Skip to comments.RUSSIANS WIN KHARKOV, PUSH PAST ROSTOV; U.S. TANK ATTACK GAINS 6 MILES IN TUNISIA (2/17/43)
Posted on 02/17/2013 5:48:28 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
The Prime Minister desires to express his sincere thanks to the Chiefs of Staff and to the Chief of Combined Operations for the extremely tenacious and persevering efforts they have made to accelerate Husky. He has approved the consequential telegram, and is drawing the Presidents personal attention to it.
Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate
Axis offensive threatens Allies in Tunisia
Wednesday, February 17, 1943 www.onwar.com
General von Arnim inspecting front line German troops [photo at link]
In Tunisia... Attacks by the forces under von Arnim and Rommel make good progress. In the north, Axis forces are approaching Sheitla, having destroyed two thirds of the US 1st Armored Division. To the south, Rommel’s forces enter Feriana. Von Arnim, with limited aims in mind, diverts 10th Panzer Division toward Foundouk, which has been abandoned by its American defenders, rather than pushing toward Sbeitla. Rommel, has proposed a more ambitious plan to the Italian and German High Commands but no decision is made.
On the Eastern Front... Hitler flies to the headquarters of Field Marshal Manstein, at Zaporozhye. He stays until February 19th and will approve Manstein’s plan for a counterattack.
February 17th, 1943 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Submarine HMS Virtue laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-873 laid down.
U-283, U-544, U-846 launched
U-963 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
NORWAY: Operation Gunnerside.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: U-205 sunk in the Mediterranean near the northernmost point of Cyrene, in position 32.56N, 22.01E, by depth charges from destroyer HMS Paladin assisted by a South African Bisley (Blenheim) aircraft. 8 dead and 42 survivors. (Dave Shirlaw)
INDIAN OCEAN: The unescorted SS Deer Lodge was spotted and followed on the surface by U-516 about 60 miles east of Port Elizabeth. Lookouts saw the U-boat and the master attempted to escape by zigzagging, but the steering gear broke. At 0224, the now submerged U-516 fired one torpedo, which struck on the port side at the #2 hold. The explosion threw up a tremendous column of water, tore up the decks, blew the deck cargo off the ship and flooded the hold. 20 minutes later a second torpedo struck at approximately the same location, breaking the ship in two. The engines were stopped and her crew of ten officers, 29 men and 18 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and six 20mm guns) abandoned ship in three lifeboats and three rafts. One seaman died when the davit from the #4 lifeboat broke off and fell on him and a steward failed to leave the ship. The U-boat surfaced beneath the boats and Wiebe questioned the survivors. The Deer Lodge sank bow first with a slight list to port at 0420. The following morning the survivors redistributed into three boats and one raft. 13 men were picked up by minesweeper SAS Africana. The London trawler Havorn rescued another 32. These two ships brought the men to Port Elizabeth. On 20 February, the remaining ten men were picked up by the British hospital ship Atlantis and landed at Capetown. (Dave Shirlaw)
BURMA: The 55th Indian Brigade attacks Donbaik, but fails to penetrate Japanese positions.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Japan, the submarine USS Sawfish (SS-276) accidentally sinks Soviet cargo ship Ilmen off the east coast of Kyushu. (Jack McKillop)
AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Junee laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
CANADA: Frigate HMCS New Waterford laid down Esquimalt BC (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Baseballs Joe DiMaggio, earning US$43,500 (US$453,000 in year 2002 dollars) from the New York Yankees, trades in his salary for the US$50 a month as an Army enlisted man. DiMag, in his customary quiet style, gives no notice to the club. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer USS Abbot launched.
Minesweeper USS Counsel launched.
Aircraft carrier USS Lexington commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-69 (Type VIIC) Sunk in the North Atlantic east of Newfoundland position 50.36N, 41.07W by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Fame. 46 dead (all hands lost).
U-201 (Type VIIC) is sunk in North Atlantic, position 50.50N, 40.50W, by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Viscount. 49 dead (all hands lost).
Previously on13 Dec, 1941 An explosion in Brest (France) harbor killed 1 man, Maschinenobergefreiter Josef Zander. (Alex Gordon)
The unescorted SS Llanashe was torpedoed and sunk by U-182 south of Cape Saint Francis, Cape Colony. The master, 27 crewmembers and five gunners were lost. The chief officer, SP Lloyd, seven crewmembers and one gunner were picked up after 11 days adrift by the Dutch merchantman Tarakan; later transferred to AMC HMS Carthage and destroyer HMS Racehorse and landed at Capetown on 4 March. (Dave Shirlaw)
"Hans Scholl, a 25-year-old Christian medical student at the University of Munich, formed the White Rose resistance group with his 22-year- old sister, Sophie (pictured), in 1942.
The pair's goal was to create anti-Nazi pamphlets and disseminate them at universities across Germany.
If caught, they would forfeit their lives.
"Gestapo agents arrested the Scholls at the University of Munich early in 1943 after a janitor spotted Hans and Sophie emptying a suitcase full of anti-Nazi pamphlets into the university corridors.
Although the Scholls revealed nothing to their interrogators, their White Rose compatriots--Professor Kurt Huber and students Christopher Probst, Willi Graf, and Alexander Schmorell--were soon arrested as well.
Latter-day accounts of the Scholls' torture and captivity claim that the young people remained steadfastly brave--resigned to their fates but still committed to their cause.
"The Scholls were tried by the Volksgerichtshof (People's Court), headed by the notorious Roland Freisler.
Not surprisingly, the trial was a sham and the Scholls were sentenced to death by beheading.
"According to her sister, Inge, Sophie Scholl lived her final hours with an odd sort of serenity.
She left behind in her cell a scrap of paper upon which she had written the word 'Freedom.'
She died on February 22, 1943.
On his prison wall he had written, "To stand defiant before overwhelming power."
Seconds before the executioner's axe fell, Hans Scholl shouted, 'Long live freedom!' "
"A gentile student living in Munich, Hans Scholl was shaken by the Nazi whirlwind of brutality that had swept up German Jews, Communists, and Social Democrats.
In 1942 he told a family member, 'It's time the Christians finally did something about it.'
With encouragement from a resister named Falk Harnaek, Hans founded a student resistance group called the White Rose.
From a base at the University of Munich, Hans, his younger sister Sophie, and other White Rose members created vehemently anti-Nazi leaflets that were distributed at universities across Germany.
He and Sophie were arrested at the University of Munich on February 18, 1943.
They were sentenced to death, and were beheaded on February 22.
In the courtroom after the verdict had been pronounced, Hans calmly said to his brother, Werner, 'Remain strong--no compromises.' "
Interesting that the best German commander was able to attack the worst American commander. I wonder if this was completely an accident of terrain? It certainly would have been the choice of locus even with less favorable terrain had Rommel had any intelligence on Fredendall.
Perhaps the best thing the US Army got out of the North Africa campaign was the exposure of weak commanders. Just imagine - had Fredendall not floundered in North Africa, he might have commanded US troops in the cross-Channel invasion.
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