World War II Today: January 16

Hitler orders the postponement of his attack in the west until the Spring. Likely reasons for this are the compromise of ‘Fall Gelb’ and increasing criticism from some commanders that the plan was too predictable. Led by Gerd von Rundstedt, they proposed instead that the main blow should come through the wooded Ardennes region in southern Belgium as the allies would not expect this.

British submarines Seahorse, Undine and Starfish reported sunk after penetrating Heligoland Bight

Soviet artillery pounds the Mannerheim Line near Viipuri, Finland.

French forces in Indochina launch an offensive against Thailand after numerous border provocations, but are unable to make much headway on land.

French inflict a naval defeat on Thai forces at Koh-Chang.

The Germans bomb Malta for the first time, killing 50 people, destroying 200 buildings and damaging the capital city of Valletta.

World War II Today: January 16 - German's Bomb Malta

The British troopship Oropesa is sunk in the Western Approaches by the German submarine U-96.

German submarine U-77 was commissioned.

Heavy US losses on the Bataan Peninsula as the Japanese troops press the defenders back.

In the Battle of Muar in Malaya, the Japanese 5th Infantry Division crossed the Muar River and captured Muar itself.

President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9024, creating the War Production Board.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill becomes the first head of state to cross the Atlantic Ocean by plane, following the First Washington Conference with President Franklin Roosevelt.

The Eighth Army destroys Rommel’s rearguard at Buerat, in Libya and is now just 300 miles from the Tunisian frontier. Iraq enters the war against all three Axis powers.

Berlin is bombed for the first time in 14 months, as the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force bombers began the heaviest raid ever on the German capital. During the night raid, 1,000 tons of bombs fell and fires were visible for 100 miles.

The Battle for Velikiye Luki ended in Soviet victory.
Iraq entered World War II, declaring war on Germany, Italy and Japan.

Dwight D. Eisenhower formally assumed the duties of the Commander in Chief of the Allied Expeditionary Forces.

Japanese forces make their last counter-attack on New Britain.

Japanese submarine I-181 ran aground and was wrecked on Gneisenau Point at Kelanoa Harbour, New Guinea.

German submarine U-544 was sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by rockets and depth charges from Grumman TBF Avenger planes from the escort carrier USS Guadalcanal.

The Battle of the Bulge ends as US First and Third Armies meet in Houffalize, Belgium, cutting off the tip of the Bulge.

Hitler enters his bunker under the Chancellery and will never leave Berlin again.

The Soviet 1st Belorussian Front captured Radom, Poland.

German submarine U-248 was depth charged and sunk by U.S. destroyer escorts north of the Azores.

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