World War Two Timeline of Events - 1943

Sourced from the Forces War Records Historic Document Archives, the 'Timeline of Events from 1939-45' provide a fascinating picture of the war as it was viewed at the time. Looking at this detailed timeline of WWII you can see wht it was called a World War, with so many countries involved across land, sea and air.

Within this timeline you will also discover Victoria Cross recipients with citations, Shipping losses, Battles, actions, RAF operations and so much more.

World War II Day by Day - 1943

World War Two Timeline of Events - 1943

JANUARY 1943

January 1, 1943

  • Velikye Luki, the important base and railway town 280 miles west of Moscow, is recaptured by the Russians, the entire garrison being exterminated; they also take Elista, in the Kalmuck region, and the regional centre of Tormosin in the Caucasus.
  • Sfax is again heavily attacked from the air and the harbour and railway yards at Tunis are raided and set on fire. French forces seize an important point north-west of Kairouan.
  • In Libya our patrols are active west of Wadi Bei el Kebir; our bombers visit Palermo and start several fires.
  • The loss of destroyer H.M.S. Blean (Lieut. Norman John Parker, R.N.) is reported by the Admiralty.
  • General Viscount Gort, V.C., and General Sir Archibald Wavell are promoted to the rank of Field-Marshal.

January 2, 1943

  • Several fortified positions are captured by the Red Army in the Velikye Luki sector and the railway centre of Remantnoye, 125 miles north-east of Lake Manitch, is also taken. In the Caucasus the Russians cross the Terek River and occupy Chikola; Khaznion and Toldzgun; north-east of Tuapse the Germans are forced to give ground.
  • There is patrol activity only in Tunisia, but in a fierce air battle 28 enemy machines are destroyed with the loss of seven allied planes. Two ships, the docks and the power house at La Goulette are hit by bombs from our aircraft.
  • Allied troops, following bitter fighting, occupy the Government station and mission at Buna, New Guinea.
  • Crete is heavily bombed in daylight for the first time since its occupation by the Axis; light, medium and heavy bombers take part in the raid.

January 3, 1943

  • A further success in the Caucasus is achieved by our allies when by a sudden blow they capture Mozdok and Malgobek, 25 miles to the south-east; to the south-west of Kotelnikovo German counter-attacks supported by tanks are beaten back.
  • French forces at Fondouk, in Tunisia, are attacked, after bombardment, by between 30 and 40 tanks, which are beaten back, nearly half of them being destroyed.
  • St. Nazaire is visited by heavy bombers of the United States Army Air Force, the U-boat pens and docks being attacked and fires started.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command attack targets in the Ruhr; three of our bombers are lost.

January 4, 1943

  • The Germans are compelled to evacuate Chernyshkovsky, a town and railway-station about 100 miles south-west of Stalingrad, leaving behind 17 aircraft, 2,000,000 shells and 500,000 aircraft bombs. Pressing on from Mozdok the Soviet forces push back the enemy and capture Nalchik. Enemy attacks west of Rzhev are repelled.
  • Our Tunisia bombers attack the railway yards at Kairouan.
  • The Ruhr is again the objective of aircraft of Bomber Command; two of our planes do not return.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of destroyer H.M.S. Firedrake (Commander Eric Henry Tilden, D.S.C., R.N.) and the sinking of a large German supply ship in the Atlantic by H.M. cruiser Seylla.

January 5, 1943

  • The Russians announce further important successes on the Don, and in the Caucasus six more towns, including the railway-centre of Prokhladnaya, Malsky and Kotlerevskaya, are occupied. In the Don area Tsimlyanskaya is retaken from the enemy, as is Morozovsky, farther to the north.
  • British troops, including commandos and paratroops, in Tunisia make a successful attack on high ground about 15 miles west of Mateur and capture Jebel Azzag and some neighbouring points.
  • Middle East heavy bombers carry out a daylight attack on Susa, in Tripoli, scoring hits on quays and buildings. With improved weather General Leclerc’s French troops continue their advance in Southern Libya and capture an important enemy position.
  • Japanese shipping concentrated in Rabaul harbour is attacked by Flying Fortresses and Liberators, and nine of them, totalling about 50,000 tons, are destroyed; a warship was probably destroyed also.

January 6, 1943

  • Continuing their advance against the enemy in the Central Caucasus the Russians liberate many more villages; the forces pushing forward through the Kalmuck area reach the Manych valley; more inhabited places in the Middle Don are occupied, and German counter-attacks are repulsed.
  • In Tunisia our troops are dislodged from the summits of Jeb el Azzag and the hill to the north and retire to their former positions.
  • General Leclerc’s Fighting French forces storm and capture Oum-el-Araneb, the chief Axis outpost in Fezzan.
  • Victoria Cross recipientHavildar (Sergeant) Parkash Singh, 8th Punjab Regiment awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: “On the 6th January, 1943, at Donbaik, Mayo Peninsula, Burma, when two Carriers had been put out of action, Havildar Parkash Singh drove forward in his own Carrier and rescued the two crews under very heavy fire. At the time, the crews of the disabled Carriers had expended their ammunition and the enemy were rushing the two disabled Carriers on foot. This N.C.O.’s timely and courageous action, entirely on his own initiative, saved the lives of the crews and their weapons. On the 19th January, 1943, in the same area, three Carriers were put out of action by an enemy anti-tank gun and lay on the open beach covered by enemy anti-tank and machine-gun fire. One of these Carriers was carrying the survivors of another Carrier in addition to its own crew. Havildar Parkash Singh, on seeing what had happened, went out from a safe position in his own Carrier, and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, rescued the combined crews from one disabled Carrier, together with the weapons from the Carrier. Having brought the crews to safety, he again went out on the open beach in his Carrier, still under very heavy anti-tank and machine-gun fire and with the utmost disregard for his personal safety, dismounted and connected a towing chain on to a disabled Carrier containing two wounded men. Still under fire, he directed the towing of the disabled Carrier from under enemy fire to a place of safety. Havildar Parkash Singh’s very gallant actions, entirely on his own initiative, were an inspiration to all ranks both British and Indian.”

January 7, 1943

  • Numerous inhabited localities are reoccupied by the Soviet forces operating in the Middle and Lower Don and Northern Caucasus areas; our allies are reported to be within 75 miles of Rostov.
  • An Italian unit of about 400 is attacked and routed on the Tunisia-Tripolitania border about 200 miles south of Gabes.
  • Rommel’s transport moving west from the Wadi Zemzem is machine-gunned by allied fighter aircraft and good results are obtained. Murzuk, commanding the roads in Southern Libya leading to Wadi Zemzem and the rear of the enemy positions, is reached by General Leclerc’s forces.
  • For the third time in five nights aircraft of Bomber Command attack targets in the Ruhr.

January 8, 1943

  • Advancing on an 85-mile front towards Rostov the Red Army gain further successes, capturing the town and railway-station of Zimovniki after crossing the River Sal; farther north our allies advance another 10 miles. In the Northern Caucasus the Russians have now pushed the enemy back nearly 80 miles.
  • In Tunisia U.S. bombers twice raid Bizerta and Ferryvilie, at the southern end of Lake Bizerta, scoring many hits on docks and shipping.
  • The enemy’s retreating transport in Libya is again heavily attacked from the air between Zliten and Horns.
  • The Fighting French forces in Southern Libya arrive at Brach, about 350 miles south-east of Tripoli.
  • A Japanese convoy sailing from Rabaul to Lae, in New Guinea, is reported to be receiving a heavy battering by allied aircraft.
  • It is reported that the Sanananda position in New Guinea is completely enveloped.
  • The Ruhr is again attacked by our R.A.F. aircraft.

January 9, 1943

  • The Russian armies advancing from the north and from the Caucasus are gradually decreasing the gap, which is now only about 35 miles wide; on the Baku-Rostov railway the Russians have reached a point only 10 miles from Georgievsk. On the Lower Don the enemy continues to retreat towards the Donetz River. Heavy counter-attacks aimed at the recapture of Velikye Luki are smashed by our allies.
  • Middle East aircraft bomb targets around Tripoli and transport on the coastal roads of Tripolitania and Tunisia. General Leclerc’s Chad forces advance farther through Fezzan.
  • British troops are reported to be fighting within 25 miles of Akyab in their advance through Western Burma.
  • The remnants of the Japanese convoy reach Lae, three of the transports having been sunk and three severely damaged; the enemy also had 133 aircraft destroyed, probably destroyed or damaged.
  • Essen, in the Ruhr, which is again visited, is the principal target of R.A.F. bombers, and many 4,000-lb. bombs are dropped; seven of our aircraft are lost.

January 10, 1943

  • Boytsov-Nikandrovsky and several inhabited places in the Caucasus are taken in the Russians’ continued advance against stiffer enemy resistance; progress is made in the Lower Don area and on the Central Front, and in the Stalingrad area casualties are inflicted on the Germans.
  • A joint Admiralty and Air Ministry report announces the arrival of an important Atlantic convoy after being attacked for four days and nights; allied forces fought 35 actions in which they sank two U-boats and damaged others. Two escorting Liberator aircraft sighted 13 U-boats and attacked 11, probably sinking two and damaging others.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of submarine H.M.S. Utmost (Lieut. John Walter David Coombe, R.N.).
  • Two more ships of the Japanese convoy retreating from Lae are hit by allied bombers.

January 11, 1943

  • Further successes are gained by the Soviet forces in the Northern Caucasus, where Georgievsk, Mineralniye Vody, Pyatigorsk and other towns are wrested from the Germans, and considerable booty is captured; progress is maintained on the other fronts.
  • General Leclerc’s force completes the conquest of Fezzan.
  • In Tunisia enemy thrusts south-west of Fondouk are repelled by French forces; there is active patrolling by allied troops, and French troops occupy a pass 23 miles south of Pont du Fahs.
  • R.A.F. heavy bombers attack the Ruhr for the sixth time in eight nights; many 4,000-lb bombs are dropped.

January 12, 1943

  • In the Caucasus the Red Army continues to make progress, capturing Essentuki railway-station and a number of inhabited localities; several occupied places in the Zimovniki area are also occupied and offensive engagements lake place in the Lower Don sector and on the Central Front.
  • U.S. Air Force have a good day in Tunisia, among other successes being the destruction of 16 enemy machines in the air and 20 or more on the ground; 10 others receive damage.
  • In Libya enemy landing-grounds and targets on the roads near Misurata are heavily bombed. Our aircraft raid Crete, Sicily and Lampedusa Island.
  • Increased enemy resistance is reported from Burma, where land and air forces continue operations in the Rathedaung district.
  • Capt. Robert St Vincent Sherbrooke, D.S.O., R.N., who commanded the destroyer force which drove off enemy warships attacking a North Russia convoy, is awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • Once again, the Ruhr is the target of R.A.F. bombers.
Halifax crew on return from an air raid on the Ruhr
A cheerful Halifax crew hand in their parachutes and flying kit for safe custody and
repairs to a safety equipment worker on their return from an air raid on the Ruhr.

January 13, 1943

  • Continuing their offensive in the Northern Caucasus the Red Army captures the district-centre of Novo-Selitskoe as well as a number of large inhabited localities. Progress is made on the Lower Don, and the Stalingrad garrison advances four miles into the western suburbs of the city.
  • In spite of bad weather conditions R.A.F. activity in Libya continues, and enemy forward positions are attacked. Once again, the Ruhr is attacked by our heavy bombers, with Essen as the central target, more than 100 tons of bombs being dropped in 12 minutes; four of our aircraft are lost. British and U.S. bombers, escorted by nearly 400 Spitfires, carry out a big day attack on industrial plants at Lille with good results; St. Omer and Abbeville are also bombed.
  • Flight-Sergeant 402745 Rawdon Hugh Middleton, Royal Australian Air Force (missing), is awarded the Victoria Cross for devotion to duty unsurpassed in the annals of the Royal Air Force.

January 14, 1943

  • In Northern Caucasia the Russians occupy Suvorovskaya, on the main Rostov-Caucasus railway, and fresh successes are won on the Lower Don. The Germans report a new Soviet attack south of Voronezh, and in the Leningrad area our allies begin an attack near Schluesselburg.
  • Middle East air forces, overcoming strong defence measures by the Luftwaffe, systematically batter Rommel’s landing-grounds and defence positions. The harbour and road junctions at Tripoli are heavily bombed.
  • Allied air activity in Tunisia is directed chiefly against the enemy supply ports of Sfax, Susa and Gabes. French ground forces gain further heights around Kairouan.
  • R.A.F. bombers make a sharp attack on the enemy U-boat base of Lorient.
  • The posthumous award of the Victoria Cross is made to Corporal QX1071 John Alexander French, Australian Military Forces.

January 15, 1943

  • The Russians announce important advances towards the vital Donetz coal basin, Salsk, on the Stalingrad Black Sea railway at the junction for Rostov, and Voroshilovsk, a German base in the Caucasus.
  • General Montgomery launches a new attack against Rommel’s forces at first light, with successful results. A large-scale bombing attack by daylight is made on Tripoli.
  • One of the heaviest day’s air fighting takes place in Tunisia, in which 23 Axis planes are shot down, our losses being eight. Shipping and harbour installations at Tripoli are bombed by British and U.S. Liberator aircraft.
  • British submarines, the Admiralty announces, have sunk at least three, and probably six, more Axis supply ships in the Mediterranean.
  • R.A.F. bombers again attack Lorient and Western Germany by night; Cherbourg is visited in daylight.
Crew of a bomber aircraft are preparing to board their aircraft
Crew of a bomber aircraft are preparing to board their machine for another raid on Germany

January 16, 1943

  • In their new offensive in three directions south of Voronezh the Russians advance from 32 to 58 miles, capturing about 600 localities, including the important town of Rossosh. The Soviet states that an ultimatum to surrender presented on 8th January to the commander of the German 6th Army trapped in Stalingrad having been rejected, the Red Army began a general attack; the statement revealed that of the original enemy army of 300,000 only about 80,000 are left.
  • The 8th Army’s attack continues, the enemy being compelled to withdraw from the whole of his Buerat positions; some prisoners and tanks are captured. Our fighter-bombers attack concentrations of Rommel’s vehicles.
  • An attack by enemy tanks north of Bou Arada. Tunisia, is repelled.
  • From Guadalcanal it is announced that U.S. planes have scored hits on four Japanese destroyers: 30 enemy planes are also destroyed.
  • Berlin is attacked by a strong force of R.A.F. bombers, a great weight of bombs, including 8,000-pounders and tens of thousands of incendiaries, being dropped; one aircraft fails to return.
  • Iraq declares itself in a state of war with the Axis Powers.
The crew of a Lancaster which took part in a air raid on Berlin
The crew of a Lancaster which took part in a devastating air attack on
Berlin on the night of 16th-17th January 1943

January 17, 1943

  • The important junction-town of Millerovo is captured by the Red Army after stubborn fighting, the garrison being almost completely wiped out; south of Voronezh our allies retake the town and railway-station of Alexeyevka and cross the Donetz River; in the Caucasus further progress is made.
  • In Libya the enemy continues to retreat; our forces are in contact with him about 80 miles north-west of the Buerat position. The enemy gains some ground in Tunisia south-west from Pont du Fahs.
  • For the second night in succession Berlin is attacked by a strong force of R.A.F. bombers, a great load of bombs again being dropped and many large fires resulting; 22 aircraft are lost.
  • London is raided by a small number of enemy bombers, 10 of which are destroyed.
The wreckage of a Junkers JU88 which crashed in London
The wreckage of a Junkers 88 which crashed in a recreation ground during an attack
on London on the night of 17th-18th January

January 18, 1943

  • With the capture of Schluesselburg, after a seven-day battle, Leningrad is relieved from a siege which had lasted for 16 months; the troops of the Volkhov and Leningrad fronts have joined up.
  • Our forces press farther forward in Libya; Misurata is captured and units of the 8th Army are reported to have arrived at Zliten. The enemy airfield at Castel Benito is heavily attacked by our bombers.
  • Enemy forces in Tunisia penetrate about seven miles south-west from Pont du Fahs. Allied forces make further progress in the Sanananda area, in Papua.

January 19, 1943

  • In the area south of Voronezh the Red forces capture Valuiki, Urazavo, Ostrogosk, Kamensk and other towns, with much booty and some 21,000 prisoners; further progress is made in the Northern Caucasus.
  • Continuing to press the enemy in Libya, our forces close in on Homs and Tarhuna.
  • Allied surface naval forces in the Mediterranean destroy 13 enemy vessels in three days.

January 20, 1943

  • Six more towns are recaptured by the Russian armies on the various fighting fronts, including Proletarskaya in the Manych sector and Nevinnomysk on the Central Caucasus front. Violent engagements take place in the Leningrad area.
  • In their advance on Tripoli General Montgomery’s forces capture the two key-points of Homs and Tarhuna, and maintain contact with the fleeing enemy.
  • In Tunisia the enemy continues active south-west of Pont du Fahs, penetrating to within two miles of Robaa. American Flying Fortresses and R.A.F. Bisleys make several successful attacks on enemy objectives.
  • Chile breaks relations with Germany, Italy and Japan.
  • In a daylight raid on London and the Home Counties there are 48 fatalities (42 children and 6 teachers) when a school is bombed shortly after noon; 11 of the raiders are destroyed, five of them by our new Typhoon high-speed fighters.
General Montgomery having a tea break with a tank crew
General Montgomery, General officer commanding (GOC) 8th Army having a tea break with a Grant tank crew.

January 21, 1943

  • Voroshilovsk, a town in the Caucasus, about 40 miles north-east of Armavir, is in Russian hands after some stubborn fighting. Moscow announces that the Germans have lost 500,000 in killed and more than 200,000 prisoners in two months.
  • Rommel’s retreating forces are subjected to intense air assaults beyond Tripoli, which town our troops are nearing.
  • It is announced that Major-General Alexander Patch, of the U.S. Army, has taken over command of the American forces on Guadalcanal Island, where the enemy is still being driven back in some sectors.
  • For the nineth time during the month R.A.F. bombers attack industrial targets in the Ruhr; four aircraft are lost.

January 22, 1943

  • On the southern front our Russian allies occupy Salsk, an important railway-junction, and other district centres, and in the Caucasus, they take more inhabited districts on the route to Armavir. A three-mile advance is made into the western suburbs of Stalingrad.
  • Our troops in Tripolitania occupy Castelverde and close in on Tripoli from the east and south; strong enemy rear guards are driven back; our fighter-bombers attack fleeing transport columns and ships attempting to leave Zuara harbour.
  • Reinforced by British tanks and infantry, French troops in Tunisia drive the Germans back several miles. A strong enemy attack which had developed to the north-west of Kairouan is checked.
  • Large-scale daylight raids are made on oil installations and airfields in Belgium and Northern France.
  • U.S. troops on Guadalcanal capture six elevated positions west of Henderson airfield.

January 23, 1943

  • Following a determined attack, the Russians capture the town and railway-station of Armavir, on the main Caucasus railway to Rostov. Further localities are occupied on the Voronezh front, where the total number of prisoners taken is now 64,000.
  • Tripoli, the last big town in enemy occupation, is captured in the morning, and General Montgomery’s forces at once sweep on to the west of it. Zuara, a port about 70 miles distant from Tripoli, is bombarded by light forces of the Royal Navy, large fires and explosions resulting.
  • In Tunisia enemy forces occupy Jebel Bou Dabous, a hill on the east of the Ousseltia valley. Our heavy bombers score hits on the docks at Bizerta.
  • The German U-boat bases at Lorient and Brest are attacked in daylight by U.S. Air Force Flying Fortresses, and at night Lorient is again heavily attacked by R.A.F. bombers. Western Germany also receives a night visit.
  • All organised enemy resistance in Papua ceases, and mopping up is now in progress. Munda is heavily raided by several hundred aircraft.
  • On Guadalcanal the U.S. forces drive the enemy from the coast town of Kokumbona.
Gordon Highlanders marching into Tripoli
Men of the Gordon Highlanders with pipes playing marching into Tripoli on 23rd January 1943

January 24, 1943

  • Soviet forces on the south-western front capture Starobielsk after determined fighting, and also several large inhabited localities. A number of district-centres in Central Caucasia are occupied.
  • The 8th Army continues its westward advance; allied fighter-bombers attack small ships attempting to escape from Zuara harbour.
  • In Tunisia the enemy advance in the Ousseltia valley is stopped; 80 prisoners are taken by the Americans in a raid on Maknassi.
  • U.S. Liberators successfully attack shipping and harbour installations at Palermo and Messina.
  • Shipping in Rabaul harbour is damaged by U.S. Flying Fortresses.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of submarine H.M.S. Traveller (Lieut.-Commander Drummond St. Clair-Ford, R.N.).

January 25, 1943

  • The town of Voronezh is completely occupied by the Russians, who also clear the enemy from the eastern bank of the Don in the area west and south-west of the town. In the Caucasus the enemy is thrust farther north-west from Armavir.
  • Our forward troops in Tripolitania continue their advance, and in the northern sector Zauia is occupied; enemy supply lines in Sicily and Tunisia are bombed by our Middle East aircraft. Advanced elements of General Leclerc’s forces enter Tripoli.
  • H.M. submarines are reported to have sunk five more Axis ships in the Mediterranean.

January 26, 1943

  • The German forces trapped in the Stalingrad area are in the main liquidated; more than 40,000 troops have been killed and 28,000 taken prisoner. Progress elsewhere is maintained.
  • Our troops contact Rommel’s rear guards to the west of Zauia; aircraft continue their offensive sweeps over Sicily.
  • Allied forces in Tunisia regain some of the positions in the Ousseltia valley and in the mountains which had been captured by the enemy in recent operations.
  • It is revealed that President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill have been in conference at Casablanca (Morocco) since 14th January, attended by their Chiefs of Staff. Plans were made for an offensive in 1943. Mr. Roosevelt described the meeting as the “unconditional surrender” conference.

January 27, 1943

  • Russian forces on the Voronezh front capture the district-centre and railway-station of Gorshechnoye and five other places, and on the southern front Egorlyk and Ataman railway-station are occupied. Further inhabited places in the Caucasus are wrested from the Germans and at Stalingrad dispersed enemy groups are liquidated.
  • American troops advancing in Tunisia menace the rear of the Mareth Line, and British troops are reported to be showing great activity in the Medjez-el-Bab and Bou Arada regions to the north.
  • The 8th Army reaches a point 40 miles to the west of Tripoli, and the Axis forces are stated to be evacuating Zuara.
  • U.S. bombers based in England make their first daylight raid on Germany, a heavy-scale attack being launched on the naval base at Wilhelmshaven. At night Lancasters and Halifaxes carry out a large-scale “thunderbolt” raid on Duesseldorf, dropping several hundred tons of bombs in a 20-minutes attack. The Diesel works on Amager Island, Denmark, are heavily battered by Mosquito bombers.

January 28, 1943

  • In their push towards Kursk the Russians capture Kastornaya railway station and much booty; in the Caucasus several large inhabited places are captured in the approaches to the Maikop oilfields. Progress continues on other fronts.
  • There is no ground activity in Tunisia, but our fighters attack enemy forces in the Ousseltia valley.
  • German 62-ton “Tiger” tanks (designated Panzerkampfwagen VI), equipped with 88-mm. guns, make their appearance in Tunisia.
  • Airfields in Timor and New Britain are attacked by Beaufighters and Catalinas, and shipping is also bombed.

January 29, 1943

  • Some 200 places are occupied by the Russians in their advance on a broad front west from Voronezh, among them being the towns of Novo Oskol and Kastomaya. Seven enemy divisions are routed and 14,000 prisoners taken. In the Caucasus the town and railway-junction of Kropotkin and several other towns are captured.
  • American forces in Tunisia continue to press towards Gabes with the intention of cutting off Rommel’s retreat. Bizerta is heavily raided by Flying Fortresses, docks and shipping being the objectives.

January 30, 1943

  • Maikop, centre of the Western Caucasus oilfields, and Tikhoretsk, the chief railway-junction in the Kuban, are occupied by the Red Army. Remnants of the seven enemy divisions trapped west of Voronezh are reported to be facing another “Stalingrad.”
  • A force of enemy tanks, infantry and artillery launches an attack against our outposts in Southern Tunisia, and penetrates about six miles; U.S. aircraft attack the enemy and set 12 tanks on fire. The docks at Ferryville are attacked by allied bombers.
  • Our Middle East Heavy bombers successfully attack the harbour and shipping at Messina, Sicily; Lampedusa Island is also raided.
  • The tenth anniversary celebrations in Berlin of Hitler’s rise to power are interrupted by R.A.F. Mosquito bombers who make two daylight raids on the German capital, one at 11 a.m. and the other at 4 p.m. At night a great weight of bombs is dropped on Hamburg.
  • In New Guinea the Japanese strike at allied positions in the north-west near Mubo, but are driven back with heavy losses.

January 31, 1943

  • The Russians announce the annihilation of most of the Germans encircled at Stalingrad and the capture of the commander, Field-Marshal Friedrich Paulus, and 16 other generals; the original strength of the trapped force is stated to have been 330,000. Russian pressure in the Caucasus is placing 200,000 Axis forces in jeopardy.
  • U.S. forces in Tunisia make three attacks on the enemy in the Faid Pass area, but the Axis forces continue to hold their positions. Several enemy attacks along the Pont du Fahs-Robaa Road are repelled by British troops.
  • General Montgomery’s troops capture Zuara and maintain contact with the enemy to the west.

FEBRURY 1943

February 1, 1943

  • Svatovo, a town 100 miles south-east of Kharkov, is captured by the Red Army, and more inhabited centres on the Voronezh and southern fronts are occupied. Further advances are made in the Caucasian areas.
  • In Southern Tunisia our troops capture the station of Sened, and attack the enemy at Faid but without success; in the central area the enemy makes a little progress south-west of Pont du Fahs.
  • There is patrol and artillery activity in Tripolitania to the west of Zuara.
  • It is reported that following the Casablanca conference Mr. Churchill had visited Turkey, where he was received in audience by President Ineunu. He flew there from Cairo, meeting the President at Adana.
  • In New Guinea sporadic fighting continues in the Mubo-Wau area.

February 2, 1943

  • The Russians report that all remaining German forces at Stalingrad have capitulated; Lieut.-Gen. Streicher, 11th Army Corps commander, and several other generals are taken prisoner, and the total of German captives has increased by 45,000 in two days. In the Rostov area to the south-east of the city the enemy is being pressed farther back.
  • There is little change in the ground position in Tunisia, but large fires are started in a raid on Sfax aerodrome; 12 enemy aircraft are destroyed during the day and we lose 13 in all operations.
  • Troops of the 8th Army in the coastal area occupy Zelten and progress towards Pisida.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces surface and air actions in the Solomons area.
  • Mr. Churchill is reported to have paid a visit to Cyprus following his leave-taking with the President of Turkey.
  • Many thousands of incendiaries and a great weight of high explosives, including more than a hundred 4,000-lb. bombs, are dropped on Cologne by R.A.F. bombers.

February 3, 1943

  • The Red Army captures the large railway-station or Kupiansk in the Ukraine, and farther north cuts the Kursk-Orel railway by occupying the stations of Zolotukhino and Vozy. South of Rostov the Russians fiercely attack and take Kushchevka, among other places.
  • In Tunisia British troops make an attack on Jebel Mansour (Hill 648) and capture the lower slopes.
  • Patrols are active in Tripolitania and attacks are made by Middle East aircraft on ships off the Tunisian coast. Palermo is raided at night.
  • In consequence of the disaster to the 6th Army at Stalingrad the people of Germany are informed that no entertainment of any kind will be permitted for three days.
  • R.A.F. bombers launch a heavy attack on Hamburg, causing large fires.
  • Mr. Churchill arrives in Tripoli and thanks the 8th Army for the victories it has won.
Mr Churchill addressing troops of the 8th Army in the open during his visit to Tripoli.

February 4, 1943

  • The town of Kupiansk is occupied by the Russians among other gains in the Ukraine, and cast of Kursk they enter Shehigry and Tim. The district-centre and railway-station of Kanevskaya, south of Rostov, also fall into Red Army hands.
  • Bombers in Tunisia attack the docks at Bizerta; in two days’ air activities 26 Axis machines are destroyed.
  • Patrols of the 8th Army continue to be active in the Tunisian border area, and shipping off the coast is attacked from the air.
  • North-West Germany is attacked in daylight by U.S. Flying Fortresses, and 25 enemy intercepting planes are shot down. At night Lorient is again battered, and attacks are also made on Turin and Spezia, in Italy.
  • The Admiralty announces that H.M. submarines in the Mediterranean have sunk six more Axis ships, including an anti-submarine vessel.
  • In Burma R.A.F. Liberator bombers attack the docks and sidings at Rangoon with 1,000-lb. bombs.

February 5, 1943

  • Continuing their progress in the Kursk area the Soviet forces capture Stary Oskol, and in the Kupiansk sector they take Izyum. A further advance in made south of Rostov-on-Don.
  • The operations for the capture of Jebel Mansour, the lower slopes of which had been occupied, are broken off.
  • Patrolling continues on the Tripolitania-Tunisia border; at night Palermo is again bombed.
  • Count Ciano, Foreign Minister, and Count Grandi, Minister of Justice, and other members of the Italian Cabinet are relieved of their posts by Mussolini, who himself becomes Foreign Minister.
  • Lieut.-General Frank Maxwell Andrews assumes command of the U.S. Forces in the European Theatre of Operations.

February 6, 1943

  • The Red Army occupies the towns and railway stations of Lisichansk, Barvenkovo and Bataklaya in the Ukraine, and Bataisk, 10 miles south of Rostov; Yeisk, town and port on the Sea of Azov, is also taken.
  • In Tunisia our troops, after withdrawal from Jebel Mansour, consolidate their positions in the vicinity of the hill.
  • Brazil, who had already declared war on Germany and Italy, is now at war with Japan.
  • Enemy transport in Burma is heavily attacked by Hurricanes on offensive patrol. At night Mandalay is visited by Wellington- bombers.
  • In New Guinea, in engagements over Wau aerodrome, 26 Japanese aircraft are destroyed and 15 others damaged and probably destroyed without loss to our aircraft.
  • The double drive against the defence lines before Rathedaung and Donbaik, in Burma, continues.
  • Five more Axis ships are reported to have been sunk by our submarines in the Mediterranean.

February 7, 1943

  • The last centre of enemy resistance on the left bank of the Don is liquidated when the Russians take the port and railway-station of Azov; the Red Army also cuts the high road linking Kursk and Orel and the railway connecting Kursk and Kharkov, via Byelgorod. Kramatorskaya, in the Ukraine, is taken, together with several other inhabited places, and Kagalnik, south-west of Rostov, is also captured.
  • Activity in Tunisia is limited to patrolling; Flying Fortresses and Marauders attack in daylight the important air base at Cagliari, in Sardinia.
  • Patrols of the 8th Army are active in all sectors, and in the coastal region our troops come in contact with the enemy on the Tunisian border, west of Pisida. A large-scale raid is carried out in daylight by our heavy bombers on Naples.
  • Mr. Churchill returns home after a tour extending over nearly 10,000 miles.
  • Colonel Knox announces moderate losses on both sides in the recent Solomons naval action.
  • The sinking of four more Axis ships by our Mediterranean submarines is reported.
  • In Burma, R.A.F. Liberators drop 30 tons of heavy bombs on Rangoon.
  • The important U-boat base of Lorient receives its heaviest bombing attack; many 4,000-lb. bombs are dropped and big fires started.

February 8, 1943

  • The strongly defended town and railway-junction of Kursk falls to the Russians after a fierce attack, much booty being captured; north-east of Byelgorod stubborn fighting ends with the Red Army’s occupation of Korocha.
  • There is no land activity in Tunisia, but our bombers attack Susa and Gabes, and during the latter raid shoot down 18 enemy fighters.
  • The 8th Army continues patrol activity and there are artillery exchanges; Messina is heavily bombed by Middle East aircraft, and Palermo is also visited.

February 9, 1943

  • After stubborn fighting the town and railway-station of Byelgorod is captured by the Russians, who also re-enter Shevekino, north-east of Kharkov. Our allies make further progress south of Kursk.
  • Mitchell medium bombers from the Middle East attack Heraklion and other targets in Crete.
  • Colonel Knox, the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, announces that all organised action by the Japanese on Guadalcanal Island is apparently at an end.

February 10, 1943

  • The Red Army captures Volchansk, 40 miles north-east of Kharkov, and Chuguyev, south-west of Kharkov; several places are taken near Kramatorskaya in the Don basin, and between Orel and the Donetz the Russians continue to advance.
  • British and French forces in Tunisia attack an Italian held line in the north and reach their primary objectives, making an advance eastward to a depth of about eight miles.
  • In Burma the R.A.F. make a 200-mile offensive patrol causing damage at many places.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of submarine H.M.S. P-48 (Lieut. Michael Elliot Faber, R.N.).

February 11, 1943

  • The town and railway-junction of Lozovaya fall to the Soviet forces, and following the capture of Volchansk the Russians press forward towards Kharkov; the pressure on Rostov increases with the crossing of the north bank of the Lower Don.
  • Snow and rain prevent ground activity in Tunisia, but Sened is attacked by our light bombers.
  • Mr. Churchill speaks in the House of Commons on the war and announces important changes in the North African High Command; General Alexander becomes deputy Commander-in-Chief under General Eisenhower; Air Chief Marshal Tedder is appointed air commander-in-chief, Mediterranean; Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham extends his command to embrace the whole of the operations in the Mediterranean; the Middle East command, vacated by General Alexander, is taken over by General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson.
  • It is reported from New Guinea that the Japanese have been decisively defeated in the Wau area and are retreating towards Mubo.
  • R.A.F. bombers make a heavy and successful attack on the German naval base of Wilhelmshaven.

February 12, 1943

  • The important town of Krasnodar, capital of the Kuban, is now in Russian hands after fierce fighting, and north of Rostov our allies capture Shakhty. In the Ukraine Soviet troops force an entry into Krasnoarmeisk and Voroshilovsk is also occupied.
  • Axis outposts in the Faid area are attacked by U.S. troops; an attack by the Axis from heights east of Ousseltia is repelled by British forces.
  • General Montgomery’s forces in Southern Tunisia engage in artillery exchanges with Rommel’s troops, who are reported to have retreated behind a stretch of marshes.
  • Sharp but unsuccessful Japanese counter-attacks in the Donbaik and Rathedaung neighbourhood are reported from Burma.
  • In a broadcast speech President Roosevelt speaks of the coming invasion of Europe.

February 13, 1943

  • Soviet forces capture Zolochev, 20 miles north-west of Kharkov, and are only 15 miles from the city on the south-east; Novocherkask, 20 miles north-east of Rostov, and Likhaya and Zverevo, about 60 miles to the north, are also taken by our allies.
  • There is only patrol activity in Tunisia; at night our bombers make another attack on Bizerta.
  • In the coastal sector 8th Army troops contact the enemy withdrawing towards Ben Gardene; Naples harbour and the aerodrome at Cotrone are bombed in daylight by U.S. Liberator heavy bombers.
  • Lorient is again heavily raided by Lancasters, Stirlings, and Halifaxes, when more than 1,000 tons of high explosives are dropped with devastating effect in two visits; objectives in Western Germany are also attacked.

February 14, 1943

  • Following some violent fighting the Russians occupy the important city of Rostov-on-Don, and in the Donetz basin they enter Voroshilovgrad and Krasny Sulin; the ring around Kharkov is gradually closing.
  • It is reported from Tunisia that the enemy launched an attack in the morning against the American-held positions near Gafsa, which is in danger of being cut off; the Axis forces penetrated to a depth of some 20 miles.
  • Troops of the 8th Army make further progress west-wards, but otherwise there is only patrol activity.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command make simultaneous attacks on Cologne and Milan, a great weight of explosives and incendiaries being dropped on both cities, and Spezia is also visited; 11 of our aircraft are lost.
  • Rabaul, in New Britain, is heavily raided by Fortresses and Liberators and many large fires are started.

February 15, 1943

  • The Russians make further advances in the Ukraine, where they occupy the town of Krasnodon; progress is also made in the Rostov and Orel regions.
  • Continuing their attack against U.S. forces in the south of Tunisia, the Axis forces compel our allies to evacuate Gafsa following a stand-up engagement against 130 enemy tanks.
  • Ben Gardane is occupied by the 8th Army, which maintains contact with Rommel’s forces to the west of the town; Naples is raided by U.S. bombers.
  • Docks and shipping at Dunkirk are attacked by British and U.S. bombers; accompanying fighter aircraft destroy 10 enemy planes without loss.
  • It is announced from New York that a number of French warships from Dakar, including the battleship Richelieu and the cruiser Montcalm, have arrived in United States ports for overhauling and refitting.
Tanks of the 8th Army entering the town of Ben Gardane
Tanks of the 8th Army entering the town of Ben Gardane 20 miles inside
the Tunisian border on 15th February 1943

February 16, 1943

  • After fierce fighting, the important town of Kharkov is captured from the Germans, the S.S. army corps, “The Reich,” the “Adolf Hitler” tank division, the “Greater Germany” motorised division, and a number of German infantry divisions and special units being routed; in other sectors progress continues.
  • The U.S. Air Force in Tunisia evacuate the airfield at Sbeitla, and the enemy is striking at Feriana and Kasserine.
  • Units of General Montgomery’s forces advance well beyond Ben Gardane in their drive on Medenine; Rommel’s main strength is now behind the Mareth Line.
  • St. Nazaire submarine installations are attacked in daylight by U.S. Army Air Force Flying Fortresses and Liberators. Three of a small force of night raiders which attacked towns in South. Wales and South-West England are destroyed. Lorient is again visited in bright moonlight by a strong force of heavy bombers.

