Year 1944

War Diary for the year 1944 in WW2.


US tank landing ships (LSTs) disgorge the fully panoply of Allied might onto the Normandy beaches.

At the beginning of 1944 the strategic ring around Germany was closed since a long time. The final victory over Soviet Russia had become quite illusory, and it was rather in the Ukraine, now near the Romanian and Polish frontier, and in front of Leningrad in the Baltic States, that the eastern cheek of the pincers was increasingly concentrated on the center of the ‘Fortress Europe‘.

The ‘Fortress Europe’ was originally a creation of Propaganda minister Goebbels, who wanted to gain something positive from the strategic ring, which surrounded the Axis powers, and wanted to give the people a feeling of security. But already this picture revealed the weakness of the Axis powers: How can one defeat an enemy from a besieged fortress? On the other hand, the latter only needs to break the fortress at one point, and the defeat is only a question of time.

This ‘Fortress Europe’ had a ‘wall’, which was about 9,000 miles long. In this way it could hardly be defended against all basic strategic principles. The enemy had only to knock at weak points and the wall would break in there and forces would have to be thrown from one corner of the threatened fortress into the other. This leads to the comparison with a ‘mill’ game.
The ‘Fortress Europe’ had no roof over it either. Therefore, the advantage of the ‘inner line’ was limited by the lack of reserves, threatened connecting lines, and permanently attacked, vital production centers.

Also, holding a fortress also requires the unity of the besieged. This ended at the latest with the arrest of Mussolini and the capitulation of Italy. In the course of 1944 practically all other allies of Hitler followed.

At the beginning of 1944, the Red Army resumed its advance along the entire Eastern Front from Lapland to the Balkans. First, the Crimea, which had been cut off from all land connections since November 1943, had to be evacuated after a long period of resistance from Hitler in front of a Russian assault.
In Finland the Karelian Isthmus and Petsamo were attacked in the north by the Russians. This forced the Finns to leave the war and the retreat of the German Mountain Army from Lapland to northern Norway.

In the spring of 1944 the defenses of the Luftwaffe against the American day-raid attacks of the B-17 Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombers finally broke down when the P-51 Mustang escort fighters with auxiliary tanks secured the bombers to all destinations in Germany controlled Europe. When the Americans were still concentrating their strategic bombing raids on the German fuel and synthetic industry, the Wehrmacht became literally ‘out of fuel’.

The divisions of the Red Army were already on the borders of Slovakia, Romania and Poland, when the Allied invasion of Normandy took place on 6 June 1944. The D-Day is carried out under the protection of overwhelming sea and air forces and is successful. And as Rommel predicted, the enemy can not be defeated once he has landed on land.
To this end, it would scarcely have been necessary to make a second landing in the south of France on August 13, 1944.

In the meantime, the German Army Group Center in Russia had to defend a long and bloated front section in Belarus since the setbacks in the Ukraine from winter and spring. As a result it was completely destroyed by the summer offensive of the Red Army on the third anniversary of the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. The losses of the Wehrmacht exceeded by far the Stalingrad victims.
The Russians pushed forward as far as the Vistula and the East Prussian frontier, so that the defeat could no longer be concealed and treason was advanced. In the course of this, the Warsaw uprising took place from the Polish Home Army, whose support Stalin denied, since he had other plans for Poland.

A rebellion of some generals and officers on July 20, 1944, and the planed assassination of Colonel von Stauffenberg to Hitler was then the last attempt from Germany to avert the looming catastrophe. The assassination failed, Hitler survived, and took a terrible revenge against any remaining opposition. Now the Second World War was led to the utmost consequence by the Nazi regime.

By the Russian advance to the Vistula, the German Army Group North was also cut off in the Baltic States, which could no longer retreat to East Prussia due to the refusal of Hitler. Thus, the mass of their units remained in the so-called ‘Kurlandkessel‘ until the end of the war – and for the general strategic situation meaningless.

In Romania the dictator Antonescu was overthrown and dismissed in August, while the Red Army overwhelmed this Balkan country. Again, nearly a complete German army was encircled in Moldova and was captured.

In the meantime the American, British, and Canadian troops broke out of their bridgehead in Normandy, quickly capturing France, reaching the German border near Aachen in October. It was true that the allied air landing at Arnhem, which was supposed ‘to end the war before Christmas’, failed, but the Allied bomber offensive systematically destroyed the German transport and communications network as well as production centers. These terror attacks on the German cities already announced the near end of the war, and under this impression, Romania, Finland, Bulgaria, and Hungary successively rotate opposed to the German Reich.

Hitler, however, still wanted to force the impossible, and created the Volkssturm (Home Guard), for which the ‘last squad’ of children and old men were sent to the approaching fronts.
The surprising Ardennes offensive (Battle of the Bulge) on 16 December 1944 was then Hitler’s last trump. Despite a larger initial success, however, this card was also practically played out after four days and Hitler’s ‘game for the World Rule’ was finally lost.

Diary November 24, 1944

B-24H Liberator en route for Germany

War Diary for Friday, November 24, 1944: Sea War Atlantic: RCN corvette Shawinigan sunk by German U-boat U-1228 in Cabot Straits (between C. Breton Island and Newfoundland). 91 killed; no survivors. Air War Pacific – FIRST B-29 RAID ON TOKYO.… learn more

Diary November 23, 1944

French soldiers in Strasbourg.

War Diary for Thursday, November 23, 1944: Western Front French and American forces enter Strasbourg. Russian Front Russians take Cop (Slovakia). Sea War Pacific: British Eastern Fleet abolished. Older ships plus escort carriers to form ‘British East Indies Fleet’; modern… learn more

Diary November 22, 1944

Us soldiers check houses at Metz for enemy 'stay-behinds'.

