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This day in WW II.....

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Jack B, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    14 January 1940:


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    Soviet air forces rain bombs down on 35 different Finnish towns and villages in an effort to prepare for a Winter assault.


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    SB-2 bombers over Helsinki, 30 November 1939


    “Targets were often small village depots of small value. Finland had only a few modern highways, so the railway systems were the main target for bombers. The rail tracks were cut thousands of times but were easily repaired, and the Finns usually had trains running in a matter of hours. The damage inflicted on Finnish targets was also diminished by poor navigation technique, and minimal bombing accuracy on the part of the Soviets”. — Wiki
     
  2. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    15 January 1943:


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    The Comet escape line is compromised. Andrée de Jongh, leader of the Comet group, is arrested in Urrugne, Basque-country, France, near the Spanish border.

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    'safe house' where je Jongh is arrested.

    The Gestapo goes on to arrest other members of the escape route and service is interrupted; however, the escape route for downed aircrew will be revived.


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    Fake ID of Mlle 'Denise LaCroix'


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    Andrée de Jongh, 1946
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  3. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    16 January 1942:


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    Actress Carole Lombard dies “at the age of 33 on board TWA Flight 3 on Mount Potosi, Nevada, while returning from a war bond tour. Today, she is remembered as one of the definitive actresses of the screwball comedy genre and American comedy.” — wiki


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    “The CAB issued a final report with the following probable cause statement:


    Upon the basis of the foregoing findings and of the entire record available at this time, we find that the probable cause of the accident to aircraft NC 1946 on January 16, 1942, was the failure of the captain after departure from Las Vegas to follow the proper course by making use of the navigational facilities available to him.

    The CAB added the following contributing factors:

    1. The use of an erroneous compass course
    2. Blackout of most of the beacons in the neighborhood of the accident made necessary by the war emergency
    3. Failure of the pilot to comply with TWA's directive of July 17, 1941, issued in accordance with a suggestion from the Administrator of Civil Aeronautics requesting pilots to confine their flight movements to the actual on-course signals” — wiki

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  4. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    17 January 1937:

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    “The campaign to conquer Málaga began when the newly constituted [Nationalist] Army of the South under Queipo de Llano advanced from the west and [Nationalist] soldiers led by Colonel Antonio Muñoz Jiménez attacked from the northeast. Both attacks encountered little resistance and made advances of up to 15 miles in a week. The Republicans failed to realize that the Nationalists were concentrating for an attack on Málaga and thus they remained unreinforced and unprepared for the main attack on February 3.” — wiki

    The Nationalists will be assisted by the Italian Corpo Truppe Volontarie led by Colonel Mario Roatta.

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  5. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    18 January 1942:

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    At Bakri, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Anderson's Australian 2/19th Battalion and the Australian 2/29th Battalion fight’s the Japanese advance.

    “General Nishimura ordered his own three-pronged attack on Bakri. It was spearheaded by nine Type 95 Ha-Gō light tanks under Captain Shiegeo Gotanda. However, Captain Gotanda, inspired by the Japanese tank's success at Slim River, advanced without infantry against the 2/29th Battalion, and was wiped out.”


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    "In a repeat performance of the Australian gunners at Gemas, Lieutenant Bill McClure's two anti-tank guns (also from the 2/4th Australian Anti-Tank Regiment) destroyed all nine of Gotanda's tanks. Sergeant Clarrie Thornton, commanding the first gun received a Mention in Dispatches, and Sergeant Charles Parsons, commanding the second gun was awarded the DCM. Thornton's gun fired over seventy rounds during the engagement. Lieutenant Colonel John Robertson, commander of the 2/29th Battalion, was killed soon after, shot while retreating from an attack on a Japanese roadblock.”

    — wiki


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  6. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    19 January 1941:

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    “The ground at Agordat was a natural defensive position and the defences mostly blocked an advance from the south-west from Biscia and Barentu; the northern flank was barred by the bed of the Baraka river.[9] Two roads from Kassala ran to Agordat, a track to the north through Keru and Biscia, where the road improved and the Via Imperiale, a tarmac road through Tessenei, Aicota and Barentu. The roads joined at Agordat and went through Keren, the only route to Asmara.” — wiki


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    “On 19 Jan 1941, the Indian 4th and 5th Divisions of the Sudan force attacked Agordat under the field command of Major General Lewis Heath. The Indian 4th Division took the northern road via Keru and the Indian 5th Division the southern via Barentu.” — wiki


    The assault is led by Matildas of the 4th Royal Tanks Regiment.


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    “The Matilda tank, which caused much alarm to Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division during the invasion of France and the Low Countries in the spring of 1940, was soon to demonstrate its invulnerability to virtually every Italian gun in the Western Desert during Operation Compass. This infantry tank, thus, had a prominent effect on destroying the morale of the Italian infantry, artillery, and armored troops as the Matilda’s 2-pounder outclassed any Italian tank or antitank artillery gun.” — Britain's Matilda Tank Was One Weapon The Nazis Never Wanted To Fight, National Interest, Oct 13, 2019


    “8 Tp B Sqn 4 RTR (2/Lt J G McGeoch) led the road march, some 130 miles, to Agordat which they reached on 30 January 1941. Immediately they knocked out thirteen Italian tanks. Tpr Baker,One of the gunners, said “I saw one shot go right through three Italian tanks. Their armour was like tin.” — The History of the 4th and 7th Royal Tank Regiments


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    Agordat, 1944
     
  7. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    20 January 1942:

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    SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt), holds a meeting at a villa in Wannsee, to unify Nazi administrative departments in the approach to coping with the ‘Jewish question’.


