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

August 1944

August 1, 1944

Allied forces in Normandy are reorganized as the 12th Army group (Bradley) and the US 3rd Army (Patton) become operational. Hodges replaces Bradley in command of the US 1st Army. Montgomery commands the 21st Army Group which includes the Canadian 1st Army (Crerar) and British 2nd Army (Dempsey).

As Red Army forces close on the Vistula River opposite Warsaw, the 38,000 strong Polish Home Army starts an uprising in the city. The Home Army is under the nominal control of the Polish government in exile in London and opponents of the communist backed army of exile. The Russians made no attempt to coordinate or support the uprising. Meanwhile, the capital of Lithuania, Kaunas falls to the 3rd Belarusian Front.

Tinian is declared cleared. Only 250 Japanese soldiers of the original garrison of 6,000 survived the attack. Much of the garrison chose to throw themselves off a cliff and into the sea rather than surrender. The Marines lost 390 killed and 1,800 wounded.

August 2, 1944  

The 1st Belaruss Front (1st Polish Army) establishes a bridgehead over the Vistula River 40 miles south of Warsaw.

VIII Corps turns west into Brittany reaching Dinan (near Rennes) while the rest of Patton's Third Army heads east into the heartland of France. Further north the US 1st Army takes Villedieu, near Tessy on the road to Mortain.

The government of Turkey breaks diplomatic and trade ties to Germany.

The German Kriegsmarine launches an attack against Allied shipping near Courselles-sur-Mer (Omaha Beach) using 58 midget submarines. The British destroyer Quorn and two other ships were sunk. The Germans lost 41 submarines.

August 3, 1944

As a pocket forms to their north and south, Hitler orders 7th Army to launch counterattacks west to recapture Avranches and cut off Patton's marauding tanks.

The remnants of the Japanese 18th Division defending Myitkyina crossed over the Irrawaddy River abandoning the city after a 79-day siege by Chinese forces. A handful of the survivors of Merrill's Marauders were also with the victorious forces.

German counterattacks east of Warsaw succeed in blunting the over extended Soviet spearheads. Further to the south, elements of the 1st Ukrainian Front establishes a bridgehead over the Vistula River near Sandomierz.

The US Third Army begins attacks on Rennes while the US 1st Army captures Mortain.

August 4, 1944

The US Navy launches a series of carrier borne air raids against the targets on Chichi Jima and Iwo Jima.

RAF pilot T. D. Dean became the first person to achieve an aerial kill with a jet aircraft, as he was able to destroy a German V-1 "Buzz Bomb" with a Gloster Meteor. He was able to do this by tipping his wing onto the pilotless craft sending it tumbling out of control.

Rennes, Evrecy and Esqutsy fall to Allied advances in northwest France. The German 25th Corps (defending Brittany) orders its scattered forces to make for the coastal fortresses of St. Malo, Brest, Lorient and St. Nazaire in a last ditch attempt to save themselves.

Elements of the US 5th Army (British 13 Corps) enters Florence, Italy as the Germans abandon the city.

Elements of the British 14th Army (Slim) capture Tamu as they continue to pursue the shattered remnants of the Japanese 15th Army attempting to withdraw east of the Chindwin River.

Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima are hit by carrier aircraft from TF38.

August 5, 1944  

Headlong advances continue in northwest France as elements of Patton's 3rd Army captures Vannes and advances on St. Malo, Brest, and the Selune River. Hodge's 1st Army, meeting stiffer resistance, continues to advance beyond Mortain.

Cruisers and destroyers join in the bombardment of Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima as air raids continue.

The Polish Home Army ends it's attacks in the shattered streets of Warsaw after capturing a majority of the city from the Germans. Unknown to them, Soviet forces have not moved to relieve them and are regrouping.

RAF bombers, using the mammoth 12,000-pound "Tall Boy" bombs, hit and did serious damage to the concrete submarine pens at Brest.

Japanese prisoners-of-war at New South Wales, Australia attempted a mass breakout. In the ensuing melee, 231 Japanese prisoners and 3 Australian guards were killed.

August 6, 1944

The US 3rd Army (Patton) continues its headlong advance in northwest France as the US 4th Armored Division (US 8th Corps) moves to Vannes and Loreint, the US 6th Armored Division nears the western end of the Brittany peninsula, and the US 15th Corps captures Laval. Meanwhile the US 1st Army (Hodges) captures Vire.

Japanese forces launch a heavy attack in Guam. The 77th Infantry Division takes heavy losses.

August 7, 1944

Counterattack at Mortain - In a desperate attempt to stem the breakthrough at Avranches, the German 7th Army manages to scrape together 145 tanks from 4 sepearate divisions (1st SS, 2nd SS, 2nd, 116th Panzer Divisions). Although Mortain falls, it is meaningless as RAF fighter bombers pummeled the advancing Germans and the die-hard defense offered by the US 30th Infantry Division stopped the offensive before it had hardly begun. German losses were very heavy.

