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Today in World War II History—April 17, 1940 & 1945

US LCM carrying troops, Mindanao River, 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)

US LCM carrying troops, Mindanao River, 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)

80 Years Ago—April 17, 1940: Adm. Karl Dönitz withdraws U-boats from Norwegian waters to study torpedo failures.

Ocean liner RMS Queen Mary arrives in Australia to be refitted as a troopship.

75 Years Ago—Apr. 17, 1945: US Eighth Army lands on Mindanao in the Philippines at Malabang and Parang.

Today in World War II History—April 16, 1940 & 1945

Soviet ZiS-3 guns bombarding German positions near Seelow Heights, Berlin, Germany, 16-19 Apr 1945 (German Federal Archives: Bild 183-E0406-0022-012)

Soviet ZiS-3 guns bombarding German positions near Seelow Heights, Berlin, Germany, 16-19 Apr 1945 (German Federal Archives: Bild 183-E0406-0022-012)

80 Years Ago—April 16, 1940: In Nazi-occupied Copenhagen, Margrethe, Princess of Denmark (and current queen), is born at Amalienborg Palace, granddaughter of King Christian X.

TBM Avenger torpedo planes of Composite Squadron 84 from USS Makin Island flying over Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan, 16 Apr 1945 (US Naval History & Heritage Command: NH 69420)

TBM Avenger torpedo planes of Composite Squadron 84 from USS Makin Island flying over Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan, 16 Apr 1945 (US Naval History & Heritage Command: NH 69420)

75 Years Ago—April 16, 1945: Gen. Carl Spaatz of the US Strategic Air Forces in Europe declares the strategic air war is over—only tactical targets remain.

Soviets cross the Oder River and launch offensive on Berlin, starting the Battle of Seelow Heights.

US Tenth Army lands on the island of Ie Shima off Okinawa and takes the airfield.

Today in World War II History—April 15, 1940 & 1945

Women and children, former inmates of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, after liberation, Germany, 17-18 Apr 1945 (Imperial War Museum: BU3805)

Women and children, former inmates of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, after liberation, Germany, 17-18 Apr 1945 (Imperial War Museum: BU3805)

80 Years Ago—April 15, 1940: Germans appoint a council to run the Norwegian government.

Off Narvik, Norway, British destroyers Brazen and Fearless sink German submarine U-49; documents about the Enigma machine float to the surface and are captured by the British.

75 Years Ago—Apr. 15, 1945: In Germany, British liberate Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

US Eighth Air Force B-17 & B-24 heavy bombers hit German strongpoints in Royan, France, with the Eighth Air Force’s only use of napalm during the war.

Today in World War II History—April 14, 1940 & 1945

Men of US 101st Infantry Regiment running past a burning fuel trailer in square of Kronach, Bayreuth, Germany, 14 Apr 1945 (US National Archives: 111-SC-206235)

Men of US 101st Infantry Regiment running past a burning fuel trailer in square of Kronach, Bayreuth, Germany, 14 Apr 1945 (US National Archives: 111-SC-206235)

80 Years Ago—April 14, 1940: In Norway, British and French troops land near Narvik and at Namsos to assist Norwegians against German invasion.

75 Years Ago—Apr. 14, 1945: US Fifth Army launches final offensive in Italy, toward the Po Valley.

US Third Army takes Bayreuth, Germany.

Zwolle in the Netherlands is liberated singlehandedly by Canadian Private Léo Major on a reconnaissance mission.

Today in World War II History—April 13, 1940 & 1945

Battleship HMS Warspite and a British destroyer during Second Battle of Narvik, 13 Apr 1940 (Imperial War Museum: 4700-01 A 38)

Battleship HMS Warspite and a British destroyer during Second Battle of Narvik, 13 Apr 1940 (Imperial War Museum: 4700-01 A 38)

80 Years Ago—April 13, 1940: Second Battle of Narvik (Norway): British Royal Navy sinks eight German destroyers.

British troops land in Danish Faroe Islands for occupation duty under agreement with Danish governor.

Soviet troops in US-built M3A1 scout car fighting in Vienna, Austria, Apr 1945 (public domain via WW2 Database)

Soviet troops in US-built M3A1 scout car fighting in Vienna, Austria, Apr 1945 (public domain via WW2 Database)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 13, 1945: Soviets secure Vienna, Austria.

US B-29 fire raid on Tokyo burns 13 square miles in arsenal district and damages the Imperial Palace.

