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April 22nd, 1939 (SATURDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Cullercoats, Tyne and Wear: Disaster hits this small community when a freak wave overwhelms the local lifeboat whilst out on a training exercise. 6 of the 10 crew perish. More...

GERMANY: U-41, U-48 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

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22 April 1940

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April 22nd, 1940 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM:

RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group. Bombing - Fornebu, Kristiansund, Aalborg and Trondheim airfields. 10 Sqn. One aircraft to Kjeller. Airfield bombed and machine-gunned.

51 Sqn. Seven aircraft. Six bombed Kjeller, Fornebu and Aalborg. 1 FTR.

77 Sqn. Two aircraft to Trondheim. No bombing possible due to adverse weather conditions. They were to have bombed a frozen lake south of Trondheim that was being used as a landing ground.

Corvette HMS Mimosa (ex-FS Mimosa) laid down.

Corvettes HMS Anemone, Clematis and Honeysuckle launched.

Destroyers HMS Quantock and Lightning launched.

Corvette HMS Clarkia commissioned.

 (Dave Shirlaw)

GERMANY: Berlin: Jodl notes in his diaries that Hitler is ‘increasingly worried about the English landings.’

U-204, U-402 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

NORWAY: RAF air reconnaissance of Trondheim reveals three troopships and seven seaplanes moored off the town. On a nearby frozen lake, 12 He 111s, 6 Ju87s and 4 Ju52s are observed covered with snow and little sign of activity around them. Four Coastal Command Hudsons attacked camouflaged petrol-tanks in Oslo Fjord claiming hits on one of them.

German air raids are directed against Aandalsnes, its railway and shipping. The railway line was cut in several places.

RAF personnel begin construction of the runway on frozen lake Lesja for the Gladiators of 223 Sqn.

Allied troops clash with Germans north of Trondheim. The weight of the attack hits hardest against the Lincolnshire Battalion, one company of which suffers 25% casualties. The Lincolnshires begin to waver. Ordered to retreat on Steinkjer, they get out of hand and cannot be rallied for a rear-guard stand. That evening as a German destroyer shells the village, German troops come ashore and seize the only bridge across the Ogna River, cutting the road north to Namsos.

Those British troops east of Steinkjer were now cut off. But by chance one of their senior officers, a Lieut. Col. H. B. Hibbert, had spent several boyhood holidays fishing in the nearby mountains. Hibbert dimly remembered an old wooden bridge well to the east of Steinkjer. Thinking that it might provide an escape route, Hibbert dispatched a volunteer Norwegian guide on skis to look for it while he got his battalion ready for a forced march. The guide returned. There was indeed a bridge east of Steinkjer; it was six miles away as the crow flies, but a much longer hike over mountain trails. Hibbert’s men loaded their wounded onto sleds and moved out, single file and three yards apart so that if one man fell on the slippery footing he would not bring down the whole line behind him. They covered approximately 82 miles in 67 hours, reaching Mauriceforce’s new position north of Namsos without losing a weapon or leaving behind a straggler.

Lillehammer: Morgan tries to reform his line on a new position. but the Norwegians could not help; they said there ski troops were too weary to provide cover for his flanks. Small parties of Germans on skis worked there way into Morgan’s flanks and rear, and they even managed to raid his brigade HQ. The British fell back along the east bank of the Lagen River to a bridge at the village of Trettin. The bridge had to be held until the Norwegians and British west of the river could retreat across it.

(Mark Horan adds): Fleet activity picks up. 

HMS Ark Royal, again flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Aircraft Carriers L. V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN and in company with the destroyers HMS Sikh, HMS Mashona, and HMS Juno, departs Greenock at 0700 for Scapa Flow. She is still carrying her three TSR squadrons, 810, 820, and 821.

HMS Glorious, in company with the destroyers HMS Hyperion, HMS Hereward, and HMS Hasty, arrives off Scapa Flow at 1500, where she is joined by the destroyers HMS Arrow, HMS Acheron, and HMS Brazen to cover her during the flight evolutions that follow. First, the 17 RAF Gladiator IIs of 263 Squadron are flown out to the ship from Hatston by the pilots of 802 Squadron and the spare pilots of 804 Squadron. Once they are aboard, the Swordfish of 823 Squadron leave for Hatston. Meanwhile, at 1545, the nine Sea Gladiators of 804 Squadron and the twelve Skuas of 803 Squadron fly out from Hatston. In the event, Skua 8R of 803 Squadron crashed over the side while landing aboard and though the pilot, Acting Sub-Lieutenant(A) A. S. Griffith, RN was rescued by the plane-guard destroyer, Naval Airman first class Kenneth Admiral Brown, RN (AG) was lost with the plane. With the operation complete, HMS Arrow, HMS Acheron, and HMS Bulldog are detached to Rosyth while the rest put into Scapa Flow to refuel.

