Skip to comments.LONDON IS FLYING BOMB TARGET, 2,752 KILLED, CHURCHILL REVEALS (7/7/44)
Posted on 07/07/2014 4:47:42 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Americans capture Pignano
Friday, July 7, 1944 www.onwar.com
In Italy... US 5th Army forces advance along the coast. The US 34th Division captures Pignano.
On the Western Front... The US 1st Army continues its offensive toward Coutances and St. Lo. The US 8th, 7th and 19th Corps attack along a line from La Haye du Puits to Vire. German forces resist effectively. The British 2nd Army prepares to reach the objective of Caen. The battleship HMS Rodney shells German positions around the city.
In Occupied France... Former cabinet minister and outspoken anti-collaborationist, Georges Mandel, is executed at Fontainbleu on the orders of the Vichy police chief, Darnand.
On the Eastern Front... North of Ladoga Lake, the Finnish forces complete the withdrawal to the U Line. In Belorussia, encircled elements of the German 9th and 4th Armies are being reduced.
In the Mariana Islands... On Saipan, most of the remaining Japanese garrison, about 3000 men, assault American lines south of the village of Makunsha. The Japanese are forced to retreat with heavy losses.
In Washington... Free French President de Gaulle continues talks with American representatives.
In the United States... The Bretton Woods conference continues.
July 7th, 1944 (FRIDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: The Eighth Air Force in England flies two missions.
- Mission 458: 1,129 B-17s and B-24s and 756 fighters are dispatched to attack synthetic oil plants, aircraft assembly plants and engine works, airfields and an equipment depot, marshalling yards, railway station and railway repair shops in Germany; 37 bombers and 6 fighters are lost.
1. Of 373 B-24s, 102 hit Lutzkendorf and 64 hit Halle oil plants, 90 hit Bernburg and 73 hit Aschersleben aircraft plants and eight hit targets of opportunity; they claim 39-5-10 Luftwaffe aircraft; 28 B-24s are lost. Escort is provided by 224 P-38 Lightnings, P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs; they claim 46-1-16 Luftwaffe aircraft; a P-38 and three P-51s are lost.
2. Of 303 B-17s, 64 hit Bohlen and 51 hit Merseburg oil plants, 67 hit Kolleda and 32 hit Lutzkendorf Airfields, 22 hit targets of opportunity and 16 hit Gottingen marshalling yard; two B-17s are lost. Escort is provided by 185 P-38s, P-47s and P-51s; they claim 9-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 3-0-1 on the ground; a P-47 and a P-51 are lost.
3. Of 453 B-17s, 114 hit Leipzig/Taucha, 79 hit Leipzig/Mockau, 35 hit Leipzig/Heiterblick and 15 hit Leipzig/Abtnaundorf oil plants, 46 hit Leipzig bearing industry, 35 hit Kolleda Airfield, 19 hit Leipzig Station and seven hit Nordhausen; seven B-17s are lost. Escort is provided by 247 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 20-0-2 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 1-0-0 on the ground.
- Mission 459: 6 B-17s drop leaflets in France and Belgium during the night.
- 19 B-24s participate in CARPETBAGGER operations during the night.
Frigate HMS Loch Achray launched .
Frigate HMS Pitcairn commissioned
Minesweeper HMS Tanganyika commissioned.
ENGLISH CHANNEL: German submarine U-678 is sunk about 19 nm (36 km) south-southwest of Brighton, England, by RCN destroyers HMCS Ottawa and Kootenay and RN corvette HMS Statice. All hands on the U-boat (52-men) are lost.
FRANCE: Jewish statesman Georges Mandel is executed at Fontainebleau by the Milice on the orders of Vichy police chief, Darnand. Mandel is a former justice minister under Reynaud and anti-collaborationist. This is believed to be a reprisal for Philippe Henriot’s execution last week.
US VIII, VII and XIX Corps are up against heavy opposition on a line from Haye du Puits to just east of the Vire River.
Battleship HMS Rodney bombards German positions around Caen.
