A chronology of 1945, a special 75th Anniversary, presented in a unique way, augmented periodically until it reaches December 31, 1945.
Jan 1 —The German Luftwaffe launches a great raid of some 700 planes against Allied airfields in France, Belgium, the Netherlands; this Operation Bodenplatte destroyed or damaged 520 Allied aircraft (424?), but they lost 280 aircraft and worse 234 pilots. The Luftwaffe was never able to mount another offensive in this scale again. Eisenhower called for British troops under Montgomery in conjunction with the U.S. Third Army to strike Jan 1, Monty from the n., Patton from the s. but Monty’s assault never came; the British general objected to launching his part of the offensive, as he had believed that his men were not equipped to deal with the cold weather. The German ground forces trapped in the “pocket” were thus able to escape. Montgomery did not commit his forces until Jan 3.
Jan 2 —U.S. 5th A.F. bombers hit Japanese shipping off San Fernando, Luzon, sink merchants Taishin Maru, Hakka Maru, Hishikata Maru, Meiryu Maru, Shirokawa Maru, Koryu Maru, and Coast Vessel No.138. The defense of the city of Strasbourg. U.S. 20th A.F. B-29 “Superfortress” bombers based at Calcutta, India, bomb Bangkok, Thailand.
Jan 3 —U.S. carrier planes sink merchants Kinrei Maru, 2 Ume Maru, 22 Kawauchi Maru, Sanni Maru, and an unidentified Maru off Formosa. U.S. sub Kingfish sinks 3 merchant ships, Shibazono Maru, Shoto Maru and Yaei Maru n. of Chichi Jima. Allies launch 1,100 bombers escorted by 11 fighter groups over western Germany hitting railroad and communication centers. New U.S. Fifteenth Army main body moves from Le Havre to Suippes, north-eastern France.
Jan 4 —TF 38 attacks airfields and ships in Formosa area, sinks 4 vessels; damage many others. General Marshall’s biennial report: "In the first week of January, a new American assault force gathered e. of Leyte, slipped through the Surigao Strait over the sunken wrecks of the Japanese warships that had gone down...(and into) the heart of the Philippine Archipelago and through waters where the Japanese Navy and air forces had for two years maintained unchallenged supremacy, to invade Luzon by effecting a landing in Lingayen Gulf...." Lingayen bound invasion ships hit by Kamikazes in the Sulu Sea; Ommaney Bay is struck, later goes to the bottom. A Japanese bomber penetrates defensive radar and destroys 11 U.S. Navy Lockheed PV-1 “Ventura” patrol aircraft parked at Tacloban Airfield, Leyte.
Jan 5 —All along the Western Front, main effort of the Allies are met by fierce German resistance. On Mindoro, Palauan falls to composite force of Filipino guerrillas and 503rd Para Inf troops. Escort carriers Manila Bay and Savo Island, heavy cruiser Louisville and Australian cruiser HMAS Australia and destroyer HMAS Arunta, destroyer Helm, hit by kamikazes in South China Sea. U.S. planes sink 3 heavy Japanese cruisers and 6 destroyers. U.S. sub Cavalla sinks enemy auxiliary netlayers Kanko Maru and Shunsen Maru in Java Sea. Up until the actual invasion of Luzon on the 9th, no opportunity was overlooked to conceal this bold invasion and trickery was utilized, from having U.S. Navy mine sweepers simulate an invasion elsewhere by increasing activity on other areas to seeing that guerrillas in southern Luzon conducted noisy demonstrations to divert Japanese attention to the south. Transport planes flew over Batangas and Tayabas and dropped dummies to simulate a phony airborne invasion. Landing craft and merchantmen approached other beaches until they drew fire, then slipped out under cover of night.
Jan 6 —But as the U.S. invasion fleet enters Lingayen Gulf, kamikaze attacks reach a crescendo, sink a destroyer and a destroyer-minesweeper; battleships New Mexico and California and others are damaged. When a kamikaze hits the cruiser Louisville, Rear Admiral Theodore Chandler is killed along with the ship's captain after being drenched in flaming gasoline. In three days, kamikazes had killed and wounded over 1,000 Americans and Australians. Due to intense kamikazes, U.S. Navy shifts carrier tactics from attacks on Taiwan (Formosa) to striking airfields and shipping in Luzon area. U.S. sub Sea Robin sinks tanker Tarakan Maru in the Luzon Strait.
Jan 8 —Kamikazes damage the escort carriers USS Kadashan Bay and USS Kitkun Bay and attack transport, and HMAS Australia. A pack of U.S. subs attack a Japanese convoy, damage 4 ships and sink Anyo Maru, Shinyo Maru, and Sanyo Maru.
Jan 9 —Over 200,000 American troops of U.S. 6th Army form the invasion at Lingayen Gulf, with the invasion marking the start of the conquest of Luzon; encounter little ground resistance at the beaches. Gen. MacArthur lands on the beach but the invasion announcement not released until Jan 10 in a communiqué. Intense air attacks continue. The Kamikazes crash battleship Mississippi, light cruiser Columbia, and destroyer escort Hodges. Heavy cruiser Australia gets hit again, and is forced to the rear for repairs. Stranded pilots Foye and Boyle on the run just south of Laguna de Bay leave Palma and head to Tanauan; escaping the Japanese, but two days after leaving a barrio called San Luis, the Japanese killed 14 people in the barrio and flung their corpses into a dried creek; one little girl survives. An interesting book to read on the story of pilot Foye: FOYE AND THE FILIPINOS, by his son Richard P. Foye. Task Force 38 carrier aircraft strike Japanese targets at Formosa and Miyako-Jima in foul weather, flying 717 sorties destroying some forty planes at a loss of 10 U.S. aircraft. They also sink a number of merchant ships and small naval craft. It is the last of seven days of TF 38 supporting the Lingayen landings, during which it has flown 3,030 combat sorties, dropped 9,110 bombs--totaling about 700 tons (635,036 kg) of bombs--but lost 46 planes in combat and 40 to non-combat causes. 25 Filipino veterans who fought alongside American soldiers during WW II were awarded the United States Congressional gold medal, Jan 9, 2020. Rail junction at San Fernando stuffed with Japanese supplies that cannot get out due to transportation problems; a plus for the Allies. Liberty ship Jonas Lie bound for N.Y. torpedoed by U-1055 at the entrance to the Bristol Channel, was towed but sank Jan 14. U.S. Third Army drives on Houffalize. U.S. 43rd Inf Div advances toward San Jacinto and drives on Manaoag, Luzon. B-29s attack both Taiwan (Formosa) and Japan.
Jan 11 —U.S. 1st Army clears Laroche and portions e. of the Ourthe R. Germans retreating e. of Bastogne, and Heropont, Flamierge, Mande and St. Etienne. U.S. 7th Army engulfed in fierce fighting, especially in Gambsheim, Bitche and Herrlisheim where 12th Arm Div is virtually surrounded. 12th Arm forced to withdraw from Herrlisheim. Germans renew attacks against 79th Div’s Maginot positions s. of Wissembourg. U.S. 2nd Arm Div captures Samrée, Belgium. Progress of Allies in Belgium improves. Rebellion in Greece ends. B-29s attack Singapore. MacArthur orders U.S. 8th Army to be prepared to land on Luzon at Nasugbu and Tayabas Bays in late January. U.S. 6th Army in Luzon drives up Route 251 toward Rabon and reaches towns of Aguilar and Santa Barbara, which are in the hands of Filipino guerrillas. Manaoag liberated by U.S. 43rd Inf Div. U.S. Fifth A.F. begins small night attacks on the island of Taiwan (Formosa) with B–24s. To reduce travel and conserve coal, the Office of Defense Transportation orders the cancellation of passenger trains providing seasonal service to resort areas (vacation spots) and any train which are 65% vacant, excluding suburban and interurban services, effective Mar 1, 1945. Col. Francis V. Keeling special envoy officer of selective service announces strong possibility the draft will be extended to men of age 65; to women; and war plant youth. Secretary Stimson urges to increase the manpower March quota from 80,000 to 100,000.
Jan 12 — U.S. TF 38 attacks oil storages and shipping off French Indochina (Viet Nam) destroys 44 Japanese ships in Battle of South China Sea. President Roosevelt departs Washington DC for Hyde Park, New York by train; Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd accompanied him on this journey.
Jan 13 —Kamikazes hit carrier Wake Island in Lingayen Gulf. A Kamikaze damages the escort carrier Salamaua in the South China Sea off the mouth of Lingayen Gulf. German V-2 rocket hits West Ham, London, destroys two trolley buses; 15 killed; 35 were injured.
Jan 14 —The RaLa Experiment (Manhattan Project) conducts its second test using exploding bridgewire detonators. Norwegian 1,591-ton merchant Polarland enroute to Philadelphia is torpedoed by U-1232, sinks within 15 seconds; 17 lost, 5 crewmen are saved. 54 U.S. 20th Air Force B-29 bombers from Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China attack Kagi Airfield (Pinyin) in southern Taiwan.
Jan 15 —Hong Kong hit by Allied fighters. The Inrin POW Camp in central Taiwan closed. Battleship Iowa arrives in San Francisco. The German submarine U-1172 torpedoes the British escort aircraft carrier HMS Thane in the Irish Sea; it is never again seaworthy.
Jan 16 —U.S. First and Third Armies link up near Houffalize, Belgium. Germans are pushed back to the line prior to the launch of the Ardennes Offensive. Soviet troops liberate concentration camps at Czestochowa (800 prisoners) and Lodz (870 prisoners) in Poland. Pilots of U.S. carrier Ticonderoga hit Hainan Island in s. China. Progress of U.S. troops in Luzon impeded by enemy artillery, caves, tunnel systems and route demolitions; at one point, U.S. engineers ripped up 20 miles of railroad track to convert the roadbed into a motor highway. Pilots of U.S. carrier Yorktown hit Canton (Guangzhou), China and Hong Kong. U.S. Navy escort carrier support to the Lingayen Gulf landings ends. During the 12 days of support, aircraft have flown 6,152 sorties and claimed 92 Japanese aircraft destroyed in exchange for the loss of two aircraft, both were “Wildcat” fighters. While touring U.S. bases in Italy, Gen. "Hap" Arnold suffered his fourth heart attack, but refused to end his on-going tour of the bases. Adolf Hitler arrives in Berlin, and would remain here until the end of his life. The new British Pacific Fleet departs Ceylon for Australia. Airstrip in Lingayen Gulf area becomes operational.
Jan 17 —Twentieth Air Force B-29s final mission against Taiwan. At Auschwitz Concentration Camp: last evening roll call: 67,012 prisoners present. They would soon be forced a Death March. Doctor Josef Mengele begins to destroy his laboratories at sector BIIf of Birkenau camp; and would evacuate the camp with records of his experiments on twins, dwarfs, and disabled people.