 

 HMS Ark Royal and HMS Glorious continue to shuffle aircraft as they shove every available Fleet Air Arm fighter aboard in preparation for supporting the Allied landings near Trondheim. HMS Ark Royal embarks four squadrons with 44 aircraft: 800 (9 Skua, 2 Roc), 801 (9 Skua, 3 Roc), 810 (12 Swordfish), and 820 (9 Swordfish). HMS Glorious embarks 263 Squadron, RAF (17 Gladiators) and three FAA squadrons with 27 fighters: 803 (12 Skua), 802 Squadron (9 Sea Gladiators), 804 Squadron (9 Sea Gladiators).

Meanwhile, HMS Furious, though now with a failing engine, continues to support the Allied effort. Today's goal being to support a planned Royal Navy bombardment of German positions at Narvik. Amid abominable weather, hourly patrols of one or two Swordfish each, are sent to the target area, each being armed  with four 250 lb. bombs and under orders to assist as they could. 818 Squadron's U3G:P4163, flying the second patrol, was shot down by Flak. Leading Airman Thomas George Cutler, RN (AG) was killed outright in the crash and, although Sub-Lieutenant P. C. Roberts, RN (P) and badly wounded Lieutenant Charles Robert Dalton Messenger, RN (O) were rescued by HMS Aurora, the later died of his wounds. Unfortunately, the entire effort was for naught as the bombardment had been cancelled although no one thought to inform Furious!

 

One of the 803 Squadron Skuas crashes overboard landing aboard, killing the Telegraphist air gunner, NA1 Kenneth Admiral Brown. Due to the loss of one of 263 Squadrons Gladiators the day before, 802 Squadron "sells" one of theirs (N5518) to 263 Squadron RAF for duty in Norway. It remains with the four-tone sea "grey" camouflage scheme, but with the RAF Squadron code (HE-K) painted on. The two carriers depart Scapa for Norway at high speed. 

NORTH SEA: U-43 was attacked in the North Sea by two Hudson aircraft with bombs and suffered slight damage. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: AA cruiser USS Atlanta laid down. This ship would later be christened by Margaret Mitchell, author of "Gone With the Wind". (Dave Shirlaw)

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22 April 1941

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April 22nd, 1941 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Bovington, Dorset: British tank regiments armed with Cruiser-type tanks have been re-organized as more effective fighting units. In future they will have their own support arms in the front-line, including motorised infantry, combat engineers, artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-tank units. It is the sort of mixture which has given such strength to the German Panzer divisions.

The government believes that Cruisers - Matildas, Crusaders, Cavaliers or Cromwells - are as good as anything that the Germans or Italians can put into the field.

ASW trawler HMS Tango commissioned.

Corvette HMS Spikenard arrived Tobermory for workups.

Destroyer HMCS Saguenay arrived Barrow-in-Furness for refit. (Dave Shirlaw)

GERMANY: U-611 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

GREECE: German forces reach the Thermopylae position in Greece.

The evacuation of Allied troops from Greece begins. The evacuation marked the end of the ill-conceived Greek campaign which lasted only three weeks and saw the Allies retreat ever southwards in the face of the German advance until they were evacuated at the end of April. (Jack McKillop)

CHINA: Japanese forces occupy Fuzhou.

JAPAN: Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka returns from Europe and says, "We should not confuse deliberation with procrastination just as the Tripartite Pact does not affect the relations of the Three Powers vis the Soviets so that the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and the declaration do not affect in the least the Tripartite Pact which remains the immutable basis of our foreign policy." (Jack McKillop)

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: 2,000 American troops arrive to reinforce the US Army's Philippine Department. (Jack McKillop)

AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Geelong launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: Destroyer USS Wilkes commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

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22 April 1942

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April 22nd, 1942 (WEDNESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Minesweeper HMS Friendship laid down.

HM MTB 310 of the 15th MTB Flotilla commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

FRANCE: The British win a small victory with a commando raid on Boulogne, a port on the English Channel. The commandos suffer few casualties during a two-hour action. (Jack McKillop)

GERMANY: The then Head of the Hamburg Gestapo Regional Headquarters, Oberregierungsrat SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) Heinrich Seetzen was instructed, in a letter from Adolf Eichmann to start the "Durchführung der Endlösung der Judenfrage" ("implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem"). (Russell Folsom) LINK)

Hitler comments: It is reported that the Metropolitan Opera House in New York is to be closed; but the reasons given for its closing are certainly false. The Americans do not lack money; what they lack is the artists required to maintain the activities of the greatest of their lyrical theatres. One requires but little knowledge to know that the most famous operas are all of either German, Italian or French origin, and that among the artists who perform them the Germans and the Italians are the most celebrated. Deprived of the services of the artists from these two countries, the management has preferred to close its doors rather than expose the inadequacy of American artists. Our newspapers must not miss this opportunity! Copious comment should be made on this illuminating pointer to the cultural standard of the United States. (207)

A spokesman for the Met says it was open through the war, when American opera stars rose in international stature.

