Archive for the ‘January’ Category

Jan 31

World War II Today: January 31

1940 Sir John Simon announces food subsidies are running at £1,000,000 per week.

1941 The new recruits of the ‘Nordland’ Regiment give their oath to SS Reichsführer Himmler in Oslo.

The Italian garrison at Metemma in northern Abyssinia, having been under increasing pressure for the past 3 weeks, begins to withdraw towards Gondar, allowing the 9th Indian Brigade to occupy the town.

The Japanese intervene in the conflict between Vichy France and Thailand, imposing an armistice on the French, which they are powerless to refuse.

1942 SS Einsatzgruppe A reports a tally of 229,052 Jews killed.

British and Commonwealth forces complete their evacuation of Malaya and withdraw to Singapore Island across the causeway with the Japanese only 8 miles away. Singapore now has the equivalent of four divisions to defend it, but morale is low and there are serious shortages of weapons. An additional Indian Brigade is landed at Rangoon and sent to join the 17th Indian Division.

1943 RAF Bomber Command makes first operational use of H2S radar.

Vichy France creates the Milice (Militia), under the command of Joseph Darnand, an extreme right-wing World War 1 veteran, to combat the Resistance. The Milice effectively becomes an arm of the German Occupation and reaches a strength of more than 20,000 by mid-1944.

The exhausted troops of 6th Army’s southern pocket, having expended their last ammunition, surrender to the Red Army. The Russians capture Field Marshal Paulus and 16 generals.

Eighth Army takes Zuara, near the Tunisian frontier.

1944 The U.S. 34th Division crosses the Rapido.

US forces attack the Marshall Islands, landing on Kwajalein, Roi and Namur. Land fighting begins in the Dutch New Guinea.

1945 Private Eddie Slovik became the only U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion.

Pvt Eddie Slovik

Two of Zhukov’s armies establish a bridgehead on the Oder, to the North of Küstrin and less than 40 miles from Berlin.

U.S. planes sink the Japanese floating dock at Singapore.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 4 WWII Today: February 20 WWII Today: January 25

Jan 30

World War II Today: January 30

1933 Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany

1939 Hitler threatens Jews during Reichstag speech.

1941 Australian troops capture Derna as the Italians begin to withdraw towards Benghazi. The 1st South African Division launches a feint attack against Mega in southern Abyssinia, in order to prevent the Italians from sending troops to reinforce their hard pressed forces in Somaliland.

Hitler, speaking at the Berlin Sports Palace, reaffirms his prewar prophecy concerning the Jews; once again telling an audience that “the result of this war will be the complete annihilation of the Jews.”

The 4th Indian Division continues to withdraw along the coast road towards Derna.

The Japanese capture Moulmein and its airfield in Burma as the British forces evacuate and withdraw across the river Salween.

The British withdraw to Singapore Island with the Japanese only 8 miles away.

Japanese forces capture the important naval base of Amboina between Celebes and New Guinea.

US Army awards contract to Northrop to develop a night fighter. Resulting in the Northrop P-61C Black Widow.

1943 With the German Sixth Army in its death throes at Stalingrad, Hitler does the seemingly unthinkable and allows the 10th anniversary of the Nazi seizure of power to pass without speaking to the nation. It is the first unmistakable evidence of Hitler’s retreat from public appearances as the tide of the war turns.

Ernst Kaltenbrunner succeeds Heydrich as head of RSHA.

1944 The Russians attack towards Nikopol on the southern Dnieper.

A U.S. Ranger battalion is wiped out at Anzio.

British attacks on the ‘Golden Fortress’ in the Arakan, Burma cease.

1945 In the Baltic Sea, 7000 refugees drown when the Soviet submarine S-13 sinks the German liner Wilhelm Gustloff. The incident the largest single naval disaster in history.

