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.
In heavy fighting, British forces take Djebel Bou in Tunisia.
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
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.
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
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.
May 1, 1943
The US II Corps takes Hill 609 in "Mousetrap Valley." Axis forces begin to withdraw from the area.
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.
May 3, 1943
US forces break out of “Mousetrap Valley, and the US 1st Armored Division captures Mateur, 20 miles from Bizerte.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The British 6th Armored Division drives from Hammam Lif toward Hammamet, preventing the Germans from making an orderly withdrawal.
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.
Organized resistance in the Warsaw
Ghetto ends. SS-Brigadefuehrer Stoop declares “The Warsaw Ghetto is No
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.
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..."
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
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