Year 1944

War Diary for the year 1944 in WW2.

D-Day

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.

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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 February 18, 1944

Amiens Prison Raid

WW2 War Diary for Friday, February 18, 1944: Air War Western Europe – Amiens Prison Raid: 19 Mosquito bombers (4 lost), led by Group-Captain Pickard (shot down by 2 Fw 190 fighters shortly after the raid and killed), breach walls… learn more

Diary February 17, 1944

Truk Raid

WW2 War Diary for Tursday, February 17, 1944: Sea War Pacific – THE TRUK RAID: 9 carriers of Admirals Mitscher’s TF 58 launch massive air strikes (February 17 and 18) against Truk – great Japanese naval and air base in… learn more

Diary February 16, 1944

SdKfz 251 of the German 4th Paratrooper Division at Anzio

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, February 16, 1944: Mediterranean Italy – Anzio: Germans drive deep salient into Allied line south of the ‘Factory’. Devastating artillery and air bombardment of entire Allied beachhead. Air War Germany: 806 RAF bombers attacking Berlin… learn more

Diary February 15, 1944

destroyed ancient Abbey of Monte Cassino

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, February 15, 1944: Air War Mediterranean: MONTE CASSINO BOMBARDED. Ancient Abbey of Monte Cassino shattered by Allied bombers and artillery fire. 135 B-17 Fortress and medium bombers drop 493 t HE and IEs. 400 Italian… learn more

Diary February 14, 1944

US Marines using an advanced field telephone

WW2 War Diary for Monday, February 14, 1944: Sea War Pacific: American and NZ forces land on Green Island, between Bougainville and Rabaul. learn more

Diary February 13, 1944

Russian Front 1944

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, February 13, 1944: Eastern Front Northern Sector: Russians capture Luga (Leningrad Front). learn more

Diary February 12, 1944

US artillery bombards Cassino.

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, February 12, 1944: Mediterranean Italy: US 34th Infantry division attack halted only 274m short of Cassino. Sea War Indian Ocean: British troopship Khedive Ismail sunk by Japanese submarine I-27 (c.2,000 killed). Destroyers Paladin and Petard… learn more

Diary February 11, 1944

Battleship Tirpitz in Norway

WW2 War Diary for Friday, February 11, 1944: Air War Arctic: Russian heavy bomber squadron makes night attack on battleship Tirpitz in Alta Fjord (1 near miss). learn more

Diary February 10, 1944

crew of a Fw 200 Condor in front of their plane

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, February 10, 1944: Sea War Atlantic: British tanker El Grillo bombed and sunk by FW 200 Condor. Pacific: Japanese Combined Fleet leaves Truk for Palau, near the Philippines. learn more

Diary February 9, 1944

victims of the area bombing

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, February 9, 1944: Home Front Britain: Bishop of Chichester questions the wisdom of RAF ‘area bombing’ raids on German cities, during debate in House of Lords. Viscount Cranbourne, replying, concedes that, if necessary, British Government… learn more

Diary February 8, 1944

Panther tank of 'Grossdeutschland'

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, February 8, 1944: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Germans trapped in Korsun Pocket refuse surrender ultimatum and make unavailing efforts to link up with relief column under Manstein. Luftwaffe drops supplies to encircled troops. Air War… learn more

Diary February 7, 1944

US Marines with M1 Garand in the jungle

WW2 War Diary for Monday, February 7, 1944: Mediterranean Italy: At Anzio renewed German onslaught on the ‘Factory’. Sea War North Sea: British sub Taku sinks 3 ships in convoys off Stavanger (February 7-13). learn more

Diary February 6, 1944

German defensive position against the Russian Narwa bridgehead.

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, February 6, 1944: Eastern Front Northern Sector: Russians clear Germans from east bank of river Narva. Air War Eastern Front: 200 Russian planes attack Helsinki. learn more

Diary February 5, 1944

Panther tank of 'Reich'

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, February 5, 1944: Russian Front Southern Sector: Russian 3rd and 4th UFs drive Germans from Nikopol Salient; then cross river Dnieper to free Nikopol and its great manganese mines (February 5-8). learn more

Diary February 4, 1944

Japanese infantry Arakan front in Burma

WW2 War Diary for Friday, February 4, 1944: Southeast Asia Burma: JAPANESE LAUNCH MAJOR OFFENSIVE IN THE ARAKAN (Operation Ha-Go). Mediterranean Italy: Americans heavily engaged at Cassino. learn more

Diary February 3, 1944

US AT gun Anzio

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, February 3, 1944: Mediterranean Italy: Germans counter-attack east and west of the Aprilia ‘model farm’ (the ‘Factory’) near Anzio bridgeheads. learn more

Diary February 2, 1944

U.S. Fleet in Majuro Atoll

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, February 2, 1944: Sea War Pacific: Ships of TF 58 enter Majuro Atoll (soon to become a vital advanced base). learn more

Diary February 1, 1944

US Marines on Eniwetok

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, February 1, 1944: Sea War Pacific: AMERICANS LAND ON MARSHALL ISLANDS. 4th US Marines and 7th Infantry Division are landing on Majuro Atoll (January 30), Kwajalein Atoll (February 1 and 2) and Eniwetok Island (February… learn more

Diary January 31, 1944

Battle Opera House

WW2 War Diary for Monday, January 31, 1944: Air War Germany: 489 RAF bombers attacking Berlin and dropping 1,961t of bombs. Sea War Channel German E-boats attack Convoy CW.243 (2 ships sunk). Merchant shipping losses in January 1944: 18 Allied… learn more

Diary January 30, 1944

troops of US General Lucas advancing cautiously from their beach heads at Anzio

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, January 30, 1944: Mediterranean Italy: 5th US Army makes small breach in Gustav Line. At Anzio, US Rangers advance to Cisterna and British 3rd Division to Railway Station, north of Aprilia. Air War Germany: US… learn more