Archive for the ‘April’ Category

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 Society 1941 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

Apr 30

World War II Today: April 30

1940 Germans announce they have established communication between Trondheim and Oslo. RAF attack Oslo airfield.

The Lodz Ghetto in occupied Poland is sealed off from the outside world with 230,000 Jews locked inside.

1941 British air raid casualty figures in April: 6,065 killed, 6,926 injured. Bristol, Coventry, Birmingham, Belfast, London and Portsmouth all badly hit. In retaliation the RAF attacks Emden, Kiel, Berlin, Bremen and Mannheim.

All of Greece is under German and Italian occupation. During the campaign, the Greeks lose 15,700 killed and 300,000 prisoners. The British lose 2,000 killed and 10,000 made prisoner, while the Germans only suffer about 2,000 killed and missing.

The Afrika Korps second attempt to capture Tobruk is again repulsed by the Australians.

1942 Hitler and Mussolini meet at Berchtesgaden to discuss future axis strategy in North Africa and the Mediterranean, the main objectives being the reduction of Malta and the seizure of the Suez Canal.

Hitler and Mussolini agree that the capture of Malta (Operation Herakles) should take place on the 10th July 1942.

The British 1st Burma Corps completes its withdrawal over the Irrawaddy at Mandalay in Burma.

The US aircraft carriers, Hornet and Enterprise set sail from Pearl Harbor for the Corel Sea under the command of Admiral William ‘Bull’ Halsey.

1943 The British submarine HMS Seraph drops ‘the man who never was,’ a dead man the British planted with false invasion plans, into the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain. The ‘man who never was’ pulled off one of the greatest deceptions in military history–after his death.

1945 As Soviets advance in Berlin, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide.

The U.S. Third Army liberates 110,000 POW’s in the Moosburg area, Northeast of Munich. The U.S. Seventh Army clears Munich and the French takes Friedrichshafen and cross into Austria. The U.S. First Army meet the Russians at Ellenburg, South of Berlin. The British Second Army liberates 20,000 prisoners (two third POW’s and one third political prisoners) from Sandbostel camp in northern Germany.

Allied Norwegian forces capture Finnmark.

With the Red Army only a few hundred yards away, Hitler commits suicide with Eva Braun in the Reich Chancellery bunker at 1530hrs and their bodies immediately incinerated with gasoline by SS bodyguards

A Sergeant of the Russian Army plant the Red Flag on top of the Reichstag building at 2.30 pm. As the final Russian assault on Tiergarten begins, Goebbels and Bormann send General Krebs, Chief of the General Staff to the headquarters of Marshal Zhukov with a permit to make an armistice, but Zhukov refuses and demands an unconditional surrender. Troops of the 4th Ukrainian front capture Moravska Ostrava. Fighting continues in Breslau, as the German garrison refuses to surrender.

The U.S. Fifth Army in Northwest Italy, links up with French troops on the French/Italian border.

The Mexican Air Force’s 201 Squadron arrives at Manila. In operations from 4 June, 1945 to the end of the war, the 201 flies 96 combat missions, mostly in support of ground troops. The 201 will be the only Mexican unit to see overseas combat in the country’s history.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 16 WWII Today: November 18 WWII Today: May 16

Apr 29

World War II Today: April 29

1940 King Haakon VII and his government are evacuated from Molde and taken to Tromso in northern Norway, from where they can continue the fight.

1941 British intelligence ‘Ultra’, intercept numerous messages giving a positive indication that the Germans plan to attack Crete.

Another Brigade from the British 10th Indian Division lands at Basra, ignoring Iraqi’s protests. The Iraqi Army lays siege to The RAF base at Habbaniyh, although RAF planes fly numerous air strikes against them.

1942 The Belgian resistance destroys Tenderloo chemical works, killing more that 250. Executions by the Germans reported to be running at 25-30 a month in Belgium.

Japanese troops capture Lashio, thereby cutting the vital ‘Burma Road’ supply route into China.

The Japanese continue to land reinforcements on Mindanao Island as the step up attacks against the Filipino garrison. The shelling of Corregidor increases as the Japanese prepare to invade the Island.

1943 A series of minor attacks in near Novorossiysk drive the Germans back slowly.

U-boats begin a six-day attack on Convoy ONS5, during which 13 allied ships are finally sunk for the loss of six U-boats.

1944 Curtin, the Australian Prime Minister arrives in London.

The US Navy pounds the Japanese base at Truk, destroying 120 planes.

1945 The RAF begin Operation ‘Manna’, supply drops into Holland.

Convoy RA-66 sailing from the Kola Peninsula to Loch Ewe is attacked by at least 2 U-boats north of Kola. The British destroyer HMS Goodall, which was lend-leased by the US in 1943 is sunk by U-286 (Oblt.z.S. Willi Dietrich), for 1,150 tons, marking this as the last convoy to come under attack in the war.

The British Second Army crosses the Elbe near Hamburg, less than 100 miles west of the Russian forces in Mecklenburg. The U.S. Seventh Army reaches Munich. The French First Army captures Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance.

