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April 5th, 1939 (WEDNESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The aircraft carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS is launched by Vickers Armstrong.

U.S.A.: The motion picture Boy Trouble is released by Paramount pictures. More...

Secretary of State Cordell Hull writes to Congressional Committees asking for an arms embargo law. He says, ". . . this Government should no longer be left in the position of being unable to join the other governments of the world in preventing the supply of arms and munitions for use in an international conflict when it is exercising its diplomacy and the whole weight of our national influence and prestige to prevent or put an end to that conflict."  (Jack McKillop)


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5 April 1940

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April 5th, 1940 (FRIDAY)

NORWEGIAN CAMPAIGN: Scapa Flow: British minelaying ships leave for Norway commanded by Vice-Admiral Whitworth on the battle cruiser Renown, with eight destroyers as escorts and four destroyers to lay mines across the Leads outside Narvik Fjord.

UNITED KINGDOM: Westminster: The Prime Minister told a Conservative Party meeting today that after seven months of war he feels ten times as confident of victory as he did at the start. In this unusually buoyant mood Mr. Chamberlain said: "One thing is certain. Hitler has missed the bus."

The speech appeared to be aimed at dispelling some signs of public impatience about the conduct of the war. Mr. Chamberlain recalled that Germany was turned into an armed camp in the years before the war while Britain postponed rapid rearmament so long as any hope of peace remained.

He went on: "It was natural then to expect that the enemy would take advantage of his initial superiority to make an endeavour to overwhelm us and France before we had time to make good our deficiencies. Is it not extraordinary that no such attempt was made?"

Having made his point, he declared: "Whatever the reason, Hitler has very little margin of strength still to call upon."

RAF Fighter Command: An unknown number of Luftwaffe aircraft attack Scapa Flow. RAF claim 5 destroyed.

U.S.S.R.: Katyn: Secret police remove a group of Polish officers from Kozelsk prisoner-of-war camp and shoot them dead in a wood. It is feared that this could be the first of a series of killings.

NORWAY: Oslo: The Allies send a diplomatic note to saying Norway that they reserve the right to cut off Norwegian supplies to Germany.

IRAQ: MacPhail and Burton fly from Habbaniya for their second reconnaissance mission over the Soviet oilfields. This time the target is Batum, the most important Soviet oil seaport on the Black Sea and the terminal point of the Baku pipeline. They fly across Turkey and approach Batum at high altitude from the Black Sea. They just finish photographing the port and are circling over the rows of oil refineries, when anti-aircraft shells explode around them. MacPhail pulls up the aircraft and is able to escape under a protective cloud cover.


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5 April 1941

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April 5th, 1941 (SATURDAY)

FRANCE: An RAF Beaufort torpedoes and badly damages the Gneisenau at Brest; the plane is shot down.

GERMANY: Marienehe: The He 280 V1 jet fighter prototype is demonstrated before Luftwaffe and RLM officials including Udet, Lucht, Eisenlohr, Reitenbach and Schelp.

YUGOSLAVIA: Associated Press reports:

Italy closed the Yugoslav border at Fiume tonight and mined the international bridge. The Yugoslav consul at Fiume departed hurriedly for home.

The German plan of operations provides for a concentrated three-pronged armoured attack on Belgrade from Sofia, Banat [region in Hungary and Yugoslavia], and Austria. First, Field Marshal List's Twelfth Army advanced from Bulgaria, preparing to move into Yugoslavia and then march on Greece out of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Twelfth Army was to be followed a few days later by von Weich's Second Army that just assembled in Austria. The Italian High Command then ordered forces of General Ambrosio's Second Army to march along the Adriatic coast and strike at Greece from Istria and Ljubljana [Yugoslavia] and simultaneously to support the defence of Albania against the Greeks. A total of approximately 85 Axis divisions entered the field against Yugoslavia and GREECE: 35 German, 45 Italian and 5 Hungarian. 52 of them - 24 German, 23 Italian and 5 Hungarian - were deployed against Yugoslavia, and 27 against Greece, with one division securing the border with Turkey and 5 divisions kept in reserve.

The Yugoslavian plan of operations, "R-41," provides for the defence of the entire length of the border. Almost the whole Yugoslav army - 27 divisions or 88% of all its forces - was to be deployed in defensive operations, leaving only minimal reserves. The Yugoslavs planned only one offensive action in which they were to combine with Greek forces along the Albanian front. The dispersal of the Yugoslav forces along an extended border front limited their operational capability.

