Chronography of World War Two in Europe � see maps, years 1940-45, below

For World War Two in the Pacific see China/Japan

Page last modified 17 September 2023


For chronography of France and Germany up to 1939 invasion of Poland, and from VE Day 1945 onwards, click here


German Propaganda map 1935 (showing Germany �threatened by neighbouring states�)

Click Here for image of Dresden 1945

Click Here for Youtube 54 minute video, Blitz on Dresden


8 May 1945. VE Day. The Second World War officially ended in Europe, at one minute past midnight. Field Marshall Keitel signed the final capitulation. The Channel Islands remained under Nazi occupation till the following day, 9 May 1945. Street parties were held all over Britain.

UK Bomber Command has calculated the following statistics relating to the Second World War. 55,573 aircrew were killed, of whom 47,130 died on operations, 138 died as PoWs, and 8,090 were killed in �mon-operational incidents� (mostly flying accidents). Of those killed, 38,462 were British, 9,980 were Canadian, 4,050 were Australian and 1,703 were New Zealanders. 530 RAF groundcrew were killed, and 759 injured, in incidents such as bombs detonating when being loaded onto aircraft or being jammed in the bomb bay. Total bombs dropped on Axis countries amounted to 955,044 tons, of which 657,674 tons was dropped on Germany itself. 336,037 bombing raids were carried out by the RAF. 8,655 aircraft were reported as missing (failed to return). By the end of 1944 Allied raids had reduced German oil production by 40%, so that many German tanks and aircraft became unuseable due to lack of fuel, even if they were serviceable.

German civilian casualties have been estimated at between 350,000 and 600,000.

Some 3.4 million German houses and flats had been destroyed out of a total of 17.1 million; a further 30% of homes had been severely damaged by bombing. The desperate housing shortage was exacerbated by an influx of some 10 million refugees from eastern Europe. Many Germans lived 5 or 6 to a room, or existed in makeshift shelters. Some, as at Dachau near Munich, lived in former concentration camps.

In Greater Manchester 684 people died in the bombing, and an additional 2,364 were injured.


For the World War Two period, 1 September 1939 to 9 May 1945, the timeline for France-Germany has been split into the following categories;

1) France-Germany �home� (non-war) events

2) Eastern Front (East Europe, Finland, Russia, Greece)

3) Western Front (France, Benelux, Britain, west Germany)

3)a)Scandinavia ex. Finland.

3)b) Italy, Malta

4) Africa

5) Middle East

6) America

7) Maritime

8) Air war.


Click Here for map of Europe under Nazi occupation in 1941.

See USA for World War Two events and United States

See China/Japan/Korea for World War Two in Pacific

For Jewish persecution in World War Two, see Israel, Judaism

See also Great Britain, London. Click here for newspaper reports of UK WW2 events


Detailed box index

1.0, GeneralAllied events, and France-Germany �home� events

1.1, Hitler and staff final end in Berlin bunker, 1945

1.2, Final disintegration of German war effort, 1944-45

9.0, Germany invaded Poland, 1939; start of World War Two, with Britain and France involved


1) General Allied events, and France-Germany �home� events

1.1, Hitler and staff final end in Berlin bunker, 1945

1 May 1945, Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda committed suicide, having killed their six children with poison.

30 April 1945. Adolf Hitler poisoned his wife Eva Braun with cyanide, then shot himself, in his Berlin bunker. They had married two days earlier. Hitler ordered that his body be burned; he was determined to avoid its being displayed as Mussolini�s had (28 April 1945). He feared even more being captured alive and taken to Moscow. German radio announced that Grand Admiral Doenitz was now leader of the Reich. Doenitz stated that the main aim was �to defend Germany from Bolshevism�; Doenitz and his supporters wanted to fight on, whilst another faction led by Heinrich Himmler wanted to surrender to both the Western Allies and Russia. As Hitler died, Soviet tanks were entering the ruins of central Berlin. There was panic on the Berlin streets as SS men shot deserting Nazi soldiers, whilst low-flying Soviet biplanes machine-gunned bread queues. Bodies littered once elegant streets, looted of all valuables.

28 April 1945, Hitler married his mistress, Eva Braun, in his Berlin bunker, in the early hours of the morning. The act was a symbolic abandonment of Hitler�s plans for �national socialism�- he had insisted that, as Fuhrer, he would have no ties to another human being.

22 April 1945, Hitler had continued, in his bunker, to �make military plans to repulse the Russians�. These plans involved German military units and planes that no longer existed. He ordered for this day a massive counter attack that would �annihilate the Soviet forces at the gates of Berlin� Hitler was then told that this attack had not taken place and that forces under SS General Felix Steiner were unable to rescue Berlin from Soviet occupation. He now had a total breakdown, screaming and shouting in rage.

20 April 1945, The first Russian shell hit Berlin. A relentless bombardment of the city now began. Hitler emerged from his bunker, on his 56th birthday, to walk his dog Blondi for the last time. A further attempt to walk his dog on surface a week later was prevented by the heavy shelling.


1.2, Final disintegration of German war effort, 1944-45

31 March 1945, In the last days of war, Berlin maintained a surreal normality. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra continued recitals until now. Telephones functioned, the underground railway ran, and post continued to be delivered right up to the last few days of the war. Berlin workers still picked their way through rubble filled streets to work, often in offices whose windows had all been blown out.

18 March 1945, (1) Major air raid on Berlin.

(2) Hitler issued his so-called �Nero order� � ordering the destruction of factories in the face of the Allied advance so the enemy could not use them. This order was widely ignored.

3 February 1945. The Reich Chancellery in Berlin was bomb4ed, including Hitler�s private apartment. This forced him to move into the underground bunker he had constructed in its grounds.

11 February 1945, The Yalta Conference ended. See 4 February 1945.

4 February 1945. The Yalta Conference between the Allied leaders Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill opened in the Crimea. This conference concluded on 11 February 1945. Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin all had very different aims. Roosevelt wanted to disengage US troops from Europe to defeat Japan. Stalin wanted to extend Soviet influence as far west into Europe as possible. Stalin got to occupy eastern Poland, as agreed in Tehran on 28 November 1943. Churchill wanted to build a democracy from the ruins of Germany. The ailing Roosevelt trusted Stalin�s assurance that he would work to build a �peaceful and democratic world�. The West insisted that Greece be given a western-style democracy, but otherwise all of eastern Europe fell under the Soviet sphere. Stalin also gained Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands in return for a war effort against Japan that was never made. Yalta set the world order for the next 45 years.

31 January 1945. Food rations had shrunk considerably for urban Germans. The meat ration, 400g per week in 1941, fell to 362 g / week in 1944 and was just 156g / week by February 1945. The fat ration, 269g / week in June 1941, fell to156g / week in January 1945. Potatoes were still available but there was little to go with them. The bread ration stayed the same until April 1945.

30 January 1945, Adolf Hitler made his very last radio broadcast to Germany, marking 12 years of Nazi rule.

16 January 1945, Hitler left his office in the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, for the last time, and descended to his bunker, 15 metres underground. By now most of Berlin�s buildings had been destroyed by Allied bombing.

6 December 1944, 20 million Germans were homeless after Allied bombing.

26 November 1944, Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the crematoria at Auschwitz concentration camp to eliminate evidence of the mass killings there.

18 October 1944, Hitler launched the Folksturm, a call-up of men previously considered too young or too old for military service. This was a last ditch attempt to reverse the War, and was more of a propaganda exercise; the date was chosen as the anniversary of Napoleon�s defeat at Leipzig, 1813.

5 October 1944, In Germany, Joseph Goebbels announced a reduction in food rations.

1 October 1944, The German war economy was hopelessly disorganised. In September 1944 German factories produced 3,000 fighter planes, but aviation fuel production was only 10,000 tons, as against Luftwaffe consumption of 165,000 tons in April 1944. These new planes sat on the runway with empty fuel tanks and vacant cockpits, as pilot training had virtually ceased.

25 September 1944, Hitler called up all remaining males aged between 16 and 60 for the Volksturm, a home defence force.


9 April 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian involved with anti-Hitler conspirators, was hanged in Flossenburg concentration camp.

10 December 1944, De Gaulle and Stalin signed a treaty of alliance.

19 October 1944, Churchill returned home after talks with Stalin.

14 October 1944, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, 53, Commander of the Afrika Corps 1941-43,took his own life by swallowing poison rather than be executed for an attempt on Hitler�s life. Hitler had promised him a hero�s funeral if he committed suicide. Otherwise Rommel would face the notorious Nazi judge, Roland Frreisler, who had already condemned the other conspirators against Hitler to slow hanging by piano wire. The official cause of Rommel�s death was given as heart failure.

9- 19 October 1944, Churchill travelled to Moscow for talks with Stalin.

24 September 1944, The second Quebec Conference ended (began 13 September 1944), see 24 August 1943.It was concerned with shifting the war effort to the Pacific to finish off the Japanese, also how best to advance into Germany (the Morgenthau Plan), and operations in The Philippines.

19 August 1944. Differences emerged between the Americans and the British as to how to press on against Germany. The US wanted to go directly east into Germany via the Saar region; the British wanted to secure Belgium and Holland and then occupy the industrial Ruhr region. This latter option would both neutralise the V-weapon launching sites and capture the deepwater port of Antwerp. Politically, however, both options had to be pursued, or else public outrage would ensue if one Allied army was halted whilst the other pressed on.

8 August 1944, Officers convicted of an attempt on Hitler�s life were hanged with piano wire. See 20 July 1944.

4 August 1944, Purge of the German Army by Hitler.

20 July 1944, An attempt was made on Hitler�s life by a German Staff Officer, Count Claus Von Stauffenberg, at Hitler�s headquarters at Rastenburg, East Prussia. A bomb was left in a briefcase under a table in the conference room where Hitler was to speak. The plot failed because the heavy oak table top shielded Hitler from much of the blast, as did the thick table leg against which the briefcase was placed. The plotters were arrested, as were 1,000 other people implicated in the plot. See 8 August 1944.

17 July 1944, Field Marshal Rommel was badly injured when an Allied fighter plane shot up his car.

2 July 1944, Marshal von Kluge replaced General von Rundstedt.

28 June 1944, Hitler replaced Field Marshall Busch, of the Army Group Centre, with General Model.

21 June 1944, Berlin was heavily bombed.

28 May 1944, Second US bombing raid on 5 of Germany�s synthetic oil plants, already damaged by a raid on 12 May 1944.

16 May 1944, Roma inmates of Auschwitz mounted a rebellion to prevent the total annihilation of them all by the Nazis.

12 May 1944, US planes launched a major attack on Germany�s synthetic oil plants, destroying 7 plants that had produced a third of Germany�s total output. Germany�s armed forces were now totally dependent on thbis synthetic oil to continue fighting.

20 April 1944, The RAF set a new bombing record. 4,500 tons of bombs were dropped in a single raid, on Hitler�s 55th birthday.

7 April 1944, Hitler suspended all laws in Berlin and made Goebbels dictator of the city.

4 January 1944. Hitler ordered the mobilisation of all children over the age of ten. On this day Soviet forces crossed the pre-war frontier from Russia into Poland at Rokitno. Hitler, anticipating an Allied attack on France, was keen to hold the northern French and Belgian coasts, so as to be able to launch the V weapons against Britain, even if this meant some territorial losses in the east.

23 November 1943. Berlin TV ceased broadcasting altogether after Allied bombers scored a direct hit on the transmitter. Unlike in the UK, German TV had continued throughout the War, but restricted to 2 or 3 hours in the afternoon and a further 2 hours in the evening from 8 � 10pm. As Allied bombing raids intensified, the evening 2-hour slot was gradually brought forward, to 6-8pm, so Berliners could be in their shelters after dinner.

15 November 1943, The Nazis extended their extermination policies from the Jews to the Romany. Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, ordered all Romany to be sent to the concentration camps.

28 November 1943, The main Allied leaders, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, all met in Tehran. Co-ordinating the Normandy landings with a Russian attack on the eastern front was discussed, also a Russian attack on Japan, and a post-war United Nations Organisation. All agreed that the USSR could have eastern Poland as far west as the Curzon line, and Poland would be compensated with lands in eastern Germany. This was confirmed at the Yalta Conference of 4 � 11 February 1945.

31 August 1943, Gustav Bachmann, German World War I Admiral, died aged 83.

24 August 1943, The Quebec Conference ended (began 10 August 1943).Code-named Quadrant, it was concerned with plans for the Normandy landings, also land operations in south east Asia (especially Burma), and with campaigns in Italy.

20 August 1943, The head of Nazi rocket research at Peenemunde was found dead, shot by an unknown assassin.

19 August 1943, General Hans Jeschonnek, Luftwaffe Chief of Staff, committed suicide. He left a note asking that Goering should not attend his funeral.

10 August 1943, The Quebec Conference opened. Churchill, Roosevelt and McKenzie were present.

4 August 1943, At the German V-2 rocket plant at Peenem�nde, the decision was made to employ concentration camp inmates as slave labour to build the missiles. For every non-Jewish German employee, there would be at least ten camp inmates supplied by the SS.

5 June 1943, Josef Mengele was promoted to Chief Medical Examination Officer at Auschwitz in Poland.

11 April 1943, After a lengthy delay, Hitler finally approved Donitz�s request for more U-Boat construction. However Germany was prioritising tank and aircraft jmanufacture with its scarce steel supplies.

2 April 1943, In the face of intensifying Allied air raids on German cities, Goering made air raid patrol duty compulsory for every able-bodied German.

10 March 1943, Germany announced new rationing of nonessential goods, prohibiting the manufacture of suits, costumes, bath salts, and firecrackers, and restricting telephone use and photography.

22 February 1943, Members of the White Rose (die Weisse Rose) anti-war group in Germany were publically guillotined, their execution intended to discourage others. They had been caught distributing leaflets at university; most members were students who once supported Hitler but who had become disillusioned after Nazi war atrocities. Their execution, and the whole group, was swiftly forgotten in Germany until the 1970s when they were rediscovered and became folk heroes.

28 January 1943. Hitler ordered the mobilisation of the entire population aged between 16 and 65.

24 January 1943, The Casablanca Conference ended, see 14 January 1943.President Wilson, with Churchill, then issued a statement demandingunconditional surrender of the Axis powers, rather than a negotiated settlement.This was intended to reassure Russia; the Nazis used the statement as propaganda to warn the German people of the greed of their enemies.

22 January 1943, Hitler ordered that shipbuilding take second place to tank production, to make good tank losses on the Eastern Front.

14 January 1943. Churchill, de Gaulle, and Roosevelt met at Casablanca. They demanded the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers.Plans were made for the invasion of Sicily increased US bombing of Germany, and the transfer of British forces to the far east once Germany was defeated.

1943, The Axis powers had produced 43,000 aircraft over the year 1943; the Allies had produced 151,000. Material shortages were seriously impinging on the nazi war effort.

16 December 1942, Himmler started the genocide of individuals of �mixed Gypsy blood� at Auschwitz, unless they agreed to be sterilised.

15 August 1942, Winston Churchill had his first summit meeting with Joseph Stalin.

27 June 1942, White Rose, a non-violent, intellectual resistance group, first began its anti-Nazi activities in Munich.

8 February 1942, German Munitions chief Fritz Todt was killed in a plane crash.

19 December 1941, Hitler made himself Commander in Chief of the Army.

23 September 1941, In London, Charles de Gaulle formed a Free French Government in exile.

4 June 1941, Kaiser Wilhelm II, exiled German Emperor, died in exile in The Netherlands.

15 May 1941. In Germany, Dr Sigmund Rascher asked Hiimmler for permission to begin �medical experiments� on inmates at Dachau concentration camp.

12 March 1941, The first issue of Die Zeitung, a Free German (anti-Hitler) newspaper appeared in London.

3 January 1941, Martin Bormann promulgated a Nazi decree banning gothic typefaces in all printing and proclaiming roman type as the new standard. The order sought to make Nazi communications more understandable in occupied France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Norway, where Roman type was used.

28 November 1940. In Berlin a film, Der ewige Juden (The Eternal Jew), purpoting to show their �evil influence�, was released.

24 October 1940. Hitler failed to persuade Franco or Petain to help invade Britain.

20 October 1940, Andre Santini, French politician, was born.

10 October 1940, Hitler began an emergency program called the Sofortprogramm to build protective shelters for the civilian population and essential personnel. Aiming to build 6,000 bunkers across 92 cities, it was the largest public works program in history.

12 September 1940, A group of five boys discovered a cave at Lascaux, in the Dordogne, south west France, which was to become famous because it contained fine examples of prehistoric cave paintings.

21 August 1940, The �tree of liberty�, planted in Saverne after Alsace was restored to France at the end of World War I, was chopped down by members of the Hitler Youth.

11 July 1940. Marshal Philippe Petain was appointed President of the French Vichy State.

28 March 1940, The Allied Supreme War Council issued a formal Declaration of United Action.

28 February 1940, Allied divers recovered three rotors from a scuttled German U-boat off the Shetlands. These were vital in decoding the German Enigma codes.

30 January 1940, In Germany, Himmler authorised the deportation of 30,000 �gypsies�.

24 December 1939, Pope Pius XII issued a cautious call for peace, whilst striving to remain politically neutral.

30 December 1939, Hitler declared that the �Jewish-capitalistic world� would not survive the 20th century.

12 November 1939. Germany began clothes rationing.

8 November 1939. Hitler narrowly avoided an assassination attempt at a Munich beer cellar. The Nazi leader was making a speech on the anniversary of the failed 1923 beer-hall putsch, in which he had tried to seize the city. Hitler left straight after his speech, which was much shorter than usual. Eight minutes later a bomb exploded behind the pillar where he was speaking, killing 7 people and injuring 60. It was planted by the anti-war activist and Communist Johann Georg Elser, who was sent to a concentration camp. He was shot on 9 April 1945, on Hitler�s orders, to prevent his release by the advancing Russians.

2 November 1939, Hitler recalled his ambassadors from Moscow and Rome �for consultation�

17 September 1939, De Valera said Ireland would remain neutral in the War. Australia and New Zealand took sides with Britain straightaway. The Canadian debated the issue for three days then voted to join the War with one vote against. In South Africa the Prime Minister General Hertzog wanted to stay out of the war; he was forced to resign and replaced by General Smuts who immediately took Britain�s side.


2) Eastern Front (East Europe, Russia, Greece, also Finland)

7 May 1945,Soviet forces took Wroclaw, south-west Poland.

3 May 1945, Rijeka (Fiume) was captured by the Yugoslavs; the Germans left, but blew up the port installations first.

2 May 1945, German soldiers in Austria surrendered. Berlin finally surrendered to the Russians at 3 pm. British and Russian troops linked up at Wismar on the Baltic.


Final Russian conquest of Berlin

1 May 1945, Berlin was totally in Russian hands.

Click here for contemporary newspaper maps of WW2, April-May 1945.

29 April 1945, At 1am on 30 April 1945 Hitler was informed that all Nazi forces he had been hoping would relieve Berlin were now encircled or on the defensive.

28 April 1945, The Wehrmacht withdrew from the town of Demmin, north-eastern Germany, blowing up bridges as they retreated and abandoning the town�s civilians to the oncoming Red Army.

27 April 1945, Berlin was now totally surrounded by Soviet forces.

25 April 1945, US and Soviet forces met on the Elbe near Torgau. Zhukov�s and Koniev�s armies met west of Berlin, surrounding it.

22 April 1945, Hitler was told that forces under SS General Felix Steiner were unable to rescue Berlin from Soviet occupation.

21 April 1945, Soviet forces under Zhukov (1st Belorussian Front) entered the suburbs of Berlin.

20 April 1945, The first Russian shell hit Berlin. A relentless bombardment of the city now began.

Final Russian conquest of Berlin


20 April 1945, Nuremberg, once the scene of huge Nazi rallies, fell to the Allies, on Hitler�s 56th birthday. There was also the last air raid on Berlin. Soviet forces were to enter Berlin tomorrow. Since the first raid on 29 August 1940, some 76,652 tons of explosives and incendiary bombs had been dropped on the German capital. 50,692 tons were British, and 25,962 American. Soviet artillery also rained down some 40,000 tons of shells during the final stages of the war.

18 April 1945, Russians fighting on the Seelow Heights broke through westwards towards Berlin.

16 April 1945, The Russians began a major assault on the Seelow Heights, crossing the Oder River.

15 April 1945, The Allies captured the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.Eva Braun descended to Hitler�s bunker; she had previously resided in a private apartment in the Chancellery, since March 1945.

13 April 1945, Vienna was capturedby Soviet troops from the Germans.

9 April 1945, Konigsberg, capital of east Prussia, taken by the Russians.

4 April 1945, Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, captured by Soviet forces. The last Wermacht forces evacuated Hungary.

2 April 1945, The Soviet Army began an offensive to take Vienna.

30 March 1945, The Russians took Danzig (Gdansk), Poland, also the town of Ratibor in Silesia.The Poles renamed the city Gdansk,from Danzig, expelled the Germans, and linked the city administratively with the neighbouring port of Gdynia, built on Polish territory in the 1920s.

29 March 1945, Soviet troops entered Austria.

28 March 1945, Gdynia captured by the Russians.

22 March 1945, Soviet forces broke the Danzig / Gdynia defence perimeter.

17 March 1945, Brandenburg, East Prussia, captured by the Russians.

15 March 1945, The Soviet Army launched the Upper Silesian offensive.

13 March 1945, The Battle of Kiauneliskis, Lithuania.

6 March 1945, German forces launched Operation Spring Awakening, their last offensive of the war. This was in Hungary, near Lake Balaton, and was aimed at securing some of the last oil supplies still available to the Germans, the Nagyakanisza oilfield. Troops from the failed Ardennes offensive were utilised. However by mid-March the operation had failed and the Germans were being pushed back by overwhelming Soviet strength. Also on this day the Soviets began arresting and executing any members of the Polish Home Army of Polish Government in Exile they could find.

4 March 1945, Finland declared war on Nazi Germany.

22 February 1945, Poznan, on the Berlin to Warsaw road, fell to the 1st Belorussian Front after a pocket of German soldiers there had been surrounded but held out.

14 February 1945, U.S. Army Air Forces bombed Prague. 701 people were killed and about 100 houses and historical sites were destroyed in what was attributed to a navigation mistake.

13 February 1945. Allied bombers devastated the German city of Dresden. Many civilians had moved to the cultural city of Dresden, and its population in 1945 was over 1,000,000. There were up to 400,000 casualties, including 130,000 civilian deaths. Dresden was famous for its 17th and 18th century architecture, but was also an industrial centre and was a key communications centre for the German armies on the Eastern Front. 1,400 RAF fighters and 450 US planes bombed Dresden over a 14 hour period. Soviet forces took Budapest. Soviet forces took Sommerfeld, just 80 miles from Berlin.

