Skip to comments.U.S. TROOPS TAKE ADMIRALTY ISLE (3/1/44)
Posted on 03/01/2014 5:58:09 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
Germans to build more fighters
Wednesday, March 1, 1944 www.onwar.com
In Germany... The Jagerstab (Fighter Staff) is formed under Saur, acting under the authority of the Armaments Ministry led by Speer. The objective is to boost production of Me109 and Fw190 fighters to unprecedented levels. Many new assembly lines are to be established in salt mines and tunnels. Plans for large-scale production of the Me262 are abandoned.
In the Admiralty Islands... On Los Negros, US forces eliminate some small Japanese forces that infiltrated their lines during the night.
On the Eastern Front... In the north, Soviet forces capture Russaki near Pskov.
March 1st, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: The British minesweepers ME 35, commanded by Lieutenant Jack Nielsen, and ME 83, commanded by Lieutenant I Carlo F. Sørensen, are manned with Danish crews and flying 2 flags, Orlogsflaget (Danish Naval Ensign) and the White Ensign.
Destroyer HMS Ursa commissioned.
Submarine HMS Thorough commissioned.
FRANCE: Rommel has arrived in northern France to take command of the German forces awaiting the long-expected Allied invasion. The legendary “Desert Fox” has been dismayed to discover that the Führer’s vaunted “Atlantic Wall” is largely a figment of Hitler’s imagination, and he is urgently throwing up fortifications along the Normandy coast.
Vital training programmes have had to be dropped because, unable to get labour and materials from the Todt Organization, he is having to use his troops as labourers to cut trees for stakes on the beaches. Fuel shortages have created transport problems, and he has been driven to depend on horses and carts. Field Marshal Rommel asked for 50 million mines to sow as the first line of defence on the beaches; he expects to receive about 6 million. He reckons that he needs 240 loads of cement daily for fortifications; he is receiving fewer than 50.
To compound Rommel’s problems, he is in disagreement with Field Marshal von Rundstedt, the C-in-C West. Rommel considers that the Allied invasion will be mounted in Normandy; von Rundstedt is certain it will be in the Pas de Calais and is holding back an armoured reserve which Rommel argues is vital for hitting the enemy when he is weakest, at the moment of landing.
GERMANY: Berlin: Fritz Sauckel, the Reich plenipotentiary for the allocation of labour, says that there are five million slave workers in Germany.
In response to the emergency created by the Allied Combined Bomber Offensive, the Armaments and Air Ministries create the Fighter Staff (Jägerstab) program, which was to produce between 1,000 and 4,000 fighters per month. (Mike Yared)
Walter Model is promoted to Field Marshal. (Glenn A. Steinberg)
U-907, U-1017, U-1018 launched.
U-873, U-1170, U-1274 commissioned.
U.S.S.R.: Marshal Zhukov takes over the command of the First Ukrainian Front from the injured General Vatutin; the German General Walter Model is promoted to Field Marshal.
Soviet troops take Russaki near Pskov.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-358 (Type VIIC) is sunk north of the Azores, in position 45.46N, 23.16W, by depth charges from the British frigates HMS Gould (ex-USS Lovering), Affleck, Gore and Garliese. 50 dead and 1 survivor. On 5 May, 1943 U-358 was depth charged in the North Atlantic by the British destroyer escort HMS Pink. The boat was damaged so badly that she had to return to base.
U-603 (type VIIC ) sunk in position 48.55N, 26.10W, by depth charges from the US destroyer escort USS Bronstein. 51 dead (all hands lost).
U-709 (type VIIC) is sunk north of the Azores, in approximate position 49.10N, 26.00W, by depth charges from the US destroyer escorts USS Thomas, Bostwick and Bronstein. 52 dead (all hands lost). 12 Jul, 1943 A torpedo explosion on board of U-709 killed 2 men and wounded another
Whilst in company with several escorts hunting down a submarine contact, frigate HMS Gould is torpedoed (A homing torpedo) and sunk at 7.20pm 480 miles NNE of the Azores by U-358 (Kapitanleutnant Rolf Manke). There are 123 casualties and 14 survivors. (James Paterson and Alex Gordon)(108)
BURMA: Air Commando Combat Mission N0. 13 3:15 Flight time. No details of results were noted. (Chuck Baisden)
ADMIRALTY ISLANDS: US troops defending Los Negros drive off Japanese attacks on the perimeter.
