CBI - China: Day 99 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.
1936 — , December 25
Spain: Day 162 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
1937 — , December 25
Spain: Day 527 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 172 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 17 of 54 of the Battle of Nanking.
Day 13 of 50 of the Rape of Nanking.
1938 — , December 25
Spain: Day 892 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 537 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 75 of 81 of Japan's Operation GUANGDONG.
1939 — , December 25
Atlantic: The admiralty announces the completion of a minefield, 500 miles long and 35 wide, down the east coast.
Finland: Day 26 of 105 of the Russo-Finnish War. In southern Finland, a fresh Russian division is thrown into the attacks at Taipale. In central Finland, the Soviet Air Force bombs 11 towns and villages.
CBI - China: Day 902 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 41 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
1940 — , December 25
ETO - UK: Day 111 of 258 of the Blitz.
MTO - North Africa: Day 17 of 63 of the UK's Operation COMPASS, their campaign in North Africa against the Italian troops in Egypt and Libya.
East Africa: Day 199 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
CBI - China: Day 1,268 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - Thailand: Day 86 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).
1941 — , December 25
Russian Front - North: Day 109 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad. Despite increased supplies from the outside, 3,700 Russians in Leningrad starve to death on Christmas Day, bringing the total for the month to 52,000. The city will go on to be the most devastated in history.
Typical street scene during the 872 day siege of Leningrad
Historically and currently known as Saint Petersburg, Leningrad suffered a prolonged military operation undertaken by the German Army Group North. The Siege of Leningrad started on 08 Sep 41, when the last land connection to the city was severed. Although the Soviets managed to open a narrow land corridor to the city on 18 Jan 43, lifting of the siege would not take place until 27 Jan 44, 872 days after it began.
The two-and-a-half year siege caused the greatest destruction and the largest loss of life ever known in a modern city. Unparalleled famine in the Leningrad region came about through disruption of utilities, water, energy and food supplies, resulting in the deaths of up to 1,500,000 soldiers and civilians and the evacuation of 1,400,000 more, mainly women and children, many of whom died during evacuation due to starvation and bombardment.
The destruction and human losses in Leningrad exceeded those of the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Moscow and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.
Related WWII Store items...
Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944
Russian Front - Center: Day 85 of 98 of the Battle of Moscow.
Russian Front - South: Day 57 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
CBI - Burma: Day 12 of 164 of Japan's Invasion of Burma. The RAF and American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) shoot down 51 Japanese aircraft over Rangoon for loss of just 12 of their own.
CBI - China: Day 1,633 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 18 of 18 of the Battle of Hong Kong. After a seven day siege, the British defenders surrender to the Japanese.
Day 2 of 99 of the 3rd Battle of Changsha.
CBI - Malaya: Day 18 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya.
PTO - Philippines: Day 18 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines.
PTO - Borneo: Day 10 of 107 of the Battle of Borneo.
1942 — , December 25
Atlantic: HQ 24th Composite Wing is activated in Iceland to control all USAAF units on the island.
Russian Front - North: Day 474 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 37 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 235 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 126 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, bloodiest battle in human history.
Russian Front - South: Day 14 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 39 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. German troops retake Djebel el Ahmera. US 9th and 12th Air Forces provide Allied air support.
MTO - Libya: British 8th Army captures Sirte.
CBI - Burma: Day 5 of 104 of the 1st Battle of Arakan.
CBI - China: Day 1,998 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Alaska: Day 202 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
PTO - Malaya: Day 310 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island, a long guerrilla war ending in Japanese victory.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 37 of 66 of the Battle of Buna-Gona.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 141 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal.
1943 — , December 25
Russian Front - North: Day 839 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 600 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 2 of 113 of the USSR's Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in southwestern Ukraine.
Russian Front - South: Day 2 of 22 of the Battle of Zhitomir, Russia.
MTO - Yugoslavia: US 12th Air Force P-40s attack in the Peljesac Channel.
MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support for the Allied ground units.
CBI - China: Day 2,363 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 98 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 95 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 11 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 55 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands.
1944 — , December 25
ETO - Belgium: Day 10 of 41 of the Battle of the Bulge. The 2nd Panzer Division is just four miles from the river Meuse, southwest of Liege, but is stopped by the US 2nd Armored Division with British help. US 8th Air Force heavy bombers hit various targets along the Rhine River. Gen Patton sends a Christmas card to soldiers in the Third US Army.
Patton's 1944 Christmas card
The Christmas card appeared on the reverse side of Patton's famous "Weather Prayer" written by Chief Chaplain Monsignor Col James H O'Neill while at Third Army Headquarters, then located in the Caserne Molifor in Nancy, France.
Some 250,000 of these cards were printed and distributed to every man in the Third Army between 12 and 14 Dec 44. The 41-day Battle of the Bulge would erupt on 16 Dec 44 and the skies would indeed clear on 20 Dec 44.
Patton related dates...
04 Apr 41: Promoted to Major General (shows full promotions table)
06 Mar 43: Named the commanding officer of the US II Corps
ETO - UK: Ghost Ship: Unmanned B-24 BOLD VENTURE III on autopilot makes a somewhat smooth landing in a field in England after its crew bails out over Belgium and 300 miles away.
BOLD VENTURE III while at the 492nd BG, in the driver's seat is S/Sgt Lyle Ostrander, engineer of the Paul Crew 917
B-24 Liberator 42-50675 BOLD VENTURE III, on a mission to Germany with the 467th Bomb Group, 788th Bomb Squadron, was crippled by flak and fighters. When the plane caught fire below the flight deck, the pilot, Paul Ehrlich, himself wounded and his oxygen mask destroyed, deliriously engaged the autopilot and hit the alarm bell to signal the entire crew to bail out. But only the copilot and three others up front heard the signal and bailed out with him over German-occupied Belgium, where they were soon taken POW.
Though the fire soon blew itself out, the other five crewmen were completely unaware that anyone had bailed. Someone eventually went up front to find out why they were getting no response over the intercom to discover that there was no longer anyone aboard that could fly the plane.
The remaining men did figure out how to turn the B-24 toward the general direction of Allied-occupied territory, but doubted that the bomber could possibly make it across the Channel, which would be nearly impossible to survive. So they decided that once they got over France they would bail out.
A P-51 Mustang spotted the straggling Liberator and was prepared to escort it back to England when he saw the rest of the crew parachute out. Confused, the pilot headed back to base and filed a report. Two of the five crewmen were injured as they hit the ground, but eventually they all made it back to their base at Rackheath.
But the unmanned B-24 would not be content with a watery end in the Channel. It held on course across to England and inland over Kent. The Liberator continued over five counties until it ran out of fuel over the Herefordshire village of Vowchurch. With its bomb bay doors open and its landing gear up, it glided down to the village common and careened across, breaking up as it went until it came to a stop. The B-24 had flown without a man on board for more than 300 miles.
Meanwhile, the citizens of Vowchurch were all gathered around their wireless sets listening to King George's annual Christmas radio address to the British people when they heard the Ghost Ship landing right outside their doors. When they ran out and saw the broken up, yet somewhat intact Liberator, they sprang into rescue mode only to be surprised and very puzzled to find no one aboard.
Eventually the USAAF pieced together what had happened and sent a team out to salvage the aircraft. Small fragments of BOLD VENTURE III can still be found on the Common.
788th Bomb Squadron Commander James Mahoney's book "Reluctant Witness" has devoted an exciting chapter on the incident entitled, "Ghost Ship."