In other action in northwest France, the Canadians launch "Operation Totalize". Supported by 600 tanks, over 700 heavy artillery pieces, and a raid by 1000 heavy RAF bombers, they succeed in breaking through the German lines southwest of Caen and advance toward Falaise. The US 15th Corps is redirected north to sweep behind the German 7th Army left rear and close with the Canadians in order to encircle the Germans. Meanwhile, attacks by the US 8th Corps attacks German garrisons at Brest, St. Malo and Lorient.

Russian attacks continue as their forces move into the Carpathian Mountains along the Hungarian border.

August 8, 1944

SS General Bach-Zelewski is ordered to assemble an ad-hoc force of SS, police, return troops and depot troops to counterattack and eliminate the Polish Home Guard in Warsaw.

Eight German officers including Erwin von Witzleben are executed by strangulation with piano wire at Plotzensee Prison in Berlin.

Heavy fighting continues west of Mortain as the Germans continue to attempt to drive on Avranches. They achieve little other than heavy losses. Meanwhile, elements of the US 3rd Army reach Le Mans and move toward Nantes and Angers. Attacks continue on the garrisons in the Brittany ports.

SS Captain Wittman, the man who's tank destroyed a British column at Villers Bocage, was killed in combat against Canadian forces north of Falaise. He was credited with 138 tank kills in his career.

US forces clear Mount Santa Rosa on Guam, forcing the Japanese to withdraw to the northern end of the island.

August 9, 1944

German forces are sent to face the Canadian and Polish breakthrough south of Caen and very heavy fighting slows the Allied advance their to a standstill. Meanwhile, Le Mans falls to the US 5th Armored Division. Very heavy fighting is also reported at Mortain and in Brittany.

August 10, 1944

Organized resistance on Guam comes to an end. US losses were 7,000 including 1,700 killed. The Japanese garrison of over 10,000 was wiped out except for 100 soldiers, mostly wounded, that were captured.

The Canadian 1st Army captured Vimont on the Caen-Falaise road in very heavy fighting. The US 5th Corps continues its drive east toward Alencon. The US 15th Corps advances north of Le Mans toward Argentan. German forces, threatened with encirclement, abandon the attack, and under constant air attack, attempt to withdraw.

August 11, 1944

Soviet forces open a new series of offensives in the north as the 3rd Baltic Front attacks south of Lake Peipus. The thin German front is shattered and the Red Army advances up to 15 miles on a broad front.

August 12, 1944

The Allies start pumping fuel through their first underwater pipeline connecting France with the Isle of Wight.

After six weeks of concentrated effort in bombing German oil production facilities, the first hard evidence of the effect was received by the Allies when and Enigma intercept indicated that German field forces were being ordered to curtail most non-essential air operations at the front.

Allencon falls to the US 5th and French 2nd Armored Divisions (US 5th Corps). The US 15th Corps reaches the outskirts of Argentan and meet stiff resistance from the remnants of the 116th Panzer Division.

August 13, 1944

In one of the most controversial decisions of the war in France, Omar Bradley, commander of the US 12th Army Group orders the US 15th Corps to hold at Argentan while other elements of the US 3rd Army continued to drive east (12th Corps to Orleans and 20th Corps to Chartres). Montgomery had requested the stop in order to "prevent friendly fire between the converging arms" of the pincer move. All that was prevented was closing the gap between Falaise and Argentan

August 14, 1944

Roosevelt and Churchill meet in Quebec and begin discussions of the division of post-war Germany and the transition of that nation into an agrarian culture.

Canadian forces, still 5 miles north of Falaise and mired in heavy fighting, receive support from Montgomery who orders another carpet bombing attack, this time with 800 heavy bombers. The US 15th Corps, relieved by elements of the US 1st Army at Argentan, begin to move east, having been ordered not to move north to Falaise. Meanwhile, heavy street fighting St. Malo succeeds in clearing most of the city. German die-hards still control the ancient fortress on the waters edge.

Soviet forces open new attacks, advancing out of their bridgeheads south of Warsaw.

August 15, 1944

Southern France Invaded - Allied forces launch "Operation Dragoon", hitting the beaches of southern France between Toulon and Nice. Although smaller than the Normandy invasion, nearly 100,000 troops were landed by sea and air. The attack, lead by the US 7th Army, was a complete surprise. The US 3rd, 45th and 36th Infantry Divisions (US 6th Corps) made the initial landings and were supported by French paratroops and commandos. Air support came from over 1500 planes. Naval support came from 5 battleships, 24 cruisers and 91 destroyers. The Allies took less than 200 losses in the attack and by the end of the day were firmly established ashore having taken 6 towns and captured 2000 Germans.

