Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category
1939 The Luftwaffe starts attacks against North Atlantic convoys.
As war heats up with Germany, the British war cabinet holds its first meeting in the underground war room in London.
The Germans start deporting Poles from Posen (Poznan), largest city of western Poland (250,000 people), in their attempt at establishing “pure and Germanic provinces” in Poland.
President Roosevelt establishes an advisory committee on the use of uranium.
1940 Churchill broadcasts to France, ‘Frenchmen rearm your spirits before it is too late.’
1941 Units of 6th Army capture Stalino in the industrial Donets Basin.
1942 The South Africa Premier, Field-Marshal Smuts, makes a historic speech to both Houses of Parliament saying, ‘The stage is set for the last, the offensive stage’.
General Mark Clark lands by sub at Cherchel, Algeria for clandestine meeting with Vichy French in preparation for the upcoming Allied invasion.
WWI ace Eddie Rickenbacker’s B-17 ditches in the central Pacific; crew afloat for 24 days.
Congress passes Revenue Act of 1942, which raises $7 billion in new income taxes and reduces deductions, adding 13 million new taxpayers into the system.
1944 Aachen finally falls to the U.S. First Army, earning the distinction of being the first German city to be captured. 12,000 German prisoners have been taken since the 2nd October. Breskens is captured by the Canadians, but fighting continues for 10 more days in the pocket.
Lt. Frances Slanger killed by German shell in her tent, the first American nurse killed in France.
1945 The U-boat pens in Hamburg are blown up by British Engineers using German explosives.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 18 WWII Today: December 11 WWII Today: October 14
1939 Pope Pius XII publishes his first encyclical, Summi pontificatus,decrying racism, dictators, and treaty violations.
1940 Italian planes bomb Cairo for the first time, also bomb US-run oil facilities in Bahrain.
1941 The Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) commissioned under Capt. Marc Mitscher.
Germans massacre 2300 Serbians in Kragujevac in response to partisan killing of 10 Germans.
1942 US War Production Board orders stop to all non-essential civil construction projects.
Southern Conference on Race Relations issues Durham Manifesto urging voting rights and equal educational and job opportunities.
1943 An allied agreement to set up UN commission on war crimes is announced in London.
A delayed-detonation bomb explodes at the central post office in Naples, Italy, injuring seventy-two people. When they retreated three weeks earlier, the Germans left behind scores of booby traps.
The Russian attacks from Bukrin bridgehead are bloodily repulsed.
A U.S. Navy PBY Catalina and an Japanese Navy Mitsubishi G4M (Betty) bomber exchanged fire off Attu. As the last air combat action in the Alaska Territory’s Aleutian Islands, the incident also marked the last combat fought in any of the fifty United States
1944 The Red Army captures Belgrade, while Yugoslav partisans capture Dubrovnik.
The Belgrade Offensive ended in Partisan/Soviet victory when the capture of Belgrade itself was completed.
The Greek government-in-exile returned to Athens
The U.S. Sixth Army landings in the Philippines begin on the East Coast of Leyte, but the 60,000 men sent ashore encounter stiff Japanese resistance.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he’d said, “I shall return.”
Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 17 WWII Today: September 14 WWII Today: March 11
1939 Germany officially incorporates western Poland into the Reich.
1940 Convoy HX-79 (49 ships), sailing from Halifax in Canada to Britain, is attacked by 5 U-boats between the 19th and 20th October in the NorthÂ Atlantic. The British lost 12 ships for 75,063 gross tons, while not a single U-boat was lost. The destroyer Venetia sinks after hitting mine inÂ Thames Estuary.
The Australian 7th Division sets sail for the Middle East.
1941 Army Group Centre finally clears the Vyazma pocket capturing 670,000 Russians, 1,000 tanks and 4,000 guns. Stalin announces he will stay in Moscow and declares state of siege in Moscow and orders its defense to the last.
U.S. freighter “Lehigh” sunk in South Atlantic.
1942 General Friedrich von Paulus pleads with the Fuhrer and the German High Command for supplies and reinforcements for his army, under seige atÂ Stalingrad. He receives nothing but the order to fight to the last man.
The Japanese submarine I-36 launches a floatplane for a reconnaissance flight over Pearl Harbor. The pilot and crew report on the ships in the harbor, after which the aircraft is lost at sea.
