Skip to comments.FIRST U.S. FIGHTERS REACH BERLIN, BOMBERS HIT FRENCH AIRFIELDS (3/4/44)
Posted on 03/04/2014 4:37:26 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
You should see the Home Secretarys minute about a national day of prayer for Overlord. I think there are serious dangers in drawing attention to the coming shock in this way, especially as no one can know when it is going to be. We have to be very much on our guard against unduly depressing the troops.*
* See minute of February 22.
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
#1 - Besame Mucho Jimmy Dorsey, with Bob Eberly and Kitty Kallen
#2 - My Heart Tells Me - Glen Gray, with Eugenie Baird
#3 - Mairzy Doats Merry Macs
#4 Shoo Shoo Baby - Ella Mae Morse, with orchestra
#5 Shoo Shoo Baby - Andrews Sisters
#6 - Star Eyes - Jimmy Dorsey, with Bob Eberly and Kitty Kallen
#7 - Holiday for Strings David Rose
#8 I Couldnt Sleep a Wink Last Night Frank Sinatra
#9 Mairzy Doats Al Trace, with Red Maddox
#10 - Speak Low Guy Lombardo, with Billy Leach
Soviet offensive in Ukraine
Saturday, March 4, 1944 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... Soviet forces launch a new series of attacks in the Ukraine. The forces of 1st Ukrainian Front (Zhukov) attack from the north and east of Tarnopol.
In the Admiralty Islands... US Task Force 74 (Crutchley) shells Japanese batteries on Hauwei and Ndrilo. These guns have hampered American access to Seeadler Bay.
March 4th, 1944 (SATURDAY)
FRANCE: 219 B-24’s are dispatched to hit French airfields; 62 hit Bergerac Airfield, 60 hit the Chateau-Bernard Airfied at Cognac; 41 hit Landes de Bussac Airfield and 1 hits La Roche Airfield. The group participating were the 44th, 93d, 389th, 392d, 445th, 446th 448th, 453d and 458th Bombardment Groups (Heavy). Fighter support consisted of 34 P-38’s, 185 P-47’s and 88 P-51’s.
GERMANY: The 8th AF headed to Berlin.
The first American bombers and fighters appear over Berlin. The raid had been cancelled because of weather. One group proceeded to the target with fighter escort. Göring later said, “When I saw the American fighters over Berlin I knew the jig was up.” (Hal Turrell)
Bombers are escorted by P-38J Lightnings, but many of the 249 B-17s dispatched hit other targets in Bonn, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt because of bas weather and poor visibility over much of the continent.
Today’s 1200-mile round trip was made under heavy flak, but there was no sign of Luftwaffe interceptors. Even so, out of 502 bombers and 720 fighters, 39 were lost.
A recall message was received and most of the bombers turned back. The lead aircraft for the 95th BG, “I’ll Be Around”, was piloted that day by Alvin Brown, with squadron leader(?) Grif Mumford on board as a command pilot. The radio operator of the aircraft received the message, but told Mumford:
(1) the message had the wrong salutation codes at the beginning, and
(2) the signal was too strong and clear to have originated in England
and was therefore a fake message sent by the Germans. Mumford elected to continue the mission, and the 95th BG, accompanied by elements of the 100th BG (if memory serves, 29 B-17s in all) proceeded on to Berlin. They were met by P-51s of the 357th FG. (Dennis Sparks)
POLAND: Krakow: Governor Hans Frank reminds a Nazi meeting: “The Jews are a race which must be wiped out. Whenever we catch one, he will be exterminated.”
BARENTS SEA: U-472 sunk SE of Bear Island, Norway, in position 73.05N, 26.40E, by gunfire and rockets from destroyer HMS Onslaught and 816 Sqn Swordfish aircraft from escort carrier HMS Chaser. 23 dead and 30 survivors.
U-703 attacked Convoy RA-57 near Kola Inlet with a spread of FAT torpedoes and sank SS Empire Tourist. At 1545 hours, U-703 fired a Gnat and heard a detonation after 3 minutes 10 seconds, which was observed by destroyer HMS Milne. This destroyer then attacked the U-boat with depth charges for several hours. The master, 41 crewmembers, 23 gunners, two signalmen and one naval personnel from the Empire Tourist were picked up by minesweeper HMS Gleaner and landed at Aultbea, Loch Ewe.
U.S.S.R.: The Red Army pushes German forces back across the river Bug, except for a pocket at Uman.
