Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category

Mar 17

World War II Today: March 17

1940 Fritz Todt named German Minister for Armaments and Munitions.

1941 The 11th African Division captures Jijiga in central Abyssinia; having advanced 744 miles up the Italian built Strada Imperiale in just seventeen days.

In convoy HX-112, British destroyer Walker causes U-99 to scuttle (40/43 captured, including famous captain Otto Kretschmer).

British begin to ration jam & marmalade (8 oz per month).

162 planes of the Luftwaffe bombed the Avonmouth district of Bristol

1942 General MacArthur flown by B-17 from Mindanao to Australia.

The deportation of Jews from Lublin to Belzec begins.

Britain begins rationing fuel and electricity.

The first mass gassings began at the Belzec Concentration Camp, near Lublin, on March 17, 1942

1943 Bulgaria, an Axis power allied with Germany, refused to comply with a German demand that Bulgarian Jews be deported to Nazi concentration camps. The Parliament voted unanimously to revoke plans that had been made by government minister Alexander Belev to arrest Bulgaria’s Jewish citizens (although deportations had taken place in the conquered territories of Macedonia and Thrace). “As a result of these protests,” it was observed, “no Bulgarian Jews were deported to the gas chambers from Bulgaria itself.

The Japanese attack British positions in Arakan, western Burma leading to Indian retreat.

Lieutenant General George Patton launches drive in Tunisia from Fériana, and occupies Gafsa.

1944 The British blow up the Manipur bridge South of Imphal.

New Zealand troops take Cassino railway station.

1945

The U.S. Third Army takes Koblenz.

The Ludendorff bridge at Remagen, seized by US troops on the 7th March, suddenly collapses, killing dozens of US Army engineers working to reinforce it. —American engineers erect new pontoon bridge in ten hours.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 5 WWII Today: October 22 WWII Today: August 6

Mar 16

World War II Today: March 16

1935 Adolf Hitler orders a German rearmament and violates the Versailles Treaty.

1939 Germany occupies the rest Czechoslovakia.

1940 The Luftwaffe attacks the British Fleets anchorage at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. This raid causes the death of a British civilian, the first of the war.

1941 The Kriegsmarine loses two of its most successful U-boat commanders, Kretschmer (U-99) and Schepke (U-100) to British escorts from convoy HX112.

British troops from Aden land at and capture Berbera in Italian occupied British Somaliland.

1943 Wolfpack ‘Raubgraf’ and attacks convoys HX-229 (37 ships) between until the 19th March, sinking 12 ships for 86,326 gross tons damaging 4. Another wolfpack, named ‘Stürmer’, attacks SC122 and over a period of four days and nights sinking 11 ships (54,740 tons) for the loss of just one U-boat, U-384 (Oblt. von Rosenberg-Gruszinski).

1944 The ‘Chindit’ ‘White City’ base at Mawla severs Japanese communications in northern Burma.

Oswald Job, a British subject, is hanged for spying at Pentonville Prison.

The British Eighth Army continues to batter itself against Monte Cassino.

A Japanese advance through Burma isolates the British garrison at Imphal. During the three-month siege, 150,000 men had to rely entirely on air supply for their survival. More than 400 tons of stores had to be flown daily into a heavily guarded valley, with only three squadrons of Spitfires available for air defence and six squadrons of Hurricanes for attack.

1945 Iwo Jima is declared secure by U.S. forces although small pockets of Japanese resistance still exist.

Two fresh Soviet armies of the 3rd Ukrainian Front counter attack the German offensive towards Budapest.

The US 8th Air Force launches a massive attack (675 bombers) against the HQ complex of the OKH at Zossen 20 miles south of Berlin, but with minimal effect.

The German Heavy Cruisers Schlesien and Prinz Eugen give supporting fire forces of Heeresgruppe Kurland in their defense of the Kurland pocket.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 7 WWII Today: September 27 WWII Today: February 22

Mar 15

World War II Today: March 15

1935 Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda bans four Berlin newspapers.

1939 Germany occupies Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia.

1941 Roosevelt broadcasts to the nation announcing ‘the end of compromise with tyranny.

The British ‘Northern Force’ having concentrated the 4th and 5th Indian Divisions begin their offensive for Italian fortress of Keren in Eritrea.

