Allied ships offload supplies at Anzio
Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII
Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism
Soviet submachine gunners ride their T-34 into battle
Soviet attacks in the Vitebsk area are met by stiff resistance and generally fail to make an impression. Further to the north, Red Army forces are completing the encirclement of Novgorod, south of Leningrad.
British attacks (10th Corps of US 5th Army) establish a bridgehead over the Garigliano River that draws German reserves away from Anzio.
The Soviet attacks around Leningrad intensify as 42nd Army attacking out of the city links up with 2nd Shock Army attacking toward the city. Elements of the Volkhov Front surround German forces at Novgorod who begin a break out attack.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated president for the fourth time.
RAF Bomber command launches its 11th raid against Berlin sending 759 bombers to drop 2,456 tons of bombs on the city. 243 civilians were killed in the raid. One bomber, dropped his load 30 miles from the city, but managed to destroy a Todt Organization (military engineering) depot.
Soviet forces move into Novgorod.
US forces along the Rapido River are thrown back by German counterattacks.
The key communications and supply center at Mga is captured by advancing Soviet forces in the Leningrad area.
The Luftwaffe launches a feeble 90-plane bombing raid against England. It is the largest such raid in some time.
The US 36th Infantry division suffers severe losses while attempting to establish a bridgehead over the Rapido River while the invasion force for Anzio steams out of Naples.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower is named as Commander-in-Chief of Operation Overlord, the cross-channel invasion at Normandy.
Anzio Landings: The US 6th Corps (US 5th Army) commanded by General Lucas lands a two-division force consisting of the US 3rd and British 1st Infantry Divisions behind the German Gustav lines at Anzio, 30 miles south of Rome. The initial landing goes extremely well, meeting little resistance. However, General Lucas, the commander of the landing force hesitates to take advantage of the situation by driving forward and instead consolidates a shallow beachhead. At the end of the day, 36,000 troops had been landed at a cost of 13 killed, 97 wounded, and 44 missing. The German reaction by General Kesselring was quick, but a scarcity of troops forced desperate improvisation to contain the Allied force.
The landings at Anzio continue and 50,000 troops are in the beachhead by the end of the day. Lucas continues to cautiously expand the beachhead against feeble resistance. Kesselring decides that his strong positions at Cassino can be maintained so long as reinforcements promised from OKW reserves arrive as scheduled. In all, eight divisions from France, northern Italy and the Balkans are on the move to Anzio. The Luftwaffe is able to hit the beachhead and landing zone with several air raids, one of which sinks the British destroyer Janus.
The Red Army attacks in the north gather momentum as Pushkin and Pashovsk are captured and the important rail line between Narva and Krasnogvardeisk is cut.
The Soviets, having regrouped and replenished supplies open a fresh set of attacks south of Kiev. 1st Ukrainian Front launches a major attack on the left wing of the German 1st Panzer Army positions near Korsun. Later in the day, similar attacks begin by the 2nd Ukrainian Front to the south. Zhukov is coordinating the two offensives in the hope that the Germans will be trapped in their desperate and seemingly meaningless desire to hold some part of the Dnepr River.
At Anzio, the beachhead is slowly expanded (now 24 miles wide and 7 miles deep) against little resistance. The Germans hit the beachhead from the air, sinking the hospital ship St. David. The rest of the US 5th Army batters against the Gustav line with the Free French Corps attacking Monte Santa Croce, north of Casino, and the US 2nd Corps striking across the Rapido River near Caira.
The attacks by Soviet forces around Korsun meet serious resistance. The 1st Ukrainian Front meets heavy resistance but continues to move toward Zvenigorodka. The 4th Guards and 5th Guards Tank Armies (2nd Ukrainian Front) are met with very serious resistance and suffer heavy casualties from concentrated German artillery support.
German forces in the Casino area launch counterattacks against the Free French Corps, wiping out their gains from the previous day.
US aircraft raid Rabul destroying 83 Japanese planes.
British forces launch a set-piece attack on Japanese fortified positions in the Arakan, in central Burma.
The US 5th Army makes headway against the Gustav Line as the Free French Corps captures Colle Belvedere and the 2nd Corps finally establishes a secure position across the Rapido River.
The attack at Leningrad continues to move forward as Krasnogvardeisk is captured. The Germans are showing signs of collapse on this front. Slightly to the south, the Red Army opens an offensive to clear the Moscow-Leningrad rail line. Heavy fighting flares up at Tosno and Lyuban.
