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This Day in WWII 18 December 1939 - 1944


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OldsmobileAd-Dec1942.jpgOldsmobile Ad - December 1942

 

1939: The RAF launch another daylight raid against German shipping in the Schillig Roads, but lose 12 out of 24 bombers. This was the culmination of a series of RAF daylight raids which had cost an increasing number of aircraft. This eventually caused the RAF to switch to night raids to reduce casualties.

 

1939: The first Canadian troops arrive in Britain.

 

Mona%20Freeman1.jpg *Mona Freeman

 

1939: Lavrenti Beria, head of the NKVD, orders the start of large-scale deportation of Poles to the USSR.

 

1939: The Finnish 40th Infantry Regiment of the Lapland Group, forces the Russian 273rd Infantry Regiment of the 9th Army to retreat at Pelkosenniemi.

 

Mona%20Freeman2.jpg Mona Freeman

 

1940: Hitler issues Directive No. 18, confirming plans for Operation 'Barbarossa', previously Operation 'Otto', the attack against the Soviet Union. The aim of this new plan was to destroy the Red Army in western Russia, before moving against Moscow. All preparations were to be completed by the 15th May 1941.

 

1940: President Roosevelt asks Congress to provide enough money in the defense budget to allow the U.S. a "two-ocean navy."

 

JLaskin&SonsAd-Dec1942.jpg J. Laskin & Sons Ad - December 1942

 

1941: Field Marshal von Brauchitsch's resignation as head of OKH is accepted by Hitler, who now assumes personal command of the Army and its operations on the Eastern front. Hitler sacks Army Group Centre's commander, Field Marshal von Bock and replaces him with Field Marshal von Kluge. Stalin creates the Bryansk Front, which is to operate between the West and South West Fronts and lend added weight to the southern prong of the double envelopment of Army Group Centre.

 

1941: Japanese troops force landings on Hong Kong island.

 

1941: Defended by 610 fighting men, the American-held island of Guam falls to more than 5,000 Japanese invaders in a three-hour battle.

 

Mona%20Freeman3.jpg Mona Freeman

 

1942: Adolf Hitler meets with Benito Mussolini and Pierre Laval.

 

1943: The RAF 3rd Tactical Air Force was formed to provide offensive support to operations in Burma.

 

1943: The war crimes trial at Kharkov of four captured Germans, which opened on Dec. 15th. 1944 for the extermination of 30,000 Russians at Kiev concludes with "The Kharkov Four" sentenced to death.

 

OldsmobileAd-Dec1943.jpg Oldsmobile Ad - December 1943

 

1944: The Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also said undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained.

 

1944: 'Operation Wacht am Rhein' begins to bog down in the face of stiffening U.S. resistance and the lack of adequate logistical support, notably fuel for the armored Kampfgruppen of the 6th SS and 5th Panzer Armee's.

 

Mona%20Freeman4.jpg Mona Freeman

 

1944: Japanese forces are repelled from northern Burma by British troops.

 

1944: Eighty-four B29s bomb Hankow, which remains alight three days after.

 

Mona%20Freeman5.jpg Mona Freeman

*Mona Freeman was born Monica Elizabeth Freeman on June 9, 1926 in Baltimore, Maryland. The 5' 3" blonde was a model while in high school, and after becoming the first "Miss Subways" of the New York City transit system, eventually signed a movie contract with Howard Hughes. Her contract was later sold to Paramount Pictures.

 

The 18-year-old's first role was as Barbara Stanwyck teen stepdaughter in Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity" (1944) but she photographed so young, she was replaced by Jean Heather. She still made her debut in the movie, however, when she was instead handed a one-line bit part as Edward G. Robinson's secretary. She was also cast to play Elizabeth Taylor's older sister in "National Velvet" (1944) but once again was replaced (by Angela Lansbury) because she did not look old enough. In truth, Mona was six years Taylor's senior.

Mona%20Freeman6.jpg Mona Freeman

After 1944, she became a popular teenage movie star. As she worked her way out of the teenage ingénue role, however, she found that she had less success in adult roles, and instead of landing parts in "A" pictures she found herself relegated to "B" westerns, such as opposite Alan Ladd in the upcoming "Branded" (1951), (because of her diminutive size) and somewhat tawdry crime dramas as "Flesh and Fury" (1952), "Shadow of Fear" (1954), though one exception was her role in the film noir "Angel Face" (1952). Other film appearances include "Jumping Jacks" (1952) starring the comedy team of Martin and Lewis, "Battle Cry" (1955) starring Van Heflin, Aldo Ray, James Whitmore, Tab Hunter, Anne Francis, Dorothy Malone, Raymond Massey and Fess Parker.

Freeman appearances in films ended in the 1950s but she continued to work in television. Mona Freeman died on May 23, 2014 at the age of 87 after a long illness at her Beverly Hills home.

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 34-23-33 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5' 3" (1.60 m)

First husband was Pat Nerney, a wealthy Hollywood auto dealer. They had a daughter, Mona, Jr., called Monie, in 1947.

Her second husband (since June of 1961), Jack Ellis, is a Los Angeles businessman. He officially adopted Mona's daughter from an earlier marriage who entered show business as Monie Ellis.

She was briefly linked romantically to widower Bing Crosby.

OldsmobileAd-Dec1944.jpg Oldsmobile Ad - December 1944

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