WWII Axis Military History Day-by-Day: June
June 1st, 1940: In the West, the evacuation of the British ExpeditionaryForce from Dunkirk continues, with another 64,400 men taken off thebeaches. The British destroyers Keith, Basilisk and Havant and thetransport Scotia are sunk by Luftwaffe dive bombers.
June 1st, 1941: The last British troops (15,000) are evacuated from theisland of Crete which is now completely in German hands. The Luftwaffecarries out a night raid (110 bombers) on Manchester. In theMediterranean, Stukas sink the British cruiser Calcutta off Alexandria.
June 1st, 1942: The RAF launches another 1,000-bomber night raid againstEssen in the Ruhr, but with minimal effect. In the East, the siege ofthe Crimean fortress of Sevastopol by 11.Armee (von Manstein) continueswith a round-the-clock bombardment by heavy artillery and Luftwaffebombers. Mexico declares war on Germany, Italy and Japan.
June 1st, 1943: BdU (C-in-C U-boats) adopts a new policy of fighting backat Allied sub-hunting aircraft with the U-boats’ own AA guns whilecrossing the Bay of Biscay on the surface; this tactic proves to belargely unsuccesful and is soon abandoned. In the East, the Red AirForce attacks German rear communications and airfields at Smolensk, Oreland Bryansk.
June 1st, 1944: In the West, Allied air forces continue to carry outheavy attacks against strategic bridges and rail lines in France. InItaly, the British Eighth Army (Alexander) captures Frosinone SE ofRome.
June 2nd, 1940: At Dunkirk, 26,200 British and French troops areevacuated from the beaches. The luftwaffe carries out raids on Lyon andtargets in the Rhone valley.
June 2nd, 1941: Hitler and Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass on theGerman-Italian border to discuss the progress of the war.
June 2nd, 1944: First shuttle raid (Operation Frantic) by 130 B-17s ofthe US 15th Air Force based at Tripoli that attack railyards atDebrecen< Hungary, and then fly on to Soviet airfields at Poltava in theUkraine. Beginning of secret negotiations between the Rumaniangovernment of Marshal Antonescu and representatives of the Soviet Unionat Stockholm, Sweden, while the Bulgarian government seeks terms ofsurrender rom the Western Allies.
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 hasbeen declared an ‘open city’.
June 4th, 1940: German troops enter Dunkirk, taking 40,000 Frenchprisoners and huge quantities of abandoned British equipment: 84,000vehicles, 2,500 guns and 650,000 tons of supplies and ammunition. Frenchbombers carry out night raids on Munich and Frankfurt, with negligibleresults.
June 4th, 1941: Luftwaffe bombers carry out a night raid on the port ofAlexandria in Egypt.
June 4th, 1942: Hitler flies to Finland to meet with the Finnish head ofstate, Marshal Mannerheim.
June 4th, 1943: In the East, Luftwaffe bombers attack the greattank-producing plants at Gorki.
June 4th, 1944: The US Fifth Army (Clark) enters Rome. U-505, patrolingoff Cape Blanco on the West African coast is forced to the surface bydepth-charges from the US destroyer escort Chatelain, captured intactand towed to Bermuda by the escort carrier Guadalcanal.
June 5th, 1940: Beginning of Fall Rot (Operation Red), the second stageof the German invasion of France, also called the Battle of France (119divisions, including 10 armored). Heeresgruppe B (von Küchler), with50 divisions, opens the offensive on the Somme against the fortifiedpositions of the Weygand Line. Hptm. Mölders, leader ofIII/JG 53 andGermany’s top air ace (25 kills) is shot down near Compiegne and takenprisoner.
June 5th, 1942: The United States declares war on Rumania, Hungary andBulgaria.
June 5th, 1943: U-513 (Kptlt.. Sohler) sinks 4 ships off the coast ofBrazil.
June 5th, 1944: Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France, ispostponed for one day because of rough seas in the English Channel. TheRAF carries out heavy night raids against German coastal batteries andfortifications in Normandy.
June 6th, 1940: In the West, 7. Panzerdivision (Rommel). advancing W ofAmiens, penetratees 20 miles into French territory. U-46 (Kptlt. Sohler)sinks the British armed merchant cruiser Carinthia off the west coast ofIreland.