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    “According to [Peter] Longerich, a primary goal of the meeting was to emphasize that once the deportations had been completed, the fate of the deportees became an internal matter of the SS, totally outside the purview of any other agency. A secondary goal was to determine the scope of the deportations and arrive at definitions of who was Jewish and who was Mischling. "The representatives of the ministerial bureaucracy had made it plain that they had no concerns about the principle of deportation per se. This was indeed the crucial result of the meeting and the main reason why Heydrich had detailed minutes prepared and widely circulated", said Longerich.[71] Their presence at the meeting also ensured that all those present were accomplices and accessories to the murders that were about to be undertaken.” — wiki



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  8. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    21 January 1945:


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    “In East Prussia, German troops evacuated Tannenberg, the site of Germany’s greatest victory over Russia in the First World War; as they left, they disinterred the remains off Field Marshal [Paul] von Hindenburg and his wife, who were buried there, and took their bodies back to Berlin.” — Gilbert, The Second World War


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    On 21 January 1945, withdrawing German forces planted demolition charges inside the entrance tower and the tower previously housing von Hindenburg's coffin, causing both towers to collapse.” — wiki


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  9. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    22 January 1942:


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    In fierce fighting in Malaysia, often hand-to-hand, elements of the 4/9th Jats, 45th Indian Brigade, and 2/29th Australian struggle to avoid being trapped by a Japanese force supported by tanks. They assault Parit Sulong, hoping to capture the bridge there.


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    Parit Sulong Bridge, c. 1945


    However, the Japanese retain a firm grip on the bridge. “General Yamashita later described the fighting south of the Muar river as the most ‘savage encounter’ of the campaign.” — Singapore, 1942, Allen Warren

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    c. 1943


    “About 9 a.m. Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson ordered the remainder of his column to abandon the road and their vehicles, and take to the jungle in a bid to get around the Japanese.” — Singapore, 1942, Allen Warren


    Anderson and his column “left behind 163 wounded who could not travel, including Lt Hackney. After they were captured by the Japanese the wounded prisoners were brutally herded together; many of the prisoners were forced into a shed from where on the evening of the 22 January 1942 they were tied together in small groups and taken away to be killed.” — AWM


    “The Imperial Guards kicked and beat the wounded prisoners of war with their rifle butts. At least some of them were tied up with wire in the middle of the road and machine-gunned. The Japanese then poured petrol over the bodies, set them alight, and (in the words of Russell Braddon) "after their incineration...systematically run over, back and forwards, by Japanese driven trucks.” — wiki


    “Lt Hackney feigning death, was left behind. He crawled away and eventually found another member of his battalion, Sergeant Ron Croft, who had also escaped and they were also joined by an English soldier. The three eventually reached a Malay house where they were given assistance. Hackney who could not stand, convinced the others to leave him. The Malays, fearing reprisals by the Japanese, carried him off some distance from the house and left him. He managed to crawl from place to place, but was generally refused assistance by Malays, who appeared to fear reprisals, but was given assistance by Chinese. On the 27 February 1942, thirty-six days after he escaped the massacre, he was caught by a party of Malays, one dressed as a policeman, taken back to Parit Sulong and handed over to the Japanese.” — AWM


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    Hackney, c. 1946
     
  10. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    23 January 1938:


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    The war simmers on the back pages of the SanFrancisco Examiner:


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  11. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    24 January 1945:

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    French forces drive on the ‘Colmar pocket’, but the German19th Army stubbornly resists.

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    “On 24 January, a German armored counterattack near Richwiller was repulsed by the French colonial troops, with the Germans losing 15 tanks and tank destroyers. Overall, the gains of the French I Corps were greater in the western part (right flank) of its sector of the front, but the Germans in large part succeeded in stalemating the corps' advance.” — wiki
     
  12. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    25 January 40:

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    From Shirer’s The Nightmare Years:


    "After all my time in this Nazi cuckooland, I still found it profoundly depressing to see a people so easily deceived.

    A diary entry for January 25, 1940, gives an example.

    Dined alone at Habel’s. . . .


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    I was about to leave when an old duffer sat down at my table. . . .


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    “Who will win the war?” he asked.

    “I don’t know,” I said.


    Though he didn’t look like a Gestapo man, you never could tell for sure, so you were on your guard.

    “Why, selbstverständlich, Germany,” he laughed. He argued that in 1914 Germany had the whole world against her; now only Great Britain and France, and Russia was friendly.

    “Each side thinks it will win,” I said. “In all the wars.”

