Skip to comments.NAZIS QUIT CASSINO AS ALLIES SURROUND IT; FRENCH-AMERICAN FORCES REACH HITLER LINE (5/18/44)
Posted on 05/18/2014 4:26:31 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
The Nazi's CLAIM they quit the Cassino, but I heard from the Pit Boss they were ejected for counting cards.
Americans land on Insoemar
Thursday, May 18, 1944 www.onwar.com
In New Guinea... The US 163rd Infantry Regiment (General Doe) lands on Insoemar Island and advance to capture Wadke airfield.
In the Mediterranean... An Allied ship sunk from convoy HA-43 by U-453 is the last success for a German submarine in the Mediterranean.
From Berlin... It is announced that Field Marshal von Rundstedt is to be Commander in Chief West with Army Group B (Rommel) and Army Group G (Blaskowitz) under his command, in the north and south respectively.
In Italy... The advance of Allied forces of the US 5th Army slows down as they approach the German-held Senger Line. The Polish 2nd Corps captures the Monte Cassino abbey as the Germans withdraw.
In the Admiralty Islands... The US 6th Army announces that the campaign has been completed. The Americans have suffered 1400 dead and wounded; the Japanese have suffered 3820 dead and 75 prisoners.
May 18th, 1944 (THURSDAY)
GERMANY: U-907 commissioned.
ITALY: Monte Cassino: The Polish flag flutters today over the ruins of the ancient monastery which has become a symbol of German resistance and has repelled successive Allied attacks since the beginning of the year. In the valley below, troops of the British Eighth Army have at last occupied what is left of the town of Cassino itself. The Germans’ Gustav Line of defence has been breached and American and Canadian troops are advancing in numbers along the Liri valley.
No one doubted that casualties would be high. In the two weeks before the attack, the Polish II Corps under General Wladyslaw Anders was under constant observation by the German defenders and losing as many as 30 men in a day as it prepared to attack.
When the moment came to storm the heights on 12 May, the Poles lost a fifth of their strength within the first 90 minutes of battle and were forced to withdraw when communications failed.
The British XIII Corps took heavy casualties when it crossed the Rapido river to find its way blocked by a mass of pillboxes, barbed wire and minefields. After three days the Eighth Army had still failed to break out into the Liri valley, its principal objective.
Near the coast, the US II Corps was failing to make progress when the Germans suddenly began to withdraw. The defenders had been taken by surprise in a brilliant action by the French 2nd Moroccan Division, which has crossed supposedly impassable mountainous ground at speed, outflanking the Germans. The German 71st Division was scattered in this battle, with 2,000 men taken prisoner and a huge toll in casualties.
With the French and British advancing in the Liri valley below and on the hills opposite, it was for the undaunted Poles to take Monte Cassino. They attacked in waves yesterday, with 200 air sorties to support them, and continued to attack until late last night. The defending German paratroopers stood their ground and fought off the exhausted Poles until finally ordered to retreat under the cover of darkness.
The USAAF’s Fifteenth Air Force in Italy dispatches almost 450 bombers, mostly with fighter escort, to hit targets in Romania and Yugoslavia. Both B-17s and B-24s bomb the industrial area at Ploesti, Romania and the marshalling yard at Belgrade, Yugoslavia and the B-17s also hit the marshalling yard at Nis, Yugoslavia but 300+ other bombers abandon the missions because of bad weather. Fighters strafe airfields at Nis and Scutari, Yugoslavia.
NORWAY: An RAF Catalina sinks U-241.
TURKEY: Ankara: The Turkish government declares martial law after a series of Pro-Axis demonstrations.
BURMA: Myitkyina: Allied troops today captured the railway station at Myitkyina, an important Japanese supply base on the Rangoon to Mandalay railway. Yesterday the 150th Regiment of the Chinese 50th Division took Myitkyina airstrip, which has the only hard-surface airstrip in northern Burma. But the 700 Japanese troops in Myitkyina through back “Merrill’s Marauders” - the US counterpart to the British Chindits. Brigadier-General Frank Merrill’s 1,500 sick and exhausted men are now down to half strength after nearly three months of jungle war.
