Skip to comments.BRITISH REACH TRIPOLI, LEFT AFIRE BY FOE; RUSSIANS TAKE SALSK, GAIN IN CAUCASUS (1/23/43)
Posted on 01/23/2013 4:27:34 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
#1 - There Are Such Things - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers
#2 - I Had the Craziest Dream - Harry James, with Helen Forrest
#3 Why Dont You Fall in Love with Me, Dinah Shore
#4 - Why Dont You Do Right - Benny Goodman, with Peggy Lee
#5 When the Lights Go On Again All Over the World - Vaughn Monroe
#6 - Mister Five by Five Harry James, with Helen Forrest
#7 - Moonlight Becomes You - Glenn Miller, with Skip Nelson and the Modernaires
#8 - Moonlight Becomes You - Bing Crosby
#9 Juke Box Saturday Night - Glenn Miller, with Ray Eberly and the Modernaires
#10 - Why Dont You Fall in Love with Me - Johnny Long, with Bob Houston and Helen Young
Soviets Expanding Offensive Northward
Saturday, January 23, 1943 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... Soviet General Golikov’s Voronezh Front try to widen the advance northward by attacking the city of Voronezh. In the Caucasus, the Red Army captures Armavir.
In North Africa... The 8th Army occupies Tripoli. The repairs to the port facilities begin immediately and are completed by the end of the month.
In the Solomon Islands... On Guadalcanal, American forces begin to make rapid gains because of the Japanese withdrawal toward the Cape Esperance positions. The Americans fail to realize the significance. The Gifu strongpoint falls.
In Morocco... The Casablanca Conference. The Anglo-American strategy discussions continue.
January 23rd, 1943
UNITED KINGDOM: The country now has the fullest employment in its history. Nearly 17.5 million men and women are in civilian jobs. Latest unemployment figures from the ministry of labour have dropped below 100,000, less than a tenth of the inter-war figures when there was never fewer than a million unemployed. And the number is still falling.
The figures include 6,769,000 women, an increase of two million on the number working before the war. This includes three million married women. Several hundred thousand more are in part-time work. There are 4.7 million men and women in the armed forces, almost equalled by the 4.3 million in the munitions industries.
London: Though Hitler’s tanks have rolled over Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals, seven states have somehow managed to stay out of the fighting war. Yet they are playing a vital role in the deadly struggle between the Allies and the Axis powers.
Switzerland, with its leaky frontier with Germany, is a hive of espionage activity. British agents with top-level contacts in the armed forces, and even in German intelligence, were able to warn Stalin of Hitler’s invasion plans. The Russians have built up a major espionage operation in Lucerne; the American Allen Dulles has made Geneva his HQ. The Swiss warned potential invaders in 1939 that at the first sign of attack they would blow up Alpine tunnels.
The Portugese capital, Lisbon, is another centre for Allied and Axis spies, who are chiefly concerned with shipping movements. British and German agents have an understanding not to use the same cafes. In neighbouring Spain, General Franco was tempted to take his country into the war in 1940, when he though that Hitler would win; since then the wily Caudillo has thought differently, and Spain has become a regular part of the escape route for Allied aircrews and PoWs.
Admiral Canaris and his Abwehr undercover agents have tried in vain to use Eire as a back-door into Britain. In the middle of Mussolini’s capital the neutral Vatican is being used by anti-Nazi Germans as a contact point with the Allies. Sweden’s neutrality is bought by allowing German military trains to cross over to Finland - and by secretly selling ball-bearings to Britain and Germany.
Turkey, strategically placed on the borders of the USSR and the German-occupied Balkans, is another neutral nation humming with the activities of agents and double-agents.
Submarine HMS Vox launched.
ASW trawler HMS Bombardier launched.
Minesweeper HMS Fantome commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sail for Norway again with Prinz Eugen but are detected one more time by British planes and therefore return to the Baltic. (Navy News)
U-249, U-296, U-866 laid down.
U-847 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: Soviet forces capture Armavir, an important rail junction in the Caucasus oilfields.
Stalingrad: The last resistance in Stalingrad is crumbling. The Sixth Army has been split into two pockets north and south of the city. The last German airfield in the Stalingrad pocket, at Gumrak, fell two days ago to Soviet tanks, which crushed long lines of wounded as they lay on stretchers waiting to be evacuated.
The last men to get out left in a Heinkel H-111 bomber. There were 19 of them and seven bags of mail, the last letters from doomed men to their families. Now, the only way in which the defenders can be supplied is by parachute.
With defeat inevitable, some Germans are surrendering or saving their last bullets for themselves. General von Hartmann, the commander of the 71st Infantry Division, stood upright on a railway embankment and fired his carbine at the advancing Russians until he was mown down by a machine-gun. Paulus, realising the futility of prolonging his men’s agony, has told Hitler: “Fuhrer defence senseless. Collapse inevitable.” And asked for permission to surrender. Hitler’s reply reads: “Surrender is forbidden; Sixth Army will hold their positions to the last man and the last round and by their heroic endurance will make an unforgettable contribution to the establishment of a defensive front and the salvation of the Western world.”
