Timeline: Morgen die ganze Welt
Tuesday, January 11 1944 Great Britain
US forces in Great Britain receive improved gas masks that are expected to protect against German poison gas. The civilian population of Great Britain is also provided with better gas masks as they become available. Nobody has any illusions about Hitler hesitating to use poison gas on civilians.
Tuesday, January 18 1944 Baku
Axis forces in Baku are ordered to attack combined Allied/Soviet forces to the south to remove the threat of air attack on Baku. Panzergruppe Kleist crosses the Persian border going for Tehran and the Iraq border. The sudden collapse of the Soviet south front had left the Allies in a precarious position in the Middle East. Allied troops are hastily sent from Egypt and India. Von Ribbentrop visits Turkey to discuss Turkish participation in the war. Hitler is a great admirer of Turkish soldiers, often saying that they are not plagued with squeamishness of the Western soldier when it comes to killing civilians.
Wednesday, January 19 1944 Germany
The OKH releases emergency reserves of fuel to the Luftwaffe. This will keep the Luftwaffe flying. Risk is low as oil from the Caucasus is expected to be available soon.
Saturday, January 29 1944 Leningrad
The defenders of Leningrad finally surrender. The writing was on the wall when the city could not be supplied anymore after Moscow fell and the front line was relentlessly pushed north. The international Red Cross starts feeding the starved survivors, making for great propaganda pictures. Although Hitler often threatened to let the population starve the successes in the East have made him more lenient. Besides, Germany has a manpower shortage that can be relieved by using slave - er guest - labor. For which Slavs - the inhabitants of Russia - are obviously ideal.
Sunday, February 20 1944 Big Week
Allied air command resumes offensive operations starting with operation Big Week. The aim is to destroy the Luftwaffe by aiming at aircraft factories and oil refineries. This time all US bomber raids are escorted to the target by Mustangs.
Sunday, February 20 1944 Persia
Axis forces enter Tehran singing a specially composed marching song and cheered by thousands. The independence of Persia is proclaimed and Reza Shah restored as ruler. Although Arabs are regarded as only slightly upgraded Jews in Germany they support the Axis enthusiastically. The Axis is now threatening India, an old nightmare of Churchill. The British hastily send more troops from Burma to the India/Persia border.
Saturday, February 26 1944 Big Week
Operation Big Week was a great success. The Luftwaffe responded to the challenge as expected. Massive aerial battles were fought over Germany. The Allies have lost 250 bombers and fighters and the Axis 500 fighters. The US Mustangs have been proven superior to German fighters at high altitude. Moreover the Allies can replace their losses more easily. On the down side Axis pilots who bail out can fight again while Allied pilots are taken prisoner. But nobody expected the going to be easy.
8th Air Force has bombed all aircraft factories in Germany. Damage is less than the Allies think however because many factories have moved to the East, out of range. What's more, the intense Luftwaffe reaction has decreased bombing accuracy. More German fighter squadrons are redirected home from the East Front where the need is more for ground attack aircraft. Production of fighters is increased and new fighter types will be pressed into service as soon as possible.
The most successful Axis fighter strategy is to let novice pilots complete a tour of duty in the east. In this way they build up experience and confidence in relative safety. After 25 missions in the East pilots are the transferred to the West. The effect on pilot losses is amazing.
Monday, February 28 1944 Mosul
British 9th army is defeated in the battle of Mosul. The British retreat fighting stubborn delaying actions, giving reinforcements time to reach the front.
Sunday, March,5 1944 Germany
German factories are now dispersed or moved to the East making bombing less effective. There are daily massive battles in the German skies. Losses are heavy on both sides: this is a battle of attrition. The number of fighters in the Luftwaffe is steadily increasing for three reasons:
- The oil shortage has been relieved with Caucasus oil.
- Only experienced pilots are allowed to fight in the West.
- Aircraft factories have been moved out of range of bombers.
3,500 Fighters were built in February, equaling American fighter output. General Galland is building up a reserve of fighters to use in a single massive counterattack against a bomber stream. This is difficult because Hitler always insists that all available fighters are used against bombing raids. Night bombing is becoming more hazardous for the British with improved German night defenses including the redoubtable He-219 night fighter. The first Ta-154 night fighters are also commissioned, a fast slender aircraft very similar in performance to the Mosquito.
