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STALINGRAD - The Nazis Reach Beyond Their Grasp

July, 1942 - February, 1943

German ground troops attack July 1, 1942
The Russians are finally overcome by the Nazis at Sevastopol. After nearly a year of combat, the Crimea is in Manstein's hands.� The island is a natural staging area for a German thrust over the Kerch Straights and on into the oil rich Caucasus.

Rommel continues to press the British in north Africa, despite his intermittent shortages of fuel and supplies. The Italian Navy simply cannot maintain the delivery of supplies in quantities necessary to keep the Axis army fueled and fed. Once landed, the long trek to the German front consumes much of the very supplies landed at such great cost in Tripoli. Although the fuel shortage means Rommel is unable to employ the maneuver tactics he has used with such great effect in the past, he continues to inflict heavy losses on the British. Unfortunately for the Germans, General Ritchie's men are better able to withstand these head to head confrontations, with their better logistical support.

July 2
Elements of 2nd Army and 6th Army trap yet another huge pocket of Russians northeast of Belgorod. Over the coming week, 70,000 more Russians are taken prisoner, but many others from two Soviet Armies escape the German trap.
July 3
In the north African desert, Rommel is forced to break off his offensive. Despite the effective neutralization of Malta, the "Desert Fox" is unable to get enough supplies from Axis bases in Italy to keep on going. The widespread fuel shortage has also impacted the Italian Navy's ability to conduct unhindered operations. Reduced to a mere thirty-one battle worthy tanks, and short of both fuel and ammunition, even for a force of this size, he has no choice but to prepare a static defense.
July 4
As the last remaining Russians on the Crimea surrender, the Red Army loses another 90,000 men. Both the Coastal and Sevastopol Armies disappear from the Soviet order of Battle. (The German use of artillery was probably its strongest during the attack on Sevastopol. From a statistical perspective, the Wehrmacht had massed 208 batteries for the operation, along a 22 mile front. Manstein, on page 246 of his memoirs, "Lost Victories", compares this density of less than 10 guns per mile of battlefront to the subsequent Soviet sledgehammer assaults of 1945. During that last year of the war, the Red Army frequently employed artillery in enormous numbers, with densities as high as 400 guns per mile.)

General Bissell - despised by the men of the AVG Unwilling to have the maverick AVG operate in their theater of war, the U.S. Army Air Force has strong-armed Chennault and his men to join the American 14th Air Force in China. General Clayton Bissell, having done more to alienate than encourage the American aces, winds up with a mere handful of men to induct into the U.S. Army Air Force. Pilots and support staff were threatened with all manner of punitive action, after enduring months of warfare, thousands of miles from home, in primitive conditions. �Very few of the brave volunteers were willing to continue to risk their lives for leadership that exhibited such idiotic behavior, despite pleas from Chennault to stay on and help. The AVG is then disbanded. After little more than six months of operations, the tiny band of fliers, rarely with more than fifty operational aircraft, had succeeded in thwarting the Japanese assault into China at the Salween Gorge, and are credited with some four hundred probable kills. They achieved this record at the cost of twelve aircraft shot down, and four of their pilots killed in aerial combat. But they had been found guilty of 2 mortal sins. In the words of one of the Flying Tigers, they had '...told US commanders that they were wrong, and then they had gone out and proven it.'

A convoy of aid sailing to Murmansk comes under Luftwaffe attack. PQ-17 has four of its ships struck, three of which sink in the icy water of the Barents Sea.

July 5
Fearing that the newly completed German battleship "Tirpitz", is now headed out to the Barents, First Sea Lord and Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Dudley Pound, orders PQ-17 to scatter. The German ship is, in fact, still at anchor, and the convoy's disbanding only serves to ease the task of the Luftwaffe and the U-boats. This far north, the summer sun lasts nearly all day long. The Germans make good use of the opportunity, setting about the grim task of destroying the convoy. Fully twenty-two ships and crews from this one convoy will never make another port.

The overly ambitious Russian winter offensive has left the 2nd Shock Army in a vulnerable position. The Germans now turn the tables on the Russians. Eighteenth Army, the target of 2nd Shock Army's encircling efforts, succeeds in destroying the Soviet formation north of Novgorod.

July 6
Voronezh is recaptured by the German 2nd Army and elements of 4th Panzer Army, but only after some very hard and unanticipated fighting. Von Bock has been unable to release more than one corps of 4th Panzer Army for the drive south to cut off any retreating Russians.
July 9
Hitler orders all of 4th Panzer Army to advance south, along the western bank of the Don river. The 1st Panzer Army's advance is diverted to the southeast, so as to envelope any Russians still well west of the Don river.
July 11
Word of fuel shortage problems for the Axis reach Tokyo and the Japanese Naval Staff. The Italian Navy cannot operate freely in the Mediterranean as a result of these shortages. Totally dependant on imported fuel themselves, any joint planning ideas with Germany and Italy are discarded by the Japanese.
July 12
General Chuikov Aware of the Nazi intention to seize Stalingrad, the Communist dictator forms the Stalingrad Front to oppose them. The Front is given control of 21st, 62nd, 63rd, and 64th Infantry Armies, and the 1st and 4th Tank Armies. 64th Army was formerly the Reserve Army. Now under the control of General Chuikov, the Army is thrown in to help stop the attack on Stalingrad. Included, as well, are the shot up remnants of 28th, 38th, and 57th Infantry Armies. (At this time, 62nd Army is under Major General V.I. Kolpakchi.) Even the Volga River Naval Flotilla is subordinated to the new Front. The Soviets eventually manage to mass about 187,000 men along three hundred and thirty miles of the Chir river, west of the Don.

With the enormous German 6th Army, under General Paulus, and 4th Panzer Army advancing east alongside them, the German spearhead is poised to smash headlong into Stalingrad. Flank protection is being provided by Romania's 3rd Army in the north, and their 4th Army in the south, along with an assortment of Italian and Hungarian forces. Kleist, however, has been unable to move up from the south into position to threaten Stalingrad, and there is a cavernous one hundred and ninety mile wide gap developing between his forces in the Caucasus, and 4th Romanian Army. The only unit between the two is the German 16th Motorized Division, based at Yelista.

July 13
After being forced to stop their advance south on several occasions due to fuel shortages, 4th Panzer Army has reached its rendezvous point with 6th Army. Fedor Von Bock, having been promoted to Field Marshal rank after fall of France, sacked by Hitler after the withdrawal from Moscow, recalled to replace the deceased Von Riechenau, is again dismissed by the Führer, for failing to have this limited objective in hand sooner, and for allowing so many Russians to escape encirclement. (According to Wheal, Pope and Taylor's "Dictionary"; Von Bock, who never returned to the German Army, was killed in an air raid near the war's end, in May of 1945.) Army Group South, by now split into a pair of smaller commands; Army Groups "A" and "B", undergoes another change of leadership. Replacing Von Bock at the helm of Army Group B is General Von Weichs. Field Marshal Wilhelm Von List commands Army Group A.

Click to see the USMA map of the German Summer Offensive of 1942 for Stalingrad Hitler next orders that both Panzer formations; the 4th and 1st, are to change their route of advance away from Stalingrad, towards Rostov. This shift to the southwest allows the Russians that had been west of the Don, but east of the Donets rivers, the time they need to make good their escape. The Russians rush troops into the Stalingrad area. (According to Tarrant, In "Stalingrad", pages 35-37, General Von Kleist, still commanding 1st Panzer Army, later complained that 4th Panzer could have taken Stalingrad without a fight had they not been diverted south, where they really only served to congest 1st Panzer's road network. Even 6th Army was unable to march on the city, since its only Panzer Corps; the 40th, had already been transferred to Weichs!)

The British in North Africa mount yet another offensive in the see-saw battles in the desert. Rommel, very vulnerable due to the tenuous nature of his supply lines, must defend without Luftwaffe support; as there is no fuel for the aircraft.

July 14
In adjusting their forces as a result of the losses suffered at the Coral Sea and Midway, the Japanese create the Third Fleet, removing Admiral Nagumo from command of the now non-existent First Air Fleet. Such remains as there are, are given over to Vice Admiral Shimitzu. Kondo retains command of Second Fleet. The Fourth Fleet, at Truk, is under Vice Admiral Inoue. The Fifth Fleet, responsible for operations in the Kuriles and Aleutians, is under Vice Admiral Hosogaya. The Sixth Fleet, under Admiral Komatsu, is primarily a submarine force. The Eighth Fleet, a strong cruiser force, is under Vice Admiral Mikawa. There are still eight carriers left in the Imperial Navy, but this number includes those few under construction. Not included is the conversion of the Yamato's huge sister ship; Shinano, from a battleship to a carrier platform.
July 17
In apparent recognition of his error, Hitler countermands his instruction to Fourth Panzer Army; but only orders a portion of its forces to assist 6th Army in the drive on Stalingrad.
July 19
With decreasing success rates already apparent to the Kriegsmarine, Dönitz withdraws the U-boats from the coastal waters off North America.
July 20
Rommel, short on everything, is forced to withdraw in the face of the latest British 8th Army offensive, around El Alamein.
July 22
On orders from Himmler, the Jews that had been walled in at the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940 begin their "resettlement". Most are sent to Treblinka where they will be gassed by the Germans. Transportation difficulties encountered by the SS officials as a result of the excruciating needs for logistical support to the Russian Front means that the gruesome task cannot be accomplished as quickly as the Nazis have hoped. The task continues into 1943... Then, as the German quest for Lebensraum continues to haunt Europe, Jews from other areas are herded into the Warsaw Ghetto while the Nazis continue to fill the crematorium pipelines.

In the Battle of El Mreir, south of the Ruweisat Ridge, Commonwealth infantry counterattack the Afrika Korps in the pre-dawn hours. The Indian troops remain unsupported by armor until after first light, when the British 22nd Armored Brigade advances. By this time, the Indians have themselves been counterattacked, and beaten off. The German gunners are ready for the British tanks, and destroy eighty-six of the brigade's ninety-seven that attacked. Subsequent battles in this area allow the Germans to improve their tally to one hundred and thirty British tanks for the cost of only three Panzers.

Japanese troops landed at Buna and Gona on Papua New Guinea, launch an overland offensive to take Port Moresby, since the Naval assault has been called off. The Japanese offensive, having to cross the Owen Stanley Mountains, running like the spinal column of New Guinea down to the tail at the eastern extreme of the Island, also spoils MacArthur's planning for an early Allied offensive in the same area.

July 23
The Russian city of Rostov, on the Sea of Azov, falls to the German 1st Panzer Army.
July 25
Joint planning for the invasion of North Africa is codenamed Operation Torch. The assault is designed to take the DAK from the rear, while the 8th Army maintains pressure from the east. Planners hope that Vichy forces in the landing areas; Morocco and Algeria, will join the Allies, but prepare to fight and defeat them if necessary.
July 27
Japanese troops occupy Kokoda, on New Guinea. With thick jungle and mountainous terrain to contend with, they pause to await reinforcements, and regroup for the assault on Port Moresby.
July 28
Stalin, like Hitler, directs his army to stand and fight to the death at Stalingrad, issuing his "Not A Step Back" order. This calls on each Front to form up "punishment battalions", and each Army to form "punishment companies" for those who may have shown weakness in the face of the enemy. These units are to be essentially thrown away, in the most dangerous missions. Blocking detachments are to be deployed behind the Russian lines, to shoot and kill any of their own who try to retreat.
July 30
Chuikov hands off control of 64th Army to Shumilov, and meets with Southwest Front's commander, Gordov. Appointed as Deputy Commander to Gordov, Chuikov is sent to the southern wing of the forces engaged around Stalingrad.

General George S. Patton Jr. is named Commander of the Army Western Task Force. Similarly to the command structure in the Pacific, he also is denied overall command of the Operation. Separate Naval Commands are designated to deliver and support the invasion forces, as the U.S. continues to fracture its command structure.

