Skip to comments.BIGGEST PACIFIC AIR FLEET BOMBS RABAUL; BADOGLIO, DECLARING WAR, RALLIES ITALY (10/14/43)
Posted on 10/14/2013 4:14:42 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
USAAF calls off daylight raids on Germany
Thursday, October 14, 1943 www.onwar.com
A damaged B-17 falling from the sky [scary photo at link]
Over Germany... The American 8th Air Force conducts a raid on the German ball-bearing works at Schweinfurt. The force of 291 B-17 Flying Fortresses does considerable damage to the target but lose 60 planes with others damaged. The loss rate is too high to maintain so the USAAF abandons long-range, unescorted daylight raids.
On the Eastern Front... Soviet forces capture Zaporozhye. To the south, Red Army forces attack Melitopol. Still farther south, Soviet forces cut the railroad leading to the Crimea from Melitopol.
In Italy... The US 5th Army offensive continues. The 6th Corps continues to advance while elements of the British 10th Corps cross the river and continue to push forward. In the east, the Canadian 1st Division (part of British 13th Corps, 8th Army) captures Campobasso.
October 14th, 1943 (THURSDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMS Halstead launched.
Destroyer HMS Zest launched.
Frigate HMS Gore is commissioned.
NETHERLANDS: The USAAF Eighth Air Force’s 55th Fighter Group, with P-38 Lightnings, and the 356th Fighter Group with P-47 Thunderbolts make their combat debut in a pair of fighter sweeps over the Frisian Islands. The 55th is the first P-38 unit to operate from the U.K. since all P-38 units were committed to Operation TORCH in 1942. It is also the first VIII Fighter Command unit to actually enter combat with P-38s. (Skip Guidry)
GERMANY: The US 8th Air Force sends 291 B-17s to raid Schweinfurt and the ball-bearing factories there They lose 60 aircraft. There is no appreciable reduction of supplies of ball-bearings to German industry.
This raid, on Schweinfurt, will be the last Allied daylight air raid deep within Germany until the arrival of the long range fighter escorts.
Flying Fortresses of the US Eighth Army Air Force took the dangerous route to the city of Schweinfurt deep inside Germany today to bomb the ball-bearings factories vital to Hitler’s war industries. The Fortresses crews claim to have damaged their targets heavily. One said: “When we left the factory was just a mass of smoke and flames. Our bombs were all concentrated right on the target.”
However, the bombers have paid a heavy price for their success. Sixty out of 291 planes which set out - 228 bombed the target - have failed to return and many more are badly damaged, 559 airmen are killed and 40 wounded. They were escorted part of the way by Thunderbolt fighters, but when the fighters turned back at the limit of their range, the bombers had to face swarms of German fighters and rely on their own guns and formation flying for protection; it was not enough, though the bomber crews claim to have shot down 288 German aircraft, postwar analysis shows the real figure to have been 27.
The lesson is that the Fortresses cannot live in the air over Germany without fighters for protection. A ninth air force is therefore to be formed on 16 October to provide escort cover for bombing attacks and, in the longer term, a future invasion of Europe.
276 civilians died in Schweinfurt.
Official report: The VIII Bomber Command flies Mission 115: 229 of 291 B-17s dispatched hit the city area and ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt, Germany, in 2 group; the first group bombs at 1439-1445 hours, the second group at 1451-1457 hours; they claim 186-27-89 Luftwaffe aircraft; 60 B-17s are lost, 7 damaged beyond repair and 138 damaged. The attack, which causes great damage and interference with production, results in German reorganization of the bearing industry. Fierce opposition of great numbers of fighters, many of them firing rockets, accounts for the 60 US aircraft shot down. As a result of these heavy losses, daylight bombing against strategic targets deep in Germany is temporarily discontinued.
Only 29 of 60 B-24s are able to form up in poor weather; they abandoned their planned mission and fly a diversion towards Emden, Germany. (John Nicholas, Jack McKillop, Glen Steinberg and Gene Hanson)
Capt. Frank E. McCauley, 61st FS/56th FG, USAAF, achieves ace status (5.5 kills) when he downs a Bf 110 near Aachen at 1345 hours.
