CBI - China: Day 27 of 41 of the 1st Battle of Shanghai.
1933 — , February 23
CBI - China: Day 54 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.
CBI - China: Day 3 of 9 of the Battle of Rehe.
1937 — , February 23
Spain: Day 222 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
1938 — , February 23
Spain: Day 587 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 232 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 17 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.
1939 — , February 23
Spain: Day 952 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 597 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
1940 — , February 23
Atlantic: Crews of HMS EXETER and HMS AJAX are cheered through London after their return from South America.
Finland: Day 86 of 105 of the Russo-Finnish War. Sweden announces that she will not permit British or French troops to cross through her territory on their way to Finland. USSR proposes a peace with Finland saying they will withdraw from the Petsamo area in the north if the Finns will give them the Karelia Isthmus and the shores of Lake Ladoga in the south.
CBI - China: Day 962 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 101 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
Day 27 of 67 of the Battle of Wuyuan.
1941 — , February 23
ETO - UK: Day 171 of 258 of the Blitz.
MTO - Greece: Greece formally accepts Britain's offer of troops to help defend them against the Axis.
MTO - Libya: German Stukas sink a British destroyer and the HMS TERROR off the North African coast, near Tobruk.
East Africa: Day 259 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
East Africa - Eritrea: Day 19 of 56 of the Battle of Keren.
CBI - China: Day 1,328 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 25 of 31 of the Battle of South Henan.
CBI - Thailand: Day 146 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).
1942 — , February 23
USA: First attack on the US mainland since the War of 1812 occurs when Japanese submarine I-17 shells an oil refinery at Ellwood, California, 12 miles from Santa Barbara. Damage is negligible, but the attack fans invasion fears along the West Coast.
An American soldier guarding a shell crater from the attack
According to some reports, in the late 1930s, a Japanese tanker docked near the Ellwood oil field outside of Santa Barbara, California, for refueling. As its commander, Kozo Nishino, walked along a path from the pier, he slipped and fell on a prickly pear cactus. Several workers on a nearby oil rig laughed at Kozo's misfortune as the cactus spines were pulled from his buttocks. Humiliated, he swore revenge. The skipper of the Japanese submarine that attacked the Ellwood oil field was none other than Kozo Nishino.
Map of Ellwood Oil Field and Offshore Oil Field near Santa Barbara, California, where the Japanese submarine I-17 attacked
This historical marker commemorates the attack
Related dates (submarines)...
16 Sep 39: U-31 participates in WWII's first convoy attack
11 Mar 40: U-31 is sunk for the first of two times
Atlantic: Day 41 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
The British submarine HMS TRIDENT torpedoes the German cruiser PRINZ EUGEN which is sailing to Norway from Kiel, forcing its return to Germany for substantial repairs.
ETO - UK: Air Marshal A T (Bomber) Harris is appointed chief of Bomber Command, who was convinced that the bombing of Germany could bring her to her knees and be decisive in winning the war.
Russian Front - North: Day 169 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 16 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 32 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - Center: Day 47 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 47 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia.
Russian Front - South: Day 117 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula. All German attacks against Sevastopol are stopped for the winter.
CBI - Burma: Day 72 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma.
CBI - Burma: Day 5 of 5 of the Battle of Sittang Bridge. British troops continue to withdraw across the river Sittang. With only half of his troops across the bridge, British General Smyth has it blown.
CBI - China: Day 1,693 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 62 of 99 of the 3rd Battle of Changsha.
PTO - Australia: Against the wishes of Churchill, Prime Minister Curtin orders all Australian Divisions to return home.
PTO - Borneo: Day 70 of 107 of the Battle of Borneo.
PTO - Dutch East Indies: US troops continue evacuating from Java.
PTO - Malaya: Day 5 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
PTO - Philippines: Day 78 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines. 5th Air Force provides air support.
1943 — , February 23
Russian Front - North: Day 534 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 14 of 51 of the USSR's Operation POLAR STAR, a failed offensive north of Leningrad, hoping to take the southern shore of Lake Ladoga, Russia.
Russian Front - North: Day 295 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 5 of 25 of the 3rd Battle of Kharkov, Ukraine. USSR briefly takes and holds Kharkov, but will lose it again.
MTO - Tunisia: Day 99 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia.
MTO - Tunisia: Day 5 of 7 of the Battle of Kasserine Pass. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 65 of 104 of the 1st Battle of Arakan. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 16 of 79 of the Allied Operation LONGCLOTH.
CBI - China: Day 2,058 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Alaska: Day 262 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US 11th Air Force bombs the Main Camp area on Kiska Island.
