Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

Apr 07

World War II Today: April 7

1940 The RAF spots units of the Kriegsmarine steaming North towards Narvik and Trondheim loaded with troops and equipment.

1941 British war budget raises income tax.

Germans break towards Salonika.

Great Britain severs diplomatic relations with Hungary.

German troops capture Skopje in Macedonia forcing the Yugoslav forces to withdraw in the south of the country, which exposes the Greek flank. British promise allegiance to Yugoslavia.

Derna is captured by the 5th Light Afrika Division along with Generals Neame and O’Connor later in the day.

1942 The U.S. Treasury lends 40,000 tons of silver to Electric Generator plants to replace copper being used in conductors; the copper will be used for military production instead.

After 4 days of desperate fighting on Bataan, the Japanese have managed to penetrate 4 miles in to the US-Filipino lines, bringing General Wainwright’s forces to the brink of collapse.

1943 Hitler spends the better part of four days at Klessheim Castle near Salzburg (which has recently been refurbished as a Nazi Party conference center and spa) alternately browbeating and cajoling Mussolini to keep Italy in the war. Concerned by Mussolini’s evaporating morale, Hitler spends the rest of April summoning to Klessheim the leaders Vichy France, Norway, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Croatia for a series of pep talks. With the war’s tide clearly turning against the Axis, the Fuhrer has limited success.

Eighth Army joins up with the U.S. 2nd Corps in central Tunisia, while the British First Army makes progress in the North forming a solid line against the German army.

The Japanese air force begins a 10-day, round-the-clock bombing offensive against US shipping in the Solomon’s.

1944 Goebbels takes overall control of Berlin.

Two Jewish inmates escape from Auschwitz-Birkenau and make it safely to Czechoslovakia. One of them, Rudolf Vrba, submits a report to the Papal Nuncio in Slovakia which is forwarded to the Vatican.

1945 The U.S. First Army takes G0ttingen, 25 miles Northeast of Kassel. The US Ninth Army captures Hameln and Eisenach.

Army Group Centre under General Schorner continues with its attacks against the 2nd and 4th Ukrainian front.

In Yugoslavia, German Army Group E under General Lohr evacuates it remaining troops from Sarajevo.

The battle of East China Sea begins as U.S. aircraft from Task Force 58 sink the Japanese super-battleship Yamato in a three-hour battle, 60 miles to the Southeast of Japan. Japanese casualties are reported as 2,488 sailors killed, four destroyers sunk, 58 aircraft destroyed.

US Third Army finds Nazi art and gold stash in salt mine in Merkers worth $500 million.

B29s fly their first fighter-escorted mission against Japan with P-51 Mustangs based on Iwo Jima.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: December 18 WWII Today: October 10 WWII Today: January 18

Apr 06

World War II Today: April 6

1938 The United States recognizes Nazi Germany’s conquest of Austria.

1940 British Ministry of Food announces “Kitchen Front” campaign to save food.

Germany recalls all 1, 2, 5, and 10-pfennig coins to reclaim copper & bronze; will use zinc instead.

1941 German, Italian and Hungarian forces begin the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. The Luftwaffe carries out several devastating bombing raids against Belgrade and all but wipes out the Yugoslav air force on the ground.

The Luftwaffe launches an air attack against the Greek port of Piraeus from bases in Bulgaria. During the raid, the British ammunition ship Clan Fraser is hit and explodes in a massive fireball, wrecking the harbour and port facilities.

Australian forces capture Benghazi along with six senior Italian Generals. Italian forces make repeated attempts to break through the weak British blocking forces at Beda Fomm, but cannot.

Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel is appointed to command the German forces being sent to Africa.

Six Beaufort torpedo-bombers attack the German cruiser Gneisenau, anchored in Brest harbour. One, piloted by Fg Off Kenneth Campbell, makes a successful attack before being shot down, inflicting serious damage that took six months to repair. For this, Campbell was awarded a posthumous VC.

