Skip to comments.ROOSEVELT, CHURCHILL WARN ITALY TO END FASCIST RULE OR FACE RUIN (7/17/43)
Posted on 07/17/2013 5:03:57 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
The West Point Military History Series, Thomas E. Griess, Editor, The Second World War: Europe and the Mediterranean
I have promised Lord Winterton a further communication about the building of the agricultural cottages. I now feel however that as I should like him to have a fuller explanation of the position than could conveniently be contained in a letter it would be helpful if you could see Lord Winterton yourself. *
* See minute of July 3 to Lord President.
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
#1 Comin In on a Wing and a Prayer - Song Spinners
#2 Youll Never Know - Dick Haymes, with the Song Spinners
#3 - It Cant Be Wrong - Dick Haymes, with Song Spinners
#4 - All or Nothing At All Harry James, with Frank Sinatra
#5 - In the Blue of the Evening - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra
#6 Lets Get Lost - Kay Kyser, with Harry Babbitt
#7 - Its Always You - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra
#8 - Taking a Chance on Love - Benny Goodman, with Helen Forrest
#9 - Dont Get Around Much Anymore - Glen Gray, with Kenny Sargent
#10 Dont Get Around Much Anymore - The Ink Spots
Germans making fighting withdrawals
Saturday, July 17, 1943 www.onwar.com
German column under attack by Soviet aircraft [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... The Soviet offensive toward Orel is slowed by counterattacks by German armored units. To the south, the German fighting withdrawal from the Kursk salient continues. Farther south, the Soviet Southwest Front (Malinovsky) begins attacks around Voroshilovgrad.
In the Solomon Islands... Americans conduct a large air raid on Bougainville. Shipping offshore and airfields between Buin and Faisi are targeted. One Japanese destroyer is sunk.
In New Guinea... Elements of the Australian 3rd and American 41st Divisions move toward Salamaua in a holding action against the Japanese.
In Sicily... US forces capture Agrigento and Porto Empedocle.
July 17th, 1943 (SATURDAY)
The USAAF’s Eighth Air Force in England flies two missions.
VIII Bomber Command Mission Number 74: The two primary targets are the rail industry at Hannover, Germany and the aviation industry at Hamburg, Germany. Both missions are recalled due to weather but the bombers hit three targets, i.e.:
1. 205 B-17s and 2 YB-40s are dispatched against Hannover; 33 hit targets of opportunity; they claim 32-7-3 Luftwaffe aircraft; a B-17 is lost.
2. 125 B-17’s are dispatched against Hamburg; one hits a convoy and 21 attempt to bomb the Fokker Aircraft plant at Amsterdam, The Netherlands which is obscured by clouds; the target is missed and 150 civilians are killed; they claim 28-9-33 Luftwaffe aircraft; a B-17 is lost.
VIII Air Support Command Mission Number 2: B-26B Marauders fly a diversion to the Cayeux, France area.
Minesweeping trawlers HMS Bardsey and Rosevean launched.
Frigates HMS Bentley, Keats, Kempthorne launched.
Submarine HNLMS Zwaardvisch (ex-HMS Talent) launched.
Minesweeper HMS Aries commissioned.
GERMANY: Rastenburg: Hitler orders reinforcements to be sent to the Balkans, believing that the Allies will strike there next.
U-880 laid down.
U-478, U-903 launched.
SPAIN: Spanish Generalissimo Francisco Franco makes his annual Civil War anniversary speech, this slams the door on monarchist hopes. (Glenn Steinberg)
ITALY: US forces take Agrigento and Porto Empedocle on Sicily.
On the ground in Sicily, the US 45th and 1st Infantry Divisions cross the Salso River south and east of Caltanissetta. The British 30 Corps expands the Simeto River bridgehead and drives toward Catania in the coastal sector while 51 Division crosses the Simeto River and reaches to within 10 miles (16 km) of Paterno.
General Sir Harold Alexander appointed Allied Military Governor of Sicily. (Glenn Steinberg)
Messina: Resplendent in riding breeches and burnished boots, Lieutenant-General George S. Patton Jr has arrived back from Algiers to lead the US Seventh Army in an extraordinary race to Messina against General Sir Bernard Montgomery’s British Eighth Army.
While the rough terrain and determined German resistance are slowing progress by both armies, a serious rift between the two generals is causing concern in the Allied camp. The fiery Patton had agreed only reluctantly that his army should act as a “shield” to Montgomery, who had planned a fast thrust along the east coast.
When the Eighth Army found itself stalled as it neared Catania, a sudden switch of plans by Montgomery - aiming to attack on the west side of Mount Etna - found his men fighting in the same area as the Americans at Vizzini. It was then that Patton blew up. He flew to protest to General Sir Harold Alexander, the commander-in-chief. The urbane “Alex” was startled at Patton’s fury - and gave the American his head.
