Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

May 18

World War II Today: May 18

World War II Today: May 18 - Events that occurred on this day during WWII that influenced that course of the Second World War:→ Read more

May 17

World War II Today: May 17

Today in WWII History: May 17 - Events that occurred on this day during WWII that influenced that course of the Second World War:→ Read more

May 16

World War II Today: May 16

World War II Today: May 16 Events that occurred on this day during WWII that influenced that course of the Second World War:→ Read more

May 15

World War II Today: May 15

1940 Official announcement that British weekly butter ration will be reduced from 8oz to 4oz per head.

The German XX.Panzerkorps (Hoth) repels a counter-attack by French armored forces, destroying 125 out of 175 tanks. An attack by 6th Army (von Reichenau) against the Dyle line in Belgium is repulsed.

After the fall of Rotterdam the Dutch Army surrenders (10,000 casualties).

The German 20th Panzer Korps (Hoth) repels a counter-attack by French armored forces, destroying 125 out of 175 tanks. An attack by 6th  Army (von Reichenau) against the Dyle line in Belgium is repulsed.

In Paris, panic breaks out over reports of a German breakthrough at Sedan with thousands of civilians fleeing the city for the west and south of the country, clogging the roads for Allied military traffic which is attacked by Luftwaffe bombers and fighter bombers.

RAF Bomber Command (Peirse) begins a strategic air offensive against targets inside Germany by attacking industrial installations in the Ruhr, but with minimal effect.

1941 Roosevelt tells Vichy France to ‘choose between Germany and US’.

RAF night raids on Hanover, Berlin, Hamburg and Cuxhaven.

Ernie Bevin says that he would not negotiate with ‘murderer’ Hess. It’s reported that the Dame of Sark has been deported to a German concentration camp as a reprisal for civil disobedience.

Announced that British losses in France and Norway were 13,250 killed and approximately 41,000 taken prisoner out of 437,000 men engaged.

The Luftwaffe begin preparatory attacks against Crete.

The first British jet-powered aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39, takes to the air at RAF Cranwell on its maiden flight. This was not the first jet-powered aircraft to fly, however; that honor fell to the German-built Heinkel He 178 in August 1939.

The British Army under Auchinleck, begins an offensive against the Afrika Korps and manage to recapture Halfaya Pass, Sollum and Capuzzo.

1942 Gasoline rationing goes into effect in the Eastern United States.

The Royal Navy Cruiser HMS Trinidad was attacked by more than twenty Ju-88 bombers as she was returning home after being damaged while escorting Convoy PQ-13 in March 1942.  All attacks missed, except for one bomb that struck near the previous damage caused by one of her own torpedoes during a previous engagement, starting a serious fire. Sixty-three men were lost, including twenty survivors from HMS Edinburgh which had been sunk two weeks earlier. The decision was taken to scuttle her and she was torpedoed by HMS Matchless and sank in the Arctic Ocean, north of North Cape.

British forces retreating from Burma reach the Indian frontier. General Stilwell crosses the border in to Assam in India.

1943 Stalin announces the dissolution of the Komintern, the Communist International working for world revolution.

1944 Beginning of deportation of Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz.

The Germans begin a withdrawal from the Gustav Line to new positions, called the Adolf Hitler or Dora Line, some 30 miles to the South of Rome.

A Japanese attack on Hunter’s Hill, North of Kohima is repulsed.

1945 The Axis Croation forces that surrendered to British troops in Austria are handed over to Tito’s partisans who without delay proceed to massacre them, killing a total of 110,000, including women and children.

The U.S. Tenth Army is now within 2,000 yards of Naha docks.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 9 WWII Today: November 16 WWII Today: April 23

May 14

World War II Today: May 14

1940 The British Secretary of State for War, Anthony Eden calls for volunteers to form the Local defense Volunteers force (LDV).

Admiralty order requires all owners of large boats to send in particulars within two weeks.

German forces break through the French front at Sedan.

British and French aircraft are unsuccessful in destroying the German-built bridges across the Meuse and 50 bombers are shot down by AA fire.

60 Luftwaffe He-111 bombers not having received the countermanding order attack besieged Rotterdam, devastating the center of the city.

Germans take Rotterdam as the Dutch government arrives in London.

1941 Admiral Darlan reports back to Vichy after meeting Hitler and von Ribbentrop. Vichy Cabinet approves German concessions and French counter-concessions unanimously.

British aircraft launch attacks against airfields in Syria which have been put at axis disposal by the Vichy French authorities.

3,600 Jews arrested in Paris.

Large Royal Navy and Royal Airforce reinforcements arrive in Singapore.

