Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category
1940 Soviet bombers raid cities in Finland.
1941 Recruiting of Norwegians for the ‘Nordland’ Regiment of the 5th SS Motorized Division ‘Wiking’ begins.
1942 Hitler orders Admiral Otto Ciliax, who commands the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the cruiser Prinz Eugen at Brest, to prepare to return to Germany. The new German battleship Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck is ordered to Norway.
British capture Sollum.
Japan formally declares war on the Dutch East Indies.
Field Marshal von Leeb, C-in-C of Army Group North, requests permission to withdraw his forces south of Lake Ilmen behind the river Lovat, as the 2nd Corps at Demyansk is in serious danger of being cut off. Hitler refuses von Leebs request who resigns in protest. His place as C-in-C of Army Group North is taken up by Field Marshal von Kuechler.
Off Nova Scotia, German U-boat U-123 sinks British freighter Cyclops, the first loss in Germany’s “Operation Paukenschlag.”
Col. Charles Lindbergh is refused a military command due to his vocal pre-war isolationist work.
US forms National War Labor Board to deal with union wage demands.
In US, Victory Book Campaign begins to collect reading material for servicemen.
1943 The Red Army begins an offensive to restore the land communications with the encircled city of Leningrad. The Germans abandon a 300 miles salient in Caucasus. And withdraw towards the Kuban Bridgehead. The Red Army gains several more streets in the bloody battle for Stalingrad.
Gen. Leclerc drives the last Germans troops out of the Fezzan in Southern Libya with his Free French forces from Chad.
1944 Churchill and de Gaulle meet for talks at Marrakesh.
1945 The German ‘Nordwind’ offensive is stopped 13 miles from Strasbourg. British and U.S.forces link up in the Laroche area.
Koniev’s 1st Ukrainian Front launches a major winter offensive from its bridgehead across the Vistula at Baranov in southern Poland.Take a look a these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 24 WWII Today: January 26 WWII Today: March 1
1941 Hitler confirms in Directive No.22, his intentions to send military support to the Italians in Albania. The operation is to be named ‘Alpine Violets’.
The Cruisers HMS Southampton and HMS Gloucester are attacked by German aircraft in the Sicilian channel. HMS Gloucester receives damage, while HMS Southampton is sunk. British submarines begin to make attacks German and Italian convoys crossing to Libya.
Hitler confirms in Directive No.22, his intentions to send military support to the Italians in Libya. The operation is to be named ‘Sunflower’.
In Luftwaffe raid to London, a direct hit on the Bank underground station kills 111.
1942 The Japanese 5th Division enters Kuala Lumpur, which is the main supply base for the Indian 3rd Corps. By this time Japanese forward elements are coming in to contact with the 8th Australian Division, which puts up fierce resistance, although Japanese amphibious landings to their south force them to retreat and ends British hopes of a protracted defence of Johore.
The Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies begins with landings at Tarakan (Borneo) and Manado (Celebes).
The Kriegsmarine begins Operation Drum Beat, the first coordinated attack carried out by five U-boats initially against US shipping along the East Coast of the United States. Their first victim is the 9,000 ton British steamer Cyclops which is sunk by U-123 (Kptlt. Hardegen), 300miles to the east of Cape Cod.
1943 President Roosevelt submits his budget to the U.S. Congress. $100 billion of the $109 billion budget is identified with the war effort.
1944 Ciano and 17 others are shot by firing squad.
660 heavy bombers of the U.S. 8th Air Force carries out attacks against industrial targets at Braunschweig, Magdeburg and Ascherleben.
In the US Eighth Air Force raid on Brunswick, the 94th Bomb Group makes a rare second run on the target and receives the Presidential Unit Citation; however, the group loses 8 B-17s.
Avenger aircraft from US escort carrier Block Island attack a U-boat using forward-firing rockets for the first time.
