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

1933 — , May 13

  • CBI - China: Day 133 of 142 of the 1st Battle of Hebei.

1935 — , May 13

  • USSR: The Central Committee orders a purge to be carried out to investigate the illicit use of Party membership cards.

1937 — , May 13

  • Spain: Day 301 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , May 13

  • Spain: Day 666 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 311 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 96 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.

1939 — , May 13

  • CBI - China: Day 676 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 24 of 35 of the Battle of Suizao.
  • CBI - Mongolia: Day 3 of 129 of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, a border dispute between the Soviet Union and Japan.

1940 — , May 13

  • UK: Newly appointed Prime Minister Winston Churchill, not wanting to raise false hope, makes his famous "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat" speech to the UK's House of Commons.

    Prime Minister Winston Churchill

    Churchill's speech was intended to be a stirring and uplifting call to arms. He was very aware of public hopes that he could change the direction of the war and he certainly wanted to make best use of that tide of feeling.

    But he was also well aware of the difficulties ahead and, not wanting to raise false hope, he entered notes of caution and warning, saying, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime."

    The phrase "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat" is commonly shortened to "Blood, Sweat and Tears" and has come to be synonymous for "hard work and effort in difficult circumstances."

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  • USA: First free flight of the Vought-Sikorsky VS-300 helicopter, the first successful single lifting rotor helicopter in the US and the first successful helicopter to use a single vertical tail rotor configuration for anti torque. With floats attached, it will become the first practical amphibious helicopter.
  • ETO - Norway: Day 35 of 63 of the Battle of Norway. At midnight the Royal Navy begins bombarding Narvik and continues until morning. At Bjerkvik, the French Foreign Legion makes the first amphibious landing of the war. They quickly capture øyjord unopposed.
  • ETO: Day 4 of 8 of the Battle of The Netherlands. German troops reach the outskirts of Rotterdam. Queen Wilhelmina and her family arrive in London.
  • ETO - Belgium: Day 4 of 19 of the Battle of Belgium. The French spread their tanks out to cover a wider front while the Germans pull their panzers in. This allows the Germans to easily punch a hole through the French line. This battle ends with the loss of 105 French tanks and 160 Germans tanks.
  • ETO - France: Day 4 of 44 of the Battle of France. After penetrating a 50-mile gap in French lines, the Germans establish bridgeheads at the Meuse River near Dinant and Sedan and by evening pontoon bridges are set up for their tanks to cross.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,042 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 181 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
    • Day 13 of 49 of the Battle of Yichang.
    • The US river gunboat USS TUTUILA, which had been stranded on a reef in the Yangtze River off Chongqing since 08 May 40 is refloated.

1941 — , May 13

  • Atlantic: German subs U-98 and U-111 attack an Allied convoy off Greenland, sinking the British ship SOMERSBY and the armed merchant cruiser HMS SALOPIAN.
  • Atlantic: German sub U-105 sinks the British ship BENVRACKIE 700 miles off Sierra Leone, British West Africa.
  • ETO - UK: Day 250 of 258 of the Blitz.
  • Germany: In Germany, new wartime military jurisdiction rules are published. No longer can soldiers be court martialled for crimes committed against citizens deemed as hostile.
  • USSR: The Soviets begin moving a substantial number of troops to their western border. However, most of the divisions are poorly equipped for war.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 34 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. The British gunboat HMS GNAT shells the German airfield at Gazala 30 miles west of Tobruk.
  • Middle East: Day 12 of 30 of the Anglo-Iraqi War in Iraq. A shipment of Vichy French weapons arrives in Mosul. Meanwhile, British horse troops from Palestine reach Rubah and find it abandoned.
  • East Africa: Day 338 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,407 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 7 of 21 of the Battle of South Shanxi.

1942 — , May 13

  • Atlantic: Day 120 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
    • Gulf of Mexico: South of New Orleans, U-507 damages US tanker GULFPRINCE while U-506 sinks the US tanker GULFPENN and US freighter DAVID MCKELVY.
    • Caribbean: U-69 damages US cargo ship NORLANTIC between Florida and Venezuela. The NORLANTIC signals for a ceasefire, but U-69 continues firing until she is sunk.
  • ETO - UK: The British Chiefs of Staff approve plans for a major raid against the French port of Dieppe.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 248 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad. Tanya Savicheva, a young Russian girl, writes in her address book, "Mummy 13th May at 7:30 morning 1942. The Savichevs are dead, all dead, only Tanya remains."
  • Russian Front - North: Day 95 of 102 of the Battle of the Demyansk Pocket, another failed attempt to break the siege at Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 9 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 2 of 17 of the 2nd Battle of Kharkov, Ukraine. The Soviets gain ground with their left flank.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 196 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 6 of 12 of the Battle of the Kerch Peninsula, Crimea.
  • East Africa: Day 9 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 151 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,772 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 84 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.

1943 — , May 13

  • ETO - Spain: The false documents found on the body of "Major Martin" are returned "unopened" by the Spanish to the British, but examination shows that they had been opened and presumably copied and shared with the Germans.

    Phony photograph of the phony documents
    from the 2010 TV movie "Operation Mincemeat"

    Upon their return on May 13, 1943, British intelligence correctly deduced that the sealed papers had been opened, then refolded and resealed. An eyelash carefully placed in the fold of a love letter from a fictional girlfriend "Pam" was missing. It was obvious that the Abwehr had removed the documents, and logical to assume that they had photographed them and dispatched the information to Berlin.