The row is not just strategic. What worries Alexander is the personal feud between the two men. Patton dislikes Monty’s “cocksureness” and his condescension to his less-experienced troops. He does not like the casual dress of Monty’s “Desert Rats”. Most of all, he does not like playing second fiddle. he wants an American victory.
AMGOT, the Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories, is set up.
In the air during the night of 16/17 July and the following day Northwest African Tactical Air Force fighters, light and medium bombers, hit Catania, Paterno, the Riposto railroad station, and targets of opportunity (vehicles, tanks, trains, guns). Also during the day, Ninth Air Force B-25 Mitchells hit Catania and the rail yards and roads at Paterno and P-40s fly escort to Gela and Comiso.
The Naples marshalling yard is hit by about 80 USAAF Ninth Air Force B-24s and about 200+ Northwest African Air Force B-25s, B-26s, and B-17s. The B-24s face fierce fighter opposition and a B-24 is shot down; B-24 gunners claim 23 fighters destroyed. RAF heavy bombers also hit Reggio di Calabria.
GREECE: Trifolo, a village outside Katerini. A German Counterinsurgency action takes place in the town of Trilofo on the outskirts of Katerini.
U.S.S.R.: The Soviet drive north and west of Orel is countered by German panzers. The Germans continue a fighting withdrawal south of Kursk. Malinovsky opens with attacks around Voroshilovgrad on the Southwest Front.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: A major air attack is staged by the US on Japanese bases and shipping in the Northern Solomons, including Bougainville, Buin and Faisi. This is the heaviest Allied air raid on the Japanese so far in this war. It started yesterday evening and has lasted for more than 12 hours.
Waves of Liberators and Flying Fortresses hit the airfield of Kahili for nine long hours through the night, preventing enemy opposition from taking off and wrecking scores of aircraft on the ground. While bombing Buin-Faisi harbour swarms of Zeros rose to the defence, but 44 land planes and 5 floatplanes were shot out of the sky in a vicious 20-minute battle in which just six Allied aircraft are lost.
In the Northern Solomons during the morning 7 Thirteen Air Force B-24 Liberators, escorted by P-39Airacobras and P-40s and RNZAF P-40s, and 35 Navy TBF Avengers and 36 Navy and Marine SBD Dauntlesses, escorted by 114 Marine F4U Corsair and USAAF P-38 Lightning fighters, attack shipping off Buin, Bougainville Island. They sink one Japanese destroyer and claim 7 other vessels sunk. In the air battle, Marine F4Us down 38 fighters, P-38 pilots claim 6 A6M “Zekes,” Marine SBD pilots claim 2 “Zekes;” and Navy SBD and TBF pilots claim 3 “Zekes.” The US loses are 1 TBF, 1 SBD, 1 F4U and 2 P-38s.
South-West PACIFIC: Units of the Australian 3rd and US 41st Divisions move toward Salamaua, New Guinea, from Nassau Bay.
U.S.A.: Dick Johnson solos for the first time. (Dick Johnson)
Destroyer escorts USS Swenning and Willis laid down.
Light cruiser USS Vincennes launched.
Anti-Aircraft cruiser USS Oakland commissioned.
CANADA: Frigate HMCS Longueil laid down Montreal, Province of Quebec.
Frigate HMCS Valleyfield launched Quebec City.
Minesweeper HMS Providence (ex HMCS Forest Hill) laid down Toronto, Ontario.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0031, the unescorted City of Canton was torpedoed and sunk by U-178 NE of Beira. Eight crewmembers were lost. The second officer was taken prisoner by U-178. The master and 74 crewmembers were picked up by the Free French cruiser Suffren and landed at Durban. 19 crewmembers were picked up by the Portuguese merchantman Luabo and landed at Mozambique.
Later the Avenger pilot claimed and was allowed the submarine captains hat..............
The Germans put the Italians in front, then a minefield and the German positions. And the Italians thought it was unfair that the Germans didn’t show them the path through the mine field.
That “baby flattop,” known as “Carrier B” wouldn’t happen to be USS Bogue, would it?
I am starting to think those Germans were jerks.
From “Band of Brothers” (Why We Fight)
Luz: Hey, Janovek, what ya reading?
Janovek: Um, an article.
Luz: No s—t. What’s it about?
Janovek: It’s about why we’re fightin’ the war.
Luz: Why are we fighting the war, Janovek?
Janovek: It appears the Germans are bad, very bad.
Luz: You don’t say. The Germans are bad, huh? [turns to Perconte] Hey, Frank, this guy is reading an article over here that says that the Germans [sarcastic dramatic pause] are bad.
Perconte: No s—t.
HQ II SS Panzer Corps has departed to Italy, and Leibstandarte is en route. SS Divsions Das Reich and Totenkopf were also scheduled to go, but before they could depart the crisis on the Mius blew up, and the trains were sent east rather than west.
