Eighty years ago the allies dip a toe onto the toe of Italy


British and Canadian forces under General Montgomery landed in Calabria on the toe of Italy  just across the Straits of Messina from Sicily, the first allied forces to arrive on mainland Europe. It was a sad specimen of confused allied planning. Montgomery had objected to the plan as it would leave his forces with a long drive to the true battlefield in the north. The aim of the operation was to tie down German forces to smooth the planned major landing further north at Salerno.   The Germans did not oblige and Montgomery faced minimal opposition.

Australian and US forces landed at Lae on north-east New Guinea, opening the reconquest of the island from the Japanese. The allies were beginning a major drive against the Japanese in the region after the long attritional battles on Guadalcanal and to ward off Japanese attacks against the south of the island. The attack featured a regiment of US paratroop, who seized an airfield inland from Lae in the first major drop in the Pacific theatre conducted under the eyes of General MacArthur circling overhead in a B-17. A land force including Papuan troops and engineers reached the airfeld in an overland trek the following day to consolidate the position.

Stalin met the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox church and two other  metropolitans. They reached a deal under which the Soviet state tolerated Orthodox worship in exchange for the church recognising the legitmacy of the Soviet state and refraining from criticism. The Orthodox church has been a de facto part of every regime in Russia ever since.