Chronography of events from 1 January 1940 to 31 December 1944

Page last modified 17 September 2023


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(-9999 / +9999) = Days before / after end of World War Two in Europe (day zero = Tuesday). Easter Sundays derived from

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1 January 1945, Monday (-127) Mindoro Island, Philippines, taken by US forces.


31 December 1944, Sunday (-128) Rochefort retaken by the Allies.

30 December 1944, Saturday (-129) US scientists at Los Alamos working 9on theManhattan Project estimated the first Atom Bomb would be ready by end July 1945.

28 December 1944, Thursday (-131) Hungary renounced all treaties with the Third Reich and declared war on Germany.

27 December 1944, Wednesday (-132) The Soviet Army began to besiege Nazi forces in Budapest.See 13 January 1945.

26 December 1944, Tuesday (-133) The US Army completed operations, begun 17 December 1944, to move 2.8 million gallons of motor fuel away from the Ardennes, so that German troops in this offensive would not capture the fuel supplies they needed to continue the Battle of the Bulge successfully and reach Antwerp. The German military was desperately short of fuel and needed to capture more in order to continue their initiative,

25 December 1944, Monday, (-134) (Germany) The Germans reached their furthest point of advance in the Ardennes Offensive. They had reached Dinant, 97 km from the start point. This day alone the Germans lost over 3,500 men and 400 vehicles, including 81 tanks.

24 December 1944, Sunday (-133) (Germany) In reprisal for an attack by the French Resistance, German SS units massacred all adult males in the village of Bande.

23 December 1944, Saturday (-136) (Germany) The heavy overcast weather in the Ardennes area cleared, allowing Allied aircraft to attack the Germans.

22 December 1944, Friday (-137) An American unit was surrounded at Bastogne by the German advance in the Battle of the Bulge.The unit held out until relieved on 26 December 1944. Inside Bastogne, General Anthony C McAuliffe received a message from the besieging Germans inviting him to surrender; his reply, scrawled on the surrender invite, was one word-�NUTS�.

21 December 1944, Thursday (-138) The Soviet Army, having entered Hungarianterritory in early September 1944, set up a provisional government in Debrecen.

20 December 1944, Wednesday (-139) (Greece) British troops rescued 350 military personnel from Greek ELAS Communist fighters at Kifissia, near Athens. Since Greece was liberated from the Nazis, there had been a vicious power struggle between Communist and Nationalist factions.

19 December 1944, Tuesday (-140) The French newspaper Le Monde began publication in Paris.

18 December 1944, Monday (-141) (Greece) British troops in Greece began an offensive against ELAS rebels

17 December 1944, Sunday (-142) (Germany) Soldiers of the 6th SS Panzer Army massacred 87 US PoWs at Malmedy, under the orders of Colonel Joachim Pieper. This had the effect of stiffening Allied resolve against the Ardennes Offensive.

16 December 1944. Saturday (-143) Germany began the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes. 15 German divisions, 250,000 men and 950 tanks, under General von Rundstedt confronted 83,000 Americans with 420 tanks, and advanced 60 miles before they were halted. The German Army was desperately short of fuel, and were hoping to capture the fuel they needed from Allied dumps as they advanced. This was their last offensive of the war. Germany had conjured up a large fighting force from sources such as back administration offices and prisons. See 6 January 1945. The sleet and low cloud that protected them from Allied air attacks soon cleared.

15 December 1944, Friday (-144) (Japan) A US task force landed on Mindoro, a small island off south Luzon. By end-January 1945 the island was cleared of Japanese forces, providing useful airfields for the US campaign in the Philippines.

14 December 1944, Thursday (-145) A total prohibition on citizen use of electricity was introduced to North and South Holland.

13 December 1944, Wednesday (-146) For London, a series of concentric ring roads and green belts were proposed. Two of these correspond to the North Circular and M.25.

12 December 1944, Tuesday (-147) The US Third Army captured the V-rocket factory at Wittring in eastern France.

11 December 1944, Monday (-148) Brenda Lee, US singer, was born in Lithonia, Georgia.

10 December 1944, Sunday (-149) De Gaulle and Stalin signed a treaty of alliance.

9 December 1944, Saturday (-150) The Danube north of Budapest was reached by the Russians.

8 December 1944, Friday (-151) (Japan) The US began a massive bombardment of Iwo Jima, which lasted 72 days, in preparation for an amphibious invasion.

7 December 1944, Thursday (-152) (Romania) General Radescu formed a Romanian government.

6 December 1944, Wednesday (-153) 20 million Germans were homeless after Allied bombing.

5 December 1944, Tuesday (-154) The 3rd Ukrainian Front of the Soviet Army captured Szigetv�r and Vukovar.

4 December 1944, Monday (-155) German bridgehead west of the Maas taken by the British.

3 December 1944, Sunday (-156) The Home Guard was formally disbanded in London as King George VI witnessed its final parade. Britons were jubilant that this symbolised imminent victory in the War. The Black-Out was replaced by the Dim-Out as the Luftwaffe was no longer a credible threat. However British strikes rose, particularly in the coal mines. Coal miners pay was relatively low compared to other occupations, and conditions were poor.

2 December 1944, Saturday (-157) Ibrahim Rugova, president of Kosovo, was born.

1 December 1944, Friday (-158) The U.S. Ninth Army captured Linnich.


30 November 1944, Thursday (-159) HMS Vanguard, Britain�s largest and last battleship, was launched at Clydebank � see 20 October 1941.

29 November 1944. Wednesday (-160) Russian troops crossed the Danube, in Hungary.

28 November 1944, Tuesday (-161) Antwerp reopened to port traffic.

27 November 1944, Monday (-162) (1) Between 3,500 and 4,000 tons of high explosives went off in a cavern beneath Staffordshire, killing 68 people. The explosion was heard as far away as Geneva. The former gypsum mine at Hanbury was used by the RAF to defuse bombs that had failed to drop from planes raiding Germany. Against strict rules, an operative used a steel screwdriver, causing a spark.

(2) The crematoria at Auschwitz were blown up.

26 November 1944, Sunday (-163) Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the crematoria at Auschwitz concentration camp to eliminate evidence of the mass killings there.

25 November 1944, Saturday (-164) The first Kamikaze (divine wind) suicidal attacks were made by Japanese pilots on US ships.

24 November 1944, Friday (-165) (1) US planes bombed Tokyo, for the first time since 18 April 1942.

(2) Strasbourg taken by Allied forces.

23 November 1944, Thursday (-166) U.S. troops liberated the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in France.

22 November 1944, Wednesday (-167) Mulhouse and Metz retaken by Allied forces.

21 November 1944, Tuesday (-168) The Moscow Conference ended.

20 November 1944, Monday (-169) (1) Belfort taken by the French.

(2) After five years of black-out, the lights were switched on again in Piccadilly, Strand, and Fleet Street.

19 November 1944, Sunday (-170) The Shinano, the largest Japanese aircraft carrier ever built, was formally commissioned. Thought capable of withstanding any bomb, she was sunk ten days later by the US submarine Archerfish, with four torpedo hits, with the loss of 1,435 lives. A further 1,000 sailors were rescued.

18 November 1944, Saturday (-171) The Popular Socialist Youth organization was founded in Cuba.

17 November 1944, Friday (-172) Tirana, capital of Albania, was recovered from German occupation.

16 November 1944, Thursday (-173) The Allies crossed the River Lamone, Italy.

15 November 1944, Wednesday (-174) Soviet forces entered Jasbereny, 48km east of Budapest.

14 November 1944, Tuesday (-175) The French 1st Army began an attack to seize the Belfort Gap.

13 November 1944. Monday (-176) (Britain) Croydon aerodrome, London, resumed civilian flights. The first flight was to Belfast via Liverpool.

12 November 1944. Sunday (-177) The last big German battleship, the Tirpitz, was sunk by the Lancaster bombers from the RAF, in Tromso Fjord, Norway. She had been lurking in Norwegian waters for several years, diverting Allied resources to protect Atlantic convoys. Three 5,500 kg bombs dropped on her decks resulted in the battleship turning turtle and sinking, trapping some 1,000 crewmen. A squadron of German fighter planes assigned to protect the Tirpitz did not even take off.

11 November 1944, Saturday (-178) Iwo Jima was bombarded by the U.S. Navy.

10 November 1944, Friday (-179) Allied troops took Forli, Italy.

9 November 1944, Thursday (-180) The Moscow Conference began.

8 November 1944, Wednesday (-181) Joseph Goebbels announced the V-2 rocket campaign for the first time. Winston Churchill followed suit and finally announced that England had been under rocket attack, providing the people of London with an explanation for all the mysterious explosions of recent weeks.

7 November 1944, Tuesday (-182) (1) Middleburg, Holland, captured by the Allies.

(2) President Franklin Delano Roosevelt won an unprecedented fourth term in the USA.

6 November 1944, Monday (-183) Monastir liberated by Yugoslav forces.

5 November 1944. Sunday (-184) (1) The Zionist Stern Gang assassinated Lord Moyne, British Resident Minister in the Middle East. With the end of the War in sight, some Zionists were determined to prevent renewed British control over Palestine.

(2) The Japanese cruiser Nachi was sunk in Manila Bay by U.S. aircraft.

4 November 1944, Saturday (-185) RAF Bomber Command sent 749 aircraft to conduct the last major raid on Bochum. Over 4,000 buildings were destroyed and nearly 1,000 people were killed.

3 November 1944, Friday (-186) Flushing captured by the British. Canadian troops captured two bridges from South Beveland onto Walcheren.

2 November 1944, Thursday (-187) Belgium was clear of German troops. The Germans re-entered Belgium on 16 December 1944, and were finally expelled on 4 February 1945.

1 November 1944, Wednesday (-188) British troops landed on Walcheren Island. Walcheren commended the approaches to Antwerp, which had been captured by the Allies on 1 September 1944; however until Walcheren was cleared of German forces, Antwerp Harbour was unusable. It took five weeks to capture the Walcheren fortifications, at a cost of 12,873 Allied lives. Before Walcheren fell, opening up Antwerp, Allied forces in Belgium had to be supplied from the Normandy beaches, because every Channel port from Cherbourg to Ostend had been wrecked by Allied bombing or by German demolition squads.


31 October 1944, Tuesday (-189) British forces reached the River Maas.

30 October 1944, Monday (-190) Soviet forces attacked Budapest, but the Germans held it until February 1945.

29 October 1944, Sunday (-191) (Judaism) The first Jewish religious service was broadcast from Allied-occupied Aachen, Germany.

28 October 1944. Saturday (-192) General De Gaulle ordered the French Resistance to disarm.

27 October 1944, Friday (-193) The Japanese fleet suffered a crushing defeat in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, effectively ending its role as a fighting force.This was the world�s largest naval battle, which began on 22 October 1944, involving a total of 231 ships and 1996 aircraft.

26 October 1944, Thursday (-194) British troops crossed the River Scheldt and occupied the Beveland peninsula.

25 October 1944, Wednesday (-195) US escort carrier St Lo became the first ship sunk by a Japanese kamikaze attack.

24 October 1944, Tuesday (-196) The Riga Offensive ended in Soviet victory.

23 October 1944, Monday (-197) De Gaulle was officially recognised by the Allies as French leader.However De Gaulle was offended by the Allies refusal to treat France as a Great Power, or to invite him to the Yalta or Potsdam Conferences alongside the USA, UK, and USSR.

22 October 1944, Sunday (-198) Russian troops in Finland reached the Norwegian border.

21 October 1944, Saturday (-199) Aachen was captured by the Allies. The battle for the city, the first major German city to fall to the Allies, lasted a week, and over 10,000 prisoners were taken. Much of the city was destroyed.

20 October 1944. Friday (-200) (1) Tito�s partisans and the Red Army took Belgrade. It had been taken by Germany on 13 April 1941.

(2) General Mac Arthur returned to the Philippines with 250,000 troops, fulfilling a promise he made when his forces retreated from the Japanese.

19 October 1944, Thursday (-201) Churchill returned home after talks with Stalin.

18 October 1944. Wednesday (-202) (1) The Russian army entered East Prussia and Czechoslovakia.

(2) Hitler launched the Folksturm, a call-up of men previously considered too young or too old for military service. This was a last ditch attempt to reverse the War, and was more of a propaganda exercise; the date was chosen as the anniversary of Napoleon�s defeat at Leipzig, 1813.

17 October 1944, Tuesday (-203) Rival partisans in Athens began to fight each other.

16 October 1944, Monday (-204) Aachen was surrounded by US forces.

15 October 1944, Sunday (-205) Sali Berisha, President of Albania, was born.

14 October 1944, Saturday (-206) Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, 53, Commander of the Afrika Corps 1941-43, took his own life by swallowing poison rather than be executed for an attempt on Hitler�s life. Hitler had promised him a hero�s funeral if he committed suicide. Otherwise Rommel would face the notorious Nazi judge, Roland Freisler, who had already condemned the other conspirators against Hitler to slow hanging by piano wire. The official cause of Rommel�s death was given as heart failure.

13 October 1944, Friday (-207) Athens was liberated from the Germans, who occupied it on 27 April 1941.

12 October 1944. Thursday (-208) (1) Tolbukhin�s forces crossed the Morava River south of Belgrade, to intercept the Germans falling back south of the city.

(2) Angela Rippon, British TV presenter, was born in Plymouth.

11 October 1944, Wednesday (-209) Cluj, capital of Transylvania, recaptured by the Russians.

10 October 1944, Tuesday (-210) Ramon Grau took office as President of Cuba.

9- 19 October 1944, Churchill travelled to Moscow for talks with Stalin.

9 October 1944, Monday (-211) Canadian and British forces landed behind German lines south of the Scheldt Estuary. Russian forces reached the Baltic coast near Libau.

8 October 1944, Sunday (-212) In Egypt, King Farouk dismissed the Wafd Government of Nahas Pasha.

7 October 1944, Saturday (-213) The Dumbarton Oaks Conference ended.

6 October 1944, Friday (-214) Soviet troops entered Hungary.

5 October 1944, Thursday (-215) In Germany, Joseph Goebbels announced a reduction in food rations.

4 October 1944, Wednesday (-216) Allied troops landed on the Greek mainland, at Patras.

3 October 1944, Tuesday (-217) The insurgents in the Warsaw Uprising surrendered to German forces.

2 October 1944. Monday (-218) British troops landed on Crete.

1 October 1944, Sunday (-219) The German war economy was hopelessly disorganised. In September 1944 German factories produced 3,000 fighter planes, but aviation fuel production was only 10,000 tons, as against Luftwaffe consumption of 165,000 tons in April 1944. These new planes sat on the runway with empty fuel tanks and vacant cockpits, as pilot training had virtually ceased.


30 September 1944. Saturday (-220) Canadian forces captured Calais.

29 September 1944, Friday (-219) The Battle of Arracourt ended in American victory.

28 September 1944, Thursday (-222) Soviet, Yugoslav Partisan and Bulgarian forces began the Belgrade Offensive.

27 September 1944, Wednesday (-223) Soviet troops and Yugoslav Partisans crossed the border into Albania.

26 September 1944, Tuesday (-224) The Canadian 2nd Army captured the German guns on Cap Gris Nez; the Allies now had total control of The Channel.

25 September 1944, Monday (-225) (1) The Allied forces who had been parachuted into Arnhem (17 September 1944) had succeeded in capturing key bridges over the Rhine, Maas and Waal rivers but had met fierce resistance from the 9th and 10th German Panzer Divisions. This resistance forced the withdrawal of Allied troops from Arnhem to south of the Rhine.

(2) Hitler called up all remaining males aged between 16 and 60 for the Volksturm, a home defence force.

24 September 1944, Sunday (-226) The second Quebec Conference ended (began 13 September 1944), see 24 August 1943.It was concerned with shifting the war effort to the Pacific to finish off the Japanese, also how best to advance into Germany (the Morgenthau Plan), and operations in The Philippines.

23 September 1944, Saturday (-227) Soviet forces entered Hungary,

22 September 1944, Friday (-228) (1) Boulogne surrendered to Canadian forces. Rimini captured by Allied forces.

(2) The Russians captured Tallinn, capital of Estonia. This blocked the final seaborne escape route for German Army Group North.

(3) In Britain details of demobilisation were released to the public. Class B �demob� covered builders and others with skills greatly needed for post-war reconstruction; these had priority of demob, but could be recalled to the military if they entered another trade. Class A covered everyone else. They would be released from military service on a scheme that equated years of age to years of military service at 6:1. This meant a 40 year old with 1 year�s military service had the same demob priority as a 22 year old with 3 year�s military service. The first demobilisations in the UK were on 18 June 1945.

21 September 1944, Thursday (-229) San Marino declared war on Germany.

20 September 1944, Wednesday (-230) British forces reached The Rhine at Nijmegen.

19 September 1944, Tuesday (-231) (1) Brest taken by US forces.

(2) Finland agreed to the peace terms demanded by Russia (see 20 June 1944), except that the indemnity was halved to US$300million.

18 September 1944, Monday (-232) The Battle of Arracourt began near the French town of Arracourt.

17 September 1944. Sunday (-233) The British airborne invasion of Arnhem and Nijmegen, Holland, began as part of Operation Market Garden, to secure a bridge over the Rhine.However a hard winter for Holland began as German forces in the north of the country resisted Allied attacks under Field Marshal Model.Food became scarce and could only be bought by barter on the black market.Money had no value and the rations system collapsed. In Britain the blackout was replaced by the dimout, except for all areas within 5 miles of the coast where the blackout remained in force.

16 September 1944, Saturday (-234) The Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front occupied the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.

15 September 1944, Friday (-235) (1) Roosevelt and Churchill approved a plan to shoot Nazi war criminals without trail, drawn up by Viscount Simon. This was put to Stalin, with a list of names, but he insisted on holding trials first.

(2) In London, the Benelux Organisation was formed.

14 September 1944, Thursday (-236) (1) Russian forces took Praga, on the right bank of the River Vistula, opposite Warsaw.An anti-Nazi uprising by Poles had begun in Warsaw on 1 August 1944.However the Russian forces did not immediately cross the Vistula to Warsaw, but held back whilst the Nazis put down the Polish rebellion and razed the city.Warsaw was only taken by the Russians on 17 January 1945.

(2) Patton�s Third Army took Nancy in France.

13 September 1944. Wednesday (-237) (1) William Heath Robinson, the English artist famous for his drawings of excessively complicated machinery cobbled together, died.

(2) The Maastricht area was captured by Allied forces.

12 September 1944, Tuesday (-238) Le Havre captured by the British.

11 September 1944. Monday (-239) The Allies in the west under US First Army General Omar Bradley took their troops onto German soil, north of Trier. Large numbers of German troops were deserting. Civilian morale in Aachen collapsed as Nazi SS officials, troops and police hurriedly left the German city for Cologne, as US troops drew close

10 September 1944, Sunday (-240) RAF Bomber Command began Operation Paravane, another attack on the German battleship Tirpitz anchored in northern Norway.

9 September 1944, Saturday (-241) The Russians captured Sofia, capital of Bulgaria.

8 September 1944, Friday (-242) (1) Liege taken by US forces.

(2) The first V-2 fell in on Chiswick in the London area, killing three people. By the end of the war, 1,100 V-2s fell in England an a further 1,675 on the continent, mainly on Antwerp.V-2 stood for Vergeltungswaffe, or �reprisal weapon�. The V-2 rocket weighed 12 tons and travelled at 3,600 mph, faster than sound, so there was no warning of its imminent arrival. It had a range of 200 miles and carried a one ton bomb. The Germans fired them from launchers in The Netherlands, but the explosions in London were attributed, by the authorities, to gas explosions to mislead the German intelligence. The earlier V-1 rocket was slower and had a shorter range; V-1 strikes on London ceased as the Allies captured the launch sites in France.

7 September 1944, Thursday (-243) Hungary declared war on Romania and crossed into southern Transylvania

6 September 1944. Wednesday (-244) (1) Bulgaria declared war on Germany.Bulgaria had wanted to become neutral but Russia found this �insufficient� and threatened to declare war on Bulgaria.Bulgaria therefore declared war on Germany and Russian troops marched into Bulgaria unopposed�� On 28 October 1944 Bulgaria signed an armistice with the Allies and the Bulgarian Army, under Soviet command, attacked German forces in Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria.See 2 February 1945.

(2) The Polish Committee for National Liberation decreed the expropriation of farms with over 50 Ha (123.5 acres) arable land, or more than 100 ha (247 acres) land overall. Some of this land was given to agricultural labourers; the rest was made into state farms, and the forests were nationalised.

5 September 1944, Tuesday (-245) German and Dutch Nazis began to flee Holland, as Allied forces advanced through Belgium.

4 September 1944. Monday (-246) The Allies crossed into Holland. Antwerp was liberated.

3 September 1944. Sunday (-247) (1) The Allies entered Belgium, and liberated Brussels. The Belgian resistance was then well trained and armed, and German plans to destroy the docks at Antwerp as they retreated were thwarted. Thus the Allies could use this port to land ammunition and troops during the remaining eight months of fighting. Lyons also liberated by the Allies.

(2) Anne Frank and her family were transported to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, see 14 June 1943.

2 September 1944 Saturday (-248) Allied forces took Pisa.

1 September 1944, Friday (-249) Dieppe taken by the Canadians. British forces, helped by the Belgian Resistance, took Antwerp; see 1 November 1944.


31 August 1944. Thursday (-250) Russian and Romanian forces captured the Ploesti oilfields, which had supplied Germany with one third of its military oil. Allied troops reached Amiens, northern France. Meanwhile Hitler declared that the political differences between the Allies would result in the collapse of their efforts against Germany (see 19 August 1944).

30 August 1944, Wednesday (-251) Rouen taken by the Canadians. Soviet forces took Bucharest. German forces, putting up little resistance to the Allied advance in France, were retreating across the Seine; they were flooding the lower reaches of the Somme to delay the Allied advance there.

29 August 1944, Tuesday (-252) Constanza taken by Russia.

28 August 1944, Monday (-253) Marseilles and Toulon fell to the Allies.

27 August 1944. Sunday (-254) Polish and Russian officials showed the news media the Maidenek concentration camp.

26 August 1944, Saturday (-255) The Battle of Toulon ended in Allied victory.

25 August 1944. Friday (-256) (1) Germans in Paris surrendered. The Nazi commander, General von Cholitz, ignored Hitler�s instructions to destroy the city. The USA had held back to allow the French under General LeClerc to retake Paris, led by General De Gaulle.Paris had been under German occupation since 14 June 1940.

(2) Finland was forced to sue the USSR for peace (see 12 March 1940) under pressure from the Soviet Army.Finland gave up territory gained from the USSR since 1940, and also ceded the Petsamo region, with the Arctic port at Porkkala; this gave the USSR a common border with Norway.

24 August 1944, Thursday (-257) Canadian forces captured Bernay and crossed the Risle River at Nassandres

23 August 1944. Wednesday (-258) (Germany, Romania) Following a coup d�etat in Bucharest, in which pro-Nazi dictator General Ion Antonescu was overthrown (born 1882, acceded 1940), Romania changed sides and declared war on Germany and Soviet troops entered Rumania as allies. Germans had entered Bucharest as allies in September 1940, after Antonescu seized power, forcing King Carol II into exile after Carol had surrendered Romanian territory to Hungary, Bulgaria and Russia. Romania then supported Germany when it invaded Russia in June 1941, and assisted in the Nazi capture of Odessa, which was then renamed �Antonescu�, with areas of south-west Ukraine annexed to Romania. However the Soviets began to force back the Romanians, and other Axis forces, in the winter in 1942/3. On this day, 23 August 1944, Carol II�s 23-year-old son, King Michael, had Antonescu arrested. Antonescu was subsequently charged with war crimes in May 1946 and on 1 June 1946, after a brief trial, was condemned to death and shot. Meanwhile, French forces took Marseilles, then advanced up the Rhone Valley.

22 August 1944, Tuesday (-259) The Royal Navy began Operation Goodwood, a series of raids against the German battleship Tirpitz anchored in northern Norway.

21 August 1944, Monday (-260) (1) US forces crossed the Seine.

(2) Meetings began at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC, on starting the Charter of the United Nations.These meetings ended on 7 October 1944.

20 August 1944, Sunday (-261) (1) Toulouse taken by French forces.

(2) Rajiv Ghandi, younger son of Prime Minister Indira Ghandi, was born.

19 August 1944. Saturday (-262) (1) Allied forces in Italy took Florence.

(2) Paris rebelled against German occupation.

(3) Differences emerged between the Americans and the British as to how to press on against Germany. The US wanted to go directly east into Germany via the Saar region; the British wanted to secure Belgium and Holland and then occupy the industrial Ruhr region. This latter option would both neutralise the V-weapon launching sites and capture the deepwater port of Antwerp. Politically, however, both options had to be pursued, or else public outrage would ensue if one Allied army was halted whilst the other pressed on.

18 August 1944, Friday (-263) The Allies closed the Falaise Gap, trapping German forces to the north and west.

17 August 1944, Thursday (-264) (1) Falaise taken by the Canadians.

(2) The Russians reached the border of East Prussia.

16 August 1944, Wednesday (-265) Canadian troops surrounded Falaise, France.

15 August 1944. Tuesday (-266) US and French forces landed in southern France, on a front from Nice to Marseilles, and joined up in eastern France with the forces landing in Normandy. This was Operation Anvil. From Marseilles Allied forces swung north up the Rhone Valley.

14 August 1944, Monday (-267) Robyn Smith Astaire, US jockey, was born in San Francisco, California.

13 August 1944, Sunday (-270) Davina Galica, skiing champion, was born.

12 August 1944. Saturday (-269) PLUTO, or Pipeline Under The Ocean, began operating. It carried fuel from Shanklin, Isle of Wight, to Allied forces advancing against the Germans in France.

11 August 1944, Friday (-270) Florence evacuated by the Germans.

10 August 1944, Thursday (-271) US/French offensive at Alencon.

9 August 1944, Wednesday (-272) St Malo and Le Mans taken by US forces.The USA completed the recapture of Guam.

8 August 1944. Tuesday (-273) Officers convicted of an attempt on Hitler�s life were hanged with piano wire. See 20 July 1944.

7 August 1944, Monday (-274) RAF attacked German lines south of Caen.

6 August 1944, Sunday (-275) The Soviets began the Osovets Offensive as part of the final phase of Operation Bagration.

5 August 1944, Saturday (-276) Germans bombed the Warsaw suburb of Wola, during the Warsaw Uprising.

4 August 1944, Friday (-277) (1) Anne Frank and her family, who had gone into hiding from the Nazis on 6 July 1942 (see also 14 June 1943) were discovered by the Nazis, see 3 September 1944.

(2) Purge of the German Army by Hitler.

3 August 1944, Thursday (-278) Rennes taken by US forces.

2 August 1944. Wednesday (-279) Turkey broke off relations with Germany, reluctantly, under pressure from the United Nations to fulfil its treaty obligations.

1 August 1944. Tuesday (-280) (1) Anti-Nazi rising in Warsaw began.Russian forces were close to the city, see 14 September 1944.

(2) US forces captured the Pacific island of Tinian from the Japanese. Tinian was then developed as a US air force base, from which the mission to drop atom bombs on Japan was to depart (see 6 August 1945).


31 July 1944. Monday (-281) (1) The Allies drove the Germans out of Normandy. Avranches was captured, opening the way into Brittany.

(2) The pilot and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of �The Little Prince�, was reported missing.

(3) The last scheduled deportation of Parisian Jews from Drancy. By now gunfire could be heard in Paris and liberation seemed very close. Nazi Army commanders wanted to requisition the deportation trains for moving their own troops back to safer positions.

30 July 1944, Sunday (-282) Soviet forces captured Simno, Poland, only 35 miles from the Prussian border and 330 miles as the crow flies from Berlin. They also took Gluda which cut the railway line west from Riga. German forces in Riga now had just one minor rail line west as an escape route, leading to Windau, a small Baltic port.

29 July 1944, Saturday (-283) Soviet forces crossed the River Vistula, capturing the town of Sandiomerz in central Poland

28 July 1944. Friday (-284) Soviet forces took Brest Litovsk, Poland.

27 July 1944, Thursday (-285) (Germany) Russian forces captured Lvov from Germany.

26 July 1944, Wednesday (-286) Dvinsk retaken by Russia.Narva, Estonia, retaken by Russia.

25 July 1944. Tuesday (-287) Allied forces in Normandy forced through weakened German defences at St Lo.

24 July 1944, Monday (-288) Lublin retaken by Russia. German losses in the past 5 weeks amounted to over 2,000 tanks, 340 aircraft and 113,000 men. Only 10,000 men replaced them.

23 July 1944, Sunday (-289) The Lvov Uprising, an armed insurrection of the Home Army in Poland against the Nazi German occupiers, began in the city of Lvov.

22 July 1944, Saturday (-290) The Bretton Wood conference ended.

21 July 1944, Friday (-291) Guam, in the western Pacific, was liberated by US Marines.It had been under Japanese occupation since December 1941.

20 July 1944. Thursday (-292) (1) Roosevelt was nominated for a fourth term.

(2) An attempt was made on Hitler�s life by a German Staff Officer, Count Claus Von Stauffenberg, at Hitler�s headquarters at Rastenburg, East Prussia. A bomb was left in a briefcase under a table in the conference room where Hitler was to speak. The plot failed because the heavy oak table top shielded Hitler from much of the blast, as did the thick table leg against which the briefcase was placed. The plotters were arrested, as were 1,000 other people implicated in the plot. See 8 August 1944.

(3) Tbe USA began to retake the island of Guam from the Japanese.

19 July 1944, Wednesday (-293) Leghorn retaken by American forces.

18 July 1944. Tuesday (-294) Prime Minister Tojo of Japan resigned.

17 July 1944, Monday (-295) Field Marshal Rommel was badly injured when an Allied fighter plane shot up his car.

16 July 1944, Sunday (-296) A large gun on the French coast that was almost ready to fire huge shells at British south coast towns was destroyed in a sustained air raid.

15 July 1944, Saturday (-297) The Second Battle of the Odon began as part of the Battle of Normandy.

14 July 1944, Friday (-298) Soviet forces entered Pinsk, less than 200 miles from east Prussia.

13 July 1944. Thursday (-299) The capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, was recaptured by the Russians.

12 July 1944, Wednesday (-300) (1) The RAF became the first air force to use jet aircraft in operational service.

(2) The Russians advanced 21 miles on the Baltic Front.

11 July 1944, Tuesday (-301) The new German Tiger II heavy tank saw frontline combat for the first time during the Normandy campaign.

