Skip to comments.U.S., BRITAIN, CANADA MAP U-BOAT CURB; RUSSIANS ROLL ON TOWARD SMOLENSK (3/17/43)
Posted on 03/17/2013 5:16:27 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Joint Drive is Set (Shalett) 2
Nazis Pushed Back (Parker) 3
American Pilots Foil Foes Patrol (Kluckhohn) 3-4
Victory, Long Retreat and Counter-Attack: Story of the 55-Mile Battle in Mid-Tunisia (Middleton) * 4-5
Japanese Convoy in Aru Area Gone (Durdin) 6
War News Summarized 6
President is Seen as Coal Arbiter 7
U.S. Submarines Sink a Destroyer, 3 Other Tokyo Ships and Hit 3 More 7
Army and Coal (Krock) 8
The Texts of the Days Communiques on Fighting in Various Zones 9-10
* An analysis of the Kasserine Pass battle a month after the event.
Japanese attack Anglo-Indian forces
Wednesday, March 17, 1943 www.onwar.com
Indian Brigade troops resting in the jungles of Burma [photo at link].
In Burma... The British 123rd Indian Brigade is attacked by the Japanese, north of Rathedaung in Arakan, and is compelled to retreat. General Koka commands the Japanese forces involved which include the 55th and 33rd Divisions.
March 17th, 1943 (WEDNESDAY)
GERMANY: Now more than at any point before in the war the German people live in fear of RAF raids. Thousands have lost their homes in the latest raids, and the industrial heartland of the Ruhr have been devastated.
In the city of Essen alone 80 factory workshops have been hit in two major raids this month, and 54 of then severely damaged. The key armaments factory, Krupp’s, has also been hit. Over 3,500 houses were destroyed and at least 650 people killed in the raids on the nights of 5 and 12 March.
No fewer than 33 emergency shelters have been opened for people left destitute, but these are not enough. Poignant messages are scrawled on the ruins: “Where are you all? Mother is living with the Schmidts.” “If you are still alive I am with the Mullers.”
Berlin has also been hit. After a night raid on 1 March, the walls of the city were covered with slogans such as “We are obliged to the Führer for this” and “We want only peace and bread”. News of the devastation is no longer censored by the authorities in order to boost morale. Instead they are predicting that “Britain’s air offensive” may be expected to go on for a long time. And they are exhorting citizens to follow the British people’s example of calm.
U-874 laid down.
U-715 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
BURMA: Indian troops retreat from Rathedaung to Buthidaung in the face of a renewed Japanese offensive on the Arakan front.
NEW GUINEA: Flt-Lt. William Ellis Newton (b.1919), RAAF, went on a second dangerous raid in two days; in the first he had limped home, but this time he was shot down and, with his flight sergeant, captured. Both were executed on 29 March. (Victoria Cross)
CANADA: Minesweepers HMCS Caraquet, Ingonish, Lockeport and Guysborough departed Esquimalt for Halifax via Panama Canal. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Contract AC-37856 is signed for 300 Consolidated B-32-CFs.
The motion picture “I Walked With A Zombie” is released in the U.S. Directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Frances Dee, Tom Conway and James Ellison, this horror film tells the story of a Canadian nurse who goes to a Caribbean island to treat the zombie-like wife of a plantation owner.
Submarine USS Cobia laid down.
Submarine USS Pompon commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 2034, U-167 fired one T-3 and three FAT torpedoes at Convoy UGS-6 about 500 miles west of Lisbon and heard one detonation after 3 minutes and sinking noises. Molly Pitcher on her maiden voyage in station #82 was struck by one torpedo on the port side at the #3 hold. The blast damaged the forward bulkhead between holds #2 and #3, resulting in the flooding of both compartments. The helmsman deserted the wheel and the ship veered to port toward the centre of the convoy. After getting the ship under control, the master ordered the eight officers, 34 crewmen, 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in and nine 20mvoy, so they abandoned ship at 23.30 hours on one raft and two improvised ones. 66 survivors were rescued by destroyers USS Champlin and Rowan along with the American SS William Johnson and landed at Casablanca on 20 and 21 March. The license of the master was later suspended on a charge of misconduct. Champlin tried to scuttle Molly Pitcher by a torpedo, but the ship remained afloat and was sunk by a coup de grâce from U-521 at 0550 on 18 Marcm guns) and one passenger (US Army Major) on board to abandon ship. They left the vessel with great confusion in three lifeboats and by jumping overboard, the engines still running and leaving 17 men behind. Two officers and two armed guards drowned. The ship began making circles and those left on board under command of the third mate managed to avoid the survivors and get the ship under way at 10 knots to rejoin the convoy. But the compass had been damaged and they were not able to find the conh.
