Letters, diaries and photographs from World War II

 

 

 

 

May 26th 1940

Calais surrenders to the Germans. Operation Dynamo, the Allied evacuation of 340,000 troops from Dunkirk begins. The move will last until June 3 under ferocious bombardment by the Luftwaffe.

May 28th 1940

Belgium surrenders to the Germans; King Leopold III of Belgium surrenders and is interned.

May 30th 1940

Crucial British Cabinet meeting: Churchill wins a vote on continuing the war, in spite of vigorous arguments by Lord Halifax and Chamberlain.

May 31st 1940

The Japanese heavily bomb Nationalist capital Chungking on the upper Yangtse.

June 7th 1940

Two German battleships sink the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious and two destroyers off Norway

June 10th 1940

Italy declares war on France and the United Kingdom. Norway surrenders.

June 11th 1940

French government decamps to Tours

June 13th 1940

Paris occupied by German troops; French government moves again, this time to Bordeaux.

June 18th 1940

General De Gaulle forms the Comité français de la Libération nationale, a French government in exile. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are occupied by the Soviet Union.

June 20th 1940

The French seek an armistice with the Italians.

June 21st 1940

Franco-German armistice negotiations begin at Compiègne. Elements of two Italian armies cross into France during Italian invasion of France.

June 22nd 1940

Franco-German armistice signed.

June 24th 1940

Franco-Italian armistice signed

June 25th 1940

France officially surrenders to Germany at 01:35.

June 28th 1940

General De Gaulle recognised by British as leader of Free French.

June 30th 1940

Germany invades the Channel Islands.

July 1st 1940

Channel Islands occupation is completed by German forces.
French government moves to Vichy. The Italian Royal Air Force starts bombing the British Mandate of Palestine.

July 2nd 1940

Hitler orders preparation of plans for invasion of Britain, code-named Operation Sea Lion.Alderney surrenders to the Germans. Brighton beach is closed to the public and mines, barbed wire and other defences are put into place.

July 3rd 1940

Cardiff is bombed by the Luftwaffe for the first time. The British attack and destroy the French navy, fearing that it would fall into German hands.

July 4th 1940

The destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria by the Royal Navy. Vichy French government breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain in protest. At Alexandria the French agree to demilitarise the battleship Lorraine and several smaller ships. The Duke of Windsor (tainted by suspicion of pro-Nazism) is named governor of the Bahamas, putting him some distance from controversy. Sark surrenders to the Germans. The Germans now control all of the British Channel Islands.

July 10th 1940

The Battle of Britain begins with Luftwaffe raids on channel shipping. President Roosevelt asks Congress for huge increases in military preparations.

July 11th 1940

RAF raids on enemy emplacements in the Netherlands and on German munitions factories.

July 12th 1940

Luftwaffe attacks on Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

July 14th 1940

Soviets organize rigged elections in the Baltic States. The parliaments will be in the control of the Soviets.

July 16th 1940

Adolf Hitler submits to his military the directive for the invasion of the United Kingdom, Operation Sea Lion.

July 18th 1940

In response to Mers-el-Kébir, the Vichy French Air Force bombs British-held Gibraltar.

July 23rd 1940

The British “Home Guard” is officially established, drawing on elderly men and those considered unable to serve in the regular armed forces.

July 25th 1940

All women and children are ordered to evacuate Gibraltar.

August 1st 1940

Hitler sets 15 September as the date for Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of Britain.  The Italian Royal Navy establishes its BETASOM submarine base in Bordeaux and joins the “Battle of the Atlantic.”

August 2nd 1940

General Charles de Gaulle sentenced to death in absentia by a French military court.

August 4th 1940

Italian forces under General Guglielmo Nasi invade and occupy British Somaliland during the East African Campaign.

August 5th 1940

Failure to achieve air superiority and bad weather in the Channel results in a postponement of the invasion of Great Britain.

August 16th 1940

The Battle of Britain continues; Germans are hampered by poor aircraft range and British extensive use of RADAR.  A first draft of the Destroyers for Bases Agreement by the US and Britain is made public.

August 17th 1940

Hitler declares a blockade of the British Isles.

August 18th 1940

Heavy fighting in the Battle of Britain. Germans suffering severe losses on bomber formations. Göring declares cowardice among his fighter pilots and orders them to closely guard the bombers, further restricting their capabilities.

August 19th 1940

Italian forces take Berbera, the capital of British Somaliland and the British defenders flee to Aden. The fall of Berbera completes the invasion of the British colony. By the end of the month, the Italians control British Somaliland and several towns and forts along the border with the Sudan and Kenya including Kassala, Gallabat, and Moyale.

August 20th 1940

Italy announces a blockade of British ports in the Mediterranean area. Churchill’s speech “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” speech delivered to the House of Commons. Chinese Communists launch the Hundred Regiments Offensive against the Japanese in North China.

August 22nd 1940

Germans are now shelling Dover and the nearby coastal area with long-range artillery.

August 24th 1940

German aircraft mistakenly bomb a church in Cripplegate, accidentally dictating the future shape of the Battle of Britain.

August 25th 1940

Churchill orders the bombing of Berlin in retaliation for the previous night’s bombing of Cripplegate.

August 26th 1940

Both London and Berlin are bombed, Berlin for the first time.

August 30th 1940

The bombing of England continues. London is now bombed in retaliation for the bombing of Berlin, thus, the beginning of “the London Blitz.”

August 31st 1940

Luftwaffe attacks on British airfields continue, as well as on London. Attacks on Radar installations prove ineffective.

 

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November 14th 1940

A heavy night bombardment on Coventry destroyed the cathedral and levelled the  medieval centre of the city.

The Greek counter-offensive against the Italians began.

November 16th 1940

Churchill ordered British troops in North Africa to be sent to Greece, despite concerns by his military leaders that they were needed in the campaign against the Italians in North Africa.

November 19th 1940

The Greeks continued to advance, and evict Italian troops from Greek soil.

November 30th 1940

There was a large bombing raid on Southampton. The city was hit again the next night, followed by Bristol on 2 December, and  Birmingham on the 3rd.

December 5th 1940  

The RAF bombs Düsseldorf and Turin

December 16th 1940

The first RAF night raid–on Mannheim, Germany. :

December 22nd-24th 1940

Bombing raids on Manchester.

December 29th 1940

Large German air-raids on London. St.Paul’s Cathedral is damaged.

January 1st 1941

The previous night’s bombing in London reveals that the Old Bailey, the Guildhall, and eight churches by Christopher Wren were destroyed or badly damaged.

The  RAF bombs aircraft factories in Bremen, Germany.

January 2nd 1941

German bombers, perhaps off course, bomb Irish Free State for the second night in a row.

January 3rd 1941

RAF bombers attack Bremen and the Kiel Canal in Germany.

January 7th 1941

British and Commonwealth offensive in North Africa nears Tobruk; the airport is taken.

January 10th 1941

German aircraft damage aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, which is heading for Malta. German Luftwaffe, it is now clear, has command of air over the Mediterranean.

January 11th 1941

In London, 57 people are killed and 69 injured when a German bomb lands outside the Bank of England, demolishing the Underground station below and leaving a 120-foot crater.

January 13th 1941

Heavy Luftwaffe night raid on Plymouth.

January 14th 1941

First use of “V for Victory” by Victor de Laveleye on the BBC’s Belgian service, Radio Belgique[2]

January 16th 1941

British forces start the first attacks of their East African counter-offensive, on Italian-held Ethiopia, from Kenya.

German bombers pound Valletta, Malta, and the HMS Illustrious is hit again.

January 18th 1941

Air raids on Malta are increasing in focus and intensity.

January 19th 1941

The 4th and 5th Indian Divisions continue the British counter-offensive in East Africa, attacking Italian-held Eritrea from the Sudan.

Hitler and Mussolini meet at Berchtesgaden; Hitler agrees to provide aid in North Africa.

January 24th 1941

British forces in Kenya continue the East African counter-offensive, attacking Italian Somaliland

January 30th 1941

British forces in North Africa take Derna; 100 miles west of Tobruk.