February 17, 1943

  •  The Russians retake five more towns in the Ukraine, including Slavyansk, and another one in the Kursk area: west of Kharkov they continue to inflict blows on the routed enemy and also press forward south-west of Voroshilovgrad.
  • In Tunisia the enemy makes a further advance in the central sector, our allies evacuating Feriana and Kasserine.
  • The 8th Army progresses towards the Mareth Line, advance elements arriving at Medenine.
  • The Admiralty announces that six more enemy supply ships have been sunk, a seventh damaged and another torpedoed and probably sunk by submarines in the Central Mediterranean.
  • In New Guinea the Japanese are still withdrawing towards Mubo, harassed by our forward elements.

February 18, 1943

  • In the Orel region and to the west of Rostov-on-Don the Red Army develops its offensive, capturing a number of populated places and outflanking the town of Taganrog; several large inhabited localities are entered in the Krasnodar area.
  • The Americans in Central Tunisia are reported to have taken up positions in hills overlooking the Gafsa Kairouan route, the general situation thus becoming somewhat stabilised.
  • There are artillery exchanges between the 8th Army and the enemy in the northern sector of Southern Tunisia, and in the south our troops occupy Foum Tatahouine; practically the entire south-eastern tip of Tunisia, including Jerba Island, is cleared of the enemy.
  • Wilhelmshaven is attacked by a powerful force of R.A.F. bombers, much damage resulting.

February 19, 1943

  • Lyubotin falls to our allies in their advance to the west and south-west of Kharkov, and they also capture Merefa: a determined attack in the Kursk province results in the taking of Oboyan, the encircled garrison being almost entirely annihilated.
  • Guards units of the 1st Army sent to reinforce the Americans in Central Tunisia help to stop a double tank thrust in the direction of Tebessa, just over the Algerian frontier. It is reported that General Alexander is now directing operations from the battle area.
  • Mr. Churchill is reported to be suffering from an acute attack of catarrh.
  • Wilhelmshaven is again the chief target for Bomber Command aircraft, which make a 30-minutes’ concentrated attack.

February 20, 1943

  • Soviet troops gain important new successes in the Ukraine, troops on the south-western sector capturing the towns and railway-junctions of Krasnograd and Pavlograd; farther north the threat to Orel is increased, while in the Caucasus more progress is made.
  • The Axis forces make some local progress in an attack to the north-west of Kasserine, but patrols of infantry and tanks near Sbiba are repelled by the Allies; allied fighter aircraft attack enemy transport and inflict damage.
  • The fortified position of Medenine is occupied by the 8th Army.
  • U.S. heavy bombers raid Naples and Cotrone in daylight, and at night R.A.F. medium bombers attack Palermo harbour and targets in Sicily.

February 21, 1943

  • In the Donetz basin the Russians take the town and railway-station of Bokovo-Antratsit and several large inhabited places, and make more progress in other sectors of the front.
  • North-west of Kasserine, in Central Tunisia, a strong enemy assault is successfully held by allied troops after stiff fighting, and attacks by tanks and infantry south of Sbiba are repelled. In the northern sector another assault by the enemy north of Medjez-el-Bab is also beaten off.
  • Japanese positions at Munda (New Georgia Island) are successfully bombed by U.S. aircraft.
  • A heavy attack is made on Bremen by R.A.F. bombers, more than a hundred 4,000-lb. bombs being dropped.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces that the 2,710-ton submarine U.S.S Argonaut, the largest in the American Navy, must be presumed lost.
  • Mr. Anthony Eden addresses a demonstration at the Albert Hall to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Red Army.

February 22, 1943

  • The Red Army continues to drive forward in the Ukraine, capturing the town of Korostyaev among a number of places, while several district-centres in the Kuban area are entered.
  • Several heavy attacks to the north and north-west of Kasserine are launched against the allied forces in Tunisia, all without success; our tanks and infantry inflict severe casualties on the enemy and take a number of prisoners. In the course of the past few days, it is reported, many Axis tanks have been destroyed and many others badly damaged.
  • The Admiralty announces that two medium-sized supply ships have been destroyed, a large tanker probably destroyed, and three other enemy ships dam aged by our Mediterranean submarines.
  • The U.S. Navy Department reports the torpedoing by enemy submarines in the North Atlantic of two American passenger cargo-ships carrying troops; 850 are dead or missing.
  • Rabaul and other bases in the Solomons are heavily attacked by allied bombers.
  • Landing from vessels of the Royal Indian Navy coastal forces, our fighting patrols carry out a successful five-hour raid on the Arakan village of Myebon, destroying many buildings, the jetty and a river steamer.

February 23, 1943

  • The Ukraine towns of Sumi, Akhtyrk and Lebedin are occupied by Soviet troops, and following stern fighting in the Kursk area they compel the enemy to surrender the town and railway-station of Malo-Arkhangelsk.
  • In Tunisia the enemy are reported to be withdrawing through the Kasserine Pass, the allied air forces inflicting heavy losses on both men and material in an all-day attack.
  • Continuing their air attacks on Rabaul, Fortresses make a day assault on shipping in the harbour, scoring three hits on a cruiser or large destroyer.

February 24, 1943

  • Russian armoured units press on beyond Lebedin in the Northern Ukraine, and farther south to the west of Rostov they continue offensive operations; progress is also made in other sectors of the various fronts.
  • In Central Tunisia the enemy continues to withdraw from the pass north and north-west of Kasserine; a number of Italians acting as rear guards are taken prisoner. Transport troops and communications are repeatedly attacked by allied aircraft.
  • The 8th Army carry out active patrolling east of the Mareth Line.
  • Malta’s R.A.F. torpedo-bombers attack an enemy convoy north of Trapani, sinking a supply ship and damaging another, and also damaging a destroyer.
  • Shipping in Rabaul harbour is successfully bombed by Flying Fortresses.
  • Wilhelmshaven is the target for the R.A.F. for the fourth time this month.
Two wounded British soldiers from Mareth Line offensive
Two wounded British soldiers from Mareth Line offensive in Tunisia smile for the camera.

February 25, 1943

  • In the Donetz Basin the Germans stiffen their resistance to the Russian advance beyond the Mius River, but on the Kharkov front our allies progress beyond Sumi to the north-west.
  • The enemy is driven out of the Kasserine Pass, which is again in allied possession, and high ground to the north-east and south-west is also occupied by our forces.
  • Naples harbour is bombed by U.S.A.A.F. aircraft from the Middle East, and Malta fighter-bombers raid Sicily twice.
  • Sir James Grigg, in the House of Commons, reviews the progress of the Army in 1942.
  • In air combats in Assam American fighter pilots destroy about 20 enemy aircraft.
  • The important industrial centre of Nuremberg, in Southern Germany, is heavily bombed.

February 26, 1943

  • The Germans continue to counter-attack strongly in the Donetz Basin; west of Kharkov the Red Army presses on and also maintains offensive operations to the west of Kursk. Further successes are achieved by the Soviet forces in the Kuban.
  • Axis forces in Northern Tunisia make dawn attacks at six points on a front extending for about 70 miles, the main thrust being in the Medjez-el-Bab area. In the central sector Kasserine is reoccupied by American troops and the Germans evacuate three airfields.
  • Light reconnaissance patrols of the 8th Army sweep round the Mareth Line to a depth of 12 to 15 miles; the village of Chermessa is occupied.
  • Wilhelmshaven is again attacked in daylight by U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators, and Bomber Command Venturas raid the docks at Dunkirk. At night Cologne receives a visit in force, the whole target being set afire.

February 27, 1943

  • South-west of Kramatorskaya the Russians smash enemy counter-attacks and take part of a stronghold; the fighting in this area is intense, towns and villages changing hands frequently. In the Kursk and Orel areas the Red Army makes continued progress.
  • The enemy thrusts in Northern Tunisia are everywhere held, and prisoners in allied hands exceed 850; the Axis offensive causes them many casualties and heavy loss of material. In Central Tunisia the enemy is still withdrawing.
  • Advanced elements of the 8th Army contact the enemy in the area to the south of Mareth; fighter-bombers and fighters attack troop concentrations and transport.
  • Dunkirk docks receive another daylight visit by R.A.F. bombers, and U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators bomb Brest harbour; Western Germany is attacked at night.

February 28, 1943

  • Heavy counter-attacks by enemy tanks and mobile infantry in the Kramatorskaya area are repelled, and in hilly territory on the Sea of Azov west of Rostov there is heavy artillery activity. Further progress is made by the Russians west of Kharkov and west of Kursk.
  • Enemy attacks continue in Northern Tunisia, the heaviest being north-east of Beja; all are held, and severe casualties are inflicted; in Central Tunisia the allied forces press forward towards Sbeitla.
  • U.S. Flying Fortresses make a heavy daylight attack on the harbour at Cagliari. At night the R.A.F. drop more than 1,000 tons of high-explosives and incendiaries on the U-boat base of St. Nazaire; Western Germany is also bombed.
  • It is announced that in a “round-the-clock” air offensive from Thursday night to Saturday morning, the R.A.F. used over 2,000 machines and flew about 1,500,000 miles.
  • The German atomic weapon research plant in Norway is badly damaged during an attack by Norwegian commandos. Germany’s atomic weapon program is set back years by the attack.

MARCH 1943

March 1, 1943

  • A Moscow communique announces that Marshal Timoshenko has opened an offensive in the Lake Ilmen region, capturing Demyansk and many other places in eight days’ fighting and taking 3,000 prisoners. The German counter-offensive in the Donetz Basin shows no sign of slackening, the enemy fighting stubbornly for the recapture of Kramatorskaya.
  • The successful advance of the allied forces in Central Tunisia continues, and Sbeitla is reoccupied; in the north the Axis attacks weaken.
  • Naples is again visited by U.S. heavy bombers, the dock area being damaged; at night the R.A.F. bomb Palermo harbour.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command attack Berlin in the heaviest raid so far on the German capital, and fires lighted are seen 200 miles away; 19 aircraft fail to return from the night’s operations.

March 2, 1943

  • Marshal Timoshenko’s northern offensive continues and Staraya Russa is threatened. South-west of Voroshilovgrad and to the west of Rostov the Germans fiercely resist the Red Army, which repels several counter-attacks.
  • Elements of allied forces in Central Tunisia press on south and south-east of Sbeitla, and in the north pressure is continued against the enemy north of Beja and east of Sejenane.
  • A large fully-laden enemy tanker engaged in running the blockade has, it is reported, been sunk in the Bay of Biscay by H.M.S. Sussex.
  • A Japanese convoy off New Britain is attacked from the air and split up; a 10,000-ton transport is left sinking, an 8,000-ton transport is sunk, while another 6,000-ton transport and other ships are hit.

March 3, 1943

  • After a long and fierce battle, the Red Army recapture Rzhev, killing 2,000 of the garrison and taking 112 tanks and 78 guns; the railway-junction of Lgov is also taken and several places on the Kuban front are occupied.
  • In Northern Tunisia fighting continues in the Sejenane area and the enemy gains some ground after suffering heavy casualties. In the Mareth area enemy infantry advancing east are repulsed.
  • There are two short night raids on London; three of the enemy aircraft are destroyed. During the earlier raid 173 people are crushed to death in a shelter disaster.
  • Our bombers make a night attack on Hamburg, dropping many 4,000-lb. bombs.
  • Mr. A. V. Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty, surveys the activities of the Royal Navy in 1942.
London houses damaged by the Luftwaffe air raid
London houses damaged by the Luftwaffe air raid during a night attack on 3rd March 1943

March 4, 1943

  • Our Russian allies progress west of Rzhev and capture the railway-stations of Olenino and Chertolino; Sevsk, in the Orel region, is occupied after stubborn fighting, and the railway-station of Sudzha, in the Kursk region, is also wrested from the enemy. The Germans claim the capture of Slavyansk, in the Donetz Basin.
  • There is a heavy engagement in the village of Sejenane, Northern Tunisia, an enemy attack being successfully held after close street fighting; in the central sector French forces occupy Nefta, on the western shore of Shott Jerid, and penetrate into Mides. Sidi Bou Zid is entered by allied forces. Enemy activity increases in the Mareth area.
  • In daylight Hamm and Rotterdam and other places in Germany and Holland are targets for U.S. Army Air Force bombers.
  • Among recent activities of British submarines in the Mediterranean, the Admiralty announces, was the shelling of a shipbuilding yard on the Italian coast and the sinking of seven more enemy ships.
  • General MacArthur’s headquarters claim that the entire Japanese convoy of 22 ships, 10 of them warships, which was making for New Guinea, has been sunk; 102 enemy aircraft were definitely destroyed and many more damaged.
Air raid damage to London suburbs from Luftwaffe bombers
In the early hours of 4th March 1943 German raiders attacked London Suburbs

March 5, 1943

  • In their advance towards the Vyazma-Smolensk railway the Soviet forces reoccupy 40 more villages; they also make further progress in their drive for Orel. The German High Command reports heavy Russian pressure on Staraya Russa, but on the Kharkov front a claim is made to the recapture of Lisichansk and many other places.
  • The enemy in Northern Tunisia capture the village of Sejenane, British 1st Army troops withdrawing seven miles to Tamera; in the central region U.S. troops reoccupy Pichon.
  • Essen, the home of Krupps armaments factories, receives a heavy and concentrated attack by R.A.F. bombers.

March 6, 1943

  • As the result of two assaults the Red Army captures the “hedgehog” of Gzhatsk, a success which threatens Vyazma with encirclement; a further advance is made to the south-west of Rzhev, and in the north Marshal Timoshenko’s forces continue to move forward.
  • In the Mareth area in Southern Tunisia Rommel launches two attacks against the 8th Army, which holds the enemy and inflicts heavy casualties on him, including the destruction of 33 tanks against our loss of one; Axis offensives elsewhere die down and the allies regain the initiative.
  • M. Stalin is created a Marshal of the Soviet Union.
  • The 10th American Air Force carry out attacks on shipping in the river south of Rangoon, Burma, two vessels being damaged.

March 7, 1943

  • In the Rzhev region the Germans continue their hurried retreat, more than 70 inhabited places being reoccupied west and south-west of Gzhatsk. Further successes are gained in the Orel area and Soviet pressure is maintained between Lakes Ilmen and Ladoga.
  • Rommel’s forces in Southern Tunisia, following their ineffective attacks, withdraw to the hills beyond Medenine; in the north the allied forces engage in aggressive patrol activity. United States bombers make a damaging attack on a convoy between Sicily and Tunisia.
  • Three of a small force of enemy raiders that attack the south and south-east coast of England and the Home Counties are destroyed.

March 8, 1943

  • In their advance towards Vyazma the Soviet forces take Sychevka, 8,000 of the enemy being killed and 310 tanks and 40 guns captured; further progress is made on the Lake Ilmen front and in the Northern Ukraine. A strong position west of Sevsk is captured.
  • Rommel’s forces continue to withdraw; his losses in tanks are now reported to have been 50. An enemy attack in the north near Tamera, seven miles west of Sejenane, is successfully held; in the south French forces occupy Tozeur.
  • U.S. bombers make heavy daylight attacks on the U-boat supply centre of Rennes and Rouen; with accompanying Spitfires they account for 25 enemy fighters.
  • A strong force of Bomber Command aircraft makes Nuremberg their main target, and towns in Western Germany are also visited; big fires are started in Nuremberg, where many 8,000-lb. and 4,000-lb. bombs are dropped.

March 9, 1943

  • The Russians increase the threat to Vyazma from the direction of the recaptured town of Sychevka, but in the Donetz Basin area the Germans launch strong counter attacks which are fiercely resisted by the Red Army.
  • In Burma R.A.F. Liberators attack Prome, bombs being dropped with good effect in the marshalling-yards and on other targets.
  • Upwards of 500 tons of high-explosive and incendiary bombs are dropped by the R.A.F. on Munich, headquarters of the Nazi movement; 11 aircraft fail to return.

March 10, 1943

  • Continuing to develop their offensive in the Smolensk region, the Russians occupy Bielyi, and in their advance on Vyazma they occupy Temkino, after sharp fighting, and reach Tumanovo; the Germans maintain pressure in their counter-offensive in the Donetz basin.
  • Rommel launches a fresh attack against the 8th Army at Ksar Ghilane, 40 miles south-west of the Mareth Line; heavy casualties are inflicted on his forces. French troops in Southern Tunisia occupy Metlaoui.
  • Flying Fortresses attack the enemy base of Wewak, on the north-east coast of New Guinea, where damage is done to shipping by 1,000-lb. bombs.
  • Japanese installations in various parts of the Solomon Islands are attacked by U.S. Liberators; an enemy bomber and three Zero fighters are shot down without loss.
  • American aircraft make two-day light attacks on the Japanese-occupied Kiska Island, in the Aleutians.
  • Mr. Churchill is stated to be making a good recovery from his illness.

March 11, 1943

  • Advancing rapidly, the Red Army reaches a point only 15 miles from Vyazma, and also makes progress west and south-west of Bielyi, but the Russian position near Kharkov becomes more serious.
  • In Northern Tunisia the enemy makes three unsuccessful attacks on the 1st Army’s positions west of Sejenane.
  • In the south Rommel’s attack is brought to an end and his forces withdraw northwards.
  • Oro Bay, New Guinea, is raided by 24 Japanese bombers escorted by 16 Zero fighters; nine of the Zeros are destroyed, and two bombers and two Zeros damaged.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command make a heavy attack on Stuttgart’s industrial centre; 11 aircraft are lost.
  • In the House of Commons Sir Archibald Sinclair surveys the work of the R.A.F.
  • The Board of Admiralty announces the loss of submarine H.M.S. P-311 (Cmdr. Richard Douglas Cayley, D.S.O., R.N.).

March 12, 1943

  • Vyazma is occupied by the Russians, who continue to advance in the direction of Smolensk, but in the Don basin the situation worsens, and the Germans claim to have entered Kharkov.
  • Land activity in Tunisia is of a minor character, but in the air, operations are on a considerable scale, ports and lines of communications being heavily bombed.
  • A tip-and-run raid on the Greater London area by about 24 bombers causes some damage and loss of life; five of the raiders are destroyed.
  • U.S. Flying Fortresses launch a successful daylight attack on Rouen.
  • The Krupp armaments factory at Essen is the night target for the heaviest attack ever delivered by R.A.F. Bomber Command; more than 1,000 tons of bombs are dropped; 23 of our aircraft are lost.
  • Mr. Eden, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, arrives in Washington to discuss the war situation with U.S. statesmen.

March 13, 1943

  • Our Russian allies admit that fighting is going on in the streets of Kharkov, of which city the Germans claim to have captured two-thirds; on the Smolensk front the enemy is still being pressed back.
  • A small local attack by the enemy to the north of Bou Arada is repelled; elsewhere in Tunisia there is only patrol activity. A considerable weight of bombs is dropped on Naples harbour by 9th U.S. Army Air Force bombers.
  • Four out of six enemy coastal raiders are shot down.
  • A Japanese convoy of five merchant ships escorted by three destroyers approaching Wewak, New Guinea, is attacked by Flying Fortresses and a direct hit is scored on an 8,000-ton transport.
  • Mr. Eden has his first conference with the President of the United States.

March 14, 1943

  • Kharkov, according to a special German announcement, has been lost to the Russians, who, however, report severe fighting in this area; south of Vyazma our allies continue to advance in spite of fierce Nazi resistance.
  • On the ground in Tunisia patrol activity continues, and enemy objectives in the Mareth position are attacked by our bombers. In a broadcast from Algiers, M. Giraud pledges the restoration of the liberty of France.

March 15, 1943

  • The Russian communique admits the loss of Kharkov, and announces furth er progress in the Smolensk region, where the town of Kholm -Zhirkovsky is captured; south of Bielyi Soviet forces occupy 40 inhabited places.
  • The Allies occupy a wooded ridge in Northern Tunisia; in the Gafsa sector enemy patrols are dispersed by artillery fire. Air operations are restricted by bad weather.
  • According to an official report, Chinese forces have won an important victory on the Yangtze River front west of Hankow, where 20,000 enemy troops have been thrown back across the river.
  • In the Rathedaung area, Burma, according to a joint announcement from India issued by the War Office, the Japanese launched a series of fierce attacks against our positions, which were repulsed.
  • Six more air attacks are made by U.S. heavy and medium bombers on Kiska Island, in the Aleutians.

March 16, 1943

  • South of Kharkov and west of Byelgorod attacks by the enemy are beaten off by our allies, who keep up their pressure to the south-west of Vyazma.
  • There is only minor activity on the 1st and 8th Army fronts in Tunisia. The Germans report an attack by General Montgomery’s forces on the Mareth Line, but of this there is no allied confirmation. Our positions in the Gafsa area are improved.
  • The U.S. Navy Department reports that in the Pacific and Far Eastern waters an enemy destroyer, a large transport and a large and medium sized cargo vessel have been destroyed by U.S. submarines; other ships were damaged.
  • A successful day light attack is made by Mosquito aircraft on railway workshops at Paderborn, Western Germany.
  • Two large enemy supply ships are torpedoed in the North Sea by light coastal forces of the Royal Navy.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Flight Lieutenant Aus.748 William Ellis NEWTON, Royal Australian Air Force awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Flight Lieutenant William Ellis Newton (Aus. 748), Royal Australian Air Force, No. 22 Squadron. On 16th March 1943 in New Guinea, South-west Pacific, when leading an attack, Flight Lieutenant Newton's aircraft was hit repeatedly, but in spite of this he flew through heavy fire and dropped his bombs from low level on buildings and fuel dumps. He managed to get his crippled machine back to base and next day returned and bombed in the same area, but this time the aircraft burst into flames and with great difficulty he brought it down in the sea. He and his flight sergeant were taken prisoner by the Japanese and later thought to have been executed.
Mosquito aircraft  firing all guns at once
This striking night picture shows all the cannon guns and machine-guns of the Mosquito in action at once

March 17, 1943

  • In the Donetz basin the Russians drive back the enemy in the Chuguyev area and beat off six counter-attacks; they also enlarge some bridgeheads on the west bank of the river and force the Germans from their hill positions in the Izyum loop. Offensive operations continue in the Lake Ilmen area.
  • The 8th Army’s positions in the Mareth northern area are improved; American troops in Southern Tunisia advance 30 miles and capture Gafsa.
  • There are more encounters on the Mayu River, Burma, between the allied forces and the Japanese, who have brought up reinforcements.

March 18, 1943

  • Russian troops in the Chuguyev area engage in fierce fighting with enemy motorised infantry and tanks and repel a number of counter-attacks; our allies continue on the offensive on the Central Front and capture several inhabited places in spite of increasing resistance.
  • In Tunisia United States forces continue to advance and occupy El Guettar, but in the north the enemy makes slight local gains, and our troops withdraw from Tamera; the 8th Army in the Mareth area engage in normal patrol activity.
  • As a result of enemy pressure in Burma our forward troops are withdrawn from the Kaladan Valley.
  • Liberators drop 38 tons of bombs on Madang, the Japanese base in New Guinea. Flying Fortresses and Liberators of the U.S. 8th Air Force make a heavy and successful daylight attack on the U-boat yards at Vegesack, North-West Germany; during the raid they destroy 52 enemy aircraft.
  • Four enemy raiders of a force which attacks East Anglia are destroyed.
Two of the bombs falling towards the U-boat building yards at Bremen
Two of the bombs which heavy bombing aircraft of the US Army 8th Air Force released
falling towards the U-boat building yards at Bremen on 18th March 1943

March 19, 1943

  • Several German attacks in the Northern Donetz area are repelled and enemy reinforcements which pressed back Soviet units were in turn made to retreat; on the Central Front Red Army forces advance to the west of Izdeshkovo, and south of Lake Ilmen make a gap in the German defences. The enemy claims the capture of Byelgorod.
  • The Americans consolidate their new positions in Gafsa and El Guettar and make a raid on Sened station.
  • According to an Admiralty announcement H.M. submarines have sunk eight more enemy ships in the Mediterranean in the past 10 days.

March 20, 1943

  • Moscow reports that the position in the Donetz sector east of Kharkov is growing critical; the enemy lays claim to Tomarovka and Sevsk. Our allies make further progress on the Smolensk front.
  • In the Gafsa area of Tunisia allied forces continue to press the enemy back and advance towards Maknassy; only patrol activity is reported in the Mareth area. A small force of Whirlwinds attacks the 300 ft-high viaducts at Morlaix, in Brittany.
  • Victoria Cross recipientMajor Derek Anthony Seagrim, Green Howards awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: “On 20/21 March 1943 at the Mareth Line, Tunisia, Lieutenant Colonel Seagrim's courage and leadership led directly to the capture of an important objective. When it appeared that the attack on the position would fail owing to the intensity of enemy fire, he placed himself at the head of his battalion and led them forward. He personally helped to place a scaling ladder over an anti-tank ditch and was the first across. Leading an attack on two machine-gun posts, he accounted for 20 of the enemy and when a counter-attack was launched next day he moved from post to post quite unperturbed, until it was defeated”

March 21, 1943

  • 617 Squadron R.A.F is established at RAF Scampton, under Wing Commander Guy Gibson, with the intention of launching an attack on the Ruhr dams in Germany.
  • The Russians admit the loss of Byelgorod, but announce the capture of more territory on the Central Front and in the Kuban, where they drive a wedge into the enemy’s defences. Fighting in the Chuguyev area continues to be of a violent character.
  • At the end of a broadcast dealing with post-war social policy, Mr. Churchill announces that he has received a message from General Montgomery stating that the 8th Army is on the move and that he is satisfied with the progress made. U.S. troops seize the railway station and town of Sened, and continue to press on towards Maknassy.
  • The Board of Admiralty announces the loss of destroyer H.M.S. Lightning (Commander Hugh Greaves Walters, D.S.C., R.N.).
  • In a short speech delivered at the Heroes’ Day ceremony in Berlin, Hitler promises that “the successes for final victory” will be achieved on the Eastern Front in the coming months.
  • At Mersin, in Turkey, 862 Italian naval and other prisoners are exchanged for a corresponding number of British prisoners.
  • Middle East heavy bombers attack Naples and start many large fires.

March 22, 1943

  • A number of inhabited places are wrested from the Germans in the Smolensk area, where the Russians, having captured Durovo, are nearing the city’s outer defences; heavy defensive actions are fought in the Byelgorod area, where enemy attempts to break through are foiled.
  • The 8th Army’s attack on the Mareth positions, which began on the night of the 20th, is reported to be progressing favourably, but the enemy is putting up a strong resistance; the attack is on a six-mile front between the sea and the Medenine-Mareth road.
  • It is announced that the biggest military exercise ever to be carried out in Great Britain has just been completed; it had lasted for eight days and the R.A.F. took an important part.
  • U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators make a daylight attack on the German naval base at Wilhelmshaven with good results; they also destroy 28 enemy aircraft. R.A.F. bombers make a heavy assault on the U-boat base of St. Nazaire.

March 23, 1943

  • There is a slackening in the enemy’s attempts to force the Donetz bridgeheads, which are still firmly held by the Russians; in the Smolensk area the Soviet forces continue to advance, three more strong-points being captured.
  • From Tunisia it is reported that men of the 8th Army, having battered their way into enemy positions in the Mareth Line, are streaming forward; some 3,000 prisoners have been taken. A British force is stated to be operating near El Hamma, west of Gabes, while the Americans are reported to have occupied Maknassy. There is intensive activity by allied air forces. In the north the 1st Army recapture Nefza station.
  • Many of 250 Japanese aircraft caught on the ground at Rabaul, New Britain, are destroyed or damaged when Flying Fortresses attack the airfield. One of the B-17 involved dropped its bombs in the crater of a nearby volcano in an attempt to cause an artificial explosion. Not realising the volcano was dormant.
Italian POWs captured near the Mareth Lines, Tunisia
Italian POWs captured near the Mareth Lines, Tunisia

March 24, 1943

  • To the north-east of Novorossisk the Russians recapture the district centre and railway station of Abynskaya, and in the Donetz area, north of Chuguyev, several enemy attacks are repulsed. German forces in the village of Zhiguny are dislodged and further progress is made in the drive towards Smolensk.
  • Mr. Churchill announces in the House of Commons that, by counter-attacks, the Germans have regained the greater part of the bridgehead which the 8th Army had stormed and largely restored their main line of defences in that quarter. Heavy artillery duels are reported following the enemy’s counter-attack. U.S. forces gain local successes in the Maknassy area.
  • Eight of an enemy force of 25 raiders which attack the North of England and the Lowlands are destroyed.
  • Mubo, the Japanese base in New Guinea, is heavily bombed and machine-gunned by Beaufighters and Boston bombers.

March 25, 1943

  • On the Central Front the Red Army progresses towards Yartsevo, on the railway to Smolensk, and fights hard defensive actions to the north of Chuguyev in the Donetz region. In the Kuban, our allies gain further successes on the road to Krymskaya.
  • In the Mareth offensive the 8th Army’s infantry make some advances and improve their positions; increased enemy activity in Northern Tunisia is reported. An enemy airfield and motor transport near Sfax and Susa are attacked by our bombers.
  • Whirlwinds, escorted by Spitfires, bomb the railway yards at Abbeville in daylight.
  • Rabaul, the Japanese base in New Britain, receives its heaviest raid yet, many 2,000-lb. bombs being unloaded on it.

March 26, 1943

  • Numerous enemy attacks north of Chuguyev are beaten back by Soviet forces, as are others in the Byelgorod area. Further progress in the advance towards Yartsevo is made, and south of Bielyi a number of inhabited localities are taken.
  • The 8th Army again advances, making a successful attack and capturing many prisoners, and there is terrific night and day air activity against the enemy forces in the El Hamma area. In the Fondouk sector of the central front U.S. troops make good progress.
  • A strong force of Bomber Command attacks the Ruhr, the chief target being the inland port of Duisburg.

March 27, 1943

  • No substantial changes are reported on the various Russian fronts, where, in the Donetz basin, the Germans find it difficult to make further progress. Soviet attacks south of Bielyi result in the occupation of several inhabited localities.
  • A frontal attack by the 8th Army, which was started yesterday, forces the enemy from the Mareth Line, inflicting heavy losses in tanks, guns, motor transport and men; prisoners now exceed 6,000.
  • In the El Hamma area the enemy is forced to withdraw-to new positions. The 1st Army, in the north, makes a successful attack in the Jebel Abiod sector and reaches its objectives.
  • A solitary Mosquito raids North-West Germany in the first daylight raid by a fighter yet made on that country and shoots up a variety of targets.
  • In Burma 12 of a strong force of enemy bombers are shot down without loss, 10 of them by Hurricanes.
  • Bomber Command make their heaviest raid on Berlin, dropping more than 900 tons of high-explosives and incendiaries; nine aircraft are lost.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Second Lieutenant 39784 Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa NGARIMU, New Zealand Infantry awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Second Lieutenant Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu (39784), 28th Battalion, 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force. On 26th/27th March 1943, during the action at Tobaga Gap, Tunisia, Second Lieutenant Ngarimu, who was commanding a platoon in a vital hill feature strongly held by the enemy, led his men straight up the face of the hill and was first on the crest. He personally destroyed two machine-gun posts and owing to his inspired leadership several counter-attacks were beaten off during the night. He was twice wounded but refused to leave his men. By morning when only two of his men remained unwounded, reinforcements arrived. When the next counter-attack was launched, however, Second Lieutenant Ngarimu was killed.
German destroyed Panzer tanks near the Mareth Line
German destroyed Panzer tanks near the Mareth Line, Tunisisa

March 28, 1943

  • There is little material change on the Eastern Front. North of Chuguyev an enemy attempt to make a crossing of the left bank of the Northern Donetz is repelled and prisoners are taken. In the fighting north-west of Kursk, the Nazis claim the capture of Sevsk.
  • In the Mareth offensive our troops occupy the villages of Mareth, Tougane and Matmata, and progress is made by U.S. forces in the difficult country east of El Guettar. In the north the 1st Army makes local advances and captures many prisoners.
  • U.S. 8th Air Force heavy bombers make a daylight attack on the railway yards at Rouen.
  • In their heaviest bomber raid on New Guinea the Japanese attack Oro Bay with 25 medium bombers and 15 dive-bombers escorted by fighters; six dive-bombers and 19 fighters are destroyed.
  • Bomber Command make a heavy and concentrated attack on the submarine base at St. Nazaire and raise great fires.
British infantry breaking through a wired position in the Mareth Line
British infantry breaking through a wired position in the Mareth Line
which was outflanked and fell on 28th March 1943

March 29, 1943

  • A wedge is driven into the German defences south of the town of Bielyi, and counter-attacks are repelled; a further attempt by the enemy to effect a crossing to the left bank of the Donetz is successfully dealt with.
  • The 8th Army continues to advance and El Hamma and Gabes are occupied; to the north further progress is made in face of strong rear-guard action. In this area prisoners taken now number 8,000. The 1st Army also continues to move forward, capturing 700 prisoners in two days.
  • Light naval forces engage enemy E-boats off the east coast of England; one is destroyed and two seriously damaged.
  • For the second time in 48 hours Berlin is the target for Bomber Command aircraft; 21 of our aircraft are missing. Another force makes a successful attack on Bochum and other parts of the Ruhr; 12 bombers fail to return.

March 30, 1943

  • The chief activity on the Eastern Front is in the Donetz region where the Germans persist in their attempts to cross the river, but without success. On the Central Front our allies maintain their attacks in their advance towards Yartsevo.
  • The 8th Army continues to press the retreating enemy along the coastal road towards Sfax, having captured Metouia and Oudref in the morning. In Northern Tunisia Sejenane is recaptured by the 1st Army. Allied forces in the Gafsa sector make a slight advance, but encounter minefields.
  • A Japanese convoy accompanied by four destroyers and fighter aircraft is attacked off New Ireland by allied bombers and dispersed.

March 31, 1943

  • Following the capture of Oudref advanced elements of the 8th Army push on and maintain contact with the enemy; in the Gafea sector allied forces continue their attacks on the Axis forces and make progress. In the north the 1st Army advances beyond Sejenane. One hundred Flying Fortresses of the U.S. Air Force bomb the aerodromes and harbour at Cagliari, in Southern Sardinia, doing much damage, including hits on five merchant ships and the destruction of many aircraft, 14 of them in air fights.
  • In Russia the enemy continues to attempt a crossing of the Donetz River, but is beaten back with heavy losses. The Red Army captures an unnamed strong-point in its advance towards Novorossisk, in the Kuban.

APRIL 1943

April 1, 1943

  • There is comparative quiet on the entire Tunisian front; in the north our troops push northwards and eastwards, and in other sectors there is patrol activity. Heavy and light bombers attack enemy airfields at Sfax and elsewhere with good results.
  • More villages in the Kuban are captured by the Russians, who continue to hold the Axis forces on the Donetz sector, where 10 enemy aircraft are shot down. Mosquitoes make a daylight attack on Western Germany, the chief target being railway workshops and the power-station at Trier (Treves).
  • In an air battle over Guadalcanal U.S. aircraft shoot down 39 Zero fighters for the loss of seven American machines.
  • Flying Fortresses and Liberators attack Japanese shipping and escorting warships of Kavieng, New Ireland, leaving a 6,000-ton ship sinking and probably hitting a 10,000-ton vessel.

April 2, 1943

  • In Northern Tunisia the 1st Army makes further progress along the Tabarka-Mateur road, and in the central sector United States and French troops advance a little farther through the mountains. From the El Guettar direction the Americans also progress eastwards. In the south General Montgomery’s artillery shell, the enemy’s positions on the Wadi Akarit.
  • There is little material change on the Russian fronts; the Red Army continues to make progress in the Kuban, where the enemy is forced to evacuate a number of localities.
  • St. Nazaire and Lorient are the targets for R.A.F. bombers and many high-explosive bombs are dropped on both of these enemy U-boat bases.

April 3, 1943

  • Cap Serrat, in Northern Tunisia, is occupied by allied troops, including goums (native troops) and men of the French Africa Corps. In the central sectors the Americans continue to move forward, the 2nd Corps making a successful attack east of El Guettar. There is only patrol activity in the Wadi Akarit area.
  • The Germans make further attacks on the Donetz sector, but are repelled.
  • Off Kavieng, New Ireland, allied aircraft sink two enemy cruisers, a destroyer and probably a 6,000-ton cargo vessel.
  • The U.S. Navy Department states that submarines operating in the Pacific have sunk a destroyer, a large transport and two medium-sized freighters.
  • R.A.F. bombers drop 900 tons of bombs on Krupps at the rate of 4,000 bombs a minute; 21 aircraft fail to return.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of H.M. submarine Tigris (Lieut.-Commander George Robson Colvin, D.S.O., D.S.C., R.N.).