Monday, March,13 1944 Canaris
Admiral Canaris, head of German counterespionage, is put under house arrest. There are suspicions that he kept in contact with the British secret service, MI6. The suspicions are correct but nothing can be proven. The admiral was always cautious. Himmler is satisfied. A rival is put on ice and his own power has increased.
Wednesday, March,15 1944 Black devil
Fighter aces Erich Hartmann known as "black devil" to the Soviets, Gerhard Barkhorn, Walter Krupinski and Johannes Wiese arrive at Adolf Hitler's Berghof in Berchtesgaden to receive various decorations. Unfortunately they got drunk on cognac and champagne on the train. Supporting each other and unable to stand, they announce themselves to prim and panicking Major Nicolaus von Below, Hitler's Luftwaffe adjutant. After much coffee Hartmann accidentally takes the wrong officer hat from a stand and puts it on, but it is too large. Von Below almost faints and tells Hartmann it is Hitler's hat.
Sunday, March,19 1944 Margarethe
German soldiers invade Hungary: operation Margarethe. The German Forschungsambt has collected conclusive evidence that the Hungarian government has been in clandestine contact with Allies and Soviets. Ringleaders will be executed. As a bonus the Hungarian economy will be put on emergency war footing. No more 8-hour work days: 12 hours minimum from now on. Hungarian divisions that were poised at the border with Romania because of traditional mistrust between the countries are now sent to the Soviet Union to combat partisans. Romanian divisions at the same border are now sent to the front although they are of dubious quality. But sometimes quantity is more important than quality. Hitler privately comments that any Axis country not toeing the line will be treated like a naughty child.
Wednesday, March 22 1944 Turkey
Turkey becomes a junior Axis member and declares itself officially pro-Axis. She does not declare war on the Allies but the British embassy is closed. The fact that Turkey is now almost surrounded by Axis forces played a decisive part. Von Ribbentrop is rewarded with a medal for this political accomplishment.
Japanese forces cross the Indian border at the Imphal front. If they manage to link up with Axis forces threatening India from the east that would be a first-class disaster.
Thursday, March 23 1944 Turkey
Turkish forces cross the border with Syria, moving forward cautiously and directed by German liaison officers. Baghdad is captured by the Axis.
Friday, March 24 1944 Germany
Many German cities have been heavily bombed. The Luftwaffe keeps fighting but suffers heavy losses. The most serious losses are pilots who are more difficult to replace than aircraft. There are grounds for optimism though. A squadron that has been evaluating the new FW-190D has been very successful against Mustangs.
Thursday, March 30 1944 Caucasus
The first Caucasus oil is produced in Maikop at 6,000 tons per day. This doubles the amount of oil produced in the Axis, even before the Baku oilfields start delivery. The refinery in Grozny has been repaired. The Axis has now an oil supply far out of range of Allied attack. Axis mobility is improved while the Soviets struggle with oil shortages. The RAF suffers a serious defeat in a raid on Nuernberg with 94 bombers shot down and many more damaged. German night defenses are gaining the upper hand. Ta-154 fighters accounted for 10 Mosquitoes shot down, aircraft that were previously almost untouchable.
Saturday, April 1 1944 Galland
Allied joint chiefs of staff order the air force to concentrate on the north of France in preparation of operation Overlord. The change of emphasis alerts the OKH to the coming invasion. German aircraft availability has actually increased in spite of Allied bombing, mainly due to the efforts of Albert Speer but also because of the relative quiet on the East front. There is a shortage of pilots in the Luftwaffe but new flying schools have started operating. Adolf Galland, head of the fighter arm has been given a free hand. As a result pilot training is now increased to 300 hours practical followed by a 100 hours at the East Front. Galland knows that it takes an average of 2 years to turn a beginner pilot into an expert.
Monday, April 3 1944 Lebanon
Turkish forces enter Lebanon and Turkey declares war against Great Britain. Basra is captured by the Axis. General Rommel is ordered to the Middle East because of his experience in desert warfare. The first objective is Palestine, then the Suez canal.
Friday, April 7 1944 Lechfeld
Erprobungskommando 262 is formed at Lechfeld to test the Me-262 jet fighter under operational conditions and to develop strategies for its use. The first 50 jets have been delivered. High temperature metals for jet engines are now freely available from the Caucasus, making the engines more reliable. Turkey has undertaken to increase chromium production, major component of jet engines.