February 9th 1941 

Mussolini is informed that German reinforcements are on the way to North Africa.  British forces reach El Agheila, Cyrenaica. British battleships shell Genoa and British aircraft attack Livorno.

February 10th 1941 

Malta is under heavy daily attack.

February 11th 1941 

British forces enter Italian Somaliland.

February 19th 1941

The start of the “three nights Blitz” of Swansea, South Wales. Over these three nights of intensive bombing, Swansea town centre is almost completely obliterated.

February 20th 1941

German and British troops confront each other for the first time in North Africa—at El Agheila in western Libya.

February 25th 1941

The British submarine “Upright” sinks the Italian cruiser “Armando Diaz” in one of the numerous sea battles in the North African campaign.

Mogadishu, the capital of Italian Somaliland, is captured by British forces during the East African Campaign.

March 7th 1941

First British troops land in Greece, at Piraeus.

March 8th 1941

Buckingham Palace is hit during overnight bombing of London.

March 10th 1941

British and Italian troops meet in a brief conflict in Eritrea.

Portsmouth suffers heavy casualties after another night of heavy bombing by the Luftwaffe.

March 12th 1941

German Panzer tanks arrive in North Africa providing heavy armour for the first major German offensive.

March 13th 1941

The Luftwaffe strikes with a large force at Glasgow and the shipping industry along the River Clyde.

March 19th 1941

Worst bombing of London so far this year, with heavy damage from incendiary bombs; Plymouth and Bristol are bombed again.

March 24th 1941

Rommel attacks and reoccupies El Agheila, Libya in his first offensive. The British retreat and within three weeks are driven back to Egypt.

March 27th 1941

British forces advancing from the Sudan win the decisive Battle of Keren in Eritrea. In the Battle of Cape Matapan the British navy meets an Italian fleet off southern Greece. The battle continues until the 29th.

April 1st 1941

British retreat after the losses at El Agheila, Libya.

During this month the heavy bombing of British cities continues, and convoy losses continue heavy.

April 3rd 1941

Bristol, England, suffers another heavy air attack.

British troops take Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, from the Italian armies.

Rommel takes Benghazi, Libya; Tobruk will remain a threat for the next seven months.

April 6th 1941

Forces of Germany, Hungary, and Italy, moving through Romania and Hungary, initiate the invasions of Yugoslavia and Greece.

The Italian Army is driven out from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The northern wing of Rommel’s forces take Derna, on the Libyan coast. The southern wing moves toward Mechili, and takes it on the 8th.

April 7th 1941

The Luftwaffe begins a two-day assault on Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Hitler is infuriated by the Yugoslav resistance.

April 8th 1941

The Germans take Salonika, Greece.

April 10th 1941

Greenland is occupied by the United States.

While still being invaded, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia is split up by Germany and  Italy. The Independent State of Croatia is established.

April 11th 1941

Though still a “neutral” nation, the United States begins sea patrols in the North Atlantic.

There are heavy Luftwaffe raids on Coventry and Birmingham, England.

April 12th 1941

Yugoslavia, surrenders.

April 13th 1941

Malta is bombed again.

April 16th 1941

A heavy Luftwaffe raid on Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The Germans continue the invasion southward into Yugoslavia.

April 17th 1941

Yugoslavia surrenders. A government in exile is formed in London. King Peter escapes to Greece.

April 18th 1941

The Greek Prime Minister commits suicide; the British plan the major evacuation of Greece.

April 19th 1941

London suffers one of the heaviest air raids in the war; St. Paul’s is mildly damaged but remains closed; other Wren churches are heavily damaged or destroyed.

April 22nd 1941

The British, both military and civilian, begin to evacuate Greece.

April 24th 1941

Plymouth suffers the third night of heavy bombing by the Luftwaffe.

April 27th 1941

Athens is occupied by German troops. Greece surrenders.

May 1st 1941

Seven nights of bombing of Liverpool by the Luftwaffe begins, resulting in widespread destruction.

May 2nd 1941

British forces at RAF Habbaniya launch pre-emptive air strikes against Iraqi forces besieging them and the Anglo-Iraqi War begins.

May 3rd 1941

Belfast, Northern Ireland, experiences another heavy bombing by the Luftwaffe.

May 9th 1941

A Japanese brokered peace treaty signed in Tokyo ends the French-Thai War.

May 10th 1941

Rudolf Hess is captured in Scotland after bailing out of his plane; his self-appointed mission was to make peace with the United Kingdom.  The House of Commons is damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid. Other targets are Hull, Liverpool, Belfast, and the shipbuilding area of the River Clyde in Scotland.

May 12th 1941

The RAF bombs several German cities, including Hamburg, Emden, and Berlin.

May 20th 1941

German paratroopers land on Crete; the battle for Crete will continue for seven days.

May 24th 1941

British battlecruiser HMS Hood is sunk by a powerful salvo from German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic.

The Greek government leaves Crete for Cairo.

May 27th 1941

The German battleship Bismarck is sunk in the North Atlantic.

May 28th 1941

British and Commonwealth forces begin to evacuate Crete.

June 1st 1941

Commonwealth forces complete the withdrawal from Crete.

Rationing of clothes begins in the United Kingdom.

June 6th 1941

More British fighter planes are delivered to Malta. Luftwaffe attacks go on.

June 16th 1941

All German and Italian consulates in the United States are ordered closed and their staffs to leave the country by July 10.

June 22nd 1941

Germany invades the Soviet Union.

July 4th  1941

Mass murder of Polish scientists and writers, committed by German troops in captured Polish city of Lwów.

July 5th 1941

British Government rules out possibility of negotiated peace with Nazi Germany.

British torpedo planes sink an Italian destroyer at Tobruk.

July 8th 1941

Yugoslavia is dissolved by the Axis into its component parts.

The German armies isolate Leningrad from the rest of Soviet Union.

Britain and the USSR sign a mutual defence agreement, promising not to sign any form of separate peace agreement with Germany.

July 19th 1941

The “V-sign”, displayed most notably by Churchill, is unofficially adopted as the Allied signal, along with the motif of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

July 21st 1941

The Luftwaffe strikes heavily at Moscow.

July 26th 1941

In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indochina, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

August 6th 1941

The Germans take Smolensk. : American and British governments warn Japan not to invade  Thailand.

August 9th 1941

The Atlantic Charter is created, signed, and released to the world press.

August 11th 1941

Malta is relieved by a convoy.

August 22nd 1941

German forces close in on Leningrad.

August 25th 1941

British and Soviet troops invade Iran to save the Abadan oilfields and the important railways and routes to Soviet Union for the supply of war material.

August 27th 1941

A U-boat is forced to surface off Ireland and its Enigma machine is captured.

August 28th 1941

German forces with the help of Estonian volunteers take Tallinn from the Soviets.

September 4th 1941

The USS Greer becomes the first United States warship fired upon by a German U-boat in the war, even though the United States is a neutral power. Tension heightens between the two nations as a result. The US is now committed to convoy duties between the Western Hemisphere and Europe.

September 5th 1941

Germany occupies Estonia

September 7th 1941

Berlin is heavily hit by RAF bombers

September 10th 1941

German armies now have Kiev completely surrounded.

September 19th 1941

German capture of Kiev is now formal. The Red Army forces have suffered many casualties in defending this the chief city in the Soviet Ukraine.

October 2nd 1941

German “Central” forces begin an all-out offensive against Moscow

October 7th 1941

Heavy RAF night bombings of Berlin, the Ruhr, and Cologne, but with heavy losses.

October 8th 1941

Germany begins  invasion of the southern Soviet Union,. However, there are signs that the invasion is beginning to bog down as rainy weather creates muddy roads for both tanks and men.

October 12th 1941

HMS Ark Royal delivers a squadron of Hurricane fighter planes to Malta

October 13th 1941

The Germans attempt another drive toward Moscow as the once muddy ground hardens.

October 14th 1941

Temperatures fall further on the Moscow front; heavy snows follow and immobilize German tanks.

October 15th 1941

The Germans drive on Moscow

October 19th 1941

An official “state of siege” is announced in Moscow; the city is placed under martial law.

November 7th 1941

Heavy RAF night bombings of Berlin, the Ruhr, and Cologne, but with huge  losses.