US aircraft make a series of bombing raids against Japanese airfields around Rabaul on New Britain. Japanese losses are heavy.
Leningrad Freed: After 900-days under the guns of the Germans, the siege of Leningrad Officially ends. The Germans are beginning to collapse as Tosno and Valosovo both fall to Red Army advances.
The battle around Korsun continues to rage as the 2nd Ukrainian Front captures the important road junction at Shpola. Fighting on the northern side of the bulge is heavy and 1st Ukrainian front makes limited advances.
The Free French Corps once again is hit by serious German counterattacks and is pushed back.
RAF bomber command attacks Berlin, dropping 1887 tons of ordnance, again inflicting severe losses on the city's population. Estimates are that 6000 people perished in the attack.
Korsun Pocket Formed: The spearheads of the Soviet 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts link up as forward elements of the 6th Tank Army and 5th Guards Tank Army enter Zvenigorodka. 56,000 Germans from the 11th and 42nd Corps (8th Army) are trapped in the salient at Korsun. Hitler insists that the now surrounded positions on the Dnepr River be held and forbids a breakout attempt. Von Manstein, commanding Army Group South, begins to assemble an armored force to break into the encircled troops.
Red Army attacks in the north gain momentum as the German 18th Army is ordered to abandon positions held since the fall of 1941 and retreat to the Luga River line. Soviet forces take Lyugan.
The British cruiser Spartan receives the dubious honor of being the first ship to be sunk by a guided bomb. The attack took place at Anzio.
Luftwaffe bombers hit London while 800 USAAF bombers hit Frankfurt (killing 736 planes) and Ludwigshafen and RAF Bomber Command hits Berlin yet again. Less than 40 tons of bombs hit London while the Allies deliver nearly ten times that amount.
Hitler, incensed over Kuchler's orders allowing 18th Army to retreat from the vicinity of Leningrad before it was surrounded, replaces the commander of Army Group North with General Model. Model's new command continues to collapse as the Volkhov Front takes Chudovo and 2nd Baltic Front overruns Novosokolniki.
With his entire command (69,000 troops, 240 tanks, 500 guns) now ashore, Lucas makes plans to break out of the Anzio beachhead. Regrettably, the Germans have massed 8 divisions (grouped under the 14th Army) against him. To the south, the US 2nd Corps makes some progress in expanding their positions across the Rapido River.
US Naval forces under Admiral Mitscher begins the preliminary bombardment of Japanese positions in the Marshall Islands in preparation for invasion. Roi, Namur, Maloelap, Wotje, Jaluit and Mille are all hit.
The Allies open a new escape route, codename "Shelburne", for downed Allied airmen. Thirteen USAAF airmen escape from Plouha, France to Dartmouth, England on British MTBs.
Lucas' offensive out of the Anzio beachhead opens with a disaster. Darby's Rangers (1st, 3rd and 4th Ranger Battalions) are ordered to spearhead a night attack against the key German position at Cisterna. The attack goes badly as the infiltration groups (1st and 3rd battalions) break into separate groups in the confusing terrain. Upon reaching the town, the Rangers are brought under a horrific fire. The Germans bring forward the tanks of newly reformed Herman Goring Panzer Division. The 1st and 3rd Rangers are cut off and pushed into a small perimeter. They fight throughout the day but lack heavy weapons, and ammunition to prolong the battle. By the evening, they are surrendered or dead. All but 6 of the 767 men from the two battalions are lost.
Heavy fighting continues along the Gustav Line as the US 34th Division holds its bridgehead over the Rapido River against counterattacks while the British 50th Division (10th Corps) takes Monte Natale.
British forces suspend their attacks in the Arakan as Japanese resistance proves to tenacious.
The bombardment of the Marshall Islands continues as US Naval units from TF 58 hit Kwajalein, Roi, Namur and Eniwetok. Seven battleships and 400 aircraft participate in the operation.
The Chinese 22nd Infantry Division clears the Taro plain in Burma.
Harris' bombers return to Berlin, killing an estimated 2400 civilians in this raid.
Marshall Islands Invaded: US forces begin landing at Kwajalein Atoll. Elements of the 4th Marine Division land at Roi and Namur. The attack at Roi goes well making good progress against stiff resistance. Japanese defenses at Namur were very strong and progress was limited. Elements of the US 27th Infantry Regiment landed at Majuro Atoll, meeting minimal resistance. The position was quickly consolidated. While the attacks went in, the bombardment of Eniwetok and Maleolap continued.