German Jews no longer allowed meat, wheat products, milk, or eggs.
US War Production Board mandates tin can collection in cities with a population greater than 25,000.
1943 The offensive by the US 5th Army along the Volturno river bogs down due to bad weather and a skillful German defense.
1944 Field Marshal Model gives up the attempts to relieve Aachen.
The Germans evacuate Belgrade.
Hitler orders the total destruction of Warsaw. The German 4th Army withdraws from the Tilsit area.
The British capture an important Japanese supply depot at Mohnyin in Burma.
The U.S. Navy announced that black women would be allowed into the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES).
The first two black WAVES officers, Harriet Ida Pikens and Frances Wills, were sworn in December 22 of that year. Of the 80,000 WAVES in the World War II, 72 Black women served, normally under integrated conditions.
Japanese Vice-Admiral Onishi Takijino orders the formation of Special Attack Group of kamikazes to attack Allied ships around the Philippines.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Captain Ben Dix – October 3, 1943 Pearl Harbor – December 7, 1941 WWII Today: April 25
1939 The Russians prepare to hand over 30,000 Polish soldiers and refugees to the Nazis who respond with their own prisoner exchange.
The first Jewish ghetto is established in Lublin.
1940 Britain reopens the Burma road, which had been closed for three months on the condition of progress being made towards peace between Japan and China. No progress had been made towards peace at the time of reopening.
1941 German units are now only 80 miles west of Moscow.
Raids began against submarine pens on Bay of Biscay, to protect North Africa invasion, but pens survived with 12-foot concrete roofs, defended byÂ Luftwaffe’s Me109 and FW190 fighters.
1942 Hitler orders German troops to shoot all captured allied commandos, ‘to the last man’.
An advance party of four Norwegian Special Operations Executive (SOE) Commandos are dropped by parachute to reconnoitre the area around the German ‘heavy water’ (atomic weapons development) plant at Telemark, Norway.
The advance by Army Group A toward the Black Sea port of Tuapse is halted due to difficult terrain and stubborn Soviet resistance. After intensifying their raids during the early part of the October, German and Italian daylight bombing raids over Malta are finally suspended.
The drain on aircraft being sent to other fronts has left little alternative.
Vice Admiral William F. Halsey named as the new commander of the South Pacific Area, in charge of the Solomons-New Guinea campaign.
1943 Japanese troops go on a murderous rampage in China, burning to death the populations of several villages and forcing peasants to jump blindfolded off cliffs.
1944 The call up for the Volksturm begins in Germany, with all able-bodied men from 16 to 60 to be conscripted. German radio says 50,000 officers haveÂ been killed so far in war. Himmler becomes Commander-in-Chief, Forces of Interior.
German forces thrust into Slovakia.
Russian troops cross the Norwegian frontier.
Lt. General Joseph Stilwell is recalled from China by president Franklin Roosevelt.
Fourteen B-29s based on the Marianas attack the Japanese base at Truk.
1945 The first open session of the International Military War Crimes Tribunal indicts 21 top Nazis.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: October 3 WWII Yank Magazine Pin Up: Dusty Anderson WWII Today: April 9
1939 French troops are pushed back in the Saar region.
President Roosevelt prepares to sign an executive order closing all U.S. ports to submarines from belligerent nations.
1941 Destroyer USS Kearny damaged by German torpedo off Iceland;11 Americans are killed.
US House of Representatives allow merchantmen to be armed.
Taganrog on the Sea of Azov is captured by Army Group South.
Kimmel improves naval reconnaissance at Pearl Harbor but not 360-degree nor 24-hour patrols.
In Convoy SC-48 off Iceland, U-568 torpedoes destroyer USS Kearny; first US casualties of the war—11 killed, 22 wounded. U-boats sink seven other ships in Convoy SC-48.
US Army Air Force establishes Air Service Command (supply and maintenance) under Brig. Gen. Henry Miller at Wright Field, OH.
1942 Luftwaffe abandons daylight raids against Malta.
Germans take Tractor Factory in Stalingrad.
Abel’s Field opens at Fasari, New Guinea, named after missionary Cecil Abel who constructed the airfield with native help.
1943 The US and Japan exchange 3,000 civilian prisoners in Goa.
Germans haul art from Monte Cassino Abbey to Rome as Allies approach; most of the monks, nuns, orphans, schoolchildren, and refugees go to Rome as well.
