Skip to comments.AMERICANS SWEEP TO SICILY’S WEST TIP AND THREATEN PALERMO FROM THE SOUTH (7/23/43)
Posted on 07/23/2013 5:42:37 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Soviets pursue withdrawing Germans
Friday, July 23, 1943 www.onwar.com
Soviet soldiers inspect a destroyed Tiger tank [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... The German forces engaged on the southern battlefield of the Kursk salient reach their original starting positions (for the battle of Kursk) under continued Soviet pressure.
In Sicily... Americans occupy Trapani and Marsala. On the north coast, US forces reach Termini Imerese.
July 23rd, 1943 (FRIDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Corvette HMCS Orangeville (ex HMS Hedingham Castle) laid down Leith, Scotland. When being built in the UK, a shipyard worker, on discovering that wartime RCN ships had no official badge, thought that Orangeville deserved one anyway. He designed and carved in wood his impression of scenes that represented Canada - forests and streams. He also added a windmill, mixing up his countries somewhat! The town of Orangeville, which like other towns and cities in Canada adopted “their” ship, somehow, in the course of time, the town received a copy of the unofficial ship’s badge. Lo and behold, not having a town coat of arms, the town decided to adopt the ship’s badge for their own. To this day, it remains the town’s official coat of arms.
Destroyer ORP Slazak (ex-HMS Bedale) launched.
GERMANY: U-721 is launched.
BULGARIA: Sofia: Allied military successes in Sicily have set off a wave of unrest in south-eastern Europe. Large-scale rioting is reported from Sofia. Troops have been called out, and telephone links were severed for a time two days ago. Leaflets scattered by an unidentified plane called on the people to overthrow the government and kick out the Germans. In Romania all military leave has been cancelled and fresh Axis troops are being brought from Greece.
U.S.S.R.: The Germans have been pushed back to their original positions on the south side of Kursk.
II SS Pz. K. (2 & 3 SS Pz. Div.’s) and XXIV Pz.K. (23 Pz.Div. & 16 Pg.Div.) counterattack Soviet positions on the River Mius, north of Taganrog. II SS Pz.K.’s attack makes little progress initially, however XXIV Pz.K.’s attack found success and Soviet defense will start to fail. (Jeff Chrisman)
SICILY: The Americans liberate Trapani and Marsala, Sicily and on the north coast they reach Termini Imerese.
On the ground in Sicily, the US Seventh Army mops up in the western part of the island. The British Eighth Army’s 30 Corps meets firm opposition as it moves east from Leonforte.
In the air, RAF heavy bombers hit Reggio di Calabria Airfield in Italy while Northwest African Strategic Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses, B-25 Mitchells, and B-26 Marauders bomb Leverano and Crotone, Italy, and Aquino Airfield, Sicily. In Sicily, Northwest African Tactical Air Force medium bombers and fighters bomb and strafe Misterbianco, transport in the Nicosia-Troina-Randazzo areas, and bridges and landing craft in the coastal area around Santo Stefano di Camastra and Orlando.
Lt-Gen Patton is ordered to advance on Messina from Palermo.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The British destroyers HMS ECLIPSE, HMS LAFOREY sink the Italian submarine ASCIANGHI after she torpedoes the cruiser HMS NEWFOUNDLAND.
At 1337, U-407 fired a spread of two torpedoes at the Support Force East during the invasion of Sicily and heard one detonation. HMS Newfoundland was hit in the stern and lost her rudder, but managed to reach Malta, steering only by propellers. After emergency repairs, she went to the Boston Navy Yard where she was repaired from August 1943 to April 1944. The ship then crossed the Atlantic to the Clyde for a long refit until November 1944.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: B-25 Mitchells and P-40s, along with US Navy SBD Dauntlesses, pound the Rekata Bay area on Santa Isabel Island.
CANADA: Corvette HMCS West York laid down Midland, Ontario.
U.S.A.: The Joint Chiefs of Staff direct Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to seize Nauru Island in the central Pacific.
Destroyer escort USS Cooner launched.
Destroyer USS Charles J Badger commissioned.
Submarine USS Dace commissioned.
Corvette USS Pert commissioned.
Destroyer escorts USS Schmitt, Gantner, Foss commissioned.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Three German U-boats are sunk.
- U-613 is sunk in the mid-Atlantic south of the Azores, in position 35.32N, 28.36W, by depth charges from the US destroyer USS George E. Badger (DD-196); all 48 hands are lost.
- U-527 is sunk in the mid-Atlantic south of the Azores during support of U-648, in position 35.25N, 27.56W, by depth charges from a TBF Avenger of Composite Squadron Nine (VC-9) in USS Bogue (CVE-9); 13 of the 53 crewman survive and U-648 escapes.
- U-598 is sunk in the South Atlantic near Natal, Brazil, in position 04.05S, 33.23W, by depth charges when Lieutenant (jg) Waugh, flying PB4Y-1 Liberator 107-B-6 of Bombing Squadron One Hundred Seven (VB-107) based at Natal, attacks a surfaced U-boat in conjunction with Lieutenant Ford, sinking the submarine. Waughs aircraft apparently sustained damage during the attack, plunging into the sea after his bombing pass, all hands were lost. The submarine was U-598, Kapitänleutnant Gottfried Holtorf commanding. Only one of the 44-men aboard the U-boat were saved. (115)
Interesting... I didn’t know that Allied air power was so instrumental in getting Patton’s invasion of Sicily started....
From the one article,it sounds as if the Nazi’s were prepared to take on the initial landing.. but, were beaten back by air support.
Meanwhile, the tide has turned in Russia. Bad news ahead for Germany...
Very good article by Hanson Baldwin on the fighting in Russia. He’s very perceptive about the importance of that front, the stakes involved, and the trends in the fighting. He must have some good sources, as well as a fair amount of military insight.
The Soviets are attacking everywhere, but the Germans are still strong enough to limit the Soviet gains and inflict absolutely staggering losses on the Red Army. However, their own forces are being ground down in the heavy fighting. Ninth Army, which held Rzhev for over a year, and spearheaded the northern pincer of Citadelle, is being mauled in the Orel salient. It will never recover. The same thing is happening or will happen to every other German army south of the Pripet Marshes this summer and fall.
Alexander Werth called 1943 “the year of hard victories” because the Soviets are exercising their initiative at heavy cost. But between now and September is when Stalin breaks the back of the Wehrmacht.
Is Monty having conniptions over Patton’s advance yet?
I thought I saw something that said Patton had taken Palermo by July 22nd or thereabouts. Maybe a few days delay in some of the reports? Saw an article in this Times posted here about the possible delay of reports of American progress as opposed to the speed of reports of British progress.
By all accounts the 7th army got to Palermo on the 22nd. So the map on the front page today is out-dated even allowing for the typical one day lag. I guess the first U.S. units to reach Palermo didn't have any correspondents with them. Notice that the article is datelined Allied Headquarters in North Africa, so that could delay the word from the front line.
Now, Alexander will simply resign himself to Patton's seizure of Western Sicily and will order him to advance on a second axis toward Messina.