6 February 1945

6 February 1945

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6 February 1945



Eastern Front

Soviet troops cross the Upper Oder

Western Front

Organised German resistance in the Vosges ends


5th Army crosses the Serchio

Today in World War II History—March 6, 1945

75 Years Ago—March 6, 1945: US First Army takes Cologne (Köln), Germany in retreat, Germans destroy the Hohenzollern Bridge.

Germans launch offensive to retake Hungarian oil fields—will have partial, temporary success.

Dutch resistance ambushes a truck at Woeste Hoeve, injuring Hanns Rauter, head of the Dutch SS.

Medical evacuation flights begin from Iwo Jima, but come under artillery fire for first time ever, a flight nurse (Ens. Jane Kendeigh, Navy Nurse Corps) flies into an active battlefield.

Demolished Hohenzollern Bridge at Cologne, Germany, March 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)

6 Reasons Why the Battle of Iwo Jima Is So Important to Marines

No historical account of World War II would be complete without covering the Battle of Iwo Jima.

At first glance, it seems similar to many other battles that happened late in the Pacific War: American troops fiercely fought their way through booby traps, Banzai charges and surprise attacks while stalwart dug-in Japanese defenders struggled against overwhelming U.S. power in the air, on land and by sea.

For the United States Marine Corps, however, the Battle of Iwo Jima was more than one more island in a string of battles in an island-hopping campaign. The Pacific War was one of the most brutal in the history of mankind, and nowhere was that more apparent than on Iwo Jima in February 1945.

After three years of fighting, U.S. troops didn't know the end was near for the Japanese Empire. For them, every island was part of the preparation they needed to invade mainland Japan.

The 36-day fight for Iwo Jima led Adm. Chester Nimitz to give the now-immortal praise, "Uncommon valor was a common virtue."

Here are six reasons why the battle is so important to Marines:

1. It was the first invasion of the Japanese Home Islands.

The Japanese Empire controlled many islands in the Pacific area. Saipan, Peleliu and other islands were either sold to Japan after World War I or it was given control of them by the League of Nations. Then, it started invading others.

Iwo Jima was different. Though technically far from the Japanese Home Islands, it is considered to be part of Tokyo and is administered as part of its subprefecture.

After three years of taking control of islands previously captured by the Japanese, the Marines were finally taking part of the Japanese capital.

2. Iwo Jima was strategically necessary for the United States' war effort.

Taking the island meant more than a symbolic capture of the Japanese homeland. It meant the U.S. could launch bombing runs from Iwo Jima's strategic airfields, as the tiny island was directly under the flight path of B-29 Superfortresses from Guam, Saipan and the Mariana Islands.

Now, the Army Air Forces would be able to make bombing runs without a Japanese garrison at Iwo Jima warning the mainland about the danger to come. It also meant American bombers could fly over Japan with fighter escorts.

3. It was one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the Marine Corps.

Iwo Jima is a small island, covering roughly eight square miles. It was defended by 20,000 Japanese soldiers who spent a year digging in, creating miles of tunnels beneath the volcanic rock, and who were ready to fight to the last man.

When the battle was over, 6,800 Americans were dead and a further 26,000 wounded or missing. This means 850 Americans died for every square mile of the island fortress. Only 216 Japanese troops were taken prisoner.

4. More gallantry was on display at Iwo Jima than any other battle before or since.

Iwo Jima saw more Medals of Honor awarded for actions there than any other single battle in American history. A total of 27 were awarded, 22 to Marines and five to Navy Corpsmen. In all of World War II, only 81 Marines and 57 sailors were awarded the medal.

To put it in a statistical perspective, 20% of all WWII Navy and Marine Corps Medals of Honor were earned at Iwo Jima.

5. U.S. Marines were Marines and nothing else on Iwo Jima.

The U.S. has seen significant problems with race relations in its history. And though the armed forces weren't fully integrated until 1948, the U.S. military has always been on the forefront of racial and gender integration. The Marines at Iwo Jima came from every background.

While African Americans were still not allowed on frontline duty because of segregation, they piloted amphibious trucks full of White and Latino Marines to the beaches at Iwo Jima, moved ammunition and supplies to the front, buried the dead and fought off surprise attacks from Japanese defenders. Navajo Code Talkers were instrumental in taking the island. They were all Marines.

