Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives
March 1, 1944
The 16th Indian Brigade, the Chindit force marching into the Japanese, crossed the Chindwin River in Burma.
The Soviet attacks in northern Russia begins to slow but the Red Army was still able to capture Russaki.
March 2, 1944
What started out as a diversionary attack at Los Negros in the Admiralty Islands turned into a full-fledged invasion as the remainder of the US 5th Cavalry Regiment lands.
March 3, 1944
The 3rd Infantry Division is hit hard again at Anzio but is able to hold the German attacks.
The USAAF launches the first daylight-bombing raid against Berlin, but it is canceled when it was reported Berlin was cloud covered. One bomber group of 29 bombers and 6 escort fighters failed to get the recall order and continued on to the target. The German air defenses failed to respond to such a small raid. When the bombers reached Berlin, there was a clearing in the cloud cover and they hit the city.
March 4, 1944
The 1st Ukrainian Front launches a new set of attacks driving toward Tarnopol.
Merrill's Marauders launch their first attacks executing a deep flank march around the Japanese 18th Infantry Division while the Chinese 38th Infantry Division attacked frontally.
March 5, 1944
Chindit Fly-in: Orv Wingate's long awaited deep penetration raid begins in earnest as elements of the 77th Brigade make a glider assault at "Broadway" 50 miles from Myitkyina near Indaw.
Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front offensive shatters the lines of Army Group South driving deep into the German rear capturing Izyaslav, Yampol and Ostropol. Meanwhile, Koniev's 2nd Ukrainian Front opens its attacks further south toward Uman.
Elements of the US 126th Infantry Regiment make an unopposed landing at Yalau Plantaion near Saidor in New Guinea.
March 6, 1944
USAAF bombers make the second (the first real one) daylight bombing attack on Berlin, this time sending 730 bombers escorted by 796 fighters against the target. Apparently the abortive attack three days earlier had instilled more vigor in the German defenses as this time the Americans were met with determined resistance from fighters and flak, losing 69 bombers and 11 fighters.
Malinovski's 3rd Ukrainian Front opens. 1st Ukrainian Front continues to make impressive gains cutting the Odessa-Lvov rail line and capturing Volvchisk.
Elements of the US 1st Marine Division make an unopposed landing at the Willaumez Peninsula in the Bismarck Archipelago.
March 7, 1943
US Navy Task Force 74 Under Admiral Crutchley consisting of 3 cruisers and 4 destroyers bombards Hauwei and Ndrilo Islands in the Admiralty Islands.
Japanese forces consisting of the 33rd, 31st, and 15th Divisions begin their initial movements in preparation for the attack on Imphal, India. The force is supported by the Indian National Army, a division sized formation of Indian ex-POW who decided to fight for the Japanese rather than starve to death.
US officials, responding to complaints from Arab leaders, reassure them that there is no official plan to establish a Jewish state after the war.
US Marines succeed in capturing Los
March 8, 1943
The first actions between the Japanese 15th Army (led by General Mutaguchi) hit the British 14th Army (under General Slim). Slims forces were widely dispersed, but plans had been in place to withdraw and concentrate when the Japanese struck. The Indian 17th Division is slow in starting it's withdrawal and is nearly surrounded along the Tiddim Road.
The US 8th Air Force raids Berlin for a second time with 580 bombers escorted by 800 fighters. Losses were very heavy.
The Finnish government replies to the Soviet terms for an armistice. The sticking point in the negotiations is the Communist demand that German military personnel be interned, a demand well beyond the capabilities of the Finnish Army.
Fierce Japanese counterattacks are launched by the bulk of the 6th Division, hitting the US 37th Infantry at Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. Japanese losses are very heavy.
March 9, 1942
The Japanese attacks toward Imphal and Khomia continue. Part of the Indian 17th Division is surrounded and forced to fight up the Tiddim Road clearing Japanese roadblocks formed by the infiltrating 33rd Division. Fighting is very serious, but the road is cleared.
Japanese attacks by the 6th Division continue at Bougainville. Japanese losses are very heavy for no apparent gains against the American positions.
Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front continues to drive west capturing Starokonstantinov near Shepetovka and reaching the city of Tarnopol.
Konev's 2nd Ukrainian Front opens a fresh offensive utterly destroying the German defensive positions along a front of 100 miles. Uman falls in the attacks and some of the mobile formations drive 40 miles into the German rear. Meanwhile, Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front captures Proskurov to the north.
Elements of the Japanese 33rd Division continue to infiltrate behind the line of retreat of the Indian 17th Division, establishing a series of roadblocks that must be cleared before the British withdrawal can continue. Fighting is serious.
