World War II Axis Military History Day-by-Day: June

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June 1st

June 1st, 1940: In the West, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk continues, with another 64,400 men taken off the beaches. The British destroyers Keith, Basilisk and Havant and the transport Scotia are sunk by Luftwaffe dive bombers.

June 1st, 1941: The last British troops (15,000) are evacuated from the island of Crete which is now completely in German hands. The Luftwaffe carries out a night raid (110 bombers) on Manchester. In the Mediterranean, Stukas sink the British cruiser Calcutta off Alexandria.

June 1st, 1942: The RAF launches another 1,000-bomber night raid against Essen in the Ruhr, but with minimal effect. In the East, the siege of the Crimean fortress of Sevastopol by 11.Armee (von Manstein) continues with a round-the-clock bombardment by heavy artillery and Luftwaffe bombers. Mexico declares war on Germany, Italy and Japan.

June 1st, 1943: BdU (C-in-C U-boats) adopts a new policy of fighting back at Allied sub-hunting aircraft with the U-boats' own AA guns while crossing the Bay of Biscay on the surface; this tactic proves to be largely unsuccesful and is soon abandoned. In the East, the Red Air Force attacks German rear communications and airfields at Smolensk, Orel and Bryansk.

June 1st, 1944: In the West, Allied air forces continue to carry out heavy attacks against strategic bridges and rail lines in France. In Italy, the British Eighth Army (Alexander) captures Frosinone SE of Rome.

June 2nd

June 2nd, 1940: At Dunkirk, 26,200 British and French troops are evacuated from the beaches. The luftwaffe carries out raids on Lyon and targets in the Rhone valley.

June 2nd, 1941: Hitler and Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass on the German-Italian border to discuss the progress of the war.

June 2nd, 1944: First shuttle raid (Operation Frantic) by 130 B-17s of the US 15th Air Force based at Tripoli that attack railyards at Debrecen< Hungary, and then fly on to Soviet airfields at Poltava in the Ukraine. Beginning of secret negotiations between the Rumanian government of Marshal Antonescu and representatives of the Soviet Union at Stockholm, Sweden, while the Bulgarian government seeks terms of surrender rom the Western Allies.

June 3rd

June 3rd, 1940: In Norway, British and French forces (24,000 men) abandon Narvik, while the last Allied troops are evacuated from Dunkirk (in all, 218,226 British and 120,000 French).

June 3rd, 1944: In Italy, German forces withdraw from Rome which has been declared an 'open city'.

June 4th

June 4th, 1940: German troops enter Dunkirk, taking 40,000 French prisoners and huge quantities of abandoned British equipment: 84,000 vehicles, 2,500 guns and 650,000 tons of supplies and ammunition. French bombers carry out night raids on Munich and Frankfurt, with negligible results.

June 4th, 1941: Luftwaffe bombers carry out a night raid on the port of Alexandria in Egypt.

June 4th, 1942: Hitler flies to Finland to meet with the Finnish head of state, Marshal Mannerheim.

June 4th, 1943: In the East, Luftwaffe bombers attack the great tank-producing plants at Gorki.

June 4th, 1944: The US Fifth Army (Clark) enters Rome. U-505, patroling off Cape Blanco on the West African coast is forced to the surface by depth-charges from the US destroyer escort Chatelain, captured intact and towed to Bermuda by the escort carrier Guadalcanal.

June 5th

June 5th, 1940: Beginning of Fall Rot (Operation Red), the second stage of the German invasion of France, also called the Battle of France (119 divisions, including 10 armored). Heeresgruppe B (von Küchler), with 50 divisions, opens the offensive on the Somme against the fortified positions of the Weygand Line. Hptm. Mölders, leader ofIII/JG 53 and Germany's top air ace (25 kills) is shot down near Compiegne and taken prisoner.

June 5th, 1942: The United States declares war on Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria.

June 5th, 1943: U-513 (Kptlt.. Sohler) sinks 4 ships off the coast of Brazil.