    Decrypts of German transmissions had already begun showing troop movements shifting to the defense of Greece and away from Sicily. Examination of the documents planted on the corpse of "Major Martin" further confirmed the success of the deception of Operation MINCEMEAT.

    A message was transmitted first to Winston Churchill and then to the United States stating that Operation MINCEMEAT had been swallowed whole.

    German leadership in general and Hitler particularly clung to the belief in the veracity of the Mincemeat documents, failing to commit more troops to southern Italy even after the invasion of Sicily had begun while also redirecting German forces away from the Eastern Front; troops and leadership that would prove fatally absent in the Battle of Kursk.

    The invasion of Sicily was likewise a success, with Allied losses likely numbering several thousand fewer than if Mincemeat had failed. These intelligence weaknesses would be exploited again one year later in the preparation of Operation: Overlord.

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  • ETO - UK: For the first time in the war, the British now have more German prisoners than the Germans have British prisoners.
  • ETO - UK: US 8th Air Force: The B-17 Flying Fortress HELL'S ANGELS of the 303rd Bomb Group, 358th Bomb Squadron, stationed at Molesworth, England, becomes the first B-17 of the 8th AF to complete 25 combat missions.
    This spotlight is under construction. Be patient.

    The B-17F Flying Fortress HELL'S ANGELS (41-24577) was the first B-17 to complete 25 missions. The B-24 Liberator HOT STUFF completed 25 missions two months earlier on 07 Feb 43.

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  • ETO - Denmark: The Danish resistance damages a railway installation at Tønder, Denmark.
  • ETO - France: US 8th Air Force B-17s bomb the Avions Potez aircraft factory at Meaulte and airfields near St Omer.
  • ETO - Germany: Erika von Brockdorff, a member of the Red Orchestra resistance movement, is put to death by guillotine along with thirteen others at Berlin's Plotzensee Prison.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 613 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 374 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • MTO - Tunisia: Day 178 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. The Italian top commander surrenders his troops to Montgomery.
  • MTO - Italy: US 12th Air Force RAF Wellingtons night bomb in Naples. RAF Liberators attack the Messina ferry terminal in Sicily. US B-17s, B-25s and B-26s bomb targets in Sardinia.
  • MTO - Italy: The British Royal Navy bombards Pantelleria Island near Sicily.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,137 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 2 of 23 of the Battle of West Hubei.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 341 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. Day 3 of 20 of the Battle of Attu. US 11th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Japan: The USS SNOOK sinks a Japanese freighter with torpedoes.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 22 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.

1944 — , May 13

  • Atlantic: The US destroyer escort USS FRANCIS M ROBINSON sinks the Japanese sub RO-501, formerly German sub U-1224, off the Cape Verde islands.
  • ETO: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb targets in Germany and western Poland.
  • ETO: US 9th Air Force bomb airfields, coastal defenses, railway battery and V-weapon sites in France and Belgium.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 102 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain in their defensive positions.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 36 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 118 of 123 of the Battle of Monte Cassino. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support. Day 3 of 8 of Operation DIADEM. French troops gain a spectacular breakthrough with a fierce assault. Allied troops capture Ponte Sant'Angelo and Castelforte, clearing the way for an advance to Rome.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 113 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 70 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 65 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 43 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,503 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 27 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
    • Day 27 of 39 of the Battle of Central Henan, the first offensive in Japan's Operation ICHI-GO. Japanese troops attack at Luoyang.
  • CBI - India: Day 67 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima. The Anglo-Indian troops regain Jail Hill, GPT ridge and FSD ridge outside of Kohima.
  • PTO - Alaska: US 11th Air Force B-25s attack two fishing vessels.
  • PTO - Caroline Islands: The US 7th Air Force bombs targets in the Truk Atoll.
  • PTO - Marshall Islands: The US 7th Air Force bombs targets in the Jaluit Atoll.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 75 of 80 of the Battle of the Admiralty Islands. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 151 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 22 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 195 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , May 13

  • Atlantic: Rear Admiral Brüning, the commander of the German naval forces, arrives at Felixstowe to sign the unconditional surrender of all boats under his command.
  • Norway: The Crown Prince Olav returns to Oslo.
  • ETO - UK: The British Royal Family and Allied military leaders attend a thanksgiving service at St Paul's Cathedral.
  • Russian Front - Center: The Soviets eliminate the last pockets of German resistance in Czechoslovakia.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 99 of 99 of the Battle of Pakokku and Irrawaddy River operations in central Burma. All hostilities have ceased.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,868 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 43 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
    • Day 35 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang). Japanese troops continue withdrawing from southern China.
    • The USS BAYA attacks a Japanese convoy in the South China Sea, sinking three ships.
  • PTO - Caroline Islands: US 7th Air Force bombs an underground hangar on Moen Island in the Truk Atoll.
  • PTO - Dutch East Indies: Day 13 of 52 of the Battle of Tarakan Island.
  • PTO - Japan: US Navy fighters attack the airfields at Kyushu, in an attempt to stop or slow the launch of Japanese kamikaze missions.
  • PTO - Japan: Day 43 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 503 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 387 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 205 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 150 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 65 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support. US troops capture Del Monte air base on Mindanao.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 57 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. US 5th and 7th Air Forces provide air support.

1948 — , May 13

  • China: Chen Cheng is relieved from all of his military positions including his position as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

1949 — , May 13

  • UK: The English Electric Canberra, Britain's first jet bomber, takes its first flight.

Day-By-Day listings for May 13 were last modified on Tuesday, April 9, 2019
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