Proud and powerful, a German submarine departs for patrol. Their days of glory would come to an abrupt end this month.

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

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

The end of Panzer Army Afrika. Thousands of German and Italian prisoners of war are taken as the campaign in Tunisia ends.

April 27, 1943

In heavy fighting, British forces take Djebel Bou in Tunisia.

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April 28, 1943

The pro-Soviet Union of Polish Patriots issued a statement in Izvestia that the Polish Government in exile (London) had never received a popular mandate and that its policy regarding the executed Polish officers found in Katyn Woods by the Germans was aimed at causing a rift between Britain, the United States, and Russia. 

Heavy fighting continued at Djebel Bou Auoukaz as the German 8th Panzer Regiment launched a major counterattack against the British units in the area. Meanwhile, the US II Corps is making slow but steady progress in “Mousetrap Valley.”

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April 29, 1943

An international medical commission begins its investigation of the bodies found by the Germans in the Katyn Woods. Autopsies are conducted on eight corpses. The commission concludes that the bodies were indeed those of Polish officers and they had been killed sometime during the spring of 1940.

In a 24-hour period, U-515, operating off the coast of Freetown in West Africa, sunk five ships.

British forces capture Sidi Abdallah.

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April 30, 1943

The Royal Navy officially adopts a new strategy for combating submarines. The new strategy calls for carrier based fighter to be deployed to protect long range anti-submarine patrol craft. The plan was put in place in the Bay of Biscay where the submarines could be more easily located coming and going from their bases in France. During the first month, 38 submarines were sunk with this technique.

The Military Policy Committee of the Manhattan Project, led by General Leslie Groves, begins to explore the possibility of using "the bomb" against Japan rather than Germany. Many of the scientists were working on the bomb project only because they feared that Germany would develop the weapon first. No one believed the Japanese science and industry capable of such a development and there would be many who questioned the morality of a nuclear attack on Japan even before the device existed.

Operation Mincemeat begins as the British submarine Seraph releases a corpse into the sea off the Spanish port of Huelva. The hope was the papers carried on the body would be passed on to the Germans. The papers explained that the build-up and future air operations against Sicily were a diversion from the real attack which was to be launched against Greece. This, of course, was the deception. Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily was the real attack.

In Tunisia, the Germans retake Djebel Bou Aoukaz in heavy fighting. Meanwhile, the US II Corps gain ground against Hill 609 and 8th Army renews its attacks between Bou Auokaz and Ksar Tyr.

In an attempt to improve relations with their Soviet allies, and after some major arm twisting by the British,  the Polish government in exile requests that the Red Cross enquiry into the Katyn massacre be dropped.

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May 1, 1943

The US II Corps takes Hill 609 in "Mousetrap Valley." Axis forces begin to withdraw from the area.

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May 2, 1943

Japanese bombers based in Salamaua, New Guinea strike Darwin Australia.

RAF Mosquito fighter-bombers raid the railway yards at Thionville in France.

German Dornier bombers lay mines off the Thames and Humber estuaries.

The German transport Gneisenau strikes a mine and sinks, east of Gedser.

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May 3, 1943

US forces break out of “Mousetrap Valley, and the US 1st Armored Division captures Mateur, 20 miles from Bizerte.

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May 4, 1943

After sailing for a week through raging storms, westbound convoy ONS-5 makes contact with the German wolf pack sent to destroy it. As German submarine U-630 was starting its attack run, a Canadian RAF plane depth charged the boat, sinking it.

Japanese forces continue to press the British defenders, this time infiltrating between Buthidaung and Maungdaw, threatening the British supply lines.

Hitler decides to postpone the summer offensive at Kursk until more of the new Tiger and Panther tanks can be delivered to the troops. Many historians attempt to claim that this was a major blunder because it gave the Soviets more time to prepare. However, more recent evidence would indicate this is a false premise. By mid-May, the Russians had prepared an extensive defense network that was more than enough to defeat the Germans at Kursk.

In an act of purest desperation, the Italian merchant ship Campobasso, attempted to deliver desperately needed fuel and military supplies to the Axis forces in Tunisia. It was intercepted and sunk by British destroyers.

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May 5, 1943

The Axis make one more attempt to supply Tunisia, sending the San Antonio to her doom, this time at the hands of American bombers. There would be no more attempts to supply Tunisia.

Convoy ONS-5, now being dogged by over 20 German submarines, begins to take serious losses. However, German submarine U-192 is sunk.

Heavy fighting continues on the Kuban peninsula as Red Army forces take Krymsk and Neberjaisk from the German 17th Army.

After taking and then losing the town in very heavy fighting, British forces recapture Djebel Bou Aoukaz late in the day. This action secured the left flank for the final drive on Tunis. he British 5th Corps is now commanded by Horrocks and includes the 6th and 7th Armored Divisions and the 4th Indian Division.

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May 6, 1943

The British 5th Corps, consisting of 6th, Armored, 7th Armored, and 4th Indian Divisions led by Horrocks,  breaks through the Axis front, taking Massicault, and advancing toward Tunis. The attack is heavily supported by air and artillery support and succeeds in destroying the remnants of the German 15th Panzer Division. is Meanwhile, the US II Corps advanced toward Bizerta, Ferryville and Protville and the Free French 19th Corps approached Pont du Fahs.

Over thirty German submarines are engaged with convoy ONS-5 as the eleventh merchant ship is sunk. However, four more German submarines are sunk. Twenty more submarines would come attack the convoy but only one more merchant would be destroyed.

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May 7, 1943

The convoy battle with ONS-5 comes to an end. In the week long battle, the convoy of 42 merchants and 9 escorts were attacked by 51 U-boats. The convoy lost 13 ships but the escorts and land based Catalina planes sank 7 U-boats, seriously damage 5 more. Despite the serious losses, the Allies considered this a great success.

British forces capture Tunis and while American forces take Bizerta. Fighting in Africa is coming to a speedy conclusion as von Arnim’s Axis forces retreat into the Cape Bon Peninsula. The last remnants of the Luftwaffe, abandon their airfields and fly off for Sicily.

Japanese forces in Burma continue to press the British as the town Buthidaung is abandoned.

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May 8, 1943

The British 6th Armored Division drives from Hammam Lif toward Hammamet, preventing the Germans from making an orderly withdrawal.

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May 9, 1943

Axis forces facing the US II Corp in Tunisia, surrender. Six generals were among those who capitulated.

British intelligence agents manage to steal a German Ju-88 night fighter armed with the new Liechtenstein BC radar set and land it in Scotland. The analysis of this new night-fighter equipment assists the British strategic bombing effort.

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May 10, 1943

Organized resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto ends. SS-Brigadefuehrer Stoop declares “The Warsaw Ghetto is No More.”

All organized resistance in northeast Tunisia ends as Axis forces begin to surrender. Over the course of the next two days, 238,243 Axis unwounded soldiers would become prisoners of war.

Plans for the summer campaign in Russia solidify as Hitler approves Operation Citadel, the attack on the Kursk salient. Intelligence reports indicate that the Soviets are expecting the attack and preparing strong defenses to meet it.

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:
JanuaryFebruary | March | April

Special Editions:
Pearl Harbor | The Doolittle Raid | Midway

Editor's Corner Archive:

Hitler's Angel "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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