Skip to comments.AMERICANS CUT APPIAN WAY, SEIZE TERRACINA; ALLIES BOMB BERLIN, VIENNA; FLY 8,000 SORTIES (5/25/44)
Posted on 05/25/2014 5:15:30 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
American army reaches Anzio
Thursday, May 25, 1944 www.onwar.com
Allied patrols link up near LatinaIn Italy... Patrols of the US 2nd Corps link up with forces of the US 6th Corps from Anzio near Latina (Pontine Marshes). In its advance, the US 6th Corps captures Cisterna and Cori. The German 10th Army is in danger of being cut off and Army Group C (Kesselring) sends its last reserve, the “Hermann Goring” Division, for reinforcement. The US 5th Army (Clark), however, now puts the weight of its forces into the capture of Rome. Meanwhile, the British 8th Army crosses the Melfa River in strength.
In New Guinea... American forces advancing from Arare cross the Tirfoam River after engaging Japanese defenders.
In Occupied Yugoslavia... A small force of German paratroopers is dropped near Tito’s headquarters at Drvar in Bosnia. The attack is supported by German Stuka dive bombers. Both Tito and the British liaison officer, Major Randolph Churchill, escape capture.
May 25th, 1944 (THURSDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: The USAAF’s Eighth Air Force in England flies two missions.
Mission 370: 406 bombers and 604 fighters in six forces make visual attacks on rail installations and airfields in Belgium and France; four bombers and 12 fighters are lost; the fighters claim 13-2-3 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 3-0-5 on the ground; unless otherwise indicated, all targets are in FRANCE:
1. 307 B-24s are dispatched to marshalling yards at Belfort (74 bomb) and Mulhouse (134 bomb); 12 hit Tonnere marshalling yard and 37 bomb Bretigny and one bombs Dijon Airfields; two B-24s are lost.
2. 320 B-17 Flying Fortresses are dispatched to Nancy/Essey Airfield (75 bomb) and marshalling yards at Metz (69 bomb), Saarguemines (36 bomb) and Blainville (36 bomb); 56 B-17s hit Thionville marshalling yard and three bomb Liege Airfield, Belgium without loss.
Personal Memory: The 303rd Bomb Group (Hells Angels) furnished only twelve bombers for this mission to bomb a Marshalling Yard at Blainville, France. A rather long mission, so we took off at 0547 double war time and the last one took off at 0558. Twelve B-17s in eleven minutes! The weather at the target was CAVU and our bomb run was eleven minutes. This is when the flak usually gets most intense since the German gunners knew that we would not deviate our course to throw off their aiming lead. But nothing happened. The flak guns had apparently been moved and we got no enemy action. Our lead bombardier did a good job and this was the first time I had seen bombs exploding on the ground And they seemed to be right on target. There was no damage to any of our B-17s and no aborts. Score: Two Milk Runs and one other. (Dick Johnson)
3. 103 B-24s bomb Montignies sur Sambre marshalling yard and nine bomb Alos marshalling yard without loss.
4. In Belgium 247 B-17s are dispatched against marshalling yards at Brussels/Schaerbeck (52 bomb), Brussels/Midi (29 bomb) and Leige/Guillemines (50 bomb); other marshalling yards hit are Brussels/Melsbroek (18 bomb) and Liege/Renory (50 bomb); two B-17s are lost.
5. 18 of 38 B-17s and 18 of 18 B-24s hit Fecamp gun battery without loss.
6. 15 B-17s hit St Valery gun battery without loss.
Escort is provided by 136 P-38s, 181 P-47 Thunderbolts and 287 P-51 Mustangs; P-38s claim 3-1-0 Luftwaffe aircraft, 9 P-38s are lost; P-47s claim 4-1-2 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 3-0-5 on the ground; P-51s claim 6-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft, three P-51s are lost.
Mission 371: Four B-17s drop leaflets in France without loss.
The USAAF’s Ninth Air Force in England dispatches 225+ B-26 Marauders to attack bridges near Liege, Belgium and airfields at Lille/Nord and Monchy-Breton, France. About 250 P-47s dive-bomb various targets in western Europe.
NETHERLANDS: Two Canadian airmen, Flight Sgt. Joseph Thomas LeBlanc from Quebec and Flying Officer Sidney Glen Peterson from Manitoba, are amongst those killed when their RAF”> RAF Halifax heavy bomber is shot down by a Luftwaffe fighter. Five other airmen on board also die in the crash.
