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

August, 1942

August 1, 1942

The waters off Charleston, SC are mined by a German submarine.

The Germans, unable to make headway on the ground in Egypt, launch a major air raid against Cairo.

German forces drive in southern Russia, capturing Salsk, severing an important Stalingrad-Novorossisk rail line. Meanwhile, advance elements of 1st Panzer Army reaches the Kuban River south of Rostov.

August 2, 1942

Allied aircraft in North Africa begin concentrated attacks on Rommel's extended supply lines.

August 3, 1942

Voroshilovsk falls to the advancing German forces. 1st Panzer Army establishes a bridgehead over the Kuban River, threatening the oil fields at Maikop.

The FBI arrests 89 "dangerous aliens" in the US.

August 4, 1942

Having completed the crossing of the Don, 48 Panzer Corp turns northeast, driving toward Stalingrad.

August 5, 1942

Soviet forces deploy newly raised formations of the 57th and 64th Armies west of Stalingrad in an attempt to stem the advance of 4th Panzer Army. Heavy fighting results in serious losses to the green Russian formations and the important road center of Kotelnikovo, 100 mile southwest of Stalingrad, is captured by the Germans.

In a large battle off Newfoundland, a convoy of 36 ships returning to the United States ran afoul of German U-boats. Escorts sunk two of the German submarines but 11 merchants were sunk.

August 6, 1942

Elements of 1st Panzer Army cross the Kuban River at Armavir.

August 7, 1942

Operation Watchtower begins as U.S. forces in the Pacific begin their first offensive action of the war. 16,000 troops of the 1st Marine Division land at Guadalcanal and four other islands (Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu and Tanambogo) in the Solomons chain. Poor weather hides much of the operation, which surprises the Japanese defenders. Resistance on Guadalcanal was mercifully non-existent as the Marines were badly disorganized in the landing operation and movements inland. However, resistance was fanatical on the other islands as very few Japanese soldiers fought to the death, not allowing themselves to be captured.

Elements of the German 6th Army cross the Don at Kalach on the road to Stalingrad.

German scientist Klaus Fuchs became a British citizen. Fuchs was working on the Anglo-American research on the atomic bomb. He was also working as a spy for the Soviets and passing everything he had to the Communists.

On the other end of the Pacific, US naval forces bombard Kiska Island in the Aleutians.

August 8, 1942

W.H.E. Gott, who was slated to take command of 8th Army, is killed when his plane was shot down in route to his new post.

Six of the eight spies landed by Germany on the US eastern seaboard are executed by electrocution. The two agents not executed were the men who turned in their comrades to the FBI.

Ghandi, speaking for the India Congress party said, "If India is free, effective resistance could be offered against the aggressor. India's freedom is long overdue". His party went on to adopted a resolution demand­ing the immediate withdrawal of the British Government from India and sanctioned nonviolent civil disobedience in case of noncompliance.

US Marines secure Tulagi in the Solomons. The Marines also reach Henderson Airfield on Guadalcanal and occupy the abandoned airstrip.

Canton, China is raided by US bombers.

The waters off Jacksonville, Florida were mined by a German submarine.

August 9, 1942

The Battle of Savo Island is fought in the waters between Guadalcanal and Florida Island (soon to be known as "Ironbottom Sound"). Admiral Mikawa's forces of seven cruisers dashed into battle after making a 24-knot speed run. They made contact with Allied forces at 0100. Having trained for years in night combat, the Japanese forces attained complete surprise. The Japanese ships slipped past the destroyer pickets heading for the transports off Lunga Point. At 0138, the Japanese launched their first wave of their devastating "Long Lance" torpedoes. A Japanese scout plane dropped flares on the Allied ships and their ships opened up a devastating barrage. The Austrailian cruiser Canberra was smothered in 8-inch shells and turned into a blazing wreck in minutes. The US cruiser Chicago was hit and damaged by a torpedo. She blundered off in the darkeness unable to spot her attackers. Working off erroneous intelligence reports from earlier in the day, Mikawa feared running into the (nonexistent) heavier forces and turned to withdraw. Twenty minutes later, his force encountered the US cruisers Astoria, Quincy and Vincennes, these ships were quickly dispatched with gunfire along with one destroyer (the Ralph Talbot). The victorious Japanese then withdrew, completely unharmed in the engagement. The devastating defeat forced the withdrawal of the Marine transports (with much of their equipment), and left the Japanese in control of the waters off Guadalcanal.

