Skip to comments.AMERICANS LAND ON NORTH NEW GUINEA COAST; ADMIRAL KING SEES PACIFIC VICTORY ROAD OPEN (4/24/44)
Posted on 04/24/2014 4:36:24 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
The instructions Wilson received reflected my views, and in a telegram to the President on April 24 I said:
I am very glad at what has happened in Italy. It seems to me that we have both succeeded in gaining what we sought. The only thing now lacking is a victory. I had long talks with Alexander when he was here for a few days consultation. He defended his actions or inactions, with much force, pointing out the small plurality of his army, its mixed character, there being no fewer than seven separate nationalities against the homogeneous Germans, the vileness of the weather, and the extremely awkward nature of the ground. At latest by May 14 he will attack and push everything in as hard as possible. If this battle were successful, or even raging at full blast, it would fit in very well with other plans.
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
“Meteors” over Munich
Monday, April 24, 1944 www.onwar.com
Over Germany... The US 8th Air Force raids factories and airfields in Friedrichshafen, near Munich. A total of 55 planes are lost, including 14 which land or crash in Switzerland. During the night, 250 RAF Lancaster bombers scatter “Flying Meteor” methane-petrol incendiary bombs over Munich causing devastation in the area between Central Station and the Isar River.
In Liberated Italy... The Italian “Co-Belligerent Air Force” now operates over the Adriatic Sea.
In New Guinea... American forces reach Lake Sentani near Hollandia. To the east, Australian forces advancing from the Huon Peninsula capture Madang.
In Egypt... British troops end their blockade of the mutinous Greek brigade encampment.
April 24th, 1944
UNITED KINGDOM: The actor and composer Ivor Novello is sentenced to two months imprisonment for offences concerned with petrol rationing.
Submarine HMS Selene launched.
Frigate HMS Cawsand Bay laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
ENGLISH CHANNEL: Rescue tug HMS Zoder Zee torpedoed and sunk by a German MTB off Dungeness. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: A Mosquito VI, piloted by Wg./Cdr. G. L. “Leonard” Cheshire VC, of No. 617 Squadron is used to carry out the first low-level target-marking during a raid on Augsburg. (22)
U-793, U-1018 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
EGYPT: Alexandria: The remaining striking warships and the First Brigade of the Greek Army surrender, ending a three-week mutiny in the exiled Greek forces under the Allied High Command.
BURMA: Air Commando Combat Mission N0. 49 3:15 Flight Time.
Hailakandi, Assam to Indaw, Burma. Bombed Japanese supply dumps and railroad. Notes: We circled over the lake where we had been the day before. I looked at what was left of the Burmese village. There were dozens of spots of gray. The town was just not there. I wondered what their casualties were? My pilot and friend was on his way to the States and I now flew Barbie III with many different pilots, some good and some not so good; hoping I would also be rotated back to the ZI in the near future. (Chuck Baisden)
NEW GUINEA: Australian troops capture Madang.
CANADA: Corvette HMCS Orangeville commissioned.
Minesweeper HMCS Mulgrave arrived Devonport and assigned 32nd Minesweeping flotilla, then 31st Minesweeping Flotilla.
Corvettes HMCS Alberni and Port Arthur departed Halifax for UK.
Tug HMCS Shawville assigned to Gaspe, Province of Quebec.
U.S.A.: Washington: US military strategists agree that to defeat Japan it will be necessary to invade Japan itself.
Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator, leaves San Diego bound for the Pacific theatre as a consultant for the Chance-Vought corporation, to observe various problems being encountered by Corsair pilots. (Marc James Small)
Destroyer USS Drexler laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-672 was attacked twice on this day by Allied aircraft, suffering slight damage. (Dave Shirlaw)
My great-uncle is in the New Guinea campaign.
Do you know his unit? My father was in the 32nd Infantry Div., which is taking part in the Aitape landing.
I think I have it on file somewhere. My father tried several times to get his uncle to record his experiences “for the record,” but he wouldn’t.
|Pyle chatting with DeWitt Jones (Pacific Fleet)|
WITH FIFTH ARMY BEACHHEAD FORCES IN ITALY, April 24, 1944 – Once on shore, our supplies for the Anzio beachhead are taken over by the Quartermaster Corps (food and clothing) and the Ordnance Department (ammunition).
