1916 – Kitchener lost. 1940 – Battle for France. 1941 – 12,970 UK taken prisoner Crete. 1942 – Germans besiege Sevastopol. 1944 – Go ahead order for D Day. 150,000 Allied troops board ships all across southern England for the invasion of France.
Admiral Sir Percy Scott caused uproar at the Admiralty when he declared in a letter to The Times that battleships are redundant and more resource should be afforded to aircraft and submarines. He was roundly shot down at the time but was proved correct in WW1 and WW2
HMS Hampshire sinks off Orkney whilst conveying Lord Kitchener to Russia (See post on this site, June 5)
Home Defense commander Ironside announces the creation of the lronsides, small groups of highly mobile, armed men for defense against parachutists.
The Germans begin ‘Operation Red’, the Battle of France with 119 divisions, including 10 Panzer division’s. Army Group B, with 50 divisions, opens the offensive against the
French left wing which is anchored along the Somme for 120 miles, in fortified positions known as the Weygand Line, just 100 miles from Paris. Charles de Gaulle is appointed as French Under Secretary of State for War.
Hauptmann. Molders, leader of III/JG 53 and Germany’s top air ace (25 kills) is shot down near Compiegne and taken prisoner.
During Japanese air raid on Chongqing, China, 4000 civilians suffocate in a shelter.
US House Appropriations committee introduces largest Army expenditure bill since the First World War at S10,000 million.
Secret transfer of 4000 Marines to Iceland.
Over 100 German divisions have now been deployed along Germany’s frontier with the Soviet Union.
Germans say 15,000 prisoners taken in Crete. British later say 12,970 unaccounted for.
USA declares war on Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania and warns Japan that she will retaliate in kind if gas is used.
Operation ‘Birdsong’ kicks off between Roslavl and Bryansk, as 5,000 German troops pursue 2,500 partisans. In four weeks, 1,198 partisans are killed, for the loss of 58 German dead. Even so, the Germans are not happy as “The partisans,” a German officer reports, “continued their old tactic of evading, withdrawing into the forests, or moving in larger groups into the areas South and Southwest of the Roslavl-Bryansk highway and into the Kletnya area.” Although no further partisan attacks are reported in the area, “mines continued to be planted” and several German vehicles damaged.
SS report 97,000 persons have been “processed” in mobile gas vans.
Germans besiege Sevastopol.
The Eighth Army launches a counter-attack against the Afrika Korps forces that are inside the ‘Cauldron. This is codenamed ‘Aberdeen’, but went disastrously wrong from the start, with an infantry tank brigade being destroyed in minefields and an Indian infantry brigade attacking the wrong positions. This left the remainder of the force, the 22nd Armoured Brigade to be repulsed easily by the untouched German defenses. British losses for this operation were 150 tanks, 133 guns and 6,000 troops. At this point in the battle, the British forces in the northern part of the Gazala line (1st South African and the remainder of the British 50th Division), were still in a strong position and so General Auchinleck and Lieutenant General Ritchie decide to hold the line facing south from the Knightsbridge defensive box to El Adem with the remainder of their infantry and tank forces and wait for Rommel’s next move.
During the early hours, Admiral Yamamoto orders the withdrawal of the Japanese invasion fleet and abandons his efforts to capture Midway. The US fleet loses contact with the Japanese later in the day. The US destroyer Hammam is torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine.
Battle of Pantelleria-Island with airfield; 11,000 Italian troops; guns controlling access to Sicily. A six-day air bombardment forces the garrison to surrender without an invasion. This is also the first time the Tuskegee “Black Eagles” flew under Colonel Ben Davis.
U-513 (Kptlt. Sohler) sinks 4 ships off the coast of Brazil.
Men of the 1st Special Service Brigade marching from their assembly camp to Southampton
Eisenhower gives the go ahead order for the D-Day landings in 24 hours when Stagg predicts a clearing of weather. 10:15 p.m.: “Wound my heart with a monotonous languor”- BBC radio cue for the French Resistance. 10:30 p.m.: 101st Screaming Eagles finish their takeoff (822 C-47’s). Ike visits airfield: “Good luck to you tonight soldier.”
The first mission by B-29 Superfortress bombers occurs as 77 planes bomb Japanese railway facilities at Bangkok, Thailand.
Moscow Radio announces the award of the highest Russian honour, the ‘Order of Victory’, to Montgomery and Eisenhower.
The four allied powers sign a declaration on the defeat of Germany, which divides the country.
State of siege proclaimed in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini arrested
Six-day war begins between Israel and the neighboring Arab states of Egypt, Jordan and Syria