Since March they have made advances in parallel with the 38th Chinese Division south from Ledo, in north-east India. Despite taking Pamati yesterday, the Marauders must now wait for the 38th to arrive to attack Myitkyina again.
NEW GUINEA: Four rifle companies of the 163d Regimental Combat Team assault Wakde Island. It takes two days to overcome the 763 Japanese troops on the island.
PACIFIC OCEAN: General MacArthur’s intention of sealing off Japan’s last supply routes to its South-west Pacific bases at Rabaul and Kavieng was finally realised today as the US Army troops wiped out the last isolated pockets of Japanese resistance on the Admiralty Islands, off north-east New Guinea. US losses in the three-month campaign to take the islands and their airstrips are 326 dead, and 1,189 wounded and four missing, compared with Japanese losses of 3,280 dead and 75 PoWs.
Minesweeper HMCS Border Cities commissioned.
Frigate HMCS Longqueil commissioned.
Corvette HMCS St Thomas commissioned.
U.S.A.: Destroyer escorts USS Frybarger and Robert Brazier commissioned.
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-173 was commissioned. Her first commanding officer was LTJG Lester F. Bain, USCGR. He was succeeded by LTJG Joseph L. Kelly, USCGR. She was assigned to the Southwest Pacific Area and operated at Leyte, Milne Bay, etc. She was decommissioned 25 October 1945.
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-174 was commissioned. She had as commanding officer LT E. R. Sneeringer. She was turned over to Captain J. J. Feenan, U.S. Army, representing the Army’s Transportation Corps on 29 November 1945, after having been assigned to the Southwest Pacific area and operated at Manila, Tacloban, Biak, etc.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-241 sunk NE of the Faeroes, in position 63.36N, 01.42E, by depth charges from an RAF 210 Sqn Catalina. 51 dead (all hands lost).
On May 18 1944, the Oberbefehlshaber West (Supreme Commander of the Western Front) General Gerd von Rundtstedt spent the whole day in trepidation. On over 6000 kilometers of Atlantic coast occupied from Germany, beginning from Norway up to the region of Bordeaux in France, the troops of the Wehrmacht were on the look out. The German Intelligence Service had communicated in the preceding days that May 18 would have been the date of the allied attack. The day was ideal for an invasion: high tide, calm sea, clear sky as in full summer. If the Anglo-Americans had attacked, the “God of the weather” would have certainly been with them. Von Rundtstedt as all other generals of the OKH (Ober Kommand Heeres, Supreme Command of the Army), knew with inexplicable certainty that whatever date the Allies selected, that day Germany would have fought for its own survival.
The hours slowly passed waiting for a signal from the sea or from the air that announced the beginning of what would have been known as operation Overlord. Nothing happened. It arrived the sunset and Von Rundtstedt rather than being happy for having avoided the danger was deeply angered for the ineffectiveness of the German information groups in England. The proverbial calm of this professional soldier disappeared for some minutes changing into a stream in flood that poured curses and insults towards all components of his staff. Indeed, his restlessness was justified. Since the beginning of 1944, the Intelligence service of the Third Reich had released innumerable statements with which, time by time, they designated as probable places of landing: Norway, Zeland in the Low Countries, the mouths of the Schelda in Belgium, the region around Brest in Brittany and even neutral Spain that with its own harbors could guarantee a fast supply of the allied troops. All alarms had revealed groundless. The only sure thing was that in Great Britain something big was in preparation. After all, it was impossible not to notice the monumental moves of troops between United States and the island of Albion. In 3 years, American Armed Forces had grown from a contingent of 170.000 men up to more than 7.200.000, of whom 60% employed in Europe.
This is about the third time the Times has reported that the Allies are in control of Cassino.
"While their victims perished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis plundered the personal belongings of the dead.
In a special section of the Birkenau camp, work details of mainly Jewish women sorted the collected loot.
This part of the camp became known as 'Canada,' sardonically likened to a country known for its riches and abundance.
"Day- and night-shift prisoner 'commandos' systematically sorted and classified clothing, luggage, blankets, utensils, valuables, and food.