“My hands are done for, and have been ever since the beginning of December. The little finger of my left hand is missing and - what’s even worse - the three middle fingers of my right one are frozen. I can only hold my mug with my thumb and little finger. I’m pretty helpless; only when a man has lost any fingers does he see how much he needs then for the smallest jobs. The best thing I can do with the little finger is to shoot with it.
My hands are finished.” Anonymous German soldier.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailing vessel Alexandria sunk by U-431 between Cyprus and Haifa. (Dave Shirlaw)
NORTH AFRICA: The 8th Army enters Tripoli, Libya.
Tripoli: An hour before dawn today, a lone scout car of the 11th Hussars drove gingerly through the deserted suburbs of Tripoli and into the city centre itself - to find no sign of Axis troops. At first light a Valentine tank called Dorothy - after the driver’s sweetheart in Liverpool - rumbled into the main square with seven Gordon Highlanders clinging to it. Tripoli was in British hands.
Three columns had been poised all night outside the city walls for this moment. Highlanders of the 51st Division had approached from the east along the heavily-mined and booby-trapped coastal road, where every bridge and culvert had been demolished.
Another force had approached from the west; but the most spectacular approach was made by the 7th Armoured Division which had waited on the mountain overlooking Tripoli and charged towards the south of the city.
A delighted Montgomery, who had even predicted the date of Tripoli’s fall, accepted surrender from the city’s bemedalled mayor, his battledress and beret contrasting markedly with the Italian’s full dress uniform. “I have nothing but praise for the men of the Eighth Army,” he told his assembled war correspondents.
FRENCH MOROCCO: Casablanca: In nine days of talks at Casablanca, in Morocco, Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt have settled their war campaign plans for the year. It was the fourth wartime meeting between the two leaders. The US president told a press conference today that they had agreed on “unconditional surrender” by the Axis powers. There would be no deals; the enemy would be disarmed and those responsible for atrocities would be put on trial.
The official communiqué speaks of “war plans and enterprises to be undertaken against German, Italy and Japan with the view to drawing the utmost advantage from the favourable turn of events at the close of 1942.” No hint was given of where the next blow will fall, but it is believed that the Allies have decided on an invasion of Italy this year. Tribute is paid to “the enormous weight of the war which Russia is successfully bearing”; the “prime object” of the western Allies is “to draw as much weight as possible off the Russian armies by engaging the enemy as heavily as possible at the best selected points”. But Stalin’s desire for a second front in north-western Europe will have to wait until 1944.
NEW GUINEA: Port Moresby: The Papuan campaign has ended. After three weeks of bloody fighting in the pestilential swamps of the New Guinea coast, the Allies have reoccupied Sanananda, eliminating the final enemy pockets on Papua.
The advance on Sanananda began immediately Buna fell, but progress was blocked by mangrove swamps. The Allies used two fresh American battalions to establish road blocks. On 12 January the 18th Australian Brigade was the used to press the encircled enemy, but came under unexpected pressure when its tanks were put out of action. In a disheartening day in which little ground was gained, 100 men were lost.
Next day the Japanese began withdrawing from their forward positions, and barges were taking them away. It was learned later that the Japanese had no rice left and were dying of starvation. The Japanese commander was ordered to move his forces from Sanananda to the Kumusi or Mambare river mouths and thence to Lae and Salamaua.
Victory has come to the Allies in Papua, but the cost has been high. Australian dead total 2,165, and 3,533 have been wounded. American losses are 671 killed and 2,172 wounded. As against this loss the Allies have won an area vital to the development of airfields and port facilities to support the advance against Rabaul. The Japanese commitment to Papua was about 20,000 of whom 13,000 are estimated to have been killed.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: GUADALCANAL: an attack by an estimated 100 Japanese occurs about 2:30 am from the “Gifu”. Later that morning the 2nd Btn 35th Infantry formed skirmish lines and moved in. Captured were 40 mg; 200 rifles; and an estimated 431 Japanese soldiers dead. The stronghold has finally fallen after a month of isolation.
An edition of “The Guadalcanal Herald and Examiner” is published.
