WWII Day-By-Day
Selected: April 13
       Overview of WWII on April 13 by year...

1933 — , April 13

  • CBI - China: Day 103 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.

1937 — , April 13

  • Spain: Day 271 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , April 13

  • Switzerland: The Swiss make a request to Germany to either not issue passports to Austrian Jews, or to issue them different passports that says they're Jewish, so that they can be easily identified at the border and denied entry when necessary.
  • Spain: Day 636 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 281 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 66 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.
    • Day 21 of 39 of the Battle of Xuzhou.

1939 — , April 13

  • USSR: The Soviets offer to make a military alliance between Britain, France and the USSR to counter potential German military aggression against Poland or Romania. Separately, Britain and France pledge to support Romania and Greece should they be attacked.
  • CBI - China: Day 646 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 28 of 54 of the Battle of Nanchang.

1940 — , April 13

  • ETO - Norway: Day 5 of 63 of the Battle of Norway. UK and German navies clash near Narvik, resulting in 7 German destroyers and one U-boat sunk.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,012 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 151 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.

1941 — , April 13

  • USSR: In Moscow, the Soviet Union and Japan sign a 5-year non-aggression neutrality pact. This pact with Japan will be violated on 09 Aug 45 with the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria (Soviet-Japanese War).

    Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka signing
    the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact

    The Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact was similar to the pact signed between the USSR and Germany on 23 Aug 39. The distinction was the Soviet Union wished to mend its diplomatic relations in the Far East (Soviet-Japanese Border Wars of 1939) in order to concentrate on preparing defenses to their west against an eventual invasion by Germany, which would come in a few months on 22 Jun 41.

    Just as Hitler never intended to honor his pact with Stalin, neither did the Soviet Union intend to honor this pact with Japan. Both the USSR and Japan viewed their entanglements as currently counterproductive. Shifting their focuses elsewhere was mutually beneficial, but both were willing to pick up where they left off when the time was right, which Stalin did on 09 Aug 45.

  • Atlantic: German sub U-108 sinks the British armed merchant cruiser HMS RAJPUTANA 100 miles west of Iceland.
  • Atlantic: German sub U-124 sinks the British ship CORINTHIC 75 miles west of Sierra Leone, British West Africa.
  • ETO - UK: Day 220 of 258 of the Blitz.
  • MTO - Yugoslavia: Day 8 of 12 of the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia.
  • MTO - Greece: Day 8 of 25 of the Battle of Greece. German troops capture Korce, Permet and Porto Palermo in Albania. The Luftwaffe attacks Malta.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 4 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. The Axis troops make another attack but are repelled again by the Australian troops. Meanwhile the Axis capture Sollum and Fort Capuzzo near the Libyan-Egyptian border.
  • East Africa: Day 308 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,377 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 195 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1942 — , April 13

  • Atlantic: Day 90 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
    • US destroyer USS ROPER sinks U-85 off the coast of North Carolina's Outer Banks. This is the first success by a US warship against a German U-boat.

    Burial at Hampton National Cemetery of
    the 29 men recovered from U-85

    U-85 was sunk 15 miles off the Outer Banks between Wimble Shoals and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. By Jan 42 there were about 19 German U-boats patrolling the Atlantic coastline, with two or three hiding at Diamond Shoals at any given time to attack ships as they rounded Cape Hatteras.

    At the height of what is now called the Battle of Torpedo Junction, German U-boats were sinking a ship nearly every day, between freighters, tankers and passenger ships. The American military was learning how to detect and defeat the U-boats, but for now German submariners were calling this the Second "Happy Time" or the "American shooting season" for good reason (the first "Happy Time" was in the North Atlantic and North Sea against the British in 1940-41).

    There were no survivors of U-85's crew of 40. Curiously, among the 29 bodies found floating in life jackets, some were wearing civilian clothes, carrying wallets with US currency and identification cards.

    Even without war, this region of the eastern seaboard had always been a risky, dangerous corridor to sail. Mariners utilizing ocean currents to speed their journey too often ventured close to Cape Hatteras when traveling along the eastern seaboard, risking the perils of sailing close to the shoals amid turbulent water and the frequent storms occurring in the area. So many ships have been lost off Cape Hatteras that the area is known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic."

    In fact, the colony of Carolina was split into North and South Carolina because of the dangers of sailing in this area. With no roads between them, people in the two regions could only travel back and forth by sea, which was so risky as to keep them isolated from each other. So in 1729 they petitioned the King to split their charters accordingly.

