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Saturday, June 3, 1944

 

European Theater

In the UK, loading of cross-Channel assault forces is completed.

 

European Theater, Strategic (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 388 – In Operation COVER, two raids are conducted. In the first raid, 238 B-17s and 124 B-24s attack coastal defenses in the Pas de Calais area, of France, bombing a total of 22 targets. Fighter escort is provided by 91 P-38s and 129 P-47s. In the second raid, 102 B-17s and 104 B-24s hit 16 of the same targets hit in the morning. Fighter escort is provided by 102 P-38s, 34 P-47s and 83 P-51s. One P-51 is lost, with the pilot listed as missing.

 

During the night, 23 B-24s, from the 8th Air Force, participate in CARPETBAGGER operations in France.

 

During the night, 96 RAF Lancasters and four Pathfinder Mosquitos attack the important German signals station at Ferme d'Urville, which had escaped serious damage in the bombing raid of June 1. Three of the Oboe Mosquitos place their markers perfectly and the Lancasters wipe out the station. Meanwhile, 127 Lancasters and eight Mosquitos continued the deception raids on coastal batteries at Calais and Wimereux. In other action, 20 Mosquitos hit Ludwigshafen and five attack Argentan, four fly radio counter measure sorties, six fly Serrate patrols and three fly Intruder patrols, while 57 other aircraft lay mines from the River Scheldt to Dunkirk.

 

European Theater, Tactical (OVERLORD)

The 9th Air Force sends a force of over 250 B-26s and A-20s to bomb airfields, highway bridges, and coastal defense batteries in northern France. Elsewhere, a force of over 400 P-38s and P-47s dive-bomb targets in northwest Europe.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Tactical

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium bombers pound bridges in central Italy, further damaging the enemy's communications system. Fighter-bombers continue close support of embattled ground forces immediately south of Rome and attack several bridges north of the city to hinder a possible withdrawal of enemy forces. In the mean time, light bombers attack ammunition and fuel dumps.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Strategic

Bad weather drastically curtails 15th Air Force operations. In Yugoslavia, 36 B-24s bomb the waterfront area of Omis and 38 hit the port area and western part of Split. Fighters sent to strafe targets of opportunity in the target areas abandon the mission because of low clouds over the targets.

 

Italy Campaign

In US Fifth Army’s VI Corps area, the 45th and 34th Divisions push toward Albano from the south and southeast. The 45th drives north to the railroad and is followed by the 1st Armored Division, reinforced by the 135th Infantry, of the 34th Division, which is to continue its attack through the 45th Division. In the 34th Division sector, the 168th Infantry takes Lanuvio early in day. The 36th Division’s 141st Infantry takes Nemi and the road junction east of Lake Albano, as the 142nd clears the crest of Monte Cavo, and the 143rd eliminates a strongpoint on Tano Hill.

 

II Corps, having regrouped extensively in order to swing west on Rome, gets into position for the final assault. The 85th Division pushes toward Frascati, with elements reaching the hills northeast of town. The 349th Infantry, guarding Highway 6 near Zagarolo, is attached to the 3rd Division. Task Force Howze, which is reinforced and attached to the 1st Special Service Force, drives up Highway 6 against rear-guard resistance and secures the Osteria Finocchio road center. Meanwhile, the 1st Special Service Force, upon relief on the right flank by the French Expeditionary Force (FEC), moves forward to the right of Task Force Howze. The 3rd Division guards the right flank, while awaiting relief by the FEC. The 15th Infantry, the first unit to be relieved, takes up positions northeast of Osteria Finocchio. The 7th Infantry moves west in the region north of Highway 6.

 

The French Expeditionary Force (FEC) moves forward to the rear of II Corps. The 3rd Algerian Division advances along Highway 6, relieving right flank elements of II Corps. The 2nd Moroccan Division takes up positions facing Paliano and Genazzano to defend the right rear of the FEC.

 

In British Eighth Army area, the Canadian I Corps takes Anagni.

 

During the night, in the VI Corps area:

· The 100th Battalion (Nisei) overcomes rear-guard opposition on Monte du Torri by 0100 hours on June 4.

· The 133rd Infantry overruns Genzano before dawn of June 4.

· The 157th Infantry is attached to the 34th Division upon entering its sector, and, bypassing Monte du Torri, seizes the road junction on the Albano Road north of the railroad.

 

During the night, in the II Corps area, an 88th Division column drives through Colonna to the final phase line south of Tor Sapienza, arriving by 0400 hours on June 4.

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

In China, 14th Air Force P-40s support ground forces at Watien and Tatangtzu. They destroy two barges and damage others in the Gulf of Tonkin, and strafe 40 barges carrying horses and troops in the Tungting Lake area, north of Nanhsien. In other action, B-25s, P-40s, and P-51s pound the Pingkiang area.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force sends 15 B-25s to attack the Imphal- Tiddim road, in Burma, while a few P-40s hit the Mogaung area. Meanwhile, the B-25 ammunition lift to the Imphal area, in India, continues.

 

In Burma, the Chinese 42nd and 150th Regiments and the 1st Battalion, of the 89th, continue their attack on Myitkyina, suffering 320 casualties. Operations are to be temporarily suspended in order to avoid further casualties and to train US troops.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

In New Guinea, 5th Air Force B-25s, A-20s and B-24s hit the Timoeka Airfield and nearby villages, shipping off Manokwari, Seroei Village on Japen Island, positions north of Mokmer, and strafe Mokmer, the Sorido and Kamiri airfields. Meanwhile, P-38s and P-47s battle fighters over Biak Island and over the Babo area, while P-47s and P-40s hit the Sawar Airfield, supplies and fuel dumps in the Sarmi and Orai River areas, and hideouts and occupied areas along the coast. B-24s and fighter-bombers maintain consistent pounding of numerous targets in the Wewak-Hansa Bay coastal region.

 

B-24s of the Thirteenth Air Task Force bomb Eten and Dublon Islands, Truk Atoll.

 

The 5th Air Force moves the 49th Fighter Group from Hollandia to Biak Island, and begins moving the ground echelon of the 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron from Saidor to Biak Island.

 

On Biak, Task Force HURRICANE’s 186th Infantry continues west on a broad front, to positions north of Parai. The Japanese do not oppose advance, but terrain makes progress slow. The supply line is tenuous and water must be brought inland from the coast. The 162nd Infantry attempts unsuccessfully to push west through the Parai Defile. It is decided that the Ibdi Pocket must be cleared before a westward attacks can continue. Engineer, anti-aircraft, radar, and artillery units move to Owi Island.

 

In the Aitape area, on Hollandia, Japanese in the Task Force PERSECUTION zone are still active around Yakamul and bypass Herrick Force to reach positions west of Yakamul.

 

South Pacific Area

All scheduled strikes on the Rabaul area, of New Britain Island, are cancelled due to weather conditions. Over 20 P- 39s, turned back from the Rabaul area, hit the Tsundawan-Porton Road, vehicles in the Komai area, and anti-aircraft position at Kara, on Bougainville Island.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-24s, staging through Eniwetok Atoll, strike Truk Atoll, in a pre-dawn raid. B-25s, from Engebi Island, in the Eniwetok Atoll, bomb Nauru Island.

 

During the night, 7th Air Force B-24s, staging through Eniwetok Atoll, hit Truk Atoll, again.

 

North Pacific Area

The 11th Air Force dispatches two B-25s and two P-38s to fly guardship cover, and two other B-25s to fly a shipping search, which is unproductive.

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Sunday, June 4, 1944

 

European Theater

At SHAEF, General Eisenhower postpones D-Day 24 hours, to June 6, because of unfavorable weather forecasts.

 

European Theater, Strategic (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 389 – The effort is to be divided between the Pas de Calais area (Operation COVER) and the Normandy assault area (Operation NEPTUNE), however, D-Day is postponed 24 hours and the NEPTUNE raid is cancelled. Meanwhile, 201 B-17s and 56 B-24s attack seven targets in the Pas de Calais area. Fighter escorts are 130 P-47s and 42 P-51s. Two P-51s are lost.

 

8th Air Force Mission 390 – 246 B-17s and 68 B-24s bomb eight coastal defense positions in the same area using PFF. One airman is listed as kille in action.

 

8th Air Force Mission 391 – 263 B-17s and 185 B-24s bomb airfields, railway junctions and bridges. The B-17s hit the Massey/ Palaiseau railroad bridge, the Versailles/Metelots railroad bridge and the Villeneuve/St George railroad bridge. The B-24s bomb the Brourges Airfield, the Romorantin/Prunieres Airfield, the Avord Airfield, the Bretigny Airfield and the Melun bridges. 10 airmen are listed as killed in action. Fighter escort is 135 P-47s and 277 P-51s. One P-51 is lost.

 

Two B-17s, from the 8th Air Force, fly weather reconnaissance over the UK and the Atlantic.

 

During the night, the RAF sends 125 Lancasters, 118 Halifaxes, and 16 Mosquitos to bomb four gun positions. Three of these are deception targets in the Pas de Calais, but the fourth battery, at Maisy, is in Normandy, between what is soon to be known as Omaha and Utah beaches, where American troops land in less than 36 hours. Unfortunately, Maisy is covered by clouds and can only be marked by Oboe skymarkers, before it is bombed by 52 Lancasters. Two of the three gun positions in the Pas de Calais are also affected by bad weather and can only be bombed through the clouds, but the gun position at Calais is clear and is accurately marked by the Mosquitos and well bombed by Halifaxes and Lancasters. Meanwhile, 20 Mosquitos attack Cologne, six hit Argentan, four fly radio counter measure sorties, and six fly Serrate patrols. Four Halifaxes and three Lancasters lay mines from the Scheldt to Dunkirk, and 17 other aircraft fly resistance operations

 

European Theater, Tactical (OVERLORD)

The 9th Air Force sends a force of over 300 B-26s and A-20s to bomb highway bridge and coastal batteries, in France. Meanwhile, almost 200 P-47s and P-51s divebomb bridges, railroad junction, rolling stock and targets of opportunity.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Tactical

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium bombers hit railroad bridges in north central Italy. Fighter-bombers concentrate on motor transport north of Rome, over which the enemy is retreating.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Strategic

The 15th Air Force sends a force of over 550 B-17s and B-24s to attack communications in northwestern Italy and on both sides of the Franco-Italian frontier. In France, B-17s hit the Antheor railroad viaduct and Var River railroad bridges. In Italy, B-24s hit the marshalling yards at Genoa, Turin, Savona and Novi Ligure, the viaduct at Recco, and the railroad bridges at Orelle and Gad. In other action, fighters fly over 200 sorties in support of the heavy bombers.

 

Italy Campaign

US Fifth Army columns, some motorized, converge on Rome against rear-guard opposition and are enthusiastically welcomed by the populace. Elements of 88th Reconnaissance Troop of II Corps are the first to enter but cannot deepen penetration. General Clark designates the garrison of the Eternal City to be comprised of the US 3rd Division, less one regiment that will remain in the city as Fifth Army reserve, the British 1st Battalion, of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, and one composite battalion of the French Expeditionary Force (FEC). The US 3rd Division is to command the garrison forces.

 

In VI Corps area, the 1st Armored Division takes Albano and drives up Highway 7 into Rome, while the 36th Division, to east, advances into eastern suburbs. The 45th and 34th Division task forces secure crossing sites below Rome.

 

In II Corps area, 1st Special Service Force and 88th Division columns, making the main effort, with the 1st Special Service Force along Highway 6 and the 88th Division along Via Prenestina, are delayed west of Centocelle for about nine hours, but push on through to Rome. The 1st Special Service Force fans out within Rome to take the Tiber bridges north of Ponte Margherita. The 88th Division Task Force, based on the 1st Battalions, of the 351st and 350th Regiments, drive through the city and seize Ponte Milvio and Ponte del Duca d’Aosta. On left flank of II Corps, one 85th Division force drives through Frascati and along Via Tuscolana to Rome, taking Ponte Cavour. 85th Division force cuts Highway 7.

 

The French Expeditionary Force (FEC) completes its relief of the US 3rd Division on the right flank of II Corps. Forward elements of the 3rd Algerian Division reach Aniene River at Lunghezza. The 1st Motorized Division is committed to the right.

 

The British Eighth Army regroups in order to place two fresh armored divisions, the British 6th and the South African 6th, as forward pursuit elements that XIII Corps is to lead. XIII Corps takes command of the South African 6th Armoured Division from the Canadian I Corps. Canadian I Corps is withdrawn into reserve.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

14th Air Force P-40s bomb artillery positions and targets of opportunity in the Watien area, of the Salween battle front, in China. Others bomb railroad targets of opportunity in northeastern French Indochina.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force sends over 20 P-40s to attack the Myitkyina area, in Burma, while 19 others hit various points in northern Burma, including Haka, Kamaing, Kamasaing, Tagwin, and Bilumyo. Meanwhile, B-25s continue the ammunition lift to Imphal, India.

 

On the Salween front, the Chinese silence enemy fire on the heights commanding the Huei-jen Bridge. The 88th and 87th Divisions, of the Chinese 71st Army, are converging on Lung-ling, with the 88th from Pingka and the 87th along the Burma Road. Meanwhile, elements of the Chinese New 28th Division take Lameng, as others are containing Sung Shan garrison.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

In New Guinea, 5th Air Force A-20s bomb the town and harbor at Manokwari and shipping to the east in Geelvink Bay. B-24s bomb the Namber and Borokoe airfields, while fighters battle enemy airplanes in the general area. Meanwhile, other B-24s bomb the area near the Orai River mouth, while A-20s hit Wewak and fighter-bombers pound the Hansa Bay coast.

 

On Biak, the 186th Infantry of Task Force HURRICANE halts its westward drive because of a possible enemy attack and spends the rest of day in uneventful patrolling. In the Ibdi area, the 162nd Infantry makes limited progress in clearing the trail leading inland and the ridge lines extending from it.

 

In the Aitape area, of Hollandia, the Japanese, after preparatory bombardment, counterattack against the Herrick Force, of Task Force PERSECUTION, in the Yakamul area, forcing elements on far side of stream to retire. Bailey Force is ordered to relieve Herrick Force and starts north toward Yakamul, bypassing the enemy block on trail.

 

Southwest Pacific Area headquarters begins preparations for the seizure of Noemfoor Island, between Biak and Manokwari. The island, containing three airdromes, can be used as a staging area and also as base from which to cover sea lanes west of Biak.

 

South Pacific Area

Bad weather again prevents strikes against the Rabaul area, of New Britain Island. On Bougainville Island, P-39s flying a total of 55 sorties, blast a truck park near Komai, strafe huts at Doure, and attack a pier at Tunuru. Nine P-38s weathered out of Rabaul, strike the Tonolai supply area and a lone B-25 bombs Kahili.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s, from Engebi Island, in the Eniwetok Atoll, bomb Ponape Island.

 

North Pacific Area

Two B-24s, from the 11th Air Force, fly an uneventful reconnaissance over Shimushiru Island. Fuel shortages and equipment failures prevent flying to the secondary target at Matsuwa Island. Later, a B-25 and two P-38s fly a guardship cover mission.

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Monday, June 5, 1944

 

European Theater, Strategic (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 392 – 464 B-17s and 206 B-24s hit coastal defenses in the Le Havre, Caen, Boulogne and Cherbourg areas, of France. Four B-17s and two B-24s are lost, with 48 men listed as killed or missing. 127 P- 47s and 245 P-51s provide fighter escort, losing one P-47 and one P-51.

 

8th Air Force Mission 393 – In France, eight P-51 fighter-bombers attack a truck convoy near Lille, with one of those bombing the Lille/Vendeville Airfield.

 

In preparation for D-Day, the 8th Air Force dispatches three B-17s to fly weather reconnaissance over the UK and the Atlantic Ocean.

 

During the night, 11 B-24s, from the 8th Air Force, fly CARPETBAGGER missions, with one B-24 lost over Belgium.

 

During the night, the RAF engages in pre invasion activities:

· 551 Lancasters, 412 Halifaxes, and 49 Mosquitos to bomb coastal batteries at Fontenay, Houlgate, La Pernelle, Longues, Maisy, Merville, Mont Fleury, Pointe du Hoc, Ouisterham and St Martin de Varreville. Only two of the targets, La Pernelle and Ouisterham, are free of clouds. All other bombing is entirely based on Oboe marking. At least 5,000 tons of bombs are dropped, the greatest tonnage in one night so far in the war.

· 110 aircraft carry out extensive bomber-support operations. 24 'Airborne Cigar' equipped Lancasters patrol all likely night-fighter approaches, so that their German-speaking operators could jam the German controllers' instructions.

· 34 Mosquitos fly radio counter measure sorties, 27 fly Serrate patrols and 25 fly Intruder patrols.

· 58 aircraft carry out a variety of operations to conceal the true location of the invasion for as long as possible. 16 Lancasters and six GeeH fitted Stirlings drop a dense screen of Window, which advances slowly across the Channel, to simulate a large convoy of ships approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the real invasion coast. These flights required exact navigation, which they practiced for more than a month. The second diversion is carried out by a group of 36 Halifaxes and Stirlings. These aircraft dropped dummy parachutists and explosive devices to simulate airborne landings over areas not being invaded.

· 31 Mosquitos bomb Osnabrück.

For the night, Bomber Command flies 1,211 sorties, a new RAF record. Two Halifaxes, two Lancaster, two Stirlings and two Mosquitos are lost.

 

European Theater, Tactical (OVERLORD)

The 9th Air Force sends over 100 B-26s to bomb coastal defense batteries, in France. Meanwhile, over 100 P-47s dive-bomb targets in the same area.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Tactical

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium bombers pound road bridges just north of the forces retreating from Rome, while fighter-bombers continue attacks against motor transport, railway lines and roads in the battle areas and north of Rome, destroying many vehicles and train cars, and scoring numerous hits on bridges, tracks, and roads.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Strategic

The 15th Air Force dispatches a force of over 440 B-17s and B-24s to hit targets in Italy. The B-17s hit railroad bridges at Pioppi and Vado, and the B-24s hit marshalling yards at Bologna, Castel Maggiore, Forli, Ferrara, Faenza and four railroad bridges. Meanwhile, P-38s and P-51s fly escort, 53 P-38s strafe the Ferrara and Poggio Renatico airfields and 40 strafe and dive-bomb airfields at Bologna and Reggio Emilia.

 

Italy Campaign

General Alexander orders a vigorous pursuit of the enemy to a line from Rimini, to Pisa. The US Fifth Army, on the west, is to seize the Viterbo airfield and port of Civitavecchia, then advance on Leghorn. The British Eighth Army is to advance astride the Tiber to clear Terni and Rieti. The US Fifth Army gets most of its assault forces across the Tiber and pursues the enemy as rapidly as possible, with VI Corps using Highway 1 and II Corps, using Highway 2. The US Fifth Army takes control of the 3rd Division for garrison duty within Rome.

 

In the coastal sector of the VI Corps area, the British 5th and 1st Divisions get advance elements to the lower Tiber, where bridges must be built. The US 1st Armored Division’s Combat Command B spearheads the advance of the 36th Division, while Combat Command A leads the 34th Division.

 

US II Corps uses the 85th Division on the left and 88th on the right as it speeds northward. The 91st and 117th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons provide flank protection.

 

The French Expeditionary Force (FEC) crosses the Aniene River and drives to the Tiber River, then suspends forward movement until the South African 6th Armoured Division, of the British Eighth Army, can cross its front.

 

In the British Eighth Army’s XIII Corps area, the South African 6th Armored Division musters east of Rome, in preparation for pursuing the enemy northward along Route 3, via Flaminia, west of the Tiber. The British 6th Armoured Division, advancing along Route 4, via Salaria, east of the river, makes contact with enemy outposts north of Rome. X Corps, which is initially to advance on Rieti, takes command of Indian 8th Division.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (India)

The 20th Air Force flies its first B-29 combat mission. Of 98 B-29s airborne from India, 77 bomb the primary target, the railroad shops at Bangkok, Siam. Five B-29s are lost to non-battle causes.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

The 14th Air Force sends 12 P-40s to support ground forces at Watien and Lameng, on the Salween front, in China. Meanwhile:

· 18 B-24s and 12 P-40s bomb Lashio.

· Seven more B-24s blast the barracks and warehouse area at Namhkam.

· Eight P-40s hit 15 tanks at Taying.

· 29 P-40s attack numerous oil barges near Yuankiang, leaving 16 of them burning.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force dispatches nine B-25s to bomb Bhamo, Burma, and to attack four bridges at Ledan Chaung, while others continue ammunition haul into Imphal, India. 50 fighter-bombers pound the Myitkyina area and over 20 others hit Loilaw, Tagwin, Namti, and Mogaung.

 

In India, 3rd Combat Cargo Group, with four squadrons of C-47s, are activated. With this activation, the following units, which have been operating from bases in India, will shortly return to their bases in Italy, and Sicily:

· The 4th Troop Carrier Squadron, of the 62nd Troop Carrier Group, returns to Italy.

· The 64th Troop Carrier Group, with four squadrons, returns to Sicily.

 

On the Salween front, 20,000 troops of the Chinese 71st Army have crossed to the west bank of the Salween. The Drive on Lung-ling continues.

 

In XXXIII Corps sector, of the British Fourteenth Army area, the battle of Kohima is successfully concluded, as the British 2nd Division clears the Aradura Spur, south of Kohima, but the Kohima-Imphal Road must still be opened by XXXIII Corps working south and IV Corps pushing north.

 

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, conferring with General Stilwell, asks that B-29 tonnage be diverted to meet the Japanese threat in eastern China. General Stilwell agrees to request permission, if the situation grows worse.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

5th Air Force P-39s and RAAF aircraft attack the Wewak area, in New Guinea, while B-24s bomb the area north of the Sorido airfield.

 

During the night, an all-night series of harassing raids by Japanese airplanes destroy several Allied aircraft on Wakde Island

 

The 5th Air Force moves the 7th Fighter Squadron, with P-38s, from Hollandia to Biak Island.

 

On Biak, General Krueger urges Task Force HURRICANE to intensify efforts to more quickly take airfields. The 186th Infantry resumes a westward attack, without opposition, and reaches the main ridge, northeast of the Mokmer Airfield, which the 3rd Battalion scales. In the Ibdi area, the 162nd Infantry succeeds in clearing a trail inland and makes contact with the 186th Infantry but, despite support of naval vessels offshore, can make little headway in the Parai Defile.

 

In the Aitape area, of Hollandia, initial elements of the 6th Division arrive at Toem and begin the relief of the 158th Infantry, of Task Force TORNADO. Task Force PERSECUTION’S Herrick Force is withdrawn from Yakamul to the beachhead by water. Bailey Force completes the arduous trek via the perimeter of Company G, of the 127th Infantry, two miles west of Yakamul, and is sent west along the coast to the Driniumor River, to which Company G and its supporting artillery also retire. During action in the Yakamul area, the 1st Battalion, of the 126th Infantry, suffers 18 killed, 75 wounded, and eight missing. Between 200 and 250 Japanese troops were killed in the action. The 1st Battalion, of the 127th Infantry, which has been trying for several days to drive the enemy from the ridge north of Afua, makes a stronger effort and finds that the Japanese have abandoned the ridge.