10 July 1944, Monday (-302) New Soviet offensive against German Army Group North began.

9 July 1944. Sunday (-303) The Allies took Caen. The last train carrying Jews to the concentration camps left from Budapest (see 13 January 1945).

8 July 1944, Saturday (-304) (Germany) British and Canadian troops approached the outskirts of Caen. The German defenders contested every street.

7 July 1944, Friday (-305) Tony Jacklin, British golf champion, was born in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.

6 July 1944, Friday (-306) Japanese Admiral Nagumo and General Saito committed suicide on Saipan. Before they died they ordered their troops to undertake a final suicide attack. The Japanese lost 26,000 men to the US losses of 16,500 dead and wounded. Resistance on Saipan now ended.

5 July 1944, Wednesday (-307) US forces in Normandy captured La Haye du Puits, 30 km south of Cherbourg.

4 July 1944, Tuesday (-308) Conclusion of the Battle of Kohima-Imphal. Crucial battle of the Burma campaign; the 14th Army under Slim fought the Japanese in Burma from 4 March 1944. Allied troops were supplied by air and held back the Japanese from the key towns of Kohima and Imphal.

3 July 1944, Monday (-309) (1) Evacuation of children from London because of the V-1 bombings.

(2) Siena retaken by French troops.

(3) Minsk was recaptured by the Russians.

2 July 1944, Sunday (-310) (Germany) Marshal von Kluge replaced General von Rundstedt

1 July 1944. Saturday (-311) (1) The Bretton Woods Conference began.Representatives from 44 nations began formulating the post World War Two International Monetary Policy.

(2) A bottle of Scotch cost 25s 9d (�1.29), up from 16s (80p) at the start of the War. A �coupon saver� dress from Debenham and Freebody cost �9 9s (�9.45) plus 11 coupons. A �popular crepon neat practical skirt� from the same store cost �2 9s 11d (�2.49 �) plus six coupons. The First Sea Lord and Chief of |Naval Staff received an annual salary of �4,525. the Senior Design Officer in the Directorate of camouflage got an annual salary of �700.


30 June 1944, Friday (-312) The last German resistance in the Contentin Peninsula, France, ceased with the Allied capture of Auderville.

29 June 1944, Thursday (-313) The Russians captured Petrozavodsk from Finland, see 20 June 1944.See 19 September 1944.

28 June 1944, Wednesday (-314) (Germany) Hitler replaced Field Marshall Busch, of the Army Group Centre, with General Model.

27 June 1944. Tuesday (-315) The Allies took Cherbourg. This was important as it gave the Normandy bridgehead its first deep water port.

26 June 1944, Monday (-316) (1) (Germany) Vitebsk retaken by Russia. The Nazi 3rd Pamzer Amy was surrounded.

(2) Naval fighting between the USA and Japan off the Marianas Islands.

25 June 1944, Sunday (-317) Allied tanks reached the suburbs of Cherbourg. The German Commander of Cherbourg, General Karl Wilhelm von Schleiben, asked Rommel to be allowed to surrender, as he had 2,000 wounded who could not be treated. Rommel refused and ordered him to fight to the end.

24 June 1944, Saturday (-318) Rio Gebhardt, German composer, died aged 36

23 June 1944, Friday (-319) (Germany) The German 4th Army, NE of Minsk, was surrounded.

22 June 1944, Thursday (-320) (Germany) (1) The Russians commenced Operation Bagration. Under the supreme command of Zhukov, some 1.2 million troops launched a 4-pronged assault towards Minsk. A simultaneous assault was launched towards Lithuania.

(2) (US Universities) US Congress enacted the GI Bill of Rights (Servicemen�s Readjustment Act), providing finance for college education for millions of US War veterans.

21 June 1944, Wednesday (-321) (Germany) Berlin was heavily bombed.

20 June 1944, Tuesday (-322) (1) Perugia, Italy, taken by the Allies.

(2) The Russians attacked Finland, which had begun peace discussions with the USSR in February 1944. Russia had demanded restoration of the 1944 frontier, plus Petsamo, thus excluding Finland from the Arctic Ocean, and an indemnity of US$ 600 million, Finland�s entire national income for 1939.Finland refused such humiliating terms, and Russia attacked, capturing Viipuri this day.See 29 June 1944.

19 June 1944, Monday (-323) (1) The French retook Elba.

(2) The USA took Saipan.It took over three weeks to defeat the Japanese, at a cost of 3,000 Americans dead and 17,000 wounded; 27,000 Japanese also died.The US did not attempt to capture all Pacific islands in their path to Japan, only selected ones, leaving other heavily-armed islands to �wither on the vine�.The Japanese fought fiercely and had no fear of death; many �Banzai�-charged the US soldiers, led by officers wielding swords.

18 June 1944, Sunday (-324) (Japan) The Japanese 11th Army occupied the Chinese cities of Changsha and Chuchow.

17 June 1944. Saturday (-325) Iceland became an independent republic, after a national referendum confirmed the decision by 97.35% of votes cast.. The 25-year Union with Denmark had expired, see 1 December 1918.

16 June 1944, Friday (-326) British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden drew up a list of top German war criminals, from Hitler down.

15 June 1944. Thursday (-327) Air raids on Japan hit steel mills at Yawata.

14 June 1944, Wednesday (328) Joe Grifasi, US actor, was born.

13 June 1944. Tuesday (-329) (1) The first V-1 flying bomb, or doodlebug, to hit Britain landed on a house in Southampton, killing three people.Within 24 hours, others hit London.

(2) Fifteen US warships bombarded Saipan with 165,000 shells. Saipan, with Tinian (see 1 August 1944), was a small Pacific island halfway between Australia and Japan, occupied by the Japanese. 8,000 US marines landed on Saipan on 15 June 1944; Japanese troops hid in caves but were attacked with flame throwers. On 7 July 1944 3,000 cornered Japanese troops, along with hundreds of civilians jumped to their death rather than surrender.

12 June 1944, Monday (-330) Churchill visited the front in Normandy. The 101st American Airborne division captured the town of Carentan, which commended the Vire estuary; this closed the last gap in the Normandy beachheads, between Omaha and Utah beaches, into a single front 42 miles wide.

11 June 1944, Sunday (-331) Planes from US carrier ships softened up Saipan, Marianas Islands, prior to a US invasion.

10 June 1944. Saturday (-332) (1) Allied troops began a push towards Caen. This tied down large numbers of German troops and Hitler sent in his elite Panzer forces.

(2) Troops from the 2nd SS Panzer Division massacred 642 people in the French village of Oradour sur Glane in revenge for Resistance attacks. After the war, President De Gaulle ordered that the village be left as a ruin, as a memorial; a new village was built nearby.

(3) The USSR began an offensive against Finland.

9 June 1944, Friday (-333) Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery ordered massive air raids on German positions in northern France as the Allies advanced from Normandy. 450 Allied bombers hit towns including Lisieux and le Havre.

8 June 1944, Thursday (-334) Bayeux liberated.

7 June 1944. Wednesday (-335) King Leopold of Belgium was arrested.

6 June 1944. Tuesday (-336) D � Day. Allied forces landed in Normandy. Operation Overlord was the biggest sea-borne invasion in history. It was delayed 24 hours due to bad weather. In the early morning of Tuesday 6 June 1944 11,600 aircraft, 6,000 surface craft, and nearly 170,000 men assaulted the coast of France on a 50 mile front, and 9,000 had been killed. Men from boats joined with parachutists. By the sixth day, 326,000 Allied soldiers were in the French bridgehead. The Luftwaffe mustered 183 planes, which faced 11,000 Allied planes. The Allies had also intercepted a Luftwaffe message indicating they were critically short of aviation fuel, and Allied bombing raids were concentrated on German oil installations. Crucially for the Germans, Hitler was asleep when the D-Day landings began, at 06.35 local time, and no-one dared waken him. Extra reinforcements could not be ordered without him, and vital hours were lost by the Axis forces battling to hold Normandy. By the end of the first day, the Allies had a beachhead 25 miles long and 5 miles deep. Further initial advance was delayed by the Normandy bocage, small fields with thick hedgerows, and steep valleys and hillsides. See 15 May 1944.

5 June 1944. Monday (-337) The Caf� Gondree was the first place to be liberated from the Germans on the eve of the D-Day landings when paratroopers from the 6th Brigade dropped on the town of Benouville to seize a vital canal bridge.

4 June 1944. Sunday (-338) (1) Rome liberated by the Allies.

(2) Eisenhower decided on a 24-hour delay to D-Day due to poor weather.

3 June 1944, Saturday (-339) Hans Asperger described a form of autism that would later become known as Asperger�s Syndrome.

2 June 1944, Friday (-340) Eisenhower settled on 5 June for D-Day

1 June 1944, Thursday (-341) The BBC transmitted a coded alert to the French Resistancewarning of the D-Day landings; the message was the first verse of Paul Verlaine�s poem, Chanson D�Automne.


31 May 1944, Wednesday (-342) Allied bombs cut the communications between the German HQ in Paris and German Air Force bases at Rennes and Caen, for three crucial days. Meanwhile the Luftwaffe no longer had the resources to both bomb Britain and fight off a cross-Channel Allied attack.

30 May 1944, Tuesday (-343) US VI Corps destroyed the German defences in the Alban Hills, just south of Rome.

29 May 1944, Monday (-344) In Poznan, Himmler promised Hitler that �Before the end of the year the Jewish problem will be solved once and for all�.

28 May 1944, Sunday (-345) Second US bombing raid on 5 of Germany�s synthetic oil plants, already damaged by a raid on 12 May 1944..

27 May 1944, Saturday (-346) Due to Allied decrypting of German messages, they learnt of a major axis troop concentration at La Haye-du Puits, on the Contentin Peninsula, where the US had planned to parachute in troops. This part of the D-Day plan was therefore amended, with the scheduled date for the capture of Cherbourg put back by 7 days.

26 May 1944, Friday (-347) Allied daylight air raid on Lyon, to block German reinforcement routes from the south. 717 French civilians were killed.

25 May 1944. Thursday (-348) Tito escaped to the hills as German troops captured his Bosnian headquarters.

24 May 1944, Wednesday (-349) Hitler gave permission for Kesselring to withdraw to the Caesar Line, Italy

23 May 1944. Tuesday (-350) The Battle of Anzio, Italy. Landings by the Allies had begun at Anzio on 22 January 1944, 40 miles behind German lines and just 30 miles south of Rome. German troops in the area were sparse but rather than break out straightaway, taking advantage of the element of surprise, the Allies waited until further reinforcements came, by whichtime the Germans had brought in more troops too.

22 May 1944, Monday (-351) Successful Canadian attack on the Dora Line, Italy.

21 May 1944, Sunday (-352) The Allies launched Operation Chattanooga Choo Choo, to destroy railway engines and rolling stock across northern Europe, including Germany. This Operation was so effective that even Jews from the concentration camps were being drafted in to repair the damage.

20 May 1944, Saturday (-353) The Germans still did not know where the Allies might land in western Europe.The German Navy did not mine the Seine estuary, as Rommel wanted, nor were German troops deployed that could have covered both Normandy and Brittany, because Germany feared an Allied airborne landing around Paris.

19 May 1944, Friday (-354) US II Corps took Gaeta and Ituri, Italy.

18 May 1944. Thursday (-355) Allied troops captured Monte Casino in Italy.This opened the way to Rome.See 15 February 1944 and 4 June 1944.

17 May 1944, Wednesday (-356) US and Chinese forces seized the airfield at Myitkyina, Burma, from the Japanese. However strong Japanese resistance meant the city of Myitkyina was not captured until 3 August 1944.

16 May 1944, Tuesday (-357) Roma inmates of Auschwitz mounted a rebellion to prevent the total annihilation of them all by the Nazis.

15 May 1944. Monday (-358) (1) In St Pauls School, London, the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 were planned using a huge map of the area. 8 divisions, 5 seaborne and 3 airborne, were to be landed in the first 48 hours. The Germans had 60 divisions defending the coast of the Netherlands, Belgium and France. An elaborate deception was mounted to make Germany think Calais was the landing point with fake radio traffic, misleading reports from Nazi agents who had been �turned� to serve the Allies, and a phantom army with wooden tanks stationed in south-east England. In May 1944 Montgomery received a decode of a message from Field Marshall Rommel to Hitler saying that Allied bombing of railways in northern France was disrupting his efforts to defend the Calais area from an Allied invasion.

(2) Field Marshall Erwin Rommel attempted to cut off occupied France from neutral countries to stop information being passed out to the Allies.

14 May 1944, Sunday (-359) The last attempted air raid on Bristol. 91 bombers took part but most failed even to find the city; a few small bombs were dropped in the suburbs.

13 May 1944, Saturday (-360) At Bagneres de Bigorre, near the Pyrenees, sabotage by British and French agents put a factory producing carriers for self-propelled guns out of action for 6 months.

12 May 1944, Friday (-361) US planes launched a major attack on Germany�s synthetic oil plants, destroying 7 plants that had produced a third of Germany�s total output. Germany�s armed forces were now totally dependent on this synthetic oil to continue fighting.

11 May 1944, Thursday (-362) Heavy military barrage by Allies against Monte Cassino began, followed by an infantry attack.

10 May 1944, Wednesday (-363) Jim Abrahams, film director was born in Shorewood, Wisconsin

9 May 1944. Tuesday (-364) The Russians took Sevastopol, liberating all of the Crimea.

8 May 1944, Monday (-365) Eisenhower settled on 5, 6, or 7 June as date for the D-Day landings.

7 May 1944, Sunday (-366) (Science) Stuart Ballantine, US physicist, died in Morristown, New Jersey, USA.

6 May 1944, Saturday (-367) Rehearsals for the D-Day landings were held at Slapton Sands, Devon.

5 May 1944, |Friday (-368) The Russian attack on Sevastopol began. 25,000 Germans here surrendered on 12 May 1944. The Crimea was now clear of Axis forces.

4 May 1944, Thursday (-369) Meat rationing ended in the USA, except for certain beef cuts.

3 May 1944, Wednesday (-370) Spain agreed to cut tungsten supplies to Germany in return for US oil supplies.

2 May 1944, Tuesday (-371) A Daily Telegrah crossword caused a major military seciurity scare and nearly resulted in the cancellation of the D-Day Normandy landings. A crossword compiler, a 54 year old teacher from leatherhead, had given cluses whose solutiuons were Overlord, Omaha and Utah. MI5 immediately apprehended him as a possible German spy. It emerged that loose-lipped US and Canadian soldiers had chatted to schoolboys and used these words.

1 May 1944, Monday (-372) US attack on Japanese planes at Truk destroyed about 120 of them, half whilst still on the ground, in a 2-day assault.


30 April 1944, Sunday (-373) Pre-fabricated houses went on show in London. 500,000 of them were planned as temporary housing for those who had lost their homes to Luftwaffe bombs.

29 April 1944, Saturday (-374) Aircraft from carrier ships destroyed the Japanese base at Truk, Caroline Islands.

28 April 1944, Friday (-375) Second US attack on Truk in 10 weeks. 30 IUs aircraft were shot down but 25 of the pilots were rescued. However the Japanese fuel and ammunition depots were destroyed, making any Japanese flank attack on western New Guinea impossible,

27 April 1944, Thursday (-376) Michael Fish, meteorologist, was born.

26 April 1944, Wednesday (-377) The Allies, in the Dutch colonial town of Hollandia, New Guinea, were constructing new docks and airfields, as a base to drive the Japanese out of New Guinea and then attack the Philippines.

25 April 1944, Tuesday (-378) Japanese forces attacked Loyang, Honan Province, China.

24 April 1944, Monday (-379) The Japanese evacuated New Guinea as US troops landed.

23 April 1944, Sunday (-380) Hollandia, New Guinea, fell to the Americans without much fighting.

22 April 1944, Saturday (-381) The US launched Operation Persecution, attacking the Japanese on the north coast of New Guinea.

21 April 1944, Friday (-382) In France, women got equal voting rights with men.

20 April 1944. Thursday (-383) The RAF set a new bombing record. 4,500 tons of bombs were dropped in a single raid, on Hitler�s 55th birthday.

19 April 1944, Wednesday (-384) The RAF bombed railways and river bridges in France.

18 April 1944, Tuesday (-385) (Japan) The 5th Brigade attacked Japanese defences near Kohima.

17 April 1944, Monday (-386) Zhukov captured Ternupol, Ukraine.

16 April 1944, Sunday (-387) Soviet forces cleared out the last pockets of German resistance at Yalta.

15 April 1944, Saturday (-388) The US began devising Operation Wed;lock, a spurious plan to attack the Kurile Islands, northern Japan. This was a diversionary tactic.
14 April 1944, Friday (-389) (Japan) British forces overcame a Japanese roadblock near Zubza, western Kohima trail, relieving the besieged 161st Indian Brigade.

13 April 1944, Thursday (-390) The Russian army took Simferopol, capital of Crimea.

12 April 1944, Wednesday (-391) (Japan) Japanese forces cut the road between Kohima and Imphal.

11 April 1944, Tuesday (-392) The USSR regained Odessa.

10 April 1944, Monday (-393) US aircraft attacked German shore batteries along the Normandy coast.

9 April 1944, Sunday (-394) Easter Sunday. General Charles De Gaulle became commander in chief of the Free French forces. This angered his rival for the post, World War veteran General Henri Giraud. De Gaulle fled France for Britain in 1940.

8 April 1944, Saturday (-395) Russia began on offensive to evict the Germans from Crimea, the last part of pre-War Russia they still occupied.

7 April 1944, Friday (-396) Hitler suspended all laws in Berlin and made Goebbels dictator of the city.

6 April 1944, Thursday (-397) In the UK, PAYE (pay as you earn) Income Tax began.

5 April 1944, Wednesday (-398) The Germans began deporting Jews from Hungary.

4 April 1944, Tuesday (-399) On the Eastern Front, a counterattack by the German 4th Panzer Army captured Kovel.

3 April 1944, Monday (-400) British aircraft bombed the German battleship Tirpitz, damaging her but failing to sink her.

2 April 1944, Sunday (-401) USSR troops crossed the Romanian frontier.

1 April 1944, Saturday (-402) Many German troops were surrounded in the eastern Galician town of Skala. Over the next 9 days, 26,000 of them were killed.


31 March 1944, Friday (-403) The Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front took Ochakov.

30 March 1944, Thursday (-404) Soviet forces were now within 16 miles of the Hungarian frontier.

29 March 1944, Wednesday (-405) Soviet forces took Kolomyja, a town inside �Greater Germany�.

28 March 1944, Tuesday (-406) The 1st Panzer Army was trapped by Zhukov and Koniev.

27 March 1944, Monday (-407) (Germany) Germany poured massive reinforcements into Hungary as the Russians approached.

26 March 1944, Sunday (-408) In Greece ELAS, Communist, setup a Committee of Liberation.

25 March 1944, Saturday (-409) German army commander, Von Manstein, leader of Army Group South, successfully argued with Hitler that the 1st Panzer Army must be allowed to retreat to avoid a Soviet encirclement south-east of Tarnopol. Von Manstein was a much better strategist than Hitler, and was never afraid to argue persuasively and strongly with the Fuhrer when necessary. However Von Manstein was replaced by Field Marshal Model. Army Groups South and A were renamed, respectively, Army Groups Northern and Southern Ukraine; an ironic move given that by now very little of the Ukraine remained under German occupation.

24 March 1944, Friday (-410) Orde Wingate, British Army Commander who created and led the Chindits in Burma, was killed in a plane crash in the rainforest in Assam. The Chindits, from the Burmese for �mighty lion� struck deep behind Japanese lines, destroying railways and bridges.

23 March 1944, Thursday (-411) A bomb planted by Italian partisans killed 33 members of the SS in Rome

22 March 1944, Wednesday (-412) Heavy air raid on Frankfurt. 816 British planes dropped over 3,000 bombs and 1.2 million incendiaries in less than 1 hour.

21 March 1944, Tuesday (-413) Hilary Minster, actor, was born in Surrey, England (died 1999);

20 March 1944, Monday (-414) Soviet forces took Vinnitsa, on the Southern Bug, and crossed the Dniester north of Kishinev,

19 March 1944, Sunday (-415) (Germany) Germany began a direct occupation of its ally, Hungary, as Soviet forces advanced towards the Danube Plain. Hungarian oil was vital for Germany, and Hitler was alarmed at reports that Admiral Horthy, Hungarian Regent, was intending to surrender to the Russians as soon as they crossed the border into Hungary.

18 March 1944, Saturday (-416) The Soviets took Zhmerynka, central Ukraine.

17 March 1944, Friday (-417) Soviet forces entered the railway junction town of Dubno, 25 miles inside Poland and only 170 miles from Hungary.

16 March 1944, Thursday (-418) Rick Renick: US baseball player, was born.

15 March 1944, Wednesday (-419) Heavy air raids against the ancient monastery at Casino by the Allies.

14 March 1944, Tuesday (-420) Heavy German air raid on London, with 100 Luftwaffe bombers.

13 March 1944, Monday (-421) Kherson retaken by Russia.

12 March 1944. Sunday (-422) The UK government banned all travel between Britain and Ireland to prevent Normandy invasion plans being passed to pro-German spies in Ireland.

11 March 1944, Saturday (-423) The Irish prime Minister, Eamon de Valera, refused to comply with a US request to close the German and Japanese Embassies in Dublin, to prevent possible transmission of military intelligence.

10 March 1944, Friday (-424) The anti-malarial drug quinine was discovered by Robert Edward and William van Eggers.

9 March 1944, Thursday (-425) The U.S. 5th Marine Regiment took Talasea in New Britain unopposed.

8 March 1944, Wednesday (-426) 9,000 Welsh miners went on strike over pay differentials; the government met their demands.

7 March 1944, Tuesday (-427) Japan launched an offensive from Burma into India.

6 March 1944. Monday (-428) US planes began daylight bombing raids on Berlin, flying from bases in Britain.

5 March 1944. Sunday (-429) US troops under Stilwell defeated the Japanese 18th Division at Maingkwan and Walawbaum, Burma.

4 March 1944, Saturday (-430) First US Air Force daylight raid on Berlin. 80 of 600 bombers were lost.

3 March 1944, Friday (-431) Some 6 million workers in northern Italy were on strike against harsh Nazi rule and work conditions.

2 March 1944, Thursday(-432) The Allies stopped Lend-Lease to Turkey because of its reluctance to help the Allied war effort.

1 March 1944, Wednesday (-433) Roger Daltry, rock singer, was born.


29 February 1944. Tuesday (-434) US troops landed at Los Negros in the Admiralty Islands.

28 February 1944, Monday (-435) Josef Maier, West German footballer, was born.

27 February 1944, Sunday (-436) The Battle of the Green Islands in the Solomon Islands ended in Allied victory.

26 February 1944, Saturday (-437) (Finland) The Finnish capital, Helsinki, was devastated in a 12-hour air raid by 600 Soviet bombers.

25 February 1944, Friday (-438) Francois Cevert, racing driver, was born in Paris, France (died 1973)

24 February 1944, Thursday (-439) (Finland) Finnish Prime Minister, Risto Ryti, made peace approaches to the USSR.

23 February 1944, Wednesday (-440) Leo Hendrik Baekeland, Belgian-born American chemist, inventor of a plastic called Bakelite, died.

22 February 1944, Tuesday (-441) Krivoi Rog retaken by Russia.

21 February 1944. Monday (-442) Hideki Tojo became Chief of Staff of the Japanese Army.

20 February 1944, Sunday (-443) Saboteurs blew up a ship on Lake Tinnsjo, Norway, which was carrying heavy water for use in a Nazi atomic research facility.

19 February 1944, Saturday (-444) (Japan) The US Submarine Jack attacked a Japanese convoy 428 km west of Luzon, sinking four vessels.

18 February 1944, Friday (-445) (France) The RAF raided Amiens prison, where many French Resistance fighters were being held. They succeeded in bringing down the prison walls, and although 56 Resistance were shot by guards, 258 more escaped. They had faced execution the next day.

17 February 1944, Thursday (-446) In the UK, the White Paper on the National Health Service was published. The Education Bill was also published, raising the school leaving age to 15, see 30 December 1938. Also, fre secondary education was provided for all children up to age 15, divided into grammar schools, technical schools and secondary modern schools, selection for these by an 11-plus examination. Primary education was divided into infant and junior schools. Schools would provide free milk, subsidised meals, and free dental and medical examinations. There was provision for raising the school leaving age to 16; this was implemented in 1973.

16 February 1944, Wednesday (-447) Major counter attack by von Mackensen against the Allied Anzio beachhead.

15 February 1944, Tuesday (-448) (1) Casino monastery bombed by the Allies.The monastery, founded in 529 AD by St Benedict, occupied a strategic position at the entrance to the Liri valley and the route to Rome.See 18 May 1944.

(2) The US cleared the Solomon Islands of Japanese forces.

14 February 1944, Monday (-449) Carl Bernstein, the journalist who exposed the Watergate scandal along with Bob Woodward, was born.

13 February 1944. Sunday (-450) The Allies dropped weapons for the French Resistance in Haut-Savoie.

12 February 1944, Saturday (-451) Luga was recaptured by the Russians.

11 February 1944, Friday (-452) The Soviets announced the recapture of Shepetovka.

10 February 1944, Thursday (-453) Peter Allen, musician, was born

9 February 1944, Wednesday (-454) Alice Walker, African-American author and social activist, was born.

8 February 1944, Tuesday (-455) The 3rd Ukranian Front captured Nikopol, whiuch had been a key centre of manganese production for the Germans.

7 February 1944, Monday (-456) Hitler ordered the German forces trapped by the Soviets in the Korsun pocket to attempt a break-out.

6 February 1944, Sunday (-457) The Japanese launched a counter-offensive in the Arakan, Burma, named Ha-Go. This offensive ceased on 26 February 1944.

5 February 1944, Saturday (-458) The first Chindit Brigade, 16th, set off from Ledo on foot.

4 February 1944, Friday (-459) US warships shelled the Japanese homeland; the island of Paramishu.

3 February 1944, Thursday (-460) Germans reopened an offensive against the Anzio beach head.

2 February 1944, Wednesday (-461) The Battle of Narva began on the Eastern Front.

1 February 1944, Tuesday (-462) In New York, the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian died, aged 71.


31 January 1944, Monday (-463) (Japan) US forces made major amphibious landings on the Marshall Islands.

30 January 1944, Sunday (-464) The Brazzaville Conference; French colonial governors met in Brazzaville, capitalof French Equatorial Africa, to set out post-war relations between France and her African colonies. Further integration between France and the colonies was anticipated, rather than eventual independence.

29 January 1944, Saturday (-465) Battle of Cisterna in central Italy.

28 January 1944, Friday (-466) Von Kuechler, on his own initiative, withdrew his 18th Army to the River Luga, Russian Front. He was dismissed from his command the next day and replaced by Walther Model.

27 January 1944, Thursday (-467) Russia announced the complete lifting of the 2-year blockade against Leningrad.The Leningrad to Moscow railway reopened.

26 January 1944, Wednesday (-468) (Argentina) Argentina, under pressure from the United States, severed diplomatic relations with Germany.

25 January 1944, Tuesday (-469) In Macao the Reverend Florence Tim-Oi Lee became the first woman Anglican Priest.

24 January 1944, Monday (-470) The French Expeditionary Force attacked across the Rapido River, Italy. They enjoyed initial success but then the Germans halted them just short of Monte Casino.

23 January 1944. Sunday (-471) Death of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.

22 January 1944. Saturday (-472) The Allies landed at Anzio, Italy.Anzio was over 60 miles behind German lines and only 35 miles from Rome. The Allies found the town deserted; the Italians had evacuated the place and the German army had moved elsewhere. 50,000 Allied troops and 3,000 vehicles were put ashore with only 13 casualties, from mines. Initially the Germans were taken by surprise but rushed troops to the area to contain the bridgehead, which did not rejoin Allied forces until May 1944 with the general retreat of the Germans north of Rome.Anzio made it impossible for Kesselring to establish a German defensive line south of Rome.

21 January 1944, Friday (-473) The Luftwaffe resumed bombing raids on London, after a lull of over two years. 268 tons of bombs were dropped, followed by a similar raid a week later.

20 January 1944, Thursday (-474) (1) Russia recaptured Novogorod.

(2) The RAF dropped 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.

19 January 1944, Wednesday (-475) US air raid on Japanese air base at Truk, Caroline Islands.

18 January 1944, Tuesday (-476) The first batch of UK conscripts to be sent down the mines, nicknamed �Bevin Boys�, began their training. See 2 December 1943.

17 January 1944, Monday (-477) British troops crossed the Garigliano River, Italy.

16 January 1944, Sunday (-478) General Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe.

15 January 1944, Saturday (-479) Major earthquake hit San Juan province, Argentina.

14 January 1944, Friday (-480) (Germany) German Army Group North was overwhelmed by a new Soviet offensive on the entire Leningrad, Volkhov and 2nd Baltic Fronts.

13 January 1944, Thursday (-481) Johnny Noble, Hawaiian composer, died in Manoa (born 17 September 1892 in Honolulu)

12 January 1944, Wednesday (-482) Allied troops in Italy launched an attack on Monte Cassino, but the determined German defence and bad winter weather made the town impossible to capture.

11 January 1944, Tuesday (-483) The Moroccan Nationalist Movement released the Proclamation of Independence, a manifesto demanding full independence from France, Spain, and the international legislative body governing Tangier; national reunification; and a democratic constitution.

10 January 1944. Monday (-484) Mussolini�s son in law was sentenced to death for treason.

9 January 1944, Sunday (-485) The XV Indian Corps occupied Maungdaw, Burma.

8 January 1944, Saturday (-486) Field Marshal Maitland Wilson succeeded Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean.

7 January 1944, Friday (-487) The Red Army took Klesov, near Rovno.

6 January 1944, Thursday (-488) Bonnie Franklin, actress, was born.

5 January 1944, Wednesday (-489) Konev�s 2nd Ukrainian Front launched an attack designed to trap the German 8th Army on the Dnieper.

4 January 1944. Tuesday (-490) Hitler ordered the mobilisation of all children over the age of ten. On this day Soviet forces crossed the pre-war frontier from Russia into Poland at Rokitno. Hitler, anticipating an Allied attack on France, was keen to hold the northern French and Belgian coasts, so as to be able to launch the V weapons against Britain, even if this meant some territorial losses in the east.

3 January 1944, Monday (-491) Soviet forces reached Olevsk, just 11 miles from the pre-war Polish border, and 280 miles from East Prussia.

