Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives
September 1, 1943
US forces land on Baker Island and
begin work on airfields to support operations in the Gilbert Islands. Meanwhile,
US naval planes hit Marcus Island. This attack was the debut for the new Grumman
F6F “Hellcat” fighter, arguably the most successful plane in the war.
September 2, 1943
Red army forces liberate Lisichansk and Kommunarsk in the Donets while to the north, Sumy and Glushkovo are recaptured.
September 3, 1943
After a secret armistice is signed
between Italy and the Allies, elements of the British VIII Corps (from
Montgomery’s 8th Army) land on the Italian mainland at Reggio,
Catona and San Giovanni. As part of the armistice agreement, no Italian troops
went into action against the invaders.
September 4, 1943
The Australian 9th Division
lands at Huon Gulf east of Lae in New Guinea.
September 5, 1943
The attacks toward Lae contrinue as the
US 503rd Parachute Regiment is dropped into the Markham Valley and
link up with the Australians attacking out of Tsili Tsili.
September 6, 1943
The German navy sorties the battleship Tirpitz,
heavy cruiser Scharnhorst, and nine destroyers (Erich
Steinbrinck, Karl Galster, Hans Lody, Theodor Riedel, Z27, Z29, Z30, Z31, Z33)
with the intent to bombard Spitzbergen.
Soviet forces succeed in opening a
large hole between the German Army Group Center and South. They continue their
march west capturing Makeyevka, Konotop, Kromatorsk and Slavyansk.
September 7, 1943
The British 8th Army begins
moving up the “Italian boot” capturing Bova Marina.
Red Army offensives force the Germans
to abandon Baturin and Zvenkov. They also begin the evacuation of the Donets
industrial center at Stalino.
RAF aircraft bomb a series of
suspicious sights along the coast of France. It turned out that these sites were
to be launch points for V-1 “Buzz Bombs”. The attacks greatly disrupted the
German plan for this new “Blitz” against England.
September 8, 1943
An armistice is signed between the Italian government and the Allied powers. Although some diehards would continue the fight, Fascist Italy becomes the first Axis nation to surrender.
An Italian Fleet of 3 battleships (Roma,
Vittorio Veneto, Italia), 6 cruisers and 9 destroyers sorties from La Spezia
and Genoa with the intent of surrendering to the Allies. Meanwhile, the British
8th Army captures Locri and Pizzo.
Red Army advances continue unabated as
Stalino, Yasinovataya and Krasnoarmeisk are captured.
After taking Saingaua, Austrlian forces
are stopped by stiffening Japanese resistance along the Busu River. Meanwhile,
US destroyers bombard Lae.
German naval forces lead by the battleship Tirpitz bombarding the enemy 3” gun battery at Barentsburg. The destroyers landed parties who captured prisoners, wrecked a radio station and destroyed a supply dump.
September 9, 1943
Operation “Avalanche” begins as the
US 5th Army, led by Mark Clark, begin landing operations south of
Salerno, behind the German forces facing the British 8th Army. The
British X Corps and US VI Corps lead the assault. Commando and Ranger units
support the attack capturing inland targets. Meanwhile, the British 1st
Airborne Division captures the port at Taranto. Minor resistance is encountered.
German forces enter Rome, brushing
aside the Italian garrison and forcing the government to flee.
While attempting to save his ships from
capture by the Germans, Italian Admiral Bergamini’s ships are attacked by
Luftwaffe air units. In the attack, the new Fritz X guided bomb was used to
great effect as one of the devices went down the funnel of the Roma,
exploding deep inside her. All hands, including Bergamini were killed.
German begin to fight back against Red
Army attacks as heavy fighting is reported around Bakhmach. However, the German
17th Army in the Kuban begins pulling back from its exposed position.
September 10, 1943
Quick reaction by the Germans turn the
beachhead at Salerno into a bitter fight. Rearguards are left to slow the
advance of the already tardy Montgomery while the bulk of the German striking
power is directed at the US VI Corps. Meanwhile, the British advance in the
north of the beachhead, capturing Montecorvino and Battipaglia, only to loose
them in German counterattacks.
Large parts of the Italian navy reach Malta to surrender. Meanwhile, British forces are landed at Castelrosso in the Aegean Sea and the Germans begin the evacuation of Sardinia.
Red Army forces try their hand at amphibious landings hitting the Black Sea coast near Novorossiysk. The makeshift nature of the attack creates a great deal of confusion among the Soviet units and unexpectedly heavy resistance and quick reaction from the Germans leads to heavy losses. A similar assault in the sea of Azoz is conducted at Mariupol. It too is met by heavy resistance from Rumanian artillery units which cause heavy losses. Other Red Army forces take Barvenkovo, Volnovakha and Chaplino.
