On this day during W.W. 2


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

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

    Fiat-Ansaldo M13/40 tanks of the VII Battaglione, 32 Reggimento Carri, Ariete Armoured Division on or about 24 March 1941, just before the Axis advance on El-Agheila. Italian troops, particularly infantry, formed a huge component of General Rommel’s successful Afrika Korps operations.italian tanks.jpgthat’s one scary looking Italian tank.



  • 27 March 1943
    RAF makes heaviest yet night attack on Berlin, dropping double the largest dropped on London (4-18-41).
    Admiral Sir Henry Harwood, CinC of the eastern sector of the Mediterranean and victor of the Battle of the River Plate (12-13 Dec. 1939), is obliged to retire from service for health reasons.



  • 28 March 1943
    Tunisia: The British 1st Army goes on the offensive. Troops from the Italian 1st Army retreat to the Akarit line (North west of Gabes) to join other Axis forces.
    New Guinea: A battalion of the U.S. 162nd Inf. are tasked with occupying Morobe harbor and the mouth of the river Waria as a stepping stone against the Japanese, who still hold Lae and Salamaua.
    The Chief of Staffs Committee approve new directives for Gen. MacArthur and Adm. Halsey, resolving the conflict between them in favor of MacArthur, who now has operational responsibility for Halsey’s forces in the Solomons.


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    March 28, 1941. Battle of Cape Matapan

    In late March 1941, as British ships of the Mediterranean Fleet covered troop movements to Greece, Mavis Batey, a cryptographer at Bletchley Park, made a breakthrough, reading the Italian naval Enigma for the first time. The first message, the cryptic “Today’s the day minus three,” was followed three days later by a second message reporting the sailing of an Italian battle fleet comprising one battleship, six heavy and two light cruisers, plus destroyers to attack the merchant convoys supplying British forces. As always with Enigma, the intelligence breakthrough was concealed from the Italians by ensuring there was a plausible reason for the Allies to have detected and intercepted their fleet. In this case, it was a carefully directed reconnaissance plane.

    At the same time, there was a failure of intelligence on the Axis side. The Italians had been wrongly informed by the Germans that the Mediterranean Fleet had only one operational battleship and no aircraft carriers. In fact the Royal Navy had battleships, while the damaged British aircraft carrier (HMS Illustrious) had been replaced by HMS Formidable.

    On 27 March, Vice-Admiral Pridham-Wippell, with the cruisers HMS Ajax, HMS Gloucester, HMS Orion and HMAS Perth and a number of destroyers, sailed from Greek waters for a position south of Crete. Admiral Cunningham with HMS Formidable, HMS Warspite, HMS Barham and HMS Valiant left Alexandria on the same day to meet the cruisers.

    On 28 March, 150 miles west of Crete, an IMAM Ro.43 floatplane launched by Vittorio Veneto spotted the British cruiser squadron at 06:35. Italian cruisers Trieste, Trento and Bolzano close in and open fire at 08:12 from 13 miles without success, then battleship Veneto joins in at 10:55 from 14 miles but cause little damage to 4 Allied cruisers as the Italians experienced trouble with their rangefinding equipment. Torpedo bombers from HMS Formidable attack Veneto at noon and again at 15:09, hitting a propeller and causing flooding which stops her for 90 minutes. Admiral Cunningham immediately orders the Mediterranean fleet to close on the damaged Italian battleship. Torpedo bombers from HMS Formidable and from Crete (815 Squadron) attack at 19.36, crippling Italian cruiser Pola. Cruisers Zara and Fiume remain to help Pola while Vittorio Veneto and the other ships run for cover at Taranto. After dark, battleships HMS Barham, HMS Valiant and HMS Warspite close to 2 miles unnoticed by the Italian ships (which have no radar). They open fire at 23:30, sinking 2 Italian cruisers Fiume and Zara and 2 destroyers Alfieri and Carducci while destroyer Oriani escapes with heavy damage.
    Photo: The battleship Vittorio Veneto firing upon the Allied cruisers during the action off Gavdositalian bb.jpg


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

    @captainwalker dirty Brits, using underhand tricks on my poor Italian brothers.


  • 2019 2018 2017

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

    March 28, 1941. Battle of Cape Matapan

    {snip} The Italians had been wrongly informed by the Germans that the Mediterranean Fleet had only one operational battleship and no aircraft carriers. In fact the Royal Navy had battleships, while the damaged British aircraft carrier (HMS Illustrious) had been replaced by HMS Formidable. {snip}

    {snip} Admiral Cunningham with HMS Formidable, HMS Warspite, HMS Barham and HMS Valiant left Alexandria on the same day to meet the cruisers.

