Skip to comments.RUSSIANS SWEEP ON SOUTH OF RZHEV; BRITISH REGAIN NORTH TUNISIAN TOWN (3/6/43)
Posted on 03/06/2013 4:44:45 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Billboard Top Ten for the Week of March 6, 1943
#1 - Ive Heard That Song Before Harry James, with Helen Forrest
#2 - I Had the Craziest Dream - Harry James, with Helen Forrest
#3 - There Are Such Things - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers
#4 Brazil - Xavier Cugat
#5 Youd be So Nice to Come Home To - Dinah Shore
#6 - Why Dont You Do Right - Benny Goodman, with Peggy Lee
#7 Why Dont You Fall in Love with Me, Dinah Shore
#8 It Started All Over Again - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra, Pied Pipers
#9 - For Me and My Gal - Judy Garland and Gene Kelly
#10 - Moonlight Becomes You - Glenn Miller, with Skip Nelson and the Modernaires
Soviet forces advance on central front
Saturday, March 6, 1943 www.onwar.com
Soviet sappers cutting barbed wire [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... Red Army troops capture Gzhatsk on the approaches to Vyazma, south of Rzhev.
In Tunisia... A major Axis attack on Medenine, mounted in the morning, is defeated. The attack is renewed in the afternoon and again it is ineffective. British and New Zealand troops note the ineffective performance of their opponents. Fifty Axis tanks have been lost, for no gain. The Axis forces have about 100 tanks left. Meanwhile, Rommel, commanding the Axis forces, favors of withdrawing to Wadi Akarit.
In Washington... Roosevelt appoints a committee to investigate manpower problems in American industry. Among the committee members are Byrnes and Baruch.
In Burma... The Chindits execute a number of demolitions on the railroad between Nankan and Bongyaung.
In the Solomon Islands... Three American cruisers and seven destroyers bombard Japanese airfields at Munda and Vila. Little damage is done. Two Japanese destroyers, however, are sunk in an encounter engagement.
March 6th, 1943 (SATURDAY)
Frigate HMS Byard launched.
Boom defense vessel HMS Barleycorn launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: A new combination of RAF bombing aids and techniques has been used to devastating effect on Essen, the home of Krupp’s. It was the first raid of Bomber Command’s new offensive, the “Battle of the Ruhr”.
Out of a force of eight Pathfinder Mosquitoes equipped with Oboe guidance, five made it to drop yellow flares as approach markers 15 miles north of Essen. They then marked the Krupp complex with red target indicators. The next layer of attack comprised 22 Pathfinder heavy bombers which put down green markers on the initial red.
The main force, 157 Lancasters, 94 Halifaxes, 52 Stirlings and 131 Wellingtons, hit the markers with the greatest bomb load yet assembled. A total of 1,070 tons of high explosive and incendiaries was dropped in 38 minutes. At intervals the heavy Pathfinders refreshed the green target markers. Sir Arthur Harris, Bomber Command’s chief, believes that an area two miles wide was set alight. Of the 442 aircraft that took off, 362 claimed to have attacked Essen, but photographs are expected to confirm that only 153 dropped their bombs within three miles of the target.
Even so this was a vastly more accurate attack than any previous raid. About 160 acres of factory space were destroyed, causing damage which in some cases will take years to repair. Fourteen bombers did not return. Harris is to be promoted soon to Air Chief Marshal.
U-1302 laid down.
U-284, U-471, U-472 launched.
U-739 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: Moscow: The Supreme Soviet awards Stalin the rank of marshal of the Soviet Union, hailing him as “the greatest strategist of all times and all peoples.”
NORTH AFRICA: Erwin Rommel, with a mixed German/Italian force, launched an expected attack on the Mareth Line near Medenine, Tunisia, North Africa. There were four thrusts by Rommel toward Medenine, which were repulsed by the British Eighth Army. It was conceived as the second phase of a counter-attack which began with the Battle of the Kasserine Pass last month. But it was delayed in northern Tunisia, and this gave Montgomery time to build up his forces.
