Skip to comments.MARINES AT HEART OF NEW BRITAIN, LAND 160 MILES WEST OF RABAUL (3/8/44)
Posted on 03/08/2014 4:58:26 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Japanese offensive in Burma
Wednesday, March 8, 1944 www.onwar.com
Japanese mortar team supports offensive operations [photo at link]
In Burma... The Japanese launch an offensive aimed at destroying the British forces around Imphal and Kohima, advancing through the passes to Dimapur and cutting off the Sino-American forces in the north. Three divisions of the Japanese 15th Army (General Mutaguchi) spearhead the operation. The initial feint by the Japanese 33rd Division (General Yamagida) strikes the British 17th Indian Division (General Cowan) around Tiddim. The British forces engaged in the initial assaults are part of The 4th Corps (General Scoones). The British intend for the 17th and 20th Indian Divisions to fall back, from their forward positions, to Imphal, where they can be supplied. They underestimate the size of the Japanese forces involved in the offensive.
Over Germany... USAAF heavy bombers raid Berlin for a second time. About 10 percent of the force of 580 bombers is lost despite the escort of 800 fighters.
From Helsinki... The Finnish reply to the Soviet armistice terms with a request for further guarantees. The principal difficulty is the Soviet demand for the internment of German military personnel.
In the Solomon Islands... Japanese forces attack the American beachhead on Bougainville. The US airfields at Piva are shelled by the Japanese and some of the American bombers are withdrawn. Japanese infantry infiltrate the positions of the US 37th Division. The attacking troops are most from the Japanese 6th Division (General Hyakutake).
In the Bismark Archipelago.... On New Britain, the attacks of US 1st Marine Division makes progress as does the American advance along the coast from Cape Gloucester.
March 8th, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: A major post-war building programme for up to 200,000 houses a year is promised by the government.
Miners in Wales and Durham strike in support of a wage claim.
A new mark of Spitfire, the XIV, is coming into RAF service. The Merlin engine of earlier marks has been replaced by a two-stage Griffon. This and the re-designed airframe enable the Mark XIV to reach speeds of almost 450mph, as well as markedly improving the rate of climb. For some time the Spitfire has been struggling against the Focke-Wulf Fw190. These improvements will enable it to match its rival on much better terms.
Boom defence vessel HMS Prefect is launched.
Submarine HMS Achates is laid down.
Destroyer HMS Zebra is launched.
Minesweepers HMCS Minas, Blairmore, Fort William, Milltown, Wasaga, Canso, Lempra and Guysborough join invasion Minesweeping Flotillas Devonport.
GERMANY: U-955 and U-1232 are commissioned.
ITALY: Milan: More than a million Italian workers have marched out of the factories to strike against “German pillaging” in occupied northern Italy. German tanks and SS infantrymen are being used in an attempt to force the workers back. The Germans have also threatened to impose a quisling Gauleiter and martial law, with the death penalty for strike leaders.
AZORES: Lagens airfield. No. 269 ASR squadron RAF takes up station.
BURMA: “Merrill’s Maruaders” have killed 800 Japanese in north Burma. The 3,000-strong unit is the US counter-part of the British Chindits, and was formed after the war department had appealed for recruits “for particularly hazardous and self-sacrificing operations”. Commanded by Colonel Frank Merrill, it arrived in India last October.
Mountbatten assigned the unit to General Stilwell’s Northern Combat Area Command. Stilwell was advancing towards Hukawng Valley with Kamaing, Mogaung and Myitkyina as objectives. By early February he was in the valley, and was reinforced by the Marauders and a Chinese tank unit. His aim was to encircle two Japanese regiments in Maingkwan. The Marauders were to make a wide eastward flanking movement, cutting in on the enemy rear at Walawbaum, while the Chinese 22nd Division attacked at Maingkwan.
The Japanese, anticipating Stilwell’s tactics, concentrated for five days on the outnumbered Maraduders who beat off repeated bayonet charges. One unit fought for 36 hours without food or water. By 7 March the Japanese were forced out of Walawbaum. Eight Marauders died and 37 were wounded.
Air Commando Combat Missions 21& 22 No flight time on 21, 3:30 on 22. Hailakandi, Assam to Katha, Burma. Bombed and strafed railroad and rolling stock, warehouse, dumps and destroyed radio station. Hailakandi, Assam to Shewbo, Burma. Night mission on Shewbo Air Field. Twelve B-25s dropped incendiaries and fragmentation bombs flying from a 3 ship line abreast formation. Destroyed 12 Japanese aircraft and started huge fires. Encountered flak from heavy guns in the town of Shewbo. The Japanese did not disclose their positions until we had bombed the field. No search lights observed.
