12 Aug 1914
  • The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) consisting of four Infantry Divisions and a Cavalry Division under the command of Sir John French began to cross the English Channel into France. [CPC]
12 Aug 1915
  • British Flight Commander C. H. K. Edmonds RNAS became the first pilot to attack a ship with an air-launched torpedo. [AC]
12 Aug 1918
  • Future Dambuster leader, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, was born at Simia, India. [AC]
12 Aug 1921
  • Franklin Roosevelt lost the use of his legs. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Aug 1937

China
  • Battle of Chahar in China ended with Japanese victory. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Augusta delivered 50 Marines and 57 Navy personnel to reinforce the US 4th Marine Regiment stationed at Shanghai, China. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chinese light cruisers Hairong, Pinghai, Ninghai, Haichou, and Yixian and training cruiser Yingrui arrived at the mouth of the Yangtze River at Jiangyin, Jiangsu Province, China in anticipation of a Japanese attack. On the same day, 8 older naval vessels, 20 civilian transports, and 8 civilian barges were sunk in the river to block Japanese warships from entering. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Haiqi was scuttled in the Yangtze River at Jiangyin, Jiangsu Province, China to block Japanese movement up the river. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Chinese government gave Chiang Kaishek special powers for the duration of the war. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Aug 1938

Germany
  • The German military was mobilized. [TH]
12 Aug 1939
  • Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano met with German leader Adolf Hitler and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. During the meeting, upon hearing Hitler's hypothesis that Britain and France could not go into a war for Poland, Ciano expressed doubts and that it was his belief that Europe would be engulf in a general war should German and Poland become entangled in a war. As he realized Hitler was set on going to war with Poland, Ciano expressed Italian unpreparedness for conflict. Ribbentrop responded by saying Germany did not need Italy's military assistance. Ciano, skeptical, noted that time would tell whether that was true. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Soviet Union expressed to Germany that it was willing to host a visit by a high-level German diplomat in Moscow, Russia for talks. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho was designated a training carrier. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
Malaya and Singapore
  • HMS Eagle began her refitting work at Singapore. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Aug 1940
  • It officially became illegal to waste food in the United Kingdom. [TH]
  • Battle of Britain: 20 German Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighters, especially converted as fighter-bombers, raided British radar stations along the coast. As the radar station operations were disrupted, almost 100 Ju 88 bombers escorted by 145 Bf 110 fighters attacked Portsmouth and the Ventnor radar station on the Isle of Wight, while Do 17 bombers attacked RAF airfields of Manston, Lympne, and Hawkinge near Kent. Most of the radar stations would be repaired by the end of the day, but the Ventnor radar station would be out of commission for two weeks. Portsmouth was also bombed, killing 100 civilians. Minesweeping trawler HMT Pyrope was sunk (killing 6), so was HMT Tamarisk (killing 7), by German aircraft during this day. 55 German aircraft were shot down during aerial combat at the cost of 6 British Spitfire fighters and 9 British Hurricane fighters. British anti-aircraft guns claimed 7 bombers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian troops renewed the attack at Tug Argan, British Somaliland, capturing the hill defended by the Northern Rhodesian Regiment as well as two of the four 3.7-inch howitzers. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Malaspina sank British tanker British Fame with 6 torpedoes near the Azores, killing 3. Malaspina spent the remainder of the day towing a lifeboat full of survivors to safety. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Flight Lieutenant Rod Learoyd of 49 Squadron based at RAF Scampton won a Victoria Cross for pressing home an attack on the Dortmund-Ems Canal despite his Hampden bomber being badly shot up. [AC]
  • Gunboat USS Erie, with Rear Admiral H. Kent Hewitt aboard, arrived at Guayaquil, Ecuador for a goodwill visit. [CPC]
  • The Military Collegium of the Soviet NKVD sentenced Red Army divisional commanding officer Grigoriy Fyodorovich to death for deserting his unit in combat during the Winter War. [CPC]
Italy
  • Iride departed La Spezia, Italy for Libya with four manned torpedoes on board. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom United States