On the twelfth anniversary of his coming to power, Hitler, calls for fanatical resistance by soldiers and civilians and predicts that “…in this struggle for survival it will not be inner Asia that will conquer, but the people that has defended Europe for centuries against the onslaughts from the East, the German nation…”

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 21 WWII Today: February 6 WWII Today: March 2

Jan 29

World War II Today: January 29

1940 The Soviet Union reopens negotiations with Finland through Sweden and indicates that it may withdraw its support for Otto Kuusinen’s puppet government should the Finns come to terms. The Finnish 9th Division launches an attack with the aim of destroying the Russian 54th Division in Kuhmo.

Luftwaffe attacks British shipping in Channel, sinking four ships.

1941  US and Britain begin secret joint discussions in Washington which will lead to ABC-1 Plan in case of America entering war against Germany.

1942 RAF Bomber Command mounts an attack to sink the Tirpitz, while she is at anchor in Trondheim. The raid is unsuccessful as the Tirpitz survives unscathed

German forces capture Benghazi, along with a large quantity of supplies.

Iran signs treaty of alliance with Britain and USSR, which promise to depart Iran 6 months after Axis defeat.

German troops under Gen. Erwin Rommel retake Benghazi, Libya from British.

1943 Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner is appointed the successor to Heydrich.

The Nazi party’s 10th Anniversary celebrations are disrupted by the RAF’s first low-level daylight Mosquito air attack on Berlin.

Nazis order all Gypsies arrested and sent to extermination camps.

Admiral Donitz takes over from Admiral Raeder as C-in-C of the German Navy.

Advance units of the Eighth Army cross the Tunisian frontier from Libya.

Japanese aircraft attack Wau airfield.

1944 The Luftwaffe bombs London, while 800 USAAF bombers drop 1,800 tons of bombs on Frankfurt am Main and Ludwigshafen. The RAF hit Berlin for the 14th time.

USS Missouri launched at New York Navy Yard, the US Navy’s last battleship.

1945 The allied thrust into Rhineland continues with the capture of Oberhausen, 10 miles Northeast of Duisberg. Quisling meets Hitler in Berlin for the last time.

US Eighth Army lands in Subic Bay, Luzon; takes San Marcelino airfields.

Seaman Leon LeRoy, returning home to Antioch, California to comfort his recently widowed mother, is bumped off his flight by the dog of Col. Elliott Roosevelt, son of the president.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 24 WWII Today: February 4 WWII Today: January 23

Jan 28

World War II Today: January 28

1932 The Japanese attack Shanghai, China, and declare martial law.

1940 King George of Britain announces court will not be held this year due to the war.

1941 French General Charles DeGaulle’s Free French forces sack south Libya oasis.

Thai bombers hit Sisophon, French Indochina, final combat in Franco-Thai war.

1942 Timoshenko’s offensive in the Ukraine slows down after a 60-mile thrust.

German forces recapture Benghazi.

US Navy pilot claims to sink U-boat, radios “Sighted sub—sank same,” but no U-boat was sunk, an honest error.

US Eighth Air Force activated in Savannah, Georgia under Brig. Gen. Asa Duncan; originally intended for North Africa but will serve in Britain.

US Naval Magazine at Port Chicago CA established as subcommand of Naval Ammunition Depot at Mare Island.

1943 The whole of the German workforce is mobilized for ‘total war’. All men aged 16-65 and women aged 17- 50 to be registered.

Japanese attempt final drive for Port Moresby, New Guinea.

US military begins accepting Nisei (Japanese-American) volunteers.

1944 To make clear their displeasure about ongoing assistance to the Nazi war effort by Francisco Franco’s Spain, the United States and Britain announce a total oil embargo of the country. With Spanish life grinding to a virtual standstill, Franco agrees finally to cease supplying the Germans with critical war materials and to withdraw the last Spanish troops fighting with the Germans in Russia. By May, the embargo is lifted.

The Red Army succeeds in encircling several German divisions in the area of Cherkassy.

Over Anzio, the US 99th Fighter Squadron (Tuskegee Airmen) in 16 P-40s shoots down 4 German Fw 190s—the previous day they shot down 8 Fw 190s.

