Skip to comments.GERMANS LASH OUT AT PINCERS GRIPPING CAEN, BUT BRITISH WIDEN BRIDGEHEAD ACROSS RIVER (6/30/44)
Posted on 06/30/2014 5:06:07 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Major General H.W. Blakeley, USA, Ret., 32d Infantry Division in World War II
Red Army clears road to Minsk
Friday, June 30, 1944 www.onwar.com
A destroyed Panther of 5th Panzer Division near Minsk [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... Soviet forces clear the route to Minsk. Elements of 3rd Belorussian Front cross the Berezina River to the north and south of Borisov. There is heavy street fighting in the city by the afternoon and the defending German forces retreat from the city by evening. These are the last major obstacles before Minsk.
On the Western Front... German resistance in the Cotentin Peninsula ends. The US 1st Army continues to battle on the approach to St. Lo; the British 2nd Army continues to battle toward Caen. Since D-Day, the Allies have landed 630,000 troops, 600,000 tons of supplies and 177,000 vehicles in the Normandy beachhead. They have suffered 62,000 dead and wounded.
In Italy... Elements of US 5th Army are heavily engaged in Cecina. The main advance inland is slowed by a new German defensive line south of Siena and Arezzo.
In the Mariana Islands... The American 5th Amphibious Corps has captured over half of Saipan. Fighting north of Mount Tipo Pale and Mount Tapotchau continues. Death Valley and Purple Heart Ridge are cleared.
From Washington... The United States breaks diplomatic relations with Finland.
In Occupied Denmark... A general strike begins in Copenhagen.
June 30th, 1944 (FRIDAY)
The Eighth Air Force in England flies Mission 448: 153 bombers and 539 fighters are dispatched to attack airfields;
Of 75 B-17s, 39 hit Montdidier Airfield, 24 hit Le Culot Airfield and 11 hit Furnes Airfield, Coxyde, Belgium; 27 B-17s are damaged.
Of 78 B-24s, 35 hit Conches Airfield and 26 hit Fauville Airfield, Evreux, France without loss.
Escort is provided by 168 of 178 P-51s who afterwards strafe marshalling yards, airfields, barracks, a train, a factory, and a warehouse with good results. No enemy aircraft are encountered and no aircraft are lost.
Other P-38 Lightnings, P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51s hit bridges, marshalling yards and other targets in France; they claim 3-3-4 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 1-0-0 on the ground; one P-38 is lost.
London: A V1 lands on Bush House in the Aldwych, killing 198 people.
Civilian air raid casualties this month were 1,935 killed and 5,906 injured.
FRANCE: Since D-Day the Allies have landed 630,000 men, 600,000 tons of supplies and 177,000 vehicles in Normandy. Allied KIA and WIA total 62,000.
Normandy: Operation Epsom, an attempt by the British VIII Corps to break through German lines west of Caen, has been aborted. Lt-Gen Dempsey today withdrew the British 11th Armoured Division from Hill 112, overlooking the road to Caen. The ever-reliable “Ultra” intelligence reports showed that the Germans were about to launch a major attack on Hill 112 by two formations just arrived from the Soviet front: the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions.
In the area as a whole Dempsey had 60,000 men and 600 tanks, supported by 700 guns; but he knew that he was still outranked by the Panzers. The offensive was abandoned; Caen will have to wait.
Since the 6 June landings, the Allies have lost 7,704 dead - 4,868 Americans, 2,443 Britons and 393 Canadians. Battle fatigue has also claimed 10,000 men in American units since D-Day - one fifth of all casualties.
125+ USAAF Ninth Air Force B-26 Marauders and A-20 Havocs, using blind-bombing methods in bad weather, bomb fuel dumps and road junctions at Conde-sur-Vire, Foret de Conches, Conde-sur-Noireau, and Thury-Harcourt; around 250 others are forced to abort due to weather; 600+ fighters escort bombers, fly cover over the beach, and bomb marshalling yards at Chartres and Verneuil-sur-Avres, bridges east of Paris, and Evreux-Bueil, and Breux-sur-Avre-Trappes rail lines; the fighters fly armed reconnaissance in the Seine-Loire gap and along the Loire River, and Continent-based fighters of the IX Tactical Air Command attack communications targets in advance of the US and British positions.
GERMANY: The Allies will shortly face the German Me262 jet fighter for the first time. A test unit, Erprobungskommando [Trials Detachment]` 262, has been in existence since April but now a new unit, I/KG51 (First Wing of No. 51 Kampfgeschwader [Bomber Group]) has been formed. At Hitler’s insistence the Me262 will serve as a fighter-bomber, although he has permitted development of the fighter version to continue. This has meant much modification to give the aircraft the structural strength to carry bombs. It is planned to deploy the new unit to France once it is fully operational.
ITALY: The Allied advance in Italy begins to encounter a new German line of defence south of Siena and Arezzo. The advance bogs down.
