CBI - China: Day 321 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 106 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.
1939 — , May 23
CBI - China: Day 686 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 34 of 35 of the Battle of Suizao. Chinese troops capture Suixian.
CBI - Mongolia: Day 13 of 129 of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, a border dispute between the Soviet Union and Japan.
1940 — , May 23
Atlantic: German sub U-9 sinks the captured Belgian steamer SIGURD FAULBAUM 15 miles northeast of Zeebrugge, Belgium.
ETO - UK: Authorities begin arresting British fascists as well as known IRA operatives in Northern Ireland.
ETO - Norway: Day 45 of 63 of the Battle of Norway.
ETO - Belgium: Day 14 of 19 of the Battle of Belgium. The German 6th Army crosses the Scheldt River at Oudenarde.
ETO - France: Day 14 of 44 of the Battle of France. The German 1st Panzer Division reaches Calais while the 2nd Panzer Division attacks Boulogne.
CBI - China: Day 1,052 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 191 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
Day 23 of 49 of the Battle of Yichang.
1941 — , May 23
Atlantic: German sub U-38 sinks the Dutch ship BERHALA 200 miles off Guinea, French West Africa.
Germany: Hermann Goering orders the plunder and destruction of the Soviet industrial centers since the conquered Soviet population will be no more than low laborers for Germany.
MTO - Greece: Day 4 of 13 of the Battle of Crete. The Germans try to land more troops at Maleme and at Canea, but both landings are rebuffed. At sea, the HMS KELLY and HMS KASHMIR are sunk 35 miles south Crete. At Suda Bay, 5 British motor torpedo boats are also sunk.
MTO - Libya: Day 44 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk.
Middle East: Day 22 of 30 of the Anglo-Iraqi War in Iraq. The Luftwaffe attacks the British troops at Fallujah.
East Africa: Day 348 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
CBI - China: Day 1,417 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 17 of 21 of the Battle of South Shanxi.
1942 — , May 23
Atlantic: Day 130 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
Russian Front - North: Day 258 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 19 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
Russian Front - South: Day 12 of 17 of the 2nd Battle of Kharkov, Ukraine. The Soviets are desperately trying to fend off German attacks.
Russian Front - South: Day 206 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
East Africa: Day 19 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar.
CBI - Burma: Day 161 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. Japanese and Chinese troops clash along the Hsipaw-Mogok road in northern Burma.
CBI - China: Day 1,782 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 9 of 124 of Japan's Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign, launched to punish anyone suspected of aiding the Doolittle raiders in China. Roughly 250,000 Chinese will be killed.
PTO - Malaya: Day 94 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
PTO - New Guinea: US 5th Air Force B-25s bomb the airfield and buildings at Lae.
1943 — , May 23
Atlantic: A British Swordfish plane launched from the escort carrier HMS ARCHER sinks the German sub U-572 with a rocket attack.
ETO - Germany: The RAF makes their heaviest raid of war to date against Dortmund.
Russian Front - North: Day 623 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 384 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
MTO: The British claim that 313 Axis ships have been sunk in the Mediterranean since the battle of El Alamein began.
MTO - Italy: Day 2 of 20 of the naval and aerial bombardment of Pantelleria Island.
MTO - Italy: US 12th Air Force attacks targets at Iglesias, the Carloforte harbor on San Pietro Island.
CBI - China: Day 2,147 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 12 of 23 of the Battle of West Hubei.
PTO - Alaska: Day 351 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. Day 13 of 20 of the Battle of Attu. US 11th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Hawaii: US 7th Air Force P-40s bomb a Japanese submarine, after which an oil slick and debris are seen.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 32 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
1944 — , May 23
ETO: German General Hans Cramer, a POW for the past year then sent home for health reasons, informs Berlin of the upcoming D-Day plans at the Pas de Calais he had overheard while held in England. The Allies had him set up so he would believe this false information and sell it to Hitler, part of the masterful deception of Operation FORTITUDE.
Oberst Hans Cramer in 1941
German General Hans Cramer, the last commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps, was captured in May 1943 and returned to Germany in 1944 because of his severe asthma; a very decent thing to do, but not without benefit to the Allies.
Falsely convincing Germany that the intended D-Day invasion would be at the Pas de Calais was critical to a successful landing at Normandy. Here was another chance to add more credibility to the deception of Operation FORTITUDE.
He had even been wined and dined one evening by US General Patton, who was known to be loose-lipped and indiscreet on occasion, to further implant the lie. During his repatriation journey, he was allowed to see the real 21st Army Group preparing for the invasion of Europe, but was told he was in Kent.
Incidentally, Cramer had been taken prisoner by the British in WWI as well.
ETO - France: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb airfields and rail targets.
ETO - France: US 9th Air Force B-26s bomb the airfield at Beaumont-le-Roger and coastal batteries at Etretat/Sainte-Marie-Au-Bosc, Maisy and Mont Fleury.
Russian Front - North: Day 112 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain in their defensive positions.
Russian Front - South: Day 46 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive.
MTO - Italy: Canadian troops breach the Adolf Hitler Line southwest of Monte Cassino.
MTO - Italy: Day 123 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support. US 5th Army breakouts from the Anzio bridgehead and head toward Rome.
CBI - Burma: Day 80 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY.
CBI - Burma: Day 75 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - Burma: Day 53 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
CBI - China: Day 2,513 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 37 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
Day 37 of 39 of the Battle of Central Henan, the first offensive in Japan's Operation ICHI-GO. Chinese troops make a counter-attack.
CBI - India: Day 77 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima.
PTO - Marshall Islands: The US 7th Air Force bombs targets on Ponape Island and in the Jaluit Atoll.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 161 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 32 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 205 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
1945 — , May 23
UK: British Prime Minister Churchill resigns and forms a caretaker administration in which the Labor Party refuses to serve.
Germany: The Allies dissolve Karl Dönitz's Flensburg government. The members of the German High Command and the Provisional Government are taken into custody and imprisoned. Himmler commits suicide at Lüneburg.
CBI - China: Day 2,878 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 53 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support. Japanese troops begin pulling out of China.
Day 45 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang). Japanese troops continue withdrawing from southern China.
PTO - Alaska: US 11th Air Force bombs the Kataoka naval base area on Shimushu Island.
PTO - Caroline Islands: US 7th Air Force attacks the airfields on Moen Island, boats off Tol Island, buildings on Tarik Island and targets on Dublon Island, all in the Truk Atoll.
PTO - Dutch East Indies: Day 23 of 52 of the Battle of Tarakan Island.
PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force B-29s bomb the urban-industrial area of Tokyo. This is the largest single mission raid on Tokyo during the war.
PTO - Japan: Day 53 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 513 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 397 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 215 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
PTO - Philippines: Day 160 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 75 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
PTO - Philippines: Day 67 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. US 5th and 7th Air Forces provide air support.
1947 — , May 23
India: The British divide India into India and Pakistan.
1949 — , May 23
West Germany: Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, the constitution of West Germany, comes into effect.
Day-By-Day listings for May 23 were last modified on Friday, January 29, 2016