June 5th, 1944: Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France, is postponed for one day because of rough seas in the English Channel. The RAF carries out heavy night raids against German coastal batteries and fortifications in Normandy.

June 6th

June 6th, 1940: In the West, 7. Panzerdivision (Rommel). advancing W of Amiens, penetratees 20 miles into French territory. U-46 (Kptlt. Sohler) sinks the British armed merchant cruiser Carinthia off the west coast of Ireland.

June 6th, 1941: Hittler issues a directive for the implementation of the Kommissarbefehl (Commissar Order) which calls for the summary execution of all Soviet political commissars attached to the Red Army; this order is tacitly disobeyed by most German army and corps commanders who deem it contrary to German military custom and tradition.

June 6th, 1944: D-DAY. - In the early morning hours, the Allied Expeditionary Force of American, British, Canadian, Polish, and Free French troops begins Operation Overlord, the long-awaited invasion of 'Fortress Europe', as the Germans call it. After an intensive naval and aerial bombardment, the first wave of 5 divisions (156,115 men) are landed at designated beaches in Normandy named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, preceded by some 12,000 paratroopers of the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions behind the German lines on the Cotentin peninsula and the British 6th Airborne Division near Caen. These forces are supported by 1,213 warships, including 7 battleships and 23 cruisers, 1,600 auliary ships, and 4,126 landing craft, as well as several Allied air forces flying 14,674 sorties. Opposing them in their bunkers on the beaches are 5 lowgrade German infantry divisions with about 50,000 men and 100 tanks and assault guns. Despite some heavy casualties, especially at 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 little opposition from the Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine.

June 7th

June 7th, 1942: In the East, 11. Armee (von Manstein) begins the final assault on the Soviet fortress of Sevastopol in the Crimea.

June 7th, 1944: In the West, US forces landed in Normandy link up with elements of the British 6th Airborne Division South of Caen.

June 8th

June 8th, 1940: In Norway, the evacuation of British and French troops (24,000 men) from Narvik and Harstad is completed. The British aircraft carrier Glorious is sunk by the German heavy battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau SW of Narvik. King Haakon and the Norwegian government leave Tromsö for England.

June 8th, 1941: British and Free French forces invade Lebanon and Syria against stiff resistance by Vichy French troops.

June 9th

June 9th, 1940: In the West, German forces of Heeresgruppe A (von Küchler) advancing S from the Somme capture Rouen on the Seine.

June 9th, 1942: 6. Armee (Paulus) launches a counterattack against advancing Soviet forces in the Charkov area.

June 9th, 1944: The Red Army begins an offensive against Finnish positions in the Karelian Isthmus N of Leningrad. In Normandy, US forces advancing from Utah Beach capture St. Mere-Eglise.

June 10th

June 10th, 1940: In Norway, the remaining troops of the Norwegian Army surrender. Italy declares war on Britain and France and begins an offensive along the coast of the Riviera.

June 10th, 1942: In the East, 6. Armee forces the withdrawal of Soviet forces from the Charkov area and captures Volchansk and Kupyansk. In Libya, the Afrikakorps (properly, Panzerarmee Afrika) finally captures Bir Hacheim, a strongpoint fiercely defended by Foreign Legionaires of the Free French Forces. The British Eighth Army (Ritchie) retreats toward the Egyptian border.

June 10th, 1943: Beginning of a coordinated air offensive by the US 8th Air Force (Doolittle), flying precision bombing missions by day, and RAF Bomber Command (Harris), flying area saturation missions by night, against major German cities.

June 10th, 1944: In the West, German counterattacks against Allied invasion forces are unsuccessful for lack of armored reserves in the area.

June 11th

June 11th, 1940: In the West, German forces capture Rheims. The French government of Premier Reynaud leaves Paris for Tours. The RAF carries out raids on Genoa and Turin in Italy. The British cruiser Calypso is sunk by an Italian submarine off Crete.

June 11th, 1941: The Raf begins a series of 20 consecutive raids against targets in the Ruhr, the Rhineland, as well as Hamburg and Bremen.

