Skip to comments.AMERICANS PRESS TO OUTSKIRTS OF CHERBOURG; JAPANESE FLEET SIGHTED, BATTLE MAY DEVELOP (6/21/44)
Posted on 06/21/2014 5:15:25 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
* This movie is available for viewing on youtube. Link below.
Red Army attacks Finnish lines
Wednesday, June 21, 1944 www.onwar.com
Soviet infantry attacking in the north [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... Soviet forces of the Karelian Front (Meretskov) launch new attacks toward Finland, north of Lake Ladoga. The 7th Separate Army (General Krutikov) advances against the Finnish 6th Corps. Soviet forces also occupy the islands off the Karelian Isthmus.
In Italy... The British 8th Army advance reaches the German-held Albert Line at Chiusi, to the west of Trasimeno Lake.
June 21st, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: The USAAF’s Eighth Air Force in England flies three missions.
Mission 428: 1,234 bombers and 1,170 fighters in four forces are dispatched to hit targets in Germany; 45 bombers and four fighters are lost:
1. 145 of 163 B-17s begin shuttle bombing missions (Operation FRANTIC) between the UK and bases in the USSR; 72 P-38 Lightnings, 38 P-47 Thunderbolts and 57 P-51 Mustangs escort the B-17s to the target (synthetic oil plant at Ruhland, Germany); 123 B-17s bomb the primary target, 21 bomb Elsteriverda and a lone B-17 bombs Riesa due to a bomb rack malfunction; after the attack, the supporting P-51s are relieved 50 miles (80 km) SE of Poznan, Poland by 65 other P-51s which are to accompany the B-17s to the USSR; 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Brest Litovsk, 20 to 30 Luftwaffe fighters attack the force; in the resulting battle a P-51 and six German fighters are destroyed; a B-17 is lost (to unknown causes) on the flight; 144 B-17s land in the USSR, 73 at Poltava, and the rest at Mirgorod; the 64 remaining P-51s land at Piryatin. During the night of 21/22 June the 73 B-17s which earlier landed at Poltava are attacked for two hours by an estimated 75 German bombers led by aircraft dropping flares; 47 B-17s are destroyed and most of the remainder severely damaged; heavy damage is also suffered by stores of fuel and ammunition.
This USAAF shuttle run is made in conjunction with a large-scale effort against targets in the Berlin area as follows:
2. 456 B-17s attack Berlin; 12 other hit targets of opportunity; they claim 16-20-19 Luftwaffe aircraft; 16 B-17s are lost; escort is provided by 99 P-38s, 95 P-47s and 73 P-51s; they claim 4-0-3 Luftwaffe aircraft; one fighter is lost.
3. Of 368 B-24s dispatched, 69 hit Genshagen, 52 hit Marienfelde, 47 hit Berlin, 40, hit Potsdam, 28 hit Niederschonweide, 23 hit Genshagen, 16 hit Rangsdorf, ten hit Trebbin, eight hit Selvig, eight hit Stendal, seven hit targets of opportunity in the Berlin area and one hits Bederekesa; they claim 13-3-3 Luftwaffe aircraft; 19 B-24s are lost; escort is provided by 148 P-38s, 147 P-47s and 116 P-51s; they claim 13-0-6 Luftwaffe aircraft; a P-51 is lost.
4. Of 207 B-17s, 103 hit Berlin, 80 hit Basdorf and five hit targets of opportunity; nine B-17s are lost; escort is provided by 108 P-38s, 81 P-47s and 91 P-51s; a P-38, a P-47 and a P-51 are lost.
Personal Memory: My diary for today reads: “Big B,” Berlin, Germany. It’s biggest raid of the war—so far. Flak intense and accurate. Several planes from this field did not return. (Lt Allen). Passed by Hamburg. It is still burning big and black from our yesterday’s raid. We were lucky today. Only a few holes. 26,000 ft. Over enemy territory two hours and thirty minutes. Carried eight, five hundred pound GP and two five hundred pound incendiaries.” Each B-17 was loaded with 2,700 gallons of gas and five tons of bombs giving us a take off weight of sixty five thousand pounds. The empty B-17G weighs about 36,000 pounds. Beiser and I were in the Wing “B” which was in the high position. We were in position 4 leading the low squadron. There were 18 planes in our group and we were to be airborne for 8 hours and 18 minutes. We were to drop our bombs “In Train’ instead of the usual salvo. We heard rumors that this was a retaliation for all the Buzz Bombs that were hitting London
every day. At the target the FLAK was from at least two batteries and was continuously aimed at our squadron. I noticed a triple burst about a quarter mile to our left. Then another every three seconds or so, each one a few dozen yards closer and tracking our speed and altitude to perfection. Finally a triple burst came at us and was only about a hundred feet off our left wing and I heard shrapnel strike the side of our plane. I knew that the next burst would be dead center on us but I noticed that from the shape of the bursts that we were getting out of their range. And the killer burst never came as the gunners moved back to a group following us. I think that this was the most scared that I had been in combat. So far. Three of our 18 planes were shot down and only two got through the mission unscathed. Lt. Allen from our 427th squadron was shot down as was Lt. H.G. Way at about the same time. What is remarkable is that our plane only had a few holes on the left side aft er all this FLAK. When we examined the strike photos after returning to base we were startled to see that a B-17 was out of position under our group. Later pictures show a five hundred pound bomb taking off his left horizontal stabilizer and he was lost. Score: Milk runs 13, Others 6 (Dick Johnson)
Mission 429: In the late afternoon, 31 B-24s bomb CROSSBOW (V-weapon) supply sites at Oisemont/Neuville and Saint-Martin-L’Hortier and 39 bomb a rocket site at Siracourt, France. AA fire shoots down a B-24; escort is provided by 99 P-47s, meeting no enemy aircraft, but a group strafes railroad and canal targets.
