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Mar 01

World War II Today: March 1

1940
The US Under Secretary of State, Sumner Welles arrives in Berlin at the start of a peace tour of the belligerent countries.

The Soviet Unions peace ultimatum to Finland expires.

1941
Bulgaria finally joins the Tripartite pact after the discovery of a planned pro-British coup.

Italian civilian rations are halved in order to allow food exports to Germany.

Himmler makes his first visit to Auschwitz, during which he orders Kommandant Höss to begin massive expansion, including a new compound to be built at nearby Birkenau that can hold 100,000 prisoners.

The 11th African Division begins a lighting pursuit of the retreating Italian forces north from Mogadishu, towards the Ogaden Plateau.

1942
A US Hudson of squadron VP-82 which is based at Argentia, Newfoundland sinks U-656 off Cape Race.

World War II Today: March 1 - Hudson Bomber

The heavy cruiser USS Houston and light cruiser HMAS Perth, along with 1 British, 1 Dutch and 2 US destroyers, fleeing from the debacle at the Battle of Java Sea, surprise an IJN landing force at Bantam Bay near the Sundra Strait, and are sunk by torpedoes and gunfire. The Japanese force, comprising 2 heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, 9 destroyers, and various transports, manage to sink a minesweeper and a transport of their
own, and seriously damage 3 more transports, through the unprecedented firing of 87 torpedoes.

1943
The British RAF conducts strategic bombing raids on all European railway lines.

The Russians announce that new offensive to the South of Leningrad and led by Timoshenko, ‘has made considerable gains’. German troops begin
the evacuation of the Rzhev area.

In New York, American Jews hold a mass rally at Madison Square Garden to pressure the U.S. government into helping the Jews of Europe.

1944
Wing Commander John Cunningham, now on 20 ‘kills’, gets the 2nd bar to his DSO, the first pilot to receive this triple honour.

Both German and Russian forces in the Baltic region go on the defensive.

The ‘Chindits’ cross the Chindwin in Burma.

1945
The US Ninth Army captures München-Gladbach and Rheydt west of the Rhine.

Units of Army group Centre recapture Lauban in lower Silesia.

A U.S. submarine sinks a Japanese merchant ship loaded with supplies for Allied POWs, resulting in a court martial for the captain of the submarine, since the ship had been granted safe passage by the U.S. government.

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