April 4, 1943

  • On the Central Tunisian front, the U.S. 2nd Corps continues to attack the enemy and captures two hills; an Axis counter-attack is repelled. Nearly a hundred Flying Fortresses make a concentrated raid on Naples, hitting many ships in the harbour, starting large fires, and destroying or damaging 27 aircraft on the aerodrome. A second raid is made on Naples at night.
  • There is fierce fighting in the Izyum sector, but all enemy attacks are repulsed by the Russians; in the Kuban our allies engage in offensive battles, one unit breaking through to the outskirts of an unnamed locality, where there is street fighting.
  • In daylight the U.S. 8th Air Force carry out a large-scale attack on the Renault works at Billancourt, near Paris; 70 enemy fighters are shot down. At night Bomber Command aircraft heavily attack the naval base of Kiel; 12 fail to return.
  • Allied aircraft make another attack on Japanese shipping at Kavieng, hitting a light cruiser, a destroyer and probably two cargo vessels.
  • The Admiralty announces the sinking in the Mediterranean of a large enemy tanker escorted by four destroyers by one of H.M. submarines, commanded by Lieut. I. L. M. McGeoch, R.N.

April 5, 1943

  • There is no major activity on any sector of the Tunisia front, but there are continued large-scale air operations including heavy assaults by Flying Fortresses on enemy airfields in Sicily and Northern Tunisia. More than a thousand sorties are flown by the allied air forces - during which 48 enemy aircraft are shot down.
  • Soviet forces capture several inhabited localities in the Kuban, and south of Izyum enemy attacks are repelled.
  • A large force of U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators makes a successful day attack on the Erla aero-engine works at Antwerp. Docks and shipping at Brest are raided by the R.A.F.

April 6, 1943

  • The 8th Army resumes its northward advance, launching at 4.30 a.m. an attack from the north of Oudref and Gabes on the Wadi Akarit; first objectives and 5,000 prisoners are taken, and our troops continue to progress according to plan, after repelling determined enemy counter-attacks. The 8th Army makes contact with American forces operating from El Guettar.
  • There is violent fighting to the south of Izyum where several German assaults are repelled, and in a counter attack an important enemy position is occupied. Axis forces press the Russians back in the Chuguyev area, but the position is restored by a counter-attack. There is fierce fighting in the Kuban, where the Red Army makes some progress.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Private, 4347754 Eric ANDERSON, East Yorkshire Regiment awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. 4347754 Private Eric Anderson, 5th Battalion, The East Yorkshire Regiment. On 6th April 1943 on the Wadi Akarit, Tunisia, when a company of The East Yorkshire Regiment had to withdraw temporarily behind the crest of a hill, Private Anderson, a stretcher-bearer, went forward alone through heavy fire to rescue the wounded. Three times he brought in wounded comrades and was rendering first aid to a fourth when he was mortally wounded.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Captain, 126502, John Thompson Mckeller ANDERSON, Argyll And Sutherland Highlanders awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. 4347754 Private Eric Anderson, 5th Battalion, The East Yorkshire Regiment. On 6th April 1943 on the Wadi Akarit, Tunisia, when a company of The East Yorkshire Regiment had to withdraw temporarily behind the crest of a hill, Private Anderson, a stretcher-bearer, went forward alone through heavy fire to rescue the wounded. Three times he brought in wounded comrades and was rendering first aid to a fourth when he was mortally wounded.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, Lorne MacLaine Campbell, Argyll And Sutherland Highlanders awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - On the 6th April, 1943, in the attack upon the Wadi Akarit position, the task of breaking through the enemy minefield and anti-tank ditch to the East of the Roumana feature and of forming the initial bridgehead for a Brigade of the 51st Highland Division was allotted to the Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell. The attack had to form up in complete darkness and had to traverse the main offshoot of the Wadi Akarit at an angle to the line of advance. In spite of heavy machine gun and shell fire in the early stages of the attack, Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell successfully accomplished this difficult operation, captured at least 600 prisoners and led his Battalion to its objective, having to cross an unswept portion of the enemy minefield in doing so. Later, upon reaching his objective he found that a gap which had been blown by the Royal Engineers in the anti-tank ditch did not correspond with the vehicle lane which had been cleared in the minefield. Realising the vital necessity of quickly establishing a gap for the passage of anti-tank guns, he took personal charge of this operation. It was now broad daylight and, under very heavy machine-gun fire and shell fire, he succeeded in making a personal reconnaissance and in conducting operations which led to the establishing of a vehicle gap. Throughout the day Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell held his position with his Battalion in the face of extremely heavy and constant shell fire, which the enemy was able to bring to bear by direct observation. About 1630 hours determined enemy counter-attacks began to develop, accompanied by tanks. In this phase of the fighting Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell's personality dominated the battle field by a display of valour and utter disregard for personal safety, which could not have been excelled. Realising that it was imperative for the future success of the Army plan to hold the bridgehead his Battalion had captured, he inspired his men by his presence in the forefront of the battle, cheering them on and rallying them as he moved to those points where the fighting was heaviest. When his left forward company was forced to give ground he went forward alone, into a hail of fire and personally reorganised their position, remaining with the company until the attack at this point was held. As reinforcements arrived upon the scene he was seen standing in the open directing the fight under close range fire of enemy infantry and he continued to do so although already painfully wounded in the neck by shell fire. It was not until the battle died down that he allowed his wound to be dressed. Even then, although in great pain, he refused to be evacuated, remaining with his Battalion and continuing to inspire them by his presence on the field. Darkness fell with the Argylls still holding their positions, though many of its officers and men had become casualties. There is no doubt that but for Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell's determination, splendid example of courage and disregard of pain, the bridgehead would have been lost. This officer's gallantry and magnificent leadership when his now tired men were charging the enemy with the bayonet and were fighting them at hand grenade range, are worthy of the highest honour, and can seldom have been surpassed in the long history of the Highland Brigade.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Subadar 915 Lalbahadur THAPA, Gurkha Rifles awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Subadar Lalbahadur Thapa (915), 1st Battalion, 2nd Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army. On 5th/6th April 1943 during the silent attack on Rass-es-Zouai, Tunisia, Subadar Lalbahadur Thapa, taking command of two sections, made his first contact with the enemy at the foot of a pathway winding up a narrow cleft which was thickly studded with enemy posts. The garrison of the out-posts were all killed by the subadar and his men, by kukri or bayonet and the next machine-gun posts were dealt with similarly. This officer then continued to fight his way up the bullet-swept approaches to the crest where he and the riflemen with him killed four – the rest fled. Thus secured, advance by the whole division was made possible.
Italian prisoners surrendering to British troops of the 8th Army
Italian prisoners surrendering to British troops of the 8th Army armed with
tommy-gun and rifle after Wadi Akarit had fallen

April 7, 1943

  • Pursuit of the enemy in Southern Tunisia continues relentlessly, the 8th Army advancing 15 miles northwards from the Akarit line. General Montgomery’s forces are in contact with American forces operating from El Guettar. In the north the 1st Army attacks near Medjez-el-Bab taking much ground and many prisoners. There is heavy allied air activity over all sectors of the front.
  • South of Izyum the Russians consolidate their positions and south of Bielyi they take two inhabited places and some prisoners and booty. Progress is made in the Kuban.
  • On the Mayu River, according to a War Office announcement, the Japanese have begun an outflanking movement against our northern flank; our positions are readjusted.
  • Bolivia declares war on the Axis nations; she is the 33rd nation to do so.

April 8, 1943

  • The 8th Army closely pursues the retreating enemy, and increases its toll of prisoners to 9,500, while the 1st Army occupies some important tactical localities in the north. In the area east of El Guettar the U.S. 2nd Corps continues mopping-up operations. Allied air attacks on transport and bases continue.
  • The Germans attack without success in the Donetz area below Balakleya; rain hampers operations in the Kuban.
  • In the House of Commons Mr. Anthony Eden reports on his mission to the United States and Canada.
  • R.A.F. bombers deliver a powerful attack on the Ruhr in difficult weather conditions; 21 aircraft are lost.

April 9, 1943

  • Mahares, key town on the Maknassy-Sfax railway, is occupied by 8th Army troops. U.S. and French troops thrust forward north and south of Fondouk and the 1st Army continues to advance. The Germans announce their evacuation of Pichon.
  • South of Balakleya the Germans make fresh assaults on the Russian bridgehead on the west bank of the river, and also on that near Izyum, without gaining any success.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of destroyer H.M.S. Harvester (Cmdr. Arthur Andre Tait, D.S.O., R.N.) after ramming a U-boat in the Mediterranean.
  • Duisburg is visited by R.A.F. heavy bombers, and other Ruhr targets are also attacked.

April 10, 1943

  • Rommel is in full flight, and the 8th Army occupies La Hencha, 50 miles to the south of Susa, after having captured Sfax. In spite of stubborn resistance, allied forces continue to press forward on Kairouan and in the north progress continues and more prisoners are taken. Extensive air activity includes a heavy attack by Flying Fortresses on two Italian heavy cruisers, the Trieste and Gorizia, at La Maddalena, in Sardinia, the former being sunk.
  • There is heavy enemy artillery fire on the Donetz front, but m any of the batteries are knocked out by the Russian gunners. Koenigsberg, in East Prussia, is raided by Soviet aircraft, large fires and explosions being observed.
  • In Burma, Japanese infiltration in Arakan makes it necessary for a further readjustment of British positions.
  • Heavy bomber attacks are made on the Japanese base at Wewak, in New Guinea, 30 tons of bombs being unloaded with good effect.
  • Bomber Command aircraft attack objectives in South-West Germany in cloudy conditions; 18 bombers fail to return.

April 11, 1943

  • Patrols of the 8th Army continue their advance in the coastal area, but the advance to the north is delayed by demolitions, mines and difficult country. On other sectors progress is made, Kairouan, in the Fondouk sector, being occupied. French troops move forward near Jebel Ousselat. Air activity continues unabated, many enemy vehicles and aircraft being destroyed. Axis transports shot down over the weekend number 61.
  • An attack opened by the Germans on the Volkhov front, aimed at Leningrad’s communications with the east, costs the enemy 2,000 in killed and gains him no ground. South of Balakleya a temporary Axis success is negatived by a counter-attack.
  • H.M. the Queen takes the salute at a ceremonial parade and march past to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the re-inauguration of the Women’s Royal Naval Service.
  • Of 45 Japanese dive-bombers and fighters which attack shipping in Oro Bay, New Guinea, allied aircraft put out of action six dive-bombers and 17 fighters.
British units of the 8th Army heading northwards after occupying Kairouan
British units of the 8th Army heading northwards after occupying Kairouan on 11th April 1943

April 12, 1943

  • Progress is made on all the Tunisian fronts; Susa is occupied by the 8th Army, which comes into contact with Rommel’s rear-guard about 14 miles north-west of that town and also approaches Enfidaville.
  • Increased enemy air activity is reported on the Kuban and Donetz fronts and also in new areas along the battle-line. The Russians again raid Koenigsberg, starting fires seen 65 miles away.
  • The Japanese make their heaviest air attack on Port Moresby with a hundred aircraft; 29 are shot down.
  • The Admiralty announces that at least eight more Axis supply ships have been destroyed in the Mediterranean by H.M. submarines.

April 13, 1943

  • Forward troops of the 8th Army make contact with Rommel’s prepared positions between Enfidaville and Jebel Bou Hajar. Enemy airfields in Tunisia and Sicily are attacked by allied bombers. French troops capture Jebel Mansour, dominating the Pont du Fahs region.
  • From Russia activity is reported on the Leningrad front, and further fighting occurs in the Kuban and Donetz areas.
  • Spezia, the naval base in Northern Italy, is heavily raided by Bomber Command and North-West Germany is also visited; three aircraft are lost.
  • Axis ports, shipping and airfields in enemy-occupied countries are heavily attacked in daylight by the R.A.F.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of H.M.S. Medway, the submarine depot-ship; it was sunk in the Mediterranean in 1942.
  • In the House of Commons Mr. Churchill, in reply to a question on U -boat attacks, says “we are more than holding our own.”

April 14, 1943

  • In Tunisia the 1st Army captures Jebel Ang, an important point to the north of Medjez-el-Bab, taking 200 prisoners. French forces continue to advance west of the Enfidaville Line, but on the 8th Army front there is a lull. Enemy airfields are attacked by Flying Fortresses, and 19 Axis fighters are shot down.
  • The Red Army smashes Axis efforts to seize strategic positions south of Leningrad and in the Upper Donetz; in the Kuban there is only minor activity. Military and industrial targets at Danzig and Koenigsberg are attacked by Russian aircraft.
  • Bomber Command aircraft launch a heavy concentrated attack on Stuttgart; 23 bombers are lost.
  • Milne Bay, in New Guinea, is raided by the Japanese; 30 of their aircraft are shot out of action, 15 of them being seen to crash.

April 15, 1943

  • The 1st Army retains its hold on Jebel Ang, and the 8th Army engages in active patrolling along the Enfidaville Line. U.S. Liberators successfully attack the Sicilian harbours of Palermo and Catania, and at night heavy bombers raid Naples. The islands of Sicily and Sardinia are declared “operational areas” by Mussolini.
  • Red Army troops in the Kuban make a successful attack on an enemy strongpoint and repel several counter-attacks. Axis forces launch an assault at Chuguyev, but meet with considerable losses in a Russian counter-attack.
  • In an attack on a Japanese convoy approaching Wewak, in New Guinea, allied bombers destroy one 5,000-ton and three 8,000-ton ships.
  • Two British destroyers sink two Italian destroyers off Sicily.
  • In scattered night raids over East Anglia the Germans lose four bombers.
  • Two E-boats are destroyed and four others hit by our light naval forces off the east coast of England.

April 16, 1943

  • There is patrol activity by 1st Army troops to the north of Medjez-el-Bab and by the French in the Pont du Fahs sector; 8th Army patrols probe enemy positions in the Enfidaville Line. Catania and Palermo again receive visits from U.S. bomber aircraft, and Wellingtons raid the docks at Bizerta. An Axis convoy, escorted by destroyers, is attacked from sea and air off the Gulf of Tunis.
  • According to a German report, the Russians drive a wedge into their positions in the Kuban, but are driven back again.
  • U.S. Army 8th Air Force makes daylight attacks on the port areas of Brest and Lorient; several intercepting aircraft are destroyed.
  • The Skoda arms works at Pilsen and Mannheim and Ludwigshafen, on opposite banks of the Rhine, are targets for strong attacks by more than 600 R.A.F. heavy bombers, of which 55 are lost.
  • Four out of 15 Focke-Wulf fighter-bombers which raid East and South England are shot down.

April 17, 1943

  • In Tunisia the 18th Army Group engages in active patrolling along the whole of the front. The docks at Ferryville and Palermo are heavily attacked by U.S. Flying Fortresses, and R.A.F. bombers launch an attack on Catania harbour.
  • In spite of violent counter-blows the enemy fails to dislodge the Russians from their recently gained positions in the Kuban. Elsewhere there is comparative quiet.
  • A strong force of U.S. Flying Fortresses attacks targets in Bremen in daylight and shoots down 62 enemy aircraft.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces the sinking by submarines of five Japanese ships, including one large supply ship and two medium cargo vessels.

April 18, 1943

  • French forces make further progress on the 1st Army front, and along the Enfidaville Line. General Montgomery’s troops continue patrol activity. In the central sector French forces repel a strong counterattack. P40 Warhawks and Spitfires score a remarkable success off the Tunisian coast near Cape Bon against a big formation of JU52 transport aircraft strongly escorted by Me 109s and Menos, 46 transports and 16 fighters being destroyed. Sicily and Sardinia are again targets for allied aircraft.
  • In the Kuban the Red Army continues to strike at enemy positions in the Novorossisk and Krymskaya sectors, the Germans exerting fierce resistance. Moscow reports further air attacks on Koenigsberg and Danzig, and another on Tilsit.
  • Another heavy and concentrated attack on Spezia, in Northern Italy, is made by aircraft of Bomber Command; one aircraft is lost.

April 19, 1943

  • At 11 p.m., in full moonlight, the 8th Army launches a new offensive and penetrates the Enfidaville position, the fighting being of a bitter character. Twelve more German transports and eight other aircraft are shot down.
  • Chief activity on the Russian front continues in the Kuban, where the Germans offer strenuous opposition to Red Army attacks.
  • On the Arakan front, in Burma, allied troops ambush a party of 200 Japanese on the Mayu ridge, killing 25 and wounding many more.
  • Japanese air bases in the South-West Pacific are attacked by heavy bombers, Kupang, in Dutch Timor, receiving special attention. Enemy positions at Kiska, following a prolonged series of raids, are subjected to 15 further attacks by bombers and fighters.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Company Havildar-Major Chhelu Ram, 4/6th Rajputanan Rifles awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: “On the night of 19–20 April 1943 at Djebel Garci,Tunisia, the advance of a battalion of the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade was held up by machine-gun and mortar fire. He gave the rallying cry "Jat aur Musalmano aage badho dhava bolo"[Jats and Mohammedans, there must be no withdrawal! We will advance! Advance!] while attacking. Company Havildar-Major Chhelu Ram dashed forward with a Tommy-gun, killed the occupants of a machine-gun post, and then went to the aid of his company commander who had become a casualty. While doing so he was himself wounded, but taking command of the company, he led them in hand-to-hand fighting. He was again wounded, but continued rallying his men until he died”

April 20, 1943

  • The 8th Army occupies Enfidaville, together with all initial objectives, and repels four enemy counter-attacks; to the west of Enfidaville an advance of 3,000 yards is made in the Jebel Garci area. Heavy attacks by the enemy on our positions in the Medjez-el-Bab sector are beaten back.
  • Red Army troops in the Kuban penetrate enemy positions around Krymskaya to a depth of two miles.
  • Lancasters, Halifaxes and Stirlings make a heavy attack on the Baltic port of Stettin, Stirlings bomb the port and the Heinkel works at Rostock and Berlin is attacked by Mosquitoes; from all operations 31 aircraft are missing.
  • Lancaster B.III ED888 (M-for Mother) arrived for service at R.A.F Elsham Wold. By the time it was retired from active duties on 24th December 1944 it had completed a record 140 operations. The record for any R.A.F bomber in the war.

April 21, 1943

  • In Tunisia, Takrouna Hill, north-west of Enfidaville, is captured by the 8th Army and enemy counter-attacks are repelled by artillery fire, the Axis forces losing heavily. Air activity by light bombers escorted by Spitfires continues against the enemy’s airfields and positions.
  • On the Russian front fighting centres chiefly in the Kuban, where all enemy attempts to improve their bridgehead positions are unsuccessful.
  • American aircraft which bombed Tokyo on 18th April, 1942, took off from the aircraft-carrier Hornet, according to an announcement by the U.S. War Department.
  • Submarine H.M.S Thunderbolt (Lieut.-Com. Cecil Bernard Crouch, D.S.O., R.N.), formerly the Thetis, is reported by the Admiralty to be overdue and presumed lost.
  • Enemy aircraft make a scattered raid on North-East Scotland, a sharp attack being made on one town.
  • An attempt was made to assassinate General de Gaulle when the Wellington bomber flying him to Glasgow was sabotaged at R.A.F Hendon. The pilot detected the elevator controls had been cut and aborted the flight. At the time, the incident was hushed up and blamed on German intelligence but de Gaulle never flew by plane in Britain again.

April 22, 1943

  • The 1st Army carries out attacks in the Bou Arada sector and all objectives are taken in the face of vigorous opposition. Over the Gulf of Tunis 31 transport aircraft and 11 escorting fighters are shot down.
  • It is reported from Stockholm that the Russians have penetrated the enemy positions at Novorossisk at several points; the Soviet air force are also keeping up violent air attacks. At night 200 Russian bombers raid Insterburg, in East Prussia.
  • Blenheims bomb enemy troops near Sittaung and at Maingyaung, in Burma, and Liberators launch an attack on Rangoon.
British 1st Army infantry advancing through a cornfield to objectives near Bou Arada, Tunisia.
British 1st Army infantry advancing through a cornfield to objectives near Bou Arada, Tunisia.

April 23, 1943

  • The 1st Army captures Goubellat and makes a considerable advance, counter-attacks being beaten off; farther to the north Longstop Hill is stormed and most of it occupied. In the south the 8th Army advances several miles in the coastal area and takes Jebel Terhouna. Progress of some four miles is also made by the U.S. 2nd Corps along the Sejenane-Mateur road.
  • In the Kuban, in spite of every effort, the Germans fail to make any progress; there is intensive air activity.
  • British repatriated prisoners numbering about 400 arrive at a west of England port in the hospital ship Newfoundland. About 300 others from Italian camps and hospitals arrive at Alexandria on their way home.
  • American forces are reported to have occupied the Ellice Islands, about 1,100 miles east of the Solomon group.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Captain (Acting Major) John Thompson Mckellar Anderson, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. For conspicuous gallantry and outstanding devotion to duty during the attack on "Longstop" Hill, Tunisia, on the 23rd April, 1943.
  • Victoria Cross recipient Lt Wilwood Alexander Sandys-Clarke, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: “On 23rd April 1943 at Guiriat El Atach, Tunisia, Lieutenant Clarke's company were counter-attacked and almost wiped out, he being the sole remaining officer. Although wounded in the head he gathered a composite platoon together and advancing to attack the position again met heavy fire from a machine-gun post. He manoeuvred his men to give covering fire and then tackled the post single-handed, killing or capturing the crew and knocking out the gun. He dealt similarly with two other posts and then led his platoon to the objective, but was killed when he later went forward to tackle two sniper posts single-handed.”
British Prisoners of War to land in the Home Country
Some of the first of the 400 repatriated British Prisoners of War to land in
the Home Country on Apr 26th 1943

April 24, 1943

  • The 1st Army and U.S. 2nd Corps continue to advance in spite of stubborn resistance by the enemy; the 8th Army holds its gains against strong counterattacks.
  • German attempts to improve their positions in the Kuban, where their losses have been very severe, are reported to have come to an end.
  • According to an Admiralty announcement, 10 more Axis ships have been sunk or damaged in the Mediterranean by H.M. submarines.
  • Kendari, the chief Japanese enemy air base in the Netherlands East Indies, is attacked by allied heavy bombers, 21 tons of bombs being dropped on the airfield.
  • U.S. warships bombard Japanese positions in the Aleutian Islands.
  • Rough seas sink two barges off the Welsh coast and 81 members of the British forces are drowned.
  • A German Tiger Tank is captured on Point 174 on the way between Medjez el Bab and Montarnaud in Tunisia, by 142nd Battalion R.A.C and 2nd Sherwood Foresters. This tank is still in running condition and is part of the Bovington Tank Museum Collection.
Tiger Tank 131 which was captured in Tunisia and now resides in Bovington Tank Museum
Tiger Tank 131 which was captured in Tunisia and now part of the
Bovington Tank Museum Collection

April 25, 1943

  • Steady progress is maintained in all sectors along the Tunisia front, and several important heights are captured, including Jebel Mansour, by French forces, who advance to within three and a half miles of Pont du Fahs.
  • In the Kuban the Russians are reported to be assuming the offensive following the Axis failure to push home their recent attacks.
  • The Japanese in Burma make an attack on one of our positions south of Buthidaung, near the Mayu River.

April 26, 1943

  • On the 1st Army front the battle continues with unabated fury, progress being made in the Medjez-el-Bab sector. British infantry clear Longstop Hill, taking another 260 prisoners. French forces and the U.S. 2nd Corps also gain further ground, as does the 8th Army. Bombers of the U.S. Army Air Force make a heavy raid on the Italian airfield at Bari. It is officially announced that from 1st January to 15th April the enemy lost 66,000 men killed, wounded or taken prisoner; 250 tanks were destroyed or captured.
  • Red Army troops in the Kuban, where floods are hampering movements, make some progress towards the delta of the river, using boats to facilitate their progress.
  • The Soviet Government announce their intention to suspend diplomatic relations with the Polish Government, the reason given being the Poles upholding of the German allegations of the murder of some 10,000 Polish officers near Smolensk.
  • In Burma the Japanese assault near Buthidaung is repulsed with considerable loss to the enemy forces.
  • Bomber Command makes one of its heaviest raids on Duisburg, when for 45 minutes more than 30 tons of bombs a minute are dropped; 17 bombers are lost.

April 27, 1943

  • There is hard fighting in the Medjez-el-Bab sector in Tunisia, where the U.S. 2nd Corps continues to make progress. French forces advance still closer to Pont du Fahs. Air activity continues to be of an intense character, Bari again being among the objectives successfully bombed.
  • Soviet forces in the Kuban continue to maintain pressure against the enemy.
  • General Sikorski, the Polish Prime Minister, attends a conference with Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden to discuss the Soviet Union’s suspension of relations with the Polish Government.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Temporary Captain 57781 Charles Anthony LYELL, Scots Guards awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Temporary Captain The Lord Charles Anthony Lyell (57781), 1st Battalion, Scots Guards. During the period 22nd/27th April 1943 near Dj Bou Arada, Tunisia, Captain Lord Lyell's outstanding leadership and gallantry enabled his company to take its objective. On 27th April accompanied by a sergeant, a lance-corporal and two guardsmen, he led an attack on an enemy post consisting of an 88mm gun and a heavy machine-gun in two separate pits. He destroyed the crew of the machine-gun with a hand grenade and then, three of the party having become casualties, and with the lance-corporal to give covering fire he leapt into the second pit, killing several of the crew before being overwhelmed and killed. Both the guns had been silenced.

April 28, 1943

  • The 1st Army in Tunisia engages in heavy fighting north-east of Medjez-el-Bab and makes some advance, but two heavy counter-attacks are launched by the Axis forces; one is repelled with heavy loss to the enemy in infantry and tanks, but the other causes our troops to make a slight withdrawal. French forces and the U.S. 2nd Corps make some progress.
  • No activity by ground forces is reported from the Russian front but the Soviet Air Force at night send a large number of bombers to Koenigsberg, where military and industrial objectives are heavily attacked.
  • Messina and Naples are attacked in daylight by heavy bombers of the U.S. Army Air Force. Aircraft of Bomber Command lay mines on a large scale, particularly in the Baltic Sea, and also bomb Wilhelmshaven; 23 aircraft are lost.
  • Malta Spitfires, it is announced, destroy their one thousandth enemy aircraft. Light naval forces, including the destroyers Goathland and Albrighton, attack an enemy transport off Ushant; an E -boat is blown up and two supply ships are probably sunk.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lance Corporal 2722925 John Patrick KENNEALLY, Irish Guards awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lance-Corporal John Patrick Kenneally, Irish Guards. On 28th April 1943 at Dj. Arada, Tunisia, Lance-Corporal Kenneally charged alone down the bare forward slope straight into the main body of the enemy about to make an attack, firing his Bren gun from the hip; the enemy were so surprised that they broke up in disorder. The lance-corporal repeated his exploit on 30th April when, accompanied by a sergeant, he charged the enemy forming up for assault, inflicting many casualties. Even when wounded he refused to give up, but he hopped from one fire position to another, carrying his gun in one hand and supporting himself on a comrade on the other.

April 29, 1943

  • Further heavy counter-attacks against the 1st Army are made by the enemy, but only one small gain is achieved, in the Medjerda area; Sidi Abdallah is recaptured from the Germans. The 8th Army secures its objective in a local attack and the U.S. 2nd Corps makes further local progress. French forces in the coastal area advance more than two miles and capture Jebel Keftouro.
  • The Germans report a large-scale attack by the Russians on the Kuban bridgehead.
  • R.A.F. aircraft attack an enemy convoy off the Dutch coast, two large supply ships being hit with torpedoes and set on fire, and a minesweeper set on fire by cannon and machine-gun attacks; several escort vessels are damaged.

April 30, 1943

  • The body of a British staff officer, Major William Martin, who had been onboard a submarine that was sunk by enemy action was washed-up on the Spanish coast. With him were the secret plans for the forthcoming invasion of Sicily that Spanish authorities soon passed on to Germany. In actuality the Major was that of a vagrant, Glyndwr Michael, and the episode was a carefully planned British intelligence deception, Operation Mincemeat.
  • There is heavy fighting again to the north-east of Medjez-el-Bab and 1st Army troops are forced to make a minor withdrawal in one quarter. The 8th Army makes slight local gains and in the north U.S. troops forge farther ahead and capture Jebel Tarhent (Hill 609).
  • In a diplomatic Note to Admiral Robert, the commander-in-chief in the French West Indies Island of Martinique, the United States abrogates all informal understandings with the island.
  • Essen is intensively bombed by the R.A.F. for 40 minutes; 13 of our aircraft fail to return.
  • Liberator heavy and Mitchell medium bombers, escorted by Lightning and Warhawk fighters, make 13 attacks on Japanese positions on Kiska, in the Aleutians.

MAY 1943

May 1, 1943

  • In the Medjez-el-Bab sector the 1st Army improves its positions slightly, while in the north the U.S. 2nd Corps in co-operation with French troops gain further ground and take 600 prisoners. In the south an enemy counter-attack is repulsed by the 8th Army.
  • Off the coast of Tunisia, a Beaufighter shoots down five JU52 transports in 10 minutes. Allied bombers and submarines are reported to have destroyed 15 Axis ships, including two destroyers, off the Tunisian coast, and severely dam aged others, one of them a light cruiser.
  • H.M. submarines, it is announced, have sunk 10 more enemy ships in the Mediterranean, bringing the total to 204 since the allied landings in North Africa.

May 2, 1943

  • There is a comparative lull in the Tunisia fighting; our patrols are active and two local attacks made by the enemy are repelled. In the northern coastal area French forces make a slight advance in co-operation with American troops and take more than 500 prisoners.
  • In the Kuban fighting the Red Army continues on the offensive, and in a local advance captures a hill and beats off counter-attacks.
  • The Board of Admiralty announces the loss of destroyer H.M.S. Beverley (Lieut.-Commander Rodney Athelstan Price, R.N.).
  • In Burma some sharp encounters take place on the cast side of the Mayu Ridge.
  • Darwin, Australia, is raided by 21 Japanese bombers, escorted by 30 fighters, but they do little damage; they are attacked by Spitfires, 21 of which, according to the enemy, are lost.
  • R.A.F. Mosquito bombers make a daring dusk attack at almost roof-top height on railway workshops at Thionville, in Lorraine.

May 3, 1943

  • The U.S. 2nd Corps, after heavy and continuous fighting, achieves an important success by the capture of Mateur; several hundred prisoners are taken; the 1st Army continues to press ahead. Flying Fortresses bomb the docks at Bizerta.
  • The Board of Admiralty announces the loss of H.M. submarine Turbulent (Commander J. W. Linton, D.S.O., D.S.C., R.N.).
  • U.S. heavy and medium bombers make nine more attacks on Kiska, in the Aleutians.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Squadron Leader 1643 Leonard Henry TRENT, Royal Air Force awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Squadron Leader Leonard Henry Trent, D.F.C., (N.Z. 2481), Royal New Zealand Air Force, 487 Squadron. On 3rd May 1943 during a daylight raid on Amsterdam power station, Squadron Leader Trent's force of 11 Venturas was attacked by very large numbers of enemy fighters and by the time they reached the target he was left with only two accompanying aircraft, one of which was shot down as they approached and when his own bombs had been released the second one had also disappeared. Immediately afterwards his own aircraft was hit, went into a spin and broke up. Squadron Leader Trent and his navigator were thrown clear and became prisoners. He had displayed cool, unflinching courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

May 4, 1943

  • Activity continues over the entire Tunisian front; the 1st Army and French forces press farther on, and in the sector cast of Medjeza strong counter-attack is repelled, the enemy losing 12 tanks, including two of the Mark VI type (Tiger Tank); in the northern sector the U.S. 2nd Corps forces the Axis troops to evacuate all their forward positions.
  • The Germans announce the loss of Krymskaya, in the Kuban, stating that after repelling for four successive days the uninterrupted Soviet assault their troops had withdrawn to positions immediately west of the town.
  • According to a U.S. Navy Department statement American forces have occupied the Russell group of islands lying about 18 miles north-west of Guadalcanal. Another announcement states that U.S. submarines report the sinking of two enemy destroyers and four other ships, including a tanker.
  • Lieut.-General F. M. Andrews, U.S. Commanding General in the European theatre of Operations, is killed in an aeroplane accident in Iceland.
  • R.A.F. Bomber Command makes the first major attack of the war on Dortmund, the industrial and transport centre in the Ruhr, dropping nearly 1,500 tons of bombs; 30 bombers are missing.

May 5, 1943

  • In Tunisia a local advance is made by the 8th Army and on the 1st Army front an attack is launched on Jebel Bou Aoukaz, which is captured. Farther north the U.S. 2nd Corps repel several counter-attacks and then makes local progress.
  • Two Soviet forces are reported to be advancing towards Novorossisk, in the Kuban operations, one being within five miles of the port.
  • Allied troops ambush 72 Japanese south of Bobdumi, in New Guinea, and kill 25 of them.

May 6, 1943

  • The 1st Army in Tunisia takes the offensive south of the River Mejerda and penetrates deeply into enemy positions; the village of Massicault is captured and many prisoners are taken. In the northern sector the Americans launch a general offensive and make good progress.
  • Fighting continues in the Kuban in the region between Krymskaya and Novorossisk, the Red Army forces seizing a number of enemy positions; there are signs of more activity on other fronts.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of H.M. submarine Sahib (Lieut. John Henry Bromage, D.S.O., D.S.C., R.N.) in the Mediterranean.
  • There is increasing enemy pressure against our positions east of the Mayu ridge in Burma.
  • More than 50 U.S. Liberators make a smashing attack on the important harbour of Reggio di Calabria, in Southern Italy, 250,000 lb. of high-explosive bombs being dropped.
  • Five U-boats which were attacking a west-bound Atlantic convoy are sunk, one by a new type of weapon.

May 7, 1943

  • Bizerta and Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, are captured, and an Allied H.Q. communication announces that the campaign is nearing the end. Ferryville is also occupied, by the Americans. Farther south French forces with the 1st Army make a local attack which results in the occupation of Pont du Fahs.
  • In the Kuban the Russians progress northwards and to the west, and are reported to have divided the Axis forces. In a big air offensive, the Red Air Force destroy or damage 540 enemy planes and cause great havoc to concentrations and railway communications; it was their heaviest blow of the war.
  • Five of 13 enemy bombers which raid Eastern England are destroyed.
  • British positions in the Buthidaung area of Western Burma are threatened by a new Japanese thrust east of the Mayu ridge.
  • The New Guinea enemy base of Madang is heavily bombed, 21 tons of high explosives being dropped.

May 8, 1943

  • All the allied forces in Tunisia continue to advance and organised resistance, except at the entrances to Cape Bon peninsula, appears to be almost ended. French forces with the 1st Army make a big advance and occupy Zaghouan, Tebourba and Jedeida are reported to have been taken. Heavy and continued attacks are made on the enemy by the North-West African Air Forces. Upwards of 50,000 prisoners are taken.
  • On the Russian front fighting is still chiefly confined to the Kuban, where the Soviet forces capture several tactically important positions north-east of Novorossisk.
  • A task force of U.S. cruisers and destroyers, it is reported, has shelled the Japanese positions on Attu Island, in the Aleutians.
  • Out troops in Arakan withdraw north-west and west from Buthidaung without interference by the enemy.

May 9, 1943

  • All organised fighting on the U.S. 2nd Corps front ceases at 11 a.m., the surrender terms being unconditional, but in the sector south-east of Tunis the enemy continues to resist stubbornly. Allied aircraft continue to launch heavy attacks on the enemy and intense activity is maintained by our naval and coastal forces. Palermo is heavily raided in daylight as also is Messina harbour.
  • There is a heavy Russian artillery attack on the enemy’s defensive positions in the Kuban, where the infantry win further ground.
  • The aerodrome and wharves at Babo, New Guinea, are bombed by Catalinas, many fires being started.

May 10, 1943

  • Armoured units of the 1st Army make a complete break-through in the Hammam Lif area and reach the outskirts of Hammamet; more than 100,000 prisoners are now reported to have been taken. In the Zaghouan area the enemy asks the French forces for an armistice.
  • Allied bombers deliver a heavy assault on Massala, in Sicily, and the Navy continues to be active in mopping up small parties endeavouring to escape from Tunisia by sea.
  • Artillery duels take place in the Kuban north-east of Novorossisk and enemy fortifications and, infantry concentrations are attacked by the Red Air Force. An enemy attack in the Lisichansk area, after a partial success, is repelled. Railway-junctions and stations at Kiev, Bryansk, Orel and elsewhere are heavily raided from the air by the Russians.

May 11, 1943

  • The whole of the Cape Bon peninsula is in allied possession, the only enemy resistance now being in an 80 square mile area west of Zaghouan; nearly 40,000 prisoners are now in the hands of the U.S. 2nd Corps and its French allies, the total bag being estimated at about 150,000. U.S. Liberators raid the harbour of Catania and drop more than 250,000 lb. of high explosives.
  • The Soviet forces continue to attack in the Kuban, but the enemy’s defence shows no signs of cracking; several counter-attacks are reported by the Russians. In the air 35 Axis machines are destroyed for the loss of 11; 21 others fall victims to anti-aircraft guns.
  • Mr. Churchill is reported to have arrived in Washington, accompanied by naval and military experts for a conference’ with President Roosevelt.
  • In the House of Commons Mr. Attlee says that 8th Army casualties from 20th April to 3rd May were just over 2,400; those of the 1st Army from 17th April were 8,400.
  • Our troops in Burma withdraw from Maungdaw and take up new positions to the north.
  • U.S. forces land on the enemy-occupied island of Attu, in the Aleutians.
British soldiers look over Cape Bon, Tunisia.
British soldiers look over Cape Bon, Tunisia.

