Skip to comments.NAZIS REPORT BRITISH OFFENSIVE AT NORTH END OF MARETH LINE; RUSSIANS ATTACK NEAR KHARKOV (3/18/43)
Posted on 03/18/2013 5:22:24 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Red Army loses 40,000 men, 600 tanks
Thursday, March 18, 1943 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... The German Army’s elite “Grossdeutchsland” Division attacks Belgorod in the finale to Manstein’s counteroffensive in the Kharkov area. The Soviets suffer 40,000 casualties and lose at least 600 tanks in this final encirclement operation. Manstein’s counteroffensive is widely considered an unqualified technical success that restores the German southern front after the debacle at Stalingrad. A large Soviet salient remains to the north, centered on the town of Kursk. However, the operational tempo declines over the next few weeks as the mud of the spring thaw limits mobility on both sides.
In Tunisia... The US 2nd Corps (commanded by General Patton) captures Gafsa and advances toward El Guettar.
In Burma... General Wingate leads the final gropu of Chindits across the Irrawaddy river, south of Inywa. The Japanese have assembled considerable forces to counter the Chindits operations. Meanwhile, in Arakan, Htizwe falls to a British pincer attack and an attack on Donbaik, on the Mayu Peninsula, fails.
March 18th, 1943 (THURSDAY)
Destroyer HMS Stevenstone commissioned.
Submarine HMS Surf commissioned.
Minesweeper HMS Postillion launched.
Destroyer HMS Hardy launched.
GERMANY: US bombers attack Vegesack.
U-363, U-968 commissioned.
U-1101 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: At 0834, U-593 attacked a small convoy near Derna, Cyrenaica and sank two ships, Dafila and Kaying. The master, nine crewmembers and five gunners from Dafila were picked up by armed whaler SAS Southern Maid and landed at Derna. 19 crewmembers and three gunners were lost. The badly damaged Kaying foundered the next day in heavy weather. Seven crewmembers and two gunners were lost. The master, 67 crewmembers and four gunners were rescued and landed at Alexandria. (Dave Shirlaw)
TUNISIA: Gafsa falls to Darby’s Rangers of Patton’s II Corps, which pushes on to El Guettar. (Jeff Chrisman)
ALGERIA: Algiers: General Giraud has issued a series of decrees abolishing Nazi-inspired anti-Semitic laws in Vichy France. In general, says Giraud, all laws passed in France since the armistice was signed on 22 June 1940 are null and void.
Specifically, all discrimination in citizenship against Jews as such is abolished. They are to be reinstated into the public service, and their property is to be returned. European Jews will be treated by law as Frenchmen; North African Jews as Arabs.
BURMA: Allied soldiers give up the attempt to drive the Japanese from Donbaik.
CANADA: Minesweeper HMCS Bayfield departed Esquimalt for Halifax via Panama Canal. (Dave Shirlaw)
Submarine USS Threadfin laid down.
Destroyer USS Cassin Young laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Swasey launched.
Destroyer USS Cowell launched.
SOUTH AMERICA: French Guiana declares itself on the side of the Free French.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 1643, U-221 hit the Walter Q. Gresham in station #21 of Convoy HX-229 with a stern shot and sank her SE of Cape Farewell. At 16.49 hours, one FAT and two standard torpedoes were fired. The FAT missed and detonated at the end of it’s run, while the other two struck the Canadian Star in station #23, which sank in 15 minutes. The master, 22 crewmembers, 2 gunners and nine passengers from the Canadian Star were lost. 33 crewmembers, 6 gunners and 15 passengers were picked up by HMS Anemone and Pennywort and landed at Gourock. Master Robert David Miller was posthumously awarded the Lloyds War Medal for bravery at sea.
SS Mollie Pitcher sunk by a coup de grâce from U-521 at 0550.
At 1540, Clarissa Radcliffe, a straggler from Convoy SC-122 since a heavy storm on 9 March, was torpedoed and sunk by U-663 west of Boston. Three torpedoes missed the ship, before the fourth sank the ship almost immediately. The master, 42 crewmembers and 12 gunners were lost. (Dave Shirlaw)
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