Skip to comments.AMERICANS CAPTURE AIR BASE ON ENIWETOK; ALLIES CHECK ANZIO ATTACK, CLOSE ON CASSINO (2/20/44)
Posted on 02/20/2014 5:07:19 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
The News of the Week in Review
Three Months in the Pacific: A Record of American Advance (map) 14
Pacific Blows 15-16
Other Fronts 16-18
Fifteen News Questions 19
Where American Forces are Striking New Blows (map) 20
Our March across the Pacific is Quickened (Baldwin) 21-22
Nazis Exploit Our Bombing of Mt. Cassino Monastery (Middleton) 22
The Battle in Italy (map) 23
Italy Provides Test of Victory Strategy (Sulzberger) 24
The Invasion Coast as Seen from the Continent (map) 25
Invasion will Demand Our Mightiest Effort (by P.J. Philip) 26
Answers to Fifteen News Questions 27
Soviet strike south of Leningrad
Sunday, February 20, 1944 www.onwar.com
Red Army artillery supporting offensive in the north [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... The Soviet 2nd Baltic Front (Popov) launches a new offensive toward Kholm, spearheaded by the 22nd Army. German 16th Army, part of Army Group North, is unable to contain the assault, in part because of the army group shifting of forces northward in support of German 18th Army in recent weeks.
In the Marshall Islands... American carrier aircraft from Task Group 58.1 (Admiral Reeves) attack Japanese targets in Jaluit Atoll. The fighting on Eniwetok continues. The nearby island of Parry is shelled by US naval forces.
In Occupied Norway... A ferry carrying a stock of heavy water from the Ryukan hydroelectric plant to Germany is sunk by resistance fighters acting on instructions from the British government and the Norwegian government in exile. The cargo is lost. Heavy water is used in atomic research.
February 20th, 1944 (SUNDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Fulham, London: Mr. Leslie Owen Fox (1904-82), Heavy Rescue Service, tunnelled for hours under burning debris to find a man trapped in a bombed house. (George Cross)
Destroyer HMS Warwick sunk by U-413.
NETHERLANDS: 35 Ninth Air Force B-26 Marauders bomb Haamstede Airfield as a target of opportunity, after about 100 B-26s abort attacks on other airfields because of weather.
GERMANY: The US 8th Air Force begins attacks which become known as “Big Week”. 731 B-17s and 272 B-24s are disparched to bomb German fighter aircraft production centers at Tutow, Leipzig, Heiterblick, Abtnaundorf, Bernburg, Brunswick, Wilhelmtor, Neupetritor and Gotha. 15 aircraft are lost.
USAAF Sgt Archibald Mathies, engineer, and Second Lt Walter E Truemper navigator, were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for actions this day. (Anthony Staunton)
It was a planned attack on the German Air Force. The attacks were aimed at airframe and engine manufacturing plants. That was the target. The aim was to force the Luftwaffe to come up and engage with the new American long range fighter capability. The object to kill German fighter pilots and destroy the manufacturing ability. The first aim succeeded the second did not. American fighters were freed from close support of the bombers and instructed to engage and kill all German aircraft in the sky, to follow them down wherever they went and kill them.
In my own case we had a mission to Gotha, Germany where we were under fighter attack for four and one half hours. We lost 13 out of 25 planes in my group. We were credited with 26 German aircraft destroyed. How accurate this was I cannot say (For the Germans. I am sure of our losses). (Hal Turrell)
NORWAY: Norwegian resistance successfully sinks a barge carrying heavy water from Ryukan, Norway bound for Germany. Heavy water is necessary for continued experiments by the German nuclear program.
ITALY: Twelfth Air Force B-26s hit troop concentrations along roads in the Vallalta area; B-25s hit dumps and assembly areas at the northern edge of the Anzio beachhead, and A-20 Havocs bomb a troop and motor transport concentration southeast of Carroceto; A-36 Apaches and P-40s hit troops, trucks and tanks northeast of Carroceto, bomb the town of Fondi, a factory east of Carroceto, the town of Piedimonte, and hit guns and targets of opportunity along the northern line of the beachhead; an Axis attempt to achieve a breakthrough is decisively defeated in the center of the salient created by a counteroffensive and their efforts end.
