Sunday, January 15, 2012

JAN 15th TODAY IN HISTORY

Famous Daily
Famous Quote Said On January 15
We are seeking total peace and not a simple truce or cease-fire. (Guatemalan Guerrilla War)
- Jorge Serrano, 1991
Jan 15 Birthdays

1979 - Drew Brees
1968 - Chad Lowe
1951 - Charo
1937 - Margaret O'Brien
1929 - Dr. Martin Luther King
1920 - Cardinal John O'Connor
1913 - Lloyd Bridges
1909 - Gene Krupa
1906 - Aristotle Onassis
This Day in Geography
1975 - Angola is granted indepedence from Portugal.
Today's HolidayTree Planting Day (Egypt) - Promotes the care and planting of trees.


WE REMEMBER: January 15th

1932 (FRIDAY)

FRENCH MOROCCO: French forces occupy the Tafilet oasis, headquarters of the rebellious tribesmen. This operation effectively marks the submission of the rebels in the Atlas and Anti-Atlas regions of Morocco. (Jack McKillop)

UNITED STATES: Up to 2-inches (5,1 centimeters) of snow whitened the Los Angeles basin of California. The Los Angeles Civic Center reports 1-inch (2,5 centimeters) of snow, and even the beaches of Santa Monica are whitened with snow, in what proves to be a record snowstorm for Los Angeles. (Jack McKillop)

1935 (TUESDAY)

UNITED STATES: James H. (Jimmy) Doolittle sets a new transcontinental speed record for passenger-carrying transports when he flies from Lockheed Air Terminal, Burbank, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, New York, New York, in 11 hours and 59 minutes. The stretch from Colorado to Virginia is flown on instruments. Also aboard the Vultee V1-A transport, msn 8, registered NR13770, is his wife and a Shell Petroleum Corporation executive. On 21 February, Doolittle's brother-in-law flies an American Airlines V1-A over the same route in 11 hours and 34 minutes; this includes a stop in Washington, D.C. to deliver orchids to Eleanor Roosevelt, the President's wife. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.S.R.: Premier Joseph Stalin conducts a series of show trials of leading Communist leaders who are accused of conspiracy and state treason. Grigori Zinoviev, Leo Kamenev, and several other Communist leaders are found guilty in two days and receive terms of 5- to10-years in prison. In 1936 Zinoviev is charged with forming a terrorist organization to kill Stalin and other leaders of the government. He is tried, found guilty and executed in Moscow on 25 August 1936. (Jack McKillop)

1936 (WEDNESDAY)

GERMANY: German television service re-opens on a daily basis, including live transmissions for the first time. (Jack McKillop)

UNITED KINGDOM: The Japanese delegation leaves the London naval disarmament conference after rejecting tonnage restrictions on various types of warships. The Japanese government is determined to modernize the fleet and is unwilling to accept further restrictions. (Jack McKillop)

1937 (FRIDAY)

AUSTRIA: Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg's government announces a general amnesty for National Socialists who have participated in the attempted coup against the government. The Austrian government offers amnesty to improve relations with the German government. (Jack McKillop)

1938 (SATURDAY)

CHINA: The Japanese air force begins regular bombing of Chungking. (Jack McKillop)

1939 (SUNDAY)

FRANCE: The French Radical Socialist party urges the government to consider the grave danger to France of Italian intervention in Spain. (Jack McKillop)

UNITED KINGDOM: Lord Halifax, British Foreign Minister, urges Georges Bonnet, French Foreign Minister, to satisfy some of Italy's claims regarding port facilities at Djibouti, French Somaliland; Suez Canal tolls; and the status of Italians in Tunis, Tunisia. (Jack McKillop)

1940 (MONDAY) 

BELGIUM: The Belgian government refuses to grant transit rights to enable Allied troops to cross Belgian territory. (Andy Etherington)

EGYPT: As Italy looks at Britain with growing hostility from its African colonies, the man now in the front line is General Sir Archibald Wavell, Britain's Commander in Chief Middle East. An officer in the Boer War at the age of 18, he lost an eye at Ypres, Belgium, in World War I and later became an advocate of mobile warfare. As GSO (General Staff Officer) 1 of the 3d Division he was closely involved in the training of the Experimental Armoured Force when it was formed as part of the division in 1927, and from 1930 he commanded the 6th Infantry Brigade. A poet and an intellectual, Wavell is both an outstanding staff officer and a formidable leader of men; his book "Generals and Generalship" (1939) is a classic. (Andy Etherington) 

GERMANY: Following on from the Mechelen-sur-Meuse, Belgium, incident on 10 January when two German officers carrying copies of the plan for the attack in the West are forced down and the papers are captured, Chancellor Adolf Hitler issues his "Basic Order No. 1" on security, and stipulates that it be displayed on posters in every military headquarters. Henceforth, no one is to be given any classified information that is not directly relevant to his job, and even then, he is not to be told earlier, or more, than is absolutely necessary. (Andy Etherington)

UNITED STATES: A joint amphibious exercise begins in the Monterey, California, area to (1) provide training for the Army and Navy in planning and executing joint operations, (2) train Army troops in embarking and disembarking from ships, and (3) afford an opportunity for elements of the General Headquarters Air Force (GHQAF) and Navy patrol squadrons to work together and with ground forces. (Jack McKillop) 

U.S.S.R.: The Soviets start bombing the Finnish lines at Summa. (Andy Etherington)

1941 (WEDNESDAY)

