Skip to comments.3,000 PLANES HAMMER AT FRANCE ON 14TH DAY OF THE AIR OFFENSIVE (5/1/44)
Posted on 05/01/2014 5:00:17 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
China, 1941: Operation Ichigo, April-December 1944 and Situation 31 December
I am all for getting the Brazilian division into Italy as soon as possible. Every effort should be made, subject to battle exigencies, to bring this into Italy. There should be no talk of a token force. The above also applies to the air squadron.
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
US Navy strikes Ponape
Monday, May 1, 1944 www.onwar.com
US carrier aircraft preparing to launch [photo at link]
In the Caroline Islands... An American force of 7 battleships and 11 destroyers, commanded by Admiral Lee, bombards Ponape. The carriers of Task Group 58.1 (Admiral Clark) provide cover for the operation.
In London... The Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference is held.
In Moscow... Stalin declares in an Order of the Day: “The wounded German beast must be pursued and finished off in its lair.” Saluting batteries in Moscow and eight other cities fire 20 salvos. Meanwhile, Zhukov and Vasilevsky begin detailed planning for the Soviet summer offensive against the salient held by German Army Group Center. The plan calls for misleading the Germans into expecting an offensive in the northern Ukraine instead.
From Partisan Yugoslavia... Tito sends a military mission to London.
May 1st, 1944 (MONDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: London: A Yugoslav military mission from Tito arrives for consultations on closer co-operation with the Allies.
Commonwealth prime ministers also meet to discuss the progress of the war.
U.S.S.R.: The highest Soviet military command, Stavka, formulates the political goals of the strategic strikes of the coming summer: “to purge our country of fascist invaders and reach the Barents Sea - Black Sea line”.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Seven US battleships accompanied by destroyers under the command
of Admiral Willis Lee bombard Ponape in the Carolines.
CAROLINE ISLANDS: The US Navy’s Task Force 58 has destroyed about 120 Japanese planes, half on the ground, in a two-day attack on Truk.
CANADA: Corvettes HMCS Calgary and Moose Jaw departed Halifax for Western Approaches Command Greenock.
Maintenance ships HMS Beachy Head, Flamborough Head, Berry Head, Hartland Point, Duncansby Head, Girdle Ness, Dodman Point, Fife Ness, Portland Bill, Spurn Point, Selsey Bill, Mull of Galloway, Rame Head, Mull of Kintyre, Rattray, Mull of Oa, Buchan Ness, Dungeness, Orford Ness, Tarbat Ness and Cape Wrath ordered in Canada.
Wooden yard craft HMC HC 317 and 318 ordered
Tug HMCS Glenbrook laid down Owen Sound, Ontario.
U.S.A.: The 442nd RCT ships out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, Port of Embarkation to Europe. (Gene Hanson)
Destroyer escorts USS Abercrombie, Holton and Slater commissioned.
Destroyer escorts USS French and Alvin C Cockrell laid down.
Aircraft carrier USS Oriskany laid down.
Submarine USS Macabi laid down.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0411, the unescorted Janeta was torpedoed and sunk by U-181 about 900 miles SW of Ascension Island. The U-boat misidentified the ship as Banavon. Nine crewmembers and four gunners were lost. The master, 31 crewmembers and three gunners were rescued; the master, the third officer and eight survivors were rescued and landed at Bahia on 14 May. 15 more survivors were picked up by the Swedish MS Freja about 150 miles south of Bahia and landed at Rio de Janeiro. Ten survivors were picked up on 12 May by destroyer escort USS Alger and landed at Bahia.
U-277 sunk in the Arctic Ocean SW of Bear Island, Norway, in position 73.24N, 15.32E, by depth charges from a 824 Sqn Swordfish from escort carrier HMS Fencer. 50 dead (all hands lost).
Growing up in the small BC mining town of Kaslo, BC, John Hamilton Stubbs had ambitions to be a sailor,
In January 1941, Stubbs, who was just 28, received command of HMCS Assiniboine, and for the next two years he commanded the ship on the treacherous North Atlantic run. This was harsh, demanding work that placed tremendous physical and mental stress on Stubbs, but he didn’t show the strain. Indeed, his grace under pressure was one of his most respected qualities.
Stubbs was an outstanding seaman, and a more than capable escort commander. In June 1941, Stubbs was Senior Officer of an escort group for convoy ONS-100 when it was attacked by six U-boats. In “North Atlantic Run”, author and historian Marc Milner describes how Stubbs relied upon sound tactics to escape with the loss of only four merchant ships.
His best known success came in August that year when Assiniboine caught U-210 on the surface in the Atlantic fog.
Naval historian G. N. Tucker, who witnessed the action from the destroyer’s bridge, considered it “a masterpiece of tactical skill”. Tucker observed that although Assiniboine’s bridge “was deluged with machine gun bullets”, Stubbs “never took his eye off the U-boat, and gave his orders as though he were talking to a friend at a garden party...”.Finally, Assiniboine, on fire amidships and riddled with shell holes, rammed U-210 twice and finished her off with depth charges.
Stubbs was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
Now promoted to Lieutenant-Commander, Stubbs left Assiniboine in October 1942. After a year of shore duty, he was appointed Commanding Officer of HMCS Athabaskan, a Tribal class vessel with a reputation as an unhappy ship. Stubbs is remembered as the quiet, laid-back man with a strong sense of humour who quickly restored morale, and ran an efficient yet relaxed ship.
