US infantry moves through ruins of Cologne, Germany

Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII 

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism


B-29 bomber heads for Japan

This Time:
February 11-17 | February 18-24 | February 25-March 3 | March 4-10 | March 11-17 | March 18-24 | March 25-31 | April 1-7

Map Links:
  European Theater | Pacific Theater  
  Rhineland (2/8-3/10) | Rhineland (3/11-3/21) | Rhine Crossing (3/22-28) | Rhur Operation (3/29-4/4) 
    East Front (1945) | Italy (1944/45)  | Burma (1944/45) | Leyte | Luzon


February 11, 1945  

The Yalta Conference comes to an end as the "Big Three", Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, complete their final face-to-face meeting. The primary purpose was to discuss how to conduct the conclusion of the war and set up of the post-war world. The Soviet Union agreed to enter the war against Japan in exchange for part of Sakhalin Island and all of Kurile Island. Borders for post-war Poland were agreed to along with the date for the first UN meeting to be held in San Francisco.

The German 4th Army abandons Wormditt to the Soviet 48th Army. To the south, Soviet attacks in Budapest disrupt the planned breakout from the city.

The entire one hundred tons of the German gold reserves were moved from Berlin to mines around Eisenach.

Canadian attacks in the Reichwald continue as Cleve is captured. To the south, elements of the US 3rd Army captures Prum.

American heavy bombers continue to bombard Iwo Jima in preparation for invasion.

February 12, 1945

The Germans attempt to breakout from Budapest. About 16,000 German survivors from the horrible city fighting make it to Perbal before the Soviet 4th Guard Army stopped the drive.

Attacks continue in Burma as the British 33rd and 4th Corps crossed the Irrawaddy River at Myinmu, Myitche and Seikpyu. To the north, British and US forces advanced to Lashio and Kyaukme.

The US 11th Corps cut off the Bataan Peninsula, isolating Japanese forces to the south.

American heavy bombers continue to bombard Iwo Jima in preparation for invasion.

February 13, 1945

Budapest is officially declared cleared of Germans. In the months of vicious street fighting, 138,000 German and Hungarian troops were captured, while 50,000 were killed. Red Army losses were 80,000 killed and 239,000 wounded.

US Naval forces begin operating in Manila Bay bombarding targets in the area including Corregidor. Inland, the 11th Airborne Division captured Cavite and Nichols Field.

The last German forces are driven out of the Reichswald as the British 2nd Army continues its offensive.

The British 14th Army continues to drive across the Irrawaddy River as Japanese forces counterattack the Allied bridgeheads.

American heavy bombers continue to bombard Iwo Jima in preparation for invasion.

February 14, 1945

Dresden Bombed: As part of the Yalta agreement to disrupt German troop movements toward the eastern front, RAF Bomber Command hits the previously undisturbed city of Dresden. In two separate raids, nearly 800 heavy British bombers hit the center of the city which resulted in a massive firestorm destroying nearly 11 square miles of the city. The attacks were followed-up by USAAF heavy bomber raids by 450 B-17s and B-24s. Theses attacks were designed to destroy the railroad marshalling yards. Along with the legitimate targets up to 250,000 civilians were killed. In other attacks during the day, Bohlen, Misburg, Chemnitz and Magdeburg were also hit. During the 8 days the fires continued to rage in Dresden, American POWs were pressed into service rescuing survivors and clearing out the dead. One of those POWs was Kurt Vonnegut who used his experience in Dresden in his novel Slaughterhouse Five.

The 11SS Panzer Army (11 under strength divisions) launch counterattacks in the Arnswalde area in an attempt to link up with the German 4th Army. The 1st Ukrainian Front (5 Guard Army) completes the encirclement of Breslau, trapping the 35,000 man garrison. In other attacks, Sorau, Schneidmul and Grunberg fell to the Red Army.

Elements of the British 14th Army (Indian 7th Division), crosses the Irrawaddy River near Myaungu while the Indian 19th Division takes Singu. Japanese forces have begun to withdraw on Mandalay.

American heavy bombers continue to bombard Iwo Jima in preparation for invasion.

February 15, 1945

The 2nd Baltic Front launches a series of attacks against the German 18th Army in the Kurland in heavy fighting. There is also heavy fighting in East Prussia as the German 4th Army is involved in heavy fighting with the Soviet 49th and 65th Armies. Meanwhile 24th Panzer and Grosse Deutschland Corps continue to attack elements of 1st Ukrainian Front to little effect.

USAAF bombers returned to Dresden to stoke the fires that continue to rage in the city.

Heavy fighting continues in the streets of Manila as a regiment of US troops land on the southern end of Bataan.

American heavy bombers continue to bombard Iwo Jima in preparation for invasion.

February 16, 1945

US Naval surfaces forces from TF54 (5 cruisers and 16 destroyers) and TF52 (10 carriers) join American heavy bombers to continue the bombardment of Iwo Jima in preparation for invasion. Meanwhile, US TF58 (12 fleet carriers, 4 light carriers, 8 battleships, 15 cruisers and 83 destroyers) raid Tokyo.

US forces airdrop on Corregidor. They join the regiment landed by sea to dig the Japanese out of the tunnel system. Heavy fighting is encountered.

The German counterattack by the 11th SS Panzer Army succeeds in breaking into the Arnswalde area.

February 17, 1945

RAF bombers hit the Italian Fleet at Trieste damaging the Italian battleships Conte di Cavour and Impero.

