Skip to comments.RUSSIANS RACE 32 MILES, FOE’S LINE SAGS; CHURCHILL FINDS GERMANY IS ‘CRUMBLING’ (7/24/44)
Posted on 07/24/2014 5:13:59 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Soviets overrun Majdanek
Monday, July 24, 1944 www.onwar.com
German prisoners marched past corpses in Majdanek [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... Soviet forces of the 1st Belorussian Front capture Lublin. Elements of the 1st Ukrainian Front overrun the site of the Majdanek Concentration Camp.
In the Mariana Islands... The US 5th Amphibious Corps (General Schmidt) lands on Tinian. The US 2nd Marine Division first conduct a feint landing in the southwest, while the 4th Marine Division establishes a beachhead in the northwest. The American force numbers 15,600 men. Task Force 52 (Admiral Hill) provides transport. Fire support is provided by battleship groups commanded by Admiral Oldendorf and Admiral Ainsworth. The Japanese forces on the island number 6200 under the command of Colonel Ogata and Admiral Kakuta. Napalm is used for the first time in the Pacific during the defense of the beachhead against Japanese attacks.
On the Western Front... Attacks of “Operation Cobra” by US 1st Army forces are scheduled to begin but are postponed due to poor weather and the consequent lack of air support.
July 24th, 1944 (MONDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Captain Glenn Miller, the big band leader, is promoted to Major in recognition of his and his band’s hard work. In one month they played at 35 different bases and during their ‘spare time’ did 40 broadcasts.
Frigate HMCS Ribble (ex HMS Ribble) commissioned in Scotland.
FRANCE: The US Cobra attack west of St Lo is postponed due to bad weather.
Whilst acting as HQ ship for troops ashore destroyer HMS Goathland is mined NNE of Courcelles. She is towed back to Portsmouth but not repaired. (Alex Gordon)(108)
Mission 492: Heavy bombers are scheduled to participate in a US First Army offensive (Operation COBRA) to penetrate the German defenses west of Saint-Lo and secure Coutances; 1,586 bombers and 671 fighters are dispatched but bad weather causes the ground forces to delay the attack until next day, and cloud conditions cause 1,102 bombers to abort. Escort for the bombers is provided by 478 P-38 Lightnings, P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs; they claim 1-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 1-0-1 on the ground; 3 P-38s are lost. Targets hit are:
1. Of 909 B-17s dispatched, 343 hit the Periers/St Lo area and 35 hit the Granville railroad junction; a B-17 is lost.
2. 109 of 677 B-24s dispatched bomb targets of opportunity including road intersections and rail lines; 2 B-24s are lost.
143 P-51s fly a sweep over Lechfeld and Leipheim Airfields in Germany; they claim 3-0-0 aircraft in the air and 12-0-16 on the ground; 2 P-51s are lost.
Mission 493: 7 B-17s drop leaflets in France during the night. Six B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions during the night.
11 groups of Ninth Air Force bombers scheduled to participate in Operation COBRA have missions cancelled due to weather; 5 groups of B-26s hit rail bridges and 5 groups of B-26s and A-20 Havocs strike 3 fuel and ammunition dumps; fighters fly escort to the bombers, fly area cover, bomb installations in the Laval-Nantes-Le Mans-Chartres areas, and hit bridges and supply dumps in support of the US First Army.
The postponement order did not reach all crews in time. Friendly casualties occurred in three instances. When another plane in the formation was destroyed by flak, a bombardier accidentally toggled his bomb load on an Allied airstrip, damaging planes and equipment. A lead bombardier experienced “difficulty with the bomb release mechanism” and part of his load dropped, causing eleven other bombardiers to drop, thinking they were over the target. Finally, a formation of five medium bombers from the Ninth Air Force dropped seven miles north of the target, amid the 30th Infantry Division. This latter strike inflicted the heaviest casualties 25 killed and 131 wounded-on the first day that Cobra was attempted.