May 12, 1943

  • All organised resistance in Tunisia comes to an end and General Sixt von Arnim, commander of the Axis forces, is captured. Since 5th May about 150,000 prisoners have been taken. The Strategic Air Force start several fires in an attack on the railway yards and docks at Naples.
  • In the Kuban the Soviet forces continue on the offensive, and they repel a strong counter-attack by the Germans.
  • Further clashes between our own and the enemy’s patrols occur in New Guinea, in the Salamaua-Mubo area.
  • Duisburg is the chief target of the R.A.F., who make their biggest raid of the war, 1,500 tons of bombs being dropped on this inland port in a concentrated attack lasting for 45 minutes; 34 aircraft are lost.

May 13, 1943

  • The 1st Italian Army in Tunisia surrenders and General Messe, promoted to the rank of Marshal, agrees to become a prisoner of his old opponents only - the 8th Army. In the House of Commons Mr. Attlee, in declaring the end of the Tunisia campaign, states that more than 1,000 guns, 250 tanks and many thousands of motor-vehicles are among the great quantities of booty.
  • Heavy and medium bombers launch an attack on the harbour and industrial area of Cagliari, in Sardinia; the Sicilian harbour of Augusta is also heavily raided, and Fortresses of the Strategic Air Force heavily attack the important port of Civita Vecchia, north-west of Rome, hits being scored on ships and fuel storage tanks.
  • The island of Pantellaria is successfully bombarded by our naval forces, which fire 20 broadsides into the harbour.
  • In the Kuban the Soviet forces gain more ground in the Novorossisk sector.
  • Light coastal forces under the command of Lieut. P. G. C. Dickens, D.S.C., M.B.E., R.N., sink two enemy torpedo boats off the coast of Holland.
  • A strong force of Bomber Command aircraft attack Bochum and other targets in the Central Ruhr and Czechoslovakia, and bombs are also dropped on Berlin; 34 aircraft are lost.
  • Three enemy night bombers of a small force which attacks East Anglia are destroyed.
inhabitants of Tunis give allied troops a warm welcome
 Victory as inhabitants of Tunis give allied troops a welcome after being freed from Axis tyranny

May 14, 1943

  • H.M. the King sends a congratulatory message to Mr. Churchill on the “glorious conclusion” of the campaign in Tunisia. The total number of Axis generals captured is given as 17, all but three being German.
  • Wellington bombers of the Strategic Air Force attack Palermo, in Sicily, starting fires in the dock and industrial areas.
  • In their largest single-day operations U.S. 8th Air Force attack targets at Kiel, Antwerp, Velsen and Courtrai.
  • The Japanese torpedo and sink the 3,000-ton Australian hospital ship M.V. Centaur; only 64 of the 332 medical personnel and crew are saved.

May 15, 1943

  • Wellington bombers make an attack on Trapani, in Sicily, hitting many targets, including the gasworks, and causing a large explosion.
  • The heaviest U.S. air attack of the war is made on Emden, U-boat yards and harbour facilities being heavily pounded.
  • Fighter Command aircraft attack the Low Countries and Western Germany and Mosquitoes drop bombs on targets in Berlin.
  • Considerable damage is caused when enemy aircraft raid East Anglia and north-east coast areas of England; three of a small force are destroyed.
  • Russian artillery is active in the Novorossisk area of the Kuban, but the chief fighting is in the Kuban estuary sector.

May 16, 1943

  • General von Amim arrives in England by air and is brought to London.
  • The Italian seaplane base of Lido di Roma, near Ostia, is bombed by Wellingtons, which later fly over Rome.
  • Berlin is visited by R.A.F. bombers for the second night in succession, the raid being on a small scale.
  • To mark its third anniversary the Home Guard parade in Hyde Park, H.M. the King taking the salute.
  • The Admiralty announces the sinking of H.M. submarine Splendid (Lieut. Ian Laichlan Mackay McGeoch, D.S.O., R.N.).
Home Guard parade in Hyde Park where the King took the salute
The third anniversary of the Home Guard on May 1943 was celebrated
by a parade in Hyde Park where the King took the salute

May 17, 1943

  • Marshal Messe, the Italian Commander-in-Chief in North Africa, arrives in Britain by air as a prisoner of war. The total of Axis generals taken prisoner is now stated to be 26, of whom 16 are German.
  • Early this morning Lancaster bombers make a daring low-level attack with mines on the dams at Moehne and Sorpe in the Ruhr (Operation Chastise), the former being breached over a length of 100 yards; the Eder dam, controlling the headwaters of the Weser and Fulda valleys, is also attacked and breached. The flood waters of the dams, which serve the industrial centres of the Ruhr, rushed into the valleys causing great devastation. Of 19 aircraft which take part, eight are lost. Wing Commander, Guy Penrose Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross for his leadership and bravery during the raid.
  • In the Mediterranean area R.A.F. Wellingtons launch an attack on the airfield and port of Alghero, in Sardinia.
  • Three enemy night raiders which visit widely dispersed areas, including Greater London, are destroyed.
  • From Japan it is announced that a pitched battle is in progress on Attu Island, in the Aleutians.
  • Two German vessels bringing supplies from the Far East are scuttled when intercepted by two British cruisers.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Wing Commander 39438 Guy Penrose GIBSON, Royal Air Force awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson, 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force. On 16th/17th May 1943 over Germany, Wing Commander Gibson led the raid on the Mohne Dam, descending to within a few feet of the water and taking the full brunt of the enemy defences. He delivered his attack with great accuracy and afterwards circled very low for 30 minutes, drawing the enemy's fire on himself in order to leave as free a run as possible to the following aircraft. He then led the remainder of his force to the Eder Dam where with complete disregard for his own safety he repeated his tactics and once again drew the enemy fire so that the attack could be successfully developed.

May 18, 1943

  • It is reported that the floods in the Ruhr are speeding and causing widespread destruction; 4,000 people have lost their lives and 120,000 are homeless.
  • Day and night raids on Germany and the occupied countries are carried out. In three days, 13th-15th May, U.S. bombers are stated to have destroyed 121 enemy aircraft.
  • Coastal Command aircraft damage five of six escorted enemy ships off the Dutch coast and three of eight escort vessels.
  • Pantellaria has its heaviest raid of the war, the U.S.A.A.F. dropping nearly 200,000 lb. of bombs.
  • General Eisenhower reports that the number of prisoners taken in Tunisia now exceeds 200,000.

May 19, 1943

  • The Ruhr dam floods are reported to be spreading still farther down the valley, the water from the Moehne reservoir having extended to a distance of 60 miles.
  • Kiel and Flensburg are visited by a strong force of 8th Air Force heavy bombers, shipbuilding and U-boat yards being attacked; Mosquitoes of Bomber Command attack Berlin.
  • In the Southern Mediterranean 29 Axis aircraft are destroyed in air combat and 44 on the ground.
  • Russian artillery lays down a heavy barrage on the Kharkov front in the Sevsk area, according to a Moscow report; there are also artillery duels in the Lisichansk sector.
  • Mr. Churchill, in a speech to both Houses of Congress in Washington, surveys the war’s progress and future strategy.
  • Their Majesties the King and Queen attend St. Paul’s Cathedral for a Thanksgiving Service for the victory in Africa.

May 20, 1943

  • In the Kuban the Red Army gains some ground and repels a heavy counter-attack; Russian artillery is active to the north-east of Novorossisk.
  • From India it is reported that Brigadier Orde Charles Wingate has returned from Northern Burma where he had been, with several columns, on a three months’ wrecking expedition in enemy-controlled territory.
  • Malta-based aircraft attack an enemy convoy near Pantellaria, and set a motor vessel on fire.
  • Grosseto airfield, in Sicily, is raided by B17 Flying Fortresses, and Sardinia and Pantellaria are also bombed; 14 enemy fighters are brought down in combat. During the day 113 Axis aircraft, including a fleet of Me323 transports, are estimated to have been destroyed, 92 on the ground.
  • Mosquito aircraft bomb Berlin for the second night in succession.
  • Liberators and Flying Fortresses-attack Rabaul and Keravia Bay, in New Britain, dropping 18 tons of fragmentation and incendiary bombs.
British troops victory parade, Tunis 20th May 1943
British troops victory parade, Tunis 20th May 1943

May 21, 1943

  • Construction yards at Wilhelmshaven and Emden are attacked by strong formations of the 8th Air Force, a large weight of bombs being dropped; a record of 74 enemy aircraft are shot down.
  • For the first time since December, 1942, Malta is raided by the enemy, about 36 aircraft, FW190 fighter bombers escorted by Me 109s, taking part; slight damage only results.
  • Airfields in Sicily are raided by Wellington bombers of the Strategic Air Force.
  • It is announced from Tokyo that Admiral Isoroku Yamamato, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Navy, has been killed.
  • The final phase of the fighting on the Aleutians Island of Attu is reported to be taking place.
  • In Russia several violent enemy attacks on two sectors of the Leningrad front are repelled.

May 22, 1943

  • Flying Fortresses attack the airport of Castelvetrano, in Sicily, wrecking several Me323 transports on the ground and shooting down seven intercepting fighters. Other airfields in Sicily and Sardinia are also attacked, and the gun-positions on Pantellaria are shot up. In three days ending with Friday 285 Axis aircraft have been destroyed in the Mediterranean area for the loss of 12.
  • Moscow reports that to remove obstacles to a complete understanding with the United Nations the Communist Third International (the Comintern) is to be disbanded.
  • The Russians, as the result of a thrust at Lisichansk, enlarge their bridgehead on the west bank of the Donetz River.
  • Continuing their activity in Tunisian waters a sailing boat is intercepted off Cape Bon and eight Germans are captured. During the past fortnight about 900 Germans and Italians trying to escape by sea have been captured.
  • U.S. forces on Attu Island launch a triple drive against the remnants of the Japanese troops.
  • Hurricanes destroy or damage nearly half a force of 20 Japanese bombers, escorted by 11 fighters, which attack the airfield at Chittagong.

May 23, 1943

  • Whirlwind bombers, escorted by Spitfires, sink a supply ship and hit a trawler in the English Channel.
  • Bomber Command Venturas, with Spitfire escort, bomb the coke ovens at Zeebrugge.
  • Considerable damage and many casualties are caused by enemy aircraft in tip-and-run raids on three South Coast towns; five raiders are destroyed, one falling on a-house in Bournemouth.
  • In the heaviest air raid of the war on Germany, R.A.F. Bomber Command aircraft drop more than 2,000 tons of bombs on Dortmund in a concentrated attack; great damage is reported; from the fires raised smoke is stated to have risen to a height of 15,000ft.; 38 aircraft are lost.
  • Pantellaria is again heavily attacked by day the docks and airfields receiving damage; at night a second visit is paid; Messina is also raided.
  • Naval aircraft attack eight E-boats in the English Channel; three are probably sunk.

May 24, 1943

  • On the Russian front there is continuous artillery activity in the Kalinin-Bryansk sectors, and fighting also takes place in the Donetz area.
  • Heavy bombers of the U.S.A.A.F. attack San Giovanni and Reggio di Calabria, and more than 300 aircraft of the North-West Africa Air Force raid ports and aerodromes in Sardinia.

May 25, 1943

  • At a Press conference in Washington Mr. Churchill tells correspondents that the tide of war has definitely turned.
  • In two attacks on south and south-east coast towns of England nine enemy aircraft are destroyed.
  • The R.A.F. raid Duesseldorf in great strength, more than five 4,000-lb. bombs being dropped every minute during the attack, besides many 8,000-lb. bombs and thousands of incendiaries; 27 aircraft are lost.
  • Maintaining their great air offensive against the Italian islands, the North-West African Air Forces make their heaviest onslaught, with 400 aircraft, on military and industrial objectives in Sardinia, Sicily and Pantellaria.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Commander John Wallace LINTON, Royal Navy awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award a posthumous Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Commander John Wallace Linton, Royal Navy. From the outbreak of the war in 1939 to May 1943 which was the month of HMS Turbulent's last patrol in the Mediterranean, Commander Linton was responsible for sinking approximately 100,000 tons of enemy shipping, including a cruiser, a destroyer, a U-boat and 28 other ships. In addition, Turbulent destroyed three trains by gun fire. In his last year Commander Linton spent 254 days at sea, submerged for nearly half the time, his ship was hunted 13 times and had 250 depth charges aimed at her.

May 26, 1943

  • The relentless bombing of Italy’s airfields continues, heavy attacks being delivered on Sardinia, Sicily and Pantellaria; Tirso power station, in Sardinia, receives direct hits.
  • On Attu Island U.S. troops gain a foothold on a ridge south of Chichagof, all of whose buildings are destroyed.
  • Light naval forces engage four armed trawlers off the Dutch coast and leave one on fire and sinking.
  • President Kalinin and M. Molotov send messages of greeting to the King and Mr. Eden on the first anniversary of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty of Alliance.
  • Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur are honoured by the King with the G.C.B.
  • Liberator and Mitchell bombers drop 2,000 lb. of bombs on Lae, in New Guinea.

May 27, 1943

  • Medium bombers attack airfields in Sardinia on which more than 4,000 fragmentation bombs are dropped.
  • Complete agreement on future operations is reached in Washington according to an announcement by Mr. Roosevelt.
  • Wing-Commander G. P. Gibson, leader of the raid on the Ruhr dams, is awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • According to a German source the Russians break into the German lines at several points in the Kuban, but are repulsed.
  • The Karl Zeiss instrument works at Jena, in Thuringia, are attacked by Mosquito aircraft, and R.A.F. heavy bombers visit Essen, delivering their heaviest assault on this arms centre, many 8,000-lb. and 4,000-lb. bombs being dropped; from the latter raid 23 aircraft fail to return.
  • Akyab Island, in Burma, is attacked by R.A.F. bombers escorted by fighters.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Havildar 6816 Gaje GHALE, Gurkha Rifles awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Havildar Gaje Ghale, 2nd Battalion, 5th Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army. During the period 24th/27th May 1943 in the Chin Hills, Burma, Havildar Gaje Ghale was in charge of a platoon of young soldiers engaged in attacking a strong Japanese position. Wounded in the arm, chest and leg he nevertheless continued to lead assault after assault, encouraging his men by shouting the Gurkha's battle-cry. Spurred on by the irresistible will of their leader, the platoon stormed and captured the position which the havildar then held and consolidated under heavy fire, refusing to go to the Regimental Aid post until ordered to do so.

May 28, 1943

  • The industrial city of Leghorn, about 200 miles north of Rome, is raided by more than 100 Flying Fortresses and four large airfields in Sicily are attacked by medium bombers; Pantellaria is also visited again.
  • Heavy “defensive” fighting in the Novorossisk area in the Kuban is reported from Berlin.
His Majesty the King displayed interest in photos of the breached Ruhr dam
During a visit to a Lancaster station of Bomber Command on 28th May 1943 his Majesty the King
displayed interest in photos of the breached Ruhr dam

May 29, 1943

  • Marauders, with Warhawk escort, launch an attack on Milo airfield, near Trapani in Sicily, and bombers of the North-West African Air Forces bomb Axis bases in Pantellaria and Sardinia.
  • R.A.F. heavy bombers visit Wuppertal, a new target in the Ruhr, on which they drop more than 1,500 tons of bombs, large fires being started; 33 aircraft are lost. During the day the U.S. 8th Air Force, using their largest number of bombers so far, batter the submarine bases of La Pallice and St. Nazaire; railway yards at Rennes are also raided.
  • In naval actions in the Channel 12 enemy ships are sunk or damaged.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of H.M. submarine Regent (Lieut. Walter Neville Ronald Knox, D.S.C., R.N.).
  • On the front near the Hupeh-Hunan border the Chinese launch a counter-attack; south-west of Ichang five Japanese divisions are surrounded.

May 30, 1943

  • Naples is the objective of more than 100 Flying Fortresses, which also shoot down 10 enemy fighters; marshalling-yards and a dry dock are damaged and many grounded aircraft destroyed. Foggia is also visited, and Sardinia and Pantellaria are also subjected to attacks.
  • The Air Ministry announces that Coastal Command aircraft have destroyed five U-boats in 10 days.
  • In a daylight attack by enemy aircraft on a south-west coast town of England a church is wrecked and 19 children and five adults are killed; four of about 15 raiders are destroyed.
  • According to a Japanese announcement resistance on Attu Island by their troops is ended; the garrison of more than 2,000 has been exterminated.
  • Flying Fortresses bomb the Wewak aerodromes in New Guinea, dropping 13 tons of high-explosives and incendiaries.
  • General de Gaulle arrives in Algiers by air for a meeting with General Giraud, by whom he is met. General Georges is reported to have arrived in Algiers, having escaped from France.
  • Vichy reports that the French naval squadron at Alexandria has joined the Allies.
Royal family take Salute at the Grand Quadrangle Windsor Castle Wings for Victory Week
King George VI, Queen Elizabeth & Princesses take Salute at the Grand Quadrangle
Windsor Castle Wings for Victory Week 30th May 1943

May 31, 1943

  • Continuing the air offensive on Italian targets, unescorted Flying Fortresses make a fierce attack on Foggia and leave many grounded aircraft on fire, besides doing damage to marshalling-yards; once again Sardinia and Pantellaria receive a battering. The harbour area of Pantellaria is also bombarded with effect by naval surface forces.
  • The adhesion of the French fleet at Alexandria to the cause of the Allies is confirmed.
  • In the fighting in Hupeh the Chinese win a victory over the Japanese troops, who are forced to retreat after sustaining heavy losses.
  • Thirty-six tons of high-explosive bombs are dropped on Lae, in New Guinea, with good results; one Flying Fortress shoots down five, and probably a sixth, of 16 Zeros which attacks it.

JUNE 1943

June 1, 1943

  • Keeping up the air war against Italy, Pantellaria is again visited by heavy bombers and Terranova, in Sardinia, is attacked by Mitchells, bombs being dropped among the ships in the harbour; other parts of Sardinia are also raided.
  • From Algiers it is reported that M. Peyrouton has resigned his office of Governor-General of Algeria and is to be succeeded by General Catroux.
  • In the House of Commons, Mr. Attlee states that the British Empire casualties of the Army, Navy and Air Force for the first three years of the war number 514,993.
  • Six of 12 FW.190 aircraft which attack the south-east coast of England are destroyed.
  • A German report states that the Russians have begun a fresh battle for the Kuban bridgehead, using a large force of tanks.
  • Allied destroyers engage an enemy convoy off Cape Spartivento; two merchant ships are sunk and an enemy destroyer is driven ashore.

June 2, 1943

  • Continuing the organised assault on Pantellaria, naval forces bombard the island at night, shells falling in the harbour and battery areas; heavy and light bombing aircraft also make attacks.
  • At Sevsk, about 100 miles south-west of Orel, Soviet forces secure some local advantage. In a heavy air attack on Kursk the Germans lose 162 out of 500 aircraft which take part.
  • Attacked by eight Ju 88s, a Sunderland of an R.A.F. squadron operating with Coastal Command scores hits on all the enemy aircraft, shooting down three and probably destroying a fourth.
  • Eleven people are killed in a dawn raid by enemy aircraft on an East Anglian town.
  • British Overseas Airways Corporation announces that a civil aircraft flying from Lisbon to the United Kingdom is overdue and presumed lost. Mr. Leslie Howard, the actor, was one of the passengers.
  • Mr. A. V. Alexander states that May was the best month of the war for the number of U-boats destroyed.

June 3, 1943

  • At first light our naval forces again bombard Pantellaria, gunfire by the enemy is ineffectual. Night bombers of the North-West African Air Force also attack the island.
  • The Soviet Command announces that in a two-days’ battle on the Kalinin front the enemy was forced to relinquish some ground he had recently won. There is heavy fighting at Velizh, and Orel is attacked by night by 520 Russian bombers.
  • According to a U.S. Navy Department announcement, the Japanese dead in the fighting on Attu Island total 1,791.
  • A French Committee for National Liberation consisting of General de Gaulle, General Giraud and five other members is formed in Algiers.
  • In Burma, Buthidaung waterfront is attacked by R.A.F. bombers and river craft on the Mayu River are shot up by Hurricanes.
  • Chinese troops recapture Itu and reach the west bank of the Yangtze opposite I chang.

June 4, 1943

  • Keeping up the attack on Pantellaria, allied bombers and fighters again visit the island; runways on the Milo airfield, in Sicily, are hit by fighter bombers. At night Naples is attacked with 4,000-lb. “blockbusters”.
  • Of 12 fighter-bombers which raid a South-East Coast town three are destroyed.
  • Rebellion breaks out in Argentina, and insurgent troops march on Buenos Aires; President Castillo takes refuge in a warship.
'Blockbuster' bomb being loaded into an RAF Lanaster bomber
RAF 'blockbuster' bomb being loaded into an RAF Lanaster bomber

June 5, 1943

  • There are further day and night attacks by our bombers on Pantellaria following a dawn bombardment from the sea.
  • Large explosions are caused when a strong force of Flying Fortresses raid Spezia, in North-West Italy; hits are observed in the dock area and among warships and other shipping in the harbour.
  • A strong formation of Axis bombers, according to a German report, attack the town of Gorki.
  • Mr. Churchill returns by air from North-West Africa, where he had spent a week following his United States visit.
  • U.S. casualties in the fighting on Attu Island are announced as 1,535, of whom 342 are killed.

June 6, 1943

  • Once again Pantellaria is attacked by bombers of the North-West African Air Force, and Messina, San Giovanni and Reggio di Calabria are pounded by a strong force of U.S.A.A.F. heavy bombers.
  • The Red Air Force launch a successful assault on the railway centre of Unecha, in the Orel area. Another attack is made by Axis aircraft on Gorki.
  • The Admiralty announces that one of H.M. submarines surfaced off Calvi, in Northern Corsica, and bombarded an airfield.
  • Koepang and Penful aerodrome, in Dutch Timor, are bombed by Australian-based Liberators; three intercepting Zeros are shot down.
  • With the ending of the military phase in the Argentine rebellion, General Antonio Rawson, the insurgent leader, becomes President of the Republic.

June 7, 1943

  • Heavy and medium bombers are busy launching further assaults on Pantellaria, the heaviest attack being made during daylight by Flying Fortresses, Mitchells, Marauders and Lightnings, enemy bases in southern Sardinia are also raided at night.
  • According to a Berlin report, British units attempt to make a landing on Lampedusa Island.
  • The National Committee for French Liberation reaches agreement on the formation of a Cabinet, of which General Giraud and General de Gaulle are joint chairmen.
  • There is some land and air activity on the Russian front in the Byelgorod area.
  • General Rawson resigns the presidency of the Argentine Republic and is succeeded by General Pedro Ramirez.
  • American fighters intercept between 40 and 50 Japanese torpedo aeroplanes and Zeros off the Russell Islands in the Pacific and shoot down 19.

June 8, 1943

  • Leaflets demanding unconditional surrender are dropped by our aircraft on Pantellaria, which is subjected to further heavy bombardment by cruisers and destroyers and violently attacked from the air.
  • Two attacks on Soviet positions, one in the Sevsk sector and the other to the south of Izyum, are repelled.
  • In the House of Commons Mr. Churchill makes a statement on his missions to Washington and North Africa.
  • President Roosevelt issues a warning that the Axis Powers are seriously contemplating the use of poisonous or noxious gases.

June 9, 1943

  • The North-West African Air Forces continue their offensive against Pantellaria, many enemy aircraft being shot down in the course of the day’s attacks. Hits are scored on hangars when formations of U.S.A.A.F. bombers attack aerodromes at Gerbini and Catania, in Sicily. Shipping in the Aegean Sea is also among our aircrafts’ targets.
  • On the Russian front there is some heavy fighting in the Orel sector and artillery activity in the Donetz area.
  • Production in the Ruhr, according to a statement made by Lord Selborne, is now less by 35 per cent compared with a year ago; bombing is the cause of half of this reduction.

June 10, 1943

  • A great load of bombs is again dropped on Pantellaria, and air attacks are also launched on objectives in Sicily.
  • In one of the heaviest raids on Rabaul (New Britain) Flying Fortresses and Liberators drop about 40 tons of bombs on aerodromes, causing many fires and explosions.
  • A formation of R.A.F. bombers, with fighter escort, attack the jetty at Rathedaung, in Burma, and other bombers visit Buthidaung; considerable damage is done at both places.
  • U.S. fighter aircraft intercept a force of 40 to 50 Japanese fighters near the Russell Islands and shoot down 25 of them.

June 11, 1943

  • Pantellaria hoists the white flag of surrender and within 22 minutes the island is occupied by allied forces; it had previously undergone further terrific bombardment from sea and air. German dive-bombers make an ineffectual attempt to attack our landing barges, the landing being effected almost without loss. Our only casualties are 40 airmen.
  • After a three-weeks’ lull in big-scale daylight offensives, U.S. heavy bombers make a concentrated attack on Cuxhaven and Wilhelmshaven. R.A.F. fighter squadrons make offensive sweeps over France and Holland and escort Venturas to Zeebrugge, where coke ovens and benzole installations are attacked.
  • A strong force of Bomber Command aircraft make a concentrated attack lasting an hour on Duesseldorf and a smaller number launch an assault on Muenster, considerably more than 2,900 tons of bombs being dropped on the two towns; 43 aircraft are lost.
  • Liberators drop 28 tons of bombs on Koepang, the Japanese base in Dutch Timor.

June 12, 1943

  • H.M. the King arrives in Morocco on a visit to the British and American forces in North Africa.
  • Following the capitulation of Pantellaria, two other Italian islands, Lampedusa and Linosa, surrender to the Allies, the former after sea and air bombardment, the latter without a fight. The Sicilian airfields at Milo, Castelvetrano and Bocca di Falco are visited by our bomber aircraft.
  • Fighter-bombers from Malta attack Marzamimi, in Sicily, many bombs bursting on the target.
  • The Central Ruhr, with Bochum as the main objective, is visited in great strength by aircraft of Bomber Command, and mines are laid in enemy waters; 24 bombers do not return. During the day Venturas and Bostons find targets in the airfield at Caen and objectives near Rouen.
  • A small number of enemy raiders attack a town in the south-west of England and districts in the south-east, four being destroyed; a few raiders penetrate to the Greater London area.
  • R.A.F. aircraft raid the Buthidaung area in Burma, and Mandalay is attacked by U.S. and R.A.F. bombers.

June 13, 1943

  • Heavy bombers of the U.S.A.A.F. make a daylight attack on aerodromes at Gerbini and Catania, Sicily, grounded aircraft and installations at the latter town being seriously damaged. At night R.A.F. long-range fighters and medium bombers hit Axis shipping in the Aegean Sea and off the west coast of Greece, two being set afire and a third raked by machine-guns; Messina is also visited, Wellingtons causing damage to railway yards and in the harbour area.
  • In daylight two large formations of 8th Air Force heavy bombers attack the strongly defended naval and submarine centres of Kiel and Bremen, a fierce air battle ensuing; from these and other operations 26 bombers and two fighters are missing.
  • Beaufighters attack an enemy convoy off the Dutch coast and sink one large supply ship, a small supply ship and damage four escorting vessels.
  • A small number of enemy raiders cross the east and south-east coasts of England, one reaching the Greater London area; three are destroyed.

June 14, 1943

  • R.A.F. fighters on air offensive sweeps over Sicily and Southern Italy bomb railway communications and industrial targets.
  • R.A.F. heavy bombers attack targets in the Western Ruhr, Oberhausen, a new objective, receiving the main attention; large fires are left burning. The R.A.F. also carry out widespread intruder operations, Denmark being visited for the first time.
  • A few enemy aircraft cross the coasts of South-East England and East Anglia and some reach the London area; bombs dropped at scattered points do slight damage and cause a small number of fatal casualties.
  • Heavy Russian attacks in the Orel sector are reported by the Axis; a Soviet official communique announces the capture of four enemy positions at Mtsensk.

July 15, 1943

  • Long-range fighters continue their sweeps against shipping in the Aegean Sea and fighter-bombers attack the aerodrome at Comiso, in Sicily; fighter-bombers attack road and railway communications in Southern Italy with bombs and cannon-fire.
  • In the Mtsensk sector the Germans make many counter-attacks against the Russians, but the latter hold their positions.
  • From Calcutta it is reported that Japanese troops have suffered 500 casualties in a six-day engagement in the Chin hills, near Kalemyo.
  • Rabaul (New Britain) is again heavily raided by allied bombers.
  • Early in the morning enemy aircraft drop bombs in two London districts during two brief alerts, killing 10 people.
Firemen playing water on a building set ablaze in a London raid
Firemen playing water on a building set ablaze in a London raid

June 16, 1943

  • H.M. the King inspects men of the British and American Navies at a North African port.
  • The uninhabited island of Lampione, in the Mediterranean, is occupied by a naval party. Bombing of Sicily’s airfields is resumed, and 11 enemy fighters are shot down.
  • Middle East long-range fighters sink three sailing vessels in an island harbour in the Aegean Sea. At night Wellington bombers from North Africa attack the docks at Naples, several 4,000-lb. “block-busters” being dropped.
  • Cologne is the main target for a strong force of R.A.F. bombers, when two big explosions are observed; 14 bombers fail to return.
  • In an air battle over Guadalcanal, it is announced, U.S. airmen shoot down 94 Japanese aircraft.

June 17, 1943

  • The King flies to an advanced aerodrome in Northern Algeria for a tour of inspection of British forces and battlefields.
  • Formations of heavy bombers of the U.S.A.A.F. make a daylight attack on the aerodrome at Comiso, where a hangar is hit, and on the aerodrome at Biscari; more than 250,000 lb. of bombs are dropped. At night heavy bombers from the Middle East again visit the Gomiso aerodrome.
  • During a raid by a small number of enemy aircraft a London post office is wrecked.
  • In the Far East Japanese aircraft raid Madang and Port Moresby (New Guinea) and Liberators bomb many enemy objectives, including Boela (Dutch East Indies) and Sorong (Dutch New Guinea).

June 18, 1943

  • The King arrives in Tunis, where he receives a “victorious welcome”; his Majesty also visits Cape Bon.
  • A strong formation of Flying Fortresses attack Messina and Milo airfield in Sicily; at the former the ferry terminus, power station and railway yards are damaged; Syracuse is also raided by Wellingtons, 4,000-lb. bombs being dropped. At night Messina receives a visit from Wellingtons. Docks and shipping at Olbia, in Sardinia, are bombed by strong forces of B26 Marauders, three ships being set on fire, and docks and railway yards at Golfo Aranci are battered by B25 Mitchell bombers.
  • The appointment of Field-Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell to be the new Viceroy and Governor-General of India is announced; General Sir Claude Auchinleck is appointed Commander-in-Chief, India.

June 19, 1943

  • The King inspects soldiers of the 8th Army and presents the Victoria Cross to Subadar Lalbahadur Thapa, a Gurkha officer.
  • Heavy bombers of the U.S.A.A.F. attack the harbours and installations at Reggio di Calabria and San Giovanni, in the toe of Italy; the southern section of Reggio harbour is plastered with bombs and at San Giovanni bombs damage the ferry terminus and railway sidings. Malta Command intruder aircraft attack railway targets in Western Italy and naval aircraft make an assault on E-boats and shipping off the east coast of Sicily.
  • A heavy attack is made by Bomber Command on the Schneider armament works at Le Creusot, and other aircraft bomb the electrical transformer station at Montchanin, five miles away ; Ruhr and Rhineland targets are also raided; three bombers are lost.
  • On the Russian front, Soviet forces capture another important position north-west of Mtsensk. Large forces of Russian long-range bombers raid enemy aerodromes.

June 20, 1943

  • The King visits Malta, arriving in H.M. cruiser Aurora, and is greeted with remarkable scenes of enthusiasm.
  • The airfields of Castelvetrano, Borizzo and Milo, in Sicily, are attacked by B26 Marauders escorted by P38 Lightnings, and 16 enemy aircraft are also shot down. At night objectives at Naples are attacked by Wellington bombers of the North-West African Air Forces, and U.S.A.A.F. aircraft raid the airfields of Sicily.
  • Lancaster aircraft of Bomber Command attack the radiolocation works at Friedrichshaven without loss; the big hangar and all other main buildings are hit.
  • A statement issued by the Admiralty and Air Ministry announces that in a five-day battle in the Atlantic two U-boats have been sunk and three others probably sunk.
  • In an air battle over Darwin (Western Australia) 22 enemy bombers and fighters are destroyed or damaged.

June 21, 1943

  • Naples is the chief target of a formation of about 100 Flying Fortresses, much damage being inflicted on railway yards, industrial facilities and the arsenal, half of which is destroyed. Middle East aircraft raid Reggio di Calabria and San Giovanni; 20 enemy fighters are shot down in these operations.
  • More than 700 R.A.F. bombers drop a heavy load of bombs on Krefeld in a 50-minutes’ attack; 44 aircraft are lost.
  • An attack by enemy forces in the Mubo area of New Guinea is repelled, Japanese casualties exceeding 100.

June 22, 1943

  • Salerno, 30 miles south-east of Naples, is the objective of Wellington bombers of the North-West Africa Strategic Air Force, the attack being a heavy one. Intruders from Malta attack rail communications and other targets in Southern Italy and Sicily. At night Middle East heavy bombers do more damage to Comiso aerodrome and Wellingtons attack the docks at Olbia, in Sardinia.
  • Large formations of unescorted Flying Fortresses attack the synthetic rubber factory at Huls, causing many explosions, and another big force makes a successful onslaught on the General Motors plant near Antwerp. At night R.A.F. bombers make a heavy attack on objective at Muelheim, in the Ruhr; 35 aircraft do not return.
  • General Giraud and General de Gaulle are appointed Commanders-in-Chief of the French North and West African armies and of other territories respectively.
  • Soviet aeroplanes raid enemy airfields and the railway-junction of Pskov.
  • Off the Dutch coast Beaufighters, with Spitfire and Typhoon escort, attack a convoy and sink five enemy escort vessels and probably a supply ship.
Queen inspects some of the women drivers at Buckingham Palace
On the third anniversary of the American Ambulance 22nd June 1943 the
Queen inspected some of the women drivers at Buckingham Palace

June 23, 1943

  • Fighter-bombers of the R.A.F. attack railway-sidings at Pozzallo, in Sicily.
  • Lancasters which bombed Friedrichshaven on Sunday night and then flew on to North Africa attack the Italian naval base of Spezia on the return journey without loss; the docks are hit and stores set on fire.
  • Macassar, the chief Japanese base in the Celebes, is bombed by U.S. Liberators in a 2,000-mile round trip.

June 24, 1943

  • Before leaving on his return flight from North Africa to England the King inspects French and Highland units near Algiers.
  • Sardinia is the target for an attack by about 300 aircraft of the North-West African Air Forces, objectives including shipping in the harbour of Golfo Aranci, the railway-junction at Chilivani, and shipping in Cagliari harbour; 20 enemy planes are also shot down. At night Wellington bombers visit Olbia and leave many fires burning.
  • A force of 9th U.S.A.A.F. Liberators make a surprise raid on the aerodrome of Sedes, near Salonika, in Greece, 110 tons of bombs being dropped.
  • There are large-scale daylight offensives by R.A.F. light bombers and fighters, among their objectives being Flushing, Maupertus airfield, near Cherbourg, St. Omer and Abbeville. At night Elberfeld, the western portion of Wuppertal, is battered by our heavy bombers, the attack being almost as heavy as that which had devasteted Barmen, the eastern half of the twin-town; 33 bombers fail to return.
  • The Admiralty announces further successes by H.M. submarines operating in the Mediterranean, a 7,000-ton armed merchant cruiser being among a number of enemy vessels sunk.
  • Red Army troops in the Kalinin sector of the Russian front capture an occupied place from the Germans.

June 25, 1943

  • H.M. the King returns from his North Africa and Malta tour, landing at an R.A.F. station after an all-night flight. Soon after his arrival his Majesty despatches a message to General Eisenhower to inform him that he has decided to issue an Africa Star to the victors of North Africa.
  • A force of more than 100 Strategic Air Force B17 Flying Fortresses plaster the docks and marshalling yards at Messina, which at night is again the objective of heavy bombers of the R.A.F. from the Middle East. Naples and Palermo are also a night target for a force of Wellington bombers. Lecce, Grottaglie and San Pancrazio airfields, on the Italian mainland, are battered by daylight in the heaviest raid yet carried out by Liberators from the Middle East.
  • R.A.F. heavy bombers make another big assault on the Ruhr, the Bochum-Gelsenkirchen district, where large fires are started, being the chief target; 30 aircraft are lost. During the day U.S. Army 8th Air Force bombers attack targets in North-West Germany.
  • U.S. aircraft make six attacks on Kiska, in the Aleutians, dropping bombs on the enemy’s main camp area.

June 26, 1943

  • After a heavy week of night raids on land targets the R.A.F. lay mines in enemy waters and make minor attacks on targets in West and North-West Germany. During the day a large force of U.S. 8th Air Force heavy bombers and R.A.F. light bombers raid enemy airfields and industrial targets in France.
  • Tokyo reports air activity in the New Georgia area, and claims the shooting down of seven allied aircraft over Kolombangara and six over Munda.
  • Allied heavy bombers make a successful attack on Vunakanau airfield at Rabaul, in New Britain.
  • In Burma, the R.A.F. attack enemy positions near Kalemyo and U.S. aircraft bomb targets near Shwebo.
  • U.S. aircraft make several more attacks on the enemy occupied island of Kiska, in the Aleutians.