The western allies continue to attack into Germany as the 1st Canadian Army reached the Rhine River in the north while the US 3rd Army took Saarlouis and the US 7th Army took Saarbrucken.

British attacks in Burma continue in Burma as landings were made at Ru-Ya in the Arakan. Fighting on the Irrawaddy continued as other forces from the 14th Army approached Myitson.

TF54 and TF52 along with American heavy bombers continue to bombard Iwo Jima. Japanese forces succeed in damaging the battleship Tennessee, a cruiser and several destroyers. TF58 hit Tokyo and Yokohama before moving south to join US forces off Iwo Jima.

On the eastern front, the 11th SS Panzer Army continues its attacks to little effect other than to cause and create heavy losses. To the south, the 6th SS Panzer Army, spearheaded by the 1st SS Panzer Corps, hit the Soviet 7th Guard Army in their bridgehead at Hron on the Danube River and succeeded in driving the Red Army forces back. Meanwhile, the 24th Panzer and Grosse Deutschland Corps continue to attack 4th Tank Army in heavy and fruitless fighting.


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February 18, 1945

The commander of the Soviet 3rd Belorus Front, Marshal Chernakhovsky, is killed in action near Mersack. Attacks by the 11th SS Panzer Army begin to deteriorate. The 1st SS Panzer Corps attacks at Hron on the Danube River bridgehead continue to make headway.

The western Allies are generally on the offensive as the British 2nd Army are attacking toward Goch, the US 3rd Army toward Ecdhternach.

US forces in Italy open new attacks along the Bologna-Pistoia axis.

Elements of TF58 bombard Haha Jima and Chichi Jima while TF54 and TF52 hit Iwo Jima

February 19, 1945

Landing at Iwo Jima: The 4th and 5th Marine Divisions (5th Amphibious Corps) are landed by TF53 on the southeast side of the island. Battleships, cruisers and destroyers from TF58 join TF 52 and 54 in lending support to the landings. The Japanese garrison of 21,000 troops under General Kuribayashi hold the eight square mile island and resistance was fierce.

Attacks by German forces inside the Konigsberg pocket succeed in reestablishing contact with the garrison at Pillau, allowing for thousands of refugees to be evacuated to the dubious safety the larger city. The attacks by the 11th SS Panzer Army end as the German forces are exhausted.

February 20, 1945

Fighting on Iwo Jima is very serious as Japanese forces counterattack and infiltrate out of their heavily fortified positions. Marine casualties are heavy as they gain footholds on the southern airfield and Mt. Suribachi.

The US 3rd Army continues attacks in Loraine.

US forces land on Biri in the Philippines encountering Japanese resistance.

The US 8th Air Force hits the marshalling yards at Nuremberg in a massive raid where 900 bombers pounded the area while 700 fighters strafed locomotives and rolling stock.

The Soviet 8th Guard Army makes limited gains against serious opposition in attacks against the German garrison at Posen.

February 21, 1945

The 8th Guard Army continues serious attacks against Posen as elements of the 1st Ukrainian Front takes Guben.

Combat in the Philippines continues as the 11th Corps encounters heavy resistance in Manila and on Corregidor but is successful in clearing the Bataan peninsula.

Kamikaze attacks on US Naval forces around Iwo Jima cause severe losses as the light carrier Bismark Sea is sunk while the fleet carrier Saratoga and other capital ships are damaged. On land, attacks continue against very serious resistance on Mt. Suribachi and the airfield.

Fighting continues in Burma as the Indian 17th Division attack out of their bridgehead at Myaungu, the British 2nd Division crosses the Irrawaddy near Ngozum, the Indian 20th Division fights in their bridgehead and the East African 36th Division take Myitson.

February 22, 1945

Fighting on Iwo Jima continues to be very serious as Japanese forces counterattack and infiltrate out of their heavily fortified positions. Marine casualties are very heavy as they continue to make slow progress around the airfield and up Mt. Suribachi.

The US 5th Army continues attacks in Italy, advancing in the Reno Valley.

The British land a commando brigade near Kangaw in Burma.

The German commander at Posen, General Gonell orders his forces to breakout of the city and then commits suicide. The attempt fails and by dawn the next day, the 12,000 survivors from the bloody fight had surrendered. 

February 23, 1945

The US 1st and 9th Armies open a massive attack in Roer River valley around Julich and Duren. To the south, attacks by the US 3rd and 7th Armies continue to attack.

Fighting on Iwo Jima continues to be serious as Marine casualties mount. Fighting clears most of the summit of Mt. Suribachi as two flags are raised. A photo of the second flag raising is probably the most reproduced picture from the war.

Fighting in Manila intensifies as the US forces move into the old city. Japanese forces have taken hundreds of Philippine hostages that they threaten to execute.

The merchant vessel SS Henry Bacon becomes the last Allied ship sunk by German aircraft as a Ju-88 attacked convoy RA-64.

Fighting for the Red Army bridgehead at Hron on the Danube River ends as the 1st SS Panzer Corps succeeds in forcing the 7th Guard Army to withdraw.

February 24, 1945

The Soviet 2nd Belorus Front opens a new offensive in Pomerainia.

The Western Allies continue to advance on several axis as the British and Canadians moves toward Udem and Weeze, the US 9th Army captured Julich and the US 1st and 3rd Armies advance.

Fighting in Manila begins to wind down as the walled old city of Intramurous is captured. Thousands of Philippine hostages were found among the dead, killed by the die-hard Japanese defenders.