ITALY: The Fifteenth Air Force dispatches 200+ bombers to attack targets in France and Italy; B-17s attack tank repair and ball bearing works in Turin, Italy; B-24s attack the harbor at Genoa, Italy, and airfields at Valence/La Tresorerie and Les Chanoines, France; fighters hit troop concentrations at Sjenica, Prijepolje, Pljevlja, and Andrijevica; fighters provide escort and strafe the Prizren, Yugoslavia area.
GERMANY: U-1164 (Type VIIC/41) Is stricken at Kiel after being damaged by British bombs. She is broken up. (Alex Gordon)
POLAND: Lublin falls to Rokossovsky. The First Ukraine Front captures the site of Majdanek Concentration Camp.
Lublin: Russian troops have discovered scenes of the utmost barbarity in the concentration camp of Majdanek on the outskirts of this Polish city. Hundreds of corpses hardly recognizable as human beings lie behind the barbed wire of the camp. The Russians also found seven sinister buildings in which people were gassed to death before being burnt in an incinerator. It seems that so great was the killing, the incinerator could not cope with all the bodies. Stories about the horrors of Hitler’s death camps have been circulating in the west for some time, but this is the first time that one of the camps has been captured. The stories did not exaggerate.
EUROPE: German armed forces adopt the Nazi salute, as a gesture of solidarity.
FINLAND: Marshal Mannerheim informs the political leadership that the German help is not enough. He wants that measures are taken to free Finland from the obligations of the Ribbentrop-pact. In practice this would mean that the President of the Republic Risto Ryti should resign. There has already been a tacit agreement between the military and political leadeship that if and when the Ribbentrop-pact becomes a liability (i.e. when the time comes to make peace with Soviet Union) Ryti should resign (as he was *personally* bound by the pact) and he will be replaced by Mannerheim.
MARIANAS ISLANDS: General Schmidt’s V Amphibious Corps, 15,600 Marines, lands on Tinian. TF 52, under Admiral Hill, is in direct support. Admiral’s Ainsworth and Oldendorf provide fire support for these landings. The 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions are landed. Opposing them, Admiral Kakuta and Colonel Ogata with 6,200 soldiers. This landing marks the first use of Napalm in the Pacific.
This invasion is supported by Seventh Air Force P-47s based on Saipan and 52 carrier-based FM Wildcats and TBM Avengers.
During the bombardment, the USS Colorado is hit by 22 Japanese shells from their coastal batteries. She takes extensive superficial damage without any loss of combat power. (Tony DiGuilian)
ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Two B-25 Mitchells fly a negative shipping search.
CANADA: Frigate HMCS Kokanee arrived Halifax from builder Esquimalt, British Columbia.
U.S.A.: The U.S. Navy’s Court of Inquiry into the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor opens. The court is headed by Admiral Orin G. Murfin and Vice Admirals Edward C Kalbfus and Adolphus Andrews, all of whom are retired.
LIBERATION OF MAJOR CONCENTRATION CAMPS, 1944-1945
"As Allied troops pushed toward Germany, they encountered Nazi concentration camps and liberated their prisoners.
The Soviets first discovered atrocities at Majdanek, near Lublin, Poland, on July 23, 1944, while U.S. troops first witnessed the Holocaust at Ohrdruf, Germany, on April 4, 1945. "
"On November 9, 1942, 4000 Jews from Lublin, Poland, were the first to die in Majdanek's gas chambers.
Like Auschwitz, Majdanek's death factory made use of the pesticide Zyklon B to murder its victims.
Here, in 1944, a pair of the camp's personnel holds canisters of the crystals, which could turn into a deadly gas at room temperature.
These two Germans would later be executed for the crimes they committed at the camp."
Speaking of the recent attempt of Adolf Hitler’s life, Mr. Churchill said with an acid grin:
“They missed the old bounder (a rough approximation the word Churchill used) - but there’s time yet.
see above under the “Poland” report for what was apparently the first official report on a liberated Nazi concentration camp.
Dry Dock Savings Institution (advertisement).
We tend to forget, that almost 7 weeks after D-Day, we had not gone very far into France.
