Archive for the ‘April’ Category

Apr 12

World War II Today: April 12

1940 Norway announces German control of Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim in the south, Narvik in the north.

1941 The Yugoslav capital Belgrade, surrenders.

Greek and British forces fall back to the Mount Olympus line in Greece.

German armored units complete the encirclement of Tobruk and push on up the coast road towards the Egyptian frontier.

US troops land in Greenland.

1942 Both German and Russian forces pause for breath after an extremely difficult winter (temperatures dropped to a nippy Minus 30C). The Russians have outrun their supply lines and exhausted their supply store of tanks and guns, which has allowed the initiative to slip back to the Germans. However, the Germans are aware that they can no longer take Moscow with a knockout blow and so choose another alternative. They intend to drive southward as part of a “grand pincer” movement through the Caucasus to link up with Rommel’s Afrika Corps, which will solve their oil problems, disable the Russian economy, and menace the Middle East.

Japanese troops capture Migyaungyein Burma, which exposes the western flank of 1st Burma Corps at put the oilfields at Yenangyuang under threat.

1943 German radio announces that 4,150 Polish officers that were deported by the Russian authorities in 1940 have been found in mass graves near Smolensk.

The Eighth Army takes Sousse, to the East of Kairan and claim that 20,000 axis prisoners have been taken in Tunisia since the 20th March.

1944 Hitler authorizes a withdrawal of 230,000 German and Romanian troops to the fortress of Sevastopol. However, this is four days too late and the delay results in many unnecessary losses.

Finland rejects the heavy Russian demands for the ending of the war.

1945 The U.S. Ninth Army crosses the Elbe, taking Brunswick.

The U.S. Third Army takes Erfurt.

French troops take Baden-Baden on the southern flank. The U.S.6th Armoured Division overruns Buchenwald concentration camp. The British Second Army captures Celle 60 miles to the South of Hamburg.

The Germans evacuates Zenica, Yugoslavia.

A German war communique confesses that Konigsberg did surrender and announces the death penalty for the fortresses commander, General Lasch.

After suffering a massive cerebral hemorrhage, President Roosevelt dies at Warm Springs in Georgia, aged 63. Harry Truman is sworn in as 32nd President of the United States.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: October 19 WWII Today: January 14 WWII Winchester Ad

Apr 11

World War II Today: April 11

1940 King Haakon VII of Norway appeals to all Norwegians to fight. The first British troop’s sets sail for Norway, although they have been mistakenly embarked without much of their heavy equipment.

Royal Navy submarine Spearfish puts pocket battleship Lutzow out of action for a year.

1941 Rommel makes an attempt to capture Tobruk off the march. However, the 9th Australian Division repulses the attack, forcing the Germans to think again. By now the Germans are pretty exhausted after 3 weeks of continuous action and their vehicles in serious need of an overhaul.

Roosevelt extends the Pan-American security zone in the Atlantic from 60°W to 26°W.

Bristol is bombed by the Luftwaffe.

Italian forces begin their effort to push down the Yugoslav coast in order to link up with their forces in Albania.

1942 Progress continues as German relieve forces push nearer the surrounded Kholm garrison. The Russians try to land troops near Eupatoria in the Crimea, but are stopped dead by the Germans.

1943 The British First Army takes Kalrouan, 100 miles South of Tunis.

1944 The majority of New Britain is now held by the Allies.

A U.S. Delegate hands the Swiss a cheque for $1m as reparations for the accidental bombing of Schaffhausen.

Russian troops capture Kerch in the Crimea. While units of the 4th Ukrainian Front liberate Dsjankoi.

1945 The Russians now reaches the centre of Vienna, capturing the parliament and town hall buildings.

The U.S. Third Army takes the historic town of Weimar.

The British Second Army takes Celle, 30 miles Northeast of Hanover, cutting the road to Hamburg.

The U.S. Ninth Army captures Essen, Bochum and Goslar in the Harz Mountains.

The U.S. Seventh Army reaches Schweinfurt, 80 miles to the East of Frankfurt.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 10 WWII Today: January 27 WWII Today: January 21

Apr 10

World War II Today: April 10

1940 Denmark surrenders to the Germans.

Bitter fighting as Germans advance north from Oslo.

Six British destroyers surprise ten German Destroyers in Narvik Fiord, in what becomes known as the 1st Battle of Narvik. Two German and two British Destroyers are sunk and the British Flotilla commander, Captain Warburton-Lee is killed. He is later awarded the Victoria Cross, posthumously.

1941 Germans enter Zagreb, allowing Ante Pavelic, the Croatian Fascist leader, to return from Italian exile and proclaim the independent state of Croatia, with him as Poglavnik (leader). British forces under General Wilson withdraw from the Aliakmon line.