GREECE: General Maitland Wilson formally takes command of the forces in central Macedonia with his advanced headquarters at the foot of Mt Olympus on the main Larisa-Florina road. The 1st Australian Corps commanded by General Thomas Blamey is situated from the sea to the Veria Pass. The Greek forces, two divisions called the Central Macedonian Army are in the Vernion mountains, north of Veria. (Anthony Staunton)

U.S.S.R.: Moscow: The government offers Yugoslavia a treaty of friendship and non-aggression but not mutual assistance. The Yugoslav government accepts the offer and a treaty is signed in Moscow; the German government condemns the treaty.  (Jack McKillop)

The MiG-3 fighter plane makes its maiden flight.

LIBYA: German troops take Barce, 200 miles from their start point at El Agheila. The main reason why Rommel is meeting so little resistance is that so many men have been withdrawn from Wavell's army to join the British expeditionary force to Greece. The 2nd Armoured Division is new in the desert; its men are untrained in this unique form of mobile warfare, and many of its tanks have broken down.

U.S.A.: The motion picture "The Great Lie" is released in the U.S. This soap-opera drama, directed by Edmund Goulding, stars Betty Davis, George Brent, Mary Astor and Hattie McDaniel. The plot centres around two women, Davis and Astor. Brent marries Davis but gets Astor pregnant and then he is lost in an airplane crash in South America leaving the two women to battle for the child. Ms. Astor won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. (Jack McKillop)

NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN: Slow Halifax/UK convoy SC26 is attacked by U-boats for two days and loses 10 merchantmen. Escorting destroyer HMS Wolverine and sloop HMS Scarborough sink U-76 (Type VIIB), only one U-boat crewmember dies the other 42 survive.

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5 April 1942

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April 5th, 1942 (SUNDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Of the eleven merchant ships that left Sweden on 1 April, two have reached Britain, six have been sunk or scuttled, and three have returned to Sweden.

FRANCE: During the night of the 5th/6th, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 20 Whitleys to bomb the Gnome and Rhone aircraft engine factory in the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers; 14 aircraft bomb but the main target is not hit. Local records show one  house destroyed and four damaged, with no casualties. In a second mission, 14 aircraft bomb the port area at Le Havre.  (Jack McKillop)

NETHERLANDS: During the night of the 5th/6th, RAF Bomber Command dispatches six Blenheim intruders to attack airfields; individual aircraft hit De Kooy, Leeuwarden, Schipol and Soesterberg Airfields.  (Jack McKillop)

NORWAY:  In Oslo, 654 of the 699 Lutheran ministers resign their civil service positions in protest of the German occupation of their country.  (Jack McKillop)

GERMANY: Fuhrer Directive 41 is issued and the Wehrmacht has its marching orders for 1942. Leningrad is to finally be captured and contact is to be made with the Finns east of Lake Ladoga, but that is a secondary objective. The big plan is in the South, which involves 2nd Army and 4th Panzer Army breaking through to Voronezh on the Don River. 6th Army will break out south of Kharkov and combine with the 4th Panzer Army to surround the enemy. After that, the 4th Panzer Army and 6th Army will drive east under the command of Army Group B and surround Stalingrad from the North, while Army Group A's 17th Army and 1st Panzer Army will do so from the South. Once Stalingrad is taken, the 6th Army will hold the flank defence line while Army Group A drives South into the Caucasus to seize the oilfields and become the northern punch of a grand pincer movement (the southern half being Rommel) to seize Suez, the Nile Delta, the Middle-East and its oilfields.  (Mikko Härmeinen and Jack McKillop)
     During the night of the 5th/6th, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 263 aircraft, 179 Wellingtons, 44 Hampdens, 29 Stirlings and 11 Manchesters, to bomb the Humboldt works in Cologne; 219 bomb the target claiming good results with the use of GEE but the nearest bombing photographs developed were 5 miles (8 kilometres) from the Humboldt works. The Cologne report lists just one industrial building hit, a mill in the Deutz area, with 90 houses destroyed or seriously damaged and other buildings, including a hospital, hit. Seven people were killed and nine injured in the bombing. There were further casualties among a crowd who were watching a burning bomber which had crashed in the middle of Cologne; the bomb load exploded killing 16 people and injuring 30 more. The bomber's crew had been killed in the original crash. Two of the aircraft dispatched bombed Bonn and another bombed Koblenz.  (Mikko Härmeinen and Jack McKillop)

MALTADestroyer HMS Lance which is in dry-dock at Valetta for repair is damaged beyond repair by German air attacks on this date and also the 9th. April.

