• August 7th 1942: the Allies land on Guadalcanal, Tulagi and Florida,  all islands of the Solomons.
    It was the beginning of offensive operations, designed to secure communications between the US and Australia and take the war to Japan. The islands of  Tulagi ,Gavatu, Tanambogo and Florida were captured today and tomorrow by 3000 Marines with minimal losses. The Japanese were killed almost to a man.
    11000 Marines landed on Guadalcanal, building a bridgehead and moving 1km inland. The all important airfield, soon named Henderson, in honour of a pilot killed at Midway, would be captured tomorrow.
    Despite these early gains, Guadalcanal would prove a long six month campaign, as Japan knew its strategic importance and reinforced it from nearby Rabaul, New Britain.

  • Today in 1940:

    The Third Reich annexes Alsace and Lorraine.

  • 2024 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    We really can’t do without August 15, a day that saw significant or even major allied successes in every single year of the war.

    August 15, 1940:
    “The Greatest Day” of the RAF, when major German attacks were defeated during the Battle of Britain. On this day, the Germans not only sent a massive airfleet across the English Channel, but also attacked Scotland and Northern England from Norway, expecting Fighter Command to have moved all its forces south. That turned out to be a big mistake. At the end of the day, the Luftwaffe had lost at least 161 planes and probably well over 200, to the RAF’s 34.

    August 15, 1941:
    Roosevelt and Churchill sent a joint message of assistance to Stalin, and proposed a meeting to be held in Moscow to discuss long term policies. The message concludes:

    We realize fully how vitally important to the defeat of Hitlerism is the brave and steadfast resistance of the Soviet Union and we feel therefore that we must not in any circumstances fail to act quickly and immediately in this matter on planning the program for the future allocation of our joint resources.

    American and British diplomats indeed met Stalin in Moscow later that year.

    August 15, 1942:
    After days of heavy Italian and German attacks, SS Ohio was towed into the harbor of Malta, severely damaged, but carrying a desperately needed fuel supply. An Axis blockade had virtually sealed off Malta from the outside world, and after several attempts had failed, Ohio and several other supply ships in the same convoy finally made it. Naval losses were disastrous, but keeping Malta in British hands was crucially important to breaking the Axis supply line into North Africa.

    August 15, 1943:
    US and Canadian troops took the isle of Kiska, concluding the reconquest of the Aleutian Isles. Despite the territorial gain, this wasn’t the most glorious of the August 15 success series: the Japanese had already left, and there significant casualties through friendly fire and booby traps.

    August 15, 1944:
    The Allies start Operation Dragoon, a major amphibious invasion of southern France. It was a major success, forcing the Germans out of the entire southern part of France and capturing large contingents of German soldiers who failed to do so in time.

    August 15, 1945:
    THE END.
    On this day, emperor Hirohito announced that Japan would accept the terms proposed by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference, which effectively meant the surrender of Japan and the end of World War 2. It was still August 14 in Washington when president Truman made the public announcement, but massive celebrations had already started all over the world. Here’s the iconic photograph:

  • Thank you Herr KaLeun.
    Glad you found time to post. I enjoyed that.
    I can never remember the date the Germans called Eagle Day, the day they thought they would finish off the RAF. They made many attacks, but lost over 100 planes.
    Will look it up tomorrow.

  • Adler Tag was the 13th August.
    It was not the day they lost over 100 planes. Also, I am unable to find my book on the one day they suffered the largest number of losses. (Maybe it was the 15th!). I may have lost that book when I moved house. I have tried to find it before.
    I used it a lot for reference 10-15 years ago.

  • August 24th 1942: In what may have been a decoy mission by Vice Admiral Nagumo, the Light Carrier, Ryujo, Heavy Cruiser, Tone and two Destroyers were sent ahead of the main Japanese force with the purpose of attacking Henderson Field on the Island of Guadalcanal.
    This force was intercepted by the two US Carriers, Enterprise and Saratoga. Ryujo was hit by at least 3 bombs and sank, with the loss of 120 of her crew.  Some B17s had also attacked the Carrier and its escorts. The remaining three ships returned to Nagumo’s main force.
    The Americans did not have it all their way as the Enterprise was hit by 3 bombs from “Val” Dive Bombers. At least 70 of her crew were killed.
    No significant damage was caused  to Henderson Field by the Ryujo’s 6 “Kate” Torpedo Bombers and 15 Zeros and the accompanying 24 “Betty” Bombers and 14 Zeros from Rabaul.
    The battle was the first day of the battle that became to be known as The Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

  • Today in 1896, the shortest war ever happend.

    This war was between Great Britain and Zanzibar, (a group of islands just off the coast of modern day tanzania) and lasted only 40 minutes.

    It started at 09:00 EAT, and ended at 09:40 EAT with Zanzibar surrendering.

  • Who won?

  • @wittmann:

    Who won?

    (who do you think??)


  • 1st Sept everyone: Blitzkrieg was born in 1939.
    Poland was the unlucky recipient.
    Two German Army Groups, under  Von Bock and Von Rundstedt, poured out of  the Pomeranian and  East Prussian borders and out of Silesia. They Comprised five armies, 3, 4, 8, 10 and 14, for a total of 1.5 million men. This was about  double the Polish forces, but it was in Mechanised units the difference would be felt. The Germans had 6 Panzer Divisions and 4 Light(only one Battalion of tanks)Divisions.
    In the air the Germans disposed of about 2500 modern aircraft, whereas the Poles only  had 300 modern ones. German Artillery was also more numerous and of a larger calibre. The use of radios also ensured the Germans could replenish their units’ ammo much better.
    Overall on the first day, the Poles defended well in the North, holding up the Germans, but found it harder in the South, as the enemy had stronger units there.

