On this day during W.W. 2


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

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  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 11, 1942. Eastern Front
    Who exactly remains on the offensive on the Eastern Front remains murky. The Wehrmacht has been re-establishing communications to its trapped units in the east at the same time that the Red Army is still on the move to the west. Recognising that things have stalled, the Stavka now orders the 3rd and 4th Shock Armies of the Kalinin Front to resume their advance south of Lake Ilmen on 12 February. The plan is to tighten the Red Army’s grip on the Demyansk Pocket and, once it is further isolated, attack it directly.
    Source: worldwartwodailyrussian winter 6.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 12, 1942. Eastern Front
    Pursuant to Stavka orders, the 3rd and 4th Shock Armies of the Kalinin Front launch a renewed offensive south of Lake Ilmen. The Soviet aim is to further isolate the large German forces trapped in the Demyansk Pocket and then annihilate them. With Soviet 34th Army pressing in from the east and these new forces coming from the west, the Red Army hopes to achieve this objective quickly. However, the Wehrmacht has large forces in the pocket which are being sustained with a Luftwaffe airlift. The Soviets also hope to eliminate a much smaller pocket at Kholm, but it is further west and in a strategically better position than the men at Demyansk. The new Soviet attack is directed into large open spaces and lightly defended areas and is hampered more by the terrain and weather than the enemy. The Germans are happy to divert the Red Army effort into non-vital areas and otherwise let them march around aimlessly through the countryside.
    Source: worldwartwodailyt34 1.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 12, 1942. The Channel Dash

    Battle of the Atlantic: Having left Brest late on Wednesday, the ships of Operation Cerberus, better known as the Channel Dash, reach Barfleur, France, by dawn on 12 February 1942. This means that Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen are due south of the Isle of Wight, some 300 miles (500 km) up the English Channel. The British remain blissfully unaware that the German operation is in progress, due to chance, clever German planning, and foul winter weather. Finally, an RAF patrol plane flies directly over the flotilla, but its pilot is under strict orders to not break radio silence. So, he waits until he returns to base to report his observation. By this point, the German ships are passing by Beachy Head in Sussex.

    As the ships pass Dover, the British Army’s long-range artillery attempts to engage them. However, the cloudy weather forces the gunners to guess the ships’ location, and the shells all fall short. Royal Navy torpedo boats then approach, but the MTBs are kept at bay by the half-dozen destroyers accompanying the three capital ships. They launch their torpedoes, but the two-mile range is too great and they score no hits. Then, the Royal Navy sends half a dozen Swordfish planes to launch torpedoes, escorted by 10 Spitfires. Adolf Galland’s Luftwaffe fighter cover (Unternehmen Donnerkeil) shoots all of the slow Swordfish down. Overall, the RAF loses 20 bombers and 16 fighters while the Luftwaffe loses 18 fighters.

    Sporadic British attacks continue throughout the day, without effect. The RAF sends 242 bomber sorties in all, but only 39 of them can even drop their bombs due to the fighter defences and poor visibility. They score no hits. When the Royal Navy sends destroyers based at Harwich to intercept the flotilla, they are attacked by RAF planes who have not been informed of their presence. When the five remaining destroyers approach, the German ships open fire and damage HMS Worcester. They score no hits. However, the German ships do not escape unscathed, as Scharnhorst hits a mine at 19:55 and Gneisenau hits one off Terschelling a bit later, but they continue sailing. Scharnhorst hits a second mine on the port side at 21:34, and this one causes the engines to stop. At 22:23, though, the Scharnhorst’s crew gets the starboard engine operating again. Under the cover of darkness, the ships continue on their way, Prinz Eugen and Gneisenau about three hours ahead of Scharnhorst.

    Photo: Gneisenau and Scharnhorst during the Channel Dash of 12 February 1942. channel dash.jpg


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @captainwalker

    The Channel Dash was a huge embarrassment to the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, with the Times commenting that “Nothing more mortifying to the pride of our sea-power has happened since the seventeenth century.” As I recall, when Churchill was informed by telephone that Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen had escaped through the English Channel, he answered, "Why?’ then hung up. One recent naval historian summed up the answer by saying that the British had spent the operation periodically tossing handfuls of gravel at the German ships, and that they would have been better served by taking a deep breath, taking the time to concentrate their forces properly and throw one good well-aimed rock.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    Good stuff. Wasn’t familiar with the “Channel Dash” though I no doubt ran across it at some point : ) I guess failures don’t get as much publicity as wins, unless it’s “Pearl Harbor” 🙂


