Archive for the ‘January’ Category

Jan 21

World War II Today: January 21

1940 Admiralty announce sinking of the Grenville, 8 dead, 73 missing, presumed dead.

The Russian 8th Army launches an attack against the Finnish forces of Group Talvela, without success. The Finnish 9th Division is transferred from Suomussalmi to Kuhmo.

1941 Communist newspaper, The Daily Worker is suppressed in Britain.

The US informs the Soviet Union that the “moral embargo” imposed on it after its 1939 attack on Finland no longer applies.

British and Australian forces breach the defenses at Tobruk.

1942 The Luftwaffe, with 400 aircraft available, begins a series of raids against London and ports in southern England.

Without consulting higher authority, Rommel launches a counter-offensive against the 8th Army. The 21st Panzer Division quickly seizes Mersa Brega, while the 15th Panzer Division advances to Wadi Faregh and swings north towards Agedabia, brushing aside the attempts by the 1st Armoured Division to stop them.

General Joseph W. Stillwell is appointed as Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek.

First Japanese bombing of New Guinea.

1943 The Combined Chiefs of Staff issue the Casablanca Directive. Its principal aim was to weld RAF and USAAF strategic bomber forces into one mighty air arm able to crush the German industrial, military and economic system. It was also decided that to defer the cross-channel invasion until 1944.

The Russians claim the capture of the Caucasian railway town of Voroshilovskiy and say that 500,000 Germans have been killed and 200,000 captured in the last two months of fighting.

1944 The largest Luftwaffe raid on Britain for some time, with 90 planes being spotted over Southeast England during the ‘Little Blitz’. Mosquito night-fighters equipped with radar account for 129 of the 329 aircraft shot down during the 5 month Little Blitz.

The RAF sends 648 bombers to Magdeburg, but loses 55 for just 4 Luftwaffe fighters.

1945 Tannenburg is taken by Red Army, but only after the Germans blow up the memorial.

British forces enter Monywa, 60 miles to the West of Mandalay.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: December 15 WWII Today: June 17 WWII Today: April 4

Jan 20

World War II Today: January 20

1939 Adolf Hitler dismissed Hjalmar Schacht as President of the Reichsbank and appointed Walther Funk to replace him.

1940 Britain and France agree to send troops and supplies to aid Finland, but they do not arrive in time.

1941 Compulsory fire watching duty introduced in Great Britain.

With Hitler’s tacit support, Marshal Antonescu suppresses a rebellion by the Iron Guard in Romania.

Emperor Haile Selassie crosses the Abyssinian border at Um Idla.

President Roosevelt inaugurated for his third term.

1942 In the Wannsee suburb of Berlin, the formal adoption of the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Problem’ takes place. In practice this meant that all

Jews in occupied Europe were to be transported to the east. The able bodied were worked until they died, while the remainder were put to death.

British troops capture Benghazi.

The Japanese 55th Division crosses the Thai-Burmese border from Raheng. They quickly threaten Moulmein in Burma, using the same tactics as in

Malaya of outflanking British forces through the Jungle.

1943 Daylight raid by the Luftwaffe hits a school in London, killing 44 children and one teacher.

Russian progress continues in the Caucasus.

First destroyer escort type ship, Brennan (DE-13), commissioned at Mare Island CA.

1944 The RAF makes its heaviest raid on Berlin, with 700 bombers dropping more than 2,300 tons during the 11th raid of the ‘Battle of Berlin’.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder is appointed Deputy Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force.

Allied forces in Italy begin unsuccessful operations to cross the Rapido River and seize Cassino.

The Red Army recaptures Novgorod.

1945 The French First Army under de Lattre attacks against the Colmar Pocket in Alsace.

Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated for his fourth term.

The Allies sign a truce with the Hungarians.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 12 WWII Today: February 15 WWII Today: July 12


Jan 19

World War II Today: January 19

1941 Hitler and Mussolini meet at Berchtesgaden, with Mussolini accepting German military help in North Africa, but not Albania.

British troops under General Platt, re-occupy Kassala in the Sudan and advance into Eritrea.

1942 British North Borneo surrenders to Japanese at Sandakan.

Actor James Stewart receives his wings and commission in the US Army Air Forces.

