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Selected: June 4
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1937 — , June 4

  • Spain: Day 323 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , June 4

  • Spain: Day 688 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 333 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 118 of 124 of the Battle of Henan. Japanese bombers attack Guangzhou, causing an estimated 2,000 casualties, 700 of which are deaths.

1939 — , June 4

  • USA: The St Louis, a ship carrying a cargo of 907 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida after already having been turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.
  • Germany: Jews are denied the right to hold government jobs.
  • CBI - China: Day 698 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Mongolia: Day 25 of 129 of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, a border dispute between the Soviet Union and Japan.

1940 — , June 4

  • ETO - France: Day 9 of 9 of Britain's Operation DYNAMO, the evacuation of Dunkirk. 622 troops are evacuated from the beaches to England and another 25,553 from the harbor for a total of 26,175 for the day; a grand total of 338,226 since the operation began on 27 May 40. German troops enter Dunkirk, taking 40,000 French prisoners who had gallantly remained behind to protect the evacuation.
    Spotlight...

    The "Miracle of Dunkirk"

    Dunkirk: British and French troops await evacuation on the "Small Boats." Hundreds of thousands of British and French troops who had fled advancing German forces massed on the beach of Dunkirk, France, awaiting ships to carry them to England. 338,226 troops are successfully rescued.

    Destroyers filled with evacuated British troops
    berthing at Dover, 31 May 40

    German soldiers examine helmets left on the beach at Dunkirk by British and French soldiers

    A marble memorial to the battle stands at Dunkirk (Dunkerque in French) which translates in English as: "To the glorious memory of the pilots, mariners and soldiers of the French and Allied armies who sacrificed themselves in the Battle of Dunkirk, May-June 1940."

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  • ETO - France: Day 26 of 44 of the Battle of France.
  • UK: Winston Churchill tells the British House of Commons, "We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight on the beaches... on the landing grounds... in the fields and the streets.... We shall never surrender."
  • UK: Holiday camps are banned within 10 miles of east and south-east coasts of England and the Isle of Wight.
  • ETO - Norway: Day 57 of 63 of the Battle of Norway. Germany sends several destroyers from Kiel to disrupt the Allied supply lines to Narvik.
  • ETO - Germany: French planes attack Munich and Frankfurt in Germany in reprisal for yesterday's bombing of Paris.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,064 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 203 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
    • Day 35 of 49 of the Battle of Yichang.

1941 — , June 4

  • Atlantic: The Dutch minelayer HNLMS VAN MEERLANT hits a mine and sinks in the Thames Estuary in southern England.
  • Atlantic: The HMS LONDON and HMS BRILLIANT attack the German tanker ESSO HAMBURG 750 miles southwest of Cape Verde Islands, which is then scuttled by her crew.
  • Atlantic: In sea action off the Azores, the HMS NELSON and HMS NEPTUNE try to capture the German supply ship GONZENHEIM, but the crew scuttles her. Meanwhile, the HMS MARSDALE does capture the German tanker GEDANIA which is reused by the British, becoming the EMPIRE GARDEN.
  • Atlantic: Far west of France, German sub U-101 attacks the British ship TRECARRELL and once it is abandoned, the sub rams it so it will sink.
  • Atlantic: The British dredger ROBERT HUGHES hits a mine and sinks in Lagos Harbor, Nigeria.
  • ETO - Netherlands: The former German Emperor and King of Prussia Kaiser Wilhelm II dies in exile at Doorn, Netherlands.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 56 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. The Luftwaffe night bombs the port of Alexandria in Egypt, killing 100 people. The Egyptian Cabinet resigns.
  • East Africa: Day 360 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,429 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1942 — , June 4

  • PTO - Midway: Day 1 of 4 of the Battle of Midway. Japanese carrier planes wipe out the initial US air attacks, but follow up attacks end up sinking the KAGA, HIRYU, AKAGI and SORYU. The USS YORKTOWN in damaged by a Japanese counter-attack.
    Spotlight...

    The carrier USS YORKTOWN under attack

    The badly damaged YORKTOWN would be finished off by a Japanese submarine on 07 Jun 42.