CANADA: HMC MTB 462 commissioned.
U.S.A.: USAAF XXI Bomber Command is activated at Smoky Hill AAFld, Kansas.
Submarine USS Hammerhead commissioned.
Aircraft carrier USS Tarawa laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Fieberling laid down.
Submarines USS Sea Robin and Stickleback laid down.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: During an air attack U-703 suffered 3 dead and 3 wounded. The damaged boat reached Narvik, Norway two days later. [Funkobermaat Paul Kretschmar (died on 7 March), Bootsmaat Erich Junker Maschinengefreiter Heinz Schade].
SS Saint Louis sunk by U-66 at 05.23N, 00.09W.
Looks like Doug needed to come up with something to make sure he got some of the ink that had been going to Nimitz the last few weeks.
Interesting article titled “Daniels and the Law”. The birth of Presidential Czars and a spike in executive orders. Compare to Obama today.
"Unlike many of the Nazis' victims who had no hope of freedom, members of the Jehovah's Witnesses needed only to sign an Erklärung (declaration) to be released from Dachau or other concentration camps.
Although the Nazis sought to separate the Witnesses from one another and break their spirit, most remained steadfast, unwilling to pledge their loyalty to Hitler.
Jehovah's Witnesses saw the persecution as a sign of the approaching final judgment."
"While many churchmen chose silence and safety during the Holocaust, an heroic few remembered the admonition to love one's neighbor, whether Jew or Christian.
A Capuchin monk of the Franciscan order, Father Pierre Marie Benoît rescued Jews first within his native France and later in Rome.
"From the safety of his Marseilles, France, monastery, Father Benoît witnessed the roundups of non-French Jews destined for concentration camps.
Like Protestant Pastor André Trocmé, Benoît believed that effective action was possible.
His monastery became a center of rescue activity for Jews seeking to escape to neutral Switzerland or Spain.
"Following the Nazi occupation of Vichy France, Benoît prepared a bold rescue effort in concert with French and Italian authorities to save the 30,000 Jews living in Nice and send them to safety in North Africa.
This plan was thwarted by the Nazi occupation of northern Italy.
Such obstacles spurred Benoît to initiate new rescue efforts, focusing on the Jews of Rome.
Working with Jewish organizations and using a false name, Benoît saved over 100 Jews by supplying them with counterfeit identity papers and by persuading various embassies to help in his endeavor.
Following the war, Benoît was named "Righteous Among the Nations" by the Yad Vashem."
Impossible to decipher what the good governor meant by that, but doubtless, such speeches will soon propel him to the Presidency, doncha think?
The 5th was composed of foreign volunteers under the command of German officers. That Walter Mikhel was an officer (probably medical) from Graz, Austria is plausible.
That on Feb 16, 1944 he surrendered on the road to Shanderovka is believable since German commanders leading the breakout attempt decided to leave behind wounded attended by medical staff near Shanderovka on that day, the day of the breakout attempt.
That Mikhel is self described as apolitical and strongly anti-Hitler is questionable. Age 32, he presumably volunteered for the SS years earlier. Otherwise, the Wehrmacht would have drafted him.
He mentions officers being airlifted out of the pocket but no mention made of the thousands of wounded also airlifted out.
That Mikhel and others are bitter at not having been permitted by Hitler to avoid encirclement is understandable but his claim that the 5th SS division would not defend Hitler against any hypothetical putsch by the Werhmacht is questionable. For certain, many German soldiers by this time were no longer fighting for any higher reason than to keep Russians out of their hometowns.
Did you mean 1944?
He got a bit lucky here as well. The invasion of Los Negros was scheduled for April and was to involve an entire division. Reconnaissance showed that this island may have been abandoned so MacArthur decided to pull the trigger on the invasion early.
Trucks with bullhorns rushed through Brisbane trying to gather up troops from the First Cavalry Division as well as sailors on leave to mount the assault.
And an assault is what it was. 1000 assault troops landed and took the beach head with very little resistance. But what MacArthur didn’t know (though his intelligence officer tried to warn him) was that Colonel Ezaki Yoshio had over 4000 troops hiding on the island ready to repel any troops landing at large anchorage on the island. However, the assault troops had landed at a smaller anchorage on the opposite side of the island. Yoshio’s troops were in the wrong position.
