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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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    16 February 1941:

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    South African troops capture the strategic port of Chisimaio (Kismayo) in Italian Somaliland (Somalia).


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    London Observer, 16/2/41
     
  2. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    misfire!
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  3. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    17 February 1945:

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    Around 0840, USN ships, including the Nevada, Idaho, and Tennessee, approach Iwo Jima to within approximately 3000 yards and begin to deliver “destructive bombardment” against Japanese positions in support of UDT operations. Japanese batteries return fire. The Pensacola is hit seriously and 115 crew are injured, 17 fatally.


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    The LCI(G)’s operating closer to shore came under unexpectedly heavy, revealing some Japanese battery positions. While tenaciously providing covering fire for the UDT teams on shore, 9 of 12 LCI(G)’s are knocked out of action. The crews suffer 170 casualties with 38 killed.


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    The UDT teams withdrawal under a heavy smoke screen by 1220.

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    — ref: Lt Col Whitman Bartley, IWO JIMA: Amphibious Epic



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    — Lt Col Donald Weller, Special Action Report, IWO JIMA campaign
     
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  4. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    18 February 1938:

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    The Battle of Wuhan was preceded by a Japanese air strike on 18 February 1938. It was known as the "2.18 Air Battle" and ended with Chinese forces repelling the attack.


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  5. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    19 February 1942:

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    HNLMS Piet Hein joins light cruiser HNLMS De Ruyter—Admiral Doorman’s flagship—and light cruisers HNLMS Java and HNLMS Tromp, along with fellow ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) destroyers USS Pope and USS John D. Ford form a naval force to disrupt the Japanese invasion of Bali, which had started the day prior.


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    In the Badoeng Strait (Badung Strait), the combined Allied naval force attacks enemy vessel off Bali late in the evening.

    “Piet Hein immediately turned hard to Starboard to unmask her full broadside gun and torpedo battery while making smoke to conceal her still-onrushing American comrades. With her gunners sending their first salvo whistling towards the HIJMS Asashio at 2305hrs, Piet Hein became the sole focus for both enemy Destroyers and their gunners, who were equipped with far more capable main guns and had vastly greater night gunnery training and experience.

    Obscured from the view of both the USS Ford and USS Pope by her own smokescreen, Piet Hein engaged in a brief gunnery duel with both Japanese Destroyers which saw her struck several times across her length by accurate fire before her Captain ordered a turn to the South to open his range and launch a torpedo salvo. Moments after her fifth and final torpedo splashed into Badung Strait, Piet Hein was struck by an accurate pair of salvoes from HIJMS Asashio that destroyed her searchlight platform and severed her main steam line in the aft engine room. Quickly losing power and slowing at a perilous moment of the running battle, the Piet Hein was immediately pounced on by both Japanese Destroyers and shelled without mercy as both ships closed in for a coup de grâce. Lying directly in the path of no fewer than nine “Long Lance” torpedoes soon churning towards her, HNLMS Piet Hein was broken in half by at least two direct hits and quickly sank at this location at 2316hrs on February 19th, 1942, taking 64 of her crew with her to the bottom.”
    Wreck of HNLMS Piet Hein


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    HNLMS Piet Hien



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    L.A. Times, 19/2/42
     
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  6. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    20 February 1942:

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    Churchill tries “to divert toward Rangoon two Australian divisions which were en route from the Middle East to defend their homeland. “There is nothing else in the world”, he wired Prime Minister Curtin of Australia, “that can fill the gap.” Curtin, who saw his own country's outer defenses “gone or going,” and one Australian division already lost at Singapore and another involved in the British military disaster in Greece, and who had little cause to feel confidence in British conduct of the war, refused to permit the diversion.” — Barbara Tuchman, Stilwell and the American Experience in China


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  7. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    21 February 1940:


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    Hitler meets with Generaloberst Nikolaus von Falkenhorst for the first time.

