Skip to comments.U.S. FLIERS DOWN 104 NAZI PLANES, LOSE 62 IN SCHWEINFURT BATTLE (10/15/43)
Posted on 10/15/2013 4:10:29 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
The West Point Military History Series, Thomas E. Griess, Editor, The Second World War: Europe and the Mediterranean
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
* This is the final installment of Baldwins series on the Pacific Strategy. After he submitted it he packed up his typewriter and toothbrush, grabbed a stack of gasoline ration stamps, and hit the road. In the coming weeks he will be reporting from military bases all over the U.S.A. For a sneak preview of his itinerary look at his entry in the author index on Homers profile, which is now updated through November 13, 1943. First stop: Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Allied troops fighting beyond Volturno
Friday, October 15, 1943 www.onwar.com
British troops crossing the Volturno [photo at link]
In Italy... The Canadian 1st Division (part of British 13th Corps, 8th Army) captures Vinchiaturo. In the US 5th Army offensive, the attack has moved beyond the river but the Germans have skillfully maintained their defensive front while being pushed back.
In the Arctic... The British base at Spitzbergen is reestablished.
In New Guinea... The Japanese mount an air attack on Allied positions in Oro Bay. Japanese planes suffer heavy losses.
From London and Washington... British General Pownall is appointed Chief of Staff to Admiral Mountbatten at SEAC (Southeast Asia Command). American General Wedemeyer is appointed his deputy Chief of Staff.
October 15th, 1943 (FRIDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: British General Pownall is appointed Chief of Staff; US General Wedemeyer is appointed Deputy Chief of Staff to Admiral Mountbatten at South East Asia Command.
HQ U.S. Army Air Forces in the United Kingdom (USAAF”>USAAFUK) is activated to exercise supervision over and provide coordination between the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces in the UK. Lieutenant General Ira C Eaker is appointed Commanding General in addition to his duties as Commanding General Eighth Air Force.
HQ Ninth Air Force moves from North Africa to England and Lieutenant General Lewis H. Brereton assumes command. Although the Ninth Air Force is scheduled to provide tactical support to Allied ground forces after the Normandy invasion, the Ninth’s fighters will support the Eighth Air Force in its strategic missions over Europe.
Frigate HMS Pitcairn launched.
Submarine HMS Vigorous launched.
Frigates HMS Anguilla and Helmsdale commissioned.
Minesweeper HMS Pickle commissioned.
Frigate HMS Pitcairn launched.
Submarine HMS Vigorous launched.
FRANCE: The 1.Staffel [squadron] of Fernaufklarungs-Gruppe 5 [German for Long Range Reconnaissance Group] with Ju 290A-2s and -3s joined operations over the Atlantic. (230)(Greg Kelley)
U-1405 laid down.
BALTIC SEA: U-23 damaged TSC-486 Sovetskaja Rossija.
ITALY: British units of General Mark Clark’s Fifth Army finally break German defenses and push across the Volturno river, some on pontoon bridges built by combat engineers of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division.
In the U.S. Fifth Army’s British X Corps area, the 56th Division crosses the Volturno River, using bridges in the former U.S. VI Corps sector. The VI Corps’ 3d Infantry Division takes Cisterna, but elements are being strongly opposed near Villa and Liberi. Elements of the U.S. 34th Infantry Division take Ruviano. The Germans withdraw from this area during the night of 15/16 October. On the right flank of the U.S. VI Corps, the 45th Infantry Division finishes clearing to Titerno Creek and makes contact with the 34th Infantry Division across the Volturno River to left.
The British Eighth Army’s XIII Corps pauses as the Canadian 1st Division takes Vinchiaturo and Canadian tanks support British units attacking Termoli.
The Germans begin rounding up the Jews of Rome. Prior to these arrests, the Jewish community is told by the Germans that unless it could raise 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of gold (equivalent to US$56,000) within 36 hours, 300 hostages would be taken. When it turned out the Jews could raise only 35 kilograms (77 pounds), the Chief Rabbi, Israel Zolli, asked for and received a loan from the Vatican treasury to cover the balance. The Pope approved the transaction.