June 11th, 1942: German U-boats begin laying mines off Boston, Delaware and Chesapeake Bay.

June 11th, 1943: The US 8th Air Force raids the German naval base at Wilhelmshaven (200 B-17s), while the RAF attacks Münster and Düsseldorf.

June 11th, 1944: US forces landed at Utah Beach capture Carentan.

June 12th

June 12th, 1940: On orders from General Weygand, C-in-C of the French Army, the French forces opposing the advance of Heeresgruppe A withdraw to the south, offering little resistance. The Soviet Union issues an ultimatum to Lithuania which is soon followed by the occupation of the country by the Red Army.

June 12th, 1941: The German pocket battleship Lützow (formerly Deutschland) is attacked and damaged by RAF aircraft off the southern coast of Norway.

June 12th, 1942: The British convoys Harpoon and Vigorous bound for Malta and Alexandria from Gibraltar are attacked by Axis aircraft which sink 6 merchant ships and 6 escort vessels. The Italian cruiser Trento is sunk by British naval aircraft.

June 12th, 1943: The RAF launches a heavy raid on Bochum in the Ruhr, while the Luftwaffe carries out a night attack against Plymouth.

June 12th, 1944: The five Allied beachheads in Normandy link up together; thus far, 326,000 men and 54,000 vehicles have been landed.

June 13th

June 13th, 1940: In the West, German troops reach the northern outskirts of Paris which has been declared an 'open city'. Italian bombers attack the French naval base at Toulon. The British auxiliary cruiser Scotstown is sunk by U-25 (Kptlt. Beduhn) off the Irish coast. The German raider Orion lays mines off Auckland, New Zealand.

June 13th, 1941: The Luftwaffe carries out a raid on the British naval base at Chatham, but with little success.

June 13th, 1942: In the battle for Tobruk, German tanks and anti-tank batteries (88mm) of the Afrikakorps destroy 138 enemy tanks, leaving the British Eighth Army with only 75 armored vehicles operational.

June 13th, 1944: Launching of the first V-1 robot bombs from the Pas de Calais against London causing shock and near-panick among the civilian population. In the battle for Caen, a single Tiger tank from 12.SS-Panzerdivision (Obstuf. Wittmann) destroys 25 tanks and other vehicles of the British 7th Armoured Division near Villers-Bocage.

June 14th

June 14th, 1940: German troops enter Paris which has been evacuated by most of its inhabitants. Heeresgruppe C (von Leeb), with 24 divisions, prepares to cross the upper Rhine to attack the Maginot Line in Alsace. The French government leaves Tours for Bordeaux. All remaining British troops in France are ordered to return to England.

June 14th, 1941: In Libya, the British Eighth Army begins Operation Battleaxe to lift the siege of Tobruk, but the Afrikakorps conterattacks three days later and the operation is abandoned. President Roosevelt orders the freezing of all Axis assets and those of the occupied countries. Hitler meets with his top generals to discuss matters concerning the upcoming campaign against the Soviet Union. Croatia joins the Tripartite Pact of Germany, Italy and Japan.

June 14th, 1942: Two German U-boats land teams of saboteurs on Long Island and near Jacksonville, Florida; within days, they are all captured, and six are executed after trial.

June 14th, 1943: RAF Coastal Command begins daily patrols over the Bay of Biscay by aircraft equipped with new detection devices to locate and destroy German U-boats leaving and entering their bases on the French coast.

June 14th, 1944: The RAF launches heavy attacks (600 bombers) against Le Havre and Boulogne.

June 15th

June 15th, 1940: In the West, German forces of 7. Armee break into the Maginot Line and capture Verdun. 30,600 British and Canadian troops are evacuated from Cherbourg, Brest and St. Malo.

June 15th, 1941: In Libya, the British Eighth Army abandons Gazala.

June 15th, 1942: In the North Atlantic, U-552 (Kptlt. Topp) sinks 5 ships of Convoy HG-84.

June 15th, 1943: The German raider Michel sinks 2 ships off the west coast of Australia.

