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Selected: October 20
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1931 — , October 20

  • CBI - China: Day 33 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.

1936 — , October 20

  • Spain: Day 96 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 1 of 29 of the 1st Battle of Suiyuan.

1937 — , October 20

  • Spain: Day 461 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 106 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 69 of 106 of the 2nd Battle of Shanghai.
    • Day 50 of 70 of the Battle of Taiyuan.

1938 — , October 20

  • Spain: Day 826 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 471 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 132 of 139 of the Battle of Wuhan.
    • Day 9 of 81 of Japan's Operation GUANGDONG.

1939 — , October 20

  • CBI - China: Day 836 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1940 — , October 20

  • ETO - UK: Day 45 of 258 of the Blitz.
  • ETO - UK: Day 103 of 114 of the Battle of Britain.
  • East Africa: Day 133 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,202 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 341 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 20 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1941 — , October 20

  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 114 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 112 of 140 of Operation ARCTIC FOX, a joint German-Finnish campaign against Soviet Northern Front defenses at Salla, Finland.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 121 of 164 of the Battle of Hanko. The Soviets will be forced off their leased naval base.
  • Russian Front: Day 121 of 167 of Germany's Operation BARBAROSSA.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 43 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 19 of 98 of the Battle of Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 1 of 5 of the 1st Battle of Kharkov, Ukraine.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 194 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk.
  • East Africa: Day 498 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,567 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1942 — , October 20

  • Russian Front - North: Day 408 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 169 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket, USSR lays siege to the Kholm Pocket but the Germans hold out for a about a year and a half.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 115 of 150 of Germany's CASE BLUE, the failed offensive to take the Caucasus oil fields.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 59 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, bloodiest battle in human history.
  • MTO - Libya: US B-17s hit targets of opportunity at Bardia.
  • MTO - Egypt: US B-25s and RAF warplanes attack enemy landing grounds behind the El Alamein front.
  • East Africa: Day 169 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,932 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 136 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. The US and Canada will defeat the Japanese invaders.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 244 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island, a long guerrilla war ending in Japanese victory.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 92 of 119 of the Battle of the Kokoda Track. The Australians continue pushing back the Japanese troops.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 75 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

1943 — , October 20

  • ETO - Poland: Polish Catholic social worker Irena Sendler is arrested for engineering the smuggling of 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto to safety.
    Spotlight...

    Irena Sendler

    Irena Sendler engineered and operated a group of compatriots who moved in and out of Warsaw's Jewish Ghetto dressed as nurses employed by Warsaw's Health Department.

    Even as they worked under the ruse of attempting to prevent and contain the spread of Typhus and Spotted Fever, Sendler and her brave friends emerged each time with the children of consenting Jewish parents. The children were sometimes medicated and concealed in boxes, suitcases and even coffins as a means of rescuing them from their imminent deportation to death camps.

    They were given new identities and placed with Polish families, orphanages, schools and convents to protect their safety. Sendler kept a hidden record of their birth names and where they were placed with the hope that they would some day be reunited with their own families.

    For Irena Sendler, a young mother herself, persuading parents to part with their children was in itself a horrendous task. Finding families on the Christian - so called Aryan side - willing to shelter the children, and thereby willing to risk being executed if the Germans ever found out, was also not easy.

    On 20 Oct 43 Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo. She was subjected to beatings and torture during which both of her feet and legs were broken, but not her spirit. She revealed nothing, but never again would she be able to walk without crutches.

    Sentenced to death, she was rescued by the Polish Underground organization Council for Aid to Jews, code-name Zegota, which, fearful that she would break down and reveal the location of the children, managed to bribe a guard to check off her name on a list of those already executed. As a result, she was listed on public bulletin boards as among those on whom a sentence of death had been carried out.

    Irena Sendler receiving the In the Service of Health
    medal from Poland's Minister of Health
    Warsaw, October 1958

    Righteous people and the saving of Jews from the Holocaust...

    Related WWII Store items...

  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force: B-17s and B-24s bomb targets in Germany.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 773 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 534 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket. USSR lays siege to the Kholm Pocket but the Germans hold out for a about a year and a half.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 58 of 122 of the Battle of the Lower Dnieper River, USSR.
  • MTO: US 12th Air Force B-17s, B-26s, B-25s and P-38s bomb targets in Italy and Yugoslavia.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,297 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 32 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 29 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula. Will result in an Allied victory.

1944 — , October 20

  • PTO - Philippines: Day 1 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, also known as the Liberation of the Philippines or simply the Philippines Campaign. It starts with Day 1 of 73 of the Battle of Leyte. US 6th Army landings on the east coast of Leyte begin and the 60,000 men sent ashore encounter stiff Japanese resistance. Within the hour enough beachheads are secured to allow Gen Douglas MacArthur to wade ashore and announce to the populace the beginning of their liberation.
    Spotlight...