The Quartermaster Corps is traditionally seldom in great danger. Up here on the beachhead they are blowing that tradition all to hell.
The Quartermaster Corps has been under fire ever since the beachhead was established, and still is. Its casualties from enemy action have been relatively high.
Around seventy percent of the Quartermaster troops on the beachhead are colored boys. They help unload ships right at the dock. They drive trucks. They man the supply dumps. Hardly a day goes by without casualties among them. But they take this bombing and shelling bravely. They make an awful lot of funny remarks about it, but they take it.
We drove out to one of the ration dumps where wooden boxes of rations are stacked head-high in piles for hundreds of yards, as in a lumber yard. Trucks from the waterfront add continually to the stock, and other trucks from the various outfits continually haul it away.
Our ration dumps are not at all immune from shellfire. This single one has had more than a hundred shells in it. Many of the soldier workmen have been killed or wounded.
Ration dumps seldom burn, because you can’t burn C-rations. But early in the beachhead’s existence they hit a dump of cigarets and millions of them went up in smoke.
Our local dumps of ammunition, food, and equipment of a thousand kinds are now so numerous that a German artilleryman could shut his eyes and fire in our general direction and be almost bound to hit something.
Our dumps do get hit; but the fires are put out quickly, the losses are immediately replaced, and the reserve grows bigger and bigger.
The boss of the Quartermaster troops is a former newspaper man – Lt. Col. Cornelius Holcomb of Seattle. He worked on the Seattle Times for twelve years before going into the Army. He is a heavily built, smiling, fast-talking, cigar-smoking man who takes terrific pride in the job his colored boys have done. He said there’s one thing about having colored troops – you always eat like a king. If you need a cook you just say, "Company, halt! Any cooks in this outfit?" And then pick out whoever looks best.
The colonel himself has had many close squeaks up here. Just before I saw him, a bomb had landed outside his bivouac door. It blew in one wall, and hurt several men.
Another time he was standing in a doorway on the Anzio waterfront talking to a lieutenant. Stone steps led from the doorway down into a basement behind him.
As they talked, the colonel heard a bomb whistle. He dropped down on the steps and yelled to the lieutenant, "Hit the deck!"
The bomb hit smack in front of the door and the lieutenant came tumbling down on top of him. "Are you hurt?" Colonel Holcomb asked. The lieutenant didn’t answer. Holcomb nosed back to see what was the matter. The lieutenant’s head was lying over in a corner.
Soon a medical man came and asked the blood-covered colonel if he was hurt. Colonel Holcomb said no. "Are you sure?" the doctor asked. "I don’t think I am," the colonel said.
"Well, you better drink this anyway," the doctor said. And poured him a water glass full of rum which had him in the clouds all day.
In the Quartermaster Corps they’ve begun a system of sending the key men away after about six weeks on the beachhead and giving them a week’s rest at some nice place like Sorrento.
A man who goes day and night on an urgent job under the constant strain of danger finally begins to feel a little punchy or "slugbutt," as the saying goes. In other words, he has the beginnings of "Anzio anxiety," without even knowing it.
But after a week’s rest he comes back to the job in high gear, full of good spirits, and big and brave. It’s too bad all forms of war can’t be fought that way.
There will be no columns available for a little while. But the next few will come in rapid succession and from...a rather different part of Europe.
How about this choice item, that the attack on Guadalcanal was "premature"? Would he have preferred we wait until the Japanese were firmly established on the island?
I’m convinced de Seversky had a drinking problem. Guadalcanal was by no means “premature.” It was the perfect time and place to start on the road back. The aerial battles there destroyed the cream of the Japanese pilots, and gave the Americans the experience to dominate them in the sky. Also, the IJN suffered losses they could not replace, and the rest of their fleet suffered damage and wear and tear that could not be repaired.
While the US Navy runs wild in the Central Pacific, the IJN is running away, all the way to Lingga Roads at Singapore. This was only made possible by the grinding and bitter naval battles off Guadalcanal.
As for the rest of de Seversky’s article today, the best word I can come up with is “gibberish.”
There was mention of Savo Island today. Thank goodness the commander behaved in a very Japanese way and withdrew after roughing up the cruisers and destroyers rather than attacking the ships in the anchorage. That could really have set us back.
Rumored to be a candid pic of de Seversky: