World War II Timeline

As I have read various books on the World War II period, I have wondered how various events relate to one another chronologically. I decided to start this timeline to help visualize those events. I consider this for now at least a work in progress as I will be adding entries from time to time.

If you are interested in this page, you may also find my World War II Sources of interest. The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 300 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

Last updated May 2, 2019

 Pacific Theater  Date  European Theater
1919
January 18 The Paris Peace Conference begins to negotiate treaties after World War I
February The Polish-Soviet War begins with border clashes
July The then-unknown Corporal Adolf Hitler is given the mission of infiltrating the Nazi party for German Army Intelligence
1920
January 21 The Paris Peace Conference ends
1921
March 21 The Peace of Riga was signed ending the Polish-Soviet War
July 29 Hitler became the leader of the Nazi party
1922
The Washington Naval Treaty is signed by the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, France, and Italy. February 6 They agree to limit the size of their naval forces.
October The Russian Civil War ends with the communists in power
October 29 Benito Mussolini is appointed the Prime Minister of Italy by the king
November 5 Treaty of Rapallo was formally signed in Berlin. Germany and Russia would renounce all territorial and monetary claims against each other as the result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk at the end of WW1, and the two nations were to engage in friendly relations. Russia was to provide heavy weapons and facilities for German military training, which was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles; meanwhile, Germany was to conduct training for the Russian military and to provide Russia with an annual payment.
1923
January 11 France and Belgium occupy the Ruhr in an effort to compel Germany to step up its payments of World War I reparations
November 8 The Beer Hall Putsch takes place, in which Adolf Hitler unsuccessfully leads the Nazis in an attempt to overthrow the German government.
1931
January 26 Production of T-26 light tanks begins in Bolshevik Factory in Leningrad
Japan invades Manchuria September 18
Japanese troops reach the Taling River in northeastern China December 31
1932
In the first major aircraft carrier action in the Far East, Japanese carrier aircraft bomb Shanghai, China causing 1,000 mostly civilian deaths January 29
Japanese troops capture Harbin, China February 4
The Japanese carrier Hosho launchs sorties against Chinese positions in Shanghai February 5
First flight of the Martin B-10, first all-metal monoplane bomber February 16 It was the first all-metal monoplane bomber to go into regular use by the United States Army Air Corps and the first mass-produced bomber
Chinese troops launch a failed counterattack in Shanghai March 1
March 7 First flight of the German Junkers Ju 52/3m, 3 engine transport aircraft
Japanese troops capture the Shanhai Gate of the Great Wall of China September 18
1933
January 30 Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany
Japanese and Manchukuo troops attack Rehe Province in China February 21
Japanese troops capture Chaoyang, Rehe Province, China February 25
February 27 Germany’s Reichstag burns. Hitler blames communist terrorists for the blaze and declares a state of emergency. In the coming days, the Nazis will crack down on all political opposition and silence the press
1934
August 19 The German public voted 90 percent in favor of Chancellor Adolf Hitler becoming Führer und Reichskanzler (“leader and chancellor”), a new title created after the death of President Paul von Hindenburg earlier in the month
Japan renounces the Naval Treaties of 1922 and 1930 December 29
1935
February 24 First flight of the twin engine German Heinkel He 111
April 12 First flight of the Bristol Blenheim (type 142), a British light bomber
First flight of the Curtiss P-36 Hawk, also known as the Curtiss Hawk Model 75, American fighter aircraft May 6 The P-36 was flown by the US Army Air Corp and allies in both theaters
October 3 Italy invades Ethiopia
Chiang Kaishek was made the Premier of Republic of China December 9
1936
First flight of the Supermarine Spitfire March 5 The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II
May 6 First flight of the Latécoère 298, French seaplane, single-engine, mid-wing cantilever monoplane, designed as a torpedo bomber, but also served as a dive bomber against land and naval targets, and as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft
October 3 First flight of the Italian Fiat BR.20 Cicogna (Stork) low-wing twin-engine medium bomber
1937
February 26 First flight of the Fiat G.50 Freccia (“Arrow”), MM334, WWII Italian fighter aircraft. Italy’s first single-seat, all-metal monoplane with an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear to go into production
First flight of the Japanese Mitsubishi Ki-30 “Ann” light bomber February 27
March 1 The first British Bristol Blenheims enter service with the RAF 114 Squadron in Wyton
April 11 First flight of the Junkers Ju 89 German four engine heavy bomber prototype
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident renewed hostilities between Japan and China July 7-9
Japanese troops reach outskirts of Nanjing and demand surrender of the city December 9
1938
Japanese troops take 20 Chinese women from Ginling College for comfort houses February 4
The Inernational Committee in Nanjing makes 450 complaints of rape and murder to Japanese embassy February 5
Japanese forces finally capture Wuchang and Hankou, China. The Battle of Wuhan had begun with air raids in February, though the ground offensive did not begin until June. October 26
1939
Japanese bombers attack Chongqing, China January 7
First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, it became operational on May 29, 1942 January 27 The P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs
First flight of Mitsubishi A6M1 Zero (Zeke), long range fighter aircraft operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service April 1
The Chinese counter offensive toward Nanchang, reaches the outskirts of the city April 25
USAAF placed an order April 26 for 524 P-40 fighters
Chinese troops attack Japanese positions at Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China May 4
August 23 The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed
September 1 Germany invades Poland
September 3 The UK and France declare war on Germany. The ‘Phoney War‘ begins.
October 6 Last of the Polish military surrenders to Germany
November 30 The Winter War begins when Russia invades Finland. The League of Nations expells Russia for the attack.
1940
January 13 The Russian YA-26 prototype fighter, future Yak-1, took its first flight
January 14 The Enigma code is broken at Bletchley Park in Britain
Japanese 26th Division captures Linhe, Suiyuan Province, China February 4
February 6 The Finnish 9th Div completes its encirclement of the Soviet 54th Div at Kuhmo
February 22 The Soviet 43rd Division captures Lasisaari and Koivisto, Finland
February 24 British Hawker Typhoon prototype P5212 fighter made her first flight in England
March 13 The Winter War ends with the Moscow Peace Treaty
April 25 British troops hold against a German attack at Kvam, Norway
Troops of the Chinese 3rd and 9th War Areas breach into southern Nanchang, China April 26
The prototype of the Douglas SBD Dauntless makes its maiden flight May 1
May 5 After a 25-day battle, the Norwegian fortress of Hegra surrenders
May 6 First flight of the Dewoitine D-750, French low-winged monoplane twin-engine 3 seat torpedo bomber prototype
May 9 The last day of the ‘Phoney War
May 10 Germany declares war on Belgium and the Netherlands as they roll through them and into France.


Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of the UK.

May 14 First flight of the Yermolayev Yer-2, DB240, long-range Soviet medium bomber
May 26 – June 4 Evacuation of Dunkirk
June 10 Italy declares war on the UK and France
June 22 France Surrenders to Germany
June 25 The UK declares war on Vichy France
July Battle of Britain air war begins
August 25-26 First air raid on Berlin by RAF
September 7 Vichy French rations coffee
September 24-25 French bombers attack the British base at Gibraltar in retaliation for the British attack on the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kébir
The Tripartite Pact signed September 27 This is an alliance between Germany, Italy, and Japan
November 1 Battle of Britain air war ends
November 10 Occupying Nazi authorities in Belgium ban the observance of Armistice Day
November 11-12 The British attack the Italian fleet anchored at Taranto, Italy with aircraft. Half of the Italian Fleet’s capital ships were put out of action. This was the first all-aircraft ship-to-ship naval attack in history.
November 24 Winston Churchill sends a secret telegram to US President Roosevelt: “Spain is near starvation point”, advises the USA “dole out food” to keep Franco out of war & German hands off the Straits of Gibraltar
First flight of the Martin B-26 Marauder (B-26-MA 40-1361) at Middle River, Maryland


First flight of the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, (E0234/W4050)


The Japanese 11th Army launches an offensive in Hubei Province, China

November 25 The B-26 was an American twin-engine medium bomber


The Mosquito was a British multi-role twin-engine combat aircraft, originally conceived as an unarmed fast bomber

December 9 Allied forces launch Operation Compass in North Africa, the first large military operation of the Western Desert Campaign. The British took over 138,000 Italian and Libyan prisoners, hundreds of tanks, guns and aircraft.


British and Indian trops captured Nibeiwa, Egypt

1941
January 4 Allied troops reach Bardia, Libya
January 6 Free French troops attack Murzuk airfield in southwestern Libya
January 7 Australian and British troops nearly surrounded at Tobruk, Libya
January 9 Australians and British troops encircle Tobruk, Libya
January 21 The Allies began attacking Tobruk, Libya
January 25 British colonial troops march into Italian Somaliland
February 5 British 7th Armoured Div set up roadblocks near Benghazi, cutting off the Italian retreat
February 8 The newly formed German Afrika Korps begins departing Naples, Italy for North Africa
February 9 Operation Compass ends


Allied troops capture El Agheila, Libya

February 11 The first German troops arrive at Tripoli, Libya
February 13 There are riots in Amsterdam, with rival gangs of Dutch Fascists & Jewish self-defence leagues & other anti-Nazis fighting in the streets


The HMS Formidable launches aircraft against Italian ships at Massawa, Italian East Africa


Vichy France temporarily bans the sales of clothes due to severe shortages- northern France, occupied by Germany, is no longer exporting any textiles

February 24 The British Avro Manchester bomber makes its combat debut in a Royal Air Force Bomber Command night raid on Brest, France


First flight of the British Bristol Bisley, British light bomber, Modified Bristol Blenheim which finally became the Blenheim V.

February 25 The British 11th African Division captures Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland
February 26 Francisco Franco refuses request from Hitler for Spain to enter the war
February 28 German troops enter into Bulgaria
March 1 Free French forces from Chad capture Kufra in southeastern Libya
March 3 German 5th Light Division establishes positions to block Allied advance toward Tripoli
March 10 British Nigerian Brigade engages Italian units at Degehabur, Abyssinia
March 30 First powered flight of the Heinkel He 280, a German fighter prototype and the first turbojet-powered fighter aircraft in the world
April 24 German paratroopers capture the Corinth Canal in Greece
April 25 The German 8th Panzer Regiment departs Italy in three convoys for North Africa
April 26 The South African 1st Brigade captures Dessie, Abyssinia
May 4 The Politburo appoints Joseph Stalin the Chairman of Council of Peoples Commissars
First flight of the Republic P-47B Thunderbolt prototype May 6 The P47 or “Jug” was used in both theaters


Vichy France and Germany sign the Paris Protocol, opening Syria to German troops

May 8 Indian troops capture Falagi Pass near Amba Alagi, Abyssinia
Tokyo peace treaty officially ends the Franco-Thai War May 9
May 15 South African and Indian troops link up at Triangle Hill near Amba Alagi, Abyssinia
May 19 German aircraft attack British airfields on Crete, Greece
May 20 The Germans initiate their airborne assault on Crete, code named Operation Merkur
June 22 Germany attacks Russian forces in Poland beginning the invasion of Russia and opening the Eastern Front.