June 15th, 1944: Heavy V-1 attacks on London.

June 16th

June 16th. 1940: In the West, German forces, supported by heavy artillery and Stuka dive bombers, continue their assault on the Maginot Line on a broad front. Units of IXX.Panzerkorps (Guderian) reach Besancon on the Swiss border. The French government of Paul Reynaud resigns and is replaced by one led by Marshal Petain. 57,000 British troops are evacuated from Nantes and St. Nazaire. U-101 (Kptlt. Frauenheim) sinks the British merchant ship Wellington Star in the Bay of Biscay. In the Baltic, the Red Army occupies Latvia and Estonia. Tens of thousands of "hostile' natives and their families are rounded up and deported separated from one another to NKVD prison camps in the Soviet Union.

June 16th, 1941: The US State Department orders the closing by July 10 of all German consular offices and tourist agencies in the United States.

June 16th, 1942: The British light cruiser Hermione is sunk by U-205 (Kptlt. Reschke) South of Crete in the Mediterranean.

June 16th, 1944: Another 244 V-1s are launched against London. In Italy, the British Eighth Army (Alexander) approaches Perugia.

June 17th

June 17th. 1940: In the West, German troops cross the Loire near Orleans. The French premier, Marshal Petain, requests Germany's and Italy's terms for an armistice.

June 17th, 1942: Leaving behind a garrison of some 30,000 troops, the British Eighth Army withdraws from Tobruk.

June 17th, 1943: The British battleships Valiant and Warspite are transferred from Scapa Flow to Oran and Alexandria in North Africa in preparation for Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily.

June 17th, 1944: German troops evacuate the island of Elba off the west coast of Italy.

June 18th

June 18th, 1940: In the West, German troops capture Le Mans and Cherbourg; the garrisons of Belfort, Metz and Dijon surrender. General de Gaulle forms the French National Committee at London and vows to continue the war on the side of Britain.

June 18th, 1941: Germany and Turkey sign a ten-year nonaggression pact. Free French troops occupy Damascus in Syria.

June 18th, 1942: In the East, infantry units of 11. Armee (von Manstein) break into the outer defenses of the fortress of Sevastopol in the Crimea. In Libya, the British Eighth Army evacuates Sidi Rezegh and El Adem.

June 18th, 1944: In Normandy, the US First Army (Bradley) cuts off and isolates the German forces defending Cherbourg. In Italy, the US Fifth Army (Clark) captures Prugia.

June 19th

June 19th, 1940: German troops capture Brest, Toul and Strassburg.

June19th, 1943: The RAF carries out a raid on the Schneider armaments works at Le Creusot.

June 19th, 1944: A violent storm in the English Channel wrecks the Allied artificial 'Mulberry' harbors at Omaha Beach and Arromanches.

June 20th

June 20th, 1940: German troops capture Lyons. The German heavy cruiser Gneisenau is damaged by a torpedo from the British submarine Clyde.

June 20th, 1941: President Roosevelt, in a message to Congress, denounces the sinking of the American merchant ship Robin Moor by U-69 (Kptlt. Metzler) as 'an act of piracy'.

June 20th, 1943: 60 RAF bombers launch the first British shuttle raid: after bombing the radar works at Friedrichshafen, they fly on to Algiers to refuel and then return to England.

June 20th, 1944: In the East, the Red Army captures Viipuri on the Soviet-Finnish border.

June 21st

June 21st, 1940: Franco-German armistice negotiations begin at Compiegne in the same railroad car of Marshal Foch where the German delegates received the Allied armistice terms in November, 1918. Hitler issues a proclamation announcing the end of the war in the West, and orders flags to be flown throughout Germany for ten days.

June 21, 1941: General Auchinleck replaces General Wavell as C-in-C of the British Eighth Army in Libya.

June 21st, 1942: The Afrikakorps captures Tobruk, taking 33,000 British prisoners. In the East, German infantry and combat engineers of 11. Armee (von Manstein) are gaining ground in their assault on Sevastopol. The Luftwaffe carries out a night raid on Southampton.