July sees 12 Japanese commercial ships sunk by the Allied submarines.

The catastrophic losses suffered by PQ-17 leads the Allies to suspend convoys to Murmansk.

There are estimates that put Italy's Naval losses at 66% of her entire fleet by the end of July 1942!

August 1
Suspicious that the Americans may have broken their codes, the Japanese launch a major revision of their JN25 code system.
August 5
Stalin creates the new Southwest Front out of a part of the forces assigned to Stalingrad Front. The new Front is commanded Yeremenko; Stalingrad Front, by Gordov. Both Fronts are served by a common Political Officer; Nikita Kruchev. Among those engaged under Yeremenko's command, is a former Soviet Military Attaché to Chaing Kai-shek; General Chuikov. A recent arrival to the area, Chuikov has also gathered the remnants of several divisions, including the 208th Siberian Infantry, which has been badly shot up by German aircraft as they detrained at Kotelnikovo and Chilekov stations.

Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army, moving northeast towards Stalingrad, runs into the 64th, and 57th Armies. The Russians eventually force Hoth back, in the first German withdrawal of Fall Blau.

In the Atlantic, convoy SC-94 is found by U-593. As the wolfpack gathers, the fight is begun. In a long running battle, eleven ships are lost, including one of three that had been abandoned in the confused belief that they had been torpedoed. Two of the attackers are rammed by Allied ships, and sink, and three other submarines are damaged.

August 7
Sixth Army, advancing on Stalingrad, destroys most of the Soviet's 1st Tank and 62nd Armies around Kalach. Unable to escape west across the Don, 57,000 Russians are taken prisoner.

Click to see the map of the landing from the Encyclopedia of naval Battles website The U.S. goes over the offensive in the Pacific. The First Marine Division is landed in the Solomon Islands at Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Gavuto, Tanambogo, and Florida islands. The Japanese are constructing an airstrip on Guadalcanal, and this is the American objective. Without reserves to fill the defensive requirements of their now overextended Empire, the Japanese divert troops from the Port Moresby offensive to defend Guadalcanal.

After a shakeup of British commanders in the North African and middle east theaters, in which General Alexander replaced Auchinleck, General Gott, newly named to command 8th Army, is killed during his flight to Cairo, and Montgomery is brought from the Middle East to replace him.

August 8
Mikawa's Eighth Fleet engages the Americans off the Solomons, and inflicts heavy losses with his cruisers. His first salvo hits the radar mast of the cruise Chicago, effectively destroying her fire cotrol system. Four U.S. cruisers and a destroyer are lost during the Battle of Savo Island, but Mikawa had turned away from destroying the Allied support ships to focus his attack on the cruisers. The American ships then withdraw from the island while Mikawa returns to Rabaul, and the Marines, under Major General Vandergrift, are left to their own devices, with only a three or four day supply of ammunition. One of the Japanese ships that so outfought the U.S. Navy at Savo Island, the heavy cruiser, Kako, is later torpedoed by an American submarine as it returns to Rabaul, on the 10th.
August 9
The Indian National Congress Party , after a speech by Mohandas Ghandi, calls for the British to evacuate India.

Germany's 17th Army, marching down the western plain of the Caucasus behind 1st Panzer Army, reaches the city of Krasnodar, on the Kuban river. First Panzer has just reached the oil fields of Maikop, burning furiously as the withdrawing Russians seek to deny Germans everything of value.

August 11
Paulus' 14th Panzer Corps and 24th Panzer Corps link up near Kalach, trapping the Soviet First Tank and 62nd Armies, in what proves to be the last major German encirclement of the war. Bits and pieces of the two armies evade capture, and withdraw across the Don, leaving only 35,000 behind; dead or prisoner.
August 12
Hitler, rather than throwing the added weight of the now available 11th Army from the Crimea, into the battle for the Caucasus with Army Group A, or to Stalingrad, with Army Group B, dismembers 11th Army, instead. Most units are sent to the extreme north to assist in the continuing siege of Leningrad. Others are sent to Crete, where they will languish for the rest of the war. Some remain to cross into the Caucasus, but the earlier plan calling for their massed entry into the battle is now history.

Fourth Panzer Army attacks the Russian 64th Army around Plodovitoye and Abganerovo, continuing to push the Red Army back.

P-38 Lightning
August 15
Four U.S. ships approach Guadalcanal, landing some badly needed supplies, and one hundred and twenty-two replacements for the Marines.

In the first American aerial victory over the Luftwaffe in eight months of warfare, a twin engined P-38 Lightning shoots down an FW-200 over the Atlantic.

August 17-18��������
Hoping to find a weakly held German garrison, a strong British and Canadian raid across the Channel against Dieppe's radar sites runs into an enemy force three times the size it is prepared for. Lord Louis Mountbatten's 6,000 men are devastated by the well prepared Germans, and suffer very heavy losses. The prospects for the Allies quickly launching Stalin's "Second Front" on the beaches of France look very dim as a result of this episode.

While Port Moresby is coming under attack by some one hundred Japanese bombers and their escorts, the Marine Corps's Second Raider Battalion is put ashore in the Gilbert Islands by two submarines; Nautilus and Argonaut. Designed as a diversion to pull some of the Japanese troops out of Guadalcanal, the landing only succeeds in convincing the Japanese of the need to build better and stronger revetments. The seventy or so defenders are nearly all killed by the Americans, who then quickly withdraw. The Japanese fail to take the bait, however, and land two hundred reinforcements on Guadalcanal. These are followed up the next day with more than nine hundred troops of Ichiki Force being put ashore to do battle with the Marines.

A dozen B-17 bombers from the Eighth Air Force launch the first American heavy bomber attack of the war in Europe. Close to 3,700 lbs. of explosives are dropped on a railway center in Rouen, France. Damage to the target is light, but all the aircraft make it safely back to base.

August 19
The 8th Air Force flies its second heavy bomber mission of the eight month old war, against the Luftwaffe field near Abbeville. Twenty-two of the bombers try to shut down the Germans' ability to prey on the Dieppe force from the air.

As the fighting around Stalingrad intensifies, Chuikov, now back to the Myshkova river and forming up such forces as he can gather south of the city, is named Deputy Commander of the 64th Army, incorporating his existing units into that army.

Paulus, anticipating severe battles, spells out his plan of attack, which relies on 4th Panzer Army to link up with 6th Army's southern flank. The problem is, Hoth's forces have been emasculated by the transfer of most of his armor. Paulus already has Hoth's 14th and 24th Panzer Corps, and the 40th Panzer Corps has been sent to Army Group A in the Caucasus. This leaves only General Kempf's 48th Panzer Corps, which itself, has only the 14th Panzer and 29th Motorized Divisions. The 4th Panzer Army is really an Infantry army, incapable of launching rapid thrusting armored spearheads, and has in fact, been fought to a standstill some fifty miles south of the city by the Soviet 64th and 57th Armies. To break 4th Panzer Army free of the Soviet grasp, 24th Panzer division is transferred sixty miles south, to Kempf, from 6th Army.

August 20
The first thirty-one U.S. aircraft touchdown on the newly completed Henderson Field airstrip on Guadalcanal. Flown off the carrier Long Island, the planes greatly improving the Marines' chances for wresting ultimate control of the Island from the Japanese.

48th Panzer Corps, attacks northeast from Abganerovo, but still cannot break clear of the Russian defenses in the hills of Tundutovo. On their northern flank, the 4th Infantry Corps is also facing resolute Russian resistance. From their vantage point in these hills, the Soviets can monitor events around Stalingrad's southern extremes for miles.

August 21
Barely a hundred miles from conquering all of the southern Caucasus, down to the Turkish border, the Germans are forced to a halt. At Mount Elbrus, the Russian resistance combines with German supply difficulties to keep the drive from going forward.

The Ichiki Force on Guadalcanal launches two attacks against the Marines, both of which are beaten off. The Marines counterattack, driving the Japanese back towards the beaches, where most of them are encircled and killed, in the Battle of the Tenaru River.

August 22
After U-507's week long spree of sinking five Brazilian ships, the South American nation declares war against the Germans.
August 23
OKH issues orders requiring the SS to be responsible for security in the rear areas of the Eastern Front. The increase in Russian partisan activities; always referred to officially as banditry, has prompted this action. The Army retains responsibility for operational areas.

The Luftwaffe begins a 48 hour long assault on Stalingrad that involves more than 4,000 sorties into the city. The city erupts into flames along its twenty-five mile length, and oil storage tanks pour their flaming contents into the Volga, seeming to light the river itself on fire. Thousands of civilians perish in the flames.

Sixth Army punches a hole in 62nd Army's defenses. The Nazi's 14th Armored Corps crosses the Don at Vertyachi, and reaches the Volga , north of the city. Subsequent Russian counterattacks temporarily push the Germans back from the Volga, but cannot hold the line. Between Vertyachi and Peskovatka, a five mile wide gap is torn, allowing Paulus' troops to reach the Volga, north of Rynok. The Russian 62nd Army is cut off from Stalingrad Front, and becomes attached to Southwest Front. In response, the civilians from the city are mobilized to join the 62nd Army in an effort to stop the Germans.

August 24
As the Japanese ferry men and equipment through a route known as "the Slot" to Guadalcanal, (these operations became known as "The Tokyo Express") Admiral Fletcher launches an air strike from the refurbished Saratoga. The attack destroys the Japanese light carrier, Ryujo, as its aircraft are engaged over Henderson Field. The 5th CV division; Shokaku and Zuikaku; veterans of the Coral Sea battle, counter the American air attack, damaging the carrier Enterprise. Returning to the attack, the U.S. pilots find and damage a Japanese seaplane carrier; Chitose.

The 16th Panzer Division, with aerial support from Von Richtofen's Luftflotte IV, attacks the Russians from the city's northern border but the defense is unyielding, and at one point actually pushed the Germans backwards; ejecting them temporarily from Rynok and Spartakovka. The Germans eventually succeed in eliminating the Volga railway and ferry points north of the city, cutting the Russians off from Kazakhstan and Moscow

General Yeremenko, in a convoluted command structure, in charge of both the Stalingrad and Southwest Fronts, orders non-essential civilians evacuated from the city. As these people gather on the banks of the Volga, German aircraft attack the gathering.

In an effort to improve the 9th Army's defenses, General Halder argues with Hitler that a strategic withdrawal is called for. The ill will between the two boils over, as Hitler forbids 9th Army from shortening its line. Even among those present, the prospect of Germany losing another of its military leaders seems imminent. (In fact, Halder will be dismissed by Hitler on September 24.)

August 25
Continued Japanese Naval activity down The Slot prompts attacks by B-17's and dive bombers. The attacks kill many of the reinforcements headed to Guadalcanal, sinking two ships and damaging a third. The Japanese withdraw, canceling the landing plan, and are forced to put the Port Moresby operation on hold until they can re-conquer the Solomons.

By now, the Japanese are also predicting that shortages of fuel will impact their operations, perhaps as soon as November.

Hoth breaks off 4th Panzer Army's attacks south of Stalingrad. Over the next several days, the 48th Panzer Corps is quietly withdrawn and replaced with infantry from 94th Division.

August 26
Zhukov is named Deputy Supreme Commander; second only to "Uncle Joe", himself. He is given direct responsibility for the defense of Stalingrad, after his successes at Moscow and Leningrad. (Some accounts show this as happening on the 28th.)

The Japanese Naval Staff changes its priority from the destruction of the American Fleet to the retaking of Guadalcanal.

Despite the lower priority assigned to operations on New Guinea, an additional fifteen hundred Japanese troops are landed with the objective of seizing the allied airfields under construction near Milne Bay. Close enough to support the Guadalcanal fighting, these airstrips are strongly defended by Australian and American troops.

August 27
The Japanese ground forces attack along the Kokoda trail on New Guinea, as they continue to move towards Port Moresby. Advancing for two days, Allied troops battling the Japanese eventually snuff out the offensive.