Fifteenth Air Force B-24s blast troop concentrations in the Anzio, Italy, beachhead area as the Axis efforts end.
At 1755, U-230 fired one Gnat at landing ships off Anzio and heard a detonation after 13 minutes, 25 seconds. The Gnat probably detonated at the end of its run. At 1851 hours, another torpedo was fired, which sank HMS LST-305.
At 0157, USS LST-348 was torpedoed by U-410 and was sunk at 0221 by a coup de grâce about 40 miles south of Naples. The vessel was participating in the landings in Anzio-Nettuno, Operation Shingle.
BLACK SEA: Soviet Black Sea Fleet submarine TS-2 (ex-S2 Marsuinul) sunk due to torpedo explosion at Poti. Raised Feb 28 and later returned to service.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: 35 Thirteenth Air Force B-25s, with fighter escort, bomb Lakunai Airfield at Rabaul on New Britain Island. Twelve Fifth Air Force B-24s hit shipping off Kavieng, New Ireland Island.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Thirteenth Air Force P-39s attack barge traffic, which has greatly increased off southeastern and northwestern Bougainville Island, claiming 20 of the craft sunk.
MARSHALL ISLANDS: Aircraft the USS Enterprise (CV-6), part of Task Group 58.1 (TG 58.1) bomb Japanese installations on Jaluit Atoll. Nine Seventh Air Force B-25s from Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands bomb the airfield at Wotje Atoll while P-40s from Makin Island in the Gilberts strafe and bomb runways and small vessels at Mille Atoll.
NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: 18 Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb the airfield at Laha on Ambon Island.
NEW GUINEA: 38 Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb the Alexishafen-Hansa Bay area.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Two Japanese ships are sunk by the submarine USS Pogy (SS-266).
CANADA: Minesweepers HMCS Fort William, Milltown, Blairmore and Minas departed Halifax for Devonport via Azores.
Submarine USS Icefish launched.
Minesweeper USS Garland launched.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Whilst serving in Captain Walkers renowned 2nd. Escort Group, sloop HMS Woodpecker is hit by a Zaunkönig fired by U-764 (Leutnant zur See Hanskurt von Bremen) South of Iceland at 48 49N 22 11W . Woodpeckers stern is blown off but as she remained afloat was taken in tow. She sank in a gale on 27 February at 49 39N 06 08E. There were no casualties.
VandW class destroyer HMS Warwick is torpedoed and sunk by U-413 (Kapitanleutnant Gustav Poel) in the English Channel 20 SW of Trevose Head at 50 27N 05 23W. The torpedo set off an internal explosion, whereupon Warwick sank very quickly with 43 casualties and 93 survivors. (Alex Gordon)(108)
U-683 reported missing in the North Atlantic SW of Ireland.
Good maps on p. 23 and p. 25.
Coincidence. My dad was in Italy during WWII. His DD214 (or as I remember it) had Major Battles fought and listed Battle of Rome and some other campaigns. However, I remember him always talking about Monte Cassino (he used to say Monte Cassini) and how tough it was to clear out the Germans there.
And again, in the early 50s right after I was born he got stationed in a place called Eniwetok. Two things I remember about when he came home. He got me a whole slew of island crafts (boats and stuff mostly all of which were broken by the mail service in transit) and a dozen or so black disks about the size of a half dollar and maybe 1/2 to 3/4” thick, each on a bead-chain. Radiation exposure disks.
For years afterward he had problems -ended up getting medically discharged in 1964 on 100% service connected disability. [His orders jacket from military didn’t contain any records of the time there, but my mom finally found some other soldiers’ (through snail mail networking) orders that were ‘group’ deployments that had my dad’s name on them. Those particular copies were what got him the disability rating. He died in 1971 while I was overseas myself.
Those were the days, before the already planted seeds of the USA United Socialists of America grew over our republic. Thanks for the lookback, Homer_J_Simpson.
