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WWII Timeline – Summer 1943

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1943 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1943

July 5, 1943

The Germans launched a massive tank offensive called “Operation Citadel” near Kursk in the Soviet Union. It was the largest tank battle in history. The operation ended with a Soviet victory.

A U.S. B-17 bomber crew accidentally bombed Boise City, Oklahoma when the pilots performing target practice mistook the lights on the town square for their training target. Only practice bombs were used and the square was empty at the time (12:30 a.m). There were no fatalities.

July 8, 1943

B-24 Liberators flying from Midway Island bombed the Japanese on Wake Island.

July 9/10, 1943

The Allied invasion called “Operation Husky” began when US and British troops landed on the Italian island of Sicily.

July 19, 1943

The Allies bombed Rome.

July 22, 1943

The Americans, led by General George S. Patton and the U.S. 7th Army captured Palermo, Sicily.

July 24, 1943

The British carried out a bombing raid on Hamburg.

July 25, 1943 

Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio formed a new government in Italy after the Fascist regime in Italy ended upon the deposition and arrest of Benito Mussolini.

July 27/28, 1943

An Allied air raid caused a firestorm in Hamburg.

August 1943

Exterminations ceased at the Treblinka extermination camp after an estimated 870,000 deaths.

August 1-2, 1944

A group of fifteen American PT boats attempted to block Japanese convoys south of Kolombangra Island in the Solomon Islands. PT-109, which was commanded by future American President, then Lieutenant, John F. Kennedy, was rammed and sunk by the Japanese Cruiser AMAGIRI, resulting in two killed and others badly injured. The remaining crew survived, including one badly injured man who Kennedy aided by towing him to a nearby atoll.

August 2, 1943

During an uprising at the Treblinka extermination camp, Jewish prisoners destroyed the camp’s gas chambers and two hundred Jews escaped. The Nazis hunted down the escapees one by one.

August 6, 1943

The Battle of Vella Lavella, an island in the Solomon Islands, between the Japanese and Allied forces from New Zealand and the United States began.

August 12-17, 1943

The Allies gained control of Sicily as the Germans evacuated.

August 16, 1943

The Bialystok, Poland Ghetto was liquidated. Remaining inhabitants were sent to the death camps at Majdanek and Treblinka.

August 17, 1943

In “Operation Husky,” the Allies reached Messina, Sicily.

The Americans held daylight air raids on Regensburg and Schweinfurt in Germany, known to the 8th Air Force as the “First Schweinfurt” mission. According to the Mission Comments on 384thBombGroup.com,

The 384th Bombardment Group (H) flew as the low group of the 202nd Provisional Combat Bomb Wing on today’s mission. The mission was planned as a ‘Double Strike’ against Schweinfurt-Regensburg industrial plants. [Note: contrary to the implication in naming the raid, Schweinfurt and Regensburg are not neighboring cities; they are, in fact, over 100 miles apart.] The first air strike task force was supplied by the 4th Bomb Wing, which took off late due to heavy fog: they could still reach Africa by dark, but just barely. The second task force – the 1st Bomb Wing, including the 384th BG – was scheduled to take off 90-minutes after the 4th BW, to ensure the enemy fighters had exhausted their fuel and would be limited in their ability to mount a defense. In the event, the 1st BW was repeatedly delayed, also by weather, for almost four hours, allowing the enemy pilots ample time to refuel, rearm (and have a meal, if they wished!). As a consequence, losses were heavy. Both forces, however, inflicted enormous damage on their assigned targets, but the cost was immense.

August 19, 1943

Klaus Fuchs, a Soviet spy, joined the Manhattan Project.

August 23, 1943

Soviet troops recaptured Kharkov.

August 25, 1943

The Allies completed the occupation of New Georgia.

August 28, 1943

Japanese resistance on New Guinea ended.

September 1943

The Vilna and Minsk Ghettos were liquidated.

September 4, 1943

The Allies recaptured Lae-Salamaua, New Guinea.

September 8, 1943 

German forces rushed to Italy as Italy’s Badoglio government unconditionally surrendered to the Allies.

September 9, 1943

The Allies landed on the beaches of Salerno, Italy near Naples, and at Taranto, Italy.

September 11, 1943

The Germans seized control of and occupied Rome, and central and northern Italy, which contained about 35,000 Jews.

Jewish family transports from Theresienstadt (a concentration camp/ghetto established by the SS in the fortress town of Terezín, located in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia) to Auschwitz began.

September 12, 1943

German paratroopers/commandos freed Benito Mussolini from imprisonment.

September 13, 1943

The Chinese Parliament elected General Chiang Kai-shek president of the Chinese Republic.

September 20, 1943

From September 20 into October 1943, approximately 7,200 Danish Jews escaped to Sweden with the help of the Danish resistance movement.

September 23, 1943

The Germans established a puppet Fascist regime under Mussolini in Italy.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

384th Bomb Group: First Schweinfurt Raid

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1943

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020


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