German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sink 15 Allied ships in the North Atlantic over next two days.

1942 U-503 is sunk near the Grand Banks, off Newfoundland, by another aircraft from the US squadron, VP-82.

Norwegian resistance members seize ship SS Galtesundand sail to Britain.

Off Newfoundland, US Navy PBO Hudson sinks U-503, the same pilot (CPO Donald Mason) who had radioed “Sighted sub—sank same” in January, vindicating himself

1943 Germans re-capture Kharkov.

The climax of the Battle of the Atlantic: U-boats sink 21 ships, with only one U-boat lost.

The US Navy establishes numbered fleet system; fleets in the Pacific assigned odd numbers and those in the Atlantic even.

The British Navy launches first X-class midget submarines.

1944 The heaviest RAF raid of war is made against Stuttgart, with 3,000 tons dropped from 863 bombers, for the loss of only 36 planes.

The allies pound Cassino, dropping 1,250 tons of bombs dropped and firing 195,969 in 7 and a half hours, but the troops make slow headway.

The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front breaks through German defenses and reaches the Bug river, the starting point in 1941 for Operation ‘Barbarossa’.

The U.S. 1st Cavalry Division lands on Manus in the Admiralty Islands.

The Japanese begin crossing the Chindwin for an advance against Kohima.

1945 Attacks by troops of the US First Army to expand the Remagen bridgehead further, meet with little success.

The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front begins an offensive in the Ratibor area of Upper Silesia.

U.S. troops report slow progress on Luzon in the Philippines.

1949 Almost four years after the end of World War II, clothes rationing in Great Britain ends.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 14 WWII Today: January 12 WWII Winston Churchill Quote

Mar 14

WWII Points – Adjusted Service Rating Score (ASRS)

World War 2 “Points” the Adjusted Service Rating Score or ASRS, the system for calculating the eligibility of when a U.S. Soldier was allowed to

In early as mid-1943, as troops were being shipped all over the world, it was becoming obvious that bringing all the Soldiers, Sailors and Marins back home after the war was going to be a huge logistic challenge. The U.S. military about 12 million strong in 1945, with approximately 3 million Service men an women in Europe.

On May 10, 1945, two days after Germany’s surrender, the War Department announced a point system to decide who gets to go home first. In this system, every service member received 1 point for every month in service and an additional 1 point for every months of service spent overseas. Awards, namely the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Soldier’s Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart, were worth 5 points each. The Combat Infantryman Badge was not worth anything, leading to much grumbling among the troops.

Campaign participation credits were also worth 5 points each. American participation in the war was divided into 16 separate campaigns, but even the most battle-hardened units only participated in up to nine of these. Finally, each dependent child under 18 years of age was worth an additional 12 points. Moreover, men with three or more minor children could go home regardless of their score. It should be noted that age, marital status and dependents above 18 were not factored into calculating the score.

Initially, service members needed 85 points to go home. Once this was reached, further points did not count towards even higher priority: someone with, say, 105 points was not guaranteed to go home before one with only 85. Another cause for complaint was that the system didn’t reflect the nature of service: a month spent in the rear was worth just as much as a month on the front lines. Initially, officers were not subject the point system: they would go home or continue to serve based on their efficiency and special qualifications.

Units in Europe were placed in four categories. Category I units, consisting of men with low scores were designated as occupational forces and would stay quite a while. Category II units still had a ways to go and were either to redeploy to the Pacific, directly or via the U.S., or return to the States and stay in strategic reserve. Category III units were to be reorganized and then placed in Category I or II. Finally, Category IV units were those with 85 or more points, waiting to be sent home and demobilized.

One practical problem with the system was the categories were designed for units, while the score applied to individual soldiers. As a result, soldiers had to be shuffled around en masse to place all high-scoring soldiers in Category IV units and low-scoring ones to others.

Once demobilization started in earnest, it actually progressed quicker than anticipated thanks to the efforts of Operation Magic Carpet. As a result, the score needed to go home was revised and lowered several times, with different limits established for different types of personnel. In May 1945, for example, limits just within the Medical Corps varied from 88 for administrative personnel to 62 for hygienists and dietitians.