1942 The U.S. Congress establishes The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), under the direction of Oveta Culp Hobby, editor of the Houston Post.

The damaged British escort cruiser Trinidad returning from Murmansk is sunk by Luftwaffe dive-bombers off the northern Norwegian coast.

The British Army, in retreat from Burma, reach India.

1943 The U.S. 8th Air Force attacks Kiel with 125 aircraft, destroying 3 U-boats.

SS day is celebrated in Oslo.

1944 French troops in Italy break through the Gustav Line.

1945 U-858 surrenders off Delaware, USA, becoming the first German warship to surrender to U.S. forces after the war ends.

Vienna radio announces the re-establishment of the Austrian Republic. The Anschluss with Germany is declared null and void. British troops occupy the German island of Heligoland in the North Sea.

The Norwegian resistance movement (Milorg) is officially disbanded.

USAAF B29’s firebomb Nagoya, the heaviest raid on the Japanese homeland so far, with 3,500 tons of bombs being dropped, which destroys the Mitsubishi works.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 19 WWII Today: August 27 WWII Today: December 16

May 13

World War Today: May 13

1940 The Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth gives support to Churchill’s government by 2,413,000 votes to 170,000. Churchill makes ‘blood, sweat, tears and toil’ speech. Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch royal family arrive in London.

Supported by waves of Luftwaffe Stuka dive-bombers, the two German Panzer Korps of Heeresgruppe B establish bridgeheads across the Meuse river, tearing a 50-mile gap in the French defenses between Dinant and Sedan. The 7th Panzer Division (Rommel) is the first division across. Dutch troops withdraw to their second and final line of defense on the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Utrecht line.

1941 German aircraft begin to operate over Iraq in support of the rebellion by anti-British Iraqi forces.

1942 The British Chiefs of staff approve a major raid against the French port of Dieppe. Initially code-named ‘Rutter’, the plan had been under consideration since March by Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, who wanting to explore the problems of an opposed landing on the French coast.

The siege of Leningrad continues. Tanya Savicheva, a young girl, writes in her address book, “Mummy 13th May at 7.30 morning 1942. The Savichevs are dead, all dead, only Tanya remains.” Her book also lists the death of her brothers, grandmother, and two uncles. Evacuated to Gorky on the Volga, Tanya herself dies of chronic dysentery in the summer of 1943.

1943 For the first time in the war, the British now claim more German prisoners than the Germans have British.

The Royal Navy begin the bombardment of Pantelleria Island, between Tunisia and Sicily.

Marshal Messe, the Italian C in C of Tunisia, surrenders to Montgomery.

1944 The allies take Sant’ Angelo and Castelforte, thereby opening the way to Rome.

Jail Hill and other key Kohima features are recaptured by the British.

1945 The British Royal Family and allied military leaders attend a thanks giving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Crown Prince Olav, some members of the exiled government and the head of the allied mission, Gen. Sir Andrew Thorne arrive in Oslo.

Rear Admiral Brüning, the commander of German naval forces, arrives at Felixstowe to sign the unconditional surrender of all boats under his command.

The last pockets of German resistance in Czechoslovakia are crushed by the Red Army.

U.S. troops capture Del Monte air base on Mindanao. The Australians clear the Wewak peninsula in New Guinea.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Words At War: Still Time To Die WWII Today: January 29 Admiral Bull Halsey Quote

May 12

World War II Today: May 12

1940 French forces withdraw behind the Meuse river between Dinant and Sedan as advance German panzer columns push out from the Ardennes.

Germans troops continue their advance through Holland, crossing the Yssel and Meuse rivers at several points.

Massive German artillery bombardments are maintained on western front, the Luftwaffe continues to reek havoc across Northern France and Belgium, causing refugees to stream west, clogging the roads for allied forces.

Internment of Germans begins in Britain.

1941 A British convoy, codenamed ‘Tiger’, arrives at Alexandria with much needed tanks and aircraft.

1942 The first contingent of the US Eighth Army Air Force arrives in Britain.

Timoshenko’s offensive grinds forward into Army Group South with two pincer attacks, one Northwest out of the Izyum bulge by the 6th Red Army and the other West then Southwest by the 28th Red Army from the Volchansk area, designed to converge west of Kharkov. The Red Army falls back towards Kerch in the Crimea.

1943 Surrender of all German and Italian forces in Tunisia (130,000 German and 120,000 Italian prisoners). General von Arnim and 25 other axis generals are claimed captured, so ending the life of the once mighty ‘Afrika Korps’ and marking the end of the three-year North African campaign.

