Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

Jun 18

World War II Today: June 18

1940 French Army in general retreat as German troops capture Le Mans and Cherbourg.

The garrisons of Belfort, Metz and Dijon surrender.

Hitler and Mussolini meet in Munich to discuss French request for peace.

General de Gaulle forms the French National Committee in London and vows to continue the war on the side of Britain, saying that «France has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war.

Churchill speaks to Commons: let us so bear ourselves that . . . men will still say, “This was their finest hour”.

German planes raid Thames Estuary and East Coast.

Canada introduces military conscription, but overseas service is voluntary.

1941 British press give details of development of Radio Location­ (radar) and its use in Battle of Britain.

Free French troops occupy Damascus in Syria.

Germany and Turkey sign a ten-year non-aggression pact.

1942 The British Eighth Army evacuates Sidi Rezegh and El Adem.

Germans announce the killing of Heydrich’­s assassins, just two hours after ultimatum demanding information expired.

German troops seize Fort Maxim Gorky in Sevastopol, digging out Russian naval infantry (in their black Sailor hats) with flame-throwers.

1943 Field Marshal Wavell is to become the Viceroy of India, with General Auchinleck becoming the C in C of India. A new East Asia Command is to be established.

Radar (Radio Detection and Ranging) becomes the official term for Radiolocation.

1944 The US First Army cuts off and isolates the German forces defending Cherbourg.

The Eighth Army take Assisi.

The British 2nd Division manages to advance 14 miles towards Imphal.

1945 Eisenhower arrives in Washington to a heroes welcome.

British demobilization begins.

Japanese resistance ends on Mindanao in the Philippines.

The USAAF begins the fire blitzing of 58 smaller Japanese cities.

Truman approves OPERATION DOWNFALL with the JCS predicting 200,000 US casualties.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: September 26 WWII Today: November 20 WWII Today: January 29

Jun 17

World War II Today: June 17

1940 Liner Lancastria, with 3,000 British troops aboard, bombed and sunk at St. Nazaire, in North West France.

German troops cross the Loire near Orleans. Petain orders French to stop fighting and sues for ‘honourable’ peace terms.

Churchill broadcasts to the nation, saying the British will defend their island home and fight on until the curse of Hitler is removed. Unemployment in Britain falls 114,000 in May to new low of 767,000.

The USSR announces that Estonia and Latvia have agreed to the free passage of troops and to the formation of new governments.

1941 Rommel beats back the British attack at Sollum. ‘Operation Battleaxe’ fails with 1,000 British casualties and 100 tanks lost.

1942 The Eighth Army’s withdrawal reaches the Egyptian frontier, leaving behind a garrison of some 30,000 troops at Tobruk, which is now again under siege.

Yank a weekly magazine for the U.S. armed services, begins publication.

Four German saboteurs are landed by U-584 at Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, Florida.

1943 The British battleships Valiant and Warspite are transferred from Scapa Flow to Oran and Alexandria in North Africa in preparation for Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily.

The light aircraft carrier USS Monterey commissioned, Camden NJ.

1944 General de Lattre de Tassigny’s Free French land on Elba and complete its capture in just two days.

German troops evacuate the island of Elba off the west coast of Italy.

In Normandy, US First Army cuts off Cotentin Peninsula, trapping Germans in Cherbourg.

Free French troops land on Elba off coast of Italy. Iceland becomes independent republic with Svenn Björnsson as first president.

1945 The United States begins B-29 incendiary raids on medium-sized Japanese cities; missions carried out using radar-bombing.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: June 20 WWII Today: April 20 D-Day: June 6, 1944

Jun 16

World War II Today: June 16

1940 French front cracking as the Germans break through in Champagne to Dijon, with units of 19th Panzer Korps reaching Besancon on the Swiss border. German forces, supported by heavy artillery and Stuka dive bombers, continue their assault against the Maginot Line on a broad front.

The French government of Paul Reynaud resigns and is replaced by one led by Marshal Petain who immediately appoints Weygand as Minister of National Defence. 57,000 British troops are evacuated from Nantes and St. Nazaire.

The Red Army occupies Latvia and Estonia. Tens of thousands of “hostile’ natives and their families are rounded up and deported to NKVD prison camps around the Soviet Union.

U-101 sinks the British merchant ship Wellington Star in the Bay of Biscay.

The British submarine Grampus is sunk by four Italian torpedo boats off Syracuse, Sicily.

1941 The US State Department orders the closing by the 10th July of all German consular offices and tourist agencies in the United States. Italians closed down on 19th June.