CHINA: The growing tension between rival Nationalist and Communist factions, which flared into open violence last week when the 10,000 strong Communist New Fourth Army was surrounded and disarmed in Kiangsi (central China), is likely to be made worse by the Nationalist Kuomintang ruling that the New Fourth must now be disbanded. The incident is feared to have severely damaged the Chinese war effort and removes any prospect of further military collaboration between the two rivals against Japan. Communists are denouncing the disarming as part of a Nationalist- Japanese plot. The Communists fear that 25,000 comrades who are still in Kiangsi, which is Nationalist dominated, face a similar danger. They claim that the original Nationalist order to the New Fourth to cross the Yellow River was always intended to trap it. (Andy Etherington)

ETHIOPIA: Five years after he was forced into exile Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, is home. He is flown over the frontier from Sudan shortly after 1100 hours local by the RAF and is greeted by a welcoming party of British officers, native chiefs and troops from the Ethiopian regular army. The Emperor had been forced into exile by the Italian invasion, pleading in vain for aid at the League of Nations. Today he issues a proclamation urging his people to rebel themselves against the Italian invaders: "Italy is cornered by the grip of Great Britain by sea, air and land power. The Italians will not escape my trusted warriors." Haile Selassie, who is accompanied by his two sons, thanked the government and people of Britain for their support in his "bitter trials." So the man who had lived in Bath, Somerset, England, as plain Mr. Smith is once more "His Imperial Majesty - Lion of Judah, king of the Kings of Ethiopia." His return is expected to boost even further the momen
tum of British attacks on the Italian's faltering empire. (Andy Etherington)
                                            
GERMANY: During the night of 15/16 January, 96 RAF Bomber Command aircraft are sent to bomb Wilhelmshaven; 70 actually bomb the target. This raid is rated as successful. (Jack McKillop)
     Chancellor Adolf Hitler meets with Romanian Prime Minister General Ion Antonescu at Salzburg and informs him of his intention to invade the Soviet Union with Romanian collaboration. Antonescu tells Hitler that first he must liquidate the Legionary Movement, but neglects to ask for more than just a promise of additional aid, armaments, and war materiels. (Jack McKillop)

ITALIAN SOMALILAND: British forces from Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and Kenya mount a major offensive against Italian East Africa to drive the Italians out of the Horn of Africa. (Jack McKillop)

LUXEMBURG: German soldiers loot the ancient monastery of Clairvaux which was founded in 1115. (Andy Etherington)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Italian 2,472 ton motorship MS Citta di Messina, escorted by the torpedo boat R.N. Centauro, is torpedoed and sunk by the British submarine HMS/M Regent (N 41) about 52 nautical miles (96 kilometers) east of Tripoli, Libya, in position 32.59N, 14.11E. It is the first sinking of a supply ship bound for North Africa in 1941. (Mark Horan)

UNITED KINGDOM: RAF Bomber Command designates oil targets as the "sole primary targets." Seventeen plants are designated in cities and cities connected with the oil industry. Hanover, Magdeburg, Bremen and Oppau are listed as targets. (Jack McKillop)

UNITED STATES: The House of Representatives' Committee on Foreign Affairs is holding hearings on House Resolution (H.R.) 1776, the Lend-Lease Bill. Secretary of State Cordell Hull testifies and advocates passage of the bill. (Jack McKillop)

1942 (THURSDAY)

ALASKA: The USAAF's Alaskan Air Force is activated at Elmendorf Field, Anchorage, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Everett S Davis. (Jack McKillop)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: While tracking Convoy HG 78 (Gibraltar to the U.K.), German submarine U-93 is sunk about 219 nautical miles (406 kilometers) north-northeast of the Madeira Islands by the British destroyer HMS Hesperus (H57), a convoy escort; 40 of the 46 crewmen survive. (Alex Gordon and Jack McKillop) 
     German submarine U-123 sinks its third ship during Operation DRUMBEAT, a 6,768 ton British tanker about 88 nautical miles (163 kilometers) south-southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A., in position 40.25N, 70.50W. (Jack McKillop).

BRAZIL: Representatives from 21 American republics meet in Rio de Janeiro for an Inter-American Conference to unite the American republics to coordinate policies in the defense of the Western Hemisphere. The delegates unanimously adopt a resolution which calls for all of the American states to sever diplomatic relations with the Axis powers. All of the governments involved at the conference, with the exceptions of Argentina and Chile, break off relations with the Axis states. The conference ends on 28 January. (Jack McKillop)

BURMA: Troops of the Japanese 55th Division advance into Burma north of Mergui. Though not one of Japan's original war aims, Burma is invaded to eliminate a possible threat to the Japanese army in Malaya. The Japanese also want to cut the Burma Road which is feeding supplies and equipment to China and seize Burma's oil fields. Two Japanese army divisions pour into southern and eastern Burma. To oppose them, the British have two divisions: one Burmese, one Indian. Many of the Burmese hate the British and desert. Later 5,000 join the Burmese National Army and fight alongside the Japanese. (Jack McKillop)

CAROLINE ISLANDS: Six Australian (PBY) Catalinas are dispatched to bomb the Japanese base in Truk Atoll. Only one aircraft finds the target and drops 16 bombs. Clouds obscure the results. (Jack McKillop)

EAST INDIES: The American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) Supreme Command is established at the Grand Hotel, Lembang, Java, Netherlands East Indies. British General Sir Archibald Wavell assumes supreme command of all forces in the area effective 1200 hours GMT; Lieutenant General George H. Brett, USAAF, is deputy commander; Admiral Thomas C. Hart, USN, is to command naval forces. (Jack McKillop) 
     Six new USAAF Far East Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses and four LB-30 Liberators arrive at Singosari Airfield, Java. (Jack McKillop)

GERMANY: During the night of 15/16 January, RAF Bomber Command aircraft attack three cities: 
   - 96 bombers are dispatched to bomb Hamburg; 60 aircraft bomb with the loss of five bombers. Hamburg reports 36 fires, three large, three people killed and 25 injured, but no major incidents. 
   - 60 aircraft are sent to bomb Emden; 42 aircraft bomb the target with the loss of two bombers. Bomber aircrews claim many fires. 
   - One aircraft bombs Kiel. (Jack McKillop)