Jan 18 —Soviet forces liberate the Budapest ghetto. German troops evacuate Kraków, Poland. Soviet troops reached Lódz, Poland. German forces launch an offensive near Lake Balaton to relieve the Budapest encirclement in Hungary. SS troops execute remaining Jewish forced laborers at Chelmno Concentration Camp; 15-year-old Simon Srebnik sole survivor.
Jan 19 —Adolf Hitler issues orders that any attacks or retreats by divisions or larger units must be approved by him beforehand. Violette Szabo was transferred from a punishment camp at Königsburg, Germany to Ravensbrück concentration camp. V-2 hits Town Quay, Barking, London. Red Army captures Kraków and Lódz, Poland and enters Ostpreußen (East Prussia), Germany from the south.
Jan 20 —Populated areas along Belgium-German borders still being fought in brutal combat and cold weather. U.S. 1st Army advances to last ridge of St. Vith. U.S. troops liberates Diekirch, Luxembourg, and discover 12 to 15 dead civilians, executed not by the Deaths-Head SS but by retreating German troops of 208th Volksgrenadier Regiment. French First Army attacks the Colmar Pocket in Alsace, France. U.S. Third Army establishes bridgehead across Wiltz R. 1st Bn of 301st, U.S. 94th Inf Div, attacks toward Orscholz but is halted short; the 302nd clears fortifications and repels counterattacks. U.S. 95th Inf Div decisively defeats counterattacks in Saarlautern bridgehead. General Ferdinand Schörner head of German Army Group A in eastern Germany is sacked by Hitler; replaced by Gen. Josef Harpe. Soviet Union conducts separate treaty with Hungary, demands the Hungarian Provisional National Government should declare war on Germany and pay $300,000,000 in reparations. Soviet troops arrive at the Chelmno Concentration Camp. Three V-2s hit London, England; 55 killed.
Jan 21 —Norwegian 1,152-ton freighter Galatea torpedoed by U-1051 off Bardsey Island in the St. George's Channel; 1 survivor. Task Force 38 aircraft fly 1,164 sorties in strikes on Formosa, Okinawa, in the Pescadores, and the Sakashima Gunto, sinking 5 tankers and 5 other cargo ships and destroying two Japanese aircraft in the air and 104 on the ground. In Japanese air attacks on the task force, a bomber damages the aircraft carrier Langley and kamikazes, 120 miles s.e. of Taiwan, damage the carrier Ticonderoga (killing 143 men and injuring 202 ) and a destroyer; an accidental bomb explosion during a landing accident damages the carrier Hancock. U.S. sub Tautog sinks Japanese merchant tanker Zuiun Maru. Liberty ship George Hawley torpedoed in the English Channel by U-1199 and is abandoned; declared a total loss; the U-boat is hunted and sunk by the Royal Navy. Gen. MacArthur receives a secret message that downed pilots Foye and Boyle are safe, but incorrectly states safe on Malin Is; showing he had an interest in the two fliers. Chinese troops supported by U.S. Army Air Force aircraft based in China capture Wanting, Yunnan Province.
Jan 22 —U.S. Army A.F. aircraft begin a heavy bombing campaign against Japanese forces on Corregidor. Four squadrons of Spitfires of the RAF bomb and knock out a German liquid oxygen rocket fuel factory at Alblasserdam in the Netherlands. U.S. First Army captures Commanster, Hinderhausen, Sart-lez-St Vith, Ober Emmels, and Nieder Emmels. In a fierce counterattack against U.S. lines at Nennig, German forces regain half of Nennig from U.S. 94th Inf Div. U.S. Fifth Army issues instructions for training program to be undertaken in preparation for spring offensive in forgotten Italy. British 2nd Army takes Laffeld. Anglo-Indian troops begin assaulting Kangaw, Burma. Indian 20th Division captures Monywa, Burma on the Chindwin River and reaches the Irrawaddy River at Myinmu.
Jan 23 —St. Vith in Belgium's forested Ardennes is liberated by U.S. 7th Arm Div. U.S. 8th Arm Div recaptures Nennig. At Berg, Germans mount strong counterattacks against U.S. 94th Inf Div. Forward units of U.S. 6th Army reach town of Bamban encounter strong resistance of Gen. Yamashita's lines to hold Clark Field, at the forward edge of the mtns. U.S. sub Barb sinks 4 Japanese ships in Namkwan Harbor, Zhejiang Province, China; in June 1991, Fluckey, skipper of the sub was able to visit the fishing village of Huang Qi where several eyewitnesses of the attack still lived; the Chinese recalled seeing 4 Japanese ships sinking and 3 heavily damaged. Soviet Army reaches Oder R. in the Silesia region of occupied Poland. 1st Moroccan Div crosses Ill R. between Illhaeusern and Illwald. Anglo-Indian troops captured Myinmu, Burma. The last Japanese survivors drowned themselves in the Irrawaddy River to avoid capture. President Roosevelt embarks on heavy cruiser Quincy at Newport News, Virginia, and sails for Europe. German Kriegsmarine begins the evacuation of German civilians from Ostpreußen (East Prussia) and Danzig (Operation Hannibal). U.S. sub Nautilus delivers supplies to east coast of Mindanao. Norwegian cargo ship Vigsnes sunk in the Irish Sea by U-1172. U.S. sub Sennet sinks guardboat No.7 Kainan Maru in Hangchow Bay, China.
Jan 24 —Twentieth Air Force B-29s bomb Iwo Jima. B-24s escorted by P-38 Lightnings bomb Iwo Jima. Battleship Indiana plus 3 heavy cruisers and 7 destroyers also bombard Iwo Jima. British Fleet Air Arm Seafire fighters commence operations in the Far East with a full-scale attack on oil targets in Sumatra, Dutch East Indies. British 7th Arm Div clears Weerd, Aandenberg, and Montfort. U.S. 1st Army takes Buellingen–Butgenbach–St. Vith road junction. Elements of 3rd Army advance on St. Vith. U.S. 3rd Inf Div advances on Canal de Colmar. French and U.S. troops fight to expand Ill R. bridgehead. German forces begin evacuating Slovakia. Negotiations between Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communists, broken off since December 16, are resumed. U.S. sub Atule sinks cargo ship No.1 Taimam Maru in the central Yellow Sea. U.S. sub Blackfin sinks destroyer Shigure in the Gulf of Siam off Khota Bharu, Malaya. German Luftwaffe bombs Antwerp, Belgium, damaging U.S. freighter Alcoa Banner; she is written off as a total loss later.
Jan 25 —U.S. 1st Inf Div captures Amblève and Mirfeld with ease. Patton's Third Army crosses Clerf R. and shoot for the high ground road known as "Skyline Drive," the Luxemburg–St. Vith road paralleling the Our R. Berg is recaptured by U.S. 8th Arm Div. Gen. Heinz Guderian asked Joachim von Ribbentrop to negotiate peace with the Western Allies. Ribbentrop squealed to Adolf Hitler and puts a stop to peace. U.S. 37th Inf Div captures Mabalacat East Airfield, Luzon. One spearhead heads north advancing to Hill 900, overlooking Highway 11, which leads to Baguio. Other advance units headed south on the drive south into the immensely fertile valley of the central plain towards Manila.
Jan 27 —U.S. First Army is slowly clearing the woods of St. Vith. U.S. Third Army occupies several towns in area s. of St Vith. Fr 1st Army clears the Elsenheim road and forest. White Russian troops overrun the Masurian Lake region of East Prussia. Russian troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front reach Auschwitz concentration camp.75th Anniversary of its liberation. A survivor remembers (7 mins)--thank you Rome Reports and DW News. U.S. freighter Ruben Dario is torpedoed and damaged by German submarine off Saint George's Channel. Joint Expeditionary Force departs from Hawaii for the Marianas, secret destination: Iwo Jima. Captured after the Battle of the Bulge an incredibly heroic scenario: the Commandant Maj. Siegmann of Stalag IXA camp Ziegenhain, Germany, orders the ranking American POW a Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds to separate out the Jewish troops out of around 1,000 soldiers. Edmonds, from Tennessee, shouted, "We are not doing that, we are all falling out." And all the GIs stood at attention in front of their barracks. Siegmann shouts that they cannot all be Jews, whereupon the Sgt. valiantly exclaimed: “We are all Jews here."--refusing the Nazi instruction to separate out Jewish soldiers and thus saving their lives. Mines laid off Hankow, China and Kiukiang, China hit cargo ships Ryuzan Maru and Hsin Yang Maru and both go down to the bottom of the sea. U.S. sub Bergall sinks Japanese auxiliary minesweeper Wa.102 in Lombok Strait. Behind-the-scene-story of Audie Murphy; he finished the war as his country's most decorated soldier. U.S. 32nd Inf Div arrives on the beaches in the Mabilao area of Lingayen Gulf.
Jan 28 —U.S. First Army punches with a new drive on the Siegfried Line (the German border.). French 2nd Corps has new mission of driving e. to the Rhine along axis Guemar–Markolsheim. U.S. Sixth Army liberates San Fernando, San Manuel, Luzon. In the C-B-I Front, the first convoy from Ledo resumes journey toward Kunming, crossing border of China. Ceremonies are held at Mu-se, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek renames the road the Stilwell Road, formerly known as the Burma Road. The U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative stamp. It allows the Allies to supply China from land bases in India. Danish cargo ship Viborg sunk in the Baltic Sea by Soviet K-51. U.S. sub Spadefish sinks transport Sanuki Maru n.e. of Shanghai in the Yellow Sea. American troops retake the Bulge. The cost? The Allies suffered 80,987 battle casualties; 47,500 Americans were wounded for a 5 and 1/2 week monstrosity. 8,607 Americans paid with their lives in the Battle of the Bulge. The British lost about 1,500 men. Some twenty thousand Allies became POWs. Some 700 tanks lost. Germany ran an estimated loss of 68,000 to 103,000 men--an estimate where there is no official record--with about 12,000 killed. Hitler's offensive lost some 800 tanks of every description. A Hidden Life, contemporary movie inspired by true events, and my gratitude to SearchlightPictures. Modern Europe exists because of the fallen who did not fail in the believe of freedom and all those brave souls who believed in the tune of liberation; mon reconnaissance a Alizée. The unseen faces of WW II, Secrets of War. Germans evacuate 11,000 prisoners of war held at Stalag Luft III, Sagen, Germany in a march in sub-zero temperatures to Spremburg, Germany, 392.6 miles (632 km) e. from Bastogne. (A great escape took place there in March of 1944.) Sagen is now Żagań in Poland. In the Carpathians, Fourth Ukrainian Front drives to Poprad (Czechoslovakia). Soviet conquest of Lithuania is complete. Soviet Red Army within 95 miles of Berlin. U.S. battleship New Mexico arrives in waters off Oahu, U.S. Territory of Hawaii. U.S. Army Rangers and Alamo scouts led by Lt. Colonel Henry Mucci begin a dangerous hike behind enemy lines to rescue American prisoners in a POW camp. Four combat photographers from a unit of the 832nd Signal Service Battalion volunteered to accompany the Scouts and Rangers after Mucci suggested the idea of documenting the rescue of Camp Cabanatuan. In villages along the Rangers' route, Filipino inhabitants
assisted in muzzling dogs and putting chickens in cages to prevent the Japanese from hearing the traveling group. U.S.10th Mountain Division enters combat in the Apennine Mountains of northern Italy. RAF Bomber Command night-raid of Jan 28-29 hits Berlin.
