This is a chronology of 1945, presented in a unique way, augmented until winter of 1945-1946.
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. Fighting ceases in Athens.
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, Luzon, 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. Russians enter Warsaw.
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. Strong earthquake (6.6) hits Aichi Prefecture, Honshu, most populous main island of Japan; death toll about 2,300, information about the disaster was censored.
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. 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. Norwegians take control of northern Norway. 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. German troops evacuate Warsaw.
Jan 18 —Soviet forces liberate the Budapest ghetto. German troops evacuate Kraków, Poland. Soviet troops reach 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. U.S. 14 A.F. forced to evacuate Suichon air base. 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 58 km march retraced the passage of the 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. U.S. 7th Army reaches Siegfried Line.
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. First Hanford plutonium arrives for scientists gathered at Los Alamos, New Mexico, part of the ultra SECRET Manhattan Project. Life at Los Alamos captured by physicist Hugh Bradner; thank you Smithsonian Channel. Ecuador declares war on Germany.
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; which at a spot some 8 miles from Tagaytay, and just in the news, is Taal Volcano National Park and it made headlines in 2020. [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. Belgium is freed of Germans. 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 south toward the Pasig R. line. Japanese squads plant 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. Home Front saw history come alive through newsreels of MacArthur's Feb. 6 arrival at Santo Tomas (my gratitude to Pinoy History Buff). 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. Belgium government resigns. 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. Earthquake magnitude 7.2 off the n.e. coast of Honshu, Japan. Fierce German counter attacks near Neustettin, Germany (now Szczecinek, Poland) halts the advance of the Soviet 2nd Byelorussian Front. Soviet sub S-13 sinks passenger liner General Steuben taking down 3,500 people with her.
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. 40 U.S. heavy bombers make a navigation mistake and accidentally bomb Prague, 120 km s.e. of Dresden; 701 killed. 12 U.S. heavy bombers hit Pilsen. 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 of Corregidor environs (3mins54), a deeper perspective, Amazing Facts of Faith (4.08mins); thanks Raven V and Rev. Doug Batchelor. U.S. Sennet sinks Japanese minelayer Naryu s.e. of Honshu. 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. 924 U.S. 8th A.F. bombers strike Benzol Plants, oil refineries and marshaling yards in central Germany; 63 attack Wesel rail bridge; 67 Americans missing in action. 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 the capture of 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. You may advance to min 11.41 mark to go to 1945 if you wish]. 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 and Uruguay declare 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. 1073 8th A.F bombers target oil, industrial and rail targets escorted by 521 fighters, central Germany; 17 Americans fail to return.
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. In Operation Clarion (my gratitude to ZenosWarbirds) over 1300 heavy bombers with some 800 escorts target German transportation system for major disruption; a lone B-17 flew for over an hour smoothly after bombing Ansbach marshaling yard with no pilots when S/Sgt Charles Sibray discovers plane deserted, so he bales out landing in France, but the rest of the crew had bailed out over Germany to become POWs; the B-17 of the 486th BG had flown 150 miles on automatic pilot. 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. Operation Clarion, 1211 bombers escorted by 667 aircraft; of the 3,750 U.S. aircraft sortied over the 2-day operation, 3 bombers and 17 P-51s MIA, none of the P-51s were lost in combat. Operation Clarion was one of the most successful operations of WW II.
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, 3 days after the Expedicionária Brasileira had won Monte Castello which they had battled since last November. 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, a long thin island guarding the n.w. flank of the Sulu Sea. U.S. troops on Palawan discovered the remains of 150 American prisoners of war, who had been forced inside 2 air raid shelters, doused with gasoline and burned alive by their captors. On Samar, P.I. a battalion of the Americal Div and 1st Filipino Inf begin advance to clear Mauo area. 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. U.S. destroyers Terry and Colhoun are damaged by enemy shore battery fire from Iwo Jima. U.S. sub Sterlet sinks Japanese army cargo ship Tateyama Maru. U.S. aircraft strike all over the southern islands of Philippines, targetting Panay, Negros, Zamboanga and Lubang. The strongest Japanese defenders were at Cebu City on Cebu, on the Zamboanga Peninsula in western Mindanao, and around Davao City in southern Mindanao. U.S. 8th Army lands on Lubang Island, P.I. Between the end of Feb. and the middle of April, troops of MacArthur made a total of 14 major amphibious landings and 24 little ones, an average of almost one per day.
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. Intense fire met by 186th Reg of 41st Inf Div on Palawan as they enter the hills that lay about ten miles n. of Puerta Princessa Harbor. (Five days of savage combat follows.)
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 a 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 R, the great barrier to the heartland of the Reich. 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, Italy. Brazilians of 1st Div take over 10th Mtn Div positions e. of Pietra Colora. 61 U.S. 8th A.F. bombers, out of 671 which bomb German targets, bomb Stuttgart. 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 Düsseldorf 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, Burma 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 on Iwo Jima is a greater handicap than Japanese. V-2 rocket hits 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. 1021 8th A.F. bombers and 421 escorts attack German marshaling yards and industrial plants.
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, Japan 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; 10 Americans MIA. 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 regrouping 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 13 —Patton’s XX Corps launches a big attack 4 divisions abreast in Germany. A key capture was the city of Ludwigshafen, in the south, separating Patton’s Third Army and Patch’s Seventh Army; heavy casualties were expected; in fact, when the so-called Saar-Palatinate ended, the Third Army sustained 5,220 casualties and the 7th some 12,000 casualties, but the Third Army netted 68,000 German prisoners overall; the 7th: 22,000 pow’s.
Mar 13-24 —U.S. 94th Inf Div alone captures 13,434 prisoners, over 200 German towns, and had advanced more than 100 miles toward the Rhine R. at Ludwigshafen, this great industrial city was the home of the largest chemical plant in Germany (I.G. Farben Industrien.)
Mar 15 —A stream of 1,310 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. 767 "Little Friends" provided escort and fighter sweeps. 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. All nominees. Incidentally, the best movies of 1945 Academy Awards; presented in '46. The Inrin Prisoners of War Camp in central Taiwan is closed; one of 14 POW camps on the island since 1942.
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. 1,281 Allied heavy bombers hit oil, industrial and rail targets including 2 synthetic oil plants in Germany while 650 medium bombers attack the rail systems. Over 700 Mustangs provide escorts and sweeps. 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. 916 B-17s, 305 B-24s of U.S. 8th A.F. bomb Berlin. 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. Food supplies, water works, railroads, and all other facilities are ordered destroyed under Hitler's "Nero Decree"--a scorched Earth policy to prevent their use by the advancing Allies. 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. U.S. 8th A.F. dispatches 1408 bombers with 751 P-51s to Germany, primary targets are jet fighter bases; 74 Americans MIA. 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. Kesselring becomes supreme commander in Army Command West. 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. The U.S. 9th Army, supported by 22,000 American engineers, 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; protection included 676 9th Air Force aircraft. Airborne suffered significant casualties; thank you History in Five. Forty-four transports, 50 gliders, and 22 C-46s go down in flames. It was the last jump of WW II. Out of 21,680 men, 200 killed and some 522 wounded were the early reports. Some 2,150 fighter aircraft supported the ground operations, of which 1,297 were from the 8th A.F. 1,714 bombers of the 8th consisted of bombing and re-supply drops. 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 Rhine 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. The 6th SS Mtn Div transferred from Boppard and St. Goar to Wiesbaden. 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; WAVE apprentice Frances Bates inspects a Grumman aircraft engine at a Naval Training school in the Bronx; 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; Naval TBM Avengers, 1,900 hp torpedo bomber; a new group of trainees; as night descends, activity at a control tower does not end; a rare photograph from the author's collection of Privates George Cofield and Howard Davis at their artillery outpost at the Rhine in color (not colorized) 1945; reproduction in color was no easy task in the war years, and the behind-the-scenes work was time-consuming compared to the modern technology of today; new inductees being sworn into the Navy Nurse Corps, second from r. is Officer Ensign Phyllis Mae Dailey; a world apart from the Home Front, a Captain Felix Baker is pointing the damage a P1Y Ginga attack bomber did to his ship, the aircraft carrier USS Randolf, Mar 11, 1945; on his right is Admiral Raymond Spruance; the Axis were unable to phantom the ability of America to provide tens of thousands of well-trained pilots for all spheres of world war.
Mar 25 —Patton’s 87th Inf Div crosses Rhine at Boppard and Rhens (127 wounded, 8 killed). Organized resistance west of the Rhine ceases. Patton’s 6th Arm Div captures a railway bridge intact at Aschaffenburg. Prague bombarded by 650 U.S. 15th A.F. bombers, targeting German airfields and the ČKD factories in e. Prague.
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. Patton’s 89th Inf Div crosses Rhine at St Goar and Oberwesel (102 wounded, 29 killed, 146 missing). Third and Seventh armies link on the east bank. 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; Patch's 45th Inf Div crosses Rhine n. of Worms (20 wounded, 13 killed) while his 3rd Inf Div crosses crosses Rhine s. of Worms (131 wounded, 29 killed). Opposition to crossing is at first strong, resulting in loss of many landing craft. U.S. 5th Inf Div captures the Rhine-Main airport at Frankfurt. U.S. Eighth Army lands Americal Div on Cebu near Talisay, southern Philippines. Troops of Second Ukrainian Front take communications center of Banska Bystrica in Czechoslovakia. 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 reaches 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 — Eisenhower secretly takes Berlin out as primary goal, sends a secret cable to Stalin notifying he will send the bulk of the U.S. troops towards southern Germany and Czechoslovakia (Leipzig, Dresden and Regensburg instead of Berlin), neither tells Roosevelt or Bradley; the British Chiefs of Staff request to have the Combined Chiefs of Staff discuss the message to Stalin is denied by Eisenhower. When U.S. Ninth Army reaches the Elbe, Montgomery could have the 9th Army again. First Army heads for Paderborn. Patton conducts a fifth U.S. Rhine bridgehead at Mainz and Hockheim (20 wounded, 4 killed, 3 missing.) Third Army oriented for Kassel sector. British 2nd Army begins an offensive towards the Elbe River.
Mar 30 —The last V-2 rockets of WW II are launched against England, none reach the UK. U.S. 7th Arm captures Eder-See Dam. U.S. 104th captures Hallenberg, Brilon,
and Medebach. U.S. 2nd and 3rd Arm spearhead toward Berlin, a little less than 200 miles away. The Soviet Union invades Austria. A Russian cable is intercepted referring to an agent named Ales. These cables were highly classified forming part of the "Venona Project" released in 1996; initial segments released 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.
Mar 31 —U.S. 2nd Arm Div crosses Dortmund-Ems Canal and cuts the Ruhr-Berlin Superhighway. U.S. 12th Arm Div fights out of the Black Forest.
Apr 1 —Easter Sunday, following intensive naval and aerial bombardment by supporting forces of U.S. Fifth Fleet, the invasion of Okinawa by 183,000 U.S. troops begins. 430 assault troopships converged on the island. 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 Pritchett, minesweeper Skirmish, transport Elmore, destroyer escort Vammen, destroyer HMS Ulster. U.S. Army troops (158th RCT) are landed in Legazpi, 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. Stalin tells Eisenhower that Berlin is of no importance-then orders Zhukov and Konev to take Berlin before the Allies. The Ruhr pocket is closed when 2nd Arm and the 3rd Arm link at Lippstadt; despite mines which are prevalent, eventually 21 German divisions surrender. U.S. 2nd Arm Div still racing to Berlin.
