Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category
1940 In the House of Commons, prime minister Churchill declares,’ I leave the judgment of our actions with confidence to Parliament. I leave it to the nation and I leave it to the United States. I leave it to the world and to history.’
German Stukas and MTBs attack a British convoy South of Portland, sinking 5 merchant ships.
In direct response to the devastating British attack on the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, the Vichy French government of Marshal Petain breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain.
Italian bombers raid Malta.
Italian bombers raid Alexandria. Italian forces attack from Abyssinia and Eritrea and capture the British outposts of Kassala and Gallabat on the Sudanese border.
1941 In and Independence Day broadcast, Roosevelt warns the American public that the USA ‘will never survive as a happy and prosperous oasis in the middle of a desert of dictatorship’.
British Communist Party officially drops peace campaign and backs the war.
Units of Army Group Centre capture Ostrov.
British Communist Party decides to support war effort.
Communist Yugoslavian leader Tito (Joseph Broz) calls for Yugoslavians to revolt against Nazi rule.
1942 Bad weather delays operation ‘Rutter’, which is now scheduled for the 7th July.
Convoy PQ-17, now reinforced with the 7 warships of the cruiser force which had come up during the night, comes under heavy attack from Luftwaffe dive-bombers and torpedo planes during the morning. An American merchant (7,200 tons) was badly hit by a torpedo and had to be abandoned, although U-457 found and sank it. U-457, also incorrectly reported that it had seen a battleship with the convoys escorts. Because of this report, Admiral Raeder believed that the British distant covering force, which included an aircraft-carrier had arrived to help the convoy. He therefore refused permission for the German battleship Tirpitz, pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, heavy cruiser Hipper, 7 destroyers and 2 E-boats to put to sea until the British aircraft-carrier had been sunk. In the afternoon, larger numbers of Luftwaffe planes attacked convoy PQ-17 twice, severely damaging 3 merchants, two of which later sank. Later that day, the British First Sea Lord Dudley Pound, thought that the German surface force had sailed to attack the PQ-17 and would in all probability wipe out the convoy along with the covering cruiser force. He therefore made the catastrophic decision to withdraw the cruiser force and “scatter” PQ-17 in the hope that this might save most of the convoy. Almost immediately, the U-boats benefited, with U-703 sinking 2 merchants for 12,100 tons, U-88 sank 2 merchants for 12,300 tons, U-334 sank 1 merchant for 7,200 tons and U-456 sank a merchant for 7,000 tons. On the downside the Luftwaffe, having difficulty in spotting friend from foe, damaged U-334 and U-456 forcing them to return to Norway for repairs.
For the first time, 6 Douglas A-20/Boston bombers of the USAAF’s 15th Bombardment Squadron were combined with 6 Douglas A-20/Boston bombers from the RAF’s 226 Squadron for raids on German airfields in Holland. 2 USSAF and 1 RAF aircraft failed to return.
The Germans claim to have pushed the Russians back across the Don along a broad front.
First American Red Cross Service Club opens in London, the Washington Club.
1943 General Sikorski and several other Polish leaders of the London-based anti-Communist Polish government-in-exile, die in plane crash just after take-off from Gibraltar, which some suspect is the result of deliberate sabotage.
1944 The general strike in Copenhagen ends with the Germans withdrawing the curfew to avoid further popular risings in Denmark.
In Normandy, one U.S. division gains only 200yds and six German prisoners for nearly 1,400 casualties.
The Soviet 1st Baltic Front begins an offensive toward Riga, capturing Polotsk and threatening to isolate Army Group North during its fighting retreat from Estonia.
1945 The British 7th Armoured Division, ‘The Desert Rats’ enters Berlin to establish the British sector.
Canadian troops riot in Aldershot, England, over not being shipped home; no damage or injuries.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 15 WWII Today: October 8 WWII Today: September 14
1940 Fifty nine French warships that had sought refuge at Plymouth and Portsmouth are seized by the Royal Navy, but only after overcoming armed French resistance in some cases.
The British Auxiliary AA ship Foyle Bank is sunk in German air attacks on the docks at Portland, Dorset.
Due to heavy losses at the hands of the Luftwaffe the British suspend all future convoy from passing through the English Channel.
Heavy units of the British Navy, code named Force H (Somerville), launch an attack (Operation Catapult) on the French fleet stationed at Mers-el-Kebir near Oran in Algeria, sinking the battleship Bretagne and heavily damaging the battleship Provence and the battlecruiser Dunkerque. 1,300 French sailors are killed and hundreds wounded.
