Soviet infantry on the attack.

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

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

American M-4 Sherman tank advances through a devastated Sicilian town.

August 3, 1943

The evacuation of Sicily by Italian forces begins.

The Soviet Voronezh and Steppe Fronts launch a fresh set of offensives on the Belgorod-Poltava axis aimed at the liberation of Kharkov. In heavy fighting, the Soviets break the German lines to the west and force the 4th Panzer Army to withdraw.

The Slapping Incident: While touring the front, General George Patton, commander of the US 7th Army stops in at the 15th Evacuation Hospital outside Nicosia. The facility was overrun with the newly arrived casualties from the heavy fighting by 1st Infantry Division outside Tronia. Patton, as always, was deeply moved by the sight of his men's injuries, at least until he came to Private Charles H. Huhl, L. Co., 26th Inf. Regt., 1st Infantry Division. When asked what was wrong by the General, the young man replied that "he just couldn't take it." Patton lost all control ordering him out of the tent. When the soldier didn't move, the General swore at him calling him a coward, slapped the man's face with his glove, pulled him up by the shirt collar, threw him toward the door and kicked him in the ass on his way out.

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August 4, 1943

Soviet forces capture Orel. Fresh attacks are launched by the Steppe and Voronezh Fronts south of Kursk targeted at the 4th Panzer and 8th Armies. The lines of the 52nd Corps were broken in the initial attacks.

In Sicily, British forces are fighting in the Catania area while the Americans report heavy fighting around Tronia.

In the Solomon Islands, the Americans capture Munda on New Georgia.

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August 5, 1943

Konev's Steppe Front captures Belgorod and drives on toward Kharkov. In the Orel area, 2nd Panzer Army is battered into bits in its unsuccessful bid to hold the city and its remnants reel under the continuing advance of the Red Army.

British forces captures Catania and Paterno on Sicily.

The Swedish Government canceled its agreement with Nazi Germany which had allowed the passage of unarmed German soldiers across Sweden between Norway and Finland. Additionally, transport of war material was to cease August 15. Neutral Sweden had decided to lean back toward the Allies.

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August 6, 1943

The US 1st Infantry Division captures Tronia after heavy fighting.

Konev's forces drive to the outskirts of Kharkov taking Zolochev.

Six American destroyers successfully intercept 4 Japanese destroyers attempting to run troops and supplies to Kolombangara, meeting in the Vela Gulf. Three of the Japanese destroyers were sunk.  1500 Japanese sailors and soldiers were killed.

The new Italian government meets with German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop and assures him that they will not be negotiating a separate peace with the Allies.

German civil defense officials order the partial evacuation of Berlin, fearing that that city would become the next Hamburg.

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August 7, 1943

British forces make good progress on Sicily, capturing Adrana and advancing toward Bronte.

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August 8, 1943  

Patton launches and "end run" on Sicily landing a small amphibious force east of Sant Agata. This move surprised the Germans and they were forced to make a hasty withdrawal allowing the 7th Army forces to take Cesaro. To the east, British forces take Bronte and Acireale.

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August 9, 1943  

In a secret negotiation between Hungry and Britain, it was agreed that RAF and American bombers flying on missions originating from Italy would not be fired on while over flying Hungry. In return, the British agreed that the Allies would not bomb Hungarian cities.

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August 10, 1943  

After a short pause, Red Army forces continue their drive in the Orel area, capturing Khotinets. The attacks against Kharkov meet heavy resistance compelling Konev to divert his attacks to surround the city.

Patton launches a second amphibious "end run", this time at Borolo. The German's were once again surprised, but counter attacks against the beachhead caused serious losses. In the end, the Germans were once again compelled to abandon their defenses and withdraw.

The Second Slapping Incident: While visiting the 93rd Evacuation Hospital, General Patton encountered another battle fatigue case, the second in a week. Private Paul G. Bennett, an artilleryman from the 13 Artillery Brigade was found by the General sobbing on his cot. When asked why he was at the hospital, Bennett replied, "It's my nerves, I can't stand the shelling anymore." Patton lost all control. Shaking with rage, he shouted at the man, "Your nerves, Hell, you are just a goddamned coward, you yellow son of a bitch. Shut up that goddamned crying. I won't have these brave men here who have been shot seeing a yellow bastard sitting here crying You're a disgrace to the Army and you're going back to the front to fight, although that's too good for you. You ought to be lined up against a wall and shot. In fact, I ought to shoot you myself right now, God damn you!" Patton then pulled his revolver from its holster and waved it in front of the terrified private. The base commander came in to settle the disturbance. Patton shouted at the man to not allow "cowards" into the hospital and slapped the private. Patton then turned to leave, but reversed course and struck Bennett again, this time hard enough to knock his helmet liner off.

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August 11, 1943

Konev's forces cut the main rail line leading into German held Kharkov.

German forces begin to evacuate Sicily.

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August 12, 1943  

The Red Army encirclement of Kharkov continues as Soviet forces take Chuguyev and drives on Plotava. The Germans are forced to pull their last major tank force (the 3rd Panzer Corps) out of the Taganrog area and move toward Plotava.

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August 13, 1943  

American and British military leaders meet in Quebec. This conference saw agreement on the general outline for the destruction of the Axis. Among the topics agreed to was the cross-channel invasion of France. D-Day was set tentatively for May 1, 1944

The US 5th Air Force, based in Australia, hits the Balikpapan oilfields in Borneo with 380 bombers.

Soviet forces tighten their grip on Kharkov, capturing Bolshaya and Danilovka. The Red Army opens a new offensive in the Smolensk area.

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August 14, 1943  

While visiting Roosevelt in Hyde park, Churchill and FDR agreed that British and American scientists would completely share all efforts involved in the development of the atomic bomb.

Red Army forces reach the outskirts of Kharkov.

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August 15, 1943  

Popov's Bryansk Front captures Karachev in heavy fighting.

On Sicily, Patton attempts for a third time to trap German forces facing him with an amphibious "end run". This time, the Germans had already withdrawn before the sea borne force could land. Meanwhile, British forces occupied Taormina.

In one of the more embarrassing episodes in the war, 34,436 US and Canadian troops, supported by no less than three battleships make an amphibious landing at Kiska Island in the Aleutian Islands. The Allies finally discover that the Japanese had abandoned the island at the end of July.

The US 25th Infantry Division lands a regiment on Vella Lavella in the Solomon Islands.

Ninety-one German bombers hit Portsmouth.

Italian officials meet with Allied representatives in Spain, offering to defect to the Allies as soon as the invasion of the mainland occurs. They must have forgotten their promise to Ribbentrop on the 6th.

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August 16, 1943  

Montgomery attempts an "end run" on the east coast of Sicily but it fails to prevent the Germans from making a successful withdrawal. US reconnaissance forces enter Messina. Nearly 100,000 Axis troops are successfully evacuated from the island.

Popov's Bryansk Front continues to make good progress in the Smolensk area, capturing Zhidra, near Bryansk. Far to the south, the Southwest Front opens a fresh set of attacks against the Mius River line.

1941 Archive:
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1942 Archive:
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1943 Archive:
JanuaryFebruary | March | April | May | June | July 

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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