||Field Marshal Rommel is appointed C-in-C
of Army Group B, the German forces in France north of the Loire
||The Germans announce the mobilisation
of school children for war work.
||Churchill and de Gaulle meet for talks
||The Eire government announces the arrest
of two Quisling Irishmen, parachuted into County
Clare by German planes.
||To make clear their displeasure
about ongoing assistance to the Nazi war effort by Francisco
Franco's Spain, the United States and Britain announce a total
oil embargo of the country. With Spanish life grinding to a
virtual standstill, Franco agrees finally to cease supplying
the Germans with critical war materials and to withdraw the
last Spanish troops fighting with the Germans in Russia. By
May, the embargo is lifted.
||Plans for invasion of France, Operation
'Overlord' are confirmed.
||Hitler speaks to a closed
door meeting of Nazi Party leaders and activists at the Hofbrauhaus
in Munich on the occasion of the anniversary of the proclamation
of the Party Program in 1920. Hitler refuses Goebbels requests
that the speech be broadcast and even prohibits any mention
of it in the newspapers.
||Leon Degrelle, leader of
the Belgian fascists and commander of the Belgian Waffen SS
legion in Russia, visits Paris in an effort to shore up morale
among his French counterparts.
||De Gaulle becomes the head
of Free French armed forces in place of Giraud.
||Goebbels takes overall control of Berlin.
||Amid rumors in the allied press that
he is dead or is locked in an insane asylum, Hitler appears,
but does not speak at the funeral in Munich of Gauleiter Adolf
Wagner. It is the first time Hitler has shown himself publicly
since his speech to the "Old Fighters" the previous
||Colonel General Hans V. Hube, whose
hard-charging aggressiveness on the Eastern Front had made him
one of Hitler's favorites, is killed when his plane crashes
on takeoff from Berchtesgaden on the return trip to his command
after offering the Fuhrer birthday greetings. Grief-stricken
at losing such an outstanding commander, Hitler orders a state
funeral for Hube in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.
||An increasingly depressed and dispirited
Mussolini arrives at Klessheim Castle near Salzburg for one
of his last meetings with Hitler. The Fuhrer warns that the
Allied invasion can be expected within "6 to 8 weeks,"
at which time he would unleash "new technical weapons"
that would turn London in a "heap of ruins." The Duce
||With Allied control of the skies over
Germany now virtually complete, Goebbels strongly objects to
Hitler's plan to fly to Berlin for one of his rare visits to
attend Colonel General Hube's funeral. Hitler insists on going
anyway. It will be the last time the increasingly reclusive
Fuhrer will show himself at a large public gathering in the
||Marshal Petain makes his first and
only visit to Paris in the course of the war to inspect Allied
bomb damage in the city. Crowds cheer him enthusiastically,
the same crowds who will cheer De Gaulle exactly four months
||Eisenhower decides that
D-Day will be the 5th June.
||The Free French claim that the resistance
now numbers 100,000 and plead for more military aid.
||The first orders from Eisenhower are
broadcast to European underground armies.
||General Hans Cramer, the last German
commander of the Afrika Korps, who was captured in May 1943,
arrives in Berlin. Imprisoned in a POW camp in Wales, his deteriorating
health caused him to be repatriated to Germany through the Swedish
Red Cross. He was brought first from Wales to London, the route
taken brought him through the south and south-west of England.
He was allowed to see the massive build up of tanks, planes
and ships getting ready for the D-Day invasion. What he didn't
know was the exact area of England he was being driven through.
He was told it was southern and eastern England and this is
what he reported to his seniors in Berlin, adding emphasis to
the Allied propaganda that the invasion would take place in
the Calais area.
||Charles De Gaulle proclaims his Free
French movement to be the Provisional Government of the
French Republic. Though the new government wins recognition
from Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Yugoslavia
and Norway, Roosevelt and Churchill are furious and refuse recognition.
