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.

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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 March 20, 1944

German anti-tank close combat fighter

WW2 War Diary for Monday, March 20, 1944: Eastern Front Southern Sector: First Ukrainian Front captures Vinnitsa on river Bug. Southeast Asia Burma: Chinese and American secure Hukawng Valley. Sea War Pacific: 4 US battleships bombard Kavieng. Americans land on… learn more

Diary March 19, 1944

Hungarian Fascists are marching in the roads of Budapest

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, March 19, 1944: Home Fronts Hungary: GERMAN OCCUPATION OF HUNGARY (Operation Panzerfaust), to forestall Hungarian attempts to make separate peace with Western Allies; Prime Minister M Kallay resigns; Sztojay, ambassador in Berlin, forms collaborationist Government.… learn more

Diary March 18, 1944

eruption of Mt Vesuvius 1944

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, March 18, 1944: Home Fronts Italy: Eruptions from Mt Vesuvius; 2 villages engulfed by lava; 26 killed (March 18-22). Hungary: Regent Horthy visits Hitler to request repatriation of Hungarian forces from Eastern Front but the… learn more

Diary March 17, 1944

captured German Paratroopers Cassino

WW2 War Diary for Friday, March 17, 1944: Mediterranean Italy: NZ troops take Cassino railway station. Sea War Mediterranean: U-boat U-371 sinks US troopship Dempo (498 killed). Politics Finland: Government rejects Russian armistice terms. learn more

Diary March 16, 1944

wounded soldier in the ruins of Cassino

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, March 16, 1944: Mediterranean Italy: Three-quarters of Cassino town now in Allied hands. Occupied Territories France: Deat appointed Vichy Minister of Labour. learn more

Diary March 15, 1944

Cassino town bombed

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, March 15, 1944: Air War Mediterranean: Europe: Allied bombers obliterate Cassino town, dropping 1,107 t. bombs. Germany: 1,000 RAF 4-engined bombers raid Stuttgart, dropping 3,000 t of bombs through dense cloud; many combats with night… learn more

Diary March 14, 1944

Russian femal sniper

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, March 14, 1944: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Malinovsky eliminates German pocket near Nikolayev (10,000 killed, 4,000 captured). Occupied Territories Italy: Virginio Gayda, retired editor of Fascist newspaper Giornale d’Italia, killed in air raid; aged 58. learn more

Diary March 13, 1944

Russian soldier and his horse drinking

WW2 War Diary for Monday, March 13, 1944: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Malinovsky captures Dnieper river port of Kherson. Sea War Atlantic: U-boat U-852 fires on survivors of torpedoed Greek ship Peleus (32 of 35 killed). Pacific: Troopship convoy, en… learn more

Diary March 12, 1944

Russian soldiers with PPSh

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, March 12, 1944: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Uman (Ukraine) captured by 2nd Ukrainian Front. Occupied Territories Czechoslovakia: Government in London broadcasts call to arms. learn more

Diary March 11, 1944

Landing of a B-25 Mitchell

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, March 11, 1944: Air War Mediterranean: US bombers raid Toulon, Padua and Florence. Home Fronts Algeria: Pierre Pucheu, former Vichy Minister of Interior, sentenced to death by Algiers court. learn more

Diary March 10, 1944

soldiers have to push an Russian ZIS truck out of the deep mud

WW2 War Diary for Friday, March 10, 1944: Eastern Front Southern Sector: 2nd Ukrainian Front has advanced up to 71 km in 5 days. learn more

Diary March 9, 1944

member of the 5th SS-Panzer-Division Wiking

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, March 9, 1944: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Malinovsky (3rd Ukrainian Front) crosses river Ingulets. Pacific Solomons: Japanese counter-offensive against Torokina Bridgehead (Bougainville); 5,469 Japanese and 263 Americans killed by March 24. Neutrals Argentina: President Ramirez… learn more

Diary March 8, 1944

B-24 Liberators dropping bombs

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, March 8, 1944: Air War Germany: 8th USAAF bombs with 540 B-17 Fortress and B-24 Liberator planes Erkner ball-bearing factory, near Berlin. learn more

Diary March 7, 1944

British soldier of an observation post in Burma

WW2 War Diary for Tuesday, March 7, 1944: Southeast Asia Burma – JAPANESE LAUNCH MAJOR OFFENSIVE ACROSS RIVER CHINDWIN (Operation U-Go): Americans and Chinese surround 2,000 Japanese in Hukawng Valley. Air War Mediterranean: Allied bombers attack marshalling yards in Florence… learn more

Diary March 6, 1944

WW2 War Diary for Monday, March 6, 1944: Air War Germany – FIRST MAJOR ALLIED DAYLIGHT RAID ON BERLIN: 730 B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberators of 8th AF (69 lost) bomb city and nearby Erkner ball-bearing works (1,500t bombs).… learn more

Diary March 5, 1944

Australian Commandos of Wingate's Chindit's

WW2 War Diary for Sunday, March 5, 1944: Air War Southeast Asia – SECOND CHINDIT OPERATION: Allied planes transport 9,000 men of Wingate’s ‘Long Range Penetration Groups’ to secretly prepared air strips (‘Piccadilly’) near Indaw, 161 km inside Japanese-controlled Burma… learn more

Diary March 4, 1944

GAZ truck in the mud

WW2 War Diary for Saturday, March 4, 1944: Eastern Front Southern Sector: Russian 1st and 2nd UFs capture Uman and Nouvoukrainka (March 4-10). Air War Germany: 30 B-17 Fortress bomb Berlin (first US raid). learn more

Diary March 3, 1944

submarine Sunfish of the S class, together with Ursula (U class)

WW2 War Diary for Friday, March 3, 1944: Home Fronts USA: Roosevelt announces that Italian Fleet is to be distributed equally between USA, Britain and USSR (in the event, Russia receives British and American ships in lieu). Air War Germany:… learn more

Diary March 2, 1944

take-off run of a Lancaster

WW2 War Diary for Thursday, March 2, 1944: Air War Western Europe: Lancaster and Halifax bombers attack aircraft factories at Meulan-les-Mureaux and Albert (France). Germany: 503 RAF bombers attacking Stuttgart and dropping 1,739t of bombs. learn more

Diary March 1, 1944

Speer and Milch

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, March 1, 1944: Home Fronts Germany: Jaegerstab (Fighter Staff) set up under Saur of Speer’s Armaments Ministry to boost production of Me 109 and FW 190 to unprecedented levels. Many new assembly lines established in… learn more