Minesweeper Abingdon is alongside the jetty at Valetta awaiting repair when she is sunk by a German air attack. (Alex Gordon)(108)

INDIAN OCEAN: The Japanese fleet that sailed from Kendari, Celebes, Netherlands East Indies, has reached a point about 200 miles (322 kilometres) south of Colombo and commences Operation C.

The Japanese force under Vice Admiral KONDO Nobutake consists of the battleships HIJMS Haruna, Hiei, Kirishima and Kongo; the aircraft carriers HIJMS Akagai, Hiryu, Shokaku, Soryu and Zuikaku; heavy cruisers HIJMS Chikuma and Tone; light cruiser HIJMS Abukuma; and nine destroyers.

At dawn, the carriers launch 127 aircraft [53 Nakajima B5N2, Navy Type 97 Carrier Attack Bombers (later assigned the Allied Code Name "Kate"), 38 Aichi D3A1, Navy Type 99 Carrier Bombers ("Val") and 36 A6M2, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighters ("Zeke")]. Of these, seven are lost (6 "Vals" and a "Zeke") and 15 damaged (five "Kates", seven "Vals" and three "Zekes"). Two additional "Zekes" are damaged downing an RAF Catalina over the Japanese fleet.

In spite of the prior days warning of the approaching Japanese Task Force, the Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter units are caught fairly unprepared. In the massive air battle that follows, the RAF and Fleet Air Arm (FAA) losses a total of 30 aircraft, six Swordfish, four Fulmars, 17 Hurricanes, a Catalina, an Albacore and a Walrus. The FAA's No. 788 Squadron, the Eastern Fleet Torpedo Bomber Reconnaissance Pool unit equipped with Swordfish Mks I and II and based at China Bay, Ceylon, is caught unaware in transit from the Trincomalee area and loses all six Swordfish and their pilots. FAA Nos. 803 and 806 Squadrons operating two sub-flights together while based at Ratmalana, Ceylon, each lose two of three Fulmar Mk. II fighters and four crewmen. RAF No. 258 Squadron operating from Colombo Racecourse had 9 Hurricanes Mk. IIBs forced down of the 14 that sortied with the loss of five pilots, while No. 30 Squadron based at Ratmalana, had 8 Hurricanes Mk. IIA and IIBs forced down although the actual number that sortied is unclear; four pilots were killed and one later died of his wounds.

Meanwhile, a 205 Squadron Catalina of the morning search found the Japanese fleet, but was shot down by the Japanese Combat Air Patrol (CAP) before getting off a report; all eight crewmen were killed. Also an FAA No. 700 Squadron Walrus operating from the light cruiser HMS Glasgow is dispatched on a search after the raid but on its return, it crashes while landing, killing the pilot. The Japanese also sink the destroyer HMS Tenedos and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector. (Mark Horan, John Nicholas and Jack McKillop)

A Japanese scout plane from the heavy cruiser HIJMS Tone sights two British cruisers southwest of Ceylon and the Japanese aircraft carriers launch 53 "Vals." The two heavy cruisers, HMS Dorsetshire and Cornwall, had sailed from Colombo, Ceylon, at 2200 hours yesterday and during the night orders were received from the commander in chief Eastern Fleet to join him at 1600 hours today. Starting at 1100 hours, aircraft, some friendly, were sighted but none attacked. At about 1340 hours, both ships were attacked by the Vals and both were severely damaged. HMS Dorsetshire sank at 1351 hours and HMS Cornwall at 1355 hours. Between the two ships, 424 crewmen were lost and 1,122 are rescued tomorrow after spending 30 hours in the water.