Apr 2 —U.S. Ninth Army envelops and enters Muenster, northern Germany. U.S. 75th Div reaches Dortmund–Ems Canal from Datteln, the biggest canal junction in the World. Canadian 49th Div opens drive on Arnhem from Nijmegen bridge-head. U.S. First Army completes take over sector bounded by Rhine, Ruhr, Lenne, and Sieg Rivers. U.S. 9th Arm Div maintains Diemel R. bridgehead against strong opposition. U.S. 6th Arm Div completes crossing the Fulda at Malsfeld. U.S. 4th Arm Div drives on Neukirchen. Third Army expands Creuzburg bridgehead, crosses the Werra near Berka and Bengendorf, reaches Bad Orb and gains bridgehead in Grimmenthal. U.S. 45th Inf Div of 7th Army battles hard for city of Aschaffenburg. The French 9th Colonial Inf Div begins crossing the Rhine near Leimersheim. 3rd Algerian Inf Div clears Oestringen, Ubstadt, and Bruchsal. 2nd Moroccan Inf Div occupies Hochstetten and Karsdorf. 3rd Royal Marine Commandos clear tongue of land between the Reno and the sea, northern Italy. U.S. 6th Army on Luzon continues drive for Baguio. U.S. Eighth Army clears the town and airfield of Talisay on Negros Is. U.S. 41st Inf Div, lands unopposed on Sanga Sanga Is., in Tawi Tawi group, after naval and aerial bombardment of nearby Bongao Is. After securing airfield and making contact with Filipino guerrillas, who already hold most of the island, elements of 2nd Bn move to Bongao Is. and establish beachhead. U.S. Tenth Army rapidly continues inland on Okinawa against light resistance. Off Okinawa, destroyer Franks is damaged in collision with battleship New Jersey; destroyer Prichett, by bomb; destroyer Borie, by collision with carrier Essex; and destroyer escort Foreman, by bomb. Kamikazes damage attack transports Henrico, and Goodhue and Telfair; attack cargo ships Achernar, and Tyrrell; and high speed transport Dickerson. Attack ship transport Chilton is damaged by near-miss of kamikaze. Raid on Hong Kong by B-24s. Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front captures the main Hungarian oil production area near Nagykanizsa.
Apr 4 —Br Second Army enters Minden before surrender of its garrison can be arranged and Germans blow bridges. Pressure and assault on Ruhr pocket continues. U.S. Third Army advances in multiple columns with close air support, encircles Muhlhausen, gains surrender of garrisons at Kassel and Gotha. CCA of U.S. 11th Arm Div captures Suhl, liberating many slave workers from arms factories. U.S. 90th Inf Div seizes Merkers, where Nazi art treasures, gold, and uniforms are discovered in a salt mine. Fr 1st Army captures Karlsruhe in assault by Valluy Groupement and elements of 2nd Corps. U.S. 89th Inf Div captures Ohrdruf Concentration Camp in Germany, which was a satellite of Buchenwald Concentration Camp. U.S. 100th Inf Div crosses the Neckar River. U.S. 20th A.F. activated to mainly conduct a strategic bombing campaign against Japan. As of this date, Gen. Omar Bradley becomes the first American general to command four field armies simultaneously, the 1st, 3rd, 7th and the 9th. U.S. 8th A.F. bombers (939 strong) pound airfields and landing grounds in northern Germany; 93 Americans MIA, 2 bombers collide over sea. U-boat yards at Hamburg and Kiel are also bombed, resulting in the destruction of subs U-237, U-749, and U-3003. Night leaflet drops over France, Germany, Denmark, by B-24s. The Soviet Union sets up a provisional Czechoslovakian government after the securing of Bratislava, First Slovak Republic (Czechoslovakia). Kamikazes damage U.S. destroyer Wilson and U.S. transport Dickerson off Okinawa.
Apr 5 —1039 U.S. 8th A.F. bombers target Germany, including 309 over Nuremberg. The Soviet government denounces its five-year Non-Aggression Pact with the Japanese empire; the five-year pact was set to expire on April 13, 1946. U.S. First Army joins in battle to destroy Ruhr pocket, as of date 18 U.S. Army divisions begin to clear the Ruhr pocket. French First Army captures Karlsruhe. U.S. 63rd and 100th divisions cross the Jagst River. The 94th, part of the U.S. 15th Army, in the company of the 82nd and 101st Airborne, conducts Occupation duty, containment of sabotage, mopping-up duties, and operates displaced persons camps. The 10th Arm captures Crailsheim on the Jagst River line. U.S. Fifth Army and British 8th Army open Spring Offensive in Italy, in the Po Valley. American troops on Okinawa encounter the first significant resistance from Japanese forces at the Machinato Line. B-24s bomb Japanese shipping at Hong Kong, damage Coast Vessel No 52 and No 1 and fleet oiler Kamoi. Destroyer Hudson sinks Japanese sub RO 41 w. of Okinawa. PBMs attack Japanese convoy and sink merchant No.2 Tokai Maru in Pinghai Wan. U.S. tanker Atlantic States is torpedoed by German submarine U-857 off Cape Cod. Battleship Yamato is sunk by U.S. planes. Advance air base is established on Iwo Jima.
Apr 6 —U.S. 14th Arm liberates Hammelburg prison. Soviets begin siege on Vienna.
Apr 8 —The 10th Arm holds off a fierce counterattack at Crailsheim.
Apr 9 —U.S. captures Siegburg in the Ruhr. Konigsberg in East Prussia and Vienna, Austria, fall to the Russians. British 8th Army begins the last offensive of the Italian campaign after a preliminary bombardment of 825 heavy bombers towards Lugo across the Senio R. There were still some 20 German divisions in Italy. The Allies had about 17 divisions and 8 independent brigades, including 4 Italian groups of volunteers, and they had overwhelming air support.
Apr 11 —U.S. 9th Army reaches Elbe, while 2nd Arm Div crosses Elbe at Schonebeck advancing to about 50 miles west of Berlin. U.S. 10th Arm Div forced to evacuate Crailsheim. German a-a guns knock out thirty American tanks of the 13th Arm Div just outside Siegburg. Concentration camp at Buchenwald liberated and worst horrors of Hitler’s Reich revealed; my gratitude to CNN. Buchenwald within a year turns into a special Soviet NKVD internment camp. PFC Donald P. Schoo recounts what it was like when he and his 80th Inf buddies liberated those at Buchenwald Apr 11, my gratitude to DeKalbPublicLib. Because of COVID-19, 75th Anniversaries of WW II are virtually nonexistant. Buchenwald was a death camp second only to Auschwitz in the horrors it imposed on its prisoners; thank you HISTORY channel. U.S. 8th A.F. despatch 1303 bombers and 913 fighter aircraft; strafing prohibited. During the night, 22 aircraft conduct night leaflet operations over Denmark, Germany, Italy.
Apr 12 —Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt dies, the President from 1933-1945 who led the nation during the Great Depression; my gratitude to the U.S. National Archives for this tribute to F.D.R., origination from O.W.I. From across the pond, British Movietone report on Pres. Roosevelt's passing with a history summation; my gratitude for the newsreel archive by British Movietone. Patton forces mayor and citizens of Ohrdruf to walk through the concentration camp of which they had disclaimed any knowledge. Patton invited Eisenhower and Bradley to visit the Merkers gold mine. A Japanese pilot flying a rocket-powered Cherry Blossom hits and sinks the U.S. destroyer Mannert L. Abele off Okinawa; the first ship ever to be sunk by a piloted bomb. Radio operator SSgt. Henry Erwin on his flight to Japan, on a B-29 named City of Los Angeles, picks up a faulty phosphorous smoke marker, and although blinded, without regard for his own safety, manages to get into the cockpit and throw out the dangerous burning bomb despite third degree burns over most of his upper body and near death. He receives the Medal of Honor and survives; one of four AAF enlisted men to receive the Medal of Honor. News of suicide attacks released to the general public.
Apr 14 —U.S. Ninth Army fifty miles from Berlin. Ike orders his troops to halt at the Elbe instead of going on to Berlin. He fears Hitler is setting up forces in Bavaria. U.S. 5th Army opens their Italian offensive, after a 2-day delay of bad weather, supported by 2,000 heavy bombers. U.S. 10th Mountain DIv, Brazilian 1st Div, the U.S. 34th and 91st Inf divisions astride Route 65, the main road from Florence to Bologna. U.S. 1st Arm Div and South African 6th Arm Div proceed in the valley of which ran Rte 64. U.S. 10 Mtn Div captures Rocca di Roffeno. There were many encounters of Allied troops from the West meeting newly freed Allies from the East. U.S. sub Gabilan attacks Japanese Surabaya-to-Makassar convoy, sinking cargo vessel Kako Maru, and auxiliary submarine chaser No.1 Shonan Maru. U.S. sub Tirante attacks Japanese convoy MOSI-02 in the approaches to the Yellow Sea, sinking transport Jusan Maru, escort vessel Nomi, and Coast Defense Vessel No.31 west of Quelpart Island. For his skill and daring in carrying out this surface attack through mined and shoal-obstructed waters, Lieutenant Commander George L. Street III, Tirante's captain, receives the Medal of Honor. Off Okinawa, kamilazes damage battleship New York, destroyers Sigsbee, Dashiell, and Hunt.
Apr 15 —U.S. First Army captures Leuna. U.S. 3rd and 45th Inf divisions capture Bamberg, 50 kilometers from Nuremberg. Eisenhower shifts weight of U.S. strength from the North to the South, with the foundation of the allied attack at Nuremberg, the shrine of Adolf Hitler. British troops liberate Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and find about 40,000 prisoners. King Christian X secures the release of 423 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, Czechoslovakia. Troops of 2nd Batt 405th Reg, 102nd Inf Div find the aftermath of the massacre committed by SS and Luftwaffe troops two days prior near Gardelegen, Saxony, Germany. Troops of the U.S. 88th and 91st battle hard in the mountains of Italy, the final obstacles before the northern plains; Monte Adone, Monte dei Frati and Monte Rumici. Destroyers Frost and Stanton sink German U-1235 in North Atlantic. TF carrier aircraft attack airfields in s. Kyushu. U.S. troops land on Carabao Island at the entrance to Manila Bay.
Apr 16 —U.S. sub Sea Dog sinks merchant cargo ship Toko Maru off Mikura Jima. U.S. sub Sunfish sinks Manryu Maru and Coast Defense Vessel No. 73. Destroyers Frost and Stanton sink German U-880 in North Atlantic. U.S. 9th Arm Div liberates prisoners held at the Oflag IV-C camp at the "escape-proof" Colditz Castle in Germany. Brazilian troops capture Montese, Italy after 4-day battle, 426 casualties. Russians cross Oder R. and the final drive on Berlin commences. Battleship USS Missouri comes under heavy attack by enemy aircraft off Okinawa.