U-259 had a collision with the fishing boat PG 556 - Weser off Kiel but suffered no damage. (Dave Shirlaw)

U-354 commissioned.

U-383 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: At 0445, U-81 shelled and sank two sailing vessels off Palestine. One was the El Saadiah and the other was unidentified. (Dave Shirlaw)

BURMA: The British 7th Armoured Brigade and the Chinese 200th Division, retreat to take up positions around Meiktila and Taunggyi. Another unit, not following orders from General Stillwell, endangers this position.

The Japanese 15th Army pursues British Empire forces to within 150 miles (241 km) of Mandalay. In eastern Burma, a Japanese armoured column has bypassed the defences of Lt. Gen. Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell's Chinese army and is rushing toward Lashio, the eastern terminus of the Burma Road.

10th Air Force aircraft begin to evacuate military and civilian personnel and supplies from Burma to India. By 15 June the 10th Air Force has evacuated 4,499 passengers and 1,733,026 pounds (786 095 kg) of freight. (Jack McKillop)

NEW ZEALAND: A joint US-New Zealand Naval Command is ordered established under Vice Admiral Robert L Ghormley, USN. It is to operate separately but in close liaison with General Douglas MacArthur and Vice Admiral Herbert F. Leary in Australia. (Jack McKillop)

CANADA: Minesweeper HMCS Guysborough commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: The motion picture "Saboteur" premiers in Washington, D.C. This offbeat espionage thriller, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, stars Robert Cummings, Priscilla Lane and Otto Kruger. Cummings, a California aircraft worker, is accused of sabotage and chases the real saboteur across the country and confronts him on top of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour. (Jack McKillop)

The Office of Price Administration (OPA) announces that motorists in 17 eastern states will be allowed to purchase no more than 21.4 US gallons (17.8 Imperial gallons or 81 litres) of gasoline per week beginning 15 May.

Police and Federal agents raid Hitler birthday parties in Union City, Hoboken and 50 other New Jersey gatherings. (Jack McKillop)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0905, the unescorted Derryheen was torpedoed and sunk by U-201 SE of Cape Hatteras. The master, 41 crewmembers, eight gunners and the passenger were picked up by the British-flagged Lobos and landed at Havana.

At 0329, the unescorted and unarmed San Jacinto was hit on the port side by one torpedo from U-201 about 375 miles SE of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The surfaced U-boat had been spotted only 300 feet off the port beam just before the torpedo struck slightly aft of amidships in the #5 hold near the waterline. The explosion blast vented upwards, tore up the deck and demolished the staterooms, recreation halls, radio room and the boat deck. The damaged engines were stopped and the ship lost all power. After the survivors of the eight officers, 71 crewmen and 104 passengers on board abandoned ship in six lifeboats and several rafts quickly and in good order, the U-boat fired 79 rounds from the deck gun at the vessel, which caught fire and sank after three hours. The master, four crewmen and nine passengers were lost. The survivors (among them 32 women and children) tied together the boats and rafts and waited until dawn to sent a distress signal from a portable radio transmitter in one of the boats because they feared an attack by the U-boat. They were picked up the same day by USS Rowan and landed at Norfolk on 24 April. (Dave Shirlaw)

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22 April 1943

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April 22nd, 1943 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Frigates HMS Aire, Betony, Capel and Cooke launched.

Minesweeper HMS Rattler commissioned.

Destroyers HMS Ulysses and Verulam launched.

Minesweeping trawlers HMS Wallasea and Farne launched.

ASW trawler HMS Pollock launched.

Salvage vessels HMS Sea Salvor and Dispenser launched.

Submarine HMS Shalimar launched.

Minesweeper HMS Waterwitch launched.

 (Dave Shirlaw)

NORTH SEA: ASW trawler HMS Herring sank after a collision. (Dave Shirlaw)

GERMANY:

U-430, U-765, U-1061 launched.

U-974 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

ITALY: Northwest African Air Force B-26 Marauders bomb the harbour at Carloforte on San Pietro Island. (Jack McKillop)

NORTH AFRICA: The US II Corps, under General Bradley, attack Hill 609 in "Mousetrap Valley" on the way to Mateur.

TUNISIA: Allied forces make a series of attacks on Longstop Hill and "Peter's Corner."