June 6th, 1941: Hittler issues a directive for the implementation of theKommissarbefehl (Commissar Order) which calls for the summary executionof all Soviet political commissars attached to the Red Army; this orderis tacitly disobeyed by most German army and corps commanders who deemit contrary to German military custom and tradition.
June 6th, 1944: D-DAY. – In the early morning hours, the AlliedExpeditionary Force of American, British, Canadian, Polish, and FreeFrench troops begins Operation Overlord, the long-awaited invasion of’Fortress Europe’, as the Germans call it. After an intensive naval andaerial bombardment, the first wave of 5 divisions (156,115 men) arelanded at designated beaches in Normandy named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Junoand Sword, preceded by some 12,000 paratroopers of the US 82nd and101st Airborne Divisions behind the German lines on the Cotentinpeninsula and the British 6th Airborne Division near Caen. These forcesare supported by 1,213 warships, including 7 battleships and 23cruisers, 1,600 auliary ships, and 4,126 landing craft, as well asseveral Allied air forces flying 14,674 sorties. Opposing them in theirbunkers on the beaches are 5 lowgrade German infantry divisions withabout 50,000 men and 100 tanks and assault guns. Despite some heavycasualties, especially at Omaha Beach, the German defenders, stunned andsurprised by the massive onslaught, are progressively overwhelmed, andmost of the Allied objectives are reached and secured by nightfall.There is little opposition from the Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine.
June 7th, 1942: In the East, 11. Armee (von Manstein) begins the finalassault on the Soviet fortress of Sevastopol in the Crimea.
June 7th, 1944: In the West, US forces landed in Normandy link up withelements of the British 6th Airborne Division South of Caen.
June 8th, 1940: In Norway, the evacuation of British and French troops(24,000 men) from Narvik and Harstad is completed. The British aircraftcarrier Glorious is sunk by the German heavy battle cruisers Scharnhorstand Gneisenau SW of Narvik. King Haakon and the Norwegian governmentleave Tromsö for England.
June 8th, 1941: British and Free French forces invade Lebanon and Syriaagainst stiff resistance by Vichy French troops.
June 9th, 1940: In the West, German forces of Heeresgruppe A (vonKüchler) advancing S from the Somme capture Rouen on the Seine.
June 9th, 1942: 6. Armee (Paulus) launches a counterattack againstadvancing Soviet forces in the Charkov area.
June 9th, 1944: The Red Army begins an offensive against Finnishpositions in the Karelian Isthmus N of Leningrad. In Normandy, US forcesadvancing from Utah Beach capture St. Mere-Eglise.
June 10th, 1940: In Norway, the remaining troops of the Norwegian Armysurrender. Italy declares war on Britain and France and begins anoffensive along the coast of the Riviera.
June 10th, 1942: In the East, 6. Armee forces the withdrawal of Sovietforces from the Charkov area and captures Volchansk and Kupyansk. InLibya, the Afrikakorps (properly, Panzerarmee Afrika) finally capturesBir Hacheim, a strongpoint fiercely defended by Foreign Legionaires ofthe Free French Forces. The British Eighth Army (Ritchie) retreatstoward the Egyptian border.
June 10th, 1943: Beginning of a coordinated air offensive by the US 8thAir Force (Doolittle), flying precision bombing missions by day, and RAFBomber Command (Harris), flying area saturation missions by night,against major German cities.
June 10th, 1944: In the West, German counterattacks against Alliedinvasion forces are unsuccessful for lack of armored reserves in thearea.
June 11th, 1940: In the West, German forces capture Rheims. The Frenchgovernment of Premier Reynaud leaves Paris for Tours. The RAF carriesout raids on Genoa and Turin in Italy. The British cruiser Calypso issunk by an Italian submarine off Crete.
June 11th, 1941: The Raf begins a series of 20 consecutive raids againsttargets in the Ruhr, the Rhineland, as well as Hamburg and Bremen.
June 11th, 1942: German U-boats begin laying mines off Boston, Delawareand Chesapeake Bay.
June 11th, 1943: The US 8th Air Force raids the German naval base atWilhelmshaven (200 B-17s), while the RAF attacks Münster andDüsseldorf.
June 11th, 1944: US forces landed at Utah Beach capture Carentan.
