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February 1st, 1939 (WEDNESDAY)

GERMANY: Berlin: Hitler dismisses Wilhelm Vocke, a director of the Reichsbank, from office. (More...)

POLAND: On a visit by Ribbentrop, Beck 'made no secret of the fact that Poland had aspirations directed towards the Soviet Ukraine.' (Minute by Ribbentrop. German Foreign Policy, series D. v. No. 126)(177)(Kelvin Luther)

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1 February 1940

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February 1st, 1940 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: A veteran of the Great War commits suicide because he is too old to participate in this one.

10 Squadron RAAF is declared operational using Sunderland Mk1 aircraft, the first Commonwealth Squadron to be declared operational in the current war. (Daniel Ross)

Escort carrier HMS Activity laid down.

NORTH SEA: Swedish SS Fram sunk by U-13 at 57.43N, 02.06W.

At 2044, the unescorted MS Ellen M was torpedoed and sunk by U-59 NE of Lowestoft. The master and six crewmembers were lost.

U-10 had to abort patrol due to some technical problems and reached the German base at Heligoland.

FRANCE: The French 13e Demi-Brigade is consolidated at Pau in the Pyrenees to begin seven weeks of snow and mountain warfare. The Legion called for volunteers from the officers and men of the Algerian and Moroccan garrisons in early November 1939, specifically volunteering for hazardous duties in extreme climate. These volunteers were all carefully screened for their political beliefs and origins, and all to have had at least two years service. (Gordon Angus Mackinlay)

GERMANY: ObLtzS Helmut Rosenbaum is promoted to KptLt.

U-110, U-559, U-560 laid down.

Manstein appointed to command the German XXXVIII Armee Corps from a position of Chief of Staff at Army Group A, under Runstedt.

GIBRALTAR: The U.S. freighter SS Exminster is detained by British authorities at Gibraltar; the freighters SS Exochorda, detained since 30 January, and SS Jomar, detained since 31 January, are released. 

FINLAND: The USSR is reported to have lost 200,000 men in the campaign.
The Soviet armies begin their attack on the Mannerheim Line on the Karelian Isthmus. The failure of General Timoshenko's attempt to encircle Lake Ladoga from the north-east, does not prevent him from opening his grand offensive on both sides of the railway line from Leningrad to Viipuri. 

The day starts with a massive artillery bombardment, and all the day the Red Army troops probe Finnish positions with small units. This is no more the Red Army that assaulted Finnish positions with suicidal charges. The war goes on like this for more than a week, but the Finnish Army is just able to hold the Mannerheim line. For now.

The Times reports that paratroops are employed for this first time in the air war, during the Soviet army's attack on Summa, the weakest point along the Mannerheim Line. Soviet paratroops, formed into combat groups, drop behind the lines of the Finnish Army. However, this operation, though it involves units of up to battalion strength, turns out to be a fiasco. The Finns are on guard both at the front and behind the lines. They shoot some of the parachutists while they are still in descent, and capture others immediately after landing.

(No Finnish sources mention any of these alleged para drops, and neither -- it appears -- do the Russian ones.)

After more than a month of quiet trench warfare, the Soviet troops at Karelian Isthmus launch a new phase in the war. The day starts with a massive artillery bombardment, and all the day the Red Army troops probe Finnish positions with small units. This is no more the Red Army that assaulted Finnish positions with suicidal charges. The war goes on like this for more than a week, but the Finnish Army is just able to hold the Mannerheim line. For now.

JAPAN: Expenditure on defence is to account for half of the national budget.

Japan makes a diplomatic protest to the British government concerning the removal of 21 German nationals from the Japanese liner SS Asama Maru by British forces of the cruiser HMS Liverpool and demands they be returned.  (Jack McKillop & Ric Pelvin)

CHINA: Yenan: Mao-Tse-tung calls for the US to stand firm against Japan.

CANADA: Corvettes HMCS Collingwood, Orillia, Barrie, Galt, Moose Jaw, Battleford, Drumheller, The Pas, Cobalt, Kenogami, Algoma, Rosthern, Morden, Kamsack Oakville and Weyburn ordered.

