WWII Day-By-Day
Selected: April 18
       Overview of WWII on April 18 by year...

1927 — , April 18

  • China: The Chinese Nationalists set up a government in Nanjing.

1933 — , April 18

  • CBI - China: Day 108 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.

1934 — , April 18

  • CBI: Japan makes a request that western powers stay out of China.

1937 — , April 18

  • Spain: Day 276 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , April 18

  • USA: Action Comics #1 is published, the first comic book appearance of Superman.

    Action Comics #1

    Published on April 18, 1938 (cover-dated June), by National Allied Publications, a corporate predecessor of DC Comics, it is considered the first true superhero comic book and the most valuable comic book of all time. As of 2014 it is the only comic book to have sold for more than $2 million for a single original copy.

    Creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had pitched a Superman newspaper comic strip much earlier to National, but were rejected. But under a tight deadline to put out another comic book title, National offered them $10 a page to cut and paste their strips into 13 comic book pages, although they did redraw a few new panels.

    Action #1 contained other stories besides Superman. The decision to put Superman on the cover was only because it seemed to be more attention grabbing than the other stories assembled.

    The first issue had a print run of 200,000 copies, which promptly sold out, although it took some time for National to realize that the Superman strip was responsible for sales of the series that would soon approach 1,000,000 a month.

    Superman quickly rose in popularity and became an American icon. As war began to brew in Europe, his stories centered around battling thinly veiled parodies of dictators, spies and saboteurs, but great care was taken not to reference any know country or despot.

    Not until after 01 Mar 41 with the release of intentionally Nazi-fighting Captain America, did Superman finally began to overtly join the war, as did a slew of new patriotic superheroes.

    Scrap paper drives during WWII were directly responsible for many Golden Age comic books becoming very scarce and very valuable in the decades to follow. Hundreds of thousands of moms donated to the war effort what seemed to be of no value whatsoever.

    Dates related to comic books...

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  • Spain: Day 641 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 286 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 71 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.
    • Day 26 of 39 of the Battle of Xuzhou.

1939 — , April 18

  • Slovakia: The new Slovak government under President Tiso, a Catholic priest, passes the first of many anti-Semitic laws.
  • USSR: The Soviet Union proposes a ten-year alliance with Britain and France.
  • CBI - China: Day 651 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 33 of 54 of the Battle of Nanchang.

1940 — , April 18

  • Atlantic: British sub HMS STERLET disappears off the coast of Norway, presumed to have been sunk either by a German anti-submarine trawler or after hitting a mine.
  • ETO - Norway: Day 10 of 63 of the Battle of Norway. The Norwegian government finally declares war on Germany after more than a week of fighting. German troops advance past Oslo, but are soon held up by Norwegian troops at Bagn. More British troops land at Aandalesnes to support the Allied troops at Namsos gathering to retake Trondheim. But the British commander is given conflicting orders, one to go north to Trondheim, the other to go south toward Oslo. He decides to go south to support the troops still holding out at Lillehammer.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,017 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 156 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.

1941 — , April 18

  • USA: The US redefines the Pan-American Security Zone so that it stretches further east near Iceland to a spot used as a major Allied convoy staging area.
  • Atlantic: British destroyers HMS NEWARK and HMS VOLUNTEER collide just off the northern coast of Ireland. Both are seriously damaged and cannot be repaired and running again until August.
  • Atlantic: British sub HMS URGE sinks the Italian tanker FRANCO MARTELLI in the Bay of Biscay north of Spain.
  • ETO - UK: Day 225 of 258 of the Blitz.
  • MTO - Greece: Day 13 of 25 of the Battle of Greece. German troops cross the Aliakmon and Pinios Rivers putting the Allied troops in the Pinios Gorge in great danger. Fearing the German advance, the Greek Prime Minister, Alexandros Korizis, commits suicide. In response, Athens is placed under martial law to maintain stability.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 9 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. The Australians reorganize their defenses.
  • MTO - Egypt: German dive bombers sink the empty British troopship HMS FIONA 50 miles northwest of Sidi Barrani, killing 54. Britain warns Italy that if Cairo is bombed, then the RAF will attack Rome.
  • Middle East: The Indian 20th Infantry Brigade lands unopposed at Basra, Iraq.
  • East Africa: Day 313 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,382 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 200 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1942 — , April 18

  • PTO - Japan: In one of history's most daring raids, 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers take off from the USS HORNET and bomb the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama and Nagoya. The "Doolittle Raid" causes negligible material damage to Japan, but it succeeds in its goal of boosting American morale, this being the first good news since the war began.

