Skip to comments.AMERICANS LAND ON ENIWETOK, FLANKING TRUK; GREAT VICTORY SEEN IN BLOW AT PACIFIC BASE (2/19/44)
Posted on 02/19/2014 5:15:45 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
#1 - My Heart Tells Me - Glen Gray, with Eugenie Baird
#3 Shoo Shoo Baby - Andrews Sisters
#2 - Besame Mucho Jimmy Dorsey, with Bob Eberly and Kitty Kallen
#5 Paper Doll - Mills Brothers
#6 - Star Eyes - Jimmy Dorsey, with Bob Eberly and Kitty Kallen
#4 Shoo Shoo Baby - Ella Mae Morse, with orchestra
#7 - Holiday for Strings David Rose
#8 - My Ideal Jimmy Dorsey, with Bob Eberly
#9 - Mairzy Doats Al Trace, with Red Maddox
#10 Speak Low Guy Lombardo, with Billy Leach
Anzio beachhead stabilized
Saturday, February 19, 1944 www.onwar.com
Anzio beachhead buildup continues [photo at link]
In Italy... The Anzio beachhead becomes stabilized. Neither sides plans significant attacks at this time. To the south, there is a lull in the fighting along the Gustav Line.
In the Marshall Islands... Fighting continues on Engebi in the Eniwetok Atoll. Americans land on Eniwetok in regimental strength. There is heavy Japanese resistance, in spite of massive preparatory bombardments.
February 19th, 1944 (SATURDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: HMC MTB 748 commissioned.
Frigate HMS St Helena commissioned.
ITALY: Anzio: After three days of desperate fighting the Allied divisions trapped on the Anzio beach-head today halted a major German offensive. The attack was launched on 16 February, with General von Mackensen’s Fourteenth Army supported by the Luftwaffe. A sustained artillery barrage opened up a gap in the sector held by the US 45th Division, and for a time, it appeared as though the Allied would be split in two. Panzers poured through the gap, but themselves came under attack as the Allies concentrated their own fire more effectively. Still, though, the Germans pushed the Allies back towards the beaches. But tonight determined fighting by the British 1st and US 45th Divisions, backed by air and naval bombardment, has checked the Germans at Carroceto Creek.
Twelfth Air Force B-25s blast troop concentrations to the north of Anzio beachhead; A-36s and P-40s keep troops, tanks, and motor transport in the beachhead battle area under attack, flying 200+ sorties in 20+ missions as an Allied counterattack turns the tide of battle; fighters maintain control over the northern part of the battle area.
CHINA: Fourteenth Air Force B-24s, B-25s, and P-40s fly sea sweeps over wide-spread coastal areas from the Formosa Straits to French Indochina, claiming 3 ships sunk and others damaged; railroad bridges, trains, and other
BURMA: The Tenth Air Force dispatches 60+ A-36 Apaches and P-51 Mustangs and a few B-25 Mitchells to hit a variety of targets including fuel and supply dumps at Manywet and in the Shaduzup area; the Tonkin-Kansi road and a junction west of Manywet; the Mu River bridge at Ye-u; and railroad cars and tracks, locomotives, and river traffic between Monywa and Natyekan and between Alon and Segyi. Rail and road traffic in the Bhamo and Hukawng Valley-Kamaing areas is also hit.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: A USMC and USN strike force consisting of 48 SBD Dauntlesses and 23 TBF Avengers escorted by 68 USAAF, USMC and USN fighters bomb Lakunai Airfield and other Japanese installations at Rabaul on New Britain Island; they are intercepted by less than 50 Japanese aircraft. Twelve minutes later, Lakunai and Tobera Airfields are attacked by 20 USAAF B-24 Liberators escorted by 35 fighters. The area has been repeatedly pounded, and after this date the Japanese abandon air defence of Rabaul.
Twelve Fifth Air Force B-25 Mitchells attack Japanese shipping southwest of New Ireland Island, claiming a small freighter and a patrol boat sunk and other vessels damaged. Seven A-20 Havocs hit shipping at Kavieng, New Ireland Island while single B-24 Liberators and B-25s carry out armed reconnaissance over wide areas of the Bismarck Sea.
MARSHALL ISLANDS: The U.S. Army’s 106th Infantry Regiment, backed by a Marine battalion and supported by naval bombardment, land on two beaches of Eniwetok Island in Eniwetok Atoll at 0907 hours local. The landing is under Brigadier General Thomas E. Watson, USMC, and the overall operation is under Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill, USN. The Japanese garrison of about 800 troops is finally overcome at 1630 hours on 21 February. U.S. casualties are light, 37 KIA and 94 WIA; 23 Japanese are captured.
Seventh Air Force B-25s from Tarawa hit Wotje Atoll while Makin-based P-40s bomb and strafe Mille Atoll.
CAROLINE ISLANDS: Seventh Air Force B-24s from Tarawa Atoll and Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands pound Ponape and Kusaie Islands.
PACIFIC OCEAN: The Japanese lose 13 ships, six to USN submarines and seven to USAAF aircraft.
The crippled USS INTREPID is swung back and forth by high winds. These have tended to weathercock the ship with her bow pointed toward Tokyo. Captain Sprague later confesses: “Right then I wasn’t interested in going in that direction.” At this point her crew fashioned a jury-rig sail of hatch covers and scrap canvas which swung Intrepid about and held her course. (Skip Guidry)
CANADA: Minesweepers HMCS Caraquet, Vegreville, Malpequet and Cowichan departed Halifax for Devonport via Azores.
