April 1st, 1945 (SUNDAY)
FRANCE: Paris: Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe are floodlit for the first time since the war broke out.
GERMANY: The US 1st and 9th Armies link at Lippstadt cutting off the Ruhr. 325,000 men of the German 15th and 5th Panzer Armies under Field Marshal Model are surrounded.
The LIII A.K. attack to breakout of the "Ruhr pocket" recaptures Medebach but can go no further. Hitler orders Field Marshall Walter Model, commander of Army Group B, to cease breakout attempts and to tie down as many enemy troops as possible through a vigorous defence. (Jeff Christman)
HUNGARY: The Red Army captures Sopron, near the Austrian frontier south-east of Vienna.
FINLAND: Finnish Air Force changes its national insignia from blue swastika to a white-blue-white roundel.
U.S.S.R.: The highest Soviet military command, Stavka, formulates the political goals of the strategic strikes of the coming summer: "to purge our country of fascist invaders and reach the Barents Sea - Black Sea line".
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN EUROPE: Almost 400 Fifteenth Air Force B-24s and B-17s bomb the Maribor, Yugoslavia, railroad bridge, marshalling yards at Sankt Polten, Selzthal, Zeltweg, Graz, and Villach, Austria, the railroad bridge at Krieglach, Austria, and gun positions on the Adriatic coast near Venice, Italy; 82 P-38s bomb the Ybbs, Austria, railroad bridge while 52
P-51s strafe rail traffic in the Prague-Plzen, Czechoslovakia, area; other P-38s and P-51s fly reconnaissance and reconnaissance escort.
ITALY: During the night of 31 March/1 April, Twelfth Air Force A-20s and A-26 Invaders on intruder missions over the Po Valley continue to attack road and railroad bridges, motor transport, loading points, and other targets; principal strikes are made at Po River bridges; fighters and fighter-bombers during the day strike rail bridges, dumps, rail lines, marshalling yards, trains, vehicles, gun positions, several buildings (including an ammunition plant and truck factory), and a variety of targets of opportunity in the Po Valley and northeastern Italy; B-25s hit railroad bridges at Calcinato, Crema, Mantua, Monselice, Colle Isarco, San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, and Perea.
Cesena: In a small cinema here four days ago, the commander of the Eighth Army, Lt-Gen Richard McCreery, summoned all officers over the rank of lieutenant-colonel. His intention, he told them, was to destroy the Germans south of the river Po in what could be the last great battle of the gruelling Italian campaign. Soon the Germans will face a massive assault from armies which include Americans (many of Japanese origin), Britons, Brazilians, Italians, New Zealanders, Poles, Indians, Ghurkhas and a Jewish brigade. British commandos began their attack east of Lake Comacchio tonight.
BURMA: The Tenth Air Force dispatches 10 B-25s to attack roads and bridges behind enemy lines in central Burma; 478 transport flights are made throughout the day
The British 36 Division forces begin to push down the railroad from Mandalay to Rangoon.
FRENCH INDOCHINA: 4 Fourteenth Air Force B-25s attack railroad targets at Ninh Binh and Minh Koi.
CHINA: 7 Fourteenth Air Force B-24s bomb the Ft Bayard storage area; 6 B-25s and 6 P-51s attack river shipping and warehouses in the Sienning-Puchi area; 5 B-25s hit warehouses and other buildings at Hsuchang while 3 damage a bridge at Changtuikuan; single B-25s bomb targets of opportunity around Sanshihlitun, Sichuan, Loning, and Suicheng; 23 P-51s pound airfields in the Shanghai area; 70+ other fighter-bombers attack river, road, and rail traffic, storage areas, troops, and general targets of opportunity throughout wide areas of occupied south and eastern China.
FORMOSA: Far East Air Forces (FEAF) B-24s attack Giran Airfield while B-25s and P-47s sweep wide areas.
Off Formosa, the USN submarine USS Queenfish (SS-393) inadvertently sinks the Japanese relief ship SS Awa Maru (11,600-ton) in Formosa Straits. Awa Maru, a cartel ship, is carrying Red Cross supplies earmarked for distribution to Allied POWs in Singapore. Guaranteed safe conduct by the U.S. government, Awa Maru is properly marked and lighted, but Queenfish's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Charles E. Loughlin, does not discern the markings in the foggy weather in which his boat encounters the enemy vessel. Loughlin is relieved of his command for the mistake, and is court-martialled. He is subsequently convicted of one of three charges, negligence in obeying orders. After the war, it will be confirmed that the Awa Maru was loaded with munitions and contraband. (Jack McKillop and Ron Babuka)
JAPAN: Operation Iceberg; the invasion of Okinawa begins. Admiral Turner with TF 51 consists of 1200 transport and landing ships, 450,000 Army and Marine soldiers. The III Amphibious and XXIV Corps of General Buckner's 10th Army land in the Hangushi area on the SW side of Okinawa They land against no resistance. They secure a bridgehead of 3 miles by 9 miles by nightfall. Kadena and Yontan Airfields are captured.
US TF 58; British TF 57; and TF 54 (Heavy ships) are also involved. The BB USS West Virginia and CV HMS Indomitable, receive damage from Kamikaze raids.
The first successful mission of the 'Ohka' suicide plane takes place today when they damage the battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48), attack transports USS Hinsdale (APA-120) and USS Alpine (APA-92), and tank landing ship USS LST-884.
Shortly after the landings on the west coast, a feint landing is made on the southeast coast of the island by the US 2d Marine Division. (Benis M. Frank)
EAST CHINA SEA: A kamikaze attack kills 14 sailors on board British carrier HMS INDEFATIGABLE and damages the destroyer HMS ULSTER.
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: The U.S. Army's 158th Regiment Combat Team lands near Legaspi, southern Luzon, under cover of naval gunfire and USAAF aircraft.
After the troops encounter only token opposition at the beaches, considerable opposition develops inland.
On Luzon Island, Far East Air Forces B-24s, A-20s, and fighter-bombers hit the Legaspi area in support of the landings above, targets north of Balete Pass, the Batangas area, and support troops over parts of southern and north-western Luzon. In the central Philippine Islands, B-25s and A-20s support ground forces near Cebu City on Cebu Island and on Negros Island.
BORNEO: Far East Air Forces B-24s bomb Oelin Airfield.
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