No Japanese aircraft were lost in this attack. (Mark Horan and Jack McKillop)

After the attack, the Japanese Second Expeditionary Fleet, Malay Force (Vice Admiral OZAWA Jisaburo) is divided into three groups to disrupt Allied shipping in the Bay of Bengal. The British also are active after the attack. RAF No. 11 Squadron, based at Colombo Racecourse, dispatches ten Blenheim Mk. IVs on a retaliatory strike but estimates of the Japanese position are off and, with no further reports being received, the target is not found. During the day, a pair of No. 827 Squadron Albacore Mk. Is from the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable, on a reconnaissance flight, run into the Japanese CAP and one is shot down with the loss of three crewmen. Later in the day another No. 827 Albacore is intercepted by the CAP, but escapes.

Unfortunately, the lack of a proper sighting report from the later plane (its radio had been destroyed) left Admiral Somerville to assume no contact had been and thus he did not change course to close. By the time his scout returned two hours later, the Japanese Force had doubled back and further FAA search efforts failed to make the contact necessary for Somerville to execute his planned night aerial torpedo attack. (Mark Horan)

AMC Hector which was not in commission at the time, being in the process of re-conversion to trade, receives hits from 4 bombs dropped from IJN aircraft from Akagi, Soryu, Hiryu which are attacking Port of Colombo, Ceylon. Hector sinks in shallow water with her upperworks awash, and a fire on her deck and the dockside alongside, burns for 14 days before being extinguished.

 Unable to put to sea due to defects, S class destroyer HMS Tenedos suffers an air attack in which she receives two direct hits aft, a third near the foremast and a near miss astern and sinks rapidly. There are 33 casualties.

County class cruiser HMS Cornwall ( in company with HMS Dorsetshire) is overwhelmed by IJN air attacks and sinks after being rendered dead in the water.  There are 190 casualties, survivors being rescued by HMS Panther and Paladin some 30 hours after the sinking in the Indian Ocean South of Ceylon at 01 54N 77 45E.

County class cruiser HMS Dorsetshire suffered in the same raid as HMS Cornwall. There were 234 casualties and the survivors were in the sea for some 30 hours prior to rescue by Panther and Paladin. (Alex Gordon)(108)

BURMA: Pilots of the American Volunteer Group's 1st and 3d Fighter Squadron shoot down 12 Japanese fighters near Loiwing Airdrome during the afternoon. (Jack McKillop)

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: After air and artillery preparation, the Japanese resume their offensive in the II Corps area on Bataan, concentrating on the 21st Division, Philippine Army, which yields Mt Samat and is left virtually ineffective as a fighting force. The Corps prepares to counterattack tomorrow with all available forces.  (John Nicholas and Jack McKillop)
     A Japanese invasion force of 4,852 troops sails from Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, toward Cebu Island, in the Visayan Islands, east central Philippines.  (Jack McKillop)

BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: In their combat debut, nine USAAF B-26 Marauders attack Lakunai and Vunakanau Aerodromes at Rabaul on New Britain Island.  (Jack McKillop)

ADMIRALTY ISLANDS: Japanese forces occupy Lorengau on Manus Island without opposition. Several hundred Japanese troops of a Special Naval Landing Force are landed by a naval force consisting of the light cruiser HIJMS Tatsuta, destroyer HIJMS Mutsuki and a troop transport ship SS Mishima Maru. The island is defended by No. 4 Section, 'B' Platoon, First Independent Company, Australian Imperial Force. With little and limited resources the Australian Independent Company Section smartly withdraws to prepared positions in the jungle. (Jack McKillop)

CANADA: The port of Port Rupert, British Columbia, is opened to the U.S. for shipment of supplies to the Territory of Alaska, thus avoiding a logistics jam at Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.  (Jack McKillop)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: German submarine U-154 sinks a US tanker en-route from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, to Wilmington, Delaware, USA, about 37 miles (60 kilometres) off the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. (Jack McKillop)


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5 April 1943

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April 5th, 1943 (MONDAY)

BELGIUM: Antwerp: A US Eighth Army Air Force daylight bombing raid targeted on a Luftwaffe repair factory at Antwerp has gone disastrously wrong, and 936 Belgian civilians, including 209 school children, are reported to have been killed. The Germans took over the Minerva motor works when they occupied Belgium in 1940, and 3,000 people are employed there repairing damaged German planes. The Americans sent 200 B-17s and B-24s across the Channel, initially escorted by Spitfires. When these withdrew at the limit of their endurance, the Germans struck, breaking up the US formations. Bombs fell more than a mile from the target.