5 February 1945, Soviet forces crossed the River Oder, and pushed deeper into Germany.

2 February 1945,Under Soviet occupation, the Bulgarian authorities began to try and execute various �war criminals� including Prince Cyril, former government ministers, and businessmen.Further trials and executions continued till June 1945, when the legal process was declared complete.

31 January 1945, Soviet troops crossed the River Oder into the province of Brandenburg, north of Frankfurt, 40 miles from Berlin.


Russian troops entered pre-WW2 German territory (East Prussia), continued westwards towards Berlin

29 January 1945, The Soviet 3rd Belorussian Front advanced into the city of Konigsberg.

28 January 1945, Soviet forces invaded Pomerania.

27 January 1945, The Red Army now captured Silesia, and the loss of the mines and factories there was a severe blow to Nazi war production. Russian forces captured Memel, liberating all of Lithuania.

24 January 1945, Gleiwicz in Silesia taken by the Russians, as was the key fortress of Lotzen in East Prussia. The Russians were now close to Konigsberg, capital of East Prussia.

23 January 1945, Bromberg taken by the Russians.

22 January 1945, Allenstein taken by the Russians.

21 January 1945, Russia and Hungary signed an armistice.

20 January 1945, The German evacuation of East Prussia began. The 4th Ukrainian Front advancing through Slovakia took Presov.

19 January 1945, Russian troops took Tilsit. They were now on the pre-War frontier of Germany.

17 August 1944, The Russians reached the border of East Prussia.

Russian troops entered pre-WW2 German territory (East Prussia), continued westwards towards Berlin


18 January 1945, Soviet troops took Lodz.

17 January 1945, Soviet and Polish troops captured Warsaw. Only 162,000 citizens remained, compared to a pre-war population of 1,310,000.See 14 September 1945.

15 January 1945, Soviet forces captured Cracow from Germany.

14 January 1945, Radom in central Poland taken by the Russians.

13 January 1945, Budapest was completely in Soviet hands. Hungary, Nazi Germany�s last ally in the Balkans, was now siding openly with Russia.

12 January 1945,, Moscow time, Konev�s 1st Ukranian Front began an offensive against Nazi forces from the Sandomierz bridgehead, north east of Cracow.

9 January 1945, General Guderian warned Hitler that the eastern front was like a house of cards, ready to collapse at any time; Hitler dismissed reports of superior Russian military strength as �the greates bluff since Genghis Khan�. In fact, the Soviets possessed a 5:1 advantage in manpower, a 7:1 advantage in artillery, and a 17:1 advantage in aircraft.

28 December 1944, Hungary renounced all treaties with the Third Reich and declared war on Germany.

27 December 1944, The Soviet Army began to besiege Nazi forces in Budapest.See 13 January 1945.

21 December 1944, The Soviet Army, having entered Hungarianterritory in early September 1944, set up a provisional government in Debrecen.

9 December 1944, The Danube north of Budapest was reached by the Russians.

5 December 1944, The 3rd Ukrainian Front of the Soviet Army captured Szigetv�r and Vukovar.

29 November 1944, Russian troops crossed the Danube, in Hungary.

21 November 1944, The Moscow Conference ended.

17 November 1944, Tirana, capital of Albania, was recovered from German occupation.

15 November 1944, Soviet forces entered Jasbereny, 48km east of Budapest.

9 November 1944, The Moscow Conference began.

6 November 1944, Monastir liberated by Yugoslav forces.

30 October 1944, Soviet forces attacked Budapest, but the Germans held it until February 1945.

24 October 1944, The Riga Offensive ended in Soviet victory.

22 October 1944, Russian troops in Finland reached the Norwegian border.

20 October 1944, Tito�s partisans and the Red Army took Belgrade. It had been taken by Germany on 13 April 1941.

18 October 1944. The Russian army entered East Prussia and Czechoslovakia.

13 October 1944, Athens was liberated from the Germans, who occupied it on 27 April 1941.

12 October 1944. Tolbukhin�s forces crossed the Morava River south of Belgrade, to intercept the Germans falling back south of the city.

11 October 1944, Cluj, capital of Transylvania, recaptured by the Russians.

9 October 1944, Russian forces reached the Baltic coast near Libau.

6 October 1944, Soviet troops entered Hungary.

3 October 1944, The insurgents in the Warsaw Uprising surrendered to German forces.

28 September 1944, Soviet, Yugoslav Partisan and Bulgarian forces began the Belgrade Offensive.

27 September 1944, Soviet troops and Yugoslav Partisans crossed the border into Albania.

23 September 1944, Soviet forces entered Hungary,

22 September 1944,The Russians captured Tallinn, capital of Estonia. This blocked the final seaborne escape route for German Army Group North.

19 September 1944, Finland agreed to the peace terms demanded by Russia (see 20 June 1944), except that the indemnity was halved to US$300million.

16 September 1944, The Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front occupied the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.

14 September 1944, Russian forces took Praga, on the right bank of the River Vistula, opposite Warsaw.An anti-Nazi uprising by Poles had begun in Warsaw on 1 August 1944.However the Russian forces did not immediately cross the Vistula to Warsaw, but held back whilst the Nazis put down the Polish rebellion and razed the city.Warsaw was only taken by the Russians on 17 January 1945.

9 September 1944, The Russians captured Sofia, capital of Bulgaria.

7 September 1944, Hungary declared war on Romania and crossed into southern Transylvania

6 September 1944, Bulgaria declared war on Germany.Bulgaria had wanted to become neutral but Russia fund this �insufficient� and threatened to declare war on Bulgaria.Bulgaria therefore declared war on Germany and Russian troops marched into Bulgaria unopposed�� On 28 October 1944 Bulgaria signed an armistice with the Allies and the Bulgarian Army, under Soviet command, attacked German forces in Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria.See 2 February 1945.

30 August 1944, Soviet forces took Bucharest.

31 August 1944. Russian and Romanian forces captured the Ploesti oilfields, which had supplied Germany with one third of its military oil.Meanwhile Hitler declared that the political differences between the Allies would result in the collapse of their efforts against Germany (see 19 August 1944).

29 August 1944, Constanza taken by Russia.

25 August 1944, Finland was forced to sue the USSR for peace (see 12 March 1940) under pressure from the Soviet Army.Finland gave up territory gained from the USSR since 1940, and also ceded the Petsamo region, with the Arctic port at Porkkala; this gave the USSR a common border with Norway.

For more events of USSR-Finland conflicts 1940s see Finland

23 August 1944. Following a coup d�etat in Bucharest, in which pro-Nazi dictator General Ion Antonescu was overthrown (born 1882, acceded 1940), Romania changed sides and declared war on Germany and Soviet troops entered Rumania as allies. Germans had entered Bucharest as allies in September 1940, after Antonescu seized power, forcing King Carol II into exile after Carol had surrendered Romanian territory to Hungary, Bulgaria and Russia. Romania then supported Germany when it invaded Russia in June 1941, and assisted in the Nazi capture of Odessa, which was then renamed �Antonescu�, with areas of south-west Ukraine annexed to Romania. However the Soviets began to force back the Romanians, and other Axis forces, in the winter in 1942/3. On this day, 23 August 1944, Carol II�s 23-year-old son, King Michael, had Antonescu arrested. Antonescu was subsequently charged with war crimes in May 1946 and on 1 June 1946, after a brief trial, was condemned to death and shot.

6 August 1944, The Soviets began the Osovets Offensive as part of the final phase of Operation Bagration.

5 August 1944, Germans bombed the Warsaw suburb of Wola, during the Warsaw Uprising.

1 August 1944, Anti-Nazi rising in Warsaw began.Russian forces were close to the city, see 14 September 1944.

30 July 1944, Soviet forces captured Simno, Poland, only 35 miles from the Prussian border and 330 miles as the crow flies from Berlin. They also took Gluda which cut the railway line west from Riga. German forces in Riga now had just one minor rail line west as an escape route, leading to Windau, a small Baltic port.

29 July 1944, Soviet forces crossed the River Vistula, capturing the town of Sandiomerz in central Poland

28 July 1944, Soviet forces took Brest Litovsk, Poland.

27 July 1944, Russian forces captured Lvov from Germany.

26 July 1944, Dvinsk retaken by Russia.Narva, Estonia, retaken by Russia.

24 July 1944, Lublin retaken by Russia. Russia. German losses in the past 5 weeks amounted to over 2,000 tanks, 340 aircraft and 113,000 men. Only 10,000 men replaced them.

23 July 1944, The Lvov Uprising, an armed insurrection of the Home Army in Poland against the Nazi German occupiers, began in the city of Lvov.

14 July 1944, Soviet forces entered Pinsk, less than 200 miles from east Prussia.

13 July 1944. The capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, was recaptured by the Russians.

12 July 1944, The Russians advanced 21 miles on the Baltic Front.

10 July 1944, New Soviet offensive against German Army Group North began.

3 July 1944, Minsk was recaptured by the Russians.

Click here for contemporary newspaper maps of WW2, Eastern Front, 1944.

29 June 1944, The Russians captured Petrozavodsk from Finland, see 20 June 1944.See 19 September 1944.

26 June 1944, Vitebsk retaken by Russia. The Nazi 3rd Pamzer Amy was surrounded.

23 June 1944, The German 4th Army, NE of Minsk, was surrounded.

22 June 1944, The Russians commenced Operation Bagration. Under the supreme command of Zhukov, some 1.2 million troops launched a 4-pronged assault towards Minsk. A simultaneous assault was launched towards Lithuania.

20 June 1944, The Russian attacked Finland, which had begun peace discussions with the USSR in February 1944. Russia had demanded restoration of the 1944 frontier, plus Petsamo, thus excluding Finland from the Arctic Ocean, and an indemnity of US$600million, Finland�s entire national income for 1939.Finland refused such humiliating terms, and Russia attacked, capturing Viipuri this day.See 29 June 1944.

See Finland for more details of war with Russia

10 June 1944, The USSR began an offensive against Finland.

25 May 1944. Tito escaped to the hills as German troops captured his Bosnian headquarters.

5 May 1944, The Russian attack on Sevastopol began. 25,000 Germans here surrendered on 12 May 1944. The Crimea was now clear of Axis forces.

17 April 1944, Zhukov captured Ternupol, Ukraine.

16 April 1944, Soviet forces cleared out the last pockets of German resistance at Yalta.

13 April 1944, The Russian army took Simferopol, capital of Crimea.

11 April 1944, The USSR regained Odessa.

8 April 1944, Russia began on offensive to evict the Germans from Crimea, the last part of pre-War Russia they still occupied.

4 April 1944, On the Eastern Front, a counterattack by the German 4th Panzer Army captured Kovel.

2 April 1944, USSR troops crossed the Romanian frontier.

1 April 1944, Many German troops were surrounded in the eastern Galician town of Skala. Over the next 9 days, 26,000 of them were killed.

31 March 1944, The Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front took Ochakov.

30 March 1944, Soviet forces were now within 16 miles of the Hungarian fromtier.

29 March 1944, Soviet forces took Kolomyja, a town inside �Greater Germany�.

28 March 1944, The 1st Panzer Army was trapped by Zhukov and Koniev.

27 March 1944, Germany poured massive reinforcements into Hungary as the Russians approached.

26 March 1944, In Greece ELAS, Communist, setup a Committee of Liberation.

25 March 1944, German army commander, Von Manstein, leader of Army Group South, successfully argued with Hitler that the 1st Panzer Army must be allowed to retreat to avoid a Soviet encirclement south-east of Tarnopol. Von Manstein was a much better strategist than Hitler, and was never afraid to argue persuasively and strongly with the Fuhrer when necessary. However Von Manstein was replaced by Field Marshal Model. Army Groups South and A were renamed, respectively, Army Groups Northern and Southern Ukraine; an ironic move given that by now very little of the Ukraine remained under German occupation.

20 March 1944, Soviet forces took Vinnitsa, on the Southern Bug,and crossed the Dneister north of Kishinev,

19 March 1944, Germany began a direct occupation of its ally, Hungary, as Soviet forces advanced towards the Danube Plain. Hungarian oil was vital for Germany, and Hitler was alarmed at reports that Admiral Horthy, Hungarian Regent, was intending to surrender to the Russians as soon as they crossed the border into Hungary.

18 March 1944, The Soviets took Zhmerynka, central Ukraine.

17 March 1944, Soviet forces entered the railway junction town of Dubno, 25 miles inside Poland and only 170 miles from Hungary.

13 March 1944, Kherson retaken by Russia.

22 February 1944, Krivoi Rog retaken by Russia.

12 February 1944, Luga was recaptured by the Russians.

11 February 1944, The Soviets announced the recapture of Shepetovka.

7 February 1944, Hitler ordered the German forces trapped by the Soviets in the Korsun pocket to attempt a break-out.

2 February 1944, The Battle of Narva began on the Eastern Front.

28 January 1944, Von Kuechler, on his own initiative, withdrew his 18th Army to the River Luga, Russian Front. He was dismissed from his command the next day and replaced by Walther Model.

27 January 1944, Russia announced the complete lifting of the 2-year blockade against Leningrad.The Leningrad to Moscow railway reopened.

20 January 1944, Russia recaptured Novogorod.

14 January 1944, German Army Group North was overwhelmed by a new Soviet offensive on the entire Leningrad, Volkhov and 2nd Baltic Fronts.

7 January 1944, The Red Army took Klesov, near Rovno.

3 January 1944, Soviet forces reached Olevsk, just 11 miles from the pre-war Polish border, and 280 miles from East Prussia.

30 December 1943, Von Kuechler asked Hitler�s permission to withdraw to the Panther Line, prior to an anticipated Russian offensive. Hitler refused, because General Georg Lindemann, Commander of the 18th Army, was confident of holding his present position, and because to withdraw would isolate Finland and make it leave the War.

25 December 1943, Soviet troops cut the Vitebsk to Polotsk railway, which was a key German supply route.

19 December 1943, At the first war crimes trial, in the USSR, three Germans were found guilty of atrocities and hanged at Kharkov.

14 December 1943, Soviet forces retook Cherkassy on the west bank of the Dneiper and launched a new offensive on the Nevel Salient., However the Germand retook Radomyshl. The Germans at Cherkassy had been weakened by Manstein transferring tanks to a renewed attempt on Kiev.

10 December 1943, Soviet forces took Znamenka, central Ukraine.

26 November 1943, German forces made further gains against Russia in the Kiev area but this day the rains began and the German thrust ground to a halt.

18 November 1943, German forces retook Zhitomir.

12 November 1943, The Russians took Zhitomir.

9 November 1943, Soviet troops retook the western Ukrainain town of Zhitomir, just 75 miles from the pre-War Polish frontier

6 November 1943, Russian troops retook Kiev. The Soviets now had a large numerical advantage over the Germans, with 6.5 million men against 4.3 million, 5,600 tanks against the Germans� 2,600, 90,00o guns against 54,000 and 8,800 aircraft against 3,000 Luftwaffe. The Russians had ramped up military production from areas far behind the front lines. Russian military hardware, once inferior in quality to the German weaponry, now matched it. Also, Russian commanders had learned new tactics, and the Russian soldier was noted for their fortitude sand perseverance.

1 November 1943, Russians cut off the Germans who were attempting to retreat from the Crimea.

31 October 1943, Sunday (-555) Soviet forces captured Chaplinka, 24km north of |Perekop, Crimea. This cut the German supply lines to their forces in Crimea.

23 October 1943, The Russians captured Dnepropetrovsk.

9 October 1943, The last of the German forces was evacuated across the Kerch Straits into the Crimea.

7 October 1943, Russian forces crossed the Dnieper River.

25 September 1943, The USSR retook Smolensk.

21 September 1943, The Soviet 43rd Army captured Demidov.

17 September 1943, Briansk retaken by Russia.

16 September 1943, Novorossisk retaken by Russia.

14 September 1943. Yugoslav partisans were advancing along the Dalmatian coast, and Allied officers had reached Tito.

7 September 1943, German troops began a retreat from the Ukraine.

6 September 1943, The railway junction of Konotop fell to the Soviet 60th Army.

30 August 1943, Taganrog retaken by Russia.

27 August 1943, Hitler visited Army Group South on the eastern Front. Von Manstein said Hitler could either quickly reinforce Army group South or agree a withdrawal across the River Dnieper. Hitler, preoccupied with the Allied threat in the Mediterranean, did not make a decision. Matters for von Manstein became even worse a few days later when von Kluge flew to Hitler�s HQ at Rastenburg and dissuaded him from transferring troops from Army Group Centre to Army Group South.

26 August 1943, Soviet attacks in the Donetsk area continued.

23 August 1943, Kharkov retaken by Russia.

21 August 1943, Soviet forces captured Zmiev, south of Kharkov.

12 August 1943, Hitler ordered the construction of a new defensive wall in the east, from Narva down through Lake Peipus and Belorussia, then along the River Sozh to Gomel, and the River Dnieper to just north of Zaporozhe, then to Melitopol on the Sera of Azov. However he would not countenance any withdrawal to it.

5 August 1943, The USSR retook Orel.

3 August 1943, The Russian Voronezh, Steppe and South-West Fronts began a major offensive against German Army Group South below the Kursk Salient.

1 August 1943, Allied raid on the Ploesti oil refineries, Romania, which supplied much of Germany�s oil. However anti-aircraft fire was much heavier than anticipated. Some refining capacity was taken out but some remained intact.

26 July 1943, German withdrawal from Orel began.

15 July 1943, Russian attacks by Vatutin on the Voronezh Front. Meanwhile Hitler was forced to call off Citadel, because his tanks were needed to combat the Allied Sicily landings.

13 July 1943, The Germans lost the greatest tank battle in history, in the cornfields around Kursk.

12 July 1943, Massive Russian attack against German forces in the Kursk area began.

7 July 1943, The 4th Panzer Army under Hoth, in the south of the Kursk Salient, made good progress, advancing 20 miles into the Salient at Yakovlevo and Pokrovka.

6 July 1943, Marshall-General Rokossovsky�s counter attacked against the Germans at Kursk but could not prevent their advance. However stiff Soviet resistance prevented the Germans gaining more than six miles of ground.

5 July 1943, At 4.30 am, German forces in Russia began Operation Citadel, an assault into the Kursk Salient. However the main concentration of German troops did not reach the battle area until 5.00 am, due to Soviet shelling of the assembly areas. Soviet intelligence had picked up details of the offensive.

Click here for contemporary newspaper maps of WW2, Eastern Front, 1941-43.

16 May 1943, German forces began an offensive against Tito�s partisans in Yugoslavia.

4 May 1943, Hitler postponed Operation Citadel, a planned counter attack against the Russians in the Kursk Salient. He wanted to wait until he more heavy tanks available. However his Generals were aware that delays enabled the Russians to build up their forces too.

21 March 1943, Russian forces retook Durovo, shrinking the German Kursk salient.

18 March 1943, The Germans recaptured Belgorod. Golikov was replaced by Vatutin.

14 March 1943, The Germans re-occupied Kharkov in a counter offensive against the Russians.

12 March 1943, Russian forces recaptured Vyazma.

28 February 1943, The XL Panzer Corps reached the Donets west of Izyum. Meanwhile Vatutin�s right flank was being driven back to the northern Donets.

19 February 1943, The Third Battle of Kharkov began.

16 February 1943, Kharkov retaken by Russia.

15 February 1943, The Battle of Demyansk began on the Eastern Front.

14 February 1943, Rostov retaken by Russia.

13 February 1943, Axis forces won a tactical victory in the Battle of Krasny Bor.

12 February 1943, Krasnodar recaptured by the Russians.

8 February 1943. Russia recaptured Kursk. Kursk was a major rail junction, and this significant Russian victory followed their major success at Stalingrad. The Russians created a salient 160 km wide and 130 km deep into German lines around Kursk, and in the summer of 1943 Hitler ordered this salient eliminated under �Operation Citadel�.2,500 German tanks, supported by 1,000 aircraft, attempted to cut off the salient from Orel in the north and Belgorod in the south. Fighting was especially severe at Prokhorova, where Germany lost 300 tanks in one day, but made a deep penetration into the salient. However the Russians had filled the salient with an even greater number of tanks and aircraft, protected by deep minefields. The Battle of Kursk, 5 � 15 July 1943, was the greatest tank battle in history. Orel was liberated by the Russians on 4 August 1943 and Belgorod on 5 August 1943. German losses were so heavy as to rule out any furthermajor offensives by them on the Eastern Front.

7 February 1943, Russia recaptured Azov and Kramatorsk.

6 February 1943, Mannstein hurried back to Rastenburg to persuade Hitler of his plans for a counter offensive in the Russian South. Hitler agreed.

5 February 1943, Russian forces retook Stary Oksyol and Izyum. They also advanced to Yeisk, on the Sea of Azov, cutting off German forces around Novorossiisk.

4 February 1943, Soviet amphibious forces landed behind German lines near Novorossiisk, where they held a beachhead for 6 days until the main Russian force linked up with them.

3 February 1943, The Russians recaptured Kushchevskaya, south of Rostov.


The fight for Stalingrad � the turning point of the War

31 January 1943. The German 6th Army under Field Marshal Paulus surrendered at Stalingrad after five months of fighting. The last Germans fighting in Stalingrad surrendered on 2 February 1943. Hitler had refused to countenance an attempted German breakout from Stalingrad and insisted his troops hold on, despite, from December 1942, increasing shortages of food, ammunition, and medical supplies.The Luftwaffe tried to drop supplies by air to the besieged city but often failed in this task. The Stalingrad Campaign cost the lives of 479,000 men from November 1942; German deaths amounted to 147,000, with a further 91,000 troops captured (many to be worked to death as Stalinpferde, Stalin horses, in Soviet labour camps).

30 January 1943, Hitler promoted Paulus, commander of the German forces besieged in Stalingrad, to Field Marshal, in an attempt to ensure he did not surrender.

25 January 1943, The Russians retook Voronezh, see 7 July 1942.

24 January 1943, At Stalingrad, the Soviets overran the last airfield held by the Germans, at Gumrak.

21 January 1943, The Russians retook Stavropol.

19 January 1943, Soviet forces retook Sclusselberg, south of Leningrad, reopening a narrow land corridor to the city. However food supplies to Leningrad remained very precarious.

18 January 1943, The Russians broke the 890-day siege of Leningrad. Supplies had only reached the city intermittently over frozen Lake Ladoga.

13 January 1943, German forces in Russia retreated from Terek to the Nagutskoye-Alexandrovskoye line. Russia launched Operation Spark, reopening a narrow land corridor to Leningrad.

