German U-boats hunt Atlantic convoys 

Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII 

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

British 8th Army tank moves past shattered DAK tank in Tunisia.

March 9, 1943

Hitler, fearing that his "best General" would be defeated in Tunisia, recalls Rommel, leaving von Arnhim in charge of the Axis forces in Africa. Rommel would never return to that theater.

Fighting around Kharkov intensifies as the SS Panzer Korps advances on the city from the west and north while the 25th Guard Rifle Division holds Taranovka against determined attacks by the 48th Panzer Korps to the south.

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March 10, 1943

Heavy fighting at Ksar Rhilane, southeast of Mareth, Tunisia is reported.  Leclerc's Free French troops fight off determined Axis attacks which were heavily supported from the air.

After raiding the Mandalay-Mytikinia railline, the Chindit Brigade breaks up into several columns and crosses the Irawaddy River between Tagaung and Tigyaing.

What started out as the American volunteer squadron "Flying Tigers" becomes the 14th Air Forces as Chennault is promoted and his forces in China are heavily reinforced.

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March 11, 1943

Heavy street fighting erupts in Kharkov as the SS Panzer Korps enters the city and manages to get to the city center.

U-boat attacks in the Atlantic continue to take a toll as convoys SC121 and HX228 lose 17 ships. In the attacks the Germans lost two boats, U-432 and U-444.

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March 12, 1943

Heavy fighting is still reported in Kharkov as the Germans clear the Russians from the city. The Germans break mobile forces from the city fight and drive south in an attempt to cut off Soviet forces southwest of the city. Further to the north, the Germans abandon and the Red Army occupies Vyazma as Army Group Center continues its limited withdrawals to shorten their front.

In an attempt to outflank the Marenth Line, Montgomery moves the 2nd New Zealand Division and the 8th Armored Brigade south from Medenine opposite Wilder's gap.

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March 13, 1943

Hitler, while visiting Army Group Center's Headquarters in Smolensk narrowly avoids assassination. The first attempt was to be made by machine-gunning his car, but the motorcade sped by before Captain Boeselager's troops could open fire. The second attempt was to be made during the luncheon, but Hitler and Field Marshal von Kluge were seated next to one another and the conspiracy leader, Col. Henning von Tresckow feared hitting his commander. Finally, Tresckow was able to plant a time bomb on board Hitler's FW-200 Condor transport plane at Smolensk. The detonator for the bomb, a British Plastic-C, failed to ignite due to its sensitivity to low temperatures.

From Berlin... The German Army High Command issues the preliminary orders for Operation Zitadelle (in English meaning Citadel) -- the plan to eliminate the Soviet held salient centered on Kursk.

Chinese forces counterattack the Japanese bridgehead over that Yangtze River and succeed in eliminating Japanese intrusion.

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March 14, 1943

The Allies score a victory with a submarine as HMS Thunderbolt sinks the Italian corvette Cicogna off the coast of Sicily.

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March 15, 1943

Kharkov changes hands for the third time in the war as German forces destroy organized resistance in the shattered city. Meanwhile, further north, Red Army forces capture Kholm and Zharkovskiy, as the German Army Group Center continues its withdrawal.

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March 16, 1943

Montgomery's 8th Army begins probinb the approaches to the Mareth Line as it prepares to open it's main offensive in Tunisia.

Off the coast of Newfoundland, the eastbound fast convoy HX229 overtook the slow convoy SC122 and over the course of 4 days, the German U-boats of wolfpaks Raubgraf and Surmer, sunk 21 ships for the loss of one U-boat, U-384, at the hands of a Sunderland patrol craft. The disaster nearly ended the convoy scheme, but improvements in aircover were made which ultimately turned the tide in the Allie's favor

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March 17, 1943

The Japanese 33rd and 55th Divisions attack the British 123rd Indian Brigade, occupying defensive positions north of Rathedaung in Arakan. Threatened with being surrounded, the Indian's withdraw. 