June 27, 1943

  • Air attacks on Italian targets are continued, among those visited being Naples and the Sicilian aerodrome of Gerbini. Heavy U.S. bombers from the Middle East raid the Greek aerodromes at Eleusis and Hassani.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces the sinking by submarines in the Pacific and Far East of a destroyer, a large transport and six other enemy vessels.
  • R.A.F. bombers make three attacks on Akyab Island, scoring hits on an enemy-occupied village.

June 28, 1943

  • More than 100 Flying Fortresses of the Strategic Air Force make a concentrated nine-minutes’ attack on Leghorn, setting fire to storage tanks in the oil refinery and damaging a light cruiser and four supply ships in the harbour. Licata, in Sicily, is raided by fighter bombers. At night Messina is once again attacked by Wellingtons, and R.A.F. heavy bombers raid the ferry terminus at Reggio di Calabria.
  • Targets in France, including St. Nazaire, are successfully attacked by a large force of U.S. Army 8th Air Force and R.A.F. aircraft attack a German convoy off the Dutch coast, sinking two ships, beaching another and damaging three more.
  • A strong force of R.A.F. heavy bombers makes Cologne their night target and considerable damage is done to the city; Hamburg is also visited; 25 aircraft are missing.
  • In the Solomons area U.S. torpedo-bombers and dive-bombers attack Kolombangara and Munda, in the New Georgia Islands.

June 29, 1943

  • Comiso aerodrome, in Sicily, is several times attacked by fighter-bombers during the day; a large fire is caused and workshops are machine-gunned. At night bombers of the North-West African Air Forces pay another visit to Messina and plaster the marshalling yards and ferry terminus with bombs.
  • An evening attack is launched on targets at Le Mans by a large force of U.S.A.A.F. Flying Fortresses, none of which is lost. Another enemy convoy is attacked in the Channel, hits being scored on some of the merchant ships and an escort vessel.
  • Local Russian successes on the Kuban front are reported; aircraft bomb the railway-junction at Orel.
  • U.S. forces effect a landing on Rendova Island in the New Georgia group.
  • The Polish submarine Dzik is reported to have sunk a 4,000-ton passenger and supply ship in the Strait of Messina, her second success in three weeks.

June 30, 1943

  • Continuing the air offensive against targets in Sicily, the North African Strategic Air Force bomb Palermo and important airfields, including Boca di Falco, Milo, Borizzo and Sciacca. At night barracks and the railway station at Cagliari (Sardinia) are attacked.
  • In the South-West Pacific U.S. combined forces land on New Georgia and capture Viru Harbour, at Nassau Bay, in the Salamaua region of New Guinea, and also on the Trobriand and Woodlark Islands, between New Guinea and the Solomons.
  • At the Guildhall the Freedom of the City of London is conferred on Mr. Churchill. In a speech of acknowledgment, the Prime Minister warned the Axis that there will be heavy fighting in the Mediterranean and elsewhere “before the leaves of autumn fall.”
  • Sir Archibald Wavell is raised to the peerage, H.M. the King approving the conferring of a Viscountcy on him.

JULY 1943

July 1, 1943

  • Malta fighter-bombers make an attack on Biscari aerodrome and R.A.F. heavy bombers visit Catania, in Sicily, scoring hits on railway-yards. At night Palermo and Cagliari are bombed by aircraft of the Strategic Air Force.
  • The Admiralty announces that H.M. submarines in the Mediterranean have destroyed a large transport, a large supply ship, a medium-size supply ship and a small supply ship.
  • Australian forces from the Mubo area (New Guinea) are reported to be pressing forward to join the Americans who landed at Nassau Bay; in two days of air battles the Japanese lose 123 aircraft, the allies 25.
  • Fighter Command aircraft attack enemy shipping off the Hook of Holland and damage seven vessels.

July 2, 1943

  • Heavy bombers of the 9th U.S.A.A.F. attack the aerodrome at Lecce (Southern Italy) and at night bombers of the North-West African Air Forces raid Trapani (Sicily) and Olbia (Sardinia), damaging the marshalling-yards. Castelvetrano (Sicily) is also visited, Mitchells bombing the airfield.
  • In the Solomons area the U.S. forces consolidate their gains and in New Guinea Australians make contact with the U.S. troops.
  • The Air Ministry states that in 20 nights ending 30th June 15,000 tons of bombs were dropped on targets in Germany.
  • In daylight Boston bombers and Typhoon fighters make attacks on enemy trains and other objectives in Belgium and Northern France.
A Typhoon fighter-bomber having  bombs hoisted into position
A Typhoon fighter-bomber having its two 1,000lb bombs hoisted into position

July 3, 1943

  • Chilivani, Alghero, Milis and Capoterra airfields, in Sardinia, are attacked by heavy and medium bombers of the Strategic Air Force, and Mitchells, Baltimores and Bostons bomb the Sicilian airfields at Milo, Comiso and Sciacca. Biscari aerodrome receives another visit from Malta-based fighter-bombers. An Italian official announcement states that our aircraft drop several bombs on Ostia and Fiumicino, about 10 miles south-west of Rome. At night R.A.F. heavy bombers attack Catania, Comiso and Trapani (Sicily).
  • A Japanese naval force which attempts to shell Rendova Island is engaged by U.S. naval vessels and driven off; U.S. aircraft make heavy raids on Munda and aerodromes at Rabaul.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command attack in great strength Kalk and Deutz, industrial districts of Cologne on the east bank of the Rhine, many fires being raised and considerable other damage done; 32 aircraft are lost.

July 4, 1943

  • Aerodromes in Sicily are again attacked and in a fierce air battle which ensues 43 enemy fighters are destroyed; Malta-based bombers also raid some of the island’s airfields.
  • Small British land forces carry out raids on airfields in Crete; all our patrols return safely, the operations being successful. During the raids a number of grounded aircraft are destroyed.
  • In the Solomons U.S. forces capture a village on Vanganu Island, and the Japanese make two ineffectual attempts to raid Rendova Island. The U.S. destroyer Strong is torpedoed while bombarding Japanese positions in New Georgia.
  • In daylight Flying Fortresses make one of their heaviest attacks of the war on Le Mans, Nantes and La Pallice, dropping many bombs on repair shops, U-boat installations and an aircraft factory.
  • General Giraud leaves Algiers for conferences in Washington.
  • It is announced that in a battle in the Atlantic with U-boats which attempted to attack a convoy, aircraft operating from the new converted merchant-ship aircraft-carrier Archer sank one enemy submarine and probably destroyed another.
  • While returning to London from Gibraltar in a Liberator bomber General Sikorski is killed when the aircraft crashes shortly after the start of the flight.

July 5, 1943

  • About 30 Flying Fortresses which set out to bomb the Sicilian airfield at Gerbini are attacked by more than 100 enemy fighters, 35 of which are shot down for the loss of three. Sixty Liberators from the Middle East drop about 375,000 lb. of bombs on marshalling yards, railway-stations, barracks and other objectives at Messina.
  • It is reported that an engagement between U.S. and Japanese naval forces has taken place in Kula Gulf north of New Georgia Island, in which considerable damage was inflicted on the enemy vessels.
  • [The Battle of Kursk – Operation Citadel: the largest tank battle in history] On the Russian front the Germans launch a heavy assault on the Soviet forces in the Orel-Kursk-Byelgorod area; they lose 586 tanks and 203 aircraft.

July 6, 1943

  • Flying Fortresses, following an overnight visit by Wellingtons, attack the airfields at Gerbini, where heavy damage is done; Catania gets another visit from heavy, medium and light bombers.
  • In the Kula Gulf naval action, according to an official report, it is believed that six enemy ships were probably sunk and four others damaged; one U.S. cruiser was lost.
  • In the Orel sector the enemy’s attacks are all repulsed by the Russians, but in the Byelgorod area the Germans make slight progress at heavy cost, losing 423 tanks and 217 aircraft.

July 7, 1943

  • Gerbini aerodrome is once again the principal Sicilian target of the North-West African Air Force, and many other of the island’s military objectives are also attacked both by day and night.
  • Stubborn engagements are fought in the Orel-Kursk Byelgorod area by the Russians against large enemy forces of tanks and infantry, the Soviet forces preventing the Germans from extending their small gains; 520 German tanks are destroyed or damaged and 229 aircraft are shot down.
  • It is reported that American troops have made two landings in New Georgia, one near Bairoka, on the north west-coast, the other at Zanana, on the south-west coast; the Jap base at Munda is heavily shelled.
  • In Burma R.A.F. Vengeance dive-bombers, with Hurricane escort, attack the Jap monsoon headquarters at Thaungdara (Arakan) in daylight.
  • General Giraud arrives in Washington for conferences with President Roosevelt.

July 8, 1943

  • In attacks on Sicily that reach a greater intensity Gerbini again receives special attention, and Comiso is visited for the sixth time in seven days; Biscari and other airfields are also bombed, while Catania is the target of American Liberators which drop 110 tons of bombs on the city.
  • Further German attacks in the Orel salient are held by the Russians, but in the Byelgorod sector a group of enemy tanks force a wedge in the Soviet defences; a further 304 German tanks are destroyed or damaged and 105 more enemy aircraft are shot down.
  • U.S. forces which landed on New Georgia are gradually closing around the enemy base of Munda; elsewhere in the Solomons aircraft are continuously bombing Japanese strongholds.
  • Vengeance dive-bombers, with Hurricane escort, make an attack on Buthidaung (Burma) in the early morning.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command make another big attack on Cologne, the third in 11 days.

July 9, 1943

  • In daylight Liberator bombers attack the Axis General Headquarters at Taormina, in Sicily, which are completely destroyed; Liberators of the 9th U.S.A.A.F. drop 120 tons of bombs on Comiso, and other Sicilian airfields are also raided, that of Gerbini being among them. Maleme, the largest airfield in Crete, is also attacked and much damage is done.
  • In the Orel sector the Russians counter-attack with some success and fierce fighting continues in the Byelgorod area; since the offensive began the enemy is reported to have lost nearly 2,000 tanks.
  • Munda (New Georgia) receives its heaviest assault from allied bomber aircraft, U.S. warships, and big guns from the shore; the bombers drop 70 tons of high-explosives with good effect.
  • A heavy attack is made by Bomber Command on the Central Ruhr, the chief target being Gelsenkirchen; 10 aircraft are lost.
  • Enemy aircraft attack a town in South-East England and a cinema receives a direct hit, a number of people being killed; two raiders are destroyed.

July 10, 1943

  • British, Canadian and American assault troops make landings at 3 a.m. on the beaches of Sicily under cover of intense allied air and naval bombardments, the beaches and landing-places used for the first assaults extending for about 100 miles. Within three hours enemy opposition is countered and by 7 a.m. our troops advance and artillery is put ashore. With the success of the first landings further troops, with guns, vehicles, stores and equipment are landed.
  • Further attacks launched by the Germans in the Orel area are repulsed by the Red Army, the Nazis being forced back with heavy losses.
  • Typhoons attack enemy shipping off Cherbourg; Mitchells bomb the enemy airfield at St. Omer.
British troops embark landing craft for Sicily
British troops embark landing craft for Sicily, 10th July 1943

July 11, 1943

  • The allied forces in Sicily continue their advance, and three aerodromes, one of them at Pachino, a few miles from Cape Passero, are captured. The allied navies land, further troops, guns, vehicles and other equipment and also silence enemy batteries and gun positions. Casualties so far are reported as slight. There is intense activity by allied fighter-bombers.
  • The Germans fail to make any further progress in their northern attack in the Kursk offensive, and little success is met with around Byelgorod, where the Russian resistance is as strong as ever.
  • Salamaua (New Guinea) gets its heaviest raid yet when Mitchell bombers drop nearly 50 tons of high explosives. The advance on Munda (New Georgia) continues.

July 12, 1943

  • Ten towns in Sicily are reported to be in allied hands, including Syracuse, Pozzallo; Gela, Licata and Scoglitti, and 2,000 prisoners have been taken. Several Axis counter-attacks with tanks are repelled. Enemy tanks pierce the U.S. lines and reach the beaches, but the Americans strike back and seal the gap. Augusta is bombarded by a strong force of cruisers and a monitor.
  • A formidable force of aircraft of Bomber Command attack objectives in Turin; 13 bombers are lost.
  • While the Germans maintain their wedge in the Byelgorod sector all their efforts fail to widen it, nor are they any more successful in the Orel fighting.
  • In a further naval engagement in the Kula Gulf the Japanese are reported to have lost a light cruiser and three destroyers.
Men of the 8th Army pass along one of the streets of Pachino
Men of the 8th Army pass along one of the streets of Pachino its capture on
12th July 1943 an early success of the Sicilian campaign

July 13, 1943

  • The towns of Ragura and Floridia are reported to have fallen into allied hands, and the advance into Sicily has now extended to a depth of 16 miles. Enemy transport and troops are being continually attacked by fighter-bombers, and torpedo-bombers set two destroyers on fire, sink two merchantmen, and score hits on two large troopships.
  • In the Orel-Kursk-Byelgorod area the German offensive appears to be weakening.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command make a heavy attack on Aachen, the important railway-centre in Western Germany; 20 bombers fail to return.
  • U.S. forces in their advance on Munda reach the outer rim of the enemy’s defences.

July 14, 1943

  • Augusta, the seaport on the cast coast of Sicily, is captured and the 8th Army advances towards Catania; in the western sector Comiso and Ponte Olivo airfields and Naro, 11 miles cast of Agrigento, are occupied by the Americans.
  • Docks and railway communications at Naples and neighbouring aerodromes are attacked by our aircraft.
  • After a marked lull in the German offensive at Kursk, the Russians launch an attack in the Orel area on the north and cast and advance from 12 to 15 miles.
  • In the Byelgorod sector the Red Army launches strong counter-blows.
  • The allied forces in New Guinea continue to close on the enemy defences at Mubo.

July 15, 1943

  • Further considerable gains in Sicily are reported, with spearheads of the 8th Army striking into advance units of a powerful German force, apparently drawn up across the Lentini bottle-neck protecting the Catania plain; United States forces capture another aerodrome. Messina is raided in daylight by a force of nearly 200 bombers. The towns of Scordia, Lentini, Grammichele and Caltagirone are now in allied occupation.
  • A daylight attack is made by Liberators on Foggia, in Southern Italy, and at night Palermo docks are bombed. Naples is also visited again.
  • In the Orel sector the Soviet forces continue to advance in their new offensive, and they also press back the enemy in the Orel-Kursk area.
  • Mubo, in New Guinea, is reoccupied by allied forces.
  • Halifaxes of Bomber Command attack the Peugeot motor vehicle works at Montbeliard, and Lancasters bomb electric transformer and switching stations in Northern Italy.
  • After four days in a rubber dinghy the crew of a Coastal Command Flying Fortress which crashed into the sea after sinking a U-boat are rescued by an R.A.F. Catalina.

July 16, 1943

  • The enemy is reported to be putting up a strong resistance to the 8th Army’s advance on Catania, and exceptionally heavy fighting takes place. In the western sector the Americans progress for several miles, capturing Agrigento, and inflict heavy casualties on the Axis forces. The Navy gives good support to the Allies’ right flank, and again shells Catania airfield.
  • Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt address a joint appeal to the Italian people to capitulate, warning them that this is their last chance.
  • A further advance of six to nine miles is made by the Russian forces in the Orel fighting, and 11 enemy counter-attacks are repelled.
  • Bomber Command Lancasters again attack transformer and switching stations in Italy, and Mosquitoes make their sixth attack of the war on Munich.

July 17, 1943

  • A fierce battle rages in the plains south of Catania, and the town is bombarded by 8th Army guns and a British battleship and bombed by allied air forces. Pressing on from Agrigento, the Americans make further progress in the western sector and enter Porto Empedocle. More than 30,000 prisoners are now in our hands.
  • The strongest force of heavy and medium bombers - more than 500-ever to attack the Italian mainland carries out a heavy assault on important targets at Naples, and during the night medium bombers make an attack on Catania.
  • Soviet forces maintain their pressure in the Orel sector and also press the enemy hard in the Byelgorod area. German sources announce new Russian attacks in the Krymskaya area and on the Mius front west of Rostov.
  • Japanese ships in the South-West Pacific are attacked by U.S. aircraft and seven are sunk. In the Solomons area naval engagements result in hits being scored on several enemy destroyers.

July 18, 1943

  • The enemy continues to resist stubbornly near Catania, but a force on the Catania flank arrives in the Gerbini area. Caltanissetta is occupied by the Americans and on their right the Canadians make progress in difficult country, and straighten out their line. Prisoners now number 35,000.
  • Overcoming German resistance, the Soviet forces in the Orel sector advance a further two to three miles, and in the south, they continue their pressure against the enemy’s positions: 137 Nazi aircraft are destroyed.
  • Kahili airfield and enemy shipping in the Buin-Faisi area of the Pacific are attacked by a strong force of allied bombers.

July 19, 1943

  • Rome is raided for the first time since the war began, a strong force of heavy and medium bombers of the Mediterranean Air Command attacking military objectives in the city in daylight. The marshalling-yards and railways are the chief targets of the all-American aircraft which carry out the attack.
  • In the western and central sectors of the Sicilian front American troops continue to push forward, and there are many indications of mutiny by Italians against their German commanding officers. Although meeting with strong opposition, the Canadians make further progress. South of Catania the 8th Army establishes a bridgehead and repels may German counter-attacks.
  • Seventy inhabited localities are recaptured from the Germans by the Russians in their advance north of Orel.
  • Hitler and Mussolini meet for “military talks” in a town of Upper Italy. '
  • Allied aircraft attack a Japanese escorted convoy in the Northern Solomons and sink a cruiser and two destroyers.

July 20, 1943

  • In the Catania area British forces continue to meet with strong resistance from the Germans, but gradual progress is made. The Canadians advance steadily and the Americans in the western sector move rapidly forward, a combined attack by the two forces causing the fall of Enna.
  • North-east of Orel the Red Army captures a further 30 inhabited places, including the important town of Mtsensk, and east of Orel 20 more inhabited localities are retaken. The Soviet forces also advance south of Orel, while in the Donetz basin south of Izyum and south-west of Voroshilovgrad the Russians force the Donetz River and the Mius River.

July 21, 1943

  • The U.S. 7th Army captures Gastelvetrano and presses on towards Marsala and Palermo; resistance in Western Sicily is weakening. Cotrone, in the Gulf of Taranto, is bombarded by British warships.
  • In their three-way attack in the Orel direction the Russians overcome enemy resistance and advance from four to nine miles; north of Orel 40 more inhabited places are occupied, and to the east another 50. The Red Army positions in the Donetz Basin are improved.
  • Bairoka, in New Georgia, is attacked by more than 150 bombers, 133 tons of bombs being dropped on enemy positions.

July 22, 1943

  • Fierce lighting continues to the south of Catania, and the Canadians make further steady progress. In the west of Sicily U.S. forces make a further successful advance, Palermo being occupied without much opposition. Railway communications at Foggia and elsewhere are attacked by allied bombers.
  • In the course of a further four-to-five-mile advance in the direction of Orel, the Russians capture the town of Bolkhov; in the Byelgorod sector they progress from three to four miles. In 10 days’ fighting 50,000 Germans have been killed and 6,000 taken prisoner.
  • U.S. heavy and light warships bombard the Japanese positions on Kiska, in the Aleutians.
  • Liberators from the Australian mainland raid the Java port of Surabaya before day light, scoring hits on an oil refinery and other enemy objectives.

July 23, 1943

  • Guns of the 8th Army and of warships off the coast shell the German positions behind Catania and Canadian forces press hard against the enemy’s right flank. In the north, American troops cut the coast road to the east of Palermo. Attacks on Italian airfields are carried out by allied bombers and at night Salerno’s railway installations and the ferry terminus at San Giovanni are raided; Reggio di Calab ria is also bombed.
  • A two-to-three-mile advance is made by the Soviet forces towards Orel, and a further three to five miles’ progress is achieved in the Byelgorod area; fighting continues successfully in the Donetz Basin, where the Russians cross the Donetz River.
  • R.A.F. and Greek Air Forces deliver a large-scale day light attack on enemy forces and installations in Crete.

July 24, 1943

  • The ports of Marsala and Trapani are captured by the Americans, who have now taken 50,000 prisoners and much booty, including more than 500 guns. The Canadians and British forces continue to face strong enemy resistance. There are further air attacks on Italian railway communications on the main land, and the railway-yards at Bologna are heavily bombed. Lancasters returning from North Africa raid the port of Leghorn.
  • Keeping up their pressure in the Orel area the Russians make a further advance of three to five miles, and in the Byelgorod sector they complete the restoration of the positions held by the m when the enemy offensive began on 5th July.
  • Well over 2,000 tons of bombs - a record weight - are launched on Hamburg by a very strong force of Bomber Command aircraft, vast damage being done to the city; 12 bombers are lost. In daylight large formations of U.S. Fortresses make their first attack on Norway, the targets being Heroya and Trondheim.

July 25, 1943

  • Rome wireless announces the resignation of Mussolini; King Emmanuel assumes supreme command of the armed forces and appoints Marshal Pietro Badoglio as Prime Minister; the new Prime Minister declares in a proclamation that “the war continues.”
  • In Sicily pressure is maintained against the enemy in all sectors, and the Canadians continue to make slow progress.
  • Several more miles’ progress is made by the Red Army in the direction of Orel and 30 more occupied places and the railway station of Glazunovka are captured.
  • U.S. heavy bombers attack Hamburg and Kiel and medium bombers bomb industrial targets near Ghent; at night Bomber Command aircraft make a heavy assault on Essen and Mosquitoes visit Hamburg and Cologne.
  • Allied troops increase their pressure against the Japanese at Munda, and advance 500 yards.

July 26, 1943

  • Marshal Badoglio assumes direct control of all the Italian armed forces, police and civil guard, and places the country under martial law; he also forms a new Cabinet. A dusk to dawn curfew is imposed.
  • Patrol activity continues in the eastern sector of Sicily, and the Canadians make limited progress after stern fighting; the U.S. forces also make further progress.
  • Seventy more in habited localities in the Orel area fall to the Soviet forces, who slowly close in on this enemy base. Progress is also made to the south of Orel and in the Byelgorod area.
  • During attacks on various targets in Germany, including Hamburg, Flying Fortresses shoot down more than 50 enemy fighters; and at night Hamburg has its fifth raid in two days, when it is attacked by Mosquitoes of Bomber Command.

July 27, 1943

  • In the House of Commons, Mr. Churchill warns the Italians that their choice is between complete surrender and relentless war.
  • There is patrol activity by the 8th Army, but the Canadians engage in heavy fighting and make some further progress.
  • Russian troops continue the Orel offensive, advancing nearly four miles and occupying 50 more inhabited localities; elsewhere fighting continues favourably, some local progress being made on the Leningrad front.
  • Another concentrated and effective raid is made on Hamburg, the fourth successive night attack, our aircraft dropping a record weight of more than 2,300 tons of bombs in 45 minutes; 18 bombers are lost.

July 28, 1943

  • Fierce fighting continues in the Canadian sector of the front in Sicily and heavy casualties are inflicted on the enemy; the towns of Leonforte and Agira are captured. In the north the U.S. forces occupy Nicosia and also take possession of Pollina, Castelbuono and Gangi. Roads and communications are attacked by our fighter-bombers.
  • Marshal Badoglio’s new Cabinet formally dissolves the Fascist party, but Italian propaganda reasserts that the war will be continued; peace demonstrations continue in Milan.
  • On the Orel front the Red Army moves forward from 2 to 3 miles, capturing more than 30 inhabited places.
  • U.S. bombers make a heavy daylight attack on Hamburg, Kassel and other targets in Germany; more than 60 enemy fighters are destroyed.

July 29, 1943

  • In Sicily the Canadians make further progress against strong opposition and capture Nissoria, while the British forces engage in successful patrols; the 7th Army’s line is advanced in several places. Aerodromes in Southern and Central Italy are heavily bombed by the Strategic Air Force.
  • The Italian Government announces in a decree issued in Rome that all conspicuous former Fascists are being kept under arrest.
  • Soviet forces advance a further six miles on the Orel front and capture upwards of 40 inhabited localities.
  • An escort group of H.M.S. sloops are reported to have sunk two U-boats in the North Atlantic in nine hours.
  • Shipyards at Kiel and the Heinkel aircraft works at Warnemuende are attacked by strong formations of U.S. Flying Fortresses.
  • The Air Ministry reports that 101 American and British airmen have been rescued from the North Sea recently within 50 hours.
  • Labour Minister Ernest Bevin announces that women from 19 to 50 will be called for work in aeroplane and munitions plants. Men eligible for military service may choose work in coal mines.
  • Hamburg is again attacked by Bomber Command aircraft, which drop 2,300 tons of bombs on the city; 28 aircraft are lost.

July 30, 1943

  • Both the 7th and 8th Armies make further progress in Sicily, and the Canadians also continue to advance. Three Italian islands— Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo - are reported to have surrendered unconditionally. Reggio di Calabria, in the toe of Italy, is raided by R.A.F. heavy bombers.
  • Another 20 inhabited places are recaptured from the Germans in the Orel direction and in the Donbas area enemy attacks are repelled; fighting of local importance occurs on the Leningrad front.
  • U.S. heavy bombers visit Kassel again, and in this and other day attacks 61 enemy fighters are destroyed.
  • Remscheid, a new target in the south of the Ruhr, receives a heavy attack from Bomber Command aircraft, 15 of which are lost.

July 31, 1943

  • On the 8th Army’s front in Sicily bridgeheads are further extended and established and the 7th Army captures three more towns. Medium bombers attack the communications centre at Adrano and road junctions behind the enemy’s lines. Both sides of the Italian mainland are bombarded by a force of cruisers and destroyers.
  • Counter-attacks by the Nazis in the Orel area are repelled by the Russians, who then make a further advance in which several inhabited places are retaken.

AUGUST 1943

August 1, 1943

  • The 8th Army opens a new offensive in Sicily against the chief enemy positions south of Catania; in the north the U.S. forces occupy San Stefano and Mistretta. The docks and seaplane base at Naples are again attacked in daylight by Flying Fortresses escorted by Lightnings, and at night our heavy bombers pay another visit to the docks at Naples.
  • There is fierce fighting on the Orel front, resulting in a five to eight miles advance by the Russians, who re-occupy more than 100 inhabited localities; farther enemy attacks in the Donetz basin are repulsed.
  • A force of some 200 U.S. Liberators bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Rumania, doing considerable damage, and destroy 51 intercepting Me 109s; 20 Liberators are shot down and a number of others fail to return.
  • It is announced from Algiers that the union of the armed forces of France has been achieved, with General Giraud as Commander-in-Chief.
On the streets of Catania a British gun crew receive a welcome from the inhabitants
On the streets of Catania a British gun crew receive a welcome from the inhabitants

August 2, 1943

  • The 8th Army’s new offensive progresses well; our forces enter the western end of the plain of Catania and the 78th Division captures Centuripe. After fierce fighting the Canadians occupy Regalbuto, and farther to the north the Americans take Troina, Capizzi and Cerami. There is continued excellent support by allied aircraft.
  • The Red Army maintains its pressure on the Orel front, advancing a distance of from three to six miles and recapturing some 70 inhabited places; enemy attacks south-west of Voroshilovgrad are beaten off.
  • Beaufighters and Spitfires attack an enemy convoy off the Dutch coast sinking at least one supply ship and damaging three escort vessels.
  • A strong force of Bomber Command aircraft makes yet another attack on Hamburg and other North-West Germany targets; 30 bombers fail to return.

August 3, 1943

  • Further good progress is made by the 8th Army against fierce enemy resistance, the Axis forces sustaining heavy casualties in the central sector; in the north also good progress is reported, advances up to six miles being made. British and American naval forces have bombarded the north and east coasts of Sicily. Speaking in Parliament, Mr. Churchill says: “Our general offensive in Sicily began to develop on Sunday afternoon and all yesterday (Monday) was passed in lull battle.”
  • Further progress by the Russians on the Orel front brings them to within five miles of the town, in the course of which over 50 inhabited places, including Stish, are captured.
  • U.S. forces on New Georgia advance to within a mile of Munda airfield and progress is made towards Salamaua, in New Guinea.

August 4, 1943

  • In Sicily steady progress is made along the entire front in face of stern resistance; the 8th Army advances and there is fierce fighting around Troina. British naval units bombard the coastal road and railway at Taormina, and Messina and other military targets are attacked by allied bombers.
  • Following an advance of four to eight miles Soviet forces break into Orel, where there is street fighting; in the Byelgorod sector the enemy is pushed back about six miles.
  • Mosquito aircraft attack targets in the Ruhr and Rhineland and naval aircraft sink three E-boats off Calais.
  • U.S. forces advancing along the coast road of New Georgia reach the eastern end of Munda aerodrome.

August 5, 1943

  • The 8th Army occupies Catania at 8.30 a.m. and the town’s surrender is accepted at 10.15 a.m. Misterbianco is also occupied, and following a further advance across the Simeto River Patemo is captured. Elsewhere there is further progress, despite strong resistance experienced from the enemy by the 7th Army, which takes Gagliano. Messina and its beach are heavily bombed.
  • Marshal Stalin in a broadcast order of the day announces the capture of Orel and also of Byelgorod.
  • At midnight, to celebrate this double victory, 12 artillery salvoes from 120 guns are fired.
  • American troops in New Georgia are reported to be closing in on Munda from two sides.
Searching for enemy troops in hiding after Catania, Sicily, had been taken by Allied troops
Searching for enemy troops in hiding after Catania, Sicily, had been
taken by Allied troops on 5th August 1943

August 6, 1943

  • After a five-day attack the American forces storm into Troina, which is captured after fierce street fighting, and the 8th Army continues to advance on all sectors of its front; prisoners taken now exceed 125,000. In the northern coastal area, there is continued naval co-operation.
  • Following the occupation of Orel and Byelgorod the Russians announce advances in the directions of Bryansk and Kharkov; Kromy, 25 miles south-west of Orel, is recaptured from the enemy.
  • A special announcement from General MacArthur’s headquarters reports the capture of Munda and the cessation of all organised enemy resistance; 1,671 Japanese dead have been counted. Tanks and flamethrowers were used in the final assault. A U.S. naval force sinks an enemy cruiser and two destroyers and probably a third destroyer off New Georgia.
 British 8th Army troops patrol Catania ruins
 British 8th Army troops patrol Catania ruins

August 7, 1943

  • The 8th Army advances towards Mount Etna, capturing the towns of Adrano, Belpasso and Biancavilla; in spite of fierce resistance, the American forces advance slightly from Troina. Naval units continue to bombard enemy shore positions and the North-West African Air Forces bomb objectives at and near Messina, Crotone and elsewhere.
  • Further Russian advances of from six to nine miles in the Kharkov area and six to seven miles in the Bryansk area are made; 170 more inhabited places are liberated.
  • A strong force of Lancasters of Bomber Command attack Milan, Turin and Genoa, and Mosquitoes bomb objectives in the Rhineland; two aircraft are lost.
  • More than 100 allied aircraft drop 65 tons of high explosives and incendiaries on the Japanese base at Rekata Bay, on Santa Isabel feland, east of New Georgia, Salamaua, in New Guinea, is attacked by Liberators, which release 92 tons of bombs in 23 minutes.

August 8, 1943

  • The 8th Army thrusts northwards from Adrano to Bronte, capturing Acireale, and the 7th Army makes an unopposed landing behind the enemy’s lines and drives back Axis forces moving west. Cesaro, San Fratello and Sant’ Agata are now in allied hands. Randazzo, Catanzaro and Angitola are attacked from the air.
  • In a further advance in their Kharkov offensive the Red Army takes 60 inhabited places, including Bogodukhov, and in the Bryansk direction the Soviet forces progress a further four to eight miles, occupying 130 more localities.
  • Boston bombers make an afternoon attack on the naval stores depot at Rennes.

August 9, 1943

  • The 8th Army makes good progress and closes in around Mt. Etna; Bronte is captured. The 7th Army presses eastwards and establishes contact with the American force landed on Sunday, which captured 1,500 prisoners. Destroyers bombard the neighbourhood of Taormina and a cruiser and destroyers shell enemy positions at Giarre Riposto and between there and Acireale. Messina and road and railway bridges in Southern Italy are attacked by allied bombers. A force of British cruisers and destroyers bombard Castellammare di Stabia, in the Gulf of Naples, and another naval force attacks other objectives in Italy.
  • Soviet forces occupy more than 80 inhabited localities in their Bryansk drive and quicken their advance towards Kharkov, taking more than 100 inhabited places.
  • Bomber Command make a heavy assault on Mannheim-Ludwigshaven, leaving large fires burning, and Mosquitoes attack targets in the Ruhr; nine aircraft fail to return.
  • In New Guinea, American forces press forward from Munda in the direction of Bairoka, where enemy positions are attacked from the air.

August 10, 1943

  • Guardia is occupied by the 8th Army, and to the west of Mt. Etna our troops attack northward from Bronte towards Randazzo. American troops make contact with British forward troops north and west of Bronte; during the night another landing is made by U.S. forces, near the mouth of the Naso River.
  • The Russian drive in both the Bryansk and Kharkov areas is fully maintained, a five to eight miles advance carrying the Red Army well beyond the latter town to the north.
  • Nuremberg, the important industrial and railway centre in Southern Germany, is heavily bombed by R.A.F. aircraft, more than 1,500 tons of high-explosives and incendiaries being dropped; 16 bombers are lost.
  • Mr. Churchill, accompanied by the British Chiefs of Staff, arrives in Canada for conferences with President Roosevelt and Mr. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada.

August 11, 1943

  • The advance in Sicily continues, but the enemy puts up a stiff resistance north of Bronte, on the Randazzo road, where the 8th Army and the 7th Army are attacking in close co-operation.
  • In the Bryansk sector Soviet forces advance a further three to six miles, and occupy more than 70 inhabited places, including Katkovo and Alexeevka, while a further 10 to 12 miles progress is made in the Kharkov direction, 50 more inhabited places being freed.
  • U.S. forces in New Georgia continue to advance northwards from Munda, but encounter resistance near Zieta.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Flying Officer NZ.413515 Lloyd Allan TRIGG, Royal New Zealand Air Force awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Flying Officer Lloyd Allan Trigg, D.F.C., (N.Z.413515) Royal New Zealand Air Force, 200 Squadron. On 11th August 1943 while on sea patrol in the Atlantic, Flying Officer Trigg sighted a surfaced U-boat which he immediately prepared to attack. During the approach, his aircraft received many hits from the submarine's anti-aircraft guns and was set on fire. The flying officer nevertheless continued his attack, diving to less than 50 feet and dropping his bombs with great accuracy. The crippled aircraft, with its crew, then crashed into the sea and the U-boat sank within 10 minutes.

August 12, 1943

  • The 8th Army troops make farther progress to Archirafi, on the coast, and threaten Giarre, and in co-operation with American forces advance towards Maletto.
  • R.A.F. four-engined bombers based in England make the heaviest attack yet launched on Italy, the main force striking industrial targets in Milan; Turin is also visited, and Mosquitoes bomb targets in Berlin; seven aircraft are lost.
  • The Russians occupy over 100 inhabited places in making an advance of about seven miles in the Bryansk area, and 20 inhabited places, including Chuguyev, in their Kharkov offensive.
  • Large formations of U.S. Flying Fortresses attack synthetic oil factories at Gelsenkirchen and Wesseling and an industrial target at Bonn, in the Ruhr.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Acting Flight Sergeant, 1458181, Arthur Louis AARON, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Acting Flight Sergeant Arthur Louis Aaron, 218 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. On 12th August 1943 during a raid on Turin, Italy, Flight Sergeant Aaron's bomber was attacked by a night fighter, and was very badly damaged. The navigator was killed, other members of the crew were wounded, Flight Sergeant Aaron's jaw was broken and part of his face torn away. He had also been hit in the lung and his right arm was useless. Despite his terrible injuries he managed to level the aircraft out at 3000ft, and then the bomb aimer took control until he rallied his failing strength enough to direct the difficult landing operation. He died nine hours after the aircraft touched down.

August 13, 1943

  • Allied troops capture Randazzo and five other towns. Ships trying to evacuate men and material from Messina are attacked by bombers and fighters.
  • Strong forces of heavy and medium bombers of the North-West African Air Force make another daylight attack on the marshalling-yards at Rome, heavy damage being inflicted.
  • U.S. Liberators from the Middle East, in a 2,500-miles round trip, bomb the Wiener Neustadt (Austria) airframe works.
  • A new offensive at Spasdemensk, east of Smolensk, is opened by the Red Army, the enemy defences being broken through on a 21-miles front; further progress is also made in the Bryansk and Kharkov areas.
  • In the Pacific, Balikpapan, an important oil centre in Borneo, and Salamaua, in New Guinea, are heavily bombed.
Troops of the 7th and 8th Armies meet outside Randazzo and enjoy a
welcome smoke and an exchange of experiences

August 14, 1943

  • From Randazzo troops of both armies continue to advance to the east and north, 7th Army forces reaching Oliveri; the withdrawing enemy is relentlessly pursued.
  • Rome radio announces that Marshal Badoglio’s Government has “taken all necessary measures in accordance with international law” to declare Rome an open city.
  • Milan is again the target of R.A.F. bombers, the Breda armaments works and other military objectives being attacked; Mosquitoes bomb objectives in Berlin.
  • There are tank and infantry counter-attacks by the Germans in the Kharkov area, but both here and in the Bryansk region further advances are made by the Russians.

August 15, 1943

  • The 8th Army advances towards Taormina and the Americans press forward in the central sector. There is much naval and air activity in the Strait of Messina.
  • For the fourth time in eight nights Milan is the target of Bomber Command aircraft, more than a hundred 4,000-lb. bombs being dropped; Berlin is again attacked by Mosquitoes; 10 bombers are lost.
  • After stubborn street-fighting Soviet troops capture Karachev, in the Bryansk area, and further enemy counter-attacks in the Kharkov area are beaten back.
  • Vella Lavella, the northernmost island of the New Georgia group, is occupied by U.S. forces.
  • A sharp enemy air attack is made on a South Coast town by 25 bombers and fighter-bombers, six of which are shot down.
  • Supported by a massive bombardment from a U.S. battle fleet and with 170 aircraft providing air support, 35,000 American and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska Island in the Bering Sea. Only to discover that the Japanese garrison there had fled nearly three weeks earlier.
Canadian and American troops boarding one of the landing-craft
Canadian and American troops boarding one of the landing-craft which took
part in the invasion of Kiska Island on 15th August 1943

August 16, 1943

  • The 7th Army is reported to have made a rapid thrust towards Milazzo and the 8th Army also advances and captures Taormina. Kaggi and Castiglione are also occupied.
  • When U.S. Liberators attack aerodromes near Foggia, in Southern Italy, they shoot down 43 out of 100 Axis fighters.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command launch a concentrated attack on Turin, causing many large fires; four aircraft are lost.
  • The Russian offensive in the Bryansk area is further developed and Zhizdra is among 130 inhabited places captured; an advance of some seven miles is made in the Spasdemensk region. The Germans continue to launch unavailing counter-attacks in the Kharkov direction.
  • Le Bourget, the Paris airport, is bombed by a strong force of Flying Fortresses; 37 intercepting fighters are shot down. Five other airfields are also visited.

August 17, 1943

  • Early this morning U.S. forces enter Messina, and by the end of the day all enemy resistance comes to an end. The roads and railways in the toe of Italy are heavily attacked by allied bomber aircraft; transport ships also receive attention from our bombers, at least nine being destroyed. The islands of Lipari and Stromboli surrender to a U.S. naval force.
  • Strong formations of U.S.A.A.F. heavy bombers make an attack on Schweinfurt and Regensburg, in Bavaria, their farthest daylight penetration into Germany to date.
  • Although the Germans employ new forces in their counter-attacks in the Kharkov area, the Soviet forces improve their positions, and in the Bryansk region they continue to advance.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command strike at a new target in Peenemuende, the special target being the research and development establishment, the largest in Germany; Berlin is bombed by Mosquitoes; 41 bombers are lost.
  • Targets north-west of Marseilles are attacked by strong forces of bombers based in North Africa.
  • In an attack on four aerodromes in the Wewak area, New Guinea, allied air forces destroy 120 grounded aircraft and severely damage another 50. Allied warships intercept a force of enemy barges carrying troops in the Vella Gulf and destroy most of them.
  • Seven of about 50 enemy aircraft which raid scattered areas of Eastern England are destroyed.

August 18, 1943

  • The Russians advance a further four to six miles in the Bryansk area and up to six miles in the Kharkov area in spite of stiff enemy resistance. In the latter area they occupy more than 50 inhabited places, including the town of Zmiev.
  • The North-West African Air Force attack enemy communications in Southern Italy and U.S. naval forces shell military objectives, including bridges and power stations, on the mainland. Railway marshalling-yards at Crotone are raided by R.A.F. Halifaxes and Liberators.
  • Japanese airfields in the Wewak area are again bombed by Liberators and Fortresses.
  • Mr. Anthony Eden arrives in Quebec to take part in the conference with Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt.

August 19, 1943

  • Continuing their offensive, Soviet forces occupy 20 more inhabited localities in the Bryansk area and in the Kharkov area they advance up to eight miles and relieve a further 30 inhabited localities, their grip on the town itself being tightened.
  • There are occasional exchanges of artillery fire across the Strait of Messina; heavy bombers of the North-West African Air Forces attack in strength the railway-yards and electric power installations of Foggia, whose marshalling-yards are also heavily bombed by U.S. Liberators. At night U.S. naval forces shell enemy positions in the Gulf of Genoa.
  • Mawlaik, a town on the Chindwin, in Burma, is attacked by R.A.F. Mohawks, many buildings being hit.
  • Airfields in Holland and the French airfields at Poix and Amiens-Glissy are attacked by Marauders. At night Mosquitoes again make Berlin their target.

August 20, 1943

  • Lebedin is among 20 inhabited places freed by the Red Army in a six-mile advance in the Kharkov area; fighting continues favourably in the Bryansk area and to the south-west of Spasdemensk.
  • Railway yards at Aversa and Benevento, near Naples, are attacked by medium bombers, and fighter-bombers make an assault on Monserrato, in Sardinia.
  • The Dornier airframe works at Flushing are attacked by Mitchell bombers and Boston bombers visit the marshalling-yards at Abbeville.

August 21, 1943

  • Still further progress attends the efforts of the Russians in the Kharkov, Bryansk and Spasdemensk areas; in the Donbas, south-west of Voroshilovgrad, there is some local fighting.
  • Continuing the air offensive against Southern Italy the North-West African Air Forces attack railway-yards at Villa Litemo, Aversa and elsewhere; many intercepting fighters are shot down; U.S. Liberators bomb the marshalling-yards at Cancello and R.A.F. Liberators and Halifaxes pay a night visit to Crotone.
  • It is reported that, following a 14 days’ bombardment by warships and aircraft, troops who landed on Kiska Island, in the Aleutians, found that the enemy had fled.
  • The New Guinea enemy outpost of Komiatum, six miles south-west of Salamaua, is occupied by allied forces.

August 22, 1943

  • Enemy counter-attacks in the Kharkov area are repelled and the Red Army advances about four miles, freeing some 30 inhabited places; further progress is made in the Bryansk and Spasdemensk areas, while in the Don Basin area successful local battles are fought south of Izyum and south-west of Voroshilovgrad.
  • Railway communications at Salerno are raided by medium bombers of the North-West African Air Forces, and a second attack is made at night; many bombs hit the marshalling-yards.
  • In New Guinea the allied forces in their advance towards Salamaua take possession of a ridge dominating the airfield.

August 23, 1943

  • After some fierce fighting the Russians recapture Kharkov, an Order of the Day issued by Marshal Stalin stating that it was taken by storm. The Russian offensive south of Izyum and south-west of Voroshilovgrad continues, the result of three days’ fighting in the latter sector being an advance of more than 20 miles.
  • Railway yards at Battipaglia and railway communications at Bagnoli are among the Italian targets of the allied air forces; the aerodrome and marshalling-yards at Bari are also attacked.
  • The allied forces make further progress in their advance on Salamaua, and Finschhaven is bombarded by a naval force.
  • Chungking, the capital of the Chinese Republic, is raided by enemy aircraft for the first time for two years.
  • Attacks are made by Mitchell bombers on the marshalling-yards at St. Omer and by aircraft of Bomber Command on the chemical works at Leverkusen, north of Cologne. At night Berlin receives its heaviest raid from Bomber Command aircraft, which drop 1,700 tons of high explosives and incendiaries in 50 minutes; 58 aircraft are lost.
  • Five enemy raiders of a force which attacks East Anglian coastal districts are destroyed.

August 24, 1943

  • The Russians continue to press forward in the Donbas area, and they are now 20 miles beyond the Mius River; the captors of Kharkov advance south and south-west of the town and improve their positions.
  • Wellingtons attack objectives at Torre Annunziata and the Tactical Air Force finds targets in the railway communications at Sapri, Sibari and Castrovillari; hits are scored on an enemy cruiser by fighter-bombers. Halifax and Liberator bombers again visit Crotone.
  • Liberators, escorted by Lightnings, make another heavy attack on the enemy’s New Guinea base of Wewak, and large fires are started. Allied forces meet with stiff Japanese resistance before Salamaua, but make more progress.
  • Himmler, the head of the Gestapo, is appointed Minister of the Interior in Germany.
  • A joint statement is issued by Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt at the close of the Quebec conference; it mentions that necessary decisions have been taken for forward military action.

August 25, 1943

  • Wellingtons of the North-West African Air Force attack Torre Annunziata and heavy assaults are made on airfields at Foggia, which is also visited by U.S. Liberators. At night a raid is made on railway yards at Taranto.
  • Sixty more inhabited localities, including the town of Zenkov, are captured by the Russians on the Kharkov front, and Akhtyrka is recaptured after changing hands several times. Our ally’s positions in the Donbas area are improved.
  • Nearly 100 bombers escorted by Lightnings make a low-level attack on the Japanese supply and shipping base at Hansa Bay, New Guinea.
  • Acting Vice-Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten is appointed Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia.
  • U.S. Marauders attack the enemy airfield at Tricqueville and a power station near Rouen; R.A.F. Mitchells bomb the airfield at Bemay-St. Martin., At night Mosquitoes attack targets in Berlin.

August 26, 1943

  • Air attacks are continued on Italian airfields, Capua and Grazzanise being among those visited; at night the Bagnoli railway yards are raided.
  • The Soviet forces advance a further four miles on the Kharkov front, and in the Donetz Basin, south-west of Voroshilovgrad, improve their positions and capture several more inhabited places.
  • Caen airfield and other military objectives in enemy occupied countries are attacked by home-based bombers.
  • The French Committee of National Liberation is formally acknowledged by the British, Canadian and U.S. Governments.

August 27, 1943

  • Railway-junctions in Southern Italy are the chief targets attacked by the North-West African Air Force, among them being that of Sulmona, a new objective; the raids are the biggest since the occupation of Sicily. British naval losses-during the Sicilian operations are announced as two submarines, three motor torpedo-boats and one gunboat.
  • South of Bryansk the Red Army overcomes strong enemy resistance and captures 20 more inhabited places, including the town of Sevsk; Kotelva is among a number of places liberated on the Kharkov front, where up to five miles’ progress is made. A further advance is made south-west of Voroshilovgrad.
  • American troops land without opposition on Arundel Island, in the Kula Gulf, Solomon Islands.
  • A large force of Bomber Command aircraft make a devastating attack on Nuremberg, dropping more than 1,500 tons of high-explosive bombs in 45 minutes; 33 aircraft fail to return.

August 28, 1943

  • Railway yards at Cansello and Aversa are visited by medium bombers and Terni is a target for heavy bombers; Liberators of the 9th U.S.A.A.F. attack railway installations at Taranto. A British cruiser and a destroyer bombard a battery near Cape Pellaro.
  • The Russians forge ahead in the Kharkov area, overcoming strong enemy resistance, and continue their offensive on the Bryansk front, where more than 50 inhabited localities are freed.
  • Akyab, in Burma, is raided at night by a formation of R.A.F. Wellingtons.
  • General Mac Arthur’s Headquarters announce that all organised Japanese resistance in New Guinea is at an end; Bairoka is occupied by U.S. forces.
  • King Boris of Bulgaria dies in the royal palace at Sofia; the cause of his death is variously ascribed to assassination and heart failure.

August 29, 1943

  • The marshalling-yards at Orte, a new target, 40 miles due north of Rome, are attacked by heavy bombers, and medium bombers pay a visit to Torre Annunziata; Lamezia and Cosenza are also among objectives raided.
  • An advance of from four to nine miles is made by the Red Army in the Bryansk area and more progress is reported on the Kharkov front where the railway junction of Lynbotin is wrested from the enemy. The Donbas offensive develops favourably.
  • In the Solomons U.S. heavy bombers with fighter escort attack the Japanese aerodrome of Kahili, near Buin. Wewak and Boram aerodromes are raided by a strong force of Liberators, escorted by Lightnings.
  • The Germans declare martial law in Denmark, and fighting breaks out; eight Danish warships escape to Swedish ports and others are reported to have been scuttled.
  • Myitkyina, in Northern Burma, is raided by heavy bombers of the U.S. Air Force.

August 30, 1943

  • Heavy bombers attack the airfield at Viterbo and medium bombers attack the railway yards at Aversa and Civitavecchia, and 17 enemy fighters are shot down; Civitavecchia receives another visit at night.
  • After fierce battles the Russians capture the important port of Taganrog, on the north-east arm of the Sea of Azov, thus liberating the entire Rostov province; Moscow celebrates the victory with a salvo of artillery; further gains are achieved in other areas. Yelnya, a vital fortress in the Smolensk area, is also occupied.
  • R.A.F. bombers make a heavy and concentrated attack on the industrial area of Muenchen-GIadbach-Rheydt in the Rhineland; Mosquitoes bomb objectives in Duisburg.

August 31, 1943

  • The heavy air attacks on Italy continue, among the chief targets being the marshalling-yards at Salerno, near Naples, railway installations at Pescara and military objectives at Pisa. The battleships Nelson and Rodney, escorted by the cruiser Orion and a flotilla of destroyers, bombard coastal batteries in the bight north of Reggio, and later the entire naval force engage enemy batteries south of Cape Pellaro.
  • In a big Russian advance in the Sevsk area Rylsk and Glukov are captured from the enemy; in the Taganrog area the Red Army is in pursuit of the German rear-guard. Several more occupied places on the Kharkov front are liberated.
  • Mr. Churchill broadcasts from Quebec; he states that it is hoped to hold a conference soon at which Russia will be represented. Bomber Command aircraft make another concentrated raid on Berlin, a great weight of bombs being dropped in 45 minutes; 47 bombers are missing.

SEPTEMBER 1943

September 1, 1943

  • Unfavourable weather limits aircraft operations against Italy, but there is some activity over Calabria, where road and rail communications are attacked.
  • The Russians announce that the surrounded German force at Taganrog has been liquidated, 35,000 Axis troops having been killed; further progress is made by the Soviet forces in the Smolensk area, 200 inhabited places, including Dorogobuzh being liberated; in the Bryansk and Kharkov areas the advance continues.
  • The Pope, in a broadcast to the world, makes an appeal for peace.
  • In the Salamaua area of New Guinea the allied forces make more progress; in a raid on Madang and neighbouring targets Liberator and Mitchell aircraft drop the record weight of 206 tons of bombs.

September 2, 1943

  • Enemy communications in Northern, Central and Southern Italy are the objectives of the North-West African Air Force, railway yards at Bolzano, Trento, Bologna and Cancello being among the targets; at Bolzano the railway bridge carrying the line from the Brenner Pass is hit and broken, and the railway is blocked.
  • Sumy, on the Voronezh front, is captured by the Russians, who continue to develop their offensives in other areas; in the Donetz basin they occupy Lisichansk, Voroshilovsk and a number of other towns and villages.
  • Fighter Command carries out its biggest operation of the year in bombing numerous targets in Northern France; U.S. Marauders and R.A.F. Bostons, Mitchells and Venturas, escorted by Spitfires and Typhoons, take part; Hurricanes, escorted by Typhoons, destroy the lock gates at the southern end of the Hansweert Canal in Holland.
Bernard Montgomery Addresses Canadian Troops
Bernard Montgomery Addresses Canadian Troops on the eve of Italy landings 2nd September 1943

September 3, 1943

  • British and Canadian troops of the 8th Army, supported by allied sea and air power, attack across the Strait of Messina in the early morning and land on the mainland of Italy; six hours after the first troops were landed allied invasion craft continue to stream towards the Calabrian coast. During the day Reggio, San Giovanni and Gallico Marina are occupied, and no Axis sea or air opposition is encountered and only a minimum of land resistance; many prisoners are taken. A bridgehead of 15 miles is established.
  • Large numbers of inhabited localities, more than 400 in all, are captured by the Red Army, whose advance on all fronts continues successfully; in the Donetz basin the Russians reach a point only 30 miles from Konotop.
  • Continuing their attacks on German objectives in France U.S. Flying Fortresses bomb two aircraft plants near Paris; other U.S. bombers raid five airfields in France, while R.A.F. aircraft attack other targets. At night a strong force of Lancasters drop 1,000 tons of high-explosives and incendiaries on Berlin; 22 aircraft are lost.
  • Further progress is made in the Salamaua offensive in New Guinea, and Lae, on the north, is heavily bombed.
  • The fourth anniversary of Britain’s entry into the war is observed as a National Day of Prayer.
A service is in progress in Trafalgar Square as Britain answers the Kings call to prayer
A service is in progress in Trafalgar Square as Britain answers the Kings call to
prayer on 3rd September 1943, the fourth anniversary of the war

September 4, 1943

  • The 8th Army troops make good progress in the toe of Italy, and join forces with a commando party which had landed and captured the town of Bagnara; Melito is also occupied, and many more prisoners come in. Airfields and road and railway vehicles in the Naples area are attacked by heavy bombers and gun positions in Southern Italy are targets for light bombers.
  • The Germans are pressed back a further 10 to 15 miles in the Donbas, where the Soviet forces liberate 90 inhabited places; on other sectors of the front the Red Army continues to push forward.

September 5, 1943

  • The British and Canadian forces continue to advance in Italy, and San Stefano, 10 miles inland, is captured; prisoners now number about 3,000. Allied aircraft continue to attack enemy airfields and other objectives, including wireless installations and a landing ground in Sardinia.
  • Another 120 inhabited places in the Donetz basin, including Artemovsk, are freed by the Russians in making a further nine miles advance; 50 places in the Bryansk area and, 100 in the Konotop area are also occupied, while in other sectors many others are liberated.
  • Day attacks on military objectives in Holland, Belgium and France are carried out by the R.A.F. and the U.S. Air Force. At night heavy damage is done by Bomber Command aircraft to the chemical and armament centre of Mannheim-Ludwigshaven; 34 bombers are lost.

September 6, 1943

  • Throughout the day the 8th Army continues its advance, meeting little opposition but being hampered by demolitions and the difficult country; Palmi and Delianuova are occupied. The airfields at Capua are attacked by fighter bombers and Altamura and Battipaglia are also visited. It is reported that strong forces of allied aircraft are making a sustained assault on the Naples area.
  • The Russians announce the capture of Konotop, a vital railway-junction of Central Russia, and in the Donbas area they continue their great advance, pressing forward up to another 16 miles and capturing 100 inhabited localities, including the towns of Makeevka, Kramatorskaya and Slavyansk.
  • Further intense raids are made on enemy objectives in Germany and German-occupied countries; Stuttgart is among the towns visited. Munich is the night target for a heavy attack by Bomber Command aircraft, 16 of which do not return.
  • General Blarney states that the investment of Lae, New Guinea, has begun; large allied forces have been landed to the east.

September 7, 1943

  • The 8th Army troops advance five miles along the coast beyond Palmi to the Petrace River and on the south coast they occupy Bova Marina, about 10 miles to the east of Melito; Foggia receives a battering from a heavy force of Flying Fortresses, and Wellingtons strike at Viterbo aerodrome. The railway yards at Benevento, Potenza and Metaponto are raided by medium and light bombers.
  • A further big advance is made by the Red Army in the Donetz basin, where the outskirts of Stalino are reported to have been reached.

September 8, 1943

  • At 5.30p.m. General Eisenhower broadcasts the announcement that the Italian Government had surrendered unconditionally, and that he had granted a military armistice; the armistice had been secretly signed on 3rd September.
  • Fighting in Italy continues against the Germans, and a landing is made in the early hours at Vibo Valentia, in the Gulf of Eufemia, supported by warships; in the toe of Italy progress is made. The German head-quarters at Frascati and targets at Rattipaglia, Eboli and Formia are attacked by our bombers.
  • The Russians in the Donetz basin capture several towns, including the important centre of Stalino; the whole of the basin is now in Soviet hands. On other fronts good progress is also made and large numbers of in habited localities are freed.
  • A strong force of German warships makes an attack on Spitsbergen; an enemy report states that coal mining and other installations were destroyed.

September 9, 1943

  • Landings are made at 4a.m. “in the vicinity of Naples” under the protection of British and U.S. naval forces and operations proceed satisfactorily; considerable units of the American 5th Army are among the forces landed. British troops land at Taranto and occupy this city and naval base.
  • In their thrust towards Kiev, the Russians occupy Rakhmach, a most important railway-junction and a centre of German communications; on all the other fronts the Soviet forces make further progress.
  • It is officially announced that a full-scale amphibious exercise has been held in the English Channel, in which over 3,000 allied bombers and fighters took part.
  • There is intensive air activity against enemy objectives in France and Belgium.
Lady Maude Baillie taking the salute as members of the ATS march past
Lady Maude Baillie taking the salute as members of the ATS march past on
9th September 1943, the fifth anniversary of its foundation

September 10, 1943

  • The port of Salerno, about 35 miles south-west of Naples, is captured, and in the Taranto area the allied forces advance in three directions; operations in the toe progress on a 25-mile front. Rome is seized by the Germans, who state that the Vatican has been placed under their “protection.” Two Italian battleships, five cruisers and four destroyers arrive at Malta from Spezia; one battleship, the Roma, is sunk by German bombers on the way south.
  • Russian troops make a big advance in the direction of Pavlograd, occupying many more towns, including Barvenkovo; numerous towns and villages are liberated on other fronts, and along the coast of the Sea of Azov the Soviet forces overcome strong resistance and capture the town and port of Mariupol.
  • It is announced that in August U-boat sinkings were greater than the number of allied ships sunk.

September 11, 1943

  • On the 5th Army front some progress is made against strong German resistance and in the south the 8th Army makes a further advance, occupying Catanzaro and San Eufemia Lamezia; in the Taranto area the situation is satisfactory and the Allies occupy the town and port of Brindisi. Two Italian battleships and other units from Taranto arrive at Malta.
  • Advances of several miles on most fronts are announced by the Russians and many more inhabited places are liberated; in the Pavlograd area they are now only about 40 miles from the River Dnieper.
  • The Japanese are in full retreat at Salamaua and our forces gradually close in on Lae.
  • Airfields and a ship building yard in France are targets of our bombers, and 15 enemy fighters are shot down.
 Italian & British airmen line up to be photographed on Brindisi airfield
With Macchi fighters in the background Italian & British airmen line up to be
photographed on Brindisi airfield captured on 11th September 1943

September 12, 1943

  • British forces in the Taranto area enlarge their bridgehead and the 8th Army continues to make rapid progress, capturing the port of Crotone; the 5th Army at Salerno meets with desperate opposition from the Germans, with whom there is a tank battle. The full text of the Italian military armistice terms is published. From Hitler’s headquarters comes the announcement that parachutists and men of the security service and armed S.S. have liberated Mussolini from imprisonment.
  • More than 240 more places are freed by the Russians, who report further advances in six areas of the battlefront.
  • Salamaua, the Japanese base in New Guinea, is captured, and the allied forces tighten their grip on Lae.

September 13, 1943

  • On the Salerno front the Germans launch fierce counter-attacks and regain some ground; the 8th Army makes more progress and occupies Bari and Cosenza; there is continued activity in the neighbourhood of Taranto.
  • In the Bryansk area the Russians advance to within three miles of the town, capturing the railway-junctions of Briansk 1 and Bryansk 2 on the cast side of the River Desna; offensives on other sectors continue to develop favourably.
  • R.A.F. Beaufighters in Burma take heavy toll of Japanese sampans on the Irrawaddy River.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Private QX20656 Richard KELLIHER, Australian Infantry awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. QX 20656 Private Richard Kelliher, 2/25th Battalion (Queensland), Australian Military Forces. On 13th September 1943 in New Guinea, south-west Pacific, the platoon to which Private Kelliher was attached came under very heavy fire from a concealed machine-gun which inflicted severe casualties and prevented the platoon's advance. Private Kelliher suddenly, on his own initiative, dashed towards the post and hurled two grenades at it, which killed some of the enemy but not all. He returned to his section, seized a Bren gun, dashed back to the enemy post and silenced it. He then asked permission to go out again to rescue his wounded section leader, which he accomplished successfully under heavy fire from another enemy position.

September 14, 1943

  • Bitter fighting continues in the 5th Army sector between Salerno and Agropoli, determined counter attacks being carried out by both sides; some ground is relinquished by the allied forces but new positions are consolidated and reinforcements continue to arrive; strong forces of cruisers and destroyers bombard the enemy’s positions. In the south the 8th Army arrives at Belvedere on the west coast road. Roads, railways and enemy positions, enemy troops and transport are intensively bombed by our aircraft.
  • After three days of fighting, the Russians are in possession of a part of Bryansk and the enemy are reported to be retreating hastily; on other sectors more than 70 places are liberated, including Alexeevka, a district centre in the Kharkov region.

September 15, 1943

  • Heavy fighting continues in the Salerno area, and battleships and other units of the Royal Navy bombard enemy positions and troop concentrations; the 5th Army’s hold on the beachhead is strengthened. Aircraft of the North-West African Air Force continue to attack the Germans.
  • In a special Order of the Day, Marshal Stalin announces the capture of the important town and railway-junction of Nezhin; more than 200 places are captured on the various fronts during the day.
  • In their advance on Lae from the north-east the Australian forces are reported to be within a mile of the important strongpoint of Malahang.
  • U.S. bombers attack aircraft installations in the vicinity of Paris and scattered airfields in France. At night R.A.F. aircraft bomb the rubber factory at Montlucon, near Vichy, and set it on fire.
  • Four out of 15 enemy aircraft which raid London and the south-east counties are destroyed.

September 16, 1943

  • At the end of a week’s fighting the Salerno beachheads are firmly established and the 5th Army resumes its offensive, Albanella being reoccupied; naval and air support continues. The 8th Army makes progress from Sapri and in the Taranto area. The island of Ischia, off the Gulf of Naples, is occupied.
  • The Russians force the River Desna and capture the Black Sea port of Novorossisk which falls to a combined land and sea attack; other towns captured include Novgorod-Seversky, Lozovaya, Valki, Romny and Glinsk.
  • Yugoslav patriots are reported to have captured the Adriatic port of Split (Spalato).
  • The important Japanese base of Lae, in New Guinea, is captured by the Australians; in combat over Wewak 48 enemy fighters are shot down and 11 more probably destroyed.
  • U.S. Flying Fortresses bomb enemy ships and shipyards at Nantes and U-boat locks and pens at La Pallice; at night Bomber Command aircraft attack the marshalling-yards at the French frontier town of Modane, near the Mont Cenis tunnel. Mosquitoes visit Berlin.

September 17, 1943

  • The 5th Army, which continues to receive naval and air support, progresses and captures Rocca d’Aspide. The 8th Army advances and makes contact with the 5th Army. At night Liberators and Halifaxes attack Foggia.
  • Marshal Stalin announces the capture of Bryansk; more than 250 places are liberated on the various fronts, among them the town and port of Berdiansk, on the Sea of Azov.
  • In his war report to Congress, President Roosevelt declares that the United Nations “are still a long, long way from ultimate victory in any major theatre of war.”

September 18, 1943

  • Both the 5th and 8th Armies continue to press forward; Altavilla and Battipaglia are captured. During the day the North-West African Air Force attacks enemy airfields in strength and at night Viterbo is raided.
  • On all active fronts the Russians report important gains, including the capture of Pavlograd, in the Dnepropetrovsk region; more than 150 other places are liberated.
  • U.S. marauders attack airfields in France and Mitchells of the Royal Dutch Naval Air Service bomb Rouen’s marshalling-yards.

September 19, 1943

  • The 5th Army continues to extend its beachhead against lessening enemy resistance and the 8th Army advances farther to the north; in the Taranto areas the allied forces take Gioja.
  • Italians in Sardinia are reported to have forced the Germans to evacuate to Corsica where they are being attacked by French patriots.
  • The Russian advance continues throughout the entire front and about 1,200 inhabited places are captured from the enemy, including Krasnograd and Priluki, in the Ukraine, and Trubchevsk, in the Bryansk area.
  • Mr. Churchill, accompanied by Mrs. Churchill, Subaltern Mary Churchill and Mr. Brendan Bracken, arrives home from Canada.
  • Allied troops are reported to have occupied Samos, Leros and Cos, islands of the Dodecanese; it is announced that Castelorizo is in British possession.
  • Airfields in France and Holland are attacked by U.S. and R.A.F. bombers.

September 20, 1943

  • Progress is made in the Salerno-Agropoli sector by the 5th Army, which occupies Eboli, and the 8th Army again advances. Air attacks are made by heavy and medium bombers on road junctions and railways at Torre Annunziata, Sarno and other places; Venice and Pescara are bombed by U.S. aircraft.
  • General Giraud reports that French commandos have been landed in Corsica to assist the patriots in fighting the Germans.
  • In all areas the Soviet forces continue to advance, capturing Velizh, 75 miles north-west of Smolensk, and several hundred more populated localities.
  • Marshal Badoglio, in a message to the people of Italy, calls on them to “oust the Germans” from the country.
  • R.A.F. bombers and fighters attack enemy aerodromes in Greece, Crete and Rhodes.

September 21, 1943

  • San Cipriano, Montecorvino Rovella and Campagna are captured by the 5th Army and Potenza is occupied by the 8th Army. Railway and road bridges at Benevento, Capua and Cancello are attacked by heavy and medium bombers. The Germans are reported to be destroying Naples.
  • French troops and patriots continue to harass the
  • Germans in Corsica who are withdrawing to the north east corner of the island.
  • In their advance towards Kiev the Red Army storms its way into Chernikov thus overwhelming the enemy’s defences on the western bank of the Desna along its entire length; in the Dnepropetrovsk region the Russians occupy Sinelnikovo and Kotsevka.
  • Mr. Churchill addresses the House of Commons on the war situation and gives an assurance that Western Europe will be invaded.
  • U.S. Marauders attack the airfield at Beauvais-Tille and R.A.F. Mitchells bomb coke ovens and by-product plants at Lens, in Northern France.
An FW.190 containing a full bomb load, which the enemy had left behind
An FW.190 containing a full bomb load, which the enemy had left behind in their
hurried retreat when the RAF took possession of Montecorvino aerodrome

September 22, 1943

  • Both the 5th and 8th Armies continue to advance, the former in face of stiff enemy resistance in the western sector; Ginosa, Avigliano and Acerno are occupied. Allied air forces make further attacks on bridges, road junctions, gun positions and troop concentrations.
  • In Corsica French light detachments press the enemy towards the north-eastern comer of the island; the allied navies maintain an effective blockade against the east coast, where the Germans attempt to evacuate men and material.
  • In the Kuban the Soviet forces wrest the port of Anapa from the enemy and in the Dnieper River area they advance from six to 12 miles; in other sectors the Germans are also forced back.
  • General MacArthur’s headquarters report that allied forces have landed at Finschhafen, in New Guinea; Kaiapat, to the north-west of Lae, is captured.
  • A strong force of Bomber Command aircraft makes a concentrated raid on Hanover, very large fires being raised; 26 bombers are lost.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant, Donald CAMERON, Royal Naval Reserve awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lieutenant Donald Cameron, Royal Naval Reserve. On 22nd September 1943 at Kaafjord, North Norway, Lieutenant Cameron, commanding Midget Submarine X.6, and another lieutenant commanding Midget Submarine X.7, carried out a most daring and successful attack on the German Battleship Tirpitz. The two submarines had to travel at least 1,000 miles from base, negotiate a mine field, dodge nets, gun defences and enemy listening posts. Having eluded all these hazards they finally placed the charges underneath the ship where they went off an hour later, doing so much damage that the Tirpitz was out of action for months.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant Basil Charles Godfrey PLACE, Royal Navy awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lieutenant Basil Charles Godfrey Place, D.S.C., Royal Navy. On 22nd September 1943 at Kaafjord, North Norway, Lieutenant Place, commanding Midget Submarine X.7, and another Lieutenant commanding Midget Submarine X.6, carried out a most daring and successful attack on the German Battleship Tirpitz. The two submarines had to travel at least 1,000 miles from base, negotiate a mine field, dodge nets, gun defences and enemy listening posts. Having eluded all these hazards they finally placed the charges underneath the ship where they went off an hour later, doing so much damage that Tirpitz was out of action for months.

September 23, 1943

  • A fresh offensive is opened by the 5th Army to the north of Salerno, and some progress is made against stiff enemy resistance; the 8th Army makes steady progress. Matera and Oliveto Citra are captured.
  • French troops in Corsica occupy Bonifacio and Porto Vecchio; seven enemy troop-carrying aircraft are shot down by R.A.F. Beaufighters near Bastia.
  • Poltava, in the Ukraine south-west of Kharkov, is captured by the Russians after stiff fighting, and among more than 800 other places liberated is the railway junction of Unecha, between Gomel and Bryansk. Progress continues in other areas.
  • Air attacks on many targets in France are made during the day, including two on Nantes; 26 enemy fighters are shot down. At night R.A.F. bombers make a heavy assault on Mannheim-Ludwigshaven and small forces visit Darmstadt and Aachen.

September 24, 1943

  • Overcoming the difficulties of blown-up bridges and other demolitions the 5th Army, in spite of strong enemy opposition, makes further progress; the 8th Army also advances and captures Altamura. Allied aircraft attack many more military objectives.
  • Allied fighter-bombers encounter a number of enemy air transports off Corsica and shoot down 19 of them.
  • The Russians advance to within seven miles of Smolensk, capturing Karelli, and to the south progress is made towards Gomel; in the Kuban and north-west of Novorossisk the offensive continues successfully; hundreds more inhabited localities are wrested from the enemy.
  • Airfields in France are attacked by R.A.F. and U.S. aircraft; our fighters shoot down 21 enemy intercepting planes.

September 25, 1943

  • On the Adriatic coast the 8th Army reaches the line of the Ofanto River; the towns of Spinazzola and Atella are occupied. The 5th Army continues to fight its way forward, the enemy being compelled to give ground slowly. Bolzano, south of the Brenner Pass, Verona and Bologna are visited by heavy bombers, while troop concentrations and other targets are attacked by fighters and fighter-bombers.
  • In an Order of the Day Marshal Stalin announces the important news of the fall of Smolensk and also the capture of Roslaval; farther to the south the Red Army reaches the left bank of the Dnieper River both north and south of Kiev.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Company Sergeant-Major 2657545 Peter Harold WRIGHT, Coldstream Guards awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. 2657545 Company Sergeant-Major Peter Harold Wright, 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards. On 25th September 1943 near Salerno, Italy, a steep, wooded hill was being assaulted by the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards, and Company Sergeant-Major Wright's company, most of its officers killed, was held up near the crest. Sergeant-Major Wright took charge and single-handed he silenced with grenades and bayonet three Spandau posts and then led his men to consolidate the position. He then beat off a counter-attack, and disregarding the heavy fire, brought up extra ammunition.

September 26, 1943

  • The 8th Army, on the north, crosses the River Ofanto and captures Cerignola; in the centre it is still in contact with the enemy north of Atella and has occupied Muro; Calabritto and Cassano are captured by the 5th Army. Motor transport and troop concentrations are attacked from the air.
  • Strong enemy resistance in Corsica to the west of Bastia fails to prevent the French troops from making progress; H.M. submarines inflict substantial losses on the enemy during his attempts to evacuate troops.
  • Following the capture of Smolensk, the Russians advance up to seven miles in the direction of Vitebsk and also move forward 15 miles towards Gomel.
  • Railway targets and river craft in Burma are attacked by Beaufighters and Hurricanes.
  • It is announced that the United Nations are using an explosive called R.X.D., more powerful than T.N.T.
  • H.M. the King and Queen attend the Battle of Britain thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
A third batch of repatriated prisoners arrived at Liverpool in the Atlantis
A third batch of repatriated prisoners arrived at Liverpool in the Atlantis on 26th September 1943

September 27, 1943

  • Foggia is captured by the 8th Army, the enemy suffering heavy losses, and the 5th Army makes further progress, during which Lioni and Castelnuovo are captured. The North-West African Air Force continue to make successful attacks on enemy troop concentrations, road junctions and other objectives.
  • The Germans, according to an Axis report, land on the island of Corfu, off the west coast of Greece.
  • In the Kuban the Germans withdraw from Temryuk and in the Dnepropetrovsk area the Russians take the suburb of Nizhni-Dneprovsk; in those and other sectors several hundreds of places are liberated.
  • When 200 allied bombers raid the Japanese base of Wewak, in New Guinea, more than 50 parked aircraft are destroyed and several ships are sunk or left sinking.
  • A strong force of U.S. B17 Flying Fortresses attack Emden and medium bombers of the U.S.A.A.F. and R.A.F. raid enemy airfields in France; 58 German fighters are destroyed. Hanover is again a night target of Bomber Command aircraft, which drop 1,700 tons of bombs and start large fires; Brunswick and Emden are also raided; 38 bombers are lost.

September 28, 1943

  • The Germans are driven out of strong defensive positions in the mountains north and west of Salerno by the 5th Army and further progress is made by the 8th Army against weak resistance. Nocera is captured by General Clark’s army and the whole of the Sorrento peninsula comes into the hands of the Allies.
  • Most of the east bank of the River Dnieper in its middle sector is now held by the Red Army, and farther north the Russians reach a point 20 miles from Gomel.
  • Mr. Churchill and other Ministers address the first conference of women at the Albert Hall; the attendance numbers about 6,000.

