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Selected: August 17
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1936 — , August 17

  • Spain: Day 32 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War. Republican Catalan troops land on Majorca and by the evening have advanced eight miles inland from their landing place at Porto Cristo.

1937 — , August 17

  • Spain: Day 397 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 42 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 5 of 106 of the 2nd Battle of Shanghai. Japanese tanks stop a Chinese counter-attack at Shanghai. Meanwhile, the first group of American evacuees leave the international zone of Shanghai

1938 — , August 17

  • Germany: A new law requires all Jews to add either Sarah or Israel (depending on gender) to their names on all legal documents including their passports.
  • Germany: Hitler orders that guard duties at concentration camps will be carried out by the older members of the SS in time of war.
  • Spain: Day 762 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 407 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 68 of 139 of the Battle of Wuhan.

1939 — , August 17

  • Germany: The Germany military is ordered to supply the SS organization with 150 Polish Army uniforms.
  • CBI - China: Day 772 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 65 of 68 of the Battle of Tianjin.
  • CBI - Mongolia: Day 99 of 129 of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, a border dispute between the Soviet Union and Japan.

1940 — , August 17

  • Atlantic: Hitler announces that a total maritime blockade is to be placed around the British Isles and without warning will sink any neutral ships transporting cargo to Britain.
  • ETO - UK: Day 39 of 114 of the Battle of Britain.
  • MTO - Libya: British warships bombard the Italian ports in Libya.
  • East Africa: Day 69 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt. The 5th Indian Division is deployed to the defense of Sudan.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,138 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 277 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.

1941 — , August 17

  • ETO - Germany: The RAF night bombs the rail station at Duisburg.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 50 of 142 of Operation SILVER FOX, a joint German-Finnish campaign to capture the Russian port of Murmansk in the Arctic.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 48 of 140 of Operation ARCTIC FOX, a joint German-Finnish campaign against Soviet Northern Front defenses at Salla, Finland.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 57 of 164 of the Battle of Hanko.
  • Russian Front: Day 57 of 167 of Germany's Operation BARBAROSSA, the invasion of the USSR.
  • Russian Front - North: Army Group North captures Narva, Estonia, as they head to Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 1 of 23 of the Battle of Dukhovshina, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 25 of 38 of the Battle of Gomel, Belarus.
  • Russian Front - South: German Army Group South keeps pushing toward Stalingrad.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 10 of 70 of the Siege of Odessa, Ukraine. Romanian troops capture the water reservoirs and lay siege on Odessa.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 130 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk.
  • East Africa: Day 434 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,503 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1942 — , August 17

  • ETO - France: US 8th Air Force B-17s bomb a marshalling yard in Rouen. This is the first all-American bombing raid in Europe.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 344 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 105 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 19 of 64 of the 1st Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 51 of 150 of Germany's CASE BLUE.
  • MTO - Egypt: US B-25s bomb the stores, depot and tank repair shops at Matruh.
  • East Africa: Day 105 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,868 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 95 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.
    • The Karenko POW Camp near Hualien in eastern Formosa (Taiwan) is opened. Here the Japanese will hold high-ranking prisoners such as Generals Jonathan Wainwright and Arthur Percival.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 72 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
  • PTO - Gilbert Islands: Transported by two submarines, USS NAUTILUS and USS ARGONAUT, 211 US Marines attack the Makin Atoll, the first amphibious assault ever launched by submarine.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 180 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 28 of 119 of the Battle of the Kokoda Track. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 11 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal. US 5th Army Air Force provides air support.

1943 — , August 17

  • Canada: The first Quebec summit opens with Allied plans for the invasion of France being approved by Roosevelt and Churchill.
  • ETO - Germany: The RAF night bombs the German rocket research site at Peenemünde. Many people ignored the air raid warning, thinking it was another false alarm preciously given whenever Allied bombers just happened to be passing overhead.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force: On the first anniversary of US heavy bomber operations from the UK, B-17s bomb ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt.
    Spotlight...

    B-17s dropping incendiary bombs on Schweinfurt, 17 Aug 43

    The aim was to disrupt German aircraft production by removing the critical ingredient of ball bearings, half of which were manufactured in and around Schweinfurt.

    Following this raid, a temporary drop in aircraft production was evident, but the Germans rather quickly began building new factories, spreading them throughout the Reich and thus diminishing Schweinfurt's importance as a target. But, not knowing that, the Allies continued to direct bombing missions there.

    In total, Schweinfurt was bombed 22 times by 2,285 aircraft during WWII, including attacks by the US 8th and 15th Air Forces, night bombing by the British Royal Air Force, and a final tactical attack by the 12th Air Force on 10 Apr 45, the day before the US Army took the city.

    Schweinfurt burning, 17 Aug 43

    But it was the 14 Oct 43 "Second Raid on Schweinfurt" that would come to be known as "Black Thursday" due to very heavy losses of men and planes. It resulted in one of the greatest air battles of history. The 251 B-17s sent on that mission were attacked by the Luftwaffe on their way to Schweinfurt and again on their way back. Sixty Flying Fortresses and 600 men would be lost over enemy territory.

