Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

Jan 25

World War II Today: January 25

1940 Nazis choose the town of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) in Poland near Krakow as site of new concentration camp.

Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King dissolves Parliament; new elections to be held.

US auxiliary ship Bear reaches deepest penetration by any ship yet into Antarctica.

1942 Thailand declares war on Britain and the US.

Japanese troops begin landing at Lae in New Guinea.

Australia begins full mobilization of all assets at its disposal.

The US enquiry in to the disaster at Pearl Harbor finds Admiral Kimmel, then the C-in-C of the US Fleet, guilty of dereliction of duty. A court martial is announced later.

German troops capture Msus, which threatens the 4th Indian Divisions position at Benghazi. Lieutenant General Ritchie, orders the 4th Indian Division to withdraw to a line running from Derna to Mechili, but this order is countermanded by General Auchinleck who wanted the 8th Army to counter-attack. However, the 8th Army was to widely dispersed and Rommel’s forces were advancing to quickly.

1943 Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt end the Casablanca Conference with their announcement of the demand for the unconditional surrender of Germany and Italy.

The Red Army succeeds in splitting the remnants of 6th Army into a northern and a southern pocket. German forces evacuate Armavir and Voronezh.

Stalin’s Order of the day says that the Red Army has routed 102 German divisions in the last two months.

The Pentagon opens—the largest office building in the world. 

Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis is published.

1944 Night-fighter ace, Major Prinz zu SaynWittgenstein who claimed 83 victories is killed.

Diary entry by Hans Frank, Gauleiter of Poland, concerning the fate of 2.5 million Jews originally under his jurisdiction – “At the present time we still have in the General Government perhaps 100,000 Jews.”

Australian advances in New Guinea are announced, with the Japanese cleared from the ‘Shaggy Line’.

Japanese destroyer Suzukaze was torpedoed and sunk northwest of Ponape by the American submarine Skipjack.

1945 Zhukov cuts off the Fortress city of Posen which holds 66,000 Germans and continues his 50-mile a day advance.

The Battle of The Bulge ends.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 8 WWII Today: February 9 Words at War: Fair Stood the Wind for France

Jan 24

World War II Today: January 24

1940 Chinese take Dongyangyuan Pass, Shanxi Province, China in war with Japan.

1941 General Cunningham’s ‘Southern Force’ invades Italian Somaliland from Garissa and Bura in Kenya.

1942 More reinforcements arrive at Singapore to boost its defenses as the British 18th Division is landed.

Japanese troops land at Balikpapan in Dutch Borneo.

Four US destroyers and some submarines attack a Japanese convoy in theMakassar Strait between Borneo and Celebes, sinking 1 destroyer and four transports, while only suffering damage to one of their destroyers. This action delays the impending Japanese invasion of Java.

US Flying Tigers P-40s shoot down 12 planes over Rangoon, Burma.

German troops of Army Group Centre, recapture Sukhinichi near Kaluga.

1943 Russians take Starobelskiy, near the Donets River in the eastern Ukraine, more than 250 miles to the West of Stalingrad. Hitler orders no surrender in Stalingrad. The offensive by the Soviet Trans-Caucasian Front toward the Kuban bridgehead is stopped at Novorossiysk and Krasnodar.

Fighting in Papua is officially reported as over.

1944 In response to political pressure to help Jews under Nazi control, Roosevelt creates the War Refugee Board.

Chinese forces make further advances in the Hukawng Valley.

German bombers sink British hospital ship St. David off Anzio with Hs-293 guided missile; 96 killed, including 2 British nurses.

The US 93rdEvacuation Hospital opens in Anzio and is hit by German shells, injuring a sergeant, the first of many casualties in the Anzio hospitals.

1945 U.S. troops capture Clark Field, the main Japanese airbase on Luzon.

The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm carrier planes destroy the Japanese oil refinery near Palembang, on Sumatra.

German forces begin evacuating Slovakia.

The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Oppeln and Gleiwitz in Upper Silesia.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 2 WWII Today: March 18 WWII Today: January 13

Jan 23

World War II Today: January 23

1940 Britain and France say they will not honor 200-mile Pan-American neutrality zone and will attack German ships there.

Animals in Berlin Zoo placed on war rations—less meat, no bananas or peanuts.

1941 Before Congress, Charles Lindbergh suggests the US negotiate a neutrality pact with Hitler.

HMS Illustrious, heavily damaged, leaves Malta for repairs in Alexandria.