2 January 1944, Sunday (-492) US forces launched Operation Dexterity, a seaborne assault on the Japanese stronghold of Saidor, New Guinea. The fort was captured; 1,275 Japanese were killed, against 55 US troops.

1 January 1944, Saturday (-493) In the UK, the Abbey National Building Society was formed from a merger of the Abbey Road Building Society (founded 1874 in Abbey Road, London) and the National Building Society (founded 1849).


31 December 1943, Friday (-494) Penicillin was finally in common usage in hospitals, its development having been delayed by the War. Its first successful use had been on 13 February 1941. Another �wonder drug�, sulphonamide, was also useful against infections.

30 December 1943, Thursday (-494) Von Kuechler asked Hitler�s permission to withdraw to the Panther Line, prior to an anticipated Russian offensive. Hitler refused, because General Georg Lindemann, Commander of the 18th Army, was confident of holding his present position, and because to withdraw would isolate Finland and make it leave the War.

29 December 1943, Wednesday (-496) Bombing of Berlin resumed after a Christmas halt, in one of the heaviest raids by the Royal Air Force up to that time, dropping incendiaries through a thick layer of clouds during a night-time attack.

28 December 1943, Tuesday (-497) Allied troops landed at Ortona, east coast of Italy.

27 December 1943, Monday (-498) Rupert Julian, New Zealand-born film director and actor, died aged 64.

26 December 1943. Sunday (-499) The German battleship Scharnhorst was sunk by the Royal Navy off the North Cape.

25 December 1943, Saturday (+500) Soviet troops cut the Vitebsk to Polotsk railway, which was a key German supply route.

24 December 1943, Friday (-501) British bombing raid on Berlin.

23 December 1943, Thursday (-502) In Algiers, General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, pro-Allied, took command of the French 1st Army.

22 December 1943. Wednesday (-503) The author Beatrix Potter died aged 77. The UK government announced there were only enough turkeys left for one in ten families.

21 December 1943, Tuesday (-504) In Bolivia, President Enrique Penaranda was deposed. Penaranda had declared war on the Axis powers in Europe in April 1943, and Bolivian tin was vital to the War effort. However in December 1943 a group of dissident Army Officers, led by Colonel Gualberto Villaroel, and backed by the Arhgentine Government and by German agents in Biuenos Aires, deposed Penaranda. The USA initially refused to recognise Villaroel as Bolivian President but later did so when he agreed co-operate with the Allies. However see 17 July 1946.

20 December 1943, Monday (-505) Japanese attack on the Arawe beachhesad, New Guinea.

19 December 1943. Sunday (-506) At the first war crimes trial, in the USSR, three Germans were found guilty of atrocities and hanged at Kharkov.

18 December 1943, Saturday (-507) Keith Richards, musician, was born.

17 December 1943, Friday (-508) (1) (Rail Tunnels), The Kvineshei rail tunnel, Norway, 9.064 km long, opened. The Haegebostad Tunnel, 8.474 km long, opened. The Gyland rail tunnel, Norway, 5.5 km long, opened.

(2) (USA) US President Roosevelt repealed the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882 and 1902, and signed the Chinese Act. This made Chinese residents of the US eligible for naturalisation, and allowed an annual immigration of 105 Chinese.

16 December 1943, Thursday (-509) RAF bomber raid on the V-weapons sites in France. The raid was not a success.

15 December 1943, Wednesday (-510) US jazz musician Fats Waller died.

14 December 1943, Tuesday (-511) Soviet forces retook Cherkassy on the west bank of the Dneiper and launched a new offensive on the Nevel Salient., However the Germand retook Radomyshl. The Germans at Cherkassy had been weakened by Manstein transferring tanks to a renewed attempt on Kiev.

13 December 1943, Monday (-512) 710 US bomber planes made raids on Bremen and Kiel.

12 December 1943, Sunday (-513) Rommel was appointed Commander in Chief, Army Group B. Under von Rundstedt, Rommel was tasked with coastal defence from Holland down to the Bay of Biscay. He immediately organised a major strengthening of coastal defences.

11 December 1943, Fighter planes protecting Allied bombers now carried �drop tanks�, 75 gallon auxiliary fuel tanks trapped to the side that could be jettisoned when empty. This extended the fighter flying range 9at a small cost of extra drag); previously, fighters often had had to turn back and leave the bombers unescorted for the last part of the mission, the most hazardous.

10 December 1943, Friday (-515) Soviet forces took Znamenka, central Ukraine.

9 December 1943, Thursday (-516) The US military opened an airfield on Bougainville.

8 December 1943, Wednesday (-517) In New Guinea, Australian troops took Wareo, and advanced towards Wandokai and Sio.

7 December 1943, Tuesday (-518) The Battle for San Pietro, Italy began (to 17 December). The Allies did take the village but suffered 1,500 casualties in doing so.

6 December 1943, Monday (-519) Roosevelt appointed Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander for Overlord, the invasion of France from Normandy.

5 December 1943, Sunday (-520) Italian Jews were interned for the first time at the Fossoli di Carpi concentration camp.

4 December 1943, Saturday (-521) Allied leaders tried to persuade Turkish Prime Minister Ismet Ionu to join the War. Turkey however, being weak, feared a German invasion if it did so, and he only gave a vague promise to possibly allow British aircraft to operate from Turkish bases.

3 December 1943, Friday (-522) Colin Dixon, rugby player, was born in Cardiff.

2 December 1943, Thursday (-523) Britain was running out of manpower. The number of registered unemployed, 1,250,000 in 1939, was now just 60,000, and the conscription age was now from 18 to 51. Conscription of women had also been extended upwards from those in their 20s to those in their 50s, although they could choose between armed forces or factory work.

1 December 1943, Wednesday (-524) The Cairo Declaration, issued by the USA, UK, and China, pledged independence for Korea �in due course�. The provisional Korean government in exile, in Chungking, south west China, asked for clarification of this vague phrase, but received none.


30 November 1943, Tuesday (-525) Oscar Harris, Surinamese singer, was born.

29 November 1943, Monday (-526) The Jacje Congress began (ended 30 November 1943). Delegates from various regions of Yugoslavia met in the Bosnian town of Jacje, which had been taken by Tito�s partisans from the Nazis in September 1942. The Congress was organised by the AVNOJ (Anti-Fascist National Liberation Committee), and decided on various aspects of Yugoslavia�s post war governance and leadership.

28 November 1943. Sunday (-527) The main Allied leaders, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, all met in Tehran. Co-ordinating the Normandy landings with a Russian attack on the eastern front was discussed, also a Russian attack on Japan, and a post-war United Nations Organisation. All agreed that the USSR could have eastern Poland as far west as the Curzon line, and Poland would be compensated with lands in eastern Germany. This was confirmed at the Yalta Conference of 4 � 11 February 1945.

27 November 1943, Saturday (-528) The Tosya�Ladik earthquake in Turkey killed thousands.

26 November 1943, Friday (-529) German forces made further gains against Russia in the Kiev area but this day the rains began and the German thrust ground to a halt.

25 November 1943, Thursday (-530) US bombers attacked Shinchiku Airfield, Formosa.

24 November 1943, Wednesday (-531) Robin Williamson, musician, was born in Glasgow

23 November 1943. Tuesday (-532) (1) Berlin TV ceased broadcasting altogether after Allied bombers scored a direct hit on the transmitter. Unlike in the UK, German TV had continued throughout the War, but restricted to 2 or 3 hours in the afternoon and a further 2 hours in the evening from 8 � 10pm. As Allied bombing raids intensified, the evening 2-hour slot was gradually brought forward, to 6-8pm, so Berliners could be in their shelters after dinner.

(2) US forces retook Makin in the Gilbert Islands.

22 November 1943, Monday (-533) A major RAF raid on Berlin destroyed the armaments ministry, the Charlottenburg Palace, and the British Embassy.A church at the end of the Kurfurstendamm, the main shopping street in Berlin, was also destroyed, but its bell tower was rebuilt as a landmark in post-War Berlin.

21 November 1943, Monday (-534) Churchill arrived in Cairo for an Allied leaders Conference. Also there were Roosevelt and Chiang Kai Shek.

20 November 1943. Saturday (-535) Oswald Moseley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, was released from gaol on grounds of ill-health. The UK Labour Party protested.

19 November 1943, Friday (-536) British airfields used FIDO (Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation) to clear fog from runways (by burning fuel at the side of the runway to warm the air and evaporate the fog droplets).FIDO was used this day to help bombers returning from the Ruhr.

18 November 1943, Thursday (-537) German forces retook Zhitomir.

17 November 1943, Wednesday (-538) Australain tanks attacked the Japanese at Sattelberg, New Guinea.

16 November 1943, Tuesday (-539) (Germany) US 8th Army Air Force bombers attacked the German heavy water plant at Vermork, Norway. This was a vital centre for Germany�s atomic weapons programme.

15 November 1943, Monday (-540) (Germany) The Nazis extended their extermination policies from the Jews to the Romany. Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, ordered all Romany to be sent to the concentration camps.

14 November 1943, Sunday (-541) Susan Lydon, writer, was born (died 15 July 2005)

13 November 1943, Saturday (-542) The Allies officially recognised Italy as a �co-belligerent�, in other wordsas having changed sides.

12 November 1943, Friday (-543) The Russians took Zhitomir.

11 November 1943. Thursday (-544) French troops arrested the Lebanese government after it declared itself independent.

10 November 1943, Wednesday (-545) The Allied Gilbert islands invasion fleet sailed from Pearl Harbour.

9 November 1943, Tuesday (-546) Soviet troops retook the western Ukrainian town of Zhitomir, just 75 miles from the pre-War Polish frontier

8 November 1943, Monday (-547) Montgomery�s forces in Italy approached the River Sangro.

7 November 1943, Sunday (-548) Japanese counter attack at Bougainville.

6 November 1943. Saturday (-549) Russian troops retook Kiev. The Soviets now had a large numerical advantage over the Germans, with 6.5 million men against 4.3 million, 5,600 tanks against the Germans� 2,600, 90,00o guns against 54,000 and 8,800 aircraft against 3,000 Luftwaffe. The Russians had ramped up military production from areas far behind the front lines. Russian military hardware, once inferior in quality to the German weaponry, now matched it. Also, Russian commanders had learned new tactics, and the Russian soldier was noted for their fortitude sand perseverance.

5 November 1943, Friday (-550) Allied planes accidentally bombed The Vatican; there were no casualties.

4 November 1943, Thursday (-551) The British Eighth Army in Italy captured Isernia and San Salvo Ridge as the Germans withdrew to the Sangro.

3 November 1943. Wednesday (-552) US miners ended a 6 month strike.

2 November 1943, Tuesday (-553) Allied air raid on the Me109 factory at Wiener-Neustadt. Considerable damage was done but 11 out of 110 bombers were lost.

1 November 1943, Monday (-554) (1) Russians cut off the Germans who were attempting to retreat from the Crimea.

(2) US forces retook Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands.


31 October 1943, Sunday (-555) Soviet forces captured Chaplinka, 24km north of |Perekop, Crimea. This cut the German supply lines to their forces in Crimea.

30 October 1943, Saturday (-556) The Big Three Allied powers, the UK, USA and USSR, warned Germany of their intention to hold War Crimes trials after the war.

29 October 1943, Friday (-557) London dock workers went on strike. Soldiers moved in to do the work.

28 October 1943. Thursday (-558) The UK Court of Appeal ruled that money saved from the housekeeping by a wife belonged to the husband.

27 October 1943, Wednesday (-559) New Zealand troops landed on Stirling Island, central Solomons, unopposed.

26 October 1943, Tuesday (-560) In Kolkata, India, a cholaera epidemic had killed 2,155 people in the last week.

25 October 1943, Monday (-561) Japan celebrated the completion of the Burma-Thailand railway. Of the 46,000 Allied PoWs forced to work on it, 16,000 had died of starvation, disease and maltreatment. 50,000 Burmese labourers had also died during its completion.

24 October 1943, Sunday (-562) In Italy, the US 5th Army captured Sant�Angelo, off Naples.

23 October 1943, Saturday (-563) The Russians captured Dnepropetrovsk.

22 October 1943, Friday (-564) Heavy British air raid on the German city of Kassel, destroying German air craft and rocket manufacturing facilities.

21 October 1943, Thursday (-565) In Japanese-occupied Singapore, Subhas Chandra Bose, Indian Axis collaborator, announced the �provisional government of Azad Hind (Free India). This day Japan also announced the �independence� of The Philippines.

20 October 1943, Wednesday (-566) The United Nations War Crimes Commission was formed.

19 October 1943. Tuesday (-567) Italian troops began to help Tito�s partisans in their fight against the Germans.

18 October 1943, Monday (-568) Soviet troops reached Melitopol, SE Ukraine.

17 October 1943, Sunday (-569) The US submarine Tarpon sank the Michel, the last operational armed German merchant ship, off Japan.

16 October 1943, Saturday (-570) (Jewish, Germany) Nazi German forces began to round up Jews from Rome for deportation to the death camps. 1,200 Jews were deported, of whom only 15 survived the War. However Giovanni Borromeo, head of the Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Rome, rapidly admitted many Jews and other anti-fascists with so-called K Syndrome. The Nazis took this to mean Koch Syndrome (tuberculosis) and feared to enter the hospital, on an island in the Tiber, saving many from the Nazi extermination camps.

15 October 1943, Friday (-571) Allied orders for the invasion of the northern Solomons were issued. Japanese aircraft attacked Allied positions in Oro Bay.

14 October 1943, Thursday (-572) US bombers mounted a raid on the German ball bearings factory at Schweinfurt. However little damage was done but US losses were heavy. 60 bombers out of 291 were lost.

13 October 1943. Wednesday (-573) Italy changed sides and declared war on Germany. See 8 September 1943.

12 October 1943, Tuesday (-574) (Portugal) Allied forces landed in the Azores, a possession of Portugal. Portugal had hitherto remained neutral in the War, mindful of the proximity of Franco�s Spain, but Dr Salazar, Portuguese leader, now believed an Axis defeat was inevitable. The Azores would be very useful as a base for aerial protection of Allied convoys crossing the Atlantic. The German Consulate in the Azores was now closed down and all German citizens evacuated; only the Portuguese mainland German Consulate remained open.

11 October 1943, Monday (-575) The codename Mulberry was chosen for the artificial harbours to be used in Overlord, the Allied landings in Normandy.

10 October 1943, Sunday (-576) US Flying Fortress aircraft bombed the islands of Crete and Rhodes.

9 October 1943, Saturday (-577) The last of the German forces was evacuated across the Kerch Straits into the Crimea.

8 October 1943, Friday (-578) Chevy Chase, actor, was born.

7 October 1943, Thursday (-579) Russian forces crossed the Dnieper River.

6 October 1943, Wednesday (-580) US forces landed unopposed on the central Solomon Island of Kolombangara.

5 October 1943, Tuesday (-581) Thomas Newman, billiards champion, died.

4 October 1943. Monday (-582) Allied troops occupied Corsica, the first part of France to be liberated.

3 October 1943, Sunday (-583) SS General Dr. Werner Best declared Denmark to be �judenfrei�, although most of the nation's Jews had learned of the impending mass arrests and were in hiding, awaiting the chance to flee to Sweden.

2 October 1943, Saturday (-584) A Japanese counter attack in New Guinea was beaten off by Australian forces.

1 October 1943, Friday (-585) Hitler ordered that all Danish Jews be arrested and deported. However the Danes largely thwarted this move, see 9 April 1940, and 28 September 1943.


30 September 1943. Thursday (-586) Allied troops entered Naples.

29 September 1943. Wednesday (-587) (1) In a decisive battle, which lasted until 4 October 1943, French forces, together with Italians, fought the Germans and forced them to evacuate Corsica.The Germans retreated to mainland France and the Italians moved to Sardinia.

(2) Polish leader Lech Walesa was born in Popovo, the son of a carpenter.

28 September 1943, Tuesday (-588) Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, a German diplomat in Nazi-occupied Denmark, secretly warned leaders of the Danish resistance of an order from Berlin for the arrest and deportation of the Kingdom's Jewish citizens, to begin on October 1. Over the next two weeks, Danish residents helped most of the nation's 8,000 Jews elude capture; Denmark's fishermen used their boats to ferry 7,200 people to neutral Sweden.

27 September 1943, Monday (-589) Citizens of Naples revolted against the Germans after German soldiers looted a shop in the city centre.

26 September 1943, Sunday (-590) Ian Chappell, cricketer, was born.

25 September 1943. Saturday (-591) The USSR retook Smolensk.

24 September 1943, Friday (-592) Repairs were finished on the M�hne river dam, which had been heavily damaged in a British bombing raid on May 16; the Edersee Dam, which had been bombed in the same raid, was restored to full operation six days later.

23 September 1943, Thursday (-593) The German battleship Tirpitz was severely damaged and disabled.

22 September 1943. Wednesday (-594) UK government announced that P.A.Y.E. was to begin in April 1944. Income tax collection needed reform after the number of manual workers paying it rose from 1 million in 1939 to 7 million in 1943. Deduction from pay packets based on the previous year�s earnings was considered, but that could cause hardship if overtime fell. The solution was to deduct tax at wage payment each week.

21 September 1943, Tuesday (-595) The Soviet 43rd Army captured Demidov.

20 September 1943. Monday (-596) Allies attacked Naples.

19 September 1943, Sunday (-597) Germany evacuated Sardinia.

18 September 1943, Saturday (-598) Mass deportations began of French Jews in Paris, with 1,150 being shipped in railroad freight cars to the Buchenwald concentration camp.

17 September 1943, Friday (-599) Briansk retaken by Russia.

16 September 1943, Thursday (-600) Novorossisk retaken by Russia.

15 September 1943, Wednesday (-601) (Italy, France-Germany) Three days after freed from imprisonment by Germany, and seven weeks after his overthrow in July, Benito Mussolini was restored to leadership of Italy by the Nazi occupiers; German paratroopers also landed in St. Peter's Square at Vatican City in Rome, despite the Vatican's neutrality in the war Mussolini made his announcement of a return to power from Adolf Hitler's headquarters at Rastenburg.

14 September 1943. Tuesday (-602) Yugoslav partisans were advancing along the Dalmatian coast, and Allied officers had reached Tito. Allied troops landed at Bari, SE Italy.

13 September 1943, Monday (-603) (1), Free French forces attacked the German and Italians on Corsica, see 29 September 1943.

(2) Chiang Kai Shek was elected President of China.

12 September 1943. Sunday (-604) Mussolini was rescued from prison by the Germans.

11 September 1943, Saturday (-605) (Italy, France-Germany) German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring declared that all Italian territory was under German military control, which former dictator Benito Mussolini would later describe as reducing Italy to the status of a German "colony". Adolf Hitler ordered that the occupied Italian territory be divided into three zones, with the area around Rome extending south toward the front lines against the Allies, the Alpine mountain region ("Alpenvorland") and the coast along the Adriatic Sea ("Adriatische Kusterland"). Hitler also issued orders to deal with any Italian military units that had gone over to fight for the Allies, with all officers to be executed, and soldiers and non-combatants to be deported to Germany as labourers.

10 September 1943. Friday (-606) (1) German troops occupied Rome.

(2) Allied troops took Tarantino, Italy.

9 September 1943. Thursday (-607) (Italy, Germany) Allied forces landed at Salerno, Italy. King Umberto of Italy left Rome and fled to Brindisi in the south. This was seen as an abandonment by many Italians and contributed to the conversion of the country to a Republic in 1946.

8 September 1943. Wednesday (-608) The Italian Prime Minister, Badoglio and King Victor Emmanuel agreed to Italy�s unconditional surrender to the Allies (see 25 July 1943, and 13 October 1943).

7 September 1943, Tuesday (-609) (1) (Italy, Germany) Suspecting that Italy was about to make peace with the Allies, German troops quickly occupied Italy, especially its airfields, to forestall a complete Allied possession of the country. However the entire Italian navy escaped to Malta, thereby freeing up Allied ships for combat in the Pacific or Atlantic.

(2) German troops began a retreat from the Ukraine.

6 September 1943, Monday (-610) The railway junction of Konotop fell to the Soviet 60th Army.

5 September 1943, Sunday (-611) US and Australian troops seized Nazdab, New Guinea, where an airstrip was quickly built to facilitate an assault on Lae.

4 September 1943, Saturday (-612) British troops, under the command of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, captured the Italian ports of Reggio Calabria and San Giovanni di Gerace.

3 September 1943. Friday (-613) Allied troops landed on the Italian mainland, in the province of Calabria. See 25 July 1943.

2 September 1943. Thursday (-614) Inmates of the concentration camps in Poland were being used for medical experiments.

1 September 1943, Wednesday (-615) Minami-Tori-shima, a Japanese coral atoll that included an airstrip, located approximately 1,600 km from Tokyo, was attacked by the US in the first successful strike of the new Fast Carrier Task Force.


31 August 1943, Tuesday (-616) Gustav Bachmann, German World War I Admiral, died aged 83.

30 August 1943, Monday (-617) Taganrog retaken by Russia.

29 August 1943, Sunday (-618) The Nazis occupying Denmark dismissed the Danish Government, following extensive strike action and acts of sabotage against the Germans. In response the Danes formed the Frihedsrad (Free Council) in order to coordinate and escalate resistance activity. It commanded a Danish Resistance Army of some 43,000 men; several of its members held government positions in the post-war Danish Government from 1945.

28 August 1943, Saturday (-619) Boris III, Tsar of Bulgaria, died.

27 August 1943, Friday (-620) Hitler visited Army Group South on the eastern Front. Von Manstein said Hitler could either quickly reinforce Army group South or agree a withdrawal across the River Dnieper. Hitler, preoccupied with the Allied threat in the Mediterranean, did not make a decision. Matters for von Manstein became even worse a few days later when von Kluge flew to Hitler�s HQ at Rastenburg and dissuaded him from transferring troops from Army Group Centre to Army Group South.

26 August 1943, Thursday (-621) Soviet attacks in the Donetsk area continued.

25 August 1943, Wednesday (-622) US forces captured New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.

24 August 1943, Tuesday (-623) The Quebec Conference ended (began 10 August 1943).Code-named Quadrant, it was concerned with plans for the Normandy landings, also land operations in south east Asia (especially Burma), and with campaigns in Italy.See 16 September 1944.

23 August 1943, Monday (-624) Kharkov retaken by Russia.

22 August 1943, Sunday (-625) A prototype German V1 rocket landed on the Danish island of Bornholm. An Allied agent managed to photograph it before it was recovered.

21 August 1943, Saturday (-626) Soviet forces captured Zmiev, south of Kharkov.

20 August 1943, Friday (-627) The head of Nazi rocket research at Peenemunde was found dead, shot by an unknown assassin.

19 August 1943, Thursday (-628) General Hans Jeschonnek, Luftwaffe Chief of Staff, committed suicide. He left a note asking that Goering should not attend his funeral.

18 August 1943, Wednesday (-629) The UK implemented Plan Bunbury, the planting in the UK media of a story about the destruction of an electricity generating plant at Bury St Edmunds, resulting in the deaths of 159 workmen. In fact the event never took place, but was intended to reassure the Germans of the integrity of two double agents whom Germany thought were acting as their spies.

17 August 1943. Tuesday (-630) The Allies completely controlled Sicily.

16 August 1943. Monday (+631) (1) US troops took Messina, Sicily.

(2) Jews in the ghetto at Bialystock, Poland, rose up.

15 August 1943. Sunday (-632) (1) US forces landed on Kiska Island, Aleutians. However the Japanese forces they expected to find there had already evacuated under cover of foggy nights in July 1943.

(2) The Allies attacked Messina.

14 August 1943, Saturday (-633) Rome was declared an �open city�.

13 August 1943. Friday (-634) The Allies bombed Rome, Milan, and Turin.

12 August 1943, Thursday (-635) Hitler ordered the construction of a new defensive wall in the east, from Narva down through Lake Peipus and Belorussia, then along the River Sozh to Gomel, and the River Dnieper to just north of Zaporozhe, then to Melitopol on the Sera of Azov. However he would not countenance any withdrawal to it.

11 August 1943, Wednesday (-636) German troops began evacuating Sicily. The Allies knew this was to happen but lacked the resources to stop it, which meant they faced stiffer opposition when later invading the Italian mainland.

10 August 1943, Tuesday (-637) The Quebec Conference opened. Churchill, Roosevelt and McKenzie were present.

9 August 1943, Monday (-638) Painter Chaim Soutine died in Paris, aged 49.

8 August 1943, Sunday (-637) Mussolini was imprisoned on Maddalena Island, north eats of Sardinia.

7 August 1943, Saturday (-640) US amphibious landings near Sant�Agata, northern Sicily.

6 August 1943. Friday (-641) US troops captured Troina, northern Sicily, after delays caused by mines and demolitions along the coast road. The previous day the British had taken Catania.

5 August 1943. Thursday (-642) The USSR retook Orel.

4 August 1943, Wednesday (-643) At the German V-2 rocket plant at Peenem�nde, the decision was made to employ concentration camp inmates as slave labour to build the missiles. For every non-Jewish German employee, there would be at least ten camp inmates supplied by the SS.

3 August 1943, Tuesday (-644) (Germany) The Russian Voronezh, Steppe and South-West Fronts began a major offensive against German Army Group South below the Kursk Salient.

2 August 1943, Monday (-645) Hamburg was seriously damaged by Allied aircraft, at a cost of 87 British aircraft. The RAF had considerably enlarged its bomber force; in January 1943 the RAF only had 260 heavy bombers, but now it regularly sent 700 bombers on a single raid, One million civilians had fled the city after three nights of bombing, and 40,000 were killed. 7,000 tons of bombs destroyed 10 square miles of Hamburg, creating a 1,000 C firestorm, and U-boat construction yards were severely damaged. The RAF used Pathfinder aircraft to drop marker bombs on the target city, then release masses of aluminium foil to confuse enemy radar, followed by the main bomber raid. The scale of these raids forced Hitler to withdraw Luftwaffe forces from the Russian front, where in August 1943 just 20% of Luftwaffe strength was then deployed. Albert Speer, Hitler�s Minister for War Production, feared that just six more raids on the scale of Hamburg could bring Germany to its knees.

1 August 1943, Sunday (-646) (Germany) Allied raid on the Ploesti oil refineries, Romania, which supplied much of Germany�s oil. However anti-aircraft fire was much heavier than anticipated. Some refining capacity was taken out but some remained intact.


31 July 1943, Saturday (-647) In Sicily the US 45th Division captured San Stefano on the north coast.

30 July 1943, Friday (-648) In Sweden, the Saab 21 became the first aircraft to fly with the modern explosives-powered ejector seat.

29 July 1943, Thursday (-649) The Alaskan island of Kiska was evacuated by the remaining 5,183 Japanese officers, enlisted men and civilians who had occupied the American territory. U.S. ships had been diverted away from the island between July 23rd and 26th, when American radar detected what appeared to be a convoy seven reinforcement ships. With the U.S. warships away from Kiska, the Japanese escaped to their own rescue ships within 55 minutes. When Allied troops arrived on August 15, they were surprised to find that the island was deserted.

28 July 1943, Wednesday (-650) The Italian Fascist Party was formally dissolved.

27 July 1943, Tuesday (-651) Herbert Roper Barrett, tennis champion, died (born 24 November 1873).

26 July 1943, Monday (-652) (1) German withdrawal from Orel began.

(2) Mick Jagger, English rock singer (The Rolling Stones), was born as Michael Philip Jagger in Dartford

25 July 1943. Sunday (-653) Mussolini was ousted from power by the Fascist Grand Council. On 3 September 1943 the Italian Prime Minister, Badoglio, secretly signed an armistice with the Allies. See 8 September 1943.������

24 July 1943, Saturday (-654) Operation Gomorrah, the destruction of the German port of Hamburg began. British and Canadian airplanes bombed the city by night, and American planes followed during the day. By the end of the operation in November, 9,000 tons of explosives had killed more than 30,000 people and destroyed 280,000 buildings. For the first time, the British forces used "Window", aluminium strips dropped to distort radar images, against the German anti-aircraft defences.

23 July 1943, Friday (-655) Allied troops took Palermo, Sicily. Only the north east of the island now remained under German occupation.

22 July 1943, Thursday (-656) Heavy US naval bombardment of Kiska.

21 July 1943, Wednesday (-657) Austrian racing driver Fritz Glatz was born.

20 July 1943, Tuesday (-658) US troops in Sicily occupied Enna.

19 July 1943, Monday (-659) (Italy, Germany) First Allied air raid on Rome. The raid was a political warning that Mussolini�s regime must be overthrown.

18 July 1943, Sunday (-660) Herbert Leo Price, hockey champion, died (born 21 June 1899).

17 July 1943, Saturday (-661) Japan commenced counter attacks on US forces in New Georgia; they gained some ground against the US.

16 July 1943, Friday (-662) The Battle of Mount Tambu began in New Guinea.

15 July 1943, Thursday (-663) Russian attacks by Vatutin on the Voronezh Front. Meanwhile Hitler was forced to call off Citadel, because his tanks were needed to combat the Allied Sicily landings.

14 July 1943. Wednesday (-664) Jules Bledsoe, US composer, died in Hollywood (born 29 December 1898 in Waco, Texas)

13 July 1943. Tuesday (-665) The Germans lost the greatest tank battle in history, in the cornfields around Kursk. See 8 February 1943 for more details.

12 July 1943, Monday (-666) Massive Russian attack against German forces in the Kursk area began.

11 July 1943, Sunday (-667) The German headquarters at Taormina, Sicily, was destroyed by Allied forces.

10 July 1943, Saturday (-668) Allied forces under US General Patton invaded Sicily (Operation Husky), landing in the south and south west of the island.3,000 Allied troopships were used. Palermo fell on 23 July 1943.

9 July 1943, Friday (-669) Clifford Beers, US mental hygiene pioneer, died aged 67.

8 July 1943. Thursday (-670) French Resistance leader, Jean Moulin, died after torture by the Gestapo.

7 July 1943, Wednesday (-671) (Germany) The 4th Panzer Army under Hoth, in the south of the Kursk Salient, made good progress, advancing 20 miles into the Salient at Yakovlevo and Pokrovka.

6 July 1943, Tuesday (-672) (Germany) Marshall-General Rokossovsky�s counter attacked against the Germans at Kursk but could not prevent their advance. However stiff Soviet resistance prevented the Germans gaining more than six miles of ground.

5 July 1943, Monday (-673) (Germany) At 4.30 am, German forces in Russia began Operation Citadel, an assault into the Kursk Salient. However the main concentration of German troops did not reach the battle area until 5.00 am, due to Soviet shelling of the assembly areas. Soviet intelligence had picked up details of the offensive.