Off Cape Hatteras, NC, German U-boat U-123sinks Latvian freighter Ciltvaira and US freighters City of Atlanta and Norvana.

Two Axis transports, the Mongevino and Ankara land 45 German tanks at Benghazi as reinforcement, while axis forces evacuate the city.

General Wavell warns Churchill that Singapore cannot be held as little had been done to prepare the landward facing defences. Churchill replies that Singapore must be defended and that ‘no question of surrender be entertained until after protracted fighting among the ruins of Singapore city’. General Wavell orders General Percival to prepare Singapore Island for a siege.

Japanese troop capture Tavoy as their advance continues in Burma.

1943 Russians claim further victories during a 75-mile advance towards Kharkov on the Voronezh front, with the Russians claiming 52,000 axis prisoners on this front alone.

The Eighth Army captures Homs and Tarhuna, near Tripoli.

US launches final offensive on Guadalcanal.

1944 The Eire government announces the arrest of two ‘Quisling’ Irishmen, parachuted into County Clare by German planes.

Germans forces are surrounded in Novgorod, 100 miles to the South of Leningrad, but manage to break out.

ANZAC Conference begins in Canberra, Australia: Prime Ministers of Australia & New Zealand discuss postwar relations with US & UK.

1945 Hitler orders that all divisional sized and larger attacks or retreats must have his approval.

The Russians cross 1939 Poland-Silesia frontier taking Kracow. East Prussia is also entered from south by Russian troops. Red Army forces capture Lodz.

USAAF B29 bombers destroy the Kawasaki aircraft works near Kobe, in Japan.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Rosie the Riveter WWII Today: March 17 WWII Today: February 24

Jan 18

World War II Today: January 18

1940 British begin seizure and censorship of air mail passing through Bermuda.

The Battle of Kunlun Pass ended with the Chinese holding the pass.

1941 The Greeks complete the Capture of Klisura Pass.

The British complete Operation Excess with all convoyed freighters reaching their destinations. However, the light cruiser HMS Southampton was bombed and sunk off Malta by the Luftwaffe.

Hitler issueds Directive No. 22, German Support for Battles in the Mediterranean Area.

1942 The Red Army cuts the main supply route for the German 2nd and 10th Corps at Demyansk near Lake Ilmen, forcing the Luftwaffe to begin flying in supplies. Field Marshal von Bock takes over command of Army Group South from Field Marshal von Reichenau who died of a heart attack. The Soviet South West Front launches an offensive across the river Donets, to the South of Kharkov in an attempt to cut of all German forces north of the Sea of Azov. German troops of 11th Army recapture Feodosiya and seal off the Soviet bridgehead at Kerch in the Crimea.

As Japanese advance, RAF withdraws bombers from Singapore to Sumatra.

Field Marshal Fedor von Bock assumes command of German Army Group South.

Dutch begin to destroy oil facilities at Balikpapan, Borneo so they won’t fall into Japanese hands.

1943 The Russians break through the German stranglehold on Leningrad to relieve the city from the East. In the Caucasus, the Russian advance continues. Cherkessk is captured by the Red Army, who are now less than 250 miles south east of Rostov.

First resistance by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

The Germans counter attack in Tunisia. They gain ground against the Free French, but are repulsed by British forces.

Australian troops capture Cape Killerton and Wye Point in Papua, New Guinea.

1944 German forces of Army Group Centre repel repeated Red Army attacks in the area of Vitebsk.

The Japanese cruiser Kuma is torpedoed and sunk off Penang, Malaya by the British submarine Tally-Ho.

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes the annual State of the Union Address to Congress, proposing the Second Bill of Rights guaranteeing such things as housing, medical care and education.

The Soviet Union responds to the Polish declaration of January 5 with a statement through TASS. The Soviet government disputes Polish territorial claims and insists that the Soviet-Polish border had been determined through “the plebiscite carried out in 1939 on a broad democratic basis”. The statement also accuses the Polish government-in-exile of being “incapable of establishing friendly relations with the USSR, and shows itself incapable of organizing active resistance against German invaders inside Poland. Moreover, by its erroneous policy it has often plays into the hands of German invaders.”

The P-51 Mustang joins the P-38 Lightning and P-47 Thunderbolt in U.S. long-range escort missions over German.

