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Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism
Another Russian Village - Another Fire
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Today: June 23, 1941
Hungry joins Germany, Rumania, Italy, Slovakia and Croatia by declaring war on the Soviet Union.
The relentless advance in Russia continues as shattered Soviet forces flood east pursued by the German invaders. German panzer units begin to meet Soviet tank formations rushing to the front. The Soviet columns are badly organized and depleted because of constant air attacks. On the approaches to Vilnius, German tank columns bypass pockets of resistance and drive deep into the Soviet rear areas. Further to the south, German forces are met by strong resistance and a fierce tank battle develops around Dubno.
British forces advance to Palmyra
in Syria against strong Vichy French resistance.
June 22, 1941
BARBAROSSA! The Invasion of Russia Begins
At 3:00 A.M., three million battle hardened soldiers of German Wehrmacht, struck the ill-prepared Soviet army, starting one of the single most devastating and titanic struggles in history. Three German Army Groups, North, Center and South, struck for their respective goals of Leningrad, Moscow and Kiev.
German aircraft pounded targets deep in Russia. Airfields were a primary target and by days end, 500 Soviet planes were destroyed, mostly on the ground. Russian border forces were quickly overrun after brief but vicious fights. One notable exception, the fortress of Brest-Litovsk on the Bug River, holds against ferocious German attacks. Efforts to mobilize defensive countermeasures were chaotic as reinforcing columns are harassed by constant air attacks. By days end, German ground forces advance 15-25 miles.
Hitler declared that when he unleashed his armies to the east, "The world will hold its breath". This was one of the few statements he made that was absolutely correct.
Churchill declares Britain will
assist the Soviets saying, "Any man or State who fights against Nazism
will have our aid. Any man or State who marches with Hitler is our foe."
One hopes these words would be remembered today.
June 21, 1941
Australian forces occupy Damascus after Vichy French forces withdraw.
General Wavell having utterly failed to relieve Tobruk in Operation Battleax, is sacked by Churchill as commanding officer of the Commonwealth troops in the Middle East.
Commonwealth forces enter Iraq in order to secure oil supplies for the war effort (things really never do change do they?).
Hitler signals to his eastern troops that the invasion of the Soviet Union is on for the next day.
German commandos, the Brandenburgers,
begin operations, infiltrating across the border, move to secure bridges
and other important facilities in the Russian rear area in preparation
for the invasion.
June 20, 1941
President Roosevelt calls Germany an "outlaw nation" because of the sinking of the Robin Moore by a German U-Boat on May 21.
Texas , while on a "neutrality patrol," is dogged by the German submarine
U-203 between Newfoundland
and Greenland. The German skipper thought the Texas was a lend lease vessel
and therefore fair game for his attack.
June 19, 1941
Germany and Italy order U.S. diplomats out of their countries by July 15. This was in retaliation to a similar action by the Americans (anybody remember those Russian diplomats Shrub ditched).
Heavy fighting continues in the Middle East as Vichy French forces stop Allied advances on Damascus (the players change but the fighting never seems to end).
U.S. stops authorizing visas for aliens with relatives in the German occupied territories.
German forces continue their concentration of forces on the Soviet border in preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Heavy artillery begins moving into firing positions and bridging equipment begins to arrive. German U-boats proceed to war stations in the Baltic while mine laying operations commence. Stalin still insists that the invasion is not immanent.
British forces continue their retreat back into Egypt after Rommel defeats Operation Battleax.