Skip to comments.JAPANESE LAUNCH NEW BATTLE FOR SOLOMONS; RUSSIANS LIQUIDATE LAST STALINGRAD POCKET (2/3/43)
Posted on 02/03/2013 6:40:22 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
According to my present plans, I should arrive on the 5th. I hope that it will be agreeable to you if I lunch with you in a small circle. I hope to see Giraud and Murphy, and of course Macmillan. I do not wish General Anderson to be brought back from the front unless you consider it absolutely convenient and desirable. I plan to leave for Gibraltar after early luncheon. I am looking forward very much to seeing you. Please tell only Admiral Cunningham.
Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate
Red Army is 50 miles from Rostov
Wednesday, February 3, 1943 www.onwar.com
Soviet soldier carrying wounded comrade in the Caucasus [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... In the Caucasus, the Soviets capture Kuschevka on the Soskya River, 50 miles south of Rostov. Kupyansk is captured in the offensive toward Kharkov.
In Berlin... The loss of the 6th Army at Stalingrad is made public. Three days of national mourning are set to begin on February 4th.
In the Solomon Islands... On Guadalcanal the Americans consolidate their front running inland from Tassafaronga. US patrols penetrate much closer to Cape Esperance.
February 3rd, 1943
Destroyer HMS Talybont launched.
Frigate HMS Bentinck launched.
Destroyer HMS Solebay laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
London: Associated Press announces:
London, Wednesday, Feb. 3 — The Red Army has completed the destruction of 330,000 trapped troops at Stalingrad, the flower of Adolf Hitler’s army, Moscow announced last night in a special bulletin. This raised the Russians’ announced toll of Axis casualties on the Volga since last Fall to more than 500,000 in dead and captured alone.
The communiqué, recorded here by the Soviet monitor, said 91,000 troops, including a field marshal, twenty-three generals and thousands of other officers, had surrendered in the last three weeks.
An announcement on Sunday said more than 100,000 had been killed in twenty days, and a communiqué last Dec. 31 said 175,000 had been killed and 137,650 captured in the preceding six-week period, beginning with the big Red Army Winter offensive on Nov. 19.
Casualties Exceed 500,000
This represents a total of 503,650 Axis troops killed or captured since mid-November, on the basis of Russian announcements, and it does not include Axis casualties in the preceding three months of bitter fighting that raged along the Volga and inside Stalingrad.
The German radio last night acknowledged the end of the trapped Nazi army, but said the battle had cost the Russians more than 300,000 men.
Russia’s victory at Stalingrad released additional Red Army divisions for heavier blows 250 miles to the west, where the Russians are pushing into the Ukraine toward Kharkov and threatening Rostov on the Sea of Azov.
The midnight bulletin announced continuing Red Army victories in those drives. Pokrovskoe and Nizhni Duvanka, two towns above captured Svatovo on the Kupy-ansk-VoroshiloThe midnight bulletin announced continuing Red Army victories in those drives. Pokrovskoe and Nizhni Duvanka, two towns above captured Svatovo on the Kupy-ansk-Voroshilovgrad railway in the Ukraine, fell In the Caucasus the Russians advancing up the Tikhoretsk-Rostov railway occupied Pavlovsk, only seventy-five miles below Rostov. Other units wheeling south-westward from Tikhoretsk captured Korenovsk, only thirty-five miles from Krasnoday. Another Russian column is within forty miles of Rostov in a drive paralleling the thrust from Tikhoretsk.
Aside from the huge territorial strides of the Russians, the destruction of Axis troops and equipment was regarded as even more important in the Allied fight to force the Nazis to their knees.
More than 2,500 officers were captured, the Russians said. Field Marshal General Friedrich Paulus, commander of the Nazi Sixth Army, surrendered last Sunday with fifteen Axis generals. Last night’s bulletin announced that Col.
Gen. Walther Heitz, commander of the Eighth Army Corps; Lieut. Gen. Streicher, commander of the Eleventh Corps, and innumerable other officers had put down their arms.