Monday, April 10 1944 Lebanon
Beirut is captured by Turkish forces. They link up with Axis forces coming from Damascus.
Thursday, April 13 1944 Palestine
Allied and Axis forces clash close to Haifa. Rommel has overall command of the Axis forces. The Axis advance is stopped temporarily. Jewish activists Golda Meir and Jitzak Shamir contact Hitler secretly and promise Jewish support in return for Palestine. Their offer is rejected. Hitler makes a counter proposal of Madagascar as a Jewish homeland. His private justification is that the Jews will become lazy and indolent in Madagascar for evolutionary reasons.
Saturday, April 15 1944 France
Allied air forces are systematically destroying infrastructure in the north of France. The OKH recognizes this as preparations for an invasion. The Luftwaffe responds to the challenge and sends fighters to France. Great air battles are fought over North France and losses are heavy on both sides. But the Luftwaffe is now losing pilots at such a rate that they can't be replaced. At least Germany itself gets a rest from the bombing offensive.
90% of Luftwaffe losses are novice pilots. Under the circumstances general Galland with the grudging support of Göring decides to reduce Luftwaffe activity: only veteran pilots will engage Allied formations. Novices are sent for more training or are sent to more quiet front lines. The intensity of pilot training is increased now that enough fuel is available, allowing a pool of experienced pilots to be built up. Still, it takes two years for a pilot to become an expert. The decreased Luftwaffe activity leads the US to believe it is winning the battle of attrition.
Friday, April 21 1944 James Stewart
Famous actor James Stewart is shot down while piloting a B-24 Liberator of 453rd Bombardment Group. The group was attacked close to Nürnberg by 6 jets from Erprobungskommando 262. James Stewart makes a crash landing in a field. He and his crew are arrested by farmers wielding pitchforks who upon recognizing him ask for his autograph. The police arrive shortly after and he has to dispense yet more autographs, then it is off to Colditz.
Sunday, April 30 1944 Great Britain
Great Britain has been transformed into an army camp with preparations for D-day going on everywhere.
Monday, May 1 1944 Moscow
On this symbolic day the Axis unleashes operation Ural, attacking over a 2,000 km front. It has been decided not to use nerve gas because the Axis has overwhelming superiority. Also Hitler does not want to advertize his secret weapon unnecessarily. Axis tank strength has reached staggering levels. 4,000 of the superior Panther and Tiger tanks and 6,000 medium tanks are used. Half of the medium tanks are T-34s, manufactured in captured Soviet factories or captured in battle. The Luftwaffe puts up 4,000 fighter-bombers and 1,500 medium bombers. The Soviet Union strength in tanks is half that of the Axis now that the tank factories of Moscow, Stalingrad and Gorki are lost. Even worse, Soviet tanks crews have a low morale and lack experience. Immediately a 200 km hole is punched through the Soviet lines at Gorki.
Surprisingly, Hitler has appointed Himmler as commander of the East Front. This is after repeated requests from Himmler who wants to build up a reputation as a fighting general and perhaps - who knows? - one day become chancellor of the Reich. There are strong doubts that Himmler is a capable commander.
Wednesday, May 10 1944 Kazan
Axis forces reach Kazan on the Volga. German radio stations regale the population with stories about regions that they never knew existed.
Friday, May 12 1944 Middle East
Fighting in the Middle East had bogged down with Axis priority still in the Soviet Union. Both sides are building up forces. Shipping in the Suez Canal is under constant air attack. Mussolini implores Hitler to invade Tunisia so the Italians can rebuild their Mediteranean empire. Hitler asks Rommel if this is advisable or even feasible. Rommel has had his fill with the unreliable Italians however and advises privately that they should rather invade their gardens and plant tomatoes. The OKH is expecting an invasion of France and doesn't want to start African experiments.
Thursday, May 18 1944 Kukmor
Stalin tries to stop the German Ural offensive. Strong Soviet tank armies are committed to stop the Germans at Kukmor. The Axis forces are surprised by the new Stalin tank, Su-152 and the up-gunned T-34/85, all capable of taking on Tigers and Panthers. Soviet crews are green and badly trained though. This is the start of the biggest tank battle of the war. The Red Air Force appears in surprising numbers and air battles are fought over Kukmor.