U.S.A.: The US Army Air Corps activates the 31st Pursuit Group (Interceptor) and two of its three component squadrons, the 39th and 40th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor), at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Michigan; the third component squadron, the 41st, is activated at Bolling Field, Washington, DC. The three squadrons are initially equipped with Seversky P-35s and will be redesignated Fighter Group/Squadron on 15 May 1942.  (Bob Castle)
     The keel of the battleship Alabama (BB-60) is laid down at the Norfolk, Virginia, Navy Yard. 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt writes to the British First Lord of the Admiralty Winston S. Churchill, concerning the detention of U.S. merchantmen, and frankly informs him of adverse American reaction to the British policy. “The general feeling is,” Roosevelt informs Churchill, “that the net benefit to your people and the French is hardly worth the definite annoyance caused to us.” 
     The first National Broadcasting Company (NBC) network television program is transmitted from experimental TV station W2XBS in New York City to W2XCW in Schenectady, New York. 
     Frank Sinatra sings "Too Romantic" and "The Sky Fell Down" in his first recording session with Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra; the session is held  in Chicago, Illinois. Sinatra had replaced Jack Leonard as lead singer with the band. 

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1 February 1941

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February 1st, 1941(SATURDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Churchill asks the Minister of Economic Warfare about the feasibility of buying South American copper in order to deny it to the USSR and Japan and thus to Germany.

Minesweeping trawler HMS Hoy launched.

Monitor HMS Roberts launched.

FRANCE: Paris: A French version of the Nazi Party was formed in Occupied France today. It is called the 'Rassemblement National Populaire' (RNP) [Popular National Assembly], and its aims include "co-operation with Germany" and "protection of the race", that is, anti-Semitism.

Based near the Gare St Lazare, the German-sponsored RNP is led by Marcel Deat, and members include a veteran's leader, Jean Goy. So far, however, the French seem reluctant to join the new party.

GERMANY: Berlin: General von Funck reports to Fuhrer headquarters on his fact-finding mission to Libya and on the critical position of the Italian forces in North Africa.

U-764 laid down.

U-127 launched.

LIBYA: Aerial reconnaissance report long columns of Italian transport moving westwards to Barce and tanks are spotted entraining at Barce station.

ETHIOPIA: 2nd Lt Premindra Singh Bhagat (1918-75), Indian Engineers, was attacked and twice blown up in clearing mines for 55 miles. (VC)

General Sir William Platt's force captures Agordat, which guards the final approaches to Keren, taking 6,000 prisoners, 80 guns, 50 tanks, 400 trucks and what an official report described as "much material." This is after a three day battle. Italian troops under Lieutenant-General Luigi Frusci, Commander of the Eritrean Army, are falling back to the mountain positions around Keren. To the south Barentu has also been captured by the Indian troops, sealing the approaches to Keren.

Losses due to all causes as well as damage to aircraft means that the Italian Regia Aeronautica has eighty-two fighters and bombers available for operations, a drop of almost 40% in a month. (Mike Yared)(284)

JAPAN: Rice rationing begins.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: US War Department orders dependents to leave the Philippines. Sayre recommends American civilians return to the US. War Department vetoes plan to base heavy bomber force in the Philippines. 
MacArthur recommends to Marshall that entire Philippine Archipelago be defended.
(Marc Small)

TERRITORY OF HAWAII:  Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, former Commander Cruisers Battle Force, relieves Admiral J.O. Richardson as Commander in Chief U.S. Fleet (CINCUS) in the battleship USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) at Pearl Harbor. 

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: Construction of Fort Greely on Kodiak Island begins. The base is built as a coast defence base for the naval base on the island and is designed to accommodate 236 officers and 5, 592 enlisted men. 

U.S.A.: The Atlantic Fleet is formed under Admiral King and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel becomes C-in-C of the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor.

The U.S. Navy Department announces the reorganization of the U.S. Fleet, reviving the old names Atlantic Fleet and Pacific Fleet; the Asiatic Fleet remains unchanged. U.S. Marine Corps expansion occurs as the 1st and 2d Marine Brigades are brought up to division strength. 

The Navy's command structure was transformed. The Atlantic Fleet and Pacific Fleet were reestablished. These two fleets and, now, the Asiatic Fleet, constituted the United States Fleet, and one of the three fleet commanders would serve as CINCUS. Kimmel retained the title of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, along with his new title of CINCPAC. In his capacity as CINCUS he would hold supreme command if two or more of the fleets operated together. CINCUS was a somewhat theoretical position. Kimmel exercised no operational authority over the Atlantic and Asiatic Fleets in 1941, and I'm fairly certain that there was no CINCUS staff or headquarters distinct from his CINCPAC staff.  (Keith Allen)

     "Downbeat" magazine reports that Glenn Miller has signed a new three-year contract with RCA Victor Records. The pact guaranteed Miller US$750 a side. Considering inflation, the $750 in 1941 is worth US$9,146 in year 2002 dollars. 

The 1st Marine Division is activated aboard the battleship Texas. (Yannis Kadari)

Submarine USS Trigger laid down.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The heavy cruiser KMS Admiral Hipper sails from Brest.

At 2125, SS Nicolas Angelos was hit near the bridge by one torpedo from U-48 after being missed by a first torpedo at 2058. After the crew abandoned ship, the U-boat fired, from 2150 to 2215, 28 shells into the vessel, which caught fire and sank by the bow at 2304. Schultze observed that the survivors set sail in their lifeboat, but they were never found.

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1 February 1942

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February 1st, 1942 (SUNDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: London: RAF Bomber Command, despite being ordered last November to conserve its strength in order to launch a spring campaign, has kept up its attacks on Germany. Emden, Hamburg, Kiel and Mannheim were among the cities hit last month. Imitating the Luftwaffe's raid on Coventry, Wellington's loaded with four-pound incendiary bombs are lighting the way for other squadrons with high-explosive bombs. RAF bombers also attacked the KMS Scharnhorst and KMS GNEISENAU in nine night raids on Brest.

British intelligence suffers its most serious setback of the war when the Germans change the Enigma code used by their U-Boats. The British won't break this code, called "Shark," for a year, giving the Germans a major advantage in the Battle of the Atlantic. To make matters worse, the Germans break the British merchant ship code and now the Germans know where the British are, instead of vice versa. 

FRANCE: Paris: At a meeting in the Vélodrome d'Hiver, Jacques Doriot, speaks to a PPF crowd of 50,000, according to his parties estimate, 30,000 according to the Propaganda Abteilung. The crowd roared in turn for Hitler, Pétain and Rommel.

GERMANY: Tobacco rationing starts, with women receiving only half the male allowance.

U-952, U-1227 laid down.

NORWAY: Oslo: Vidkun Quisling is appointed minister-president of the Nazi puppet government on Hitler's orders. He appointed himself prime minister in 1940 when the Germans invaded; he lasted just six days, the Germans deciding that his conduct was creating more enemies than friends for them.

Now, however, with manpower shortages crippling war production, Hitler cares not whether Norwegians feel friendly; they must be rounded-up for war work, and Quisling is willing to do the job. After the installation ceremony in Oslo, he made his acceptance speech in German.

Hitler has been able to count on eager collaborators in the countries of Europe occupied by his armies since 1940. Some, like Anton Mussert of the Netherlands, are mediocrities impressed by talk of the Nazis' New Order; others, like the cynical and devious lawyer and former premier Pierre Laval, are opportunists. Still others, the Great War hero Marshal Petain among them, believe that only by collaborating can they save their people from persecution and privation.

Denmark was occupied in April 1940 and has produced at least six Nazi parties, all proclaiming their admiration for Hitler, while wrangling among themselves. In Belgium the old feud between Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-speaking Walloons produced rival Nazi groups, and the Germans have concentrated, with some success, on recruiting Flemings as SS volunteers. King Leopold was reviled for ordering the surrender of his troops in 1940, and in Belgian eyes he has further besmirched his name by paying a visit to Hitler. But he did so in an effort to secure better food rations for his people; he has stubbornly refused to collaborate.

U.S.S.R.: The Soviet Army continues its powerful offensive throughout February but with diminishing success as German resistance stiffens with the arrival of reinforcements. Further efforts to break through to Leningrad and Sevastopol are futile, but some success is achieved in other sectors. Soviet forces in the Crimea are reinforced. 

