Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives
April 1, 1943
British coastal fighters and torpedoe planes engage the Italian blockade-runner Pietro Orseolo off the coast of Spain. Escorting German destroyers destroy five of the attacking aircraft, but the US submarine Shad hits the ship with a torpedo, causing substantial damage
April 2, 1943
American bombers make a series of raids on Kiska and Attut islands in the Aleutians.
April 3, 1943
Patton’s thrust by II Corps around El Guettar are stopped by determined Axis defenses.
April 4, 1943
In their now nearly continuous
operations over Germany, British Bomber Command has a particular “success”
against Kiel, dropping 1300 tons of bombs on Kiel during a night raid, killing
April 5, 1943
Japanese forces on the Mayu peninsula
drive northwestward, in the direction of India overrunning a British brigade HQ.
As Italian units take up defensive
postions at Wadi Akarite, the Geramn 15th Panzer and 90th
Light Divisions move to counterattack Patton’s II Corps at El Guettar.
Meanwhile, the British 8th Army makes a tentative move to dislodge
the Axis by sending the 4th Indian Division on a flank move against
the Djebel Fatnassa position.
USAAF Bombers hit the Renault factory
in Paris, killing 228 French civilians.
Bomber command launched a daylight raid
over Antwerp. The intended target, the Minerva aircraft factory, was generally
missed due to a navigation error. Most of the bombs fell on residential areas.
936 Belgian civilians, including 209 children, were killed in the raid.
April 6, 1943
After making good progress, the 4th Indian Division attacks Diebel Fatnassa. The attack goes poorly and draws the German 15th Panzer and 90th Light divisions south, and away from Patton’s forces at El Guettar
April 7, 1943
The Japanese concentrate the last of
their highly trained aviators and send the fleet carriers Shokaku, Junyo
and Hiyo south to raid the Americans in the Solomon Islands. During the
first of 10 days of bombing, 180 aircraft bomb Guadalcanal and Tulagi. The
attacks sink a destroyer, the USS Aaron Ward, a NewZealand corvette, the Moa,
and a merchant ship.
Japanese forces in Burma, planning to advance into northern Burma, begin building a series of new rail lines. 60,000 Allied prisoners of war are employed in this work.
April 9, 1943
Axis forces continue to retreat in Tunisia as the British 8th Army occupies Mahares, 50 miles north of Gabes.
April 10 1943
A force of 84 USAAF B-24 bombers attack
and sink the Italian heavy cruiser Trieste in a raid on La Maddalena, The
Gorizia is also damaged in the raid.
April 11, 1943
In northern Tunisia, the British First
Army takes Kalrouan, 100 miles South of Tunis.
April 12, 1943
The British 8th Army takes Sousse.
April 13, 1943
German radio announces to the world that they have found mass graves in the Katyn Woods near Smolensk. They stated, “…A ditch was found, 28 meters long and 16 meters wide, in which the bodies of 3,000 Polish officers were piled up in twelve layers. They were fully dressed in military uniforms, some were bound, and all had pistol shot wounds in the back of their heads…”. The reports, coming from Gobbles' Propaganda ministry were suspect, but the relationship between Russia and Poland had never been a happy one.
US bombers launch a series of raids against Kiska Island in the Aleutians.
The British destroyer Eskdale is
sunk by a German torpedo boat off the coast of Cornwall.
April 14, 1943
The Soviet 14th Army defeats
a series of attacks by German forces southeast of Leningrad.
Stalin’s son Jacob dies in a German
Axis forces occupy the hills around
Bizerta and Tunis, extending from the Cape of Seratt to Enfidaville. This is the
last tenable line they have in Tunisia. Montgomery’s 8th Army is moving north
toward Djebel Garci and Takrouna.
April 15, 1943
In reaction to the German accusations
of mass murders hidden in the Katyn Woods, the Soviet government issued the
following statement, “The Polish prisoners in question were interned in the
vicinity of Smolensk in special camps…It was impossible to evacuate them at
the time of the approach of the German troops and, as a result, they fell into
their hands. If, therefore, they have been found murdered, it means that they
have been murdered by the Germans…”. The British authorities, suspecting
that the Russians were lying, nonetheless issued the following statement on BBC,
“Moscow radio officially and categorically denied the news, propounded by the
Germans about the alleged shooting of Polish officers by the Soviet authorities.
These German lies …” and so, the British joined in the conspiracy.
April 16, 1943
British intelligence services intercept
and decode a series of orders indicating that the main German effort for the
summer would be an attack against the Kursk salient. Churchill is informed mere
hours after the messages reach the German commanders in the field who were to
undertake the attack.
Polish government in exile in London formally requested that the International
Red Cross investigate the German report that the bodies of thousands of Polish
officers had been found near Smolensk.
a brave but futile attempt to reinforce the Tunisian bridgehead, Italian naval
forces sortie. In the attacks the British lose the destroyer Pakenham
while the Italians lose two destroyers.
