Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category
1940 131 RAF Bomber Command aircraft make raids on four Hamburg targets.
1941 The German 11th Army takes Kerch in the eastern Crimea, although Sevastopol still holds out.
U.S. and Australian forces join up for the assault on the last Japanese stronghold in Northern Papua, the Buna-Gona bridgehead.
1943 Leros surrenders to the Germans.
The RAF bomb the ‘heavy water’ plant at Telemark, which the Germans are attempting to repair.
Germany’s nuclear weapons program was dealt a blow when 306 American bombers flew over Norway and struck a heavy water plant at Rjukan and a molybdenum refinery at Knaben.
The Battle of Leros ended when Allied troops on the island surrendered. The Germans paid a heavy price, however. Having lost 160 planes and 4,800 personnel in the five days of fighting, they were even considering calling off the offensive before word of the surrender came through.
Residents of the English village of Tyneham in Dorset were all given notice that they were being evicted. Signs posted in the village that day put everyone on notice that they had to leave by December 19. None of them had the right to contest the action, because they were all tenants of the descendants of Nathaniel Bond, whose family owned the Tyneham House and the surrounding area. The British War Department had acquired the area as a training ground in preparation for D-Day.
The USS Corvina became the only American submarine to be sunk by an attack by an enemy submarine, after the Japanese submarine I-176 struck it with two torpedoes in the South Pacific.
The German submarine U-280 was depth charged and sunk in the North Atlantic by a B-24 of No. 86 Squadron RAF.
The U.S. First and Ninth Armies launch a new attack to the East of Aachen towards the Roer Dams (6 miles away) with four divisions on a 25-mile front. With Antwerp, Marseilles and other liberated ports now available for Allied use, the so-called “Red Ball Express,” a relay of U.S. Army supply trucks operating between the front and the Normandy beaches, is finally shut down.
5,689 tons of bombs, a record for one day are dropped by the RAF on the German frontline to the East of Aachen.
Eighty-eight German scientists, holding Nazi secrets, arrive in the United States.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 2 WWII Today: August 8 WWII Today: August 21
1939 The German pocket-battleship Admiral Graf Spee sinks the merchantman Africa Shell off Mozambique.
1940 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.
1941 In temperatures of -20°C, Army Group Centre resumes its offensive against Moscow, employing PanzerÂ 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.
1942 Another night action off Guadalcanal costs the US Navy three destroyers for Japanese battleship Kirishma.
1943 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 theÂ 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.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 27 WWII Today: June 1 WWII Today: September 7
1940 Coventry bombed. The Luftwaffe launches 449 bombers in a heavy night attack against the major manufacturing city of Coventry, dropping around 400 tons of bombs causing severe damage to industrial and civilian installations. The city centre is badly damaged, with 21 factories being destroyed and the cathedral wrecked but for its spire. The raid kills or injures 1,419 people and makes thousands homeless. A new word is created in both the English and German languages, ‘Coventrate’ and ‘Coventrieren’, meaning the physical and psychological destruction of a city.
Greek army repels Italians back into Albania.
1941 US orders withdrawal of American gunboats and Marines from China to the Philippines.
1942 British and Americans launch offensive from Algeria toward Tunisia.
The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal ended in strategic American victory. On the battle’s final day the Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima and destroyer Ayanami were sunk by the American battleship USS Washington, while the Americans lost the destroyers Benham and Walke.
Church bells were rung throughout England in celebration of the Allied victory at El Alamein. It was the first time that church bells had sounded since 1940 when they were silenced during the threat of German invasion.
German submarine U-98 was depth charged and sunk southwest of Cape St. Vincent, Portugal by the British destroyer Wrestler.
German submarine U-259 was depth charged and sunk in the Mediterranean by a Lockheed Hudson of No. 500 Squadron RAF.
The American Liberty ship SS Robert E. Peary was commissioned just 4 days, 15 hours and 29 minutes after the keel was laid down.
1944 De Lattre launches an attack in the snow near the Swiss border, to take Belfort. The U.S. 95th infantry Division begins to capture the Metz forts. The British begins their attack on Maas in central Holland.
Premiere of documentary Combat America, produced by Clark Gable from footage he took on his five missions with the 351st Bomb Group.
