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

September 1944


September 1, 1944

The advance continues in france as the Canadian 1st Army captured Dieppe, the British 2nd Army entered Arras, the US 1st Army takes St. Quentin and Cambrai, while the US 3rd Army captured Verdun and Comercy and commences attacks on Brest. To the south, the US 7th Army captured Narbonne and St. Agreve.

The British 8th Army engages in serious fighting against the Gothic Line making minimal headway in the area around Tomba di Pesaro.

The Soviet drive through Rumania continues as Giurgiu and Carlarsi are captured.

September 2, 1944

George H.W. Bush loses his second plane. According to the citation for his Distinguished Flying Cross, after receiving a hit from Japanese flak, his plane on fire, he pressed home the attack, bravely delivering the bombs to the target and coaxed the crippled bird out to sea where he and his crew could bail out safely. Bush bailed out and was fished out of the Pacific Ocean by the crew of the USS Finback. He was later informed that his crew did not survive. Editor's Note: It's just a good thing that GHW Bush was a Republican and Karl Rove wasn't around then, otherwise it would have been reported that his plane was never hit by flak, never on fire, and he panicked, abandoning his crew to their fate as he bailed out of the plane.

Elements of the British 21st Army Group cross the Belgium-French border. Fuel supplies slow the US 3rd Army advance.

After less than a year of occupation, the Germans begin to evacuate the Aegean Islands.

The British 8th Army makes headway near Cattolica, capturing San Giovanni and closing with the Conca River. Heavy fighting is also reported by the Polish 2nd Corps near Pesaro.

Finland breaks diplomatic relations with Germany and demands the withdrawal of Hitler's forces from the country.

September 3, 1944  

Allied advances in France and Belgium continue as the Guards Armored Division (British 2nd Army) takes Brussels, the US 1st Army moves into Mon, Toumai and Abbeville, while Lyon is liberated by the 1st French Infantry Division (US 7th Army).

US Naval forces bombard Wake Island.

Elements of the British 8th Army cross the Conca River in Italy.

September 4, 1944

The Soviet Union and Finland sign a cease-fire agreement as German forces begin to withdraw from Finland. To the south, Red Army attacks into the Carpathian Mountains continue as Brasov and Senaia are captured.

Allied air forces begin interdiction missions over Yugoslavia in an attempt to hinder the withdrawal of German forces from the Balkans.

The British 11th Armored Division storms into Antwerp, capturing the all important dock facilities basically intact. However, the Allies neglect to capture both banks of the estuary leading to the city making the port useless for the time being.

Field Marshal von Rundstedt is reinstated as commander of the German Forces in the West, after having been fired two months ago for failing to stop the Allies in Normandy.

September 5, 1944

A German-Hungarian force counterattacks around Kluasenburg hitting the Rumanian 4th Army. The attacks fail to make much of an impression on the Russian juggernaut as Red Army spearheads reach Turnu Severin

The Soviet Union declares war on Bulgaria.

The US 1st Army captures Namur and Charleroi as the British reach Ghent.

Advances in Italy slow as the British 8th Army is stopped along the Gemmano and Cariano ridges while elements of the US 5th Army capture Lucca.

September 6, 1944  

Allied planning for the end of the war in Europe begins as the US government announces that 1,000,000 men would be demobilized after Germany's surrender, while in England, British officials relaxed blackout and other civil defense measures and ended mandatory service in the Home Guard.

Red Army spearheads reach the Yugoslavian border. To the north, other forces take Ostroleka, 25 miles from the East Prussian border.

In France, Canadian forces cut off Calais while other elements of the 21st Army Group tack Ghent, Courtrai and Armentieres. To the south, the US 1st Army (12th Army Group) crosses the Meuse River south of Namur and the French 2nd Corps (US 7th Army) captures Charlons-sur-Saone.

Admiral Mitsher's TF 38 with a combined strength of 16 aircraft carriers begins air strikes against Japanese positions in the Palau Islands.

September 7, 1944

A US Navy submarine sunk the Japanese freighter Ishimyo Maru. Unknown to the attackers, the target was carrying 675 American prisoners, of which only 85 survived.

The 9th Tactical Air Force, operating with the US 7th Army catches a massive column of retreating Germans and destroys an estimated 500 vehicles along a 25 mile stretch of road. To the north, Allied forces cross the Albert canal east of Antwerp and approach Liege.

Rumania declares war on Hungary.

US forces land on Soepiori Island off New Guinea.

September 8, 1944

After having over 2,300 V-1 bombs hit London (out of over 8,000 launched), the first of the new and more devastating V-2 rockets hits the city.

Ostend, Nieuport, Besancon and Liege fall as Allied forces are within 20 miles of the western German border.

Bulgaria declares war on Germany.

