Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives

November, 1941

November 1, 1941

The 1st Panzer Army opens a major offensive against Rostov. The plan calls for the attack to take the Germans into the Caucasus Mountains.

November 2, 1941

Outside Uzice Yugoslavia, elements of Tito’s partisan force and Chetnik forces, both anti-Nazi forces, attack one another.

Hitler, now confident of his victory over Russia, shares with Admiral Canaris his plans to “Germanize” Slav cities and site names.

Elements of 39th Panzer Division cut the rail connection between Vologda and Tikhvin. This would close the airhead to Leningrad and extend the cordon 100 miles.

November 3, 1941

The US Ambassador to Japan, in the first official warning, informs the Roosevelt administration that Japan “… might resort with dangerous and dramatic suddenness to measures which might make inevitable war with the United States…it would be shortsighted for American policy to be based on the belief that Japanese preparations are no more than saber rattling.”

The Imperial Japanese Navy high command approves Admiral Yamamoto’s plan for the attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.

German forces capture Kursk.

The evacuation of women and children from the Pacific islands of Guam, Midway and Wake begins.

November 4, 1941

Von Manstein’s 11th Army captures Feodosiya, opening the Crimea for the Germans.

Finnish forces occupy the Baltic naval base of Hango, a base Finland was forced to lease to the Soviets as part of the peace accords ending the Winter War in 1940.

General McArthur, US commander in the Philippines receives a letter from General Marshall indicating that the Congress would “… give us everything we asked for.” However, the tanks, guns and men requested would not be arriving until April 1942.

November 5, 1941

The US Congress votes to stay in session indefinitely because of the serious situation with Japan.

The Japanese Navy are issued secret orders to prepare for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese military would now be prepared to attack if a negotiated settlement is not reached with the US government.

November 6, 1941

In a speech at the International Labor Organization, Roosevelt discussed his vision for the post war world, saying, “We have learned too well that social problems and economic problems are not separate watertight compartments in the international any more than in the national sphere. In international as in national affairs, economic policy can no longer be an end in itself. It is merely a means for achieving social objectives. There must be no place in the post-war world for special privilege for either individuals or nations." Editor’s note: Pity our “leadership” today doesn’t realize this.

The Germans report the first cases of frostbite on the east front.

The German blockade runner Oderwald (disguised as a US merchant) is captured by the American cruiser USS Omaha and destroyer USS Somers.

The Japanese Southern Army is ordered to prepare detailed operational plans for offensive action to secure Southeast Asia.

The Japanese Navy practice their attack for Pearl Harbor in mock operations at Kagoshima Bay. They were pleased with the results.

A committee from the US Academy of Sciences recommends the immediate construction of an atomic bomb.

November 7, 1941

In Minsk, about thirteen thousand Jews were taken into Tuchinki and brutally killed there. Thousands of bodies were laid out in trenches that had been prepared in advance. The Jews themselves dug the trenches as part of their forced labor.

After a month of debate, the US Congress amends the Neutrality act to allow the arming of merchants.

Speaking from Red Square in Moscow, Stalin says, “the Fascist German invaders are facing disaster”. The Germans are less than 100 miles from where he stands.

Japanese naval units are told that the attack on Pearl Harbor is planned for December 7.

November 8, 1941

With the last reserves of its supplies, 39th Panzer Corp captures Tikhuin (east of Leningrad). Winter suddenly arrives during the day and overnight temperatures hit –40F.

The Soviet 49th and 50th Armies launch counter-attacks against Guderian’s forces north and south of Tula.

At the Kaiser Corporation shipyard, the hull for the liberty ship Robert E. Peary is laid. The ship would be launched in just four days, the record for construction time for one of these vessels.

In a speech at the annual celebration of the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, Hitler declares that “However long this war lasts, the last battalion in the field will be a German one” and “We are deciding the fate of Europe for the next thousand years.”

November 9, 1941

British warships from Malta (Task Force ‘K’), intercept a heavily armed Italian convoy heading to Libya. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, the British press home their attacks, sinking two Italian destroyers (Fulmine and Libeccio along with all seven transports.