Nine German vessels were destroyed by Great Britain. A tenth ship was driven to the shore. The ships destroyed were moving north along the coast.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 18 WWII Today: September 12 WWII Today: September 2
1939 HMS Blanche struck a mine and sank off the Thames Estuary. She was the first Royal Naval destroyer lost in the war. Two German supply ships are scuttled when cornered by the Royal Navy.
German bombers attacked British territory for the first time, with a bombing raid on the Shetland Islands. No serious damage was done.
1941 Temperature near Moscow drops to -80Â°F (-22.2Â°C).
President Roosevelt announces the arming of American merchant vessels carrying Lend-Lease cargo to Britain. The US Congress and Senate, vote by a small majority to repeal the 1939 Neutrality Act.
British aircraft carrier Ark Royal is torpedoed off Gibraltar by U-81 and later sinks.
1942 The Eighth Army captures Tobruk and Montgomery says: ‘We have completely smashed the German and Italian armies’.
First sea battle off Guadalcanal in the Pacific begins in confusion.
1944 German troops evacuate Skopje in Yugoslavia.
Free French forces under General Leclerc attack from Alsace towards the upper Rhine.
General de Gaulle is elected headÂ of the provisional French government.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: October 23 WWII Today: October 19 Yank Pin Up: Esther Williams 1939 – HMS Blanche struck a mine and sank off the Thames Estuary. She was the first Royal Naval destroyer lost in the war. Two German supply ships are scuttled when cornered by the Royal Navy. 1939 – German bombers attacked British territory for the first time, with a bombing raid on the Shetland Islands. No serious damage was done. 1941 – Temperature near Moscow drops to -80Â°F (-22.2Â°C). 1941 – President Roosevelt announces the arming of American merchant vessels carrying Lend-Lease cargo to Britain. The US Congress and Senate, vote by a small majority to repeal the 1939 Neutrality Act. 1941 – British aircraft carrier Ark Royal is torpedoed off Gibraltar by U-81 and later sinks. 1942 – The Eighth Army captures Tobruk and Montgomery says: ‘We have completely smashed the German and Italian armies’. 1942 – First sea battle off Guadalcanal in the Pacific begins in confusion. 1944 – German troops evacuate Skopje in Yugoslavia. 1944 – Free French forces under General Leclerc attack from Alsace towards the upper Rhine. 1944 – General de Gaulle is elected headof the provisional French government.
1939 Negotiations between Russia and Finland over territorial dispute reach deadlock.
1940 Germany prepares to enter war in Greece.
Colonel Burns again proposes a Canadian parachute force to the Chief of General Staff. The idea is shelved, and no action is taken.
1942 The British 8th Army retakes Sollum and Bardia, while Panzer Army Afrika continues its withdrawal toward Tripoli.
U.S. Navy battles Tokyo Express off Guadalcanal.
US Ninth AF formed in Egypt under Lt. Gen. Lewis Brereton.
Morocco and Algeria are in Allied hands (770 Americans and 240 British were killed in Torch landings).
Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, CA launches Liberty Ship Robert E. Peary four days after the keel is laid, a wartime record.
1943 US President Roosevelt embarks on USS Iowa to go to the Allied conferences at Teheran and Cairo.
German troops invade Leros by sea and drop 500 paratroops.
The Russians take Zhitomir in Ukraine. The Kiev bridgehead is now 95 miles deep and 150 miles wide.
Japanese bomb Parap, Adelaide River, and Batchelor Airfield in last air attack on Australia.
French proclaim martial law in Lebanon after Lebanese amend constitution to end French mandate (on Nov. 8).
1944 Heavy bombers of the RAF, after several previous attempts, succeed in sinking the battleship Tirpitz, the sister ship of the Bismarck, which is lying at anchor in a fjord near Tromso in Norway. Over 1,000 men of her crew trapped in her capsized hull are lost.