INDIA: Jawaharlal Nehru succeeds Mohandas K. Gandhi as head of India's National Congress Party. (Jack McKillop)

MALAYA: The Australian 2/30th Battalion, 27th Brigade, 8th Division, stops a Japanese tank-infantry attack in the Gemas area however, the troops withdraw to prevent being encircled by the Japanese. On the west coast, the Japanese reach the northern bank of the Muar River and land a small party between Muar and Batu Pahat, threatening the communications of the West Force in the Yong Peng area. The boundary between the West Force and the Indian III Corps is altered to give this region, which the Indian 45th Brigade is defending, to the III Corps. (Jack McKillop) 
Martial law is declared in Singapore resulting in more chaos. (Jack McKillop) 
     Seven USAAF Far East Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses based at Singosari Airdrome, Java, and flying out of Palembang Airdrome on Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies, attack Sungei Patani Airfield, Malaysia. Two B-17s abort due to weather but the other five bomb the target through light antiaircraft fire. One B-17 is damaged beyond repair in a bad landing at Singosari Airdrome tomorrow. (Jack McKillop)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: German submarine U-577 is sunk about 56 nautical miles (103 kilometers) northeast of Tobruk, Libya, by depth charges from a British Navy Swordfish Mk. I, aircraft "G" of No. 815 Squadron based at Landing Ground 75, Maaten Bagush, Egypt; all 43 crewmen are lost. (Alex Gordon and Jack McKillop)

NETHERLANDS: RAF Bomber Command sends five Blenheims and four Wellingtons to bomb airfields: three aircraft bomb Schipol Airfield, with the loss of one aircraft, and two each bomb Soesterberg and Texel Airfields. (Jack McKillop)

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: In the II Corps area on Bataan, the Japanese, attacking vigorously at the junction of the 41st and 51st Divisions, Philippine Army (PA), gain a foothold on the bank of the Balantay River. The 51st Division commits its reserves and service troops to no avail. Further reinforcements, the Philippine Division (less the 57th Infantry Regiment) from the U.S. Army Forces, Far East (USAFFE) reserve and the 31st Division (-) (PA) from the I Corps, are sent forward. The Japanese enveloping column in central Bataan arrives in position to turn the corps' west flank but pauses to reorganize. Regrouping is conducted to the east as the Japanese threat there diminishes. In the I Corps area, the two Japanese columns driving on Moron converge and push closer to their objective. (Jack McKillop)

UNITED KINGDOM: An agreement is signed in London between Greece and Yugoslavia for the constitution of a Balkan Union. (The Balkan Pact, signed in February 1934 by Greece, Romania, Turkey and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The Pact which consisted of 39 articles promoting the principles of friendship and non-aggression, mutual assistance and defense of common security and the protection of the rights of minorities.) (Jack McKillop)

UNITED STATES: In Washington, Secretary of War Henry Stimson says nearly 2 million men will be inducted into the military this year. By years end it will have 3.6 million men under arms. (Jack McKillop) 
     The State Department issues a memorandum outlining its position with respect to French sovereignty over bases the United States intends to build in French Oceania. (Jack McKillop) 
In baseball, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives baseball the go-ahead to play despite the war. In his famous "green light" letter, the President says, "I honestly think it would be best for the country to keep baseball going." He encourages more night baseball so that war workers may attend. Ironically, the Chicago Cubs, who had signed contracts to install lights at Wrigley Field, drop their plans because of the military need for the material. There will be no lights at Wrigley for 35 more years.. (Jack McKillop) 
     The first "blackout" Cadillacs are completed by General Motors. Due to restrictions on materials necessary for the war effort, these cars have painted trim rather than chrome. They also lack spare tires and other luxuries. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.S.R.: Army Group Center (Field Marshal Gunther Hans von Kluge) evacuates the Kaluga sector and takes up winter positions 20 miles (32 kilometers) further west. (Jack McKillop)

1943 (FRIDAY)

ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Eight USAAF Eleventh Air Force P-38 Lightnings, three B-25 Mitchells and a B-24 Liberator patrol Constantine Harbor on the northeast coast, of Amchitka Island, fly reconnaissance over Kiska Island, where one ship is sighted, and fly negative armed reconnaissance runs over Attu, the Semichis and Buldir Islands. (Jack McKillop)

BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: On New Britain Island, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators hit the airfield at Gasmata and carry out single-plane attacks on the runway at Cape Gloucester. (Jack McKillop)

BURMA: Six USAAF Tenth Air Force P-40s bomb barges at Bhamo; six others bomb Nsopzup; three more hit footbridges and targets of opportunity at Taihpa Ga, Yupbang Ga, and other points in northern Burma. (Jack McKillop)

FRANCE: During the day, RAF Bomber Command sends ten (A-20) Bostons to attack a whaling factory ship at Cherbourg but score no hits. (Jack McKillop) 
     During the night of 15/16 January, RAF Bomber Command flies three missions: 
       - 157 aircraft, 65 Wellingtons, 48 Halifaxes, 40 Stirlings and four Lancasters, are dispatched to attack the city and U-boat pens at Lorient; 133 bomb the targets with the loss of a Stirling and a Wellington. Bombing is more accurate than on the previous night. At least 800 buildings are destroyed and 12 civilians killed. Most of the inhabitants had fled the town during the previous day. 
       - Nine Wellingtons lay mines off Bay of Biscay ports: five lay mines off Lorient and four lay mines off St. Nazaire. 
       - Three aircraft drop leaflets over France. (Jack McKillop)

