Skip to comments.ALLIES SURGE FORWARD IN ITALY; SIX IMPORTANT TOWNS CAPTURED; GERMANS IN MELITOPOL STIFFEN (10/17/43)
Posted on 10/17/2013 4:20:21 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Unlike its first trip to New Guinea, this time the entire Division, to include its much needed artillery, ultimately all of its heavy weapons would be allowed to make the trip.
Homers father wrote two letters during that period, including the following.
The News of the Week in Review
Mounting Allied Power is Reflected in an Eventful Week (map) 9
Twenty News Questions 14
Luftwaffe Throws Its All into a Defensive War (Graham) 15
On the Eve of Russias Winter Campaign 17
Liberation of Ukraine a Major Russian Goal (Parker) 18
Allied Air Mastery Weakens Japans Hold (map) 19
Flanking Tactics Held Key to Pacific Victories (Kluckhohn) 20
Answers to Twenty News Questions 21
Red Army across Dniepr to south of Gomel
Sunday, October 17, 1943 www.onwar.com
Soviet forces crossing the Dniepr [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... Soviet forces breakthrough the German defenses around Kremenchug. Other Soviet forces cross the Dniepr south of Gomel and capture Loyev.
In New Guinea... The Japanese mount another air attack on Allied positions in Oro Bay and sustain heavy losses in aircraft and crew. The Japanese counteroffensive around Finschafen continues to be held by Australian forces.
In the Pacific... The last operational German auxiliary cruiser, Michel, is sunk by the American submarine Tarpon off the Japanese coast. The German raider has sunk 17 ships during its cruise.
In Italy... The advancing US 5th Army takes Liberi and Alvignano.
October 17th, 1943 (SUNDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMS Bickerton commissioned.
NETHERLANDS: Twenty RAF Bomber Command aircraft lay mines in the Frisian Islands during the night of 17/18 October.
ITALY: The Allied campaign has slowed to a crawl in the face of bad weather and fierce German rearguard actions. During the next month, Clark’s Fifth Army and Montgomery’s 8th Army will creep forward about a mile (1.6 km) per day, fighting mud, mines and booby-traps and Germans entrenched on the high ground. Cold and hungry front-line infantrymen build rock shelters to protect themselves from snipers and shellfire. By mid-November, the Fifth Army will be so bloodied and exhausted that Clark will order a two-week halt to rest and recuperate. The Germans are methodically withdrawing to three south-of-Rome defence lines called Barbara, Bernhard and, the toughest, Gustav.
In U.S. Fifth Armys VI Corps area, the 3d Infantry Division finds that the Germans have withdrawn from Liberi and Villa. Elements of 34th Infantry Division occupy Alvignano after patrols report it clear.
In the air, weather prevents operations by the XII Bomber Command. US and RAF units of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force operate at a reduced pace. Light and medium bombers hit the towns of Teano and Alife and motor transport at Benedello, Penna, and Pedesso; fighter-bombers bomb and strafe troops, trucks, guns, train stations, and a bridge near Vinchiaturo, Benedello, Teramo, and Sparanise; other fighters strafe locomotives south of Ancona.
During the night of 17/18 October, RAF No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group fly two missions: 11 aircraft bomb Casale Airfield south of Borgo Casale and two aircraft drop leaflets over Milan.
ADRIATIC SEA: Royal Navy submarine TROOPER fails to return from patrol. She set out from Beirut, Lebanon on 26th September 1943, for Dodecanese patrol and does not return today. German records claim she was sunk by a Q-ship off the isle of Kos on the 14th. (Denis Peck)
U.S.S.R.: Soviet forces break the German lines around Kremenchug and push toward Krivoi Rog. Red Army forces of the Centre Front, attempting the investment of Gomel, cross the Dniepr River south of Gomel and capture Loyev.
Soviet minesweeper SKR-14 (ex RT-86 Indiga) sunk by U-636.
BURMA: Tenth Air Force B-24s and B-25s bomb the rail yards at Naba while 7 Fourteenth Air Force B-24s bomb Htawgaw.
TERRITORY OF HAWAII: The Japanese submarine HIJMS I-36 launches a small “Glen” seaplane (Kugisho E14Y, Navy Type 0 Small Reconnaissance Seaplane) to determine how many aircraft carriers are in Pearl Harbor (there are none).
The absence of the carriers coupled with the 5 and 6 October raids against Wake Island lead IJN intelligence officers to believe that an invasion of Wake is imminent. Because of this misinterpretation, IJN carrier aircraft that could have been used to oppose the upcoming invasion of Bougainville are withheld for more than a week.