 

General MacArthur tells General Krueger that ALAMO Force will direct the Noemfoor operation.

 

South Pacific Area

Air Command Solomons sends 23 B-25s to bomb a truck park at Rabaul, on New Britain Island. Meanwhile, 22 P-39s strike Ratawul, and 11 P-38s hit barges and buildings in the Vulcan Crater area. On Bougainville Island, over 30 P-39s hit vehicles in the Komai-Tobago vicinity, a wooded supply area north of the Buka Airfield, on Buka Island, and Cape Tanabom and Kangu Hill areas.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s, from Makin Island, hit Nauru Island. Meanwhile, B-24s, from Eniwetok Atoll, escort photo aircraft over Guam Island, in the Marianas Islands, and bomb the island. They then proceed to Los Negros Island for rearming. B-25s, from Engebi Island, in the Eniwetok Atoll strike Ponape Island.

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Tuesday, June 6, 1944

 

German Home Front

At 6:48 a.m., Berlin radio announces that “Allied paratroopers are landing in France.”

 

UK Home Front

At 9:30 a.m., the BBC broadcasts the content of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force Communiqué No 1. The communiqué read, “Under the command of General Eisenhower, Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies this morning on the northern coast of France.”

 

At 12:07 p.m., Winston Churchill addresses the House of Commons and fills them in on the events of the Normandy Invasion.

 

European Home Front

At 10 a.m., the BBC reads General Eisenhower’s comments intended for the people of Europe. A key part of the announcements is, “Although the initial assault may not have been made in your own country, the hour of your liberation is approaching.”

 

US Home Front

During the evening, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the American people on radio about D-Day and the invasion of the European Continent. His speech includes a prayer with the following passage:

 

“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.”

 

Washington, D.C.

The Joint War Plans Committee (JWPC) issues the study, “Operations Against Japan, Subsequent to Formosa,” in which the following schedule for 1945 is suggested for planning purposes:

- Phase 1: Take Bonins and Ryukyus and attack the China coast (April 1 through June30).

- Phase 2: Consolidate and exploit (June 30 through September 30).

- Phase 3: Invade Japanese home islands, Kyushu on October 1, and Honshu on December 31.

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force heavy bombers fly four raids in support of the Normandy invasion. In all, 1,729 bombers drop 3,596 tons of bombs during D-Day.

 

Mission 394 – At first light, 882 B-17s and 543 B-24s hit coastal targets in the area of the invasion beaches between Le Havre and Cherbourg. Overcast skies and the inability of the bombers to locate PFF leaders causes some units not to bomb. Meanwhile, a second raid strikes at transportation chokepoints in towns immediately around the assault area. Total cloud cover causes 84 B-17s and 259 B-24s to return with their bombs but 37 B-24s manage to bomb secondary target of Argentan. One B-24 is lost, with 25 men listed as killed or missing.

 

8th Air Force Mission 395 – 73 B-24s bomb through overcast skies, hitting the important communications center of Caen. Elsewhere, a second raid of 409 B-17s and 300 B-24s hit transportation chokepoints in towns immediately south and east of the assault area. Targets include Vire, Saint-Lo, Coutances, Falaise, Lisieux, Thury-Harcourt, Pont-l'Eveque, Argentan, and Conde-sur- Noireau. Three B-24s are lost, with 10 men listed as killed in action.

 

The VIII Fighter Command has the threefold mission of escorting bombers, attacking any movement toward the assault area, and protecting Allied shipping. The fighters fly 1,880 sorties including fighter-bomber attacks against 17 bridges, 10 marshalling yards, and a variety of other targets including convoy, railroad cars, siding, rail and highway junctions, a tunnel, and a dam. Very little air opposition is encountered, but the fighters shoot down 26 Luftwaffe aircraft and destroy four more on the ground. Also destroyed are 21 locomotives and two carloads of ammunition. Numerous other targets are damaged including locomotives, trucks, tank cars, armored vehicles, goods carriers, barges, and tugboats. Targets attacked with unreported results include warehouses, radar towers, barracks, troops, artillery, staff cars, 85 trains, and a variety of other targets. 25 fighters are lost.

 

During the night, the RAF dispatches 589 Lancasters, 418 Halifaxes, and 58 Mosquitos to bomb railway and road centers on the lines of communication behind the Normandy battle area. All of the targets are in or near French towns. 3,488 tons of bombs are dropped on targets at Achères, Argentan, Caen, Châteaudun, Conde sur Noireau, Coutances, St Lô, Lisieux and Vire. Every effort is made to bomb accurately but casualties to the French civilians are inevitable. Clouds affected the accuracy of the bombing at many of the targets and, at Achères, the Master Bomber orders the raid to be abandoned because of clouds and no bombs are dropped. 10 Lancasters and 1 Halifax were lost in these raids; 6 of the Lancasters were lost in the No 5 Group raid at Caen, where the main force of bombers had to wait for the target to be properly marked and then fly over an area full of German units and guns at bombing heights below 3,000 feet. Some details are available of the effects of the bombing. At Argentan, Châteaudun and Lisieux, much damage is done to railways, although the towns, Lisieux in particular, are hit by many bombs. Important bridges at Coutances are badly damaged and the town centres of Caen, Conde sur Noireau, St-Lô and Vire are all badly bombed and most of the roads through those towns aere blocked. For the night, 11 aircraft and crews are lost.

 

In other RAF action, 32 Mosquitos attack Ludwigshafen, 18 fly Serrate patrols, 19 aircraft lay mines in the Brest area, and 26 aircraft fly resistance operations.

 

8th Air Force Mission 396 – During the night, 12 B-17s drop leaflets in France and the Low Countries.

 

The 8th Air Force reaches its top strength as the 493rd Bomb Group (Heavy) becomes operational, making a total of 40 heavy bomber groups now operational.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force dispatches a force of over 800 A-20s and B-26s to bomb coastal defense batteries, rail and road junctions and bridges, and marshalling yards in support of the invasion. Over 2,000 fighters fly sweeps, escort B-26s and C-47s, provide ground support, and dive-bombing missions over western France. A total of about 30 aircraft are lost.

 

The invasion fleet of thousands of warships, merchantmen, and landing craft under the command of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, RN, is divided into a Western (American) Task Force and an Eastern (British) Task Force. The Western Task Force, commanded by Rear Admiral Alan Kirk and composed of two assault forces, "O" under the command of Rear Admiral John Hall and "U" under the command of Rear Admiral Donald Moon, lands the First US Army commanded by Lieutenant General Omar N. Bradley, USA, on OMAHA and UTAH beaches, respectively. Naval gunfire from support groups commanded by Rear Admiral Carlton Bryant prevent the Germans from moving up reinforcements and cover the Allied troops advancing inland.

 

Allied forces invade France, landing on the coast of Normandy. Although Operation OVERLORD is under supreme command of General Eisenhower, General Montgomery heads all land forces, Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory the air forces, and Admiral Ramsay the naval forces. A powerful air and naval bombardment precedes and follows the landings. Strategic aircraft join with tactical aircraft in pounding the assault zone. Surprise, as to the time and place of the invasion, is achieved and casualties are extremely light on all beaches except OMAHA. Naval opposition is absent and enemy air reaction is feeble. The seaborne assault, with H-Hour being 0630 hours for the Americans and a little later for the British, is preceded between four and five hours by the largest airborne operation yet attempted. Three divisions are dropped by air to facilitate inland movement of the seaborne assault forces. Drops are scattered, but paratroopers largely accomplish their mission of securing the beach exits, advancing in small groups across hedgerow country.

 

In General Bradley’s US First Army area, VII Corps, under the command of General Collins, on the extreme right, lands west of the Vire Estuary on UTAH Beach. Its primary mission is to seize the port of Cherbourg as quickly as possible. The 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions are dropped behind UTAH Beach in a region between Ste Mère-Eglise and Carentan. The 101st secures the beach exits in the St Martinde-Varreville-Pouppeville region and makes contact with the seaborne 4th Division. The 101st also blocks the roads at Foucarville, which the enemy surrenders during the night, and takes the lock at La Barquette, north of Carentan, but is unable to secure crossings of the Douve River on either side of Carentan, as planned. The enemy is resisting strongly in the Carentan–St Côme-du-Mont area. The 82nd Airborne Division, upon dropping astride the Merderet River, takes Ste Mère- Eglise, but fails to gain its other objectives of crossings the Merderet and Douve, and making contact with 101st Airborne Division in the Beuzeville-au-Plain area, as small groups are isolated west of the Merderet. At H–2, the 4th Cavalry Group detachment makes an unopposed landings on the Iles St Marcouf. The 4th Division, reinforced by the 359th Infantry, of the 90th Division, lands at H-Hour, with the 8th Infantry leading, and, against relatively light opposition, secures the beachhead. Meanwhile, the 8th Infantry gets some elements to the Les Forges crossroads and others to the Turqueville area, but the enemy retains the salient between these and the 82nd Airborne Division units at Ste Mère-Eglise. A tank-infantry Task Force, from the 325th Glider Infantry (GLI), of the 82nd Airborne Division, and the 746th Tank Battalion, arrives in the Les Forges area, but is unable to break through to the 82nd Airborne Division. The 12th Infantry, of the 4th Division, reaches the Beuzeville-au-Plain area to the left of the 101st Airborne Division, and the 82nd advances along coast to general line Hamelde-Cruttes-St Germain-de-Varreville.

 

V Corps, commanded by Major General Leonard Gerow, lands to the east of VII Corps, on OMAHA Beach at H-Hour but suffers heavy losses in men and equipment because of adverse surf conditions and raking gun fire delivered from sharply rising bluffs that command the narrow beach. The 1st Division, reinforced by the 116th Infantry, of the 29th Division, initially puts the 116th and 16th Regiments ashore, with the rest of the 1st Division and 115th Infantry, of the 29th landing later in the day. The 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions are attached to the 116th Infantry to clear Pointe du Hoe. Three companies of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, supported by gun fire from the naval vessels offshore, scale the steep cliff of Pointe du Hoe, and take the coastal battery, which the enemy has abandoned. During the next two days, they withstand a series of sharp counterattacks against their isolated position. Other Rangers and the 116th Infantry land between Vierville-sur-Mer and Les Moulins and overruns Les Moulins. Elements of the 116th Infantry land east of Les Moulins and make a futile effort to reach St Laurent-sur-Mer. On the left flank of V Corps, the 16th Infantry, and the 115th, 18th, 26th follow-up regiments make maximum penetration of about 1½ miles between St Laurent-sur-Mer and Colleville, with the 3rd Battalion, of the 16th Infantry, on the extreme left, taking Le Grand Hameau.

 

The British Second Army, commanded by Lt, General Myles Dempsey, lands to the east of the US First Army on three beaches, GOLD Beach, JUNO Beach, and SWORD Beach, between Le Hamel and Ouistreham, and presses inland toward Bayeux and Caen.

 

In the XXX Corps area, the 50th Division, reinforced by the 8th Armoured Brigade, elements of the 79th Armoured Division, and the 47th Royal Marine Commandos, lands on GOLD Beach in the Le Hamel- La Rivière sector. Against strong opposition at Le Hamel, they drive inland toward Bayeux, reaching the general line from Vaux-sur-Aure, to St Sulpice-Vaux-sur-Seulles, to Brécy, and Creuilly, and making contact with the Canadian 3rd Division to the left. Preparations are made for an attack on Bayeux at daylight.

 

I Corps puts troops ashore on JUNO and SWORD, and drives on Caen from the northwest and the north. Well before the seaborne assault, the 6th Airborne Division is dropped east of the Orne River in the Caen area. They secure bridges over Orne River and the Caen Canal at Bénouville and destroy coastal battery at Merville.

 

The reinforced Canadian 3rd Division lands on JUNO in the Courseulles area, and thrusts rapidly inland three to six miles. Their armored patrols reach the Bayeux-Caen highway at Bretteville-l’Orgueilleuse.

 

The reinforced British 3rd Division lands to left on SWORD and drives inland to Biéville, within about two miles of Caen. But a gap exists between it and the Canadian 3rd Division. The Germans make their only major counterattack of the day through the gap, but are forced back almost to their starting line.

 

The destroyer USS Harding (DD-625) sends an armed whaleboat to shore, landing small arms to help the 2nd Ranger Battalion. The destroyermen relieve a number of soldiers as guards for the German POWs, permitting the Rangers to reinforce their comrades.

 

Off Normandy, Allied naval forces encounter other difficulties. The list of ships sunk or damaged includes:

· The destroyer HMS Wrestler, escorting a Canadian assault group to Juno Beach, is badly damaged by a mine and not repaired.

· The destroyer USS Corry (DD-463), is sunk by a mine about four miles off UTAH Beach.

· The submarine chaser USS PC-1261 is sunk by a mine in the same vacinity.

· Tank landing craft LCT-25, LCT-197, LCT-294, LCT-305, LCT-332, LCT-364, LCT-555, LCT-593, LCT-597, LCT-703, and LCT-777 are all sunk by mines.

· Infantry landing craft LCI-85, LCI-91, LCI-92, LCI-232, and LCI-497 are also sunk by mines.

· Tank landing craft LCT-27 and LCT-30 sink after running aground.

· Tank landing craft LCT-362 founders and sinks.

· Tank landing craft LCT-612, and Infantry landing craft LCI-93 and LCI-553 are sunk by shore batteries.

 

After the beachheads are established, the primary responsibility of the naval flotilla is the landing of men and supplies.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Tactical

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium, light and fighter-bombers, and fighters all hit communications lines north of Rome, to slow the enemy retreat. Bridges, road junctions, rail lines, roads, and motor transport are continually attacked throughout the day.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Strategic

15th Air Force shuttle-bombing, Operation FRANTIC, continues as 104 B-17s and 42 P-51s, having flown to the USSR, from Italy, on June 2, attack the airfield at Galati, Rumania, and return to their Soviet shuttle bases. Eight enemy fighters are shot down and two P-51s are lost. Over 570 other bombers, with fighter escort, hit Yugoslav targets from bases in Italy. The B-17s hit the Belgrade marshalling yard and Turnu-Severin canal installations, and in Rumania, B-24s hit the Ploesti oil refineries and the marshalling yard at Brasov.

 

Italy Campaign

In US Fifth Army area, VI Corps races northward, with Combat Command B, of the 1st Armored Division, reaching positions about 25 miles from Rome, where it is passed through at 2200 hours by the 168th Infantry, of the 34th Division.

 

In the British Eighth Army area, XIII Corps progresses rapidly west of the Tiber. The South African 6th Armoured Division reaches Civita Castellana. Stronger opposition east of the river makes going slower, but the British 6th Armoured Division reaches Monterotondo. In the X Corps area, the Indian 8th Division pursues the enemy to Subiaco.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

In China, 50 P-40s, from the 14th Air Force, attack shipping, horses, and troops in the Fulinpu Kweiyi vicinity. Meanwhile, 10 P-51s and six B-25s pound Tayang Chiang, and five B-25s bomb the Pailochi Airfield. Elsewhere, nine P-40s hit road and rail targets of opportunity in the Yellow River area, and two others sink a junk and damage others at Kwangchow Wan.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force dispatches 24 B-25s to attack the Waingmaw, Wuntho-Hopin area, in Burma, and the Imphal, India-Tiddim road. Other B-25s maintain the ammunition lift into Imphal, while 24 A-36s, 11 P-51 s, and 45 P-40s pound Myitkyina, and about 40 A-36s and P-40s hit the Mogaung, Mohnyin, Lachigahtawng, Pakhren-Sakan and Kadu areas.

 

Because of the Japanese offensive in China, General Stilwell increases Hump allocation to the 14th Air Force to 8,325 tons. 1,500 more tons from the B-29 allocation bring the total tonnage for 14th Air Force to the 10,000, that General Chennault requested.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

5th Air Force B-24s and B-25s bomb shipping near Efman and Waigeo Islands, ion New Guinea. Meanwhile, A- 20s hit the airfield at Babo, and A-20s and B-25s hit Namber Airfield and tanks near Mokmer. P-39s, A-20s and RAAF aircraft continue to pound the Wewak-Hansa Bay area, hitting supply dumps and hideouts.

 

Thirteenth Air Task Force B-24s hit islands in the Truk Atoll.

 

On Biak, General Fuller issues orders to clear the Mokmer airfield at once, and drive on to the coast south of there. The 186th Infantry, of Task Force HURRICAN, prepares to drive on the airfield instead of clearing the heights commanding it, as planned. The attack is postponed until June 7, in order to amass sufficient supplies. After receiving a supply of water, the 3rd Battalion, followed by the 1st Battalion, moves down the western slope of the ridge in preparation for an attack on the airfield. The 162nd Infantry continues to meet lively opposition in the coastal sector.

 

South Pacific Area

Air Command Solomons P-38s bomb a supply dump near Nordup, on New Britain Island. On Bougainville Island, P-39s and US Navy aircraft hit vehicles near Hari, while other P-39s pound a pier and buildings in southeast Kahili.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-24s, returning to Eniwetok Atoll, from Los Negros Island, where they rearmed after bombing Guam Island on June 5, hit Ponape Island.

 

Task Force 58 sails from the Marshalls for the Marianas.

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Wednesday, June 7, 1944

 

Washington, D.C.

General Marshall rejects a request, made by General Stilwell at the instigation of Chiang Kai-shek and General Chennault, that B-29 stocks be used by the 14th Air Force in the event of an emergency in China.

 

European Theater

The Allied Expeditionary Air Force (AEAF) directs air attacks against congested points to delay movement of more enemy forces into the assault area.

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 397 – In the morning, 182 B-17s and 291 B-24s, including 20 PFFs, are dispatched to enemy strong points. The B-17s hit Conde sur Noireau, Flers, and Falaise, while the B-24s bomb Argentan, Vascoeuil, Laigle and Lisieux. Eight men are listed as killed in action.

 

8th Air Force Mission 398 – In the afternoon, 487 B-17s and 88 B-24s are dispatched to other enemy strong points and targets in or near the battle area. The B-17s primary targets are Nantes and the Kerlin/Bastard Airfield, but other targets include Niort and the Nantes Bridge. The primary targets for the B-24s are Tours/La Roche and Pouance, with secondary targtes located at Blain, Chateaubriand, the Laval Airfield, Vitre and Tours. Heavy cloud prevents almost 100 other aircraft from bombing their targets. One B-17 and a B-24 are lost, with 33 men listed as killed or missing.

 

VIII Fighter Command furnishes area support for beachhead areas in the early morning and to heavy bomber operations at midday and in the late afternoon, at the same time maintaining harassment of communications and flying shipping patrol. 526 P-38s and 294 P-51s patrol the beachhead and provide escort in northern France. They shoot down two Luftwaffe aircraft, but lose eight P-51s, with all pilots listed as killed or missing.

 

505 P-47s and 148 P-51s engage in general strafing over northern France, shooting down 29 Luftwaffe aircraft and destroying 25 more on the ground. 10 P-47s and four P-51s are lost, with 13 men listed as killed or missing.

 

During the night, the RAF dispatches 195 Halifaxes, 122 Lancasters, and 20 Mosquitos to attack railway targets at Achères, Juvisy, Massey Palaiseau and Versailles. Bombing conditions are better than on the previous night, and all targets were accurately bombed and it is probable that fewer civilians are killed. The targets were mostly more distant from the battle front than those recently attacked and German night fighters had more time to intercept the bomber forces. Meanwhile, 112 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos carry out an accurate attack on an important six-way road junction, half-way between Bayeux and St-Lô, at Forêt De Cerisy. The surrounding woods were believed to contain fuel dumps and German tank units preparing to counter-attack the Allied landing forces. The nearest French village is several kilometres away. In other action, 32 Mosquitos attack Cologne, 10 fly radio counter measure sorties, 18 fly Serrate patrols and 18 more fly Intruder patrols. Elsewhere, 22 Halifaxes and three Stirlings lay mines off Lorient and Brest, and 24 other aircraft fly resistance operations. For the night, 19 Lancasters and 11 Halifaxes were lost, with their crews.

 

8th Air Force Mission 399 – During the night, 10 B-17s drop leaflets over the Netherlands, France and Belgium, while 14 B-24s participate in CARPETBAGGER operations in France.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force dispatches over 600 B-26s to hit bridges, junctions, trestles, coastal and field batteries, and marshalling yards in France, in support of the invasion. In other action, over 1,100 fighters support ground troops by dive bombing and strafing, escort B-26s and C-47s, and making sweeps throughout the battle area. Meanwhile, over 400 C-47s, C-53's, and gliders resupply paratroops in the assault area.

 

Construction of artificial harbors and sheltered anchorages, called Mulberries, from sunken

blockships and concrete caissons, begins in two locations off Normandy. At GOLD Beach, the harbor is operated by British forces, and at UTAH Beach, by the Americans.

 

The US First Army continues to attack toward D-Day objectives. General Eisenhower, visiting the front, orders VII Corps and V Corps to make a speedy junction through Isigny and Carentan. VII Corps gives the 101st Airborne Division the task of clearing Carentan. V Corps makes the 29th Division responsible for seizing Isigny.

 

In the VII Corps area, the 4th Division, with the 22nd Infantry on the right and the 12th Infantry on the left, drives northward toward a line from Quinéville to Montebourg, until halted by strong opposition from permanent fortifications at Crisbecq and Azeville. 8th Infantry columns converge on Ste Mère-Eglise, where they assist elements of the 82nd Airborne Division in throwing a back major enemy counterattack from the north. Tanks of 10th and 746th Tank Battalions also give valuable assistance. Meanwhile, other elements of the 82nd Airborne Division clear the east bank of the Merderet River, but are violently opposed at the La Fire bridge, which crosses it, and are unable to relieve isolated elements west of the river. The 82nd Airborne Division is strengthened by the arrival of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment in gliders and by sea. Seaborne elements, the 1st Battalion, move forward with the 8th Infantry, of the 4th Division, with the other battalions committed at La Fière and north of Ste Mère-Eglise. To the south, 101st Airborne Division units on the north bank of the Douve River temporarily suspend efforts to establish bridgeheads, but receive surrender of enemy detachments from Le Port and La Barquette. The 506th Parachute Infantry moves south from Culoville to reconnoiter in force toward the Douve River, but is stopped near St Côme-du-Mont.

 

V Corps continues toward its initial objectives with the 29th Division on the right and the 1st Division on the left. The 116th Infantry, of the 29th Division, and Rangers are clearing bluffs on V Corps’ right f lank. A relief force, pushing toward the Rangers on Pointe du Hoe reaches the St Pierre-du-Mont area. The 175th Infantry, of the 29th Division, upon landing, is given the task of taking Isigny. Moving between the 116th and 115th Regiments, the 29th advances quickly along the Longueville–Isigny Road, taking La Cambe before dawn of June 8. The 115th Infantry clears the St Laurent region and pushes southwest toward Louviéres and Montigny. Elements of 26th Infantry, of the 1st Division, on the right flank of the division, make a futile attempt to reach Formigny. The 18th Infantry, in the center, thrusts to En-granville, Mandeville, and Mosles. The 16th Infantry, on the left, takes Huppain. The enemy retains a narrow corridor between US and British bridgeheads, along the Drome River to its junction with the Aure River. The 2nd Division begins landing in the evening.

