Skip to comments.ROSTOV AND VOROSHILOVGRAD RECAPTURED; R.A.F. BLASTS LORIENT BASE TWICE IN NIGHT (2/15/43)
Posted on 02/15/2013 5:31:47 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
* 6 parts over 7 days.
** Quarterly feature to follow evolution of American reading habits. The Robe looks like the runaway #1 seller in fiction. See Here, Private Hargrove is still doing well in the general category. Guadalcanal Diary is opening fast, making all the lists except Atlanta, New Orleans and L.A. Atl. and N.O. prefer Lees Lieutenants. Here are the earlier lists. They are near the end of the post in each case.
Axis offensive in Tunisia expanding
Monday, February 15, 1943 www.onwar.com
Axis troops filling water containers before the battle [Photo at link]
In Tunisia... Troops under the command of Rommel, now commanding the Italian 1st Army, join the Axis offensive. A detachment of the 15th Panzer Division, along with Italian armor, strikes Gafsa and captures the town. Most of Rommel’s forces are defending the Mareth Line where the last of the rearguard is now arriving from Libya.
February 15th, 1943 (MONDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Submarine HMS L-27 completed ASW training Harbor Grace; to USA for refit.
Frigate HMS Berry commissioned.
Destroyer HMS Trafalgar laid down.
Submarines HMS Visigoth and Supreme laid down.
Submarine HMS Templar commissioned.
Frigate HMS Berry commissioned.
Sloops HMS Modeste and Nereide laid down.
GERMANY: A man from U-635 took his own life in Hamburg. [Maschinengefreiter Werner Grande].
U-350, U-1007, U-1132 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
FINLAND: Marshal Mannerheim states for the first time openly that he won’t order any offensive operations anymore. Earlier he had promised to attack after Germans have taken Leningrad. Germans have been putting hard pressure to Finnish leadership throughout the 1942 to cut the Lend and Lease supply route. USA has on the other hand threatened to declare war if Finns try to stop Lend and Lease shipments. Ryti is elected for the president of the republic for the second term. (Gene Hanson)
U.S.S.R.: The rear-guard of the 40th Panzer Corps escapes annihilation by the Fourth Ukrainian Front. (Gene Hanson)
NORTH AFRICA: Rommel’s 15th Panzer Division attacks the US II Corps and succeeds in taking Gafsa.
Submarine USS Pickerel torpedoes and sinks SS Tateyama Maru (1990 BRT) off the east coast of Honshu in position 39.18N, 142.08E.
Submarine USS Gato torpedoes and sinks stores ship Suruga Maru (991 BRT) in Bougainville Strait in position 06.27S, 156.02E.
Submarine USS Guardfish ends her 3rd war patrol at Brisbane.
Submarine USS Tunny sinks a Japanese sampam with gunfire east of the Bonin Islands in approximate position 25.00N, 147.00E. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: USS PC-597 commissioned.
USS SC-1019 commissioned.
USS YMS-16 commissioned.
USS SC-1305 launched.
USS YMS-235 launched.
Submarine USS Tullibee commissioned.
Destroyer escorts USS Neuendorf and Manning laid down.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-225 (Type VII) is sunk in the North Atlantic, position 55.45N, 31.09W, by depth charges from a British B-24 Liberator aircraft (Sqdn 120/S). 46 dead (all hands lost). (Alex Gordon)
The Atlantic Sun had developed engine trouble and straggled from the convoy ON-165. At 1000, the tanker tried to catch up with the convoy when struck by two torpedoes from U-607 on the port side 150 miles off Cape Race. The first torpedo split the ship in half abaft the midships house and the other blew a large hole in the bow. The forward section sank in 20 minutes. The after section appeared sound enough to be taken into port under power. After the ship broke in two, 22 men led by the chief officer abandoned the after section. They returned two hours later and reboarded the after part of the ship, going below to change clothing. 30 minutes later with the men still below, a third torpedo from U-607 struck near the stern post, causing the stern to sink 30 minutes later. After the hit a lifeboat with eight men cleared the ship half-swamped and without oars. Others went over the side into the sea just before the ship turned over keel up and sank. The ordinary seaman William Golobich was picked up by the U-boat from the water and took him to St. Nazaire. He eventually went to Milag POW camp. Those who remained behind faced moderate seas and 25° weather. None of the ten officers, 36 men, 19 armed guards (the tanker was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and one passenger on board survived except the man that was taken prisoner.
USCGC Calypso removed 42 persons from lifeboat of SS Buarque (Brazil) east of Cape Henry. (Dave Shirlaw)
Mixing 1942 and 1943 reports together presents today's reader with an accurate clear "image" of the political, military and propagandist attitudes and day-to-day "knowledge" of each daily story ONLY if that reader is already intimately familiar with each battle and each air raid in the war.
It is actually a 70 year narrative. Everything in today’s post is from 1943 except the links to previous best sellers lists. What are you referring to?
