Skip to comments.FORTRESSES BLAST 73 PLANES IN SICILY; ALLIES TIGHTEN ARC AROUND ROMMEL (4/15/43)
Posted on 04/15/2013 5:05:27 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
3 U.S. Craft Lost (Kluckhohn) 2-3
75-Plane Raid on Milne Bay Widens New Guinea Drive (Durdin) 4
6 U.S. Kiska Raids Pound Plane Strip 5
Mme. Chiang Urges 4-Nation Mandates 5
War News Summarized 6
A Little Boy Thanks the Dog that Saved Him (photo) 6
The Texts of the Days Communiques on the Fighting in Various War Zones 8-9
Americans preparing to invade Attu Island
Thursday, April 15, 1943 www.onwar.com
US troops practicing for invasion of the Aleutian Islands [photo at link].
In the Aleutian Islands... US forces prepare for an invasion of Attu Island, held by the Japanese. The US 7th Division, preparing for deployment in North Africa, is earmarked for the operation.
April 15th, 1943 (THURSDAY)
GERMANY: Bomber Command attacked Stuttgart last night, despatching 462 aircraft to deliver what is officially described as “a very heavy attack” on one of Germany’s largest armament and industrial centres.
Halifaxes and Stirlings dropped 4,000-pound and 8,000-pound bombs - “factory-smashers” and “blockbusters” - and thousands of incendiaries. Pilots in the rear of the bomber “stream” were guided to their target by the glow of fierce fires. The raid, the heaviest yet against Stuttgart, lasted for 45 minutes. Some of the huge four-engined aircraft, filled to capacity with bombs and petrol, flew very low, with gunners shooting up targets in the bright moonlight. One Stirling collided with an electricity pylon and had to jettison part of its load when the incendiaries caught fire. Some 23 of the Allied aircraft are missing.
At the same time, Russian long-range four-engined bombers made individual attacks on Danzig and Königsberg.
FINLAND: Finland officially rejects the Soviet terms for peace, stating that they would be impossible to meet. This refers primarily to the Soviet demand for 600 million USD reparations, which the Finnish economic experts think impossible to pay in time without ruining the Finnish economy. As for the other Soviet demands, military experts think the Soviet demand of rapid demobilization together with the inevitable war against the Germans a dangerous combination. Majority of the people also still find it hard to accept the permanent loss of the territories lost after the Winter War, plus Petsamo, esp. as the Finnish lines of defence are still where the Finnish advance was stopped in 1941. Many are still confident that the German situation is not hopeless, although the highest Finnish leadership doesn’t share this hope.
From now on, the Finns see two possibilities. The first is that the Soviets think the Finnish front too unimportant to warrant a major transfer of troops from the most important effort against the Germans. In this case Finland could perhaps secure better terms later. The second is that the Soviets will attack, but that the attack could be repulsed, and after that Finland could have better terms. The latter is essentially what eventually happened, but whether the somewhat lighter terms received in September 1944 were worth the almost 20 000 deaths suffered in the battles of summer 1944 (not to mention the Russian losses), is another matter. (Mikko Härmeinen)
ITALY: RAF bombers attack La Spezia.
RAF Liberators, under operational control of the IX Bomber Command, bomb Naples and Messina.
Northwest African Air Force B-26 Marauders on armed reconnaissance of the Naples area attack a vessel south of Ustica Island. (Jack McKillop)
Sicily: Ninth Air Force B-24s attack Catania and Palermo (Jack McKillop)
Sardinia: Northwest African Air Force Wellingtons bomb Decimomannu, Villacidro, and Elmas Airfields during the night of 14/15 April. (Jack McKillop)
YUGOSLAVIA: Montenegro: After two years of unaided guerrilla warfare, with huge losses on both sides, Tito’s Yugoslav partisans seem to have been recognized by the Allies. Until recently, the misinformed British were dropping weapons to the rival band of partisans the pro-royalist Chetniks.
Today, however, Allied liaison officers, Canadians of Yugoslavian birth, were parachuted into Croatia to find Tito’s partisans fighting their way to Montenegro after a major Axis crackdown had failed to destroy them. The fourth major offensive involved five German divisions - including a Waffen-SS, a complete infantry regiment, two Italian divisions and their locally raised Ustachi allies.
After savage fighting the outnumbered partisans managed to fight their way out, bringing 4,000 wounded with them. An attempt to trap them failed after a savage series of battles in which no prisoners were taken.
NORTH AFRICA: The Allied Air Forces in the Mediterranean have been completely re-organized in both their command structure under the overall command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder.
A North-West Africa Tactical Air Force has been established under the command of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham to use the lessons learnt in the desert to give close support to ground forces in Tunisia. Light bombers and tank-busters protected by fighters will blast the enemy’s strongpoints. A Strategic Force has also been set up. Composed of USAAF heavy and medium bombers, and RAF medium bombers, it is responsible for long-range attacks on bases, communications and shipping.
In order to cope with the vast area covered by the Allied air forces they have also been divided into three geographical regions: Middle East Command, stretching from India to Tunis; the North African Air Command in Tunisia under Major-General Carl Spaatz, of the USAAF; and the RAF in Malta. The re-organization is to cope with the vast expansion of Allied air power in the region. The creation of the Tactical Air Force reflects planning for the invasion of Europe.
TUNISIA: Ninth Air Force B-25s bomb the airfield and area near a fuel dump at Sainte-Marie du Zit. P-40’s fly reconnaissance and sea patrol.
Northwest African Air Force fighters attack tanks and trucks at Oum EL Djema and a concentration near Sidi Ahmed, while others fly reconnaissance and patrols during the day. (Jack McKillop)
CHINA: CDR Milton R. (”Mary”) Miles negotiates an agreement with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek. Approved by GEN Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, Supreme American Commander, China; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the President of the United States, the Sino-American Technical Cooperative Agreement provided for the conduct and support of “special measures in the war effort against Japan.” Miles, by then a Navy captain, was ordered to cooperate with the designated Chinese authorities “in every way practicable for the prosecution of war measures against the Japanese.” CAPT Miles was placed in direct charge of the American participation as set forth in the agreement. Thus the Sino-American Cooperative Agreement was signed, and SACO (pronounced socko, “with the significance of powerful or sudden attack”) was born.
BURMA: 10 Tenth Air Force B-25s bomb the Mandalay Marshalling Yard; 9 more bomb the marshalling yard at Ywataung. 8 B-24s hit the Thilawa oil refinery while 7 others hit Prome. (Jack McKillop)
NEW GUINEA: Fifth Air Force B-17s bomb the airfield at Lae. (Jack McKillop)
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: Fifth Air Force B-17s bomb the airfields at Rabaul and Gasmata on New Britain Island. (Jack McKillop)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: On or about this date, the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No. 15 Squadron equipped with Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. IAs (P-40Es), arrives on Guadalcanal. This is the first RNZAF fighter unit to operate under Aircraft Solomons (AirSols) command. (Jack McKillop)
NORTH PACIFIC: Submarine USS Seawolf (SS-197) sinks a Japanese transport about 275 miles (443 km) south-southwest of Marcus Island. (Jack McKillop)
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Eleventh Air Force aircraft fly reconnaissance over Kiska, Attu, the Semichis, and Agattu but spots no new enemy activities.
Two bomber missions from Adak and 11 fighter missions from Amchitka, composed of 23 B-24Liberators, 20 B-25 Mitchells, 25 P-38 Lightnings, and 44 P-40s, hit Kiska; an F-5A Lightning takes photos; 85 tons of bombs are dropped. Fires result on North Head and Little Kiska. One B-24 is shot down in flames and 4 bombers receive battle damage. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.A.: US begins preparation for attacks on Attu in the Aleutians with the 7th Division US Army.
USCG Landing ship LST-176 is launched. (Skip Guidry)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Two Consolidated PBY-5A Catalinas of the USN’s Patrol Squadron Eighty Three (VP-83) based at Natal, Brazil, attack the 913 ton Italian submarine Archimede off the coast of Brazil. The crew of the first PBY drops four depth charges that damages the sub; a few minutes later, the crew of the second aircraft drops four more depth charges from an altitude of 50 feet (15.24 meters). The sub sank six-minutes later after 30 crewmen abandoned ship and boarded three rafts; one raft was found 27 days later by Brazilian fishermen. The raft contained two bodies and one survivor who identified the submarine. (Jack McKillop)
The Japanese are using a lot of carrier-trained pilots in their air offensive, Operation I-Go. A lot of them are not coming back. It will have serious implications later this year as the IJN will not be able to contest the USN in the Central Pacific for lack of trained air crews. In fact, the IJN will not have a trained air fleet for another year or so.