6. The iconic flag-raising became the symbol for all Marines who died in service.

Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal's photo of Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi is perhaps one of the best-known war photos ever taken. Raising the American flag at the island's highest point sent a clear message to both the Marines below and the Japanese defenders. In the years that followed, the image took on a more important role.

It soon became the symbol of the Marine Corps itself. When the Marine Corps Memorial was dedicated in 1954, it was that image that became the symbol of the Corps' spirit, dedicated to every Marine who gave their life in service to the United States.

6 Severely wounded WWII Aircraft Carriers in the Pacific that stayed afloat and were repaired

During the Pacific campaign in WWII aircraft carriers were the prime targets in the fleet engagements fought between the USA (and later Britain) and Japan. At first massive carrier engagements took place where the carriers were damaged and sometimes sunk by torpedoes and bombs. Later in the war as the Japanese turned to ever desperate measures, the aircraft carriers were the target of Kamikaze airplanes.

What follows is a list of 6 fleet carriers that survived kamikaze attacks and were later repaired in put back into service. Many more escort carriers were hit and survived but fall outside the scope of this article.

USS Saratoga (CV-3)

Saratoga hit by a kamikaze, 21 February 1945 via Wikipedia

On February 21st, 1945, taking advantage of low cloud cover and Saratoga‍ ’​s weak escort, six Japanese planes scored five bomb hits on the carrier in three minutes three of the aircraft also struck the carrier. Saratoga‍ ’​s flight deck forward was wrecked, her starboard side was holed twice and large fires were started in her hangar deck she lost 123 of her crew dead or missing as well as 192 wounded.

“Bomb hole in flight deck, port side fr.45. (Photo CV3 3703 Feb 22 1945)” via Navsource

Thirty-six of her aircraft were destroyed. Another attack two hours later further damaged her flight deck. Slightly over an hour later, the fires were under control, and Saratoga was able to recover six fighters she arrived at Bremerton on 16 March for permanent repairs.

USS Franklin (CV-13)

The burning Franklin with USS Santa Fe (CL-60) alongside, via Wikipedia

Before dawn on 19 March 1945, Franklin, which had maneuvered to within 50 miles of the Japanese mainland, closer than any other U.S. carrier during the war, launched a fighter sweep against Honshū and later a strike against shipping in Kobe Harbor.

Suddenly, a single aircraft pierced the cloud cover and made a low level run on the ship to drop two semi-armor-piercing bombs. The damage analysis came to the conclusion that the bombs were 550 pounds (250 kg). One bomb struck the flight deck centerline, penetrating to the hangar deck, effecting destruction and igniting fires through the second and third decks, and knocking out the Combat Information Center and air plot. The second hit aft, tearing through two decks.

Franklin lay dead in the water, took a 13° starboard list, lost all radio communications, and broiled under the heat from enveloping fires. Many of the crew were blown overboard, driven off by fire, killed or wounded, but hundreds of officers and enlisted who voluntarily remained saved their ship. A recent count brings the total 19 March 1945 casualty figures to 807 killed and more than 487 wounded.

Franklin listing, with crew on deck, 19 March 1945 via Wikipedia

Franklin was taken in tow by the heavy cruiser Pittsburgh until she was able to raise enough steam to reach a speed of 14 kts, and then she proceeded to Ulithi Atoll under her own power for emergency repairs. Next, she steamed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where repairs permitted her to steam to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, via the Panama Canal, where she arrived on 28 April 1945.

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)

USS BUNKER HILL hit by two Kamikazes in 30 seconds on 11 May 1945 off Kyushu via Wikipedia

On the morning of 11 May 1945, while supporting the invasion of Okinawa, Bunker Hill was struck and severely damaged by two Japanese kamikaze planes. An A6M Zero fighter plane piloted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Seizō Yasunori emerged from low cloud cover, dove toward the flight deck and dropped a 550-pound bomb that penetrated the flight deck and exited from the side of the ship at gallery deck level before exploding in the ocean.

The Zero next crashed onto the carrier’s flight deck, destroying parked warplanes full of aviation fuel and ammunition, causing a large fire. The remains of the Zero went over the deck and dropped into the sea. Then, a short 30 seconds later, a second Zero, piloted by Ensign Kiyoshi Ogawa, plunged into its suicide dive. The Zero went through the antiaircraft fire, dropped a 550-pound bomb, and then crashed into the flight deck near the carrier’s “island”, as kamikazes were trained to aim for the island superstructure.