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    “He told him he had information that the British were going to land in Norway, fumed about the Altmark incident, and told him to report back in five hours with plans to invade Norway. Hitler did not inform him of the plan already drawn up by OKW, so the general had to start from scratch. He knew absolutely nothing, he later said, about Norway.

    “I went out and bought a Baedeker travel guide in order to find out just what Norway was like. I didn’t have any idea…. Then I went back to my hotel room and I worked on this Baedeker….at 5 P.M. I went back to the Führer.”

    Hitler approved the “Baedeker” plan.”

    — William Shirer, The Nightmare Years
     
  8. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    22 February 1945:


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    Operation CLARION opens with bombing attacks across Germany and strafing attacks against targets of opportunity.


    “The Fifteenth Air Force, based in Italy, was to operate over a wide area in southern Germany, Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command retained its semi-monopoly over the Ruhr, and the Eighth Air Force planned to bomb several dozen towns in the middle and north central part of Germany. The Eighth Air Force had to depart from its usual operating procedures in several respects. Most important of all, the heavy bombers were to attack from about 10,000feet or even lower instead of the customary 20,000-25,000-foot altitudes. Also, they were to form small attacking units instead of organizing into the usual large formations. All the Eighth’s fighters were to go along, mainly for independent strafing and bombing operations.”
    — Greg Bradsher, Operation Clarion: February 22-23, 1945, National Archives

    On the 20th, USAAF P-47 Thunderbolt fighter bombers had attacked Berchtesgaden:

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  9. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    23 February 1942:


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    “During the course of a fireside report to the nation delivered by President Roosevelt on 23 February 1942, a Japanese submarine [I-17] rose out of the sea off Ellwood, a hamlet on the California coast north of Santa Barbara, and pumped thirteen shells into tidewater refinery installations. The shots seemed designed to punctuate the President’s statement that “the broad oceans which have been heralded in the past as our protection from attack have become endless battlefields on which we are constantly being challenged by our enemies.

    Yet the attack which was supposed to carry the enemy’s defiance, and which did succeed in stealing headlines from the President’s address, was a feeble gesture rather than a damaging blow.”


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    "The raider surfaced at 1905 (Pacific time), just five minutes after the President started his speech. For about twenty minutes the submarine kept a position 2,500 yards offshore to deliver the shots from its 5-inch gun. The shells did minor damage to piers and oil wells, but missed the gasoline plant, which appears to have been the aiming point; the military effects of the raid were therefore nil. The first news of the attack led to the dispatch of pursuit planes to the area, and subsequently three bombers joined the attempt to destroy the raider, but without success.”
    — The Army Air Forces in World War II



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  10. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    24 February 1941:

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    HMS Terror is scuttled in the early morning hours.


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    She had been bombed by aerial attack on the 22nd while in Benghazi harbor and sustained some damage, but was still seaworthy. Since she was considered to be vulnerable in the harbor, plans are made to move to safety.


    “Cunningham ordered the ship to sail for Tobruk on the evening tide with Fareham and Salvia. As they were exiting the harbour Terror triggered two magnetic mines in the previously cleared channel; although again not a direct hit, the explosions in close proximity caused further damage and flooding. On the evening of 23 February she was attacked once more by German Junkers Ju 88 bombers while 90 miles (140 km) from Tobruk; the near misses of this final assault leaving the ship critically damaged. Further floodwater disabled the electric generators and pumps and extinguished the boiler furnaces.

    She was scuttled through the opening of the seacocks and the use of depth charges on the morning of 24 February, 25 miles (40 km) to the north west of Derna. The remaining crew were evacuated successfully.” — wiki


    The British look to Greece:

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  11. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    25 February 1942:

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    "Vinegar Joe” Stillwell, now a Lt Gen, meets with GHQ in New Delhi.

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    Japanese forces infiltrate into Pegu Yomas, finding a gap between the Burma 1st Div at Nyaunglebin and Indian 17th Div at Pegu. The Rangoon-Mandalay road is now threatened.