November 27th 1941

Battle of Moscow – German Panzers are on the outskirts of Moscow.

December 3rd 1941

Conscription in the United Kingdom now includes all men between 18 and 50. Women will not be neglected since they will serve in fire brigades and in women’s auxiliary groups.

December 4th 1941

The temperature on the Moscow front falls to -31°F (-37°C). German attacks are failing.

December 5th 1941

Germans call off the attack on Moscow, now 11 miles away; the USSR counter-attacks during a heavy blizzard.

December 6th 1941

he United Kingdom declares war on Finland.

December 7th 1941

Japan launches an attack on Pearl Harbor, declares war on the United States and the United Kingdom and invades Thailand and British Malaya and launches aerial attacks against Guam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Shanghai, Singapore and Wake Island. Canada declares war on Japan.

December 8th 1941

The United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and New Zealand declare war on Japan.

December 10th 1941

British battlecruiser HMS Repulse and battleship HMS Prince of Wales are sunk in a Japanese air attack.

December 11th 1941

Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. The United States reciprocates and declares war on Germany and Italy.

December 12th 1941

The United States and the United Kingdom declare war on Romania and Bulgaria after they had declared war on both the United States and the United Kingdom; India declares war on Japan.

December 13th 1941

Hungary declares war on the United States and the United Kingdom, the United States and the United Kingdom reciprocate and declare war on Hungary.

December 14th 1941

The British cruiser HMS Galatea is sunk by U-557 off Alexandria, beginning a series of naval defeats for the Allies

December 16th 1941

Japan invades Borneo.
The German offensive around Moscow is now at a complete halt.

December 25th 1941

Hong Kong surrenders to Japan.

January 2nd 1942

Manila is captured by Japanese forces. They also take Cavite naval base and the American and Filipino troops continue the retreat into Bataan.

January 6th 1942

The British advance continues to El Agheila  the western edge of Libya.

January 7th 1942

The Siege of the Bataan Peninsula begins.

There are heavy air attacks on Malta; it is estimated that the bomb tonnage dropped on the island is twice that dropped on London.

January 8th 1942

Japanese troops penetrated the outer lines of defense at Kuala Lumpur, Malaya.

January 10th 1942

Japan declares war on the Netherlands.

January 11th 1942

Japanese troops capture Kuala Lumpur, Malaya.

Japan invades the Netherlands East Indies.

January 13th 1942

The  Red Army take Kirov and Medya, as their counter-offensive continues.

The  German U-boat offensive comes closer to the US shores.

January 15th 1942

The German authorities begin to deport Jews from the Lodz ghettos to the Chelmno Concentration Camp.

January 19th 1942

Japanese forces take large numbers of British troops prisoner, north of Singapore.

January 20th 1942

Nazis at the Wannsee conference in Berlin decide that the “final solution to the Jewish problem” is relocation, and later extermination.

The Japanese bomb Singapore as their troops approach the city.

January 24th 1942

American troops land in Samoa, as part of a strategy to stop the Japanese advance in the Pacific.

January 25th 1942

Thailand declares war on the United States and United Kingdom.

Japanese troops invade the Solomon Islands.

January 26th 1942

The first American forces arrive in Europe landing in Northern Ireland.

January 27th 1942

The British withdraw all troops back into Singapore.

January 28th 1942

Brazil breaks off relations with the Axis powers.

January 29th 1942

Rommel enters Benghazi, Libya in his drive east. For the next few months, the two sides will rest and rearm.

January 30th 1942

Hitler speaks at the Berlin Sportpalast and threatens the Jews of the world with annihilation; he also blames the failure of the offensive in Soviet Union on the weather.

January 31st 1942

The Japanese take the port of Moulamein, Burma; they now threaten Rangoon as well as Singapore.

On the Eastern front, the Germans are in retreat at several points.

The last organised Allied forces leave Malaya.

February 1st 1942

Rommel’s forces reach El Gazala, Libya, near the border with Egypt.

February 9th 1942

British troops are now in full retreat into Singapore for a final defence.

February 15th 1942

Singapore surrenders to Japanese forces; this is arguably the most devastating loss in British military history.

February 19th 1942

Japanese aircraft attack Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory.

February 25th 1942

The internment of Japanese-American citizens in the Western United States begins as fears of invasion increase.

Princess Elizabeth registers for war service

March 3rd 1942

Japanese aircraft make a surprising raid on the airfield and harbour at Broome, Western Australia

March 9th 1942

Japanese troops enter Rangoon, Burma, which was abandoned by the British two days earlier

March 11th 1942

The Japanese land on Mindanao, the southernmost island in the Philippines.

March 13th 1942

The RAF launch an air raid against Essen, Germany.

March 25th 1942

The RAF sends bomber raids against targets in France and Germany.

British commandos launch the raid on Saint-Nazaire. HMS Campbeltown, filled with explosives on a time-delay fuse, rams the dock gates and commandos destroy other parts of the naval service area. The port is completely destroyed and does not resume service till 1947; however, around two-thirds of the raiding forces are lost.

April 3rd 1942

Japanese forces begin an all-out assault on United States and Filipino troops in Bataan.

April 5th 1942

The Japanese Navy attacks Colombo in Ceylon. Royal Navy cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire are sunk southwest of the island.

April 8th 1942

Heavy RAF bombing of Hamburg.

April 9th 1942

The Japanese Navy launches an air raid on Trincomalee in Ceylon; Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and Royal Australian Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire are sunk off the country’s East Coast

Bataan falls to the Japanese.

April 12th 1942

Japanese forces capture Migyaungye in Burma.

April 23rd 1942

Beginning of air raids by the Luftwaffe on English provincial towns like Exeter, Bath, Norwich, and York; attacks continue sporadically until June 6.

April 24th 1942

Heavy bombing of Rostock, Germany by RAF.

April 29th 1942

The Luftwaffe bomb Norwich and York.

May 5th 1942

The city of Exeter is bombed by the Luftwaffe.

May 12th 1942

The German U-boat U-553 sinks British freighter Nicoya near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, signalling the opening of the Battle of St. Lawrence.

May 16th 1942

The United States 1st Armored Division arrives in Northern Ireland.

May 18th 1942

The Red Army is in a major retreat at Kerch, after large numbers surrender.

May 20th 1942

The Japanese conquest of Burma is complete.

May 22nd 1942

Mexico declares war on the Axis.

June 1st 1942

First reports in the West that gas is being used to kill the Jews sent to “the East”.

Mexico declares war on Germany, Italy, and Japan.

June 2nd 1942

Further heavy RAF bombing of industrial sites in Germany, centred mainly on Essen.

June 7th 1942

Japanese forces invade Attu and Kiska. This is the first invasion of American soil in 128 years. Japanese occupation of Attu and Kiska begins.

June 10th 1942

Rommel pushes the Free French forces out of Bir Hakeim, a fortress south-west of Tobruk.

June 12th 1942

Heavy fighting in Sevastopol with serious losses of life on both sides.

July 1st 1942

First Battle of El Alamein begins as Rommel begins first assault on British defences.

Sevastopol falls to the Germans; the end of Red Army resistance in the Crimea.

July 4th 1942

First air missions by American Air Force in Europe.

July 11th 1942

Rommel’s forces are now stalemated before El Alamein, largely because of a lack of ammunition.

July 27th 1942

Heavy RAF incendiary attack on Hamburg.

July 30th 1942

Continuing stalemate at El Alamein between Rommel and Auchinleck.

August 1st 1942

The Germans continue their successful advance toward Stalingrad.

August 3rd 1942

A convoy to Malta is decimated by the Luftwaffe and U-boats

August 22nd 1942

Brazil declares war on the Axis countries.

August 23rd 1942

Massive German air raid on Stalingrad.

August 30th 1942

The Battle of Alam Halfa, Egypt, a few miles south of El Alamein begins. This will be Rommel’s last attempt to break through the British lines; RAF air superiority plays a large role.

Luxembourg is formally annexed to the German Reich.

September 10th 1942

RAF blasts Düsseldorf with large incendiary bombing.