Slowly but remorselessly, the Allies are advancing on all fronts in Tunisia, driving the Axis into a corner from which escape must be almost impossible. No armies have fought a more savage defensive battle than the poorly-supplied and numerically weaker Axis forces. Their counter-attacks are fierce but always costly in men and tanks. The American 1st Infantry Division is excelling in mountain warfare in the peaks between the Dhjoumine and Tine rivers. Their colleagues of the British 78th Division are locked in brutal combat for a hill called Longstop. The British 6th Armoured Division is fighting an expensive battle - in terms of losses on both sides - with the 10th Panzer Division at Sebkret el Kourzia.

The British V and IX Corps attack between Goubellat and Bou Arada and the German air re-supply effort is mauled with 30 aircraft shot down.

Lieutenant General Leslie J. McNair of the US Army, is wounded while observing the operations of the 1st Infantry Division (US Army) from an Observation Post. A shell fragment lodges in his skull and another cuts an artery. (William Jay Stone)

Ninth Air Force P-40s fly fighter sweeps over the battle area along the Gulf of Hammamet. Northwest African Air Force B-26s bomb 2 landing grounds near Protville while fighters and A-20s fly sweeps, reconnaissance, and patrols and attack positions at Djebel el Ahmera (Longstop Ridge), Sidi Nsir, Djebel el Ajred (Bald Hill), and other points as the British First Army's 5 Corps launches the start of the final phase of the assault on Tunis and Bizerte, attacking on a front north and south of Medjez el Bab. (Jack McKillop)

BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: Individual Fifth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb and strafe Ubili on New Britain Island. (Jack McKillop)

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: The submarine USS Grenadier (SS-210) is scuttled off Penang, Malaya, after having been damaged by Japanese aircraft of the 936th Kokutai yesterday. The sub was running on the surface at dawn when it was spotted by the aircraft.

As the sub crash dived, her skipper, Commander John A. Fitzgerald commented "we ought to be safe now, as we are between 120 and 130 feet (36,6 and 39,6 meters)." Just then, bombs rocked Grenadier and heeled her over 15 to 20 degrees. Power and lights failed completely and the fatally wounded ship settled to the bottom at 267 feet (81,4 meters). She tried to make repairs while a fierce fire blazed in the manoeuvring room.

After 13 hours of sweating it out on the bottom Grenadier managed to surface after dark to clear the boat of smoke and inspect damage. The damage to her propulsion system was irreparable.

Attempting to bring his ship close to shore so that the crew could scuttle her and escape into the jungle, Commander Fitzgerald even tried to jury-rig a sail. But the long night's work proved futile.

As dawn broke, 22 April, Grenadier's weary crew sighted two Japanese ships heading for them. As the skipper "didn't think it advisable to make a stationary dive in 280 feet (81.5 meters) of water without power," the crew began burning confidential documents prior to abandoning ship. A Japanese plane attacked the stricken submarine; but Grenadier, though dead in the water and to all appearances helpless, hit the plane with machine gun fire on its second pass. As the damaged plane veered off, its torpedo landed about 200 yards (182,9 meters) from the boat and exploded. Reluctantly opening all vents, Grenadier's crew abandoned ship and watched her sink to her final resting place.

A Japanese merchantman picked up 8 officers and 68 enlisted men and took them to Penang, Malay States, where they were questioned, beaten, and starved before being sent to other prison camps. They were then separated and transferred from camp to camp along the Malay Peninsula and finally to Japan.

Throughout the war they suffered brutal, inhuman treatment, and their refusal to reveal military information both frustrated and angered their captors. First word that any had survived Grenadier reached Australia 27 November 1943. Despite the brutal and sadistic treatment, all but four of Grenadier's crew survived their 2 years in Japanese hands. (Jack McKillop)

JAPAN: Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo announces that American fliers captured while bombing Japan will be given "one-way tickets to hell." (Jack McKillop)

NEW GUINEA: Fifth Air Force A-20 Havocs and B-25 Mitchells bomb the Lababia-Duali area on Nassau Bay while individual B-17s bomb the Dobo and Nubia area. (Jack McKillop)

PACIFIC OCEAN: The submarine USS Stingray (SS-186) mines waters off Wenchow, China, while the Dutch submarine HMNLS O 21, despite presence of an escort vessel, sinks a Japanese army cargo ship in Malacca Straits. (Jack McKillop)

CANADA: Corvette HMCS Ville de Quebec returned to Halifax from UK with Convoy ONS-2 and Operation Torch. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: A Catalina aircraft attacked U-231 with 2 bombs and machine guns. The boat wasn’t damaged, but one man was lost overboard. [Obersteuermann Walter Krause].

Destroyer escorts USS Lake, Lyman and Tatum laid down.

Destroyer escort USS Fechteler launched.