The German 11th Army, now in the north, near Leningrad, comes under attack by a new Soviet offensive, putting the Germans on the defensive all around the city.

August 28
The Japanese Navy ferries thirty of its fighters to the airstrips at Buka, to support the ground war on Guadalcanal.

16th Panzer Division, cut off on the northern outskirts of Stalingrad since its breakthrough on the 23rd, is out of ammunition and ready to withdraw when a supply convoy of some two hundred and fifty trucks, loaded with captured British and American aid, arrives in the wake of 3rd Motorized Division. Now, there are two divisions separated by eighteen miles of communist controlled ground between the bulk of 6th Army, and the Panzers at Spartakovka and Rynok.

August 29
Zhukov arrives at Stalingrad Front Headquarters, as the battered 62nd Army, among others, is refitted with replacements and supplies.

Kempf's 48th Panzer Corps, west of Abganerovo, now strikes north, outflanking the Russians that had stopped him and the 4th Infantry Corps as well. His Panzers make twenty miles in one day, as the 64th Army begins to withdraw.

August 30/31
Because of the fuel shortage, the Afrika Korps' 15th Panzer Division is forced into a more direct confrontation with the British 8th Army's inland flank. In these battles at the Alam Halfa ridge, the Germans suffer the loss of some three dozen tanks, and are forced to withdraw. The British, under Montgomery, elect not to pursue the Germans as they retire, but to continue to mass reserves for a broad, general offensive.

Outside Stalingrad, the Soviet 62nd along with the rest of 64th Army withdraws across the Chervlenaya river, in front of the 48th Panzer Corps. With the "throwaway" Punishment Battalions as rear guards, the Russians escape encirclement by forty-eight hours. In the north as well, the Russians withdraw to consolidate their forces for a counterattack from the north, allowing the Germans to close their lines. CV-3 Saratoga

The carrier Saratoga is again torpedoed by a Japanese submarine; this time I-26. Once again, she is forced out of service for repairs.

By the end of the month, Rommel's deliveries have fallen off to about 10% of the goods lavished on 8th Army.

Twenty Japanese merchant ships are sunk in August, followed by twelve in September, as the tide of battle turns against them.

Early in September, the U.S. 5th Air Force will be formed by General Kenny, for use in the Pacific.

September 2
Again the British hold fast at El Alamein, forcing the Germans to withdraw the following day.
September 3
The German 6th Army, now united on a wide front, from Rynok to Pitomnik, west of Stalingrad, begins the direct assault on the city. Zhukov launches a counterattack from the north of Stalingrad, into 14th Panzer Corps with First Guards Army, but the attack is slow to form, as some units are not in position at "H" hour. The attack achieves only minor advances in some areas.
September 4
The Soviets achieve a breakthrough in the far north, when Second Shock Army punches through 18th Army, south of Lake Ladoga. The Germans rush the 11th Army to the area to fill the gaps.
September 5
A new Russian counterattack is unleashed north of Stalingrad. Unable to break through the German lines, the Russians nevertheless continue to apply pressure in the area for two full weeks, drawing off German strength from the center of the city. Japanese troops are withdrawn from the battles around Milne Bay.
September 6
Field Marshal List, in command of Army Group A, refuses to accept responsibility for a further offensive into the oil fields. From their position in the Caucasus, the Germans are on the verge of seizing all of the oil producing areas of southern Russia, but have stretched themselves very thin in the process. Apprehensive about the prospects for victory, List wishes to consolidate his position. Not a tactic favored by the Führer. (List Commanded the 14th Army in Poland, and served as Commander in Chief of the forces invading Greece.)
September 9
Furious with List's refusal to continue attacking in the Caucasus, Hitler dismisses yet another of his top commanders. By now he has run out of competent Nazi generals, and so he takes yet another unprecedented step. He simply refuses to name a commander to head up the Army Group. Instead, he assumes total control for these forces, personally, as part of his routine functions. General Ruoff, Commander of 17th Army, and General Kleist, of 1st Panzer Army are required to present to the Führer situation reports, replete with maps down to battalion levels, every other day, so that Hitler can direct the Army Group himself. This has the net effect of ending the proper leadership of an entire Army Group.
September 12

With Zhukov recalled to Moscow for talks with Stalin and Vasilevsky; the Chief of the General Staff, General Lopatin, fearing that Stalingrad would be lost, is relieved of his command of 62nd Army. Chuikov is named to replace him by Yeremenko and Kruchev. With debris clogging the city on the Volga from repeated Luftwaffe attacks, Chuikov keeps his forces in close contact with the Germans. Like a short-armed boxer tying up his more mobile opponent, Chuikov limits the ability of the Luftwaffe and German artillery to strike at his troops without incurring friendly casualties. He has little alternative, because the reserves being formed up in his rear are destined, not for him; but for Zhukov's counteroffensive. 62nd Army continues defending Stalingrad from inside the city, with only its citizens to provide additional riflemen, along with such replacements as can be ferried across the river under German fire.

Likewise, Paulus and Von Weichs (Commander of Army Group B) meet with Hitler at his headquarters in Vinnitsa. The Führer directs that they attack on the following day, overriding the concerns of both his generals. He further strips Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army of all of its German divisions, except for 297th, and 371st Infantry Divisions, returning control of the Panzer forces directly to Paulus. This leaves Hoth's "Panzer" army with only a few infantrymen to face Russia's 57th and 64th Armies. His weak right flank is protected only by the Romanian 6th Corps, also nothing but four infantry divisions.

The movement of Jews out of the Warsaw Ghetto concludes, leaving only about 20% of the population in place. Since the deportations to the camps began back on July 22, perhaps as many as three hundred thousand people have been uprooted and executed.

September 13
In the Arctic Ocean, convoy PQ-18, with forty-six ships, and forty-eight escorts, is attacked by U-boats and aircraft. After losing U-88 to one of the destroyers on the 12th, two freighters are lost to the U-boats 405 and 589. German aircraft armed with bombs from KG-30, and torpedoes from KG-26, destroy seven more merchantmen. The battles continue for several days, with defending aircraft mixing with the Germans, and both sides suffering more losses. By the time the convoy reaches Murmansk, she has lost thirteen ships.

Sixth Army begins its assault into Stalingrad. Five divisions attack along a five mile wide front into the center of the city, in an effort to split the defense. They make only slight progress against ferocious Russian resistance, fighting the battle on Chuikov's terms instead of Hoth's. During the nights, the Russians are able to ferry men and supplies across the Volga, into the city at any one of a number of crossing points. Powerful as Sixth Army is; it does not have the strength to attack with armored spearheads in maneuvering battles as was the case a year ago. The simultaneous attack into the Caucasus has left the Germans in both areas fighting toe to toe with the enemy, simply because they cannot be kept supplied and defend themselves while still attacking with their reduced strike forces.

Each and every night, fresh troops trickle in to Chuikov from across the Volga. Combined with air and artillery support from the east side of the river, it is hoped that 62nd Army will hold out long enough to allow Zhukov to mass forces on the flanks of the city.

The Japanese on Guadalcanal begin a new offensive that lasts for two days. At Lunga Ridge, where the terrain overlooks Henderson Field, the Japanese troops, lightly armed, but with artillery and aerial support, engage the U.S. Marines from their rear. Kawaguchi's forces split the defense, and at one point are facing only 300 Marines, and nearly take the airstrip. But the Marines rally and close the line. Soon known as the Battle of Bloody Ridge, the Marines inflict 50% casualties on their attackers, who don't withdraw until the 15th.

Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal
September 14
Col. Merritt "Red Mike" Edson leads the remaining 300 of his 800 Raiders in bloody hand to hand combat and holds off the Japanese from atop Grassy Knoll, the highest point only 1,000 yards south of Henderson Field. At dawn, there are more than 600 Japanese dead, with half Edson's men as casualties. But the Marines held, saving the airfield. (Edson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership in these battles of Bloody Ridge.)
September 15
The Romanian Third Army reaches the outskirts of Stalingrad. Covering the long left wing of 6th Army, the Romanians are thinly deployed. The fight for the city on the Volga is now a house to house slugging match, with the 48th Panzer Corps in between the 62nd and 64th Armies. Amid the debris of the city, the Russian defenders adopt fast moving, small unit tactics. The Germans dub the fighting at Stalingrad the "Rattenkeig"; or Rats War

USS Wasp as she burns prior to sinking. More than 1900 men survived. The U.S. carrier, Wasp, is torpedoed by I-19. She takes at least 2 hits in the Japanese attack, and will soon be abandoned, then sunk by the USS Lansdowne. Also damaged in the attack by I-19, the destroyer, O'Brien will be lost as she limps for Pearl Harbor. A third victim of I-19, the battleship North Carolina, is forced to return to Pearl for repairs.

September 16
On New Guinea, General Tomitaro Horii continues to advance against Australian troops along the Kokoda trail. The South Seas Detachment is in position on Ioribawa Ridge, only twenty-five miles from Port Moresby. The extraordinarily rugged terrain, and Allied air attacks, however, have combined to cut his troops off from their supply lines, and his men have run out of food.
September 18
Forced to turn back on the 14th by Admiral Kondo's 2nd Fleet operating off Guadalcanal, Rear Admiral Turner's Task Force 65 succeeds in landing about four thousand reinforcements on the island. Bad weather saves the group from air attacks and the Japanese 3rd Destroyer squadron arrives too late to engage anyone.

Again, Zhukov launches a counterattack into the northern flank of 6th Army. Positioning his First Guards Army against the German 8th Infantry Corps, he hopes to break through what appears to be a weak point in the line. It is actually only a forward position, and the attack runs headlong into very strong German defenses further back from the initial battle lines. As in the past, the fruitless attacks serve more to siphon off German resources that would have otherwise been employed against Chuikov's men. Thousands of Soviets are killed in the attacks, which continue for several days.

September 20
Until now, at Auschwitz, the corpses of the Jews murdered in the gas chambers have been burned in pits. Now, the industrial aspects of the Holocaust are expanded, as German firms provide the first of several ovens designed specifically for the task of incinerating the remains of the murdered.

The shortage of oil for the Japanese Fleet is already affecting their operational planning. The Fleet is consuming 10,000 tons daily, and the stocks maintained at Kure have been drawn down by some 650,000 tons. "Unnecessary" Fleet movements are curtailed. (Ugaki, "Fading Victory", page 217. The Admiral gives no explanation as to who decides what "unnecessary" movements are. He does not, at this point, hold off on operational deployments, but is very concerned for the future. In addition to the fuel shortage, the Fleet is also experiencing a shortage of tankers in the Rabaul area.)

September 21
The combat south of Lake Ladoga turns against the Red Army. Instead of breaking through to Mga, the Russians have been encircled, and are being subjected to heavy aerial and artillery bombardment inside their pocket.
September 24
General Horii begins to withdraw from the Kokoda trail, as the supply shortages take a heavy toll among his men. There are rumors that the Japanese in at least one instance, have resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. Horii and his men try to reach the Gona-Buna area, where they hope to defend a beachhead until after the Solomon Island fighting is over. The Australians pursue the retreating Japanese through the mountains.

General Zeitzler The German Army Command looses its Chief of Staff, when Hitler dismisses General Franz Halder. He is replaced by General Kurt Zeitzler, who vows personal fealty to the Führer, and subsequently requires all staff officers to do likewise.

September 25
A very young and innocent girl, forced into hiding with her family in The Netherlands begins a lonely correspondance. Hiding in a one room attic with several others, the girl writes unsent letters to a friend, and even writes that friend's imagined responses. She also writes a diary of her time spent in hiding. Eventually, the girl and her family, along with others in hiding with them, are discovered by the Nazis and herded into the camps. This little girl is soon lost to the world, but the Diary of Anne Frank remains behind to indict her murderers.