Apr 17 —U.S. troops of Eighth Army land on Malabang, Parang and Cotabato south Philippines. Nuremberg surrounded by U.S. 3rd and 45th infantry divisions. Stalin gives permission to Konev to turn his tanks north toward Berlin. U.S. 10th Mtn Div makes rapid progress, taking M. Ferra, S. Prospero, and M. Moscoso. U.S. 12 Arm Div clears Gadolzburg, Zautendorf and Heilbronn. Howard Hughes sets a new U.S. transcontinental record in a Lockheed Constellation. Tran Trong Kim is made the Prime Minister of Vietnam.
Apr 17-18 —Nuremberg garrison of fierce mountain and SS divisions fall to fierce artillery and aerial assaults. U.S. troops capture the rail marshaling yards and airport of Nuremberg. Battle for Magdeburg, Germany. Remnants of the past: Pfc Eugene Davis of the 375th Engineer Battalion paints over the swastika on a RR car. The end is near for the Third Reich Next two photos, German soldier prisoners. Refugees, prisoners to a grim and horrible world war setting.
Apr 18 —U.S. freighter Cyrus McCormack, while in convoy HX 348, is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-1107 70 miles s.w. of Brest, France; British rescue ship Gothland picks up the survivors. U.S. sub Swiftscout is torpedoed by German sub U-548 about 145 miles n.e. of Cape Henry, Virginia; Armed Guard gunfire drives the attacker down, but U-548 returns to torpedo the ship a second time, sinking her. Only one man is lost (none of the 10-man Armed Guard) and the survivors are rescued by steamship Chancellorsville. Ernie Pyle, the GI’s war correspondent, is killed on Ie Shima Island near Tegusngu. German resistance in the Ruhr pocket ceases: final prisoner count: 317,000; over 2,000 U.S. wounded and 341 killed. Over 5,639 Allied prisoners and 200,000 displaced slave-persons are freed. A patrol of the 358th Inf Reg, 90th Inf Div, enters Czechoslovakia. Dusseldorf occupied by U.S. First Army. U.S. sub Sea Owl sinks Japanese sub RO 46 off Wake Is.
Apr 19 —Fierce house to house combat in Nuremberg against 15,000 well dug-in German defenders. Leipzig is captured by U.S. 2nd and 69th inf divs. 4th Arm Div liberates Allied prisoner camp outside Nuremberg. 10th Arm Div cuts the Stuttgart-Ulm Autobahn at Kirchen. Destroyer escorts Buckley and Reuben James sink a U-boat in N. Atlantic off Nova Scotia, Canada. 617 Lancasters, 332 Halifaxes, and 20 Mosquitoes attack island of Helgoland, Germany. U.S. Fifth Army reaches the Po plateau in n. Italy. British 8th Army, after British Commandoes successfully seize a narrow isthmus between the eastern shore of Lake Comacchio and the Adriatic Sea, advance slowly n. bounded by the flooded margins of Lake Comacchio and swamps. U.S. sub Cero sinks Japanese guardboat No.3 Isuzu Maru south of Japan U.S. sub Sennet attacking Japanese convoy in Kii Suido off the south coast of Kyushu, sinks auxiliary submarine chaser Cha, and merchant cargo ship Hagane Maru. U.S. sub Sunfish attacks Japanese convoy TSO-201 off Hokkaido, sinks gunboat Kaiho Maru, and merchant cargo ship Taisei Maru. U.S. sub Trutta sinks Japanese merchant vessel Kaiyo Maru, and merchant fishing boats Kinshu Maru and Mitsuyama Maru. Escort carrier Corregidor, while operating east of the Marianas on antisubmarine patrol is damaged by the ferocity of a typhoon.
Apr 20 —Hitler receives top Nazis on his fifty-sixth birthday, last time he emerges from bunker. He appoints two commanders for Germany, Adm. Doenitz (spelled in German Dönitz) in the north, Kesserling in the south. Herman Goring destroys his Karinhal castle and evacuates with his treasures. U.S. 3rd, 42nd, and 45th inf divs capture Nuremberg; my gratitude to Ruiter Productions. USS Franklin transits throught the Panama Canal. While theater lights and neon-type advertising still banned, the British government lifts all other black-out restrictions--except on a 5-mile coastal stretch.
Apr 21 —Americans crack key Okinawan defense on Sugar-Loaf Hill. All resistance in Nuremburg ceases. Americans take Nuremburg. U.S. 10th Arm Div captures atomic scientists and laboratory at Hechlingen. At night, RAF Bomber Command attacks
Berlin, Germany for the last time. Lt. Daniel Inouye of the 442nd and his platoon
destroy 3 German machine gun positions on the Gothic Line near San Terenzo, Italy; suffers a bullet wound in the stomach, a severed arm, and a bullet wound in the leg in the process. U.S. 34th Inf Div and 3rd Carpathian Infantry Division of Polish II Corps liberate Bologna, Italy. French First Army troops capture Stuttgart.
Apr 22 —12th Arm Div is the first U.S. unit to reach the Danube River, southern Germany; crosses at Dillingen. U.S. IV Corps and British XIII Corps reach the Po River at San Benedetto and Ficarolo. Polish 2nd Inf Div captures Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Oranienburg, Germany, camp contains some 3,000 remaining prisoners; thanks SamsonB. Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl depart Berlin, Germany and head to southern Germany on Adolf Hitler's orders.
Apr 23 —Churchill and H. Truman reject Himmler’s offer of surrender to western allies only. U.S. and Russian patrols meet on the Elbe R. Imperial fortress of Ulm falls to U.S. and French troops. Goering in Bavaria suggests he take over, as Hitler is trapped in Berlin, and Hitler orders his arrest. Bergen-Belsen from Apr 23, 1945.
Apr 24 —Patton’s Third Cavalry Group reaches Regensburg on Danube River. Third Army suffers less than 100 casualties per day as they battle across Bavaria. USS F.C. Davis is torpedoed in the N. Atlantic (119 are killed.)
Apr 25 —A patrol of the 69th Inf Div meets Russians at the Elbe River near Torgau.
Apr 27 —Allies liberate Genoa and Verona, Italy. Italian partisans capture Benito Mussolini. Brazilian infantry and U.S. tanks drive out German troops at Collecchio, Italy. Two subsidiary camps of the larger Dachau Concentration Camp, the Kaufering Concentration Camp, are liberated by troops of U.S. 12th Arm Div and 103rd Inf Div. First day of a 2-day fierce Japanese Kikusui attack on ships off Okinawa including 115 Kamikazes. They sink an ammunition ship and damage four destroyers and the hospital ship USS Comfort. The Target Committee of the Manhattan Project selects four cities as possible targets for the Atomic Bomb: Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kokura, and Niigata.
Apr 29 —Patton’s 15th Arm Div liberates Moosburg POW camp of 30,000 including 14,000 Americans. Two tanks under Lt-General Bernard Freyberg, 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, are the first of the Allies to arrive in Venice since the German occupation of the city began and liberate Venice. British Eighth and U.S. Fifth Armies link up near Padua, Italy, town recently liberated by Italian partisans who had surrounded the 5,000-strong German garrison. Dachau concentration camp is liberated by troops of U.S. 42nd, 45th infantry divisions and the 522nd Field Artillery of the 442nd RCT with the story of Clarence Matsumora by historian Eric Saul. General Heinrich von Vietinghoff surrenders Axis forces in northern Italy. Germans in Italy capitulate; representatives of the German command in Italy signed surrender, effective May 2. Bodies of Mussolini and Petacci, his mistress, are taken to Milan and hung upside down for public display at the spot where partisans had been executed earlier. U.S. troops cross Austrian border, capturing Fussen. British Second Army crosses the Elbe River at Hamburg. British frigate, HMS Goodall, is the last British ship to be sunk in the war against Germany when she was torpedoed by U-286 in the Barents Sea; heavy loss of life. French First Army captures Freidrichshafen. American tanks arrive at Oberammergau air test facility in southern Germany. Aircraft designer Willy Messerschmitt is captured along with a secret prototype jet aircraft. Last 8th A.F. bomber sorties in Germany, a B-17 and a B-24 are to obtain radarscope photos of Kiel harbor with a scanner housed in a special aerofoil shaped cover; only the B-17 succeeds. Remainder of the war fly supply missions. British Second Army liberates 20,000 prisoners of war from Sandbostel, Germany. The Western Allies capture Finnmark, Norway.
Apr 29-May 7 —Operation Manna for starving civilians in western Holland.
Apr 30 —Adolf Hitler commits suicide in a Berlin bunker. After 20 days of fighting in the Harz Mountains, the last of 70,000 Germans are captured by U.S. forces. After two days of heavy fighting by the 3rd, 42nd, 45th Inf Divisions and the 20th Arm Div, the city of Munich is captured--rare video of the GIs (there used to be a color video with a dude with a Hitler mustache but it has disappeared. Munich was a big city. In the end, Munich (video colorized; My gratitude to JK Park) had to deal with its past and build up a new town danke Ruiter Productions for another educational vignette of history. PBY (VP 63) sinks German U-boat U-1055 w. of France. Destroyer escorts Thomas, Bostwick, Coffman, and frigate Natchez sink U-548, off Virginia. U.S. 7th Army captures Augsburg. U.S. sub Trepang attacks Japanese convoy MOSI-05, and sinks transport Miho Maru in Yellow Sea.
May 1 —The Fuehrer of the great German Empire, exclaims Radio Berlin, is dead. U.S. freighter Henry L. Abbott is damaged by mine, Manila Bay; 2 dead. Japanese troops begin to withdraw from southern China. Josef Goebbels commits suicide with his wife and 8 children. U.S. sub Sennet damages Japanese Coast Defense Vessel No.50 off Wakayama. Australian troops land in Borneo. The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force arrives in the Philippine Islands. American B-17 bombers drop crates of K-rations over Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
May 2 —Dönitz takes over as head of German regime. Berlin surrenders. Nazis in Italy surrender; U.S. suffered 1,914 killed and 6,160 wounded since April fifth.
May 3 —Patton crosses Inn R. U.S. 11th Arm Div advances s.e. to Gramastetten and Rottenegg. U.S. 71st Inf Div moves bulk of its forces into Austria over Ering and Egglfing dams. U.S. 3rd Inf Div speeds toward Salzburg. U.S. 12th Arm Div continues s. toward Innsbruck, crosses Austrian border and reaches Reisach. French 2nd Arm Div drives on Berchtesgaden, skipping Innsbruck and advances e. along autobahn to Sulzbach. U.S. 103rd Inf Div continues negotiations for surrender of Innsbruck; part of the unit moves toward Brenner Pass in effort to establish contact with Fifth Army troops in Italy. Garrison in Hamburg surrenders to the British. Royal Air Force Hawker “Typhoon” fighter-bombers sink the German passenger ships SS Cap Arcona and SS Deutschland and the German cargo ship SS Thielbek in the Bay of Lûbeck, unaware that the ships are carrying more than 10,000 concentration camp prisoners. About 5,000 people die aboard Cap Arcona (the second-greatest loss of life in a ship sinking in history) and about another 2,750 aboard SS Thielbek, and there also is a heavy loss of life aboard SS Deutschland.