The Soviet bulletin said “trophies are still being counted in one of the biggest battles in the history of wars,” but listed this booty as captured since Jan. 10, when the final push began:
Fifty-six locomotives, 1,125 railway cars, 750 planes, 1,150 tanks, 6,700 guns, 1,462 mortars, 8,135 machine guns, 90,000 rifles, 61,102 trucks, 7,369 motor cycles, 480 carts, tractors and transports; 320 radio transmitters, three armored trains, 235 ammunition and arms dumps and a large amount of other equipment.
The Moscow radio said Marshal Nikolai N. Voronof and Co. Gen. Konstantin Rokossovsky, the Red Army leaders, sent a message to Premier Joseph Stalin at 6:30 P. M., saying: “Carrying out your order, troops on the Don front at 4 P.M., Feb. 2, finished the rout and annihilation of encircled enemy troops at Stalingrad.”
Then Premier Stalin issued the following order:
Order of the day by the Supreme Commander in Chief to the troops of the Don
To the representative of the Supreme Commander in Chief, Marshal of Artill ery, Comrade Voronoff; to the commander of the troops on the Don front, Col.
I congratulate you and the troops of the Don front on your successful carrying out of the liquidation of the encircled enemy troops at Stalingrad. I express my gratitude to the commanders of the Red Army men and the political workers of the Don front for their excellent military activities.
The Supreme Commander in Chief,
The city named for Mr. Stalin already was trying to make the skeleton ruins of the town livable again. Sappers were clearing the streets of mines imbedded in broken pavements and side walks as the Axis prisoners, dirty, ragged, hungry and half-frozen, awaited transfer to concentration camps.
The siege of Stalingrad began last Aug. 25. It was the highwater mark of the
1942 offensive that rolled eastward from the Kurks-Kharkov-The siege of Stalingrad began last Aug. 25. It was the highwater mark of the 1942 offensive that rolled eastward Tonight Soviet troops not only had broken the last resistance at Stanlingrad but were advancing far to the west over ground where they had themselves retreated in the early days of last Summer’s Nazi push.
Both sides undoubtedly suffered heavily in the long bitter battle of attrition. Premier Stalin said once that the first sixty days of siege cost the Germans 100,000 men, 1,000 planes and 8,000 tanks. On Sept. 30, Herr Hitler declared the city would be conquered and said “you may rest assured that no human being will be able to oust us from there.”
Russia’s powerful counter-blow was struck on Nov. 19. Red Army wings on both sides of the city crossed the Volga and hammered out a junction on the Don River, twenty-five miles west of Stalingrad. Reinforcements flooded into the captured terrain to seal the fate of the 330,000 trapped Germans.
With all German relief efforts smashed, the Nazis were reduced to supplying their Stalingrad forces by transport plane. Hundreds of these were shot down, and as the circle contracted there no longer were any airfields available to the Germans.
The last Russian push at Stalingrad began on Jan. 10, when the Germans refused to surrender. German communiques became more and more reticent at first, then began to picture the men as martyrs who, while fighting “only with rifle butts and bayonets,” were preventing the Russians from expanding successes elsewhere.
The erasure of the final Nazi at Stalingrad came three days after Berlin’s gloomy celebration of the tenth anniversary of Herr Hitler’s rise to power.
NETHERLANDS: An RAF Stirling bomber crashes near Hardinxveld-Giesendam (south-east of Rotterdam). It carries at one of its units the inscription “experimental 6”. Only a few days after the RAF permitted H2S operations over occupied territory, a crashed aircraft was discovered by the Germans, carrying a nearly intact top secret British radar apparatus (it should have destroyed itself). More...
U-282, U-543 launched.
U-279 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
FINLAND: The fall of Stalingrad forces the Finnish leadership to consider the situation the war has reached. Marshal Mannerheim, President Risto Ryti and several cabinet ministers gather at the GHQ at Mikkeli to discuss the new situation. In his initial speech, the chief of GHQ’s intelligence section Col. Aladar Paasonen states that Germany will lose the war, and Finland is lucky if she gets peace with the same terms as in the Peace of Moscow in 1940. In the general discussion everybody agrees that Finland has to find a way to peace, but preferably without angering Germany, which is still strong enough to harm, perhaps even to occupy, Finland. (Mikko Härmeinen)
U.S.S.R.: Soviet troops retake Kushchevskaya, south of Rostov-on-Don, and Kupyansk in the Ukraine.
