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9: British forces take Maungdaw, Burma, a critical port for Allied supplies.
11: Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister and Mussolini's son-in-law, is executed by Mussolini's revived Fascist government sympathizers.
12: The SS United Victory, the first Victory ship, is launched; this class of transport will prove to be crucial in hauling men and supplies across the oceans.
16: General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in London, returning from a week of rest and planning in Washington, D. C., and assumed command of the European Theater by General Orders No. 4. His new title was Commanding General, U.S. Forces, European Theater of Operations.
22: Allies begin Operation Shingle, the landing at Anzio, Italy, commanded by American Major General John P. Lucas. The Allies hope to break the stalemate in south Italy, but they are unable to break out of the beachhead and the line holds until late May. The minesweeper USS Portent(AM-106), commanded by Lt. H.C. Plummer, hit a mine and sank southeast of Anzio, Italy.
27: The Siege of Leningrad ended after 872 days, as Soviet forces finally forced the Germans to withdraw. Some 2 million died, mostly of starvation and disease.
28: The Soviet Army completes encirclement of two German Army corps at the Korsun pocket, south of Kiev. Two-thirds of the Germans escape in the breakout next month with the loss of most heavy equipment.
15: The second Battle of Monte Cassino begins with the destruction of the historic Benedictine monastery on Monte Cassino by Allied bombing. The Allies believed the grounds were used as an observation post by the Germans. : The Soviet bridgehead on the west coast of Lake Peipus is annihilated. : Soviet Leningrad Front initiates the Narva Offensive, February 15–28.
16: Germans launch a major counter-attack at Anzio, threatening the American beachhead. : Germans, with Panzer forces leading, fail to break out of the Korsun pocket. : Diplomats from the USSR and Finland meet to sign an armistice.
18: The light cruiser HMS Penelope is torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Anzio with a loss of 415 crew. : American naval air raid takes place on the Truk islands, a major Japanese naval base, but they will be one of the bypassed fortresses of the Japanese outer defence ring.
19: Leipzig, Germany is bombed for two straight nights. This marks the beginning of a "Big Week" bombing campaign against German industrial cities by Allied bombers.
26: The "Big Week" bombing campaign comes to a successful conclusion; the American P-51 Mustang fighter with its long range proves invaluable in protecting American bombers over Germany. : Red Air Force continues to bomb Helsinki, as Finland continues peace talks.
27: USS Cod sinks a Japanese merchant ship by torpedo.
29: The Admiralty Islands are invaded by U.S. forces, marked by the Battle of Los Negros and Operation Brewer. The struggle for this important fleet anchorage will continue until May. Rabaul is now completely isolated.
3: German forces around Anzio, having failed to drive the Allies from the beachhead, go over to a defensive posture.
6: Wingate's Chindits make several successful forays in Burma. : The Soviet Air Force bombs Narva, the city is destroyed. The Leningrad Front initiates the Narva Offensive, March 6–24. : The Allies receive intelligence that the Japanese may be about to attack Western Australia, causing them to greatly bolster defenses there. When no attack comes, forces return to their regular stations on the 20th.
7: Japanese begin an invasion attempt on India, starting a four-month battle around Imphal.
8: American forces are attacked by Japanese troops on Hill 700 in the Bougainville; the battle that will last five days. : A Red Army offensive on a wide front west of the Dnieper in the Ukraine forces the Germans into a major retreat.
9: The Soviet Long Range Aviation carries out an air raid on Tallinn, Estonia. The military objects are almost untouched. Approx. 800 civilians die and 20,000 people are left without a shelter.
15: The third Battle of Monte Cassino begins. The small town of Cassino is destroyed by Allied bombers. : Americans take Manus Island in the Admiralty chain. : The National Council of the French Resistance approves the Resistance programme.
20: Red Army advances in the Ukraine continue with great success.
21: Finland rejects Soviet peace terms.
22: Japanese forces cross the Indian border all along the Imphal front. : Frankfurt is bombed with heavy civilian losses.
24: The Fosse Ardeatine massacre in Rome, Italy. 335 Italians are killed, including 75 Jews and over 200 members of various groups in the Italian Resistance; this is a German response to a bomb blast that killed German troops. : Orde Wingate is killed in a plane crash. : Heavy bombings of German cities at various strategic locations last for 24 hours.
