Archive for the ‘August’ Category

Aug 24

World War II Today: August 24

1940 USS Constitution named symbolic flagship of US Fleet at Boston.

Medical journalLancet publishes first study by Howard Florey and Ernest Chain about penicillin.

The Luftwaffe begins a new phase in its offensive by sending over a higher proportion of fighters to bombers, in an effort to keep losses down.

The unofficial start of the Blitz on London begins with a lost formation of German bombers mistakenly dropping their bombs over the capital, damaging St. Giles and Cripplegate.

The German battleship Bismarck is commissioned.

1941 Russians counter-attack in the Gomel sector. Heavy Romanian losses around Odessa.

Churchill broadcasts and warns Japan that its aggression must stop.

The U.S. government declares the cosmetics industry nonessential, and the metal and plastic used for lipstick containers and compacts are earmarked for military use.

1942 The Russians launch a new offensive in Leningrad area. Stalin orders that the city of Stalingrad is to be held at all costs and sends Marshal Zhukov to supervise its defense.

Battle joined in the Eastern Solomons with the Japanese trying to land reinforcements on Guadalcanal. US forces beat off the Japanese Combined Fleet sinking the carrier Ryujo, but suffering damage to the carrier Enterprise.

1943 A blanket of smoke covers Berlin to a height of 20,000ft. The first estimates put German dead at 5,860 after the over night raid.

Himmler, becomes the Minister of the Interior.

1944 The Germans stage comeback in Paris, with fierce fighting reported. Bordeaux is evacuated by German troops who occupy fortified bunker positions on the Gironde west of the city.

Malinovsky and Tolbuklin link up to encircle 20 divisions of the German 6th and 8th Army’s in the area of Kishinevin in Romania.

1945 The Japanese news agency says that all Japanese troops are to be out of the U.S. landing area by tomorrow.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 26 WWII Today: August 21 WWII Today: June 25

Aug 23

World War II Today: August 23

1939 Joseph Stalin and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop sign a non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany, freeing Hitler to invade Poland and Stalin to invade Finland.

1940 RAF cuts pilot training period from 1 month to 2 weeks.

1942 Hitlers orders that Leningrad should finally be captured after a siege which has last a year. The Luftwaffe begins a 48 hours long air raid on Stalingrad, that involves over 4,000 sorties into the city. The city erupts into a sea of flames along its 40 km length as oil storage tanks pour their flaming contents into the Volga. Thousands of civilians perish in the flames. The 6th Army punches a hole in Soviet 62nd Army’s defense’s as the 14th Panzer Corps crosses the Don River at Vertyachiy and reaches the Volga at Rynok, north of Stalingrad. An 8 km wide gap is torn between Vertyachiy and Peskovatka that allows the 6th Army to reach Volga. Hoths 4th Panzer Army is held up by stiff Red Army resistance south of Stalingrad at Tinguta. The Germans make further progress on the Kuban peninsula on the Black Sea. A platoon of 1st Gebirgsjäger Division hoists the Swastika flag on the top of Mt. Elbrus, the highest peak in the Caucasus. This marks the ‘high water’ mark in the German attempts to secure the Black Sea coastline. Matters for Army Group A were not helped by the increased priority given to Army Group B in its fight for Stalingrad.

1943 The heaviest raid to date on Berlin, when 727 RAF bombers drop more than 1,700 tons of bombs on the City.

The Soviet Steppe Front, occupies Kharkov, while the 5th Guards Tank Army beats off the consequent German counter-attack.

1944 German SS engineers begin placing explosive charges around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

U.S. armor is now at Melun, 35 miles Southeast of Paris. U.S. and Free French forces meet outside Bordeaux.

A Liberator bomber crashes in a storm on a school near Preston in England, killing 38 children and 22 adults.

King Michael I of Romania dismisses Marshall Antonescu, his head of state and brings his country over to the Soviet side.