June 12th, 1940: On orders from General Weygand, C-in-C of the FrenchArmy, the French forces opposing the advance of Heeresgruppe A withdrawto the south, offering little resistance. The Soviet Union issues anultimatum to Lithuania which is soon followed by the occupation of thecountry by the Red Army.
June 12th, 1941: The German pocket battleship Lützow (formerlyDeutschland) is attacked and damaged by RAF aircraft off the southerncoast of Norway.
June 12th, 1942: The British convoys Harpoon and Vigorous bound forMalta and Alexandria from Gibraltar are attacked by Axis aircraft whichsink 6 merchant ships and 6 escort vessels. The Italian cruiser Trentois 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 uptogether; thus far, 326,000 men and 54,000 vehicles have been landed.
June 13th, 1940: In the West, German troops reach the northern outskirtsof Paris which has been declared an ‘open city’. Italian bombers attackthe French naval base at Toulon. The British auxiliary cruiser Scotstownis sunk by U-25 (Kptlt. Beduhn) off the Irish coast. The German raiderOrion lays mines off Auckland, New Zealand.
June 13th, 1941: The Luftwaffe carries out a raid on the British navalbase at Chatham, but with little success.
June 13th, 1942: In the battle for Tobruk, German tanks and anti-tankbatteries (88mm) of the Afrikakorps destroy 138 enemy tanks, leaving theBritish Eighth Army with only 75 armored vehicles operational.
June 13th, 1944: Launching of the first V-1 robot bombs from the Pas deCalais against London causing shock and near-panick among the civilianpopulation. In the battle for Caen, a single Tiger tank from12.SS-Panzerdivision (Obstuf. Wittmann) destroys 25 tanks and othervehicles of the British 7th Armoured Division near Villers-Bocage.
June 14th, 1940: German troops enter Paris which has been evacuated bymost 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 Britishtroops in France are ordered to return to England.
June 14th, 1941: In Libya, the British Eighth Army begins OperationBattleaxe to lift the siege of Tobruk, but the Afrikakorps conterattacksthree days later and the operation is abandoned. President Rooseveltorders the freezing of all Axis assets and those of the occupiedcountries. Hitler meets with his top generals to discuss mattersconcerning the upcoming campaign against the Soviet Union. Croatia joinsthe Tripartite Pact of Germany, Italy and Japan.
June 14th, 1942: Two German U-boats land teams of saboteurs on LongIsland and near Jacksonville, Florida; within days, they are allcaptured, and six are executed after trial.
June 14th, 1943: RAF Coastal Command begins daily patrols over the Bayof Biscay by aircraft equipped with new detection devices to locate anddestroy German U-boats leaving and entering their bases on the Frenchcoast.
June 14th, 1944: The RAF launches heavy attacks (600 bombers) against LeHavre and Boulogne.
June 15th, 1940: In the West, German forces of 7. Armee break into theMaginot Line and capture Verdun. 30,600 British and Canadian troops areevacuated 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 5ships of Convoy HG-84.
June 15th, 1943: The German raider Michel sinks 2 ships off the westcoast of Australia.
June 15th, 1944: Heavy V-1 attacks on London.
June 16th. 1940: In the West, German forces, supported by heavyartillery and Stuka dive bombers, continue their assault on the MaginotLine on a broad front. Units of IXX.Panzerkorps (Guderian) reachBesancon on the Swiss border. The French government of Paul Reynaudresigns and is replaced by one led by Marshal Petain. 57,000 Britishtroops are evacuated from Nantes and St. Nazaire. U-101 (Kptlt.Frauenheim) sinks the British merchant ship Wellington Star in the Bayof Biscay. In the Baltic, the Red Army occupies Latvia and Estonia. Tensof thousands of “hostile’ natives and their families are rounded up anddeported separated from one another to NKVD prison camps in the SovietUnion.
June 16th, 1941: The US State Department orders the closing by July 10of all German consular offices and tourist agencies in the UnitedStates.
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. 1940: In the West, German troops cross the Loire nearOrleans. The French premier, Marshal Petain, requests Germany’s andItaly’s terms for an armistice.
June 17th, 1942: Leaving behind a garrison of some 30,000 troops, theBritish Eighth Army withdraws from Tobruk.