September 26
In probably the single most efficient attack of the entire war, a handful of six men, led by Captain Ivan Lyon make an attack on Japanese ships in Singapore harbor. After paddling for twenty miles, the men attach explosives to a number of ships inside the harbor, sinking five of them.
September 28
Japanese air attacks on Guadalcanal for the past two days have a very one sided result. Thirty-three Japanese planes have been lost. Despite claims of having accounted for more than a dozen U.S. aircraft at a cost of only ten or so to themselves, the Japanese have failed to destroy a single American plane from the island.
September 30
Looking back over the month, Admiral Ugaki notes in his diary that, "...I find nothing has been accomplished this month."

The M4 Sherman tank In North Africa, Montgomery is accumulating large numbers of the New American "Sherman" tank. Produced in huge numbers during the war, the Sherman will become known as the "Ronson" (a firm known for its cigarette lighters) among the British. This is the result of the tank's gasoline, rather than diesel, powerplant, and the tendency of its fuel to burst into flames when hit.

Street by street, the German 6th Army has advanced north, inside Stalingrad. By months end, they control nearly the entire southern half of the city.

The Soviet High Command reorganizes the armies in the south. The Stalingrad Front is redesignated the Don Front, and its lines are shortened by the creation of a new Southwest Front on the western side of Don Front's line. Don Front is commanded by Rokkosovsky, who loses the mauled 1st Guards Army to be refitted. Of his three remaining armies, Zhadov's 66th Army is north of the city, along the Volga, nearest Rynok. West of these are Galinin's 24th Army, and Batov's 65th Army near Kletskaya, on the Don. West of Don Front, the new Southwest Front, under General Vatutin, has Chistyakov's 21st Army nearest Don Front's 65th Army. Across the Don, on the southern bank in a bridgehead around Serafimovich, is the 5th Tank Army under Romanenko. On the far western end of the Front is a newly activated reserve Army, given the designation of 1st Guards Army under Lelyushenko. In the south, what had been Southeast Front is now redesignated Stalingrad Front. This newly designated unit, comprised of Chuikov's 62nd, Shumilov's 64th, Tolbukhin's 57th and Trufanov's 51st Armies, as well as a new unit; 28th Army, in the extreme south, are under Yeremenko's direct control.

(Much of the description of this reorganization comes from Tarrant's "Stalingrad" on page 94. The designation of a newly activated reserve Army as a Guards Army is very infrequent, and seems only to have been done when the new army has at its core several smaller units already distinguished with the "Guards" appellation for valor.)

Over the prior ninety days, thirty-two German U-boats have been destroyed, but the Allies have lost more than two hundred and fifty ships to the German submarines over the same time span.

October 1
Bell's XP-59 twin jet engined fighter At Muroc Dry Lake, the first jet powered fighter for the U.S. takes to the air. The plane proves to be only marginally superior to the current generation of piston engines fighters, and never sees combat.
October 2
Second Shock Army, trapped since September 21 in an area south of Lake Ladoga, surrenders to the Germans. Russian losses in this operation can only be estimated, but some suggest that as many as fifty thousand have died, yielding only twelve thousand prisoners. Despite the victory, the Germans too are exhausted, and have suffered such casualties that they are unable to follow up the surrender with any offensive action.
October 4
As the deportation of Jews from Czestochowa to the death camps comes to an end, the Nazis order the medical staff of the local hospital to kill all of its patients. When they doctors and nurses refuse, they are told that they will ALL be shot if they fail to comply. Human frailty what it is, the survival instinct sometimes takes over, and thus, the very people dedicated to reducing suffering are employed to inflict it by the Nazis.
October 5
In the Ukraine, some five thousand Jewish men, women and children are executed in a carefully orchestrated mass murder by the SS.
October 8
In an abortive effort to silence the Japanese artillery on Guadalcanal, U.S. troops attack, only to be forced back within their defensive perimeter after very heavy fighting.
October 9
A major air attack is launched against the French industrial targets at Lille. Attacking with one hundred and fifteen heavy bombers, and escorted by one hundred and fifty-six fighters, nearly one-third of the bombers abort. Of the remaining force, forty-six are damaged and four are lost. (The raid produced wildly exaggerated claims for the B-17 and B-24 gunners. Initially, 86 fighters are claimed as killed or probably destroyed. These were later downgraded to 25 kills and 38 probable. Subsequent evaluation of the German records show that only 2 fighters were lost. These confused reports are collectively attributed to the "fog of war". No nation escaped its clutches.)

General Hyakutake, commanding 17th Army, arrives on Guadalcanal. Taking personal control of the battle, he immediately orders that reinforcements be suspended in favor of landing food and ammunition for the men of the Kawaguchi detachment.

October 12
Well before dawn, as both Japanese and American troops are being ferried into Guadalcanal, Admiral Scott's Task Force 64 sails into the Imperial Navy's 6th Heavy Cruiser Division. While the Japanese are thoroughly engaged in bombarding Henderson Field from Cape Lunga while reinforcements land at Tassafaronga, Scott's ships are able to steam across the bows of the Japanese in a maneuver called crossing the "T". In the ensuing Battle of Cape Esperance, he is able inflict very heavy casualties on the Japanese. The Japanese heavy cruiser, Furutaka, is lost, and Aoba, the second of three such cruisers, is damaged. Thus engaged with the American Task Force, the 6th Cruiser Division is unable to do much damage to Henderson Field. An accompanying destroyer, Fubuki, is also sunk, leaving only two Japanese ships relatively undamaged. Scott's force loses a destroyer, Duncan, in the action, and sustains damage to three other ships as well. A pair of Japanese destroyers, returning in the late morning to pick up survivors from the battle, are themselves sunk by aircraft from Henderson Field.
October 13
The Japanese Battleship Kongo.  Haruna and Kirishima were very similar. The Japanese increase their fire on Henderson field. Combining local artillery, some of which has just landed, with air attacks from other ground bases in the area, they try to make up for the failure of the 6th Cruiser Division to put the American airstrip out of action. Adding to the sense of urgency on the part of the Japanese is the knowledge that a major landing force is scheduled to be put ashore on the 15th. Admiral Kurita's 3rd Battleship Division lends their big guns to the cause, as well as those of the 2nd Destroyer Squadron. The heavy explosives delivered by the main guns of Kurita's Kongo and Haruna destroy more than half of the American aircraft, and much of their aviation fuel stores at Henderson Field.
October 14
The Japanese return with a cruiser force to bombard Henderson, while other ships land forty-five hundred reinforcements from the 2nd and 38th Infantry Divisions, at Tassafaronga.

Russian troops assaulting in Stalingrad Mindful of the previous winter's experiences with the weather in Russia, Hitler already orders the entire Army to take defensive postures, and hold its current positions throughout the season. Paulus, after gathering his forces for another surge against the Russians still fighting inside Stalingrad, attacks headlong into the Red Army. Three thousand Luftwaffe sorties are flown on this day alone, in support of the effort to get the Rattenkreig over with. Even for the veterans of 6th Army, this fighting is described as unprecedented in ferocity. (Tarrant, "Stalingrad", page 86. )

October 15
American air attacks on the Japanese landing force transports destroy three of the ships. In retaliation, the Japanese again send a heavy cruiser force to bombard the airstrip.
October 17
Taking a page out of the Japanese book, the U.S. Navy sends two destroyers to bombard Tassafaronga. The tactic is immediately rewarded, as large amounts of ammunition, recently delivered, are ignited by the shelling.
October 18
Admiral Nimitz relieves Admiral Ghormley as Commander of South Pacific Theater to spur a more active offense. He names Admiral Halsey to replace him.

Hitler issues a top secret order that requires his forces to treat "commando" type attackers with the utmost severity. All prisoners who are perceived to have been on such missions, regardless of the circumstances; "...armed or unarmed, in battle or in flight, are to be slaughtered to the last man." (Shirer, "Rise and Fall..." page 1245)

October 23
Montgomery initiates an action against the Germans at Kidney Ridge. West of El Alamein, the attack is slowed as the Commonwealth troops work their way through a mine field four miles deep in front of the Nazi positions.
October 24
In the early morning, an American invasion armada sets sail from Norfolk, Virginia for North Africa. Commanding one of three task forces headed east is General George S. Patton. Destined to become the most accomplished tactitian of his time, Patton commands the Western Task Force. For the next two weeks, the task forces zig zag across the Atlantic, avoiding detection by Nazi U-boats. Japan's Type 95 tank; it was obsolete at the start of the war

After a twenty-four hour delay, Japanese forces on Guadalcanal resume their attacks on the U.S. Marines. Begun before daybreak, the men of the 164th Infantry respond with artillery fire of their own, destroying a dozen Japanese tanks, and inflicting heavy casualties on the men of Japans's 17th Army.

October 25
The Japanese on Guadalcanal try again to dislodge the Americans, and again, they fail to do so.
October 26
Australian soldiers drive north from Kidney Ridge, towards the Mediterranean.

USS Hornet under attack and about to be struck by a falling Japanese bomber. U.S. and Japanese naval aircraft trade blows near Santa Cruz Island. The carrier Hornet is lost by the Americans, as well as a destroyer. A second carrier is damaged, as well as a battleship. The Japanese only suffer damage to two carriers and destroyers, but lose dozens of their dwindling inventory of aircraft and pilots. There begins a vicious downwards spiral in aircrew needs and proficiency levels. Since the Coral Sea battles, the Japanese Navy has been losing its highly trained aircrew much faster than has been anticipated. The need for pilots puts pressure on the training squadrons to reduce the number of hours flown by trainees, and bring them into operations quickly. This leads to low proficiency levels among the rushed graduates, who then suffer even higher loss rates against the American pilots. This increases the need for pilots even more; pressuring the schools to shorten the training period further...

October 28
Convoy HX-212 stumbles into a wolf pack and loses seven ships to the U-boats.

The Panzer Army Afrika, now stands at fourteen divisions in strength, but only four of these are German; the rest are Italian, and are far less capable than their German partners.

The allies achieve a new monthly record total of nearly 165,000 tons of Japanese merchant shipping destroyed, sending some thirty-seven ships to the bottom. Allied losses to Axis submarines, however, remain much higher. For October, the allies have lost ninety-four ships; more than 619,000 tons. These enormous monthly numbers are hard to put into perspective for those of us only old enough to recall the Falklands war, and not to have experienced WW II. The furor created when Great Britain's HMS Conqueror torpedoed and sank the General Belgrano, or the Argentine destruction of HMS Sheffield, two days later, are hard to reconcile with the commonplace losses of the Second World War.

The Argentine cruiser, General Belgrano, was originally an American WWII era "Brooklyn Class" cruiser, named USS Phoenix during its service with the U.S. Navy. Launched in 1938, it carried 2 helicopters, and 15 six inch guns, with a crew of about 1,000 men. At 13,645 tons, she was the largest ship in the Argentine Navy, except for the carrier, Vienticinco de Mayo; itself the former HMS Venerable. The Sheffield was a British Type 42 destroyer, displacing about 4,100 tons, with a crew of 270.
Struck by two torpedoes from Conqueror, Belgrano sank rapidly, taking 368 of her crew with her. Even some of the British leadership were stunned at the large loss of life, unrealistically expecting that the 44 year old ship would not be sunk by the attack; just disabled.
Sheffield, despite being designed and equipped specifically for the air defense role, was attacked May 4, 1982. Struck by a single air launched Exocet missile from a range of 6 miles, the warhead's explosion lit a tremendous fire on the ship. Twenty-one British sailors perished in the attack. The ship capsized and sank a few days later.
Younger readers may only have experienced the Gulf War, which had no major naval losses. The US Navy stood offshore primarily as heavy artillery and missile launching platforms during that war; poised to land Marines on a beach if needed, but not expected. A loss even half as dramatic as the destruction of twelve U-boats for the month of October, 1942 would have racked our Navy had those losses occurred to the U.S. in 1991. To lose ninety-four ships a month; month after month, after month, seems inconceivable now. The development of heavy lift aircraft, along with in-flight refueling, have reduced (but not eliminated) the need and importance for vast merchant fleets to be able to deliver men and materiel to any particular hot spot. Still, the need for fast ocean transport is such that today, pre-positioned war reserves of military equipment sit in the holds of ships all around the world. The world has become even more dependent on oil than it was in 1942, and the loss of today's VLCC's (Very Large Crude Carriers; supertankers) would be an international outrage, particularly among the environmental extremists. The 1940s' smaller ships were being sunk by the dozens, week in and week out during World War Two. Many of the ships lost took some of their crew with them to the bottom. Men who were not soldiers, but who put their lives on the line every day, nonetheless. Exactly how many, we may never know, but they all died in service to their country.

