Year 1943


1943 – The Turning Point of WW2

 department store on Red October Square in Stalingrad

Surrender of the German southern group on 31 January 1943 at the department store on Red October Square in Stalingrad.

Germany’s plans and hopes for the year 1943 after the Stalingrad disaster.

At the beginning of 1943, the German leadership looked to the future with good and bad prospects.
The good prospects consisted of two circumstances: The disasters, which had reached their peak with the surrender of the German Sixth Army in Stalingrad, could be stopped. Secondly, new weapons were finally ready for use, including the much-anticipated Panther and Tiger tanks. In the meantime, the course of the fighting on the Eastern Front could be reversed by the counterattack and the reconquest of Kharkov, which raised new hopes for a renewed summer offensive in the East.

However, the outlook in North Africa in March – the month of the great German victories in the East – was grim for the Axis forces. But at least a quick Allied victory in North Africa was prevented, which might have enabled an Allied invasion of Northwest Europe for the summer or autumn of 1943.
Even if now after a successful allied offensive in Tunisia still further invasions in the Mediterranean area should follow, nevertheless an enormous time-saving was maltreated.

Furthermore, new weapons from the armament factories appeared in ever larger numbers. The construction of submarines had reached a level that made it possible to keep one hundred of them at sea at a time.
The new, heavy Tiger tanks overcame their initial technical problems and the medium Panzer V Panther was also delivered in the meantime. There was also a good chance that the monthly output of these and other important weapons – especially StuG assault guns – would increase steadily in the course of 1943.

Of the greatest importance, however, were the effects of mobilization on the strength of the army. The combination of rationalization in industry and the massive use of prisoners of war and forced laborers made it possible to strengthen the army, so that in the summer of 1943 the German armies in the East were almost as strong as two years earlier.

The attempts of the Finns, Hungarians and Romanians to find a way out of the war were effectively undermined by the German leadership. It could be expected from the submarine war that it would rather restrict the Western Allies during 1943 and there was an expectation that the situation on the southern section of the Eastern Front would recover in the course of this year. The units now free by the evacuations of the front bulge of Demyansk and Rzhev at least allowed the great attack on a section of the Eastern Front.
Fighting in this theater of war would continue to be a priority and would continue with great intensity.

The pressure that Nazi Germany would put on the Western Allies through the submarines and on the Soviet Union on the land front could allow Hitler and his regime to fight through, at least until the alliance of Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States of America is broken.


Diary December 31, 1943

partisans at a rail blast

WW2 War Diary for Friday, December 31, 1943: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Russians storm Zhitomir – routing German garrison – and sweep westwards towards pre-war Polish frontier. Home Fronts USA: Death of Sergei Rachmaninoff, the composer; aged 69. Mediterraean Italy:… learn more

Diary December 30, 1943

British fleet as it arrived at Trincomalee on Ceylon

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, December 30, 1943: Sea War North Sea: Battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth, Valiant, Renown and aircraft carriers Illustrious and Unicorn leave Scapa Flow and the Clyde for Ceylon. Air War Germany: 656 RAF bombers attacking Berlin… learn more

Diary December 29, 1943

German forward observer

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, December 29, 1943: Eastern Front Southern Sector: New Russian offensive under way in Dnieper Bend, west of Zaporozhe. learn more

Diary December 28, 1943

German infantry from a Luftwaffe unit pass a disabled tank destroyer Elefant

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, December 28, 1943: Mediterranean Italy: Canadian troops capture Ortona (Adriatic coast) after prolonged, savage, house-to-house fighting with German paratroops and Panzer-Grenadiers, supported by tanks concealed inside buildings. Secret War Channel Islands: Abortive British Commando raid… learn more

Diary December 27, 1943

wounded Australian soldier Pimple Hill

WW2 War Diary for Monday, December 27, 1943: Pacific New Guinea: Australian troops capture ‘Pimple Hill’ (Huon Peninsular). learn more

Diary December 26, 1943

Sheffield' in stormy waters during the Battle of the North Cape

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, December 26, 1943: Sea War BATTLE OF NORTH CAPE: Series of miscalculations by Admiral Bey of battlecruiser Scharnhorst, during sortie against a arctic convoy leads him into British trap. Scharnhorst attempts to escape in darkness… learn more