Jan 29 —Gen. MacArthur moves U.S. troops to different shores of Luzon, land near San Antonio, northwest of Subic Bay against no opposition. Acting upon information furnished by guerrillas of the Zambales Military District, the pre-arranged naval bombardment was cancelled. These U.S. forces drove eastward to cut off the Bataan Peninsula where General MacArthur had made his stand three years before. U.S. sub Picuda attacks Japanese convoy in Formosa Strait, sinking army cargo ship Clyde Maru about 50 miles n.w. of Keelung City, a port in n.w. Taiwan. U.S. Third Army launches attack to penetrate the Siegfried Line (West Wall) and protect First Army right flank. U.S. Fifth Air Force hq moves to Mindoro. Gen. Ho, commander of ALPHA forces, presents plan for a 36-division attacking force to be implemented near Kunming, China. U.S. 24th Inf Div liberates San Jose. U.S. cargo ship Serpens sunk by an explosion off Guadalcanal; 198 of her crew of 208 killed; she was originally christened as the Liberty ship SS Benjamin N. Cardozo. Mucci and his men reached a barrio some 5 miles from the camp, with the rescue set for the 29 but, upon a tip by guerrilla Captain Juan Pajota who knew the surrounding terrain and information of Japanese movements, including that a whole division was passing on the road near the POW camp, postponed everything.
Jan 30 —Preliminary phase of ARGONAUT (Malta-Yalta) Conference meeting, first held between Anglo-American leaders; code-name CRICKET. U.S. troops of the 38th Inf Div land on Grande Island Subic Bay. U.S. transport Cavalier is torpedoed by Japanese sub RO 46 off Subic Bay. Hollywood star Cesar Romero served on the Cavalier. Ship was repaired. Army Rangers, Alamo Scouts, and Filipino guerrillas liberate more than 500 men from the Cabanatuan POW camp deep in the interior of Luzon. In 2001, Hampton Sides authored “Ghost Soldiers," an account of the rescue. Jesus, a little bit of history revisited; a march undertaken, 58 km, the passage of a rescue mission Guimba to Cabanatuan, the exact spots where Mucci and his men trecked 75 years ago, Jan 28-29; a hike in time, conducted by Chris G, Terry, Bob and friends. Thanks. U.S. 37th Inf Div overruns Fort Stotsenburg and Sapangbato. Towns of Subic and Olongapo are liberated by U.S. 24th Inf Div. They are just north of the Bataan Peninsula, and are in excellent position to cut off the Bataan Peninsula. Heading northward in a separate drive are the U.S. 25th and 32nd Inf divisions, the ladder battling along the old Villa Verde Trail, pioneered in the 1880s by a Spanish Priest named Juan Villa Verde, from Lingayen and over the Caraballo Mountains to the lush Cagayan Valley of northeast Luzon to Santa Fe. U.S. sub Threadfin sinks Japanese merchant cargo ship Issei Maru off southern Honshu. U.S. sub Bergall sinks transport Arasaki in South China Sea. British sub HMS Tantalus sinks Japanese fishing boat No.12 Taisei Maru in northern approaches to Bangka Strait. U.S. 1st Inf Div captures last of 3 enemy-held towns w. of German frontier. U.S. Ninth Army begins drive southward to clear to Roer R. U.S. First Army enters attack to breach Siegfried Line. German ocean liner Wilhelm Gustloff is sunk by Soviet sub S-13 in the Baltic Sea; she went to the bottom with 9,000 people, believed to be the greatest loss of lives in a single ship incident in WW II history. Germans continue stubborn defense of Koenigsberg and Elbing in East Prussia. The contemporary movie The Great Raid, destined to be a classic on the liberation of Cabanatuan.
Jan 31 —Part of the U.S. 11th Airborne land by ships at Nasugbu, south of the entrance to Manila Bay and drives inland toward Tagaytay Ridge, 14 miles inland. U.S. troops liberate Nasugbu, Wawa, and Lian and are in control of Clark Field despite heavy enemy counterattacks. U.S. sub Boarfish sinks Japanese merchant cargo ship Enki Maru 50 miles s.e. of Tourane, French Indochina. U.S. submarine chaser PC-1129 is sunk in the South China Sea by a suicide motorboat. Hospital ship Berlin hits a mine in the Baltic Sea with loss of one life. U.S. 7th A.F. begins two weeks of day-and-night bombing of Iwo Jima. U.S. 7th Inf Div clears Poro Island, a part of the Camotes Islands, Philippines, 34 nautical miles from Cebu City, way down south about 355 miles (571.4 km) from Manila.
Feb 1 —U.S. 94th Inf Div clear half of Campholz woods, s.e. of Tettingen. The 1st Cavalry Division crosses an undestroyed bridge at Cabanatuan and makes for Manila. U.S. Mustang P-51s sink Japanese landing ship T.115 in Luzon Straits, and damage escorting submarine chaser Ch 28.
Feb 2 —U.S. 82nd Airborne cracks Siegfried Line at Udenbreth and Neuhof. U.S. 75th Inf Div overruns Andolsheim and moves s.e. toward Neuf-Brisach. U.S. 5th Arm Div enters Colmar, France. The 94th Inf Div secures Campholz woods. U.S. sub Hardhead sinks merchant tanker No.19 Nanshin Maru. Some 1,200 Royal Air Force bombers blast Wiesbaden and Karlsruhe. WWII 75th anniversary ceremony, Manila Mayor Francis Domagoso called for peace and unity as he honored those who fought in the horrendous battles for the liberation of Manila, considered to be the scene of the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theater.
Feb 3 —U.S. 1st Cavalry after clearing a bridge over the Tuliahan R., reaches the city limits of Manila at 6:35 pm then speeds on to liberate the prisoners held at the University of Santo Tomas. A U.S. tank nicknamed the “Battling Basic” bashed through the walls of the university. Met by starving but delirious internees happy to be freed. But, not all 4,000 were freed initially for about 300 women and children were held in a nearby building. The Japanese commander demanded not until he and his men would receive a safe-conduct pass would he release them, and after an hour it was granted. Later that night, another group of about 1,300 Allied prisoners (500 internees and nearly 800 Allied POWs) were freed at Bilibid Prison. The speed with which the invading U.S. forces, particularly the GIs approaching from the north, closed in upon Manila caught the Japanese forces completely by surprise, and the 29-day-long Battle of Manila begins. Main body of Lt. Gen. Yamashita left city, main combatants in the city are 17,000 troops of Adm. Sanji Iwabuchi who hopes to create another Stalingrad. Of these, nearly 4,000 were Yamashita’s own army troops who remained. Way before the American GIs reached Manila, this was the way of life. This same date, Adm. Iwabuchi issues orders to begin the destruction of Manila, and his demo squads begin blowing up bridge after bridge; ditto on buildings. Maj. Gen Robert Beightler (37th Inf Div) wrote: "Big, modern, reinforced concrete and steel office buildings were literally blown from their foundations to settle crazily in twisted heaps." Adding, "...we had no way of knowing in which of the thousands of places the demolitions were being controlled." Bulk of U.S. 37th Inf Div still short of Manila, at Meycauayan; hampered by numerous streams. Paratroopers of the 511th Para Inf Reg (511th PIR) of the 11th Airborne Div, parachute into Tagaytay Ridge, s. of Manila, some 33 miles s. of Manila; and just in the news, a spot some 8 miles from Tagaytay is Taal Volcano National Park. [A visit to the middle of the volcano, thanks to Flying Kell for his intriguing sojourn to Taal Lake (near 7 min mark you get to the top). Two latest eruptions were 1911 & 1977. Very nice informative video. And truth of the matter it blew in 2020. Behold the extraordinary, extraordinary change of landscape about one week after Kell was there; see 1min20 seconds then evacuation. Next day, Jan 13, and nearby Barangay Calauit; my gratitude to youthful Kell showing us a secret trail, South China Morning Post and INQUIRER.net for the contemporary fiery history.] Allied aircraft drop 3,000 tons of bombs on Berlin. Berlin now and then, the Ministry of Aviation(4mins), my gratitude to Ruiter Productions. Robert Rosenthal (1917-2007) led 1,000 B-17s in a raid on Berlin. Rosenthal later served as an assistant to the U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials. The Soviet State Defense Committee orders all German males between the ages of 17 and 50 in Soviet-occupied territories to be deported to the Soviet Union as forced laborers. BBC war correspondent Guy Byam is lost over Berlin on a daylight mission with the Eighth Air Force.
Feb 4 —Yalta conference in the Crimea (southern Ukraine) initiates to consider Allied strategy and discuss the postwar reorganization of Germany and Europe by the big three leaders (Great Britain, the U.S and Soviet Union.) U.S. First Army begins 1st phase in union with U.S. Ninth Army to open a new large-scale offensive to the Rhine. The first of seven Ruhr dams in Germany are captured by U.S. First Army. U.S. 8th Army drives on Manila from the s. One hour before dawn, Americans from the 511th PIR in a convoy of trucks dash 25 miles toward Manila, capture a bridge at Imus, drive 6 more miles to Las Pinas, capture another bridge intact but about 4 miles from capital, it is halted by stiffening defense. U.S. 37th Inf Div makes contact with the U.S. 1st Cav in northern Manila; a contingent of the 1st Cav attempts but cannot capture Quezon Bridge. Watching from a volcanic sandy beach at Isla Pulo (modern-day Taal Volcano National Park) C-47s fly over, pilots Foye and Boyle use a mirror to signal them and then watch them return and buzz them over Lake Taal and disappear toward Mt. Makling. First convoy from Ledo enters the gates of Kunming, China. U.S. sub Barbel sunk by Japanese aircraft s.w. of Palawan. Seventy B-29s bomb Kobe with incendiaries after general-purpose bombs were observed to be ineffective. The first incendiary raid in the Pacific. Most of Kobe's buildings were made of wood and they blazed instantly. A Second Lieutenant from the 1st Brazilian Fighter Group named Danilo is shot down while attacking trains to the Southwest of Treviso, Italy. He bailed out and walked for 24 days across enemy territory before joining the partisans and finally getting through the front lines to rejoin his squadron. U.S. aircraft carrier Franklin arrives at San Francisco.