September 9, 1944

Elements of the French 2nd Corps (US 7th Army) continues its drive capturing Beaune, Le Cresot and Autun while to the north, the Canadians capture Bruges.

TF 38 continues air strikes in the Philippines, hitting Japanese airfields on Mindanao.

September 10, 1944

Charles D. Hiller and a Belgian passenger drove his jeep into the town of Roetgen, becoming the first Allied soldier under arms to cross the border into Germany.

The US 2nd Corps (US 5th Army) launches a new set of attacks against the German Gothic Line near Futa and Il Giogo Passes near Florence, Italy.

Finland signs an armistice agreement with the USSR.

The 1st Belarus Front opens attacks against Praga, near Warsaw.

September 11, 1944

Patton's US 3rd Army crosses the German frontier near Trier as other elements hook up with US 7th Army forces advancing from the south. Elements of the British 2nd Army cross the Dutch border east of Antwerp. The British 1st Corps (Canadian 1st Army) opens an assault on the German garrison at Le Harve.

The US 5th Army continues to make modest gains against the Gothic Line defenses as the South African Division (British 8th Army) captures Pistoia.

September 12, 1944

German forces begin evacuating the islands occupied last fall in the Aegean Sea.

The British 1st Corps completes the capture of Le Harve after heavy fighting.

German-Hungarian counterattack Soviet spearheads around Arad and Temesval in Hungry.

Rumania, already participating in the war against Germany, signs an armistice with the Soviets calling for massive reparations and territorial concessions.

TF 38 continues air strikes against Japanese targets, hitting Visayas.

September 13, 1944

After much delay and pressure from the Western Allies, the Soviets belatedly begin supporting the Polish Home Guard uprising in 'Warsaw by air dropping supplies and attacking German positions around the city.

Fighting on the Gothic Line continues as Canadian forces clear the Coriano Ridge and begin to clear the Gemmano Ridge.

The US 9th Army, having relieved the 3rd Army, opens a series of attacks against the German garrison at Brest. Meanwhile, the US 3rd Army captures Neufchateau.

US naval forces begin bombarding Peleliu and Augaur Island with 5 battleships, 9 cruisers and scores of smaller vessels.

Soviet attacks continue to make progress as Red Army forces capture Lomza and Narew.

September 14, 1944

The 3rd Baltic Front opens a new set of attacks against the remnants of Army Group North. The Soviets attack with nearly a million men, 3000 tanks and are supported by 2600 aircraft. The German defenses crumple and retreat toward Riga. Meanwhile, the 1st Belarus Front clears Praga near Warsaw.

Elements of the British 8th Army completes the seizure of the Gemmano Rigde with the capture of Zollara and continues to advance toward the Marano River.

Air attacks in the Phillipines and the bombardment of the Palau Islands continues.

September 15, 1944

Elements of the US 1st Marines Division land at Peleliu Island. meeting serious resistance. A very small beachhead, only 200 yards deep, is established at the cost of over 1000 casualties.

The US 31st Infantry Division (US 11th Corps) land on the Gila Peninsula on the southwest of Morotai in the Philippines. There is no Japanese resistance on the beaches and the US units move inland quickly.

The last of the V-1 launch sites is captured in Holland as the Germans step up efforts to launch the weapons from aircraft.

The 2nd Baltic Front breaks Army Group North lines at Narva.

The western Allies close with the Siegfried Line as the US 1st Army captures Maastricht and Eysden, the US 3rd Army takes Nancy, the British 2nd Army crosses the Meuse-Escaut canal, while the US 7th Army and newly activated 1st French Army close on the German border and come under command of SHAEF.

RAF bombers, using 12,000 pound "Tall Boy" bombs attack the battleship Tirpitz in Norway, achieving at least one hit.

De Gaulle, having set up his government, orders the arrest of Marshal Petain and other members of the Vichy government for their collaboration with the Nazis.

Twenty-eight RAF Lancaster bombers from Russia pound the Battleship Tirpitz with 12,000lb 'Tall Boy' bombs in Kaa Fjord, Norway, scoring direct hits right throughout the ship.

The British 8th Army advance in Italy continues as a bridgehead over the Marano River is established.

September 16, 1944

Marines on Peleliu Island consolidate their beachhead and drive for the airfield in heavy fighting.

British forces land unopposed on Kythera island off Greece.

Soviet forces continue to advance toward Riga and Tallinn in the Baltic States. The 3rd Ukrainian Front moves into Sofia and redirects its attacks due east in an attempt to cut off the Germans still in Yugoslavia and Greece.

A British naval force raids Sigli in northern Sumatra.

September 17, 1944

Operation Market Garden Begins: In a massive display of air supremacy, Allied forces launch a massive airborne in an attempt to secure a bridgehead over the Rhine River and Arhnem. Elements of three airborne divisions, over 1500 planes and 500 gliders dropped elements of three airborne divisions into Holland in an attempt to capture a corridor leading from Eindhoven to Arnhem that crosses five water bodies including two major river bridges. The initial landings are a great success. Two of the bridges were captured intact (at Veghel by the US 101st Airborne Division and at Grave by the US 82nd Airborne) The bridge at Son (101st) was destroyed before it was secured. The major river bridges over the Waal at Nijmegen (82nd Airborne) and the Rhine at Arnhem (1st British Airborne) were not secured. However, one British battalion was able to establish a perimeter on the north side of the Arnhem bridge. Unknown to the Allies, the British dropped onto the 9th SS and 10th SS Panzer Divisions. The German divisions were resting and refitting and therefore under strength, but their presence would create havoc in the next week. The airborne assault was in conjunction with an armored drive by the elite British XXX Corps spearheaded by the Guards Armored Division. They ran into very determined and unexpected resistance, advancing only 7 miles on the first day.

The US 8th Infantry Division is landed on Angaur island. The 1600 man Japanese garrison is overwhelmed. The Marines on Peleieu continue to make limited advances against heavy resistance as they direct attacks against strong Japanese defensive positions on and around Mount Umurgrobol.

September 18, 1944

Operation Market Garden continues as fog prevents reinforcement airdrops until late in the afternoon. German forces launch strong attacks against the British positions at Arhnem. Attempts to reinforce the battalion in the town at the bridge prove fruitless. XXX Corps was able to advance 20 miles relieving the 101st Airborne, but was forced to stop to repair the bridge at Son. Elements of 82nd Airborne engaged in heavy street fighting in Njmegan as they moved on the bridge there.

The US 9th Army takes Brest after heavy fighting.

US B-17 drop nearly 1300 supply canisters to the Polish Home Army in Warsaw. Less than 300 were recovered by the fighters.

Heavy fighting continues on Peleiu as Marines attack Mount Umurgrobol, while on Angaur, the advance is made against scattered resistance.

September 19, 1944

Operation Market Garden continues resupply and reinforcement airdrops are hindered by bad weather. The bridge at Son is completed during the night and tanks from Guard Armored Division start moving a dawn. The armor advances 20 miles, making contact with the 82nd Airborne outside Nijmegen where German resistance is fierce and the bridge is not yet secured. At Arnhem, British paratroops are forced to abandon attempts to break into the city. Serious resistance and heavy losses forces them to withdraw to Oosterbeek.

Losses mount as the fighting on Peleiu continues. The Marines attack all around Mount Umurgrobol. The small Japanese garrison on Angaur makes a stand, temporarily stopping the advance in heavy fighting.

Soviet forces continue to drive through the Baltic States as Valga is captured.

September 20, 1944

Attacks against the British battalion in Arnhem become heavy as the SS commit their armor to the battle. Casualties on both sides are heavy and ammunition for the paratroops is running low. German forces counterattack the in the Son area hitting the 101st Airborne with a tank heavy force. Intervention by the British tankers stabilizes the situation. Fighting in Nijmegen is very heavy as British tankers and US paratroops from the 82nd fight house to house toward the bridge. A forced river crossing is launched and this finally secures the Waal River bridge.

Attacks elsewhere on the western front see the Canadian 1st Army fighting on the Scheldt River while the US 3rd Army captures Chatel and Luneville.

The British 8th Army makes a strong attempt to break the Gothic Line. The attack fails.

Most organized resistance on Angaur comes to an end as the remnants of the Japanese garrison hold up in the northwest corner of the island.

September 21, 1944

Out of ammunition and bleed white, the British battalion defending the northern end of the Arnhem bridge surrenders. The rest of the 1st British Division, pinned down in a small bridgehead at Oosterbeek is hit by continuous attacks. The 1st Polish Para Brigade is landed 2 miles south of the Rhine in a vain attempt to reinforce the British paratroops. They take heavy losses on landing. XXX Corp tankers are held up at Elst and unable to advance.

TF 38 begins air raids on Luzon in the Philippines. Manila Bay is hit hard with US airmen claiming over 300 Japanese planes destroyed and 40 ships sunk.

Heavy fighting in Warsaw forces the Polish 1st Army to abandon its bridgeheads in Warsaw.

September 22, 1944

Operation Market Garden grinds on, as XXX Corps is able to advance to within 6 miles of Arnhem, but no further. Bad weather prevents resupply drops to the British paratroops as ammunition runs low. German forces launch strong attacks on the airborne corridor at Uden and Veghel that stops traffic on the road and forces British tankers to reinforce the 82nd Airborne. The supporting attacks by the Canadian 1st Army succeeds in capturing Boulogne.

The old Soviet naval base at Tallinn is reoccupied by Red Army forces along with Reval. In Rumania, Arad is captured.

