Skip to comments.800 U.S. BOMBERS SMASH AT BERLIN BY DAY; 68 LOST IN BATTLES, 123 OF FOE SHOT DOWN (3/7/44)
Posted on 03/07/2014 4:35:34 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Nazis seeking women for work
Tuesday, March 7, 1944 www.onwar.com
In Germany... Members of the Nazi organization for women are making house-to-house calls to recruit females between the ages of 17 and 45 to work “in the service of the community.” This effort is an attempt to bolster the depleted German labor force.
In the Solomon Islands... On Bougainville the Japanese are preparing to assault the American beachhead. On the Green Islands Allied forces have completed construction of an airfield.
In the Admiralty Islands... US Task Force 74 (Admiral Crutchley) bombards Japanese batteries on Hauwei and Ndrilo. There are 3 cruisers and 4 destroyers involved.
March 7th, 1944 (TUESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Westminster: Female crooners on the BBC were attacked today in the House of Commons when Lord Winterton (Con) claimed: “They remind one of the caterwauling of an inebriated cockatoo. I cannot believe that all this wailing about lost babies can possibly have a good effect on troops who are about to endanger their lives.” The parliamentary secretary to the minister of information, Mr Thurtle, said that the government would not interfere with the BBC. “I do not think a certain amount of crooning is likely to have a serious effect on the British Army,” he said.
HMCS Georgian arrived Devonport and joined 14th Minesweeping Flotilla.
HMCS Bayfield arrived Devonport and joined 31st Minesweeping Flotilla.
HMCS Thunder arrived Devonport and joined 32nd Minesweeping Flotilla.
Escort carrier HMS Campania commissioned.
GERMANY: A major propaganda campaign aimed primarily at women has been launched in an attempt to bolster Germany’s depleted labour force. Though some three million women between the ages of 17 and 45 were registered for war work last year on the orders of Fritz Sauckel, the Reich plenipotentiary for the allocation of labour, more than two million have used family responsibilities and health grounds to avoid their allocated jobs. Members of the Nazi organization for women are going from house to house appealing to the women to work “in the service of the community.”
U-682, U-683 launched.
POLAND: Auschwitz-Birkenau: In a routine gassing, 3,823 Czech Jews from the ghetto at Theresienstadt are killed.
FINLAND: Finnish government informs the Soviet government (via Kollontay in Sweden) that it is interested in continuing the peace probes. On the 10th of March Soviet answer is received. The Finnish proposition is deemed inadequate. The Soviet terms set out earlier to Paasikivi are the minimum, and there’s no way to alter that. The Soviet government expects the Finns to accept these minimum terms by 18 March if they want to negotiate.
BURMA: Tonight Lt-Gen Renya Mutaguchi launches Operation U-Go to capture the Imphal Plain.
Air Commando Combat Mission N0. 20 3:40 Flight Time Hailakandi, Assam to Bhamo, Burma. Twelve B-25s dropped one hundred and five hundred pound bombs on the Bhamo Air Field. We used six to 12 hour chemical delay fusing in some of the bombs. The runways and taxi strips were thoroughly plastered and the field was definitely of no use to the Japanese to attack “BROADWAY,” the code name for the landing site in Burma.
Notes: Source for the following: Air Force History and Museum Program 1944 Operation Thursday was code name for the operation. The task orders: (for the Chindits and Air Commandos)
(1) Assist advance of General Stillwell’s forces to take Myitkyina by cutting communication of the Japanese 18th Division, harassing its rear and preventing reinforcement.
(2) Create a favorable situation for the Chinese forces crossing the Salween River into Burma.
(3) Inflict damage and confusion on the enemy in northern Burma.
CANADA: Corvette HMCS Petrolia (ex-HMS Sherborne Castle) commissioned.
U.S.A.: Destroyer escort USS Jack W Wilke commissioned.
Escort carrier USS Vella Gulf laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Woodson laid down.
Destroyer escorts USS William Seiverling, Ulvert M Moore and Kenneth M Willett launched.
MS Tarifa sunk by U-510 at 12.48N, 58.44E.
Steam tanker Valera sunk by U-518 at 11.30N, 76.27W.
“Roosevelt Calls on AFL to Give CIO a Voice in ILO.”
But what do the WPA, RGB, and NFL think?
Thanks for today’s article. What’s interesting was once the P-51B/C Mustang became widely available at the beginning of 1944, the USAAF had a fighter plane that could out-fly the Bf 109G-6 and Fw 190A-4, the most commonly used variants of the Luftwaffe fighters at the time. And the P-51 in the first half of 1944 effectively wiped out the Luftwaffe as a potent fighting force in western Europe.
The more I read, the more I tend to agree with this theory. Post war studies revealed the near failure of bombing raids...I believe that less than 5% of bombs dropped actually landed on target. These poor results were known during the war, though not to such an extent. But it's hard to see senior officers willing to sustain such losses for such poor results absent another motive. The were basically hoping to destroy more fighters than the Germans could continue to produce..It's frightening to think what would have happened had the Nazis been able to produce their jet fighter in any quantity..
Even if Hitler had wisely ordered the Me 262 into production in 1943, the plane was still in many ways no match for the fastest Allied fighters like the P-51B/C/D/K, Hawker Tempest V and Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XIV, because of the Me 262’s slow acceleration and limited maneuverability. The Allies would have figured out how to draw the Me 262 into a dogfight where the Allied fighters had the advantage.
I recall reading recently a history of the AAF in WW-II “Winged Victory” of the Allies strategy for dealing with the jets.
As the ME-262 and AR-234 required long concrete runways once a jet was sighted the call went out on the radio “JETS”. Available units would then start patrolling those airfields. The flight time of the early jets was rather short and once the jets were in the pattern they were easy pickings for any Allied fighters.
This strategy played upon the early jets weakness in the slow acceleration of the engines of the times.
FDR pandering to Stalin by supporting the Communist controlled CIO.
A footnote to your observation. On their early escort missions, P-51 pilots were told to stay close to their assigned bomber formations. Losses of B-17s and B-24s decreased, but the Mustang drivers didn’t many opportunities to go after Luftwaffe fighters.
Jimmy Doolittle, who had replaced Ira Eaker as Commander of 8th Air Force, quickly realized the error in these tactics. Within a few weeks, P-51s were being sent on fighter sweeps ahead of the bomber formations, engaging German fighters that were rising to meet the B-17s and B-24s.
The results were immediate and impressive. Germany’s twin-engine fighters (which were most effective against heavy bombers) were decimated by the Mustangs and withdrawn from service by the spring. That left ME-109s and FW-190s to bear the brunt of the battle, and Germany couldn’t produce enough replacement aircraft (and pilots) to withstand the onslaught.
There’s a famous sequence in “The Longest Day” where two German fighter pilots are ordered into the air to contest the Normandy invasion. After the “Big Week” attacks of late February and the Berlin raid in early March, allied airpower became focused on France and preparations for D-Day. By the time of the invasion, the Luftwaffe in France was finished as a fighting force. Those pilots made one pass over the beach and (amazed that they survived), headed for home.
We used a similar tactic in the Pacific. P-51s operating from Iwo Jima flew sweeps over Japan, decimating Japanese fighter formations. The Mustangs were particularly effective against Japan’s “George” fighter which appeared late in the war and was more than a match for the F6F Hellcat.
Ah, is that it?
How so? They seem to have the 'Corporate State, with its lust for imperialsim - shackling of free American enterprise' pretty well pegged.
It seems like some folks were beginning to see Roosevelt as the fascist President for Life that he was.
It didn’t help the Germans that the mainline piston-engined fighters of the first half of 1944—the Bf 109G-6 and the Fw 190A-4—were performance-wise inferior to the P-51B/C models. As such, the Luftwaffe suffered heavy losses as their fighters took a major beating from USAAF fighters. By the time Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf started to produce Bf 109 and Fw 190 variants that could fight on equal terms against the P-51 (and by summer 1944 Tempest V and Spitfire Mk. XIV) models, it was already too late—the Luftwaffe lost too many experienced pilots.
While the Germans had prototypes of the Me262 ready for production in 1943, much has been made of the production delay that came from Hitler’s order that they be redesigned as bombers. To some extent, that’s a red herring. Jet technology was very much in its infancy during World War 2. The two biggest problems that faced the Germans was the very short operating life of the earliest jet engines, and the scarcity of raw materials required for the turbo fan blades. In 1943, those problems were acute, but some technological progress had been made to aleviate some of the issues by 1944. As a practical matter, because of the engine issues, Germany could not have had an effective jet fighter force until the later part of 1944 regardless of Hitler’s order.