German forces capture Krasnodar and Maikop. The retreating Russian set fire the oil fields and blow up the well heads to deny the Germans the main prize of the summer campaign.

British authorities arrest Gandhi and other Indian Congress party officials because of their continuing protests to the war effort and demands for independence from England. Serious rioting erupts in many cities and troops are called in to "preserve order".

Convoy SC-94 is attacked by German U-boats in the North Atlantic. Seven British and Dutch ships are sunk.

August 10, 1942

German forces enter the Caucasus Mountains, taking Pyatigorsk.

August 11, 1942

The British aircraft carrier Eagle and an escorting destroyer were sunk off the east coast of Gibraltar by the German submarine U-73 while escorting a convoy to Malta (operation 'Pedestal'). The convoy, stripped of her air assets withdrew to Gibraltar. However, before making good their escape, five merchants along with the AA-ship Cairo and cruiser Manchester were sunk by Italian warships in a series of actions over the next two days.

US bombers launch a series of attacks against Japanese positions in China, hitting Canton, Hankow, and Yoochow.

August 12, 1942

Army Group A continues its advance into the Caucasus, capturing Elista near the Caspian Sea.

Churchill arrives in Moscow to discuss the upcoming "Operation Torch", the liberation of North Africa, with Stalin.

Soviet attacks against German positions at Rzhev stall. Heavy losses are reported on both sides, with little territory changing hands.

August 13, 1942

Bernard "Monty" Montgomery takes command of 8th Army.

German advances in the Caucasus reaches Mineralniye Vody.

Strikes in India in protest to the imprisonment of Gandhi succeed in closing several factories.

August 14, 1942

The wizard code breakers working at Bletchley broke the "Quince" code. >From this point on, all Waffen SS Enigma messages were read by the Allies.

August 15, 1942

The German 6th Army launches attacks out of the Don bridgeheads in their final drive on Stalingrad.

The Germans open a new forced labor camp at the coal mines at Jawizowice, Poland, not far from Auschwitz. Thousands of French and Belgian "deportees" would work and die in the mines.

The first US supply ships return to Guadalcanal after the Savo Island disaster, as Marine ratios are cut.

August 16, 1942

For the first time in the war, US Army Air Corps planes, operating out of Egypt, provide tactical air support for the British 8th Army.

August 17, 1942

221 US Marines make a raid on Makin Atoll. The operatioin succeeded in destroying the new sea plane base and other installations as well as killing the 90 Japanese soldiers in the garrison. The real intent of the raid was to provide some "good news" for the home front. Militarily, it lead the Japanese to heavily fortify the Gilbert Island. The attack cost the lives of 39 marines, including 9 who were left behind by mistake, captured by the Japanese and beheaded.

German forces in the Caucasus meet their first serious opposition since crossing the Don at Rostov.

The US 8th Air Force launches it's first "all-American" raid against Rouen, France.

August 18, 1942

Churchill, concerned the timid follow-up to the success in July in the  First Battle of El Alamein, decides on a major command shack-up in North Africa.  Auchinleck, despite his convincing victory over Rommel, is replaced by Alexander as C-in-C Middle East.

August 19, 1942

The Dieppe Raid: 5000 Canadians, 1000 Brits, 50 US Rangers and 24 Free French commandos, conduct a raid-in-force against the port of Dieppe. The aim of the attack was to practice seaborne invasion techniques. Like the raid on Makin atoll two days earlier, there was no intention to make a permanent beachhead. Three Victoria Crosses were awarded for bravery that day, and Lt. Edwin Loustalot became the first US soldier killed in France. Even so, the operation was a disaster. In less than 10 hours of battle, the force lost 1,380 killed, 1,600 wounded, and 2,000 made prisoner. The RAF lost 107 aircraft. Germans loses were 345 dead or missing and 268 wounded, with total Luftwaffe losses being just 40 aircraft. Civilian casualties were 48 dead and 100 wounded.