The last German auxiliary cruiser in Pacific, Michel, sunk by the US submarine Tarpon off Chi Chi Jima.
1944 German forces successfully repulse heavy Soviet attacks near Debrecen.
Eichmann returns to Hungary.
French halt offensive through Vosges Mountains toward Belfort Gap in France.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 10 WWII Today: September 16 Yank Magazine Pin Up: Rita Hayworth
1939 A German air attack damages the British cruisers HMS Southampton, HMS Edinburgh and the destroyer HMS Mohawk in the Firth of Forth, in Scotland.
Heavy German attack on Western Front halted.
German bombers attack Forth and Rosyth bridges.
1940 Benjamin O. Davis becomes the U.S. Army’s first African American Brigadier General.
U-124 torpedoes and sinks the merchant ship Trevisa of Convoy SC-7 south of Iceland, 7 are killed. Convoy SC-7 (30 ships) is on the final leg of its journey from Sydney to Aberdeen, and is attacked by 7 U-boats in the North Atlantic between the 16th and 19th October. Losses amount to 20 ships for 79,646 gross tons. No U-boats were lost.
1941 Moscow now considered in real jeopardy. Following the evacuation of the Soviet government and diplomatic corps from Moscow to Kuibyshev, panic begins to spread among the civilian population, with thousands fleeing the city to places further east, but Stalin decides to stay. Odessa falls to the Romanians after a Soviet evacuation by sea. During the 2 month siege, the Romanians have suffered 98,000 casualties.
The Japanese government falls. Prince Konoye is replaced by Hideki Tojo, Japan’s minister of war.
Admiral Harold R Stark, US chief of Naval Operations warns of potential hostilities between Japan and the USSR and possibly between Japan and the USA.
1942 The naval convoys assemble for Operation ‘Torch’, the Anglo-American landings in French North Africa.
The Japanese are forced back by Australians at Templeton Crossing, New Guinea. The shelling of Henderson Airfield continues.
1943 Vatutin launches a 4-day breakout attempt from the Bukrin bridgehead south of Kiev. Koniev launches an offensive to cut off the First Panzer Army on Dnieper River.
Jews in Rome rounded up, with over 1,000 sent to Auschwitz.
1944 The U.S. First Army surrounds Aachen.
The Red Army enters German territory near Goldap in East Prussia. Thousands of German civilians flee the area in panic.
U.S. Rangers land on islands in an approach to Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines.
1945 Peron returns to Argentine politics as a ‘strong man’.
1946 Ten Nazi war criminals are hanged in Nuremberg, Germany. These including the Fuhuer’s top military advisor, General Alfred Jodl. In a posthumous retrail in 1953, the courts rule that Jodl was involved only in regular military operations and clear his name of all charges.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 7 WWII Winchester Ad WWII Today: August 18
1940 Bomb holes roof of Balham tube station: 64 killed.
Italian submarine Toti sinks British submarine Rainbow.
16 million Americans already registered for National Service.
Heavy Luftwaffe raid on London, Birmingham, and Bristol starts 900 fires.
Italy demobilizes 300,000 soldiers for the harvest, leaving only 100,000 for upcoming invasion of Greece.
1941 Odessa, a Russian port on the Black Sea which has been surrounded by German troops for several weeks, is evacuated by Russian troops.
1942 Japanese bombard Henderson Field at night again from warships.
4,500 Japanese troops land as reinforcement for Guadalcanal as battle continues.
Japanese execute three American airmen captured after Doolittle raid.
US 92nd Infantry Division (“Buffalo Soldiers”) reactivated at Fort Huachuca AZ, composed of African-American troops.
US begins rationing of fuel oil for heating in the East and Midwest.
1943 General de Lattre de Tassigny escapes from Vichy France.
1944 The largest number of sorties on single night is made by the RAF, with 1,576 in all.
British forces liberate Greece,which then erupts in a cival war between monarchists and communists.
Russians secure Petsamo region of southern Finland. Germans troops fall back towards northern Norway in the face of strong Russian attacks.
The Hungarian chief of state, Admiral Horthy, shortly after announcing Hungary’s withdrawal from the war against the Russia, is taken prisoner by a commando unit led by SS major Otto Skorzeny. A new government under Ferenc Szalasi vows to continue the alliance with Germany.