Germany and Italy declare war on Russia.

September 19 German forces capture Kiev, Ukraine
November 25 Indian 7th Brgd. repulses an attack by German 5th Panzer Regiment at Sidi Omar, Libya
US Consulate Warns Americans to Get Out of Japan November 26
Washington issues a “war warning” to U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor. It advises commanders to prepare for a Japanese surprise attack *somewhere* in the Pacific. November 27 Siege of Tobruk ends
Japan attacks Perl Harbor.


Japan declares war on both the US and the UK

December 7
The US and the UK declare war on Japan December 8 The first group of Jews were deported & murdered in mobile gas chambers in  Kulmhof (Chełmno). The first German extermination camp began its operation.
Japanese and British troops clash at the airfield at Kota Bharu, British Malaya December 9
HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, which had been sent to protect Singapore, were destroyed by overwhelming Japanese air power December 10
December 11 Germany and Italy declare war on the US.


The US declares war on both Germany and Italy.

Japanese 5th Division attacks Jitra, British Malaya December 12
All British troops withdraw from Kowloon onto Hong Kong island December 13
Hong Kong surrenders to Japan December 25
1942
Japanese troops continue the assault on Kampar, British Malaya January 1
Japanese troops capture the open city of Manila, Philippines January 2
Japanese troops capture the bridges over Slim River in Malaya January 7
Japanese troops penetrate the outer lines of defense at Kuala Lumpur, Malaya January 8
Japanese troops execute Dutch POWs at Tarakan for their sabotage of oil wells January 12 The South African 1st Division captures Sollum, Egypt
Japanese forces advance into Burma January 14
British and Japanese troops engage in the first major clash in Burma January 16
January 17 5,000 Axis troops surrender to the South African 6th Infantry Brigade in Egypt
The Dutch begin to destroy oil facilities at Balikpapan, Dutch Borneo January 18
Japanese troops land on New Ireland and capture Kavieng January 22
Japanese troops capture Batu Pahat, British Malaya January 25
January 26 The first American soldiers deployed to Europe land in Belfast, Co. Antrim Northern Ireland
British colonial administrators flee British Malaya for Singapore January 29
Japanese 55th Infantry Division captures Moulmein, Burma January 31
PT boats and P-40 aircraft repulse Japanese attempt to land on Bataan February 1
Japanese aircraft drive Allied warships away from Singapore February 2
British authorities in Singapore turn down a Japanese demand for surrender February 4
Japanese aircraft attack Palembang, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies February 7
The battle of Singapore begins


Japanese troops capture Tengah airfield at Singapore

February 9 Soviet troops encircle 90,000 Germans at Demyansk, Russia
The RAF withdraws the small number of aircraft from Singapore to prevent Japanese capture February 10
The Japanese 5th Div attacks Allied troops at Bukit Timah Hill in Singapore February 11
Japanese attack the Australian mainland, Darwin, for the first time February 12
Japanese troops capture Bandjarmasin, the capital of Dutch Borneo February 13
Japanese soldiers enter the Alexandra Hospital. A massacre of wounded Allied soldiers, nurses and doctors follows; those who survive do so by playing dead February 14 First flight of the Douglas C-54 (DC-4 for the civilian version), 4-engine propeller-driven airliner used by the US in WWII and beyond
Singapore surrenders to Japan February 15
The Sook Ching Massacre begins; thousands of ethnic Chinese Singaporeans will die February 16
Japanese troops cross the Bilin River north of Rangoon, Burma February 17
Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066


