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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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    06 March 1941:

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    After surviving two years of interrogation and indoctrination by the NKVD, Alexander Gorbatov is released. He is made General and assigned to the 25th Rifle Corps the same day.


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    — Victor Suvorov, Icebreaker



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  2. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    07 March 1943:

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    Message to the army from Montgomery, prior to Médeine

    Axis force have been punished by XXX Corps and the DAF during “the battle of Médenine”. Alerted by deciphered messages, preceding Rommel’s attack, the 8th Army readies for and weathers the German attack on 6 March.


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    In the early hours of 7 March, British artillery fire winds down. Rommel has decided to retreat in the face of stiff opposition by 2nd Division New Zealanders and the 51st Highland Division, backed up by Royal Artillery.


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    “Movement of enemy vehicles, enough to presage a renewal of the attack, was heard during the night 6–7 March, but at first light only small groups of transport were seen moving off to the north and, fired on by our artillery, were quickly out of range. Dawn patrols of carriers from 5 Brigade progressively reached points farther from the FDLs, until at 1 p.m. a patrol from 23 Battalion skirted the foothills without making any contact. The enemy force on the Foum Tatahouine road was slower to disengage, and still had troops there in the mid-afternoon.

    From noon onwards on 7 March a steady stream of traffic was seen converging on the passes leading to Ksar el Hallouf and Toujane. On the main road from Medenine to Toujane vehicles were moving nose to tail, all out of artillery range. This traffic into the hills continued all day, thinning out towards evening, and although the air forces did their best to intervene, low clouds made it difficult for them. By last light 10 Panzer Division had been located near Ksar el Hallouf, and 15 Panzer Division north-east of Toujane. For the moment 21 Panzer Division was unlocated; but the enemy's offensive was obviously over.” BARDIA TO ENFIDAVILLE


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    Rommel will return to Europe.


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  3. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    08 March 1944:

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    View from Imphal, 1942


    Japanese troops cross the Chindwin and invade India. Battle of Kohima-Imphal starts up.


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    Imphal, 1943


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    IJA soldiers outside Imphal

    “When they received intelligence that a major Japanese offensive was impending, Slim and Scoones planned to withdraw their forward divisions into the Imphal plain and force the Japanese to fight at the end of impossibly long and difficult lines of communication. However, they misjudged the date on which the Japanese were to attack, and the strength they would use against some objectives. The Japanese troops began to cross the Chindwin River on 8 March. Scoones gave his forward divisions orders to withdraw to Imphal only on 13 March” — Wiki


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    Ronald Searle, 1943
     
  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Whats the story behind this picture Jack?
     
  5. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    I don't know the specifics of the backstory of that cartoon. I came across it when I was digging around in the Imperial War Museum collection and thought I'd tuck it into today's post. It struck me as being absurd, but with the ring of truth.

    Searle was an English art student and cartoonist who enlisted in the Royal Engineers. He was captured at Singapore and was incarcerated at the notorious Changi prison camp. I've found his sketches to be disarmingly open and candid. And no doubt his sense of humor helped him survive his ordeal.

    "After fourteen-months at Changi Prison Camp, the illustrator was sent north to work on the notorious Siam-Burma Death Railway. Here he was forced to break rocks for up to eighteen hours every day. He endured violent labour conditions and sustained many of the grimmest horrors that the jungle could inflict upon him. He suffered dysentery, beriberi, ulcerated skin and repeated bouts of malaria. Yet – through all of this – he held an unwavering desire to document the things he saw: “Suddenly, you lose your liberty and you want to record what's going,” he said in 2010, “suddenly, you're given a purpose.”"

    -- The War Drawings of Ronald Searle


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    Self-portrait, 1943
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    If you haven't already you should read Long Way Back to the River Kwai by Loet Velmans. It's a personal account of a Dutch soldier caught up in the sweep of the Japanese. He wound up doing back-breaking labor on the Death Railway.
     
  7. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Thanks!
     
  8. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    09 March 1945:


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    Operation Meetinghouse sets off: “279 B-29 bombers dropped incendiary bombs and destroyed 267,000 buildings and homes or 41 square kilometers of Tokyo. Americans estimated 88,000 killed, 41,000 injured, and 1,000,000 displaced. Tokyo Fire Department estimated 97,000 killed and 125,000 wounded. Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department estimated 124,711 casualties and 286,358 destroyed buildings and homes.”
    ref: ww2db


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    “[2nd Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division] traversed the broad Marikina Valley unmolested but encountered fierce resistance as they moved into the hills and mountains forming the valley's eastern wall. There the Japanese had honeycombed the area with subterranean strongholds and machine gun positions covering all avenues of approach. Despite massive Allied air support, the cavalry advanced slowly, on some days measuring progress in mere yards: Not until 4 March did the troops reach Antipolo. But success was bittersweet. The brigade had lost nearly 60 men killed and 315 wounded, among them the 1st Cavalry Division commander, General Mudge." -- Dale Andrade, Luzon


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    General Mudge, 1945
     
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  9. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    10 March 1943:

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    Rommel attacks LeClerc, whose Free French are supporting Montgomery’s flank during his assault on the Mareth Line. Faced with a Panzer group from 5th Panzer Army, LeClerc calls for air-support.

    Hurricane IID’s, “Tank Busters”, from 6 Squadron are led into the attack by Squadron Leader Weston-Burt. After enduring several hours of air attack, the Panzer force withdrawals.