Athabaskan was assigned to Plymouth Command to conduct offensive sweeps off the French coast. Stubbs’s skills proved well-suited to the fast-paced night surface actions and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his role in a battle in which Athabaskan and her sister-ship HMCS Haida played crucial roles in sinking the German destroyer T-29 on April 26, 1944.
Three nights later, Athabaskan and Haida, under Commander Harry De Wolf, were on patrol in mid-Channel when they were ordered to intercept two German destroyers (survivors of the earlier battle) heading westward along the French coast. Athabaskan’s radar soon detected the enemy ships; minutes later, the Tribal’s opened fire, then altered course towards the enemy to ‘comb’ possible torpedoes (that is, turn parallel to incoming torpedoes). In spite of this maneuver, a torpedo found Athabaskan.
The hit caused such devastation that Stubbs ordered the crew to stand by in readiness to abandon ship. In the early hours of morning, her decks crowded with men, Athabaskan’s 4-inch magazine erupted in a massive blast. Most of those on the port side were killed, and many others were burned by searing oil that rained down on the upper deck. Survivors took to the cold waters of the English Channel as their ship began to sink beneath them.
Stubbs is said to have sung to his men while they waited in the freezing water, stanzas from a tune about naval volunteers called “The Wavy Navy” They were in the water for 30 minutes before Haida, having finished off one of the German destroyers, returned to rescue survivors. Although it was near dawn and the enemy coast was only five miles away, Haida lay stopped for 18 minutes. According to some witnesses, Stubbs shouted a warning to DeWolf to the effect “get away Haida, get clear”.
DeWolf did not hear Stubbs, but knew he had lingered long enough; after dropping all boats and floats, Haida headed back to Plymouth with 42 survivors. Six more of Athabaskan’s company made it safely to England in Haida’s cutter, while another 85 were picked up by German warships. John Stubbs, badly burned and last seen clinging to a life-raft, was among the 128 who perished. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) after his death.
The quiet heroism and dedication to duty demonstrated by John Stubbs have become a rightful part of the rich traditions of the Royal Canadian Navy.
"Many Jews are among the Polish and Allied troops at the Monte Cassino abbey in Cassino, Italy.
"The Jewish ghetto at Lódz, Poland, is liquidated.
"As mass deportations of Jews from Hungary to death camps begin, hundreds of Hungarian Jews at Sátoraljaújhely and Miskolc are shot after refusing to board trains destined for Auschwitz.
"33,000 Jews from Munkács, Hungary, are killed at Auschwitz."
"Carefully arranged and stored, these sets of china had once been the pride of Jewish families in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
They formed part of a massive collection of goods, including books and furniture, plundered by the Nazis from one of Europe's most renowned Jewish communities, and intended as part of a collection in the proposed Central Museum of the Extinguished Jewish Race.
Sadly, the goods outlived many of their owners."
"Three Jewish men move an elderly Jewish woman to a gas chamber at Auschwitz.
The men probably did this in order to avoid a violent response from the SS guards pictured in the background.
Many Jews clung to the hope, right up to the end, that what they had heard about Auschwitz was untrue."
The Soviet deception operation in preparation for their summer offensives is every bit as masterful as the Allied deception prior to D-Day. The Germans have figured out that in order to divine the Soviet offensive thrusts, you follow the tank armies. At the end of the winter, those six armies are split between Zhukov's First Ukrainian Front in southern Poland and Konev's Second Ukrainian Front along the Dniestr. The Soviets will move two of the tank armies to Belorussia, and supplement them with five independent tank corps. The men will move, but their worn-out equipment will be left in the south, along with the radio signals staff. Brand new T-34/85s from the factories in the Urals will be waiting for them in Belorussia.
The upshot is that the Germans believe the tank armies are still in the south, and expect the main blow to fall in southern Poland. They mass their panzer reserves there, and Army Group Center is stripped of all but one panzer division.
You can find a pretty good online article on the deception operation here:
Think I’ll head down to Argentina.
I’m still impressed by the amount of hype for D-Day. The public is clearly being told that this is the climax of World War 2. I am also impressed that it’s even being called “D-Day” at this point. Normally, major historical events get named after they happen.
Another perspective on the war that I did not previously appreciate.
Page 3: Three “Forts” shoot down 22 Nazi planes.
That there’s some good shootin’.
Page 9 article about an Oklahoma woman who turned 113 years old.
Born in 1831. 34 years after George Washington left office and Andrew Jackson was president and 30 years after Lewis and Clark. Texas still belonged to Mexico. High technology of the day was a steam engine.
She lived to witness the invention of Morse code, modern medicine, internal combustion engine, industrial electricity, telephone, radio, two-way wireless communication, motion pictures, modern photography, modern agriculture, etc.
And I whine about having to keep up with technology.
She also saw the Cubs win their last world series.
Thanks for the post. War finds great leaders.
Commander Harry De Wolf of HMCS Haida was another great . Haida sank 14 enemy ships in just over a year and I took the walk though back in the 70’s when she was tied up at the CNE grounds in Toronto. She has 2 inch squares of steel welded over the bullet holes. Lots of them.
She was moved to Hamilton Ont. where she is still on display
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