RAF Bomber Command drops 6,000 bombs on the northern areas of Caen in support of Operation CHARNWOOOD. The bombs are fuzed to explode six hours later just before British I Corps is due to attack. The I Corps attack will seize the northern portion of Caen to the banks of the River Orne. (W Jay Stone)
100+ Ninth Air Force A-20 Havocs and B-26 Marauders bomb a rail bridge near Tours, and targets of opportunity in the Lisieux and Beuzeville areas; 500+ fighters fly escort and area cover, carry out armed reconnaissance of communication and troop activity, and bomb railroads, rolling stock, marshalling yards, ammunition dumps, and bridges in frontline areas and wide areas of western France.
475 USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bombers based in Italy attack five targets:
- 233 bomb the U-boat base at Toulon; 4 aircraft are lost.
- 146 hit the marshalling yard at Montpellier.
- 89 attack the marshalling yard at Beziers; 1 aircraft is lost.
- 6 bomb the marshalling yard at Marseilles.
- 1 bombs the marshalling yard at Sete.
GERMANY: 453 USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bombers based in Italy attack five targets; the bombers and fighter escorts claim 50+ aircraft shot down during fierce battle with 275-300 fighters mainly in the Vienna-Budapest area:
- 162 bomb the I.G. Farben synthetic oil facility at Blechhammer South; 10 aircraft are lost.
- 122 bomb the I.G. Farben synthetic oil facility at Blechhammer North; 8 aircraft are lost.
- 106 bomb the Deschowitz synthetic oil facility at Odertel; 8 aircraft are lost.
- 62 bomb the I.G. Farben synthetic oil facility at Blechhammer North using radar; 1 aircraft is lost.
- 1 hits the city of Ober Gloglau.
U-2332, U-2333, U-2371, U-4701, U-4702, U-4703, U-4704, U-4705, U-4706, U-4707, U-4709, U-4710, U-4711, U-4712 ordered
U-2511 laid down.
HUNGARY: One USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bomber bombs Lakesa.
ITALY: 85 RAF Liberators of No. 205 Group bomb the marshalling yard at Verona.
YUGOSLAVIA: 97 USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bombers based in Italy attack three targets:
- 53 attack the airfield at Zagreb.
- 43 bomb the marshalling yard at Zagreb.
- 1 hits the airfield at Banja Luka.
CZECHOSLOVAKIA: 20 USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bomber attack the industrial area at Dubnica.
FINLAND: Ihantala: This morning a Soviet attack against the I/IR 35 at Pyöräkangas is repulsed with the aid of artillery. The enemy stages another attempt at 3 pm. (a prisoner claimed that this attack was launched by a whole division), but is also repulsed. A few more Soviet attacks are prevented in the evening by Finnish artillery.
Vuosalmi: unsuccessful Finnish counterattacks to capture back the lost ground in the Finnish bridgehead. Finnish troops in northern Karelia (north of Lake Ladoga) get new orders to withdraw to defend the U-position. This is the position where the deciding battles in northern Karelia will be fought later in the month. The commander of the VI Corps, Maj. Gen. Blick is transferred to Isthmus to command the 2nd Div. His immediate superior, Lt. Gen. Talvela, the commander of the Aunus Group, thinks Blick has withdrawn too hastily. Blick’s successor as the commander of VI Corps is Maj. Gen. Martola.
LITHUANIA: The Red Army enters Vilna.
ITALY: The US 34th Division liberate Pignano.
The US 442nd RCT take Hill 140 after a bitter battle. (Gene Hanson)
Moto, Kaoru, Pfc., 100th Infantry Battalion, for actions at Castellina, is posthumously awarded the MOH.
Tanouye, Ted T., Tech. Sgt., 442nd Infantry is posthumously awarded the MOH for actions today at Molina A Ventoabbto. (William L. Howard)
CHINA: 14 B-29s of the XX Bomber Command, operating out of Chengtu, China during the night of 7/8 July, bomb Sasebo, Omura, and Tobata, Japan (most of the planes hitting the Sasebo area); 3 others attack secondary and last resort targets at Laoyao and in the Hankow area of China.
