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Selected: March 3
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1932 — , March 3

  • CBI - China: Day 36 of 41 of the 1st Battle of Shanghai, Manchuria. Japanese troop complete their conquest of the city and surrounding area.

1933 — , March 3

  • CBI - China: Day 62 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.

1937 — , March 3

  • Spain: Day 230 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , March 3

  • Middle East: Oil is discovered in large quantities in Saudi Arabia by American geologists working for Standard Oil of California in partnership with Saudi officials, but the approaching war will postpone any really serious development until after 1946.
    Spotlight...

    Saudi Arabia's first oil flows from Dammam Well No 7

    Although officially neutral, the Saudis did provide the Allies with large supplies of oil. Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic contacts with Germany in Sept 1939 and with Japan in Oct 1941 and established them with the US in 1943 and allowed the US to build an air base near Dhahran during the war.

    On 28 Feb 1945, Saudi Arabia declared war on Germany and Japan, but no military actions resulted from the declaration.

    Dates related to oil in World War II...

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  • Spain: Day 595 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 240 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 25 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.

1939 — , March 3

  • Spain: Day 960 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 605 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1940 — , March 3

  • Atlantic: The QUEEN ELIZABETH sets sail for New York but British agents release false information saying she's headed for Southampton, England. The Luftwaffe shows up to bomb but can't find her.
  • Atlantic: British cruiser HMS YORK stops German steamer ARUCAS south of Iceland. ARUCAS' crew scuttles the ship, 3 died in the process.
  • Atlantic: German submarine U-29 lays mines in the Bristol Channel. British steamer SS CATO hits one of them, killing 13 while 2 survivors are rescued by minesweeper HMS AKITA.
  • ETO: Adolf Hitler decides that the invasion of Norway will take place prior to the invasion of France.
  • Finland: Day 95 of 105 of the Russo-Finnish War. The USSR launches a massive overwhelming attack at Viipuri, Finland (Baltic Sea), capturing the island of Uuras.
  • MTO - Italy: Italy protests the UK-proposed ban on Italian importation of German coal.
  • CBI - China: Day 971 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 110 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
    • Day 36 of 67 of the Battle of Wuyuan.

1941 — , March 3

  • USA: The Mars Company receives a patent for their process of producing M&M chocolate pellets within a candy shell which, during the war, will be exclusively sold to the US military.
    Spotlight...

    M&Ms ad announcing exclusivity with the US military

    Forrest Mars, Sr., son of the founder of the Mars Company Frank C Mars, "invented" the idea for the candy in the 1930s during the Spanish Civil War when he saw soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard shell of tempered chocolate surrounding the inside, preventing the candies from melting. Mars received a patent for his own process on March 3, 1941, and production began. Colors included brown, yellow, orange, red, green and violet, all packaged in small tubes.

    When the US entered the war, M&Ms were diverted from public sale and supplied almost exclusively to the military and they were included in US soldiers' rations because they would "melt in your mouth, not in your hands" (the tagline wasn't used until 1954). Good in nearly any environment, including hot summers, M&Ms became very popular. The tube packaging was changed in 1948 to the bag that we still see today. The imprint of an "m" on the candies first occurred in 1950.

    The Mars' Newark factory produced 200,000 pounds of M&Ms per week, with most of it going to the military. As the advertisements of the period maintained, M&Ms were "100% at War." After the war, M&Ms again became available to the general public, including the returning American soldiers who had developed a taste for the candy during their service, and production rose to 600,000 pounds a week.

    M&Ms were not the only chocolate issued to soldiers. The Hershey company, at the request of the army, developed a chocolate ration that would sustain a soldier who had nothing else to eat and could be carried in his pocket unmelted. Throughout the war, Hershey turned out a half million bars a day of "Ration D," a 4-ounce, 600-calorie chocolate bar.

    Regular chocolate bars were also available at the PX, where they were the second most popular item after cigarettes. When American troops invaded Europe, the chocolate bar became closely associated with American GIs, who turned chocolate into the all-purpose medium of exchange that could be bartered for local antiques or even sexual favors.

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  • ETO - UK: Day 179 of 258 of the Blitz.
  • East Africa: Day 267 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • East Africa - Eritrea: Day 27 of 56 of the Battle of Keren.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,336 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 154 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1942 — , March 3

  • USA: The FBI begins rounding up some 8,000 foreign seamen who had deserted their ships while in US ports. They include around 3,000 Norwegians and 3,000 Greeks. The rest are Swedes, Dutch, Danes and British. They will all be asked to return to their ships or face deportation or internment.
  • Atlantic: Day 49 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
    • German submariner Bootsmannsmaat Artur Mei falls overboard from U-97 440 miles west of Ireland and is never seen again.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 177 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 24 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 40 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 55 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 55 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 1 of 49 of the Battle of Rzhev, Russia, a diversion to pull more German troops away from Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 125 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula. All German attacks against Sevastopol are shut down for the winter.
  • MTO - Greece: The Italian Air Force bombs at Larissa.
  • MTO - Libya: Rommel moves German 5th Light Division to a narrow pass 17 miles west of the Allied forward positions at El Agheila to block any advances toward Tripoli.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 80 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 1 of 5 of the Battle of Pegu. British troops repel the Japanese attack. General Chiang Kai-Shek meets with General Wavell in Burma.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,701 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 70 of 99 of the 3rd Battle of Changsha.
  • CBI - Java: Day 4 of 13 of the Battle of Java.
  • PTO - Australia: Japanese aircraft attack the airfield being used by the US 5th Air Force at Broome killing at least 45 Dutch civilians and 20 US airmen.
  • PTO - Borneo: Day 78 of 107 of the Battle of Borneo.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 13 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 86 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines. 5th Air Force provides air support.