Japanese aircraft raid Darwin, Australia

February 19 This allows Japanese-Americans to be gathered up and sent to internment camps
German spy Bernard Kuehn is arrested in Hawaii February 21
Roosevelt personally orders General MacArthur to leave the Philippines February 22 The British 11th and 12th African Divisions wipe out Italian positions at Jilib, Somaliland
US FBI agents begin to relocate Japanese-American civilians in Los Angeles February 26
US authorities round up 112,000 Japanese-Americans for internment March 1
Japanese troops force the Indian 17th Infantry Division out of Payagyi, Burma March 3
Second attack on Perl Harbor by the Japanese March 4
March 16 The Belzec Concentration Camp is established in occupied Poland
First flight of the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden ‘Jack’, single-engine land-based fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service in WWII March 20
Japanese bombers attack US field hospital No. 1 at Bataan despite being marked with large red crosses March 30
Japanese troops capture Mandalay, Burma April 6
Doolittle leads US air raid on Japan April 18
The Japanese 18th Infantry Division captures Yamethin, Burma April 24
Japanese troops massacre entire Chinese villages suspected of aiding Doolittle Raiders April 25
The Japanese 18th Infantry Division captures Mandalay, Burma May 1
The Japanese 3rd Kure Special Landing Force captures Tulagi Island and Gavutu Island May 3
Japanese troops capture Bhamo, Burma May 4
The Battle of the Coral Sea May 4 – 8
May 5 The German 16th Army brakes through to Kholm, Russia
The US begins gasoline rationing May 15 to support the war effort
First flight of the P-61 May 21 This night fighter was used in both Theaters of the war
May 27 SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich was shot in Prague by British SOE agents and died June 4. Nazi intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. Both villages were razed; all men and boys over the age of 16 were shot, and all but a handful of the women and children were deported and killed in Nazi concentration camps.
May 30-31 First ‘1000 bomber raid‘ by the RAF against Cologne
On his 18th birthday George H. W. Bush enlists in the US Navy June 12 He is later elected the 41st President of the United States and serves from 1989 to 1993
July 18 First flight of the German ME-262 jet-powered aircraft
Japanese forces land at Gona in modern Papua New Guinea. This was the beginning of the Kokoda Track campaign. The invasion, intent on capturing Port Moresby and threatening Australia, was thwarted by forces led by the Australian Army. July 21-27
Battle of Guadalcanal begins August 8
Japanese floatplane drops incendiary bombs on an Oregon forest, the first and only air attack on the U.S. mainland during the war September 9
September 30 Danish Resistance begins smuggling over 7000 Jews to Sweden by fishing boats
October 3 First successful launch of a V2 from Peenemunde


82d Fighter Group squadrons begin arriving at Eglington, Co Derry, Ireland from the US with P-38s

November 4 German 170th Division captured Feodosiya, Ukraine
November 8 Allied forces invade North Africa confronting the Vichy French and Germans
November 11 Allies make a controversial deal with Vichy French Admiral Darlan in Algiers to achieve the surrender of French forces


German and Italian troops occupied Vichy France


British 36th Infantry Brigade lands at Bougie, Algeria unopposed.

November 12 The British 3rd Parachute Battalion captures the airfield at Bone, Algeria
The US Army and Marines attack Japanese positions near Kokumbona on Guadalcanal November 18
November 20 British troops capture Benghazi, Libya
November 21 German paratroopers attack British positions near Djebel Abjod, Tunisia
US Army-Marine attack at Matanikau River on Guadalcanal is stopped by Japanese November 22
November 25 Adolf Hitler orders that the French fleet at Toulon, France be seized
November 27 The French Navy scuttles warships to avoid German capture
November 29 Coffee rationed to one pound every 5 weeks in the US
December 1 German 10th Panzer Division launches a counterattack in Tunisia
US Army takes over the Guadalcanal campaign from the US Marine Corps December 9
American troops capture Buna, New Guinea December 13
US Marines capture Mt. Austen, Guadalcanal December 17
December 22 German troops in the Caucasus region began to fall back
December 24 French Admiral Darlan assassinated
Japanese 16th Division captured Luisiana, Philippines December 28
1943
January 14 Casablanca Conference of Allied leaders begins
US 25th Division capture the high ground south of Kokumbona, Guadalcanal January 23 British forces capture Tripoli
January 24 Casablanca Conf ends with Allied leaders demanding German unconditional surrender
Japanese evacuation of Guadalcanal begins February 1
February 3 Coffee rationing increased to one pound every six weeks in the US
Battle of Guadalcanal ends February 8
The F4U-1 Corsair fighter makes their operational debut 200 miles north of Guadalcana February 13
February 20 German and Italian troops defeat American troops at Kasserine Pass in Tunisia
February 25 The inexperienced Americans suffer a major defeat at the Battle for Kasserine Pass in North Africa
March 17 US troops capture Gafsa, Tunisia
March 23 US troops repulse German 10th Panzer Div counterattack at El Guettar, Tunisia
April 15 First P-47 in aerial combat. The 800-mile combat range extended Allied fighter coverage deep into mainland Europe from Britain.
March 30 British troops led by Montgomery breach the Mareth Line in North Africa
March 31 Crematorium 2 began operation at Auschwitz Concentration Camp in occupied Poland
April 3 The US 1st Inf Division captures Hill 369 near El Guettar, Tunisia
US Office of Price Administration ends meat rationing. May 3 Exception is for steak and choice beef (rationing is tightened again later)