By September 1945, demobilization was proceeding at such a pace that units still in Europe were re-designated according to a new system: Occupation Forces who would stay, Redeployment Forces who would go home and Liquidation Forces, whose soldiers had credits of about 60-79 and had the job of closing down former frontline facilities such as ammunition dumps and field hospitals before getting demobilized.

In December, 1945, an overhaul of the system incorporated the length of service. An officer, for example, could go home with 70 points, but only if he had served for at least four years. In contrast, enlisted women could go home with as little as 32 points and no minimum service time.

By early 1946, the rapid pace of demobilization was causing a manpower shortage in occupation troops in Europe and Japan. Consequently, the War Department slowed the process down. This sparked a slate of protests worldwide. On January 6, 1946, 20,000 soldiers marched on their headquarters in Manila in the Philippines after a ship home was canceled at Christmas. Protests with tens of thousands of participants started in Germany, Austria, France, the United States, India and various Asian locations. A few service members were arrested but Eisenhower suggested they should not be penalized. Demobilization was sped up again and measures were introduced to make overseas service more palatable: training was made shorter, soldiers’ families were able to move to his place of service free of charge and European occupation troops were offered 17-day tours of Europe for a nominal price.

Take a look at these other WW2 Posts:WW2 Camel Cigarette Advertisement WW2 Today: October 14 The Other D-Days

Mar 14

World War II Today: March 14

1936 Adolf Hitler tells a crowd of 300,000 that Germany’s only judge is God and itself.

1939 The Nazis dissolve the republic of Czechoslovakia.

1941 Japanese fighters raid Chengtu, China in longest range for fighter operation of war to date.

1942 US troops arrive in Australia in force.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrives in Mindanao, after evacuating from Corregidor on Roosevelt’s orders.

1943 Gen. Henri Giraud restores representative government in French North Africa, suppresses Vichy organizations.

The Germans armoured forces recapture Kharkov.

The Krakow Ghetto is liquidated.

The Royal Navy Submarine Thetis, now renamed Thunderbolt is sunk by the Italian corvette Cicogna, off Sicily.

1944 The British are forced to withdraw towards Imphal in Assam, while fighting a bitter rearguard action.

In Burma, Japanese cut road from Tiddim north to Imphal; Indian troops are unable to retreat.

1945 The U.S. Third Army crosses the Moselle, Southwest of Koblenz.

Germans counterattack to recapture the oilfields near Lake Balaton come to an end. The Red Army cuts all communications between Koenigsberg and the German forces fighting in the Braunsberg pocket.

RAF Bomber Command makes its first use of the 22,000lb ‘Grand Slam’ bomb, wrecking the Bielefeld viaduct.

The US 15th Air Force, taking off from Italian airfields, launches a heavy raid (500 bombers) against Regensburg, while the RAF attacks Wuppertal with 400 aircraft.

On Luzon, a force of Filipinos led by US Col. Russell Volckmann, who refused to surrender to the Japanese in 1942, takes San Fernando.

First US infantry arrive in China, the Mars Task Force, ferried by the Air Transport Command.

U.S. troops begin mopping up on Iwo Jima and launch heavy attacks in the North of the island.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 28 WWII Today: July 16 WWII Today: May 30

Mar 13

World War II Today: March 13

1940 Finland capitulates conditionally to Soviet terms, but maintains its independence. The Finns have lost 25,000 killed and 45,000 wounded, while the Russians have lost an estimated 200,000 killed and an unknown number of wounded.

1941 President Franklin Roosevelt establishes President’s Committee on War Relief Agencies.

The Luftwaffe carries out a heavy raid against Clydebank, near Glasgow. 35,000 of the town’s population of 47,000 are made homeless.

Hitler issues an edict calling for an invasion of the Soviet Union.

1942 The Red Army launches a major attack against Army Group B from the Kerch peninsula in the eastern Crimea.

Three German spies in New York get a total of 117 years imprisonment.

Julia Flikke of the Nurse Corps becomes the first woman colonel in the U.S. Army.

Fifty aircraft equipped with Gee receivers attack Cologne. This is the most successful attack to date with the device; estimates put it is being five times more effective than non-Gee equipped aircraft.

