Skip to comments.BRITISH REACH CATANIA’S FRINGES; 500 BOMBERS LAY NAPLES IN RUINS (7/19/43)
Posted on 07/19/2013 4:16:22 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Hitler demands more from Italians
Monday, July 19, 1943 www.onwar.com
Mussolini and Hitler [photo at link]
In Italy... Hitler and Mussolini meet at Feltre in northern Italy. Hitler demands more effort from the Italians while Mussolini remains silent.
In Sicily... American forces advance quickly to the north and west. On the east coast, the British continue to be held. Montgomery alters the weight of his offensive further inland toward Gerbini, Agira and Leonforte.
On the Eastern Front... The Soviet offensives toward Orel and Kharkov continue. In the Orel salient, the Red Army now threatens Bolkhov.
July 19th, 1943 (MONDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: London: Churchill unveils a plan to use icebergs as floating air bases.
Minesweeping trawler HMS Gillstone launched.
Destroyer HMS Undaunted launched.
Submarine HS Pipinos (ex-HMS Veldt) launched.
Submarine HMS Unswerving launched.
Frigate HMS Inver commissioned.
FRANCE: Paris: The LVF (Légion des Volontaires Français) has its one and only parade.
U-825 laid down.
ITALY: Mussolini and Hitler meet at Feltre in northern Italy. Hitler demands more fighting from the Italians. Mussolini cannot admit face to face to Hitler that the end is near.
For five hours today, Adolf Hitler harangued a haggard and listless Mussolini, desperate to rekindle the flame of fanaticism in his partner. Hitler made his surprise visit after hearing reports that the Italian army was “in a state of collapse.”
Two days ago, he told his war council that “only barbaric measures” could save Italy. He talked of tribunals and courts-martial to remove “undesirable elements.”
Sicily, he insisted to the Duce, could be saved if Mussolini put backbone into his army. Hitler talked of the “voice of history”, and told Mussolini that their tasks could not be left to another generation. Hitler promised reinforcements and said that his new U-boats and terror weapons would turn Britain into a “Stalingrad”.
His tirade was to no avail. Il Duce said little and picked at his lunch while the Führer stormed; his despair was not helped by a note telling him that Rome was being bombed.
Benito Mussolini, the dictator who once swaggered his way across Europe proclaiming his dream of a new Roman empire, left the meeting a shattered, spent force. He returned to Rome tonight to find the stench of burning buildings and the strong smell of revolt.
The US Seventh Army on Sicily is advancing against north and west with little resistance. The British Eighth Army’s 13 Corps still faces firm resistance near Catania on the east coast. Montgomery moves the axis of his attack inland.
During the night of 18/19 July, RAF Wellingtons drop over 800,000 leaflets on Rome.
There were two raids tonight by USAAF bombers. The first was by 122 Ninth Air Force B-24 Liberators on the Littorio marshalling yard; 332.8 tons of bombs were dropped. The second raid by 147 XII Bomber Command B-17 Flying Fortresses on the Lorenzo marshalling yards; 443.8 tons of bombs were dropped and three B-17s were lost.
Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF) light bombers attack Catania, Sicily.
During the following day, about 150 Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb the Rome railroad yards while B-25 Mitchells and B-26 Marauders hit nearby Ciampino Airfield. Over 100 Ninth Air Force B-24 Liberators attack the Littoria marshalling yards and nearby airfield and on the return flight, railroads at Orlando, Sicily and Anzio are bombed.
US Ninth Air Force P-40s bomb rail facilities in the Alcamo, Sicily area; Northwest African Air Force B-25s hit Catania and Randazzo; P-40s escort C-47 Skytrains; and NATAF A-36 Apaches attack trains and motor transport in western Sicily.
Rome: Panic swept the Italian capital today as Allied bombers dropped more than 500-tons of high-explosive bombs on “military targets” on the outskirts of the Eternal City. The bombing force was made up of 157 B-17s and 112 B-24s, of which only five did not return. As thousands of men, women and children fled the city in vehicles of every description, the Pope drove to the scene to comfort victims. He returned, his vestments bloodstained, to announce that Romans could take shelter within the neutral Vatican.
U.S.S.R.: The Soviets continue to attack on both sides of the Kursk salient. The Red Army pushes forward, threatening German positions at Bolkhov, in the Orel salient.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Thirteenth Air Force B-17s bomb Kahili Airfield on Bougainville Island and B-17s and B-25s hit the airfield on Ballale Island.
Eight B-25s, 18 Marine SBD Dauntless and 19 Marine TBF Avengers in support of ground forces, hit positions in the Bairoko battle area on New Georgia Island where enemy resistance is fierce. During the night of 19/20 July, a Japanese task force is spotted near Choiseul and is attacked by PBY Catalinas and 8 TBF Avengers; they sink a destroyer and heavily damage a cruiser. Before dawn, 8 B-25s and 5 TBFs attack the convoy without success; 2 B-25s and 2 TBFs are lost.
Japanese Mitsubishi G3M, Navy Type 96 Attack Bomber, Allied Code Name “Nell,” attack the U.S. airfield on Funafuti Island, Ellice Islands.
NEW GUINEA: 2/5 Battalion AIF and I/162 US Infantry Battalion secure the forward slopes of Mount Tambu. They are subject to vicious Japanese counter-attacks. Because of the mountainous terrain, the only artillery in range were infantry mortars and a section of two 3.7” mountain guns (from 1 Aust Mtn Bty)
Lt Cochrane was FOO in an OP within 50 yards of the Jap positions. He called in 129 rounds from the two mountain guns: “Throughout the fight 25 yards of the 50% zone rested on Australian troops without one shell dropping short. Maj O’Hare wrote of his mountain guns: ‘... the 3.7 How was a miracle gun for accuracy and reliability’”. [From “the New Guinea Offensives” by David Dexter, p 149]. (Michael Mitchell)
ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: In the Aleutian Islands, the 633d, 634th and 635th Bombardment Squadrons (Dive), 407th Bombardment Group (Dive), based at Drew Field, Tampa, Florida begin operating from Amchitka Island with Douglas A-24 Dauntless, the USAAF version of the Navy’s SBD. The squadron will fly combat missions 4-13 August.