1945 The institute of France awards Churchill a gold medal.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Words at War: The Weeping Wood WWII Today: October 23 WWII Yank Pin Up: Frances Rafferty
1885 General George S. Patton is born.
1918 At 11 a.m. World War I, the war to end all wars, ends.
1939 Queen Elizabeth broadcasts a message to the women of the Empire, calling them to join the war effort.
1940 On the anniversary of the end of World War I, several hundred Paris students stage a disorganized protest on the Champs Elysee over the arrest of a popular professor. Although Gaullists in London report several deaths, it appears no one was killed, but 123 students are arrested. Although it is the first sign of organized anti-German feeling since the armistice in June, German authorities report to Berlin that the small size and unorganized nature of the protest demonstrates that pro-Gaullist feeling is minimal.
Italian aircraft attack Thames Estuary with little success: first and last Italian air attack on Britain.
The British Fleet launches an air attack against the Italian fleet at Taranto. Swordfish aircraft from the Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious damage three battleships, two cruisers, two destroyers and two auxiliaries craft. This British victory, forces the Italians to temporary withdraw their big surface units to the safer ports on the west coast of Italy.
The RAF’s first offensive air operations in Greece are carried out by Blenheims in a low-level attack on Valaca airfield.
1942 In the United States the draft age is lowered to 18
The United States extends Lend-Lease aid to the Free French Forces under General de Gaulle.
German forces begin the occupation of those parts of France controlled by the Vichy government. In a letter to Marshal Petain, Hitler declares that the purpose of this move is “to protect France” against the allies.
French Admiral Jean Francios Darlan joins French General Alphonse Juin in calling an all-out cease fire for French forces throughout Africa.
6th Army launches its last major attack to capture Stalingrad and succeeds in reaching the Volga near the Red October factory on a frontage of 600 yards. The 13th Panzer-Division of III Panzer Corps begins to disengage its units halted before Ordshonikidse to avoid being cut off by the heavy Soviet attacks against its communications.
1943 Auschwitz Kommandant Hass is promoted to chief inspector of concentration camps. The new kommandant, Liebehenschel, then divides up the vast Auschwitz complex of over 30 sub-camps into three main sections.
FDR Secretly Leaves the U.S. on the USS Iowa
American air power continues to hit Rabaul.
1944 The German First Army HQ leaves Metz as the U.S. Third Army gains three bridgeheads over the Moselle.
Private Eddie Slovik is convicted of desertion and sentenced to death for refusing to join his unit in the European Theater of Operations.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 23 President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Speech WWII Today: September 18
1940 A torpedo bomber raid cripples the Italian fleet at Taranto, Italy.
1941 Churchill’s Mansion House Speech: Tells Japan that war on US means war on Britain. The Japanese Foreign Minister says their aim is to make the US and UK retreat from East Asia.
US Army updates uniform regulations: the Parsons field jacket and M1 steel helmet are added.
First US-escorted troop convoy, WS-12X, sails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, for India via Cape Town with 20,000 British troops.
1942 The Americans capture Oran. Petain takes command of all Vichy forces. British successes in Egypt continue with the capture of Sidi Barrani.
Admiral Jean Darlan orders French forces in North Africa to cease resistance to the Anglo-American forces.
In a daring raid in Morocco, destroyer USS Dallas steams up Wadi Sebou under the Kasbah, and takes Port Lyautey Airfield.
Victories in North Africa lead Churchill to proclaim, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Movie premiere of Road to Morocco, starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour.
President Roosevelt announces the breaking-off of diplomatic relations with Vichy France.
1943 The Red Army achieves a breakthrough near Gomel in Byelorussia.
1944 V-2 rockets continue to hit Britain, at the rate of about eight a day.
Nazi occupation forces in the Netherlands began a two-day roundup of 50,000 men in Rotterdam to be sent to Germany for forced labour.
Allied forces launched Operation Clipper, an offensive to reduce the Geilenkirchen salient.
The Allies recognized the government of Albanian partisan leader Enver Hoxha.
The American ammunition ship Mount Hood exploded and sank at Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands with the loss of all 350 crew.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 19 Words at War: White Brigade WWII Today: August 25
1937 Japanese troops invade Shanghai, China.
1938 Nazis kill 35 Jews, arrest thousands and destroy Jewish synagogues, homes and stores throughout Germany. The event becomes known as Kristallnacht, the night of the shattered glass.
1940 Start of a counter-offensive by the British Army against the Italian forces that have advanced into Egypt.
Germany expels 180,000 Frenchmen from the recently-annexed Alsace-Lorraine region of France.