1943 An assassination attempt is made on Hitler.

A Chinese counter-attack throws the Japanese back across the Yangtze River.

Japanese forces end their attack on the American troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville.

1944 British troops take the ‘Golden Fortress’ (Razabil) in Arakan, Burma.

A U.S. submarine, Sandlance sinks a Japanese troopship convoy en route to the Marianas.

The Russians announce the capture of Kherson in the southern Ukraine.

1945 The 2nd Belorussian Front launches an offensive against the Braunsberg pocket to the South of Koenigsberg.

Following a 600-bomber raid by the US 8th Air Force, the RAF with 800 bombers attack Swinemünde North of Stettin, a major port of embarkation for German refugees from eastern Germany, causing heavy damage to the docks and killing hundreds of civilians.

A surprise armored thrust by the British in central Burma, cuts off 3,000 Japanese in Mandalay.

US B-29s launch fire raid on Osaka, killing 4000 and destroying 119 factories.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: September 30 WWII Today: January 6 WWII Today: November 7

Mar 12

World War II Today: March 12

1938 German troops enter Austria without firing a shot, forming the anschluss (union) of Austria and Germany.

1940 A peace treaty is concluded between Finland and Russia, which formally ends the “Winter War”. The terms of this treaty are harsh for Finland, who is forced to cede the entire Karelia Isthmus, and the city of Viipuri, which is renamed Vyborg. They also lose parts of eastern Karelia, Lake Ladoga, the Rybachiy Peninsula and the Petsamo area. They also have to grant the Russian a 30 year lease of the Hang Peninsula. However, the ever ‘generous’ Russians drop their recognition of the Kuusinen puppet government in Moscow.

The British finalize their plans for the invasion of Norway. Landings are to be made at Narvik and Trondheim in order to secure the rail line to Sweden and the large iron-ore fields.

1941 Churchill thanks America for ‘a new Magna Carta’.

Luftwaffe bombs Clydebank, Scotland, leaving 75% of the population homeless.

1942 Convoy PQ-12 arrives unscathed at Murmansk, earning the distinction of being the last PQ convoy to sail without losses.

The British evacuate their garrison from the Andaman Islands, just off the Burmese coast south of Rangoon.

US troops occupy New Caledonia.

1943 German troops evacuate Vyazma.

In North Africa, the US 802ndMedical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron flies first medical air evacuation flight with flight nurses.

George Patton promoted to Lieutenant general.

The first labor strike in a totalitarian regime: 50,000 Italian workers strike against Mussolini and delay war production.

1944 The Swedes announce an investigation of the ‘mysterious object which crashed out of the sky’ (a ‘flying torpedo’ V1) from a German research station, 40 miles away.

1945 RAF Bomber Command sets another new record for single target, when 4,851 tons are dropped on Dortmund.

Anne Frank dies in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp of typhus, age 15.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 11 WWII Today: September 26 WWII Today: June 9

Mar 11

World War II Today: March 11

1940 A coal strike in New South Wales begins.

1941 Japanese Foreign Minister to visit Rome and Berlin.The US House of Representatives passes the ‘Lend Lease’ Bill by 317 votes to 71, where upon it is immediately signed by President Roosevelt. Initial priority for war supplies was to be given to Britain and Greece.

British diplomats from Bulgaria reach Istanbul, although 2 people are killed when a bomb in their luggage explodes.

The German 5th Light Division has now completely arrived in Libya and is ordered to prepare for an attack on El Agheila. Meanwhile, Rommel has flown back to Germany for further orders and has been told that when the 15th Panzer Division has arrived in Libya at the end of May he is to recapture Benghazi.

1942 General MacArthur leaves Corregidor and the Philippines for Australia, after being ordered to assume command of the new South-West Pacific area, which in effect meant all Allied forces in the Pacific. MacArthur’s last words before leaving were “I shall return!” General M. Wainwright takes over command in the Philippines.

1943 The north Atlantic convoy ONS-169 is attacked by wolfpack ‘Raubgraf’ between the 11th and 12th March losing 2 ships for 10,531 gross tons. Atlantic convoys SC121 and HX228 are also attacked by other wolfpacks and lose 17 ships for the loss of just U-444 and U-432.