U.S. destroyer and smaller naval vessels start a bombardment, repeated daily for 4 days, on Japanese installations and positions on Aguijan Island, Northern Mariana Islands.

1945 The Japanese in Burma say they are now ready to surrender having ‘clarified the position’.

The Japanese official casualty figures from air raids including A-bombs are 260,000 killed, 412,000 injured, 9.2 million homeless, along with 44 cities being completely wiped out.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 9 WWII Today: August 10 WWII Today: September 20

Aug 22

World War II Today: August 22

1940 Churchill dispatches a heavily armed convoy with 150 tanks to reinforce the middle east.

The first cross-Channel artillery duel—Germans bombard Dover and British reply.

1942 Brazil declares war on Germany and Italy after 16 ships lost to German U-boats, opening airbases to cover Allied shipping and opening the South Atlantic air route; Brazil will be the only South American country to send troops to fight overseas—Brazilian troops will serve with distinction in Italy.

The Admiralty announces the loss of the famous submarine Upholder.

The advance of 17th Army toward the Black Sea port of Suchumi west of the Caucasus bogs down.

Germans reach northern suburbs of Stalingrad.

1943 The Germans evacuate Kharkov.

German Tenth Army activated in southern Italy under General Heinrich von Vietinghoff.

In the Mediterranean, all fighter groups and medium bomb groups in US Ninth Air Force transferred to Twelfth Air Force (Ninth Air Force is to transfer to England).

1944 The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm begins four days of attacks on the German Battleship Tirpitz and other shipping in the Alten Fjord, Norway.

The Red Army captures Jassy on the Prut river in the southern Ukraine.

French resistance controls all public buildings in Paris.

US flight nurses arrive in southern France and begin air evacuation of casualties to Italy.

1945 U.S. War Office estimates that there are a quarter of a million POW’s and civilian internees in Japanese hands at present.

Soviet troops land at Port Arthur and Dairen on the Kwantung Peninsula in China.

MacArthur says the surrender will be signed in the Tokyo area on the 31st August.

In Manchuria, Japanese surrender to Soviets, and the Soviets seize Port Arthur.

Japanese forces at Mille Atoll, Marshalls surrender aboard destroyer escort USS Levy, the first voluntary handover of an island.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 16 WWII Today: December 14 Admiral Yamamoto Quote

Aug 21

World War II Today: August 21

1940 Commons allows nationalist forces of Poland, Norway, Belgium, Holland, France and Czechoslovakia to train in Britain under their own flags.

Leon Trotsky is assassinated by a Stalinist agent while in exile in Mexico City.

1941 French resistance member Pierre “Fabien” Georges commits the first violent act of resistance against the Germans in Paris when he assassinates a German naval cadet in the Barches-Rochechouart Metro station. More than 150 Parisians would be shot by the Germans in reprisal.

First Arctic convoy leaves Iceland for Russia.

Marshal Voroshilov tells the people of Leningrad to defend their city to the last. Hitler orders the investment, not capture, of Leningrad, and the transfer of several divisions from the North and Centre to capture the Crimea and the Donets basin, an industrial region vital to the Soviet war effort.

1942 Roosevelt says the perpetrators of barbarism in occupied countries ‘will have to stand in courts of law, in the very countries which they are now oppressing and answer for their acts’.

Japanese attack on Guadalcanal at the Ilu (Tenaru) River, but are soundly defeated by US Marines.

In Hartford, CT, five German spies are convicted of espionage, including Gerhard Kunze, the former leader of the German-American Bund (a Nazi group).

1943 The Labour Party wins the Australian elections.

1944 Representatives from the U.K., U.S. and USSR meet at Dumbarton Oaks in the U.S.A, to discuss post-war international security.

The French First Army surrounds Toulon. The U.S. Third Army reaches Troyes and Reims.

The German Sixth Army is separated from the Romanian 3rd Army on Black Sea coast. Colonel General Friessner orders all German units to withdraw as the Romanians fail to fight and change sides. The Germans, with naval support, open a coastal corridor 10 to 12 miles wide to Army Group North, but Hitler refuses to order the evacuation of Baltic States.