 

In the British Second Army’s XXX Corps area, the 50th Division overruns Bayeux and gets two regiments south of the Bayeux–Caen highway. The 47th Royal Marine Commandos begin a battle for Port-en-Bessin in the afternoon. In the I Corps area, the Canadian 3rd Division brigade pushes south of the Bayeux–Caen highway.

 

Off the beachheads, the minesweeper USS Tide (AM-125) is sunk by a mine, about five miles east of UTAH Beach. As the minesweeper USS Pheasant (AM-61) rescues Tide's survivors, she fouls the stricken craft and is damaged.

 

About six miles north of UTAH Beach, near Îles Saint-Marcouf, the motor torpedo boat PT-505 is damaged by a mine.

 

Mines also sink the transport USS Susan B. Anthony (AP-72), about 13 miles north of OMAHA Beach. Close to the beach, tank landing craft LCT-458 and LCT-586 are also sunk by mines.

 

The destroyer USS Harding (DD-625) is damaged when she runs aground.

 

The Liberty ship SS Francis C. Harrington, in convoy EMB 2 bound for OMAHA Beach, is damaged by mine, about 55 miles north of OMAHA Beach, but manages to discharge her cargo and disembark the troops she is bringing to the beachhead. Six of the 515 soldiers perish in the mining.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Tactical

In Italy, weather hampers 12th Air Force medium bomber operation but several rail and road bridges and viaducts are attacked. Fighter-bombers blast retreating motor transport and troops, and hit bridges north of Rome. Numerous vehicles are destroyed immediately north of Rome and especially in the Subiaco area near Rome. Many hits are scored on roads and railroads, and several railroad cars and gun emplacements are destroyed.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Strategic

The 15th Air Force sends a force of over 340 B-17s and B-24s, some with fighter cover, to bomb Leghorn dock and harbor installations, the Voltri shipyards, the Savona railroad junction, and the Vado Ligure marshalling yard, all in Italy. Elsewhere, 42 P-38s bomb the Recco viaduct and 32 P-47s fly an uneventful sweep over the Fenara- Bologna area. In France, the Antheor viaduct and Var River bridge are hit.

 

The 15th Air Force reaches its planned operational strength of 21heavy bomber groups and seven fighter groups as the 332 Fighter Group begins operations with P-47s.

 

Italy Campaign

General Alexander issues new orders for the pursuit of the enemy. The US Fifth Army is to advance to the general area of Pisa–Lucca–Pistoia, while the Eighth Army is to push toward the line of Florence–Bibbiena– Arezzo, as rapidly as possible. V Corps is to remain on the defensive in the Adriatic coastal sector. Polish 2 Corps will be committed only if the enemy cannot be cleared from Ancona.

 

In the US Fifth Army’s VI Corps area, the 168th Infantry, of the 34th Division, having advanced during the night, seizes Civitavecchia and its port, 40 miles northwest of Rome. This port, although damaged, soon becomes valuable in supplying assault forces.

 

In the British Eighth Army area, XIII Corps shifts its axis of advance from north to northwest. The South African 6th Armored Division, followed by the 78th Division, turns toward Orvieto, and important road center, on the Viterbo–Bagnoregio Road. East of the Tiber River, the British 6th Armored Division swings toward Terni, instead of Rieti.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

CBI - THEATER OF OPERATIONS - CHINA (14AF): In China, 10 B-25s, from the 14th Air Force, bomb Lashio and targets of opportunity along the the Salween front. Elsewhere, three more B-25s and 15 fighter-bombers bomb tank concentrations at Taying, destroy several locomotives at Linfen, and pound railroad yards at Chenghsien. P-40s and B-25s strafe sampans at Fort Bayard and sink a schooner off Nampang Island, and two rocket-firing P-40s damage a processing building at the carbide mines at Na Duonp, in French Indochina.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force sends 11 B-24s to bomb Wuntho and Kalemyo, in Burma. Meanwhile, nine B-25s hit the Wuntho-Shwebo railroad and the bridge at Thityabin, while other B-25s continue flying ammunition to Imphal, India, and a few P-51s hit Lachigahtawng.

 

In Burma, Chinese commanders call General Boatner’s attention to the dangerously reduced strength of Chinese forces in Myitkyina area. Limited operations are continued there while preparations are being made for an offensive on June 10.

 

On the Salween front, the 88th Division, of the Chinese 71st Army, reaches the East Gate of Lung-ling. The Chinese 87th Division, moving along the Burma Road, is approaching the city.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

5th Air Force B-25s bomb Biak Island, hitting gun positions near Bosnik, the airstrip at Sorido, and Borokoe road. Meanwhile, A-20s hit shipping in the Manokwari area, while B-25s blast supply areas near the Orai River, and fighter-bombers and A-20s continue pounding the Wewak-Hansa Bay coast.

 

Thirteenth Air Task Force B-24s hit various targets in the Truk Atoll, as weather permits only 10 of the 48 airplanes in the raid to reach the target area.

 

On Biak, the 186th Infantry, assisted by artillery and aircraft, drives quickly across the Mokmer Airfield to the beach without opposition, but the Japanese then subject the entire area to intense fire. The supply of the 186th Infantry by sea is begun under fire. The 162nd Infantry begins a movement by sea of the bulk of its troops in the coastal sector to the Mokmer airdrome, via Parai, in order to exert pressure against the Parai Defile and open it to coastal traffic. A limited effort is being made against the Ibdi Pocket area. The Enemy’s East Caves position, east of Mokmer Airfield, is being neutralized by fire.

 

In the Aitape area, of Hollandia, the 2nd Battalion joins the 1st Battalion, of the 158th Infantry, of Task Force TORNADO, in the Tor River bridgehead. Both patrol uneventfully toward Maffin No. 1. In Task Force PERSECUTION’s sector, the Japanese become active about 1,300 yards west of Afua, on the Afua-Palauru supply line. A gap exists in the outer defense line along the Driniumor River, where regrouping is conducted. The 1st Battalion, of the 128th Infantry, replaces the 1st Battalion, of the 126th, in the northern part of the line.

 

South Pacific Area

All scheduled strikes in the Rabaul area, of New Britain Island, are weathered out. However, P-39s and P-38s hit several targets of opportunity on Bougainville Island, including occupied areas at Monoitu.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s, from Makin Island, bomb Ponape Island.

 

During the night, B-24s, from Eniwetok Atoll, bomb Truk Atoll, and Ponape Island.

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Thursday, June 8, 1944

 

European Theater

General Carl Spaatz, Commanding General, places oil as the first priority target for the US Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) as a result of the destructive effect achieved by several missions against oil centers in May 1944.

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 400 – 1,178 bombers and 1,353 fighter sorties are flown against communications targets in France, to isolate German forward elements, and airfields are bombed to prevent Luftwaffe support. Cloud conditions prevent over 400 bombers from executing their attacks:

· 640 B-17s are dispatched to La Frilliere, Orleans, the Rennes Airfield, the Orleans/Les Aubrais marshalling yard, Nantes, La Huchetiere Tours/La Riche, the Cinq Mars bridge, Bruz, Rennes and targets of opportunity.

· 538 B-24s are dispatched to Pontaubault, Angers/St Laud, Angers, the Le Mans/Arnage Airfield, Pontaubault, Nantes, the Cinq Mars bridge, Dinon, Precey, Grandville Harbor, a bridge at Rennes, Precey and targets of opportunity. An attack on the Melun bridge by an Azon unit is foiled by clouds.

· Fighter escort for the bombers is provided by 116 P-51s, which shoot down three Luftwaffe aircraft.

· 381 P-38s, 24 P-47s and 89 P-51s fly sweeps and patrols along the Normandy beachhead and the Channel area. The P-47s shoot down one Luftwaffe aircraft.

· 333 P-47s and 526 P-51s fly fighter-bomber missions against communications targets in northwestern France, shooting down 27Luftwaffe aircraft and destroying 21 more on the ground.

One B-17, two B-24s, 16 P-51s, and six P-47s are lost, with 80 men listed as killed or missing.

 

During the night, the RAF sends 286 Lancasters, 169 Halifaxes, and 28 Mosquitos to attack railways at Alençon, Fougères, Mayenne, Pontabault and Rennes to prevent German reinforcements from the south, from reaching Normandy. In other action, 17 aircraft fly Serrate patrols and 19 fly Intruder patrols, 34 other aircraft lay mines from the Scheldt to Lorient. Three Lancasters and a Mosquito are lost, with their crews.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

Around 400 B-26s, from the 9th Air Force, attack rail and road bridges and junctions, rail sidings, marshalling yards, town areas, fuel storage tanks, ammunition dumps, troop concentrations and strong points in the Calais area, of France. Around 1,300 fighter sorties provide support to the B-26s and high cover over the assault area. They also bomb and strafe bridges, marshalling yards, gun batteries, rail facilities, vehicles, towns, and troop concentrations.

 

Contact is established between US First and British Second Armies near Port-en-Bessin.

 

In US First Army area, VII Corps begins an all-out. drive on Cherbourg with four refitted units: the 505th Parachute Infantry, from the 82nd Airborne, and the 8th Infantry, from the 4th Division, on the west, and the 4th Division’s 12th Regiment and 22nd Regiment on the east. The Enemy again halts the assault of the 22nd Infantry at the edge of the Azeville-Crisbecq fortifications. The 12th Infantry fights bitterly for Edmondeville. On the west, the attack reaches the general line from the Montebourg highway, through Magneville, to the Merderet River. The 82nd Airborne Divisiion remains under strong enemy pressure along the Merderet. On VII Corps south flank, the 101st Airborne Division opens the battle for Carentan, in an effort to effect a speedy junction with V Corps. 506th Infantry, strongly reinforced, forces the enemy from St. Cômedu- Mont. The division then regroups along the Douve River with orders to cross it in the vicinity of Brévands.

 

V Corps secures its D-Day objectives. The 116th Infantry, of the 29th Division, and Rangers succeed in relieving hard-pressed units of the 2nd Ranger Battalion on Pointe du Hoe, and push on to Grandcamp. During the night, the 175th Infantry continues its rapid drive on Isigny and takes it with ease. Meanwhile, the 115th Infantry drives south to the Aure River, through Longueville.

 

In the 1st Division sector, Formigny falls to elements of the 18th Infantry from Engranville. The 26th Infantry, making a main effort to trap the enemy between US and British bridgeheads, overruns Tour-en-Bessin. During the night the 26th Infantry also overruns Ste Anne. The 16th Infantry attempts to block the enemy escape from Port-en-Bessin, but the enemy retains an escape corridor and withdraws the bulk of his forces through it, during the night.

 

In the British Second Army’s XXX Corps area, Port-en- Bessin falls to 47th Royal Marine Commandos early in day. The 50th Division compresses the enemy’s escape corridor in conjunction with US V Corps, taking Sully and a château at Fosse Soucy, but pulls back under enemy pressure.

 

Off Normandy, Allied ships continue to take their toll:

· The destroyer escort USS Rich (DE-695), about two miles north of the Îles Saint-Marcouf is sunk by a mine.

· Less than a mile northwest of the Îles Saint-Marcouf the tank landing ship USS LST-499 is also sunk by a mine.

· The destroyers USS Glennon (DD-620) is damaged by a mine about four miles south of Ventnor, off the Isle of Wight.

· About nine miles northeast of UTAH Beach, the destroyer USS Meredith (DD-726) is damaged by a mine.

· The frigate HMS Lawford, on patrol in the Seine Bay, after escorting an assault group to JUNO Beach, is bombed and sunk.

 

The 125th Liaison Squadron, flying L-5s and assigned to the 9th Air Force, but attached principally to the Headquarters Command, of the European Theater, arrives in England, from the US.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Tactical

In Italy, weather again restricts 12th Air Force activity, with many medium bomber missions aborted, though several bridges, railroad lines, and guns are attacked. A-20s hit the town of Bolsena and targets in the surrounding areas, while fighter-bombers and fighters continue to patrol the battle areas, destroying motor transport, and attacking train cars, roads, rail lines, and enemy concentrations.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Strategic

The 15th Air Force sends 52 B-17s, with P-47 escort, to bomb the navy yard and dry docks at Pola, Yugoslavia.

 

Italy Campaign

British V Corps, holding the Adriatic coastal sector, finds that the enemy is withdrawing and moves forward.

 

In US Fifth Army’s VI Corps area, the 133rd Infantry, leading the 34th Division’s pursuit up Highway 1, encounters delaying opposition south of Tarquinia. To speed up II Corps’ advance, the commit two task forces ahead of the 85th Division and the 88th Division, with Task Force Howze on the left, and Task Force Ellis, the reinforced 91st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, on the right. Forward elements get to within six miles of Viterbo before II Corps is halted, in order to give the South African 6th Armoured Division right of way. A shift of the inter-army boundary to the left greatly narrows the zone of the 88th Division.

 

In British Eighth Army’s XIII Corps area, the South African 6th Armoured Division makes rapid progress toward Orvieto on the left flank. East of the Tiber River, the British 6th Armoured Division encounters enemy positions extending west from Monte Maggiore and is held up at Passo Corese. During the night, the British 6th Armoured Division puts the infantry in the lead.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

The 14th Air Force dispatches 19 P-40s to bomb docks, warehouses and military installations at Ichang and Shasi and strafe two cavalry units at Nanying, all in China. Meanwhile, four P-51s attack railroad traffic in the Singtai-Chengting area.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

10th Air Force B-24s mine the Bangkok, Siam and Mergui areas, in Burma, while B-25s maintain the ammunition supply to Imphal, India. Elsewhere in Burma, nine B-25s pound the Imphal, India-Tiddim road, and a few A-36s and P-51s hit the enemy in the Mogaung area.

 

On the Salween front, the Chinese 88th Division, of the 71st Army, penetrates the outer defenses of Lung-ling. The Chinese 87th Division reaches the North Gate of the city and blocks the Japanese supply route at the Manio Bridge, on the Tengchung- Lung-ling road.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

5th Air Force B-25s, P-38s, B-24s and A-20s battle enemy fighters over Manokwari and Efman-Schouten Island areas, bomb a small freighter off Manokwari and hit gun emplacements and occupied areas at Kamiri, at Namber, and near Sorido, all in New Guinea. Meanwhile, P-40s hit supply areas and villages in the vicinity of Sarmi and A-20s again hit Wewak area.

 

Thirteenth Air Task Force B-24s, from the Admiralty Islands, hit Truk Atoll.

 

In New Guinea, Seventh Fleet PT boats begin operating from Mios Woendi.

 

On Biak, the 186th Infantry, of Task Force HURRICANE, improves and consolidates its positions in the Mokmer airdrome area. The 2nd Battalion, of the 162nd Infantry, meets heavy fire as it advances east to rejoin its parent unit and halts on the ridge north of East Caves. The 162nd Infantry completes the movement of the bulk of its 1st and 3rd Battalions to Parai. The Japanese continue to resist stubbornly in the Parai Defile, despite pressure from the west and east by elements of the 163rd, 186th, and 162nd Regiments. Elements of 162nd Infantry, pushing west from Parai toward the Mokmer Airfield, are strongly opposed, but reach positions near Mokmer village.

 

In the Aitape area, of Hollandia, the 1st and 2nd Battalions, of the 158th Infantry, of Task Force TORNADO, with tank support, attack west after a brief artillery preparation. Considerable resistance develops, but the attack progresses to within 1,500 yards of the Tirfoam.

 

South Pacific Area

Air Command Solomons sends 24 B-25s to bomb a supply area at Ratawul, on New Britain Island. On Bougainville Island, 32 P-39s bomb Tsirogei and a supply area north of Buka, on Buka Island, and six P-38s hit the Monoitu Mission.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s, from Makin Island, follow the previous night’s raid with a strike against Nauru Island.

 

During the night, B-24s, from Eniwetok Atoll, bomb Truk Atoll.

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June 9, 1944

Sorry to be tardy. We have been in Normandy for the 70th. Here is a photo taken on Utah Beach on 6-6-2014.

post-437-0-22474500-1402315517.jpg

"Get to those men in Bastogne" - (then) LTC. Creighton Abrams, battalion commander of the 4th Armored Division spearhead that broke the seige on Dec. 26, 1944.


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Friday, June 9, 1944

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

Bad weather prevents 8th Air Force bomber operations. P-38s attempt to cover shipping in the English Channel. The 7th Photo Reconnaissance Group dispatches five aircraft but they all turn back due to the weather. Two B-17s fly weather flights over the UK, and the Atlantic Ocean.

 

During the night, the RAF dispatches 206 Lancasters, 175 Halifaxes, and 20 Mosquitos to bomb airfields at Flers, Le Mans, Laval and Rennes, all situated south of the Normandy battle area. Meanwhile, 108 Lancasters and four Mosquitos, with five Pathfinder Mosquitos, attempt to bomb a railway junction at Étampes, south of Paris. The marking is accurate but late and the bombing spread from the railway junction into the town. Elsewhere, 36 Mosquitos attack Berlin, 13 fly radio counter measure sorties, two fly Serrate patrols, and 24 Halifaxes and four Stirlings lay mines off Brest. Two Halifaxes and six Lancasters are lost, with their crews.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force moves the 70th Fighter Wing from England, to France, and the 112th Liaison Squadron, flying L-5s and attached principally to ETO Headquarters Command, arrives in England, from the US.

 

In US First Army’s VII Corps area, the 4th Division makes significant progress, at some points, as it continues to drive on Cherbourg. On the right flank, the 22nd Infantry forces the German garrison of the Azeville fortifications to surrender, and organizes Task Force Barber to drive on Quinéville through the Azeville gap. The 12th Infantry thrusts quickly northward from Edmondeville, reducing a strongpoint at Joganville. During hard and costly fighting, the 8th Infantry overruns enemy positions at Magneville and drives to Ecausseville, from which the enemy withdraws after nightfall. The 505th Parachute Infantry, of the 82nd Airborne Division, reinforced by a battalion of the 327th Glider Infantry, makes limited progress west of Magneville. The 82nd Airborne Division makes its main effort at La Fière, where two battalions of the 325th Glider Infantry, followed by the 1st Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry, cross the Merderet River and secure a bridgehead of sufficient depth to include all units that had been isolated west of the Merderet. The 101st Airborne Division prepares for two-pronged attack on Carentan via the causeway and Brévands, but its jump-off is delayed while they waitfor bridge repairs.

 

V Corps attacks south toward Fôret de Cerisy on a three-division front, committing the 2nd Division in a narrow zone between the 29th Division and the 1st Division. From Isigny, the main body of the 175th Infantry, of the 29th Division, thrusts south to its objectives, reaching La Fotelaie, while Company K, reinforced by a Reconnaissance Troop and tanks, forces the crossing of the Vire River at Auville-sur-le Vey. The 115th Infantry crosses the Aure River south of Canchy and fans out to Bricqueville, La Folie, and Le Carrefour. In the center of V Corps, the 2nd Division’s 38th Infantry pushes into Trévières and begins clearing it while the 9th Division, to the east, thrusts to Rubercy. The 1st Division, attacking with the 18th Infantry on the right and the 26th Infantry on the left, reaches its left flank objectives, Agy and Dodigny. The 2nd Armored Division begins landing.

 

Against strong opposition, the British Second Army is pushing forward toward Tillysur-Seulles, in the XXX Corps zone, and Caen, in the I Corps zone.

 

Off Normandy:

· The destroyer USS Meredith (DD-726), damaged by a mine on June 8, is sunk by horizontal bomber, about five miles east of UTAH Beach.

· About 24 miles north of OMAHA Beach, German schnellbootes S 172, S 174, S 175 and S 187 attack an Allied convoy in the English channel, torpedoing and sinking tank landing ship USS LST-314, and damaging tank landing ship USS LST-376. LST-376 is later scuttled by escorts.

· Infantry landing craft LCI-416 is sunk by a mine.

· Motor minesweeper USS YMS-305 is damaged by a shore battery, while on patrol about 10 miles north of OMAHA Beach.

· The Liberty ship SS Ezra Weston is damaged by a shore battery, that kills five and wounds 11 of her 600 embarked troops.

· Old light cruiser HMS Durbin was expended off Ouistreham as one of the 'Gooseberry' breakwaters. Her dister ship, the Polish-manned ORP Dragon was damaged in early July and joined her in this final but important role.

 

Russian Front
As prelude to the main summer offensive, Soviet troops of the Leningrad Front launch attacks to eliminate the Finnish threat on the Karelian Isthmus, between Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland, striking at the Finnish Mannerheim Line, after a three-hour preparatory bombardment.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Tactical

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium bombers again hit enemy communications, bombing bridges with good results. Light bombers hit targets of opportunity in the Acquapendente area, while fighter-bombers and fighters continue to pound motor transport retreating up the Italian peninsula, and bomb roads and railways in the path of the enemy retreat.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Strategic

The 15th Air Force sends a force of around 500 B-17s and B-24s to attack targets in Germany, and Italy. The B-17s hit the industrial area and air depot at Munich, Germany, while the B-24s also hit the industrial area and ordinance depot at Munich, and oil storage at Porto Marghera, Italy. Meanwhile, P-47s, P-38s and P-51s fly over 250 sorties in support of the Munich raids. The bombers and fighters destroy over 30 enemy aircraft, but lose 13 Army Air Force aircraft and crews.

 

Italy Campaign

In US Fifth Army’s VI Corps area, the 133rd Infantry, of the 34th Division, overruns Tarquinia. The 361st Infantry, of the 91st Division, enters the line, taking over the coastal sector, under command of the 36th Division. Viterbo falls without a fight to Combat Command A, of the 1st Armored Division, early in day.

 

II Corps is being relieved by the French Expeditionary Force (FEC).

 

The British Eighth Army establishes a new boundary between XIII Corps and X Corps, along the Tiber River. Elements of XIII Corps, east of the river and comprised of the British 6th Armoured Division and the 4th Infantry Division, pass to command of X Corps. In the XIII Corps area, the South African 6th Armoured Division makes contact with the US Fifth Army at Viterbo and pushes on toward Orvieto. In the X Corps area, the British 6th Armoured Division continues toward Terni. The Indian 8th Division reaches Arsoli.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

The 14th Air Force sends P-40s, P-51s and B-25s on over 200 sorties against numerous targets throughout the Tungting Lake area, in China. River shipping of all description is pounded, several troop concentrations are attacked, airfields at Hankow and Wuchang are bombed, and the towns of Ichang, Siangyin, Yuankiang and Kiaotow are hit. Meanwhile, four B-24 and fighter-bomber sorties over the South China Sea result the sinking of three sea going vessels, a tug and a barge.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

10th Air Force dispatches five B-25s to strike the Imphal, India-Tiddim road, in Burma, while over 20 others continue to supply ammunition to the Imphal area. Elsewhere, a group of over 40 A-36s, P-51s, and P-40s hit Myitkyina, Mogaung and Kadu.

 

In Burma, Admiral Mountbatten directs General Giffard, Commanding General of the British 11 Army Group, to clear the Dimapur–Kohima– Imphal road not later than mid-July, to clear the Dimapur–Kohima–Imphal Plain–Yuwa–Tamanthi region, and to prepare to attack across the Chindwin in Yuwa–Tamanthi area after the monsoon.