  • 3rd September 1939: Britain and France declare war on Germany as the ultimatum for Germany to  pull out of Poland (in Britain’s case by 11am) today was ignored.
    The PM Neville Chamberlain announced it to a cheering Commons at 11.15am.
    France’s ultimatum was set for 5pm.
    The 64 year old Winston Churchill was recalled to Cabinet as First Lord  of the Admiralty, the post he had held in 1914.

  • Sept 10 1938
    Roosevelt told the White House reporters it would be 100% wrong  to assume the U.S. would join Britain and France in Joint action on Czechoslovakia

    Canada declared war on Germany
    The main body of British forces began moving to France under the command of Lord Gort.

    With the Norwegian trade unions threatening a general strike, German occupation authorities imposed martial law in Oslo

    German troops marched into Rome and seized control of the Italian capital. Italian solders were disarmed by the Germans (Subsequently. Italian units were disbanded in the Balkans and France as well. The Germans neutralized a total of 43 Italian divisions.)

    Thats all for now…I’m sure there is more

  • Something I forgot to say yesterday:

    Yesterday in 1891, Karl Dönitz was born.

    He started the war as the commander of the u-boat fleet, and ended the war as the second and last Führer of the third reich.

  • Sept 29 1939
    Germany and the Soviet Union signed a boundary and friendship treaty. It formally divided Poland, giving the Germans control over the area generally west of the Bug River. The occupying governments said the partition was necessary “after the disintegration of the former Polish state” and Moscow and Berlin “consider it their task to restore in this region law and order and to insure nationals living there an existence corresponding to their national character.” Germany got nearly 73,000 square miles of Polish territory
    , Russia,78,000. The Russians were permitted all of Lithuania  ion their sphere of influence. An economic  was also signed which extended the previous trade pact. Moscow also promised the Germans the entire oil output of the Dohowicz fields, an action which infuriated the British and the French. Russia achieved its gains through an invasion against an overwhelmed Poland and lost only 737 men in the brief conflict

  • Dec 2 1941
    Roosevelt - in a personal note to the Japanese envoys in Washington…asked Tokyo for an explanation of the Japanese troop build up in Indochina. The President said, "The stationing of these increased forces in Indochina would seem to imply the utilization or those forces by Japan for purposes of further aggression, since no such number of forces could possibly be required for the policing of that region.
    Japans Cabinet was reshuffled because of “the deteriorating international situation.” The new cabinet affirmed the final decision to attack Pearl Harbor, and the code message to proceed, “Climb Mount Niitaka.” was flashed to the Naval attack force the next day.
    The Japanese Embassy in Washington was ordered to destroy all but its most secret coding facilities . Similar orders went to Japanese missions in British, Dutch, and Canadian cities, Cuba, and the Philippines , and the
    South Pacific
    London announced  the formation of a new and expanded  Eastern Fleet. Britain in the past had maintained  a crusier squadron, but its naval presence in Asia would now be led by more powerful men-of-war., The Battle ship “Prince of Wales” and the Battle cruiser “Repulse” arrived in Singapore this date. This announced action indicated the concern of Britain as it viewed Japan’s southward penetration.

  • December the 13th saw the Battle of the River Plate take place between the modern and very pretty Graf Spee, of the Deutschland class of Heavy Cruiser, and two British and a New Zealand Cruuser off South America.
    The commander of the Graf Spee, Captain Langsdorff, engaged the Cruisers as he thought they were Destroyers guarding a convoy. When he discovered his mistake, instead of staying at a distance and using his superior ranged 11" guns, he sped towards the Cruisers allowing their smaller calibre guns to hit him.
    In very short time,  he was able to seriously damage the Heavy Cruiser, Exeter, knocking out 3 guns. His ship was hit and serious damage was done to the fuel tanks. He decided to retreat from the battle and head for Montevideo, as he did not hae sufficient fuel to reach Germany.
    It was to prove a mistake as Uruguay was pro Allied.
    On the 17th he scuttled his beautiful and very successful commerce raider, shooting himself two days later.

  • The Battle of the River Plate is notable as one of the last “classic” surface naval actions, fought entirely with gunfire, without the complicating factors of submarines, torpedoes or aircraft (though a spotter plane sent up by one of the British cruisers did subsequently observe the Graf Spee blowing herself up).

    To his credit, Langsdorff did not cause a single human fatality (on either side) in the course of sinking the various merchat ships he intercepted duing his cruise.  The way he’s portrayed in the British movie “The Battle of the River Plate” (whose cast includes Anthony Quinn as Commodore Harwood) is unusually sympathetic for a film – particularly a British film – of its time, with Captain Dove (played by Bernard Lee, who later iconically portrayed James Bond’s boss M) referring to Langsdorff at one point as “a gentleman.”  It’s regrettable that the film veers towards low comedy once the action shifts to Montevideo after the battle itself, with Christopher Lee (another future Bond alumnus) playing straight man to an obnoxious American newspaperman.

  • I share your love for the classic gun fight naval engagements. The Battle of River Plate to the last such battle- Komandorski Island, these battles catch my imagination.

  • @ABWorsham:

    I share your love for the classic gun fight naval engagements. The Battle of River Plate to the last such battle- Komandorski Island, these battles catch my imagination.

    Same here.  And an honorable mention goes to the last battleship-versus-battleship engagement in history, the Battle of Surigao Straight, which came surprisingly late in the war: October 1944

  • The airplane, while great and one of the most interesting factors of WW2, removed the need for giant gun platforms. No more Jutlands!  :x

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