To the north, the British 2nd Army engaged in heavy fighting for Tinchebray. The Canadian 1st Army continued to slug its way south to Falaise. The US 1st Army, released to attack, were attempting to move north to meet the Canadians, but meeting very stiff resistance. The US 3rd Army continues to drive into Brittany and central France. Air support is concentrated and heavy in the Falaise-Argentan pocket where the remnants of the German 7th Army are desperately attempting to withdraw from the threatened encirclement.

August 16, 1944

German forces counterattack Soviet spearheads at Ossow just northeast of Warsaw. The attacks force the Red Army forces to withdraw.

Canadian forces enter Falaise against heavy and determined defenses. Elements of the US 20th Corps (US 3rd Army) captures Chartres. In southern France, Hitler orders his meager forces (7 infantry and the 11th Panzer Division) to withdraw as the French 2nd Corps (US 7th Army) begins landing in the beachead.

August 17, 1944

The last remnants of resistance in St. Malo surrenders to elements of the US 3rd Army. Other elements of Patton's army capture Dreux, Orleans and Chateaudun. Meanwhile, after heavy and bitter fighting, the Canadians clear Falaise. Further to the south, the US 7th Army advances against minimal resistance capturing St. Raphael, St. Tropez, Frejus, Le Luq and St. Maxime.

Field Marshal Model replaces von Kluge as commander of Army Group B (France).

August 18, 1944

The Allies close the Falaise-Argentan gap, surrounding some elements of the German 7th Army. Most of the German personnel escaped the trap, but very little equipment was saved. The carnage wrought by the Allied artillery and aircraft inside the pocket was devastating. Meanwhile, the US 3rd Army approaches Versailles and the Seine River. Further south, the US 7th Army advances on Gap and Toulon.

The Soviet 3rd Baltic and Leningrad Fronts move around Lake Peipus. To the south, the 1st Ukrainian Front captures a bridgehead over the Vistula River at Sandomierz.

August 19, 1944

Fighting in Paris breaks out as French citizens take up arms and bring the German garrison under fire. To the west, the Falaise Pocket is reduced to an area less than 40 square miles. The survivors are ordered to break out

August 20, 1944

Remnants of the German 7th Army make a last attempt to break out at Falaise. The attack succeeds and for six hours, German troops march through the gap. Only 4000 men were in the pocket when it was resealed. In all, the Germans lost 70,000 men killed, wounded and prisoner. To the east, Patton's columns continue to advance capturing Fontainbleau and Mantes Grassicourt.

Soviet forces open heavy attacks in the north and south. Army Group North continues a desperate defense of Riga, including support fire from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. The 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts storm into Rumania, crushing the Rumanian 3rd and 4th Armies, and unhinging the German 6th Army's position.

Biak Island in New Guinea is taken. The Japanese lost the entire garrison of 4700. US losses were over 2500 including 200 dead.

August 21, 1944

All of the Allied armies in France are in headlong advances, chasing the shattered remnants of the German army across France. In the south, French forces surround Toulon. To the north, Patton's 3rd Army reaches Troves and Reims.

Hitler orders Army Group North to hold its position after days of heavy fighting to maintain a 10 mile wide corridor past Riga. To the south, Rumanian command authority breaks down as some troops refuse to fight the Soviets.

August 22, 1944

The 2nd Ukrainian Front establishes a bridgehead over the Prut River at Jassy. Elements of 3rd Ukrainian Front continue a headlong advance into Rumania against minimal resistance.

The Royal Navy begins a series of air attacks against the German battleship Tirpitz at its anchorage in Alten Fjord, Norway. The initial attacks fail due to heavy German fighter cover and an effective smoke screen during the bombing raid.

August 23, 1944

Rumania accepts the Soviet armistice and defects to the Soviets. The German 6th Army (12 divisions) is largely surrounded as supporting Rumanian forces desert or join the Red Army. Soviet spearheads reach Vaslui.

Light US Naval forces begin a series of bombardment attacks on Japanese installations on Aquiian Island in the Marianas.

In northern France, the British 2nd, Canadian 1st and US 1st Armies are moving up to the Seine River. Elements of the US 3rd Army make contact with Free French forces outside Bordeaux. Heavy fighting is reported in France between resistance fighters and the German garrison. To the south, the 2nd French Corps (US 7th Army) reaches Marseilles.

August 24, 1944

Soviet forces complete the encirclement of Army Group South Ukraine (German 6th and 8th Armies) in Rumania. A total of 20 divisions are trapped. Columns continue to advance against minimal resistance through Rumania, reaching Kishinev.