May 4 —Monty receives surrender of German forces in northwest Germany, Holland, and Denmark, to become effective May 5. German generals try to capitulate to western forces only but are refused, again. U.S. 11th Arm falls to heavy enemy fire in Linz and Urfahr. XIX TAC air support unable to assist at Linz due to intense AA fire, but fighter bombers assist CCA with strikes n.w. of Linz. U.S 3rd Inf Div crosses into Austria, advances through Salzburg to Berchtesgaden without opposition. 106th Cavalry Group accepts surrender of Salzburg. The concentration camp at Dachau was still cold and covered with snow, as this rare video in color from chronoshistory shows. Warning, this historical video contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion advised. Was Hitler's body ever found? Elena Rzhevskaya, Soviet Army interpreter plays a decisive role on Hitler's story; danke DW Documentary (42mins25). A unique take on Hitler by Professor Jerome Corsi on the possibility that Hitler escaped. U.S. 36th Inf Div clears banks of Tegern and Schlier Lakes, including towns of Tegernsee and Schliersee, and continues s.w. Advancing toward Berchtesgaden, CCV, 2nd French Arm Div reaches Bad Reichenhall. U.S. 101st Airborne completes movement into XXI corps zone and starts to Neumarkt area for occupation duty within Third Army zone. RCT 506, 101st A/B Div, moves toward Berchtesgaden. U.S. Fifth and Seventh armies link up in Austria at Brenner Pass.
May 5 —British troops enter Copenhagen, my gratitude to British Movietone. U.S. freighter Black Point is torpedoed and sunk by German U-853 some five miles s.e. of Point Judith, Rhode Island; one of 5 Armed Guard sailors is killed, as are 11 of the 41-man merchant complement; the last U.S.-flag merchantman sunk by a U-boat in World War II. Merchant cargo ships Yamatogawa Maru and Naka Maru, oil tanker No.11 Takasago Maru, oiler No.5 Takasago Maru are sunk by aircraft off Korea. The merchant cargo ship Okusu Maru is sunk by aircraft off Karatsu. U.S. B-24s (13th Air Force) raid Japanese shipping and shore installations at Makassar, sinking cargo vessel Kenzan Maru. Navy PBMs and PB4Ys sink cargo ship No.9 Taiun Maru west of Kunsan. Mauthausen concentration camp is liberated by troops of U.S. 11th Arm Div; this concentration camp in Austria had one of the highest number of prisoners below the age of 20. Over Gearhart Mountain, Oregon, a Japanese balloon bomb, after riding the jet stream from the Orient, floated down, explodes killing Mrs. Elsie Mitchell the pregnant wife of a minister, and five children. At that time, the U.S. adopted a policy of silence to reduce the chance of panic among U.S. residents and to deny the Japanese any information on the success of their launches. There were over 9,000 balloons launched and it is said about 1,000 reached the American continent. The Gearhart Mountain episode in history was, however, publicized as a warning for people not to tamper with them. Linz, Austria is liberated by U.S. troops, thank you HistoryFlicks4u.
May 6 —U.S. 16th Arm Div liberates Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, site of Skoda munitions plant. A silent clip of Austria on May 4 and 6th, thank you chronoshistory. U.S. 4th Arm Div speeds through Regen and Freyung Passes into Czechoslovakia: CCB reaches Vel Bor; CCA advances to Strakonice and eastward to Pisek. U.S. 80th Inf Div secures Ernsthofen dam. Destroyer escort Atherton and frigate Moberley sink German submarine U-853 near Block Island, Rhode Island. Destroyer escort Farquhar sinks German submarine U-881, North Atlantic, 43°18'N, 47°44'W. U-881 becomes the last submarine sunk in the Atlantic by U.S. forces. U.S. sub Hammerhead sinks Japanese fleet tanker Kinrei Maru in Gulf of Thailand. Naval landing force, covered by destroyer escort Wintle and minesweeper YMS-354 help evacuate some 500 Marshallese from Jaluit in infantry landing craft LCI-394, LCI-479 and LCI-481. U.S. 29th Inf Div Chaplain Manuel Poliakoff conducts a memorial service in Schloss Rheydt, the former home of Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels.
May 7 —German High Command surrenders all land, sea, and air forces unconditionally to Allied forces. Jodl and Dönitz sign the surrender at Ike’s HQ in Rheims at 0141 hours, Central European Time. Russians are represented but Moscow later will ignore this surrender in its propaganda. In Czechoslovakia, Ukrainian troops continue clearing Olmuetz area. U.S. 803rd Tank Destroyers ambushed near Volary, Czechoslovakia, 1 killed, 3 wounded. Pfc Dominic Mozzetta, 97th Inf Div, fires a shot at a German sniper near Klenovice, Czechoslovakia, at night and this is claimed as the last shot fired in the European Theater of War. U.S. Sixth Army meets determined resistance at Wawa, Luzon. U.S. Marines under heavy fire at Nan Hill and s. of Awacha, Okinawa. Secret 100-ton test explosion at Alamogordo, New Mexico.
May 8 —V-E Day is celebrated in western Europe and the USA as Churchill and Truman broadcast word of the end of the war against Germany 75 years ago. For this special day we added extra links. Actual Churchill broadcast by radio to the world. V-E Day in color modern interpretation with great footage. Buckingham Palace with tons of people celebrating (4.44mins). Truman announces V-E-Day (1min30). Unfortunately because of COVID-19, 75th Anniversary events of V-E Day are dampened but not forgotten. BBC 2020. A 2020 the Queen's Special Link. Miss Green's Assembly about V-E Day. Happiness in Paris on V-E-Day. 75th anniversary celebrations (was perceived (WWII) (UK/(Global)) - BBC News last Feb. A nice 2020 little musical mosaic with pictures. A special color-b/w combination in HD with real radio announcements of V-E Day. My gratitude to Winston Churchill Speeches, Imperial War Museums and Vikki, AIRBOYD, MyFootage.com, BBC News, The Royal Family Channel, Waterbeach School, atelierdesarchives Best Of, Mark 1333, Ben Millington, and The Dork Knight for the above educational videos. U.S. Third Army establishes contact with Red Army, at Amstetten, in the vicinity of Strengberg, and at St. Peter. Eight GIs from 26th Inf Div killed in Pernek, Czechoslovakia. First Ukrainian Front push toward Prague. Total U.S. casualties in the European Theater of Operations, aka E.T.O., from June of '44 to May 8, 1945 were 552,117; of those, 104,812 gave their lives in battle. Total U.S. ground casualties in Czechoslovakia: 116 killed and 353 wounded. Total U.S. ground casualties in Austria: 118 killed and 507 wounded. Figures cited above do not include the Mediterranean, such as the liberation of Italy or Sicily or the Eastern Front. Central Europe campaign: U.S. 15,009 killed in action. Total U.S. Army casualties in Europe: 177,549 killed; 472,742 wounded; 151,920 non-battle casualties. Total U.S. Navy casualties in the ETO: 5,793 killed and 6,077 wounded. Rain hampers ground, air, and naval operations on Okinawa. Four Japanese vessels are sunk by PBMs or PB2Ys on sweeps off w. coast of Korea. Liberators bomb Japanese shipping and shore installations at Makassar, sinking gunboat Kenzan Maru and cargo ship Hakko Maru. Japanese merchant cargo ship Shuncho Maru is sunk by a mine s. of Futaoi Jima. U.S. sub Bowfin sinks Japanese fishing boat No.3 Daito Maru east-southeast of Todogasaki.
May 9 —Keitel signs unconditional surrender in Berlin. Norwegian Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling is arrested. Russians take Prague, Czechoslovakia. Civility of the Czech people breaks down. A public announcement calls for "Death to Germans" and a week of revenge begins. German-speaking civilians, male and female, are brutalized and others killed. There is rape and looting. Troops of Third Ukrainian Front driving w. in Austria reach Amstetten and Graz and make contact with U.S. forces near Amstetten. Resistance on Eastern Front is limited to Austrian and Czechoslovakian areas, where enemy is retreating w. and s.w. as rapidly as possible. Soviet citizens celebrate their WW II victory in Europe at Red Square.
May 10 —Germans in St. Nazaire and Lorient surrender to U.S. 66th Inf Div. American POW Lt. John F. Kinney and 4 other Marines jump off a Japanese prisoner train in China and journeyed for 47 days with the help of Chinese communists before reuniting with U.S. troops.
May 11 —Churchill urges Truman to keep U.S. troops in advanced positions in Germany until assured of Stalin’s intentions in eastern Europe. Soviet forces finish clearing Czechoslovakia and Austria and begin to mop up isolated remnants. Contact is made with U.S. forces in vicinity of Chemnitz (Saxony), Pilsen (Czechoslovakia), and Linz (Austria). Two kamikazes crash their planes into the U.S. carrier Bunker Hill near Okinawa; 496 Americans died with them, knocking the ship out of the war.
May 17 —President of Rumania executed by Communists.
May 18 —Off Okinawa, transport Sims is damaged by a kamikaze, the tank landing ship LST-808 by aerial torpedo and freighter Cornelius Vanderbilt (carrying gasoline and explosives, as well as general cargo) is bombed by Japanese planes and set afire off Ie Shima; her crew puts out the fires and save the ship. U.S. sub Shad sinks Japanese merchant cargo ship Chosan Maru in the Yellow Sea off Gunzan, Korea. U.S. destroyer Longshaw is damaged by shore battery off Naha, Okinawa, explodes and is a total wreck. A fascinating look at Hitler's nuclear pile, thanks to bionerd23.
May 19 —German U-234 Type XB U-boat makes port at Portsmouth, New Hampshire and surrenders. The public swarms the port with the news media trying to cover the action, but are kept away. A 2min video from CriticalPast of the captured crew members, silent. She was carrying a fully dismantled Me 262 jet and an assortment of German technology, including blueprints for proximity fuzes, jet planes and chemical rockets. Plus, 10 containers filled with 1,200 pounds of uranium oxide, a basic material of atomic bombs. Some 50 years later, a John Lansdale Jr., stated that the uranium went into the mix of raw materials used for making the world's first atom bombs. In 1945, he was an Army lieutenant colonel for intelligence and security for the atomic bomb project, the Manhattan Project. The uranium oxide story was hush hush then. His story raises the possibility that the American weapons that leveled the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki contained at least some nuclear material originally destined for Japan's own secret atomic program, but never made it. The story of U-234 with her nuclear U235 cargo destined to Japan, my gratitude to Deep13th Nuclear Waste Info.
May 21 —Hollywood stars Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart married.
May 23 —Churchill resigns as Prime Minister, but continues to serve as the head of the caretaker government until the election of July 26. Heavy incendiary raids on Tokyo, 17 B-29s lost. Heinrich Himmler is captured by the British. While in custody, he commits suicide with a hidden vial of cyanide. West of Hime Jima, 3 Japanese cargo vessels sunk by mines laid by B-29s, Sagami Maru, 2 Shinri Maru, and Kimigayo Maru.
May 24 —In Mindanao, U.S. Eighth Army’s X Corps area, 2d Bn of 19th Inf, 24th Div, effects junction with Filipino guerrillas near Tagum R. Elements of 6th Mar Div Rcn Co cross the Asato, which engineers bridge, and enter n.w. Naha without opposition.