12 January 1943, The Second Hungarian Army was annihilated in fierce fighting against Russia at Voronezh, near Stalingrad.

9 January 1943, At Stalingrad, General Rokossovsky launched Operation Ring, to extinguish German resistance. The chances of airborne supplies reaching Stalingrad were diminishing, with 490 German supply planes shot down whilst attempting to reach the two airfields still under German control at Stalingrad. Within Stalingrad, 12,000 German wounded were without medical supplies.

8 January 1943, Russian General Rokossovsky sent Von Paulus an ultimatum for the surrender of German forces trapped in Stalingrad. Von Paulus, unwilling to disobey Hitler�s orders, refused to surrender.

5 January 1943, German forces lost Nalchik, Caucasus.

4 January 1943, German forces lost Mozdok, Caucasus.

3 January 1943, German Army Group A began a withdrawal from the Caucasus. The army commanders wanted to pull back to the River Don north of Rostov but Hitler would only allow a retreat as far as the Manych Canal and the Kuban, to retain a base for further operations towards the Caspian.

1 January 1943, Velikye Luki re-occupied by the Russians.

31 December 1942, Battle of the Barents Sea. An Allied convoy bound for Murmansk was attacked by German destroyers. Allied destroyers succeeded in fighting off a superior German naval force.

29 December 1942, Soviet forces regained Kotelnikova, from where the Germans had earlier launched an attempt to relieve Stalingrad.

27 December 1942, At Rastenburg, General Zeitler told Hitler that Germany must withdraw from the Caucasus or face a �second Stalingrad�. Hitler accepted this advice.

30 December 1942, The Stavka Directive set a date of 6 January 1943 for the final attack on the German held Stalingrad pocket. However not all troops and supplies were in the right place yet; Stalin put the date back by just four days.

23 December 1942, Operation Winter Storm ended with the German 6th Army still trapped in Stalingrad.

21 December 1942. Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin agreed to meet in Casablanca. Churchill had objected to a venue in Iceland because of his poor health. Stalin had to delay the meeting because of the fighting at Stalingrad.

19 December 1942. German forces came within 40 miles of Stalingrad, attempting to relieve Von Paulus� Axis forces trapped in the city; however they were halted by a Russian counter attack. Hitler began to accept that Stalingrad could not be relieved, also Von Paulus� tanks now had fuel for just 15 miles so could not break out.

12 December 1942, Germany began Operation Winter Storm. The 4th Panzer Army attempted to break through to the 6th Army, trapped in Stalingrad.

11 December 1942, German forces south of Stalingrad withdrew to the Elista-Mozdok defence line, unable to reach the Caspian Sea in the Terek Estuary area.

26 November 1942, Hitler ordered von Paulus not to retreat.

24 November 1942, 250,000 German troops under General von Paulus were surrounded at Stalingrad. Goering told Hitler that he could resupply them by air, However the Luftwaffe did not have enough aircraft for this task, and only one of the airfields the Germans held had a night landing capability. This empty boast convinced Hitler to order von Paulus to stay put and not break out to the west.

Russians surrounded the Germans at Stalingrad


25 November 1942, Greek guerrillas fighting the Axis occupation destroyed the Gorgopotamos railway.

22 November 1942, During Operation Uranus the Red Army secured the vital bridge over the Don River at Kalach-na-Donu, west of Stalingrad.

19 November 1942, The Russians counterattacked at Stalingrad, across ground hardened by the winter frosts but not yet clogged by snow.It was now -20 C in Stalingrad. The Russians had more of their superior T34 battle tanks, and created a giant pincer movement to encircle the 250,000 Germans at Stalingrad. German generals, knowing they were overstretched, wanted to shorten their lines and conserve men, equipment, and supplies.However Hitler initially refused to sanction giving up any occupied territory. Only in January 1943 did Hitler realise that the fall of Stalingrad could entail the cutting off of his forces in the Caucasus; he ordered Kleist to retreat from this region, whilst Paulus hung on inside Stalingrad., diverting Soviet forces. The Germans in Stalingrad surrendered on 2 February 1943, after 7 weeks under siege; had they surrendered 3 weeks earlier, Kleist would also have been cut off. Kleist retreated along the northern shores of the Black Sea, assisted by a sudden thaw that swelled Russian rivers and hindered the movements of the Soviet army.

16 November 1942, Russian forces took Kharkov.

11 November 1942, Russian forces took Lozovaya Junction.

8 November 1942, Russian forces took Kursk.

2 November 1942, Ordzhonikidse, Caucasus, captured by German forces. However the German advance was halted here, due to increasing resistance, supply problems, and the onset of winter.

20 October 1942, The Russians now held no more than 1,000 yards of the west bank of the Volga at Stalingrad. Tenacious close-combat fighting continued, building to building, in the ruins.

14 October 1942, German forces now held most of Stalingrad. The Russians retained just two small enclaves on the west bank of the Volga. However the Russian forces at Stalingrad were in fact bait for a trap set by Zhukov.

11 October 1942, There was no fighting in Stalingrad this day, as both sides sought reinforcements.

9 October 1942, Stalin downgraded political commissars in the Soviet army, removing their ability to influence military decisions.

6 October 1942, German forces captured Malgobek, in the Terek Salient, Russia.

28 September 1942, Stalemate had been reached at Stalingrad. Both sides were exhausted. Von Weichs and von Paulus wereconcerned over the flanks of the Stalingrad Salient, which were defended by Hungarian, Italian and Romanian troops, but Hitler insisted that Stalingrad must be fully taken before the flanks were dealt with.

25 September 1942, Hitler suspended plans for further territorial advances in the Leningrad area as winter approached.

24 September 1942, German advance in Russia towards Tuapse.

23 September 1942, A Russian counter-attack north-west of Stalingrad began.

20 September 1942, German Army Group B captured Terek, USSR.

17 September 1942, Paulus, having captured most of southern Stalingrad, now turned his attention to the Russian-held industrial districts in the north of the city.

14 September 1942, Soviet forces defending Stalingrad had been pushed back into a strip along the west bank of the River Volga just ten miles deep at its widest, four miles deep at its narrowest. However the Germans were short of troops, and urban warfare was causing many casualties.

13 September 1942, The German attack on Stalingrad city centre began. Fighting became so intense that each side at times fought the other from different stories of the same building.

12 September 1942, Russia prepared the idea of a counter attack at Stalingrad. Stalin believed the Germans would, after taking Stalingrad, aim to move up the River Volga to threaten Moscow. Russia was aware that only inferior Romanian troops guarded the flanks of von Paulus� force which had advanced out on a limb to attack Stalingrad. However at this point the Russians lacked reserves for this operation, and were trying to relieve Leningrad.

9 September 1942, German forces were meeting increasingly fierce resistance in their drive towards Astrakhan and Baku.

6 September 1942, The Germans captured the major Black Sea naval base of Novorossiisk.

4 September 1942, Soviet planes bombed Budapest for the first time.

3 September 1942, German Commanders Hoth and von Paulus finally linked up near Pitomnik.

1 September 1942, German troops in Russia crossed the Kerch Straits and advanced into the Taman Peninsula.

31 August 1942, British Commandos began Operation Anglo, a raid on the island of Rhodes.

26 August 1942, German forces reached the outskirts of Stalingrad.

German forces enter Stalingrad


24 August 1942, Stalin ordered that Stalingrad be held at all costs. Zhukov was appointed to oversee its defence.

23 August 1942, The Luftwaffe mounted a bombing raid on Stalingrad, with 600 aircraft. Soviet defences were ill-prepared, ad some 40,000 Russians were killed, many as they tried to flee east across the River Volga. The Germans believed that capture of Stalingrad would open the way to taking the Caucasus oilfields, and then Moscow and Leningrad would fall, ending the war in the East.

12 August 1942, The Germans captured Elista, Kalmukkensteppe, Russia.

9 August 1942, German forces in the Caucasus reached the oilfields at Maikop. However the retreating Soviets had blown up the oil installations, so the Germans could not utilise the oil.

6 August 1942, The Germans advanced on Stalingrad.

5 August 1942, German troops crossed the Kuban River, Russia.

3 August 1942, German forces reached Stavropol, Caucasus.

2 August 1942, The German 4th Panzer Army captured Kotelnikovo.

1 August 1942, German forces took Salsk in the Caucasus.

28 July 1942, Germans captured Rostov on Don, USSR.

25 July 1942, German army units were just 100 miles from Stalingrad.

23 July 1942, Hitler ordered simultaneous offensives against Stalingrad and the Caucusus.

20 July 1942, German forces captured Krasnodon.

14 July 1942, In Zagreb the Nazis murdered 700 people in reprisal for the murder of the local Gestapo chief, SS Major Helm.

13 July 1942, Hitler was convinced that large Russian forces remained west of the Don (this was not true). In an effort to trap these non-existent forces in the Rostov area, Hitler ordered more forces away from Stalingrad and into the Donets Basin region. Five days later Hitler switched back to Stalingrad being the main priority. However because German forces had already been moved, von Paulus was left with less men for the attack on Stalingrad.

11 July 1942, German forces took Lisichansk, on the River Donets,

8 July 1942, The German 1st Panzer Army crossed the Donets River, Russia.

7 July 1942, The Germans took the city of Voronezh, see 25 January 1943.

5 July 1942, German forces on the Eastern Front reached the Don River.

3 July 1942, Russian authorities admitted the loss of Sevastopol but claimed that its capture had cost the Germans 300,000 casualties.

1 July 1942, The Germans captured Sevastopol after a 9 month siege.

29 June 1942, The Germans launched an offensive at Kursk, south of Moscow.

28 June 1942, The Germans launched Operation Blue, an offensive to capture the Russian Caucasus oilfields and secure the Volga River. The Soviets responded by concentrating resistance at Stalingrad, threatening the northern flank of this Operation. On 23 July 1942 Hitler ordered General Paulus to capture Stalingrad at all costs. Meanwhile Stalin could not let go the city that bore his name.

The fight for Stalingrad � the turning point of the War


German advances into Russia began to falter

19 June 1942, Alois Elias, 51, Czechoslovak general and politician, was executed.

13 June 1942, US bombers attacked the Romanian oilfields.

9 June 1942, The Germans massacred the inhabitants of the Czech mining village of Lidice, as a reprisal for the assassination of Heydrich, Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia.The village of Lezaky was also obliterated.

4 June 1942, The �Protector of Bohemia-Moravia�, the Nazi Heydrich, was assassinated by Czechs.See 9 June 1942.

22 May 1942, German forces under von Kleist and Paulus closed the Isyum Salient, trapping the Russian forces under Kostenko.

18 May 1942, German counter attack by von Kleist into the Isyum Salient. Izyum and Barvenkova fell to the Germans the next day.

16 May 1942, German forces under von Manstein cleared the Kerch Peninsula, Crimea, of Russian forces, so it could be used as a springboard to attack into the Caucasus.

19 March 1942, A Soviet Army attempting to break through to relieve Leningrad was itself surrounded and forced to surrender. Its advance had been slowed by the dense forest and the determination of the Germans.

15 March 1942, As German casulaties on the Eastern Front reached 250,000 so far for the year, Hitler predicted a crushing defeat for the Russians this summer.

7 February 1942, In Banja Luka, Croatian Nazis massacred 2,300 Serbian civilians, including 551 children.

24 January 1942, German forces relieved an encirclement of their garrison at Sukhinichi, Russia.

9 January 1942, The Battle of Dra�go�e began between the Slovene Partisans and Nazi occupying forces.

7 January 1942, The Soviet Army began a new offensive on the Kalinin and Western Fronts in order to encircle Army Group Centre.

29 December 1941, Russia re-occupied Kerch and Feodosia.

15 December 1941, The Germans abandoned attempts to take Moscow.

12 December 1941. (1) The USSR began to push back Nazi forces. Rostov in the south was retaken by the USSR, and the German advance towards Moscow was turned back at Solechnaya Gora, 40 miles north-west from the Russian capital. 30,000 German soldiers ware taken prisoner and 700 German tanks captured or destroyed.German supply lines had become over-stretched, and the varying gauges and fuel requirements of Russia�s railways meant that 70% of the Wermacht forces had to walk into Russia.German hopes that Russian civilians would see them as liberators failed to materialise.The German soldiers were ill-prepared for winter temperatures as low as -40 C. However Stalin now made some tactical errors. He anticipated the main German thrust for 1942 would be against Moscow whereas the Nazis now aimed for Stalingrad, so as to capture the Caucasus oilfields.

10 December 1941, Tikhvin, near Leningrad, was recaptured by the Russians, see 9 November 1941.

6 December 1941. Britain declared war on Finland, after it ignored warnings not to continue fighting on the German side. A Russian counterattack began to relieve the pressure on Moscow.

5 December 1941, Britain declared war on Hungary and Romania.

28 November 1941, Russia re-occupied Rostov.

26 November 1941, A Russian counter attack saw them advance 70 miles in the Ukraine.

24 November 1941, Von Rundstedt defied a direct order from Hitler and withdrew from Rostov-on-Don due to Soviet counter-attacks in the rear.

German advances into Russia began to falter


Germans come close to capturing Moscow, Oct-Dec 1941

5 December 1941, The German advance on Moscow halted, just 32 km away from the city centre. The temperature had dropped suddenly to -35 C the previous night and tank engines, frozen solid, would not start and many German soldiers had frostbite.

2 December 1941, The German Army under Von Kluge were in the suburbs of Moscow, within sight of the Kremlin. However they were halted there by a new Soviet offensive, better prepared for winter than the Germans were.

23 November 1941, Rostov occupied by Germany. German troops were now just 50 km NW of Moscow, with other German troops approaching to within 100 km to the SW at Kashira on the River Ugra.

22 November 1941, In the Battle of Moscow, the Germans captured Klin.

21 November 1941, The Battle of Rostov began on the Eastern Front.

15 November 1941, The ground was now frozen, and German forces launched a �final offensive� to capture Moscow.

13 November 1941, The temperature on the Eastern Front near Moscow fell further, to -22 C

12 November 1941, The temperature on the Moscow Front fell to -12 C, and many German soldiers succumbed to frostbite.

9 November 1941, Tikhvin, a railway junction town east of Leningrad, fell to the Germans. It was a staging point for supplies to Leningrad via Lake Ladoga. See 10 December 1941.

7 November 1941, With the muddy ground now frozen and firm once again, Germany decided to resume the assault on Moscow. However the delay caused by the autumn rains had enabled Russia to place 80 divisions in its defence. This assault actually began on 15 November.

3 November 1941, The Germans captured Kursk, Russia � see 8 February 1943.

1 November 1941, Simferopol captured by Germany.

25 October 1941, Deep snow fell on the Moscow Front. The snow could then thaw, turning the ground into a quagmire; the Russian T34 tanks, with their wide tracks, could cope with this better than the German tanks could.

24 October 1941, Kharkov occupied by Germany.

20 October 1941, German forces reached within 70 km of Moscow.The city suffered heavy bombing raids as fighting raged in the countryside around. This was Operation Typhoon, the final drive on Moscow.

19 October 1941, German forces captured Mozhaysk, Russia.

16 October 1941. The Germans advanced to within 60 miles of Moscow. Odessa evacuated by Russia.

10 October 1941, Stalin brought General Zhukov back from Leningrad, where the first deaths from starvation had begun, to oversee the creation of a Western Front to defend Moscow.

7 October 1941, German Army Group Centre encountered snowfall for the first time in the drive on Moscow.


Germans begin siege of Leningrad, Aug-Oct 1941

2 October 1941, As the first winter snows began, the Russian Army launched a counter-attack at Leningrad. Von Bock was given the go ahead for his offensive to capture Moscow but by now it was too late to accomplish this before winter would set in.

30 September 1941, Finland took Petrozavodsk from Russia.

12 September 1941, The first snow flurries on the German Soviet Front, but none settled. Hitler, keen to capture Moscow, decided that Leningrad would be besieged and starved intro surrender, rather than conquered.

30 August 1941, The Germans began the siege of Leningrad.The siege ended in January 1943.

19 August 1941, German units reached Gatchine, just 25 km from Leningrad; the following day they cut the Leningrad-Moscow rail line at Chudovo.

20 July 1941, As Axis forces approached Leningrad, art treasures from The Hermitage were shipped out to the relative safety of Sverdlovsk in the Urals.


German occupation of Crimea, 1941-42

11 April 1942, The German 11th Army blocked a Soviet attack at Eupatoriya, Crimea.

29 November 1941, German troops withdrew from Taganrog on the Sea of Azov.

4 November 1941, The Germans captured Feodosia on the Crimean Peninsula.

29 October 1941, Germans began to cross the Perikop isthmus into Crimea. The first autumn rains in Russia began to fall, turning roads into mud.

27 October 1941, Erich von Manstein's 11th Army broke into the Crimean Peninsula

8 October 1941. German forces in Russia took Mariupol; Hitler had now reached the Sea of Azov. However Russia was far from being conquered.

27/9.1941, Germany captured Perekop, cutting off the Crimea from the rest of Russia.

25 September 1941, Germany attacked the Crimea.


12 October 1941, Briansk evacuated by Russia.

�General Winter� now becoming effective

6 October 1941, German forces entered Berdyansk, taking over 100,000 Russian PoWs.

24 September 1941, Russian Marshall Budenny launched a counter-attack against the Germans at Kherson, on the River Dnieper.

19 September 1941, The Germans captured Kiev, USSR.

17 September 1941, The Russian Stavka (High Command) belatedly ordered a withdrwawal from Kiev, as German forces penetrated the city�s outer defences.

10 September 1941, Heavy German bombing raids on Leningrad. The city�s main dairy was hit, destroying tons of butter, and the shipyards were badly damaged.

8 September 1941, Stalin began the deportation eastwards of all 600,000 ethnic Germans living in the Volga Basin region; he feared they would become a 5th column as Germany invaded Russia.

5 September 1941, Hitler changed his mind yet again and decided Moscow would be the primary objective and Leningrad was merely a secondary target. However the necessary transfer of resources between the invading German armies could not begin until end-September, and with autumn rains to begin in mid-October, followed by snow, time was now very short to achieve these objectives..

4 September 1941, Hitler was angry at the slow pace of the invasion of Russia, and began looking for a scapegoat.

29 August 1941, The Germans captured Tallinn, capital of Estonia.

28 August 1941, The Russians destroyed the Dnieper Dam, near Dnipropetrovsk, as they retreated from the area under their scorched earth policy.

26 August 1941, The Germans captured the industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. However the industrial machinery had been moved away eastwards, leaving just empty factories.

24 August 1941, German forces weer encountering stiff resistance in Ukraine.

23 August 1941, German Panzer Group 2 army commander Guderian wanted to make Moscow his main priority. Hitler, however, ordered him to attack to the south.

17 August 1941, The Germans took Narva, Estonia.

16 August 1941, In the Dnipropetrovsk area, the Russians retreated east of the Dnieper River.

14 August 1941, German forces near Stalingrad crossed the Kuban River.

12 August 1941, Hitler set out, in a supplement to Directive No.34, his immediate military aims in Russia. Occupation of the Crimea, the industrial regions of Kharkov, and the Donets Basin coalfields. After the occupation of the Crimea, Germany could attack across the Kerch Strait towards Batumi.

11 August 1941, The Red Army counterattacked around Yelnya.

9 August 1941, Hitler outlined to his government ministers his vision for Russia. �The German colonist will live on handsome spacious farms. The German services will be lodged in marvellous buildings, the governors in palaces. Beneath the shelter of the administrative services we shall gradually organise all that is indispensable to the maintenance of a certain standard of living. Around the city to a depth of thirty of forty kilometres we shall have a belt of handsome villages connected by the best roads. What exists beyond that will be another world in which we mean to let the Russians live as they like. It is merely necessary that we should rule them. In the event of a revolution we shall only have to drop a few bombs on their cities and the affair will be liquidated. Once a year we shall lead a troop of Kirghizes through the capital of the Reich in order to strike their imagination with the size of our monuments�.

6 August 1941, German forces reached the edge of Kiev but were halted there by Vlasov�s 37th Army.

5 August 1941, The First Battle of Smolensk ended in German victory. 310,000 Soviets were taken prisoner.

27 July 1941, German forces entered the Ukraine.

16 July 1941, German troops began the encirclement of Smolensk, a Soviet city halfway between Minsk and Moscow.

15 July 1941, The 7th Panzer Division captured Yartsevo, Russia.

13 July 1941, Britain and the USSR concluded an assistance pact.

12 July 1941, The Russians at Brest finally surrendered, having held out against the invading Germans.

11 July 1941, German forces captured Vitebsk.

9 July 1941, On the Russian front, Hitler stated his priorities before winter set in; to push back Soviet forces out of bomber range of the Romanian oilfields, and to capture the Ukrainian grain fields. Moscow was now, therefore, as less significant objective than the industrial Leningrad region and the SE front towards Stalingrad.

8 July 1941, German forces entered Pskov, just 180 km from Leningrad.

5 July 1941, Ukrainians seized control in Buczacz, Poland. They were backed by the Nazis. The Ukrainians massacred any Poles, Jews, or Russians they caught, and proclaimed an �Independent Ukrainian State�. In September 1939 the Jews of Buczacz had been relieved to be included in the Soviet-occupied sector of Poland, and therefore not under Nazi rule in German occupied western Poland. At that time, Jews, backed by the Russians, took over the local administration and assisted the Russians in deporting many Poles.. However the German attack on Soviet Russia of June 1941 caught them by surprise.

1 July 1941. German forces entered Riga.

30 June 1941, German forces took Lvov from Russia.

28 June 1941, Germany captured Minsk.

27 June 1941, Finland joined with Germany in attacking Russia, to recover territory lost in 1939/40. Hungary declared war on Russia.

26 June 1941, The Kosice (Hungarian name, Kassa) incident. Kosice, the principal town of eastern Slovakia, became part of Hungary on 12 November 1938. On this day, four days after Hitler invaded Russia, and when Hungary was still a non-combatant in the war, three airplanes bombed Kasice. The official story was that these planes were Russian, and this incident helped bring in Hungary against Russia. However the planes were far more likely to have been German, to provoke aggression by Hungary against Russia.

24 June 1941, Russian General Pavlov, trying to prevent a German encirclement of Belostock, attacked towards Grodno.

23 June 1941, German forces reached Vilnius by the evening.


22 June 1941. (1) Germany invaded Russia. German hostilities sbegan at 3.15 am. Hitler expected the war in Russia to be over by Christmas 1941, saying �We only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down�. Hitler calculated that Stalin�s purges of the officer class had badly weakened the Red Army.

