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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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    03 February 1940:

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    Three 43 Squadron Hurricanes based at RAF Acklington intercept and shoot down a Luftwaffe Heinkel He 111 bomber over Whitby.


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    The formation was led by Flight Lieutenant Peter Townsend. The other two pilots were Flying Officer "Tiger" Folkes and Sergeant James Hallowes. It was the first German aircraft to fall on English soil in World War II. Townsend visited the German rear gunner in hospital the next day.
    — wiki

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    Hurricane, 1940, 85 Squadron
     
  2. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    04 February 1938:


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    Hitler creates the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) and assumes the role of Supreme Commander.


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    “February 4, 1938 is a major turning point in the history of the Third Reich, a milestone on its road to war. On that date the Nazi revolution, it might be said, was completed.”
    — William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich



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  3. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    05 February 1941:


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    “Combeforce reached Antelat during the morning and by 12:30 p.m. had observers overlooking the Via Balbia west of Beda Fomm and Sidi Saleh, about 48 kilometres (30 mi) south-west of Antelat and 32 kilometres (20 mi) north of Ajedabia, with the rest of Combeforce following on.


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    “Combeforce (Lieutenant-Colonel J. F. B. Combe), consisted of an armoured car squadron from each of 11th Hussars and King's Dragoon Guards, the 2nd Rifle Brigade, an RAF armoured car squadron, six 25-pounder field guns of C Battery 4th Royal Horse Artillery (4th RHA) and the 106th (Lancashire Hussars) Battery RHA, with nine Bofors 37 mm anti-tank guns portée, a total of about 2,000 men.”


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    An Italian convoy drove up about thirty minutes later and ran into a minefield, where it was ambushed. The British artillery, anti-tank guns and armoured cars, threw the column into confusion. Some members of the 10th Bersaglieri tried to advance down the road and others looked for gaps in the British positions on either side of the road.

    The Bersaglieri had little effect, being unsupported by artillery, most of which was with the rearguard to the north. The attempts by the Italians to break through became stronger and in the afternoon, the 2nd Rifle Brigade crossed the Via Balbia into the dunes, to block the route south between the road and the sea. Combe also brought up a company behind the roadblock, placed some 25-pounders behind the infantry and kept some armoured cars manoeuvring in the desert to the east, to deter an Italian outflanking move.

    Several hundred prisoners were taken but only a platoon of infantry could be spared to guard them. The vanguard of the Italian retreat had no tanks, contained few front-line infantry and had been trapped by the ambush which forced them to fight where they stood.” —wiki (ref: Major Kenneth Macksey, Beda Fomm: The Classic Victory).


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  4. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    06 February 1941:

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    Hitler issues Directive No. 23, “which dealt solely with ‘operations against the English war economy’, and though he emphasized the necessity to hold back considerable resources for the forthcoming attack on Russia, he did stress the value of attacks on the British lines of communication:


    The heaviest effect of our operations against the English war economy has lain in the high loses in merchant shipping inflict by sea and air warfare… The wider employment of submarines…can bring about the collapse of English resistance within the foreseeable future… It must therefore be the aim of our further operations…to concentrate all weapons of air and sea warfare against enemy imports… The sinking of merchantmen is ore important that attacks on enemy warships.”

    — John Ellis, Brute Force


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    The SS Maplecourt, a Canadian cargo ship in convoy SC-20, en route from Halifax to Liverpool, is sunk by U-107. All 37 crew are lost at sea.

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    U-107, 1/11/41


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  5. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    07 February 1939:

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    The Battle of Menorca opens with confusion.


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    The Royal Navy cruiser HMS Devonshire arrives in Mahón harbour with Nationalist emissary, Fernando Sartorius, on board to negotiate the surrender of the island.

    Republicans agree to leave, however, that “same day, three battalions of the Republican garrison, led by a member of the Fifth column, the officer Juan Thomas, occupied Ciutadella, after killing the Republican commander Marcelino Rodríguez.

