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Todays Date in WW2 History
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1941:

USS Enterprise encountered heavy weather which delayed her refueling operation for destroyers and delayed the arrival at Pearl Harbor.

Japanese carrier fleet reached the rendezvous point at 34 degrees north, 158 degrees west, and then began a high speed approach for Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. At the same time, the 30 Japanese submarines in the Hawaii area began to tighten the ring around the islands; I-74 spotted USS Lexington, but no action was taken. At Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel told a reporter from the news agency Christian Science Monitor that the chance of a war in the Pacific Ocean involving the United States was slim. Nearby, Vice Admiral William Pye told Kimmel (via intelligence officer Edwin Layton) that war with Japan was inevitable, although Pearl Harbor was not a likely target, thus there was no need to send the battleships out to sea as a precaution. Finally, at Honolulu, Hawaii, Consul-General Nagao Kita sent a cable to Japan that he observed no barrage balloons over Pearl Harbor and he did not believe there were torpedo nets around the battleships.

1944:

Heinkel's He 162 jet fighter made its maiden flight. Manufacture of the He 162 was protected from Allied air attack by being built in an underground factory in a former salt mine at Tarthun near Magdeburg, Germany.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1939:

Soviet 163rd Division was held by Finnish defenses north of Lake Piispajarvi in Finland, while Soviet 81st and 759th Regiments were likewise bogged down by Finnish border police forces to the south at Suomussalmi, a road junction village. Lightly-armed troops of the Finnish 27th Regiment, on skis, launched an attack on the Soviet supply line along the Raate Road in an attempt to isolate Soviet troops at Suomussalmi.

1940:

British 7th Armored Brigade attacked Buq Buq, Egypt, forcing Italian 64th Infantry Division to surrender; meanwhile, Indian 4th Infantry Division and British 7th Royal Tank Regiment forced the surrender of Italian 4th Blackshirt Division and two colonial Libyan divisions in the desert. On the coast, British battleships HMS Barham and HMS Valiant bombarded Italian positions at Sollum, Egypt. The Allied forces had now captured 38,000 Italian prisoners of war, 237 guns, and 73 tanks.

1941:

Adolf Hitler announced that since the start of the war against the Soviet Union, the German forces had captured 3,806,865 Soviet prisoners of war.

1942:

The Cockleshell Heroes Raid: Ten British Commandos in five two-man canoes were launched from a submarine to attack enemy shipping in the port of Bordeaux, France. Three canoes were lost but two paddle 70 miles up-river to plant limpet mines on ships in the harbour. Six vessels were disabled. Two Commandos were drowned en route, six were captured and executed and two made it back to England, United Kingdom.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1939:

Finnish Army Group Talvela pushed Soviet 75th and 139th Divisions back across the Russian border. Meanwhile, Soviet 163rd Division tried unsuccessfully to break out of Suomussalmi, Finland; the Soviet 44th Division failed to move in to provide support for the 163rd Division.

1940:

Greek submarine Papanikolis sank the 3,952-ton troop transport Firenze near Sazan Island in the southern Adriatic Sea.

1941:

Japanese troops penetrated the final Allied defensive line, "The Ridge", at the Stanley Peninsula on Hong Kong island. At St. Stephen's College Emergency Hospital, 56 wounded soldiers, doctors, and nurses were bayoneted while a number of female civilians were raped. Near the coast, British destroyer HMS Thracian was damaged by Japanese aircraft and was forced to run aground to prevent sinking.

The Free French seized the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, off the southern coast of Newfoundland, and deposed the governor.

Japanese submarine I-17 shelled unarmed American freighter Absaroka about 26 miles off San Pedro, California, United States. To the north, off Monterey Bay, Japanese submarine I-23 shelled American steamship Dorothy Philips.

7,000 troops of Japanese 16th Division landed at Lamon Bay, Luzon, Philippine Islands and marched toward Manila, which was only 50 miles away to the northwest. Near Ligayen Gulf on the western side of Luzon, the 26th Filipino Cavalry initially held up the Japanese invaders near Binalonian, but were forced to withdraw after suffering heavy losses; meanwhile, the Japanese landed an additional 10,000 men at Lingayen Gulf. In Manila, General Douglas MacArthur met with various leaders to organize the retreat into the Bataan peninsula per WPO-3; the 4th Marine Regiment was ordered to Mariveles at the peninsula's tip before going to Corregidor island.

1942:

Soviet tanks broke German defensive lines at Tatsinskaya Airfield in Rostov Oblast, southern Russia, an important airfield flying supplies into Stalingrad, Russia; 124 Ju 52/3m aircraft were able to take into the air to escape, but 46 other aircraft were either damaged, destroyed, or abandoned as the Soviets captured Tatsinskaya. Elsewhere in Rostov Oblast, a similar attack was conducted on Morozovsk Airfield, but the Germans were able to repulse that attack.

1944:

The troopship Leopoldville, carrying 2,000 American soldiers across the English Channel, was torpedoed by German submarine U-486. Escorting warships lifted off many soldiers, although quite a few who suffered broken bones jumping onto the wildly pitching steel decks, but 819 men perished.

Battle of the Bulge: the German advance was effectively stalled short of the Meuse. Units of the British XXX Corps were holding the bridges at Dinant, Givet, and Namur and U.S. units were about to take over. The Germans had outrun their supply lines, and shortages of fuel and ammunition were becoming critical. Up to this point the German losses had been light, notably in armor, which was almost untouched with the exception of Peiper's losses. On the evening of 24 December, General Hasso von Manteuffel recommended to Hitler's Military Adjutant a halt to all offensive operations and a withdrawal back to the Westwall (literally Western Rampart). Hitler rejected this. However, disagreement and confusion at the Allied command prevented a strong response, throwing away the opportunity for a decisive action. In the center, on Christmas Eve, the 2nd Armored Division attempted to attack and cut off the spearheads of the 2nd Panzer Division at the Meuse, while the units from the 4th Cavalry Group kept the 9th Panzer Division at Marche busy. As result, parts of the 2nd Panzer Division were cut off. The Panzer-Lehrdivision tried to relieve them, but was only partially successful, as the perimeter held. For the next two days the perimeter was strengthened.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1939:

The Red Army resumed attacking the Taipale sector in Finland between 0500 and 0700 hours; spearheaded by the Soviet 4th Rifle Division across the frozen Suvanto River, the offensive initially gained three bridgeheads, but heavy Finnish artillery would push Soviet forces back across the river at two spots. Elsewhere, the trapped Soviet 163rd division attempted another break-out at Suomussalmi but it was repulsed; Soviet 44th Division continued to move toward Suomussalmi, but it was largely pinned down on the Raate Road.

1941:

While flying over German positions in Libya in an attempt to boost morale on this religious holiday, German pilot Oberleutnant Ludwig Franzisket was wounded by friendly anti-aircraft fire. He departed later on this day for Athens, Greece for medical treatment.

1943:

American submarine USS Skate ambushed Yamato 180 miles northeast of Truk. Skate detected Yamato at 27,300 yards and dove. Skate passed down the starboard beam of Yamato, turned, and at 0518 hours fired four stern torpedoes at 2,200 yards. Crew of Skate heard one explosion and a muffled explosion as one or two torpedoes hit Yamato on the starboard side near turret No. 3, ripping a hole that extended some 15 feet downwards from the top of the blister and longitudinally some 75 feet between frames 151 and 173. The upper turret magazines flooded through a small hole punched in the longitudinal bulkhead; the hole was caused by failure of the armor belt joint between the upper and lower side protection belts. The upper magazine for No. 3 turret flooded. Yamato took on about 3,000-tons of water, far more than anticipated by the designers of the side protective system. The transport mission was aborted. The follow-up depth charge attack by Yamagumo, Tanikaze, or both failed to hit Skate, which made its escape three hours later. Later, Yamamto arrived at Truk and received emergency repairs by repair ship Akashi which also prepared a damage assessment report. US Navy intercepted a message from Yamato that read "Hull damage summary resulting from torpedo attack. Details affecting armament and machinery will be submitted later. 1. Hole from frame 163 to 170. 11 meters in diameter above the 'bilge' [sic] and 5 1/2 meters below penetrating outer plates of 'bilge'.

Kurt Student ordered the formation of a 2,200-strong Italian parachute regiment, to be placed within German 4.Fallschirmjšger Division.

1944:

US 2nd Armored Division, with British help, stopped German 2.Panzer Division just 4 miles from the Meuse River in Belgium. The 2nd Panzer Division had continued on its original mission to the Meuse River after fighting at Bastogne. As a consequence of its involvement at Bastogne, and its failure to dislodge the airborne forces, the column ultimately ran out of fuel at Celles, where it was destroyed by the U.S. 2nd Armored Division and the British 29th Armoured Brigade.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1939:

In Finland, Soviet 4th Division rushed several groups of men across the frozen Suvanto River in the darkness to reinforce the bridgehead on the far bank, but the attempts were detected by Finnish forces, which attacked them with artillery and machine guns, killing many; after dawn, Finnish forces successfully eliminated all Soviet bridgeheads on the Finnish side of the Suvanto River, ending the Battle of Kelja by 1800 hours. Elsewhere, in Suomussalmi, Finnish 9th division, supported by the newly-arrived four 1902 76-millimeter cannon and two Bofors 37-millimeter anti-tank guns, began to assault the encircled Soviet 163rd Division.