The VIII Bomber Command flies Mission 50: 104 B-17 Flying Fortresses are dispatched against industrial targets in the Antwerp area. The main force is directed at the Erla aircraft factory and Erla engine works. 82 B-17's drop 245.5 tons of bombs at 1530 hours local. They claim 23-8-4 Luftwaffe aircraft; 4 B-17s are lost to strong Luftwaffe fighter opposition. (Jack McKillop)

GERMANY: Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer is arrested for anti-Nazi activities and sent to Flossenburg concentration camp. Colonel Hans Oster is dismissed as deputy chief of the Abwehr.

LITHUANIA: Ponar: SS men shoot 4,000 Jews dead.

ITALY: SICILY: During the night of 4/5 April, Northwest African Air Force Wellingtons bomb the Trapani docks and shipping. During the day, B-17s bomb the airfields at Boccadifalco and Milo. (Jack McKillop)

TUNISIA: Northwest African Air Force (NAAF) B-17s bomb airfields at Sidi Ahmed and Tunis. B-25s hit the airfield at Bo Rizzo and attack a convoy off Cap Bon. P-38s fly several fighter sweeps over the Straits of Sicily. One force of fighters claims 16 airplanes destroyed. A-20 Havocs hit the Airfield at El Djem and La Fauconnerie. Fighters attack E-boats off Pont-du-Fahs and vehicles south of Bou Hamran, and fly sweeps, reconnaissance, and patrol over the battle area in Tunisia. Western Desert Air Force and NAAF aircraft hit motor transport west of Cekhira, bomb Djebel Zitouna Airfield, and strike shipping in the Straits of Sicily. During the day NAAF aircraft claim destruction of nearly 50 aircraft in aerial combat. Today starts Operations FLAX (5-22 April) which is designed to destroy, in the air and on the ground, enemy air transports and escorts employed in ferrying personnel and supplies to Tunisia. (Jack McKillop)

As Allied troops prepared for the final push on Tunis and Bizerta, British and American aircraft launched their greatest ever assault on Axis targets in the Mediterranean today. More than a thousand sorties were flown, a record in the North African campaign.

Allied Fortresses and Mitchells saturated three airfields - Borizza, Boca de Felso and Milo - on the Italian mainland. More than 250 grounded aircraft were destroyed.

Vital Axis supply routes took a terrible punishment. Fourteen Junkers Ju52s, loaded with petrol, were shot down by Lightnings off the Tunisian coast, and bombers set fire to three supply ships, blowing up a destroyer escort in the process. Liberators hit the city of Naples in a mass raid at dusk, damaging port facilities and putting an airport out of operation.

As the daylight bombers returned to their bases, RAF Wellingtons hammered targets behind the battle lines, destroying railway stations, barracks and factories near Sfax. Docks and shipping in Sicilian ports were also hit by the night bombers.

Subadar Lalbahadur Thapa (1906-68), 2nd Gurkha Rifles, led two sections which overcame Axis outposts, machine-gun posts and heavy fire in seizing a hill. (Victoria Cross)

BURMA: The Japanese overrun British brigade headquarters on the Mayu peninsula.

17 Tenth Air Force B-25s bomb railroad targets at Mandalay; 2 others hit Ngamya. Three B-24s bomb the Prome railroad yards; 5 hit the Mahlwagon yards and roundhouse. 12 P-40s and a B-25 support ground forces in northern Burma. 12 Fourteenth Air Force P-40s on Armored reconnaissance strafe 15 horse-drawn wagons at Wanling. (Jack McKillop)

MALAYA: The Imperial Japanese Army forces on the Malay Peninsula begin advancing North-West toward India.

NEW GUINEA: Individual Fifth Air Force B-17s attack occupied areas at several points along the Huon Gulf coast, hit Finschhafen on the Huon Peninsula, bomb Madang and other points on the north coast. (Jack McKillop)

BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: Individual Fifth Air Force B-17s bomb Cape Gloucester on New Britain Island. (Jack McKillop)

SOLOMON ISLANDS: USN destroyer USS O'Bannon (DD-450) sinks Japanese submarine RO 34 near Russell Island. (Jack McKillop)