PACIFIC OCEAN: 0200 hours, the German auxiliary cruiser, HK Michel (ship H), the former Polish freighter SS Biolskoi captured in Norway, is sunk by submarine USS Tarpon (SS-175) off Japan at 33-42N, 140-08E. A tremendous explosion after a torpedo struck sank the ship and she went down within 13 minutes with the loss of 263 crewmen and 19 Norwegian sailors who had been captured; 110 crewmen survived. Michel has sunk three ships on this cruise and 17 aggregate over the last two cruises, and is the last auxiliary cruiser in operation for Germany.
Aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17: “We pulled out of Pearl Harbor early for two days of maneuvers in the area.. First, we retrieved our aircraft, respotted the deck and the ship went to General Quarters. The 5-inch (12,7 centimeter) guns started firing and I started looking for what they were shooting at. By the time I found the target, the 40 mms and then the 20 mms started. I found what I took to be a “yellow peril” (biplane trainer) buzzing around with all these guns shooting at it. I was wishing I could go home then as nobody hit it. And to think I was going into combat with a bunch of gunners like this.???? Oh well, life was hell for a war hero.” (Glen Boren)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: USMC SBD Dauntlesses and TBF Avengers attack Kahili Airfield on Bougainville while 6 B-25s and 21 USMC F4U Corsairs sweep Ballale Airfield. The latter strike is engaged by 40+ “Zeke” fighters; 14 “Zekes” are shot down with the loss of a Corsair.
NEW GUINEA: In Northeast New Guinea, the Japanese continue vigorous attacks from Sattelberg after attempting to land four barge loads of troops, of which only one reaches shore.
18 Fifth Air Force A-20 Havocs and B-25 Mitchells bomb and strafe Sattelberg, and 7 B-25s hit Wewak and Boram Airfield with a low-level attack during which 15 aircraft are destroyed on the ground and 4 claimed shot down.
Four P-39s intercept 18 airplanes attacking Finschhafen, claiming 6 shot down. 40+ fighters intercept a large group of enemy aircraft attempting to attack Oro Bay; US fighters claim 24 shot down.
EAST INDIES: Six B-24s bomb Ternate Island in the Moluccas, a 2,200-mile (3,520 km) round trip.
U.S.A.: Destroyer escort USS Damon M Cummings laid down.
Destroyer escorts USS Riddle, Wesson and Witter launched.
Frigate USS Pocatello launched.
Submarines USS Bream and Shark launched.
Destroyer USS McDermut launched.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-540 (Type IXC/40) is sunk east of Cape Farewell, Greenland, at position 58.38N, 31.56W, by depth charges from 2 British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. 59/D and 120/H). 55 dead (all crew lost).
U-631 (Type VIIC) is sunk in the North Atlantic southeast of Cape Farewell, Greenland, at position 58.13N, 32.29W, by depth charges from the British corvette HMS Sunflower. 53 dead (all crew lost).
U-841 (Type IXC/40) is sunk in the North Atlantic east of Cape Farewell, Greenland, at position 59.57N, 31.06W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Byard. 26 dead, 26 survivors.
In the evening of this day a Liberator aircraft attacked U-281 with bombs and machine guns, wounding three crewmembers.
During heavy weather one lookout on U-608 broke his arm.
On the map below, the 5th Army had just passed through Nola, where my grandfather was from, and Caserta, where my grandmother was from. I would have liked to have heard their thoughts about seeing this as it occurred.
At the time this occurred, they had already been in US for over 20 years, and their son (my uncle) was with the US Navy in the South Pacific. But the US government still used to routinely inspect their house because my grandmother was a citizen of Italy and was never naturalized.
Bottom of page 5, the NYT with an article questioning the First Lady’s use of military aircraft.
My how times have changed.
Odd column crowing about the destruction of the Luftwaffe, coming on the heels of the disastrous Schweinfurt raid. I noticed that both Arnold and Roosevelt issued statements about the losses, which must have shocked many people. The Luftwaffe may not be capable anymore of offensive operations, but it still has quite a sting over the heart of the Reich.
Today's First Family would have required an entire squadron of B-17's to transport their entourage and luggage to their vacation spot.
Mrs. Roosevelt has said that on her journey she merely occupied a place in a plane which was making the trip anyhow.
"Don't worry about me. I'll just squeeze in next to this crate of spare aircraft parts. Pretend I'm not even here."
The War Dept. has a policy of releasing accurate numbers for U.S. losses. It is up to those at the top to justify them. The curious result in the news reporting is a positive correlation between number of planes lost and the success of the mission.
I believe it wasn’t until after the war that we learned how ineffective the ball bearing plant raids were.
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