XII Air Support Command and other elements of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force hit roads, railroads, bridges, junctions, railway facilities, town areas, and motor transport at or near Piedimonte, Vairano, Termoli, Petacciato, Sparanise, and Civitanova, and hit gun positions and communications in the general battle area north of the Volturno River.
Forty seven bombers of RAF No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group attack a railroad bridge at Talamone without loss.
GREECE: Twelfth Air Force B-25s of the XII Bomber Command hit airfields at Salonika and Megalo Mikra.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: U-616 encountered the British submarine HMS Untiring, which fired three torpedoes without success.
NEW GUINEA: The Japanese attack Allied positions in Oro Bay. 59 Fifth Air Force P-38s and 8 P-40s intercept around 100 Japanese aircraft attacking Allied shipping in Oro Bay, New Guinea. The US fighters shoot down 26 “Val” dive bombers, a “Kate” torpedo bomber (Nakajima B5N, Navy Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber) and 19 “Oscar” fighters (Nakajima Ki-43, Army Type 1 Fighter Hayabusa) between 0805 and 0900 hours.
At 1730 hours, P-38s and P-40s shoot down 5 “Lily” bombers (Kawasaki Ki-48, Army Type 99 Twin-engine Light Bombers) east of Finschhafen, New Guinea.
70+ B-25s hit positions and villages from Sio to Saidor, New Guinea.
EAST INDIES: Six B-24s bomb Boela on Ceram Island in the Moluccas Islands.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The I Marine Amphibious Corps (I MAC) issues final orders for the invasion of the Northern Solomons. The attack force (Task Force 31 under Rear Admiral Theodore Wilkinson, Commander of the 3rd Amphibious Force), with ground forces of Lieutenant General Alexander A. Vandegrift’s I MAC, will seize the Treasury Island bases on 27 October in preparation for main invasion of Bougainville Island on 1 November. In support will be carrier- based and land-based aircraft, surface forces, and submarines.
21 Thirteenth Air Force B-24s and 12 P-38s plus 17 USN F4U Corsairs attack Kahili Airfield supply and personnel areas on Bougainville Island at about 1200 hours. Six “Zekes” are claimed shot down. During the late evening B-25s bomb the airfield on Buka Island.
PACIFIC OCEAN: 0100 hours: USS Tullibee (SS-284) a transport at 24-30 N, 120-26 E. (Skip Guidry)
Admiral Halsey issues orders for the invasion of Northern Solomons by Task Force 31.
CANADA: Target towing vessels ordered - HMCS Kirkwood, Atwood, Brentwood, Eastwood, Greenwood, Inglewood, Lakewood, Oakwood and Wildwood.
Corvette HMCS Camrose completed forecastle extension refit Pictou , Nova Scotia.
Corvette HMCS Halifax completed refit Liverpool , Nova Scotia.
Submarine HMS L-27 commenced refit Sydney , Nova Scotia.
U.S.A.: The Joint Chiefs of Staff accept General Henry H. “Hap” Arnolds’s proposal to split the Twelfth Air Force in the Mediterranean into two air forces; the Twelfth Air Force will become a tactical air force while the new Fifteenth Air Force will become a strategic air force.
Submarine USS TANG (SS-306) is commissioned with Lieutenant Commander Richard H. O’Kane in command. (John Nicholas)
Destroyer escort USS Coolbaugh commissioned.
Escort carrier USS Petrof Bay laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Underhill launched.
Douglas DC-3-178, msn 1588, registered NC16008 and named “Flagship Missouri” by the U.S. airline American Airlines, crashes near Centerville, Tennessee, at 2317 hours local. This is American Flight 63 from Nashville to Memphis, Tennessee, with four crew and 11 passengers; all are killed. The aircraft struck the ground nose-first in a vertical attitude while en route and is completely demolished by the impact. The cause of the crash is the inability of the aircraft to gain or maintain altitude due to carburetor ice, propeller ice or wing ice or some combination of these icing conditions, while over terrain and in weather unsuitable for an emergency landing.
