WWII Axis Military History Day-by-Day: October

October 1

October 1, 1939: German troops enter devastated Wasaw. Hitler arrives andattends an impromptu victory parade.

October 1, 1941: Conclusion of a conference at Moscow between Britain, theU.S. and the Soviet Union with promises of enormous amounts of aid to theSoviet war effort, mostly from the United States.

October 1, 1943: German troops evacuate Naples after thoroughlydemolishing its harbor facilities.

October 1, 1944: German army and naval units defending the fortress ofCalais behind Allied lines surrender to British forces.

October 2

October 2, 1941: Heeresgruppe Mitte begins Operation Taifun, the finalattack on Moscow. Heeresgruppe Süd sets out to advance against Kurskand Kharkov. Hitler, in a special order of the day, announces,”Todaybegins the last decisive battle of this year.”

October 2, 1944: The short-lived rebellion of the Polish Home Army atWarsaw under General Bor-Komorovski is crushed. In recognition of theirvalor, the survivors are not treated as partisans, but as regularPOWs.

October 3

October 3, 1941: Units of Heeresgruppe Mitte capture Orel.

October 3, 1942: In the center of Stalingrad, units of 6.Armee continue topush the decimated Soviet 62nd Army further back toward the Volga, withheavy losses on both sides.

October 4

October 4, 1942: At Stalingrad, XIV.Panzerkorps (von Wietersheim) launchesan attack in force to capture the Tractor Factory in the northern part ofthe city.

October 4, 1944: British troops are landed in Greece, occupyingPatras.

October 5

October 5, 1939: The Soviet Union forces a treaty on Latvia that allowsthe Red Navy to establish bases in her Baltic harbors.

October 5, 1941: Advancing in the southern Ukraine, Panzergruppe 1 (vonKleist) reaches the Sea of Azov.

October 5, 1943: German troops complete the evacuationof the island of Corsica.

October 6

October 6, 1939: Surrender of the last remainining Polish troops (17,000men) at Kock and Lublin. Hitler in a speech to the Reichstag announcesthe victorious conclusion of the Polish campaign and calls upon Britainand France to cease hostilities and come to terms with Germany.

October 6, 1941: Units of Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) capture Brjansk onthe road to Moscow.

October 6, 1942: In the Caucasus, III. Panzerkorps (von Mackensen)captures Malgobek in the bend of the Terek river.

October 6, 1944: The Red Army launches an offensive near Arad inHungary.

October 7

October 7, 1941: On the central and southern fronts, German forces captureWjasma, Berdjansk and Mariupol. Finland rejects a British demand to ceasefighting the Soviet Union.

October 7, 1944: On the Carelian front in northern FInland, 20.Gebirgsarmee(Schoerner) retreats in the face of strong Soviet attacks.

October 8

October 8, 1941: In a letter to Stalin, President Roosevelt promises U.S.military aid to the Soviet Union.

October 8, 1944: In the West, the U.S. Ninth Army (Collins)reaches the outskirts of Aachen on the German border. British troopsoccupy Corinth in Greece.

October 9

October 9, 1941: Hitler announces that the war in the East, for allintents and purposes, has already been decided in favor of the Reich. -President Roosevelt in a message to Congress urges the repeal of Section 6of the Neutrality Act which would allow the arming of U.S. merchant shipsagainst “the modern pirates of the sea”, the U-boats.

October 9, 1942: The Red Army ends its system of dual leadership byabolishing the position of the Communist political commissar in favor of asingle military commander in its various units.

October 9, 1944: On the northern front, the Red Army reaches the Balticcoast, encircling Memel, the northernmost city in Germany.

October 10

October 10, 1941: Heeresgruppe Süd (von Reichenau) ends the battle ofencirclement along the Sea of Azov and takes 100,000 prisoners.

October 10, 1942: German and Italian bomber forces begin a major offensiveagainst the British island of Malta in the Mediterranean.

October 10, 1944: In its advance toward Belgrade, the Red Army breaksthrough the German lines in Serbia. The rebellion against theTiso government in Slovakia is put down by the German Army.

October 11

October 11, 1939: The Soviet Union and Finland begin negotiationsconcerning the establishment of Soviet air bases on Finnish soil.

October 11, 1941: Rumors of an impending capture of Moscow by the GermanArmy cause thousands of civilians to flee the city.

October 11, 1944: The red Army captures Klausenburg in Rumania.Hungary and the Soviet Union begin negotiations for a ceasefire betweenthem.

October 12

October 12, 1940: A German military mission is set up in Bucarest,Rumania, for the purpose of aiding in the training of the Rumanian army.Hitler orders Operation Sea Lion, the German invasion of Britain, tobe postponed until the spring of 1941. President Roosevelt in afireside chat suggests the drafting of 18- and 19-year-old men.

October 12, 1941: Units of Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) captureKaluga.

October 12, 1943: In Italy, the U.S. 5th Army (Clark) begins anoffensive along the Volturno river.

October 13

October 13, 1941: German forces of Heeresgruppe Mitte capture Kalinin,100 miles W of Moscow.

October 13, 1943: The new Italian government of Marshal Badogliodeclares war on Germany.

October 13, 1944: German troops evacuate Riga and form what was tobecome known as the Kurland pocket. British forces occupy Athens andthe island of Corfu in the Adriatic.

October 14

October 14, 1939: U-47 (Kapitanleutnant Prien) enters the Britishnaval base of Scapa Flow and sinks the battleship Royal Oak.

October 14, 1941: German troops capture Rshev, 100 miles W of Moscow.

October 14, 1942: In the northern part of Stalingrad, units of 6.Armee(von Paulus) advance in bitter fighting and surround the heavilydefended Tractor Factory, following a series of devastating attacks(over 3,000 sorties) by bombers of Luftflotte 7 (von Richthofen).

October 14, 1943: The US 8th Air Force delivers a heavy attack againstthe ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt but at a heavy price: of theoriginal force of 291 B-17’s, 198 are either shot down or damaged beyondrepair, while the Luftwaffe lost about 40 fighter planes. Germanforces evacuate the Zaporoshe bridgehead on the eastern bank of theDnepr river.

October 15

October 15, 1944: The Hungarian chief of state, Admiral Horthy, shortlyafter announcing Hungary’s withdrawal from the war against the UssR,is taken prisoner by a commando unit led by SS major Otto Skorzeny. Anew government under Ferenc Szalasi vows to continue the alliance withGermany.

October 16

October 16, 1941: Rumanian forces capture the Black Sea port of Odessa.Following the evacuation of the Soviet government and diplomatic corpsfrom Moscow to Kuibyshev, panic begins to spread among the civilianpopulation, and thousands flee the city to places further east.

October 16, 1944: The red Army for the first time enters Germanterritory near Goldap in East Prussia. Thousands of German civilians inthe area flee in panic.

October 17

October 17, 1944: In Hungary, German forces successfully repulse heavySoviet attacks near Debrecen.

October 18

October 18, 1942: In the Caucasus, the advance by Heeresgruppe A (Ruoff) toward the Black Sea port of Tuapse is halted due to difficult terrain and stubborn Soviet resistance.

October 18, 1944: Hitler orders the establishment of the Deutscher Volkssturm, a nation-wide militia force.

October 19

October 19, 1943: In Italy, the offensive by the US 5th Army (Clark) along the Volturno river bogs down due to bad weather and in the face of the skillful German defenses.

October 19, 1944: In East Prussia, the Red Army forces the withdrawal of the German 4.Armee (Hossbach) from the Tilsit area.

October 20

October 20, 1941: On the Eastern Front, Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) concludes the dual battles of encirclement at Vjasma and Brjansk and takes 673,000 Soviet prisoners.

October 20, 1944: The Red Army captures Belgrade, capital of Yugoslavia.

October 21

October 21, 1941: In the Ukraine, units of 6.Armee (von Reichenau) capture Stalino in the industrial Donets Basin.

October 21, 1944: In the West, the US 9th Army (Collins) captures Aachen, the first major city in Germany to fall to the Allies.

October 22

October 22, 1942: At Stalingrad, against fierce Soviet resistance, units of 6.Armee (von Paulus) capture most of the Red October and Barricades factories in the northern part of the city.

October 22, 1944: In East Prussia, the Red Army continues its drive west and captures several towns near the Russian-German border.

October 23

October 23, 1940: Hitler and Generalissimo Franco, the Spanish head of state, meet at Hendaye near the French-Spanish border. Franco is non-committal regarding Spain’s entry into the war on the side of Germany.

October 23, 1942: In North Africa, the British 8th Army (Montgomery) begins a major offensive against Rommel’s Afrikakorps at El Alamein. The RAF launches bombing raids against the Italian cities of Genoa and Turin.

October 24

October 24, 1940: Hitler and Marshal Petain, the head of the Vichy government, meet at Montoire. Petain rejects the idea of a Franco-German military alliance.

October 24, 1941: In the East, units of Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) capture Charkov and Belgorod.

October 24, 1943: The Red Army achieves a breakthrough on the Dnepr river and captures Melitopol.

October 25

October 25, 1942: Field Marshal Rommel breaks off his sick leave to take charge of the critical situation in which the Afrikakorps finds itself as a result of the British 8th Army’s massive offensive at El Alamein.

October 25, 1944: German troops of 20.Gebirgsarmee evacuate Kirkenes in northern Norway. On the Eastern Front, the Red Army completes its occupation of Transylvania in northwestern Rumania.

October 26

October 26, 1943: The RAF launches a heavy night raid against Stuttgart, while the US 8th Air Force , in its greatest effort to date, delivers a devastating daylight attack on Bremen.

October 27

October 27, 1941: Units of 11.Armee (von Manstein) force a breakthrough at Perekop, thus opening the gate to the Crimean peninsula.

October 27, 1942: At El Alamein, a counter-attack by 21.Panzer-Division to push the attacking British forces back into the German minefields fails, leaving the Afrikakorps with all of 81 operational tanks.

October 28

October 28, 1940: Start of an Italian offensive from conquered Albania into Greece. Hitler and Mussolini meet at Florence.

October 28, 1941: President Roosevelt approves the appropriation by Congress of an additional $6 billion in Lend-Lease aid to Britain and the Soviet Union.

October 28, 1944: The Soviet advance into the Goldap area of East Prussia is brought to a standstill by the tenacious resistance of 4.Armee (Hossbach). There are further German withdrawals from northern Norway. The Bulgarian government signs an armistice with the Soviet Union, Britain and the United States.

October 29

October 29, 1940: British and Commonwealth forces land on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean.

October 30

October 30, 1944: In Hungary, the Red Army begins an offensive aimed at the capital, Budapest.

October 31

October 31, 1941: In the north Atlantic, the US destroyer Reuben James escorting Convoy HX-156 is sunk by U-552 (Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp) with the loss of 100 of her crew. The destroyer is the first US naval casualty in the hitherto undeclared war between Germany and the United States that existed after President Roosevelt authorized the use of American naval vessels to escort Lend-Lease convoys bound for Britain.

October 31, 1944: On the orders of Prime Minister Churchill, British troops occupy Saloniki in Greece to assist the new government in its efforts to prevent a takeover by Communist insurgents in the wake of the recent withdrawal of German troops from the country.