March 11, 1944
The Japanese 33rd Division continues to drive columns behind the British forces withdrawing toward Imphal. This time they not only succeed in temporarily blocking the Indian 17th Division, but also the 20th Division along the Witok Road. Further to the east, Chindit forces operating near Indaw succeed in cutting the main rail supply route from Mandalay. Further to the south, British forces capture Buthiduang on the Arakan front.
Malinovski's 3rd Ukrainian Front opens a fresh offensive capturing Berislav and Kherson. Meanwhile, Zhukov's forces drive to the Bug River.
March 12, 1944
Konev's 2nd Ukrainian Front takes Gayvoron on the Bug River
Japanese attacks on the US 37th Infantry Division continue with heavy losses for the attackers for no appreciable gains.
American forces land on Hauwei in the Admiralty Islands and Wotho Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
March 13, 1944
US forces on Bougainville, supported by tanks and air attacks, counterattack and crush the Japanese offensive.
March 14, 1944
3rd Ukrainian Front traps about 20,000 German soldiers north of Kherson.
The British 4th Corps is pressed hard as it withdraws on Imphal. The Japanese 31st Division makes headway in its movements toward Kohima to cut the main supply road to Imphal.
March 15, 1944
Fresh attacks are launched against Cassino. The attacks are preceded by a massive aerial and artillery bombardment as 14,000 tons of bombs and 190,000 artillery shells are targeted on the German 1st Fallshirmjager (Paratroop) Division. The 2nd New Zealand Division spearheads the attack. Tank support is unable to negotiate the newly formed rubble. German resistance proved to be quite strong despite the massive bombardment. Nonetheless, the Allied forces were able to gain footholds on Monte Cassino at Castle and Hangman's Hill.
The headlong advance in the Ukraine continues as Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front captures Kalinkova and approaches Vinnitsa. Konev's 2nd Ukrainian Front crosses the Bug River and captures Vapnyarka cutting the main rail line to Odessa.
Elements of the 7th and 8th US Cavalry land on Manus Island in the Admiralty Islands.
March 16, 1944
Fighting continues at Cassino but the New Zealand troops are unable to move the German Paratroops.
Wingate's Chindits establish a new base camp at "White City" near Mawla, cutting the Mandalay-Mytinkina rail line again. To the west, the Japanese 15th Division completes its crossing of the Chidwin River. Now all of the major Japanese formations tasked with the invasion of India are moving forward.
March 17, 1944
The battle for Cassino rages on as New Zealand and Indian troops attack southwest of the town along Snake's Head Ridge capturing the railway station. The Germans meanwhile launch counterattacks against Castle and Hangman's Hill.
A Japanese submarine sunk the British merchantman Nancy Moller. Her crew of 69 succeeded in evacuating the ship before she sunk only to be rammed by the Japanese submarine minutes later. Only 16 sailors survived the ordeal.
Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front takes Dubno and continues to drive south and west.
In Burma, the withdrawing Indian 17th Division blows up a major suspension bridge on the Manipur road while Japanese infiltration parties continue to harass the retreating forces. To the east, in a rare appearance, Japanese aircraft hit the Chindit base camp at "Broadway".
March 18, 1944
Fighting in the Admiralty Islands continues as US forces capture Lorengau on Manus and engage in heavy fighting for Papitalai on Los Negros.
Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front captures Zhmerinka.
As Red Army forces near the border with Hungary, Hitler summons Admiral Horthy, Regent of Hungary, to Berlin for a conference. He is subsequently arrested and held in Germany.
Fighting continues at Cassino with heavy losses and little gains.
Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands is bombarded by US forces. The battleship Iowa is damaged by coastal gun fire in the raid.
March 19, 1944
German forces launch Operation Margaret, the military occupation of Hungary. This forces Hungary to stay in the field fighting for the Axis as well as securing oil for the Reich.
The advance of the Red Army continues unabated as Konev's 2nd Ukrainian Front crosses the Dneipr River west of Yampol and captures Soroki. To the north and west, Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front takes Krzemienic.
March 20, 1944
The lead elements of the British 5th Division are airlifted into Imphal and some elements begin to move toward Kohima.
Soviet forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front capture Vinnitsa and Mogilev Podolsky
The US 4th Marine Division makes an unopposed landing on Emirau Island in the Bismark Archipelago.
March 21, 1944
The British defenses at Imphal begin to take shape as the Indian 20th Division, supported by the 50th Indian Parachute Brigade, stops withdrawing and takes up positions between Palel and Wangjing along the Shenan Hills east of town. Meanwhile, the Indian 17th Division, hard pressed by the Japanese 33rd Division, continues it's withdraw, fighting off numerous Japanese infiltration groups and begins to take up defensive positions south and southwest of Imphal.