1941 For the first time since the beginning of the German attack on the Soviet Union, Stalin speaks to the Russian people over the radio. Demanding utmost resistance ‘in our patriotic war against German Fascism’ and says ‘A grave threat hangs over our country.’ He calls for a policy of scorched earth if the Red Army is forced to yield ground and the formation of ‘people’s partisan’ groups behind enemy lines, as well as the summary execution of all cowards and shirkers.
Army Group Centre eradicates the Bialystok pocket capturing 290,000 prisoners, 2,500 tanks, 1,500 guns in the process.
1942 Sevastopol, the Crimean capital, finally falls to Germans, along with 97,000 Soviet prisoners. The German and Romanian forces lost 24,000 men.
Eleven U-boats in the area begin to close in on convoy PQ-17 or place themselves along the route of the convoy. 6 U-boats make attack runs throughout the day, but have no success and either lose contact or fall behind the convoy.
Due to exhaustion and lack of supplies, especially fuel for the armored divisions, Rommel orders his German and Italian forces to suspend all offensive operations before El Alamein and begin constructing defensive positions.
1943 The RAF carries out a heavy night raid on Cologne, causing considerable damage and killing hundreds of civilians.
The opening of operation ‘Citadel’, the massive German offensive to encircle and destroy the Soviet forces in the Orel-Belgorod salient near Kursk, is delayed by one day because of heavy Soviet air attacks against the German deployment areas.
US troops from Nassau Beach link up with the Australians who are under heavy attack at Mubo in New Guinea. Operation ‘Cartwheel’ continues with further advances in the Solomon’s.
1944 The U.S. First Army opens a general offensive to break out of the hedgerow area of Normandy, France.
The U.S. VIII Corps drives southwards to Coutances.
French troops take Siena, only 30 miles South of Florence.
Minsk, the capital of Byelorussia is captured by the Russians, trapping 100,000 Germans in a pocket to the East.
Prime Minister Curtin returns to Australia after the Commonwealth conference in Britain.
1945 U.S. troops land at Balikpapan and take Sepinggan airfield on Borneo in the Pacific.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 18 WWII Today: March 1 WWII Today: January 15
1940 The British liner Arandora Star, carrying 1,500 German and Italian prisoners of war to Canada, is sunk by U-47 off the west coast of Ireland, with many casualties.
Hitler orders preparation of ‘Operation Sealion’ the plan for the invasion of Britain. Germans issue casualty figures for French campaign: 17,000 killed and 1,900,000 French prisoners claimed. August Bank holiday canceled in Britain.
1941 The RAF carries out night raids on Bremen and Cologne.
Troops of the German 11th, Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies begin an offensive from Moldavia toward Vinnitsa and the Black Sea port of Odessa.
China breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany and Italy.
1942 Allied convoys QP-13 and PQ-17 pass each other while the German battleships Tirpitz and Hipper prepare to attack PQ-17 in the North Atlantic.
The British hold El Alamein despite heavy attacks, Rommel is now down to 26 tanks.
JCS approves Pacific strategy-a dual Army-Navy attack.
hurchill’s government overcomes a parliamentary Motion of Censure in an overwhelming vote.
US Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps is ordered disbanded, completed 30 June 1943.
1943 Greek guerrillas to come under the direct control of the supreme allied command in the Middle East. U.S. Fifteenth Air Force, raids three airfields in southern Italy.
US troops land on New Georgia in the Solomons.
1944 The end of the battle of the ‘Scottish Corridor’ in Normandy result in the German counter-attacks failing to eliminate it. Field Marshal von Rundstedt, C-in-C West, is replaced by Field Marshal von Kluge.
German troops evacuate Siena.
The Russians cut the railways to the West of Minsk.
US Army troops land on Noemfoor Island in Geelvink Bay, New Guinea.
US Marines take Garapan, Saipan; Japanese fall back to final defensive line on northern Saipan.
1945 The U.S. submarine Trenchant sinks a Hagura Class Japanese cruiser in the Southwest Pacific.
The British capture secret documents concerning a planned breakout of Honda’s 33rd Army in Burma.
USS Barb attacks Kaihyo Island with the first use of rockets by a sub against shore installations.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: October 7 WWII Today: December 1 WWII Bell Telephone Christmas Ad
1940 In the first 6 months of the year, German U-boats have sunk 900,000 tons of Allied shipping.
German troops occupy Jersey and complete the capture of the Channel Islands, the only British territory ever captured by Germany during World War 2. The French government of Marshal Petain moves from Bordeaux to Vichy. Germany asks the USA and other neutrals to withdraw diplomatic missions from Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Norway. British milk price maximum is raised to 4d a pint.