Neville Chamberlain, the former British prime minister, dies from cancer at the age of 71.
1941 Germans capture Yalta in Crimea.
Royal Navy Surface Force K from Malta annihilates an Italian convoy of seven supply ships and sinks two destroyers.
1942 Naval battles off Oran and Casablanca, result in three French destroyers being sunk.
US troops advance on both sides of Oran, taking 2,000 French prisoners after stiff resistance. German paratroops are landed in Tunisia without opposition from the French.
German planes transport troops to El Aouina Airfield in French Tunisia to combat Allied landings in Algeria.
Germans force Danish King Christian to appoint pro-Nazi Erik Scavenius as prime minister.
German spy Werner Janowski is landed by U-boat U-518 at New Carlisle, Quebec, but is arrested within hours on a tip from a suspicious hotel clerk.
General Charles de Gaulle is named president of the French Committee of National Liberation, the “Free French,” in the wake of the resignation of General Henri Giraud.
1944 The last Germans on Walcheren surrender. German forces evacuate the Moerdijk bridgehead across the Meuse river.
Total U.S. war casualties are now reported to have passed the 500,000 mark.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 26 WWII Today: July 25 WWII Today: July 26
1939 A bomb intended to kill Hitler explodes at the annual meeting of the veterans of the 1923 Nazi Putsch in Munich, but the FÃ¼hrer had already left the beer cellar. The German media accused Britain of orchestrating the assassination attempt on Hitler. Two British SIS agents, Major Richard Stevens and Captain S. Payne Best, are captured in Holland by the Germans.
1940 Italians begin big offensive in Albania.
RAF bomb Munich shortly after Hitler appears there. 1941 Army Group North advances across the Volkhov river and captures Tikhivin. Hitler claims Russian losses are 8 – 10 million, which is perhaps double the truth.
1942 On the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, Hitler tells his old comrades that Stalingrad is practically in German hands, adding that he didn’t want to take that city just because it happens to bear the name of Stalin.
Operation ‘Torch’ begins with Anglo-American forces under Lieutenant General Eisenhower landing in Morocco and Algeria against minimal Vichy French resistance. Mersa Matruh is re-taken by British.
1943 Hitler in his last speech to Nazi Party says “We shall go on fighting past 12 o’clock”.
The Eighth Army gains the heights on the Sangro less than 100 miles East of Rome.
1944 For the first time in the history of the Third Reich, Hitler fails to appear in Munich to address “the Old Fighters” on the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Speculation mounts as Himmler reads a speech in the Fuhrer’s place.
25,000 Jews are forced to walk over 100 miles in rain and snow from Budapest to the Austrian border, followed by a second forced march of 50,000 persons, ending at Mauthausen Concentration camp.Take a look at these WWII posts: WWII Today: September 12 WWII Today: September 15 WWII Today: September 28
1939 The Belgium and Dutch Monarch’s emphasize their country’s neutrality, but offer to act as peace negotiators. Hitler rejects the proposal, as do both Britain and France.
Paul Thummel, a double agent, passes details of the German plans for the western offensive to the Czech government-in-exile.
1940 The Royal Air Force attacks the Krupp munition works in Essen.
1941 The RAF bombs Berlin with 169 aircraft, but 21 are lost.
USSR celebrates anniversary of the Revolution with a parade in Red Square, despite presence of the German army on outskirts of Moscow.
Speaking from Red Square in Moscow, with the spearheads of the Wehrmacht less than 100 miles from the capital, Stalin predicts that ‘the Fascist German invaders are facing disaster’.
The German High Command decides to resume the advance on Moscow as soon as possible, although by now it is estimated that 80 Russian divisions stand in their way.
German torpedo aircraft sink the soviet hospital ship Armenia killing approximately 7,000 people.
US Marine Corps approves establishment of women’s reserve.
1943 British troops launch a limited offensive along the coast of Burma.
1944 President Franklin D. Roosevelt won an unprecedented fourth term in office, defeating Thomas E. Dewey.
British Eighth Army opens drive for Forli, Italy.
Japanese execute Soviet spy Richard Sorge.Take a look at these other WWII posts: WWII Today: July 7 WWII Today: September 27 WWII Today: October 16