ITALY: Anzio: There is a lull in the fighting giving the Germans time to rally their forces for defence.
BURMA: “Merril’s Marauders” go into action for the first time, erecting a roadblock at Walawbaum, in Hukawng Valley, as part of a move to take Myitkyina and re-open the Burma Road.
Air Commando Combat Mission N0. 17 3:05 flight time Hailakandi, Assam to Lonkin, Burma Photo mission of landing strip. The following is from my memory of the occasion, written in my journal at a later date. The photos taken showed the field covered with logs. At that time it was thought the logs were placed there by the Japanese to prevent landings. The results caused much concern with the brass. There was some talk that the mission had been compromised. The force going was diverted to another field. Later it was determined that the Burmese had placed them there to dry out.
Note. General Wingate had not wanted any flying over this particular area prior to the night glider assault landings, but on a hunch Colonel Cochran sent us as a lone B-25 to fly over and photograph the field and our flight did pay off. It would have been a disaster had the flight gone as planned. (Chuck Baisden)
JAPAN: All students are mobilised.
ADMIRALTY ISLANDS: US forces arrive to reinforce the Los Negros beach-head.
U.S.A.: “Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much)” by Jimmy Dorsey And His Orchestra with vocals by Bob Eberly and Kitty Kallen reaches Number 1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the U.S. This song, which debuted on the charts on 15 January 1944, was charted for 23 weeks, was Number 1 for 7 weeks and was ranked Number 4 for the year 1944.
Corvette HMCS Agassiz completed forecastle extension refit New York.
Destroyer USS Leutze commissioned.
Frigate USS Sausalito commissioned.
Submarine USS Sterlet commissioned.
Destroyer escorts USS Doyle C Barnes and Jobb launched.
Not much variety in the musical tastes ... two versions of “Shoo Shoo Baby” and two versions of “Mairzy Doats.” People say contemporary music is mindless, but “Mairzy Doats” and “Besame Mucho” are right up there.
“Sforza for Fiume as Seat of League (Sulzberger) 6-7”
Some interesting stuff in Count Sforza’s proposals, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out all that great.
Count Sforza will be Italian Foreign Minister after the war 1947-51.
Very interesting, thanks!
Page 5: Benzadrine used to keep flyers awake.
Benzadrne was a racemic mixture of dextro and levo amphetamine.
The dextro version is 10 times more potent than the levo version in the human brain.
The Germans were using methamphetamine regularly.
Page 4, right flank of the American line at Anzio, very linear in shape, must be a railroad line?
Or an inaccurately drawn line. According to the map Cougar posted at reply #14 on February 28 the allies are behind the Mussolini Canal, which meanders north-south.
“Roosevelt Links Pipeline to Needs 17”
Roosevelt promotes Saudi pipeline needs!
“Bombers are escorted by P-38J Lightnings, but many of the 249 B-17s dispatched hit other targets in Bonn, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt because of bas weather and poor visibility over much of the continent.”
The final 210 J models, designated P-38J-25-LO, alleviated the compressibility problem through the addition of a set of electrically actuated dive recovery flaps just outboard of the engines on the bottom centerline of the wings. With these improvements, a USAAF pilot reported a dive speed of almost 600 mph (970 km/h), although the indicated air speed was later corrected for compressibility error, and the actual dive speed was lower. Lockheed manufactured over 200 retrofit modification kits to be installed on P-38J-10-LO and J-20-LO already in Europe, but the USAAF C-54 carrying them was shot down by an RAF pilot who mistook the Douglas transport for a German Focke-Wulf Condor. Unfortunately the loss of the kits came during Lockheed test pilot Tony LeVier’s four-month morale-boosting tour of P-38 bases. Flying a new Lightning named “Snafuperman” modified to full P-38J-25-LO specs at Lockheed’s modification center near Belfast, LeVier captured the pilots’ full attention by routinely performing maneuvers during March 1944 that common Eighth Air Force wisdom held to be suicidal. It proved too little too late because the decision had already been made to re-equip with Mustangs.
Interesting article on giving the flight crews Benzedrine to keep them awake on long missions. The Germans have been giving their troops Pervitin (same thing) for a few years now. There were two things about the article I found interesting; one is what they said, and the other is what they didn’t. What they said is that the Benzies didn’t make you a “superman,” although I’m sure it felt like it.
The other interesting thing is what the good doctor didn’t say. He didn’t say it was safe.
I noticed that as well. I recall reading that stimulants were used in Vietnam, too.