1943 — , March 3

  • ETO: 173 Londoners are killed in a panic crush at the Bethnal Green tube station when noise from a new anti-aircraft rocket launcher is heard for the first time. The dead include 27 men, 84 women and 62 children.
  • Germany: The 32nd transport from Berlin arrives at Auschwitz Concentration Camp in two trains, totaling 1,758 German Jews and 158 Norwegian Jews.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 542 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 22 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 303 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 - Center: Day 2 of 30 of the 3rd Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia. Soviet troops take Rzhev, over 100 miles to the west of Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 13 of 25 of the 3rd Battle of Kharkov, Ukraine.
  • MTO - Tunisia: Day 107 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support. A German probing attack against the British 51st Division positions near Mareth is driven back.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 73 of 104 of the 1st Battle of Arakan. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 24 of 79 of the Allied Operation LONGCLOTH. One column of British Chindits in northern Burma and two others in the Mu Valley are ambushed and nearly annihilated.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,066 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 270 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US 11th Air Force P-40s sweep Kiska Island dropping demolition and fragmentation bombs.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 2 of 3 of the Naval Battle of the Bismarck Sea.

1944 — , March 3

  • USA: A US B-29 bomber drops a dummy atomic bomb at Muroc Army AFB, California, at an altitude of 24,000 feet. The test bomb does considerably damage to the bomb bay doors of the plane.
  • ETO - UK: British civilian casualties are now at 50,324 dead, higher than the military deaths at 50,103.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s hit targets opportunity near Berlin.
  • ETO - France: US 9th Air Force B-26s bomb at Laon/Couvron, Beauvais/Tille, Rosieres-en-Santerre, Roye/Amy and Montdidier, Juvincourt-et-Damary and Berneval-le-Grand.
  • Germany: A transport of 1,390 prisoners, mostly Latvians and Russians, are sent from Stutthof Concentration Camp to Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
  • Russian Front: Under pressure from the Western Allies to withdraw all remaining Spanish troops from the Russian front, Franco orders his Blue Legion to return home.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 31 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops in the Baltic region go on the defensive.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 71 of 113 of the USSR's Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in southwestern Ukraine.
  • MTO - Italy: The Allies announce that the USSR is to receive one-third of the Italian fleet, or the equivalent in British and American warships.
  • MTO - Italy: The German Security Police in Italy request the Italians assist them in enlarging the Fossoli transit camp because of the growing number of prisoners interned there.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 47 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 42 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground troops. Germans cease their attacks at Anzio after the loss of 3,500 men and 30 Panzer tanks in the last four days.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 65 of 99 of the 2nd Battle of Arakan.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,432 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Indochina: US 14th Air Force attack targets in French Indochina.
  • PTO: US 7th and 13th Air Forces attack targets in the Marshall and Caroline Islands.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 4 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support. Japanese troops fail in their counter-attacks on Los Negros Island.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 167 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 80 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 124 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , March 3

  • ETO - UK: Luftwaffe night-fighters attack 27 RAF airfields, in what will become their last night intrusion raid on UK soil.
  • ETO - France: Day 215 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 170 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO: Day 43 of 66 of the Battle to the Rhine. US 1st Army captures Krefeld, Germany. US 9th Air Force provides air support.
  • ETO - Netherlands: The RAF is sent to bomb a suspected rocket launching site in a wooded park in the Hague. Some of the bombs miss hitting the Bezuidenhout district and killing 500 civilians.
  • ETO - Germany: The Canadian 1st Army captures Xanten on the lower Rhine.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 12 of 36 consecutive RAF night raids on Berlin. The German cruiser Köln is sunk by the RAF at Wilhelmshaven. However, her turrets remain above water and operational.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-24s and B-17s hit targets in north-central and east Germany.
  • Germany: Prisoners at Hinzert satellite camp of Buchenwald Concentration Camp are evacuated.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 170 of 223 of the Lapland War. Finland and Russia have joined forces to kick the Germans out of Finland's most northern province. Finland formally declares war on Germany.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 140 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 38 of 75 of the Battle of Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia).
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 37 of 63 of the Battle of the Heiligenbeil Pocket in East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 22 of 54 of the Battle of East Pomerania, Germany.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 19 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland).
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 31 of 31 of the Battle of Schwedt, Germany. A Soviet victory as Schwedt falls.
  • MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support for the Allied ground units.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 44 of 61 of the Battles of Meiktila and Mandalay. The US 10th Air Force provides air support. Japanese resistance ends in Meiktila.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 28 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. The US 10th Air Force provides air support. UK Lieutenant William Weston is clearing some enemy bunkers with grenades when he is wounded. He pulls the pin of a grenade and rolls into the strong-point killing himself and all inside.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,797 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Indochina: US 14th Air Force attacks ships in the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea.
  • CBI - Java: USS SEA ROBIN sinks the Japanese cargo ship SUITEN MARU north of Surabaja hitting her with 1 of the 7 torpedoes fired. Only 3 survivors were picked up.
  • PTO - Formosa: US 5th Air Force attacks targets in Formosa.
  • PTO - Japan: US 7th Air Force B-24s pound the Susaki Airfield on Chichi Jima Island in the afternoon and again during the night.
  • PTO - Japan: Day 13 of 36 of the Battle of Iwo Jima. US 7th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 432 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 316 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 135 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 79 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 29 of 29 of the Battle of Manila. US And Filipino troops capture Manila.

Day-By-Day listings for March 3 were last modified on Thursday, January 28, 2016
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