Destroyer USS Laws launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0154, the Amerika, a straggler from convoy HX-234, was torpedoed and sunk by U-306 south of Cape Farewell. 42 crewmembers, seven gunners and 37 passengers (RCAF personnel) were lost. The master, 29 crewmembers, eight gunners and 16 passengers were picked up by HMS Asphodel and landed at Greenock. The master, Christian Nielsen was awarded the Lloyd’s War Medal for bravery at sea.

U-571 had to return to base because the commander was badly injured in an accident on the conning tower.

During heavy weather a lookout on U-610 broke his arm.

(Dave Shirlaw)

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22 April 1944

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April 22nd, 1944 (SATURDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Submarine HMS Shalimar commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

FRANCE: During the night, the Eighth Air Force flies Mission 312: 5 B-17s drop 1.44 million leaflets on Orleans, Tours, Paris, Nantes, Lille, Reims, Chartres and Rouen at 2251-2344 hours.

The Ninth Air Force dispatches 400+ B-26s and about 90 A-20s to fly two missions against V-weapon sites in the area of Saint-Omer and Hesdin. (Jack McKillop)

GERMANY: The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 311: 803 bombers and 859 fighters are dispatched to hit a marshalling yard at Hamm; the bombers claim 20-6-8 Luftwaffe aircraft and the fighters claim 40-2-16; 15 bombers and 13 fighters are lost:

- 459 B-17s bomb the primary, 20 hit Bonn, 19 hit Soest, 15 hit Hamm City and 1 hits a target of opportunity; 8 B-17s are lost.

- 179 B-24s hit the primary, 50 hit Koblenz and 36 hit targets of opportunity; 7 B-24s are lost.

The escort is 132 P-38 Lightnings, 485 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-47 Thunderbolts and 242 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51s; 2 P-38s, 5 P-47s and 6 P-51s are lost. (Jack McKillop)

U-795, U-1210 commissioned.

U-326 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

ITALY: Twelfth Air Force B-25s bomb a bridge and tracks south of Ficulle and a bridge north of the town; other B-25s and B-26s attack San Stefano al Mare harbour, the northern section of Orvieto, Chiusi railroad bridge, viaducts south and west of Arezzo and Bucine, Certaldo railroad bridge, bridge approaches at Incisa in Valdarno, a bridge near Siena and viaduct at Poggibonsi; A-20s hit Valmontone ammunition dump and Sonnino; P-47s hit a railroad, trains, and tunnels in the Florence area and west of Chiusi, marshalling yard at Siena, a vessel south of Savona, railroad lines south of Orte and the town of Gaeta; and P-40s attack gun positions north of the Anzio beachhead and bomb the Ferentino dump area and towns of Fondi, Terracina and Formia. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.S.R.: Moscow: Peace negotiations between Russia and Finland have been broken off, it was announced tonight by the Soviet vice-premier and vice-commissioner for foreign affairs, Andrei Vishinsky. This follows Finland's rejection of the armistice terms. These included the breaking of relations with Germany, the re-establishment of the 1940 Soviet-Finnish treaty and the payment of £150,000,000 reparations in goods within five years. The Allies have approved the Soviet reply.

EGYPT: Alexandria: The Greek naval commander-in-chief, Vice-Admiral Petros Voulgaris, is preparing to board five warships whose refusal to obey orders sparked a virtual strike by 12 April of all Greek navy seamen in Egypt. The First Division of the Greek Army has also rebelled against its officers. Britain is keeping an eye on developments. The mutiny's causes are confused, but seem to stem from dissatisfaction with the Greek government in exile.

INDIA: New Delhi: The Imperial Japanese army, already deeply enmeshed in a highly ambitious "March on Delhi" offensive from Burma, has now been committed to another equally ambitious offensive in China. Imperial headquarters has reinforced the China expeditionary force and ordered it to undertake an offensive to crush China.

On 17 April, the Japanese First and Twelfth Armies, supported by 200 aircraft, began a drive to open an overland supply route to the Southern Army in Thailand and Malaya and to occupy the new Allied airfields in south-east China which the Americans are using to attack shipping in the Formosa Strait.

The offensive also aims to prevent long-range American bombers from using Chinese airfields to bomb the Japanese home islands. Another Japanese army is driving towards French Indochina. The Chinese high command in Chungking has announced the advance of Japanese columns in Honan where the Japanese claim to have routed 300,000 Chinese.

Three days before the Japanese attack, Chiang Kai-shek ordered divisions from Yunnan into Burma to help the hard-pressed General Stilwell. Until then, fearing a Japanese offensive, he had not only refused to help but had indicated that Chinese divisions already in Burma should "drag their feet". Chiang was persuaded to send his troops into the Burma theatre after President Roosevelt had cabled a stern request.

