Royal Air Force bombers struck Berlin yesterday & again tonight, after a 14-month respite from air raids for the German capital. Onboard one of the planes is a BBC journalist, Richard Dimbleby, reporting on the cascade of incendiary bombs.

Red Army advance into the Stalingrad pocket is taking 1000s of German troops prisoner; one Soviet soldier mockingly holds up a pair of home-made boots while standing on a captured panzer, demonstrating how unprepared Wehrmacht was for Russian winter:

Construction has completed on "the Pentagon", a mammoth new office space for American military administration. Built wide & with few storeys to reduce use of reinforcing steel, it can now house 33,000 staff working on US war planning.

Wounded German soldier Raimund Beyer is evacuated on the last hospital plane out of Stalingrad: "As I was loaded onboard, the doctor said softly, enviously: 'My greetings to the homeland."

Red Army have captured Pitomnik Airfield, last landing spot for supply planes within the Stalingrad pocket; no escape now for trapped Germans.

German officer Alex Dohna-Schlobiten: "Our men have no weapons, often no boots. Emaciated men crawl on their knees, feet consumed by frostbite."

Dreadful plight of German troops trapped in Stalingrad is now extreme; some starving soldiers are surrendering to the Red Army in order to beg for food.

Allied leaders meet in newly liberated French Morocco, with Free French leaders Generals De Gaulle & Giraud, to thrash out their strategy for next phase of war: how to assure total annihilation of the Axis.

For the first time ever, an American President has flown in a plane while on official business, to dodge German U-boats in the Atlantic; it took a 4-day plane ride (with stopovers) to take Roosevelt to Casablanca.

Under intense secrecy, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill & US President Roosevelt meet in Casablanca, freshly captured by Allied troops, for a major war conference with Free French leaders.

Axis forces guarding Leningrad were stretched thin, in an effort to prevent Soviet forces from breaking out of the besieged city; they were unprepared for assault from without, despite heavy defences:

The first cracks have appeared in the siege of Leningrad: Red Army troops from within the city embrace fellow Soviet soldiers who have broken through German encirclement, cutting a narrow corridor along southern bank of Lake Ladoga.

~100 crew who survived USS Juneau's sinking on 13th November were left adrift for eight days, suffering hypothermia, dehydration, & shark attacks. A B-17 bomber crew's report of survivors went unnoticed among routine paperwork for a week. 10 were rescued.

Americans Thomas & Alleta Sullivan have been informed that their five sons- George, Frank, Joe, Matt & Al, who joined US Navy on condition they all serve aboard the same ship- have been killed after a Japanese submarine torpedoed their ship, USS Juneau.

From the Finnish border in the north to the Caucasus in the south, this has been a winter of offensives for the Red Army, smashing into Axis forces at Stalingrad, Leningrad & near Moscow. New York Times map shows Soviet successes:

Operation Spark: white-clad soldiers of the Soviet Second Shock Army have advanced round the southern shore of Lake Ladoga (bottom right of map), hitting Axis forces encircling Leningrad & trying to link up with a breakthrough from Red Army troops in the city.

Red Army have launched Operation Iskra (Spark): a huge assault on German forces besieging Leningrad, aiming to break the two-year-siege of the Soviet city.

German General Zeitzler, safe in Berlin, eats Stalingrad rations in solidarity with trapped 6th Army; after weeks without adequate nutrition, Hitler orders the emaciated General to stop.

Bad weather & continual Red Army advances have reduced air supply of food to Stalingrad to a trickle; German troops are on starvation rations as they face a renewed Soviet assault.

Red Army have launched their final assault at Stalingrad: Operation Koltso (Ring) opens with massive artillery bombardment. Seven Soviet armies are attacking the encircled German Sixth Army from every direction.

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