The remains of the airmen and fragments of the aircraft are recovered in the autumn of 2005 from a swampy area near the city of Nijmegan in an effort funded by the Dutch government. At the time of the crash only one body was found. (Ron Babuka)
GERMANY: U-827, U-1021, U-1302 commissioned.
POLAND: An RAF Dakota takes off from Brindisi in Italy and heads for Tarnow in Poland for a night landing. There it is met by a reception party of 400 partisans and the Polish Underground with 50 kilos of components from the stolen rocket, and a Polish engineer who is to accompany the finds to London.
The pilot of the Dakota is F/Lt. Culliford and his Polish co-pilot as F/O Szajer. The Dakota bogs down in mud whilst it is being loaded and a farm cart has to be dismantled and used to provide boards to lay under the wheels, before a takeoff is managed after some considerable difficulty, and the Dakota and its “treasure” makes the long flight back to Hendon. (Alex Gordon)(129)
ITALY: US II Corps meets VI Corps from Anzio.
Terracina: Patrols of the US II and III Corps linked up on the Pontine Marshes near this coastal town, today bringing the four-month ordeal of the beach-head to an end. The race to Rome is on, but the great political prize may prove harder to reach than the battle maps suggest. The Germany army is retreating systematically north-west to new defensive positions - the Caesar Line - after fierce resistance at Cisterna in which more than 950 men of the US 3rd Division were killed or injured.
The American commander, General Mark Clark, is anxious for the beach-head forces to head straight for Rome. However, the Allied supreme commander, General Alexander, has ordered a US attack on Valmontone which, he hopes, will trap the German Tenth Army in a pincer movement with the advance of the British Eighth Army in the south.
Clark has compromised. He has ordered the Anzio commander, Major-General Lucien Truscott, to split his forces and attack both along Highway 7 at Albano with the US VI Corps and at Valmontone to comply with Alexander’s orders. The attack on Valmontone - a vital road junction on Highway 6 - began today, but was stopped almost immediately by German tanks and anti-tank guns.
The USAAF’s Fifteenth Air Force in Italy sends 340+ bombers to attack targets in France and Italy; B-17s attack the marshalling yard at Lyon, France; B-24s attack marshalling yards at Amberieux, Toulon and Givors, France, and in Italy, the port area at Monfalcone, airfield at Piancenza and industrial area at Porto Marghera; P-38s and P-51s fly 200+ sorties in support.
HUNGARY: Budapest: 138,870 Hungarian Jews have been deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and at least half murdered immediately in the gas chambers.
YUGOSLAVIA: The German paratroopers and glider-borne troops, drop on Tito’s HQ in Drvar, Bosnia. Tito and Major Randolph Churchill, the prime minister’s son, escape successfully, after the Germans surround partisan headquarters in this village. Major Churchill, who is serving with the British military mission here, had left the headquarters a few minutes before the attack. Tito was forced to leave one of his staff officers dying in agony from a head wound.
Two war correspondents, Stoyan Pribichevich of Time-Life and John Talbot of Reuters were captured, although the Time-Life man managed to escape. The attack known as Operation Knight’s Move, is believed to have been masterminded by SS Major Otto Skorzeny, the man who rescued Mussolini. Other members of the British mission are understood to have left the headquarters several days earlier.
The strength of the operation, which was preceded by dive bombers and followed up by tanks and infantry, is a sure indication of Germans’ frustration at Tito’s continual success. The partisan leader himself has escaped on horseback to a mountain hideout, and the Germans have taken out their frustration on the people of Drvar. Almost every villager - women and the smallest children included - was taken to the main square and shot.
CHINA: The Japanese capture Loyang.
AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Parkes commissioned.