BURMA: 12 Tenth Air Force B-25s bomb Kamaing while 5 B-25s and 6 P-51 Mustangs attack ammunition and other supplies at Hopin; 3 B-25s and 4 P-51s hit a village northeast of Bhamo while 7 P-51s attack Gokteik Viaduct.

Fourteenth Air Force P-40s on armed reconnaissance over northern Burma destroy 10 boxcars and a truck north of Lashio. (Jack McKillop)

CHINA: The Japanese take Chengchow in Honan province, a railroad centre. (Jack McKillop)

FRENCH INDOCHINA: 6 Fourteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators attack a Japanese Singapore-to-Saigon convoy anchored off Cape St. Jacques and sink a transport, a fleet tanker, an army cargo vessel, and a merchant tanker; and damaging a tanker. Only an escort vessel, a submarine chaser, escapes the low-level onslaught unscathed. Another B-24 knocks out a bridge southwest of Vinh. (Jack McKillop)

NEW GUINEA: US I Corps lands from TF 77 at Hollandia.

In a swift lightning strike that has wrong footed the Japanese in northern New Guinea, a 52,000 strong Allied invasion force under General Douglas MacArthur today, in Operation PERSECUTION seized Hollandia,  the administrative capital of Dutch New Guinea. The landings, made from 113 ships escorted by the US Fifth and Seventh Fleets, have cut off the escape route for General Adachi's main force, estimated to be 50,000 men, now surrounded at Wewak, where Adachi expected the attack. At the same time Australian troops have closed on nearby Madang. The amphibious Allied force swept ashore this morning at Hollandia, Aitape and Tanahmera bay after US Navy aircraft from Pacific fleet carriers had destroyed over 100 Japanese aircraft  on the ground at Hollandia and its support airstrips. The 24th and 41st Infantry Divisions of the I Corps land unopposed 25 miles apart; the 24th Infantry Division at Tanahmerah bay while the 41st Infantry Division lands at Humboldt Bay. In Operation RECKLESS, the 163rd Regimental Combat Team, 41st Infantry Division, lands unopposed at Aitape. (Jack McKillop) 

Hollandia was like a battered ghost town as the US advance guard, covered in red mud, entered. Everywhere there are signs of panic as the 12,000 strong garrison of middle-aged reservists fled into the jungle following a dawn bombardment that seriously damaged all of Hollandia's buildings. In a bedroom a Japanese officer's polished boots still stand by his bed, a neatly-pressed uniform hangs on the door. In the school the days lessons are still on the blackboard.

For MacArthur, who celebrated with a chocolate ice-cream soda as he toured the beach-heads, the victory is a consolation for his fading presidential hopes following his defeat in the Republican primary at Wisconsin three weeks ago.

20+ Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb airstrips on Noemfoor Island, Schouten Islands while 80+ B-24s and A-20s hit Boram and But Airfields and other targets in the Wewak area; 100+ B-24s and B-25s pound targets along Hansa Bay; and all through the day B-25s and fighter-bombers, in flights of 1 to 20+ aircraft, attack areas around Hansa Bay, Wewak, Bogia, Madang, and many other points along the northern and eastern coast of New Guinea; many of the strikes indirectly support Allied amphibious landings at Hollandia. (Jack McKillop)

PACIFIC OCEAN: The Japanese lose two ships at sea: U.S. aircraft sink a transport off Murilo Island, Carolines and the British submarine HMS Taurus sinks a salvage vessel off Malaya. (Jack McKillop)

BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: On New Britain Island, about 40 Thirteenth Air Force B-25s bomb supply areas at Ratawul and Talili Bay, attack Keravat and hit the area between Rapopo and Cape Gazelle; and 40+ fighter-bombers attack the runway and gun positions at Rapopo while 9 strike Lakunai airfield. (Jack McKillop)

MARSHALL ISLANDS: US forces occupy Ungelap Island completing the campaign for the islands.

CAROLINE ISLANDS: During the night of 21/22 April, Seventh Air Force B-24s from Kwajalein Atoll bomb Wotje Atoll and other B-24s from Kwajalein follow with another raid on Wotje during the day.

During the night of 22/23 April, 17 Thirteenth Air Force B-24s bomb Dublon, Param, and Eten Islands in Truk Atoll. (Jack McKillop)

CANADA:

Frigate HMCS New Waterford arrived Bermuda for work ups.

Minesweeper HMCS Daerwood commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: "It is Love-Love-Love" by Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians with vocal by Skip Nelson and The Lombardo Trio reaches Number 1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the U.S. This song, which debuted on the charts on 18 March 1944, was charted for 19 weeks, was Number 1 for 2 weeks and was ranked Number 17 for the year 1944. Also on this date, Andy Russell's record of "Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much)" makes it to the Billboard Pop Singles chart. This is his first single to make the charts and it stays there for 2 weeks reaching Number 10. (Jack McKillop)

Escort carrier USS Salamaua launched.

