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
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.
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
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
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.
The US 3rd Army continues attacks in Loraine.
US forces land on Biri in the Philippines encountering Japanese
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
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
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
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
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
February 25, 1945
The Soviet 19th Army succeeds in ripping a massive hole (35
miles) in the German 2nd Army and advance toward 19th
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
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
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
On Iwo Jima, heavy fighting centers on three positions still in
Japanese hands which overlook the second airfield. Casualties are very
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
The Chinese 6th Army takes Hsipaw in Burma as the New 1st Army makes progress toward Lashio.
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
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
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
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
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
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
General Vietinghoff replaces Kesselring as commander of German forces
TF58, now centered around 14 fleet carriers, begins air attacks on
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).
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
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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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Casualty... in time of war, those in power are even more inclined to
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