Bad weather causes 450+ bombers and 150+ fighters of the Fifteenth Air Force to abort missions. 188 B-17s and B-24s, escorted by 138 fighters, hit an airfield at Zagreb, Yugoslavia and targets of opportunity in Hungary and Yugoslavia, including marshalling yards at Kaposvar, Osztopan and Split, a highway bridge at Brac Island, airfield at Banjaluka, and the city of Budapest, Hungary.
DENMARK: A general strike begins in Copenhagen.
Battle of Tali-Ihantala
Lt. Col. Reino Inkinen’s IR 6 is manning the holding-line north of the Portinhoikka crossroads, while the Jäger Brigade, IR 50 and IR 30 withdraw north. The Armored Division is withdrawn from battle, but the other units regroup to a new holding-line, to give time for Maj. Gen. Einar Wihma’s reinforced 6th Division to man the new defence-line west from Lake Ihantalajärvi. In morning the Group Wihma (the 6th Division reinforced with the remains of the IR 48) has established itself on the new line, and the IR 6 withdraws from the battle.
The enemy follows the withdrawing forces and in afternoon manages to break into IR 48’s positions at Tähtelä, but is beaten back by Col. S. Laaksonen’s IR 35 (of the 6th Division) by midnight.
Col. Y. Hanste’s reinforced IR 12 is manning a holding-line south of Ihantala, and is subjected to a strong enemy attack in early morning. After running out of at-weapons, IR 12 withdraws to the new defence-line at 7 am. However, the bridge south of the village of Ihantala is left intact after the engineers assigned with blowing it are killed. IR 12 settles into defence while subjected to a heavy artillery fire.
In evening the enemy attacks the IR 12 at Ihantala after a furious artillery preparation. They manage to break in the positions, but the infantry is destroyed by artillery and mortars, and the tanks with Panzerfausts and -schrecks. In all, the Finnish ground forces destroy today 24 enemy tanks around Ihantala.
This day is considered to be the last of the Tali-phase of the battle. Lt. Gen. Taavetti Laatikainen’s IV Corps has succesfully straightened its right flank and manned the new line west from Ihantala. For once, the terrain is favourable to the defender, and the Finnish infantry is receiving large numbers of German infantry at-weapons. The Finnish artillery is reaching the top of its powers. Finnish Army has more than 20 artillery battalions concentrated near the battlefield, and the advanced fire-control system is showing what it can achieve. In the air the Finnish Air Force, reinforced by Obstlt. Kuhlmey’s Stukas and Fw 190’s, provides air-cover and ground-support. This is a true combined-arms battle.
The Soviet forces, OTOH, while still receiving reinforcements, are suffering losses at an even higher rate. The troops are tired and operating at the end of a long supply-line.
MARIANAS ISLANDS, SAIPAN: US forces on Saipan advance north of Mount Tipo Pales and Mount Tapotchau. Death Valley and the Purple Heart Ridge are also cleared. The island is about 50% captured.
In the Mariana Islands, Japanese aircraft from Truk Atoll and Iwo Jima continue light air strikes but hit no targets.
U.S.A.: US breaks diplomatic relations with Finland.
On this date, the USN has 46,032 ships and craft and 3,623,205 personnel consisting of 2,981,365 sailors; 472,582 Marines; and 169,258 Coastguardsmen.
CINCPAC COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 67, Our troops on Saipan Island have made new gains both in the center and on the right flank of our lines, pushing ahead through difficult terrain and intensified enemy resistance.
High ground occupied near the town of Charan Danshii places our forces in a commanding position over the area held by the enemy Strong points in the Tanapag area are being subjected to aircraft bombing and shelling by Naval surface vessels. Air attacks and Naval gunfire continue against enemy defenses on Tinian Island.
Our casualties in the ground fighting on Saipan Island through June 28 (West Longitude Date) are as follows: Killed in action: Marines, 1,289, Army, 185, total 1,474. Wounded in action: Marines, 6,377, Army 1,023, total 7,400. Missing in action: Marines, 827, Army, 51, total 878.
No accurate estimate of enemy casualties is possible. A great many Japanese dead and wounded have been carried back by the retreating enemy troops. However, our troops have buried 4,951 enemy dead.
Rota Island was attacked by carrier aircraft on June 28 (West Longitude Date). Fires were started, and revetments and runways were bombed and strafed. No enemy aircraft attempted to intercept our forces.
Army, Navy, and Marine aircraft continued neutralization raids against enemy objectives in the Marshall and Caroline Islands on June 28. (Denis Peck)
Escort carrier USS Attu commissioned.
Destroyer escorts USS Bright and Maurice J Manuel commissioned.
Minesweeper USS Skirmish commissioned.