GERMANY: During the day, RAF Bomber Command sends sex Wellingtons on a cloud-cover raid to Norden but only one aircraft bombs. (Jack McKillop) 
     During the night of 15/16 January, two RAF Bomber Command Mosquitos bomb Aachen. (Jack McKillop)

INDIAN OCEAN: In the Andaman Sea, six USAAF Tenth Air Force B-24 Liberators hit shipping in a convoy in the Rangoon area. One ship, the Japanese Army cargo ship SS Nichimei Maru, is carrying Allied POWs. She is sunk about 211 nautical miles (390 kilometers) south-southeast of Rangoon, Burma, in position 13.30N, 97.30E. About 500 POWs are lost. Another ship, SS Moji Maru. is damaged. (Jack McKillop)

IRELAND: USAAF B-17E-BO Flying Fortress, USAAF s/n 41-9045, msn 2517, assigned to the 414th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 97th Bombardment Group (Heavy), Twelfth Air Force, based at Biskra, Algeria, crashes at Athenry, County Galway. [Athenry is located about 12.7 miles (20,5 kilometers) east of Galway City]. Aboard are four U.S. Army generals: Jacob L. Devers, Commanding General Armored Force; Edward Brooks, Commanding General 11th Armored Division; Williston Palmer; and William Sexton. The four have spent the last month auditing the progress and status of the Allied military campaign in North Africa. The aircraft had taken off from Gibraltar en route to the U.K. so the four could check on the progress of plans for the invasion of Western Europe. Weather is bad and the crew becomes lost and is forced to land in Ireland. When the Americans emerge from the aircraft, they are met by a contingent of the Local Defence Forces, the auxiliary force of the Irish Army. The crew surren
der their weapons (they have, after all, crashed in a neutral country). Shortly afterwards a detachment of the 1st Infantry Battalion arrives and takes charge. This unit consists of Irish-speakers from Connemara and the Aran Islands. (In western Ireland, there are many areas where the people speak Irish as their first language and English as their second language.) As the Irish-speaking soldiers go about their business, one of U.S. generals comments, "Gee, these guys sure know their codes." The Americans are brought to a local hotel and by the end of the day, they have been transported over the border to Beleek, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, and the next day, they resume their work in England. Moving the plane is another matter. All news of the plane crash is censored, and a unit of the Irish Army from Galway is despatched to hack the plane apart. The local tinkers (menders of metal household utensils) are delighted and apparently do a roaring trade in aluminum buckets
. (Jack McKillop)

LIBYA: The British Eighth Army opens a drive on Tripoli, moving forward in three columns, those on right and in center under personal command of General Bernard L. Montgomery, General Officer Commanding Eighth Army; the outflanking force on the left is under XXX Corps command. The 7th Armoured Division and New Zealand 2nd Division, the enveloping force, drive the Axis back to Wadi Zem Zem. The coastal advance by the 51st Division begins at 2230 hours and meets little opposition. The 22nd Armoured Brigade moves forward in the center prepared to assist wherever needed. (Jack McKillop) 
     Twenty USAAF Ninth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb the port area at Tripoli, scoring hits on vessels and on the shore areas near the harbor. P-40s fly sweep and fighter-bomber operations as the British Eighth Army begins an assault on the Buerat line and a drive on Tripoli. RAF (B-24) Liberators, under operational control of the USAAF Ninth Air Force's IX Bomber Command, hit a road junction at Tripoli. (Jack McKillop)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: USAAF Twelfth Air Force B-25 Mitchells and B-26 Marauders fly three counter-shipping missions north and northeast of Tunisia, claiming one vessel left in flames. (Jack McKillop)

NEW GUINEA: In Papua New Guinea, preparations are made for an all-out offensive to clear the Sanananda area The Urbana Force (two battalions of the U.S. 126th and 128th Infantry Regiments, 32d Infantry Division) is to renew the drive west along the coast. The Australian 18th Brigade, 7th Division, moves north along the Killerton trail, passing through Rankin, in preparation for a drive to the coast. The Rankin Force (U.S. 2d Battalion, 163d Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division) then follows the Australians northward and takes over the trail junction east of a coconut plantation about 1.5 miles (2,4 kilometers) north of the Rankin perimeter. In the Wau-Mubo area, the Australian 2/7th Independent Company, Kanga Force, withdraws to prevent being surrounded by the Japanese. On the Soputa-Sanananda road, the 1st Battalion, 163d Infantry Regiment, envelops a Japanese pocket remaining between Musket and Fisk, elements infiltrating to attack from inside the perimeter. (Jack McKi
llop) 
     In Papua New Guinea, USAAF Fifth Air Force A-20 Havocs strafe the Sanananda Point area as U.S. troops envelop Japanese pockets along the Soputa-Sanananda road. In Northeast New Guinea, B-25 Mitchells bomb supply dumps at Lae and B-24 Liberators carry out single-plane attacks on bridge construction at Wewak. (Jack McKillop)

SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Guadalcanal, the 2d Marine Division continues to make slow progress in the coastal sector, despite use of tanks and a flame thrower. Company B, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, reinforced by platoon of Company D, takes over the westward attack from Company C. After a 30-minute artillery concentration followed by machine gun and mortar fire, Company B outflanks the Japanese position barring the advance and finds it to be a bivouac area held by a single platoon. Japanese positions in the Gifu remain practically intact. The task of reducing the positions has been given to the 2nd Battalion 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Peters. His regimental commander, Colonel McClure and the division commander, Major General J. Lawton Collins, have decided that envelopment is not possible. He is directed to capture this position with a frontal assault. Since 10 January, they have been attempting to follo
w these orders. He is given incomplete maps (it was all they had) and an estimate of 100 Japanese and two "known" machineguns. After his first couple of patrols, he increases this estimate to 400 troops and 20 machineguns. Peters mounts a general attack today. After a 15-minute mortar barrage the attack begins and manages to gain an average of 50 yards (46 meters). A second attack at 1400 hours also fails. Colonel McClure will replace Colonel Peters with Major Stanley Larsen tomorrow. A surrender request is broadcast to the Japanese in the Gifu. (John Nicholas and Jack McKillop) 
     USN SBD Dauntlesses with F4F Wildcat and USAAF Thirteenth Air Force P-39 Airacobra escort attack nine destroyers of the Tokyo Express and damage four of them. They are met by 12 "Oscars" (Nakajima Ki-43, Army Type 1 Fighter Hayabusa); eight are shot down with the loss of one SBD and five US fighters. USAAF Thirteenth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses, P-38 Lightnings, P-39 Airacobras and P-40s attack five destroyers near Faisi Island; they are met by float biplanes and 13 are shot down with no loss of USAAF aircraft. SBDs with F4F and P-39 escort bomb a cargo ship off Munda, New Georgia Island; they are met by 12 "Zekes" (Mitsubishi A6M, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighters); seven are shot down with the loss of one US fighter. B-17 Flying Fortresses and USN PBY Catalinas bomb Kahili, Bougainville Island. (Jack McKillop)

TUNISIA: USAAF Twelfth Air Force B-26 Marauders attack the railroad and highway bridge across Oued el Akarit, north-northwest of Gabes. Escorting P-38 Lightnings fight a long battle with Axis fighters; two B-26 Marauders and two P-38 Lightnings are lost. Fighters fly several reconnaissance and patrol operations, intercept Axis aircraft attacking airfields in the Labasse area, and escort transport aircraft. Nine Luftwaffe Ju 88s, escorted by four Italian Mc 202s, attack Thelepte Airfield; eight Ju 88s are shot down by P-40s and antiaircraft gets the ninth Ju 88. (Jack McKillop)

UNITED STATES: On the Virginia side of the Potomac River outside Washington, D.C., a new headquarters building for the Armed Forces of the U.S. is completed. Due to the five sided architectural design, it will become known as "The Pentagon." The massive structure covers 34 acres (13,8 hectares) of land and has 17 miles (27 kilometers) of corridors. The size of this building will allow the U.S. Army, Navy and Army Air Forces to move their command functions into one place. These have been located all over the greater Washington, D.C. area. Many of them are housed in temporary buildings, "on the Mall," between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. These temporary buildings were erected during WWI and were not expected to be in use much longer than the duration of that conflict. (Some were still there in the 1960s.) (Jack McKillop)

U.S.S.R: On the Northern front in Russia, the Soviet Army captures Velikije Luki in the Valdai Hills. (Jack McKillop)

1944 (SATURDAY)

ALGERIA: Lieutenant General Ira C Eaker, USAAF, assumes command of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) and Army Air Forces, Mediterranean Theater of Operations (AAFMTO), replacing Air Chief Marshal (USAAF General) Arthur Tedder, RAF, and Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz respectively, who along with Air Marshal (USAAF Lieutenant General) Sir Arthur Coningham, RAF, and numerous other American and British officers who have departed for the U.K. to prepare for the Normandy invasion. (Jack McKillop)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: German submarine U-377 is sunk about 575 nautical miles (1 064 kilometers) west-southwest of Cork, County Cork, Ireland, by one of its own circling Type G7s T5 electric acoustic torpedoes; all 52 crewmen are lost. (Alex Gordon and Jack McKillop)

BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: The relief of the ADC Group (7th Marine Regiment reinforced by a battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment and supporting units) is begun. (Jack McKillop) 
Japanese positions along the south coast of New Britain Island are attacked by USAAF Fifth Air Force B-25 Mitchells and P-39 Airacobras. (Jack McKillop)

BURMA: In the Hukawng Valley, the 1st Battalion, 113th Regiment, Chinese 38th Division, followed by the 3d Battalion, reaches Kaduja Ga; the 2nd Battalion is in reserve at Yupbang Ga. (Jack McKillop) 
     Four USAAF Tenth Air Force P-40s and a B-25 Mitchell over northern Burma hit a train at Pinwe. (Jack McKillop)

CHINA: Two USAAF Fourteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells on a sweep off the southeast coast sink a wooden vessel off Swatow and damage the lighthouse on Nampana Island. Two others shoot down a Japanese bomber north of Chikhom. (Jack McKillop)

FRENCH INDOCHINA: Two USAAF Fourteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells on a sea sweep along the coast bomb the Hongay power plant and sink a gunboat in a nearby cove to the southwest; a coal grading building at Campha Port is also bombed. (Jack McKillop)

GREECE: During the night of 15/16 January, 23 RAF bombers of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group bomb the marshalling yard at Salonika. (Jack McKillop)

ITALY: The U.S. Fifth Army successfully concludes operations against the Winter Line with the capture by the U.S. II Corps of Mt. Trocchio; they are now confronted by the Gustav Line, which follows the Garigliano, Gari, and Rapido Rivers to Cassino and continues to the British Eighth Army boundary along the hills above Cassino. The British X Corps prepares for an assault across the lower Garigliano River. The 5th Division moves quietly forward, during the night of 15/16 January. The U.S. II Corps overruns Mt. Trocchio without a fight, the Germans having withdrawn their main forces across the Rapido River. The U.S. 135th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division, takes this last height before the Rapido River while the 168th Infantry Regiment on the right and the 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division (which has relieved the 6th Armored Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, on Mt. Porchia), on the left keep pace. In the French Expeditionary Corps area, the Germans 
abandon Monte Santa Croce, the corps' objective. (Jack McKillop) 
     USAAF Twelfth Air Force B-25 Mitchells attack the Foligno railway junction; B-26 Marauders bomb bridges at Orvieto. RAF and USAAF P-40s hit the San Valentino station in a joint attack; A-36 Apaches and other P-40s, in support of U.S. Fifth Army forces, hit gun positions and strongpoints, especially at Picinisco and Atina; and P-40s on armed reconnaissance hit the railroad west of Frosinone station and strafe the Ceccano station and railway cars. (Jack McKillop) 
     The USAAF Fifteenth Air Force attacks rail and bridge targets The targets are (numbers in parenthesis indicate number of aircraft bombing and number lost, e.g., 97-1): 
       - B-17s attack the following railroad bridges in the Florence area: Montaldo D'Castro (17-0), Orvietto (7-0) and Porto Civitanova (20-0). 
       - B-24 Liberators bomb the following marshalling yards: Arezzo (31-0), Certaldo (36-0), Civitevechia (10-0) and Prato (37-1). (Jack McKillop) 
     During the night of 15/16 January, six RAF bombers of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group bomb the railroad at Rimini; one aircraft is lost. (Jack McKillop)

