Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives
November 1, 1942
Marines open a new set of attacks along the Poha River on Guadalcanal.
November 2, 1942
Operation Supercharge, the breakout and pursuit from El Alamein, commences as Montgomery launches the fresh 151 and 152 Infantry Brigades supported by the 9th Armored Brigade forward. This draws the last of the German armor into a counterattack, which is then countered, by attacks by 1st Armored Division. During the night, Rommel decides to begin his retreat from El Alamein. The beginning of the end of Axis hopes in North Africa had come.
November 3, 1942
Rejecting out of hand Field Marshal
Rommel's proposal to withdraw the Afrikakorps to the Fuka line, Hitler orders
him to stand fast stating, “…you can show them no other road than to victory
or death.” The British 9th Armored Brigade, dispite taking severe
losses, holds the gap in the minefields open as the British 10th Corp
moves through the corridors. Some Axis units begin to retreat as their forces
are now down to about 40 tanks.
November 4, 1942
Rommel re-issues his orders for retreat as his panzer forces are now down to 12 tanks. British pursuit is great ly hindered by congestion in the minefield corridors but RAF air attacks are intense. The Italian 20th Motorized Corps is destroyed and the British take 10,724 Axis prisoners, including nine generals.
November 5, 1942
The British attack Rommel’s rearguard
position at Fuka and breakthrough. 10,000 more prisoners are captured as the
remnants of the Afrika Korp stream westward. The battle is
now almost 100 miles to west of El Alamein.
November 6, 1942
The advance toward Baku comes to a halt
before Ordshonikidse in the Caucasus, as the 13th Panzer Division is hit by
superior Soviet numbers and struggles to prevent being cut off.
In a speech to the Congress of Soviet
Deputies, Stalin warns the United States and Britain that 'the absence of a
second front against Fascist Germany may end badly for all freedom loving
countries, including the Allies themselves'. He declares that 'the aim of the
coalition is to save mankind from reversion to savagery and mediaeval
brutality'. He further points out that the Soviets faced 240 Axis divisions on
the Russian front while Allied forces in North Africa faced a mere 15 divisions.
British War Office announced that hostilities had ceased in Madagascar at 2:00
p. m., and that an armistice had been signed.
November 7, 1942
In a last gasp, Japanese forces launch
a banzai attack on the Australians on the Kokoda-Gona trail. 580 Japanese
soldiers died in the attack.
November 8, 1942
INVASION! US and British forces land
in French North Africa. It is
the largest amphibious invasion in history (so far). 107,000 troops, carried in
370 transports supported by 300 warships stage landings at Algiers, Oran and
Casablanca. German forces were slow to react because they thought the landings
were a faint and the real attack would come at Sardinia.
November 9, 1942
In North Africa, naval battles off Oran
and Casablanca, result in the sinking of three French destroyers. US troops
advancing on both sides of Oran, take 2000 French prisoners after stiff
resistance. Montgomery continued his pursuit of Rommel across Egypt.
Meanwhile,German paratroops were landed at Bizerta, Tunisia without opposition
from the French
The Germans opened the death camp at Majdanekkk outside Lublin, Poland. In the first day of operations, 4000 Jews were murdered.
November 10 1942
In North Africa, Americans capture Oran
after heavy fighting. Heavy fighting is also reported at Port Lyautey in
Morocco. Petain takes command of all Vichy forces. British successes in Egypt
continue with the capture of Sidi Barrani and advance beyond Halfaya Pass. The
French commander in Algiers, Admiral Darlan, calls for all French forces in
North Africa to lay down their arms.
German U-boats mine the entrance to New
November 11, 1942
At Stalingrad, heavy attacks in the
factory district result in the German capture of the Red October Factory and the
Barrikady Factory is cut off. The Germans also capture another 500 yards of
precious ground along the Volga River. Ice was beginning to form on the Volga
and the floating chunks brought shipping to a standstill.
After days of struggle, the 13th
Panzer-Division of 3rd Panzer Korps abandons it’s attempts to stabilize the
situation and retreat from Ordshonikidse in order to avoid being cut off. The
advance toward Baku has ended in failure.
German forces begin the occupation of
those parts of France controlled by the Vichy government. In a letter to Marshal
Petain, Hitler declares that the purpose of this move is "to protect
France" against the allies.
