Skip to comments.BRITISH CUT RAIL LINE IN SWEEP WEST OF CAEN; RUSSIANS WIN ORSHA, FIGHT IN MOGILEV STREETS (6/28/44)
Posted on 06/28/2014 5:19:07 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
German breakout from Bobruisk
Wednesday, June 28, 1944 www.onwar.com
German soldiers attempting to break outOn the Eastern Front... Soviet operations against German Army Group Center continue. Elements of the German 41st Panzer Corps break out of the Bobruisk encirclement during the night. Weak Soviet infantry forces of 1st Belorussian Front are unable to hold. About 15,000 of the roughly 40,000 manage to escape. Meanwhile, in the north, the Soviet Karelian Front forces reach Petrozavodsk and also cross the Murmansk rail line farther north.
From Berlin... The commander of German Army Group Center, Field Marshal Busch, is relieved. Field Marshal Model is designated his replacement.
On the Western Front... In the Cotentin Peninsula, American forces of US 1st Army prepare to eliminate German resistance in the direction of Cap de la Hague. The forces of British 2nd Army cross the Odon River on a 2 mile front near Mondrainville.
In Occupied France... The Vichy France Minister for Propaganda, Philippe Henriot, is assassinated in Paris.
In New Guinea... On Biak, the American divisional force, now commanded by General Doe, clears the Japanese-held caves in the western part of the island.
In the United States... Governor Thomas Dewey and Governor John Bricker win the Republican nominations for president and vice-president at the party convention in Chicago.
June 28th, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)
The US Eighth Air Force flies Mission 445:
992 bombers and 638 fighters are dispatched to targets in France, Germany and Belgium; two bombers and two fighters are lost.
485 B-17s attack targets in FRANCE:
72 hit Couvron Airfield at Laon, 64 hit Juvincourt Airfield, 60 hit Athies Airfield at Laon, 36 hit Fismes bridge, 28 hit Prouvy Airfield at Denain, 24 hit targets of opportunity, 20 hit Anizy le Chateau bridge, 19 hit Le Bourget Airfield at Paris and 18 hit the Dugny oil depot;
one B-17s is lost, one damaged beyond repair and 99 damaged.
Of 378 B-24s, 331 hit Saarbrucken marshalling yards, 11 hit Juzaine Airfield at Florennes and one hits Givet Bridge; one B-24 is lost and 125 damaged. Escort is provided by 188 P-38s, 169 P-47s and 231 P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; one P-47 and one P-51 are lost and two P-51s damaged beyond repair. About one-third of the escorting fighters afterward bomb and strafe transport targets, claiming three locomotives and an Armored vehicle destroyed.
30 of 50 P-47s fly a fighter-bomber mission against La Perthe Airfield without loss.
18 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions in France.
Personal Memory: My first mission in four whole days! We went off to Bedford and only missed one mission while we were gone. On June 25 our 303rd group flew two missions, both of which were fairly long. In the morning mission one of our B-17s ran out of fuel over England and they all bailed out to become members of the Caterpillar club. In the afternoon the group did bridge busting with mixed results. One group dropped 23 of those one ton bombs with only one bomb striking the bridge which remained standing. Another group had personnel problems. The lead Bombardier forgot to turn off the salvo switch and when he turned on the internal bomb rack switches his bombs automatically fell from the plane and one other plane followed suit. Four others held on to their bombs and dropped their eight bombs on a bridge at Sens, France with good results.
