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.

Related Reports:

War Diary December 31, 1944

Lancaster-Bomber Winter 1944/45

War Diary WW2 for Sunday, December 31, 1944: Air War Germany: RAF attacks Solingen marshalling yards. Sea War Merchant shipping losses in December 1944: 19 Allied ships with 91,097 tons in Atlantic, 7 Allied ships with 43,816 tons elsewhere. 43… learn more

War Diary December 30, 1944

Coming in from manning a night roadblock

War Diary WW2 for Saturday, December 30, 1944: Western Front Fierce fighting in Houffalize–Bastogne sector in the Ardennes. Occupied countries Greece: Archbishop Damas­kinos appointed Regent. Air WAr Germany: 337 RAF bombers attacking Scholven-Buer. learn more

War Diary December 29, 1944

Mine-planting in Belgium

War Diary WW2 for Friday, December 29, 1944: Air War Europe: Lancaster and Halifax bombers are dropping patterns of 12,000-lb bombs on E-boat pens at Rotterdam. learn more

War Diary December 28, 1944

French SAS jeep

War Diary WW2 for Thursday, December 28, 1944: Western Front Eisenhower meets with Montgomery at Hasselt (Belgium) to concert Ardennes counter-offensive. learn more

War Diary December 27, 1944

Russian strike to the Gran

War Diary WW2 for Wednesday, December 27, 1944: Russian Front SIEGE OF BUDAPEST begins. Western Front 3rd US Army establishes ‘safe’ corridor to Bastogne. Air War Germany: 8th USAAF bombs rail targets at Coblenz, Bonn and Kaiserslau­tern. RAF night raids… learn more

War Diary December 26, 1944

First in Bastogne

War Diary WW2 for Tuesday, December 26, 1944: Western Front Tanks of 4th Armoured Division (3rd US Army commanded by Patton) break through to Bastogne and relieve the garrison. Air War Europe: RAF Bomber Command makes devastating daylight attack on… learn more

War Diary December 25, 1944

US tanks stop German advance

War Diary WW2 for Tuesday, December 25, 1944: Western Front German Panzers halted by US armour at Celles, 6 km east of the Meuse, having advanced 80 km since mid-December. Philippines Americans secure Leyte Island. Occupied countries Greece: Churchill and… learn more

War Diary December 24, 1944

Grenadiers in suburb of Budapest

War Diary WW2 for Sunday, December 24, 1944: Russian Front RUSSIAN TANKS ENTER BUDAPEST. Air War Europe: Allied Tactical Air Forces fly 600 sorties over the Ardennes; 260 planes drop supplies on Bastogne. Britain: 50 He 111s, modified to carry… learn more

War Diary December 23, 1944

US 90mm AA-gun firing on V-1

War Diary WW2 for Saturday, December 23, 1944: Air War Europe: Allied Tactical Air Forces fly 900 sorties against German armour and motor transports in the ‘Bulge’. 26 V-2s explode in Antwerp. Home Fronts USA: All horse-racing banned to save… learn more

War Diary December 22, 1944

Advancing German soldiers Ardennes

War Diary WW2 for Friday, December 22, 1944: Western Front: Ardennes: Germans make the final effort to reach the Meuse and break through to Antwerp. General McAuliffe, commander US 101st airborne division at Bastogne, replies ‘NUTS!‘ to German surrender ultimatum.… learn more

War Diary December 21, 1944

SS Grenadiers advancing Ardennes

War Diary WW2 for Thursday, December 21, 1944: Western Front BASTOGNE BESIEGED. US 101st Airborne Division and 10th Armoured Division have to be supplied by air. Sea War German convoy runs into mine­field laid off Norway by FF submarine Rubis… learn more

War Diary December 20, 1944

GIs from the 7th Armored Division take a watchful rest in the streets of St Vith

War Diary WW2 for December 20, 1944: Western Front German Panzers reach Noville, north of Bastogne and Stavelot, north of St. Vith. learn more