The 9th Australian Division withdraws into Tobruk.

1942 British negotiations in India break down.

The 78,000 captured men from Bataan begin a 65 mile march under the hot sun from Mariveles to San Fernando, with little food or water. This was to become known as the ‘Bataan Death March’.

The Japanese begin landing troops on Cebu Island, which has a combined US-Filipino garrison of 4,500 troops.

The Soviet Ambassador to the USA gives a speech in Philadelphia demanding an immediate second front in Europe.

1943 USAAF bombers sink the Italian cruiser Trieste in raid on Sardinia.

1944 The Russians enter Odessa on Black Sea as German forces withdraw from the city to the west bank of the Dniester river.

The RAF drops a record 3,600 tons over northern France.

1945 Churchill reveals British Empire casualty figures up to this point as 306,984 killed. Total casualties are 1,126,802, merchant navy losing 34,161 dead or captured. Civilians casualties are 59,793 killed and 84,749 injured.

The Canadian First Army continues its push North into Holland, taking Deventer, 30 miles North of Nijmegen. The British Second Army takes Wildenhausen, 20 miles Southwest of Bremen. The U.S. Ninth Army takes Hanover.

With the battle of Vienna ongoing, the German 6th SS Panzer Army succeeds in defeating fierce Russian attacks into the districts of Wiener Neustadt and to the West of Baden. The besieged Germans in Breslau continue to repel the repeated Russian attacks. A German war communique now declares that the resistance in Konigsberg has ceased, but that no surrender has occurred.

The RAF attack Kiel, while the US 8th Air Force launches its heaviest raid to date (1,232 bombers) against Berlin.

Buchenwald Concentration Camp is liberated by the Allies.

The German heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer is sunk during a massive RAF raid on Kiel.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 28 WWII Today: June 8 WWII Today: September 8

Apr 09

World War II Today: April 9

1940 German troops invade Denmark and Norway simultaneously. There is very little opposition by the surprised Danes, with Copenhagen being captured within 12 hours. The Germans make sea-borne landings in Norway at Oslo, Kristiansand, Bergen, Trondheim and Narvik. An airborne landing is also made against the airfield at Stavanger. Norwegian defenders move inland. Major Quisling sets up ‘National Government’ in Oslo.

The Kriegsmarine loses the cruisers Blacher, which is sunk by Norwegian coastal batteries, plus Koenigsberg and Karlsruhe to British naval and air attack.

1941 Rommel’s forces take Bardia.

German forces capture Nis and Monastir in Yugoslavia. German tanks enter Thessalonika, trapping the Greek 2nd Army in the Metaxas line, forcing them to surrender.

The RAF attack Kiel in an attempt to knock out the port facilities.

1942 The Germans make some limited advances towards their surrounded units at Kholm-Staraya Russa. Russian troops attack furiously at Kerch in the Crimea, but there have no success because of the stubborn German defense.

Mahatma Gandhi arrested in India.

US-Filipino forces on Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines surrender. 78,000 troops are captured, including 12,000 Americans, but 2,000 escape to Corregidor. This is the largest capitulation in US History. Japanese aircraft sink the British carrier Hermes, the destroyer Vampire and three other warships in Indian Ocean.

1943 Exterminations at Chelmno cease. The camp will be reactivated in the spring of 1944 to liquidate ghettos. In all, Chelmno will total 300,000 deaths.

1944 The remains of the 1st Panzer Army regain the German lines after a 150-mile forced march. The Red Army breaks through the German lines at Kerch in the eastern Crimea.

Fierce fighting across the District Commissioner’s tennis court at Kohima. The Japanese renew their struggle with the 17th Indian Division, South West of Imphal.

1945 The British Eighth Army launches its final offensive in Italy with a 1,800-plane and 1,500-gun bombardment of the German positions East of Bologna. The U.S. Fifth Army begins its offensive toward Bologna and the Po river valley. Army Group E is now completely isolated from the main German forces, but continues its struggle against Tito’s partisan forces in Yugoslavia.

Russians secure Koenigsberg, after the commander of “fortress Koenigsberg” General Lasch surrenders.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: November 25 WWII Today: February 22 WWII Today: December 19

Apr 08

World War II Today: April 8

1939 Italy invades Albania.

1940 British submarines torpedo three German ships. Destroyer Glowworm is sunk after reporting German fleet movements and ramming cruiser Hipper.

British minelayers arrive off Norway and are surprised by German navy preparing to invade Norway. In heavy fighting, the destroyer HMS Glowworm is sunk while ramming German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper.

The Polish submarine ‘Orzel’ sinks the German transport ship ‘Rio de Janeiro’ at 11:50.

