Skip to comments.RUSSIANS 11 MILES PAST THE PRUT; RING 15 DIVISIONS; DRIVE FOR LWOW (4/4/44)
Posted on 04/04/2014 4:33:57 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Germans defend Carpathians
Tuesday, April 4, 1944 www.onwar.com
Marders of the GD division defending the passes [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... German forces conduct local counterattacks near Kovel and farther south where Soviet forces are prevented from gaining a pass through the Carpathian mountains near Kolomya.
In Burma... The Japanese 31st Division attacks British defenses at Kohima. Both routes out of the town, toward the rear, are cut. The capture of this supply depot is crucial to sustaining the offensive. Japanese forces are expecting to resupply from its stocks.
In Algiers... Free French leader, Charles de Gaulle, announces changes to the Committee of National Liberation. Two communists are appointed and de Gaulle is made head of the armed forces. General Giraud is being sidelined.
In Egypt... A Greek brigade mutinies under the leadership of Communists. British troops blockade the camp until April 24th. The Greeks kill 1 British officer.
In Occupied France... Members of the French resistance halt production at the Bronzavia aircraft components plant near Paris.
Over Romania... The Bucharest marshalling yards are bombed by heavily escorted bombers of the US 15th Air Force. A total of 20 aircraft are lost. Civilian casualties are reported to amount to 2942 killed and 2126 injured.
April 4th, 1944 (TUESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: DeGaulle announces the Committee of National Liberation. Of the various appointments, two are communists.
Early in the morning the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards launch six of their amphibious Valentine ‘Duplex Drive’ (DD) tanks from landing craft for a live-firing rehearsal for D-Day.
The weather is marginal at launch but later deteriorated, resulting in the loss of the tanks and six lives.
ROMANIA: 350 U.S. Fifteenth Air Force B-17s and B-24s attack Bucharest; both hit marshalling yards and the B-24s also hit an air depot; 110 P-38s support of the mission; between 150 and 200 enemy fighters attack the bombers, shooting down 10; the bombers and escorts claim 50+ aircraft destroyed in combat. This is the first mission to Romanian support of the Soviet Army’s drive across the Balkans.
POLAND: An Allied reconnaissance aircraft photographs part of the Auschwitz death camp.
ITALY: U.S. Twelfth Air Force medium bomber missions are aborted due to weather but A-20s manage to bomb an ammunition dump and fighter-bombers bomb Terracina and Formia, attack a bridge and several vehicles during armed reconnaissance of the Rome-Orte area, bomb Itri and Fondi, hit numerous gun positions, a railway station, a bivouac area, and a vehicle concentration, and attack targets of opportunity between Atina and Cassino.
ALGERIA: Algiers: General de Gaulle takes control of the Free French armed forces, squeezing General Giraud off the Committee of National Liberation.
He said tonight on Free French radio: “The efforts of all Frenchmen must depend on a single leadership.” Giraud, has been offered the role of inspector-general.
EGYPT: The Greek Army Brigade mutinies.
BURMA: The IJA 31st Division is in action against the British at Kohima. The British force is in need of supplies.
The U.S. Tenth Air Force dispatches 120+ fighter-bombers and 4 B-25s to hit rail lines, storage areas and Japanese held villages around Mogaung and Myitkyina and support ground forces near Kamaing and Myitkyina; during the night of 4/5 Apr, 14 B-24s bomb the Moulmein railroad yards and jetties and hit a Japanese HQ nearby at Nagorn Sawarn; and 25 P-51s and P-38s attack Aungban and Anisakan Airfields.
NEW GUINEA: 50+ U.S. Fifth Air Force B-24s pound the Wewak area; and 12 P-39s hit villages, bridges and wooded areas along the coast from Cape Gourdon to Bogia.
PACIFIC OCEAN: The first Royal Navy combat missions with the Vought Corsair night fighter are flown from HMS Victorious. (Jack McKillop)
The Japanese lose a submarine (by accidental flooding), a provision ship and two army cargo ships. (Jack McKillop)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: 12 U.S. Thirteenth Air Force P-40s hit a barge hideout in Gazelle Harbour, Bougainville Island; 10 B-25s (rained out of Rabaul, New Britain Island) bomb Buka Airfield on Buka Island, 23 P-39s hit the Aitara area, and 11 P-40s bomb the Mamaregu barge hideout; 24 P-38s pound Mamagata, Dio Dio, and the Miwo River area; and ground support missions along Empress Augusta Bay are carried out by a variety of fighters.