British unemployment figures for May lowest yet at 243,656 out of work, 400,000 less than a year ago.

The British attempt to continue their offensive, but suffer heavy tank losses to German 88mm Flak guns.

1942 After intense air attacks and Italian fleet sorties, the Gibraltar convoy reaches Malta, but the Alexandria convoy is forced back. During these attempts to reach Malta the losses between both convoys stand at the cruiser Hermione (sunk by U-205, South of Crete), five destroyers and 40 aircraft.

Lieutenant General Ritchie gives General Norrie permission to withdraw XXX Corps past Tobruk and as far as Mersa Matruh to re-equip. General

Gott’s XIII is ordered to take up defensive positions on the Egyptian frontier. This left the city exposed to another siege, for which its defenses were inadequate, having been allowed to deteriorate during the winter.

Future president Lt. Cdr. Lyndon Johnson is released from duty in the Navy after Roosevelt orders all members of Congress serving in the armed forces to return to legislative duties.

1943 93 out of 94 Japanese planes are destroyed during a massive attack on allied shipping round Guadalcanal.

1944 The real flying bomb offensive on Britain begins as 95 V1’s cross the coast before 6am and a total of 244 reaching England that day. The German press calls it the ‘beginning of the day of vengeance’.

The Eighth Army captures Foligno and Spoleto, east of Orvieto and approach Perugia.

U.S. Marines repulse the Japanese counter-attacks on Saipan.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:Words At War: Camp Follower WWII Today: March 12 WWII Today: February 23

Jun 15

World War II Today: June 15

1940 Roosevelt assures Reynaud that US aid will be redoubled.

Germans take Verdun. German forces of the 7th Army cross Rhine and break into the Maginot Line above Strasbourg. Weygand refuses to surrender French Army on its own. 30,600 British and Canadian troops are evacuated from Cherbourg, Brest and St. Malo.

New Russo-German frontier agreement announced.

The Red Army advances across the Lithuanian border.

The Germans open Auschwitz concentration camp, officially to provide 100,000 labor force for I.G Farben factory.

The Communist Party of Australia is declared as illegal.

1941 German formation commanders receive confirmation of the date and time that the attack on the Soviet Union will begin. This is to be 03:30 on the 22nd June 1941. German Panzer units begin to move up to their final jump-off positions.

The British Army begins ‘Operation Battleaxe’ to relieve Australian held Tobruk and then advance towards Derna. However, they meet fierce counter attacks by the Afrika Korps and are unable to make any headway.

1942 U-552 (Kptlt. Topp) sinks 5 ships of Convoy HG-84 in the northern Atlantic.

An Italian naval squadron intercepts the ‘Harpoon’ convoy and disables two British destroyers, as well as damaging the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo, although the the Italians lost a destroyer in the process. Axis aircraft then attacked and sank 2 freighters, the tanker Kentucky and 1 destroyer. Another Italian naval squadron had sailed from Taranto to intercept ‘Vigorous’, which reversed course in the face of this threat. While it was doing this, German E-boats moved in and sank a destroyer and damaged a cruiser with torpedo’s. At this point British torpedo aircraft from Malta attacked the Italian naval squadron, disabling a cruiser, which was later sunk by a British submarine. In the meantime ‘Vigorous’ turned towards Malta again, but further reports of the Italian naval squadron steaming south, forced another course reversal. German Stukas attacked the convoy at this point and damaged a cruiser and sank a destroyer. The Italian naval squadron moved now moved north, removing the threat to the ‘Vigorous’ convoy, but Admiral Vian commanding the ‘Vigorous’ convoy decided that he did not have enough ammunition left to resume his course to Malta and so continued back to Alexandria, during which U-205 sank the cruiser HMS Hermione south of Crete and Stukas sank another destroyer. However, as consolation, British aircraft did manage to torpedo the Italian Battleship Littorio, which spent the next two months under repair.

Rommel launches an attack against Eighth Army’s new defensive line, but is repulsed. However, General Norrie was worried that XXX Corps lacked sufficient tanks to defend this line for very long.

Admiral Chester Nimitz is widely criticized in Washington for not pursuing and destroying the damaged Japanese fleet after the battle of Midway.

1943 The German raider Michel sinks 2 ships off the west coast of Australia.

1944 Roosevelt outlines his plans for the post-war United Nations.

The RAF launches heavy attacks (600 bombers) against Le Havre and Boulogne.

The second Finnish defensive zone is smashed by the Russians.

