75 Years Ago—Jan. 20, 1944: US Fifth Army makes first attempt to cross the Rapido River in Italy with heavy casualties, forms a small bridgehead north of Sant’ Angelo.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 19, 1944: ANZAC Conference begins in Canberra, Australia: Australia and New Zealand discuss postwar relations with US and UK.
British X Corps makes 14 failed attempts to cross the upper Garigliano River in Italy, thus failing to protect left US Fifth Army flank for Rapido crossings the next day.
US government returns railways to control of owners after wage dispute is settled.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 18, 1944: US Fourth War Loan Drive begins, runs through February 15; sales made in pharmacies are designated for C-47 ambulance planes. Read more: World War II War Bonds.
US Navy PBY Catalinas based in Morocco carrying Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) gear begin barrier patrols across the Straits of Gibraltar to detect U-boats transiting submerged at night.
Metropolitan Opera House in New York City holds its first jazz concert, featuring Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge, and Jack Teagarden.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 17, 1944: British X Corps crosses lower Garigliano River in Italy, officially beginning the Battle of Cassino.
US Army and Marines secure Arawe area on New Britain in the Solomons.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 16, 1944: Gen. Dwight Eisenhower assumes command of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces) in London for Operation Overlord (D-day).
Japanese make final counterattack on New Britain in the Solomons, but fail.
Lt. Stewart Graham of the US Coast Guard becomes the first person to make a helicopter takeoff and landing aboard a ship underway—in a Sikorsky HNS-1 on British cargo ship Daghestan in the North Atlantic.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 15, 1944: Lt. Gen. Ira Eaker assumes command of Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (US Twelfth & Fifteenth Air Forces, as well as RAF, Italian, and French air units in the Mediterranean).
The Allied Winter Line campaign in Italy is complete as the Germans retreat over the Rapido River to the Gustav Line.
New songs in Top Ten: “My Ideal” and “Star Eyes.”
75 Years Ago—Jan. 14, 1944: Gen. Dwight Eisenhower arrives in London for planning for Operation Overlord (D-day).
Eligibility for the draft is restored for Japanese-American Nisei, causing mixed reactions in internment camps.
US Navy Seabees in camps in US get a sneak preview of John Wayne’s movie The Fighting Seabees.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 13, 1944: Chinese gain control of Tarung River line, driving back the Japanese in the Hukawng Valley in northern Burma.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 12, 1944: Germans arrest 74 members of the Solf Circle, a resistance group of German intellectuals; most will be executed.
US begins pre-invasion air strikes on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, as US Navy PB4Y Liberators bomb the island.
75 Years Ago—Jan. 11, 1944: In the US Eighth Air Force raid on Brunswick, the 94th Bomb Group makes a rare second run on the target and receives the Distinguished Unit Citation.
Col. James Howard of the US 354th Fighter Group shoots downs 8 German Me 110 fighters and earns one of only six Medals of Honor awarded to Army Air Force fighter pilots in WWII, also becomes the first P-51 Mustang ace in the European Theater.
TBF Avenger aircraft from escort carrier USS Block Island severely damage German U-boat U-758 with the first use of forward-firing rockets by the US Navy.