1945 The Ardennes salient is finally eradicated.

The first convoy for three years reaches China through Burma.

Ledo-Burma Road reopens as first Allied convoy crosses into China; in the ceremony, Chiang Kai-shek renames it the Stilwell Road, in honor of General Joseph Stilwell.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 17 WWII Today: February 1 Words at War: Battle Hymn of China


Jan 27

World War II Today: January 27

1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt approves the sale of U.S. war planes to France.

1940 Hitler personally takes over planning for the invasion of Norway, ’Plan Weser’.

1941 The 7th Armoured Division captures Mechili. Meanwhile the Australians have bumped into strong Italian defences at Derna and so Wavell decides to halt further offensive action until reinforcements and supply can be brought up.

1942 German troops launch a feint attack from Msus, towards Mechili. This successfully deceives the British in to believing that the Germans will attempt cut the coast road far to the east of Benghazi and so they begin to hurriedly evacuate the 4th Indian Division from Benghazi along the coast road.

Japanese troops land at Pemangkat on the west coast of Dutch Borneo.

The Irish Premier, de Valera protests at the arrival of US troops in Ulster. President Roosevelt is said to be amazed by this.

First Japanese warship sunk by a U.S. submarine, when the USS Gudgeon sinks the IJN submarine I-173.

USS Gudgeon

1943 The USAAF makes its first raid on Germany with a force of B-17’s and B-24’s hitting Emden and Wilhelmshaven in daylight.

1944 The thirteenth heavy raid on Berlin inflicts an estimated 6,000 dead.

The Germans counter-attack the French at Cassino.

Leningraders are told that the blockade has been lifted after 900 days. The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front launches an offensive against Luzk and Rovno. Hitler lectures all his eastern front army commanders on National Socialism as the Russians cut off 60,000 men in Korsun Pocket, 100 miles to the southeast of Kiev. Army Group North’s commander, Von Küchler orders the eighteenth army to pull back to the river Luga.

1945 Russians troops capture Memel on Baltic Coast after the German evacuation, which now leaves the whole of Lithuania in Russian hands. German forces begin evacuating the vital coal mining and industrial region of Upper Silesia.

Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz. By this time, an estimated 2,000,000 persons, including 1,500,000 Jews, have been murdered there.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 12 WWII Today: January 8 WWII Today: February 9 J.R.R. Tolkien Quote

Jan 26

World War II Today: January 26

1940 US-Japan Trade Treaty of 1911 lapses—US refuses to negotiate while Japanese troops are in China.

Brooms in Britain to be made with square handles to save timber.

1941 The Italians evacuate Mechiliduring the night.

1942 The US-Filipino withdrawal to the Bagac-Orion line is successfully completed. The Japanese quickly followed up the withdrawal and made several penetrations in to the defensive new line, although these were all contained and thrown back.

First US Army troops arrive in Britain: Convoy AT-10 carrying the 34th Infantry Division arrives in Belfast to relieve British troops.

WWII First troops of the American Expeditionary Force lands in Northern Ireland.

1943 The Stalingrad pocket is split in two. Voronezh is captured.

The Eighth Army takes Zaula in Libya, less than 100 miles from Tunisian frontier.

1944 The British launch their main attack on the Japanese ‘Golden Fortress’ in the Arakan, Burma.

Landing ship LST-422 damaged by a mine off Anzio; of 700 aboard, 454 US soldiers & 29 British sailors killed.

Allied ships are ordered to withdraw from the Anzio beachhead to reduce risk from air raid.

Argentina severs relations with Germany & Japan after a vast Axis spy ring is uncovered in the country.

1945 Himmler is put in command of Army Group Vistula by Hitler. The Russians isolate three German armies in East Prussia. The Red Army captures Kattowitz in Upper Silesia. Auschwitz concentration camp is captured by the Russians, but they find fewer than 3,000 survivors as the SS has moved most of the remaining prisoners to camps inside Germany.

