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

July, 1942


July 1, 1942

An American submarine operating off Luzon, sinks a Japanese transport. Unknown to the boat's skipper, the ship was carrying Australian POWs. 849 drowned.

Rommel launches his last 55 tanks against the feeble British positions at El Alamein. In a heavy sandstorm, Rommel sent the greatly depleted 90th Light Division on a flanking move. After initial success, capturing Deir el Shein, the DAK was met by heavy artillery fire and bloodily repulsed. The Germans lost 18 tanks for minor gains.

July 2, 1942

8th Army commander, Gen Auchinleck, succeeds in installing the revitalized 1st Armored Division on the Ruweisat Ridge, the dominant feature in the middle of the El Alamein position. Rommel attacked this feature and succeeded in taking his feeble force of 37 tanks down to 26.

July 3, 1942

Sevastopol falls to the Germans. 24 days of siege end in a costly victory for the Germans. 97,000 Soviet soldiers and sailors are captured. Hitler promoted the victorious commander, von Manstein to Field Marshal.

German forces in Yugoslavia launch major attacks in the Kozara region against Tito's partisans.

Rommel makes one last attempt to break the British lines at El Alamein, losing 13 of his last 26 tanks. By the end of the day, he suspends offensive operations and sets the troops to building defensive positions. The First Battle of El Alamein had ended in British victory. Egypt was saved.

July 4, 1942

Convoy PQ17, consisting of 35 merchants, 6 destroyers and 15 other escorts, en route to Archangel, comes under heavy air attack. Four of the vessels are sunk. Reports indicate that the German surface fleet, including the battleship Tirpitz, have left their anchorages in Norway and are heading in to kill the convoy. The convoy is ordered to scatter to avoid the confrontation with the superior German surface force.

Six B-17 from the newly activated US 8th Air Force join RAF bombers in hitting German airfields in Holland.

The "Flying Tigers", the private air group which had supported Chinese forces for years were officially disbanded and reconstituted as the 23rd Pursuit Group in the Army Air Corp.

July 5, 1942

With news of the scattered convoy and the threat of losses, Hitler orders the surface fleet back to Norway. Air attacks, however, continue and intensify. Ultimately, only 11 merchants would make it to Archangel. 99,316 tons of material, including 430 tanks and 210 aircraft were lost.

Elements of 4th Panzer Army reach Voronezh on the Don River.

Axis troops at El Alamein begin laying thousands of mines.

July 6, 1942

QP13, while returning from Russia makes a navigational error off Iceland, putting the convoy into a British minefield. Five merchants sunk before the group maneuvered to safety.

The Germans commence operation Swampflower against Russian partisan forces in the Dorogobuzh area.

U-132, commanded by Capt. Vogelsang, enters the St. Lawrence seaway and sinks 3 merchant ships.

 

July 7, 1942

Soviet forces counter-attack the German 6th Army at Voronezh, succeeding in stopping the German attacks in the area, but not driving them back.

At a conference in Berlin, Himmler, along with SS General Glueks, SS Major General Gebhardt and a German gynecologist, Prof. Karl Clauberg decided to begin medical experiments on Jewish women at Auschwitz. It was also decided to ring an X-ray specialist, Prof Hohlfelder onto the team to experiment on Jewish men to see if his techniques could be used to sterilize Jewish men.

July 8, 1942

4th Panzer Army attacks southeast of Voronezh along the west bank of the Don River as the retreating Soviet forces abandon Starii Oskol. 

Admiral Nimitz is ordered to prepare for an invasion of Guadalcanal.

July 9, 1942

Hitler changes the plans for the summer offensive, directing Army Group A to Rostov and the Caucusus Mountains, while Army Group B marched on Stalingrad. The plane to destroy the southern wing of the Red Army in open battle had been abandoned to Hitler's desire to occupy land.

July 10, 1942

After days of deceptive movements of his forces, General Auchinleck goes on the offensive. Rommel, lured south by planned withdraws, strikes into empty ground. Meanwhile, the British XXX Corp hits the Italians along the coast road. The attacks routed the Italian Sabratha Division and threatened Rommel's HQ and supply lines.

In Russia, German forces take Rossosh and establish a bridgehead on the east bank of the Don River.

July 11, 1942

Rommel calls off his errant attack in the south and returns to his defensive positions. Panzer Army Afrika, battered and a few miles back restores the situation at El Alamein. Rommel lets it be known that he no longer has confidence in the Italian forces under his command and begins deploying elements of the 164th Infantry division with the Italians as "stiffeners".

German forces take Lisichansk on the Dontetz River.

July 12, 1942

As his southern front crumbles, Stalin moves massive numbers of troops into the Stalingrad area, forming a new Front (Army Group) under Marshal Timoshenko.

After two weeks of heavy fighting, German forces in Army Group North succeed in eliminating the Vlasov's 2nd Shock Army in the Volkhov area, taking 30,000 prisoners. Vlasov would later turn on his former comrades and support the Nazis by leading the anti-Bolshevik Russian Liberation Army.

Australian troops advance to Kokoda in New Guinea and establish defensive positions to protect Buna.

July 13, 1942

Rommel attacks British positions beyond the Ruweisat ("Kidney") Ridge south of El Alamein. His forces are bloodily repulsed.

FDR established the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under Col. Donovan. Editor's Note: The OSS was the grandfather to modern intelligence (CIA) and Special Forces operations. It is the one, for better or worse, set the mold for clandestine operations in hot as well as cold wars.