25: Soviet air force bombs the city of Tartu, Estonia.
25: LTG George Patton suffered yet another controversy setback, when giving a speech at the welcome Center in Knutsford, England. He opined that "the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union" were destined to rule the post-war world. A reporter's story the next day left out Soviet Union, and the Kremlin was offended; Patton was reprimanded by Eisenhower.
27: The Slapton Sands tragedy: hundreds of American soldiers and sailors are killed over two days in a training exercise in preparation for D-Day at Slapton in Devon.
30: Vast preparations for D-Day are going on all over southern England. : American navy air raids continue in the Caroline Islands, including Truk.
6: Heavy Allied bombings of the Continent in preparation for D-Day.
11: The fourth battle of Monte Cassino begins led by general Anders of the 2nd Polish Corps.
12: Large numbers of Chinese troops invade northern Burma.
13: The entirety of Crimea is under Soviet control. Many thousands of German and Romanian soldiers have been captured, but many thousands have been evacuated. : The bridgehead over the Gari River is reinforced.
15: More than 130 Allied political leaders and military officers, including King George VI, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower, LTG George S. Patton, GEN Bernard L. Montgomery, and LTG John C. H. Lee met for the final joint briefing for D-Day at St. Paul's School in Hammersmith, west of London, England.
18: The Battle of Monte Cassino ends in Allied victory. Polish troops of the 2nd Polish Corps led by general Władysław Anders capture Monte Cassino. German troops in west Italy have withdrawn to the Hitler Line. : Allied troops take airfields at Myitkyina, Burma, an important air base; the struggle over the city itself will continue for nearly three months. : The last Japanese resistance in the Admiralty Islands, off New Guinea comes to an end.
21: Increased Allied bombing of targets in France in preparation for D-Day.
25: Allies at Anzio link up with Allies from south Italy. Though Harold Alexander wishes to trap the German Tenth Army, American Fifth Army commander Mark W. Clark orders Truscott to turn north toward Rome. The Germans in Italy form a new defensive position on the Caesar C line.
3: There are daily bombings of the Cherbourg peninsula and the Normandy area.
4: Allies enter Rome, one day after the Germans declared it an open city. German troops fall back to the Trasimene Line. : Operation Overlord is postponed 24 hours due to high seas. German U-505 is captured by US forces, and towed to Bermuda.
5: Operation Overlord commences when more than 1,000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day. : The first Allied troops land in Normandy; paratroopers are scattered from Caen southward. : In the Pacific, the U.S. fleet transporting the expeditionary forces for the invasion of Saipan in the Mariana Islands leaves Pearl Harbor.
6: D-Day begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in France. The Allied soldiers quickly break through the Atlantic Wall and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
9: No agreement having been reached on their mutual borders, Soviet forces launch an offensive against Finland with the intent of defeating Finland before pushing for Berlin.
6 June 1944: A Navy LCVP disembarks troops at Omaha Beach.
10: At Oradour-sur-Glane (a town near Limoges), France, 642 men, women, and children are killed in a German response to local Resistance activities. : In the Distomo massacre in Greece, 218 civilians are killed.
12: American aircraft carriers commence air strikes on the Marianas, including Saipan, preparing for invasion.
13: Germany launches a V1 Flying Bomb attack on England, in Hitler's view a kind of revenge for the invasion. He believes in Germany's victory with this "secret weapon". The V-1 attacks will continue through October, when the last launch site is taken by Allied forces. : The U.S. Naval bombardment of Saipan begins. In response, Admiral Toyoda Soemu, commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy, orders his fleet to attack U.S. Navy forces around Saipan.
15: U.S. Marine and Army forces invade the island of Saipan. U.S. submarines sight the Japanese fleet en route.
27: San Marino is bombed by the Allies, under the belief that Axis forces had been stationed there
1: The Leningrad diarist Tanya Savicheva dies of starvation at the age of 14. Her diary of her family's death during the siege becomes famous.
2: V-1s continue to have devastating effects in South-East England in terms of material destruction and losses of life.