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March 18, 1943

Von Manstein's attack comes to a close as the "Grossdeutchsland" Division attacks Belgorod northeast of Kharkov, as the spring thaw and its accompanying sea of mud take over.  In the attack, the overextended Red Army suffered 40,000 casualties and lose at least 600 tanks, and the Germans succeeded in stabilizing the southern half of the eastern front. However, the blow was nowhere near as devastating as the attacks of the summer of 1941. The Soviet Army was coming of age and able to fight with the Germans on a more level field.

Elements of the US 2nd Corps captures Gafsa, Tunisia, and advances toward El Guettar.

Orde Wingate's column crosses the Irrawaddy River near Inywa as the Japanese begin operations to pursue this elusive foe. Further to the south in the Arakan, Htizwe falls to a British attacks while an attack on Donbaik, on the Mayu Peninsula, fails.

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March 19, 1943

The New Zealand Corps begins moving  toward Ksar Rhilane in preparation for Montgomery's attack on the Marenth Line

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March 20, 1943

As night falls, Montgomery's long awaited attack on the Mareth line finally begins with a massive barrage on Italian positions along the coast followed by attacks by the British 50th Infantry Division. The New Zealand Corp was still marching to their flanking position to the west.

Another attempt is made to assassinate Hitler, this time by a suicide bomber, Colonel Rudolph Christoph von Bersdorf (who had provided the faulty bomb in the March 13 attempt). Hitler was to visit the exhibit at the Berlin Armory Museum and Bersdorf planned to detonate a bomb planted on himself while standing near the Fuehrer. Bersdorf had wanted to use a instantaneous detonator but could only obtain an acid based 10-minute delay fuse. All went as planned as Bersdorf set the fuse going at the end of Hitler's speech and joined the tour group, inching toward the Fuehrer. But shortly after starting the tour, Hitler moved off, ignoring the exhibit and left the area. Bersdorf was forced to rush to the men's room to flush the acid detonator down the toilet before it blew up.

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March 21, 1943

Italian forces defending Tebaga Gap in Tunisia, put up a surprisingly determined defense, stopping the New Zealand Corps' flank attack. Meanwhile, the main attack on the Mareth Line, by British forces, in the morning has established a small force across the natural antitank obstacle of Wadi Zigzaou, but ground conditions prevent a further buildup.

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March 22, 1943

As the British attempt to expand their bridgehead over Wadi Zigzaou, German reserves from the 15th Panzer Division (with a mere 30 tanks in all) counterattack, ending the attempt. Meanwhile elements of 21st Panzer and 164th Light Divisions arrive at Tebaga Gap to stop t he new Zealand Corps' advance.

1941 Archive:
June | July | August | September | October | November | January

1942 Archive:
  January |  February | March  | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

1943 Archive:
January | February |

Special Editions:
Pearl Harbor | The Doolittle Raid | Midway

Editor's Corner Archive:

Hitler's Angle "The story of Prescott Bush and his association with the Nazis begins just before the end of World War I..."

The Past Through Tomorrow "It is quite frightening to realize just how similar our nation's actions have been and appear to be heading when compared this way..."

Afghanistan and Vietnam: When the "war against terrorism" began, many knowledgeable people warned that our operations in Afghanistan would turn into another Vietnam.

Want to Win - Think Before You Lash Out - "If we are serious about taking the war to the enemy, it is time to look ..."

The First Fight Against Fascism - We must remember the Spanish Civil War also.

Arguing Victory - "... Each nation who fought against fascist tyranny in WWII brought with it part of whole needed to defeat that evil..." 

War, Glory, Honor and Remembrance - "War is a brutal and savage insult on human society..."

The First Casualty... in time of war, those in power are even more inclined to hide the truth, since that truth is often manifest in the most gruesome and terrible acts.  

Those wishing to contribute items. stories or comments should contact D.A. Friedrichs

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