Diary December 25, 1943

Crowded flight deck of a US carrier in late 1943

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, December 25, 1943: Sea War Pacific: US carrier planes attack shipping at Kavieng (New Ireland). Japanese attack American beachhead at Arawe (New Britain). Mediterranean Italy: American troops advance into mountains northwest of San Pietro. learn more

Diary December 24, 1943

Dwight D. Eisenhower

WW2 War Diary for Friday, December 24, 1943: Home Fronts USA: ROOSEVELT NAMES ALLIED COMMANDERS FOR INVASION OF EUROPE. General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander; ACM Tedder, Deputy Supreme Commander; Admiral Ramsay, Naval C-in-C; General Montgomery, C-in-C British armies (under Eisenhower). Air… learn more

Diary December 23, 1943

headquarters of the Nazi-Party in Munich heap of rubble

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, December 23, 1943: Air War Europe: 200,000 t bombs dropped on Germany to date. learn more

Diary December 22, 1943

Members of the 'Division Azul'

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, December 22, 1943: Neutrals Spain: Repatriation of 14,284 men of Division Azul from Russian Front officially completed; 3,000 volunteers continue to fight on as the Legion Azul. Mediterranean Italy: Monte Cavallo taken by 5th US… learn more

Diary December 21, 1943

old cruiser 'Niobe'

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, December 21, 1943: Sea War Mediterranean: Old German cruiser Niobe sunk by British MTBs (night December 21-22). learn more

Diary December 20, 1943

Bf110 vs B-17

WW2 War Diary for Monday, December 20, 1943: Air War Germany: 8th US AF drops 1,200 t bombs on Bremen and 576 RAF bombers deliver 2,000 t to Frankfurt by night (December 20-21). learn more

Diary December 19, 1943

Rommel, Speidel, Ruge and Lang

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, December 19, 1943: Occupied Territories France: Rommel inspects ‘Atlantic Wall’ defences on French coast. Home Front USSR: New National Anthem, composed by Alexandrov with lyrics by Mikhailov and Registan, replaces the ‘Internationale’. learn more

Diary December 18, 1943

General Stilwell watches his troops

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, December 18, 1943: Far East China: Stilwell to command Chinese troops in India and North Burma. learn more

Diary December 17, 1943

Sherman tanks advance to Monte Cassino

WW2 War Diary for Friday, December 17, 1943: Mediterranean Italy: US assault troops capture the shattered village of San Pietro, key to ‘Mignano Gap’, 8 miles (13 km) southeast of Monte Cassino. Eastern Front Southern Sector: Failure of German counter-attack… learn more

Diary December 16, 1943

Goliath vs SU-85

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, December 16, 1943: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Novoseltsy, southeast of Cherkassy, captured by Russians. learn more

Diary December 15, 1943

swearing-in of a Red Army soldier

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, December 15, 1943: Eastern Front Northern Sector: Bagramyovs’ 1st Baltic Front attacks south of Nevel and quickly punches hole, 80 km wide and 30 km deep, through strong defences (December 15-19). Occupied Territories Russia: First… learn more

Diary December 14, 1943

German gliders bring supplies to Cherkassy

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, December 14, 1943: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Cherkassy captured by Russian 2nd UF after 5 days’ house-to-house fighting. 6,000 Germans killed; Russians push on west towards Smyela. learn more

Diary December 13, 1943

P-51B Mustang escort fighter next to a formation of B-17G

WW2 War Diary for Monday, December1 3, 1943: Air War Germany: Heavy US bomber raid on Kiel, Bremen, Hamburg with 1,462 bombers. First use of P-51 Mustang long-range escort fighters with drop tanks. Pacific: US 5th AF drops 433 t… learn more

Diary December 12, 1943

Field Marshal Rommel in France.

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, December 12, 1943: Home Fronts Germany: ROMMEL APPOINTED C-in-C OF ‘FORTRESS EUROPE’. Politics Czechoslovak-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Assistance. Sea War Mediterranean: British destroyers Tynedale and Holcombe sunk by U-boat U-593 (December 12 and… learn more