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

July 1944

July 1, 1944

The date for "Operation Dragon", the invasion of southern France, is set for August 15.

In driving monsoon rains, Indian and British forces pursuing Japanese defeated forces fleeing toward the Chidwin River, are trapped at Ukrul..

Roosevelt declares that "The Manhattan Project" receives the highest priority for resources in the United States.

In Normandy, a serious counterattack in the Caen area develops as the German 1st SS Panzer Corps hits the British.

The US 5th Army makes headway against the Albert Line, taking Cecina and Pomerance.

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July 2, 1944

Hitler sacks von Rundstedt and puts von Kluge in charge of German forces in the west.

Count von Stauffenberg called off an attempt to assassinate Hitler because a last minute change in plan canceled visits by Himmler and Goering, who the count also wanted to kill in the attack.

The Soviet attacks around Minsk continue as the last rail line west of the city is cut.

Australian and American forces under General Patrick land on Numfoor Island in New Guinea. There is no Japanese resistance. Meanwhile fighting on Saipan and Biak continues.

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July 3, 1944

The Soviet offensive continues as Minsk, the capital of Belarus, is captured by elements of the 3 Belorusian Front forming a pocket of elements of the German 4th Army east of the city. Those elements of Army Group Center that still have freedom of action are withdrawing in disorder. Meanwhile, Hitler sacks General Lindemann and puts Freissner in charge of Army Group North.

Having regrouped, US forces open their first major attacks south out of the Normandy beachhead. The attacks meet stiff resistance in the dense bocage country, and stormy weather hampers air support.

In Italy, Siena and Cortona are captured.

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July 4, 1944

The Soviet 1st Baltic Front launches fresh attacks against the southern flank of Army Group North (16th and 18th Armies), aimed at cutting to the Baltic Sea behind the German formations.

British authorities, concerned with the effectiveness of the V-1 attacks on London, launch a precision bombing raid against a storage facility at St Leu

US forces suffer heavy losses for very little gain in their drive toward St. Lo. Meanwhile, Canadian forces capture Carpiquet, west of Caen in very heavy fighting.

After weeks of siege, Japanese forces at Myitkyina in Burma were overwhelmed and the city captured by Chinese and US forces.

July 5, 1944  

The Red Army turns its forces toward the destruction of the various pocketed German formations. Nearly 100,000 troops from the 9th and 4th Armies are isolated. Meanwhile, the drive to the west continues.

July 6, 1944

The offensive in Italy continues as the British 8th Army captures Osimo.

The Soviet offensive continues to grind forward as elements of 1st Belarusian Front captures Kovel, while 3rd Belarusian Front captures Svir.

Lt. General Yoshitsugu Saito, commander of Japanese forces on Saipan, commits suicide for his failure to defend the island.

July 7, 1944

RAF Bomber Command redirects its efforts toward Caen sending 450 heavy bombers to dump 2,300 tons of munitions on t he city. Meanwhile, USAAF bombers are returning to their strategic targets in Germany hitting various targets around Leipzig with over 1,100 bombers.

In Normandy, German forces launch local counterattacks against the US 7th Corps around Carentan, bringing the American offensive to a grinding halt.

The 4,300 remaining survivors of the Japanese garrison on Saipan, made a last, futile attack on the Americans rather than surrender. 406 Americans would be killed in the hand-to-hand fighting while nearly all of the Japanese were killed.

July 8, 1944  

The Japanese offensive into India is officially abandoned as their 15th Army is ordered to withdraw across the Chindwin River.

The British 2nd Army launches a new offensive in Normandy, aimed at capturing Caen. RAF Bomber command takes a break from terror bombing German cities in order to provide tactical support, dropping 2500 tons of bombs. To the west, US forces encounter stiff resistance on the road between Carentan and Peiriers

The Soviet 1st Belarusian Front captures Baranovichi as the German 12th Corps surrenders 57,000 troops.

Guam is bombarded by US Navy battleships.

July 9, 1944

The last remnants of the Japanese forces around Ukhurl were destroyed as the British 14th Army continues to advance toward the Chindwin River.

Elements of the British 2nd Army enter the the rubble pile formerly known as Caen as the Canadian 3rd and British 1st Dvisions take most of the city north of the Orne River. Meanwhile the US 19th Corps continues to advance toward St. Lo. All are meeting heavy resistance from the Germans.

2nd and 3rd Belarusian Fronts open fresh offensives from Vitebsk and Psovsk designed at taking Riga, cutting off Army Group North from Germany. The offensive is timed to coincide with attacks by the Leningrad Front in the Narva area.

The offensive in Italy continues as the US 88th Division (5th Army) takes Volterra.

The last organized resistance on Saipan ends as 7000 Japanese soldiers commit suicide rather than surrender to the American forces.

July 10, 1944

The Soviet offensive against picks up steam as the 2nd Baltic front attacks on a 90 mile frontage around Idritsa. Further south, Slonim is captured.

July 11, 1944

Fighting in Normandy intensifies as the Germans launch a counterattack spearheaded by Panzer Lehr against the US 9th Infantry Division. To the east, Hill 112 is again captured as the British 2nd Army continues to advance slowly south.

