Sunday 13 July 1941
The two sides exchange air raids against important targets today. The Luftwaffe bombs Kyiv, while the Red Air Force attacks Ploesti, Romania. While Kyiv basically is just another large city, Ploesti is the home of Romanian oil fields. Romanian oil is absolutely critical to the health of the German economy and military, and protecting the oil fields is - in Hitler's own words as spoken to Marshal Mannerheim on 4 June 1942 - one of the top reasons Germany invaded the Soviet Union in the first place. The Red Air Force raid causes widespread damage.
|Finnish bicycle battalion advancing towards Tolvajärvi at 04:37 on the morning of July 13, 1941.|
In the Army Group Center sector, the roads are bad and the panzers have difficulty making much ground. The Soviets are making a strong stand in Estonia and greatly slowing the German advance toward Leningrad. German 4th Panzer Group captures some footholds on the far side of the Luga River.
In the Army Group Center sector, General Guderian's Second Panzer Group continues its advance across the Dneipr River. Guderian lead troops (29th Motorized Division) are within 18 km (11 miles) of Smolensk, and they are past Mogilev in the direction of Orsha. Due to their speed, the panzers have bypassed several Soviet divisions, and it is up to the following German infantry to capture them. General Franz Halder notes in his war diary that "Guderian's attack is developing surprisingly well." General Hoth's 3rd Panzer Group continues its advance to the northeast of Vitebsk but Nineteenth Army is barely advancing further north.
In the Army Group South sector, the Soviets are determined to make a stand at Kyiv, but elsewhere they continue to retreat. While Romanian Fourth Army is greatly weakened, it continues to advance because the Red Army is shortening its own lines. Seventeenth Army faces few counterattacks, but Soviet artillery is increasing in intensity along the Stalin Line. German Sixth Army and Army Group 1 is in a hard fight at Berdichev but by the end of the day, the Soviets pull back and lose contact with the advance German forces.
|Panzers 35(t) of the 6th Panzer Division advancing towards Leningrad.|
- Restrain Army Group Center, meaning Panzer Groups 2 and 3, from continuing the advance on Moscow for the time being. and instead, focus on encircling enemy concentrations at Smolensk;
- In the Army Group South sector, destroy enemy concentrations southwest of Kyiv around Korosten.
- It is his (Hitler's) opinion that it is more important to destroy Soviet troops than to advance further east;
- Army Group North needs to prioritize advancing quickly to Lake Ladoga to cut off Leningrad;
- Hoth's Panzer Group 3 should circle back to take the pressure off of troops on the southern section of Army Group North's front;
- Terror raids on Moscow to "prevent the orderly evacuation of Government agencies" and counter Soviet propaganda that the Luftwaffe can't do it;
- Troops are needed in the West for political reasons.
Hitler, in fact, is making Halder miserable. After Halder returns to his own headquarters, thinking that everything has been settled, ObdH (Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Brauchitsch's headquarters) calls him with the news that Hitler has been ranting negatively about the conduct of operations. In particular, Hitler wants certain divisions to move to different locations. This is a new level of interference with military operations. Hitler sends a written order to ObdH just to make sure he is taken seriously (Hitler's military orders invariably are written by General Keitel based on whatever Hitler has been ranting about, who serves the role of Hitler's office boy).
Another, much larger question remains unsettled. The army Generals continue to prefer a quick ride to Moscow, which they feel is entirely feasible. General von Greiffenberg, for instance, calls Halder (or vice versa) and opines that a quick thrust now to Moscow would find little opposition. Field Marshal von Bock sends a teletype later in the day supporting von Greiffenberg's idea. Hitler, however, is dead set against it.
|A German soldier's photo showing German soldiers standing around a Roma woman. Photographed on July 13, 1941. On the back of the photo, beside the date, is written: Langst with a female Gypsy."|
British 3597-ton tanker Pegasus hits a mine and sinks at Beirut Harbor. This is a friendly-fire incident, as it is a British mine.
European Air Operations: After dark, RAF Bomber Command decides to raid Bremen, as they have several times recently, with 47 Wellingtons. Bomber Command also sends 20 Wellingtons to Vegesack and 2 to Emden. Weather is poor, though, with thick cloud cover and icing conditions, so most of the planes turn back because they can't find their targets. In the final analysis, only 16 of the bombers claim to have attacked Bremen and one Vegesack, with Emden not hit at all - and just because a bomber claims to have hit a target doesn't mean it actually did. Two of the Wellingtons sent to Bremen fail to return.
|Remnants of the Belfast Blitz: Avondale Street, East Belfast on July 13, 1941.|
|The same street, reconstructed, in 2015 (BelfastLive).|
The Kriegsmarine lays mines in the Baltic.
|July 13, 1941: HMS Nelson as seen in convoy WS9C as it forms in the North Atlantic. The picture is taken from HNLMS Jacob van Heemskerck.|
British/Canadian 1780-ton freighter Collingdoc hits a mine and sinks just off Southend Pier in the Thames Estuary. There are two deaths. The ship sinks in very shallow water, and it is refloated in barely a week and towed to Gravesend. However, ultimately the ship is not returned to service and is converted to a hulk for use at Rosyth as a blockship on 28 March 1942.
Convoy WS 9C (Winston Special) forms at sea as ships arrive at a predetermined point from Avonmouth, the Clyde, and Liverpool. Most of the convoy is ultimately destined for Malta in Operation Substance.