BURMA: British forces in Burma have used tanks in a three-day offensive in an attempt to breach the Japanese defences at Donbaik and Rathedaung, in the Arakan peninsula. But tonight the attacks ended without a break-through. It is now over a month since the 14th Indian Division reached Rathedaung and Donbaik but successive attacks have failed to take the towns. Strong defences have been built around bunkers, with the Japanese determination to resist the attacks until they are reinforced by General Koga’s Japanese 55th Division later this month.
Frigate HMCS Prince Rupert launched Esquimalt, British Columbia.
Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan commissioned.
Minesweeper HMCS Westmount completed engine repairs and joined Halifax Local defence Force.
Destroyer USS Brownson commissioned.
Minesweeper USS Pilot commissioned.
Heavy cruisers USS Pittsburgh and St Paul laid down.
Light cruiser USS Springfield laid down.
Destroyer USS Halsey Powell laid down.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-265 (Type VIIC) is sunk south of Iceland, in position 56.35N, 22.49W, by depth charges from a British B-17 Fortress aircraft (Sqdn. 220/N). 46 dead (all hands lost). (Alex Gordon)
SS Rhexenor sunk by U-217 at 24.59N, 43.37W. (Dave Shirlaw)
The American troopship USAT Dorchester is torpedoed and sunk off Greenland. Of 902 Soldiers, sailors and civilians on board, 672 die. (Jean Beach)
Book “The Immortal Chaplains”
Chapel of the Four Chaplains.
At 0452, U-223 fired five single torpedoes at three ships in Convoy SG-19 about 150 miles west of Cape Farewell. One of the first torpedoes hit passenger ship SS USAT Dorchester and the other torpedoes missed her and the Norwegian SS Biscaya and Lutz. The Dorchester (Master Hans Jorgen Danielson) was struck on the starboard side in the machinery spaces. The explosion stopped the engines and the vessel swung to starboard, losing way. Six blasts from the whistle indicated to the rest of the convoy that the Dorchester was hit. Her complement of seven officers, 123 crewmen, 23 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and four 20mm guns) and 751 troops and passengers began to abandon ship three minutes after the hit. Three of the 14 lifeboats had been damaged by the explosion, the crew managed only to launch two more overcrowded boats and 33 men left with rafts, but many men evidently did not realize the seriousness of the situation, stayed aboard and went down with the ship, which sank 30 minutes later. The USCG cutters Escanaba and Comanche began rescuing survivors within minutes. Rescue swimmers from the USS Escabana jumped into the icy water with lines tied about them to pull incapacitated men out of the water. The USS Escabana picked up 81 survivors from the water and rafts and 51 from one lifeboat. The USS Comanche picked up 41 survivors from another lifeboat and 56 from rafts and the water. They also picked up hundreds of bodies. They were landed at Narsarssuak the same day. 675 lives were lost - the master, three officers, 98 crewmen, 15 armed guards and 558 troops and passengers. The following were saved - three officers, 25 crewmen, 44 civilian workers, three Danish citizens, twelve armed guards, seven US coast guard personnel and 135 US Army personnel. Four Army chaplains representing the four different faiths - Rev Lt George Lansing Fox (Methodist); Rabbi Lt Alexander David Goode; Rev Lt. Clark Poling (First Reformed Church) and Father John Washington gave up their lifebelts to soldiers who have none, all four perished with the ship. All were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the DSC. In 1961 the US Congress declared the 3 February four Chaplains Observance Day and The Chapel of the Four Chaplains was established in Philadelphia.
At 1412 and 1413, U-255 fired torpedoes at Convoy RA-52 about 600 miles NE of Iceland and observed two hits on one ship after a running time of 1 minute 50 seconds and heard one further detonation after 3 minutes 20 seconds. Reche reported the Greylock sunk and claimed a hit on another freighter of 5000 tons, but this cannot be confirmed from Allied sources.