LIBYA: British General Sir Neal Ritchie, General Officer Commanding Eighth Army, orders a general withdrawal of 13 Corps, to the line Gazala-Bir Hacheim in order to avoid envelopment. The Indian 4th Division, which reverts to 13 Corps command, completes a withdrawal to the Derna line during night 1-2 February. 

SOUTH AFRICA: Two bombs are planted in Johannesburg. 

BURMA: Pilots of the American Volunteer Group (AVG, aka, “The Flying Tigers”) shoot down 16 more Japanese planes. 

SINGAPORE: The British defenders finally dig entrenchments, but because of the panic and retreat, there's no civilian labor. Daily air raids sap morale and impede work. After the daily attacks, Air Raid Precautions (ARP) trucks pick up bodies and dump them in communal graves. Aviation fuel is dumped instead of being used to set the Johore Straits afire. Singapore's defenses are being prepared at the last minute. 

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: On Bataan, the II Corps prepares to attack in Sector C to clear the enemy bridgehead from which Japanese continue to withdraw. I Corps continues its efforts to reduce pockets south of the main line of resistance with negligible success. In the South Sector, Philippine Scouts renew the battle against the Quinauan Point beachhead but progress is still limited. Scout casualties by this time are estimated at 50 percent. Japanese reinforcements for Quinauan Point are spotted, during the night of 1-2 February, and attacked by the remaining four P-40s of the USAAF Far East Air Force (FEAF), motor torpedo boats, and artillery and infantry weapons from shore. The Japanese are forced to land instead in the Anyasan-Silaiim area. 

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: The American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) “Combined Striking Force” is established with Rear Admiral Karel Doorman, Royal Netherlands Navy, in command. The force consists of two heavy cruisers, nine light cruisers and 24 destroyers. In reality, five of the light cruisers and 14 of the destroyers are obsolete and not fit for modern naval warfare. 
      On Ambon Island, the Japanese capture 10 Australian soldiers and bayonet them to death. The Japanese commander says the POWs would be "a drag" on his advance. 

PACIFIC OCEAN: Admirals Halsey and Fletcher lead US carrier air strikes when 92 planes from the US carriers USS Lexington and USS YORKTOWN launch attacks against Japanese installations on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.

USN Task Force Eight (TF 8) (Vice Admiral William F. Halsey Jr.), formed around the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), raids the Marshall Islands concentrating on Kwajalein and Wotje, with the heavy cruiser USS Chester (CA-27) bombarding Maleolap Atoll.

At Kwajalein, SBD Dauntlesses of Bombing Squadron Six (VB 6) and Scouting Squadron Six (VS 6) and TBD Devastators of Torpedo Squadron Six (VT 6) from USS Enterprise sink a transport and damage the light cruiser HIJMS Katori, submarine HIJMS I-23, a minelayer, an auxiliary netlayer, an auxiliary submarine chaser, a submarine depot ship, an oiler, a tanker, and an army cargo ship; in the bombing of shore installations, Rear Admiral SUKEYOSHI Yatsushiro (Commander Sixth Base Force) becomes the first Imperial Navy flag officer to die in combat when an SBD scores a direct hit on his headquarters.

Off Wotje, gunfire from heavy cruisers USS Northampton (CA-26) and USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) sink a gunboat while the destroyer USS Dunlap (DD-384) shells and sinks an auxiliary submarine chaser.

Japanese retaliatory air attacks by six Mitsubishi G3M, Navy Type 96 Attack Bombers (later assigned the Allied Code Name “Nell”) of the Chitose Kokutai (Chitose Naval Air Corps) on TF 8 results in damage to USS Enterprise (near-miss of a crashing land attack plane) and heavy cruiser USS Chester (by bomb dropped by carrier fighter).

Three SBDs are shot down over Roi Island by Mitsuibishi A5M, Navy Type 96 Carrier Fighters (later given the Allied Code Name “Claude”) and one “Claude” is shot down by a VS-5 SBD gunner. 

USN TF 17 (Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher), formed around aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5), raids the Gilbert Islands targeting enemy installations on Jaluit, Makin, and Mili.