1945 President Harry S. Truman ended the Lend-Lease program that had shipped some $50 billion in aid to America’s allies during World War II.

As the Red Army now hold much of Manchuria, the Japanese Kwantung Army surrenders formally to Major General Shelakor at Harbin.

The Japanese announce that the first U.S. landings will be on the 26th August. A non-fraternization rule with the Japanese is to be enforced by the U.S.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 16 WWII Today: September 9 WWII Today: March 19

Aug 20

World War II Today: August 20

1940 Churchill reviews the progress of air war in Commons and says ‘Never in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many, to so few’.

The Luftwaffe withdraws the Ju-87 Stuka dive bomber from strategic operations against England after losing 20 per cent of their Stuka force to the RAF.

Mao Tse-Tung launches ‘100 regiments’ guerrilla offensive against the Japanese in China.

1941 Adolf Hitler authorizes the development of the V-2 missile.

German 11th Army captures Kherson on the Black Sea and opens the gate to the Crimea. German 11th Army captures Kherson on the Black Sea and opens the gate to the Crimea.

1942 The Russians counter-attack to the north of Stalingrad, but elsewhere German troops reach the Volga. The German 48th Panzer Corps, attacks northeast from Abganerovo, but can not break clear of the Russian defences in the hills of Tundutovo. On their northern flank, 4th Corps is also facing resolute Russian resistance.

31 U.S. aircraft touchdown on the newly completed Henderson Field airstrip on Guadalcanal to help the Marines fighting over the control of the island.

1944 The allies seal the Falaise gap, with blocking forces taking 4,000 prisoners. However, the Germans in the Falaise pocket break out along a single road and stream out of the pocket for six hours before the pocket is resealed. The Allies estimate that 10,000 Germans have died in the pocket and 50,000 prisoners taken. Although one German division (77th Infantry Division) is annihilated, 26 extremely weak divisions do escape the pocket. The U.S. 79th Division reaches the west bank of the Seine above Paris. Free French forces rise in Paris, while de Gaulle is reported in France.

The Russians launch an offensive into Romania with 900,000 men (96 divisions), 1,400 tanks and 1,700 aircraft. Advances up to 12 miles are reported as the Russian plan to surround 23 German divisions (360,000 men) takes shape.

1945 Further negotiations in Manila. The Japanese leave at 1pm. MacArthur says that U.S. troops will land on the Japanese mainland within 10 days of signing the surrender.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 28 WWII Today: April 15 WWII Today: May 8

Aug 19

World War II Today: August 19

1940 Whole of Britain declared a defense area.

Bad weather and a reorganization of fighter strength by the Luftwaffe causes a lull in operations.

Mussolini orders Marshal Graziani to invade Egypt. Italian troops enter the Port of Berbera, the capital of British Somaliland, where they are welcomed by strafing RAF Blenheims. British transport 5,300-5,700 combat troops and 1,000 civilians to Aden, Yemen. August 5-19, British ground losses were 38 KIA, 102 wounded and 120 missing. RAF flew 184 sorties, dropped 60 tons of bombs, lost 7 aircraft destroyed and 10 badly damaged, lost 12 aircrew KIA and 3 wounded. Italian losses were 465 KIA, 1530 wounded and 34 missing.

1941 German submarines sink a Norwegian and 3 British ships from the Convoy OG-71 of 22 ships and 9 escorts in the Atlantic Ocean.

South of Lake Illmen, the Soviet 38th Army is close to outflanking the German 10th Corps, but the German 56th Panzer Corps counterattacks the Soviets and rolls through their positions.

A brigade of the 9th Australian Division which is besieged at Tobruk is relieved by sea, as Polish reinforcements arrive.