November 1
Soviet reinforcements, being ferried across the Volga to Chuikov, keeps 62nd Army up to strength, despite its terrible losses from the German attacks. So long as 62nd Army can hold the west bank of the Volga, they can be supplied and supported across the river. Arrayed north and south of the city, Paulus' nine divisions now face sixteen Soviet Divisions, and there are more being moved into position.
November 2
The Kokoda trail is retaken by the Australians on New Guinea, who have chased the Japanese down the Owen Stanley mountains.

In a very fierce battle , British and New Zealand troops in North Africa have cut Rommel's Panzer force back down to about thirty-five operational tanks. The cost is heavy, with 9th Armored Brigade sustaining nearly 75% casualties.

November 4
A despondent Rommel notes that the battles on North Africa are lost, and that the German Army is on the threshold of an African Dunkirk. If so, most of his men will be lost, for the German and Italian Navies are in no position to control the sea routes for any large scale evacuation. Even Hitler authorizes his withdrawal, which degenerates into a route from the British perspective.

The B-24; Sometimes referred to as the Flying Coffin By now convinced of the effectiveness of aerial patrols over U-boat infested waters, the British naval and Coastal commands urgently request that the long ranged B-24 bombers, equipped with extra fuel tanks, be supplied by the U.S.

The Japanese, having thus far suffered the loss of ten submarines in action with the allies, is very concerned about an alarming rate of loss in non-combat related accidents. The loss of RO-65, off Kiska Island in the Aleutian chain is the fifth such accidental loss since Pearl Harbor.

November 7
The Washington Press Corps becomes aware that a major development in the war is about to occurr, and besieges the War Department seeking information. Frustrated by the closed mouths found there, they move over to the White House, where they hope that their political contacts are more forthcoming. The President's secretary, Stephen Early, cordially invites them in and soon momentarily excuses himself. After a half hour's wait, the anxious press realizes that they have been locked in. Only after the landings have been made does Early return, announcing the assault. War As I Knew It, ©1947, in a footnote on page 3 from Beatrice Patton.

November 8
Operation Torch: The introduction of more than 100,000 American troops into the war against Hitler and Mussolini begins as several landings occur on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of North Africa. In French Morocco, Rear Admiral Hewitt commands the Western Task Force which lands more than two divisions, commanded by Major General George S. Patton Jr., at Safi, further north at Fedala, near Casablanca, and north from there at Port Lyautey. (Interestingly, Patton follows his men ashore only some eight and a half hours after the first wave's departure. It would have occurred even sooner, except that as he was preparing to enter his landing boat, the cruiser he was on, Augusta, opened fire with its main guns against some newly discovered French warships and the muzzle blast destroyed the landing craft that the general was about to use.)

The Center Task Force lands its men on the Mediterranean shore at Oran and Arzew. These are commanded by Major General Fredendall, and include half the 1st Armored Division.

The Eastern Task Force puts troops ashore at Algiers and Ain-Taya, under Major General Ryder, and includes the other half of the 1st Armored Division, as well as the 34th Infantry and some other units.

Safi immediately falls, but the French defending Casablanca refuse to surrender. Two Allied ships are sunk, and several French warships are fired on and damaged.

6th Army has inched its way forward to the point where it is now in control of 90% of the city. Still Chuikov will not give up, and continues to fight for every room of every building, on every street, in his tiny beach-head of rubble along the Volga.

November 10
The Luftwaffe withdraws more of its planes from Europe to the Mediterranean, as Hitler prematurely announces the capture of Stalingrad.

Admiral Darlan, in charge of the Vichy French defending North Africa, orders a general cease-fire. In anticipation of this development, the Nazis move into and occupy Vichy France and Tunis. Military installations are seized, as the Germans seek to prevent French assets from falling to the Allies.

The Tokyo Express continues to feed Japanese troops into the battle for Guadalcanal, as the enemies slug it out in the jungle. Both sides are now engaged in reinforcement operations, leading to a clash of naval forces on the 13th.

Italian troops occupy the Vichy island of Corsica.

November 11
Admiral Darlan orders the remaining French Fleet to put to sea, lest they too fall to the Germans. The lapse of time between his cease-fire order and its implementation very nearly causes the destruction of Casablanca. Only after Patton gets word of the Casablanca garrison's surrender, at 06:40 are the aircraft and battleships stood down from their attack missions; scheduled to go off at 07:30.
November 12
Late in the evening, Admiral Turner breaks off his landing operations at Guadalcanal, after receiving word that the Japanese are in the area.

Admiral Nagumo is replaced as Commander in Chief of Third Fleet by Admiral Ozawa.

Fuel stocks in Japan are down to only one million tons. To stretch this supply to its utmost, the Japanese Navy directs its ships' captains to refuel at local sources, rather than home ports. Symptomatic of the industrial production capacity shortfall in Japan is the drop in steel and aluminum production; both of critical importance in 1940's weapons technology. At the core of both problems is the work of the U.S. submarine fleet. A shortage of merchant shipping tonnage, necessary for the transport of raw materials to the resource poor Home Islands, prevents the Japanese economy from running at flank speed.

Anticipating some kind of imminent attack from their left wing, 48th Panzer Corps is pulled back from Stalingrad to reinforce Third Romanian Army on the weakly held flank.

British commandos land at the north African port of Bone, and further west at Djidelli.

November 13
Three American Task Groups; 62.4, 67.4, 67.1 under Rear Admirals Scott, Callaghan and Turner, respectively, break off their landing efforts at Guadalcanal and prepare to intercept Admiral Abe's bombardment group, consisting of two battleships; Kirishima and Hiyei , a cruiser, and eleven destroyers, between Savo Island and Lunga Point.

In the dark, the enemies meet, and the Japanese savage the U.S. forces, sinking the cruiser Atlanta, and the destroyers Barton and Laffey. The destroyers Cushing and Monson are badly damaged, and later explode. The cruiser San Francisco, damaged earlier in the day from a crashing Japanese plane, is further damaged in the battle, as are the cruisers Portland and Juneau, as well as the destroyers Aaron Ward and Sterett. The Japanese suffer three ships destroyed; the battleship Hiyei, which is only finished off the following morning by two aerial torpedoes, despite having been struck by fifty rounds, and a bomb from a B-17., and the destroyers Akatsuki and Yudachi. Kirishima, returning to tow Hiyei to safety, escapes damage when yet another submarine launched torpedo fails to detonate against her hull. The naval battle forces a twenty-four hour postponement of Japanese landing operations, and a new bombardment group is put together for the next day.

In the afternoon, Admiral Lee's two battleships, South Dakota, and Washington; TF64, are ordered into the area by Halsey.

Wairopi on New Guinea falls back into Australian hands.

November 14
After finishing off Hiyei in the morning, six Japanese transports coming down "The Slot" are sunk by U.S. aircraft. Many of the men are saved by the Japanese destroyers, and are put ashore when the four surviving transports are beached on the northwest tip of the island, at Tassafaronga. These will be destroyed the following morning as well.

USS Washington firing her 16 inch guns at near point blank range into Kirishima. During the night, Admiral Kondo's Second Fleet, including the battleship Kirishima, encounter Admiral Lee's battleships in what is known as Iron Bottom Sound. Quicker on the trigger, the Japanese sink three of Lee's four American destroyers, at a cost of one of their own, and the battleship South Dakota gets pummeled by forty-two impacts. Lee's other battleship, Washington, approaching unnoticed, makes a radar vectored attack in the dark, and in seven minutes, utterly destroys Kirishima. The Americans break off the expensive engagement, having ended another bombardment of Henderson Field, before it could begin.

November 15
The Luftwaffe's Fleigerkorps VIII, war worn by its continuous work over Stalingrad, has been reduced to about four hundred aircraft of all types ready for operations. The VVS is no longer outclassed in sky, and contests for air superiority over Stalingrad.

Allied airborne troops are inserted on New Guinea, south of the Japanese Buna/Gona beach-head.

November 16
Twenty-second Panzer Division arrives at their newly designated assembly area behind 3rd Romanian Army as part of the newly formed unit; Panzer Reserve Heim, on Paulus' northern flank. The Division has lain dormant for two months behind the Italian lines further north, without the fuel to conduct any kind of training or maintenance operations, much less operational maneuvers. When finally ordered to move out, half of the tanks are found to have been disabled by vermin. Nesting in the insulating and camouflaging straw, the rodents chewed up the tanks' electrical wiring. The ones that do fire up, hit the road without their support vehicles, and quickly run into trouble as the roads begin to ice up. Unequipped for such icy conditions in their first move since September, only forty-two of the unit's one hundred and four tanks arrive to bolster 3rd Romanian Army. (Tarrant, "Stalingrad" pages 93-93.)

The Czech built 38-T tank Built around the Corps staff of the 48th Panzer Corps, Heim's other Panzer unit in his reserve group is the 1st Romanian Panzer Division with only twenty-one German built tanks and eighty-seven Czech built Skoda 38-T tanks; very vulnerable to the T-34.

November 17
The British First Army, advancing east from Algiers, engages the German ground forces near Medjez el Bab, and are thrown back, while the Germans play for time to reinforce the DAK. Further south, American units advance into Gafsa, in western Tunisia.

Over the next four months, despite the overwhelming need for troops and forces to save 6th Army from disaster, more than 140,000 German soldiers will be landed in Tunis. Under the command of General Von Arnim, these troops become a blocking force, protecting Rommel's command further east from attacks in their rear. By month's end, the Nazis will have already landed 24,000 of these men, along with 130 tanks from Sicily, on Tunisia.

November 19
Operation Uranus: Hundreds of thousands of fresh Russian troops have massed both north and south of besieged Stalingrad. Two Air Armies; the 17th and 2nd, support Southwest Front, while 16th Air Army, under General S.I. Rudenko, flies with Don Front. A fourth air army, the 8th, supports Stalingrad Front. In a driving snow storm, Don Front and Southwest Front lead off the attack to draw German armor away from Stalingrad Front, in the south. The defense of the German northern wing, entrusted to the Romanian 3rd Army, collapses from the weight of Southwest Front's attack. Taking 55,000 casualties, the Romanians haven't got a prayer of stopping the Red Army. Even the 48th Panzer Corps, needed to protect the Luftwaffe's airstrips supporting 6th Army, is forced to pull back west, across the Chir river. The Russians of 21st Army and 5th Tank Army race southeast, towards Kalach, where they hope to meet up with 51st and 57th Armies from the south.

Nearer to the Volga, Don Front's forces make smaller pincer attacks designed to trap the German 11th Corps north of the city. These, however, are stopped by the German infantry.

Panzer Reserve Heim is first ordered to attack towards 21st Army, but is then redirected against 5th Tank. The men of 1st Romanian Panzer Division never receive the order to redirect their attack, and run headlong into the 21st Army without the support of the German 22nd Panzer Division, and the Czech built tanks are shattered. The tanks of 22nd Panzer, still without track sleeves to prevent skidding on the ice, can only deliver twenty tanks and a single anti-tank gun battalion to do battle with 5th Tank Army. These quickly blend in with the Romanians fleeing from the battlefield.

