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Second World War History > WW2 Events Timeline by Day of the Week

WW2 Events Timeline by Day of the Week

Putting the conflict into a realistic and relatable perspective.

Authored By Staff Writer
Total Wednesday WW2 Events: 143

1939
Wednesday
September 6th

Thirty-six Allied ships set out across the Atlantic in the first coordinated convoy crossing attempt.

1939
Wednesday
September 27th

The German battleships Deutschland and Graf Spee are let loose on Allied shipping convoys in the North Atlantic.

1939
Wednesday
September 27th

The Polish capital of Warsaw officially falls.

1939
Wednesday
November 15th

The Graf Spee sinks the oil tanker Africa Shell off the coast of Madagascar.

1939
Wednesday
December 13th

By 7:40 AM, the British cruisers Ajax and Achilles break battle and trail out of range of the Graf Spee's guns, though still in pursuit.

1939
Wednesday
December 13th

At 8:00 AM, Captain Langsdorff orders his lightly damaged Graf Spee towards the port at Montevideo in Uruguay with British ships in close pursuit.

1939
Wednesday
December 13th

At 7:25 AM, the British cruiser Ajax loses two of her turrets to the Graf Spee.

1939
Wednesday
December 13th

At 6:50 AM, the British cruiser Exeter is heavily damaged by the Graf Spee, leaving only one turret functional and in flames.

1939
Wednesday
December 13th

At 6:40 AM, the British cruiser Achilles is damaged by shell splinters from the Graf Spee's guns.

1939
Wednesday
December 13th

At 6:14 AM, the Graf Spee opens fire on the British heavy cruisers Ajaz and Exeter.

1939
Wednesday
December 13th

The Graf Spee is spotted in the early morning hours by Commodore H. H. Harwood's British cruiser squadron.

1939
Wednesday
December 13th

The Graf Spee adds three more vessels - the Doric Star, Tairoa, Streonshalh - to its list of sunken Allied targets. She begins her voyage towards River Plate near Uruguay for a final combat patrol.

1939
Wednesday
December 13th

At approximately 12:00 PM, Graf Spee enters the harbor at Montevideo, Uruguay, with the intention on having her damaged repaired. With political pressure from Britain, the Uruguayan government offers the Graff Spee only 72 hours rest.

1939
Wednesday
December 20th

Choosing honor over justice, Captain Hans Langsdorff commits suicide, officially ending the reign of the Graf Spee.

1940
Wednesday
May 15th

German Panzer Corps cross into the north of France.

1940
Wednesday
May 15th

The RAF sends up its first night-time bombing raid against Germany. Of the 99 aircraft sent, only one fails to return home.

1940
Wednesday
May 15th

After periods of heavy bombing all across Rotterdam, the Dutch surrender to the Germans.

1940
Wednesday
May 29th

Another 47,000 British troops are evacuated from Dunkirk.

1940
Wednesday
December 11th

Royal Navy bombers begin attacks on Italian-held Sollum.

1940
Wednesday
December 11th

The Italian Catanzaro Division is captured, delivering another 30,000 Italian prisoners of war.

1941
Wednesday
January 22nd

Operation Compass is effectively over, netting some 130,000 total Italian prisoners.

1941
Wednesday
January 22nd

The Allies take Tobruk, a key port city vital to North Africa operations.

1941
Wednesday
March 26th

In Berlin, Hitler reportedly tells his high level officers "I have decided to destroy Yugoslavia".

1941
Wednesday
April 2nd

Under the direction of German Navy Grand-Admiral Raeder, Operation Rheinubung is fleshed out. The operation calls for direct hit-and-run engagements with British merchant shipping across the Atlantic.

1941
Wednesday
April 2nd

Rommel's forces reach Agedabia.

1941
Wednesday
April 9th

The German Army moves on and captures the strategic port city of Salonika.

1941
Wednesday
April 9th

The German 12th Army encircles and defeats the Greek defensive line known as the "Metaxas Line".

1941
Wednesday
April 16th

Allied forces in Greece are in full retreat at the request of Greek General Alexander Papagos who sees value is less fighting to save his country from total destruction. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill accepts the request.

1941
Wednesday
April 30th

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

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

In an effort to beef up Royal Navy presence in the North Sea, the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse are called to action in support of existing forces under the command of Admiral Sir John Tovey.

1941
Wednesday
May 21st

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

1941
Wednesday
May 21st

The British Navy is notified of the increase in German warship activity in the North Sea.

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.