Deportation of Jews from Hungary resumes after a temporarily halt due to international political pressure to stop Jewish persecutions.
The British and Chinese begin an offensive from Myitkyina to Bhamo in northern Burma.
1945 Vichy French Premier Pierre Laval is executed by a firing squad for his wartime collaboration with the Germans.
1946 Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering poisoned himself hours before he was to have been executed.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 14 WWII Today: June 8 WWII Today: November 10
1939 U47 (Kapitanleutnant Prien) sinks HMS Royal Oak at anchor in Scapa Flow, killing 883. U47 then escapes undetected and returns home to Germany.
The press in Germany declare Prien a hero.
Polish submarine Orzel arrives in Britain having escaped internment in Estonia.
1940 Luftwaffe bomb falls on Balham Tube station in London, killing 66.
1941 Army Group Centre wipes out the Russian pocket at Bryansk, but only capture about 50,000 prisoners. The rain and mud begins to impede the German advance, but German troops manage to capture Rzhev. Hitler orders that Moscow is to be enveloped, rather that assaulted directly.
Russian troops fall back in the southern Ukraine as the Germans make for the port of Rostov.
1942 Japanese bombard Henderson Field at night from warships then send troops ashore onto Guadalcanal in the morning as U.S. planes attack.
In the northern part of Stalingrad, units of the 6th Army advance in bitter fighting and surround the heavily defended Tractor Factory, following a series of devastating attacks (over 3,000 sorties) by bombers of Luftflotte 4.
Hitler orders halt in east except in Stalingrad and the Caucasus to prepare for winter defense.
Australians and Japanese battle for Templeton’s Crossing on Kokoda Trail, New Guinea.
Off Newfoundland, German sub U-69 sinks British railway ferry SS Caribou; 136 killed, mostly civilians, including Naval Nursing Sister Agnes Wilkie, the only Canadian nurse killed in action in WWII.
1943 The US 8th Air Force delivers a heavy attack against the ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt. However, of the original force of 291 B-17’s, 198 are either shot down or damaged beyond repair, while the Luftwaffe has lost only about 40 fighter planes.
1943 German forces evacuate the Zaporozhe bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Dnieper river.
Massive escape from Sobibor as Jews and Soviet POWs break out, with 300 making it safely into nearby woods. Of those 300, fifty will survive.
Exterminations then cease at Sobibor, after over 250,000 deaths. All traces of the death camp are then removed and trees are planted.
Jose P. Laurel, a distinguished pre-war Filipino statesman, takes office as “president” of the Philippines after being elected by a Japanese puppet “National Assembly” on Sept. 25. Surviving two assassination attempts by Filipino guerrillas, Laurel’s government enjoyed little popularity. A general amnesty after the war spared him a treason trial.
1944 The British liberate Athens and Piraeus and also land on Corfu.
Russian troops and Yugoslav Partisans force their way in to Belgrade.
German Field Marshal Rommel, suspected of complicity in the July 20th plot against Hitler, is visited at home by two of Hitler’s staff and given the choice of public trial or suicide by poison. He chooses suicide and it is announced that he died of wounds suffered earlier from a strafing attack.
Ann Baumgartner becomes first Wasp to fly an experimental jet aircraft.
1945 Indonesian People’s Army declares war on the Netherlands.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 28 WWII Today: May 8 WWII Today: August 16
1939 In skirmishes along Maginot Line, French destroy 3 bridges over Rhine.
1940 14-year old Princess Elizabeth made her first public speech, a radio address to the children of the British Commonwealth. Her ten-year-old sister Princess Margaret joined in at the end.
1941 German forces of Army Group Centre capture Kalinin, just 100 miles to the West of Moscow.
1942 In the first of four attacks, two Japanese battleships sail down the slot and shell Henderson field on Guadalcanal, in an unsuccessful effort toÂ destroy the American Cactus Air Force.
First US Army troops land on Guadalcanal, the 164thInfantry Regiment, joining the US Marines.
Japanese submarine I-30 struck a mine near Singapore and sank.
The Russians regain some ground in Stalingrad, but at heavy cost.
First flight of the North American Mustang X with a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, in Hucknall, England; the engine transforms the Mustang into a high-altitude, long-distance fighter.