1942 Operation ‘Jubilee’, some 6,100 British and Canadian troops conduct a raid-in-force against the port of Dieppe, which ends in disaster. In less than 10 hours of battle, the British and Canadian forces lose 1,380 KIA, 1,600 wounded, 2,000 made prisoner. The RAF loses 107 aircraft and the Royal Navy lose a destroyer. Germans loses are 345 dead or missing and 268 wounded, with total Luftwaffe losses being just 40 aircraft. Civilian casualties are put at 48 dead and 100 wounded.

General Paulus’s 6th Army begins an attack to take Stalingrad itself, although he had still not been joined by Hoth’s 4th Panzer Army.

Auchinleck announces the capture of 10,000 Axis troops in last two months of fighting in North Africa.

Japanese send 4 transport ships with an close escort of a cruiser and 4 destroyers to strengthen their land forces on Guadalcanal, Solomon Is. Movement is covered by 3 carriers, 2 battleships, 5 cruisers and 17 destroyers.

1943 Luftwaffe Chief of Staff, Colonel General Jesehonnek shoots himself.

Russian troops breach the German defense line on the Mius river.

1944 In an effort to prevent a communist uprising in Paris, Charles DeGualle begins attacking German forces all around the city.

The Falaise pocket is now just seven miles by six. The Germans forces are ordered to break out during the night across the Dives. Patton’s armor reaches the Seine at Nantes and makes the first crossing 30 miles North West of Paris. The Germans are granted a truce in Paris to withdraw troops. (WATCH BRITISH NEWSREEL)

1945 The Japanese forces in South China surrender to the Chinese 1st Army in Canton. The Russian Far Eastern Army captures Harbin and Mukden in Manchuria.

16 Japanese surrender envoys arrive on Ie and are taken to Manila for a 5 and a half hour discussion with MacArthur and his staff. Japanese troops on Java receive the cease-fire order.

Check out these other WWII Post: WWII Today: August 23 WWII Today: August 24 WWII Today: July 28

Aug 18

World War II Today: August 18

1940 Further heavy raids by Luftwaffe on southeast England and southern London. Major damage is done to RAF airfields and fighter commands control system. British claim 144 Germans shot down, later revised to 67 with RAF losses of 33 planes lost but eight pilots safe.

The last of the British rearguard in British Somaliland slip away in darkness, race into Berbera and embark on the morning. British bombers attack Italian units at Laferug and the airfield at Addis Abeba.

Italian aircraft attack Berbera, but there are no more military targets.

Walter P. Chrysler, founder of Chrysler Corporation, dies at age 65.

German-American Bund (Nazi) and Ku Klux Klan hold anti-war rally in New Jersey.

1941 Russians withdraw across the Dnieper River, allowing the 1st Panzer Group to establish a bridgehead across the river at Zaporozhe, in the Ukraine.

President Roosevelt signs extension of Selective Service Act, extending draftees’ service from 12 to 30 months.

Radio Belgrade plays obscure recording of “Lili Marleen” by Lale Andersen, which becomes an instant hit with German troops in North Africa.

John Gillespie Magee Jr., an American serving in the RCAF (age 19) writes his famous poem “High Flight.”

1942 Alexander replaces Auchinleck as C-in-C of the Middle East. Montgomery’s appointment officially announced.

Japan sends a crack army to Guadalcanal to repulse the U.S. Marines fighting there.

1943 Portugal, invoking her 1373 alliance with Great Britain, agrees to allow Allied forces the use of the Azores Islands for naval and air bases.

A U.S. cruiser and destroyer force shells Gioia, Taura and Palmi on the coast of Italy.

1944 Allied air forces fly 3,057 sorties against the Falaise pocket.

The German Seventh Army moves across the Orme but 18,000 prisoners are taken. The Germans begin the evacuations of their troops stationed near the Spanish border and the Gulf of Biscay.

The Red Army recaptures Sandomir in Galicia.

A Japanese escort carrier is sunk by a U.S. submarine off northwestern Luzon, Philippine Is. A Japanese cruiser is sunk by a U.S. submarine east of Samar, Philippine Islands.

