WWII Day-By-Day
Selected: January 15
       Overview of WWII on January 15 by year...

1932 — , January 15

  • CBI - China: Day 120 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.

1933 — , January 15

  • CBI - China: Day 15 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.

1937 — , January 15

  • Spain: Day 183 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , January 15

  • Spain: Day 548 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 193 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 38 of 54 of the Battle of Nanking.
    • Day 34 of 50 of the Rape of Nanking.

1939 — , January 15

  • Spain: Day 913 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 558 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1940 — , January 15

  • ETO: Nearly twice as many Britons have been killed on the roads since the blackout started than by enemy action.
  • Finland: Day 47 of 105 of the Russo-Finnish War.
  • CBI - China: Day 923 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 62 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.

1941 — , January 15

  • USA: US labor leader and civil rights activist Philip Randolph begins calling for a march on Washington of some 100,000 African-Americans to protest discrimination and segregation in the armed forces and defense industry. After FDR issues Executive Order 8802 on 25 Jun 41, which ends discrimination in war employment, the planned march will be suspended.
  • ETO - UK: Day 132 of 258 of the Blitz.
  • MTO - North Africa: Day 38 of 63 of the UK's Operation COMPASS, their campaign in North Africa against the Italians in Egypt and Libya.
  • East Africa: Day 220 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,289 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 107 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1942 — , January 15

  • USA: Roosevelt writes his "Green Light Letter" to the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, saying, "I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going" and that he was "eager to provide an activity for working-class people to take their minds off the war's hardships."

    Franklin D Roosevelt throwing out the ball at a ballgame

    After the attack on Pearl Harbor, life in America changed. Able-bodied men were quickly being drafted into the armed forces, essential materials were being rationed, and priorities everywhere were shifting - from the highest levels of government to average families. Wartime required a change in the regular way of doing things, and people were willing to make sacrifices.

    In January 1942, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the legendary commissioner of baseball, sent Roosevelt a handwritten letter, asking if major league baseball should be suspended for the duration of the war. "The time is approaching when, in ordinary conditions, our teams would be heading for Spring training camps. However, inasmuch as these are not ordinary times, I venture to ask what you have in mind as to whether professional baseball should continue to operate," Landis wrote. "Of course, my inquiry does not relate at all to individual members of this organization, whose status, in the emergency, is fixed by law operating upon all citizens." Landis closed his letter with "Health and strength to you - and whatever else it takes to do this job."

    Roosevelt's answer went out and left no doubt where he stood on the matter. "There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before. And that means that they ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before."

    In the end, however, Roosevelt left it up to Judge Landis and the club owners, saying his thoughts represented "solely a personal and not an official point of view." Public reaction to the FDR-supported continuation of baseball - as reflected in public opinion polls and attendance figures - was generally favorable, but critics kept up the debate went on throughout the war.

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  • Atlantic: Day 2 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 130 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 7 of 29 of the Battle of Toropets, Russia. A failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 8 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 8 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia. German Army Group Centre evacuates the Kaluga sector and takes up winter positions 20 miles to the west (about 110 miles southwest) of Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 78 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula. All further German attacks against the Crimean fortress of Sevastopol are stopped for the winter.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 33 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. The Japanese step up their invasion of Burma from Thailand, attacking up the Kra Isthmus. They capture the airfields around Tenasserim, which enables them to escort future bomber raids on Rangoon.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,654 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 23 of 99 of the 3rd Battle of Changsha.
  • CBI - Malaya: Day 39 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya. US 5th Air Force B-17s attack Sungei Patani Airfield.
  • PTO - Borneo: Day 31 of 107 of the Battle of Borneo.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 39 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines.