1944 — , February 23
USA: Total US casualties so far are put at 19,499 killed, 45,545 wounded, 26,339 missing and 26,754 captured.
ETO - Germany: Day 4 of 6 of Operation ARGUMENT, aka BIG WEEK, the US Strategic Air Forces' push to lure the Luftwaffe as heavy bombers attack key targets. While bad weather and heavy cloud cover force most missions to abort, 14 heavy bombers are lost while targeting V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais.
Russian Front - North: Day 41 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 22 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia.
Russian Front - South: Day 62 of 113 of the USSR's Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in southwestern Ukraine.
Russian Front - South: Day 25 of 31 of the Battle of Nikopol, Ukraine.
MTO - Austria: US 15th Air Force B-24s bomb the industrial complex at Steyr.
MTO - Italy: Day 38 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
MTO - Italy: Day 33 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. General Lucas is sacked from the Anzio command and is replaced by Major General Truscott. A new German counter-attack drives the Anzio beachhead back further. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
CBI - Burma: Day 56 of 99 of the 2nd Battle of Arakan. UK troops defeat the Japanese at Arakan.
CBI - Burma: Day 19 of 19 of the Battle of the Admin Box. The Japanese offensive on Sinzweya is called off, ending the Battle of the Admin Box.
CBI - Burma: "Merrill's Marauders" (US 5307th Composite Unit for long range penetration special operations jungle warfare) begin Stilwell's Sino-American advance into northern Burma.
CBI - China: Day 2,423 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - Indochina: US 14th Air Force attack targets in French Indochina.
PTO - Marshall Islands: Day 8 of 8 of the Battle of Eniwetok. US 20th Air Force provides air support. All Japanese resistance is ended.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 158 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 155 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 71 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 115 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
1945 — , February 23
PTO: Day 5 of 36 of the Battle of Iwo Jima Island. US Marines storm Mt Suribachi and raise the US flag, which is caught on film and becomes perhaps the single most iconic image of the entire war across the United States.
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal
The photo was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication and came to be regarded in the United States as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time.
Of the six men in the photo, three did not survive the Battle of Iwo Jima. The other three were sent home as reluctant celebrities to tour the country on war bond drives.
When photographer Joe Rosenthal heard from the Associated Press that the photo he took atop Mt Suribachi had become extremely popular all across America, he assumed that this was the photo to which they were referring.
USA - California: A US 4th Air Force P-38 based at Santa Rosa shoots down a Japanese balloon over Calistoga.
ETO - France: Day 207 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
ETO - France: Day 162 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
ETO - Germany: Day 16 of 16 of Operation GRENADE, the US drives into Germany. The US objective is complete as the US 9th Army begins a new advance going deeper into Germany. US 9th Air Force provides air support.
ETO - Germany: Day 16 of 17 of Operation VERITABLE, the British and Canadian drive into Germany.
ETO: Day 35 of 66 of the Battle to the Rhine. US 9th Air Force provides air support.
ETO - Germany: Day 4 of 36 consecutive RAF night raids on Berlin.
ETO - Germany: As a follow-up to yesterday's Operation CLARION, the 8th Air Force sends 1,274 bombers and 705 fighters to hit several marshalling yards.
Russian Front - Finland: Day 162 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 132 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 30 of 75 of the Battle of Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia).
Russian Front - Center: Day 29 of 63 of the Battle of the Heiligenbeil Pocket in East Prussia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 14 of 54 of the Battle of East Pomerania, Germany.
Russian Front - Center: Day 16 of 17 of the USSR's Lower Silesian Offensive (Poland). Soviets capture the fortress city of Poznan, Poland.
Russian Front - Center: Day 11 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland).
Russian Front - Center: Day 23 of 31 of the Battle of Schwedt, Germany.
MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support for the Allied ground units.
CBI - Burma: Day 36 of 61 of the Battles of Meiktila and Mandalay. The US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 34 of 39 of the Battle of Ramree Island. The US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 20 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. The US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - Indochina: US 5th Air Force B-25s bomb vessels in the Phan Rang harbor and hit a small convoy southwest of Camranh Bay.
CBI - China: Day 2,789 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
US 14th Air Force attacks targets throughout China.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 424 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 308 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
PTO - Philippines: Day 127 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
PTO - Philippines: Day 71 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 21 of 29 of the Battle of Manila. US paratroopers rescue 2,146 POWs from a Japanese camp south of Manila in surprise attack, during which 243 Japanese are killed for loss of just two US soldiers killed.
1946 — , February 23
Philippines: Having been found guilty of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita is executed by hanging.
Day-By-Day listings for February 23 were last modified on Tuesday, February 16, 2016