Today in World War II History—April 12, 1940 & 1945

Harry Truman being sworn in as the President of the United States, White House, Washington, DC, 12 Apr 1945 (Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum: 73-1909)

Harry Truman being sworn in as the President of the United States, White House, Washington, DC, 12 Apr 1945 (Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum: 73-1909)

80 Years Ago—April 12, 1940: Movie premiere of Rebecca, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine (Alfred Hitchcock’s first film made in America).

Recruiting poster for pilots for the US Marine Corps, WWII

Recruiting poster for pilots for the US Marine Corps, WWII

75 Years Ago—Apr. 12, 1945: President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in Warm Springs, GA of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Harry Truman is sworn in as president.

Over Okinawa, US Marine land- and carrier-based aircraft shoot down 77 Japanese aircraft, the Marines’ highest number of victories in a single day during the war.

Japan forms Volunteer Army of men ages 15-55 and women ages 17-45 to combat invasion.

Today in World War II History—April 11, 1940 & 1945

Three German Neubaufahrzeug heavy tanks at Oslo, Norway, 19 Apr 1940 (German Federal Archive: Bild 183-L03744)

Three German Neubaufahrzeug heavy tanks at Oslo, Norway, 19 Apr 1940 (German Federal Archive: Bild 183-L03744)

80 Years Ago—April 11, 1940: In Norway, Germans launch drive north from Oslo to link with forces at Trondheim.

Prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany, 16 Apr 1945; author Elie Wiesel is in the second row up, seventh from the left, next to the bunk post (US National Archives: 208-AA-206K-31)

Prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany, 16 Apr 1945; author Elie Wiesel is in the second row up, seventh from the left, next to the bunk post (US National Archives: 208-AA-206K-31)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 11, 1945: In Germany, the US Third Army liberates Buchenwald concentration camp, and the US Ninth Army reaches the Elbe River near Magdeburg, 60 miles from Berlin.

Today in World War II History—April 10, 1940 & 1945

German WWII-era Messerschmitt Me 262 jet at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, OR (Photo: Sarah Sundin, March 2019)

German WWII-era Messerschmitt Me 262 jet at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, OR (Photo: Sarah Sundin, March 2019)

80 Years Ago—April 10, 1940: Icelandic parliament grants full powers to Icelandic cabinet, effectively declaring independence from German-occupied Denmark.

Seabiscuit is placed in retirement, horse racing’s all-time leading money winner to date.

75 Years Ago—Apr. 10, 1945: US Eighth Air Force sends 1315 bombers to strike German jet bases, which leads to the essential end of the  jet program; ten bombers fall to jets, the highest loss to jets during the war.

In Germany, US Ninth Army takes Hannover, Düren, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, and Essen.

Today in World War II History—April 9, 1940 & 1945

German Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft over Denmark, 9 Apr 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)

German Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft over Denmark, 9 Apr 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)

80 Years Ago—April 9, 1940: Germany invades Denmark and Norway, with the first use of combat paratroopers in history.

Denmark falls in less than six hours, with 16 Danish soldiers killed and 20 German soldiers killed.

In Norway, Germans take Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, and Narvik.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1940 (public domain via Wikipedia)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1940 (public domain via Wikipedia)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 9, 1945: Nazis execute German resistance members – pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Adm. Wilhelm Canaris, Hans von Dohnanyi, and Gen. Hans Oster in Flossenbürg concentration camp.

Soviets take Königsberg, Germany after a long siege.

British Eighth Army opens its final offensive in Italy near Bologna.

US Eighth Army lands unopposed on Jolo in the Philippines.

Today in World War II History—April 8, 1940 & 1945

British destroyer HMS Glowworm under attack by German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper off Norway, 8 April 1940 (public domain via Wikipedia)

British destroyer HMS Glowworm under attack by German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper off Norway, 8 April 1940 (public domain via Wikipedia)

80 Years Ago—April 8, 1940: German invasion fleet arrives off of Norway; in heavy fighting, British destroyer HMS Glowworm is sunk while ramming German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper, and two German troop transports are sunk by a Norwegian destroyer and by a Polish submarine.

Gallup poll: 84% of Americans want Allies to win, 2% want German victory, and only 23% want US to join the war.

75 Years Ago—Apr. 8, 1945: The Royal Air Force bombs Lützkendorf in the final raid in the Allied campaign against the German oil industry.

Soviets surround Vienna, Austria.