War Diary for Wednesday, November 22, 1944: Western Front Americans secure Metz. US 1st and 9th Armies capture Eschweiler. Air War Germany: 237 RAF bombers attacking Aschaffenburg and dropping 1,360 t of bombs. learn more

Diary November 21, 1944

battleship kongo

War Diary for Tuesday, November 21, 1944: Sea War Pacific: Japanese Battleship Kongo sunk by US submarine Sealion II, near Formosa. Air War Germany: 247 RAF night bombers breach Dortmund-Ems and Mittelland canals (night November 21-22). Home Fronts France: Death… learn more

Diary November 20, 1944

French soldier captures German late 1944

War Diary for Monday, November 20, 1944: Western Front Tanks of French 1st Army drive through Belfort Gap and reach upper Rhine. Sea War Pacific: Kaiten ‘suicide torpedo’ sinks US naval tanker Mississinewa in Ulithi Atoll. Home Fronts China: Chiang… learn more

Diary November 19, 1944

M8 75mm HMC at Setterich, Germany

War Diary for Sunday, November 19, 1944: Western Front British and US troops capture Geilenkirchen, north of Aachen. Occupied countries Albania: Hodja’s Partisans liberate Tirana. Home Fronts USA: Cost of the war now running at $250 million per day. Air… learn more

Diary November 18, 1944

Lancaster lands on 'Fido' equipped airfield.

War Diary for Saturday, November 18, 1944: Air War Germany: 291 RAF bombers attacking Münster and dropping 1,694 t of bombs. Home Fronts USA: Cost of living has risen 29% since January 1941. learn more

Diary November 17, 1944

swearing in of the Volkssturm Hannover

War Diary for Friday, November 17, 1944: Western Front 1st US Army captures Gressenich, 16 km east of Aachen. Sea War Pacific: Japanese aircraft carrier Shinyo sunk by US submarine Spadefish. learn more

Diary November 16, 1944

B-17G of 381stBG 1944

War Diary for Thursday, November 16, 1944: Air War Germany: 10,000 t. bombs dropped from 1,200 8th USAAF planes and 1,100 Lancaster and Halifax bombers obliterate fortified towns of Düren, Julich and Heinsberg and defense line west of Düren (east… learn more

Diary November 15, 1944

German searchlight Scheinwerfer 37

War Diary for Wednesday, November 15, 1944: Air War Germany: 177 RAF bombers attacking Dortmund and dropping 904 t of bombs. Western Front French 1st Army attacks in Jura Mountains. Home Fronts USA: Senior commanders of armed forces promoted en… learn more

Diary November 14, 1944

Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory

War Diary for Tuesday, November 14, 1944: Western Front British 2nd Army attacks German pocket west of river Maas. Home Fronts Britain: ACM Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, designated Allied Air C-in-C Southeast Asia, presumed killed in air crash (wreckage discovered in… learn more

Diary November 13, 1944

French soldier with Sten gun winter 1944-45

War Diary for Monday, November 13, 1944: Western Front Churchill visits French troops in the Vosges. Sea War 3 Liberty ships torpedoed by U-boat U-978 in English Channel. learn more

Diary November 12, 1944

capsized battleship 'Tirpitz'

War Diary for Sunday, November 12, 1944: Air War GERMAN BATTLESHIP TIRPITZ SUNK at Tromsö (902 killed) by 21 Lancaster bombers of Nos. 9 and 617 Sqns., RAF, carrying 12,000-lb. bombs. Allied bombers attack Brenner Pass railway. Germany: 228 RAF… learn more

Diary November 11, 1944

V2 before launching

War Diary for Saturday, November 11, 1944: China Japanese capture Kweilin and Liuchow air bases; Americans have previously rendered Liuchow unusable. Home Fronts France: Churchill and Eden attend Armistice Day ceremonies in Paris. Britain: Newspaper reports about the previously unknown… learn more

Diary November 10, 1944

M4 Sherman gives raid to GIs

War Diary for Friday, November 10, 1944: Western Front 3rd US Army captures Chateau-Salins, northeast of Nancy. Home Fronts Japan: Death of Wang Ching-wei, President of ‘Central Government of China’; aged 59. learn more

Diary November 9, 1944

Bombed up P-47D of Ninth Air Force

War Diary for Thursday, November 9, 1944: Western Front Polish Division defeats German rearguard at Moerdijk (Holland); booty including ex-BEF Bofors anti-aircraft guns, vintage 1940. US 3rd Army tanks plow through heavy rain and deep mud in Lorraine. Air War… learn more

Diary November 8, 1944

Me 262 A1a of the Commando Nowotny

War Diary for Wednesday, November 8, 1944: Western Front US 3rd Army drives east in Metz-Nancy sector. Air War Germany: Major Walter Nowotny, Austrian fighter ace (258 victories), dies in Me 262 crash over Achmer. learn more

Diary November 7, 1944

US-President Roosevelt

War Diary for Tuesday, November 7, 1944: Home Fronts USA: ROOSEVELT RE-ELECTED. Presidential Elections: Roosevelt (Democratic), 25,610,946; Dewey (Republican), 22,018,177; Roosevelt wins in 36 States and is re-elected for unprece­dented fourth term. ‘Fringe’ candidates: 340,705. learn more

Diary November 6, 1944

Volkssturm soldier East Prussia with Panzerfaust

War Diary for Monday, November 6, 1944: Neutrals Egypt: Lord Moyne, British Resident Minister in the Middle East, dies – shot by ‘Stern Gang‘ (Zionist) terrorists, in Cairo. learn more

Diary November 5, 1944

B-29 dropping bombs

War Diary for Sunday, November 5, 1944: Air War Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers attack Singapore. learn more