MARSHALL ISLANDS: Nine USAAF Seventh Air Force B-25 Mitchells from Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands flying at deck-level, bomb and strafe shipping and shore installations at Maloelap Atoll; two vessels are hit and the oil dump, hangars, other buildings, and runways are damaged; one B-25 crashes at sea after being hit by antiaircraft fire. (Jack McKillop)

NEW GUINEA: The capture of Sio by the Australian 2/17th Battalion, 21st Brigade, 9th Division, represents the final destruction of the Japanese 20th Division in the protracted Huon Peninsula campaign of 1943-1944. (Jack McKillop) 
     In Northeast New Guinea, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators and B-25 Mitchells bomb Uligan Harbor and P-40s, P-47 Thunderbolts, and B-25s hit the Madang, Alexishafen, Erima, and Bogadjim area. (Jack McKillop)

SOLOMON ISLANDS: Twenty four USAAF Thirteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells, with 60 fighters escorting, attack East Cape while P-39 Airacobras attack barges and trucks at Chabai. (Jack McKillop)

UNITED KINGDOM: The Polish Government in exile replies to the Soviet statement of 10 January: The Polish Government is "approaching the British and United States Governments with a view to securing through their intermediary the discussion by the Polish and Soviet Governments . . . of all outstanding questions, the settlement of which should lead to friendly and permanent cooperation between Poland and the Soviet Union . . ." (Jack McKillop) 
     The Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (designate) (COSSAC) is redesignated Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). (Jack McKillop)

UNITED STATES: The War Department abolishes the Central Defense Command and transfers its functions to the Eastern Defense Command. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.S.R.: Troops of the Leningrad Front, having quietly concentrated west of Leningrad, open a powerful offensive for that city on the northern front. Other Red Army forces begin assault on Nvvgorod from the south. (Jack McKillop)

1945 (MONDAY) 

AUSTRIA: USAAF Fifteenth Air Force: B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators, escorted by P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs, bomb two marshalling yards (M/Ys) in Vienna: 200 hit the Matzleinsdorf M/Y with the loss of eight aircraft and 188 bomb the Florisdorf M/Y with the loss of six aircraft. (Jack McKillop)

BELGIUM: On the U.S. First Army's VII Corps right, the 2d Armored Division clears Achouffe, Mont, and Tavernaux and sends patrols to the Ourthe River and into Houffalize, which has been vacated by the Germans. The 3d Armored Division attacks with Combat Command R toward Vaux and Brisy, taking Vaux, and with Combat Command B toward Cherain and Sterpigny. Elements of Combat Command A are committed as reinforcements. A battalion of the 83d Infantry Division attacks Bovigny but is unable to take it. In the XVIII Corps (Airborne) area, the 75th Infantry Division attacks across the Saim River before dawn and seizes Salmch  teau and Bech. The 106th Infantry Division consolidates and clears Ennal. The 30th Infantry Division takes Beaumont, Francheville, Houvegnez, and Pont; improves positions south of Ligneuville; and clears the northern part of Thirimont. The V Corps opens an offensive to clear heights between Buellingen and Ambleve and to protect the left flank of the XVIII Corps. 
The 1st Infantry Division, reinforced by Regimental Combat Team 23 of the 2d Infantry Division, attacks southeast with the 23d Infantry Regiment on the right, the 16th Infantry Regiment in the center, and the 18th Infantry Regiment on the left; gains Steinbach, the neighboring village of Remonval, and the northern half of Faymonville, but is held up south of Butgenbach by heavy fire. (Jack McKillop) 
     In the U.S. Third Army's VIII Corps area, Combat Command A of the 11th Armored Division takes Cornpogne and Rastadt and reaches Vellereux; falls back west of Vellereux under a counterattack in the Rau de Vaux defile. Combat Command B bypasses Neville and clears the woods to the east. On a cold, cloudy day the 101st Airborne Division resumes its drive to the north and northeast. On the west of the Bastogne-Houffalize highway the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, attack at 1030 hours. (The guys slept in that morning.) The 1st Battalion strikes out east of Fazone Woods and advances over almost 1 mile (1,6 kilometers) of open fields to take the high ground north of Cobru. The 2nd Battalion attacks north and seizes Noville from which the 1st Battalion and Team Desorby had withdrawn almost one month before. Observers from the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion, who had been with the 1st Battalion then, are with the 2nd Battalion today. A perimeter 
defense was set by 1145 hours. It is a slow day for the 506th. In the III Corps area, the 6th Armored Division, employing the 320th Infantry Regiment of the 35th Infantry Division, overcomes house- to-house resistance in Oubourcy; Combat Command B takes Arloncourt; Combat Command A clears the heights southwest of Longvilly. The 357th Infantry Regiment battles strongpoints in and around the railroad tunnels along the Wiltz River valley while the 359th Infantry Regiment starts to Wardin. (Jay Stone and Jack McKillop)