    U-85's recovered Enigma Machine

    US Navy divers did attempt to salvage the sunken sub, but their efforts were not successful and their services were needed elsewhere. After the war, U-85 served as an attraction for civilian diving enthusiasts, in spite of the fact that currents are strong there and visibility can be quite low. It wasn't until July of 2001 when private divers were finally able to salvage the U-boat's Enigma machine, which is now on display at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, North Carolina.

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  • ETO - France: Philippe Pétain, under German pressure, reinstates Pierre Laval to the Vichy government as Minister of State, because he is favored by the Nazis.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 218 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 65 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 81 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 96 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 96 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 42 of 49 of the Battle of Rzhev, Russia, a diversion to pull more German troops away from Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 166 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 121 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. Day 3 of 9 of the Battle of Yenangyaung. Japanese troops capture Mauchi and the nearby tungsten mines.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,742 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 54 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 127 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines. Fighting continues on Cebu Island, as the US-Filipino garrison withdraws into the hills. US 5th Air Force bombs targets on Cebu and Mindinao Islands.

1943 — , April 13

  • PTO - New Guinea: Having broken the Japanese code, the US Navy learns that Imperial Japanese Navy Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto plans to inspect his troops on the Island of Bougainville on the 18th of April, giving the exact time of arrival and that he will be flying with an escort of 6 fighter planes. Plans are quickly made (Operation VENGEANCE) to kill Yamamoto on that day without tipping off the Japanese that their code has been broken.

    Target: Yamamoto

    Upon hearing the news of the intercepted Japanese message, President Franklin D Roosevelt himself ordered Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to "get Yamamoto."

    Knox instructed Admiral Chester W Nimitz of Roosevelt's wishes. Nimitz first consulted Adm William F Halsey, Jr, Commander, South Pacific. The mission was authorized on April 17 and the hit was successfully carried out on April 18, 1943.

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  • UK: A RAF pilot accidentally kills 25 spectators during a ground attack tactics demonstration flight in Imber, Wiltshire, England.
  • ETO - UK: US 8th Air Force: The first operational sorties using the new Republic P-40B Thunderbolt aircraft is undertaken by the US 8th AF as they fly escort and fighter sweeps over the Channel.
  • Poland: Germany announces the discovery of mass graves of thousands of Polish officers in the recently taken area of Katyn Forest and accuse the USSR of mass murder, which the Soviets fatly deny.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 583 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 344 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • MTO - Tunisia: Day 148 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support. The British 8th Army reaches an anti-tank ditch guarding the new enemy positions at Enfidaville.
  • MTO - Italy: US 9th and 12th Air Forces attack targets in Sicily.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 65 of 79 of the Allied Operation LONGCLOTH. US 10th Air Force provides air support. The Chindits cross the Irrawaddy River with rafts built with local help. A rearguard is left behind on the east bank to oppose the Japanese.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,107 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 311 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US 11th Air Force attacks Kiska Island, hitting the Main Camp, North Head and runway.
  • PTO - New Guinea: The Japanese destroyer YUKIKAZE makes a troop transport run to Cape Gloucester (Tuluvu), New Britain, then heads for Truk in the Caroline Islands.
  • PTO - New Guinea: US 5th Air Force hits a variety of targeted areas.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 13 of 16 of Japan's Operation I-GO. US 13th Air Force bombs airfield at Munda.

1944 — , April 13

  • USA: The William Wyler film Memphis Belle premieres in Hollywood, documenting and immortalizing Morgan's Crew and the B-17 Flying Fortress of the same name, the third crew of the 8th Air Force to complete 25 bombing missions.
    This spotlight is under construction. Be patient.

    Frame from the 1944 Memphis Belle documentary

    The documentary was made under the auspices of the First Motion Picture Unit, a branch of the United States Army Air Forces. The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress uses dramatic 16mm color film of actual air battles over Europe and was made as a morale-building inspiration for the Home Front by showing the everyday courage of the men who manned these heavy bombers.

    Morgan's Crew of the 91st Bomb Group is celebrated as the first crew in the 8th Air Force to complete 25 missions, but was actually the third to do so. The distinction of first came two months earlier on 07 Feb 43 in the 93rd Bomb Group with Capt Robert Shannon's crew of B-24 Liberator HOT STUFF. The second came on 13 May 43 with the B-17 HELL'S ANGELS of the 303rd Bomb Group stationed at Molesworth.

    Morgan's crew had not flown all of its missions together. Captain Verinis had originally been Morgan's co-pilot at the beginning of their combat tour but had become a "first pilot" (aircraft commander) in his own right on 30 Dec 42, after which he flew 16 missions as commander of a replacement B-17 he named Connecticut Yankee after his home state. Verinis finished his tour two days before the rest of Morgan's crew.

