Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives

April 1944

April 1, 1944

For the third day in a row, TF 58 hits the Caroline Islands. To date, the Americans have lost 26 planes to 150 Japanese planes shot down. In addition, 7 warships and 130,000 tons of shipping were sunk.

Elements of Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front reaches the Jabolnica Pass in the Carpathian Mountains. However, he is forced to redirect much of his force north of the Dniepr to contend with the unexpected movement of Hube's 1st Panzer Army across his route of advance.

April 2, 1944

The Japanese 15th Infantry Division closes on the British lines outside Imphal and successfully cuts the Kohima-Imphal road in a second location. The Indian 17th Division has secured its defensive positions south of Imphal.

April 3, 1944

In a daring raid from the British Home Fleet carriers Victorious and Furious, 82 planes hit the German battleship Tirpitz in her anchorage in Norway. The planes achieve 14 hits on the battleship, causing 438 German casualties and putting the ship out of action for 3 months.

April 4, 1944  

The Japanese 31st Division successfully cuts Kohima off from Dimapur, surrounding the small garrison in the town and surrounding hills. The mixed bag of defenders, centered around elements of the 161 Brigade, digs in for a long siege.

German forces begin limited local counterattacks against the advancing Red Army forces. They succeed in blunting the drives into the Carpathian Mountains and securing, at least temporarily, the passes near Kolomya. Further north, Army Group Center attacks and relieves the besieged garrison at Kovel.

Greek forces in Egypt mutiny and British forces quarantine the camp.

US bombers launch a massive raid against the railroad yards at Bucharest causing heavy damage to the area including killing 2942 civilians. Twenty bombers were lost in the raid.

April 5, 1944

The first sample of X-10 reactor produced plutonium arrived from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Full scale manufacture of "the bomb" was now underway.

The US 15th Air Force returned to Ploesti, hitting oil refineries and rail yards. This time they brought heavy fighter support, and lost only 12 planes.

Advancing elements of the 3rd Ukrainian Front cut the last rail line to Odessa near the town of Kishinev as the collapse of the southern German forces continues.

April 6, 1944

Merrill’s Marauders besieged for the last 10 days, drive off elements of the Japanese 18th Division attacking them at Nhpun Ga. The German 1st Panzer Army, after a westward fight of over 150 miles, regains a line of communications with the rest of Army Group South at Buchbach south of Tarnopol. Zhukov, who was anticipating a withdraw to the south and subsequently surprised by the move, was blamed for the debacle. Further to the south, elements of the German 6th Army trapped at Razdelnaya are heavily engaged by elements of the 3rd Ukrainian Front.

April 7, 1944  

Heavy fighting continues at Razdelnaya as the trapped German and Rumanian forces continue to hold out. Further to the north, the German garrison trapped in Tarnopol makes an unsuccessful attempt at withdrawal. Elements of the II SS Panzer Korps (9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions) begin counterattacks toward the besieged city.

April 8, 1944

Fighting ends at Razdelnaya as the 3rd Ukrainian Front eliminates the German and Rumanian forces fighting in the pocket. To the south, Tolbukhin's 4th Ukrainian Front begins the liberation of the Crimean peninsula. The German 17th Army defends the hopeless position and begins a hasty withdrawal to Sevastopol. Further north, 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts continue to drive into Rumania reaching the Siret river and the Slovinian border, capturing Botosani and Dorohoi.

April 9, 1944

Red Army forces continue to advance in southwestern Ukraine and Rumania as 3rd Ukrainian Front forces reach the Odessa and 4th Ukrainian Front forces break the German lines at Kerch and storm into the Crimean peninsula.

The Japanese 31st Division launches a series of heavy attacks against the British 161st Brigade at Kohima. Meanwhile, the Japanese 33rd Division hits the 17th Indian Division in ferocious attacks southwest of Imphal.

April 10, 1944

General Slim, commander of the British 14th Army, orders the activation of the 33rd Corps at Dimapur. This force will spearhead the relief of the forces surrounded at Imphal and Kohima. Although the British forces are hard pressed, the aerial supply operation is providing better utility for the surrounded forces than that for the Japanese.

Elements of the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front move into Odessa as the 4th Ukrainian Front continues to push the German 17th Army back on the now doomed city of Sevastopol. Further to the west, elements of 2nd Ukrainian Front cross the Siret River and capture Radauti and Suceava.

April 11, 1944

Fighting is heavy in the Crimea as the Soviet 4th Ukrainian Front captures Kerch and Dzhankoy.

Six RAF Mosquito fighter-bombers make a hit and run raid on Gestapo headquarters in The Hague, causing heavy damage.

April 12, 1944

The 3rd Ukrainian Front continues to drive into Rumania, unhinging the southern flank of the German lines on the eastern front. Hitler, now desperate for troops, belatedly orders the evacuation of the Crimea. The only route out of the Crimea now available was by sea out of Sevastopol.

April 13, 1944

Soviet forces continue to sweep through the Crimea as the 17th Army begins to disintegrate into a routed mob heading for the dubious safety of Sevastopol. Feodosia and Simferopolo both fall.

US and RAF tactical bombing forces begin attacks on coastal defenses in northern France in preparation for the cross-channel attack, now seven weeks away.

April 14, 1944

Elements of the 2nd British Division attacking along the Dimapur-Kohima road succeed in lifting part of the siege, opening the road to Jotsoma.