September 12th 1942

RMS Laconia, carrying civilians, Allied soldiers and Italian POWs, is torpedoed off the coast of West Africa and sinks.

September 12th-14th 1942

American troops push back the Japanese in the Battle of Edson’s Ridge.

September 19th 1942

Allied attack on Jalo, Libya is repulsed by Germans.

September 20th 1942

RAF bombs Munich and Saarbrücken.

September 30th 1942

Hitler speaks to the nation and boasts that Stalingrad will be taken.

October 4th 1942

British Commandos raid Sark, a Channel Island, capturing one German soldier.

October 6th 1942

By mutual arrangement, the Allies agree on a strategy whereby Americans will bomb in the daytime and the RAF at night.

October 11th 1942

On the Northwest coast of Guadalcanal, United States Navy ships intercept and defeat a Japanese fleet on their way to reinforce troops on the island. With the help of radar they sink one cruiser and several Japanese destroyers.

October 13th 1942

Heavy bombardment of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal by the Japanese navy.

October 14th 1942

A German U-boat sinks the ferry SS Caribou, killing 137.

October 18th 1942

Hitler issues Commando Order, ordering all captured commandos to be executed immediately.

October 21st 1942

Heavy RAF activity over El Alamein.

October 22nd 1942

Conscription age in Britain reduced to 18.

October 23rd 1942

Second Battle of El Alamein begins with massive Allied bombardment of German positions.

The  Battle for Henderson Field

October 24th 1942

US Navy Task Force 34, consisting of aircraft carriers, a variety of support ships, including Troop Ships and other vessels, set sail from Hampton Roads, Virginia with Patton’s forces for Operation Torch, the landing in North Africa. The other two task forces of Operation Torch, the first American-led force to fight in the European and African theatres of war, depart Britain for Morocco.

Crisis at El Alamein: British tanks survive German 88mm fire; Montgomery orders the advance to continue despite losses.

October 25th 1942

Rommel hurriedly returns from his sickbed in Germany to take charge of the African battle. (His replacement, General Stumme, had died of a heart attack).

The Japanese continue their attacks on the Marines west of Henderson field.

October 26th 1942

The naval Battle of Santa Cruz. The Japanese lose many aircraft and have two aircraft carriers severely damaged. The USS Hornet is sunk and the USS Enterprise is damaged.

October 31st 1942

The British make a critical breakthrough with tanks west of El Alamein; Rommel’s mine fields fail to stop the Allied armour.

November 1st 1942

Operation Supercharge, the Allied breakout at El Alamein, begins.

The Americans begin the Matanikau Offensive against the Japanese

November 3rd 1942

The Second Battle of El Alamein ends – German forces under Erwin Rommel are forced to retreat during the night.

American victory over the Japanese in the Koli Point action.

November 8th 1942

Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of Vichy-controlled Morocco and Algeria, begins.

November 10th 1942

 In violation of a 1940 armistice, Germany invades Vichy France.

November 11th 1942

Convoys reach Malta from Alexandria; an official announcement proclaims that the island is “relieved of its siege”.

November 12th 1942

The Battle of Guadalcanal – A climactic naval battle near Guadalcanal starts between Japanese and American naval forces.

November 13th 1942

The British Eighth Army recaptures Tobruk.

In the Battle of Guadalcanal aviators from the USS Enterprise sink the Japanese battleship Hiei.

November 14th 1942

The USS Washington sinks the Japanese battleship Kirishima.

November 15th 1942

The naval battle of Guadalcanal ends. Although the United States Navy suffers heavy losses, it still retains control of the sea around Guadalcanal.

The British move westward in Tunisia .

The British Eighth Army recaptures Derna.

November 17th 1942

The Japanese send reinforcements into New Guinea; the Americans are stymied at Buna.

November 18th 1942

There is a heavy British RAF raid on Berlin with few losses.

November 19th 1942 At Stalingrad the Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch Operation Uranus aimed at encircling the Germans in the city and thus turning the tide of battle in the USSR’s favor.

November 20th 1942

The Allies take Benghazi, Libya; the Afrika Corps continues the retreat westward.

November 21st 1942

The Red Army attempt at encirclement of Stalingrad continues with obvious success.

December 2nd 1942

Heavy fighting in Tunisia as German forces are pushed into the final North African corner.

December 4th 1942

The first US bombing of mainland Italy –Naples.

December 6th 1942

The RAF bombs Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

December 12th 1942

Rommel abandons El Agheila and retreats to Tripoli; the final stand will be at the Mareth line in southern Tunisia.

In a large operation named “Operation Winter Storm”, the Germans attempt to break through to forces trapped in Stalingrad.

December 13th 1942

The Luftwaffe flies in meagre supplies to the beleaguered Stalingrad troops.

December 15th 1942

American and Australian troops finally force the  Japanese out of Buna, New Guinea.

The Allies clash with Japanese troops in the Battle of the Gifu.

December 22nd 1942

The Germans begin a retreat from the Caucasus.

The battle for “Longstop Hill” begins; a key position outside Tunis, the Germans eventually take it and hold it until April.

The remainder of the United States 1st Armored Division arrives at North Africa for Operation Husky.

December 25th 1942

American bombers hit Rabaul.

December 26th 1942

Heavy fighting continues on Guadalcanal, now focused on Mount Austen in the west.

December 31st 1942

In the Battle of the Barents Sea, the British win a strategic victory, leading Hitler to largely abandon the use of surface raiders in favour of U boats.

As the year comes to an end, things look bright for the Allies: Rommel is trapped in Tunisia, the Germans are encircled at Stalingrad, and the Japanese appear ready to abandon Guadalcanal.

January 1st 1943

German 1st Panzer Division withdraws from the Terek River area in southern Russia to prevent encirclement.

January 2nd 1943

The Americans and Australians recapture Buna, New Guinea.

January 7th 1943

The Japanese land more troops at Lae, New Guinea.

January 15th 1943

The British start an offensive aimed at taking far-off Tripoli, Libya.

January 16th 1943

Iraq declares war on the Axis powers. The Royal Air Force begins a two-night bombing of Berlin.

January 22nd 1943

The Allies liberate Sanananda, New Guinea.

January 23rd 1943

The British capture Tripoli, Libya. The Japanese continue their fight in western Guadalcanal; they now seem to have given up completely on the New Guinea campaign.

January 27th 1943

50 bombers mount the first all American air raid against Germany. Wilhelmshaven, the large naval base, is the primary target.

January 29th 1943

The naval battle of Rennell Island, near Guadalcanal, begins. The Japanese beat the Americans and the USS Chicago is lost. Another two-day bombing of Berlin by the RAF.

February 2nd 1943

In the Soviet Union, the Battle of Stalingrad comes to an end with the official surrender of the German 6th Army. The German public is informed of this disaster, marking the first time the Nazi government has acknowledged a failure in the war effort. Rommel retreats farther into Tunisia, establishing his troops at the Mareth Line. Within two days, Allied troops move into Tunisia for the first time.

February 5th 1943

The Allies now have all of Libya under control.Essen is bombed, marking the beginning of a four-month attack on the Ruhr industrial area.

February 8th 1943

Nuremberg is heavily bombed. The United States’ VI Corps arrives in North Africa.

February 9th 1943

Guadalcanal is finally secured; it is the first major achievement of the American offensive in the Pacific war. Munich and Vienna are heavily bombed, along with Berlin.

February 13th 1943

Rommel launches a counter-attack against the Americans in western Tunisia; he takes Sidi Bouzid and Gafsa. The Battle of the Kasserine Pass begins: inexperienced American troops are soon forced to retreat.

February 21st 1943

The Americans take the Russell Islands, part of the Solomons chain.

March 1st 1943

The Battle of the Bismarck Sea. U.S. and Australian naval forces, over the course of three days, sink eight Japanese troop transports near New Guinea.

March 5th 1943

Continued RAF bombing of the Ruhr valley, particularly Essen.

March 6th 1943

The Battle of Medenine, Tunisia. It is Rommel’s last battle in Africa as he is forced to retreat.

March 14th 1943

The Germans recapture Kharkov.