Soviets reach the Prussian coast at Elbing, cutting East Prussia off from Germany.

Sandakan Death March begins: Japanese march 470 Indonesian civilians and Australian POWs across North Borneo, only 6 will survive war.

Lt. Audie Murphy is awarded the Medal of Honor.

Lt. Audie Murphy is awarded the Medal of Honor.

Audie Murphy Reproduction Dog Tags

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 6 WWII Today: December 10 WWII Today: November 23

Jan 25

World War II Today: January 25

1940 Nazis choose the town of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) in Poland near Krakow as site of new concentration camp.

Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King dissolves Parliament; new elections to be held.

US auxiliary ship Bear reaches deepest penetration by any ship yet into Antarctica.

1942 Thailand declares war on Britain and the US.

Japanese troops begin landing at Lae in New Guinea.

Australia begins full mobilization of all assets at its disposal.

The US enquiry in to the disaster at Pearl Harbor finds Admiral Kimmel, then the C-in-C of the US Fleet, guilty of dereliction of duty. A court martial is announced later.

German troops capture Msus, which threatens the 4th Indian Divisions position at Benghazi. Lieutenant General Ritchie, orders the 4th Indian Division to withdraw to a line running from Derna to Mechili, but this order is countermanded by General Auchinleck who wanted the 8th Army to counter-attack. However, the 8th Army was to widely dispersed and Rommel’s forces were advancing to quickly.

1943 Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt end the Casablanca Conference with their announcement of the demand for the unconditional surrender of Germany and Italy.

The Red Army succeeds in splitting the remnants of 6th Army into a northern and a southern pocket. German forces evacuate Armavir and Voronezh.

Stalin’s Order of the day says that the Red Army has routed 102 German divisions in the last two months.

The Pentagon opens—the largest office building in the world. 

Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis is published.

1944 Night-fighter ace, Major Prinz zu SaynWittgenstein who claimed 83 victories is killed.

Diary entry by Hans Frank, Gauleiter of Poland, concerning the fate of 2.5 million Jews originally under his jurisdiction – “At the present time we still have in the General Government perhaps 100,000 Jews.”

Australian advances in New Guinea are announced, with the Japanese cleared from the ‘Shaggy Line’.

Japanese destroyer Suzukaze was torpedoed and sunk northwest of Ponape by the American submarine Skipjack.

1945 Zhukov cuts off the Fortress city of Posen which holds 66,000 Germans and continues his 50-mile a day advance.

The Battle of The Bulge ends.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 8 WWII Today: February 9 Words at War: Fair Stood the Wind for France

Jan 24

World War II Today: January 24

1940 Chinese take Dongyangyuan Pass, Shanxi Province, China in war with Japan.

1941 General Cunningham’s ‘Southern Force’ invades Italian Somaliland from Garissa and Bura in Kenya.

1942 More reinforcements arrive at Singapore to boost its defenses as the British 18th Division is landed.

Japanese troops land at Balikpapan in Dutch Borneo.

Four US destroyers and some submarines attack a Japanese convoy in theMakassar Strait between Borneo and Celebes, sinking 1 destroyer and four transports, while only suffering damage to one of their destroyers. This action delays the impending Japanese invasion of Java.

US Flying Tigers P-40s shoot down 12 planes over Rangoon, Burma.

German troops of Army Group Centre, recapture Sukhinichi near Kaluga.

1943 Russians take Starobelskiy, near the Donets River in the eastern Ukraine, more than 250 miles to the West of Stalingrad. Hitler orders no surrender in Stalingrad. The offensive by the Soviet Trans-Caucasian Front toward the Kuban bridgehead is stopped at Novorossiysk and Krasnodar.

Fighting in Papua is officially reported as over.

1944 In response to political pressure to help Jews under Nazi control, Roosevelt creates the War Refugee Board.

Chinese forces make further advances in the Hukawng Valley.

