Skip to comments.ALLIED WING VEERS TOWARD ROME; 2-WAY AIR BLOWS HIT 5 COUNTRIES (5/31/44)
Posted on 05/31/2014 4:49:39 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring
Continued from May 4.
Winston S. Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy
US attacks unhinge Caesar Line
Wednesday, May 31, 1944 www.onwar.com
In Italy... The Canadian 1st Corps captures Frosinone; the British 10th Corps takes Sora. Around Anzio, forces of the US 6th Corps capture Velletri and Monte Artemiso while other elements attack Albano. The German loss of Velletri unhinges their defenses of the Caesar Line.
In New Guinea... US forces reduce their perimeter near Arare. All the American beachheads on the north coast experience significant Japanese attacks. Meanwhile, to the east, Australian forces capture Bunabum.
In the Bismark Sea... The destroyer USS England sinks the Japanese submarine RO105, northwest of the island of New Ireland. This is the sixth successful attack on a submarine by this vessel in twelve days.
May 31st, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)
At Sea: Only five Allied or neutral merchant ships were lost in May, at 27,000 tons the lowest monthly figure of the war so far.
UNITED KINGDOM: London: The Allied air forces are hammering invasion targets all over Europe in a day and night onslaught. In daylight raids today attacks were made on the Seine bridges, four strategic railway yards in Germany and the oil refineries at Ploesti, in Romania. Tonight, for the fifth successive night, Bomber Command is pounding the French coast between Calais and Boulogne, pouring hundreds of tons of bombs onto German batteries, beach defences and transportation targets. Other RAF aircraft crossed the east coast of England in strength at dusk heading towards Germany.
In the daylight raids, 1,000 heavy bombers, escorted by 1,200 fighters, ranged over France, Belgium and Germany. The Luftwaffe showed a remarkable reluctance to challenge them, and only one bomber and four fighters are missing.
The escorting fighters, thus relieved of their guard duties, shot up railway lines and airfields. Fighter-bombers took up the attack later in the day, swooping on two airfields in western Germany to set installations, fuel dumps and aircraft ablaze. One group shot down five Focke-Wulf FW190s.
These assaults, at the end of the Allies’ greatest month yet in the air, followed raids on the previous night in which the RAF paid special attention to a single, secret target on the French coast. All the raiders returned safely from that night’s work, which included a raid by 30 Mosquitoes on the chemical town of Leverkusen and extensive sea and river mining.
London: More than 4,500 cooks are now on active service preparing meals for just one element of Overlord - the seaborne assault forces. All told, 54,000 men are employed on maintaining installations and getting 4,000 landing craft and barges ready for sailing with their crews.
The Americans, who will take off from Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, have supply and service networks that extend deep into the Midlands. The British and Canadians in Hampshire and Sussex have similar lengthy tails. For many men these last days are marked by services conducted by padres in open fields.
The commanders are spending much of their time visiting the troops. Lieutenant-General Omar Bradley squats on his haunches, chews a blade of grass and talks to his 12th Army Group troops as man to man. Monty approaches his troops, fixes the men with his steely gaze and then gives the order to break ranks before he makes a short speech. At other times he visits war factories, telling the workers that their efforts will make all the difference on D-Day. Eisenhower may lack Monty’s swagger, but his relaxed confidence and the absence of an array of brass and medal ribbons have won approval from British and Americans alike. One colleague has said that the supreme commander’s smile is worth 20 divisions.