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  • Russian Front - North: Day 709 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 470 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 44 of 50 of the Battle of Kursk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 37 of 38 of the Battle of Orel, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 1 of 48 of the Battle of Bryansk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 11 of 57 of the 2nd Battle of Smolensk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 11 of 14 of the Battle of Spas-Demensk, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 5 of 6 of the 1st Battle of Dukhovshchina-Demidov, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 36 of 48 of the USSR's Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive.
  • MTO - France: US B-17s attack airfields in southern France.
  • MTO - Italy: Day 40 of 40 of the Battle of Sicily. RAF and US Air Forces provide air support. US troops secure Messina, thus the securing the entire island.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,233 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Indochina: US 14th Air Force B-24s bomb targets at Cau Lo.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 118 of 148 of the 2nd Battle of Lae-Salamaua. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 59 of 67 of the Battle of New Georgia. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 3 of 56 of the Battle of Vella Lavella. US 5th and 13th Air Forces provide air support.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 1 of 2 of the Naval Battle off Horaniu. The Japanese navy begins evacuating men off Horaniu and the US tries to stop them.

1944 — , August 17

  • ETO - UK: Day 66 of 86 of the V-1 "Buzz Bomb" offensive on Britain.
  • ETO - France: Remnants of the Vichy government flee for Germany as French Resistance forces begin taking Parisian strongpoints. Pétain and his staff are interned by Hitler while Laval's government resigns.
  • ETO - France: Day 24 of 29 of the Breakout Battle of Normandy. Allied Air Forces provide air support. Canadian troops capture Falaise and the German troops are close to being surrounded. Montgomery orders troops to seal the pocket. Meanwhile, US troops capture Chartres, Orleans and Chateaudun.
  • ETO - France: Day 17 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 3 of 32 of Operation DRAGOON, the Allied invasion of southern France. Allied troops are racing up the Rhone Valley.
  • ETO - France: Walter Model is appointed commanding officer of the German troops in France, replacing Günther von Kluge who was implicated in the bomb plot on Hitler. Model's job is to get his troops out of France.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 8 of 28 of the Battle of Tartu in southeastern Estonia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 21 of 32 of the Battle of Kaunas, Lithuania. The Soviets reach the East Prussian-Lithuanian border.
  • Russian Front: Day 2 of 12 of the German Operation DOPPELKOPF in Lithuania. This was mounted to restore the connection between German Army Groups North and Centre.
  • Russian Front - Center: The Soviets have now driven the Germans completely out Russia.
  • MTO: US 15th Air Force bombs targets in Yugoslavia and Romania.
  • MTO - Italy: Allied troops continue pressing the German line holding the Po Valley. Allied Air Forces provide air support.
  • MTO - France: US Air Forces bomb targets in southern France.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 166 of 166 of the UK's Operation THURSDAY. The Japanese withdraw from this section.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 139 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. US 14th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,599 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 123 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
    • The USS CROAKER sinks two Japanese oilers in the South China Sea.
  • PTO - Caroline Islands: US planes hits targets on Ponape Island.
  • PTO - Dutch New Guinea: Day 47 of 61 of the Battle of Noemfoor. Although the island has been declared secured, bitter fighting from Japanese continues.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 83 of 83 of the Battle of Biak. All Japanese resistance comes to an end.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 247 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US 13th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 118 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea. 5th Air Force provides air support.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 65 of 80 of the Battle of Lone Tree Hill.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 39 of 47 of the Battle of Driniumor River.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 291 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands. US 13th Air Force provides air support.

1945 — , August 17

  • USA: The US government drafts plans for the swift conversion of factories going from war back to commercial production, as predictions say that five million will be unemployed within the next six months and nine million within the next year. Chevrolet builds its last WWII military vehicle today and will have a full line of 1946 trucks available through Chevrolet dealers in May of 1946.
    Spotlight...

    1944 Chevrolet Ad

    Civilian production of automobiles ended on January 30, 1942. Chevrolet then produced over 500,000 trucks and cars for the military, 60,000 wing and fuselage components for the Grumman Aircraft Company, 2,000 90mm guns, 200 million pounds of aluminum forgings, 5.7 million pounds of magnesium castings and two billion pounds of gray iron castings. Other items included armored cars, 75mm shells, and aluminum castings.

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  • Atlantic: German sub U-977 arrives in Argentina and surrenders.
  • China: Three of the Emperor's family are dispatched to China to carry the news of cease-fire to the Japanese troops still fighting there.
  • Dutch East Indies: Sukarno, the pro-Japanese independence leader in the former Dutch East Indies proclaims a Provisional Indonesian Republic government on Java. This results in armed conflicts for the next four years.
  • France: The death sentence imposed on Marshal Pétain, former head of the Vichy French Government, is commuted to life imprisonment.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,964 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 9 of 25 of the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria.
  • PTO - Japan: Prince Naruhiko of Higashikuni is named the 43rd Prime Minister of Japan. Among the new government's first actions is to appeal to General MacArthur to help stop the Soviet offensive still going on.

1946 — , August 17

  • Poland: Darlowo, Poland (formerly Rügenwalde, Germany), begins a second round of deportation of its German citizens. By 1949 only about 70 ethnic Germans will remain in the town.

Day-By-Day listings for August 17 were last modified on Sunday, January 31, 2016
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