June 17th, 1943: The British battleships Valiant and Warspite aretransferred from Scapa Flow to Oran and Alexandria in North Africa inpreparation for Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily.
June 17th, 1944: German troops evacuate the island of Elba off the westcoast of Italy.
June 18th, 1940: In the West, German troops capture Le Mans andCherbourg; the garrisons of Belfort, Metz and Dijon surrender. Generalde Gaulle forms the French National Committee at London and vows tocontinue 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 theCrimea. In Libya, the British Eighth Army evacuates Sidi Rezegh and ElAdem.
June 18th, 1944: In Normandy, the US First Army (Bradley) cuts off andisolates the German forces defending Cherbourg. In Italy, the US FifthArmy (Clark) captures Prugia.
June 19th, 1940: German troops capture Brest, Toul and Strassburg.
June19th, 1943: The RAF carries out a raid on the Schneider armamentsworks at Le Creusot.
June 19th, 1944: A violent storm in the English Channel wrecks theAllied artificial ‘Mulberry’ harbors at Omaha Beach and Arromanches.
June 20th, 1940: German troops capture Lyons. The German heavy cruiserGneisenau 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 Algiersto refuel and then return to England.
June 20th, 1944: In the East, the Red Army captures Viipuri on theSoviet-Finnish border.
June 21st, 1940: Franco-German armistice negotiations begin at Compiegnein the same railroad car of Marshal Foch where the German delegatesreceived the Allied armistice terms in November, 1918. Hitler issues aproclamation announcing the end of the war in the West, and orders flagsto be flown throughout Germany for ten days.
June 21, 1941: General Auchinleck replaces General Wavell as C-in-C ofthe British Eighth Army in Libya.
June 21st, 1942: The Afrikakorps captures Tobruk, taking 33,000 Britishprisoners. 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 betweenlakes Ladoga and Onega on the northern front. The US 8th Air Forcecarries out raids on Berlin and the synthetic fuel plants atLeuna-Merseburg.
June 22nd, 1940: An armistice between France and Germany is signed atCompiegne. Its terms, read out loud to the French delegation byGeneraloberst Keitel, provide for the occupation of the entire Channeland Atlantic coastlines, all major industrial areas, Alsace-Lorraine (tobe returned to Germany). Most of southern France will remain unoccupied,with a French administrative center at Vichy; the French Army and Navyis to be demobilized and disarmed; France is to bear the cost of theGerman occupation, and all French prisoners of war are to remain inGermany until a peace treaty is signed.
June 22nd, 1941: Beginning of OPERATION BARBAROssA, the German invasionof the Soviet Union. At 3:15 a.m. CET, German, Rumanian and Finnishforces comprising 183 divisions (3,500,000 men), 3,350 tanks, 7,184 gunsand 1,945 aircraft launch the biggest military operation in history onan 1,800-mile front from ‘Finland to the Black Sea’ (title of the GermanArmy campaign song). Three army groups supported by powerful Panzerarmies and Luftwaffe bomber fleets, Heeresgruppe Süd (von Rundstedt)with Panzergruppe 1 (von Kleist), Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) withPanzergruppen 2 (Guderian) and 3 (Hoth), and Heeresgruppe Nord (vonLeeb) with Panzergruppe 4 (Hoepner) go into action against 132 Sovietdivisions (2,500,000 men), 20,000 tanks and 7,700 aircraft. The overallobjective of the campaign is to destroy the Soviet forces in westernRussia by fall and to occupy the European part of the Soviet Union up tothe line Archangelsk – Urals – Volga – Astrachan. In the first few hoursof the attack, the Luftwaffe destroys 1,500 Soviet aircraft on theground at 60 airfields and 300 in the air. The Red Army forces along theborder seem unprepared for the assault and offer only limitedresistance. At London, Winston Churchill announces Britain’s support forthe Soviet Union, thus making the Bolshevik state her much-needed ally.
