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

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November 1

November 1, 1939: Germany formally annexes western Poland, Danzig and the Polish Corridor. This adds the new districts of Posen, Greater East Prussia and Danzig West Prussia to the Reich.

November 1, 1941: The German government issues a statement denying the charges made by President Roosevelt that the US destroyers Greer and Kearney were attacked by German submarines without any provocation; that the exact opposite was true in that the U-boats fired torpedoes only after they were tracked and depth-charged for hours by these US vessels. In the East, units if 11.Armee (von Manstein) capture Simferopol in the Crimea.

November 1, 1942: In their advance toward Ordshonikidse in the Caucasus, units of III.Panzerkorps (von Mackensen) capture Alagir on the upper Terek river.

November 1, 1943: The Red Army achieves a landing across the Strait of Kertch from the Taman peninsula to the Crimea.

November 1, 1944: Start of an offensive by the Canadian 1st Army (Simonds) against German positions on the Dutch island of Walcheren in the Scheldt estuary.

November 2

November 2, 1942: In the Caucasus, 13.Panzer-Division of III.Panzerkorps approaches the outskirts of Ordshonikidse, the southeastern-most point ever reached by the Wehrmacht on the entire Eastern front.

November 2, 1944: In Hungary, the Red Army enters the southeastern suburbs of Budapest.

November 3

November 3, 1941: Units of Panzergruppe 2 (Guderian) of Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) capture Kursk.

November 3, 1942: Rejecting out of hand Field Marshal Rommel's proposal to withdraw the Afrikakorps, now down to about 40 tanks, to the Fuka line, Hitler orders him to stand and fight. In an interview with American journalists, Stalin describes US military aid as of little effect.

November 3, 1943: Start of a Soviet offensive north of Kiev.

November 3, 1944: 20.Gebirgsarmee evacuates the mineral-rich Petsamo region in northern Finland.

November 4

November 4, 1941: Advancing in the Crimea, units of 11.Armee capture Feodosia. Finnish forces capture the Baltic naval base of Hangö that Finland was compelled to lease to the Soviets in 1940.

November 4, 1942: In Libya, the Afrikakorps is forced from the Fuka line in the face of massive attacks by the British 8th Army (Montgomery).

November 5

November 5, 1940: President Roosevelt is reelected for an unprecedented third term.

November 5, 1943: The US Fifth Army (Clark) reaches the Sangro river in southern Italy.

November 5, 1944: Units of 4.Armee (Hossbach) recapture the town of Goldap in East Prussia.

November 6

November 6, 1942: Halted before Ordshonikidse in the Caucasus, 13.Panzer-Division is fighting to prevent being cut off by superior Soviet forces attacking its flanks and rear.

November 6, 1942: In a speech to the Congress of Soviet Deputies, Stalin warns the United States and Britain that the absence of a second front against Fascist Germany may end badly for all fredom-loving countries, including the Allies themselves. He declares that the aim of the coalition is to save mankind from reversion to savagery and mediaeval brutality.

November 6, 1943: The Red Army recaptures Kiev.

November 7

November 7, 1941: Speaking in Red Square at Moscow, with the spearheads of the Wehrmacht less than 100 miles from the capital, Stalin predicts that the Fascist German invaders are facing disaster.

November 7, 1944: President Roosevelt is reelected for another, his fourth, term.

November 8

November 8, 1939: A bomb intended to kill Hitler explodes at the annual meeting of the veterans of the 1923 Nazi Putsch in Munich, but the Führer has already left the hall.

November 8, 1941: On the Leningrad front, units of Heeresgruppe Nord (von Leeb) advance across the Volchov river and capture Tichvin.

November 8, 1942: Anglo-American forces under Lieutenant General Eisenhower land in Morocco and Algeria against minimal Vichy French resistance. On the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich Hitler tells his old comrades that Stalingrad is practically in German hands, adding that he didn't want to take that city just because it happens to bear the name of Stalin.