And even after they began production, the Germans could prodcuce the airframes for the Me262 but engines were always going to be a limiting factor. So while some Me262 squadrons did operate successfully, there were too few of them in operation, and too few well-trained and experienced pilots, for them to have had an effect on the war.
I know Adolph Galland claimed that with 250 flying Me262s, he could have broken up the big bomber formations and finished them off with the 109s and 190s. The problem was that he was never going to get that many 262s airborne and assembled for a concerted attack on any given day. It’s like saying the Germans would have won at Kursk if only they had another 200 Tiger tanks. You might as well argue that if Napoleon had a B52 at Waterloo, we’d all speak French.
Sounds like an idea for a computer game. Reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode where the tank crew on maneuvers around Little Bighorn goes back in time to join Gen. Custer. After they share his fate their present-day CO says something like, "too bad they didn't take their tank with them." If General Custer had a couple Shermans with him we might all be speaking, um, English.
However, from what I've read Arnold and the others in high command still believed they could destroy the German aircraft industry from the air. The full degree of the ineffectiveness of strategic bombing would not be known until after the war.
Also, American effectiveness was much better than the Brits because we bombed in daylight and had the Norden sight. Frankly, I dont think the Brits cared if they hit anything or not - they wanted to destroy the major German cities.
Finally, consider the effect of the air campaign on Germany's military effectiveness. A huge percentage of German industry and a big chunk of her armed forces are now devoted to producing aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons and manning the defenses. That is production and manpower that is not in Russia or in France preparing for us.
Stillwell underequipped them, undersupplied them (including not enough food) and improperly employed them. Medical support and evacuation were inadequate. Stillwell even refused to coordinate their movements with the British because of his paranoia about them. By the time they will fight and win their last engagement, Myitkyina, they will have almost no combat effective troops left.
The men were tough as nails and fought like devils, proving the concept of long range penetration and reconnaissance tactics, a primary mission of the modern Rangers. The descendant of their unit is the 75th Ranger Regiment, the primary Ranger unit in the U.S. Army. The Regimental tab still bears the shield of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), Merrill's Marauders:
Note the combination of the Chinese sun and American star, from our respective flags.
WW II was the last time that Americans were willing to accept casualties as the necessary price of victory, that the lives of troops weren't important in the big picture. The country was innocent, censorship was near absolute, and considered necessary for the greater good ( remember the story of the 800+ US troops killed during a training exercise shortly before D-Day, when German E-boats attacked the exercise)
All very interesting comments.
As I've said before, every 88mm flak gun shooting at B17s is not shooting up T34s. Every FW190 making a pass at B24s is not keeping the Stormoviks off the panzer divisions.
The allied bombing of Germany was largely ineffective for lack of a coherent and coordinated strategy. The bombing offensive was only effective once the allies realized the weak point of the German economy was the coal gasification plants that turned out synthetic oil. They were large and complex, and not easily dispersed. They were highly vulnerable to bomb damage and took a long time to repair. Once the allies began deliberately targeting these facilities, the German war machine was crippled.
LeMay took many of these lessons learned and applied them to the strategic bombing of Japan. Although Japan was not as highly industrialized as Germany, and much of the economic dislocation of Japan's was due to naval action, LeMay's six month bombing offensive was far more effective than what the 8th AF and RAF accomplished in two and a half years. Before LeMay's arrival, the 20th Air Force was pursuing the same strategy as used in Europe, and was just as ineffective. LeMay studied the problem, and realized the incendiary area bombing would be effective. He also deliberately diverted resources to the coastal maritime mining campaign. The next step was the severing of the inland rail links. Given another 30 days, LeMay's tactics would have guaranteed the starvation of millions of Japanese during the coming winter.
The nation had the will to fight and a willingness to accept casualties, within reason, in WWII. Part of it may have been witnessing the horrific casualties being suffered in Russia which made ours pale by comparison. And the American press well publicized the terror the Blitz inflicted on British civilians, which thankfully we never had to endure.
Vietnam really seemed to sour the American people's will to endure substantial casualties in a foreign war, but that's another story.
But to go back to the air war, I think we may have a situation where both sides are right. You are correct that the Air Force constantly analyzed film to assess bomb damage and had very accurate data. What they knew but for obvious reasons weren't telling the civilian press is that they considered 20% of bombs in a 1000 ft. radius acceptable and 40-50% quite good. That's in contrast to what civilians were told (who ever said this?) that with the Norden sight the Air Force could drop a bomb in a 55 gallon drum. Hardly. But the commanders believed that with enough bomber strength, which was being achieved in 1944, with that level of accuracy the German aircraft industry and therefore the Luftwaffe could be destroyed. What they didn't count on was the ability of the Germans to repair damage and get back into production, at least in 1944.