    By 10:30 am of the first day of the Battle of Midway, the Japanese fleet was no longer on the offensive and by that evening, what was left of the Japanese fleet was in full retreat. Over the next few days, a number of Japanese ships would be tracked down and sunk.

    As a result of the battle, Japan's plans for invading Fiji and Samoa were derailed. More importantly, the balance of naval power in the Pacific shifted decidedly from Japan to the United States. Soon after the battle, the US Navy would take the offensive in the Pacific war, not relenting until Japan's surrender three years later.

    Midway Related dates...

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  • Atlantic: Day 142 of 169 of Germany's Second "Happy Time," during which U-boats sink 609 Allied ships with little risk.
  • ETO: US 8th Air Force: The authorized strength for the Mighty Eighth is set at 3,649 planes.
  • Germany: Nazi SS leader Reinhard Heydrich dies of wounds received on 27 May 42 in Prague by Czech patriots who tossed a bomb into his open-top Mercedes. Reprisals against the Czechs are severe.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Hitler flies to Finland to meet with the Finnish head of state, Marshal Mannerheim.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 270 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 31 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 7 of 31 of Operation KREMLIN, a German diversion to trick the Soviets into thinking Moscow is their main objective instead of Stalingrad and the Caucasus.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 218 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula. The Luftwaffe continues pounding the town in preparation for a new offensive.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 10 of 27 of the Battle of Gazala. The Free French troops at Bir Hakeim, repel another Axis attack.
  • East Africa: Day 31 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar.
  • CBI - Burma: US 10th Air Force heavy bombers attack at Rangoon. This raid ends two months of harassing strikes against Rangoon as all heavy bombers become grounded by the monsoons.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,794 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 21 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: US 7th Air Force B-17s and B-26s fly patrols in search of the enemy invasion fleet. In morning action. two B-26s are lost while attacking the fleet. In the afternoon, more attacks are made hitting a battleship, a cruiser and a destroyer. Claim is that they also hit the burning carrier HIRYU.
  • PTO - Alaska: Japanese carrier planes attack Dutch Harbor in several waves. US 11th Air Force intercept the Japanese planes over Umnak Pass, shooting down three of them. During the afternoon, US P-40s engage more enemy fighters, costing each side one plane. This becomes the US 11th AF's first combat casualty.
  • PTO - Aleutians: A Zero crashes on tiny Akutan Island. In five weeks it will be recovered by the US and studied to unlock its secrets.
  • PTO - Australia: Day 5 of 9 of the Battle at Sydney Harbor.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 106 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.

1943 — , June 4

  • USA: Day 5 of 9 of the Los Angeles Zoot Suit Riots. Following up on last night's incident, 200 US Navy personnel get a convoy of 20 taxicabs and head for downtown. When the sailors spot their first victims, most of them 12 to 13 year-old boys, they club the boys and any adults who try to stop them. They strip boys of their zoot suits and burn their tattered clothes in a pile. They are determined to attack and strip all minorities that they come across wearing zoot suits.
  • Argentina: A military coup takes place with the army occupying Buenos Aires, forcing the president to resign. After the coup, Argentina will break relations with the axis powers. Wanting to be attached to the winning side, like several Latin American states, Argentina will make a late declaration of war against Germany in 1944 with no intention of providing any military forces.
  • ETO - UK: The London Times includes in a report of Royal Navy casualties the name of "Major W. Martin" as part of the deception of Operation MINCEMEAT to fool Germany into believing that an Allied invasion of Greece will be coming instead of Sicily.
    Spotlight...

    The Times of June 4, 1943 reports the death of Major Martin

    This bogus announcement was the only appearance in a newspaper of the deception of Operation MINCEMEAT. It is a tiny part of the overall ruse, yet indicative of the level of detail that was crafted throughout the operation.

    It was also one of a tiny handful of incidents where The Times printed misinformation, though it is doubtful they had any knowledge of it having been falsified. They would merely have printed what was supplied to them by the appropriate department within the Royal Navy.

    Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda and fluent in English, read the London Times every day. He may have had doubts about information he read, which he noted on occasion in his private diary, but didn't express anything regarding this.

