Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

Nov 12

World War II Today: November 12

1939 Negotiations between Russia and Finland over territorial dispute reach deadlock.

1940 Germany prepares to enter war in Greece.

Colonel Burns again proposes a Canadian parachute force to the Chief of General Staff. The idea is shelved, and no action is taken.

1942 The British 8th Army retakes Sollum and Bardia, while Panzer Army Afrika continues its withdrawal toward Tripoli.

U.S. Navy battles Tokyo Express off Guadalcanal.

US Ninth AF formed in Egypt under Lt. Gen. Lewis Brereton.

Morocco and Algeria are in Allied hands (770 Americans and 240 British were killed in Torch landings).

Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, CA launches Liberty Ship Robert E. Peary four days after the keel is laid, a wartime record.

1943 US President Roosevelt embarks on USS Iowa to go to the Allied conferences at Teheran and Cairo.

German troops invade Leros by sea and drop 500 paratroops.

The Russians take Zhitomir in Ukraine. The Kiev bridgehead is now 95 miles deep and 150 miles wide.

Japanese bomb Parap, Adelaide River, and Batchelor Airfield in last air attack on Australia.

French proclaim martial law in Lebanon after Lebanese amend constitution to end French mandate (on Nov. 8).

1944 Heavy bombers of the RAF, after several previous attempts, succeed in sinking the battleship Tirpitz, the sister ship of the Bismarck, which is lying at anchor in a fjord near Tromso in Norway. Over 1,000 men of her crew trapped in her capsized hull are lost.

1945 The institute of France awards Churchill a gold medal.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Words at War: The Weeping Wood WWII Today: October 23 WWII Yank Pin Up: Frances Rafferty

Nov 11

Veteran’s Day – World War II Today: November 11

1885 General George S. Patton is born.

1918 At 11 a.m. World War I, the war to end all wars, ends.

1939 Queen Elizabeth broadcasts a message to the women of the Empire, calling them to join the war effort.

1940 On the anniversary of the end of World War I, several hundred Paris students stage a disorganized protest on the Champs Elysee over the arrest of a popular professor. Although Gaullists in London report several deaths, it appears no one was killed, but 123 students are arrested. Although it is the first sign of organized anti-German feeling since the armistice in June, German authorities report to Berlin that the small size and unorganized nature of the protest demonstrates that pro-Gaullist feeling is minimal.

Italian aircraft attack Thames Estuary with little success: first and last Italian air attack on Britain.

The British Fleet launches an air attack against the Italian fleet at Taranto. Swordfish aircraft from the Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious damage three battleships, two cruisers, two destroyers and two auxiliaries craft. This British victory, forces the Italians to temporary withdraw their big surface units to the safer ports on the west coast of Italy.

The RAF’s first offensive air operations in Greece are carried out by Blenheims in a low-level attack on Valaca airfield.

1942 In the United States the draft age is lowered to 18

The United States extends Lend-Lease aid to the Free French Forces under General de Gaulle.

German forces begin the occupation of those parts of France controlled by the Vichy government. In a letter to Marshal Petain, Hitler declares that the purpose of this move is “to protect France” against the allies.

French Admiral Jean Francios Darlan joins French General Alphonse Juin in calling an all-out cease fire for French forces throughout Africa.

6th Army launches its last major attack to capture Stalingrad and succeeds in reaching the Volga near the Red October factory on a frontage of 600 yards. The 13th Panzer-Division of III Panzer Corps begins to disengage its units halted before Ordshonikidse to avoid being cut off by the heavy Soviet attacks against its communications.

1943 Auschwitz Kommandant Hass is promoted to chief inspector of concentration camps. The new kommandant, Liebehenschel, then divides up the vast Auschwitz complex of over 30 sub-camps into three main sections.

FDR Secretly Leaves the U.S. on the USS Iowa

American air power continues to hit Rabaul.

1944 The German First Army HQ leaves Metz as the U.S. Third Army gains three bridgeheads over the Moselle.

Private Eddie Slovik is convicted of desertion and sentenced to death for refusing to join his unit in the European Theater of Operations.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 23 President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Speech WWII Today: September 18

Nov 10

World War II Today: November 10

1940 A torpedo bomber raid cripples the Italian fleet at Taranto, Italy.

1941 Churchill’s Mansion House Speech: Tells Japan that war on US means war on Britain. The Japanese Foreign Minister says their aim is to make the US and UK retreat from East Asia.

US Army updates uniform regulations: the Parsons field jacket and M1 steel helmet are added.

First US-escorted troop convoy, WS-12X, sails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, for India via Cape Town with 20,000 British troops.

1942 The Americans capture Oran. Petain takes command of all Vichy forces. British successes in Egypt continue with the capture of Sidi Barrani.

Admiral Jean Darlan orders French forces in North Africa to cease resistance to the Anglo-American forces.