At 2309, U-305 fired a spread of two torpedoes at Convoy SC-122 southeast of Cape Farewell and hit the Port Auckland in station #93 in the engine room on the starboard side and Zouave in station #84, which sank within five minutes. A second spread of two torpedoes was fired at 2310 and one of them hit again the Port Auckland, which sank behind the convoy after her back was broken by a coup de grâce at 00.41 hours on 18 March. Eight crewmembers from the Port Auckland were lost. The master, 87 crewmembers, 12 gunners and ten passengers (RAF personnel) were picked up by HMS Godetia and landed at Gourock.
At 0305, U-338 fired a spread of two torpedoes at Convoy SC-122 SE of Cape Farewell and Kinzel thought that he had hit one ship, but in fact the Kingsbury in station #51 and the King Gruffydd in station #52 were hit and sunk. At 0306, a second spread of two torpedoes was fired, one of them struck Alderamin in station #61, which sank later in 51°30N/34°55W. At 0307, the stern torpedo was fired, which missed the intended target, the Alderamin, but damaged the Fort Cedar Lake in station #124. Fort Cedar Lake on her maiden voyage fell behind the convoy and was finished off by U-665 with a coup de grâce at 1157. The master, 42 crewmembers and seven gunners were picked up by the British rescue ship Zamalek and landed at Gourock on 22 March. The master, 21 crewmembers and two gunners from the King Gruffydd (Master Hywell Griffiths) were lost. 18 crewmembers and seven gunners were picked up by Zamalek and landed at Gourock on 22 March. Three crewmembers and one passenger from Kingsbury were lost. The master, 36 crewmembers, six gunners and one passenger were picked up by the British rescue ship Zamalek and landed at Gourock on 22 March.
At 1452, U-338 fired torpedoes at Convoy SC-122, observed one hit and heard three detonations, which were probably depth charges. Granville was struck by one torpedo on the port side at the #2 hatch, starting a fire in the hold. The engine room flooded as the watertight door between the coalbunkers and fireroom was open, because coal was being transferred from the bunkers to the fireroom. Ten crewmembers working in the engine room were killed. The vessel broke in two amidships and sank within 15 minutes, taking two armed guards with her. The surviving men of her complement of 35 crewmembers, eleven armed guards and one passenger (a US Army Lt. Colonel) abandoned ship in lifeboats and rafts. The survivors, including the master, were picked up about an hour later by corvette HMS Lavender and landed at Liverpool on 23 March. The second mate was rescued but died of wounds on the corvette and was buried at sea.
At 1405, U-384 fired three torpedoes at Convoy HX-229 NE of St John’s, heard three detonations and claimed two ships sunk and another as damaged. At the same time U-631 reported the sinking of a tanker with one torpedo. It is unlikely that the Coracero in station #92 and the Terkoelei were hit by the same U-boat, apparently U-384 sank the first ship and U-631 the latter. Five crewmembers from Coracero were lost. The master, 44 crewmembers, seven gunners and one passenger (DBS) were picked up by destroyer HMS Mansfield and landed at Gourock.
SS William Eustis sunk by U-435 in Convoy HX-229 at 50.10N, 35.02W.
At 0556, U-600 fired a spread of four FAT torpedoes at Convoy HX-229 in 50°36N/34°30W and observed a hit amidships on the Nariva in station #91 and two on the Irenee Du Pont in station #81. A further detonation was heard, this was the hit on the Southern Princess in station #72, which caught fire and sank during the morning. At 0558, the stern torpedo was fired and was seen to hit another freighter amidships, which sank after 10 minutes, but this can not be confirmed from Allied sources. Southern Princess suffered 4 killed with 96 survivors. At 0839 the same day, U-91 fired a spread of three torpedoes at some ships behind the convoy in 50°38N/34°46W and noted two hits, one on a moving freighter and the other on a burning ship. These hits finished off Nariva and Irenee Du Pont and their sinking in 51°05N/33°55W was observed by U-91 in the afternoon and reported at 1608 by a radio message. Two torpedoes struck Irenee Du Pont on the starboard side at holds #2 and #3. The explosions knocked out the generators, flooded both holds and also flooded slowly the engine room and hold #1. The ten officers, 39 crewmen, 26 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and nine passengers (naval personnel) abandoned ship 45 minutes after the hits in two lifeboats and three rafts. Some of the men jumped overboard because a third lifeboat fouled a cargo net and other rafts could not be launched. Six armed guards, six crewmen and one passenger drowned. The Dutch steam merchant Tekoa picked up 55 survivors and destroyer HMS Mansfield rescued 16 others, of which one later died from shock and was buried at sea. Corvette HMS Anemone tried to sink the ship with 4in gunfire and a depth charge, but the ship remained afloat and was later finished off by U-91. The master of the Irenee Du Pont asked to leave the convoy since his ship could steam at 16 knots, but this permission was denied. HMS Mansfield and Anemone had tried to scuttle the Nariva by gunfire after the corvette picked up the master, 86 crewmembers and seven gunners.
