Skip to comments.1,400 U.S. PLANES SMASH AT BERLIN WITHOUT ANY FIGHTER OPPOSITION (3/23/44)
Posted on 03/23/2014 6:14:26 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
* Prime Minister Churchill will broadcast to Britain on Sunday at 9 P.M. [4 P.M. Eastern War Time], it was announced tonight. Mr. Churchills talk will also be beamed to America, the British Broadcasting Corporation said.
4 P.M Eastern War Time Sunday in 1944 is also 4 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time Wednesday in 2014. Stay close to your radio for this important broadcast.
Soviet breakthrough in Ukraine
Thursday, March 23, 1944 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front (Zhukov) strikes south between Proskurov and Tarnopol, threatening to drive a wedge between the German 1st and 4th Panzer Armies (both part of Army Group South). Soviet forces capture Kapychintsy.
In the Solomon Islands... On Bougainville, Japanese forces attack American positions without making any progress. Heavy Japanese losses are reported.
In the St. Matthias Islands... US destroyers shell the Japanese seaplane base on Elouae.
March 23rd, 1944 (SUNDAY)
EASTERN FRONT: The 1st Ukranian Front drives between Proskurov and Tarnapol threatening to split the 1st and 4th Panzer Armies, and surrounding the Red Army headquarters at Tarnopol.
GREECE: The Germans begin deporting Greek Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
ITALY: Monte Cassino: The unsuccessful Allied assault, spearheaded by the New Zealand Corps, is called off.
Italian partisans kill 28 SS-Polizei men with a bomb on Via Rasella in Rome. Subsequently an order is received from Hitler to kill 10 Italians for each German soldier. Chief of the Rome SIPO, SS-Obstbf., Herbert Kappler, together with Pietro Caruso, the chief of the Italian police, is responsible for selecting the victims. People arrested on the spot, political prisoners and Jews are sent to the Ardeatine Caves near Rome, shot in the neck in small groups, and buried under the sand; the entrances are then sealed by exploding charges. Altogether 335 Italians are murdered, among them 78 Jews. (Russell Folsom)
ROMANIA: Bucharest: In the wake of their occupation if Hungary, the Germans today strengthened their position in Romania, which was occupied in October 1940. The dictator, Marshal Ion Antonescu, a longtime admirer of Hitler, was told that 500,000 German troops were being sent in to safeguard communications and protect the oil-wells for Germany.
With the Red Army on his borders, Antonescu was less than enthusiastic. Hitler was unmoved. Four Panzer and several infantry divisions have already moved in. Romania’s foreign policy has been largely determined by resentment at the territorial depredations of her neighbours. In June 1940 Romania was forced to hand over Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to Stalin. Romanian troops retook them a year later, after they had joined Hitler in the German attack on the USSR.
In August 1940 the “Vienna Award” gave North Transylvania to Hungary. This week, when Germany occupied Hungary, two Romanian divisions joined in. As Sovet troops advance into Bessarabia, the BBC today broadcast a warning to Romanians: abandon the Nazis or face retribution from the Allies.
GERMANY: Every minute for 24 hours to noon today more than four tons of explosive were dropped by Allied airmen on Germany and occupied Europe. This new intensive onslaught dropped 3,000 tons of bombs on Frankfurt, in the most concentrated attack of the war, after diverting from Schweinfurt. Mines were laid off Kiel, leaflets were dropped over France and minor diversionary raids made all over Germany. The variety of targets reflects a change of tactics, dispersing attacks to make defence more difficult. In daytime raids today the USAAF hit Brunswick and targets in France.
BURMA: Over 100 A-31s, B-24s, B-25s, P-38s, P-40s and P-51s at Japanese positions in Burma.
Air Commando Combat Mission N0.36 3:15 Flight Time Hailakandi, Assam to Indaw, Burma. Bombed Japanese supply dumps. Bad weather forced us to land at Broadway. Had to roll 55 gallon gasoline drums through dens elephant grass and refuel using a hand pump. Spent the night on the plane.
Note: As our missions were low level we had not been carrying any oxygen (none of my crew even had oxygen masks) and could not get over the weather front between Burma and Assam. It was a bit spooky as us fly boys were down and parked some 150 miles behind enemy lines and the night (noises )?. I think the Chindit grunts got a big kick out of our concerns. (Chuck Baisden)
EUROPE: Almost 1,000 USAAF bombers based in England bomb targets in Germany and France. Airfields in Germany are bombed by 767 B-17s and B-24s of the Eighth Air Force while over 200 B-26s of the Ninth Air Force bomb marshalling yards and airfields in France in morning and afternoon missions.
NEW GUINEA: Nearly 100 A-20s, B-24s, B-25s and P-47s hit numerous targets in the Aitape, Wewak, Alexishafen and Hansa Bay areas.
WAKE ISLAND: Seventh Air Force B-24s operating from Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands, bomb Wake Island.
PACIFIC: Japanese submarine I-42 is sunk by USS Tunny (282) east of the Philippines. (Mike Yared)(144 and 145)
U.S.A.: US Navy Motor Torpedo Squadron 2 is re-commissioned and assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) landing personnel and supplied in occupied Europe.
I wonder if once we get close enough to launch air raids against Japan if incendiary bombs bomb can be used to any effect?
About that p4 photo of a German POW eating American corned beef. I’ve read that German rations by this time in the war were less than appealing.
Now there’s a possibility; we should look into that.
What a difference six months made.
In October 1943 20% of the attacking force of B-17s (60 of 291)was lost to fighters and anti-aircraft fire.
I wonder what factors influenced the Luftwaffe's decision to not come up and play? Did they not even send up units to pick off stragglers?
In 1968 another USS Scorpion submarine was also lost...
I’ve got no idea.
And less than three months later they only managed to send two fw-190s over the D-Day landing sites.
Curtis LeMay is taking notes.
Wouldn’t have mattered how many they sent.
The American fighter pilots had their orders - “Stop the Hun or don’t come back”.
And the day is coming we’ll need that level of resolve again.
How many of us will have it?
From Adm. James Bond Stockdale, inspired by his time in the Hanoi Hilton:
“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the endwhich you can never afford to losewith the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
Some air reconnaissance might have convinced Hitler a little earlier that the invasion really was taking place at Normandy, not Calais... not that it would have mattered in the end.
There was a fake invasion force parked off Calais (wood/canvas tanks, etc); I’m not sure air reconnaissance would have detected the difference.
Sixty minutes before the bombers reached Berlin, the dispatch said, this warning, repeated several times was sent out:
We are coming. Our targets will be in the northern and Wedding (northwestern) districts of Berlin. Evacuate those districts at once.
To this day it grates that the free world didn’t give Hanoi and Haiphong this kind of aerial urban renewal in 1965.
"Saly Mayer was a Swiss businessman and president of the Schweizerischer Israelitischer Gemeindebund (Federation of Swiss-Jewish Communities) from 1936 until 1942.
He walked the tightrope of negotiating with the Nazis to save Hungarian Jews while refusing the Nazis' requests for resources that would have prolonged the war.
In 1940 he became the representative of the Jewish Distribution Committee (JDC) in Switzerland.
In that position, he sought to funnel Swiss-Jewish funds to support Jews in occupied countries and to bargain for their release."
The map actually shows 360 German division all told, of which only 68 (<20%) face western allies in France & Italy.
How many are fighting on the Eastern Front depends on which you count, but it's at least half, up to 75%.
Of course, many divisions are by now greatly reduced in size & effectiveness.
Still, the major fighting strength of the Wehrmacht is unquestionably facing east.
Yep and they are retreating in the east at about the same rate as they advanced into it a few years earlier.
Many of the German divisions on the southern sector of the front facing Konev and Malinovsky are little more than pins on Hitler’s map. The Germans have even created something called the “Korps Abteilung,” or “Corps Detachment,” which is a clump of three or four burned out infantry divisions. There are a few of them in this sector of the front. A “Korps Abteilung” has little better than a full-strength regiment’s combat power. The divisions of Army Group Center have been left alone for most of the winter, and are in fairly good shape. The problem for that formation is that the German High Command is continuously poaching divisions from them to feed into the Ukrainian meat grinder. As a result, on By June of this year, Army Group Center will have no infantry reserves, all formations being in the line, and only one panzer division.
So a count of divisions doesn’t necessarily tell you where the combat power is. It does tell you the relative importance for each theater. And yes, the Germans do still have something like 65% of their combat power facing the USSR.
Poaching divisions from Army Group Center reveals one other change in German strategy. The Germans had been using France as a rest/replacement depot for burned out divisions from the East. The Germans would take a division that saw hard combat, pull it out of the line and swap it with a division that had been on garrison duty. There it would be filled with replacements and soldiers convalescing from wounds. After a while, it would rotate back to the meatgrinder in the east. This was done somewhat with infantry divisions but more often with panzer divisions. Sixth Panzer Division, which led the attempt to relieve Stalingrad, came right off the trains from France, fully equipped with about 160 brand-new long-barreled Mark IV specials.
However, starting about the end of 1943, that policy ended as the Germans realized they needed to maintain a real army in France. Thus, the Germans could not use France as their replacement army depot. The divisions in the East stayed and burned out there. If the Germans needed a reinforcement, they had to shift a division from another sector in the East. The Soviets are taking advantage of this. Once they draw the German reserves to one offensive thrust, they then attack the spot where that division came from. Some divisions burned out divisions did go to France at the end of 1943 to beef up the defenses there, and they were lucky, because they stayed there.
An example is 16th Panzer Grenadier Division, which fought with Army Group South’s 6th Army. It was in almost continuous combat from the Mius River in July all the way back to the Dnieper, and was pretty much destroyed in the field. Sent to France, it’s Panzer battalion was upgraded to a Panzer Regiment. We will see it in Normandy and later the Ardennes renamed as the 116th Panzer Division.
But this is another example of how the threat of invasion is helping the USSR by drawing off German reserves that would otherwise face the Red Army.
But, wondering about that would violate henkster's rule not to assume people would act contrary to how they in fact did act.