CBI - China: Day 105 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.
1937 — , April 15
Spain: Day 273 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
1938 — , April 15
Spain: Day 638 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War. Vinaroz, a village about half-way between Valencia and Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast, is captured by Spanish Nationalist forces, thus cutting Republican Spain in half.
CBI - China: Day 283 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 68 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.
Day 23 of 39 of the Battle of Xuzhou.
1939 — , April 15
USA: President Roosevelt seeks assurances from Germany and Italy that they will not attack another European country. Both Hitler and Mussolini know that Roosevelt's hands are tied by the 1935-1937 Neutrality Acts, which forbid the US from helping either side in the event of war.
Europe: The British and French reject a Soviet offer of an alliance to protect Poland and Romania.
CBI - China: Day 648 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 30 of 54 of the Battle of Nanchang.
1940 — , April 15
UK: British unemployment figure fall to 973,000, which is the lowest figure since 1920.
Atlantic: British destroyers HMS FEARLESS and BRAZEN sink the German sub U-49 with depth charges near Narvik, Norway.
ETO - Norway: Day 7 of 63 of the Battle of Norway. British troops land at Harstad in the Lofoten Islands to cut the railroad to Sweden. Other UK troops land at Namsos and move south toward Trondheim. Vidkun Quisling, whose name has become synonymous with traitor, is removed from power in Norway as the "administrative council" takes control.
CBI - China: Day 1,014 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 153 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
1941 — , April 15
USA: President Roosevelt approves the formation of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) of combat pilots in China. This unit will become the famous Flying Tigers.
The "Flying Tigers"
Flight leader and fighter ace Robert "RT" Smith stands next to his P-40 fighter at Kunming, China. The "Flying Tiger" insignia, created by the Walt Disney Company, was proudly worn by General and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek.
The Walt Disney Studio created an estimated 1,200 insignias over the course of the war and assigned a crew of five studio artists to produce them.
Dates related to the Flying Tigers...
15 Apr 41: FDR secretly approves formation of the AVG
04 Jul 42: Flying Tigers disbanded, ushered into US task force
Atlantic: The Italian sub TAZZOLI sinks the British ship AURILLAC 500 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal.
ETO - UK: Day 222 of 258 of the Blitz. The Luftwaffe conducts a six-hour pre-dawn bombing raid on Belfast in Northern Ireland.
MTO - Yugoslavia: Day 10 of 12 of the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia. German troops occupy Sarajevo. Essentially this battle is over, but many of the locals refuse to give up.
MTO - Greece: Day 10 of 25 of the Battle of Greece. Italian troops cut off retreating Greek forces fleeing Albania, which exposes the Allied line at Mount Olympus.
MTO - Libya: Day 6 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. The British troops are pushed back to Sollum on the Egyptian border.
East Africa: Day 310 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
CBI - China: Day 1,379 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - Thailand: Day 197 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).
1942 — , April 15
MTO - Malta: The people of Malta are awarded the George Cross for their heroism and devotion as they stood up to more than 2,000 bombing raids and food shortages over the past year. Malta, part of the British Empire, became the most bombed place on earth during the war - 6,700 tons of bombs fell in just six weeks.
The George Cross
While Italian and German bombers brought havoc to the Maltese islands, the problem of supplies was soon felt. An invasion threat in July 1941 ended in complete failure when coast defenders spotted torpedo boats of the Italian Decima MAS special forces.
While people were suffering hunger, a final assault to neutralize the island was ordered by the German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring. However, the people's heroism withstood every attack. On 15 April 1942 King George VI awarded the George Cross to the entire population of Malta in appreciation of their gallantry and heroism.
In a letter dated 15 April 1942 to the island's Governor Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie, King George VI said that the award was to "bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people" during the great siege it underwent in the early parts of World War II.
This award came during the worst part of the war for the Allies. Axis forces clearly appeared to have the upper hand. The island was being struck around the clock, day and night, with an incredible amount of bombs. The bases on Malta were a constant thorn in the side of the Axis powers throughout the Mediterranean and North Africa, an obstacle that simply had to be removed.
At the time of the George Cross award, military resources and food rations in Malta were practically finished. Fuel was restricted to military action and heavily rationed, the population was on the brink of starvation, and even ammunition was running out, so much that Anti-Aircraft guns could only fire a few rounds per day.
The flag of Malta with the George Cross
The George Cross is woven into the Flag of Malta and can be seen wherever the flag is flown.
The award was instituted by George VI on 24 Sep 40, replacing the Empire Gallantry Medal. It is the civilian equivalent to the Victoria Cross. While intended mainly for civilians, it is awarded also to certain fighting services, confined however to actions for which purely military honors are not normally given.
The George Cross is awarded only for acts of the greatest heroism or the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger.
06 Jan 41: Luftwaffe launches first attacks against convoys bound for Malta
10 Jan 41: Luftwaffe begins heavy air attacks on Malta
01 Apr 42: Luftwaffe informs Hitler that they simply cannot sink the island
15 Apr 42: George Cross is awarded to the people of Malta
10 May 42: Kesselring prematurely says Malta has been neutralized
21 May 42: Hitler indefinitely postpones an invasion of Malta
10 Oct 42: German, Italian bombers begin 8 day offensive against Malta
18 Oct 42: Axis daylight bombing raids over Malta are finally suspended
30 Jan 45: Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet in Malta
Atlantic: Day 92 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
U-575 sinks the US freighter ROBIN HOOD east of New Jersey.
ETO - France: The French resistance attacks the German HQ at Arras with hand grenades.
Russian Front - North: Day 220 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 67 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 83 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - Center: Day 98 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 98 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 44 of 49 of the Battle of Rzhev, Russia, a diversion to pull more German troops away from Moscow.