Marshal Balbo is replaced by Marshal Graziani as C-in-C of the Italian forces in Libya.
1941 Icelandic-American exchange of letter respecting defense of Iceland.
Coal deliveries to all establishments in Britain limited to one ton per month.
RAF starts daylight air offensive over Northern France, English Channel and Occupied Europe.
German armoured forces of Panzergruppe 4 of Heeresgruppe Nord cross the Dvina and capture Riga, while units of Panzergruppe 2 of Heeresgruppe Mitte reach the Berezina near Borisov.
Auchinleck becomes C-in-C of the Middle East.
Wavell becomes C-in-C, India. The Axis recognises the Japanese backed government of China.
1942 German troops capture Sevastopol, Crimea, in the Soviet Union.
Rommel captures 2,000 prisoners from the El Alamein ‘box’ but loses 18 of his 55 remaining tanks.
1943 Hitler addresses the generals taking part in the imminent operation ‘Citadel’ at Kursk.
1944 The invasion of southern France is fixed for the 15th August. Since D-Day, the Allies have landed 920,000 troops, 177,000 vehicles and 600,000 tons of supplies and equipment. In the 24 days of fighting, they have lost 62,000 men killed, wounded and missing. Beginning of the Bretton Woods Conference convened to deal with postwar financial and economic problems. The establishment of the International Monetary Fund for Reconstruction and Development is announced.
The Fifth Guards Tank Army of the 3rd Belorussian Front takes Borisov, less that 50 miles North East of Minsk.
The Japanese Imphal-Kohima survivors are encircled at Ukrul.
1945 The U.S. 2nd Armoured Division from Halle enter Berlin in accordance with the four-power agreement over the division of Germany into zones.
The Australian 7th Division lands at Balikpapan on South East coast of Borneo after a 15-day bombardment.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 24 WWII Today: October 16 WWII Today: July 18
*1934 Adolf Hitler began his ”blood purge” of political and military leaders in Germany. Among those killed was one-time Hitler ally Ernst Roehm, leader of the Nazi stormtroopers.
1940 Germans troops land on Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
The last French defenders of the Maginot Line surrender.
Governor General of Hong Kong orders evacuation of women and children to the Philippines as Japanese blockade colony.
1941 Vichy France breaks off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
Army Group Centre continues to constrict the Bialystok pocket to the west of Minsk. Pilots of Luftwaffe fighter wing JG-51 down 100 Soviet bombers attacking German panzer forces east of Minsk, with its CO, Oberst MË†lders, accounting for 5 of them. German forces of Army Group South capture Lemberg (Lvov).
1942 The costliest fiscal year in U.S. history comes to a close. More that $32 billion has been spent, $26 billion on war expenditures alone. The total exceeds the amount on WWI in its entirety.
Returning from a successful patrol in the Gulf of Mexico (12 ships sunk), U-158 (Kptlt. Rostin) is destroyed by a US Mariner flying boat off Bermuda.
As the Panzer’s roll eastward in Russia, they haul in hordes of Russian POW’s. With five German armies (two panzer), two Romanian, one Italian (including a number of mountain divisions) and one Hungarian Army in the van, all tolled 89 divisions on the offensive. While the Panzer’s are fully motorized, the bulk of the remaining forces depend on horses for transport and supply. As the advance lengthens, so do the supply lines, and shortages soon begin to appear at the sharp end. The Russian garrison at Sevastopol begins to evacuate itself by night. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, chief of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, telegraphs his troops, “In line with the prestige and dignity of the German Army, every German soldier must maintain distance and such an attitude with regard to Russian POW’s as takes account of the bitterness and inhuman brutality of the Russians in battle.” Prestige and dignity will be maintained, Keitel continues, as follows “Fleeing prisoners of war are to be shot without preliminary warning to stop. All resistance of POW’s, even passive, must be entirely eliminated immediately by the use of arms.” Russian POW’s are placed into camps where the dead lie undisturbed for weeks on end. German guards periodically enter the camps to get rid of bodies with flame-throwers.
At Auschwitz, a second gas chamber, Bunker II (the white farmhouse), is made operational at Birkenau due to the number of Jews arriving.
U-372 sinks the British submarine depot ship Medway. The loss of the torpedo’s she was carrying put a severe brake on British submarine operations in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Fleet evacuates Alexandria for Haifa, Port Said and Beirut. The port facilities are also prepared for demolition incase axis forces reach the city.
