Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

Apr 04

World War II Today: April 4

1940 In France, spreading Communist or antiwar propaganda is declared a capital offense.

1941 Field Marshal Erwin Rommel captures the British held town of Benghazi in North Africa.

Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, is abandoned by Italians.

1943 Newly built gas chamber/crematory V opens at Auschwitz.

1944 Charles de Gaulle becomes the head of Free French armed forces in place of Giraud.Army Group Centre, under General Busch launches a counterattack which succeeds in reaching German units surrounded at Kovel in the Pripet swamps since the 19th March.

The 17th Indian Division reaches the Imphal plain after a 20-day fighting retreat. Japanese forces begin five weeks of attacks to reach Imphal from the South and begin their attack on Kohima, Assam.

1945 The US Third Army advancing toward Leipzig takes Suhl and Gotha and finally clears Kassel of German resistance. The British Second Army captures Osnabrück. The French First Army enters Karlsruhe.

The First Belorussian Front breaks through at Stargard and drives towards Stettin and also establishes a new bridgehead across the Oder to the South of Frankfurt.

The US 8th Air Force launches its heaviest raid to date (700 bombers) against Kiel on the Baltic.

US Third Army liberates Ohrdruf concentration camp, the first liberated by US troops.

The Russian 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian front complete the liberation of Hungary. Troops of the 2nd Ukrainian front capture Bratislava. The Germans forces counterattack in Moravska-Ostrava and Nitra.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: June 5 WWII Today: September 17 Words at War: Full Employment in a Free Society1941 German and Italian troops enter Benghazi unopposed.1943 Newly built gas chamber/crematory V opens at Auschwitz.1944 De Gaulle becomes the head of Free French armed forces in place of Giraud.Army Group Centre, under General Busch launches a counterattack which succeeds in reaching German units surrounded at Kovel in the Pripet swamps since the 19th March.The 17th Indian Division reaches the Imphal plain after a 20-day fighting retreat. Japanese forces begin five weeks of attacks to reach Imphal from the South and begin their attack on Kohima, Assam.1945 The US Third Army advancing toward Leipzig takes Suhl and Gotha and finally clears Kassel of German resistance. The British Second Army captures Osnabrück. The French First Army enters Karlsruhe.The First Belorussian Front breaks through at Stargard and drives towards Stettin and also establishes a new bridgehead across the Oder to the South of Frankfurt.The US 8th Air Force launches its heaviest raid to date (700 bombers) against Kiel on the Baltic.Ohrdruf camp is liberated by the Americans.

Apr 03

World War II Today: April 3

1940 War Cabinet reshuffle, Churchill to chair committee directing general war policy.

Soviets begin massacre of 20,000 Polish officers in Katyn Forest.

The United States Congress cuts military spending 10 percent and refuses to fund heavy bombers as “aggressive weapons.”

1941 Hungarian Prime Minister Pál Teleki commits suicide rather than collaborate with Germany.

In Iraq, military officer Rashid Ali overthrows Regent Abdul Illah and forms pro-Axis government.

1942 Japanese aircraft bomb Mandalay in central Burma, killing 2,000. They met no opposition from the RAF as all its aircraft had by now been withdrawn to India.

The final Japanese offensive on Bataan begins with a five hour artillery and air bombardment, after which the Japanese launch infantry attacks supported by some tanks, which allows them to make penetrations in to US-Filipino defensive positions.

United States Navy Task Force 39 arrives at Scapa Flow to cover the Murmansk and Mediterranean runs, the first unit of the US Atlantic Fleet in British waters.

1944 Forty-two Royal Navy, fleet Air Arm Barracuda torpedo-bombers from the British aircraft carriers HMS Victorious and Furious hit the Battleship Tirpitz 14 times in a daring raid on the Alten Fjord, in Norway.

1945 The British Second Army reaches Munster; the U.S. Ninth Army captures Recklinghausen in the Ruhr, while the US First Army takes Fulda and Kassel.

The Austrian resistance leader Major Szokoll and Russian military authorities confer about co-operation on the Russian offensive against Vienna.

The 2nd Ukrainian front advances close to Vienna. The Russians breaches the German defensive lines between Wiener Neustadt and Neusiedler lake. Hard fighting continues as the Red Army advances towards Bratislava.

British commandos secure islands in Lake Comacchio, Italy.