BURMA: U.S. Major General George E Stratemeyer, Commanding General Eastern Air Command, and U.S. Lieutenant General Daniel I Sultan, Commanding General India-Burma Theater, confer at Myitkyina, and agree that an Army Air Forces Headquarters to command the U.S. Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces should be set up in China. (Jack McKillop) 
     In the Northern Combat Area Command (NCAC) area, the inaugural convoy from Ledo, India, reaches Myitkyina, where it halts to await clearance of the Japanese ahead. The Chinese 30th Division takes Namhkam with ease, gaining control of the lower end of Shweli Valley. (Jack McKillop) 
     In the British Fourteenth Armyšź»  s Indian XXXIII Corps area, the Indian 19th Division secures another bridgehead across the Irrawaddy River, at Kyaukmyaung. (Jack McKillop) 
Twelve USAAF Tenth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb a troop concentration and the supply area at Mong Ngaw. Six fighter-bombers damage a bridge at Namhkai; 11 support ground forces along the Irrawaddy River, bombing Mabein, hitting a cable crossing at Myitson, and attacking a ferry landing on the Nampaw River, a tributary; and troops, supplies, tanks and targets of opportunity are attacked at several points in northern Burma including Mong Tat, Mong Yok and Mong Pa. (Jack McKillop) 
     USAAF Fourteenth Air Force P-40s and P-51 Mustangs attack the Wan Pa-Hsa town area and damage a nearby bridge. (Jack McKillop)

CHINA: The Japanese begin an offensive for Suichwan airfields, driving along the Chaling-Lienhwa road. (Jack McKillop) 
     Eighteen USAAF Fourteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells, supported by 20 P-40s and P-51 Mustangs, attack Hankow and others attack shipping near Amoy, and hit targets of opportunity in the Siang-Chiang and Hsiang River Valleys and from Hong Kong to Foochow. Over 130 P-40s and P-51s on armed reconnaissance attack numerous targets of opportunity throughout southern China from the Burma border to the southeast coast. (Jack McKillop)

EAST INDIES: USAAF Far East Air Forces B-24 Liberators bomb Jesselton Airfield in British North Borneo. (Jack McKillop)

FRANCE: The 6th Army Group issues preliminary instructions for an attack against the Colmar Pocket by the French First Army, which for some time has been engaged in the aggressive defense of the Vosges Mountains. (Jack McKillop) 
     In the U.S. Seventh Army's VI Corps area, local actions occur around the Bitche salient perimeter. The 14th Armored Division continues their fight for Rittershoffen and Hatten. (Jack McKillop)

GERMANY: In the U.S. Third Army's XX Corps' 94th Infantry Division zone, the 1st Battalion of the 376th Infantry Regiment holds Tettingen and Butzdorf against counterattack while the 3d Battalion takes Nennig, Wies, and Berg. (Jack McKillop) 
     The USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 794: 640 bombers and 782 fighters are dispatched to hit marshalling yards in Germany; they claim 14-0-19 Luftwaffe aircraft; two fighters are lost. The targets are (numbers in parenthesis indicate number of aircraft bombing and number lost, e.g., 97-1): 
       - Marshalling yards: Augsburg (286-0), Freiburg (107-0), Ingolstadt (110-0), Reutlingen (75-0) and Tubingen (7-0). 
       - Railroads: Freudenstadt (1-0) and Kilchberg (19-0). 
       - Targets of opportunity: 13 aircraft. (Jack McKillop) 
     Sixteen USAAF Ninth Air Force B-26 Marauders hit the Simmern bridge to help thwart movement in the Trier area. (Jack McKillop) 
     During the day, RAF Bomber Command dispatches bombers to attack benzine plants at two locations without loss: 
       - 82 Lancasters are sent to attack the Langendeer plant at Bochum; 61 bomb the target. The bombing appears to be excellent. 
       - 63 Lnacasters are sent to the Forzetzung plant at Rechlinghausen; 61 bomb the targets. (Jack McKillop)

HUNGARY: One USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bomber bombs Magyardioszeg. (Jack McKillop)

ITALY: USAAF Twelfth Air Force operations resume as the weather clears. Medium bombers concentrate on the Brenner rail line, flying nearly 150 sorties against bridges at San Michele all'Adige, Rovereto, Ala, Lavis, Santa Margherita d'Adige, and Motta di Livenza; the XXII Tactical Air Command attacks communications in the Po Valley and further north, destroying or damaging several bridges and a very large number of railway cars (most of them at the Como marshalling yard). (Jack McKillop) 
     Twenty three USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bombers attack the locomotive works at Treviso. (Jack McKillop) 
     During the day, 15 RAF bombers of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group drop supplies to partisans in northern Italy. (Jack McKillop)

LUXEMBOURG: In the U.S. Third Army's III Corps area, the 358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, meets unexpectedly strong resistance as it resumes their northeastern attack; the 1st Battalion makes a forced march into the 6th Armored Division sector to attack Niederwampach from the Benonchamps, Belgium area and gains the town after artillery barrage by 14 field artillery battalions. (Jack McKillop)

NETHERLANDS: In the British Second Army's XII Corps area, in preparation for Operation BLACKCOCK, the operation to clear the German salient between the Meuse and Roer-Wurm Rivers from Roermond southward, elements of the 7th Armoured Division seizes Bakenhoven about 1 mile (1,6 kilometers) northwest of Susteren as the line of departure for the main attack by the division on the left flank of corps. (Jack McKillop)

NEW GUINEA: In Northeast New Guinea, a company of the Australian 2/5th Battalion, 17th Brigade, 6th Division, occupies Maharingi.