March 16th 1943

The first reports of the Katyn massacre in Poland seep to the West; reports say that more than 22,000 prisoners of war were killed by the NKVD, who eventually blame the massacre on the Germans.Stalin for the ninth time demands a “Second Front,” accusing his allies of treachery.

March 17th 1943

Devastating convoy losses in the Atlantic due to increased U-boat activity; the middle of the Atlantic is apparently not sufficiently covered by planes or ships.

March 18th 1943

General George S. Patton leads his tanks of II Corps into Gafsa, Tunisia.

March 20th 1943

Montgomery’s forces begin a breakthrough in Tunisia, striking at the Mareth line.

March 23rd 1943

American tanks defeat the Germans at El Guettar, Tunisia.

March 26th 1943

The British break through the Mareth line in southern Tunisia, threatening the whole German army. The Germans move north.

April 1st 1943

The Allies continue to squeeze the Germans into the corner of Tunisia.

April 4th 1943

Th only large-scale escape of Allied prisoners-of-war from the Japanese in the Pacific takes place when ten American POWs and two Filipino convicts break out of the Davao Penal Colony on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. The escaped POWs were the first to break the news of the infamous Bataan Death March and other atrocities committed by the Japanese to the world.

April 7th 1943

Allied forces–the Americans from the West, the British from the East–link up near Gafsa in Tunisia. Bolivia declares war on Germany, Japan, and Italy.

April 10th 1943

The British 8th Army enters Sfax, Tunisia.

April 13th 1943

Radio Berlin announces the discovery by Wehrmacht of mass graves of Poles purportedly killed by Soviets in the Katyn massacre.

April 15th 1943

Finland officially rejects Soviet terms for peace. There is a heavy RAF raid on Stuttgart.

April 18th 1943
The “Palm Sunday massacre”: large numbers of German troop-transport aircraft are shot down before reaching Tunisia, where they were to pick up the isolated German troops.

April 19th 1943

The Bermuda Conference takes place in Hamilton, Bermuda. U.K. and U.S. leaders discuss the plight of the European Jews. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising: On the Eve of Passover, Jews resist German attempts to deport the Jewish community. In occupied Belgium, partisans attack the a railway convoy transporting Belgian Jews to Auschwitz. It is the largest attack on a Holocaust train of the war and 236 Jews escape.

April 26th 1943

The British finally take “Longstop Hill” in Tunisia, a key position on the breakout road to Tunis.

April 28th 1943

The Allies attempt to close the mid-Atlantic gap in the war against the U-boats with long-range bombers.

May 1st 1943

The Allies close in on the cornered Germans in the Tunis area.

May 2nd 1943

Japanese aircraft again bomb Darwin, Australia.

May 7th 1943

Tunis captured by British First Army. Meanwhile the Americans take Bizerte.

May 9th 1943

The Japanese begin a three-day massacre of civilians; about 30,000 Chinese are killed in the Changjiao massacre.

May 11th 1943

American troops invade Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.

May 12th 1943

The Trident Conference begins in Washington, D.C. with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill taking part. The discussions are mostly on future strategy.

May 13th 1943

Remaining German Afrika Korps and Italian troops in North Africasurrender to Allied forces. The Allies take over 250,000 prisoners.

May 15th 1943

The French form a “Resistance Movement.”

May 16th 1943

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends. The ghetto has been destroyed, with about 14,000 Jews killed and about another 40,000 sent to the death camp at Treblinka. The Dambuster Raids are carried out by RAF 617 Squadron on two German dams, Mohne and Eder. The Ruhr war industries lose electrical power.

May 17th 1943

The Germans launch their fifth major offensive against Tito’s partisans in Yugoslavia.

May 19th 1943

Winston Churchill addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress. He praises the partnership of the two Allies.

May 22nd 1943

The Allies bomb Sicily and Sardinia, both possible landing sites.

May 24th 1943

Admiral Karl Dönitz orders the majority of U-boats to withdraw from the Atlantic because of heavy losses to new Allied anti-sub tactics. By the end of the month, 43 U-boats are lost, compared to 34 Allied ships sunk. This is referred to as “Black May”. Josef Mengele becomes Chief Medical Officer in Auschwitz.

May 29th 1943

The RAF bombs Wuppertal, causing heavy civilian losses.

May 30th 1943

Attu Island is again under American control.

May 31st 1943

American B-17’s bomb Naples.

June 8th 1943

Japanese forces begin to evacuate Kiska Island in the Aleutians, their last foothold in the Western hemisphere. The event is almost to the year of their landing.

June 11th 1943

The British 1st Division takes the Italian island of Pantelleria, between Tunisia and Sicily, capturing 11,000 Italian troops.

June 12th 1943

The Italian island of Lampedusa, between Tunisia and Sicily, surrenders to the Allies.

June 17th 1943

The Allies bomb Sicily and the Italian mainland, as signs increase of a forthcoming invasion.

June 23rd 1943

American troops land in the Trobriand Islands, close to New Guinea. The American strategy of driving up the Southwest Pacific by “Island Hopping” continues.

June 24th 1943

Continuing attacks against the Ruhr industrial valley. One result is the evacuation of large numbers of German civilians from the area.

July 6th 1943

U.S. and Japanese ships fight the Battle of Kula Gulf in the Solomons.

July 10th 1943

Operation Husky (the Allied invasion of Sicily) begins.

July 12th 1943

The Japanese win a tactical victory at the Battle of Kolombangara.

The Battle of Prokhorovka begins/ The largest tank battle in human history and part of the Battle of Kursk, it is the pivotal battle of Operation Citadel.

July 13th 1943

Hitler calls off the Kursk offensive, but the Soviets continue the battle.

July 19th 1943

The Allies bomb Rome for the first time.

July 22nd 1943

U.S. forces under Patton capture Palermo, Sicily.

July 24th 1943

Hamburg, Germany, is heavily bombed in Operation Gomorrah, which at the time is the heaviest assault in the history of aviation.

July 25th 1943

Mussolini is arrested and relieved of his offices after a meeting with Italian King Victor Emmanuel III, who chooses Marshal Pietro Badoglio to form a new government.

August 1st 1943

Operation Tidal Wave: Oil refineries at Ploiești, Romania, are bombed by U.S. IX Bomber Command.

Japan declares independence for the State of Burma under Ba Maw.

August 6th 1943

The U.S. wins the Battle of Vella Gulf off Kolombangara in the Solomons.

August 11th 1943

German and Italian forces begin to evacuate Sicily.

August 15th 

The Land Battle of Vella Lavella island in the Solomons begins.

US and Canadian troops invade Kiska Island in the Aleutians, not knowing the Japanese have already evacuated.

August 16th 1943

U.S. troops enter Messina, Sicily.

August 17th 1943

All of Sicily now controlled by the Allies.

August 19th 1943

Roosevelt and Churchill signed the Quebec Agreement during the Quebec Conference.

August 31st 1943

The Northwest African Air Forces conducts an air raid against the Italian city of Pisa.

September 1st 1943

22,750,000 British men and women are either in the services or Civil Defence or doing essential war work, according to the U.K. Ministry of labour.

September 3rd 1943

Mainland Italy is invaded when the British XXIII Corps lands at Reggio Calabria.

Nazi Germany begins the evacuation of civilians from Berlin.

September 4th 1943

The Soviet Union declares war on Bulgaria.

September 8th 1943

Eisenhower publicly announces the surrender of Italy to the Allies.

Iran declares war on Germany.

September 10th 1943

German troops occupy Rome.[1][3] The Italian fleet meanwhile surrenders at Malta and other Mediterranean ports.

September 16th 1943

British forces land on various Italian-held Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, beginning the Dodecanese Campaign.

September 19th 1943

German troops evacuate Sardinia.

September 21st 1943

The battle of the Solomons can now be considered at an unofficial end. The Massacre of the Acqui Division begins: After resisting for a week, the Italian Acqui division on the Greek island of Cephallonia surrenders to the Germans. During the next days, over 4,500 Italians are executed, and further 3,000 lost during transport at sea.

British midget submarines attack the German battleship Tirpitz, at anchor in a Norwegian fjord, crippling her for six months.

September 25th 1943

The Red Army retakes Smolensk.

