Skip to comments.RUSSIANS SWEEP INTO BUKOVINA; U.S. PLANES RIP FRENCH AIRFIELDS (3/28/44)
Posted on 03/28/2014 4:20:25 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Axis evacuation from Odessa
Tuesday, March 28, 1944 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... Forces of the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front (Malinovski) capture Nikolayev. The sea borne evacuation of German and Romanian troops and wounded from Odessa begins.
In the Caroline Islands... The Japanese battleship Musashi is hit by a submarine torpedo while withdrawing from Palau Island.
March 28th, 1944 (TUESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Westminster: The government is defeated by a single vote when the House of Commons carries an amendment to introduce equal pay for women teachers.
FRANCE: 364 Eighth Air Force B-17s, escorted by 453 P-38s, P-47s and P-51s, bomb four airfields.
ITALY: Twelfth Air Force A-20s, A-36s, B-25s and P-40s attack railroad bridges and marshalling yards, a tank factory and support the Anzio beachhead. Fifteenth Air Force B-17s and B-24s attack marshalling yards, bridges and industrial targets.
U.S.S.R.: Ukraine: As the Germans retreat in haste from the waters of the southern Bug River, Nikolayev falls to the Red Army. The 3rd Ukrainian Front is now developing an assault toward the port of Odessa.
BURMA: Over 130 Tenth Air Force A-31s, B-24s, B-25s and fighters attack supply dumps and support ground troops.
Air Commando Combat Mission N0.39 3:00 Flight Time Hailakandi, Assam to Mahnyin, Burma. Bombed Japanese troop position.
I was very sick prior to and during the mission. Had chills, fever and a terrific backache.
Notes: From March 29 to April 9 I was in the hospital at Hailikandi. I had malaria, evidently caused from our overnight stay at Broadway. We had no blankets or mosquito nets. Got the nine-day quinine cure and a short pass to Calcutta. I don’t think Calcutta has ever impressed anyone. The lack of sanitation, the smells, and just plain dirty has been long remembered by me. While I was in the hospital, a GI in a bed next to me with malaria and dropped mumps died. I did not even get to know his name. (Chuck Baisden)
INDIA: Headquarters of the Twentieth Air Force’s XX Bomber Command is established at Kharagpur. The XX Bomber Command will control all B-29s in the India.
NEW GUINEA: Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb Hollandia.
MARSHALL ISLANDS: Seventh Air Force B-25s bomb Jaluit, Mille and Maloelap Atolls.
NEW BRITAIN ISLAND: Thirteenth Air Force B-24s, B-25s and P-40s bomb an airfield and a supply area.
PALAU ISLANDS: Task Force 58 closes on the Palau Islands preparatory to a three-day air strike. The aircraft carriers assigned to Task Force 58 for this operation are:
Task Group 58.1
USS Enterprise (CV-6) with Carrier Air Group Ten (CVG-10)
USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) with Light Carrier Air Group Twenty Four (CVLG-24)
USS Cowpens (CVL-25) with CVLG-25
Task Group 58.2
USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) with CVG-8
USS Hornet (CV-12) with CVG-2
USS Cabot (CVL-28) with CVLG-31
USS Monterey (CVL-26) with CVLG-30
Task Group 58.3
USS Lexington (CV-16) with CVG-16
USS Yorktown (CV-10) with CVG-5
USS Princeton (CVL-23) with CVLG-23
USS Langley (CVL-27) with CVLG-32
TIMOR ISLAND: Fifth Air Force B-24s attack Penfoei.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: S class submarine HMS Syrtis and all 48 of her crew are lost in the Norwegian Sea exact position unknown. There is no clear explanation for her loss, although the Germans claimed to have sunk a submarine by shore battery fire off Bodö around this time, but there is no supporting evidence. (Alex Gordon)(108)
"In his official photograph, Hans Frank appears to be a commanding presence in the Nazi hierarchy.
