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Todays Date in WW2 History
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:27 pm    Post subject: Todays Date in WW2 History Reply with quote

This date in 1944... Leyte Gulf

The Battle off Samar was the center most action of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history, which took place in the Philippine Sea off Samar Island, in the Philippines on October 25, 1944. As the only major action in the larger battle where the Americans were largely unprepared against the opposing forces, it has been cited by historians as one of the greatest military mismatches in naval history.

The US Navy "Taffy 3" made up of escort carriers and destroyers took on and defeated the IJN task force made up of battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers. The US forces were heavily out numbered and gunned, yet were able to save the unprotected landing force and supply ships at Leyte. The main US force of battleships and carriers were drawn away by a decoy force.

The 3 US destroyers, 4 destroyer escorts and half a dozen escort carriers assaulted the 4 IJN battleships (including Yamato), 8 cruisers and 11 destroyers!! The destroyers and the DE's went headlong towards the IJN heavies and sank 3 heavy cruisers and damaged 3 more along with a destroyer.[/i]
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Percival Eric (Percy) Gratwick VC (19 October 1902 – 26 October 1942) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross.

On the night of 25/26 October 1942 during the attack at Miteiriya Ridge, Egypt, the platoon to which Gratwick belonged suffered considerable casualties, including the platoon commander and sergeant. Gratwick, realising the seriousness of the situation, charged a German machine-gun position by himself, and killed the crew with hand grenades. He also killed a mortar crew. Under heavy machine-gun fire Gratwick then charged a second post, using his rifle and bayonet. In inflicting further casualties he was killed by machine-gun fire, but his brave and determined action, for which he would be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, enabled his company to capture the final objective.[1][2]

Gratwick is buried in El Alamein Commonwealth cemetery, and his Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Museum of Western Australia in Fremantle, Western Australia. In Port Hedland, Western Australia, Gratwick Street, the Gratwick Aquatic Centre and the town theatre and community hall are all named in his honour.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On 27 October, 1940: Italy demands Greece allow Italian occupation or go to war; Greece rejects ultimatum.

27 October, 1944: In Italy, Gen. Maitland Wilson orders halt to Allied offensive for the winter due to fatigue, heavy rains, and flooding; US Fifth Army drive halts 9 miles short of Bologna.

27 October, 1944: Wounded and on the run in occupied Holland. After being wounded quite severely in the stomach during the fighting at Arnhem, Brigadier John Hackett had been fortunate to receive the attention of a gifted Dutch surgeon while in German custody. He had only narrowly avoided euthanasia by a German doctor who thought him a hopeless case. Despite the very significant injury and the need for a long recovery the Dutch underground had managed to smuggle him out of the hospital and into hiding.

Hackett was now completely reliant on his Dutch saviours. His memoir describes how they went to enormous risks to nurse him back to health and help him.

*** Note: Sir John Hackett went on to write "The Third World War" ***
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OXI Day:

The Greco-Italian War, also known as the Italo-Greek War, was a conflict between Italy and Greece, which lasted from 28 October 1940 to 23 April 1941. The conflict marked the beginning of the Balkans campaign of World War II and the initial Greek counter-offensive, the first successful land campaign against the Axis powers in the war. The conflict known as the Battle of Greece began with the intervention of Nazi Germany on 6 April 1941. In Greece, the war against Italy is known as the "War of '40"

On 28 October 1940, after Greek prime minister Ioannis Metaxas rejected an Italian ultimatum demanding the occupation of Greek territory, Italian forces invaded Greece from Albania. The Greek army counter-attacked and forced the Italians to retreat. By mid-December, the Greeks occupied nearly a quarter of Albania, tying down 530,000 Italian troops. In March 1941, Operation Spring (Operazione Primavera), an Italian counter-offensive failed and on 6 April, Nazi Germany invaded Greece through Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, beginning the Battle of Greece.

Elsewhere...