The 2nd Belorussian front advances fast in the Stralsund direction and seizes Anklam. In Berlin furious fighting takes place around the Reichstag, Chancellery and along Potsdamer Strasse. In Kottbus South of Berlin, German troops are still holding the Russians back.

The Germans armies in Italy sign surrender terms at The Royal Palace, Caserta, but German officers do not guarantee acceptance, the ceremony takes only 17 minutes. The British Eighth Army secures Venice and advances towards Trieste. The U.S. Fifth Army enters Milan and makes contact with the Eighth Army at Padua.

The bodies of Mussolini and Clara Petacci are brought to Milan and hung upside down from lamp-posts in the square where 15 Partisans were executed a year ago. The bodies are shot and spat upon.

U.S. 7th Army liberates Dachau Concentration Camp.

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Apr 28

World War II Today: April 28

1940 Allied reinforcements arrive in Andalsnes, Norway.

1941 The British evacuation of Greece is completed

A clampdown is made in Norway against degenerate literature, with large-scale book burnings being held.

1942 Coastal “dimouts” go into effect along a fifteen-mile strip on the Eastern Seaboard, in response to German U-boat activity of the U.S. Atlantic coast.

At what turns out to be its last meeting, the puppet Nazi Reichstag passes legislation proclaiming Hitler “Supreme Judge of the German People,” formalising the Fuhrer’s position as being above the reach of the law.

1943 British forces repulse a last, desperate Panzer counter blow in Tunisia.

1944 The South African and Rhodesian Prime Ministers arrive for the imperial Conference.

Chinese forces retreat in central China.

1945 German U-boats sink 8 Allied ships, 3 destroyers and 2 corvettes in the English channel.

The Canadian First Army captures Emden and Wilhelmshaven, while the U.S. Seventh Army takes Augsburg and reaches the Austrian border to the South. Hitler marries his mistress, Eva Braun, and dictates his political testament in which he justifies the political and military actions of his 12-year-rule, blaming the war on international Jewry and exhorting the German people even after defeat to adhere to the principles of National Socialism, especially its racial laws. Grossadmiral D0nitz is appointed as his successor.

The U.S. Fifth Army take Brescia, 30 miles East of Milan. The British Eighth Army reaches Venice.

Italian Partisans capture Mussolini, his mistress Clara Petacci and 12 of his cabinet members in a German convoy trying to reach Switzerland. All are shot in nearby village.

Russian forces are fighting in the Wilhelmstrasse and reach the Anhalt Station which is just half a mile of the Fuhrerbunker.

1946 The Allies indict Tojo with 55 counts of war crimes.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 3 WWII Today: November 30 WWII Today: June 7

Apr 27

World War II Today: April 27

1940 Himmler signs the order that initiates construction of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

1941 German troops cross the Egyptian border and capture the Halfaya Pass, forcing the British to pull back to defensive a line running from Buq Buq on the coast to Sofafi, some 50km in to the desert. The British also begin construction of a major defensive line in front of Mersa Matruh.

German troops occupy Athens.

1942 The RAF use 107 aircraft in another raid against Rostok.

Norwich is attacked by the Luftwaffe.

RAF Bomber Command again attack the Tirpitz at Trondheim, without success. Wing Commander Bennett who led the raid crashes in Norway, but manages to escape to Sweden.

1943 A report that Soviet troops have executed thousands of Polish officers near Smolensk causes a rift between the Polish government-in-exile and Moscow, jeopardizing their alliance.

1944 Both the Canadian and New Zealand Prime Ministers arrive in London for the Imperial Conference.

German planes spot an Allied convoy west of Start Point along the Channel Coast. The convoy is actually making a practice run (‘Operation Tiger‘) for the planned invasion of Normandy on a stretch of coast very much like that found in the Normandy region of France. The 5th and 9th Schnellbootflottillers are directed to attack at night, which they do with the following boats: S100, S130, S138, S138, S140, S142, S143, S145, S150. They engage the convoy, consisting of 8 landing craft and protected by the lone English Corvette Azeala at Lyme Bay. The result is that LST 507 was set on fire and had to be given up, LST 531 was sunk and LST 289 received a torpedo hit which killed many soldiers. Total Allied losses were 197 seaman and 441 soldiers lost.

Merrill’s ‘Marauders’ begin a march on Myitkyina.

The U.S. Army complete their capture of Hollandia’s airfields and isolate 200,000 Japanese for the duration of war.

1945 Total V-weapon casualties in Britain are announced as 2,754 killed and 6,523 seriously injured.

The U.S. First Army captures Straubing and Kempten in Bavaria.

The Russians take Wittemberge on Elbe. Russian troops reach the Alexanderplatz in Berlin and Spandau is taken. The 2nd Belorussian front advances in Pomerania seizes Prenzlau and Angermunde, 70 miles northwest of Berlin. The German 9th Army tries to reach Berlin from the southeast and even counterattacks at Zossen. The German 20th Army does the same Southeast of Belzig. The German High command confesses that the last German forces in Pillau, East Prussia have surrendered.

