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. 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. 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 by 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.
Jan 6 —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 shift carrier tactics from attacks on Taiwan (Formosa) to strike 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 communique. 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. Task Force 38 carrier aircraft strike Japanese targets at Formosa and Miyako-Jima in foul weather, flying 717 sorties destroying some 40 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.
Jan 12 — U.S. TF 38 destroys 41 Japanese ships in Battle of South China Sea. German V-2 rocket hits West Ham, London, destroys two trolley buses; 15 killed; 35 were injured. Pres. Roosevelt departs Washington DC for Hyde Park, New York by train; Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd accompanied him on this journey.
Jan 13 —Kamikazes hit carrier Wake Island in Lingayen Gulf. A Kamikaze damages the escort carrier Salamaua in the South China Sea off the mouth of Lingayen Gulf.
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 US 20th Air Force B-29 bombers from Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China attack Kagi Airfield (Pinyin) in southern Taiwan.
Jan 15 —Hong Kong hit by Allied fighters. The Inrin POW Camp in central Taiwan closed. Battleship Iowa arrives in San Francisco. The German submarine U-1172 torpedoes the British escort aircraft carrier HMS Thane in the Irish Sea; it is never again seaworthy.
Jan 16 —U.S. First and Third Armies link up near Houffalize, Belgium. Germans are pushed back to the line prior to the launch of the Ardennes Offensive. Soviet troops liberate concentration camps at Czestochowa (800 prisoners) and Lodz (870 prisoners) in Poland. Pilots of U.S. carrier Ticonderoga hit Hainan Island in s. China. Progress of U.S. troops in Luzon impeded by enemy artillery, caves, tunnel systems and route demolitions; at one point, U.S. engineers ripped up 20 miles of railroad track to convert the roadbed into a motor highway. Pilots of U.S. carrier Yorktown hit Canton (Guangzhou), China and Hong Kong. U.S. Navy escort carrier support to the Lingayen Gulf landings ends. During the 12 days of support, aircraft have flown 6,152 sorties and claimed 92 Japanese aircraft destroyed in exchange for the loss of two aircraft, both were “Wildcat” fighters. While touring U.S. bases in Italy, Gen. "Hap" Arnold suffered his fourth heart attack, but refused to end his on-going tour of the bases. Adolf Hitler arrives in Berlin, and would remain here until the end of his life. The new British Pacific Fleet departs Ceylon for Australia. Airstrip in Lingayen Gulf area becomes operational.
Jan 17 —Twentieth Air Force B-29s final mission against Taiwan. At Auschwitz Concentration Camp: last evening roll call: 67,012 prisoners present. They would soon be forced a Death March. Doctor Josef Mengele begins to destroy his laboratories at sector BIIf of Birkenau camp; and would evacuate the camp with records of his experiments on twins, dwarfs, and disabled people.
Jan 18 —Soviet forces liberate the Budapest ghetto. German troops evacuate Kraków, Poland. Soviet troops reached Lódz, Poland. German forces launch an offensive near Lake Balaton to relieve the Budapest encirclement in Hungary. SS troops execute remaining Jewish forced laborers at Chelmno Concentration Camp; 15-year-old Simon Srebnik sole survivor.
Jan 19 —Adolf Hitler issues orders that any attacks or retreats by divisions or larger units must be approved by him beforehand. Violette Szabo was transferred from a punishment camp at Königsburg, Germany to Ravensbrück concentration camp. V-2 hits Town Quay, Barking, London. Red Army captures Kraków and Lódz, Poland and enters Ostpreußen (East Prussia), Germany from the south.
Jan 20 —Populated areas along Belgium-German borders still being fought in brutal combat and cold weather. U.S. 1st Army advances to last ridge of St. Vith. U.S. troops liberates Diekirch, Luxembourg, and discover 12 to 15 dead civilians, executed not by the Deaths-Head SS but by retreating German troops of 208th Volksgrenadier Regiment. French First Army attacks the Colmar Pocket in Alsace, France. U.S. Third Army establishes bridgehead across Wiltz R. 1st Bn of 301st, U.S. 94th Inf Div, attacks toward Orscholz but is halted short; the 302nd clears fortifications and repels counterattacks. U.S. 95th Inf Div decisively defeats counterattacks in Saarlautern bridgehead. General Ferdinand Schörner head of German Army Group A in eastern Germany is sacked by Hitler; replaced by Gen. Josef Harpe. Soviet Union conducts separate treaty with Hungary, demands the Hungarian Provisional National Government should declare war on Germany and pay $300,000,000 in reparations. Soviet troops arrive at the Chelmno Concentration Camp. Three V-2s hit London, England; 55 killed.