The next day, June 26 a mission headed to Munich was scrubbed because of weather information. But, today’s mission would be rough on me. My diary tells it all. “Reims, France- airfield south (Juvincourt.) CAVU. Caught every flak gun in France. Led high squadron. Lost our wing man who went down in flames. (Lt Wardowski.) Lost one other also. Weather so bad on return we had to land at coast at B-24 base. 5 hour trip carrying 38 X 100 pound bombs.” We followed the lead group as it cut short of the IP and took aim at a dummy airport. we discovered our error and did a 360 turn to the left and picked up the IP again. Four minutes after bombs away a flak battery at Laon, France scored a direct hit near the right wing root of “Old Crow” flown by Lt Wardowski. The plane became a great fireball and rolled onto its back in a left turning dive. It soon exceeded its design speed and blew up into thousands of pieces. My new friend in the cockpit, Lt Wardowski, was not able to get out . Nor was the navigator, W.C. Birnbaum or the tail gunner D.G.Wagner. this was their fifth mission. Remarkably the Co-pilot, N. E. Hainlin was able to team up with the two waist gunners, Sgt. A. Willard and Sgt. John I. Snede and they all evaded capture with assistance of the French underground. Bombardier C. F. Eisel was captured as was engineer R.J. Kowatch and the ball turret gunner Sgt. B. L. Hope. Of course at that time I didn’t know who lived and who died. Of our 26 B-17s only six escaped damage. Six had major damage and 14 had minor damage, one being lost. The chaff that we dropped did very little good as the Germans preferred to aim visually. Going home we were driven down to 300 feet by scud and we nearly collided with another B-17 before we landed a Debach, a B-24 base. The weather eased enough that we were able to get to Molesworth before dark. Nine of us had landed at Deback, ten at Hardwick, two at Seething, one at Downham Market and one made it to Bradwell Bay on three engines, literally since the engine had been blown off his plane. It’s to his credit that he didn’t bail his crew out. When E.C. (Al) Lehmann landed at Downham Market he had two wounded men on board. He had been flying behind and below Wardowski. Score, Milk runs 13: Others 10 (Dick Johnson)
Submarine USS Argonaut (later HMCS Rainbow) laid down Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
ENGLISH CHANNEL: At 2130, the Maid of Orleans in Convoy FXP-18 was torpedoed and sunk by U-988 SE of St Catherine’s Point, Isle of Wight. The ship had brought troops to the Normandy beachhead and was on her return trip. Five crewmembers were lost. The master, 72 crewmembers, 18 gunners and two passengers (Observer Corps personnel) were picked up by frigate HMS Hotham, destroyer HMS Eglinton and British tug Empire Roger and landed at Portsmouth1
FRANCE: Paris: Philippe Henriot is shot at dawn. He and his wife had spent the night at the Ministry of Information in the rue Solférino, when members of the resistance, disguised as police, tricked the concierge and made their way in.
Henriot, before the war an extreme right-wing deputy, was particularly hated for his propaganda broadcasts, denouncing the Resistance as “criminal assassins” and its leaders as “cowards”.
The US 9th Division prepares for the final attacks in the direction of Cap de la Hague, France.
British troops cross the Odon near Mondrainville, west of Caen.
The USAAF’s Ninth Air Force dispatches 220+ fighters, based in France, to attack railroad facilities, bridges, fuel and ammunition dumps, artillery, troop concentrations, vehicles, and other targets; bad weather cancels bomber and fighter operations from the UK.
GERMANY: U-1044 is commissioned.
ITALY: The Fifteenth Air Force dispatches 229 B-24s to bomb marshalling yards and two oil refineries at Bucharest, Romania; 138 others hit Karlovo Airfield, Bulgaria; 40 fighters carry out a sweep over the Bucharest area while other fighters fly 230+ sorties in escort of the B-24s; 20+ enemy fighters are claimed shot down, mostly by the fighters during the sweep over Bucharest.
DENMARK: A general strike begins in Copenhagen.
FINLAND: Battle of Tali-Ihantala
Col. Albert Puroma’s Jäger Brigade starts at 12.45 am. one more attempt to cut from west the Soviet salient east of Lake Leitimonjärvi. After an artillery bombardment fired by eight artillery battalions. After advancing a short distance, the attack bogs down in fierce Soviet resistance. At 4 am. the attacking force withdraws back to its starting positions.