SS Terkoelei sunk by U-631 in Convoy HX-229 at 51.45N, 31.15W.
Between 0023 and 0025, U-758 fired two FAT and two G7e torpedoes at Convoy HX-229 and reported three ships sunk and another damaged. In fact, Zaanland and James Oglethorpe were sunk and the Dutch motor tanker Magdala (8248 tons) missed. James Oglethorpe on her maiden voyage in station #93 was struck by one torpedo on the starboard side at the forward section of the #2 hold. The ship began settling by the head with her rudder stuck and a starboard list. A fire in the #1 hold was extinguished within 15 minutes by the crew. 43 men of the eight officers, 36 crewmen, 26 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and four passengers (US Navy personnel) abandoned ship without orders in two lifeboats, while the vessel made large circles to port at 8 knots. The fall of one boat was cut prematurely and threw its occupants into the sea, drowning 13 men. Another man died when he fell into the water while trying to get into the second boat. The three officers, 10 crewmen, two passengers and 15 armed guards in the second boat were picked up by HMS Pennywort and landed at Londonderry on 22 March. James Oglethorpe tried to reach St John’s, but was never seen again. The master and 29 men who remained on board were lost. The ship probably foundered en route by the damage received by the torpedo hit or she was sunk in the morning by a coup de grâce from U-91. But this U-boat is credited with sinking the stragglers Irenee Du Pont and Nariva.
Between 0337 and 0341, U-91 fired five torpedoes at Convoy HX-229 about 400 miles ESE of Cape Farewell and observed detonations on two ships, but in fact only the Harry Luckenbach was hit and sunk. Harry Luckenbach was assigned to station #111; the ship had been so exposed that the master had nervously steamed a zigzag course out in front of the convoy until ordered to return to his station. Two torpedoes struck the vessel on the starboard side amidships in the machinery spaces, causing her to sink within 3 minutes in the rough seas. However, some of the nine officers, 45 crewmembers and 26 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in three lifeboats, which were first spotted by destroyers HMS Beverley and Volunteer but not picked up. Corvette HMS Anemone was ordered to find the lifeboats, after corvette HMS Pennywort had come across them and could not pick up the men because she already had 108 survivors on board. But the other corvette was unable to locate the boats and it is possible that the boats were also seen by corvette HMS Abelia on her way from St John’s to join the convoy. None of the men from the Harry Luckenbach were seen or heard from again.
U-69 sunk in the North Atlantic east of Newfoundland in position 50.36N, 041.07W, after a depth charge attack by destroyer HMS Fame.(Dave Shirlaw)
Lots of good reading today, thanks as always.
Your chronology notes that on this day in 1943, the USS Cobia was laid down. A Gato Class Fleet submarine, she was launched in November, 1943 and can be visited today. She is moored in Manitowoc, Wisconsin where 28 Gato Class boats were built (but not Cobia, built at Groton, CT).
"Wilhelm Boger (far right) was generally considered the cruelest of the guards at Auschwitz.
Witnesses at his trial claimed that his hands often became coated with the blood of the victims of his sadistic methods of torture.
On the left is a model of the "Boger swing," an apparatus for torture that Boger called his "talking machine.""
I imagine this event was followed by a very awkward discussion between the CO of PT-119 and his squadron commander.
Yes, I imagine the squadron CO was not a happy camper. Depending on how his temper ran, you could have either hung beef in that room, or barbequed it.
The Germans used tanks at Kasserine as prime movers for their artillery pieces. Perhaps this was done to reduce dust clouds but I suspect a lack of prime movers and lack of fuel was also involved.
Maybe the order of battle was such that once the attack began, prime movers would quickly move forward into position but I tend to suspect once unhitched from the tanks, those men were on their own.
Hiya, snippy. Nice to see your around.
Nice to get your ping. Not posting much, I think about it but then decide not to comment. It’s good to see some of the elder freezers around, I just now saw a post on a tread head thread from archly, hand,t seen his screen name for a very long time. These are the times that try men’s souls for sure. Praying for some kind of victory over the current mess we all find ourselves in. Stay safe.
We all are. I'm still in shock the voters gave that bunch four more years to screw up the country.
OTOH, it was nice to see so many familiar names in the treadhead thread. Take care.