Skip to comments.CHERBOURG CUT OFF BY U.S. SMASH TO COAST; JAPANESE LANDING REPELLED AT SAIPAN ISLE (6/19/44)
Posted on 06/19/2014 4:59:50 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot
Monday, June 19, 1944 www.onwar.com
Japanese plane shot down by American AA fire [photo at link]
In the Philippine Sea... In the early morning hours Japanese reconnaissance finds US Task Force 58 while remaining undetected. The Japanese immediately launch 372 aircraft, in four waves, to strike the American fleet. Overall, the Japanese have about 550 planes (including those on Guam) while the Americans have roughly 950. Furthermore, US radar provides significant advance warning of the attack. There is enough time to launch an air raid on Guam before the Japanese can arrive over their target. American fighters begin intercepting the incoming Japanese planes while 50 miles away. Many of the attackers are shot down before reaching the American fleet; US anti-aircraft defenses accounts for many more. The only hit achieved by the Japanese is on the USS South Dakota which is damaged by one bomb. The Japanese lose 240 aircraft and the Americans lose 29. The attackers fly on to Guam where American aircraft strike and destroy another 50 Japanese planes. Meanwhile, the Japanese aircraft carriers Taiho and Shokaku are sunk by the US submarines Cavalla and Albacore. American participants refer to the day as “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” because of the ease with which the Japanese forces have been suppressed.
In New Guinea... On Biak, the reinforced US 41st Division launches attacks against Japanese strongpoints in the west of the island.
In the Nicobar Islands... British aircraft from the HMS Illustrious attack Port Blair. Admiral Power commands the forces which include the HMS Renown and the Free French battleship Richelieu.
In Italy... The British 8th Army reaches the south and east side of Trasimeno Lake. This advance brings the army near the German-held Albert Line.
On the Western Front... Elements of the US 1st Army clear Montebourg and Valognes.
June 19th, 1944 (MONDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, USAAF, based at Station 107 - Molesworth, Huntingdonshire, makes its first attack on occupied Europe with a mission to German V-1 launch sites in the Pas de Calais. (Nick Minecci)
The USAAF’s Eighth Air Force in England flies morning and afternoon missions against targets in France.
Mission 423: In the morning, 464 B-17s are dispatched against airfields in the Bordeaux area: 92 hit Cormes Ecluse, 84 hit Bordeaux/Merignac, 39 hit Cazaux, 34 hit Landes-de-Bussac, 12 hit Cabanac and three hit targets of opportunity; seven B-17s are lost. Escort is provided by 88 P-38 Lightnings and 261 P-51 Mustangs; four P-38s and six P-51s are lost.
Mission 424: In both morning and afternoon missions, 216 B-17s and 294 B-24s hit 35 V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais area; one B-24 is lost.
Escort is provided by 196 P-38s, 122 P-47s and 48 P-51s; one P-38 group, after completing escort duty, dive-bombs and strafes transportation targets in northeastern France, destroying a locomotive and three barges.
Personal Memory: My diary: “Pas De Calais, France robot plane installations. Target overcast. No opposition, no damage. Observed flak in the distance. Twenty five thousand feet.” Just yesterday on Sunday June 18 a Buzz Bomb killed and wounded nearly 200 Wellington Guardsmen when it struck their barracks. The V-1 missiles were now arriving in London at about a hundred per day. After aborting on what was to be our 16th mission we are now doing two tactical (No Ball) missions to try to destroy missile sites with each B-17 loaded with 38 general purpose bombs of 100 pounds each. We used special navigation equipment known as “Gee-H.” This mission lasted only 4 hours and 45 minutes with 30 minutes over enemy territory. Our 40 B-17 bombers dropped 1,513 bombs this morning. Score: Milk Runs 12, Others 4 Mission 17 same day PM This afternoon’s mission was considered a milk run by everybody but me. Our target was the same as this morning’s Buzz Bomb site. The formation’s lead plane always carried an officer in the tail to check on formation positions and they always used copilots for this duty. Today was my turn in the barrel. I was not used to wearing electrically heated suit and gloves since the pilot and copilot never needed them unless the ethylene glycol leaked out of the cockpit heater. The lead plane flies with the auto pilot (AFCE) and the yawing and swaying soon made me air sick. And flying backwards was not my forte. Although deathly ill I never quite tossed my cookies. I could not figure out how to fire the tail guns and studying them only made the airsickness worse. I finally gave up since all that could be seen behind us was hundreds of B-17s and I guessed that no German fighter would dare approach from that direction. It didn’t help that gale force winds had appeared over Europe that day making rough flying and destroying the Mulberry harbor of the American forces.at Omaha Beach, and severely damaging the British one. The salvageable par ts of the American harbor were used to repair the British harbor. Score: Milk Runs 12, Others 5 (Dick Johnson)
Frigate HMS Natal launched.