The US P-51 "Mustang" made its combat debut over the skies of Dieppe. One of the Mustang flying RAF pilot was credited with a German fighter kill.

Paulus orders his 6th Army to attack into the city of Stalingrad.

Japanese forces reinforce their troops at Guadalcanal.

The Jewish mental asylum at Otwock, Poland is emptied as its patients are shipped to the Treblinka death camp and killed, continuing the German state policy of killing not only Jews, but the mentally ill and infirmed as well, continues.

August 20, 1942

Soviet forces counter-attack the Germans north of Stalingrad but the Germans succeed in reaching the Volga on either side of the city. The 48th Panzer Corp enters the southwest corner of the city and is heavily engaged. 4th Corp comes in from the north and also hits strong resistance. The titanic struggle for Stalingrad has begun.

Thirty-one planes (19 F-4 Wildcat fighters and 12 Dauntless dive bombers) land at the newly completed Henderson Field and immediately begin operations in support of the Marines on Guadalcanal.

August 21, 1942

Japanese forces on Guadalcanal attack the Marine positions on the island. The Japanese attack is crushed as they suffer 800 casualties to 110 Marine losses.

Advancing along the east coast of the Black Sea, elements of the German 17th Army take Krymsk.

August 22, 1942

Army Group A's 17th Army becomes bogged down in attacks toward Suchumi on the Black Sea. Meanwhile, elements of the 1st Gebirgsjager (Mountain) Division, raise a German flag on the peak of Mt. Elbrus, the highest point in the Caucasus Mountains.

US Marines destroy the first wave of Japanese forces sent against them at Guadalcanal.

August 23, 1942

After their initial attacks failed to take the city by storm, the Germans launch a series of massed air attacks against the Russian defenders of Stalingrad. 600 bombers, making 4000 sorties are launched against the city over the course of two-days, turning the once proud and beautiful city into a burning pile of rubble. Oil storage tanks along the Volga burst into flame and thousands of civilians perish in the fires. North of Stalingrad, the Germans are able to reach the Volga in several more locations, isolating Vertyachiv and Peskovaka.

At Izbushensky, in the great bend of the Don River, Italian cavalry, sabers drawn, executed the last successful mounted charge of World War II, routing a force of Soviet soldiers.

Elbrus, on the east coast of the Black Sea, falls to the advancing Germans.

August 24, 1942

While attempting to land a regiment of infantry on Guadalcanal, US naval forces successfully intercepted the Japanese convoy. The forces engaged each other in the eastern Solomons. The Japanese lost the carrier Ryujo, a cruiser and a destroyer along with 90 naval aircraft and crews. The US Navy carrier Enterprise and battleship North Carolina were damaged, but remained afloat. USN air losses were 20. More importantly, the Japanese transports were forced to withdraw.

Soviet forces launch a major offensive in the Leningrad area.

August 25, 1942  

The Battle of Eastern Solomon's continues with a Japanese destroyer being sunk off Santa Isabel. The Japanese succeed in landing troops on Guadalcanal in the night from the survivors of the destroyer group.  Japanese forces occupy Nauru, Gilbert Is. and Goodenough, off the SE coast of New Guinea. They also land 1200 Japanese Special Naval Landing Force troops at Milne Bay, Papua, but the landing force was badly disrupted due to the intervention of American fighter-bombers.

At Stalingrad, the local Soviet Commander, General Yeremenko, declared martial law in the city in order to stave off panic andconduct a more organized evacuation of the women and children from the city. 6th Army launched attacks toward the central part of the city which were beaten back by elements of the 169th Tank Brigade and 35 Guard Rifle Division. To the south, 4th Panzer Army suspends offensive operations south of Stalingrad until the 6th Army was successful in taking the city. To the north, the Soviet 63rd Army attacked along the Don and established several bridgeheads over the river.