CAROLINE ISLANDS: U.S. Seventh Air Force B-24s, flying out of the Gilbert Islands, bomb Truk Atoll during the night of 4/5 April and B-25s, from Abemama Island and Tarawa Atoll, follow-up during the day with raids on Ponape Island, and Jaluit and Maloelap Atolls
U.S.A.: USAAF orders 1,000 P-80As; delivery of the first 500 was to be completed by the end of 1945; the remaining 500 were to be delivered by February 1946. Because of the introduction of jets by the Luftwaffe, the P-80 program was given the same high priority as the B-29 program. (Jack McKillop)
HQ Twentieth Air Force is activated in Washington, DC. General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold is named Commanding General and he retains that position until the Twentieth moves to the Pacific in July 1945. It has been decided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff that this strategic air force will not be assigned to a theatre commander but rather, operations will be controlled by Washington.
OK, it says 1944, whew!
He said tonight on Free French radio: The efforts of all Frenchmen must depend on a single leadership. Giraud has been offered the role of inspector-general.
Clash of the giant egos. De Gaulle was much smarter.
Why did the Japanese put a base on every stinking island in the Pacific? What am I missing?
I was not aware that the Brits were using the F4U Corsair. It turns out that it was the Brits that solved the carrier landing asymmetric wing stalling issues that had relegated the Corsair to land-based use by US Marines (as with Black Sheep):
Landing gear and wings
To accommodate a folding wing the designers considered retracting the main landing gear rearward but, for the chord of wing that was chosen, it was difficult to make the landing gear struts long enough to provide clearance for the large propeller. Their solution was an inverted gull wing, which considerably shortened the required length of the main gear legs.
In part because of its advances in technology and a top speed greater than existing Navy aircraft, numerous technical problems had to be solved before the Corsair would enter service. Carrier suitability was a major development issue, prompting changes to the main landing gear, tail wheel and tailhook. Early F4U-1s had difficulty recovering from developed spins, since the inverted gull wing’s shape interfered with elevator authority. It was also found that the Corsair’s starboard wing could stall and drop rapidly and without warning during slow carrier landings. In addition, if the throttle were suddenly advanced (for example, during an aborted landing) the port wing could stall and drop so quickly that the fighter could flip over with the rapid increase in power. These potentially lethal characteristics were later solved through the addition of a small, 6 in (150 mm)-long stall strip to the leading edge of the outer starboard wing, just inboard of the gun ports. This allowed the starboard wing to stall at the same time as the port.
Other problems were encountered during early carrier trials. The combination of an aft cockpit and the Corsair’s long nose made landings hazardous for newly trained pilots. During landing approaches it was found that oil from the hydraulic cowl flaps could spatter onto the windscreen, badly reducing visibility, and the undercarriage oleo struts had bad rebound characteristics on landing, allowing the aircraft to bounce out of control down the carrier deck. The first problem was solved by locking the top cowl flap down permanently, then replacing it with a fixed panel. The undercarriage bounce took more time to solve but eventually a “bleed valve” incorporated in the legs allowed the hydraulic pressure to be released gradually as the aircraft landed. The Corsair was not considered fit for carrier use until the wing stall problems and the deck bounce could be solved.
Meanwhile the more docile and simpler to build F6F Hellcat had begun entering service in its intended carrier based use. Compared to the Hellcat the Navy regarded the Corsair as fundamentally flawed for their requirements. While slower than the Corsair, the Hellcat was much preferred by the Navy since the Hellcat was much simpler to land on a carrier. The Hellcat’s great success combined with the Corsair’s carrier landing issues meant the Navy released the Corsair to the U.S. Marine Corps. With no requirement for carrier landings, the Marine Corp deployed the Corsair to wide spread and devastating effect from land bases.
Corsair deployment aboard U.S. carriers was delayed until late 1944 by which time the carrier landing problems had been tackled by the British.[N 1]
The performance of the Corsair was impressive. The F4U-1 was considerably faster than the Grumman F6F Hellcat and only 13 mph (21 km/h) slower than the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt; all three were powered by the R-2800. But while the P-47 achieved its highest speed at 30,020 feet (9,150 m) with the help of an intercooled turbocharger, the F4U-1 reached its maximum speed at 19,900 ft (6,100 m), and used a mechanically supercharged engine.
Good question. It certainly makes it hard to eradicate them.
Of the new atolls we occupy, the Times doesn’t have anything good to say about Bikini. It’s infested with flies and mosquitoes.
I think American ingenuity will come up with a way to eradicate those pests in the coming years. Might be drastic and expensive, though.
The Soviets are pretty close in their estimates of the strength of 1st Panzer Army. They say there are eight panzer, one “mechanized” and eight infantry divisions in the pocket, with a strength of about 190,000 men.
