WWII Day-By-Day
Selected: May 24
       Overview of WWII on May 24 by year...

1937 — , May 24

  • USSR: The Soviet Central Committee decides to put Marshal Mikhail Nikolaievich Tukhachevsky and seven other Military Commanders on trial, accusing them of conspiracy to overthrow Stalin.
  • Spain: Day 312 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , May 24

  • Spain: Day 677 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 322 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 107 of 124 of the Battle of Henan.

1939 — , May 24

  • CBI - China: Day 687 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 35 of 35 of the Battle of Suizao. The Japanese pull out, leaving China the victory.
  • CBI - Mongolia: Day 14 of 129 of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, a border dispute between the Soviet Union and Japan.

1940 — , May 24

  • Atlantic: The Luftwaffe sinks the British destroyer WESSEX off the coast of Calais, France.
  • Atlantic: German sub U-37 sinks the Greek ship KYMA 200 miles west of Brest, France.
  • ETO - UK: The first British civilian casualties from bombings are reported.
  • ETO - Norway: Day 46 of 63 of the Battle of Norway. The British War Cabinet orders the withdrawal of all British troops in Norway due to the situation in France.
  • ETO - Belgium: Day 15 of 19 of the Battle of Belgium. King Léopold III assumes command of the Belgian Army. Meanwhile, the Germans capture Ghent and Tournai.
  • ETO - France: Day 15 of 44 of the Battle of France. German troops attack Calais and capture Boulogne and St Omer. Hitler tells his panzers to hold off taking Dunkirk, leaving that to the Luftwaffe.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,053 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 192 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
    • Day 24 of 49 of the Battle of Yichang.

1941 — , May 24

  • Atlantic: In the Battle of the Denmark Strait, the HMS PRINCE OF WALES and HMS HOOD slug it out with the German battleship BISMARCK and heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN. The HMS HOOD, pride of the Royal Navy, explodes and is sunk, taking with her 1,416 men of a crew of 1,419.

    The HMS HOOD

    HMS HOOD was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy and its largest, commissioned in 1920. The HOOD was struck by several German shells early in the Battle of the Denmark Strait and exploded, killing all but three of her crew of 1,419.

    The loss had a profound effect on the British and "Remember the HOOD" became a rallying battle cry. Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered the Royal Navy to "sink the Bismarck" and they fulfilled his command on 26-27 May, 1941.

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  • Atlantic: German sub U-38 sinks the British ship VULCAIN off British West Africa. In the same general area, U-103 sinks the Greek ship MARIONGA.
  • Atlantic: German auxiliary cruiser ATLANTIS sinks the British ship TRAFALGAR 850 miles off South Africa.
  • UK: The British government collects £124,000,000 in donations after a week-long War Weapon Week event.
  • ETO - UK: King George VI promotes South African Premier General Smuts to the rank of Field Marshal, the first man born in an overseas dominion to attain that rank.
  • MTO - Greece: Day 5 of 13 of the Battle of Crete. The King of Greece flees to Cairo. Heavy German bombing of Crete continues all day.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 45 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk.
  • Middle East: Day 23 of 30 of the Anglo-Iraqi War in Iraq.
  • East Africa: Day 349 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,418 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 18 of 21 of the Battle of South Shanxi.

1942 — , May 24

  • Atlantic: Day 131 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
  • Spain: The first battalion of Spanish volunteers who fought for Hitler returns to Spain after completing a tour in Russia. Up until now, only the wounded were sent back from the Russian Front.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 259 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 20 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - Center: German troops launch Operation HANNOVER to clear the Bryanks-Vyazma rail line of all 20,000 Soviet partisan resistance fighters.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 13 of 17 of the 2nd Battle of Kharkov, Ukraine. The Soviets continue their effort to break out of the area.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 207 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
  • East Africa: Day 20 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 162 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,783 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 10 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 95 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
  • PTO - New Guinea: US 5th Air Force B-26s head out to bomb the airfield at Lae but are intercepted by Japanese Zekes which turns into a nasty air battle.