1945 German troops evacuate Kracow. A German offensive begins from Lake Balaton, with the aim of lifting the Red Army’s siege of Budapest.

British Empire casualties to November 1944 are announced as 282,162 killed, 80,580 missing, 386,374 wounded and 294,438 captured.

Nazis evacuate 66,000 inmates from Auschwitz back into Germany.

On Luzon in the Philippines, the US Sixth Army drives south from Lingayen Gulf toward Manila.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 30 WWII Today: August 17 WWII Today: March 22

Jan 17

World War II Today: January 17

1940 In Paris, Polish cryptographers break Luftwaffe Enigma code.

1941 During the night, the Italians evacuate Kassala and Gallalabat in the Sudan.

Battle of Ko Chang: Vichy French battle Thai incursions into Indochina and defeat them in naval battle in Gulf of Siam.

1942 The last German garrison at Halfaya in Cyrenaica surrenders, with about 5,500 prisoners taken.

Field Marshal Walther von Reichenau of German Army Group South dies of stroke.

British and South African troops take Halfaya Pass on Egyptian border and 5500 Axis POWs.

Off Murmansk, German U-boat U-454 sinks British destroyer Matabele in convoy PQ-8, first U-boat group action against an Allied Arctic convoy.

1943 US Naval Base and Naval Air Station, Brisbane, Australia is established.

For the first time, a nurse participates in air evacuation, accompanying patients from India to Washington DC.

1944 British 10 Corps crosses lower Garigliano River in Italy. US secures Arawe area on New Britain in the Solomons.

1945 Russians forces cross the Warthe and advance 100-miles on a 160-mile front forcing the Germans to evacuate Warsaw, which falls that same day. The German defenders encircled at Budapest withdraw to Buda on the western bank of the Danube.

The Red Army captures Czenstochova.

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews, is detained by the Soviets in Budapest, Hungary and disappears.

Nazis lead 66,000 prisoners from Auschwitz on a death march to Germany.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 22 WWII Today: November 24 WWII Today: April 30

Jan 16

World War II Today: January 16

1940 Hitler orders the postponement of his attack in the west until the Spring. Likely reasons for this are the compromise of ‘Fall Gelb’ and increasing criticism from some commanders that the plan was too predictable. Led by Gerd von Rundstedt, they proposed instead that the main blow should come through the wooded Ardennes region in southern Belgium as the allies would not expect this.

British submarines Seahorse, Undine and Starfish reported sunk after penetrating Heligoland Bight

Soviet artillery pounds the Mannerheim Line near Viipuri, Finland.

1941 French forces in Indochina launch an offensive against Thailand after numerous border provocations, but are unable to make much headway on land.

French inflict a naval defeat on Thai forces at Koh-Chang.

The Germans bomb Malta for the first time, killing 50 people, destroying 200 buildings and damaging the capital city of Valletta.

The British troopship Oropesa is sunk in the Western Approaches by the German submarine U-96.

German submarine U-77 was commissioned.

1942 Heavy US losses on the Bataan Peninsula as the Japanese troops press the defenders back.

In the Battle of Muar in Malaya, the Japanese 5th Infantry Division crossed the Muar River and captured Muar itself.

President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9024, creating the War Production Board.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill becomes the first head of state to cross the Atlantic Ocean by plane, following the First Washington Conference with President Franklin Roosevelt.

1943 The Eighth Army destroys Rommel’s rearguard at Buerat, in Libya and is now just 300 miles from the Tunisian frontier. Iraq enters the war against all three Axis powers.

Berlin is bombed for the first time in 14 months, as the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force bombers began the heaviest raid ever on the German capital. During the night raid, 1,000 tons of bombs fell and fires were visible for 100 miles.

The Battle for Velikiye Luki ended in Soviet victory. Iraq entered World War II, declaring war on Germany, Italy and Japan.

1944 Dwight D. Eisenhower formally assumed the duties of the Commander in Chief of the Allied Expeditionary Forces.

Japanese forces make their last counter-attack on New Britain.

Japanese submarine I-181 ran aground and was wrecked on Gneisenau Point at Kelanoa Harbour, New Guinea.

