Saturday, December 8, 2018

September 5, 1941: Germans Evacuate Yelnya

Friday 5 September 1941

Finnish troops and T-26E tanks in the Aunus Isthmus, Finland, 5 September 1941
A column of T-26E tanks and a DKW NZ500 Motorbike (1939) of the Finnish 3rd Armoured Company near the Juoksiala village on the Aunus Isthmus, September 5, 1941 (SA-Kuva).
Eastern Front: The Soviet Red Army achieves its first victory of the war by eliminating German opposition in the Yelnya salient. This exposed position on the road to Moscow had been a "lightning rod" for Soviet attacks for weeks. However, the departure of General Guderian's Panzer Group 2 south toward Kyiv sealed its fate. Writing  in his war diary, General Franz Halder, OKH Chief of Staff, praises the "great piece of staff work" that accomplished the "execution of the withdrawal from the salient." Some historians mark the evacuation of Yelnya as the first true German retreat during World War II, but it is only a temporary reversal as the Wehrmacht focuses elsewhere.

Japanese Government: The reverberations from President Roosevelt's refusal to meet with Prince Konoye continue. An Imperial Conference is scheduled to discuss the next steps, and those steps are decidedly warlike. Today, Prime Minister Konoye submits to the Emperor a draft of a decision taken on 4 September by the Cabinet to Emperor Hirohito. This Cabinet decision, in turn, is based on plans prepared by the Imperial General Headquarters, which is full of war hawks. The decision outlined in the report is to commit to war with the United States unless progress is made in peace talks with the United States by 10 October 1941.

Hirohito reviews the proposal and meets with Konoye, Chief of Staff of the Imperial Army General Sugiyama, and Chief of Staff of the Navy Admiral Osami Nagano. This is an extremely unusual meeting, as the Emperor typically does not engage in discussions about policy but instead merely ratifies them.

In response to a question by Hirohito, Sugiyama claims that Japan could defeat the United States and its allies. Hirohito refuses to accept this, pointing out that the army has promised success in China but failed to achieve it. When Sugiyama counters that China is simply too big to conquer, Hirohito responds with anger that the Pacific Ocean also is vast and would be difficult to conquer.

Admiral Nagano later recalls to a friend:
I have never seen the Emperor reprimand us in such a manner, his face turning red and raising his voice.
Considering that Hirohito is renowned for his placid demeanor, this is quite a statement. Hirohito decides to take an active role in the Imperial Conference scheduled for 6 September.

Estonia: The Germans complete the occupation of Estonia as the final Soviet forces flee by ship. The USSR had occupied Estonia in 1940 as part of a deal with Hitler regarding the Polish campaign. The only Soviet troops remaining in the Baltic states now are a few holdouts on the Baltic islands.

Cab Calloway in Canton, Ohio, 5 September 1941
The big news in Canton, Ohio is that Cab Calloway is opening at the Palace for three days only, 5 September 1941.

September 1941

September 1, 1941: Two Years In
September 2, 1941: Germans Pushed Back at Yelnya
September 3, 1941: FDR Refuses to Meet with Japanese
September 4, 1941: Hitler Furious at Guderian
September 5, 1941: Germans Evacuate Yelnya
September 6, 1941: Japan Prepares for War
September 7, 1941: Hitler Orders Drive on Moscow
September 8, 1941: Leningrad Cut Off
September 9, 1941: Germans Attack Leningrad
September 10, 1941: Guderian Busts Loose
September 11, 1941: Convoy SC-42 Destruction
September 12, 1941: Starve Leningrad!
September 13, 1941: Zhukov at Leningrad
September 14, 1941: Germany's Growing Casualties
September 15, 1941: Sorge Warns Stalin Again
September 16, 1941: Soviets Encircled at Kiev
September 17, 1941: Iran Conquest Completed
September 18, 1941: Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in Action
September 19, 1941: Germans Take Kiev
September 20, 1941: Death at Kiev
September 21, 1941: Raging Soviet Paranoia
September 22, 1941: Defense of Nickel Mines
September 23, 1941: Air Attacks on Leningrad
September 24, 1941: Japanese Spying Intensifies
September 25, 1941: Manstein at the Crimea
September 26, 1941: Kiev Pocket Eliminated
September 27, 1941: Massacre at Eišiškės
September 28, 1941: Ted Williams Hits .400
September 29, 1941: Babi Yar Massacre
September 30, 1941: Operation Typhoon Begins


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