Rommel spearheads reaches El Alamein. The port facilities at Alexandria are prepared for demolition, should the axis forces not be stopped at El Alamein. In what became known as ‘Ash Wednesday’, British HQ is Cairo begins to destroy classified papers and prepares for evacuation to Palestine. A brave but disorganized Eighth Army is addressed by General Auchinleck, who tells them, that ‘He (Rommel) hopes to take Egypt by bluff. Lets show him where to get off.’ This comes as ‘Ultra’ interceptions told them that Rommel would attack their positions at El Alamein the following day.
1943 The British publish aircraft losses incurred to date, with Axis losses of 18,031 aircraft and RAF losses of 9,906 aircraft.
Operation ‘Cartwheel’ continues with the occupation of Rendova, north west of Guadalcanal. The Trobriand and Woodlark islands between Solomon’s and New Guinea are also occupied.
1944 The United States breaks off diplomatic relations with Finland.
The remaining 6,000 Germans in the Cherbourg peninsula surrender. The Germans forces retake Hill 112 from the British 2nd Army.
1945 The Chinese take Liuchow and capture towns on the Indo-Chinese border.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 13 WWII Today: December 2 WWII Today: February 24
1940 Japan declares the South Seas to be in its sphere of influence.
President Roosevelt signs the Alien Registration Act; 5 million foreigners will register and be fingerprinted.
1941 Lord Beaverbrook becomes Minister of Supply in Cabinet reshuffle.
Goering is named Hitler’s successor.
Russian defense Committee is formed with Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov, Malenkov and Beria.
The German 20th Mountain Army launches Operation ‘Silver Fox’, an offensive to capture the Soviet port of Murmansk, while the Finnish Karelian Army activates its offensive towards Leningrad.
Local Finnish forces attack along the border in southern Finland.
Romanian troops conduct a pogrom against Jews in the town of Jassy, killing 10,000.
Germany demands that Japan launches an attack against Russia. The Japanese consider this, but in the end only agree to strengthen their forces in this area.
1942 The drive on the Caucasus roars on as German columns kick up dust clouds that can be seen 40 miles away and leave behind burning villages and town. “It is the formation of the Roman Legions, now brought up to date in the 20th century to tame the Mongol-Slav horde,” exults German propaganda. In Sevastopol, German troops attack from their bridgehead, while more forces blast in across the Fedyukhin Heights, forcing the Russians back.
Rommel takes Mersa Matruh after heavy fighting and captures 6,000 prisoners along with large quantities of supplies. British disarray increases as German advance units mix with British rear units which are reatreating as fast as possible for the relative safety of the El Alamein defensive position. Mussolini arrives at Derna in Libya to prepare for the triumphal entry into Cairo. Alexandria is bombed.
Two ships leave the port of Shanghai carrying more than four hundred North and South American Diplomats and their dependents. The passengers are to exchanged for and equal number of Japanese nationals being held in the Western Hemisphere.
1943 US Marines land on Nassau beach near Lae in New Guinea during Operation ‘Cartwheel‘.
The US Army Air Force insignia changed to “stars and bars,” with a red border around bar.
1944 The RAF carries out a saturation raid (250 Lancasters) against the 2nd and 9th SS Panzer Divisions at Villers-Bocage near Caen.
The US VII Corps captures the last harbor fort at Cherbourg, but the port rendered completely useless for three weeks.
70,000 troops of Army Group Centre that are encircled near Bobruisk surrender to the Red Army. The Russians report that 16,000 Germans have been killed and 18,000 captured near Minsk.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 6 WWII Today: June 23 WWII Quote: FDR
1940 The Alien Registration Act (the Smith Act) passed by the US Congress requires aliens to register and be fingerprinted. The Act makes it illegal to advocate the overthrow of the US government.
German aircraft bomb Jersey.
British government recognizes de Gaulle as leader of Ã«Free FrenchÃ. Channel Islands demilitarized and partially evacuated.
The Pope offers to mediate between Britain, Germany and Italy.
Following an ultimatum to the Romanian government, the Red Army occupies Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina.
Marshal Balbo, the Governor-General of Libya is killed when his plane is shot down by another Italian aircraft.
1941 In the Arctic, British light cruiser Nigeria and British destroyers Bedouin, Jupiter, and Tartar capture German weather ship Lauenburg; crew of Tartarcaptures Enigma code books and machine.
Vannevar Bush is named as director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), which has just been created by President Roosevelt.
