Skip to comments.RAF RUNS BRITAIN-AFRICA BOMB SHUTTLE; FRIEDRICHSHAFEN RAIDERS BLAST SPEZIA (6/25/43)
Posted on 06/25/2013 4:39:41 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
What is the position about the increased proportion of rifle strength in an infantry battalion? It was agreed that it should be increased by thirty-six, and I hoped that it might be by seventy-two.
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
Allies bombing Messina in Sicily
Friday, June 25, 1943 www.onwar.com
Aerial view of bombing damage in Sicily [photo at link]
In Sicily... The Allies continue bombing the island, concentrating on Messina.
June 25th, 1943 (FRIDAY)
ÉIRE: Dublin: The efforts of Ireland’s leader, Eamon de Valera, to keep his country out of a world war have won scant applause at home. In the latest general election he has failed to obtain an overall majority, although his Fianna Fail party, with 67 seats, is still the largest in the Dail, the Irish parliament. It is four fewer than other parties grouped together and ten below the total he had in 1938. It is uncertain whether he will be ready to serve as a “lame duck” prime minister, saddled with responsibility without power or dependent on a coalition.
UNITED KINGDOM: Bamber Bridge, Lancashire: Black American troops ran rioting through the streets of this small Lancashire town last night, firing back at American military police who had fired on them. One man was killed and four wounded, including a white American officer.
The trouble began in the Old Hob Inn, when American military police attempted to arrest a group of black GIs as it closed. A fight broke out as they walked back to the US Eighth Army Air Force camp. The MPs drew their guns and fired, hitting one man, and later returned in two trucks. The GIs armed themselves and there was a gun battle into the small hours. Local people ran for cover.
The USAAF’s VIII Bomber Command in England flies Mission Number 67: 275 B-17s make scattered attacks on targets of opportunity in northwestern Germany when the primary targets at Bremen and Hamburg are obscured by clouds; 167 bomb targets and claim 62-11-40 Luftwaffe aircraft; 18 B-17s are lost. Of seven YB-40 Flying Fortress escort bombers dispatched only four are able to accompany formations to the target area. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: Wuppertal: After a 20-minute RAF bombing raid by 630 aircraft last night, targeted on the western district of Elberfeld, 870 of the city’s 929 acres are in ruins. The raid follows RAF attacks two nights ago on Mulheim and Krefeld.
The USAAF joined in the battle on 22 June with a daylight raid on the synthetic rubber factory at Huls. An RAF spokesman says that the attacks will continue until the enemy “haven’t enough guns to keep the United Nations out of Europe.”
Ruhr: The Ruhr and Rhineland areas of western German have been declared war zones and Dr. Robert Ley, a senior German government official, has ordered the evacuation of over a million women, children, invalids and old people. The action follows the stepping-up of the Allied air offensive against Germany, with the RAF unloading about a thousand bombs a night on the Ruhr alone. The raids are said to have demoralized soldiers whose families are in the bombed areas.
This week’s “shuttle” bombing of the Friedrichshafen radar factory in southern Germany has added a new dimension to Allied air power, soon to be further intensified by the US Eighth Army Air Force now based in Britain. But what the Goebbels-controlled newspapers refer to as “the Battle of the Ruhr” still pre-occupies the German authorities, who say that the Rhineland and the Ruhr are “in the front line”. A German radio broadcast said that the damage caused by the RAF “simply goes beyond human imagination”. In his diary, Goebbels has recorded his view that the British aircraft industry and the RAF have wrested air supremacy from the Luftwaffe.
At Chequers, Churchill has been watching films taken during RAF raids on Germany. Suddenly, he sat up and said to his guest, the Australian cabinet minister Richard Casey: “Are we beasts? Are we taking this too far?” Casey answered: “We didn’t start it. And it was them or us.”
POLAND: Czestochowa: The Jewish ghetto is annihilated and its inhabitants sent to Auschwitz after an abortive attempt at resistance.
U.S.S.R.: The Russians retreat from Kupyansk on the Oskol River east of Kharkov.