1943 — , January 15

  • Atlantic: German naval forces announce a blockade of Sweden's Gothenburg harbor to protest the ongoing traffic between Sweden and Great Britain.
  • ETO - UK: US 8th Air Force: Using borrowed Spitfires, the 4th Fighter Group flies fighter patrols over the Channel.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 495 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 58 of 59 of the Battle of Velikiye Luki, near Leningrad. This stalemate does help ease the siege a little, but mostly it keeps German troops from being sent to other fronts.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 4 of 19 of USSR's Operation ISKRA (Operation SPARK) on the southern shore of Lake Ladoga, north of Leningrad. This Soviet victory will help ease the siege at Leningrad a little bit more.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 256 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket, USSR lays siege to the Kholm Pocket but the Germans hold out for a about a year and a half.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 147 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, bloodiest battle in human history.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 35 of 69 of the USSR's Operation LITTLE SATURN. A successful drive into the Northern Caucasus and the Donets Basin pushing the Axis troops out.
  • MTO - Libya: The British 8th Army begins a new push on the Buerat line and a drive on Tripoli. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
  • MTO - Tunisia: Day 60 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 26 of 104 of the 1st Battle of Arakan. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,019 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 223 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 331 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island, a long guerrilla war ending in Japanese victory.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 58 of 66 of the Battle of Buna-Gona. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 162 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal. US ground forces launch their final offensive to take the island. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: The US 13th Air Force attacks nine destroyers of the Tokyo Express and bomb a cargo ship off Munda. Their B-17s also attack five destroyers near Faisi.

1944 — , January 15

  • USA: The Liberty Ship SS CAROLE LOMBARD is launched, named in honor of the late film star killed in a plane crash two years earlier on 16 Jan 42 while on a war bond promotional tour.

    A bereaved Clark Gable looks on as the
    SS CAROLE LOMBARD is christened by Irene Dunne

    The date of the christening of the SS CAROLE LOMBARD was on the second anniversary of the actress' war bond promotion in Indiana that raised a record $2,000,000 in a single day, just one day short of the two year anniversary of the tragic plane crash that took her life at age 33.

    She was one of the biggest stars in film in the 1930's, known for her roles in screwball comedies - a new genre of humorous "battle of the sexes" movies, in which the female star dominates her relationship with the leading male character, whose manliness is challenged. By the end of the decade she was knocking down half a million a year in Depression-era dollars, making her Hollywood's highest paid star.

    Carole Lombard on her war bond drive, 1942

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  • Peru: The Peruvian Government announces its discovery of Axis-backed conspirators plotting a coup.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 860 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 621 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket. USSR lays siege to the Kholm Pocket but the Germans hold out for a about a year and a half.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 2 of 48 of the Battle toward the Narva River, Estonia. This drive helps lift the Leningrad siege and liberate Narva.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 2 of 17 of the Battle of Krasnoye Selo-Ropsha, Russia (Operation JANUARY THUNDER). This victory will push the German line west of Leningrad back far enough to reopen the Moscow-Leningrad railroad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 2 of 33 of the Battle of Luga, Russia. Taking this town west of Leningrad will open the door toward Estonia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 23 of 113 of the USSR's Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in southwestern Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 11 of 12 of the Battle of Kirograd, Ukraine.
  • MTO - Italy: French troops capture Monte Santa Croce. US 5th Army gains Monte Trocchio overlooking Rapido River. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
  • CBI: US 14th Air Force hits targets in French Indochina and vessels in the South China Sea.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 17 of 99 of the 2nd Battle of Arakan.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,384 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Marshall Islands: US 7th Air Force attacks several areas in the Marshalls.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 119 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 116 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 32 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 76 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , January 15

  • USA: Time magazine carries a story entitled "Foo-Fighter" in which it reports that "balls of fire" have been following USAAF night fighters for over a month and that the pilots have named them "foo-fighters."

    The Jan 15 1945 issue of Time magazine (Vol. XLV No. 3) featured US 9th Air Force commanding General Hoyt Vandenberg on the cover and carried the first public
    "Foo Fighter" story inside

    The Time magazine story...