In a daring raid in Morocco, destroyer USS Dallas steams up Wadi Sebou under the Kasbah, and takes Port Lyautey Airfield.

Victories in North Africa lead Churchill to proclaim, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Movie premiere of Road to Morocco, starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour.

President Roosevelt announces the breaking-off of diplomatic relations with Vichy France.

1943 The Red Army achieves a breakthrough near Gomel in Byelorussia.

1944 V-2 rockets continue to hit Britain, at the rate of about eight a day.

Nazi occupation forces in the Netherlands began a two-day roundup of 50,000 men in Rotterdam to be sent to Germany for forced labour.

Allied forces launched Operation Clipper, an offensive to reduce the Geilenkirchen salient.

The Allies recognized the government of Albanian partisan leader Enver Hoxha.

The American ammunition ship Mount Hood exploded and sank at Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands with the loss of all 350 crew.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 19 Words at War: White Brigade WWII Today: August 25

Nov 09

World War II Today: November 9

1937 Japanese troops invade Shanghai, China.

1938 Nazis kill 35 Jews, arrest thousands and destroy Jewish synagogues, homes and stores throughout Germany. The event becomes known as Kristallnacht, the night of the shattered glass.

1940 Start of a counter-offensive by the British Army against the Italian forces that have advanced into Egypt.

Germany expels 180,000 Frenchmen from the recently-annexed Alsace-Lorraine region of France.

Neville Chamberlain, the former British prime minister, dies from cancer at the age of 71.

1941 Germans capture Yalta in Crimea.

Royal Navy Surface Force K from Malta annihilates an Italian convoy of seven supply ships and sinks two destroyers.

1942 Naval battles off Oran and Casablanca, result in three French destroyers being sunk.

US troops advance on both sides of Oran, taking 2,000 French prisoners after stiff resistance. German paratroops are landed in Tunisia without opposition from the French.

German planes transport troops to El Aouina Airfield in French Tunisia to combat Allied landings in Algeria.

Germans force Danish King Christian to appoint pro-Nazi Erik Scavenius as prime minister.

German spy Werner Janowski is landed by U-boat U-518 at New Carlisle, Quebec, but is arrested within hours on a tip from a suspicious hotel clerk.


General Charles de Gaulle is named president of the French Committee of National Liberation, the “Free French,” in the wake of the resignation of General Henri Giraud.

1944 The last Germans on Walcheren surrender. German forces evacuate the Moerdijk bridgehead across the Meuse river.

Total U.S. war casualties are now reported to have passed the 500,000 mark.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 26 WWII Today: July 25 WWII Today: July 26

Nov 08

World War II Today: November 8

1939 A bomb intended to kill Hitler explodes at the annual meeting of the veterans of the 1923 Nazi Putsch in Munich, but the Führer had already left the beer cellar. The German media accused Britain of orchestrating the assassination attempt on Hitler. Two British SIS agents, Major Richard Stevens and Captain S. Payne Best, are captured in Holland by the Germans.

1940 Italians begin big offensive in Albania.

RAF bomb Munich shortly after Hitler appears there. 1941 Army Group North advances across the Volkhov river and captures Tikhivin. Hitler claims Russian losses are 8 – 10 million, which is perhaps double the truth.

1942 On the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, Hitler tells his old comrades that Stalingrad is practically in German hands, adding that he didn’t want to take that city just because it happens to bear the name of Stalin.

Operation ‘Torch’ begins with Anglo-American forces under Lieutenant General Eisenhower landing in Morocco and Algeria against minimal Vichy French resistance. Mersa Matruh is re-taken by British.

1943 Hitler in his last speech to Nazi Party says “We shall go on fighting past 12 o’clock”.

The Eighth Army gains the heights on the Sangro less than 100 miles East of Rome.

1944 For the first time in the history of the Third Reich, Hitler fails to appear in Munich to address “the Old Fighters” on the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Speculation mounts as Himmler reads a speech in the Fuhrer’s place.

25,000 Jews are forced to walk over 100 miles in rain and snow from Budapest to the Austrian border, followed by a second forced march of 50,000 persons, ending at Mauthausen Concentration camp.

Take a look at these WWII posts: WWII Today: September 12 WWII Today: September 15 WWII Today: September 28

Nov 07

World War II Today: November 7

1939 The Belgium and Dutch Monarch’s emphasize their country’s neutrality, but offer to act as peace negotiators. Hitler rejects the proposal, as do both Britain and France.

Paul Thummel, a double agent, passes details of the German plans for the western offensive to the Czech government-in-exile.

1940 The Royal Air Force attacks the Krupp munition works in Essen.

1941 The RAF bombs Berlin with 169 aircraft, but 21 are lost.

USSR celebrates anniversary of the Revolution with a parade in Red Square, despite presence of the German army on outskirts of Moscow.

