1943 Events  
  January 1943 Events  
  The last Japanese positions around Buna, New Guinea fell.  In London, 18 governments of the United Nations issued a declaration pledging to combat and defeat the Axis plundering of occupied Europe.  The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the War Measures Act, passed in 1914, which gave the federal Cabinet emergency powers to govern by decree.  A Japanese Val dive-bomber shot down by the light cruiser USS Helena was the first kill of enemy aircraft by proximity fuses.  After a stormy interview with German Chancellor Adolph Hitler, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder tendered his resignations as Commander in Chief of the Kriegsmarine.  Tokyo radio announced that Nanking Government in China had declared war on the United States and Britain.  Operation Ring, the Soviet offensive to destroy the Stalingrad pocket, began.  The U.S. XIV Corps began offensive operations on Guadalcanal.  Amchitka Island in Alaska was occupied by a small U.S. force.  The Soviets launched the second stage of Operation Saturn.  The U.S. 25th Division captured Galloping Horse Ridge on Guadalcanal.  The Casablanca Conference (codenamed SYMBOL) was held in Casablanca, Morocco.  The British started an offensive aimed at taking Tripoli.  The Pentagon was dedicated.  The Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts (Soviet armies) met and opened a 6 to 8 miles wide land corridor that provided some relief to the besieged population of Leningrad.  The Red Army overran Gumrak airport near Stalingrad severing the last link between the German Sixth Army and the outside world.  The last organized Japanese resistance was overcome by Allied forces in Papua, New Guinea.  The British 8th Army under General Bernard Montgomery entered Tripoli.  Hitler sent the following message to the commander of the German Sixth Army Friedrich Paulus at Stalingrad: "Surrender is forbidden."  Bombers from the U.S. 8th Air Force flew the first American bombing raid against Germany.  The Battle of Rennell Island took place near the Solomon Islands.  With the imminent defeat of the German 6th Army at hand at Stalingrad, German Chancellor Adolph Hitler promoted General Fredrich Paulus to Field Marshal. Since no German field marshal had ever been taken prisoner, Hitler assumed that Paulus would fight on or take his own life.  A rally in Berlin to mark the 10th anniversary of Hitler’s coming to power was interrupted several times by six raiding Mosquitoes.  With 91,000 starving and sick, troops, the German commander in Stalingrad Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, surrendered to the Soviet Army.  45 ships (215,496 tons) were sunk and 4 ships (30,494 tons) were damaged by U-boats during January 1943.  
   
  February 1943 Events  
  Vidkun Quisling formed his permanent government in Norway.  The Soviet government in Moscow announced that the Red Army had completed the destruction of 330,000 trapped German troops at Stalingrad.  The Dutch resistance assassinated retired General Hendrik A. Seyffardt prompting reprisals from the SS.  The last of the Japanese troops were evacuated from Guadalcanal.  Colonel Orde Wingate and the Chindits crossed the Chindwin River into Japanese occupied Burma.  Rostov-on-Don was liberated by the Red Army.  The first part of Operation Fruhlingswind, the German offensive in central Tunisia, began.  Despite orders from German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, Waffen SS Colonel General Paul "Papa" Hauser ordered the 2nd SS Panzer Korps to abandon Kharkov.  In a speech at the Berlin Sportpalast German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels declared a "Total War" against the Allies.  German mechanized units in Tunisia pierced the Anglo-American defenses and occupied the strategic Kasserine Pass.  The U.S. 1st Armored Division recaptured Kasserine Pass after the German forces withdrew.  70 ships (359,276 tons) were sunk and 18 ships (136,345 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during February 1943.  
   
  March 1943 Events  
  Heinz Guderian was recalled to active service and appointed Inspector-General of the Armored Troops. The Battle of the Bismarck Sea between U.S. and Japanese naval forces ended with a U.S. victory.  RAF Bomber Command began "The Battle of the Ruhr", with a major attack on Essen and its Krupps factories.  The U-130 sank, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Siegfried Keller, 4 merchant ships of Convoy XK-2 in the central Atlantic Ocean.  The fighter jet Gloster Meteor was flown for the first time.  Field Marshal Erwin Rommel called off his advance in the Battle of Medenine.  The U-510, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Karl Neitzel, sank or damaged 8 merchant ships of Convoy BT-6 off the coast of Dutch Guiana.  The British SOE sank a German freighter with a radio transmitter aboard in the Portuguese port of Mormugao, India.  The U.S. Fourteenth Air Force was established and was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater with Major General Claire Chennault as its commander.  The Red Army liberated Vyazma in its drive toward Smolensk.  A bomb was placed on German Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s plane but did not explode.  The U-107, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Harald Gelhaus, sank 4 merchant ships of Convoy OS-44 in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.  Soviet Marshall Josef Stalin reiterated his view that a Second Front was needed in a message to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The U-338, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Manfred Kinzel, sank 4 merchant ships of Convoy SC-122 in the northern Atlantic Ocean.  The Third Battle of Kharkov ended with the Germans succeeding in stabilizing the southern half of the eastern front.  Colonel Orde Wingate’s column of Chindits crossed the Irrawaddy River in Burma.  The British began an offensive against the Mareth line in Tunisia.  Another plot to kill Hitler at the Berlin Armory Museum failed.  The U.S. 2nd Corps under Lt. General George S. Patton held against the 10th Panzer Division at El Guettar in Tunisia in the first victory by the Americans over the Germans.  The U.S. 2nd Corps captured the Fondouk Gap in Tunisia.  Meat, butter, and cheese were rationed in the United States.  108 ships (585,404 tons) were sunk and 23 ships (155,615 tons) were damaged by U-boats in March, 1943.  
   