The bomb penetrated the flight deck and exploded. Gasoline fires flamed up and several explosions took place. Bunker Hill lost a total of 346 sailors and airmen killed, 43 more missing (and never found), and 264 wounded. She was heavily damaged and was sent to the Bremerton Naval Shipyard for repairs. She was still in the shipyard when the war ended in mid-August 1945.

Continues on next page

USS Enterprise (CV-6)

A photo taken from the battleship Washington shows an explosion on Enterprise from a bomb laden kamikaze. The ship’s forward elevator was blown approximately 400 feet into the air from the force of the explosion six decks below. Via Wikipedia

11 April 1945 – Hit by a Yokosuka D4Y3 Suisei “Judy” right aft, with its 500 kg bomb exploding at the turn of the bilge near the after machinery spaces, causing severe shock damage. An hour later, another D4Y3 kamikaze near-missed near her starboard bow and its bomb went off close aboard, causing some additional underwater damage. Five men were wounded from these attacks and one man was blown overboard, but later rescued. Enterprise continued with her flight duties, launching strikes on Okinawa and islands in the Amami group for three more days before being detached. She was repaired at Ulithi for sixteen days and was off Okinawa once more on 6 May.

14 May 1945: The “Big E” suffered her last wound of World War II when a bomb-laden Mitsubishi A6M Zero “Zeke” fighter flown by Chief Pilot Tomi Zai destroyed her forward elevator, killing 14 and wounding 34 men. The bomb penetrated to the third deck where it detonated in a rag storeroom. A large fire was started in the elevator pit and among the deck park aircraft. The carrier sailed for repairs at Puget Sound Navy Yard, arriving 7 June 1945. Repairs were slowed by the end of the war but completed on 13 September 1945 at which time she was “restored to peak condition” according to her DANFS entry. She never operated aircraft again but took part in “Operation Magic Carpet” before she was decommissioned on 17 February 1947.

HMS Formidable (67)

Formidable on fire after the kamikaze hit on 4 May via Wikipedia

On May 4th the HMS Formidable had just launched two Corsairs for bombardment-spotting duties and the deck park of eleven Avengers was being moved forward to allow aircraft to land when an undetected Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter attacked at 11:31. The Zero first strafed the flight deck before any of Formidable‍ ’​s guns could open fire and then turned sharply to dive into the forward flight deck despite the ship’s hard turn to starboard. The fighter released a bomb shortly before it would have impacted the deck and was destroyed by the bomb’s blast, although the remnants of the Zero struck Formidable.

The detonation of the bomb blew a 2-by-2-foot hole in the flight deck. It killed 2 officers and 6 enlisted men, wounding 55 other crewmen.A fragment from the flight deck armour penetrated the hangar deck armour and passed through the centre boiler uptakes, the centre boiler room itself, and an oil tank before it came to rest in the inner bottom. The fragment severed the steam pipes in the centre boiler room and forced its evacuation, cutting the ship’s speed to 14 knots.

Aircraft wreckage after the kamikaze hit off Okinawa on 4 May 1945 via Wikipedia

The blast on the flight deck blew the Avenger closest to it over the side and set another one on fire. Shrapnel from the blast peppered the island, causing the bulk of the casualties, and severed many electrical cables, including those for most of the ship’s radars. The fires on the flight deck and in the hangar were extinguished by 11:55, and seven Avengers and a Corsair which were damaged beyond repair were dumped over the side. The bomb struck at the intersection of three armour plates and dented the plates over an area 20 by 24 feet. The dent was filled by wood and concrete and covered by thin steel plates tack-welded to the deck so that she was able to operate aircraft by 17:00 and steam at a speed of 24 knots.

Thirteen of her Corsairs had been airborne at the time of the attack and they operated from the other carriers for a time. The damage to the boiler room and its steam

USS Ticonderoga (CV-14)

Ticonderoga listing after kamikaze attacks, 21 January 1945, via Wikipedia

Just after noon on January 21st 1945, a single-engine Japanese plane scored a hit on Langley with a glide-bombing attack. Seconds later, a kamikaze swooped out of the clouds and plunged toward Ticonderoga. He crashed through her flight deck abreast of the No. 2 5inch mount, and his bomb exploded just above her hangar deck. Several planes stowed nearby erupted into flames. Death and destruction abounded, but the ship’s company fought valiantly to save the threatened carrier.