Sinking of the RMS Empress of Britian

The RMS Empress of Britain was an ocean liner built between 1928 and 1931 by John Brown shipyard in Scotland and owned by Canadian Pacific Steamship Company. This ship was the second of three CP vessels named Empress of Britain — provided scheduled trans-Atlantic passenger service from spring to autumn between Canada and Europe from 1931 until 1939.

In her time, she was the largest, fastest, and most luxurious ship between England and Canada. She was torpedoed on 28 October 1940 by U-32 and sank. At 42,348 gross tons, she was the largest liner lost during the Second World War and the largest ship sunk by a U-boat.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:51 pm    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Great post, very informative!
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank You! and now....

29 Oct '39

The first German aircraft to be shot down in Britain, a He 111 bomber, crashed near Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom. The kill was claimed by No. 602 and No. 603 Squadrons RAF. Two members of the crew of four survived the crash and were captured.

29 Oct '40

In nationally broadcast lottery, Secretary of War Henry Stimson pulls the first number for the US draft, and first 900 names are pulled, including actor James Stewart. First name pulled: Yuen Chong Chan.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1939:

Leutnant Wilhem Zahn in German submarine U-56 fired three torpedoes at the battleship HMS Nelson off the Orkney Islands in Scotland, United Kingdom. Two of the torpedoes hit home but fortunately both proved to be duds as Winston Churchill, Dudley Pound, and Charles Forbes were aboard at the time.

1944:

In the Vosges mountains in France, US 442nd Infantry Regiment (Nisei—Japanese-Americans) rescues the Lost Battalion with heavy losses. "The Lost Battalion" refers to the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry (36th Infantry Division, originally Texas National Guard), which was surrounded by German forces in the Vosges Mountains.

In 1962, Texas Governor John Connally made the veterans of the 442nd "honorary Texans" for their role in the rescue of the Lost Battalion. Three members of the 442nd, Barney Hajiro, James Okubo, and George Sakato, were awarded the Medal of Honor for their participation on the rescue, although due to discrimination at the time, they did not receive their medals until 2000.

*** Note: The 442nd is the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service, with its component 100th Infantry Battalion earning the nickname "The Purple Heart Battalion" due to the number injured in combat. ***
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1939:

1 Nov 1939 Heinkel demonstrated the first jet aircraft He 178 to the German Air Ministry, but the German officials were not impressed.

In 1936, 25-year-old German engineer Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain obtained a patent for an idea of using exhaust of a gas turbine as means of propulsion for an aircraft. In 1937, with a partnership with the aircraft manufacturer Heinkel, he proved the idea's worthiness with the first working jet engine; the project at Heinkel was personally oversaw by Ernst Heinkel. With his third engine designated HeS 3, the prototype jet aircraft He 178 was born. The prototype aircraft had an intake in the nose, which fed air into a diesel-powered turbine. The fuselage was made of metal, and the high-mounted wings were wooden. On 24 Aug 1939, the prototype aircraft took a short hop at an airfield as a preliminary test for its maiden flight. Three days later, on 27 Aug, German Air Force (Luftwaffe) Captain Erich Warsitz successfully took the aircraft into the air, thus earning He 178 aircraft the title of the first aircraft to fly using a turbojet engine. With Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring a believer of conventional propeller-driven aircraft, however, Heinkel had difficulty convincing the German military to even inspect the aircraft until Oct 1939. On 1 Nov, Heinkel was finally able to stage a demonstration for high-ranking German Air Ministry officials Ernst Udet and Erhard Milch, who were not impressed with the performance of this new technology still in its infancy. Although the He 178 project was halted after the lack of military interest, Heinkel continued with its jet program. A second prototype, He 178 V2, was built, but it never embarked on a powered flight. The prototype aircraft was destroyed at German Technical Museum (Deutsches Technikmuseum) in Berlin, Germany in 1943 when the museum came under Allied bombing.