  • US President Roosevelt departed Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, United States aboard presidential yacht Potomac, escorted by destroyer USS Mayrant, for Newport, Rhode Island, United States to inspect the Torpedo Station and the Naval Training Station with Secretary of the Navy Knox, Senator David I. Walsh and Rear Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus. He then sailed for the Submarine Base at New London, Connecticut, United States, inspecting submarine operations en route and visiting Electric Boat Company facilities in New London. Finally, he set sail for Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC, United States, arriving at night. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Aug 1941
  • The Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party ordered the security forces to deport the entire population of the Volga German Autonomous Republic to destinations in Central Asia and Siberia. [AC]
  • The US Army-US Marine Corps 1st Joint Training Force under Major General Holland M. Smith was redesignated the Atlantic Amphibious Force. [CPC]
  • Before dawn, British bombers attacked railway yards at Hanover, Germany. After sundown, 78 British bombers, escorted by 485 fighters, conducted the heaviest daylight attack against Germany to date, targeting the powerplants near Köln (Fortuna Power Station in Knapsack and Goldenburg Power Station in Quadrath) and other targets in a wide area. The Germans were only able to scramble few fighters, but anti-aircraft fire was heavy. The Germans suffered four fighters shot down (plus five likely shot down) and heavy damage to both powerplants; the British suffered 12 British Blenheim bombers shot down and 10 British fighters shot down. [Main Article | CPC]
  • HMS Picotee (Lieutenant R. A. Harrison) was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-568 in the North Atlantic. [AC]
  • Zhao Chengshou signed a secret armistice with the Japanese. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Light carrier Hosho became the flagship of Carrier Division 3. [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
China
  • Crown Prince Yi Un was assigned to Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
France
  • French Marshal Philippe Pétain appointed Admiral François Darlan as Minister for War, the Navy, the Air and the Colonies. General Maxime Weygand was thus placed under Darlan's orders. [Main Article | AC]
Japan Russia
  • The Soviet Politburo granted thousands of Polish prisoners of war amnesty for the formation of a Polish unit under General Wladislaw Anders to fight against Germany. [CPC]
  • Semyon Timoshenko drafted an order calling for the execution of deserters; it would be revised by Joseph Stalin and issued as Order No. 270 four days later. [Main Article | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • No. 489 (NZ) Squadron RAF was formed at RAF Leuchars, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom from New Zealand personnel under the command of Wing Commander J. A. S. Brown. The squadron would see extensive service on anti-shipping strikes in the North Sea and protection of the North Cape convoys. [AC]
United States
  • The United States Congress passed a modification to the Selective Service Act, which extended the service period of draftees as requested by Franklin Roosevelt, by a single vote. [CPC]
12 Aug 1942
  • The responsibility for maintaining law and order in German-occupied Belgium, Denmark, Holland, and Norway was given to Himmler and the SS organization. [Main Article | TH]
  • A Catalina PBY aircraft made a trial landing on the future Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. To the west, US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Frank Goettge's 25-man reconnaissance patrol was attacked by Japanese troops west of Matanikau River; only 3 survived. Meanwhile, Admiral Ghormley ordered US Navy Task Force 63 to devote full effort to transport supplies and personnel to Guadalcanal. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Cleveland performed a test with 5-inch anti-aircraft shells equipped with new proximity fuses in the Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the United States. [CPC]
  • Destroyer Yuzuki bombarded Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. [Main Article | CPC]
  • In India, Joseph Stilwell departed Delhi for Karachi. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British carrier HMS Indomitable was disabled south of Sardinia, Italy. [Main Article | AC]
  • Erich von Manstein was transferred from the Caucasus area of southern Russia to the Leningrad area of northern Russia. [Main Article | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Sturgeon sank German merchant ship Boltenhagen 20 miles off southern Norway. [CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Unshaken sank German merchant ship Georg L. M. Russ 20 miles off southern Norway. [CPC]
  • Italian submarine Dagabur attempted to attack British carrier HMS Furious in the eastern Mediterranean Sea 50 miles northwest of Algier, French Algeria, but was detected by escorting British destroyer HMS Wolverine, which rammed and sank Dagabur. [CPC]
  • Major General John D'Arcy assumed command of the British 9th Armoured Division in place of Major General Brian Burrows who had been moved to command British XIII Corps in North Africa. [AC]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was awarded the Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds. [Main Article | CPC]
