Skip to comments.BRITISH AND FRENCH REPEL ASSAULTS AND HOLD VITAL HEIGHTS IN TUNISIA (4/17/43)
Posted on 04/17/2013 5:22:38 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
#1 - Ive Heard That Song Before Harry James, with Helen Forrest
#2 Brazil - Xavier Cugat
#3 That Old Black Magic - Benny Goodman, with Skip Miller and the Modernaires
#4 Youd be So Nice to Come Home To - Dinah Shore
#5 - Dont Get Around Much Anymore - The Ink Spots
#6 - For Me and My Gal - Judy Garland and Gene Kelly
#7 - As Time Goes By - Jacque Renard, with unknown vocalist
#8 - Velvet Moon - Harry James
#9 It Started All Over Again - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra, Pied Pipers
#10 - There Are Such Things - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers
Germans trapped in the Kuban hold on
Saturday, April 17, 1943 www.onwar.com
Soviet anti-aircraft gunner dead at his post [photo at link].
On the Eastern Front... In the Caucasus, Soviet forces continue to press the German 17th Army holding on in the Kuban Peninsula.
Over Germany... The US 8th Air Force carries out a daylight bombing raid on aircraft factories in Bremen. Of 115 B-17 bombers employed, 16 are lost on the mission.
April 17th, 1943 (SATURDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: London: The Polish government in exile asks the Red Cross to investigate the Katyn massacre.
After a raid by 30 Focke-Wulf FW190 fighter bombers on London, one lands by mistake at West Malling aerodrome.
London: Major-General Ira Eaker, the commander of the US 8th Army Air Force has put forward a proposal called “The Combined Bomber Offensive from the United Kingdom” reasserting the belief that a joint Allied bombing campaign could bring Germany to its knees. Maj-Gen Eaker believes that it will be necessary to “seek the destruction of enemy fighters in the air and on the ground.”
The Commanding General, VIII Fighter Command, expresses the need for 20 fighter groups to neutralize growing German fighter opposition to the Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO).
GERMANY: The US 8th AF raids the aircraft factories in Bremen with 115 B-17s.
VIII Bomber Command Mission Number 52: 115 B-17s are dispatched against the Focke-Wulf factory at Bremen, Germany the Eighth Air Force’s largest mission to date. A mass of fighters attacks during bomb run, shooting down 15 while flak claims another. The B-17s claim 63-15-17 Luftwaffe aircraft; 39 B-17s are damaged. (Jack McKillop)
FINLAND: Finnish Commander-in-Chief Marshal Mannerheim travels to Switzerland to tend his health. He uses the alias of ‘Baron Marhein’. Chief of General Staff Gen. Erik Heinrichs acts as the C-in-C during Mannerheim’s absence.
Numerous rumours float around explaining the ‘true’ reasons for Mannerheim’s trip. Some say there’s in fact been a military coup and Mannerheim has been driven to exile. Others say Mannerheim went to present the Finnish surrender to the Western Allies. But the truth is just that: Mannerheim goes to tend his health after being seriously ill in early April. He returns on 9 May and resumes his duties. Mannerheim is old (he will be 76 next June) and his duties has worn him further. The old Marshal is no more in top of his powers. (Mikko Härmeinen)
POLAND: Katyn: Five days ago a devout Russian peasant called on the German Field Security Police at Katyn, near Smolensk, with a grim story. “The Poles are looking for their officers in Siberia, but they lie here, in the forest,” he said.
The Germans dug up some 4,100 Polish officers, still in their uniforms, with identity documents, and hands tied behind their backs. All had been shot in the back of the neck. Local Russian peasants told of “Black Ravens”, prison coaches driven by Soviet secret police, arriving in spring 1940. Other corpses found nearby are of Soviet civilians who died in Stalin’s purges. The discovery has provided a propaganda triumph for Göbbels. “I saw to it that the mass graves were inspected by neutral journalists from Berlin,” he noted in his diary.
Professors of forensic medicine from German-occupied countries have been given a free hand at Katyn, but today the exiled Polish government in London has demanded in investigation by the International Red Cross. Moscow has reacted with fury. It says that the Germans carried out the mass killings, and accuses the Poles in London of “aiding and abetting Hitler”. The affair is embarrassing Britain, as both Stalin and the Poles are Allies.
ITALY: SICILY: Ninth Air Force B-24s (including Liberator Mk IIs of the RAF 178 Squadron, under operational control of the IX Bomber Command) bomb Catania. Northwest African Strategic Air Force B-17s bomb shipping and docks at Palermo. (Jack McKillop)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: US bombers raid Palermo, Catania and Syracuse.
TUNISIA: Despite Rommel’s plea to Hitler and Mussolini to evacuate North Africa and prepare for the invasion of Europe, German engineers are working feverishly to prepare new defence lines in Tunisia. The high command in Berlin reasons that if Axis troops can hold out in Tunisia until the autumn, the invasion of mainland Europe will be delayed for another year.
Allied numerical superiority is overwhelming, however. The British and American air forces can muster 3,000 aircraft; the Axis, 500; the Allies have 1,200 tanks; the Axis, 130. Despite this the Germans are skilled improvisers, particularly when it comes to defence.