Could see the flak explode above us from my turret (think they could not fuse their shells for our low altitude), also could see the winking flashes of machine gun fire but saw no tracers. On this raid Lt. Weber, our navigator, won himself a spot in our hearts. Though it was a moonless night and there was the usual haze from countless forest fires, Lt. Weber brought us directly to the Shewbo Air Base and then back to our own base.
Notes: Our crew flew with another pilot on the morning mission and my flight time was never logged. Or regular pilot Lt/Col. Smith was on a fighter sweep into the Shwebo area. His flight of 21 P-51s accounted for 27 fighters, seven bombers and a transport plus one shot down in the air. Less than an hour after landing back at Hailakandi pilots who had just participated in the fighter sweep were now flying B-25s back to the enemy air fields. The B-25H model did not have dual controls, just a jump seat next to the pilot where the navigator usually rode. He was also the designated cannon loader. (Chuck Baisden)
BOUGAINVILLE: The Japanese begin a counter-offensive. (Gordon Rottman)
CANADA: Frigate HMCS Monnow commissioned.
Minesweepers HMCS Minas, Blairmore, Fort William, Milltown, Wasaga, Canso, Lempra and Guysborough join invasion Minesweeping Flotillas Devonport.
U.S.A.: Submarine USS Sea Lion is commissioned.
Submarine USS Sennet is laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Douglas A. Munro is launched.
A plan under which, in the opinion of major distillers, the current liquor shortage could have been eased, a severe blow dealt to the black market, and bootlegging made less profitable, was submitted to the Federal Government two months ago and apparently pigeonholed, it was learned here yesterday.
Darn those journalists could really take clauses together! Getting enough liquor from somewhere ...
Mrs. Annie Jordan believes that she is the outstanding war mother of the current conflict. With nine sons already in the armed forces, five in the Navy, three in the Army, and one in the Marines, a tenth son is awaiting his call for induction soon. "I'm proud of them, but it is pretty lonesome around the house," she confessed.
But you have so much less wash to do, Mrs. Jordan, and you get a turn in the bathroom!
"In English and Hebrew, this poster appeals to readers for donations to rescue Jews from Nazi-controlled Europe.
Published by the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the poster urged people to help Jews flee death and find sanctuary in the United States.
Knowing that millions were threatened, HIAS worked with other organizations in frantic efforts to arrange ocean passage for as many Jews as possible.
HIAS activists were particularly interested in safe passage for Jewish children, and continued that crusade after the war as advocates for Jews in European DP camps.
HIAS was part of a larger relief and immigration organization, HICEM, which had been founded in 1927."
"With the inflated title of Reichgesundheitsführer (Reich Health Leader), Leonardo Conti led the Nazi health program.
In that role, he ordered the murder of adult mental patients.
To inspire other physicians to follow his lead, Conti gave the first lethal injections himself.
An early member of the Nazi Party, Conti founded the Ärztebund (National Socialist Physicians' League) before Hitler named him the nation's chief physician in 1939.
Captured at the end of the war and held for trial in Nuremberg, he chose suicide rather than answer for the thousands of 'mercy killings' he had ordered."
"Sent in a train car listed as 'Rückkehr unerwünscht,' ("Return Not Desired"), Zionist activist Gisi Fleischmann numbered among the last Jews transported to Auschwitz.
She who had saved so many lives could not save her own.
"Working in Bratislava, Slovakia, Fleischmann headed the Aliya (immigration section) of the Jewish Center, arranging for Jewish emigration to Palestine.
As a leader of the 'Working Group,' she saved lives by bribing Nazi officials with private funds raised in the United States.
When deportations ceased in Slovakia in October 1942, Fleischmann helped develop the 'Europa Plan,' to barter Jews for goods needed by the Germans, while also continuing to run an underground railroad to rescue Polish Jews who were fleeing the ghettos.
"Even as the SS closed the net around her in Bratislava, Fleischmann continued her rescue work, refusing the possibility of a hiding place.
She was gassed on October 18, 1944."
"Mobilized for all-out war, the Red Army utilized women--including these Polish members of the Kosciuszko Division--as combatants.
By February 1944 Soviet forces had driven the Germans from portions of Poland, and continued their westward advance.
But the drive to liberate Eastern Europe necessarily came in stages, over great periods of time.
The justifiably triumphant smiles of these soldiers aside, countless prisoners of the Holocaust were still to die, and many Polish Jews who survived discovered that antisemitism had not been banished from their homeland."
