May 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.

1 May 1941: Heavy Axis attack on Tobruk beaten back by Australian troops

2 May 1945: Red Army occupies Berlin. German forces in Italy surrender

3 May 1936: Italian troops occupy Addis-Ababa, as Abysinia declared part of the Italian Empire

4 May 1945: German forces in Holland, Denmark and N.W Germany surrender unconditionally to British Field Marshall Montgomery at Luneburg Heath, Germany

5 May 1945: Japanese Kamikaze planes destroy 17 US ships off Okinawa, Japan

6 May 1945: Russians occupy Breslau

7 May 1945: German General Jodl signs the surrender of all German forces in General Eisenhowers HQ at Rheims, France

8 May 1945: VE-Day. German forces surrender to Russians signed at Karlshorst, near Berlin

9 May 1945: Russian forces occupy Prague

10 May 1940: Germany invades Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The impregnable fortress of Eben-Emael, Belgium is assaulted using gliders and hollow-charged explosives; the first time these weapons have been used in warfare

11 May 1940: German troops reenforce the paratroopers at Eben-Emael, and cross the Albert Canal, Belgium

12 May 1943: General von Arnim surrenders Axis forces in North Africa

13 May 1941: Martin Bormann succeeds Rudolf Hess as Nazi Party Secretary, after Hess flies to Scotland to negotiate with the Allies

14 May 1940: German Luftwaffe terror raid on Rotterdam, Holland

15 May 1940: Holland capitulates

16 May 1944: Last Japanese troops driven from Kohima Ridge, India

17 May 1943: RAF Lancasters of 617 Sqn led by Guy Gibson breach the Mohne and Eder dams in the ‘Dambusters Raid’

18 May 1940: German forces reach the Belgian port of Antwerp

19 May 1944: Merills Marauders and Chinese troops surround Myitkyina

20 May 1940: German paratroops invade Crete during Operation Merkur; the largest airborne assault to date

21 May 1940: British and French counter-attack at Arras fails

22 May 1944: Canadian troops break through the ‘Adolf Line’ in Italy

23 May 1940: German forces reach the French port of Boulogne

24 May 1941: British battleship HMS Hood sunk during battle with the Bismark and Prinz Eugen

25 May 1944: Troops from the Anzio beachhead link up with the Fifth Army at Terracina, Italy

26 May 1940: Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk begins

27 May 1941: German battleship Bismark sunk

28 May 1940: The Belgian Army capitulates and King Leopold surrenders his country

29 May 1944: Himmler promises Nazi officials that “before the end f the year the Jewish problem will be settled once and for all”

30 May 1941: Iraqi revolt collapses

31 May 1940: Allied evacuation of Crete completed