The British 8th Army crosses
the border into Libya.
November 12, 1942
In North Africa, the British 8th Army
retakes Sollum and Bardia in Libya, while Panzer Army Afrika continues its
withdrawal toward Tripoli. British forces land at Bone, 260 miles east of
Algiers, securing a forward port for the Allies for the battle of Tunisia.
US Marines on Guadalcanal surround
Japanese forces along the Gavaga Creek, killing 450 enemy soldiers. 6000 men
from the Americal Division reinforce the US forces on Guadalcanal.
November 13, 1942
The climactic battles for control of
the sea around Guadalcanal begins as a US Navy cruiser force (5 cruisers and 8
destroyers) under Callaghan runs into Abe’s IJN force (2 battleships, a
cruiser, 14 destroyers) meet off Savo Island during the early morning hours. The
confused night action resulted in heavy losses as four USN destroyers (Cushing,
Laffey, Barton, Monssen) and two cruisers (Atlanta, Jeneau) were all
sunk. The Japanese lost two destroyers (Akatsuki, Yudachi) and the
battleship Hiei was heavily damaged. The Hiei was sunk later in
the day north of Savo Island by US aircraft from Enterprise which were
now operating from Henderson Field.
November 14, 1942
The sea battle off Guadalcanal continues as the Japanese cruiser force under Admiral Mikawa makes a run to bombard Henderson Field at dawn. Forty planes were knocked out in the bombardment, but the field stayed open. Later in the day, the Japanese commander, Admiral Tanaka, thinking that Henderson Field had been put out of action, attempted to run supplies and reinforcements to Guadalcanal during daylight hours. 11 transports carrying 10,000 troops, with a heavy escort of surface ships and aircraft moved toward the island and were attacked by aircraft from Henderson. In the battle one cruiser (Kinugasa) was sunk, but more importantly, seven transports were destroyed.
November 15, 1942
During the early morning hours off
Guadalcanal, the Japanese made another attempt to bombard Henderson Field. The
Japanese force of oen battleship, 4 cruisers and 9 destroyers ran into an
American force of 2 battleships and 4 destroyers. In the confusing night action,
the US Navy lost three destroyers (Walke, Preston, Benham) while the
Japanese lost the battleship Kirishima and a destroyer sunk. By dawn, the
four surviving Japanese transports
were able to offload their cargo, but were
sunk off Tassafaronga Point later in the day. The supplies landed were
also destroyed on the beach. The Japanese had failed miserably, and with heavy
losses, to reinforce their beleaguered forces on Guadalcanal.
The British aircraft carrier Avenger
is torpedoed off the Algerian coast and sinks.
November 16, 1942
US paratroops land and take Souk el-Arba
in Tunisia. Meanwhile, Vichy French troops, once loyal to the Germans, switch
sides attack Axis positions in Tunisia.
Oppenheimer select the site of the boys' school Los Alamos in New Mexico for
“The Project”. Oppenheimer begins to tour the United States recruiting top
scientists and persuading them to move to New Mexico. Edward
Teller is among the first group of 100 to accept.
November 17, 1942
Elements of the British 78th Infantry Division tangle with German paratroops 70 miles west of Tunis, the first combat action in Tunisia.
November 18, 1942
Marshal Petain grants law-making power to Prime Minster Laval, enabling him to issue decrees solely on his own authority. Petain is becoming less important in the government although his influence and prestige remain.
November 19, 1942
The Counterattack at Stalingrad, Begins.
At 0730 hours, the massed guns of
Vatutin’s Southwest Front opened fire on the positions of the 3rd
Rumanian Army along the Don River 70 miles northwest of Stalingrad. The barrage
lasted 80 minutes and was followed up by an immediate infantry assault. Elements
of the Red Army’s 5th Tank Army overran the Rumanian left wing. 21st
Army, spearheaded by the new 4th Tank Corp struck the right wing. The
Rumanians held briefly, but they too were soon routed. By the end of the day’s
fighting, the Soviets had scored a clean breakthrough, shattering the Rumanian
forces. 1st Tank Corp was advancing southeast to the Don River in a
deep flanking move. 26th Tank Corp was heading to the important
supply center and major Don crossing point
at Kalach. Meanwhile, 4th Tank Crop was aimed at Golobinsky,
to hit the immediate area behind Stalingrad. All the Germans had to stem the red
tide was the much depleted 48th Panzer Corp. The Battle of Stalingrad
had entered a new phase.
launched in the Caucasus intended only to pin the Germans in place, unexpectedly
resulted in gaining substantial ground as the Germans retreated.
