Monday, May 16, 2016

March 5, 1940: Katyn Forest Massacre Approved


Tuesday 5 March 1940

Polish troops in captivity.

Winter War: Canada on 5 March 1940 promises to send 1000 volunteers to help the Finnish Army. The British government extends a 3% £300,000,000 war loan to aid Finland.

Winter War Army Operations: The Soviet 28th Corps consolidates the Soviets' hold on the western shore of the Bay of Viipuri. The Soviets capture more islands and push inland. They need to consolidate quickly, because frozen Viipuri Bay typically melts in March.

Winter War Naval Operations: Soviet minelayer Murman sows mines near Petsamo.

Winter War Air Operations: The Soviets bomb Helsinki and other towns in central and southern Finland.

The Finns engage in heavy attacks against Soviet troops in the Ristniemi-Tuppura sector. Two Soviet Tupolev SB-2 bombers collide near Kymi, three crew members killed. Two Polikarpov I-153 "Chaika" biplane fighters force-land behind Finnish lines.

Winter War Peace Talks: The Soviets announce that its terms are still on the table and it is willing to negotiate to end the Winter War. The Finns, meanwhile, come to the shocking realization that the British and, especially, French promises of immediate military aid are worthless. Thus, the Finns accept the Soviet offer to negotiate terms, with the understanding that they are going to have to cede valuable territory.

Battle of the Atlantic: U-17 (Kapitänleutnant Udo Behrens) torpedoes and sinks Dutch freighter Grutto of the Dutch coast. All 18 on board perish as the ship sinks in 6 minutes.

The Royal Navy seizes seven Italian ships carrying German coal in the English Channel.

Convoy OA 104 departs from Southend, OB 104 departs from Liverpool, SL 23 departs from Freetown, HX 25 departs from Halifax, and OG 21F forms at Gibraltar.

Western Front: A German patrol captures a Maginot Line outpost temporarily and take 16 prisoners, with 2 killed. The British manning it recapture it, with both sides taking casualties.

German Military: Hitler holds a conference with commanders for Operation Weserubung.

General von Kleist, an old cavalry General and Iron Cross holder from the First World War, receives command of his own panzer group, Panzer Group Kleist.

German Resistance: Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, Hitler's former Economic Minister but now a member of the resistance, meets with Sumner Welles. Schacht, swearing Welles to secrecy, tells him: "A movement is now underway, by leading generals, to depose Hitler. Hitler is the greatest of all liars, a criminal genius." He also tells Welles that atrocities in Poland are "worse than imagined."

War Crimes: Lavrentiy Beria, the NKVD chief, proposes in a submission to the Politburo that his service execute all captive members of the Polish Officers Corps currently in camps - such as the Kozelsk camp - and prisons in the occupied territories of Poland, which are new portions of Belarus and West Ukraine. The purpose is to deprive any future Polish from ever being a military threat:
" All of them are implacable enemies of Soviet power and full of hatred for the Soviet system.."
There is definite hatred involved, all right, but if there is some on the Polish side, there definitely is some also on the Soviet side.

The Politburo, including Premier Joseph Stalin, approves the proposal, along with everyone else (Voroshilov, Molotov, Mikoyan, Kalinin, Kaganovich). Some 25,700 Polish men fit the description of the proposal. Executions are to be carried out soon.

Beria's proposal to execute the Polish officers, initialed by Stalin and the rest of the Politburo.

March 1940

March 1, 1940: Soviet Breakthroughs Past Viipuri
March 2, 1940: Soviets Swarm West in Finland
March 3, 1940: Soviets Across Gulf of Viipuri
March 4, 1940: USSR Apologizes to Sweden
March 5, 1940: Katyn Forest Massacre Approved
March 6, 1940: Finns Head to Moscow
March 7, 1940: The Coal Ships Affair
March 8, 1940: Peace Talks Begin in Moscow
March 9, 1940: Soviets Harden Peace Terms
March 10, 1940: Germany Draws Closer to Italy
March 11, 1940: Winter War Peace Terms Finalized
March 12, 1940: War is Over (If You Want It)
March 13, 1940: Winter War Ends
March 14, 1940: Evacuating Karelia
March 15, 1940: The Bletchley Bombe
March 16, 1940: First British Civilian Killed
March 17, 1940: Enter Dr. Todt
March 18, 1940: Mussolini To Join the War
March 19, 1940: Daladier Resigns
March 20, 1940: Soviets Occupy Hango Naval Base
March 21, 1940: Paul Reynaud Leads France
March 22, 1940: Night Fighters Arise!
March 24, 1940: French Consider Alternatives
March 25, 1940: Reynaud Proposes Action
March 26, 1940: C-46 First Flight
March 27, 1940: Himmler Authorizes Auschwitz Construction
March 28, 1940: Allies Ponder Invading Norway
March 29, 1940: Soviets Prefer Neutrality
March 30, 1940: Allied Uncertainty
March 31, 1940: The Tiger Cage


2016

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