Actually, there are nominally nine panzer, one panzergrenadier and ten infantry divisions in the pocket, although a few of those units are listed by the Germans as being “kampfgruppen” or “remnants.” There are also various “extra” units such as the independent Tiger tank battalions (Schwere Panzer Abteilung) and the Assault Gun (StuG) brigades. The Germans listed their combat strength as 200,000 men.
So the Soviets are not too far off. On the other hand, the Soviets are clearly wrong about the direction Hube is taking. There are no attacks headed south toward Romania, although that is what the Soviets are expecting. That “hurricane of artillery fire” is what the Soviets are prepared to throw at Hube, but they will never unleash it. Hube is already headed west, and his army is well on its way to fighting out of the pocket.
Two battleships, a light cruiser, and 14 destroyers were bound to destroy Henderson Field by bombardment, to break up the American reinforcement mission, and to cover reinforcement movements of their own. O'Bannon and the other ships of the Support Force, two heavy and three light cruisers and eight destroyers, confronted the greatly superior enemy early on 13 November in Ironbottom Sound, so named for the number of ships on both sides sunk there during the Guadalcanal campaign. O'Bannon boldly attacked the Japanese battleship Hiei, closing so near, the battleship could not depress her main battery far enough to fire on the destroyer. O'Bannon's gunfire, in combination with the attacks of the rest of the force, damaged Hiei so badly that she was a sitting duck for the air attack, which forced her scuttling the next day.
Of course, in the then Solid South winning the Democratic primary meant certain election.
Wasn’t there some minor troop movement on the south side of Hube’s formation that the Soviets took to mean he was moving south?
Hube split his army into two march/assault columns, but both headed west. The Soviet capture of Kaminets-Podolksy blocked the southern column and made it detour around that city for a while. But none of his forces actually attacked to the south.
Before the pocket closed, Hube ordered all of this support/logistics/communications zone troops to withdraw to the south into Romania. It was this decision that caused Zhukov to believe he would likewise try to follow them and connect up in Romania. Therefore, Zhukov concentrated all of his forces to block the southern exit from the pocket. He never expected Manstein to order Hube to head west.
Manstein’s decision appeared contrary to logic as it split 1sgt Panzer Army’s combat units from the support units. On the other hand, Manstein knew that escaping south would leave an irreparable hole in the front in southern Poland. He couldn’t let that happen. Manstein’s decision was based on sound military logic to maintain the integrity of the front. Zhukov’s decision was based on sound military logic that the Germans would try to keep their army together as a cohesive fighting unit.
It’s one of those occasions where both sides exercised sound decision making but came to different conclusions.
Interesting stuff about the Corsair. Thanks.
Meanwhile, the French will take a minimalist approach to Bikini that will last even longer. No one is sure why the designer named it Bikini, but it must have had something to do with the big explosion he meant to set off.
The original bikini, unveiled at a Paris pool in 1946. It would fit into the box the girl was holding. It was so scandalous that no model would wear it so they had to hire a nude dancer.
I think the name was meant to conjure up images of scantily clad natives in a tropical island paradise. “Bikini” just sounded better than “Kwajalein,” “Guadalcanal,” “Palau” or “Tarawa.” Especially since those names did not conjure up images of a tropical paradise for most American men.
And make no mistake, the Bikini was marketed for American men. Something I instinctively knew on Spring Break in 1979 and 1981.
I guess the first time I found out about the F4U was as a silhouette (from side, from above/below, head on or from tail) in a deck of cards like playing cards that my grandfather’s naval aviation students had to memorize in training to be able to ID our own planes and those of the enemy.
My dad, who turned 18 70 years ago this week, met my mom in Athens GA where he was a naval aviation cadet and my 16 year-old mom’s dad was the base disciplinary officer!
That sounds more dangerous than a night carrier landing during a squall.
I believe that he missed at least one date after being forced to “guard the flagpole” as a disciplinary measure!
There is a back-story to how my parents met in Georgia.
By amazing coincidence (or we like to think divine intervention) my mom’s mother’s family came from a teeny town on the coast of Maine with roots back to the 1600’s, which was the same town where my dad’s Boston family had summered since the 1870’s! My grandmother had been invited to go sailing on my great grandfather’s yacht in her teens before WWI. It was my grandmother who recognized my father’s unique name and encouraged my mom to overcome her initial distain for my father’s invitation to date, bless her heart!
My grandfather “served on active duty in three wars” (WWI, WWII and Korea) training cadets in the latter two wars. He would have been 54 years old by the time the Korean War began.
WWII ending with the A-bomb spared my father from participating in taking down Japan by conventional means.
Note, it’s “Lwów”, not “Lviv”.
It’s hard to say what the French were thinking. They think Jerry Lewis is the funniest comedian ever.
Free unsinkable aircraft carriers.
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