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New Zealand WW2 Timeline

Authored By Dan Alex | Last Updated: 4/3/2015

The contribution of the island nation of New Zealand during World War 2 should not be overlooked with participation throughout Europe, Africa, and the Pacific.

There are a total of 34 WW2 New Zealand Timeline Events. Entries are listed below by date of occurrence ascending and are gathered from the overall SwwH site database as they relate to their particular series of events.


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1939
Sunday
September 3rd

New Zealand declares war on Germany.

1940
Tuesday
June 11th

New Zealand declares war on Italy.

1940
Friday
December 6th - December 8th

The Western Desert Force in Egypt, under the command of Major-General Richard O'Connor, set up pre-assault positions. The force includes 36,000 total men from the 7th Armored Division, 4th Indian Division and the New Zealand Division. They set up their initial position southeast of the Italian fort at Nibeiwa.

1940
Monday
December 9th

Operation Compass is officially launched.

1941
Thursday
April 10th - April 16th

Three divisions of British, Australian and New Zealand troops at the Aliakmon Line in the Vermion Mountains are defeated.

1941
Saturday
April 12th

Vermion Line Allied troops are now redeployed to defensive positions around Mount Olympus.

1941
Saturday
April 26th

Allied codebreakers intercept word of the impending German invasion of Crete.

1941
Sunday
April 27th - April 30th

Operation Demon is activated, covering the evacuation of some 51,000 Allied troops from southern Greece via the Royal Navy.

1941
Wednesday
April 30th

Allied forces based on Crete receive a new leader in the form of Major-General Bernard Freyberg.

1941
Monday
May 19th

Allied codebreakers intercept word that Operation Mercury will commence the very next day. The Allies begin preparations.

1941
Monday
May 19th

In advance of the Crete invasion, RAF fighters are relocated to Egypt for safe-keeping.

1941
Tuesday
May 20th

In-air losses for the second wave of German paratroopers is nearly equal to the first thanks to the stellar Allied flak defenses on Crete.

1941
Tuesday
May 20th

Allied flak teams destroy as many as 50% of the invading German transport planes in the first few hours of the operation.

1941
Wednesday
May 21st

German Army troops making their way to Crete via the sea are intercepted and pummeled by elements of the Royal Navy. Just 60 of these German soldiers live to see another day.

1941
Wednesday
May 21st

A German offensive against Heraklion is pushed away by at least 8,000 dug-in Allied soldiers.

1941
Thursday
May 22nd

New Zealand troops are repelled from an attempt to retake the airfield at Maleme from the Germans.

1941
Tuesday
May 27th

Allied forces retreat to defensive positions at Galatas.

1941
Wednesday
May 28th

The evacuation order is given by Major-General Freyberg for the gradual withdrawel of Allied troops from the island of Crete.

1941
Wednesday
May 28th

Heraklion in the north and Sphakia in the south of Crete will serve as major evacuation junctions for the Allies.

1944
Tuesday
January 11th

The first major Allied offensive to take Cassino is launched.

1944
Friday
February 11th

A blanket retreat is enacted by the Allies in an attempt to regroup and plan a new strategy to take Cassino.

1944
Tuesday
February 15th - February 18th

The 4th Indian Division assault is repelled and driven away, suffering high casualties.

1944
Tuesday
February 15th - February 18th

The 2nd New Zealand Division assault is twarted and driven back, suffering high casualties.

1944
Tuesday
February 15th - February 18th

The 2nd New Zealand Division is charged with taking the railway station at Cassino.

1944
Tuesday
February 15th

Following the Allied aerial bombardment, the second major Allied offensive to take Cassino is launched.

1944
Saturday
February 19th - March 13th

The Italian winter makes its arrival and postpones any further Allied offensives for the next month.

1944
Wednesday
March 15th - March 21st

The 2nd New Zealand Division captures German-held position with the help of Allied armor support.

1944
Wednesday
March 15th - March 21st

Positions on Monte Cassino are officially in Allied hands.

1944
Wednesday
March 15th

Artillery guns open up on Cassino while 600-plus Allied bombers attempt to shake the German defenders.

1944
Wednesday
March 15th

A third major Allied offensive is put into action.

1944
Wednesday
March 22nd

With mounting losses in both manpower and tanks, further Allied thrusts are called off.

1944
Thursday
March 23rd - May 10th

A lengthy six-week period allows the Allies to rebuild their forces - though this period allows the Germans to increase their defensive foothold.

1944
Thursday
May 11th

The fourth offensive to take Cassino is put into action.

1944
Thursday
May 18th

Monte Cassino falls to the Allies, costing some 50,000 casualties along both sides of the battlefield.