas ration is distributed in Germany—26 oz rice & vegetables, 1 lb sugar, coffee, and jam.

1941
Japanese troops make further landings on Luzon to the southeast of Manila in Lamon Bay. The Japanese 16th Division starts its drive north towards Manila in an attempt to link up with the North Luzon Force. General MacArthur announces his decision to withdraw his forces to Bataan. A supply base is to be setup on Corregidor with sufficient stock to carry on the fight for 6 months.

British Eighth Army takes Benghazi, Libya.

White House tree-lighting ceremony moved to south end of grounds to be easily seen, the last tree-lighting until 1945.

1942
US bomb Wake Island.

Following the suspension of ‘Operation Winter Tempest’, the relief of Stalingrad, the Red Army begins an offensive against Army Group Don toward Kotelnikovo, breaking through the lines of 4th Romanian Army.

Soviets take 1 of 2 airfields used in Luftwaffe supply of Stalingrad.

In Algiers, Admiral Jean-François Darlan, French commander in North Africa, is assassinated by Ferdinand Bonnier de la Chapelle, a French royalist.

1943
Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Dec. 1943Commanders of the ‘Second Front’ are announced as Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force; Montgomery to be C in C of 21st Army Group.

Sir Henry Maitland Wilson is made Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean and Alexander is C in C Allied Armies, Italy.

The Russians commence a third winter offensive, with Vatutin’s 63 divisions in the Ukraine and capture Berdichev.

Roosevelt broadcasts about the Cairo and Teheran conferences and says plans have been laid for the invasion of Europe and its post-war reconstruction.

1944
World War II Today: December 24 - Brigadier General Frederick CastleIn the English Channel, U-486 (Oblt.z.S. Gerhard Meyer) sinks the allied troop carrier SS Leopoldville with the loss of 763 men of the US 66th Infantry Division. All news and information on this incident is suppressed by orders of SHAEF headquarters.

In the largest mission to date, 2034 bombers of the US Eighth Air Force bomb German targets in the Ardennes.

Brigadier General Frederick Castle, commander of 4th Combat Bombardment Wing and former commander of US 94th Bomb Group, dies in crash after giving his crew time to bail out from his damaged B-17, receives Medal of Honor

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