Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives
November 1, 1943
Soviet forces capture Chaplinka,
sealing off the Crimean peninsula from land communications, trapping the German
17th Army. The German's only line of communications is across the
Black Sea to Rumania. Red Navy forces land on the Kerch peninsula.
The US 3rd Marine Division
lands 14,000 troops at Cape Torokina, opening direct operations against
Bougainville. The landings are supported by 4 cruisers and 8 destroyers from TF
39 and air support comes from the carriers Saratoga and Princeton (TF 38)
The landings are resisted fiercely and the marines are subjected to heavy aerial
November 2, 1943
While attempting to reinforce Bougainville, Japanese naval forces are intercepted by US Naval forces off Empress Augusta Bay. In the battle, the Japanese cruiser Sendai and a destroyer were sunk.
The US 3rd Marine Division is engaged in heavy fighting at Bougainville as they attempt to expand their beachhead.
160 land-based bombers from the us 5th Air Force raid the Japanese harbor at Rabaul, sinking three ships.
Chinese forces attacking along the Garung River in Burma meet heavy resistance and suffer heavy losses.
The British 8th Army opens fresh attacks in Italy, forcing the Trigno River line.
The Red army continues its attacks in the southern Ukraine capturing Kakhovka and stopping a German counterattack at Krivoii Rog.
November 3, 1943
Fighting in Italy is heavy as the British 8th Army tangles with the German 16 Panzer Grenadier Division at San Salvo and the US 5th Army takes Sessa Aurunca.
US 8th Air Force bombers returned to Germany in daylight raids, hitting Wilhelmshaven with 500 planes.
With their diversionary mission completed, the 2nd Marine Parachute Battalion is withdrawn from Choiseul.
As Soviet attacks drove closer to the facility, the Germans decided to murder the remaining 17,000 Jews in the Maideanek concentration camp.
November 4, 1943
The Soviet Steppe Front (Vatutin) launches fresh attacks out of their bridgeheads over the Dniepr River north of Kiev.
The US 5th Army makes good progress in Italy capturing Monte Massico, Monte Croce, Venafro and Rocavirondola as the Germans withdraw to their next prepared defences - the Reinhard Line.
November 5, 1943
US TF 38 under Admiral Sherman, reinforced with the carriers Saratoga and Princeton hit the newly arrived Japanese Squadron at Rabaul under Admiral Kurita. 107 planes attack the Japanese damaging 4 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers and 2 destroyers at a cost of 10 aircraft. The attack was followed up with a US 5th Air Force raid by B-24 heavy bombers.
The Japanese 23rd Infantry Regiment launched strong attacks against the US 3rd Marine Division's perimeter at Bougainville. The attack was crushed.
A series of explosions ripped through the Peugeot factory at Sochaux. French partisans were responsible for the sabotage.
The attacks by the Steppe Front sweep west and south of Kiev, cutting the important double rail line between Zhitomir and Kiev. Meanwhile, South Front (Tolbukhin) closes on the lower Dniepr River.
The US 5th Army comes to a grinding halt as attacks against Hube's 14th Panzer Corps prove futile. The British 8th Army captures Vasto, Palmoli and Torrebruna.
November 6, 1943
As the Germans execute a hasty withdrawal from the city, Vatutin's Stepper Front liberates the city of Kiev.
November 7, 1943
Over 100 Japanese aircraft raid US TF 38, failing to do any serious damage to the US carriers (Saratoga and Princeton).
Japanese forces make a sea borne landing north of the US 3rd Marine Division beachhead. Heavy fighting follows as the Marines shift to face the new threat.
German forces launch counterattacks against the advancing US 5th Army in Italy. The attacks are easily stopped, but force a temporary halt in the Allied drive north.
Soviet forces continue to drive the Germans away from Kiev, capturing the important rail junction and supply head of Fastov, 30 miles west of Kiev.
November 9, 1943
The US 37th Infantry Division begins landing at Bougainville to reinforce the marine beachhead.
November 10, 1943
The Kremlin, feeling secure in victory announces the creation of two new decorations, the "Victory Order" for officers and the "Order of Glory" for lower ranks.
The Allies announce the formation of a new group to reform the Italian economy to support the Allied war effort.