In North Africa,
British engage a German tank column only 30 miles from Tunis while the British
8th Army occupies Cyrenne in Libya.
The Germans launch limited attacks in Tunisia at Djeb el Abiod and Medjez el Bab
but were stopped by British and Free French forces.
An attempt to destroy the German Norsk Hydro heavy-water facility at Vemork Norway ends in failure as all of the 34-manNorwegian-British team are either killed in a glider crash or captured and executed by the Germans.
November 20, 1942
Stalingrad Front opened it’s offensive. This attack started with a massive
barrage by 1000 Katyusha rocket launchers aimed at the Rumanian 4th
Corps. This formation had the unenviable task of defending the yawning gap
between the German 6th Army in Stalingrad and the 4th
Panzer Army far to the South in the Caucasus. The attack was spearheaded by the
64th and 57th Armies supported by 13th Tank Corp and 51st
Army supported by the 4th Mechanized Corp. This attack succeeded in
routing the Rumanians and in this case, the only reserves were the 29th
Motorized Division. The division temporarily checked the advance of the Soviet
13th Tank Corps, but the division was ordered back to Stalingrad as the threat
to the rear of the 6th Army became acute. By the end of the day, the
Soviet columns were well on their way to Kalach on the Don River 60 miles west
of Stalingrad. The Soviet spearheads in the north continued their headlong
advance toward the vital link in the line of supply for the German 6th
In North Africa, the
Eighth Army reaches Benghazi, while in Tunisia Heavy artillery and determined
attacks drive the Free French forces out of Medjez el Bab in Tunisia.
November 21, 1942
Von Paulus attempted to move his HQ, already far to the rear of Stalingrad, further back from the fighting, claiming that the new location offered excellent communications. When Hitler heard this, he saw a commander attempting to save his skin and ordered von Paulus to move his HQ once again, this time into the forming pocket at Stalingrad. This confusion slowed the German response to the crisis.
November 22, 1942
After driving into
Ostrov with the 26th Tank Corp, the local commander, Major-General
Robin, ordered an attempt to be made to capture the vital bridge at Kalach by a coup
de main. The commander of the 14th Motorized Rifle Brigade,
Lt.-Col. G.N. Filippov set off at 0300 with his scratch force of two companies
of infantry and 5 tanks and headed toward Kalach. After a three-hour drive,
lights blazing to fool the Germans into thinking the column was friendly, the
force rolled up onto the bridge and secured both sides. Despite heavy artillery
barrages and desperate counter attacks, the force held, and during the day, the
rest of 26th Tank Corp came forward. Meanwhile, 4th
Mechanized Corps came up from the south, closing the ring. The German 6th
Army, 300,000 men strong, were cut off and surrounded at Stalingrad.
November 23, 1942
The Red Army makes
it’s first installment of payback to the Axis when 24,000 Rumanian soldiers
surrounded at Raspopinskaya in the initial stages of the Stalingrad Counter
Offensive, surrender. Meanwhile, von Paulus appeals to the German high command
to be allowed to breakout from Stalingrad.
In North Africa, Montgomery calls a halt to the pursuit of Germans in order to regroup for his advance to Tunisia.
November 24 1942
Hitler orders von
Paulus to hold Stalingrad, promising his forces would be supplied from the air.