The invasion plan, called Operation Barbarossa had been announced by Hitler to his Generals on 30 March 1941 in a speech to 200 senior army officers. At on 22 June the greatest offensive in history was launched. Three million men poured across a front nearly a thousand miles long. Hitler had said that the Communists must be not only beaten but annihilated, or �in 30 years we shall have to fight them again�. By the end of World War Two, four million Russians had died in battle and a further 3.5 million had been taken captive. 97% of these died in captivity; Hitler had decided that the Geneva Convention did not apply to them, or to millions more captured later. 17,000 Russian villages were wiped off the map by the Germans.

Stalin had not believed Germany would attack, despite troop movements on the frontier in the weeks before the invasion.

The German invasion was to have begun on 15 May 1941, but the need to intervene in the Balkans against Greece and Yugoslavia delayed the Russian invasion by seven (crucial) weeks.The original plan was for German forces to have reached a line from Archangel to the Volga by autumn 1941.Russian resistance was greater than Hitler anticipated, and Hitler�s orders to try and capture Moscow whilst Leningrad was already besieged, whilst simultaneously taking tanks from the Moscow front to the southern front gave a respite to the defence of Moscow.

The Germans correctly estimated Russian military strength in the west at 150 divisions but thought the Soviets had just 50 further divisions in reserve; in fact the Red Army summoned up over 200 reserve divisions. Unexpected July rains turned unsurfaced Russian roads into mud whilst the scorched earth policy meant roads, bridges, railways and factories were destroyed before the Germans advanced. The Russians also destroyed the railway rolling stock and because the Russian gauge was different from the German one, the Nazis could not use the Russian rail network.

(2) Romania joined in with Germany in attacking Russia. Rumania was led by Ion Antonescu (born 2 June 1882 in Transylvania). Antonescu was pro-Nazi, and during a period of serious internal disorder in Rumania, King Carol of Rumania was compelled to offer Antonescu the Premiership on 5 September 1940. Antonescu then demanded the abdication of Carol. In 1944 Russia counterattacked into Rumania and King Michael I, who had succeeded Carol, arrested Antonescu. Antonescu was convicted of war crimes on 17 May 1946 and executed near the Rumanian fort of Jilava on 1 June 1946.

16 June 1941, Germany evacuated its embassy in Moscow. By 21 June 1941 no German ships remained in Russian controlled ports.

11 June 1941, Russian troops from the Transbaikal were ttransferred westwards, but not put on alert.


German invasion of Greece, Crete

27 May 1941. The British decided to make a tactical withdrawal from Crete.

25 May 1941, German offensive in Crete, with reinforcements landing at Maleme.

30 April 1941, Major General Bernard Freyberg took command of all Allied forces on Crete.

26 April 1941, Allied codebreakers decoded Nazi communications relating to an operation on Crete.

25 April 1941, Hitler issued Fuhrer Directive No.28, ordering the airborne invasion of Crete. The operation would be led by the commander of German airborne forces, General Kurt Student.

23 April 1941, Greece formally surrendered to Germany and Italy.

22 April 1941. British forces left Greece.

21 April 1941, The Greek destroyer Thyella was bombed and sunk by the Luftwaffe off Vouliagmeni.

19 April 1941, The Germans captured Larissa, Greece.

12 April 1941, Allied troops in Greece withdrew to the Olympus Line.

7 April 1941, German breakthrough, with Yugoslav forces, towards Salonika.

9 March 1941, The Italians launched an offensive to drive Greek-Allied forces out of Albania.

11 February 1941, Britain learned that Germany now had 23 divisions in Romania, with a further 12 soon to arrive there. This posed a severe threat to Greece.

29 January 1941, The Battle of Trebeshina began in south-eastern Albania.

6 December 1940, The Greeks occupied Sarande.

3 December 1940, The Greeks captured Sarand� from the Italians.

21 November 1940, Greek forces forced the Italians to retreat on the Epiirus Front..

3 November 1940, The Greeks recaptured Samarina from the Italians.

10 September 1940, Italy began a build-up of 200,000 troops in Albania, for the invasion of Greece.


German invasion of Yugoslavia

20 September 1941, The British arranged for arms to be supplied to Yugoslav partisan leader Mihailovic. However there was deep rivalry between Mihailovic and Tito, and the British realised these arms were being used against Tito, so they stopped delivering them.

17 April 1941, Yugoslavia capitulated to Germany.

16 April 1941,The German Afrika Corps recaptured Bardia. Germany occupied Belgrade.

15 April 1941, Sarajevo surrendered to the Germans.

6 April 1941, Axis troops invaded Yugoslavia. Belgrade fell on 13 April 1941. Yugoslavia fell on 16 April 1941. The Croats, who had been irritated by Belgrade�s treatment of non-Serb minorities within Yugoslavia, often welcomed the German invaders. Belgrade was recaptured by the Soviets and Tito�s forces on 20 October 1944.

25 March 1941, Prince Paul, the Yugoslav Regent, signed a pact with the Nazis; in return for neutrality and the demilitarisation of the Adriatic coast, Germany would respect Yugoslav neutrality. However the Yugoslav Army, with popular backing, then deposed Prince Paul on 27 March 1941, and 17-year-old King Peter II took the throne. The move angered Hitler and he prepared Operation Strafgericht (Punishment), the invasion of Yugoslavia. See 6 April 1941.

13 December 1940, Hitler issued Directive No. 20 on the German invasion of Greece, codenamed Operation Marita. This would secure his southern flank for the invasion of Russia.


Bulgaria joins the Axis

3 March 1941, Nazi troops entered Bulgaria, occupying its Black Sea ports.

1 March 1941, Bulgaria joined the Axis. Bulgaria then allowed German troops to mount operations against Yugoslavia and Greece from its territory.However on 4 March 1941 Turkey refused to join the Axis.

17 January 1941, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov warned Germany against deploying troops in Bulgaria by stating that the Soviet Union considered Bulgaria a security zone.

13 January 1941. Hitler summoned King Boris of Bulgaria to Berlin and demanded that Bulgaria join the Axis and permit passage of troops across her territory to attack Greece. However, as with Franco of Spain, Bulgaria procrastinated and made no commitment. Meanwhile Stalin began to consider the possibility that Russia would have to fight a 2-front war, against both Germany and Japan. To this end, said Stalin, the Russian Army must be made more nimble and manoeuvrable, and supplies such as food must be guaranteed along affective supply lines.


German preparations for the invasion of Russia, 1940-41

17 June 1941, Hitler issued the final order for Operation Barbarossa to begin on June 22 at 3:00 am.

14 June 1941, Soviet newspapers denied that Germany was about to attack. However a Soviet spy in Berlin, codenamed �Lucy�, now passed the proposed invasion date, 22 June, back to Moscow.

13 June 1941, Churchill offered to send Stalin a British military mission should Germany attack the USSR. However Stalin was suspicious of Churchill�s offer, regarding it as an attempt to precipitate him into war with Germany.

2 May 1941, Germany�s Staatssekretare met to discuss the invasion of Russia.

14 April 1941, Stalin ordered a heightened state of combat-readiness against a possible German invasion.

30 March 1941. Hitler outlined, to his generals, plans for the invasion of Russia � see 22 June 1941.

17 March 1941. Britain learned, through its decoding of German enigma messages, that as part of preparations to invade Russia, the Nazis had moved armoured units of Army Group South to Cracow.


18 February 1941, Soviet Generals urged Stalin to allocate more resources to road building to improve the mobility of Russian forces.

2 February 1941, The German War council discussed a report by General Haider that 190 German and Axis units would face 211 Soviet formations and divisions; however the Axis forces would have better technology.

9 January 1941, At a conference with his Generals, Hitler stated that the territory of Russia contained vast riches which Germany should dominate economically and politically, but not incorporate into the Third Reich. German military leaders expected Russia to crumble quickly under a German invasion. In February 1941 German plans for the invasion of Afghanistan and India were being prepared.

18 December 1940, Hitler signed the directive for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Soviet Russia.

5 December 1940, Hitler�s Staff presented their plan, codenamed Otto, for an invasion of Russia. Moscow was ot important, as a military target. The objective was to surround and destroy the Soviet Army in the Pripet Marshes.

12 November 1940, Molotov was invited to Berlin for Nazi-Russian talks.

31 July 1940. Hitler told his military commanders that he intended to attack Russia. This attack, scheduled for Spring 1941, would, he said, remove Britain�s last chance of salvation. There would be two main thrusts, one couth towards Kiev and the River Dneiper, the other to overrun the Baltic States and then take Moscow. Hitler believed this would take around 5 months.


For more events of USSR-Finland conflicts 1940s see Finland, Winter War 1939-40

1 October 1940, Finland signed a military and economic treaty with Germany.


12 October 1940, Germany captured Bucharest.

8 October 1940, German and Italian troops invaded the Romanian oilfields. Bucharest was occupied on 12 October 1940.

24 July 1940, The Romanian Government seized british-owned oil assets there.

17 November 1939, Nazi troops stormed the University of Prague, to break up demonstrations.

26 October 1939, The Republic of Slovakia was established as a German protectorate with Tiso as President, see 14 March 1939 and 22 May 1945.


German invasion of Poland

16 November 1939, Mass burning of Jewish books in Lublin, Poland.

15 November 1939, The main synagogue in Lodz, Poland, was set on fire. The Nazis ordered the fire brigade to attend simply to prevent the fire spreading to neighbouring buildings.

9 November 1939, In Poland, the Nazis arrested and shot some one thousand Polish intellectuals, writers, journalists and artists.

5 November 1939, All 167 professors and lecturers at Cracow University were arrested by the Nazis and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, north of Berlin.

3 November 1939, The Gestapo executed 96 Polish schoolteachers at Rypin.

24 October 1939, Poland�s gold reserves arrived in France, having been evacuated from Warsaw via Romania and Syria.

8 October 1939. Hitler made western Poland part of the Third Reich.

5 October 1939, German troops held a victory parade in Warsaw in front of Hitler.

4 October 1939, Adolf Hitler issued a secret decree granting an amnesty to all crimes committed by German military and police personnel in Poland between September 1 and October 4. The decree justified the crimes as being natural responses to "atrocities committed by the Poles�.

2 October 1939, The last Polish resistance ceased. Troops under Admiral Unruh on the Pubwysep Hela Peninsula, north of Danzig, surrendered.

1 October 1939, Hitler entered Warsaw. The RAF dropped propaganda leaflets on Berlin.

30 September 1939. Germany and the USSR signed a pact agreeing on the partition of Poland.

28 September 1939, Polish troops holding out at the fortress of Modline fortress, 36 km from Warsaw, finally surrendered after an 18-day siege.

27 September 1939. German forces occupied Warsaw; the city capitulated from the siege (see 8 September 1939), having run out of food, water, and ammunition.

24 September 1939, All-day German air raids on Warsaw.

21 September 1939, Germany and Russia declared that Poland no longer existed.

18 September 1939, The city of Lublin fell to the Germans.

17 September 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland. The German army reached Brest Litovsk in Poland.

14 September 1939, The Germans entered Gdynia.

13 September 1939, German troops crossed the Vistula at Annopol.

12 September 1939,German troops reached Lvov.

11 September 1939, The Battle of Jarosław ended with a successful Polish delaying action.

8 September 1939, The Germans began a siege of Warsaw (see 27 September 1939).

6 September 1939, Cracow fell to the Germans.

4 September 1939, Romania, alarmed by the German invasion of Poland and unable to help the Poles, declared its neutrality.

3 September 1939, The Polish town of Bydgoszcz (German, Bromberg), fell to the Nazis.

1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Without a declaration of war, 1.25 million German troops invaded Poland under Operation Fall Weiss (White Plan) as the Luftwaffe destroyed the Polish rail system and its airforce. Some 60,000 Poles were killed, 200,000 wounded, and 700,000 taken prisoner. Germany here eschewed the static trench warfare of World War One, and the English language acquired a new word � blitzkrieg, meaning lightning war. Warsaw was bombed at On 3 September 1939 Britain declared war on Germany because of this invasion. For the first time in history the King went to Downing Street rather than the Prime Minister going to the Palace, because Neville Chamberlain needed to stay near his phone. On the same day, 3/9, New Zealand, Australia, and France, at also declared war on Germany. See 28 March 1939.


3) Western Front France, Benelux, Britain, western Germany.

7 May 1945. German Chief of Staff Jodl unconditionally surrendered to Allied forces at Reims, ending the fighting in Europe. The surrender was at 2.40 am in a small schoolhouse that served as General Eisenhower�s headquarters.

5 May 1945, German troops in Holland under General Johannes von Blaskowitz surrendered to the Canadian Commander Charles Foulkes.

4 May 1945, German troops in The Netherlands, Denmark, north-west Germany surrendered.

3 May 1945, Hamburg capturedby the British.

1 May 1945, US troops entered Bavaria.

29 April 1945, Munich entered by US forces. British troops crossed the Elbe near Hamburg. RAF bombers dropped their first load of food in German-occupied Holland.

27 April 1945, Hitler received reports that Heinrich Himmler, leader of the SS, had offered to surrender to the western Allies.

26 April 1945, Bremen captured by Allied forces.

25 April 1945, US and Soviet forces met on the Elbe near Torgau. Marshal Petain was arrested.

24 April 1945, Himmler offered to surrender the German Reich to the governments of Great Britain and the USA.

22 April 1945, Stuttgart taken by French forces.

21 April 1945, Dessau entered by US forces.

19 April 1945, US forces took Leipzig; the city was later handed to the Soviet sector, East Germany.

18 April 1945, The US took Magdeburg (later handed to the Soviet Zone).

18 April 1945, US troops under General Patton entered Czechoslovakia.

14 April 1945, Canadian forces in Holland reached the North Sea and captured Leeuwarden. French and US forces attacked Germans in the Bordeaux area. The Americans crossed the Elbe south of Dessau.

11 April 1945, Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, was liberated by US forces. On the Western Front, the Allies reached the Elbe, 60 miles from Berlin.

10 April 1945, Hanover taken by US forces. The Nordhausen underground V2 assembly plant was overrun by US forces.

5 April 1945, British forces reached Minden.

4 April 1945, French forces entered Karlsruhe.

3 April 1945, Hamm and Cassel captured by US forces.

1 April 1945, German forces in the Ruhr area trapped, and 21 German divisions destroyed.

29 March 1945, Mannheim captured by US forces.


End of the V1, V2, rocket offensives

29 March 1945, The last three German V1 rockets fell on Britain. One fell into a sewage works near Hatfield, Hertfordshire, a second crashed near Sittingbourne, Kent, but did no damage, and a third was downed by anti-aircraft guns off the coast of Suffolk. No more German bombs reached the UK.

27 March 1945. The last German V-2 rocket fell on Britain, at Orpington. (see 8 September 1944).The Allies then overran the last V-2 launching site. In all, 1,050 rockets fell on England, each carrying a ton of explosive with a range of 200 miles. 518 of these V2s hit London, killing 2,754 people and seriously injuring a further 6,523.The V-2s were designed by Werner von Braun, who surrendered to the Americans in 1945.Von Braun was given US citizenship and helped design the rockets for the US space programme, including the Saturn rockets and the Apollo missions.


25/31945, The US Army broke out of the bridgehead at Remagen and advanced 6 miles east (see 7 March 1945). After their failure to destroy the bridge, Germany sent the Luftwaffe to bomb it; 5 out of 20 Luftwaffe aircraft were lost, the bridge was successfully destroyed, but the Americans, holding both river banks, had laid temporary bridges alongside.

24 March 1945, Darmstadt captured by US forces.

23 March 1945, The US 2nd Army crossed the Rhine at Oppenheim. By 20 April 1945 British troops had advanced 200 miles into Germany.

21 March 1945, Ludwigshaven entered by US forces.

19 March 1945, Worms and Saarbrucken captured by US forces. Hitler issued an order to destroy all German industrial infrastructure, so the invading Allies would find nothing of value, but this order was ignored.

17 March 1945, Coblenz captured by the Americans.

14 March 1945, First use of ten-ton bombs by the RAF. The �Grand Slam�, 22,000 lbs, was dropped on Bielefeld railway viaduct.

11 March 1945, The huge Krupps factory in Germany was destroyed when 1,000 allied bombers took part in the biggest ever daylight raid. Essen taken by US forces.

8 March 1945, Canadian forces took Xanten, Germany.

7 March 1945. Cologne fell to the Allies. Allied troops crossed the Rhine by the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen. The Germans had intended to destroy this bridge like all others on the Rhine, as German resistance west of the Rhine had been crushed; however the explosive charges failed to detonate and US forces found the bridge intact and defended only by a few engineers and teenagers from the Volkssturm Stalin became alarmed that the western Allies crossing of the Rhine so quickly meant the Americans would take Berlin, not the Russians. Stalin wanted the Nazi stores of uranium and above all their A-bomb expertise, located in a research facility in the south western Berlin suburb of Dahlem. However the US was concentrating on southern Germany.

2 March 1945, Trier and Krefeld captured by US forces.

15 February 1945,British troops reached the Rhine.

8 February 1945, British and Canadian troops broke through the northern, weaker, section of the Seigfried Line near Millingen.

7 February 1945, All gains made by Germany in the Ardennes Offensive have now been erased, with the loss of 82,000 German soldiers and 77,000 US casualties.

6 February 1945, The US 8th Air Force bombed Magdeburg and Chemnitz.

4 February 1945, Belgium liberated of German forces.

2 February 1945,The French took Colmar.

1 February 1945, US forces reached the Seigfried Line, see 8 February 1945.


Battle of the Bulge

26 January 1945, German troops from the Battle of the Bulge now forced back to the German frontier.

25 January 1945, The Battle of the Bulge ended in Allied victory.

6 January 1945, The Battle of the Bulge ended as German forces under Gerd von Rundstedt and Hasso von Manteuffel in the Ardennes were forced back by Allied forces under US General George Patton. See 16 December 1944. Hitler, to the despair of his Generals, started fantasising of a great offensive in the Alsace-Lorraine area, seemingly oblivious of the Russians advancing to the east.

2 January 1945, Allied air raid on Nuremberg.

31 December 1944, Rochefort retaken by the Allies.

26 December 1944, The US Army completed operations, begun 17 December 1944, to move 2.8 million gallons of motor fuel away from the Ardennes, so that German troops in this offensive would not capture the fuel supplies they needed to continue the Battle of the Bulge successfully and reach Antwerp. The German military was desperately short of fuel and needed to capture more in order to continue their initiative.

25 December 1944, The Germans reached their furthest point of advance in the Ardennes Offensive. They had reached Dinant, 97 km from the start point. This day alone the Germans lost over 3,500 men and 400 vehicles, including 81 tanks.

24 December 1944, In reprisal for an attack by the French Resistance, German SS units massacred all adult males in the village of Bande.

23 December 1944, The heavy overcast weather in the Ardennes area cleared, allowing Allied aircraft to attack the Germans.

22 December 1944, An American unit was surrounded at Bastogne by the German advance in the Battle of the Bulge.The unit held out until relieved on 26 December 1944. Inside Bastogne, General Anthony C McAuliffe received a message from the besieging Germans inviting him to surrender; his reply, scrawled on the surrender invite, was one word-�NUTS�.

17 December 1944, Soldiers of the 6th SS Panzer Army massacred 87 US PoWs at Malmedy, under the orders of Colonel Joachim Pieper. This had the effect of stiffening Allied resolve against the Ardennes Offensive.

16 December 1944, Germany began the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes. 15 German divisions, 250,000 men and 950 tanks, under General von Rundstedt confronted 83,000 Americans with 420 tanks, andadvanced 60 miles before they were halted. The German Army was desperately short of fuel, and were hoping to capture the fuel they needed from Allied dumps as they advanced. This was their last offensive of the war. Germany had conjured up a large fighting force from sources such as back administration offices and prisons. See 6 January 1945. The sleet and low cloud that protected them from Allied air attacks soon cleared.

14 December 1944, A total prohibition on citizen use of electricity was introduced to North and South Holland.

12 December 1944, The US Third Army captured the V-rocket factory at Wittring in eastern France.

4 December 1944, German bridgehead west of the Maas taken by the British.

1 December 1944, The U.S. Ninth Army captured Linnich.

28 November 1944, Antwerp reopened to port traffic.

24 November 1944, Strasbourg taken by Allied forces.

23 November 1944, U.S. troops liberated the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in France.

22 November 1944, Mulhouse and Metz retaken by Allied forces.

20 November 1944, Belfort taken by the French.

14 November 1944, The French 1st Army began an attack to seize the Belfort Gap.

7 November 1944, Middleburg, Holland, captured by the Allies.

4 November 1944, RAF Bomber Command sent 749 aircraft to conduct the last major raid on Bochum. Over 4,000 buildings were destroyed and nearly 1,000 people were killed.

3 November 1944, Flushing captured by the British. Canadian troops captured two bridges from South Beveland onto Walcheren.

2 November 1944, Belgium was clear of German troops. The Germans re-entered Belgium on 16 December 1944, and were finally expelled on 4 February 1945.

1 November 1944, British troops landed on Walcheren Island. Walcheren commended the approaches to Antwerp, which had been captured by the Allies on 1 September 1944; however until Walcheren was cleared of German forces, Antwerp Harbour was unusable. It took five weeks to capture the Walcheren fortifications, at a cost of 12,873 Allied lives. Before Walcheren fell, opening up Antwerp, Allied forces in Belgium had to be supplied from the Normandy beaches, because every Channel port from Cherbourg to Ostend had been wrecked by Allied bombing or by German demolition squads.

31 October 1944, British forces reached the River Maas.

28 October 1944, General De Gaulle ordered the French Resistance to disarm.

26 October 1944, British troops crossed the River Scheldt and occupied the Beveland peninsula.

23 October 1944, De Gaulle was officially recognised by the Allies as French leader.However De Gaulle was offended by the Allies refusal to treat France as a Great Power, or to invite him to the Yalta or Potsdam Conferences alongside the USA, UK and USSR.

21 October 1944. Aachen was captured by the Allies. The battle for the city, the first major German city to fall to the Allies, lasted a week, and over 10,000 prisoners were taken. Much of the city was destroyed.

16 October 1944, Aachen was surrounded by US forces.

9 October 1944, Canadian and British forces landed behind German lines south of the Scheldt Estuary.

30 September 1944, Canadian forces captured Calais.

29 September 1944, The Battle of Arracourt ended in American victory.

26 September 1944, The Canadian 2nd Army captured the German guns on Cap Gris Nez; the Allies now had total control of The Channel.

25 September 1944, The Allied forces who had been parachuted into Arnhem (17 September 1944) had succeeded in capturing key bridges over the Rhine, Maas and Waal rivers but had met fierce resistance from the 9th and 10th German Panzer Divisions. This resistance forced the withdrawal of Allied troops from Arnhem to south of the Rhine.