They retaliate by excluding De Gaulle from the final planning
for Operation Overlord.
||Eisenhower postpones 'Operation
Overlord', the allied invasion of France, for 24 hours because
of rough seas in the English Channel.
||Before dawn, the Allied Expeditionary
Force of British, American, Canadian, Polish, and Free French
troops begins Operation Overlord, the long-awaited invasion
of France. After an intensive naval and aerial bombardment,
the first wave of 5 divisions (156,115 men) are landed at designated
beaches in Normandy named Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah.
This is preceded by the British 6th Airborne Division which
lands near Caen and some 12,000 paratroopers of the US 82nd
and 101st Airborne Divisions which are dropped on the Cotentin
peninsula. These forces are supported by 1,213 warships, including
7 battleships and 23 cruisers, 1,600 auxiliary ships, and 4,126
landing craft, as well as massive British and American air
support, which flys 14,674 sorties that day. Opposing
them in their bunkers and on the beaches are 5 German infantry
divisions with about 50,000 men and 100 tanks and assault guns.
Despite some heavy casualties, especially by the Americans
on Omaha Beach, the German defenders, stunned and surprised
by the massive onslaught, are progressively overwhelmed, and
most of the allied objectives are reached and secured by nightfall.
There is very little opposition from the Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine.
||British troops liberate Bayeux, five
miles inland from the Normandy coast. All beachheads are reported
||U.S. forces advancing from Utah Beach
capture St. Mere-Eglise and cut the crucial road and rail links
on the Cherbourg peninsula. Rommel puts all German forces in
Normandy onto the defensive.
||German counterattacks against Allied
invasion forces are unsuccessful for lack of armoured reserves
in the area. Troops of the 2nd SS Panzer Division 'Das Reich'
massacre more than 600 people in the French town of Oradour-sur-Glane.
While the men are shot immediately, the women and children
are locked in a church the alter of which is set on fire; those
who try to escape the flames are shot.
||U.S. troops fighting for Carentan,
link up with British troops, thereby completing a solid line
along a 50-mile battle front. So far, the allies have landed
326,000 men and 54,000 vehicles onto the Normandy beaches.
||Near Villers-Bocage, a single Tiger
tank from the 12th SS Panzer Division (Michael Wittmann's)
destroys 25 tanks and other vehicles of the British 7th Armoured
||His Majesty the King and de Gaulle
visit the Normandy front (separately). Carentan is finally
in U.S. hands after a weeks fighting in Normandy.
||General de Lattre de Tassignys
Free French land on Elba and complete its capture in just two
||The US First Army cuts off and isolates
the German forces defending Cherbourg.
||A violent storm in the English Channel
wrecks the U.S. Mulberry Harbour at St. Laurent (Omaha Beach).
20 allied divisions now oppose 16 German in Normandy.
||U.S. troops attack the outer defenses
||An all-out ground attack begins against
||The British Second Army begins a major
offensive in the area of Caen 'Operation Epsom'. After a naval
bombardment, street fighting is reported in Cherbourg. General
Koenig is appointed C-in-C of the Free French forces.
||US troops enter Cherbourg taking the
German garrison commander prisoner. The British launch Operation
'Epsom' in the Odon Valley West of Caen.
||The British gain Hill 112 in Normandy.
||The British 2nd Army's Operation
Epsom, designed to break through the German defenses
near Caen is halted by the fierce resistance of the 1st and
2nd SS Panzer Korps.
||The US VII Corps captures the last
harbour fort at Cherbourg, but the port rendered completely
useless for three weeks. The RAF carries out a saturation raid
(250 Lancasters) against the 2nd and 9th SS Panzer Divisions
at Villers-Bocage near Caen.
||The remaining 6,000 Germans in the
Cherbourg peninsula surrender. The Germans forces retake Hill
112 from the British 2nd Army.
||The invasion of southern
France is fixed for the 15th August. Since D-Day, the Allies
have landed 920,000 troops, 177,000 vehicles and 600,000 tons
of supplies and equipment. In the 24 days of fighting, they
have lost 62,000 men killed, wounded and missing.
||The end of the battle of the Scottish
Corridor in Normandy result in the German counter-attacks
failing to eliminate it. Field Marshal von Rundstedt, C-in-C
West, is replaced by Field Marshal von Kluge.
||The U.S. VIII Corps drives southwards
||In Normandy, one U.S. division gains
only 200yds and six German prisoners for nearly 1,400 casualties.
||Attacks by the US Seventh Army in
the Carentan area of the Cotentin peninsula are blunted by
violent German counter-attacks.
||The British Second Army begins a major
offensive Operation Charnwood aimed at capturing
||Units of the British Second Army enter
Caen which has been reduced to a heap of rubble due to the
preceding heavy aerial and artillery bombardments by the British.
U.S. XIX Corps begins its push for St. Lo.
||The US VIII Corps continues its attacks
from the Carentan area toward St. Lo, but is meeting with strong
||The US VIII Corps slowly gains ground
in its offensive towards St. Lo, against fierce resistance
by units of the German 7th Army.
||Hitler leaves Berchtesgaden for the
||Rommel is severely wounded by a Spitfire
attack after his inspection of defenses Southeast of Caen.
||The U.S. XIX Corps capture St. Lo,
but has suffered 6,000 casualties since the 11th July. Montgomery
launches Operation 'Goodwood' 40 miles east of Caen. However,
VIII Corps is stopped with loss of 200 tanks and 1,500 men
after the death ride of the armoured divisions,
which also destroys 109 Panzer's.
||The British 3rd Division is repulsed
from Emiville four times as the Canadians clear the southern
suburbs of Caen. The British 11th Armoured Division takes Bras
||Heavy rain for next two days ends
operation 'Goodwood' after 413 British tanks are lost.
||"Deutsche Gruss", the Nazi
form of salute, is introduced in to the Wehrmacht in the wake
of the July 20th bomb plot against Adolf Hitler.
||The US VII Corps launches 'Operation
Cobra' in an attempt to breakout from the southern end of the
Cherbourg peninsula, near St. Lo. The Canadians attack South
of Caen. Goebbels becomes the Reich Plenipotentiary
for Total War.
||U.S. troops breakthrough at St. Lo,
forcing a general German withdrawal from Normandy toward the
||U.S. troops take Coutances, thereby
meeting the objectives laid down for 'Operation Cobra'.
||Six British divisions attack at Caumont,
15 miles East of St. Lo.
||The British VIII Corps begins 'Operation
Bluecoat', an assault towards the river Vire. The U.S. 4th
Armoured Division captures Avranches, having advanced 35 miles
and taken 20,000 prisoners since the 25th July.
||Pattons U.S. Third
Army is activated.
||The U.S. VIII Corps moves West from
the Avranches area along the Brittany coast, but the main force
drives eastward. Turkey ends diplomatic relations with Germany.
||Hitler orders a counter-attack against
the U.S. troops from east of Avranches, in order to re-establish
positions on the coast.
||A purge of the German Army is announced.
In northern France, the allies take Rennes, Evrecy and Esqutsy.
||The U.S. XV Corps makes 50kms in about
7 hours, crossing the Mayenne river at Mayenne, while further
south the river is reached at Laval.
||The U.S. XX Corps enters Laval and
continues south-east. The U.S. 4th Armoured Division advances
to Vannes and Lorient, while the U.S. 6th Armoured Division,
on their right flank, is headed for the westernmost point of
the Brittany Peninsula and the ports of Brest. North of them,
8th U.S. Infantry Division is passing along the northern coastline
of the peninsula.
||The German 2nd, 116th, 1st SS and
2nd SS Panzer divisions, with 145 tanks to the East of Mortain
launch Operation Luttich, to counter-attack against
the U.S. 3rd Armys sweep to the South. The Germans move
against Avranches and achieve some success at Mortain. Assisted
by RAF Typhoons, the Americans are able to stop the Germans
by the afternoon. U.S. 15th Corps is turned north to meet the
Canadians in Falaise.
||The Canadians launch Operation 'Totalize'
South of Caen, with 600 tanks and 720 guns.
|| German Panzers fight viciously with
the Canadians and Poles who make only slow progress towards
Caen. The U.S. 5th Armoured Division take Le Mans. Eisenhower
sets up a HQ in France.