Interesting that in the Berlitz ad German, Italian and Japanese are all among the languages they are offering. Perhaps they are already expecting those languages will become more useful for Americans ere long?
Just a general comment regarding the reporting by the NYT. As a conneisseur of the Russo-German War, it has been widely assumed that this titantic struggle was relatively unknown and under-reported in the West. Based on what I’ve seen in the last six months’ editions of the New York Times, I have to say that there is no justification for this view. Often, the Times is giving front page headlines to the War in the East. Of course, the Soviet view is predominant, as western correspondents have no direct access to Berlin. But that is no different than the reporting for El Alamein or Guadalcanal. Even if western reporters are not given the same access in the USSR as they are in the USA or UK, I have to admit the Soviets are releasing fairly complete and accurate reports of the fighting.
The front-line maps are pretty accurate. The names of Soviet commanders are being released to the west. Stalin is not grabbing headlines and hogging all the credit. Even if the Soviet generals are not giving regular press conferences to the western correspondents, I can live with that. They have more important work to do. Also, compared with American censorship of naval battles with the Japanese Navy, I would have to say the Soviets are being just as candid with the progress of their war, if not more so.
At any rate, the average American reader is getting a lot more detail than I had thought.
He is not ‘mixing’ anything. The linked maps and articles also say ‘42 because they summarize campaigns that started in ‘43 like the soviet winter offensive. They are still relevant
‘now’ because they are still ‘on-going’.
He is not ‘mixing’ anything. The linked maps and articles also say ‘42 because they summarize campaigns that started in ‘42 like the soviet winter offensive. They are still relevant
‘now’ because they are still ‘on-going’.
Now I get it. I didn’t look at the reply you were replying to. It is just as TalonDJ said. The maps on my profile at any given time represent “current” campaigns and situations. The flaw with my method is that the list on any given thread will be out of date if someone visits the thread on some remote future date. So the threads from September 1939 still advertise maps of the Polish campaign when those maps are long gone.
Although there were many raids on the U-Boat bases, they did little damage because of the massive concrete bunkers that housed the boats.
I see that having thoroughly cocked up his eastern front, Hitler is going to relinquish control to his generals. I’m sure they’re thinking, gee, thanks pal.
The British High Command is beginning to realize that. Here is part of our Feb. 13, 1943 entry from the Andrew Etherington daily log.
Tonight's Lorient raid was by Lancaster, Halifax, Wellington and Stirling bombers. Seven are feared lost - three Wellingtons, two Lancasters, a Halifax and a Stirling. Privately, the boss of Bomber Command, Air Chief Marshal Harris, has misgivings about submarine pens as targets: "U-boats using these bases are amply protected by concrete, bomb-proof shelters."
Early intelligence reports suggest that while the port and city adjoining these shelters are being flattened, the submarines survive. Mining the approaches to their bases, convoy escort missions by aircraft, and raids on inland factories building prefabricated U-boats are all more effective.
It appears most of the bunkers are still there today. I suppose it's not cost effective to demolish the massive things.
Actually, all the German generals are lobbying for exactly this act by Hitler. The consensus is that von Manstein should be appointed as C-in-C of the Wehrmacht, or at least commander in the East with full freedom of action. Von Manstein, of course, is the chief proponent. The only thing larger than his military brilliance was his ego.
At this time, Hitler is still in a funk after Stalingrad, and is allowing von Manstein some operational freedom to conduct his withdrawal from Rostov, and “castle” 1st Panzer Army to 4th Panzer Army’s left flank. The Soviets think they are driving to the Dneiper. Von Manstein is only luring them into a trap.
To the extent that Hitler ever considered relinquishing command, which I seriously doubt, this article helped convince him not to do so. He never liked or trusted the Prussian officer class, and the feeling was mutual. This article did the Allies a favor, by making sure that the direction of the German war effort become progressively more incompetent as Hitler asserted more and more direct control over it.
The French navy used those submarine pens for their own fleet well into the 1980’s, I believe.
Had Hitler not seized direct control in 1941 I think Allied problems would have been immeasurably worse and I'm sure the Prussians privately thought so too. Do you think Hitler really took notice of this article or was his ego just too big to actually give up control?
I recently read a biography of von Manstein and the article did cause a stir among the Nazi elite. It fed on Hitler’s paranoia, particularly about his “Prussian” generals. In the end, having assumed control as C-in-C after sacking von Brauchitsch in December 1941, there was no way he was going to relinquish it. It was only a question of to what extent he was going to exercise actual control over the conduct of operations. To the extent the article had impact on Germany’s conduct of the war, it helped to hasten a process already in motion.
In his memoirs, von Manstein clearly stated the biggest problem with Barbarossa was the idea that the USSR could be defeated in one campaign season. He knew that given the size and resources of the Soviet Union, it had to be planned as a two year war at the minimum, and Germany needed to be geared economically and militarily for a grind-it-out slugfest. They were not.