Russian Front - South: Day 168 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
CBI - Burma: Day 123 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. Day 5 of 9 of the Battle of Yenangyaung. As the Japanese approach, the UK troops destroy the oil wells to prevent Japanese capture.
CBI - China: Day 1,744 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Malaya: Day 56 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
PTO - Philippines: Day 129 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines.
1943 — , April 15
Russian Front - North: Day 585 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad. The Soviets push back a German offensive thrust southeast of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 346 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
MTO - Tunisia: Day 150 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support.
MTO - Italy: US 12th Air Force attacks targets in Sicily and Sardinia.
CBI - Burma: Day 67 of 79 of the Allied Operation LONGCLOTH. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,109 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Alaska: Day 313 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US 11th Air Force attacks Kiska and Little Kiska.
PTO - Japan: The USS FLYING FISH damages a Japanese freighter off the coast of Japan. The Japanese ship beaches itself to prevent sinking.
PTO - New Guinea: US 5th Air Force hits a variety of targeted areas.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 15 of 16 of Japan's Operation I-GO.
1944 — , April 15
ETO - Germany: Fighters of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces sweep central and western Germany attacking airfields.
Russian Front - North: Day 74 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain in their defensive positions.
Russian Front - South: Day 43 of 45 of the Battle of Chernovtsy, Ukraine.
Russian Front - South: Day 41 of 44 of the Battle of Snigirevka, Ukraine.
Russian Front - South: Day 8 of 35 of the Battle of the Crimea. The Soviets capture Tarnopol.
Russian Front - South: Day 8 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive.
MTO - Yugoslavia: US military personnel fly to Yugoslavia to see Josip Tito to lay the groundwork for the evacuation of US airmen downed in Yugoslavia.
MTO: US 15th Air Force B-17s and B-24s attack targets in Yugoslavia, and Romania.
MTO - Italy: Day 90 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support. The German Gustav Line begins to fall.
MTO - Italy: Day 85 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 42 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY.
CBI - Burma: Day 37 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 15 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,475 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - India: Day 39 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima.
CBI - Indochina: US 14th Air Force B-25s knock out a bridge at Viet Tri.
PTO - Alaska: US 11th Air Force B-24s hit several targets including Matsuwa Airfield at Paramushiru Island.
PTO - Marshall Islands: US 7th Air Force bombs at Maloelap, Jaluit and Mille Atolls.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 47 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 210 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 123 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 167 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
1945 — , April 15
ETO - Netherlands: Day 2 of 5 of the Battle of Groningen. Canadian troops liberate Zutphen, Leeuwarden and Zoutkamp.
ETO - France: Day 260 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany. For the second time in the war, the US 8th Air Force uses jellied fuel Napalm bombs, this time on the German stronghold in Royan.
ETO - France: Day 213 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
ETO - Germany: Day 41 of 46 of the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. US 9th Air Force provides air support. The US 102nd Infantry Division discovers the aftermath of the massacre committed by German SS and Luftwaffe troops two days prior near Gardelegen.
ETO - Germany: Field Marshal Model orders all his young and old soldiers to be discharged from the army and, as civilians, find their own way home.
ETO - Germany: The US 1st Army captures Leuna and Merseburg while the French 1st Army captures Kehl and Offenburg on the upper Rhine.
ETO - Germany: British troops liberate the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp and free approximately 40,000 prisoners.
ETO - Germany: The German "escape-proof" POW camp at Colditz Castle is liberated by US troops. During the war, 32 of 316 escape attempts by POWs made it all the way out, which was the most of any camp.
[+] show related dates
Dates related to POW escapes...
31 Mar 41: British private becomes first to escape German POW camp
25 Jun 41: French POW attempts to escape Colditz dressed as woman
02 Jul 41: French POW escapes Colditz, scaling outer wall
Russian Front - Finland: Day 213 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 183 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia. German ships evacuate 20,000 people from East Prussia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 3 of 13 of the Battle of Zemland, East Prussia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 62 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland). The Soviets continue with their siege.
Russian Front - Center: In Czechoslovakia, Soviets take Radkesburg and begin assaulting the Mührisch-Ostrau industrial region of Moravia. Other Soviet troops head toward Brno.
Russian Front - South: Day 21 of 21 of the Battle of Nagykanizsa-Körmend, western Hungary. The Soviets drive out the Germans and begin advancing toward Graz, Austria.
Russian Front - South: Day 34 of 34 of the Battle of Vienna, Austria. The Soviets have secured Vienna.
MTO: US 15th Air Force bombs targets in Italy, Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia.
MTO - Italy: Day 10 of 27 of Operation GRAPESHOT, a successful offensive in northern Italy.
MTO - Italy: Day 7 of 13 of the Battle of Bologna. The US 5th Army continues their attack.
MTO - Italy: Day 4 of 8 of the Battle of the Argenta Gap. The British 8th Army keeps driving into the gap.
CBI - Burma: Day 71 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 2,840 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 15 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
Day 7 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang).
PTO - Formosa: US 5th Air Force B-24s bomb the Toyohara, Shinchiku and Shinshoshi airfields while B-25s hit the Shoka rail yards.
PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force: B-29s bomb the urban areas of Kawasaki and Tokyo, Japan.
PTO - Japan: US Navy carrier planes attack Japanese airfields in southern Kyushu.
PTO - Japan: Day 15 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 475 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 359 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 178 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
PTO - Philippines: Day 122 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 37 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 29 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. US 5th and 7th Air Forces provide air support.
1947 — , April 15
Czechoslovakia: Jozef Tiso, Slovak Roman Catholic priest and President of the Nazi satellite Slovak State, is found guilty by the Soviets of German collaboration and is sentenced to death. He will be hanged in three days.
Day-By-Day listings for April 15 were last modified on Wednesday, January 27, 2016