3: Minsk in Belarus is liberated by Soviet forces. : The Allies find themselves in the "battle of the hedgerows", as they are stymied by the agricultural hedges in Western France which intelligence had not properly evaluated. Various impromptu devices and inventions, often made out of cut-up German "hedgehog" shore defense devices and mounted to Allied tanks, are designed and made to successfully deal with the matter. : Siena, Italy falls to Algerian troops of the French forces.
6: Largest Banzai charge of the war: 4,300 Japanese troops are slaughtered on Saipan.
7: Soviet troops enter Vilnius, Lithuania.
9: After heavy resistance Caen, France, is liberated by the British troops on the left flank of the Allied advance. : Saipan is declared secure, the Japanese having lost over 30,000 troops; in the last stages numerous civilians commit suicide with the encouragement of Japanese military.
10: Japanese are still resisting on New Guinea. : Tokyo is bombed for the first time since the Doolittle raid of April 1942.
11: President Roosevelt announces that he will run for an unprecedented fourth term as U.S. President.
12: Hitler rejects General Field Marshal Walther Model's proposal to withdraw the German forces from Estonia and Northern Latvia and retreat to the Daugava River.
17: Field Marshal Rommel is badly wounded when his car is strafed from the air in France.
18: General Hideki Tojo resigns as chief minister of the Japanese government as the defeats of the Japanese military forces continue to mount. Emperor Hirohito asks General Kuniaki Koiso to form a new government. : St. Lo, France is taken, and the Allied breakout from hedgerow country in Normandy begins.
19: American forces take Leghorn (Livorno), Italy far up the Italian boot.
20: The July 20 Plot is carried out by Col. Claus von Stauffenberg in a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. Hitler was visiting headquarters at Rastenburg, East Prussia. Reprisals follow against the plotters and their families, and even include Rommel.
21: US Marines land on Guam.
22: Hitler gives permission to retreat from the Narva River to the Tannenberg defence line in the Sinimäed hills 20 km West from Narva.
24: Marines land on Tinian Island, last of the Marianas (after Saipan and Guam); Tinian will eventually be a B-29 base, and the base from which the atomic bombers departed. : Operation Cobra is now in full swing: the breakout at St. Lo in Normandy with American troops taking Coutances. : At the start of the Soviet Narva Offensive, July 24–30, the Soviet 8th Army is beaten by the Estonian 45th Regiment and East Prussian 44th Regiment. The army detachment "Narwa" begins to retreat to the Tannenberg line. : Majdanek Concentration Camp is liberated by Soviet forces, the first among many. The Soviet Union is now in control of several large cities in Poland, including Lublin. : US bombers mistakenly bomb American troops near St. Lo, France.
27 July to 10 August: Battles on the Tannenberg Line. At the start of the battles there are 25 Estonian and 24 Dutch, Danish and Flemish infantry battalions on the German side at the Narva Front. The artillery forces, and the tank, engineer and other special units are composed mainly of Germans. The attack by the Soviet Armed Forces is stopped, tens of thousands of men are killed in both sides.
1: The Warsaw Uprising, staged by the Polish Home Army, begins: the Polish people rise up, expecting aid from the approaching Soviet Union armies, but it never comes. : The Red Army isolates the Baltic States from East Prussia by taking Kaunas. : The Americans complete the capture of the island of Tinian.
3: Allied U.S. and Chinese troops under Stilwell overcome a vigorous Japanese defense and take Myitkyina, in northern Burma.
4: Florence is liberated by the Allies, particularly British and South African troops. Before exiting, the Germans under General Albert Kesselring destroy some historic bridges and historically valuable buildings. : Rennes, France, is liberated by American forces.
10: Guam is liberated by American troops; all of the Marianas are now in American hands. They will be turned into a major air and naval centre against the Japanese homeland. :USAAF bombers attack Palembang in the Dutch East Indies
14: The failure of the Allies to close the Falaise pocket in France proves advantageous to the Germans fleeing to the east who escape the pincer movement of the Allies. : A clash between Italian POWs and American servicemen ends in the Fort Lawton Riot
18: Following the assassination of a collaborationist politician in Belgium by the resistance, 20 civilians are massacred in Courcelles by paramilitaries in retaliation. : The Red Army reaches the East Prussian border.
19: The French Resistance begins an uprising in Paris, partly inspired by the Allied approach to the Seine River. : In a radio broadcast, Jüri Uluots, the acting Head of State of Estonia, calls the Estonian conscripts to hold the Soviet Armed Forces back until a peace treaty with Germany is signed.