MacArthur is appointed as C-in-C of land forces in the Pacific.

Admiral Nimitz is appointed as C-in-C of all naval forces in the Pacific.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: February 12 WWII Today: December 9 Survival of a crippled B-17

Apr 02

World War II Today: April 2

1940 Hitler gives orders that the invasion of Denmark and Norway is to begin on the 9th April 1940.

Germans again attack Scapa Flow and North Sea convoys.

1941 The 5th Light Division recaptures Agedabia from the British and fans out into three columns, two of which race across the desert in an attempt to cut off the retreating British, while the third pushes up the coast road towards Benghazi. Rear Admiral Bonnetti, the commander of the Italian Red Sea Flotilla orders his seven destroyers out on ‘do or die’ missions. All the destroyers are sunk or captured without achieving any worthwhile results.

1942 The aircraft carrier USS Hornet,with 16 B-25 Mitchells of the Doolittle attack group, departs Alameda, CA en route to launch a bombing raid on  Tokyo

British retreat from Prome, upper Burma.

Axis air forces begin a bombing campaign against La Valetta, the British naval base on Malta.

In Burma, Japanese take Prome and Akyab, securing Arakan Peninsula.

In the United States, tin tubes for toothpaste & shaving cream must be turned in to buy new tube; restrictions placed on use of tin in consumer packaging.

1944 The Russians announce their entry into Romania and threaten to shoot one third of all German POWs if the 18 divisions of the trapped 1st Panzer Army do not surrender. The Russian army crosses the river Prut, East of Cernovcy and liberates the little city Gerca.

1945 The 3rd Ukrainian Front and Bulgarian forces take Nagykanizsa, thereby gaining control of the main Hungarian oil production region. 2nd Ukrainian front under Malinovsky conquers the industrial area of Mosonmagyarovar and reaches the Austrian border between Dounau and the Neusiedler lake.

The British 7th Armoured Division enters Rhine on Dortmund-Ems canal, 60 miles Northeast of Essen.

The US Tenth Army crosses Okinawa, dividing the island.

On Okinawa,  United States opens Yontan and Kadena airfields for emergency and reconnaissance use.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: September 23 WWII Today: February 11 WWII Pin Up: Larna Darnell

Apr 01

World War II Today: April 1

1940 The United States 1940 Census taken: population 131,669,000, a 7.2% increase since 1930.

The British Minister of Food announces Dig for Victory campaign to encourage growing food at home.

1941 General Platt and his ‘Northern Force’ capture Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. A pro-axis coup, led by Raschid Ali seizes power in Iraq.

The Japanese force the Chinese out of Toungoo, north of Rangoon.

Japanese begin landing in Dutch New Guinea.

1942 As a result of the immense loss in shipping along the US eastern seaboard, since January 1942, the US authorities instituted a partial convoying system, known as the ‘Bucket Brigade’. This meant that ships would sail in convoy as close to the coast as possible during daylight hours and anchor in protected harbours at night. Due to the shortage of escort vessels, continuous convoying was not possible and the ‘Bucket Brigade’ system did not apply to the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico.

1943 Attempting to stem inflation in the USA, President Roosevelt freezes wages, salaries, and prices.

Meat, fats, canned goods, and cheese are now rationed in the US.

1944

The USAAF accidentally bombs Schaffhausen in Switzerland. The Swiss protest strongly. The Americans offer reparations.

1945 The U.S. First and Ninth Armies link up at Lippstadt cutting off a third of a million German troops in the Ruhr area. The U.S. First Army enters Hamm, 40 miles Northeast of Essen.

The 3rd Ukrainian Front capture Sopron in Hungary, a vital road junction between Budapest and Vienna and also reaches Wiener Neustadt as it continues its advance toward Vienna. The fighting in Breslau continues.

The U.S. Tenth Army, with 1,457 ships in support, invades Okinawa which is 325 miles from Japan. 60,000 troops land unopposed and establish an 8-mile bridgehead.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Pin Up: Diana Mumby WWII Today: February 1 Words at War: Veterans Comes Back

Mar 31

World War II Today: March 31

1939 Britain and France agree to support Poland if Germany threatens to invade.

1940 German armed merchant cruiser Atlantis sets sail, will sink 22 ships before being sunk November 22, 1941.

1941 British civilian casualties for March are 4,259 killed and 5,557 injured.

Italian naval forces sink the British Cruiser, HMS Bonaventure off Crete.