Disaster strikes the docks at Bombay as the munitions ship Fort Stikine explodes. Fires sweep the dock area killing over 700 people and injuring nearly 1500 more. 27 ships were damaged in the explosion

1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts drive into the Carpathian Mountains, forcing the inappropriately named and newly formed Army Groups Northern and Southern Ukraine to retreat in different directions opening a wide gap in the German lines.

April 15, 1944

The 1st Ukrainian Front . ends the siege of Tarnopol  as the German garrison is overrun while attempting to breakout.

April 16, 1944

Japanese engineers destroy the 300 foot suspension bridge connecting Imphal with the rest of India, thus cutting the last land line of communications to the city. The blow is not particularly devastating as the trails from the bridge were incapable of conveying any appreciable level of supplies, especially during poor weather.

The 3rd Ukrainian Front establishes several bridgeheads over the Dnestr River near Tiraspol. German forces launch immediate counterattacks that fail to dislodge the Soviet troops. Meanwhile, Yalta falls to the Independent Coastal Army advancing on Sevastopol.

April 17, 1944

Royal Navy and Air Force elements begin to sew minefields in the English Channel in preparations for the Normandy invasion. The minefields are being laid to prevent German naval units from interfering with the invasion forces.

April 18, 1944

German and Hungarian forces begin limited counterattacks against the 2nd Ukrainian Front between Buchach and southward to the Pruth River. The attacks made little impression, but the Red Army forces were nearing the end of this latest offensive in any event.

The last German bombers appeared over London as the "Little Blitz" comes to an end. In this raid, 125 bombers were aimed at the city, of which 53 dropped their load on the target, Fourteen were shot down. Meanwhile, American and British bombers hit Oranienburg, Juvisy, Noisy-le-Sec, Rouen, Tergnier, and Berlin.

The British 2nd Division continues its drive to Kohima, relieving the garrison and breaking the Japanese encirclement. Meanwhile, Japanese forces along the Yunnan River launch attacks against the Chinese.

Even stricter rules regarding communications out of England were put in place in preparation for the cross-channel attack. Coded radio and telegraph messages were outlawed and all diplomatic bags were subject to inspection.

April 19, 1944

Soviet Black Sea Fleet ships bombard Sevastopol as the German 17th Army continues its desperate attempt to evacuate the Crimea. Elements of 4th Ukrainian Front and the Independent Coastal Army continue to press the Germans back.

April 20, 1944

The British 2nd Division relieved the last of the defenders at Kohima and continues their drive south toward Imphal.

April 21, 1944

RAF Bombers continue to pummel rail yards in preparations for the Normandy Invasion, dropping 4500 tons of bombs on Cologne, Paris, Lens, and Brussels.

Admiral Mitscher's Task Force 58 (12 aircraft carriers and cruisers) hit Sawar, Sarmi and Hollandia in New Guinea.

April 22 1944

US forces begin landings at Aitape, Tanahmerah Bay and Humboldt Bay in New Guinea. 84,000 men from the US 1st Corps, supported by TF 77 and TF 58 attack the Japanese garrison of 11,000. The attack achieves tactical surprise and the Japanese withdraw inland.

RAF bomber command used their new "J" liquid incendiary bomb for the first time in a raid on Brunswick.

Elements of the Japanese 58th Division capture Chengchow in China.

The campaign in the Marshall Islands comes to an end as US forces occupy Ungelap Island.

Tito's forces land on the Island of Korcula, capturing the German garrison of 800 men.

April 23, 1944

US forces complete the unopposed occupation of Hollandia, but meet resistance when they moved inland at Sabron.

German forces launch limited counterattacks at Narva (Army Group North) in an attempt to stabilize the deteriorating situation on that front.

April 24, 1944

The bombing campaign over German continues as US bombers hit Friedrichshafen and RAF Bomber Command strikes Munich, gutting the central city.

April 25, 1944

German aircraft begin operations against English shipping, hitting the docks at Portsmouth and Plymouth.

A Royal Navy patrol of a cruiser (Black Prince) and three Canadian destroyers ran into a German patrol. The resulting action sunk the German Flottentorpedoboot T-29.

April 26, 1944

The US drive in New Guinea continues as the beachheads at Tanahmerah and Humboldt Bays link up. Australian forces are also advancing toward the US positions and captured Alexishafen.

Royal Navy forces including 6 aircraft carriers and a battleship) make a raid on the German battleship Tirpitz anchored in Norwegian waters. Bad weather aborts the attempt.

April 27, 1944

Disaster strikes the preparations for the Normandy Invasion as Operation "Tiger" goes very wrong. Eight US LSTs escorted by the British corvette Azeala, were to make practice landings on a British beach similar to those found at Normandy. German reconnaissance aircraft spotted the convoy and two torpedo boat squadrons (9 boats) were dispatched to hit the group. In the engagement, LST 531 is sunk, LST 507 is critically damaged and later abandoned while LST 289 took a torpedo hit, but remained afloat. In all, 197 seamen and 441 soldiers were killed.

April 28, 1944

The US Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox dies.

April 29, 1944

In another chance engagement in the English Channel, the Canadian destroyer Athabaskan is sunk by the German Flottentorpedoboot T-24. Half the crew was killed outright and most of the survivors captured.

April 30, 1944

TF 58 completes its second day of raids on Truk in the Caroline Islands. The Japanese air contingent is reduced to 10 planes (from over 100) while the American losses are 35 planes. A light force of cruisers and destroyers bombards Sawatan Island.

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