Skip to comments.BRITISH OPEN DRIVE ABOVE GABES; U.S. FLIERS DOWN 18 TRANSPORTS (4/7/43)
Posted on 04/07/2013 4:12:24 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Japanese mount air offensive in Solomons
Wednesday, April 7, 1943 www.onwar.com
Japanese plane takes off for Operation I [photo at link].
In the Solomon Islands... In an effort to disrupt the American buildup, Japanese Admiral Yamamoto mounts an air offensive known as Operation I. The Japanese 11th Air Fleet, based on Rabaul, Kavieng and Buin is reinforced by pilots and aircraft of the carriers Zuikaku, Shokaku, Junyo and Hiyo. This leaves the Imperial Navy with almost no trained pilots. The attacks begin with a raid against Guadalcanal and Tulagi by 180 planes in which a destroyer and two other vessels are sunk.
In Tunisia... Axis forces are rapidly retreating from the Wadi Akarit Line. Patrols of the British 8th Army and the US 2nd Corps meet on the road toward Gafsa.
In Germany... Hitler and Mussolini meet at Salzburg over the course of the next five days (April 7-11). Among other topics discussed, they decide they must continue to hold on in North Africa.
April 7th, 1943 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Westminster: The government announces that men and women will receive equal war compensation.
London: An ambitious scheme “for the future economic ordering of the world” was published as a British government white paper today. It was dubbed the Keynes Plan - after its author John Maynard Keynes, the treasury’s senior adviser and the economist whose theories. The central aim is post-war establishment of an international bank offering an acceptable means of payment between nations while stimulating trade through greater currency stability. Similar plans for international finance are being developed in Washington by the US secretary of the treasury, Henry Morgenthau.
AUSTRIA: A four day meeting between Hitler and Mussolini begins at Salzburg. They decide to hold in North Africa.
ITALY: SICILY: Ninth Air Force B-24s attack Palermo harbour.
TUNISIA: Ninth Air Force B-25s bomb retreating columns which are being pursued north of Oued el Akarit by the British Eighth Army’s 30 and 10 Corps while fighters carry out bombing and strafing operations the battle area.
Northwest African Air Force Wellingtons attack Tunis and the Jabal al Jallud Marshalling Yard. Weather cancels all other bomber missions except for 2 reconnaissance sorties. All available airplanes of the XII Air Support Command and Western Desert Air Force hit ground forces which are retreating in all sectors. Fighters fly sweeps over Medjez el Bab (claiming 3 fighters downed), a scramble mission northwest of Oued Zarga (5 fighters are claimed destroyed), and over 100 other sorties (no encounters). Highway and motor transport are bombed between Sfax and Sousse. Light and medium bombers, and fighter-bombers attack concentrations north of the Oued el Akarit line. Units of the US II Corps make contact with the British Eighth Army on the Gabes-Gafsa road. (Jack McKillop)
BURMA: 2 Tenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells temporarily knock out a bridge on the Ye-u railroad branch, crossing the Mu River between Ywataung and Monywa; 18 B-25s, in 2 forces, bomb the Ywataung Marshalling Yard; P-40s support ground forces north of Shingbwiyang and 6 B-24 Liberators bomb Japanese HQ at Toungoo.
NEW GUINEA: Fifth Air Force B-25s hit areas along the northeastern coast from Mur to Singor. B-24s bomb the landing ground at Babo and town area of Fak Fak while individual B-17s and B-24s attack shipping and coastal targets at Lae, Salamaua, Finschhafen and Wewak.
BORNEO: USN submarine USS Trout (SS-202) lays mines near Sarawak.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: 11th IJNAF Air Fleet begins “I” operation with attacks against Guadalcanal and Tulagi. 180 aircraft involved. The air groups of 4 carriers have been moved to land for this operation. This leaves almost no trained carrier pilots left.
In the second phase of the Japanese Operation I GO, 67 Aichi D3A, Navy Type 99 Carrier Bombers, Allied Code Name “Val,” escorted by an estimated 117 Mitsubishi A6M Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighters, Allied Code Name “Zeke,” are reported by coast watchers to be moving down the “Slot” to attack a convoy off the east coast of Guadalcanal, shipping at Koli Point, and a Task Force at Tulagi. All 75 operable fighters on Guadalcanal, 36 F4F Wildcats, 9 F4U Corsairs, 12 P-38 Lightnings, 6 P-40s and 12 P-39Airacobras, are scrambled, and the bombers are moved to the south-western tip of the island for safety. The air battle takes place off the Russells, near Tulagi, and over the convoy. Marine F4F pilots shoot down 12 “Val” dive bombers and 15 “Zeke” fighters; 7 F4Fs and P-38s are shot down with the loss of a pilot. The “Vals” attack Allied shipping and sink the corvette HMNZS Moa and the destroyer USS Aaron Ward (DD-483) is damaged by one bomb hit and four near misses. Moa was refuelling from the oil storage barge USS Erskine M. Phelps.
