Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category
1938 Poland renews nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union to protect against a German invasion.
1939 The Soviet Union charges Finland with artillery attack on border.
1940 The Western Desert Force, begins Training Exercise No.1. This was a dress rehearsal for ‘Operation Compass’. Surprise was vital and so not even the troops involved were told of the rehearsals significance.
The half-million Jews of Warsaw, Poland, were forced by the Nazis to live within a walled ghetto.
Britain announces that after Christmas, bananas will no longer be imported.
1941 Due to Rommel’s bold move, General Cunningham wants to halt the offensive and fall back to the frontier. General Auchinleck overrides him on this and replaces him as commander of the Eighth Army with General Ritchie.
U.S. secretary of state puts his final proposal to the Japanese.
Japanese 1st Air Fleet sets sail for Pearl Harbor, from its anchorage in the Kurile Islands. Commanded by Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, its consists of 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, 9 destroyers and 8 oil tankers and has strict orders to observe strict radio silence. They await the signal “Climb Mount Nitaka”, the order to attack Pearl Harbor.
The Germans make the first large deportation of Jews from Norway.
The Russians throw Germans rearguards back across the Don.
1943 The largest USAAF raid so far on Bremen. A fifth consecutive night raid on Berlin by RAF.
German forces of Army Group Centre evacuate Gomel in Byelorussia.
The HMT Rohna, a British troop transport, is attacked in the eastern Mediterranean by a Luftwaffe plane using a radio-guided bomb, sinking the ship and killing 1,015 American GIs and 135 British and Australian service men. It is the largest loss of U.S. servicemen at sea in the war. The disaster is kept secret, as the Allies did not wish to disclose that the Germans possessed such an intimidating weapon. Consequently, the destruction of the Rohna will remain virtually unknown to the public for many years after the war.
1944 The Russians advance in Slovakia.
US 491st Bombardment Group loses 16 of 28 B-24 Liberators over Misburg, Germany in only 15 minutes.
1945 Gen. Douglas MacArthur confirms that Japan’s emperor will not be required to abdicate.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 26 WWII Today: July 27 WWII Today: June 16
1939 Germany reports four British ships sunk in the North Sea, but London denies the claim.
1940 Zionist group Irgun blows up British liner Patria at Haifa to prevent removal of Eastern European Jewish refugees from Palestine to Mauritius (213/1771 refugees killed, 50/130 crew).
First flight of British De Havilland Mosquito bomber.
First flight of US Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber.
1941 Hitler takes time out from monitoring the assault on Moscow to meet with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in Berlin. While the Fuhrer refrains from giving an unqualified endorsement of Arab nationalist aims in the Middle East (he did not wish to upset Vichy France), the two agree on the need for the “destruction” of the “Jewish element.”
The Germans continue their advance against Moscow, throwing all their available strength in to the attack in a final attempt to capture the Russian capital.
Rommel continues his attacks at the rear of the Eighth Army.
U-331 (Kplt. Tiesenhausen) sinks the British battleship Barham in the Mediterranean.
1943 The US Navy Department announces that very few Japanese are left alive in the Gilbert Islands. On Tarawa, 1,090 Marines were killed and 2,193 wounded, with only 100 Japanese out of garrison of 4,836 being taken prisoner, with only 17 of them being soldiers. Sattelberg in New Guinea falls to the 9th Australian Division.
A Destroyer action off Cape St. George results in the Japanese being routed to the north west of Bougainville and losing three destroyers out of five in the process.
1944 The French take Belfort.
Himmler orders the destruction of the crematories at Auschwitz.
The last Japanese resistance in Peleliu ends. 14,000 Japanese are killed or captured for 9,300 U.S. casualties.
German V-2 rocket hits Woolworth department store in London, killing 168.
Nazis demolish crematoria and gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Gen. Mark Clark named to command 15th Army Group (Allied Armies in Italy); Gen. Lucian Truscott to replace him over US Fifth Army.
1945 British begin Operation Deadlight, the sinking of captured German U-boats off the Hebrides.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 15 WWII Today: August 19 Words at War: The Log Book
1939 Germany warns all neutral shipping to stay clear of British and French coasts, or risk being sunk. This had already happened to a number of neutral ships, particularly at night when it was difficult to identify them. U-boat skippers were now given the go ahead to sink any ship not showing lights at night.
Gestapo execute 120 Czech students accused of participating in anti-Nazi conspiracy.
1940 Treasury cancels Boxing Day Bank Holiday.
Slovakian Prime Minister joins the Tripartite pact in Berlin.
The Luftwaffe bomb Bristol.