The United States recognizes Charles de Gaulle's faction as the government of France.

The encirclement of the remnants of the German 4th Army (35,000 men) in the area around Minsk is completed.

Churchill was briefed on interviews with four escapees from Auschwitz. That night he wrote in his diary, " this is probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world "

July 12, 1944

Allied forces in Italy begin the systematic bombardment of transportation targets in the north of the country. The primary targets are the Po River bridges.

Progress by the US 1st Army toward St. Lo is slowed but continues as Hill 192, 2 miles from the town is captured.

July 13, 1944

Soviet forces capture Vilna.

The advance toward St. Lo comes to a halt as German resistance proves too much for the exhausted American forces.

July 14, 1944

The Soviet 1st Ukrainian front opens a new offensive while the 1st Belarusian Front take Pinsk.

The French Expeditionary Corps (US 5th Army) captures Poggibonsi, less than 20 miles south of Florence.

July 15, 1944

Heavy fighting continues outside St. Lo with no movement but heavy losses.

The British 8th Army opens a new offensive in Italy as Casterllina falls to French forces.

The 2nd Baltic Front takes Opochka while other forces close in and cross the Niemen River in the Vilna area.

July 16, 1944

The British 8th Army captures Arezzo as German forces begin to withdraw across the Arno River.

The 1st Ukrainian Front offensive traps 40,000 German troops at Brody and continues to drive west toward Lvov.

US forces around St. Lo continue to attack, taking heavy losses and gaining no ground. Meanwhile, the British 2nd Army continues to attack with limited gains.

July 17, 1944

Rommel Wounded: In a random attack, a British Spitfire strafes a German staff car. The occupant, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, is severely wounded in the attack. Field Marshal von Kluge replaces Rommel.

After days of heavy fighting, US forces enter the town of St. Lo. Fighting is still very heavy.

A Royal Navy force centered around the carriers Formidable, Furious and Indefatigable launch an unsuccessful air strike against the German Battleship Tirpitz at Kaafiord in Norway.

July 18, 1944

The war party in Japan is dealt a serious blow as Tojo is forced to resign as prime minister and Chief of Staff of the Army.

The British 2nd Army opens "Operation Goodwood", a major offensive east of the Orne River designed to put pressure on the Caen defenses. The attack opens with a massive air assault which drops 7000 tons of bombs on the German defenses. The preliminary bombardment included fire from 400 guns including naval gun fire from the British monitor Roberts, whose 15" guns had not been fired since the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Initial progress was good, but the Germans were able to contain the attacks and inflict heavy losses on the British and Canadian forces. Meanwhile, to the west, fighting continues in St. Lo as US forces continue to clear the town.

Hitler, after over 6 weeks of believing that the Normandy invasion was a diversion and the "real" invasion would be at Pas-de-Calais, released elements of the 15th Army to fight in Normandy.

Allied forces in Italy continue to make progress in Italy as the Polish 2nd Corps (British 8th Army) takes Ancona and the US 4th Corps (US 5th Army) captures Pontedera.

July 19, 1944

"Operation Goodwood" continues against heavy resistance. British and Canadian tank forces take heavy losses. The British 3rd Division fails to take Emiville while the Canadians move into the outskirts of Caen taking Vaucelles, south of the Orne River and the British 11th Armored Division takes Bras and Hubeit-Follie.

The US 34th (US 5th Army) Division takes Livorno.

The Roosevelt-Truman ticket is confirmed in the Democratic Convention in Chicago.

July 20, 1944

Assassination Attempt on Hitler Fails: In an attempt to kill Hitler, Colonel Count von Stauffenberg smuggled a bomb in his briefcase into a conference room at Wolf's Lair in Rastenburg. During the briefing, Stauffenberg moved to the head of the table and placed his bomb next to the massive table leg nearest Hitler. He then left the room. General Brandt noted the briefcase and moved it to the opposite side of the table support, away from Hitler. The bomb went off at 12.42 pm, killing one person was killed and mortally wounding three. Another 20 were injured. Hitler was saved from severe harm by the oak table support. The conspirators, which included General Beck, Carl Gordeler, Field Marshal Witzleben and General Halder, went on with their attempt to take over the government, thinking Hitler was dead. When the Nazi Party apparatus recovered, the conspiracy unraveled and the parties responsible were rounded up and killed. In all, over 5000 people would be implicated and killed as a result of the July Plot.

Despite the massive tank losses, the British 2nd Army continues "Operation Goodwood" and makes little progress with heavy losses.

After regrouping and refitting, Army artillery based on Saipan joins the Navy and air craft in the bombardment of Tinian.

"Operation Goodwood" is canceled due to heavy losses and heavy rain.

July 21, 1944

Guam Invaded: US Marines from the 3rd Amphibious Corps lands on Guam. The 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions establish beachheads at Asan and Agat bringing nearly 55,000 troops ashore. The Japanese garrison of 19,000 men entered around the 29th Division offered only moderate resistance to the initial attack.