Fighting on Iwo Jima continues to be serious as Marine casualties mount. The northward advance continues as heavy fighting begins for a second airfield.

Advances in Burma continue as the Indian 17th Division takes Taungtha.

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February 25, 1945

The Soviet 19th Army succeeds in ripping a massive hole (35 miles) in the German 2nd Army and advance toward 19th Army.

Advances by the Western Front continue as the US 1st Army takes Duren and establishes more bridgeheads. The US 3rd Army crosses the Saar River ner Saarburg.

Fighting on Iwo Jima continues with serious losses on both sides. The US 5th Amphibious Corps commits its 3rd Marine Division reserve to the battle. Fighting is very heavy at the second airfield.

February 26, 1945

The Soviet 19th Army is reinforced by armored formations as they exploit the hole in the 2nd Army front.

US forces clear Corregidor. Nineteen Japanese soldiers are captured while more than 5000 bodies are found. More Japanese are presumed to have perished in collapsed tunnels. US losses are over 1000 dead and wounded.

The US 8th Air Force hit Berlin's railway stations with a massive incendiary raid. The attacks are followed up that night by RAF attacks.

Advances in Burma continue as the Indian 17th Division captures the Thabuktong airfield at Mahlaing. Reinforcements are immediately flown into reinforce the advance.

February 27, 1945

Army Group E, attempting to withdraw from the Sarajevo area, attacks and succeeds in reopening their line of communications back to Germany.

The Indian 19th Division opened a new attack out of Habeikkyin.

On Iwo Jima, heavy fighting centers on three positions still in Japanese hands which overlook the second airfield. Casualties are very heavy.

British and Canadian forces take Udem and Calcar. The US 1st Army crosses the Erth River at Modrath, near Cologne. The US 3rd Army attacks move toward Trier.

February 28, 1945

Neustetin and Prechlau are taken by the Soviet 19th Army.

Elements of the US 41st Infantry Division land on Palawan, in the Philippines, against minimal Japanese resistance.

The British 4th Corps opens new attacks around Meiktila.

March 1, 1945

The US 9th Army captures Munchen-Gladbach, Neuss and Rheydt as they approach the Rhine River. Meanwhile, the US 1st Army continues to advance on Cologne and the US 3rd Army moves closer to Trier.

Fighting on Iwo Jima continues to be heavy as the fight moves on to the third airfield.

The 1st Belarus Front (47th, 61st, 2nd Guard Tank, 1st Guard Tank, 3rd Shock and 1st Polish Armies) opens a massive offensive in Pomerania. Zhukov's forces succeed in blasting a hole in the German lines north of Arnswalde at the border between the 3rd and 10th SS Panzer Corps. In other fighting, the German 24th Panzer Corps struck the 3 Guard Tank Army at Lauban, making limited gains with heavy losses.

March 2, 1945

The 1st Belarus Front (Zhukov) expanded its offensive against 3rd Panzer Army. The 24th Panzer Corps continues its useless attacks to the south.

The US 9th Army reaches the Rhine River near Neuss. To the south, the Thrid Army captures Trier along the Moselle River.

RAF Bomber Command hits Mannheim creating a massive firestorm. Other attacks hit Cologne.

March 3, 1945

US forces complete the capture of Manila and Meiktila. Elements of the Americal Division land at Ticao and Burias Islands.

In the last attacks of the war against England, the Luftwaffe managed to scrape up 100 night fighters to hit RAF bases.

The Canadian 1st Army took Xanten on the Rhine. To the south, the US 1st Army took Krefeld. Meanwhile, the US 3rd Army crosses the Kyll River and the US 7th Army takes Forbach.

The British 4th Corps captures Meiktila, cutting off Japanese forces to the north facing the British 33rd Corps.

Fighting on Iwo Jima continues as the area around the third airfield is cleared. 


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March  4, 1945

The 1st Belarus Front (Zhukov) continues to roll forward as the 1st Guard Tank Army reaches Kolberg on the Baltic coast, linking up with the 1st Polish Army to surround the 3,200 man garrison. Meanwhile, the Soviet 61st Army captured Regenswalde and the 24th Panzer Corps retakes Lauban in Silesia from the 3rd Guard Tank Army in heavy fighting.

The Canadian 1st Army takes Geldern. The US 1st Army closes with the Rhine River at Cologne.

Iwo Jima begins to fulfill its purpose as a safe haven for B-29s damaged over Japan, seeing the first emergency landing on the island.

March 5, 1945

The Soviet 19th Army takes Koslin in heavy fighting. The 1st Polish and 3rd Shock Army engage in heavy fighting Dramberg.

German manpower shortages force the conscription of 15 and 16-year-olds.

Japanese forces begin to counterattack the British 4th Corps in the Meiktila area in an attempt to clear their lines of communications to the north. The Japanese succeed in taking Taungtha and threatens to cut off the Indian 17th Division. 

March 6, 1945

The US 9th Army closes with the Rhine River along its entire front. Meanwhile, the Canadian 1st Army begin to clear the last pocket of German forces west of the Rhine around Xanten. To the south, the US 1st Army begins attacks into Cologne and advancing toward Remagen. The US 3rd Army continues its advance toward the Rhine River.

