Skip to comments.U.S. PLANES BOMB GERMANY AGAIN, DESTROY 38 CRAFT AT COST OF 25 (12/23/43)
Posted on 12/23/2013 4:59:16 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour
Continued from yesterday.
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
*The Lt. Col. Hall named in the article commanded the 381st Bombardment Group. My uncle was a navigator in that group at this time but his crew had yet to fly a combat mission. That would change in one week. Captain Walker Mahurin is also named in the article as a P-47 pilot. According to his Wikipedia entry he was an over-achiever. Not only was he a double ace in the ETO, he would later get 3 ½ kills in the PTO. Then he will shoot down some MiGs in Korea.
Canadians battling for Ortona
Thursday, December 23, 1943 www.onwar.com
Canadian soldiers engage in fierce street fighting in Ortona [photo at link]
In Italy... The British 8th Army continues its attacks. The Canadian 1st Division seizes control of most of Ortona. Inland, other elements of the 8th Army capture Arielli.
December 23rd, 1943 (THURSDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: It is announced that Eisenhower would be the Supreme Allied Commander; that Tedder RAF would be his deputy; that Montgomery would command 21st Army Group (British Second and Canadian First Armies), and that Spaatz would command the US Strategic Air Forces. (Doug Tidy)
Destroyer HMS Worcester is mined in the North Sea off Smiths Knoll Buoy. After her stern is blown off, she is towed by tug Champion to (sic)Yarmouth and then to Harwich where it is decided not to repair her. (Alex Gordon)(108)
Frigates HMS Mounsey and Seymour commissioned.
Destroyers HMS Ulysses and Undine commissioned.
Destroyer HNLMS Piet Hein (ex-HMS Serapis) commissioned.
FRANCE: USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-26 Marauders hit the viaduct at Antheor.
GERMANY: During the night of 23/24 December, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 379 aircraft, 364 Lancasters, eight Mosquitos and seven Halifaxes, to bomb Berlin; 338 aircraft bomb the target. The bomber casualties are not as heavy as on recent raids, partly because German fighters encounter difficulty with the weather and partly because the German controller is temporarily deceived by the diversion at Leipzig. The main force of fighters only appeared in the target area at the end of the raid and could not catch the main bomber stream. Sixteen Lancasters are lost, 4.2 per cent of the force. The Berlin area is covered by cloud and more than half of the early Pathfinder aircraft had trouble with their H2S radar sets. The markers are scattered and sparse. The diversion to Leipzig was flown by seven Mosquitoes. Eight Mosquitos bomb Duisburg with five hitting the city and three bombing the Vereinigte Stahl steel works.
U-680, U-772, U-868, U-1199 commissioned.
U-234, U-774, U-1233, U-1272 launched.
U-345 damaged beyond repair by US bombs at Kiel. Later brought to Warnemünde.
ITALY: The British 8th Army, V Corps has seized most of Ortona from the Germans after a house to house fight. Inland, Arielli falls to other 8th Army units, the 5th Division. USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-26 Marauders attack a railroad bridge and marshalling yard at Imperia. The Ventimiglia railroad bridge is attacked; the bridge is not hit but the overpass, tunnel, tracks. and transformer station nearby are damaged.
YUGOSLAVIA: USAAF Twelfth Air Force P-40s and P-47 Thunderbolts attempt to support Yugoslav partisans resisting the German invasion of Korcula Island off the Peljesac Peninsula, but bad weather prevents location of targets.
U.S.S.R.: Baltic Fleet and Ladoga Flotilla: MS “Raduga” - mined in Seskar Is. area. (Sergey Anisimov)(69)
ALGERIA: Algiers: General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny arrives to take command of the French First Army.
CHINA: Twenty nine USAAF Fourteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators, escorted by seven P-51 Mustangs and 23 P-40s, bomb White Cloud Airfield in the area; the bombers and fighters claim 11 Japanese aircraft shot down. Fourteen P-38 Lightnings dive-bomb and strafe Huang Shan Kou while two B-25 Mitchells sink a gunboat sunk in the Formosa Straits.
THAILAND: Nineteen USAAF Tenth Air Force B-24 Liberators on a night raid bomb the railroad terminal at Bangkok; heavy explosions and large fires result.
BURMA: In the Hukawng Valley, the 3d Battalion, 114th Regiment, Chinese 38th Division, having crossed the Tanai River at Kantau earlier in the month, skirmishes with the Japanese 9 miles (14 kilometers) from Kantau.