1940:

11,000 Italian mountain troops marched for the pass at Metsovo, Greece but were trapped by 2,000 Greek troops, who knew the terrain far better than the Italians, in the Vovousa Valley 5 miles before they reached the pass. In southern Greece, British destroyers Ajax landed more troops at Suda Bay, Crete while under attack by Italian bombers. Meanwhile, Turkey declared neutrality in the Italo-Greek war.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1940:

British destroyer HMS Antelope attacked German submarine U-31 with depth charges, killing 2. Forced to the surface, the crew of U-31 scuttled the submarine before abandoning her. As HMS Antelope rescued the 43 German survivors, the wrecked hull of U-31 drifted into her, causing damage that would keep HMS Antelope under repair until Dec 1940. U-31 had previously been sunk by British aircraft on 11 Mar 1940, but was later raised and put back into action; she was the only German submarine to be sunk twice during the war.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1940:

In the Pindus Mountains in northern Greece, Greek Pindus detachment counterattacked against Italian Julia Division, recapturing the villages of Samarina and Vovousa. Further west, Italian tanks were brought up to attack the Greek defenses on the Kalamas River, but the terrain was poorly suited for mobile operations. Far to the south, British troops began arriving on mainland Greece

1944:

The Japanese commenced the Fu-Go (balloon bomb) campaign against the continental United States. The balloons employed an altitude-keeping device which kept them in the prevailing west-east wind along the 40th parallel. A timing device caused the balloon to crash on arrival over the US where its small bomb-load would then detonate
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1940:

The Italian Julia Division continued to be trapped in the Vovousa valley in northern Greece, incurring heavy casualties as Greek troops mounted repeated attacks in an attempt to eliminate this pocket. Further west, Italian troops established a bridgehead across the Kalamas River, but failed at their first attempt to break out.

1942:

On 4 November, Eighth Army's plan for pursuit was set in motion at dawn. There were no fresh units available for the chase so 1st and 7th Armoured Division were to swing northward to roll up the Axis units still in the forward lines and 2nd New Zealand Division with two lorry borne infantry brigades and 9th Armoured and 4th Light Armoured Brigades under command would head west along desert tracks to the escarpment above Fuka, some 60 mi (97 km) away. The New Zealanders got off to a bad start because the units involved were dispersed after the recent fighting and took time to concentrate. The paths through the minefields were very congested and broken up which delayed matters further. By dark, Freyberg had leaguered his force only 15 mi (24 km) west of the Rahman track, although 9th Armoured Brigade was still at the track and 6th New Zealand Brigade even further back.

1st and 7th Armoured Divisions' plan to trap 90th Light Division also hit trouble. The 1st Armoured came into contact with the remnants of 21st Panzer and had to spend most of the day pushing them back 8 mi (13 km). Meanwhile, 7th Armoured was being held up by the Ariete Armoured Division which in the course of the day was decimated while giving stout resistance.

By late morning on 4 November, Rommel realised his situation was dire: "The picture in the early afternoon of the 4th was as follows: powerful enemy armoured forces ... had burst a 19-kilometre hole in our front, through which strong bodies of tanks were moving to the west. As a result of this, our forces in the north were threatened with encirclement by enemy formations 20 times their number in tanks ... There were no reserves, as every available man and gun had been put into the line. So now it had come, the thing we had done everything in our power to avoid – our front broken and the fully motorised enemy streaming into our rear. Superior orders could no longer count. We had to save what there was to be saved."

Rommel telegraphed Hitler for permission to fall back on Fuka. As further Allied blows fell, von Thoma was captured and reports came in from the Ariete and Trento that they were encircled. At 17:30, unable to wait any longer for a reply from Hitler, Rommel gave orders to retreat.

Due to insufficient transportation, most of the Italian infantry formations were abandoned and left to their fate. Any chance of getting them away with an earlier move had been spoiled by the dictator's insistence that Rommel hold his ground, obliging him to keep the unmotorised Italian units well forward until too late.

