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Italy Falls to the Allies: February 1943-June 1943

World War II Timeline: April 5, 1943-April 15, 1943

April 1943 found the Allies redoubling their efforts against Axis powers in the Mediterranean. The timelime below analyzes this and other major World War II events.

World War II Timeline

April 5: The German SS murders 4,000 Jews at the Ponar Woods near Vilna, Lithuania.


U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) pilots staging a raid on a Luftwaffe facility in Antwerp, Belgium, miss their targets by more than a mile and kill more than 900 Belgian civilians.

The Allies launch their most intense air raid to date on both sides of the Mediterranean, hitting Axis targets in Italy and North Africa.

Japanese troops overrun British headquarters on the Mayu Peninsula in Burma.

April 7: A downcast Benito Mussolini meets Adolf Hitler in Salzburg to discuss the string of recent Axis defeats and to lobby for a separate peace with the Soviet Union, but Hitler convinces him that their setbacks are temporary.

The British government releases the Keynes Plan, named for economist John Maynard Keynes, which calls for the establishment of a world bank.

April 12: Thousands of bodies -- Polish army officers massacred by the Soviet secret police -- are found in Russia's Katyn Forest. The grim discovery is seized upon by German propagandists and denied by the Soviet Union.

April 14: Joseph Stalin's oldest son, Yakov, dies in a German POW camp. Captured in 1941, he was offered back to Russia in a prisoner trade, but Stalin declined.

April 15: The Allies attack the important German manufacturing center of Stuttgart with aptly named bombs called "factory-smashers" and "blockbusters."

The U.S. high command is reorganized, as General George Patton is needed to plan the American portion of the invasion of Sicily. General Omar Bradley will take Patton's place as the commander of the U.S. Second Army Corps.

World War II Headlines

More headlines and images detailing the events of World War II and the developments of 1943 are below.

British Admiral Sir Max Horton's ideas lead to success in Atlantic: Late in 1942, British admiral Sir Max Horton, commander-in-chief of the Western Approaches Command, changed antisubmarine strategy. He sent groups of fast "hunter-killer" ships away from their convoys to attack German U-boats, preventing the formation of "wolf packs." By spring 1943, those tactics had successfully reopened the North Atlantic to merchant and military shipping. As a WWI submarine commander, Horton had responded to an admiral's assessment of all submariners as "un-English" and "pirates" by flying the "Jolly Roger" (skull and crossbones flag) after his sub sank two German ships. WWII British and Australian submariners took up the Jolly Roger as a signal of success.

Next is a World War II timeline listing major events from April 1943, including the courageous Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

To follow more major events of World War II, see: