February 26th, 1945 (MONDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMS Cawsand Bay launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: The Canadian First Army launches Operation Blockbuster, a major offensive against Udem, Calcar and Xanten.
SYRIA: Damascus: Syria declares war on Germany and Japan.
BURMA: Thabuktong is captured in the drive for Meiktila and Indian troops advance on Mandalay to distract attention from Slim's main thrust from Pagan.
VOLCANO ISLANDS: Iwo Jima: The US Marines are predicting Allied control of Iwo Jima within days after seizing a second airstrip, Moyotomi No 2, and Hill 382, a strategic artillery post, as fierce fighting continues. "We can expect to take this island in a few more days," said Maj-Gen Holland Smith, the commander of the Pacific Fleet Marine Force. The seizure of the central plateau airfield means that the Marines are no longer fighting uphill and can now fight on a broader front. Ahead to the north lie thick defences around Motoyami, behind which there is a third airstrip, still under construction.
General Smith warned his men not to underestimate the task, even though the appallingly high daily US casualty rate is beginning to fall and there are signs that the enemy is short of water. "This fight is the toughest we've run across in 168 years," he said. The US needs Iwo's airfields to provide fighter cover for B-29 raids on Japan.
Today the first flights are made by observation planes from the South Field.
JAPAN: Strikes by TF 58 are scheduled for the Nagoya area but these are cancelled due to bad weather and the carrier force retires to the Okinawa area. (Jack McKillop)
CANADA: Corvette HMCS Thorlock departed Halifax to escort Convoy SC-168. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: The Casablanca-Class escort aircraft carrier USS Salamaua (CVE-96) returns to San Francisco, California for permanent repair. On 13 January, a kamikaze carrying two 250 kg. (551-pound) bombs crash USS Salamaua's flight deck killing 15 and wounding 80+. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer USS Power laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
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