22 September 1944, Boulogne surrendered to Canadian forces.

20 September 1944, British forces reached The Rhine at Nijmegen.

19 September 1944, Brest taken by US forces.

18 September 1944, The Battle of Arracourt began near the French town of Arracourt.

17 September 1944. The British airborne invasion of Arnhem and Nijmegen, Holland, began as part of Operation Market Garden, to secure a bridge over the Rhine.However a hard winter for Holland began as German forces in the north of the country resisted Allied attacks under Field Marshal Model.Food became scarce and could only be bought by barter on the black market.Money had no value and the rations system collapsed. In Britain the blackout was replaced by the dimout, except for all areas within 5 miles of the coast where the blackout remained in force.

14 September 1944, Patton�s Third Army took Nancy in France.

13 September 1944, The Maastricht area was captured by Allied forces.

12 September 1944, Le Havre captured by the British.

11 September 1944, The Allies in the west under US First Army General Omar Bradley took their troops onto German soil, north of Trier. Large numbers of German troops were deserting. Civilian morale in Aachen collapsed as Nazi SS officials, troops and police hurriedly left the German city for Cologne, as US troops drew close.

8 September 1944, Liege taken by US forces.

5 September 1944, German and Dutch Nazis began to flee Holland, as Allied forces advanced through Belgium.

4 September 1944, The Allies crossed into Holland. Antwerp was liberated.

3 September 1944, The Allies entered Belgium, and liberated Brussels. The Belgian resistance was then well trained and armed, and German plans to destroy the docks at Antwerp as they retreated were thwarted. Thus the Allies could use this port to land ammunition and troops during the remaining eight months of fighting. Lyons also liberated by the Allies.

1 September 1944, Dieppe taken by the Canadians. British forces, helped by the Belgian Resistance, took Antwerp; see 1 November 1944.

8/1944, The dissolution of the French Right-wing group Action Francaise, as their eponymous newspaper ceased publication. Action Francaise, founded ca. 1900, advocated the overthrow of the Third Republic and the restoration of the French monarchy. Supoorted by many amongst the middle class and Catholics, Action Francaise had been discredited by its close association with the Vichy Government.

8/1944, As the Allies drew close to St Malo, the Germans burnt it before retreating.

30 August 1944, Rouen taken by the Canadians. German forces, putting up little resistance to the Allied advance in France, were retreating across the Seine; they were flooding the lower reaches of the Somme to delay the Allied advance there.

31 August 1944,Allied troops reached Amiens, northern France.

28 August 1944, Marseilles fell to the Allies.

26 August 1944, The Battle of Toulon ended in Allied victory.

25 August 1944, Germans in Paris surrendered. The Nazi commander, General von Cholitz, ignored Hitler�s instructions to destroy the city. The USA had held back to allow the French under General LeClerc to retake Paris, led by General De Gaulle.Paris had been under German occupation since 14 June 1940.

24 August 1944, Canadian forces captured Bernay and crossed the Risle River at Nassandres.

21 August 1944, US forces crossed the Seine.

20 August 1944, Toulouse taken by French forces.

19 August 1944, Paris rebelled against German occupation.

18 August 1944, The Allies closed the Falaise Gap, trapping German forces to the north and west.

17 August 1944, Falaise taken by the Canadians.

16 August 1944, Canadian troops surrounded Falaise, France.

15 August 1944. US and French forces landed in southern France, on a front from Nice to Marseilles, and joined up in eastern France with the forces landing in Normandy. This was Operation Anvil. From Marseilles Allied forces swung north up the Rhone Valley.

12 August 1944. PLUTO, or Pipeline Under The Ocean, began operating. It carried fuel from Shanklin, Isle of Wight, to Allied forces advancing against the Germans in France.

10 August 1944, US/French offensive at Alencon.

9 August 1944, St Malo and Le Mans taken by US forces.

7 August 1944, RAF attacked German lines south of Caen.

3 August 1944, Rennes taken by US forces.

31 July 1944, The Allies drove the Germans out of Normandy. Avranches was captured, opening the way into Brittany.

25 July 1944, Allied forces in Normandy forced through weakened German defences at St Lo.

16 July 1944, A large gun on the French coast that was almost ready to fire huge shells at British south coast towns was destroyed in a sustained air raid.

15 July 1944, The Second Battle of the Odon began as part of the Battle of Normandy.

11 July 1944, The new German Tiger II heavy tank saw frontline combat for the first time during the Normandy campaign.

9 July 1944, The Allies took Caen.

8 July 1944, British and Canadian troops approached the outskirts of Caen. The German defenders contested every street.

5 July 1944, US forces in Normandy captured La Haye du Puits, 30 km south of Cherbourg.

Click here for contemporary newspaper maps of WW2, Western Front, 1944-45.

30 June 1944, The last German resistance in the Contentin Peninsula, France, ceased with the Allied capture of Auderville.

27 June 1944. The Allies took Cherbourg. This was important as it gave the Normandy bridgehead its first deep water port.

19 June 1944, The French retook Elba.

25 June 1944, Allied tanks reached the suburbs of Cherbourg. The German Commander of Cherbourg, General Karl Wilhelm von Schleiben, asked Rommel to be allowed to surrender, as he had 2,000 wounded who could not be treated. Rommel refused and ordered him to fight to the end.

12 June 1944, Churchill visited the front in Normandy. The 101st American Airborne division captured the town of Carentan, which commended the Vire estuary; this closed the last gap in the Normandy beachheads, between Omaha and Utah beaches, into a single front 42 miles wide.

10 June 1944, Allied troops began a push towards Caen. This tied down large numbers of German troops and Hitler sent in his elite Panzer forces. Troops from the 2nd SS Panzer Division massacred 642 people in the French village of Oradour sur Glane in revenge for Resistance attacks. After the war, President De Gaulle ordered that the village be left as a ruin, as a memorial; a new village was built nearby.

9 June 1944, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery ordered massive air raids on German positions in northern France as the Allies advanced from Normandy. 450 Allied bombers hit towns including Lisieux and le Havre.

8 June 1944, Bayeux liberated.

6 June 1944. D � Day. Allied forces landed in Normandy. Operation Overlord was the biggest sea-borne invasion in history. It was delayed 24 hours due to bad weather.

In the early morning of Tuesday 6 June 1944 11,600 aircraft, 6,000 surface craft, and nearly 170,000 men assaulted the coast of France on a 50 mile front, and 9,000 had been killed. Men from boats joined with parachutists. By the sixth day, 326,000 Allied soldiers were in the French bridgehead.

The Luftwaffe mustered 183 planes, which faced 11,000 Allied planes. The Allies had also intercepted a Luftwaffe message indicating they were critically short of aviation fuel, and Allied bombing raids were concentrated on German oil installations. Crucially for the Germans, Hitler was asleep when the D-Day landings began, at 06.35 local time, and no-one dared waken him. Extra reinforcements could not be ordered without him, and vital hours were lost by the Axis forces battling to hold Normandy. By the end of the first day, the Allies had a beachhead 25 miles long and 5 miles deep. Further initial advance was delayed by the Normandy bocage, small fields with thick hedgerows, and steep valleys and hillsides. See 15 May 1944.

5 June 1944. The Caf� Gondree was the first place to be liberated from the Germans on the eve of the D-Day landings when paratroopers from the 6th Brigade dropped on the town of Benouville to seize a vital canal bridge.

4 June 1944. Eisenhower decided on a 24-hour delay to D-Day due to poor weather.

2 June 1944, Eisenhower settled on 5 June for D-Day.

1 June 1944, The BBC transmitted a coded alert to the French Resistancewarning od the D-Day landings; the message was the first verse of Paul Verlaine�s poem, Chanson D�Automne.

31 May 1944, Allied bombs cut the communications between the German HQ in Paris and German Air Force bases at Rennes and Caen, for three crucial days. Meanwhile the Luftwaffe no longer had the resources to both bomb Britain and fight off a cross-Channel Allied attack.

27 May 1944, Due to Allied decrypting of German messages, they learnt f a major axis troop concentration at La Haye-du Puits, on the Contentin Peninsula, where the US had planned to parachute in troops. This part of the D-Day plan was therefore amended, with the scheduled date for the capture of Cherbourg put back by 7 days.

26 May 1944, Allied daylight air raid on Lyon, to block German reinforcement routes from the south. 717 French civilians were killed.

21 May 1944, The Allies launched Operation Chattanooga Choo Choo, to destroy railway engines and rolling stock across northern Europe, including Germany. This Operation was so effective that even Jews from the concentration camps were being drafted in to repair the damage.

20 May 1944, The Germans still did not know where the Allies might land in western Europe.The German Navy did not mine the Seine estuary, as Rommel wanted, nor were German troops deployed that could have covered both Normandy and Brittany, because Germany feared an Allied airborne landing around Paris.

15 May 1944, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel attempted to cut off occupied France from neutral countries to stop information being passed out to the Allies.

13 May 1944, At Bagneres de Bigorre, near the Pyrenees, sabotage by British and French agents put a factory producing carriers for self-propelled guns out of action for 6 months.

8 May 1944, Eisenhower settled on 5, 6, or 7 June as date for the D-Day landings.

2 May 1944, A Daily Telegrah crossword caused a major military seciurity scare and nearly resulted in the cancellation of the D-Day Normandy landings. A crossword compiler, a 54 year old teacher from leatherhead, had given cluses whose solutiuons were Overlord, Omaha and Utah. MI5 immediately apprehended him as a possible German spy. It emerged that loose-lipped US and Canadian soldiers had chatted to schoolboys and used these words.

19 April 1944, The RAF bombed railways and river bridges in France.

10 April 1944, US aircraft attacked German shore batteries along the Normandy coast.

9 April 1944, General Charles De Gaulle became commander in chief of the Free French forces. This angered his rival for the post, World War One veteran General Henri Giraud. De Gaulle fled France for Britain in 1940.

22 March 1944, Heavy air raid on Frankfurt. 816 British planes dropped over 3,000 bombs and 1.2 million incendiaries in less than 1 hour.

18 February 1944, The RAF raided Amiens prison, where many French Resistance fighters were being held. They succeeded in bringing down the prison walls, and although 56 Resistance were shot by guards, 258 more escaped. They had faced execution the next day.

13 February 1944. The Allies dropped weapons for the French Resistance in Haut-Savoie.

23 December 1943, In Algiers, General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, pro-Allied, took command of the French 1st Army.

12 December 1943, Rommel was appointed Commander in Chief, Army Group B. Under von Rundstedt, Rommel was tasked with coastal defence from Holland down to the Bay of Biscay. He immediately organised a major strengthening of coastal defences.

6 December 1943, Roosevelt appointed Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander for Overlord, the invasion of France from Normandy.

11 October 1943, The codename Mulberry was chosen for the artificial harbours to be used on Overlord, the Allied landings in Normandy.

4 October 1943, Allied troops occupied Corsica, the first part of France to be liberated.

29 September 1943, In a decisive battle, which lasted until 4 October 1943, French forces, together with Italians, fought the Germans and forced them to evacuate Corsica.The Germans retreated to mainland France and the Italians moved to Sardinia.

13 September 1943, Free French forces attacked the German and Italians on Corsica, see 29 September 1943.

24 July 1943, Operation Gomorrah, the destruction of the German port of Hamburg began. British and Canadian airplanes bombed the city by night, and American planes followed during the day. By the end of the operation in November, 9,000 tons of explosives had killed more than 30,000 people and destroyed 280,000 buildings. For the first time, the British forces used "Window", aluminium strips dropped to distort radar images, against the German anti-aircraft defences.

8 July 1943, French Resistance leader, Jean Moulin, died after torture by the Gestapo.

17 May 1943, The US and UK agreed on the free exchange of deciphered signals intelligence, codenamed Ultra.

12 December 1942, British commandoes blew up six ships in Bordeaux harbour.

4 December 1942, The Belgian Resistance killed a Belgian Nazi in Brussels.

27 November 1942, The French fleet was scuttled in the harbour of Toulon, six hours after German troops arrived there.

11 November 1942, The Axis invaded Vichy France.


Allied efforts to open a second Front in Western Europe

21 May 1943, In Washington the Allies agreed to stage cross Channel landings by 1 May 1944.

16 March 1943, Stalin demanded a second Front in western Europe, accusing Churchill of treachery by failing to open one.

19 August 1942. Allied commando raid on Dieppe, by the Canadians and British. There were heavy Allied casualties.The aim of the raid was to try and seize a Channel port from the Germans; the raid failed, with 1,000 Allied troops killed and 2,000 taken prisoner out of a total of 6,100 men, and all their tanks and equipment abandonedthere was nine hours of fighting along 11 miles of coastline. However information from the raid was very useful in planning the D-Day landings of June 1944. The principal lesson was that any attempted Allied landing in France must be on a beach using artificial harbours, not at an existing port.

24 May 1942, De Gaulle, ftrom London, promised the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, that he would press Churchill to open a second Front in western Europe.

13 May 1942, British Chiefs of Staff approved a major raid against Dieppe. This was to explore the possibility of an opposed Allied landing in France to open a second European Front against Germany, a move Russia had been agitating for. This was codenamed Operation Rutter.

16 March 1942, The Soviet Ambassador asked Churchill to open a second Front in western Europe.


26 December 1941, Second British raid on the Lofoten Islands. Winston Churchill discussed war strategy in America.

16 December 1941, Allied raids on Ostend, Bremen and Wilhelmshaven.

7 September 1941, In Paris the Germans executed Pierre Roche. He was a member of the Resistance, who had sabotaged German military telephone lines.

10 June 1941, The Germans expelled most foreign diplomatic staff from Paris.

28 December 1940, British Bomber Command learned that despite 28 raids over 7 months on German oil installations, damage done had not been that extensive.

7 December 1940, British bombers raided the German industrial town of Dusseldorf.

5 October 1940, Hitler, faced with heavy losses of fighter aircraft, ordered an end to daytime bombing raids in Britain. From now, raids would only take place at night.

28 September 1940, In France, the writings of 842 authors, many Jewish or French patriots, were withderawn from sale.

25 September 1940, Heavy British air raids on Berlin.


Battle of Britain; land invasion of Britain averted

19 September 1940, Arthur Owens, whom Germany believed to be working for them as a spy, began transmitting messages recommending targets for German bombers. In fact he was a double agent, his messages being prepared by British Air Ministry Intelligence.

17 September 1940. Hitler ordered the indefinite postponing of the invasion of Britain, after the Luftwaffe had failed to establish command of the air over Britain.

15 September 1940,The Battle of Britain ended with victory to the Allies.1,733 German planes were destroyed as against 915 lost by the RAF. It began on 8 August 1940. The Nazis had given up hope of achieving air superiority and invading Britain. The RAF had also destroyed much of the shipping that was to carry German troops to England.

3 September 1940, 4 Nazi spies, 1 German and 3 Dutch, landed by boat on the south coast of Britain, to report on coastal defences. They were caught within hours, tried in November, and 3 executed. The 4th, Dutch, was imprisoned, and remained in custody in Holland after the war.

11 August 1940, Further German air raids on Weymouth and Portland radar stations.

8 August 1940. Battle of Britain began. See 31 October 1940. German aircraft had already made raids on Britain; on 10 July 1940 the Cornish port of Falmouth was attacked by 63 Junkers 88s. However it was on this day that mass attacks of over 1,000 German aircraft began. Hermann Goering was confident of victory. Until 30 August 1940 German air attacks were mainly on British shipping and coastal towns, and German air losses exceeded those sustained by the RAF. But between 30 August 1940 and 6 September 1940 the Luftwaffe switched its attacks to airfields in southern Britain. The RAF lost 20% of its fighter planes and at one stage only 2 airfields in southern Britain were operational. In one week 185 RAF fighter planes were destroyed. There was a real possibility that the Luftwaffe could destroy the RAF.

But on 24 August 1940 a German pilot accidentally dropped his bombs on London, and Churchill ordered revenge raids on Berlin. This angered Hitler and he ordered Goering to switch the Luftwaffe�s raids to London, which faced continual bombing until 2 November 1940.

The Luftwaffe faced the problem that if their aircraft were shot down, the pilot was captured as a POW; however if a British plane was shot down, over Britain, the pilot could return to the fighting. Pilots were much harder to replace, with all their training, than an aircraft was to build. German planes also had to travel far to the war theatre, tiring for the pilots and consuming fuel.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill said that �never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few�.

5 August 1940, A German air offensive against Britain planned to begin this day was postponed due to bad weather.

31 July 1940. Hitler gave orders for a massive air offence against Britain (see 8 August 1940).

29 July 1940, The German Navy told Hitler that it could not achieve landings on the British coast before mid-September.

19 July 1940. Hitler offered some prospect of peace in Europe, having occupied Paris (14 June 1940). He said he was willing to recognise the British Empire, so long as Germany could have Egypt and Iraq, and would negotiate with a British government containing Lloyd George and the Duke of Windsor. Both men had expressed some sympathy for Hitler, and the UK Cabinet would have none of it.

16 July 1940. Adolf Hitler issued Directive 16, to invade Britain, under Operation Sealion. He had delayed issuing this order because he had still hoped that Britain would jon with Germany in an �anti-Communist Alliance�. But Churchill had soundly rejected this idea.


The German conquest of France was now complete. Hitler now set his sights on Britain.

7 August 1940. Alsace-Lorraine and Luxembourg were made part of Germany.

2 August 1940, The French Vichy Governbment sentenced De Gaulle to death in absentia. Over southern England, German planes dropped elaflets detailing a peace proposal by Hitler.

28 July 1940, Germany banned all movement between Vichy France and German-occupied France.

12 July 1940, Pierre Laval was appointed Vice Premier of Vichy France and Marshal Petain's successor.

5 July 1940. The Vichy government broke off relations with Britain.

3 July 1940. The British Royal Navy destroyed a large part of the French navy at Oran in Algeria to prevent it falling into German hands. The French navy at Alexandria was immobilised but those ships at Oran were a more serious threat. The French commander at Oran was offered 4 choices by the British. 1) to sail his forces to a British port and join forces with Britain. 2) To sail to a British port and have his men repatriated to France. 3) To sail to a West Indian port, and have his ships de-commissioned, or handed over to the USA. 4) To sink his own ships. The French admiral, on instructions from Vichy France, refused these alternatives. At 5.55pm on 3 July 1940 the British opened fire, destroying the French ships, wounding 351 and killing 1,279 French sailors. See 18 July 1940.

2 July 1940. The Vichy French government was officially formed after the collapse of France.Henri Petain was Head of State. Hitler wanted a part of France to remain �sovereign�, so as to continue to govern the French colonies in North Africa, and thereby prevent these colonies defecting to the Allied side.

Click here for contemporary newspaper maps of WW2, Western Front, 1940-44.

1 July 1940, Click Here for map of German invasion of France June 1940. Note isochrones of invasion front line and ineffectiveness of Maginot Line.

28 June 1940, Britain formally recognised De Gaulle as leader in exile of France.

27 June 1940, German troops in France reached the Spanish border.

25 June 1940, Official ceasefire in France on all fronts.

23 June 1940, Hitler flew in to Paris for a three-hour tour, his only ever visit to the city.

22 June 1940, (1) The French armistice with Germany (see 16 June 1940) cut the country in half.Although the French Government was nominally in control of all pre-1940 French territory, including its colonies, except for Alsace and Lorraine which were annexed to Germany, the Germans claimed �occupying rights� across northern and western France.Germany held some 2,500,000 French POWs and required the French Government to pay the costs of occupation.France was allowed to retain a small army (100,000 men), and all its navy, albeit disarmed.The arrangement was designed to keep France quite until Britain was conquered. The Germans had the armistice signed in Marshall Foch�s old railway carriage in the Forest of Compeigne, where in 1918 a defeated Germany had to accept French armistice terms.

(2) Britain evacuated 30,000 civilians from the Channel islands, about a third of the population. Germany invaded these islands a week later.

21 June 1940, Italian troops advanced into the French Alps, meeting little resistance.

20 June 1940, The first Australian and New Zealand troops arrived in Britain. In France, Lyons was occupied by the Germans, who also captured Brest this day.

19 June 1940, Nancy and Luneville fell to the Germans.

18 June 1940, Charles de Gaulle, leader of the French Resistance, broadcast an appeal for his countrymen to carry on fighting. It was in response to Marshall Petain�s announcement of an armistice with Germany, German forces reached Cherbourg and Rennes.

16 June 1940, Paul Reynaud resigned as French Prime Minister. Marshall Petain took over and asked the Germans for an armistice. See 22 June 1940.

15 June 1940, Verdun fell; the Maginot Line was pierced. The French Government moved to Bordeaux.

14 June 1940, German troops entered Paris, and the Swastika flew from the Eiffel Tower. The French government had fled to Bordeaux, and was seeking release from the British Alliance so it could negotiate separately with Germany. On 22 June 1940 an armistice between France and Germany was signed and the Vichy government was set up.Paris was liberated on 25 August 1944. With continental Europe largely occupied, Hitler now hoped the British would negotiate a settlement.

13 June 1940, German offensive south of Rouen; Montmedy fell. Paris was declared an open city. . British troops evacuated from le Havre.

12 June 1940, Rheims fell to the Germans.

11 June 1940, French forces retreated south of the River Marne.

10 June 1940, The Germans were within 35 miles of Paris; the French government moved to Tours. Italy declared war on Britain and France; French troops did repel Italian attacks across the frontier, but they could not hold the Germans back in the north. France declared Paris an �open city� on this day and French troops left. This was to spare the city, its people and buildings, from destruction by war.

9 June 1940, German forces reached the suburbs of Rouen; German offensive began in Champagne.

7 June 1940, German offensive north and east of Soissons; they crossed the Ailette Canal.


Dunkirk encircled by the Germans, Dunkirk Evacuation

At this point it was possible that Germany would now laumch an invasion of Britain. However the Enigma messages showed that Germany�s immediate priority was Paris and the final conquest of France. Hitler in fact believed Britain would now make peace, and be allowed to keep its colonies in return for accepting nazi domination of Europe

4 June 1940, Dunkirk evacuation completed by British forces (see 10 September 1939). Evacuation (Operation Dynamo) had begun on 29 May 1940, and 338,226 troops (114,000 French and Belgian, 228,000 British) had been rescued by an armada of destroyers, fishing boats, ferries, and assorted small craft. It was thought that only 45,000 could be rescued, under attack from the Luftwaffe who were dive-bombing the beaches. However the German army stopped its advance just outside Dunkirk, apparently unwilling to riskpressing forward through the coastal marshes. Churchill made his famous �we shall fight them on the beaches� speech in the Commons. However Britain now had just 504 serviceable Spitfires, and if Germany had mounted an air invasion that day, the Head of fighter Command, Sir Hugh Dowding, told the House of Commons that he could not guarantee air superiority for more than 48 hours.