1944 800 bombers of the US 8th Air Force carry out attacks against the synthetic fuel plants at Leuna-Merseburg, Lützkendorf, Zeitz and Brüx.

Fierce German counter-attacks are put in by the German defenders at Monte Cassino.

The remains of German Seventeenth Army in Crimea are destroyed, with the Russians taking 36,000 Axis troops prisoner.

The Japanese attacks to the South East of Imphal are broken off.

1945 British relief troops land at St Hélier in Jersey, to an ‘overwhelming’ welcome.

The German garrison in Crete under Major General Bentach surrenders

General Vlasov, commander of the anti-Bolshevist Russian Liberation Army is handed over to the Russians by the Americans and will be executed for treason in August, 1946.

Very heavy fighting continues on Okinawa, with 125 Japanese aircraft being reported as shot down.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 30 Words At War: Barriers Down WWII Today: March 21

May 11

World War II Today: May 11

1940 The King signs proclamation canceling Whitsun holiday.

Seven out of eight Fairey Battle Bombers fail to return from an attack on enemy forces in Luxembourg. No. 114 Sqn’s Blenheims are annihilated on the ground in a low-level German raid.

German troops occupy the Duchy of Luxembourg. A glider-borne parachute detachment of 1st Fallschirmjager Regiment led by Hauptmann Koch and Leutnant Witzig captures the “impregnable” Belgian border fortress of Eben-Emael.

President Roosevelt expresses his dismay to King Leopold of Belgium about the German invasion.

Allied troops land in Dutch West Indies.

1941 The RAF launches a heavy raid against Hamburg.

German troops complete the occupation of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

Japan makes proposals to the USA in order to improve relations. They demand that the USA stop supplying war materials to China and that they normalize trade relations. These are rejected by the USA, although both sides agree to continue talks.

The Luftwaffe sinks three British destroyers, Lively, Kipling and Jackal to the South of Crete.

German troops continue their attack at Sevastopol, surrounding some defenders at Ak-Monay. The Luftwaffe is making about 1,800 sorties per day.

British retreat across Chindwin completed.

1943 The British evacuate Maumgdaw before the monsoon arrives in the Arakan. All ground gained since September 1942 for the loss of 5,000 battle casualties is lost.

1944 The British Eighth and U.S. Fifth Armies begin an attack on Gustav Line in central Italy with a 2,200-gun bombardment.

72,000 Chinese begin an advance along the Burma Road.

1945 The German garrison at Dunkirk surrenders to Czech troops.

The Red Army launches a final assault against the remnants of Army Group Centre, which is still holding out in Moravia.

In a new offensive, the U.S. Tenth Army reaches the suburbs of Naha, the capital of Okinawa. Wewak is captured by the 6th Australian Division.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 1 WWII Today: September 4 WWII Today: January 22

May 10

World War II Today: May 10

1940 At 5.35am, the Wehrmacht begins ‘Operation Yellow’, the invasion of Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg, employing Army Group A (von Rundstedt) and B (von Bock), with Army Group C (von Leeb) in reserve. The attacking forces comprise 10 Armored, 5 Motorized, and 75 infantry divisions. The 19th Panzer Korps (Guderian), 20th Panzer Korps (Hoth) and the 41st Panzer Korps (Reinhardt) field between them 2,445 tanks, most of which are of the light Marks I, II, 35(t) and 38(t) type, against 3,373 French and British tanks. In his Order of the Day, Hitler declares, “Soldiers of the Western Front! The battle which is beginning today will decide the fate of the German nation for the next thousand years. Go forward now and do your duty!” Airborne troops seize airfields and strategic bridges near Amsterdam and Rotterdam in Holland. The Luftwaffe, using hundreds of level and dive bombers, attacks Allied airfields, troop assembly areas and rear communications.

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigns and is replaced by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, who forms a coalition government from all three main parties.

German Fallschirmjäger attack Fort Eben-Emael by glider in the first Airborne Operation in history.

The Luftwaffe launches a massive attack against London, the heaviest so far received by the capital. One third of all streets within Greater London are rendered impassible and 155,000 family’s are left without gas, water and electricity. Westminster Abbey, House of Commons, Tower of London and the Royal Mint are all hit. A record 1,436 people are killed and 1,792 are seriously injured.

Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy and former World War 1 fighter pilot, flies from Augsburg to Scotland to persuade anti-Churchill politicians that England should stop the war with Germany, adopt a neutral attitude and allow Germany to eliminate the Bolshevik menace and gain Lebensraum in the East. He is taken to a secret location, interrogated and then held incommunicado at various places until the end of the war, later to be charged and condemned as a major war criminal at Nuremberg.