The French 4th Armored Division (US 5th Corps), reaches the outskirts of Paris. There is still heavy fighting in the city as the Germans counterattack the French resistance forces inside the city. The US 7th Army continues to advance capturing Cannes on the coast and Grenoble in the Rhone River valley.

A second set of attacks are made by British Home Fleet aircraft against the Tirpitz in Norway.

August 25, 1944

The French 2nd Armored Division enters Paris as the local German commander, General Chollitz, disobeys orders from Hitler to destroy the city and fight to the last, surrenders his 5000 man garrison. Far to the west, the US 8th Corps launches attacks against the German fortifications at Brest. The attack is supported by the heavy guns of the battleship Warspite. To the south, the US 7th Army captures Avignon

Rumania officially declares war on German. The former ally is now an enemy.

Finland begins secret peace talks with the Soviet government.

The British 8th Army launches new attacks in Italy. The initial attacks carry the British 5th, Polish 2nd and Canadian 1st Corps over the Metauro River.

The 3rd Baltic Front captures Tartu.

August 26, 1944

With the complete collapse of the front in Rumania, Hitler orders the evacuation of Greece. Soviet forces reach the Danube River and drive toward Bucharest.

Bulgaria withdraws from its alliance with Germany and declares itself neutral.

De Gaulle leads victory parades through the streets of Paris as the remainder of the Allies cross the Seine River on a broad front. To the south, Tarascon and Arignon are captured.

The British 8th Army continues its attacks on the Metauro River forcing some German formations to withdraw.

August 27, 1944

After nearly six months of continuous operations behind Japanese lines, the 77th Indian Brigade (Chindit) is withdrawn from combat in Burma.

RAF bomber command launches their first large scale daylight raids over Germany hitting oil refining facilities in the Rhur. Meanwhile, the US effort continues. On this day, over a thousand bombers were commited to targets in Anklam, Grossenbrode, Neubrandenburg, Parow, Peenemunde, Rechlin, Lubeck, Rostock, Schwerin, and Wismar.

In France, Toulon falls to the French as the German garrison of 17,000 is surrendered while the remainder of the US 7th Army cuts off the German 19th Army in the Rhone River valley. The British 2nd, Canadian 1st and US 1st Armies continue to drive on the Seine River as the US 3rd Army takes Chateau Thierry on the Marne River and Troyes on the Seine.

August 28, 1944

Despite heavy monsoon rains and flooding, Slim's offensive in northern Burma continues as the East African 36th Division takes Pinbaw.

In France, Marseilles falls to the French as the German garrison of 37,000 is surrendered. In the Rhone River valley, the 11th Panzer Division succeeds in breaking out of the Allied encirclement, but takes serious losses in the process. The British 2nd and Canadian 1st Armies continue to drive on the Seine River as the US 1st Armies crosses the Marne River at Meaux.

The Hungarian government is taken over by General Lakatos and negotiations for an armistice begin with the Soviets.

Red Army forces continue to sweep through Rumania as the 2nd Ukrainian Front moves into the Carpathian Mountains at the Oituz Pass and 3rd Ukrainian Front takes Braila on the Danube River.

British defenses had their first truly successful day in defending against German V-1 bombs. On this day, 97 weapons were launched. All but seven were destroyed (13 by fighters over the channel, 65 by the anti-aircraft belt on the coast, 10 by aircraft over land and 2 hit barrage balloons). Only 4 bombs hit inside London.

August 29, 1944

Soviet and the Polish exile government announce the discovery of the Majdanek death camp where over 1,500,000 people have been killed by the Germans.

Soviet tank columns overrun the Rumanian oilfields at Ploiesti, capture the Black Sea port of Constanta, and advance into Hungary.

The advance in France continues as the US 1st Army takes Soissons and the US 3rd Army takes Reims and Chalons-sur-Marie.

The British 8th Army advances to the Foglia River in Italy and runs into the German Gothic Line defenses.

The German battleship Tirpitz is once again attacked, unsuccessfully, by British Home Fleet aircraft.

August 30, 1944

Canadian and Polish forces are bloodily repulsed as they probe the German Gothic Line at Pesaro, Italy.

Fuel reserves to the US 3rd Army are becoming critical, but Patton orders his armored spearheads to continue the advance east and when they run out of gas, they are to abandon their tanks and continue the attack on foot.

August 31, 1944

The British 11th Armored Division (2nd British Army) captures an intact bridge over the Somme River at Amiens. The US 3rd Army reaches the Meuse River and Montpellier, Beziers, Narbonne and Nice all fall.

TF 38 once again hits Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima in a series of heavy air attacks.

Red Army forces moves into Bucharest, the capital of Rumania.

As the British 8th Army continues to probe the Gothic Line, the US 5th Army opens attacks on the Arno River.

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