||The U.S. 5th Armoured and 2nd French
Armoured Divisions cover 15 miles to Alencon.
||U.S. troops capture Nantes and Angers
and drive South across the Loire.
||Monty launches Operation 'Tractable'
towards Falaise with a carpet bombing by 800 planes.
||The allies launch Operation 'Dragoon',
a combined assault on the South coast of France from Toulon
to Nice. 9,000 airborne troops are landed, along with 90,000
by sea. Six towns and 2,000 prisoners are taken. About 200,000
Germans (23 divisions) are in the 40-mile long, 11-mile wide
(at narrowest point) Argentan-Falaise gap, but start to pull
out as Anglo-Canadian troops resume the attack to the North.
Adolf Hitler describes this as The worst day of my life.
|| Radio Paris, the German-controlled
collaborationist radio station, goes off the air. General de
Lattre de Tassignys French First Army begins to land
in force in southern France. Hitler orders the withdrawal of
all German forces in southern France. The French Resistance
steps up its attacks on German posts along the Swiss border,
assaulting Machilly, Saint-Julien and Valleiry. The first two
surrender with minimal bloodshed, but the 20 German customs
officers at Valleiry are shot out of hand by resistants following
their surrender, along with two French women who were with
them. A German relief column arrives too late, shooting seven
civilians and burning 20 houses in retaliation.
|| The remnants of the Vichy French
regime in the French capital take flight for Germany as the
Resistance comes out into the open and seizes strong points
throughout the city. They establish a comic-opera government-in-exile in
the German city of Sigmaringen until the end of the war. The
Citadel at St. Malo surrenders after heavy fighting. Falaise
falls to the Canadians and Monty orders the pocket to be sealed.
U.S. armour frees Chartres, Orleans and Chateaudun. Field Marshal
Model takes over command of German forces in the West from
Field Marshal von Kluge who committed suicide because of his
involvement in the 20th July bomb plot. Marshal Petain and
his staff are interned at Belfort by order of the Führer.
The Vichy French government under Premier Laval resigns.
||The German Seventh Army moves across
the Orme but 18,000 prisoners are taken. The Germans begin
the evacuations of their troops stationed near the Spanish
border and the Gulf of Biscay.
||The Falaise pocket is now just seven
miles by six. The Germans forces are ordered to break out during
the night across the Dives. Pattons armour reaches the
Seine at Nantes and makes the first crossing 30 miles North
West of Paris. The Germans are granted a truce in Paris to
||The allies seal the Falaise gap, with
blocking forces taking 4,000 prisoners. However, the Germans
in the Falaise pocket break out along a single road and stream
out of the pocket for six hours before the pocket is resealed.
The Allies estimate that 10,000 Germans have died in the pocket
and 50,000 prisoners taken. Although one German division (77th
Infantry Division) is annihilated, 26 extremely weak divisions
do escape the pocket. The U.S. 79th Division reaches the west
bank of the Seine above Paris. Free French forces rise in Paris,
while de Gaulle is reported in France.
||The French First Army surrounds Toulon.
The U.S. Third Army reaches Troyes and Reims.
||U.S. armour is now at Melun, 35 miles
Southeast of Paris. U.S. and Free French forces meet outside
||The Germans stage comeback in Paris,
with fierce fighting reported. Bordeaux is evacuated by German
troops who occupy fortified bunker positions on the Gironde
west of the city.
||French armour reaches Paris as the
5,000-strong German garrison surrenders. De Gaulle enters the
|| After a delirious day of celebrating
their citys liberation from the Germans, Parisians are
brought back to reality shortly before midnight when the Luftwaffe
stages a vindictive raid that destroys a substantial part of
the citys working class neighbourhoods in the northeast.