German submarine U-544 was sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by rockets and depth charges from Grumman TBF Avenger planes from the escort carrier USS Guadalcanal.

1945 The Battle of the Bulge ends as US First and Third Armies meet in Houffalize, Belgium, cutting off the tip of the Bulge.

Hitler enters his bunker under the Chancellery and will never leave Berlin again.

The Soviet 1st Belorussian Front captured Radom, Poland.

German submarine U-248 was depth charged and sunk by U.S. destroyer escorts north of the Azores.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: March 6 WWII Today: July  8 WWII Today: May 28


Jan 15

World War II Today: January 15

1940 Britain announces nearly twice as many Britons have been killed on the roads since blackout started than by enemy action.

Belgium denies British & French troops the right to cross its territory.

1941 US labor leader Philip Randolph calls for march on Washington to protest discrimination and segregation in the armed forces and defense industry.

1942 Army Group Centre evacuates the Kaluga sector and takes up winter positions 20 miles to the West.

The Japanese begin their invasion of Burma from Thailand, attacking up the Kra Isthmus. They quickly capture the British airfields around Tenasserim, enabling Japanese fighters to now escort bomber attacks against Rangoon.

ABDA Command headquarters (American, British, Dutch, Australian) opens under Gen. Sir Archibald Wavell at Batavia, Java.

Jawaharlal Nehru succeeds Gandhi as head of India’s Congress Party.

President Franklin Roosevelt asks the baseball commissioner to continue the sport during the war.

1943 US forces launch their final offensive on Guadalcanal.

The Red Army captures Velikiye Luki in the Valday Hills.

Field Marshall Montgomery and the 8th Army begins offensive at Buerat, Libya against Rommel.a

1944 The U.S. Fifth Army gains Monte Trocchio, overlooking Rapido River as the Germans withdraw across it. French troops under General Juin capture Monte Santa Croce.

Lt. Gen. Ira Eaker assumes command of Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (US 12th & 15thAir Forces, as well as RAF, Italian and French air units in the Mediterranean).

The Russians launch another new offensive around Leningrad.

The Peruvian Government announces its discovery of Axis backed conspirators plotting a coup.

1945 During its drive toward the Oder river, the Red Army captures Kielce in western Poland.

U.S. troops now hold 45 miles of the Lingayen Gulf coast.

Japanese launch drive toward isolated US Fourteenth Air Force bases in eastern China and toward the Hengyang-Canton railroad.

In the US, a nationwide dim-out is ordered to conserve fuel.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 24 WWII Today: May 1 WWII Today: September 20

Jan 14

World War II Today: January 14

1940 Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai forms a new government in Japan, but he is opposed by the pro-war military.

British chemists (pharmacists) granted an exemption to sugar rationing in order to coat pills.

1941 Off Antarctica, German auxiliary cruiser Pinguin captures 14 Norwegian whaling ships without firing a single shot or causing a single casualty.

1942 General Wavell arrives at Batavia in Java to setup ABDA headquarters. The Japanese launch an attack against the US-Filipino 1st Corps positions on the western side of Bataan.

At the so called Arcadia Conference held in Washington, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill agree to concentrate the Allied war effort on the European theatre. President Roosevelt also orders that all aliens are to register with the government. This is the beginning of a plan to move Japanese-Americans into internment camps in the belief that these people might aid the enemy.

The German battleship Tirpitz, arrives at Trondheim in Norway, to threaten the Arctic convoys, but it wasn’t until the 23rd January that the British became aware of this threat.

Off Long Island, German U-boat U-123 sinks Panamanian tanker Norness, the first sinking in US waters.

Ports of Boston, Portsmouth, and Portland, ME closed temporarily due to U-boat warning.

In US “enemy aliens” are required to register with Department of Justice.

Canada designates 100-mile security zone in British Columbia, all males of Japanese ancestry 18-45 ordered to vacate; 23,000 men will be sent to labor camps, women and children deported to six inner BC towns.

1943 Roosevelt and Churchill’s summit Conference opens near Casablanca in Morocco with the Allied joint staff under General Dwight D. Eisenhower in attendance.

1945 In Burma, the British 19th Indian Division attempts to cross the Irrawaddy River at Thabaikkyin but withdraws under fierce Japanese bayonet attack.

