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WWII Timeline – Summer 1944

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1944 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1944

Summer 1944

The highest-ever daily number of those gassed and cremated at Auschwitz-Birkenau was recorded at just over 9,000. This overwhelmed the capacity of the crematories and required six huge pits to burn the bodies.

July 1944

The Swedish Foreign Ministry sent diplomat Raoul Wallenberg to Budapest, Hungary with the support of the World Jewish Congress and American War Refugee Board to aid the 200,000 Jews left in the Hungarian capital. He saved nearly 33,000 Jews by securing their release from deportation trains, death march convoys, and labor service brigades, and by issuing diplomatic papers (protective documents) and establishing a network of thirty-one safe, or protected, houses in Budapest, called the International Ghetto. On January 17, 1945, Wallenberg was detained by Soviet agents and was never heard from again. 

July 3, 1944

The Battle of the Hedgerows began in Normandy, named so because the Allies were hindered by the agricultural hedges in Western France which intelligence had not properly evaluated. The US First Army VIII Corps advanced only seven miles in twelve days.

The Soviets captured Minsk.

July 4, 1944

Less than one month since D-Day on June 6, the Allies had landed 920,000 troops, and lost 62,000 men, the count including those killed, wounded, and missing.

July 8, 1944

The Japanese withdrew from Imphal, the capital city of the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. They had invaded Imphal in a bid to capture British Colonies, but were defeated.

July 9, 1944

British and Canadian troops captured Caen, France.

Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Budapest as first secretary to the Swedish legation in Hungary and with financing from the US War Refugee Board.

July 11, 1944

The Czech family camp at Auschwitz was liquidated.

July 17, 1944

German General Erwin Rommel was seriously injured in Normandy when a British Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter plane strafed his staff car, injuring the driver, which caused it to crash into trees. Rommel was thrown from the car, suffering cuts to his face from glass shards and three fractures to his skull. He was taken to a hospital with major head injuries and then to his home in Germany to convalesce.

July 18, 1944

British General Bernard Montgomery, the commander of all the Allied ground forces in Normandy, launched Operation Goodwood 40 miles east of Caen.

U.S. troops reached and captured St. Lô, France.

July 20, 1944

German Army officers who were part of the German resistance attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, but failed when a heavy conference table deflected the blast from a bomb placed under it. Hitler was only slightly wounded.

July 21, 1944

U.S. Marines invaded Guam in the Mariana Islands. In Operation Stevedore, Task Force 53, commanded by Rear Admiral Richard L. Connolly of the U.S. Navy, the Third Marine Division and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, along with the U.S. Army 77th Infantry Division, landed on Guam.

July 24, 1944

Soviet troops liberated the first concentration camp at Majdanek where over 360,000 had been murdered.

U.S. Marines invaded Tinian, an Island in the Northern Mariana Islands.

July 25, 1944

The U.S. Army began Operation Cobra in Normandy.

The II Canadian Corps began Operation Spring, an offensive south of Caen.

July 27, 1944

American troops completed the liberation of Guam.

July 28, 1944

Soviet troops took Brest-Litovsk, Belarus.

U.S. troops took Coutances, France.

August 1, 1944 – October 5, 1944

The non-communist underground Home Army in Poland, the dominant Polish resistance movement when Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II, rose up against the Nazis in an attempt to liberate Warsaw before the arrival of Soviet troops. The Soviet advance stopped on the east bank of the Vistula River. On October 5, the remnants of the Polish Home Army fighting in Warsaw surrendered to the Nazis.

August 1, 1944

Patton’s U.S. Third Army was activated in Normandy, France.

U.S. troops reached Avranches, France.

August 2, 1944

The SS liquidated the Gypsy family camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

August 3, 1944

U.S. And Chinese troops took Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachin State in Myanmar (Burma), after a two month siege.

August 4, 1944

Anne Frank and her family were arrested by the Gestapo in Amsterdam, Holland. They were first sent to the Westerbork Transit Camp and then on to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister Margot were later sent to Bergen-Belsen where Anne died of typhus on March 15, 1945.

August 6, 1944

Lodz, the last Jewish ghetto in Poland, was liquidated with 60,000 Jews sent to Auschwitz.

August 7, 1944

The Germans began a major counter-attack toward Avranches, France.

August 8, 1944

American troops completed the capture of the Mariana Islands.

The Canadians launched Operation Totalize south of Caen, France with 600 tanks and 720 guns.

August 15, 1944

In Operation Dragoon, Allied forces landed in southern France near Nice and advanced rapidly towards the Rhine River to the northeast.

August 19, 1944

The French Resistance caused an uprising in Paris against the Germans.