Submarine USS Spikefish commissioned. (DS)
CANADA: HMC ML 124 commissioned.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-478 (Type VIIC) is sunk northeast of the Faroes, at position 63.27N, 00.50W, by depth charges from Canadian Canso (RCAF-Sqdn. 162/A, piloted by Flight Lieutenant David Hornell VC) and British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. 86/E). The submarine was first sighted by the Canso, which was unable to release its depth charges during its attack. The Canadian aircraft vectored in the Liberator, which dropped a six-charge pattern that lifted the boats bows out of the water. Although survivors were sighted in two dinghies, none of U-478’s 52 crewmembers were rescued. 52 dead (all crew lost). (Alex Gordon and Dave Shirlaw)
Frigate HMCS Longueuil arrived Bermuda for workups.
From War News Summarized: “The RAF the night before had bombed Saarbruecken....”
At first glance I could could have sworn that read “The RAF the night before had bombed Starbucks...”
They should have stopped Starbucks at Munich!
David Ernest Hornell was born in Toronto, Ontario on 26 January 1910. In 1941 he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), qualified as a pilot and was commissioned in 1942. At the time of the action for which he received the Victoria Cross posthumously, Flight Lieutenant Hornell was flying as aircraft captain on Consolidated Canso amphibians with No. 162 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, RCAF from Royal Air Force (RAF) Station Wick in Northern Scotland.
Late in the day on 24 June 1944, Hornells Canso was at the end of a 12-hour patrol over the North Atlantic when the German submarine U-1225 was sighted on the surface approximately 120 miles north of the Shetland Islands. As the aircraft made its attack run, heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire from the U-boat crippled the starboard engine and started a fire on the starboard wing. With great determination and skill, Hornell held the vibrating Canso on course and delivered his four depth charges on target, sinking the submarine. Shortly thereafter the starboard engine fell out of the wing, forcing Flight Lieutenant Hornell to ditch the aircraft, by now a flaming wreck, in the heavy seas. With only one dinghy serviceable, for several hours the eight members of the crew had to take turns holding on to the life-rafts side while immersed in the icy water. Although the dinghy was spotted by a Consolidated Catalina flying boat from No. 333 (Norwegian) Squadron, RAF five hours after Hornell had ditched, for the next 16 hours rescue attempts were frustrated by high seas and malfunctioning equipment. Two of the crew eventually died of exposure. At one point, Flight Lieutenant Hornell had to be restrained by his comrades when, though at the end of his own strength and about to go blind, he proposed to swim to an airborne lifeboat that had been dropped. Finally, after 21 hours, a rescue launch arrived to pick up the survivors, but all attempts to revive Hornell failed, and he died of exposure.
Flight Lieutenant Hornell was the first member of the RCAF to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
Interesting story about K. K. Rokossovsky today. Born to a Polish father and Russian mother, he had been raised in Warsaw, but was orphaned at an early age. He joined the Tsar’s army as a private, but switched to the Reds in October 1917. He was a poster boy for what the Red Army was looking for as a commander, since he had humble beginnings and was formerly a private.
But in 1937 he fell victim to Stalin’s purges, was exiled to Siberia, and had his teeth knocked out. Rokossovsky never smiled in an official photo or portrait. However, before the Germans invaded he was rehabilitated, put in command of 9th Mechanized Corps in the initial fighting in Ukraine, and later commanded 16th Army in the defense of Moscow. He also commanded Central Front during the defense of Operation Citadel, and stopped Model’s panzers cold.
In planning for Bagration, Rokossovsky’s 1st Belorussion Front had quite a challenge. The right wing of the Front was scheduled to attack Bobruisk as part of Bagration. The left wing of his Front, hundreds of miles away on the other side of the Pripet Marshes, was scheduled to take part in the Lvov-Sandomierz Operation scheduled for July. During the planning of Bagration, Rokossovsky had a dispute with Stalin regarding the operational plan. When Rokossovsky submitted his plan, Stalin said “The Stavka disagrees; go rethink your dispostions.” Rokossovsky came back with the same plan, and Stalin gave the same response. Rokossovsky came back with the same plan a third time. Stalin’s response was “OK, fine. But it’s your head if you fail.”
Rokossovsky’s plan has played out to perfection. The German 9th Army has been crushed, its disorganized remnants are fleeing in panic, and 1st Belorussian Front’s tanks and cavalry are roaming at will in the German rear. Imagine a guy who endured repression in Stalin’s jungle having the balls to stand up to Stalin like that. For his reward, he is now a Marshal of the Soviet Union.
Apparently, he didn't connect Stalin to the purges and his own imprisonment until much later.
After serving as C-in-C of the puppet Polish army, he was returned to Moscow to be Chief of the Soviet General Staff. But he only served a year. Khruschev wanted him to write a memoir denouncing Stalin for his crimes, and Rokossovsky refused. It’s not clear whether he did so because he respected Stalin for his war time leadership, or just had had a “mouthful of politics” already (see what I did there?).
Khruschev sacked him.
They all thought “if only Stalin knew....” Not even thinking it was Stalin who personally wrote their names on the list.
Modern liberals in the media would think the same about 0bama.
May I live to see it.
To be fair, however, the Russians had seen what a German occupation looks like and of course they will hold in high regard the government that organized the defeat of what at one time was the best army on the planet.