May 24-25 —During the night, 4 special Japanese bombers ( Mitsubishi Ki-21 bombers nicknamed Sallies) are destroyed making a run into Okinawa, but the 5th makes it through landing on airfield on Yontan, Japanese troops run out of the plane shooting and creating mayhem. Two fuel dumps blown up. 7 U.S. planes destroyed; 26 are damaged; 2 Americans killed, 18 wounded before Japanese are killed. Ie Shima is bombed by other Japanese aircraft.
May 25—Kamikazes sink high speed transport Bates and landing ship LSM-135 off Okinawa; 7 other vessels damaged. U.S. sub Blenny sinks Japanese gunboat Kairyu Maru. U.S. sub Ray sinks Japanese schooner Tsuki Maru 35 miles e. of Kaiyo Island. British submarine HMS Thorough sinks Japanese cargo ship Nittei Maru off west coast of Borneo. British submarine HMS Trenchant sinks Japanese auxiliary minesweeper Wa 105 e. of Mandalike Island. U.S. sub Billfish sinks merchant cargo ship No.7 Kotobuki Maru off Nagasaki, Japan. U.S. airplanes carry out heaviest destruction on Tokyo in a raid, 16.8 sq miles destroyed, at a cost of 26 B-29s. Arthur C. Clark proposes relay satellites in geosynchronous orbit. Joint Chiefs of Staff approve secretive directive for Operation OLYMPIC, invasion of Japanese home islands, scheduled for November 1, 1945. Szilard attempts to warn Truman in person concerning the dangers of atomic weapons.
May 27—U.S. sub Tench sinks merchant cargo ship Kinei Maru off Kushiro light. U.S. sub Tigrone sinks guardboat No.3 Yawata Maru off Tori Jima. No.2 Daito Maru is sunk by aircraft off Yosu. Commanding General, Alaskan Department, requests Navy assistance in evacuating local citizens endangered by Yukon River floods.
May 28—Off Okinawa, over a hundred enemy planes, including kamikazes, are shot down. U.S. destroyer Drexler is sent to the bottom of the sea. Transport Sandoval, Brown Victory, Josiah Snelling, and LCS(L)-119 damaged. This is the last strong enemy air effort against Okinawa invasion. U.S. sub Ray sinks merchant Biko Maru nw. of Changshan.
May 29—U.S. 24th Inf Div opens drive on Mandog, Mindanao, last Japanese defensive position n. of Davao Plain. U.S. 1st Marine Div captures Shuri-castle in Okinawa. U.S. sub Sterlet sinks Japanese army cargo ships Kuretake Maru and Tenryo Maru. Off Okinawa, kamikazes crash destroyer Shubrick, LST-844 and transport Tatum.
May 30—U.S. aircraft from carrier Anzio sink Japanese submarine I 361, 400 miles s.e. of Okinawa. U.S. sub Croaker sinks No.154 Shuttle Boat and No.146 Shuttle Boat. U.S. sub Blenny sinks cargo ship Hokoku Maru 40 miles s.w. of Bandjermasin.
May 31—1,782,832 U.S. infantrymen in the Army, by June 30, 1947, only 126,121 remained.
June 3—U.S. forces on Luzon continue rapid press northward against scattered resistance, reaching 9500 yards n. of Santa Fe. U.S. 1st Marine Div thrusts across the Kokuba; U.S. 6th Mar Div prepares amphibious operation against Oroku Peninsula.
U.S. sub Blueback sinks a Japanese merchant fishing boat. U.S. sub Segundo sinks merchantman No.94 Anto Maru off Jinsen, Korea. Mines laid by B-29s sink Momo Maru, naval vessel No.15 Hakutetsu Maru in Inland Sea, army cargo ship Taiei Maru, 3.7 kilometers off Motoyama light, merchant cargo ships Osara Maru off Motoyama Bay, and Konei Maru outside Karatsu harbor. Captured high-ranking Nazis in 2.55mins short bw video, my gratitude to British Pathé. These scenes in color of German war prisoners were quite prevalent in early 1945, thanks to World War Footage to give us a glimpse of what actual participants of WW II saw. Nuremberg, a city of the Reichsparteitage (Reich Party Congresses) in color showing a people that had a chance to change for the better. Many of the people are long gone, but you see the main city and a people that had to learn to cope with survival PLUS bombed backdrops and backdrops of serene countrysides just east of Nuremberg. My father, attached to peacekeeping til late '45, attended one of those shows in the heart of that cradle of Nazism, Nuremberg which just a measly decade earlier was central core to the fabled Nuremberg Rallies, 1927-1938. There was a huge airfield set up for zeppelins, as this next little 4.49min video shows, set up by Ruiter Productions giving us how Nuremberg looks now and then, from a high panorama above--and the entrance of a city that was not that small--to a moment in history where the powerful dictator Hitler actually walked, another 5mins historical video by Ruiter Productions. In its heyday, it was no cheap affair, as the wheels of propaganda turned to ensnarl and twist the minds that Nazism was good and great during the Great Depression. But the American GIs, the depression-era kids, fought hard and came a long way to see that Nazism was defeated--which brings us to a key historical point, a conflict cannot be made up of years translating to a forever-scenario: their post-Nazi German GI Joe show was created by his generation with the knowledge that their war was over, and they created a show set up by fellow GIs, guys who were in the main ready to be civilian again and that brings us to the main point: Its been almost 20 years ago that 9-11 occurred. Why are we still sending our young faces into in-formal labeled war zones but which has all the markings of a real war zone, war zones give humanity leg-less people, injured bodies and death. This so-called modern "war against terrorism" has pricked our generation ever since 9-11, and every politician, hoping to get elected, promises that we will "bring our boys back" but never do. If the lessons of history, almost 20 years worth of lessons since 9-11, show no victory or victory parades, then pull out and get the hell out of there so that no more troops come home limbless or worse, in a box. Thank you for experiencing with us the memories of those GI Joes in fallen enemy territory; but remember, many did not go home right away. (Some were assigned to occupation duty in a broken Europe and others were to go to the far-away Pacific, where the war was still being fought.) Another item to remember is that Spring of 1945, Germany alone had imprisoned over 15 million people. What’s the deal with establishing prisoner camps and what did they do with prisoners? At your leisure, view this educational and excellent documentary on Prisoners of War, thank you Janson Media.
June 4—U.S., Russia, England & France agree to split occupied Germany. U.S. sub Billfish sinks Japanese merchant cargo ship Taiu Maru off Chinnampo, Korea. U.S. sub Tench sinks Japanese transport Ryujin Maru off Hachinohe. U.S. freighter Colin P. Kelly, Jr., bound for Antwerp, Belgium, in convoy is damaged by mine off the Downs; later written off as a total loss. U.S. freighter New Bern Victory, en route to Constanta, Rumania, is damaged by mine six miles off Odessa in Black Sea.
June 5—Allied Control Commission assumes authority over Germany at meeting in Berlin. Germany is to be divided into four zones of occupation. Allied units are in the arduous process of moving a million and a half Allied prisoners from numerous nations to their homeland. B-29 air raids over Kobe, destroy some 50% of the city; 3,614 inhabitants killed, over 51,000 buildings destroyed from 3 air raids. Off Okinawa, kamikazes damage the battleship Mississippi and heavy cruiser Louisville.
Monster typhoon s.e. of Okinawa damages battleships Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Missouri; carriers Bennington and Hornet, small carriers Belleau Wood and San Jacinto, escort carriers Windham Bay, Salamaua, Bougainville, and Attu, heavy cruisers Baltimore, Quincy, and Pittsburgh, light cruisers Detroit, San Juan, Duluth, and Atlanta, destroyers Schroeder, John Rodgers, McKee, Dashiell, Stockham, De Haven, Maddox, Blue, Brush,Taussig, and Samuel N. Moore, destroyer escorts Donaldson, Conklin, and Hilbert, oilers Lackawanna and Millicoma, and ammunition ship Shasta; and 76 aircraft are lost due to typhoon.
June 7—U.S. sub Shad sinks army transport Azusa Maru and tanker No.22 Nanshin Maru, 50 miles s.w. of Yoso-do, Korea. U.S. sub Tench sinks Japanese guardboat Hanshin Maru in Sea of Japan. Off Okinawa, kamikazes damage escort carrier Natoma Bay, and destroyer Anthony; operational casualties account for damage to medium landing ship LSM-270, landing craft flotilla flagship LC(FF)-988 and tank landing craft LCT-1054. U.S. 94th Inf Division receives order to be transferred (again) to Third Army, this time to Czechoslovakia.
June 8—Thoroughbred horse races under the supervision of the 94th Div are held in Dusseldorf.
June 9—Japanese Premier Kantaro Suzuki declares that Japan will fight to the last rather than accept unconditional surrender.
June 10—The Soviet commander orders British to leave Vienna.
June 11—Metallurgical Laboratory scientists under German physicist James Franck, who won the 1925 Nobel Prize in Physics, issue the Franck Report. Professor Franck took the report to Washington DC and argued for a demonstration of the bomb before using it against civilian targets. Oppenheimer, Fermi, Compton, and Lawrence (the Scientific Panel) disagreed with part of the Franck Report; further secret discussion on how to use the bomb ensued among scientific and political leaders.
June 19—B-24 “Liberators” of the' 404th Bombardment Squadron conduct the longest bombing mission in the North Pacific Area during WW II, flying a 2,700-mile (4,348-km) round trip from Shemya (Aleutians) to attack the Japanese base at Kruppu in the Kurile Islands. The B-24s are in the air for 15½ hours. 481 B-29s drop 3,335 tons of bombs on Toyohashi and other cities in Japan. U.S. sub Bullhead sinks Japanese auxiliary sailing vessel No.57 Tachibana Maru in Sunda Strait, off Merak. U.S. sub Cabezon sinks merchant Zaosan Maru s.w. of Paramushiro. U.S. sub Sea Dog sinks cargo ship Kokai Maruand and merchant cargo ship No.3 Shinhei Maru. Millions of New Yorkers cheer Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was honored with a parade. U.S. freighter Calvin Coolidge, en route from Le Havre, France, to Boston, Massachusetts, is damaged by mine in N. Atlantic.
June 20—U.S. sub Kraken sinks Japanese auxiliary sailing vessel No.58 Tachibana Maru in Sunda Strait, off Merak. U.S. sub Tinosa sinks Japanese army cargo ship Taito Maru and merchant cargo ship Kaisei Maru off the coast of Korea. B-24s of U.S. 5th A.F. sink cargo ship Keijo Maru off Mokpo, Korea.
June 21-22—Final Japanese Kikusui attack off Okinawa, 45 kamikazes able to destroy LSM-59 and high speed transport Barry; seaplane tenders Curtiss, Kenneth Whiting, minesweeper Ellyson, LST-534, and destroyer escort Halloran are damaged. U.S. sub Parche sinks merchant cargo ship Hizen Maru. B-29s mine the seas off Oura, Senzaki, Nanao, Fushiki and Osaka, Japan. PB4Y-2s continue aerial mining of waters of Korean archipelago. U.S. freighter Pierre Gibault, en route from Izmir, Turkey, to Oran, Algeria, is damaged by mine off Kythera Island, Mediterranean Sea. The WW II battle for Okinawa officially ends as Japanese forces on Okinawa surrendered; 12,520 Americans and 108,000 Japanese soldiers, plus 130,000 civilians were killed in the 81-day campaign; 39,000 U.S. wounded; over 26,000 non-battle casualties, about 20,000 were psychiatric casualties. Allied vessels lost were 36 and 368 damaged. Japanese suffer heavy losses in aircraft, 7,800. The battle for Okinawa proved to be the bloodiest in the Pacific Theater. American possession of Okinawa, with its air and naval bases, brings the war much closer to the Japanese homeland. Japanese troops set fire to Liuchow, China in preparation for withdrawal. Chinese are in outskirts.