Lookouts on the Greylock (Master Charles Herbert Whitmore) spotted a torpedo in the smooth seas and broad daylight about 300 yards off the port side. They tried to evade the torpedo, but it struck between the #5 and #6 holds, creating a large hole below the waterline and also locking the steering gear. A second torpedo missed the bow by 75 yards. The ship immediately flooded and took a starboard list. 15 minutes after the hit, the ten officers, 26 crewmembers, 25 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in, eight 20mm and two .30cal guns) and nine passengers (three of them survivors from the freighter Ballot) left the ship in four lifeboats. A British escort ship shelled the Greylock, which sank stern first at 1430. Most men were picked up by armed trawlers HMS Lady Madeleine and Northern Wave and landed at Belfast and Gourock. Four crewmembers were picked up by minesweeper HMS Harrier and taken to Scapa Flow. All the crew came together in Glasgow and were eventually repatriated from Liverpool.
At 0257, SS Inverilen in Convoy HX-224 was torpedoed by U-456 south of Iceland. The tanker was abandoned and sank later in 56°13N/20°35W. The master, 24 crewmembers and six gunners were lost. 14 crewmembers and two passengers (DBS) were picked up by HMS Asphodel and landed at Londonderry. U-456 was chased after the attack by HMS Londonderry, which had to abort the chase after she was damaged by a premature detonation of one of her own depth charges.
At 2154, tanker SS Cordelia, a straggler from convoy HX-224, was torpedoed and sunk by U-632 south of Iceland. The master, 37 crewmembers and eight gunners were lost. The sole survivor was taken prisoner by the U-boat and carelessly mentioned Convoy SC-118 that was reported to the BdU. The convoy was subsequently attacked with the loss of nine ships. The survivor landed at Brest on 14 February and was taken to the German POW camp Milag Nord.
Mrs. abb and I have scheduled a trip to New Orleans during the month of March, primarily to visit the WWII museum.
Have any of this group been there? If so, any suggestions on what not to miss, etc.?
U-282—sunk on first patrol in the mid-Atlantic.
U-543 launched—sunk on 2nd patrol off Portgal by mix of rockets and FIDO homing torpedo by US aircraft.
U-279 commissioned—Sunk on first Patrol by depth charges dropped from US aircraft SW of Iceland.
None of these sank any ships.
“SS Rhexenor sunk by U-217” — Sank three ships total during its patrols. Sunk by depth charge dropped by US aircraft later in the year in the mid Atlantic.
” tanker SS Cordelia, a straggler from convoy HX-224, was torpedoed and sunk by U-632 south of Iceland later in the year.” — The only ship sunk by this Sub. U-632 was sunk later in the year in the North Atlantic.
“SS Inverilen in Convoy HX-224 was torpedoed by U-456 south of Iceland.” — Nine patrols total with 8 ships sunk. British aircraft sank it with a FIDO in May 1943 in the North Atlantic.
1943 was a bad year to be in a German U-Boat.
“Have any of this group been there? If so, any suggestions on what not to miss, etc.?”
I haven’t been to N.O. before but if I were going I would like to see the “Guests of the Third Reich” exhibit. My uncle was a POW in Stalag Luft I for 16 months.
Will make notes and report back to the group on what I see.
That brings up an interesting aside. Where I live (Ruston, LA) is about 10 miles from one of the larger POW camps in the US - Camp Ruston. I’ve been to the site, and most all the buildings from that era are gone, but there’s a local historian who has written about it.
(pics at this blog)
lol That's an interesting way of putting it. "Liquidate" the Germans, the Russians surely did. Of course, as dreadfully cold as it was, I'm a little surprised anything would liquidate in those conditions! I'm sure it didn't help that the Germans didn't pack any clothes for the Winter, because they were certain that it would be all over before then.....
After being blinded by a new version of the Enigma machine on February 1, 1942, we broke no naval Enigma for ten months. Then at the beginning of the reversals in North Africa, U-559 was sunk near Port Said on October 30, yielding its weather code book. On December 13, Bletchley was able to inform OIC of the week-old positions of over a dozen U-boats. This was the beginning of the bad year to be in a German U-boat.
Thanks for this info to a terrific article on Naval Enigma on uboat.net.
Given the huge numbers of soldiers we were shipping out to Europe, I'm surprised how few troopships were lost.
U-Boats and the Russian front were two bad services if a German serviceman wanted to survive the war.
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