By the time Rommel had his extra divisions, Monty had even more: Allied strength quadrupled in the last ten days, and tonight this appears to have given 8th Army a decisive strength in the battlefield. Rommel had no more than 160 tanks against his enemy’s 400, and with three fighter wings operating from forward airfields the Allies had air superiority, too. The Desert Fox could not even surprise the Allies; they had broken his coded messages and seen his tanks on the move.
When the attack came the morning, Montgomery was waiting in well-sited defensive positions. The Germans were soon pinned down and subjected to withering assault from tanks and the air. Rommel lost about 50 tanks during the attack and was forced to withdraw. After the battle, Rommel would return to Germany because of ill health, never to return to North Africa. (Michael Ballard)
BURMA: The flutterings of 10,000 jungle birds, frightened by the sound of explosions, proclaim the cutting of three key railway bridges in the Bongyaung area of Japanese-held Burma by the Chindits. The 3,000 Gurkhas, Burmese and Liverpudlians are not elite troops, but they have been trained meticulously and ruthlessly by their commander, Brigadier Orde Wingate, as jungle-fighting guerrillas supplied from the air, and are able to beat the Japanese at their own game.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Japanese aircraft bomb the Russell Islands.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: A US naval task force bombards Japanese airfields at Munda and Vila, sinking two enemy destroyers.
MINEGUMO, IJN, Japanese Destroyer, sunk at 1am off Vila, Kula Gulf by 6in Gunfire from the US cruisers Monpelier and Cleveland
MURASAME, IJN, Japanese Destroyer, sunk in the company of Minegumo by 6in gunfire from Cleveland and Denver and torpedoes from the US Destroyer Waller. Only 49 men survive from both ships
Frigate HMCS Wentworth launched Esquimalt, British Columbia.
Fairmile depot ship HMCS Sambro renamed HMCS Venture II
AMC HMCS Prince Henry arrived Burrard Dry Dock for conversion to infantry landing ship
Minesweeper HMCS Transcona completed engine repairs Halifax and left for workups. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: “I’ve Heard That Song Before” by Harry James and his Orchestra with vocal by Helen Forrest reaches Number 1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the U.S. The song is from the motion picture “Youth On Parade” starring John Hubbard. This song, which debuted on the charts on 30 January 1943, was charted for 20 weeks, was Number 1 for 13 weeks and was ranked Number 1 for the year 1943. (Jack McKillop)
Light cruiser USS Little Rock laid down.
Destroyer USS Uhlmann laid down.
Destroyer USS Luce launched.
Light cruiser USS Astoria launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-boats attack the Allied convoy SC-121.
MS Thorstrand sunk by U-172 at 41.23N, 42.59W
At 1520, U-410 attacked Convoy KMS-10 west of Gibraltar and reported two ships damaged and one possible hit on a third ship. In fact, the Fort Battle River was sunk and the Fort Paskoyac was damaged. The master, 45 crewmembers, 10 gunners and nine passengers (army personnel) from Fort Battle River were picked up by corvette HMCS Shediac and the British SS Empire Flamingo and landed at Gibraltar. (Dave Shirlaw)
Mention should be made of Alexander Pokryshkin - generally considered the greatest military pilot of all time. Today is the 100th anniversary of his birth and three times Hero Of The Soviet Union.
Generally accredited with -
560 combat missions
156 air-to-air engagements
Official score: 59 enemy aircraft shot down personally, and 6 together with other pilots
He claimed more but his bravery is not in doubt and if you read the history books, he stands out as the kind of man who put his country first at extreme risk. People can argue passionately about it means to be a patriot. Today we look at a man whose skills and what he taught his fellow airmen helped to turn the tide of a war.
Concern about war-time transport of flowers? Is “flowers” a code-word for some secret weapon?
I don't think so. The PM seems to be genuinely concerned about what he calls a "war on flowers," as he calls the ban on transport of flowers by rail.
“It takes a brave man to not be a hero in the Red Army.” - Joseph Stalin