Skip to comments.U.S. FLEET ATTACKS PALAU, NEAR PHILIPPINES; MíARTHURíS FLIERS BOMB TRUK; BAG 172 PLANES (3/31/44)
Posted on 03/31/2014 4:34:19 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Koga dies in airplane accident
Friday, March 31, 1944 www.onwar.com
In Tokyo... Admiral Koga, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleets, is killed in an airplane accident. Political differences in the Japanese hierarchy prevent the immediate appointment of a successor.
On the Eastern Front... Troops of 3rd Ukrainian Front (Malinovski) capture Ochakov, southwest of Nikolayev.
In the Caroline Islands... On Palau Island, attacks by US forces from Task Force 58 (including 11 carriers) continue.
March 31st, 1944 (FRIDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: 279 civilians were killed and 633 injured in air raids this month.
Bomber Command is suffering losses which it cannot sustain. Germany is littered with the burnt-out carcasses of Lancasters shot down by German night fighters in the “Battle of Berlin”, and there is no doubt that the Luftwaffe has won the battle. The last raid on Berlin was a week ago, when 72 out of 811 aircraft were lost, and no more are planned in the immediate future. Since 18 November last year, 1,117 bombers and their crews have been lost over Berlin and other targets. So terrible have the losses been that even the eager young men of the RAF’s elite aircrews, many of them still under 20, have occasionally baulked. Many have been shot down on their first operation. The rest have just a 50-50 chance of completing a “tour” of 30 operations.
Slapton Sands, Devon: A full-scale investigation is to be launched next week in a bid to find out just what went wrong when the Amercan VII Corps, under Major-General J Lawton Collins, staged an invasion exercise - Operation Beaver - at Slapton Sands, near Dartmouth in Devon. The Sands, chosen because they are similar to a possible landing area in France, were to be captured by men coming ashore from landing craft after airborne troops had secured the flanks. Live ammunition was used, and a naval bombardment. But co-ordination between the units quickly broke down. “It was utter confusion,” one man said.
GERMANY: British forces last night suffered a disaster similar to the Light Brigade’s destruction at Balaklava, when 545 aircrew of Bomber Command died in a single raid. The target was Nuremburg, a round trip of 1,500 miles and eight hours for those who came back. The route was direct and predictably, in bright moonlight, onto the guns of the Luftwaffe night fighters all the way from Aachen to the target. Some defenders dropped flares above the 795-strong air convoy to illuminate the bombers even more.
In all, 95 planes were lost. 12 crashed as they landed, one a Halifax whose pilot, Cyril Barton, is to be recommended for a posthumous VC sacrificing his life to avoid miners’ cottages.
Another 59 aircraft suffered heavy damage. The precentage loss was 20.8% of men and 11.9% of machines. The Germans lost 19 airmen (a favourable ratio of one to 28) plus 69 civilians and 59 slave workers. Although 256 buildings were hit and thousands of people have been made homeless, photo-reconnaissance suggests that Germany’s war industry is unaffected.
Despite inflicting heavy losses on the RAF, the Germans are increasingly concerned about the effect of Allied raids on the civil population.
A secret report on the domestic situation by the SD (Security Service of the SS) says that in Berlin, for example, people are living “in fear”, especially of daylight raids. Berlin has been that target of 16 heavy raids in recent months - 11 this year alone - which have killed 6,166 and made 1.5 million homeless. The Nazis are putting greater pressure on parents to send their children to rural child evacuation camps from areas at risk.
HUNGARY: All Jews are ordered to wear yellow stars for visual identification purposes.
ARCTIC OCEAN: Convoy JW-58 has triumphed in the face of one of the most powerful combined attacks of the war by German planes and submarines. The Allies were prepared for trouble and had provided the biggest-ever Arctic escort, comprising two aircraft carriers, five sloops, 20 destroyers, five corvettes and a cruiser. British aircraft shot down six German planes and sank another three U-boats, with the anti-submarine ace Captain F J “Johnnie” Walker leading the sloops from the bridge of HMS STARLING. Not a single merchant ship was lost.