Feb 5 —MacArthur orders troops in North Luzon to contain the Japanese while the main effort will be the Manila area. The 37th Inf Div and 1st Cav Div are responsible to eliminate and clear the city, but as casualties mounted due to entrenched, fanatic defenders the word to lift the restrictions on artillery fire on Manila's buildings came and everything, but hospitals and churches, were hit hard. Both push s. toward the Pasig R. line. Japanese squads planted demolition charges in the business district and cause huge fires in Manila. U.S. 8th Army from other direction slowly progresses northward, crosses the damaged Paranaque bridge, drives along Route 1 in house-to-house fighting; part of the Genko Line. Before noon, an army version of the PBY Catalina lands on Lake Taal and rescues the downed pilots Foye and Boyle. In Europe, U.S. 3rd Inf Div, with Audie Murphy, finishes clearing its zone along the Rhine and seizes Neuf-Brisach. U.S. 78th Inf Div heads for Schwammenauel Dams at Schmidt, main obstacle that had to be captured before any large-scale offensive can follow. Both U.S. Third and Seventh armies proceed e. toward the Rhine. Encounter difficult terrain. French 5th Arm Div, in reserve near Colmar, helps clear Vosges pockets. Violette Szabo executed at Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. Children were also liberated in Santo Tomas. To the right of a GI, on the Villa Verde Trail, is a well hidden and camouflaged Japanese artillery gun in the bushes, captured by the 127th Inf of the 32nd Inf Div, outside San Nicholas. Essex-class carrier Hornet (II), in battle camouflage early 1945. The first Hornet was sunk in 1942. See vol 2 "A Toast For You and Me, America's Participation, Sacrifice and Victory."
Feb 7 —Germans destroy Ruhr floodgates and flood entire sector west of Cologne. Bitter fight to capture Schmidt. U.S. 76th and 5th Infantry divisions begin to cross the Sauer. German V-2 hits the railway sidings near Barking Marches, London, England. U.S. sub Bergall sinks Coast Defense Vessel No.53 off e. coast of French Indochina. U.S. sub Guavina sinks merchant tanker Taigyo Maru 250 miles s. of Saigon. U.S. sub Parche sinks army cargo ship Okinoyama Maru. People on the U.S. HomeFront saw history come alive through newsreels of MacArthur's Feb 6 arrival at Santo Tomas (1min43). A second source of the actual scenes of the prisoner liberation (2mins12). U.S. forces control sector of Manila n. of Pasig R. and U.S. 37th Inf Div begins crossing by small boats against murdering fire. The Japanese hold the south. Alongside the present-day 6-10 lane highway Quirino Avenue in Metro Manila,
today composed of 16 cities (think in terms of suburbs of Los Angeles), a very bitter battle erupted for Paco Railroad Station, near Concordia College and Paco Catholic School, the largest parochial school in all the Philippines. The Paco RR Station was the first of the so-called "urban strong points” the American GIs fought in Manila. Defended by 300 Japanese marines, it took two days of rough fighting for the U.S. 149th Inf Regiment of the 37th Inf Div and Filipino troops under the Philippine Commonwealth Army to secure it, at a cost of 335 U.S.lives and 417 Filipino lives; the battle of Paco produced two recipients of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor, Sgt. Cieto L. Rodriguez and Pfc. John N Reese, Jr.; a Mexican-American from Texas and a Native American from Oklahoma. U.S. 40th Inf Div fights its way to Snake Hill North and attacks w. from Top of the World to key hills. USS Franklin departs San Francisco. Five thousand six hundred miles from San Francisco, or 9076 kilometers, found over 7,000 Allied prisoners of war on their 2nd day Death March, aka The Black March, about 6,000 were Americans from Stalag Luft IV, from Gross Tychow, n.e. Germany, evacuees grouped in bunches of 250 to 300, set on foot in long lines of men, in the deep snow away from the advancing Russian troops, and with so little food they were reduced to scavenging to survive; some were reduced to eating dogs and cats — and even rats. January and February 1945 were among the coldest winter months of the 20th Century in Europe , temps dipped as low as –25 °C (–13 °F). The German guards provided little food. Passing through villages, some Germans would throw bricks and stones, but others, would share their last food for the pitiful rag-tag POWs. Many POWs died of disease. Their ordeal would last approximately 85 days. Black History month, Feb 7, 2020, link on Medal of Honor Lieutenant John R. Fox narrated by Professor Keith Huxen, Senior Director of Research and History in the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy at The National WW II Museum. See also my link go to 1944, scroll to Dec, click on the PDF and go to the 26th of December.
Feb 8 —German V-2 rockets hit the Central London Opthalmic Hospital, the Medical School of the Royal Free Hospital, the Super Cinema in Ilford, London (13 killed and 64 seriously injured), and Tavistock Place in St. Pancras (31 killed and 54 seriously injured), London. Allied leaders dine with Joseph Stalin in a feast at Yalta. Air support all along the Western Front is curtailed sharply by bad weather conditions. British and Canadian troops open a general offensive in Holland: Canadian 1st Army begins to clear areas between the Maas and Rhine Rivers; movement hampered by flooded terrain. U.S. 6th and 9th Arm Divisions of Patton are across Our R. U.S. 94th Inf Div captures Sinz and takes several pillboxes to s.e.; elements of 302nd clear last two pillboxes between Campholz woods and Tettingen. Fr 1st Corps clear Harth forest and advance to the Rhine near Hombourg and Petit Landau. Heavy battling in the suburbs of Manila by American divisions. U.S. 25th Inf Div finishes clearing central plains n. of Manila. U.S. 38th Inf Div blocked at Zigzag Pass, Luzon. U.S. 11th Airborne gains part of Nichols Airfield but the rest blocked by Manila defenses, some had pill-boxes 2-3 stories deep.
Feb 9 —U-864 is sunk about 2 1/2 miles off Fedje, Norway; its mission: supply Japan with advanced weapons technology; on board were a poisonous cargo of 70 tons of mercury. [Leakage of the mercury posed a severe threat in 2006 and plans were made to encase the wreck. In 2007, Norway’s government said it would be buried in special sand to protect the coastline.] German engineers blow up a key dam over the Ruhr, thereby presenting the U.S. Ninth Army with an unbridgeable strip of surging water. The attack from the south was postponed, and the waters would not subside sufficiently for the Ninth Army to resume their advance until Feb 23. Defense force of Iwabuchi shift from individual attacks on civilians suspected as guerrillas to organized mass extermination and they go wild in Manila inflicting suffering on unimaginable heights. Secretive battlefield orders, every woman and child must be treated as enemy guerrillas, and "disposal of dead bodies is a troublesome task, they should be gathered into houses which are scheduled to be burned or demolished. They should also be thrown into the river." It was not just done against Filipinos. "All people on the battlefield with the exception of Japanese military personnel, Japanese civilians, and special construction units will be put to death."
Feb 10 —GIs capture the last of seven Ruhr dams in Germany. "Rum & Coca Cola" by the Andrews Sisters a #1 hit. Soviet sub S-13 sinks passenger liner General Steuben taking down 3,500 people with her. Fierce German counter attacks near Neustettin, Germany (now Szczecinek, Poland) halts the advance of the Soviet 2nd Byelorussian Front.
Feb 11 —Yalta Conference ends (originally called the Crimea conference) forms Germany into four zones of occupation administered by the three major powers and France; Germany would be thoroughly demilitarized and its war criminals brought to trial; the USSR would promise to hold free elections; the USSR pledges to declare war on Japan three months after the German surrender. In addition, final plans called for the establishment of the United Nations, and a charter conference was scheduled to begin in San Francisco in April. After a week, Nichols Airfield, s. of Manila, falls to the 11th Airborne Division. A patrol of the 11th Abn makes contact with 1st Cav Div who fought their way around the capital reaching Manila Bay near the Philippine race-track at the town of Culiculi. The 37th Inf Div manages to clear most of the western sector of Manila, after extreme destruction of residential districts. The First United Building in Escolta in the heart of Manila survived the entire Battle of Manila, and in Feb of 2020, offered its community museum free admission. The museum houses collections, souvenirs and memorabilia from early 20th century Manila during the glory days of Escolta when it was the premier center of trade and commerce. In Manila, there was the Battle of Manila symposium held on Feb 11, 2020.
Feb 12 —Manila is entirely encircled by U.S. GIs. THE RESTRICTION NOT TO HIT THE Philippine General Hospital IS LIFTED when American and Filipino forces begin clearing out the remaining Japanese resistance within the city AND DISCOVER that the hospital was defended by Japanese troops. It was not known then civilian patients were held as hostages inside. U.S. sub Hawkbill sinks small Japanese cargo vessel Kisaragi Maru and the two large landing barges she was towing at the time, Lombok Strait. The Yalta Agreement was publicly announced. The Polish government-in-exile protested against Soviet arrests, deportation, and transfer of the Polish population across Poland. Peru declares war on Germany and Japan.
Feb 13 —Despite new bombing aiming techniques, RAF Bomber Command incendiary bombs Dresden at night, a RR hub with over 100 war factories, with raids by 873 heavy bombers; 796 Lancaster heavy bombers were led by 9 target marking Mosquito light bombers; hurricane-force winds engulf city with temperatures rising to 1,000, then 1,500 then 2,000-degree heat; death toll figure varies, between 24,000 to 135,000. Some 380,000 made homeless. Soviet troops capture Budapest, Hungary, ending a 50-day siege.
Feb 14 —Valentine's Day. American troops begin a drive down the e. coast of Bataan, virtually unopposed, reaching Pilar; part of the plan to reopen Manila Bay. A V-2 hits Wormholt Road in Kensington, London, England, about 1 mile west of Sheperds Bush killing 29 and injuring 41. U.S. Third Army bridgehead consolidation through Siegfried Line improves for drive on Pruem R. 311 U.S. heavy bombers strike Dresden by daylight. In 2006, Marshall De Bruhl authored “Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden." Valentine's Day, 2020 the alert level on Taal Volcano went down, according to CNN Philippines.