US troops capture Mateur, Tunisia

May 5 Soviet troops capture Krymsk in southern Russia
Japanese troops capture Anxiang, Hunan Province, China May 7
Japanese troops capture Maungdaw, Burma May 8
May 12 The Trident Conference began in Washington, DC, United States
May 13 Axis forces in North Africa surrender
May 27 Churchill meets with Allied leaders in Algeria to plan the invasion of Sicily and the Italian campaign
May 16-17 British RAF fly ‘Dam Buster‘ mission against dams in the Ruhr valley. Two of the Ruhr region dams in Germany were breached by British bombers.
July 9 Allied forces invade Sicily
July 28 Coffee removed from rationing in the US
September 3 Allied forces invade Italy
September 8 Gen. Dwight Eisenhower publicly announces the surrender of Italy to the Allies.
September 9 Allied forces invade Salerno, Italy with Operation Avalanche
September 10 Remaining Italian fleet sails into Malta and surrenders to the Allies
September 11 German forces occupy Rome and Northern Italy, taking most of the Italian army prisoner
September 21-28 After Italy surrenders, Italian troops on the island of Cephalonia, Greece refused to surrender their weapons to the Germans. The Massacre of the Acqui Division, also known as the Cephalonia Massacre, was the mass execution of the men of the Italian 33rd Infantry Division Acqui by German troops. About 5,000 soldiers were massacred and others drowned.
Operation Jaywick by 14 British and Australian commandos culminates in the attack on Japanese ships in Singapore harbor sinking or severely damaging 7 vessels September 26
September 27 US 8th Air Force P-47 fighters escort bombers into Germany for the first time
October 1 US 8th Fifth Army and British X Corps enters Naples, Italy
October 3 British Commandos land at  Termoli on the Adriatic coast of Italy as part of Operation Devon.
October 4 Aircraft from the USS Ranger attack German ships in Norway sinking two and damaging several others.
A force of three U.S. destroyers attacked nine Japanese destroyers in the central Solomons. This is known as the “Battle of Vella Lavella,” and was the last significant Japanese victory of WWII October 6-7
Japanese execute all 98 US civilian construction POWs on Wake Island in reprisal for US air raids October 7
The First Major Attack on Rabaul. Over 100 B-25s from the 345th and 38th Bomb Groups, three P-38 squadrons, 40 planes from the 3rd Bomb Group, and more than 80 B-24s from the 90th and 43rd Bomb Groups joined forces with RAAF P-40s, Beaufighters, and Beauforts. October 12
US Marines land on Shortland and Choiseul in the Solomons as a diversion from the upcoming Bougainville landings October 28
The Japanese execute 33 interned civilians in Hong Kong


Allied forces land on Mono and Stirling Islands, south of Bougainville, beginning the final phase of the campaign to smash Japan’s northern Solomons bases

October 29
US 3rd Marine Div lands on Bougainville in the Solomons at Empress Augusta Bay November 1
The USAAF attacks the Japanese base at New Britain in what was known as “Bloody Tuesday”. 45 airmen were lost with Eight B-25s and nine P-38s shot down during the attack. November 2
November 3 British 78th Inf Div reached San Salvo north of the Trigno River in Italy.


US Eighth Air Force sends 566 B-17’s and B-24’s along with 333 P-47’s and 45 P-38’s to hit Wilhelmshaven, its first mission of over 500 bombers.


Nazis massacre 18,000 Jewish slave laborers outside Majdanek concentration camp in largest single-day, single-location killing of the Holocaust


Soviet troops launch a massive breakout attack from their bridgehead north of Kiev

November 4 US Fifth Army captures Isernia, Italy


The 8th AF continues to grow with today’s arrival of the 446th Bomb Group at Flixton with B 24s. This is the 31st US bomb unit to arrive in the UK.

Aircraft from the USS Saratoga attack the Japanese ships in Rabaul, damaging nearly all and forcing them to leave for repairs. November 5 8th AF flies over heavily defended Gelsenkirchen and Munster in the Ruhr Valley. The mission includes 323 B 17s escorted by over 350 fighters.
November 6 Russian army retakes Kiev, Ukraine
SB2C Helldiver aircraft saw combat for the first time in the Solomon Islands


More than 300 aircraft consisting of US carrier and land-based Navy aircraft, bombers of the US Fifth & Thirteenth Air Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force raid the Japanese base at Rabaul

November 11
November 16 The power station at Rjukan, Norway where the Germans were producing ‘heavy water’ for their nuclear program is bombed by the 8th Air Force and damaged sufficiently to stop production
Australian 9th Division launches an offensive to take Sattelberg, New Guinea November 17
November 19 Nazis liquidate Janowska concentration camp in Lvov, prisoners make a mass escape attempt, a few succeed
US Marines land on Betio Island in Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands November 20 British Eighth Army launches the main offensive to cross Sangro River in Italy
Battle of Tarawa November 20-23
November 21 The RAF creates No. 1426 (Enemy Aircraft) Flight “the Rafwaffe” to evaluate captured enemy aircraft


German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is placed in command of Atlantic Wall defenses in France to defend against an Allied invasion

November 22 The RAF launches the first 2000-ton night raid on Berlin—2000 Germans are killed and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is destroyed


Lebanon’s Independence Day: Free French provisionally recognize Lebanese independence


Sextant Conference begins in Cairo, Egypt with Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek

US Marines secure Betio in Tarawa Atoll. Japanese resistance ends on Tarawa and Makin atolls in the Gilbert Islands. November 23
Australians take Sattelberg, New Guinea November 25 Colossus Computer is first tested in Birmingham, England, the world’s first all-electric computer. It was used at Bletchley Park to help decypher German codes.
November 28 Eureka Conference begins in Tehran, Iran: Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agree to a spring 1944 invasion of western Europe and a Soviet declaration of war on Japan after Germany’s defeat.
November 29 British troops capture Mezzagrogna and Santa Maria in Italy
December 1 US Ninth Air Force P-51s fly a sweep over France as the first use of US P-51 Mustang fighter planes in Europe


Mussolini orders arrest of all Jews in Italy, but many are hidden by Italians

December 2 Luftwaffe bombs Bari, Italy, destroying 24 Allied ships. Bombs strike a US ship carrying secret chemical weapons. A cloud of deadly mustard gas spreads throughout the damaged ships killing service personnel and Italian civilians. About 1000 soldiers, sailors & civilians are killed in the attack.
December 8 In their first combat action for the Allies, Italian troops attack Monte Lungo, Italy. They are repelled with heavy casualties.


