World War II Today: November 15

The German pocket-battleship Admiral Graf Spee sinks the merchantman Africa Shell off Mozambique.

Pocket Battleship Graff Spee - World War II Today: November 15

67 RAF Wellington, Whitley, and Hampden bombers attack Hamburg, doing extensive damage to the city and shipyards, with no loss of aircraft.

The prototype de Havilland Mosquito takes off for the first time; designed as a bomber fast enough to dispense with defensive armament, it has a top speed of 400 mph (644 km/h).

RAF squadrons deploy from their bases in the Middle East to Greece under the command of Air Vice-Marshal J D’Albiac.

Blenheims and Wellingtons of the Western Desert Air Force attack targets deep inside enemy territory, and Lysanders and Blenheims provide complete reconnaissance of Italian defenses at Sidi Barrani.

The Warsaw Ghetto, containing over 400,000 Jews, is sealed off.

In temperatures of -20°C, Army Group Centre resumes its offensive against Moscow, employing Panzer Groups 1, 2 and 3, as well as the 2nd, 4th and 9th Armies.

The de Havilland Mosquito light bomber enters service with No. 105 Sqn at RAF Swanton Morley, Norfolk. However, it was on 31 May 1942 that the Mosquito took part in its first operational raid (Cologne).

A Japanese special negotiator arrives in Washington.

Another night action off Guadalcanal costs the US Navy three destroyers for Japanese battleship Kirishma.

The allied expeditionary air force is formed in Britain for the invasion of Europe.

Mark Clark calls off the U.S. Fifth Army’s offensive. The British counter-attack on Leros fails as the Luftwaffe flies 600 sorties a day. A State of emergency is declared in Milan as unrest in northern Italy continues. The Germans take 1,750 hostages; machine guns are in the streets and 8pm curfew enforced.

The 2nd Tactical Air Force (2nd TAF) is formed; this in turn forms part of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force (AEAF), commanded by Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, in preparation for the invasion of mainland Europe.

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