1941 Two Luftwaffe officers, make the war’s most audacious attempt to escape from a British POW camp. Lt. Heinz Schnabel and Oblt. Harry Wappler were prisoners in CampÂ No.15 near Penrith, Northumbria. Forging papers that identified them as Dutch officers serving in the RAF, they made their way to the RAF airfield at Kingstown near Carlisle and started the engine of a Miles Magister. Taking off, they soon realized they did not have the fuel to make it to Nazi-occupied Holland reluctantly they turned back, landing in a field about five miles north of Great Yarmouth. Recaptured, they were sent back to Camp No.15 again and sentenced to 28 days solitary confinement.
Theresienstadt Ghetto is established near Prague, Czechoslovakia. The Nazis will use it as a model ghetto for propaganda purposes.
Rommel gives orders for his tanks to cut off the British supply routes by thrusting towards the Egyptian frontier, or as it became known, the ‘dash for the wire’. By the end of the day Rommel’s tanks had reached the frontier and caused complete confusion in the rear of the Eighth Army.
US Army commanders across the Pacific are warned of the possible imminence of war.
The United States, while remaining neutral, expands the Lend-Lease program to include Charles de Gaulle’s Free French troops.
1942 Laval sets up Phalange Africaine, to fight allies in Africa.
1943 Berlin reported as a ‘sea of flames’ this morning with casualty estimates put at 8 to 10,000 killed.
Laval sets up Phalange Africaine, to fight allies in Africa.
1944 The allies cross the Saar near the Franco-German border. Troops of the French First Army capture Mühlhausen in Alsace, while the French 2nd Armored Division takes Strasbourg.
In controversial decision, Gen. Eisenhower orders 6th Army Group not to cross Rhine but to drive north and assist Patton’s Third Army.
Japanese capture Nanning, completing a land corridor between occupied China and Indo-China.
USAAF B29s from Saipan Island in Pacific, bomb Tokyo for first time, but to little effect.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 7 WWII Today: December 1 Thanksgiving in WW2
1939 RAF shoots down seven German aircraft over France.
The Nazis in control of Poland issue a decree requiring all Polish Jews over the age of twelve to wear white armbands emblazoned with a blue Star of David.
The Scharnhorst and Gneisenau intercept a convoy, which is escorted by the merchant cruiser Rawalpindi. The Scharnhorst sinks the Rawalpindi (killing 265 crew), which sacrificed itself in order that the convoy could escape. The British Home Fleet puts to sea in an attempt to engage the two German ships. However, both the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau have already headed for home. The Royal Navy recovers its first intact German Magnetic mine. These types of mines have been causing an increasing number of casualties to shipping, in and around the UK.
Britain begins rationing bacon and butter.
US celebrates Thanksgiving after Roosevelt moved holiday from last to second-to-last Thursday to extend the Christmas shopping season.
Macy’s parade first features Superman balloon.
1940 The Romanian leader Antonescu agrees to joins the Tripartite pact.
Seven Italian Caproni BR20m bombers, flying from bases in Belgium, are shot down by Fighter Command during an air attack on the UK.
Southampton is hit badly by the Luftwaffe.
German submarine U-100 sinks seven Allied cargo ships in convoy SC-11 off the coast ofIreland
1941 German troops are now only 35 miles north-west of Moscow.
Axis forces destroy the 5th South African Brigade after days of tank battles round Tobruk.
U.S. troops move into Dutch Guiana to guard the bauxite mines.
1942 The Russians claim 24,000 prisoners have been taken since the start of their counter offensive.
Retreating before the British 8th Army (Montgomery), Panzer Army Afrika reaches El Agheila.
Japanese air raid on Darwin, Australia.
1943 The allies cross the Sangro in strength.
Berlin hit again by the RAF, making it the worst bombed city in Germany with 12,000 tons dropped on it this year alone.
United States forces seized control of the Tarawa and Makin atolls from the Japanese.
1944 The allies declare Macedonia on Greek Yugoslav border, free of Germans.
French First Army takes Strasbourg, France.
1945 Butter rationing comes to an end, leaving sugar as the only item that continues to be rationed in the USA.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 30 WWII Today: March 3 Yank Pin Up: Colleen Townsend
1939 German aircraft parachute mines into the Thames Estuary.
1940 The Luftwaffe’s heaviest raid on Birmingham; 11-hr raid causes 600 fires.
1941 All operational U-boats ordered to proceed to the Mediterranean or its approach.
A confused battle continues around Sidi Rezegh, with XXX Corps being forced to stop it advance towards Tobruk after the loss of many tanks and for the Tobruk break-out to be halted. Better news for XIII Corps though as it captures Sidi Omar and Capuzzo.
German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis is sunk in the South Atlantic by heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire after having sunk 22 Allied merchant ships.
Luftwaffe ace Werner Mölders killed in landing accident while a passenger on a German He 111 bomber, the first pilot in the world to achieve over 100 victories.