America’s finest. I knew some of them.
"Nahum Goldmann helped create the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in 1936.
\ The organization, headquartered in the United States, sought 'to assure the survival and to foster the unity of the Jewish people.'
The Holocaust only deepened Goldmann's conviction that a Jewish state must be established in Palestine."
What was the phrase? They're overpaid, oversexed and over here!
On a more serious note, the Navy is running wild in the Pacific. They're showing up at random by surprise and smashing Japanese island bases all over the Carolines and Marshalls. Wow.
“In Occupied Norway... A ferry carrying a stock of heavy water from the Ryukan hydroelectric plant to Germany is sunk by resistance fighters acting on instructions from the British government and the Norwegian government in exile. The cargo is lost. Heavy water is used in atomic research.”
IIRC, the resistance planted a time bomb on the ferry carrying the cargo across a deep lake.
The bombs were timed to blow where the lake was the deepest and did.
Thanks. BUMP! BUMP! (LOL!)
Last page, advertisement for a $575 cocktail watch.
$575.00 in 1944 had the same buying power as $7,701.33 in 2014.
I recall some ads for mink coats in prior issues, $3000.
$3,000.00 in 1944 had the same buying power as $40,180.86 in 2014.
Annual inflation over this period was 3.78%.
LOL. “Stimulus.” Sure it is...
Wars have a way of genetically “shuffling the deck.” So many men uprooted and sent around the world. So many lonely women...
As for the USN, I’m wondering how the Japanese leadership is taking this. It has got to be a huge loss of face for their admirals. The USN is running wild this time, and the IJN is impotent; not even trying to make a stand up fight of it. That’s one thing the USN didn’t do even in the darkest days of 1942; we never ran away from a stand up fight, no matter what the odds were. Not at the Java Sea, not Coral Sea, not Midway, and not in the many battles around Guadalcanal.
But, the Japanese have just witnessed the devastating effectiveness of Nimitz' fleet and air arm at Kwajalein and Eniwetak and couldn't risk the ships at Truk to that kind of attack. They had squandered carrier pilots in the futile effort to protect Rabaul and the Solomons from American air attack, so they had no effective air defense.
I seem to remember the Navy cutting and running from Guadalcanal, leaving the Marines holding the bag without adequate food and other supplies, and without the heavy artillery.
Frank Jack Fletcher did pull the flattops out early at Guadalcanal. There has been a lot of controversy over his decision. He was not so much concerned about a fleet action as with a fleet action in conjunction with attack by land based torpedo planes. After the loss of HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse the Allies were wary of those planes. Fletcher later fought a muddled Battle of the Eastern Solomons, his last action as fleet commander. In fact, he commanded more carrier engagements than any other American commander.
The destruction of the abbey at Cassino is one of those hot button topics that get mulled over from time to time.
From everything I have seen, there is no hard evidence that the Germans had occupied the monastery in any real force prior to the February 15th bombing. But that said, I have not done any serious research into this either. They certainly were not entrenched in the abbey to the degree that is described in today’s article though.
However, the 300 yard “neutral zone” that is mentioned in this article was based on a German order that had been withdrawn on January 5th, and it is known that some of the tunnels, not directly on the abbey grounds, but within that 300 yard zone were being used as munition stores.
One interesting slip up in all this though centered around an intercepted German message right before the bombing. British Intelligence translated the intercept and mistook the word Abt to be an abbreviation of Abteil (literally translates to “compartment” but also can be slang for “unit” as in a military unit) instead of “abbot” which is what Abt is the German word for. They also left out some detail in one of the responses which completely changed what the message appeared to say. So what was received was:
Ist Abt in Kloster?
Ja in Kloster mit Mönchen.
What the GSO translated this to was:
Is the unit in the monastery?
Yes. (The rest of this translation off)
This message came under the scrutiny of Colonel David Hunt who found the errors and realized that the actual translation should have been this:
Is the abbot in the monastery?
Yes, in the monastery with the monks.
By the time this was discovered, the monastery had already been bombed.