    One brigade of Republican troops arrived from Mahon, and defeated the rebel troops after a brief engagement and surrounded Ciutadella. Nevertheless, the Republican officers believed that the fight was useless, desired to abandon the island and the British arranged the surrender of the island to the Nationalists on board of HMS Devonshire.” — wiki

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    In China, resistance continues:

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  6. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    08 February 1942:

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    Japanese artillery begins shelling Singapore island. Communications are disrupted, and Australian country-battery fire is limited. The Japanese barrage intensifies on the North-West corner of the island, where later their assault will be focused.


    After dusk Japanese troops cross in barges and small motorized boats.

    “As the bombardment lifted, the shaken defenders rose from their muddy, waterlogged weapons pits and braced themselves for the assault. Soon after 10.30 p.m. dark shaped emerged from the gloom on the water, and began to close with the Australians’ side of the strait.”


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    “‘By midnight’, wrote D Company’s Captain R.J.D. Richardson, ‘it was obvious that the Japs were getting ashore through undefended sectors between companies, and were pressing on our flanks.”
    — Alan Warren, Singapore 1942


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    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  7. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    09 February 1938:

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    The Japanese maneuver and make a three-pronged attack toward Tai’erzhuang. As the Chinese 31st Army withdraws, the Japanese 13th Division captures Bengbu, site of a railway crossing of the Huai River, on the 9th*.


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    *
    I had difficulty corroborating this date. Bengbu was occupied by the Japanese in February 1938, but I found only one source with a specific date. Corrections, if warranted, are welcome, as always. Hankow was incorporated into the greater city now known as Wuhan.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  8. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    10 February 1944:

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    The Allies are mired outside Anzio. Another German counterattack hammers at the Allied positions.


    “All day on the tenth, battles raged around Buon Riposo Ridge, Carroceto, and the Factory [Aprilia], but the Allies could gain no headway.”

    Air cover disrupts the German attempt to reinforce the battle, but “the Germans had gained the upper hand”.


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    “Churchill, still trying to light a fire under the operation, sent a cable to Alexander, which read in part, “I have a feeling that you may have hesitated to assert your authority because you were dealing so largely with Americans and therefore urged an advance instead of ordering it.” (emphasis in original) —Flint Whitlock, The Rock of Anzio



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  9. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    11 February 1939:


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    The Japanese land combat units at Samah (Sanya) on the southern tip of Hainan Island and occupy the key positions of Yulin and Yai-Hsien. Japanese units go on to seize the rest of strategically located island in the South China sea.


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  10. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    12 February 1940:

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    Lieutenant-Commander Hugh Price, commanding the minesweeper HMS Gleaner, sinks U-33, commanded by Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky in the Firth of Clyde.


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    HMS Gleaner (J83)


    HMS Gleaner picks up a loud sound at 02:50 of the starboard bow. The 4-inch gun and depth charges are made ready.


    “In the submarine, Dresky ordered a dive to 125 feet, but the vessel had reached only 80 feet when the Gleaner, which had circled around and made contact again at 3:53, fired a pattern of four depth charges that exploded at 150 feet.”

    “The detonations shook the U-boat. Its light went out. With the booms the crew ducked their heads and hunched their shoulders. The emergency lighting came on but could barely penetrate the dust, thick as fog, that the explosions had kicked up. None of the men screamed; no one cried; no one dirtied his pants. Their earlier attacks had toughened them up, and their comradeship sustained them.”
    — David Kahn, Seizing the Enigma

    Kahn reports that HMS Gleaner presses the attack and U-33 becomes disabled, forced to surface, and is scuttled. The Enigma rotors are passed out to members of the crew with instructions to drop the rotors into the sea once they leave the submarine. One seaman, Kumpf, is given three rotors. In the ensuing chaos, trying to stay alive in unfriendly seas until the British recover him, he forgets to toss his rotors into the sea. As the prisoners are processed the British have found the precious rotors.