1942 Japanese land at crucial British naval and air base of Rabaul, New Britain and take it.

Japanese land at Kavieng, New Ireland and Kieta, Bougainville, and secure both.

Lt. Gen. Joseph Stilwell placed in command of US Army forces in China-Burma-India Theater.

Australia sends an urgent request for assistance from the Allies after a series of conquests in the Southwest Pacific brings the Japanese within a thousand miles of Australian territory.


1943 British take Tripoli, Libya. US takes last Japanese landing beach on Guadalcanal, cutting their supply route.

Japanese continue their fight in western Guadalcanal; they now seem to have given up completely on the New Guinea campaign.

The first Japanese attack on the U.S. mainland as a submarine shells an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California.

1944 Australians secure Shaggy Ridge in Finisterre Mountains, New Guinea, securing Huon Peninsula.

Off the Anzio landing beaches, the Luftwaffe sinks British destroyer HMS Janus, 159 killed.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier-based planes attack the Mariana Islands.

1945 US Ninth Army retakes St. Vith in Belgium from Germans.

Nazis execute Count Helmuth von Moltke, leader of the German Kreisau Circle resistance group.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 10 WWII Today: February 18 WWII Today: August 11

Jan 22

World War II Today: January 22

1940 Destroyer Exmouth torpedoed off Wick, Scotland by U-22; all hands killed.

British Ministry of Information begins censoring newsreels.

1941 The Destroyer HMS Hyperion sunk by mine off Cape Bon.

Tobruk surrenders to British and Australian troops who capture 25,000 Italians, along with 208 guns and 87 tanks. Combined British and Australian losses were about 450. The British government now orders Wavell’s XIII Corps to capture Benghazi.


Rommel’s command is redesignated as Panzer Army Afrika. German panzers capture Agedabia and trap part of the British 1st Armored Division in the Antelat – Sannu area, destroying about 70 of its tanks.

General MacArthur orders the withdrawal of US and Filipino troops to the Bagac-Orion line, which is the final defensive position in Bataan. After dark the Japanese make two Battalion sized landings at Quinauan Point and Longoskawayan Point to the rear of the US-Filipino positions in Bataan. However, U.S. and Filipino reserves successfully contain these beachheads.

1943 Japanese forces are routed at Sanananda, putting paid to their resistance in Papua. On Guadalcanal, the Americans make important gains in the battle round Henderson field.

1944 The Battle of Anzio begins with an Allied amphibious landing in the region of Anzio and Nettuno, with the objective of outflanking German forces at the Winter Line and setting up a drive on Rome.

The Battle of Rapido River ends in German defensive victory.

Walter Model replaces Georg von Küchler as commander of Army Group North.

1945 The land route from India to China through Burma is declared free of Japanese and now open to convoys.

The Red Army captures Insterburg and Allenstein in East Prussia.

Four squadrons of RAF Spitfires destroy a factory in Alblasserdam that manufactured liquid oxygen for German rockets.

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Jan 21

World War II Today: January 21

1940 Admiralty announce sinking of the Grenville, 8 dead, 73 missing, presumed dead.

The Russian 8th Army launches an attack against the Finnish forces of Group Talvela, without success. The Finnish 9th Division is transferred from Suomussalmi to Kuhmo.

1941 Communist newspaper, The Daily Worker is suppressed in Britain.

The US informs the Soviet Union that the “moral embargo” imposed on it after its 1939 attack on Finland no longer applies.

British and Australian forces breach the defenses at Tobruk.

1942 The Luftwaffe, with 400 aircraft available, begins a series of raids against London and ports in southern England.

Without consulting higher authority, Rommel launches a counter-offensive against the 8th Army. The 21st Panzer Division quickly seizes Mersa Brega, while the 15th Panzer Division advances to Wadi Faregh and swings north towards Agedabia, brushing aside the attempts by the 1st Armoured Division to stop them.

General Joseph W. Stillwell is appointed as Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek.

First Japanese bombing of New Guinea.

1943 The Combined Chiefs of Staff issue the Casablanca Directive. Its principal aim was to weld RAF and USAAF strategic bomber forces into one mighty air arm able to crush the German industrial, military and economic system. It was also decided that to defer the cross-channel invasion until 1944.

The Russians claim the capture of the Caucasian railway town of Voroshilovskiy and say that 500,000 Germans have been killed and 200,000 captured in the last two months of fighting.

1944 The largest Luftwaffe raid on Britain for some time, with 90 planes being spotted over Southeast England during the ‘Little Blitz’. Mosquito night-fighters equipped with radar account for 129 of the 329 aircraft shot down during the 5 month Little Blitz.