Aircraft  from USS Yorktown cause less damage than the attacks on the Marshall Islands, due to a scarcity of targets at the objective; nevertheless, SBDs of VS-5 bomb and strafe a gunboat at Makin and destroy two Kawanishi H6K, Navy Type 97 Flying Boats (later assigned the Allied Code Name “Mavis”) at anchor, while SBDs of VB 5 bomb and strafe a cargo ship at Jaluit.

Rear Admiral Fletcher detaches three of his four destroyers to look for downed TBD of VT 5 reported in the water astern of TF 17.

During the search, a Japanese “Mavis” flying boat of the Yokohama Kokutai attacks (but does not damage) destroyer USS Sims (DD-409).

Soon thereafter, two F4F Wildcats of Fighting Squadron Forty Two (VF 42) splash the flying boat. The TBD crew, however, is never found in the prevailing poor weather. 

TF 11 (Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr.), formed around aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) supports the operations from the vicinity of Christmas Island in the Line Islands. 

CANADA: MFV HMCS Chamiss Bay requisitioned.

Minesweeper HMCS Blairmore laid down.

NEWFOUNDLAND: Corvettes HMCS Spikenard, Shediac and Louisburg departed St John's to escort Convoy SC-67.

U.S.A.: The USAAF activates the VIII Bomber Command at Langley Field, Virginia; VIII Interceptor Command at Selfridge Field, Michigan; and the IX Interceptor Command at New Orleans AAB, Louisiana. 

Great Meadows Penitentiary, New York: Mobster "Lucky" Luciano persuades his mob to co-operate with the US Office of Naval Intelligence. Joe "Socks" Lanza who controls the immigrant fishermen who supply the Fulton Fish Market enlists the fishing fleet to report the locations of U-boats. (Marc James Small)

Enlistees after this date were restricted to enlistment in the USCG Reserve. This was done to prevent having too many enlistees in the service at war's end.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: A serious setback to British fortunes in the BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC has taken place today. The U-boats in the Atlantic have adopted a new cipher, Triton, linking them directly to Admiral Dönitz's headquarters in Paris. Triton has an additional rotor to the three used in the normal Hydra cipher. Bletchley Park's Bombe, the decpihering machine developed by the mathematician Alan Turing for cracking the codes, only has three rotors and hence cannot tackle Triton. The change is not because the Germans know that the British are reading Enigma. They do not. Rather, it reflects Dönitz's wish to exert tighter control over the operations if his wolf packs so that they will sink more ships. Also, the ciphers used by the U-boats training in the Baltic (Tetis) and in coastal waters (Hydra) remain unchanged.

Hence the admiralty's submarine tracking room can still monitor each newly-commissioned U-boat and those entering and leaving the Bay of Biscay and Norwegian waters. The inability to read Triton means that the Admiralty no longer knows the intentions of the U-boats operating in the Atlantic. It will thus be more difficult to route convoys.

SS Tacoma Star torpedoed at 0330 380 miles short of Hampton Roads, where the ship was to join a UK-bound convoy. Apart from a distress signal, no other trace of the ship was found.

U-84 searched for survivors from blockade runner Spreewald, sunk in error by U-333.

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1 February 1943

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February 1st, 1943 (MONDAY)


Minesweeper HMS Shepparton commissioned.

Submarine HMS Subtle laid down.

Submarine HMS Surf laid down.

Escort carrier HMS Trouncer laid down.

GERMANY: Rastenburg: Hitler holds a military conference at which he accuses his generals of disloyalty.

Baron Maximilian von Weichs, Ewald von Kleist and Ernst Busch are  promoted to Field Marshal. (Glenn A. Steinberg and Steen Ammentorp)

U-794 laid down

U-488 commissioned.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The fast minelayer HMS Welshman, which took urgent stores to Malta from Alexandria during the siege, is sunk by the U-boat U-617 45 miles east of Tobruk at 32 12N, 24 52E. There are 152 casualties. (Alex Gordon)(108)

An explosion occurred at 0615 in the diesel engine room of U-77, resulting in some damage to the boat

