Skip to comments.2,000 PLANES IN WEST RIP RAILWAYS AND AIRFIELDS; AUSTRIAN PLANT BLASTED (5/11/44)
Posted on 05/11/2014 5:06:26 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Allies attack Gustav Line
Thursday, May 11, 1944 www.onwar.com
In Italy... The US 5th Army launches new attacks against the German-held Gustav Line. The preparatory bombardment begins just before midnight. It is followed up by infantry advances. The US 2nd Corps, the Polish 2nd Corps, the British 13th Corps and the French Expeditionary Corps are engaged. Attacking Allied forces amount to 12 divisions plus reserves. The German defenders have 6 divisions, including reserves. The commanders of the German 10th Army (Vietinghoff) and the 76th Panzer Corps (Senger) are both absent from their headquarters at the start of the offensive. Meanwhile, Allied warships bombard German heavy artillery batteries around Gaeta.
Over Germany... German fighter ace Oberst Walter Oesau (123 victories) is shot down and killed over the Eifel Mountains.
Over Occupied France... The US 9th Air Force begins a series of raids on airfields around Caen.
In Britain... The Lancaster bomber “S for Sugar” (RAF No. 467 Squadron) completes its 100th mission.
In the Sulu Sea... The Japanese begin to assemble most of their remaining heavy warships at Tawitawi. Admiral Ozawa commands the forces. The build up is in anticipation of the American offensive against the Mariana Islands to the northeast.
In New Guinea... Japanese forces continue to skirmish with American forces on the beachheads around Hollandia.
May 11th, 1944 (THURSDAY)
Frigate HMS Halladale commissioned.
Destroyer HMS Wessex commissioned.
GERMANY: Mildred Gillars, an American, (aka Axis Sally, aka Midge-at-the-Mike) broadcasts on Deutsche Rundfunk a radio-play format drama, “Vision of Invasion”, where she acts as the mother of an Ohio boy horrifically killed in an attempted invasion of Occupied Europe. For this she will be sentenced to 10-30 years and assessed a $10,000 fine in a trial in 1948. She is released in 1961 and joins a Catholic convent in Ohio. She dies in 1988 of colon cancer. (Russell Folsom, 277)
U-826, U-880 commissioned.
BALTIC SEA: At 1632, U-9 fired a Gnat at a convoy consisting of a tanker, a torpedo boat, a minesweeper and seven smaller escorts covered by three MBR flying boats and observed a heavy detonation after 2 minutes 31 seconds. The torpedo damaged the Shtorm. U-9 was depth charged by a Soviet escort and suffered slight damage.
ITALY: Just prior to midnight the preparatory bombardment begins for Operation Diadem near Cassino. This attack is by the US II, Polish II, British XIII and Free French Expeditionary Corps, 12 Divisions. The German forces are somewhat disorganized in their response due to the absence of Generals Vietinghoff and Senger. They have 6 divisions.
BURMA: About 40,000 Chinese troops cross the river Salween in a major offensive to retake northern Burma.
Air Commando Combat mission N0. 56. A 3 hour and 25 minute flight. We bombed Japanese troops positions at Nalong, Burma. (Chuck Baisden
CHINA: Chungking: Japan has hit airfields in China as part of its Operation Ichi-Go, which aims to prevent US B-29 bombers from using the bases for raids on Japan. Lieutenant-General Claire “Old Leatherface” Chennault, the commander of the US Fourteenth Army Air Force, fears that the raids could be successful and has appealed for help, but Japan’s offensives in Burma have precluded extra supplies.
JAPAN: The Japanese navy launches Operation A-Go, the defence of the Mariana Islands, under Vice-Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Submarine USS Gudgeon reported missing on her 12th patrol. No survivors.
Corvette HMCS Beauharnois launched Quebec City, Province of Quebec.
Corvette HMCS Cobourg commissioned.
U.S.A.: Movie releases today include “Gaslight,” a mystery thriller about a man trying to drive his wife insane. Directed by George Cukor, the film stars Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, Terry Moore and 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her film debut. The film is nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Boyer), Best Actress (Bergman) and Best Supporting Actress (Lansbury); Bergman wins and a second technical award is also won.
The second film is “The White Cliffs of Dover” directed by Clarence Brown and starring Irene Dunne, Alan Marshal, Van Johnston, Frank Morgan, Roddy McDowall, Gladys Cooper, Peter Lawford and 12-year-old Elizabeth Taylor in an uncredited bit part. During World War I, Dunne, an American, marries a British officer (Marshal) in this romantic war drama. The film is nominated for one technical Academy Award.
Submarine USS Cubera laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Ebert launched.
Minesweeper USS Success and Superior launched.
Minesweeper USS Control commissioned.
Destroyer escort USS Oberrender commissioned.
Empire Heath was torpedoed and sunk by U-129 ENE of Rio de Janeiro. The master, 45 crewmembers and nine gunners were lost. One crewmember was taken prisoner by the U-boat.
U-312 had to return to base due to technical problems with the engines.
"Finschhafen, situated on the tip of nose-shaped Huon Peninsula, was the terminus of the voyage for the 33d Division.
A porthole view of their new surroundings was sufficient to convince the troops that the niceties of Western civilization were conspicuously absent from this huge tropical island.
Finschhafen was not a city, town, village or hamlet.
It was simply a name applied to a small native settlement and some Australian government offices reposing on a narrow strip of flatland between the waterfront and the jungles.
All facilities, including those of the Army, were rude, temporary affairs.
Dwellings consisted of pyramidal tents or thatched huts erected by New Guinea natives.
The docks jutting out into Dreger Harbor, constructed of unpainted planks, were exposed to the ravages of the weather.
"This unpretentious picture served as a stark reminder to members of the Golden Cross that they were embarking on a virgin phase in the Division's history.
"Unloading was completed on 19 May.
Now the 33d turned to its most important task of the moment: building a home for itself in this unbridled country until Sixth Army assigned it a combat mission.
Semi-cleared areas lining Dreger Road, some fifteen miles from Base F at Finschhafen, were allocated the Division.
Constant downpours and lack of engineering equipment hampered the Golden Cross in its construction efforts, but gradually stumps and vegetation were burned away, drainage ditches excavated and water points developed for bathing and laundering use."
Guarding Hawaii, such as this civilian:
Serious training in Hawaii:
Barracks in New Guinea:
So on this date your father was landing about 100 miles down the coast from my father at Saidor. At least I think he was still there as his battalion had yet to move on to Aitape.
USS Lansdale survivor Lt. Robert Morgenthau is still alive at age 94, having been New York County DA until 2009.
She was considering returning to America in 1941 as the State Department was urging, but her fiance said he would not marry her if she left Germany. He then promptly got himself killed on the Eastern Front.
Trapped in Germany she seems to have done the Axis Sally gig to appear to be a loyal German to avoid being sent to the camps as an American.
The play she put on today, pretending to be a mother of a soldier dreaming of his horrific death in the D-Day invasion, was her absolute worst, lowest point.
After she was paroled she joined a convent and taught school, finally doing something positive with her life.
Of course, my Dad thought highly of MacArthur.