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Today in
World War II History

Today in World War II History—August 9, 1942

Heavy cruiser USS Quincy illuminated by Japanese searchlights during Battle of Savo Island, 9 Aug 1942 (US Navy photo: NH 50346)

Heavy cruiser USS Quincy illuminated by Japanese searchlights during Battle of Savo Island, 9 Aug 1942 (US Navy photo: NH 50346)

80 Years Ago—Aug. 9, 1942: German Army Group A takes Maikop oil fields in the Caucasus, but finds them mostly destroyed by the Soviets.

In the Battle of Savo Island off Guadalcanal, Japanese ships sink Australian heavy cruiser Canberra and US heavy cruisers Astoria, Quincy, and Vincennes; over 1000 killed in one of the US Navy’s worst defeats ever.

British jail Gandhi and Nehru in India; riots break out, with hundreds killed.

Today in World War II History—August 8, 1942

Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, photographed from a USS Saratoga plane, late August 1942 (US Navy photo: 80-G-16312)

Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, photographed from a USS Saratoga plane, late August 1942 (US Navy photo: 80-G-16312)

80 Years Ago—Aug. 8, 1942: US Marines take airfield on Guadalcanal, to be renamed Henderson Field.

Lt. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower is chosen to command Operation Torch, the invasion of Algeria and French Morocco in November 1942.

Six of the German saboteurs who landed by U-boat in the US in June are executed; the other two receive long sentences.

In Bombay, Mohatma Gandhi makes anti-British “Quit India” speech.

New song in the Top Ten: “I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen.”

Today in World War II History—August 7, 1942

US First Division Marines storm ashore across Guadalcanal's beaches, 7 August 1942, from attack transport USS Barnett and attack cargo ship USS Fomalhaut (US National Archives: 80-CF-112-5-3)

US First Division Marines storm ashore across Guadalcanal’s beaches, 7 August 1942, from attack transport USS Barnett and attack cargo ship USS Fomalhaut (US National Archives: 80-CF-112-5-3)

80 Years Ago—Aug. 7, 1942: US Marines land on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the first US offensive of the war.

Lt. Gen. William Gott, new commander of the British Eighth Army, is killed when his plane is shot down in Egypt.

US Western Defense Command announces completion of the detention of 119,000 Japanese-Americans.

Japanese facilities on fire, Tanambogo Island, east of Tulagi, Solomon Islands, 7 Aug 1942 (US National Archives: 80-G-19223)

Japanese facilities on fire, Tanambogo Island, east of Tulagi, Solomon Islands, 7 Aug 1942 (US National Archives: 80-G-19223)

Today in World War II History—August 6, 1942

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands speaks to Congress, Washington, DC, August 6, 1942 (public domain via Dutch Nationaal Archief)

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands speaks to Congress, Washington, DC, August 6, 1942 (public domain via Dutch Nationaal Archief)

80 Years Ago—Aug. 6, 1942: Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands addresses US Congress.

President Roosevelt establishes Rubber Survey Committee under financier Bernard Baruch to study synthetic rubber program; will recommend a director to control supply and use of rubber, and the immediate construction of 51 synthetic rubber plants. (Read more about the rubber shortage: “Make It Do—Tire Rationing in World War II.”)

US poster encouraging conservation of rubber, WWII

US poster encouraging conservation of rubber, WWII

Today in World War II History—August 5, 1942

Winston Churchill, Leslie Morshead, and Claude Auchinleck at 9th Australian Division headquarters, El Alamein, Egypt, 5 Aug 1942 (Australian War Memorial: 024764)

Winston Churchill, Leslie Morshead, and Claude Auchinleck at 9th Australian Division headquarters, El Alamein, Egypt, 5 Aug 1942 (Australian War Memorial: 024764)

80 Years Ago—Aug. 5, 1942: Vichy France (not occupied by the Germans) sends its first group of Jews to Drancy in occupied France, where they will be sent to Auschwitz.

Vichy France reduces wine ration to 2 liters per person per week.

Churchill appoints Lt. Gen. William Gott to replace Gen. Claude Auchinleck over British Eighth Army in North Africa.

Today in World War II History—August 4, 1942

Movie poster for Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, 1942 (Paramount Pictures, public domain via Wikipedia)

Movie poster for Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, 1942 (Paramount Pictures, public domain via Wikipedia)

Patch of the US Eleventh Air Force

Patch of the US Eleventh Air Force

80 Years Ago—Aug. 4, 1942: First P-38 Lightning aerial combat and victory in the Pacific: US Eleventh Air Force P-38s shoot down 2 Japanese H6K flying boats in the Aleutians.

First trainload of Belgian Jews is deported to Auschwitz.

Movie premiere of musical Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire.

Today in World War II History—August 3, 1942

Lt. Cdr. Mildred McAfee, USNR, Director of the WAVES, WWII (US Navy photo: 80-G-K-13616-A)

Lt. Cdr. Mildred McAfee, USNR, Director of the WAVES, WWII (US Navy photo: 80-G-K-13616-A)

80 Years Ago—Aug. 3, 1942: Lt. Cdr. Mildred McAfee is named the first director of the WAVES, becomes the first female officer in the US Naval Reserve.

Today in World War II History—August 2, 1942

British troopship HMT Queen Mary returning US troops from Europe, New York, NY, 20 June 1945 (US Navy photo 80-GK-5645)

British troopship HMT Queen Mary returning US troops from Europe, New York, NY, 20 June 1945 (US Navy photo 80-GK-5645)

80 Years Ago—Aug. 2, 1942: Gandhi warns that India will welcome the Japanese if Britain doesn’t grant independence.

Troopship HMT Queen Mary departs New York with US 1st Armored Infantry Division (15,000 troops), the first time an entire division has been carried on a single ship and the first transport of US & Canadian forces on HMT Queen Mary or HMT Queen Elizabeth. These ocean liners cross the Atlantic in only five days without escort—U-boats can’t catch them due to their high speed. (Read more about the wartime history of the Queen Mary and see photos from my tour: “The Sky Above Us—Tour of the Queen Mary”)

Today in World War II History—August 1, 1942

Today in World War II History

80 Years Ago—Aug. 1, 1942: Japanese set up “independent” puppet government in Burma.

The American Federation of Musicians begins a yearlong strike against the recording industry.

Permanente Hospital opens in Oakland, CA, for employees of Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond.

Today in World War II History—July 31, 1942

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service members with signal flags, ca 1944 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950813)

Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service members with signal flags, ca 1944 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950813)

Patch of the US Fifth Air Force, WWII

Patch of the US Fifth Air Force, WWII

80 Years Ago—July 31, 1942: Germans cross River Don in Ukraine.

US Fifth Air Force B-17s begin 7-day bombardment of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in preparation for the US invasion.

Off Halifax, Nova Scotia, an RCAF Hudson bomber sinks U-754, the first German U-boat sunk by Canadian aircraft.

Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service is established; 7000 will serve in the WRCNS as Wrens.

Until Leaves Fall In Paris
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