  April 1943 Events  
  British and U.S. forces launched an offensive at Wadi Akarit, in southern Tunisia.  German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini conferred in Salzburg, Austria.  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt froze wages and prices. He also ordered workers in certain "essential" industries to keep their jobs.  The 8th Army, under command of General Bernard L. Montgomery, occupied the Tunisian seaport of Sfax.  Berlin Radio announced that German military forces in the Katyn forest near Smolensk in the western Soviet Union had discovered a mass grave filled with former Polish officers.  Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Combined Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was killed when his transport bomber aircraft was shot down over Bougainville Island by U.S. Army fighter aircraft.  The trial of the White Rose resistance group concluded. Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, and Kurt Huber received death sentences.  27 fully laden Me 323 Gigant ("Giant") transport planes carrying troops and gasoline to Tunisia were intercepted by seven squadrons of Spitfires and P-40s, with the loss of 21 Me 323s.  The British 138th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier Howlett captured "Longstop Hill" in Tunisia, a key position on the breakout road to Tunis.  A spontaneous general strike erupted in the Netherlands caused by the sudden abduction of Dutch prisoners of war into captivity in Germany.  49 ships (266,274 tons) were sunk and 8 ships (56,270 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during April 1943.  
   
  May 1943 Events  
Anthracite and bituminous coal mines were placed under government control to prevent strikes in the United States.  German Chancellor Adolf Hitler decided to postpone the summer offensive at Kursk until more of the new Tiger and Panther tanks were available.  In the Caucasus, the Red Army advanced further into the Kuban Peninsula against the German 17th Army.  British forces recaptured Djebel Bou Aoukaz in Tunisia and secured the left flank for the final drive on Tunis.  On May 5 German U-boats sink 11 Allied merchant ships of Convoy ONS-5 in the north Atlantic. This day is considered the turning point of the Battle of the Atlantic as U-boats began to be sunk in ever larger numbers.  The British First Army captured Tunis, Tunisia.  The Japanese occupied Buthidaung in Burma as they forced the British to withdraw.  A Joint Strategic Plan creating three Pacific commands was approved at Cairo.  The Warsaw Uprising ended.  British intelligence agents managed to steal a German Ju-88 night fighter armed with the new Liechtenstein BC radar set and flew it to Scotland.  Hitler approved Operation Citadel, the attack on the Kursk salient.  The Trident Conference between the U.S. and Britain was held in Washington, D.C.  The U.S. 7th Division landed on Japanese occupied Attu Island.  Italian Field Marshal Giovanni Messe ordered the remaining German and Italian troops in Tunisia to surrender.  Operation Mincemeat, the deception operation for the invasion of Sicily, bore fruit as the Germans reinforced their forces in Greece against a fictitious upcoming invasion.  Operation Gypsy Baron started as six German divisions went on the offensive against partisan resistance fighters in the Bryansk area of the Soviet Union.  SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop reported to his commanders that the Warsaw Ghetto "is no longer in existence."  The Germans launched Operation Schwarz, their fifth major offensive against Tito's partisans in Yugoslavia.  A Japanese offensive began along the Yangtze River with the goal of capturing the Chinese capital of Chunking.  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill set a date for a cross-Channel invasion of Normandy, in northern France, for May 1, 1944.  Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels announced that Berlin was "Judenrien" (free of Jews.)  Josef Mengele became the Chief Medical Officer at the Auschwitz concentration camp.  White workers rioted when the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company in Mobile, Alabama complied with federal regulations and gave twelve African-Americans skilled positions in the shipyards.  The V-1 and V-2 were tested at Peenemünde in the presence of high ranking German ministers and military officers.  Chinese troops defending Ichang stopped the Japanese advance along the Yangtze River.  Churchill called a meeting in Algiers between British and American senior officers hoping to convince U.S. General of the Army George C. Marshall and General Dwight D. Eisenhower to concentrate on the Mediterranean and drop the invasion of Western Europe.  Japanese forces on Attu launched a final desperate Banzai attack that was quickly and easily destroyed.  The Free French organized the French Committee of National Liberation in Algiers which included General Charles De Gaulle and General Henri Giraud as co-presidents.  45 ships (237,182 tons) were sunk and 4 ships (29,702 tons) were damaged by U-boats during May 1943.
   