1945 British troops capture Laroche, 20 miles Northwest of Bastogne.
U.S. troops establish a firm hold on the Luzon beachhead.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Combat America by Clark Gable WWII Today: February 9 WWII Today: January 7
1940 German planes attack 12 ships off the British coast; sinking 3 ships and killing 35 people.
Hitler informs his commanders that the attack in the west will begin on the 17th January. On this same day a German light aircraft makes a forced landing at Malines in Belgium, near the German border. The planes occupants were carrying details of the German plans, which alerted the Belgium and Dutch governments to German intentions.
1941 Roosevelt introduces his ‘Lend Lease’ bill to the House of Representatives as House Resolution 1776 (H.R. 1776), after recognizing that neither Britain or China could continue paying indefinitely for material supplied. This allowed the fighting allies to pay the USA back in kind, but after the war. He likened this to ‘lending a neighbor a garden hose to put out a fire’.
The RAF begins Circus operations – co-ordinated bomber and fighter attacks on targets in France. Six Blenheims, escorted by six/nine squadrons of Spitfires and Hurricanes attack supply dumps south of Calais.
Heavy air attacks begin on Malta.
German aircraft surprise the Mediterranean fleet, which is escorting 3 merchant ships to Greece. 40 Ju-87 Stukas attack them, scoring 6 hits on HMS Illustrious and severely damaging her. HMS Warspite also receive damage. Both ships make for Malta and arrive the next day.
Germany and the Soviet Union sign a fresh treaty, which recognizes their existing spheres of influence and affirms current trade agreements.
1942 Colonel-General Ernst Udet, head of Luftwaffe aircraft production and development, commits suicide because of his failure to provide adequate replacements and new improved aircraft models to the Luftwaffe.
1943 After a 55-minute bombardment by thousands of guns and rocket-launchers and employing seven armies, the Red Army begins Operation Ring, the final annihilation of the tattered remnants of 6th Army defending themselves desperately against all odds in the ruins of Stalingrad.
1944 All but one of the Fascist ex-ministers on trial are sentenced to death at Castel Vecchio.
The Russians capture Lyudvipol, 2-3 miles across the Polish border. The Russians propose new Polish border further west on the so-called ‘Curzon Line’. German forces in Dnieper bend are attacked by the Russians for the next five days, but and early thaw aids the German defense.
1945 The German 7th Gebirgsdivision retreats from it’s positions in LÃ¤tÃ¤seno. Only a very small portion of Finland is still in German hands.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 16 WWII Today: January 3 WWII Today: July 30
1940 German bombers sink three merchantmen in North Sea.
Australian Comforts Fund reestablished, for women to send care packages to soldiers.
The British submarine Starfish was sunk in the Heligoland Bight by German minesweeper trawlers.
1941 The Avro Manchester III makes its first flight equipped with four Rolls-Royce Merlin engines in place of the two Rolls-Royce Vultures used on earlier marks. Ordered into production as the Lancaster, it becomes possibly the most famous RAF bomber of all time, after bearing the brunt of the Bomber Command offensive in Europe.
British & Australian troops surround Italians at Tobruk, Libya.
Hitler held a conference with his generals to discuss plans to attack the Soviet Union. Hitler said that German success in Russia would encourage Japan to attack the United States, thus keeping the Americans too occupied to get involved in the war in Europe.
1942 Japanese troops launch an attack against the eastern side of the Santa Rosa-Natib defence line on Bataan, making some gains, although US-Filipino counter-attacks forces them back to their start-line.
Soviets begin offensive at Moscow and Smolensk (Battle of the Valdai Hills).
In Malaya, British begin withdrawal into Johore to protect Singapore.
The Battle of Dražgoše began between the Slovene Partisans and Nazi occupying forces.
The British destroyer HMS Vimiera struck a naval mine and sank in the Thames Estuary.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto made a statement to Taketora Ogata that may have been the basis for the apocryphal sleeping giant quote attributed to him when he said, “A military man can scarcely pride himself on having ‘smitten a sleeping enemy’; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten. I would rather you made your appraisal after seeing what the enemy does, since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack.”
1943 Soviet planes drop leaflets on the surrounded Germans in Stalingrad requesting their surrender with humane terms. The Germans refuse.
Italian destroyer Corsaro sank off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a mine.
First flight of prototype Lockheed C-69 Constellation, fastest US transport plane of war.