Polish Boy Scouts played an important role in the Warsaw Uprising.
22: The Japanese are now in total retreat from India. : German Chancellor Adolf Hitler issued the first of several orders to the German commander of Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz, to destroy the city.
23: Romania breaks with the Axis, surrenders to the Soviet Union, and joins the Allies.
25: Paris is liberated; De Gaulle makes a triumphant speech at the Hotel de la Ville, which is also broadcast nationwide. The German military under Lt. Gen. von Choltitz disobeys Hitler's orders to burn the city and destroy all bridges over the Seine. Meanwhile, the southern Allied forces move up from the Riviera, take Grenoble and Avignon.
26: De Gaulle and the Free French parade triumphantly down the Champs-Élysées under some sniper fire.
28: The Germans surrender at Toulon and Marseille in southern France. : Patton's tanks cross the Marne.
6: The "blackout" is diminished to a "dim-out" as threat of invasion and further bombing seems an unlikely possibility. : Ghent and Liège are liberated by British troops.
8: Ostend is liberated by Canadian troops. : Soviet troops enter Bulgaria. : The Belgian government in exile returns to Belgium from London where it has spent the war. : The first successful operational use of the German V-2 rocket took place: two were launched at London, and one at Paris. A woman was killed by one that fell on the Chiswick area of London.
10: Luxembourg is liberated by U.S. First Army. : Two Allied forces meet at Dijon, cutting France in half. : First Allied troops enter Germany, entering Aachen, a city on the border. : Dutch railway workers go on strike. The German response results in the Dutch famine of 1944.
20: The Government of Estonia seizes the government buildings of Toompea from the German forces and appeals to the Soviet Union for the independence of Estonia. The Soviet advance sparks a major Estonian civil evacuation abroad, with ca. 80,000 people (7% of the pre-war population) fleeing mostly over the Baltic Sea to Sweden. : United States XVI Corps arrives in European Theater.
21: British forces take Rimini, Italy. : The Second Dumbarton Oaks Conference begins: it will set guidelines for the United Nations. : In Belgium, Charles of Flanders is sworn in as Prince-Regent while a decision is delayed about whether King Leopold III can ever return to his functions after being accused of collaboration. : San Marino declares war on the Axis. : The Government of Estonia prints a few hundred copies of the Riigi Teataja (State Gazette) and is forced to flee under Soviet pressure.
23: Americans take Ulithi atoll in the Caroline Islands; it is a massive atoll that will later become an important naval base.
24: The Red Army is well into Poland at this time. The Estonian government of Otto Tief fails to evacuate from Western Estonia and disbands, with most members of the government eventually captured by the Soviets.
25: British troops pull out of Arnhem with the failure of Operation Market Garden. Over 6,000 paratroopers are captured; of the British 1st Airborne Division, just under 8,000 of the 10,005 paratroopers are declared casualties, a staggering 80% loss. : United StatesIX Corps arrives in Pacific Theater.
26: In Caserta, Italy the Greek government in exile concluded an agreement with various guerrilla leaders who acknowledged its authority. There are signs of civil war in Greece as the Communist-controlled National Liberation Front and the British-backed government seem irreconcilable.
28: Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., dead of a heart attack on 12 July 1944, is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership and actions on D-Day at Utah Beach. :The Soviets capture entire mainland Estonia.
5: Canadian troops cross the border into the Netherlands. : The Red Army enters Hungary and also launch an offensive to capture Riga, Latvia.
6: Soviet and Czechoslovak troops enter northeastern Slovakia. : The Battle of Debrecen begins as German and Soviet forces advance against each other in eastern Hungary.
7: A riot took place at Auschwitz concentration camp when the Sonderkommando Jewish collaborators came to understand that they also were slated for extermination. Over 450 were killed in suppressing the revolt, along with many others who escaped the camp in the melee.
23: The Allies recognise General de Gaulle as the head of a provisional government of France. : B-29s are now using Tinian Island, in the Marianas, as a base for the systematic bombing of Japan. : Soviet forces in cooperation with Tito's Partizan forces, liberated Novi Sad in Yugoslavia.