The Soviet's open a new offensive against Nikopol. 3rd Ukrainian Front spearheads the attack along the lower Dnepr aimed at the industrial and transportation hub.
The attacks around Leningrad continue as Red Army forces reach Kingisepp.
The US 5th Army made some progress against the Gustav Line as 2nd Corps captured Caira and the Free French Corps captured Monte Abate.
Heavy fighting continues in the Marshall Islands. The fighting on Namu is particularly serious. Japanese positions on Roi are being mopped up. Meanwhile, the 7th Infantry division lands on Kwajalein and overrun the Japanese in heavy fighting.
Major Fritz Kurschera, chief of the Gestapo in Poland is assassinated by the Polish underground.
The Red Army continues to attack on the eastern front. Kingisepp falls in the north and spearheads are at the Estonian border. Model attempts to launch counterattacks at Luga and Utorgosh, but they fail to make an impression.
Roi and Namur are cleared of Japanese forces. 3700 Japanese are killed defending the islands while the Americans lost 740 dead and wounded. Mopping up operations continue on Kwajalein.
In the north, Red Army forces enter Estonia and capture Vanakula. To the South, 4th Ukrainian Front joins the offensive against Nikopol, threatening to surround the German 6th Army defending the area.
Lucas calls off attacks to break out of the Anzio beachhead as it becomes obvious that the Germans are in great strength and preparing their own counter attack. Unknown to the Allies, the Germans had intended on launching those attacks this very day, but the Allied attacks had disrupted those plans.
Japanese forces in the Arakan begin Operation Ha-Go, a major counterattack against British forces.
German forces begin probing attacks against the British 1st Division at Anzio, attacking the exposed position around Campoleone. To the south, the US 5th Army is reinforced by the New Zealand Corps and is deployed opposite Cassino.
Fighting continues in the Marshall Islands as US Navy aircraft hit Eniwetok in heavy raids and troops are landed on Burton Island in the Kwajalein Atoll.
US Naval forces bombard Paramushiru Island in northern Japan.
The Japanese defenses on Kwajalein Atoll end as all but 265 of the 8700 man garrison are killed. American losses were 370 killed and 1500 wounded.
German forces open up serious attacks against the British 1st Division, forcing them back. To the south, the US 34th Infantry Division captures two important peaks near Colle Sant'Angelo.
Von Manstein masses four panzer divisions and an ad hoc heavy tank brigade under Bake and opens his counterattack to relieve their comrades at Korsun. The forces was denuded of the full strength 24th Panzer division at the last minute as Hitler personally intervened and sent it south to help at Nikopol. In the end the 24th Panzer would waste it's fuel and supplies slugging through mud marching to no purpose.
The Chinese 38th and 22nd Divisions, augmented by Merrill's Marauders, attack along the Ledo Road in the Hukawng River Valley in northern Burma. In western Burma, Japanese forces continue and intensify their attacks against the British forces hoping to drive them back into India.
The Allies open a new front in Burma sending Orv Wingate's Chindits on a "deep penetration" raid into north central Burma. This overland march is to be supported by massive airdrops after the 16th Brigade establishes a base deep in the Japanese rear near Idaw.
As the German counterattack to relieve the Korsun pocket continues, 1st Ukrainian Front continues to drive west against the greatly depleted 4th Panzer Army, capturing Rovno and Lutsk. The German forces inside the pocket are designated Group Stemmermann (after the senior commander). The Germans begin air resupply missions to their trapped forces and have limited success. Soviet attacks begin to reduce the pocket. To compound difficulties for both sides, the temperature plummets to well below zero throughout the battle area.
Japanese attacks in the Arakan force the British to retreat. Unlike the 1942 campaign, they are pulling back into defensive "boxes" rather than retreating en-mass. The new tactics are beginning to frustrate the Japanese who expected the British to flee.
The attacks by 3rd Ukrainian Front capture Manganets and Apostolovo east and west of Nikopol, threatening to cut off the Germans there.
Group Stemmermann, under continuous pressure from Soviet attacks, contracts its perimeter, abandoning Gorodische and Yanovka, and prepares for a breakout attack. Meanwhile, the break-in attack continues against very heavy resistance.
The German attacks at Anzio intensify as the British positions at Aprilla and "The Factory" are hit hard. The British 56th and US 45th Infantry Divisions are landed at Anzio and move to the front.
The first schnorkel equipped German U-boat enters the Atlantic.
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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