The 5th Light Division engages the British 2nd Armoured Division near Mersa Brega, as it attempts to capture the town. The battle rages all day and results in the British withdrawing towards Agedabia.

A US scientific/military team arrives in the Danish colony of Greenland, to consider the establishment of military bases there.

The RAF first uses 4000-lb “Cookie” bomb in raid on Emden, Germany.

109 RAF bombers attack the German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in Brest, France, but were unable to score any hits.

Erwin Rommel’s forces attack Ajdabiya and expelled the 2nd Armoured Division.

Crown Prince and Regent of Iraq ‘Abd al-Ilah flees to Jordan after learning of a plot to assassinate him.

Germany and Yugoslavia severs diplomatic relations.

1943 Newly built gas chamber/crematory II opens at Auschwitz.

The Australian 9th Division marches through Melbourne watched by more than half a million people.

In North Africa, Axis forces withdrew from Cap Serrat while 5th Corps of the 1st British Army captured El Aouana.

1944 RAF losses after 35 major attacks on German cities since the 18th November 1943 are 1,047 aircraft destroyed and 1,682 damaged.

Vice Admiral Mineichi Koga, Commander-in-Chief of Japanese Combined Fleet, is killed in a plane crash on Mindanao in the Philippines.

1945 The Germans start pulling out of Holland. The French First Army crosses the Rhine for first time since Napoleon. The US Third Army reaches Siegen 20 miles East of the Rhine.

The Russians enters German territory near Sopron in Hungary. The Russian capture Ratibor in Upper Silesia.

British 26th Division reaches the Burma Road, which ends eight months of fighting.

Free French Army crosses Rhine near Speyer, Germany, the first French troops to cross the Rhine since Napoleon.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:Words at War: Since You Went Away WWII Today: April 28 WWII Today: November 20

Mar 30

World War II Today: March 30

1940 The Japanese set up a puppet government called Manchuko in Nanking, China.

1941 Claiming their crews are engaged in sabotage, President Roosevelt orders the government to seize sixty ships belonging to Axis countries that are currently docked in American ports.

1942 First trainloads of Jews from Paris arrive at Auschwitz.

The RAF makes a second unsuccessful attempt to sink the Tirpitz while in port at Trondheim.

The 6th Chinese Army abandons Toungoo, and fails to destroy the bridge over the river Sittang as well. This leaves the way to the Chinese border wide open for the Japanese Army. The abandonment of Toungoo also exposed 1st Burma Corps left flank, whose attacks in the Prome area had been turned back by the Japanese. and forced to withdraw towards the Yenangyuang oilfields.

The Allies formally divide the Pacific theatre into two commands. General MacArthur takes control of the South-West Pacific Command based in Australia and covering the Philippines, new Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Dutch East Indies. The second command covered the remainder of the Pacific and came under the control of Admiral Nimitz, who was based at Pearl Harbor. His Pacific Ocean Command was then sub divided in to three, which were the North, Central and South Pacific Areas.

The Pacific War Council is set up in Washington, with representatives from Britain, Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, Netherlands, Philippines and the US.

1943 Elements of the Eighth Army break through at the Gabes Pass, over 100 miles into Tunisia and heads North.

1944 Kleist and Manstein are sacked by Hitler and replaced by Schorner and Model.

In a raid on Nuremberg the RAF suffers its heaviest losses in single raid, losing 96 (600 aircrew) out of 795 bombers.

The siege of Imphal begins, as the Japanese cut the road to the North.

1945 The U.S. First Army begins a 3 day battle for Paderborn.

Russians troops finally capture Danzig, along with 45 U-boats and 10,000 prisoners. Breslau and Glogau are surrounded, 180 miles South East of Berlin. Russian troops cross the Austrian border to the North of Koszeg. German troops of Army Group Weichsel evacuate their last remaining bridgehead at Wollin to the North of Stettin.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: September 30 WWII Today: July 27 Yank Magazine Pin Up: Lizabeth Scott

Mar 29

World War II Today: March 29

1936 Italy firebombs the Ethiopian city of Harar.

1940 In German-occupied territories, only Jewish doctors are now allowed to treat Jews.

1941 A ‘Commissariat’ for Jewish Affairs is set up in Vichy France.

The Italians spot a British convoy escorted by 4 Cruisers and 4 Destroyers and close in. The British ships lure the Italians towards the main body of the Mediterranean Fleet which includes 3 battleships and the Aircraft Carrier HMS Formidable. HMS Formidable launches aircraft which attack and hit the Italian Battleship Vittorio Veneto with a torpedo, although it manages to limp back to Taranto. Later, they also hit the Cruiser Pola which is seriously damaged. The Italians decide to withdraw and detach 2 cruisers and 4 Destroyers to assist the damaged Cruiser Pola. However, the British intercept them and sink the Cruiser Pola and its 2 escort Cruisers Zara and Fiume as well as 2 of the escorting Destroyers. British losses total just 2 aircraft.