With the assembly of the 6th SS Panzer Army (10 panzer and 5 infantry divisions) completed, the Germans launched a major attack in the area around Lake Balaton with that army and the 6th Army (5 panzer and 3 infantry divisions) and the 2nd Panzer Army (4 infantry divisions), hit the Soviet 4th Guard and 26th Army. The attack is supported by limited artillery and air attacks. Stiff resistance and poor weather limit the German advances to a crawl. To the north, the Soviet 47th Army engages in heavy fighting at Altdamm, the 3rd Shock and 1st Polish Armies took Belgard and the 65th Army captures Grudziadz.

The Chinese New 1st Army captured Lashio in Burma.

March 7, 1945

Remagen Bridge Taken Intact: The US 9th Armored Division (US 1st Army) succeeds in making a rush across the intact Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, establishing the first bridgehead east of the Rhine River. In the attack, the Germans set off charges to destroy the bridge as the Americans approached but the charges were inadequate to drop the structure. Hitler relieved Field Marshal Rundstedt for his failure to secure the river. Other elements of the US 1st Army captured Cologne.

German attacks around Lake Balaton intensify as the 2nd SS Panzer Corps joins the attacks against the 26th Army. Soviet resistance was very stiff and German gains limited against heavy losses and huge expenditures of fuel. Meanwhile, the 2nd Belarus Front offensive opens.

March 8, 1945

The US 1st Army rushes reinforcements to the Remagen Bridghead. German bombers begin to raid the bridge in an attempt to destroy the structure. Meanwhile, the Canadian 1st Army captures Xanten.

Secret negotiations in Bern, Switzerland begin between Allan Dulles (OSS Chief) and Generals von Vietinghoff and Wolff for an early surrender of German forces in Italy. 

Over one hundred civilians were killed when a German V-2 bomb hit the Farrington Market in London.

German forces trapped on the Channel Islands launch a raid on Granville, France, succeeding in destroying some Allied shipping and freeing 67 German POWs.

The Soviet 19th Army captures Stolp. To the south, the lake Balaton offensive begins to bog down after gaining only 4 miles.

The British 2nd and Inidan 20th Divisions begin to attack toward Mandalay.

The fighting on Iwo Jima continues as the Japanese are forced back to the last mile on the northern tip of the Island.

March 9, 1945

Tokyo Firebombed: US Air Force B-29s hit Tokyo and other topics in Japan. Tokyo is subjected to nearly 1700 tons of napalm and incendiary bombs which result in a major firestorm destroying over ten square miles of the city, killing 84,000 (some estimates put the number at closer to 250,000) and injuring over 100,000 people and leaving nearly a million homeless.

The British 33rd Corps closes in on Mandalay while the British 4th Corps fights off Japanese attacks around Meiktila.

The US 1st Army continues to expand (Erpel is captured) and reinforce the Remagen Bridgehead while capturing Bonn and Godesberg. Meanwhile, the US 3rd Army closes with the Rhine River, capturing Andemach.

The Soviet 2nd Shock Army takes Marienburg in heavy fighting. The 3rd Shock Army reaches the mouth of the Oder River. To the south, the German 6th SS Panzer Army commits its last reserves of troops and fuel to the attack at Lake Balaton. On the other side of this battle, the embattled Soviet 26th Army is reinforced as the 4th Guard Army enters the line and 27th Army moves toward the front. 

March 10, 1945

The Canadian 1st Army completes the clearing the west bank of the Rhine as Germans withdraw from Wesel. Meanwhile the US 1st Army links up with the US 3rd Army at Anderhach. The Allies now control the west bank of the Rhine River from Koblenz north.

Filed Marshal Kesselring takes command of German forces on the western front.

The Soviet 1st Guard Tank and 19th Army takes Lauenburg. The 1st Ukrainian Front (Konev) opens attacks against the German 4th Panzer and 17th  Armies along the Niesse and Oder Rivers. The German attacks at Lake Balaton falter as Soviet aircraft hit the Germans hard and weather continues to be poor.


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March  11, 1945

RAF Bomber Command establishes a record one-day one-target record dropping 4,661 tons of bombs on Essen. The nominal target of the bombing was the rail marshalling yard.

Over 70 German POWs escape from Bridgend in South Wales.

The East African 36th Infantry Division captures Mongmit.

The US carrier Randolph is hit and damaged by Japanese kamikaze attacks in the Yap Islands.

The Soviet 5th Shock and 8th Guard Army are engaged in serious fighting at Kustrin.

March 12, 1945

One day after establishing the one-day one-target record, RAF Bomber Command outdoes itself, hitting Dortmund with 4,851 tons of bombs.

The German 7th Army opens strong counterattacks against the US 1st Army bridgehead at Remagen.

Local German commanders suspend the offensive around Lake Balaton as supplies and troops are exhausted. Hitler is furious and orders the attack to be resumed. 

The Indian 20th Infantry Division captures Myotha, Burma, southwest of Mandalay, cutting off the rail line into the city. Fighting in Mandalay continues as the Indian 19th Division is forced to clear the city in block-to-block fighting.

March 13, 1945

The USAAF and RAF Bomber Command hit Swinemunde in a series of massive raids. The town is a major port accepting German refugees from Konigsberg. The attacks succeed in killing hundreds of civilians.

The 3rd Belorus Front, supported by massive air and artillery support, opens attacks against the German 4th Army in East Prussia. The Polish 1st Army is engaged in heavy fighting at Kolberg.