In terms of losses, I would say they learned a lesson in the early raids in Germany beyond fighter cover, especially in the Schweinfurt raids, that the losses were just unacceptable. No matter how tight the "box" formation, without fighter cover the losses were too high. As a result, as I understand it, they backed off those deep penetration raids until the P-51's arrived to provide escort to the target and back.
The last couple of days Homer has posted a quote attributed to Goering that once he saw American fighters over Berlin, he knew the jig was up (or whatever the equivalent German phrase). Still, it came at an incredibly high price and you're right the public didn't know it at the time. HALF of the USAAF WWII casualties were suffered by the Eighth Air Force, including 26,000 dead. That's still hard for me to fathom.
I just got the book on the North Africa campaign from the library, so I’ll be going back in time for a few weeks. It’s a very big book ... I’m glad I didn’t request the Large Print edition.
The first phase of the US European bombing campaign was primarily an attack on U-Boat production and basing. Even the Air Force admits that its contribution to the defeat of the U-Boats was marginal at best.
I always thought that the targeting of the U-boat pens and yards was more a matter of starting of with relatively “safe” missions rather than the priority of the targets themselves. The pens in France were within range of fighter cover. The yards in Wihelmshaven and Bremen were on the coast, and not deep inside Germany.
Regardless, they didn’t do anything to the U-boats. The Germans shifted production to Gdansk, and used the Baltic as their private backyard pond to work up new boats and crews.
In a way, you are correct. When the Allies started to target German oil production, that pretty much stopped the Panzers and Luftwaffe fighters. This was also how the Allies stopped Japan’s war machine by choking off its oil supply (Japan didn’t really know how to convert coal into motor fuel like the Germans did).
It's interesting that LeMay's success in Japan suggests the British weren't as off base in Europe with their nighttime incendiary bombing as the US thought at the time.
That's why when Tokyo was firebombed on the night of March 9-10, 1945, the destruction was enormous: 16 square miles of the city was wiped out, killing (by some estimates) as much as 125,000 people (the official Tokyo police count of just over 82,000 dead was based on the bodies they could identify; many victims were completely burned beyond recognition) and essentially wiping out the small production workshops through most of the city.
Correct. Indeed, the fact that much of Japan was built of wood was the genesis for the “bat bombs”...one of the great, though lesser known, ideas of WW II
I think it’s more that the techniolog of war advanced so rapidly..people really couldn’t process it. Everyone talks about the vaunted German blitzkrieg, and the quick destruction of Poland. True. Yet look at the pictures of German troops at the start of hostilities, and a great part of the German artillery and supply train is HORSE DRAWN. Yet 6 years later, we had the atomic bomb. Before the Bulge, when most everyone thought the war was over, Ike positioned several newly arrived, raw divisions, in the Ardennes. In his memoirs, he explains t hat this was to “get them blooded” as the term of art then was..the expectation that they’d seen some small company sized skirmishes...get used to combat..that’s what I meant by not valuing the individual life of each soldier as against the context of the greater goal.
While the “bat bomb” idea worked, trying to get the bats to Japan proved the idea’s impracticality. It was just easier to drop a large number of M-47 and M-69 incendiary bombs on Japanese cities, and the March 9-10, 1945 raid on Tokyo proved General LeMay’s tactic of bombing from just one mile altitude with a huge number of incendiary bombs was the right tactic.
Just as the Allied bombing of Germany didn’t become effective until we targeted the synthetic oil plants, the American submarine campaign against Japan also became much more effective when we began deliberately targeting oil tankers. Of course, the American submarine torpedo problems are well-known, and they were only resolved in late 1943. And the submarine campaign has been effective in 1943. But during 1944, the subs will accomplish against Japan what Doenitz failed to do to Great Britain. Even before we seize the Marianas and the Philippines, the submarines working the Formosa straight will put a choke hold on the Japanese war machine. There is a reason the IJN moved the fleet to Lingga Roads off Singapore, and not the Home Islands, to train the new crop of naval aviators. The Japanese can no longer bring home the oil, so the fleet has to go where the oil is. In fact, the Brunei oil is so light and sweet, the Japanese are pouring it directly into the bunkers of their ships without refining it.
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