After 2 months and 14 separate meetings, the US and British staff conference ends with a basic framework for US-British co-operation should the USA be drawn in to the war. Most importantly an agreement was made that Germany should be defeated first.

1942 Escorts of the Arctic convoy PQ13, beat off a German destroyer attack, sinking Z26.

Another sixteen Spitfires are delivered to Malta by Force H.

The Australian War Cabinet implements a ‘Total Denial’ policy in northern Australia should the Japanese invade. This would involve the conduct of a fighting withdrawal, with the evacuation or destruction of anything left behind. Already underway was a vast migration of sheep and cattle southwards, with those taking part are nicknamed ‘Overlanders’.

1943 British and Indian troops begin to withdraw from Arakan in western Burma, under heavy Japanese pressure.

Meat rationing begins in the USA and is set at 28oz per week.

1944 The U.S. Navy bombards the Palau Islands to the East of the Philippines, destroying 150 planes, six naval vessels and 100,000 tons of shipping.

1945 In Germany, US Seventh Army takes Mannheim and Heidelberg. In retreat from Heidelberg, Germans destroy historic Alte Brücke over Neckar River.

Troops of the 1st Belorussian Front finally capture the fortress town of Kastrin against desperate German resistance. The Russians seize the oilfields South of Komorn in Hungary, the last source of petroleum for the German war effort.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: November 11 WWII Today: February 10 WWII Today: January 6

Mar 28

World War II Today: March 28

1933 Nazis order a ban on all Jews in businesses, professions and schools.

1940 Dutch fighters shoot down a British bomber near Rotterdam by mistake, killing one flier.

The British and French decide to start mining neutral Norwegian waters from the 8th April 1940.

1941 In an attempt to intercept British convoys sailing to Greece, the Italian navy puts a force of 1 Battleship, 8 Cruisers and 9 Destroyers out to sea. However, they are spotted by an RAF flying boat which alerts Admiral Cunningham who orders the Mediterranean fleet to slip anchor and intercept the Italians the next day.

Anti-Axis demonstrations in Yugoslavia.

1942 Naval and Commando raid against St. Nazaire. A British ship, the HMS Campbeltown, a Lend-Lease American destroyer, which was specifically rammed into a German occupied dry-dock in France, explodes, knocking the area out of action for the German battleship Tirpitz.

Under the new tactical doctrine of area saturation bombing, introduced by Air Vice Marshal Harris, the RAF launches a heavy incendiary attack (234 bombers) against Lübeck on the Baltic that devastates 265 acres of the old city. The RAF lost 13 aircraft and from one of these the Germans were able to obtain their first specimen of the GEE equipment. In retaliation for the raid on Lübeck, Hitler orders the Luftwaffe to bomb historic British towns and cities.

Fritz Sauckel named Chief of Manpower to expedite recruitment of slave labour.

In response to General Stilwell’s request for a British counter-attack to relieve the pressure on Chinese forces around Toungoo, Alexander orders the 1st Burma Corps to attack at Paungde and Prome in the Irrawaddy valley.

1943

The British First Army goes onto the offensive in northern Tunisia.

1944 The Russians recapture Nikolaev on the Black Sea and enter Romanian territory.

Merrill’s ‘Marauders’ begin a 10-day defensive action against 1,300 Japanese at Nhpum Ga Ridge.

1945 Argentina declares war against Germany.

The British Second Army begins its drive towards the Elbe as the U.S. First Army captures Marburg, 60 miles Northeast of Koblenz. The US Third Army captures Limburg on the Lahn.