The Australians are thrown back after attempting to take Buna, New Guinea
November 25, 1942
The long awaited offensive against the Germans opposite Moscow
begins. The Red Army forces of the Kalinin and Western fronts directed attacks
against the west, north and east faces of the Rzhev bulge and the German 9th
Army defending it. On the eastern face, the Western Front’s 20th and 31st
Armies (200,000 men, 500 tanks) hit the German 39th Panzer Korp (40,000 men)
along the Vazusa and Osuga Rivers. Resistance by the 102d Infantry Division
stopped the attacks cold with heavy losses to the attackers. On the western
face, Kalinin Front’s 41st and 22d Armies strike across the Belyi and Luchesa
Rivers, achieving some success in penetrating the German front. Finally, in the
north, the 39th Army (80,000 men, 200 tanks) hit the German 23d Corps, but the
German 14th Motorized Division stopped these attacks. Editor’s Note: There has
long been the misconception that Zhukov planned and executed the counterattack
at Stalingrad. This is not true. His major area of interest at this time was
actually in the Moscow area. He saw this operation as primary and the offensive
in the south as secondary. It was not until Operation Mars fell apart and the
southern offensive well under way that his attentions were directed to that
Greek resistance fighters succeed in blowing up the massive viaduct on the Athen-Salonika railway. This destroyed the main supply route for Rommel’s beleaguered forces in North Africa.
November 26, 1942
continues as Konev (West Front) commits his second echelon and mobile forces to
the breakthrough operations on the eastern face. Casualties in the lead 20th and
31st Armies are devastatingly high and little headway is made against the German
defenders. The Soviet follow-up forces is being jammed into a desperately small
bridgehead and German artillery plays havoc with their approach march. The
Germans countered by releasing the 9th Panzer Division to shore up their
defense. On the western face, 1st Mechanized Corp is committed. This attack was
very successful tearing a hole in the German lines 20 kilometers wide and 30
deep. The Germans countered by committing the 1st Panzer Division and the elite Grossedeutschland
Red Army forces close
with the Don River capturing Krasnoye, Generalov and Selo.
The British 78th
Division retakes Medjex el Bab, Tunisia while US tank forces raided the airfield
at Djebeida destroying 30 planes on the ground.
The Germans make the first large deportation of Jews from Norway.
November 27, 1942
The Germans formed
Army Group Don under the command of von Manstien. He is tasked with holding the
line between Army Group South and Army Group A as well as conduct a relief
attack to Stalingrad. Meanwhile, Red Army infantry and artillery pours across
the Don River as new lines facing Stalingrad and facing outward against the
expected relief attempt begin to form.
On the eastern end of
the Rzhev salient, after regrouping from the disorganized approach march and
river crossing against constant artillery attack, Konev and Zhukov launch their
reserves against the German 39th Panzer Corps. Soviet casualties were
appallingly high, but the bulk of the 6th Tank Corp and some elements
of the 2nd Guards Cavalry Corp slipped between German strongpoints
into the rear of German lines. To the west, German resistance in the city of
Belyi has been fierce. Russian reserves are being bled white in futile attacks
against the city. Meanwhile, the breakthrough south of the city goes unexploited
for lack of troops.
As German troops
march into Toulon, Admiral Labrode orders the scuttling of his fleet.
Seventy-five warships are sunk. Four of the French submarines were able to
escape and join the Allies.
November 28, 1942
In the Rzhev battles
along the eastern face, local German counterattacks slow the Soviet attacks. The
advanced elements of Konev’s forces (6th Tank and 2nd
Guard Cavalry Corps) are isolated from the rest of the Front.
November 29, 1942
Konev’s tank and
cavalry force, cut off in the Rzhev battle begin breakout operations moving west
in an attempt to meet up with the 1 Mechanized Corp still advancing on that
front. The carnage was incredible but large portions of the trapped forces
November 30, 1942
Nazi interests in the
Silesian-American Corporation, long
managed by Prescott Bush and his father-in-law George Herbert Walker, were
seized under the Trading with the Enemy
The Battle of
Tassafaronga, yet another night action of Savo Island, is fought. In the action,
US Naval forces attempted to interdict yet another attempt by the Japanese to
reinforce Guadalcanal. Admiral Wright’s force of 5 heavy cruisers and 7
destroyers use radar to attack the Japanese and for once get the first shots.
However, the initial salvo is ineffective sinking only one Japanese destroyer.
In the ensuing melee, the heavy cruiser USS Northampton is sunk and the
other three cruisers are heavily damaged. The tactical defeat for the Americans
is however a victory as the supplies destine for the island were turned back.
forces begin to probe German positions along the lower Chir River. Von Manstein
has managed to form up a scratch defense that manages to hold against the
In a secret directive
to mental asylums in Germany declared that those inmates unable to provide
meaningful service to the fatherland would be starved to death.
The British 123rd
Brigade makes headway in attacks in the Arakan region of Burma, reaching Bawali