PACIFIC: US Naval TF 58, the fast carriers of the 5th Fleet, attack Palau.
Admiral Mineichi Koga, Commander in Chief of the Imperial Japanese Combined Fleet is killed in an air crash. Due to political differences, his successor will not be named immediately.
U.S.A.: During WW II, the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) produced numerous documents, most commonly known are the Intelligence Bulletins. The Military Intelligence Special Series continues with “Company Officer’s Handbook of the German Army.” (William L. Howard)
Patrol Escort Vessel USS CASPER is commissioned with Lieutenant Commander F. J. Scheiber, USCG, in command; and reported to the Western Sea Frontier. (Henry Sirotin)
“Churchill Victor by Vote of 425-23”
An interesting situation, Churchill provoked a vote of confidence in his administration over the House’s having approved equal pay for men and women teachers.
"This SS Death's Head emblem found at the Dachau, Germany, concentration camp exemplifies the deadly cruelty of those who chose to wear it.
In the last months of the war, Dachau expanded with thousands of inmates from the camps of the East.
Disease and death ruled the camp, turning skulls and bones into the dominating reality of the camp."
"One of the most articulate and forceful voices in the Jewish community, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver immigrated to the United States from Lithuania at the age of nine.
After his ordination from Hebrew Union College in 1915, Silver accepted a call to a congregation in Cleveland, Ohio, where he remained for his entire career.
A Zionist, Silver was a fervent and vocal spokesman for a Jewish homeland.
In 1938 he became head of the United Palestine Appeal. Later, with Rabbi Stephen Wise, he became co-chair of the American Zionist Emergency Council."
The original "Agony Airlines"!
My cousin started flying for them when they were Allegheny.
The irony is daylight bombing, with escort now available to the target and back, is taking fewer losses. And it is daytime bombing that is fighting the war of attrition to destroy German fighters.
One thing affecting all this is it is even apparent from the press that Eighth Air Force is redirecting its main effort to France, in anticipation of D-Day.
I remember “All Agony” air, but even worse was their local midwest commuter airline, Britt Airways. I flew (or better, survived) trips on Britt.
So complete was the German deception that in his Nobel Prize winning book Night, Elie Weisel said that in 1944, Hungarian Jews could still acquire visas to Palestine but chose not to because they didn't believe the things they had heard about the Germans.
Interesting read. Obviously lots of interrogation went into this. Read the tactics of the best in the business.
It doesn't seem like we're that close to June 6 (brrrrr) but we are. This year it's my brother's 50th birthday.
In the great Super Bowls of the 1970s, the greatest Steelers dominated Cowboys and Pittsburg's old Agony Airlines became Youse'n Airlines.
Now, Youse'n is merged with All Y'all Airlines headquartered Dallas-Fort Worth.
So in the end, the world is turned upside down, "dogs and cats living together", and Cowboys dominate Steelers.
But all that is far-far in the future.
Today (1944) we're concerned with whether US Air bombers or naval artillery is better for defending our guys on a beachhead in France...
I vote for naval artillery.
It seems to me that the question is, which - naval or air - is more likely to hit the enemy, instead of our people?
I also vote for naval artillery to secure a beachhead. The naval guns kept the Germans at bay at both Salerno and Anzio. In Normandy, the Germans will be unable to assemble any panzer counter-attack forces within range of HMS Warspite.
They really didn’t like the 15 inch rifles on Warspite.
Within range, naval gunfire is much more accurate than our bombers.
Random chance would almost be more accurate that our bombers.
If you think of a warship as a floating artillery battery, you realize how much punch they have. Even a destroyer is equivalent to a battery of heavy artillery. Add the mobility and the ability for rapid firing because of the loading machinery and it’s really no question.