Submarine USS Ronquil commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Frigates HMCS Matane and Swansea sank U-311 Kptlt Joachim Zander CO, at 52-09N, 19-07W. Of the crew of 51 there were no survivors. Escort Group 9, commanded by A/Cdr Layard, was operating independently when ordered to join a nearby RAF 'Wellington' patrol a/c that had gained a radar contact on a probable U-boat. A deliberate search by Matane and Swansea, supported by the frigate Stormont and corvette Owen Sound, produced a firm ASDIC contact. The U-boat was moving rapidly right as Matane closed for a deliberate 'Hedgehog' attack (indicating close range) when a periscope was sighted at only 200 yards on Matane's starboard bow. The Hedgehog attack was abandoned and an urgent depth charge attack was carried out. Swansea followed with a deliberate d/c attack, after which contact was lost. It was not until the mid-1980's that record reconstruction proved that U-311 had been sunk in this engagement.  (Dave Shirlaw)

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April 22nd, 1945 (SUNDAY)

GERMANY: Himmler meets with Count Bernadotte of the Swedish Red Cross, with a peace proposal. He offers a German surrender to the British and Americans, but not the Russians.

The US 7th Army crosses the Danube at Dillingen and Baldingen.

The final American offensive in Europe begins with Patton's Third Army and Patch's Seventh Army driving toward southern Germany and Austria.

The Allies believe that some German troops, notably SS Storm troopers, may plan to retreat to the Alps for a deadly last stand in a "National Redoubt." Eisenhower wants to overrun the region before the diehard Nazis organize.

Weather prevents combat operations by the Ninth Air Force's 9th Bombardment Division and IX Tactical Air Command. The XIX Tactical Air Command flies armed reconnaissance over eastern Germany and western Czechoslovakia, flies area cover over the Wurzburg-Bayreuth areas, patrols the Third Army front (the Bayreuth-Nurnberg areas), and the XII Corps in the German-Czech border area near Weiden. (Jack McKillop)

Berlin: Zhukov and Konev, having overcome the fanatical resistance of the defence zone before Berlin, are moving rapidly to put a ring of tanks round the capital. Zhukov's 47th Army and Konev's Fourth Guards Tank Army, are both west of the city, and only 25 miles separate them. Rokossovsky, after being held up crossing the Oder marshes, is preventing the 3rd Panzer Army from coming to Berlin's aid from the north.

Units of the Soviet 1st Byelorussian Front have penetrated into the northern and eastern suburbs of Berlin.

A Soviet mechanized corps reaches Treuenbrietzen, 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Berlin, liberates a PoW camp and releases among others, Norwegian Commander in Chief Otto Ruge.

FührerBunker: During a three hour military conference in the bunker where his generals inform him that no German defence was offered to the Russian assault at Eberswalde, Hitler let loose a hysterical, shrieking denunciation of the Army and the 'universal treason, corruption, lies and failures' of all those who had deserted him. The end had come, Hitler exclaimed, his Reich was a failure and now there was nothing left for him to do but stay in Berlin and fight to the very end.

His staff attempted without success to convince him to escape to the mountains around Berchtesgaden and direct remaining troops and thus prolong the Reich. But Hitler told them his decision was final. He even insisted a public announcement be made.

Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels then brought his entire family, including six young children, to live with Hitler in the bunker. Hitler began sorting through his own papers and selected documents to be burned.

Personnel in the bunker were given permission by Hitler to leave. Most did leave and headed south for the area around Berchtesgaden via a convoy of trucks and planes. Only a handful of Hitler's personal staff remained, including his top aide Martin Bormann, the Goebbels family, SS and military aides, two of Hitler's secretaries, and long-time mistress and companion Eva Braun. (Gene Hanson)

The USAAF combines technical and post-hostilities intelligence objectives under the Exploitation Division with the code name Lusty. Operation Lusty begins with the aim of exploiting captured German scientific documents, research facilities and aircraft. The operation has two teams. One, under the leadership of Col. Harold E. Watson, a former Wright Field test pilot, collected enemy aircraft and weapons for further examination in the United States. The other team recruited scientists, collected documents and investigated facilities. (William L. Howard)

ITALY: The US II and IV Corps reach the Penaro River.

General Heinrich von Vietinghoff, German commander in Italy, decides to surrender. His armies have lost most of their tanks and guns during a chaotic retreat across the Po.

The entire night and day effort by the Twelfth Air Force is concentrated against German forces retreating north across the Po River in face of Allied forces which send advance elements racing to the south bank; B-25s fly 16 missions against ferries and pontoon bridge sites on the Po between Casalmaggiore and Polesella; XXII Tactical Air Command A-20s and A-26 Invaders, fighter-bombers, and fighters maintain night and day attacks on Po crossings and enemy movement; the command claims 900+ motor and horse-drawn vehicles destroyed.