Colossus, the world’s first ever digital programmable electronic computer, built by British Telecoms research engineers Tommy Flowers and team, goes live for the first time ever at the GPO research station at Dollis Hill in London

US airfield opens at Torokina on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, only 220 miles from major Japanese base at Rabaul. December 9 Canadian troops capture San Leonardo, Italy


British Eighth Army secures Moro River beachhead near Ortona, Italy

December 10 The British Eighth Army takes Vino Ridge in Italy in drive for Ortona
December 12 Field Marshal Erwin Rommel named commander of German Army Group B in France
Ration books in the US December 13 are awarded an extra two red ration points (used for meat, cheese & fats) are awarded for each pound of used cooking fats turned in
US Army Air Force decides to stop using camouflage paint on planes December 14 to increase speed & range
December 17 US Fifth Army takes San Pietro, Italy, after Germans retreat


Wings are first awarded to WASPs (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots)

December 22 Allies officially recognize and agree to support Marshal Tito’s partisans in Yugoslavia.
US Marines land at Cape Gloucester, New Britain in the Solomon Islands December 26 In the Battle of the North Cape off Norway, British ships sink German battlecruiser Scharnhorst while it’s attacking Allied Arctic convoys
British & Indian forces launch Second Arakan Campaign toward Akyab, Burma December 30
1944
January 6 James Doolittle orders fighters of USAAF Eighth Air Force to go on the offensive
Indian 5th Division captures Maungdaw, Burma January 9
January 13 Allied troops capture the high ground north of Cervaro, Italy
January 14 Eligibility for the draft is restored for Japanese-American Nisei, causing mixed reactions in internment camps
Japanese on New Britain in the Solomons fail in their final counterattack attempt January 16
US Army and Marines secure Arawe area on New Britain in the Solomons January 17 British X Corps crosses lower Garigliano River in Italy, officially beginning the Battle of Cassino
January 21 The “Little Blitz” begins, a new German air offensive on England: 447 bombers attack London at night, the largest air raid since July 1942
January 22 The War Refugee Board is established to help resettle European Jews in the US


36,000 US and British troops land at Anzio, Italy, and establish a solid beachhead with little opposition; the towns of Anzio and Nettuno are secured

Australians take Shaggy Ridge in the Finisterre Mountains of New Guinea, securing Huon Peninsula January 23
January 24 German bombers sink British hospital ship St. David off Anzio with Hs-293 guided missile; 96 killed, including 2 British nurses
Argentina severs relations with Germany and Japan January 26 After a vast Axis spy ring is uncovered in the country
January 27 Soviet troops end the 872 day Siege of Leningrad
Americanforces land on Kwajalein and Majuro atolls in the Marshall Islands January 31
Japanese open offensive against Indian troops on Arakan, Burma


US secures Kwajalein and Majuro Islands in Kwajalein Atoll

February 4
February 5 The Colossus Computer at Bletchley Park in England is first used to decode German messages


US forces reach the outskirts of Cassino, Italy

February 6 Soviet troops make a major breakthrough in the Ukraine and reach the Dnieper River near Nikopol


Fighter planes of the US Eighth Air Force are out on first ground strafing mission

US forces secure Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands February 7
February 11 The Russian Army takes Shepetovka, the rail center west of Kiev in the Ukraine
Military of New Zealand occupy the Green Islands, only 100 miles from the important Japanese base at Rabaul February 15
February 16 The Germans launch “Fischfang” offensive at Anzio; it is the first use of German Panther tanks in the west. It fails due to muddy terrain
Troops of the U.S. 22nd Marine Regiment begin to land on Engebi Island, facing 3,500 Japanese defenders beginning the Battle of Eniwetok February 17
February 18 Hitler dissolves the Abwehr (German military intelligence) after evidence of infiltration by Allied agents and resistance members


The RAF launches Operation Jericho. Mosquitos & Typhoons bomb the German prison in Amiens that is holding members of the French resistance. Of the 1000 prisoners, 102 are killed and 258 escape

The Japanese air & naval base at Rabaul is neutralized by Allied forces. The last of the Japanese planes have been moved to Truk February 19
February 20 Norwegian Resistance fighters blow up ferry Hydro carrying the only German shipment of heavy water (for atomic bomb) on Lake Tinnsjø, Norway


US Airforce launches the Big Week, sending 970 bombers against German cities. This week-long aerial attack devastates the German aircraft industry; 6000 sorties by bombers of RAF and US Eighth, Ninth & Fifteenth Air Forces

US secures Eniwetok Island in Eniwetok Atoll, lands on and takes 7 other islands in the atoll February 21
US secures Eniwetok Atoll and all Marshall Islands, the first time Japanese lose prewar territory February 22
February 24 Colossus, the world’s first large-scale electronic digital computer, enters service at Bletchley Park and is soon in use to help decrypt German teleprinter messages from the Lorenz cipher machine
February 25 For the first time the England based US Eighth Air Force and the Italy based US Fifteenth Air Force bomb same target – Regensburg, Germany in “Big Week” operations
In the US rationing restricions are relaxed March 1 Toothpaste buyers no longer have to turn in old tubes to buy new (required since 4 April 1942 due to tin shortage)
Australian troops capture Bogodjim, New Guinea March 14
March 17 New Zealand troops take the train station in the western part of Cassino, Italy and assault German strongholds in hotels
March 24 “The Great Escape” takes place — 76 Allied airmen escape from German POW camp Stalag Luft III near Sagan, 50 are recaptured and murdered, 3 escape to Allied or neutral territory


