Skip to comments.TRUK ATTACKED BY STRONG U.S. SEA-AIR FORCES; RECORD BOMBINGS ANSWER NAZISí ANZIO DRIVE (2/18/44)
Posted on 02/18/2014 5:07:28 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
American raid on Truk completed
Friday, February 18, 1944 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... In the north, Soviet forces of 2nd Baltic Front (Popov) capture Staraya-Russa. Volkhov Front (Meretskov) forces take Shimsk.
In the Marshall Islands... In the Eniwetok Atoll, American forces land Engebi and establish a beachhead. The invasion is supported by land-based artillery, as well as naval and air bombardments. Japanese counterattacks are defeated.
In Italy... At Anzio, heavy fighting takes place on the Anzio-Campoleone road (the “Flyover”). German armored reserves (26th Panzer Div. and 29th Panzer Grenadier Div.) are committed to the attack. Allied artillery prevents significant gains. Offshore, the cruiser Penelope is hit again and sinks. Meanwhile, around Cassino, further attacks by Indian, New Zealand forces of the US 5th Army fail to hold the gains made in attacks from the hills north of the monestary and over the Rapido River.
In Washington... President Roosevelt vetoes the Bankhead Bill which proposed to end food subsidies. The veto is upheld by the House of Representatives.
In the Caroline Islands... American forces continue their raid on the Japanese base at Truk. Over the course of the two days, US aircraft log 1250 sorties. The Japanese lose 1 cruiser, 2 destroyers, several other warships and 140,000 tons of shipping to air attack. The battleships Iowa and New Jersey sink 1 cruiser and 2 destroyers. In addition 250 Japanese aircraft are reported destroyed. American submarines sink several more vessels. The US forces lose less than 30 planes and damage is sustained to the carrier Intrepid.
February 18th, 1944 (FRIDAY)
FRANCE: Amiens: Nineteen RAF Mosquito VIs of Nos. 21, 464 and 487 Squadrons flew out of winter snow at treetop height today to hurl 500-pound bombs against the walls of Amiens jail. The explosions blasted gaps in the western outer wall, which is 20 feet high and three feet thick, and sliced open the main prison block.
This was the top-secret Operation JERICHO, to snatch Resistance leaders 24 hours before they were due to face a firing squad. Their message to rescuers led by the Australian Group-Captain P. Charles Pickard was “better blown up by British bombs that shot by Nazis.”
The first three bombers missed the outer wall. The next two lowered their aim and scored as the next pair hit the guards’ dining room. Finally, there was uproar as the main block was bombed in an effort to blast open cell doors without bloodshed.
But this ambitious operation has had one embarrassing result. Of 258 men freed, 179 are criminals. Some 56 Resistants died, many shot by guards as they ran for the gap. The most valuable man to get out was Louis Vivant, the Maquis leader in the Somme, but the 74 men left in the prison include the prominent patriot, Dr. Mans. The RAF dead include Pickard himself, a veteran of many special operations, including the Bruneval raid, and a “star” in the 1941 film Target for Tonight. (22)
ITALY: Anzio: At 0658, light cruiser HMS Penelope was hit by one torpedo from U-410 (Oberleutnant zur See Horst-Arno-Fenski) and sank rapidly after being hit at 0716 by a coup de grâce 35 miles west of Naples at 40 55N 13 25E. There are 415 casualties, but 85 survivors. She was returning from bombarding enemy positions during the Operation Shingle, the landings at Anzio, in which she was part of the Gunfire Support Group TG 81.8, comprising of light cruiser USS Brooklyn and destroyers USS Woolsey, Mayo, Trippe, Ludlow and Edison. (Alex Gordon and Dave Shirlaw)(108)
U.S.S.R.: Moscow: Gen Ivan S Konev, the commander of the Second Ukrainian Front, is promoted to marshal of the USSR for driving the Germans out of Korsun. General Eisenhower is awarded the Order of Suvorov, First Class.
Soviet forces takes Staraya-Russa and Shimsk.
MARSHALL ISLANDS: US forces land on Engebi Island.
In Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the 22d Marine Regiment lands on Engebi Island at the northern tip of the atoll at 0845 hours. This is part of Operation CATCHPOLE. There are over 1,200 Japanese Okinawans and Koreans on the island. Organized resistance ceases at 0800 hours local tomorrow; only 16 of the occupiers are captured. American casualties are 85 KIA and MIA and 521 WIA.
CAROLINE ISLANDS: Task Force 58 (TF 58) under Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance repeats a strike on Japanese installations and vessels at Truk; TF 58 planes sink destroyer HIJMS Fumizuki; submarine chaser Ch 29; and motor torpedo boat Gyoraitei No.10.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: Destroyer Squadron 23 or Task Group 39.4 under Captain Arleigh A. Burke bombards Japanese positions at Kavieng on New Ireland Island; on New Britain Island, Destroyer Squadron 12 under Captain Rodger W. Simpson shells Rabaul, Japanese installations on the Crater Peninsula, and bivouac and supply areas at Vunapope and Cape Gazelle.