June 25—Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo announces the fall of Okinawa.
June 26—468 B-29s hit Osaka and other cities in Japan with 3,058 tons of bombs. The final Charter of the United Nations was unanimously adopted by the delegates in San Francisco, convened on April 25 with 50 nations represented. Charter is signed by 50 participating nations but is not ratified until October 24. U.S. sub Parche sinks gunboat Kamitsu Maru and merchant cargo ship Eikan Maruseven off Todozaki, s. Honshu. U.S. destroyers Bearss, John Hood, Jarvis, and Porter sink Japanese auxiliary submarine chasers Cha 73, Cha 206, Cha 209, and guardboat No.2 Kusunoki Maru. B–29’s of XXI BC begin night attacks on Japanese oil refineries.
June 27—U.S. sub Blueback sinks Japanese submarine chaser Ch 2 north of Lombok, Java Sea. Japanese army cargo ship Hozu Maru is sunk by aircraft, near Rabaul, New Britain. Japanese submarine I 165 is sunk by naval land-based aircraft (VPB 142), 450 miles east of Saipan, Marianas. In U.S. Sixth Army’s I Corps area, 129th Inf of 37th Div reaches Aparri, ending Cagayan Valley drive. This virtually concludes the Luzon Campaign.
June 28—485 B-29s hit Okayama, Sasebo and Moji; modern-day Moji Port, Japan.
June 30—The 509th Composite Group, with modified B-29 Superfortresses, the secret delivery arm of the Manhattan Project, led by Lieutenant Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, begins to fly combat missions in the Pacific. U.S. subs Baya and Capitaine attack Japanese Makassar-to-Surabaya convoy MASU-705, engage the escorting submarine chaser Ch 5 and sink cargo vessel Bandai Maru.
July 1—The 7th Australian Div lands at Balikpapan, Borneo. Japanese resistance is light at first, but increases as Australians drive inland. Over 500 B-29s hit Ube, Kure, Shimonoseki, and Kumamoto, Japan. U.S. sub Haddo sinks Japanese Coast Defense Vessel No.72 and merchant cargo ships Konri Maru and 1 Taiun Maru and No.2 Taiun Maru in Yellow Sea off w. coast of Korea. U.S. 5th Air Force airplanes sink Japanese merchant cargo ship Shinneisho Maru at mouth of Yangtze River.
July 2—The first successful use of rockets fired from a submarine against shore positions: U.S. sub Barb employs rockets against shore installations at Kaihyo Island off the e. coast of Karafuto, Japan. 532 B-29 “Superfortresses” drop 3,709 tons of bombs on Kure, Kumamoto, and other cities in Japan.
July 3—U.S. troops land at Balikpapan and capture Sepinggan airfield on Borneo. Some 560 Superfortresses firebomb Kochi, Himeji, Takamatsu, and Tokushima.
July 4—General Douglas MacArthur announces the end of Japanese resistance on Luzon, Philippines despite pockets of die-hards. Two large pockets of enemy remain on n. Luzon: about 11,000 Japanese are estimated to be concealed in Sierra Madre Mountains; and an estimated 12,000 are established in Kiangan-Bontoc area. Luzon Campaign ended officially at mid-night June 30–July 1. Operations to eliminate these pockets continue until end of the war. The 6th, 32nd, 37th, and 38th American infantry divisions plus Filipino guerrilla forces continue final mop up on Luzon. U.S. sustains 10,640 dead, 36,550 wounded; 190,000 Japanese fought to the death. U.S. 24th Inf Div conducts final amphibious operation in the Philippines—a landing on Mindanao at Sarangani Bay. U.S. sub Tirante sinks Japanese guardboats Koshe Maru and Mashuye Maru in the Yellow Sea, east of Tsingtao, China. The 94th Inf Div holds a big 4th of July parade in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia.
July 6—Operation Overcast began in Europe--moving Austrian and German scientists and their equipment to the United States. Pres. Truman signs an executive order establishing the Medal of Freedom.
July 7—Pres. Truman, Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, and Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy embark on the heavy cruiser USS Augusta and sail to Antwerp, Belgium, and then Potsdam. U.S. sub Trepang sinks merchant cargo ship No.2 Koun Maru. 568 B-29s drop 4,227 tons (3,835 metric tons/tonnes) of bombs on Chiba and other cities in Japan.
July 8—U.S. sub Cod rescues stranded men of Dutch submarine O 19 that had been on Ladd Reef, South China Sea, 300 miles n.w. of Brunei Bay. U.S. sub Sea Robin sinks auxiliary submarine chaser Cha 85 off Quelpart Island. U.S. sub Tirante sinks merchant passenger/cargo ship Saitsu Maru near Dairen, Korea.
July 9—U.S. sub Bluefish sinks Japanese auxiliary sub chaser Cha 50 off e. coast of Malaya. Phase V of Operation STARVATION, a total blockade of the Japanese home islands, begins as 30 B-29s mine Shimonoseki Straits and the waters off Niigata and Nanao. The mines sink cargo ship Nippu Maru outside Wakamatsu harbor, damage cargo ship Kamishima Maru off Wakamatsu, and damage army cargo ship Gakujo Maru, merchant cargo vessels Shinto Maru outside Wakamatsu harbor, and Sanzen Maru, five kilometers s.e of Genkai Jima light, and merchant tanker Mitsu Maru in Kobe harbor. 475 B-29s firebomb Sendai, Sakai, Gifu, and Wakayama, concluding the raid early the following morning; 61 B-29s bomb the oil refinery at Yokkaichi.
July 10—U.S. sub Hammerhead sinks cargo ship Sakura Maru and merchant tanker No.5 Nanmei Maru. U.S. sub Moray sinks merchant whaler No.6 Fumi Maru e. of Kinkazan. U.S. sub Runner sinks Japanese minesweeper W.27 off Tadosaki, north Honshu. U.S. sub Sea Robin sinks cargo ship Sakishima Maru n. of Quelpart Island. Airfields and industrial targets in Tokyo area are hit. Japanese air reaction is light.
July 11—U.S. sub Barb sinks Japanese guardboat No.15 Seiho Maru off Hokkaido.
U.S. sub Kingfish sinks Japanese fishing boat Inari Maru off Maedate, Japan. Twenty-seven B-29s mine Shimonoseki Straits and the waters off Najin and Pusan, Korea—marking the first mining operation in Korean waters by B-29s—and mine Maizuru, Japan. Mines sink Japanese escort destroyer Sakura off Osaka, and merchant cargo ship No.3 Takechi Maru near Shodo Jima, and damage merchant vessel Tatsutyuyu Maru off Senzaki.
July 12—Mines sink Japanese salvage ship Nasu Maru near Niigata, Japan, cargo vessel No.3 Fukushin Maru off Osaka harbor lighthouse, merchant cargo ship Kojun Maru 180 miles e. of Niigata light, and tanker Mitsu Maru in Akashi Strait; freighters Takarasan Maru and Nasu Maru damaged.
July 13—Italy declares war on Japan.
July 14—American battleships and cruisers bombard the Japanese home islands (at Kamaishi) for the first time. The battleship USS South Dakota is the first U.S. ship to bombard Japan. Primary target is the Ironworks plant. Naval Task Force 38 aircraft strike at shipping, rail facilities and ground installations in Japan despite bad weather.
July 15—Central Burma Campaign ends: total U.S. casualties: 552 killed; over 2,393 wounded. Pres. Truman arrives at Potsdam, just outside Berlin.
July 16—The world’s first nuclear bomb explodes. Scientists at the secret site, about 240 miles from Los Alamos, at Alamogordo, New Mexico, conduct a test called the Trinity Test; which involved a critical mass of plutonium. Detonators set off high explosives to cause the mass of radioactive material to squeeze in upon itself until it reached a super critical mass. This implosion, then, resulted in the splitting of the nuclei in the plutonium atoms, which produced intense heat, blast, and radiation. Part of the TOP SECRET Manhattan Project. An enormous blast with boiling clouds and multi-colors ensues; eyewitness account. The flash was produced by a "Gadget," a plutonium implosion device, that detonated successfully in the Trinity Test, demonstrating that the Fat Man atomic bomb design will work. (My gratitude of the above 4 videos to the American Heritage Foundation.) The "Gadget" superseded a fat encasing bomb called "jumbo' and is explained. (Thanks to Forrest Haggerty who even did a Google for you.) African Americans played an important—though often overlooked—role on the Manhattan Project. Photographer Berlyn Brixner recalls July 16 (and thanks Atomic Heritage for the history snippet.)
July 17—Potsdam Conference commences. Five battleships, two light cruisers, and ten destroyers bombard heavily industrialized Mito-Hitachi area of Honshu. British battleship HMS King George V and two British destroyers join the force, making this the first joint U.S.-British bombardment of the Japanese homeland. U.S. aircraft and British aircraft from their respective carriers jointly conduct raids over enemy airfields in the Tokyo area. Over 200 U.S. B-24s, B-25s, A-26s, and P-47s, attack Kiangwan airdrome, Shanghai, which contains the largest concentration of Japanese aircraft in China. Twenty-eight B-29s mine Shimonoseki Straits and the waters off Chongjin, Korea, and Nanao and Fushiki, Japan.
July 18—Aircraft from carrier Wasp bomb Japanese installations on Wake Island. U.S. sub Barb sinks Japanese Coast Defense Vessel No.112 s. of Sakhalin, n. Japan.
July 19—U.S. sub Bumper sinks fleet tanker No.3 Kyoei Maru in Gulf of Siam. B-29s mine the waters off the ports of Niigata, Kobe, Osaka, Maizuru and Miyazu plus the Korean ports of Wonsan and Hungnam; overall 20th A.F. flies 18 total missions over Korea. Japanese aircraft strike the U.S. fleet off Okinawa; a kamikaze crashes and damages destroyer Thatcher; another nearly crashes destroyer Charles J. Badger.
July 23—U.S. sub Barb lands an eight-man commando unit which blows up a Japanese train on the east coast of Karafuto. U.S. sub Hardhead sinks Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser Cha 117 off Java.
July 27—FDR postal stamp issued. The Potsdam ultimatum of surrender is issued to Japan, but makes no mention of the Emperor's future. Japan has over 3,900 aircraft mainly kamikazes and some 3,000 suicide vessels and 2.3 million Japanese troops plus 3.8 million garrison and service troops and a volunteer civilian force of 28 million awaiting the invasion. U.S. sub Pogy sinks merchant cargo ship Chikuzen Maru s.w. of Kyogasaki, about 90 miles n. of Tottori, Honshu. U.S. aircraft sink landing ship T.176, transport Doshi Maru, and submarine chaser No.40 Giso Maru.
