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Selected: January 31
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1932 — , January 31

  • CBI - China: Day 136 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.
  • CBI - China: Day 6 of 10 of the Battle of Harbin, Manchuria.
  • CBI - China: Day 4 of 41 of the 1st Battle of Shanghai.

1933 — , January 31

  • CBI - China: Day 31 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.

1937 — , January 31

  • Spain: Day 199 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , January 31

  • Spain: Day 564 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 209 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 54 of 54 of the Battle of Nanking.
    • Day 50 of 50 of the Rape of Nanking, during which between 250,000 and 300,000 Chinese men, women and children have been sadistically murdered by Japanese soldiers.

1939 — , January 31

  • Spain: Day 929 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 574 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1940 — , January 31

  • UK: Sir John Simon announces food subsidies are running at £1,000,000 per week.
  • Finland: Day 63 of 105 of the Russo-Finnish War.
  • CBI - China: Day 939 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 78 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
    • Day 4 of 67 of the Battle of Wuyuan.

1941 — , January 31

  • ETO - UK: Day 148 of 258 of the Blitz. January's civilian casualty figures are 1,500 killed and 2,012 injured.
  • ETO - Norway: The new recruits of the Nordland Regiment give their oath to SS Reichsführer Himmler in Oslo.
  • MTO - North Africa: Day 54 of 63 of the UK's Operation COMPASS, their campaign in North Africa against the Italians in Egypt and Libya.
  • East Africa: Day 236 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt. The Italian garrison at Metemma in northern Abyssinia begin to withdraw toward Gondar, allowing the 9th Indian Brigade to occupy the town.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,305 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 2 of 31 of the Battle of South Henan.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 123 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand). The Japanese intervene imposing an armistice upon the French, which they are powerless to refuse.

1942 — , January 31

  • Germany: The SS Einsatzgruppe A reports a tally of 229,052 Jews have been killed so far.
  • Atlantic: Day 18 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 146 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 23 of 29 of the Battle of Toropets, Russia. A failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 9 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 24 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 24 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 94 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula. All German attacks against Sevastopol are stopped for the winter.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 49 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. The Japanese capture Moulmein and its airfield as the British forces evacuate and withdraw across the river Salween.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,670 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 39 of 99 of the 3rd Battle of Changsha.
  • CBI - Java: Day 2 of 17 of the Battle of Singapore. The Japanese siege of British troops in Singapore begins.
  • CBI - Malaya: Day 55 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya. British troops have withdrawn into Singapore.
  • PTO - Borneo: Day 47 of 107 of the Battle of Borneo.
  • PTO - Dutch East Indies: Day 2 of 5 of the Battle of Ambon.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 9 of 18 of the Battle of Rabaul, New Britain Island.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 55 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines.

1943 — , January 31

  • ETO: RAF bombers launch a night raid against Hamburg, Germany, using the H2S radar system for the first time to assist in targeting. The attack is only marginally successful, but will lead to more effective use as the terror bombing campaign wears on.
    Spotlight...

    H2S radar gear on the rear underbelly
    of an RAF Halifax aircraft

    Related WWII Store items...

  • ETO - France: Vichy France creates the Milice (Militia) to combat the Resistance. The Milice effectively becomes an arm of the German Occupation.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 511 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 272 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 163 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, bloodiest battle in human history. The exhausted German 6th Army in the southern pocket surrender to the Soviets. The Russians capture Field Marshal Paulus and 16 of his generals.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 51 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 - Tunisia: Day 76 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. British 8th Army takes Zuara, Libya, near the Tunisian frontier. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 42 of 104 of the 1st Battle of Arakan. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,035 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 239 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 347 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island, a long guerrilla war ending in Japanese victory.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 178 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1944 — , January 31

