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

January, 1943


January 1, 1943

Soviet pressure far to the north against Rostov, forces 1st Panzer Army to abandon the Caucasus and begin withdrawing from the Terek front.

Soviet forces enter Velikiye Liki and heavy street fighting begins as the Germans tenaciously fight for every building.

Japanese forces begin to withdraw from Buna.

January 2, 1943

Elements of the US 1st Corp attack and dislodge the last Japanese defenders at Buna although fighing continues around Sanananda.

Fresh US forces hit hard pressed Japanese defenders on Mount Austen at Guadalcanal.

January 3, 1943

Soviet forces from the 44th and 58th Armies capture Malgobek in the Caucasus as Army Group A begins a general withdrawal from the region.

January 4, 1943

Soviet forces capture Mozdok and Nalchik in the Caucasus and Chernyshkovskii on the Chir River.

US Naval forces use proximity air burst fuses for the first time in the war. These were the first rounds to sense when they were close to the target (something solid like the ground or an airplane) and detonate before striking the target increasing their leathal effect several fold.

January 5, 1943

Japanese forces begin to withdraw from Guadalcanal.

Soviet forces continue their advance in the south taking Prokhlandny, Morozovsk and Tsimlyansk.

January 6, 1943

Admiral Raeder is sacked as commander of the German Navy as Hitler threatens to scrap the surface fleet because of their recent inept performance against convoy JW-51B.

The first of 15 trains for the month arrived at Auschwitz from Belgium. Despite the reverses on all battle fronts, the Germans were able to continue and increase the pace of genocide. Of the 24,000 people delivered to Auschwitz in January 1943, 20,000 were gassed upon arrival.

January 7, 1943

US forces launch new attacks against Mount Austen.

January 8, 1943

General Rokossovsky, commander of the Don Front, offered General von Paulus surrender terms at Stalingrad. The terms guaranteed "their lives and safety and after the end of the war their return to Germany". He also promises that "...medical aid will be given to all wounded, sick and frost-bitten...". Paulus, influenced by his chief of staff, a die-hard Nazi named Schmidt, rejected the offer, condemning 250,000 men to their death.

Soviet forces capture Zimovniki as German forces continue to withdraw from the Caucasus.

January 9, 1943

Fighting around Buna and Sananada continues as the Australian 17th Brigade is airlifted to Wau, establishing a forward base for continued offensive operations in New Guinea.

January 10, 1943

US forces on Guadalcanal hit the Gifu strongpoint with heavy air and artillery support and continued ground attacks by the 35th Infantry Regiment.

?Operation Ring? begins as the Soviet offensive to destroy the Stalingrad pocket opens.
The assault started with an hour-long bombardment from thousands of guns and rocket launchers. Infantry from the 65th and 22nd Armies made good progress in the west, advancing 5 miles. Some progress was made in the north and south, but determined German resistance, limited gains.

January 11, 1943

Soviet forces launch attacks south of Lake Lagoda, succeeding in driving a very thin land corridor to the city. Supplies are rushed into the city while wounded and non-combatants are shipped out. All of this was done under constant artillery fire against the cordon.

In the Caucasus, Georgivesk, Pyatigorsk, Mineralnye Vody and Kuberle fall to Russian advances.

January 12, 1943

The Voronezh and Bryansk Fronts open a fresh set of offensives against the Hungarian 2nd and German 2nd Armies. The Hungarian forces are overrun quickly and Soviet spearheads head for Kharkov.

In heavy fighting, the Don Front overruns the western portion of the Stalingrad pocket. Since the start of Operation Ring, the front has lost 26,000 men and 125 tanks. German losses have been as heavy.

Free French forces under Gen. Leclerc attack out of Chad and clear southern Ligya of German troops.

January 13, 1943

The first of seven airfields in the Stalingrad pocket is captured.

January 14, 1943

The Casablanca Conference between Roosevelt and Churchill begins as the western Allies plan the coming offensives throughout the world. To the disappointment of both leaders, the planned invasion of Sicily and the cross-channel attack into France were both postponed, the later until 1944. The leaders also agreed to increase the terror bombing of German cities by RAF Bomber command and to begin daylight ?precision bombing? of German industrial targets by US bomber forces.