  June 1943 Events  
  Over 500,000 coal miners went on strike after negotiations broke down.  Generals Charles De Gaulle and Henri Giraud became co-presidents of the French Provisional Government-in-Exile.  Japanese military leaders ordered the evacuation of the Aleutian island of Kiska.  "Operation Black" against the Yugoslavian partisans almost succeeded in capturing Josip Broz Tito.  The Pointblank Directive, setting the priorities and aims of the bomber offensive for Operation Overlord, was issued to British and American heavy bomber forces in Europe.  The Allies launched "Operation Corkscrew", a landing on the Italian island of Pantelleria.  The SS began destroying the evidence of Nazi atrocities.  Field Marshal Archibald Wavell was appointed Viceroy of India in October and General Claude Auchinleck was appointed Commander in Chief in India.  Operation Cartwheel opened with landings by the U.S. Marines on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.  Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler ordered the dissolution of all Jewish ghettos in the East.  Operation Cartwheel continued in the Solomon Islands as American forces landed on Woodlark Island.  British Prime Minister Winston Churchill directed that air supply for Josip Broz Tito's partisans be given the highest priority.  Indian nationalist Chandra Bose made a radio broadcast from Tokyo calling on his countrymen to resist the British.  U.S. Marines landed on New Guinea near Lae.  Operation Cartwheel continued as American forces landed on Rendova, Vangunu, Sasavele, Baraulu, and Torbriand in the New Georgia group.  21 ships (78,316 tons) were sunk and 6 ships (35,525 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during June 1943..  
   
  July 1943 Events  
  Australian forces linked up with U.S. troops at Nassau Bay on the coast of New Guinea.  Polish leader General Wladyslaw Sikorski was killed in a plane crash off Gibraltar.  Two German Army Groups and Southern Army Group attacked the Kursk salient as Operation Citadel began.  U.S. Marines and U.S. Army troops landed at Rice Anchorage, New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.  The naval Battle of Kula Gulf took place north of New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.  After a scientific briefing German Chancellor Adolf Hitler approved the V-2 project for top priority.  Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, began.  The naval Battle of Kolombangara took place in the Solomon Islands.  Lt. General George S. Patton decided to advance west to Palermo with half his army.  Hitler ordered a withdrawal from Kursk and canceled Operation Citadel.  American bombers hit Rome and its vicinity for the first time in the war.  The first “island hopping” operation started in the Pacific as American forces landed on Vella Lavella bypassing the Japanese stronghold at Kolombangara.  The U.S. 2nd Armored Division under command of Patton entered Palermo.  An RAF raid on Hamburg marked the first time that “Window” or chaff was used.  Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini was dismissed from office by Victor Emmanuel III and replaced by Marshal Pietro Badoglio.  Hitler ordered Sicily abandoned.  The Japanese evacuated the 6,000 man garrison on Kiska Island in the Aleutians without being detected by American forces.  49 ships (263,037 tons) were sunk and 10 ships (68,252 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during July 1943.  
   
  August 1943 Events  
  The Japanese announced recognition of an independent Burma and a declaration of war by Burma against Great Britain and the United States.  The U.S. Army Air Force conducted a daylight bombing raid on the Ploesti oil fields in Romania on what became known as “Black Sunday.”  The Harlem Riot of 1943 took place in New York City.  PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, was on picket duty when it was cut in half by the Japanese destroyer IJN Amagiri.  The prisoners at the Treblinka concentration camp rebelled.  Lt. General George S. Patton slapped several soldiers at military hospitals in Sicily and nearly ended his military career.  American forces captured Munda and its air field on New Georgia.  The U.S. Navy won the Battle of Vela Gulf.  The strategic conference codenamed Quadrant was held in Quebec City, Canada.  Over 34,000 U.S. and Canadian troops made an amphibious landing on unoccupied Kiska Island in the Aleutian Islands.  The Allies occupied Messina completing the capture of Sicily.  Resistance groups in the Bialystok ghetto in Poland rebelled.  The Allies met with Italian representatives in Lisbon to discuss the surrender of Italy.  The Red Army liberated Kharkov.  The last Japanese resistance on New Georgia was eliminated.  After weeks of rioting and strikes the Danish government fell and Denmark was placed under martial law by the Germans.  26 ships (93,069 tons) were sunk and 4 ships (18,194 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during August 1943.  
   
