Skip to comments.ITALY WILL DECLARE WAR ON GERMANY TODAY; PORTUGAL GRANTS ALLIES USE OF AZORES BASES (10/13/43)
Posted on 10/13/2013 5:49:19 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
General Clark’s army keeps fighting
Wednesday, October 13, 1943 www.onwar.com
Leader of US 5th Army, General Mark Clark (center right) [photo at link]
In Italy... The US 5th Army offensive continues.
In Brindisi... Marshal Badoglio’s Italian government declares war on Germany.
October 13th, 1943 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMS Bentley commissioned.
GERMANY: Lee “Shorty” Gordon becomes the first American prisoner-of-war to successfully from a German camp. He escapes from Stalag VIIA on a bicycle yelling the only German he knew, “Heil, Hitler”. Gordon, from southern California, was serving as a ball turret gunner with the USAAF’s 305th Bomb Group when his B-17 was shot down over Wilhelmshaven on February 26, 1943. He survived the parachute landing, but was quickly captured by German troops. After two failed escape attempts, Gordon tried again, trading identification tags with an Australian POW to gain access to the outdoor work area of the Moosburg camp where he bribed guards with coffee and cigarettes and hid in a bathroom stall until dark. He then hopped a fence when a guard’s back was turned and walked out of the camp, Doyle said.
Gordon rode freight trains to France, where he made contact with a Resistance group that helped him reunite with the Allied forces. He told the story of walking into a French cafe in “Escape From a Living Hell,” a 2000 History Channel documentary: “The waitress walked up to me. I looked at her and I said, ‘I’m an American.’” More than a year later, on Feb. 27, 1944, Gordon arrived in England. (Kim Curtis, Associated Press)
During the night of 13/14 October, RAF Bomber Command dispatches four Mosquitos to bomb Cologne and four to bomb Duisburg without loss.
U.S.S.R.: General Feodor Tolbukhin’s army fights its way into Melitopol in the Ukraine, a way station on the Moscow-to-Crimea railroad. Tolbukhin’s attack threatens to cut off the German-Romanian 17th Army in the Crimea and ignites a fierce 10-day battle.
SPAIN: Madrid: Less than five weeks ago, Italy was Hitler’s ally. Today it is his enemy. The Italian ambassador here handed Italy’s declaration of war to his German counterpart for transmission to Berlin. The declaration, signed by Italy’s new leader, Marshal Badoglio, does not make Italy one of the Allies as such. With war crimes charges pending against some Fascist leaders and generals, Italy officially becomes no more than a “co-belligerent”. However, Badoglio has called on all Italian soldiers to “fight against the Germans to the last man.” In a letter to General Eisenhower, Badoglio said: “By this act, all ties with the dreadful past are broken, and my government will be proud to be able to march with you on to the inevitable victory.”
There is debate as to whether Italian forces will be used against the Germans in Italy. However, they are fighting with the British in the Aegean and serve to garrison Sardinia and Corsica. One tricky problem remains to be resolved: the thousands of Italian PoWs in Allied hands.
ITALY declares war on Germany. Italy, at this point, has little to offer militarily, but what Italy lacked in military armament, she made up with in hatred for the Germans and the Fascist/Nazi ideology. It would still be a difficult battle, Germany has 22 divisions and Mussolini has six Italian Socialist Republic (RSI) divisions that liberated Italy and the partisans would be up against.
Six American and British divisions of Mark Clark’s Fifth Army attack German defenses along the Volturno River, 20 miles (32.2 km) north of Naples. The U. S. 3rd, 34th and 45th Infantry Divisions establish three bridgeheads on the north side of the Volturno. They had been bitterly resisted by three German divisions. Engineers play an important part since the Germans have destroyed the bridges while making a planned withdrawal. The attack had begun yesterday, but rain, mud and the swollen river provided sterling assistance to the Germans who had retreated to the river following the Allied capture of Naples on 1 October. The rainy season began a month earlier than usual, slowing the Allied advance and giving the Germans more time to prepare their defences here and further north along the rivers Liri and Rapido.