Battle of the Mediterranean: Royal Navy submarine HMS Taku torpedoes and sinks 2703-ton Italian freighter Caldea about ten nautical miles (19 km) northwest of Benghazi. Italian torpedo boat Montanari attacks Taku, but the submarine gets away.
After dark, the Luftwaffe conducts more minelaying operations at the Suez Canal with 20 bombers.
At Malta, the weather is poor, with low visibility, so there are only a few enemy bombing attacks. However, invasion fears remain high. The government issues an order requiring all troops to be on "constant standby" in case of an enemy attack. This means that upon the sounding of the General Arm, soldiers must return to their duty stations whether they be on leave, at a rest camp, or anywhere else.
|"Williams Hold Hitting Lead in American Loop - But Boston Star Finally Slips Below .400 Average," 13 July 1941.|
Spy Stuff: Japanese agent Mr. Negishi in Manila asks Tokyo for 40,000 yen. He wishes to use the money to fund three candidates (who have requested the money) during their campaigns for office in the Philippine assembly. Tokyo takes the request under advisement.
Soviet/German Relations: There are always awkward details to be attended to upon the outbreak of war, and one of them is handling the embassy/consulate staff of your opponent trapped in your own capital. How this is handled during Operation Barbarossa is a demonstration of classy behavior by both sides. Today, the Soviet staff of the Soviet Embassy in Berlin makes it to neutral Turkey via Svilengrad, Bulgaria. Once the diplomats are across the border, the Soviets allow the Germans from the German Embassy in Moscow to depart as well. Thus, both sides' embassy staffs make it out of enemy territory safely despite the very hard feelings felt on both sides.
German/Spanish Relations: Spanish volunteers to the Blue Division start leaving Madrid, Spain, heading for Grafenwöhr, Bavaria. Their destiny is to fight alongside the Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union.
Anglo/US Relations: President Roosevelt's crony Harry Hopkins departs by air for London.
|Man sleeping in front of Dunhill Funeral Home after a night drinking, 711 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, New York, 13 July 1941 (Weegee).|
Montenegro: There is a partisan uprising against Italian garrison troops known as the "13 July Uprising." This follows closely upon the 12 July proclamation of a restored Kingdom of Montenegro headed by an Italian regent and led by Montenegrin separatist Sekula Drljević and his supporters, known as "Greens" (zelenaši). This is part of the fallout of the recent divvying up of Yugoslavia between Italy, German and their allied partners.
The Communist Party of Yugoslavia, led by a senior Montenegrin member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, Milovan Đilas, initiates the revolt. While the communists begin the rebellion, many ordinary folks and nationalists/monarchists join it. Serb nationalists also get involved. The uprising will last for the rest of the year, and
This type of incident causes a fair amount of eye-rolling in the Wehrmacht. The bitter observation that "the Italians aren't even equal to the bandits" becomes popular.
American Homefront: The New York Yankees play a doubleheader at Comiskey Park, Chicago. Joe DiMaggio goes 3-4 in the opening game and also gets a single in the second game. This extends DiMaggio's major-league record hitting streak to 53 consecutive games.
Actor William Holden marries actress Brenda Marshall, whose actual name is Ardis Ankerson. This is the start of a long marriage that lasts until 1971, a very long time by Hollywood standards. Holden shot to fame in "Golden Boy" (1939) and owes his stardom to his co-star in that film, Barbara Stanwyck, who helped Holden with the role. Stanwyck in 1941 is Holden's "close friend and mentor," but she already is married to another one of her "pupils," Robert Taylor.
Future History: Robert Wallace Forster, Jr. is born in Rochester, New York. Forster goes on to become a well-known Hollywood actor, first appearing in "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967). He is perhaps best known for playing Max Cherry in "Jackie Brown" (1997), for which Forster was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Forster remains active in the film business.
|Excavation of Union Square parking garage (Powell, Post, Stockton, and Geary), San Francisco, California, 13 July 1941 (Pat Hathaway).|
July 1, 1941: US TV Broadcasting Starts
July 2, 1941: MAUD Report
July 3, 1941: Stalin Speaks
July 4, 1941: Pogroms in Eastern Europe
July 5, 1941: Germans on Schedule
July 6, 1941: Australians Attack Damour
July 7, 1941: US Marines in Iceland
July 8, 1941: Flying Fortresses In Action
July 9, 1941: British Take Damour
July 10, 1941: Sword and Scabbard Order
July 11, 1941: Cease-fire in Syria and Lebanon
July 12, 1941: Anglo/Russian Assistance Pact
July 13, 1941: Uprising in Montenegro
July 14, 1941: Katyusha Rocket Launchers in Action
July 15, 1941: Smolensk Falls
July 16, 1941: Stalin's Son Captured
July 17, 1941: Heydrich Orders Mass Executions
July 18, 1941: Twin Pimples Raid
July 19, 1941: V for Victory
July 20, 1941: The Man Who Wouldn't Shoot
July 21, 1941: Moscow in Flames
July 22, 1941: Soviet Generals Executed
July 23, 1941: Secret Plan JB 355
July 24, 1941: Operation Sunrise
July 25, 1941: US Naval Alert
July 26, 1941: Italian E-Boat Attack on Malta
July 27, 1941: MacArthur Returns
July 28, 1941: Auschwitz Exterminations
July 29, 1941: Rescue From Crete
July 30, 1941: Raid on Petsamo and Kirkenes
July 31, 1941: Final Solution Order