Mission 430: Five B-17s drop leaflets in France.
21 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions in France during the night.
The USAAF’s Ninth Air Force dispatches 250+ B-26 Marauders and A-20 Havocs to bomb 13 V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais area of France. 700+ fighters escort Eighth Air Force bombers over Germany, bomb bridges south and west of Paris, and strafe rail and road traffic and communications centres north and west of Paris.
Frigate HMS Zanzibar commissioned.
Submarine HMS Aurochs laid down.
Rescue tug HMS Mediator launched.
FRANCE: Whilst operating off the Normandy Sword beach area, destroyer HMS Fury is mined and has to be taken in tow. However, she breaks free from her tow in bad weather, and is driven ashore where she becomes a constructive total loss. (Alex Gordon)(108)
GERMANY: U-3005 laid down.
FINLAND: General Krutikov’s 7th Army begins new Russian attacks. The defenders are the Finnish VI Corps between Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega.
The defenders are VI corps of Lt. Gen. Paavo Talvela’s Onega Group. Finns started their withdrawal from River Syväri (Svir) towards the PSS-line already on 17 June, but the move went undetected by the Soviets for a while. There are still Finnish troops on the front-line, their mission is to delay the enemy as long as possible to gain time to fortify the PSS- and U-lines further west.
The offensive begins with a massive artillery and aerial preparation at 7 am, and Gen. Krutikov’s 12 division-strong army starts crossing the River Svir around noon. At the point of main effort Finnish delaying force consists of only one battalion (of the 5th Division), and it is soon forced to withdraw. Gen. Talvela orders the 5th Division to fight for every inch, but, faced by enemy many times superior in numbers, it has to start withdrawing towards the PSS-line.
After the capture of Viipuri, Soviet forces on the Karelian Isthmus receive new orders. They are to reach the (north-south) level of Imatra-Lappeenranta by 28 June, and then continue towards the River Kymijoki.
Finland asks terms for peace via Sweden. The USSR tries to continue it’s success after taking of Viborg, but all attacks are repulsed in this sector during the rest the end of war. A Soviet attack by 7th Army in Svir sector begins.
The first German weapon shipments arrive in Finland. (Gene)
Soviet troops land at Piisaari Island. Auxiliary gunboats Aunus and Viena with German AF barges are sent to attack Soviet units in Koivisto Sound. Aunus damaged by bombs. While covering these MTB Taisto 1 caught fire and explodes after gun and bomb hits from IL-2 planes south from Oritsaari Island. One man is lost and 3 wounded. The only operational total loss of the MTB fleet.
U.S.S.R.: Baltic Fleet, Ladoga Lake and Chudskoe Lake Flotillas: MS “N47” (ex-BP “N26”) and MS “N53” (ex-BP “N39”) - mined close to Cape Seiveste, in Bijorkezund area. (Sergey Anisimov)(69)
ITALY: The British 8th Army reaches the German Albert Line at Chiusi, west of Lake Trasimeno.
NEW GUINEA: US forces are unable to dislodge the Japanese from the caves of Biak.
PACIFIC OCEAN: The USN’s Task Groups 58.1, 58.2 and 58.3 continues searching for the remaining ships of the IJN’s First Mobile Fleet. At 2030 hours local, the task groups begin retiring towards Saipan.
CANADA: Minesweeper HMCS Lavallee commissioned.
U.S.A.: CINCPAC COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 58, In the afternoon of June 19 (West Longitude Date) carrier-based reconnaissance planes of the Fifth Fleet sighted a Japanese fleet, which included carriers and battleships, approximately midway between the Mariana Islands and Luzon. Aircraft of our fast carrier task force were immediately ordered to attack and made contact with the enemy fleet before dusk.