April 17, 1943
The Germans launch Operation Magic
Flute, an anti-partisan operation in the Minsk area. Soviet partisans had been
creating serious delays in the buildup of forces and supplies for Army Group
Center in preparation for the Kursk offensive.
Eight Air Force suffers severe losses
in a daylight bombing raid on Bremen’s aircraft factories. Of the 115 B-17s
committed, 16 were destroyed.
April 18, 1943
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet, arguably the most capable of the Japanese leaders in the war, was killed when the plane he was in was shot down while touring Japanese bases in the Bougainville Islands, well behind friendly lines. The daring interception was made possible because the Admirals schedule was decoded by US Naval intelligence. In a daring attack, a flight of P-38 Lighting fighters from the USAAF 339th Fighter Squadron out of Guadalcanal, skimmed the wave tops for over 400 miles of open ocean, and successfully intercepted the transports and escorts just outside Kahili airfield.
a final attempt to get needed supplies to the Axis forces in Tunisia, over 100
transports, fly off bases in Sicily. Fifty-one of the transports and 16 escorts
were destroyed when 70 Allied fighters pounced on the armada. The Allies lost 7
and German sign a trade agreement whereby Germany would supply industrial
products for Turkish agricultural products.
The German 17th Army launches a series of attacks against the Russian’s isolated beachhead at Novorossivsk. In heavy fighting, the Soviets cling to their toehold.
April 19, 1943
Possessing one machine gun, less than 20 rifles, a handful of pistols, grenades and Molotov cocktails, 1200 Jews, led by 23-year old Mordecai Anielewicz, rose up against the Germans in the Warsaw. In the attack, the Germans surrounded the ghetto and sent infiltration parties forward under the cover of darkness. At dawn, the SS troopers brashly marched down the vacant streets. They came under fire and attempted to retreat, but were pinned down. They called for reinforcements and tank support. After a 7-hour battle, the bloodied SS troopers withdrew leaving behind their dead, two destroyed tanks and scores of weapons. The remainder of the day saw artillery and aircraft attack the ghetto.
April 20, 1943
SS forces attempt to storm the Warsaw ghetto. Their initial attempt suffered
heavy losses, but they did gain some toeholds in the area.
Montgomery’s 8th Army begins a series of attacks on Axis defenses around Enfidavill. The Allies fail to budge the enemy and take heavy losses in t he process. The US II Corps is far more successful, taking the mountainous stronghold north of Medjez el Bab, allowing tanks to move into the Tine River valley.
April 21, 1943
Japanese authorities announce the death of Admiral Yamamoto and appoint Admiral
Koga to succeeds him as Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet.
intensifies as Soviet forces in the Kuban peninsula press the German 17th
Army back in the Novorossivsk area.
SS forces are able to establish a secure position in the Warsaw Ghetto against
continuing stubborn opposition. They achieve this by using flamethrowers to
methodically burn down whole blocks of the area, thus clearing the Jewish
fighters from their strongholds. After the days fight, the German commander,
Stroop, gave the inhabitants a day to turn themselves over to his authority.
forces launch a spoiling attack around Medjex el Bab. It is quickly defeated.
sinking a Japanese minesweeper off the Alelutian islands, Captain Fred M. Smith
dispatched the following report: “SAW STEAMER, STRAFED SAME, SANK SAME, SOME
SIGHTED, SIGNED SMITH.”
Allied attacks against enemy positions in Tunisia begin again. The US 2nd Corps, now commanded by General Bradley, push toward Mateur. Meanwhile, the British 5th Corp hits Longstop" and "Peter's Corner", while the British 9th Corps attacks between Boubellat and Bou Arada. In order to save supplies, Montgomery is ordered to stop his feeble efforts along the coast. Further attempts to resupply the Axis forces from the air meet with disaster as another 30 transport craft are shot down in the attempt.
April 23, 1943
were given to raze the Warsaw Ghetto. Fighting became desperate as the Jewish
fighters took to the vast network of sewers, cellars. and underground shelters.
April 24 1943
SS forces begin to reduce Jewish
strongholds in the Warsaw ghetto. Deploying heavy artillery and flamethrowers,
the defenders are burned or blown out of their defenses. But the Jews continue
the fight reoccupying the rubble and taking to the sewers in tenacious fighting.
April 25, 1943
a lull in the fighting at Warsaw, the German SS troops cut off water and
electricity to the ghetto and continue their clearing operations burning the
city to the ground.
US Naval forces under Admiral McMorris
bombard the Japanese held harbors on Attu Island.
The Soviet government breaks off
diplomatic relations with the London based Polish government in exile because of
the allegations concerning the Katyn massacre.
The British 5th Corps, with
heavy armor support, succeeds in capturing "Longstop" hill after heavy
In a transfer between a German and a Japanese submarine in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar, Indian National Army leader, Subhas Chandra Bose takes his first step toward creating the army he hoped to use to ’liberate’ India from British rule. Within a year, he would recruit 25,000 of his countryman from Japanese POW camps.
April 26, 1943
April 27, 1943
April 28, 1943
April 29, 1943
April 30, 1943
April 31, 1943