The RAF sends 648 bombers to Magdeburg, but loses 55 for just 4 Luftwaffe fighters.

1945 Tannenburg is taken by Red Army, but only after the Germans blow up the memorial.

British forces enter Monywa, 60 miles to the West of Mandalay.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 15 WWII Today: June 17 WWII Today: April 4

Jan 20

World War II Today: January 20

1939 Adolf Hitler dismissed Hjalmar Schacht as President of the Reichsbank and appointed Walther Funk to replace him.

1940 Britain and France agree to send troops and supplies to aid Finland, but they do not arrive in time.

1941 Compulsory fire watching duty introduced in Great Britain.

With Hitler’s tacit support, Marshal Antonescu suppresses a rebellion by the Iron Guard in Romania.

Emperor Haile Selassie crosses the Abyssinian border at Um Idla.

President Roosevelt inaugurated for his third term.

1942 In the Wannsee suburb of Berlin, the formal adoption of the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Problem’ takes place. In practice this meant that all

Jews in occupied Europe were to be transported to the east. The able bodied were worked until they died, while the remainder were put to death.

British troops capture Benghazi.

The Japanese 55th Division crosses the Thai-Burmese border from Raheng. They quickly threaten Moulmein in Burma, using the same tactics as in

Malaya of outflanking British forces through the Jungle.

1943 Daylight raid by the Luftwaffe hits a school in London, killing 44 children and one teacher.

Russian progress continues in the Caucasus.

First destroyer escort type ship, Brennan (DE-13), commissioned at Mare Island CA.

1944 The RAF makes its heaviest raid on Berlin, with 700 bombers dropping more than 2,300 tons during the 11th raid of the ‘Battle of Berlin’.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder is appointed Deputy Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force.

Allied forces in Italy begin unsuccessful operations to cross the Rapido River and seize Cassino.

The Red Army recaptures Novgorod.

1945 The French First Army under de Lattre attacks against the Colmar Pocket in Alsace.

Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated for his fourth term.

The Allies sign a truce with the Hungarians.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 12 WWII Today: February 15 WWII Today: July 12


Jan 19

World War II Today: January 19

1941 Hitler and Mussolini meet at Berchtesgaden, with Mussolini accepting German military help in North Africa, but not Albania.

British troops under General Platt, re-occupy Kassala in the Sudan and advance into Eritrea.

1942 British North Borneo surrenders to Japanese at Sandakan.

Actor James Stewart receives his wings and commission in the US Army Air Forces.

Off Cape Hatteras, NC, German U-boat U-123sinks Latvian freighter Ciltvaira and US freighters City of Atlanta and Norvana.

Two Axis transports, the Mongevino and Ankara land 45 German tanks at Benghazi as reinforcement, while axis forces evacuate the city.

General Wavell warns Churchill that Singapore cannot be held as little had been done to prepare the landward facing defences. Churchill replies that Singapore must be defended and that ‘no question of surrender be entertained until after protracted fighting among the ruins of Singapore city’. General Wavell orders General Percival to prepare Singapore Island for a siege.

Japanese troop capture Tavoy as their advance continues in Burma.

1943 Russians claim further victories during a 75-mile advance towards Kharkov on the Voronezh front, with the Russians claiming 52,000 axis prisoners on this front alone.

The Eighth Army captures Homs and Tarhuna, near Tripoli.

US launches final offensive on Guadalcanal.

1944 The Eire government announces the arrest of two ‘Quisling’ Irishmen, parachuted into County Clare by German planes.

Germans forces are surrounded in Novgorod, 100 miles to the South of Leningrad, but manage to break out.

ANZAC Conference begins in Canberra, Australia: Prime Ministers of Australia & New Zealand discuss postwar relations with US & UK.

1945 Hitler orders that all divisional sized and larger attacks or retreats must have his approval.

The Russians cross 1939 Poland-Silesia frontier taking Kracow. East Prussia is also entered from south by Russian troops. Red Army forces capture Lodz.

USAAF B29 bombers destroy the Kawasaki aircraft works near Kobe, in Japan.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Rosie the Riveter WWII Today: March 17 WWII Today: February 24

Jan 18

World War II Today: January 18

1940 British begin seizure and censorship of air mail passing through Bermuda.

The Battle of Kunlun Pass ended with the Chinese holding the pass.

1941 The Greeks complete the Capture of Klisura Pass.

The British complete Operation Excess with all convoyed freighters reaching their destinations. However, the light cruiser HMS Southampton was bombed and sunk off Malta by the Luftwaffe.