    He looked at me with pity in his old eyes. “Germany will win,” he said, “It is certain. The Führer has said so.”"
     
  13. Jack B

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    Barcelona falls to Franco’s Nationalists.


    “In the Catalan capital torn-up scraps of party and trade union membership cards littered the streets as people destroyed anything that might mark them for retaliation by the Nationalists. Hundreds of thousands fled for the French border with suitcases and cloth bundles, wheeling these on carts if they were lucky. The 20,000 wounded Republican soldiers in the city, unable to leave, feared the worst, because their missing limbs and shrapnel scars would fatally identify them to Franco’s troops.”


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    “Marching into Barcelona, Franco’s troops first knelt in prayer in one of its grand plazas, as long silent church bells rang, then enjoyed several days of unrestrained looting.” — Spain In Our Hearts, Adam Hochschild


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    Dateline: Hendaye, France, 26 January, AP
     
  14. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    27 January 1945:


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    “A soldier from the 100th Infantry Division of the Red Army entered the camp around 9 am on Saturday, 27 January 1945. The 60th Army of the 1st Ukrainian Front (also part of the Red Army) arrived in Auschwitz I and II around 3 pm. They found 7,000 prisoners alive in the three main camps, 500 in the other subcamps, and over 600 corpses. Items found included 837,000 women's garments, 370,000 men's suits, 44,000 pairs of shoes, and 7,000 kg of human hair, estimated by the Soviet war crimes commission to have come from 140,000 people.” — wiki


    “They did not greet us, nor did they smile; they seemed oppressed not only by compassion but by a confused restraint, which sealed their lips and bound their eyes to the funereal scene. It was that shame we knew so well, the shame that drowned us after the selections, and every time we had to watch, or submit to, some outrage: the shame the Germans did not know, that the just man experiences at another man's crime; the feeling of guilt that such a crime should exist, that it should have been introduced irrevocably into the world of things that exist, and that his will for good should have proved too weak or null, and should not have availed in defense.” — Primo Levi, survivor


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  15. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    28 January 1940:

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    The Red Army attack against Finnish positions along the Kollaa falters.


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    “The January assaults were not fancy, consisting of human wave attacks all along the line—constantly, without pause—while thousands of shells rained on the defenders.”


    Against one strong point, known as to the Finns as “Killer Hill,” the Russians threw a 4,000-man regiment against a defending force of 32 Finns. More than 400 Russians died; 4 of the Finns survived.” — A Frozen Hell


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  16. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    29 January 1941:

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    Italian forces counter-attack Greek positions in the mountains of central Albania. Winter weather in the mountains makes the intense fighting even more difficult.


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    Greece’s II Corps, “reinforced with the Cretan 5th Division from III Corps, repulsed the Italian attack by 29 January and then attacked towards the Trebeshina massif.” — wiki


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    map from Wiki with citation: An abridged history of the Greek-Italian and Greek-German war, 1940-1941
     
  17. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    30 January 1942:


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    Scouts of the 3rd Battalion, 45th Infantry Regiment, led by Maj. Dudley G. Strickler, supported by 57th Infantry Regiment Scouts, assault Japanese positions on Quinauan Point during the 'Battle of the Points' on Bataan.


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    “The Japanese were being pushed slowly toward the sea, but only at very heavy cost. No headway could be made at all against the enemy positions along the cliff and on the high ground about 200 yards inland from the tip of the point.


    Hindering the advance as much as the enemy was the jungle. The entire area was covered with a dense forest and thick undergrowth that made all movement difficult and dangerous. Even without enemy opposition the troops could move through the jungle only with great difficulty, cutting away the vines and creepers that caught at their legs and stung their faces and bodies.

    The presence of concealed enemy riflemen and light machine-gun nests, invisible a few feet away, added immeasurably to the difficulty of the attacking troops. In such terrain, artillery, mortar, and armor could be of slight assistance and the advance had to be made by the rifleman almost unaided. It was a slow and costly process.” — Louis Morton, The Fall of the Philippines


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  18. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    01 February 1943:


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    “On 1 February 1943, the US Army's Signal Intelligence Service, a forerunner of the National Service Agency, began a small, very secret program, later codenamed VENONA. The object of the VENONA program was to examine, and possibly exploit, encrypted Soviet diplomatic communications. These messages had been accumulated by the Signal Intelligence Service (later renamed the US Army Signal Security Agency and commonly called "Arlington Hall" after the Virginia location of its headquarters) since 1939 but had not been studied previously. Miss Gene Grabeel, a young Signal Intelligence Service employee who had been a school teacher only weeks earlier, started the project.”
    Counter Intelligence in World War II

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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2020
  19. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    My apologies for missing the 31 January post. I had something in mind, but just forgot........:oops::_sorry:
     
  20. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    02 February 1944:

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    Sub-Lieutenant John Godwin, with six other British sailors held prisoner since being captured during Operation Checkmate in Norway, 1943, return from forced labor to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. They are not taken to their barracks, but rather to an execution site. Godwin seizes the commanding officer’s pistol and shoots him dead before he himself is shot down.

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    (
    References: Martin Gilbert & Wikipedia)
     
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