The British X, on the western flank of the army, makes their main effort with the 46th Infantry Division at Cancello while the 7th Armoured Division, in the center, and the 56th Division, on the right, make diversionary attacks at Grazzanise and Capua, respectively. The 46th Division establishes a bridgehead in the coastal sector, and the 7th Armoured Division gains a toehold on the northern bank, but the 56th Division is unable to cross at Capua. The U.S. VI Corps, to the right of the British X Corps, crosses the river on a two division front. On the left, the 3d Infantry Division crosses east of Capua with the 34th Infantry Division to its right. The 3d Infantry Division seizes Mt. Ma1ulo, Mt. Caruso, and Piana di Caiazzo. The 34th Infantry Division gains a bridgehead from Piana di Caiazzo to the junction of the Calore and Volturno Rivers. On the right flank of the VI Corps, the 45th Infantry Division is clearing Mt. Acero area with the 179th and 180th Infantry Regiments.
In the British Eighth Army’s XIII Corps area, the 5th Division, advancing along Route 87, reaches Casacalenda.
XII Bomber Command B-25s and B-26 Marauders bomb the town of Alife, a road junction at Sessa Aurunca, and airfield at Tirana; XII Air Support Command, supplemented by RAF Desert Air Force fighters, supports the US Fifth Army, which during the assault crossing of the Volturno River on a 40-mile (64 km) front during the night of 12/13 October. Fighters and fighter-bombers hit troop and tank concentrations, trains, trucks, and communications the lines in the forward areas, especially around Ortona, Giulianova, and Campobasso. Northwest African Tactical Bomber Force light bombers join in the attacks, hitting road junctions in the Vairano, Carinola, Dragoni, Vasto, Terracina, and Minturno areas.
During the night of 13/14 October, 46 bombers of the RAF’s No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group bomb the railroad bridge at Civitavecchia.
YUGOSLAVIA: Zeneca: Yugoslav partisans struck at the German industrial empire here today, wrecking several of the huge Krupp factories including the biggest steel works in the country. The partisans claim to have destroyed 27 railway engines and 150 wagons. Street fighting is also reported in Zeneca and other towns. German reinforcements are said to be rushing to the district. A partisan communiqué revealed that the Italian Venezia division - which, a few days ago, had been fighting against the partisans - had come over to the Yugoslav side.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The USN destroyer USS Bristol (DD-453) is struck by a G7s T5 Zaunköning (Gnat) electric torpedo fired by the German submarine U-371. The torpedo hits on the port side at the forward engine room at 0425 hours Greenwich Mean Time, while the destroyer is escorting a small convoy to Oran, Algeria. The ship breaks in two and has to be abandoned; the stern sinks after eight and the bow after twelve minutes about 74 nautical miles (137 kilometers) west-northwest of Bone, Algeria, in position 37.19N, 06.19E. Fifty two of her crew are lost while the survivors are rescued by the USN destroyers USS Trippe (DD 403) and Wainwright (DD 419).
BURMA: Japanese fighters appear in strength over Sumprabum to attack over-the-Hump flights. The enemy evades US patrols and shoots down 3 transports. A fighter-bomber offensive against airfields in Burma from which fighters might operate against Hump transports opens with an attack by Tenth Air Force P-40s on Myitkyina.
CHINA: 3 Fourteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells on a sea sweep off southeastern China hit shipping in Amoy harbor and sink an auxiliary submarine chaser.
GILBERT ISLANDS: Photographic coverage of Makin Atoll is obtained in preparation for the invasion next month.
PACIFIC OCEAN: A U.S. submarine sinks a Japanese cargo ship.
USS Barbel sinks a destroyer at 29-38 N, 127-27 E at about 0600.
USS Begall sinks an attack transport at 11-53 N, 109-17 E (Japanese give location as 11-53 N, 109-17 E) at about 0900.