1941:

British Commandos and Norwegian troops completed the Operation Anklet raid in the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway, embarking a number of ships to return to Britain along with 29 prisoners of war and 200 Norwegian volunteers who wished to joined the forces of the Norwegian government-in-exile.

British cruiser HMS Kenya and four destroyers bombarded German defenses on Vaagso Island, southern Norway in Operation Archery at dawn. Shortly after the bombardment, 560 British Commandos and 12 Norwegian troops landed, fought off the 150 German mountain troops, destroyed fish oil production and storage facilities, and captured a complete German naval code as well as 98 German and Norwegian prisoners. In this operation, the Allies suffered 21 British and 1 Norwegian killed, while the Germans suffered 120 killed.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1940:

Battle of the Raate Road: Troops of Finnish 9th Division continued to attack the Russian concentration along the Raate Road, they failed to cut the column but they did manage to pin down the Russians. Finnish troops focused on attacking field kitchens and bonfires to keep the Russians in the cold. Meanwhile, Finnish Colonel Siilasvuo dispatched another two regiment-sized task forces, traveling toward Raate Road on skis, to aid the assault.

1941:

At 0530 hours, the British artillery barrage began, hitting Italian defensive positions at Bardia, Libya. At 0600 hours, Australian 6th Division began its assault from the west, clearing anti-tank obstacles for the 23 tanks of the British 7th Royal Tank Regiment that began attacking at 0650 hours. Between 0810 and 0855 hours, battleships HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant, and HMS Barham, along with destroyers, monitors, and gunboats, bombarded Bardia with 244 15-inch shells, 270 6-inch shells, 250 4.5-inch shells, and many smaller caliber shells. The ground forces would penetrate 2 miles into the Italian lines.

1942:

British Colonel Arthur Cummings, commanding officer of the Indian 12th Frontier Force Regiment, gallantly led a rearguard unit near Kuantan, Malaya as the main body of his division retreated further south, suffering a bayonet wound in his stomach and a gunshot in the arm. He would survive the war and be awarded the Victoria Cross for this action. Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Cummings led a counter attack against the Japanese at Kuantan, Malaya, in which all of his men were killed or wounded, and he was bayoneted twice in the stomach. Rallying the remnants of his force under fire, he was wounded again, but succeeded in saving many lives.

The Japanese made an amphibious attack at Kuala Selangor in western Malaya, which was repelled by Indian troops. In eastern Malaya, Japanese troops pushed through Indian 9th Division defenses and crossed the Kuantan River, capturing the airfield nearby.

Japanese submarine I-158 sank Dutch ship Langkoeas off Bawean Island, Dutch East Indies; all 94 aboard escaped on lifeboats. I-158 rammed one of the lifeboats and attacked the others with machine guns, killing many of the survivors. Ultimately, only 3 would survive.

1944:

28 F4U and 16 F6F fighters were launched from Torokina Airfield on Bougainville at 0630 hours for a fighter sweep mission over Rabaul, New Britain; some of these fighters returned to base shortly after launch due to mechanical problems. 70 A6M fighters rose to defend Rabaul. US Marine Corps ace pilot Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington, flying a F4U Corsair fighter, was shot down by Japanese Navy pilot Captain Masajiro Kawato, flying a Zero fighter, over Rabaul, New Britain. Boyington's wingman, Captain George Ashmun, was also shot down.

The US destroyer Turner mysteriously exploded in a harbor in New Jersey, United States, killing 153 crewmen. The lives of the 165 injured survivors were saved by the airlifting in by helicopter from Brooklyn, New York, United States of supplies of blood plasma. It was the first time that a rotary wing aircraft had been used in a rescue operation. A Sikorsky-built helicopter based in Brooklyn, New York, United States was used by the US Coast Guard to fly plasma to injured crewman of USS Turner after the destroyer suffered an accidental explosion off Sandy Hook, New Jersey, United States.

