US aircraft hit Japanese shipping at Rabaul

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

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

Red Army infantry liberate another village on the long road to Berlin 

October 19, 1943

The 2nd Ukrainian Front under Konev launches fresh attacks out of the Kremenchug area.

Italian Marines from the San Marco, now fighting for the Allies, are the first troops to enter Venice.

Horrible weather forces the US 5th Army to suspend offensive operations as heavy rains turn the roads into lakes of mud.

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October 20, 1943

Soviet forces meet determined resistance from von Manstein's Army Group south. The attacks are stopped cold with heavy losses.

The Allies announce that they will establish a war crimes tribunal under the auspices of the UN after hostilities are concluded.

Some Japanese aircraft from the carriers Zuikaku, Zuiho, Shokaku, Junyo, Hiyo and Ryuho are transferred to land bases around Rabaul in New Britain, the clearest sign yet that the Japanese have surrendered the initiative to the Allies and are in a strategic defense.

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October 21, 1943

SS troops surrounded the Minsk ghetto for one last time. 2000 Jews were loaded into trucks and taken away to be shot. The buildings were blown up, just in case someone was hiding in them. The last inhabitants of the ghetto perished on this last day of the tragedy. Only the ruins would bare witness to the horrible and inhuman crimes committed against the tens of thousands of Jews of the Minsk Ghetto.

Subhas Chandra Bose announced the formation of the pro-Axis "Free India" government. Bose, an ardent nationalist would declare war on England two days later and ultimately raise a division of former Indian POWs to fight for the Japanese.

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October 22, 1943

Continuing with their near nightly terror bombing of German cities, RAF Bomber command hits the city of Kessel in a particularly devastating raid. 569 bombers, all of them four engine heavy Lancasters or Halifax bombers. Despite initial errors in marking the center of town, the raid was remarkably concentrated and accurate. The combination of high explosives and incendiary bombs created a firestorm smaller but reminiscent of the  one in Hamburg in July. Over 11,000 blocks of housing were destroyed or heavily damaged displacing over 100,000 people. 5,600 people were killed and another 2,800 were missing and presumed dead. The three Henschel aircraft plants were seriously damaged and this set back the production of V-1 bombs.

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October 23, 1943

The daily murder of people at Aushwitz was interrupted when one woman, among the 1750 Polish Jews that arrived that day, rebelled. When ordered to strip, she threw her shoe at SS Sergeant-major Josef Schillinger. In the ensuing confusion, she took his pistol and shot him in the stomach, mortally wounding him, and wounded a second SS sergeant. This set off a riot among the rest of the women in line outside the gas chamber. One SS trooper had his nose ripped off and a second SS soldier was scalped. The women's victory was short lived. The camp commander, Rudolf Hoess, organized a counter attack and sprayed the area down with machine pistols and grenades. The survivors were shot.

After 10 days of heavy street fighting, Soviet forces take Melitopol. Dnepropetrovsk also falls as tank spearheads reach Krivoi Rog.

HMS The Royal Navy cruiser Charybdis and destroyer Limborne are sunk by German MTBs T23 and T27, in the English Channel off the coast of  France. 462 sailors were lost.

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October 24, 1943  

German E-boats attack a convoy off Norfolk sinking one trawler for the cost of three of their craft.

The second day of heavy Allied air raids against the Japanese stronghold at Rabaul, New Britain ends with the sinking of one Japanese destroyer and five merchant ships.

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October 25, 1943  

The Japanese open the infamous Siam-Burma rail line (of "Bridge on the River Kwai" fame). Of the 46,000 Allied POWs forced to labor on the project, 16,000 would die of starvations, brutality and illness.

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October 26, 1943  

RAF bomber command hits Stuttgart while the US 8th Air Force launches a devastating attack against Bremen.

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October 27, 1943

Field Marshal von Kluge is invalided and removed from command of Army Group Center after he is severely injured in a car crash.

Troops from New Zealand land on Stirling and Nomo islands in the Treasury Island chain starting the Boughainville campaign.

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October 28, 1943  

The 2nd Marine Parachute Battalion makes a diversionary sea borne assault at Voza on Choiseul Island in support of the main operations to commence against Bougainville.

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October 29, 1943  

Red Army attacks against the German 4th Army between Orsha and Vitebsk intensify. The hard pressed Germans contain the Soviet advances in heavy fighting.

In an event that would be repeated 25 years later, US forces mined the waters outside Haiphong harbor. This time, the operation was conducted by the US Navy submarine Grenadier.

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October 30, 1943  

The US 5th Army captures Mondragone, Italy 

Soviet forces capture Genichesk, cutting the only rail communications for the Germans into the Crimean peninsula.

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October 31, 1943  

The Italian 1st Motorized Group became the first large Italian formation to fight with the Allies. They were assigned to the 5th Army.

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November 1, 1943  

Soviet forces capture Chaplinka, sealing off the Crimean peninsula from land communications, trapping the German 17th Army. The German's only line of communications is across the Black Sea to Rumania. Red Navy forces land on the Kerch peninsula.

The US 3rd Marine Division lands 14,000 troops at Cape Torokina, opening direct operations against Bougainville. The landings are supported by 4 cruisers and 8 destroyers from TF 39 and air support comes from the carriers Saratoga and Princeton (TF 38) The landings are resisted fiercely and the marines are subjected to heavy aerial attacks.

FDR, faced with 530,000 striking miners,  orders the Solid Fuels Administration to take over the operations of coal mines.

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1942 Archive:
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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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