CBI - China: Day 39 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.
1936 — , October 26
Spain: Day 102 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 7 of 29 of the 1st Battle of Suiyuan.
1937 — , October 26
Spain: Day 467 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 112 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 75 of 106 of the 2nd Battle of Shanghai.
Day 56 of 70 of the Battle of Taiyuan.
1938 — , October 26
Spain: Day 832 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 477 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 138 of 139 of the Battle of Wuhan.
Day 15 of 81 of Japan's Operation GUANGDONG.
1939 — , October 26
ETO - Poland: Forced labor decree issued stating all Polish Jews aged 14 to 60 have to work.
CBI - China: Day 842 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
1940 — , October 26
USA: First flight of the iconic North American P-51 Mustang long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber. With the addition of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, the Mustang will be transformed, giving it a performance that will match or better the majority of the Luftwaffe's fighters at high altitude.
P-51 Mustangs of the 375th Fighter Squadron, Eighth Air Force, mid-1944
With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the British government established a purchasing commission in the United States to acquire aircraft to supplement the Royal Air Force. This commission initially sought to acquire large numbers of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk for use in Europe. This plan proved unworkable as the Curtiss-Wright plant was unable to take new orders. As a result, North American was asked if their company could produce the fighter under contract. Rather than transition North American's assembly lines to the P-40, they suggested that they could have a superior fighter designed in less time.
The head of the British Ministry of Aircraft Production placed an order for 320 aircraft in March 1940. With this order in hand, North American designers began the NA-73X project to create a fighter around the P-40's Allison V-1710 engine. Due to Britain's wartime needs, the project progressed rapidly and a prototype was ready for testing only 117 days after the order was placed.
First flying on October 26, 1940, the P-51 utilized a laminar flow wing design which provided low drag at high speeds as well as a new radiator system which improved speed. While the prototype proved substantially faster than the P-40, there was a substantial drop in performance when operating over 15,000 feet. While adding a supercharger to the engine would have solved this issue, the aircraft's design made it impractical.
The US Army Air Corps approved Britain's original contract for 320 aircraft on the condition that they received two for testing. The first production aircraft flew May 1, 1941, and the new fighter was adopted under the name Mustang Mk I by the British and dubbed the XP-51 by the USAAC.
Possessing outstanding range and low-level performance, the RAF primarily utilized the Mustang for ground support and tactical reconnaissance. The initial order was soon followed by second contract for 300 planes which differed only in armament carried.
The fighter's high speed and performance made it one of the few aircraft capable of pursuing V-1 flying bombs and defeating the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.
During World War II, the P-51 was credited with downing 4,950 German aircraft, the most of any Allied fighter.
North American Aviation built 15,575 of these single-engine fighters during the 1940s.
ETO - UK: Day 51 of 258 of the Blitz. This one is the longest air raid so far.
ETO - UK: Day 109 of 114 of the Battle of Britain.
MTO - Italy: The Italians protest to the Greeks about their non-neutral attitude toward Italy.
East Africa: Day 139 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
CBI - China: Day 1,208 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 347 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
CBI - Thailand: Day 26 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).
1941 — , October 26
Russian Front - Finland: Day 120 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 118 of 140 of Operation ARCTIC FOX, a joint German-Finnish campaign against Soviet Northern Front defenses at Salla, Finland.
Russian Front - Finland: Day 127 of 164 of the Battle of Hanko. The Soviets will be forced off their leased naval base.
Russian Front: Day 127 of 167 of Germany's Operation BARBAROSSA.
Russian Front - North: Day 49 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - Center: Day 25 of 98 of the Battle of Moscow.
MTO - Libya: Day 200 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk.
East Africa: Day 504 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
CBI - China: Day 1,573 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
1942 — , October 26
ETO - Norway: Following a series of steps to demean and persecute Jews in Norway, their deportation to Auschwitz begins. Of some 775 rounded up, less than three dozen will survive.
Railway entrance to the infamous Auschwitz death camp
Because the Norwegian police and German authorities kept records of the Norwegian victims of Jewish background during the Nazi occupation of Norway, researchers have been able to compile information about them, reporting that between 28 and 34 survived the Holocaust following their deportation.
Jewish individuals were at first arrested, Jewish property was confiscated, Jews were ordered to report to local police stations and have their identification cards stamped with a "J" and fill in a lengthy form about their profession, holdings and family.
Based on the lists the police compiled, most Jewish adult men were arrested and detained in October 1942, and by November 26, women and children were also arrested for deportation. This is the only time in Norwegian history that Norwegian police had been ordered to arrest children.
UK: American Red Cross "clubmobiles" begin service in England. Affectionately called "Doughnut Dollies," the clubmobile women will be a source of tremendous morale-boosting comfort to war-weary troops through the end of the war.
A bus-converted clubmobile in England
In World War II the American Red Cross was asked by the US Armed Forces to provide recreational services to the servicemen in the various theaters of operation.
The Red Cross clubmobile was conceived by the Red Cross Commissioner to Great Britain, who wanted to put a service club "on wheels" which would reach the serviceman at his camp or airfield. Also, by having a club on wheels, the Red Cross was able to get around the army's request that servicemen pay for food. Everything distributed on a clubmobile was free.
Clubmobiles were made from a variety of vehicles, from buses and 2½-ton trucks to jeeps and small trailers. The larger clubmobiles consisted of a good-sized kitchen with a built-in doughnut machine. A primus stove was installed for heating water for coffee, which was prepared in 50-cup urns.
Clubmobiles for the invasion...
Clubmobile staging area
Clubmobiles crossing the Channel
First clubmobile "Daniel Boone" lands in Normandy
On the beach for the "doughnut march" to the front
And, of course, the "Doughnut Dollies"
On one side of the kitchen area, there was a counter and a large flap which opened out for serving coffee and doughnuts. In the back one-third of the clubmobile, was a lounge with a built-in bench on either side (which could be converted to sleeping bunks, if necessary), a victrola with loud speakers, a large selection of up-to-date music records, and paperback books. A few "cinemobiles" were made, too.
Leading up to the D-Day invasion of Normandy, clubmobiles covered some 30 bases throughout England and docks at Liverpool, Greenoch, Scotland, and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Close to one hundred 2½-ton GMC trucks were made ready in England to follow the troops into France. Smaller jeeps would regularly stock up and drive dangerously close to the front lines of battle to provide coffee and doughnuts as close to the action as possible.
Each clubmobile group traveled with the rear echelon of the army Corps and got its assignments from the army for serving troops at rest from the front. The service continued through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, until V-E Day, May 7, 1945.
Because of the great difference in pay between American servicemen and their counterparts from other countries, particularly Great Britain, the army asked the Red Cross to make nominal charges for the food they provided. They resisted, but eventually instituted a small charge of 2 cents per doughnut. The fee outraged American GIs and the clubmobiles reverted back to everything being free of charge, although a bad taste had been left in the mouths of many that persists to this day.
Red Cross related dates...
05 May 19: League of Red Cross Societies formed in Paris
01 Jun 41: Services unified as "Services to Armed Forces" (SAF)
03 Nov 41: "Angels of Mercy" becomes official wartime song
26 Oct 42: Clubmobiles begin service in England
11 Nov 42: Rainbow Corner Club opens in London for servicemen
18 Aug 45: Blood program ends after collecting 13 million pints
29 Aug 45: Arrives in Japan to help rebuild Japanese Red Cross