March 14, 1945

RAF Bomber Command uses its massive 22,000 pound "Grand Slam" bomb for the first time, hitting a viaduct at Bielefeld. Other raids by Allied aircraft hit Regensburg and Wuppertal.

The US 3rd Army crosses the Moselle River southwest of Koblenz.

The 1st Polish Army continues to push hard at Koblenz, while the 47th Army is engaged in heavy fighting Altdamm. To the south, the 6th SS Panzer Army renews their hopeless attacks, hitting the Soviet 27th Army. It was stopped cold.

March 15, 1945

As Red Army forces, including the 70th, 49th, 65th, and 2nd Shocke Armies, close in on Gotenhafen and Danzig as German forces draw support from the cruisers Schlesein, Prinz Eugen and Leipzig. The 1st Polish Army manages to break into Kolberg, but German resistance continues. 1st Ukrainian Front opens new attacks with the 4th Tank and 21st Armies at Grottkau and the 59th and 60th Armies at Ratibor. The 6th SS Panzer Army finally suspends its attacks around Lake Balaton. After a week of fighting the Germans had lost 500 tanks and 40,000 men.

The US 3rd and 7th Armies launch a coordinated offensive to clear the Saar-Moselle triangle, the last major German holdings west of the Rhine River. To the north, attempts by the US 1st Army to expand their bridgehead at Remagen failed.

Japanese attacks against the Indian 17th Division fail to dislodge the British blocking force at Meiktila.

Fighting on Iwo Jima begins to wind down as the Japanese are bottled up in a small enclave on the northwest corner of the island.

March 16, 1945

The 3rd Ukrainian Front launches a new offensive in Hungary with the goal of Vienna. The 4th and 9th Guard Armies hit the German 6th Army between Mor and Szekesfehervar. Despite being horribly outnumbered, the Germans held the Soviet advance to 2 miles.

The US 7th Army captures Bitche.

The US 8th Air Force launches a massive attack on Zossen targeting the OKH headquarters.

March 17, 1945

The 1st Polish Army renewed its attacks in Kolberg, reducing the German perimeter to a sliver of land next to the sea. The Soviet 46th Army joins the 3rd Ukrainian Front, obliterating the 3rd Hungarian Army, while the 26th and 27th Armies launched attacks against the 6th SS Panzer Army.

The Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, after suffering from heavy traffic loads and several bomb and artillery near misses, collapses into the Rhine River. At the time, the bridge was closed to traffic and under repair. When the collapse came, scores of engineers working on an near the bridge were killed. To the south, the US 3rd Army captures Koblenz and Boppard.

The Chinese 6th Army takes Hsipaw in Burma as the New 1st Army makes progress toward Lashio.


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March  18, 1945

The US 3rd Army captures Boppard, Bingen and Bad Kreuznach in the Saar Moselle triangle. 

USAAF bombers and escorting fighters (a total of over 2000 planes) hit Berlin with 3000 tons of bombs.

The Polish 1st Army finally completes the capture of Kolberg. Meanwhile, the weather over East Prussia clears and the German 4th Army is subjected to a massive air assault.

US forces continue to clear the Philippines as elements of the 40th Infantry Division are landed on Panay.

Fighting in Burma continues as the British 2nd Division takes Ava and heavy fighting continues in Mandalay and around Meiktila.

While conducting air attacks against airbases at Kyushu, kamikaze attacks hit Intrepid, Yorktown and Enterprise. A total of 10 hits were made, but none of the attacks were serious enough to force any of the ships to withdraw from combat.

March 19, 1945

The US 8th Air Force hit Berlin with a massive fighter and bomber attack.

The East African 36th Division captured Modok as the Japanese forces in Burma begin to evacuate Mandalay.

Western Allie advances continue as the US 7th Army takes Worms and opens the fight for Saarbrucken. Meanwhile, the US 3rd Army is driving down the west bank of the Rhine River.

Hitler orders a scorched earth policy calling for the demolition of all industrial, food production, municipal and transportation facilities in danger of being overrun. Albert Speer, German Minister of Armaments, along with local military commanders did much to insure that this order was largely ignored.

2nd Belorus Front continues its advance toward Danzig, coming close enough to bombard the city with artillery. The 47th and 2nd Guard Tank Army reaches the Oder River. The 3rd Panzer Army begins to withdraw west of the Oder River.  The 59th and 4th Tank Armies succeed in surrounding a large portion of the Herman Goering Panzer Corps at Oppeln, smashing in the right flank of the German 17th Army. To the south, the 3rd Ukrainian Front release the 6th Guard Tank Army which turns to surround the German 6th SS Panzer Army.

US Navy TF58 hits Japanese naval forces in the Inland Sea around Kure. Six Japanese aircraft carriers and 3 battleships are damaged in the attack. The Japanese responded with heavy Kamikaze attacks which caused severe damage to the US aircraft carriers Franklin (over 800 sailors killed) and Wasp. Carriers Enterprise and Essex were also hit

March 20, 1945

The Indian 19th Division enters Mandalay in Burma.

The US 1st Army continues to fight inside the Remagen bridgehead (now 30 miles wide and nearly 20 deep). To the south, the US 3rd Army takes Ludwigshafen and Kaiserslautern. Meanwhile, the US 7th Army completes the capture of Saarbrucken and Zweibrucken.

The Soviet 49th Army is engaged in heavy fighting at Zoppot. Meanwhile, the 21st and 4th Tank Armies complete the destruction of the encircled elements of the Herman Goering panzer Corps, killing 30,000 and capturing 15,000.

