Skip to comments.TRAPPED NAZIS’ STRONGHOLD FALLS BUT RED ARMY’S RING IS DENTED (2/15/44)
Posted on 02/15/2014 5:55:19 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Monte Cassino bombarded
Tuesday, February 15, 1944 www.onwar.com
The ruins of the monastary at Monte Cassino [photo at link]
In Italy... Allied aircraft bomb the historic monastery on the crest of Monte Cassino. German forces, which have not occupied the position previously, move into the ruins of the monestary. The New Zealand Corps (part of US 5th Army) follows-up the bombing with an assault which fails.
In the Solomon Islands... The 3rd Amphibious Force (Admiral Wilkinson) lands elements of the New Zealand 3rd Division (General Barrowclough) on the Green Islands, north of Bougainville. US Task Force 39 (Admiral Merrill) provides escort.
February 15th, 1944 (TUESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Corvette HMCS Giffard departed Londonderry escort for convoy ON.224.
GERMANY: General der Panzertruppen Friedrich Kühn, is killed in an air raid on Berlin. General der Panzertruppen is three star rank, equivalent to an American Lieutenant-General. He is the highest ranking officer of the Heer to be killed by enemy action in the war. (Jeff Chrisman)
ITALY: 142 Fifteenth Air Force Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses dropped 353 tons of bombs on the monastery at Monte Cassino.
This was the first heavy-bomber attack on Monte Cassino Benedictine Abbey in support of the New Zealand Corps assault to establish a bridgehead across the Rapido River south of Cassino. Also bombing were Twelfth Air Force North American B-25 Mitchells and Martin B-26 Marauders.
It was Lt-Gen Sir Bernard Freyberg whose newly-formed New Zealand Corps has the task of assaulting the heights, who asked for the monastery to be bombed on the grounds that it was being used as an observation post for German artillery. US generals were against the bombing; and the decision was taken only when General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, the supreme Allied commander in the Mediterranean, flew out over the monastery and thought he saw radio aerials. He was wrong. The monastery was not occupied by the Germans, though they may have been there to help the monks remove books and manuscripts for safekeeping in the Vatican.
After the aerial bombardment the New Zealanders and the 4th Indian Division began their assault tonight - only to be repulsed by German paratroopers. Ironically, the Germans are now moving into the wrecked monastery, which makes a better defensive position.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Submarine HMS Upstart sinks German auxiliary minelayer Niedersachsen (1794 BRT, former French Guyane) off the Italian Riviera.
At 1522, the Fort St. Nicolas was hit by a Gnat from U-410 and sank east of the island of Capri. The master, 48 crewmembers, 14 gunners and four passengers were rescued by a RAF crash launch and landed at Salerno. The Fort St. Nicolas was participating in the Operation Shingle, the landings at Anzio-Nettuno.
AUSTRALIA: The RAAF forms No. 7 Operational training Unit (OTU) at Tocumwal, New South Wales, to provide operational training for B-24 crews.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: US Marine Torpedo Bomber Squadron One Hundred Thirty Four (VMTB-134) flying TBF Avengers against the Japanese at Rabaul, New Britain, Bismark Archipelago, make the first combat use in the Pacific of forward firing rockets.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Japanese submarine I-43 is sunk by the USS Aspro (SS-309) east of Guam. (Mike Yared)(144 and 145)
Submarine USS Narwhal ended her 9th war patrol as she returned to base.
Submarine USS Gato sinks the Japanese guardboat Taiyo Maru No.3 (36 BRT) off Rabaul, New Britain in position 04.00S, 150.10E.
Submarine USS Silversides departs Pearl Harbor for her 9th war patrol. She is ordered to patrol west of the Mariana Islands.
Submarine USS Angler departs Midway for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China and Sulu Sea.
Submarine USS Snook torpedoes and sinks Japanese army cargo ship Kamone Maru (875 BRT) off the south coast of Korea in position 34.23N, 128.23E.
Submarine USS Tinosa torpedoes and sinks Japanese army cargo ship Odatsuki Maru (1988 BRT) east of Dinagat Island in position 09.30N, 127.00E.
CANADA: Submarine HMS L-26 commenced ASW training Halifax.
Frigate USS Bisbee commissioned.
USS PC-788 commissioned.
USS PCS-1465 commissioned.
Destroyer escort USS Solar commissioned.
Destroyer USS Stormes laid down.
Minesweeper USS Surfbird laid down.
Destroyer escorts USS Gentry and Holt launched.
Minesweepers USS Specter and Staunch launched.
Net tender USS Satinleaf launched.
Destroyer escort USS George E Davis laid down.
Minesweeper USS Sprig laid down.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: SS Epaminondas C. Embiricos sunk by U-168 at 01.30N, 73E. Two men were taken prisoner by U-168.
Swimming Scientifically Taught. Specialized instruction for nervous people.
She's bound for Bonwit Teller's Salon of Body Sculpture. She knows Zelda Radow can slim down her hips.
I wonder whether Zelda is a personal trainer or a foundation-garment fitter.
Yet another example of how Hitler’s interference with his generals is getting 10’s of thousands of men killed.
Manstein acted quickly to try and relieve the pocket, but Hitler ordered that the relief be turned in to an offensive to counter-encircle the Russians.
They lost a week because of this, and the groups Hitler ordered to attack (11th Panzer, I think) had only 27 tanks, vs. 600 or so Russian tanks.
Manstein counter-manded Hitler’s order, and pulled off what would be a textbook relief, pulling out 2/3rds of the men trapped in the pocket, but the equipment lost would never be able to be replaced, at this point.
Taking note of the casualty lists is important.
As the tempo of operations is increasing, so are the casualty lists. Until now, everyone knew someone else’s family that had lost someone. Now it is beginning to become their own families. This will especially hit home next winter, when the casualty lists from Europe begin to made public.
“Police Drive on ‘Bobby Socks’ Girls Will Curb Teen-Age Night Owls”
Parents are working in war industry or in the service, girls as young as 13 are going out at night and hanging out with military men. It sounds very contemporary!
The populations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were roughly 15% of the total U.S. at the time. So the lists of names would have been a lot longer if they printed them all.
That the primary police response was to return the young ladies to their parents and request that they "provide better guidance" has a certain archaic quaintness.
The p9 story about Stalin not hitting Timoshenko with a vodka bottle is interesting. Might someone other than Timoshenko have gotten in the way of the bottle?
The p2 map of the Cherkassy pocket clearly shows that the Russian encirclement is not as strong as advertised. I wonder if the Germans will recognize the vulnerability and make a breakout?
I wonder what the life expectancy was of those troops defecting back from Vlasoff’s army on p6?
And the saddle shoes. And they’re wearing lipstick!