4 July 1943, Sunday (-674) US troops made further landings in New Georgia, at Rice Anchorage on the northern coast.

3 July 1943, Saturday (-675) US troops established a beachhead near Munda, New Georgia.

2 July 1943, Friday (-676) Allied forces on New Georgia began the drive on Munda Point.

1 July 1943, Thursday (-677) US troops secured Viru, on the south west coast of New Georgia.


30 June 1943, Wednesday (-678) US troops landed on Rendova Island, off New Georgia. There were also landings in the Trobriand Islands, and the US began constructing airstrips.

29 June 1943, Tuesday (-679) US forces landed in New Guinea.

28 June 1943, Monday (-680) US bombers attacked Livorno, Italy, and Messina, Sicily.

27 June 1943, Sunday (-681) US troops in New Georgia began an overland advance from Segi Point to Viru Harbour.

26 June 1943, Saturday (-682) Georgie Fame, singer, was born.

25 June 1943, Friday (-681) (1) A British bombing raid on Wuppertal left 870 of the city�s 920 acres in ruins.

(2) The Jewish ghetto at Czestochowa, Poland, was annihilated and its inhabitants sent to Auschwitz after an abortive attempt at resistance.

24 June 1943, Thursday (-684) From Tokyo, Subhas Chandra Bose broadcast an appeal for Indians to rise up againt the British.

23 June 1943, Wednesday (-685) US troops occupied Kiriwina Island, largest of the Trobriand Group.

22 June 1943, Tuesday (-686) US troops occupied Woodlark Island, Trobriand Island group.

21 June 1943, Monday (-687) US Marines landed unopposed at Segi Point, southernmost tip of New Georgia.

20 June 1943, Sunday (-688) The RAF began Operation Bellicose; bombers left Britain to hit the steelworks at Friedrichshafen, then flew on t Algeria, then on the return flight they bombed the Italian naval base at La Spezia. The British did not know that the Friedrichshafen works also contained the assembly line for V2 rockets, and these raids caused the assembly line to be abandoned.

19 June 1943. Saturday (-689) Residents of Sicilian towns, also Naples, were warned to evacuate their homes as an Allied invasion was imminent.

18 June 1943, Friday (-690) Australian PM John Curtin said the country was no longer in danger of a Japanese invasion.

17 June 1943, Thursday (-691) Barry Manilow, musician, was born.

16 June 1943, Wednesday (-692) US forces at Guadalcanal heavily defeated a Japanese assault, downing 107 of 120 Japanese aircraft.

15 June 1943, Tuesday (-693) Cecil Parker, cricketer, died (born 18 February 1886)

14 June 1943, Monday (-694) Anne Frank (born 12 June 1929) began to write her famous diary. She was born in Frankfurt, Germany, to Otto and Edith Frank; Otto was a German Army officer in World War One. Anne had a sister called Margot. In 1933, as the Nazis came to power, the Frank family moved to Amsterdam where they hoped to be safe from Hitler�s anti-Semitic policies. However Germany invaded The Netherlands in May 1940.

13 June 1943, Sunday (-605) Heavy losses on a bombing raid against Kiel, with 26 out of 60 B17 bombers lost.

12 June 1943, Saturday (-696) Dusseldorf suffered its heaviest air raid of the war when 693 bombers dropped 2,000 tons of bombs in the space of 45 minutes.

11 June 1943, Friday, (-697) The Allies captured the island of Pantelleria, between Tunisia and Sicily, after a heavy bombardment.

10 June 1943. Thursday (-698) The ball point pen was patented by its inventor, a Hungarian called Laszlo Biro. He had devised a prototype pen that would not blot in 1938, but fled to Paris and then Argentina in 1940, to escape the Nazis. In 1944 the RAF began using the pens as they were not affected by low air pressure in aircraft.

9 June 1943, Wednesday (-699) US Congress approved the Pay as You Go scheme for deducting income tax from salaries.

8 June 1943, Tuesday (-700) The Japanese began to evacuate Kiska Island.

7 June 1943, Monday (-701) Michael Pennington, actor, was born

6 June 1943, Sunday (-702) Asif Iqbal, cricketer, was born.

5 June 1943, Saturday (-703) Josef Mengele was promoted to Chief Medical Examination Officer at Auschwitz in Poland.

4 June 1943, Friday (-704) Walter George, athlete, died (born 9 September 1858).

3 June 1943, Thursday (-705) Charles de Gaulle of France set up the Committee of National Liberation, through which he promised that Algerians would have a full say in how their country was run after World War Two. De Gaulle�s failure to honour this promise after the War was a major factor in the hardening of Algerian desire for independence.

2 June 1943, Wednesday (-706) US troops completed the recapture of Attu Island, Aleutian Islands, from Japan.

1 June 1943, Tuesday (-707) The close of the Hot Springs Conference (opened 18 May 1943); the Allies discussed World War Two.


31 May 1943, Monday (-708) German daily meat rations were cut from 12to 9 ounces (342g to 255g)

30 May 1943, Sunday (-709) The US completed the capture of Attu Island from the Japanese. Mist and mud had hampered progress.

29 May 1943, Saturday (-710) Chinese forces halted the Japanese advance on Chungking, and recaptured Yuyangkwan, east of Ichang.

28 May 1943, Friday (-711) Japanese forces launched a suicide attack against US troops at Attu Island.

27 May 1943, Thursday (-712) Cilla Black, singer and presenter of the TV show Blind Date, was born.

26 May 1943, Wednesday (-713) Edsel Ford, president of the Ford Motor Company from 1919, died.

25 May 1943. Tuesday (-714) The Allies bombed Sardinia.

24 May 1943, Monday (-715) SS Captain Dr Josef Mengele became camp �doctor� at Auschwitz.

23 May 1943, Sunday (-716) Heavy bombing raid with 826 bombers against Dusseldorf.

22 May 1943, Saturday (-717) After a month of disastrous losses, Grand Admiral Karl Donitz ordered his U-boats out of the \North Atlantic. On 19 May 1943 his son Peter died when U-954 was sunk by an RAF Liberator bomber from Iceland. Allied losses from U-boats had declined sharply from 1942 when 8 million tons of shipping was lost. Even in March 1943 600,000 tons were sunk. However the Allies developed new shortwave radar that could detect U-boats surfacing to recharge their batteries (see 26 October 1940), also more powerful depth charges. A week earlier, 5 U-boats out of 33 were lost in an unsuccessful attack on convoy SC-130. The Allies were better at breaking Germans communications codes; from 24 codebreakers at the beginning of the war the Royal Navy now had 1,000 codebreakers, including historians, mathematicians and linguists, many of them German refugees. Listening posts to intercept German communications were scattered across Britain and British territories overseas.

21 May 1943, Friday (-718) In Washington the Allies agreed to stage cross Channel landings by 1 May 1944.

20 May 1943, Thursday (-719) US troops on Attu were fighting hard toi clear Japanese from strongholds on the Clevesy Pass.

19 May 1943, Wednesday (-720) Goebbels declared that Berlin was �free of Jews�.

18 May 1943, Tuesday (-721) UNRRA was founded.

17 May 1943, Monday (-722) The US and UK agreed on the free exchange of deciphered signals intelligence, codenamed Ultra.

16 May 1943. Sunday (-723) (1) The RAF launched its �Dambuster� raid on the Ruhr dams, which had provided power to Germany�s industrial heartland. The Mohne, Eder, and Sorpe dams were destroyed by special �bouncing bombs� designed by Dr Barnes Wallis; these bombs could skip over barriers placed in the dam lakes. The bombing squadron consisted of 19 Lancaster bombers from 617 squadron, from Scampton, led by Guy Gibson. The dams were destroyed, but less than half the bombers returned to the UK.

(2) German forces began an offensive against Tito�s partisans in Yugoslavia.

15 May 1943, Saturday (-724) In Tunisia, General Giraud deposed the Bey for collaboration with the Nazis.

14 May 1943, Friday (-725) Jules Gabriel Fisher, Louisiana State Senator, died (born 15 April 1874).

13 May 1943, Thursday (-726) Japan forced Chinese troops to retreat from Kung�an.

12 May 1943. Wednesday (-727) All resistance by Axis forces in North Africa was over.

11 May 1943, Tuesday (-728) US forces began to recapture Attu in the Aleutian Islands, from Japan.

10 May 1943. Monday (-729) The Allies bombed Sicily.

9 May 1943, Sunday (-730) Franco, Fascist dictator of Spain, which remained neutral during World War II, spoke in favour of world peace, declaring that �neither the Axis nor the Allies could destroy the other�. Franco, who had won the Spanish Civil War with assistance from both Germany and Italy, spoke in the city of Almer�a as the Axis powers were surrendering to the Allies in North Africa.

8 May 1943, Saturday (-731) Pat Barker, novelist, was born.

7 May 1943. Friday (-732) Tunis, and Bizerta, 60 miles NNW of Tunis, were recaptured by the Allies. See 14 November 1942.

6 May 1943, Thursday (-733) Final Allied offensive began in Tunisia, to oust the Axis from North Africa.

5 May 1943, Wednesday (-734) Winston Churchill sailed from the UK to meet Roosevelt in Washington DC. He arrived 11 May 1943.

4 May 1943, Tuesday (-735) Hitler postponed Operation Citadel, a planned counter attack against the Russians in the Kursk Salient. He wanted to wait until he more heavy tanks available. However his Generals were aware that delays enabled the Russians to build up their forces too.

3 May 1943. Monday (-736) The UK government made part-time war work compulsory for women aged 18 to 45.

2 May 1943, Sunday (-737) The RAF bombed Berlin.

1 May 1943, Saturday (-738) In Tunisia, the Battle of Hill 609 ended as the U.S. Army's II Corps drove Germany's Afrika Korps from a strategic position.


30 April 1943, Friday (-739) Bobby Vee, singer, was born.

29 April 1943, Thursday (-739) Wingate and his Chindit troops completed their withdrawal back from Burma into India

28 April 1943, Wednesday (-741) Sergei Rachmaninov, Russian composer, died in Beverley Hills, California.

27 April 1943, Tuesday (-742) Britain started up the �Ground Grocer� system for jamming the German early warning air raid system.

26 April 1943. Monday (-743) The mass grave of 4,000 Polish officers was found in the Katyn forest. Germany accused Russia of the murder. The Soviet Union finally admitted carrying out the 1940 massacre, of up to 15,000 Polish officers, on 12 April 1990.

25 April 1943, Sunday (-744) Easter Sunday. Tony Christie, singer, was born.

24 April 1943, Saturday (-745) Heavy bombing raid on Dortmund.

23 April 1943, Friday (-746) Tony Esposito, Canadian ice hockey player was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (died 2021)

22 April 1943, Thursday (-747) Intense Allied attacks in Tunisia. Axis forces there were short of supplies, as air and sea traffic became harder for them.

21 April 1943, Wednesday (-748) Battle of Enfidaville. Montgomery attempted to break into the Axis bridgehead around Tunis. However he was not equipped for fighting in the mountainous terrain there and failed.

20 April 1943, Tuesday (-749) Edie Sedgwick, actress, was born

19 April 1943. Monday (-750) Polish Jews in Warsaw put up a major fight against the Nazis. This was the first case of serious resistance by the Jews to the Nazis, en masse. The Jews could not win, but they seriously hampered German operations. The Nazis retook the ghetto on 20 April 1943, and massacred the Jews.The Warsaw ghetto was totally erased from the city.

18 April 1943, Sunday (-751) Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Navy and the architect of the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbour, was killed when the plane that he was on was shot down by U.S. Army fighter pilot Thomas Lanphier, Jr. US naval intelligence had decoded a Japanese message that included the itinerary for an inspection tour that Yamamoto was making of the Solomon Islands.

17 April 1943, Saturday (-752) Hitler and Ribbentrop demanded that Hungary round up its Jews for extermination in concentration camps; part of the �final solution�. Hungary initially delayed but Germany exercised considerable political influence within Hungary.

16 April 1943, Friday (-753) Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman accidentally consumed some of the new substance LSD he had made (see 7 April 1943), and experienced its hallucinogenic properties. LSD became popular as a drug in the 1960s.

15 April 1943, Thursday (-754) General Slim took control of Allied troops in Burma. His attaclks on the Japanese were hampered by exhaustion and malaria amongst his troops.

14 April 1943. Wednesday (-755) Rommel evacuated his troops from Tunis. The Allies entered Tunis on 7 May 1943.

13 April 1943, Tuesday (+756) Allied forces took Enfidaville, Tunisia.

12 April 1943, Monday (-757) Allied forces took Sousse, Tunisia.

11 April 1943, Sunday (-758) After a lengthy delay, Hitler finally approved Donitz�s request for more U-Boat construction. However Germany was prioritising tank and aircraft manufacture with its scarce steel supplies.

10 April 1943. Saturday (-759) The Allied 8th army took Sfax, Tunisia.

9 April 1943, Friday (-760) The British 8th Army took Mahares, Tunisia, 50 miles north of Gabes.

8 April 1943. Thursday (-761) Lord Stratford, Tony Banks, was born (died 8 January 2006)

7 April 1943. Wednesday (-762) (1) Keynes published his plan for the post-war recovery of Britain.

(2) The drug LSD (lysergic acid di-ethylamide) was first synthesised by Swiss scientist Albert Hoffman.

6 April 1943, Tuesday (-763) In north Africa, Rommel�s forces retreated north from Gabes gap, Tunisia, enabling British and US forces to link up.

5 April 1943, Monday (-764) Heavy British air raid on Kiel, 1,400 bombs were dropped. Meanwhile US planes bombed the Renault tank assembly lines near Paris.

4 April 1943, Sunday (-765) Allied air raid in the port at Naples; 221 Italians died.

3 April 1943, Saturday (-766) British bombers dropped 900 tons of bombs on the Krupp factory at Essen.

2 April 1943, Friday (-767) In the face of intensifying Allied air raids on German cities, Goering made air raid patrol duty compulsory for every able-bodied German.

1 April 1943. Thursday (-768) The rationing of meats, fats, and cheese began in the USA.


31 March 1943, Wednesday (-769) End of Patton�s thrust to the Eastern Dorsal, Tunisia. He secured the pass at Maknassy, but was halted just short of Fondouk and Faid.

30 March 1943, Tuesday (-770) Silly Putty was patented in the USA.

29 March 1943. Monday (-771) (1) Montgomery broke through the Axis Mareth Line in north Africa.

(2) British Prime Minister John Major was born.

28 March 1943, Sunday (-772) Russian-American composer, Sergei Rachmaninov, died in Beverley Hills, California.

27 March 1943, Saturday (-773) In the heaviest air raid on the German capital so far, 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Berlin by the RAF

26 March 1943, Friday (-774) In Tunisia, New Zealand troops broke through the Tebaga Gap.

25 March 1943, Thursday (-775) Paul Michael Glaser, actor, was born

24 March 1943, Wednesday (-776) Wingate was ordered to return from Burma back into India. Air supply was becoming difficult an dthe Japanese now seized all boats on the Irawaddy River.

23 March 1943, Tuesday (-777) The Xerces Blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces) was seen for the last time, and is presumed to have become extinct, its habitat in the sand dunes near San Francisco Bay having been destroyed by the growth of the California city.

22 March 1943, Monday (-778) George Benson, jazz musician, was born.

21 March 1943, Sunday (-779) Russian forces retook Durovo, shrinking the German Kursk salient.

20 March 1943, Saturday (-780) Montgomery began an assault on the Mareth Line, Tunisia. He failed to breach it frontally, so sent the New Zealand Corps on a long outflanking manoeuvre through the Tebaga Gap.

19 March 1943, Friday (-781) In Tunisia the Axis recaptured Sedjenane but achieved no major breakthrough.

18 March 1943, Thursday (-782) The Germans recaptured Belgorod. Golikov was replaced by Vatutin.

17 March 1943, Wednesday (-783) The Bulgarian Parliament voted unanimously against any mass deportation of Bulgarian Jews, as demanded by Germany.

16 March 1943, Tuesday (-784) Stalin demanded a second Front in western Europe, accusing Churchill of treachery by failing to open one.

15 March 1943, Monday (-785) The British Navy launched its first midget submarine, the X-craft. It was just 50 feet long and five feet wide.

14 March 1943. Sunday (-786) The Germans re-occupied Kharkov in a counter offensive against the Russians.

13 March 1943, Saturday (-787) J P Morgan Jnr, US financier, died aged 75.

12 March 1943, Friday (-788) Russian forces recaptured Vyazma.

11 March 1943, Thursday (-789) The US assisted the Chinese in creating an air force there, to counter Japanese threats to push up the Yangtze River.

10 March 1943, Wednesday (-790) Germany announced new rationing of nonessential goods, prohibiting the manufacture of suits, costumes, bath salts, and firecrackers, and restricting telephone use and photography.

9 March 1943. Tuesday (-791) Bobby Fischer, chess champion, was born in Chicago. He took the world title from Boris Spassky in 1972.

8 March 1943, Monday (-792) Michael Grade, BBC chief, was born.

7 March 1943, Sunday (-793) Japanese attacks on the Allies at Rathedaung, Burma.

6 March 1943. Saturday (-794) The RAF pounded the Ruhr city of Essen.

5 March 1943, Friday (-795) Billy Backus, American boxer, was born.

4 March 1943, Thursday (-796) The Battle of the Bismarck Sea ended (began 2 March 1943). A Japanese convoy carrying troops to Papua New Guinea was sunk by Allied forces.

3 March 1943, Wednesday (-797) (London, London Underground) 173 people were crushed to death whilst descending the stairs into Bethnal Green tube station to shelter during an air raid. A woman at the top of the stairs, carrying a child, slipped and fell on those immediately in front of her, causing those below to lose their balance too.

2 March 1943, Tuesday (-798) Alexandre Yersin, physician, died.

1 March 1943. Monday (-799) Ghandi broke his fast after 12 days.


28 February 1943, Sunday (-800) The XL Panzer Corps reached the Donets west of Izyum. Meanwhile Vatutin�s right flank was being driven back to the northern Donets.

27 February 1943, Saturday (-801) Successful Allied attack on the Heavy water plant at Vermork, Norway. This operation is estimated to have set back the Nazi nuclear weapons project by two years.

26 February 1943, Friday (-802) In Tunisia the Axis forces launched Operation Ox Head. They made some minor gains but achieved no major breakthrough

25 February 1943, Thursday (-803) (Germany) US forces recaptured the Kasserine Pass, but the Allies suffered 10,000 casualties there.

24 February 1943, Wednesday (-804) George Harrison, musician (The Beatles), was born.

23 February 1943, Tuesday (-805) Rommel was appointed Commander in Chief, Army Group Afrika.

22 February 1943, Monday (-806) (Germany) Members of the White Rose (die Weisse Rose) anti-war group in Germany were publically guillotined, their execution intended to discourage others. They had been caught distributing leaflets at university; most members were students who once supported Hitler but who had become disillusioned after Nazi war atrocities. Their execution, and the whole group, was swiftly forgotten in Germany until the 1970s when they were rediscovered and became folk heroes.

21 February 1943, Sunday (-807) Britons celebrated �Red Army Day� to congratulate the Russians on their success at Stalingrad.

20 February 1943, Saturday (-808) (Germany) US forces in North Africa suffered a heavy defeat by Rommel at the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia.

19 February 1943, Friday (-809) The Third Battle of Kharkov began.

18 February 1943, Thursday (-810) In Britain, theHouse of Commons voted in principle to accept the proposals of Beveridge�s Welfare State

17 February 1943, Wednesday (-811) Rommel captured Feriana, Tunisia, and made for the Kasserine Pass. Allied forces were in disarray.

16 February 1943, Tuesday (-812) Kharkov retaken by Russia.

15 February 1943, Monday (-813) The Battle of Demyansk began on the Eastern Front.

14 February 1943, Sunday (-814) Rostov retaken by Russia.

13 February 1943, Saturday (-815) Axis forces won a tactical victory in the Battle of Krasny Bor.

12 February 1943, Friday (-816) (1) Krasnodar recaptured by the Russians.

(2) Lord Nuffield set up the Nuffield Foundation with a gift of �10 million.

11 February 1943, Thursday (-817) Mary Quant, Welsh fashion designer, was born.

10 February 1943, Wednesday (-818) The Allied 8th Army reached the border of Tunisia.

9 February 1943. Tuesday (-819) The USA reported that Japanese resistance in Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands had ceased.

8 February 1943. Monday (-820) Russia recaptured Kursk. Kursk was a major rail junction, and this significant Russian victory followed their major success at Stalingrad. The Russians created a salient 160 km wide and 130 km deep into German lines around Kursk, and in the summer of 1943 Hitler ordered this salient eliminated under �Operation Citadel�.2,500 German tanks, supported by 1,000 aircraft, attempted to cut off the salient from Orel in the north and Belgorod in the south. Fighting was especially severe at Prokhorova, where Germany lost 300 tanks in one day, but made a deep penetration into the salient. However the Russians had filled the salient with an even greater number of tanks and aircraft, protected by deep minefields. The Battle of Kursk, 5 � 15 July 1943, was the greatest tank battle in history. Orel was liberated by the Russians on 4 August 1943 and Belgorod on 5 August 1943. German losses were so heavy as to rule out any furthermajor offensives by them on the Eastern Front.

7 February 1943, Sunday (-821) (1) Russia recaptured Azov and Kramatorsk.

(2) The Japanese completed their withdrawal from Guadalcanal.

6 February 1943, Saturday (-822) (Germany) Mannstein hurried back to Rastenburg to persuade Hitler of his plans for a counter offensive in the Russian South. Hitler agreed.

5 February 1943, Friday (-823) Russian forces retook Stary Oksyol and Izyum. They also advanced to Yeisk, on the Sea of Azov, cutting off German forces around Novorossiisk.

4 February 1943, Thursday (-824) Soviet amphibious forces landed behind German lines near Novorossiisk, where they held a beachhead for 6 days until the main Russian force linked up with them.

3 February 1943, Wednesday (-825) The Russians recaptured Kushchevskaya, south of Rostov.

2 February 1943. Tuesday (-826) Japan made a last-ditch effort to recapture the Solomon Islands.

1 February 1943, Monday (-827) Japan successfully repulsed an attack by Indian troops on the garrison at Donbaik, Burma.


31 January 1943. Sunday (-828) The German 6th Army under Field Marshal Paulus surrendered at Stalingrad after five months of fighting. The last Germans fighting in Stalingrad surrendered on 2 February 1943.Hitler had refused to countenance an attempted German breakout from Stalingrad and insisted his troops hold on, despite, from December 1942, increasing shortages of food, ammunition, and medical supplies.The Luftwaffe tried to drop supplies by air to the besieged city but often failed in this task. The Stalingrad Campaign cost the lives of 479,000 men from November 1942; German deaths amounted to 147,000, with a further 91,000 troops captured (many to be worked to death as Stalinpferde, Stalin horses, in Soviet labour camps).

30 January 1943, Saturday (-829) (1) The RAF made its first daytime raid on Berlin.

(2) Hitler promoted Paulus, commander of the German forces besieged in Stalingrad, to Field Marshal, in an attempt to ensure he did not surrender.

29 January 1943, Friday (-830) Tony Blackburn, British radio presenter, was born.

28 January 1943. Thursday (-831) Hitler ordered the mobilisation of the entire population aged between 16 and 65.

27 January 1943. Wednesday (-832) Air raids on Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The USA made its first bombing raid on Germany.

26 January 1943, Tuesday (-833) (Biology) Nikolay Ivanovich Vavilov, Russian botanist, died as a result of mistreatment by Soviet prison guards. He had been imprisoned for opposing the views of Trofim Lysenko, who held that acquired traits could be inherited.

25 January 1943, Monday (-834) The Russians retook Voronezh, see 7 July 1942.

24 January 1943, Sunday (-835) (1) At Stalingrad, the Soviets overran the last airfield held by the Germans, at Gumrak.

(2) The Casablanca Conference ended, see 14 January 1943.President Wilson, with Churchill, then issued a statement demandingunconditional surrender of the Axis powers, rather than a negotiated settlement.This was intended to reassure Russia; the Nazis used the statement as propaganda to warn the German people of the greed of their enemies.

23 January 1943. Saturday (-836) The British 8th army captured Tripoli from the Germans and Italians.

22 January 1943, Friday (-837) (Germany) Hitler ordered that shipbuilding take second place to tank production, to make good tank losses on the Eastern Front.

21 January 1943, Thursday (-838) The Russians retook Stavropol.

20 January 1943, Wednesday (-839) Germany recommenced heavy air raids on Britain. In one week, 328 civilians were killed, including 39 schoolchildren this day when a school, in Lewisham was hit.

19 January 1943, Tuesday (-840) (Germany) Soviet forces retook Sclusselberg, south of Leningrad, reopening a narrow land corridor to the city. However food supplies to Leningrad remained very precarious.

18 January 1943. Monday (-841) (1) The Russians broke the 890-day siege of Leningrad. Supplies had only reached the city intermittently over frozen Lake Ladoga.

17 January 1943, Sunday (-842) The Luftwaffe conducted the first night raid on London since May 1941.

16 January 1943, Saturday (-843) Iraq declared war on Germany, Italy, and Japan.

15 January 1943. Friday (-844) The Pentagon, built to house the US Defence department, opened in Arlington, Virginia, on the Potomac River.

14 January 1943. Thursday (-845) (1) Churchill, de Gaulle, and Roosevelt met at Casablanca. They demanded the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers.Plans were made for the invasion of Sicily increased US bombing of Germany, and the transfer of British forces to the far east once Germany was defeated.

(2) The Japanese began withdrawing from Guadalcanal.

13 January 1943, Wednesday (-846) (Germany) German forces in Russia retreated from Terek to the Nagutskoye-Alexandrovskoye line. Russia launched Operation Spark, reopening a narrow land corridor to Leningrad.

12 January 1943, Tuesday (-847) The Second Hungarian Army was annihilated in fierce fighting against Russia at Voronezh, near Stalingrad.

11 January 1943, Monday (-848) Britain made a treaty with China, renouncing all British territorial rights in China.

10 January 1943, Sunday (-849) The US began an assault on Mount Austin, Guadalcanal.

9 January 1943, Saturday (-850) At Stalingrad, General Rokossovsky launched Operation Ring, to extinguish German resistance. The chances of airborne supplies reaching Stalingrad were diminishing, with 490 German supply planes shot down whilst attempting to reach the two airfields still under German control at Stalingrad. Within Stalingrad, 12,000 German wounded were without medical supplies.

8 January 1943, Friday (-851) Russian General Rokossovsky sent Von Paulus an ultimatum for the surrender of German forces trapped in Stalingrad. Von Paulus, unwilling to disobey Hitler�s orders, refused to surrender.

7 January 1943. Thursday (-852) (1) Free French forces took Oul-el-Araneb, the main Axis base in southern Libya.

(2) Nikola Tesla, the Croatian-American scientist who developed alternating current, died.

6 January 1943, Wednesday (-853) Luciano Virgilio, Italian actor, was born.

5 January 1943, Tuesday (-854) German forces lost Nalchik, Caucasus.

4 January 1943, Monday (-855) German forces lost Mozdok, Caucasus.

3 January 1943, Sunday (-856) German Army Group A began a withdrawal from the Caucasus. The army commanders wanted to pull back to the River Don north of Rostov but Hitler would only allow a retreat as far as the Manych Canal and the Kuban, to retain a base for further operations towards the Caspian.

2 January 1943, Saturday (-855) US troops finally captured Buna Station, Papua New Guinea, against fierce Japanese resistance.

1 January 1943, Friday (-858) Velikye Luki re-occupied by the Russians.


31 December 1942, Thursday (-859) Battle of the Barents Sea. An Allied convoy bound for Murmansk was attacked by German destroyers. Allied destroyers succeeded in fighting off a superior German naval force.

30 December 1942, Wednesday (-860) The Stavka Directive set a date of 6 January 1943 for the final attack on the German held Stalingrad pocket. However not all troops and supplies were in the right place yet; Stalin put the date back by just four days.

29 December 1942, Tuesday (-861) Soviet forces regained Kotelnikova, from where the Germans had earlier launched an attempt to relieve Stalingrad.

28 December 1942, Monday (-862) British attacks on strategic hills in Tunisia were repulsed. The Allies now paused to regroup.

27 December 1942, Sunday (-863) At Rastenburg, General Zeitler told Hitler that Germany must withdraw from the Caucasus or face a �second Stalingrad�. Hitler accepted this advice.

26 December 1942, Saturday (-864) Rommel was halted at Buerat, where he was ordered by Mussolini to make a stand.

25 December 1942, Friday (-865) The Allied convoy JW51A arrived at Murmansk unscathed.The German battleship Tirpitz had been sent south from Norway for a refit, and Allied aid convoys to Russia were now split in two to stretch German attack naval forces.

24 December 1942, Thursday (-866) At Peenemunde, Werner von Braun perfected the first flying bomb.

23 December 1942, Wednesday (-867) Operation Winter Storm ended with the German 6th Army still trapped in Stalingrad.

22 December 1942, Tuesday (-868) In Burma the Japanese withdrew from the Buthidaung-Maungdaw lone, which they had established and fortified on 24 October 1942.

21 December 1942. Monday (-869) Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin agreed to meet in Casablanca. Churchill had objected to a venue in Iceland because of his poor health. Stalin had to delay the meeting because of the fighting at Stalingrad.

20 December 1942. Sunday (-870) The US began to produce electricity from nuclear fission.

19 December 1942. Saturday (-871) (1) German forces came within 40 miles of Stalingrad, attempting to relieve Von Paulus� Axis forces trapped in the city; however they were halted by a Russian counter attack. Hitler began to accept that Stalingrad could not be relieved, also Von Paulus� tanks now had fuel for just 15 miles so could not break out.

(2) British troops advanced in the Malay peninsula, pushing the Japanese back into Burma.

18 December 1942, Friday (-872) Cassius Clay, champion boxer, was born in Kentucky.

17 December 1942, Thursday (-873) (Japan) The US submarine Drum mined the waters around Japan.

16 December 1942, Wednesday (-874) Himmler started the genocide of individuals of �mixed Gypsy blood� at Auschwitz, unless they agreed to be sterilised.

15 December 1942, Tuesday (-875) The British Government began a campaign against venereal disease, which had increased markedly since the war began.

14 December 1942, Monday (-876) US troops made an attack on Buna Village, Papua New Guinea, but found the Japanese had already evacuated it.