September 29, 1943

  • The 8th Army presses forward and occupies Manfredonia while the 5th Army advances in the Naples plain and captures Pompeii and San Severino.
  • Kremenchug, the strong German bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnieper, and Rudnya, on the Smolensk-Vitebsk railway, are captured by the Red Army; good progress is made in other sectors of the front.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command make a heavy attack on Bochum, in the Central Ruhr; eight bombers are lost.

September 30, 1943

  • Good progress is made by the 5th Army which captures Avellino, and the 8th Army makes a further advance; medium bombers attack bridges and roads around Capua, Benevento, Piana and elsewhere.
  • There is violent lighting in Corsica, resulting in the enemy giving further ground everywhere; the pass of San Leonardo is captured by goumiers and farther south the pass of San Stefano is taken by Moroccan troops.
  • In the Mogilev direction the Russians force the River Sozh and advance from seven to 12 miles, capturing Krichev.
British troops entering Torre Annunziata a town on the Bay of Naples
British troops entering Torre Annunziata a town on the Bay of Naples, when it was occupied
by the 5th Army on 30th September 1943

OCTOBER 1943

October 1, 1943

  • The fall of Naples to the 5th Army is reported, and a remarkably enthusiastic welcome is given to our troops by the Neapolitans; to the east of the central mountain range the 8th Army advances rapidly and takes San Severo and Lucera.
  • In Corsica operations proceed satisfactorily, the enemy’s hold now being confined to less than 200 square miles of the island.
  • In their progress towards Mogilev Soviet forces capture Cherikov and 340 other localities, and in the Gomel direction they occupy more than 100 places in making a nine-miles advance.
  • Aircraft of the 14th U.S.A.A.F. drop 50 tons of bombs on the power plant, docking facilities and warehouses at Haiphong.
  • For the first time B17 Flying Fortresses of the U.S.A.A.F. from North-West Africa attack Muenich and targets in Austria, and Liberators make an attack on a factory at Wiener Neustadt. At night aircraft of Bomber Command make a heavy attack on Hagen, in the South-East Ruhr.
  • Six merchant ships in convoy in the Atlantic and the Canadian destroyer H.M.C.S. St. Croix and two other escort vessels are reported to have been sunk by U-boats in the Atlantic.
General Mark Clark, Commander-in-Chief, 5th Army arrives in Naples
General Mark Clark, Commander-in-Chief, 5th Army arrives in
Naples on Friday 1st October 1943

October 2, 1943

  • The 8th Army makes a fresh landing at Termoli at night and continues to make progress to the west of San Severo; the 5th Army presses on and captures Frigento and Benevento.
  • The Russians make a further advance of seven miles in the Mogilev direction and free 270 populated localities; good progress is made in the Taman peninsula area and elsewhere.
  • After 11 days’ fighting Australian troops capture Finschhafen, New Guinea
  • B17 Flying Fortresses escorted by Thunderbolts attack port installations at Emden, and 19 enemy fighters are shot down; at night aircraft of Bomber Command make a heavy raid on Muenich and objectives in the Ruhr and Rhineland are also bombed; nine aircraft are lost.
  • It is officially reported that the 18,000-ton British liner S.S. Ceramic was sunk by enemy action in November, 1942; more than 500 lives were lost.

October 3, 1943

  • Both the 5th and 8th Armies make further progress and the towns of Motta and Montemiletto are occupied.
  • The enemy launches a sea and airborne attack against the island of Cos, recently occupied by the Allies, and land in force.
  • In the extreme southern area, the Russians occupy Taman and heavy fighting continues for the Melitopol-Zaporozhe railway; the Red Army advances six miles towards Gomel and a like distance in the direction of Mogilev.
  • Bomber Command aircraft launch a heavy attack on the armament and engineering centre of Kassel, in West-Central Germany, and Mosquitoes bomb Hanover; 24 aircraft are lost.

October 4, 1943

  • The 8th Army continues to advance according to plan and reinforcements are landed at Termoli; an enemy counter-attack in this area is beaten off. Montesarchio is captured by the 5th Army.
  • With the capture of Bastia in the morning the liberation of Corsica is achieved; only mopping up of enemy remnants remains to be done.
  • The Russians improve their positions in the Gomel, Mogilev and Vitebsk areas.
  • U.S. Flying Fortresses make a daylight attack on Frankfort and other German targets; in these and other raids 75 enemy fighters are destroyed. At night R.A.F. bombers pay another visit to Frankfort, which receives its heaviest attack of the war; Ludwigshaven is also raided; 12 of our aircraft are missing.
  • Eight enemy merchantmen and some other ships are damaged in the Norwegian leads in the Bodo area by aircraft from a U.S. aircraft-carrier.
  • On the resignation of Sir Dudley Pound through ill-health Sir Andrew Cunningham is appointed First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff.

October 5, 1943

  • The 5th Army makes more progress against stiffening enemy opposition and reaches the Volturno River, while the 8th Army engages in heavy fighting to the west of Termoli on the line of the Bifemo River; Aversa and Maddaloni are occupied.
  • British troops are reported to be putting up a stiff resistance to the enemy forces landed on Cos.
  • In the Vitebsk area the Russians liberate a further 46 populated places, including 11 large ones.
  • Australian troops in New Guinea cross the Gusap River in the direction of Madang.
  • Enemy-held positions on Wake Island are heavily attacked by a strong U.S. Pacific Fleet task force in which carrier aircraft take part.

October 6, 1943

  • In Italy the 5th Army progresses towards the line of the Volturno River and the 8th Army, which has been reinforced, repels an enemy attack with infantry and tanks along the coastal road. Marshalling-yards and other objectives at Mestro, near Venice, are attacked by our heavy bombers.
  • No important changes on the Russian front are announced.
  • Railway installations at Prome, in Burma, are attacked by R.A.F. Wellingtons; Taungup is also bombed.

October 7, 1943

  • Continuing to move forward in the Volturno sector the 5th Army captures Capua; the 8th Army improves its positions and beats off several enemy counter attacks. Allied naval light forces destroy a German convoy in the Aegean Sea, and an enemy attack on the island of Symi, off the Turkish coast, is smashed.
  • After a lull the Red Army launches an offensive against the German forces along the whole front from Leningrad to the Taman peninsula. At three points, north of Kiev, south of Pereyaslavl and south-east of Kremenchug, the Russians cross the Dnieper and establish bridgeheads. On the Kalinin front the town and railway-junction of Nevel is captured.
  • The Admiralty announces the sinking by H.M. submarines of six ships off Corsica and the damaging of two others.
  • Of 60 enemy raiders which cross the coast of East Anglia and South-East England a small number penetrate to the London area; three are destroyed.
  • Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten arrives in Delhi for consultation with General Auchinleck.
  • A strong force of Bomber Command aircraft raid Stuttgart; Lancasters visit Friedrichshaven and Mosquitoes attack targets at Muenich.
British 5th Army enters Capua
British 5th Army enters Capua as they advance on Volturno River

October 8, 1943

  • Both the 5th and 8th Armies make further progress of between two and three miles, but floods caused by recent heavy rains hamper ground operations.
  • The Soviet forces enlarge their three bridgeheads on the right bank of the Dnieper and in the Taman area continue to clear the northern part of the peninsula; further progress is made in the Nevel area.
  • Bremen is visited during the day by American B17 Flying Fortresses. At night a strong force of Bomber Command aircraft attack Hanover and Bremen is raided by a smaller force; Mosquitoes visit Berlin and the Ruhr; 30 aircraft are lost.

October 9, 1943

  • The 5th Army improves its positions along the Volturno line, while to the north the 8th Army makes further progress and extends the Termoli bridgehead; Larino and Marco are captured. The North-West African Air Forces attack airfields in Greece, Crete and Rhodes. At night enemy shipping in the Cos area is bombed.
  • Marshal Stalin in an Order of the Day announces the complete clearance of the enemy from the Taman peninsula, 20,000 Germans being killed in the final battle; good progress is made on other fronts, and in the Vitebsk area Liozno is captured.
  • Daylight attacks by U.S. Fortresses and Liberators are made on several targets in Germany and Poland, including Anklam, Marienburg, Danzig and Gdynia; the bombers, of which 29 are lost, destroy 91 enemy fighters.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of destroyer H.M.S. Intrepid (Commander Charles Arthur de Winton Kitcat, R.N.).
A B17 Flying Fortress leaving the blazing factory after a raid
A B17 Flying Fortress leaving the blazing factory after a raid on the
Focke-Wulf aircraft works at Marienburg on 9th October 1943

October 10, 1943

  • Patrol activity is carried out by the 5th Army, and in the central and northern sectors limited advances are made by the 8th Army, whose patrols push westward; Pontelandolfo is occupied. Our heavy bombers again attack airfields in Greece, Crete, Rhodes and Cos.
  • The Dnieper bridgeheads are widened by the Red Army, and in the Gomel direction the town of Dobruzh is liberated; progress continues in the Vitebsk and Nevel areas.
  • Strong formations of U.S. B17 Flying Fortresses, escorted by Thunderbolts, bomb Muenster and Coesfeld in Germany and the airfield at Enchade in Holland; they destroy 81 enemy fighters, the escorting planes accounting for 21 others; 30 bombers and two fighters are lost.
  • According to a joint statement issued by President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill the average merchant ship losses in August and September together are the best on record.

October 11, 1943

  • Heavy rains curtail ground activity in Italy, which is confined to artillery fire and patrolling. The airfield at Garitza, in Corfu, is attacked by medium bombers.
  • The Russians occupy Novobelitse, a suburb of Gomel, and in the Middle Dnieper area continue to extend their bridgeheads.
  • General MacArthur reports the occupation of Vila, the last enemy stronghold on Kolom bangara Island.
  • The Admiralty announces that H.M. midget submarines on 22nd September carried out an attack on the main units of the German fleet in Alten Fjord, Norway, and inflicted underwater damage on the battleship Tirpitz; three midget submarines were lost.

October 12, 1943

  • Patrols continue active during the day in both the 5th and 8th Army sectors, and some progress is made; there is more activity by our aircraft against road junctions and other objectives, including railway bridges and yards at Civitavecchia. During the night the 5th Army launches strong attacks in the enemy’s Volturno River positions and secures several bridgeheads.
  • A number of inhabited places in the Vitebsk area are liberated by the Russians and battles are waged to enlarge the Middle Dnieper bridgeheads.
  • Mr. Churchill announces in the House of Commons that Portugal has agreed to grant Britain immediate facilities in the Azores.
  • For two hours hundreds of U.S. and Australian aircraft attack airfields, shipping and installations at Rabaul, New Britain. The raid is described by General MacArthur as a disastrous defeat for the enemy.

October 13, 1943

  • Following the 5th Army’s gain of several bridgeheads across the Volturno River the enemy fights fiercely to retain his positions covering the river; troops of the 8th Army make short advances; allied air activity continues.
  • Italy declares war on Germany and becomes a cobelligerent of the United Nations.
  • In the Melitopol direction the Russians break through the strong enemy defence lines north and south of the town and make further good progress in the Zaporozhe, Middle Dnieper and Gomel areas.

October 14, 1943

  • Heavy fighting continues along the line of the Voltumo River, where the bridgeheads are established in face of strong enemy opposition; north of the Voltumo sector steady progress is made; Cascalenda is captured. The marshalling-yards at Temi and railways south of Giulianova and north of Pescara are attacked by heavy bombers.
  • Zaporozhe is captured by the Red Army and stubborn street fighting takes place in Melitopol; bridgeheads on the right bank of the Dnieper north and south of Kiev area extended.
  • B17 Flying Fortresses, supported by Thunderbolts, launch a heavy attack on the ball and roller bearing factories at Schweinfurt, in Germany; they shoot down 91 enemy aircraft and the Thunderbolts destroy 13; 60 bombers and two fighters are lost.

October 15, 1943

  • In the Volturno sector enemy resistance is still strong and the 5th Army’s progress is impeded by bad weather; further progress is made in the central and northern sectors. After determined assaults Campobasso and Vinchiaturo are captured by the 8th Army. Targets in Italy and Greece are attacked by allied bomber aircraft.
  • Following the capture of Zaporozhe Soviet forces advance seven miles to the south of the town and improve their positions on the Dneiper to the north and south of Kiev; street fighting continues in Melitopol.
  • Three enemy aircraft of a small force which cross the East Anglian coast are destroyed.

October 16, 1943

  • The enemy is forced back from the majority of his positions along the Volturno River, over which strong forces of all arms continue to pass; a general advance westward is made by the 8th Army. There is intensive activity against the Germans by allied bombers.
  • Allied Headquarters, North Africa, reports that more than 500 ships took part in the battle for Salerno ranging from battleships to tugs. They included six British battleships and two new aircraft-carriers.
  • South-east of Kremenchug the Russians extend their bridgehead on the right bank of the Dnieper and advance from three to six miles; in Melitopol fierce fighting continues in the streets and in other sectors further progress is made.
  • The Japanese Headquarters and supply base at Kalemyo are attacked by R.A.F. Vengeances; in aerial combats ranging from Wewak, in New Guinea, to Buin, in the Solomons, the enemy loses 104 aircraft in the air and on the ground, and more than 40 are probably destroyed or damaged.
Tanks, guns and troop reinforcements crossing the Volturno River on pontoon bridges
Tanks, guns and troop reinforcements crossing the Volturno River on pontoon bridges
constructed by engineers once bridgeheads were established

October 17, 1943

  • Several enemy counter-attacks are beaten back on the Volturno front and more bridges across the river are constructed; the 8th Army maintains contact with the enemy. There is more air activity against enemy communications and other targets.
  • Soviet troops inflict heavy losses on the enemy in the street fighting in Melitopol, and in the Kremenchug area break through strong enemy defences over a stretch of 28 miles; south of Gomel our allies force a crossing of the Dnieper. Good progress continues in other sectors.
  • There is some ground fighting near Finschhafen, in New Guinea, when the Japanese try to bring up reinforcements.
  • Mosquitoes attack objectives in Berlin and Western Germany without loss.
A.T.S members march through London for 5th anniversary
Marking the fifth anniversary of the ATS more than 2,000 members of the service
marched through London on 17th October 1943

October 18, 1943

  • There is satisfactory progress by the 5th Army in the Voltumo area, and Gioia and Liberi are occupied; the 8th Army captures Montecilfone. Light bombers attack troop movements and motor transport between Rome and the battle areas.
  • The fierce street battles in Melitopol continue unabated and south-east of Kremenchug the Russian offensive develops; bridgeheads south of Gomel are extended, and north of Kiev enemy attacks with infantry and tanks are repelled.
  • About 15 enemy aircraft cross the coasts of East Anglia and South-East England for the third night in succession and some reach the London area; one raider is destroyed.
  • Mitchell medium bombers attack Rabaul, in New Britain, and sink an enemy destroyer and a gunboat and destroy 60 aircraft.
  • Hanover is the chief target for Bomber Command aircraft which raid Germany in strength; Mosquitoes attack Berlin; 17 aircraft are lost.
  • Mr. Eden and Mr. Cordell Hull arrive in Moscow for the Three-Power Conference.

October 19, 1943

  • The battle for the crossings of the Volturno River is over and further satisfactory progress is made by the 5th Army; Dragoni and Roccaromana are taken. West of Termoli the 8th Army captures Petacciato. Heavy and light bombers attack railway bridges, transport and other targets.
  • Advancing from the Kremenchug area in a southern direction, Soviet forces cut the vital Dnepropetrovsk-Znamcnka railway and capture much booty; in the Kiev area the important enemy centre of Vyshgorod is captured. On other sectors progress continues.
  • Some progress is made by the Japanese in a counter offensive against Finschhafen, in New Guinea.
  • Enemy raiders for the fourth successive night cross the South-East Coast and penetrate to the London area.
  • General Smuts surveys the war in an address at the Guildhall, London.
  • Mr. Eden, Mr. Cordell Hull and M. Molotov attend the first plenary session of the Three-Power Conference in Moscow.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of destroyer H.M.S. Panther. The commander, Lieut.-Com. Viscount Jocelyn, R.N., is among the survivors.
British engineers of the 5th Army crossing the Volturno River
British engineers of the 5th Army crossing the Volturno River near Castello Volturno
on a specially built shore-landing deck-craft.

October 20, 1943

  • In Italy the 5th Army makes further progress and patrolling is continued by the 8th Army; enemy airfields, communications and gun positions are attacked by aircraft of the North-West African Air Forces.
  • In the continued street fighting in Melitopol the Russians capture several blocks of houses and south-east of Kremenchug they advance up to six miles; bridgeheads on the Dnieper north of Kiev and over the Sozh south of Gomel are extended.
  • Strong formations of U.S. B17 Flying Fortresses attack the non-ferrous metal plant at Dueren, a new target, in Western Germany. At night a strong force of Lancasters launch a heavy attack on Leipzig and Mosquitoes visit Berlin; 17 aircraft are missing.
  • There are a number of fatal casualties when enemy aircraft make their fifth successive night raid and penetrate as far as the London area.

October 21, 1943

  • Enemy counter-attacks are repelled by the 5th Army, which continues to push northwards, and Piedmonte d’Alife and Alife are captured; sector positions gained by the 8th Army are consolidated.
  • South and south-east of Kremenchug the Red Army advances towards Krivoi Rog, and the Russians in Melitopol clear more areas of German troops; on other sectors of the front progress continues.
  • The death is announced of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound, G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., until recently First Sea Lord.
  • Admiral Sir John Cunningham, K.C.B., M.V.O., is appointed Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, in succession to Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, Bt., G.C.B., D.S.O.

October 22, 1943

  • The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal was established. The award of this silver medal was sanctioned by an order of the King’s Privy Council for Canada No.P.C 8160 of 1943, and was established on October 22nd, 1943.  It was granted to personnel of any rank in the Naval, Nursing Services, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntary served on active service from 2nd September, 1939 to 1st March, 1947.
  • The 5th Army seizes a commanding height in the central sector and makes slight progress elsewhere, while the 8th Army’s activity is restricted mainly to patrolling. Railway communications near Grosseto and Orvieto are targets for our medium bombers.
  • In their drive south-east of Kremenchug the Soviet forces capture Verkhnedneprovsk on the right bank of the Dnieper; the southern and central parts of Melitopol are cleared of the enemy and more progress is made in the Kiev area.
  • London has its seventh air raid alert on successive nights.
  • A heavy attack on Kassel, in which more than 1,500 tons of bombs are dropped, is made by aircraft of Bomber Command, and Frankfort is also visited; 44 bombers are lost.
  • Brigadier R. E. Laycock, D.S.O., is appointed Chief of Combined Operations in succession to Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten.

October 23, 1943

  • In spite of enemy resistance and difficult mountainous country the 5th Army continues its advance and captures Baiae Latina; elements of the 8th Army fight their way across the Trigno River. Lucito, Montenero and Campochiaro are occupied. Our bombers continue to attack enemy targets.
  • The capture of Melitopol is announced by Marshal Stalin in an Order of the Day, after 12 days of fighting in the city; further progress is made to the south and south-east of Kremenchug and in the Gomel area.
  • Enemy troop positions in Burma are attacked by dive-bombers, fighter-bombers and fighters. In New Guinea Australian troops force the Japanese to retire from their positions near Finschhafen.
  • Hits are reported on three out of four enemy destroyers in an attack by Typhoons near St. Malo, in the north-west of France.
  • During an action in the English Channel the cruiser H.M.S. Charybdis is sunk and the destroyer H.M.S. Limboume damaged and later sunk by our own forces.

October 24, 1943

  • Sparanise is captured by the 5th Army which repels German counter-attacks and makes a limited advance; the 8th Army improves its bridgehead over the Trigno River. There are attacks on bridges, roads and railways behind the enemy lines by our aircraft.
  • An advance up to six miles is made by the Red Army in the direction of Krivoi Rog, and Lozovatka is among more than 50 places liberated; stiff fighting takes place in other sectors, including the area south of Rezhitsa, where a fierce struggle goes on for the extension of the bridgeheads on the right bank of the Dnieper.
  • Allied aircraft are reported to have destroyed 123 Japanese aircraft in raids on Rabaul, New Britain; 45 others are probably destroyed.
  • A German source announces daylight air attacks on target in Germany and the Vienna area of Austria by U.S. bombers coming from Southern Italy.
  • Four enemy E-boats are destroyed in a night naval action in the North Sea; seven more are damaged.

October 25, 1943

  • Positions of the 5th Army are generally advanced and Francolise, Raviscanina and Rochetta are occupied; the 8th Army advances and captures Boiano, Spinete, Petrella and Palata.
  • Marshal Stalin announces the capture of Dnepro-petrovsk and Dneprodzerzhinsk-Kamenskoye, important industrial centres and operational bases in the Dnieper bend; on other sectors the Russians maintain their pressure and make progress.
  • Another heavy blow is struck by allied aircraft on air concentrations at Rabaul, 58 enemy planes being destroyed and 43 damaged.
  • The Empress of Russia and the Drottningholm arrive at Leith carrying about 3,500 war prisoners repatriated from Germany.
repatriated prisoners of war from Germany on the Empress of Russia
Some of the 3,500+ repatriated prisoners of war from Germany on the Empress of Russia
on arrival at Leith on 25th October 1943

October 26, 1943

  • Both the 5th and 8th Armies make further progress; medium bombers of the North-West African Air Forces attack enemy airfields near Salonika.
  • In their advance towards Krivoi Rog Soviet forces occupy a number of inhabited places, and to the south-west of Dnepropetrovsk they progress and capture the district centre of Solenoye; a further thrust of 12 miles is made north-west and south-west of Melitopol.
  • The Atlantis arrives at Liverpool with a further 790 repatriated prisoners.
  • U.S. forces land on the Treasury Islands, in the Solomons.

October 27, 1943

  • The 8th Army makes satisfactory progress against strongly held enemy positions; Torella, Castelmauro and Mafalda are occupied. Important high ground is taken by the 5th Army, and Riardo is captured.
  • After stiff fighting the Red Army breaks through on the front between the Dnieper and the Sea of Azov and advances from six to 18 miles; the outskirts of Krivoi Rog are reached and in other sectors more progress is made.
  • It is announced that from 1st July, 1940, to 1st July, 1943, 15,376 ships of all types aggregating 2,200,000 tons displacement had been built for the U.S. Navy.
  • An exchange of allied and German prisoners takes place at Barcelona.
  • Leros and Samos, islands in the Dodecanese, are heavily attacked by enemy aircraft.

October 28, 1943

  • Another important height is captured by the 5th Army in making more progress, and the 8th Army makes further short advances and captures Montefalcone. Enemy shore positions in the Minturno area are bombarded by a U.S. cruiser and destroyers. Fighter-bombers and fighters attack objectives over the battle area.
  • South-east of the lower reaches of the Dnieper the Russians develop their offensive, advancing from three to 12 miles, and in the Krivoi Rog area Soviet troops continue to overcome enemy resistance; an advance of from three to five miles is made north-east of Vitebsk.
  • American parachute troops land on Ghoiseul, the last but one of the big islands of the Solomons in enemy hands.
  • R.A.F. and Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service Mitchell bombers and fighter-bombers attack the docks at Cherbourg.

October 29, 1943

  • In making further advances in bad weather conditions the 5th Army occupies Pietravairano and Mondragone; the 8th Army carries out active patrolling. Genoa’s marshalling-yards are the objective of U.S. heavy bombers.
  • South-east of the Lower Dnieper the Red Army continues to pursue the enemy and further progress is made in the Dnieper bend south-west of Dnepropetrovsk; there are counter-attacks by large enemy forces in the Krivoi Rog direction.
  • R.A.F. Wellington bombers attack railway communications in Burma.
  • Liberators, escorted by Lightnings, raid Vunakanau airfield at Rabaul; 45 Japanese aircraft are destroyed and 18 others are probably destroyed.

October 30, 1943

  • Both the 5th and 8th Armies make limited advances although bad weather conditions hamper operations. Heavy bombers attack marshalling-yards at Genoa, Imperia and elsewhere.
  • Genichevsk, the north-cast gate to the Crimea, is captured by the Russians, who also occupy Askania-Nova, 23 miles north-east of Perekop; in the Dnieper bend a further advance of six miles is made and more counter-attacks are repelled in the Krivoi Rog area.
  • The docks at Cherbourg are again attacked by R.A.F. aircraft.
  • Two enemy night raiders are destroyed when a small number cross the south-east coast of England.

October 31, 1943

  • The 8th Army pushes forward and captures the village of Cantalupo and important neighbouring high ground; further progress is made by the 5th Army and the road centre of Teano is captured. The harbours of Civitavecchia and Anzio are attacked by medium bombers.
  • Between the River Dnieper and the Sivash coast the Red Army continues its pursuit of the Germans and occupies more than 200 inhabited localities; in the Krivoi Rog area enemy attacks with tanks and infantry are repulsed.
  • The airfield at Lessay, on the Cherbourg peninsula, is attacked by Typhoon bombers.
  • When a small number of enemy aircraft cross the south and south-east coasts of England, A.A. gunners bring down one of them, an Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse - the latest German twin-engined fighter-bomber, the first of this type to be destroyed.

NOVEMBER 1943

November 1, 1943

  • The enemy is driven from important positions by the 5th Army and some more ground is won by the 8th Army. Marshalling-yards at Rimini and the harbour at Ancona are objectives of medium bombers and Spezia is visited by heavy bombers.
  • On the Perekop peninsula Soviet forces overwhelm opposing enemy formations, cross the Turetsky Val and break through to Armiansk, thus cutting off the enemy’s retreat from the Crimea by land; more than 6,000 prisoners are taken. There is bitter fighting in the Krivoi Rog area.
  • Damaging hits are scored by R.A.F. fighters on more than 200 river craft on the Irrawaddy River, Burma.
  • American Marines land at Empress Augusta Bay, on Bougainville Island, in the Solomons. Enemy cruisers and destroyers which attempt to prevent the operation are dispersed, and at least one cruiser and two destroyers are sunk.
  • Two out of eight enemy raiders which cross the south coast of England are destroyed.
  • The decisions taken at the Three-Power-Conference in Moscow are published.
A Royal Air Force Marauder flying away after having released its bomb load
A Royal Air Force Marauder flying away after having released its bomb load
on the Italian seaport of Ancona

November 2, 1943

  • Enemy tanks fail to hold up the progress of the 5th Army, and the 8th Army makes a limited advance against stiff opposition. Allied aircraft continue active on various parts of the front.
  • In the area between the Dnieper and the Gulf of Karkinitski the Russians continue their pursuit of the enemy and capture Kakhovka and other important strong-points; fierce fighting is still going on in the Krivoi Rog direction.
  • The U.S. 5th Air Force attacks enemy shipping in Rabaul harbour and sinks nearly every ship, about 94,000 tons in all.
  • A large force of heavy bombers of the North-West African Air Forces attacks the Messerschmitt factory at Wiener Neustadt, about 25 miles south of Vienna.

November 3, 1943

  • There is heavy fighting on the 8th Army’s northern sector near San Salvo, but elsewhere there is good progress, further crossings of the Trigno River being made; Castelpetroso is occupied. The 5th Army captures the Monte Massico and heights farther north; Sessa Aurunca, Roccamonfina and Presenzano are occupied. Our medium and light bombers and fighter bombers attack enemy objectives.
  • In the area between the River Dnieper and the shore of Karkinitski Bay the Russians develop their offensive and in the river’s bend south-west of Dnepro-petrovsk further progress is made.
  • Allied aircraft raid Rabaul and sink three Japanese destroyers and eight merchant ships totalling 55,000 tons; 67 enemy aircraft are brought down and 18 are destroyed on the ground.
  • U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators make a record attack on Wilhelmshaven and R.A.F. aircraft visit Cologne. Bomber Command aircraft in great strength make a heavy attack on Duesseldorf; 19 bombers are lost.
  • There are 14 casualties, nine of them fatal, when a large bomb hits a shelter in East Anglia.
  • Light naval forces drive off E-boats which attack a convoy in the English Channel.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Acting Flight Lieutenant 124438 William REID, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Acting Flight Lieutenant William Reid (124438), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 61 Squadron. On 3rd November 1943 on the way to Dusseldorf, Germany, Flight Lieutenant Reid's windscreen was shattered by fire from a Messerschmitt and the gun turrets and cockpit badly damaged. Saying nothing of his multiple injuries, he continued on his mission and soon afterwards was attacked again, his navigator being killed and the wireless operator fatally wounded. He was wounded again, and also the flight engineer, while the Lancaster received more serious damage. Pressing on to his target, Flight Lieutenant Reid released his bombs, then set course for home and in spite of growing weakness from loss of blood, managed to land his crippled aircraft safely.

November 4, 1943

  • Four bombs are dropped in Vatican City by an unidentified aircraft; allied headquarters disclaim any knowledge of the attack. It would not be until 2010 before it was discovered that the aircraft was a SIAI Marchetti SM79 sent by the Italian Fascist Roberto Farinacci to destroy Vatican Radio, believed to be sending coded messages to the Allies, which carried out the attack.
  • Progress is made by the 5th Army and the vicinity of the River Garigliano is reached; farther inland the upper reaches of the River Voltumo are crossed. The 8th Army captures Isernia and presses forward in other sectors. Heavy bombers attack rail communications and other targets.
  • In the Kiev area the Red Army extends its bridge-head and makes more progress south-west of Dnepro-petrovsk in the Dnieper bend; in the south the Russians reach a point five miles from Kherson, and in the Nevel area 70 inhabited places are taken.
  • Mr. Eden begins conversations in Cairo with M. Menemenjoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister.

November 5, 1943

  • The 8th Army forces the enemy to make a further withdrawal, capturing Vasto and Sessano, while the 5th Army occupies Venafro in making more progress. Marshalling-yards, railway bridges and other objectives are attacked by allied bombers.
  • Four bombs are dropped in Vatican City by an unidentified aircraft; allied headquarters disclaim any knowledge of the attack.
  • Enemy resistance is overcome by the Soviet forces in the area of Kiev, which becomes increasingly threatened; in other areas the Russians continue their pressure against the enemy.
  • U.S. B17 Flying Fortresses and Liberators again attack targets in Western Germany and Marauders raid objectives in Northern France.

November 6, 1943

  • There is heavy fighting as the 5th Army advances and on the 8th Army’s front positions are consolidated; Cupello, Palmoli and Tufillo are captured. Railway communications and bridges at Fiora and north of Orbetello are attacked by heavy bomber aircraft.
  • Kiev is stormed by the Russians, who continue their advance and capture a further 60 places, including Vasilkov; heavy losses are sustained by the enemy.
  • The Soviet communique announces a landing near Kerch, in the eastern tip of the Crimea.
  • Marshal Stalin, on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, broadcasts a speech in which he says that “Germany is on the brink of disaster.”
  • A big air-sea battle is reported from the U.S.A. to be in progress in the South-West Pacific, where the Japanese are endeavouring to transport reinforcements to Bougainville and Rabaul.
  • Three of a small force of enemy raiders which make an attack on South-East and East England are destroyed.

November 7, 1943

  • Counter-attacks are repelled by the 5th Army, which continues to advance, and the 8th Army, including Indian Army units, makes progress; Carunchio, Casalbordino and Scerni are occupied. Allied bombers continue their attacks on vital enemy targets in the battle area, and the harbour of Durazzo, in Albania, is bombed.
  • The town of Fastov, south-west of Kiev, is captured by the Red Army, thus cutting the main railway line linking the German Kiev group with the Krivoi Rog group; on the Kerch peninsula the Russians fight to extend their bridgehead and improve their positions.
  • U.S. Flying Fortresses attack Dueren and other targets in Western Germany.
  • A considerable number of people are killed and others injured when an enemy raider hits a dance hall in a London area; three of a small force of raiders are destroyed.

November 8, 1943

  • In spite of many demolitions the 8th Army pushes forward all along the front, reaching positions over-looking the River Sangro; heavy rain hampers the 5th Army’s operations. Heavy bombers attack the ball bearing factory at Turin.
  • Exploiting their Kiev success, the Russians develop their offensive and capture Makarov, Byshev and Obukhov; in other areas more progress results.
  • Rapopo airfield, near Rabaul, is attacked by allied heavy bombers; 23 out of 50 intercepting enemy fighters are shot down.
  • Three enemy night raiders, one of them a new twin-engine ME410, are destroyed over South-East and South England.

November 9, 1943

  • The 5th Army meets with strong enemy resistance and repulses several counter-attacks, while the 8th Army improves its positions. Targets in Genoa and elsewhere are visited by heavy bombers.
  • North-west of Kiev the district centre of Borodianka, lying 30 miles distant, is captured by the Russians, who also occupy more than 80 other inhabited localities in this area; there is further fighting in the Nevel area and on the Kerch peninsula.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces that American forces have destroyed an enemy wireless and weather base on an island off the east coast of Greenland.
  • In a speech at the Lord Mayor’s luncheon at the Mansion House Mr. Churchill refers to 1944 as being the climax year of the war.

November 10, 1943

  • There is stiff enemy resistance on the 5th Army front but further progress is made; bad weather conditions prevail on the 8th Army front, where further small advances take place. Ball-bearing works at Viliar Perosa are attacked by heavy bombers, and bridge and railway yard s at Bolzano. Submarines are reported to have sunk seven more enemy ships in the Mediterranean.
  • Ivankovo, 43 miles north-west of Kiev, and Gribenki and 60 other places are captured by the Red Army and bridgeheads on the Kerch peninsula are enlarged; progress is made west and north-west of Nevel.
  • Many targets in France are attacked by more than 500 Fighter Command aircraft; only one fighter is lost.
  • Bomber Command aircraft make a heavy attack without loss on the railway centre at Modane, the French frontier town near the entrance to the Mont Cenis tunnel.
  • Mr. Anthony Eden arrives back in London from the Moscow and Cairo conferences.

November 11, 1943

  • Activity in Italy is limited by bad weather, but both the 5th and 8th Army advance slightly.
  • On the Kiev front the Russians make a further advance, occupying Radomysl, Brusilov, Kornin and more than 100 smaller places; on the Kerch peninsula, south of Rezhitsa and in the Nevel area more progress is made.
  • In an attack made on Rabaul, New Britain, and New Guinea airfields by more than 200 allied carrier-borne aircraft a Japanese cruiser and two destroyers are sunk, another cruiser and 11 more destroyers are probably sunk and 88 enemy aircraft are destroyed.
  • Flying Fortresses, escorted by Thunderbolts and Lightnings, attack targets in Muenster; R.A.F. aircraft raid many objectives in France.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command raid the coastal railway between France and Italy, the main assault being on the railway centre at Cannes. Mosquitoes bomb objectives in Berlin, Hanover and the Ruhr.
  • The Board of Admiralty reports the loss of destroyer H.M.S. Eclipse (Commander Edward Mack, D.S.O., D.S.C., R.N.).
  • Martial law is proclaimed in Leban on following the arrest of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and two other ministers.

November 12, 1943

  • In the Volturno valley the 5th Army captures Filignano and Pozzilli; on the 8th Army front there is heavy artillery fire on enemy positions in the Sangro River area; Casalanguida and Rionero are occupied.
  • The Red Army advances on the Kiev front to a point only 10 miles from Zhitomir, capturing Korosty-shev, and in the Fastov area counter-attacks by tanks and infantry are repelled; in other sectors gains are reported.
  • Leros, an island of the Dodecanese, is attacked by German forces, who gain a footing.

November 13, 1943

  • Patrols are active on the 5th Army front, where positions are improved; the 8th Army captures the village of Atessa and some high ground and in places patrols cross the Sangro River. Bombers attack railway targets on the French Riviera and the harbour at Civitavecchia is bombed.
  • In a special Order of the Day Marshal Stalin announces the capture of Zhitomir, an important railway-junction and enemy defence strong-point; Chernyakhov, 15 miles to the north, and Malin are also occupied; progress is made in other sectors.
  • The port and naval base of Bremen is attacked by Flying Fortresses and Liberators escorted by Thunderbolts and Lightnings, and during the raid 43 enemy fighters are destroyed; 15 bombers and nine fighters are lost.
  • There is heavy fighting on Leros, where the Germans reinforce their troops.

November 14, 1943

  • Little change takes place on the 5th Army front, and on the 8th Army front there is only patrol activity. Medium bombers make an attack on railway objectives in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
  • In the Zhitomir area the Russians press on and capture Chepovichi and 50 other inhabited places; enemy counter-attacks in the Fastov area are repelled and on the Kerch peninsula two heavy fortified strong points are taken.
  • Mr. R. G. Casey, British Minister of State Resident in the Middle East, arrives in Beirut, capital of Lebanon.

November 15, 1943

  • Nazi extermination policies towards the Jews are extended to Gypsies. Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, gives the order today for all gypsies to be sent to concentration camps.
  • Operations in Italy are limited by the bad weather conditions. Heavy bombers attack the Eleusis airfield and medium bombers the Kalamaki airfield, both at Athens.
  • By the capture of Demekhi railway-station, six miles west of Rezhitsa, the Gomel-Kalinkovichi line is cut, and north-west of Kiev the Russians increase the threat to Korosten; 14 heavily fortified strong-points in the Rezhitsa area are captured.
  • U.S. Liberators attack shipping and the Kowloon dock area in Hong Kong.
  • It is officially announced that H.M. the K in g has approved the appointment of H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia in succession to Lord Gowrie.
  • Mr. Casey arrives in Cairo and discusses the Lebanon situation with General Catroux.