So as MacArthur was making his PR trip, he was landing on an island in which his troops were outnumbered 4 to 1. Fortunately for all of the American troops, when Yoshio did attack, he did so in a piecemeal fashion much like Kinonao Ichiki did on Guadalcanal.
Had Yoshio been better organized and prepared MacArthur may had really made front page news. As a prisoner of war.
Gen Kenney also reported to MacArthur that based on lack of AA, grass on Momote Airstrip, unrepaired bomb craters and general lack of enemy activity, the island was either abandoned or suffering severe shortage of munitions. Evidently, MacArthur decided that if Willoughby was correct, Japanese forces were suffering severe supply shortages and that a discount could be applied to whatever their actual numbers were.
However, the assault troops had landed at a smaller anchorage on the opposite side of the island. Yoshios troops were in the wrong position. There were arranged in anticipation of an invasion at Lorengau some 10 miles farther west on Manus Island.
AKA hit 'em where they aint.
So as MacArthur was making his PR trip, he was landing on an island in which his troops were outnumbered 4 to 1.
Yes but the Japanese were arranged unfavorably in three separate areas in anticipation of an American attack elsewhere.
Yoshio's troops were positioned in defense of Seeadler Harbor on the opposite side of Hyane Harbor and Momote Airfield from where the Americans landed.
Actually three separate clusters.
As can be seen from the maps below, Manus Island is the largest island of the Admiralties and is partially seen in the below map. At the eastern end of the map Los Negros Island forms the upward hook of Seeadler Harbor. Los Negros Island is separated from Manus Island by the Porlaka Channel.
The next map shows the Hyane Harbor and Mamote Airfield on Los Negros.
As shown in the above map, Los Negros is divided by a narrow sandstrip (native skidway on map) which separates the northern and eastern portion of Seeadler Harbor from the southern and western portion of Los Negros. Farther West, Los Negros is separated from Manus Island by the Porlaka Channel.
About 2,500 of the Japanese were located north of this sandstrip (native skidway on map) in the Salami Plantation area. The American attack cutoff these forces by land from other Japanese forces.
About 750 Japanese were nearby, with over half across ~200 yard wide Lemonorol Creek in the Papitalai-Lombrurn area to the west.
Another 1,000 Japanese were about 10 miles farther west at Lorengau on Manus Island which is separated from Los Negros by the Porlaka Channel.
On the nights of 2/29/44 and 3/1/44, about 250 Japanese that had been positioned east and south of Lemonorol Creek in the area of Mamote Airfield did attack the Americans but with little effect.
Any large counterattack by the approx 2,500 Japanese at Salami Plantation towards Momote Airfield had to be southward via the narrow isthmus. The Japanese at Papitalai would have to first cross 200 yards of open water and mangrove swamp to reach the airfield. The other 1,000 at Lorengau 10 miles to the West would have to cross a lot of swamp and water to reach the Americans. Communication between the separate Japanese units was probably via human courier.
Fortunately for all of the American troops, when Yoshio did attack, he did so in a piecemeal fashion much like Kinonao Ichiki did on Guadalcanal.
He had little choice given his positions, poor communications and unfavorable terrain.
Had Yoshio been better organized and prepared MacArthur may had really made front page news. As a prisoner of war.
I don't see there having been much chance of that. MacArthur was only on the island for a few hours and naval gunfire could cover the few approach routes necessary for a coordinated counterattack by the Japanese.
Furthermore, the American attack was considered a reconnaissance in force. If the Americans met strong resistance, the plan called for a retreat. If they could hold their position, they were to be rapidly reinforced. The Americans with naval support held their position against local battalion force night attacks on 2/29/44 and 1/1/44. The Americans were reenforced on 2/2/44 and the rest is history.
Certainly, or some later year...
I mean, doncha' think by now the country is hungering for a Republican who can express such clear, meaningful and relevant opinions as: "NO RIGID PEACE TERMS ", or Peace "Treaty 'Must Not Be a Dictated Result of Personal Conferences'"?
I mean, similar ideas worked so well for Democrat Wilson in 1916, so why not for a Republican in 1944?