NORTH AFRICA: American tanks and infantry are battered at German positions in Faid Pass (In Tunisia, roughly east-northeast from Kasserine). (Michael Ballard)
On 30 January von Arnim's Fifth Panzer Army had driven the French out of the Faid Pass and then attacked them at Pichon. Combat Command A of the U.S. 1st Armored Division then attempted to retake Faid, but was repulsed. Other U.S. and British forces (I don't know which units) were sent to Pichon and restored some stability along the front. About two weeks later Faid Pass was one of the staging points for the German counteroffensive against the U.S. Army around Kasserine. (Keith Allen)

NEW GUINEA: The Australians repel the Japanese less than 400 yards from Wau airfield.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: The 2nd Btn 132nd Regiment with 4 75mm howitzers of the 4th Battery 10th Marines is landed on the south coast of Guadalcanal north of  Verahue. A Japanese recon pilot reports the escorting destroyers as cruisers. This misidentification results in an airstrike which sinks destroyer DeHaven 2 miles southeast of Savo Island in the afternoon. Six Japanese planes attack. Three of them are shot down but the remaining three drop their bombs and flee. The hits destroyed the bridge, killing the captain. A fourth bomb split the hull plates and the DeHaven capsized and sank with 167 of her men from a crew of 299.

18 Japanese destroyers make the trip down the slot to Guadalcanal. They are on the first of the evacuation runs. Loading 4,935 troops as Kamimbo and Cape Esperance against fierce opposition from US PT Boats, they return to the Shortlands with the loss of one destroyer, Makikumo. Either a mine or torpedo for a PT boat left her without power and she was scuttled. US destroyers Radford, Fletcher and Nicholas are spotted by a "Pete" which drops flares. The loss of surprise renders any chance of success for Captain Briscoe and Desron 21 futile.

NEW ZEALAND: Bill Paull lands in Wellington. These US Marines arrive after spending six months on Tulagi and Guadalcanal. (William T. Paull)

CANADA: Destroyer HMCS Columbia commenced refit Saint John, New Brunswick.

Trawler HMS Liscomb collided with minesweeper HMCS Minas off Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Frigates HMCS Antigonish, St Stephen, Capilano, Strathadam, Northumberland, Wulastock, Stone Town, Hallowell, Royalmount (ex-Alwington), Poundmaker, Tisdale, Hardrock, Ste Agathe, Victoriaville, Pressiville, Toronto (ex-Giffard), Ste Therese, Lasalle, Coaticook, St Pierre, Prestonian (ex-Beaucharnois, Sea Cliff, Rouyn, Buckingham (ex-Royalmount), Inch Arran, Sussexvale (ex-Valdorian), Carlplace, Foster and Megantic ordered.

U.S.A.: In response to a growing need for Naval Intelligence Officer (NIO) support to senior government diplomatic and military staffs, an 8-10 week school, built on the NACIOS (Naval Air Combat Intelligence Officers School) concept, was established for advanced intelligence training. (William L. Howard)

Destroyer USS Cogswell laid down.

Aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard laid down.

Minesweepers USS Pinnacle, Phanton and Peril laid down.

Heavy cruiser USS Bremerton laid down.

Destroyer USS Stevens commissioned.

The USN aircraft colour scheme is changed so that the upper portion of the fuselage is painted flat sea blue with flat intermediate blue applied to the fuselage sides, vertical tail and rudder surfaces. The upper surfaces of the wings and horizontal tail surfaces are to be painted semi gloss sea blue and the under surfaces to be painted flat insignia white.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 2310, MFV Joseph Elise was shelled and sunk by U-66 after a torpedo had missed at 2300.


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1 February 1944

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February 1st, 1944 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: London: The Germans are eagerly monitoring the activities of the 1st US Army Group, stationed in Yorkshire and Norfolk. They have identified the training grounds, orders of battle and the invasion target - Calais, directly across the Channel.

There is just one problem. The 1st US Army Group does not exist. Like the Twelfth British Army, it is a phantom army created by the British and Americans to mislead the enemy as to where the landing in Europe will really be made.