In order to deepen the armoured thrusts, 1st Armoured Division was directed at El Daba, some 15 mi (24 km) down the coast and 7th Armoured towards Galal, a further 24 km (15 mi) west along the railway. Meanwhile, the New Zealand group had hoped to reach their objective by mid-morning on 5 November, but was held up by shell fire when picking their way through what turned out to be a dummy minefield and 15th Panzer were able to get there first.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1940:

German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer approached Allied convoy HX-84 in the North Atlatic in the late afternoon, and British armed merchant cruiser Jervis Bay moved in to intercept. Hopelessly outgunned, Jervis Bay was sunk within 15 minutes of the gun battle; 190 were killed and 65 survived; Captain Fegen of Jervis Bay would be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his efforts to slow Admiral Scheer. Nevertheless, Admiral Scheer was able to sink 5 additional British ships in the convoy before the convoy scattered and escaped, killing an additional 208 sailors.

1943:

An unidentified aircraft dropped five bombs (only four would detonate) on Vatican City; Benito Mussolini claimed this was an attack by US aircraft, while Allied headquarters disclaimed any knowledge of the unwarranted attack. It would not be until 2010 before it was discovered that Italian Fascist politician Roberto Farinacci was behind the attack.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1940:

Italian submarine Comandante Faŕ Di Bruno attacked British ship Melrose Abbey 200 miles northwest of Ireland with her deck gun. As Canadian destroyer HMCS Ottawa and British destroyer HMS Harvester approached with guns firing, Comandante Faŕ Di Bruno dove under the surface. The subsequent depth charging by the destroyers successfully destroyed the Italian submarine, killing the entire crew of 57.

1942:

Groves and Oppenheimer visited Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States and agreed that it was suitable as the location for Site Y for the Manhattan Project.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1939:

An assassination attempt on Hitler by German carpenter Georg Elser failed at the annual commemoration of the Beer Hall Putsch in München, Germany. Ostensibly, Hitler and other top Nazi leaders escaped death because Hitler had ended his speech early and left the building eight minutes before the bomb planted by Elser detonated (which killed 8 and wounded 65). In actuality, however, it had been planned by Hitler to elevate his own standing in Germany and to create a situation where he could blame the western powers for an assassination attempt.

1941:

British cruisers HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope and destroyers HMS Lance and HMS Lively were dispatched from Malta to intercept an Axis convoy (intelligence gained through Ultra; a Maryland aircraft was dispatched to create the illusion that the convoy was spotted) that had just departed from Italy consisted of German freighters Duisburg and San Marco; Italian freighters Maria, Sagitta, and Rina Corrado; and Italian tankers Conte di Misurata and Minatitlan. This convoy carried 223 troops, 389 vehicles, 34,473 tons of supplies, and 17,281 tons of fuel. The convoy was escorted by 2 Italian cruisers and 7 Italian destroyers
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1940:

Neville Chamberlain died from cancer on 9th November 1940, only six months after he had resigned as Prime Minister. Although far more interested in domestic policy and social reform, his period as Prime Minister was dominated by the rising threat of Nazi Germany, and eventually the outbreak of war. He believed that when he signed the Munich agreement in September 1938 he had come to an agreement with Hitler that would ensure peace. At the time only a minority in the House of Commons and in Britain at large took the opposite view.

Sebastiano Visconti Prasca was relieved as commander of Italian operations in Greece for the failures to breakthrough Greek defense lines in northern Greece. He was replaced by General Ubaldo Soddu.

1941:

The Ukrainian city of Kharkov falls to the German 6th and 17th Armies of Army Group South.

1942:

U.S. Navy fighter pilot Lt. Edward O’Hare, attached to Fighting Squadron 3 aboard the carrier Lexington, was to become the first US ace of WW2. As the Lexington left Bougainville, the largest of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific (and still free from Japanese control), for Rabaul, ship radar picked up Japanese bombers headed straight for the carrier. O’Hare and his team went into action, piloting F4F Wildcats. In a mere four minutes, O’Hare shot down five Japanese G4M1 Betty bombers–bringing a swift end to the Japanese attack and earning O’Hare the designation “ace”.
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