Skip to comments.AMERICANS CAPTURE PALERMO, TRAP 30,000; AXIS FORCES DRIVEN TO NORTHEAST SICILY (7/24/43)
Posted on 07/24/2013 6:28:05 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
#1 Youll Never Know - Dick Haymes, with the Song Spinners
#2 Comin In on a Wing and a Prayer - Song Spinners
#3 - It Cant Be Wrong - Dick Haymes, with Song Spinners
#4 - In the Blue of the Evening - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra
#5 - All or Nothing At All Harry James, with Frank Sinatra
#6 - Its Always You - Tommy Dorsey, with Frank Sinatra
#7 Lets Get Lost - Kay Kyser, with Harry Babbitt
#8 - Johnny Zero - Song Spinners
#9 - Dont Get Around Much Anymore - Glen Gray, with Kenny Sargent
#10 As Time Goes By - Jacque Renard, with unknown vocalist
I’ve never heard a logical explanation of why the Allies apparently made no attempt, at least till late in the Battle of Sicily, to get control of the Straits of Messina.
Gave a lot of the enemy the opportunity to get away and continue fighting.
* This is a response to Baldwins column, Review of the Chinese Situation, from July 20.
RAF “window” foils German air defense
Saturday, July 24, 1943 www.onwar.com
Results of the mass bombing of Hamburg [photo at link]
Over Germany... Hamburg is bombed by RAF Bomber Command during the night (July 24-25). About 780 bombers drop 2300 tons of bombs. This raid is the first time that “window” is used by the RAF. It consists of strips of metal foil dropped from supporting aircraft to confuse German radar by giving false echoes. It is very successful at this time.
In Rome... The Fascist Grand Council meets for the first time since December 1939. The debate and voting suggest the Mussolini is no longer in control.
In Sicily... The US 45th Division captures Cefalu, on the northern coast. Inland, American units advance on Nicosia.
July 24th, 1943 (SATURDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: The VIII Bomber Command flies Mission Number 75 attack 3 targets in Norway. This is Eighth Air Force’s first mission to Norway and its longest (1,900 miles or 3,040 km round trip) to date.
- 167 B-17s hit the nitrate works at Heroya; 1 B-17 is lost. Work at the plant is disrupted for 3.5 months, and unfinished aluminium and magnesium plants are damaged and subsequently abandoned by the Germans.
- 41 B-17s bomb the port area at Trondheim without loss. One of the casualties is the German submarine U-622 which is sunk near Trondheim, in position 63.27N, 10.23E.
- 84 B-17’s are dispatched against the port area at Bergen; they find 10/10 cloud cover and return to base with their bombs.
German submarine U-459 is scuttled after being attacked by an RAF Wellington Mk XII ‘Q’ of No. 172 Squadron and a Wellington Mk XI ‘V’ of No 547 Squadron near Cape Ortegal, Spain, at 45.53N, 10,38W. 41 of the 60 crewmen survive. U-459 was a “Milchkuh” operating a fuelling and replenishment service for 72 other U-boats. (Jack McKillop and Alex Gordon)
Bomber Command launched Operation Gomorrah against Hamburg tonight with a devastating raid in which 791 heavy bombers set fire to large areas of this important target. 12 planes did not return. Much of the success of the air raid was due to “Window”, strips of metallic foil which so confused the radar-controlled defences that the German nightfighters were stumbling round the sky and the flak was being fired blind. Other attacks on Hamburg are planned.
In tonights raid 2,300 tons of incendiaries are dropped in a few hours equivalent to the explosive power of the five most destructive raids on London.
More than 1,500 German civilians are killed.
U.S.S.R.: German aircraft bomb Leningrad, killing 210 people.
ITALY, Rome: The Fascist Grand Council meets for the first time since 1939. The debate and votes go against Mussolini. The future is unclear at this time.
Rome: Mussolini’s toadies turned on their wretched leader today and voted him down at the first meeting of the Fascist Grand Council since 1939. By 19 votes to eight a resolution called for Italy’s return to a constitutional monarchy and a democratic parliament.
Il Duce, newly returned from a meeting with Hitler, appears to be ignoring the palace revolt. Until now, the council has existed only to rubber-stamp the dictator’s decisions. The Fascist rebels are led by Dino Grandi, one of Mussolini’s former close friends and admirers, Giuseppe Bottai and the Duce’s son-in-law, Count Galeazzo Ciano. What the Duce does not realize is that he is the target of a far wider plot involving Crown Prince Umberto and leading generals.
Added to the low morale of Italy’s constantly-defeated army and recent huge losses by the air force, recent Fascist moves by Carlo Scorza, the virtual dictator of Italy’s home front, aimed at tightening the party’s grip on all sections of society appear finally to have galvanized the opposition.
Vatican: As the stench of burning still hangs over the heavily-bombed suburbs of Rome, the Pope has appealed to all combatants to avoid further bombing of the Eternal City. The Vatican has denied that the Pope wrote to President Roosevelt condemning the raids - which have badly damaged one church in the city. Vatican radio said: “The Pope is impartial. He does not intend to increase the hatred between the opposing sides. However, Rome is unique and both sides should recognize this. The Pope knows that churches have been destroyed in England too.”
The US Seventh Army continues to mop up the western part of Sicily. Further east, the US 45th Infantry Division takes Cefalu and Castelbuono while the US 1st Infantry Division seizes Gangi and heads toward Nicosia.
In the air, Ninth Air Force P-40s fly armored reconnaissance and fighter-bomber missions over the Adrano and Milazzo areas; the attacks are concentrated against motor transport targets. In Sicily, Northwest African Tactical Air Force fighter-bombers hit barges, warships, and docks in the Messina-Milazzo area and transport northeast of Mount Etna.