Some prisoners sorted shoes, some only men's clothing.
They separated suitcases, blankets, and even baby carriages and tossed them into huge piles.
In the building known as the 'feed barrack,' great mounds of foodstuffs such as Hungarian salamis and Dutch cheese became moldy and rotten.
"Eager to find money and jewelry, the SS ordered prisoners to squeeze toothpaste into buckets in their search for hidden diamonds.
Even such personal items as hair ribbons, watches, eyeglasses, and dentures were collected.
Sorted booty was loaded onto trains and trucks and hauled to Germany.
Forced to evacuate the camp in early 1945, the Nazis left behind 349,820 men's suits, 836,255 women's outfits, and approximately 38,000 pairs of men's shoes."
" 'I was born in May. I died in May,' Isabella Leitner writes in a Holocaust memoir called Fragments of Isabella.
'We started the journey of ugliness on May 29th. We headed for Auschwitz. We arrived on May 31st.'
"Even in early 1944, Hungary's 725,000 Jews seemed to be relatively safe.
The leaders of this last great European Jewish community had reports about the fate of Jews under Nazi occupation, and Hungarian Jewry did live in a precarious situation given that country's alliance with Hitler.
But compared to the situation of other Jewish communities, most of which had been annihilated by 1944, Hungarian Jews seemed fortunate.
Indeed, until March 19, 1944, when the Germans occupied the territory of their faltering ally, many of Hungary's Jews suffered from what writer Ida Fink, another Holocaust survivor, called 'the poverty of imagination.'
They did not believe that what had happened to the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe would happen to them.
"Nevertheless, the nightmare began in April 1944.
First Hungarian Jews were ghettoized, and then on April 29-30 two transports, carrying a total of 3800 men and women, departed Hungary.
They reached Auschwitz on May 2.
The 'selection' spared 486 men and 616 women for labor.
The remaining 2,698 were gassed.
By mid-July 147 trains had deported more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.
More than 75 percent were killed on arrival.
Before Hungary's liberation in early 1945, more than 560,000 Hungarian Jews were dead.
"Isabella Leitner's 20th birthday was on Sunday, May 28, 1944.
Her "celebration" included preparation for the next day's deportation.
That journey took Leitner, her four sisters, her brother, and her mother--along with hundreds of other Hungarian Jews--from the ghetto at Kisvárda to Auschwitz.
Her mother and youngest sister were killed on arrival. Another sister perished in Bergen-Belsen, but Isabella and her other siblings survived.
Eventually she was reunited with her father, too.
In desperation he had gone to the United States in an effort to save his family by obtaining visas for them.
He was spared the Nazi horrors, but for the rest of his life he felt that he had not done enough to save his family.
"After her liberation and arrival in the United States, Leitner was unable to leave behind her "other life" in the ghetto, on the train, in the camps.
'You have one vision of life,' she says during an oral history interview, 'and I have two.'
Speaking for many Holocaust survivors, she adds that 'we have these...these double lives. We can't cancel out.
It just won't go away...it's very hard.' "
The Krauts thought they could defile and destroy church property.
We sure showed them, by golly.
The President doesn't look so good, but his doctor says he's improved after a stay in South Carolina, with some of his lady-friends, but not, iirc, Mrs R.
And I wonder how much the good doctor really understands about FDR's old ticker -- I mean, at age 62, he smokes too much, doesn't exercise enough...
Will he even be fit enough to run again in November?
And "Yankee Dewey Dandy"? Really?? That's as bad as "Like a Herman Cain." No disrespect to Dewey or Cain.
That was an interesting final sentence in today’s entry by Nimitz. Was it a typo, or had there been an escape?
I don't get it. 441 captured - 720 recaptured. Slippery little devils, I guess.
Regarding the USS Tang rescue sub....Commander O’Kane would later receive the Medal of Honor for actions months later.
Politics generates a lot of absurdities.
Dick O’Kane was the best sub skipper of the war. Learned as XO under Mush Morton, and set his own records in Tang. Would have done even more had his sub not been shot out under him by his own torpedo. He finished the war in a Japanese POW camp.