Army Group Centre’s Panzer Groups meet to the east of Minsk, capturing the city and trapping 27 Red Army divisions in a pocket to the west. Army Group South meets tougher than expected resistance in its drive through the southern Ukraine.
Albania declares war on the Soviet Union.
1942 FBI captures eight German agents that have landed by U-boat on Long Island.
Low clouds cover the skies over the Ukraine, providing a suitably ominous overture to Operation ‘Blau’, the German summer offensive. Field Marshal Fedor von Bock (“The Preacher of Death”) hurls three armies and 11 Panzer divisions East in a massive assault whose objective is nothing short of the Caucasus mountains and oilfields. In classic blitzkrieg style, the Germans fan out across open steppe and grassland, crushing the 40th Army, folding the 13th Army northward and disintegrating the reeling 21st and 28th Armies. Russian troop command crumbles under the drive. Russian logistics, exhausted by the Moscow counteroffensive, cannot keep up with the demand. A German sergeant tells Propaganda Kompanie men “It’s quite different from last year, it’s more like Poland. The Russians aren’t nearly so thick on the ground. They fire their guns like madmen, but they don’t hurt us!”. That evening, in Sevastopol, German troops cross North Bay under a smoke screen and seize the southern shore, capturing Inkerman in the process.
2 freighters and 1 tanker from convoy PQ-17 suffer accidental damage and are forced to abort.
German advance units capture Fuqa and report increasing confusion in the retreating British units.
1943 Cologne Cathedral is badly damaged in a raid.
1944 The British 2nd Army’s Ã«Operation EpsomÃ, designed to break through the German defenses near Caen is halted by the fierce resistance of the I and II SS Panzer Korps.
The Russians take Mogilev and cross the Berezina river surrounding most of German Ninth Army.
1945 The Japanese casualty figures on Luzon are 113,593 killed and U.S. loses are just 3,793.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 28 WWII Today: May 1 WWII Today: January 30
1940 All French ships in British ports are seized by the Royal Navy.
German troops reach Franco-Spanish border.
Romania agrees to cede Bessarabia to the USSR.
French C-in-C in Syria accepts armistice terms.
Japanese troops occupy part of the Hong Kong peninsula.
1941 German forces capture Bobruisk and Przemysl. Hungary declares war on the Soviet Union and agrees to send troops to help Army Group South.
Denmark severs diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
1942 The FBI announced the capture of eight Nazi saboteurs who had been put ashore from a submarine on New York’s Long Island.
Convoy PQ-17 sets sail from Iceland. It consists of 35 merchants, 3 rescue ships and 2 tankers for refueling and is heavily loaded with 297 aircraft, 594 tanks, 4246 lorries and gun carriers, plus an additional 156,000 tons of cargo. The convoy is to be guarded by 21 close escorts, 7 warships from a cruiser covering force and a further 19 warships in a distant covering force. All told 1 aircraft-carrier, 2 battleships, 6 heavy cruisers, 23 destroyers, 4 corvettes, 3 minesweepers, 2 AA ships, 4 ASW trawlers are to protect the convoy. Additionally, 15 submarines, six of them Russian are placed ahead of the the convoy.
Dr. Heinisch, the German administrator in the Przemysl area, issues a public instruction. “Every Ukrainian or Pole who attempts by any means whatsoever to impede the campaign for the deportation of Jews, will be shot. Every Ukrainian or Pole found in a Jewish quarter looting Jewish homes will be shot. Every Ukrainian or Pole attempting to conceal a Jew will be shot.” In the next month, 24,000 Jews from western Galicia, Heinisch’s district, pass through Przemysl. All are taken to Belzec and killed.
German troops begin to outflank the British positions at Mersa Matruh. As this happens the British start to withdraw towards the El Alamein line, confirming radio intercepts that had indicated they would.
1944 The British gain Hill 112 in Normandy.
The Red Army recaptures Orsha on the Dnieper and destroys the trapped German 53rd Korps near Vitebsk. Further gains are reported by the Russians at Mogilev to the South of Vitebsk.
The American Army captures the port city of Cherbourg, France.
1945 The U.S. Sixth Army reaches Aparri, effectively ending the campaign on Luzon.
In a sure sign the war is winding down, the Ford company lays off workers at its Willow Run airplane factory near Detroit. The employee force is reduced to 4,000, from a peak of 42,000 workers making B-24 bombers.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 7 Slapton Sands Disaster Combat America by Clark Gable
1940 British blockade of war materials and food extended to whole of France.
De Gaulle forms French Volunteer Legion in Britain.