Northwest African Strategic Air Force B-17s and B-25 Mitchells bomb the railroad yards at Bologna and B-26 Marauders hit the railroad yards at Paola.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: On New Georgia Island, U.S. destroyers bombard Bairoko Harbor and Kolombangara Island. Later in the day, 48 Thirteenth Air Force fighters join US Navy and Marine SBD Dauntlesses and TBF Avengers in support of ground forces in the Bairoko area. Later in the day gun positions at Bibolo Hill near Munda are hit, along with other targets.
PACIFIC: In the Central Pacific, 8 Seventh Air Force B-24s from Midway Island attack Wake Island, bombing oil storage, barracks, and a gun emplacement. 20-30 A6M “Zekes” attack the formation; 9 “Zekes” are claimed destroyed; 1 B-24 is lost in a collision with a falling Japanese fighter.
The submarine USS Tinosa (SS-283) fires 15 torpedoes at the Japanese oiler SS No. 3 Tonan Maru west of Truk Atoll. Thirteen torpedoes hit the ship but only two explode. This problem involving the exploder in the Mk. XIV torpedo has exasperated USN submariners in the Pacific and an investigation is launched which eventually identifies the problem. After the attack, the Japanese vessel is towed to Truk and is used as a floating oil storage tank.
BOUGAINVILLE: The submarine USS Guardfish arrives to evacuate the Australian coastwatcher garrison under Jack Read. the Guardfish is commanded by Lt-Cmdr N. G. Ward who had been XO of the USS Gato. Today the submarine brings out 22 soldiers, two downed airmen, seven Chinese civilians, 24 native police and scouts plus four of their wives and children, one Fijian and two coastwatchers. (Michael Alexander)
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: 62 Eleventh Air Force P-40s fly 9 missions to Kiska Island, 2 of them with Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots, bombing the runway and scoring many hits. An Anti-Aircraft battery takes a direct hit and explodes and Anti-Aircraft guns are strafed on North Head and Little Kiska Island. Intense Anti-Aircraft fire downs 1 P-40.
U.S.A.: Ella Mae Morse’s “Get On Board, Little Chillun” with Freddie Slack’s Band is released.
“You’ll Never Know” by Dick Haymes reaches Number 1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the U.S. The song is from the motion picture “Hello Frisco, Hello” starring Alice Faye, John Payne, Lynn Bari and June Havoc. This song, which debuted on the charts on 10 July 1943, was charted for 16 weeks, was Number 1 for 4 weeks and was ranked Number 5 for the year 1943.
The radio program “Foreign Assignment” makes its debut on the Mutual Radio Network. The title role of Brian Barry is played by Jan Jostyn, who also starred in another popular radio drama, “Mr. District Attorney.” The plot has foreign correspondent Barry involved with wartime espionage, especially in occupied France. The show, broadcast on Saturday nights at 2030 hours Eastern time, remain on the air until January 1944.
Seems like it would be hard to control the Straits of Messina without control of Messina itself.
A couple battleships within 10 miles could have made transit pretty hairy.
Hmmm. Good point. You know, I read in yesterday’s post that an allied vessel was roaming around the strait but it wasn’t clear to me what it was doing - it apparently met little resistance
A couple battle ships within 10 miles would have been blown out of the water. The amount air cover needed to keep those battleships safe would go up a lot for ever mile closer to the enemy concentration. In their back yard we would not have been able to keep the diver bombers off them.
My Mother said Allied troops invaded Palermo and raped all the women the next year all the babies were born. I don’t know if I believe this?????????
Word was passed to Alexander, at the top of the command chain, that the Axis forces were trying to withdraw. The air commander, Tedder, committed to bombing the straits upon command. Cunningham, the naval commander would commit to nothing, other than he ‘would give the matter careful thought.’ In the end, Alexander gave no orders to intervene.
As I understand it, the Allies had air supremacy more or less throughout the Battle of Sicily.
The accounts I’ve read indicate that surrounding the island by occupying or interdicting the Straits just seemed to slip everybody’s mind till pretty late in the battle.
A LOT of Axis forces got away, somewhere in the vicinity of 125,000.
US soldiers and their allies were not angels, unfortunately, but subject to human temptation like all other soldiers in wartime.
See the Sophia Loren movie “Two Women” for an Italian perspective on the aftermath of Allied occupation on some Italian women. Her daughter in the movie is raped by “Morroccan Gouriers...a division of the Allied forces.”
Excellent I shall!!!!
Most attacks on the area was directed at the port facilities and unfortunately they did not concentrate on the ships ferrying troops off the island.
The biggest failing by the Allies on Sicily though was the AFHQ's refusal to believe the Germans were evacuating the island at all. As late as Auguast 12th, Alexander had reported to Sir Alan Brooke that he had no indication that the Germans were attempting to leave Sicily. This was dispite the 8th and 7th Army's constant reports to the contrary along with supporting reconnaissance photography, reports from captured POWs (Italian and German) and captured evacuation plans of the Hermann Goring Division which showed the planned evacuation.
All this evidence showing that the Germans were bugging out and yet on August 14th, AFHQ's G-2 division issued a report that stated "there is no evidence of any large scale withdrawal of troops from Sicily."
A good author to follow if you want to read more on Sicily is Carlo D'Este. Along with numerous journal articles on the subject he also wrote Bitter Victory which covers the Sicily campaign.
I second Cougar’s recommendation: Bitter Victory is an excellent book, and D’Este an excellent author.
I’ll take Hanson Baldwin’s analysis of the China theater over General (Kung?) Pao’s.