The US 1st Marine Division takes Mount Umurbrogol. The marines are so decimated by losses that elements of the US 81st Infantry Division land to replace them.

TF 38 continues to pound Luzon.

September 23, 1944

Operation Market Garden continues. The weather improves enough to allow some airborne resupply and reinforcement. The airborne corridor is reopened in the afternoon. Polish paratroops attempt to cross the Rhine again and succeed in getting 200 men across. Fighting at Oosterbeek becomes desperate as the bridghead is pushed back and ammunition runs low.

Soviet attacks succeed in reaching the Baltic Sea at Parnu and the Hungarian border with Rumania near Arad.

The US 5th Army takes the Futa Pass north of Florence.

Elements of the US 81st Division land at Ulithi Atoll. It is unoccupied and work begins to convert it to a naval base.

At Warsaw, the Allies attempt one last airdrop to Warsaw uprising. The Germans had reoccupied the entire west bank of the Vistula River and driven the Poles into the suburbs at Mokotow and Zoliborz.

September 24, 1944

Operation Market Garden continues. XXX Corp artillery is now close enough to the British paratroops at Oosterbeek to provide support fire, but this does not diminish the desperation inside the ever-narrowing bridgehead. German counterattacks hit the airborne corridor at St. Oedenrode and Veghel, once again closing the road to traffic. The XXX Corp advance is stopped at Driel. Polish paratroops and British infantry make a last attempt to reinforce Oosterbeek but fail.

German forces counterattack the US 3rd Army bridgeheads over the Moselle River.

TF 38 hits Japanese targets on the Visayan Islands.

September 25, 1944

Operation Market Garden ends as the remnants of the 1st British Airborne Division and elements of the 1st Polish Para Brigade are withdrawn from the bridgehead at Oosterbeek. Only 2200 men of the 10,000-man division remained. Heavy fighting continued to the south as the corridor remained closed, but it would be reopened the next day.

The Canadian 3rd Infantry Division (Canadian 1st Army) opens a large-scale attack on surrounded German garrison at Calais. The British 2nd Army expands the useless corridor to Arnhem by taking Helmond and Deurne.

Hitler orders the formation of the Volkstrum. Old men, young boys and invalid soldiers would be called up to form local defense forces for German cities.

Soviet forces capture the Baltic Sea port of Haapsalu in Estonia.

Tito's partisans occupy Banja Luka.

US forces, reinforced with flamethrowers and armor, renew their attacks on Peleliu, driving for Mount Amiangal. Resistance continues on Angaur.

September 26, 1944

The first full scale plutonium reactor, the B pile, at Hanford was completed and loaded with uranium. This reactor contained 200 tons of uranium metal, 1200 tons of graphite, and was cooled by 5 cubic meters of water/sec. It was designed to operate at 250 megawatts, producing some 6 kg of plutonium a month. On this day Fermi supervised reactor's first start-up. After several hours of operation at 100 megawatts, the B pile inexplicably shut down, then started up again by itself the next day. Within a few days this was determined to be due to poisoning by the highly efficient neutron absorber Xenon-135, a radioactive fission product. The B reactor, and others under construction, had to be modified to add extra reactivity to overcome this effect before production could begin.

The British 8th Army crosses the Uso River.

Negotiations between the various guerrilla factions and the Allies conclude with the irregular forces agreeing to take orders from Allied commanders.

The British 2nd Army continues to expand the airborne corridor, taking Turnhout and Oss.

September 27, 1944

The Japanese merchantman Ural Maru was sunk by a US submarine off Okinawa. The ship was transporting POWs from Singapore to Japan. Over 2000 of the 2500 prisoners were drowned.

German forces begin the evacuation of western Greece.

The Polish Home Army begins to crumble as 2000 surrender to the Germans in Warsaw.

The US 3rd Army opens a new set of attacks against the fortifications around Metz.

Soviet forces make an amphibious landing on Vormsi Island, west of Haapsula. German forces counterattack in Hungary near Cluj.

Sweden closes its ports to German shipping.

September 28, 1944

Tito, an an arrangement with Stalin, has agreed to allow Soviet Forces to enter Yugoslavia.

Fighting still rages on Peleliu as die hard Japanese strongpoint around Mount Umurbrougol are laboriously cleared.

September 29, 1944

Soviet forces land on Muhu Island as German forces withdraw from the nearby island of Saaremaa.

Canadian forces give the Germans a 24-hour truce to allow civilians to be evacuated from Calais.

September 30, 1944

The German garrison at Calais surrenders. Canadian attacks continue north and west of Antwerp. To the south, German forces launch localized attacks against the US 3rd Army.

The last cross-channel gun was silenced, ending nearly four years of harassment of the area around Dover.

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