Today in WW II: 18 Sep 1939 Soviet troops link up with German troops at Brest Litovsk and Vilna, dividing Poland.  More 
18 Sep 1943 US Army, Marine, and New Zealand troops land on Vella Lavella, fifteen miles northwest of Kolombangara, between New Georgia and Bougainville, Central Solomons.
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World War II Timeline: 1943

Kenosha Evening News (WI) dated 9 August 1943 updates on the war in Sicily and Russia. Photo:  eBay seller qrst
Kenosha Evening News (WI) dated 9 August 1943 updates on the war in Sicily and Russia. Photo: eBay seller qrst

This page presents World War II Timeline events for the year 1943.

Links are provided in the timeline with additional information from Olive-Drab.com pages or relevant books on the event or subject. For additional compilations of the events of World War II, go to one of the recommended time line web sites listed at the bottom of the main WWII Timeline page. If you have other events to suggest, or spot any errors, please contact Olive-Drab.com.

2 January US 163rd Inf. Regiment, 41st Inf. Div., fresh from Australia, took over roadblocks outside Sanananda, relieving battered Australian troops, Papua New Guinea.
10 January Soviets begin offensive against Germans at Stalingrad.
14 January Churchill and Roosevelt begin the Casablanca conference.
15 January Pentagon building completed as US War Department headquarters after only 16 months of construction, costing approx $83 million.
18 January Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against Germans captors begins [18 Jan-16 May].
18 January Red Army takes German fortifications south of Lake Ladoga [Operation Spark], opening a corridor to Leningrad, partially lifting the siege.
22 January Japanese resistance overcome at Sanananda, the last Japanese stronghold on Papua New Guinea, relieving the threat of invasion of Australia.
23 January British Eighth Army under Montgomery takes Tripoli, in a defeat for Gen. Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps.
27 January The first batch of Ka-Bar knives [Knife, Fighting and Utility] shipped to the USMC from Union Cutlery Company of Olean, NY.
29 January Marine Corps Women's Reserve [MCWR] created with the slogan 'Free A Man To Fight!'.
31 January General Paulus, the German Sixth Army commander at Stalingrad, defies Hitler, surrenders the remnants of his force, a mere 12,000 survivors.
2 February Remaining Sixth Army Germans surrender at Stalingrad, Hitler's first big defeat.
2 February Operation Star: Red Army offensive begins, threatening to recapture the cities of Belgorod, Kharkov and Kursk.
3 February While helping others to reach safety, Four Chaplains of the US Army go down with USAT Dorchester after German torpedo attack on the troop ship.
9 February Allied forces capture Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
11 February General Dwight Eisenhower is named commander of the Allied armies in Europe.
14 February Battle of Kasserine Pass between US and German armored forces begins with 4 days of fighting around Sidi Bou Zid and Sbeitla, Tunisia [14-17 Feb].
16 February Germans withdraw and Soviet troops reconquer Kharkov, but cannot hold on in the Third Battle of Kharkov later in Feb-Mar 1943.
18 February German Propaganda Minister Joseph Göbbels declares 'Total War' against the Allies, in a Berlin speech.
18 February Six key members of the White Rose anti-Nazi movement [students and professor from University of Munich] arrested in Germany.
19 February Third Battle of Kharkov begins offensive operations by German forces agains the Red Army in the vicinity of Kharkov [19 Feb-15 Mar].
19 February Mass armor/infantry attack by Germans under Rommel against US II Corps breaks through the mountains at Kasserine Pass, Tunisia, a spectacular success [19-20 Feb].
22 February Members of White Rose anti-Nazi movement executed in Germany.
22 February An American amphibious force lands on the Russell Islands, sixty miles northwest of Guadalcanal in the Solomons.
28 February Operation Gunnerside: Six Norwegians led by Joachim Ronneberg attack the German-controlled heavy water plant Vemork, destroying key facility of German atomic program.
1 March Gen. Heinz Guderian becomes the Inspector-General of the Armoured Troops for the German Army, responsible for panzer force strategy, tank design and production.
2 March Battle of the Bismark Sea: US and Royal Australian Air Force, and US Navy small craft sank eight Japanese transports and four destroyers [2-5 Mar].
3 March During the London Blitz, 173 people killed in mob crush trying to enter the air-raid shelter at Bethnal Green tube station, the war's worst civilian disaster.
5 March RAF Bomber Command mounts a devestating attack on the Krupp factory in Essen, Germany using the new Oboe targeting system.
6 March Operation Capri: Rommel attacks Montgomery's forces at Medenine, Tunisia where a Mareth Line offensive was forming; attack repulsed and German forces withdraw north to Mareth Line.