November 11, 1943
Admiral Sherman's TF 38, now including five aircraft carriers, hit Rabaul with 185 planes. The Japanese lose 70 aircraft as well as a light cruiser and 2 destroyers. Japanese counterattacks against the American carriers fail to do any damage.
November 12, 1943
The Germans launched division sized combined sea borne and airborne invasion of the British held island of Leros in the Aegean Sea. The British defenders were subjected to heavy air attacks from Stuka dive-bombers as the RAF was unable to provide support to the distant outpost. Heavy fighting ensued.
Soviet forces continue their drive out of Kiev, entering Zhitomir. German resistance grows more serious as reinforcements arrive to begin patching up their shattered lines.
The 52 surviving Japanese aircraft at Rabaul were withdrawn ending the biggest threat to the Marine operations on Bouganville. Many of Japans best pilots were lost in this forlorn campaign.
November 13, 1943
Vatutin's Steppe Front captures Zhitomir.
US B-17 bombers hit Tarawa atoll in preparation for the coming invasion.
The 37th Infantry division completes its landing at Bouganville and the 21st Marine Regiment begins landing.
November 14, 1943
In a freak accident, President Roosevelt, Generals Marshall and Arnold, Admirals Leahy and King, plus scores of distinguished politicians, and army, naval and air force strategists came under fire while traveling to the the Tehran Conference on board the battleship Iowa. While running a torpedo drill, the US destroyer William D. Porter was targeting the Iowa's #2 magazine, a live torpedo was ejected and headed for the battleship. After maneuvering, the torpedo detonated 1200 feet aft of Iowa in her wake turbulence. When the incident was concluded, Air Force General Hap Arnold leaned over to Fleet Commander Admiral King and asked, "Tell me Ernest, does this happen often in your Navy?"
The Germans begin counterattacks against Vatutin's forces around Zhitomir. The 7th Panzer Division spearheads the attacks which throw the Soviet spearheads into disarray.
November 15, 1943
German forces counterattacking against
the Steppe Front recapture Zhitomir. The attack is now being executed by the
elite 48th Panzer Corps (7 divisions in all).
Attacks in Italy come to a close as bad weather and German reinforcements arrive to shore up the already formidable defenses.
November 16, 1943
Germany's dream of developing an atom
bomb comes to an end as 160 US heavy bombers hit the hydro-electric plant at
Vermork, Norway. Twenty civilians were killed in the attack which missed the
plant. However, the damage done to the rest of the facility was so severe that
the Germans abandoned further production of "heavy water".
After five desperate days of fighting,
the bulk of the British survivors of the 234th Brigade surrender to
the Germans on Leros, ending effective resistance on the island. The Germans
took 3500 British soldiers prisoner along with nearly 6000 Italians who did not
participate in the battle.
November 17, 1943
Soviet forces continue to advance toward Gomel in the north and Korosten in the south. German counterattacks south of Zhitomir succeed in breaking the Soviet lines at several points.
November 18, 1942
Under the cover of the long European
winter nights, British Bomber Command is ready to unleash deep penetration raids
into Germany. Harris opens his attacks with a 440 bomber raid on Berlin,
dropping 700 tons of ordnance on the city. Despite heavy cloud cover, nearly 150
civilians were killed in the terror bombing.
Fighting on the eastern front remains
heavy west of Kiev as Korosten and Ovruch are captured by the Soviets. Meanwhile
German attacks south of Zhitomir continue to make progress. To the north, the
rail line out of Gomel to the west is cut as the Red Army captures Rechitsa.
The 3000 ton British freighter Penolver stuck a mine off Newfoundland. Within minutes, 14 of her crew were rescued by the US merchantman De Lisle, which shortly thereafter struck a mine and was sunk.
November 19, 1943
The German forces enter Zhitomir and
heavy street fighting results. The Soviets, realizing how exposed their position
is against this strong thrust made limited and organized retreats to more
defensible lines while continuing their attacks west of Kiev.
The US navy launches major air raids
against the Gilbert Islands. The planes from 11 aircraft carriers hit Tarawa,
Makin and Nauru islands.