 

On Salween front, the Chinese 71st Army begins an attack on two of three hills in Lung-ling. The 9th Division, of the Chinese 2nd Army, blocks the Burma Road four miles south of Mang-shih. Because of a disagreement between army and group army commanders, the 9th Division later withdraws the block and confines its activities to patrolling.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

5th Air Force B-24s bomb the airfield on Peleliu Island, in the Palau Islands. In New Guinea, A-20s bomb shipping in Manokwari harbor, while B-24s, A-20s, B-25s and P-39s, along with RAAF planes, drop about 140 tons of bombs on various targets in the Wewak area.

 

B-24s of Thirteenth Air Task Force bomb Alet Airfield and targets of opportunity in Truk Atoll.

 

On Biak, the main body of the 162nd Infantry, of Task Force HURRICANE, continues west along the coast toward Mokmer Aairfield, against heavy fire from the East Caves. They make contact with the 2nd Battalion, which now reverts to a regiment. Efforts are being made to discover the limits of the East Caves position.

 

In the Aitape area, of Hollandia, the 1st Battalion and the 2nd Battalion, of the 158th Infantry, of Task Force TORNADO, continue to the Tirfoam River, overrunning enemy defenses en route. Forward movement from there is halted, so the 158th Infantry can prepared to attack Noemfoor Island on a short notice. A second Regimental Combet Team, of the 6th Division, is to relieve the 158th Infantry. In the Task Force PERSECUTION sector, the Japanese are found to have withdrawn from the Afua–Palauru trail.

 

Engineer aviation battalions begin building an air strip on Owi.

 

A squadron of RAAF Beaufighters, of Wing 71, arrives at Tadji, where only the 110th Reconnaissance Squadron, of the US 5th Air Force is currently stationed.

 

South Pacific Area

Air Command Solomons sends 32 B-25s, 20 P-39s and five P-38s to attack supplies and gun positions in the Rataaul-Talili Bay area, on New Britain Island. Meanwhile, five other B-25s attack a pier at the New Massava Plantation and the railroad to the Mandres Saw Mill. On Buka Island, P-39s hit the town of Buka, a supply area to the north of the airfield, and the Arigua Plantation.

 

Central Pacific Area

During the night, 7th Air Force B-24s, staging through Eniwetok Atoll, bomb Truk Atoll and Ponape Island.

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June 10, 1944

The Utah and Omaha beachheads are linked up by the advance of the US 2nd Armored Division. The US 101st Airborne Division is still fighting around Carentan.

"Get to those men in Bastogne" - (then) LTC. Creighton Abrams, battalion commander of the 4th Armored Division spearhead that broke the seige on Dec. 26, 1944.


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Saturday, June 10, 1944

 

American Theater

The US Eighth Army is activated at Memphis, Tennessee.

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 403 – Bad weather restricts operations to northwest France:

· 507 B-17s are dispatched to Equihen, Hardelot, St Gabriel, the Gael Airfield, the Nantes/Bouguenais Airfield, the Vannes Airfield, Berck, Merlimont Plage, and Toucquet- Paris-Plage.

· 257 B-24s are dispatched to Wimereau, Boulogne, the Dreux Airfield, the Evreux/Fauville Airfield, Boulogne; and the Conches Airfield.

· 119 B-24s are dispatched to the Chateaudun Airfield and the Orleans/ Bricy Airfield.

One B-24 is lost, with 16 men listed as killed or missing.

 

VIII Fighter Command missions during the day are:

· 405 P-38s fly sweeps and escort. They destroy five Luftwaffe aircraft.

· 364 P-51s and three P-47s provide escort for the bombers.

· 506 P-47s and 213 P-51s fly fighter-bomber missions against communications targets in the beachhead area. They shoot down eight Luftwaffe aircraft and destroy one on the ground.

15 P-47s and nine P-51are lost, with 25 pilots listed as killed or missing.

 

8th Air Force Mission 404 – During the evening, 11 B-17s drop leaflets on Norway, and France.

 

During the night, the RAF sends 323 Lancasters, 90 Halifaxes, and 19 Mosquitos to attack railway targets at Achères, Dreux, Orléans and Versailles. In other action, 32 Mosquitos are sent to Berlin, 13 fly radio counter measure sorties, seven fly Serrate patrols and 18 fly Intruder patrols. Meanwhile, 30 other aircraft lay mines off France, on the flanks of the invasion area. 15 Lancasters, three Halifaxes lost, and two Mosquitos are lost, with their crews.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends a force of over 500 B-26s and A-20s to bomb targets in the assault area, including military concentrations, road and rail bridges and junctions, artillery batteries, marshalling yards and town areas. Aircraft from over 15 Fighter Groups fly escort for bombers and transports, and bomb numerous targets in support of the ground assault, including rail facilities, roads, troop concentrations, artillery, and town areas.

 

In US First Army area, VII Corps and V Corps establish contact at Auvillesur- le-Vey, but the enemy remains in Carentan. In the VII Corps area, Task Force BARBER, on the 4th Division’s right, makes little headway through the Azeville gap toward the enemy’s main line of resistance on the Quinéville ridge, since the enemy is disposed in strength on the Task Force BARBER’s flanks.

 

Efforts to reduce Ozeville and Château de Fontenay are futile. The 12th Infantry reaches positions just below the Montebourg–Quinéville highway in the region east of Montebourg and is well ahead of rest of the 4th Division, and the 8th Infantry gains its objectives along the Le Ham–Montebourg highway. The 505th Parachute Infantry, of the 82nd Airborne Division, takes one of its objectives, Montebourg Station, but is halted a little short of the other, Le Ham. The 60th Division, less the 359th Infantry, and attached to 4th Division, attacks west toward the Douve through the 82nd Airborne Division’s Merderet bridgehead, but makes little headway. The 357th Infantry crosses the Merderet River at La Fière and pushes toward Les Landes. 358th Infantry crosses at Chef-du-Pont and moves on Pont l’Abbé, getting a little beyond Picauville.

 

The 101st Airborne Division begins the envelopment of Carentan, as the 327th Glider Infantry moves in from the northeast upon crossing the Douve River near Brévands and cuts the east exits from the town. A bitter battle develops on the west, where the 3rd Battalion, of the 502nd Parachute Infantry, inches across the causeway northwest of Carentan under enemy fire, which supporting artillery is unable to silence.

 

Elements of the 401st Glider Infantry make contact with V Corps units at Auville-sur-le-Vey. V Corps gains its objectives with little difficulty, since the German lines above Caumont have given way and a gap 10 miles wide is virtually undefended. The 29th Division’s 115th Infantry reaches the Elle River line. The 38th Regiment and the 9th Regiments, of the 2nd Division, speed through Fret de Cerisy to their objectives. The 18th Infantry, of the 1st Division, reaches the St Lô–Bayeux highway.

 

The 9th Division arrives at the beachhead and begins to debark.

 

In the British Second Army area, XXX Corps commits the 7th Armoured Division to action in Tilly-sur-Seulles region, where the enemy is strongly resisting. I Corps continues to press toward Caen.

 

In the waters off Normandy:

· The destroyer USS Glennon (DD-620) is sunk by a German shore battery.

· Tank landing craft LCT-209 sinks after running aground off the beachhead.

· The Liberty ship SS Charles Morgan is damaged by a bomb off UTAH Beach that kills seven of the 64-man Army stevedore unit on board and one merchant crewman. Fleet tug USS Kiowa (Task Force-72) takes on board the survivors. The Charles Morgan, however, despite strenuous efforts to save her, is ultimately declared a total loss.

 

The 9th Air Force moves the IX Tactical Air Command from Uxbridge, England to Au Gay, France.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Tactical

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium bombers attack bridges, railroads, and roads north, northeast, and northwest of Rome, while light bombers hit motor transport in the town of Arcidosso, and fighter-bombers and fighters bomb and strafe motor transport and roads north of the battle area, destroying numerous vehicles, especially along the roads between Rome and Vetralla.

 

The headquarters of the XII Bomber Command is disbanded in Corsica.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Strategic

The 15th Air Force dispatches a force of over 550 B-17s and B-24s to attack targets in Italy. The B-17s hit a marshalling yard at Mestre and oil storage and a marshalling yard at Porto Marghera, while the B-24s hit an oil refinery at Trieste, the air depot at Ferrara and the town of Ancona. P-51s and P-38s fly escort, and in Rumania, strafe targets of opportunity between Bucharest and the Danube River, and south of Craiova, and dive-bomb an oil refinery at Ploesti.

 

Italy Campaign

British V Corps pursues the enemy up the Adriatic coast, with the Indian 4th Division taking Pescara and Chieti.

 

In the US Fifth Army’s VI Corps area, the 1st Armored Division, relieved by the 36th Division on the left and the French Expeditionary Force (FEC) on the right, is withdrawn from the battle line. The 36th Division is responsible for the entire VI Corps zone.

 

In the US II Corps area, final elements of the corps are withdrawn from the battle line.

In the French Expeditionary Force (FEC) area, Lt. General Edgar de Larminat, as head of Pursuit Corps, directs the advance of the 3rd Algerian Division on the west and the 1st Motorized Division on the east, in a narrow sector, largely west of Highway 2, on the Fifth Army’s right flank.

 

In the British Eighth Army’s XIII Corps area, enemy rear guards are slowing the South African 6th Armoured Division below Bagnoregio. The 4th Division reverts to XIII Corps, from the British X Corps, upon relief east of the Tiber River by the Indian 8th Division. X Corps is meeting considerable resistance below Terni. The New Zealand 2nd Division reaches Avezzano.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

The 14th Air Force sends a group of 23 P-40s and P-51s to hit railroad traffic and tracks at Linfen and Loning and a tank concentration at Lingpao, in China. Six other P-40s hit a bridge at Tasa, while B-25s, P-40s, P-51s and P-38s carry out over 150 sorties against numerous targets throughout the the Tungting Lake area. They destroyed or damaged numerous rivercraft, Kukang and other villages near Changsha are bombed, Hankow-Wuchang Airfield revetments and buildings are pounded, the Changshowkai area is blasted and several river landings and storage installations in the lake area are attacked. Elsewhere, three B-24s, on a South China Sea sweep, sink one small cargo ship.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

In Burma, 23 B-24s, from the 10th Air Force, bomb targets at Chauk, Lonywa and Yenangyaung, while 29 others supply ammunition to the Imphal, India area. Meanwhile, a group of 50 A-36s, P-51s and P-40s blast targets at Myitkyina, Mogaung and Tapo.

 

Allied troops launch a coordinated attack on Myitkyina but make little progress. In the Mogaung Valley, Chinese forces are pushing closer to Kamaing, which is besieged.

 

On the Salween front, the Chinese 87th Division and the 88th Division are supplied with ammunition by air, as they continue to attack hills in Lung-ling. In China, the Japanese have five divisions along the Liu-yang River and are threatening Changsha.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

5th Air Force A-20s hit the airfield at Babo, New Guinea, destroying grounded aircraft, a fuel dump, several buildings, and a gun position. A group of A-20s, B-25s, and RAAF aircraft hit the Wewak area with over 100 tons of bombs.

 

The air echelon of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bombardment), with B-25s, that has been operating from Wakde, returns to its base at Finschhafen.

 

On Biak, General Krueger again urges General Fuller to secure airfields as quickly as possible. The Bulk of the 162nd Infantry, of Task Force HURRICANE, advances cautiously west toward the Mokmer airdrome. The enemy continues to resist in the Parai Defile. The anti-tank Company, of the 162nd Infantry, and Company A, of the 186th Infantry, are recalled from the trail on the ridges extending inland from the west, which they have been trying in vain to clear since June 7.

 

In the Aitape area, of Hollandia, the headquarters of Task Force PERSECUTION orders positions along the Driniumor River to quickly improve. In the event of an attack, the enemy is to be delayed first along the line from X-ray River, to the Koronal Creek and second at the Nigia. The main line of resistance about the airfields is to be held. Japanese patrol activity is decreasing in the Driniumor River area but increasing along the south branches of Niumen Creek, about 3,000 yards east of the Driniumor River.

 

South Pacific Area 13th Air Force

Air Command Solomons sends eight P-38s skip-bomb supply tunnels at Keravia Bay, on New Britain Island, while four others strafe nearby anti-aircraft positions. Anti-aircraft guns south of Rapopo are attacked by 12 B-25s, 20 P-39s, and over 20 US Navy dive bombers, while other B-25s bomb Ratawul. Elsewhere, 31 P-39s and over 20 US Navy aircraft hit Chinatown at Buka, on Buka Island, and a supply area northeast of the airstrip, and a barge at Sohano Island, and on Bougainville Island, trucks near Tsirogei and a ford near Monoitu.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s, from Makin Island, hit Nauru Island.

 

During the night, 7th Air Force B-24s, from Eniwetok Atoll, hit Truk Atoll.

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Sunday, June 11 , 1944

 

Atlantic Theater

About 800 miles west-northwest of the Azores, US Navy aircraft (VC 95) from escort carrier USS Croatan (CVE-25) team with destroyer escorts USS Frost (DE-144), USS Huse (DE-145), and USS Inch (DE-146) to sink the German submarine U-490, midway between Flores Island and Flemish Cap.

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 405 – Weather prevents operations against priority targets in Germany, so the bombers attack targets in France: 471 B-17s are dispatched to the Beaumont-le-Roger Airfield, the Bernay/St Martin Airfield, the Dinard/Pluertuit Airfield, Toucquet- Paris- Plage, Merlimont Plage, the Pontaubault Bridge, Berck, and the Conches Airfield. 584 B-24s are dispatched to the marshalling yard at Montauban, Vicomte-sur-Rance, the Montford Bridge and Blois/St Denis, and the airfields at Cormeilles-en-Vexin, Beauvais/Nivelliers, Beaumont-sur-Oise, Creil, Poix, Beauvais/Tille. Two B-17s and one B-24 are lost, with 25 men listed as killed or missing. 87 P-47s and 144 P-51s provide escort for the bombers.

 

Meanwhile, 143 P-38s patrol the beachhead and shoot down two Luftwaffe aircraft., and 77 P-38s, 195 P-47s and 268 P-51s fly fighter-bomber missions against communications targets in northwestern France. The P-38s shoot down three Luftwaffe aircraft. Three P-38s, a P-47 and four P-51s are lost, with seven pilots listed as missing.

 

8th Air Force Mission 406 –During the night, five B-17s drop leaflets on France, and the Low Countries.

 

During the night, the RAF sends 225 Lancasters, 86 Halifaxes, and 18 Mosquitos to attack railway targets at Évreux, Massey Palaiseau, Nantes and Tours, all in France. All of the raids appeared to be successful. Meanwhiule, 33 Mosquitos attack Berlin, 30 others fly Serrate patrols, 13 Halifaxes lay mines on the flanks of the invasion coast. Three Lancasters, a Halifax and two Mosquitos are lost, with their crews.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

In morning operations, the 9th Air Force dispatches a force of 129 B-26s and A-20s to bomb rail and road bridges and intersections, rail lines, oil tanks, artillery and town areas, in France. Bad weather prevents afternoon operations, however, 10 fighter groups fly escort, and strafe and bomb bridges, railroads, gun emplacements, rail and road traffic and marshalling yards in support of ground troops.

 

In the US First Army’s VII Corps area:

· The 4th Division’s Task Force Barber continues its futile efforts to break through the Azeville gap, to the Quinéville ridge in the coastal sector. The 12th Infantry gains its objective, the west end of the Montebourg–Quinéville ridge, but pulls back behind the Montebourg–St Floxel Road, since its flanks are exposed.

· The 8th Infantry digs in along the Le Ham– Montebourg Road when enemy fire prevents forward movement to the railroad. The 82nd Airborne Division’s 505th Parachute Infantry, making the main effort, with the 2nd Battalion, of the 325th Glider Infantry, thrusts into Le Ham under heavy fire and finds Le Ham deserted.

· The 90th Division continues to make slow progress west of the Merderet River, but partly surrounds Pont l’Abbé. While US battleships off Normandy provide gunfire support to US Army forces ten miles inland at Carentan, the 101st Airborne Division presses slowly on Carentan against unabated opposition. On the right, the 3rd Battalion, of the 502nd Parachute Infantry, after crossing the Madeleine River and clearing enemy strongpoints, is joined by the 1st Battalion. Determined counterattacks are repelled and the 2nd Battalion, of the 502nd Parachute Infantry, takes over the battle line, during the night. While the main body of the 327th Glider Infantry conducts a holding action along the canal on the left, elements move to the outskirts of Carentan, along Bassin Flot. During the night, destructive Allied fire is placed on Carentan and the Germans quietly abandon the town.

 

In the V Corps area, elements of the 3rd Battalion, of the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, are committed to strengthen the bridgehead at Auville-sur-le-Vey, since VII Corps’ 101st Airborne is fully occupied with the battle for Carentan. V Corps’ front is quiet except at the tip of Fôret de Cerisy, where elements of 2nd Division reduce a strongpoint at the Haute Littée crossroads.

 

In the British Second Army’s XXX Corps area, the 7th Armoured Division breaks into Tilly-sur-Seulle, but is forced out by the enemy.

 

 

Off the invasion beaches:

· About nine miles north of OMAHA Beach, German torpedo boats S 130, S 144, S 146, S 150 and S 167 launch torpedo attacks on US invasion shipping, sinking the tank landing ship USS LST-496 and the tug USS Partridge (ATO-138),

· The same German torpedo boats damaging the tank landing ship USS LST-538, about 30 miles north of GOLD Beach.

· German motor torpedo boat S 138 torpedoes and damages the destroyer USS Nelson (DD-623), about 10 miles north of OMAHA Beach.

· Infantry landing craft LCI-219 is sunk by enemy aircraft.

 

Russian Front
Continuing their offensive against the Mannerheim Line, Soviet forces drive a wedge 15 miles deep on a 30 mile front, into Finnish positions

 

Mediterranean Theater, Tactical

In Italy, bad weather forces the cancellation of all 12th Air Force light and medium bomber operations. Fighter-bombers and fighters operating on a reduced scale, hit vehicles, roads, and bridges north of the battle line.

 

The 12th Air Force moves the 79th Fighter Group, with P-47s, from Pomigliano, to Corsica, while also relocating the 111 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, and three squadrons of the 27th Fighter Group.

 

Mediterranean Theater, Strategic 15th Air Force

126 B-17s and 60 P-51s depart Russian shuttle bases for Italy, to complete the first FRANTIC operation. On the way, 121 B-17s bomb the Focsani Airfield, in Rumania, losing one B-l7. Meanwhile, a force of over 540 other B-17s and B-24s attack targets in Rumania, and Yugoslavia, with the B-17s attacking the marshalling yard at Smederevo, Yugoslavia, and the B-24s hitting oil installations at Constanta and Giurpiu, Rumania. Both raids have fighter escorts, which shoot down 60 aircraft.

 

Italy Campaign

In US Fifth Army area, IV Corps, commanded by General Willis Crittenberger, takes command of VI Corps sector and of the 36th Division. VI Corps, which is to participate in Operation ANVIL, under US Seventh Army, has driven nearly 65 miles north of Rome with little difficulty, but there are indications that rear-guard opposition will soon increase.

 

In French Expeditionary Force (FEC) area, Montefiascone falls to the 1st Motorized Division. The 3rd Algerian Infantry Division secures Valentano.

 

In the British Eighth Army’s XIII Corps area, the South African 6th Armoured Division is unable to break through the enemy’s delaying line below Bagnoregio. In X Corps area, the British 6th Armoured Division crosses the Galantina River, from which the enemy has departed, and takes Cantalupo.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

In China's Tungting Lake area a group of over 80 P-40s, P-51s, and P-38s pound the towns of Lanchi and Anking, hit a cavalry compound at Kintsing, attack Japanese headquarters, positions, and river traffic north of Changsha, destroy or damage several boats, barges, and sampans at Changsha, and strafe numerous targets of opportunity throughout the entire region. In the Yellow River area, a group of 27 B-25s and P-40s pound barracks, fortifications, tank concentration, several armored vehicles, and cavalry forces at Iching and Lingpao. Elsewhere, three B-25s, on a sea sweep in the South China Sea, sink a 600 foot freighter.

 

In China, Japanese attack in strength across the Liuyang River and meet little opposition from Chinese of IX War Area.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force sends a group of 55 A-36s, P-51s and P-40s to attack targets at Myitkyina, Mogaung, Indawgyi Lake and Padaung, Burma. In India, 30 B-25s continue flying ammunition to the Imphal area.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

5th Air Force B-24s bomb the Sorido Airfield and surrounding areas, in New Guinea, as US carrier forces attack Saipan, Tinian and Guam Islands, in the Marianas Islands. In other action, B-25s, A-20s, and P-47s continue to saturate the Wewak-Hansa Bay coastline with bombs.

 

Thirteenth Air Task Force B-24s bomb Dublon Island, in the Truk Atoll, and the airfield on Peleliu Island.

 

In New Guinea, the US 6th Division commander, Major General Franklin Sibert, his headquarters, the 20th Infantry, and miscellaneous units of the 6th Division arrive at Toem.

 

On Biak, Task Force HURRICANE opens an assault, with two regiments abreast, to clear the region north and west of the Mokmer Airfield. The 186th Infantry, on the left along the coast, easily reaches the first phase line, about 1,350 yards beyond the west end of the runway. The 162nd Infantry gets the left flank to the first phase line but is halted a little short of the line of departure, extending inland from the coast at Monoebaboe, on the right. Japanese laborers bring news of a Japanese West Caves strongpoint, some 1,000 yards northwest of the 3rd Battalion, of the 162nd Infantry. Elements of Task Force HURRICANE, probing toward East Caves, are recalled to the Mokmer airdrome. The Japanese in the Parai Defile finally yield to pressure from the east and west.

 

South Pacific Area

Air Command Solomons sends a force of over 130 B-25s, P-38s P-39s and US Navy dive bombers to attack anti-aircraft positions south and southwest of Rapopo, on New Britain Island. On Bougainville Island, P-39s fly 44 sorties against occupied areas at Komai, Kakaura, and Quaga, anti-aircraft guns at Kangu Hill, and plantations at Arigua and Tsirogei.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s bomb Ponape Island.

 

In the Marianas, the invasion convoy, after rendezvousing off the Marshalls, sails for Saipan. Carrier planes of Task Force 58 begin preinvasion softening of the Marianas, a day ahead of schedule, with a fighter sweep in the afternoon that gains control of the air. Enemy losses through destruction or serious damage are estimated to be from 147 to 215 planes. Of the 225 US aircraft launched, only 12 are lost.

 

During the night, Eniwetok Atoll-based B-24s, of the 7th Air Force, hit Truk Atoll.

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June 12, 1944

Normandy - The third wave of divisions is now largely ashore. At this stage there are 326,000 men, 104,000 tons of supplies and 54,000 vehicles from the Allied armies in France.

"Get to those men in Bastogne" - (then) LTC. Creighton Abrams, battalion commander of the 4th Armored Division spearhead that broke the seige on Dec. 26, 1944.


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Monday, June 12, 1944

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 407 – With bad weather over top priority targets in Germany, 1,442 bombers are dispatched against airfields and landing grounds in northeastern France and rail and road bridges on the Brest Peninsula. 769 B-17s and 673 B-24s hit 16 airfields and six railroad bridges in the Rennes and St Nazaire area. Six B-17s and two B-24s are lost, with 65 men listed as killed or missing.