Jan 21 —Norwegian 1,152-ton freighter Galatea torpedoed by U-1051 off Bardsey Island in the St. George's Channel; 1 survivor. Task Force 38 aircraft fly 1,164 sorties in strikes on Formosa, Okinawa, in the Pescadores, and the Sakashima Gunto, sinking 5 tankers and 5 other cargo ships and destroying two Japanese aircraft in the air and 104 on the ground. In Japanese air attacks on the task force, a bomber damages the aircraft carrier Langley and Kamikazes, 120 miles s.e. of Taiwan, damage the carrier Ticonderoga (killing 143 men and injuring 202 ) and a destroyer; an accidental bomb explosion during a landing accident damages the carrier Hancock. U.S. sub Tautog sinks Japanese merchant tanker Zuiun Maru. Liberty ship George Hawley torpedoed in the English Channel by U-1199 and is abandoned; declared a total loss; the U-boat is hunted and sunk by the Royal Navy. Chinese troops supported by USAAF 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 began assaulting Kangaw, Burma. Indian 20th Division captures Monywa, Burma on the Chindwin River and reaches the Irrawaddy River at Myinmu.
Jan 23 —St. Vith 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 Jun 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. U.S. sub Barb sinks merchant cargo ship Taikyo Maru in Namkwan Harbor, China. U.S. sub Sennet sinks guardboat No.7 Kainan Maru in Hangchow Bay, China. Norwegian cargo ship Vigsnes sunk in the Irish Sea by U-1172.
Jan 24 —Twentieth Air Force B-29s bomb Iwo Jima. B-24s escorted by P-38 Lightnings bomb Iwo Jima. Battleship Indiana plus 3 heavy cruisers and 7 destroyers also bombard Iwo Jima. British Fleet Air Arm Seafire fighters commence operations in the Far East with a full-scale attack on oil targets in Sumatra, Dutch East Indies. British 7th Arm Div clears Weerd, Aandenberg, and Montfort. U.S. 1st Army takes Buellingen–Butgenbach–St Vith road junction. Elements of 3rd Army advance on St. Vith. U.S. 3rd Inf Div advances on Canal de Colmar. French and U.S. troops fight to expand Ill R. bridgehead. German forces begin evacuating Slovakia. Negotiations between Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communists, broken off since December 16, are resumed. U.S. sub Atule sinks cargo ship No.1 Taimam Maru in the central Yellow Sea. U.S. sub Blackfin sinks destroyer Shigure in the Gulf of Siam off Khota Bharu, Malaya. German Luftwaffe bombs Antwerp, Belgium, damaging U.S. freighter Alcoa Banner; she is written off as a total loss later.
Jan 25 —U.S. 1st Inf DIv captures Amblève and Mirfeld with ease. Patton's Third Army crosses Clerf R. and shoot for the high ground road known as "Skyline Drive," the Luxemburg–St Vith road paralleling the Our R. Berg is recaptured by U.S. 8th Arm Div.
Gen. Heinz Guderian asked Joachim von Ribbentrop to negotiate peace with the Western Allies. Ribbentrop squealed to Adolf Hitler and puts a stop to peace. U.S. 37th Inf Div captures Mabalacat East Airfield, Luzon. One spearhead heads north advance 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. U.S. sub Bergall sinks Japanese auxiliary minesweeper Wa.102 in Lombok Strait. 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. Behind-the-scene-story of Audie Murphy; he finished the war as his country's most decorated soldier.
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. 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 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. 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 believed in the important tune of liberation. The unseen faces of WW II, Secrets of War. Germans evacuate 11,000 prisoners of war held at Stalag Luft III in a march in sub-zero temperatures to Spremburg, Germany. In the Carpathians, Fourth Ukrainian Front drives to Poprad (Czechoslovakia). Soviet conquest of Lithuania is complete. Soviet Red Army within 95 miles of 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. 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.
Jan 30 —Preliminary phase of ARGONAUT (Malta-Yalta) Conference meeting, first held between Anglo-American leaders; code-name CRICKET. U.S. troops of 38th Inf Div land on Grande Island Subic Bay. U.S. transport Cavalier is torpedoed by Japanese sub RO 46 off Subic Bay. Army Rangers, Alamo Scouts, and Filipino guerrillas liberate more than 500 men from the Cabanatuan POW camp deep in the interior of Luzon. 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. U.S. sub Threadfin sinks Japanese merchant cargo ship Issei Maru off southern Honshu. 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.
Jan 31 —Part of the U.S. 11th Airborne drop over Tagaytay Ridge, 14 miles inland while remaining contingents of the 11th land by ships at Nasugbu, south of the entrance to Manila Bay. U.S. troops 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.
V imp keep
Victory at Sea