Australian troops, having chased the Japanese off the Owen Stanley Mountains and into shrunken perimeters around Buna and Gona, launch repeated attacks against the resolute defenders. The Japanese, fighting from well prepared defenses, fend off the Australians for a week, exhausting the attackers.

November 20
The southern wing of the massive Soviet pincer, Stalingrad Front, moves into action, as the 6th Army continues to fight, house to house, against Chuikov's reinforced 62nd Army. Yeremenko delays his opening artillery barrage until the fog begins to lift, and at 10:00 am, the attack begins. A Marine Brigade of 57th Army mistakenly attacks too soon, and the artillery preparation in front of them is redirected lest they be eliminated by their own bombardment. Surprisingly, the Russian Marines of 143rd Brigade break through the second line of Romanian defenses, and so Tolbukhin channels his 13th Mechanized Corps through this gap. The Fourth Romanian Army fares no better than did the Third, suffering thirty-five thousand losses and casualties. By 1:00 p.m., both 51st and 57th Armies are screaming towards Kalach, with the Romanians in panic stricken flight all around.

Close to the city's southern outskirts, Shumilov's 64th Army runs up against the German 297th Infantry division, and is slowed considerably in their advance. Hoth orders the 29th Motorized Division, behind the 297th, to attack north, into the flank of Tolbukhin's 13th Mechanized Corps. That night, after doing considerable damage to the advancing Russians, Von Weichs orders Hoth to pull the 29th Motorized Division into a defensive posture on 6th Army's western end of the south flank. This allows the Soviets free reign to join up with 21st Army near Kalach. At the same time, Hoth is stripped of his remaining German units, which are transferred to Paulus. This leaves Fourth Panzer Army with some fleeing Romanians under Hoth's nominal control, and nothing else.

Paulus has already ordered three Panzer divisions to pull out of the Rattenkreig, to strengthen his left wing, on Von Weich's orders. Already weakened by the failure of the logistics chain to properly supply him, these units have to scrounge fuel for the sixty mile move to the west.

November 21
The Russians are sweeping away all resistance from in front of their simultaneous drives on Kalach. From the north, Southwest Front has advanced sixty miles, and in the south, Stalingrad Front has covered thirty miles.

Directly in the path of 21st Army's 4th Tank Corps, is Paulus' own headquarters at Golubinskaya, only ten miles north-east of Kalach. Two hours before the Golubinskaya HQ is overrun, Paulus moves to an alternate HQ at Nizhne-Chirskaya, forty miles to the south-west. Flying over his fleeing troops, en route to the new HQ, Paulus realizes how totally routed the Romanian armies are, and that 6th Army is quickly being surrounded by Russian armor. He quickly request authorization to withdraw from Stalingrad, and form up a new defensive line, some one hundred miles to the west, on the Don and Chir Rivers. The urgent request, heartily endorsed by the new German Chief of Staff, General Zeitzler, is typically refused by Hitler, who orders 6th Army to hold their positions, and await further orders for their aerial resupply. With only a single rail line into Stalingrad from the west, Luftflotte 4 has already been flying supplementary supplies to 6th Army, as well as trying to keep Army Groups A and B supported in the Caucasus. Even the current combination of air and rail resources have proven incapable of meeting Paulus' requirements. Now that the rail line is about to be lost, the promise of being able to keep Paulus resupplied entirely by air is pure fantasy.

OKH orders Manstein's 11th Army Headquarters, now fully seven hundred miles north of 6th Army after their transfer from the successes of the Crimean campaign, to assume command of the newly formed Don Army Group. His mission is to push the Soviets back across the Volga river. To achieve this, Don Army Group is given control over Paulus' 6th Army, the utterly shattered 3rd and 4th Romanian Armies, Hoth's nonexistent 4th Panzer Army, and the re-formed 48th Panzer Corps, now under the command of General Von Knobelsdorff, using the debris from the smashed Panzer Reserve Heim. So long as Hitler directs 6th Army to remain in place, however, Don Army Group cannot exercise any authority over it, relegating the Army Group to a sort of stew-pot of chewed up leftovers, already mauled by the Soviets.

The Japanese troops on Buna, encircled and in dire straights after defeating an American attack south of the Buna mission, get reinforced with eight hundred men from Rabaul. These are put ashore by the 10th Destroyer Division.

November 22
By noon, 5th Tank Army's 26th Tank Corps is across the Don just outside Kalach, having captured a German pontoon bridge intact. Overnight, the Russians mass just outside the town.

Sensing disaster, the Commander of Fleigerkorps VIII, General Martin Fiebig, warns Paulus' Chief of Staff, General Schmidt; an ardent Nazi, that the Luftwaffe would not be able to supply an encircled 6th army from the air alone.

Hitler, leery of the reasons for Paulus' transfer to Nizhne-Chirskaya, orders him to move his HQ again. This time, Hitler selects the location; Gumrak, barely ten miles from the Volga itself, deep inside the encircled pocket! Once inside the pocket, Paulus again warns Army Group Headquarters of the fuel, food and ammunition shortages inside Stalingrad, and requests authority to order a breakout to the southwest if he deems it essential to save the Army. Von Weichs endorses the request, and forwards it to Hitler, warning that the Luftwaffe would, at best, be able to provide 10% of 6th Army's minimum daily requirements. He goes so far as to state that the proposed breakout will mean heavy losses,"...but far less than those that must ensue if the situation is left to develop , as it must do, in existing conditions, with the inevitable starving out of the encircled army as the certain result." (Tarrant, "Stalingrad", page 117)

Hitler's response is to travel to his East Prussian Headquarters from Berchtesgaden, where he can study the situation, and he forbids Zeitzler from taking any decisive action until he arrives.

November 23
Kalach, the scene of fierce fights during the past summer's advance by 6th Army, is further reduced to utter ruins.

Hitler, his personal aircraft grounded by bad weather, sits on his train bound for East Prussia, while Stalingrad Front's 4th Mechanized Corps reaches Sovetsky, only ten miles from Kalach. At 2:00pm, tanks from Southwest Front's 4th Tank Corps arrive on the scene, placing the noose around 6th Army's offered up head.

Paulus pulls in his exposed units, and develops his planned breakout, scheduling the start for the 27th. About 230,000 German and 12,000 Romanian soldiers remain inside the Stalingrad pocket, which is strung out north to south, along some forty-five miles on the western side of the Volga.

November 24
For his failure to stop two Russian Armies with his two tank divisions, General Heim is relieved and summoned to Hitler's headquarters. In a subsequent court-marshal presided over by Göring, Heim is sentenced to death. Subsequent to the trial, he is luckily released from the sentence as the facts of the case absolve him of blame for the fiasco. The circumstances of his release are nebulous.

The JU-52 cargo aircraft - a tri-motor design Göring guarantees that the Luftwaffe can resupply 6th Army. The commander of Luftflotte 4, Wolfram Von Rictofen, is not so sanguine. Sixth Army requires five hundred and fifty tons of cargo daily. This could only be met by 225 Ju-52 sorties each day; requiring, at a bare minimum, that many aircraft; one third of the entire Luftwaffe establishment of some seven hundred and fifty Ju-52's. There are two airfields from which to mount such an effort; Tatsinskaya, and Morosovsky. Should bad weather ground the transports for any given day; a fairly regular occurrence this time of year, the next day's deliveries would have to be doubled. Compound that with wear and tear on the engines eroding operational readiness rates; which are already down in the forty per cent range, and losses to Soviet air defenses, (they are facing four Soviet Air Armies), and it becomes immediately apparent that 6th Army is going to die if ordered to remain in Stalingrad. All the German commanders know this, except Hitler, and perhaps, Göring. Manstein's rescue attempt is a desperate grasp at straws.

With the Japanese surface fleet taking such punishment off Guadalcanal, the Imperial Navy attempts to resupply their men by submarine. Even this effort is interdicted, but the Japanese return on the 25th. They succeed in offloading eleven tons of material, but it amounts to less than 1 lb. per man.

November 25
The commander of the 94th Division, in charge of the northeast zone; General Von Seydlitz-Kurzbach, recognizing the futility of waiting for an authorization to withdraw from Hitler's headquarters, urges Paulus to begin an unauthorized withdrawal. (Tarrant, "Stalingrad" See pages 142-143 for the text of this letter, and Paulus' response.) His letter to the commander of 6th Army is endorsed by the remaining Corps commanders as well. Still, Paulus will not countenance such disobedience to Hitler's direct orders.

More than five hundred Norwegian Jews are arrested. The pattern here is the same as elsewhere in the Greater German Reich, and they are deported to the death camp at Auschwitz. Some estimate that this one action accounts for half of all Norway's Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

The Japanese defenders of Gona throw back an Australian attack, after inflicting heavy casualties.

November 26
With but a single 1,000 watt radio transmitter available inside the pocket, Paulus sends a hand written message to Field Marshal Von Manstein, who only now arrives at Novcherkassk on the lower Don, twenty-five miles northeast of Rostov, in an effort to break through to the trapped men of 6th Army. In it, he acknowledges that his continued obedience to Hitler dooms his men to death, but he will not disobey his clear orders to remain in position.
November 27
Seventy-three French ships are scuttled at Toulon, preventing them from falling into German hands.

OKH confirms Hitler's orders to 6th Army, and the airlift is stepped up.

November 28
The Allied troops put ashore during Operation Torch are within fifteen miles of Tunis.
November 30
The Japanese experiment with a more clandestine method of resupplying their forces on Guadalcanal. A destroyer force is sent to Tassafaronga with material sealed inside buoyant drums. The ships are to drop these over the side, to be recovered by small craft from the island. The theory is that the destroyers will not have to stop; it will not be apparent that they are on a resupply mission, so they will not be as susceptible to enemy attacks. By retaining their mobility, the ships are also less vulnerable and the troops can retrieve the drums when it's safe to do so.

The tactic is at least partially successful, when a U.S. cruiser force, dispatched to intercept the destroyers, is badly damaged from torpedoes launched by the Japanese ships. All of Admiral Wright's cruisers suffer some kind of damage, and North Hampton is lost. (Rear Admiral Carleton Wright replaced Kinkaid as commander of Task Force 67 only twenty-four hours earlier.) The 2nd Destroyer Squadron, under Tanaka, loses one of its ships as well, but fails to deliver the supplies to the troops.

By the end of November 1942, overall Luftwaffe strength is some five hundred planes lower than was available at the start of Barbarossa.

The first production run of the HE-177; a 4 engined, long ranged heavy bomber, has been interrupted to convert the aircraft to a transport, so that it could assist in the resupply efforts to 6th Army. Although powered by four engines, these were paired to only two propellers. Twelve hundred of the aircraft were eventually built, but reliability problems and disappointing engine performance seem to have prevented its widespread employment as a strategic bomber. The Luftwaffe also introduced into service a huge transport around this time frame; the six engined (with six propellers) Me-323. (Originally designed as a glider.) This was capable of moving ten tons a distance of three hundred miles. Both planes were tried in the effort to supply Sixth Army, and both were miserable failures.

Twenty-seven Japanese merchant ships have been sunk in November, whereas one hundred and nineteen allied ships (729,160 tons) are lost to Axis submarines.

December 1
MacArthur's frustration over the repeated failure of the troops under his command to eliminate the Japanese at Buna boils over. Reports of American soldiers breaking into flight during the attacks of the past week have not served to soothe his demeanor. He orders the newly arrived Lt. General Eichelberger, in command of I corps, to "take Buna or don't come back alive". (Avery Publishing group, "The Second World War Asia and the Mediterranean" page 137)
December 3
The Japanese again resort to jettisoning some fifteen hundred supply drums from the decks of the 2nd Destroyer Division, as a way to resupply their men on Guadalcanal. Of these, only about five hundred are recovered by the embattled troops. These desperate measures demonstrate the degree to which the U.S. has asserted local air and naval superiority.
December 4
Eichelberger, having cleaned house among his commanders on New Guinea, prepares to start a new offensive against the Japanese at Buna.