July 14, 1942

British forces follow-up attacks on "Kidney Ridge" at El Alamein. Minor advances are made against heavy opposition..

4th Panzer Army is redirected south to assist in taking the Caucuses with Army Group A.

July 15, 1942

Soviet forces abandon Millerovo, half way between Kharkov and Stalingrad. Also, Kamensk on the Donetz river was abandoned. German commanders begin to express concern in that they have captured less than 80,000 Soviet forces since the start of the offensive, much less than what had been planned and expected.

New Zealand forces begin attacks on  Rommel's forces  at "Kidney Ridge". The attacks are met by tenacious German resistance, but at the end of the day, the key ridge is cleared. Meanwhile, the Italian Brescia and Pavia divisions are routed, forcing Rommel to send German troops north to stablize the situation, ending his hopes at a meaningful attack in the south.

British cryptographers broke the German anti-aircraft unit ciphers. The "Weasel" cipher was particularly important because it allowed the Allies to track the important 88mm AT/AA units.

The first 2000 Dutch Jews were deported to Auschwitz.

July 16, 1942

Rommel launches desperate attacks against the Ruweisat Ridge and Tell el Eisa, but is unable to dislodge the Commonwealth forces.

July 17, 1942

New Zealand forces succeed in routing the Germans from the "Kidney" Ridge positions. The British take 2,600 prisoners and capture 115 guns. El Alamein, and eastern Egypt, has been saved.

Churchill suspends convoys to Murmansk after the PQ17 disaster.

July 18, 1942

Soviet forces are in full retreat on the southern front as German forces capture Voroshilovgrad in the Donets Basin.

July 19, 1942

The French Gestapo initiated the "Family Hostage Law" whereby if any French "terrorist' identified by the German occupation forces did not surrender within 10 days of their "crime", all adult male relatives would be executed, adult females would be sent to concentration camps and children would become charges of the Germans state.

July 20, 1942

Operation Eagle commences as the Germans attack Russian partisan positions in the Chechivichi area of Byelorussia.

Soviet counterattacks succeeded in eliminating the German bridgehead on the east bank of the Don at Vorohezh.

July 21, 1942

16,000 Japanese troops land at Buna, new Guinea.

The US military reports that since the beginning of the war, 44,143 soldiers have been killed, wounded or are missing.

Commonwealth infantry attack at El Alamein attempting to breach the Axis fixed positions.

July 22, 1942

The British 8th Army, with a new complement of 323 tanks (against Rommel's 92) attacks. Auchinleck's forces manage to loose 131 tanks and 2,600 prisoners were taken by the Germans.

Lt. Kurt Waldheim (who would become Austrian PM) is awarded the Silver Medal by the Croats for his outstanding work in determining the number of trucks needed to deport innocent civilians out of partisan controlled areas.

German forces enter Rostov. Heavy house-to-house fighting erupts in the city.

The Treblinka death camp is opened. The Germans begin moving the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto to the new camp, the vast majority would be murdered upon arrival.

July 23, 1942

Japanese forces begin landing the 18th Army at Buna and Gona on the northern coast of Papua. The operation is intended to take Port Morseby.

German submarines lay mines at the approaches to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

July 24, 1942

1st Panzer Army captures Rostov-on-Don, unhinging the Soviet defensive positions in the far south. The armies are now free to move to the Caucasus.

July 25, 1942

German forces capture Novocherkassk, northeast of Rostov.

July 26, 1942

Auchinleck suspends offensive operations at El Alamein after three days of heavy fighting which bags 7,000 Axis prisoners. Exhausted by the efforts, the British 8th Army begins to dig in.

July 27, 1942

The German 6th Army launches attacks against the Soviet bridgeheads west of the Don at Kalach. The Soviets hang on with grim determination and the attacks fail. The Germans cross the Don River at Rostov and occupy Bataysk.

British Bomber Command launches an "all out effort" sending 403 bombers against Hamburg. Heavy damage was reported as 337 civilians were killed, and 14,000 were homeless after the bombs and fires destroyed 823 homes. British losses in the raid were heavy - 29 planes (7.2%).

July 28, 1942

Soviet forces begin withdrawing from the lower Don, as the fall of Rostov has unhinged the defensive position.

July 29, 1942

German forces advancing toward the Caucasus take Proletarskaya, securing a bridgehead over the Manych River.

After four days of heavy fighting, Japanese forces take Kokoda from the Australians.

Chinese forces attacking along the Hanchow-Nancheng rail line push the Japanese back

July 30, 1942

General Auchinleck suspends offensive operations against Rommel's forces at El Alamein. Although Churchill is displeased with the halt, Auchinleck did manage to save Egypt and the North African campaign by stopping Rommel in the actions of the last month.

Chinese recapture Tsingtien in eastern Chekiang, cutting off the Japanese at Wenchow.

July 31, 1942

Soviet forces of the West Front launch a major attack against Army Group Center in the Rzhev area.

4th Panzer Army launches attacks aimed at breaking the Russian hold on the middle Don River.

Japanese forces cross the Own Stanley Mountains, advancing from Buna and Gona in their offensive on Port Moresby in New Guinea.

603 RAF bombers, and for the first time, over 100 heavy Lancaster bombers, hit Dusseldorf. 453 homes were destroyed, 1500 damaged and 279 civilians were killed in the terror bombing. The British losses were heavy at 29 aircraft (nearly 5%). 

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