June 21st, 1943: The RAF launches a heavy raid on Krefeld in the Ruhr (44 aircraft lost).

June 21st, 1944: In the East, the Red Army begins an offensive between lakes Ladoga and Onega on the northern front. The US 8th Air Force carries out raids on Berlin and the synthetic fuel plants at Leuna-Merseburg.

June 22nd

June 22nd, 1940: An armistice between France and Germany is signed at Compiegne. Its terms, read out loud to the French delegation by Generaloberst Keitel, provide for the occupation of the entire Channel and Atlantic coastlines, all major industrial areas, Alsace-Lorraine (to be returned to Germany). Most of southern France will remain unoccupied, with a French administrative center at Vichy; the French Army and Navy is to be demobilized and disarmed; France is to bear the cost of the German occupation, and all French prisoners of war are to remain in Germany until a peace treaty is signed.

June 22nd, 1941: Beginning of OPERATION BARBAROSSA, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. At 3:15 a.m. CET, German, Rumanian and Finnish forces comprising 183 divisions (3,500,000 men), 3,350 tanks, 7,184 guns and 1,945 aircraft launch the biggest military operation in history on an 1,800-mile front from 'Finland to the Black Sea' (title of the German Army campaign song). Three army groups supported by powerful Panzer armies and Luftwaffe bomber fleets, Heeresgruppe Süd (von Rundstedt) with Panzergruppe 1 (von Kleist), Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) with Panzergruppen 2 (Guderian) and 3 (Hoth), and Heeresgruppe Nord (von Leeb) with Panzergruppe 4 (Hoepner) go into action against 132 Soviet divisions (2,500,000 men), 20,000 tanks and 7,700 aircraft. The overall objective of the campaign is to destroy the Soviet forces in western Russia by fall and to occupy the European part of the Soviet Union up to the line Archangelsk - Urals - Volga - Astrachan. In the first few hours of the attack, the Luftwaffe destroys 1,500 Soviet aircraft on the ground at 60 airfields and 300 in the air. The Red Army forces along the border seem unprepared for the assault and offer only limited resistance. At London, Winston Churchill announces Britain's support for the Soviet Union, thus making the Bolshevik state her much-needed ally.

June 22nd, 1944: On the central front in the East, the Soviet 1st Baltic and 3rd Belorussian Fronts (Vassilevsky) and the 1st and 2nd Belorussian Fronts (Zhukov) begin Operation Bagraton, a massive offensive against Heeresgruppe Mitte (Busch) on a 300-mile front between Polotsk and Bobruysk. The German forces of 63 divisions, 900 tanks and 10,000 guns are facing vastly superior Soviet forces of 124 divisions, 5,200 tanks, 30.000 guns and 6,000 aircraft. The Luftwaffe launches a surprise night raid (60 aircraft) on the US 8th Air Force's shuttle base at Poltava in the Ukraine, destroying 44 B-17s and 500,000 gals. of fuel. In the West, US bombers carry out a saturation on besieged Cherbourg. President Roosevelt signs the GI Bill of Rights which promises generous benefits for returning US servicemen.

June 23rd

June 23rd, 1940: Hitler makes a brief sightseeing visit to Paris; motoring through nearly empty streets, he makes a special point of viewing Napoleon's tomb, ending his tour at the Eiffel tower.

June 23rd, 1941: In the East, German forces of Heeresgruppe Süd cross the river Bug in southern Poland and capture Brest-Litovsk. Slovakia declares war on the Soviet Union.

June 23rd, 1942: The Afrikakorps reaches the Egyptian border near El Alamein.

June 23rd, 1944: Generaloberst Dietl, C-in-C of 20. Gebirgsarmee on the Arctic front in northern Finland, is killed in an air crash.

June 24th

June 24th, 1940: An armistice is signed between France and Italy at Villa Indusa near Rome.

June 24th, 1941: In the East, German troops of Heeresgruppe Nord capture Kaunas and Vilna in Lithuania. Hungary breaks off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

June 24th, 1942: First of a series of Luftwaffe night raids on Birmingham. In Yugoslavia, beginning of an offensive by German, Italian and Croatian forces against Tito;s partisan army.