During the early morning hours Lt. Col. E. Polón’s IR 30 (minus its I battalion which remained in the 11th Division’s reserve) of the 11th Division arrives to the Jäger Brigade’s rear and is subordinated to the Armored Division. During its march the IR 30 has taken serious losses from the Soviet artillery and aerial attacks. Maj. Gen. Ruben Lagus now decides to use his reserve, Maj. V. Sarta’s I/IR 50, in a final attempt to isolate the Soviet salient. Four artillery battalions fire a preparation, and the attack commences at 8.45 am, but manages to reach only the same level Jäger Brigade’s attack had reached earlier the same morning. The I/IR 50 is ordered back to its starting positions. This was the last attempt to close the salient from west.
During the day the Armored Division is subjected to constant and intense artillery fire and aerial bombardment. This afternoon the division’s command post is hit, and among others chief of the operations section Lt. Col. Paavo Rasi is killed. The Armored Division, particularly its Jäger Brigade, is reaching the end of its endurance. It is rightly considered a crack formation, and has been used as a fire brigade during the long withdrawal across the Isthmus. It has spent its strength in numerous counter-attacks in the last three weeks, and its units have only 10-20 % of their strength left. It’s a testimony to their spirit that the morale remained high despite the severe losses they had suffered.
On the eastern side of the Soviet salient Col. Sven Björkman’s forces try to reach the Jäger Brigade in the early morning hours. Capt. Petäjä’s Border Jäger Battalion 2 is again at the front of the attack, but cannot overcome the Soviet resistance. Capt. Petäjä is wounded. The gap between Col. Björkman’s detachment in east and Col. Puroma’s Jäger Brigade in west is less than one kilometre wide, but that’s the closest Finns come to closing it. Their strength is spent, and there’s no fresh reserves present.
Now it’s again the time for the Red Army to attack.
Col. Björkman’s men east and Col. Väinö Forsberg’s men north of the salient are subjected to a fierce artillery and aerial bombardment, and the Soviet forces, supported by tanks, attack around 11 am. Col. Björkman’s men are forced back, but prevent the enemy from achieving a breakthrough. In Col. Forsberg’s sector the situation soon becomes critical. Forsberg’s forces have suffered heavy losses in yesterday’s counter-attacks, and are now unable to resist long. The enemy achieves a breakthrough, and around noon is only a kilometre from Ihantala. The situation is extremely dangerous, but again the reinforcements arrive in the nick of time. Maj. Gen. Einar Wihma’s 6th Division is reaching Ihantala.
At 12.30 pm. commander of the IV Corps Lt. Gen. Laatikainen subordinates Col. Y. Hanste’s IR 12 (6th Division) to Gen. Lagus for a counter-attack south from Ihantala. The attack starts at 6.30 pm. IR 12 is able to push the enemy back and stabilize the situation by midnight. But the enemy has broken out from the salient, and the Jäger Brigade, IR 50 and IR 30 are in danger of being isolated.
This day and tomorrow are the most critical in the Battle of Tali-Ihantala. There’s no more attempts to isolate the Soviet salient and recapture the old positions at the VKT-line around Tali. It’s now the question of withdrawing the troops to a new line around Ihantala and stopping the enemy there. The task would be much more difficult without the support given by artillery and air forces, esp. the bombers of Aviation Regiment 4 and Obstlt. Kuhlmey’s Stukas and Fw 190’s. Finnish fighter and AA-units claim 49 enemy aircraft shot down today around Tali-Ihantala.
Marshal Mannerheim nominates the first two men to receive the Mannerheim Cross, 2nd Class, for the second time. Both are fighter pilots. WO Ilmari Juutilainen (1914-99) will become the highest scoring Finnish fighter ace of the WWII with 94 1/6 kills. Capt. Hans Wind (1919-95) just today raises his score to 75, but is badly wounded, and spends the rest of the war in military hospitals.
An interview of Juutilainen:
A bio of Wind at:
U.S.S.R.: The northern wing of the Russian advance reach Petrozavodsk. They also cross the Murmansk rail line to the north.