Other bogus plans, passed on by a German agent who has been turned to work for the Allies, include Operation Fortitude North (an assault on Norway); Graffham (on Sweden); Zeppelin (on  the Black Sea coast of Romania). A tricky one for the enemy is Operation Royal Flush: the map that has fallen into their hands could be of the coastline of Sweden, Spain or Turkey. These elaborate deceptions have led the Germans to scatter their armies across Europe to cover the "threatened" invasion points.

A genuine intelligence success has left the Germans grinding their teeth with frustration. They monitored  a Churchill and Roosevelt telephone conversation on some forthcoming military operation. It ended, with the Germans none the wiser about the subject, when Roosevelt said: "Well, we'll do our best. Now I'm going fishing."

Britain: After two years of suits without pockets and trousers without turnups, followers of fashion can go to the tailor today and order whatever fripperies their hearts desire. Mr. Hillier, the secretary of the Bespoke Tailors' Guild said today: "Popular opinion has killed the austerity suit. Nobody liked it." The limits on pleats and buttons on women's clothes are also removed.


FRANCE: After months of political squabbling, French Resistance leaders have taken a major step towards creating a more efficient and unified oragnization to fight the German occupying forces. A newly-formed central committee, known as COMIDAC, will liaise between the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) and the National Resistance Committee (CNR) created by Jean Moulin in 1943. two members of the new body represent all the factions within the Resistance.

COMIDAC's charter, which was approved today, defines its role as being a centralized command for all the armed forces of the Resistance - including communists, Gaullists and others who have been fighting independently of each other. This action committee is more appropriate for setting up clandestine operations on short notice than was the FFI command structure.

However, the move has not been welcomed by the Central Intelligence and Military Action Bureau based in London, or by the Algiers-based General Intelligence Directorate. These groups see the decision as a new sign of the desire of the internal Resistance movements for more independence.

GERMANY: U-1008 commissioned.

U.S.S.R.: Destroyer HMCS Huron arrived Kola Inlet with convoy JW-56B.

ITALY: Alton W. Knappenberger, a Pennsylvania farm labourer, single-handedly disrupts a German attack near Cisterna di Littoria, a market town with a mediaeval castle about 30 miles from Rome. Armed with a Browning Automatic Rifle, Knappenberger is credited with killing 60 German soldiers over a two hour span this day. MOH

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: U-453 rammed and sank sailing vessels Salem, Himli, Agia Paraskevi in the Eastern Mediterranean.

INDIAN OCEAN: U-168 turned back for base at Penang because the I WO was suffering from appendicitis.

MARSHALL ISLANDS: Glen Boren notes in his diary:

Up early again and send our first strike at dawn. On board ship, we are told that the troops are getting ashore with few casualities and are consolidating as they go. We are not getting many details but they seem to be doing better than in past landings.

We launch two more support strikes during the day. Not a lot to report on for today, being stuck aboard ship, it is hard to get a lot of info. unless the skipper puts it out on the PA.. 

Busy day for tomorrow.

Glen Boren.

US seventh Infantry/25th Marine Division lands on Kwajalein/Roi/Namur. (Michael Ballard)

On Roi Island, Pfc Richard B. Anderson, United States Marine Corps throws himself onto an unexploded grenade to save three other marines. (MOH)


HM LST 3501-3517 ordered from Canadian yards.

HMC MTB 726 commissioned.

MAC ship SS Gadila commissioned.


Destroyer escorts USS Thornhill, Gunason, Currier commissioned.

Destroyer USS Buck laid down.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: An unknown U-boat shoots down an RAF 172 Sqn Wellington.

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1 February 1945

Yesterday Tomorrow

February 1st, 1945 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Escort carrier HMS Puncher joined the RN Home Fleet.

Submarine HMS Talent launched.

GERMANY: 1,000 USAAF bombers raid Berlin. (Michael Ballard)

SWEDEN: The following UP report was released to the newswires - The Swedish minesweeper Landsort was attacked by an unidentified submarine today in international waters off Oland Island near the SE coast of Sweden. The submarine discharged a torpedo, which passed about 50 feet from the minesweeper.

POLAND: The Red Army captures Torun.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: U.S. Rangers and Filipino guerrillas rescue 513 American survivors of the Bataan "death march". (Michael Ballard) 

CANADA: Corvette HMCS Thorlock completed workups Bermuda and departed for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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