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 13, 1942. Eastern Front
    A renewed Soviet offensive south of Lake Ilmen makes little progress. However, to some extent, this tightens the Red Army grip on the Demyansk Pocket. The Luftwaffe airlift to the pocket by Luftflotte 1 is hampered by poor weather, but that is beginning to improve. Luftflotte 1 is able to supply about half of the Demyansk Pocket’s daily needs by using all of its transport capability and some bomber units. German troops in the pocket are fighting desperately to hold their perimeter and also hold open the “Ramushevo corridor,” a hazardous route north to Staraya Russa.
    On the Crimea, both sides are building up their forces for attempts to evict the other side. Joseph Stalin and Stavka representative Lev Mekhlis wished to launch an attack today from the Red Army line at the Parpach Narrows, but the build-up of troops and supplies has been inadequate. The offensive is postponed to later in February.
    Source: worldwartwodailygerman transports.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 13, 1945 Eastern Front
    After a battle lasting for almost two months, the garrison of Budapest surrenders to 2nd Ukrainian Front (Malinovsky). Over 100,000 German prisoners have been taken in the city. The Soviet advance from the Oder River to the Neisse River begins to gain momentum despite desperate German efforts. Bunzlau on the Bober River is captured by Soviet forces.budapest.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    Smoke from anti aircraft fire from HMS Exeter as she engages Japanese aircraft. Java Sea, 15th February 1942 (IWM)
    Note: This photo was taken on board the Australian cruiser, HMAS Hobart, as Exeter and Hobart engaged attacking Japanese aircraft.exeter.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    Soldiers of either the 4th or 5th Bn, The Suffolk Regt surrender to Japanese troops in the city area of Singapore. After the unconditional surrender, all British Empire forces surrendered to the Japanese 25th Army. Singapore, 15th February 1942. (AWM)surrender.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 16, 1942. Eastern Front
    Reporting from the encircled garrison at Demyansk, Generalleutnant Graf Walter von Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt reports to OKH that he has 95,000 men with him in the pocket. In order to hold the pocket, Brockdorff reports that he requires 200 tons of supplies per day. While the Luftwaffe is using every available plane to supply the Demyansk pocket, he is only receiving 80-90 tons of supplies per day.eastern front.jpg


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @captainwalker
    is that a tiger ? Seems pretty big for 42


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    @barnee it is. I checked its operational history though and thought it was first used in late 42 at Leningrad. I don’t think the photo can be from the Demyansk encirclement.


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    @barnee the first tigers were issued in December 1942…so the picture isn’t from the story time frame.


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 18, 1942. Eastern Front

    The German situation at Demyansk deteriorates on 18 February 1942 when the 290th Infantry Division is forced to withdraw from a salient that it has been holding in the northwest section of the pocket. This “northern corner post” has been the source of much hope for the Germans within the pocket as an area close to the main German lines where a relief attempt could aim over the shortest distance. The Red Army, meanwhile, is busy trying to hem the Germans in at Demyansk and push them back into a small area where they are unable to receive air supplies and can be starved into submission. They are tightening the ring by bringing in more troops and trying to drive as much room between the pocket and the main German lines as they can. The Luftwaffe airlift continues, but it is bringing in less than half of the supplies that the trapped forces claim that they need to hold out. Time is the Germans’ ally, however, as the spring thaw (Rasputitsa) is only a month away.

    Photo: A German dispatch rider on the Eastern Front on 18 February 1942. He has adapted a gas mask as face protector against temperatures as low as -40°.

    Source: worldwartwodaily

    demanysk .jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    N THIS DAY: 19 FEBRUARY 1945

    The Battle of Iwo Jima began during WWII 75 years ago between US and Imperial Japanese forces on a tiny, isolated volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean .

    Located 650 nautical miles south of Tokyo (1,200 km), Iwo Jima is just eight square miles (21 square km) in size but is part of the Japanese Volcano Islands. It was defended by 22,000 Japanese troops who had built formidable defences. It was targeted by the Americans who committed 110,308 military personnel to the invasion of the island. This included 17 aircraft carriers and 1,170 aircraft.

    The invasion of Iwo Jima began at 8.30am on 19 February 1945 after a heavy bombardment but the US Marines encountered extremely stiff resistance on the volcanic beach. The increasingly overcrowded Marines became pinned down from artillery placed on Mount Suribachi as well as Japanese machine guns from inshore pillboxes. The Americans suffered 2,500 casualties on the first day and their efforts concentrated on taking Mount Suribachi, which was achieved on 23 February.

    The Battle of Iwo Jima ultimately lasted for five weeks until the whole of the island was captured on 26 March 1945. It was one of the bloodiest clashes of the Pacific War with 20,000 of the 22,000-strong Japanese garrison being killed or declared missing. The Americans suffered 26,000 casualties with 6,821 being killed. The majority of those killed were US Marines who suffered twice as many fatalities on Iwo Jima as had been killed during WWI. 27 Medals of Honor were awarded to Marine and naval personnel, many of them posthumously.

    Iwo Jima became one of the most of the famous battles in American military history and the sacrifice of the Marines is commemorated at the Marine Corps War Memorial at Arlington, Virginia.

    iwo.jpg


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    @Wittmann said in On this day during W.W. 2:

    @barnee it is. I checked its operational history though and thought it was first used in late 42 at Leningrad. I don’t think the photo can be from the Demyansk encirclement.

    Yes wittman. There was 4 Tiger tanks that saw service on Aug 29 in SE of Leningrad. 3 broke down and all 4 had to be recovered. Then they made more changes to the Tiger designs and then later mass produced them.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @SS-GEN said in On this day during W.W. 2:

    @Wittmann said in On this day during W.W. 2:

    @barnee it is. I checked its operational history though and thought it was first used in late 42 at Leningrad. I don’t think the photo can be from the Demyansk encirclement.