November 9

November 9, 1940: Start of a counter-offensive by the British 8th Army (Wavell) against Italian forces that have advanced into Egypt.

November 9, 1942: German paratroops are landed in Tunisia to forestall an invasion by the Allies.

November 9, 1944: German forces evacuate the Moerdijk bridgehead across the Meuse river.

November 10

November 10, 1942: President Roosevelt announces the breaking-off of diplomatic relations with Vichy France. The British 8th Army (Montgomery) takes Sidi Barrani in Libya recently evacuated by Panzerarmee Afrika.

November 10, 1943: The Red Army achieves a breakthrough near Gomel in Belorussia.

November 11

November 11, 1940: British naval aircraft attack the Italian fleet at Taranto, sinking or damaging three battleships.

November 11, 1942: At Stalingrad, 6.Armee (von Paulus) launches its last major attack to capture the city and succeeds in reaching the Volga near the Red October factory on a frontage of 600 yards. In the Caucasus, 13.Panzer-Division (von der Chevallerie) of III.Panzerkorps (von Mackensen) begins to disengage its units halted before Ordshonikidse to avoid being cut off by heavy Soviet attacks against its rear communications. In the West, German forces begin the occupation of those parts of France controlled by the Vichy government. In a letter to Marshal Petain, Hitler declares that the purpose of this move is "to protect France" against the Allies. The United States extends Lend-Lease aid to the Free Forces under General de Gaulle.

November 12

November 12, 1940: Soviet foreign minister Molotov visits Hitler at Berlin to discuss mutual spheres of interest, especially regarding Finland. The talks show serious disagreements between the participants.

November 12, 1942: In Libya, the British 8th Army retakes Sollum and Bardia, while Panzerarmee Afrika continues its withdrawal toward Tripoli.

November 12, 1944: Heavy bombers of the RAF, after several previous attempts, succeed in sinking the battleship Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck, lying at anchor in a fjord near Tromsö in Norway. Over 1,000 men of her crew trapped in her capsized hull are lost.

November 13

November 13, 1941: President Roosevelt announces the arming of American merchant vessels carrying Lend-Lease cargo to Britain. In the Mediterranean, U-81 (Kptlt. Guggenberger) sinks the British aircraft carrier Ark Royal.

November 13, 1942: In Libya, the British 8th Army retakes Tobruk.

November 13, 1944: German troops of Heeresgruppe E evacuate Skopje in Yugoslavia.

November 14

November 14, 1940: Using a total force of 449 bombers, the Luftwaffe launches a heavy night attack against the major manufacturing city of Coventry, causing severe damage to industrial and civilian installations. The raid kills 550 people.

November 13, 1943: German forces occupy several islands along the east coast of the Adriatic.

November 13, 1944: The US Third Army (Patton) begins an offensive from the Nancy area toward the Saar, while Free French forces under General Leclerc attack from Alsace toward the upper Rhine.

November 15

November 15, 1941: Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) begins the second phase of the battle for Moscow, employing the forces of three Panzergruppen, 2 (Guderian), 3 (Reinhardt), and 4 (Hoepner), as well as three infantry armies, 2.Armee (von Weichs), 4.Armee (von Kluge), and 9.Armee (von Küchler).

November 15, 1943: In a counterattack, German forces recapture Shitomir and Korosten in the Ukraine.

November 16

November 16, 1944: In the West, US and German forces begin the bitter battle for the Roer river crossings on the German-Belgian border.

November 17

November 17, 1941: Units of 11.Armee (von Manstein) capture the eastern Crimean port of Kerch.

November 17, 1942: In Tunisia, the first clashes occur between the newly landed US and German forces.

November 18

November 18, 1943: Start of a series of heavy night attacks by the RAF against Berlin.

November 19

November 19, 1942: In the East, the Red Army begins a massive counter-offensive to encircle and destroy the German forces fighting in nearly captured Stalingrad. The initial attacks by the Soviet 5th Tank Army (Romanenko) from the north and the 51st Army (Chistyakov) from the south are directed against the exposed rear flanks of 6.Armee (von Paulus) and 4.Panzerarmee (Hoth) held by the Rumanian 3rd and 4th Armies which are overrun and scattered.