1945 In last air conflict of war, US reconnaissance planes are attacked by flak and fighters over Tokyo, 1 killed (photographer Sgt. Anthony Marchione), the last American killed in the war, 2 Japanese fighters are shot down.

US begins parachuting medical teams into Japanese POW camps.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 22 WWII Today: July 14 WWII Today: July 24

Aug 17

World War II Today: August 17

1940 Hitler announces that a total maritime blockade is to be placed around Britain, with any neutral ships transporting cargo to Britain to be sunk without warning.

Axis financial meeting decides Berlin will replace London as European financial centre after victory.

Duke of Windsor sworn in as governor-general of Bermuda.

British warships bombard Italian ports in Libya. The 5th Indian Division is deployed to the defense of Sudan.

1941 Army Group North in its drive toward Leningrad captures Narva.

The Romanians seal off and begin a siege of the Black Sea port of Odessa.

Sinking of the US-Panama freighter Sessa.

The USA reply’s to Admiral Nomura’s proposals of the 6th August, rejecting any high level meeting until the present differences between Japan and the USA have been resolved.

1942 US Eighth Air Force flies first official bombing mission: 12 B-17s of 97th Bomb Group hit marshalling yards in Rouen, France.

US Marine Raiders “Carlson’s Raiders” made up of 221 Marines conduct two-day raid on Makin in the Gilbert Islands to destroy a radio station; first amphibious landing from subs.

The Germans claim to have reached the Don, less than 100 miles from Stalingrad. Fighting starts in foothills of the Caucasus.

1943 The first Quebec summit opens with the allied plans for the invasion of France being approved by Roosevelt and Churchill.

597 RAF bombers attack Peenemunde on the Baltic coast, the birthplace of the ‘V’ weapons. 376 B-17’s and B-24’s of the US 8th Air Force carry out double raids against the ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt and the Messerschmitt fighter works at Regensburg, losing 80 aircraft in the process.

German and Italian forces successfully evacuate Sicily across the Strait of Messina, with little interference by the Allies. This allows Montgomery and Patton enter Messina. The whole of Sicily is now in allied hands. The shelling of the Italian mainland from Messina begins.

Heavy US air attacks on the Japanese airfields at Wewak on the North coast of New Guinea, with 215 Japanese planes destroyed for loss of just six USAAF aircraft.

In New Guinea, a Japanese plane is hit during a raid and crashes into a church. The chaplain is killed and several soldiers attending the service are injured.

1944 The remnants of the Vichy French regime in the French capital take flight for Germany as the Resistance comes out into the open and seizes strong points throughout the city. They establish a comic-opera “government-in-exile” in the German city of Sigmaringen until the end of the war. The Citadel at St. Malo surrenders after heavy fighting. Falaise falls to the Canadians and Monty orders the pocket to be sealed. U.S. armor frees Chartres, Orleans and Chateaudun. Field Marshal Model takes over command of German forces in the West from Field Marshal von Kluge who committed suicide because of his involvement in the 20th July bomb plot. Marshal Petain and his staff are interned at Belfort by order of the Fuhrer. The Vichy French government under Premier Laval resigns.

The mayor of Paris, Pierre Charles Tattinger, meets with the German commander Dietrich von Choltitz to protest the explosives being deployed throughout the city.

The Russians reach the East Prussian/Lithuanian border.

1945 U-977 arrives in River Plate estuary and surrenders. The 600-ton U-boat left Kiel on the 13th April.

Three of the Emperor’s family are dispatched to China to carry the news of cease-fire to Japanese troops still fighting there.

Upon hearing confirmation that Japan has surrendered, Sukarno proclaims Indonesia’s independence.

The country of Korea is divided between the United States and the Soviet Union.The Soviets will control everything north of the thirty-eighth parallel, while the United States will oversee the southern portion.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 2 WWII Today: January 25 President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Speech

Aug 16

World War II Today: August 16

1940 Test platoon of 48 volunteers from 29thInfantry Regiment makes first US Army parachute jump from an aircraft.

Luftwaffe again raids southern England.