The 55th FG, USAAF, (P-38) and 356th FG, USAAF, (P-47) make their combat debut in a pair of fighter sweeps over the Frisian Islands (Netherlands). The 55th is the first P-38 unit to operate from the UK since all P-38 units were committed to Operation TORCH in 1942. It is also the first 8th Fighter Command unit to actually enter combat with P-38s. (Skip Guidry)
U-1170 is launched.
U-768 is commissioned.
NORWAY: SPITZBERGEN: U-737 destroys a landing stage off Grummanntbyan with a demolition charge.
FINLAND: General der Artillerie Alfred Jodl arrives Finland to present the German view of the present military-political situation. He explains that the Italian surrender has no signifigance and that Germany will hold its positions around Leningrad.
U.S.S.R.: On the Dnieper River bend, Zaporozhye, the industrial center of the Ukraine, falls to the Red Army. The railroad from the Crimea to Melitopol is cut by the Red Army.
USSR: Luftwaffe pilot Major Walter Nowotny shoots down his 250th Russian plane. Before war’s end, four other German pilots will surpass Nowotny’s score.
Sobibor: The 600 inmates of the extermination camp, mainly women working in the small tailors’ workshop, have risen against the camp regime and staged an astonishing escape attempt.
The revolt was spearheaded by a group of White Russian Jewish partisans led by Aleksandr “Sacha” Pieczerski, a 34-year old Russian Jew who had served as a political commissar in the Red Army. The Jews were armed with a few guns and hand-grenades, stolen from the SS barracks, and a handful of knives and hatchets.
The mutiny started this afternoon during the routine inspection of the prisoners’ huts. The rebels killed 11 guards, then shouted “Hurrah” to signal a mass breakout. In the chaos that followed, the guards shot 200 inmates dead. Others perished in the minefield that surrounds the camp; estimates of the number who escaped successfully vary from 100 to 300.
Pierczerski and his second-in-command, Leon Feldhandler, are thought to be among those who did escape to join the partisans. A small group of Dutch Jews is apparently trying to get home. In a camp where deportees stand only a one in 40 chance of avoiding immediate death in the gas chambers, today’s breakout was a brave attempt to shorten the odds.
ITALY: The battle along the Volturno River continues.
The Fifth Army expands its bridgeheads across the Volturno River. The U.S. 3d, 34th and 45th Infantry Divisions have pushed 4 miles (6.4 km) beyond the river.
The unloading of supplies is transferred from Salerno to Naples.
Lieutenant General Mark Clark, Commanding General US Fifth Army, alters the boundary between corps and changes the plan of attack. Since the British 56th Division, on the right flank of the British X Corps, is unable to cross the Volturno River at Capua, the boundary is moved east to permit it to use bridge within the Triflisco Gap, formerly in the US 3d Infantry Division zone. The 3d Infantry Division of the US VI Corps is to take over the mission of 34th Infantry Division and latter is to move to the right to make contact with the 45th Infantry Division. The US VI Corps is to advance astride the Volturno River to Venafro-Isernia area, clearing the upper Volturno Valley. The 3d and 34th Infantry Divisions are to make converging attacks toward Dragoni, but the 34th is forced to await improvement of its supply situation. Army bridgeheads across the Volturno River are being expanded.
In the British Eighth Army’s XIII Corps area, the Canadian 1st Division takes Campobasso.
XII Bomber Command B-25s hit Argos Airfield and B-17s bomb the Terni marshalling yard. Other B-17s and B-24s attack a bridge at Giulianova, the town area of Piano-Vomano and railroad and highway bridges north of Pescara and along the eastern coast of Italy. Weather hinders tactical aircraft operations, but the XII Air Support Command and RAF Desert Air Force hit trains and vehicles and fly patrols from north of the Volturno River to Formia and north of Pescara. (John Nicholas and Jack McKillop)
During the night of 14/15 October, 17 RAF bombers of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group bomb the railway line at Orbetello.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Submarine HMS/M Trooper (N 91) sailed from Beirut on 26 September, 1943 for a patrol in the Aegean Sea off the Dodecanese Islands, including the Leros area. She fails is sunk by a German Q-ship off the island of Kos in the Greek Aegean.