Hitler issueds Directive No. 22, German Support for Battles in the Mediterranean Area.

1942 The Red Army cuts the main supply route for the German 2nd and 10th Corps at Demyansk near Lake Ilmen, forcing the Luftwaffe to begin flying in supplies. Field Marshal von Bock takes over command of Army Group South from Field Marshal von Reichenau who died of a heart attack. The Soviet South West Front launches an offensive across the river Donets, to the South of Kharkov in an attempt to cut of all German forces north of the Sea of Azov. German troops of 11th Army recapture Feodosiya and seal off the Soviet bridgehead at Kerch in the Crimea.

As Japanese advance, RAF withdraws bombers from Singapore to Sumatra.

Field Marshal Fedor von Bock assumes command of German Army Group South.

Dutch begin to destroy oil facilities at Balikpapan, Borneo so they won’t fall into Japanese hands.

1943 The Russians break through the German stranglehold on Leningrad to relieve the city from the East. In the Caucasus, the Russian advance continues. Cherkessk is captured by the Red Army, who are now less than 250 miles south east of Rostov.

First resistance by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

The Germans counter attack in Tunisia. They gain ground against the Free French, but are repulsed by British forces.

Australian troops capture Cape Killerton and Wye Point in Papua, New Guinea.

1944 German forces of Army Group Centre repel repeated Red Army attacks in the area of Vitebsk.

The Japanese cruiser Kuma is torpedoed and sunk off Penang, Malaya by the British submarine Tally-Ho.

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes the annual State of the Union Address to Congress, proposing the Second Bill of Rights guaranteeing such things as housing, medical care and education.

The Soviet Union responds to the Polish declaration of January 5 with a statement through TASS. The Soviet government disputes Polish territorial claims and insists that the Soviet-Polish border had been determined through “the plebiscite carried out in 1939 on a broad democratic basis”. The statement also accuses the Polish government-in-exile of being “incapable of establishing friendly relations with the USSR, and shows itself incapable of organizing active resistance against German invaders inside Poland. Moreover, by its erroneous policy it has often plays into the hands of German invaders.”

The P-51 Mustang joins the P-38 Lightning and P-47 Thunderbolt in U.S. long-range escort missions over German.

1945 German troops evacuate Kracow. A German offensive begins from Lake Balaton, with the aim of lifting the Red Army’s siege of Budapest.

British Empire casualties to November 1944 are announced as 282,162 killed, 80,580 missing, 386,374 wounded and 294,438 captured.

Nazis evacuate 66,000 inmates from Auschwitz back into Germany.

On Luzon in the Philippines, the US Sixth Army drives south from Lingayen Gulf toward Manila.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 30 WWII Today: August 17 WWII Today: March 22

Jan 17

World War II Today: January 17

1940 In Paris, Polish cryptographers break Luftwaffe Enigma code.

1941 During the night, the Italians evacuate Kassala and Gallalabat in the Sudan.

Battle of Ko Chang: Vichy French battle Thai incursions into Indochina and defeat them in naval battle in Gulf of Siam.

1942 The last German garrison at Halfaya in Cyrenaica surrenders, with about 5,500 prisoners taken.

Field Marshal Walther von Reichenau of German Army Group South dies of stroke.

British and South African troops take Halfaya Pass on Egyptian border and 5500 Axis POWs.

Off Murmansk, German U-boat U-454 sinks British destroyer Matabele in convoy PQ-8, first U-boat group action against an Allied Arctic convoy.

1943 US Naval Base and Naval Air Station, Brisbane, Australia is established.

For the first time, a nurse participates in air evacuation, accompanying patients from India to Washington DC.

1944 British 10 Corps crosses lower Garigliano River in Italy. US secures Arawe area on New Britain in the Solomons.

1945 Russians forces cross the Warthe and advance 100-miles on a 160-mile front forcing the Germans to evacuate Warsaw, which falls that same day. The German defenders encircled at Budapest withdraw to Buda on the western bank of the Danube.

The Red Army captures Czenstochova.

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews, is detained by the Soviets in Budapest, Hungary and disappears.

Nazis lead 66,000 prisoners from Auschwitz on a death march to Germany.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 22 WWII Today: November 24 WWII Today: April 30

Jan 16

World War II Today: January 16

1940 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.

1941 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.

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

German submarine U-77 was commissioned.

1942 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.

1943 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.

1944 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.

1945 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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