Feb 15 —Intense, heavy fire on U.S. troops from enemy on Fort McKinley, commanding the heights of Manila. A new landing, after shore bombardment, on Mariveles coast by a regiment of 38th Inf Div. No opposition is met, but Japanese counterattack, night 15–16—the last organized enemy effort on e. coast—and is repulsed. Japanese Shinyo explosive motor-boats sink 3 American LCS(L) armored support craft at Mariveles Harbor, Bataan. The Takao Prisoners of War Camp near Takao (now Kaohsiung), Taiwan is closed; the prisoners were transported to Fukuoka, Japan. Night raid Feb 15-16, main target Berlin; 561 RAF Lancasters, 314 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos. This was the largest raid by the RAF on Berlin in 1945.
Feb 16 —United News newsreel on WW II Corregidor (10.27mins) and wounded vets return home. Providing pin-point naval cover, a co-ordinated assault on Corregidor: U.S. paratroopers (11th Airborne) drop while GIs of the 24th RCT land by sea---a fierce battle erupts. On the Bataan Peninsula, U.S. troops captured Bataan. Hidden treasure anyone? Malinta Tunnel on Corregidor, a historical perspective (3mins54), a deeper perspective, Amazing Facts of Faith (4.08mins); thanks Raven V and Doug Batchelor. Carrier planes from TF 58 bomb aircraft factories, airfields, and shipping in the Tokyo area, sink myriad vessels--first carrier-borne air strikes against the Japanese home islands since the Doolittle Raid of 1942. U.S. Sennet sinks Japanese minelayer Naryu s.e. of Honshu. PB4Y-1 sinks cargo ship I ida Maru in Cape St. Jacques harbor, French Indochina.
Feb 17 —Communiqué No.1046 G.H.Q. S.W. Pacific Area released to the Press, Bataan captured. Patrols from the 511th PIR fiercely engaged in capturing Fort McKinley; captured 2 days later; for valor in the fighting for Ft. McKinley, Pfc Manual Perez, Jr., of the 511th, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Japanese defenders on Corregidor split in half and many killed themselves with dynamite rather than surrender. As the liberators on the ground encounter stiff combat, the liberators from TF 58 carrier planes again bomb aircraft factories, airfields, and shipping in the Tokyo area. [This video is an educational jewel in a sea of Feb dates and should not be missed.] Destroyer Haynesworth sinks guardboat No.36 Nanshin Maru s.e. of Mikimoto light and auxiliary submarine chaser Wafu Maru off Omaezaki Light. Battleship Tennessee, heavy cruiser Pensacola, destroyer Leutze and 11 LCI gunboats damaged by Iwo Jima gun batteries. U.S. Third Army penetrates the Siegfried Line/Westwall and launches massive assault into German territory. HMS Bluebell is sunk by U-boat U-711 in the Kola Inlet off Murmansk, Russia. Venezuela declares war on Germany and Japan. USS Saint Paul heavy cruiser was commissioned into service with Captain Ernest Herman von Heimburg in command. Below, panorama toward Pasig R. looking s. across the ruins of Manila, late Feb. To the r. are the battered General Post Office and the remains of the Santa Cruz Bridge. Injured mother and her child await transport to Manila hospital area. The sad state of affairs, in Manila and worldwide, photo rarely shown, coffins. Remnants of mile-long barracks on Corregidor, in duotone.
Feb 19 —Iwo Jima, an 8-sq. mile island of rock, 745 miles s. of Tokyo, invaded by U.S. 4th and 5th Marine divisions, 74,000 Marines part of an invading force of 100,000. Navajo code talkers using their native language provide key communication by radio on Japanese troop movements. Click here for a repeat feed 2-19-2020 from the National WW II Museum on 75th Anniversary Iwo Jima Commemoration (at 7min music. Intro with Pete Crean at 11mins37. Advance to 16.44; Dr. Keith Huckson at 18.26; actual Iwo Jima veteran "Woody" Williams oral history at 26.22; Legacy w/Col. Torrens Garrett Miller at 31.29. Poignant memorial service The Purest Democracy by Marine Chaplain Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn 46.19. Total duration is about 55mins.) Excellent report from the Pasadena Star-News remembering Iwo Jima. USS Missouri, the last battleship built by the United States, christened by Senator Harry Truman's daughter Mary Margaret Truman, bombards Iwo Jima. U.S. troops covered by USMC aircraft are landed on the n.w. coast of Samar and on Capul Island P.I., to insure control of San Bernardino Strait. Large civilian massacres continue in Manila. Heinrich Himmler makes his first contact with Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte regarding a separate peace. 119 American B-29 bombers attack the port and urban areas of Tokyo, Japan.
Feb 21 —Off Iwo Jima, 50 kamikazes attack U.S. ships and sink escort carrier Bismarck Sea (218 officers and men killed), and damage carrier Saratoga (Saratoga is also hit by a bomb); escort carrier Lunga Point; net cargo ship Keokuk, tank landing ships LST-477, and LST-809. Motoyama Airfield No. 1 on Iwo Jima in American hands. LCT-175 founders and sinks as weather worsens off Iwo Jima. U.S. sub Gato sinks merchant cargo ship Tairiku Maru in Yellow Sea off w. coast of Korea.
Feb 21-Mar 8 —Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace in Chapultepec, near Mexico City; an "economic charter for the Americas" to promote an orderly reconversion from wartime to peacetime economies and to help raise living standards in the Americas was proposed; also called to help raise living standards in the Americas. Iwo Jima 75th Anniversary from Reuters.
Feb 22 —U.S. forces cross the German frontier at ten points. U.S. Third Army crosses the Saar R. U.S. sub Becuna sinks Japanese tanker Nichiyoko Maru in the South China Sea. Allied aircraft sink cargo ship Ikuta Maru off Rabaul, New Britain.
Feb 23 —U.S. Marines capture Mount Suribachi. Actual interview of photographer Joe Rosenthal who recalls his Pulitzer Prize-winning image of WWII Marines when the American flag was hit by a stiff wind at just the right moment when it was raised and the photographer snapped his camera shutter on Iwo Jima. The photograph became an enduring symbol of American resolve and is shown at the very top of this page. My gratitude to Smithsonian Channel and NBC News. Another vivid source on the flag raising w/Dave Severance who was there--however, article has incorrect date of Feb 28 near bottom. Joe Rosenthal's famous photograph was memorialized on a U.S. postage stamp and on infinite publications. Bastion sector in Manila held by Japanese defenders, a walled city area called Intramuros protected by 2.5 miles of ancient towering stone, begins to fall to heavy artillery fire for an hour; over 185 tons of ordnance. Earlier attempts to convince the Japanese holding civilians inside to be released were fruitless. Survivor Benita Lahoz recalled, "We could not even see each other because of the smoke." U.S. troops crossed the river and thus began the fighting in a wasteland. During lulls in the battle for control of the city, Japanese troops, mainly fanatical Marines and seamen took out their anger and frustration on civilians. Violent mutilations, rapes, and massacres occurred in schools, hospitals and convents, including San Juan de Dios Hospital, Santa Rosa College, Santo Domingo Church, Manila Cathedral, Paco Church, St. Paul’s Convent, and St. Vincent de Paul Church. During battle, six of seven grand old churches in Intramuros fell to battle destruction. At the German Club, five Germans and 400 refugees including the family of former Ambassador to Spain Juan Rocha were murdered. Hundreds were slaughtered at Saint Paul’s College. [Go to bottom of 1942, see PDF on website for more historical information.] At San Marcelino Street, Vincentian priests were kept prisoners on the ground floor and finally marched out to the edge of the nearby estero and killed. Scores of people at the Philippine National Red Cross were massacred in the Ermita district. By mid-February, the Philippine General Hospital is liberated, but pitifully many women by then had been raped and bayoneted. The outside world knew little of all the massacres in 1945. Two books on the subject: Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila (2018) by James Scott, and Battle of Manila: Nadir of Japanese Barbarism, 3 February – 3 March 1945 (2019) by Miguel Miranda. A special combined force of U.S. paratroopers, Filipino guerrillas, and amphibious tanks rescue 2,147 American prisoners at Los Baños prison camp (1min46 now the University of the Philippines Los Baños), not in Manila but near Tagaytay, narrated by bestselling author Bruce Henderson. A force of 511th U.S. paratroopers dropped from C-47s. [When the Japanese discovered that the Los Baños prisoners had been rescued, the Japanese rounded up an estimated 1,400 Filipinos and Chinese, tied up villagers to the stilts holding up their houses, and set the structures on fire.] 25 miles north, in Manila a civilian show was held for the recently-liberated prisoners of Santo Tomas (silent, about 5mins) on this date. American children and military nurses were among the living survivors. Those liberated were in the university compound. There is a Santo Tomas not in Manila but near Tagaytay; entirely different. Here is a modern visit to the FILIPINO UNIVERSITY! University of Santo Tomas, the oldest university in all of Asia--which was liberated by American GIs on Feb 3--with our energetic Flying Kell. Eisenhower opens a large offensive in the Rhineland as U.S. Ninth Army attacks across Roer R. and by nightfall twenty-eight battalions had crossed the river. Swift current of river presents greater obstacle than enemy. U.S. 8th Inf Div enters Dueren, was a center of much bombing (silent 1min56) and begins to clear suburbs. Liberty ship Henry Bacon is attacked by 23 German medium bombers off the Lofoten islands of Northern Norway, and goes down in a heavy gale; 28 Americans dead. British destroyers HMS Opportune, HMS Zest, and HMS Zambesi rescue the survivors. It was the last ship-sinking of the war by German aircraft. Brief heroic story as reported in The Baltimore Sun, (2003). The SS Henry Bacon was named for the architect of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The island of Corregidor is shaken by a tremendous ammunition detonation shaking the entire isle and felt along the whole of Manila Harbor.
Feb 24 —U.S. 6th Army battles last strongholds in Manila: strongpoints divided into Legislative, Finance, and Agriculture buildings. Egypt Declaration of War against the Axis. In Europe, U.S. 10th Arm Div expands Ockfen bridgehead toward Schoden and Beurig and moves 3 armored inf battalions into it by assault boats. U.S. 301st and 302nd Regt of 94th Inf Div expands Serrig– Taben bridgehead under heavy fire. U.S. 5th and 76th Inf divisions begin crossing the Pruem R. at night. Italian Front: U.S. 10th Mnt Div reaches summit of Mt. Torraccia. Brazilian 1st Div clears La Serra. Buffalo soldiers of the 92nd extends its zone to the ocean.
Feb 25 —Some 600 aircraft from U.S. carriers attack Tokyo (first of a 2-day attack) clearing the area for the first incendiary raid on Tokyo by 174 B-29s in a high altitude daylight mission; 643 acres of city destroyed. From now on, daylight precision attacks on industrial targets is thrown out the window, replaced by incendiary raids on urban areas. U.S. 35th Inf Div begins to cross the Roer R. at Linnich. Entire city of Dueren captured. U.S. 5th Inf Div, 10th Arm Div, 76th Inf Div across Pruem R. CCB of 10th Arm Div crosses the Saar in Taben area of 94th Div zone. Airfield 1 is ready for emergency use on Iwo Jima. The 5th Marine Div is committed to Iwo Jima.