1941
Wednesday
July 9th

Panzergruppe 3 continues north to Vitebsk.

1941
Wednesday
July 9th

Gurderian's army moves south towards Mogliev.

1941
Wednesday
July 9th

Soviet defenses at Brest-Litovsk, Bialystok, Volkovysk, Gorodishche and Minsk fall to the invading German Army.

1941
Wednesday
July 16th

Smolensk falls to the German 29th Motorized Division.

1941
Wednesday
July 16th

Panzergruppe 3 heads towards Yartsevo.

1941
Wednesday
July 16th

Marshal Timoshenko and his 4th and 13th Armies near the Sohz River counterattack the Germans at Smolensk.

1941
Wednesday
October 1st - December 31st

As rations begin to run out in the encircled city of Leningrad, its citizens begin to starve.

1941
Wednesday
November 26th

The Japanese naval fleet leaves home port and heads to Hawaii.

1941
Wednesday
December 10th

The Soviet supply route is restarted across frozen Lake Lagoda.

1941
Wednesday
December 10th

Along the north of Luzon - at Aparri, Gonzago and Vigan - two large Japanese Army forces land via amphibious assault.

1941
Wednesday
December 10th

The Soviets retake the town of Tikhvin.

1941
Wednesday
December 17th

Field Marshal von Kluge is tapped to replace Field Marshal von Bock as leader of Army Group Centre.

1941
Wednesday
December 17th

Lieutenant-General von Manstein launches a major offensive against the Soviet soldiers holed up in the Sevastopol fortress.

1942
Wednesday
January 7th

Along the Volkhov Front to the south of Novgorod, the Soviets launch a major offensive.

1942
Wednesday
January 7th

With progress over the Germans being made on several fronts, Soviet forces launch another offensive to try and encircle Army Group Centre.

1942
Wednesday
February 18th

German forces are officially driven from the Russian city of Kharkov.

1942
Wednesday
March 18th

The Germans complete the retaking of Kharkov.

1942
Wednesday
March 18th - March 26th

The Soviets and Germans both dig in within and around the city of Kharkov, preparing to fight another day.

1942
Wednesday
April 1st - May 31st

Over a two month period, German forces are resupplied and strengthened before a major offensive - Operation Bustard - to remove the Soviets from the Kerch peninsula. Among the resupply deliveries are 33 massive artillery pieces meant to destroy the Soviet defensive works at the fort in Sevastopol.

1942
Wednesday
May 5th - May 6th

Foul weather limits detection of either carrier force across a two day span.

1942
Wednesday
May 6th

Corregidor Island falls to the Japanese, giving the invaders control over Manila Bay.

1942
Wednesday
May 20th

The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division begins training for Operation Rutter on the Isle of Wight.

1942
Wednesday
May 27th

German forces south of Bir Hacheim make progress and begin to move northwards.

1942
Wednesday
May 27th

The 1st Free French Brigade at Bir Hacheim holds off the German progress.

1942
Wednesday
June 3rd

The Northern Task Force begins its operation to take the Aleutian Island chain and divert USN forces to the region.

1942
Wednesday
June 10th

The 1st Free French Brigade at Bir Hacheim can hold no more and retreat under the mounting German pressure.

1942
Wednesday
June 17th

Manstein launches another assault on Sevastopol.

1942
Wednesday
July 1st - July 31st

Hitler orders two directives in the operation against Leningrad. The first calls for its immediate encirclement and the second for its immediate destruction from land and air.

1942
Wednesday
July 1st - July 31st

The Allies received word on the construction of a strategic Japanese airfield (Henderson Field) on the island of Guadalcanal, part of the Solomon Islands. As such, plans are set in motion to curtail construction of the endeavor. US Navy and Marine forces spring into action.

1942
Wednesday
July 1st - July 22nd

The First Battle of El Alamein takes place with Erwin Rommel hoping to put a dent in the Allied defense near El Alamain. Rommel's forces consist of his Afrika Corps and three Italian troop corps.

1942
Wednesday
July 1st

German General Erwin Rommel attempts to break through the Allied defensive perimeter at El Alamein.

1942
Wednesday
July 1st

One last German push secures strategic positions throughout the city of Sevastopol.

1942
Wednesday
July 22nd

The Japanese Army gain ground on the US, Australian and Papuan Infantry Regiment defenders.

