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This Day in WWII 12 April 1940 - 1945


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RCA-April1944.jpg RCA Ad - April 1944


1940: Norway announces German control of Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim in the 'south, Narvik in the north.


1941: US troops land in Greenland.


PeggyKnudsen1.jpg *Peggy Knudsen


1941: Greek and British forces fall back to the Mount Olympus line in Greece.


1941: The Yugoslav capital Belgrade, surrenders.


PeggyKnudsen2.jpg Peggy Knudsen


1941: German armoured units complete the encirclement of Tobruk and push on up the coast road towards the Egyptian frontier.


1942: Both German and Russian forces pause for breath after an extremely difficult winter (temperatures dropped to a nippy Minus 30C). The Russians have outrun their supply lines and exhausted their supply store of tanks and guns, which has allowed the initiative to slip back to the Germans. However, the Germans are aware that they can no longer take Moscow with a knockout blow and so choose another alternative. They intend to drive southward as part of a "grand pincer" movement through the Caucasus to link up with Rommel's Afrika Corps, which will solve their oil problems, disable the Russian economy, and menace the Middle East.


PeggyKnudsen3.jpg Peggy Knudsen


1942: Japanese troops capture Migyaungye in Burma, which exposes the western flank of 1st Burma Corps at put the oilfields at Yenangyuang under threat.


1943: German radio announces that 4,150 Polish officers that were deported by the Russian authorities in 1940 have been found in mass graves near Smolensk.


PeggyKnudsen4.jpg Peggy Knudsen


1943: The Eighth Army take Sousse, to the East of Kairan and claim that 20,000 axis prisoners have been taken in Tunisia since the 20th March.


1944: Hitler authorizes a withdrawal of 230,000 German and Romanian troops to the fortress of Sevastopol. However, this is four days too late and the delay results in many unnecessary losses.


PeggyKnudsen5.jpg Peggy Knudsen


1944: Finland rejects the heavy Russian demands for the ending of the war.


1944: The U.S. Twentieth Air Force is activated to begin the strategic bombing of Japan.



1945: President Roosevelt dies suddenly at Warm Springs in Georgia, aged 63. Harry Truman is sworn in as 32nd President of the United States.


1945: The U.S. Ninth Army crosses the Elbe, taking Brunswick. The U.S. Third Army takes Erfurt. French troops take Baden-Baden on the southern flank. The U.S. 6th Armoured Division overruns Buchenwald concentration camp. The British Second Army captures Celle 60 miles to the South of Hamburg.


PeggyKnudsen6.jpg Peggy Knudsen


1945: A German war communiqué confesses that Königsberg did surrender and announces the death penalty for the fortresses commander, General Lasch.


1945: In Yugoslavia the Germans evacuate Zenica.


PeggyKnudsen7.jpg Peggy Knudsen


*Born Margaret Ann Knudsen on April 22, 1923 in Duluth, Minnesota. A tough-looking, blonde Warner Bros. starlet of the mid-'40s, Peggy Knudsen made an auspicious screen debut as Mona Mars in the noir classic "The Big Sleep" (1946). Although a mere bit -- one scene, a couple of lines of dialogue -- the character was much discussed prior to actually appearing in the film and demanded an actress who could match the buildup. The pivotal scene, in which protagonist Humphrey Bogart finds himself at a disadvantage in gangster Eddie Mars' coastal hideaway, had originally been filmed in 1944 with Pat Clarke in the role of Mrs. Mars. But when negative previews necessitated scenes to be added or re-shot, director Howard Hawks replaced Miss Clarke with Knudsen, a much more vibrant presence who made her few moments count. It should have been a major breakthrough for the actress but Warner Bros. missed the opportunity and instead assigned her standard "other woman" roles opposite Erroll Flynn in the marital comedy "Never Say Goodbye" (1946) and Ronald Reagan in the horse breeding drama "Stallion Road" (1947). 20th Century Fox borrowed her for a couple of B-movies, in one of which, "Trouble Preferred" (1948), she was top-billed as a policewoman in training, but they were too inexpensive to have much impact. Missing out on stardom, she went on to appear in supporting roles through the 1950s, both in feature films and on television, retiring after a guest spot on "Texas John Slaughter" (1961).

In the 1950s and '60s, Knudsen appeared in guest starring roles on several television shows including "The Millionaire", "Perry Mason", and "Pete and Gladys". After appearing in an episode of "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" in 1965, Knudsen retired from acting.


The victim of a crippling arthritic condition that eventually necessitated five operations, Knudsen was reportedly cared for by lifelong friend Actress Jennifer Jones. On July 11, 1980, she died of cancer in Encino, California


Grandmother of John Orloff, Emmy-nominated writer of HBO's "Band of Brothers" (2001) and the film "A Mighty Heart" (2007), and Greg Orloff.

ShellAviationFuel-April1944.jpg Shell Aviation Fuel Ad - April 1944

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