After March 1942, however, Frank no longer wielded any real power, although he retained his title as head of the Generalgouvernement, the conquered areas of Poland not incorporated into the Reich.
True authority in the Generalgouvernement rested with the SS.
Early in 1944 Frank proudly noted in his diary that only 100,000 Jews remained in his region, down from 3.5 million in 1941."
"Pictured (from left to right) in the office of U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull are Hull, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson.
The three Cabinet members met on March 21, 1944, at the third meeting of the War Refugee Board.
The board was commissioned by executive order of President Franklin Roosevelt in January 1944 and given authority to develop policies to rescue the victims of Nazi aggression."
"Newly married, Donna Habib and Peppo Levi pose for a traditional wedding picture.
Following the surrender of Italy, Greek Jews, among them this young couple from Rhodes, faced new threats.
Their wedded bliss would come to an abrupt end a month later when they, along with some 1,700 other Jews from Rhodes, were sent to Auschwitz.
Most of that group went directly to the gas chambers, although about 400 were selected for slave labor."
IU Archives Pyle in the wreckage of his room in the Public Relations Office in Nettuno.
WITH THE ALLIED BEACHHEAD FORCES IN ITALY, March 28, 1944 – When you get to Anzio you waste no time getting off the boat, for you have been feeling pretty much like a clay pigeon in a shooting gallery. But after a few hours in Anzio you wish you were back on the boat, for you could hardly describe being ashore as any haven of peacefulness.
As we came into the harbor, shells skipped the water within a hundred yards of us.
In our first day ashore, a bomb exploded so close to the place where I was sitting that it almost knocked us down with fright. It smacked into the trees a short distance away.
And on the third day ashore, an 88 went off within twenty yards of us.
I wished I was in New York.
When I write about my own occasional association with shells and bombs, there is one thing I want you folks at home to be sure to get straight. And that is that the other correspondents are in the same boat – many of them much more so. You know about my own small experiences, because it’s my job to write about how these things sound and feel. But you don’t know what the other reporters go through, because it usually isn’t their job to write about themselves.
There are correspondents here on the beachhead, and on the Cassino front also, who have had dozens of close shaves. I know of one correspondent who was knocked down four times by near misses on his first day here.
Two correspondents, Reynolds Packer of the United Press and Homer Bigart of the New York Herald-Tribune, have been on the beachhead since D-day without a moment’s respite. They’ve become so veteran that they don’t even mention a shell striking twenty yards away.
On this beachhead every inch of our territory is under German artillery fire. There is no rear area that is immune, as in most battle zones. They can reach us with their 88′s, and they use everything from that on up.
I don’t mean to suggest that they keep every foot of our territory drenched with shells all the time, for they certainly don’t. They are short of ammunition, for one thing. But they can reach us, and you never know where they’ll shoot next. You’re just as liable to get hit standing in the doorway of the villa where you sleep at night, as you are in a command post five miles out in the field.
Some days they shell us hard, and some days hours will go by without a single shell coming over. Yet nobody is wholly safe, and anybody who says he has been around Anzio two days without ever having a shell hit within a hundred yards of him is just bragging.
People who know the sounds of warfare intimately are puzzled and irritated by the sounds up here. For some reason, you can’t tell anything about anything.
The Germans shoot shells of half a dozen sizes, each of which makes a different sound of explosion. You can’t gauge distance at all. One shell may land within your block and sound not much louder than a shotgun. Another landing a quarter mile away makes the earth tremble as in an earthquake, and starts your heart to pounding.
You can’t gauge direction, either. The 88 that hit within twenty yards of us didn’t make so much noise. I would have sworn it was two hundred yards away and in the opposite direction.
Sometimes you hear them coming, and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you hear the shell whine after you’ve heard it explode. Sometimes you hear it whine and it never explodes. Sometimes the house trembles and shakes and you hear no explosion at all.