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  12. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    26 February 1943:

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    The Age, 26/2/43



    Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, utilizing the II SS Panzer Corps, has begun his counterattack toward Kharkov.


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    SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer Theodor Eicke, commander of the 3rd SS-Panzer Division ‘Totenkopf”, is killed while on a reconnaissance flight. His Storch is shot down by Red Army flak and crashes south of Kharkov.


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    Eicke, 1941

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    Fieseler Fi 156 Storch on the Russian front, Date unknown.


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  13. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    27 February 1942:

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    “The Langley, with its deckload of thirty-two fully assembled P-40’s” destined for Java is attacked.


    “On 27 February 1942, [USS Langley] was attacked by nine twin-engine Japanese bombers of the Japanese 21st and 23rd Naval Air Flotillas and so badly damaged that she had to be scuttled by her escorts.” — wiki


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    Scuttling of USS Langley


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  14. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    28 February 1944:

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    General Nikolai Vatutin (Никола́й Вату́тин), fresh from the battle of the Korsun–Cherkasy Pocket against the Wehrmacht’s Army Group South, is ambushed by Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) insurgents well behind the front lines, near the village of Mylyatyn (Mилятин). His wounds will prove to be fatal.

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  15. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    29 February 1940:

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    German and French forces skirmish as the ‘Phoney War’ simmers away.

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    A lengthy war is anticipated.

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    U-20 sinks the Italian flagged cargo ship Maria Rosa off the coast of Yarmouth.


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    U-9 (type IIB U-boat, similar to U-20)
     
  16. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    01 March 1942:

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    The USS Edsall, commanded by Lt Nix, assisting in the evacuation of Java, runs into Admiral Nagumo’s carrier strike force. After surviving a long range shelling (over 1000 shells fired by Japanese naval forces), Edsall is critically hit by bombers flying off Japanese carriers, and partially disabled. Japanese cruisers and battleships move in for the kill. The USS Edsall, makes a galant stand, turning to meet her attackers, but succumbs to the heavy weight of Japanese shelling.

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    Japanese photo of the sinking of the Edsall

    “Allied naval command is dissolved and ships are directed to withdrawal to Australia. US DD’s Edsall and Pillsbury and PG Asheville, as well as a few Br corvettes, are unable to make good their escape. Of Adm Doorman’s original Java Sea striking force (5 cruisers and 10 DD’s), only 4 US DD’s succeed in reaching Australia.”
    — Mary Williams, Chronology, 1941-1945



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  17. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    02 March 1945:

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    Mopping up operations on “The Rock” have concluded and Corregidor is declared secure, although at no small cost.


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    General MacArthur returns, as promised, nearly three years to the day. A flag is raised; Col Jones, commander of the 503rd RCT, reports, “Sir, I present to you Fortress Corregidor.” ref: Harold Templeman, The Return to Corregidor


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  18. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    03 March 1939:

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    “The Abwher’s Paul Thümmel, [Czech Intelligence Chief František] Moravec’s best German source, met with him in Prague and reported that the city would be occupied on the 15th. ‘Agent A-54’ also warned that his entire staff would be seized by the Gestapo, and could expect no mercy.”
    — Max Hastings, The Secret War


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    Frantisek Moravec


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    Paul Thummel
     
  19. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    04 March 1943:

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    Battle of Fardykambos (Φαρδύκαμπου), aka Battle of Bougazi, begins with the ambush of an Italian column by the Greek resistance (ELAS and PAO). The ambush took place in the narrow pass of Bougazi between the mountains of Sniatsiko and Bourino, at the location known as Vigla, some 3 km from Siatista. As Italian troops respond to assist the column, additional Greeks move in, drawn to the sound of gunfire, and the fight intensifies. — ref: wiki


    Greer Garson wins Best Actress and Mrs. Miniver takes best picture at the 15th Academy Awards


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  20. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    05 March 1940:

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    The Red Army advances into the outskirts of Vyborg. Soviet drives are wearing down Finnish reserves. The Finns send a delegation of negotiators to Moscow.
     

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