The 11th Army captures Yalta as it clears the bulk of the Crimean Peninsula.

The Leningrad Radio Symphony Orchestra performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in a live concert broadcast to London. Near the end of the performance, air raid sirens could be heard over the music. Shortly thereafter, bombs could be heard detonating outside the concert hall along with the rapid fire of AA guns. The orchestra completed the performance without a break.

November 10, 1941

Declaring that Britain would support America by declaring war on Japan should the U.S. find herself at war with Japan, Prime Minister Churchill further stated that, “… every preparation to defend British interests in the Far East and to defend the common cause now at stake has been and is being made."

A division of British troops set sail from Halifax for the Far East on US transports. Escort was provided by the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, 2 cruisers and seven destroyers (and the United States was still technically neutral).

November 11, 1941

The Soviet 49th and 50th Armies attack the German 43rd Corp at Tula. Fighting is very heavy. 

The United States extends lend lease aid to the Free French.

November 12, 1941

Finland rejects yet another request from the United States to make peace with the Soviet Union.

Winter comes to the Russian Front as no German units anywhere on the east front record a temperature higher than 5F.

November 13, 1941

The 11th Scots Commandos land a force on the coast of Lybia. Their goal is to destroy Rommel’s HQ and “get” the Desert Fox. A large part of the force is unable to land due to horrible weather, but the mission goes forward without them.

The British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal is torpedoed by the German submarine U-81. Unable to control the flooding, she capsized and sank the next day a few miles off Gibraltar. All but one of her crew survived the ordeal.

Army Group South reports that the heavy frost has set in. Winter in Russia has begun.

Both houses of the US Congress narrowly (the house vote was 212 to 194) repeal the Neutrality Act.

Temperatures in Moscow reach –8F overnight.

November 14, 1941

Elements of 11th Army close on Sevastopol, cutting the city off from landward communications. On the other side of the peninsula, Kerch is occupied.

The Soviet 49th Army hits the German 12 and 13 Corps in the Tula area. Fighting is very heavy.

750 US Marines are ordered out of Japanese occupied China. 183 had transportation difficulties and would be imprisoned by the Japanese when hostilities began.

November 15, 1941

With temperatures at –20, Army Group Center resumes its offensive around Moscow. The 3rd Panzer Army hits the Soviet 16th Army and reports gains of only 1-2 kilometers.

A special peace envoy from Japan arrives in Washington.

One-thousand Canadians arrive at Hong Kong to beef up the British defenses there.

November 16, 1941

The German 16 Army launches a new attack south of Leningrad in the Volokolamsk area. The attack would stall in less than 24 hours due to extremely heavy losses, very stiff resistance and poor weather.

Elements of the Soviet 49th and 50th Armies stop an attack by the German 43rd Corp directed at the Moscow-Tula highway.

November 17, 1941

A battlegroup from the 11 Scots Commandos attack the Africa Korp headquarters at Beda Littoria. The daring raid  destroys the facility, but Rommel was not present (he was in Athens at the time).

Foreign Minister Togo said relations between Japan and the US could be salvaged so long as the Americans understand “Japan’s national requirements and her position in East Asia … There is naturally a limit to our conciliatory attitude.”

Ambassador Grew warns that the embassy in Japan is not in a position to warn of an impending Japanese attack and that the government should, “… take into account the probability of the Japanese exploiting every possible tactical advantage, such as surprise and initiative."

Nationalist Chinese leader Ciang Kai-shek urges the western democracies to take action against Japanese aggression.

Soviet attacks by massed T-34s strike the 112 Infantry Division. The Germans break in panic, losing most of a regiment, the first time this has occurred in World War II.

General Ernst Udet, one of the greatest World War I flying aces, commits suicide (although the official account has him killed in a plane crash).

November 18, 1941

Geuderian, commits additional 2nd Panzer Army forces to recover ground lost yesterday when his 112th Infantry Division panicked and broke. The new attacks captured Epifan and Dedilovo south of Moscow. 