 

In 8th Air Force fighter action, 234 P- 38s, 80 P-47s and 201 P-51 s fly escort, sweeps and patrols over the Channel, northwest of Paris, and in the Rennes area. They shoot down 20 Luftwaffe aircraft and destroy another on the ground. Meanwhile, 93 P-38s and 183 P-47s fly fighter-bomber missions against five railroad bridges in the Tours-Paris area, shooting down five Luftwaffe aircraft and destroying one on the ground. Elsewhere, 45 P-38s and 152 P-51s fly escort for 9th Air Force A-20s and B-26s. Four P-38s, nine P-47 and three P-51s are lost, with 15 pilots listed as missing.

 

During the night, the RAF dispatches 348 Halifaxes, 285 Lancasters, and 38 Mosquitos to attack communications, mostly railways, at Amiens/St Roch, Amiens/Longueau, Arras, Caen, Cambrai and Poitiers. Meanwhile, 286 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos carry out the first raid of the new oil campaign, hitting the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. The attack opened with exceptional accuracy but later phases of the bombing were spoiled by the clouds of smoke from the burning target. A rogue target indicator fell 10 miles short of the target and is bombed by 35 aircraft. In other action, 27 Mosquitos attack Cologne, three fly radio counter measure sorties, 39 fly Serrate patrols and 13 fly Intruder patrols. Elsewhere, nine Halifaxes and five Stirlings lay mines off Brest and St Nazaire, and 13 aircraft fly resistance operations. 23 Lancasters and 17 Halifaxes are lost, with their crews.

 

8th Air Force Mission 408 – During the night, Seven B-17s drop leaflets on France, and Belgium.

 

During the night, 16 B-24s, from the 8th Air Force, fly CARPETBAGGER missions.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends a force of 509 B-26s and A-20s to bomb marshalling yards, road and rail junctions, bridges, artillery, town areas, troop concentrations and various targets of opportunity. Fighter aircraft fly support for bombers, and bomb and strafe rail lines, gun batteries, bridges, fortifications, radar installation, tanks, ammunition dumps, town areas and strongpoints in the battle area.

 

The 9th Air Force moves the 366th Fighter Group from Thruxton, UK, to France.

 

In US First Army’s VII Corps area, the 39th Infantry, of the 9th Division, attached to the 4th Division, is given part of 22nd Infantry’s sector, along the coast, and takes Crisbecq, from which the enemy has withdrawn. They also take Dangueville and Fontenay-sur-Mer, forcing the enemy back to his main line of resistance on the Quinéville ridge. With strong fire support, including naval, the 22nd Infantry makes a concerted assault on Ozeville and captures it. The 12th Infantry again moves forward to Les Fieffes Dancel, at the west end of the Quinéville ridge, while the 8th Infantry makes a limited attack on Montebourg, but finds it strongly held and pulls back. West of the Merderet River, the 90th Division commits the 359th Infantry, which has returned from being assigned to the 4th Division, between the 357th Infantry and the 358th Infantry, but is still unable to make much headway. During a nighttime attack on Pont l’Abbé, the 358th Infantry overruns the town, which has been leveled by artillery and aerial bombardment. The 508th Parachute Infantry, of the 82nd Airborne Division, reinforced and organized as a task force, crosses the Douve River, at Beuzeville-la-Bastille, During the night, in an effort to make contact with the 101st Airborne Division at Baupte. The 101st Airborne Division envelops and captures Carentan, with Brigidier General Anthony McAuliffe coordinating the final assault, which is made by 506th Parachute Infantry. After the 501st Parachute Infantry and the 506th Parachute Infantry close the circle around Carentan, elements of the 506th and the 327th Glider Infantry drive rapidly into the town and eliminate stragglers. To secure the approaches to Carentan, the 506th and 501st Regiments thrust toward Baupte and Priers, respectively, but are soon stopped. The 327th Glider Infantry pushes southeast to the Montmartin-en-Graignes region and makes contact with elements of V Corps.

 

In the V Corps area, the 29th Division Task Force, comprised of two companies of the 115th Infantry, crosses the Vire River, to reconnoiter in Montmartin-en-Graignes area and take the bridges over Vire–Taute Canal, but they are halted by strong opposition in Montmartin-en- Graignes region. To meet an expected enemy counterattack in the weak sector between VII Corps and V Corps, elements of the 2nd Armored Division are ordered to Montmartinen- Graignes area. V Corps begins to attack toward St. Lô and is vigorously opposed on right. The 115th Infantry, of the 29th Division, makes a futile attempt to cross the Elie River southeast of Ste Marguerite-d’Elle. The 3rd Battalion crosses but is driven back with severe casualties. The 116th Infantry attacks through the 115th in the evening and succeeds in crossing the river. The 23rd Infantry, of the 2nd Division, attempts to reach Hill 192, which commands approaches to St. Lô from the north and east, but is stopped at the Elie River. Against lighter resistance, the 9th Infantry advances in conjunction with the 1st Division and takes Litteau ridge. On the left flank of V Corps, the 1st Division, with the 18th Infantry on the right and the 26th Infantry on the left, thrusts to the edge of Caumont.

 

In the British Second Army’s XXX Corps area, the 50th Division maintains pressure on the enemy near Tilly-sur-Seulles. The 7th Armoured Division begins a flanking attack on the right flank of XXX Corps and pushes through Livry to positions east of Caumont.

 

Italian Campaign

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium bombers hit bridges, viaducts, and rail lines at Collazone, Perugia, Foligno, Massa Lombarda, Pietrasanta, Cattolica, Pesaro, Arezzo and Bucine, while light bombers hit Arcidosso and motor transport in the area. Fighter-bombers are restricted by bad weather but attack several bridges and roads in the line of the enemy retreat, which, at its farthest point, is north and west of Viterbo.

 

The 12th Air Force moves many units further north as the enemy withdraws, including the 86th Fighter Group, with P-47s, the 5th Combat Mapping Squadron, with F-5s, the 97th Bomb Squadron (Light), and the 522nd and 523rd Fighter Squadrons, with P-47s.

 

In US Fifth Army area, port at Civitavecchia is opened to LST traffic. IV Corps continues pursuit of the enemy northward, advancing a little less rapidly than VI Corps had, against gradually increasing resistance. An assault by the 36th Division, reinforced by the 361st Infantry, of the 91st Division, and tanks and tank destroyer units, is screened by the 117th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. Task Force Ramey, under the command of Brigidier General Rufus Ramey, consisting of the 91st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, reinforced by the 141st Infantry, of the 36th Division, and supporting units, is formed to screen the right flank of IV Corps and maintain contact with French. The enemy is offering delaying opposition in vicinity of Orbetello.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

The 14th Air Force sends a group of 50 P-40s, P-51s and B-25s to hit troop concentrations in the Yellow River area, at Lingpao and south of Loyang, in China. In the Tungting Lake area, a force of about 100 P-40s and P-51s attack numerous supply boats and other river and lake traffic, and hit dock areas and warehouses at Lanchi, Yuankiang and at scattered points. Also hit are villages and troops in the Changsha and Kuanchuang areas.

 

The 14th Air Force moves the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, with P-51s, from India, to China.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

Over 30 B-25s, from the 10th Air Force, continue to supply troops at Imphal, India with ammunition. Meanwhile, 16 P-40s hit Mogaung and targets of opportunity in northern Burma.

 

On the Salween front, the Chinese 115th Infantry recovers Hongmoshu, in the Huei-jen Bridge area.

 

Southwest Pacific Area 5th Air Force

In New Guinea, fierce ground fighting continues on Biak Island while Japanese aircraft attack Allied ground forces and shipping offshore. P-47s battle attacking aircraft, shooting down several. Meanwhile, P-47s and A-20s hit troop concentrations, communications and various other targets in the Wewak and Hansa Bay areas.

 

Thirteenth Air Task Force B-24s bomb Dublon Island, in the Truk Atoll, and the airfield on Peleliu Island.

 

On Biak, the 2nd Battalion, of the 163rd Infantry, of the 41st Division, arrives. The 186th Infantry remains on the first phase line, actively patrolling, while awaiting forward movement of the 162nd Infantry to the right. The regimental boundary is extended 300 yards on the north, as the 162nd Infantry is still furiously opposed on right, where the 3rd Battalion works slowly forward, with advance elements gaining only 300 yards. A gap of almost 900 yards exists between the 3rd and 2nd Battalions at the end of the day. Engineers begin repairs on the Mokmer airdrome.

 

In the Wakde-Sarmi area, General Sibert takes command of Task Force TORNADO. The headquarters of the 6th Division becomes the headquarters of Task Force TORNADO, replacing the headquarters of Regimental Combat Team 158.

 

The 5th Air Force moves the 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, with P-39s, from Saidor, to Biak Island.

 

South Pacific Area

Air Command Solomons sends six B-24s to bomb the runways at Tobera and Rapopo, on New Britain Island. Meanwhile, 22 P-39s and 10 P-38s join over 20 US Navy aircraft in attacks on supply dumps near Ralum, and 20 B-25s pound Malapau village. Elsewhere, 44 P-39s hit the airfield on Buka Island and, on Bougainville Island, the Tsirogei plantation, barges and pier south of Kleine Island and the occupied area west of Komai.

 

Central Pacific Area

Eniwetok Atoll-based B-24s, of the 7th Air Force, bomb Truk Atoll.

 

In the Marianas, US Navy aircraft of Task Force 58 continue their attacks to complete the destruction of enemy planes and wreck airfields. They attack an enemy convoy attempting to escape, sinking 10 to 14 ships. They also sink a cargo vessel just off Saipan and severely damage another, and sink an enemy vessel in Tanapag harbor.

 

During the night B-24s, from Eniwetok Atoll, bomb Truk Atoll and Ponape Island.

 

North Pacific Area

During the night, six B-24s, from the 11th Air Force, are dispatched to fly an offensive sweep and provide air cover for a naval task force. They abort the mission due to bad weather.

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June 13, 1944

The first V1 fling bomb lands in England. In the initial salvo 10 are fired of which 4 cross the Channel successfully. Only one lands in London, killing 6 civilians.

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"Get to those men in Bastogne" - (then) LTC. Creighton Abrams, battalion commander of the 4th Armored Division spearhead that broke the seige on Dec. 26, 1944.


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Tuesday, June 13, 1944

 

UK Home Front

The first V-1"buzz bomb" lands in southern England. More land during the night and continue throughout the rest of the month.

 

Washington, D.C.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff ask Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur to comment on the following proposals:

1. Advance target dates so that the invasion of Formosa, tentatively planned for February 15, 1945, can be advanced

2. Bypass certain objectives, among them the southern Philippines, also to hasten the invasion of Formosa.

3. Bypass certain targets, including the southern Philippines and Formosa, in order to advance directly to Japan.

Both men subsequently reply in the negative.

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

Bad weather cancels large-scale bombing of high priority targets in Germany. Overcast bombing against tactical targets in northwestern France is undertaken.

 

8th Air Force Mission 409 – In the first Mission of the day cloud cover is less than anticipated and visual runs are made by 139 B-17s, against the Evreux/ Fauville Airfield, the Dreux Airfield and St Andre de L'Eure. Fighter escort is provided by 113 P-51s, which shoot down four Luftwaffe aircraft.

 

8th Air Force Mission 410 – In the second mission, 112 B-17s and 260 B-24s are dispatched. The B-17s bomb the airfields at Beaumont-sur-Oise and Beauvais/Nivelliers. The B-24s hit the Dinard/Pleurtuit Airfield, and the bridges at Ploermel, Vannes, Vicomte-sur-Rance, Montfortsur- Meu, and Porcaro. Fighter escort is provided by 12 P-38s, 47 P-47s and 174 P-51s. Two B-24s and a P-51 are lost, with 21 men listed as killed or missing.

 

8th Air Force fighter activity for the day includes:

· 97 P-38s are dispatched on fighter-bomber missions to targets in France.

· 199 P- 47s are dispatched to La Port Boulet, Montlouis, transport targets and Chinon. They shoot down two Luftwaffe aircraft;

· 35 P-51s fly escort for fighter bombers.

· 12 P-38s and 35 P-47s escort 9th Air Force bombers.

· 64 P-38s fly patrol over the English Channel.

Two P-38s and one P-47 are lost, with four pilots listed as missing.

 

During the night eight RAF Mosquitos attack Münchengladbach and three others hit Düren, 15 fly Serrate patrols, eight Stirlings and four Lancasters lay mines off Brest and St Nazaire, and two Halifaxes fly resistance operations.

 

During the night, six B-24s, from the 8th Air Force, fly CARPETBAGGER missions over France.

 

8th Air Force Mission 411 – During the night, eight B-17s drop leaflets on France.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends a force of 397 B-26s and A-20s to bomb rail and road junctions, marshalling yards and fuel dumps in the assault areas. Aircraft of nine Fighter Groups escort the bombers and attack bridges, marshalling yards, troop areas, rail and road traffic, gun emplacements, ammunition dumps and other targets.

 

The US First Army halts the southward attack of V Corps at end of day, ordering it to hold positions while VII Corps makes a main effort to cut the Cotentin Peninsula and take Cherbourg. XIX Corps, commanded by General Corlett, which is not yet operational, is given the mission of securing and deepening the corridor between VII Corps and V Corps, in the Carentan–Isigny region.

 

In VII Corps’ 4th Division sector, the 39th Infantry makes limited progress against coastal strongpoints south of Quinéville. The 22nd Infantry gets into position for a drive down the ridge to Quinéville, while the 12th Infantry maintains positions at the west end of the Quinéville ridge, and the 8th Infantry contains the enemy at Montebourg.

 

The 90th Division, whose commander is replaced, continues an extremely slow advance, reaching the general line from Gourbesville to Pont l’Abbé. A 508th Parachute Infantry force, of the 82nd Airborne Division, reaches Baupte by 0800 hours, as the Germans hastily withdraw.

 

The enemy makes a strong effort from the southwest to recover Carentan and gets almost to the city limits before the 101st Airborne Division, assisted by elements of the 2nd Armored Division, halts their attack. 101st Airborne Division then attacks with the 502nd Regiment, which passes through the 506th Regiment, on the north and 501st Regiment on the south and reaches a line along the road from Baupte to the Carentan–Périers highway. The 327th Glider Infantry, expecting a counterattack that does not materialize, pulls back to defense positions along north side of the railroad between Carentan and the Vire River. VII Corps is now securely joined with V Corps.

 

V Corps halts their attack toward St Lô at the end of the day. Isolated elements of the 175th Infantry, of the 29th Division, withdraw from the Montmartin- en-Graignes area. The 116th Infantry takes St Clairsur- Elle and Couvains. The 38th Infantry, of the 2nd Division, with strong artillery support, pushes about two miles beyond the Elle River, toward St Lô. Caumont falls to the 1st Division in the morning.

 

In the British Second Army’s XXX Corps area, the 7th Armoured Division reaches Villers-Bocage, an important communications center, but withdraws northward to tie in with the US V Corps, after an enemy counterattack gets almost to the road from there to Caumont. The 50th Division is still held up near Tilly-sur-Seulles.

 

Mediterranean Theater

The 15th Air Force dispatches a force of over 560 B-17s and B-24s, most with fighter escorts, to attack targets in Germany, and Italy. The B-17s attack aircraft component plants at Munich-Allach, and the B-24s hit marshalling yards at Innsbruck and Munich, Germany, and the industrial area at Porto Marghera, Italy. They shoot down over 30 Luftwaffe aircraft, while losing 10 Army Air Force aircraft and crews.

 

Italian Campaign

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium bombers bomb shipping at Leghorn with excellent results and score numerous hits on bridges, viaducts, rail lines, and roads in north central Italy. Fighter-bombers continue to disrupt the German retreat over the entire area north of the battle zone.

 

In British Eighth Army’s XIII Corps area, the South African 6th Armoured Division breaks through enemy positions at Bagnoregio and pushes on toward Orvieto. In the X Corps area, the British 6th Armoured Division advances through Narni to Terni, arriving just as the enemy demolishes the bridge.

 

China – Burma – India Theater

The China – Burma – India Theater theater ships a trainload of arms and ammunition from Kweilin to Hengyang, for the Chinese IX War Area, in response to information by a US observer group that the Chinese need them.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

The 14th Air Force sends 18 B-25s and 56 fighter-bombers to attack the marshalling yard at Wuchang, China. About 70 other B-25s and fighter-bombers attack a variety of other targets in the Tungting Lake region, including many river vessels, the airfield at Pailochi, troop positions northeast of Changsha, the warehouse and factory area at Shasi and numerous general targets of opportunity. Elsewhere, 12 fighter-bombers hit the Japanese headquarters and barracks at Loyang, while four B-24s over the Ssouth China Sea sink one cargo vessel, and for P-40s pound Japanese positions at Watien and Kaitou.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

A few 10th Air Force P-51s hit Mogaung, Burma. In India, 39 B-25s fly ammunition to the Imphal area.

 

The 35th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron.with with F-5s, arrives at Guskhara, India, from the US, and joins the 10th Air Force.

 

In Burma, hard fighting is in progress in the Myitkyina area, where the Japanese penetrate positions of Company K, of Task Force NEW GALAHAD, but are finally halted.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

The 5th Air Force sends over 100 A-20s and a few B-25s and P-39s to attack miscellaneous targets in the Wewak area, of New Guinea. P-39s hit the area around Hollandia and P-47s bomb a bridge over the Orai River and fuel dumps near Sarmi, while A-20s blast enemy positions north of Borokoe. B-24s bomb the Liang Airstrip, on Ambon Island, in the Moluccas Islands. More B-24s, from Los Negros Island, bomb Dublon Island, inthe Truk Atoll, and Woleai and Satawan atolls, in the Caroline Islands.

 

On Biak, the Mokmer Airfield is repaired sufficiently for fighter planes to use it. The 186th Infantry, of the 41st Division, continues to patrol from the first phase line, while the 162nd Infantry endeavors in vain to close the gap between the 3rd Battalion and the 2nd Battalion,a nd the 1st Battalion moves forward to protect the right and rear of the 162nd Infantry. Enemy fire from East Caves position has been neutralized enough for trucks to use the coastal road.

 

In New Guinea, acceding to a request by General Fuller for a fresh regiment, General Krueger alerts the 34th Infantry, of the 24th Division, for movement to Biak Island on June 18.

 

South Pacific Area

Air Command Solomons dispatches nine P-38s and 23 P-39s to Ralum and anti-aircraft positions to the south, 24 B-25s to bomb anti-aircraft guns and the airfield at Tobera, 15 others, in two waves, to bomb Praed Point, and six more B-24s to bomb Tobera. Meanwhile, 31 P-39s and 12 US Navy aircraft attack supply dumps at Buka, on Buka Island, and Tapsadawato, on Bougainville Island. They also bomb the approach to the Abia River bridge, and hit a garden area at Tabago, all on Bougainville Island.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s, based on Makin Island, attack Nauru and Ponape Islands.

 

In the Marianas, G-2 estimates that 15,000 to 17,600 enemy troops are on Saipan and 10,150 to 10,750 on Tinian. Task Force 58 continues the aerial bombardment of the Marianas and begins a naval bombardment as well, in an effort to destroy the enemy’s defenses. Seven fast battleships and 11 destroyers pound the west coast of Saipan and Tinian at long range, with doubtful results. During further air attacks on enemy shipping, a transport is sunk and other vessels are set on fire. Mine sweepers operate off the west coast of Saipan under protection of Task Force 58. The Enemy offers no opposition to air attacks on Saipan.

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Wednesday, June 14, 1944

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 412 – Bad weather again covers all strategic targets in Germany except one in the extreme north. The major effort is against tactical objectives, mainly in France:

· 502 B-17s are dispatched to hit airfields in France, at Le Bourget, Coulommiers, Creil, Bretigny, Melun, Creil and Etampes.

· 466 B-24s are dispatched to hit the oil refinery at Emmerich, Germany, the Chateaudun Airfield, the Orleans/Bricy Airfield, the Eindhoven Airfield, in the Netherlands, the Coxyde Airfield, in Belgium, Beauvois, Domleger, the Normandy beaches and targets of opportunity.

· 191 B-24s are sent to bomb Ham-sur-Somme, targets of opportunity, Lille/Vendeville, Calas Tres, Denain Drousey, Laon/ Athies and Chievres.

· 351 B-17s are dispatched to hit the St Trond Airfield, the Florennes Airfield, Le Culot and Brussels/Melsbroek, all in Belgium.

· 15 B-24s hit the Ham-sur-Somme Bridge, with some using Azon missiles against targets of opportunity.

Fighter escort for the bomber mission is provided by 103 P-47s. 12 B-17s, two B-24s and two P-47s are lost, with 120 men listed as killed or missing.

 

The RAF sends 221 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos on Bomber Command's first daylight raid since the end of May 1943. The objectives are the fast German motor-torpedo boats (E-boats) and other light naval forces harbored at Le Havre which are threatening Allied shipping off the Normandy beaches only 30 miles away. The raid takes place in two waves, one during the evening and the second at dusk. Pathfinder aircraft provide marking by their normal methods for both raids. The naval port area is accurately bombed by both waves, with 1,230 tons of bombs, leaving few E-boats undamaged. 22 Lancasters, each with a 12,000 pound Tallboy bomb, and three Mosquito marker aircraft attack the concrete covered E-boat pens just before the first wave is bombed. Several hits are scored on the pens and one bomb penetrates the roof. This raid is regarded as an experiment by Sir Arthur Harris, who was still reluctant to risk his squadrons to the dangers of daylight operations, but both waves of the attack were escorted by Spitfires and only one Lancaster is lost.

 

Other 8th Air Force fighter operations sends 176 P-47s on fighter-bomber missions against the Luftwaffe headquarters at Chantilly, France, and Panzer columns. Meanwhile, 242 P-38s, 190 P-47s and 197 P-51s fly beachhead patrols and sweeps in front of the bomber force, shooting down four Luftwaffe aircraft. Three P-38s, one P-47 and one P-51 are lost, with the pilots listed as missing.

 

During the night, the RAF dispatches 223 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, and 14 Mosquitos to attack German troop and vehicle positions at Aunay-sur-Odon and Évrecy, near Caen. These raids are prepared and executed in great haste, in response to an army report giving details of the presence of major German units. The weather is clear and both targets are successfully bombed. Meanwhile, 61 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes, and 14 Mosquitos attack railways at Cambrai, Douai and St Pol. In other action, 8 Mosquitos fly radio counter measure sorties, 19 fly Serrate patrols, 18 fly Intruder patrols, 12 Stirlings lay mines off the French ports, 10 other aircraft fly resistance operations,a nd 35 Mosquitos attack the Scholven/Buer oil plant. A brief German report says that three bombs fell into the plant area and that three civilians outside the factory, a farmer, a lorry driver and and a housewife, were killed. For the evening, three Halifaxes and one Lancaster are lost, with their crews.

 

During the night, 20 B-24s, from the 8th Air Force, fly CARPETBAGGER missions.