Death of Hector Bywater, author of 1925 Great Pacific War.

1941 Stalin acknowledges UK and US aid plan and agrees to the ‘apportionment of our joint resources’.

Anglo-Soviet exchange agreement signed. 56th Panzer Korps of Panzer Group 4 takes Novgorod on the road to Leningrad. German and Romanian forces of Army Group South captures Nikolaev, an important Soviet naval base on the Black Sea.

1943 U.S. troops enter Messina in North eastern Sicily in a final push to clear the island. Axis evacuation of 100,000 troops has been completed.

The Red Army launches an offensive against the Mius line toward Stalino.

The Bialystok Ghetto is liquidated.

1944 Radio Paris, the German-controlled collaborationist radio station, goes off the air. General de Lattre de Tassigny’s French First Army begins to land in force in southern France. Hitler orders the withdrawal of all German forces in southern France. The French Resistance steps up its attacks on German posts along the Swiss border, assaulting Machilly, Saint-Julien and Valleiry. The first two surrender with minimal bloodshed, but the 20 German customs officers at Valleiry are shot out of hand by resistants following their surrender, along with two French women who were with them. A German relief column arrives too late, shooting seven civilians and burning 20 houses in retaliation.

US Eighth Air Force suffers first attack by Luftwaffe jet fighters (Me 163s), has first loss to a jet, and also destroys a German jet for first time.

Organized Japanese resistance ends on Burma-India border.

1945 Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese on Corregidor on May 6, 1942, is released from a POW camp in Manchuria by U.S. troops.

Japanese parliament resigns.

Soviets land on Sakhalin Island.

Churchill first uses term “iron curtain” in speech to House of Commons: “the iron curtain which at the moment divides Europe in twain.”

Checkout these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July7 WWII Today: July 29 WWII Today: December 14 Lockheed P-38

Aug 14

World War II Today: August 14

1940 Air activity less pronounced, but Germans attack Southampton and Hastings; reported losses Germans 31, RAF 7.

Ministry of Home Security announces that parachutes had been found in Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Scotland, but no evidence of Germans discovered.

As Italians advance in British Somaliland, British evacuate Berbera, the capital.

A plane crash in Canberra, Australia kills top Army officers and government ministers, leading to fall of Menzies government.

1941 Roosevelt and Churchill sign the Atlantic Charter declaring general principles for a free post-war world.

President Roosevelt announces US will not allow U-boats to attack British shipping in western hemisphere.

Franciscan priest Maximilian Kolbe volunteers to be executed in place of a condemned man at Auschwitz; he will be canonized.

74% of Americans still oppose war.

1942 German forces cross the upper Kuban river at Krasnodar in the Caucasus.

Dwight D. Eisenhower is named the Anglo-American commander for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa.

1943 The Eighth Army is now only 29 miles from Messina. Italy declares Rome to be an open city by Italians.

The U.S. government sets aside 10 million barrels of beer, a sixth of the the nation’s production, for use

by the military. This gives the armed services enough beer for each soldier to have a bottle a day, except on Sunday.

1944 Roosevelt and Churchill meet at Quebec where they initial the Morgenthau Plan that calls for the division of post-war Germany and its transformation into a purely agricultural country.

Monty launches Operation ‘Tractable’ towards Falaise with a carpet bombing by 800 planes.

The Russians begin an offensive from their Vistula bridgeheads, 100 miles to the South of Warsaw.

1945 Chiang Kai-shek’s representatives sign a treaty of alliance with the Russians.

USAAF B29’s launch the last air raid of the war against Kumagaya.

Japanese military coup and assassination attempt on Emperor Hirohito fails, and Hirohito signs acceptance of unconditional surrender.

The US government orders resumption of civilian car manufacturing.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: June 30 Words at War Episode 27 “Mother America” WWII Today: August 13