3 June 1940, The Germans launched Operation Paula, an attempt to destroy the French Air Force. However, British intelligence had warned the French of the impending attack and the operation failed to achieve its strategic goals.

2 June 1940, A further 80,287 men were evacuated from Dunkirk.

1 June 1940, A further 64,229 men were evacuated from Dunkirk.

31 May 1940, A further 68,104 men were evacuated from Dunkirk.

30 May 1940, (1) Two divisions were shipped from Britain to France, to help defend Brittany. However on 22 June 1940 France signed an armistice with Germany. The 51st Highland Division was surrounded and forced to surrender at St Valery. A further 52,823 men were evacuated from Dunkirk.

(2) The Nazi Reichskommisar Arthur Seyss-Inquart took control of The Netherlands.German occupation became heavier-handed as Germany invaded Russia, and became very oppressive after Stalingrad and the Allied victories in North Africa.

29 May 1940, A further 47,310 men were evacuated from Dunkirk.

28 May 1940, A further 17,804 men were evacuated from Dunkirk.

27 May 1940, Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of British and French troops from the Dunkirk beaches, began � see 4 June 1940. 7,669 men were evacuated to England. The Luftwaffe attempted to thwart the evacuation but faced determined opposition by Allied fighters; 176 German aircraft were shot down compared to 106 British aircraft, and the skies were kept clear for the evacuation.

26 May 1940, The Germans took the port of Bolougne. Calais later surrendered after being held against two German divisions from 24 to 27 May, leaving Dunkirk the only French Channel port on Allied hands (see 4 June 1940). However the Germans believed that just 100,000 Allied troops were trapped in the Dunkirk pocket, a quarter of the true figure, and Goering assured Hitler that the Luftwaffe could prevent their evacuation by sea. German was therefore reluctantto expend resources on obliterating this pocket, and paused the attacks on it, giving the British Expeditionary Force and the French there valuable time to evacuate. However all the military heavy hardware, including large guns., was left behind for the Germans.

22 May 1940, German forces were now just 15 kilometres from Calais.

21 May 1940, The Germans took Amiens and Arras in France.

20 May 1940, German forces reached the French coast at Le Crotoy, splitting the Allied defences.


Fall of Belgium and The Netherlands

28 May 1940, Belgian troops under King Leopold III surrendered to Germany.

18 May 1940, The Germans took Antwerp and Brussels. Germany now occupied all of Holland. See 3 September 1944.

16 May 1940, The British Expeditionary Force withdrew from the River Dyle to the River Scheldt.

15 May 1940, Germany took The Hague. The Dutch army surrendered.

14 May 1940, The centre of Amsterdam was destroyed by German bombing.Rotterdam was also heavily bombed by the Germans, and the city centre and large parts of the east of the city destroyed.

13 May 1940, Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch Cabinet fled Holland for England.

12 May 1940, The RAF bombed bridges near Maastricht, to slow the German advance into Holland.

11 May 1940, Maastricht was attacked by German forces.

10 May 1940, Germany attacked westward through Belgium towards France. Along a 150 mile front, German troops seized key positions before the defenders could react.Germany also occupied Luxembourg, and German forces entered Holland.

3 May 1940, Hitler postponed X-Day, the planned attack on and through Belgium, because of the weather and he was still looking for an excuse to violate Belgian neutrality. However by 8 May the Belgians and Dutch had sensed what was going on and begun to mobilise, so the Germans finally attacked on 10 May.

8 March 1940, Martial Law was declared throughout The Netherlands because of the Nazi threat. Dutch troops were put on full alert on 2 April 1940.

17 February 1940, Erich von Manstein presented the Manstein Plan to Hitler, detailing the war plan for the German invasion of France and the Low Countries. Hitler was impressed by the plan.


19 May 1940, General Gamelin, commander of the French land forces, was replaced by Maxime Weygand.

13 May 1940, The Battle of Sedan began the German invasion of France.

20 March 1940, Daladier resigned as leader of the French War Cabinet (see 13 September 1939); replaced by Reynaud.

11 March 1940, US peace envoy Sumner Welles had tea with King George VI, who made clear his hope that no peace negotiations would take place until the Nazi regime was destroyed. Welles then spoke with Neville Chamberlain, who reiterated the points from his Birmingham speech of February 24.

7 March 1940, US peace envoy Sumner Welles visited Paris and met with President Albert Fran�ois Lebrun, and then taken to see Prime Minister �douard Daladier, who stressed that restoration of independence for the Poles and Czechs was a primary objective of any peace settlement. Daladier said he deeply distrusted Hitler, but he also said he would not rule out dealing with the present German regime.

6 March 1940, Hitler agreed with his Generals to a change in the plan to invade France. There would be slightly fewer troops in the attack on the Low Countries, to draw the Allies forward, and the decisive thrust against France would be through the Ardennes.

1 March 1940, US Secretary of State Sumner Wells arrived in Berlin on a tour of the belligerent countries in a peace-making effort. This failed.

16 January 1940, Hitler postponed his western attack, originally planned for 17 January 1940, until the Spring. Some Generals, especially Gerd von Rundstedt, considered the plan too predictable and wanted an unexpected attack through the heavily wooded Ardennes.

10 January 1940, Hitler informed his commanders that the attack in the west would begin on 17 January.

31 December 1939, In France, the battle lines had been quiet up to the end of 1939; bored cold soldiers dug more trenches, and the odd shot was fired between the Maginot and Siegfried Lines. In contrast to the rapid invasion of Poland, German forces hesitated as Hitler and his generals argued over the best invasion plan, and the Allies remained under-prepared. This �phoney war� or �sitskrieg� as the French termed it, led to some evacuees in Britain returning to the cities. Only at sea was the War being fought. All this changed in 1940.

18 December 1939, The RAF lost 12 out of 24 bombers sent in a raid against German shipping in the Schillig Roads. The scale of these losses forced the RAF to switch to night time bombing, but at a cost in bombing accuracy.

15 December 1939. Britain sent a 5th Division to reinforce the expeditionary force in France.

29 November 1939, Hitler issued Directive No. 9, Instructions for Warfare against the Economy of the Enemy. The directive focused on attacking British shipping and ports and blockading sea lanes using U-boats and naval mines.

22 November 1939, German attacks on The Shetlands began; lasted until 24 November 1939.

11 November 1939, Berlin repeated earlier assurances that it would respect the neutrality of The Netherlands and Belgium.

7 November 1939, The monarchs of Belgium and The Netherlands offered to act as mediators in the War, and emphasised their neutrality, but both sides rejected this offer.

25 October 1939, Britain�s Handley Page bomber made its maiden flight.

21 October 1939, On the Western Front, there was exchange of artillery fire during heavy rain.

12 October 1939, Hitler made a peace proposal to Britain, which was rejected.

9 October 1939, Hitler issued Directive No. 6 ordering preparations for an offensive in the west with an initial date set for November 12. However protests from his service chiefs and very cold weather caused the date of the attack to be postponed repeatedly.

6 October 1939, Britain and France rejected Hitler's peace bid. Hitler claimed to be satisfied with his occupation of western Poland, as Russia took the eastern half, and maintained he had no wish to fight Britain.

25 September 1939, French artillery began bombarding German fortifications on the Rhine.

13 September 1939, French War cabinet formed under Daladier (see 20 March 1940).

10 September 1939, The British Expeditionary force arrived in Cherbourg, France. Four divisions, comprising 158,000 men and 25,000 vehicles crossed the Channel with no interference from U-boats or the Luftwaffe.

The Dunkirk evacuation was completed on 4 June 1940.

7 September 1939,Saar Offensive: the French Army began a ground operation in the Saarland against light German defences.

4 September 1939, French troops crossed the German border into Saarland.


3)a) Scandinavia (For Finland see Eastern Front)

6 May 1945, German forces in Norway surrendered.

5 May 1945, Denmark liberated from Nazi occupation � see 9 April 1940.

20 February 1944, Saboteurs blew up a ship on Lake Tinnsjo, Norway, which was carrying heavy water for use in a Nazi atomic research facility.

16 November 1943, US 8th Army Air Force bombers attacked the German heavy water plant at Vermork, Norway. This was a vital centre for Germany�s atomic weapons programme.

27 February 1943, Successful Allied attack on the heavy water plant at Vermork, Norway. This operation is estimated to have set back the Nazi nuclear weapons project by two years.

8 October 1942, The German Reichscommissioner for Norway, Josef Terboven, arrived in Trondheim. There was a crackdown on saboteurs, with 700 arrested and ten shot. Norwegian resistance fdighters had sabotaged military communications at the port, which the Germans used to attack British convoys to Russia.

1 February 1942. Vidkun Quisling, pro-Nazi, was appointed Prime Minister of Norway.

22 September 1941, Hitler issued Directive No. 36, Instructions for Winter operations in Norway.

3 September 1941, Allied forces secured Spitzbergen, with its coal reserves. Allied forces landed this day, unopposed and welcomed by the population.

25 August 1941, Canadian and British and Norwegian forces raided Spitzebergen.

2 August 1941, All civilian radios in Norway were confiscated by the Germans.

7 July 1941, To ease the defence burden on the UK, the USA undertook to occupy Iceland. This released 20,000 British troops. The first US troops arrived in Iceland this day. Iceland had now decisively abandoned its neutralist stance. The US agreed to withdraw their forces as soon as the War was over.

4 March 1941, British forces, assisted by Norwegian resistance fighters, raided the German-occupied Lofoten Islands; 11 German boats were destroyed.

10 February 1941, The Luftwaffe bombed Iceland.

1 February 1941, Vidkun Quisling was appointed puppet Prime Minister of Norway by the Germans.

28 May 1940, Narvik captured by Germany.

9 May 1940, Britain occupied the Danish territories of Iceland and the Faroe Islands. This was to forestall any Nazi occupation of these territories, which might have facilitated attacks on the UK and even the USA.

6 May 1940, The Norwegian gold reserves, worth �33 million, arrived safely in London.

5 May 1940, British and Norwegian defence and froeign ministers held talks in London.

4 May 1940, A Polish destroyer, the Grom, was sunk by German bombers near Narvik, Norway. Despite Germans onshore machine gunning the survivors in the water, some were rescued by British ships.

2 May 1940, The Allies withdrew their troops south of Trondheim.

30 April 1940, Germany claimed to have taken the Norwegian towns of Dombaas and Stoeren. British and French troops fought the Nazis in northern Norway.

29 April 1940, King Haakon of Norway and his Government were evacuatedfrom Molde by the British Royal Navy, via Tromso.

28 April 1940, In Norway, British Major-General Bernard Paget, commander of Allied forces at Andalesnes, attempted unsuccessfully to break out of Trondheim.

27 April 1940, Germany officially declared war on Norway.

26 April 1940, The British decided to pull their forces out of Norway, to the consternation of the French and Norwegian Allied forces.

24 April 1940, French Allied troops landed at Aandalesnes. The plan was to take Trondheim. However the Allies lacked sufficient artillery and air support, hampering their progress.

22 April 1940, Fighting between Allied and German troops north of Trondheim.

19 April 1940, In Norway, the Germans captured Hamar and Elverum.

18 April 1940, Further British troop landings at Aandalsnes, Norway.

17 April 1940, Allied troops landed at Aandalsnes; challenged by German forces at Stenkjer.

15 April 1940, British troops landed in Norway, at Harstad, Lofoten Islands, opposite Narvik, Hitler felt his troops in Narvik were in danger and wanted to pull them back via Sweden, but the German High Command persuaded him to let them stay.

14 April 1940, Allied troops landed at Namsos, Norway.

11 April 1940, British troops landed in Norway.

9 April 1940, Germany began the invasion of Denmark and Norway. Hitler occupied Denmark because of its strategic importance and to pave the way for an invasion of Norway. The Norwegian Royal Guard offered only token resistance. The small Danish air force was destroyed on the ground at Vaerlose airfield. It took just two hours for the Danish government to surrender.

Germany wanted to invade Norway for several reasons. To safeguard the export of iron ore from neutral Sweden, to stop the British entering The Baltic, and to prevent UK aid reaching Finland through Norway; Finland was then at war with Russia, and Russia was still allied to Germany.

Germany installed Major Vidkun Quisling as head of their puppet government in Oslo. Making radio broadcasts calling for resistance to Germany to cease, Quisling became a synonym for traitor.

The Allies also chose this day to begin occupying Norway to deny the Nazis iron ore However the German occupation meant the Allies now faced not �friendly� territory but a formidable foe. The Allies planned to occupy Trondheim and Narvik. For Trondheim, Allied troops landed at Namsos to the south and Aandalsnes to the north, but had to be evacuated on 2 May 1940 without achieving anything. Narvik did fall to Allied forces on 28 May 1940 but it was impossible to sustain such an isolated force and Narvik was evacuated by the Allies on 8 June 1940.

However Denmark remained nominally a sovereign state until 29 August 1943. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union, the Danish Government was forced to allow the formation of a Danish Volunteer corps fighting with the Nazis; however the Danish people began active resistance against the Nazis. Railway lines and German military installations were bombed, delaying German supplies to both eastern and western fronts. In the summer of 1943 the Danish government refused to introduce the death penalty for sabotage, to allow the persecution of Jews, or to use force against strikers.

In September 1943 Danes became aware that the Nazis were about to round up all Danish Jews. The Danes then began a massive effort to save the Jews. Jewish names on doors were changed to common Danish ones such as Jensen or Hansen, and hundreds of these �Jensens� were suddenly admitted to hospital, or hidden by Danes in their flats and houses. Then some 7,200 Jews, along with 680 non Jews, many married to Jews, were secreted aboard fishing boats and smuggles across to neutral Sweden. Only 447 Danish Jews were captured by the Germans and overall less than 25 of Denmark�s Jews died in the Holocaust.

Germany then declared a state of emergency in Denmark. Danish resistance continued until Allied forces liberated Denmark on 5 May 1945.

7 April 1940, Both German troop carrier ships and British Home Fleet ships set sail for Norwegian waters.

4 April 1940, Churchill visited Paris to try and get French cooperation in mining Norwegian waters.

3 April 1940, Vidkun Quisling revealed secrets of Norwegian defences to German agents in Copenhagen.

21 February 1940, Hitler authorized Operation Weser�bung, the invasion of Norway.

27 January 1940, Hitler personally took command of planning Plan Weser, for the invasion of Norway.


3)b) Italy, Malta

2 May 1945, Trieste captured by New Zealand forces.

30 April 1945, Turin entered by US forces.

29 April 1945, The Allies took Venice. German troops in Italy unconditionally surrendered at 12 noon on 29 April 1945.

28 April 1945, Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were caught and shot in Azzano, near Milan, by Italian partisans, as they tried to flee Italy. Born in 1883, Mussolini allied with Nazi Germany in WW2. However as the Allies invaded Italy the Italian Communist partisans decided to execute him. He tried to cross the frontier disguised as a German soldier retreating towards Innsbruck, Austria, but was recognised. Democracy was restored to Italy after 20 years and a neo � Fascist party supporting Mussolini�s ideals won only 2% of the vote in the Italian elections of 1948. The body of Mussolini, his mistress, and other government officials, were hung upside down in Milan.

27 April 1945, Genoa captured by US forces.

25 April 1945, The Allies captured Verona. Italian partisans liberated Milan.

23 April 1945, River Po reached by the Allies.

21 April 1945, Bologna, Italy, was liberated by the Allies, cutting links between the German 10th and 14th Armies. It had been under German occupation from September 1943, when Italy switched sides in the War.

6 April 1945, Allied forces began Operation Grapeshot, a renewed Spring offensive in Italy.

16 November 1944, The Allies crossed the River Lamone, Italy.

10 November 1944, Allied troops took Forli, Italy.

22 September 1944,Rimini captured by Allied forces.

21 September 1944, San Marino declared war on Germany.

2 September 1944, Allied forces took Pisa.

19 August 1944, Allied forces in Italy took Florence.

11 August 1944, Florence evacuated by the Germans.

3 July 1944, Siena retaken by French troops.

20 June 1944, Perugia, Italy, taken by the Allies.

4 June 1944, Rome liberated by the Allies.

30 May 1944, US VI Corps destroyed the German defences in the Alban Hills, just south of Rome.

24 May 1944, Hitler gave permission for Kesselring to withdraw to the Caesar Line, Italy

23 May 1944. The Battle of Anzio, Italy. Landings by the Allies had begun at Anzio on 22 January 1944, 40 miles behind German lines and just 30 miles south of Rome. German troops in the area were sparse but rather than break out straightaway, taking advantage of the element of surprise, the Allies waited until further reinforcements came, by whichtime the Germans had brought in more troops too.

22 May 1944, Successful Canadian attack on the Dora Line, Italy.

19 May 1944, US II Corps took Gaeta and Ituri, Italy.

18 May 1944. Allied troops captured Monte Casino in Italy.This opened the way to Rome.See 15 February 1944 and 4 June 1944.

11 May 1944, Heavy military barrage by Allies against Monte Cassino began, followed by an infantry attack.

23 March 1944, A bomb planted by Italian partisans killed 33 members of the SS in Rome

15 March 1944, Heavy air raids against the ancient monastery at Casino by the Allies.

3 March 1944, Some 6 million workers in northern Italy were on strike against harsh Nazi rule and work conditions.

15 February 1944, Casino monastery bombed by the Allies.The monastery, founded in 529 AD by St Benedict, occupied a strategic position at the entrance to the Liri valley and the route to Rome.See 18 May 1944.

3 February 1944, Germans reopened an offensive against the Anzio beach head.

29 January 1944, Battle of Cisterna in central Italy.

24 January 1944, The French Expeditionary Force attacked across the Rapido River, Italy. They enjoyed initial success but then the Germans halted them just short of Monte Casino.

22 January 1944. The Allies landed at Anzio, Italy.Anzio was over 60 miles behind German lines and only 35 miles from Rome. The Allies found the town deserted; the Italians had evacuated the place and the German army had moved elsewhere. 50,000 Allied troops and 3,000 vehicle swere put ashore with only 13 casualties, from mines. Initially the Germans were taken by surprise but rushed troops to the area to contain the bridgehead, which did not rejoin Allied forces until May 1944 with the general retreat of the Germans north of Rome.Anzio made it impossible for Kesselring to establish a German defensive line south of Rome.

16 February 1944, Major counter attack by von Mackensen against the Allied Anzio beachhead.

17 January 1944, British troops crossed the Garigliano River, Italy.

12 January 1944, Allied troops in Italy launched an attack on Monte Cassino, but the determined German defence and bad winter weather made the town impossible to capture.

10 January 1944, Mussolini�s son in law was sentenced to death for treason.

8 January 1944, Field Marshal Maitland Wilson succeeded Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean.

Click here for contemporary newspaper maps of WW2, Italian Front, 1943-44.

28 December 1943, Allied troops landed at Ortona, east coast of Italy.

13 November 1943, The Allies officially recognised Italy as a �co-belligerent�, in other wordsas having changed sides.

8 November 1943, Montgomery�s forces in Italy approached the River Sangro.

4 November 1943, The British Eighth Army in Italy captured Isernia and San Salvo Ridge as the Germans withdrew to the Sangro.

24 October 1943, In Italy, the US 5th Army captured Sant�Angelo, off Naples.

19 October 1943, Italian troops began to help Tito�s partisans in their fight against the Germans.

16 October 1943, Nazi German forces began to round up Jews from Rome for deportation to the death camps. 1,200 Jews were deported, of whom only 15 survived the War. However Giovanni Borromeo, head of the Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Rome, rapidly admitted many Jews and other anti-fascists with so-called K Syndrome. The Nazis took this to mean Koch Syndrome (tuberculosis) and feared to enter the hospital, on an island in the Tiber, saving many from the Nazi extermination camps.

13 October 1943, Italy changed sides and declared war on Germany. See 8 September 1943.

30 September 1943, Allied troops entered Naples.

27 September 1943, Citizens of Naples revolted against the Germans after German soldiers looted a shop in the city centre.

20 September 1943, Allies attacked Naples.

19 September 1943, Germany evacuated Sardinia.

15 September 1943, Three days after freed from imprisonment by Germany, and seven weeks after his overthrow in July, Benito Mussolini was restored to leadership of Italy by the Nazi occupiers; German paratroopers also landed in St. Peter's Square at Vatican City in Rome, despite the Vatican's neutrality in the warMussolini made his announcement of a return to power from Adolf Hitler's headquarters at Rastenburg.

12 September 1943. Mussolini was rescued from prison by the Germans.

11 September 1943, German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring declared that all Italian territory was under German military control, which former dictator Benito Mussolini would later describe as reducing Italy to the status of a German "colony". Adolf Hitler ordered that the occupied Italian territory be divided into three zones, with the area around Rome extending south toward the front lines against the Allies, the Alpine mountain region ("Alpenvorland") and the coast along the Adriatic Sea ("Adriatische Kusterland"). Hitler also issued orders to deal with any Italian military units that had gone over to fight for the Allies, with all officers to be executed, and soldiers and non-combatants to be deported to Germany as labourers.

10 September 1943. (1) German troops occupied Rome.

(2) Allied troops took Tarantino, Italy.

9/ September 1943. Allied forces landed at Salerno, Italy. Allied forces landed at Salerno, Italy. King Umberto of Italy left Rome and fled to Brindisi in the south. This was seen as an abandonment by many Italians and contributed to the conversion of the country to a Republic in 1946.

8 September 1943 The Italian Prime Minister, Badoglio and King Victor Emmanuel agreed to Italy�s unconditional surrender to the Allies (see 25 July 1943, 15 September 1943 and 13 October 1943).

14 September 1943, Allied troops landed at Bari, SE Italy.

7 September 1943, Suspecting that Italy was about to make peace with the Allies, German troops quickly occupied Italy, especially its airfields, to forestall a complete Allied possession of the country. However the entire Italian navy escaped to Malta, thereby freeing up Allied ships for combat in the Pacific or Atlantic.

4 September 1943, British troops, under the command of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, captured the Italian ports of Reggio Calabria and San Giovanni di Gerace.

3 September 1943. Allied troops landed on the Italian mainland, in the province of Calabria. See 25 July 1943.

14 August 1943, Rome was declared an �open city�.

13 August 1943, The Allies bombed Rome, Milan, and Turin.

8 August 1943, Mussolini was imprisoned on Maddalena Island, north eats of Sardinia.


Allied conquest of Sicily, 1943

17 August 1943, The Allies completely controlled Sicily.

16 August 1943, US troops took Messina, Sicily.

15 August 1943, The Allies attacked Messina.

11 August 1943, German troops began evacuating Sicily. The Allies knew this was to happen but lacked the resources to stop it, which meant they faced stiffer opposition when later invading the Italian mainland.