    {snip}

    In the phrase, “the Royal Navy had battleships”, did you mean to instead say, “the Royal Navy had three battleships”? I’m curious by the way you put that.

    -Midnight_Reaper


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    @Midnight_Reaper it should read three…HMS Barham, Valiant and Warspite



  • 29 March 1943
    *Tunisia: Advancing units of the British 8th Army facing fierce resistance occupy Gabes and El Hamma.
    *Berlin is again heavily bombed in RAF night attack.


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    March 30, 1941. North Africa
    General Rommel is ready to get moving. Since he does not have orders from OKH to attack, he gives his directives verbally. He tells the 5th Light Division to attack Mersa Brega in the morning. The 5th Light has had patrols out and reports that it captured an armoured car. The British 2nd Armoured Division defends Mersa Brega. Rommel is encouraged by recent skirmishes, including the capture of El Agheila, and also wants to advance to the Jebel Achdar (Green Mountain) south of Benghazi because it is a rare source of potable water in the desert.

    The RAF raids Tripoli in the early morning hours, causing only slight damage. The Luftwaffe also is in action, claiming to have destroyed an armoured car, self-propelled gun, and tanker.
    Photo: Bf 109E-4Trop JG27 off North African coast, 1941
    Source: worldwartwodailyme109 water.jpg


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

    @captainwalker one of the best colour photos of the war, in my opinion.


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    March 31, 1941. North Africa
    At 07:45, the Afrika Korps launches the next stage of its offensive, sending 50 tanks and taking part in the defences at Mersa Brega. The Afrika Korps takes Ajdabiya. The British lose numerous armoured cars and light tanks. This attack is into the “Mersa El Brega Gap,” an area between the coast and desert where the flat ground makes it good tank country.
    The British 2nd Armoured Division of XIII Corps is poorly sited in the area and its units are quickly overrun or sent packing. The attack features the 5th Light Division, the 5th Panzer Regiment, and two Italian divisions, Ariete and Brescia. Ariete Division sends its reinforced 12th Bersaglieri battalion into the heights north of Mersa Brega. The British counterattack but are beaten off, and the Italian air force attacks the British around Agedabia and Mersa Brega.
    This attack is an unusual example of how British top-secret Ultra intelligence can work against them. The British have been decoding messages from Berlin which effectively have ordered Lieutenant General Rommel not to attack until he has all of his projected forces assembled. This is not supposed to be the case until May. However, Rommel has decided on his own initiative to attack, confounding the British, who expected him to wait.
    Rommel has other good news: elements of the 15th Panzer Division begin to arrive in Tripoli.
    Photo: Afrika Korps panzers and scout vehicles on the road to Mersa Brega, 31 March 1941. Nice, flat, unobstructed roads without many bridges and little air defence make these areas perfect for tank advances.
    Source: worldwartwodailyafrika korps 2.jpg


  • 2020 2019 2018

    …desert where the flat ground makes it good tank country.
    … Nice, flat, unobstructed roads without many bridges and little air defence make these areas perfect for tank advances.

    It also worked in '91 in similar nearby terrain.



  • 31 March 1943
    *New Guinea: MacKechnie Force - consisting mainly of the 1st of the 162nd Inf. and named after the officer in command, is taken by sea to the mouth of the river Waria to occupy that position and a neighboring airfield.
    *Solomon Islands: Russel Islands come under several Japanese air attacks.
    *Aleutian Islands: The American Pacific Commands issue a directive for the invasion of Attu. The operation is to take place on 7 May and will be directed by Adm. Kinkaid, Commander of Tf-16. Under him are R-Adm. Rockwell in charge of landing force operations, and Gen. Albert Brown, heading the 7th division.
    *China: The Americans open training centers for Chinese infantry and artillery officers.
    *Iran: The American air force takes over responsibility for a big factory at Abadan that assembles aircraft supplied by the USA to the USSR.
    *Sardinia: A large US bombing force (nearly 100 Fortresses) attacks Cagliari, the relay post for Axis shipments to Tunisia and an important air base.


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    April 1, 1941. Libya, North Africa
    Rommel has strict orders from Berlin not to advance on Mersa Brega until further reinforcements arrive in the form of 15th Panzer Division at the end of May, however, the need for a fresh water supply from the green mountain (Jebel Akhdar), and the necessity in his opinion of attacking before the British build up their defences, makes him prompt General Johannes Streich to use his 5th Light Division to capture this narrow coastal defile and open the way to Cyrenaica proper.
    At first light, German 5th Light Division attacks British 2nd Armoured Division at Mersa Brega while the Luftwaffe provide close air support. British anti-tank guns hold the panzers at bay throughout the day but by 19.00hrs Mersa Brega falls to the Afrika Korps. Under orders not become heavily engaged with German tanks, the British withdraw 30 miles northeast toward Agedabia overnight.africacorp.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    April 3, 1941. Libya, North Africa