    Adolf Hitler was absolutely convinced of the veracity of the bogus documents planted on "Major Martin" and set about reinforcing his own concerns for the region. He disagreed with Benito Mussolini, who believed Sicily would be the most likely invasion point, and insisted that any attack against Sicily would be a feint.

    The deception of Operation MINCEMEAT was, perhaps, history's greatest act of wartime deception.

    Related dates in Operation MINCEMEAT...

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  • ETO - UK: The British House of Commons refuses to lift the economic blockade against occupied Europe.
  • Germany: A Luxembourg national working at Peenemünde in Germany reports to the UK the presence of a 10-meter-long rocket which is fueled by "bottles containing gas."
  • Russian Front - North: Day 635 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 396 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - North: The Luftwaffe bombs the tank factory in Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod), Russia.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 14 of 20 of the naval and aerial bombardment of Pantelleria Island.
  • MTO - Italy: US 9th Air Force B-24s attack Grottaglie Airfield, leaving hangars and other building in flames.
  • MTO - Italy: US 12th Air Force RAF Wellingtons night bomb Syracuse in Sicily, Catanzaro in Italy and Pantelleria Island. During the day, US planes hit Pantelleria again.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,159 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO: Day 9 of 47 adrift in a raft for the survivors of B-24 GREEN HORNET that crashed 850 miles from Hawaii. The ten men that on 27 May 43 went down 850 miles west of Hawaii are declared missing at sea and presumed dead. Of the three survivors, one is Olympic star Louis Zamperini.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 363 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. US 11th Air Force bombs North Head, Main Camp and Little Kiska Island.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 44 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.

1944 — , June 4

  • UK: An 8th Air Force B-24 Liberator, taking off from its base at North Pickenham, Norfolk, crashes in the village of Garveston, killing the entire crew of 10 aboard. Firefighters rush from a nearby base at Shipdham to extinguish the flames when a bomb aboard explodes, killing two of the firemen.
    Spotlight...

    Smoldering wreckage at Garveston, 04 Jun 44

    Preparations were at a critical stage for the D-Day invasion, still scheduled for the following morning (soon to be postponed another day). At North Pickenham airfield in Norfolk where the 492nd Bomb Group was based, the Sachtleben Crew 607 took off in their B-24H Liberator at about 5:30 pm to bomb the airfield at Avord in central France in support of the invasion, one of 37 Liberators dispatched by the 492nd for the mission.

    As the bomber climbed to its cruising altitude and formation, an incident occurred, probably involving Sachtleben's B-24 and an unidentified aircraft that was not supposed to be anywhere near the area. While the details still remain unknown, it is generally accepted that Lt Sachtleben had to perform an evasive maneuver to avoid a mid-air collision and the severity of the action being outside the fully-loaded B-24's abilities, a wing tip separated and the aircraft stalled. It was last seen by the crew of another aircraft falling through the clouds upside down and it subsequently crashed next to a pair of cottages at Hardingham on the edge of the village of Garveston, killing the entire crew of ten.

    Upon hearing news of the crash, firefighters from nearby Shipdham airfield raced to the scene to assist in putting out the resulting fire and to rescue any survivors. While they braved the burning wreckage, one or more of the fragmentation bombs on board the aircraft exploded, killing two of the firemen, Pvt Ted Bunalski and Sgt Monroe Atchley.

    According to the official accident report, the true cause of the accident is unknown.

    The US airbase station 115 at Shipdham (44th Bomb Group) was located about 7½ miles due east of station 143 at North Pickenham (492nd Bomb Group) and 2½ miles due west of the village of Garveston (spelling mysteriously changed to Garvestone in 1958).

    8 of the 10 men of the Sachtleben Crew 607

    The Sachtleben Crew 607 (pronounced SACK-lay-ben) of the 856th Bomb Squadron, 492nd Bomb Group, had taken off from North Pickenham on their ninth mission (the 492nd's 16th mission) when their lives were cut short by the crash.

    The 2033rd Engineers Fire Fighting Platoon, attached to the 44th Bomb Group at Shipdham, was responsible for extinguishing fires that might occur when planes crashed. Private Bunalski and Sgt Atchley were posthumously awarded the Soldiers medal for heroism.