September 26th 1943

The  Germans assault the island of Leros, beginning the Battle of Leros.

September 27th 1943

The Germans take over the island of Corfu from the Italians, the previous occupiers.

September 28th 1943

The people of Naples, sensing the approach of the Allies, rise up against the German occupiers.

October 1st 1943

Neapolitans complete their uprising and free Naples from German military occupation.

October 3rd 1943

Churchill appoints Lord Louis Mountbatten the commander of South East Asia Command.

The Germans conquer the island of Kos.

October 4th 1943

Corsica is liberated by Free French forces.

October 13th 1943

Italy declares war on Germany.

October 28th 1943

Cruiser HMS Charybdis sunk, and destroyer HMS Limbourne damaged, by German torpedo boats off the North coast of Brittany with large loss of life. Bodies of 21 sailors and marines washed up on the Island of Guernsey. Buried with full military honours by the German Occupation authorities, allowing around 5,000 Islanders to attend and lay some 900 wreaths.

October 31st 1943

Heavy rains in Italy slow the Allied advance south of Rome.

November 1st 1943

In Operation Goodtime, United States Marines land on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. The fighting on this island will continue to the end of the war.

November 2nd 1943

British troops, in Italy, reach the Garigliano River.

November 5th 1943

The Italians bomb the Vatican in a failed attempt to knock out the Vatican radio.

November 6th 1944

The Red Army liberates the city of Kiev. This is an anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1917.

November 9th 1943

The Allies take Castiglione, Italy.

General De Gaulle becomes President of the French Committee of National Liberation.

November 12th 1943

Germans overrun British forces on the Dodecanese islands, off Turkey.

November 16th 1943

Anti-German resistance in Italy increases; there are explosions in Milan.

November 18th 1943

440 Royal Air Force planes bomb Berlin causing only light damage and killing 131. The RAF lose nine aircraft and 53 aviators.

November 20th 1943

The Battle of Tarawa begins – United States Marines land on Tarawa and Makin atolls in the Gilbert Islands and take heavy fire from Japanese shore guns. The American public is shocked by the heavy losses of life.

British troops under Montgomery continue their slow advances on the eastern side of Italy.

November 22nd 1943

The Cairo Conference: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and ROC leader Chiang Kai-Shek meet in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss ways to defeat Japan.

November 23rd 1943

Heavy damage from Allied bombing of Berlin. Notably, the Deutsche Opernhaus on Bismarckstraße in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg is destroyed.

November 24th 1943

Heavy bombing of Berlin continues.

November 25th 1943

Rangoon is bombed by American heavy bombers.

November 26th 1943

The Red Army offensive in the Ukraine continues.

November 27th 1943

The Cairo Conference (“Sextant”) ends; Roosevelt, Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek complete the Cairo Declaration, which deals with the overall strategic plan against Japan.

Huge civilian losses in Berlin as heavy bombing raids continue.

November 28th 1943

The Tehran Conference . US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin meet in Tehran to discuss war strategy.

December 2nd 1943

The Germans conduct a highly successful Air Raid on Bari, Italy.

December 4th 1943

Bolivia declares war on all Axis powers.

In Yugoslavia, resistance leader Marshal Josip Broz Tito proclaims a provisional democratic Yugoslav government in-exile.

December 13th 1943

German soldiers carry out the Massacre of Kalavryta in southern Greece.

December 24th 1943

US General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

December 26th 1943

The German battleship Scharnhorst is sunk off North Cape (in the Arctic) by an array of British cruisers and destroyer torpedoes.

December 27th 1943

General Eisenhower is officially named head of Overlord, the invasion of Normandy.

December 28th 1943

In Burma, Chinese troops have some success against the Japanese.

January 4th 1944

The 1st Ukrainian Front of the Red Army enters Poland.

January 9th 1944

British forces take Maungdaw, Burma, a critical port for Allied supplies.

January 12th 1944

The SS United Victory, the first Victory ship, is launched; this class of transport will prove to be crucial in hauling men and supplies across the oceans.

January 19th 1944

Red Army troops push westward toward the Baltic countries.

January 20th 1944

The Royal Air Force drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.

The U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, attempts to cross the Gari River but suffers heavy losses.

January 22nd 1944

The Allies begin Operation Shingle, the landing at Anzio, Italy, commanded by American Major General John P. Lucas. The Allies hope to break the stalemate in south Italy, but they are unable to break out of the beachhead and the line holds until late May.

January 23rd 1944

The British destroyer HMS Janus is sank off Anzio.

January 24th 1944

The Allied forces have a major setback on the Gari River.

January 28th 1944

The Russian Army completes encirclement of two German Army corps at the Korsun pocket, south of Kiev. Two-thirds of the Germans escape in the breakout next month with the loss of most heavy equipment.

January 30th 1944

United States troops invade Majuro, Marshall Islands.
Japanese kill 44 suspected spies in the Homfreyganj massacre
The Brazzaville Conference begins in French Equatorial Africa. During the conference (which lasts until 8 February), the French Committee of National Liberation (CFLN) agrees to major reforms to the French colonial empire.

January 31st 1944

American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.

February 4th 1944

Kwajalein, the world’s largest atoll and a major Japanese naval base, is secured.

February 5th 1944

The American Navy bombards the Kuril Islands, northernmost in the Japanese homelands.

February 8th 194

The plan for the invasion of France, Operation Overlord, is confirmed.

February 14th 1944

The underground organisation, the National Committee of the Republic of Estonia, is formed in Tallinn.

February 15th 1944

The second Battle of Monte Cassino begins with the destruction of the historic Benedictine monastery on Monte Cassino by Allied bombing. The Allies believed the grounds were used as an observation post by the Germans.

February 18th 1944

The light cruiser HMS Penelope is torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Anzio in Italy with a loss of 415 crew.An American naval air raid takes place on the Truk islands, a major Japanese naval base.

February 19th 1944

Leipzig, Germany is bombed for two straight nights. This marks the beginning of a “Big Week” bombing campaign against German industrial cities by Allied bombers.

February 23rd 1944

US Navy planes attack the Mariana Islands of Saipan, Guam and Tinian.

February 27th 1944

The USS Cod sinks a Japanese merchant ship by torpedo.

February 28th 1944

The Admiralty Islands are invaded by U.S. forces, marked by the Battle of Los Negros and Operation Brewer. The struggle for this important fleet anchorage will continue until May.

March 6th 1944

The Allies receive intelligence that the Japanese may be about to attack on Western Australia, causing them to greatly bolster defenses there. When no attack comes, they return to their regular stations

March 7th 1944

The Japanese begin an invasion attempt on India, starting a four-month battle around Imphal.

March 8th 1944

American forces are attacked by Japanese troops on Hill 700 in the Bougainville; the battle that will last five days.

March 9th 1944

The Soviet Long Range Aviation carries out an air raid on Tallinn, Estonia. The military objects are almost untouched. Approx. 800 civilians die and 20,000 people are left without a shelter.

March 15th 1944

The third Battle of Monte Cassino begins. The small town of Cassino is destroyed by Allied bombers.

March 17th 1944

Heavy bombing of Vienna, Austria.

March 18th 1944

The Red Army approach Romanian border.19: German forces occupy Hungary in Operation Margarethe.Yugoslav partisans attack Trieste, on the border of Italy and Slovenia.

March 21st 1944

Finland rejects Soviet peace terms.

Mach 22nd 1944

Japanese forces cross the Indian border all along the Imphal front.
Frankfurt is bombed with heavy civilian losses.

March 24th 1944

The Fosse Ardeatine massacre in Rome, Italy. 335 Italians are killed, including 75 Jews and over 200 members various groups in the Italian Resistance; this is a German response to a bomb blast that killed German troops
Heavy bombings of German cities at variuous strategic locations last for 24 hours.

March 25th 1944

The Soviet air force bombs the city of Tartu, Estonia.

March 28th 1944

Japanese troops are in retreat in Burma.

March 30th 1944

The RAF suffers grievous losses in a huge air raid on Nuremberg.

April 3rd 1944

Allied bombers hit Budapest in Hungary, now occupied by the Germans, and Bucharest in Romania, ahead of the advancing Red Army.