The U.S. Fifth Army enters Genoa.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 22 WWII Today: December 22 WWII Today: December 20

Apr 26

World War II Today: April 26

1940 The British stun the French and Norwegians by deciding to evacuate southern Norway.

1941 The Italian fortress of Dessie, south of Amba Alagi is captured by South African forces.

1942 The RAF again attacks Rostok, this time with 128 aircraft. The Luftwaffe again raid Bath.

Cunningham is forced to order the withdrawal of the 10th Submarine Flotilla from Malta as a result of the intense bombing and because of the mines laid by aircraft and German E-boats.

1943 Axis losses in Africa for first 3&½ months of 1943 are 66,000 killed, wounded and captured.

1944 In marked contrast to earlier USAAF efforts, Bomber Command makes a hugely successful attack on the German ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt.

The Greek PM resigns and George Papandreou forms a new government.

The ‘Chindits’ occupy Indaw.

Japanese fighters attack their first B-29, one fighter is shot down.

Australians troops occupy Alexishafen in New Guinea.

The Army seizes a Montgomery Ward plant in Chicago and reopens it for war production after its board of directors refuses to negotiate with the CIO labor union. Chairman Sewell Avery refuses to leave his office, and still seated in his chair, is carried out to the parking lot, where he bows to workers and enters a waiting limousine.

1945 The first of some 75,000 ex-prisoners of war are flown back to the UK by aircraft of Bomber Command.

German troops at Bremen surrender to the British and Canadians. Allied troops now line the Swiss border from Basle to Lake Constance. The U.S. Third Army takes Regensburg on the Danube. Goering’s fall from grace announced in Germany, General Ritter von Greim is to replace him.

Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France’s Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.

Italian Partisans take Genoa and stage revolt in Milan. The U.S. Fifth Army captures Verona, 20 miles Northeast of Mantua.

The 2nd Belorussian front captures Stettin on the river Oder, while the 3rd Belorussian Front captures the Baltic port of Pillau, 20 miles West of Königsberg. General Wenck embarks on the last German offensive to relieve Berlin, but only manages to reach Ferch on the 27th April, before the offensive grinds to a halt. The remnants of 9th Army are cut off and surrounded in the Halbe pocket 30 miles southwest of Frankfurt am der Oder. The 2nd Ukrainian Front captures Brno, in Czechoslovakia.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Goodyear Rubber Company Ad WWII Today: February 10 WWII Today: April 24

Apr 25

World War II Today: April 25

1940 Allied forces withdraw from Lillehammer in central Norway.

New evacuation scheme introduced in Britain as a Ministry of Health survey shows that only 8% of eligible children have been registered; 19% of parents refused to do so; 73% did not bother to reply.

1941 Roosevelt announces an indefinite extension of US Atlantic patrols.

German paratroops seize Corinth and cross the Corinth Canal to the Peloponnese.

Hitler issues Directive No.28, ordering the preparation of plans to capture Crete. The basic plan is to involve 22,750 paratroops, 650 combat aircraft and is to be launched on the 18th May 1941, although this is put back to the 20th May 1941.

1942 The Luftwaffe attack Bath as the ‘Baedeker’ raids continue.

On his last patrol aboard U-404, Kapitanleutnant Otto von Bulow fires two FAT and two G7e torpedoes at British aircraft carrier HMS Biter. All detonate prematurely and HMS Biter escapes without damage. Von Bulow is later decorated by Hitler with Oak leaves to his Knights Cross for his Atlantic successes and German newspapers report the recent sinking of the American carrier USS Ranger as well. Later, USS Ranger commander Gordon Rowe, is photographed aboard his carrier smiling at a photograph of von Bulow and the German report of his vessel’s demise.

1944 With Allied control of the skies over Germany now virtually complete, Goebbels strongly objects to Hitler’s plan to fly to Berlin for one of his rare visits to attend Colonel General Hube’s funeral. Hitler insists on going anyway. It will be the last time the increasingly reclusive Fuhrer will show himself at a large public gathering in the Third Reich.

The British right hook South of Kohima begins.

1945 Beginning of the San Francisco Conference convened to discuss the founding of the United Nations.

German U-boats sink 5 allied supply ships in the English Channel.

The U.S. Third Army crosses the Danube, 70 miles Northeast of Munich.

The RAF attacks the ‘Eagle’s Nest’, Hitler’s chalet and the SS barracks at Berchtesgarten.

Troops of the U.S. Ninth Army and the Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front meet on the Elbe at Torgau, 100 miles Southwest of Berlin.

The U.S. Fifth Army enters Mantua, 60 miles Northwest of Bologna and continues its drive up coast, while the British Eighth Army crosses the Po river and captures Parma.

Russian units of the 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts meet at Kietzen west of Berlin, meaning that eight Russian armies have now surrounded Berlin in a vice like grip. The suburbs Tegel and Reinickendorf fall into Russian hands. A relief attack by the III Panzer Korps from the area of Eberswalde 50 miles northeast of Berlin fails.

U.S. Marines seize islands off coast of Okinawa in Pacific.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 24 WWII Today: March 14 WWII Today: February 13