German bombers sink British hospital ship St. David off Anzio with Hs-293 guided missile; 96 killed, including 2 British nurses.

The US 93rdEvacuation Hospital opens in Anzio and is hit by German shells, injuring a sergeant, the first of many casualties in the Anzio hospitals.

1945 U.S. troops capture Clark Field, the main Japanese airbase on Luzon.

The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm carrier planes destroy the Japanese oil refinery near Palembang, on Sumatra.

German forces begin evacuating Slovakia.

The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Oppeln and Gleiwitz in Upper Silesia.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: April 2 WWII Today: March 18 WWII Today: January 13

Jan 23

World War II Today: January 23

1940 Britain and France say they will not honor 200-mile Pan-American neutrality zone and will attack German ships there.

Animals in Berlin Zoo placed on war rations—less meat, no bananas or peanuts.

1941 Before Congress, Charles Lindbergh suggests the US negotiate a neutrality pact with Hitler.

HMS Illustrious, heavily damaged, leaves Malta for repairs in Alexandria.

1942 Japanese land at crucial British naval and air base of Rabaul, New Britain and take it.

Japanese land at Kavieng, New Ireland and Kieta, Bougainville, and secure both.

Lt. Gen. Joseph Stilwell placed in command of US Army forces in China-Burma-India Theater.

Australia sends an urgent request for assistance from the Allies after a series of conquests in the Southwest Pacific brings the Japanese within a thousand miles of Australian territory.


1943 British take Tripoli, Libya. US takes last Japanese landing beach on Guadalcanal, cutting their supply route.

Japanese continue their fight in western Guadalcanal; they now seem to have given up completely on the New Guinea campaign.

The first Japanese attack on the U.S. mainland as a submarine shells an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California.

1944 Australians secure Shaggy Ridge in Finisterre Mountains, New Guinea, securing Huon Peninsula.

Off the Anzio landing beaches, the Luftwaffe sinks British destroyer HMS Janus, 159 killed.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier-based planes attack the Mariana Islands.

1945 US Ninth Army retakes St. Vith in Belgium from Germans.

Nazis execute Count Helmuth von Moltke, leader of the German Kreisau Circle resistance group.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: November 10 WWII Today: February 18 WWII Today: August 11

Jan 22

World War II Today: January 22

1940 Destroyer Exmouth torpedoed off Wick, Scotland by U-22; all hands killed.

British Ministry of Information begins censoring newsreels.

1941 The Destroyer HMS Hyperion sunk by mine off Cape Bon.

Tobruk surrenders to British and Australian troops who capture 25,000 Italians, along with 208 guns and 87 tanks. Combined British and Australian losses were about 450. The British government now orders Wavell’s XIII Corps to capture Benghazi.


Rommel’s command is redesignated as Panzer Army Afrika. German panzers capture Agedabia and trap part of the British 1st Armored Division in the Antelat – Sannu area, destroying about 70 of its tanks.

General MacArthur orders the withdrawal of US and Filipino troops to the Bagac-Orion line, which is the final defensive position in Bataan. After dark the Japanese make two Battalion sized landings at Quinauan Point and Longoskawayan Point to the rear of the US-Filipino positions in Bataan. However, U.S. and Filipino reserves successfully contain these beachheads.

1943 Japanese forces are routed at Sanananda, putting paid to their resistance in Papua. On Guadalcanal, the Americans make important gains in the battle round Henderson field.

1944 The Battle of Anzio begins with an Allied amphibious landing in the region of Anzio and Nettuno, with the objective of outflanking German forces at the Winter Line and setting up a drive on Rome.

The Battle of Rapido River ends in German defensive victory.

Walter Model replaces Georg von Küchler as commander of Army Group North.

1945 The land route from India to China through Burma is declared free of Japanese and now open to convoys.

The Red Army captures Insterburg and Allenstein in East Prussia.

Four squadrons of RAF Spitfires destroy a factory in Alblasserdam that manufactured liquid oxygen for German rockets.

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