    Gen Douglas MacArthur and staff wade ashore
    at Palo Beach, Leyte, 20 Oct 44

    "People of the Philippines, I have returned! By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

    US troops invaded the island of Leyte as part of a strategy aimed at isolating Japan from the countries it had occupied in Southeast Asia, and in particular depriving its forces and industry of vital oil supplies.

    The 4-day Battle of Leyte Gulf will begin on 23 Oct 44, consisting of four separate naval engagements, as well as other actions, between the opposing forces:
    • the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea,
    • the Battle of Surigao Strait,
    • the Battle of Cape Engaño and
    • the Battle off Samar.

    It will be the first naval battle in which Japanese aircraft will carry out organized kamikaze attacks. By the time of the battle, Japan has fewer aircraft than the Allied Forces have sea vessels, demonstrating the difference in power of the two sides at this point of the war.

    The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) will mobilize nearly all of its remaining major naval vessels in an attempt to defeat the Allied invasion, but it will be repulsed by the US Navy's 3rd and 7th Fleets. The IJN will fail to achieve its objective, suffer very heavy losses, and never afterward sail into battle in comparable force. The majority of its surviving heavy ships, deprived of fuel, will remain in their bases for the rest of the Pacific War.

    Douglas MacArthur related dates...

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  • ETO - France: Day 81 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - Belgium: Day 49 of 62 of the liberation of Belgium.
  • ETO - Belgium: Day 19 of 38 of the Battle of the Scheldt Estuary.
  • ETO - France: Day 36 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 32 of 145 of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s hit targets inside Germany.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 37 of 72 of the Battle of Belgrade, Yugoslavia. The Red Army captures Belgrade while partisans capture Dubrovnik.
    Spotlight...

    Oct 44: Soviet Army on the streets of Belgrade after the city had been completely overrun by joint Yugoslav and Soviet forces.

    On 06 Apr 41, Yugoslavia was invaded from all sides by the Axis powers, primarily by German forces but including Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian formations as well. During the invasion, Belgrade was bombed by the Luftwaffe. The invasion lasted little more than ten days, ending with the unconditional surrender of the Royal Yugoslav Army on 17 Apr 41. The terms of the capitulation were extremely severe, as the Axis proceeded to completely dismantle Yugoslavia.

    The Yugoslav Partisans then arose as a revolutionary and resistance movement led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and commanded by Marshal Josip Tito. The Partisans' primary goal was to create a communist state in Yugoslavia and to this end they attempted to appeal to all the various ethnic groups within Yugoslavia by preserving the rights of each group.

    The objectives of a rival resistance movement which had emerged some weeks earlier, the Chetniks, were the retention of the Yugoslav monarchy, ensuring the safety of ethnic Serbian populations, and the establishment of a Greater Serbia through the ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs from territories they considered rightfully and historically Serbian. Relations between the two movements were uneasy from the start, but from October 1941 they degenerated into full-scale conflict. To the Chetniks, Tito's pan-ethnic policies seemed anti-Serbian, whereas the Chetniks' Royalism was anathema to the communists.

    After the war, a number of Partisan units, and the local population in some areas, engaged in mass murder against perceived Axis sympathizers, collaborators, and/or fascists. Infighting between various groups throughout the region began to heat up, but the Soviet Union stepped in to suppress their conflicts. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, they picked up right where they had left off. The results were horrendous.

    Related WWII Store items...

  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 36 of 223 of the Lapland War. Finland and Russia have joined forces to kick the Germans out of Finland's most northern province.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 14 of 23 of the Petsamo-Kirkenes Offensive. The Soviets will drive the Germans out of the Arctic region in northern Scandinavia. Soviet troops are in Norway.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 37 of 41 of the Battle of Riga, Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 6 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia. Germans will hold this area until the very end of the war.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 16 of 18 of the Battle of Memel, a border town of Lithuania and East Prussia. The Germans continue to hold the Niemen line to cover East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 37 of 72 of the Battle into East Prussia and northern Poland.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 5 of 15 of the Battle of Goldap, East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 15 of 24 of the Battle of Debrecen, Hungary.
  • MTO: US 15th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb at Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Italy.
  • MTO - Italy: US 12th Air Force medium bombers attack targets in the Po Valley.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 203 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive in Burma.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,663 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 187 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 311 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 182 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
  • PTO - Palau Islands: Day 36 of 74 of the Battle of Peleliu (Operation STALEMATE II).
  • PTO - Palau Islands: Day 34 of 36 of the Battle of Angaur.

Day-By-Day listings for October 20 were last modified on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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