The Germans make an attempt to break out of the pocket at Brody. Very few soldiers make it to the dubious safety of the German lines. Further north, the 3rd Baltic Front captures Ostrov.

General Guderian, out of the war for over two years, returns to replace General Zeitsler as the Chief of the General Staff of OKH (Russian Front).

July 22, 1944

The Brody pocket falls as the Red Army takes 17,000 Germans prisoner. Meanwhile, the 3rd Belarusian Front captures Chelm.

Resistance on Guam increases as the Marines attempt to link and consolidate their beachheads.

July 23, 1944

The Red Army advances continue as they capture Pskov and enter Lublin.

In Italy, the US 34th Division captures Pisa south of the Arno River.

The Canadian 1st Army becomes operational in Normandy.

July 24, 1944

Tinian Island Invaded: The US 5th Amphibious Corps, spearheaded by the 4th Marine Division, lands on Guam. The attack is supported by heavy naval and air bombardment and is the first time napalm is used in the war. Over 15,000 men are landed against a garrison of 6,200.

Soviet forces overrun the first German death camp, capturing Maidanek Concentration Camp near Lublin.

July 25, 1944

Operation Cobra Begins: "Operation Cobra" opens as 2500 bombers including 1500 heavy bombers from the US 8th Air Force, saturate the German lines west of St. Lo with 4150 tons of bombs . Panzer Lehr is all but wiped out in the attack. The US 7th Corps, having suffered over 600 "friendly fire" losses from the bombers and having to negotiate the shattered ground, made slow but steady progress. The attack was supported by the 13th Corps to the east and 8th Corps to the west. Meanwhile, Canadian forces open a fresh set of attacks toward Falaise, south of Caen.

Japanese forces launch suicidal attacks on Guam and Tinian. 1,200 Japanese soldiers are killed on Tinian, while almost 3,000 die on Guam. The attacks fail to dislodge the Americans, but they also prevent the beachheads from linking up.

The Red Army continues to storm into the Baltic states, as they cut the Dvinsk-Riga road. Other forces surround Lvov, while spreads reach the Vistula River and move on Brest-Litovsk.

July 26, 1944

The US 1st Army makes good progress as "Operation Cobra" continues. The US 7th Corps takes Marigny and St. Gilles, while the US 8th Corps also advances further to the west.

Elements of the Leningrad Front capture Narva after days of heavy fighting. Elements of the 2nd Ukrainian Front captures Deblin.

Conflict erupts at a conference in Hawaii between Roosevelt, MacArthur and Nimitz. MacAurthur wants to make good on his "I shall return" statement and attack the Philippines while Nimitz wants to bypass it and take Formosa.

July 27, 1944

US forces from the 1st Army score a clean breakthrough of the German lines in Normandy, capturing Lessy and Periers, and pour south forcing the Germans to make hasty retreats.

The Red Army advances along much of the front as the 2nd Baltic Front captures Daugavpils, 1st Baltic Front takes Siauliai, 2nd Belarusian Front enters Bialystok and 1st Ukrainian front clears Lvov and Stanislav.

July 28, 1944

Although the V-1 bombardment had gone one for weeks, on this day two bombs hit killing 96 civilians. One bomb hit a shopping center and the other a tea shop.

After three years of occupation, Brest-Litovsk is liberated by the Russians. Przemysl is also recaptured.

Elements of the US 7th Corps captures Coutances, obtaining the planned objective "Operation Cobra", but the US 4th Armored division continues to drive south in pursuit of the Germans.

Heavy fighting continues on Guam as the Marines have still not been able to link their beachheads.

July 29, 1944

Red Army forces reach Baltic Sea coast, cutting of the bulk of Army Group North.

The US 1st Army, reinforced with the 19th Corps continues to advance capturing Torigny, Tessy, crossing the Sienne River and advancing on Granville.

RAF Bomber Command returns to their primary mission of terror bombing German cities hitting Stuttgart, killing 900 and leaving 100,000 homeless.

Japanese resistance stiffens as nearly half of Tinian falls to American Marines.

Months of heavy fighting on Biak come to an end as the last pocket of organized Japanese resistance is destroyed.

July 30, 1944

British forces open a new set of attacks around Caumont, east of St. Lo. Further to the west and south, elements of the US 1st Army take Granville and enter Avranches. The capture of the bridges over the See River unhinges the German lines and allows for an American advance into Brittany. The nightmare of the bocage fighting is coming to an end.

July 31, 1944

In a final suicide attack, the Japanese defenders on Tinian are eliminated.

The US 1st Army finishes clearing Avranches and captures Pontaubault on the Selune River. The Germans are beginning to reorganize and have started limited counterattacks against the St. Lo-Avranches corridor at Tessy and Percy.

Red Army forces continue to advance, closing in on Warsaw. Spearheads capture Siedlice and Otwock less than 15 miles from the capital of Poland.

Fighting continues in New Guinea as landings are made at Cape Sansapor. Japaese forces counterattack American forces at Aitape. In the Mariana Islands, mop-up operations begin on Tinian.

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