April 4th 1944

General Charles de Gaulle takes command of all Free French forces.

April 5th 1944

The US Air Force bombs Ploesti oil fields in Romania, with heavy losses.

April 6th 1944

The Japanese drive on the Plain of Imphal, supposedly halted, proves strong enough to surround British forces at Imphal and Kohima, in India.

April 8th 1944

The Red Army attacks in an attempt to retake all of the Crimea, the Germans retreat westward to Sevastopol.

April 10th 1944

Soviet forces enter Odessa, Ukraine.

April 11th 1944

Soviet forces take Kerch, beginning the reconquest of Crimea.

April 15th 1944

Heavy air raids on Ploesti oil fields (Romania) by both the RAF and the US Air Force.

April 16th 1944

Soviet forces take Yalta; most of Crimea has been liberated.

April 17th 1944

The Japanese launch Operation Ichi-Go with over 600,000 men in central China. The objective is to conquer areas where American bombers are located.The first phase is the Battle of Central Henan.

April 21st 1944

An Allied air raid on Paris kills a large number of civilians.

April 24th 1944

British troops force open the road from Imphal to Kohima in India.

April 27th 1944 

American soldiers are killed in a training exercise in preparation for D-Day at Slapton in Devon.Vast preparations for D-Day are going on all over southern England.

April 30th 1944

American navy air raids continue in the Carolina Islands, including Truk.

May 9th 1944

Sevastopol in the Crimea is retaken by Soviet forces.

May 11th 1944

The fourth battle of Monte Cassino begins led by general Anders of the 2nd Polish Corps.

May 12th 1944

Large numbers of Chinese troops invade northern Burma.

May 13th 1944

The entirety of Crimea is under Soviet control.

May 18th 1944

The Battle of Monte Cassino ends in Allied victory.

German troops in west Italy have withdrawn to the Hitler Line.

Allied troops take airfields at Myitkyina, Burma, an important air base.

The last Japanese resistance in the Admiralty Islands, off New Guinea comes to an end.

May 31st 1944

The Japanese retreat from Imphal (India) with heavy losses; their invasion of India is over.

June 2nd 1944

The U.S. begins Operation Frantic with a bombing of Debrecen, Hungary.

June 3rd 1944

There are daily bombings of the Cherbourg peninsula and the Normandy area.

June 4th 1944

The Allies enter Rome, one day after the Germans declared it an open city. German troops fall back to the Trasimene Line.

June 5th 1944 

Operation Overlord commences when more than 1,000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day. And the first Allied troops land in Normandy; paratroopers are scattered from Caen southward.

In the  Pacific, the U.S. fleet transporting the expeditionary forces for the invasion of Saipan in the Mariana Islands leaves Pearl Harbour.

June 6th 1944

D-Day begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in France. The Allied soldiers quickly break through the Atlantic Wall and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.

June 7th 1944

Bayeux is liberated by British troops.

June 9th 1944

No agreement having been reached on their mutual borders, Joseph Stalin launches an offensive against Finland with the intent of defeating Finland before pushing for Berlin.

June 13th 1944

Germany launches a V1 Flying Bomb attack on England, in revenge for the invasion. He believes in Germany’s victory with this “secret weapon.” The V-1 attacks will continue through June.

June 17th 1944

Free French troops land on Elba.

June 18th 1944

Elba is declared liberated and the Allies capture Assisi, Italy.

June 19th-20th 

The Battle of the Philippine Sea, nicknamed the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot by Americans, takes place. The United States Fifth Fleet wins a decisive naval battle over the Imperial Japanese Navy near the Mariana Islands.

June 20th 1944

The British take Perugia, Italy and the Siege of Imphal is lifted after three months.

June 22nd 1944

V-1s continue to hit England, especially London, sometimes with horrifying losses.

Operation Bagration: General attack by Soviet forces to clear the German forces from Belarus This results in the destruction of the German Army Group Centre, possibly the greatest defeat of the Wehrmacht during World War II.

In the Burma Campaign, the Battle of Kohima ends with a British victory.

June 25th 1944

The Battle of Tali-Ihantala between Finnish and Soviet troops begins. Largest battle ever to be fought in the Nordic countries.

June 26th 1944

Cherbourg is liberated by American troops.

July 2nd 1944

V-1s continue to have devastating effects in South-East England in terms of material destruction and losses of life.

July 3rd 1944

Minsk in Belarus is liberated by Soviet forces.

Siena, Italy falls to Algerian troops of the French forces.

July 6th 1944

Largest Banzai charge of the war: 4,300 Japanese troops are slaughtered on Saipan

July 7th 1944

Soviet troops enter Vilnius, Lithuania.

July 9th 1944

After heavy resistance Caen, France is liberated by the British troops on the left flank of the Allied advance.
: Saipan is declared secure, the Japanese having lost over 30,000 troops; in the last stages numerous civilians commit suicide with the encouragement of Japanese military.

July 10th 1944

Japanese are still resisting on New Guinea.
Tokyo is bombed for the first time since the Doolittle raid of April, 1942.

July 11th 1944

President Roosevelt announces that he will run for an unprecedented fourth term as U.S. President.

July 12th 1944

Hitler rejects General Field Marshal Walther Model’s proposal to withdraw the German forces from Estonia and Northern Latvia and retreat to the Daugava River.

July 13th 1944

The Soviets take Vilnius, Lithuania.

July 16th 1944

First troops of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) arrive in Italy

July 17th 1944

Field Marshal Rommel is badly wounded when his car is strafed from the air in France.1

July 18th 1944

General Hideki Tojo resigns as chief minister of the Japanese government as the defeats of the Japanese military forces continue to mount. Emperor Hirohito asks General Kuniaki Koiso to form a new government.
: St. Lo, France is taken, and the Allied breakout in Normandy begins.

July 19th 1944

American forces take Livorno in Italy

July 20th 1944

The July 20 Plot is carried out by Col. Claus von Stauffenberg in a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. Hitler was visiting headquarters at Rastenburg, East Prussia. Reprisals follow against the plotters and their families, and even include Rommel.

July 23rd 1944

The Poles rise up against the Germans in the Lwow Uprising.

July 24th 1944

Operation Cobra is now in full swing: the breakout at St. Lo in Normandy with American troops taking Coutances.

Majdanek Concentration Camp is liberated by Soviet forces, the first among many. The Soviet Union is now in control of several large cities in Poland, including Lublin.

US bombers mistakenly bomb American troops near St. Lo, France.

July 28th 1944

The Red Army take Brest-Litovsk, the site of the Russo-German peace treaty in World War I.

August 1st 1944

The Warsaw Uprising, staged by the Polish Home Army, begins: the Polish people rise up, expecting aid from the approaching Soviet Union armies, but it never comes.

The Red Army isolates the Baltic States from East Prussia by taking Kaunas.

The Americans complete the capture of the island of Tinian.

August 3rd 1944

Myitkyina, in northern Burma, falls to the Allies (the Americans and Chinese under Stilwell), after a vigorous defence by the Japanese.

August 4th 1944

Florence is liberated by the Allies, particularly British and South African troops. Before exiting, the Germans under General Albert Kesselring destroy some historic bridges and historically valuable buildings.

Rennes, France, is liberated by American forces.

August 5th 1944

Wola massacre: 40-50 thousand civilians murdered by German and collaborating Russian forces in the Wola district of Warsaw.

The Cowra breakout: Japanese POWs escape from an Australian prison near Cowra, New South Wales. Two guards are killed and posthumously awarded the George Cross.

August 6th 1944

The Germans round up young men in Krakow to stop the potential Kraków Uprising.

Ukrainian insurgents kill 42 Polish civilians in the Baligród massacre.

August 7th 1944

The first trials of the bomb conspirators against Hitler begin in a court presided over by notorious Judge Roland Freisler.

August 8th 1944

Plotters in the bomb plot against Hitler are hanged and their bodies hung on meat hooks. Reprisals against their families continue.

August 15th 1944

Operation Dragoon begins, marked by amphibious Allied landings in southern France.

The Allies reach the “Gothic Line”, the last German strategic position in North Italy.

August 18th 1944

The Red Army reaches the East Prussian border.