Captain Kiefer conned his ship smartly. First, he changed course to keep the wind from fanning the blaze. Then, he ordered magazines and other compartments flooded to prevent further explosions and to correct a 10° starboard list. Finally, he instructed the damage control party to continue flooding compartments on Ticonderoga‍ ’​s port side. That operation induced a 10° port list which neatly dumped the burning planes overboard. Firefighters and plane handlers completed the job by dousing the flames and jettisoning burning aircraft.

The other kamikaze then pounced on the carrier. Her antiaircraft gunners struck back with ferocity and quickly shot three down into the sea. A fourth plane slipped through her barrage and smashed into the carrier’s starboard side near the island. His bomb set more planes on fire, riddled her flight deck, and injured or killed another 100 sailors, with Captain Kiefer one of the wounded. Yet Ticonderoga‍ ’​s crew refused to submit. Spared further attacks, they brought her fires completely under control not long after 1400 and Ticonderoga retired.

Northern Attack

With German forces drawn off to the south, the French and Americans launched another attack on the northern flank of the pocket on 22 January. The aim was to bypass Colmar itself and cut off railway lines supplying the Germans.

Again, the fighting proved difficult. The bridge at Maison Rouge collapsed under the weight of a tank, preventing armour from advancing with the infantry there. Icy conditions made it impossible for troops to dig foxholes, leaving them exposed in the face of German counterattacks.

Audie Murphy

Those counterattacks came thick and fast, but the Allied forces were able to stop each one, keeping up a steady advance. There were several acts of great heroism. PFC Jose F. Valdez was fatally injured after engaging in a firefight with enemy infantry and a German tank, allowing his patrol to retreat to friendly lines, an action that earned him a posthumous Medal of Honor. Lieutenant Audie Murphy earned the Medal of Honor for halting a German advance by climbing a burning tank, using its heavy machine gun to blast the enemy, and calling in an airstrike on his own position.

Resistance in the north began to weaken, and on 1 February French forces in the north reached the Rhine.

6 February 1945 - History

The President asked His Majesty for his advice regarding the problem of Jewish refugees driven from their homes in Europe. 6 His Majesty replied that in his opinion the Jews should return to live in the lands from which they were driven. The Jews whose homes were completely destroyed and who have no chance of livelihood in their homelands should be given living space in the Axis countries which oppressed them. The President remarked that Poland might be considered a case in point. The Germans appear to have killed three million Polish Jews, by which count there should be space in Poland for the resettlement of many homeless Jews.

His “Majesty then expounded the case of the Arabs and their legitimate rights in their lands and stated that the Arabs and the Jews could never cooperate, neither in Palestine, 7 nor in any other country. His Majesty called attention to the increasing threat to the existence of the Arabs and the crisis which has resulted from continued Jewish immigration and the purchase of land by the Jews. His Majesty further stated that the Arabs would choose to die rather than yield their lands to the Jews.

His Majesty stated that the hope of the Arabs is based upon the word of honor of the Allies and upon the well-known love of justice of the United States, and upon the expectation that the United States will support them.

The President replied that he wished to assure His Majesty that he would do nothing to assist the Jews against the Arabs and would make no move hostile to the Arab people. He reminded His Majesty [Page 3] that it is impossible to prevent speeches and resolutions in Congress or in the press which may be made on any subject. His reassurance concerned his own future policy as Chief Executive of the United States Government.

His Majesty thanked the President for his statement and mentioned the proposal to send an Arab mission to America and England to expound the case of the Arabs and Palestine. The President stated that he thought this was a very good idea because he thought many people in America and England are misinformed. His Majesty said that such a mission to inform the people was useful, but more important to him was what the President had just told him concerning his own policy toward the Arab people.

His Majesty stated that the problem of Syria and the Lebanon 8 was of deep concern to him and he asked the President what would be the attitude of the United States Government in the event that France should continue to press intolerable demands upon Syria and the Lebanon. The President replied that the French Government had given him in writing their guarantee of the independence of Syria and the Lebanon and that he could at any time write to the French Government to insist that they honor their word. In the event that the French should thwart the independence of Syria and the Lebanon, the United States Government would give to Syria and the Lebanon all possible support short of the use of force.