Allied troops pour across Seine and drive East. The French
liberate Tarascon and Avignon in the South of France.
||The Canadians cross the Seine around
Rouen. The remaining 1,800 Germans at Toulon surrender as the
French claim a total of 17,000 captured for just 2,700 French
||U.S. troops cross the Marne and take
Meaux, 30 miles East of Paris. The last German garrison at
Marseilles surrenders to the French, who take 37,000 prisoners
for 4,000 French casualties.
||The British begin the Race
for Amiens. U.S. troops liberate Soissons, 60 miles
Northeast of Paris. Montelimar is taken by the French who also
cross the Rhone in several places. The Canadians enter Rouen.
||The U.S. 3rd Army, whose 4th Armored
Division is already at Troyes is ordered to continue East until
the tanks run dry and from that point, to advance on foot,
in order to get across the Meuse river.
||The British 11th Armoured
Division captures Amiens and take the German bridge across
the Somme in surprise attack. Montpellier, Beziers, Narbonne
and Nice all taken. The U.S. Third Army reaches the river Meuse.
||The British XII Corps
crosses the Somme and the Canadians liberate Dieppe. American
troops of Patton's Third Army take Verdun. American troops
start their attack to capture the strategic port city of Brest
which the Germans have turned into a fortress.
||The allies cross into Belgium.
||The British Second Army liberates
Brussels. The U.S. First Army takes Tournai. French and U.S.
forces enter Lyons. Field Marshal von Rundstedt assumes command
of the German armies in the West.
||The British 11th Armoured Division
takes Antwerp and the docks undamaged.
||The U.S. 3rd Army crosses the Meuse
as the British reach Ghent.
||The Canadians surround Calais, trapping
the German garrison. Liege falls to British troops, while the
U.S. First Army pushes East through Belgium, crossing Meuse.
Ghent and Courtrai are liberated.
||The British 11th Armoured Division
crosses the Albert Canal, to the East of Antwerp. The U.S.
Third Army crosses the Moselle. U.S. 9th Air Force fighters,
supporting elements of the U.S. 7th Army in southern France,
destroy an estimated 500 German vehicles along a 25km section
of road. Germany's armoured forces have been shattered along
the western front. German Army Group B has only about a hundred
||Canadians take Ostend, while the U.S.
First Army take Liege, just 20 miles from the German border.
||General de Gaulle forms a provisional
French government that includes Communists.
||Eisenhower agrees to Montys
airborne plan Operation 'Market Garden'. U.S. troops enter
Luxembourg. The first allied patrol crosses German frontier
east of Liege, near Aachen. US First Army occupies Luxembourg.
||The 15th Scottish Division crosses
the Dutch border, east of Antwerp. A bridgehead is established
across Meuse-Escaut canal. The U.S. Third Army captures a large
part of Maginot Line intact and reach the German border at
Trier on the Moselle river. The 1st French Division occupies
||The German garrison at Le Havre surrenders
after very heavy fighting.
||The U.S. Ninth Army is engaged in
heavy fighting as the German garrison keeps up its resistance
||The U.S. First Army reaches the Siegfried
Line, to the East of Aachen and less than 40 miles west of
Bonn. Maastricht and Eysden in southern Holland liberated.
The US First Army occupies Nancy.
||Dr. Goebbels exhorts all Germans to
resist with the utmost fanaticism.
|| Operation 'Market Garden' begins
with First Allied Airborne Army drops at Eindhoven, Nijmegen
and Arnhem to secure bridgeheads, as the British Second Army
pushes north into Holland from Belgium, to link up. Canadians
launch all-out assault on the Boulogne garrison.
||The U.S. Ninth Army finally takes
Brest after a long struggle. The Germans launch heavy counter-attack
in Arnhem sector.
||The British advance from Belgium is
now only two miles from the airborne forces at Nijmegen in
Holland, but British paratroop forces dropped at Arnhem encounter
unexpected heavy German resistance. The Belgian Parliament
meets formally in Parliament House, Brussels for first time
since May 1940.
||British armoured forces of XXX Corps
link up with U.S. paratroops at Nijmegen, capturing the bridge
||Polish paratrooper's land between
Arnhem and Nijmegen as the British force at Arnhem bridge is
overwhelmed. Autumn rains impede the allied advance as the
U.S. 85th Division takes Firenzwold.