258 Fifteenth Air Force P-51s and P-38s fly armed reconnaissance over northeastern Italy, bombing marshalling yards, bridges, railroads, highways, and several buildings and strafing an airfield, rail and road traffic, and numerous other targets of opportunity; other P-38s fly reconnaissance while P-51s escort reconnaissance and supply missions. (Jack McKillop)

CHINA: 2 Fourteenth Air Force B-24s bomb targets of opportunity at Canton and in Bakli Bay on Hainan Island; 5 B-25s bomb Hsuchang and hit the area to the northwest; 19 P-51s and P-47s attack trains, trucks, troops, horses, and town areas at or near Linfen, Luan, Sincheng, Fentingtukou, Taiku, Chenghsien, Sinsiang, and Kaifeng. (Jack McKillop)

BURMA: Toungoo in the Sittang Valley falls to the British 5th Indian Division.

General Hyotaro Kimura evacuates Rangoon and prepares to make a last stand against the British 14th Army near the Burmese-Thai border.

Bad weather again cancels scheduled air strikes by the Tenth Air Force but 464 transport sorties fly 664 tons of supplies to forward areas. (Jack McKillop)

JAPAN: The VII Fighter Command flies effective sorties during a fighter attack from Iwo Jima against Akenogahara and Suzuko Airfields; they claim 10 aircraft downed and 15 destroyed on the ground.

The XXI Bomber Command flies Missions 91 to 95 against airfields; 87 B-29 Superfortresses bomb airfields at Izumi, Kushira, Miyazaki, Tomitaka, and Kanoya and 6 others hit targets of opportunity; 1 B-29 is lost. (Jack McKillop)

OKINAWA: USN ships are again attacked by Japanese aircraft. Support landing craft LCS-15 is sunk by aircraft; kamikazes sink minesweeper USS Swallow (AM-65), and damage destroyers USS Hudson (DD-475) and USS Wadsworth (DD-516); destroyer USS Isherwood (DD-520) and minesweeper USS Ransom (AM-283); and light minelayer USS Shea (DM-30); minesweeper USS Gladiator (AM-319) is damaged by strafing and near-miss of a kamikaze. (Jack McKillop)

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: The US 31st Division lands at Mora Gulf. They gain control of Cebu Island and overcome Japanese resistance on Jolo.

Numerous missions in support of ground forces are flown by the Far East Air Forces against targets on Luzon, Cebu, and Negros Islands. USMC PBJ Mitchells and SBD Dauntlesses attack Japanese positions on Mount Daho on Jolo Island. (Jack McKillop)

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: On Borneo, Thirteenth Air Force B-24s bomb Manggar and Jesselton airfields, B-25s bomb Tarakan and P-38s hit Kuching; 10USNPV Venturas attack various targets. (Jack McKillop)

PACIFIC OCEAN: The Japanese lose 4 ships and have a cruiser damaged at sea:

- Submarine USS Cero (SS-225) sinks a guardboat west of Tori Jima.

- Submarine USS Hardhead (SS-365) sinks a cargo vessel off Chimpon.

- Dutch submarine HMNLS O 19 torpedoes Japanese heavy cruiser HIJMS Ashigara as the latter proceeds in company with destroyer HIJMS Kamikaze toward Batavia.

- A guardboat is sunk by U.S. aircraft in Ise Bay.

- USAAF P-51s sink an auxiliary submarine chaser south of Toshi Jima. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.A.: Soviet Foreign Minister V.M. Molotov arrives in Washington for talks with Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. (Jack McKillop)

Light cruiser USS Galveston launched.

Destroyer USS Charles P Cecil launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The German submarine U-518 is sunk in the North Atlantic northwest of the Azores, in position by depth charges from the US destroyer escorts USS Carter (DE-112) and USS Neal A. Scott (DE-769).

All 56 men on the sub are lost. (Jack McKillop)

At 0450, U-997 fired Gnats on two destroyers and claimed one destroyer sunk, but only end-of-run detonations were observed by the USSR Karl Libknecht and patrol craft USSR BO-225. At 0508, the U-boat torpedoed and damaged the Idefjord and eight minutes later sank the Onega. Idefjord was struck by one torpedo on the port side in the bow. One British gunner was lost and the crew abandoned ship in the lifeboats, but most of them returned after the Norwegian M/S-trawlers KNM Tromøy and Karmøy had investigated the damages. The ship was taken in tow stern-first, arriving in Murmansk at 0400 on 23 April for temporary repairs. Five crewmembers from the Onega were lost. Patrol craft USSR BO-220 and BO-228 picked up 37 survivors. (Dave Shirlaw)

 

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