1945:

14 SB2C-3, 6 TBM-3, and 12 F6F-5 aircraft of Air Group 80 from USS Ticonderoga attacked Taichu Airfield in central Taiwan; six of the SB2C aircraft turned back after running into poor weather, one of the F6F aircraft became lost and joined fighters from USS Wasp in the strafing of a train, and two of the TBM-3 aircraft got lost and joined another group in the attacking of Suo (now Suao). On a separate mission later on this day, Air Group 80 conducted a fighter sweep over Koryu Airfield on Taiwan; Ensign Philip Manella's F6F fighter was shot down, forcing him to bail out, and his wingman Lieutenant (jg) R. C. Wagg reported that the parachute was strafed by Japanese fighters.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1941:

Australian 6th Division troops, supported by 6 remaining British Matilda tanks, captured the last Italian defensive position at Bardia, Libya, and the remaining Italian force surrendered soon afterwards. In the battle for Bardia, the Italians suffered 1,000 killed, 3,000 wounded, and 36,000 taken prisoner; 2,000 Italians were able to withdraw to Tobruk, Libya. Australians suffered 130 killed and 326 wounded. The Allies captured a large quantity of Italian equipment, including 26 coastal guns, 7 medium guns, 216 field guns, 26 anti-aircraft guns, 41 infantry guns, 146 anti-tank guns, 12 medium tanks, 115 tankettes, 708 trucks, and water pumps capable of producing 400 tons of fresh water per day.

1942:

Four prisoners of war, two Dutch and two British, successfully escaped the Oflag IV-C camp at Colditz Castle in Germany by dressing up as German guards. Lieutenant Airey Neave, one of the escapees among the four, became the first British to escape from Colditz.

1943:

Despite George Kenney's orders for an all-out attack on Rabaul, New Britain at dawn, Kenneth Walker launched a limited (without 63rd Bomb Squadron, whose commander William Benn disagreed with the timing of the attack) mid-day attack. Bad weather in Australia prevented some of the B-24 bombers from launching, thus ultimately only 6 B-24 bombers and 6 B-17 bombers took off for the attack. Two B-17 bombers attacked Lakunai and Vunakanau airfields near Rabaul between 0900 and 0930 hours. At 1200 hours, 6 B-24 bombers and 3 B-17 bombers (one of which carried Walker) attacked, sinking army transport Keifuku Maru, damaging two merchant ships, and damaging destroyer Tachikaze; 3 Ki-43 fighters were shot down during the raid. At 1317 hours, B-17 bomber San Antonio Rose was shot down; Walker and the entire crew were reported as missing, and none of them would be found.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1940:

At 0300 hours, Finnish troops cut the Soviet column on Raate Road in Finland at several locations. Soviet troops began to become demoralized and many fled into the nearby forest. Soviet tanks began to counterattack to but little effect. Soviet 44th Division's commanding officer Vinogradov ordered a general retreat. Also on this day, Finnish Air Force Lieutenant Jorma Sarvanto shot down 6 of 7 Soviet bombers he attacked in only 5 minutes. In neighboring Sweden and Norway, the governments there reasserted their neutrality, both rejecting British requests to operate in their waters.

1941:

British 4th Armoured Division advanced 50 miles from Bardia, Libya to capture Belhamed to the east of Tobruk and the airfield at El Adem 8 miles to the south. Patrols were now conducted 10 miles west of Tobruk at Acroma.

Overnight, Greek destroyers shelled the Albanian port of VlorŽ. 20 miles south, Italian destroyers Alfieri, Carducci, Fulmine, and Gioberti, and torpedo boats Partenope, Pallade, Romeda, and Altair shelled Greek positions at Porto Palmermo. The Greek offensive against Italian positions in the mountains of Albania reached the strategically important Klisura Pass on the river VjosŽ, which, if captured, would allow Greek forces in the center of the front to link up with troops on the coast, but it was met with stiff resistance.

Neutral Ireland sent a note of protest to Germany after Dublin was "accidentally" bombed three nights in succession by "stray" Luftwaffe aircraft.

British cruisers HMS Gloucester and HMS Southampton, escorted by destroyers HMS Ilex and HMS Janus, departed Alexandria, Egypt, at 1315 hours to carry 510 Army and RAF personnel to Malta and to meet Excess convoy which had departed from Gibraltar on the same day. British convoy Excess (British ships Essex, Clan Cumming, Clan Macdonald, and Empire Song) departed from Gibraltar for Malta and Greece, escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Bonaventure (carrying 400 troops) and destroyers HMS Hereward, HMS Jaguar, HMS Hasty, and HMS Hero.