The President spoke of his great interest in farming, stating that he himself was a farmer. He emphasized the need for developing water resources, to increase the land under cultivation as well as to turn the wheels which do the country’s work. He expressed special interest in irrigation, tree planting and water power which he hoped would be developed after the war in many countries, including the Arab lands. Stating that he liked Arabs, he reminded His Majesty that to increase land under cultivation would decrease the desert and provide living for a larger population of Arabs. His Majesty thanked the President for promoting agriculture so vigorously, but said that he himself could not engage with any enthusiasm in the development of his country’s agriculture and public works if this prosperity would be inherited by the Jews.

This memorandum was drawn up in an English and an Arabic version by Col. William A. Eddy, the Minister to Saudi Arabia, and Yusuf Yassin, the Saudi Arabian Deputy Foreign Minister. The Arabic text was signed by King Ibn Saud on February 14, and President Roosevelt signed the English text the next day at Alexandria. It was shown later to President Truman for his information.

Cold War Events (1945 - 1947)

Definition and Summary of Cold War Events (1945 - 1947)
This article contains a summary and definition of the main Cold War events from 1945 - 1947. Interesting facts and dates of key Cold War Events covering the Yalta Conference, the Potsdam Conference, the United Nations, the Iron Curtain, the Long Telegram, Operation Crossroads, Containment, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and the National Security Act of 1947.

Cold War Events (1945 - 1947)

Yalta Conference ● Potsdam Conference ● The United Nations ● The Iron Curtain ● The Long Telegram ● Operation Crossroads ● Containment ● The Truman Doctrine ● The Marshall Plan ● National Security Act of 1947 ●

The Cold War Events for kids : The Cold War Presidents
There were nine Cold War Presidents between 1945 - 1991. The names of the Cold War Presidents were Harry Truman, Dwight D Eisenhower, John F Kennedy, Lyndon B Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H Bush. Many of the Cold War presidents used the Policy of Containment to resolve serious, diplomatic incidents involving the Communist countries.

The Cold War Events (1945 - 1947) for kids : Definition of the Potsdam Conference (1945)
Summary and Definition: The purpose of the Potsdam Conference (17 July 17, 1945 to August 2, 1945), led by Harry S. Truman, Clement Attlee and Joseph Stalin, to clarify and implement the terms for the for the end of WW2. The leaders agreed that Germany would be split into four zones of occupation (the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and France). During the conference Harry Truman, who was strongly anti-communist and highly suspicious of Stalin, informed the Soviets that the US had successfully tested the Atomic Bomb.

The Cold War Events (1945 - 1947) for kids : Definition of the Atomic Bomb (1945)
Summary and Definition: The Atomic Bomb was developed by scientists in the US working on the Manhattan Project. The atomic bomb, "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and "Fat Man" was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945 and ended WW2. The Atomic bomb ended WW2 but began the Cold War arms race.

The Cold War Events (1945 - 1947) for kids : Definition of the United Nations (1945)
Summary and Definition: The United Nations (UN) was established on 24 October 1945, after WW2 had ended, to preserve world peace and promote international co-operation in order to prevent another war. The United Nations replaced the ineffective League of Nations and was established as a multinational body to consider international problems and offer resolutions with a view to avoiding another conflict. The UN's mission was complicated in its early years by the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union and their respective allies.

The Cold War Events (1945 - 1947) for kids : Definition of the Eastern Bloc - The Iron Curtain (1945)
Summary and Definition: Russian military forces, driving back the Nazis in WW2, occupied large areas of Eastern Europe. To safeguard the USSR from future invasion Stalin's plan was to establish a 'buffer zone' of friendly, Communist states around Russia called the 'Satellite Nations'. The "impenetrable barrier" of the Eastern Bloc, known as the Iron Curtain, began to descend separating the Communist countries of Eastern Europe under the influence of the USSR from the democratic countries of the West. The Soviet Union prevented contact between the 'Satellite Nations' and the Free World. The Communists behind the Iron Curtain controlled the army and set up a secret police force. Opponents of Communism were arrested and many were executed.