USS Permit sinks a patrol vessel at 07-15 N, 151-45 E at about 1500. (Skip Guidry and Jack McKillop)
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: 100+ Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators and B-25s are sent against Rabaul on New Britain Island, Bismarck Archipelago; bad weather forces the bombers to turn back, but 40+ B-24s hit targets including Hoskins, Lindenhafen, Cape Gloucester and Gasmata Island off the south coast of New Britain Island.
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: 11 Eleventh Air Force P-40s unsuccessfully intercept 8 Japanese medium bombers attacking Massacre Bay and the nearby airfield on Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands.
CANADA: Frigate HMCS Thetford Mines launched Quebec City, Province of Quebec.
U.S.A.: Minesweeper USS Garland laid down.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: German submarine U-402 is sunk in position 48.56N, 29.41W, by a Mark 24 Acoustic Torpedo (FIDO) from TBF Avenger and F4F Wildcat aircraft of Composite Squadron Nine (VC-9) in the escort aircraft carrier USS Card (CVE-11). All hands in the submarine, 50 men, are lost. The submarine is on the surface sailing towards a rendevous with a milch cow when forced to dive by the pilot of an F4F-4 Wildcat and it is sunk by the pilot of a TBF-1 Avenger who drops a 500-pound (227 kilogram) bomb near the sub.
Avenger aircraft from escort carrier Card dropped a Fido on U-603, but the U-boat was not damaged.
Rabul was bypassed and isolated for the next 21 months.
I’ve tried to find some detailed perspective on this but come up with not much more than the above sentence.
Does anyone have any links with more detail, particularly from the Jap perspective?
“He told the story of walking into a French cafe in Escape From a Living Hell, a 2000 History Channel documentary: “
Can only find teaser trailers for this video.
This is great reading, Homer.
"Danish fishermen ferry a boatload of Jewish fugitives across a narrow sound to neutral Sweden during the nationwide rescue operation.
News of impending deportations of Jews spawned a rapid response by the Danes, who worked feverishly to save Jewish citizens.
Boats of every size and shape were used to transport the Jews from Denmark to Sweden, away from the grasp of the Nazis."
"This group portrait of Danish-Jewish children was taken in a children's home in Sweden after their escape from Denmark.
The rescue of Danish Jewry was one of the few positive stories in the tragic annals of the Holocaust.
These Jewish children unknowingly defied all odds by surviving the genocidal intentions of the Nazis."
Essentially the island was reduced to an open air POW camp/live fire training center for allied air forces. The Japanese troops kept busy repairing bomb damage, improved their defensive positions, grew food, manufactured their own gunpowder, built improvised weapons like mortars that launched aerial bombs and blasted away at attacking aircraft with their plentiful supply of ammunition. About 98,000 surrendered in 1945. They still had 700,000 rounds of artillery ammunition.
Thanks for posting these pages, Homer. One interesting thing to note about the Azores development. Salazar did not want to grant the U.S. access to the Azores. He wanted to let only the British in. The U.S. had to exert a great deal of pressure on Salazar to get U.S. access there. He had a real cultural prejudice against America for its materialism and commercialism, like many conservative Europeans have today.
I wonder how many relief subs made it to Rabul over the next year and half?
Don’t know. There were still subs based there until about February 1944, making supply runs to New Guinea and other bases in the Bismarks and Solomans. After that they seem to have been moved back to Truk. Probably not many given the fact that our side had broken about every code Japan had and could intercept their orders, it became very dangerous to be a Japanese submariner.
Best place to go on the internet for information regarding Japan’s conduct of the war is the Combined Fleet website at:
The guys who do this site are Americans who are very much dedicated to the tradition of the IJN, and they give a very objective account of the war in the Pacific. I had the privilege of corresponding with one of their members a few years ago, and was saddened when he passed away earlier this year.
But it’s an absolutely fantastic web site.
Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.