USAAF B-29s from China pound the Yawata steel works in the first land based air attack on Japan.

U.S. Marines meet strong opposition to their Saipan Island landing despite the heavy bombardment of the Marianas islands during past week. 3,000 US dead; 30,000 Japanese soldiers dead; 22,000 civilians commit suicide–Causes the downfall of Tojo.

1945 B-29’s begin destruction of 60 mid-sized cities in Japan, killing roughly 250,000.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: November 14 WWII Today: March 29 WWII Today: January 10

Jun 14

World War II Today: June 14

1940 Germans enter Paris as Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division takes Le Havre. The French government leaves Tours for Bordeaux. Army Group C, with 24 divisions, prepares to cross the upper Rhine to attack the Maginot Line in Alsace. All remaining British troops in France are ordered to return to England.

Spanish troops enter Tangier. British troops capture Fort Capuzzo and Maddalena, destroy the fixed guns and emplacements and then retire back to Egypt.

1941 President Roosevelt orders the freezing of all German and Italian assets, as well as those of occupied countries.

The RAF begins fighter sweeps over Northern France.

Croatia joins the Tripartite Pact.

Hitler meets with his top generals to discuss matters concerning the upcoming campaign against the Soviet Union. The ‘Lucy’ spy ring passes information to the Soviet Union, detailing the start date for a German attack as the 22nd June.

1942 Air Marshal Harris is recognized for his achievements with the recent 1,000 bomber raids with a knight-hood.

German troops of the 16th Regiment of the 22nd Airlanding Division take Fort Stalin in Sevastopol.

Auchinleck tells Ritchie that Tobruk must be held, a fact that Churchill reiterates to him. The Eighth Army now holds a line directly in front of Tobruk, running from the coast to Acroma, then southeast to El Adem and then directly south to Bir El Gobi.

The first axis attacks are made against the ‘Harpoon’ and ‘Vigorous’ convoys. ‘Harpoon’ loses a freighter and receives damage to a cruiser from an axis air attack off the Tunisian coast. ‘Harpoons’ escorting aircraft carriers turn back at this point. In the late afternoon, the ‘Vigorous’ convoy passes out of air cover range and promptly losses two freighters to axis air attacks. Another freighter is forced to return to Alexandria as it is deemed to slow.

1943 RAF Coastal Command begins daily patrols over the Bay of Biscay with aircraft equipped with new detection devices to locate and destroy German U-boats leaving and entering their bases on the French coast.

A German report shows that 100,000 cases of typhus were reported on the Russian front during 1942, with a fatality rate of 15%.

1944 His Majesty the King and de Gaulle visit the Normandy front (separately). Carentan is finally in U.S. hands after a week’s fighting in Normandy.

The allies take Orvieto, 65 miles Northwest of Rome.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: April 9 WWII Today: June 7 WWII Today: March 17

Jun 13

World War II Today: June 13

1940 Germans troops advance on both sides of Paris. General Weygand declares the French capital an open city.

Armed merchant-cruiser Scotstown is torpedoed by U-25 off Ireland, 6 crew lost. The first US arms ship, ‘Eastern Prince’, sets sail for Britain.

Italian bombers attack the French naval base at Toulon.

The British submarine Odin is sunk by the Italian destroyer Strale in Gulf of Taranto.

The German raider Orion lays mines off Auckland, New Zealand.

1941 The Luftwaffe carries out a raid on the British naval base at Chatham, but with little success.

Twenty Nine people are killed, when German dive-bombers sink the Great Western Railway Steamer St. Patrick.

Russian news agency Tass, denies German threat on its borders and calls rumors ëabsurd and obviously sheer hostile propaganda.í The Russians begin to arrest those in the Baltic States who might support a German occupation. In all, about 50,000 are rounded up, with the majority never to be seen alive again.

Russo-Japanese trade agreement announced in Tokyo.

1942 President Roosevelt authorizes the creation of the U.S. Office on War Information (OWI). The first director is Elmer Holmes Davis, a CBS commentator and novelist.

German tanks and anti-tank batteries destroy 138 British tanks in and around the Knightsbridge pocket. This left the Eighth Army with only 75 armoured vehicles operational and threatened the main British supply route along the Trigh Capuzzo, which in turn threatened the 1st South African and British 50th Division which were still defending the northern part of the Gazala line. Lieutenant General Ritchie, without informing General Auchinleck, who wanted to hold west of Tobruk, ordered these two divisions to pull back towards Tobruk.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of June 13, four men landed on a beach near Amagansett, Long Island, New York, from a German submarine, clad in German uniforms and bringing ashore enough explosives, primers, and incendiaries to support an expected two-year career in the sabotage of American defense-related production. On June 17, a similar group landed on Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida, equipped for a similar career in industrial disruption. However, all are captured within days and six are executed after a trial.