The Cold War Events (1945 - 1947) for kids : Definition of Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll (1946)
Summary and Definition: Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll was the first public demonstration of America's atomic arsenal after the Atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Operation Crossroads was two nuclear weapon tests conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands during 1946. The purpose of Operation Crossroads, which included two shots ABLE and BAKER, was to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on naval warships. The first test, codenamed ABLE, occurred on July 1, 1946 when an implosion-type atomic bomb (nicknamed Gilda) was dropped from a B-29. The second test of Operation Crossroads was codenamed Test BAKER, was the first underwater test of an atomic bomb.

The Cold War Events (1945 - 1947) for kids : Definition of the Containment Policy
Summary and Definition: Containment was the policy of restricting communist expansion by keeping communism within its present territory by diplomatic, military and economic actions. The US policy of Containment was used when the Soviets made a move on Eastern Europe and the Middle East. During WW2 Soviet troops occupied Northern Iran. Instead of withdrawing the Soviets remained in Northern Iran, demanding access to Iran's oil supplies and helping Communists in Northern Iran to set up a separate government. The US protested and sent the USS Missouri battleship into the Eastern Mediterranean. The Soviets withdrew and Americans spoke of "rolling back" communism. But the USSR takeover attempts also extended to Europe and their sights were set on Turkey and Greece. (The US policy of Containment was to play a major role in diplomatic, economic and military actions during the Cold War). The policy of Containment gave rise to the Domino Theory which speculated that if one region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a falling domino effect.

The Cold War Events (1945 - 1947) for kids : Definition of the Truman Doctrine (1947)
Summary and Definition: Containment was a key element of the Truman Doctrine . Stalin withdrew from Northern Iran but then demanded joint control of the sea ports of the Dardanelles with Turkey. Communists in Greece then launched a guerrilla war against the government. The British sent troops to fight in Greece but were forced to ask the US for help. On March 27, 1947 Truman made a speech to Congress, that became known as the Truman Doctrine, warning that it was America's job to quash the communist aggression in Turkey and Greece. The effects of the Truman Doctrine were to ease the Soviet demands in Turkey and stabilize the Greek government. In the Truman Doctrine, President Harry Truman pledged to support nations in their struggle to resist communism.

The Cold War Events (1945 - 1947) for kids : Definition of the Marshall Plan (1947)
Summary and Definition: The European Recovery Program, the Marshall Plan, was proposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall in June 1947 in response to the economic ruin and political chaos in many European countries following WW2. The Marshall Plan was a US-financed relief package, providing funds to European nations to assist their reconstruction and was essential for the success of the US policy of containment. The Soviets and the satellite nations established their own economic program - Comecon. The Mutual Defense Assistance Act, aka the Military Marshall Plan, was passed by US Congress in October 1949 authorizing the US government to supply military aid, equipment and support to nations at risk from communism.

The Cold War Events for kids : Definition of the 1947 Roswell UFO Incident and Area 51
Summary and Definition: The development of new weapons and aircraft led to various conspiracy theories centered around the Roswell UFO Incident in New Mexico and the top secret military base in the Nevada desert referred to as Area 51.

Cold War Events
For visitors interested in the history of the Cold War refer to the following articles:

6 February 1945 - History

DresdenAfter the Raids

While it was clear that it was only a matter of time until the Allies prevailed over the Germans, they continued to resist . Allied intelligence had concluded that if the Russians who were already in the Eastern parts of Germany could continue their offensive the war could be over by April, but if the Germans managed to get reinforcements from the West they might be able to hold out the Allies until November. It thus became a priority to disrupt movement of German troops and civilians. It was decided that one of the ways to do that was to bomb the major German cities, to disrupt transportation and lower morale of the German people.

Dresden which was the seventh largest city in Germany had been largely unaffected by bombing. Furthermore Allied intelligence had identified as many as 500 factories and workshops being used to produce war materials in the city. On the night of February 13th the first raid was launched on Dresden. The British Air force sent 270 Lancaster bombers carrying 500 tons of high explosive and 375 tons of incendiary bombs to bomb the city. Three hours later another 575 British planes attacked the city. The next morning the US air force bombed with another 316 B17 Flying Fortress which dropped another 771 tons of bombs on the city.

The combined incendiary and regular bombs created a firestone in the city center. Thousands were burned alive. It is estimated that 25,000 people died in the bombing. At the time the German government claimed that as many as 500,000 had died.

6 February 1945 - History


Man, we always attract the most interesting people around here. Oh, where to start.