Himmler is replaced by General Heinrici as commander of Army Group Vistula.

March 21, 1945

The US 8th Air Force hits Hamburg with over 650 bombers. British Mosquito fighter-bombers hit the Gestapo HQ in Copenhagen.

The US 3rd Army completes the clearing of the west bank of the Rhine River in their sector. The US 7th Army captures Annweiler, Neunkirchen, Neustadt and Homberg.

The Japanese use their new rocket propelled flying bomb, the Ohka, for the first time, targeting TF58 off Okinawa. All but one of the 18 rocket-bombs launched from Betty bombers were shot down.

The 3rd Panzer Army completed its withdraw from Altdamm abandoning the east bank of the Oder River. Meanwhilein Hungary, the Soviet 46th Army took Tatabanya and the 9th Guard Army entered Szekesfeheraur.

March 22, 1945

In a surprise attack, the US 3rd Army (US 5th infantry Division) makes an assault crossing of the Rhine River at Oppenheim, near Mainz.

The Soviet 49th Army broke the German 7th Panzer Corps at Zopput and close in on the Baltic, isolating Danzig from Gotenhafen. Elements of the 1st Ukrainian Front (8th Guard and 5th Shock Armies) isolate Kurstin, surrounding 2,000 Germans in the town. In Hungary, the 4th and 9th Guard Armies completely rout the German 6th Army, while the Soviet 6th Guard Tank Army drives deep into the rear of the 6th SS Panzer Army. The Germans make hasty retreats, abandoning much of their heavy weapons, in order to avoid being surrounded.

March 23, 1945

RAF Bomber command destroys the small and militarily insignificant town of Hildesheim.

The Red Army forces (2nd Shock, 49th and 65th Armies) begin attacks on the outer defenses of Danzig in heavy fighting.

The British 14th Army continues to push the Japanese south of Mandalay.

General Vietinghoff replaces Kesselring as commander of German forces in Italy.

TF58, now centered around 14 fleet carriers, begins air attacks on Okinawa.

March 24, 1945

After long preparation, Montgomery's British 21st Army Group (British 2nd Army and Canadian 1st Army) launches their much-anticipated crossing of the Rhine River around Emmerich. Using massive air and artillery support along with a two-division paratroop drop (actually opening the attack last night). The attack was a resounding success against limited German resistance. In the meantime, the US 1st and 3rd Armies continued operations to expand their bridgeheads on the east bank of the Rhine.

The 4th Ukrainian Front (1st Guard, 38th and 18th Armies) open a new offensive in Slovinia against the German 1st Panzer Army.

Five battleships join the aircraft of TF58 aircraft in air raids against Okinawa. In other action, a Japanese convoy steaming off Kyushu is sunk (8 ships in all).


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March  25, 1945

The controversy over the use of the atomic bomb opens as Leo Szilard, with a letter of introduction from Albert Einstein, presents a letter of his own to Roosevelt. In the letter of introduction, Einstein writes, "The terms of secrecy under which Dr. Szilard is working at present do not permit him to give me information about his work; however, I understand that he now is greatly concerned about the lack of adequate contact between scientists who are doing this work and those members of your Cabinet who are responsible for formulating policy." Szilard wrote, " our 'demonstration' of atomic bombs will precipitate a race in the production of these devices between the United States and Russia and that if we continue to pursue the present course, our initial advantage may be lost very quickly in such a race."

TF52, 17 escort carriers, joins TF58 in operations against Okinawa. Japanese Kamikaze attacks continue as 26 planes are sent against the US Naval forces. Eight planes scored hits, one of which was on the battleship Nevada.

The US 1st Army begins to break out of their bridgehead at Remagen. Meanwhile, the British 2nd Army captures the rubble pile formerly known as Wesel (Allied bombing had largely destroyed the city). To the south, the US 3rd Army jumps the Rhine River once again at Boppard and Nierstein.

In Poland, the 19th Army is engaged in heavy fighting at Gottenhafen while 2nd Shock Army attacks the outer defenses of Danzig. The 2nd Ukrainian Front (7th Guard, 1st Rumanian, 4th Rumanian, 40th and 53rd Armies) launch attacks against the German 8th Army along the Hron River, throwing the Germans back in several places. In Hungary, the 6th Guard Tank Army takes Papa as Tata falls to the 46th Army.

March 26, 1945

Major fighting on Iwo Jima comes to and end as the last few hundred surviving Japanese launch a suicide attack against the 5th Marine Division, who are also charged with clearing out the last remaining pockets of resistance. US losses came to 6,891 dead and 17,200 wounded, while all but 216 of the Japanese garrison of 20,700 were killed.

The US 3rd Army makes a headlong advance on the east of the Rhine River, capturing  Darmstadt, closing on the Main River, and making contact with the US 7th Army (still on the west bank) near Worms.

In Poland, the Soviet 19th Army continues to attack at Gotenhafen in heavy fighting. In Hungary, the 26th Army captures Devecser and Bystrica falls to the 40th Army. The 6th SS Panzer Army stops its retreat and attempts to set up a line on the Raab River.

TF54 (10 battleships, 10 cruisers and 33 destroyers) joins other naval forces already in place in bombarding Okinawa. Landings are made by elements of the US 77th Infantry Division on Kerama Retto. The British Pacific Fleet (designated TF57), consisting of 4 carriers, 2 battleships, 5 cruisers and 11 destroyers, hits multiple targets on Sakashima Gunto.

