WWII Axis Military History Day-by-Day: November

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 WestPrussia 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 Crimea.

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

November 1, 1943: The Red Army achieves a landing across the Strait of Kertchfrom 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.Panzerkorpsapproaches 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 regionin northern Finland.

November 4

November 4, 1941: Advancing in the Crimea, units of 11.Armee captureFeodosia. 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 Goldapin 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, Stalinwarns the United States and Britain that the absence of a second front against Fascist Germany may end badly for all freedom-loving countries, including the Allies themselves. He declares that the aim of the coalition is to save mankind from reversion to savagery and mediaevalbrutality.

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 thatthe 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 theFührer 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 aninvasion by the Allies.

November 9, 1944: German forces evacuate the Moerdijk bridgehead across theMeuse 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 byPanzerarmee 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 nearthe Red October factory on a frontage of 600 yards. In the Caucasus,13.Panzer-Division (von der Chevallerie) of III.Panzerkorps (vonMackensen) 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 in Berlin to discuss mutual spheres of interest, especially regarding Finland. Thetalks 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 aircraftcarrier, Ark Royal.

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

November 13, 1944: German troops of Heeresgruppe E evacuate Skopjein 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 GeneralLeclerc attack from Alsace toward the upper Rhine.

November 15

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

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

November 16

November 16, 1944: In the West, the 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 newlylanded 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 TankArmy (Romanenko) from the north and the 51st Army (Chistyakov) from thesouth are directed against the exposed rear flanks of 6.Armee (vonPaulus) and 4.Panzerarmee (Hoth) held by the Rumanian 3rd and 4th Armieswhich are overrun and scattered.

November 20

November 20, 1942: Northeast and southwest of Stalingrad, the attackingSoviet armies are making rapid progress in the direction of Kalach onthe Don, the chosen meeting point of the two pincers. 6. and 4. Armeehurriedly dispatch mobile units to bolster the unprepared and crumblingGerman 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 inthe Ukraine, and advances toward Kirovograd.

November 20, 1944: German troops of Heeresgruppe E evacuate Tiranain 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 appointedcommander-in-chief of all German forces in Italy.

November 21, 1944: The US 8th Air Force launches heavy attacks againstHamburg 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 Germanambassador, von Papen delivers a virtual ultimatum to Turkey to join inthe 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. TheU-Boat is able to get away. In North Africa, a large tank battle ragesnear Sidi Rezegh in Libya. At the end of this confusing battle, Britishunits withdraw away from Tobruk. Separately the British 4th ArmoredBridage 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 MechanizedCorps (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 inLorraine.

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 sistership Gneisenau attempted to break out into the Atlantic killing 265sailors.

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. A50 mile front northwest of the city sees Hoth’s Panzer Divisions captureKlin. German forces are within 35 miles of the Soviet Capitol. In NorthAfrica, southeast of Sidi Rezegh more fierce battles takes place. In the afternoon German Panzer Divisions are joined by the Italian ArieteDivision in making a sharp charge against the British Armor and both SouthAfrican Brigades. To the Germans this day (Sunday) will be known asTotensonntag, the Sunday of the Dead. In 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 loses 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-262prototype jet airplane. He predicts it will be an ideal light bomber. This aircraft was first flown in July and will take until June of 1944until it becomes operational.

November 23, 1944: Units of the US Third Army reach the Rhine atStrassburg 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 ofGerman forces.

November 24

November 24, 1940: Slovakia joins the Tripartite Pact.

November 24, 1941: Rostov is evacuated of German units in the faceof again being cut off in their rear. FM Rundstedt make this move in theface of express orders from Hitler to stand fast. In North Africa, Rommel,believing the opposing British Armor destroyed, ignores the New Zealandforces in the area and advances along the Trig el Abd to the Egyptianborder. During the “Dash to the Wire” Rommel and his senior commanders lose touch, and the British rear echelons panic. The Germans take losses they can’t afford though and their hold on the British armor becomesslack.

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

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

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

November 25

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

November 26

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

November 27

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

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

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

November 28

November 28, 1941: Overextended and short of supplies, III.Panzerkorps ofPanzergruppe 1 evacuates Rostov-on-Don and withdraws to the Mius river30 miles to the west.

November 29

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

November 29, 1941: Depleted by continuous savage fighting and extreme weatherconditions in below-zero temperatures, German forces of HeeresgruppeMitte (von Bock) in positions less than 50 miles from Moscow suspend alloffensive operations.

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

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

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.