Russians attack the Don Army Group along the Chir river, tying up the German troops needed to open a relief corridor to 6th Army.

A new formation; Army Detachment Hollidt, is attached to 3rd Romanian Army. This theoretically consists of the ubiquitous 48th Panzer Corps, now made up of the 11th and 22nd Panzer Divisions, the 3rd Mountain, and 7th and 8th Luftwaffe Field Divisions. Most of the 3rd Mountain never arrives; elements are shifted here and there to meet local demands from Army Group Center and Army Group A, and 22nd Panzer is in serious need of a refit. The Luftwaffe Field divisions are incapable of conducting offensive action, and the 15th such division, due to join the 57th Panzer Corps hasn't even been formed yet. With all this working against him, Von Manstein's troops are subjected to a blistering attack by 5th Tank Army, all along the Chir river. Army Detachment Hollidt, instead of launching a secondary thrust north towards the pocket, is forced to spread its forces thin and confront the new Russian offensive.

December 5
The Luftwaffe efforts to increase its rate of supply to the isolated army reaches a new peak of three hundred tons delivered. This record amount is still little more than half of the Army's daily needs, which increase with every passing day's shortfall of deliveries. Sixth Army is already down to a two day supply of ammunition.
December 8
A force of four PT boats, operating off Tassafaronga, intimidates seven Japanese destroyers into withdrawing from their effort to drop supplies, not once, but twice, in the same night.

German food rations to the troops freezing inside Stalingrad are reduced to 1,000 calories per day. Many of the horses used to haul the men and equipment are slaughtered just to meet this starvation level requirement.

December 9
Australian forces on New Guinea succeed in taking Gona from the Japanese.

Soviet units renew their attacks on the German positions along the Lower Chir river, west of the Don. This constant pressure on an area that that holds the key to the German airlift into the Stalingrad Pocket, prevents the release of the 48th Panzer Corps to assist in the effort to relieve the pressure on 6th Army's rear.

December 11
At a conference with Hitler, Zeitzler tries to get the Führer to release the 17th Panzer Division from its positions behind the left wing of Army Group Don. The Führer had ordered this unit, so necessary to the attempted relief of Stalingrad, to these positions over Manstein's objections, for fear of a massive new Soviet offensive.

Soldiers of 6th Army begin to die from malnutrition and exposure.

December 12
Operation Winter Tempest:The rag-tag Don Army Group, reinforced with divisions from Western Europe and the 57th Panzer Corps from Army Group A, attacks north with a re-formed 4th Panzer Army. From Kotelnikovo, Hoth's tanks make progress against 2nd Guards Army and 51st Army on the southwest approaches to Stalingrad. Other units, such as Göring's Field Divisions, are spectacular failures.
(In Tarrant's work, "Stalingrad", page 157, he cites the following passage (here paraphrased) from Mellenthin's "Panzer Battles", attributed to General Balck..."As for the newly formed 7th and 8th Luftwaffe Field Divisions, they were gone, finished, in spite of the good mechanical equipment they had been supplied with. They were a creation of Herman Göring, which had no sound military foundation - the rank and file paid with their lives for this absurdity.")
December 13
Hoth's forces succeed in crossing the Aksay river, now frozen solid, about eighteen miles north of Kotelnikovo. They must still cross a second river; the Mishkova some thirteen miles further north, and then fight their way through the remaining thirty-five miles in order to relieve 6th Army. Hitler, optimistic for the prospects of Hoth's group, now releases 17th Panzer to Von Manstein, but by the time they can arrive on the scene, four days later, the Russians have already fought the offensive to a standstill.

Stalin authorizes Vasilevsky to transfer Second Guards Army from Don Front to the Mishkova, to meet Manstein's relief thrust.

December 14
US troops finally succeed in eliminating the remaining Japanese forces at Buna, on New Guinea.
December 15
Convoy JW-51, the first sent to the Russians since the African operation demanded all the Allied resources they could muster, arrives safely at Murmansk. This success comes at the cost of some of its escorts, who have traded losses with the Germans. Among the ships involved in the failed attacks, are Lützow and Hipper. Hitler, furious over the Kreigsmarine's failure to destroy the convoy, orders Grand Admiral Raeder to scrap his heavy cruisers and battlewagons, and to cannibalize the big guns for use as shore batteries. Rather than comply with this order, Raeder resigns. Admiral Dönitz soon succeeds him.

(Perhaps because the Navy bore so little responsibility for the Holocaust or Nazi atrocities and related activities, it seems pathetic that this is the issue to cause a German military leader's resignation; not the Commissar Order, or the Einsatzgruppen activities, or the Final Solution.)

December 16
Operation Saturn: On Don Army Group's northern flank, the Italian 8th Army comes under attack by the Soviet 6th Army, under Kharitonov, and the 1st Guards Army, under Kuznetsov. Further south, lay the 3rd Guards Army, under Lelyushenko, and Romanenko's 5th Tank Army. Like the Romanians before them, General Gariboldi's 8th Army is overwhelmed by the Russian onslaught, but they hold together for about forty-eight hours. The Red Army threatens to cut off Don Army Group by streaking clear down to Rostov.
December 17
The Americans on Guadalcanal mount an offensive to sweep the Japanese from Mount Austin.

The 17th Panzer Division, with only forty-four tanks, arrives near Verkhne-Kumsky to assist Hoth's forces which have been unable to even cross the Mishkova river, let alone break through to Stalingrad.

December 18
Manstein, seeing his forces halted and unable to break the Russian ring around Sixth Army, tries to convince Paulus to mount a breakout attempt towards him. Again Paulus refuses to mount such an attack, and disobey his orders from Hitler. Manstein counters that a failure to breakout now, will result in 6th Army's death by attrition. There is little more for Manstein to do, as the Russians are threatening to break through Don Army Group and cut them up as well. The Italian 8th Army is collapsing on the flank of Manstein's Army Group. To fill the void left by the Italians, Army Detachment Hollidt is forced to redeploy and halt the Russian threat to Rostov, ending their proposed counterattack to divert Russian forces from the breakout attempt.

Reinforced with tanks from Australia, the Allies break the Japanese defense on the north coast of New Guinea, and begin to roll up the enemy lines, north, along the shoreline. (There were almost no heavy weapons on New Guinea due to the very rugged terrain that the battles had been fought over.)

December 19
Fourth Panzer Army is only thirty-two miles from Stalingrad when Field Marshal Von Manstein orders Paulus to attack towards Don Army Group. The order is refused by Paulus who has only enough fuel to make twenty of the thirty-two miles, and feels it would mean certain death to the Army.

The arrival of Malinovsky's 2nd Guards Army along the Mishkova ends the German hopes of 57th Panzer Corps breaking through to 6th Army.

December 20
Himmler proudly announces that since August, when OKH directed the SS to administer the conquered areas of the Soviet Union, 360,000 Russian Jews have been executed.

Army Detachment Hollidt, after regrouping with two of the Italian divisions from the routed 8th Army, finds itself totally exposed to the enemy after these two division flee in panic when they hear that Soviet tanks have indeed, outflanked them.

South of there, the Romanian 7th Division and 1st Corps Headquarters, both abandon their positions on 48th Panzer Corps' left flank, as well. The Russians are now free to rampage along the German lines on the Chir river.

December 23
Faced with a potential disaster from the Russian forces on the Chir front, and after the failure of a last ditch effort by sixty tanks from Hoth's 57th Panzer Corps to break through the 24th Guards Rifle Division, elements of 4th Panzer Army are transferred from the rescue effort to stabilize the lines of Don Army Group.
December 24
The Soviets counterattack from the Mishkova sector, disintegrating the remaining Romanians and sweeping away what is left of 23rd and 17th Panzer divisions. The rescue effort has failed, and the rescuers are either dead or running west, just two steps ahead of the Russians. The Germans inside Stalingrad watch as the lights of the firefights grow dimmer in the distance, condemning them to their own private little hell. Tatsinkaya airfield, one of only two airstrips within about a hundred and fifty miles of Stalingrad, comes under Soviet artillery fire, and the transports are hurriedly flown off. Owing to Göring's orders not to abandon the airstrip until they come under direct fire, more than a third of the precious Ju-52s are lost.

Inside the Stalingrad pocket, the Russians try using a psychological approach to warfare. Loudspeakers are set up to blare into the German lines a repeated recording:


� "Every seven seconds a German soldier dies in Russia. Stalingrad-mass grave." �������� Seven seconds are then loudly ticked off, and the message is repeated...and repeated...and repeated...

Admiral Darlan, Vichy's heir apparent to Pétain, is assassinated in North Africa.

December 25
The commander of 8th Area Army; General Imamura, orders Buna to be evacuated. He does not, however, posses the aerial or naval resources required to extract the troops.

After a morning blizzard ends any German hopes for airlifted supplies as a Christmas present, the Russians launch an attack into the German positions in the northeast area of Stalingrad, winning back two miles of territory in some areas. Twelve hundred and eighty Germans die on this Christmas day inside the Stalingrad pocket.

Four thousand of the remaining horses inside Stalingrad are slaughtered to feed the soldiers. Tomorrow, the bread ration will be halved.

December 26
The airlift effort to supply 6th Army has come off the tracks. Current daily deliveries are as low as seventy tons. Although the Luftwaffe has exceeded some of the early estimates of its responsible commanders, and regularly delivered hundreds of tons of supplies, they have been unable to meet the army's single day minimum since day one. The five hundred and fifty ton requirement figure was reduced to four hundred while 6th Army reduced its existing stores and slaughtered its pack horses, but these are now gone as well. General Paulus is no longer able to even mount a breakout attempt. They can barely defend themselves.
December 29
Army Group A is ordered out of the Caucasus, lest those troops be lost as well as 6th Army.

Fourth Panzer Army has been fought off by the Russians, who have now succeeded in pushing them back beyond their Dec. 12 jumping off points.

By month's end, the Luftwaffe's bomber force is down to about seventeen hundred aircraft, on all fronts. This includes the small divebombers as well as the larger, multi-engined horizontal bombers, and the FW-200 coastal bombers. Of the fighters, JG5 is in Scandinavia, JG2 and J26 are covering the English Channel, JG27 and JG53 fly over Malta and North Africa. This has helped the Russians to achieve a 5:1 numerical superiority in the skies over the Eastern Front. (JG is the Luftwaffe's designation for a Fighter Wing; usually about 90 aircraft.)

December 30
Frustrated over the poor performance of the 11th Air Fleet, Japan's Admiral Sakamaki outlines their situation to Ugaki this way, "...present skill cannot be regarded as more than one-third of that of the past...Forty-four pilots out of sixty have had no experience with the Zero fighter." (Ugaki, "Fading Victory", page 317) There are only twenty fighters at Rabaul and Tinian, and these bases lack effective air defenses.
December 31
The Japanese High Command decides it is time to yield Guadalcanal to the Americans, and concentrate greater effort on defending the remaining areas of New Guinea. 8th Area Army is therefore directed to withdraw from the island.

Allied aircraft production in 1942 begins to overwhelm the Axis. U.S. figures have again nearly doubled the prior year's output, to 47,800 planes. The Soviet war machine, having relocated much of its industrial capacity to areas out of Hitler's reach, has produced 25,400 aircraft. The British have produced nearly as much as the Soviets; 23,600 planes.

Germany and Japan, having gambled on quick victories, have been unable and unwilling to muster the resources necessary to dramatically increase aircraft production. The two nations' combined figure barely tops that of the British, at 24,200 units, nearly two-thirds of which are German.

The Japanese' principle enemy is, therefore, producing weapons of war at something like five times the rate of their domestic capacity. A war of attrition can have only one outcome in the Pacific. This fact is not lost on the Japanese, who cling tighter to the idea of drawing the U.S. fleet into a single decisive engagement.

