* The war in Italy is off the front page today.
Allied POWs stage “great escape”
Friday, March 24, 1944 www.onwar.com
In Germany... The great escape from Stalag Luft III, a German prisoner of war camp near Sagan, takes place during the night (March 24-25). Of 76 Allied airmen who take part, 50 are recaptured and executed. In 1963, a movie titled “The Great Escape” (staring Steve McQueen, James Garner, James Coburn and Charles Bronson) is released based on this event.
In Burma... General Orde Wingate, commanding the Chindit forces, is killed in an airplane accident at age 41. The senior Chindits commander, Lentaigne, replaces him.
On the Eastern Front... Soviet forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front continue to advance. Southeast of Tarnopol, Chertkov and Zaleschik are captured. Forces of 3rd Ukrainian Front (Malinovski) take Voznesensk, northeast of Nikolayev.
Over Germany... During the night a thousand plane raid on Berlin is carried out by Bomber Command. Heavy damage is reported in Berlin but many bombers are blown off course and more than 50 are shot down by German Flak defenses. A total of 73 bombers are lost in all operations (including a diversionary attack on Kiel). Flight Sergeant Alkemade jumps, without a parachute, from a burning RAF Lancaster bomber at 5486 meters above western Germany and lands safely in a snow drift.
In Occupied Italy... German authorities execute 336 Italian civilians (including Jews) near Rome in reprisal for partisan activities. The event becomes known as the Ardeatine Caves massacre.
In the Solomon Islands... On Bougainville, significant Japanese resistance ends. American forces do not attempt to clear the Japanese remnants from the island. Over the course of the past few weeks, Japanese casualties are estimated at 8000 while the US forces have suffered about 300 casualties.
Allied Siege Guns Open Up on Cassino
“The big siege guns, their barrels nearly ten inches in diameter, were wheeled into action on the fiftieth day of the battle of Cassino after repeated aerial bombings and long-range shellings had failed to root the Germans out of their burrows in Cassino and its surrounding hills.”
Note the very curious references to “right wing” and “left wing” leaders at odds with Mayor Laguardia.
In fact, it’s a typical case of lunatic-left versus reasonable government, but you’d never know that by reading the Times.