13 December 1942, Sunday (-877) Rommel began to withdraw from El Agheila, back towards Tunisia.

12 December 1942, Saturday (-878) (1) British commandoes blew up six ships in Bordeaux harbour.

(2) Germany began Operation Winter Storm. The 4th Panzer Army attempted to break through to the 6th Army, trapped in Stalingrad.

11 December 1942, Friday (-879) German forces south of Stalingrad withdrew to the Elista-Mozdok defence line, unable to reach the Caspian Sea in the Terek Estuary area.

10 December 1942, Thursday (-880) German tank infantry columns attacked Majaz al Bab in Tunisia but were repulsed

9 December 1942, Wednesday (-881) Billy Bremner, footballer, was born.

8 December 1942, Tuesday (-882) German forces occupied the Tunisian city of Bizerte.

7 December 1942, Monday (-883) Harry Chapin, singer and songwriter, was born.

6 December 1942, Sunday (-884) German tanks broke through US positions at El Guettar, Tunisia.

5 December 1942, Saturday (-885) Randy Kirby, US actor was born in Chicago, Illinois

4 December 1942, Friday (-886) The Belgian Resistance killed a Belgian Nazi in Brussels.

3 December 1942, Thursday (-887) US and French troops seized Faid Pass, Algeria.

2 December 1942. Wednesday (-888) Controlled release of energy by nuclear fission was first achieved. The first atomic pile began operating in Chicago.It was at Stagg Field, University of Chicago, under physicists Enrico Fermi and Arthur Compton.

1 December 1942. Tuesday (-889) The Beveridge Report was published. William Henry Beveridge�s report was the foundation of the British Welfare State. Beveridge was born at Rangpur, in Bengal, on 5 March 1879, and was a distinguished academic and economist; he helped establish Labour Exchanges after joining the Board of Trade in 1908. His report of 1942 was entitled �Report on Social Insurance and Allied Services� and advocated a free national health service and unemployment and sickness benefit. The report envisaged �Slaying the Five Giants of Want, Ignorance, Squalor, Idleness and Disease�. This became a reality under the post-war Labour government of Clement Attlee, elected 26 July 1945. Beveridge became a Baron in 1946.


30 November 1942, Monday (-890) Battle of Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal. A naval clash in which Japan technically won, causing more damage t the US than it suffered. However this victory did nothing to help the Japanese garrison on Guadalcanal, now very short of food.

29 November 1942. Sunday (-891) In the US, coffee rationing began.

28 November 1942, Saturday (-892) 492 died in a fire at Cocoanut Grove nightclub, Boston, USA.

27 November 1942. Friday (-893) The French fleet was scuttled in the harbour of Toulon, six hours after German troops arrived there.

26 November 1942, Thursday (-894) Hitler ordered von Paulus not to retreat.

25 November 1942, Wednesday (-895) Greek guerrillas fighting the Axis occupation destroyed the Gorgopotamos railway.

24 November 1942, Tuesday (-896) 250,000 German troops under General von Paulus were surrounded at Stalingrad. Goering told Hitler that he could resupply them by air, However the Luftwaffe did not have enough aircraft for this task, and only one of the airfields the Germans held had a night landing capability. This empty boast convinced Hitler to order von Paulus to stay put and not break out to the west.

23 November 1942, Monday (-897) Lieutenant General Tomitaro Horii of Japan died. He was replaced by Hataze Adachi. The Japanese in New Guinea were already in retreat by now, under heavy attack by US forces, and had lost Rabaul air base to the Allies.

22 November 1942, Sunday (-898) During Operation Uranus the Red Army secured the vital bridge over the Don River at Kalach-na-Donu, west of Stalingrad.

21 November 1942, Saturday (-899) The Allied advance in Algeria was delayed by the limitations of the local railway system and the rain having turned Allied airfields to mud. However the German airfields had been surfaced with concrete. Any delay., however. Allowed Germany to build up its opposition forces so the Allies resumed their advance on 24 November 1942.

20 November 1942, Friday (-900) Benghazi re-occupied by the British.

19 November 1942. Thursday (-901) The Russians counterattacked at Stalingrad, across ground hardened by the winter frosts but not yet clogged by snow.It was now -20 C in Stalingrad. The Russians had more of their superior T34 battle tanks, and created a giant pincer movement to encircle the 250,000 Germans at Stalingrad. German generals, knowing they were overstretched, wanted to shorten their lines and conserve men, equipment, and supplies.However Hitler initially refused to sanction giving up any occupied territory. Only in January 1943 did Hitler realise that the fall of Stalingrad could entail the cutting off of his forces in the Caucasus; he ordered Kleist to retreat from this region, whilst Paulus hung on inside Stalingrad., diverting Soviet forces. The Germans in Stalingrad surrendered on 2 February 1943, after 7 weeks under siege; had they surrendered 3 weeks earlier, Kleist would also have been cut off. Kleist retreated along the northern shores of the Black Sea, assisted by a sudden thaw that swelled Russian rivers and hindered the movements of the Soviet army.

18 November 1942, Wednesday (-902) German commander Nehring order the French commander Barre to remove all obstacles barring the way to the Algerian border. The French did not comply.

17 November 1942, Tuesday (-903) British bombing raid against the German submarine base at St Nazaire.

16 November 1942, Monday (-904) Russian forces took Kharkov.

15 November 1942, Sunday (-905) The naval battle of Guadalcanal ended in US victory. On the battle's final day the Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima and destroyer Ayanami were sunk by the American battleship USS Washington, while the Americans lost the destroyers Benham and Walke.

14 November 1942. Saturday (-906) Bizerta, 60 miles NNW of Tunis, was captured by the Axis. See 7 May 1943.

13 November 1942. Friday (-907) The Allies recaptured Tobruk, north Africa.Rommel�s army was in full retreat.

12 November 1942, Thursday (-908) The naval battle of Guadalcanal began

11 November 1942. Wednesday (-909) The Axis invaded Vichy France. Russian forces took Lozovaya Junction.

10 November 1942, Tuesday (-910) The Allies captured Oran, Algeria.

9 November 1942, Monday (-911) The battle for Tunisia began. The Germans were determined to keep hold of it, as it denied the Allies the short Mediterranean sea route to Egypt and India, forcing them to take the much longer route around the Cape. This in turn tied up Allied shipping that could help defend the Atlantic route.

8 November 1942. Sunday (-912) Rommel retreated from Egypt into Libya.British and US forces took Algiers, a move which precipitated the German occupation of all of France. Russian forces took Kursk.

7 November 1942. Saturday (-913) Allied troops landed in Vichy-French North Africa. 65,000 Allied troops and 650 warships under General Dwight Eisenhower landed in North Africa under Operation Torch to secure French North Africa and link up with Montgomery�s Eighth Army. Oran, Casablanca, and Algiers were the main landing points. Surprisingly little resistance was met and Bougie and Boune were soon occupied by paratroopers.

6 November 1942. Friday (-914) The Church of England relaxed its rule that women must wear hats in church.

5 November 1942, Thursday (-915) The US landed large quantities of munitions on the Algerian coast for use by the Algerian Resistance.

4 November 1942, Wednesday (-916) The second Battle of El Alamein ended after 12 days with Montgomery sending Rommel�s army into full retreat westwards. Axis losses were 2,000, but 30,000 Axis troops were taken PoW; Allied casualties were 13,500.

3 November 1942, Tuesday (-917) Australian forces were pushing back the Japanese, denying the chance of taking Port Moresby. This day the Australians recaptured Kokoda.

2 November 1942, Monday (-918) (Germany) Ordzhonikidse, Caucasus, captured by German forces. However the German advance was halted here, due to increasing resistance, supply problems, and the onset of winter.

1 November 1942, Sunday (-919) Brazil replaced the Millreis with the Cruzerio as its currency.One millreis = 1 cruzerio.The millreis was the old currency of Portugal.


31 October 1942, Saturday (-920) The Germans bombed Canterbury in retaliation for the bombing of Cologne.

30 October 1942. Friday (-921) Montgomery won a key victory at El Alamein. El Alamein was only 80 miles west of Alexandria. This began an Allied advance of 1,400 miles in six months, culminating in the clearance of Axis forces from North Africa.

29 October 1942, Thursday (-922) Bob Ross, TV host, was in Daytona Beach, Florida (died 1995)

28 October 1942, Wednesday (-923) Due to shortages of rubber for tyres in the USA, Utah imposed a �patriotic speed limit� of 35 mph (56 kph) across the State. Road accidents were cut by 35%, with fatalities falling by half. Also this day the Alaska Highway was completed, 1,700 miles from the continental USA through Canada into Alaska.

27 October 1942, Tuesday (-924) The Battle of Goodenough Island ended in Australian victory.

26 October 1942, Monday (-925) Troops for the Allied landings in Oran and Algiers set sail from The Clyde, Scotland. This was Operation Torch.

25 October 1942, Sunday (-926) Japan dropped plans for Operation 21, an invasion of eastern India.

24 October 1942, Saturday (-927) (Germany) RAF bombing raids on Genoa and Milan.

23 October 1942, Friday (-928) (1) The Second Battle of El Alamein began, see 30 October 1942 and 30 June 1942. The British forces had been reinforced and now numbered 230,000 men, against the 80,000 Axis army.

(2) Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, was born.

22 October 1942, Thursday (-929) German planes dropped high explosives and incendiaries on Appleby-Frodingham steelworks, Scunthorpe, injuring 15 employees.

21 October 1942, Wednesday (-930) Judith Sheindlin, US TV personality (Judge Judy), was in Brooklyn, New York

20 October 1942, Tuesday (-931) The Russians now held no more than 1,000 yards of the west bank of the Volga at Stalingrad. Tenacious close-combat fighting continued, building to building, in the ruins.

19 October 1942, Monday (-932) In Madagascar, East African Allied troops advanced southwards from Tananarive. 800 Vichy French troopsa were taken prisoner near Ivato.

18 October 1942, Sunday (-933) US Vice-Admiral William E Halsey replaced Robert L Ghormley as Commander of the South Pacific Theatre.

17 October 1942, Saturday (-934) Gary Puckett, musician, was born.

16 October 1942, Friday (-925) US submarines mined the approaches to Japanese-held Bangkok, Thailand.

15 October 1942, Thursday (-936) Penny Marshall, actress, was born.

14 October 1942, Wednesday (-937) German forces now held most of Stalingrad. The Russians retained just two small enclaves on the west bank of the Volga. However the Russian forces at Stalingrad were in fact bait for a trap set by Zhukov.

13 October 1942, Tuesday (-938) Walter McGowan, boxer, was born.

12 October 1942, Monday (-939) Battle of Cape Esperance, off Guadalcanal. A US supply convoy was intercepted by Japanese forces, who were beaten off by US air attacks.

11 October 1942, Sunday (-940) There was no fighting in Stalingrad this day, as both sides sought reinforcements.

10 October 1942, Saturday (-941) Germany began a 10-day bomber assault on Malta. However, alerted by the German�s own Enigma messages, British forces intercepted each wave of German aircraft from Sicily whilst still over the sea.

9 October 1942, Friday (-942) Stalin downgraded political commissars in the Soviet army, removing their ability to influence military decisions.

8 October 1942, Thursday (-943) The German Reichscommissioner for Norway, Josef Terboven, arrived in Trondheim. There was a crackdown on saboteurs, with 700 arrested and ten shot. Norwegian resistance fdighters had sabotaged military communications at the port, which the Germans used to attack British convoys to Russia.

7 October 1942, Wednesday (-944) US President Roosevelt said a commission wpould be set up after the War to judge those guilty of atrocities and mass murder.

6 October 1942, Tuesday (-945) (Germany) German forces captured Malgobek, in the Terek Salient, Russia.

5 October 1942, Monday (-946) Chiang Kai Shek formally incorporated Sinkiang into China, and demanded the USSr withdraw its forces from there.

4 October 1942, Sunday (-947) A small British air raid on Sark.

3 October 1942. Saturday (-948) New US law froze wages, rents, and farm prices.

2 October 1942, Friday (-949) The British cruiser Curacao sank after colliding with the Queen Mary, 358 died.

1 October 1942, Thursday (-950) US General MacArthur issued further orders, to push along the Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea, and cut the Japanese off.


30 September 1942. Wednesday (-951) The Allies seized key positions near El Alamein in a dawn raid.

29 September 1942, Tuesday (-952) Jean-Luc Ponty, violinist and jazz composer, was born in Avranches, France.

28 September 1942, Monday (-953) Stalemate had been reached at Stalingrad. Both sides were exhausted. Von Weichs and von Paulus wereconcerned over the flanks of the Stalingrad Salient, which were defended by Hungarian, Italian and Romanian troops, but Hitler insisted that Stalingrad must be fully taken before the flanks were dealt with.

27 September 1942. Sunday (-954) Japanese forces pulled back in New Guinea as the allies advanced.

26 September 1942, Saturday (-955) Wilson Carlile, British clergyman who founded the Church Army in 1882, died aged 95.

25 September 1942, Friday (-956) (Germany) Hitler suspended plans for further territorial advances in the Leningrad area as winter approached.

24 September 1942, Thursday (-957) (Germany) German advance in Russia towards Tuapse.

23 September 1942, Wednesday (-958) (1) A Russian counter-attack north-west of Stalingrad began.

(2) British troops captured Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar.

22 September 1942, Tuesday (-959) Ralph Adams Cram, US architect, died.

21 September 1942, Monday (-960) Sam McDowell, baseball player, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

20 September 1942, Sunday (-961) German Army Group B captured Terek, USSR.

19 September 1942, Saturday (-962) Conde Nast, US magazine publisher, died.

18 September 1942, Friday (-963) The battle of El Alamein began with a barrage of one thousand guns aimed at Italian and German troops.

17 September 1942, Thursday (-964) Paulus, having captured most of southern Stalingrad, now turned his attention to the Russian-held industrial districts in the north of the city.

16 September 1942, Wednesday (-965) Japanese forces succeeded in a secret withdrawal from Attu, without the US knowing.

15 September 1942, Tuesday (-966) US troops landed at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

14 September 1942, Monday (-967) Soviet forces defending Stalingrad had been pushed back into a strip along the west bank of the River Volga just ten miles deep at its widest, four miles deep at its narrowest. However the Germans were short of troops, and urban warfare was causing many casualties.

13 September 1942, Sunday (-968) The German attack on Stalingrad city centre began. Fighting became so intense that each side at times fought the other from different floors of the same building.

12 September 1942, Saturday (-969) Russia prepared the idea of a counter attack at Stalingrad. Stalin believed the Germans would, after taking Stalingrad, aim to move up the River Volga to threaten Moscow. Russia was aware that only inferior Romanian troops guarded the flanks of von Paulus� force which had advanced out on a limb to attack Stalingrad. However at this point the Russians lacked reserves for this operation, and were trying to relieve Leningrad.

11 September 1942, Friday (-970) John Grieg, footballer, was born in Edinburgh.

10 September 1942, Thursday (-971) The RAF dropped 100,000 bombs on Dusseldorf in a single raid.

9 September 1942, Wednesday (-972) German forces were meeting increasingly fierce resistance in their drive towards Astrakhan and Baku.

8 September 1942, Tuesday (-973) The U.S. government shut down its gold mines to release men for the war effort.

7 September 1942, Monday (-974) The Battle of Alam Halfa, north Africa, ended. Rommel attacked the southern sector of the El Alamein Line, in an attempt to break through to the Suez Canal. Montgomery strengthened the Alam Halfa Ridge, which Rommel would have to capture once he had crossed the British minefields. Rommel cleared the minefields on 30-31 August then as expected swung north to attack the Ridge. Here Rommel was successfully repulsed by Montgomery. Montgomery did not make the mistake of counter-pursuing the Italians into the desert, which could have cost many Allied lives, but pounded the retreating Axis forces with air and ground artillery.

6 September 1942, Sunday (-975) (1) The IRA shot two policemen in Belfast.

(2) The Germans captured the major Black Sea naval base of Novorossiysk.

5 September 1942, Saturday (-976) Werner Herzog, German film director, was born.

4 September 1942, Friday (-977) Soviet planes bombed Budapest for the first time.

3 September 1942, Thursday (-978) German Commanders Hoth and von Paulus finally linked up near Pitomnik.

2 September 1942, Wednesday (-979) German SS troops deported and murdered 50,000 Jews from the ghetto in Warsaw.

1 September 1942, Tuesday (-980) (Germany) German troops in Russia crossed the Kerch Straits and advanced into the Taman Peninsula.


31 August 1942, Monday (-981) British Commandos began Operation Anglo, a raid on the island of Rhodes.

30 August 1942, Sunday (-982) The Battle of Alam Halfa, north Africa, began, see 7 September 1942.

29 August 1942, Saturday (-983) Australian troops forced back on the Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea.

28 August 1942, Friday (-984) Australian attack on Japanese troops at Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. Despite the arrival of Japanese reinforcements the next day, they were forced to retreat back to Rabaul on 6 September 1942.

27 August 1942, Thursday (-985) William Ivy, motor cycle racing champion, was born (died 12 July 1969).

26 August 1942, Wednesday (-986) German forces reached the outskirts of Stalingrad.

25 August 1942, Tuesday (-987) Heavy fighting between US and Japanese forces at Guadalcanal. US strikes on Japanese ships hampered the reinforcements the Japanese critically needed.

24 August 1942, Monday (-988) Stalin ordered that Stalingrad be held at all costs. Zhukov was appointed to oversee its defence.

23 August 1942, Sunday (-989) (Germany) The Luftwaffe mounted a bombing raid on Stalingrad, with 600 aircraft. Soviet defences were ill-prepared, ad some 40,000 Russians were killed, many as they tried to flee east across the River Volga. The Germans believed that capture of Stalingrad would open the way to taking the Caucasus oilfields, and then Moscow and Leningrad would fall, ending the war in the East.

22 August 1942, Saturday (-990) Brazil declared war on Germany and Italy. Besides participating in the defence of the South Atlantic against German U-boats, Brazil sent an expeditionary force to Italy in July 1944.

21 August 1942, Friday (-991) The Battle of the Tenaru was fought on Guadalcanal, resulting in Allied victory.

20 August 1942, Thursday (-992) Isaac Hayes, singer, was born.

19 August 1942, Wednesday (-993) (1) Allied commando raid on Dieppe, by the Canadians and British. There were heavy Allied casualties.The aim of the raid was to try and seize a Channel port from the Germans; the raid failed, with 1,000 Allied troops killed and 2,000 taken prisoner out of a total of 6,100 men, and all their tanks and equipment abandonedthere was nine hours of fighting along 11 miles of coastline. However information from the raid was very useful in planning the D-Day landings of June 1944. The principal lesson was that any attempted Allied landing in France must be on a beach using artificial harbours, not at an existing port.

(2) Montgomery became commander of the British Eight Army in North Africa.

18 August 1942, Tuesday (-994) (Japan) Japanese troops landed at Taivu, 32 km east of Guadalcanal, as a diversionary operation.

17 August 1942, Monday (-995) Daylight air raids by the Allies began, with a raid on the railway marshalling yards of Rouen. The first US bombing raids in Europe.

16 August 1942, Sunday (-996) John Challis, English actor, was born.

15 August 1942, Saturday (-997) Winston Churchill had his first summit meeting with Joseph Stalin.

14 August 1941, Friday (-998) (Germany) German forces near Stalingrad crossed the Kuban River.

13 August 1942, Thursday (-999) The Walt Disney film Bambi premiered at Radio City Music Hall, New York.

12 August 1942, Wednesday (-1,000) (Germany) The Germans captured Elista, Kalmukkensteppe, Russia.

11 August 1942, Tuesday (-1,001) (1) Sir Barnes Wallis, born on 26 September 1887, patented the bouncing bomb, which was used against the German Mohne and Eder dams in 1943 by the RAF Dambusters Squadron.

(2) In London, the new Waterloo Bridge opened to traffic.

10 August 1942, Monday (-1,002) (Japan) US submarine S-44 sank the Japanese heavy cruiser Kako near Kavieng, as it withdrew from the Battle of Savo Island.

9 August 1942, Sunday (-1,003) (1) German forces in the Caucasus reached the oilfields at Maikop. However the retreating Soviets had blown up the oil installations, so the Germans could not utilise the oil.

(2) With Ghandi about to launch a major civil disobedience campaign to force the British out of India, the British arrested the whole Congress leadership, including Nehru.

8 August 1942, Saturday (-1,004) Mahatma Gandhi made his famous speech, before a crowd of some 100,000, demanding an end to British rule in India.

7 August 1942, Friday (-1,005) The USA attempted a landing on the Japanese-occupied southern Solomon Islands. US troops invaded Guadalcanal. This was Operation Watchtower.

6 August 1942, Thursday (-1,006) The Germans advanced on Stalingrad.

5 August 1942, Wednesday (-1,007) (Germany) German troops crossed the Kuban River, Russia.

4 August 1942, Tuesday (-1,008) David Russell Lange, New Zealand politician and Prime Minister 1984-9, was born. He

controversially refused to allow nuclear armed ships to dock in New Zealand.

3 August 1942, Monday (-1,009) German forces reached Stavropol, Caucasus.

2 August 1942, Sunday (-1,012) The German 4th Panzer Army captured Kotelnikovo.

1 August 1942, Saturday (-1,011) German forces took Salsk in the Caucasus.


31 July 1942, Friday (-1,012) Driving for pleasure was banned in Britain.

30 July 1942, Thursday (-1,013) Jimmy Blanton, US jazz bass-player, died in Monrovia, California.

29 July 1942, Wednesday (-1,014) Japanese forces took Kokoda from the Australians, after 4 days fierce fighting.

28 July 1942. Tuesday (-1,015) Germans captured Rostov on Don, USSR.

27 July 1942, Monday (-1,016) The First Battle of El Alamein ended after 27 days; the British under Auchinlek held back the Germans and Italians, preventing their advance into Egypt.

26 July 1942, Sunday (-1,017) In Britain, sweets were rationed.

25 July 1942, Saturday (-1,018) German army units were just 100 miles from Stalingrad.

24 July 1942, Friday (-1,019) The Battle of Voronezh ended in German victory.

23 July 1942, Thursday (-1,020) Hitler ordered simultaneous offensives against Stalingrad and the Caucasus.

22 July 1942, Wednesday (-1,021) (1) Japan, seeing how easily they had overrun Burma, began to consider a thrust into India, along the Assam frontier, capturing Imphal and the port of Chittagong. This was Operation 21.

(2) In the USA, petrol rationing for civilians began as fuel was needed for the War.

21 July 1942, Tuesday (-1,022) The first murder conviction in a British Court was secured using palm print identification, matching those on agun with those found on a pawnbroker�s safe.

20 July 1942, Monday (-1,022) (1) German forces captured Krasnodon.

(2) Demonstrations in Cambodia against French colonial administration.

19 July 1942, Sunday (-1,024) Vikki Carr, US singer, was born in El Paso, Texas

18 July 1942, Saturday (-1,025) Germany tested its first military jet aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me262A.

17 July 1942, Friday (-1,026) Operation Spring Wind in Paris came to a conclusion, with the roundup of some 7,000 Jews, almost all of those remaining in the city. Some Jews escaped, others committed suicide; in fact Spring Wind, which intended to capture 28,000 Jews, in fact seized just 12,884. The detainees were initially sent to Drancy or the Velodrome D�Hiver. Nazi action against the French Resistance also intensified at this time. Non-Jewish Parisians were not without sympathy for the Jews, especially the children.

16 July 1942, Thursday (-1,027) The RAF made its first daylight raid on the Ruhr.

15 July 1942, Wednesday (-1,028) At El Alamein the Allies struck at two Italian divisions, forcing Rommel to delay his offensive.

14 July 1942, Tuesday (1,029) In Zagreb the Nazis murdered 700 people in reprisal for the murder of the local Gestapo chief, SS Major Helm.

13 July 1942, Monday (-1,030) Hitler was convinced that large Russian forces remained west of the Don (this was not true). In an effort to trap these non-existent forces in the Rostov area, Hitler ordered more forces away from Stalingrad and into the Donets Basin region. Five days later Hitler switched back to Stalingrad being the main priority. However because German forces had already been moved, von Paulus was left with less men for the attack on Stalingrad.

12 July 1942, Sunday (-1,031) Australian troops in papua New Guinea completed a 5-day march across the Owen Stanley Mountains, to defend Kokoda.

11 July 1942, Saturday (-1,032) German forces took Lisichansk, on the River Donets,

10 July 1942, Friday (-1,033) Auchinlek mounted an assault on Italian troops at El Alamein. Rommel had to rush his forces northwards to counter this, where he held the Allies back.

9 July 1942, Thursday (-1,034) Rommel made at attack at Deirel Munassib, near El Alamein, Egypt. However the Allies had been forewarned and had already withdrawn. This misallocation of Rommel�s forces helped Auchinlek hit back further north.

8 July 1942, Wednesday (-1,035) The German 1st Panzer Army crossed the Donets River, Russia.

7 July 1942, Tuesday (-1,036) The Germans took the city of Voronezh, see 25 January 1943.

6 July 1942, Monday (-1,037) Anne Frank and her family went into hiding from the Nazis (see 14 June 1943).

5 July 1942, Sunday (-1,038) German forces on the Eastern Front reached the Don River.[12]

4 July 1942, Saturday (-1,039) Prince Michael of Kent was born.

3 July 1942, Friday (-1,040) Russian authorities admitted the loss of Sevastopol but claimed that its capture had cost the Germans 300,000 casualties.

2 July 1942, Thursday (-1,041) Churchill, having been criticised for his leadership following German victories in North Africa, easily won a vote of confidence in the House of Commons, by 476 to 25 votes with 30 abstentions.

1 July 1942. Wednesday (-1,042) (1) The Germans captured Sevastopol after a 9 month siege.

(2) The charity, Oxford Famine Relief (Oxfam) was formed, see 1 July 1948.

(3)In Britain, a bottle of Scotch cost 23 shillings (�1.15), a recent rise from 17s 6d (88p). A woman�s �Tweed Swagger Coat� from Peter Robinson�s Wartime Shopping cost �1 10s (�1.50). The Chairman of the Governors of the BBC earned �3,000 per annum, and the Press officer for the Ministry of Economic Warfare got �900 a year.


30 June 1942, Tuesday (-1,043) The First Battle of El Alamein began.It lasted till 25 July 1942, and prevented an Axis breakthrough to Cairo and the Suez Canal. See 23 October 1942.

29 June 1942. Monday (-1,044) The Germans launched an offensive at Kursk, south of Moscow.

28 June 1942. Sunday (-1,045) (1) The Germans launched Operation Blue, an offensive to capture the Russian Caucasus oilfields and secure the Volga River. The Soviets responded by concentrating resistance at Stalingrad, threatening the northern flank of this Operation. On 23 July 1942 Hitler ordered General Paulus to capture Stalingrad at all costs. Meanwhile Stalin could not let go the city that bore his name.

(2) The Allied 8th Army retreated to El Alamein, north Africa.

27 June 1942, Saturday (-1,046) (1) Rommel began to outflank the Allied defences at Mersah Matruh.

(2) White Rose, a non-violent, intellectual resistance group, first began its anti-Nazi activities in Munich.

26 June 1942, Friday (-1,047) (1) Rommel began an attack eastwards at Mersa Matruh, eastern Libya.

(2) Italian Commander Ugo Cavallero redirected attack aircraft from Libya to against Malta.

25 June 1942. Thursday (-1,048) (1) Auchinlek relieved Ritchie as Commander of the Allied Eight Army in Egypt. Ritchie had intended to stage a �do or die� last ditch defence at Mersa Matruh, eastern Libya. Auchinlek was more pragmatic and his main priority was keeping the Army as a viable fighting force. Auchinlek intended to hold Rommel at the El Alamein Line, and if that was broken, to mount a defence at Suez or back in Palestine.

(2) The RAF launched a 1,000 bomber raid on Bremen.

24 June 1942, Wednesday (-1,049) Mick Fleetwood, drummer, was born.

23 June 1942, Tuesday (-1,050) Lord Martin Rees of Ludlow, astronomer, was born.

22 June 1942. Monday (-1,051) Rommel resumed his advance eastwards in Libya, and requested permission from Kesselring to go onwards into Egypt, because he had captured large stocks of war material in Tobruk.

21 June 1942. Sunday (-1,052) Tobruk fell to Rommel�s Afrika Corps (see 18 November 1941). 25,000 Allied troops were taken prisoner.

20 June 1942, Saturday (-1,053) A Japanese submarine shelled Vancouver island. This was the only time Canadian ;land territory came under fire; little damage was done.

19 June 1942, Friday (-1,054) Alois Elias, 51, Czechoslovak General and politician, was executed.

18 June 1942, Thursday (-1,055) (1) Rommel made a swift and unexpected attack and isolated Tobruk by cutting the coast road at Gambut.

(2) Paul McCartney of The Beatles pop group was born in Liverpool.

17 June 1942, Wednesday (-1,056) President Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill in Washington to discuss war production and military strategy.

16 June 1942, Tuesday (-1,057) Margaret Smith, Australian lawn tennis champion, was born in Albury, New South Wales.

15 June 1942, Monday (-1,058) In the UK, restaurants were forbidden from charging more than 5 shillings (25p) for a meal. Whilst they could charge more for wine, very little wine was available in wartime Britain. Some of the more upmarket hotel restaurants evaded this restriction by charging several shillings for �service�.

14 June 1942, Sunday (-1,059) Battle of Gazala. The Germans struck north to the Libyan coast in an effort to cut off British forces in the Gazala sector, but General Ritchie forced their withdrawal.

13 June 1942, Saturday (-1,060) US bombers attacked the Romanian oilfields.

12 June 1942, Friday (-1,061) Anne Frank received a diary for her 13th birthday, which she kept writing as her family hid in an Amsterdam attic until discovered by the Gestapo in 1944.

11 June 1942, Thursday (-1,062) Michael Kitzelmann, 26, German soldier, was executed for condemning Nazi atrocities.

10 June 1942, Wednesday (-1,063) Gordon Burns, TV presenter, was born.

9 June 1942, Tuesday (-1,064) The Germans massacred the inhabitants of the Czech mining village of Lidice, as a reprisal for the assassination of Heydrich, Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia.The village of Lezaky was also obliterated.

8 June 1942. Monday (-1,065) (1) Battle of Midway Island (4-8 June). The Japanese withdrew after 4 days of shelling. See 27 May 1942. The Japanese ability to mount strategic attacks in the Pacific was effectively ended. The US lost 500 men, the Japanese lost 3,500 men.

(2) Churchill arrived in Washington for talks with Roosevelt.

(3) The Japanese shelled the Australian cities of Newcastle and Sydney.

7 June 1942, Sunday (-1,066) The US aircraft carrier Yorktown was sunk by the Japanese at Midway Island.

6 June 1942, Saturday (-1,067) The US and Japan both lost one destroyer each at Midway.

5 June 1942, Friday (-1,068) Japanese Admiral Yamamoto realised the surprise factor had failed and ordered a withdrawal from Midway.

4 June 1942, Thursday (-1,069) The �Protector of Bohemia-Moravia, the Nazi Heydrich, was assassinated by Czechs.See 9 June 1942.

3 June 1942, Wednesday (-1,070) (1) The UK Government announced plans to nationalise the coal mines.

(2) The Japanese launched a diversionary attack on the Aleutians but did not draw US forces away from Midway.

2 June 1942, Tuesday (-1,071) Task forces 16 and 17 rendezvous 350 miles north east of Midway.

1 June 1942. Monday (-1,072) Mexico declared war on the Axis.


31 May 1942. Sunday (-1,073) (1) An air raid of 1,000 planes was made against Cologne. 1,455 tons of bombs were dropped in 90 minutes. 2,300 separate fires started, destroying over 3,000 buildings. 45,000 people were made homeless.

(2) Japanese submarines attempted, unsuccessfully, to enter Sydney harbour, Australia.

30 May 1942, Saturday (-1,074) US Task Force 17 set sail from Pearl Harbour to join Task force 16 against the Japanese at Midway Island,

29 May 1942. Friday (-1,075) (1) Jews in Paris were ordered to wear the Yellow Star of David. The Nazis ordered 5,000 metres of yellow material from a French company so the requisite number of stars, some 400,000, could be produced. However some Parisian non-Jews disliked this order, and many made a point of respecting the star, giving up their seats on the Metro for wearers for example. Additionally, some French Catholics wore the star also. French university students wore a badge reading �JUIF�, said to stand for Jeunesse Universitaire Intellectuelle Francaise.

(2) Bing Crosby recorded the bestseller White Christmas for the soundtrack of the film Holiday Inn.

28 May 1942, Thursday (-1,076) US Task Force 16 sailed to intercept the Japanese fleet bound for Midway Island.

27 May 1942, Wednesday (-1,077) A Japanese fleet left Japan on operation M.1, the capture of Midway Island. They hope to repeat the surprise factor of Pearl Harbour; however the US had cracked the Japanese radio codes and were ready, see 8 June 1942

26 May 1942. Tuesday (-1,078) (1) The Germans attacked Bir Hakeim, an Allied fortified position in eastern Libya, about 90 kilometres south of Tobruk.�� The fort of Bir Hakeim was blocking the Axis advance towards El Alamein. Over the next two weeks the Luftwaffe flew 1,400 sorties against the fort, whilst 4 German / Italian divisions attacked on the ground.Despite an explosion destroying the fort�s ammunition dump, Bir Hakeim refused to surrender, and the Allies dropped food and water as British armoured cars brought in fresh ammunition by night.On the night of 10-11 June 1942 the French defenders retreated, leaving the badly wounded to hold the lines.

Although Bir Hakeim fell to the Axis forces, it did give the Allies time to regroup and hold the Axis advance at El Alamein.Without this, the Germans might have succeeded in occupying Egypt and taking the Suez Canal.

(2) The USSR and Britain signed a 20 year peace pact of alliance.

25 May 1942, Monday (-1,079) Four Janaoese battleships left Hokkaido to stage a diversionary raid on The Aleutians.

24 May 1942, Sunday (-1,080) De Gaulle, ftrom London, promised the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, that he would press Churchill to open a second Front in western Europe.

23 May 1942, Saturday (-1,081) British Lieutenant-General Joseph Stilwell arrived in Dimanpur, India, having retreated 240km on an arduous trek through the Burmese rainforest.

22 May 1942, Friday (-1,082) German forces under von Kleist and Paulus closed the Isyum Salient, trapping the Russian forces under Kostenko.

21 May 1942, Thursday (-1,083) 4,300 Jews were deported from the town of Chelm to the death camp at Sobibor.

20 May 1942, Wednesday (-1,084) Lynn Davies, long jump athlete, was born.

19 May 1942, Tuesday (-1,085) British bombing raid on Mannheim

18 May 1942, Monday (-1,086) German counter attack by von Kleist into the Isyum Salient. Izyum and Barvenkova fell to the Germans the next day.

17 May 1942, Sunday (-1,087) Churchill agreed to Harris� plan for a 1,000 bomber raid on Germany.

16 May 1942, Saturday (-1,088) German forces under von Manstein cleared the Kerch Peninsula, Crimea, of Russian forces, so it could be used as a springboard to attack into the Caucasus.

15 May 1942, Friday (-1,089) The Slovak parliament retroactively legalized the deportation of Jews from Slovakia.

14 May 1942, Thursday (-1,090) Sugar rationing began in the USA.

13 May 1942, Wednesday (-1,092) British Chiefs of Staff approved a major raid against Dieppe. This was to explore the possibility of an opposed Allied landing in France to open a second European Front against Germany, a move Russia had been agitating for. This was codenamed Operation Rutter.

12 May 1942, Tuesday (-1,092) Susan Hampshire, actress, was born

11 May 1942, Monday (-1,093) Ian Drury, singer, was born.

10 May 1942, Sunday (-1,094) (1) Final Allied surrender of The Philippines.

(2) Kesselring declared that Malta was �neutralised�, however for the first time ever, this day, the Luftwaffe found themselves outnumbered over Malta. They lost 12 aircraft to 3 Spitfires. Axis air activity now declines, but Malta remained very short of fuel and food, and the Axis still determined to take the island.

9 May 1942, Saturday (-1,095) Japanese forces took Dalirig on Mindanao.

8 May 1942. Friday (-1,096) The Battle of the Coral Sea. The Japanese and the US each lost an aircraft carrier(US carrier, the Lexington), and the Japanese turned back from an invasion of Port Moresby, New Guinea. This was the first Allied success in the Pacific, and saved Australia from a Japanese invasion.

7 May 1942, Thursday (-1,097) Madagascar was occupied by British troops to forestall any Japanese invasion.

6 May 1942, Wednesday (-1,098) The Japanese captured Corregidor.

5 May 1942, Tuesday (-1,099) The first of the �Baedeker raids�; the Germans used Baedeker guidebooks to guide them to targets in British towns and cities.

4 May 1942, Monday (-1,100) (Japan) Aircraft from the US carrier Yorktown, south of Guadalcanal, raided Japanese positions at Tulagi, sinking several small vessels.

3 May 1942, Sunday (-1,101) Heavy German air raid on Exeter. 30 acres of the city were destroyed, 156 killed and 593 injured.

2 May 1942, Saturday (-1,102) The Japanese captured Mandalay.

1 May 1942, Friday (-1,103) Iraq was declared eligible for US Lend-Lease.


30 April 1942, Thursday (-1,104) The Dzyatlava massacre. About 1,100 Jews were massacred by German authorities in the Kurpiesze forest, near Dzyatlava.

29 April 1942, Wednesday (-1,105) York was bombed by the Luftwaffe. 79 were killed.

28 April 1942, Tuesday (-1,106) Bombing raid on Rostock, Germany. The target was the large Heinkel military aircraft factory there.

27 April 1942, Monday (-1,107) All Jews in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands were ordered to wear the yellow badge.

26 April 1942, Sunday (-1,108) The world�s worst coalmine disaster occurred at Honkeiko Colliery, China. 1,572 were killed.

25 April 1942, Saturday (-1,109) American troops arrived in New Caledonia to assist in defence of the archipelago.

24 April 1942, Friday (-1,110) The Germans bombed Exeter, in revenge for the raid on Lubeck on 28 March 1942.

23 April 1942, Thursday (-1,111) Sandra Dee, actress, was born (died 20 February 2005)

22 April 1942, Wednesday (-1,112) British troops in Burma retreated to Meiktilla.

21 April 1942, Tuesday (-1,113) US President Roosevelt ordered all patents owned by enemy nations to be seized within the US, in order to minimise German interference in US industry.

20 April 1942, Monday (-1,114) The US aircraft carrier Wasp flew in afurther 46 Spitfire aircraft to Malta. However under fierce German bombardment, almost all had been destroyed on the ground within 3 days.

19 April 1942, Sunday (-1,115) Alan Price, British singer, was born near Jarrow.

18 April 1942. Saturday (-1,116) US planes bomb Tokyo and other Japanese cities; the �Doolittle Raids�. See 24 November 1944.

17 April 1942, Friday (-1,117) Japanese forces in Burma reached Yenangyaung. The main oilfields in Burma were destroyed to prevent them from falling into Japanese hands.

16 April 1942. Thursday (-1,118) The island of Malta was awarded the George Cross by George VI for its heroism during the German and Italian bombardment.

15 April 1942, Wednesday (-1,119) Valeriy Brumel, Olympic high jumper, was born in Razvedki, USSR (died 2003).

14 April 1942, Tuesday (-1,120) Ian MacLauchlan, rugby player, was born.

13 April 1942, Monday (-1,121) Allied forces in Burma retreated to Magwe, leaving the iolfields of central Burma open to the Japanese.

12 April 1942, Sunday (-1,122) Japanese forces captured Migyaungye, Burma, close to the oilfields there. The Allies began to destroy the oil installations on 15 April 1942.

11 April 1942, Saturday (-1,123) The German 11th Army blocked a Soviet attack at Eupatoriya, Crimea.

10 April 1942, Friday (-1,124) The Bataan Death March. Some 75,000 Filipino and US troops captiured by the Japanese at Bataan were forced to march 137km in 6 days. Many hundreds died during the march.

9 April 1942. Thursday (-1,125) The Japanese captured Bataan.

8 April 1942, Wednesday (-1,126) Japanese forces landed on Lorengau in the Admiralty Islands.

7 April 1942, Tuesday (-1,127) John Atkins, British cyclo-cross champion, was born.

6 April 1942, Monday (-1,128) According to an order made by the UK Government on 6 March 1942, it was now illegal to bake white bread in the UK.

5 April 1942, Sunday (-1,129) Easter Sunday. Japanese aircraft attacked Colombo, Sri Lanka, and sank two British cruisers.

4 April 1942, Saturday (-1,130) Jim Fregosi, baseball player and manager, was born in San Francisco, California (died 2015)

3 April 1942, Friday (-1,131) Final Japanese push to capture Bataan, with the Allied defences crumbling.

2 April 1942, Thursday (-1,132) The British under Sir Miles Lampson forced their way into the Abdin Palace, Cairo, and demanded that King Farouk either abdicate or invite Nahas to form a Wafd Party government. King Farouk was friendly with the Italians, and like many Egyptians had pro-Axis sympathies, simply because they believed an Axis victory would rid Egypt of the British. Meanwhile Rommel was advancing from Libya into western Egypt. Success for Rommel would cut the Suez Canal and sever naval communications with India. Lampson hoped that Farouk would abdicate but instead he chose to appoint Nahas, whose Wafd Party were pro-British.

1 April 1942, Wednesday (-1,133) Japan began landing troops on Dutch New Guinea.


31 March 1942, Tuesday (-1,134) The Battle of Christmas Island was fought. Japanese soldiers were able to occupy Christmas Island without resistance, although the American submarine Seawolf damaged the Japanese cruiser Naka.

30 March 1942. Monday (-1,135) The first 1,000 bomber raid took place on Cologne.

29 March 1942, Sunday (-1,136) The Allies succeeded in getting much needed replacement aircraft to Malta to assist with its ongoing defence.

28 March 1942. Saturday (-1,137) (1) The RAF began continuous bombing of German munitions factories. They also raided Lubeck and Rostock, Germany. These were coastal targets, easy to find and highly combustible.Lubeck, with its naval stores, oil tanks, submarine shipyards, and naval school, was 40% (200 acres) destroyed.

(2) British commandos made a dawn raid on the French port of St Nazaire. In �Operation Chariot� they rammed an old destroyer, the Campbeltown, full of explosives, against the dock gate, putting the port out of action for the rest of the war.

(3) Neil Kinnock, Labour leader, was born in Tredegar, south Wales.

27 March 1942, Friday (-1,138) 1,112 Jews were deported from Drancy, Paris, to an undisclosed destination.

26 March 1942. Thursday (-1,139) Germany began deporting Jews to Auschwitz concentration camp.

25 March 1942, Wednesday (-1,140) Aretha Franklin, US singer, was born.

24 March 1942, Tuesday (-1,141) Japan began intensive bombing of Bataan and Corrigedor.

23 March 1942, Monday (-1,142) The Japanese occupation of the Andaman Islands began.

22 March 1942, Sunday (-1,143) Battle of Sirte Gulf. Allied efforts to resupply Malta, but under German naval attacks only 5,000 tons of the 26,000 tons supplies sent reached Malta.

21 March 1942, Saturday (-1,144) President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This established the War Relocation

Authority, to move Japanese in the US away from the west coast. Some 110,000 Japanese in the US were interned in WRA camps, although most of the 150,000 Japanese in Hawaii were not interned.

20 March 1942, Friday (-1,145) Kesselring launched new intensified air attacks on Malta.

19 March 1942, Thursday (-1,146) A Soviet Army attempting to break through to relieve Leningrad was itself surrounded and forced to surrender. Its advance had been slowed by the dense forest and the determination of the Germans.

18 March 1942, Wednesday (-1,147) US troops occupied the New Hebrides, to guard against a Japanese attack on the wqest coast of Australia.

17 March 1942, Tuesday (-1,148) In the UK, coal, electricity and gas were to be rationed.

16 March 1942, Monday (-1,149) The Soviet Ambassador asked Churchill to open a second Front in western Europe.

15 March 1942, Sunday (-1,150) As German casulaties on the Eastern Front reached 250,000 so far for the year, Hitler predicted a crushing defeat for the Russians this summer.

14 March 1942, Saturday (-1,151) Rita Tushington, actress, was born.

13 March 1942, Friday (-1,152) The Nazi death camp at Belzec, Poland, opened with a transport of 6,000 Jews from Mielec.

12 March 1942, Thursday (-1,153) US troops occupied New Caledonia.

11 March 1942, Wednesday (-1,154) Brazilian President Get�lio Vargas reiterated his powers to declare war or a state of national emergency, clearing the way for the seizure of subjects and property of Axis countries.

10 March 1942. Tuesday (-1,155) Rangoon, Burma, fell to the Japanese.

9 March 1942, Monday (-1,156) The Dutch East Indies campaign ended in decisive Japanese victory. The Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies began.

8 March 1942. Sunday (-1,157) Java surrendered to the Japanese.

7 March 1942. Saturday (-1,158) British forces withdrew from Rangoon. Bandung, Java, also fell to the Japanese, effectively giving all of Java to Japan.

6 March 1942, Friday (-1,161) A controversial political cartoon by Philip Zec appeared in the Daily Mirror, showing a seaman clinging to the remains of a ship in rough seas with the caption, "The price of petrol has been increased by one penny � Official." Winston Churchill interpreted the cartoon as �defeatist� and considered banning the Daily Mirror from publication.

5 March 1942, Thursday (-1,160) The Dutch announced the evacuation of Batavia in the face of the Japanese advance. Java could no longer be held. The Japanese entered Pegu in Burma, just 40 miles from the capital, Rangoon.

4 March 1942, Wednesday (-1,161) Yuliya Lazarevna Veysberg, composer, died aged 62.

3 March 1942, Tuesday (-1,162) The USA declared the West Coast a military area and evacuated some 100,000 civilians.

2 March 1942, Monday (-1,163) The Japanese began heavy air strikes on New Guinea in preparation for an invasion.

1 March 1942, Sunday (-1,164) Skirts were being made several centimetres shorter to save material. A woman�s winter tweed coat sold for �4 3s 11d. Men�s shirt tails were also 5 centimetres shorter.


28 February 1942. Saturday (-1,165) The Japanese landed on Java, Indonesia.

27 February 1942, Friday (-1,166) The Battle of the Java Sea, in which the Dutch navy was destroyed in defence of Australia. The Japanese were now able to occupy Java.

26 February 1942, Thursday (-1,167) Jozef Adamec, Slovak footballer, was born

25 February 1942, Wednesday (-1,168) Leo Ascher, Austrian composer, died in new York (born 17 August 1880 in Vienna)

24 February 1942, Tuesday (-1,169) Joe Lieberman, US politician, was born.

23 February 1942, Monday (-1,170) Lend Lease was made reciprocal between the USA and Britain.

22 February 1942. Sunday (-1,171) Civilians were evacuated from Rangoon as fighting raged 80 miles north east of the city.

21 February 1942, Saturday (-1,172) Margarethe von Trotta, film director, was born in Berlin, Germany

20 February 1942, Friday (-1.173) Bali, east of Java, was invaded by Japan.

19 February 1942. Thursday (-1,174) The Japanese bombed the Australian city of Darwin.

18 February 1942. Wednesday (-1,175) The British public were urged to take fewer baths and to only use five inches of water when they did.

17 February 1942, Tuesday (-1,176) Augusto Ponzio, semiologist was born in San Pietro Vernotico, Italy

16 February 1942, Monday (-1,177) Japanese forces in Borneo occupied the town of Sintang, West Kalimantan. In Sumatra, Palembang fell to Japanese forces.

15 February 1942. Sunday (-1,178) Singapore occupied by the Japanese. See 5 September 1945. The base was supposed to be impregnable, but all its guns pointed out to sea; the Japanese came overland. The base was running out of water and surrendered, but the British did not know the Japanese were almost out of ammunition. The Japanese now had a massive arsenal of guns and ammunition.

14 February 1942, Saturday (-1,179) (Germany) A controversial �Area Bombing� directive by the RAF meant that German civilian areas were now targets for future bombing raids.

13 February 1942, Friday (-1,180) Peter Tork, musician, was born.

12 February 1942. Thursday (-1,181) The Japanese captured Bandjermasin, the main town on the south coast of Borneo.

11 February 1942, Wednesday (-1,182) Japanese forces crossed the Salween River in Burma.

10 February 1942, Tuesday (-1,183) American bandleader Glen Miller was presented with a gold record of his popular tune �Chattanooga Choo Choo�; the tune was the first to hit one million sales.

9 February 1942. Monday (-1,184) Soap rationing began in Britain.

8 February 1942, Sunday (-1,185) German Munitions chief Fritz Todt was killed in a plane crash.

7 February 1942, Saturday (-1,186) In Banja Luka, Croatian Nazis massacred 2,300 Serbian civilians, including 551 children.

6 February 1942, Friday (-1,187) A new Wafd (Nationalist) Egyptian government was formed, under British influence.

5 February 1942, Thursday (-1,188) The US established a military base at Londonderry.

4 February 1942, Wednesday (-1,189) Japan demanded the surrender of Singapore.

3 February 1942, Tuesday (-1,190) Japanese planes bombed Port Moresby.

2 February 1942. Monday (-1,191) Three Allied ships carrying supplies to besieged Malta were destroyed en-route.

1 February 1942. Sunday (-1,192) Vidkun Quisling, pro-Nazi, was appointed Prime Minister of Norway.


31 January 1942. Saturday (-1,193) The Japanese laid siege to Singapore. They landed on Singapore on 9 February 1942.

30 January 1942, Friday (-1,194) The Irish government claimed that its neutrality was being violated by the American troop presence in Northern Ireland. An official statement declared that the United States had recognized a "Quisling government" in Northern Ireland by sending troops there and that the British were making a new attempt to force Ireland into the war on the side of the Allies.

29 January 1942. Thursday (-1,195) The first broadcast of theBBC radio programme �Desert Island Discs�, devised and presented by Roy Plomley. Roy Plomley presented the programme until 11 May 1985; he died 17 days later on 28 May 1965. The first �castaway� was the comedian, Vic Oliver.

28 January 1942, Wednesday (-1,196) German and Italian forces recaptured Benghazi.

27 January 1942, Tuesday (-1,197) Jacqueline Cochrane, US aviatrix, flew a US bomber to the UK, for raids against Germany.

26 January 1942, Monday (-1,198) American troops landed in Northern Ireland.

25 January 1942, Sunday (-1,199) Siam (Thailand) declared war on Britain and the USA.The USA did not declare war on Siam.Many Thai sympathised with the Allied side.

24 January 1942, Saturday (-1,200) German forces relieved an encirclement of their garrison at Sukhinichi, Russia.

23 January 1942, Friday (-1,201) Japanese forces captured the port of Rabaul, New Britain.

22 January 1942, Thursday (-1,202) Belatedly, Allied reinforcements reached Singapore

21 January 1942. Wednesday (-1,203) German offensive began in the Western Desert, Egypt.

20 January 1942. Tuesday (-1,204) Reihard Heydrich proposed his �final solution� � to exterminate all of Europe�s 11 million Jews.

19 January 1942. Monday (-1,205) (1) Japanese invaded Burma.

(2) Michael Crawford, British comedy actor, was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, as Michael Dumble-Smith.

18 January 1942, Sunday (-1,206) Japanese forces captured Tavoy, Burma.

17 January 1942, Saturday (-1,207) British forces captured Bardia, Libya.

16 January 1942, Friday (-1,208) In the Battle of Muar in Malaya, the Japanese 5th Infantry Division crossed the Muar River and captured Muar itself.

15 January 1942. Thursday (-1,209) Ghandi named Nehru as his successor.

14 January 1942, Wednesday (-1,210) The Battle of Gemas was fought in Malaya, resulting in tactical Australian victory.

13 January 1942, Tuesday (-1,211) The first escape by emergency ejection seat from an aircraft. The German pilot ejected at 7,875 feet due to heavy icing, over Rechlin, Germany, and landed safely.

12 January 1942, Monday (-1,212) In North Africa, the British took Sallum after a 56-day siege when the Germans ran out of ammunition.

11 January 1942. Sunday (-1,213) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was captured by the Japanese.The Japanese also landed on the northern tip of the Celebes this day, and within a month controlled all the island except the remote interior.

10 January 1942. Saturday (-1,214) The Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies.

9 January 1942, Friday (-1,215) The Battle of Drazgose began between the Slovene Partisans and Nazi occupying forces.

8 January 1942, Thursday (-1,216) Stephen Hawking, astrophysicist, was born.

7 January 1942, Wednesday (-1,217) (Germany) The Soviet Army began a new offensive on the Kalinin and Western Fronts in order to encircle Army Group Centre.

6 January 1942, Tuesday (-1,218) British forces advancing westwards through Libya reached Mersa Brega, near El Agheila.

5 January 1942, Monday (-1,219) Jan Leeming, BBC presenter, was born.

4 January 1942, Sunday (-1,229) The Japanese 14th Army captured Guagua in the Philippines.

3 January 1942, Saturday (-1,221) The Allies set up the South West Pacific Command

2 January 1942. Friday (-1,222) Manila captured by the Japanese. The US recaptured it on 3 February 1945.

1 January 1942, Thursday (-1,223) (1) The British withdrew from Sarawak.

(2) As the USA entered WW2, it announced that from 22 February 1942 production of civilian cars must cease. The current stock of 520,000 US civilian cars could only be sold to those deemed �essential drivers� Brightwork materials on cars produced in January and February, such as chrome trims, was to be limited as it was needed for war production.


31 December 1941, Wednesday (-1,224) De Valera declined to join the War despite its main ally, the USA, now being involved.

30 December 1941, Tuesday (-1,225) The Battle of Kampar began in Malaya.

29 December 1941, Monday (-1,226) Russia re-occupied Kerch and Feodosia.

28 December 1941, Sunday (-1,227) General Wavell took command of the Allied defence of Burma.

27 December 1941, Saturday (-1,228) The US Government, as part of wartime rationing, limited the number of tyres any car driver could own to 5. This limit remained in place until 31 December 1945.

26 December 1941, Friday (-1,229) Second British raid on the Lofoten Islands. Winston Churchill discussed war strategy in America.

25 December 1941. Thursday (-1,230) Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese. 6,000 troops laid down arms after a 7-day battle.

24 December 1941, Wednesday (-1,231) Benghazi recaptured by the British.

23 December 1941, Tuesday (-1,232) Wake Island (US territory) surrendered to the Japanese, see 4 September 1945.

22 December 1941, Monday (-1,233) General Wavell met with Chiang Kai Shek at Chonqquing.

21 December 1941, Sunday (-1,234) Siam (Thailand) signed a treaty with Japan permitting the entry and transit of Japanese troops. This facilitated the Japanese invasion of Burma.

20 December 1941, Saturday (-1,235) Joseph Goebbels announced a winter clothing collection drive for troops on the Eastern Front. Rather than admitting to a supply shortage he presented it as an expression of solidarity between the soldiers and the homeland

19 December 1941. Friday (-1,236) Hitler made himself Commander in Chief of the Army.

18 December 1941, Thursday (-1,237) British and Dutch forces occupied East Timor. Malaya was evacuated and the Japanese attacked Hong Kong.

17 December 1941. Wednesday (-1,238) Sarawak, Borneo, was invaded by the Japanese.

16 December 1941, Tuesday (-1,239) Allied raids on Ostend, Bremen and Wilhelmshaven.

15 December 1941, Monday (-1,240) The Germans abandoned attempts to take Moscow.

14 December 1941, Sunday (-1,241) Japan and Siam (Thailand) signed a ten-year co-operation treaty.

13 December 1941, Saturday (-1,242) The Japanese controlled the mainland area of Hong Kong, and Kowloon; Hong Kong Island was still British-held.

12 December 1941. Friday (-1,243) (1) The USSR began to push back Nazi forces. Rostov in the south was retaken by the USSR, and the German advance towards Moscow was turned back at Solechnaya Gora, 40 miles north-west from the Russian capital. 30,000 German soldiers ware taken prisoner and 700 German tanks captured or destroyed.German supply lines had become over-stretched, and the varying gauges and fuel requirements of Russia�s railways meant that 70% of the Wermacht forces had to walk into Russia.German hopes that Russian civilians would see them as liberators failed to materialise.The German soldiers were ill-prepared for winter temperatures as low as -40 C. However Stalin now made some tactical errors. He anticipated the main German thrust for 1942 would be against Moscow whereas the Nazis now aimed for Stalingrad, so as to capture the Caucasus oilfields.

(2) The Japanese captured the island of Guam, see 20 July 1944.

(3) More Jews were arrested in Paris. This time it was the professional members of the community � doctors, academics, scientists and writers � who were detained and sent to Drancy.

11 December 1941, Thursday (-1,244) Hitler declared war on the USA, as did Italy, even though he had not yet conquered Russia or invaded Britain. The USA declared war on Germany and Italy.

10 December 1941, Wednesday (-1,245) (1) (Germany) Tikhvin, near Leningrad, was recaptured by the Russians, see 9 November 1941.

(2) Japanese forces off Malaya sank two major British naval vessels, the Repulse and Prince of Wales, thereby eliminating British naval power from the Far East for some time. Also on this day the Japanese occupied Aparri, a major port in northern Luzon, Philippines. US forces retook it in June 1945. Japan invaded Malaya.

9 December 1941, Tuesday (-1,246) US air force bombed Luzon, Philippines.

8 December 1941. Monday (-1,247) Britain and the USA declared war on Japan. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic also declared war on Japan, and China declared war on all the Axis powers. Britain declared war on Finland, Rumania, and Hungary.Siam (Thailand) agreed to the passage of Japanese forces through its territory to attack British Malaya.

7 December 1941. Sunday (-1,248) Japanese attack on the USA fleet in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. Pearl Harbour was taken entirely by surprise and within 2 hours 360 Japanese warplanes had destroyed 5 battleships, 14 smaller craft, and 200 aircraft. 2,400 people, many of them civilians, were killed. However the Japanese failed to find and destroy America�s all-important aircraft carriers, both of which were away on manoeuvres. The Japanese force then turned west to strike the British in the East Indies, Australia, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The US Congress met to declare war in emergency session on 8 December 1941, much to the relief of Britain. Hitler, meanwhile, was pleased because he imagined that this would distract the US away from the War in Europe.

6 December 1941. Saturday (-1,249) (1) Roosevelt appealed to Hirohito to avoid a war with the USA.

(2) Britain declared war on Finland, after it ignored warnings not to continue fighting on the German side.

(3) A Russian counterattack began to relieve the pressure on Moscow.

5 December 1941, Friday (-1,250) (1) A civilian gas mask exercise was held in Plymouth. At 3pm all civilians were supposed to don their gas masks for 15 minutes; many did not comply.

(2) Britain declared war on Hungary and Romania.

(3) The German advance on Moscow halted, just 32 km away from the city centre. The temperature had dropped suddenly to -35 C the previous night and tank engines, frozen solid, would not start and many German soldiers had frostbite.

4 December 1941, Thursday (-1,251) In Britain, unmarried women in their 20s were now being called up to perform non combat support work for the military, such as factory work, fire services and policing. For men, the call-up age was extended down to 18 and up to 49.

3 December 1941, Wednesday (-1,252) Russia evacuated its naval base at Hanko, Finland, west of Helsinki.

2 December 1941, Tuesday (-1,253) (1) The German Army under Von Kluge were in the suburbs of Moscow, within sight of the Kremlin. However they were halted there by a new Soviet offensive, better prepared for winter than the Germans were.

(2) The Battle of Hanko ended in Finnish victory.

1 December 1941. Monday (-1,254) The Japanese Emperor ratified the decision to go to war with the USA.


30 November 1941, Sunday (-1,255) The first day of the Rumbula massacre near Riga, Latvia. Around 25,000 Jews were killed between this day and December 8.

29 November 1941, Saturday (-1.156) German troops withdrew from Taganrog on the Sea of Azov.

28 November 1941, Friday (-1,257) Russia re-occupied Rostov.

27 November 1941, Thursday (-1,258) Gondar, Abyssinia, captured by Allied forces.

26 November 1941, Wednesday (-1,259) (1) A Russian counter attack saw them advance 70 miles in the Ukraine.

(2) Japanese naval forces set sail for Pearl Harbour.

25 November 1941, Tuesday (-1,260) The Royal Navy battleship, HMS Barham, was sunk.

24 November 1941, Monday (-1,261) Von Rundstedt defied a direct order from Hitler and withdrew from Rostov-on-Don due to Soviet counter-attacks in the rear.

23 November 1941, Sunday (-1,262) Rostov occupied by Germany. German troops were now just 50 km NW of Moscow, with other German troops approaching to within 100 km to the SW at Kashira on the River Ugra.

22 November 1941, Saturday (-1,263) In the Battle of Moscow, the Germans captured Klin.

21 November 1941, Friday (-1,264) The Battle of Rostov began on the Eastern Front.

20 November 1941, Thursday (-1,265) The German Afrika Korps gave battle over a broad area around Sidi Rezegh.

19 November 1941, Wednesday (-1,266) Start of First Battle of Sidi Rezegh (ended 22 November 1941). Rommel captured the airfield from the Allies, who however managed to avoid encirclement and capture.

18 November 1941. Tuesday (-1,267) (1) Allies under General Auchinlek began Operation Crusader, ousting the Italians from North Africa. By 25 December 1941 the British gained territory and were back to where they were in February 1941. On 21 January 1942 Rommel hit back and Tobruk surrendered to him on 21/6 1942.

(2) Iraq broke off relations with Japan.

17 November 1941, Monday (-1,268) British commando raids on German HQ at Tobruk, 300 kilometres behind enemy lines.

16 November 1941, Sunday (-1,269) Iraq broke off relations with Vichy France.

15 November 1941, Saturday (-1,270) (1) RAF raids on Boulogne and Emden.

(2) The ground was now frozen, and German forces launched a �final offensive� to capture Moscow.

14 November 1941. Friday (-1,271) The British aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, was sunk. She was torpedoed by a U-boat near Gibraltar; she was under tow to Gibraltar for repair when fire broke out, her list increased and she was abandoned.

13 November 1941, Thursday (-1,272) The temperature on the Eastern Front near Moscow fell further, to -22 C

12 November 1941, Wednesday (-1,273) The temperature on the Moscow Front fell to -12 C, and many German soldiers succumbed to frostbite.

11 November 1941, Tuesday (-1,274) The British attacked several Italian Navy ships at anchor in the Gulf of Taranto.

10 November 1941, Monday (-1,275) The British launched Operation Flipper, a commando raid on the headquarters of Erwin Rommel in North Africa.

9 November 1941, Sunday (-1,276) (Germany) Tikhvin, a railway junction town east of Leningrad, fell to the Germans. It was a staging point for supplies to Leningrad via Lake Ladoga. See 10 December 1941.

8 November 1941, Saturday (-1,277) The RAF suffered major losses from a costly bombing raid into Germany.

7 November 1941, Friday (-1,278) With the muddy ground now frozen and firm once again, Germany decided to resume the assault on Moscow. However the delay caused by the autumn rains had enabled Russia to place 80 divisions in its defence. This assault actually began on 15 November.

6 November 1941, Thursday (-1,279) The US destroyer Somers and the US cruiser Omaha captured a German blockade-running ship, the Odenwald, which was disguised as a US merchant vessel.

5 November 1941, Wednesday (-1,280) Art Garfunkel, of Simon and Garfunkel, was born in New York.

4 November 1941, Tuesday (-1,281) The Germans captured Feodosia on the Crimean Peninsula.

3 November 1941. Monday (-1,282) (1) The Germans captured Kursk, Russia � see 8 February 1943.

(2) President Roosevelt was warned by the US Ambassador to Tokyo of a possible Japanese attack on the USA.

2 November 1941, Sunday (-1,283) Bruce Welch, guitarist, was born.

1 November 1941, Saturday (-1,284) Simferopol captured by Germany.


31 October 1941, Friday (-1,285) The Walt Disney film Dumbo was released today.

30 October 1941, Thursday (-1,286) The USS Reuben James was attacked by a U-boat, killing 70 US sailors.

29 October 1941, Wednesday (-1,287) Germans began to cross the Perikop isthmus into Crimea.

28 October 1941, Tuesday (-1,288) Hank Marvin, guitarist, was born.

27 October 1941, Monday (-1,289) Erich von Manstein's 11th Army broke into the Crimean Peninsula.

26 October 1941, Sunday (-1,291) Victor Schertzinger, Us composer, died in Hollywood (born 8 April 1880 in Mahanoy, Pennsylvania)

25 October 1941, Saturday (-1,291) Deep snow fell on the Moscow Front. The snow could then thaw, turning the ground into a quagmire; the Russian T34 tanks, with their wide tracks, could cope with this better than the German tanks could.

24 October 1941, Friday (-1,292) Kharkov occupied by Germany.

23 October 1941, Thursday (-1,293) Colin Milburn, cricketer, was born (died 28 February 1990).

22 October 1941, Wednesday (-1,294) Tokyo conducted its first practice blackout.

21 October 1941, Tuesday (-1,295) The hull of Britain�s last, and largest ever, battleship HMS Vanguard, was laid at Clydebank.She was launched on 30 November 1944.

20 October 1941, Monday (-1,296) German forces reached within 70 km of Moscow.The city suffered heavy bombing raids as fighting raged in the countryside around.

19 October 1941, Sunday (-1,297) German forces captured Mozhaysk, Russia.

18 October 1941, Saturday (-1,298) The expiry of a 6-week deadline, set by the Japanese military on 6 September 1941, for the completion of negotiations with the USA. By the end of September 1941 Japanese oil reserves had fallen to 15 million barrels, and the military wanted to go to war in SE Asia to secure more oil. However there were concerns in Japan about the reaction of America to this invasion. The President of the Japanese National Planning Board stated that domestic oil production could be increased for a fraction of the cost of a war. The pacifist Prince Konoye also opposed war. But when the 18 October deadline passed without result, Konoye resigned and General Tojo became Minister of War. Tojo was less militant than many of his colleagues and extended the deadline for a result of the Japan-US negotiations for a further 6 weeks, to 25 November; again no agreement was achieved.

17 October 1941. Friday (-1,299) The belligerent General Tojo was appointed Prime Minister of Japan. He replaced Prince Konoe, who had resigned the previous day after failing t make headway in negotiations with the US and facing strong pressure from the Japanese military.

16 October 1941. Thursday (-1,300) The Germans advanced to within 60 miles of Moscow. Odessa evacuated by Russia.

15 October 1941, Wednesday (-1,301) The Jewish population of Lubny, Ukraine, and neighbouring towns were ordered to report for relocation. The 1,900 Jews who obeyed the order were taken to an antitank trench outside the town and shot.

14 October 1941, Tuesday (-1,302) Roger Taylor, tennis champion, was born.

13 October 1941. Monday (-1,303) RAF raid on Nuremberg.

12 October 1941, Sunday (-1,304) Briansk evacuated by Russia.

11 October 1941, Saturday (-1,305) The Japanese Government approved plans for an attack on Pearl Harbour.

10 October 1941, Friday (-1,306) Stalin brought General Zhukov back from Leningrad, where the first deaths from starvation had begun, to oversee the creation of a Western Front to defend Moscow.

9 October 1941, Thursday (-1,307) Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia Arango became President of Panama.

8 October 1941. Wednesday (-1,308) German forces in Russia took Mariupol; Hitler had now reached the Sea of Azov. However Russia was far from being conquered.

7 October 1941, Tuesday (-1,309) German Army Group Centre encountered snowfall for the first time in the drive on Moscow.

6 October 1941, Monday (-1,310) German forces entered Berdyansk, taking over 100,00 Russian PoWs.

5 October 1941, Sunday (-1,311) Eduardo Duhalde, President of Argentina, was born in Lomas de Zamora, Argentina

4 October 1941. Saturday (-1,312) Anne Rice, writer, was born.

3 October 1941. Friday (-1,313) The aerosol was patented by L D Goodhue and W N Sullivan.

2 October 1941. Thursday (-1,314) (1) As the first winter snows began, the Russian Army launched a counter-attack at Leningrad. Von Bock was given the go ahead for his offensive to capture Moscow but by now it was too late to accomplish this before winter would set in.

(2) The Nazi occupiers of Paris blew up Jewish synagogues across the city. Six were destroyed, a seventh explosive failed to detonate but thebuilding was destroyed anyway the next day.

1 October 1941, Wednesday (-1,315) RAF raid on Stuttgart.


30 September 1941, Tuesday (-1,316) Finland took Petrozavodsk from Russia.

29 September 1941. Monday (-1,317) A Nazi death squad murdered 30,000 Russian Jews in Kiev, following the fall of Kiev to the Nazis on 19 September 1941.

28 September 1941, Sunday (-1,318) The Operation Halberd convoy reached Malta with 50,000 tons of urgently needed supplies.

27/9.1941, Saturday (-1,319) Germany captured Perekop, cutting off the Crimea from the rest of Russia. The first autumn rains in Russia began to fall, turning roads into mud.

26 September 1941, Friday (-1,320) The US proclaimed an embargo on steel and scrap iron exports to Japan, with effect from 16 October 1941.

25 September 1941, Thursday (-1,321) Germany attacked the Crimea.

24 September 1941, Wednesday (-1,322) Russian Marshall Budenny launched a counter-attack against the Germans at Kherson, on the River Dnieper.

23 September 1941, Tuesday (-1,323) In London, Charles de Gaulle formed a Free French Government in exile.

22 September 1941, Monday (-1,324) Hitler issued Directive No. 36, Instructions for Winter operations in Norway.

21 September 1941, Sunday (-1,325) The Jeep was born. The US Army asked 135 companies to provide a prototype of a 4-wheel drive reconnaissance car.Bantam delivered a model this day, which was satisfactory apart from needing better engine torque. The model was then sent to Willys-Overland for production. However as the US entered WW2, it became apparent that Willys could not produce the number of vehicles needed, so Ford was granted a licence to also produce these vehicles, on 10 January 1942.

20 September 1941, Saturday (-1,326) The British arranged for arms to be supplied to Yugoslav partisan leader Mihailovic. However there was deep rivalry between Mihailovic and Tito, and the British realised these arms were being used against Tito, so they stopped delivering them.

19 September 1941. Friday (-1,327) The Germans captured Kiev, USSR.

18 September 1941, Thursday (-1,328) US President Roosevelt asked Congress for US$ 5,985 million to fund Lend-Lease.

17 September 1941, Wednesday (-1,329) The Russian Stavka (High Command) belatedly ordered a withdrwawal from Kiev, as German forces penetrated the city�s outer defences.

16 September 1941. Tuesday (-1,330) The Shah of Iran, Reza Khan Pahlavi, abdicated. His son, Reza Pahlavi, took over.

15 September 1941, Monday (-1,331) The Nazis began testing the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

14 September 1941, Sunday (-1,332) RAF pilots were now tutoring Russians how to fly British-supplied Hurricane fighter planes.

13 September 1941, Saturday (-1,333) Three days of war games held at the Naval War College, Tokyo, ended. They had been staged to develop possible Japanese strategy in the Pacific.

12 September 1941, Friday (-1,334) The first snow flurries on the German Soviet Front, but none settled. Hitler, keen to capture Moscow, decided that Leningrad would be besieged and starved intro surrender, rather than conquered.

11 September 1941, Thursday (-1,335) In Britain the RAF took delivery of its first Hawker Typhoon jet fighter plane.

10 September 1941, Wednesday (-1,336) Heavy German bombing raids on Leningrad. The city�s main dairy was hit, destroying tons of butter, and the shipyards were badly damaged.

9 September 1941, Tuesday (-1,337) Churchill met Roosevelt in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.

8 September 1941, Monday (-1,338) Stalin began the deportation eastwards of all 600,000 ethnic Germans living in the Volga Basin region; he feared they would become a 5th column as Germany invaded Russia.

7 September 1941, Sunday (-1,339) In Paris the Germans executed Pierre Roche. He was a member of the Resistance, who had sabotaged German military telephone lines.

6 September 1941, Saturday (-1,340) Japan now aimed to be fully bready for war with the US by end October 1941. Meanwhile Prince Konoe continued talks with the US to buy time.

5 September 1941, Friday (-1,341) Hitler changed his mind yet again and decided Moscow would be the primary objective and Leningrad was merely a secondary target. However the necessary transfer of resources between the invading German armies could not begin until end-September, and with autumn rains to begin in mid-October, followed by snow, time was now very short to achieve these objectives.

4 September 1941, Thursday (-1,342) Hitler was angry at the slow pace of the invasion of Russia, and began looking for a scapegoat.

3 September 1941, Wednesday (-1,343) Allied forces secured Spitzbergen, with its coal reserves. Allied forces landed this day, unopposed and welcomed by the population.

2 September 1941, Tuesday (-1,344) In Tokyo the Government set up the Air Defence Bureau, to orgamsoie air raid precautions across Japan.

1 September 1941, Monday (-1,345) The 1942 De Soto car model was introduced, featuring Airfoil headlights that retracted when not in use.


31 August 1941, Sunday (-1,346) Nazi persecution of the Jews in Paris intensified. On this day all radios belonging to Jews were confiscated. Then their bicycles were taken. The Post Office was ordered to disconnect all phones belonging to Jewish households, and Jews were forbidden to use public phone boxes. Jews were barred from cinemas, Jewish lawyers were forbidden to practise, and it was made illegal for Jews to change address. Jews could only use the last carriage of the Paris Metro trains.

30 August 1941. Saturday (-1,347) The Germans began the siege of Leningrad.The siege ended in January 1943.

29 August 1941. Friday (-1,348) The Germans captured Tallinn, capital of Estonia.

28 August 1941, Thursday (-1,349) The Russians destroyed the Dnieper Dam, near Dnipropetrovsk, as they retreated from the area under their scorched earth policy.

27 August 1941, Wednesday (-1,350) Mohammad Ali Foroughi became Prime Minister of Iran for the third time.

26 August 1941, Tuesday (-1,351) The Germans captured the industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. However the industrial machinery had been moved away eastwards, leaving just empty factories.

25 August 1941, Monday (-1,352) (1) Canadian and British and Norwegian forces raided Spitzebergen.

(2) British and Soviet troops occupied Iran. This was a violation of Iran�s neutrality but was seen as a vital move to pre-empt German Fifth Columnists who might sabotage the oil installations.

24 August 1941, Sunday (-1,353) German forces weer encountering stiff resistance in Ukraine.

23 August 1941, Saturday (-1,354) German Panzer Group 2 army commander Guderian wanted to make Moscow his main priority. Hitler, however, ordered him to attack to the south.

22 August 1941, Friday (-1,355) Sir Oliver Lodge, pioneer of wireless telegraphy, died.

21 August 1941, Thursday (-1,356) (Germany) The first of the Arctic Convoys left Scapa Flow, Scotland, taking military supplies to Russia, including Hurricane fighter planes.

20 August 1941, Wednesday (-1.357) A further mass arrest of Parisian Jews took place, this time mainly affecting the artisan Jews of the 11th Arrondissement. These detainees were held at a large unfinished public housing complex at Drancy on the outskirts of Paris.

19 August 1941, Tuesday (-1,358) German units reached Gatchine, just 25 km from Leningrad; the following day they cut the Leningrad-Moscow rail line at Chudovo.

18 August 1941, Monday (-1,359) Britain set up a national fire service.

17 August 1941, Sunday (-1,360) The Germans took Narva, Estonia.

16 August 1941, Saturday (-1,361) In the Dnipropetrovsk area, the Russians retreated east of the Dnieper River.

15 August 1941, Friday (-1,362) Josef Jakobs became the last person to be executed at the Tower of London. A German spy, he had parachuted into Huntingdonshire with a radio transmitter; however he injured his leg in the fall and was captured by the Home Guard. He was tried and shot the same day, in a chair.

14 August 1941, Thursday (-1,363) The UK Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and the US President, Woodrow Wilson signed the Atlantic Charter, a further step towards the establishment of the United Nations.

13 August 1941, J Stuart Blackton, English-born US film producer, died aged 66.

12 August 1941, Tuesday (-1,365) Hitler set out, in a supplement to Directive No.34, his immediate military aims in Russia. Occupation of the Crimea, the industrial regions of Kharkov, and the Donets Basin coalfields. After the occupation of the Crimea, Germany could attack across the Kerch Strait towards Batumi.

11 August 1941, Monday (-1,366) The Red Army counterattacked around Yelnya.

10 August 1941, Sunday (-1,367) Anita Lonsbrough, champion swimmer, was born.

9 August 1941, Saturday (-1,368) Hitler outlined to his government ministers his vision for Russia. �The German colonist will live on handsome spacious farms. The German services will be lodged in marvellous buildings, the governors in palaces. Beneath the shelter of the administrative services we shall gradually organise all that is indispensable to the maintenance of a certain standard of living. Around the city to a depth of thirty of forty kilometres we shall have a belt of handsome villages connected by the best roads. What exists beyond that will be another world in which we mean to let the Russians live as they like. It is merely necessary that we should rule them. In the event of a revolution we shall only have to drop a few bombs on their cities and the affair will be liquidated. Once a year we shall lead a troop of Kirghizes through the capital of the Reich in order to strike their imagination with the size of our monuments�.

8 August 1941. Friday (-1,369) The Soviet air force raided Berlin for the first time, in revenge for the 22 July raid.

7 August 1941, Thursday (-1,370) Smolensk taken by the Germans.

6 August 1941, Wednesday (-1,371) German forces reached the edge of Kiev but were halted there by Vlasov�s 37th Army.

5 August 1941, Tuesday (-1,372) The First Battle of Smolensk ended in German victory. 310,000 Soviets were taken prisoner.

4 August 1941, Monday (-1,373) Martin Jarvis, actor, was born

3 August 1941, Sunday (-1,374) Joshua Gifford, champion jockey, was born.

2 August 1941, Saturday (-1,375) All civilian radios in Norway were confiscated by the Germans.

1 August 1941, Friday (-1,376) The US imposed an embargo on oil sales to Japan.


31 July 1941, Thursday (-1,377) Goering issued an order to Heydrich, a subordinate of Himmler, to draw up a plan for the total extinction of all non-Russian Jews. Heydrich called a conference on 20 January 1942 at Wannsee, a picnic area outside Berlin. Reich administrators were to arrange for this genocide via the concentration camps. Jews were to be forced to labour building roads and many were expected to die of over-work.

30 July 1941, Wednesday (-1,378) (Japan) The US gunboat Tutuila was bombed by Japanese aircraft. Japan later apologised for the incident.

29 July 1941, Tuesday (-1,379) The Vichy French Government gave Japanese forces use of the air bases in Indo China.

28 July 1941, Monday (-1,380) Colin Higgins, US film director, was born.

27 July 1941, Sunday (-1,381) (1) Japanese troops moved into Cambodia and Thailand, and captured Saigon.

(2) German forces entered the Ukraine.

26 July 1941, Saturday (-1,382) Britain and the USA froze Japanese assets. US codebreakers had been reading Japanese government communications and along with Britain and The Netherlands were convinced of Japanese aggressive intentions. Japan was now cut off from 90% of its oil supplies, and felt it had no option but to invade the oil-rich Dutch East Indies.

25 July 1941, Friday (-1,383) RAF raid on Berlin.

24 July 1941, Thursday (-1,384) Japan announced that Vichy France had consented to Japanese �protection� of the French colonies in Indo-China.

23 July 1941, Wednesday (-1,385) The German battleship Scharnhorst was bombed at La Pallice (where she had been moved from Brest).

22 July 1941, Tuesday (-1,386) Germany made its first bombing raid on Moscow.

21 July 1941, Monday (-1,387) First German air raid on Monaco.

20 July 1941, Sunday (-1,388) As Axis forces approached Leningrad, art treasures from The Hermitage were shipped out to the relative safety of Sverdlovsk in the Urals.

19 July 1941, Saturday (-1,389) Hitler was concerned that Russian forces were simply retreating further into Russia, then regrouping to counter attack.

18 July 1941, Friday (-1,390) The belligerent Yosuke Matsuoka, who had advocated an attack on the USA. was replaced as Japanese Foreign Minister by the more moderate Teijiro Toyoda. This move was intended to appease the US and keep them out of a war with Japan.

17 July 1941, Thursday (-1,391) Hitler gave Himmler full authority for �police security� in the newly-occupied areas of Russia. This meant that all Jews in these areas were to be massacred.

16 July 1941, Wednesday (-1,392) German troops began the encirclement of Smolensk, a Soviet city halfway between Minsk and Moscow.

15 July 1941, Tuesday (-1,393) The 7th Panzer Division captured Yartsevo, Russia.

14 July 1941, Monday (-1,394) A crisis caused by a pro-Axis coup in Syria in May 1941 came to a conclusion. The Vichy French administration in Syria had allowed Germans the use of Syrian airfields to support Iraqi Nationalist rebels fighting British administration in Iraq. Britain declared that Marshal Petain had breached an undertaking not to act against the former allies of France, and invaded Syria with a mixed army of British and Free French troops. Heavy fighting occurred around Beirut between 8 July and 14 July, although Damascus was spared. An armistice signed on 14 July gave French troops and civilians in Syria and Lebanon the choice of repatriation to France or joining Free French forces.

13 July 1941, Sunday (-1,395) Britain and the USSR concluded an assistance pact.

12 July 1941, Saturday (-1,396) The Russians at Brest finally surrendered, having held out against the invading Germans.

11 July 1941, Friday (-1,397) German forces captured Vitebsk.

10 July 1941, Thursday (-1,398) �Jelly Roll� Morton, jazz band leader and pianist, died.

9 July 1941, Wednesday (-1,399) Allied forces invading the Levant against the Vichy French regime occupied Tyre. On the Russian front, Hitler stated his priorities before winter set in; to push back Soviet forces out of bomber range of the Romanian oilfields, and to capture the Ukrainian grain fields. Moscow was now, therefore, as less significant objective than the industrial Leningrad region and the SE front towards Stalingrad.

8 July 1941, Tuesday (-1,400) German forces entered Pskov, just 180 km from Leningrad.

7 July 1941, Monday (-1,401) To ease the defence burden on the UK, the USA undertook to occupy Iceland. This released 20,000 British troops. The first US troops arrived in Iceland this day. Iceland had now decisively abandoned its neutralist stance. The US agreed to withdraw their forces as soon as the War was over.

6 July 1941, Sunday (-1,401) (Jewish) Over 2,500 Jews were murdered by Lithuanian militia under German direction.

5 July 1941, Saturday (-1,403) Ukrainians seized control in Buczacz, Poland. They were backed by the Nazis. The Ukrainians massacred any Poles, Jews, or Russians they caught, and proclaimed an �Independent Ukrainian State�. In September 1939 the Jews of Buczacz had been relieved to be included in the Soviet-occupied sector of Poland, and therefore not under Nazi rule in German occupied western Poland. At that time, Jews, backed by the Russians, took over the local administration and assisted the Russians in deporting many Poles.. However the German attack on Soviet Russia of June 1941 caught them by surprise.

4 July 1941, Friday (-1,404) In the UK, coal rationing began.

3 July 1941, Thursday (-1,405) Allied forces took Palmyra (Syria) and Tabor (Abyssinia).

2 July 1941, Wednesday (-1,406) Japan called up over one million conscripts, and pulled its merchant ships out of the Atlantic.

1 July 1941. Tuesday (-1,407)(1) The first TV commercial was shown; on WNBT in New York, USA.It was for the Bulova clock and Watch company.

(2) In Britain a pint of beer cost 10d (4p), up from 9d. A pair of �Land Girl� tailored cord breeches cost 17s 6d (88p), half a dozen medium eggs cost 7 1/2d (3p) from J Sainsbury. Income tax was 8s 6d (43p) in the pound. A tax inspector earned �975 a year, the Secretary of State for War was paid �5,000 per annum.

(3) German forces entered Riga.


30 June 1941, Monday (-1,408) German forces took Lvov from Russia.

29 June 1941, Sunday (1,409) Germany demanded that Japan open an attack on Russia. Japan considered this on 2 July 1941, but their preference was merely to maintain their military presence in Manchukuo as a rear guard against a Russian attack whilst they thrust southwards where greater resources for their economy were to be found. They would only mount a greater attack on Russia if Russia increased its threat to them.

28 June 1941, Saturday (-1,410) Germany captured Minsk.

27 June 1941, Friday (-1,411) (1) Finland joined with Germany in attacking Russia, to recover territory lost in 1939/40.

(2) Hungary declared war on Russia.

26 June 1941, Thursday (-1,412) The Kosice (Hungarian name, Kassa) incident. Kosice, the principal town of eastern Slovakia, became part of Hungary on 12 November 1938. On this day, four days after Hitler invaded Russia, and when Hungary was still a non-combatant in the war, three airplanes bombed Kasice. The official story was that these planes were Russian, and this incident helped bring in Hungary against Russia. However the planes were far more likely to have been German, to provoke aggression by Hungary against Russia.

25 June 1941, Wednesday (-1,413) US President Roosevelt appointed an Employment Practices Committee to ensure reasonable employment conditions.

24 June 1941, Tuesday (-1,414) Russian General Pavlov, trying to prevent a German encirclement of Belostock, attacked towards Grodno.

23 June 1941, Monday (-1,415) German forces reached Vilnius by the evening.

22 June 1941. Sunday (-1,416) (1) Germany invaded Russia. Hitler expected the war in Russia to be over by Christmas 1941, saying �We only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down�. Hitler calculated that Stalin�s purges of the officer class had badly weakened the Red Army. The invasion plan, called Operation Barbarossa (see 21 December 1187) had been announced by Hitler to his generals on 30 March 1941 in a speech to 200 senior army officers. At on 22 June the greatest offensive in history was launched. Three million men poured across a front nearly a thousand miles long. Hitler had said that the Communists must be not only beaten but annihilated, or �in 30 years we shall have to fight them again�. By the end of World War Two, four million Russians had died in battle and a further 3.5 million had been taken captive. 97% of these died in captivity; Hitler had decided that the Geneva Convention did not apply to them, or to millions more captured later. 17,000 Russian villages were wiped off the map by the Germans. Stalin had not believed Germany would attack, despite troop movements on the frontier in the weeks before the invasion. The German invasion was to have begun on 15 May 1941, but the need to intervene in the Balkans against Greece and Yugoslavia delayed the Russian invasion by seven (crucial) weeks.The original plan was for German forces to have reached a line from Archangel to the Volga by autumn 1941.Russian resistance was greater than Hitler anticipated, and Hitler�s orders to try and capture Moscow whilst Leningrad was already besieged, whilst simultaneously taking tanks from the Moscow front to the southern front gave a respite to the defence of Moscow. The Germans correctly estimated Russian military strength in the west at 150 divisions but thought the Soviets had just 50 further divisions in reserve; in fact the Red Army summoned up over 200 reserve divisions. Unexpected July rains turned unsurfaced Russian roads into mud whilst the scorched earth policy meant roads, bridges, railways and factories were destroyed before the Germans advanced. The Russians also destroyed the railway rolling stock and because the Russian gauge was different from the German one, the Nazis could not use the Russian rail network.

(2) Romania joined in with Germany in attacking Russia. Rumania was led by Ion Antonescu (born 2 June 1882 in Transylvania). Antonescu was pro-Nazi, and during a period of serious internal disorder in Rumania, King Carol of Rumania was compelled to offer Antonescu the Premiership on 5 September 1940. Antonescu then demanded the abdication of Carol. In 1944 Russia counterattacked into Rumania and King Michael I, who had succeeded Carol, arrested Antonescu. Antonescu was convicted of war crimes on 17 May 1946 and executed near the Rumanian fort of Jilava on 1 June 1946.

21 June 1941. Saturday (-1,417) British forces took Damascus, Syria.

20 June 1941, Friday (-1,418) Stephen Frears, film director, was born.

19 June 1941. Thursday (-1,419) Germany and Italy expelled US consuls.

18 June 1941, Wednesday (-1,420) (1) Turkey concluded a two-year non-aggression pact with Germany.

(2) Delia Smith was born.

17 June 1941, Tuesday (-1,421) (1) Hitler issued the final order for Operation Barbarossa to begin on June 22 at 3:00 am.

(2) The Icelandic parliament voted to institute a Regent, for one year at a time, to carry out the royal duties which the King of Denmark was now unable to fulfil due to the War. This day Sveinn Bjornsson, former Ambassador to Denmark, was elected as first Regent.

16 June 1941, Monday (-1,422) Germany evacuated its embassy in Moscow. By 21 June 1941 no German ships remained in Russian controlled ports.

15 June 1941, Sunday (-1,423) British forces in Egypt launched Operation Battleaxe, to force the Italian army back through Libya and even relieve Tobruk.

14 June 1941, Saturday (-1,424) Soviet newspapers denied that Germany was about to attack. However a Soviet spy in Berlin, codenamed �Lucy�, now passed the proposed invasion date, 22 June, back to Moscow.

13 June 1941, Friday (-1,425) Churchill offered to send Stalin a British military mission should Germany attack the USSR. However Stalin was suspicious of Churchill�s offer, regarding it as an attempt to precipitate him into war with Germany.

12 June 1941, Thursday (-1,426) the Allies signed the Inter-Allied Declaration, setting the scene for the future United Nations.

11 June 1941, Wednesday (-1,427) Russian troops from the Transbaikal were ttransferred westewards, but not put on alert.

10 June 1941, Tuesday (-1,428) The Germans expelled most foreign diplomatic staff from Paris.

9 June 1941, Monday (-1,429) Allied forces occupied Tyre.

8 June 1941. Sunday (-1,430) A combined force of British and Free French invaded Syria.

7 June 1941, Saturday (-1,431) Allied air raid on German navy at Brest, France.

6 June 1941, Friday (-1,432) Louis Chevrolet, American car designer, died.

5 June 1941, Thursday (-1,433) Heavy Japanese air raid on Chonqquing, where the Chinese Nationalists had moved their capital to in 1937 when the Japanese invaded China. Many died of suffocation as the underground tunnels they were sheltering in collapsed.

4 June 1941, Wednesday (-1,434) Kaiser Wilhelm II, exiled German Emperor, died in exile in The Netherlands.

3 June 1941, Tuesday (-1,435) Britain installed a pro-British regime in Baghdad.

2 June 1941. Monday (-1,436) Clothes rationing was introduced in Britain, and not lifted until 15 March 1949. 60 clothes coupons were allowed a year; for all except baby clothes; a dress cost 11 coupons, a man�s suit, 26.

1 June 1941, Sunday (-1,437) British forces occupied Baghdad.


31 May 1941, Saturday (-1,438) Expropriation of Jewish property began in Belgium.

30 May 1941, Friday (-1,439) Anti-British politicians fled from Baghdad and Iraq asked for an armistice as British forces occupied the country.

29 May 1941. Thursday (-1,440) Axis forces took the capital of Crete, Canea.

28 May 1941, Wednesday (-1,441) Allied forces captured Ur, Iraq.

27 May 1941. Tuesday (-1,442) (1) The German battleship Bismarck was sunk by the battleships Prince of Wales, King George V, and Rodney, after torpedo attacks by Swordfish aircraft from the carrier Ark Royal.