August 26, 1942

On the Stalingrad Front, elements of the Soviet 63rd Army continue to attack German positions along the Don River north of Stalingrad. The Germans moved supporting forces against the attacks and Soviets were bloodily repulsed. Meanwhile, 62nd Army launched attacks against the German spearheads probing the northern part of the city, stopping those movements.

The fighting near Rzhev, started two weeks ago, continues to rage. German forces have grudgingly retreated 15-20 miles in the area. Heavy losses have been inflicted on both sides.

Two thousand Japanese land at Milne Bay, southeast of Port Moresby and advance up Kokoda Trail.

August 27 1942

The offensive in Leningrad expands to an attack by the Leningrad Front in the city and the Volkov Front outside the siege. Both fronts were aimed at the German positions at Schluessleburg on Lake Lagoda.

Vichy French authorities begin cooperating with German authorities to "deport" Jews to Auschwitz. The round-ups were done in full view of the French population and lead many Catholic priests to shelter Jews from the sweeps.

US bombers hit the port facilities at Rotterdam.

August 28, 1942

RAF Bomber command hits Nuremberg in a massive raid kill 4000 civilians and destroying 10,000 houses.

A Japanese seaplane, launched from submarine I-25, drops incendiary bombs on forests in Oregon.

German authorities order the arrest of Catholic priests shelter Jews. One thousand Jews, including 150 children, were deported from Paris alone to the death camp at Auschwitz today.

Using intercepted radio messages, British forces intercept and sink the tanker Diepli, denying 2200 tons of vital aviation fuel to Rommel's Deutche Army Afrika (DAK) as they prepare to renew attacks at El Alamein.

Elements of the German 17th Army attack Soviet positions at Novorossiysk on the Black Sea.

August 29, 1942

At Stalingrad, 4th Panzer Army, after completing it's regrouping outside the city, launches a vicious attack against the 126 Rifle Division (64th Army). The initial attacks by the 24th Panzer Divion succeeded in rupturing the front and by the end of the day, the right wing of the 64th Army and all of the 62nd Army was threatened with being cut off from the Volga. The Germans had intended on turning east and taking out a wing of the 64th Army but the unexpected opportunity to the north made them pause to consider that option.

August 30, 1942

At Stalingrad, with the unexpected collapse of the center of the 64th Army, German commanders contemplated and finally ordered the attack to wheel left (north) and combine with a drive south by 6th Army. However, the pressure Yeremenko's attacks on the against Paulus' forces was so great that the Germans in the north were unable to move quickly. In the meantime, Yeremeonko, anticipating the move by the Germans withdrew from the trap and placed the units in strong positions within the city.

At El Alamein, Rommel launches his second attempt to take El Alamein. Diversionary attacks were launched by Italian forces against entrenched lines of the  9th Australian, 1st South African and 5th Indian Divisions. Meanwhile, Rommel's tanks and motorized troops hit the southern end of the line north of the Qattara Depresion.

Working off intercepted messages, the British sink the San Andrea and her cargo of tank fuel. This is the fourth major transport ship sunk bby the British off North Africa in the last two days.

Thirty more aircraft arrive at Henderson Field to help defend Guadalcanal.

August 31, 1942

El Alamein: Rommel's forces advancing at El Alamein hit the lines of the 7th Motorized and 4th Light Armored Brigades. Defending strong positions behind thick minefields, the weak British screening force was able to hold the German tankers at bay long enough for other formations to start reacting. Rommel's initial plan of a wide sweep around the British positions was abandoned in favor of an attack toward the Alam Halfa Ridge, the key terrain feature behind the British lines. The advance was made in a blinding sandstorm. The movements in the soft sand were so hard on fuel supplies that the attack was called off in the afternoon.

After a conference with Hitler at Vinnitsa, General Halder noted in his diary that the Fuehrer had ordered that once the city was secured, every single male in the city would be  exterminated and the females were to be "shipped off".

1,200 Japanese reinforcements landed on Guadalcanal by 'Tokyo Express'. Meanwhile, Australian forces hit the Japanese positions at Milne Bay and inflict heavy losses on their opponent.

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