1944 Zhukov is stopped on River Bug after a 60-mile advance.

Some 12,000 Chindits are now behind Japanese lines in Burma. British forces capture Buthiduang on the Arakan front.

1945 The US third Army captures Kochem on the lower Moselle river.

The Red Army advances towards Gotenhafen, a vital port of embarkation for tens of thousands of refugees from East Prussia.

An RAF Bomber Command record for the largest tonnage dropped on a single target in single day is achieved at Essen when 4,661 tons are dropped.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:Words at War: The Nazi’s Go Underground WWII Today: January 24 WWII Today: January 3

Mar 10

World War II Today: March 10

1941 Vice Admiral Adolphus Andrews assumes command of US Navy’s new North Atlantic Naval Coast Frontier (Eastern Sea Frontier)

The RAF attacks Le Havre and at the same time gives the new 4-engine Halifax bomber it debut, although one of the six Halifax’s involved is shot down on its return flight by an RAF night fighter.

Vichy France threatens to use its navy unless Britain allows food to reach France.

1942 Japanese troops make landings at Finschhafen in New Guinea. They also occupy Buka in the Solomon Islands. Japanese aircraft attack Port Moresby in Papua.

Aircraft from the American Aircraft Carriers Lexington and Yorktown make attacks against the Japanese at Lae and Salamaua.

Britain reports that spending for WWII has surpassed spending for WWI.

Based on FBI intercepts the Brazilian police arrest a German spy whose message to Hamburg contained sailing information for the Queen Mary, carrying 10,000 US troops.

1943 P-47 Thunderbolts fly first mission with US Eighth Air Force.

The United States retakes Sbeïtla, Tunisia.

The United States Fourteenth Air Force activated under Maj. Gen. Claire Chennault, based in Kunming, China

1944 Uman is taken as the Russians drive towards the Bug and Dnieper rivers.

The Irish refuse to oust all Axis envoys and deny the accusation of spying on Allied troops.

1945 The 2nd Belorussian Front captures Zoppot, during its attack towards Danzig. The Kriegsmarine evacuates 25,000 civilian refugees from the besieged Baltic fortress of Kolberg in Pomerania.

Field Marshal Kesselring replaces Field Marshal von Rundstedt as C-in-C of German forces in the West. German troops evacuate Wesel on the lower Rhine. The US Third Army captures Bonn.

U.S. Eighth Army invades Zamboanga Peninsula on Mindanao in the Philippines.

1949 Nazi wartime broadcaster Mildred E. Gillars, also known as “Axis Sally,” was convicted in Washington D.C. of treason. She served 12 years in prison.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:

WWII Today: February 8 WWII Today: October 24 WWII Today: October 29

Mar 09

World War II Today: March 9

1936 The German press warns that all Jews who vote in the upcoming elections will be arrested.

1939 Czech President Emil Hacha ousts pro-German Joseph Tiso as the Premier of Slovakia in order to preserve Czech unity.

1940 Italian-Anglo agreement on coal, Britain to release Italian collier ships, Italy to import no more German coal.

1941 The Italians launch another offensive against the Greek 1st Army in Albania, but it makes very little progress.

1942 The RAF returns to bomb Essen once more, but again are unable to inflict much damage due to the constant industrial haze over the city and the lack of landmarks, which made the city notoriously difficult to find.

US General Stilwell becomes Chiang Kai-shek’s Chief of Staff.

The Government of the Dutch East Indies reaches Adelaide in Australia as all resistance on Java ceases and the island surrenders to the Japanese.

1943

U-510 torpedoes eight ships in three hours off the coast of Brazil, in what is the most successful single U-boat action of the war.

Von Arnim replaces Field Marshal Rommel as C-in-C of the Axis forces in Tunisia and Rommel is ordered by Hitler to leave Africa, never to return.

1945 The U.S. First Army widens the Remagen bridgehead. The US Third Army captures Andernach on the Rhine.

German light naval vessels from the still German-occupied British Channel Islands enter the allied supply port of Granville in Bretagne, sinking five ships.

USAAF B29’s begin the firebombing of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe. 16 and a half acres of Tokyo is burnt out in attacks which continue for 10 days.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:Words at War: The Curtain Rises D-Day: The 6th of June WWII Today: March 16