1942
Wednesday
July 22nd

Major General Horii and his 18th Army march towards Port Moresby.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th

This date is targeted for Operation Jubilee.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th

Operation Jubilee is officially put into action.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th

At 5:20 AM, the main invasion force - made up of the 14th Army Tank Regiment, the Essex Scottish Regiment, and the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry - come ashore.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th

By 2:00 PM, all survivors of the Dieppe invasion have been rescued. Left behind are 3,367 casualties, wounded, prisoners of war or missing.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th

By 11:00 AM, disaster has completely befallen the invaders. Many are trapped, forced back or dead to a prepared German defense.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th - September 30th

A Soviet offensive aimed at smashing through the German lines fails.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th

At 4:30 AM, Canadian soldiers wade ashore and take on the German coastal batteries at Berneval, Puys, Pourville and Varengville.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th

At 3:48 AM, several Allied invasion vessels run into a German convoy, which actively engages the ships, ruining any chance the Allies held in the element of surprise. This event is a fore-telling of the day to follow.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th

4,962 Canadian soldiers, along with 1,000 British troops and a 50-man contingent of American US Army Rangers set sail on no fewer than 237 boats towards Dieppe.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th

At 5:35 AM, Allied armor makes it to the beach. Over half of the tanks are lost in the action.

1942
Wednesday
August 26th

The 18th Australian Brigade, utilizing valuable intelligence reports, meet the arriving Japanese amphibious forces head-on and hold the Japanese beachhead at Milne Bay.

1942
Wednesday
Setember 2nd - September 26th

Convoy PQ18 reaches Russia despite losing 13 of her ships.

1942
Wednesday
September 2

Rommel's assault is thwarted, his tank forces suffering high losses in the attack - and his army is pushed back to Bab el Qattara.

1942
Wednesday
September 2nd

Convoy PQ18 sets sail for Russia, comprised of some 40 ships and beefed up protection through 17 destroyers. The escort carrier HMS Avenger provides air cover.

1942
Wednesday
October 14th

Adolph Hitler stops all further offensives against Soviet targets in the region for the year and orders his commanders to hold their positions until 1943.

1942
Wednesday
November 4th

British X Corps makes a substantial gain in capturing Tel el Aqqaqir, running straight through the beleagured Axis lines, effectively ending the Battle of El Alamain in favor of the Allies. The victory is a major one for the Germans are in full retreat throughout North Africa. The action officially ends all Axis presence on the continent.

1942
Wednesday
November 11th

The British Eastern Task force capture the strategic airfield at Djidjelli via Bougie from Algiers.

1942
Wednesday
November 11th

French Admiral Jean Francios Darlan joins French General Alphonse Juin in calling an all-out cease fire for French forces throughout Africa.

1942
Wednesday
November 18th

The Allies take Sidi Nsir.

1942
Wednesday
November 25th

In an effort to resupply their troops, the German Luftwaffe is called upon to exercise airdrops of vital supplies to the German 6th Army.

1942
Wednesday
December 9th

The Australian Army liberates the village of Gona from the hold of the Japanese Amry.

1942
Wednesday
December 16th

German Army forces are called off from further offensives at Tuapse.

1942
Wednesday
December 16th

The Soviet Army puts Operation Little Saturn into effect and attacks Rostov.

1942
Wednesday
December 16th

The Italian Army goes into full retreat from the Soviet advance.

1942
Wednesday
December 23rd

All further attempts to relieve Stalingrad are put on hold, indefinitely.

1943
Wednesday
January 13th

German Army elements at Terek retreat to the Nagutskoye-Alexsandrovskoye position.

1943
Wednesday
May 19th

Some 33 U-boats assail an Allied convoy. However, the streamlined Allied response nets zero ship losses and fatalities. The U-boats come up empty.

1943
Wednesday
July 7th

German General Hoth and his 4th Panzer Army move into the salient, covering some 20 miles of territory. Their advantage brings them near Pokrovka.

1943
Wednesday
July 14th

The Allies control key airfields across the island, allowing air support more resources from which to work with.

1943
Wednesday
July 14th

German Paratroopers repel Allied forces from the Primasole bridge.

1943
Wednesday
July 14th

British and American forces finally meet at Comiso and Ragusa.

1943
Wednesday
August 11th

The US 7th Army undertakes another amphibious jump to head off the German retreat.

1943
Wednesday
August 11th

The evacuation of Axis forces from Sicily begins.

1943
Wednesday
September 22nd

Royal Navy midget submarines attack the German battleship KMS Tirpitz. Though not sunk to action, she takes on enough damage to sideline her for six months.

1943
Wednesday
November 10th

The combined force of US Army and Marine Corps troops numbering 35,000 personnel heads towards Betio on the Tarawa Atoll.