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    The Age, 10 March 1943


    “The enemy retreated and it may well have been the first time that an armored force was turned back in its tracks solely by air action.” — Alastair Goodrum, They Spread Their Wings


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    Hurricane Mk IID ‘tank busters’, No. 6 Squadron, Tunisia, 6 April 43


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  10. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    11 March 1942:


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    PT-41, carrying General MacArthur and his family, departs Corregidor at 19:45. P-41 is escorted by PT-32, PT-34, and PT-35. A navy minelayer leads the PT boats through the protective minefield in single file. The boats then assumed a diamond formation, with PT-41 in the lead and PT-34 bringing up the rear.


    The PT boats are worn out, and heavily laden, heavy seas limit their operational speed. The vessels are running without lights to avoid detection by Japanese naval forces. In the dark of night, the formation breaks up and the boats head toward their rendezvous point individually.


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    A recognition drawing of Tirpitz prepared by the US Navy
     
  11. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    12 March 1945:

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    Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm is executed by firing squad at the Brandenburg-Görden Prison. After the attempted assassination of Hitler, July 20th, 1944, Fromm was accused of executing conspirators to cover-up his own tacit role in the attempted coup.


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    Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Fromm


    His last words before the firing squad are reportedly, "I die, because it was ordered. I had always wanted only the best for Germany”. ref: wiki


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    Brandenburg-Görden, 1937
     
  12. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    13 March 1940:


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    The Peace treaty signed in Moscow between Finland and the USSR on the 12th goes into effect.


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  13. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    14 March 1943:


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    1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) continues to clear Red Army defenders from Kharkov. While fighting still goes on, the Germans declare victory; the city is now under their control.


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    Kharkov, March, 1943


    General Zhukov, and Operation Polar Star, is stymied outside Leningrad. He is unable to lift the siege; however, a land corridor has been open since January, and the ‘road of life’ is still operational.


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    Road of Life, March, 1943


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  14. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    15 March 1941:

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    The Chinese Winter offensive has not gone well, and now the 19th Army recovers and digs in after the Imperial Japanese Army has attacked their headquarters at Shanggao. A Chinese airstrike stalls the Japanese advance and gives the 19th Army a chance to prepare defensive positions.


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    War Cabinet Weekly Résumé, No. 81, March 20, 1941


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  15. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    16 March 1944:


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    “In the confusion of the fight, a company of the 1/9th Gurkha Rifles had taken a track avoiding point 236 and captured point 435 whilst the assault on point 236 by the 1/6th Rajputana Rifles had been repelled.” — wiki


    “"C" company of the ninth battalion of Gurkha Rifles, who had apparently vanished, had forced their way up Hangman's Hill and overwhelmed the German defences.

    Yet for the brave Gurkhas, a comparable ordeal lay ahead. It was to be eight days before their position was relieved.

    They had left behind greatcoats and blankets, and had almost nothing to eat. The only water source was a rain-filled crater, frequently staked out by German patrols.” — Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail, 18/4/2008


    “On the rocky outcrop known as Hangman’s Hill a company of Gurkhas somehow clung like limpets for ten days under constant German bombardment and sniping.” — Andrew Roberts, Storm of War


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  16. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    17 March 1941:


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    US Coast Guard Cutter Cayuga is readied and sets off for Greenland


    “The joint agreement of April 1941 clarified U.S. responsibilities in defending Greenland, while granting to the government of the United States the right to construct, maintain, and operate such landing fields and other facilities as might be necessary in fulfilling its obligations." A south Greenland survey expedition, composed of Army and Navy personnel, had sailed from the United States on 18 March 1941, and during the remaining spring months possible airfield sites were inspected and plans were made for establishing the needed stations." The fields, when finished, were to improve the northern air route to England, but their first purpose was defensive. Their completion had become a matter of urgency with a German air attack in February against Iceland, only 400 miles to the east.” — THE ARMY AIR FORCES In World War II, Craven & Cate


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  17. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    18 March 1937:


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    At dawn, the Spanish Republican 14th Division crosses a pontoon bridge over the Tajuña River.

    The harsh morning weather delays the assault. However, the weather improves by afternoon allowing the Republican air forces to provide support. The initial assault against Nationalist and Italian positions is slowed down by the Italian Littorio Division. Nevertheless, the 14th Division nearly manages to encircle Brihuega. The occupying Italians retreat in panic. The XI International Brigade mops up Italian holdouts in the town.


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    Brihuega, 1937


    An Italian counterattack on Republican positions fails. Annibale “Electric Whiskers” Bergonzoli loses the ‘Battle of Guadalajara’, but, despite Mussolini’s embarrassment at the defeat, says in Spain to fight another day. Ref: Wiki


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  18. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    19 March 1938:


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    The battle of Taierzhuang comes to a brutal close. By dusk on 19 March, the Chinese had suffered 1800 killed and 300 wounded. The remaining 300 wounded soldiers fought until they could no longer hold the line, before committing mass-suicide by grenades in order to avoid capture.


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  19. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    I'm not the scholar or historian that most of the Rogues here at WW2F are. Today's post may not seem terribly interesting to people with a better grasp of history than I.

    For my part, in putting the above post together, I was struck by the overt and active talk about this war going global 18 months before the invasion of Poland. I'm somewhat amazed that the pages of the paper are seething with discussions about the war(s) active around the world, the potential consequences, and the increasing sense that nations apprehended a need to prepare better for a future war.

    I sometimes get the impression that the war came as a bit of a surprise to people in 1939. That may have been true for some, but it's clear that many were in a much lesser state of denial.

    Am I just waking up to this? Am I wrong (again)?
     
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  20. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    20 March 1942:


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    The siege of Leningrad drags on, but Spring is not far off…..


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    “The Funeral Trust buried 89,968 bodies in March [1942] (it has no records for January and February)”. — Harrison Salsbury, The 900 days; the siege of Leningrad
     
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