MARIANAS ISLANDS, SAIPAN: The Japanese garrison is now down to 3,000 soldiers. They mount an attack on the US lines south of Makunsha Village. The better armed US forces suffer terrific losses in holding this attack, some of which is fought at close quarters.
During one of these close attacks Japanese soldiers attack the battalion aid station of the 27th Infantry Division. A dentist serving as a surgeon at the station, Dr. (Capt.) Benjamin L. Salomon, killed several enemy soldiers as they tried to enter the aid station from different directions. As the attacks continued, he ordered comrades to evacuate the tent and carry away the wounded. He then went out to face the enemy alone and was last heard shouting, “I’ll hold them off until you get them to safety. See you later.”
Salomon replaced a dead machine gun crew and begin firing on the attackers. When American troops retook the ground, they found his body still at the machine gun and surrounded by 98 dead Japanese soldiers. (MOH)
Another Medal of Honor will be awarded to Pfc Harold Christ Agerholm, US Marine Corps Reserve, who single-handedly evacuated 45 US casualties before being himself mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper.
From the 19 June to today, Sgt Thomas A. Baker, US Army, Company A, 105th Infantry, 27th Infantry Division, has displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life. When his entire company was held up by fire from automatic weapons and small arms fire from strongly fortified Japanese positions, he took a bazooka to within 100 yards of the Japanese and knocked out their strongpoint. He dies with an empty pistol having killed 8 Japanese. MOH
US Navy carrier based aircraft of Task Group 53.7 and Task Force 58 begin daily preinvasion air attacks against ground targets on Guam. During the night, eight “Betty” bombers from Truk Atoll and three from Guam attack US Navy ships but damage is negligible; two “Bettys” are shot down by Navy night fighters and one by a destroyer. Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb Woleai Airfield on Yap during the day and Seventh Air Force B-24s bomb Truk Atoll during the night in an attempt to stop the air attacks.
- Task Group 53.7, the Southern Carrier Support Group, consists of the
following aircraft carriers:
- Carrier Division Twenty Two (CarDiv 22)
USS Chenango (CVE-28) with Escort Carrier Air Group Thirty Five (CVEG-35)
USS Sangamon (CVE-26) with CVEG-37
USS Suwanee (CVE-27) with CVEG-60
- Carrier Division Twenty Four (CarDiv 24)
USS Coral Sea (CVE-57) with Composite Squadron Thirty Three (VC-33)
USS Corregidor (CVE-58) with VC-41
U.S.A.: Submarines USS Tench and Thornback launched.
Minesweeper USS Device commissioned.
CANADA: HMC MTB 463 sunk by mine. Crew taken off by HMC MTB 466. No lives lost
Corvette HMCS Moncton completes forecastle extension refit in Vancouver.
Tug HMCS Glencove commissioned.
CARIBBEAN SEA: At 0231, the unescorted Esso Harrisburg was hit by a Gnat from U-516 about 200 miles NW of Aruba. The tanker had just stopped zigzagging at 13.5 knots, when a lookout spotted the torpedo and the helmsman put the helm over hard left. She managed to turn 90° but the acoustic torpedo followed and struck under the stern. The explosion destroyed the 4in gun on the stern and damaged the rudder and screw. The ship lost headway and began to settle slightly by the stern. Ten minutes after the hit, the eight officers, 36 men and 28 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats and two rafts in the heavy seas. At 02.40 hours, a second torpedo struck in the cross bunkers on the starboard side, aft of the #8 tank. 15 minutes later a third torpedo struck the #6 tank on the starboard side, causing the vessel to sink within one minute. Five survivors on a raft and 13 others in a boat were picked up by USS SC-1299 the next day and taken to Aruba. The same day, the Dutch patrol vessel Queen Wilhelmina (ex-USS PC-468) picked up 31 survivors from two lifeboats. Another boat with 15 men made landfall five days later near Santa Marta, Colombia, where the were picked up by a blimp of the US Navy and taken to Barranquilla, Colombia. The master, three men and four armed guards died.