13 March German forces liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Krakow, Poland.
19 March China Air Task Force [Flying Tigers] disbanded as Fourteenth Air Force established by special order of the President with General Claire Lee Chennault as commander.
22 March Population of Khatyn, Belarus [149 people, including 75 children] is locked in a shed and burnt to death by German forces, in retaliation for a partisan attack earlier the same day.
26 March Battle of the Komandorski Islands [Aleutians] as United States Navy forces intercept Japanese troops attempting to reinforce a garrison at Kiska.
27 March British Escort carrier HMS Dasher destroyed in the Firth of Clyde by an accidental aviation fuel explosion, killing 379 of the crew of 528.
28 March Port of Naples, Italy: ammunition ship Caterina Costa, loaded with supplies for Italian forces in Africa, explodes killing 600 plus 3000 injured.
1 April Meat, fats, canned goods, and cheese rationed in US. Wages, salaries, and prices are frozen.
2 April Hermann Göring orders every German adult to participate in anti-air raid civil defense, manning anti-aircraft artillery and similar duties.
13 April Radio Berlin reveals the German army discovery of mass graves of Poles massacred by Soviets in the Katyn Forest.
14 April US Navy Fleet Radio Unit Pacific intercepts message NTF131755 (decrypted by Project Magic) enabling mission 4 days later to shoot down Japanese Combined Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.
18 April Japanese Combined Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto killed when intercepted and shot down over Bougainville by 18 P-38 aircraft, the longest such mission of the war.
19 April On the first day of Passover, 2000 German troops marched into the Warsaw Ghetto to round up remaining Jews but were attacked and routed by the residents.
21 April Luftwaffe blitz raid on Aberdeen, Scotland is the worst there for WW II. 127 bombs dropped, 98 civilians and 27 servicemen killed, heavy property damage.
4 May Last major North Atlantic U-boat Wolf Pack attack of WW II: 12 Allied ships sunk from eastbound Convoy ONS-5, six German submarines sunk out of 60 attackers [4-6 May].
9 May Japanese troops in Changjiao, Hunan, China kill more than 30,000 civilians and rape thousands of women [Changjiao Massacre, 9-12 May 1943], one of many Japanese war crimes in WW II.
11 May American troops invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands, beginning campaign to expel occupying Japanese forces [11-29 May].
12 May Organized Axis resistance in North Africa ends.
12 May Third Washington Conference, the Trident Conference between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill begins in Washington, DC [12-27 May].
13 May Allied victory in Tunisia: German Afrika Korps and Italian troops surrender.
16 May Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron [The Dambusters] destroyed the Möhne and Eder dams on the Ruhr, causing catastrophic flooding [Operation Chastise, 16–17 May].
16 May Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends with liquidation of the poorly equipped Jewish resistance by German Troop.
17 May US Army contracts with University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering to develop ENIAC computer.
17 May 8th Air Force B-17F Flying Fortress named Memphis Belle becomes the first plane to complete a 25-mission tour of duty.
23 May Adm. Döntiz, commander of the German Navy, calls off the Battle of the Atlantic, recognizing that the U-boat is no longer an effective weapon.
24 May Dr. Josef Mengele, German SS officer and physician, becomes the medical officer at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
29 May Remaining Japanese forces on Attu, Aleutian Islands, stage surprise suicidal banzai charge at Massacre Bay, one of the largest such attacks experienced in the Pacific.
2 June 99th Pursuit Squadron (Tuskegee Airmen) flies first combat mission, over Italy.
16 June Last Jewish residents of Berlin are deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp, reducing to zero the pre-Nazi Jewish population estimated at 186,000.
16 June Over Guadalcanal in the Solomons, 77 Japanese fighters and bombers downed by Allied pilots with 17 more destroyed by ships and antiaircraft guns. US lost only six planes.
20 June Operation TOENAILS opens with Marines landing at Segi Point on Vangunu Island, southeast of New Georgia.
30 June Invasion of New Georgia, Central Solomons, with Munda as its objective.
1 July US Women's Army Corps [WAC] established by Congress.
5 July Battle of Kursk (Operation Citadel) begins, last German offensive in Russia and largest tank battle [5-19 July].
6 July US and Japanese naval forces fight the Battle of Kula Gulf off Kolombangara, in the New Georgia Islands group of the Solomon Islands.
9 July US-British invasion of Sicily begins [night of 9-10 Jul].
10 July Montgomery's British Eighth Army takes Syracuse on the first day of the invasion if Sicily, Italy.
10 July US Army Air Force begins raids against the Kurile Islands, the Northern Territories of Japan, about 650 miles west of the Aleutians.
12 July Tank battle at Prokhorovka, during the Battle of Kursk, greatest tank battle of WW II, unsurpassed until Operation Desert Storm in 1992.
13 July Battle of Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands; US Navy prevents Japanese from landing reinforcements on New Georgia, although Japanese ships escaped and US had 3 seriously damaged.
19 July First Allied bombing of Rome, Italy.
19 July Battle of Kursk ends with tremendous German losses, followed by Soviet offensive that continued westward until the fall of Berlin 2 May 1945.
24 July Start of the Battle of Hamburg [Operation Gomorrah], an eight day/night air campaign that destroyed large zones of the city by firestorm.
24 July Gen. Patton's Seventh Army secures Palermo, Sicily.
25 July As defeats pile up, Mussolini replaced by Badoglio as Italian Premier.
1 August Ploesti Raid: 178 B-24 Liberator bombers flew over 1200 miles from a base in North Africa to Ploesti, Romania for a daring, low level attack on oil production facilities.
2 August Revolt by inmates of Treblinka death camp; guards and one SS officer killed and over 200 hundred inmates escaped; a few avoided death or recapture.
2 August Future US President John F. Kennedy's motor torpedo boat PT-109 is rammed by a Japanese destroyer in the Solomon Islands.
3 August Red Army launches Belgorod-Kharkov Strategic Offensive Operation [Aug 3-23], forcing German retreat across Dnepr River.
5 August Women's Air Force Service Pilots [WASP] formed, consolidating the WAFS and WFTD organizations.
5 August Capture of Munda Point Airfield at New Georgia, Central Solomon Islands by US Army troops.
6 August Battle of Vella Gulf: US Navy defeats Japanese convoy off Kolombangara in the Central Solomons.
15 August In the Aleutians, US troops land on Kiska Island to retake it from the Japanese ([5-24 Aug].
17 August RAF attack (Operation Hydra) on German V-2 rocket facility at Peenemünde demolishes the factory. Over 500 Allied bombers dropped 1600 tons of explosives and 280 tons of incendiaries.
17 August First Quebec Conference [QUADRANT] held between British, Canadian and United States governments [August 17-24].
17 August Just hours after the last German units evacuated the city, elements of the US 3d Infantry Division's 7th Infantry Regiment enter Messina, Sicily, the final objective of Operation Husky.
19 August Quebec Agreement: British atomic research became part of the US Manhattan Project until after the war; British and Canadian scientists moved to the US to take part.
21 August Southeast Asia Command (SEAC) set up as Supreme Allied command for Asia, with British Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten as Supreme Allied Commander.
24 August Aleutian campaign ends as US troops find Kiska Island uninhabited and declare the island secure, the Japanese having withdrawn secretly.
25 August Bairoko Harbor, Japanese strong point on New Georgia, 8 miles north of Munda, falls to US troops.
3 September Allied invasion of Southern Italy begins with British landings in Calabria.
8 September Italian army surrenders, German army in Italy takes control and fights on.
9 September With Italian cooperation, Operation SLAPSTICK lands 3600 men of the British 1st Paratroop Division at the port of Taranto in the Italian heel.
9 September Operation AVALANCHE, invasion of Italy at Salerno uses 450 ships to land a total of about nine divisions.
10 September Germans occupy Rome, post troops around Vatican City; Mussolini becomes head of state in German-occupied Northern Italy.
12 September Germans attack the entire Allied front at the Salerno beachhead, an attempt to force the Allies off the beach, back to the sea, but Allies hold [12-14 Sep].
16 September Malaya Zemlya enclave of Novorossiysk port on the Black Sea, after holding out against Wehrmacht for 225 days, liberated by the Red Army.
18 September US Army, Marine, and New Zealand troops land on Vella Lavella, fifteen miles northwest of Kolombangara, between New Georgia and Bougainville, Central Solomons.
20 September Italy bisected as U.S and British forces meet at Eboli.
21 September In the most bitter combat of the New Georgia campaign [Central Solomons], Japanese lose 600 men in an unsuccessful defense of Arundel Island, withdraw on 22 Sep.
22 September Operation TOENAILS completed, with the occupation by US troops of all important islands in the New Georgia group, Central Solomons.
27 September Airfields near Foggia, on the east coast of Italy, captured by British, giving Allied air power the base to hit targets in France, Germany and the Balkans.
28 September More than 9000 Japanese troops escape from Central Solomons to southern Bougainville in a well-organized evacuation effort [28 Sep-3 Oct].
1 October American forces enter Naples, Italy, the first major European city to be liberated during WW II.
4 October Heinrich Himmler speaks to secret meeting of SS officers, in Poznan [Posen], Poland, openly describing the Nazi effort to exterminate the Jewish people.
6 October More than four hundred rabbis arrive in Washington, DC to plead for US government action to save Jews from Hitler; Roosevelt administration unresponsive.