ITALY: There is a heavy Allied bombardment of Messina, Sicily. (Glenn Steinberg)
The Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) dispatches RAF Wellingtons to bomb docks and marshalling yard at Olbia, Sardinia during the night of 24/25 June. On the following day B-17s drop over 300 tons of bombs on Messina, Sicily bombing the marshalling yard, the western and northern part of town, warehouse area and part of commercial quay. (Jack McKillop)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: General Ritchie is removed from command of the British 8th Army by Auchinleck. He assumes control of the battle himself.
General Dwight David Eisenhower is appointed to command US Land Forces in Europe.
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: In the Aleutian Islands, the US Eleventh Air Force dispatches two photo and weather reconnaissance missions by two B-24s and six attack missions by 25 B-25’s, 12 B-24’s, and two P-38’s hit Kiska Island. Targets include gun revetments at Gertrude Cove and AA batteries. (Jack McKillop)
CANADA: LCdr Roland Fraser Harris RCNR awarded DSC.(Dave Shirlaw)
Italy is getting pounded. I’d give Mussolini another month before he falls.
John Basilone is in the news. They may eventually name a street after him in San Onofre, Calif.
Interesting article on the Germans building up their air defenses. Although the numbers are inflated in that there are not 1.5 million men manning air defenses, it’s pretty clear that the Germans have shifted a significant amount of resources to the aerial defense of the Reich.
The fighter planes will be sorely missed at Kursk, where the Soviets will finally win air superiority. Each anti-aircraft gun between the North Sea and the Ruhr is a 88mm, which could have been mounted in a Tiger tank or used defensively as an anti-tank gun. All of the men manning those guns could have been filling out the depleted infantry divisions in the East.
While the allies do not have ground forces on the Continent, Stalin should be happy that his army will not have to fight the men and material that would otherwise comprise several infantry and panzer divisions, along with supporting fighter cover. The Soviet margin of victory at Kursk was quite thin. That margin was provided by the “round the clock bombing of Europe.”
Kursk was not irrelevant; for the Germans, it wasn’t about “winning” but rather getting an operational stalemate in the East. A draw if you will.
The main problem for the Germans wasn’t Kiev or Smolensk. The die had already been cast by then. The real problem was in the brain of Chief of the General Staff Franz Halder, who cast the die. He sold Hitler and his generals on the idea of defeating the USSR in one campaign season. A look at the map should have told them it was logistically impossible to project their power that distance in such a short time. Instead, they should have planned for at least a two-year war.
By this point weren't the Germans also deploying larger guns? I'd also need to look to see if they didn't have some 37mm and some old 75mm mixed in, as well.
Looks like I need to read through this:
The Germans also deployed a 105mm AA gun for air defense of the homeland but it was too unwieldly for use in a ground role at the front. The 88 was also unwieldly but obviously effective. The Germans had a 20mm AA gun which was very effective in a quad mount for tactical air defense and ground support. They also used a 37mm for the same purpose, but it was less effective. The 37mm and 20mm did not have the range to hit high altitude bombers.
At the start of the war, the standard anti-tank gun was the 37mm, but it was already obsolescent in 1940. The Germans planned on replacing it with a 50mm piece, but at the start of Barbarossa most infantry divisions still had the 37mm. They were shocked and dismayed to see those rounds bounce off the T34. The 50mm was also not effective. By this time of the war, the 75mm/L48 PaK is common as the divisional AT defense and is the main gun in the PzIV G and H models. With this gun and an experienced commander the PzIV was better than the T34/43.
One of the biggest shortcomings of German armaments production was their failure to provide a “lend lease” program for allies like Romania and Italy. The Romanian infantry divisions on the flanks of 6th Army at Stalingrad only had 12 hand-me-down 37mm PaK guns apiece. They were crap and the Romanian infantry knew it. No wonder they broke and ran.
Basilone was one badass Marine.
Meanwhile, the Red Army had months to prepare defenses in depth against the anticipated attack.
Germany was at a strategic disadvantage for the entire war because of the naval blockage Britain was able to impose and the fact that Germany did not have a navy with the strength to engage the Royal Navy to try to breach it. That, along with the results of strategic bombing, prevented Germany from becoming the arsenal of the Axis. It had a hard enough time trying to supply its own army and feed its people.