Speaking from Red Square in Moscow, with the spearheads of the Wehrmacht less than 100 miles from the capital, Stalin predicts that ‘the Fascist German invaders are facing disaster’.

The German High Command decides to resume the advance on Moscow as soon as possible, although by now it is estimated that 80 Russian divisions stand in their way.

German torpedo aircraft sink the soviet hospital ship Armenia killing approximately 7,000 people.

US Marine Corps approves establishment of women’s reserve.

1943 British troops launch a limited offensive along the coast of Burma.

1944 President Franklin D. Roosevelt won an unprecedented fourth term in office, defeating Thomas E. Dewey.

British Eighth Army opens drive for Forli, Italy.

Japanese execute Soviet spy Richard Sorge.

Take a look at these other WWII posts: WWII Today: July 7 WWII Today: September 27 WWII Today: October 16

Nov 06

World War II Today: November 6

1939 The Gestapo rounds up 183 professors of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and sends them to Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin. In Soviet occupied Poland, Ukrainian peasants murder 200 Polish refugees after offering them food and accommodation.

First big air battle on Western Front.

1940 Under-Secretary for War announces measures to give Home guard more permanent shape and better equipment without changing its ‘local and friendly character’.

Britain promises financial assistance to Greece, starting with £5 million advance.

Royal Canadian Navy destroyer Ottawa and Royal Navy destroyer Harvester sink Italian submarine Faa di Bruno off Ireland.

1941 Stalin claims Axis casualties on Eastern Front now 4.5 million, when actually less than 700,000. The first cases of frostbite in the German Army are recorded.

The German blockade runner ‘Odenwald’ which is disguised as a US merchant is captured by the US cruiser Omaha and the destroyer Somers.

The Japanese Southern Army is ordered to prepare detailed operational plans for the up and coming offensive.

US gives Russia $1,000m interest free loan.

1942 Halted before Ordshonikidse in the Caucasus, the 13th Panzer Division is fighting to prevent itself being cut off by superior Soviet forces attacking its flanks and rear. In a speech to the Congress of Soviet Deputies, Stalin warns the United States and Britain that ‘the absence of a second front against Fascist Germany may end badly for all freedom loving countries, including the Allies themselves’. He declares that ‘the aim of the coalition is to save mankind from reversion to savagery and mediaeval brutality’.

Further progress made by the Eighth Army with 20,000 further Axis prisoners being claimed.

1943 The Russians take Kiev and split the Fourth Panzer Army into three.

The Japanese land reinforcements North of Empress Bay.

Middelburg is surrendered by the 2,000 Germans.

1944 Tito’s forces take Monastir in southern Yugoslavia and now control the whole border with Greece.

The Chinese 22nd Division crosses the Irrawaddy in northern Burma. 1945 Foreign Commissar Molotov announces that Russia will soon have the atomic bomb.

The first landing of a jet on a carrier takes place on USS Wake Island when an FR-1 Fireball touches down.

Take a look at these other WWII posts: WWII Today: September 6 WWII Today: August 26 WWII Today: September 14

Nov 05

World War II Today: November 5

1940 Roosevelt is elected as President of USA for an unprecedented third term with 54 percent of the popular vote. He defeats Republican Wendell L. Willke.

Armed merchant-cruiser Jervis Bay sunk by pocket-battleship Admiral Scheer in attack on Atlantic convoy.

1941 Japanese war plans agreed at an imperial conference, with a deadline of December 1941. The US ambassador to Tokyo, Joseph C Grew, warns that war might come very suddenly.

1942 The British attack Rommel’s rearguard, which is now almost 100 miles to west of El Alamein. A peace treaty is signed in Madagascar with the Vichy French.

1943 US Navy carrier planes cripple a Japanese squadron at Rabaul, forcing six cruisers to withdraw North to Truk for repairs.

The US Fifth Army reaches the Sangro river in southern Italy.

China’s Wang Chingwei, Thailand’s Wan Waithayakon, Manchukuo’s Chang Chinghui, Burma’s Adipadi Ba Maw, India’s Subhas Chandra Bose, and the Philippines Jose Laurel attend the “Greater East Asia Family Conference” of November 5-6, 1943 in Tokyo. The Filipino delegate urges the Asian quislings to “extend all possible material and spiritual support to Japan.”

1944 174 Lancasters of No. 5 Group, RAF, breach the Dortmund-Ems Canal, one of Germanys main transport arteries.

British forces land at Salonika, in Greece.

The German 4th Army recaptures the town of Goldap in East Prussia.

U.S. planes pound the harbour at Manila in the Philippines and destroy 249 Japanese aircraft.