The Russians capture Gdynia, along with 9,000 prisoners, after a long struggle. The 1st Belorussian Front captures Gotenhafen north of Danzig. Hitler replaces General Guderian with General Krebs as chief of OKH.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: December 7 – Pearl Harbor WWII Today: December 6 WWII Today: March 10

Mar 27

World War II Today: March 27

1941 A coup in Yugoslavia by General Simonic and other army officers overthrows the pro-German government. King Peter takes control and a new cabinet is formed. This upsets Hitler, who decides to delay his surprise attack on the Soviet Union in order to launch “Operation Union”, whose intent is the destruction of Yugoslavia.

British troops finally take Keren, although they suffer nearly 4,000 casualties in the process, while the Italians lose some 3,000 men. The  Italians are forced to withdraw towards Asmara. The 11th African Division captures Harar in Abyssinia after the Italians have declared it an  ‘open town’.

Tokeo Yoshikawa arrives in Oahu, Hawaii, to begin spying for Japan on the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Under the Lend-Lease Act, US signs 99-year lease on British bases in the western hemisphere and approves $7 billion in aid to Britain.

1942 The British raid the Nazi submarine base at St. Nazaire, France

Filippino President and Government arrive in Australia.

The start of deportation of French Jews to Auschwitz.

One thousand Jews leave Drancy, France for the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1943 Germans delay British/New Zealanders at Tebaga Gap and retreat to Wadi Akarit, Tunisia.

The United Stages Navy defeats the Japanese in thebattle of Komondorski Islands in Aleutians, the longest continuous gun battle in history of US Navy.

1944 Thousands of Jews are murdered in Kaunas, Lithuania. The Gestapo shoots forty Jewish policemen in the Riga, Latvia ghetto.

1945 General Dwight Eisenhower declares that the German defenses on the Western Front have been broken.

The allied bridgehead north of Ruhr is now 700 square miles. 16,257 POW’s are taken for 6,781 allied casualties in four days. The U.S. Third Army captures Aschaffenburg.

The 1,115th and last V2 to reach England lands in Kynaston Rd., Orpington, Kent, England.

Bitter street fighting in Danzig as the Russians force their way into the City defences. A German counterattack from the Frankfurt bridgehead toward Kastrin bogs down after only a few miles.

B-29s lay mines in Japan’s Shimonoseki Strait to interrupt shipping.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: December 2 WWII Today: January 12 WWII Today: April 7

Mar 26

World War II Today: March 26

1938 Herman Goering warns all Jews to leave Austria.

1940 Canadian election returns Mackenzie King as prime minister.

First flight of Curtiss C-46 Commando cargo plane in St. Louis MO.

Curtiss C-46D

1941 The German Army High Command gives approval to RSHA and Heydrich on the tasks of SS murder squads (Einsatzgruppen) in occupied Poland.

The British Cruiser York is severely damaged and then beached at Suda Bay in Crete, when it is hit by an Italian motor boat loaded with explosives.

1942 Two of the freighters from the recent relief convoy are sunk in port by the Luftwaffe. These two ships were still almost fully loaded as damage to the docks at Valletta has prevented their swift unloading. Of the 26,000 tons of supply that had been sent from Egypt on this latest convoy, only 5,000 tons were eventually unloaded.

General Blamey becomes the Commander-in-Chief of Australian Military Forces.

Churchill tells the conservatives, ‘It now seems very likely that we and our allies cannot lose this war, except through our own fault’.

1943 The Eighth Army wins the battle of the Mareth line, forcing the axis troops to retreat to the North.

1944 Koniev’s armies reach the River Pruth on a 50-miles front. The Russians recapture Kamenets-Podolsk. in the Ukraine.

1945 The U.S. Third Army reaches Main and establishes contact with U.S. Seventh Army on the East side of Rhine, near Worms. The US Third Army captures Darmstadt.

The Russians take Papa and Devecser, both German strong points covering the approaches to the Austrian border. The Reichsführer-SS is replaced by General Heinrici as Commander in Chief of Army Group Weichsel.

The last organized Japanese troops on Iwo Jima make a suicide attack. Total U.S. killed on Iwo Jima is 6,891, with more than 20,000 Japanese being killed and only 216 captured.

US Eighth Army lands on Cebu in Philippines.

US Tenth Army lands on Kerama Islands 15 miles west of Okinawa to build artillery base; seizes 350 kamikaze torpedo boats.

David Lloyd George, British prime minister during WWI, dies at age 83

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: December 3 WWII Today: December 4 WWII Today: November 4