PACIFIC OCEAN: A Shemya-based (Aleutian Islands) B-24 flies reconn and bombing mission in the central Kuriles. Another B-24 aborts due to equipment failure. (Edward S. Miller)
A USAAF B-24 flies a reconnaissance and bombing mission over the northern Kuriles.(56)
U.S.A.: HQ Armored Force to CG, AGF (on the subject of fires in the M4 Sherman tank): “The burning of propelling charges in the fighting compartment is the most serious cause of tank fires,” or, “The fire hazard caused by the fuel system, whether gasoline or diesel, is considered to be small compared to the fire hazard caused by the propelling charges of the ammunition.” This is why the Army decided to put applique armor on Shermans in the summer of 1943 over the side ammunition bins on Sherman tanks as a temporary expedient, and field new armored ammunition bins with a liquid fill around the ammo (wet stowage) on new production Sherman tanks. (Steve Zaloga)
The motion picture “Mr. Skeffington” is released in the U.S. Based on the Elizabeth von Arnim novel, this soap opera drama, directed by Vincent Sherman, stars Bette Davis, Claude Rains and Walter Abel. In 1914, Davis is a vain New York City society woman who marries Rains to protect her brother. After her brother is killed in WWI, she divorces him, sends her daughter to live with him in Europe and cavorts with sundry lovers. On the eve of WWII, her daughter returns and the soap continues. Rains and Davis are nominated for the Best Actor and Actress Academy Awards respectively.
Corvette HMCS Arrowhead completed forecastle extension refit Baltimore, Maryland.
Corvette HMCS Midland completed forecastle extension refit Galveston, Texas.
Submarine USS Sea Robin launched.
Destroyer minelayer USS Robert H Smith launched.
Submarine USS Cusk laid down.
Destroyer escorts USS Edwin A Howard, Howard F Clark and Paul G Baker commissioned.
Minesweeper USS Ardent commissioned.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-853 drove off an attack by three RN Swordfish from MAC ship Empire MacKendrick. All were damaged and one was deemed a total loss on return to the ship and was jettisoned.
U-476 scuttled after aircraft attack the previous day at 0102 NW of Trondheim in position 65.08N, 04.53E, by torpedoes from U-990. 34 killed when U-990 sunk later that day and 21 survivors.
U-990 sunk in North Sea west of Bodö, in position 65.05N, 07.28W, by depth charges from an RAF 59 Sqn Liberator. 20 dead and 33 survivors.
I saw “Cubs get high pay in move to dominate them” and wondered if they were mixing in sports news into the story.
If you see Cubs win World Series that’s a real news story.
"In May 1944 this elderly Hungarian woman and her four grandchildren trudged to the Auschwitz gas chambers.
The people pictured on this page were among the first of approximately 400,000 Hungarian Jews to perish in Auschwitz."
I’ve been out at the Indy 500 all day and I’m pretty cooked. I’ll try to work on it later tonight.
Another unrelated Churchill happened to be in Yugoslavia at about the same time but was captured. Jack Churchill is a colorful character worth reading about.
This is apparently a speech by Himmler justifying the existence of the Waffen SS, which was the field military branch of the service. Keep in mind the Waffen SS served as a second army next to the traditional Heer. Because it was intended as an organization of specially indoctrinated Nazi shock troops, by this time of the war, the Waffen SS units were getting priority on the best drafts of men and their weapons inventories were filled faster than the regular army units. They also fought far more savagely than the regular army units, and not just on the Eastern Front.
But you guys know all of that. So on with the
One of the reasons we have an organization of troops is that we are in a war for our homeland. (The next part I did not get, other than it was a statement of necessity). To face the situation we are in, and any situation that might arise, to fight any war that might come to Germany, to put out any fire (deal with any emergency), anywhere in Germany. (did not get the next sentence)
Whenever it's necessary to spill blood, Whenever it's necessary to for a couple of Germans to exterminate a nest of a couple hundred or thousand "dogs" (apparently sub-human enemies of the Reich) then the German people have the defenders to do so.
We have the troops to do so should we need to use them in this situation. We have already selected the best; to serve for four, five or six years if necessary; who have taken a "blood oath" to defend the German people. (did not get last few comments)
End of translation. I took it that the purpose of the speech was two-fold. One is to justify the existence of his private army that's skimming the cream of Germany's limited military resources. The other is to prepare the German people for what's coming.
I'm sure Himmler is well aware that if the upcoming invasion is successful, potential for a putsch by non-Nazi officers will increase.
Might this also be an exhortation for the Waffen SS to commit whatever atrocities necessary to preserve the Reich?
Good point. Even though we are still before July 20, Himmler would not have to change much in this speech if he gave after the failed coup attempt.
On a brighter note, I saw a restored P-47 a few months ago at a museum. As my guide said, it was a "beast." It will rain hell down on the Germans in Normandy.
Must not have studied Custer and the 7th Cavalry.
“He was confident of victory ...”
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