1943 — , May 24

  • USA: The US Marine Corps abolishes their glider program.
  • Atlantic: Seeing how many U-boats were sunk during the past month, German Admiral Karl Dönitz orders a temporary halt to all submarine operations in the North Atlantic to regroup and re-evaluate tactics.
  • ETO - Germany: The RAF bombs the East Frisian Islands in northwestern Germany.
  • Germany: SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr Josef Mengele arrives at Auschwitz Concentration Camp to soon begin medical experiments on prisoners.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 624 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 385 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • MTO - Italy: US 9th Air Force B-24s hit the Villa San Giovanni ferry slip and railroad yards, a ferry terminal and a nearby tanker at Reggio di Calabria.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 3 of 20 of the naval and aerial bombardment of Pantelleria Island. US 12th Air Force RAF Wellingtons night bomb the harbor and airfield. During the day, fighters make more attacks on the same airfield.
  • MTO - Italy: B-17s, B-25s, B-26s, P-40s and P-38s bomb targets in Sardinia and Pantelleria.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,148 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 13 of 23 of the Battle of West Hubei.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 352 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. Day 14 of 20 of the Battle of Attu. The US begins mop up operations. US 11th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 33 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.

1944 — , May 24

  • Atlantic: Iceland's four-day plebiscite ends. The results are that 97% of the population wish to terminate the personal union with the King of Denmark, and 95% of the population wants to establish a new republic.
  • ETO - UK: British Prime Minister Churchill formally announces that Spain will not be a target of the forthcoming Allied invasion on continental western Europe.
  • ETO - France: US 9th Air Force B-26s attack airfields, coastal defenses and V-weapon sites in preparation for D-Day.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s bomb targets in Berlin.
  • Germany: SS official Adolf Eichmann's office in Budapest reports that 116,000 Hungarian Jews have already been deported and another 200,000 are awaiting deportation, most of which are from Carpatho-Ruthenia and Transylvania. A transport of 859 prisoners from the Pawiak prison in Warsaw, Poland, arrives at Stutthof Concentration Camp. So far, 100,000 have been gassed at Auschwitz.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 113 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain in their defensive positions.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 47 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 124 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support. US troops take Terracina.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 81 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY. Japanese troops penetrate the Chindit defense lines near the Blackpool site.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 76 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 54 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,514 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 38 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
    • Day 38 of 39 of the Battle of Central Henan, the first offensive in Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • CBI - India: Day 78 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima. The Indian 7th Division begin an offensive against Dyer Hill, Pimple Hill and Big Tree Hill. Japanese troops capture Gibraltar Hill and attack Lone Tree Hill.
  • PTO - Alaska: US 11th Air Force attacks in the Matsuwa Island area.
  • PTO - Marshall Islands: The US 7th Air Force bombs targets on Ponape Island and in the Wotje and Jaluit Atolls.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 162 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 33 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 206 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , May 24

  • Germany: The release of Soviet, American and British POWs begins at pre-arranged points in Germany.
  • Austria: At Salzburg, Field Marshal Robert Ritter von Greim, recently appointed head of the Luftwaffe, commits suicide in American captivity after learning that he is to be a part of a transfer to the Soviets.

    Robert Ritter von Greim, Jan 1939

    On 26 Apr 45, Adolf Hitler, having recently dismissed Hermann Goering in absentia for treason, promoted Ritter von Greim to Field Marshal, making him the last German officer to achieve that rank and the second man to command the German Air Force during the Third Reich. However, with the end of the war in Europe fast approaching, his tenure as head of the Luftwaffe would not last long.

    Hitler gave his only order to Ritter von Greim on 28 Apr 45: to arrest Heinrich Himmler for treason. But before he could be found, on 21 May 45 Himmler would be captured by the British and commit suicide two days later.

    On 08 May 45, the same day as the surrender of the Third Reich, Ritter von Greim was captured by American soldiers in Austria. After learning he was slated to be part of a transfer into Soviet hands and fearing torture and execution at the hands of Joseph Stalin's secret police, he committed suicide in Salzburg, Austria, on 24 May 45. His final words before taking potassium cyanide were, "I am the head of the Luftwaffe, but I have no Luftwaffe."

  • CBI - China: Day 2,879 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 54 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support. Japanese troops begin pulling out of China.
    • Day 46 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang). Japanese troops continue withdrawing from southern China.
  • PTO - Dutch East Indies: Day 24 of 52 of the Battle of Tarakan Island.
  • PTO - Japan: US Navy fighters attack the airfields in southern Kyushu.
  • PTO - Japan: Day 54 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa. Japanese paratroopers drop on US airbases on both Okinawa and Ie.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 514 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 398 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 216 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 161 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 76 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 68 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. US 5th and 7th Air Forces provide air support.

Day-By-Day listings for May 24 were last modified on Friday, February 23, 2018
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