Both divisions are below strength, in both infantry and panzers, due to the heavy combat in Zitadelle. And the troops are tired. Nor will 6th Army commander Hollidt use them effectively. Hollidt was a capable infantry commander who cobbled the new 6th Army together from various scraps during the winter. He performed miracles to put the army together and hold his front, but offensive panzer operations are not his forte.
Could be. According to the wikipedia entry for CVE-9 its planes got two confirmed U-Boat kills on patrol #5 in June 43. I would hate to try to identify the ship from the picture accompanying the article.
Amazing how fast the Germans went from the initiative to the defensive.
I also see we have our first article on the Soviet war effort from Alexander Werth. I’m sure he’ll write an article about his visit to the Kursk battlefield; should be interesting.
AN EASY LANDINGSource
SOUTHERN SICILY, July 17, 1943 At the end of the first day of our invasion of Sicily we Americans looked about us with awe and unbelief and not a little alarm.
It had all been so easy it gave you a jumpy, insecure feeling of something dreadfully wrong somewhere. We had expected a terrific slaughter on the beaches and there was none.
Instead of thousands of casualties along the 14-mile front of our special sector we added up a total that was astonishingly small.
By sunset of the first day the Army had taken everything we had hoped to get during the first five days.
Even by midafternoon the country for miles inland was so saturated with American troops and vehicles it looked like Tunisia after months of our habitation instead of a hostile land just attacked that morning.
And the Navy which had the job of bringing the vast invading force to Sicily was three days ahead of its schedule of unloading ships.
Convoys had started back to Africa for new loads before the first day was over.
The invading fleet had escaped without losses other than normal, mechanical breakdowns. Reports from the other two sectors of the American assault front indicated they had much the same surprising welcome we got.
It was wonderful and yet it all was so illogical. Even if the Italians did want to quit, why did the Germans let them? What had happened? What did the enemy have up its sleeve?
As this is written on the morning of the second day, we dont yet know. Nobody is under any illusion that the battle of Sicily is over. Strong counter-attacks are inevitable. Already German dive-bombings are coming at the scale of two per hour but whatever happens weve got a head start that is all in our favor.
For this invasion I was accredited to the Navy. I intended writing mainly about the seaborne aspect of the invasion and had not intended to go ashore at all for several days, but the way things went I couldnt resist the chance to see what it was like over there on land, so I hopped an assault barge and spent all the first day ashore.
When we got our first look at Sicily we were all disappointed. I for one had always romanticized it in my mind as a lush green, picturesque island. I guess I must have been thinking of the Isle of Capri.
Instead, at any rate, the south coast of Sicily is a drab, lightbrown country. There arent many trees. The fields of grain had been harvested and they were dry and naked and dusty. The villages are pale gray and indistinguishable at a distance from the rest of the country. Water is extremely scarce.
Good-sized hills rise a half mile or so back of the beach and on the hillsides grass fires started by the shells of our gunboats burn smokily by day and flamingly by night.
It is cooler than North Africa; in fact it would be delightful were it not for the violent wind that rises in the afternoon and blows so fiercely you can hardly talk in the open. This wind, whipping our barges about in the shallow water delayed us more than the Italian soldiers did.
The people of Sicily on that first day seemed relieved and friendly. They seemed like people who had just been liberated rather than conquered. Prisoners came in grinning, calling greetings to their captors. Civilians on the roads and in the towns smiled and waved. Kids saluted. Many gave their version of the V sign by holding up both arms. The people told us they didnt want to fight.
Our soldiers werent very responsive to the Sicilians greetings. They were too busy getting all possible equipment ashore, rounding up the real enemies and establishing a foothold, to indulge in the hand-waving monkey business.
Were Still at War
After all, we are still at war and these people though absurd and pathetic are enemies and caused us misery coming all this way to whip them.
On the whole the people were a pretty third-rate-looking lot. They were poorly dressed and looked like they always had been. Most of them hadnt much expression at all and they kept getting in the way of traffic just like the Arabs. Most of our invading soldiers, at the end of the first day in Sicily, summed up their impressions of their newly acquired soil and its inhabitants by saying:
"Hell, this is just as bad as Africa."
Thanks for the post.
The School of Journalism at Indiana University is located in Pyle Hall. I walked past it every day while a student there. I would bet that today, less than half of the students entering that building know why it bears that name.
U boats were considered to be the cowards and jackals of the sea.
The success of “Carrier B” and her supporting cast of planes and others must have been heartwarming to all Americans.
And the pictures are great.
For the entirety of this series, it amazes me how the NYT was actually a SUPPORTER of the USA.
Can you imagine the headlines today? “’Baby-killer ship’ attacks defenseless German sailor as he clings to conning tower against all odds”
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