 

8th Air Force Mission 413 – During the night, four B-17s drop leaflets in France.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends a force of over 500 B-26s and A-20s to attack rail communications southwest of Paris and highway communications centers south of the beachhead area. Junctions, bridges, marshalling yards, gun emplacements and various defensive strongpoints are targeted. Meanwhile, over 15 Fighter Groups fly escort and attack numerous ground targets, including rail lines running from southwest of Paris to the Rennes area, and highway traffic on the Cherbourg Peninsula and south of the beachhead area to the Loire River.

 

In US First Army’s VII Corps area, the enemy’s main line of resistance on the north crumbles under attacks of the 4th Division. The 39th Infantry overcomes strong opposition in Quinéville and finishes clearing the coastal region to the south with the capture of Fort St Marcouf, and the 22nd Infantry clears the heights west of Quinéville.

 

The 90th Division is relieved of the task of driving west to the Douve River by the 9th Infantry and the 82nd Airborne Division, and starts pivoting northward to protect the left flank of the 9th Infantry.

 

The 357th Infantry begins fighting in Gourbesville, as the 359th Infantry starts to swing to the north, and the 358th Infantry, after pushing about 1,000 yards west of Pont l’Abbé, is relieved by the 82nd Airborne Division. The 60th Infantry, of the 9th Division, attacks toward Ste Colombe on a narrow front as the 90th Division turns north, reaching the Valognes–Pont l’Abbé highway. The 82nd Airborne Division thrusts west, astride the Pont l’Abbé–St Sauveur-le-Vicomte Road, with the 507th Parachute Regiment and the 325th Glider Regiment abreast and gains about a mile.

 

XIX Corps becomes operational and has under its command the 29th Division, transferred from V Corps, and 30th Division, which is concentrating between the Vire and Taute rivers.

 

In the British Second Army’s XXX Corps area, additional enemy pressure from the south forces the 7th Armoured Division to withdraw farther northward to the Parfouru-l’Eclin area. US V Corps artillery assists in repelling enemy attacks.

 

The US 79th Division arrives at UTAH Beach.

 

Mediterranean Theater

The 15th Air Force dispatches a force of over 660 B-17s and B-24s to attack targets in Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. The B-17s attack oil refineries in Budapest, Hungary, and the B-24s hit five oil targets, one at Parducice, Czechoslovakia, and Petfurdo, Komarom, Osijek and Sisak, Hungary. P-38s, P-47s, and P-51s escort the bombers and P-38s strafe and dive-bomb the airfield at Kecskemet, Hungary.

 

The 72nd Liaison Squadron, with L-5s, arrives at Oran, Algeria, from the US,

 

Italian Campaign

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium bombers bomb several bridges and viaducts in north central Italy, with especially good results on a viaduct and railway bridge north of Arezzo. Ships in Leghorn harbor are also hit. Meanwhile, A-20s pound ammunition supplies, fighter-bombers continue to attack roads and bridges in and just north of the battle area, but only a small number of German vehicles are seen.

 

General Alexander learns that VI Corps headquarters will be withdrawn for Operation ANVIL at once, the 3rd Division on June 17 and the 36th Division on June 27. Two French divisions are to be withdrawn to the Naples area, one on the 24th and the other in early July. The Allied Armies in Italy (AAI) is still committed to the task of clearing Italy south of a line from Pisa to Rimini. An advanced headquarters opens at Frascati.

 

In US Fifth Army area, Liberty ships are now able to use the port at Civitavecchia. IV Corps continues to push north and northwest, with elements taking Magliano.

 

The French Expeditionary Force (FEC) boundary is moved west and a task force, under General Guillaume, consisting of the 1st Group of Tabors and the 1st Moroccan Infantry, assumes the responsibility for the left flank.

 

In the British Eighth Army’s XIII Corps area, Orvieto falls to the South African 6th Armoured Division without a struggle. The 78th Division, to the east, overtakes the enemy rear guard and inflicts heavy losses in vehicles and guns.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

In China, 43 P-40s, from the 14th Air Force, attack river shipping, troops and villages in the Tungting Lake area, at or near Lanchi, Changsha, Chulianchiao and Linyang.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force sends a few P-40s to attack the Mogaung area, in Burma. In India, 21 B-25s continue ammunition supply runs to the Imphal vicinity.

 

In Burma, the battle for Myitkyina continues, with Allied forces making slight progress against stiff resistance. Gaps in Allied positions around Myitkyina are being used by the enemy to isolate small units. General Boatner orders the Morris Force, comprised of the Indian 3rd Division task force, on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, opposite Myitkyina, to attack at once and is informed by its leader, Brigadier G. R. Morris, that the Japanese command the routes of approach, terrain is flooded, and his men are exhausted.

 

In the Mogaung Valley, the Chinese are tightening a ring about Kamaing.

 

On the Salween front, the Japanese are reinforcing positions within and near Lung-ling and begin vigorous counterattacks. Of the 21 battalions of the Chinese XI Group Army in Lung-ling area, only nine are participating in the action for this city. The Chinese are forced from Manio Bridge, which the Japanese immediately put into use. Continuing their offensive in China, the Japanese take Liu-yang, increasing the threat to Changsha.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

5th Air Force A-20s, B-25s and P-39s hit the Wewak area, in New Guinea. B-24s bomb the Kamiri Airfield, while A-20s hit the airfield at Babo, the Orai River bridge, and fuel dumps and other targets near the river's mouth. Other B-24s bomb the seaplane base at Halong, in the Celebes Islands.

 

On Biak, the 1st Battalions of the 162nd Regiment and the 186th Regiment circle northward around the 3rd Battalion, of the 162nd Infantry, to positions above the low ridge, which is barring their forward movement, and then push west abreast, with the 1st Battalion, of the 162nd on the left coming up against the perimeter of the Japanese West Caves strongpoint. Japanese efforts to oust the 1st Battalions, during the night, fail.

 

In the Wakde-Sarmi area, the rest of the 6th Division arrives at Toem. The 20th Infantry relieves the 158th Infantry at the Tirfoam, allowing the 158th to takes up positions on the west bank of Tementoe Creek and begin patrolling south and east.

 

In New Guinea, General Krueger orders General Eichelberger, Commanding General of US I Corps and of Task Force RECKLESS, to Biak to replace General Fuller as Commanding General of Task Force HURRICANE.

 

South Pacific Area

Air Command Solomons dispatches a group of over 80 B-25s, P-38s, P-39s and US Navy aircraft to hit supply areas and underground storages along the north shore of the Gazelle Peninsula, on New Britain Island, from the Vulcan Crater to Wunapope. Ralum, Keravia Bay and Wunapope stores are the hardest hit. Meanwhile, P-39s fly 27 sorties along the east shoreline of Bougainville Island, from Bonis to Kieta, hitting Monoitu, Bonis and a pier at Kieta Mission.

 

Central Pacific Area

In the Marianas, as Admiral Hill’s Western Landing Group, with the 2nd Marine Division and the 4th Marine Division embarked, approaches Saipan, two bombardment groups, under the command of Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf, open fire. These, consisting of seven old battleships, 11 cruisers, 26 destroyers, a few high speed transports, and mine sweepers, get within closer range and achieve better results than did ships of Task Force 58. Underwater demolition and mine sweeping operations are conducted along the coast.

 

North Pacific Area

The 11th Air Force sends four B-24s on an extensive photo reconnaissance mission over the central and northern Kurile Islands. They are attacked by about 20 fighters.

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June 15, 1944

US Marines from the 2nd and 4th Divisions land on Saipan.

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"Get to those men in Bastogne" - (then) LTC. Creighton Abrams, battalion commander of the 4th Armored Division spearhead that broke the seige on Dec. 26, 1944.


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Thursday, 15 June , 1944

 

European Theater

The headquarters of the 24th Composite Wing is disbanded in Iceland.

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 414 – 747 B-17s are dispatched to the Hannover/Misburg oil refinery, Wilster, Wesermunde, the Hannover area, and Helgoland Island, all in Germany. In France, the Bordeaux/Merignac Airfield, the north and south Nantes railroad bridges, the La Poissonniere rail viaduct, the Angouleme marshalling yard, a CROSSBOW (V-weapon) site at Beauvoir, the Gael Airfield and a viaduct north of Nantes are also bombed. 614 B-24s are sent to the Le Port Boulet railroad bridge, the Evreux/Fauville Airfield, Tours-la-Frillerie, the Tours-La Rice railroad bridge, the Guyancourt Airfield, the Etampes/Modesir Airfield, the Cinq Mars bridge, St Cyr, the Buc Airfield, the Tours-La Riche highway bridge, the Le Mans Airfield, and the Orleans/Saran Airfield. 12 of the B-24s use Azon missiles against the Etaples railroad bridge and seven others use the missiles against the Pecrone railroad bridge. Two B-17s are lost, with 18 men listed as missing.

 

8th Air Force fighter operations are:

· 96 P-38s, 202 P-47s and 211 P-51s escort the bombers, shooting down five Luftwaffe aircraft.

· 48 P-47s bomb Etaples, France.

· 185 P-38s fly a fighter sweep in front of the bomber forces.

Two P-38s, one P-47 and one P-51 are lost with the pilots listed as missing.

 

 

The RAF sends 155 Lancasters, 130 Halifaxes, and 12 Mosquitos to attack German light naval vessels gathering in Boulogne harbor. The tactics employed and the bombing results are similar to those at Le Havre the previous evening, although the visibility is not as clear. The only details from France, are in a short civil report which describes this as the worst raid of the

war on Boulogne, with great destruction in the port and the surrounding areas. One Halifax and crew are lost.

 

During the night, the RAF dispatches 119 Lancasters, 99 Halifaxes, and nine Mosquitos to attack an ammunition dump at Fouillard and a fuel dump at Châtellerault. The raid at Fouillard hit the northwestern section of the target and the raid at Châtellerault destroyed eight fuel sites out of 35 in the target area. Meanwhile, 184 Lancasters, 30 Stirlings, and 10 Mosquitos attack railway yards at Lens and Valenciennes. The raids take place in clear visibility and both targets are accurately bombed. In other action, 31 Mosquitos hit Gelsenkirchen, 13 fly Serrate patrols and 21 fly Intruder patrols. Elsewhere, seven Stirlings and four Halifaxes lay mines off Channel ports. For the night, one Mosquito and 11 Lancasters are lost.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends a force of over 550 B-26s and A-20s to attacks fuel and ammunition dumps, rail and highway communications, and an armored division headquarters south of the bridgehead on the Douve River. Over 1,400 fighters fly armed reconnaissance in the Valognes- Cherbourg area, the west part of the Cherbourg Peninsula, and along communications lines south to Loire. Fighters also attack shipping between the Channel Islands and the Cherbourg Peninsula.

 

In US First Army area, VIII Corps, commanded by Major General Troy Middleton, becomes operational and is assigned the mission of establishing defensive positions from Carentan west, across the Cotentin Peninsula, and protecting the southwest flank of VII Corps. The 101st Airborne Division is transferred to it from VII Corps in their current positions.

 

In the US VII Corps area, General Collins decides that the main effort of VII Corps will be to cut off the Cotentin Peninsula as soon as possible. The 357th Infantry, of the 90th Division, completes the capture of Gourbesville, but the division makes little progress elsewhere. A battalion of the 358th Infantry is committed on the right flank. In the 9th Division sector, the 47th Infantry is committed on right and moves quickly to the high ground west of Orglandes. Meanwhile, the 60th Infantry is forced back to their line of departure by a strong counterattack, but later recovers about half the lost ground. Against decreasing enemy resistance, the 82nd Airborne Division’s 505th Parachute Infantry, after relieving the 507th Infantry, drives to positions south of Reigneville. The 325th Glider Infantry advances to within 1,000 yards of St Sauveur-le-Vicomte.

 

US XIX Corps begins limited attacks to improve their defensive positions. The 30th Division, which has not yet landed all of its components, attacks, with the 120th Infantry, and takes Montmartin-en- Graignes. During the night, the 175th Infantry, of the 29th Division, is reliefed north of the Elle River, by the 119th Infantry, of the 30th Division, and moves to a line of departure south of river.

 

Mediterranean Theater

Bad weather cancels 15th Air Force bombing operations. P-51s and P-38s strafe the La Jasse, Orange/Plan de Dieu, Orange/ Caritat, Avignon/Chateau-Blanc and Avignon/Pujaut airfields, in France.

 

The 15th Air Force disbands the headquarters of the 307th Bomb Wing (Heavy) at Bari, Italy, and the headquarters 68th Tactical Reconnaissance Group at Blida, Algeria.

 

Italian Campaign

In Italy, 12th Air Force medium bombers blast rail and road bridges in the La Spezia sector and in the area south of Florence, while light bombers again hit ammunition supples, and fighter-bombers and fighters hit bridges and roads north of the battle lines. Again only scattered motor transport targets are available for strafing.

 

British V Corps continues north along the Adriatic coast, as the 3rd Carpathian Division replaces the Indian 4th Division in the battle line.

 

In US Fifth Army area, VI Corps headquarters is assigned to the US Seventh Army for Operation ANVIL. IV Corps reaches the Ombrone River line and sends patrols into Grosseto. They begin crossing the river after nightfall.

 

In British Eighth Army area, XIII Corps overcomes rear-guard opposition at Ficulle and Allerona. X Corps area continues the pursuit of the enemy toward Perugia, beyond Todi after a bridge is completed at Terni.

 

The 12th Air Force moves the detachment of the 346th Fighter Squadron, with P-39s, operating from Tunisia, back to its base on Sardinia.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (India)

20th Air Force B-29s bomb Japan. With the exception of 11th Air Force raids on the Kurile Islands, this is the first air attack against Japan since the Doolittle's raid in April, 1942. 47 B-29s, operating out of Chengtu, China, bomb the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata, Japan.

 

The 20th Air Force’s first combat loss during a bombing mission results when Japanese fighters destroy a B-29 down with engine trouble at Neihsiang Airfield, China.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

In China, 24 P-40s, from the 14th Air Force, hit Japanese cavalry forces at Chuchou and several supply boats on the Siang- Chiang River. 10 more P-40s destroy or damage several tanks, trucks, and train cars between Loyang and Shanhsien, and 24 B-24s bomb the warehouse area at Canton, causing heavy damage.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force sends a group of 27 A-36s, P-51s, and P-40s to attack Mogaung and Myitkyina, Burma. In India, 30 B-25s fly ammunition to the Imphal area.

 

In Burma, indecisive fighting for Myitkyina continues.

 

On the Salween front, Chinese forces containing Sung Shan, a triangular hill mass that dominates 36 miles of the Burma Road where it crosses the Salween, make a limited attack that overruns the peak at the southeast corner. Chinese efforts to take another peak, at the southwest corner, are unsuccessful.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

Far East Air Force (FEAF) is formed with jurisdiction over the 5th Air Force and the 13th Air Force. General George Kenney becomes Commanding General Far East Air Force (FEAF), with headquarters in Brisbane, Australia.

 

5th Air Force headquarters moves from Brisbane to Nadzab, New Guinea, and Lieutenant General Ennis Whitehead becomes Commanding General.

 

In New Guinea, Far East Air Force (FEAF) B-24s, B-25s, A-20s and fighters attack barges in the Manokwari area and a village in the Wakde area. Also bombed are airfields on Timor Island, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and Truk Atoll. 13th Air Force aircraft still in the Solomon Islands-Bismarck Archipelago area hit the Tobera Airfield, on New Britain Island, and forces on Bougainville Island.

 

On Biak, General Eichelberger arrives and takes command of Task Force HURRICANE. Forward movement is limited by enemy tank attacks from their West Caves stronghold. The 1st Battalion, of the 162nd Infantry, presses slowly south toward a ridge where the 3rd Battalion is fighting. Efforts of the 162nd Infantry to close the gap between the 3rd Battalion and the 2nd Battalion are frustrated, but the gap is narrowed to about 500 yards. Air support of the Marianas from Biak is impossible, as the enemy is still interdicting use of the Mokmer airdrome.

 

Planners issue RENO V, the last of the RENO series of plans, calling for:

· The establishment of air bases, between July and October, on the Vogelkop Peninsula and on Morotai. Morotai is timed simultaneously with the invasion of the Palaus.

· The invasion of the Philippines, at Mindanao on October 25, in order to gain bases from which to support operations in mid-November against Philippine targets farther north.

· The invasion of Luzon in early 1945.

 

South Pacific Area

Commander Air Solomons (COMAIRSOLS) is dissolved, and is replaced by a new command, Commander Air North Solomons (COMAIRNORSOLS).

 

13th Air Force headquarters moves from Guadalcanal Island, to Los Negros Island, from which the B-24s have been operating since April as the Thirteenth Air Task Force. Major General St. Clair Streett becomes Commanding General of the 13th Air Force, which becomes part of the Far East Air Force (FEAF).

 

Central Pacific Area

US V Amphibious Corps Marines invade Saipan, beginning at 0840 hours, landing on the west coast after saturation naval and aerial bombardment. While reserve elements conduct a diversionary demonstration in the Tanapag Harbor area, the 2nd Marine Division and the 4th Marine Division make the main landings near Charan Kanoa. The 2nd Marine Division, employing the 26th Marines on the north and the 8th Marines on the south, lands north of Afetna Point. The 4th Marine Division, with Regimental Combat Team 23 on the left and Regimental Combat Team 25 on the right, goes ashore south of Afetna Point. The gap between the assault divisions at Afetna Point is broader than expected, since elements of 2nd Marine Division land north of the assigned beaches. Against strong opposition, including scattered tank attacks, the Marines press inland, overrunning the town of Charan Kanoa. By the end of the day the beachhead is about 10,000 yards long and over 1,000 yards deep in most places, but flanks are insecure and the enemy retains Afetna Point. Good progress is made in unloading reserves and supporting weapons. Command posts of the 2nd Marine Division and the 4th Marine Division are established ashore. During the night, the Japanese suffer heavy casualties in determined but abortive attempts to destroy the beachhead. Illumination of naval star shells assists the Marines in the night action. The 27th Infantry Division, a V Amphibious Corps reserve, is en route to Saipan, and Regimental Combat Team 106 is detached for duty with the Guam assault force.

 

In the Bonin-Volcano Islands, US carrier-based planes attack Chichi Jima and Haha Jima, in the Bonin group, and Iwo Jima, in the Volcano Islands, concentrating on airfields, barracks, and fuel stores.

 

The 494th Bomb Group (Heavy), with four squadrons of B-24s, arrives in the Territory of Hawaii, from the US, and joins the 7th Air Force.

 

North Pacific Area

Two B-24s, from the 11th Air Force, fly armed photo reconnaissance over Shimushiru Island.

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Friday, June 16, 1944

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 416 – 146 B-17s bomb the Laon/Athies Airfield, the Juvincourt Airfield, railroad targets of opportunity and the Laon/Couvron Airfield, all in France. 224 B-24s are dispatched to bomb CROSSBOW sites at Renescure, Sautrecourt, Domleger and Beauvoir, and the airfields at Beauvais/Tille, Authe and St Andre de L'Eure, all in France. One B-24 is lost, with 14 men listed as killed or missing.

 

VIII Fighter Command dispatches 165 P-38s, 88 P-47s and 172 P-51s to escort the bombers. 70 more P-51s perform a sweep against stalled trains between Angouleme and Poitiers, dropping their external fuel tanks on them and firing the tanks by strafing. The same tactics are used on trains in the marshalling yard at Saint-Pierre-d'Ecideuil. Heavy damage is inflicted on both targets, including heavy troop casualties. Elsewhere, 50 P-38s and 75 P-47s make fighter-bomber attacks on troops in the Arras-St Pol area. At St-Pol-sur-Ternoise a large number of railroad cars are burned by oil and phosphorus bombs and strafing attacks. Other marshalling yards, a power station, railroad station, trains, barges, tanks, trucks, gun emplacements, an anti-aircraft tower and an armored vehicle are attacked. In general the fighter attacks are highly effective, as a total of about 400 railroad cars are attacked and about half of them set on fire. Three P-38s are lost, with their pilots listed as missing.

 

8th Air Force Mission 417 – During the night, 10 B-17s drop leaflets in France.

 

Two RAF Mosquitos carry out uneventful daylight Intruder patrols to the Leeuwarden airfield.

 

During the night, the RAF sends 236 Lancasters, 149 Halifaxes, and 20 Mosquitos to flying-bomb launching sites in the Pas de Calais area. All targets are accurately marked by Oboe Mosquitos and successfully bombed. In the mean time, 162 Halifaxes, 147 Lancasters, and 12 Mosquitos attack the synthetic-oil plant at Sterkrade/Holten despite a poor weather forecast. The

target was found to be covered by thick clouds and the Pathfinder markers quickly disappeared. The Main Force crews could do little but bomb on to the diminishing glow of the markers in the clouds. RAF photographic reconnaissance and German reports agree that most of the bombing was scattered, although some bombs did fall in the plant area, but with little effect upon production. Unfortunately, the route of the bomber stream passed near a German night-fighter beacon at Bocholt, only 30 miles from Sterkrade. The German controller had chosen this beacon as the holding point for his night fighters. 21 Halifaxes are shot down by fighters and another 10 by flak. Meanwhile, 25 Mosquitos and one Lancaster attack Berlin, 12 fly radio counter measure sorties, and 53 fly Serrate, Intruder and flying-bomb patrols. Elsewhere, eight Stirlings and four Halifaxes lay mines in the Frisians and off the Biscay coast. For the night, one Stirling and crew are lost.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

In France, bad weather prevents 9th Air Force bomber operations, but over 500 fighters strafe and bomb rail lines, bridges and highway traffic on the Cherbourg Peninsula.

 

The 9th Air Force moves the 397th Fighter Squadron, with P-47s, from England, to France.

 

In US First Army area, VII Corps finishes clearing the region east of the Douve River and establishes a bridgehead. VII Corps objectives are advanced, as their attack progresses very rapidly against the retreating enemy. The 90th Division employs the 358th Infantry in the region to the right of the 9th Division. The 9th Division attacks with four regiments, the 39th (which the 4th Division has released), the 359th (temporarily released from the 90th Division), the 47th and the 60th. Driving rapidly through Saint Colombe, the 60th Infantry establishes a bridgehead across the Douve River before Néhou, with the 2nd Battalion. The rest of the 9th Division clears the region east of the Douve. The 82nd Airborne Division makes substantial gains, as the 325th Glider and 505th Parachute Regiments reach St Sauveur-le- Vicomte before noon and are joined there by the 508th Parachute Infantry, which the 507th has relieved at Baupte. The 505th and the 508th then establish a bridgehead 2,000 to 3,000 yards deep.

 

In the XIX Corps area, the 120th Infantry, of the 30th Division takes the heights commanding the Vire–Taute Canal and remains there defending the canal line while the 29th Division, in conjunction with V Corps’ 2nd Division, pushes toward St Lô. The 175th Infantry drives against Hill 90 and Hill 97, northwest of St Lô, while the 116th, reinforced by a battalion of the 115th, attacks toward the northeast end of the Martinville ridge (Hill 147 and Hill 150). Strong opposition halts the attack well short of the objectives.

 

In the V Corps area, the 2nd Division, with three regiments in assault, attacks for Hill 192. The ; 3rd Battalion, of the 38th Infantry, gets to within 700 yards of its crest, but the attack is halted for some time.

