Calendar and Summary for May 1944  
 
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14   15   16   17   18   19   20
21   22   23   24   25   26   27
28   29   30   31            
 
   
  April 1944 June 1944  
   
  Summary of Significant Events for May 1944  
   
  Admiral Soemu Toyoda was designated Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet replacing Admiral Mineichi Koga who was killed on March 31, 1944.  In India, the British Fourteenth Army began extensive counterattacks in the Imphal area.  British authorities announced the unconditional release of Mahatma Gandhi.  General Dwight D. Eisenhower selected June 5, 1944 as D-Day for the Normandy invasion.  The Red Army liberated the city of Sevastopol.  Large-scale bombing raids were conducted against German, French, Belgian, and Dutch railroads, roads, and bridges in preparation for the cross-channel attack.  The 150,000 man Chinese Yunnan Army crossed the Salween River, near the Burmese border, on a broad front against a widely stretched force of less than 10,000 Japanese.  Soviet forces completed the occupation of the Crimea.  Field Marshal Albert Kesselring ordered the German 10th Army to abandon the Gustav Line and withdraw to new positions along the "Hitler Line."  The deportations of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz began.  The Japanese 31st Division withdrew from Kohima, ending the siege of the city.  Merrill's Marauders captured the airfield west of Myitkyina.  LST-353 accidentally exploded and sank or damaged 8 other LSTs in Pearl Harbor.  Chinese forces launched a counteroffensive in Hunan Province.  German paratroopers were dropped in Operation Rösselsprung near Yugoslav Partisan commander Marshal Josip Broz Tito's mountain headquarters.  Japanese forces launched Operation Ichigo, a major offensive against American airbases in southeast China.  Elements of the newly constituted German 8th Army launched a series of limited counterattacks around Jassy, Romania.  11 ships (38,380 tons) were sunk and 6 ships (21,966 tons) were damaged by U-boats during May 1944.  
   
  Events occurring in May 1944 with no specific dates  
   
  The Atomic Bombs  
  The Los Alamos, New Mexico staff exceeded 1200 employees.  
   
  Six months after the start of accelerated implosion research, little progress towards successful implosion had been made. Inadequate diagnostic equipment prevented accurate measurement of the implosion process and no scheme to avoid asymmetry had yet shown promise. The current approach was to use many simultaneous detonation points over the surface of a sphere, and try different methods of inert spacers or gaps to suppress the shaped charge-like jets that form when detonation waves from adjacent initiation points merge. Spalling (the ejection of fragments) from the interior surface of the hollow core was a serious problem, as was simply getting precise simultaneous detonation.  
   
  Dr. Edward Teller was removed as head of the implosion theory group, and also from fission weapon research entirely, due to conflicts with Dr. Hans Bethe and his increasing obsession with the idea of the Super (hydrogen bomb).  
   
  Two British scientists joined Los Alamos who had important impacts on the implosion program. Geoffrey Taylor (who arrived May 24) pointed out implosion instability problems (especially the Rayleigh-Taylor instability), which ultimately led to a very conservative design to minimize possible instability. James Tuck brought the idea of explosives lenses for detonation wave shaping (two-D lenses for plane wave generation originally proposed by M. J. Poole in England, 1942), but suggested developing 3-D lenses to create a spherical implosion.
  Learn more about the American Atomic Bombs Program  
 
     
   
 

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