1944 Countess Ciano escapes to Switzerland and is interned.
British forces take Maungdaw, Burma, a critical port for Allied supplies.
Flight nurses and medics from the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron who crash-landed in Albania arrive in Italy after two months behind enemy lines.
1945 The U.S. Third Army counter-attacks towards Houffalize, on the southern side of the Ardennes salient.
British troops enter Thebes, to the Northwest of Athens.
U.S. troops land at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon. 100,000 men are ashore in a single day, which is the largest Pacific operation so far.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 15 WWII Today: March 3 WWII Today: January 3
1940 In Britain, ration books are introduced as program expands—each person to receive 4 oz of bacon or ham, 8 oz of butter, and 12 oz of sugar weekly.
Finnish troops capture 1,000 Russian soldiers near Suomussalmi.
1941 96,000 people now are sleeping in the Underground and Tube stations, 40,000 less than in October.
President Roosevelt submits his budget, 60% ($17,500,000,000) of which is designated for defense.
1942 US Army Forces in British Isles (USAFBI) established under Maj. Gen. James Chaney.
Japanese take Jesselton, capital of British North Borneo.
James Landis named to succeed Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia as head of US Office of Civil Defense.
1943 General Rokossovsky, C-in-C of Don Front, issues a surrender ultimatum to the 6th Army, guaranteeing “their lives and safety and after the end of the war their return to Germany”. He also promises that “…medical aid will be given to all wounded, sick and frost-bitten…” Paulus rejects this demand for surrender.
Count Ciano, Mussolini’s one-time foreign minister, ambassador, and son-in-law, faces a tribunal for his role in the vote to oust Il Duce. His wife will escape to Switzerland the next day, but the count will die before a firing squad on January 11.
British turn over control of Madagascar, except Diego Suarez area, to Free French.
US takes Tarakena, New Guinea.
1944 Kirovograd falls to Russians.
The trial of Count Ciano and 18 other Fascists responsible for Mussolini’s downfall opens at Castel Vecchio, in Verona.
First flight of Lockheed XP-80 jet plane at Muroc Army Air Base, but it won’t be ready for combat until the war is over.
1945 Germans demolish Ruhr floodgates, flooding area west of Köln (Cologne).
Japanese execute Filipino resistance leader Col. Pastor Martelino.
In Placer County, CA, the home of a recently returned Japanese-American family is attacked (shed burned, shots fired); first of 30 similar incidents on West Coast.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 25 WWII Today: April 30 WWII Today: June 17
1940 General Semyon Timoshenko takes command of all Soviet forces in Finland and begins to build up his forces for a decisive offensive.
Battle of Raate Road ends in Finnish victory; over 10,000 Soviets killed.
1941 Tobruk is surrounded, but the British are unable to assault it immediately as supplies and reinforcements need to be brought up.
1942 British forces continue to retreat south through central Malaya as the Japanese force a crossing of the river Slim. The British commander, General Arthur E. Percival, hopes to be able to hold at Johore until at least mid February.
Japanese troops complete their capture of Sarawak and also take Jesselton in northern Borneo.
In Malaya, Japanese break through Indian defenses at the Slim River.
In the Philippines, Japanese begin siege of the Bataan Peninsula.
Off Honshu, sub USS Pollack sinks Japanese collier Unkai Maru No.1, the first confirmed sinking by a US sub in the Pacific.
US Navy issues warning that 16 U-boats are suspected to be near the East Coast.
Roosevelt’s first War Budget includes $13,250 million of defense expenditure.
The Soviet North West Front begins an offensive south of Lake Ilmen in an attempt to encircle Demyansk. At the same time the newly created Volkhov Front launches an attack to force the Germans back from around Leningrad.
1944 The U.S. Air Force announces the production of the first jet-fighter, Bell P-59 Airacomet.
French resistance sabotages electricity supply in Tulle.
In Second Arakan Campaign in Burma, RAF & US Tenth Air Force begin air supply to West African troops.
1945 U.S. air ace Major Thomas B. McGuire, Jr. is killed in the Pacific.
German Navy begins evacuating troops trapped by the Soviet advance along the Baltic in Lithuania.