    Rommel orders 5th Light Division to cross the desert south of the Green Mountain and slice across the Cyrenaican bulge, while sending a mixed German and Italian force along the coastal road towards Benghazi. Rommel flies from unit to unit in his Fieseler Fi 156C Storch airplane, giving orders and solving problems. When 5th Light Division tanks run low on petrol he orders them to halt for 24 hours and sends back trucks to bring more fuel. Although a risky move he can see the British continue to retreat in confusion. A supply dump at Msus is blown up at the rumour of approaching German tanks and vast amounts of much needed fuel go up in smoke. This error will badly hamper the mobility of British armour in the coming days.

    Photo: The Fieseler Storch of General Rommel passes above the German column in desert.

    rommel plane.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    April 4, 1942. Eastern Front
    Siege of Leningrad Day 209. 62 Luftwaffe Stuka dive bombers and 70 other bombers escorted by 59 Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighters attack the Soviet fleet at Kronstadt. Battleship October Revolution is hit 4 times, cruiser Maxim Gorky suffers 7 hits while battleship Petropavlovsk, cruiser Kirov and destroyers Silny and Grozyashchi are also damaged.
    Siege of Sevastopol Day 108. German shelling finally destroys Soviet destroyer Sovershenny (under repair after being bombed and capsizing on November 12, 1941).stukas fleet 1.jpg


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @captainwalker

    heh heh the guys musta known they were getting their picture taking. Gunner and pilot both looking at the camera 🙂

    Nice photo. I’m assuming soviets didn’t have much air to intercept ?


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    April 6, 1944. Eastern Front
    After a march of about 150 miles, the continuously moving but surrounded forces under the command of the German 1st Panzer Army – Hube’s Pocket – establish contact with the German 4th Panzer Army to the south of Tarnopol. Although the German force has lost some heavy equipment and weapons, as well as sustaining casualties, it has also destroyed considerable quantities of Soviet equipment during the fighting withdrawal to the German lines. The escaping troops are able to re-join the line within days. Marshal Zhukov, commanding the Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front, is subsequently blamed for the Soviet failure to destroy the encircled German force of about 200,000 troops. There is heavy fighting north of Razdelnaya as a small pocket of German and Romanian forces (elements of German 6th Army) is reduced by forces of the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front.
    Photo: Soldiers admiring Tigers of sPzAbt 507 in an assembly area near Tarnopol, April 1944.tigers in the mud.jpg


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

    @captainwalker nice pic . Bloody awful ground to move in though .


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @Wittmann
    yea that car in the middle looks stuck


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    Left wing of B-17G LG-W 42-31333 Wee Willie 322nd BS 91st BG falls away after having suffered a direct flak hit over Stendal on April 8 1945. 8 were killed, pilot and 1 crewman survivedb17 flak.jpg


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

    @captainwalker month before the war ended.


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    On This Day: April 10th, 1941:
    Axis forces under Erwin Rommel begin the 241 day Siege of Tobruk against a garrison of British, Australian, Polish, Czech and Indian soldiers.
    The Siege began when Axis forces attempted to take the strategically important port of Tobruk in Libya. The port would grant Axis forces a secure port near their border and most importantly, out of range from RAF bombers.
    The days on the North coast of Africa are horrendously hot and the nights extremely cold. Both sides would also have to contend against hot desert winds, mechanical failures and difficult terrain.
    The Germans were suprised to find heavily dug defences, accurate artillery fire and anti-tank weapons, as they assumed the garrison would withdraw by sea. As the Germans tanks advanced, The British Royal Horse Artillery engaged them head on, forcing them to change direction, whereupon British cruiser tanks fired upon them from three sides, destroying 16 German tanks.
    Relief operations against the Axis were attempted but were ultimately unsuccessful. As both sides invested further in the siege, the allies placed minefields, launched Commando raids, used naval gunfire support and fought off repeated Axis assaults.
    By December Erwin Rommel, low on supplies withdrew from the siege. He would succeed in capturing Tobruk in June 1942 after the Battle of Gazala.

    Picture shown: Colourised photo of a Bren gunner from the 2nd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment at Tobruk.tobruk 3.jpg


  • 2019 2017 '16 '15 '13

    April 21, 1945 Battle of Berlin
    Soviet infantry reached Berlin. Adolf Hitler ordered an all-out counterattack against the Soviets at Berlin under the command of SS General Felix Steiner.
    This counterattack was never to be attempted.berlin.jpg


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

    @captainwalker wish I knew what that open topped tank was. Would have sworn it was German, had it not had that Russian in it. Is probably artillery.


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