7 August 1943, US amphibious landings near Sant�Agata, northern Sicily.

6 August 1943. US troops captured Troina, northern Sicily, after delays caused by mines and demolitions along the coast road. The previous day the British had taken Catania.

31 July 1943, In Sicily the US 45th Division captured San Stefano on the north coast.

28 July 1943, The Italian Fascist Party was formally dissolved.

25 July 1943. Mussolini was ousted from power by the Fascist Grand Council. On 3 September 1943 the Italian Prime Minister, Badoglio, secretly signed an armistice with the Allies. See 8 September 1943.

23 July 1943, Allied troops took Palermo, Sicily. Only the north east of the island now remained under German occupation.

20 July 1943, US troops in Sicily occupied Enna.

19 July 1943, First Allied air raid on Rome. The raid was a political warning that Mussolini�s regime must be overthrown.

11 July 1943, The German headquarters at Taormina, Sicily, was destroyed by Allied forces.

10 July 1943. Allied forces under US General Patton invaded Sicily (Operation Husky), landing on the south and south west of the island.3,000 Allied troopships were used. Palermo fell on 23 July 1943.

28 June 1943, US bombers attacked Livorno, Italy, and Messina, Sicily.

19 June 1943. Residents of Sicilian towns, also Naples, were warned to evacuate their homes as an Allied invasion was imminent.

11 June 1943, The Allies captured the island of Pantelleria, between Tunisia and Sicily, after a heavy bombardment.

25 May 1943, The Allies bombed Sardinia.

10 May 1943, The Allies bombed Sicily.

4 April 1943, Allied air raid in the port at Naples; 221 Italians died.


Prolonged heavy Axis attacks on Malta 1941-42

10 October 1942, Germany began a 10-day bomber assault on Malta. However, alerted by the German�s own Enigma messages, British forces intercepted each wave of German aircraft from Sicily whilst still over the sea.

26 June 1942, Italian Commander Ugo Cavallero redirected attack aircraft from Libya to against Malta.

10 May 1942, Kesselring declared that Malta was �neutralised�, however for the first time ever, this day, the Luftwaffe found themselves outnumbered over Malta. They lost 12 aircraft to 3 Spitfires. Axis air activity now declines, but Malta remained very short of fuel and food, and the Axis still determined to take the island.

20 April 1942, The US aircraft carrier Wasp flew in afurther 46 Spitfire aircraft to Malta. However under fierce German bombardment, almost all had been destroyed on the ground within 3 days.

16 April 1942. The island of Malta was awarded the George Cross by George VI for its heroism during the German and Italian bombardment.

29 March 1942, The Allies succeeded in getting much needed replacement aircraft to Malta to assist with its ongoing defence.

22 March 1942, Battle of Sirte Gulf. Allied efforts to resupply Malta, but under German naval attacks only 5,000 tons of the 26,000 tons supplies sent reached Malta.

20 March 1942, Kesselring launched new intensified air attacks on Malta.

2 February 1942. Three Allied ships carrying supplies to besieged Malta were destroyed en-route.

28 September 1941, The Operation Halberd convoy reached Malta with 50,000 tons of urgently needed supplies.

16 January 1941, The Germans heavily bombed Malta, killing 50 people, destroying 200 buildings and damaging the capital city of Valletta. The British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious was hit and damaged again in Grand Harbour.

11 January 1941, Hitler issued Directive No. 22, German Support for Battles in the Mediterranean Area.

10 January 1941, British bases on Malta were bombed.

2 December 1940, In Italy, rationing of flour, spaghetti, macaroni and rice began.


19 November 1940, Spanish Foreign Minister Serano Suner told Hitler that Spain would have to receive 400,000 tons of grain before it would consider joining the War against Britain. This was of course merely a delaying tactic to avoid making any real commitment to the Axis cause. However after the Italian fiasco in invading Greece, which had gone badly for the Italians, and risked turning Greece into an Allied springboard from which the Romanian Ploesti oilfields could be threatened, Hitler was desperate to close the Mediterranean to Allied shipping, occupy Gibraltar, thereby isolating Malta and Egypt and forestalling a possible Allied attack on Italy itself.

24 June 1940, France signed an armistice with Italy in Rome; Italian troops occupied Mentone.

18 March 1940, Hitler and Mussolini mat at the Brenner Pass. Mussolini promised that Italy would jo8in the German attack against Britain ad France.


4) Africa

End of Axis resistance in north Africa, 1942-3

15 May 1943, In Tunisia, General Giraud deposed the Bey for collaboration with the Nazis.

12 May 1943. All resistance by Axis forces in North Africa was over.

7 May 1943. Tunis, and Bizerta, 60 miles NNW of Tunis, were recaptured by the Allies. See 14 November 1942.

6 May 1943, Final Allied offensive began in Tunisia, to oust the Axis from North Africa.

1 May 1943, In Tunisia, the Battle of Hill 609 ended as the U.S. Army's II Corps drove Germany's Afrika Korps from a strategic position.

22 April 1943, Intense Allied attacks in Tunisia. Axis forces there were short of supplies, as air and sea traffic became harder for them.

21 April 1943, Battle of Enfidaville. Montgomery attempted to break into the Axis bridgehead around Tunis. However he was not equipped for fighting in the mountainous terrain there and failed.

14 April 1943, Rommel evacuated his troops from Tunis. The Allies entered Tunis on 7 May 1943.

13 April 1943, Allied forces took Enfidaville, Tunisia.

12 April 1943, Allied forces took Sousse, Tunisia.

10 April 1943, The Allied 8th army took Sfax, Tunisia.

9 April 1943, The British 8th Army took Mahares, Tunisia, 50 miles north of Gabes.

6 April 1943, In north Africa, Rommel�s forces retreated north from Gabes gap, Tunisia, enabling British and US forces to link up.

31 March 1943, End of Patton�s thrust to the Eastern Dorsal, Tunisia. He secured the pass at Maknassy, but was halted just short of Fondouk and Faid.

29 March 1943, Montgomery broke through the Axis Mareth Line in north Africa.

26 March 1943, In Tunisia, New Zealand troops broke through the Tebaga Gap.

20 March 1943, Montgomery began an assault on the Mareth Line, Tunisia. He failed to breach it frontally, so sent the New Zealand Corps on a long outflanking manoeuvre through the Tebaga Gap.

19 March 1943, In Tunisia the Axis recaptured Sedjenane but achieved no major breakthrough.

26 February 1943, In Tunisia the Axis forces launched Operation Ox Head. They made some minor gains but achieved no major breakthrough

25 February 1943, US forces recaptured the Kasserine Pass, but the Allies have lost 10,000 casualties there.

23 February 1943, Rommel was appointed Commander in Chief, Army Group Afrika.

20 February 1943, US forces in North Africa suffered a heavy defeat by Rommel at the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia.

17 February 1943, Rommel captured Feriana, Tunisia, and made for the Kasserine Pass. Allied forces were in disarray.

10 February 1943, The Allied 8th Army reached the border of Tunisia.

23 January 1943, The British 8th army captured Tripoli from the Germans and Italians.

7 January 1943, Free French forces took Oul-el-Araneb, the main Axis base in southern Libya.


German push back, stalls

28 December 1942, British attacks on strategic hills in Tunisia were repulsed. The Allies now paused to regroup.

26 December 1942, Rommel was halted at Buerat, where he was ordered by Mussolini to make a stand.

13 December 1942, Rommel began to withdraw from El Agheila, back towards Tunisia.

10 December 1942, German tank infantry columns attacked Majaz al Bab in Tunisia but were repulsed

8 December 1942, German forces occupied the Tunisian city of Bizerte.

6 December 1942, German tanks broke through US positions at El Guettar, Tunisia.

3 December 1942, US and French troops seized Faid Pass, Algeria.

21 November 1942, The Allied advance in Algeria was delayed by the limitations of the local railway system and the rain having turned Allied airfields to mud. However the German airfields had been surfaced with concrete. Any delay., however. Allowed Germany to build up its opposition forces so the Allies resumed their advance on 24 November 1942.

20 November 1942, Benghazi re-occupied by the British.

18 November 1942, German commander Nehring order the French commander Barre to remove all obstacles barring the way to the Algerian border. The French did not comply.

14 November 1942, Bizerta, 60 miles NNW of Tunis, was captured by the Axis. See 7 May 1943.

13 November 1942, The Allies recaptured Tobruk, north Africa.Rommel�s army was in full retreat.

9 November 1942, The battle for Tunisia began. The Germans were determined to keep hold of it, as it denied the Allies the short Mediterranean sea route to Egypt and India, forcing them to take the much longer route around the Cape. This in turn tied up Allied shipping that could help defend the Atlantic route.

8 November 1942, Rommel retreated from Egypt into Libya.British and US forces took Algiers, a move which precipitated the German occupation of all of France.

7 November 1942, Allied troops landed in Vichy-French North Africa. 65,000 Allied troops and 650 warships under General Dwight Eisenhower landed in North Africa under Operation Torch to secure French North Africa and link up with Montgomery�s Eighth Army. Oran, Casablanca, and Algiers were the main landing points. Surprisingly little resistance was met and Bougie and Boune were soon occupied by paratroopers.

5 November 1942, The US landed large quantities of munitions on the Algerian coast for use by the Algerian Resistance.

4 November 1942, The second Battle of El Alamein ended after 12 days with Montgomery sending Rommel�s army into full retreat westwards. Axis losses were 2,000, but 30,000 Axis troops were taken PoW; Allied casualties were 13,500.

30 October 1942, Montgomery won a key victory at El Alamein. El Alamein was only 80 miles west of Alexandria. This began an Allied advance of 1,400 miles in six months, culminating in the clearance of Axis forces from North Africa.


26 October 1942, Troops for the Allied landings in Oran and Algiers set sail from The Clyde, Scotland. This was Opeartion Torch.

23 October 1942, The Second Battle of El Alamein began, see 30 October 1942 and 30 June 1942. The British forces had been reinforced and now numbered 230,000 men, against the 80,000 Axis army.

30 September 1942, The Allies seized key positions near El Alamein in a dawn raid.

23 September 1942, British troops captured Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar.

18 September 1942, The battle of El Alamein began with a barrage of one thousand guns aimed at Italian and German troops.

7 September 1942, The Battle of Alam Halfa, north Africa, ended. Rommel attacked the southern sector of the El Alamein Line, in an attempt to break through to the Suez Canal. Montgomery strengthened the Alam Halfa Ridge, which Rommel would have to capture once he had crossed the British minefields. Rommel cleared the minefields on 30-31 August then as expected swung north to attack the Ridge. Here Rommel was successfully repulsed by Montgomery. Montgomery did not make the mistake of counter-pursuing the Italians into the desert, which could have cost many Allied lives, but pounded the retreating Axis forces with air and ground artillery.

30 August 1942, The Battle of Alam Halfa, north Africa, began, see 7 September 1942.

19 August 1942, Montgomery became commander of the British Eight Army in North Africa.

27 July 1942, The first Battle of El Alamein ended after 27 days; the British under Auchinlek held back the Germans and Italians, preventing their advance into Egypt.

15 July 1942, At El Alamein the Allies struck at two Italian divisions, forcing Rommel to delay his offensive.

10 July 1942, Auchinlek mounted an assault on Italian troops at El Alamein. Rommel had to rush his forces northwards to counter this, where he held the Allies back.

9 July 1942, Rommel made at attackat Deirel Munassib, near El Alamein, Egypt. However the Allies had been forewarned and had already withdrawn. This misallocation of Rommel�s forces helped Auchinlek hit back further north.

30 June 1942, The First Battle of El Alamein began.It lasted till 25 July 1942, and prevented an Axis breakthrough to Cairo and the Suez Canal. See 23 October 1942.

28 June 1942, The Allied 8th Army retreated to El Alamein, north Africa.

27 June 1942, Rommel began to outflank the Allied defences at Mersah Matruh.

26 June 1942, Rommel began an attack eastwards at Mersa Matruh, eastern Libya.

25 June 1942. Auchinlek relieved Ritchie as Commander of the Allied Eight Army in Egypt. Ritchie had intended to stage a �do or die� last ditch defence at Mersa Matruh, eastern Libya. Auchinlek was more pragmatic and his main priority was keeping the Army as a viable fighting force. Auchinlek intended to hold Rommel at the El Alamein Line, and if that was broken, to mount a defence at Suez or back in Palestine.

22 June 1942. Rommel resumed his advance eastwards in Libya, and requested permission from Kesselring to go onwards into Egypt, because he had captured large stocks of war material in Tobruk.

21 June 1942, Tobruk fell to Rommel�s Afrika Corps (see 18 November 1941). 25,000 Allied troops were taken prisoner.

18 June 1942, Rommel made a swift and unexpected attack and isolated Tobruk by cutting the coast road at Gambut.

14 June 1942, Battle of Gazala. The Germans struck north to the Libyan coast in an effort to cut off British forces in the Gazala sector, but General Ritchie forced their withdrawal.

11 June 1942, Michael Kitzelmann, 26, German soldier, was executed for condemning Nazi atrocities.

26 May 1942. (1) The Germans attacked Bir Hakeim, an Allied fortified position in eastern Libya, about 90 kilometres south of Tobruk.�� The fort of Bir Hakeim was blocking the Axis advance towards El Alamein. Over the next two weeks the Luftwaffe flew 1,400 sorties against the fort, whilst 4 German / Italian divisions attacked on the ground.Despite an explosion destroying the fort�s ammunition dump, Bir Hakeim refused to surrender, and the Allies dropped food and water as British armoured cars brought in fresh ammunition by night.On the night of 10-11 June 1942 the French defenders retreated, leaving the badly wounded to hold the lines.

Although Bir Hakeim fell to the Axis forces, it did give the Allies time to regroup and hold the Axis advance at El Alamein.Without this, the Germans might have succeeded in occupying Egypt and taking the Suez Canal.

28 January 1942, German and Italian forces recaptured Benghazi.

21 January 1942, German offensive began in the Western Desert, Egypt.

17 January 1942, British forces captured Bardia, Libya

12 January 1942, In North Africa, the British took Sallum after a 56-day siege when the Germans ran out of ammunition.

6 January 1942, British forces advancing westwards through Libya reached Mersa Brega, near El Agheila.

24 December 1941, Benghazi recaptured by the British.

27 November 1941, Gondar, Abyssinia, captured by Allied forces.

20 November 1941, The German Afrika Korps gave battle over a broad area around Sidi Rezegh.

19 November 1941, Start of First Battle of Sidi Rezegh (ended 22 November 1941). Rommel captured the airfield from the Allies, who however managed to avoid encirclement and capture.

18 November 1941, Allies under General Auchinlek began Operation Crusader, ousting the Italians from North Africa. By 25 December 1941 the British gained territory and were back to where they were in February 1941. On 21 January 1942 Rommel hit back and Tobruk surrendered to him on 21/6 1942.

17 November 1941, British commando raids on German HQ at Tobruk, 300 kilometres behind enemy lines.

10 November 1941, The British launched Operation Flipper, a commando raid on the headquarters of Erwin Rommel in North Africa.

15 June 1941, British forces in Egypt launched Operation Battleaxe, to force the Italian army back through Libya and even relieve Tobruk.

22 May 1941, Allied forces captured Soddu, Somalia, from the Italians.

18 May 1941, Allied forces captured Amba Alagi, Somalia, from the Italians.

16 May 1941, In Libya, Rommel was ordered to attack Sollum, leaving the defence of Tobruk to the Italian Army.

12 May 1941. Urgently-needed reinforcements, tanks and aircraft, arrived at Alexandria, Egypt, to assist in driving Rommel out of Egypt back into Libya.

20 April 1941, The German Afrika Corps attacked Tobruk, Libya.

8 April 1941, Germans retook Doiran (Libya),

6 April 1941, Allied forces, including British, Indian, and South African troops, recaptured the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, from the Italians.

5 April 1941, The British army took Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

3 April 1941, Allied troops evacuated Benghazi in the face of Rommel�s advance. There was a pro-Axis coup d�etat in Iraq.

1 April 1941, Allied troops took the Eritrean capital, Asmara, four days after storming Keren.

29 March 1941, The Abyssinian town of Dire Dawa was captured by South African forces from the Italians, This cut the Addis Ababa to Djibouti railway and opened the way to attack the Ethiopian capital.

27 March 1941, The British took Keren and Hasara in Ethiopia, defeating an Eritrean-Italian force. At the Battle of Kerem, nearly 4,000 British and Indian soldiers had died.

21 March 1941, The Allies captured Jarabub, Libya.

16 March 1941, The Allies recaptured Berbera.

7 March 1941, The British army entered Ethiopia.

6 March 1941, Haile Selassie�s troops recaptured Burye from Italy.

5 March 1941, Germany dropped acoustic mines in the Suez Canal, closing it for 3 weeks whilst it was cleared, and delaying British war supplies to Greece and North Africa.

26 February 1941, In Koufra, Libya, LeClerc�s Free French forces blew up an Italian ammunition dump with 250 cases of bombs.

25 February 1941, Mogadishu, the main port of British Somaliland, was recaptured by the British from the Italians.

24 February 1941, First clashes between German troops and the British in Libya. The fighting took place at Nofilia, on the coast road between Sirte and El Agheila.

16 February 1941, The last Italians were expelled from Sudan.

15 February 1941, Allied forces took Kismaya.


14 February 1941. The first of Rommel�s Afrika Corps arrived in Tripoli.

7 February 1941, End of the Battle of Beda Fomm, north Africa (began 5 February 1941). Allied forces launched a surprise attack on the withdrawing Italian Tenth Army, at a point 96 km south of Benghazi. The Allies cut the coast road along which the Italians were retreating, capturing some 25,000 Italians as PoWs.

6 February 1941, The British 8th Army captured Benghazi in Libya.

4 February 1941, British forces occupied Maus, Libya.

3 February 1941, Cyrene re-occupied by the British.

1 February 1941, The RAF raided Tripoli, Libya.

31 January 1941, Allied forces captured the Italian garrison of Metemma. Somaliland.

24 January 1941, British forces under Cunningham invaded Italian Somaliland from Garissa and Bura in Kenya.

22 January 1941. Allied forces recaptured the Libyan port of Tobruk from Italy.

5 January 1941, The Italian garrison of Bardia in the Western Desert fell to the Allies, 5,000 Italians were taken as POWs. On 30 January 1941 the Italian garrison of Derna fell to General Wavell. Benghazi fell to the Allies on 6 February 1941.

15 December 1940. Italian troops were driven by the British back across the Libyan border from Egypt.

11 December 1940, British forces recaptured Sidi Barrani, western Egypt, from the Italians.

9 December 1940, British troops launched an attack on the Italians in the Western Desert.

29 September 1940, British warships bombarded the coastal road of Italian Libya.


Italian advance in Libya

16 September 1940, Italian forces reached Sidi Barani in the Western Desert, Egypt.Their aim was to capture the Suez Canal and open a route to the Persian oil fields


27 January 1941, The 4th Indian Division captured the town of Agordat in Eritrea.

19 January 1941, Kassala in Sudan re-occupied by the British.

27 November 1940, The last of the Italian forces occupying Abyssinia surrendered to the British.

26 August 1940, Mr Eboue, the Black Governor of the French colony of Chad, promised allegiance to General de Gaulle and Free France.

6 August 1940, The Italians captured Odweina in British Somaliland.

4 July 1940, Three weeks after Italy entered the War, Italian forces invaded Sudan, occupying Kassala, 300 kilometers east of Khartoum, They also occupied Gallabat, further south.


5) Middle East

25 August 1941, British and Soviet troops occupied Iran. This was a violation of Iran�s neutrality but was seen as a vital move to pre-empt German Fifth Columnists who might sabotage the oil installations.

9 July 1941, Allied forces invading the Levant against the Vichy French regime occupied Tyre.

3 July 1941, Allied forces took Palmyra (Syria) and Tabor (Abyssinia).

21 June 1941, British forces took Damascus, Syria.

9 June 1941, Allied forces occupied Tyre.

8 June 1941, A combined force of British and Free French invaded Syria.


Iraq liberated from pro-Nazi regime

16 January 1943, Iraq declared war on Germany, Italy, and Japan.

1 May 1942, Iraq was declared eligible for US Lend-Lease.

18 November 1941, Iraq broke off relations with Japan.

16 November 1941, Iraq broke off relations with Vichy France.

3 June 1941, Britain installed a pro-British regime in Baghdad.

1 June 1941, British forces occupied Baghdad.

30 May 1941, Anti-British politicians fled from Baghdad and Iraq asked for an armistice as British forces occupied the country.

28 May 1941, Allied forces captured Ur, Iraq.

20 May 1941, Italian East Africa forces surrendered to British Empire forces..

19 May 1941, British forces occupied Falluja, Iraq.

9 May 1941, British forces occupied Rutba, Iraq.

7 May 1941, The British Air Force forced the relief of the base at Habbaniya, see 29 April 1941.See 9 May 1941.

29 April 1941, The Iraqi Army laid siege to the British airbase at Habbaniya, se 7 May 1941.


6) America

22 August 1942, Brazil declared war on Germany and Italy. Besides participating in the defence of the South Atlantic against German U-boats, Brazil sent an expeditionary force to Italy in July 1944.

1 June 1942, Mexico declared war on the Axis.

11 December 1941. Hitler declared war on the USA, as did Italy, even though he had not yet conquered Russia or invaded Britain. The USA declared war on Germany and Italy.

19 June 1941, Germany and Italy expelled US consuls.

10 September 1939, Canada declared war on Germany.

7) Maritime

7 May 1945. The last ship sunk by German forces, the Avondale Park, was lost. See 4 September 1939.

11 January 1945, The British escort carrier HMS Thane was torpedoed in the Irish Sea and declared a total loss.

30 November 1944, HMS Vanguard, Britain�s largest and last battleship, was launched at Clydebank � see 20 October 1941.

12 November 1944, The last big German battleship, the Tirpitz, was sunk by the Lancaster bombers from the RAF, in Tromso Fjord, Norway. She had been lurking in Norwegian waters for several years, diverting Allied resources to protect Atlantic convoys. Three 5,500 kg bombs dropped on her decks resulted in the battleship turning turtle and sinking, trapping some 1,000 crewmen. A squadron of German fighter planes assigned to protect the Tirpitz did not even take off.

10 September 1944, RAF Bomber Command began Operation Paravane, another attack on the German battleship Tirpitz anchored in northern Norway.