June 22nd, 1944: On the central front in the East, the Soviet 1st Balticand 3rd Belorussian Fronts (Vassilevsky) and the 1st and 2nd BelorussianFronts (Zhukov) begin Operation Bagraton, a massive offensive againstHeeresgruppe Mitte (Busch) on a 300-mile front between Polotsk andBobruysk. The German forces of 63 divisions, 900 tanks and 10,000 gunsare facing vastly superior Soviet forces of 124 divisions, 5,200 tanks,30.000 guns and 6,000 aircraft. The Luftwaffe launches a surprise nightraid (60 aircraft) on the US 8th Air Force’s shuttle base at Poltava inthe Ukraine, destroying 44 B-17s and 500,000 gals. of fuel. In the West,US bombers carry out a saturation on besieged Cherbourg. PresidentRoosevelt signs the GI Bill of Rights which promises generous benefitsfor returning US servicemen.
June 23rd, 1940: Hitler makes a brief sightseeing visit to Paris;motoring through nearly empty streets, he makes a special point ofviewing Napoleon’s tomb, ending his tour at the Eiffel tower.
June 23rd, 1941: In the East, German forces of Heeresgruppe Süd crossthe river Bug in southern Poland and capture Brest-Litovsk. Slovakiadeclares war on the Soviet Union.
June 23rd, 1942: The Afrikakorps reaches the Egyptian border near ElAlamein.
June 23rd, 1944: Generaloberst Dietl, C-in-C of 20. Gebirgsarmee on theArctic front in northern Finland, is killed in an air crash.
June 24th, 1940: An armistice is signed between France and Italy atVilla Indusa near Rome.
June 24th, 1941: In the East, German troops of Heeresgruppe Nord captureKaunas and Vilna in Lithuania. Hungary breaks off diplomatic relationswith the Soviet Union.
June 24th, 1942: First of a series of Luftwaffe night raids onBirmingham. In Yugoslavia, beginning of an offensive by German, Italianand Croatian forces against Tito;s partisan army.
June 24th, 1943: The RAF launches a heavy raid on Elberfeld in the Ruhr.
June 25th, 1940: At 1:35 a.m. CET, all acts of war between the Frenchand 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 andHalfaya Pass in Libya. The RAF launches a 1,000-bomber raid on Bremenwhich causes heavy damage to the Focke-Wulf plant and devastates 27acres of the inner city (49 aircraft lost). Major-General Eisenhower isappointed C-in-C of US forces in Europe.
June 25th, 1944: In Normandy, the British Second Army (Dempsey) begins amajor offensive in the area of Caen (Operation Epsom). In the East,40,000 troops of Heeresgruppe Mitte are surrounded by the Red Army inthe area of Vitebsk. General Koenid is appointed C-in-C of the FreeFrench forces.
June 26th, 1941: In the East, German forces of Heeresgruppe Nord captureDünaburg 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 ispromoted to Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal).
June 27th, 1941: In the East, German forces encircle several Sovietdivisions near Minsk and capture Riga, Bobruisk and Przemysl. Hungarydeclares war on the Soviet Union.
June 27th, 1944: The Red Army recaptures Orsha on the Dnepr and destroysthe German pocket near Vitebsk.
June 28th, 1940: Following an ultimatum to the Rumanian government, theRed 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 (OperationBlue), the new German summer offensive on the southern front in Russia.From the area of Kursk, the German 2. Armee and 4. Panzerarmee, with 50divisions, advance toward Voronesh on the upper Don.
June 28th, 1944: In Normandy, Operation Epsom designed to break throughthe German defenses near Caen is halted by the fierce resistance of theI. and II. SS-Panzerkorps.
June 29th, 1941: On the Arctic front in northern Finland, the German 20.Gebirgsarmee (Dietl) launches Unternehmen Silberfuchs (Operation SilverFox), an offensive to capture the Soviet port of Murmansk. Severaldivisions of the Soviet West Front (Pavlov) are encircled nearBialystok.
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 (70,000prisoners). In the West, Cherbourg is captured by the US VII Corps(Collins).
June 30th, 1940: German troops occupy the British Channel Islands offthe coast of Brittany.
June 30th, 1941: In the East, German forces of Heeresgruppe Mitte (vonBock) capture Lemberg (Lvov). Pilots of Luftwaffe fighter wing JG-51down 100 Soviet bombers attacking German armored forces east of Minsk;its CO, Oberst (Colonel) Mölders, accounts for 5 of them. Vichy Francebreaks 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 asuccessful 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 (250Lancasters) on 2. and 9. SS-Panzerdivisions (Das Reich andHohenstauffen) at Villers-Bocage near Caen. The United States breaks offdiplomatic relations with Finland.