    Foo Fighter

    If it was not a hoax or an optical illusion, it was certainly the most puzzling secret weapon that Allied fighters have yet encountered. Last week U.S. night fighter pilots based in France told a strange story of balls of fire which for more than a month have been following their planes at night over Germany.[*] No one seemed to know what, if anything, the fireballs were supposed to accomplish. Pilots, guessing it was a new psychological weapon, named it the "foo-fighter."

    Their descriptions of the apparition varied, but they agree that the mysterious flares stuck close to their planes and appeared to follow them at high speed for miles. One pilot said that a foo-fighter, appearing as red balls off his wing tips, stuck with him until he dove at 360 miles an hour; then the balls zoomed up into the sky.

    Skeptical scientists, baffled by the whole affair, were inclined to dismiss the fireballs as an illusion, perhaps an afterimage of light which remained in the pilots' eyes after they had been dazzled by flak bursts. But front-line correspondents and armchair experts had a Buck Rogers field day. They solemnly guessed: 1) that the balls of fire were radio-controlled (an obvious absurdity, since they could not be synchronized with a plane's movements by remote control); 2) that they were created by "electrical induction of some sort"; 3) that they were attracted to a plane by magnetism.

    The correspondents further guessed that foo-fighters were intended: 1) to dazzle pilots; 2) to serve as aiming points for antiaircraft gunners; 3) to interfere with a plane's radar; 4) to cut a plane's ignition, thus stop its engine in midair.

    Some scientists suggested another possibility: that the fireballs were nothing more than St. Elmo's Fire, a reddish brush-like discharge of atmospheric electricity which has often been seen near the tips of church steeples, ships' masts and yardarms. It often appears at a plane's wing tips.

    [*] Last month pilots reported that they had seen mysterious floating silvery balls, apparently another "secret weapon" in daylight flight over Germany.

    The postwar Robertson Panel cited foo fighter reports, noting that their behavior did not appear to be threatening, and mentioned possible explanations, for instance that they were electromagnetic phenomena, or simply reflections of light from ice crystals. The Panel's report suggested that if the term "flying saucers" had been popular in 1943-1945, these objects would have been so labeled.

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  • ETO - France: Day 168 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 123 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Belgium: Day 31 of 41 of the Battle of the Bulge. US 9th Air Force provides air support.
  • ETO - Belgium: Day 16 of 26 of Operation NORDWIND, the last major German offensive of World War II on the Western Front.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 119 of 145 of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force heavy bombers hit marshalling yards at six different cities in Germany.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 123 of 223 of the Lapland War. Finland and Russia have joined forces to kick the Germans out of Finland's most northern province.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 93 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 86 of 99 of the Siege of Memel, a border town of Lithuania and East Prussia. The Soviets begin an offensive against Elbing in East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 4 of 23 of the Battle along the Vistula and Oder Rivers in central Poland and eastern Germany. During their drive toward the Oder river, the Soviet Army captures Kielce in western Poland.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 2 of 21 of the Battle of Warsaw, Poland. Soviet 1st Belorussian Front makes an attack south of Warsaw.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 79 of 108 of the Battle of Budapest, Hungary.
  • MTO - Austria: US 15th Air Force B-24s and B-17s bomb targets near Vienna.
  • MTO - Italy: US and Royal Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground units.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 290 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. The British 19th Indian Division crosses the river Irrawaddy, to the north of Mandalay. US 10th and 14th Air Forces provide air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,750 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • US 14th Air Force B-25s attack at Hankow.
  • PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force B-29s bomb the Mitsubishi aircraft plant at Nagoya.
  • PTO - Japan: US 7th Air Force B-24s bomb the airfields on Iwo Jima during the day and again at night.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 385 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 269 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 88 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 32 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. US troops now hold 45 miles of the Lingayen Gulf coast. 5th Air Force provides air support.

Day-By-Day listings for January 15 were last modified on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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