Off Manila Bay, US destroyers Charles Ausburne, Braine, Russell, and Shaw sink Japanese destroyer Hinoki; the last surface naval engagement of the Pacific war.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 23 Words at War: They Call It Pacific WWII Today: February 26
1940 British declare Germans may not use Norwegian waters.
Norway & Sweden forbid Allied troops from crossing their territory to aid Finland.
1941 President Roosevelt makes his “Four Freedoms” speech in his State of the Union address to Congress and repeats his proposal for Lend-Lease program to send supplies to Britain.
The Luftwaffe launches its first attacks against British convoys bound for Malta in the Mediterranean.
Churchill demands that troops be released from Wavell’s offensive and sent to Greece..
1942 Roosevelt announces that US forces are to be based in UK.
Roosevelt’s State of the Union address calls for the production of 60,000 aircraft and 1.2 million tons of shipping in 1942.
Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) is formed, consisting of the British Chiefs of Staff & US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Rommel’s battered forces reach the Tripolitanian frontier having evaded all British attempts to cut them off.
In Moscow, the Russian Foreign Minister denounces German atrocities in occupied Russia, where in Kiev alone 52,000 people have been massacred. ‘The Soviet Union will never forget or forgive’.
1943 British & Indian troops renew offensive on Arakan Peninsula in Burma.
Free French advancing north from Chad take Oum-el-Arameb in southern Libya.
1944 The Red Army crosses the 1939 Polish frontier after a 170-mile advance in just two weeks.
The allies announce that jet-propelled aircraft will soon to be in production. The Air Ministry says that Bomber Command dropped 157,000 tons of bombs on Germany in 1943, while the Luftwaffe dropped only 2,400 tons on Britain.
Major General James Doolittle assumes command of US Eighth Air Force in England.
1945 The ban on dancing is lifted in Finland, where it had been illegal to dance during wartime.
Boeing B-29 bombers in the Pacific strike new blows on Tokyo and Nanking.
Edith Frank, mother of Anne, dies in Auschwitz.
Future president Lt. (j.g.) George H.W. Bush marries Barbara Pierce in Rye, NY, just a few weeks after his return from the Pacific.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 23 Words at War: The Navy Hunts the CGR-3070 WWII Today: Christmas December 25
1940 Hore-Belisha resigns as Secretary of State for War and is replaced by Oliver Stanley.
In the Battle of Suomussalmi, Finns encircle 18,000 Russians north of Lake Ladoga, Finland.
1941 General Bergonzoli surrenders the Italian XXIII Corps at Bardia to the Australians. 45,000 Italian prisoners and 130 tanks are captured by the Australians for just 500 casualties.
Australians capture Bardia in Libya, taking 45,000 Italian POWs. Record-breaking
British pilot Amy Johnson, who navigated solo from Britain to Australia, is killed when the trainer plane she’s ferrying crashes into the Thames Estuary.
1942 80,000 US and Filipino troops successfully complete their withdrawal to the Bataan Peninsula, along with 26,000 civilians, although food stocks are only sufficient to sustain 43,000 men for 6 months. The Japanese quickly close up to the first defensive position, which is based on Mounts Santa Rosa and Natib.
German forces in the Crimea repulse a Soviet landing at Eupatoria.
In the Philippines, US & Filipino forces complete retreat into Bataan peninsula; troops put on half rations.
In US, “enemy aliens” are required to surrender transmitters, shortwaves, and precision cameras.
Franklin D. Roosevelt appears on cover of Time Magazine as 1941 Man of the Year.
1943 US Fifth Army formed in Oujda, Morocco under Lt. Gen. Mark Clark.
Off Guadalcanal, Mk. 32 proximity-fuzed shells are used for the first time by USS Helena.
Scientist George Washington Carver dies in Tuskegee AL, age 81
1944 Koniev’s 2nd Ukrainian Front extends the Russian general offensive in temperatures of -20°C.
The last of four German blockade-runners from Japan are sunk in the South Atlantic.
In the US Eighth Air Force in England, the 91st Bomb Group becomes the first group to complete 100 missions.
