USSR: A system is set up to purge the party of illiterates who have been allowed into the party ranks during the collectivization and industrialization drive.
CBI - China: Day 118 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.
1937 — , April 28
Spain: Day 286 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War. Basque forces, fighting on the side of the Spanish Republicans, surrender at Durango and Guernica.
1938 — , April 28
Spain: Day 651 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 296 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 81 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.
Day 36 of 39 of the Battle of Xuzhou.
1939 — , April 28
Germany: In a speech to the Reichstag which is heard around the world, Hitler repudiates the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, demands Danzig be returned to Germany and declares the German-Polish non-aggression treaty void.
CBI - China: Day 661 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 43 of 54 of the Battle of Nanchang.
Day 9 of 35 of the Battle of Suizao.
1940 — , April 28
ETO - Norway: Day 20 of 63 of the Battle of Norway. Allied reinforcements arrive in Aandalesnes.
CBI - China: Day 1,027 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 166 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
1941 — , April 28
Atlantic: German subs attack a convoy 150 miles south of Iceland. U-552 sinks a tanker while U-96 sinks 2 tankers and a freighter. The attacking U-65 is sunk by depth charges by the British destroyer HMS DOUGLAS, killing the entire crew of 50.
Atlantic: British minesweeping trawler HMT CAROLINE, manned by Dutch sailors, hits a mine and sinks off Milford Haven, Wales, killing the entire crew.
ETO - UK: Day 235 of 258 of the Blitz. The RAF bombs Emden, Germany, during the day.
Eastern Front: The German ambassador to the USSR attempts to convince Hitler that the Soviets are generally friendly toward Germany and the two nations could achieve a greater friendship by working closer together.
MTO - Malta: The Luftwaffe bombs Malta overnight, badly damaging a British destroyer and minesweeper.
MTO - Greece: Day 23 of 25 of the Battle of Greece. The British evacuation of Greece is now complete. The Victoria Cross is awarded to Sergeant Jack Hinton of New Zealand for his actions in leading an attack at Kalamata, clearing out 3 machine gun nests and a mortar with grenades and capturing a 6-inch gun. He is shot in the stomach and taken prisoner.
MTO - Libya: Day 19 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. The Luftwaffe bombs Tobruk.
East Africa: Day 323 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt. The German armed merchant cruiser PINGUIN attacks the British ship CLAN BUCHANAN in the Arabian Sea. The crew scuttles the ship, then surrenders.
CBI - China: Day 1,392 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - Malaya: Churchill issues a directive stating that at the present time there is no need to make provisions for the defense of Malaya and Singapore.
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Dates related to British Malaya and Singapore...
18 Feb 41: Elements of the Australian 8th Division arrive in Singapore.
18 Mar 41: Grand Admiral Erich Raeder urges Hitler to convince Japan to attack Singapore.
28 Apr 41: Churchill issues directive stating that at present there is no need to make provisions for the defense of Malaya and Singapore.
19 Jan 42: General Wavell warns Churchill that Singapore cannot be held, but is told that no question of surrender be entertained.
22 Jan 42: Day 46 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya. Reinforcements reach Singapore with an Indian Brigade landing.
24 Jan 42: Day 48 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya. British 18th Division arrives at Singapore as reinforcements to boost its defenses.
30 Jan 42: Day 54 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya. British troops withdraw into Singapore.
30 Jan 42: Day 1 of 17 of the Battle of Singapore. The Japanese siege of British troops in Singapore begins.
14 Feb 42: Day 16 of 17 of the Battle of Singapore. Japanese soldiers advance toward the Alexandra Barracks Hospital. A British lieutenant, acting as an envoy with a white flag, approaches the Japanese forces but is killed with a bayonet. The Japanese troops enter the hospital and kill a number of patients, including those undergoing surgery at the time, along with doctors and members of the nursing staff.
15 Feb 42: Day 17 of 17 of the Battle of Singapore. 9,000 British and Australian troops have been killed, and the remaining 80,000 are taken prisoner as Japanese troops take the city, joining 50,000 taken in the earlier Malayan Campaign to be worked as slaves. It remains the largest surrender of British-led forces in history.
16 Feb 42: Australia's Prime Minister Curtin, calls the surrender of Singapore "Australia's Dunkirk."
04 Mar 42: The Australian sloop HMAS YARRA is sunk by Japanese cruisers while attempting to protect a convoy of vessels withdrawing from Singapore to Australia.
05 Sep 45: Following Japan's surrender, British land in Singapore.
CBI - Thailand: Day 210 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).
1942 — , April 28
Atlantic: Day 105 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
Coastal "dimouts" go into effect along a fifteen-mile strip on the US eastern seaboard in response to German U-boat activity along the Atlantic coast.
Germany: The German Reichstag passes legislation making Hitler the "Supreme Judge of the German People," formalizing his status above the law.
Russian Front - North: Day 233 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 80 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 96 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. Another attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
Russian Front - South: Day 181 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
CBI - Burma: Day 136 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. Troops of the Chinese 28th Division arrive at Lashio in northern Burma. US 10th Air Force B-17s bomb the docks in Rangoon.
CBI - China: Day 1,757 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Malaya: Day 69 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
PTO - Philippines: Day 142 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Coastwatchers report that a Japanese flying boat base is being built in the upper Solomon Islands.
1943 — , April 28
ETO - Sweden: Sweden voices a protest against the mining of her territorial waters by Germany.
Russian Front - North: Day 598 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 359 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
MTO - Tunisia: Day 163 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. RAF and US Air Forces provide Allied air support. British troops hold off a desperate Panzer counter-attack. British Lance Corporal John Patrick Kenneally ignores his wounds and makes a one-man assault at Djebel Bou Azoukaz, which causes the enemy line to break. Despite being wounded again, Kenneally survives and is awarded the Victoria Cross. Day 2 of 5 of the Battle of Hill 609.
CBI - Burma: US 10th Air Force B-25s bomb the docks at Monywa and river traffic in the Katha vicinity.
CBI - China: Day 2,122 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Japanese medium bombers attack the airfields at Kunming. Several Chinese villagers near the field are killed.
PTO - Alaska: Day 326 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 7 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Solomon Islands: US 13th Air Force B-24s night bomb the airfield at Kahili on Bougainville Island.
1944 — , April 28
UK: Exercise Tiger: At Slapton Sands beach in Devon during a large-scale rehearsal for the build-up to the D-Day invasion, an Allied convoy positioning itself for the landing is attacked by nine German E-boats, resulting in the deaths of 946 American servicemen.
Temporary graves made for the Exercise Tiger casualties
The D-Day rehearsal, codenamed Exercise Tiger, was a disaster on a grand scale with a loss of life amounting to nearly a third of that of the actual invasion of Normandy just a little over a month later. But the true story would remain a secret for decades to come.
Early on 28 Apr 44, eight tank landing ships, full of US servicemen and military equipment, converged in Lyme Bay, off the coast of Devon, making their way toward Slapton Sands for the rehearsal.
So vital was the exercise that the commanders ordered the use of live naval and artillery ammunition to make the exercise as real as possible, to accustom the soldiers to what they were soon going to experience.
But a group of German E-Boats, alerted by heavy radio traffic in Lyme Bay, intercepted the three-mile long convoy of vessels. The heavily-laden, slow-moving tank landing ships were easy targets for the torpedo boats which first attacked the unprotected rear of the convoy.
A series of tragic decisions were made, including the absence of a British Navy destroyer which was supposed to be escorting them, but had been ordered into Plymouth for repairs, and an error in radio frequencies, led to three of the tanks being hit by German torpedoes. Communication problems also result in 308 "friendly fire" deaths on the beach during the exercise. Additional loss of life was caused by lifejackets worn incorrectly by soldiers and the extreme cold of the sea which resulted in hypothermia.
The exercise that killed nearly 1,000 American servicemen was considered by US top brass to be such a disaster that they ordered a complete information blackout. Any survivor who revealed the truth about what happened would be threatened with a court-martial.
It has been said that the number of dead during Exercise Tiger was added to the number killed at the actual 06 Jun 44 D-Day invasion.
Although there was never a cover-up per se, the story became lost from the public until the 1980s when a local resident launched a campaign to tell the story to the world.
UK: The South African and Rhodesian Prime Ministers arrive in London for the British Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, aka the Imperial Conference.
ETO - France: US 8th Air Force: B-17s and B-24s bomb airfields and V-weapon sites.
ETO - France: US 9th Air Force B-26s bomb the airfield at Cormeilles-en-Vexin.
Russian Front - North: Day 87 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain in their defensive positions.
Russian Front - South: Day 21 of 35 of the Battle of the Crimea.
Russian Front - South: Day 21 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive.
MTO - Italy: Day 103 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 98 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 55 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY.
CBI - Burma: Day 50 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support. Merrill's Marauders continue an advance on Myitkyina.