    A B-25 Mitchell bomber takes off from the aircraft
    carrier USS HORNET in the "Doolittle Raid"

    All 16 of the B-25s involved were lost and 11 crewmen were either killed or captured. Three of the captured men were executed by the Japanese Army in China.

    One of the B-25s landed in the Soviet Union at Vladivostok, where it was confiscated and its crew interned for more than a year.

    Thirteen entire crews and all but one crewman of a 14th, eventually were returned either to the United States or to American forces.

    Doolittle related dates in WWII...

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  • Atlantic: Day 95 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
    • U-136 damages the US tanker AXTELL J BYLES off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The entire US eastern seaboard is ordered to black-out all lights at night, in an attempt to reduce the success the U-boats are having at night.
  • ETO - France: Pierre Laval becomes the 123rd Prime Minister of France.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 223 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 70 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 86 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 101 of 103 of the Battle of Vyazma, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 101 of 103 of the Battle of Sychevsk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 47 of 49 of the Battle of Rzhev, Russia, a diversion to pull more German troops away from Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 171 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 126 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. Day 8 of 9 of the Battle of Yenangyaung. British troops destroy the power station and then begin retreating.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,747 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO: General Douglas MacArthur is appointed to command the Southwest Pacific Theater.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 59 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 132 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines.

1943 — , April 18

  • Germany: A transport of 2501 Greek Jews arrives at Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Only 605 are registered into the camp while the remaining 1,896 are sent directly to the gas chambers.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 588 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 349 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - South: The German 17th Army begins an attack to eliminate the Soviet beachhead at Novorossiysk in southern Russia. This attack will fail by the 23rd of April.
  • MTO - Tunisia: Day 153 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support. In what becomes known as the Goose Shoot or the Palm Sunday Massacre, the Luftwaffe and Italians lose 75 planes to 6 P-40s and a Spitfire lost by the US and British.
  • MTO - Italy: US 9th and 12th Air Forces attack targets in Sicily.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 70 of 79 of the Allied Operation LONGCLOTH. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,112 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • US 14th Air Force P-40s strafe an enemy-held supply village southeast of Tengchung.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 316 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US and Canadian P-38s and P-40s attack Kiska Island.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Operation VENGENCE: After codebreakers learned of a planned inspection tour by Imperial Japanese Navy Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto five days earlier, the mission to "get Yamamoto" is successfully carried out by P-38 Lightnings on the first anniversary of the Doolittle Raid.
  • PTO - New Guinea: US 5th Air Force hits a variety of targeted areas.

1944 — , April 18

  • ETO - UK: The British Foreign Office bans all coded messages from foreign embassies and says that all diplomatic bags are to be censored. Only the subject of fighting Allies will be excluded from the ban.
  • ETO - UK: US 8th Air Force: The 492nd Bomb Group (Heavy), the third to last B-24 group deployed to England, arrives at Station 143, North Pickenham.
  • ETO - France: The RAF bombs Rouen, Juvisi, Noisy-le-Sec and Tergnier, killing 1,383 French civilians.
  • ETO - France: US 9th Air Force B-26s and A-20s bomb gun positions and marshalling yards at Dunkirk, Calais and Charleroi/Saint Martin.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb airfields and aviation industry targets.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 77 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain in their defensive positions.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 44 of 44 of the Battle of Snigirevka, Ukraine. The Germans retreat out this area.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 11 of 35 of the Battle of the Crimea. Soviet troops capture Balaklava.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 11 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 93 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support. The German Gustav Line continues getting weaker.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 88 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 45 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 40 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 18 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,478 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 2 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
    • Day 2 of 39 of the Battle of Central Henan, the first offensive in Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • CBI - India: Day 42 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima. The first reinforcements for the British garrison at Kohima begin to arrive.
  • PTO - Alaska: US 11th Air Force B-24s bomb the Kashiwabara Airfield and the Banjo Cape area.
  • PTO - Caroline Islands: US 13th Air Force bombs at Satawan Atoll.
  • PTO - Mariana Islands: The sub USS GUDGEON is reported lost, presumed sunk, off the Maug Islands.
  • PTO: US 7th Air Force bombs in the Marshall Islands, Mariana Islands, Saipan Island, Wake Island and Truk Atoll in the Caroline Islands.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 50 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 213 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 126 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 170 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , April 18

  • PTO - Japan: Day 18 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa. Famed American journalist and 1944 Pulitzer Prize winner Ernie Pyle is killed on Ie Shima Island.