"At the Westerbork, Holland, camp, Jewish policemen carry an elderly woman to a train bound for Auschwitz.
On February 10, 1944, a train containing approximately 1,000 Westerbork inmates arrived at the death camp.
Of that group, about 800 were gassed.
The rest were put to work, their deaths merely postponed."
"Paul Célan, born in Romania in 1920, composed haunting poetry about the Holocaust.
During the Nazi occupation, his parents were deported to Transnistria, where his father died from typhus and his mother was shot.
Célan spent 18 months in a labor camp.
His experiences there and the deaths of his parents shaped his most famous poem, 'Death Fugue.'
The poem evokes images of unceasing suffering, such as the words 'black milk of daybreak we drink it at dusk.' "
Thank you for these continuing posts.
Some random comments before I disappear for a while:
The article on the Soviet offensive in Western Ukraine makes the comment about an early thaw limiting mobility. This offensive, which will pick up steam when Konev’s 2nd Ukrainian Front gets rolling, will be known to the Soviets as “The Mud Offensive.” The Germans will sorely miss the combat formations that were effectively removed from their order of battle at the Korsun Pocket, but the real advantage the Red Army has is not numerical superiority over the Germans. Mud has a way of equalizing the odds (just think of how an undermanned football team can hang with a much more talented opponent on natural turf during a downpour). The real advantage to the Red Army is from Lend-Lease. For the first time, the Red Army has a large number of Studebaker 6x6 trucks that made the one-way trip up through Iran. The Soviet soldiers will fall in love with these rugged durable work horses. Those trucks are the only vehicles that can keep up with the T34s in the mud. The Germans have nothing like it, and the Soviets could not build them on their own. Every Russian of that generation knows the word “Studebaker.” The United States will eventually provide the Soviet Union with over 600,000 of these vehicles.
The perceptive reader of Baldwin’s article can see the Cold War starting already. Interesting how he put the line of Soviet domination from Konigsberg to Fiume. Not too far off from Churhill’s “Iron Curtian” from Stettin to Trieste.
I am still amazed at the staggering capacity of American shipyards. Not just with merchant ships, but also the costly and complex warships. The Essex-class carriers seem to be working out well. OK, Nimitz says let’s build another ELEVEN more than we planned. Wow. That’s the “sleeping giant the Japanese woke up.
I don't know how they get away with half the stuff they do on that show. Can you imagine US producers allowing highly paid talent to drive around Chernobyl for a few minutes?? It was eerie.
I saw them trying to go to the North Pole!
They did a Christmas special where they were dropped in Iraq (Kurdish governed) and had to make their way to Bethlehem, which meant crossing Syria. Couldn’t do that today!
Top Gear (BBC) rocks.
Jeremy Clarkson is sooo un-PC! I love the guy!
And he’s a big fan of The Who, too!
The number of items seems to taper off now, but will surge again for the summer's destruction of Hungary's Jews, before a final orgy of murder of the Jewish remnant in spring "next year", 1945.
As best I can tell, the last mass murder took place on May 5, 1945 -- five days after Hitler's suicide, and just three days before Germany's unconditional surrender.
And then there was a poor fellow, Holocaust survivor, murdered by Poles in September 1945.
So, you might say, it never truly ended...
I also have mixed feelings about Gen. Marshall's testimony, reported in the last few days. I suppose it was sound military advice not to divert resources from Overlord and Italy to escort Jews to Palestine through a Mediterranean that is still a war zone, but my goodness, didn't he know what was going on in the Nazi camps?
The reason I’m grateful to Joe for posting the Holocaust comments is that the generation of perpetrators and victims is about to pass from the stage forever. Also, far too many Americans believe “that couldn’t happen here.” Even though the Holocaust was primarily directed against the Jews, many others suffered under the Nazi policy of extermination. And we should not treat this as an isolated instance in history. The Turks treated the Armenians the same way. The Bolsheviks set out to exterminate the Ukrainians in the Holodomor. The Japanese planned a similar future for the Chinese as the Germans planned for the Russians.
We should never think it can’t happen here. That’s what the average German of 1928 thought. But in 1955 they all asked “how could we have let this happen?” If you think it can’t happen here, you almost guarantee it will. And as the people involved pass on, there is no “living memory” to remind us.
We must never forget, and never be complacent. And for that reminder, I am grateful for Joe’s posts.
In fact, we already did it - in WWII to the Japanese internees. It was approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Koramatsu case, which has never been overruled.