CANADA: USN submarine chaser SC 709 foundered off Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. Local fishermen effected a daring rescue under extremely adverse conditions. Stranded on a shoal and pounded by 12-foot seas, SC 709 quickly became weighed down by ice and began listing to starboard. Canadian naval authorities in Louisbourg judged it to be too risky to attempt a rescue. The sailors aboard SC 709 could be seen from the shore from time to time as they tried to move about on the wave-swept deck. Mr. Yvon Chiasson, who was a crewman aboard a local fishing schooner, along with several local men, decided to try to reach them in two dories. These they had to drag across the shore ice until they reached open water. Then, they rowed into the teeth of the storm until they reached the wreck. The rescuers were able to remove eight of the sailors that were in the worst shape as the seas raged around them. Winds were blowing at 40 knots and the temperature had fallen to -20C. The American seamen were frostbitten and hypothermic by the time the rescuers reached them. “Those boys were in very poor condition, very poor indeed” Mr. Chiasson recalled. “The navy had no boat that could get close enough. When you’re out there in the cold, with the water splashing all over and freezing on you, you’re not going to last long.” Fishing vessels, who followed Mr. Chiasson’s route, saved the rest of the crew soon after. Mr. Chiasson’s efforts were recognized in 2000 when he received the Silver Life-Saving Medal from the United States Navy at a ceremony held at Cleveland, Ohio. Rideau Hall has declined to honor Mr. Chiasson with the Canadian Life Saving Medal. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: The aircraft carrier USS Chapin Bay (CVE-63) is laid down.
Destroyer escorts USS Eisele and Tisdale laid down.
Submarine USS Lapon commissioned.
Destroyer USS Sigsbee commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: US Liberty ship SS Benjamin Smith had sailed from Marshall without escort on a noninvasive course, because the escort vessels orders had been misforwarded and so the escort arrived a day late. At 0300, the ship was hit by a torpedo from U-175 between #1 and #2 holds, but did not severely damage the ship. The radio antenna was shorted and the engines were secured as the ship took a starboard list. Within five minutes the Benjamin Smith righted herself after the water equalized in the holds and the engines were restarted. The master tried to get away steering a zigzag pattern with a speed of six knots. 20 minutes after the first hit a second torpedo struck the starboard side about ten feet aft of the engine room. The ship was then abandoned by the complement of eight officers, 35 men and 23 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in and nine 20mm guns) in three lifeboats and a raft. Shortly after they got away a third torpedo struck the port side amidships, causing her to sink quickly by the stern about 50 miles off Cape Palmas, Liberia. The Germans questioned the survivors on the raft and directed them to the nearest land after receiving the appropriate answers. He also asked for the master, but they told him that he was not on the raft. At dawn then men on the raft were transferred to the boats and the motorized lifeboat towed the other two into Sassandra, French Ivory Coast on the 24 January. They were later taken to Accra and were repatriated by plane via Belem, Brazil, arriving in USA on 3 March. (Dave Shirlaw)
"The German occupiers took advantage of French antisemitism to recruit Frenchmen to fight for the Nazi cause.
While the Germans never got all of the aid they desired, the Vichy government was officially their ally and did supply a number of soldiers to the Nazis.
These French legionnaires left to fight on the Russian front. One of them scratched the words 'Death to the Jews.' "
"Following their defeat at Stalingrad, Russia, German and Romanian soldiers wait to be sent to prisoner-of-war camps.
Against the fierce cold, the soldiers huddle together for warmth and comfort as they march into what would be a cruel captivity.
Few of those who entered the camps returned to their homelands; most died of disease and starvation."
Page 10 “Nazi Flyer Hunted”
Siegfried Schmidt “escaped” from an Ontario CA POW camp, only he didn’t escape but hid inside the camp for 3 months while engaging in DIY plastic surgery on himself.
A NY Times story with a Chesty Puller interview has to be mentioned.
I thought about pointing out that article in my ping reply but I decided the colonel's command presence would suffice.
USS Chapin Bay:
USS St. Lo (CVE63) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier of the United States Navy during World War II. On 25 October 1944, St. Lo became the first major warship to sink as the result of a kamikaze attack. The attack occurred during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
At 10:47, the task unit came under a concentrated air attack by the Shikishima Special Attack Unit. During the 40minute engagement with enemy kamikazes, all the escort carriers except Fanshaw Bay were damaged. One Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeroperhaps flown by Lieutenant Yukio Sekicrashed into the flight deck of St. Lo at 10:51. Its bomb penetrated the flight deck and exploded on the port side of the hangar deck, where aircraft were in the process of being refueled and rearmed. A gasoline fire erupted, followed by six secondary explosions, including detonations of the ship’s torpedo and bomb magazine. St. Lo was engulfed in flame and sank 30 minutes later.
This is a little confusing. I know there was at least one more Midway commissioned because it was in the fleet when I was in the navy in the early seventies.
Moonlight Becomes You & Why Dont You Fall in Love with Me both by two different groups both in the top ten and I never heard of either one of them.
“We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.”
If you had done you homework and watched "Road to Morocco" back in November when we posted the review you would know that Bing Crosby sang "Moonlight Becomes You" in that movie. The song was written for that purpose. I never heard of "Why Don't You Fall in Love with Me" either.
The dog ate my homework.
Yeah, sure. I've been hearing that excuse since the War of 1812 + 70 Years.
Perhaps they were rationing song writing along with everythings else so the Top Ten turned into the Top Eight.