CBI - China: Day 90 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.
1936 — , December 16
Spain: Day 153 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
1937 — , December 16
Spain: Day 518 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 163 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 8 of 54 of the Battle of Nanking.
Day 4 of 50 of the Rape of Nanking.
1938 — , December 16
Spain: Day 883 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
CBI - China: Day 528 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 66 of 81 of Japan's Operation GUANGDONG.
1939 — , December 16
Finland: Day 17 of 105 of the Russo-Finnish War. The Soviets launch heavy attacks against Summa.
CBI - China: Day 893 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 32 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.
1940 — , December 16
ETO - UK: Day 102 of 258 of the Blitz. RAF bombers attack Mannheim, Germany in revenge for the attacks on British cities.
MTO - North Africa: Day 8 of 63 of the UK's Operation COMPASS, their campaign in North Africa against the Italian troops in Egypt and Libya. Sollum, Egypt, is captured by the British troops.
East Africa: Day 190 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
CBI - China: Day 1,259 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
CBI - Thailand: Day 77 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).
1941 — , December 16
Russian Front - North: Day 100 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - Center: Day 76 of 98 of the Battle of Moscow.
Russian Front - South: Day 48 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
MTO - Libya: Day 251 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. Rommel orders a retreat from the Gazala line to El Agheila.
CBI - Burma: Day 3 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 1,624 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 9 of 18 of the Battle of Hong Kong. Japanese artillery and aircraft continue pounding Hong Kong.
CBI - Malaya: Day 9 of 55 of the Battle of British Malaya. Japanese troops land in Sarawak and Brunei.
PTO - Marshall Islands: Day 9 of 17 of the Battle of Wake Island, aka the Alamo of the Pacific.
PTO - Philippines: Day 9 of 152 of the 1st Battle of the Philippines. Japanese troops continue landing throughout the Philippines.
PTO - Borneo: Day 1 of 107 of the Battle of Borneo. Japanese troops land on Penang Island off the eastern coast of Malaya.
1942 — , December 16
Russian Front - North: Day 465 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 28 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 226 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 22 of 26 of the 2nd Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia, launched by the Soviets as Operation MARS.
Russian Front - Center: Day 22 of 22 of the Battle of Belyi, Russia. The battle ends in a stalemate, but has succeeded in keeping German troops from going on to Stalingrad.
Russian Front - Center: Day 22 of 29 of the Battle of Molodoi Tud River, Russia.
Russian Front - South: Day 117 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, bloodiest battle in human history.
Russian Front - South: Day 5 of 12 of Germany's Operation WINTER STORM, another failed attempt to take Stalingrad.
Russian Front - South: Day 5 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. Soviets defeat the Italian troops on the River Don.
MTO - Tunisia: Day 30 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.
CBI - China: Day 1,989 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
PTO - Alaska: Day 193 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
PTO - Malaya: Day 301 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island, a long guerrilla war ending in Japanese victory.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 28 of 66 of the Battle of Buna-Gona.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 132 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal.
1943 — , December 16
ETO - Germany: US 8th Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb at Bremen.
ETO - Germany: Day 29 of 135 of the Battle of Berlin (RAF bombing campaign). German night fighters are successfully directed to intercept the 483 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitos in the attack force. 25 Lancasters are lost. The cumulative effect of the bombing campaign has now made more than a quarter of Berlin's total living accommodation unusable.
Germany: The chief surgeon at Auschwitz reports that 106 castration operations have been performed.
Russian Front - North: Day 830 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian Front - North: Day 591 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 115 of 122 of the Battle of the Lower Dnieper River, USSR.
MTO - Yugoslavia: US 12th Air Force bombs at Zara, Sibenik and on the Peljesac Peninsula.
MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support for the Allied ground units.
CBI - China: Day 2,354 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Day 45 of 49 of the Battle of West Changde.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 89 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 86 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula.
PTO - New Guinea: Day 2 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 46 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands.
1944 — , December 16
ETO - Belgium: Day 1 of 41 of the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German counter-offensive in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium and the largest and bloodiest battle fought on the western front in World War II. It will continue until 25 Jan 45.
There are several American names for this battle. The first was the description given to the way the Allied front line bulged inward on wartime news maps, which was reported in the contemporary press as the "Battle of the Bulge." The battle was militarily defined as the "Ardennes Counteroffensive," which included the German drive and the American effort to contain and defeat it.
Following the war, the US Army issued a campaign citation for its units fighting in northwest Europe at the time. This was called the "Ardennes-Alsace" campaign and included the Ardennes sector (of the Ardennes Counteroffensive fighting) and units further south in the Alsace sector. The latter units were not involved except for elements sent northward as reinforcements. While the Ardennes Counteroffensive is correct military parlance, because the official Ardennes-Alsace campaign covers much more than the Ardennes battle region, the most popular description remains simply the Battle of the Bulge.
Germany's goal for these operations was to split the British and American Allied line in half, capture Antwerp and then proceed to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers' favor. Once accomplished, Hitler could then fully concentrate on the eastern theatre of war.
The offensive was planned with the utmost secrecy, minimizing radio traffic and moving troops and equipment under cover of darkness. Although Ultra suggested a possible attack and the Third US Army's intelligence staff predicted a major German offensive, the Allies were still caught by surprise. This was achieved by a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with their own offensive plans and poor aerial reconnaissance.
In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left severely depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line. For the Americans, with about 610,000 men committed and some 89,000 casualties, including 19,000 killed, the Battle of the Bulge was the largest and bloodiest battle fought on the western front in World War II.
16 Dec 44: Battle of the Bulge begins
17 Dec 44: Atrocities against American POWs at Malmedy and Wereth
20 Dec 44: German advance starts running out of gas
22 Dec 44: Gen McAuliffe says "Nuts!" to German surrender ultimatum
24 Dec 44: Belgian nurse is presumed killed in Bastogne
26 Dec 44: Patton's 10th Armored relieves besieged 101st Airborne
25 Jan 45: All lost ground is recovered, Battle of the Bulge ends