Ardeatine Caves Massacre — Nazis troops kill 335 Italian civilians in reprisal for partisan bombing the previous day

The Japanese 60th Regiment launches a night attack on Sangshak, India but it fails March 26
Japanese troops besieg Imphal, India March 30
Japanese troops capture Nippon Hill near Imphal, India April 1
The US Tenth Army lands on the southwest coast of Okinawa and begins the 12 week battle to take the island April 2
April 4 The Allies conduct the first reconnaissance mission over Auschwitz
April 5 Soviet troops capture Dorohoi, Romania
Japanese besiege 3500 British & Indian troops in Kohima, India April 6
Chinese troops launch offensive across border into Burma April 14
Japanese troops capture Crete West hill near Imphal, India


US Navy Task Force 58, with 12 aircraft carriers, begins bombing and bombardment of Hollandia, Wakde, Sawar, and Sarmi areas of New Guinea in preparation for the tomorrow’s landings

April 21
US forces secure Aitape, New Guinea, and opens Tadji Airstrip at Aitape April 24
May 1 The US Eighth Air Force flies 1st major pre-invasion mission to rail centers in the Pas de Calais and Normandy areas in preparation for D-day
May 4 Exercise Fabius taking place with Allied troops who will land on Sword, Juno, Gold, and Omaha Beaches on D-day landing on English beaches in the largest amphibious training exercise ever
May 7 The US Eighth Air Force launches over 1000 bombers in missions to Berlin, Münster, and Osnabrück, Germany
May 8 The US Congress extends Lend-Lease to June 1945
May 11 In Italy, the Germans release Jews of Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, and Swiss citizenship under pressure from these neutral governments


Allies officially begin preinvasion bombing of German airfields in France to drive the Luftwaffe away from invasion beaches

May 13 In drive for Rome, French troops break through Gustav Line into Aurunci Hills
May 14 The US II Corps breaks thru the German Gustav Line, opening the route to Rome
May 15 The Nazis begin the deportation of Hungary’s 440,000 Jews to Auschwitz


A conference is held in London for the top commanders for D-day, with King George VI and Winston Churchill in attendance

Chinese troops and Merrill’s Marauders (US guerillas) take Myitkyina airfield, the only hard-surfaced field in northern Burma. The US 879th Engineer Aviation Battalion arrives at there by gliders and opens the airstrip that night. May 17 German troops evacuate Cassino, Italy


The Allied Expeditionary Air Force approves invasion stripes for Allied aircraft for D-day

US forces secure Manus. The Pacific Admiralty Islands are now in Allied hands. May 18 Polish troops take Monte Cassino and the abbey; the British take the town of Cassino
US troops secure Wakde Island off New Guinea May 20 The Polish resistance captures an intact German V-2 rocket. It will eventually ship the parts to England in July
June 4 The 36th Infantry Division was the first Allied troops to enter Rome
June 4 US 5th Army captures Cervaro, Italy
June 6 D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy
June 10 Oradour-Sur-Glane – A French village utterly destroyed and over 600 men, women, and children massacred by SS troops
Battle of the Philippine Sea. The aerial part of the battle was nicknamed the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. This battle resulted in eliminating the Imperial Japanese Navy’s ability to conduct large-scale carrier actions. June 19-20
September 17 Operation Market Garden begins in the Netherlands
September 25 Operation Market Garden ends unsuccessfully
October 2 The “Battle of the Scheldt” begins. Canadian, British and Polish forces attack into the Netherlands to open up the shipping route to Antwerp so that its port could be used to supply the Allies.
October 14 No.6 RCAF Group, Bomber Command, within a period of sixteen hours, flies a total of 501 Lancaster and Halifax bombers against targets in Duisburg, Germany
The U.S. Navy announced a decision October 19 to integrate its female reserve program
Douglas MacArthur lands at Leyte after being driven out of the Philippines two-and-a-half years earlier. “I have returned!” he declares. October 20
The Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle of WWII and perhaps the largest in history. The US Navy defeats the Japanese fleet giving the Allies virtual control of the Pacific October 23-26
November 1 Allied forces land at Uncle Beach at Vlissingen as part of Operation Infatuate. This was part of the “Battle of the Scheldt”.
November 5 British troops captured Ravenna, Italy, cutting the rail line to Bologna
November 8 The “Battle of the Scheldt”ends


Allied troops captured Veere and Koudekerke in the Netherlands

American and Chinese troops attack Bhamo, Burma November 14
Japan conducts the first successful test of a rocket-powered Ohka aircraft November 19
Chinese troops capture Mangshih, Yunnan Province, China November 20
The 15,000th P-40 is completed November 22 at Buffalo, New York, United States
November 23 The T-44 medium tanks officially enters Soviet Army service
US B-29 bombers based in the Marianas Islands attack Tokyo for the first time November 24
Anglo-Indian troops capture Kalewa, Burma November 28
November 29 Soviet and Yugoslavian troops cross the Danube River into Hungary