In the south of England Majors John Howard and Vaughan drive from the airfield at Tarrant Rushton where D Company of the Ox and Bucks Infantry are completely sealed in on the huge base, to Broadmoor. There they meet Brigadier Poett. Smith and Fox sneak out of Tarrant Rushton to have dinner with their girl friends. (Jay Stone)(182)
Invasion stripes are to be issued to gliders at the discretion of the Air Commander-in-chief. (Ron Babuka)
The USAAF’s Eighth Air Force in England flies Mission 382: 1,029 bombers and 682 fighters attack marshalling yards and aircraft industry targets in Germany and rail targets in France and Belgium; the fighters claim 4-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground; one bomber and three fighters are lost:
1. Of 246 B-17s, 36 hit Luxeuil marshalling yard, France; 30 hit Florennes/Juzaine Airfield and four hit Namur marshalling yard, Belgium; 23 hit Gilze-Rijen Airfield and 12 hit Roosendaal marshalling yard, The Netherlands; and three hit targets of opportunity without loss.
Personal Memory: Weather at the target for today was predicted to be good but we soon had to deviate our course because of towering cumulus clouds. We were supposed to bomb Colmar, France for our primary and St. Dizier as a secondary. Both were clouded over so we picked a target of opportunity which was the Dutch airfield at Gilze-Rijen. We supplied 14 planes for this mission and in our wanderings around the clouds we got too close to Brussels. Lt. Flick flying off our right wing was hit by flak and one of his men was seriously wounded. He turned back and made an emergency landing in England at Chipping-on-Gar. Due to the clouds we only did a one minute bomb run at the Dutch airfield and we missed the runways. The bombs fell between the runways into a wooded area. In 1992 my wife and I visited this airfield which is now an F-16 base. The historian who showed us around said that we had destroyed a large supply of fuel that the Germans had hidden in the woods.To make matt ers worse for the Germans, one of our 500 pound bombs fell directly in the middle of their 100 foot pond that they used to fight the fire. It blew all the water out of the pond without changing its contours. And talk about flying fish! On August 19, 1943, bombs from another group fell short and killed 27 civilians in the Dutch hamlet of Hulten. Our 303rd Bomb Group had lost two B-17s that day. On today’s mission we had two with major damage and six with minor, including our Betty Jane with a fist sized hole in her tail. (Vertical stabilizer, that is.) Score on my 7th mission: Milk runs: 3; Others; 4 (Dick Johnson)
2. 287 B-17s are dispatched to hit marshalling yards in Germany; 88 hit Osnabruck, 54 hit Schwerte, 52 hit Oeske and 50 hit Hamm; one B-17 is lost.
3. 491 B-24s are dispatched to hit rail targets in France and Belgium but are recalled due to clouds.
4. Four of five B-24s hit rail bridges at Beaumont-sur-Oise and bridges at Melun without loss; Azon radio-controlled bombs are unsuccessfully used against the bridges.
Escort is provided by 193 P-38s, 180 P-47 Thunderbolts and 309 P-51 Mustangs; P-38s claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground; one P-47 is lost; P-51s claim 3-0-1 aircraft on the ground with two P-51s lost. 674 Ninth Air Force fighters provide support; no claims or losses.
Fighter-bomber missions against German airfields with 500 lb (227 kg) and 100 lb (45 kg) general purpose bombs:
1. 78 of 81 P-47s hit Gutersloh Airfield; they claim 5-1-3 Luftwaffe aircraft.
2. 35 P-38s attack Rehein/Hopsten Airfield using DROOPSNOOT methods; they claim 5-0-0 aircraft on the ground.
22 B-24s are dispatched on CARPETBAGGER missions over France without loss.
The USAAF’s Ninth Air Force in England dispatches about 200 B-26 Marauders to bomb lock and highway bridges at Bennecourt, Courcelles-sur-Seine and Rouen, France.
Submarine HMS Alaric laid down.
HMCS Mayflower and Rimouski departed Oban to escort Normandy blockships.
GERMANY: U-2323 launched.
ITALY: Canadian forces take Frosimeone.
Velletri and Monte Artemisi fall to the US 36th Division near Anzio. This breaks the Caesar Line.
The USAAF’s Fifteenth Air Force in Italy dispatches 480+ B-17s and B-24s to bomb oil refineries and communications targets in the Ploesti, Romaniaarea; fighters fly 200+ sorties in support; 15 bombers are lost to flak and fighters; 40+ enemy aircraft are claimed shot down.