    The 16mm color film used did not include sound, and this was added later in Hollywood. The original crew, during their war bonds drive in the US, made typical appropriate comments to each other while watching the silent movie in a studio. The result was difficult to distinguish from real combat recordings

    A fictionalized version of the story, Memphis Belle, was produced in 1990 by David Puttnam in England. It was co-produced by Catherine Wyler, the daughter of William Wyler.

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  • ETO - France: US 9th Air Force B-26s and A-20s attack various coastal targets including V-weapon sites.
  • France: The Drancy Concentration Camp sends its 71st convoy to Auschwitz with 1,500 French Jews aboard.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb industrial and aviation targets in Germany.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 72 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain in their defensive positions.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 112 of 113 of the USSR's Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in southwestern Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 41 of 45 of the Battle of Chernovtsy, Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 39 of 44 of the Battle of Snigirevka, Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 6 of 35 of the Battle of the Crimea. The Soviets liberate Eupatoria, Feodosiya and Simferol. At nearby Staryi Krym, German troops kill 589 people, about 200 of which are children.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 19 of 20 of the Battle of Odessa, Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 6 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive.
  • MTO - Hungary: US 15th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb aircraft related targets at Gyor, Budapest, Tokol and Vecses.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 88 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 83 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 40 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY. British Chindits units attack the village of Sepein near Mawlu.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 35 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 13 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,473 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Japanese airplanes bomb at Namyung.
  • CBI - India: Day 37 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima. Day 3 of 4 of the Battle of Bunker Hill outside Kohima. Indian troops retake Nungshigum Hill overlooking Imphal.
  • PTO - Alaska: US 11th Air Force B-24s bomb the airfield on Matsuwa Island and installations on Onnekotan Island.
  • PTO - Caroline Islands: US 7th and 13th Air Forces bomb targets in the Truk Atoll.
  • PTO - Hawaii: Martial law is lifted in the US Territory of Hawaii, which had been in place since the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • PTO - Mariana Islands: The USS HARDER sinks the Japanese destroyer IKAZUCHI between Guam and the Caroline Islands.
  • PTO - Marshall Islands: US 7th Air Force bombs the Jaluit and Maloelap Atolls.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 45 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 208 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. 5th Air Force provides air support. US troops clear Pak Island.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 121 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support. The majority of New Britain Island is now held by the Allies.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 165 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , April 13

  • Chile: Having initially chosen to remain neutral, Chile declares war on Japan. Relations with Axis countries had been broken in 1943.
  • ETO - Netherlands: Allied troops liberate Assen, Diepenveen and Olst.
  • ETO - France: Day 258 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 211 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 39 of 46 of the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. US 9th Air Force provides air support. The US 3rd Army captures Weimar.
  • ETO - Germany: The US 9th Army finishes clearing the Duisberg Pocket. At Celle, a local truce is called so the British 2nd Army can take over the notorious Belsen concentration camp. US 9th Air Force sends a special fighter mission going after the HQ of Field Marshal Model's Army Group B at Haus Waldesruh.
  • ETO - Germany: German SS and Luftwaffe troops fleeing the Allied advance with 1,016 political and military prisoners, deem the prisoners too weak to continue marching and lock them inside a barn near Gardelegen and burn all of them alive.
  • ETO - Germany: For the third time, General Eisenhower rejects the notion to advance on to Berlin.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s bomb targets in Germany.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 211 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 181 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 1 of 13 of the Battle of Zemland, East Prussia. The Soviets launch a new offense.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 60 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland). The Soviets continue with their siege.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 19 of 21 of the Battle of Nagykanizsa-Körmend, western Hungary.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 32 of 34 of the Battle of Vienna, Austria. The Soviets are able to take several key positions and by the end of the day this battle is pretty much over.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 8 of 27 of Operation GRAPESHOT, a successful offensive in northern Italy. Bad weather stalemates both sides.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 5 of 13 of the Battle of Bologna. Bad weather stalemates both sides.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 2 of 8 of the Battle of the Argenta Gap. The Allies gain valuable ground south of the Po River. Bad weather then temporarily stalemates both sides.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 69 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. The US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,838 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 13 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
    • Day 5 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang). The Chinese launch a new offensive in Honan and Hupeh provinces in central China.
  • PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force B-29s bomb various targets in and near Tokyo.
  • PTO - Japan: Day 13 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa. The US Navy begins the pre-invasion bombardment of Ie Island off Okinawa.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 473 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 357 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 176 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 120 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 35 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 27 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. US 5th and 7th Air Forces provide air support.

Day-By-Day listings for April 13 were last modified on Friday, February 23, 2018
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