June 24th, 1943: The RAF launches a heavy raid on Elberfeld in the Ruhr.

June 25th

June 25th, 1940: At 1:35 a.m. CET, all acts of war between the French and German armed forces cease officially.

June 25th, 1941: German armored forces of Panzergruppe 1 (von Kleist) capture Lutsk and Dubno in eastern Poland (USSR territory).

June 25th, 1942: The Afrikakorps captures Sidi Barrani, Sollum and Halfaya Pass in Libya. The RAF launches a 1,000-bomber raid on Bremen which causes heavy damage to the Focke-Wulf plant and devastates 27 acres of the inner city (49 aircraft lost). Major-General Eisenhower is appointed C-in-C of US forces in Europe.

June 25th, 1944: In Normandy, the British Second Army (Dempsey) begins a major offensive in the area of Caen (Operation Epsom). In the East, 40,000 troops of Heeresgruppe Mitte are surrounded by the Red Army in the area of Vitebsk. General Koenid is appointed C-in-C of the Free French forces.

June 26th

June 26th, 1941: In the East, German forces of Heeresgruppe Nord capture Dünaburg in Latvia. The Luftwaffe carries out raids on Leningrad. Finland declares war on the oviet Union.

June 26th, 1942: Generaloberst Rommel, C-in-C of the Afrikakorps is promoted to Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal).

June 27th

June 27th, 1941: In the East, German forces encircle several Soviet divisions near Minsk and capture Riga, Bobruisk and Przemysl. Hungary declares war on the Soviet Union.

June 27th, 1944: The Red Army recaptures Orsha on the Dnepr and destroys the German pocket near Vitebsk.

June 28th

June 28th, 1940: Following an ultimatum to the Rumanian government, the Red Army occupies Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina.

June 28th, 1941: German troops of Heeresgruppe Mitte capture Minsk.

June 28th, 1942: Beginning of the first stage of Fall Blau (Operation Blue), the new German summer offensive on the southern front in Russia. From the area of Kursk, the German 2. Armee and 4. Panzerarmee, with 50 divisions, advance toward Voronesh on the upper Don.

June 28th, 1944: In Normandy, Operation Epsom designed to break through the German defenses near Caen is halted by the fierce resistance of the I. and II. SS-Panzerkorps.

June 29th

June 29th, 1941: On the Arctic front in northern Finland, the German 20. Gebirgsarmee (Dietl) launches Unternehmen Silberfuchs (Operation Silver Fox), an offensive to capture the Soviet port of Murmansk. Several divisions of the Soviet West Front (Pavlov) are encircled near Bialystok.

June 29th, 1942: The Afrikakorps captures Mersah Matruh in Egypt.

June 29th, 1944: In the East, German troops of Heeresgruppe Mitte (Busch) encircled near Bobruisk surrender to the Red Army (70,000 prisoners). In the West, Cherbourg is captured by the US VII Corps (Collins).

June 30th

June 30th, 1940: German troops occupy the British Channel Islands off the coast of Brittany.

June 30th, 1941: In the East, German forces of Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) capture Lemberg (Lvov). Pilots of Luftwaffe fighter wing JG-51 down 100 Soviet bombers attacking German armored forces east of Minsk; its CO, Oberst (Colonel) Mölders, accounts for 5 of them. Vichy France breaks off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

June 30th, 1942: In the East, beginning of an offensive by 6. Armee (Paulus) from the area of Belgorod toward the Don. Returning from a successful patrol in the Gulf of Mexico (12 ships sunk), U-158 (Kptlt. Rostin) is destroyed by a US Mariner flying boat off Bermuda.

June 30th, 1944: In the West, the RAF carries out a saturation raid (250 Lancasters) on 2. and 9. SS-Panzerdivisions (Das Reich and Hohenstauffen) at Villers-Bocage near Caen. The United States breaks off diplomatic relations with Finland.