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIANS: Aerial reconnaissance by Eleventh Air Force aircraft covers all islands west of Kiska with negative results. 16 B-24 Liberators and 6 B-25 Mitchells bomb the Attu runway and Kiska's Main Camp and runway. 4 P-38 Lightnings fly top cover. Later, 3 B-25s, 16 P-40s and 16 P-38s  bomb Kiska again. (Jack McKillop)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: German submarine U-563 sinks an armed U.S. tanker, the Sunoil, a straggler from convoy HX 231. All hands on the tanker, 69-men, are lost. Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Gretton, one of the most noted Royal Navy commanders, commanded the escort force for this convoy and wrote a  book on it called "Crisis Convoy." (Jack McKillop)


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5 April 1944

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April 5th, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: As the cross-Channel invasion plans at last begin to unfold in an atmospheric of mounting tension, the British Isles are being sealed off from the outside world. All military leave has been stopped, and mail and telephone communications are allowed only under the strictest supervision.

There have been a few shocks. In Chicago a postal packet burst open in the main post office sorting department. It was found to contain top-secret papers about the invasion plans. It turned out that a sergeant in the US Army HQ in London had posted them to his sister by mistake, instead of putting them in the out-tray.

More seriously, a senior US officer, a West Point class-mate of Eisenhower, went to a reception at Claridge's hotel and boasted about the invasion date. He has been shipped back to the US and reduced in rank. General Patton, enjoying another party, believed he was in safe company and let drop an injudicious hint or two. He has survived.

In Germany, it is believed that the invasion is imminent. Press reports speak of massive daily bombardments of coastal defences by hundreds of Allied planes.

FRANCE: The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 288: 21 B-24s dispatched hit V-weapon sites at St Pol/Siracourt without loss; heavy clouds and the failure of blind-bombing equipment cause other B-24s to return to base without bombing. 50 P-47s escort the B-24s without loss. (Jack McKillop)

GERMANY: The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 289: 96 P-38s, 236 P-47 Thunderbolts and 124 P-51 Mustangs are dispatched to attack airfields in Germany; heavy cloud hinders most groups: 1 P-38s is lost; P-47s claim 2-0-2 Luftwaffe aircraft, 1 P-47 is lost; P-51s claim 96-4-120 aircraft, 7 P-51s are lost. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.S.R.: Malinovski's forces reach Razdelnaya cutting the rail route from Odessa for the German forces there.

Soviet troops enter Tarnopol.

ITALY: Weather precludes all light and medium bomber action by the Twelfth Air Force; P-40s hit the Colleferro railway station, several fuel dumps, and gun positions in the US Fifth Army battle areas; A-36 Apaches bomb Formia, and railway stations northwest of Rome and in the Frosinone area. (Jack McKillop)

ROMANIA: The Fifteenth Air Force dispatches 95 B-17s and 135 B-24s against marshalling yards at Ploesti. Five B-24s are lost. (Jack McKillop)

YUGOSLAVIA: The Fifteenth Air Force dispatches B-17s and B-24s to attack marshalling yards. The B-17s bomb a marshalling yard at Nis while the B-24s hit a marshalling yard at Leskovac. (Jack McKillop)

BURMA: 13 Tenth Air Force B-24s bomb the railroad from Moulmein to Kanchanaburi, destroying 3 bridges, damaging several others, and causing much damage to track and railroad cars. (Jack McKillop)

EAST INDIES: Fifth Air Force B-25s bomb Koepang on Timor Island. (Jack McKillop)

FRENCH INDOCHINA: Fourteenth Air Force P-40s from Yungning, China pound a railroad siding at Na Cham destroying 8 boxcars and a considerable amount of track. (Jack McKillop)

MARSHALL ISLANDS: Seventh Air Force B-25s from Tarawa Atoll hit Maloelap Atoll, bomb up again at Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, and hit Jaluit Atoll during the return trip. (Jack McKillop)

NEW GUINEA: 270+ Fifth Air Force B-24s, B-25s, A-20s and P-38s hit Hollandia town and dock area and villages and stores around Humboldt Bay; P-47s and P-40s blast numerous targets in the Hansa Bay-Bogia and Wewak areas; and B-24s hit Kaimana and Efman Island. (Jack McKillop)

SOLOMON ISLANDS: 12 Thirteenth Air Force B-25s pound Kara on Bougainville. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.A.: Wendell Wilkie withdraws from the presidential race.