1944:

The Fast Carrier Task Force 50 was renumbered TF 58 and put under the command of Rear Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, one of the US Navy's most skilled aviators. With new carriers coming forward in such numbers it was now possible to provide the Task Force with six fleet carriers and six light fleet carriers with over 700 aircraft. Screened by six battleships and six cruisers it was the most powerful fleet in the world.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1942:

During a meeting with top German leaders, Adolf Hitler noted his belief that the United States' commercial prowess would not be able to overcome the Axis powers. US President Franklin Roosevelt submitted a US$29,000,000,000 budget to the US Congress to fund the construction of 60,000 aircraft, 45,000 tanks, and 8,000,000 tons of shipping. (Ooops slight German miscalculation)

1943:

USAAF B-17, B-24, B-25, and A-20 bombers, escorted by USAAF P-38 fighters and RAF Catalina flying boats, attacked a Japanese convoy en route to Lae, New Guinea, sinking transport Nichiryu Maru off Gasmata, New Britain.

in England, murderer Harry Dobkin is hanged at Wandsworth Prison in London, England, United Kingdom. Dobkin had murdered his wife whose mutilated body he had dumped in a badly damaged Baptist chapel near where he was a fire watcher, in the hope that she would appear to be another unidentified victim of the Blitz. He confessed to his crime after examination of the remains indicated death by strangulation.

1945:

US ace Major Thomas McGuire (38 victories) was killed in a low level combat with a group of Japanese Zero fighters led by Shiochi Sugita, the third-highest scoring ace of the Japanese Navy Air Force over Los Negros island. It was believed that McGuire failed to release his drop tanks whilst attempting a fast turn which caused his P-38 to stall and spin into the ground in a ball of fire.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1941:

The Avro Lancaster heavy bomber took flight for the first time. First used in 1942, the Lancaster bombers were four-engined bombers that served as Britain's heavy bombers. The design was actually a Manchester bomber variant, Mk III, but the improvement was so significant that the variant received a totally new name. When the blueprints of chief designer Roy Chadwick for the Lancaster was accepted, most of the original Manchester bombers were rebuilt as Lancaster bombers. With this weapon, Harris was able to drop 2,000 tons of high explosives on Cologne on 30-31 May 1942; in a mere 90-minute window, the Lancaster bombers left 45,000 residents of Cologne homeless. On 14-15 Feb 1945, Lancaster bombers and their American counterparts devastated the German city of Dresden, killing at least 25,000 (some estimates were as high as 60,000). In total, Lancaster bombers flew 156,000 missions and dropped 608,612 tons of bombs. The RAF paid dearly for successfully carrying out the carpet bombing missions with Lancaster bombers, too, losing 3,249 in action, nearly half the 7,377 that it deployed into service.

Escort duties for the British Excess convoy was passed from Force H (from Gibraltar) to the Mediterranean Fleet (from Alexandria, Egypt); most of Force H turned back for Gibraltar at nightfall, but cruiser HMS Bonaventure and destroyers HMS Hereward, HMS Jaguar, HMS Hasty, and HMS Hero would remain with the convoy. On the same day, 12 Italian C.200 fighter-bombers attempted to attack Malta; 4 were shot down by defending Hurricane fighters of No. 261 Squadron RAF.

1942:

At 1500 hours, the main offensive against Bataan defences at the Philippine Islands began, spearheaded by 6,500 men of the newly arrived and inexperienced 65th Infantry Brigade (which replaced the veteran Japanese 48th Division); the first attacks at the Abucay-Mauban defensive line were repelled by US-Filipino troops. Meanwhile, US Marines from Batteries A and C of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment who remained on Bataan under naval control were integrated into a naval battalion for ground combat.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1941:

All Italian outposts surrounding Tobruk, Libya were captured by the Allies. Meanwhile, en route to Derna, Libya, Allied troops encountered units of the newly organized Italian Special Armoured Brigade and defeated them near Mechili, destroying 9 Italian tanks at the cost of 7 British tanks.

German He 114 seaplane from armed merchant cruiser Atlantis attacked British ship Mandasor 300 miles east of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. Atlantis soon arrived, stopping Mandasor with gunfire, killing 6. A launch from Atlantic drove away sharks with machine gun fire as the Germans rescued 82 survivors. Mandasor was eventually sunk with a torpedo. As the He 114 aircraft attempted to land in the water for recovery, the rough seas caused her to capsize and become lost. Four Allied cruisers later arrived on the scene in response, but Atlantis had already departed.

1944:

At Anzio, Italy, Private George Mitchell charged alone through intense machine-gun fire, jumped into the weapon pit and killed the crew. Shortly afterwards, he similarly assaulted a second position, killing six of the enemy and taking 12 prisoners. He was killed moments later when one of the Germans who had supposedly surrendered snatched up a discarded rifle and shot him. Mitchell was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross medal.
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