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Selected: May 5
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1919 — , May 5

  • France: Red Cross societies of Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the US come together in Paris to form the humanitarian League of Red Cross Societies (now the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies). Today it coordinates activities between the 188 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in nearly every country in the world.

1932 — , May 5

  • Germany: Hindenburg defeats Hitler for the presidency. However, neither party is able to gain majority control of the Reichstag.
  • CBI - China: The First Shanghai Incident officially ends with the signing of the Shanghai Ceasefire Agreement. This makes Shanghai off-limits for Chinese troops yet allows for some Japanese units to remain in the city.

1933 — , May 5

  • CBI - China: Day 125 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.

1934 — , May 5

  • Eastern Front: The 1932 non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Poland is extended to the end of 1945.

1936 — , May 5

  • East Africa: Italian troops capture Addis Ababa, Abyssinia, bringing an end to Abyssinian resistance. During this campaign the Italian air force has used modern weapons, including poison gas, against natives armed with little more than primitive weapons.

1937 — , May 5

  • Spain: Day 293 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , May 5

  • Spain: Day 658 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 303 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 88 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.

1939 — , May 5

  • CBI - China: Day 668 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 50 of 54 of the Battle of Nanchang.
    • Day 16 of 35 of the Battle of Suizao.

1940 — , May 5

  • Atlantic: The Luftwaffe attacks the crippled HMS SEAL, damaged from yesterday. The crew of HMS SEAL surrenders but fails to scuttle the submarine. The Germans are able to tow it to Denmark, repair it, and put it into German service.
  • ETO - Norway: Day 27 of 63 of the Battle of Norway. The Norwegian troops at Hegra surrender, thus ending all active resistance in the south. Up north, the Germans advance northward to Trondheim. Norway establishes a government-in-exile in London.
  • ETO - Norway: In Norway, civilian nurse Anne Margrethe Bang is captured. During the next two months Hitler will actually order her and others to be released in recognition of their bravery during the defense.
  • ETO - France: Hitler postpones his invasion of France (set for today) until tomorrow.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,034 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 173 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
    • Day 5 of 49 of the Battle of Yichang.

1941 — , May 5

  • USA: A shipment of US flour arrives in Vichy France.
  • Atlantic: German sub U-38 sinks the British ship QUEEN MAUD 200 miles off Sierra Leone, British West Africa.
  • ETO - UK: Day 242 of 258 of the Blitz. German bombers attack Liverpool for the fifth consecutive night. They also bomb at Belfast in Northern Ireland and the Clyde Estuary in Scotland.
  • USSR: Stalin announces at a ceremony for military cadets that a threat from Germany does exist for which the Soviets has to prepare.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 26 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. Australian destroyers HMAS VOYAGER and HMAS WATERHEN enter the harbor, becoming the first ships to bring in supplies since the siege began.
  • MTO - Italy: British sub HMS TAKU sinks the Italian ship CAGLIARI off the Italian east coast.
  • Middle East: Day 4 of 30 of the Anglo-Iraqi War in Iraq.
  • East Africa: Day 330 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt. Punjab troops advance toward the Italian stronghold at Amba Alagi, Abyssinia. They get pinned down by Italian machine guns for the most of the day so their attack is called off at dusk. The Abyssinian Emperor Haile Selassie returns to Addis Ababa. He had fled this city exactly five years earlier when the Italians invaded.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,399 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 217 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1942 — , May 5

  • Atlantic: Day 112 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
    • U-108 sinks the US freighter AFOUNDRIA between Cuba and Haiti.
    • U-333 sinks the US tanker JVA ARROW northeast of Port St Lucie, Florida.
  • Germany: The German government rules that deaths of concentration camp prisoners are no longer to be reported to the next of kin.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 240 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 87 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 103 of 103 of the Battle of the Kholm Pocket. After a number of failed offensive attempts, the Soviets decide to lay siege to the trapped Germans in Kholm instead.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 1 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 188 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
  • East Africa: Day 1 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar. British troops land at Diego Suarez and Antsirene to keep the Japanese from establishing advance bases in French Madagascar.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 143 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. Japanese troops advance into China along the Burma Road.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,764 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 76 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 3 of 5 of Japan's Operation MO to take Australian New Guinea.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 149 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines. Day 1 of 2 of the Battle for Corregidor. The Japanese bombard the US-Filipino positions on the island.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 2 of 5 of the Naval Battle of the Coral Sea. The US and Japanese carrier planes continue clashing.

1943 — , May 5

  • Atlantic: German subs sink the British freighter DOLIUS and the US freighter WEST MAKADET during the day and the British freighters SELVISTAN and GHARINDA and the Norwegian freighter BONDE at night. In return the Allies sink U-638, U-125 and U-531.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 605 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 366 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - South:Soviet troops capture Krymsk in southern Russia.
  • MTO - Tunisia: Day 170 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. British troops break through the German defenses south of Tunis. US 9th and 12th Air Forces provide air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,129 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • The USS SNOOK attacks and sinks two Japanese freighters, the KINKO MARU and DAIFUKU MARU, after they have departed from Dalian.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 333 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US 11th Air Force attacks targets at Attu while the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) hits Kiska.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 14 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.