November 20

November 20, 1942: Northeast and southwest of Stalingrad, the attacking Soviet armies are making rapid progress in the direction of Kalach on the Don, the chosen meeting-point of the two pincers. 6. and 4. Armee hurriedly dispatch mobile units to bolster the unprepared and crumbling German defenses west and south of the Don. A crisis of major proportions is in the offing.

November 20, 1943: The Red Army achieves a breakthrough near Kremenchug in the Ukraine, and advances toward Kirovograd.

November 20, 1944: German troops of Heeresgruppe E evacuate Tirana in Albania.

November 21

November 21, 1941: Units of 1.Panzergruppe (von Kleist) III.Panzerkorps (von Mackensen) capture Rostov-on-Don.

November 21, 1942: At Stalingrad, the situation in the rear of 6.Armee is deteriorating fast, not least owing to the fact that Army HQ is being relocated which leads to serious disruptions in communications with the troops in and outside the city.

November 21, 1943: Field Marshal Kesselring is appointed commander-in-chief of all German forces in Italy.

November 21, 1944: The US 8th Air Force launches heavy attacks against Hamburg and the synthetic fuel producing plants of Leuna at Merseburg.

November 22

November 22, 1940: Italian planes bomb Cephalonia, Corfu and Samos in Greece. Martial law is declared in European Turkey after the German ambassador, von Papen, delivers a virtual ultimatum to Turkey to join in the Axis-planned new European order.

November 22, 1941: The HMS Devonshire sinks the German raider Atlantis off the West Coast of Africa. She was caught replenishing a U-Boat. The U-Boat is able to get away. In North Africa, a large tank battle rages near Sidi Rezegh in Libya. At the end of this confusing battle, British units withdraw away from Tobruk. Separately the British 4th Armored Bridage is mauled by the German 15.Panzer-Division. The initiative now passes to the Germans.

November 22, 1942: Continuing their inexorable advance toward their pre-planned meeting-point west of Stalingrad, the Soviet 4th Mechanized Corps (Volsky) from the south and the 4th Tank Corps (Kravchenko) from the north, join hands at Kalach on the Don, thus ensuring the complete encirclement of the 300,000 men of 6.Armee. Its CO, Gen.Obst. von Paulus, arrives at his new HQ at Gumrak, 10 miles W of Stalingrad.

November 22, 1943: German troops complete the occupation of the islands of the Dodekanes in the eastern Mediterranean.

November 22, 1944: Units of the US Third Army (Patton) capture Metz in Lorraine.

November 23

November 23, 1939: British Armed merchant cruiser Rawalpindi (Capt. E.C. Kennedy) is sunk southwest of Iceland by the Scharnhorst as she and sister ship Gneisenau attempted to break out into the Atlantic killing 265 sailors.

November 23, 1940: Rumania joins the Tripartite Pact of Germany, Italy and Japan. In the British Isles, the city of Southampton suffers a heavy night raid at the hands of German bombers.

November 21, 1941: The German offensive in the Moscow sector continues. A 50 mile front northwest of the city sees Hoth's Panzer Divisions capture Klin. German forces are within 35 miles of the Soviet Capitol. In North Africa, southeast of Sidi Rezegh more fierce battles take place. In the afternoon German Panzer Divisions are joined by the Italian Ariete Division in making a sharp charge against the British Armor and both South African Brigades. To the Germans this day (Sunday) will be known as Totensonntag, the Sunday of the Dead. In the south New Zealand forces attack and capture the HQ of the Afrika Korps and much of Rommel's communications equipment. Due to heavy British losses, General Cunningham looses confidence and Auchinleck comes forward to watch the tactical moves closely.

November 23, 1942: Retreating before the British 8th Army (Montgomery), Panzerarmee Afrika reaches El Agheila, the starting-point of its great counter-offensive that began on January 21, 1942.