September 11, 1943
Allied forces fail to expand the very
shallow beachhead at Salerno after a day of heavy fighting which saw no
appreciable gains against ever stiffening German resistance. German aircraft
attack the Allied positions despite friendly air cover, damaging the US cruiser Savanah.
Meanwhile, Montgomery’s 8th Army continues to creep forward
capturing Catanzaro and Brindisi.
The Italian’s on Rhodes surrender to
As heavy fighting on the island
continues, the US 27th Infantry Regiment reinforces Arundel.
Australian forces in New Guinea capture
September 12, 1943
In a daring German assault, Otto
Skorzeny leads a glider attack on a mountain top resort at Gran Sasso to free
Mussolini who had been under arrest since the Badoglio government was formed.
Despite high winds and a rocky landing field, the attack goes in and within
minutes, Il Duce is flown off the mountain to Rome and then Germany.
September 13, 1943
The Germans launch a
general counterattack against the beachhead at Salerno hitting the entire
perimeter. Elements of the 16th Panzer and 29th
Panzergrenadier Divisions (XIV Panzer Corps) hit the American VI Corps,
capturing Persano. The German spearheads come to within a mile of the beach and
are stopped only by naval gunfire. Elements of the 82nd Airborne
Divisions are rushed into a drop into the beachhead to reinforce the VI Corps.
Clark panics and orders the VI Corps to begin planning to evacuate the
September 14, 1943
Heavy fighting continues at Salerno as
the Germans attempt to push the Allies back into the sea. A paratroop battalion
is dropped behind the German lines to help relieve the pressure.
Free French commandos are landed on
Corsica to form resistance groups to harass the Germans occupying the island.
September 15, 1943
The Australian 7th and 9th
Divisions capture Lae in New Guinea.
Mussolini returns to power in Italy (at
least the northern half). It is a political move and has little real impact.
September 16, 1943
German attacks are renewed against the
British 10th Corps between Salerno and Battipaglia, but failed
utterly. By evening, Field Marshal Kesselring calls it quits and orders the
withdrawl of German forces to the Volturno line.
After a week of very heavy fighting,
Soviet ground forces link up with the beachhead at Novorossysk, capturing the
RAF Bomber Command makes a hash of the
first use of the massive 12,000 pound “Tall Boy” bomb in raids against the
The British battleship Warspite
is damaged when two of the new German glider bombs hit the ship.
September 17, 1943
The Germans begin to withdraw from the
Salerno area as the British 8th Army finally links up with the US 5th
September 18, 1943
British forces continue their
occupation of Aegean islands moving onto Simi, Stampalia and Icaria. German
aircraft hit the British airfield on Kos.
The Soviet offensive in the Ukraine
continues as Red Army forces capture Pavlograd, Krasnograd, Pologi and Nogaysk.
Admiral Pownall’s fast carrier force (Lexington, Princeton and Belleau Wood) attack the island of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands chain.
US heavy bombers (B-24 Liberators)
German forces complete the evacuation
of Corsica under pressure from French resistance fighters.
Soviet forces capture Yartsevo and
Dukovschina northeast of Smolensk.
September 20, 1943
British commandos launch an attack on
the German battleship Tirpitz at its anchorage in Alta Fjord. The six
midget (4-man crew) submarines were sent against the anchorage. Three were lost
before reaching the target, but the survivors succeeded in damaging the ship,
knocking it out of action for six months.
In testimony before the US Senate,
General Marshal and Admiral King indicate that failure to allow draft exemptions
for fathers will likely prolong the war.
September 21, 1943
German hopes of establishing a firm
defensive line along the Dnepr River are thwarted as an advance party
establishes a small bridgehead over the river at Dnepropetrovsk, south of Kiev.
September 22, 1943
Elements of the 9th
Australian Division (20th Brigade) land at Finschhafen in New Guinea.
Soviet forces take Anapa in the Kuban
Peninsula and Novomoskovosk (near Dnepropetrovsk). Heavy fighting is reported at
September 23, 1943
Red Army forces capture Poltava.
September 24, 1943
The Australian 20th Brigade
breaks the Japanese defense lines along the Buni River, capturing the
September 25, 1943
Red Army forces liberate Smolensk and
September 26, 1943
German forces in Italy begin a planned withdrawal to fortified lines as the US 5th and British 8th Armies move north in pursuit.
September 27, 1943
Elements of the British 8th
Army occupy Foggia and Melfi. The capture of Foggia brought with it the massive
airbase, allowing the Allies to stage future raids throughout the Balkans and
southern Germany and Poland.
Soviet forces enter Dnepropetrovsk.
September 28, 1943
The British 10th Corps (US 5th Army) captures Nocera and continues its advance on Naples. The US 6th Corps captures Teora and moves on Avellino.
September 29, 1943
The Soviets capture Kremenchug
September 30, 1943
The US 5th Army enters
Naples and captures Avellino.