Every foot was hard fought.
Kind of like what Stalin said when he heard Hitler was really dead:
“So, that’s end of the bastard.”
I think of playing sports, in a game where you start to get momentum on the other team and are getting a lead. When you watch the other team start carping and pointing fingers at each other, you know you’ve won. It becomes a run out the clock situation. That’s probably how the allies feel about the Germans right now.
That's the sense I got when I was gathering news for August and early September. "Never mind home for Christmas, we could have this this thing wrapped up by Halloween."
In the last few years of the war, the Allies made no attempts on Hitler’s life or attacked his HQs. Because of his constant strategic blundering, AH was worth more alive than dead to the Allied war effort. And for precisely the same reasons, those most interested in assassinating AH were to be found within the ranks of the German military itself.
It’s interesting to see Guderian taking the lead in the damage control efforts of the German Army.
Guderian really has his work cut out for him. His responsibility is the Eastern Front, and there really is no “front” for much of the central part. And he also knows that the political standing of the army has never been lower because of the July 20 plot.
If he were an insightful man, he would realize that he is not doing damage control. It’s a salvage operation.
Like, seeing how much of the Army he can keep functioning until they can surrender with "honor"?
Speaking of honor, I was listening to my World War II lectures while cutting up vegetables earlier, and the lecturer mentioned the suicide of Saito and Nagumo on Saipan. The "cult of suicide," as he said, is really making a comeback these days. It makes me think we're regressing as a society.
61,000 captives since D-Day.
Getting a handle on total POWS on both sides is difficult due to German attrocites with eastern county prisoners, but to put this number in some perspective, The Germans held about 95,000 Americans service members as POWS and about 14,000 civilians. We brought about 425,000 Germans to Amercia for interment. I suspect most of those came after June 1944.
Although we caputured between 19,000 and 50,000 Japanese, most of them were shipped to Austrlia and New Zealand for confinment acording WIKI.
I think a lot of German generals have their eye over their shoulder on the “verdict of history,” and are busy whipping up some rationalizations. Once Hitler really is dead, he becomes are very convenient scapegoat. Not just for atrocities, but also military defeat.
Look at the article yesterday about Werner Henke (possibly a distant relative, by the way).
Are you suggesting Capt. Henke didn’t want to face a post-war trial?
I noticed that article particularly because there were so few escapes or attempts (as a percentage) from POW camps in the U.S.
In a similar vein, it took six months to secure Guadalcanal.
To my knowledge, it was the only Pacific series of battles in which more sailors than marines were KIA.
Given the British slang I’ve heard he probably said “bugger” or “bastard.”
An oldie but goodie, her keel was laid in 1919. She was not at Pearl Harbor because she was being overhauled at Puget Sound Navy Yard. Used almost exclusively for shore bombardment, it has been said that the Colorado fired more 16" shells during WWII than any other ship.
The ship's bell is on display at the University of Colorado Memorial Center, also home of the Glenn Miller Ballroom and the Alferd Packer Restaurant and Grill, named for an early Colorado cannibal. (And that is the correct spelling of his name.)
A lot of those German POWs found reasons to stay in the USA. My dad was a mechanical engineer who worked with a lot of plant engineers in the midwest. He knew a couple of plant engineers who had been German POWs in the US.
I understand the 57,000 Germans who marched throught the streets of Moscow last week had a much different experience.
We saw construction done by Italian POWs in Oklahoma. Some of them came back after the war. Oklahoma is not exactly the economic hub of the nation, but compared to postwar Italy ...
One thing historians are loathe to do is frame WWII as a religious war.
“I noticed that article particularly because there were so few escapes or attempts (as a percentage) from POW camps in the U.S.”
Escape to where? The USA is a big country with two big ponds intbetween. No going North as they were with us.
I have read most were happy to get out of the action and the Wiki page on US POW camps notes they were not bad place to hangout for a year or so.
Exactly. If you're in Oklahoma and escape from the camp, where are you going to go?
Nazis and Japanese weren’t hesitant.