 

Mediterranean Theater

The 15th Air Force sends almost 600 bombers to attack targets in Austria, and Czechoslovakia. B-17s attack the Kragan and Florisdorf oil refineries around Vienna, while B-24s bomb the industrial area at Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, and the Lobau and Schwechat oil refineries and Winterhafen oil depot in the Vienna area. Between 200 and 250 fighters attack the formations and 15 bombers and crews are shot down. During the air battle, the bombers and escorting fighters destroy 70 enemy aircraft.

 

Italian Campaign

In Italy, 12th Air Force B-26s and B-25s hit rail and road bridges, viaduct and other communications targets at Casalecchio di Reno/Villa Vergano, Lissone, Viareggio, Pisa, Vernio, Grizzana and Pietrasanta. Meanwhile, A-20s continue to hit ammunition supplies, and fighter-bombers continue interdiction by hitting bridges, trucks, rail lines and other targets closer to the front, which now reaches across Italy from the west coast near Grosseto, to the east coast in the vicinity of Macerata.

 

In the British Eighth Army area, XIII Corps elements meet delaying opposition at Citta della Pieve.

 

In the British X Corps area, the Indian 8th Division, driving toward Perugia, overruns Bevagna and Foligno.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force dispatches a group of 28 A-36s, P-51s and P-40s to attack Myitkyina and targets of opportunity in northern Burma.

 

Chinese forces, consisting of the 149th Regiment, of 50th Division, attached to the 22nd Division, in the Mogaung Valley, overrun Kamaing. The 114th Regiment, of the Chinese 38th Division, bypassing Kamaing, joins up with Chindits, of the Indian 3rd Division, at Gurkhaywa.

 

On the Salween front, continuing their counteroffensive in Lung-ling area, the Japanese have driven the Chinese 87th Division back three miles from the city. To the north, the Chinese 2nd Reserve Division and the 36th Division overrun Chiaotou.

 

In China, the Japanese open attacks on Changsha, from which the Chinese garrison of the 4th Army is vacating and moving to Paoching.

 

Southwest Pacific Area 5th Air Force

Far East Air Force (FEAF) bombers and fighters hit widespread targets in the south and southwest Pacific areas. In New Guinea, personnel areas and barges along the coast in the Wewak and Hansa Bay areas are hit throughout the day. Airfields and shipping at Efman and Samate islands, and at Babo and Sorong are attacked. Dublon Island, in the Truk Atoll, and Yap Islands, in the Caroline Islands, are hit by B-24s. On New Britain Island, B- 24s hit the Vunakanan Airfield, at Rabaul, and a group of B-24s, B-25s, A-20s and fighters attack a large variety of targets of opportunity on Gazelle Peninsula, from the Tobera Airfield to Rabaul.

 

In New Guinea, Allied commanders meet to consider the invasion of Noemfoor. June 30 is tentatively chosen as D-Day.

 

On Biak, Task Force HURRICANE continues to attack with the 2nd Battalion, of the 186th Infantry, making the main effort. The battalion closes the gap on the low ridge and develops the west limits of the enemy’s West Caves position, before withdrawing for night.

 

South Pacific Area

Major General Ralph Mitchell, USMC, becomes Commander Air North Solomons (COMAIRNORSOLS).

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s, based on Makin Island, hit Ponape Island.

 

On north flank of the Saipan beachhead, the 2nd Marine Division consolidates and strengthens its present positions, committing the 2nd Marines on left. Meanwhile, the 8th Marines, on 2nd Division’s right, quickly clears Afetna Point and the Charan Kanoa pier and establishes contact with the 4th Marine Division. The 4th Marine Division, rearranging its lines before renewing their assault, commits its reserves, the 24th Marines. Jumping off at 1230, the 4th Division advances to positions against strong resistance, particularly on the right where the terrain is also an obstacle.

 

An advance party of the XXIV Corps Artillery lands and establishes a command post.

 

During the night, the 27th Division’s 165th Infantry lands.

 

Admiral Spruance indefinitely postpones the landing on Guam, tentatively scheduled for June 18, since a major naval battle appears to be imminent, based on enemy fleet movements. He issues orders to meet this threat, as Naval surface forces begin pre-invasion bombardment of Guam.

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Saturday, June 17, 1944

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 418 – 174 B-17s, hit a railroad bridge at Noyen, and the airfields at Monchy-Breton, the Chateaudun and the Villiers/L'Eveque. Fighter escort is provided by 43 P-38s, 39 P- 47s and 90 P-51s. They shoot down one Luftwaffe aircraft. 158 B-24s, hit Brunnelles, Dreux, St Valery, and the airfields at Laval, Guyancourt/Caudron, Le Mans/Arnage, Bretigny, Melun Airfield. Fighter escort is provided by 87 P-47s and 170 P-51s. they shoot down two Luftwaffe aircraft and destroy three more on the ground. As part of this mission, 99 P-38s fly fighter-bomber strikes against railroad bridges at Corbie and Peronne. Two B-17s, four P-38s and one P-51 are lost, with 27 men listed as missing.

 

8th Air Force Mission 419 – 312 B-24s bomb LeMans, the Angers Airfield, the Laval Airfield, the Tours Airfield, and the airstrips at Essay, and Lonray. Fighter escort is provided by 122 P-47s and 148 P-51s. One B-24 and one P-51 are lost, with 11 men listed as missing.

 

In 8th Air Force fighter-bomber action, 49 P-38s and 39 P-47s, escorted by 47 P-38s, make attacks on the Corbie-Peronne railroad bridges. Two P-38s are lost, with the pilots listed as missing.

 

During the night, the RAF dispatches 196 Lancasters, 90 Halifaxes, 19 Mosquitos, and 12 Stirlings to attack railway targets at Aulnoye, Montdidier and St Martin l'Hortier. One Lancaster and crew is lost. All targets are covered by clouds and the Master Bombers at Aulnoye and Montdidier order their forces to stop bombing after only a few aircraft had bombed respectively. Meanwhile, 90 Halifaxes, 19 Lancasters, and five Mosquitos bomb a site at Oisemont, near Abbeville. In other action. 30 Mosquitos are sent Berlin and four to the Scholven/Buer oil plant, 10 fly radio counter measure sorties, 54 fly Serrate, Intruder and flying bomb patrols. Elsewhere, eight Stirlings and four Halifaxes lay mines in the Channel Islands, and 12 Halifaxes fly Resistance operations.

 

8th Air Force Mission 420 – During the night, 10 B-17s drop leaflets in France.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends 265 B-26s to attack fuel dumps, a bridge and a railway line south of the battle area. Over 1,300 fighters fly escort and top cover, and strafe and bomb troop concentrations, military vehicles, bridges, gun emplacements, tanks and other tactical targets.

 

In US First Army’s VII Corps area, the 9th Division, against disorganized resistance, breaks through to the west coast, sealing off the Cotentin Peninsula, as the attack continues through the night. The Coastal road is cut at Barneville-sur-Mer and Grande Huanville. The 90th Division reaches its assigned defensive line Golleville–Urville and halts. The 82nd Airborne Division, which is to pass to VIII Corps control, is ordered to establish a bridgehead south of the Douve River at Pont l’Abbé.

 

In the XIX Corps area, efforts of 29th Division to advance are largely contained by the enemy which is strongly established in the gap between the 175th and 116th Regiments, near Villiers- Fossard. The 115th Infantry is committed in the center but is unable to reduce the enemy’s salient. The 175th Infantry, using a single battalion, is stopped on Hill 108.

 

Operational control of air-ground coordination of fighter-bomber missions moves from the headquarters of the 9th Air Force and the 21 Army Group Combined Control Center, in England, to the forward headquarters of the IX Tactical Air Command, in Normandy, operating in close proximity to the US First Army.

 

The 9th Air Force moves the 354th, 366th, and the 371st Fighter Groups, with six of their squadrons flying P-47s, from England to France.

 

Mediterranean Theater

15th Air Force operations are limited to reconnaissance missions.

 

Italian Campaign

In Italy, except for a B-26 attack on a bridge and an A-20 raid on an ammunition dump, weather prevents completion of light and medium bomber missions. Fighter-bombers are also restricted but manage to hit several gun positions, communications targets, boats, small ships, barges, and targets of opportunity in the battle area and at various other locations including Capo d'Enfola and other points on Elba Island, and Rio Marina.

 

Polish 2 Corps, takes command of the Adriatic coastal sector from British V Corps, which by this time has advanced to a line from Teramo to Giulanova. The Poles are to continue pursuit toward Ancona.

 

In US Fifth Army area, IV Corps commits Regimental Combat Team 517 (Parachute) on the right of Highway 1 to give it battle experience before it joins the US Seventh Army for Operation ANVIL. The 36th Division continues steadily northward.

 

In the British Eighth Army’s X Corps area, torrential rains begin, slowing their movement. When a bridge across the Tiber, three miles north of Todi is completed, advance on Perugia continues astride the river. The Indian 8th Division encounters strong opposition southeast of Perugia at Bastia. ELBA, a French Task Force based on the 9th Colonial Infantry Division, lands on Elba and begins clearing the island. This operation, coded BRASSARD, and originally planned for an earlier date, is undertaken to disrupt the enemy’s seaborne traffic and assist the offensive on the mainland.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

14th Air Force B-25s and fighter-bombers attack large troop concentrations at Shanglishih and Fenglinpu, bomb the town of Lanchi and nearby villages, attack four villages in the Chuchou area, hit troop barges at Changsha, damage several supply boats at Yiyang, and bomb military installations at Ichang.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

Eight A-36s, from the 10th Air Force, attack forces at Mogaung, Burma. In India, 25 B-25s fly ammunition to the Imphal area.

 

On the Salween front, the Chinese 88th and 87th Divisions are ordered to fall back in the Lung-ling area, and 11 Group Army later withdraws to a line from Mengmao, to Hwangtsoapa.

 

In British Fourteenth Army area, British casualties during the battle of the Imphal Plain, from March 4 to date, total 2,669 killed and nearly 10,000 wounded and missing. The Japanese are estimated to have lost 30,000.

 

Southwest Pacific Area 5th Air Force

Far East Air Force (FEAF) B-24s again bomb Truk Atoll, hitting targets on Eten and Dublon islands. On New Britain Island, B-24s hit the Lakunai Airfield, while A-20s, B-25s and fighters attack numerous targets between Rapopo and Tobera. In New Guinea, A-20s and B-25s and fighters hit shipping in Sorong harbor and airstrips in the Babo area. In the Wewak area, A-20s, B-25s and fighters continue to pound barges and villages.

 

On Biak, Task Force HURRICANE, attacking with the 1st Battalions of the 186th Regiment and the 162nd Regiment, clears the heights commanding the West Caves strongpoint.

 

Since reinforcement of the Aitape sector is being considered to meet the imminent threat, General MacArthur offers General Krueger the use of a regiment of the 31st Division.

 

P-38s, unable to reach Wakde Island, after an attack on Sorong, land successfully at Owi, although the field is not yet completed.

 

The 13th Air Force moves the 390th Bomb Squadron (Medium), with B-25s, from the Russell Islands to Stirling Island.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-24s, flying from Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, bomb Ponape Island. Meanwhile, B-25s, from Makin Island, hit Nauru Island.

 

Regimental Combat Team 105, of the 27th Division, lands on Saipan, but is not committed to action. The 2nd Battalion is attached to the 4th Marine Division and the 1st to the 165th Infantry. The Northern Troops Landing Force (NTLF) commander, General Holland Smith, and the XXIV Corps Artillery commander, Brigadier General Arthur Harper, set up command posts ashore. After intense preparatory bombardment, the Marines begin an attack that gains immediate objectives except in the center, where heavy enemy fire is directed from a 600 yard gap existing between the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions, in difficult terrain around Lake Susupe. On the north flank of the beachhead, the 2nd Marine Division’s 2nd and 6th Marines press northeast and the 8th Marines, reinforced by elements of the 29th Marines, advances due east. The enemy holds out stubbornly in a coconut grove in the 8th Marines sector. In the 4th Marine Division’s zone, the enemy soon pins down the left flank of the 23rd Marines, causing a gap to develop between the assault battalions that is filled after dark by the 3rd Battalion, of 24th Marines. The 24th Marines, against strong resistance in the 4th Division’s center, and the 25th Marines, on the right, reach the “0-2” line. The 25th Marines, from the northern part of the ridge west of Aslito Airfield, penetrates the building area north of the airfield proper. The 165th Infantry, of the 27th Division, attached to 4th Marine Division, is closely supported by artillery and naval gunfire as it fights for the Aslito Airfield, and the heights commanding it.

 

Because of the threat of a naval battle, planes of Task Force 58 are diverted from support duties to conduct searches and to neutralize Guam and Rota.

 

North Pacific Area

The 11th Air Force sends 12 B-25s to fly three missions for a Naval Task Force, which is withdrawing after the shelling of Kurabu Cape installations, on Paramushiru Island, in the Kurile Islands.

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Sunday, June 18, 1944

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 421 – 1,378 bombers are dispatched to bomb targets in Germany. 890 B-17s are sent to Hamburg, the Hannover-Misburg oil refinery, the Bremen area, Hannover, the Hamburg-Eurotank oil refinery, the Hamburg-Ossag oil refinery, the Hamburg-Schindler oil refinery, Bremen-Oslebshausen, the Hamburg-Ebano oil refinery and targets of opportunity. 488 B-24s hit Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Brunsbuttel, the Stade Airfield, Wesermunde, the Husum Airfield, Nordenham, the Heligoland Airfield, the Wrist marshalling yard, Watten V-weapon sites, in France, and targets of opportunity. Fighter escort is provided by 198 P-38s, 172 P-47s and 215 P-51s. Seven B-17s and four B-24s are lost, with 110 men listed as killed or missing.

 

VIII Fighter Command missions in France send 98 P-38s and 87 P-47s to attack railroad bridges in the St Quentin area, and 47 P-51s on a sweep of the Dol de Bretagne area. Three P-51s are lost, with the pilots listed as missing.

 

During the night, bad weather allows the RAF to only send 10 Mosquitos to attack a large concrete flying-bomb storage building in the woods at Watten, near St Omer. Nine aircraft bomb but no details of the results are available. In other action, five Halifaxes and two Stirlings lay mines off Brest and St Malo.

 

8th Air Force Mission 422 – during the night, nine B-24s are dispatched on CARPETBAGGER missions in France. One B-24 hits a tree at the drop zone.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends a force of about 130 A-20s and B-26s to bomb fuel dumps at Foret d'Andaine and Conches, and the marshalling yards at Rennes and Meudon, during the morning, and NOBALL (V-weapon) targets in the afternoon. Fighters, in addition to escort duty, continue strafing and bombing rail lines, troop concentrations, and highway traffic on the Cherbourg Peninsula.

 

In US First Army’s VII Corps area, plans are completed for drive on Cherbourg, the next big objective of First Army. The 9th Division improves blocking positions and frustrates enemy efforts to escape southward from the Cotentin Peninsula, inflicting heavy losses.

 

In XIX Corps areathe , enemy continues stubborn opposition to the advance on St Lô. The 3rd Battalion, of the 175th Infantry, of the 29th Division, which the 119th Infantry, of the 30th Division, has relieved at Meauffe, drives to Le Carillon and from there is sent to the aid of the 1st Battalion, of the 175th Infantry, on Hill 108.

 

General Montgomery, Commanding General, issues his first written directive since the invasion of France, calling for a speed-up of operations to take Caen and Cherbourg.

 

The 9th Air Force moves the 48th Fighter Group, and the 355th Fighter Squadron, both with P-47s, and the 153rd Liaison Squadron, with L-5s, from England to France..

 

Russian Front
Soviet forces break through Finnish Mannerheim Line, on the Karelian Isthmus.

 

Italian Campaign

Bad weather grounds 12th Air Force medium and light bombers. Fighter-bombers and fighters are restricted to patrols, mainly over the Piombino area and island of Elba, during which several gun positions, boats, and barges are hit.

 

On right flank of the US Fifth Army’s French Expeditionary Force (FEC), the 1st Motorized Division occupies Radicofani, which dominates the Rome-Florence road.

 

The British Eighth Army Commanding General decides to confine the advance of X Corps, beyond Perugia, to the road through Umbertide and Citta di Castello instead of along Route 71, as originally planned. XIII Corps, making a main effort, is to use Route 71 and a secondary road through Sinalunga. British columns converging on Perugia are meeting delaying opposition near the town.

 

During the night, the Germans quietly abandon positions at Citta della Pieve, in XIII Corps zone.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

14th Air Force B-25s and P-40s bomb Yoyang, China, and hit shipping and boats in the Siang-Chiang River delta area. P-40s and P-51s attack about 100 supply boats in the lower Tungting Lake area, strafe cavalry forces between Siangyin and Changsha, and hit a village just east of Changsha.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

The 10th Air Force sends a group of 16 A-36s, P-51s, and P-40s to attack Myitkyina and Mogaung, Burma.

 

Activity of the Myitkyina Task Force subsides to patrolling and skirmishing.

 

On Salween front, in Shweli Valley, the Chinese 36th Division, of the 54th Army, begins an assault on Watien, and the 116th and 130th Divisions reach positions near Chiangtso, four miles southeast of Watien.

 

In China, the Japanese overrun Changsha, which the Chinese have abandoned.

 

Southwest Pacific Area 5th Air Force

The Far East Air Force (FEAF) sends A-20s, B-25s, and fighters, along with RAAF aircraft, to attack supplies and occupied areas along the coast in the Wewak area, in New Guinea. Meanwhile, B-24s hit targets in the Truk Atoll, while a variety of fighter and bomber aircraft unload 18 tons of bombs on numerous targets around Rabaul, on New Britain Island, and fighters continue sweeps against targets of opportunity along the coastal areas of Bougainville Island.

 

On Biak, Task Force HURRICANE is regrouping and getting into position for their final assault to clear the entire region from which the enemy can fire on the Mokmer Airfield. The 34th Infantry, of the 24th Division, arrives from Hollandia and takes over the positions of the 186th Infantry, west of the Mokmer airdrome.

 

General Fuller leaves Biak to take a new position in the Southeast Asia Command (SEAC). General Doe replaces General Fuller as Commanding General of the 41st Division.

 

General Krueger informs General MacArthur that he prefers to use the Cavalry, of Regimental Combat Team 112, to reinforce Aitape, rather than break up the 31st Division. General Krueger orders General Sibert to begin an offensive in the Wakde-Sarmi area. Sibert plans to attack west, from the Tirfoam on the 20th, with the 20th Infantry, which the 1st Infantry is to relieve for this purpose.

 

The 5th Air Force moves the 80th Fighter Squadron, with P-38s, from Nadzab, New Guinea, to the Schouten Islands.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s, from Makin Island, pound Nauru Island, while B-24s stage through Eniwetok Atoll to bomb Truk Atoll.

 

On Saipan, early in the day, Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) gunboats and Marine artillery defeat the efforts of the Japanese to move reinforcements from Tanapag Harbor to the front. The 2nd Marine Division remains in place, except on the right, where a coconut grove in the 8th Marine’s sector is cleared. The 4th Marine Division drives to east to the coast of Saipan, at Magicienne Bay, cutting the island in two. The 25th and 24th Marines, on the right and in the center, drive to the “0-3” line, which lies partly along east coast, but the 23rd Marines, on 2nd Division’s left, fight hard to get 400 yards east of Lake Susupe, and is short of their objective. The 27th Division’s 165th Infantry takes the ridge west and southwest of the Aslito Airfield, and the airfield itself, during the morning, against light resistance, as the enemy has fallen back to Nafutan Point. The main attack, later in day, is made by Regimental Combat Team 165, on the left, and Regimental Combat Team 105, on the right. Regimental Combat Team 165 gets almost to Magicienne Bay without opposition, but Regimental Combat Team 105 is slowed by terrain.

 

Transports with the 106th Infantry are detached from the Southern Attack Force and ordered to Saipan.

 

The Aslito Airfield is renamed Conroy Field for Colonel Gardiner J. Conroy, commander of 165th Infantry, who was killed at Makin. Later, it is renamed Isley Field for Commander Robert H. Isely, a naval aviator lost over Saipan. Isely’s name is consistently misspelled “Isley.”

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June 19-20, 1944

US Navy TF 58 tangles with the Japanese Navy in what becomes the largest carrier to carrier battle in history - The Battle of the Philippine Sea. American aviators nickname the battle "The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot".

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"Get to those men in Bastogne" - (then) LTC. Creighton Abrams, battalion commander of the 4th Armored Division spearhead that broke the seige on Dec. 26, 1944.


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Monday, June 19, 1944

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 423 – In the morning, 464 B-17s are dispatched against airfields in the Bordeaux area, hitting Cormes Ecluse, Bordeaux/Merignac, Cazaux, Landes-de-Bussac, Cabanac and targets of opportunity. Fighter escort is provided by 88 P-38s and 261 P-51s. Seven B-17s, four P-38s and six P-51s are lost, with 69 men listed as killed of missing.

 

8th Air Force Mission 424 – In both morning and afternoon missions, 391 B-17s and 312 B-24s hit 35 V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais area. Fighter escort is provided by 196 P-38s, 122 P- 47s and 48 P-51s. One B-24 is lost, with 10 men listed as missing. Some P-38s, after completing escort duty, dive-bombs and strafes transportation targets in northeastern France, destroying a locomotive and three barges.

 

After standing by for three days waiting for clouds over the Pas de Calais to clear, 19 RAF Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos attack the flying-bomb storage facility, but the conditions were too difficult for accurate marking and the nearest Tallboy bomb was 50 yards from the target.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends around 200 fighters on an uneventful armed reconnaissance patrols in the morning. They dive-bomb six NOBALL (V-weapon) targets in the afternoon.

 

In US First Army area, VII Corps begins its final drive on Cherbourg with three divisions abreast. On the left, the 9th Division, attacking with the 60th Regiment and the 39th Regiment, advances quickly northward to Helleville, St Christophe- du-Foc, and Couville. The 4th Cavalry Squadron, of the 4th Cavalry Group, which is attached to the 9th Division to screen the right flank, reaches St Martin-le-Gréard. A battalion of the 359th Infantry, of the 90th Division, is also committed on the 9th Division’s right flank, to hold the Rocheville area. In the center, the 79th Division’s 313th and 315th Regiments attack from a line from Golleville to Urville, which the 60th Division has previously secured. The 313th Regiment reaches its objective, Bois de la Brique, but the 315th Regiment, directed to bypass Valognes and cut the Cherbourg highway northwest of there, is halted southwest of Valognes, and is left in that position to contain the town from the west. Meanwhile, the 314th Regiment moves forward during the night to take over the 9th Division’s left flank, and the 313th Regiment shifts to the right flank. The 4th Division, on VII Corps right, encounters firm opposition from enemy forces deployed for the defense of Cherbourg. During the night, the 8th Regiment and the 12th Regiment attack on either side of Montebourg, which the 3rd Battalion, of the 22nd Infantry, finds clear of enemy, well before dawn, with the 8th Regiment reaching positions just southeast of Valognes. The 24th Cavalry Squadron, of the 4th Cavalry Group, screens the right flank of 4th Division.

 

The French complete the occupation of Elba Island.

 

In VIII Corps area, the 82nd Airborne Division and the 90th Division are transferred to VIII Corps from VII Corps.

 

General Montgomery schedules an offensive for the British Second Army for June 22 and 23.