1943 The new Italian government of Marshal Badoglio declares war on Germany, with little effect. Nearly half a million Italian troops have been takenÂ prisoner by the Germans, who predict the Italians will switch sides after their surrender.
The U.S. Fifth Army crosses the Volturno River.
The Russians reach Melitopol in southern Ukraine.
The whole of the New Georgia group of islands in the Solomon’s are reported in allied hands.
The American destroyer Bristol was torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean Sea off Algiers by German submarine U-371.
The German submarine U-402 was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by an American Grumman TBF Avenger from the escort carrier USS Card.
1944 Russian troops capture Riga, the capital of Latvia as Army Group North withdraws in to the Kurland pocket.
The US secures Palau Islands in the Pacific.
The Australian Liberal Party is formed.
Allied forces liberated Athens from German occupation.
The Germans launched V-1 and V-2 flying bombs at Antwerp in an attempt to deny use of its crucial port to the Allies.
The Battle of Rovaniemi in Finland ended in German retreat.Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 8 WWII Today: September 18 WWII Today: May 19
Desmond Thomas Doss was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1919. During the Great Depression, he stopped attending school after the ninth grade to help out his family, working in a shipyard when WWII broke out. He could have gotten a deferment due to his employment, but he wanted to serve his country and answered the draft. As a deeply religious Seventh-day Adventist, he always did whatever he could to help other people. On one occasion, he heard on the radio that a women suffered a traffic accident nearby and urgently needed blood. Doss walked three miles to the hospital to donate some of his, then walked another three miles back home once he was done. He did the same thing again two days later after another call went out on the radio.
He met Richmond native fellow Adventist nurse Dorothy Schutte at church when she was travelling through Lynchburg selling Adventist books. In her own words, she married him because “He was a good Christian and I figured he would help me go to Heaven. … He appreciated me because I’ve never kissed any other men. He was the first one I ever kissed.” They married four months after he was drafted, before going on active duty. Contrarily to the film, Doss did not miss his wedding because he was denied a pass.
During training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina with the 77th Infantry Division, Doss made heavy waves by refusing to kill enemy soldiers, to work on Saturdays or to use a weapon. He wouldn’t even carry one, since, as he said, “I knew if I ever once compromised, I was gonna be in trouble, because if you can compromise once, you can compromise again.” Like it is shown in the movie, this made him the target of his comrades and superiors. He became a medic assigned to 2nd Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.
Doss was eventually deployed to the Pacific and saw combat on Guam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for aiding soldiers under fire, and at Leyte in the Philippines, before finding himself on Okinawa. The film depicts his heroism in 1945 at the Maeda Escarpment, nicknamed Hacksaw Ridge as soldiers would be literally cut in two by machinegun fire from numerous fortified Japanese positions. Here Doss single-handedly dragged 75 wounded soldiers to the edge of the cliff and lowered them to safety with a cargo net. What the movie doesn’t show is that Doss was one of the three volunteers who climbed up the cliff first and lowered the nets for the others.
His heroic actions didn’t stop at the ridge. A few days later, on the same escarpment, he crawled through heavy fire to rescue a wounded man 200 yards ahead of the American lines. Then two days after that, he advanced within eight yards of a Japanese-occupied cave to treat and evacuate four others. On May 21, 1945 he was seriously wounded in the leg by an exploding grenade that embedded 17 pieces of shrapnel in him. He attended his own wounds and waited 5 hours for litter bearers to reach him. On the way back, he saw a man with more serious wounds than him, so he instructed the bearers to take the other soldier in his place. While he was waiting for the men to come back – another element not shown in the film – a Japanese sniper shot him, shattering his left arm. Desmond Doss became the first and only conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty” in World War II.
Because of his injuries, Doss was evacuated on May 21, 1945. A year later, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis that he contracted while serving on Leyte. The disease cost him a lung and five ribs, which, along with his wounds, left him 90% disabled. After his honorable discharge in August of 1951, he spent the rest of his life farming and working various part-time jobs such as cabinetmaking, door-to-door sales and maintenance as his health allowed. By 1976 he was entirely deaf, possibly due to an antibiotic overdose during his TB treatment. Desmond Doss passed away at his home in Alabama in 2006.Take a look at these other WW2 Posts: Desmond Doss Reproduction Dog Tags WWII Today: October 8 WWII Points