The concept of Poland "rightfully" belonging to Germany has absolutely zero basis in history. Poland was a nationa state of Europe for centuries until it was decided by Prussia, Austria and Russia to divide Poland at the end of the 18th Century. Poland saw a small rebirth during the Napoleonic years but after the Congress of Vienna was returned to the control of Prussia, Austria and Russia. Each administered their partitions differently and there were also some autonomous areas such as those around Krakow. After WW1 it was determined that Poland should be reconstituted and it was within its traditional borders. German "ownership" of Poland lasted for less than 100 years and during that time it was widely recognized that Poland still existed.

If we are to believe that Germany had a right to anschluss and the unification of areas that were largely populated by Germans into a greater Germany, why then do the Poles not deserve their own nation?

The last part of your post belies your true line of thinking. You are yet another person who believes in a global Jewish/Zionist conspiracy. So, according to you, the entirety of WW2 was orchestrated by Jews against the threat of a strong Germany that knew what those sneaky Jews were up to while the rest of the world was blind?

Also, if you think the "Jewish Declaration of War on Germany" was an actual declaration of war, you have been reading too many storm front sites. What the global Jewish community called for was a boycott of German goods do to the treatment of Jews in Germany by the Nazi's. Several papers, most notably the Daily Express in the UK carried as a headline, "Judea Declares War on Germany". This was nothing of the sort. It was a boycott of German goods and it lasted mere weeks before falling apart.

I don't understand the line of thinking that England had a right to be an empire, so why didn't Germany. England had an empire, Germany HAD an empire. Germany lost WW1 and lost its empire, breaks of the game. England at this stage was also well on the way to dissolving the empire and independence for India was being discussed as early as the 1920's. Englands empire was a hold over from another time and even the English knew it. Regardless, the mere fact England possessed foreign colonies doesn't exactly justify Germany's actions to do whatever it pleased.

We have already touched on the fallacy that Poland belonged to Germany, see above.

Poland was invaded for one reason and one reason only, lebensraum. At least that's the officially stated reason by Hitler himself to his senior officials. The Poles were not killing Germans in the corridor, if anything they were doing all they could to satiate Nazi Germany while not subjugating themselves as a vassal or suffer the fate of Czechoslovakia. The Nazi's went so far as to engineer an attack with their own agents as a pretext for the invasion.

France and England had signed a defensive treaty with Poland. When Germany invaded, they stood by that commitment and declared war, finally having been convinced that appeasement was simply not going to work. Hitler knew that he risked war with France and England over Poland, hence why he hedged his bets and signed the pact with the Soviets to divide Poland. Had England and France stood idle, Hitler was free to go after Russia. If they declared war, he could at least be certain of a somewhat secure eastern flank.

Your last sentence just goes back to your alleged root of all evil and suffering, the Jews.

No argument on the first point, France was taken because France went to war. Just don't forget that France went to war to protect Poland.

Russia was invaded for many reasons, one of them was that they were communist and that was deemed the greatest threat to Nazism. The other was that Russia and eastern Europe were to provide Germany with its lebensraum. Quick question though, if communism is so evil, why did the Germans get in bed with the Russians at the beginning of the war and even go so far as to consider inviting them to join the Axis?

See, Hitler and the Nazi's were about two things, power and their racial ideologies. Hitler would have done anything for power and with that power he would pursue his racial programs. There was no greater cause being served unless you think the extermination of "untermensch" and the propagation of the master race are positive things.

The United States was not innocent in the years after the immediate beginning of the war. The US openly sided with the Allies and supplied them equipment, sub coordinates, etc. The US was the most aggressive neutral nation in history. What I have always found interesting is that the Germans never cite the US declaration of war on Japan in the reasons of their war declaration. For instance, Britain and France openly cited their commitment to Poland and German aggression against it in theirs. You would think that if Germany was simply coming to the aid of their ally, they would have said as much.

As for the rest we stumble from one conspiracy theory to the next. I am assuming that it was Jews who orchestrated Pearl Harbor and 9/11?

6 February 1945 - History

Engineer History
Page Updated 6/15/16

I am now gathering information at an exponential rate thanks to the ever-increasing sources that include but are not limited to the Army Corps of the Engineers, Department of the Army, WWII sites, technical books, magazines, WWII engineers and other veterans, forums, new friends on the Internet and NARA. To be honest, I never expected that this much would be available to me and I'm just sitting here grinning from ear to ear.