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5 April 1945

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April 5th, 1945 (THURSDAY)

IRISH SEA: U-242 (type VIIC) is sunk by a mine in St. George's Channel. All 44 of the crew are lost. (Alex Gordon)

GERMANY: The Schwarze Korps, Himmler's respected Nazi publication, has conceded that Germany is on the verge of "absolute collapse". In an unprecedented admission, the magazine today says that the German people are "being forced to acknowledge that it may be possible to defeat us militarily". The piece goes on to say, however, that they will never stop fighting and that "our belief in the rightness of our cause hasn't changed by a single letter."

Ferdinand Schörner is promoted to Field Marshal. (Glenn A. Steinberg)

The US 304th Infantry Regiment reaches the Wehre River and takes the bridge at Niederhone. (Skip Guidry)(116)

The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 928: 1,358 bombers and 662 fighters attack marshalling yards, ordnance depots, armament works and airfields in Germany; they claim 8-0-6 aircraft; 10 bombers and 1 P-51 are lost.

- 406 B-17s bomb munitions dumps at Ingolstadt and Grafenwohr, and the marshalling yard at Bayreuth and 31 bomb targets of opportunity; 1 B-17 is lost. Escorting are 182 P-51s; they claim 0-0-1 aircraft in the air and 7-0-3 on the ground.

- 151 B-24s bomb the marshalling yard at Plauen while 39 bomb the munitions dump at Bayreuth; 2 aircraft bomb targets of opportunity; 5 B-24s are lost. 280 P-47s and P-51s escort; they claim 1-0-2 aircraft in the air;1 P-51 is lost. 

- 521 B-17s bomb Unterschlauersbach Airfield, an aircraft parts factory and munitions depot at Furth, the Nurnberg South marshalling yard and the Nurnberg Station marshalling yard; 4 B-17s are lost. The escort is 91 P-51s

Ninth Air Force fighters fly patrols, sweeps, and armed reconnaissance, and support the US 7th Armored Division's attack on the Ruhr pocket southwest of Brilon, the XX Corps' drive east in the Muhlhausen area, the XII Corps' advance in the Meiningen area, the 2d Armored Division bridgehead astride the Weser River south of Hameln, the 8th Armored Division (preparing for an assault on Soest), and the 5th Armored Division near Minden. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.S.R.: Molotov notifies Japan that the 1941 Non Aggression Treaty between the U.S.S.R. and Japan will not be renewed.

Moscow: The Soviet Union plants to end its five-year neutrality pact with Japan, Moscow announced tonight, leading to speculation that Russia may enter the war against Japan. The pact still has a year to run. Moscow radio broadcast the contents of a diplomatic note delivered earlier by Mr. Molotov, the commissar for foreign affairs, to the Japanese ambassador. It accused Japan of helping Germany in its war against the Soviet Union.

Allied leaders immediately welcomed the Soviet move. They believe that Russia must eventually enter the war against Japan, opening up a new front in Manchuria. Tokyo radio immediately warned the Japanese people that relations between the two nations could change swiftly. It said that the Japanese government is prepared to make the greatest possible efforts to maintain peace with Russia.

Explaining the Soviet decision the diplomatic note pointed out that the neutrality pact had been concluded in 1941, before Germany's attack on the Soviet Union and before the outbreak of hostilities between Japan, Britain and the US. "Since then the situation has radically changed," the note said.

"Germany attacked the Soviet Union, and Japan, the ally of Germany, is helping her in her war against the Soviet Union. In addition Japan is fighting against the United States and Great Britain who are allies of the Soviet Union. In such circumstances the pact of neutrality between Japan and the Soviet Union has lost its meaning and its extension is proving impossible."

Under the pact, if neither party had given notice of any change by next week, it would be automatically extended for five years.

SOUTHERN EUROPE: Twelfth Air Force B-25s bomb 5 bridges in northern Italy and Austria, at Steinach, Austria, and Matrei am Brenner, Modena, Salorno, and San Michele all'Adige, and blast gun positions at La Spezia, Italy; these attacks follow night raids by A-20s and A-26 Invaders on bridges at Lavis, Ala, San Michele all'Adige, San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, Piazzola sul Brenta, Cittadella, and Montebello, Italy and other targets; fighters and fighter bombers devote their largest effort to close support of ground forces, blasting occupied areas and gun positions in the Massa Lombarda area, and also attack communications and dumps in the Po Valley.

