Skip to comments.U.S. BLASTS NAZIS IN MT. CASSINO ABBEY; ALLIES WIN ISLES 135 MILES FROM RABAUL (2/16/44)
Posted on 02/16/2014 4:48:16 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Finns seek terms with Soviets
Wednesday, February 16, 1944 www.onwar.com
In Stockholm... A Finnish diplomat arrives to receive terms for an armistice from the Soviet ambassador, Kollontay.
In Italy... German forces begin a new attack on the Allied forces on the Anzio beachhead. The US 45th Division and the British 56th Division are engaged by elements of 5 German divisions. There is no decisive breakthrough. The Luftwaffe provides close air support for the offensive as well as attacking shipping off shore. The ammunition ship Elihu Yale blows up after a German air strike. To the south, around Cassino, forces of New Zealand Corps (part of US 5th Army) continue attacking.
In the Marshall Islands... Carrier aircraft from US Task Group 58.4 (Admiral Ginder) raid Eniwetok. The Japanese airfield on Engebi is no longer operational.
On the Eastern Front... Shortly before midnight, the German forces trapped in the Korsun pocket begin their final breakout attempt.
February 16th, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)
GERMANY: U-1308 laid down.
U-825, U-875 launched.
FINLAND: The Finnish envoy J. K. Paasikivi meets the Soviet ambassador at Stockholm Alexandra Kollontay to discuss the possibility of a negotiated peace between Finland and Soviet Union. They meet two more times on 19th and 21st of February, and after long discussions, Paasikivi receives the Soviet terms. The Soviets demand the 1940 border with Petsamo, severing all ties with Germany and interning of German troops. These terms has to be accepted before the negotiations could begin. The Soviets also publish the terms, and Germany lets it to be known that it considers the Finnish peace-feelers ‘treacherous’.
This night the Soviet heavy bombers attack Helsinki for the second time. This time the Finnish defences are strengthened further by a flight of German night fighters. The first attempt by 120 bombers is repelled, but later in the night some 300 bombers try to get through in smaller groups. Some succeed, but overall the city suffers far less than in the previous bombing ten days ago; however, 25 people are killed.
U.S.S.R.: The final German attempt to escape the Korsun pocket starts tonight.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: At 1511, HMS LST-418 was struck by a Gnat from U-230 and sank off Anzio after being hit by a coup de grâce at 1536. The vessel was participating in the landings in Anzio-Nettuno, Operation Shingle.
WESTERN PACIFIC: Strong United States Navy task forces attacked Truk
Glen Boren notes in his diary:
February 16 - 17, 1944
We were on station early and got our first strike off. A fighter sweep was sent in first to get air superiority which was done with great results.
We were told that the Task Force shot down and destroyed over 200 Japanese planes, with over 19 ships sunk and some 40 odd damaged and maybe some of these sunk. Pappy Boyington watched the first day of this show from a ditch along side a runway as a POW of Japan, on his way to Japan. He was stranded there for several days til another aircraft was flown in for the rest of the trip.
VF-18 lost no pilots here on this campaign. I think there were a couple of aircraft lost here tho.but not from our Sqd.
CANADA: Minesweeper HMS Flying fish launched Toronto, Ontario.
NEWFOUNDLAND: Tug HMCS Jamesville assigned to St John’s.
Destroyer escort USS Barr commissioned.
Minesweeper USS Toucan laid down.
Submarine USS Bergall launched.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: A Sunderland aircraft attacked U-546 in the North Atlantic and one man died. [Matrosengefreiter Wilhelm van de Kamp].
Elements that really stand out are the incredible poverty of Sicily and Italy, even before the war, and the massive, pulverizing destructiveness of the bombing and shelling. The writing is extremely vivid; I'll read the author's other books when I'm finished this one.
That $4100 mink for sale by Simmons would be $54,000 in today’s dollars.
I usually notice the ads, but I didn’t see that one. An Argentine Nutria coat?
The article on Bolivia is of interest to me as my father had been “recruited” (Choice of volunteering or be drafted) and sent there to build airfields. At the point of this coup my mother, 2 older brothers (boy scouts then) and sister (baby) were there with him. Dad would never talk about Bolivia except for family things but my brothers had a few tales to tell. Like their house was in site of the German embassy and that he would be gone for weeks at a time and bring back stuff from the Indians of the jungle. One day Dad told them to get up early and watch the sky. The next morning a silver plane (oldest brother claimed it was a p-51(he would have known as he saw lots of them fighting in Korea)) came from the west and strafed the airfield. Not sure if that was La Paz or not but they always talked about Cochabamba.
From the Argentina story I see that they were fascists then and still are today.
Very interesting! Our State Department, typically, seems to have very little idea what’s actually going on in Bolivia. Maybe additional news will appear in the next week.
So today both the Finns and some elements in Hungary want to quit the war. Siding with Germany doesn’t seem such a great idea any more. The Romanians also want out, but there are too many German communications zone troops in Romania right now. Italy already quit in a half-assed way a few months ago.
Any rational person on the Axis side would realize the war is lost. But there is still a lot of fighting and dying to go through.
Fortunately for them the Sov's don't have the same fate in mind for them as for the Baltics.
The price will be loss of land and an agreement not to oppose the Sov's internationally. Finland would be a neutral country and would not join NATO. Finland did manage, however, to retain a capitalist economy. Young people today don't remember the term "Finlandization" which described the situation during the Cold War.
It is an interesting question why the Sov's didn't demand a Red Army garrison or joinder with the Warsaw Pact. The Finns' would likely oppose occupation militarily and they had already cost the Sov's plenty. And Finland was in a marginal position after the War. The Sov's took Petsamo and its Arctic Sea coast so that the Red Army and Navy directly opposed Norway and NATO. With Sweden remaining a neutral Soviet troops would serve little purpose so long as Finland did the Sov's bidding internationally.
Well, Hitler wasn't rational. I think many of the senior leadership do realize what is happening, but self-preservation is causing them to override rationality. Certainly Goebbels understood that at the end of the war he would likely be executed for his crimes.
The Soviet attitude and treatment of Finland was certainly more complicated than with most states.
There was an odd respect of Finland by the USSR. The Finns earned it with their conduct in the Winter War and their participation in the “Continuation War,” as they called World War 2. It was not just the fact that the Finns were such tough fighters. In 1941, when the Germans threatened Leningrad, the Finns stopped at the line just past their 1939 border...and refused to advance farther. John Keegan attributes Finland’s continued independence to this decision. He said it was this type of unwritten understanding on which much of diplomacy is based.
I wasn’t aware of the Finns’ voluntary halt. It must have been Mannerheim’s doing. Besides being a brilliant general he was a crafty diplomat and politician.
Would just like to add to your records:
At 15.11 hours on 16 Feb, 1944, HMS LST-418 was struck by a Gnat from U-230 northwest of Punta Papa, Ponza Island and sank after being hit by a coup de grâce at 15.36 hours. The vessel was participating in the landings in Anzio-Nettuno, the Operation Shingle. The survivors were rescued by the American landing craft USS LCI(L)-194.