(2) British plans to extend conscription to Northern Ireland were cancelled after Dublin protested,

(3) The British decided to make a tactical withdrawal from Crete.

26 May 1941, Monday (-1,443) The first experimental blackout in the USA was performed at Newark, New Jersey.

25 May 1941, Sunday (-1,444) German offensive in Crete, with reinforcements landing at Maleme.

24 May 1941. Saturday (-1,445) The German battleship Bismarck sank the 42,000 ton battle cruiser HMS Hood 13 miles off the coast of Greenland. Only 3 of her crew of 1,421 survived.

23 May 1941, Friday (-1,446) Herbert Austin, British motor mechanic and manufacturer of the Austin car, died near Bromsgrove.

22 May 1941, Thursday (-1,447) Allied forces captured Soddu, Somalia, from the Italians.

21 May 1941, Wednesday (+1,448) British RAF reconnaissance spotted the German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prince Eugen in Bergan Harbour, Norway. The British sent ships to attack them early next day.

20 May 1941. Tuesday (-1,449) (1) Germany began an aerial invasion of Crete. King George II of Greece fled Crete on 23 May 1941. By 1 June 1941 the German occupation of Crete was complete.Guerrilla action continued on Crete until its liberation in 1945.

(2) Italian East Africa forces surrendered to British Empire forces.

19 May 1941, Monday (-1,450) British forces occupied Falluja, Iraq.

18 May 1941, Sunday (-1,451) Allied forces captured Amba Alagi, Somalia, from the Italians.

17 May 1941, Saturday (-1,452) Rudolf Hess was brought to the Tower of London by train from Scotland.

16 May 1941, Friday (-1,453) In Libya, Rommel was pordered to attack Sollum, leaving the defence of Tobruk to the Italian Army.

15 May 1941. Thursday (-1,454) (1) In the UK, the first aircraft with a jet engine, invented by Frank Whittle, flew from Cranwell.

(2) In Germany, Dr Sigmund Rascher asked Hiimmler for permission to begin �medical experiments� on inmates at Dachau concentration camp.

14 May 1941. Wednesday (-1,455) (1) Germany began a week-long bombing of Crete. On 20 May 1941 German paratroopers attacked the islands three airfields. They managed to seize only one airfield, Maleme, but this was enough, and the British had to evacuate Crete, leaving 13,000 wounded behind.

(2) The first of a series of mass arrests of Parisian Jews took place, affecting 4,000 non-French Jews. SS officer Dannecker, who had arrived in Paris in September 1941 to oversee the �Jewish Question�, sent these detainees to the prisons at Pithiviers and Beaune la Rolande.

13 May 1941, Tuesday (-1,456) The Royal Air Force bombed Heligoland.

12 May 1941. Monday (-1,457) Urgently-needed reinforcements, tanks and aircraft, arrived at Alexandria, Egypt, to assist in driving Rommel out of Egypt back into Libya.

11 May 1941. Sunday (-1,458) Japan demanded that the US cease aid to China and restore normal trade links with Japan. The US declined these demands but continued negotiating with Japan so as to avoid war; japan meanwhile, not yet ready for war, was happy to continue talking.

10 May 1941. Saturday (-1,459) (1) Rudolph Hess, Hitler�s deputy, parachuted into Scotland to try and negotiate a peace settlementbut was arrested and imprisoned for the remainder of the war. He landed at Eaglesham. After the war, Hess was tried at Nuremberg and found guilty of war crimes.

(2) The House of Commons was almost destroyed by incendiary bombs. It was rebuilt, and reopened by George VI on 26 October 1950. This was the worst night of the Blitz; 550 German bombers dropped 100,000 incendiaries, and over 1,400 people were killed. The House of Commons had to meet in the Lords.

9 May 1941, Friday (-1,460) British forces occupied Rutba, Iraq.

8 May 1941, Thursday (-1,461) Allied air raid on Bremen.

7 May 1941, Wednesday (-1,462) The British Air Force forced the relief of the base at Habbaniya, see 29 April 1941.See 9 May 1941.

6 May 1941, Tuesday (-1,463) (Britain) The Luftwaffe bombed the town of Greenock, Scotland.

5 May 1941, Monday (-1,464) British forces expelled the Italians and restored Haile Selassie. Selassie set up a constitution, Parliament and Cabinet, but in practice ruled as an absolute feudal monarch.

4 May 1941, Sunday (-1,465) Emperor Haile Selassie returned to Ethiopia from exile in England, after the liberation of his country by British forces.

3 May 1941, Saturday (-1,466) The first successful treatment by penicillin. A patient was treated for a 4 inch carbuncle, which was cleared and the patient was discharged on 15 May 1941.

2 May 1941, Friday (-1,467) (Germany) Germany�s Staatssekretare met to discuss the invasion of Russia.

1 May 1941, Thursday (-1,468) The first of seven consecutive nights of bombing raids on Liverpool began.


30 April 1941, Wednesday (-1,469) (Germany) Major General Bernard Freyberg took command of all Allied forces on Crete.

29 April 1941, Tuesday (-1,470) The Iraqi Army laid siege to the British airbase at Habbaniya, see 7 May 1941.

28 April 1941, Monday (-1,471) Lucien Aimar, French sports cyclist, was born.

27 April 1941. Sunday (-1,472) The Germans occupied Athens. They held it until 12 October 1944.

26 April 1941, Saturday (-1,473) (Germany) Allied codebreakers decoded Nazi communications relating to an operation on Crete.

25 April 1941, Friday (-1,474) (Germany) Hitler issued Fuhrer Directive No.28, ordering the airborne invasion of Crete. The operation would be led by the commander of German airborne forces, General Kurt Student.

24 April 1941, Thursday (-1,475) Karin Boye, Swedish poet and novelist, died aged 40.

23 April 1941, Wednesday (-1,476) Greece formally surrendered to Germany and Italy.

22 April 1941. Tuesday (-1,477) British forces left Greece.

21 April 1941, Monday (-1,478) The Greek destroyer Thyella was bombed and sunk by the Luftwaffe off Vouliagmeni.

20 April 1941. Sunday (-1,479) The German Afrika Corps attacked Tobruk, Libya.

19 April 1941, Saturday (-1,480) The Germans captured Larissa, Greece.

18 April 1941, Friday (-1,481) A British brigade landed at Basra, on the Persian Gulf, to challenge the pro-German regime of General Rashid Ali in Iraq.

17 April 1941, Thursday (-1,482) Yugoslavia capitulated to Germany.

16 April 1941, Wednesday (-1,483) (1) Belfast was bombed by the Luftwaffe.

(2) German forces entered Sarajevo and demolished the last Jewish synagogiue there.

(3) The last remaining tower of Crystal Palace, south London, was demolished, as it made a clear landmark for Luftwaffe bombers.

15 April 1941, Tuesday (-1,484) Sarajevo surrendered to the Germans.

14 April 1941, Monday (-1,485) Stalin ordered a heightened state of combat-readiness against a possible German invasion.

13 April 1941. Sunday (-1,486) Easter Sunday (1) Stalin signed a neutrality pact with Japan; Russia was concerned that Japanese conquests in Manchuria had brought Japanese forces up to Russian territory.

(2) The German Afrika Corps recaptured Bardia. Germany occupied Belgrade.

12 April 1941. Saturday (-1,487) Allied troops in Greece withdrew to the Olympus Line.

11 April 1941. Friday (-1,488) (1) Hungary regained the Bacska region from Yugoslavia.

(2) Major German air raid on Coventry.

10 April 1941. Thursday (-1,489) The USA sent troops to Greenland to protect arms supply lines from the USA to Britain.

9 April 1941, Wednesday (-1,490) Salonika was taken by the Germans.This cut off Thrace from Greece and divided Macedonia in two.

8 April 1941, Tuesday (-1,491) Germans retook Doiran (Libya); heavy air raid on Coventry,

7 April 1941, Monday (-1,492) German breakthrough, with Yugoslav forces, towards Salonika.

6 April 1941. Sunday (-1,493) (1) (Germany, Yugoslavia) Axis troops invaded Yugoslavia. Belgrade fell on 13 April 1941. Yugoslavia fell on 16 April 1941. The Croats, who had been irritated by Belgrade�s treatment of non-Serb minorities within Yugoslavia, often welcomed the German invaders. Belgrade was recaptured by the Soviets and Tito�s forces on 20 October 1944.

(2) Allied forces, including British, Indian, and South African troops, recaptured the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, from the Italians.

5 April 1941, Saturday (-1,494) The British army took Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

4 April 1941, Friday (-1,495) Andre Michelin, French industrialist who built the first factories that mass-produced tyres, died in Paris.

3 April 1941. Thursday (-1,496) Allied troops evacuated Benghazi in the face of Rommel�s advance. There was a pro-Axis coup d�etat in Iraq.

2 April 1941, Wednesday (-1,497) Germany tested the world�s first aircraft ejector seat, powered by compressed air.

1 April 1941. Tuesday (-1,498) Allied troops took the Eritrean capital, Asmara, four days after storming Keren.


31 March 1941, Monday (-1,499) Allied air raid on Emden.

30 March 1941. Sunday (-1,500) Hitler outlined, to his generals, plans for the invasion of Russia � see 22 June 1941.

29 March 1941, Saturday (-1,501) The Abyssinian town of Dire Dawa was captured by South African forces from the Italians, This cut the Addis Ababa to Djibouti railway and opened the way to attack the Ethiopian capital.

28 March 1941, Friday (-1,502) The Battle of Matapan, off the coast of Crete. The British navy beat an Italian fleet, sinking seven warships for no loss of its own.

27 March 1941. Thursday (-1,503) The British took Keren and Hasara in Ethiopia, defeating an Eritrean-Italian force. At the Battle of Kerem, nearly 4,000 British and Indian soldiers had died.

26 March 1941, Wednesday (-1,504) Britain passed the National Service Bill, making civil defence duties compulsory.

25 March 1941. Tuesday (-1,505) (Yugoslavia, Germany) Prince Paul, the Yugoslav Regent, signed a pact with the Nazis; in return for neutrality and the demilitarisation of the Adriatic coast, Germany would respect Yugoslav neutrality. However the Yugoslav Army, with popular backing, then deposed Prince Paul on 27 March 1941, and 17-year-old King Peter II took the throne. The move angered Hitler and he prepared Operation Strafgericht (Punishment), the invasion of Yugoslavia. See 6 April 1941.

24 March 1941, Monday (-1,506) The Battle of the Bismark began; Allied forces sunk the German battleship Bismark on 27 March 1941.

23 March 1941, Sunday (-1,507) RAF raids on Berlin, Kiel and Hanover.

22 March 1941, Saturday (-1,508) The Grand Coulee Dam, on the Columbia River, Washington State, began operating.

21 March 1941, Friday, (-1,509) The Allies captured Jarabub.

20 March 1941, Thursday (-1,510) The Allies retook Hargeisa.

19 March 1941. Wednesday (-1,511) The Luftwaffe resumed raids on London, following its failure in the Battle of Britain.
18 March 1941, Tuesday (-1,512) Wolfgang Bauer, writer, was born.

17 March 1941. Monday (-1,513) (1) Britain learned, through its decoding of German enigma messages, that as part of preparations to invade Russia, the Nazis had moved armoured units of Army Group South to Cracow.

(2) The UK Labour Minister, Ernest Bevin, called for women to fill vital jobs.

16 March 1941, Sunday (-1,514) The Allies recaptured Berbera. Heavy air raid on Bristol.

15 March 1941, Saturday (-1,515) Alexej von Jawlensky, Russian expressionist painter, died aged 77.

14 March 1941, Friday (-1,516) RAF raids on Dusseldorf and Lorient.

13 March 1941, Thursday (-1,517) Heavy German air raid on Clydebank, 1,100 killed.

12 March 1941, Wednesday (-1,518) The first issue of Die Zeitung, a Free German (anti-Hitler) newspaper appeared in London.

11 March 1941. Tuesday (-1,519) In the USA, the Lend Lease Bill became law. In May 1940 Churchill had asked President Roosevelt for both arms and financial assistance in the war, which the USA was not to enter as a combatant until Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941. Roosevelt was sympathetic to the British cause but had three obstacles to face. 1) Congress was isolationist, and Roosevelt did not wish to do anything to jeopardise his re-election prospects before November 1940. 2) The neutrality Act had to be amended to allow Britain and France to purchase arms for cash; this was done in November 1939. 3) The Johnson Act, 1934, forbade loans to any country defaulting on its loans, and Britain had still not paid back money it borrowed during World War One. In May 1940 Roosevelt authorised Congress to release from ordnance stores 500,000 WW1 rifles and 900 75mm field guns. In September 1940 Roosevelt provided Britain with 50 old destroyers in return for 99 year leases on British islands in the Caribbean and Newfoundland. In December 1940 Churchill requested American protection of Atlantic convoys and financial assistance to purchase further American arms. Roosevelt was advised that Britain had less than US$2 billion to meet arms purchases of US$ 5billion. Roosevelt coined the term �lend lease�, on the analogy of a neighbour who lends his hose if the house is on fire.

10 March 1941, Monday (-1,520) Japanese Rear Admiral Takijiro Onishi gave Isoroku Yamamoto a draft of the Pearl Harbour attack plan.

9 March 1941, Sunday (-1,521) The Italians launched an offensive to drive Greek-Allied forces out of Albania.

8 March 1941, Saturday (-1,522) Sherwood Anderson, US novelist, died aged 65.

7 March 1941. Friday (-1,523) (1) Compulsory labour for German Jews began.

(2) The British army entered Ethiopia.

6 March 1941. Thursday (-1,524) (1) Haile Selassie�s troops recaptured Burye from Italy.

(2) Gutzon Borglum, American sculptor noted for his work on the Mount Rushmore heads of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, died.

5 March 1941, Wednesday (-1,525) Germany dropped acoustic mines in the Suez Canal, closing it for 3 weeks whilst it was cleared, and delaying British war supplies to Greece and North Africa.

4 March 1941. Tuesday (-1,526) British forces, assisted by Norwegian resistance fighters, raided the German-occupied Lofoten Islands; 11 German boats were destroyed.

3 March 1941, Monday (-1,527) Nazi troops entered Bulgaria, occupying its Black Sea ports.

2 March 1941, Sunday (-1,528) Turkey made passage of the Dardanelles by permit only.

1 March 1941. Saturday (-1,529) Bulgaria joined the Axis. Bulgaria then allowed German troops to mount operations against Yugoslavia and Greece from its territory.However on 4 March 1941 Turkey refused to join the Axis.


28 February 1941, Friday (-1,530) Alfonso I, former King of Spain, who had been forced into exile when Spain became a Republic in 1931, died in Rome.

27 February 1941, Thursday (-1,531) Jeremy (Paddy) Ashdown, Liberal leader, was born.

26 February 1941, Wednesday (-1,532) In Koufra, Libya, LeClerc�s Free French forces blew up an Italian ammunition dump with 250 cases of bombs.

25 February 1941. Tuesday (-1,533) Mogadishu, the main port of British Somaliland, was recaptured by the British from the Italians.

24 February 1941, Monday (-1,534) First clashes between German troops and the British in Libya. The fighting took place at Nofilia, on the coast road between Sirte and El Agheila.

23 February 1941, Sunday (-1,535) German stukas sank a British destroyer off Tobruk.

22 February 1941, Saturday (-1,536) (Science) Dayton Clarence Miller, US physicist, died in Cleveland, Ohio.

21 February 1941, Friday (-1,537) Sir Frederick Banting, Canadian scientist who along with Charles Best discovered insulin in 1921, was killed in an air crash.

20 February 1941, Thursday (-1,538) Buffy Sainte-Marie, musician was born in Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada

19 February 1941, Wednesday (-1,539) Start of a devastating 48-hour air raid on Swansea. 230 were killed and over 400 injured as 41 acres of the city and its docks were destroyed by the Luftwaffe. Previously it had been hoped that Swansea was too far west to be at risk of air raids.

18 February 1941, Tuesday (-1,540) Soviet Generals urged Stalin to allocate more resources to road building to improve the mobility of Russian forces.

17 February 1941, Monday (-1,541) The British ship SS Gairsoppa was torpedoed and sunk 300 miles southwest of Ireland. She had been carrying 110 tons of silver, in the form of 2,792 bars, to boost Britain�s funds as War costs mounted.

16 February 1941. Sunday (-1,542) The last Italians were expelled from Sudan.

15 February 1941, Saturday (-1,543) Allied forces took Kismaya.

14 February 1941. Friday (-1,544) The first of Rommel�s Afrika Corps arrived in Tripoli.

13 February 1941, Thursday (-1,545) The �miracle drug� penicillin was used on a human for the first time; a policeman from Oxford, UK. However he died on 15 March 1941 because not enough was available. See 31 December 1943.

12 February 1941, Wednesday (-1,546) General Franco travelled to Bordighera, Italy, to meet Mussolini.Again Franco avoided any significant commitment to the Axis cause.

11 February 1941, Tuesday (-1,547) Britain learned that Germany now had 23 divisions in Romania, with a further 12 soon to arrive there. This posed a severe threat to Greece.

10 February 1941. Monday (-1,548) The Luftwaffe bombed Iceland.

9 February 1941, Sunday (-1,549) Allied naval bombardment of Genoa.

8 February 1941, Saturday (-1,550) Nick Nolte, US actor, was born in Omaha, Nebraska.

7 February 1941, Friday (-1,551) End of the Battle of Beda Fomm, north Africa (began 5 February 1941). Allied forces launched a surprise attack on the withdrawing Italian Tenth Army, at a point 96 km south of Benghazi. The Allies cut the coast road along which the Italians were retreating, capturing some 25,000 Italian PoWs.

6 February 1941. Thursday (-1,552) (1) The British 8th Army captured Benghazi in Libya.

(2) Hitler made one last appeal to Franco to enter the War. Franco declined, as Spain had not fully recovered from the Civil War. Franco therefore remained neutral and did not attack Gibraltar, but he did send volunteers, the Spanish Blue Division, to the eastern front.

5 February 1941, Wednesday (-1,553) The War was costing Britain �11 million per day.

4 February 1941, Tuesday (-1,554) British forces occupied Maus, Libya.

3 February 1941, Monday (-1,555) Cyrene re-occupied by the British.

2 February 1941, Sunday (-1,556) The German War council discussed a report by General Haider that 190 German and Axis units would face 211 Soviet formations and divisions; however the Axis forces would have better technology.

1 February 1941. Saturday (-1,557) (1) The RAF raided Tripoli, Libya.

(2) The Air Training Corps, the junior arm of the Royal Air Force, was formed.

(3) Vidkun Quisling was appointed puppet Prime Minister of Norway by the Germans.


31 January 1941, Friday (-1,558) Allied forces captured the Italian garrison of Metemma. Somaliland.

30 January 1941, Thursday (-1.559) Dick Cheney, US Vice-President, was born.

29 January 1941, Wednesday (-1,560) The Battle of Trebeshina began in south-eastern Albania.

28 January 1941, Tuesday (-1,561) Doreen Denny, ice dancer, was born.

27 January 1941, Monday (-1.562) The 4th Indian Division captured the town of Agordat in Eritrea.

26 January 1941, Sunday (-1,563) Scott Glen, actor, was born.

25 January 1941, Saturday (-1,564) Gregory Sierra, US actor, wasborn in New York City (died 2021)

24 January 1941, Friday (-1,565) British forces under Cunningham invaded Italian Somaliland from Garissa and Bura in Kenya.

23 January 1941, Thursday (-1,566) Nylon was first produced in Britain, at Coventry.

22 January 1941. Wednesday (-1,567) Allied forces recaptured the Libyan port of Tobruk from Italy.

21 January 1941, Tuesday (-1,568) (1) InBritain the Communist newspaper The Daily Worker was banned.

(2) Placido Domingo, Spanish operatic tenor, was born in Madrid.

20 January 1941, Monday (-1,569) Pierre Lalonde, Canadian singer, was born.

19 January 1941, Sunday (-1,570) Kassala in Sudan re-occupied by the British.

18 January 1941, Saturday (-1,571) Dive-bomber raid on Malta.

17 January 1941, Friday (-1,572) Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov warned Germany against deploying troops in Bulgaria by stating that the Soviet Union considered Bulgaria a security zone.

16 January 1941, Thursday (-1,573) The Germans heavily bombed Malta, killing 50 people, destroying 200 buildings and damaging the capital city of Valletta. The British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious was hit and damaged again in Grand Harbour.

15 January 1941, Wednesday (-1,574) Heavy air raid by 126 bombers on Avonmouth Docks, Bristol.

14 January 1941, Tuesday (-1,575) King George V signed a royal warrant authorising the formation of the Reconnaissance Corps.

13 January 1941. Monday (-1,576) Hitler summoned King Boris of Bulgaria to Berlin and demanded that Bulgaria join the Axis and permit passage of troops across her territory to attack Greece. However, as with Franco of Spain, Bulgaria procrastinated and made no commitment. Meanwhile Stalin began to consider the possibility that Russia would have to fight a 2-front war, against both Germany and Japan. To this end, said Stalin, the Russian Army must be made more nimble and manoeuvrable, and supplies such as food must be guaranteed along affective supply lines.

12 January 1941, Sunday (-1,577) Chet Jastremski, US champion swimmer, was born.

11 January 1941, Saturday (-1,579) (1) (London, London Underground) Bank Underground station, London, received a direct bomb hit during the Blitz. 51 died.

(2) Hitler issued Directive No. 22, German Support for Battles in the Mediterranean Area.

10 January 1941, Friday (-1,579) British bases on Malta were bombed.

9 January 1941, Thursday (-1,580) At a conference with his Generals, Hitler stated that the territory of Russia contained vast riches which Germany should dominate economically and politically, but not incorporate into the Third Reich. German military leaders expected Russia to crumble quickly under a German invasion. In February 1941 German plans for the invasion of Afghanistan and India were being prepared.

8 January 1941. Wednesday (-1,581) Lord Baden Powell, British soldier and Boer War hero, also founder of the Boy Scouts in 1908, died aged 83.

7 January 1941, Tuesday (-1,582) A special committee of the Canadian government recommended that Japanese Canadians not be allowed to volunteer for the armed forces on the grounds of strong public opinion against them.

6 January 1941. Monday (-1,583) Roosevelt sent the Lend Lease Bill to Congress. Congress agreed the Bill on 11 March 1941.

5 January 1941. Sunday (-1,584) (1) The Italian garrison of Bardia in the Western Desert fell to the Allies, 5,000 Italians were taken as POWs. On 30 January 1941 the Italian garrison of Derna fell to General Wavell. Benghazi fell to the Allies on 6 February 1941.

(2) Amy Johnson disappeared, presumed drowned, in a mysterious flying accident on a routine flight over the Thames estuary. She was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

(3) A bomb hit Wormwood Scrubs prison, west London.

4 January 1941. Saturday (-1,585) The German-born actress Marlene Dietrich became a US citizen.

3 January 1941, Friday (-1,586) Martin Bormann promulgated a Nazi decree banning gothic typefaces in all printing and proclaiming roman type as the new standard. The order sought to make Nazi communications more understandable in occupied France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Norway, where roman type was used

2 January 1941, Thursday (-1,587) Germany bombed Southern Ireland, despite its neutrality in the War.

1 January 1941, Wednesday (-1,588) 141 aircraft of the Royal Air Force bombed the Focke-Wulf aircraft production plant south of Bremen.


31 December 1940. Tuesday (-1,589) Fire-watching became compulsory in wartime Britain. Air raid casualties in Britian for December were 3,793 killed and 5,244 injured

30 December 1940, Monday (-1,590) US President Roosevelt called for the US to be the �arsenal of democracy�. He said there was less chance of the |US being directly involved in the War in Europe if it supported the A;llied countires now than if it stood by and let the Axis forces win.

29 December 1940, Sunday (-1,591) 136 German bombers dropped 22,000 incendiary bombs and 127 tons of high explosive on London on one of the worst nights of the Blitz, in the early hours of the morning. Eight Wren churches and Guildhall were destroyed, but St Paul�s survived. Overall one third of the City of London was razed.

28 December 1940, Saturday (-1,592) British Bomber Command learned that despite 28 raids over 7 months on German oil installations, damage done had not been that extensive.

27 December 1940, Friday (-1,573) The German battleship Konet, disguised with a Japanese flag, bombarded phosphate plants on the Australian protectorate of Nauru.

26 December 1940, Thursday (-1,594) Oley Speaks, US composer, was born in New York

25 December 1940, Wednesday (-1,595) Britsh battlecruisers Berwick and Bonaventure attacked the German battlecruiser Admiral Hipper, causing slight damage.

24 December 1940, Tuesday (-1,596) Billy Hill, US composer, died in Boston (born 14 July 1899 in Boston)

23 December 1940, Monday (-1,597) Eugene Record, lead singer of the band Chi-Lites, was born (died 22 July 2005)

22 December 1940, Sunday (-1,598) The heaviest raids of the Manchester Blitz began. Over the next two days a total of 654 people were killed and over 2,000 injured.

21 December 1940. Saturday (-1,599) F Scott Fitzgerald, US author, died.

20 December 1940, Friday (-1,600) (Britain) Heavy German bombing raid on Liverpool.

19 December 1940, Thursday (-1,601) (Britain) The British Purchasing Commission placed an order with the US for U$750 million of military equipment, including 12,000 aircraft.

18 December 1940, Wednesday (-1,602) Hitler signed the directive for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Soviet Russia.

17 December 1940, Tuesday (-1,603) US President Franklin Roosevelt proposed �Lend Lease� for Britain.

16 December 1940, Monday (-1,604) Bombing of Mannheim: The first area bombardment of a German city was conducted by the Royal Air Force when 134 bombers attacked Mannheim during the night, starting large fires on both banks of the Rhine.

15 December 1940. Sunday (-1,605) Italian troops were driven by the British back across the Libyan border from Egypt.

14 December 1940, Saturday (-1,606) Plutonium was first produced by Dr Glenn Seaborg, Joseph Kennedy, Edwin McMillan and Arthur Wall at the University of California, Berkeley.

13 December 1940, Friday (-1,607) Hitler issued Directive No. 20 on the German invasion of Greece, codenamed Operation Marita. This would secure his southern flank for the invasion of Russia.

12 December 1940, Thursday (-1,608) Heavy bombing of Sheffield; a further raid followed on 15 December 1940. The weather was clear with a full moon; massive fires from the city�s steelworks further illuminated the city. 600 people were killed and a further 1,500 injured; 40,000 were made homeless.

11 December 1940, Wednesday (-1,609) British forces recaptured Sidi Barrani, western Egypt, from the Italians.

10 December 1940, Tuesday (-1,610) In London, two Germans were hanged after being convicted as spies.

9 December 1940. Monday (-1,611) British troops launched an attack on the Italians in the Western Desert.

8 December 1940, Sunday (-1,612) Jenny Linden, English actress, was born.

7 December 1940, Saturday (-1,613) British bombers raided the German industrial town of Dusseldorf.

6 December 1940, Friday (-1,614) The Greeks occupied Sarande.

5 December 1940, Thursday (-1,615) Hitler�s Staff presented their plan, codenamed Otto, for an invasion of Russia. Moscow was not important, as a military target. The objective was to surround and destroy the Soviet Army in the Pripet Marshes.

4 December 1940, Wednesday (-1,616) John Cale, musician, was born.

3 December 1940, Tuesday (-1,617) The Greeks captured Sarande from the Italians.

2 December 1940, Monday (-1,618) In Italy, rationing of flour, spaghetti, macaroni and rice began.

1 December 1940, Sunday (-1,619) Second night of bombing in Southampton.


30 November 1940. Saturday (-1,620) In Britain, 4,588 had been killed and 6,202 injured in air raids during November.

29 November 1940. Friday (-1,621) Major Luftwaffe raid on Liverpool.

28 November 1940. Thursday (-1,622) In Berlin a film, Der ewige Juden (The Eternal Jew), purpoting to show their �evil influence�, was released.

27 November 1940. Wednesday (-1,623) The last of the Italian forces occupying Abyssinia surrendered to the British.

26 November 1940, Tuesday (-1,624) RAF raid on Cologne,

25 November 1940, Monday (-1,625) The ship Patria, carrying illegal Jewish migrants, sank in the port of Haifa, 200 died.

24 November 1940, Sunday (-1,626) The first large scale air raid on Bristol, by 135 bombers.

23 November 1940, Saturday (-1,627) The Willys-Overland company launched its new General Purpose vehicle, known as a jeep (GP)., for the US army.

22 November 1940. Friday (-1,628) The Greeks routed the Italians at Koritza.

21 November 1940, Thursday (-1,629) Greek forces forced the Italians to retreat on the Epiirus Front..

20 November 1940, Wednesday (-1,630) Luftwaffe planes made a nine-hour raid on Birmingham.

19 November 1940, Tuesday (-1,631) Spanish Foreign Minister Serano Suner told Hitler that Spain would have to receive 400,000 tons of grain before it would consider joining the War against Britain. This was of course merely a delaying tactic to avoid making any real commitment to the Axis cause. However after the Italian fiasco in invading Greece, which had gone badly for the Italians, and risked turning Greece into an Allied springboard from which the Romanian Ploesti oilfields could be threatened, Hitler was desperate to close the Mediterranean to Allied shipping, occupy Gibraltar, thereby isolating Malta and Egypt and forestalling a possible Allied attack on Italy itself.

18 November 1940, Monday (-1,632) RAF raid on Pilsen.

17 November 1940, Sunday (-1,633) Eric Gill, English sculptor, died aged 58.

16 November 1940, Saturday (-1,634) Donna McKechnie, US actress, was born.

15 November 1940. Friday (-1,635) Warsaw�s 35,000 Jews were confined to the ghetto.

14 November 1940. Thursday (-1,636) Coventry Cathedral was destroyed by German bombing. Over 1,000 civilians died in the raid, of a population of 250,000. 449 Luftwaffe bombers dropped 503 tons of bombs and 881 incendiaries.

13 November 1940, Wednesday (-1,637) (1) HMS Ark Royal was sunk by an Italian submarine, near Gibraltar.

(2) The Walt Disney film Fantasia had its first showing.

12 November 1940, Tuesday (-1,638) (1) Molotov was invited to Berlin for Nazi-Russian talks.

(2) (London, London Underground) Sloane Square London Underground station received a direct bomb hit just as a train was leaving in the evening. 35 people were known killed and 2 hospitalised (some estimate a death toll of 79) with three missing. Train services were running again 2 weeks after the event.

11 November 1940, Monday (-1,639) The Italian Fleet at Tarantino was crippled in a raid by naval planes of the British Fleet Air Arm.