The Fifteenth Air Force dispatches 457 B-24s and B-17s to attack a railroad bridge at Dravograd, Yugoslavia, marshalling yards and locomotive depots at Brescia, Alessandria, and Turin, Italy, and the airfield at Udine, Italy; 96 P-38s dive-bomb the Radovljica, Yugoslavia railroad bridge, 27 P-51s with 13 flying top cover, strafe rail communications in the Munich, Regensburg, and Passau, Germany, and Linz, Austria areas; 20+ P-38s fly reconnaissance missions; around 300 fighter sorties are flown to escort transport, reconnaissance, and bomber missions (including an RAF raid on the Monfalconei, Italy shipyards). (Jack McKillop)

ITALY: The US 5th Army begins an attack north of Massa to drive on La Spezia.

YUGOSLAVIA: Partisan leader Josip Broz, Alias "Tito" signs a "friendship treaty" with the Soviet Union. The agreement permits "temporary entry of Soviet troops into Yugoslav territory." As part of the agreement Tito secure a proviso that the Soviets would leave Yugoslavia once its "Operational task" was completed. (Gene Hanson)

JAPAN: General Koiso and cabinet resign. Admiral Suzuki forms a new cabinet with Togo as Foreign Minister and Hiranuma as President of the Privy Council. This cabinet shows a decrease in military influence and agree that no reasonable offer of Peace should be turned down.

CHINA AND FRENCH INDOCHINA: 27 Fourteenth Air Force fighter-bombers on armed reconnaissance attack troops, horses, and river, road, and rail traffic at Son La, French Indochina and Shanhsien and Shihkiachwang, and in the Tehsien and Loyang-Pinglo area of China. 20 Fifth  Air Force B-24s bomb Kowloon Docks in Hong Kong, damaging 4 ships, and a nearby airfield. (Jack McKillop)

FORMOSA: 38 Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb Kiirun harbour. (Jack McKillop)

PACIFIC OCEAN: The battleship U.S.S. Nevada is damaged off Okinawa by a shore battery. (Jack McKillop)

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: The 201st Fighter Squadron of the Mexican Air Force, equipped with 25 Republic P-47D Thunderbolts, arrives at Clark Field, Luzon. It is attached to the 58th Fighter Group, V Fighter Command, Fifth Air Force. (Jack McKillop)

22 Seventh Air Force B-24s from Angaur Island in the Palau Islands bomb a bivouac area at Bunawan on Mindanao. 180+ sorties by Fifth Air Force aircraft in support of ground forces are flown on Luzon. A-20s and patrolling P-61 Black Widows support troops on Cebu and Negros Islands. (Jack McKillop)

BORNEO: Fifth Air Force P-38s hit Tarakan Island and Tawau. (Jack McKillop)

CAROLINE ISLANDS: 18 Seventh Air Force B-24s from Guam bomb targets on Eten and Dublon Islands in Truk Atoll. (Jack McKillop)

MARIANAS ISLANDS: USAAF 58th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy) arrives on the islands. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.A.: Command changes for the Pacific Theatre in preparation for the invasion of Japan are announced. MacArthur will command all US Army Forces and Nimitz will command all US Navy forces.

The last group of African-American officers of the USAAF 477th Bombardment Group, arrive at Freeman Field, Indiana. Arriving there late in the afternoon, they begin to go in small groups to Club Number Two (previously assigned to instructors only, who are all white), to seek service.

The first group of three officers was turned away by Major Andrew M. White, the officer in charge of the club; but later groups were met by the Officer of the Day, First Lieutenant Joseph D. Rogers, who was armed with a holstered .45 calibre weapon and who was stationed there on the orders of Colonel Selway. When 19 of the officers, including Coleman Young, entered the club against the instructions of Lieutenant Rogers and refused to leave, Major White put them in arrest "in quarters." In response to the arrest order, the 19 officers left the club and returned to their quarters. Seventeen more were placed under arrest later that night, including Second Lieutenant Roger C. Terry, whom Lieutenant Rogers claimed had shoved him. The next night, 25 more officers acting in three groups entered the club and were also placed under arrest. Except for the alleged "shoving" incident, there was no use of physical force by anyone on either side. A total of 61 officers were arrested during the two-day protest. (William L. Howard)

1964:     General Douglas MacArthur, USA dies. (Tom Hickox)


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