CBI - Burma: Day 28 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,488 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 12 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
Day 12 of 39 of the Battle of Central Henan, the first offensive in Japan's Operation ICHI-GO. Chinese troops begin retreating in central China.
CBI - India: Day 52 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima.
PTO - Marshall Islands: US 7th Air Force B-24s and B-25s attack Jaluit and Mille Atolls.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 60 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 136 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 7 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 180 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
1945 — , April 28
Germany: Heinrich Himmler's attempt to negotiate peace with the Western Allies is revealed to Hitler, who furiously strips him of all titles and ranks and orders his arrest, calling Himmler's act the worst treachery he's ever known.
Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
By early 1945, Himmler had lost faith in German victory. He realized that if the Nazi regime were to survive, it needed to seek peace with Britain and the US.
To this end, he contacted Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden, representing himself as the provisional leader of Germany, telling him that Hitler would almost certainly be dead within two days. He asked Bernadotte to tell General Eisenhower that Germany wished to surrender to the West, hoping the British and Americans would then fight the Soviets alongside the remains of the Wehrmacht. At Bernadotte's request, Himmler put his offer in writing.
On April 21, 1945, Himmler met with Norbert Masur, a Swedish representative of the World Jewish Congress, in Berlin for a discussion concerning the release of Jewish concentration camp inmates. During the meeting, Himmler stated that he wanted to "bury the hatchet" with the Jews.
Himmler's peace negotiations failed. Eisenhower refused to have anything to do with Himmler, who was subsequently declared a major war criminal.
Atlantic: German U-boats sink 8 Allied ships in the English channel.
ETO - France: Day 273 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
ETO - France: Day 226 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
ETO - Germany: The Canadian 1st Army captures Emden and Wilhelmshaven, while the US 7th Army takes Augsburg and reaches the Austrian border.
Germany: A group of Austrian resistance fighters become the last victims of gassing at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
Russian Front - Center: Day 196 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
Russian Front - Center: Day 13 of 23 of the Battle of Settin-Rostock, both sides of the border between Germany and Poland. Day 7 of the 11-day Battle of Bautzen.
Russian Front - Center: Day 13 of 17 of the Battle of Berlin.
Russian Front - Center: Day 75 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland). The Soviets continue with their siege.
Russian Front - Center: Day 5 of 8 of the Battle of Halbe, Germany.
MTO - Italy: Captured yesterday by anti-fascist Italian partisans, Benito Mussolini, his mistress and 12 of his cabinet members are executed, their bodies transported by truck to Milan, hung upside down and displayed publicly for revilement by the masses.
MTO - Italy: Day 23 of 27 of Operation GRAPESHOT. British 8th Army captures Venice and the US 5th Army takes Brescia, 30 miles west of Milan. The Allied Air Forces provide air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 84 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. The Allies capture Taungup and Allanmyo.
CBI - Burma: Day 4 of 12 of the Battle of Rangoon. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,853 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 28 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
Day 20 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang).
The USS TREPANG sinks the Japanese Transport No 146 in the Yellow Sea.
PTO - Caroline Islands: US 7th Air Force B-24s bomb Param Island and Truk Atoll.
PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force B-29s bomb airfields at Kushira, Kanoya, Miyakonojo, Kokubu, Miyazaki and Izumi.
PTO - Japan: Day 28 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa. A Japanese kamikaze pilot crashes his plane into the US Navy hospital ship USS COMFORT, penetrating 3 decks and exploding in a surgical ward, killing 28 (including 6 nurses), wounding 48 and considerably damaging the ship.
Army Nurse 1st Lt Mary Jensen on the USS COMFORT, Guam, 03 May 45
Lt Jensen looks up through the hole in the concrete and steel deck of the USS COMFORT after a Japanese suicide pilot crashed dived into the ship off Okinawa with his bomb-laden plane.
Nurse Jensen, who had stepped out of the main surgery supply room less than one minute before it was completely demolished by the explosion, is standing three decks below where the crash occurred.
The USS COMFORT, a US Navy-built and operated Hospital Ship entered service in May 1944. The medical equipment and personnel she carried were provided by the Army, the crew by the Navy. She was intended for evacuation and transport of patients after primary care had been given, with a patient capacity of 400.
The COMFORT stood off Okinawa every night with lights on the big red crosses painted on both sides of the ship and on both sides of the stack. The ship was always well lit, so it could be easily seen. The ship was painted white and could be seen during the day, with no problem.
After the kamikaze attack, USS COMFORT continued on to Guam where temporary repairs were made. She then sailed for Los Angeles, arriving on 28 May 45.