Enemy losses and our own losses have not yet been assessed.
Additional details will be made known as they become available.
In the ground fighting on Saipan Island, our assault troops made advances in a northerly direction along the western shore of Magicienne Bay and made progress against an enemy strong point at Nafutan Point.
Severe fighting continues.
CINCPAC PRESS RELEASE NO. 452, Ventura search planes of Fleet Air Wing Four bombed Shimushu in the Kuriles before dawn on June 17 (West Longitude Date). Fires were started near the airfield. No opposition was encountered. Paramushiru Island was bombed by Ventura search planes of Fleet Air Wing Four and Liberators of the Eleventh Army Air Force before dawn on June 19. Antiaircraft fire was meagre and no attempt was made, to intercept our force.
Truk Atoll was attacked by Seventh Army Air Force Liberators during daylight on June 19. Intense antiaircraft fire was encountered but there was no fighter opposition. Ponape Island was bombed by Seventh Army Air Force Liberators and Mitchells on June 19.Mille, Maloelap and Wotje Atolls were bombed on June 19 by Corsair fighters and Dauntless dive bombers of the Fourth (Denis Peck)
Submarine USS Menhaden laid down.
Submarine USS Atule commissioned.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: During an aircraft attack by an RAF 86 Sqn on U-743, one man was killed and 2 more wounded.
Either two of the six torpedoes were aimed correctly or the pilot dove on the wrong one..
When we examined the strike photos after returning to base we were startled to see that a B-17 was out of position under our group. Later pictures show a five hundred pound bomb taking off his left horizontal stabilizer and he was lost.
Looka like the left wing might be a bigger problem than the tail.
Apparently that bomb missed the wing. According to one of the photos below, the incident appears to have taken place over Berlin in 1944. A number of sites claim May 1944. A photo below says the negative was received July 11, 1944 but that doesn't mean the photo was taken on 7/10 - 7/11. Perhaps Dick Johnson got his timeline mixed up or this was a separate incident.
Don't know where the camera was in the above B-17. Paralax may be an issue.
Another possibility is the stricken B-17 suddenly yawed right allowing the bomb to fall clear of it's left wing. The pilot of the stricken B-17 may also have realized too late the deep shiite that he was in and firewalled the throttles in a futile attempt to clear the B-17 above him. Mp>One or more of paralax, speed difference and yaw once the left rear stabilizer was hit enabled the stricken B-17 to keep its left wing intact... for a few seconds longer.
Apparently the pilot quickly lost control and none of the crew were able to bail out.
I went through the 3th AF diary for the period 21 June-11 July 44 and found only one mission to Berlin. That was June 21.
"456 of 496 B-17s attack Berlin; 12 other hit targets of opportunity; they claim 16-20-19 Luftwaffe aircraft; 16 B-17s are lost and 216 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 10 WIA and 148 MIA; escort is provided by 99 P-38s, 95 P-47s and 73 P-51s; they claim 4-0-3 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 fighter is lost."
I also looked and there wasn't another one until August 1944.
Apparently the image was printed in the Sept 1944 issue of the Army Air Corps confidential Impact magazine
I did a quick search but couldn't find a free scan of it.
I was speaking of the outboard section of the left wing. Doesn’t match any of the other wing surfaces.
Trying to see if I can identify it as Berlin - is that the Tiergarten just in front of the nose in the middle picture? The problem is that I don’t see the river. It should be visible if that is central Berlin, and I’d be able to get oriented.
Then you probably need to be looking at this image:
Or not, as the case may be.
“Your search - http://ww2db.com/images/50f3c47d96293.jpg - did not match any documents. “
Your search - http://ww2db.com/images/50f3c47d96293.jpg - did not match any documents.
Clear your cookies and try the link again or use a different browser. Either way, save the image to your local machine in case the site resumes forbidding access. You should get one large image showing the stricken B-17 nosing down with much of the city visible.
Hmm? I’m not getting the forbidden message anymore and the image is showing up in this thread. Hmm??
Pasted the link over in Google Chrome and saw it there. At least I can see the river in that picture. Thanks.
Hopefully you can match up the river with a map. Judging by the shadows the time appeared to be about midday. If I had to make a wild guess, I'd say the plane was heading more or less West -> East when struck.
May have battle damage repair by removing the skin from a B-17 that wouldn't be needing it any longer.
Google Earth isn’t much help. May spend some time trying to match it up to some maps here:
I still think the Brandenburg gate is near the upper right of that picture, and would say the plane is moving on roughly a north/south line, probably south to north. I’ve been using the enlarged image to try to spot some detail.
That looks bad but one never knows if it hit or not by looking at the pic