World War II Today: August 18

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.

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

World War II Today: August 18 - Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., 1 September 1941 (Royal Canadian Air Force photo)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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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