  • ETO - France: US 8th Air Force B-24s hit a V-weapon construction site at Siracourt.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 637 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 18 of 48 of the Battle toward the Narva River, Estonia. This drive helped lift the Leningrad siege and goes on to liberate Narva.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 18 of 33 of the Battle of Luga, Russia. Taking this town west of Leningrad will open the door toward Estonia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 39 of 113 of the USSR's Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in southwestern Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 2 of 31 of the Battle of Nikopol, Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 8 of 25 of the Battle of the Korsun Bulge in Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 5 of 16 of the Battles of Rovno and Lutsk, Ukraine. This Soviet victory will increase the gap in the German line from 70 to 110 miles wide.
  • MTO - Austria: US 15th Air Force B-17s hit the Klagenfurt Airfield.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 15 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. The US 34th Division crosses the Rapido River. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 10 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio Landing. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 33 of 99 of the 2nd Battle of Arakan.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,400 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Marshall Islands: Day 1 of 8 of the Battle of Kwajalein. US troops land on Kwajalein, Roi and Namur. US 7th Air Force maintains all-day cover and harassment at the battle fronts.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 135 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 132 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 48 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 92 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , January 31

  • ETO: US Army Private Eddie Slovik is executed by firing squad for desertion, the only one since the American Civil War.
    Spotlight...

    Edward Donald Slovik

    Although over 21,000 American soldiers were given varying sentences for desertion during World War II, including 49 death sentences, Slovik's was the only death sentence carried out.

    In August of 1944, Eddie Slovik was dispatched to join the fighting in France, but later stated he found he "wasn't cut out for combat." He found a Canadian military police unit and remained with them for the next six weeks. The US Army's rapid advance through France had caused many replacement soldiers to have trouble finding their assigned units, and so no charges were filed against Slovik.

    But eventually Slovik informed his company commander that he was "too scared" to serve in a front-line rifle company and asked to be reassigned to a rear area unit. He said that he would run away if he were assigned to a rifle unit, and asked his captain if that would constitute desertion; and was told that it would. His mind made up, Slovik walked several miles to the rear and approached an enlisted cook at a headquarters detachment, presenting him with a note which clearly stated his intention to run away if he "had to go back out there."

    The cook summoned his company commander and an MP, who read the note and urged Slovik to destroy it before he was taken into custody, which Slovik refused. He went on to refuse similar offers from three other officers, convinced that he would face only jail time, which he had experienced back home and found preferable to combat. He was tried by court-martial on 11 Nov 44, found guilty and sentenced to death.

    General Eisenhower confirmed the execution order on 23 December, noting that it was necessary to discourage further desertions. The sentence came as a shock to Slovik, who had expected a dishonorable discharge and a jail term (the latter of which he assumed would be commuted once the war was over), the same punishment he had seen meted out to other deserters from the division while he was confined to the stockade.

    Before his execution by firing squad, the unrepentant Slovik said to the soldiers whose duty it was to prepare him for the firing squad, "They're not shooting me for deserting the United States Army, thousands of guys have done that. They just need to make an example out of somebody and I'm it because I'm an ex-con. I used to steal things when I was a kid, and that's what they are shooting me for. They're shooting me for the bread and chewing gum I stole when I was 12 years old."

    Related WWII Store items...

  • ETO - France: Day 184 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 139 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 135 of 145 of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest.
  • ETO: Day 12 of 66 of the Battle to the Rhine. US 9th Air Force provides air support.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 139 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 - North: Day 109 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 7 of 75 of the Battle of Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia).
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 5 of 17 of the Battle of Rastenburg, East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 6 of 63 of the Battle of the Heiligenbeil Pocket in East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 20 of 23 of the Battle along the Vistula and Oder Rivers in central Poland and eastern Germany. Soviets establish a bridgehead on the Oder River, to the North of Küstrin and less than 40 miles from Berlin.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 18 of 21 of the Battle of Warsaw, Poland.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 95 of 108 of the Battle of Budapest, Hungary.
  • MTO: US 15th Air Force B-24s and B-17s bomb at Moosbierbaum and Graz, Austria, and at Maribor, Yugoslavia.
  • MTO - Italy: US and Royal Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground units.
  • CBI: US planes sink the Japanese floating dock at Singapore.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 13 of 61 of the Battles of Meiktila and Mandalay. The US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 11 of 39 of the Battle of Ramree Island. The US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,766 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Japan: US 7th Air Force bombs the two airfields and defense batteries on Iwo Jima.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 401 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 285 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 104 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 48 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 1 of 22 of the Battle of the Bataan Peninsula.

Day-By-Day listings for January 31 were last modified on Thursday, January 28, 2016
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