November 23, 1943: Hitler watches a demonstration flight of the ME-262 prototype jet airplane. He predicts it will be an ideal light bomber. This aircraft was first flown in July and will take until June of 1944 until it becomes operational.

November 23, 1944: Units of the US Third Army reach the Rhine at Strassburg in Alsace. The German 15.Armee withdraws deeper into Holland. The German 7.Armee begins a series of attacks against the US 9th Army.
In the East, the Soviets capture Tokay in southern Hungary. They also announce that with the help of the Finns they have cleared Lapland of German forces.

November 24

November 24, 1940: Slovakia joins the Tripartite Pact.

November 24, 1941: Rostov is evacuated of German units in the face of again being cut off in their rear. FM Rundstedt make this move in the face of express orders from Hitler to stand fast. In North Africa, Rommel, believing the opposing British Armor destroyed, ignores the New Zealand forces in the area and advances along the Trig el Abd to the Egyptian border. During the "Dash to the Wire" Rommel and his senior commanders loose touch, and the British rear echelons panic. The Germans take losses they can't afford though and their hold on the British armor becomes slack.

November 24, 1942: GFM Manstein is ordered south to restore the situation with Heeresgruppe Don. He finds non-existant resources. Other than the surrounded 6.Armee at Stalingrad and 2 remaining division of the Rumanian 3rd Army he has one division holding positions at Elista. Other commanders reluctantly hand over some reserves resulting in a slow buildup of his relief forces. Problems were created by Hitler's order to hold at all costs at Stalingrad. Further north, the Red Army mounts attacks in the Moscow sector near Rzhev.

November 24, 1943: German attacks at Korosten increase, forcing the Soviets to fall back.

November 24, 1944: Troops of the French First Army (de Tassigny) capture Mühlhausen in Alsace, while the French 2nd Division completes the capture of Strasboug. Units from Patton's US 3rd Army cross the Saar 25 miles north of Saarbrucken. In the Gulf of Riga the last 5,000 German troops are evacuated off the Island of Saaremo. They were covered by the Gemran ships Lutzow, Admiral Scheer and Prinz Eugen.

November 25

November 25, 1941: U-331 (Kplt. Tiesenhausen) sinks the British battleship Barham in the Mediterranean.

November 26

November 26, 1943: German forces of Heeresgruppe Mitte evacuate Gomel in Belorussia.

November 27

November 27, 1941: In their advance toward Moscow under extremely difficult wintry conditions, units of 9.Armee (Strauss) reach the Volga Canal 60 miles NW of the Soviet capital. Some armed parols have penetrated the western suburbs of the city and got a good look at the Kremlin. Continuing their occupation of Vichy France, German troops take the naval base of Toulon as the vessels of the French fleet stationed there are scuttled by their own crews.

November 27. 1943: In southern Italy, the British 8th Army begins an offensive across the Sangro river.

November 27, 1944: In Hungary, the Red Army breaks through the German-Hungarian defensive lines and captures Mohacs.

November 28

November 28, 1941: Overextended and short of supplies, III.Panzerkorps of Panzergruppe 1 evacuates Rostov-on-Don and withdraws to the Mius river 30 miles to the west.

November 29

November 29, 1040: British and New Zealand troops under General Freyberg occupy the Greek island of Crete in the Mediterranean.

November 29, 1941: Depleted by continuous savage fighting and extreme weather conditions in below-zero temperatures, German forces of Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) in positions less than 50 miles from Moscow suspend all offensive operations.

November 29, 1942: Prime minister Churchill warns the Italian government that RAF bombing of Italian cities will continue until Italy abandons the war.

November 29, 1943: Beginning of the Tehran Conference between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin to discuss the future of postwar Germany and Poland.

November 30

November 30, 1939: After breaking off diplomatic relations, the Soviet Union attacks Finland by land and air, causing hundreds of civilian casualties by the first Red Air Force's raid on the capital, Helsinki.