    Yes wittman. There was 4 Tiger tanks that saw service on Aug 29 in SE of Leningrad. 3 broke down and all 4 had to be recovered. Then they made more changes to the Tiger designs and then later mass produced them.

    Another way of looking at it is that Tiger tanks – as A&A sculpts – were first deployed in 2012 when A&A 1941 was released. 🙂 Truly a historic moment.


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 19, 1943 North Africa

    Rommel launched a surprise counter-attack.
    The Axis offensive is renewed with the objective of Le Kef. There are two wings to the assault. The German 15th Panzer Division attacks from Kasserine toward Thala. The 21st Panzer Division, having already advanced beyond Sbeitla, strikes toward Sbiba. The Allied command has anticipated such moves and both mountain passes are well defended,though with fresh inexperienced troops. Among the Axis leadership, Rommel has proposed aiming for Tebessa instead of Le Kef and he has had elements of 10th Panzer Division placed under his command.

    half track.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 19, 1943 Third Battle of Kharkov begins!
    Originally, Manstein foresaw a three-stage offensive. The first stage encompassed the destruction of the Soviet spearheads, which had over-extended themselves through their offensive. The second stage included the recapture of Kharkov, while the third stage was designed to attack the Soviets at Kursk, in conjunction with Army Group Center—this final stage was ultimately called off due to the advent of the Soviet spring thaw (Rasputitsa) and Army Group Center’s reluctance to participate.
    The strength on each side is
    Germans: 70.000 personnel
    Soviets: 346.000 personnel
    On 19 February, Hausser’s SS Panzer Corps was ordered to strike southwards, to provide a screen for the 4th Panzer Army’s attack. Simultaneously, Army Detachment Hollidt was ordered to contain the continuing Soviet efforts to break through German lines. The 1st Panzer Army was ordered to drive north in an attempt to cut off and destroy Popov’s Mobile Group, using accurate intelligence on Soviet strength which allowed the Germans to pick and choose their engagements and bring about tactical numerical superiority. The 1st and 4th Panzer Armies were also ordered to attack the overextended Soviet 6th Army and 1st Guards Armymarder.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 21, 1942. Eastern Front
    The Red Air Force has landed about 3000 troops inside the pocket south of Vyazma within the past couple of days. The Soviet planes fly through foul weather that the Luftwaffe considers too dangerous. These Soviet troops immediately begin consolidating their position rather than trying to expand it. The German V Panzer Corps in Vyazma watches the Soviets but does not have to do much fighting. Both sides at this time consider themselves to hold the initiative, but, somewhat perversely, neither side is acting on it. While the Germans do have sketchy control of areas all around the new Soviet arrivals, they know that the Red Army could punch through back to the East if they want to.
    After considering a request for a withdrawal by Fourth Army for several days, the German Army Command (OKH) tells Fourth Army commander General Heinrici that he can begin building a fall back position on the Ugra River. However, OKH still refuses to approve giving up Yukhnov, which is the entire point of the exercise. That must await final approval from Hitler, and nobody wants to ask him. Given the unexpectedly unaggressive behaviour of the Soviet paratroopers south of Vyazma, the Germans have the luxury of a long period of deliberation about this.
    Source: worldwartwodailyrussian paratroopers.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 22, 1942. Eastern Front
    Adolf Hitler institutes a new practice by designating the Demyansk pocket a “fortress” (Festung). This makes the position there sound deliberate rather than unplanned and connotes a pleasing sense of permanence. He talks with the leaders of his army high command, OKH, about ways to restore contact with the large force at Demyansk. The troops outside the pocket, however, are busy holding their own lines, while the trapped German forces are barely surviving on less than half of the daily supplies they require from the Luftwaffe airlift. It will take a massive build-up nearby for the Germans to be able to stage a successful relief operation across the gap.
    Photo: SdKfz 10/4 Demyansk Pocket 1942
    Source: worldwartwodailydemanysk halftrack.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 23, 1945 Iwo Jima.
    The moment after the famous photograph was taken.iwo jima after.jpg


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @captainwalker said in On this day during W.W. 2:

    February 22, 1942. Eastern Front
    Adolf Hitler institutes a new practice by designating the Demyansk pocket a “fortress” (Festung). This makes the position there sound deliberate rather than unplanned and connotes a pleasing sense of permanence.

    This could be viewed as a case of using inflated rhetoric and wishful thinking to compensate for a desperate situation on the ground. A similar thing happened in June 1940, when the Germans were sweeping through France: overwhelmed French generals repeatedly drew “halt lines” on their maps, only to find out that the Germans had already passed them.


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    February 24 1945.
    M4A3 (76)‘Sherman’ of the 771st Tank Battalion, US 84th “Rail -Splitter” Division after the fighting in ruins of the German town of Linnich.
    On the right is an ‘HQ’ Dodge WC-52f (with what looks like 9th Armored Div markings on the fender)sherman in town.jpg


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