 

A violent storm, lasting through the 22nd, seriously handicaps the build-up of troops and supplies. Mulberry “A,” at Omaha Beach is destroyed. By June 9, just three days after D-Day, two harbors codenamed Mulberry “A” and Mulberry “B” were constructed at Omaha Beach and Arromanches. However, the storm on June 19 destroyed the American harbor at Omaha Beach, leaving the British harbor still intact, but damaged. Part of the damage was to the “Swiss Roll,” which had been deployed as the most western floating roadway, and had to be taken out of service. The surviving Mulberry “B” became known as Port Winston at Arromanches. While the harbor at Omaha Beach was destroyed sooner than expected, Port Winston saw heavy use for eight months, even though it was designed to last only three months. In the 10 months after D-Day, it was used to land over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and four million tons of supplies, providing much needed reinforcements in France. In response to this longer than planned use the Phoenix breakwater was reinforced with the addition of extra specially strengthened caisson.

 

In France, the airfield at Cardonville, the first US field in France, becomes operational

 

Italian Campaign

Weather again grounds 12th Air Force light and medium bombers, but fighter-bombers hit railroads, gun emplacements, factory and shipping in an north of the battle area, at scattered points in the countryside, and around the towns of Pontedera, Leghorn, Sestri Levante and Viareggio.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

The 14th Air Force dispatches about 150 fighter-bombers and eight B-25s to hit a variety of targets throughout the Tungting Lake area, in China. Targets include shipping from Siangyin to Chuchou, and at various points along the Siang-Chiang River, villages and compounds between Yiyang and Changsha, and boats and river area at Anking. 18 P-40s damage two bridges and destroy about 20 fuel trucks at Yuncheng. On the Salween front 15 P-40s hit trucks and military installations, and four B-25s bomb the Kengluang bridge.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

30 B-25s, from the 10th Air Force, complete an ammunition run to Imphal, India. Elsewhere, 33 A-36s, P-51s, and P-40s strike Myitkyina, Mogaung and Pinbaw, Burma.

 

On the Salween front, Ku-tung falls to elements of the Chinese 2nd Reserve Division pushing south toward Teng-chung. The Chinese 53rd Army is preparing to attack Chiangtso.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

The Far East Air Force (FEAF) sends a force of over 100 A-20s and fighter-bombers to maintain strikes along the coast around Wewak, New Guinea, hitting supply and bivouac areas, roads, personnel, and a coastal gun position. More A-20s hit airfields at Manokwari, on Noemfoor Island, and Moemi. Other B-25s hit forces in the Cape Orford region, of New Britain Island, and B-24s bomb Dublon and Eten island, in the Truk Atoll.

 

On Biak, Task Force HURRICANE opens a coordinated assault for the airfields after preparatory artillery fire. The 186th Infantry, making a main effort in the region north and west of West Caves, reaches the ridges west of Hill 320, cutting the road leading south to West Caves and enveloping the rear of the West Caves position. Enemy opposition is scattered. New orders call for the 162nd Infantry to reduce the West Caves, while the 186th Infantry continues to clear the region to northwest and the 34th Infantry seizes the Borokoe and Sorido airdromes.

 

Over the Marianas, carrier planes of Task Force 58 engage a huge force of planes from enemy carriers and inflict crippling losses. The Japanese lose over 400 aircraft. There is only superficial damage to a few vessels of Task Force 58 and only 17 US planes are destroyed. Efforts are made to locate Japanese fleet. Officially, this is called the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Unofficially, it is nicknamed the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-24s, staging through Eniwetok Atoll, strike Truk Atoll. Meanwhile, B-24s, from Kwajalein Atoll, and B-25s, out of Makin Island, pound Ponape Island.

 

On Saipan, a new phase opens as Marines pivot north, with the 4th Marine Division moving around the 2nd Marine Division, to clear the northern part of island. The 27th Division is to clear Nafutan Point and the southern coast, a task presumed to be merely a mop-up mission. The 165th Infantry reaches the south coast of Magicienne Bay without opposition. In the 105th Infantry sector, the 3rd Battalion is virtually unopposed as it moves forward over rugged terrain. The 1st Battalion, after a frontal assault on the first of a series of ridges of the enemy’s Nafutan position fails, moves to outflank the enemy. Late in day, the 1st Battalion, of the 165th Infantry, is sent back to the airfield to plug a gap that has developed in the line of 105th Infantry.

 

North Pacific Area

The 11th Air Force sends two B-24s on armored photo reconnaissance over Paramushiru Island. They bomb the Suribachi area with unobserved results.

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Tuesday, June 20, 1944

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 425 – In the morning 1,548 bombers are dispatched in four separate raids to attack targets in northern Germany and V-weapon sites in France:

· 146 B-24s bomb V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais area. Escort is provided by 44 P-47s.

· 341 B-17s hit Fallersleben, Magdeburg/Rothensee and Konigsberg, and another 191 B-24s hit Hannover/Misburg and a target of opportunity. Fighter escort is provided by 98 P-38s, 86 P-47s and 38 P-51s, and another 81 P-51s from the 9th Air Force.

· 512 B-17s are dispatched to the Hamburg/Eurotank oil refinery, the Harburg/Ebano oil refinery, the Hamburg/Schliemanns oil refinery, the Harburg/Rhenania oil refinery, Hamburg/Deutsch Petroleum AG, the Hamburg/Rhenania-Ossag oil refinery, the Hamburg/Schindler oil refinery, the Brunsbuttel canal lock and targets of opportunity. Fighter escort is provided by 96 P-38s and 48 P-47s.

· 358 B-24s hit Politz, Ostermoor and targets of opportunity. Fighter escort is provided by 50 P-38s and 221 P-51s.

53 Luftwaffe aircraft are shot down and another 13 are destroyed on the ground. 13 B-17s, 36 B-24s, two P-47s, four P-38s, and one P-51 are lost, with 514 men listed as killed or missing.

 

8th Air Force Mission 426 – In the afternoon, 37 B-17s and 380 B-24s attack 10 V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais area. Fighter escort is provided by 72 P-47s and 40 P-51s. One B-24 is lost.

 

The RAF dispatches 17 Lancasters and three Mosquitos to attack a large, concrete covered V-weapon site in a quarry at Wizernes, France, but the target was cloud-covered and no bombs were dropped.

 

8th Air Force Mission 427 – During the night, five B-17s drop leaflets in France, while 25 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions in France.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends a force of about 370 B-26s and A-20s to bomb nine V-weapon sites and a coastal defense battery at Houlgate. Over 1,000 fighters operating over frontline areas, the Cherbourg Peninsula, and south to Dreux, bomb and strafe rail lines, marshalling yards, bridges, troop concentrations and other targets.

 

In US First Army area, VII Corps continues rapidly toward Cherbourg, with the 9th Division and the 79th Division coming up against a semicircular belt of fortifications extending four to six miles from the city. The 9th Division’s 60th Infantry moves quickly north through Vasteville to positions just short of its objective, Hill 170, east of Haut Biville. The 47th Infantry follows to Vasteville, then turns east and advances a short distance toward Bois du Mont du Roc. Meanwhile, the 79th Division reaches positions between St Martin-le-Gréard and Bois de Roudou. The 4th Division is virtually unopposed as it moves to a line extending from Le Thiel to Bois de Roudou, just short of the enemy’s main line of resistance.

 

In the XIX Corps area, 29th Division elements, assisted by tanks and engineers, make a limited and futile effort to reduce the Villiers- Fossard salient.

 

General Montgomery decides that the British offensive cannot begin before June 25, since the arrival of VIII Corps units has been delayed.

 

The 9th Air Force moves the 368th Fighter Group, with P-47s, from England, to France.

 

Russian Front
Viipuri, Finland, falls to Soviet forces of the Leningrad Front, insuring the safety of Leningrad and opening the Gulf of Finland to the Soviet fleet.

 

Italian Campaign

Weather continues to hamper 12th Air Force operations, but over 60 medium bombers manage to attack rail targets between Genoa and La Spezia, and fighter-bombers destroy several road bridges in the battle area and to the north, and damage several other road and rail bridges. Fighter-bombers also damage a 20,000 ton aircraft carrier in Genoa harbor.

 

The period of rapid advance northward comes to a close since the enemy has been able to reform his units and strengthen his positions. A delaying line is positioned across Italy below the Gothic Line, where the enemy is prepared to make a stand.

 

Polish 2 Corps, across the Aso River, seizes Fermo and Pedaso.

 

US Fifth Army is about half way between the Tiber River and the Arno River.

 

IV Corps, which has met increased rear-guard opposition during past 10 days, holds a line extending east from the junction of Highways 1 and 73.

 

The French Expeditionary Force (FEC) gets forward elements to the Orcia River, a tributary of the Ombrone River, where it is halted. The 1st Motorized Division, which is to participate in Operation ANVIL, is replaced on the battle line by the 2nd Moroccan Division at midnight.

 

In the British Eighth Army’s X Corps area, the 6th Armoured Division enters Perugia without opposition. XIII Corps, in the center and on the right flank, encounters forward positions of the enemy delaying line, extending from Lake Trasimeno west to Chiusi.

 

China – Burma – India Theater

RAF Air Commodore, Brigadier General Sir Francis Mellersh, assumes command of the Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command (EAC).

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

The 14th Air Force sends a force of about 120 B-25s and fighter-bombers to again attack a wide variety of targets, pound river shipping at numerous points, hit villages and supply lines in the Pinkiang area, and bomb the towns of Changsha, Pingsiang and Ikiawan, in the Yangtze River-Tungting Lake area of China. In the Salween River area, 24 B-25s pound Lungling and 16 P-40s hit troops and positions at Tengchung and Chenanso. In the Yellow River area, eight P-40s pound railroad yards and strafe about 75 trucks, destroying over 20 of them. Elsewhere, three B-24s over the south China Sea attack shipping, sinking a 5,000 ton commercial ship.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

In Burma, five B-24s, from the 10th Air Force, fly fuel to Kamaing, while two B-25s hit a bridge at Banchaung, and eight A-36s and three P-40s attack targets at Myitkyina. In India, 13 B-25s supply ammunition to Imphal.

 

The Operation GALAHAD situation is now critical because of battle exhaustion and disease, and it is apparent that Myitkyina cannot be taken quickly. Personnel from rear area are forced to return to the battle when at all fit for duty.

 

On the Salween front, the Chinese 36th Division seizes Watien, in the Shweli Valley.

 

General Stilwell and his force of the Northern Area Comabt Command (NCAC) are transferred from operational control of the Fourteenth Army commander to the direct control of Supreme Allied Commander.

 

Vice President Henry A. Wallace arrives in Chungking, China, for talks with Chiang Kai-shek and General Chennault.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

The Far East Air Force (FEAF) sends A-20s, P-39s, and RAAF aircraft to pound areas along the coast in the general area of Wewak, and sends B-24s to bomb Kamiri Airfield, in New Guinea.

B-24s attack the Woleai Atoll, in the Caroline Islands, and Dublon Island, in the Truk Atoll. B-25s, P-38s and other Allied aircraft, including some from the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), blast anti-aircraft positions south and southwest of Rapopo, on New Britain Island.

 

On Biak, the 1st Battalion, of the 162nd Infantry, begins an attack on the West Caves strongpoint, but makes little headway. The 163rd Infantry establishes an outpost on Hill 320. The 34th Infantry occupies the Borokoe and Sorido airdromes, and the village of Sorido, against negligible resistance, and establishes blocking positions to prevent the enemy from reinforcing the main battle area.

 

On the Aitape front, the Japanese strengthen positions in the Yakamul area and halt the patrolling in this region by the 128th Infantry.

 

In the Wakde-Sarmi area, the 6th Division begins a westward attack from the Tirfoam toward Lone Tree Hill. The 20th Infantry drives along the coast to Snaky River, without difficulty, but is stopped by heavy fire from a defile between Lone Tree Hill and the east nose of Mt. Saksin.

 

In final phase of the Battle of the Philippine Sea, planes from Task Force 58 attack a strong Japanese naval force well west of Saipan and sink two carriers, two destroyers, and one tanker. They also severely damage three other carriers, one battleship, three cruisers, one destroyer, and three tankers. 16 US planes are destroyed by the enemy, and 73 others are lost because they cannot locate their carriers in the darkness or because they run out of fuel. Subsequent efforts to overtake the enemy fleet are unsuccessful.

 

During a planning conference at General Krueger’s headquarters, it is decided that D-Day for Noemfoor should be postponed to July 2.

 

The 5th Air Force moves the 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron from Biak to Owi, in the Schouten Islands.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-25s, from Makin Island, strike Ponape Island. Kwajalein Atoll based B-24s bomb Truk Atoll.

 

The 7th Air Force moves the 318th Fighter Group, with P-47s, from the Territory of Hawaii, to Saipan Island. The aircraft are launched from the deck of the USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62).

 

On Saipan, Marines complete a pivoting movement for the northward drive, with the 4th Division coming up to right of the 2nd, and are on the “0-4” line, a little below the enemy’s main line of resistance, which crosses the island from just below Garapan to northwest corner of Magicienne Bay. As the 4th Division swings around the 2nd, the 25th Marines encounters and reduces well organized enemy positions on Hill 500, just west of Tsutsuuran village. The 27th Division begins a converging drives on Nafutan from the north and west. The 165th Infantry, reinforced by the 1st Battalion, of the 105th, attacks south toward Nafutan Point at noon, after preparatory fire, and gains about 1,000 yards. The 3rd Battalion, of the 105th, continues east along the southern coast for about 600 yards, which places it about 100 yards from the 165th Infantry.

 

The 106th Infantry lands on Saipan and is placed in reserve. The 2nd Battalion, of the 105th Infantry, reverts to the 27th Division.

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Wednesday June 21, 1944

 

European Theater, (POINTBLANK)

8th Air Force Mission 428 – 1,234 bombers and 1,170 fighters are dispatched to hit targets in Germany:

· 163 B-17s begin shuttle bombing missions, code named Operation FRANTIC, between the UK and bases in the USSR. 72 P-38s, 38 P-47s and 57 P-51s escort the B-17s to the target, a synthetic oil plant at Ruhland, Germany. 123 B-17s bomb the primary target, 21bomb 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 southeast of Poznan, Poland, by 65 other P-51s, which are to accompany the B-17s to the USSR. About 50 miles southeast of Brest Litovsk, 20 to 30 Luftwaffe fighters attack the force. In the resulting battle one P-51 and six German fighters are destroyed, and one B-17 is lost to unknown causes. 144 B-17s land in the USSR, with 73 at Poltava, and the rest at Mirgorod, while the 64 remaining P-51s land at Piryatin. During the night, the 73 B-17s 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.

· 496 B-17s attack Berlin, and targets of opportunity, shooting down 16 Luftwaffe aircraft. Fighter escort is provided by 99 P-38s, 95 P-47s and 73 P- 51s, which shoot down four more 3 Luftwaffe aircraft.

· 368 B-24s hit Genshagen, Marienfelde, Berlin, Potsdam, Niederschonweide, Genshagen, Rangsdorf, Trebbin, Selvig, Stendal, Bederekesa, and targets of opportunity in the Berlin area. They shoot down 13 Luftwaffe aircraft. Fighter escort is provided by 148 P-38s, 147 P-47s and 116 P-51s, which shoot down 13 more Luftwaffe aircraft.

· 207 B-17s, bomb Berlin, Basdorf and targets of opportunity. Fighter escort is provided by 108 P-38s, 81 P-47s and 91 P-51s.

26 B-17s, 19 B-24s, one P-38, one P-47, three P-51s and one other fighter are lost, with 367 men listed as killed or missing.

 

The RAF dispatches 165 Halifaxes, 142 Lancasters, and 15 Mosquitos to attack three flying bomb sites. Because of clouds, two of the raids are abandoned after only 17 aircraft had bombed. The third target, at St Martin l'Hortier, is bombed through fully overcast conditions. Three Mosquitos fly Ranger patrols and shoot down one Me 110. (Ranger patrols are freelance missions over German territory, designed to seek out and destroy German fighters.)

 

8th Air Force 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. Fighter escort is provided by 99 P-47s, which meet no enemy aircraft, but strafes railroad and canal targets. Anti-aircraft fire downs one B-24.

 

During the night, 133 RAF Lancasters and six Mosquitos attack the synthetic oil plant at Wesseling. The weather forecast for the target area (and for the attack on Scholven/Buer

which took place at the same time) predicted clear conditions but the bombing force

encountered complete cloud cover, forcing the Lancasters to bomb on H2S. German night fighters engage the bomber force and 37 Lancasters are lost. Post-raid reconnaissance shows

that only slight damage was caused to the oil plant. In other action, 123 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos attack the synthetic oil plant at Scholven/Buer, losing eight Lancasters and crews. This target was also cloud-covered and Pathfinder aircraft provide Oboe skymarking. Post-raid photographs appeared to show no new damage. Elsewhere, 32 Mosquitos attack Berlin, 13 Stirlings lay mines off Guernsey, St Malo and St Nazaire, and 10 Halifaxes fly resistance operations. One Mosquito and crew is lost.

 

8th Air Force Mission 430 – During the night, five B-17s drop leaflets in France, while 21 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions in France.

 

European Theater, Battle of Normandy

The 9th Air Force sends a force of over 250 B-26s and A-20s to bomb 13 V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais area, of France. Over 700 fighters escorting 8th Air Force bombers over Germany, bomb bridges south and west of Paris, and strafe rail and road traffic and communications centers north and west of Paris.

 

In US First Army’s VII Corps area, while the 9th and 79th Divisions patrol and reorganize for a final assault on Cherbourg, the 4th Division closes along the city’s main defenses to the right, on Hill 178, and the northwest edge of Bois du Coudray, Hill 158. The 22nd Infantry gets a battalion on Hill 158, cutting the lateral road between Cherbourg and St Pierre-Eglise.

 

During the night, General Collins issues an ultimatum to the German garrison commander, Major General Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben, to surrender by 0900 hours on June 22.

 

Russian Front
Soviet forces of the Karelian Front begin an offensive on both sides of Lake Onega, near the Finish border.

 

In Operation FRANTIC, the US 8th Air Force begins shuttle raids between British and Soviet bases.

 

Italian Campaign

12th Air Force medium bombers have excellent results against rail bridges in north and north central Italy, also hitting viaducts, road bridges, and other communications targets, and bombing ships at Leghorn harbor. Light bombers again hit ammunition supplies, while fighter-bombers concentrate on rail and road bridges over a large area including locations in the vicinity of the Gothic Line and at points to the north.

 

In the Polish 2 Corps area, advance elements reach the Chienti River line, behind which the enemy is prepared to make a stand, and establish a small bridgehead.

 

In US Fifth Army area, since IV Corps’ zone is widening and resistance is increasing. IV Corps commits the 1st Armored Division, reinforced by the 361st Infantry, of the 91st Division, to right of the 36th Division, in the sector previously held by Task Force Ramey. The 36th Division continues slowly along Highway 1.

 

The French Expeditionary Force (FEC) is held up by determined opposition along the Orcia River line.

 

In the British Eighth Army area, XIII Corps battles outlying positions of the enemy’s Trasimeno line. The 78th Division takes Sanfatucchio after hard fighting but is unable to progress against the hamlet of Vaiano. The South African 6th Armoured Division reaches the heights leading to Chiusi, but cannot break into the town. The XIII Corps commander decides to commit his reserves, the 4th Division and the Canadian 1st Armoured Brigade, and continue to advance on three division front. During the night, he orders the 4th Division to relieve the 78th Division of their positions below Vaiano and be prepared to relieve rest of 78th, which is scheduled to leave the theater at end of June.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (China)

The 14th Air Force dispatches 11 fighter-bombers to attack river shipping, barracks, and cavalry forces at Siangtan and Hengshan, China.

 

China – Burma – India Theater (Burma)

34 B-25s, from the 10th Air Force, maintain an ammunition run to Imphal, India. In Burma, a group of 61A-36s, P-51s, and P-40s pound Myitkyina and Mogaung.

 

The 10th Air Force moves the 20th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, with P-40s, from India, to Burma.

 

Southwest Pacific Area

The Far East Air Force (FEAF) sends P-39s and RAAF aircraft to attack dumps and bivouacs at Suain and attack other targets in the Wewak area, of New Guinea. Elsewhere, A-20s attack various targets of opportunity in the Paniai Lakes area, while B-25s hit villages on the coast of Dutch New Guinea, east of Maffin Bay. B-24s bomb the Kamiri Airfield and other targets on Noemfoor Island, and attack shipping in the Palau Islands, and on Dublon Island, in the Truk Atoll.

 

On Biak, the 1st Battalion, of the 162nd Infantry, continues their attack on the West Caves without avail, although tanks and flame throwers are used. The Japanese efforts to withdraw from the position through the lines of the 186th Infantry to the northwest are frustrated. The 186th Infantry probes the enemy position, called the Teardrop, just northwest of Hill 320. The 3rd Battalion, of the 163rd Infantry, which was to have driven into the Teardrop from northwest and north, in conjunction with the 186th Infantry’s pressure from south and southwest, is too far north to reach it.

 

In the Wakde-Sarmi area, after probing to locate enemy strongpoints, the 3rd Battalion, of the 20th Infantry, renews their attack toward Lone Tree Hill, but meets such heavy fire from well organized positions, that it pulls back to the east bank of Snaky River. During the night, artillery and mortar fire are placed on Lone Tree Hill.

 

Task Force CYCLONE is formally organized to take Noemfoor.

 

General Patrick sets up a temporary command post at Finschhafen.

 

The Owi Airfield, on Owi, is put into use by fighters of 5th Air Force.

 

Central Pacific Area

7th Air Force B-24s, based on the Kwajalein Atoll, bomb the Truk Atoll.

 

The 7th Air Force moves a detachment of the 6th Night Pursuit Squadron, flying P-61s, from the Territory of Hawaii, to Saipan Island.

 

Marine action on Saipan is confined to patrolling.

 

General Holland Smith, preparing to make a main attack on the north, is informed that only 300 to 500 Japanese remain on Nafutan Point. He orders most of the 27th Division to assemble in reserve and places its artillery under the control of the XXIV Corps Artillery. He directs a single infantry battalion and a platoon of tanks to continue clearing southern Saipan and protect the airfield.

 

General Ralph Smith requests the use of Regimental Combat Team 105 and General Holland Smith agrees, but orders to this effect do not reach the 27th Division until June 22. Meanwhile, the 27th Division continues its assault on Nafutan Point, replacing the 2nd Battalion, of the 165th Infantry, with the 2nd Battalion, of the 105th Infantry, on the left of the battle line. The day’s action gains little ground. The 3rd Battalion, of the 105th Infantry, reduces the cave strongpoint while continuing east along the southern coast and at the end of the day is only a short distance from the troops moving down from the north. At 2000 hours, before receiving word that the 105th Infantry may be retained, General Ralph Smith orders Regimental Combat Team 105 to conduct a holding action facing Nafutan Point and to relieve Regimental Combat Team 165 by 0630 hours on June 22. Then, upon reorganization of the battle lines, not later than 1100 hours of June 22, to continue their offensive.

 

General Holland Smith orders the 27th Division to reconnoiter northward toward the Marines.

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