CHINA: 4 Fourteenth Air Force B-25s attack shipping in the Amoy area, damaging 2 freighters, and also bombing Amoy Airfield.
NEW GUINEA: USAAF Fifth Air Force B-25 Mitchells bomb Alexishafen in Papua New Guinea.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: 60+ Fifth Air Force B-25s bomb Cape Gloucester on New Britain Island.
EAST INDIES: Three USAAF Fifth Air Force B-25 Mitchells fly harassing strikes against Dili and Lautem on Dutch East Timor Island.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Japanese planes attack six Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Eleven (MTBRon 11) PT boats off Choiseul Bay, Solomon Islands, damaging PT-183. The boats were based in Lambu Lambu Cove on the northeast coast of Vella Lavella Island.
At 1700 hours in the East China Sea, the USN submarine USS Grayback (SS-208) sinks a Japanese fleet tanker about 84 nautical miles (155 kilometers) north of Naha, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, in position 27.35N, 127.30E. The sub eludes hunter-killer operations carried out by an aviation supply ship. (Skip Guidry)
1800 hours: USS Bonefish (SS-223) sinks a schooner at 00-10 N, 119-15 E. (Skip Guidry)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The New Zealand 8th Brigade Group of the 3d Division, begins rehearsal for the landings in the Treasury Islands on Florida Island. The rehearsals conclude on 17 October.
A single Thirteenth Air Force B-24 on armed reconnaissance bombs 4 barges west of Taiof Island, leaving 1 sinking.
CANADA: Corvette HMCS Atholl is commissioned.
U.S.A.: The National Broadcasting Company sells one of its two networks today. NBC had consisted of the Red and Blue Networks with the Red Network producing roughly 75 percent of NBC’s commercial programs. In an anti-monopoly move, the Federal Trade Commission, had mandated that companies would no longer be allowed to control more than one network and NBC was forced to sell one of its divisions. Naturally, it sold the weaker Blue Network to Edward J. Noble who had earned millions from the sale of “Lifesavers” candy. Noble named the new company the American Broadcasting Systems but this was changed within a year to the American Broadcasting Company, Inc. (ABC).
Submarine USS Segundo is laid down.
Destroyer escorts USS George M Campbell, John M Bermingham, Mason and Russell M Cox laid down.
Destroyer escorts USS Day, Rudderow and Currier launched.
Aircraft carrier USS Franklin launched.
Escort carrier USS Natoma Bay commissioned.
Minesweeper USS Knave commissioned.
Heavy cruiser USS Canberra commissioned.
PUERTO RICO: The U.S. Coast Guard district patrol vessel USCGC EM Dow (WYP-353) runs aground off Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and is abandoned. A former fishing boat, the EM Dow was assigned to the USNs Carribean Sea Frontier and was stationed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her crew abandoned ship in a gale off Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and were rescued by the Coast Guard submarine chaser USCGC Marion (WPC-145). All hands were saved. (Dave Shirlaw & Jack McKillop)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-455 collides with U-631 and suffers heavy damage.
Rabaul was almost completely obliterated by a volcanic eruption in 1994.
Father — lead bombardier, 5th AF, 90th heavy, 321st. Fifty missions, Silver Star, DFC x 2, alcoholism, chain smoking, recurrent malaria, nightmares, etc. Great man, hard life.
Winston is seriously bummed about the lack of support by Roosevelt and Ike for his Rhodes plan. I just don’t get why it is so important to him. Did he think he could get Turkey in the war if he can take the Dodecanese? I can’t imagine why Turkey would do that even if Rhodes was in Allied hands. Why take on Germany when the Russians, British and Americans already are with success?
I think Winnie was doing everything he could to divert the strategic axis from Overlord to the Eastern Mediterranean-Balkans.
I still come down on the side of Roosevelt and Marshall on this one. Winnie is right that the Dodecanese were long hanging fruit at this time. But we really couldn’t afford to divert manpower for a side show when the Germans are reinforcing Kesselring from the north. Also, with the spectacular success of the Russian summer offensive, it should be painfully obvious in London that we need boots on the ground in France pointed at Germany before Uncle Joe can get there and swallow it himself.