Sikorsky YR-4B at NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, Hampton, VA, 29 March 1945 (NASA photo)
75 Years Ago—April 23, 1944: Countdown to D-day: Air Plan for Operation Overlord is issued.
US Sixth Army secures Hollandia, New Guinea.
A helicopter is used for combat air rescue for the first time—a Sikorsky YR-4B helicopter of the US 1st Air Commando Group rescues four downed airmen in the Burma jungle, two at a time.
US Signal Corps cameramen Carl Weinke and Ernest Marjoram at Hollandia, New Guinea, 22 Apr 1944 (US National Archives)
75 Years Ago—April 22, 1944: US Sixth Army lands at Hollandia and Aitape, New Guinea with little opposition.
In the US, typewriters are removed from rationing. Read more: “Make It Do—Metal Shortages in World War II.”
US poster, WWII
Gen. Hans-Valentin Hube with the 16th Panzer Division outside Stalingrad, 23 August 1942 (Public domain via Wikipedia)
75 Years Ago—April 21, 1944: German Gen. Hans-Valentin Hube is killed in a plane crash at Berchtesgaden; Gen. Erhard Raus replaces him over German First Panzer Army.
US Navy Task Force 58, with 12 aircraft carriers, begins bombing and bombardment of Hollandia, Wakde, Sawar, and Sarmi areas of New Guinea in preparation for the next day’s landings.
Hawker Hurricane of RAF No.42 Squadron piloted by Flying Officer “Chowringhee” Campbell, attacking a bridge in Burma on the Tiddim Road near Imphal (Imperial War Museum: CF 175)
75 Years Ago—April 20, 1944: British relieve siege at Kohima, India, but Japanese retain town of Kohima and maintain the siege of the critical Imphal area.
W. Somerset Maugham’s best-selling novel The Razor’s Edge is published.
US poster about food rationing, WWII
75 Years Ago—April 19, 1944: Japanese launch Ichi-Go offensive in China to open a corridor to Indochina (Vietnam) and to capture US airbases.
British Eastern Fleet & US Task Group 38.5 aircraft hit Sabang, Sumatra as diversion from upcoming Hollandia operation, the first joint UK/US action in the Indian Ocean.
In the US, shortening, salad & cooking oils are removed from rationing, but butter & margarine are still rationed. Read more: “Make It Do—Rationing of Butter, Fats & Oils in World War II.”
Japanese ships and harbor facilities after Allied carrier strike on Sabang, Sumatra, 19 Apr 1944 (Imperial War Museum: 4700-01 A 23249)
Scraggy Hill at Imphal, India, April 1944 (Imperial War Museum)
75 Years Ago—April 18, 1944: Last air raid on London, the end of the “Little Blitz”; in the Little Blitz, on the eve of D-day, the German Luftwaffe lost over 500 aircraft, while the RAF lost only 8 aircraft.
Allies begin air supply to besieged British and Indian troops at Imphal, India.
Jerome Robbins’s ballet Fancy Free debuts at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the inspiration for the musical On the Town.
Lockheed C-69 Constellation, 9 January 1943 (US Navy photo)
75 Years Ago—April 17, 1944: Countdown to D-day: Royal Navy & RAF Bomber Command begin laying mines in the English Channel in preparation for D-day.
Howard Hughes and Jack Frye fly a Lockheed Constellation from Burbank, CA to Washington, DC by in 6 hours and 57 minutes, a new cross-country record.
US Fifth Air Force bombing of Hollandia, New Guinea, April 1944 (USAF Photo)
75 Years Ago—April 16, 1944: In the Crimea, Soviets drive Germans back to Sevastopol and take Yalta.
“Black Sunday” for US Fifth Air Force—after successful bombing of Hollandia, New Guinea, 26 planes are lost in heavy weather, the unit’s highest non-combat losses in the war.
Battleship USS Wisconsin is commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard, PA.
Brig. Gen. Jesse Auton, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz (commander US Strategic Air Forces in Europe), Maj. Gen. James Doolittle (commander US Eighth Air Force), Maj. Gen. William Kepner (commander US VIII Fighter Command), Col. Donald Blakeslee, at presentation of Distinguished Service Cross to Blakeslee, Debden Airfield, England, 11 April 1944 (US National Archives)
75 Years Ago—April 15, 1944: Countdown to D-day: Allied Expeditionary Air Force issues Operation Neptune Overall Air Plan for D-day, temporarily suspends attacks on oil and industrial targets in favor of transportation targets.
Marshal Nikolai Vatutin, commander of Soviet Voronezh Front, dies after being wounded in ambush by Ukrainian insurgents on February 28.
Damage at Victoria Dock after Fort Stikine explosion, Bombay, India, 14 April 1944 (public domain via WW2 Database)
75 Years Ago—April 14, 1944: Countdown to D-day: RAF and US Eighth and Ninth Air Forces in England come under Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s command for Operation Overlord.
At Bombay, India, British ammunition ship Fort Stikine explodes, killing 1300, and destroying 27 ships.
Chinese troops launch offensive across border into Burma.