Alaska
  • USS Finback arrived at Dutch Harbor, US Territory of Alaska, ending her first war patrol. [Main Article | CPC]
Australian New Guinea
  • 8 US B-17 Flying Fortress bombers attacked Rabaul, New Britain, damaging transport Matsumoto Maru in Simpson Harbor. [CPC]
Australian Papua
  • Japanese troops marched along the Kokoda Track in Australian Papua toward the Australian base at Deniki. Behind the front lines, three Japanese transports arrived after dark and disembarked troops at Buna. [Main Article | CPC]
Egypt
  • Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery arrived in Cairo, Egypt. [Main Article | AC]
Germany
  • 138 British bombers attacked Mainz, Germany, hitting the rail station, industrial areas (at least 40 were killed), and the nearby villages of Kempten (130 houses were damaged) and Gaulsheim (97 houses were damaged); 5 bombers were lost on this mission. [Main Article | CPC]
Japan Libya
  • British submarine HMS Porpoise laid mines just off Tobruk, Libya. [CPC]
Mediterranean Sea
  • At 1200 hours, British carrier HMS Indomitable of Allied Pedestal convoy was hit by two 500-pound bombs, rendering the flight deck unusable. 10 miles off Bizerte, Tunisia, British destroyers HMS Ithuriel and HMS Pathfinder, escorting the convoy, forced Italian submarine Cobalto to the surface with depth charges, and Ithuriel proceeded to ram and sink Colbalto (2 Italians and 2 British were killed; 41 Italians captured). At 2000 hours, Italian submarine Axum attacked the convoy, sinking British cruiser HMS Cairo (24 were killed, 320 survived), damaging cruiser HMS Nigeria (52 were killed), and damaging tanker Ohio. At 2130 hours, Italian torpedo bombers sank destroyer HMS Foresight (4 were killed). During the night, the Pedestal convoy rounded Cape Bon in confusion; as the Italians continued to attack, three merchant ships were sunk and merchant ship Brisbane Star was heavily damaged. Earlier in the day, 6 Italian cruisers and 17 destroyers set sail from Messina, Sicily, Italy to intercept the convoy. [Main Article | AC, CPC]
Pacific Ocean
  • USS Grayback fired three torpedoes at a Japanese transport in the South China Sea; all torpedoes missed. [Main Article | CPC]
Russia
  • Winston Churchill arrived at Moscow, Russia at 1700 hours. At 1900 hours, he met with Joseph Stalin for the first time at the Kremlin, among other things convincing him there would be no second front at least until 1943 as the Western Allies would soon be invading French North Africa. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • Troops of the German Armeegruppe A captured Elista, the capital of Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, in southern Russia. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
Taiwan
  • The Heito Prisoners of War Camp, also known as Taiwan Prisoners of War Camp No. 3, was opened in southern Taiwan. Within weeks it would be populated with captured American and Filipino troops. [CPC]
United States
  • German submarine U-508 sank Cuban freighters Santiago de Cuba (10 were killed, 19 survived) and Manzanillo (23 were killed) 10 miles south of Key West, Florida, United States at 1355 hours. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Wolverine was commissioned into service with Commander George Richardson Fairlamb, Jr. in command. [Main Article | DS]
12 Aug 1943
  • During a raid on Turin, Italy, Flight Sergeant Arthur Aaron's Stirling bomber was accidentally machine gunned by another 218 Squadron aircraft. Although badly wounded, with half of his face shot away rendering him unable to speak, Aaron instructed his crew on how to fly the badly damaged aircraft by writing notes. Taking control he eventually made a successful forced landing in Tunisia. His crew survived but Aaron would die shortly after from his wounds. Aaron was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his selfless actions. [AC]
  • German forces evacuated Sicily, Italy. [Main Article | TH]
  • Milan, Italy received 1,000 tons of explosives from the RAF. [TH]
British Western Pacific Territories
  • 24 B-24 bombers attacked Buin, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, destroying 13 A6M fighters, 10 D3A dive bombers, and 1 reconnaissance aircraft on the ground. [Main Article | CPC]
Germany
  • Georg von Küchler was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report. [Main Article | CPC]
Ukraine
  • Adolf Hitler ordered the southern portion of the defensive Panther Line to be set up along the Dneiper River in Ukraine, and that the city of Kharkov in Ukraine was to be held at all costs. [Main Article | TH, CPC]
United States
  • The keel of submarine Boarfish was laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut, United States. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 12 Aug 1943
USS Pennsylvania in Adak Bay, Adak, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, on 12 Aug 1943, just prior to the Kiska operationMen of Company K, 3rd Battalion, US 27th Infantry Division along the Zieta Trail, New Georgia, Solomon Islands, 12 Aug 1943
12 Aug 1944
  • The Soviet minesweeper T.118 (formerly the USS Armada) was sunk by the German submarine U-365 in the Kara Sea. [AC]
  • USS Pompon attacked a Japanese convoy off Sakhalin island during the night, damaging a tanker and sinking transport Mikage Maru No. 20; she expended 14 torpedoes and observed 4 hits. During the attack, one of her own torpedoes circled back and nearly struck her. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Puffer attacked an escorted Japanese convoy of ten freighters and tankers off the Philippine Islands, sinking tanker Teikon Maru and a freighter, and damaging another tanker; she expended 6 torpedoes and observed 5 hits. [Main Article | CPC]
  • German submarine U-365 sank Russian freighter Marina Raskova and Soviet trawler T-114 of Soviet convoy BD-5 in western Kara Sea off northern Russia; a total of 362 were killed and 256 survived. [Main Article | CPC]
Hawaii
  • USS Whale completed refitting at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, US Territory of Hawaii. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
Japan Poland
  • The first transport of civilians arrested in Warsaw, Poland after the start of Warsaw Uprising reached Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp via Pruszków transit camp. 1,984 males and over 3,800 females were in this transport. [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Joseph Kennedy, Jr., the older brother of future US President John F. Kennedy, was killed in a flying accident over East Suffolk, England, United Kingdom. [AC]
Photo(s) dated 12 Aug 1944
Map depicting US Army VII Corps advancing into Brittany, France, 1-12 Aug 1944A soldier of the US Army looks at a German half-track camouflaged with branches near Le Neufbourg, France, Aug 12 1944. The half-track SdKfz 251 Ausf D, SS 926256 is from the 1.SS-Panzer-Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. Note the soldiers M3 Grease Gun
12 Aug 1945
  • USS Tirante departed Guam, Mariana Islands for her third war patrol. [Main Article | CPC]
  • Soviet forces in the Manchuria region of northeastern China had advanced 200 miles in four days. Meanwhile, Soviet Pacific Fleet attacked northern Korea, seizing the Japanese naval base at Rashin and the port of Yuki. [Main Article | AC]
  • Emperor Showa ordered his government to surrender. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Smyth Report, written by American physicist Henry DeWolf Smyth, with the history of the development of the atomic weapons, was released to the public. [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Carbonero sank a junk with her deck gun in the Gulf of Siam-South China Sea area. [Main Article | CPC]
  • The Ohka Model 22 variant design's second test flight was launched but canceled mid-flight due to an immature ignition of the jet engine. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • He Yingqin arrived in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Taiwan
  • US B-24 bombers from Okinawa, Japan attacked Matsuyama Airfield in Taihoku (now Taipei), Taiwan. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 12 Aug 1945
Aerial view of Hiroshima, Japan, Aug 1945Aerial view of Hiroshima, Japan, Aug 1945Aerial view of Hiroshima, Japan, Aug 1945Aerial view of Hiroshima, Japan, Aug 1945
See all photos dated 12 Aug 1945
12 Aug 1946
  • Harry Truman declared the second Monday of August the Victory Day holiday; today only US state of RI still celebrates it. [TH]
  • USS Sea Cat began a simulated war patrol across the Pacific Ocean from United States to China. [Main Article | CPC]
China
  • He Yingqin was made a member of the committee overseeing the care of Sun Yatsen's tomb in Nanjing, China. [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 12 Aug 1946
Puyi at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo, Japan, mid-Aug 1946, photo 1 of 6Puyi at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo, Japan, mid-Aug 1946, photo 2 of 6Puyi at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo, Japan, mid-Aug 1946, photo 4 of 6Puyi at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo, Japan, mid-Aug 1946, photo 5 of 6
See all photos dated 12 Aug 1946
12 Aug 1949
12 Aug 1952

Photo(s) dated 12 Aug 1952
US President Harry Truman, presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, and vice presidential candidate John Sparkman at the White House, Washington DC, United States, 12 Aug 1952
12 Aug 1954
  • Albatross was decommissioned from service. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Aug 1969
  • Captain Hugh Nott was named the commanding officer of USS Saint Paul. [Main Article | CPC]
United States
  • USS Wasp departed Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island, United States for an one-day United Fund cruise. [Main Article | CPC]
12 Aug 2000

Photo(s) dated 12 Aug 2000
Civilian aircraft Howard 500 at Coventry airport, England, United Kingdom, 12 Aug 2000

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis




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Stern view of USS Hoe, off Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States, 20 Jun 1945




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Famous WW2 Quote
"All that silly talk about the advance of science and such leaves me cold. Give me peace and a retarded science."

Thomas Dodd, late 1945