Submarine HMS Sea Scout commissioned.
HMCS New Waterford departed for Londonderry as replacement for HMCS Teme.
ENGLISH CHANNEL: The worst storm for 40 years destroys the artificial “Mulberry” harbour off Omaha Beach.
The airfield at Cardonville, the first U.S. field in France, becomes operational; around 200 USAAF Ninth Air Force fighters carry out uneventful armed reconnaissance and patrols in the morning, and dive-bomb six NOBALL (V-weapon) targets in the afternoon.
These are the strange stories of the battle of Normandy they told me on this 13th day since H-Hour, D-Day.
From his stretcher in the sorting camp Sergt.-Major James Hawson, Dunkirk, El Alamein, and on, watched the nurses in their khaki overalls and field boots and leggings working on the man next to him.
“And what happens next?” he asked. “Do I ask every day after his health?”
Then he told me: “Thirty hours ago Jerry - this man next to me now - is on one side of a farmyard in Normandy. I’m on the other. We have both had years of practice and training to get ready for a situation like this. He gets me through the arm with his machine-gun. But I get him too, before I pass out. Next thing I know, we’re in the same ship on the way home in the same ambulance, in the same bit of field in good old Blighty waiting to be patched up by the same doctors and nurses.”
But now they are to part. Hawson is going to base hospital. The German will be too ill to move for several days.
FINLAND: On the right flank of the Finnish IV Corps on the Karelian Isthmus, the 10th Division and Cavalry Brigade, reinforced by units from the Armored Division, have been able to consolidate their positions. But they are under heavy Soviet pressure, and get orders to start withdrawing towards Viipuri. The 10th Division and Cavalry Brigade are in bad shape, the men are demoralized, spreading horror-stories about the might of the Red Army. In the middle of the IV Corps’s front the 3rd Brigade is withdrawn to reinforce the troops near Viipuri, leaving the 4th Division to defend alone the old battlefield of Summa. This soon proves too much. Terrain is suitable for tanks, and the defenders are soon forced to retreat. Today the IV and III Corps receive orders to regroup for defence along the VKT-line.
After the VKT-line there’s very little to hinder the Soviet advance if they break through. Further west there’s the Salpa-line, which construction had started after the Winter War, but was interrupted after the start of the Continuation War. Work on the Salpa-line has been resumed, but it’s still only half-finished. And if the VKT-line breaks, it’s questionable whether the troops will have time to withdraw to the Salpa-line and regroup in defence. The Finnish GHQ is located in Mikkeli, east-central Finland, and Chief of the General Staff Gen. Erik Heinrichs tells to the German representative, General der Infanterie Waldemar Erfurth, that if the VKT-line breaks, ‘the Soviet tanks might be here in Mikkeli in few hours’.
Oberstleutnant Kurt Kuhlmey’s planes are in action for the first time since their arrival at Immola. They claim 24 Soviet aircraft shot down, with losses of three.
Eighteen Finnish Me-109s shoot down 6 Pe-2 and 2 Il-4 bombers as well as 3 P-39and 2 La-5 fighters of their escort. (Jason Long)
In the village of Pien-Pero, 18Km east of Vyborg, a 12-year old Finnish boy spends half an hour as a prisoner of war. More...
BALTIC SEA: While sailing to patrol area at Kiuskeri, submarine Vesikko crash dives to evade air attack. In shallow, low-salinity water the boat hits bottom and must return to base.
U.S.S.R.: Black Sea Fleet: ML “Pestel” - by U-boat, in Trabzon area. (Sergey Anisimov)(69)
ITALY: Elba: Mountain fighters of the French Expeditionary Force have climbed to the highest point of the island of Napoleon’s exile to raise the Tricouleur. Elba was taken by storm, the French troops landing by night and taking Porto Ferrario after a short and bloody battle. On the mainland, British troops are fighting for the road and rail junction of Perugia. Assisi fell earlier today. The British XIII Corps has reached the Albert Line which German troops have been ordered to defend “with tenacity” as their army withdraws to the Gothic Line.
INDIAN OCEAN: HMS Illustrious raids Port Blair in the Nicobars.
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: The Japanese launch 372 planes after locating US TF 58 in the early morning. Their force remains unsighted, this morning, but not unknown to the US. The US has a 2:1 superiority in aircraft. This is because the Japanese plan utilizes land based aircraft. The plan does not make allowances for the prior knockout of these planes by the US. The US strikes have already accomplished this. Their force is intercepted at 50 miles. The loss numbers 240 IJN planes and 29 USN planes.