Feb 26 —The British begin a fresh assault (continuation of stalled Veritable due to floods) to advance into northern Germany from Holland by 3 British and Canadian divisions called Operation BLOCKBUSTER. Much of rest of Allied armies regroup and probe border into Germany. Americal Div completes encirclement of enemy forces in n.w. coastal sector of Leyte. Observation planes land on Airfield 1 and start spotting for artillery on Iwo Jima. Light cruiser Pasadena and destroyer Porterfield are damaged by gunfire from Japanese guardboat that penetrates task group formation s. of Honshu. Off Iwo Jima, storm damages heavy cruiser San Francisco, destroyers Colahan, Halsey Powell, Benham, John W. Weeks, Stephen Potter, and Preston; attack cargo ship Muliphen is damaged in collision with heavy cruiser Salt Lake City. LST-760 and LST-884 are damaged by enemy battery fire from Iwo Jima.
Feb 28 —The island of Corregidor is in American hands and declared secure; at a cost of 1,000 U.S. casualties; 19 Japanese survived to be taken. Marines continue the trek north meeting line after line of defensive belts on Iwo Jima. Artillery was useless and most often tanks faced horrible terrain, the tanks were useless, but at least Airfield 2 secured as of yesterday. Pharmacist's Mate First Class John H. Willis is wounded while administering first aid to casualties. Although evacuated to an aid station, he sneaks away, returns to the front lines, and administers aid before being killed. Willis is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously; 24 Medals of Honor were given on Iwo Jima. U.S. 41st Inf Div lands unopposed on Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island P.I. Destroyer escort Fowler and French L'Indiscret sink German sub U-869 in Atlantic, off Morocco. Iran declares war on Japan. Saudi Arabia declares war on Germany and Japan.
Mar 1 —President Roosevelt, back from the Yalta Conference, proclaimed the meeting a success when he addressed a joint session of Congress. ETO operations are thus to encapsulate: the Canadian First and British Second armies advance from Netherlands in the northern sector w. of the Arnhem-Wesel region; the U.S. Ninth advances toward the Duisburg-Düsseldorf region; the U.S. First Army attacks the Cologne-Bonn region, first s.e. toward juncture of the Ahr and Rhine rivers then swing south to meet Patton; the U.S. Third Army attacks the wide central Rhine region, including the Saar Basin; the U.S. Seventh Army attacks the Saar Basin; the French First Army attacks the southern area from Strasbourg to near the Austrian border; the U.S. Fifth and British Eighth armies advance from the northern Italian mountains into Austria and Germany. U.S. 29th Inf Div captures Mönchengladbach. U.S. 3rd Arm Div captures Bergheim and Kenten. U.S. 3rd Army continues between Pruem and Nims Rivers in the Moselle River Valley. U.S. 94th Inf Div takes Trier, an important German communications center. U.S. Ninth Army reaches the Rhine River at Neuss. U.S. Fifth Army postpones limited offensive because of weather conditions. The RAF conducts its last major raid on Cologne (Köln ), Germany with 858 aircraft. U.S. Fifth Air Force sinks Japanese transport Hokuhi Maru off Mako, Pescadores. U.S. 5th Cav clears Agriculture building leaving single strongpoint in Manila—the Finance building. TF 58 planes sink supply ship Kinezaki and army cargo ship No.11 Hoshi Maru in Kuji Bay; torpedo boat Manazuru off Okinawa; minelayer Tsubame and damage destroyer Fukue and auxiliary minesweeper Nuwajima off Ishigaki Jima; gunboat Chohakusan Maru and merchant cargo ship Ryukyu Maru off Naha, transport Toyosaka Maru off Miyako-retto; cargo ships Kinzan Maru off Okinawa, merchant cargo ships Taiken Maru off Miyako Jima and Luzon Maru off Naze. Off Iwo Jima, destroyers Terry and Colhoun are damaged by enemy shore battery fire. U.S. sub Sterlet sinks Japanese army cargo ship Tateyama Maru. U.S. 8th Army lands on Lubang Island P.I.
Mar 2 —U.S. sub Bowfin sinks transport Chokai Maru n.e. of Miyake Jima. PB4Y-2 attacks Japanese convoy, sinks transport/ferry Nichirin Maru in East China Sea about 180 miles s.e. of Wenchow, China. British sub HMS Terrapin attacks Japanese Penang-to-Singapore convoy in Malacca Straits, sinks small cargo vessel Sanko Maru. Seatrain tank landing ship LST-32 is damaged when she strikes a submerged wreck at Reggio Calabria in Mediterranean on her first lift of 20 railroad cars from Bizerte. Norwegian freighter Novasli is torpedoed and sunk by U-1302 off Milford Haven, UK. The U.S. flag is raised over Corregidor, with General Douglas MacArthur present.
Mar 3 —U.S. First and Ninth armies maintain pressure on the drive to Cologne. 11th Airborne concludes operations to clear Manila Bay. U.S. 8th Army lands on Burias, Masbate and Ticao Islands, P.I. On Iwo Jima, Pharmacist's Mate Second Class George E. Wahlen, USNR, wounded in the back the day before and having already performed heroic acts treating casualties on 26 and 28 February, is wounded a third time as he treats fallen shipmates. Unable to walk, he crawls 50 yards to render aid to a wounded marine. For this and previous acts of valor, Wahlen is awarded the Medal of Honor. Also on this date, elsewhere on Iwo, Pharmacist's Mate Third Class Jack Williams, USNR, while serving as an aid man with a marine rifle company, is thrice wounded as he goes to treat a casualty. Although in a partial state of shock from his wounds, the corpsman shields the Marine with his own body as he administers medical care first to the wounded man and then to himself. Instead of going to the rear, Williams remains at the front and tends a second wounded Marine. As he finally stuggles to the rear to have his own hurts treated, the corpsman is hit a fourth time, and killed. For his unwavering determination to carry out his mission, Williams is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. Finland declares war against Germany. Liberation of Manila is declared, with the finest natural harbor in the orient, battle for it is over, but with a high cost, over 1,000 U.S. troops died, 100,000 civilians died, much of which was attributed to massacres by Japanese forces. Some historians, cite a higher civilian casualty rate for the entire battle, suggest that up to more than 500,000 died as a result of the Manila massacre. Some 16,000 Japanese troops died. My gratitude to British Pathé for the educational video. U.S. sub Sea Robin sinks transport Suiten Maru off Malang, Java.
Mar 4 —Task Force 58 returns to base at Ulithi Atoll. During it's two-week missions to the Tokyo area and Okinawa, its pilots have claimed 393 Japanese aircraft shot down and 250 destroyed on the ground, at a loss of 84 planes, 60 pilots, and 21 aircrewmen in combat and 59 planes, eight pilots, and six aircrewmen in non-combat incidents. First B-29 lands on Iwo Jima, the first of some 2,400 B-29s to do so before World War II ends. 192 B–29s in precision attack on Musashino aircraft factory at Tokyo. This raid ends precision bombardment phase of XXI BC operations against Japanese aircraft industry. U.S. sub Baya attacks Japanese convoy HI-98, sinks merchant tanker Palembang Maru off Cape Varella, French Indochina. U.S. sub Tilefish sinks Japanese fishing vessel Shiko Maru off Setsuko Saki. British sub HMS Clyde sinks auxiliary submarine chaser Kiku Maru off western Sumatra. British sub HMS Trenchant and HMS Terrapin sink submarine chaser Ch 8 in central Malacca Strait. RAAF Venturas attack Japanese convoy off Soembawa Island sinking small cargo vessels No.3 Kiri Maru and No.4 Matsu Maru. U.S. 14th Air Force planes lay mines in Yangtze River; Japanese ship Wan Shih Maru is sunk n. of Shanghai. U.S. 43rd Inf Div begins westward push into Zambales Mtns w. of Clark Field. U.S. First Army speeds northeast along the Erft on broad front, overrunning more than 30 towns and villages and halting a little short of the Erft–Rhine junction. U.S. Ninth Army presses slowly n.e. toward the Rhine. U.S. Third Army advances e. of the Nims. U.S. 10th Mtn Div makes substantial progress, captures M. Acidola, Madonna di Brasa, M. della Croce, and M. Grande d’Aiano. Brazilians of 1st Div take over 10th Mtn Div positions e. of Pietra Colora. Soviet troops break through to Baltic coast.
Mar 5 —U.S. 3rd Arm Div and 104th Inf Div begin assault on metropolitan Cologne, and enter the city during the morning; overrun a number of suburban communities. Enemy falls back to the Rhine R. on many fronts. Various divisions of U.S. 1st, 3rd and 9th armies extend like fingers toward Rhine. U.S. 9th Army had driven 50 miles from Duesseldorf to Moers and killing or capturing some 36,000 Germans, all at a cost of less than 7,300 U.S. casualties since Feb 23. U.S. 7th Army snagged in forests of Hahnbusch and Forbach. U.S. Fifth Army completes 2nd phase of limited offensive while staving off night counterattacks at M. della Spe. In P.I. U.S.11th Airborne begins operations to open Balayan and Batangas Bays, southern Luzon. U.S. 33rd Inf Div continues northward toward Baguio and San Fernando. U.S. sub Bashaw sinks oiler Ryoei Maru and army tanker Seishin Maru off Tourane, French Indochina. U.S. sub Sea Robin sinks gunboat Man-yo Maru and merchant cargo ship Shoyu Maru in the Java Sea. U.S. 5th Air Force B-25s sink submarine chasers Kasuga Maru and Ujina Maru and merchantship Shoto Maru off coast of French Indochina. Germany begins the conscription of 15 to 16-year-old males for service. U.S. 13th A.F. B-24s hit convoy and sink Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser Cha 110 in Sape Strait, s.e. of the Celebes. [The Liberator B-24s had a longer range than the B-17s and were in the Pacific as the Atlantic. By 1945, enemy convoys still existed in the Pacific; in the Atlantic--no more; note the year however '46 as shown—they should not have used that year. But, look at what can be done with computers; cool 16 mins thanks to Fishyyy.] USS Missouri arrives at Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
Mar 7 —U.S. Ninth Army front, except for limited offensive near Wesel, is quiet. In Canadian 1st Army sector, efforts of Canadian 4th Arm Div to take Veen are quiet fruitless. The fourth largest city in Germany, Cologne, falls to U.S. 3rd Arm and 104th Inf divisions, U.S. First Army; city declared secure by 4pm. U.S. 28th Inf Div drives to the Rhine at Rodenkirchen and Godorf. U.S. 9th Arm Div drives to the Ahr at Bad Neuenahr and Heimersheim, taking the two towns and bridges there intact. U.S. 9th Arm Div, in momentous drive, reaches junction of Rhine and Ahr Rivers and establishes bridgeheads across both. One spearhead headed toward Remagen, danke Michael Appert The rapid advances completely surprised the German troops, and in this surprise they had failed to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge as the other German units had done to the 22 other road and RR bridges over the Rhine. The 9th Armored crosses the bridge over the Rhine. A small charge exploded beneath the bridge, damaging some of its understructure, but the bridge remained intact. Such an important bridge in 1945, and how it looks today, danke Schiffs Kanal. U.S. 1st Inf Div reaches edge of metropolis of Bonn and prepares to attack. U.S. 2nd Inf Div reaches Munstereiffel. U.S. Third Army thrusts rapidly n.e. toward Ahr R. captures Dockweiler, Dreis, Boxberg, and Kelberg. Enemy makes firm stand at Kelberg, a vital road center, but 11th Arm Div busts through. U.S. 4th Arm Div leapfrogs infantry, advances to high ground overlooking the Rhine s. of Andernach. U.S. 94th Inf Div continues to clear infiltrators from Saarburg bridgehead. Japanese conduct determined efforts to recover Meiktila and succeed, by capturing Taungtha, in cutting off Indian 17th Div troops at Meiktila. 11th Airborne advances through undefended Lake Taal region and gains several miles. U.S. 32nd Inf Div meets rough resistance on Villa Verde Trail. U.S. Marines advance slowly capture Hill 362 e. of Motoyama but to its right, troops pinned down after limited advance. Terrain is a greater handicap than Japanese. V-2 rocket hit Trundleys Road at Folkestone Gardens, London, England, killing 52 and seriously injuring 32.