Mutiny onboard destroyer HMCS Iroquois against commanding officer Cdr William Boyd Love Holms RCN. Reported that Cdr Holms, over a period of time insisted upon peacetime routines such as Bovril and sherry on the bridge and ordered men to work in their good uniforms; he also stopped leave arbitrarily and inflicted group punishments. In the rapid expansion which saw the RCN become the fourth largest navy in the world, only about 80 per cent of Iroquois wartime crew had been to sea before. Mutiny simmered for months and was delayed only by a short visit by Iroquois to Halifax. Matters came to a head in July 1943. Though Iroquois later rescued 628 survivors from the troopship Duchess of York, Holms had withheld fire while three troopships, which were being escorting 300 miles west of Vigo, were attacked by German a/c, and two were sunk. Then on arrival in Plymouth, after a German prisoner complained that he had been robbed of a uniform badge, Holms again stopped leave. The junior rates locked themselves on their messdecks while Holms fell down to knock himself unconscious in his bathroom. The mutiny ended when Holms was stretchered ashore.
Destroyer HMCS Huron commissioned.
Minesweeper HMS Serene (ex HMCS Leaside) laid down Toronto, Ontario.
Frigate HMCS Joliette laid down Quebec City, Province of Quebec.
U.S.A.: The US Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is authorized to develop the Gorgon, an aerial ram or air-to-air missile powered by a turbojet engine and equipped with radio controls and a homing device. The Gorgon is later expanded into a broad program embracing turbojet, ramjet, pulsejet and rocket power; straight wing, swept wing, and canard air frames; and visual, TV, heat-homing and 3 type of radar guidance for use as air-to-air, air-to-surface and surface-to-surface guided missiles and as target drones.
Destroyer escorts USS Acree and Keith commissioned.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: The German submarine U-513 is sunk in the South Atlantic south-east of Sao Francisco do Sul, Brazil, in position 27.17S, 47.32W, by 6 depth charges from a PBM-3C Mariner of Patrol Squadron Seventy Four (VP-74) based at Naval Air Facility (NAF) Natal, Brazil. The submarine commander had elected to remain on the surface and use his AA guns against the PBM. Only 7 of the crew of 53 survive and they are rescued by the small seaplane tender USS Barnegat (AVP-10).
Homer, any idea when Patton decides to scrap the plan to protect Monty’s flank and make his “reconnaissance in force” move to take Palermo?
My Dad was stateside for several weeks while his ship was being repaired. Shortly after their brief honeymoon, he reported back to California where his ship, USS Arthur Middleton (APA-25) set sail & resumed active participation in the war.
My only source on that is a fictionalized account in Jeff Shaara’s novel, “The Rising Tide.” It is generally accurate as far as the dates go but some things are purely invented. There is a scene on July 14 or 15 where Patton explains to Bradley his plan for guarding Montgomery’s flank by capturing the entire western part of Sicily. Maybe someone with a non-fiction account of the campaign or a bio of Patton can provide the true answer to your question.
The item under Canada about the mutiny on the HMCS Iroquois was interesting. “Mutiny onboard destroyer HMCS Iroquois against commanding officer Cdr William Boyd Love Holms RCN. ..... The junior rates locked themselves on their messdecks while Holms fell down to knock himself unconscious in his bathroom. The mutiny ended when Holms was stretchered ashore.”
Patton did the reconnaissance and seized Agrigento on the 15th and got permission on the 17th to drive into northwest Sicily. Alexanader later tried to change the orders, but transmission...or rather reception was “garbled”. Palermo fell on the 24th, about the time Alexander’s orders were “clarified”.
I think the news cycle was a couple of days or more back then.
Interesting - so he’s already begun his push to Palermo. I’m sure stuff like Alexander’s orders trying to change the northwest drive are a matter of record. If so, Patton continued the drive against orders which may support the portrayal in the movie “Patton” of Patton’s avoidance of the appearance of outright disobedience to Alexander’s orders by instead feigning ignorance.
It makes one wonder how much help the Caption had in ‘knocking himself unconscious’.
The backdrop for Patton's failure to receive Alexander's "garbled" message, was that Alexander's actions showed a clear disrespect for the American Army and took away Patton's planned approach to Messina, leaving that an all-British show. Patton's anger made him determined to take Palermo.
After that, Alexander changed plans again since Monty was still making little progress, assigning two roads to Messina to Patton and two to Monty. Patton was determined to take Messina first and prove to the Brits we were their equals.
Congratulations on your special day!
Joe, I can’t imagine a more miserable detail. And since the job was to try to conceal wrongdoing, the prisoners probably had a pretty good idea was the Nazis had in store for them at the end.
Love it. We need more Pattons today - people that will stand up to unjust rules and laws like seat-belt laws, minimum wage laws, and laws allowing government to intrude into our personal health insurance decisions.
Patton’s temper eventually got him in trouble. It wasn’t just the slapping incident. Let’s face it, nobody liked Monty, but the level of dislike expressed by Patton made Ike very uncomfortable. We had to be able to work with our allies, likable or not.
True enough. But I admire his grit and determination and willingness to rebel a little against what he thought were stupid ideas. Feel like we need more of that today.
I have huge admiration for Patton. Absolutely one of our best commanders of the war. The Third Army and its mission were tailor-made for him.