“Honduras Troops Machine-Gun Town”
New from Central America could be copied from yesterday’s news. It never gets any better there.
Odd coincidences. I have a church friend from Santa Marta, and my father flew blimps for the Navy in the 1960s. He and my uncle attended Lighter Than Air Association conventions until a couple of years ago, when Dad had to go into assisted living.
Compare the orders of battle for Panzer Group West and 7th Army. It’s pretty obvious where the Germans have concentrated their strength. The British are facing three panzer corps with seven strong panzer divisions backed by three independent Werfer artillery brigades. In the west, 7th Army is facing the Americans with one full-strength panzer division not fully committed, and one panzer grenadier division. The rest is the debris of various wrecked infantry units. There are even a few “Ost” battalions listed in the OOB.
A few weeks ago the Germans were talking about shifting panzer units to the west to face the Americans. That doesn’t seem to have worked out. Also, the power of the American army is continuously growing. The long term prospects of 7th Army holding them back does not look good.
Imagine what the outcome of Normandy would have been if Hitler had been quick to respond to the Allied landings by redeploying his armored panzer divisions to the battle. Instead, his top aides even refused to awaken him on June 6th.
It probably wouldn’t have mattered anyways. Because even after awakened, Hitler still believed D-Day was a diversion and the main assault would come at Calais.
The press statement a day or two ago from Germany’s Transocean news service, and the Lage West map of a few days ago, confirmed that the Germans still believe Patton commands First US Army group that will land in Calais. Wednesday’s Lage West map will have the latest German intelligence estimate of Allied forces still in the UK. We’ll see what they think then.
If you tried to explain to Patton that he did more to help the war effort by sitting in England commanding an imaginary army group, he'd belt you.
Rundstedt replaced by Kluge. Could it be that after the Fuhrer asked him how they could end the war he answered by saying; “Make peace you fool”, and that might have caused him to be replaced?
“Make peace, you fool”
Did FM von Rundstedt ACTUALLY say that to Hitler’s face?
Not that some German generals didn’t occaisionally stand up to Hitler from time to time.
But I don’t think anyone dared to talk him in that tone or manner. ANYONE.
The actual quote was “Make peace, you fools!” It was stated to Field Marshal Keitel, not Hitler, and was in response to Keitel’s request for a recommendation of what was to be done about the deteriorating military situation. I had thought this exchange took place a little later this month, but no, it was two days ago. And yes, it was what got the old Prussian sacked.
I could see him (Rundstedt) talking to FM Keitel that way...who was notorious for being spineless.
I cannot imagine ANYONE talking to Hitler that way...not even those plotting to assassinate him.
FM von Rundstedt evidently valued his own life which might explain his refusal to join the July 20th Bomb Plot.
In the story about “Ghost Arms” there are vague shades of Lt. Minderbender, whom we will get to know a little better a few years after the war.
One of Milo’s earliest enterprises, no doubt.
Which I use to think was a dumb for them to think...but looking at it day to day... they don’t really know how much the beachhead is being reinforced. I am sure they have good estimates but it is not instantly obvious that We are going ‘all in’. The build up has not hit critical mass. There is not yet clear evidence of a concerted, effective, breakout. It looks like with a little more digging in the Germans might hold long enough to defeat the main thrust and Calais. Then they can turn their full attention on this little annoyance in Normandy.
This might be of interest re: Operation Fortitude - http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/people/aldrich/vigilant/tavares_fortitude.pdf
Prime Minister to Secretary of State for War 7 July 44
How is it that the 36th Indian Division consists of two British brigades? There is much to be said for humility in the world, but to call a British division an Indian division is really going below the level of groveling to which we have been subject. If they are British troops let the m be called British troops.
Winston S. Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy
Yes. For once, Monty really was facing the tougher resistance. Although, IIRC, he had the Canadians face the toughest German armor. They were given some scutwork assignments by the Brits.