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This Week in World War II: 75 Years Ago

Nicknamed "The Kid", "The Splendid Splinter", "Teddy Ballgame", "The Thumper" and "The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived", Williams is regarded as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history.

As the war in Europe was progressing, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox was breaking the all-time season batting record (.406). The next year he would join the U.S. Navy. Nicknamed “The Kid,” “The Splendid Splinter,” “Teddy Ballgame,” “The Thumper” and “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived,” Williams is regarded as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. He is seen here taking the oath to enter the Navy the following year, in 1942. wikipedia.com

By: Phil Kohn. Dedicated to the memory of his father, GM3 Walter Kohn, U.S. Navy Armed Guard, USNR, and all men and women who have answered the country’s call in time of need. Phil can be contacted at ww2remembered@yahoo.com.

On September 26, 1941, German Army Group South reaches Sevastopol, in the Crimea. Around the city, 32,000 Soviet Separate Coastal Army soldiers under Maj. Gen. Igor Petrov begin constructing a network of three well-organized rings of defense.

The first liberty ship, SS Patrick Henry, is launched at Baltimore on September 27. Thirteen more of the vessels are also launched today, with 312 more remaining on order. In Europe, Reinhard Heydrich — described even by Adolf Hitler as “the man with the iron heart” and one of the main architects of the Holocaust — is named Acting Reich-Protector of Bohemia and Moravia in Czechoslovakia. Upon his appointment, he tells his aides: “We will Germanize the Czech vermin.” The Communist Party of Greece and three other left-wing Greek political parties jointly form the National Liberation Front to oppose the German occupation.

A civilian uprising against the oppressive Bulgarian occupation of northern Greece begins in the city of Drama and surrounding villages on September 28. It is put down brutally, with about 3,000 people executed in reprisals in Drama alone. In the U.S., Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox, batting .400 for the year, insists on playing in both games of a doubleheader with the Philadelphia Athletics on the last day of the regular season. He bats 4 for 5 in the first game and 2 for 3 in the nightcap, finishing with a .406 season batting average. (No one has hit .400 or over for a season in major league baseball since.)

The Moscow Conference begins on September 29; Averell Harriman, representing the U.S., and Lord Beaverbrook, for the U.K., meet with Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov to arrange urgent assistance for the U.S.S.R. German SS troops, assisted by Ukrainian police and local collaborators, kill over 33,700 Jews at Babi Yar, outside of Kiev, Ukraine. The Germans claim the killings are in response to incidents of sabotage attributable to the local Jewish population. Finnish forces break through to Petrozavodsk on Lake Onega in Karelia, northern Russia. In New York City, Joe Louis defeats Lou Nova by a technical knockout in the 6th round of their fight to retain his heavyweight boxing championship.

On September 30, Gen. Heinz Guderian’s Panzer Group 2 is moved north to become the right wing of the German attack on Moscow. German troops break out of Dnepropetrovsk, moving southeast toward Donetsk.

On October 1, 1941, the Nazi Majdanek concentration camp (Konzentrationslager Lublin) opens in Occupied Poland, on the outskirts of the town of Lublin. Between October 1941 and July 1944 at least 200,000 people will be killed in the camp. The New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy is redesignated as the Royal New Zealand Navy

“Operation Typhoon” begins on October 2 as German forces launch an all-out offensive against Moscow. In Paris, six synagogues are dynamited by the SS, the German security and surveillance organization.

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