Skip to comments.ROOSEVELT, ON TOUR, VISITS MEXICAN PRESIDENT; THEY PLEDGE FIGHT FOR ‘GOOD NEIGHBOR WORLD’ (4/21/43)
Posted on 04/21/2013 6:22:07 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Japanese decide on a new chief for Navy
Wednesday, April 21, 1943 www.onwar.com
Admiral Koga [photo at link].
From Tokyo... Admiral Koga is appointed to succeed Yamamoto as Commander in Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet.
In Tunisia... An Axis attack around Medjex el Bab is defeated.
April 21st, 1943 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Escort carrier HMS Shah launched.
Minesweeping trawler HMS Proctor commissioned.
Submarine HMS Votary laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-312, U-425, U-543 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
DENMARK: An RAF Stirling is shot down. Only one crew member, Donald Smith, survives the crash and begins a remarkable journey to freedom. His story is told here. (follow actions/second world war/”Together at last”) (Gert Laursen)
ITALY: RAF Liberators, under operational control of the IX Bomber Command, bomb Naples.
EUROPE: The RAF celebrated Hitler’s 54th birthday last night with raids against Stettin and Rostock, on the Baltic coast, and Berlin. In the east, the Red Air Force attacked Tilsit. Stettin, a key port supplying Nazi armies in north Russia, was most heavily hit. More than 140 4,000-pound bombs were dropped in 40 minutes. Simultaneously other aircraft laid mines off the Brittany coast. Hitler, it is thought, was far from the bombing, in a mountain retreat.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Submarine HMS Splendid is sighted by destroyer Hermes (German manned but previously the British built Greek Vasilefs Georgios 1) which delivers three depth charge attacks. Captain Ian McGeoch was three miles off the south-east coast of Capri when he was puzzled to see through his periscope a British destroyer. In good asdic conditions Hermes drops three accurate patterns of depth charges. Splendid begins to flood and sinks below 500 feet (operational diving depth 250) at which point McGeoch blew all his air tanks to raise his submarine to the surface and abandon the sinking submarine through the gun and conning tower hatches, while Hermes makes direct hits with her main armament. There are 18 casualties, but 27 survivors, five officers and twenty-five ratings who are taken prisoner. McGeoch himself is wounded, in the right eye, but stays with the boat until he is sure that there is no-one left alive and that it would sink before the enemy could board it. The entire action was over in 12 minutes.
As McGeoch was hauled from the water into a German motorboat he heard a guttural voice delivering the classic line “For you the war is over”, and he thought to himself “No, it bloody well isn’t”. Thus began a year-long odyssey to reach Britain.
Although now blind in one eye, McGeoch made several escape attempts: he attempted to dig, during the siesta hours, a tunnel from an Italian hospital where he was being treated. He jumped from a train when he was being moved between camps, but was recaptured. After being taken to Rome for interrogation, he leapt from a moving car and made a vain attempt to enter the Vatican.
Later, after the Italian armistice, he was promised repatriation, but the train in which he was travelling was commandeered by the Germans; McGeoch was taken to a prison hospital, from which he simply walked away, eventually crossing the border into Switzerland after a 400-mile hike.
He chose Switzerland - more distant than the Allied front line - because he wanted medical attention, and he was conscious while Professor Adolphe Franceschetti used an electromagnet to draw a jagged sliver of rusty steel from his blind eye.
He was also taken with what he called “the silken dalliance” of Geneva, but was impatient to get home and obtained false papers before walking into France in January 1944. Making contact with the Resistance, he travelled westwards by train and car, then skied across the Pyrenees and into temporary internment in Spain.
From Gibraltar he took passage in the dummy battleship Centurion, and his arrival in Britain was announced to the Resistance by the BBC with the cryptic words le tabac du Petit Pierre est dans la boîte. His reunion with his wife and the child he had not yet seen was delayed until two days later by a debriefing with MI9. He was mentioned in dispatches for his successful escape.
Location: off Capri. (Alex Gordon and Russell Folsom)(108)
Submarine HMS Unison sinks the Italian merchant Marco Foscarini (6405 BRT). (Dave Shirlaw)
TUNISIA: New Zealand troops consisting mainly of Maoris, take Takrouna.
After heavy casualties and little progress, the British 8th Army ends a three-day attempt to break through strong Italian defences. It is the Desert Rats’ final North African battle. During the upcoming Allied offensive, the 8th will remain on the defensive while other Allied units destroy the Axis army.
Ninth Air Force P-40s bomb and strafe barges along the coast.
Northwest African Air Force fighters and A-20 Havocs hit landing grounds and military traffic on roads, fly sweeps and armed reconnaissance, and attack ground forces and aircraft in the Medjez el Bab-Goubellat area where an enemy counterattack by armoured and infantry columns during the night of 20/21 April ends in costly failure.
INDIAN OCEAN: A U.S. freighter is torpedoed by the Italian submarine Leonardo da Vinci off the coast of South Africa and abandoned. Leonardo da Vinci then surfaces, finishes off the freighter with gunfire, and temporarily detains a member of the crew on board for questioning before returning him to his shipmates.
BURMA: 8 Tenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells bomb the railroad yards at Maymyo, and 9 more bomb the area around the Myitnge bridge. (Jack McKillop)
THAILAND: 16 Tenth Air Force B-24s are dispatched to bomb the Bangsue Arsenal and other targets in Bangkok, but only 4 reach the target area and loose bombs over the city.
NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: RAAF No. 18 (NEI) Squadron B-25s bomb Laga on Timor Island. (Jack McKillop)
NEW GUINEA: Fifth Air Force B-17s make individual attacks on coastal villages in northeastern New Guinea.
ELLICE ISLANDS: IJN bombers from Nauru Island, staging through Tarawa Atoll in the Gilberts, attack the airfield on Funafuti Atoll. One Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberator is destroyed and five others damaged.
JAPAN: Admiral Mineichi Koga succeeds Admiral Yamamoto as Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet, IJN.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: Fifth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses make individual attacks on Ubili and Gasmata on New Britain Island. (Jack McKillop)
PACIFIC OCEAN: Japanese aircraft bombard US positions on Funafuti in the Ellice Islands, retaliating for yesterday’s raid on Nauru.
Submarine USS Stingray (SS-186) mines the waters off Wenchow, China.
USS Grenadier (SS-210), CO John A. Fitzgerald is scuttled after damage by an enemy aircraft off Penang Malaya. All hands taken prisoner and 4 died in PoW camp. (Joe Sauder)
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Commander North Pacific Forces (NORPACFOR) places all Army and Navy Air Forces [Task Group (TG) 16.1] under Brigadier General William O. Butler, Commanding General Eleventh Air Force. The Army Air Striking Unit (Eleventh Air Force) is designated Task Unit 16.1.1 (TU 16.1.1) and the Naval Air Search Unit (Patrol Wing Four) is designated TU 16.12.(Jack McKillop)
CANADA: Frigate HMCS Port Colborne launched Esquimalt, British Columbia.
U.S.A.: The USN signs a contract for 67 Cessna T-50s. These were included in a USAAF order for C-78-CEs.
Washington: President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces “with a feeling of deepest horror” the Japanese execution of a number of Doolittle Raiders who bombed Tokyo and other Japanese cities in April 1942.
In baseball, the St. Louis Browns win their seventh consecutive Opening Day game in front of a reduced crowd of 4,000 due to war-time travel restrictions.
Destroyer escort USS Chatelaine launched.
Destroyer escort USS Wyfells commissioned.
Submarines USS Moray and Roncador laid down.
Light cruiser USS Topeka laid down.
Frigate USS Uniontown laid down.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 1830, the Scebeli in station #41 of Convoy ON-178 was hit in the bow on the port side by one torpedo from U-191 and quickly developed a heavy list to port. The crew abandoned ship in three lifeboats and stayed near the ship to search for survivors in the water. One man had been killed in the explosion and another drowned. HMS Hurricane and Kale unsuccessfully chased the attacker and after two hours returned to the slowly sinking ship. The frigate picked up the survivors and landed them at Argentia, Newfoundland on 26 April.
SS Wanstead sunk by U-413 at 55.46N, 45.14W. She was hit earlier in the night by U-415.
At 0807, U-415 attacked Convoy ONS-3 NE of St John’s and claimed two ships with 12,000 tons sunk. The Ashantian was hit and sank, while the Wanstead was only damaged, but was later sunk by U-413. Ashantian was the ship of the convoy commodore Vice-Admiral J. Elliot CBE RN. The master, the commodore, 13 crewmembers and one gunner were lost. 40 crewmembers, nine gunners, six naval staff members and three passengers were picked up by armed trawler HMS Northern Gift and landed at St John’s.
"Suitcases of Jews deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the camp's killing center, serve as a stark reminder that the victims had no notion of their impending doom.
Orders for deportation came suddenly and swiftly.
Jews hurriedly placed a few precious belongings in suitcases, wrote their names on the exteriors, and boarded trains to what they thought would be relocation centers somewhere in Eastern Europe.
Upon boarding, people were separated from their belongings and told the items would be returned when they disembarked.
Sorting through the belongings of Jews deported to Auschwitz and other death camps was a major and profitable undertaking."
"Gerard Kornmann hid Dutch Jews on two occasions.
In the end, however, an informer betrayed him, and he was arrested and shipped to the Sachsenhausen, Germany, concentration camp via the Vught, Netherlands, transit camp.
Following the Allied invasion of Western Europe, his captors shipped him to Lübeck, Germany.
He was on the Cap Arcona, which was among the four boats that the British bombed, assuming that the passengers were German, on May 3, 1945.
Kornmann died in the attack.
The irony of all this is painfully obvious, yet Kornmann's ultimate fate can be traced back to the informer--possibly a neighbor or even a "friend"--who betrayed him to the occupying authorities.
The possible reason can only be guessed at."
"In April 1943 the Germans uncovered the bodies of more than 4000 Polish POWs in the Katyn Forest, killed in 1940, apparently by the NKVD, the Soviet secret police.
The Soviets denied all responsibility, contending that the Germans were to blame."
"The Polish government-in-exile in London suspected the Soviets of the massacre, and its insistence that a thorough inquiry be pursued led to a cessation of relations between the Russians and the London Poles.
This provided a pretext for Joseph Stalin to establish a Communist government in Poland after the war."
I guess Pvt. Cobb learned that Negro soldiers shouldn’t shoot white officers.