1942 The Soviet 4th Mechanized Corps from the south and the 4th Tank Corps from the north, join hands at Kalach on the Don, thus establishing the complete encirclement of the 300,000 men of 6th and 4th Panzer Army’s. The Russians report gains of up to 50 mites south of Stalingrad.
1943 German troops complete the occupation of the islands of the Dodecanese in the eastern Mediterranean.
The RAF give Berlin the worst pounding so far, with more than 2,300 tons of bombs dropped in less than 30 minutes for the loss of just 26 planes.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek met in Cairo to discuss measures for defeating Japan.
1944 Fighting in Metz is over but seven forts still hold out.
The RAF makes a second breach in the Dortmund-Ems Canal
US Third Army takes crucial town of Metz, France
1945 Thanksgiving is celebrated in America; Macy’s parade resumes after being cancelled 1942-44.
The Hollywood Canteen closes after having entertained 4 million servicemen; 3000 volunteers included many movie stars.
Take a look at these other WWII posts:WWII Today: June 13 WWII Today: August 13 WWII Today: June 14
1937 The first stretch of the German Autobahn is opened for use. The main purpose of the road is to deploy and supply its forces throughout the country. Eventually, 4,500 miles of four-lane highway will cover Germany.
1939 Prime Minister Chamberlain imposes an embargo on all German trade, with goods currently in Britain, but destined for shipment to Germany to be confiscated.
Prime Minister Chamberlain announces the seizure of German merchant shipping in retaliation for the sinking of neutral ships and indiscriminate mine warfare. The German Battlecruiser’s Scharnhorst and Gneisenau set off from Germany on a mission to harry British sea routes in the North Atlantic.
1940 Greeks capture Koritza, defeating Italian IX Army.
The United States government announces that Nazi agents are active in eight American cities for sabotage, propaganda, espionage, and fomenting strife.
1942 The situation for the 6th Army is deteriorating fast, not least owing to the fact that Army HQ is being relocated which leads to serious disruptions in communications with theÂ troops in and outside the city.
1943 Field Marshal Kesselring isÂ appointed commander-in-chief of all German forces in Italy, while Rommel leaves hisÂ command to organize the Atlantic wall.
1944 Albanian patriots free the capital, Tirana.
The US 8th Air Force launches heavy attacks against Hamburg and the synthetic fuel producing plants of Leuna at Merseburg.
1945 All the top ranking Nazis at Nuremberg plead innocent.
Manzanar Relocation Center closes.
Lt. Gen. Alexander Patch dies of pneumonia at Fort Sam Houston TX, age 55.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 25 WWII Today: March 11 WWII Today: September 9
1940 Hungarian Premier and Foreign Minister in Vienna agree to join Tripartite.
1941 The exiled Norwegian Government in London officially backs ‘Milorg’, the largest resistance organization in Norway.
The British garrison is ordered toÂ break out and link up with XXX Corps. However, Rommel, now realizing theÂ threat sent the Afrika Korps to attack at Sidi Rezegh.
Japanese issue attack orders, although no action is to be taken until the results of the latest diplomatic negotiations are known.
1942 Northeast and southwest of Stalingrad, the attacking Soviet armies are making rapid progress in the direction of Kalach on the Don, the chosen meeting point of the two pincers. The 6th and 4th Panzer Army’s hurriedly dispatch mobileÂ units to bolster the unprepared and crumbling Romanian defenses west andÂ south of the Don. Hitler relinquishes his command of Army Group A to Kleist.
The Eighth Army reaches Benghazi.
1943 The Eighth Army crosses the Sangro River for first time. 4,800 British prisoners are taken at Samos in the Aegean.
The Red Army achieves a breakthrough near Kremenchug in the Ukraine and advances toward Kirovograd. Hitler does not allow ArmyÂ Group North to withdraw to Panther line. Russian POW losses for war now total over five million.
US Marines land on Makin and Tarawa atolls in Gilbert Islands, with fierce fighting reported.
1944 With artillery audible in the distance, Hitler departs for Berlin from the Wolfschanze (Wolf’s Lair), his headquarters near Rastenburg in East Prussia that he has occupied since the beginning of the war with the Soviet Union in June 1941. Although construction work continues on the headquarters, Hitler never returns.
1945 The Nuremberg trials begin, with Goring, Ribbentrop, Hess, Keitel, Jodl, Raeder, Doenitz, Streicher and other top Nazis on trial.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 27 WWII Today: October 12 WWII Today: September 3 WWII Today: November 21
1940 Greek successes continue in northern Greece and Albania. The Italians are driven back across the Kalamas River.
The Canadian government approves initiation of mass production of war bacteria.
The Luftwaffe launches a major raid against Birmingham, inflicting heavy damage in places.
