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 August 12, 1943

B-17 Flying Fortress are dropping their bombs.

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, August 12, 1943: Air War Germany: 330 heavy bombers of 8th AF (25 lost) despatched to the Ruhr and Bonn. Strong defences, thick cloud and smoke-screens hamper bombing. Captain Clark Gable, the movie star, flies… learn more

Diary August 11, 1943

German infantry squad around their 3.7cm PAK 36

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, August 11, 1943: Eastern Front Southern Sector: German forces in Kharkov face threat of encirclement; Poltava-Kharkov railway cut in 3 places, west of city. Sea War Adriatic: British submarine Parthian missing (mined?). Channel: 5 German… learn more

Diary August 10, 1943

air situation map

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, August 10, 1943: Air War Germany: First of 2 massive RAF night raids on Nuremberg in August; total of 3,444t bombs dropped for the loss of 49 aircraft. Occupied Territories Yugoslavia: Buritch forms new Free… learn more

Diary August 9, 1943

returning Lancaster bomber

WW2 War Diary for Monday, August 9, 1943: Air War Germany: RAF night raids on Mannheim and Ludwigshafen. learn more

Diary August 8, 1943

Campo Imperatore Hotel on the Gran Sasso

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, August 8, 1943: Home Fronts Italy: Mussolini imprisoned. Mediterranean Sicily: Allies occupy 5 towns. learn more

Diary August 7, 1943

Spanish soldiers of the Blue Division on the Eastern Front.

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, August 7, 1943: Eastern Front Central sector: Russian ‘West’ and ‘Bryansk Fronts’ (army groups) attack strong German defences east of Smolensk. Northern sector: 2,133 members of Spanish Division Azul (‘Blue Division’) killed since 1941. learn more

Diary August 6, 1943

German paratrooper engineers

WW2 War Diary for Friday, August 6, 1943: Mediterranean Sicily: Troina, near Mt Etna, falls to Americans after 5 days’ heavy fighting. Sea War Pacific – Battle of Vella Gulf (night August 6-7): US destroyer force springs devastating ambush on… learn more

Diary August 5, 1943

German tanks awaiting the Russian offensive near Belgorod.

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, August 5, 1943: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Orel and Belgorod taken by Russians. Mediterranean Sicily: British troops take Catania. Pacific Solomons: Americans capture Munda Airfield (New Georgia). Home Fronts USSR: 120-gun ‘Victory Salute’ fired in… learn more

Diary August 4, 1943

B-17F en route to a target in Italy

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, August 4, 1943: Air War Mediterranean: B-17 Fortress bomb Naples harbour and factories; Cathedral and Royal Palace also hit. 150 killed, 228 injured. learn more

Diary August 3, 1943

Patton watching a battle

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, August 3, 1943: Mediterranean Sicily: Canadians capture Agira. Patton slaps hospitalized soldier (similar incident on August 10); he later apologizes. Sea War Atlantic: 150 US merchant ships transferred to British Merchant Navy. Mediterranean: Italian human… learn more

Diary August 2, 1943

Civilian casualties of the 'Battle of Hamburg'.

WW2 War Diary for Monday, August 2, 1943: Mediterranean Sicily: British and Canadians oust Germans from hill-top strongholds of Centuripe and Regalbuto; Gerbini airfield complex captured. Politics Portugal: Italian Ambassador in Lisbon contacts Allied representatives. Home Fronts China: Death of… learn more

Diary August 1, 1943

B-24 Liberator at roof height over the Ploesti Oilfields.

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, August 1, 1943: Air War Eastern Europe: 164 B-24 Liberator bombers (56 lost) make low-level attack on Ploesti Oilfields, Rumania (Operation Tidal Wave). Mediterranean: 25 German bombers cause heavy damage in Palermo. Germany: 470 RAF… learn more

Diary July 31, 1943

Wildcat on a British carrier

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, July 31, 1943: Sea War North Sea: British carrier-based Martlet (US F-4 Wildcat) fighters shoot down 5 Bv 138 reconnaissance flying boats off Norway. Merchant shipping losses in July 1943: 30 Allied ships with 187,877… learn more

Diary July 30, 1943

Firefighters fight a fire Kassel

WW2 War Diary for Friday, July 30, 1943: Air War Germany: 8th AF raids Fieseler aircraft works at Kassel. RAF night attack with 228 bombers and 693t bombs on Remscheid (Ruhr), centre of German machine-tool industry. 245 RAF bombers attacking… learn more

Diary July 29, 1943

burning city from the view of the bombardier of a Lancaster bomber

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, July 29, 1943: Air War Germany: 726 RAF bombers raid Hamburg and dropping 2,277t of bombs. learn more

Diary July 28, 1943

assembly line of German Focke-Wulf Fw 190

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, July 28, 1943: Air War Germany: B-17 Fortress bomb Focke-Wulf works at Oschersleben. Mediterranean Sicily: Canadian troops capture Leonforte, northeast of Enna. Sea War Pacific: 5,200-strong Japanese garrison of Kiska secretly evacuated aboard 2 cruisers… learn more

Diary July 27, 1943

Two of the approx. 55,000 victims of the Fire Storm at Hamburg

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, July 27, 1943: Air War Germany – OPERATION GOMORRHA: FIRE STORM ENGULFS HAMBURG. Numerous major fires started 3 nights earlier are stoked up by renewed bombing by 722 RAF bombers (17 lost; 2,312t bombs) into… learn more

Diary July 26, 1943

Alliierter Frachter nach einem deutschen Luftangriff

WW2 War Diary for Monday, July 26, 1943: Sea War Atlantic: 4 British merchant ships bombed northwest of Lisbon (July 26 and 27). Home Fronts Italy: Fascist Party dissolved. Marshal Badoglio forms ‘non-Fascist’ Cabinet. Martial law in force throughout the… learn more

Diary July 25, 1943

Benito Mussolini

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, July 25, 1943: Home Fronts Italy: MUSSOLINI RESIGNS and is arrested on the orders of King Victor Emmanuel. Air War Germany: Damaging raid on Hamburg docks and shipping by 68 (other sources: 122) US B-17… learn more

Diary July 24, 1943

Lancaster bomber over the burning district of Altona in Hamburg

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, July 24, 1943: Air War Germany: BATTLE OF HAMBURG begins with raid by 741 RAF bombers (12 lost). Millions of metal-coated paper strips (‘Window’) dropped to blind German radar; 2,300t bombs dropped. Britain: Gloster Meteor… learn more