1941 After a temporary lull, the Luftwaffe launches a heavy attack against Coventry.

The British ‘Northern Force’ captures Massawa, the last Italian stronghold in Eritrea. This removes any remaining threat to British convoys sailing through the Red Sea.

1942 A US delegation led by special presidential advisor Harry L. Hopkins and joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General George C. Marshall arrive in Britain to discuss US and British strategy on the Second Front. The proposal they brought from Roosevelt, was for major landings on the French coast in the summer of 1943, with Antwerp as the initial objective, and for a similar but smaller operation in 1942 to take advantage of a sudden German disintegration or to stave off an imminent Russian collapse.

The badly damaged cruiser HMS Penelope limps in to Gibraltar.

1944 The Russians reach the Slovakian border. The also continue their advance into Romania. The final Russian offensive to destroy the German 17th Army in Crimea begins.

1945 The 2nd Ukrainian front continues its advance into northern Czechoslovakia and establishes a bridgehead across the rivers Morava and Donau (East and Northeast of Vienna). Heavy fighting in the centre of Vienna. The Red Air Force drops 1,500 tons of bombs on Konigsberg.

British SAS Brigade paratroops into eastern Holland, to clear the way for Canadians troops who are moving North. The British Second Army reaches Hildesheim, while the US Seventh Army captures Pforzheim near the upper Rhine.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: December 1 WWII Today: January 19 WWII Today: October 3

Apr 07

World War II Today: April 7

1940 The RAF spots units of the Kriegsmarine steaming North towards Narvik and Trondheim loaded with troops and equipment.

1941 British war budget raises income tax.

Germans break towards Salonika.

Great Britain severs diplomatic relations with Hungary.

German troops capture Skopje in Macedonia forcing the Yugoslav forces to withdraw in the south of the country, which exposes the Greek flank. British promise allegiance to Yugoslavia.

Derna is captured by the 5th Light Afrika Division along with Generals Neame and O’Connor later in the day.

1942 The U.S. Treasury lends 40,000 tons of silver to Electric Generator plants to replace copper being used in conductors; the copper will be used for military production instead.

After 4 days of desperate fighting on Bataan, the Japanese have managed to penetrate 4 miles in to the US-Filipino lines, bringing General Wainwright’s forces to the brink of collapse.

1943 Hitler spends the better part of four days at Klessheim Castle near Salzburg (which has recently been refurbished as a Nazi Party conference center and spa) alternately browbeating and cajoling Mussolini to keep Italy in the war. Concerned by Mussolini’s evaporating morale, Hitler spends the rest of April summoning to Klessheim the leaders Vichy France, Norway, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Croatia for a series of pep talks. With the war’s tide clearly turning against the Axis, the Fuhrer has limited success.

Eighth Army joins up with the U.S. 2nd Corps in central Tunisia, while the British First Army makes progress in the North forming a solid line against the German army.

The Japanese air force begins a 10-day, round-the-clock bombing offensive against US shipping in the Solomon’s.

1944 Goebbels takes overall control of Berlin.

Two Jewish inmates escape from Auschwitz-Birkenau and make it safely to Czechoslovakia. One of them, Rudolf Vrba, submits a report to the Papal Nuncio in Slovakia which is forwarded to the Vatican.

1945 The U.S. First Army takes G0ttingen, 25 miles Northeast of Kassel. The US Ninth Army captures Hameln and Eisenach.

Army Group Centre under General Schorner continues with its attacks against the 2nd and 4th Ukrainian front.

In Yugoslavia, German Army Group E under General Lohr evacuates it remaining troops from Sarajevo.

The battle of East China Sea begins as U.S. aircraft from Task Force 58 sink the Japanese super-battleship Yamato in a three-hour battle, 60 miles to the Southeast of Japan. Japanese casualties are reported as 2,488 sailors killed, four destroyers sunk, 58 aircraft destroyed.

US Third Army finds Nazi art and gold stash in salt mine in Merkers worth $500 million.

B29s fly their first fighter-escorted mission against Japan with P-51 Mustangs based on Iwo Jima.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: December 18 WWII Today: October 10 WWII Today: January 18

Apr 06

World War II Today: April 6

1938 The United States recognizes Nazi Germany’s conquest of Austria.

1940 British Ministry of Food announces “Kitchen Front” campaign to save food.

Germany recalls all 1, 2, 5, and 10-pfennig coins to reclaim copper & bronze; will use zinc instead.

1941 German, Italian and Hungarian forces begin the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. The Luftwaffe carries out several devastating bombing raids against Belgrade and all but wipes out the Yugoslav air force on the ground.