||The British Second Army is now five
miles North of Nijmegen, but still six miles from Arnhem. The
U.S. First Army halts its offensive West of Aachen. German
troops holding out in the port city of Boulogne finally surrender
to Canadian forces.
||The Canadians win a bridgehead over
the Escaut Canal.
||The British Second Army reaches the
Lower Rhine in force. The British paratroops at Arnhem are
now under severe pressure. British troops cross the German
border to the Southeast of Nijmegen. The U.S. Third Army's
Moselle bridgeheads to the South of Metz are sealed off by
||The Canadians begin all-out attack
on the German stronghold at Calais. Hitler orders the formation
of the Volksturm, the German home guard. The British evacuate
the remaining paratrooper at Arnhem, but only 2,163 men out
of nearly 10,000 return.
||The Canadians take Cape Gris Nez,
Southwest of Calais and grant a 24-hour truce for Germans to
||The 7,500 strong Calais garrison surrenders
to the Canadians. Rejoicing in the streets of Dover at the
announcement that the last of the German cross-channel guns,
which have pounded the southeast coast of Britain for three
years, have been silenced.
||The allies begin a 60-hour
truce at Dunkirk to allow the evacuation of civilians. The
U.S. Third Army resumes its attack on Fort Driant, Metz for
the next 10 days.
||The Canadians enter Holland.
||The Canadian 3rd Division attacks
the Breskena Pocket, South of the Scheldt.
||Units of the U.S. Ninth Army reach
the outskirts of Aachen on the German border.
||The American 24-hour surrender ultimatum
to Germans at Aachen is rejected. The Canadians enter the Breskens
Pocket along the Scheldt with amphibians.
||The Germans fall back across the Lower
Rhine, west of Arnhem.
||Field Marshall Rommel commits suicide
after he is implicated in the 20th July Bomb Plot.
||The U.S. First Army surrounds Aachen.
||The call up for the Volksturm begins
in Germany, with all able-bodied men from 16 to 60 to be conscripted.
German radio says 50,000 officers have been killed so far in
war. Himmler becomes Commander-in-Chief, Forces of Interior.
||Field Marshal Model gives up the attempts
to relieve Aachen.
||Aachen finally falls to the U.S. First
Army, earning the distinction of being the first German city
to be captured. 12,000 German prisoners have been taken since
the 2nd October. Breskens is captured by the Canadians, but
fighting continues for 10 more days in the pocket.
||The Germans begin to withdraw into
||The British reach the river Mass,
south of Rotterdam and establish a bridgehead. The Canadians
||The British Royal Marines and Army
Commandos land on Dutch island of Walcheren off the Scheldt
Estuary in an attempt to clear the German defenders from this
|| The Canadians take Zeebrugge, the
last corner of occupied Belgium, on Channel coast. The Canadian
2nd Division withdraws from a 700yd deep bridgehead in Walcheren.
All eligible Germans are ordered to enroll in Volksturm on
pain of court-martial.
||Middelburg is surrendered by the 2,000
||For the first time in the history
of the Third Reich, Hitler fails to appear in Munich to address "the
Old Fighters" on the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall
Putsch. Speculation mounts as Himmler reads a speech in the
||The last Germans on Walcheren surrender.
German forces evacuate the Moerdijk bridgehead across the Meuse
||The German First Army HQ leaves Metz
as the U.S. Third Army gains three bridgeheads over the Moselle.
||Free French forces under General Leclerc
attack from Alsace towards the upper Rhine.
||De Lattre launches an attack in the
snow near the Swiss border, to take Belfort. The U.S. 95th
infantry Division begins to capture the Metz forts. The British
begins their attack on Maas in central Holland.
||The U.S. First and Ninth Armies launch
a new attack to the East of Aachen towards the Roer Dams (6
miles away) with four divisions on a 25-mile front. With Antwerp,
Marseilles and other liberated ports now available for Allied
use, the so-called "Red Ball Express," a relay of
U.S. Army supply trucks operating between the front and the
Normandy beaches, is finally shut down.