Mar 8 —U.S. First Army drives on Bonn and continues build-up of Remagen bridgehead. By end of day, bridgehead extends in 1 1/2- mile arc about Erpel, with Linz. Germans make strong attempts to knock out the bridge by air and with artillery. U.S. Third Army crosses Kyll R. at Lissingen and meets strong opposition near Mannebach. U.S. 94th Div drives enemy remnants from Saarburg. Phyllis Mae Dailey is the first African American sworn into the Navy Nurse Corps. She became the first African American to serve duty in World War II. Kiss Me Kate opens in Britain.
Mar 9 —Enemy resistance w. of the Rhine ends as First Army’s 1st Inf Div captures Bonn. U.S. 2nd Inf Div advances to the Rhine along axis Bruck–Sinzig. U.S. Third Army captures city of Andernach on Rhine. U.S. 10th Mtn Div improves positions n. of Castelnuovo with unopposed capture of M. Valbura and M. Belvedere in Italy. 279 B-29s bomb Tokyo night of Mar 9-10, destroy 41 sq kilometers of city, 88,000-97,000 killed; over 41,000 injured and 1,000,000 displaced.
Mar 11 —U.S. 78th Inf Div makes slow progress toward Cologne–Frankfurt Autobahn against determined resistance. U.S. Navy helps erect and maintain open Remagen bridgehead with pontoon bridge, one of several built across Rhine. Navy support of the army's crossing the Rhine River proves invaluable. 99th Inf Div completes move of its RCT’s across the Rhine over Remagen, clearing Leubsdorf and Ariendorf. U.S. Third Army continues mop up w. of the Rhine and prepares assault across the Moselle. In 11th A/B Div sector of southern Luzon, 158th Inf clears Batangas. 32nd Inf Div, is still held up by strong enemy defense of Salacsac Pass positions on Villa Verde Trail. 35th Inf Div seizes Salazar, an Old Spanish Trail, n. Luzon. Airfield is secured by U.S. Eighth Army on Zamboanga City on Mindanao. 5th Marine Div still encountering fierce enemy on Iwo Jima. 285 B-29s hit Nagoya with incendiaries. U.S. sub Segundo sinks Japanese merchant ship Shori Maru off Shori Island s. Korea. Japanese merchant trawler Koko Maru sinks in Yangtze R. due to mines. U.S. 8th A.F. bombers sink German subs U-2515 and U-2530 during raid on Hamburg, Germany.
Japanese medium planes sneak into U.S. fleet anchorage at Ulithi flying from Kanoya, Japan, attack and damage U.S. carrier Randolph, and hit Sorlen Island.
Mar 12 —All along Western Front Allies meeting stiff resistance and counterattacks. U.S. Seventh Army is regroupng extensively for assault on West Wall. 1,108 RAF bombers hit Dortmund. Efforts along Old Spanish Trail a little n. of Salazar abandoned. Japanese guardboats No.1 Hinode Maru and Shosei Maru are hit and sunk by U.S. aircraft e. of the Ryukyus. Anne Frank is killed at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. N.Y. is the first state to prohibit discrimination by race and creed in employment.
Mar 15 —A stream of over 1,300 B-17s and B-24s flew into Germany, with 29 on a special mission to strike at Zossen, a secret Headquarters of the German Army High Command, s. of Berlin. The air war in Europe was still deadly as these accounts from the 392nd participants were found. Mission successful and High Command was forced to relocate. Multi-force units of U.S. Third Army stream across Moselle sector. Pockets of enemy resistance on Iwo Jima still being cleared by U.S. 3rd and 4th Mar Divs. The 17th Academy Awards are held. Best Picture Going My Way. Best Actor: Bing Crosby in Going My Way. Best Actress: Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight. Directing: Leo McCarey in Going My Way. Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Lamar Trotti for Wilson. Best Writing (Screenplay): Frank Butler, Frank Cavett for Going My Way. Best Original Song: Swinging On A Star, composed by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Johnny Burk from Going My Way. Best Documentary Feature: The Fighting Lady. Best Visual Effects: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. Best Short Documentary: With the Marines at Tarawa. Best Original Music Score: Max Steiner from Since You Went Away. The Inrin Prisoners of War Camp in central Taiwan is closed.
Mar 16 —The island of Iwo Jima is declared secured by Admiral Chester Nimitz.
Mar 17 —Ludendorff RR bridge collapses while under repair but other bridges have been constructed. Twenty-eight U.S. engineers trying to strengthen the structure are swept away to their deaths. LCVPs ferry 2,500 army troops across the Rhine River. U.S. 9th Inf Div cuts autobahn near Windhagen, overruns Vettelschoss. A third of the city of Koblenz is cleared in fierce house-to-house fighting. Eisenhower changes plans for U.S. Third and 7th armies, they are to converge with Patton partially swinging south and the 7th to bring more effort on the Siegfried Line. 80th Inf Div establishes a bridgehead across the Prims in Krettnich-Nunkirchen area. 94th Inf Div drives about 10,000 yards e. as resistance slackens: 302d Inf takes Hill 708 and Reinsfeld; 301st clears Schillingen, Kell, and Gusenburg. 12th Armor Div is transferred to XX corps to exploit 94th Div breakthrough and starts to forward assembly areas. The sneaky phase of transferring Canadian troops out of Italy into Belgium and northern France was practically over without the Germans knowing; some 3,700 troops, 40 tanks, 650 wheeled vehicles, were moved through the port of Marseilles daily since Feb 22. 36th Inf Div, pursues enemy to Bieberbach R. near Gunstett. 1,260 Allied heavy bombers hit 2 synthetic oil plants in Germany while 650 medium bombers attack the rail systems. 5th Mar Div traps enemy forces, including their commander, Lt Gen Tadamichi Kuribayashi, in area 700 yards long and 200-500 yards wide. 331 B-29 bombers bomb Kobe, destroy 7 square kilometers; 8,841 killed and 650,000 displaced. U.S. sub Sealion sinks Bangkok-bound Thai oiler Samui off Trengganu coast. U.S. sub Spot attacks Japanese Keelung-to-Shimonoseki convoy TAMO-49 and sinks cargo vessel Nanking Maru and damages I komasan Maru off Yushiyama Island. Mansei Maru is sunk by mine in the Yangtze, near Shanghai. A V-2 rocket hits near Borough Central Library in Hampstead, London, damaging 1000 homes, the telephone exchange, the lighting station, Council's Work Depot, Warden's Post No. 16, Women's Vountary Service offices plus the library.
Mar 18 —Allies continue pressing across the Rhine except all other units not at Remagen, which are mainly everybody else who are waiting for more bridging and other engineer equipment plus assault boats. Troops of First White Russian Front complete capture of town and port of Kolberg (Pomerania), last enemy pocket on Baltic coast between Polish corridor and Stettin Bay. Italian Legnano Gp is attached to U.S. Fifth Army. U.S. sub Balao sinks Japanese merchant trawler No.2 Daito Maru. U.S. sub Springer sinks fast transport T.18 near Mutsure Jima. U.S. sub Trigger sinks army cargo ship No.3 Tsukushi Maru n.w. of Okinawa. U.S. carrier planes sink submarine chaser No.43 Yusen Maru 45 miles s.w. of Satamisaki Light; planes from carrier Hornet sink merchant vessel No.1 Nansei Maru and damage Tokuho Maru and Asahi Maru in Yamakawa harbor. Destroyer escorts Menges, Mosley, Pride, and Lowe sink German submarine U-866 in Atlantic.
Mar 19 —A massive kamikaze attack on U.S. carriers, Essex, Wasp, Franklin hit, 724 killed, 265 wounded; the ship is rocked by a succession of explosions, on board the damaged Franklin, Lieutenant Commander Joseph T. O'Callaghan, ChC, the carrier's Roman Catholic chaplain, ministers to wounded and dying men irregardless of faith or creed, organizes and leads fire-fighting parties, and mans a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling on the listing deck. O'Callaghan's courage and fortitude inspires his shipmates. Lieutenant (j.g.) Donald A. Gary calms anxious shipmates trapped in a smoke-filled compartment and after repeated tries through dark, debris-filled passageways manages to find a way to escape. Both awarded Medals of Honor. U.S. sub Balao attacks Japanese convoy and sinks troopship Hakozaki Maru and merchant fishing vessels No.1 Katsura Maru and 1 Eiho Maru and No.2 Eiho Maru and damages transport Tatsuharu Maru near the Yangtze estuary. U.S. 7th Army captures Worms. Hitler issues the Nero Decree--a scorched Earth policy to prevent any industry, utility, or transportation from being used by the advancing Allied and Soviet armies. Albert Speer tries to undermined efforts to carry out this decree.