In the Indian and Pacific Oceans, 4 Japanese ships are sunk by an RN submarine and USAAF and USN aircraft.
Minesweepers HMCS Thunder, Mulgrave, Bayfield and Georgian departed Halifax for Devonport via the Azores.
Corvette HMCS Trentonian departed Halifax for workups at Bermuda.
Corvette HMCS Riviere Du Loup returned to Halifax from workups at Bermuda.
Minesweepers USS Success and Superior laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Tabberer launched.
Frigate USS Pocatello commissioned.
Escort carrier USS Petrof Bay commissioned.
Minesweeper USS Opponent commissioned.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-406 is sunk in position 48.32N, 23.36W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Spey. 12 dead and 45 survivors. (Alex Gordon)
U-7 sank west of Pillau, in position 54.52N, 19.30E in a diving accident. 29 dead (all hands lost).
“140,000 Peasants Leave Black Sea by Nazi Order.”
More than 1,000 villages, decendants of Germans who had held the land since the 17th century [when the Tsars invited Germans in to farm border areas]. I wonder how many died during the “week-long, 1600-mile trek across ice and snow.”
“Most of the refugees would be employed in war factories,” whether they like it or not.
I barely glanced at that item when I stuck it in to fill out page 10. Now that you mention it, that is like 3 times the population of my home town here in California being forced to pull up stakes and move off to a murky fate at a remote location. An event that in "normal" times would generate front-page banner headlines is reduced in "interesting" times to a filler item.
The Catholic charitable organization “Aid to the Church In Need” was founded to assist Germans who had been deported from other parts of Europe, such as Czechoslovakia and Russia. It’s not international, but I remember reading in Fr. Van Straaten’s books about the terrible conditions these people faced, both during and after the war.
1000 troops die in transport sinking. That was early on in the Italian campaign?
IIRC, troopship in a harbor. Was it a glide bomb?
Too bad Admiral McCain didn't train his young grandson to be a kamikaze. It would have saved the family name.
Keep tabs on USS Tabberer. She has quite a role to play in what became known as Halsey's Typhoon. She was named for a young pilot assigned to USS Saratoga for the invasion of Guadalcanal who lost his life turning back the Japanese air forces opposing the landings. He was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.
"Seventeen year old British liner/troopship of 8,602 tons, carrying 2,193 passengers including 1,988 US troops, 7 Red Cross personnel and a crew of 198, sailed from Oran, Algieria, bound for Bombay, India, via the Suez Canal. She joined the convoy KMF 26 which consisted of 24 ships in six columns, four ships in each column and escorted by seven British destroyers. Between Algiers and Phillopville the convoy was attacked by around 30 Heinkel 177 bombers of 11/KG-40. The Rohna was hit by a HS 293 'glider bomb' (the world's first guided missile) The troopship, crewed by Indian seamen under British officers and captained by an Australian naval officer, was owned by the British India Steam Navigation Company. The ship sank in less than 30 minutes taking 1,015 US troops and 102 crew members to a watery death. This was the largest loss of American lives at sea during WWII. Between 10.30 PM and midnight, rescue ships, including the minesweeper SS Pioneer, the Red Cross ship Clan Campbell and the Rohna's sister ship HMT Rajula, reported "sailing through a sea of floating bodies". Just over 900 survivors were rescued. Eight of the Heinkel 177s were shot down during the attack. Survivors were landed at Phillopville and taken care of by a British army unit. For reasons of national security details of this tragedy were kept secret for many years." (Phillipeville, a city in N.E Algeria, is misspelled.)
That has to be the sinking referred to in today’s news. Good call on the glider bomb, Rebelbase. The Times story was close on the number of dead but they were wrong on location and the means of attack. I wonder why the U.S. was sending 2,000 men to Bombay from Algiers.
Thanks, guys. I saw that item and it didn’t make a lot of sense without context. I’m up to January in the big book on the Italian campaign, and I was sure I hadn’t seen anything about a troopship sinking.
Not much was going on in India by the U.S. Perhaps Army Air Force personnel for the Tenth Air Force, based in India, supplying China over the Hump. There was also a huge supply operation in India, feeding the Hump flights. Or they might have been engineers to work on the Ledo Road, under construction.
Just guessing here. Perhaps B-29 related? Bases in China will soon be operational and a lot of men will be needed in India for flying supplies over the "Hump".
That could well be it, fso. The timing would have been about right. It would also explain the secrecy and misdirection, since we didn’t want the Japanese to know we were building B-29 bases in China.