Zakharov’s troops capture Mogilev and cross the Dnieper in Belorussia.
Busch is dismissed by Hitler from the command of Army Group Centre. Field Marshal Model is his replacement.
NEW GUINEA: On Biak Island the western caves have been cleared. Remaining Japanese troops are scattered and the remaining operations are scattered.
MARIANA ISLANDS: US Navy carrier aircraft begin preinvasion strikes against Guam. During the night of 28/29 June, the Japanese dispatch aircraft from Truk Atoll and Iwo Jima against shipping off Saipan but they hit nothing.
CANADA: Corvette HMCS Buctouche damaged by grounding Hamilton Inlet, Labrador. She was able to make Pictou, Nova Scotia, on her own power, where she underwent repairs that took two months to complete. Skr/Lt. was an abbreviation for Skipper-Lieutenant, a rank granted to emergency wartime direct-entry officers with prior experience commanding civilian vessels.
Submarine USS Argonaut (later HMCS Rainbow) laid down Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
U.S.A.: Thomas Dewey is nominated by the Republicans as their nominee for US President with John Bricker as his Vice President.
Washington: The US severs diplomatic relations with Finland.
From the CINCPAC Press Office: NAVAL ADVANCE TO THE WESTWARD The advance of our Naval forces to the westward began with the reoccupation of Attu and Kiska in the far north, and the capture of the most important islands in the Solomons group in the far south.
From our far northern bases we began attacking the Japanese Kuriles from the air. We have also made several surface vessel bombardments against the enemy’s shore installations in the Kurile chain.
In the south, the successful termination of the Solomons campaign made possible air and surface raids against Japanese garrisons in the Bismarck Archipelago and along the northern New Guinea Coast.
With our positions in the far north and in the south firmly established the next step was the squeeze made in the middle of the enemy’s perimeter. This resulted in the capture of the Gilbert Islands. Following that, the Marshall campaign then gave us Kwajalein, Majuro; and Eniwetok. .Farther to the south we took the Admiralty Islands and also important positions on New Britain. Then strategic areas along the northern New Guinea coast fell to us with the. result that we were then able to launch air and. surface attacks against Truk, Ponape, Kusaie and other islands in the Caroline group, from several directions. We also were able to strike from Australia in the far south against Japanese positions in Java. But it was the capture of certain of the Marshalls group that permitted us to launch our surface and air attacks as far west-as Palau, Guam, Saipan, Rota and the Bonin Islands.
Our last offensive blow, aimed in the ultimate capture of Saipan, already has permitted our air and surface fleets to strike still farther westward. The final occupation of Saipan will enable us to project surface and air operations that will include the mainland of Japan, the Philippines and a greater part of the Dutch East Indies.
CINCPAC COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 65, 1. United States Marine and Army troops have made further gains on Saipan Island, pushing north nearly two miles along the east coast, passing the villages of Donnay and Hashigoru: On the west coast, further penetrations have been made into Garapan Town. Enemy troops broke through our lines containing them on Nafutan Point on the night of June 26 (West Longitude Date), and attempted to drive northward. Two hundred enemy troops were killed in this counterattack. The next day further attacks were launched by our forces against Nafutan Point and the enemy now holds only the extreme tip of the point.
Close support is now being given our troops by shore-based aircraft operating from Aslito Airdrome. Tinian Island has been subjected to protracted daily bombardment to neutralize enemy positions there.
On the night of June 25 several enemy torpedo planes attacked a carrier group screening our transports. Several torpedoes were launched, but no hits were obtained. One enemy plane was shot down, and another probably shot down. During the night of June 26-27 enemy aircraft again attacked our transports, but all bombs landed in the water. One near miss on a transport injured a member of the crew.
2. Surface units of the Pacific Fleet bombarded Kurabu Zaki at the southern tip of Paramushiru in the Kuriles on the night of June 25-26.