Ninth Air Force P-40s fly sweeps, sea patrol, and fighter-bomber missions. During the night of 16/17 April, Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) Wellingtons bomb the N quay in Bizerte harbour. Shortly after noon, B-17s bomb shipping and docks at Ferryville. B-25s hit the town area and marshalling yard at Mateur. Fighters provide escort. Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF) Blenheims bomb La Sebala Airfield and A-20s hit Ksar Tyr and concentrations NE of Grich el Oued. Fighters fly escort and reconnaissance missions. Northwest African Coastal Air Force (NACAF) airplanes fly sea patrol and reconnaissance and attack shipping in the Strait of Sicily. (Jack McKillop)
BURMA: 7 Tenth Air Force B-25s bomb the Myitnge bridge, scoring 4 damaging hits. Ten others hit the Myitnge railroad works. Sixteen P-40s damage the bridge at Kamaing, attack the town of Nanyaseik, and score hits on the N approach to the bridge at Namti. Six B-24s damage the S approach to the Pazundaung railroad bridge. (Jack McKillop)
NEW GUINEA: A single Fifth Air Force B-24 scores hits on the NW shore of Hollandia Bay. (Jack McKillop)
MOLUCCAS ISLANDS: Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb targets on Amboina Island. (Jack McKillop)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: During the night of 16/17 April, 15 Thirteenth Air Force B-17s and 8 TBF Avengers of Torpedo Squadron Twenty Seven (VT-27) (part of Air Group 27, USS SUWANEE) and Composite Squadron Twenty Six (VC-26) (part of Air Group 26, USS SANGAMON) and Composite Squadron VC-28 (part of Air Group 28, USS CHENANGO), bomb Kahili Airfield on Bougainville. Two of the VC-27 TBFs conduct a mast-high bombing attack on ships in New Georgia Sound, the first attack of this kind in this theatre. (Jack McKillop & Massimiliano Stola)
PACIFIC OCEAN: Three Japanese ships are sunk at sea:
- A mine laid by USN TBF Avengers on 30 March sinks a transport near Buin, Bougainville, Solomon Islands.
- An ex-whale factory ship is sunk by unknown agent about 160 miles (257 km) east of Formosa.
- Submarine USS Flying Fish (SS-229) sinks an army cargo ship off Yerimozaki, Hokkaido, Japan. (Jack McKillop)
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIANS: 7 B-24 of the Eleventh Air Force bomb and score 8 direct hits on the runway and gun emplacements at Attu. One B-24 and 2 F-5As abort due to weather. 4 B-25s, 31 P-38s, and 14 P-40s hit Kiska 9 times, bombing installations and strafing gun emplacements and 3 parked airplanes. (Jack McKillop)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: The German submarine U-175 is sunk southwest of Ireland by depth charges and gunfire from USCGC Spencer (WPG-36); 41 of the 54 U-boat crewmen survive. USCGC Spencer was escorting convoy HX 233. (Jack McKillop)
My ex-wife’s good friend from childhood on had a grandfather executed at Katyn. Her late parents were both Polish and had camp tattoos on the undersides of their forearms.
I liked the photos of the escort carriers under construction by Kaiser. It’s a reminder of the incredible shipbuilding program done by the United States. I did some checking on aircraft carrier construction during the war. The difference in aircraft carriers delivered to the USN and IJN was staggering.
Commissioned in 1943:
Essex Class Fleet Carriers:
Independence Class Light Carriers:
No aircraft carriers commissioned
Essex Class Fleet Carriers:
Bon Homme Richard
Note: Only Taiho saw action as a carrier, being sunk in her first combat in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The other four carriers were commissioned in the latter part of the year, were never equipped with carrier-trained air wings, for the most part never left home waters, nor did they ever see combat.
Essex Class Carriers
As an additional note, the USN took delivery of no less than 74 CVE’s (Escort Carriers). These ships were valuable as the core of submarine hunter-killer teams, transport ships for replacement aircraft for the fighting fleet, and as air cover for amphibious operations (which freed up the fleet and light carriers for combat duty).
Japan entered the war with six fleet and four light carriers. In 1941 and 1942, four merchant ships were converted to carriers, all of which were of mixed performance. They were probably equivalent to American escort carriers. The main point is that in two years, the United States Navy added fifteen Essex class fleet carriers and nine Independence class light carriers, while the Japanese effectively added just one. I still do not understand why the Japanese only built two ships of the Shokaku class. It was roughly equivalent to the Essex class in terms of speed, air wing, and just about as tough to kill. I know they couldn’t have built 15 of them, but you have to wonder why, having hit upon an excellent design, they didn’t at least try to make more of them.
It is quite clear that the Japanese had no chance of defeating the United States Navy in a prolonged war, and really had no business trying.
The Poles are unfortunate to be between two powers who have been ruthless toward them through much of their history.
The poster was part of a series aimed at fighting men or future fighting men. Some, like this, contrast the bright future Britain will enjoy after the victory with Britain's past. It is also a subtle bit of socialist propaganda. The Beveridge Report report came out last November (1942) and proposed a post-war scheme of cradle to grave social welfare, including the National Health. So, this poster shows a child sick with rickets in a run down health clinic, in contrast to the shiny new clinics that will be built after the war. Churchill and Bevin were incensed because life in Britain compared well with other Western countries before the war. But that wasn't the artist's point - this was propaganda aimed at the poor and working class to show them their shiny new egalitarian future.
So, when the victory was in grasp, the Brits threw out Churchill and the Tories and Labour began implementing the Beveridge plan immediately. That, along with the nationalization of all large industries, began Britain's slow economic spiral down to the 1970's, when Lady Thatcher rescued her.
The Cossack eats Poland,
Like stolen fruit; ...
Her last noble is ruined,
Her last poet mute:
Straight, into double band
The victors divide;
Half for freedom strike and stand;—
The astonished Muse finds thousands at her side.
Ralph Waldo Emerson