  September 1943 Events  
  Italian General Giuseppe Castellano signed a formal surrender agreement with the Allies in Cassibili, Sicily.  Operation Baytown began with the British 8th Army assaulting Italy from Sicily across the Strait of Messina. The Australian 9th Division landed on the Huon Peninsula near Lae, New Guinea.  The U.S. 503rd Parachute Regiment was dropped behind Lae in the Markham Valley.  General Dwight Eisenhower and Italian Premier Marshal Pietro Badoglio publicly announced the surrender of Italy.  Operation Avalanche began with the U.S. 5th Army landing on beaches to the south of Salerno, Italy.  German forces seized control of Rome and the other major Italian cities in central and northern Italy.  SS Lt. Colonel Otto Skorzeny led a glider attack on a mountain top resort at Gran Sasso and freed former Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini.  Mussolini announced the establishment of a Republican Fascist Party and the Socialist Republic of Italy.  The Red Army liberated Bryansk.  A senior British liaison mission met with Josip Broz Tito in Yugoslavia.  5,000 men of the Italian “Acqui” Division were killed after they surrendered to the Germans after two weeks of heavy fighting.  A popular uprising began against the German in Naples.  22 ships (98,476 tons) were sunk and 3 ships (22,598 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during September 1943.  
   
  October 1943 Events  
  Elements of the U.S. 5th Army captured Naples.  Australian forces captured Finschafen, New Guinea.  British commandos landed and occupied Termoli in Italy.  The Germans launched Operation Polar Bear, a series of attacks on islands in the Aegean Sea.  Free French forces occupied the island of Corsica.  The U.S. 5th Army began its assault on the Volturno River line.  The German 17th Army completed the evacuation of the Kuban Peninsula into the Crimean Peninsula.  The U.S. 5th Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force raided Rabaul in New Britain severely damaged Japanese shipping.  The newly formed Italian government of Italian Premier Marshal Pietro Badoglio declared war on Germany.  The U.S. 8th Air Force mission that attacked the ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt, Germany and became known as Black Thursday took place.  German forces began an organized withdrawal from Volturno River.  The Tripartite Conference attended by the Big Three foreign ministers was held in Moscow.  Japanese aircraft from six aircraft carriers were transferred to land bases around Rabaul in New Britain.  The Red Army liberated Melitopol after 10 days of heavy street fighting.  Heavy Allied air raids were conducted on the Japanese stronghold at Rabaul, New Britain.  The Red Army captured Genichesk, cutting the only rail communications for the Germans on the Crimean peninsula.  28 ships (99,635 tons) were sunk and 3 ships (16,827 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during October 1943.  
   
  November 1943 Events  
  The Red Army trapped the German 17th Army on the Crimean peninsula.  Operation Goodtime began as the U.S. 3rd Marine Division landed in Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville.  The Germans withdrew to the Reinhard Line in Italy.  The Japanese launched an unsuccessful counterattack against the U.S. Marines on Bougainville.  U.S. aircraft carriers successfully attacked a Japanese naval squadron in the Bismarck Archipelago.  The Steppe Front liberated the city of Kiev.  Two separate U.S. aircraft carrier task forces attacked the Japanese base at Rabaul.  The Germans invaded the British held island of Leros in the Aegean Sea.  American forces conducted the Operation Galvanic amphibious assaults on Tarawa Atoll and Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.  The Cairo Conference was held between the United States, Great Britain, and China.  RAF bombers attacked Berlin.  The Red Army liberated Gomel.  The Teheran Conference was held between the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union.  The British 8th Army established a bridgehead across the Sangro River in Italy.  Australian forces captured Gusika and Bonga in New Guinea.  13 ships (35,034 tons) were sunk and 3 ships (18,691 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during November 1943.  
   
  December 1943 Events  
  German JU-88 bombers attacked the Italian seaport of Bari and sank Allied sixteen cargo ships sank and killed approximately 1,000 men.  The Second Conference of Cairo, codenamed Sextant took place.  TF 50 attacked Japanese installations on Kwajalein and Wotje Atolls in the Marshall Islands and sank and damaged a number of Japanese ships.  Resistance leader Josip Broz Tito proclaimed a provisional democratic in Yugoslavia.  Veteran formations began to be withdrawn from the front in Italy for transfer to England in preparation for Operation Overlord.  The P-51D Mustang fighter made its combat debut.  The German battle cruiser SMS Scharnhorst was sunk in the Arctic Ocean by a British naval force.  14 ships (68,855 tons) were sunk and 3 ships (24,730 tons) were damaged by U-boats during December 1943.  
   
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