August 19th 1944

The French Resistance begins an uprising in Paris, partly inspired by the Allied approach to the Seine River.

August 20th 1944

The Red Army relaunches its offensive into Romania.

August 22nd 1944

The Japanese are now in total retreat from India.

August 23rd 1944

Romania breaks with the Axis, surrenders to the Soviet Union, and joins the Allies.

August 25th 1944

Paris is liberated; De Gaulle and Free French parade triumphantly down the Champs-Élysées. The German military disobeys Hitler’s orders to burn the city. Meanwhile the southern Allied forces move up from the Riviera, take Grenoble and Avignon.

August 28th 1944

The Germans surrender at Toulon and Marseilles, in southern France.Patton’s tanks cross the Marne.

August 29th 1944  The anti-German Slovak National Uprising starts in Slovakia.

August 30th 1944

The Allies enter Rouen, in northwestern France.

August 31st 1944

American forces turn over the government of France to Free French troops.
The Soviet army enters Bucharest.

September 1st 1944

Canadian troops capture Dieppe, France.

September 2nd 1944

Allied troops enter Belgium.

September 3rd 1944

Brussels is liberated by the British Second Army. Lyon is liberated by French and American troops.

September 4th 1944

A cease fire takes effect between Finland and the USSR.

September 5th 1944

Antwerp is liberated by British 11th Armoured Division and local resistance.

The uprising in Warsaw continues; Red Army forces are available for relief and reinforcement, but are apparently unable to move without Stalin’s order.

September 6th 1944

The “blackout” is diminished to a “dim-out” as threat of invasion and further bombing seems an unlikely possibility.

Ghent and Liège are liberated by British troops.

September 8th 1944

Ostend is liberated by Canadian troops.

Soviet troops enter Bulgaria.

The Belgian government in exile returns to Belgium from London where it has spent the war.

September 9th 1944

The first V-2 rocket lands on London.

Charles de Gaulle forms the Provisional Government of the French Republic in France

The Fatherland Front of Bulgaria overthrows the national government and declares war on Germany.

September 10th 1944

Luxembourg is liberated by U.S. First Army.

Two Allied forces meet at Dijon, cutting France in half.

First Allied troops enter Germany, entering Aachen, a city on the border.

September 13th 1944

American troops reach the Siegfried Line, the west wall of Germany’s defence system.

 Waves of paratroops land in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden in September 1944.
September 15th 1944
American Marines land on Peleliu in the Palau Islands; a bloody battle of attrition continues for two and a half months.
September 16th 1944
The Red Army enters Sofia, Bulgaria.
September 17th 1944
Operation Market Garden, the attempted liberation of Arnhem and turning of the German flank begins.
: British and commonwealth forces enter neutral San Marino and engage German forces in a small-scale conflict which ends on the 20th.
September 18th 1944
Brest, France, an important Channel port, falls to the Allies.
The Germans surrender at Boulogne.
September 25th 1944
British troops pull out of Arnhem with the failure of Operation Market Garden. Over 6,000 paratroopers are captured. Hopes of an early end to the war are abandoned.
October 1st 1944
A Hungarian delegation arrives in Moscow to negotiate an armistice with the USSR.
Soviet troops enter Yugoslavia.
October 2nd 1944
The Germans finally succeed in putting down the Warsaw Uprising by the Polish Home Army. The Soviet armies never moved to assist the Polish.
American troops are now in a full-scale attack on the German “West Wall”.
Allied forces land on Crete.
October 5th 1944 
Canadian troops cross the border into the Netherlands.
The Red Army enters Hungary and also launch an offensive to capture Riga, Latvia.
October 6th 1944
Soviet and Czechoslovak troops enter northeastern Slovakia.
The Battle of Debrecen begins as German and Soviet forces advance against each other in eastern Hungary.
October 9th 1944
The Moscow Conference begins: Churchill and Stalin discuss spheres of influence in the postwar Balkans.
October 10th 1944
The Red Army reach the Niemen River in Prussia and continue the battle around Riga.
The Allied combined forces take Corinth, Greece.12:
Athens is liberated by the EAM.
The Allied bombardment of Aachen continues, the first major battle on German soil.
October 21st 1944
Aachen is occupied by U.S. First Army; it is the first major German city to be captured.
October 23rd – 26th The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The United States Third Fleet and the United States Seventh Fleet win a decisive naval battle over the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Philippine Islands.
October 23rd 
The Allies recognise General de Gaulle as the head of a provisional government of France.
B-29s are now using Tinian Island, in the Marianas, as a base for the systematic bombing of Japan. Soviet forces in cooperation with Tito’s Partizan forces, liberate Novi Sad in Yugoslavia.25: Romania is fully liberated by Red Army and Romanian troops.
October 27th 1944
The Battle of Hürtgen Forest is developing. It will continue through October and November and have its last attacks in December.
November 1st 1944
British forces occupy Salonika, Greece, and distribute food in Athens, which is experiencing famine.
 “Operation Infatuate”, an Allied attempt to free the approaches to Antwerp begins; amphibious landings take place on WalcherenIsland.
November 2nd 1944
Canadian troops take Zeebrugge in Belgium; Belgium is now entirely liberated.
November 4th 1944
Remaining Axis forces withdraw from the Greek mainland. German occupation forces will remain in several Greek islands until capitulation.
November 5th 1944
US planes bomb Singapore.
The aircraft carrier USS Lexington is heavily damaged by kamikaze attacks.
November 9th 1944
General Patton’s troops and tanks cross the Moselle River and threaten Metz in France.
November 10th 1944
V-2 rockets continue to hit Britain, at the rate of about eight a day.
November 12th 1944
After numerous bombings while anchored in a fjord at Tromso, Norway, the German battleship Tirpitz is sunk.
November 17th 1944
The Germans give up Tirana, Albania which is liberated by local partisans.
November 20th 1944
Hitler leaves his wartime headquarters at Rastenberg, East Prussia, never to return; he goes to Berlin, where he will soon establish himself at the bunker.
November 23rd 1944
Metz, France is taken, and Strasbourg, in eastern France, is liberated by French troops.
November 24th 1944
The USS Intrepid is hit by kamikazes for the third time; other American ships are heavily damaged.
November 25th 1944
The Japanese take Nanning in south China.
November 26th 1944
The war in Italy is at a stalemate, partly because of heavy rains.Heinrich Himmler orders the crematoriums and gas chambers of Auschwitz II-Birkenau dismantled and blown up.
November 30th 1944
Kunming, China, an important air base, is threatened by Japanese attacks.
December 3rd 1944
The Dekemvriana (“December events”) begin in the Greek capital, Athens, between members of the leftist National Liberation Front and government forces, backed by the British. The clashes are limited to Athens however, and the rest of the country remains relatively tranquil.
The British Home Guard is stood down.
December 5th 1944
The Allies are now in control of Ravenna, Italy.
December 14th 1944
Japanese defenders in Palawan in the Philippines kill over 100 American POW’s in the Palawan Massacre.
December 15th 1944
Americans and Filipinos land troops at Mindoro island in the Philippines.
December 16th 1944
The Battle of the Bulge begins as German forces attempt a breakthrough in the Ardennes region. The main object of Hitler’s plan is the retaking of Antwerp.
December 17th 1944
The Malmedy massacre: SS troops execute 86 American prisoners in the Ardennes offensive.
December 22nd 1944
The battle for Bastogne is at its height, with Americans running low on ammunition.
December 23rd 1944 
Allied aircraft  begin their attacks on the German offensive, the one factor that Hitler feared in his planning.
December 24th 1944
The American counter-attack at the “Bulge” begins.
The Belgian transport ship SS Leopoldville is sunk off the coast of France. More than 800 lives, predominantly those of American servicemen, are lost.
Manchester is attacked by V1 flying bombs26: The siege of Bastogne is broken, and with it the Ardennes offensive proves a failure.
December 28th 1944
Churchill and his Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden are in Athens in an attempt to reconcile the warring factions.
December 29th 1944
Soviet troops begin the Siege of Budapest.
December 31st 1944
The Soviet-backed Hungarian Provisional Government declares war on Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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