The entire concept of a single massive engagement is invalidated by the very command structure the U.S. has established in the Pacific. The American fragmentation of the principle of Unity of Command insures that there will be internal competition for resources, simultaneous operations, and dilution of effort throughout the theater. This is exacerbated further by the conflicts of competing service branches leading the different operational areas. Admiral King refuses to accept an Army commander for the Pacific Theater, dominated as it is by vast expanses of open ocean.

At the end of March, 1942, the Joint Chiefs had established MacArthur as Commander in Chief of Southwest Pacific Area. This includes the South China Sea, The Philippines, New Guinea, the Coral Sea, the islands in those areas as well as Australia. In order to satisfy the Navy's demands that MacArthur not be named overall commander, Admiral Nimitz was named to command the rest of the Pacific theater. This led to a situation not unlike that which had been in operation at OKW. In Germany, the High Command was forced to become a tactical headquarters for certain areas, and in the U.S., the Joint Chiefs now filled that role, to lesser degree, in the Pacific; for they are forced to reconcile the competing demands for resources, and thereby prioritize area operations.

So, by virtue of the internal friction among the American military leadership, a single decisive engagement that would destroy the U.S. Fleet is a virtual impossibility. Neither area commander would consent to the total commitment of his forces under the other's command. The resultant diminution of effort, however did present the Japanese an opportunity to combat the fragmented U.S. effort with superior force, if they chose to mass in any given area. But the Midway battle had already devastated Japan's Naval air arm; the one dominant weapons system in this theater, and their failure to widely incorporate effective radar systems in their warships put them at tremendous disadvantage. The shortage of fuel stocks and tankers also plays a role in the inability of the Japanese Navy to conduct a massive manuever.

German and Italian Naval warfare operations for the year have succeeded in destroying more than a thousand Allied vessels, of some 6,266,215 tons. Despite the widespread use of high frequency direction finding equipment aboard Allied shipping, in December alone, the Germans accounted for yet another sixty ships lost, and the Allies were unable to increase the size of the merchant fleet.

Among the Nazi death camps, the murderers at Chelmno have killed about 145,000 people, doing their part to implement the Final Solution. Poland will suffer the most massive loss of life among the countries subjected to the Holocaust, with nearly half of the Nazi's Jewish victims being of Polish citizenship.

The Kreigsmarine has finally succeeded in greatly expanding the U-boat fleet to 212 operational submarines.

Twenty-one ships of the Japanese merchant fleet were destroyed in December, bringing Japan's 1942's total losses to 952,000 tons.

January 2
The German held airstrip at Morozovskaya, under the same orders not to evacuate as was Tatsinskaya, is seized by 3rd Guards Army. As the need for more supplies for the freezing, and starving troops inside Stalingrad grows, the ability of the Luftwaffe to provide them shrinks.
January 3
Seven U.S. bombers are downed by Luftwaffe fighters over the U-boat pens at St. Nazaire. German pilots claim another forty-seven damaged, out of the sixty-eight attacking bombers.
January 4
The Japanese commander on Guadalcanal is ordered to prepare for the withdrawal of his forces in February.
January 8
Convoy TM-1 is assaulted by ten U-boats, and by the 11th, they succeed in sinking seven of its ten tankers bound for North Africa.

CASABLANCA CONFERENCE: In their third wartime meeting, Churchill and Roosevelt meet to decide the future course of operations. A plan for the invasion of France in 1943 is shelved in favor of an assault on Sicily. Again, top priority is given to the Atlantic war. Great Britain is to attack in the Burmese theater, and American troops will continue the offensive among the Pacific Islands.

January 8
The Soviets issue a call for Paulus to surrender the 6th Army. Paulus refuses, committing the Army to fight to its death. In so doing, he buys time for the withdrawal of Wehrmacht forces from the Caucasus and Starobylesk; tying up huge amounts of Russian troops.
January 10
Russian troops around the destroyed tank factory of Stalingrad General Rokossovski; now in command of the Russian Don Front, with seven armies at his disposal, launches a drive across the Volga to relieve Chuikov's heroic "rats" defending Stalingrad. Due to the typically smaller size of a Russian Front, and the extraordinarily large size of 6th Army, the opposing forces are not quite as widely disparate in manpower as the number of opposing formations might indicate. Still, Rokossovski has 281,000 well equipped and provisioned men, compared to some 191,000 starving wretches in Paulus' much weakened command.

After an hour long bombardment by thousands of artillery pieces and mortars, supplemented by the attack of four hundred Soviet aircraft, the Soviet ground attack on 6th Army begins.

January 12
The Red Army attempts to beak the siege of Leningrad with another offensive. The Leningrad Front attacks across the frozen Neva river, while Volkhov Front attacks west, toward Kirovsk.

Voronezh Front, opposite the German 2nd Army with their allied 2nd Hungarian Army, launches its attacks against the weakly held flanks of the Wehrmacht. Much as the Romanians and Italians before them, the Hungarians also collapse under the Russian assaults. About a hundred miles east of Kursk, and just north of Voronezh, the German 24th Panzer Corps is encircled by 13th, 38th, and parts of 40th Armies. To the south, the remaining elements of the Soviet 40th Army encircle the 2nd Hungarian Army, while the 3rd Tank Army sweeps around from the southeast.

Surrounded inside Stalingrad, the German 29th Motorized Division, along with the 3rd Motorized Division faces a concentrated attack by several divisions of Russian armor, and together they manage to destroy dozens of the enemy tanks in their fight to the death. The Russians compress 6th Army to the east, up against 62nd Army and the Volga.

In much the same way as he had assigned Manstein the absurd task of rescuing the trapped army with little more than the already beaten remnants that were supposed to have been guarding 6th Army in the first place, Hitler now appoints Milch to personally take command of the aerial resupply effort. Upon his arrival at Richtofen's Luftflotte 4 HQ, at Taganrog, he finds less than 30% of the aircraft are operational.

Pitomnik; the primary airstrip needed to supply Stalingrad is taken by the Russians. The Luftwaffe now resorts to airdrops, and attempts to fly supplies into Gumrak, which is under constant fire.

January 17
Released prematurely into battle, one of the new German tanks designed to dominate the T-34 and KV-1's; the fifty-five ton Mark VI Tiger tank, falls into Russian hands outside Leningrad. Well before the Germans can bring the weapon up to snuff, and even longer before they can be fielded in numbers, the Soviets are able to devise better anti-tank weapons to counter the new threat. Although its armor is not quite as thick as the KV-1's, the Mk-VI is much better armed, with a version of the PAK 36 88mm antiaircraft weapon mounted in its turret. With the proper ammunition, these were capable of destroying Russian tanks at ranges of fifteen hundred yards or more. In order for Allied armor or anti-tank weapons to be effective against it, they would have to close that distance considerably. In reaction, the Russians begin to design a new self-propelled gun to act as a tank destroyer.
January 18
Soldiers of the Leningrad Front link up with those from Volkhov Front, and open a corridor to the war ravaged city. After nine hundred days of siege, there remain only some 500,000 people inside Leningrad.

Further south, the Germans are forced to abandon the area around Voronezh, as the Russian have ripped a giant gash in the German lines.

The Jews remaining in the Warsaw Ghetto erupt into armed resistance. Never before have the Nazis been confronted with an armed populace determined to resist the extermination efforts of the SS. Various underground groups begin spontaneous resistance, taking the Germans off guard and meet with limited successes. The uprising forces the Nazis to assign even more troops to the tasks associated with the Holocaust.

January 21
Japanese resistance on Papua, New Guinea ends. The campaign has cost 13,000 Japanese lives, and taken 3,000 allied soldiers, most of them Australian, as well. The eastern side of the island begins to be transformed into a logistics base to supply the further advance of MacArthur's forces.

The primary German base in North Africa; Tripoli is taken by the British 8th Army, as they push the Germans west, into the guns of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Tunisia.

January 22
As the Allied air attacks on the German and Italian forces in North Africa continue unabated, an Axis ammunition dump is destroyed at El Aouina, causing estimated casualties of some six hundred men, and destroying or damaging thirty-one parked aircraft.

After four days of deportations from the rebellious Warsaw Ghetto, the Germans have managed to send five thousand more people to their deaths in the camps, and the operation is halted. The Jewish resistance groups are encouraged by the results they achieved, and begin to plan for a more vigorous defense of the ghetto in the future. More arms are smuggled in, and bunkers are dug as the population becomes actively aggressive.

After another huge Soviet artillery barrage announcing the start of renewed attacks, Sixth Army's last airstrip at Gumrak is assaulted by the Russians, and is soon lost. General Paulus evacuates his headquarters and moves into the city itself.

January 24
Paulus reports that his Army can only hold out for another couple of days, and asks yet again for permission to try and save some of his men, by filtering them out to the southwest. Again, Hitler resolutely refuses even this attempt to salvage anything of 6th Army, in spite of the fact that they are literally without food and ammunition.

The Japanese forces near Milne Bay, on New Guinea have been wiped out.

Roosevelt calls for the unconditional surrender of all Axis forces, in search of total victory; not incremental peace negotiations.

January 26
Rokossovski's tanks from the 21st Army have reached and taken the heights of Mameev-Kugan, that overlook Stalingrad, just west of the north/south rail line.

Seeking to put an end to the personal hell that has been Stalingrad, General Stempel, commanding the 371st Division, shoots himself in the head, General Drebber takes the 1,800 survivors of his 10,000 man 297th Division, and leads them into Soviet captivity, and General Hartmann, in charge of the 71st Division, commits suicide by stands erect on a railroad embankment firing directly into the Russian lines, until he is cut down.

The Russian 65th Army is first to establish a link from the west with Chuikov's tenacious 62nd Army inside the city. Soon afterward, the 21st and 64th do likewise, splitting the remaining Germans into two separate pockets.

January 27
The U.S. Eighth Air Force mounts its first strike against a target inside Germany proper. Ninety-one bombers sortie against the docks and submarine facilities at Wilhelmshaven. Of these, only fifty-three are able to drop their loads on the target area, despite unexpectedly weak resistance causing the loss of only three of the aircraft.
January 28
Inside Stalingrad, the Germans stop feeding the wounded and ill, so that the men still capable of fighting may have something to eat.
January 30
Following Himmler's take-over of the RSHA; Reich Main Security Office after the death of Reinhard Heydrich, Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner is now named to assume control of the organization.

General Von Seydlitz-Kurzbach is taken prisoner by the Russians in the middle of Stalingrad. He will go on to help form a group of Germans in Russian captivity dedicated to the defeat of Hitler.

January 31
Hitler, in a bizarre effort to get Paulus and his men to die where they stand, promotes the General to the rank of a Field Marshal, since no-one of that rank has ever surrendered before. The gambit to entice the weakened and ill Paulus to kill himself, or die fighting is a failure as he is taken into custody by the Red Army. One hundred and sixteen other officers are also promoted on the eve of their demise, for less than two per cent of 6th Army will survive the war and subsequent Russian captivity. Paulus and his men are taken prisoner by the Russians, leaving only the small group in the northern pocket still resisting.

Soviet casualties can only be guessed; perhaps as many as 400,000.����

The Luftwaffe has lost close to five hundred aircraft in the battle, and well over a thousand aircrewmen.

Hitler now allows the men in the salient around Demyansk, south of Lake Ilmen, to withdraw.

The 6th Army, some 300,000 men at its peak strength, is lost. Of the 91,100 taken into captivity by the Soviets, very few will survive to ever return to Germany. A typhus epidemic in the prison compounds causes the deaths of some thirty-four thousand of the survivors. The remaining men begin a one hundred mile march to Saratove, which kills many more. Barely five thousand will ever return to Germany.

For the month of January, twenty-eight Japanese commercial ships are sunk in the Pacific, as the monthly toll of her merchant fleet climbs.

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