    The Memorial to the Garveston 12

    The tragic event of 04 Jun 44 had a profound impact on the residents around Garveston. In July of 2010, a Memorial project was initiated by local Michael Garrod during a Parish Council meeting to commemorate those who had died. As a young boy he could just recall the tragic events of that day and was aware that an ever decreasing number of village residents shared that experience. Remembrance of the tragedy was in danger of fading into obscurity.

    Volunteers came forward to not only construct a physical monument, but to learn about each of the twelve; who they were, where they came from and how their deaths broke the hearts of their loved ones back home.

    The memorial plaque was dedicated on the 6th of June, 2012 in the open space of the Garveston Village Hall. The cost of the memorial was met by the generous contributions of the people of Garveston and the surrounding villages as well as surviving relatives of the Garveston 12.

    Dates related to tragic air accidents...

    Note:

    Charles W Arnett

    Charles Arnett

    The 492nd Bomb Group has a special place in the hearts of brothers Paul and David Arnett, the two guys behind this ScanningWWII website. Their father, Charles Arnett, served in the 492nd BG as the pilot of a B-24 Liberator. He was shot down on his third mission and spent a year as a POW at Stalag Luft III where the "Great Escape" took place. It is because of our love for him that we developed a passion for WWII.

    Dates related to Charles Arnett...

  • Atlantic: Off Cape Blanco (West African coast) German sub U-505 is captured by the destroyer escort USS CHATELAIN along with its Enigma machine, code books and Zaunkönig acoustically-guided torpedoes. This marks the first time a US Navy vessel has captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.
  • ETO - France: In preparation for D-Day, the RAF carries out heavy night raids against German coastal batteries and fortifications in Normandy.
  • ETO - France: US 8th and 9th Air Forces attack airfields, highway bridges and coastal defense batteries in northern France in preparation for D-Day.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 124 of 191 of the Battle of the Narva Isthmus, Estonia. Both German and Soviet troops remain locked in their defensive positions.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 58 of 60 of the Battle of Romania, 1st Jassy Offensive.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 135 of 136 of the Battle of Anzio. The US 5th Army receives an enthusiastic welcome as they enter the capital city of Rome. President Roosevelt will announce it as "one down, two to go."
  • CBI - Burma: Day 92 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY. Monsoon season bogs down all operations.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 87 of 147 of the Battle of Myitkyina. US 10th Air Force provides air support. Monsoon season bogs down all operations.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 65 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support. Monsoon season bogs down all operations.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,525 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 49 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • CBI - India: Day 89 of 118 of the Battle of Imphal-Kohima.
  • PTO - Caroline Islands: US 7th Air Force bombs targets in the Truk Atoll at night.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 9 of 83 of the Battle of Biak. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 173 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 44 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 217 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , June 4

  • CBI - China: Day 2,890 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 65 of 91 of the Battle of Zhijiang. US 14th Air Force provides air support. Japanese troops continue pulling out of China.
    • Day 57 of 60 of the Battle of West Hunan (near Zhijiang). Japanese troops continue withdrawing from southern China.
  • PTO - Alaska: US 11th Air Force B-24s bomb the Kataoka naval base on Shimushu Island in the Kurile Islands.
  • PTO - Dutch East Indies: Day 35 of 52 of the Battle of Tarakan Island.
  • PTO - Japan: US 20th Air Force bombs the radio station on Chichi Jima Island and strafe the town of Okimura on Haha Jima Island during the return flight.
  • PTO - Japan: Day 65 of 83 of the Battle of Okinawa. US troops land on the Oriko peninsula.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 525 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 409 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. US 10th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 227 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 172 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 87 of 159 of the Battle of Mindanao Island. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 79 of 135 of the Battle of the Visayas region. US 5th and 7th Air Forces provide air support.

1947 — , June 4

  • USSR: To stop petty theft, Stalin gets a new draconian law passed increasing penalties for economic crime. Over the next 5 years, one and a half million desperate or hungry Russians will be sent to concentration camps for minor crimes such as shoplifting.

Day-By-Day listings for June 4 were last modified on Sunday, January 31, 2016
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