WWII Day-By-Day
Selected: October 23
       Overview of WWII on October 23 by year...

1931 — , October 23

  • CBI - China: Day 36 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.

1936 — , October 23

  • Spain: Day 99 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 4 of 29 of the 1st Battle of Suiyuan.

1937 — , October 23

  • Spain: Day 464 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 109 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 72 of 106 of the 2nd Battle of Shanghai.
    • Day 53 of 70 of the Battle of Taiyuan.

1938 — , October 23

  • Spain: Day 829 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 474 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 135 of 139 of the Battle of Wuhan.
    • Day 12 of 81 of Japan's Operation GUANGDONG.

1939 — , October 23

  • CBI - China: Day 839 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1940 — , October 23

  • ETO - UK: Day 48 of 258 of the Blitz.
  • ETO - UK: Day 106 of 114 of the Battle of Britain. The RAF continue its attacks on Berlin.
  • East Africa: Day 136 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,205 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 344 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 23 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1941 — , October 23

  • ETO - Germany: Nazis forbid emigration of Jews from the Reich.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 117 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 115 of 140 of Operation ARCTIC FOX, a joint German-Finnish campaign against Soviet Northern Front defenses at Salla, Finland.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 124 of 164 of the Battle of Hanko. The Soviets will be forced off their leased naval base.
  • Russian Front: Day 124 of 167 of Germany's Operation BARBAROSSA.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 46 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 22 of 98 of the Battle of Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 4 of 5 of the 1st Battle of Kharkov, Ukraine.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 197 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk.
  • East Africa: Day 501 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,570 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1942 — , October 23

  • MTO - Egypt: Day 1 of 20 of the 2nd Battle of El Alamein. The British 8th Army launches Operation LIGHTFOOT and gains a six-mile front and repulses Axis counter-attacks, thanks in great part to stage magician Jasper Maskelyne and his "Magic Gang" who brilliantly deceive the Germans into thinking that the attack would be coming thirty miles south via a phantom army.

    Jasper Maskelyne

    A British stage magician popular in the 1930's and 40's, Maskelyne decided that his skills could be used to help the Allies defeat Hitler and his Nazi Empire. The higher ups in the British Army, however, did not see the how a stage magician could help win the war. Maskelyne called together several officers of the Royal Engineers for a demonstration of his abilities, where he made a German battleship appear on the Thames River from thin air. Needless to say, they were impressed.

    Maskelyne was deployed to North Africa where his skills as an illusionist proved invaluable. Using plywood and inflatable materials his "Magic Gang" constructed thousands of fake tanks, aircraft, and ships. Through the use of models and mirrors he made whole armies and fleets appear and disappear, often confusing German forces to the point of frustration.

    His finest hour came when he was asked to convince Field Marshal Erwin Rommel that the Eighth Army was in the south of the Egyptian desert and that an attack would come up from there and not from the north. He was tasked with concealing 150,000 men with 1,000 guns and tanks. Montgomery then attacked in the north, smashing Rommel's army and forcing him to retreat back to Tunisia.

    A "sunshield" fitted over a British tank

    Maskelyne and his "Magic Gang" managed to cleverly fool the Germans with this and other ingenious methods of camouflage.

    During the Africa campaign, German aircraft began to bomb key points in Egypt such as Cairo, Alexandria, and the Suez Canal. This was very troubling, since Egypt was the headquarters of the British Army in Africa, and the Suez Canal was the lifeline of the British Empire to India.

    Maskelyne's deceptions would prove to be the greatest in his career when he created a miniature version of the entire harbor at Alexandria for Luftwaffe bombers to target and attack at night. At an altitude of 8,000 feet, a pilot's sense of scale of the ground below can be completely unreliable, making a small-scale version of the harbor look absolutely real. It is not unlike how a skydiver will perceive the ground below as motionless until he falls to a point where the ground will suddenly rush up at him. Prior to reaching that point, he has no sense of scale on the ground below.

    Related dates (Battles of El Alamein)...

    Related dates (wartime deception)...

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  • Russian Front - North: Day 411 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 172 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 118 of 150 of Germany's CASE BLUE, the failed offensive to take the Caucasus oil fields.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 62 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, bloodiest battle in human history.
  • MTO - Italy: The RAF launches bombing raids against Genoa and Turin.
  • East Africa: Day 172 of 186 of the Battle of Madagascar.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,935 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 139 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands. The US and Canada will defeat the Japanese invaders.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 247 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island, a long guerrilla war ending in Japanese victory.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 95 of 119 of the Battle of the Kokoda Track. The Australians continue pushing back the Japanese troops.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 78 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

1943 — , October 23

  • Atlantic: In the largest disaster to overtake British naval forces in the English Channel during WWII, a German torpedo flotilla sinks the Royal Navy cruiser HMS CHARYBDIS and the destroyer HMS LIMBOURNE, with the loss of over 500 men.

    Royal Navy cruiser HMS CHARYBDIS

    In late 1943, British authorities were aware of the approach of the German blockade runner MÜNSTERLAND, which was carrying an important cargo of latex and strategic metals. The Germans had a well-rehearsed procedure for escorting such vessels. The British reacted by executing a standard operation whereby available ships would attempt to intercept. The Channel duel began.

    HMS CHARYBDIS was hit on the port side by two torpedoes fired by the German torpedo boats T-23 and T-27. HMS LIMBOURNE was also hit during this action and was later scuttled by HMS ROCKET. The German force escaped unharmed. Charybdis sank within half an hour. The Münsterland was eventually forced ashore and destroyed on 21 Jan 44 west of Cap Blanc Nez by fire from British coastal artillery.

  • Russian Front - North: Day 776 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 537 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 61 of 122 of the Battle of the Lower Dnieper River, USSR. Soviets capture Melitopol.
  • MTO - Italy: US 12th Air Force B-26s bomb at Cancello Arnone and northeast of Capua.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,300 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 35 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 32 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula.

1944 — , October 23

  • PTO - Philippines: Day 1 of 4 of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which is considered to be the largest naval battle of WWII and, by some criteria, the largest naval battle in history.

    The Four Battles of the Battle of Leyte Gulf

    The 4-day Battle of Leyte Gulf consisted of four separate naval engagements, as well as other actions, between the opposing forces:
    1) the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea,
    2) the Battle of Surigao Strait,
    3) the Battle of Cape Engaño and
    4) 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.

    The crew of ZUIKAKU salute as the flag is lowered, and she ceases to be the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Navy

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  • ETO - France: Day 84 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - Belgium: Day 52 of 62 of the liberation of Belgium.
  • ETO - Belgium: Day 22 of 38 of the Battle of the Scheldt Estuary.
  • ETO - France: Day 39 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 35 of 145 of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s hit targets in Germany.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 39 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 17 of 23 of the Petsamo-Kirkenes Offensive. The Soviets will drive the Germans out of the Arctic region in northern Scandinavia. Soviet troops are advancing in Norway.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 40 of 41 of the Battle of Riga, Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 9 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 2 of 99 of the Siege of Memel, a border town of Lithuania and East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 40 of 72 of the Battle into East Prussia and northern Poland.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 8 of 15 of the Battle of Goldap, East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 18 of 24 of the Battle of Debrecen, Hungary. The 3rd Panzer Korps begins a six day counter-attack around Debrecen.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 40 of 72 of the Battle of Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
  • MTO: US 15th Air Force B-17s bomb targets in Czechoslovakia and Austria while B-24s attack targets in Italy.
  • MTO - Italy: US 12th Air Force provides air cover for the Allied troops pushing through the Gothic line.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 206 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive in Burma.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,666 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 190 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 314 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 185 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
  • PTO - Palau Islands: Day 39 of 74 of the Battle of Peleliu (Operation STALEMATE II).
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 4 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 4 of 73 of the Battle of Leyte.

Day-By-Day listings for October 23 were last modified on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
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