Paramushiru and Shimushu Islands were bombed by Liberators of the Eleventh Army Air Force and Ventura search planes of Fleet Air Wing Four before dawn on June 25 and 26. Several fires were started in these raids. Antiaircraft fire was intense. Eleven enemy fighters attacked a single Ventura of Fleet Air Wing Four near the airfield at Paramushiru before dawn on June 26. Two of the attacking planes were damaged, and one disappeared into a fog bank trailing smoke. The Ventura returned with superficial damage.
3. Carrier aircraft swept Guam and Rota Islands in the Marianas on June 26. Fuel reservoirs and coastal defence gun positions were bombed. three small craft in Apra Harbour at Guam were destroyed. The cargo vessel damaged in previous strikes was observed to have sunk. At Rota the airstrip was strafed and buildings were set afire. There was no enemy air opposition during these attacks.
4. Truk Atoll was bombed by Seventh Army Air Force Liberators on June 25. One of five enemy fighters which intercepted our force was shot down. We suffered no damage. Army and Marine aircraft attacked enemy objectives in the Marshalls on June 25.
5. An enemy twin-engine bomber was shot down south of the Hall Islands by a search plane of Fleet Air Wing Two, Group One, on June 26. The same day an enemy torpedo plane was damaged by another search plane northwest A Truk. (Denis Peck)
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-389 was commissioned at Los Angeles, CA. LT C. N. Brown, USCGR, was her first commanding officer. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest and Western Pacific areas during the war.
As I understand a Monty Barrage, the artillery was packed to the minimum safe spacing hub-to-hub, muzzle over spade and was contained within four protective walls of tanks.
A Monty Barrage would be used when assaulting on a narrow front. A 400 gun Monty Barrage could be set up by a tight formation of 20 rows of 20 guns each.
The dense two dimensional packing of artillery permitted concentrated rolling/creeping barrages having characteristics of standing barrage, time-on-target fire, and a narrow diameter CEP.
My guess is the Brit's at Normandy used the Monty Barrage to clear paths through hedgerows.
On June 25 our 303rd group flew two missions, both of which were fairly long. In the morning mission one of our B-17s ran out of fuel over England and they all bailed out to become members of the Caterpillar club.
Hard to believe the ground crew failed to fuel the plane and no one in the cockpit noticed. I wonder if Johnson meant a returning B-17 ran out of fuel over England?
The caterpillar club is an informal association of people who have successfully used a parachute to bail out of a disabled aircraft. After authentication by the parachute maker, applicants receive a membership certificate and a distinctive lapel pin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caterpillar_Club
The crew of the U-988 don't know it yet but none of them will live to see the month of July.
It would be pretty cool to have such an original trophy hanging on the wall of ones den.
And so you can...
“CANADA: . . .
Submarine USS Argonaut (later HMCS Rainbow) laid down Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.”
This reference appears twice, in the post. Above under Dick John’s notes and under Canada notes. When I first saw it I assumed it referred to Portsmith, New Hampshire as it is referred to as USS Argonaut. Not sure why it is even under the Canada section. Where was it built?
To partially answer my own question, Wiki says the The USS Argonaut was completed in 1928 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine and Sunk by Japanese destroyers off Rabaul on 10 January 1943.
So what is this boat?
Wiki: USS Argonaut (SS-475) was a Tench-class submarine operated by the United States Navy (USN). Constructed at Portsmouth Navy Yard during the second half of 1944, Argonaut was commissioned into the USN in 1945 and operated during the final year of World War II, although her only contact with the Japanese was when she sank a junk in August.
During the 1950s, the submarine was modified for greater underwater endurance, and to carry a Regulus I missile. From 1963 to 1965, Argonaut operated in the Mediterranean.
The submarine was sold to Canada in 1968, commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Rainbow (SS 75), and operated until the end of 1974. The submarine was returned to the United States, and scrapped in 1977.
Thanks! Interesting site.