Soviets try to widen Leningrad Corridor
Saturday, January 16, 1943 www.onwar.com
Soviet trains provide supplies Leningrad through a narrow corridor [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... In the Caucasus, Army Group A (Kleist) is withdrawing under pressure. Army Group Don (Manstein) continues to defend Army Group A’s line of communication around Rostov. In the north, the Soviets attempt to widen the supply route to Leningrad which is presently no wider than 6 miles and exposed to German fire. The area becomes known as the “corridor of death.” Meanwhile, at Stalingrad the German 6th Army pocket has been reduced to about 250 square miles, about half the area it controlled five days ago.
In the Solomon Islands... On Guadalcanal, American forces advance west and southwest of their perimeter. Japanese positions overlooking the upper part of the Matanikau River are captured.
In New Guinea... In converging attacks near Sanananda, the US 163rd Infantry Regiment and the Australian 18th Brigade are making progress.
In Morocco... The Casablanca Conference. The Anglo-American strategy discussions continue.
January 16th, 1943
UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMS Duckworth laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: Berlin: The RAF has returned to Berlin tonight after 14 months away. The city is being hit by 8,000-pound bombs and thousands of incendiaries. The anti-aircraft barrage is surprisingly light; air defences may have been moved, perhaps to the Ruhr. The Germans are relying on camouflage and dummy fires to mislead the bombers; but pilots were told to expect these.
U-220, U-281, U-763 launched.
U-278, U-736 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: Stalingrad: General Rokossovsky is carrying out his threat to annihilate the Germans trapped in the Stalingrad pocket. Attacking from the west, he is hammering the exhausted, starving Sixth Army against the anvil of the city’s Russian defenders.
Pitomnik airfield fell to his tanks two days ago, a grievous blow for the Germans, as it is the only airfield able to take planes at night. Hitler has put Field Marshal Erhard Milch of the Luftwaffe in charge of supplying the trapped army, but even that organizing genius can do nothing without airfields. Only Gumrak, where Paulus has his headquarters, is still open to the Luftwaffe, and that is clogged by the wounded and sick, who lie out on their stretchers, day and night, the blood frozen into red ice, waiting to be flown home.
The Germans are still fighting stubbornly, but they have little left to fight with and the hopelessness of their situation is only too clear to them. One soldier, in a letter home, says: “We’re quite alone, with no help from outside. Hitler has left us in the lurch. When Stalingrad falls you will hear about it. Then you will know I shall not return.”
LIBYA: The Allies penetrate the Buerat Line.
IRAQ: Baghdad: Iraq declares war on the Axis.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: US loudspeaker appeals to the Japanese defenders in the “Gifu” on Guadalcanal yield 5 soldiers surrendering. They reveal that the defenders had voted to stay with the position because 80% of the defenders are too ill to walk and would there for be abandoned.
Submarine U.S.S. Greenling (SS-213), embarked upon her fourth patrol, comes upon XAP Kimposan Maru (3261T) west of Kavieng, New Ireland. In a twilight periscope attack, Greenling unleashes three torpedoes, scoring two hits. The transport sinks in position 02°47’S, 149°10’E.
Submarine chaser Ch 17 rescues Kimposan Maru’s survivors having unsuccessfully depth-charged Greenling in a counterattack.
Submarine U.S.S. Growler (SS-215), moving through the waters around the Bismarcks during her fourth patrol, attacks a Japanese convoy by launching a daylight periscope attack. Growler downs A-APK Chifuku Maru (5857T) with both torpedoes fired in position 04°00’S, 151°55’E. Growler survives the escorts’ counterattacks. (Chris Sauder)
CANADA: HMC ML 052, ML 062 and ML 063 paid off and transferred to Free French Navy to be stationed at St Pierre and Miquelon under control of Flag Officer Newfoundland. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Minesweeper USS Compel launched.
Destroyer escort USS Thomas laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)