    “Once she settled at thirty fathoms,” three Enigma rotors were recovered. “This marked one more step forward in the slow breaking of Germany’s most secret wartime communications system.”
    — Martin Gilbert, The Second World War

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    U-33


    On the other side of the Atlantic, William Pelley is arrested.

    “A former novelist and Hollywood screenwriter who had begun publishing mystical and spiritual writings in the 1920s, Pelley dubbed himself "The Chief" of the group that became known as the Silver Shirts, due to the shimmery gray-and-blue uniforms with giant red “L”s embroidered over the heart that Pelley, a student of Hollywood pizzaz, designed himself.”
    — Jason Daley, SMITHSONIANMAG.COM


    His testimony before the Dies committee two days prior had failed to convince:


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  11. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    13 February 1945:

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    Dresden is bombed from the air “just after 10 o’clock on the night of Tuesday, 13 February 1945 by 259 Lancaster bombers [of 83 Squadron] from RAF Swinderby in Lincolnshire.”
    — Andrew Roberts, Storm of War


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    Lancaster at RAF Swinderby, 1942


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    Dresden, 1945
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The article says the Allies will "impose a peace tough enough to make Hitler howl" which implies Hitler would still be in a position to howl about the peace terms.
     
  13. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    I guess they ended up with the next best thing...or maybe a better outcome. I once read an argument that I'm inclined to agree with: Hitler's suicide was the optimal outcome. Other solutions left loose strings and potential martyrdom in the wings. His inability to howl may have been a real gift.

    The Morgenthau plan of '44 had proposed destroying Germany's military-industrial base and chopping Germany up into parcels for France and Poland with a few bits left over for lesser independent states of Northern and Southern Germany. That got the Nazis howling--they used it for propaganda purposes to keep the Volk in the fight.

    As far as I know, it wasn't until May of '45 that the US relented and approved a softer approach to a post-war Germany (Britain hadn't ever really supported the Morgenthau plan.). I think in February 1945 the intent was still to make Germany rue the day it went to war, a kind of "Sherman's march on Georgia" mentality.

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  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    "When I am done a crow flying across Georgia will have to carry it's own provender." Sherman. (From memory.)
     
  15. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I believe that was part of Grant's instructions to Sheridan for the Shenandoah campaign, also in 1864, to so devastate the "breadbasket of the Confederacy" that it could no longer supply food and fodder to Lee's army.
     
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I think everybody here is more likely to correctly remember something than I am. :p
     
  17. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    14 February 1941:


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    The first sizable German ground force, consisting of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion and the 39th Anti-Tank Battalion, arrives in Tripoli, Libya.


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  18. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    no love on feb 14, 1941.
    too bad hallmark hadnt invented it yet. things may have been different.
     
  19. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Did you miss the Valentine-skater cartoon in my first collage? Obviously some mad-passion there in Calgary in 1941! :D
     
  20. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    15 February 1942:


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    Singapore falls.

    “Throughout the night of 14/15 February the Japanese continued to press against the Allied perimeter, but the line largely held. Nevertheless, the military supply situation was rapidly deteriorating. The water system was badly damaged and continued supply was uncertain, rations were running low, petrol for military vehicles was all but exhausted, and there were few rounds left for the field artillery. The anti-aircraft guns were almost out of ammunition, and were unable to disrupt Japanese air attacks, which were causing heavy casualties in the city centre. Little work had been done to build air raid shelters, and looting and desertion by Allied troops further added to the chaos in this area.


    At 09:30, Percival held a conference at Fort Canning with his senior commanders. He proposed two options: either launch an immediate counter-attack to regain the reservoirs and the military food depots in the Bukit Timah region, or surrender. After heated argument and recrimination, all present agreed that no counterattack was possible. Percival opted for surrender. Post war analysis has shown, though, that had Percival opted for a counterattack at that time, it might have been successful. The Japanese were at the limit of their supply line, and their artillery had just a few hours of ammunition left.” —wiki


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    Charles Thrale, 1942, After the Battle, Singapore; British Troops marching to Changi, Sketched from a Red Cross truck. IWM
     

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