March 27, 1945

The last V-2 bomb hits England at Orpington in Kent. A total of 1,115 of the rockets hit the island killing 2700 and injuring 6500 British civilians. 2,050 of the weapons also fell on Antwerp, Brussels and Liege.

The US 3rd Army captures Aschaffenburg and crossed the Main River east and west of Frankfurt. The 21st Army Group closed with the Lippe River as the US 9th Army began to attack into the Ruhr industrial area.

The German 4th Army disintegrates in East Prussia, but small pockets continue to resist. The Soviet 19th Army captures Gotenhafen. Fighting in Danzig continues as the 2nd Shock Army breaks into the city and the German garrison commander orders a breakout. The German 9th Army renews its attacks toward Kurstin with four panzer divisions. After initial success where the Germans broke the encirclement, the 8th Guard Army recovered quickly and resealed the pocket. In Hungary, remnants of the 3rd Hungarian Army were surrounded around Tatabanya (100,000 soldiers trapped). The 6th SS Panzer Army is engaged in heavy fighting on the Raab River line as the Soviet 46th and 26th Armies push forward.

March 28, 1945

The British 2nd Army opened new attacks against the Elbe River as the US 1st Army takes Marburg. To the south, the US 3rd Army captured Limburg. 

The last remnants of the German 4th Army are destroyed in East Prussia. The siege cost the Germans 93,000 killed, 47,000 wounded as well as over 600 tanks and 4000 mortars and artillery pieces. In Hungary, the German 6th SS Panzer and 6th Armies are forced off the Raab River as the 46th and 26th Armies drive across the river.

March 29, 1945

The last of 2419 V1 flying bomb hits London.

The Western Allies continue to advance on a broad front as the US 7th Army takes Mannheim and Heidelberg, while the US 3rd Army takes Wiesbaden and Frankfurt.

Kustrin falls to attacks by the Soviet 8th Guard and 5th Shock Armies. The Red Army continued its headlong advance in Hungary as the 6th Guard Tank and 26th Armies take Szombathely and Koszeg falls to the 9th Guard Army. The 27th and 57th Armies succeed in isolating portions of the 2nd Panzer Army.

In continuing landings to clear the Japanese from the Philippines, a landing is made by US Army units on Negros. Unlike other such operations where the Japanese garrison withdraws and Philippine irregular forces are used to pursue and contain the enemy, Japanese forces offer stiff resistance.

March 30, 1945

The U.S. First Army crosses the Eder River, but meets heavy resistance at Paderborn. The US 3rd Army advances on Gotha and Kassel.

USAAF raids on German ports succeed in sinking 14 uboats and the cruiser Koln. 

The Indian 20th Division captures Kyaukse as attacks against Japanese in Burma continue.

Danzig falls to the 2nd Shock Army as the last die hard German defenders surrender. Along with the 10,000 survivors captured, 45 U-boats were seized. In other fighting, 4th Tank and 60th Armies captured Ratibor and the 9th Guard Army entered Austria.

As the bombardment of Okinawa continues, the Japanese continue to send Kamikaze attacks against the US naval forces. Typically unsuccessful, the attacks did score a hit on the cruiser Indianapolis, causing serious damage.

March 31, 1945

The French 1st Army becomes the first French force under arms to cross the Rhine River since Napoleon did so in 1805.

The East African 36th Division met the elements of the Chinese 6th Army at Kyaukme, clearing the Burma Road from Mandalay to Lashio.

The 7th Guard Army took Nitra and Galanta. Along the Austrian border, the 27th  Army took Kormend and Szentgotthard while Sopron fell to the 6th Guard Tank Army.


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April 1, 1945

Okinawa Invaded: Under the cover of a massive bombardment from 10 battleships (3 of which were survivors from Pearl Harbor), 9 cruisers, 23 destroyers, and over 100 rocket landing ships, the landings on the island of Okinawa began. By 0830, 16,000 men from the the 24 Corps (7th and 96th Infantry Divisions) and the 3rd Amphibious Corps (1st and 6th Marine Divisions) had been landed near Hagushi on the southwest end of the island. Although the Japanese 32nd Army (General Ushijima), defending the island had over 100,000 troops, they chose not to defend the beaches, allowing the Americans to come ashore basically unmolested. The only major reaction from the Japanese came from the air, where conventional and Kamikaze attacks hit the carrier HMS Indomitable, battleship West Virginia and 8 other ships. By nightfall, over 60,000 US troops had been landed, securing a beachhead 3 miles deep and 9 miles wide, including the Kadena and Yontan airfields.

The Soviet 13th Army took Glogau after a long and bitter fight. To the south, the 6th Guard Tank Army takes Sopron.

The US 1st and 9th Armies complete the encirclement of the Rhur as they meet at Lippstadt. 325,000 Germans from the 15th and 5th Panzer Armies are trapped in the pocket. In other action by these forces, Hamm and Paderborn are captured and the British 2nd Army took Osnabruck.

April 2, 1945

Landing operations at Okinawa continue as Kamikaze attacks hit four US transports causing heavy losses. On the island, the advance inland begins against minimal resistance.

In Hungary, the Soviet 46th Army took Masonmagyarovar while the 57th Army overran the Nagykanitsa oilfields, the last source of oil for the Germans.

The British 21st Army group opened up new attacks as the British advance north of the Ruhr River and the Canadians drive east from Nijmegen and Emmerich.