NEW GUINEA: In Northeast New Guinea, over 80 USAAF Fifth Air Force B-25 Mitchells, B-26 Marauders and A-20 Havocs attack coastal targets from Wewak to Hansa Bay, wide areas of the Huon Peninsula, and airfields at Alexishafen while B-24 Liberators bomb Nabire.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: On New Britain Island, 61 USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb Cape Gloucester during the day; B-24 Liberators follow during the night of 23/24 December with harassing attacks with small bombs, hand grenades, and beer bottles; P-39 Airacobras hit barges between Borgen Bay and Rein Bay, and P-40s bomb Gasmata on the south coast of New Britain and strafe Cape Hoskins.
On New Britain Island, 18 USAAF Thirteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators, escorted by 48 fighters, bomb Taharai Airfield in the Rabaul area; Vunakanau Airfield is also hit; fighter escorts claim 30 aircraft shot down over the Rabaul area. USN PV-1 Venturas attack a radar station on Cape St. George. This begins a Commander Air Solomons (COMAIRSOLS) all-out offensive against the Rabaul area that continues until the end of March 1944.
GILBERT ISLANDS: During the night of 23/24 December, USAAF Seventh Air Force P-39 Airacobras are airborne over Makin Island to intercept Japanese bombers; two bombers are shot down; a P-39 is lost.
MARSHALL ISLANDS: Nineteen USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators, staging through the Gilbert Islands from the Ellice Islands, bomb Kwajalein Atoll; nine others, staging through Baker Island from the Phoenix Islands, hit Wotje and Maloelap Atolls. Ten A-24 Dauntlesses, escorted by 20 P-39s, attack Mili Atoll hitting shore installations and a cargo vessel (wrecked by the previous day’s raid) in the lagoon.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: USAAF bombers begin operations from Munda airfield on New Georgia Island. Seventeen USAAF Thirteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells attack gun positions and other targets on Sohano Island, and six hit positions at Malevoli in Choiseul Bay on Choiseul Island. Six New Zealand (USN PV-1) Venturas attack a radar station and lighthouse on Cape Saint George on Bougainville Island. Sixteen P-39 Airacobras on patrol bomb and strafe targets on Shortland Island.
During the night of 23/24 December, single USAAF Thirteenth Air Force aircraft carry out harassing strikes against Buka on Buka Island, Kieta on Bougainville Island and Faisi Island.
PACIFIC: From Glen Boren’s diary aboard the USS BUNKER HILL: Raid on Kavieng planned for Christmas Day was the big word for today. Lots of shipping from what we heard. I took the exam for 2nd class today. Heard later in the day that I passed.
One plane flew out to the ship from Lugan Field yesterday and the tailhook pulled out of Kelly’s plane and he took the barrier. More work to do. We found out yesterday that a strike is in view for Xmas Day on shipping at Kavieng Harbor. I also heard that I had passed the exam for second class.
CANADA: Frigate HMCS New Glasgow commissioned.
Tug HMCS Glenella laid down Kingston, Ontario.
Corvette HMCS Quesnel completed forecastle extension refit Pictou, Nova Scotia.
Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan departed Kola Inlet with Convoy RA-55A for Loch Ewe.
U.S.A.: The USN accepts its first JRC-1 aircraft.
Minesweepers USS Nucleus and Notable commissioned.
Submarine USS Guavina commissioned.
Destroyer escort USS Baker commissioned.
Submarine USS Carp laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Clarence L Evans laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Eugene E Elmore launched.
Minesweeper USS Pledge launched.
Light cruiser USS Wilkes-Barre launched.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Convoy RA.55A departs the Kola Inlet with 22 ships. The Escort is comprised of destroyers HMS Milne, HMS Meteor, HMS Ashanti, HCMS Athabaskan, HMS Musketeer, HMS Matchless, HMS Opportune, HMS Virago, , HMS Beagle, and HMS Westcott, minesweeper HMS Seagull, and corvettes HMS Dianella, HMS Poppy, and the Norwegian Acanthus.
The close cruiser escort, under VA Burnett, was HMS Belfast, HMS Norfolk, and HMS Sheffield, while the distant covering force, under CinC Home Fleet Adm Fraser, was the battleship HMS Duke of York, cruiser HMS Jamacia, and the destroyers HMS Savage, HMS Saumarez, HMS Scorpion, and the Norwegian Stord.
RAF 120 Sqn Liberator aircraft attack on U-471 wounded three men.
Had Ciano been in charge, Italy may not have joined in the war; who knows. But, given his access to power, he lived very large while it lasted.