||The U.S. Third Army crosses the German
frontier. Metz is cut off and surrounded by the U.S. Third
Army's, XX Corps.
||The U.S. 95th Division fights its
way into the suburbs of Metz. The French 1st Armoured Division
reaches the Rhine.
||With artillery audible in the distance,
Hitler departs for Berlin from the Wolfschanze (Wolf's Lair),
his headquarters near Rastenburg in East Prussia that he has
occupied since the beginning of the war with the Soviet Union
in June 1941. Although construction work continues on the headquarters,
Hitler never returns.
||Fighting in Metz is over but seven
forts still hold out.
|| The allies cross the Saar near the
Franco-German border. Troops of the French First Army capture
Mühlhausen in Alsace, while the French 2nd Armoured Division
||The French take Belfort.
||The U.S. Ninth Army reaches
the Roer from Julich to Linnich. The French First Army closes
its pincers at Bumhaupt, but only part of German 63rd Corps
is trapped, 17,000 prisoners and 120 guns have been taken since
||The allied advance into
the Saar on the Franco-German border continues.
||Armoured units of the US 3rd Army
succeed in penetrating the fortified German lines of the Westwall
||The U.S. Third Army advances into
Germany along a 30-mile front.
||German troops evacuate Jülich
on the Roer river.
||The US Third Army captures Hagenau
||The underground V-weapon factory at
Wittring is captured by the U.S. Third Army.
||German forces of 7th Armee withdraw
in to the fortified positions of the Westwall.
||The German Army in the West begins Operation
Wacht am Rhein, with the objective of splitting the
allied forces and capturing the strategic port of Antwerp.
Under the control of Heeresgruppe B, the attacking forces pouring
forth from the Ardennes forest comprise of the 6th SS Panzer
Army, 5th Panzer Army and the 7th Army providing flank support
to the south of the line of advance. The German offensive manages
to breakthrough the American front on a 70-mile front.
||After some deep penetrations into
the lines of the unprepared American forces, the Germans make
only slow progress due to limited roads as well as difficult
terrain and weather conditions in the Ardennes, not reaching
any assigned first day objectives. The allies rush reinforcements
to the Ardennes.
||'Operation Wacht am Rhein' begins
to bog down in the face of stiffening U.S. resistance and the
lack of adequate logistical support, notably fuel for the armoured
Kampfgruppen of the 6th SS and 5th Panzer Army's.
||Nearly 9,000 surrounded Americans
surrender in the Schnee Eifel, the most serious U.S. reverse
in Europe. SHAEF orders the 101st Airborne Division as well
as the 10th Armoured Division to be detached from 3rd Army
and moved North to aid the 28th Infantry Division in its defense
of the vital road junction of Bastogne.
||In their torturous advance toward
the Meuse river, armoured units of 6th SS Panzer Army capture
Stavelot, searching for allied fuel dumps to replenish their
nearly exhausted supplies of gasoline.
||The U.S. First Army retakes Stavelot
but to the south, the Germans besiege Bastogne. Units of 5th
Panzer Army capture St. Vith.
||The allies report that the Germans
have penetrated up to 40 miles in the Ardennes. The American
defenders of Bastogne receive the German surrender ultimatum
which Brigadier General McAuliffe, answers with the single
word, "Nuts!". Rundstedts suggestion of a
withdrawal is refused by Hitler. The U.S. 3rd Army begins an
offensive to relieve Bastogne.
|| The 2nd Panzer Division is just four
miles from the river Meuse, Southwest of Liege, but is stopped
by the U.S. 2nd Armoured Division with British help.
||Eight French Gestapo leaders are executed
in Paris. Bastogne is relieved by the U.S. 4th Armoured Division.
||U.S. troops gain ground against the
||The Germans launch a heavy attack
on the Bastogne corridor in the Ardennes. The British attack
on Houffalize is halted by bitter German resistance.
||Rochefort is back in U.S. hands. Third
Army launch new counter-offensive near Bastogne. At about 11pm
the Germans launch their 'Nordwind' offensive towards Strasbourg.