January 15, 1943

German, Italian and Croat forces under General Alexander von Lohr, launch ?Operation White?, the largest campaign to date against Tito?s partisans in Yugoslavia.

The Red Army, after two weeks of desperate street fighting, captures Velikiye Luki in the Valday Hills northwest of Moscow.

US forces launch their final offensive on Guadalcanal.

January 16, 1943

The main German airfield at Pitomnik is captured by the Soviets. The Germans in the Stalingrad pocket how had only one airfield, Gumrak, operationg. Night landings were no longer possible and supplies had go be parachuted in. The daily deliveries were down to 60 tons, 20% of the 6th Army?s minimal needs.

RAF Bomber Command, after four months of terrorizing other cities, returned to Berlin with a heavy raid of 201 bombers. The attack did little damage (being beyond the range of radar navigation aides), however, one load of incendiary bombs hit the Deutchlandhalle, Moments before the bombs landed, the 10,000 people enjoying the circus and all of the animals had completed the evacuation. The empty hall was quickly consumed by fire.

The Eighth Army destroys Rommel?s rearguard at Buerat, in Libya and is now just 300 miles from the Tunisian frontier. Iraq enters the war against all three Axis powers.

January 17, 1943

General Rokossovsky suspends his offensive against the Stalingrad pocket temporarily to regroup. Outside the pocket Millerovo and Zimoviki are captured.

January 18, 1943

Soviets announce that the siege of Lenningrad has been raised. Despite this, rations in the city are still very limited and German artillery can still reach any part of the city. Attempts to widen the corridor (only 6 miles wide) fail, at a heavy cost in men and material.

In the Caucasus, Cherkessk, 250 miles southeast of Rostov, is captured by the Red Army

The Germans counter attack in Tunisia. Free French defenders give ground but the attack is thrown back by British reinforcements.

Australian troops capture Cape Killerton and Wye Point in Papua, New Guinea.

British and American tankers at Bou Arada, Tunisia are confronted for the first time by the vaunted ?Tiger? tank. The heavily armored tank is equipped with the feared 88mm gun and has no equal in the Allied armory.

After a four-month lull, Germans moved back into the Warsaw Ghetto to restart deportations to the Treblinka death camp. This time, the Nazis were met by a small band of Jews firing smuggled pistols. The Germans responded with machine guns but this first feeble attempt at resistance greatly improved the moral of Jews.

January 19, 1943

The Soviet winter offensive builds in strength and success as they claim capturing over 52,000 since the start of the offensive. Voronezh Front continues to advance towards Kharkov. Meanwhile in the north, 59th Army captures Novgorod. 

The British 8th Army continues its pursuit of Rommel across Libya, capturing Homs and Tarhuna, near Tripoli.

January 20, 1943

The Germans launched a daylight raid against London. In the attack, a school was hit killing 44 children and a teacher.

With the reduction of the Stalingrad pocket well in hand, Soviet forces begin to leave the area to reinforce that attacks further west. To the south, the Red Army captures Mevinnomyssk and Proletarskaya.

January 21, 1943

The Soviets capture the rail communications center of Voroshilovskii in the Caucasus.

The British code breakers at Bletchley Park broke the ?Procupine? key, which allowed them to read all Luftwaffe transmissions in southern Russia for nearly a month.

The US 1st Armored Division, ?Old Ironsides?, begins operations to clear the Germans from the Ousseltia Valley in Tunisia.

January 22, 1943

Von Paulus radios Hitler from Stalingrad saying, ?Rations exhausted. Over 12,000 wounded unattended in the pocket.? Hitler responded by stating, ?Surrender is out of the question.? On the battle front, a massive artillery barrage, followed by heavy infantry assaults results in the capture of the airfield at Gumrak and the Soviet 21st and 62nd Armies linked up, cutting the pocket into two, north and south of the city.

Japanese forces are attacked and decisively defeated at Sanananda. Fighting continues at Guadalcanal as US forces have success against Japanese forces around Henderson field.