1944 — , May 5

  • ETO - Spain: Spain agrees to quit exporting Tungsten to Germany in exchange for American oil.
  • ETO - France: US 8th Air Force B-24s bomb the V-weapon site at Sottevast.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 94 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain in their defensive positions.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 28 of 35 of the Battle of the Crimea. Soviet troops begin assaulting Sevastopol, Ukraine.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 28 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive. Day 4 of 7 of the 2nd Battle of Targu Frumos.
  • MTO: US 15th Air Force: B-17s and B-24s attack targets in Romania and Yugoslavia.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 110 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 105 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 62 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 57 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 35 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,495 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 19 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
    • Day 19 of 39 of the Battle of Central Henan, the first offensive in Japan's Operation ICHI-GO. Chinese continue retreating from central China.
  • CBI - India: Day 59 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima.
  • PTO - Marshall Islands: The US 7th Air Force bombs targets in the Jaluit and Wotje Atolls.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 67 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 143 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 14 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 187 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , May 5

  • USA: A Japanese balloon bomb kills five children and a pregnant woman near Lakeview, Oregon, when it explodes as they approach it the woods. They are the only people killed by an enemy attack on the American mainland during the war.
    Spotlight...

    A Japanese fire balloon of mulberry paper reinflated
    at Moffett Field, California, after it had been
    shot down by a Navy aircraft on 10 Jan 45

    These Japanese balloon bombs were designed as a cheap weapon intended to make use of the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean to wreak havoc on Canadian and American cities, forests, and farmland.

    Map depicting the path and landing sites of the balloons

    Japan launched over 9,300 balloon bombs from late 1944 through April 1945, about 300 of which were found or observed in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa and Michigan, as well as in Mexico and Canada.

    The balloons were relatively ineffective as weapons with a kill rate of only 0.067%.

    Pastor Archie Mitchell, his pregnant wife Elsie and five Sunday School students were on a church picnic in a forest in southern Oregon when they discovered the strange balloon lying on the ground. As Elsie Mitchell and five children, aged 11-14, approached the balloon, a bomb attached to it exploded, killing Elsie and all five children instantly.

    Watch a very interesting YouTube video

    opens in new window or tab

    This 22-minute video entitled "Japanese Paper Balloon" is a US Navy Training Film produced in 1945 to instruct personnel on their ingenious design and how to disarm them.

    Related dates...

  • ETO: Anti-Nazi German troops join forces with American soldiers to fight off a Waffen-SS Panzer division trying to recapture a castle fortress in the Austrian Alps where 14 VIP French prisoners had been held. It is the only time that American and German troops join forces in combat in World War II.
    Spotlight...

    Itter Castle, standing on a high knoll in Itter,
    a village in North Tyrol, Austria

    Five days after Hitler's suicide - three Sherman tanks from the 23rd Tank Battalion of the US 12th Armored Division under the command of Capt John C 'Jack' Lee Jr, liberated the Austrian castle Itter in the Austrian Alps, a special prison that housed various French VIPs, including the ex-prime ministers Paul Reynaud and Eduard Daladier and former commanders-in-chief Generals Maxime Weygand and Paul Gamelin, among several others.

    Yet when the units of the veteran 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Division arrived to recapture the castle and execute the prisoners, Lee's beleaguered and outnumbered men were joined by anti-Nazi German soldiers of the Wehrmacht, who came up from behind and began firing upon them. Together they fought off some of the best crack troops of the Third Reich, the only time that American and German troops joined forces in combat in World War II.

    Not only was the Battle of Castle Itter the only battle where Germans fought with Americans, it's also the only time when Americans defended a medieval castle from siege.

    Related WWII Store items...

  • Atlantic: Day 1 of 2 of the Battle of Point Judith. Just off Block Island, Rhode Island, the USS BLACK POINT is sunk by German U-boat U-853. This becomes the last US merchant ship to be lost during the war.
  • ETO - Netherlands: German troops officially surrender to the Canadians at the small Dutch town of Wageningen in the presence of Prince Bernhard. US 8th Air Force drops food and supplies at Schipol Airfield, Vogelenzang, Utrecht, Hilversum, Alkmaar and other cities The Netherlands.
  • ETO - Denmark: The defending Germans troops surrender.
  • ETO - France: Day 280 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 233 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Germany: Luftwaffe fighter ace Walter Krupinski is captured by the Americans.
  • ETO - Austria: The US 11th Armored Division enters and liberates the Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
  • ETO - Czechoslovakia: The US 3rd Army takes Pilsen, Karlsbad and prepare to drive toward Prague where the Czechoslovakian Nationalists have risen up against German troops. Over the next three days, 1,700 Czechs, 300 Soviets and 1,000 Germans will be killed.
  • Germany: At a meeting with heads of the SS, Gestapo and SD, Heinrich Himmler outlines his plans to establish an SS government in Schleswig-Holstein, hoping to conduct independent peace negotiations with the western powers.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 203 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 20 of 23 of the Battle of Settin-Rostock, both sides of the border between Germany and Poland.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 3 of 6 of the Battle of Brandenberg, Germany.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 82 of 83 of the German Siege of Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland).
  • Russian Front - Center: The Soviets launch a final assault in the Moravia region of Czechoslovakia against what's left of the German Army.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 91 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. The war in Burma is pretty much over except for a few small pockets.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 11 of 12 of the Battle of Rangoon. US 10th Air Force provides air support. The Indian troops continue mop up operations.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,860 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 35 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
    • Day 27 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang). Japanese troops continue withdrawing from southern China.
    • US 5th Air Force B-24s bomb near Amoy.
  • PTO - Caroline Islands: US 7th Air Force B-24s bomb Koror Island.
  • PTO - Dutch East Indies: Day 5 of 52 of the Battle of Tarakan Island.
  • PTO - Formosa: US 5h Air Force B-24s bomb Shinchiku Airfield while B-25s hit the Taito sugar refinery, Shoka railroad yards, and Giran and Matsuyama Airfields.
  • PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force B-29s bomb at Oita, Tachiarai, Kanoya, Kure and Chiran on Kyushu Island.
  • PTO - Japan: Day 35 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 495 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 379 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 198 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 142 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 57 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 49 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. US 5th and 7th Air Forces provide air support.

Day-By-Day listings for May 5 were last modified on Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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