July 28—Third Fleet aircraft under Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. strike Inland Sea area, between Nagoya and Northern Kyushu; principally targeting the Kure Naval Base. TF 38 planes sink battleship Haruna off Eta Jima, 8 miles n.w. of Kure; battleship-carrier Ise, 5 miles n.w. of Kure; training ship Izumo off Eta Jima; heavy cruiser Aoba, Kure Navy Yard, light cruiser Oyodo; submarine I 404, Kure; submarine depot ship Komahashi, destroyer Nashi, Mitajirizaki, Kure; guardboat No.5 Fukuju Maru at Kujukurihama, Chiba prefecture; guardboats No.2 Fukusei Maru and No.2 Inari Maru, Kobe; stores ship Kosho Maru, and auxiliary minesweeper No.18 Banshu Maru, Owase; guardboat No.2 Han'ei Maru, Aomori; naval auxiliary Koryu Maru, Innoshima dockyard; plus merchantmen Kinzan Maru 4 miles e. of Ogashima, and Kiyotada Maru in Ube harbor; merchants No.11 Kyowa Maru in Kobe harbor and No.3 Mikage Maru off Otaru; and merchant tankers No.4 Kinyu Maru 3; and No.6 Kinyu Maru. British carrier planes sink Coast Defense Vessel No.4 in Ise Bay; Coast Defense Vessel No.30 off Yura. Many other vessels damaged including carrier Katsuragi. Destroyer Callaghan is sunk by a kamikaze, on radar picket station approximately 50 miles s.w. of Okinawa; the last Allied vessel to be lost to a kamikaze. U.S. Submarine Sennet attacks Japanese convoy off western Honshu, sinks merchant cargo ships Hagikawa Maru, eight miles west of Noshiro harbor, and No.15 Unkai Maru and Hakuei Maru off Sakata. The Japanese ignore the ultimatum which prompts Pres. Truman to approve plans to drop atomic weapons on Japan.
Aug 1—New transatlantic record of 3600 miles, N.Y. to Paris, set by a Lockheed Constellation C-69: 14 hours, 12 mins. 836 B-29s and 160 plus P-47s and P-51s strike Japan with some 6,ooo tons of bombs. Typhoon strikes Japan.
Aug 2—The Potsdam Conference attended by President Truman, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee (who had replaced Churchill as prime minister in the July general elections in Britain), and Russian Premier Stalin, ends. From Potsdam: the division and occupation of post-war Germany is confirmed (v important in shaping Europe for the remainder of the 20th Century); Japan has two alternatives: an unconditional surrender or utter destruction. Japanese Foreign Minister Togo sends a new cable to the Japanese Ambassador in Moscow to seek Russian help in attaining peace terms based on the Potsdam ultimatum and get an audience with Foreign Minister Molotov. For the next six days, Molotov refused to see Sato.
Aug 3—Some 100 Mustang P-51s attack Tokyo despite bad weather. British subs HMS Tiptoe and HMS Trump attack Japanese Batavia-to-Singapore convoy and sink cargo vessel Tencho Maru.
Aug 4—U.S. destroyers arrive to area where cruiser Indianapolis was sunk and begin the grim task of locating and identifying body parts still floating in the water; all remains are sent to the deep tied to a five inch shell. 580 B-29s bomb Japan including the coal liquefaction plant at Ube. U.S. Liberty ship William J. Palmer is sunk by a mine five miles out of Trieste, Italy.
Aug 6 —Destruction of city of Hiroshima by one Atomic Bomb at 8:15 a.m. The A-bomb at Hiroshima using incredible computer skills by Forrest Haggerty describes the route. Two minute description by WW II veteran Dutch Van Kirk. Bomb blast detonated at a height of 6-1 kilometers with a temperature in excess of 20,000-30,000˚F, within 1 kilometer, with a blast wave at sonic velocity. The “fireball diameter” was probably at 2-4 kilometers. Hiroshima on fire (above). A huge mushroom cloud rises 50,000 ft; scorching winds and a bubbling black molasses seem to cover entire city. The bomb was carried aboard the B-29 Enola Gay, piloted by Paul Tibbets. The entire concept of war changed the summer of 1945. 1.4 km from the epicenter of the blast was Akihiro Takahashi, a 14 yr-old. The Teikoku Bank building had a vault that withstood the blast. The Old Bank of Hiroshima, with a strong steel reinforced frame was barely 250 meters from hypocenter of the A-bomb and its steel walls also survived, but inside a horrible fire ravaged it. Stories of survivors, within the bank vault of the Old Bank of Japan, Hiroshima branch. Ms Akiko Takakura speaks of seeing fires starting from burning fingertips. There were 90,000 buildings in Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped; only 28,000 remained in some form or another after the bombing. Of the city’s 200 doctors before the explosion, only 20 were left alive or capable of working. There were 1,780 nurses before the detonation, but only 150 remained who were able to tend to the sick and dying. A nearby church, the Urukami Cathedral with its two priests, who were hearing confessions, and thirty of the Faithful were cooked to a cinder. Eyewitnesses from another source in a streetcar. Eight German Jesuit missionaries lived in a home 8 blocks from the epicenter of the A-Bomb. This home had a church attached to it which was destroyed, but the home survived. The 8 Catholic missionaries survived with relatively minor injuries. They all lived well past that awful day with no radiation sickness, no loss of hearing, or any other visible long term defects or maladies. Rev. Schiffer, gave his personal testimony of survival, unique as can be, “we believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the rosary daily in that home.” The single bomb detonated with the force of 15,000 tons of TNT but with a nuclear component that killed 80,000 instantly, as this special report from The New York Times encapsulates with old-time radio. Archive footage in b/w (1min13 sec) silent. A special link via 10 historical facts (with color footage discovered in 2011) on Hiroshima many are not aware of; very interesting. Thanks WatchMojo.com. Maj. Richard Bong U.S. ace is accidentally killed in jet crash, Burbank, California.
Aug 7—170 B-29s bomb Japan.
Aug 8—USSR declares war on Japan, effective on Aug 9.
Aug 9—Destruction of city of Nagasaki by one Atomic Bomb. Atomic bomb is dropped on redirected target Nagasaki at 12:01 p.m., 75,000 dead, 75,000 radiation sickness inflicted. Primary target was Kokura. The movie All That Remains is about the bomb survivor Takashi Nagai, pioneering scientist and Christian convert who lost everything. Some people have a misconception that it was chosen because of its Catholic population. There is no solid evidence thus far to indicate Nagasaki was chosen as a target because of a huge Catholic population. Nagasaki was not even the primary target. Although research indicates it was the most Catholic of all of the cities in Japan, Roman Catholics were only a small 04.52 percent of the total population of the Nagasaki area. A third Atomic bomb was planned had Japan not surrendered. On an intelligence tip, Navy carrier planes manage to locate and destroy 251 aircraft, damaging 141 in Misawa, camouflaged site of a suicide mission against B-29 bases in the Marianas. My gratitude to BBC Studios, Pixel Revolution Films, Majoroakent, and Mark Felton Productions for the above 4 history videos.
Aug 10—U.S. and British carrier aircraft hit shipping, airfields and railroads in northern Honshu. Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki sends out peace feelers that Japan is prepared to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration provided that the status of Emperor Hirohito remains unchanged. No official reply from the Allies. 31 B-29s mine Shinonoseki Straits plus coasts off Hagi and Yuyawan, Japan. Russian troops cross into Manchuria and Korea. Soviet 6th Guards Tank Army mount the rocky slopes of the Great Hingan Mtns, hampered more by heavy rain than by Japanese resistance. Yosuke Yamahata photographs the aftermath of the bombing of Nagasaki. He did not turn over his photographs to the Japanese military. The Memory Exhibition, of Yamahata. 75th Anniversary special by C-Span Washington Journal, American History TV with historians Richard Frank, author of “Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire,” and Peter Kuznick, director of American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute (informative hour duration). U.S. Liberty ship Jack Singer is hit by Japanese torpedo flown by an aircraft off Naha, Okinawa; no lives lost but ship later would be declared a total loss. The Mongolian People's Republic declares war on Japan.
Aug 11—Eight U.S. airmen are beheaded south of Tokyo. U.S. sub Jallao sinks merchant ship Teihoku Maru. U.S. sub Hawkbill drops a commando party of Australians ashore at Terampah Harbor, Matak Is. They destroy a gasoline dump, capture intelligence documents, and rescue an Indian POW.
Aug 12—U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes rejects the terms of Aug 10 until Japan declares an unconditional surrender, however, Emperor Hirohito could remain Japan’s ceremonial head of state. Soviet forces stampede into Korea. USS Concord bombards Shasukotan; the last naval shots of World War Two. Japanese conduct air strikes on Okinawa; a torpedo damages U.S. battleship Pennsylvania; 20 Americans dead. Task Force 38 destroys 254 Japanese aircraft. Donovan’s OSS agents secretly parachute into Peking and set up radio operations. Mines sink merchant cargo ship No.1 Shinyo Maru n. of Kyushu, and damage cargo ship Yurakawa Maru 8 kilometers off Wakamatsu light, and army cargo ship No.16 Tamon Maru in Koguchi Channel, Nanao.
Aug 13—NCR order 1834: all shipments of torpedoes to the Pacific halted. Over 500 U.S. aircraft strike Japan including Tokyo; some 270 Japanese aircraft destroyed, 149 damaged. Surrender documents, approved by President Truman, are sent to Gen. MacArthur. Ford Motor rolls out the first 1946 models at Edgewater, NJ. U.S. transport Lagrange loses 21 with 89 wounded to a Kamikaze attack, Buckner Bay, Okinawa. U.S. sub Atule sinks Japanese Coast Defense Vessel No.6 and damages Coast Defense Vessel No.16 off Hokkaido. U.S. sub Torsk sinks merchant ship Kaiho Maru. Liberators and Mitchell bombers target shipping in Korea Strait and sink Ayanami Maru.
Aug 13-14—B-29 “Superfortresses” drop five million leaflets over Tokyo during the night's darkness, telling the Japanese population for the first time the news that Japan had accepted the Potsdam Declaration and was negotiating for peace.
Aug 14—Final B-29 daylight mission: 449 Superforts hit Japan. An American cargo ship explodes in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, due to Japanese Baka bomb. One of the last Superfort night missions, is against Kumagaya Japan, 77 B-29s hit from 12:23 am Aug 15 to about 1:40 am; 0 B-29s lost; a firestorm engulfs city; 266 dead. The 331st and 315 BG are the last 20th Air Force BG’s to bomb Japan. At 3:39 a.m. Tokyo time, Aug 15, B-29 The Uninvited makes the last bomb drop, hitting oil refineries at Akita, Honshu. During the course of the night, a gang of Japanese officers attempt to takeover the Imperial Palace and destroy the recording of the Emperor calling for peace, but their plot failed. Zamboanga Island secured.