POLAND: Auschwitz-Birkenau: The SS reports that 80 pounds (40 kg) of gold have been recovered from the teeth of Hungarian Jews gassed since 17 May.
U.S.S.R.: Moscow: Stalin and his staff complete the planning of Operation Bagration, a massive undertaking to liberate Byelorussia.
ARCTIC OCEAN: U-289 (Type VIIC) Sunk in the Barents Sea southwest of Bear Island, Norway, in position 73.32N, 00.28E, by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Milne. 51 dead (all crew lost). (Alex Gordon)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The destroyer escort USS England (DE-635) sinks Japanese submarine HIJMS RO-105 200 miles (322 km) north-northwest of Kavieng on New Ireland Island, Bismarck Archipelago. USS England is assisted by the destroyers USS McCord (DD-534) and USS Hazelwood (DD-531) and destroyer escorts USS George (DE-697), USS Raby (DE-698) and USS Spangler (DE-696). This is the sixth submarine involved in Operation “NA” sunk by USS England.
CANADA: Ottawa: All over Canada families await news of the expected invasion of Europe - and of the 30,000 Canadian troops committed to it.
Canada, the Dominion whose prime minister, William Mackenzie King, once hoped that it would grow rich out of the war without having to bleed its manhood, now contributes a greater proportion of its population of 11,500,000 to the Allied war than any other country.
Its 500,000 strong army has left its dead in Hong Kong, Dieppe and Italy. Its 600-vessel navy (15 ships strong in 1939) has taken half the escort burden in the Atlantic convoys. Its assembly lines are producing medium artillery (25-pounders) faster than Krupp’s in Essen or the Soviet Magnitogorsk plant. Its slipways launch 20,000 tons of shipping a week. With new hydroelectric power from Lake St. John, it is now the world’s third largest producer of aluminium.
At Goose Bay, in the Newfoundland territory of Labrador, an airport has been built with concrete runways capable of taking planes heavy enough to cross the Atlantic. A similar airport has been built on the Pacific coast, on an island of British Columbia, to provide for the defence of the Aleutian Islands from Japanese invasion.
Tug HMCS Glenevis laid down Owen Sound, Ontario.
Destroyer USS Ault commissioned.
Minesweeper USS Bombard commissioned.
Destroyer escort USS Jesse Rutherford commissioned.
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-180 was commissioned. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest Pacific area. She was decommissioned on 18 October 1945.
An older pal of mine, Stan is 99, told about how nervous he was over flying the Vatican with live bombs in his B-26.
Might one presume from both Roosevelt’s p6 disapproval of Churchill’s opinion of Spain that the Roosevelts are still unhappy about the outcome of the Spanish civil war?
Rome would be taken by the Allies 4 June 1944. This event would soon be overshadowed by the events of 6 June.
This story of Sir Winston planning to watch D-Day from one of the King’s battleships and then having the King initially invite himself along is hilarious!
Hmm? Concerning that p7 article about the Biak tank battle, do the Japanese really have an operational tank that mounted a 75 mm gun at this stage of the war? I always thought the Sherman was to the Japanese through the entire war what the T-34/KV-1 was to the Germans in 1941, or the Tiger I was to the Anglo-Americans in late 1942.
Hmm? Perhaps I should have passed on the last two rum and cokes. I've gone over Homer's lesson slides several times but can't find the article you are commenting on.
...and another invasion force departs Pearl Harbor on 5 June, 1944- bound for Saipan, which was, pound for pound, just as brutal as any action seen at Normandy.
Look in the middle of this comment for the King’s letter to Winston dated May 31...
She was a rather pathetic figure, in my opinion. She stayed in Germany for love, but her beau died on the Eastern front. She seems to have stayed on the radio mostly to keep food on the table and avoid being an imprisoned American.
Still, she did what she did voluntarily and paid the price. She passed her later years in a convent, teaching school.
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