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Selected: December 15
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1931 — , December 15

  • CBI - China: Day 89 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.

1936 — , December 15

  • Spain: Day 152 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1937 — , December 15

  • Spain: Day 517 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 162 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 7 of 54 of the Battle of Nanking.
    • Day 3 of 50 of the Rape of Nanking.

1938 — , December 15

  • Spain: Day 882 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 527 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 65 of 81 of Japan's Operation GUANGDONG.

1939 — , December 15

  • Atlantic: The Uruguayan government gives the German pocket battleship GRAF SPEE 36 hours to leave harbor.
  • ETO: A fifth British division arrives in France.
  • Finland: Day 16 of 105 of the Russo-Finnish War. In southern Finland at the east end of the Mannerheim line, the Soviets launch heavy attacks against Finnish troops defending Taipale.
  • CBI - China: Day 892 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 31 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.

1940 — , December 15

  • ETO - UK: Day 101 of 258 of the Blitz. Sheffield is hit hard, as it was on the night of the 12th, known together as the Sheffield Blitz.
  • MTO - North Africa: Day 7 of 63 of the UK's Operation COMPASS, their campaign in North Africa against the Italian troops in Egypt and Libya.
  • East Africa: Day 189 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,258 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 76 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1941 — , December 15

  • USA: The Secretary of the Navy tells Congress that 2,729 were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 99 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 75 of 98 of the Battle of Moscow. Klin is recaptured by the Soviet Army.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 47 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 250 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. British 8th Army attacks the German and Italian positions at Gazala. Rommel, fearful that the British will outflank him, orders a retreat. Other German units overrun British troops en route to re-enforce Point 204 and then try to take it, only to be repulsed by tough a Indian defense.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 2 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. Japanese troops move into southern Burmese territory on the Kra Isthmus and seize Victoria Point, which had been vacated by the British two days earlier.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,623 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 8 of 18 of the Battle of Hong Kong. Japanese artillery and aircraft pound Hong Kong in an attempt to soften it up.
  • CBI - Malaya: Day 8 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya.
  • PTO: The first Japanese merchant ship is sunk by a US submarine.
  • PTO - Marshall Islands: Day 8 of 17 of the Battle of Wake Island, aka the Alamo of the Pacific.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 8 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines. Japanese troops continue landing throughout the Philippines.

1942 — , December 15

  • Russian Front - North: Day 464 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 27 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 225 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 21 of 26 of the 2nd Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia, launched by the Soviets as Operation MARS.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 21 of 22 of the Battle of Belyi, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 21 of 29 of the Battle of Molodoi Tud River, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 116 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, bloodiest battle in human history.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 4 of 12 of Germany's Operation WINTER STORM, another failed attempt to take Stalingrad.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 4 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 29 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. US 12th Air Force provides Allied air support.
  • MTO - Libya: US 9th Air Force provides Allied air support.
  • MTO - Italy: US 9th Air Force RAF Liberators night bomb the harbor at Naples.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,988 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 192 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 300 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island, a long guerrilla war ending in Japanese victory.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 27 of 66 of the Battle of Buna-Gona.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 131 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

1943 — , December 15

  • Russian Front: All four Germans charged with war crimes trial at Kharkov plead guilty. One of the defendants says that more than 30,000 Russian citizens were exterminated at Kiev.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 829 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 590 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 114 of 122 of the Battle of the Lower Dnieper River, USSR.
  • MTO - Yugoslavia: UK, US and USSR break off diplomatic relations with the exiled Yugoslav government and recognize Tito's Communist Popular Liberation Committee as the Yugoslav government to be. US 12th Air Force bombs on the Peljesac Peninsula, near Mostar, and at Zemonico.
  • MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support for the Allied ground units.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,353 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 44 of 49 of the Battle of West Changde.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 88 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 85 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 1 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain. US troops land near Cape Gloucester on the Arawe Peninsula.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 45 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands.

1944 — , December 15

  • ETO: Famous bandleader Glenn Miller, whose music is among the most iconic of WWII, is reported MIA (Missing In Action) after his flight from the UK to Paris to play for troops there fails to arrive. No trace of the plane, crew or passengers is ever found. His status remains as MIA to this day.
    Spotlight...

    Major Glenn Miller conducting his orchestra at USAAF Podington (Station 109), August 25, 1944

    In 1942, at the peak of his civilian career, Miller decided to join the war effort, forsaking an income of $15,000 to $20,000 per week in civilian life.

    At 38, Miller was too old to be drafted and first volunteered for the Navy but was told that they did not need his services. Miller then wrote to Army Brigadier General Charles Young. He persuaded the United States Army to accept him so he could, in his own words, "be placed in charge of a modernized Army band".

    After being accepted into the Army, Miller's patriotic intention of entertaining the Allied Forces with the fusion of virtuosity and dance rhythms in his music earned him the rank of captain and he was soon promoted to major by August 1944.

    Miller initially formed a large marching band that was to be the core of a network of service orchestras. His attempts at modernizing military music were met with some resistance from tradition-minded career officers. For example, Miller's arrangement of "St Louis Blues March" combined blues and jazz with the traditional military march.

    Miller formed his 50-piece Army Air Force Band and took it to England in the summer of 1944, where he gave 800 performances.

    While in England, now Major Miller recorded a series of records at EMI owned Abbey Road Studios.

    Miller once stating on radio, "America means freedom and there's no expression of freedom quite so sincere as music."

    To this day, much of his work endures as iconic music of WWII.

    Related dates (Swing, Jazz & Big Band)...

    Related WWII Store items (Swing, Jazz & Big Band)...

  • ETO: First report of a "Foo Fighter" is included in an operations report of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron at an Air Base in France: "Saw a brilliant red light at 2000 feet going E at 200 MPH..."
    Spotlight...

    Four "Foo Fighters" caught on film, 1944

    The first report from the 415th Night Fighter Squadron...

    "Saw a brilliant red light at 2000 feet going E at 200 MPH in the vicinity of Erstein. Due to AI failure could not pick up contact but followed it by sight until it went out. Could not get close enough to identify object before it went out."

    The 18 Dec entry from the 415th Night Fighter Squadron...

    "In Rastatt area sighted five or six red and green lights in a 'T' shape which followed A/C thru turns and closed to 1000 feet. Lights followed for several miles then went out. Our pilots have named these mysterious [Illegible] which they encounter over Germany at night 'Foo-Fighters'."

    The term "foo fighter" was used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe various mysterious aerial phenomena seen in the skies over both the European and Pacific Theaters of Operation. The word "foo" was a nonsensical word from the vocabulary of popular screwball American comic strip character Smokey Stover.

    The objects were described as fiery and glowing red, white or orange. Some pilots described them as resembling Christmas tree lights and fireballs, as big as 300 feet and as small as 1 foot. The foo fighters could not be outmaneuvered or shot down.

    Witnesses often assumed that the foo fighters were secret weapons employed by the enemy, but they remained unidentified after the war and were reported by both Allied and Axis forces alike.

    During WWII, the foo fighter experiences of Allied pilots were taken very seriously. Accounts of these cases were presented to heavyweight scientists, but the phenomenon was never explained. Most of the information about the issue has never been released by military intelligence.

    Foo-Fighter and UFO related dates...

    Related WWII Store items...

  • ETO - France: Day 137 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 92 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 88 of 145 of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest.
  • ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s attack rail targets and an armored car factory.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 92 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 62 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 55 of 99 of the Siege of Memel, a border town of Lithuania and East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 48 of 108 of the Battle of Budapest, Hungary.
  • MTO - Austria: US 15th Air Force B-17s and B-24s attack targets at Linz, Amstetten, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Sankt Johannand, and Schwaz.
  • MTO - Italy: US and Royal Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground units.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 259 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive. The 19th Indian Division meets up with the British 36th Infantry Division at Indaw.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,719 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 243 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 354 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 238 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 57 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 57 of 73 of the Battle of Leyte. A third Japanese prison ship is mistakenly sunk by US planes off the Philippines, with less than half of the POWs surviving, of which were recaptured.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 1 of 244 of the Battle of Luzon. A US task force lands on Mindoro Island in the western Philippines without loss.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 35 of 41 of the Naval Battle of Ormoc Bay.

1945 — , December 15

  • USA: The permanent headquarters for UN is to be established in the US.
  • Japan: General MacArthur orders the end of Shinto as official religion of Japan.

Day-By-Day listings for December 15 were last modified on Thursday, January 28, 2016
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