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What happened in 1944?

Page Created
April 3rd, 2022
Last Updated
May 10th, 2023
World War 2

In 1944 the Allied Forces became totally in control. From that year on it became clear that the Axis were going to lose the war on all fronts.

The year begins with Australian troops land on Saidor at New Guinea and try to cut the retreating Japanese troops

Halfway January Soviet troops start an offensive at Leningrad and Novgorod. By the end of the month the Soviet army can break the two-year siege of Leningrad. In the South, the Soviet Army is able liberate the Crimea. Halfway June Soviet forces drive the Germans out of Belarus, destroying German Army Group Centre. Over 500,000 Germans are killed, wounded, or captured. By the beginning July the Soviets take Lithuani. A few days later the Soviets reach the other Baltic States. It is not until October before Riga is liberated. By the end of November, the last German troops evacuate from Estonia. In August on the Southern Eastern front, the Soviets reach Bulgaria, Rumania, and Hungary. In the months to follow the Soviets drive through these countries with stiff resistance from the Germans. That same month the Soviet Armies in the North liberate the first Norwegian town called, Kirkenes.

Also, halfway January the Allied reach the Gustav line in Italy and the battle for Monte Casino starts. A few days later the Allied land At Anzio. The idea behind the landings was to force the Germans to take troops from the Gustav line and send them to the Anzio area. The Germans used their reserves instead and were able to surround the landing troops. Attempts of breaking out are counter attacked by the Germans. At Monte Cassino, the Allied are stopped by heavy resistance. Halfway February the Allied bomb the monastery and destroy the structure. Halfway March the battle is still going on and the Allied bomb the area again followed by an attack. Again unsuccessful. It is not until halfway May that the Germans retreat from Monte Cassino and the Allied can take the area. From here on the Allied advance towards Rome, taking the city on June 4th, 1944. By August, the Allied are able to take Florence. By the end of September, they take San Marino. Here they are stopped by another German defence line, known as the Gothic Line.

In the Pacific starts the year with the landing at the Marshall Islands. By the end of February all the islands are back in U.S. hands. A few days later they land on the Admiralty Islands. By the end of March, they land on the Emirau Island. Operation Cartwheel is now in full swing. Halfway June they land on Saipan. It takes until September before they land on Peleliu. In October, The U.S. land on Leyte in the Philippines. Nearby the Battle of Leyte Gulf takes place. During this last sea battle between battleships in history, Japanese battleship Musashi is sunk. During this battle, the Japanese make first use of Kamikaze aircraft. Despite this the Japanese Imperial Navy suffers a decisive defeat. In December U.S., Commonwealth and Philippino troops land on Mindoro. The Battle of Mindoro follows.

In April, the Japanese start an offensive in Central and South China.

Also, in April British and Indian forces are able to push back the Japanese in Burma, resulting in a victory by the end of June. This victory crippled the Japanese defences in Burma.

On June 5th the first Allied paratroopers land in Normandy as part of Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe. On June 6th, the seaborne invasion take place. By the end of the day all beachheads are in firm hands of the Allied forces. By June 14th they reach Caen, the city is taken in July. On June 26th, the Allied capture the city of Cherbourg. After Caen, the British beat the German Panzer divisions in the days to follow. By August 21st, the Allied complete the Normandy campaign with the closing of the Falaise pocket entrapping most of the German army in the Area. Three days later they reach Paris, which has liberated itself. The next day the Germans surrender the city. The Allied continue and by September 3rd they liberate Brussels. The very next day they take Antwerp. On September 10th Luxembourg is liberated. The Germans are on the run.

On August 15th, the Western Allies open their third front in Europe with Operation Dragoon. U.S. and Free French troops land in South of France and start an impressive drive to the North. Within a month they link up with the forces of Operation Overlord, creating one big front. The Allied are now on the German borders.

Trying to force a premature end to the war, the Western Allied conduct Operation Market Garden. On September 17th, three airborne divisions try to capture the bridges over the major rivers in The Netherlands. A convoy starting from the Dutch border rushes to link up with them. They fail to reach the Arnhem bridge in time and by September 26th the British airborne division is forced to withdraw over the river Rhine, taking some 8,000 casualties.

In the same period the battle for the Hürtgen Forest starts. On October 21st, the U.S. army captures Achen, the first German town. However halfway December the Germans start the Ardennes Offensive. The U.S. army is pushed back. The Germans are able to encircle Bastogne but the commander of the 101st Airborne Division that is in the town refuses to surrender. Fierce fighting breaks out but on December 26th, the U.S. Army is able to repulse the German forces and relieve Bastogne. By that time is has become clear that the German offensive has failed.

In September Finland ends all relations with Germany and later that same month they sign and armistice with the Soviet Union to end the Continuation War that started 3 years earlier. The Finnish troops suffered around 210,000 casualties, the German troops 84,000 casualties and the Soviet Union 825,000.

In December, a civil war breaks out in Greece between the Royalists and Communists.