November 20, 1943
Gilbert Islands Invaded -
Elements of the 2nd Marine Division under General J.C. Smith land on
the Tarawa Atoll. The attack is supported by gun fire from three battleships,
four cruisers and aircraft from 3 aircraft carriers. Despite the massive
firepower, the landings are a fiasco. As the landing craft and amphtracks
approached the beach, they came to a stop 500 yards from landfall when a
previously undiscovered reef was struck. The amphtracks could climb the reef
only with difficulty and the landing craft disgorged its infantry in the waste
deep water. The Japanese then opened up on the defenseless Marines. Most of the
first wave was wiped out. Successive waves piled in behind the wreckage of the
previous one. By nightfall, the marine beachhead was 100 yards wide and 20 feet
deep. Of the 5000 men engaged 1500 were dead or wounded.
A simultaneous landing was made on
Makin Atoll by elements of the US 27th Infantry Division commanded by
General R. C. Smith. Fire from four battleships, four cruisers and aircraft from
3 carriers supported these landings. The landings are made against stiff
opposition but casualties and confusion are not as great as at Tarawa.
Soviet forces opened a new offensive
across the Dniepr River near Cherkassy, south of Kiev.
With the loss of Leros, British forces begin a hasty withdrawal from the exposed Aegean island of Samos.
November 21, 1943
The 2nd Marine Division makes
additional landings against very heavy resistance at Tarawa Atoll. Casualties
are very heavy. Of the 800 men landed, 450 became casualties. After a day of
very heavy fighting, the marines established an improved, but still not secure
position and the Japanese were exhausted. Admiral Shibasaki, the Japanese
commander radioed Tokyo, "Our
weapons have been destroyed. From now on everyone is attempting a final charge.
May Japan exist for ten thousand years!"
Elements of the US 27th
Infantry Division successfully established their beachhead at Makin Atoll and
advanced to clear the island.
November 22, 1943
After heavy fighting and serious
losses, 2nd Marine Division establishes a secure bridgehead on Tarawa
Atoll and begins advancing to clear the island. At dusk, the Japanese sent in a
final suicide charge which nearly overran B company, 6th Marine
On Makin Atoll, most of the island is
cleared by midnight.
The British 8th Army
assaults the Sangro River line establishing a very limited bridgehead 5 miles
wide and a little over a mile deep. The position is made especially tenuous as
heavy rains have made it difficult to reinforce and supply the position.
November 23, 1943
Tarawa Atoll is cleared of enemy troops
by noon. Both sides have suffered heavily as the Japanese garrison of 4836 men
are utterly destroyed. Less than 100 survived and most of those were foreign
workers. The Marines lost 3283 men, including 1090 dead. The butcher's bill
from Makin was less but still severe. The Japanese garrison of 600 was destroyed
at a loss of 200 dead and wounded by the US infantry.
A test flight of the first true jet
fighter aircraft, the Me-262 is made for Hitler. Hitler inexplicably declared
that the plane must be capable of carrying bombs. This incredible order would
delay deployment for a critical year. This remarkable aircraft could have
potentially turned the tide of the air war over German in favor of the Nazis had
it gone into production.
November 24, 1943
The US Navy lost the escort carrier Liscomb
Bay and 600 hands perished when she sunk.
Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands
launch a counterattack against the Marines at Bougainville. The attack is
shredded to pieces.
November 25, 1943
Bombers from the US 14th Air
Force based in China, hit Shinchiku airfield on Japanese held Formosa destroying
42 Japanese planes on the ground and in aerial combat.
November 26, 1943
Red Army forces capture Gomel.
A German glider bomb hits and sinks a
British troop transport off Bougie, Italy killing more than 1000 men on board.
November 27, 1943
The British 8th Army consolidates its bridgehead over the Sangro River by crossing an armored brigade.
November 28, 1943
The British 8th Army launches another attack across the Sangro River. The attack was spearheaded by the Indian 8th Division and heavily supported by artillery and air assets. The German 65th Infantry division defending the area took heavy losses and withdrew in disorder before German reinforcements restored the situation.Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt meet for the first time in person as the Teheran Conference begins.
November 29, 1943
The British 8th Army
continues its attacks along the Sangro River, capturing Mozxzogrogna.
Australian forces capture Gusika and
Bonga in New Guinea.
November 30, 1943
The British 8th Army continues its attacks along the Sangro River, capturing Fossacesia. They also succeed in clearing the line of ridges north of the river denying the Germans positions to observe and bring down fire on the British bridgeheads.