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Jan 31

World War II Today: January 31

1940
Sir John Simon announces food subsidies are running at £1,000,000 per week.

1941
The new recruits of the ‘Nordland’ Regiment give their oath to SS Reichsführer Himmler in Oslo.

The Italian garrison at Metemma in northern Abyssinia, having been under increasing pressure for the past 3 weeks, begins to withdraw towards Gondar, allowing the 9th Indian Brigade to occupy the town.

The Japanese intervene in the conflict between Vichy France and Thailand, imposing an armistice on the French, which they are powerless to refuse.

1942
SS Einsatzgruppe A reports a tally of 229,052 Jews killed.

British and Commonwealth forces complete their evacuation of Malaya and withdraw to Singapore Island across the causeway with the Japanese only 8 miles away. Singapore now has the equivalent of four divisions to defend it, but morale is low and there are serious shortages of weapons. An additional Indian Brigade is landed at Rangoon and sent to join the 17th Indian Division.

1943
RAF Bomber Command makes first operational use of H2S radar.

Vichy France creates the Milice (Militia), under the command of Joseph Darnand, an extreme right-wing World War 1 veteran, to combat the Resistance. The Milice effectively becomes an arm of the German Occupation and reaches a strength of more than 20,000 by mid-1944.

The exhausted troops of 6th Army’s southern pocket, having expended their last ammunition, surrender to the Red Army. The Russians capture Field Marshal Paulus and 16 generals.

Eighth Army takes Zuara, near the Tunisian frontier.

1944
The U.S. 34th Division crosses the Rapido.

US forces attack the Marshall Islands, landing on Kwajalein, Roi and Namur. Land fighting begins in the Dutch New Guinea.

1945
Private Eddie Slovik became the only U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion.

World War II Today: January 31 - Pvt Eddie Slovik

Pvt Eddie Slovik

Two of Zhukov’s armies establish a bridgehead on the Oder, to the North of Küstrin and less than 40 miles from Berlin.

U.S. planes sink the Japanese floating dock at Singapore.

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