Skip to comments.FOE HURLS RESERVES INTO ITALY BATTLE; U.S. PLANES BLAST KIEL AND PAS-DE-CALAIS (5/23/44)
Posted on 05/23/2014 4:37:10 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
Canadians break the Senger Line
Tuesday, May 23, 1944 www.onwar.com
Canadian troops on the march in Italy [photo at link]
In Italy... The US 6th Corps in the Anzio beachhead launches an attack on Cisterna. German resistance results in high Allied casualties. Meanwhile, the US 5th Army continues offensive operations. US 2nd Corps patrols reach Terracina. Both the French Expeditionary Corps and the Canadian 1st Corps penetrate the German-held Senger Line. The Canadians break through by the end of the day.
In New Guinea... American forces encounter heavy resistance in their advance westward from Arare toward Sarmi. At Aitape, Japanese attacks continue to force the Americans to fall back.
In Wake Island... US Task Group 58.2 (Admiral Montgomery) launches air raids on Japanese positions.
In China... Chinese forces launch a counteroffensive in Honan Province.
In Occupied France... Paris radio announces that the railway system is in chaos.
May 23rd, 1944 (TUESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: The USAAF’s Eighth Air Force in England flies three missions.
Mission 364: 1,045 bombers and 562 fighters are dispatched to hit airfields and rail targets in France; three bombers are lost:
1. 580 B-17 Flying Fortresses are dispatched to the marshalling yard at Metz (34 bomb), Epinal (36 bomb) and Chaumont (54 bomb); airfields at Orleans/Bricy (17 bomb) and Chateaudun (18 bomb); secondary targets hit are marshalling yards at Saarbrucken, Germany (139 bomb), Bayon (12 bomb), the town of Neunkirchen, Germany (37 bomb), Caen/Carpiquet Airfield (18 bomb) and 12 hit targets of opportunity; two B-17s are lost.
2. 465 B-24s are dispatched to hit airfields at Orleans/Bricy (167 bomb), Bourges (84 bomb), Avord (88 bomb) and Etampes/Mondesir (97 bomb); one aircraft hits a target of opportunity; one B-24 is lost.
Escort is provided by 96 P-38s, 142 P-47 Thunderbolts and 324 P-51 Mustangs; none are lost and no Luftwaffe aircraft are claimed.
Mission 365: 103 P-51s are dispatched to bomb a railroad bridge at Hasselt, Belgium; 75 bomb escorted by 14 acting as top cover; one P-51 is lost.
Mission 366: Four of five B-17s drop 928,000 leaflets on Belgium and The Netherlands without loss.
Seven B-24s are dispatched on CARPETBAGGER operations.
The USAAF’s Ninth Air Force in England dispatches B-26 Marauders and P-38s against targets in France; 15 B-26s bomb the airfield at Beaumont-le-Roger in a predawn attack; during the afternoon 58 B-26s bomb coastal batteries at Etretat/Sainte-Marie-Au-Bosc, Maisy and Mont Fleury; and 120+ P-38s strafe and bomb rolling stock in central France.
Corvette HMS Alnwick Castle launched.
Boom defense vessel HMS Pretext launched.
Submarine HMS Virulent launched.
GERMANY: U-2505 and U-3002 laid down.
POLAND: The Germans cease to look for the remains of the V2 rocket which fell into the River Bug on 20 May. The Poles now remove the rocket with a team of horses and transport it on two heavy farm carts to a barn in the village of Holowczyce-Kolonia. (Alex Gordon)(129)
ITALY: US VI Corps attacks Cisterna making some gains at Anzio. Forcing a drive from the beach-head towards the hills.
The USAAF’s Fifteenth Air Force in Italy sends 300+ B-17s and B-24s to attack troop concentrations and communications in the rear of the battle area, at Avezzano, Subiaco, Valmontone, Marino, Nemi and Grottaferrata; P-38s and P-51s provide escort; other P-38s, covered by P-47s, strafe the airfield at Ferrara.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Aircraft of Task Group 58.6, the USS Essex (CV-9) with Carrier Air Group Fifteen (CVG-15), USS Wasp (CV-18) with CVG-14, and USS Jacinto (CVL-30) with Light Carrier Air Group Fifty One (CVLG-51), attack Wake Island.
The destroyer escort USS England (DE-635) sinks another Japanese submarine, RO-104, involved in Operation “NA;” this is the third submarine sunk by the DE in four days. The sub is sunk 250 miles (402 km) north-northwest of Kavieng, New Ireland Island, Bismarck Archipelago.
CANADA: Frigate HMCS Loch Craggie launched.
Destroyers USS Harlan R Dickson and Hugh Purvis laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Thaddeus Parker laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Rolf launched.
Destroyer escort USS Tabberer commissioned.
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-387 was commissioned at Los Angeles with LT J. L. Gray, USCG, as commanding officer. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest and Western Pacific areas during the war.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-764 was attacked by an enemy aircraft and damaged. One crewmember wounded.
Can you feel it? Two weeks until D-Day. Even the news at that time kept up with the Pas-De-Calais ruse.
Hitler was convinced. Where the hell is that damn Georgie Patton, anyway??
More about the Great Escape.
The photos from Italy are astonishing.
You’re letting the cat out of the bag! It’s Pas de Calais. Everyone knows this.
Can you imagine how this would have played out if the NYT allowed readers’ comments as they do today?
The devastation is horrible, but the Germans were pretty good at putting some nasty booby traps in it. Picking through the rubble was dangerous work for those engineers. It occurs to me that German POWs would probably be better suited for this job. If there are any booby traps, the Germans should know where they put them.
Despite the intelligence coup, the Brits never developed an effective defense against the V-2, which descended from a great height at near vertical and at speeds exceeding the sound barrier. Ultimately, the only effective countermeasure was seizure of the launch sites.
V-2 trivia: The V weapons programs cost the Germans more than the Manhattan Project cost the Americans. Because of the brutality of the slave labor program used to build it, more people died producing the V-2's than died by its use.
I remember that, about the booby traps. Does the Geneva Convention forbid using POWs to trip their own traps?
It made sense to hammer the Pas-De-Calais to bottle up the divisions there from breaking out to Normandy in the event.
The Gustav Line was pretty much a perfect situation for a defense. The destruction in those towns, especially Cassino, was incredible.
Oh, probably. But any POW can clear a booby trap. Once.
Good point. And after that, you don’t have to feed him.
Read these NYT archive article posts about when the Philippines fell. Most shows and historical articles tell how shocked everyone was back on the home front but didn't really go into much detail as to why. Reading those it became clear of how the public believed we were winning there until we didn't.
It get even more interesting to know that almost the entire US and Soviet space programs from 1945 to 1951 were all launches of captured V-2s.
The Normandy deception was so well crafted the Hitler thought Normandy was just a feint and even 2 weeks after was waiting for the blow in Calais.
Just another dumb decision that ultimately helped the Allies, even after the war!
German POWs were used to clear minefields. IIRC, the French and Russians used German POWs for this purpose. After more or less conventionally clearing a field, the POWs would then be forced to about face, lock arms and walk the "cleared" field.
I wouldn't be surprised if in certain situations the Russians dispensed with the part about conventional clearing.
The Russians used prisoners as human shields, iirc.
The Soviets used their own prisoners in penal battalions. Gotta love Soviet Communism, with its atheist philosophy. If you deny that men have souls and rights given by God, they are nothing more than pieces of meat to be disposed of as the state sees fit.
Or, "What's this we have now?"