The Luftwaffe launches an air attack against the Greek port of Piraeus from bases in Bulgaria. During the raid, the British ammunition ship Clan Fraser is hit and explodes in a massive fireball, wrecking the harbour and port facilities.

Australian forces capture Benghazi along with six senior Italian Generals. Italian forces make repeated attempts to break through the weak British blocking forces at Beda Fomm, but cannot.

Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel is appointed to command the German forces being sent to Africa.

Six Beaufort torpedo-bombers attack the German cruiser Gneisenau, anchored in Brest harbour. One, piloted by Fg Off Kenneth Campbell, makes a successful attack before being shot down, inflicting serious damage that took six months to repair. For this, Campbell was awarded a posthumous VC.

1942 Axis bombers attack the port of Alexandria in Egypt.

The Japanese make landings on Manus Island in the Bismarck Archipelago.

The Japanese air raid on Vizagapatam and Cocanada, India tips India into Allied camp.

First U.S. troops arrive in Australia.

Germany cuts rations of bread, meat, fats.

Due to heavy Luftwaffe raids, British begin to withdraw surface ships from Malta to Gibraltar and Alexandria.

700 Japanese-Americans are assembled at Santa Anita Racetrack.

1943 British and American forces in Tunisia launch an attack against the 5th Panzerarmee.

1945 Sarajevo falls into the hands of Yugoslav partisans.

Preceded by a tremendous artillery and air bombardment, the 3rd Belorussian Front with Four armies, 137,000 men, 530 tanks and 2,400 aircraft begin their final assault against Königsberg, which is held by 35,000 Germans troops. The Battle for Vienna begins.

Japanese launch air counterattack (‘Floating Chrysanthemum I’.) on the U.S. Fleet off Okinawa: 800 planes, including 355 kamikazes, strike US naval and ground forces; 400 shot down.

Yugoslav Partisans liberate Sarajevo.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: March 31 WWII Today: December 3 Words at War: Gunners Get the Glory

Apr 05

World War II Today: April 5

1940 British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, tells the British people that Hitler has ‘missed the bus’, meaning that a German invasion of the west is now unlikely to succeed.

Norway and Sweden are both informed of the allied intention to mine Norwegian waters.

RAF launch attacks against ships at Wilhelmshaven.

1942 Fuhrer Directive 41 rolls off the mimeograph machines in Rastenberg and the Wehrmacht has its marching orders for 1942. Leningrad is to finally be captured, but that’s a secondary objective. The big plan is in the South, which involves 2nd Army and 4th Panzer Army breaking through to Voronezh on the Don. The 6th Army will break out South of Kharkov and combine with the 4th Panzer Army to surround the enemy. After that, the 4th Panzer Army and 6th Army will drive East under the command of Army Group B and surround Stalingrad from the North, while Army Group A’s 17th Army and 1st Panzer Army will do so from the South. Once Stalingrad is taken, the 6th Army will hold the flank defense line while Army Group A drives South into the Caucasus to seize the oilfields and become the northern punch of a grand pincer movement (the southern half being Rommel) to seize Suez, the Nile Delta, the Middle-East and its oilfields.

One hundred and eighty Japanese planes from five aircraft carriers attack the Royal Navy’s base at Colombo in Ceylon. These came from Admiral Nagumo’s 1st Air Fleet under Admiral Kondo’s Southern Force which was tasked with destroying the Royal Navy’s Fleet in the Indian Ocean. However, the British received prior warning and sailed the bulk of their fleet to the Maldives, although the armed merchant cruiser Hector and destroyer Tenedos were sunk. Fifty-three Japanese carrier-aircraft did however locate and sink the Royal Navy’s heavy cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall, to the south east of Ceylon, in just 22 minutes.

1943 The British 8th Army attacks the next blocking position of the retreating Axis forces at Wadi Akarit.

1944 The RAF and USAAF conduct the first of 24 round-the-clock raids on the Ploiesti oil refineries in Romania.

A Jewish inmate, Siegfried Lederer, escapes from Auschwitz-Birkenau and makes it safely to Czechoslovakia. He then warns the Elders of the Council at Theresienstadt about Auschwitz.

1945 During a raid on Kiel by the U.S. 8th Air Force, severe damage is caused to the cruisers Hipper and Emden.

A U.S. military government is established on Okinawa.

The US 8th Air Force carries out another heavy attack (450 bombers) against Kiel.

The 3rd Ukrainian Front reaches the railway North West of Vienna, cutting rail link with Linz.

Eighteen U.S. divisions begin the clearance of Ruhr Pocket. The French First Army captures Karlsruhe on the upper Rhine.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: August 5 WWII Today: August 9 WWII Today: July 6

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 Society1941 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