1943 Night fighter ace Wing Commander John Cunningham, brings down his 16th victim over southern England.

1944 The first V1 flying bomb is launched against Britain during Operation ‘Rumpelkammer’ and hits Swanscombe in Kent at 0418, causing shock and near panic among the civilian population.

Near Villers-Bocage, a single Tiger tank from the 12th SS Panzer Division (Michael Wittmann’s) destroys 25 tanks and other vehicles of the British 7th Armoured Division.

1945 U.S. and Australian troops enter Brunei, in Borneo.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: February 13 WWII Today: October 15 WWII Today: April 21

Jun 12

World War II Today: June 12

1940 General Sir Edmund Ironside, C-in-C of British Home Forces, completes plans for the defense of Britain against German invasion.

On the orders from General Weygand, C-in-C of the French Army, the French forces opposing the advance of Army Group A withdraw to the South, offering little resistance. The Germans cross the River Marne, consolidate bridgehead South of the Seine and claim to have occupied Rheims. Four French divisions and most of the British 51st Highland Division is cut off and captured by Rommel at St. Valery-en-Caux.

The Soviet Union issues an ultimatum to Lithuania, demanding that the Red Army be allowed to occupy the country.

RAF bomb docks in Tobruk, Libya.

Italian submarine Bagnolini sinks British cruiser Calypso south of Crete.

1941 The RAF raids the Ruhr, Rhineland and German ports in the first of 20 consecutive night raids.

The German pocket battleship L¸tzow (formerly Deutschland) is attacked and damaged by RAF aircraft off the southern coast of Norway.

1942 Rommel, having now brought up tank reserves, could now muster 124 tanks against the 248 British tanks. He therefore attacked the British positions between Knightsbridge and El Adem, trapping much of the British armor.

1943 The RAF launches a heavy raid on Bochum in the Ruhr. The Luftwaffe carries out a night attack against Plymouth.

King George VI lands in Morocco, only his second sanctioned visit of the war to forces overseas.

1944 U.S. troops fighting for Carentan, link up with British troops, thereby completing a solid line along a 50-mile battle front. So far, the allies have landed 326,000 men and 54,000 vehicles onto the Normandy beaches.

Rosenberg orders operation ‘Hay Action’, the kidnapping of 40,000 Polish children aged ten to fourteen for slave labour in Germany.

1945 Eisenhower is awarded the Order of Merit and becomes the first U.S. recipient.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:Words At War: Guys On the Ground WWII Today: April 11 WWII Today: April 9

Jun 11

World War II Today: June 11

1940 Householders in possession of Anderson shelters must by law have them up and earthed by today.

The German forces capture Rheims.

Paris prepares for siege as the Luftwaffe pounds the city.

The RAF attacks Turin and Genoa with 36 Whitley bombers.

RAF attack German ships in Trondheim harbour, Norway.

Australia and New Zealand declare war on Italy.

South Africa declares war on Italy. RAF bomb airfields and petrol dumps in Italian East Africa and Libya. British armored cars cross into Libya from Egypt and ambush a number of Italian trucks near Fort Capuzzo. ItalianÂaircraft bomb Aden and Port Sudan.

Italian troops invade France along Riviera and in Alps, but do not advance.

Italian planes bomb Malta in the first of 3340 air raids over the next three years. Paris is declared an open city.

1942 U-boats begin laying mines off Boston, Delaware and Chesapeake Bay.

The court-martial of a German army captain Michael Kitzelmann ends in Orel. Kitzelmann, who won an Iron Cross Second Class for bravery, has spoken out against atrocities being committed on the eastern front. “If these criminals should win,” he has told his fellow officers, “I would have no wish to live any longer.” Kitzelmann’s wish is granted. He is shot by a firing squad that day.

The United States and the Soviet Union signed a lend lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort.

Simultaneous British convoys set sail for Malta from Gibraltar and Alexandria. The Gibraltar convoy (codenamed  Harpoon’), consisted of 5 freighters and a US tanker. It was initially escorted by a battleship, 2 aircraft carrier, 3 cruisers and 8 destroyers and was later reinforced by an anti-aircraft cruiser and 9 destroyers. The Alexandria convoy (codenamed ‘Vigorous’), had eleven freighters and was escorted by 7 light cruisers and 26 destroyers.