November 16, 1943

  • The Africa Service Medal was approved by His Majesty the King on 16th November, 1943.  The Africa Service Medal was a South African campaign medal for service in World War Two and was awarded in addition to the British stars and medals issued for the war. The medal was granted to members of the Union Defence Forces, the South African Police, and the South African Railways Police.
  • There are patrol clashes in Italy, some prisoners being taken, but otherwise activity is limited by the weather. Airfields at Istres le Tube and Salon, near Marseilles, are attacked by heavy and medium bombers respectively.
  • Sixty inhabited localities are occupied by the Red Army in the Korosten direction and further progress is made in the Rezhitsa area; north of Gomel the Russians fight battles to enlarge their bridgeheads on the right bank of the River Sozh. Major counter-attacks are launched by the Germans in the Fastov sector south-west of Kiev.
  • Hong Kong, in daylight, is again raided by U.S. Liberators.
  • Large formations of Flying Fortresses and Liberators attack two targets in Norway - the molybdenum mines at Knaben and the power-station at Rjukan.
  • After continuous bombardment from wave-after wave of enemy aircraft the garrison on Leros surrenders.

November 17, 1943

  • Operations in Italy are restricted by bad weather. Patrols of the 8th Army are active and enemy counter­ attacks are repelled; positions held by the 5th Army are improved. Heavy bombers attack Eleusis airfield at Athens, and Hurricanes attack targets in Crete.
  • Soviet forces advance to the outskirts of Rezhitsa, in the Gomel area, and in the Korosten direction they capture the district centre of Narodichi; west of Kiev, Chernobyl, Semirity, Kolyban and other district centres are occupied, but in the Zhitomir area the Russians abandon several inhabited places.
  • Australian troops in New Guinea, with air support, advance nearer to Sattelberg, west of Finschhafen, and the main attack is reported to have begun. Aircraft of Bomber Command attack Ludwigshaven and Mosquitoes bomb objectives in Berlin and Western Germany. The Admiralty announces the loss of submarine H.M.S. Usurper (Lieut. David Roger Oakley Mott, D.S.C., R.N.).

November 18, 1943

  • North-west of Atessa the 8th Army gains more high ground overlooking the Sangro valley; there is little activity on the 5th Army front. Fighter-bombers attack enemy positions, including Archi.
  • Cairo reports a successful commando raid on the island of Symi, in the Dodecanese.
  • General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, states that the allied occupation of Cos, Leros and Samos, even though the first two have been lost, had “paid good dividends.”
  • Korosten, the important railway-junction north of Zhitomir, and Rezhitsa, 20 miles west of Gomel, are captured by the Soviet forces, but in the area of Zhitomir and Korostyshev the enemy counter-attacks violently and recovers some ground at heavy cost. In the Dnieper bend the Red Army resumes its offensive towards Nikopol.
  • U.S. Liberators bomb the Luftwaffe repair and maintenance base at Kjeller, in Norway. At night two heavy attacks are made by Bomber Command aircraft on Berlin and Ludwigshaven, more than 350 4,000-lb. bombs being dropped on the German capital; 32 aircraft are missing.
  • Reporting the results of the Moscow Conference to the two Houses of Congress in Washington, Mr. Cordell Hull expressed the hope that a durable foundation had been laid for work that would continue long after the end of the war.

November 19, 1943

  • The 8th Army advances five miles towards the enemy’s Sangro line, capturing Perano and Agnone, and there is activity to the north of Rionero; small gains are made by the 5th Army.
  • The Russians are forced to evacuate Zhitomir, but on the north of the Kiev salient they advance and occupy Ovruch; in the Cherkasy direction a crossing of the Dnieper is forced and several strongly fortified points are captured. The offensive in the Rezhitsa area continues.
  • Leverkusen, a chemical producing centre about six miles south of Cologne, is attacked by aircraft of Bomber Command.

November 20, 1943

  • Successful patrols are carried out by troops of the 8th Army and the village of Archi, two miles east of the River Sangro, and some high ground in the vicinity are captured: bad weather limits activity on the 5th Army front.
  • In the Rezhitsa area the Russians continue their offensive and make further progress in the Lower Pripet area; the enemy continues to attack in the direction of Korostyshev, but on other fronts the Red Army makes further gains.
  • It is reported from Ankara that the Germans have begun dive-bombing attacks on Samos.
  • U.S. troops and marines are landed on Makin and Tarawa, islands in the British-owned Gilbert group.
U.S. Marines preparing to advance after their landing on Tarawa atoll Gilbert Islands
U.S. Marines preparing to advance after their landing on
Tarawa atoll Gilbert Islands on 20th November 1943

November 21, 1943

  • Advancing about four miles between Agnone and Rionero, the 8th Army captures Vastogirardi and San Pietro Avellana; there is patrol and artillery action on the 5th Army front. Objectives at Chiusi, Fano and Civitavecchia are attacked by allied aircraft.
  • German attacks in the Korostyshev area are repelled with heavy enemy losses. The bridgehead in the Cherkasy area is enlarged by the Russians, who continue on the offensive in the Dnieper bend, the Rezhitsa area and elsewhere.
  • The French Committee of National Liberty decide to reinstate the President of Lebanon and liberate other arrested ministers.

November 22, 1943

  • The battle area in Italy has been turned into a sea of mud, with the rivers in flood, and little activity has therefore been possible.
  • British and Greek troops, together with some Italians, are evacuated from Samos.
  • In the Gomel area General Rokossovsky’s forces reach the Beresina River and in the Dnieper bend, south-west of Dnepropetrovsk, the Soviet positions are improved; further progress is made on other fronts, except in the Korostyshev area, where the Germans continue their fierce attacks, but with little success.
  • It is reported that U.S. troops have completed the occupation of Makin, in the Gilbert Islands, and that marines are extending their hold on Tarawa.
  • In a concentrated raid on Berlin, Bomber Command aircraft drop more than 2,300 tons of high explosives and incendiaries in little more than 30 minutes; 26 aircraft are missing.
A 4,000-lb bomb being placed in position on a Lancaster bomber
A 4,000-lb bomb being placed in position on a Lancaster bomber which took
part in the attack on Berlin on 22nd November 1943

November 23, 1943

  • The 8th Army makes a further advance of five miles, capturing Alfedena, and to the north-east the village of San Angelo del Pesco is taken; there is slightly more activity on the 5th Army front.
  • Operations in the Rezhitsa area continue to favour the Russians, and Gomel is also increasingly threatened from the north; there is a steady advance in the Dnieper bend, but in the Kiev salient the Red Army is forced to make a slight withdrawal in the Chernyakhov and Brusilov area.
  • Another heavy attack is made by Bomber Command aircraft on Berlin, the raid being described as concentrated and effective; 20 bombers are missing.

November 24, 1943

  • Apart from patrol activity, nothing is reported from Allied Headquarters concerning the ground forces in Italy.
  • Russian troops in the Kremenchug area capture Anufrievka, and north of Gomel the Red Army makes further progress towards that city; in the Kiev salient enemy attacks are repulsed.
  • In New Guinea the Australian forces make a further advance towards Sattelberg.
  • Mopping-up operations in the islands of the Gilbert group occupied by U.S. troops nears completion.
  • H.M. the King, accompanied by H.M. the Queen, opens the ninth session of the present Parliament.
  • Mosquitoes attack objectives in Berlin; one aircraft fails to return.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Sergeant SX7964, Thomas Currie DERRICK, Australian Army awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Sergeant Thomas Currie Derrick, 2/48th Battalion (South Australia), Australian Military Forces. On 24th November 1943 in New Guinea, South-west Pacific, Sergeant Derrick's platoon was ordered to take a slope by storm and then attack a point 150 yards from the township of Sattelberg. After two hours of fruitless attempts under intense fire from the enemy posts, the company was ordered to retire, but Sergeant Derrick, obtaining permission to make one last attempt, advanced alone and with grenades so demoralized the enemy that they fled leaving all their weapons. He then went on to deal with the remaining posts in the area, and was so successful that the battalion was able to capture Sattelberg the following day.

November 25, 1943

  • From Italy it is reported that the 8th Army has crossed the Sangro River along some five miles of its course from the mouth inland and established a bridgehead; aircraft gave most effective support. There is patrol and artillery activity on the 5th Army front.
  • Starting a fresh offensive in the Propoisk region, Soviet forces advance from 10 to 25 miles on a front of 30 miles, capturing Korma among more than 180 inhabited localities; north and south-west of Gomel and west of Rezhitsa the Russians improve their positions. Heavy losses are inflicted on the enemy in fierce fighting in the Kiev salient, and German attacks in the Korosten area are repelled.
  • Several attacks by R.A.F. and U.S.A.A.F. aircraft are made on targets in occupied France and Holland. At night Bomber Command aircraft attack Frankfort-on-Main and Mosquitoes go to Berlin again.

November 26, 1943

  • Across the River Sangro the 8th Army positions are reported to have been consolidated, but progress has been slowed down by appalling weather conditions; on the 5th A rm y front there is active patrolling and artillery fire.
  • In a bold by-passing movement, the Russians recapture Gomel, and to the north more progress is made west of Propoisk; south-west of Kremenchug a number of enemy strong-points are occupied, but in the Kiev salient the Germans maintain their attacks.
  • Large forces of R.A.F. and U.S.A.A.F. aircraft make further daylight assaults on enemy objectives in France and Western Germany, including Bremen. At night a large force of heavy bombers - all Lancasters - drop a further 1,000 tons of bombs on Berlin in the fourth big attack in nine days. Stuttgart is also raided by a strong force.
  • The Admiralty reports the loss of submarine H.M.S. Trooper (Lieut. John Somerton Wraith, D.S.O., D.S.C., R.N.).

November 27, 1943

  • T h e bridgehead across the Sangro is extended by the 8th Army, which receives excellent air support; with improved weather there is more activity on the 5th Army front. Heavy bombers attack railway yards and bridges at Rimini and Grazzano.
  • North-west of Gomel the Russians continue their offensive, capturing Chechersk and Uvarniki, and to the south-west they occupy Yelsk; enemy attacks in the Kiev sector are repelled and south-west of Kremenchug several German strong-points are taken.
  • The capture of the Japanese stronghold of Sattelberg, in New Guinea, is officially reported; the enemy is being pursued towards Wareo.

November 28, 1943

  • More troops and supplies pass across the River Sangro and the bridgehead is extended; enemy counterattacks are repelled by the 5th Army.
  • In the Gomel area the enemy’s hold on Zlobin to the north-west and Mozyr to the south-west is threatened; progress is made on other sectors of the front, except in the Kiev salient, where the Germans continue to attack.
  • It is reported that the U.S. marines fought the fiercest battle in the whole of their history when capturing Tarawa, in the Gilbert Islands, and suffered heavy casualties.

November 29, 1943

  • British, Indian and New Zealand troops of the 8th Army launch an attack from the Sangro bridgehead against the enemy’s strong position on the high ground to the north-west and make good progress, ably supported by aircraft; in counter-attacks the Germans make use of flame-throwers for the first time in the Italian campaign. A second bridgehead is secured in the Archi area.
  • The German retreat in White Russia continues, the Russians overcoming enemy resistance north-west of Gomel in the direction of Rogachev and Zlobin and south-west in the Mozyr area; in the Cherkasy and Kremenchug sectors offensive operations continue. Further assaults are made by the enemy in the Kiev salient.
  • Bonga and Gusika, in New Guinea, are captured by the Australian forces.
  • Liberators of the U.S. 7th Army Air Force raid Nauru and the Marshall Islands.
  • Flying Fortresses, escorted by Thunderbolts and Lightnings, make another attack on Bremen; objectives in Belgium are also bombed.
  • The Japanese prison ship, SS Suez Maru,en-route to Java with Allied prisoners (mostly British and Dutch sick and wounded) along with a number of Japanese troops, was torpedoed by submarine USS Bonefish in the Java sea. Many were trapped in the holds and drowned, but others take to the water. A Japanese minesweeper in escort picked up the Japanese soldiers and sailors but left all the POW’s in the water. Instead it then began shooting the defenceless swimmers. Of the 549 POW’s who boarded, there was only one survivor who was picked up by an Australian ship twenty-four hours later.

November 30, 1943

  • After 36 hours of heavy fighting-the 8th Army breaks into the main defences of the enemy’s winter line on the high ground north-west of the River Sangro; the two bridgeheads on the Adriatic side of the coast are united; Fossacesia, Santa Maria Impero, Mozzagrogna and Romagnoli are reported in allied hands. On the 5th Army front the capture of Castelnuovo is announced.
  • More progress is made by the Red Army to the west of Gomel and in the Lower Pripet area a number of inhabited localities, including Zamostie, are occupied; further progress is also made in the Dnieper bend, but on the Kiev front Korosten is evacuated.
  • After fierce street fighting Chinese troops drive the Japanese out of Changteh.
  • Allied aircraft make heavy attacks on Rangoon over a period of three days and targets in Northern Burma are also bombed.
  • Solingen, a big industrial centre near Duesseldorf, is attacked by Flying Fortresses.

DECEMBER 1943

December 1, 1943

  • The 8th Army makes a general advance along the whole of its Adriatic flank, and a report from Algiers announces the capture of Lanciano and Castel di Frentano, while the occupation of Rocca San Giovanni is officially reported; excellent support is given by the Tactical Air Force. The ball-bearing works at Tunis are attacked by heavy bombers.
  • In Russia Red Army troops overcome enemy resistance and counter-attack north-west of Gomel and advance in the lower reaches of the River Pripet; in the Dnieper bend German attacks are repelled in the Cherkasy area, and south-west of Kremenchug the Russians capture several enemy strong-points.
  • U.S. Navy Catalinas sink a 10,000-ton transport, set a tanker on fire and damage two Japanese destroyers south-east of Kavieng. Australian troops advance towards Wareo.
  • U.S. heavy bombers, with U.S. and R.A.F. fighter escort, make a daylight attack on military objectives in Western Germany.
  • It is announced that at a Three-Power Conference held near Cairo recently future military operations were agreed upon by Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
A Flying Fortress about to release its bombs on targets in Germany
A Flying Fortress about to release its bombs on targets in Germany

December 2, 1943

  • The capture of Castel di Frentano is officially confirmed, and the 8th Army makes further progress towards San Vito on the coast; an advance is made by the 5th Army in one area. The railway centre of Arezzo is attacked by light bombers.
  • North-west of Gomel the Russians occupy a further 80 inhabited places and in the River Pripet area they press forward, capturing Zavod and Buda among a number of places; further progress is made south-west of Kremenchug, and in the Cherkasy area heavy losses are inflicted on the Germans.
  • A strong force of Flying Fortresses attacks the submarine pens and harbour construction works at Marseilles; R.A.F. aircraft bomb targets at Cherbourg.
  • Berlin receives another visit from Bomber Command aircraft which drop more than 1,500 tons of bombs and set big fires going; 41 bombers are missing.

December 3, 1943

  • The 5th Army launches an attack against prepared enemy positions in the mountains of Central Italy and captures important heights in an advance of two miles; the 8th Army captures Treglio, Casoli and Orsona, and the occupation of Lanciano is officially confirmed. Heavy bombers make an attack on Casale airfield.
  • Dovsk, Sverzhen and Shakhtitsy, north-west of Gomel, are liberated by the Russians, who also advance west and south-west of Kremenchug, capturing Novo Georgiev, and repulse counter-attacks near Cherkasy.
  • Feinting to make another attack on Berlin, which drew off the enemy’s fighters, a large force of Bomber Command aircraft turn south and drop 1,500 tons of bombs on Leipzig; Mosquitoes attack objectives in Berlin; 23 bombers are lost.
  • The Admiralty reports the loss of destroyer H.M.S. Hurworth (Commander Royston Hollis Wright, D.S.C., R.N.).
  • A meeting somewhere in Persia between Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin is unofficially announced.

December 4, 1943

  • Both armies press forward in Italy, the 8th capturing San Vito and moving on the River Moro, the 5th consolidating their newly won positions and advancing against strong prepared emplacements in the mountainous area.
  • Further progress is made by Red Army troops north-west of Gomel, among more than 30 places occupied being Gorodets and Khalch; counter-attacks are repelled near Cherkasy and many strong-points are taken south-west of Kremenchug.
  • Australian troops are reported to be closing in on Wareo, in New Guinea.
  • Military objectives in Western Germany are attacked by Mosquitoes.

December 5, 1943

  • There is heavy fighting on the Adriatic coast, where the 8th Army reaches the line of the Moro River; new heights are captured by the 5th Army, whose previously won positions are consolidated. The railway-station at Salonika is attacked by heavy bombers.
  • Soviet forces continue to progress north-west of Gomel and north-west of Propoisk; three heavily fortified strong-points fall to the Russians west and south-west of Kremenchug, and enemy tank and infantry attacks in the Cherkasy area are repelled.
  • Reports from the Middle East state that Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin have held a four-day conference in Teheran.
  • At least six U-boats are officially reported to have been destroyed recently by R.A.F. and U.S. Navy aircraft when attacking Atlantic convoys.
Stalin, Roosevelt & Churchill at the Three-Power Conference
Stalin, Roosevelt & Churchill at the Three-Power Conference, Teheran 1943

December 6, 1943

  • Some small advances are made by the 5th Army in certain sectors, but elsewhere the enemy counter attacks with some local success; the 8th Army cross the Moro River, but heavy rain interferes with progress on the enemy’s general line Ortona-Orsogna-Guadiagrele.
  • Attacks in the Ghernyakhov sector of the Kiev salient are repelled by Soviet forces, who capture Alexsandriya and cut the railway line Smyela-Znamenka, south-west of Kremenchug.
  • Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin issue a joint declaration on their four-day conference at Teheran.

December 7, 1943

  • Action by the 8th Army continues against the enemy generally along the line of the Moro River in the coastal sector and progress is made; the 5th Army captures the summit of Monte Camino and several villages, and mops up enemy pockets of resistance on the mountain massifs near the centre.
  • A number of enemy strong-points west and south-west of Kremenchug are captured by the Russians, but in the Chernyakhov area they are forced to abandon several inhabited localities.
  • The Chinese High Command report that Changteh has been captured by the Japanese.
  • It is announced that a meeting between Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt and M. Ismet Ineunu, President of the Turkish Republic, took place near Cairo on 4th, 5th and 6th December.
British 5th Army sentries overlooking Monte Camino
British 5th Army sentries overlooking Monte Camino

December 8, 1943

  • In Italy the 5th Army makes limited advances in a number of localised actions and in the mountainous terrain west of Filignano reduces a number of enemy pill-boxes; in the central sector the Germans are driven from almost all of Monte Maggiore and Monte Camino. On the 8th Army front there is heavy fighting in the coastal area and in the vicinity of Orsogna, where positions are improved. Heavy bombers attack Eleusis and Tatoi airfields, near Athens.
  • British casualties in Italy from the start of the invasion to 3rd September are officially stated as 3,212 killed, 9,709 wounded, 3,153 missing.
  • The Russians overcome enemy resistance in the Kremenchug area and increase the threat to Znamenka; in the Dnieper bend several strongly fortified enemy points are captured south-west of Dnepropetrovsk, but north-east of Chernyakhov the Soviet forces are forced to abandon several inhabited localities.

December 9, 1943

  • Canadian troops of the 8th Army, strongly supported by armoured units, establish firm positions north of the River Moro after heavy fighting; there is also fierce fighting in the neighbourhood of San Leonardo. Troops of the 5th Army capture Rocca Devandre in making further limited advances, and drive the enemy from the entire eastern bank of the River Garigliano from the coast to Rocca Devandre.
  • According to a German report Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is again bombed by allied aircraft.
  • South-west of Kremenchug the Red Army makes further progress and captures 15 strongly fortified enemy defence points and the railway station of Mederovo; German attacks north-east of Chernyakhov are repulsed.
  • Changteh, in the Tungting Lake area, is recaptured by the Chinese after only a few days’ occupation by the Japanese.
  • It is announced that fewer merchant ships were sunk by U-boats in November than in any month since May, 1940, and that more U-boats were sunk than ships lost.

December 10, 1943

  • A second bridgehead over the River Moro is established by the 8th Army; San Leonardo is captured and there is fierce fighting south of Ortona; the 5th Army engages in localised actions.
  • Znamenka, the vital railway-junction in the Dnieper bend, is captured after three days of stiff fighting, and progress is made towards Kirovograd; enemy attacks with tanks and infantry in the area south of Malin, in the Kiev salient, are repelled.
  • Sofia is again attacked by escorted Liberators, the railway yards receiving a heavy load of bombs; 11 enemy fighters are shot down.
  • Four of a small number of enemy raiders which cross the south-east coast of England are destroyed.
  • The Admiralty reports the loss of minesweeper H.M.S. Hebe (Lieut. A. L. Gulvin, R.N.).

December 11, 1943

  • The 8th Army’s coastal advance continues in spite of repeated counter-attacks by the enemy in which the Germans suffer heavy casualties; localised action takes place on the 5th Army front, counter-attacks by the enemy being beaten back.
  • In the direction of Kirovograd, the Russians capture Novgorodka, Fedvar and Sekharnaya, and in the Dnieper bend further progress is made, heavy fighting taking place in Cherkasy; the Germans continue to attack south and south-west of Malin.
  • Five U-boats are reported to have been sunk and three damaged during an attack on an Atlantic convoy.
  • During a daylight attack on the German port and naval base of Emden, Flying Fortresses and Liberators shoot down 117 enemy fighters and their Thunderbolt and Lightning escort destroy 21 others; 17 bombers and three fighters are lost.

December 12, 1943

  • Determined German resistance fails to hold up the advance of the 8th Army, whose positions north of the River Moro are improved and widened; enemy counter-attacks are repelled. Patrols of the 5th Army are active, and front positions are further consolidated.
  • Further progress towards Kirovograd is made by the Russians in the Dnieper bend west of Kremenchug, where Chirigin and six other inhabited localities are captured; fierce fighting continues in the Kiev salient west and south-west of Malin.
  • A treaty of amity, mutual aid and collaboration after the war is concluded by the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia.

December 13, 1943

  • On the Adriatic coast several counter-attacks are thrown back by the 8th Army and Indian troops make further progress; on the 5th Army front activity is limited to artillery fire and patrolling.
  • The Red Army moves steadily on towards Kirovograd from the north and east, and west of Kremenchug the enemy is driven from five strongly fortified points; south of Malin the Russians beat off attacks by tanks and infantry and improve their positions.
  • In New Guinea Australian troops penetrate a distance of a mile through the enemy’s prepared positions in the Huon peninsula.
  • Heavy bombers of the U.S. 8th Army Air Force, with fighter escort, attack targets in North-West Germany and Marauder medium bombers raid Schipol airfield at Amsterdam.

December 14, 1943

  • Overcoming fierce enemy resistance, the 8th Army makes further advances in which Caldari is captured; the two bridgeheads across the River Moro are joined. On the 5th Army front there are sharp patrol clashes. The airfields Eleusis, Kalamaki and Tatoi and the harbour at the Piraeus are heavily bombed.
  • The Russians capture the important enemy centre of Cherkasy and several localities to the west of Kremenchug; enemy attacks are repelled south-west of Malin, but on the south the Red Army has to evacuate Radomysl. The Germans report a new Soviet attack to the south of Nevel.
  • In New Guinea the Australians cross the Sewi River and advance two miles; progress is made towards Wareo.
  • In the House of Commons Mr. Eden gives a survey of the conferences held in Cairo and Teheran.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Captain Paul TRIQUET, Canadian Army awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Captain Paul Triquet, Royal 22e Regiment, Canadian Army. On 14th December 1943 during the attack on Casa Berardi, Italy, when all the other officers and half the men of his company had been killed or wounded, Captain Triquet dashed forward and, with the remaining men, broke through the enemy resistance. He then forced his way on with his small force – now reduced to two sergeants and 15 men – into a position on the outskirts of Casa Beradi. They held out against attacks from overwhelming numbers until the remainder of the battalion relieved them next day. Throughout the action Captain Triquet's utter disregard for danger and his cheerful encouragement were an inspiration to his men.

December 15, 1943

  • On the 8th Army front further progress is made in the vicinity of Orsogna, where stiff fighting is in progress; Canadians capture the village of Berardi; the 5th Army advances some distance and captures an important hill. Strong forces of escorted heavy bombers attack the railway-junction at Innsbruck, the viaduct over the River Avisio and the Bolzano railway centre.
  • The Russians continue to attack south and south-east of Cherkasy, capturing several large inhabited places, and in the Kirovograd, direction overcome enemy resistance and improve their positions; German troops are dislodged from several localities south of Malin.
  • American forces land on the Arawe peninsula, New Britain, at a point between Cape Gloucester and Gasmata; a firm foothold is secured.
  • Wotje atoll, in the Marshall Islands, is raided by Liberators of the 7th Air Force and numerous hits on airfields are scored.
  • The trial of three Germans and one Russian on a charge of committing atrocities opens in Kharkov.

December 16, 1943

  • On the 8th Army front New Zealand troops carry out a successful attack and two enemy counter-attacks are repelled; several important features are taken by the 5th Army in limited attacks. Communications, railway yards and other enemy targets are attacked by allied bombers.
  • South and south-east of Cherkasy the Red Army captures a number of inhabited places, and after repelling enemy counter-attacks makes further progress in the Kirovograd sector; south of Malin and north-west of Radomysl the Russians improve their positions.
  • It is announced from 10 Downing Street that Mr. Churchill, who is still in the Middle East, is suffering from an attack of pneumonia.
  • Heavy bombers of the U.S. 8th Army Air Force, escorted by Thunderbolts and Lightnings, attack targets in North-West Germany; 18 enemy fighters are shot down. At night a strong force of Bomber Command Lancasters drop 1,500 tons of bombs on Berlin; 30 bombers are lost.

December 17, 1943

  • Some progress is made by the 8th Army in the centre; a number of tanks are destroyed and many casualties inflicted on the enemy, whose counter-attacks are beaten off; local advances are made by the 5th Army, in which a mountain village is captured, and counter-attacks are repelled.
  • A German counter-attack near Kirovograd is repelled; on other sectors of the Russian front only reconnaissance activity and artillery and mortar exchanges are reported.
  • The Admiralty announces that two U-boats have been destroyed in a joint action by naval and air forces during attempted enemy attacks on two Atlantic convoys.

December 18, 1943

  • Advances are made at several points on the 5th Army front, and San Pietro and a number of commanding heights are captured; heavy fighting continues on the 8th Army front, where New Zealand troops penetrate to the north of Orsogna.
  • In the Kirovograd area the Germans are driven out of several strongly fortified defence points. The Germans report a new Russian offensive in the Nevel area.
  • It is stated in an official communique that the Americans have gained control of Arawe peninsula and are moving across to the main part of New Britain.
  • Sentence of death by hanging is passed on the three German prisoners and one Russian at the Kharkov trial.

December 19, 1943

  • Troops of the 8th Army overcome strong opposition in the Adriatic coastal sector and advance some distance, and in the central sector further progress is also made; 5th Army troops advance beyond San Pietro, in some mountain sectors as much as two miles.
  • Moscow reports that the Red Army has broken through the enemy’s defence line south of Nevel on a front of 50 miles and penetrated to a depth of nearly 20 miles; more than 500 places have been freed and 20,000 German officers and men killed.
  • In an order published by Lord Louis Mountbatten the forces of the R.A.F. and U.S.A.A.F. under his South-East Asia Command are united into a single force under the command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Edmund Charles Peirse. Heavy bombers of this united command make an attack on objectives in Bangkok, scoring hits on the docks and arsenal.
  • The Prime Minister is reported to be making satisfactory progress; the signs of pneumonia are disappearing.

December 20, 1943

  • There is fierce fighting throughout the day on the 8th Army front, where a further advance is made in the centre and positions in the Ortona sector are improved; the 5th Army continues to advance in some parts of the mountainous country on the right of the front. Railway yards at Sofia and the airfield at Eleusis are attacked by heavy bombers.
  • The Russians develop their Nevel offensive, which threatens to outflank Vitebsk, on the River Dvina to the south. In the Kiev bulge enemy tank and infantry attacks in the Korosten area are repelled.
  • U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators attack Bremen and shoot down 21 enemy fighters; escorting U.S. fighters destroy another 19; 25 heavy bombers are lost.
  • At night Bomber Command aircraft drop 2,000 tons of bombs on Frankfort and also attack Mannheim-Ludwigshaven; 42 aircraft fail to return.
  • To create a training area for the D-Day landings villages in the South Hams area of Devon were compulsorily evacuated. Also evacuated were the villages of Imber in Wiltshire and Tyneham in Dorset. The inhabitants of the last two have never been allowed to return.
St Giles' Church in the deserted village of Imber, Wiltshire, England
St Giles' Church in the deserted village of Imber, Wiltshire, England.

December 21, 1943

  • Fighting on the 8th Army front continues with full intensity and entry into Ortona is made; in spite of stiff enemy resistance 5th Army troops make a further advance, several hills being taken and more prisoners captured. Enemy positions and communications are attacked from the air.
  • More than 100 inhabited places south of Nevel are captured by the Russians in a further advance, and enemy attacks in the area south-west of Zhlobin are repelled. South-east of Kirovograd and in the Korosten area German attacks are beaten off, and in the Kherson area the enemy bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnieper River is completely eliminated.
  • Heavy attacks are made by U.S.A.A.F. and R.A.F. aircraft on military installations in Northern France.

December 22, 1943

  • Street fighting in Ortona continues unabated, the enemy being, pressed back into the north-west part of the town; in the coastal sector of the 8th Army front fierce fighting continues and in the mountainous central area German counter-attacks are repelled; French forces with the 5th Army capture more ground, and U.S. troops occupy Monte Cavallo.
  • With powerful air support the Russians press on towards Vitebsk, and south-west of Zhlobin, in the Korosten area and south-east of Kirovograd enemy tank and infantry counter-attacks are repelled.
  • For the third day in succession U.S.A.A.F. and R.A.F. bombers make heavy attacks on military objectives in Northern France.
  • In New Guinea Australian troops continue to advance along the coast of the Huon peninsula.

December 23, 1943

  • There is bitter fighting in the coastal area south-west of Ortona, where our troops have fierce encounters with the enemy and press slowly forward; in Ortona itself there is house-to-house fighting in the north-west corner; U.S. troops press on north of the Capua-Rome Road and gain ground east of Acquafondato.
  • The Russians continue to press nearer to Vitebsk and Gorodok in spite of desperate enemy resistance, and south-west of Zhlobin and in tin area of Korosten beat off all German counter-attacks.
  • It is reported that-Gurkha units in Burma have made a spirited local attack in the Tiddim area and driven the enemy back about a mile.
  • The health of Mr. Churchill is reported to be steadily improving.
  • Large formations of allied bombers again make heavy attacks on targets in Northern France; at night a further 1,000 tons of bombs are dropped by Bomber Command aircraft on Berlin; 17 bombers are lost.

December 24, 1943

  • Heavy fighting continues in the Ortona area on the 8th Army front and ground gained in the central sector is consolidated; on the 5th Army front there are local attacks against enemy positions and active patrolling.
  • In their advance towards Vitebsk the Russians capture Gorodok and inflict very heavy casualties on the enemy in street fighting.
  • It is announced that General Dwight Eisenhower has been appointed Supreme Commander of the British and U.S. Expeditionary Forces organising in the United Kingdom for the liberation of Europe, with General Sir B. Montgomery as Commander-in-Chief of the British Group of Armies under General Eisenhower; other appointments are General Sir H . Maitland Wilson as Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theatre, General Sir H. Alexander as Commander-in-Chief Allied Armies in Italy, and Lieut.-General C. Spaatz to command U.S. Strategic Bombing Force operating against Germany.
  • A further series of attacks on Northern France is made by more than 2,000 allied aircraft.

December 25, 1943

  • In Ortona the enemy is driven out street by street, and Indian troops complete the capture of Villa Grande, inflicting heavy losses on the Germans; two important hills are captured by the 5th Army. Heavy escorted bombers attack railway-yards at Bolzano.
  • Pressing on towards Vitebsk, the Russians liberate many more inhabited places, including Novka, Kurino and Zaluchye and in an advance from Gorodok cut the Polotsk road; in the Kiev salient the enemy’s attack is confined to the Korosten area and the Red Army turns to the offensive in another sector.
  • H.M. the King broadcasts a Christmas message to his peoples.

December 26, 1943

  • The struggle for the remaining part of Ortona still in enemy hands continues, but is drawing to a close, and some further progress is made in the central sector of the 8th Army front; bad weather restricts operations on the 5th Army front.
  • The renewed Russian attack on the Kiev salient makes excellent progress on a 50-mile front, and more than 150 places, among them Radomysl, are retaken; in the Vitebsk area the progress of the Red Army continues.
  • Strong forces of marines are landed at two points on either side of Cape Gloucester, New Britain.
  • Units of the Home Fleet escorting a North Russian convoy attack and sink the German 26,000-ton battleship Scharnhorst off North Cape, Norway.

December 27, 1943

  • Canadian troops make further progress in clearing Ortona and mopping up pockets of resistance, and prisoners are taken by both Canadian and Indian troops; on the 5th Army front two more features on Monte Sammucro are captured by American troops, who consolidate their position on this important height.
  • Troops of the first Ukrainian front continue their offensive in the Kiev salient and occupy two district centres of the Zhitomir region, including Andrushevka; progress continues towards Vitebsk.
  • Air Chief Marshal Sir A. Tedder is appointed Deputy Supreme Commander under General Eisenhower; General Sir B. Paget becomes Commander-in-Chief Middle East under General Sir H. Maitland Wilson.

December 28, 1943

  • The bitter struggle for Ortona ends and the town is finally cleared of the enemy, the 8th Army continuing to advance up the coast; more ground is won by Indian troops in the Villa Grande area and farther south French Moroccan troops seize the peaks they have been attacking; an enemy attack near the mouth of the Garigliano River is repelled by 5th Army troops.
  • In their Kiev drive the Russians press on apace, capturing the towns of Korostyshev and Koteyvka and 60 other inhabited places; offensive operations in the Vitebsk area continue successfully.
  • Lieut.-General Jacob Devers is appointed Deputy Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean under General Sir H. Maitland Wilson; Lieut.-General Ira Eaker is to command the Allied Air Forces in the Mediterranean, Major-General James Doolittle succeeding him in command of the 8th U.S.A.F. in Great Britain; Lieut.-General Nathan Twining is to command the 15th U.S.A.F. in the Mediterranean.
  • H.M. ships, in co-operation with Coastal Command aircraft, sink a 5,000-ton blockade runner and three of a force of 11 enemy destroyers in the Bay of Biscay.
Indian troops engaged in street and house fighting in Villa Grande, Ortona
Indian troops were engaged in street and house fighting in Villa Grande, Ortona
which was captured on 28th December 1943

December 29, 1943

  • In Italy the 8th Army continues to advance in the Adriatic coastal sector and further local progress is made in the mountains by the 5th Army. Escorted heavy bombers attack buildings and yards at Rimini and Ferrara.
  • The Russians in their new Kiev bulge offensive recapture Korosten and Chernyakhov and more than 250 other inhabited localities; in the Vitebsk area they occupy Lozvida. A fresh offensive is launched in the Dnieper bend west of Zaporozhe, and north of Kirovograd enemy counter-attacks are repelled.
  • Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay is appointed Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief and Air Chief Marshal Sir Tralford Leigh-Mallory Allied Air Commander-in-Chief, under General Eisenhower.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command make a heavy attack on Berlin, more than 2,000 tons of bombs being dropped; 20 aircraft are missing.

December 30, 1943

  • Along the entire 15th Army Group front in Italy there is active patrolling, and Canadian troops continue to advance up the Adriatic coast road. Heavy bombers attack railway-yards at Padua and Rimini.
  • In their Kiev offensive the Russians are reported to have advanced 30 to 60 miles in five days and widened the breach over a front of 180 miles, routing 14 enemy infantry and eight tank divisions and liberating more than 1,000 places; the railway-junction of Kasatin is occupied. In the Vitebsk area and west of Zaporozhe Soviet forces continue to advance.
  • The capture of Blucher Point, on the Huan peninsula, New Guinea, by the Australians is reported. In New Britain U.S. marines complete the occupation of Cape Gloucester.
  • The great daylight air offensive is continued when the largest number of U.S. bombers and fighters ever used attack targets in South-West Germany.

December 31, 1943

  • Further progress is made along the Adriatic coast road by 8th Army troops, who overcome strong enemy resistance; on the 5th Army front the Americans capture two high ridges and British troops make a daring raid on the coast behind the enemy lines.
  • West of Nevel and in the Vitebsk area offensive action is waged by the Red Army, and on the first Ukrainian front Russian troops storm and occupy Zhitomir and capture 150 other places, including Pogrebische. In the Dnieper bend Alexandrovka is retaken.
  • U.S. and R.A.F. bombers continue their cross-Channel air offensive, among their targets being two ball-bearing factories near Paris and a number of coastal objectives.

 

Acknowledgements

Various sources have been used to create this timeline but a large proportion have come from ‘Hutchinson’s Pictorial History of the War’ within the Forces War Records Document Library

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