In August of 2004, I received hundreds of pages of documents from Michael Brodhead, Office of History Army Corps of Engineers. Michael took the time to painstakingly copy 540th Engineer records that include, a short history, a complete lineage and honors account, the order of battle, a summary of historical dates and events, a roster of enlisted men and officers who received honors, awards and decorations, a roster of battle casualties of enlisted men and officers, a great pictorial (it reminds me of a scrapbook) with captions of their tour of duty in France, a complete history with a forward from Colonel Marvin, their commanding officer and more.

As a favor to Michael, he asked if I would mind being the contact for anyone seeking knowledge on the 540th Combat Engineers and wondered if he could direct them to me because his office simply lacks the time and resources to handle many requests. So I have happily taken on that assignment and will be more than willing to share what I have, should someone desire copies, etc.

In November of 2005, I hired a great private researcher, Carolyn Billups, who painstakingly began copying thousands of pages of documents from the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. These documents include daily, weekly and monthly journals, private entries by 540th officers, lists of awards and decorations, etc. As you can imagine, I have burned some midnight oil and have a lot of work ahead of me. I have yet to acquire the morning reports from National Archives in St Louis, but I hopefully will add those records to my collection by this summer.

My goal is to provide a concise history of the 36th, 39th and 540th combat engineers and to present it in a manner that is both educational and easy to read. Now I just have to order up 48-hour days to get this accomplished, while not neglecting my husband, my job and the rest of my life. So bear with me while I try to compile the ever-growing stacks on my desk. Essayons!

Photo courtesy of Peter Heckmanns - In Honored Glory - Thanks dear friend

Who They Were and What They Did

I am asked all the time, "What did combat engineers do?" Here is a brief, yet concise picture of "our boys" and the part they played in the war.

By WWII the Army Corps of Engineers had almost 150 years of experience in national wars and non-military civil works projects. But when faced with the events in Europe in the spring of 1940, it became necessary for the engineers to adapt to the ever-changing technology and the new tactics employed by the German Army. This was made easier at this point in time by Congress' appropriation of more funds for our national defense that allowed the army along with the engineers to expand their growth and prepare for a new and accelerated kind of warfare.

The primary mission of combat engineers is to KEEP THE ARMIES MOVING TO ATTACK, AND IMPEDING THE ENEMY. The engineers' functions included, but weren't limited to:

  • Bridge (mobile, floating, fixed), rail, & road construction, maintenance and yes, destruction/demolition!
  • River crossings by ponton/raft, motor-powered assault boats
  • Port & harbor rehabilitation (clearing, re-opening)
  • Landing & maintaining a beachhead on a hostile shore
    This includes:
    • laying beach roads for vehicles
    • unloading/loading supplies, vehicles & personnel from transports & liberty ships

    Army Organization

    In the late 30's the army was revising its basic organization of the infantry division and using three instead of four infantry regiments, creating a more flexible and maneuverable force. The typical setup included having an engineer battalion that was permanently assigned to a division, with three companies per battalion.

    There were also engineer regiments, such as the 36th, 39th and 540th combat engineers, that survived and operated as separate entities and were attached to field armies (the 5th and 7th Armies) or to corps headquarters (such as VI Corps). These units usually acted on their own or were sometimes "attached" to divisions such as the 3rd, 34th, 36th and 45th Infantry Divisions, when the need arose. The 36th, 39th and 540th also served as infantry units and all saw action in the ETO campaigns.

    The 36th Combat Engineers consisted of three battalions, while the 540th and 39th consisted of two battalions. Because of this, the 36th saw more action as infantry because they could be used as a typical regiment in combat with two battalions up front and one in reserve.

    The engineers' role in amphibious warfare was not considered until shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. It was then taken into consideration that an advancing army would have to move across vast expanses of water and the ability to seize beaches would be a key requirement. It was apparent in the 1940's that the Axis controlled almost every major port in Europe, making this a critical Allied concern. By mid-1941, the Corps of Engineers embarked upon an aggressive program of revising its military units and equipment, and although not fully ready for the fight, they had done much to adapt to the new demands of modern combat.

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    Watch the video: BOB MARLEY - 6 February 1945