    Ernie Pyle 1900-1945

    Ernie Pyle was known for his columns as a roving correspondent from 1935 for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain. His articles, about the out-of-the-way places he visited and the people who lived there, were written in a folksy style, much like a personal letter to a friend and were carried in some 300 newspapers. During World War II, he reported both from Europe and the Pacific. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944.

    On April 18, 1945, on Ie Jima (then known as Ie Shima), an island northwest of Okinawa Island, he was traveling in a jeep with Lt Col Joseph B Coolidge, the commanding officer of the 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division, and three other men. The road, which ran parallel to the beach two or three hundred yards inland, had been cleared of mines, and hundreds of vehicles had driven over it. As the vehicle reached a road junction, Japanese troops began firing a machine gun located on a coral ridge about a third of a mile away. The men stopped their vehicle and jumped into a ditch.

    Pyle and Coolidge raised their heads to look around for the others. When they spotted them, Pyle smiled and asked Coolidge, "Are you all right?" Those were his last words. The machine gun began shooting again, and Pyle was struck in the left temple and was killed instantly.

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  • ETO: The Western Allies report that they have taken over two million POWs since D-Day in Normandy.
  • ETO - Netherlands: Day 5 of 5 of the Battle of Groningen. Groningen falls to the Canadian troops.
  • ETO - France: Day 263 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 216 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 44 of 46 of the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. The German troops are completely surrounded, all organized resistance ceases as 317,000 of them surrender.
  • ETO - Germany: A busy day in Germany. The US 1st Army enters Düsseldorf. The US 9th Army takes Magdeburg. The French troops link up at Freudenstadt behind the Black Forest. The British 2nd Army captures Ulzen and Luneburg. The US 3rd Army captures Nürnberg.
  • ETO: US 8th Air Force bombs railroad targets in Slovakia and southeast Bavaria.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 216 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 186 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 6 of 13 of the Battle of Zemland, East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 3 of 23 of the Battle of Settin-Rostock, both sides of the border between Germany and Poland. Day 3 of 4 of the Battle for the Oder-Neisse Rivers. The Soviets break the Oder defensive line between Schwedt and Stettin.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 3 of 17 of the Battle of Berlin. The Soviets penetrate the Seelow Heights defensive lines.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 65 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland). The Soviets continue with their siege.
  • MTO: US 15th Air Force bombs targets in Italy, Austria, Germany and Slovakia.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 13 of 27 of Operation GRAPESHOT, a successful offensive in northern Italy.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 10 of 13 of the Battle of Bologna.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 7 of 8 of the Battle of the Argenta Gap.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 74 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. The British 14th Army captures the Chaulk oil center.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,843 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 18 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
    • Day 10 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang).
  • PTO - Bonin Islands: US 7th Air Force P-51s attack at Futamiko and the radio station on Chichi Jima Island.
  • PTO - Formosa: US 5th Air Force B-25s bomb Karenko Airfield while B-24s bomb the Tainan, Giran, Toyohara, Hobi and Soton airfields.
  • PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force B-29s bomb the airfields at Tachiarai, Izumi, Kokubu, Nittagahara and Kanoya.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 478 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 362 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 181 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 125 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support. The USS ROCK bombards a Japanese radio station at Bataan.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 40 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 32 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. US 5th and 7th Air Forces provide air support.

1947 — , April 18

  • Czechoslovakia:Jozef Tiso is executed by hanging, having been found guilty three days earlier by a Soviet court of Nazi collaboration.

1949 — , April 18

  • Ireland: Eire (Ireland) gains full independence from the United Kingdom, forming the new Republic of Ireland. This also terminates their Commonwealth membership.

Day-By-Day listings for April 18 were last modified on Friday, February 23, 2018
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