Turkey announces that she will stay out of the war.
1941 German forces of Army Group North capture Donaburg in Latvia. The Luftwaffe carries out raids on Leningrad. Heavy fighting in the Bialystok area as the German Panzer’s units close the pocket.
Finland declares war on the Soviet Union.
Spanish volunteers organized to fight with Germany against USSR.
1942 German troops capture Kupyansk over the river Oskel, for use as a launch pad for their summer offensive.
At Rastenberg, Adolf Hitler decorates SS General Eicke, Commanding Officer of the SS Totenkopf Division, with the Oak Leaves for the Knight’s Cross, for his Divisions bravery in holding out in the Demyansk pocket the previous winter. Eleven of Eicke’s officers and men also receive the Knight’s Cross. After the ceremony, Hitler and Eicke chat and Eicke tells the Fuhrer that his Division is pretty well worn out, short of vehicles and wishes it to be transferred to France. Instead, Hitler gives Eicke home leave.
Italian aircraft strength is increased on Sicily by withdrawing aircraft from Libya. This allows the Italians to step up their air attacks against Malta.
Rommel is made a Field Marshal and launches attacks against Mersa Matruh. Meanwhile, Kesselring, Cavallero (Italian Chief of Staff in Rome) and Bastico (Italian C-in-C in Libya) arrive at Rommel’s HQ and give permission for him to continue his advance in to Egypt.
The Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter flies for the first time.
1944 US troops enter Cherbourg taking the German garrison commander prisoner. The British launch Operation ‘Epsom’ in the Odon Valley West of Caen.
The Russians take Vitebsk.
In response to recent communist sabotage, the Germans introduce a curfew in the Copenhagen area, making it illegal to be out in the streets between 8pm in the evening and 5am in the morning. As a result, the citizens of Copenhagen begin a massive general strike. Hundreds of thousands of Danes take part.
The Chindits take Mogaung, with Chinese help.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 3 WWII Today: July 22 WWII Today: December 17
1940 First early morning air-raid alarm is heard in London.
At 1:35am, all acts of war between the French and German armed forces officially cease. Churchill says France is not freed of her obligations. The German army has moved thru France even faster than expected. As Field Marshal Erwin Rommel puts it, “The war has become practically a lightning Tour de France.”
1941 Major Russian forces are close to being surrounded in the Bialystok area by Panzer units of Army Group Centre. Panzer Group 1 captures Lutsk and Dubno, in what was before September 1939 eastern Poland.
The Red Air force launches an a number of air attacks against Finland’s airfields, in the hope of destroying German aircraft which were believed to be stationed in Finland.
1942 The RAF launches its third 1,000-bomber raid, with 1,006 aircraft against Bremen. This time Coastal Command provided 102 Hudson bombers, after Churchill’s insistence that they take part. As with the previous 1,000 bomber raids, a full moon had been selected to aid in finding the target. The raid caused heavy damage to the Focke-Wulf plant and devastated 27 acres of the inner city. The RAF lost 49 aircraft, a high proportion of them being manned by trainee crews.
German troops drive a wedge into Sevastopol’s defenses. The Russians are running out of men, space and time. Surviving fighter aircraft are sent to the Caucasus, conceding the skies to the Luftwaffe. Soon the Russian AA guns are out of ammunition and the defenders face Stukas with rifles and machine guns. Artillery shells are running low too.
The Germans capture Sidi Barrani, Sollum and the Halfaya Pass in Libya as the Eighth Army retreats to Mersa Matruh in Egypt. General Auchinleck relieves Lieutenant General Ritchie and takes personal command of the Eighth Army, with plans to hold Rommel if he could at Mersa Matruh, but more definitely at the El Alamein line, or if that failed the Suez Canal.
General Sir Claude Auchinleck replaces Lt. Gen. Neil Ritchie over British Eighth Army in Egypt.
1943 Newly built gas chamber/crematory III opens at Auschwitz. With its completion, the four new crematories at Auschwitz have a daily capacity of 4,756 bodies.
1944 The British Second Army begins a major offensive in the area of Caen ‘Operation Epsom’. After a naval bombardment, street fighting is reported in Cherbourg. General Koenig is appointed C-in-C of the Free French forces.
1945 The allies announce the division of Austria into four administrative zones. British Second Army in Germany is to be disbanded and sent back to Britain.
The UN Charter is signed by representatives at San Francisco.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 15 WWII Today: March 31 WWII Today: June 29