The Moa was hit at least one bomb (other reports say two bombs) in the commanding officer’s cabin (the other is reported as hitting the boiler room). It is also reported that there were two near misses. The Moa sank in 3.5 to 4 minutes. Five crewmen were killed, Leading Seaman J. C. O. Moffat, Able Seaman K. Bailey, Leading Stoker H. D. Crawford, Stoker E. J. Buckeridge and Telegraphist C. Duncan. Lt Com Phipps and seven others were severely injured and another seven injured to a lesser degree. During the action, Lieutenant C. Belgrave dived under the water and rescued Assistant Steward W. J. Malloy who was unconscious. Leading Signaller J. L. W. Salter and Ordinary Telegraphist Bright saved Signaller F. Thomas who was also severely wounded and on the bridge. Salter and Bright were awarded the British Empire Medal.
Submarine rescue vessel USS Ortolan (ASR-5) and tug USS Vireo (AT-144) attempt to beach Aaron Ward, but the destroyer sinks as the result of bomb damage. Also damaged are the oilers USS Kanawha (AO-1) and USS Tappahannock (AO-43) and tank landing ship USS LST-449. Later, the tugs USS Rail (AT-139) and USS Menominee (AT-73) and the net tender USS Butternut (YN-9), tow Kanawha into Tulagi harbour, where the damaged oiler is beached just before midnight. (Jack McKillop)
In a bid to regain air superiority in the south-west Pacific Japan’s Pacific commander, Admiral Yamamoto, today put Allied air power in the Solomons to the test as more than 200 Japanese naval aircraft attacked and sank three Allied ships.
The Japanese force of 67 Aichi D3A Val carrier-bombers escorted by 120 Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters took off from New Britain to attack shipping north of Guadalcanal in Ironbottom Sound, the ocean graveyard of more than 40 warships. During the fighting the US destroyer AARON WARD, a tanker and the New Zealand minesweeper MOA were sunk. The Japanese lost 19 aircraft. US losses were seven fighters, but only one pilot missing.
The results show a decline in Japanese pilot quality and are disappointing for Yamamoto. He switched his carrier aircraft to Rabaul a week ago to begin harassing Allied airbases, which have now made the Bismarck Sea a banned area for Japanese shipping after the loss of eight ships there last month.
This is the date we [182nd Regiment, Americal Division, USA] left Guadalcanal for Fiji, in 1943. I knew it was April, and that LIFE magazine had called it “the biggest air raid of the Pacific War so far”, but they thought it was only 100 Japanese planes. Yours says 180 planes. We were on the John Penn when the planes came over.
All our planes were caught on the ground. I sneaked under a 20mm gun mount, rather than be locked below decks, as the Navy did to keep us out of the way. I saw the greatest air raid in my history of 3-1/2 years out there in war. Planes went upwind, downwind, and crosswind clawing for height to attack the enemy. P-38’s which were new went straight up like an elevator. Planes were falling with smoke trailing...no way to tell whose.
My late friend, Al Glendye, was Bos’n on a tanker loaded with air plane fuel. The ship was straddled by two 500 lb bombs. Had either landed and blown the ship, others would have gone down with it. J.F.Kennedy’s bio “PT-109” opens with a chapter on this raid. He was coming out as a replacement when their ship pulled into “Iron Bottom Bay” (Bill McLaughlin)
ADMIRALTY ISLANDS: Fifth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators attack Lorengau on Manus Island.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: Individual Fifth Air Force B-17s and B-24s attack Cape Gloucester on New Britain Island and Kavieng on New Ireland Island.
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Eleventh Air Force reconnaissance airplane aborts shortly after takeoff due to weather.
U.S.A.: The motion picture “The More The Merrier” is released in the U.S. This comedy, directed by George Stevens, and starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, and Charles Coburn, is about the housing shortage in Washington, D.C Arthur decides to be patriotic and shares her apartment with Coburn who then turns around and rents to McCrea. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards; Mr. Coburn won for Best Supporting Actor. Mr. Stevens also won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director. (Jack McKillop)
Wyoming: The sale of coffee in restaurants is banned in Cheyenne and Casper due to violations of wartime rationing restrictions. (Patrick Holscher, from the Wyoming Historical Society)
BOLIVIA: La Paz: Bolivia declares war on the Axis.
This is a limited engagement. We will send Crowther for a review when it opens in New York next month.
"Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long exercised his influence within the State Department to prevent the U.S. from becoming a place of refuge for European Jews.
Long's xenophobia influenced practically every move he made during the war: He led the State Department action to deny visas to political and intellectual refugees.
He pushed for decreased immigration quotas.
And he suggested Bermuda as the site for the refugee conference because of its inaccessibility."
Interesting p6 article about the AP photographer disciplined for falsifying captions on several “fake but accurate” photos. Too bad the NYT didn’t have similar standards when dealing with Stalin’s reporter Walter Duranty.
Concerning Shirer writing about Mussolini asking Hitler to make peace with Stalin. I have read here and there that around this time in 1943, both sides were being bled white and issued feelers about an armistice.
Senator William Langer of North Dakota said he felt that the failure of the secondary schools in the teaching of American history was due to the low pay received by teachers in most of such schools. Approval of THE TIMES survey and suggestions that something should be done to correct the situation it disclosed were voiced also by Senators Taft, Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, Homer T. Bone of Washington and Tom Connally of Texas.
Senator Homer T. Bone? I wonder if we're related.
Breckinridge Long was a Missouri Democrat who also served in the Wilson administration. He seemed to share Wilson’s racist and zenophobic opinions. I’m jumping ahead, but later in 1943 Long will give secret and false testimony to Congress to head off a move to open up more refugee slots. He is mainly responsible for denying refugee status to a few hundred thousand Jews who could have been saved.