1942 Kesselring declares that Malta has been neutralized. However, that same day the Axis air forces found themselves outnumbered for the first time in the sky over Malta, losing 12 aircraft in return for 3 RAF Spitfires. This marked a definite turning point in the fortunes of Malta with Axis air activity slackening noticeably as aircraft were drawn off to Russia.

Winston Churchill warns that Britain will use poison gas on Germany if the Germans do so on the Soviet Union. The battle for Sevastopol rumbles on, with the Russian Coastal Army fielding 106,000 men, 600 guns, 100 mortars, 38 tanks, and 55 planes. The Germans hurl 204,000 men, 670 guns, 450 mortars, 720 tanks, and 600 aircraft at Sevastopol. The Germans also move in 19 motor torpedo boats, 30 patrol boats, eight ASW boats, and a unit of 150 bombers trained in anti-shipping operations. German artillery ranges from 76mm field guns to mammoth 800-mm railway-mounted super-heavy siege mortars.

The Germans open up a new death camp just outside Minsk, near the village of Maly Trostenets. Russian POW’s and Jews have been forced to build the barracks for 600 slave labourers and their German and Ukrainian guards. Tens of thousands of Austrian, German, and Czech Jews are shipped there and driven towards the village in mobile gas chambers. When the vans reach the camp, all inside them are dead. At the camp, the slave labourers bury the bodies in deep pits. Maly Trostenets remains a tight German secret.

General William Sharp, commanding the Central Philippines orders the surrender of the remaining US and Filipino forces to the Japanese, thus ending resistance throughout the whole of the Philippines.

1943 The British First Army reaches Hammamet.

U.S. troops invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands.

1944 The Free French claim that the resistance now numbers 100,000 and plead for more military aid.

1945 The first U-boat to surrenders, U-249 puts in at Portland.

Russians troops are now in control of Prague after five days of fierce street fighting between German and Czech Partisans comes to an end, during which 5,000 civilians have been killed.

The Fourteenth Army moves South in central Burma and links up with troops from Arakan in the west, trapping all Japanese to the west of the river Irrawaddy.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 16 Words at War: Malta Spitfire WWII Today: May 21

May 09

World War II Today: May 9

1940 The French submarine Doris is sunk by U-9 off the Dutch coast.

Age for conscription in Britain is raised to 36.

Hitler orders ‘Operation Yellow’, the great offensive in the West, to begin at 5:35 a.m.the next day.

1941 The Luftwaffe launches a massive night raid (507 bombers) against London which causes many fires and cripples the rail system in the city. Liverpool has its 7th consecutive night air raid. Belfast, Clydeside and Humberside also suffer in a heavy week of raids. The RAF attacks Bremen and Hamburg, but with little effect.

U-110 (Kptlt. Lemp) is forced to the surface by depth-charges of HMS Aubretia. A top-secret Enigma cipher machine is recovered before she sinks while being towed back to port.

A British Brigade sized column (Habforce), moves across the Iraqi border from Palastine.

A peace treaty is signed between Vichy France and Thailand, which cedes back portions of Indochina that had been lost by Thailand 40 years earlier.

1942 The turning point on Malta—62 RAF Spitfires are delivered by HMS Eagle and USS Wasp; the Luftwaffe will be diverted to other theaters.

Off North Carolina, US Coast Guard cutter Icarus sinks U-352, rescuing 33, the first German POWs taken by any US forces in WWII.

1943 The US II Corps breaks through to Tunisian east coast; all Axis troops north of Tunis surrender.

The Japanese begin 3-day massacre of 30,000 civilians in Changjiao, Hunan Province.

1944 Allied air forces begin a campaign of large scale raids against German airfields and rail communications in France in preparation for D-Day.

The Russians capture Sevastopol as Hitler finally changes his mind and orders evacuation of the city.

1945 The German garrison in the Channel Islands agree to surrender to British troops after five years of occupation. The surrender terms are signed aboard the destroyer HMS Bulldog, which is moored off St. Hellier.

The German garrisons at Lorient, St Nazaire and La Rochelle on the French Atlantic Coast finally surrender. Reich Marshal Goring and his wife, children and staff, surrender to Brigadier General Stack, of the U.S. 36th Division, near Salzburg. Field Marshal Kesselring, C-in-C West, is captured by U.S. troops at the village of Saalfelden, in western Austria.

A British naval squadron arrives in Copenhagen harbor to receive the surrender of the remains of German fleet.

Stalin announces the end of the war. German forces of Army Group Kurland surrender.

German forces in the Greek islands surrender.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 16 WWII Today: August 10 WWII Today: September 22