Seven Commonwealth divisions of the newly formed British 8th Army begin Operation Crusader. The goal of the offensive is to relieve the garrison at Tobruk and drive the Africa Korp into western Libya. The British 7th Armored Division “The Desert Rats”, advances 30 miles behind the enemy lines meeting scattered and light resistance from the Germans.

The Japanese Diet secretly approves a “resolution of hostility” against the United States.

November 19, 1941

Frustrated by his army's slow advance, General Hopner (3rd Panzer Army) commits the last of his reserves in the Kalinin area.

Caught by surprise, the Germans misread the British intent and think that the enemy is attempting to encircle Bardia and send the bulk of the Africa Korp deeper into the trap.

The Australian cruiser Sydney and the German raider Kormoran sink each other off the western coast of Australia. Kormoran, disguised as a Dutch merchantman, allowed the Sydney to close to within a mile before loosing her torpedoes and firing all guns. Sydney, ablaze and sinking continued to fire into the Kormoran, damaging her badly enough to force her crew to scuttle the ship. The entire crew of 645 officers and men from the Sydney died while most of the crew of the Kormoran were rescued.

November 20, 1941

Third Panzer Army, after extremely heavy fighting, finally breaks the stubborn Soviet resistance in the Kalinin area and advances 20 kilometers.

The British order the Tobruk garrison to break out and link up with XXX Corp. Rommel, back from his visit to Rome, turns the Africa Korp back to the west to meet the real threat and orders an attack at Sidi Rezegh.

The Italian ships Trieste and Luigi, while escorting an Axis convoy are torpedoed

Another massacre took place in Minsk. Seven thousand Jews were killed on that day.

November 21, 1941

The 3rd Panzer Corp (1st Panzer Army) captures Rostov.

Albert Speer, in a meeting with Hitler, requested that he be assigned 30,000 Soviet prisoners to be assigned to force labor parties to build the “new Berlin”. After seeing Speers models of the Great Hall and the Office for Goering, Hitler readily agreed.

New Zealand troops cross the Egyptian-Libyan frontier as part of Operation Crusader, and capture Fort Capuzzo.

November 22, 1941

The battle at Sidi Rezegh continues. British tank losses force the British XXX Corp to order an end to their advance on Tobruk. The garrison at Tobruk is also ordered back to their defensive positions. VIII Corp is able to take Sidi Omar and Capuzzo to the east.

Secretary of State Hull hinted that there might be relaxation of economic pressures on Japan saying that, “… there was a general feeling that the matter could all be settled if the Jap­anese could give us some satisfactory evidences that their inten­tions were peaceful."

As starvation begins to set in at Leningrad, the first attempt to cross the recently frozen Lake Ladoga is made. 33 tons of flour arrive in the besieged city.

“Operation Z” commences as the Japanese begin secretly assemble all six of their major aircraft carriers at Tankan Bay in the Kurile Islands for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The German commerce raider Atlantis, after sinking or capturing 140,000 tons of Allied merchant shipping is sunk while refueling from a German submarine by the British light cruiser Devonshire.

November 23, 1941

The 7th Panzer Division (56 Panzer Corp, 3rd Panzer Army) captures the key road junction of Klin northwest of Moscow. Zhukov orders a limited withdrawal of the 5th and 16th Army's which is executed in good order despite the German pressure.

German forces, facing ever-stiffening resistance are still advancing and are 35 miles northwest of Moscow.

Axis forces destroy the 5th South African Brigade after days of heavy fighting around Tobruk.

November 24, 1941

Rommel launches an attack to the Libyan-Egyptian Border.

The US Army issues a war warning, indicating that there is a strong possibility of war.

The United States, with the agreement and consent of The Netherlands and Brazil, occupies Dutch Guiana (Surinam) securing the bauxite mines which furnish nearly 60 percent of the United States needs for the aluminum industry.

The United State extends Lend Lease aid to the Free French.


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