PACIFIC OCEAN: In the South China Sea, USN Task Force 38, severely handicapped by weather conditions, launches air strikes against shipping, airfields, and ground installations on Formosa and along the coast of China from Hong Kong to Amoy. Because of deteriorating weather conditions, some of the planes are diverted to Mako Ko in the Pescadores Islands and others to Prates Reef. (Jack McKillop)

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: In the U.S. Sixth Army's XIV Corps area on Luzon, elements of the 40th Infantry Division begin probing in the Dasol Bay-Balinao Peninsula area, where action is insignificant through 18 January. The 2d Battalion, 160th Infantry Regiment, takes San Clemente, forcing a Japanese party back toward Camiling. Elements of the 129th Infantry Regiment and the 37th Reconnaissance Troop, 37th Infantry Division, intercept the Japanese party near Camiling and disperse it. In the I Corps area, the 6th Infantry Division, while continuing a holding action, extends their left flank to Cabanbanan, between Manoag and Urdaneta. Patrols find the Japanese in possession of Urdaneta and Cabaruan Hills. In the 43d Infantry Division zone, the 158th Infantry Regiment, assisted by artillery, naval gunfire, and aircraft, begins clearing the defile near Amlang, on the road to Rosario; the 63d Infantry Regiment drives north in an effort to make contact with the 158th Infantry Regiment bu
t stops for the night well south of Amlang; the 172d Infantry Regiment clears Hill 665 and reaches the Damortis-Rosario road within 1.5 miles (2,4 kilometers) of Rosario; the 169th Infantry Regiment, unable to take Hill 355 from the west and south, prepares to strike from the east; the 103d Infantry Regiment gains most of Hill 200 area. (Jack McKillop) 
     Protected by USAAF Fifth Air Force planes and motor torpedo (PT) boats, the 7th Infantry Division Task Force lands unopposed on the northern and southern tips of Ponson Island, Camotes Islands, located between Leyte and Cebu Islands. (Jack McKillop) 
     On Mindoro, the 2d Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, driving on Calapan, meets delaying opposition along Gusay Creek. The 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, which has been assisting guerrilla forces, terminates operations on Mindoro. (Jack McKillop) 
     USAAF Far East Air Forces B-24 Liberators, B-25 Mitchells, A-20 Havocs, and fighter-bombers attack objectives on Luzon Island, in the central Philippine Islands, and on Palawan Island, hitting highways, railroads, airfields and numerous targets of opportunity including tanks, trucks, and other vehicles. (Jack McKillop)

POLAND: The Soviet Army offensive is extended southward as the Fourth Ukrainian Front begins a drive in the Carpathian Mountains from the vicinity of Sanok, southwest of Cracow. To the north, the First Ukrainian Front takes Kielce. (Jack McKillop)

SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Bougainville, elements of the Australian 61st Battalion, 7th Brigade, 3rd Division, start moving south from the Jaba River. (Jack McKillop)

UNITED STATES: Fragments of a 15 kilogram (33 pound) Japanese anti-personnel high explosive bomb dropped from a Japanese Fu Go balloon are recovered at Saticoy, California. The bomb was observed to explode at 1800 hours local. Saticoy is located about 61 miles (98 kilometers) west-northwest of Los Angeles. (Jack McKillop) 
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announces an allocations proposal for the frequency spectrum above 25 Mcs: 
  - 44-50 Mcs Television 
  - 50-54 Mcs Amateur Radio 
  - 54-84 Mcs Television 
  - 84-88 Mcs Educational FM broadcasting 
  - 88-102 Mcs Commercial FM broadcasting 
  - 102-108 Mcs (Non-Government but not yet determined). (Jack McKillop)

VOLCANO ISLANDS: Twelve USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators from Saipan Island hit airfields on Iwo Jima. Two B-24s, operating singly from Guam and Saipan, strike Iwo Jima airfields during the night of 15/16 January. (Jack McKillop)

WESTERN EUROPE: The USAAF Ninth Air Force's XIX Tactical Air Command escorts the B-26 Marauders on a raid in Germany, flies armed reconnaissance and patrols, and supports the U.S. III and VIII Corps in the Houffalize, Belgium-Bastogne, Belgium-Wiltz, Luxembourg areas. (Jack McKillop) 
     During the night of 15/16 January, the USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 795: two B-17 Flying Fortresses and seven B-24 Liberators drop leaflet on the Netherlands and Germany without loss. (Jack McKillop)

1951 (THURSDAY)

WEST GERMANY: Ilse Koch, wife of the commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp known as the "Witch of Buchenwald," is sentenced to life imprisonment. Buchenwald concentration camp, 4.5 miles (7,2 kilometers) northwest of Weimar, held a total of 20,000 slave laborers during the war. Ilse, a large woman with red hair, was given free reign in the camp, whipping prisoners with her riding crop as she rode by on her horse, forcing prisoners to have sex with her, and, most horrifying, collecting lampshades, book covers, and gloves made from the skin of tattooed camp prisoners. A German inmate gave the following testimony during the Nuremberg war trials: "All prisoners with tattooing on them were to report to the dispensary.... After the prisoners had been examined, the ones with the best and most artistic specimens were killed by injections. The corpses were then turned over to the pathological department, where the desired pieces of tattooed skin were detached from the bodies
  and treated further." Ilse's husband, Karl Koch, had been arrested, ironically enough, by his SS superiors for "having gone too far." It seems he had a penchant for stealing even the belongings of wealthy, well-placed Germans and he was tried and hanged in 1944. Although sentenced to life in prison, the American military governor of the occupied zone subsequently reduced Ilse Kich's sentence to four years. His reason, "lack of evidence," caused a U.S. Senate investigation. She was released but arrested again, tried by a West German court, and sentenced to life. She committed suicide in 1967 by hanging herself with a bed sheet. (Jack McKillop) 


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