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Selected: December 13
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1931 — , December 13

  • CBI - China: Day 87 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.

1936 — , December 13

  • Spain: Day 150 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1937 — , December 13

  • CBI - China: Day 160 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War and Day 5 of 54 of the Battle of Nanking. The former capital city of Nanking (Nanjing) surrenders to the Japanese, beginning Day 1 of 50 of the Rape of Nanking. Between 250,000 and 300,000 Chinese citizens will be sadistically murdered during the next six weeks.
    Spotlight...

    Japanese soldiers getting in a little live killing practice during the Rape of Nanking

    The Rape of Nanking, also known as the Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, was a mass murder and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanking (Nanjing), the former capital of the Republic of China. Widespread rape and looting occurred. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers were murdered by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. Historians and witnesses have estimated that 250,000 to 300,000 people were killed. It was one of the most terrible atrocities ever in recorded history.

    The event remains a contentious political issue, as various aspects of it have been disputed by some historical revisionists and Japanese nationalists, who have claimed that the massacre has been either exaggerated or wholly fabricated for propaganda purposes. As a result of the nationalist efforts to deny or rationalize the war crimes, the controversy surrounding the massacre remains a stumbling block in Sino-Japanese relations, as well as Japanese relations with other Asia-Pacific nations such as South Korea and the Philippines.

    Although the Japanese government has admitted to the acts of killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other violence committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after the fall of Nanking, a small but vocal minority within both the Japanese government and society have argued that the death toll was military in nature and that no such crimes ever occurred. Denial of the massacre (and a divergent array of revisionist accounts of the killings) has become a staple of Japanese nationalism.

    The events that took place are often referred to as "The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II."

    An article on the "Contest to kill 100 people using a sword" published in the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun

    The headline reads,

    "Incredible Record in the Contest to Cut Down 100 People: Mukai 106 - 105 Noda - Both 2nd Lts Go Into Extra Innings"

    This, perhaps the most notorious atrocity, was a killing contest between two Japanese officers. The contest - a race between the two officers (later executed for wartime atrocities) was to see which of them could kill 100 people first using only a sword - was covered much like a sporting event with regular updates on the score over a series of days. In Japan, the veracity of the newspaper article about the contest became the subject of ferocious debate for several decades starting in 1967.

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  • Spain: Day 515 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1938 — , December 13

  • Spain: Day 880 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 525 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 63 of 81 of Japan's Operation GUANGDONG.

1939 — , December 13

  • Atlantic: British cruisers, HMS ACHILLES, HMS AJAX and HMS EXETER battle and damage the German pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE.
  • Finland: Day 14 of 105 of the Russo-Finnish War.
  • CBI - China: Day 890 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 29 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.

1940 — , December 13

  • ETO - UK: Day 99 of 258 of the Blitz.
  • MTO- Greece: Hitler issues Operation MARITA, the plan for sending 24 German divisions to revive the bogged-down Italian offensive in Albania and set themselves up for the invasion of Greece.
  • MTO - North Africa: Day 5 of 63 of the UK's Operation COMPASS, their campaign in North Africa against the Italian troops in Egypt and Libya.
  • East Africa: Day 187 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,256 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 74 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1941 — , December 13

  • Russian Front - North: Day 97 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 73 of 98 of the Battle of Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 45 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 248 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. The British 8th Army attacks Gazala line, New Zealand forces are stopped at Alem Hamza, and, against all odds, Indian troops take Point 204 while destroying 15 of 39 Panzers.
  • PTO - Marshall Islands: Day 6 of 17 of the Battle of Wake Island, aka the Alamo of the Pacific.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 6 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,621 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 6 of 18 of the Battle of Hong Kong.
  • CBI - Malaya: Day 6 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya.

1942 — , December 13

  • Russian Front - North: Day 462 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 25 of 59 of the Battle of Velikiye Luki, near Leningrad. This stalemate does help ease the siege a little, but mostly it keeps German troops from being sent to other fronts.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 223 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 - Center: Day 20 of 21 of the Battle of Sychevka, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 19 of 26 of the 2nd Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia, launched by the Soviets as Operation MARS.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 19 of 22 of the Battle of Belyi, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 19 of 29 of the Battle of Molodoi Tud River, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 114 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, bloodiest battle in human history.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 2 of 12 of Germany's Operation WINTER STORM, another failed attempt to take Stalingrad.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 2 of 69 of the USSR's Operation LITTLE SATURN, a successful drive into the Northern Caucasus and the Donets Basin pushing the Axis troops out.
  • MTO - Tunisia: Day 27 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. Rommel begins retreating from his positions at El Agheila, as the British 8th Army continues advance into Libya. US 12th Air Force provides Allied air support.
  • MTO - Libya: US 9th Air Force P-40s fly strafing and bombing missions against ground forces which begin withdrawing from El Agheila during the early morning.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,986 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 190 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 298 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island, a long guerrilla war ending in Japanese victory.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 25 of 66 of the Battle of Buna-Gona. The Japanese make successful new landings north of Buna.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 129 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

1943 — , December 13

  • Russian Front: Well before the war ends, Soviets hold one of the first war crimes trials in Kharkov, Ukraine, where four Germans are accused of using specially equipped carbon-monoxide death vans to murder thousands of civilians.
    Spotlight...

    December 1943: War crimes trial in Kharkov, Ukraine,
    where four Germans are convicted of murdering
    thousands of Soviet civilians

    The three principal Allied powers, Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union, solemnly committed themselves to the punishment of those responsible for any and all war crimes. Immediately after the outbreak of World War II, when the first Nazi violations affecting noncombatants and prisoners of war surfaced, the Allies began to publish official notes, warnings, and declarations which stressed the responsibility of the Nazi regime for criminal acts. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Soviets also began to publish statements on the subject.

    Much earlier precedents for punishing war crimes can be found in ancient Greece and Rome, the Laws of Manu in India, the code of Bushido in Japan, the Old Testament and the Qur'an.

    On 13 Dec 1943, far before the end of the European War, Ukrainians put four Germans on trial in the city of Kharkov for using death vans to murder thousands of civilians with poison gas. Two days later, they all admitted guilty to the death of over 30,000 people. All four were executed on 19 Dec 43 in the city square. The execution was witnessed by 50,000 people.

  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force: Heavy bombers strike at Bremen and Kiel.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 26 of 135 of the Battle of Berlin (RAF bombing campaign). 16 Mosquitos are sent to Düsseldorf.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 827 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 588 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 112 of 122 of the Battle of the Lower Dnieper River, USSR.
  • MTO - Yugoslavia: US 12th Air Force B-25s bomb at Sibenik and Split.
  • MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support for the Allied ground units.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,351 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 42 of 49 of the Battle of West Changde.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 86 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 83 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 43 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands.

1944 — , December 13

  • ETO - France: Day 135 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 90 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 86 of 145 of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest.
  • ETO - Germany: German troops of 7th Armee withdraw into the fortified positions of the Westwall (Siegfried Line).
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 90 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 - Center: Day 60 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 53 of 99 of the Siege of Memel, a border town of Lithuania and East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 46 of 108 of the Battle of Budapest, Hungary.
  • MTO - Italy: US and Royal Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground units.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 257 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 30 of 31 of the Battle of Bhamo.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,717 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 241 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • PTO - Japan: The USAAF make their first damaging raid on Japanese industrial targets.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 352 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 236 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 55 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 55 of 73 of the Battle of Leyte.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 33 of 41 of the Naval Battle of Ormoc Bay.

Day-By-Day listings for December 13 were last modified on Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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