Take a look at these other WWII posts: WWII Pin Up: Marie McDonald WWII Photos: Rosie the Riveter Words at War: Ave Duce

1940Roosevelt is elected as President of USA for an unprecedented third term with 54 percent of the popular vote. He defeats Republican Wendell L. Willke.1941

Japanese war plans agreed at an imperial conference, with a deadline of December 1941. The US ambassador to Tokyo, Joseph C Grew, warns that war might come very suddenly.


The British attack Rommel’s rearguard, which is now almost 100 miles to west of El Alamein. A peace treaty is signed in Madagascar with the Vichy French.


US Navy carrier planes cripple a Japanese squadron at Rabaul, forcing six cruisers to withdraw North to Truk for repairs.

The US Fifth Army reaches the Sangro river in southern Italy.


British forces land at Salonika,in Greece.

The German 4th Army recaptures the town of Goldap in East Prussia.

U.S. planes pound the harbour at Manila in the Philippines and also destroy 249 Japanese aircraft.

Nov 04

World War II Today: November 4

1939 The United States modified its neutrality stance in World War II to allow ”cash and carry” purchases of arms by belligerents, a policy favoring Britain and France.

Rear-Admiral Hugh Sinclair, head of British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), died of cancer. Succeeded by his deputy, Colonel Stewart Menzies.

1941 Finnish forces capture the Baltic naval base of Hang that Finland was compelled to lease to the Soviets in 1940.

Units of 11th Army capture Fedosia in the Crimea.

1942 The Italian 20th Motorized Corps is destroyed. Rommel re-issues his orders for retreat with only 12 tanks left. 10,724 Axis prisoners are taken by the British, including nine generals.

Carlson’s Raiders (US Marines) land at Aola Point, Guadalcanal to harass Japanese behind lines.

1943 Quote from Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer, published by Julius Streicher – “It is actually true that the Jews have, so to speak, disappeared from Europe and that the Jewish ‘Reservoir of the East’ from which the Jewish pestilence has for centuries beset the peoples of Europe has ceased to exist. But the Fuhrer of the German people at the beginning of the war prophesied what has now come to pass.”

The U.S. Fifth Army captures Isernia, 50 miles North of Naples and links up with Eighth Army moving North West from Foggia. US casualties in Mediterranean since the landings in North Africa is given as 31,126.

A Russian breakout to the North of Kiev is achieved with their tank army’s driving throughout the night.

Take a look at these other WWII posts: Words at War: Condition Red WWII Today: October 16 WWII Today: September 18

Nov 03

World War II Today: November 3

1940 U99 sinks armed merchant-cruiser Laurentic off Iceland.

Greek troops trap the Italian 3rd Alpine Division taking 5,000 prisoners. British troops arrive in Greece.

1941 Germans troops capture Kursk.

Off Greece, HMS Proteus makes first radar attack by a sub, damaging Italian tanker Tampico.

General Auchinleck is forced to postpone ‘Operation Crusader‘ for 1 week so as to enable the 1st South African Division, which had recently arrived from Abyssinia to under go more training.

Admiral Yamamoto’s plan to attack Pearl Harbor is approved.

1942 A British merchant seaman is hanged at Wandsworth for supplying the Germans with shipping information.

In an interview with American journalists, Stalin describes US military aid as of little effect.

Rejecting out of hand Field Marshal Rommel’s proposal to withdraw the Afrika Korps, now down to about 40 tanks, to the Fuka line, Hitler orders him to stand and fight.

On Guadalcanal, US Marines take Point Cruz and land at Koli Point.

1943 The USAAF launch a 400-bomber daylight raid on Wilhelmshaven with 600-fighter escort. At night the RAF drop over 2,000 tons of bombs on Dusseldorf in 27 minutes.

A massive Russian offensive from Dnieper bridgehead North of Kiev erupts.

Nazis carry out Operation Harvest Festival in occupied Poland, killing 42,000 Jews.

Heavy USAAF air attacks begin on Rabaul.

The Second Battle of Kiev began on the Eastern Front.

More than 18,000 Jewish prisoners were shot to death in a single day at the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland, in the Aktion Erntefest. The Erntefest was the traditional German “Harvest Festival”, and dance music was played over loudspeakers “to drown out the sounds of the killing and the dying”. The extermination of the estimated 18,400 members of the camp was carried out by order of the new camp commandant, German Lt. Colonel Martin Weiss, as part of Operation Reinhard.

Adolf Hitler issued Führer Directive Number 51, anticipating an invasion of Nazi-occupied France by the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, in what Hitler described as “an Anglo-Saxon landing”. Troops and reinforcements were transferred to Western Europe, and the Anglo-Saxon landing would take place on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

The Raid on Choiseul ended indecisively.

1944 The 20th Gebirgsjaeger Army evacuates the mineral rich Petsamo region of northern Finland.

Take a look at these other WWII posts: WWII Today: June 19 WWII Today: August 6 WWII Today: June 14