25: Three distinct air engagements in the Battle of Leyte Gulf take place as U.S. Navy carrier-based planes destroy many Japanese ships in the waters off the Philippines. :Romania is fully liberated by Red Army and Romanian troops.
27: The Battle of Hürtgen Forest is developing. It will continue through October and November and have its last attacks in December.
1: British forces occupy Salonika, Greece, and distribute food in Athens, which is experiencing famine. : "Operation Infatuate", an Allied attempt to free the approaches to Antwerp begins; amphibious landings take place on Walcheren Island.
2: Canadian troops take Zeebrugge in Belgium; Belgium is now entirely liberated.
4: Remaining Axis forces withdraw from the Greek mainland. German occupation forces will remain in several Greek islands until capitulation.
17: The Germans give up Tirana, Albania which is liberated by local partisans.
20: Hitler leaves his wartime headquarters at Rastenberg, East Prussia, never to return; he goes to Berlin, where he will soon establish himself at the bunker.
23: Metz, France is taken, and Strasbourg, in eastern France, is liberated by French troops.
24: The first B-29 originating from Tinian, in the Marianas, raids Tokyo.
25: Japanese take Nanning in south China, as the war in that theatre continues. : The USS Intrepid is hit by kamikazes for the third time; other American ships are heavily damaged. : Soviet forces capture Saaremaa island, the last major German outpost in Estonia, culminating the Moonsund Landing Operation.
26: The war in Italy is at a stalemate, partly because of heavy rains.
Heinrich Himmler orders the crematoriums and gas chambers of Auschwitz II-Birkenau dismantled and blown up.
28: Antwerp is now a major supply port for the onward moving Allies.
3:The British army and the police shoot unarmed protestors in Athens; the crowd carried Greek, American, British and Soviet flags, and chanted: "Viva Churchill, Viva Roosevelt, Viva Stalin’"
3: The Dekemvriana ("December events") begin in the Greek capital, Athens, between members of the leftist National Liberation Front and government forces, backed by the British. The clashes are limited to Athens, however, and the rest of the country remains relatively tranquil. : The British Home Guard is stood down.
5: The Allies are now in control of Ravenna, Italy.
8: The softening-up bombardment of Iwo Jima begins.
15: Americans and Filipinos land troops at Mindoro island in the Philippines. : Bandleader and US Army Major Glenn Miller went missing as his single-engine transport was crossing the English Channel; he was headed to Paris to work out arrangements to entertain troops in France. : German forces evacuate Ruhnu island, their last outpost in Estonia. The Soviets capture the island on 19 December.
16: The Battle of the Bulge begins as German forces attempt a breakthrough in the Ardennes region. The main object of Hitler's plan is the retaking of Antwerp.
17: The Malmedy massacre: SS troops execute 84 American prisoners in the Ardennes offensive. The SS troops are led by SS commander Joachim Peiper. : Typhoon Cobra hits the Third Fleet of Admiral Halsey; three destroyers capsize and almost 800 lives are lost.
18: Bastogne, an important crossroads, is surrounded.
22: The battle for Bastogne is at its height, with soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division running low on ammunition, food and other vital supplies. Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe's famous "Nuts!" reply is sent to German commanders at Bastogne demanding surrender; the news of the message serves to bolster morale of the Allied troops.
23: The skies clear over the Ardennes, permitting Allied aircraft to begin their attacks on the German offensive, the one factor that Hitler feared in his planning.
24: The American counter-attack at the "Bulge" begins. : The Belgian transport ship SS Leopoldville is sunk off the coast of France. More than 800 lives, predominantly those of American servicemen, are lost. : Manchester is attacked by V1 flying bombs
26: The siege of Bastogne is broken by Patton's Third Army tanks, and with it the Ardennes offensive collapses into failure. : Racial tensions within the US military boil over into the Agana race riot on Guam.
28: Churchill and his Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden are in Athens in an attempt to reconcile the warring factions.
^ abcdToomas Hiio (2006). Combat in Estonia in 1944. In: Toomas Hiio, Meelis Maripuu, Indrek Paavle (Eds.). Estonia 1940–1945: Reports of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. Tallinn.
^Werner Haupt (1997). Army group North: the Wehrmacht in Russia, 1941–1945. Atglen, Philadelphia: Schiffer Books.