1942 Axis bombers attack the port of Alexandria in Egypt.

The Japanese make landings on Manus Island in the Bismarck Archipelago.

The Japanese air raid on Vizagapatam and Cocanada, India tips India into Allied camp.

First U.S. troops arrive in Australia.

Germany cuts rations of bread, meat, fats.

Due to heavy Luftwaffe raids, British begin to withdraw surface ships from Malta to Gibraltar and Alexandria.

700 Japanese-Americans are assembled at Santa Anita Racetrack.

1943 British and American forces in Tunisia launch an attack against the 5th Panzerarmee.

1945 Sarajevo falls into the hands of Yugoslav partisans.

Preceded by a tremendous artillery and air bombardment, the 3rd Belorussian Front with Four armies, 137,000 men, 530 tanks and 2,400 aircraft begin their final assault against Königsberg, which is held by 35,000 Germans troops. The Battle for Vienna begins.

Japanese launch air counterattack (‘Floating Chrysanthemum I’.) on the U.S. Fleet off Okinawa: 800 planes, including 355 kamikazes, strike US naval and ground forces; 400 shot down.

Yugoslav Partisans liberate Sarajevo.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: March 31 WWII Today: December 3 Words at War: Gunners Get the Glory

Apr 05

World War II Today: April 5

1940 British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, tells the British people that Hitler has ‘missed the bus’, meaning that a German invasion of the west is now unlikely to succeed.

Norway and Sweden are both informed of the allied intention to mine Norwegian waters.

RAF launch attacks against ships at Wilhelmshaven.

1942 Fuhrer Directive 41 rolls off the mimeograph machines in Rastenberg and the Wehrmacht has its marching orders for 1942. Leningrad is to finally be captured, but that’s a secondary objective. The big plan is in the South, which involves 2nd Army and 4th Panzer Army breaking through to Voronezh on the Don. The 6th Army will break out South of Kharkov and combine with the 4th Panzer Army to surround the enemy. After that, the 4th Panzer Army and 6th Army will drive East under the command of Army Group B and surround Stalingrad from the North, while Army Group A’s 17th Army and 1st Panzer Army will do so from the South. Once Stalingrad is taken, the 6th Army will hold the flank defense line while Army Group A drives South into the Caucasus to seize the oilfields and become the northern punch of a grand pincer movement (the southern half being Rommel) to seize Suez, the Nile Delta, the Middle-East and its oilfields.

One hundred and eighty Japanese planes from five aircraft carriers attack the Royal Navy’s base at Colombo in Ceylon. These came from Admiral Nagumo’s 1st Air Fleet under Admiral Kondo’s Southern Force which was tasked with destroying the Royal Navy’s Fleet in the Indian Ocean. However, the British received prior warning and sailed the bulk of their fleet to the Maldives, although the armed merchant cruiser Hector and destroyer Tenedos were sunk. Fifty-three Japanese carrier-aircraft did however locate and sink the Royal Navy’s heavy cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall, to the south east of Ceylon, in just 22 minutes.

1943 The British 8th Army attacks the next blocking position of the retreating Axis forces at Wadi Akarit.

1944 The RAF and USAAF conduct the first of 24 round-the-clock raids on the Ploiesti oil refineries in Romania.

A Jewish inmate, Siegfried Lederer, escapes from Auschwitz-Birkenau and makes it safely to Czechoslovakia. He then warns the Elders of the Council at Theresienstadt about Auschwitz.

1945 During a raid on Kiel by the U.S. 8th Air Force, severe damage is caused to the cruisers Hipper and Emden.

A U.S. military government is established on Okinawa.

The US 8th Air Force carries out another heavy attack (450 bombers) against Kiel.

The 3rd Ukrainian Front reaches the railway North West of Vienna, cutting rail link with Linz.

Eighteen U.S. divisions begin the clearance of Ruhr Pocket. The French First Army captures Karlsruhe on the upper Rhine.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: August 5 WWII Today: August 9 WWII Today: July 6

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.

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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.

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