Mar 21 —A massive Allied ground force is poised along the Rhine from Arnhem to Switzerland. Eisenhower's awesome armies, with over 4.5 million personnel, include ninety divisions that anxiously await the final drive into the heart of Nazi Germany. A long line of boats depart Toul, France, 160 miles from the Rhine and head to the Rhine. Japanese make first known operational use of rocket-powered human-guided kamikaze attack aircraft [Baka or Cherry Blossom] in unsuccessful air attack against ships of U.S. naval task force 58. A V-2 hits the Packard factory in London, damages 13 other factories besides the Packard Plant and kills 32, seriously injuring 100. On Iwo Jima, Japanese told repeatedly by loudspeaker to surrender; some 400 Japanese refuse.
Mar 21-23 —Allied aircraft flew over 42,000 sorties over Nazi Germany.
Mar 22 —Nightfall crossing of the Rhine under a bright moon by U.S. 5th Inf Div in a surprise move (without preliminary bombardment), veteran div of 22 river crossings since landing at Normandy, 3rd Army crosses the Rhine s. of Mainz near Oppenheim and Nierstein. A look at contemporary Oppenheim, where 75 years ago Patton tricked the Germans he was going to cross elsewhere. Using searchlights on tanks, engineers hurriedly began building a bridge, and within 24 hrs the entire 5th Div had crossed the river. The Germans were expecting a crossing n. of Mainz, which was actually falling under attack by the U.S. 90th Inf Div. The German ground forces opposite Patton were mainly remnants of regulars, staffs, students, convalescents and some volksgrenadiers, however enemy air attacks were something else including jets which were frequent. [By the end of March, over 60,000 vehicles had crossed over Third Army bridges.] U-boats attack allied convoy bound for Belgium and sink James Eagan Lane. Another convoy bound for Wales is attacked and Liberty ship John R. Park is sunk. Assisted by flame-throwing tanks, Marines of 5th Div continue tortuous advance n.w.on Iwo Jima toward the sea. U.S. sub Perch sinks Japanese Communication Vessel No. 463 en route to Balikpapan oil fields.
Mar 23 —The next night, under a three-quarter moon and cover of darkness, the British Second Army and Canadian First Army cross the Rhine R. n. of the Ruhr British Pathé. The main focus was around Wesel due to its roadnet. U.S. Third Army has 5 ferries operating across the Rhine and by 6 pm, a 975-ft treadway bridge is completed. The U.S. Navy is credited with transporting approximately 1,000 vehicles and 15,000 troops of U.S. Third Army in the first 24 hours over the Rhine. Just before midnight, 201 RAF bombers plaster Wesel, and British Commandos move in, but resistance was fierce and did not give in; the last defenders got it Mar 25. As clearing the suburbs of Ludwigshafen becomes more difficult, the 301st Inf battalion of 94th Inf Div enters the battle. The 36th and 103rd Inf divisions continue mopping up w. of the Rhine. U-boat U-532 sinks U.S. tanker Oklahoma in mid-Atlantic heading for Dakar. General Heinrich von Vietinghoff replaces Field Marshal Kesselring as supreme commander of enemy forces in Italy. U.S. Fifth A.F. begins attacks on Legaspi area in preparation for amphibious assault there. U.S. 43rd Inf Div drives n. toward New Bosoboso, Luzon. TF 58 begins aerial attacks on Japanese shipping and installations in the Okinawa area. U.S. sub Spadefish attacks Japanese convoy in the East China Sea and sinks transport Doryu Maru 120 miles n.n.w. of Amami O Shima. U.S. 5th AF. B-24 hits and sinks cargo ship Hokka Go Maru 110 miles n.e. of Wenchow, China.
Mar 24 — U.S. and British forces institute the largest scale crossings of the Rhine in history called “Operation Varsity,” behind an intense artillery barrage, about 150 miles n. of Patton’s crossings, on a straight line. After an hour-long artillery barrage, on an 8-mile front, the U.S. 9th Army crosses the Rhine before dawn, with the U.S. 30th and 79th Inf divisions leading. It involves an incredible number of aircraft, 1,696 transport aircraft, 1,348 gliders of the U.S. 17th Airborne Div and British 6th Airborne DIv. Plus 889 escort fighters. Airborne suffered significant casualties; thank you History in Five. It was the last jump of WW II. Some 2,150 fighter aircraft supported the ground operations; in 2 days some 80,000 British and Canadians would be over the 20-mile stretch of the Rhine. 17th Airborne Div captures Diersfordt. U.S. First Army, consolidates, expands and fights off continuous counterattacks for preparation of big breakout push. U.S. 4th Arm Div and then 6th Arm Div start across river toward the Main. After fierce night-long fighting, the U.S. 94th Inf DIv captures city of Ludwigshafen. U.S. 12th Arm Div captures Speyer. U.S. 9th Army commences to seal off the industrial region known as the Ruhr. B-17 bombers attack the Daimler-Benz tank factory in Berlin, Germany; escorted by P-51 fighters flown by African-American pilots of 332nd Fighter Group from Ramitelli Airfield in Italy. About 30 Me 262 jet fighters of German Jagdgeschwader 7 rose to attack. The U.S. fighter and bomber airmen together claimed 16 jets shot down, but actual German records showed that only 8 were downed in this action. 1st Cav Div and 11th A/B Div begin converging drives on Lipa in areas to n. and s. of Lake Taal. 1st Cav Div takes Santo Tomas. 11th A/B Div encounters strong opposition on Mt. Macolod. On Mindanao, 41st Inf Div secures Mt. Capisan. 12 carrier aircraft of Task Force 58 sink an entire convoy of eight Japanese ships 150 nautical miles (278 km) northwest of Okinawa. USS Missouri bombards Okinawa, Japan. Remnants of the past: leaders at Yalta; Nazi Germany cleaned-up in rare color as prisoners taken increases; view from tunnel at Remagen; on board the cruiser Alaska off Iwo Jima March 1945, the anti-aircraft mount being loaded with clips into the left pair of the machine gun; MPs on inspection line in the Mediterranean 1945, segregation was not abolished, yet; Winston Churchill and American generals on a balcony watching Allied vehicles cross the Rhine R; not pristine on Iwo Jima; new inductees being sworn into the Navy Nurse Corps, second from r. is Officer Ensign Phyllis Mae Dailey.
Mar 26 —Off Okinawa, kamikazes hit and damage battleship Nevada, light cruiser Biloxi, destroyers Porterfield, Foreman, O’Brien, Callaghan, minesweeper Skirmish. Destroyer Murray damaged by dive bomber. Destroyer Halligan is sunk by a mine. B-24s bomb Japanese shipping in Takao harbor, sinking cargo vessels Enoura Maru and Kishu Maru. Enemy makes final attack on Iwo in early morning. 200-300 attempt to infiltrate bivouac area; at least 196 are killed. Capture and occupation phase of Iwo operation ends at 0800. The enemy force of almost 23,000 defending the island is practically annihilated. U.S. casualties exceed 20,000, about one third of the total assault force strength of some 60,000; 6,821 U.S. killed. British expand bridgehead toward the Issel. Build up e. of the Rhine progresses rapidly as bridges are opened. U.S. Ninth Army encounters strong resistance and wooded terrain difficult. U.S. 6th Arm of Third Army reaches s. bank of the Main at Frankfurt and under intense artillery fire forces cross into Frankfurt: CCA drives to Sachsenhausen and enters Frankfurt via damaged bridge at Niederrad. Resistance varies all along advancing Allied armies, part are difficult, other areas so swift it overtakes enemy and either kills or takes many prisoners; there are still some 60 German divisions fighting although most are understrength. U.S. 7th Army begins assault across the Rhine with 45th and 3rd divisions; opposition to crossing is at first strong, resulting in loss of many landing craft. U.S. Eighth Army lands Americal Div on Cebu near Talisay, southern Philippines. In Czechoslovakia, troops of Second Ukrainian Front take communications center of Banska Bystrica. Troops of Third White Russian Front are completing mop-up of enemy remnants in East Prussia. Second White Russian Front continues fight for ports of Danzig and Gotenhafen (Gdynia) occupied Poland; the shipyard and seaport facilities blocked by sunken battlecruiser Gneisenau. Two V-2s hit Romford, Essex, England.
Mar 27 —U.S. Third Army captures Aschaffenburg. V-2 rocket hits Ilford, London. Navy landing craft ferry army troops across the Rhine at Mainz, Germany, in the face of "all the fire power at [the Germans'] disposal," ranging from machine guns and small arms to the deadly 88-millimeter artillery. U.S. carrier planes sink army cargo ships No.28 Suma Maru, Kuchinoerabu Bay, Osumi-Gunto, and No.12 Myojin Maru, w. of Tori Jima. Kamikazes damage light minelayer Adams off Okinawa. USAAF begin to lay mines as 94 B-29s mine the Shimonoseki Straits and the waters of Suo Nada, Japan. This operation is called Operation STARVATION. U.S. sub Trigger sinks cable layer Odate, 200 miles s.w. of Kyushu. Argentina declares war on Germany and Imperial Japan. Ella Fitzgerald and the Delta Rhythm Boys recorded "It's Only a Paper Moon."
Mar 28 —British 2nd Army begins an offensive towards the Elbe River. Behind the lines, Gen. Eisenhower reverts the U.S. 9th Army to Omar Bradley's army group as Anglo-American objectives shift towards southern Germany and Czechoslovakia. When Bradley reached the Elbe, Montgomery could have the 9th Army again. First Army heads for Paderborn. Third Army oriented for Kassel sector.
Mar 30 —The last V-2 rockets of WW II are launched against England, none reach the UK. The Soviet Union invades Austria. A Russian cable ia intercepted referring to an agent named Ales. These cables were highly classified forming part of the "Venona Project" released in 1996; released first in 1995. The secret cables implicated 349 U.S. citizens and residents as Soviet helpers. In 1999. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr published "Venona," which detailed the story of the Soviet infiltration of Washington DC.
Apr1 —Easter Sunday, following intensive naval and aerial bombardment by supporting forces of U.S. Fifth Fleet, the invasion of Okinawa by 150,000 U.S. troops begins, 6th and 1st Marine divisions land n. of Bishi R, 7th and 96th divisions 10th Army s. of river against surprising minimal opposition on land. Yontan airfield is captured. Kamikazes attack and damage battleship West Virginia, transports Hinsdale and Alpine, LST-884; British fleet carrier HMS Indefatigable; battleship Tennessee is damaged by shell fragments (possibly friendly fire). Other vessels damaged by Japanese bombers: destroyer Prichett, minesweeper Skirmish, transport Elmore, destroyer escort Vammen, destroyer HMS Ulster. U.S. Army troops (158th RCT) are landed in Legaspi, Bicol Peninsula, Luzon; secure Legaspi port, town, and airstrip. U.S. 32nd Inf Div recovers ground lost to Japanese during counterattack on 31st, but operations during next few days are curtailed sharply by torrential rains.