The Japanese carriers Taiho and Shokaku are sunk by US submarines Cavalla and Albacore. More...
This action picks up the name “Marianas Turkey Shoot”.
Escort carriers further out including the USS Manila Bay and USS NATOMA BAY are diverted eastwards until the battle ends.
MARIANAS ISLANDS, SAIPAN: Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, USMC, Commanding General, V Amphibious Corps, reorients his corps to attack in two different directions. The 2d and 4th Marine Divisions and the Army’s 106th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division will advance north; the other two regiments of the 27th Infantry Division, the 105th and 165th, will mop-up the Nafutan Peninsula.
Allied CINCPAC COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 56, Our assault troops on Saipan Island have captured Aslito Airdrome and have driven eastward across the island to Magicienne Bay, where we hold the western shore. Two pockets of enemy resistance remain east of Lake Susupe. The enemy continues to counterattack, but all attacks have been successfully repulsed.
Seabees are at work on the airstrips at Aslito Airdrome.
On June 18 (West Longitude Date) our carrier task force providing cover and support for our amphibious force was subjected to a severe aerial attack which continued for several hours.
The attack was successfully repulsed by our carrier aircraft and antiaircraft fire. Information presently available indicates that only one of our surface units was damaged, and this damage was minor.
It is believed a portion of the enemy planes were carrier-based, and used nearby shore bases as shuttle points. However the effectiveness of this procedure was sharply limited by our systematic bombing and strafing of the air-fields at Guam and Rota.
It is estimated that more than 300 enemy aircraft were destroyed by our forces during this engagement. No estimate is yet available of our own air-craft losses. (Denis Peck)
Corvette HMCS St Lambert arrived Halifax from Quebec City builder.
Corvette HMCS Kincardine commissioned.
U.S.A.: The Finnish Ambassador, Hjalmar Procopé, and his staff are handed their passports and told to leave the country. The reason given is Procopé’s alleged ‘hostile behaviour towards the United States’ (It seems that Procopé was, at times, undiplomatically stubborn when trying to uphold Finland’s cause among the Congressmen and Senators). This is just the first move to sever diplomatic relations. a decision which was made already earlier in June, and the deal the Finns struck with von Ribbentrop which seemed to place Finland firmly in the German camp.
Destroyer USS Perkins laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Leland E Thomas commissioned.
Submarine USS Besugo commissioned.
BERMUDA: The U-boat U-505, captured on 4 June by the US destroyer escort USS CHATELAIN, yields her codebooks intact.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: An extract from Jim Verdolini’s diary:
We arrive in Bermuda, and turned our 59 prisoners over to the local Naval Base Commander. The prisoners were kept on Bermuda, until after the war. As Capt. Gallery said to us,” Our Task Group had a rendezvous set up in the book of destiny, and there was no avoiding it”.
U-181 sank SS Garoet.
U-20 sank SS Pestel.
"False papers were vitally important to Jews who hid among the non-Jewish population.
This French identity card, held by Lina Donoff, identified her as Denise Alice Josephine Rochard.
Lina's mother made the card in order to protect her daughter from deportation.
False documents of this sort were not uncommon, and often provided the protection the bearers desired.
This, of course, exposes the absurdity of the Nazi insistence that physical characteristics make Jews instantly recognizable."
The Japanese bodies appear to have been left there for several days. I’ll bet the stench was awful.
Their tanks looked like they would have been effective against the Chinese, who lacked any tanks or anti-tank weapons of their own. But against western armies, they wouldn’t stand a chance. We’ll see how the do against T-34/85s next August.
While these false documents exposed the absurdity of the Nazi claim that Jews were instantly recognizable by their physical appearance, I also suspect that the local authorities in Nazi occupied countries could could instantly recognize these papers were forgeries. They chose to look the other way.
Kind of like the guy at the door to the Bluebird when I was 17. He knew damn well I wasn’t 21 and I wasn’t Bob Ferguson, but he let me in anyway. I know the situation in Europe was way more serious than that. It’s the same psychology, and I’d like to think that happened fairly often.
That guy at the Bluebird must have been the same guy at the Circus Lounge when I was 16.
As an American that lives in Paris, France and a lover of history.
Your posts are a daily part of my life.
And I appreciate that.
And fear not - the Allies on on the way to liberate Paris and should be there within weeks.
I have my ear cocked to my BBC radio and I am eagerly listening though the static.
The fact that the Yanks spared Chartres Cathedral is a blessing not forgotten here.