Aug 15—(Tokyo and Far East time, Aug 14 in America) Six Hellcats from the Yorktown are attacked over Tokyo’s Tokorozawa airfield; 9 Japanese airplanes are shot down but at a cost of 4 U.S. planes. Emperor Hirohito issues radio speech to surrender, a little past noon. Earlier in the morning, the Japanese government had broadcast an announcement over Radio Tokyo that "acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation [would be] coming soon", and had advised the Allies of the surrender by sending a cable to President Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington DC. A 54 second report of Swiss Radio that Japan has accepted peace terms. All communications between the combatants flowed through the Swiss. U.S. troops in Manila from the 139th AACS (Army Airways Communications System) pickup first radio contact of surrender from the Japanese High Command on their 10 kilowatt weather broadcast transmitters. Pfc Edward Mullins, 32nd Inf Div, is killed in the Cagayan Valley, Luzon, 45 minutes before the cease-fire takes effect. President Truman announces that the acceptance of unconditional surrender by Japan is official. It takes effect at 7 pm local time. My gratitude to British Pathé. Truman also stated "the proclamation of V-J Day must wait upon the formal signing of the surrender terms by Japan”. Gasoline and fuel oil rationing ends in the U.S. Sixteen American airmen are hacked to death with samurai swords in a non-publicized orgy by Japanese officers near Fukuoka, 100 miles n. of Nagasaki. The remains were cremated and taken to Miyoko Temple. The officers were later prosecuted for war crimes. Japanese occupation of Hong Kong ends. In Harbin, Manchuria, all horrendous evidence of a very secret medical compound named Unit 731 ‘the Japanese Auschwitz’ (where POW's were used as medical experiments with glass jars of body parts and a six-foot jar containing a POW pickled in formaldehyde) ordered destroyed. Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki, along with 10 other planes, makes a suicide attack on U.S. forces off Okinawa. They crash into the sea without reaching any American ships. Three American airmen are shot and two are beheaded in Osaka, Japan. In Korea, General Abe, Japan's governor, transfers power to a Korean Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence. Koreans are jubilant, believing that Korea would be an independent nation again.
Aug 14—V-J Day. Truman announces the acceptance of unconditional surrender by Japan [rem, it is Aug 15 in Japan.] Live descriptions, Aug 14, 1945 (11mins). America begins to celebrate like crazy; 2mins 24 sec in color; my gratitude to military.com. The following link is from Jim Ramsburg, which contains nice informative vignettes from the summer of 1945, including Command Performance. It contains wonderful historical links--thank you Jim. Above all, listen to the special narrative by Orson Wells, a radio narrative, called Fourteen August, composed by Norman Corwin (about 16 mins). The world calls it V-J Day but in 1945, Australia also called it V-P Day, for public holiday. V-J DAY in AUSTRALIA. U.S. 11th Airborne Div moves by air from the Philippines to Okinawa. U.S. sub Spikefish sinks Japanese sub I 373, 190 miles s.e. of Shanghai, China. Alfred Eisenstaedt took his very famous picture of a sailor kissing a dental hygienist (often mistaken for a nurse) in NYC’s Times Square—published on the cover of Life Magazine on Aug 27. In 2012, a book "The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo That Ended World War II" was published by the Naval Institute Press who identified the pair as Greta Zimmer Friedman (d.2016) and George Mendonsa (d.2019); it did not jive with a 2007 finding by forensic artist Lois Gibson from Houston P.D. who concluded that Glenn McDuffie was the man in the image. Edith Shain (d. 2010) claims she has proof with documented letters from Alfred Eisenstaedt to be the one kissed. Command Performance radio special Victory Extra, from Great Detectives of Old Time Radio. From England, V-J Day 75: The Nation Remembers, Victory Over Japan 75th Anniversary, and more; don't let Covid-19 erase the memory of the final victory celebrations. Because of the time differences, V-J Day is celebrated in Europe on August 15. V-J Day is spelled V-J Day not VJ Day.
Aug 16—Emperor Hirohito dispatches his sons Prince Asaka, Prince Kanen and Prince Takeda across the Empire to establish a peaceful and successful surrender. About 725,000 Japanese soldiers lay down their arms on the island of Kyushu. In Rabaul, over 100,000 Japanese surrender. In China and northern Indochina, 2,000,000 Japanese troops begin to do the same. Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese on Corregidor in 1942, is released from a POW camp in Manchuria by U.S. troops. Unit 731’s Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night scheduled for September 22 is called off. This operation planned to drop millions of fleas with the bubonic plague by submarine off the San Diego Coast. The communist dominated Polish government agrees and signs a treaty with the USSR to formally cede eastern territories, including Galicia, to the Soviet Union.
Aug 17—Victory celebrations in San Francisco turn into a drunken melee of looting, rioting and raping. Over 1,000 people injured in three days of rioting; 13 dead, at least six women raped. Over 3,000 MP and SP’s help restore order with the S.F. Police. 90 percent of the revelers were said to be young Navy enlistees who had not served overseas. General Prince Higashikuni becomes Prime Minister of Japan and forms a new cabinet.
Aug 18—Aerial photographer Sgt Anthony Marchione, 20th A.F. is the last American airman killed in action when 14 Japanese fighters over Tokyo attack his reconnaissance unit 75 years ago.
Aug 19—Japanese delegation arrives in Manila for conference on formal surrender arrangements.
Aug 20—Japanese delegation leaves Manila for Tokyo with instructions about the occupation of Japan and signing of final peace terms.
Aug 21—Since Okinawa has been secured, 69 Japanese have been captured and 218 killed on the island. Pres. Harry Truman ends the Lend-Lease program. Final U.S. sea engagement: 2 Chinese junks sail to Shanghai, China and are attacked by a Japanese Junk, and a crazy 45-min fire fight erupts with machine guns and bazookas and everything you can think of resulting in 4 Chinese killed, an American and 5 Chinese wounded. The Japanese had 45 killed out of 83.
Aug 22—Japanese antiaircraft batteries near Hong Kong fire upon navy patrol planes over China Coast. Soviet troops land at Port Arthur and Dairen, Kwangtung Peninsula in China.
Aug 24—Female prisoners in a Japanese internment camp in Sumatra are liberated.
Aug 25—P-38 fighter pilot Colonel Clay Tice is the first American pilot to land in Japan since the Japanese accepted the Potsdam surrender. Aircraft from carrier task groups begin daily flights over Japan to patrol airfields, shipping movements and to locate and supply all POW camps; the operation continues until September 2. Carrier Wasp and destroyer Chauncey are damaged by a typhoon.
Aug 26—Japanese diplomats board battleship Missouri to receive instructions on Japan's surrender at the end of WW II.
Aug 27—Mission Pigeon: OSS team rescues some 350 Allied prisoners on Hainan. The long dark night of captivity is over for over 200,000 Allied and U.S. prisoners of war; including the 1300 American survivors in the Mukden POW camp in Manchuria, liberated by the Red Army;—most of these Americans were survivors of the Bataan Death March, an additional 800 in Mukden (present day Shenyang) were Allied POWs. The main portion of the POW rescue missions was Aug 27-Sep 20 with 1,066 supply missions; 77 U.S. airmen are killed. Thirty Allied prisoners are executed by the Japanese at Ranau, Borneo.
Aug 29—Advance party of AACS radio specialists arrive on Atsugi Airfield, southwest of Tokyo,— 48 hour delay due to a typhoon, followed by U.S. airborne and Marines. End of the day, 4,200 men and equipment were landed, plus over 100 aircraft including Navy fighters. Gen. MacArthur is named the Supreme Commander of Allied Powers in Japan. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet, arrives in Tokyo Bay on board PB2Y, and breaks his flag in battleship South Dakota. Yanks enter Tokyo Universal Newsreel. British liberate Hong Kong from Japan. Kuching POW camp (silent 3 mins). Story and Freedom of the Philippines, (22 mins) narrated by Walter Cronkite. Battleship Missouri enters Tokyo Bay. My gratitude to Corby Green, Periscope Film and Nuclear Vault for their educational assistance.
Aug 30—Occupation of Japan in force begins as 11th Airborne Div is flown to Atsugi Airfield, and 4th Marines, 6th Marine Div lands at Yokosuka Naval Base, Imperial Japan's main naval base. Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrives in Japan and sets up Allied occupation headquarters. Pres. Truman’s letter to Congress on termination of Lend-Lease;—some $11 billion in materials went to the Soviet Union, but 10 years later they had only repaid $674 million. The British on Dec 31, 2006 paid back, from its transatlantic ally, the last of its war-time Lend-Lease [about $83 million (£45.5m)].
Aug 31—Marines (Company "L," Third Battalion, Fourth Marines) land at Tateyama Naval Base, Honshu, on the n.e. shore of Sagami Wan, and accept its surrender. They will reconnoiter the beach approaches and cover the landing of Army's 112th Cavalry.
September 2—The Second World War ends for all officially; articles of surrender signing of peace was in Tokyo Harbor aboard U.S. battleship Missouri. The Day Japan surrendered NBC report. Japan surrenders more territory in Asia.
Sep 6—Posing as an Army colonel, playwright and correspondent George Weller of the Chicago Daily News who had sneaked into "the atomized port" of Nagasaki that September, the first to write at length on the Allied POWs—recipient of the Pulitzer in 1943—sends dispatches to his editors but MacArthur's censors intercept all his dispatches, including those on the POW slave camps, many of whom did not even know the war was over. Lost for over 50 years, his son Anthony discovers hidden carbon copies of his dispatches and in 2007 his story is published in First Into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War.
Sep 13—Britain's 20th Indian Div. accepts the surrender of the Japanese Occupation Force in Vietnam, occupies s. of the 16th parallel; Chinese Nationalists n. of the 16th. Chinese troops loot Hanoi.
Sep 22—Pres. Truman, upon a recommendation by U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Simson, WW I veteran, designates the war as World War II.
Sep 24—Riots and attacks erupt in Saigon resulting in 150 European civilians murdered.
Sep 29—Gen. Robert M. Cannon accepts surrender of Japanese on the southern islands of Miyako and Ishigaki.
Sep 30—U.S. War Time (similar to Daylight Saving Time) ends.
Oct 14—British Chief Justice Geoffrey Lawrence elected president of the International Military Tribunal for the trial of war criminals at Nuremberg; trials started Oct 18.
Oct 21—Women allowed to vote in France.
Oct 23—Jackie Robinson signed a baseball contract with the Montreal Royals, an International League affiliate of Brooklyn; he joined the Dodgers in April of 1947, and at the end of the 1947 season, an Associated Press poll ranked Robinson second to singer Bing Crosby as the country's “Most Admired Man.”
Oct 25—Formosa (Taiwan) returned to Chinese control after Japanese surrendered to Chiang Kai-shek. End of October, Federal Hourly Min. Wage is set at 40 cents an hour.
Nov 12—Cordell Hull awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in founding the United Nations.
Nov 16—Eighty-eight German scientists with Nazi secrets arrive in America.
Nov 30—Russian Army invades Austria. Before November ended, Hungary holds free elections and Communists capture only 17% of the vote.
Dec 4—U.S. Senate approves U.S. participation in the United Nations. The route for recovery of all nations is a long and hard one; 850,000 people still lived in dismal refugee camps across Europe as late as 1948.
Dec 27—The Big Three agree to divide Korea into two occupation zones and to govern it for five years.
Jan 28 1946—Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier, former member of the French Resistance and concentration camp survivor, testifies on the Holocaust, the first Holocaust survivor to do so at the Nuremberg Trials.
Feb 19—The film Cruelties of the German-Fascist Intruders is screened in Nuremberg showing the atrocities which occurred in the extermination camps.
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