1943 Operation ‘Corkscrew’, the invasion of Pantelleria meets little resistance after a 20-day aerial bombardment of the island.

The US 8th Air Force raids the German naval base at Wilhelmshaven (200 B-17s), while the RAF attacks Munster and Dusseldorf.

1944 The US Fast Carrier Attack Force (TF 58) begins bombing the Mariana Islands in preparation for invasion.

The Battleship USS Missouri commissioned at Brooklyn, NY.

1945 SEAC estimate that 108,240 Japanese have been killed in Burma since February 1944.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:D-Day June 6, 1944 WWII Today: October 25 WWII Today: July 19

Jun 10

World War II Today: June 10

1940 The remaining troops of the Norwegian Army (6th Division) surrender, after Norway surrenders unconditionally.

Italy declares war on Britain and France, effective from the 11th June 1940.

President Roosevelt condemns Germany and Italy and promises material aid to both Britain and France

1941 British advance breaks through Vichy opposition in Syria.

The United States wins contract for Bolivia’s entire tungsten supply, depriving Japan of the mineral, vital to strengthening metal alloys in arms production.

1942 Prague radio announces the extermination of Lidice, a village of about 2,000. All the men were shot and women sent to concentration camps. All buildings are razed to the ground as a reprisal for Heydrich killing.

Another German offensive in the East begins as two German armies of 33 division, five of them Panzer, attack from Kharkov on the Volchansk Front, a massive assault that will roll on until the 26th,scattering the Russian forces ahead of them.

Panzer Army Afrika finally captures Bir Hacheim, a strongpoint fiercely defended by Foreign Legionnaire’s of the Free French Forces. The British Eighth Army is pushed towards the Egyptian border.

British tea planter uses elephants to rescue 68 Burmese refugees fleeing Japanese across the Daphna River, India.

The United States approves construction of “Big Inch” pipeline to transport crude oil from Texas to northeast states, bypassing U-boats.

1943 A co-ordinated air offensive is begun, with the US 8th Air Force, flying precision bombing missions by day and RAF Bomber Command, flying area saturation missions by night, against major German cities.

1944 German counterattacks against Allied invasion forces are unsuccessful for lack of armoured reserves in the area.

Troops of the 2nd SS Panzer Division ‘Das Reich’ massacre the inhabitants of Oradour-sur-Glane in France.

1945 The Australian 9th Division makes two landings in Brunei Bay, Borneo.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 26 WWII Pin Up: Gloria DeHaven WWII Today: May 23

Jun 09

World War II Today: June 9

1940 German forces advancing South from the Somme capture Rouen on the Seine.

The British 51st Highland Division and part of the French 10th Army withdraw towards St-Valery-en-Caux, hoping to be evacuated to England.

The French government evacuates from Paris to Tours.

Norway officially surrenders to Germany.

1941 Fire Service Council established in Britain, with 1,400 local brigades being merged in to 32 regional ones.

British advance 40 miles into southern Syria and the Lebanon capturing Tyre in the process.

Italian casualties for May announced as 1,948 killed, 5,204 wounded and 27,292 missing.

Two thousand soldiers put an end to the strike at North American Aviation in Inglewood, CA that threatened crucial aircraft production.

1942 Heydrich lies in state in Berlin. Himmler calls him, ‘a noble, honest and decent human being’.

The Japanese high command announces that “The Midway Occupation operations have been temporarily postponed.”

1943 Tito is wounded during a German air attack.

1944 U.S. forces advancing from Utah Beach capture St. Mere-Eglise and cut the crucial road and rail links on the Cherbourg peninsula. Rommel puts all German forces in Normandy onto the defensive.

The RAF fly from French airfields for first time since 1940.

The U.S. Fifth Army is now 50 miles Northwest of Rome.

The Russians launch a heavy assault on the Finnish forces in the Karelian Isthmus to the North of Leningrad, in an attempt to force them out of war.

1945 Japanese Premier Kantaro Suzuki announces Japan will fight to the very end rather than accept unconditional surrender.

On Luzon, US Sixth Army takes Bagabag, sealing off Japanese in Cagayan Valley.

The Japanese on Okinawa’s Oroku peninsula are reported as trapped.

Tokyo radio says that 4.93m Japanese have been displaced by the bombing in the last three months.

Yugoslav partisans agree to withdraw from Austria and Trieste.

Los Angeles holds a parade for Generals George Patton and Jimmy Doolittle.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: April 13 WWII Today: May 9 Words at War: Barriers Down