This month in WW2: April

This page gives a daily diary snapshot of April in WW2.

WW2 was a global conflict that raged from September 1939 to August 1945; almost six long years.

The change of seasons brought with it changes in the pace of the war. Spring generally meant new offensives, while winter could mean stalemate or a winter offensive - such as those made by the Russians on the eastern front, or the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardenne.

Australian troops occupy a front line position at Tobruk. Between April and December 1941 the Tobruk garrison, comprising British, Australian and Polish troops, was besieged by Rommel's forces. It fell to the Germans after the battle of Gazala on 21 June 1942 but was recaptured five months later.

Australian troops occupy a front line position at Tobruk.


1 April 1945: US Tenth Army lands on Okinawa, Japan

2 April 1940: Hitler orders preparation for the invasion of Denmark and Norway under the code-name ‘Operation Weserbung’

3 April 1942: Japanese troops launch final drive on the Bataan Peninsula, Philippines

4 April 1945: German forces withdraw from Hungary

5 April 1944: British forces in Kohima, India surrounded by the Japanese

6 April 1941: German forces invade Greece and Yugoslavia

7 April 1945: Russian troops reach Vienna, Austria

8 April 1943: British and American patrols meet in Tunisa

9 April 1940: German troops invade Denmark and Norway

10 April 1941: Australian troops withdraw to the port of Tobruk, N.Africa

11 April 1943: German forces retreat into Sevastapol

12 April 1945: US President Roosevelt dies. Vice-President Harry Truman takes office

13 April 1941: Afrika Corps encircles Tobruk. (1945: British troops reach Belsen Concentration Camp)

14 April 1940: Royal Marines land in Namsos, Norway in preparation for a larger force to arrive

15 April 1945: Looted Nazi art treasures are discovered in an Austrian mine-shaft

16 April 1941: London`s St Pauls Cathedral is damaged in bombing

17 April 1941: Yugoslav army capitulates

18 April 1942: US B-25 bombers led by Jimmy Doolittle take off from the USS Hornet and bomb Tokyo

19 April 1945: US First Army moves into Halle and Leipzig, Germany

20 April 1945: US Seventh Army reaches Nuremburg

21 April 1945: Russian troops enter Berlin

22 April 1943: US troops land in Hollandia, New Guinea

23 April 1941: Greek King and ministers evacuate to Cyprus

24 April 1943: US War Department announces that Japan must be invaded

25 April 1945: US and Russian troops meet at Torgau on the River Elbe, Germany

26 April 1945: US Forces cross the River Danube

27 April 1941: German troops enter Athens, Greece

28 April 1944: German E-Boats attack unescorted landing craft of the Devon coast, England which were taking part in Exercise Tiger

29 April 1945: Hitler marries Eva Braun in his Berlin bunker, and appoints Admiral Donitz as his successor

30 April 1941: Iraqi troops surround RAF base at Habbaniyah, Iraq