22 August 1944, The Royal Navy began Operation Goodwood, a series of raids against the German battleship Tirpitz anchored in northern Norway.

3 April 1944, British aircraft bombed the German battleship Tirpitz, damaging her but failing to sink her.

26 December 1943, The German battleship Scharnhorst was sunk by the Royal Navy off the North Cape.

11 December 1943, Fighter planes protecting Allied bombers now carried �drop tanks�, 75 gallon auxiliary fuel tanks trapped to the side that could be jettisoned when empty. This extended the fighter flying range 9at a small cost of extra drag); previously, fighters often had had to turn back and leave the bombers unescorted for the last part of the mission, the most hazardous.

17 Ocotber 1943, The US submarine Tarpon sank the Michel, the last operational armed German merchant ship, off Japan.

23 September 1943, The German battleship Tirpitz was severely damaged and disabled.

22 May 1943, After a month of disastrous losses, Grand Admiral Karl Donitz ordered his U-boats out of the \North Atlantic. On 19 May 1943 his son Peter died when U-954 was sunk by an RAF Liberator bomber from Iceland. Allied losses from U-boats had declined sharply from 1942 when 8 million tons of shipping was lost. Even in March 1943 600,000 tons were sunk. However the Allies developed new shortwave radar that could detect U-boats surfacing to recharge their batteries (see 26 October 1940), also more powerful depth charges. A week earlier, 5 U-boats out of 33 were lost in an unsuccessful attack on convoy SC-130. The Allies were better at breaking Germans communications codes; from 24 codebreakers at the beginning of the war the Royal Navy now had 1,000 codebreakers, including historians, mathematicians and linguists, many of them German refugees. Listening posts to intercept German communications were scattered across Britain and British territories overseas.

15 March 1943, The British Navy launched its first midget submarine, the X-craft. It was just 50 feet long and five feet wide.

25 December 1942, The Allied convoy JW51A arrived at Murmansk unscathed.The German battleship Tirpitz had been sent south from Norway for a refit, and Allied aid convoys to Russia were now split in two to stretch German attack naval forces.

17 November 1942, British bombing raid against the German submarine base at St Nazaire.

2 October 1942, The British cruiser Curacao sank after colliding with the Queen Mary, 358 died.

28 March 1942, British commandos made a dawn raid on the French port of St Nazaire. In �Operation Chariot� they rammed an old destroyer, the Campbeltown, full of explosives, against the dock gate, putting the port out of action for the rest of the war.

25 November 1941, The Royal Navy battleship, HMS Barham, was sunk.

14 November 1941, The British aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, was sunk. She was torpedoed by a U-boat near Gibraltar; she was under tow to Gibraltar for repair when fire broke out, her list increased and she was abandoned.

11 November 1941, The British attacked several Italian Navy ships at anchor in the Gulf of Taranto.

30 October 1941, The USS Reuben James was attacked by a U-boat, killing 70 US sailors.

23 July 1941, The German battleship Scharnhorst was bombed at La Pallice (where she had been moved from Brest).

27 May 1941, The German battleship Bismarck was sunk by the battleships Prince of Wales, King George V, and Rodney, after torpedo attacks by Swordfish aircraft from the carrier Ark Royal.

24 May 1941, The German battleship Bismarck sank the 42,000 ton battle cruiser HMS Hood 13 miles off the coast of Greenland. Only 3 of her crew of 1,421 survived.

24 March 1941, The Battle of the Bismark began; Allied forces sunk the German battleship Bismark on 27 March 1941.

23 February 1941, German stukas sank a British destroyer off Tobruk.

9 February 1941, Allied naval bombardment of Genoa.

13 November 1940, HMS Ark Royal was sunk by an Italian submarine, near Gibraltar.

5 November 1940, HMS Jervis Bay was lost defending an Atlantic convoy from the German battleship Admiral Scheer.

30 October 1940, Sabotage attempt by Italian divers on British ships in Gibraltar Harbour; no damage resulted.

26 October 1940, German U-boats used new tactics developed by Admiral Karl Donitz to sink much Allied supply shipping. The U-boats operated in �wolf packs�, forming long lines then gathering when one boat spotted a convoy. They then outnumbered the defence ships. Allied shipping losses in October 1940 rose to 88,000 tons a week, eight times the average weekly loss in January 1940. Worse for the Allies, the U-boats could only be detected when underwater, not on the surface, where their low profile made them almost invisible. However see 22 May 1943.

21 October 1940, The Empress of Britain, en route to Canada with child refugees, was sunk by a German submarine. British warships rescued most of the 634 crew and passengers.

8 July 1940, The British Navy put the French warship Richelieu, moored at Dakar, out of action.

6 July 1940, The first U-boat base in France became operational at Lorient.

17 June 1940, The British troop ship Lancastria was sunk by German bombs off St Nazaire; 2,300 troops and crew were killed.

21 May 1941, British RAF reconnaissance spotted the German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prince Eugen in Bergan Harbour, Norway. The British sent ships to attack them early next day.

25 December 1940, Britsh battlecruisers Berwick and Bonaventure attacked the German battlecruiser Admiral Hipper, causing slight damage.

4 May 1940, A Polish destroyer, the Grom, was subj by German bombers near Narvik, Norway. Despite Germans onshore machine gunning the survivors in the water, some were rescued by British ships.

8 April 1940, Britain mined the waters off Norway. HMS Glow-Worm was sunk.

31 March 1940, By now, 753,803 tons of Allied shipping had been sunk by German submarines, and a further 281,154 tons sunk by German mines, and 36,189 tons by German air attack, all for a loss of just 18 German submarines.

20 February 1940, Hitler ordered his submarines to open fire on all neutral shipping in the waters around Britain. Britain had been allowing neutral ships to pass through the Dover straits after checking they were not carrying cargo to Germany. However Hitler wished to control neutral shipping, and force neutral nations to divert exports from Britain and France. Norway said that 50 Norwegian merchant ships have been sunk, although Norway was not a participant in the war. No USA ships had so far been hit, perhaps because of memories of the Lusitania.

16 February 1940, HMS Cossack regained 299 British POWs from the German naval auxiliary ship Altmark, which had ran aground in Norwegian waters.


Graf Spee scuttled off Uruguay

17 December 1939, The Graf Spee was scuttled in the River Plate, see 13 December 1939.The Uruguayan Government had refused to give her sanctuary.Her captain, Hans Landsdorf, shot himself, in the mistaken belief that a large British naval force was waiting for her to put to sea. Hitler sent an ultimatum, scuttle or fight; Landsdorf chose not to send his crew out to their deaths.

13 December 1939, The Battle of the River Plate began with British warships, Exeter, Ajax, and Achilles, attacking the German battleship Graf Spee. On 17 December 1939 the Graf Spee was scuttled in the River Plate.


28 November 1939. In reprisal for the German mining of British waters, the UK began a naval blockade of German ports.

24 November 1939, The German battleship Scharnhorst sank the British armed cruiser Rawalpindi. 270 men were drowned, and there were just 38 survivors, 27 of whom were picked up by the Germans.

21 November 1939, The German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau put to sea, to harry the sea routes to Britain in the North Atlantic.

4 September 1939, The British liner Athenia sank the day after being torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland. 93 lives were lost. She had sailed from Liverpool on 2 September 1939 on her way to Montreal, and was informed about the outbreak of war at on the 3rd. She sank with the loss of 19 crew and 93 passengers. This was the start of the Battle of the Atlantic. The last ship sunk was the British Avondale Park on 7 May 1945. The German fleet was attacked by the RAF.

19 August 1939, Because of the tense international situation, Germany sent 14 U boats out to patrol the Atlantic. Later in August Germany also deployed the pocket battleships Graf Spee and Deutschland.

8) Air/Rocket war

7 April 1945, Germany sent out 120 student pilots to face 1,000 American bomber planes with the objective of ramming their planes into the U.S. aircraft and then parachuting to safety. Only a few of the pilots managed to hit the bombers and three-quarters of the Luftwaffe pilots were shot down.

3 March 1945, Germany deployed 30 of its latest jet fighters against the Allies. The jets were individually superior to the Allied planes, but were too few in number, with too short an operational time, to significantly hamper allied operations.

9 February 1945, 2,000 US Air Force bombers, escorted by 900 fighter aircraft, hit oil targets across Germany. By now the entire Western Luftwaffe�s fighter strength was only around 900 aircraft; this US offensive cost the Luftwaffe a further 80 aircraft.

8 November 1944, Joseph Goebbels announced the V-2 rocket campaign for the first time. Winston Churchill followed suit and finally announced that England had been under rocket attack, providing the people of London with an explanation for all the mysterious explosions of recent weeks.

8 September 1944, The first V-2 fell in on Chiswick in the London area, killing three people. By the end of the war, 1,100 V-2s fell in England an a further 1,675 on the continent, mainly on Antwerp.V-2 stood for Vergeltungswaffe, or �reprisal weapon�. The V-2 rocket weighed 12 tons and travelled at 3,600 mph, faster than sound, so there was no warning of its imminent arrival. It had a range of 200 miles and carried a one ton bomb. The Germans fired them from launchers in The Netherlands, but the explosions in London were attributed, by the authorities, to gas explosions to mislead the German intelligence. The earlier V-1 rocket was slower and had a shorter range; V-1 strikes on London ceased as the Allies captured the launch sites in France.

6 March 1944. US planes began daylight bombing raids on Berlin, flying from bases in Britain.

4 March 1944, First US Air Force daylight raid on Berlin. 80 of 600 bombers were lost.

20 January 1944, The RAF dropped 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.

29 December 1943, Bombing of Berlin resumed after a Christmas halt, in one of the heaviest raids by the Royal Air Force up to that time, dropping incendiaries through a thick layer of clouds during a night-time attack.

24 December 1943, British bombing raid on Berlin.

16 December 1943, RAF bomber raid on the V-weapons sites in France. The raid was not a success.

13 December 1943, 710 US bomber planes made raids on Bremen and Kiel.

22 November 1943, A major RAF raid on Berlin destroyed the armaments ministry, the Charlottenburg Palace, and the British Embassy.A church at the end of the Kurfurstendamm, the main shopping street in Berlin, was also destroyed, but its bell tower was rebuilt as a landmark in post-War Berlin.

19 November 1943, British airfields used FIDO (Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation) to clear fog from runways (by burning fuel at the side of the runway to warm the air and evaporate the fog droplets).FIDO was used this day to help bombers returning from the Ruhr.

2 November 1943, Allied air raid on the Me109 factory at Wiener-Neustadt. Considerable damage was done but 11 out of 110 bombers were lost.

22 October 1943, Heavy British air raid on the German city of Kassel, destroying German air craft and rocket manufacturing facilities.

14 October 1943, US bombers mounted a raid on the German ball bearings factory at Schweinfurt. However little damage was done but US losses were heavy. 60 bombers out of 291 were lost.

10 October 1943, US Flying Fortress aircraft bombed the islands of Crete and Rhodes.

24 September 1943, Repairs were finished on the M�hne river dam, which had been heavily damaged in a British bombing raid on May 16; the Edersee Dam, which had been bombed in the same raid, was restored to full operation six days later.

22 August 1943, A prototype German V1 rocket landed on the Danish island of Bornholm. An Allied agent managed to photograph it before it was recovered.

2 August 1943, Hamburg was seriously damaged by Allied aircraft, at a cost of 87 British aircraft. The RAF had considerably enlarged its bomber force; in January 1943 the RAF only had 260 heavy bombers, but now it regularly sent 700 bombers on a single raid, One million civilians had fled the city after three nights of bombing, and 40,000 were killed. 7,000 tons of bombs destroyed 10 square miles of Hamburg, creating a 1,000 C firestorm, and U-boat construction yards were severely damaged. The RAF used Pathfinder aircraft to drop marker bombs on the target city, then release masses of aluminium foil to confuse enemy radar, followed by the main bomber raid. The scale of these raids forced Hitler to withdraw Luftwaffe forces from the Russian front, where in August 1943 just 20% of Luftwaffe strength was then deployed. Albert Speer, Hitler�s Minister for War Production, feared that just six more raids on the scale of Hamburg could bring Germany to its knees.

25 June 1943, A British bombing raid on Wuppertal left 870 of the city�s 920 acres in ruins.

20 June 1943, The RAF began Operation Bellicose; bombers left Britain to hit the steelworks at Friedrichshafen, then flew on to Algeria, then on the return flight they bombed the Italian naval base at La Spezia. The British did not know that the Friedrichshafen works also contained the assembly line for V2 rockets, and these raids caused the assembly line to be abandoned.

13 June 1943, Heavy losses on a bombing raid against Kiel, with 26 out of 60 B17 bombers lost.

12 June 1943, Dusseldorf suffered its heaviest air raid of the war when 693 bombers dropped 2,000 tons of bombs in the space of 45 minutes.

23 May 1943, Heavy bombing raid with 826 bombers against Dusseldorf.

16 May 1943 (1) The RAF launched its �Dambuster� raid on the Ruhr dams, which had provided power to Germany�s industrial heartland. The Mohne, Eder, and Sorpe dams were destroyed by special �bouncing bombs� designed by Dr Barnes Wallis; these bombs could skip over barriers placed in the dam lakes. The bombing squadron consisted of 19 Lancaster bombers from 617 squadron, from Scampton, led by Guy Gibson. The dams were destroyed, but less than half the bombers returned to the UK.

2 May 1943, The RAF bombed Berlin.

27 April 1943, Britain started up the �Ground Grocer� system for jamming the German early warning air raid system.

24 April 1943, Heavy bombing raid on Dortmund.

5 April 1943, Heavy British air raid on Kiel, 1,400 bombs were dropped. Meanwhile US planes bombed the Renault tank assembly lines near Paris.

3 April 1943, British bombers dropped 900 tons of bombs on the Krupp factory at Essen.

27 March 1943, In the heaviest air raid on the German capital so far, 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Berlin by the RAF

6 March 1943,The RAF pounded the Ruhr city of Essen.

30 January 1943, The RAF made its first daytime raid on Berlin.

27 January 1943, Air raids on Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The USA made its first bombing raid on Germany.

20 January 1943, Germany recommenced heavy air raids on Britain. In one week, 328 civilians were killed, including 39 schoolchildren this day when a school, in Lewisham was hit.

24 December 1942, At Peenemunde, Werner von Braun perfected the first flying bomb.

24 October 1942, RAF bombing raids on Genoa and Milan.

10 September 1942, The RAF dropped 100,000 bombs on Dusseldorf in a single raid.

23 August 1942, The Luftwaffe mounted a bombing raid on Stalingrad, with 600 aircraft.

17 August 1942, Daylight air raids by the Allies began, with a raid on the railway marshalling yards of Rouen. The first US bombing raids in Europe.

11 August 1942, Sir Barnes Wallis, born on 26 September 1887, patented the bouncing bomb, which was used against the German Mohne and Eder dams in 1943 by the RAF Dambusters Squadron.

16 July 1942, The RAF made its first daylight raid on the Ruhr.

25 June 1942, The RAF launched a 1,000 bomber raid on Bremen.

31 May 1942, An air raid of 1,000 planes was made against Cologne. 1,455 tons of bombs were dropped in 90 minutes. 2,300 separate fires started, destroying over 3,000 buildings. 45,000 people were made homeless.

19 May 1942, British bombing raid on Mannheim

17 May 1942, Churchill agreed to Harris� plan for a 1,000 bomber raid on Germany.

28 April 1942, Bombing raid on Rostock, Germany. The target was the large Heinkel military aircraft factory there.

30 March 1942, The first 1,000 bomber raid took place on Cologne.

28 March 1942, The RAF began continuous bombing of German munitions factories. They also raided Lubeck and Rostock, Germany. These were coastal targets, easy to find and highly combustible.Lubeck, with its naval stores, oil tanks, submarine shipyards, and naval school, was 40% (200 acres) destroyed.

14 February 1942, A controversial �Area Bombing� directive by the RAF meant that German civilian areas were now targets for future bombing raids.

15 November 1941, RAF raids on Boulogne and Emden.

8 November 1941, The RAF suffered major losses from a costly bombing raid into Germany.

13 October 1941, RAF raid on Nuremberg.

1 October 1941, RAF raid on Stuttgart.

14 September 1941, RAF pilots were now tutoring Russians how to fly British-supplied Hurricane fighter planes.

11 September 1941, In Britain the RAF took delivery of its first Hawker Typhoon jet fighter plane.

21 August 1941, The first of the Arctic Convoys left Scapa Flow, Scotland, taking military supplies to Russia, including Hurricane fighter planes.

8 August 1941, The Soviet air force raided Berlin for the first time, in revenge for the 22 July raid.

25 July 1941, RAF raid on Berlin.

22 July 1941, Germany made its first bombing raid on Moscow.

21 July 1941, First German air raid on Monaco.

7 June 1941, Allied air raid on German navy at Brest, France.

13 May 1941, The Royal Air Force bombed Heligoland.

8 May 1941, Allied air raid on Bremen.

8 April 1941, Heavy air raid on Coventry.

23 March 1941, RAF raids on Berlin, Kiel and Hanover.

16 March 1941, Heavy air raid on Bristol.

14 March 1941, RAF raids on Dusseldorf and Lorient.

31 January 1941, Allied air raid on Emden.

1 January 1941, 141 aircraft of the Royal Air Force bombed the Focke-Wulf aircraft production plant south of Bremen.

16 December 1940, Bombing of Mannheim: The first area bombardment of a German city was conducted by the Royal Air Force when 134 bombers attacked Mannheim during the night, starting large fires on both banks of the Rhine.

30 November 1940. In Britain, 4,588 had been killed and 6,202 injured in air raids during November.

29 November 1940. Major Luftwaffe raid on Liverpool.

26 November 1940, RAF raid on Cologne,

20 November 1940, Luftwaffe planes made a nine-hour raid on Birmingham.

18 November 1940, RAF raid on Pilsen.

11 November 1940, The Italian Fleet at Tarantino was crippled in a raid by naval planes of the British Fleet Air Arm.

8 November 1940, British air raid on Munich.

1 November 1940, Allied air raid on Naples.

24 September 1940, Gibraltar was bombed by French aircraft.

14 September 1940, The RAF heavily bombed Antwerp.

9 September 1940, The RAF carried out a three-hour raid on Hamburg.

25 July 1940, Italian bomber planes attacked British naval bases at Haifa and Alexandria.

18 July 1940, In retaliation for the British bombing the French Navy in Algeria, French Air Force planes from Morocco half-heartedly bombed Gibraltar. Most of their bombs fell in the sea, though 3 were killed and 11 wounded on the Rock. French planes also bombed Gibraltar on 24 September 1940 dropping a total of 450 bombs; again most fell in the sea and damage was minimal.

9 July 1940, The RAF began night raids on Germany.

17 May 1940, The Dutch town of Middelburg was bombed by the German Luftwaffe, to force the surrender of the Dutch armies in Zeeland.

23 April 1940, RAF bombing raid on Nazi-occupied Norwegian airfields near Oslo.

21 April 1940, The RAF raided Nazi forces at the Danish airbase of Aalborg.

6 April 1940, After dropping a total of 65 million leafkets over Germany, the RAF suspended these operations.

19 March 1940, The RAF attempted to bomb the German submarine base at Hornum, in the North Sea. However a subsequent reconnaissance flight showed no damage had been done. In fact the British navigator had directed the bombers to the Danish island of Bornholm, in the Baltic.

3 December 1939, RAF raids on warships at Heligoland.

31 October 1939, First dogfight between British and German aircraft over France.

20 September 1939, The first German aircraft, a Messerschmitt, was shot down, by gunner Sergeant Letchford.

4 September 1939, The RAF dropped 6 million leaflets over Germany. It also bombed Wilhelmshaven.

For the World War Two period, 1 September 1939 to 9 May 1945, the timeline for France-Germany has been split into the following categories;

1) France-Germany �home� (non-war) events

2) Eastern Front (East Europe, Finland, Russia, Greece)

3) Western Front (France, Benelux, Britain, west Germany)

3)a)Scandinavia ex. Finland.

3)b) Italy, Malta

4) Africa

5) Middle East

6) America

7) Maritime

8) Air war.

Click here for map of Europe under Nazi occupation in 1941.

See USA for World War Two events and United States

See China/Japan/Korea for World War Two in Pacific

For Jewish persecution in World War Two, see Israel, Judaism

See also Great Britain, London.

The start of major fighting in World War Two. Hostilities began between Germany and Poland, and Germany and France.


9.0, Germany invaded Poland, 1939; start of World War Two, with Britain and France involved

31 August 1939, In Gleiwitz, a small German town close to the border with Poland, a small force of Nazi agents, dressed in Polish Army uniforms, took over the local radio station and broadcast anti-German propaganda in Polish. They then took bodies from Dachau concentration camp, dressed these in Polish Army uniforms, and mutilated the corpses to make identification impossible. Within a few hours Adolf Hitler was denouncing the �Gleiwitz Incident� in the German Reichstag and using it as a pretext to invade Poland.

26 August 1939, Daladier and Chamberlain attempted to negotiate with Hitler, but nothing was achieved.

25 August 1939, Britain signed an assistance pact with Poland, the Anglo-Polish Alliance. Britain had seen Hitler seize Czechoslovakia, in breach of the Munich Agreement; Hitler was now demanding the return of Gdansk (Danzig) and the coastal strip of land linking Germany to East Prussia (depriving Poland of its Baltic coast).Britain therefore abandoned its policy of appeasement with Germany.

23 August 1939. Hitler and the USSR concluded a 20 year non-aggression pact, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This left Hitler free to invade Poland.Hitler believed the German-Soviet pact would lead France and Britain to withdraw their guarantees of assistance to Poland.When instead Britain reaffirmed its support for Poland on 25 August 1939, Hitler postponed the attack on Poland, originally scheduled for the night of 25-26 August 1939.�� Diplomatic moves with Britain failed to dislodge UK support for Poland, and Hitler invaded on 1 September 1939.

22 August 1939, Hitler gave the Obersalzberg Speech to commanders of the Wehrmacht, detailing the pending invasion of Poland and plans for extermination of the Poles.

3 April 1939, Hitler ordered his generals to prepare plans for invading Poland.

31 March 1939. The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, pledged to defend Poland, if attacked by Germany; so did France.

28 March 1939. Hitler�s deputy Von Ribbentrop signed an agreement with the USSR that they would both invade Poland. See 31 March 1939 and 1 September 1939.

27 March 1939, Nazi Germany began an anti-Polish propaganda campaign against �oppression of Germans in German lands now controlled by Poles�.

Germany invaded Poland; start of World War Two, with Britain and France involved.


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