Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Following the 10th Armored (17): Elsewhere in the War

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.

I stopped and wondered what else was happening in the war while the Tenth was involved in the Saar-Moselle Triangle, which I will update the beginning of March. So, here's some of the information from February 1945. (From World War II Timeline.)

February 1: The USAAF launches a series of bombing raids on Iwo Jima, softening the island's Japanese defenses in preparation for a U.S. Marine ground assault.

February 4: Allied military leaders announce that they have cleared Belgium of all Axis forces. (The end of the Bulge)

February 4-11: Allied leaders Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta (on the Crimean Peninsula) to plan the final phase of the war and decide fate of Nazi Germany and Eastern Europe. Although Franklin Delano Roosevelt was exhausted, Joseph Stalin refused to travel any farther west than Yalta. In negotiations for the fate of Nazi Germany and Eastern Europe, Joseph Stalin had the advantage since most of that area was already in Soviet Union hands. He was, therefore, able to violate the promises he made about free elections in Poland and democratic governments in the liberated states of Central and Southeastern Europe. The Soviet Union leader confirmed his prior promise to enter the war against Japan. Joseph Stalin also reduced his demand for all 16 Soviet Union republics to be represented in the United Nations to two: the Ukraine and Belorussia.

February 13-15: Allies firebomb Dresden and kill approximately 30,000 people: The beautiful German city of Dresden was known as the "Florence of the Elbe" before it suffered a series of bombings in 1945. The heaviest of these were conducted by British and American aircraft from February 13 to February 15. These bombings caused firestorms that destroyed much of the city and killed approximately 30,000 people. Outdoor temperatures reached as high as 2,700 °F, making it impossible for people to escape from their doomed homes. The military efficacy of the bombings has been questioned. Dresden was poorly defended from air attack at times, and its industries were mainly on its outskirts.

February 19: One of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific war ensues when 30,000 U.S. Marines storm the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima.

February 20: Red Army troops advance on Berlin, Nazi Germany's capital and the heart of the Third Reich.

February 21: The Americans recapture the Philippine province of Bataan, site of the infamous Bataan death march three years earlier.

February 23: The U.S. Marines capture Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi and raise a foreign flag on Japanese soil.

February 26: In a daytime air raid, the USAAF drops 500,000 incendiary bombs on Berlin. British RAF units take over the attack after darkness falls.

U.S. forces capture Corregidor, leaving 5,000 Japanese troops dead and suffering 1,000 casualties.

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