1944
Wednesday
February 16th

Kesselring launches a large counterattack against the invading Allied forces.

1944
Wednesday
February 23rd

Bad weather postpones any further bombing actions for the time being. The Allies take this time to recoup and repair.

1944
Wednesday
March 1st - May 22nd

The Anzio engagement is limited to minor activity for the time being, with the Allies dug in and the Germans trying to dislodge the invaders by limited means.

1944
Wednesday
March 15th - March 21st

Positions on Monte Cassino are officially in Allied hands.

1944
Wednesday
March 15th - March 21st

The 78th British Division makes headway thanks to the support of Allied armor.

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

A third major Allied offensive is put into action.

1944
Wednesday
March 15th - March 21st

Against mounting casualties but with tank support, the 4th Indian Division gains ground.

1944
Wednesday
March 15th

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

1944
Wednesday
March 22nd

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

1944
Wednesday
May 17th

Weather on May 17th cancels the D-Day operation. Leaving the next best weather window of opportunity to be June 5th.

1944
Wednesday
May 17th

June 5th is selected as the next official launch date for D-Day.

1944
Wednesday
May 17th

German paratrooper forces exit the Cassino region.

1944
Wednesday
May 17th

This date became one of the two best weather options for the Allied invasion of France.

1944
Wednesday
June 28th

Hitler replaces Field Marshal Busch with General Model to help stem his losses.

1944
Wednesday
July 5th

Encircled, remnants of the German 4th Army are captured or killed trying to flee.

1944
Wednesday
July 26th

The Polish government, in exile since the fall of their country to the invading Germans, communicates with the British government for help in staging the uprising.

1944
Wednesday
August 16th

The American 3rd Army reaches Chartres.

1944
Wednesday
August 16th

German forces in Falaise are given the okay from Hitler to retreat to a more favorable position. The encirclement of German forces prompts the action from High Command.

1944
Wednesday
August 16th

After seven days of continuous and bitter fighting, Canadian Army forces reach Falaise.

1944
Wednesday
August 16th

Sensing his own political interests and conquests, Soviet leader Josef Stalin rejects a direct call for aid for the Poles.

1944
Wednesday
August 30th

The massive Soviet offensive ends with much of the German-held territories now in Russian hands. The Soviet Army has made it as far as the outskirts of Warsaw in Poland with a front running from Lithuania in the north, through Belorussia in the center and Poland/Ukraine in the south.

1944
Wednesday
September 20th

British XXX Corps is delayed a full day from reaching beleagured paratrooper forces at Arnhem.

1944
Wednesday
September 20th

The US 82nd Airborne, backed by the British XXX Corps, take the bridge over the Waal River at Nijmegen.

1944
Wednesday
September 27th

Despite valliant actions, the Polish Parachute Brigade is forced to surrender at Arnhem.

1944
Wednesday
September 27th

South of Arnhem, Allied forces continue to hold their gains. Over the next few months, some 3,500 casualties will be counted.

1944
Wednesday
November 1st - November 30th

As the German defensive circle shrinks througout Europe, the Artic Convoys enjoy their best month, seeing not one vessel lost to enemy action.

1944
Wednesday
December 20th

By this date, the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne is completely encircled by the German XLVII Panzer Corps.

1944
Wednesday
December 20th

The US 10th and 19th Armored Divisions are completely encircled by the German advance.

1944
Wednesday
December 20th

British General Montgomery is charged with heading up the progress along the north line of defense while American General Bradley is given command of the south.

1945
Wednesday
January 17th

The Polish capital city of Warsaw officially falls to the advancing Soviet Army.

1945
Wednesday
January 17th

Soviet forces engage German foes in East Prussia with gains being made towards Danzig and Konigsberg.

1945
Wednesday
February 7th

By this date, all of the German gains of the Ardennes Offensive have been erased.

1945
Wednesday
February 7th

The German loss of life is a staggering 82,000 men, matched only by the 77,000 casualties suffered by the American Army.

1945
Wednesday
April 11th

The conquest of Tsugen is completed by the 27th Infantry Division.

1945
Wednesday
April 22nd

Soviet leader Stalin sends his final assault orders to generals Zhukov and Koniev.

1945
Wednesday
May 2nd

The war in Europe officially comes to a close.

1945
Wednesday
May 2nd

The Fall of Berlin is complete - Soviet forces occupy all major sections of the German capital.

1945
Wednesday
May 2nd

German forces across Berlin begin surrendering.
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