1941 The Times newspaper’s report on Occupied Europe estimates that 82,000 Poles have been shot or hanged since Poland’s occupation by the Germans.
The cruiser HMAS Sydney and German raider Kormoran sink each other off Western Australia. There are no survivors from HMAS Sydney.
1942 The Red Army opens its winter offensive with a pincer movement round Stalingrad with the aim of encircling and destroying the German forces fighting in Stalingrad. The initial attacks by the Soviet 5th Tank Army from the north and the 51st Army from the south are directed against the exposed rear flanks of 6th Army and 4th Panzer Army held by the Romanian 3rd and 4th Army’s which are overrun and scattered. Russian gains in Caucasus are also announced.
Two RAF Horsa gliders carrying 34 British Royal Engineer Commandos, crashes in Norway en route to their mission of destroying the German ‘heavy water’ plant at Telemark. The survivors are captured by the Germans, questioned, tortured and shot, although they were all in uniform.
British troops engage a German tank column only 30 miles from Tunis.
1944 The U.S. 95th Division fights its way into the suburbs of Metz.
The French 1st Armoured Division reaches the Rhine.
The RAF’s destruction of Drina bridge at Visegrad causes an 85-mile German traffic jam in Yugoslavia.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 22 WWII Today: July 23 WWII Today: June 26
1939 The Dutch ship Simon Bolivar hits an ‘un-notified’ mine in the North Sea, killing 80. Several other neutral ships also sunk by mines.
IRA detonate four small bombs in Piccadilly, London.
1941 At 6am ‘Operation Crusader’, the British Eighth Army’s offensive to relieve Tobruk begins. Rommel, who arrives back from Rome that day, is caught by surprise, allowing the British XXX Corps to advance 50-miles and capture the axis airfield 10 miles south of Sidi Rezegh. The Germans, believing that the British are about to encircle Bardia, send the Afrika Korps on a wild goose chase in that direction.
Gen. Sir Alan Brooke replaces Field Marshal John Dill as British Chief of the Imperial General Staff.
1942 Laval is given absolute power by Vichy in Africa.
1943 A German counter offensive recaptures Zhitomir.
The RAF begins the ‘battle of Berlin’ with 700 tons dropped. Other areas also pounded in the biggest RAF operation so far.
1944 A German hospital ship, Tubingen is sunk accidentally by allied aircraft in the Adriatic, but luckily no wounded were onboard. The British express regret to the German authorities about the mistake.
Inmates of Janowska concentration camp near Lwów (at this time in German-occupied Poland), staged an uprising that ultimately failed. Leon Weliczker and several other prisoners had run errands for the camp guards, and were accustomed to bringing firewood into the guard houses. On the evening of the 19th, two groups of prisoners attacked guards in two different locations, stole their machines guns, and started a breakout. The 6,000 remaining Jewish residents of Janowska camp were killed over the next four days and on November 23, Lwów (now Lviv in the Ukraine) was declared Judenrein (“clean of Jews”).
The U.S. Third Army crosses the German frontier. Metz is cut off and surrounded by the U.S. Third Army’s, XX Corps.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 13 WWII Today: September 22 WWII Today: September 8
1939 The Supreme Allied War Council agrees on the co-ordination of British and French war production. It is also decided that if the Germans should invade Belgium, then both British and French troops will move forward in to Belgium to defend the Albert Canal, River Meuse and the River Dyle, which were strong positions from which to meet any German attack. However, the Belgium government refuses to allow Allied reconnaissance parties in to country for fear of provoking the Germans.
The funeral of Czech Jan Opletal becomes the occasion for a large student demonstration. The Germans strike back ruthlessly, sentencing nine student leaders to death, closing the Czech universities, and sending 1200 students to concentration and labour camps.
1941 German Luftwaffe general and World War I fighter-ace Ernst Udet commits suicide. The Nazi government tells the public that he died in a flying accident.
The Germans establish the post of Reichskommissariat Ostland under Alfred Rosenberg, to administer the recently conquered territories in the east. Siberian troops are heavily engaged in front of Moscow.
A British night commando raid on what is thought to be Rommel’s HQ at Breda Littoria in the Jebel Akhdar in Libya, fails when it is found to be only aÂ logistical HQ and that Rommel is away on a visit to Rome. Also, the SAS raid on axis airfields fails when the transport aircraft are blown off course by a sandstorm.
Chiang Kai-shek urges the western democracies to take urgent action against Japan.
British paratroops engage German troops in Tunisia, while the first clashes occur between the newly landed U.S. and German forces.
1943 A storm of protest erupts in Britain over the release of Sir Oswald Mosley, the British fascist, on health grounds.
The Russian 60th Army takes Korosten, 100 miles West of Kiev.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Winchester Rifle Advertisement WWII Today: August 31 Words at War: George Washington Carver