Skip to comments.ITALIAN PUSH AHEAD OF SCHEDULE; AMERICANS 4 MILES FROM FORMIA (5/17/44)
Posted on 05/17/2014 5:21:56 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
Allies capture Myitkyina
Wednesday, May 17, 1944 www.onwar.com
In Burma... Merrill’s Marauders help Chinese forces capture Myitkyina airfield.
In Italy... Allied forces of the US 5th Army continue to advance in the Liri Valley. Piumarolo, Monte Faggeta, Esperia and Formia are all captured. The Polish 2nd Corps captures Sant’Angelo. The French Expeditionary Corps is held beyond Esperia, near Monte d’Ore. The German 10th Army (Vietinghoff) has been reinforced by 3 division from Army Group C (Kesselring) reserves but it is unable to halt the Allies. The German command decides withdraw to a new line of defense.
In New Guinea... US forces land on Insumarai Island and at Arare on the mainland nearby. Admiral Crutchley and Admiral Berkey command cruisers and destroyers covering the landings.
In the Dutch East Indies... Allied aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious and USS Saratoga raid oil installations at Surabaya, on Java. Battleships of the British Eastern Fleet (Admiral Sommerville) provide escort. The Japanese lose 1 freighter and 12 aircraft on the ground. Only 1 Allied plane is lost. During the night, land-based Liberator bombers raid the installations again.
May 17th, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: The prime ministers of Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa tonight endorsed not only war plans but also peace aims. At the end of a series of meetings in London, they declared: “We give thanks for deliverance from the worst perils and now we hold back nothing to end mankind’s agony.” The Empire leaders reaffirmed that after victory the British Commonwealth will join in setting up a world organization with necessary power to preserve peace.
They added: “We rejoice to proclaim our kinship to one another. We have stood together through two world wars and have been welded the stronger. This unity will do further service to mankind.”
Minesweeper HMS Sylvia commissioned.
NORTH SEA: U-240 Listed as missing in the North Sea west of Norway. No explanation exists for its loss. 50 dead (all hands lost).
GERMANY: U-1020, U-1235 commissioned.
ARCTIC OCEAN: Due to serious technical problems U-965 had to return to base from the Arctic Sea. Four hours later the boat encountered an enemy submarine. The submarine fired a torpedo fan at U-965, but all missed.
ITALY: Kesselring and Vietinghoff are unable to stop the Allied advance in the Liri Valley.
The USAAF’s Fifteenth Air Force in Italy dispatches 450+ bombers to hit targets in Italy and Yugoslavia; B-17s bomb the marshalling yard at Ancona, Italy and troop concentrations at Bihac, Yugoslavia while B-24s bomb the port areas at San Stefano al Mare, Piombino, Portoferraio and Orbetello, Italy. P-38s strafe airfields at Ghedi, Villafranca di Verona, Modena, Forli and Reggio Emilia, Italy while other fighters fly 130+ sorties of bomber escort duty.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: U-616 scuttled in the Mediterranean east of Cartagena, Spain in position 36.46N, 00.52E, after fatal damage from depth charges from destroyers USS Nields, Gleaves, Ellyson, Macomb, Hambleton, Rodman and Emmons, and by depth charges from an RAF 36 Sqn Wellington in a 3 day-long action. 53 survivors (No casualties).
INDIAN OCEAN: In the Indian Ocean (Malacca Straits) U-532 encountered a British submarine. The submarine fired six torpedoes at U-532, but all missed.
BURMA: Merrills Mauraders help the Chinese capture Myitkyina Air Field.
CHINA: On the Yunnan front a Chinese force takes the Huei-jen bridge area; forward elements penetrate Hongmoshu behind Japanese lines, but the village is recaptured by the Japanese.
NEW GUINEA: Admiral Victor Crutchley (Royal Navy) and Admiral Russell S. Berkey (US Navy) lead the cover force of cruisers and destroyers for the landings of US forces on Insumarai Island. Landings also occur on the mainland of New Guinea and on Wakde Island. (Peter Beeston)
Rear Admiral Russell S. Berkey, USN, was commanding Task Force 74. This was Operation STRAIGHTLINE where Task Force 77 landed the U.S. Army’s 163d Regimental Combat Team (Reinforced), 41st Infantry Division, landed unopposed in Maffin Bay near Sarmi and prepared to take Wakde, New Guinea. The covering force, Task Force 74, provides fire support. USAAF B-24s and B-25 hit targets in the general vicinity at Sawar, Sarmi and the mouth of the Orai River in support of the landings.
NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: HMS Illustrious and USS Saratoga send raids against the oil installations at Surabaya on Java. Admiral Sommerville’s British Eastern Fleet performs escort duty. Liberator bombers also participate with a long range strike. Ten Japanese ships are also sunk in the raids.
This was Operation TRANSOM which was timed to coincide with the Wakde landings. Carrier aircraft from the British Far Eastern Fleet’s Task Force 66, built around the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, and the USN’s USS Saratoga (CV-6) with Carrier Air Group Twelve (CVG-12), attack shipping and the naval base at Soerabaja, Java and an adjacent aviation fuel refinery. RN aircraft sink a transport while USN aircraft damage a patrol boat, two submarine chasers, an auxiliary minesweeper, two cargo ships and a tanker. During the night of 17/18 May, seven B-24s of the USAAF’s Fifth Air Force also bomb the naval base at Soerabaja.
U.S.A.: The motion picture “Cobra Woman” is released in the U.S. This camp classic, directed by Robert Siodmak and starring Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu and Lon Chaney, Jr., has island beauty Montez being kidnapped before her wedding to Hall and finding she has an evil twin sister.
Light cruiser USS Astoria commissioned.
Destroyer USS Charles S Sperry commissioned.
Submarine USS Hawkbill commissioned.
Minesweeper USS Phantom commissioned.
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-158 was commissioned at Los Angeles with LT Sloan Wilson, USCGR, as first commanding officer. He later became a famous author and his works included The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. LT Wallace E. Cooke, USCGR succeeded him on 26 September 1945. LTJG Robert J. Pate, Jr., USCGR subsequently succeeded him. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest Pacific area.
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-159 was commissioned at Los Angeles with LT Oliver Pickford, USCG, as first commanding officer. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest Pacific area. On 2 September 1944, she was turned over to and accepted by the Navy and designated USS FS-159 and attached to the Seventh Fleet Service Force.
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-160 was commissioned at Los Angeles with LT W. H. Seeman, Jr., USCGR, as first commanding officer. LTJG William E. Thirkel, USCGR succeeded him on 7 September 1944. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest Pacific area during the war.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: A crewmember on U-1192 was wounded when the 37-mm Anti-Aircraft gun exploded.
That was an interesting p3 article about the German Gustav Line merely being the phonetic pronunciation of what was on maps as the “G line”
Netflix description: To rescue his recently kidnapped fiancée, Tollea (Maria Montez), Ramu (Jon Hall) boldly sets off for inhospitable Cobra Island. It is in this exotic locale that Tollea learns the island's high priestess is her evil twin, Naja (also played by Montez), who is exploiting the natives. Directed by Robert Siodmak, this pulpy adventure film also features Sabu, Edgar Barrier, Mary Nash, Lois Collier and Lon Chaney Jr. (Not available for viewing or on DVD.)
Finally, the Italy commanders are employing a tactic other than repeated frontal assaults on Cassino town and it is bearing fruit.
“Try a bigger hammer.”
I think it’s the weather as much as anything else. Clear skies and allied air power have had an effect. The 15th AF has been doing rail interdiction in Italy just like the 8th and 9th AF in France. The Germans don’t get the supplies and reinforcements, although even without the air interdiction, Italy probably sits at the end of the line for war materiel behind Russia, Romania and France.
But the Allies don’t do well in harsh terrain in winter. Summer is another story, I think it all depends on air power, and air power depends on weather.
Is that Maria Motez?
Wow, that’s some topography!
I think it also helped to have coordinated attacks on multiple places in the front as well as starting to get around the flank of Cassino. Albert doesn’t have the resources anymore to defend everywhere.
Yes, that’s the Cobra Woman herself!
That must be “Naja,” the evil twin sister/snake priestess.