But I’ve found out one thing here that’s just the same as anywhere else – and that’s that old weakness in the joints when they get to landing close. I’ve been weak all over Tunisia and Sicily, and in parts of Italy, and I get weaker than ever up here.
When the German raiders come over at night, and the sky lights up bright as day with flares, and ack-ack guns set up a turmoil and pretty soon you hear and feel that terrible power of exploding bombs – well, your elbows get flabby and you breathe in little short jerks, and your chest feels empty, and you’re too excited to do anything but hope.Source: Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches, edited by David Nichols, pp. 236-38. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
Both the correspondents he mentioned, Reynolds Packard (not Packer) and Homer Bigart, have entries in the author index on my profile.
The Japanese are headed toward Kohima, which will become the key fight in this offensive. As you can see, there is a road down to the river valley and railroad from there.
Almost all the Jews of Poland have already been murdered and we aren’t even in Normandy yet. Hull, Stimson and Morganthau are a lotta days late and a lotta dollars short.
“The Japanese battleship Musashi is hit by a submarine torpedo while withdrawing from Palau Island.”
Musashi made it until sunk at Leyte Gulf...
Launching the Musashi presented its own problems. The ship’s 4-metre (13 ft 1 in) thick launch platform, made of nine 44 cm (17 in) Douglas fir planks bolted together, took two years to assemble (from keel-laying in March 1938) because of the difficulty in drilling perfectly straight bolt holes through four metres of fresh timber. The problem of slowing and stopping the massive hull once inside the narrow Nagasaki Harbour was addressed by attaching 570 tonnes (560 long tons) of heavy chains divided evenly between the two sides of the hull to create dragging resistance in the water. The launch, like the ship itself, had to be concealed from prying eyes; the most important means of accomplishing this was a citywide air-raid drill staged on the launch day to keep everyone inside their homes. Musashi was successfully launched on 1 November 1940, coming to a stop only 1 metre (3.3 ft) in excess of the hull’s calculated 220 metres (720 ft) travel distance across the harbour. The entry of such a large mass into the water caused a 120 cm (3 ft 11 in) tsunami, which propagated throughout the harbour and up the local rivers, flooding homes and capsizing small fishing boats. Musashi was fitted out at nearby Sasebo, with Captain Kaoru Arima assigned as her commanding officer.
So what were we going to do about it that we weren't already doing? Bomb the death camps? I've actually heard that suggested. I have some huge problems with that.
1. Most of them were in Poland out of range of our bombers;
2. The Nazis are killing Jews in these camps, so let's kill the Jews ourselves by bombing them. What the hell kind of logic is that?
3. Why should we risk our bombers and aircrews on missions like this? It diverts them from bombing German military and industrial capacity, which prolongs the war, and thereby prolongs the Holocaust.
For the past two years we have been doing what we can to save the Jews and end the Holocaust by attempting to crush the Nazi regime through the destruction of its armed forces. There was no other way to proceed.
In fact, Hull, Stimson and Morgenthau's statements are prolonging the war. We've pretty much told the Nazi leadership that this is personal. We are giving them every incentive to fight to the death and prolong the war. Clearly, they get it. The military leadership does not. Keitel and Jodl will be shocked to find themselves striped of uniform and insignia, and in the dock in Nuremburg next to the political leadership.
The Japanese possessed limited material and technological resources to fight this war, and wasted them on Yamato, Musashi and Shinano. From these resources, they probably could have built five or six Shokaku class flattops. It would have been a much better use of their resources.
We built ten fast battleships, twentyfour Essex class carriers, and several Alaska class “large cruisers” because we could. We built two different types of atomic bombs because we could. Everyone else in the world built only what they thought was essential because they couldn’t do more.
The Japanese had limited choices; and among those choices they almost uniformly made the wrong ones.
I liked that p6 photo of Eisenhower, Churchill and Bradley trying out the M1 carbine. The M1/M2 carbine was a great rifle and it’s too bad Carbine Williams didn’t design it to accept a drum magazine.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.