Zhukov’s 1st Belorussian Front continues its attacks South of Warsaw from two Vistula bridgeheads, one of which holds 400,000 men and 1,700 tanks. Rokossovsky’s 2nd Belorussian Front begins its offensive from its Narev bridgehead against Elbing in East Prussia.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: January 6 WWII Today: February 6 WWII today: February 1

Jan 13

World War II Today: January 13

1940 Belgium orders military mobilization.

Netherlands cancels all Army leaves.

FBI arrests 17 members of pro-Nazi “Christian Front” for plotting to kill congressmen; later acquitted.

1941 Hitler demands that Bulgaria joins the Tripartite pact, but the Bulgarians play for time.

The Luftwaffe launches a heavy attack against Plymouth.

Author James Joyce dies at age 58 in Zürich, Switzerland.

1942 A Japanese attack just to the east of Mount Natib, begins to pose a threat to the left flank of the US-Filipino 2nd Corps.

The allied conference in London pledges to punish axis war criminals after victory.

First use of an ejection seat—by German test pilot Helmut Schenk in He 280 jet.

The Arnold-Portal agreement specifies the number of aircraft the US will provide to Britain, while building the US Army Air Forces to a goal of 115 groups.

1943 The call-up for single girls in Britain is lowered to 19.

Students at the University of Munich riot after Nazi speaker says Stalingrad situation is due to student malingerers.

US Thirteenth Air Force formed in South Pacific under Brig. Gen. Nathan Twining, based in Espiritu Santo, New Caledonia.

In “Sleepy Lagoon” case in Los Angeles, 17 Mexican-Americans are wrongly convicted of murder; convictions overturned 2 years later.

1944 The Chinese strengthen their position in the Hukawng Valley in northern Burma.

1945 The British make further gains in central Burma and are now only 30 miles from Mandalay.

The U.S. First Army attacks the Germans between Stavelot and Malmady.

German forces of Army Group E complete their withdrawal from Greece and Albania.

Zhukov’s 1st Belorussian Front begins an offensive toward Pillkallen in East Prussia, against which there is stiff resistance from the 3rd Panzer Army.

The Jarstad Bridge is blown up by the Norwegian resistance, killing 70 Germans.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 3 WWII Today: August 3 WWII Today: November 12

Jan 12

World War II Today: January 12

1940 Soviet bombers raid cities in Finland.

1941 Recruiting of Norwegians for the ‘Nordland’ Regiment of the 5th SS Motorized Division ‘Wiking’ begins.

1942 Hitler orders Admiral Otto Ciliax, who commands the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the cruiser Prinz Eugen at Brest, to prepare to return to Germany. The new German battleship Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck is ordered to Norway.

British capture Sollum.

Japan formally declares war on the Dutch East Indies.

Field Marshal von Leeb, C-in-C of Army Group North, requests permission to withdraw his forces south of Lake Ilmen behind the river Lovat, as the 2nd Corps at Demyansk is in serious danger of being cut off. Hitler refuses von Leebs request who resigns in protest. His place as C-in-C of Army Group North is taken up by Field Marshal von Kuechler.

Off Nova Scotia, German U-boat U-123 sinks British freighter Cyclops, the first loss in Germany’s “Operation Paukenschlag.”

Col. Charles Lindbergh is refused a military command due to his vocal pre-war isolationist work.

US forms National War Labor Board to deal with union wage demands.

In US, Victory Book Campaign begins to collect reading material for servicemen.

1943 The Red Army begins an offensive to restore the land communications with the encircled city of Leningrad. The Germans abandon a 300 miles salient in Caucasus. And withdraw towards the Kuban Bridgehead. The Red Army gains several more streets in the bloody battle for Stalingrad.

Gen. Leclerc drives the last Germans troops out of the Fezzan in Southern Libya with his Free French forces from Chad.

1944 Churchill and de Gaulle meet for talks at Marrakesh.

1945 The German ‘Nordwind’ offensive is stopped 13 miles from Strasbourg. British and U.S.forces link up in the Laroche area.

Koniev’s 1st Ukrainian Front launches a major winter offensive from its bridgehead across the Vistula at Baranov in southern Poland.

Take a look a these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: September 24 WWII Today: January 26 WWII Today: March 1