Monday, May 22 1944 Atlantic
The Allies are in complete command of the sea in the Atlantic. U-boats are still inflicting losses and Ju-390 attack convoys with guided bombs. U-boats have become the hunted though and hardly a day goes by that one isn't sunk. Ju-390's do not dare to approach a convoy too closely because there is always the risk of interception by Hellcat fighters from an escort carrier.
Tuesday, May 23 1944 Kukmor
Himmler botches up operation Ural in spectacular fashion. He was unable to determine the schwerpunkt of the attack. He was also getting confused by the stream of messages from the front, tending to attend only to unimportant events. Armored division lost contact with supplies. Lack of reconnaissance caused Axis forces to get stuck in minefields. Some units are ordered to retreat for no reason or to hold impossible positions. To cap it all Himmler moves his headquarters and loses communication with the army for a while. Eventually Himmler orders a general retreat and departs on an armored train and refuses to talk to anybody.
Wednesday, May 24 1944
British and Japanese troops clash on the Imphal plain in India. A British force has been surrounded.
Friday, May 26 1944 Wolf's lair
General Guderian meets Hitler in the Wolf's Lair. The dictator admits privately that Himmler is incompetent and asks Guderian to fly East and "save my army."
Saturday, May 27 1944 Kukmor
Himmler is cowering in his train cabin. He pales when there is a great commotion outside and heavy approaching footsteps. The door is kicked open with extreme violence and Himmler shakes like a leaf, expecting a grinning Bolshevik soldier ready to rake him with bullets. The reality is worse, if anything. A furious Guderian marches in, and hands Himmler his special Führer orders, reinforced by shouting and a push and a shove . Without further ado Himmler is thrown bodily from the train and whisked away in a waiting kuebelwagen, to be flown to Berchtesgaden and face the fury of the Führer.
Within minutes a stream of orders emanates from Guderian's general staff.
Meanwhile reinforcements are on the way from France weakening Axis positions there in spite of an expected Allied invasion.
Tuesday, May 30 1944 Kukmor
Guderian finally manages to stabilize the front. The attacking Soviets have become overconfident. Now they are contained in a cauldron, pounded by artillery and the Luftwaffe. The scenario becomes familiar: Soviet armies are surrounded in a cauldron.
Tuesday, June 6 1944
Operation Overlord is launched in spite of bad weather. British generals advised against it but General Eisenhower has no choice. If Germany finishes off Russia five million more soldiers will be available to battle the Allies and an invasion will be forever impossible.
Wednesday, June 7 1944 Normandy
Operation Overlord is a success from the first day. Allied battleships pound the defenses. The enemy is thrown back several miles everywhere. Reinforcements keep pouring in. The beachheads are expanded and link up.
Thursday, June 8 1944 Kukmor
Soviet forces in Kukmor are annihilated. This may have been Stalin's last gasp. Soviet soldiers as young as 15 years have been captured, a sure sign that manpower is finally exhausted. The Ural offensive resumes in a vacuum. Axis losses have been high thanks to Himmler. The OKH speculates that the Soviet offensive was timed to coincide with the Allied invasion. If so Stalin was successful as many units have been moved from France to Russia.
Monday, June 12 1944 V-1
The first V-1 cruise missiles are launched at London. A steady stream of the missiles follows. The missiles are inaccurate but the Allies have to spend a lot of effort countering them. Hitler dismisses a plea by Göring to attack invasion ports like Brighton with V1 missiles. The effect on citizen morale in London is more important for him.
Tuesday, June 13 1944 Normandy
The Normandy bridgeheads now form a continuous front. The Allies have air superiority over Normandy. The Luftwaffe sends all available squadrons to France including KG51 equipped with jet fighters.
Wednesday, June 14 1944 Normandy
Hitler gives permission to use nerve gas on the Allies. General Von Kluge decides to wait and allow the Allies to build up their forces so that more Allies are trapped.
Tuesday, June 20 1944 Philippines
The Japanese navy is decisively defeated in the battle of the Philippine Sea. The Japanese can't replace their lost pilots.
Friday, June 23 1944 Normandy
The harbor city of Cherbourg is taken by US troops. The harbor has been destroyed but will eventually help increase the flow of reinforcements.
Monday, July 2 1944 Harz mountains"
Nuclear physicist Diebner reports the first successful extraction of U-235 from Uranium with the improved Harteck gas centrifuge process. The refining factory is located in the Harz Mountains. U-235 is required for making an atom bomb. German atom bomb research is disorganized but U-235 is the most important requirement.