August 19/20, 1944

A Soviet offensive in the Balkans (an area comprising Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia) began with an attack on Romania.

August 20 – 25, 1944

Allied troops reached Paris. On August 25, Free French forces, supported by Allied troops, entered the French capital. By September, the Allies reach the German border; by December, virtually all of France, most of Belgium, and part of the southern Netherlands were liberated.

August 20, 1944

The Falaise Pocket or Battle of the Falaise Pocket was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy in WWII. The Western Allies encircled the German Army Group B, 7th Army, and Fifth Panzer Army, in the Falaise Pocket, a pocket formed around Falaise, Calvados, in the Normandy region of France.

August 23, 1944

The appearance of Soviet troops on the Prut River induced the Romanian opposition to overthrow the Antonescu regime. The new government concluded an armistice and immediately switched sides in the war. The Romanian turnaround compelled Bulgaria to surrender on September 8, and the Germans to evacuate Greece, Albania, and southern Yugoslavia in October.

August 25, 1944

Paris was liberated when Germany surrendered Paris to the Allied forces, ending four years of occupation.

August 29, 1944 – October 28, 1944

The underground Slovak resistance uprising began under the leadership of the Slovak National Council, consisting of both Communists and non-Communists, against the Germans and the indigenous fascist Slovak regime. In late October, the Germans captured the headquarters of the uprising at Banská Bystrica in central Slovakia and ended the organized resistance.

August 31, 1944

Soviet troops took Bucharest, the largest and capital city in Romania.

September 1944

As the British and American Air Forces destroyed most of the V-1 launch sites, by September of 1944, the Nazis introduced the V-2 rocket. The V-2 was much more sophisticated, a liquid-fueled rocket that traveled at supersonic speeds as high as 50 miles. It would plunge toward its target at a speed of nearly 4,000 miles per hour, smashing its 2,000 pound high explosive warhead into the ground without warning. Unlike the V-1, the V-2 rockets could not be intercepted. Over a thousand were fired at London.

September 1-4, 1944

The cities of Verdun, Dieppe, Artois, Rouen, and Abbeville in France, and Antwerp and Brussels in Belgium, were liberated by Allies.

September 3, 1944

The British Second Army liberated Brussels, Belgium.

Field Marshal Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt assumed command of the German armies in the West.

September 4, 1944

Finland and the Soviet Union agreed to a cease-fire.

September 13, 1944

U.S. troops reached the Siegfried Line in western Germany.

September 15, 1944

U.S. Troops invaded Morotai Island in Indonesia.

September 17 – 25, 1944

The Allied assault known as “Operation Market-Garden” was an attempt by combined Allied airborne and ground assault troops to capture bridges over Dutch waterways in order to open a rapid northern route for the Allied advance into Germany.

The First Allied Airborne Army dropped at Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem to secure bridgeheads and the British Second Army pushed north into Holland from Belgium, to link up.

It was the largest Allied airborne operation of the war and the most costly. The third of the three airborne landings, at Arnhem, proved to be a complete failure as British troops landed too far from the Arnhem bridges and the Germans quickly recovered from the surprise of the aerial assault. Of 10,000 British troops at Arnhem, 1,400 were killed while over 6,000 were taken prisoner.

September 19, 1944

The Moscow Armistice ended the Continuation War when it was signed by Finland on one side and the Soviet Union and United Kingdom on the other side. Finland had participated in the Continuation War in an Axis partnership with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944.

September 25, 1944

The British evacuated the remaining paratroopers from Arnhem in the Netherlands, but only 2,163 men out of nearly 10,000 returned.

Adolf Hitler ordered the formation of the Volkssturm (the “people’s storm”), the German home guard or national militia. It was created not by the formal German Armed Forces, but rather by the Nazi Party on Hitler’s order. Members were conscripted from those between sixteen and sixty years of age who were not already serving in a military unit. It was not officially announced until October 16, 1944.

September 26, 1944

Soviet troops occupied Estonia.

September 28, 1944

Frogmen from the German Marine Einsatzkommando demolished the Nijmegen, Holland railway bridge, which had been a key objective for the Allies to hold in Operation Market Garden.

The two B-17’s of the John Oliver Buslee crew and the James Jospeh Brodie crew of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force collided after coming off the target at Magdeburg, Germany. Four of the eighteen airmen aboard the two ships survived: George Edwin Farrar (my father), Harry Allen Liniger, Wilfred Frank Miller, and George Marshall Hawkins, Jr.

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.

Raoul Wallenberg

Hedgerow Warfare During the Battle of Normandy

Battle of the Hedgerows

Erwin Rommel

Volkssturm

Operation Market Garden

Nijmegen Railway Bridge

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1944

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020


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