Brazilian troops attack Monte Castello 61 kilometers southwest of Bologna, Italy

December 1 Himmler orders the crematoriums and gas chambers of Auschwitz destroyed
Indian 20th Division crosses the Chindwin River into Burma December 3 Allied troops capture Blerick, the Netherlands
December 6 The German He 162 jet fighter made its first flight
Japanese troops capture Tushan, Jiangsu Province, China December 8
December 9 Russian troops reach the Danube River north of Budapest, Hungary
Allied troops attack the Arakan region of Burma December 12
1945
January 26 Wounded Audie Murphy single-handedly repels tank and infantry attacks in France earning him the Congressional Medal of Honor
January 27 Soviet forces liberate the Auschwitz concentration camp
US forces engage Japanese troops in Manila, Philippines February 3 The Yalta Conference, with Winston Churchill (UK), Franklin D. Roosevelt (USA) and Joseph Stalin (USSR), begins
February 13 The RAF and US Air Force planes begin to drop around 2,400 tons of explosives and 1,500 tons of incendiary bombs on the German city of Dresden
February 14 British and Canadian troops reach the Rhine River northwest of Duisberg, Germany
US paratroopers attack Corregidor, Philippines February 16
US Marines Michael Strank, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, and Harold Schultz rais the Stars and Stripes atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima February 23
All Japanese pockets of resistance at Meiktila, Burma have been eliminated March 5
March 7 The US 9th Armored Division unexpectedly captures Rhine River bridge at Remagen
March 11 The US Third Army captures Kochem, Germany
US B-29 bombers attack Kobe, Japan, causing 15,000 casualties March 16
B-29 bombers destroy 7 square kilometers of Kobe, Japan, killing 8,841 March 17
First flight of the Douglas A-1 Skyraider March 18 American single-seat attack aircraft


US Third Army captures Boppard, Germany

Indian 19th Infantry Division captures Mandalay, Burma March 20 US Third Army reaches Mainz, Germany
March 22 Soviet forces capture Braunsberg in East Prussia, Germany
March 27 The US Third Army captures Aschaffenburg, Germany


The Soviet Army enters Danzig encountering heavy resistance

March 28 The Soviet 1st Byelorussian Front captures Gotenhafen and Danzig


The US 1st Army captures Marburg, Germany

March 29 Soviet units capture the Komorn oil fields in Hungary
The Indian 19th Division captures Kyaukse south of Mandalay, Burma March 30 Soviet troops enter into Danzig
March 31 Soviet troops capture Ratibor and Katscher, Germany


The US Third Army reaches Siegen, Germany

US invades Okinawa April 1
April 2 Soviet troops capture Wiener Neustadt
April 5 French First Army captures Karlsruhe, Germany
The Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest battleship ever constructed, is sunk by American aircraft April 7
April 8 The US Seventh Army captures Pforzheim in southwestern Germany
US troops capture Jolo and Lamon Bay in the Philippines April 10
April 11 The US Third Army captures Weimar, Germany
April 13 The British 78th Infantry Division secures a bridgehead at Bastia in northern Italy
April 15 British troops liberate Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in Germany
US Army troops land on Ie Shima off Okinawa, Japan April 16 US First Army captures Solingen and Wuppertal, Germany
April 17 Brazilian troops capture Montese, Italy
April 21 French First Army captures Stuttgart, Germany
April 27 Italian partisans capture Benito Mussolini
April 30 Hitler commits suicide
May 2 German forces in Italy and Austria surrender
May 4 Montgomery accepts the unconditional surrender of the German forces in North-West Europe at Lüneburg Heath
May 7 In the early hours of 7 May 1945 Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies
First atom bomb tested July 16
This calls for the unconditional surrender of Japan July 26 The Potsdam Declaration is issued by Allied leaders
The US drops the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima August 6
Russia declares war on Japan August 8
The US drops the Atomic bomb on Nagasaki August 9
Japan announces surrender August 14
Japan signs surrender documents September 2
World War II ends in Singapore after the Japanese army surrenders to the Allies September 12
The trial against Japanese General Yamashita begins in Manila October 29
November 13 Charles de Gaulle becomes the first post-war head of the French government
November 21 All accused German war criminals at Nuremberg plead not guilty
US Secretary of War Robert Patterson orders all Japanese cyclotrons to be destroyed November 24
November 25 The beginning of Operation Deadlight – the RAF begins to scuttle Nazi U-Boats
The Japanese create the Ministry of Demobilization December 1
Tomoyuki Yamashita was found guilty of war crimes December 7
1946
February 11 The last of the 116 captured German U-boats scheduled to be sunk is scuttled by the Allies 100 miles off the northwest coast of Ireland
October 15 Herman Goering, head of the Luftwaffe and Gestapo, commits suicide by cyanide the night before his execution
October 16 10 high-ranking members of Nazi-Germany are executed by hanging
2004
World War II monument opens in Washington, D.C. April 29 The memorial is located on 7.4 acres on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
2018
The Dutch national railway company is setting up a commission to investigate how it can pay individual reparations for its role in mass deportations of Jews by Nazi occupiers during World War II November 28
South Korea’s Supreme Court orders Japanese Mitsubishi to pay compensation for WWII slave labour November 29

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