Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives
October 1, 1943
The German withdrawl comes to an end along a line running south of Rome. Meanwhile, the SU 5th Army completes the occupation of Naples while the British 8th Army continues to advance north.
Soviet forces establish several more small bridgeheads over the Dniepr River.
October 2, 1943
The Australian 20th Brigade,
reinforced by the Australian 23rd Brigade takes Finschafen in New
In Italy, the US 5th Army
captures Benevento while the Britgish 8th Army establishes a
bridgehead over the Biferno River.
October 3, 1943
As the British occupied more islands in
the Aegean Sea, they began to pressure Turkey to enter the war. In an effort to
force Turkey to remain neutral, the Germans launched Operation Polar Bear, a
series of attacks in these islands. The first attack came from paratroops
landing on the island of Kos.
October 4, 1943
The Germans complete their conquest of
Kos capturing 1400 British and 3150 Italians. Even more important is the
destruction of the northern most British airfield in the Aegean.
October 5, 1943
Heavy fighting between the British 78th
Division and the 16th Panzer Division continues at Termoli, bringing
the advance of the British 13th Corps (8th Army) to a
October 6, 1943
Elements of the US 25th
Division land on Kolomabangara in the Solomon Islands meeting no opposition.
That night the 600 man Japanese garrison is evacuated from Vella Lavella by a
force of six destroyers. They encounter three US destroyers. Both sides lost one
ship sunk and the Americans withdrew when their other two ships were damaged.
October 7, 1943
Red Army forces launch a fresh
offensive in the north capturing Nevel. In the south, the Soviets pause to bring
up supplies and consolidate their recently gained bridgeheads over the Dniepr
Royal Navy forces intercept a convoy of
German transports heading for Cos. The entire force of seven transports are
Fighting between the 16th
Panzer Division and the British 78th Division at Termoli ends as the
Germans pull back behind the Trigno River.
October 8, 1943
The entire US 5th Army has
reached the Volturno River and begin preparations for crossing the river.
October 9, 1943
The German 17th Army completes the evacuation of the Kuban Peninsula moving across the Strait of Kerch into the dubious safety of the Crimean Peninsula. 225,000 German and Rumanian soldiers and 27,000 civilians made the withdrawal.
US 5th Army forces capture
Soviet forces approach Gomel capturing
October 11, 1943
The Red Army forces capture Novobelitsa near Gomel.
The US 5th Army begins its
assaults on the Volturno River line. The British 10th Corps operating
along the coast makes little progress, being faced by determined German
counterattacks. Lucas’ US 6th Corps makes more progress but poor
weather and determined resistance limits advances.
October 13, 1943
The newly formed Italian government
declared war on Germany and Italian troops began entering the line to fight
their former German allies.
The American 8th Air Forces
launches the disastrous raid against the ball-bearing works at Schweinfurt. 291
B-17 Flying Fortresses, flying without fighter escorts, did limited damage to
the factory complex. The Americans lost 60 bombers shot down and another 120
were damaged beyond repair. Because of this disaster, it was decided to end all
unescorted daylight bombing raids over Germany.
Zaporozhye is captured by Soviet
forces. German forces resist Red Army attacks at Melitopol as the German rail
line into the Crimea is cut.
The US 5th Army attacks along the Volturno River continues as the British 10th Corps established a bridgehead over the river.
October 15, 1943Allied attacks in Italy and Russia continue to gain ground.
October 16, 1943
Vatutin’s forces launch attacks out
of the Bukrin bridgehead south of Kiev. The attacks are met by several German
panzer divisions. Fighting is severe.
German forces begin an organized withdrawal from Volturno River as the US 5th Army offensive grinds forward.
Soviet forces shatter the Dniepr River
line defenses with attacks near Kremenchug.
Japanese forces attempt to strike back
in New Guinea launching serious air raids against Oro Bay and ground attacks
against Finschafen. Both result in serious losses and failure for the Japanese
The US 5th Army takes Liberi
The German raider Michel is sunk by the American submarine Tarpon. In it’s career of three years, the armed merchant sunk 17 ships.
October 18, 1943
The British 8th Army, after a brief
rest period to regroup and resupply, launches its offensive toward the Trigno
River while the US 5th Army captures Gioia.
October 19, 1943
The 2nd Ukrainian Front
under Konev launches fresh attacks out of the Kremenchug area.
Italian Marines from the San Marco,
now fighting for the Allies, are the first troops to enter Venice.
October 20, 1943
Soviet forces meet determined
resistance from von Manstein’s Army Group south. The attacks are stopped cold
with heavy losses.
The Allies announce that they will
establish a war crimes tribunal under the auspices of the UN after hostilities
October 21, 1943
SS troops surrounded the Minsk ghetto
for one last time. 2000 Jews were loaded into trucks and taken away to be shot.
The buildings were blown up, just in case someone was hiding in them. The last
inhabitants of the ghetto perished on this last day of the tragedy. Only the
ruins would bare witness to the horrible and inhuman crimes committed against
the tens of thousands of Jews of the Minsk Ghetto.
October 22, 1943
Continuing with their near nightly terror bombing of German cities, RAF Bomber command hits the city of Kessel in a particularly devastating raid. 569 bombers, all of them four engine heavy Lancasters or Halifax bombers. Despite initial errors in marking the center of town, the raid was remarkably concentrated and accurate. The combination of high explosives and incendiary bombs created a firestorm smaller but reminiscent of the one in Hamburg in July. Over 11,000 blocks of housing were destroyed or heavily damaged displacing over 100,000 people. 5,600 people were killed and another 2,800 were missing and presumed dead. The three Henschel aircraft plants were seriously damaged and this set back the production of V-1 bombs.
October 23, 1943
The daily murder of people at Aushwitz
was interrupted when one woman, among the 1750 Polish Jews that arrived that
day, rebelled. When ordered to strip, she threw her shoe at SS Sergeant-major
Josef Schillinger. In the ensuing confusion, she took his pistol and shot him in
the stomach, mortally wounding him, and wounded a second SS sergeant. This set
off a riot among the rest of the women in line outside the gas chamber. One SS
trooper had his nose ripped off and a second SS soldier was scalped. The
women’s victory was short lived. The camp commander, Rudolf Hoess, organized a
counter attack and sprayed the area down with machine pistols and grenades. The
survivors were shot.
After 10 days of heavy street fighting,
Soviet forces take Melitopol. Dnepropetrovsk also falls as tank spearheads reach
October 24, 1943
German E-boats attack a convoy off
Norfolk sinking one trawler for the cost of three of their craft.
The Japanese open the infamous Siam-Burma rail line (of “Bridge on the River Kwai” fame). Of the 46,000 Allied POWs forced to labor on the project, 16,000 would die of starvations, brutality and illness.
October 26, 1943
RAF bomber command hits Stuttgart while the US 8th Air Force launches a devastating attack against Bremen.
October 27, 1943
Field Marshal von Kluge is invalided
and removed from command of Army Group Center after he is severely injured in a
October 28, 1943
The 2nd Marine Parachute Battalion makes a diversionary sea borne assault at Voza on Choiseul Island in support of the main operations to commence against Bougainville.
October 29, 1943
Red Army attacks against the German 4th
Army between Orsha and Vitebsk intensify. The hard pressed Germans contain the
Soviet advances in heavy fighting.
October 30, 1943
The US 5th Army captures
Soviet forces capture Genichesk, cutting the only rail communications for the Germans into the Crimean peninsula.
October 31, 1943
The Italian 1st Motorized Group became the first large Italian formation to fight with the Allies. They were assigned to the 5th Army.