April 3, 1945

Preparations began at Tinian Island to support the 509th Composite Group, and to assemble the atomic bombs.

Kamikaze attacks off Okinawa continue with hits on an escort carrier and other ships.

The Soviet 7th Guard Army begins to attack the outer defenses of Bratislava.

Advances in Germany continue as the British 2nd Army enters Munster, the US 9th Army takes Recklinghausen and the US 1st Army captures Kassel and Fulda.

April 4, 1945

Attacks by the Western Allies continue to gain ground as the British 2nd Army takes Osnabruk and enter Minden, the US 9th Army closes with the Weser River near Hameln, the US 3rd Army captured Suhl, Kassel and Gotha, while the French 1st Army takes Karlsruhe.

The Soviet 7th Guard Army completed the capture of Bratislava.

Seven hundred US bombers from the 8th Air Force hit Kiel targeting German naval forces.

US ground elements on Okinawa begin to make contact with the entrenched Japanese units as the US 24th Corps is stopped at Kuba. Elements of the 3rd Amphibious Corps reached the Ishikawa Isthmus.

April 5, 1945

The Japanese government falls and is replaced by a less militant group. Togo becomes Foreign Minister and Hiranuama becomes President of the Privy Council. All of the new cabinet agree that any reasonable offer of peace should be accepted while some argue that any offer should be taken.

The German 6th SS Panzer Army, under extreme pressure from 6th Guard Tank, 4th and 9th Guard Armies withdraws on Vienna for a last stand.

Four hundred and fifty US bombers from the 8th Air Force hit Kiel again, damaging the cruisers Hipper and Emden.

The US 5th Army opens a series of attacks in Italy near Massa.

Fighting in the Philippines continues as US-Filipino forces continue to clear Japanese resistance. In one action, American troops pour thousands of gallons of gas into Fort Hughes and light it.

The US battleship Nevada is damaged by Japanese shore batteries from Okinawa.

April 6, 1945

The 3rd Belorus Front opens a massive assault on the 35,000 man German garrison trapped in Konigsberg. The attacks are supported by massive artillery barrages and air attacks. Despite this, the fighting was very serious and losses very heavy. By the end of the day, the Red Army forces had penetrated the German lines in several spots and there was fighting in the city. To the south, after a brief pause to regroup and resupply, the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts open new attacks on Vienna. The fighting in the city was very heavy with the Soviet armor taking serious losses in the close in city fighting.

Yugoslavian partisans capture Sarajevo.

Kamikaze attacks off Okinawas intensify as 116 Japanese planes are used to secure hits on the carriers USS San Jacinto and HMS Illustrious, and 25 other ships. On land, the 24th Corps continued to be held up in the first major Japanese defensive line while the 3rd Marine Corps continued to advance north.

In one of the saddest episodes of the war, the Japanese battleship Yamato begins its last cruise. Due to depleted fuel resources, it carried only enough fuel to reach Okinawa where it was to be beached and provide what support it could to the defenders of the island. So depleted where Japanese air assets that no air cover would be provided for the trip. A cruiser and 8 destroyers did escorted the ship. The US submarine Hackleback picked up the group and reported their position to US Navy aviation almost immediately upon sailing.

April 7, 1945

Battleship Yamato Sunk: TF58 began air attacks on the battleship Yamato group starting at 1000. Planes from the carrier Bennington were the first to score hits on the battleship. Planes from the San Jacinto hit the destroyer Hamakaze with a bomb and a torpedo, sinking her. Shortly thereafter, the light cruiser Yahagi was hit by a bomb and was dead in the water. Air attacks continued for two hours. Four more destroyers were damaged so bad that they had to be scuttled. The Yamato took 12 bomb and seven torpedo hits and finally sunk. Only 269 officers and sailors from the crew of 2,747 survived the catastrophe. In addition to the 2,478 men lost on the Yamato, 1,167 sailors were killed on the escort vessels. US losses were 10 planes and 12 men.

Off Okinawa, Japanese Kamikaze attacks damage the carrier Hancock and the battleship Maryland along with several smaller craft. On Okinawa, the first P-51 fighters take off to escort B-29 bombers in a raid over Tokyo.

The 11th Guard and 43rd Armies continue to drive into Konigsberg. To the south, the 4th Guard and 6th Guard Tank Armies drive into Vienna in very heavy fighting.

The US 1st Army captures Gottingen while the US 9th Army took Hameln and Eisenach. Free French paratroops are dropped in Holland.


 

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Editor's Corner Archive:

Hitler's Angel "The story of Prescott Bush and his association with the Nazis begins just before the end of World War I..."

The Past Through Tomorrow "It is quite frightening to realize just how similar our nation's actions have been and appear to be heading when compared this way..."

Afghanistan and Vietnam: When the "war against terrorism" began, many knowledgeable people warned that our operations in Afghanistan would turn into another Vietnam.

Want to Win - Think Before You Lash Out - "If we are serious about taking the war to the enemy, it is time to look ..."

The First Fight Against Fascism - We must remember the Spanish Civil War also.

Arguing Victory - "... Each nation who fought against fascist tyranny in WWII brought with it part of whole needed to defeat that evil..." 

War, Glory, Honor and Remembrance - "War is a brutal and savage insult on human society..."

The First Casualty... in time of war, those in power are even more inclined to hide the truth, since that truth is often manifest in the most gruesome and terrible acts.  


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