January 23, 1943

Soviet forces recapture Armavir, securing the line of communications with the Maikop oil fields in the Caucasus. At Stalingrad, the last German airplane, an He-111 carrying 19 wounded soldiers and seven bags of mail, flies out of the pocket as the last German airfield in the pocket falls to Russian attacks.

The British 8th Army occupies Tripoli.

Japanese resistance on Mount Austen, Guadalcanal, ends.

January 24, 1943

The Soviet attacks continue as Starobelskii, 250 miles west of Stalingrad, is liberated by Vatutin?s Southewest Front. Hitler reissues his orders not to surrender Stalingrad forbidding even small groups of soldiers from attempting to breakout of the pocket. In the meantime, Paulus orders that food should not be distributed to the 30,000 wounded and sick at Stalingrad. The Trans-Caucasus Front attacks begin to slow as they approach the Kuban peninsula. German resistance at Novorussisk and Krasnodar is particularly successful.

The Allies declare that New Guinea is cleared of Japanese resistance. In total, the Allies suffered 3000 casualties and the Japanese lost over 7000. Of the 350 prisoners captured, the vast majority were Chinese and Korean laborers.

Rommel?s forces in North Africa leave Libya for the last time, taking up defensive positions west of Medenine in Tunisia.

January 25, 1943

German forces withdraw from Armavir and Voronezh.

The Casablanca Conference ends with the announcement that Churchill and Roosevelt would accept only the unconditional surrender of Germany, Japan, and Italy.

American forces take Maknassy in Tunisa.

January 26, 1943

Soviet forces occupy Voronezh.

The British 8th Army takes Zaula in Libya. They are now only 100 miles from Tunisia.

Manpower shortages on the fighting fronts force the Germans to replace flak crews in Germany with Hitler Youth boys as young as 15.

January 27, 1943

The first ?all-American? daylight bombing raid on Germany occurs as 64 B-17 and B-24 bombers hit warehouses at Wilhelmshaven. The Americans claimed 22 German fighter kills and lost only 3 bombers.

Soviet forces clear the direct rail line between Moscow and Leningrad and begin operation on an rail extension through the newly opened corridor, bringing badly needed supplies to the starving city.

January 28, 1943

In a review of war plans presented to the Diet by Premier Hideki Tojo reiterated Japan?s official neutrality toward the Soviet Union, announced plans to recognize the independence of the Burmese State, to grant independence to the Philippines if their people were prepared to cooperate, and to aid India in her fight for freedom against the British Empire.

Soviet forces liberate Kasternoe on the the Kursk-Voronezh railroad.

January 29, 1943

The British 8th Army begins to cross the Tunisian frontier from Libya.

Admiral D?nitz takes over from Admiral Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy.

The Luftwaffe makes its last major effort to supply the surrounded forces at Stalingrad, dropping supplies from 124 planes. It would be far to little, far to late.

January 30, 1943

British Mosquito light attack bombers hit Berlin in the first British daylight raid against Berlin. The attacks disrupted the Nazi party?s 10th anniversary celebration taking place at the same time. After a delay of an hour due to the raid, Goering gave his speech saying ?'A thousand years hence Germans will speak of this battle with reverence and awe.? Meanwhile, Paulus radioed Hilter saying, ?'The swastika flag is still flying above Stalingrad. May our battle be an example to the present and coming generations, that they must never capitulate even in a hopeless situation, for them Germany will emerge victorious.? Hitler decided to promote von Paulus to Field Marshal. No German Field Marshal had ever been captured and Hitler hoped von Paulus would commit suicide.

While escorting reinforcements for Guadalcanal, the US Navy heavy cruiser Chicago was hit and sunk by Japanese aircraft. 21 sailors were killed, but more than a 1000 of her crew were rescued.

January 31, 1943

The Soviet government announced that at 1945 hours, after surrounding the Univemag department store building, Chuikov?s 62nd Army, the defenders of Stalingrad, accepted the surrender of Field Marshal von Paulus and 16 other generals. The northern pocket continued to fight on.

The British 8th Army captures Zuara near the Tunisain border.

RAF bombers launch tonight?s raid over Germany against Hamburg. This was the first time the H2S radar system was used to assist in targeting. The attack was only marginally successful but would lead to more effective use as the terror bombing campaign wore on.
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