CARIBBEAN SEA: Submarine USS Dorado lost to an American patrol craft from Guantanamo Bay or possibly lost to mines from U-214. Dorado was in transit from the New London submarine base to the Panama Canal.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: A man died of illness on U-488. [Maschinenmaat Karl Bergmann].
U-371 damaged SS James Russell Lowell beyond repair in Convoy GUS-18.
U-426 sank SS Essex Lance in Convoy ONS-20.
An interesting article in “Schwarze Korps,” Himmler’s propaganda rag for domestic German consumption. The article comments on Germany’s losses in the east, and how it looks bad politically. Yet, the article notes that Germany gained certain strategic advantages from their withdrawal by shortening their lines.
I wonder how Field Marshal von Manstein feels reading this article. He’s been arguing this to Hitler for months, and his advice has been flatly rejected. Now Hitler’s own henchmen are saying what a great idea it is.
A little bit more, maybe too much but its personal. We captured Schweinfurt in April 1945. I was on a task force to take over factories and get paper files. We were there when Roosevelt died and had a ceremony in the ruins. We bombed the hell out of them but they had some underground factories. I kept one of their slide rules for a war souvenir. It was a few day stay there then on to Bavaria where the Nazis were expected to make their last stand but that never materialized. Hitler killed himself when I was in Munich. We headed to Austria and the end of the European war. Almost 70 years, a long, long time ago.
Thanks for your postings. This was sort of a blackout period for me. I was undergoing infantry training then. Left for Europe that following November. Greeted by the Battle of the Bulge.
Too much personal recollection? Not hardly.
This was sort of a blackout period for me. I was undergoing infantry training then.
I'm pleased to be able to help you catch up with the news. I remember how cut off from the outside world I felt during boot camp (a mere 43 years ago).
We did not shoot down 104 Luftwaffe fighters over Schweinfurt. I’ve seen 20-30 quoted. I presume that if 5 allied bombers had gun crews shooting at an incomming fighter, each one claimed to down it. And it was an attempt to spin a disastrous raid that was Fubar from the get go.
That is interesting. I wonder why he didn’t get transferred to the U.S. with the German rocketeers.
The myth of the Nazi “Redoubt” in the Bavarian Alps was one of the greatest intelligence failures of the war. The Germans considered the idea, but never seriously. When Goebbels discovered the Western allies were obsessed by the idea he began a disinformation plan to plant information to reinforce the Allied belief the Redoubt really existed. He even had German soldiers briefed on the “plan” so they would spill it in interrogation if they were taken prisoner.
Don't know. In my short investigation, I wasn't able to find anything beyond a couple of trial announcements like the one I linked to.
Maybe it was at some level. At the front line level, we made no special anticipations. What we saw was the Germans dropping resistance to us to concentrate on the advancing Russians. The Germans were quite willing to let us take over territory. We waited on the Austrian border for the Russians to advance, based on some higher level political deal. We regarded to biggest intelligence failure was the Battle of the Budge.
My understanding is hundreds of thousands of German troops and civilians were pouring into Bavaria at the time, not to main a Redoubt, but to avoid the Red Army.
“HAMBURG, Germany (API- Nils Werner Larsson, a Swedish engineer who claimed test wesk to have information on a new Soviet atom-powered rocket, was report- ed Tuesday to have disappeared. Henri Nannen, editor of the magazine Der Stern, who set up a news conference with the engi- neer, said Larsson suddenly left fiarnburg after talking to hvo American intelligence of/idaJs.”
(Typos per source: The (Stroudsberg, PA) Daily Record 10 March 1960, Page 7 http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/29375305/
Cougar. Any chance U.S. archives would add to the story of Nils Larsson?