1945 Australian troops land at Saposa to engage Japanese forces at Waitavolo.
As Allied invasion force approaches Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, kamikazes damage US heavy cruiser Louisville, US destroyer Helm, US escort carriers Manila Bayand Savo Island, US destroyer escort Stafford, heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, and destroyer HMAS Arunta (54 killed on all ships).Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 16 WWII Today: September 9 WWII Today: June 15
1940 The 16th Australian Brigade marches through the streets of Sydney.
Britain requisitions all merchant ships for war effort.
1941 Free French lead Tuareg and Tibesti tribesmen from Chad to destroy Italian air base at Murzuk, Libya, having crossed 468km of desert.
German-born singer-actress Marlene Dietrich becomes US citizen.
1942 The Red Army captures Kaluga to the southwest of Moscow.
Chiang Kai-shek is appointed as Supreme allied commander in China.
Japanese begin pre-invasion air attacks on the major British naval and air base of Rabaul in the Bismarcks in the South Pacific.
1943 The Japanese Navy orders the evacuation of Guadalcanal by the end of the month.
Polish resistance attacks Germans in Czestochowa but fail, 251 killed.
Earl Warren inaugurated for first of three terms as California governor, but declines to have ceremony due to war.
1944 The Germans announce the mobilization of school children for war work.
Church authorities at the Abbey of Monte Cassino give Luftwaffe permission to remove artwork to Germany.
Fascist northern Italy seizes Jewish assets and forbids Jews from owning land or stock.
The Soviet 27th Army took Bila Tserkva southwest of Kiev.
The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front pushed Erich von Manstein’s Army Group South back beyond the pre-war Polish border at Sarny.
The U.S. Fifth Army attacked the southern end of the Gustav Line along a 10-mile front.
1945 The USA issue’s its casualty figures to 21st December 1944 as 135,323 killed, 362,824 wounded, 75,844 missing and 64,148 captured.
In Burma, British secure Akyab Island; Burma is now secured from Akyab to Mandalay, and north of the Irrawaddy River.
The American escort carrier USS Ommaney Bay was severely damaged in the Sulu Sea by a Japanese kamikaze attack. The ship was abandoned and then scuttled by a torpedo from the destroyer USS Burns.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Yank Pin Up: Diana Mumby WWII Today: February 22 WWII Today: June 11
1940 President Roosevelt calls for $1.8 billion in defense appropriations.
1941 The Luftwaffe’s X Fliegerkorps arrives in Italy.
In their first major action in WWII the Australian 6th Division breaks through the Italian defences around Bardia,
After suffering heavy losses, the Italian Air Force withdraws its aircraft from supporting the German Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain.
1942 At the U.S. Army Air Forces Headquarters James H. Doolittle begins planning an air raid against Japan
Churchill and Roosevelt announce the unified ABDA (American, British, Dutch and Australian) Command in the Southwest Pacific, under General Wavell, with Lieutenant General Brett as his deputy.
Japanese land at Brunei on Borneo in Netherlands East Indies.
Gen. Chiang Kai-shek named Commander in Chief of Allied Forces in China.
1943 Army Group A begins a general withdrawal from the Caucasus.
Convoy JW-51B arrives without loss at Murmansk.
Soviets take Mozdok and Malgobek in Caucasus.
Germans defeat French and take Fondouk Pass in Tunisia.
1944 Monty is reported to be back in Britain in order to take command of the British contingent of the Allied Expeditionary Force.
The US Fifth Army begins an offensive against the German forces in Italy who are entrenched in the Gustav Line along the Rapido river, with its centre at Cassino.
Top US Marine ace, Maj. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, shot down by Japanese Zero near Rabaul, but he survives the war as a POW.
In the Solomons, US launches offensive on New Britain from Cape Gloucester.
1945 The U.S. First Army counter-attacks on the northern side of the Ardennes salient.
British troops take Akyab in western Burma, unopposed.
The fighting ends in Manila.
US Navy organizes hunter-killer group to intercept U-boat believed to be bound for New York with V-weapons.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 3 WWII Today: February 6 WWII Today: April 27