As Konev's forces press the attack against Hube's 1st Panzer Army from the east. Zhukov turns his forces south ripping a massive hole between the 4th and 1st Panzer Armies and driving behind 1st Panzer Army in an attempt to force them to withdraw into Rumania.
March 22, 1944
After days of fruitless and costly attacks at Cassino, the New Zealanders call off further offensive operations and withdraw from the more exposed gains that were made.
The 2nd Ukrainian Front offensive continues as Pervomaysk is captured.
Admiral Doenitz orders that all U-boats are to operate independently ending the era of the "wolf pack". This signaled the ultimate victory of the Allied convoy system over the German submarines.
In the only time during all of World War II, British and Japanese tanks fought a battle near Tamu. The Japanese tanks were decisively routed by the British tankers.
March 23, 1944
Japanese forces renew their attacks on American positions in on Bougainville, gaining little and taking massive losses.
March 24, 1944
In the event made famous by the movie "The Great Escape", 50 Allied airmen held prisoner at Stalag Luft 3 slither through a tunnel and escape. Only three of the men would return to allied lines. Most of the rest were executed after being recaptured.
While returning to his troops from a conference with Slim, Orde Wingate's plane crashes into the fog-shrouded mountains outside Imphal, killing him and 9 members of the crew of the B-25 he was riding in.
With the coming of spring and shorter nights, and the subsequent reduction in flight time for his planes, Bomber Harris decides to return to Berlin with a 811 Lancaster and Halifax planes. Despite high winds that caused trouble in marking the target zones, damage to the city is heavy. Also, damage to Bomber Command was heavy as 73 bombers were lost. This was to be the last major raid by British terror bombers during the war.
The Luftwaffe returned to London with 90 medium bombers
The Red Army offensive in the Ukraine continues as Zhukov's forces take Chertkov and Zaleschik southeast of Tarnopol and Malinovski's 3rd Ukrainian Front takes Voznesensk.
The Japanese resistance in Bougainville ends. In the weeks of attacks, the Japanese lost nearly 8000 men while the US defenders suffered less than 300 killed.
March 25 1944
Zhukov continues his drive between 1st and 4th Panzer Armies taking Proskurov and throwing a Tank Army across the Dniepr River. Hube's 1st Panzer Army is now facing Red Army forces to the west, north and east and his back is against the Dniepr River already breached by enemy forces. Manstein, after confronting Hitler in person and threatening to resign, received permission to move this army to the west, against Zhukov's forces.
March 26, 1944
Red Army forces press hard against the pocketed German 1st Panzer Army, capturing Kamentets-Podolski and closing with the Prut River.
March 27, 1944
General Hube finishes preparations for his attack west into Zhukov's flank as the noose around his trapped forces continues to tighten. It would take two weeks of heavy fighting, but Hube's pocket would move west, through Zhukov's rear area and regain its freedom of action.
The British 14th Army is augmented by the formation of the 33rd Corps being formed at Dimapur (north of Imphal). Slim, anticipating that his forces at Imphal would be cut off, organized this force to relieve them.
March 28, 1944
As 3rd Ukrainian Front continues its advance (capturing Nikolayev and entering Rumania), the Germans and Rumanians begin the naval evacuation of Odessa.
As the British concentrate on Imphal and Dimapur in the west, Stilwell's Chinese-American forces continue their attacks toward Mytinkina. Merrill's Marauders complete another wide and deep flanking movement, capturing Nhpun Ga and threatening the Japanese 18th Division's right flank.
March 29, 1944
The Japanese 31st Division cuts the Dimapur-Imphal road south of Kohima. Slim is confident that with the supplies on hand and those that can be flown in, his forces will not suffer. To the west, major portions of the Japanese 18th Division begin to move to attack Merrill's Marauders at Nhpun Ga.
March 30, 1944
After being summoned to Hitler's HQ, Manstein awarded a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Germany's highest decoration, and summarily relieved of command of Army Group South and dismissed from further service to the Reich. Kleist, commander of Army Group 'A' was similarly dismissed. Two of Germany's best Generals would see no further action in this war.
Admiral Spruance's Task Force 58 (including 11 aircraft carriers) begins operations against Palau Island in the Caroline Islands.
Bomber Command turned its sites on Nuremberg, hitting the city with 795 planes. Normally the British bombers would not be aloft during a full moon, but weather reports indicated that cloud cover would give the planes cover. That was not to be the case as 95 planes were destroyed, the most losses suffered by Bomber Command in any single raid of the war. The raid was a complete failure in that the city was covered in clouds and high winds scattered the bombers.
March 31, 1944
The bombardment of Palau Island continues.
Malinovski's 3rd Ukrainian Front captures Ochakov.
Admiral Koga , CinC of the Japanese Fleets, is killed in an airplane crash.