10 October Double Tenth Incident: Singapore's Japanese Military Police (Kempeitai) arrest and torture 57 civilians, suspecting them in the Operation Jaywick Australian commando raid on Singapore Harbor.
13 October Italy's new government, now siding with the Allies, declares war on Germany.
14 October Schweinfurt Raid, Black Thursday: US 8th Air Force sends more than 250 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers to destroy ball-bearing factories.
17 October At Gothenburg, about 10,000 seriously wounded and sick German and British POWs, about half from each side, make up the first British-German prisoner exchange of WW II [17-21 Oct].
18 October Third Moscow Conference: US Britain, and the Soviets discuss the progress of the war against Germany and post-war methods to ensure peace [18 Oct-11 Nov].
19 October Chinese and Suluks revolt against Japanese in North Borneo.
22 October German industrial and population center of Kassel targeted by 569 RAF bombers that dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs, causing heavy damage in a firestorm.
25 October American and New Zealand troops land at Mono and Stirling, Treasury Islands, south of Bougainville [25-27 Oct].
27 October American and New Zealand troops land on Choiseul, a large island near Bougainville.
1 November US Marines land at Empress Augusta Bay, on west coast of Bougainville in the Solomon Islands [Operation Goodtime].
2 November Battle of Empress Augusta Bay off Bougainville is inconclusively fought in the early morning hours.
2 November At Winter Line in Italy, US 5th Army & British 10th Corps reach Garigliano River; 5th Army prepares to cross Volturno River; British 8th Army begins major assault across Trigno River.
3 November US 8th Air Force stages 500 bomber raid that heavily damages Wilhelmshafen harbor, Germany.
4 November US 5th Army in Italy captures Monte Massico, Monte Croce, Venafro and Rocavirondola. Germans withdraw to the Reinhard Line.
4 November Germans destroyed labor camp at Poniatowa, Poland. About 15,000 Jews were shot or burned to death.
6 November Soviet troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front liberate Kiev from the German Army Group South.
15 November German SS leader Heinrich Himmler orders Gypsies and those of mixed Gypsy blood to be 'on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps'.
16 November Flying from Britain, 160 American bombers strike hydro-electric power facility and heavy water factory in German-controlled Vemork, Norway, destroying key facililty of German atomic program.
18 November Intensive RAF Bomber Command attack on Berlin, Germany begins with a 440 plane mission that causes only light damage, killing 131 while RAF loses 9 aircraft and 53 aviators.
20 November Makin, Tarawa [Gilbert Islands] invasion by US amphibious force [20-23 Nov].
21 November Hitler appoints Luftwaffe Field Marshal Albert Kesselring as commander of all German forces in Italy.
22 November First Cairo Conference between Churchill, Roosevelt, and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek [November 22-26].
23 November Deutsche Opernhaus, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and many other buildings destroyed by a 764 aircraft RAF bombing raid on Berlin [22-23 Nov].
25 November Battle of Cape St. George between Buka and New Ireland, off Papua New Guinea, fought by US and Japanese naval forces.
28 November Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin meet at Teheran Conference in Iran.
1 December Declaration of the Three Powers made at the completion of the Tehran Conference, the first personal meeting of Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill.
2 December Luftwaffe conducts most successful raid on Allied shipping since Pearl Harbor, sending 105 Ju88 bombers to strike the port of Bari, Italy sinking 17 ships.
3 December German Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring orders intensification of the Luftwaffe's bombing of Britain.
3 December RAF Bomber Command raid on Leipzig, Germany, causes over 1000 civilian casualties [Dec 3-4].
4 December Second Cairo Conference with Roosevelt, Churchill, and Ismet Inönü of Turkey [Dec 4-6].
12 December Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia meet at the Kremlin and sign a mutual assistance treaty.
14 December 300 US planes attack German controlled airfields in Greece and merchant ships in the Port of Piraeus.
15 December US forces in the Solomon Islands land on the Arawe Peninsula, New Britain.
24 December Major offensive launched by Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front, shattering the lines of the German 4th Panzer Army.
25 December Battleship Yamato, the pride of the Japanese Navy, and her task group intercepted by USS Skate (SS-305). Skate's torpedo attack damaged Yamato but did not sink her.
26 December German battleship Sharnhorst sunk off North Cape.
28 December Fighting at Ortona, Italy [Little Stalingrad] ends with Allied victory following difficult street fighting and house to house combat.
28 December Shortage of workers in Nazi Germany motivates an order by Heinrich Himmler to reduce the inmate death rate in forced labor camps.
29 December Major Red Army victory west of Kiev forces the withdrawal of 200,000 German troops west toward Poland.
30 December US First Marines capture key airfield at Cape Gloucester, New Britain.