U.S.A.: Al Trace and his Silly Symphonists’ record of “Mairzy Doats” with vocals by “Red” Maddock and Al Trace and the group makes it to the Billboard Pop Singles chart. This is their first single to make the charts and it stays there for 6 week reaching Number 7.
The USAAF ordered 650 Vultee SNV-2s for the USN; these aircraft, which were identical to the BT-13Bs, were designated Model 79As.
Escort carrier USS Kwajalein laid down.
Frigate USS Grand Island launched.
Destroyer escorts USS Robert F Keller and Maurice J Manuel launched.
Escort carrier USS Sitkoh Bay launched.
Destroyer escorts USS Alexander J Luke and Lyman commissioned.
Frigate USS Muskegon commissioned.
Submarine USS Pomfret commissioned.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-264 is sunk at 17:07 hours in position 48.31N, 22.05W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Woodpecker and Starling. 52 survivors (No casualties).
U-386 is sunk in position 48.51N, 22.44W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Spey. 33 dead and 16 survivors. (Alex Gordon)
They seem to be implying that people iron other brands of long underwear. But that seems impossible ...
A friend of mine dove at Truk and the area of “Operation Hailstorm” 2 years ago. The things he saw were amazing. Completely intact jeeps, tanks, etc. sitting on decks of sunken ships and on the ocean floor. Amazing sites.
My dad was at Eniwetok, the blowing up time though.
"Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby
Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby
Bye Bye Bye baby
Papa's off to the Seven Seas
Don't cry baby
Don't sigh baby
Good bye, baby
Don't cry, baby
When I come back we'll live the life of ease."
Seems kind of tough now
To say good-bye this way,
But papa's got to be rough now,
So he can be sweet to you another day..."
They aren't called "the Greatest Generation" for nothing.
Baldwin hints that Anzio is a dress rehearsal for the cross-channel attack. Yes, there are some lessons to be learned, but there are many differences in the operations.
Baldwin also suspects that the Soviet numbers on the Korsun pocket are being “massaged.” He says the numbers of casualties/POWs claimed by the Russians don’t reflect the combat power of ten German divisions. I don’t think he realizes that all of the German divisions in the east have been worn down and are only fractions of their nominal strength. Some are no stronger than the pin in the map at Hitler’s HQ.
The power of the United States Navy continues to impress. While stomping on Truk with an overwhelming force, we also conduct an amphibious operation against Eniwetok. And no sign of fight from the IJN.
I’ve just gotten to Anzio in the big book. The author persuasively argues that the Anzio assault could not have gone much better than it did - other than by not going at all - and furthermore, that once the decision was made to invade mainland Italy, there was never any realistic chance that it wouldn’t be long-drawn-out and miserable.
It would be interesting to see the terrain in real life. It sounds more like Chattanooga than any other Civil War battlefields I’ve toured.
I never understood why the allies didn't just land on some beach in northern Italy -- say between Piza & Genoa in the west, maybe also Ravena in the east, join forces in the center, cut-off axis units in the south?
How could that have been more difficult than what they actually did?
That’s a very interesting point. No beaches? Heavily fortified? Too close to centers of German air power? The Allies expected much lighter defenses in Italy. Kesselring had all the advantages of terrain and interior lines, but he out-planned and generally out-generalled the opposition, too.
It seems like it’s a case of strategy being driven by Churchill, and once he’d decided to go ashore in southern Italy, he ground down all the opposition. Some historian - maybe Shelby Foote - said that Gettysburg was the price the Confederacy paid for Robert E. Lee. That is, they wouldn’t have had a chance without his genius and leadership, but it was in his nature to push too far. In the same way, we might say Italy is the price the Allies paid for Churchill.
IIRC, the farther North an invasion might be planned there was decreasing availability of air cover from Tunisia and Sicily to protect Naval and landed forces while there was a corresponding increase in enemy air cover available.
My dad’s ship resupplied in Eniwetok on the way home in late 1945.
The air umbrella was probably an issue. The Allies NEVER did an amphib operation unless they had overwhelming air supremacy. I don’t think the Allies were comfortable doing anything in the Adriatic; they wouldn’t risk a naval/amphibious operation in such narrow waters with German air power on both sides.
The other part is that Anzio was intended to be a quick operational turning of the Gustav Line rather than a major strategic operation.
And maybe it just was what it was. Italy was definitely a backwater by this time. Most resources are going to Overlord, as Somervell pointed out today.
What if you were in a car wreck and had to go to the hospital? Would you want the emergency room personnel to discover you wearing a wrinkled union suit? I mean, assuming you wore a union suit.
If I was in New York in February, I’m sure I’d be wearing some kind of warm underwear.
Another reason why there were no more landings in Italy is all the transport will be sent to England for Overlord. We've seen in earlier posts that Churchill had to beg Roosevelt and the Joint Chiefs to let him hold on to transport craft long enough to do Anzio.
Baldwin was right to be suspicious of the Russian claims about the Korsun pocket, although perhaps for the wrong reason. The Russians proclaimed victory before they had actually captured or killed the former residents of the pocket. I imagine it's frustrating to him not to have more direct access to information about what's happening on the Russian front.
I agree with henkster's observation about the Navy. It's amazing they could smash Truk and invade Eniwetok at the same time. That would make me very nervous if I were in the Japanese command.
I found it very interesting that when the B-24 recon flight was over Truk the anchorage was full of fighting ships. I knew when the attack came there were few left, most departing days earlier. Did the Japanese take the appearance of the planes as a warning that trouble was brewing and they should pull out?
ping to page 7, bottom right corner story, Nero’s ancient aqueduct tunnel and villa discovered in WWII action.
By the way, here is one old version of "Mairzy-Dotes", can't say for sure by who...