This day in the war in Europe 65 years ago

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by syscom3, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. Njaco

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    UNITED KINGDOM: Sittingbourne, Kent: AA gunners shoot down what is thought to be the last V1 launched against Britain.

    Frigate HMS 'Teme' takes a hit from a Zaunkönig fired by 'U-246' (Kapitanleutnant Ernst Raabe) and loses her stern. She was towed to Falmouth but laid up and not repaired. Location: 6 miles N of Lands End at 50 07N 05 45W. There are 4 casualties.

    WESTERN FRONT: US forces marching almost unchecked into the centre of Germany, capture Frankfurt. Armor of the British 21st Army Group breaks out of the Wesel bridgehead. The US 7th Army captures Mannheim and Heidelberg.

    'U-1106' (type VIIC/41) is sunk north-east of the Faeroes, in position 61.46N, 02.16W, by depth charges from a British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn 224/O). 46 dead (all hands lost).

    'U-1169' is sunk in the English Channel south of Lizard Point in position 49.58N 05.25W by depth charges dropped by frigate HMS 'Duckworth'. All 49 of the U-Boat crew are lost.

    EASTERN FRONT: The Red Army enters the former Czech province of Ruthenia.

    GERMANY: 130 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on the Hermann Goering benzol plant at Salzgitter. No results were seen through the cloud. No aircraft were lost. 48 Mosquitos to Berlin, 7 to Harburg and 3 each to Bremen and Hannover. No aircraft lost.

    MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, clear weather during the night of 28/29 Mar, permits A-20s to hit rail loading points, trains, vehicles, roads, and bridges at many places in the Po Valley as well as river crossings at Borgoforte, Lodi, San Benedetto Po, Ostiglia, and Casalmaggiore, a factory at Brescia, and motor transport movement in the Milan-Piacenza area; bad morning weather cancels medium bomber operations except for a pamphlet mission over Bologna; when the weather clears about 1200 hours, XXII Tactical Air Command fighter-bombers hit dumps at La Spezia and other points near the battle area, the Lavis viaduct, railroad bridges or approaches at Ora, Santa Margherita d' Adige, Nervesa della Battaglia, Rovereto, Ala, and other locations, and many vehicles and train cars and other targets of opportunity throughout the Po Valley and NE Italy; the 16th Troop Carrier Squadron, 64th Troop Carrier Group, based at Rosignano Airfield begins operating from Brindisi with C-47s.
     
  2. Njaco

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    EASTERN FRONT: The Soviet army begins it's invasion of Eastern AUSTRIA. (Michael Ballard) Marshal Tolbukhin has crossed the Austrian border in strength about 50 miles south of Vienna. At the same time Marshal Rokossovsky, advancing on Tolbukhin's right on a 130-mile front, has broken though the German lines to threaten Bratislava. It was Tolbukhin's Third Ukrainian Front which absorbed Hitler's Spring Awakening assault in Hungary and then, when the Germans faltered, did not counter-attack but simply resumed its march on Austria. Tolbukhin's advance has been accompanied by a sudden loss of morale among the Germans, even among the Waffen-SS troops of the 6th SS Panzer Army. The Wehrmacht is crumbling away.

    The final German positions in Danzig are overrun by the Soviet Army, 10,000 German prisoners are taken along with 45 submarines in the harbour.

    During their occupation the Nazis have forced thousands of Hungarian Jews, many times by torture, to deposit valuables and family heirlooms in Hungarian banks and other institutions. Many of the goods have been deposited on a train dubbed the Gold Train. It contains 29 boxcars filled with personal heirlooms and valuables, including art, gold, jewellery, diamonds, silverware, fine china, porcelain and religious items. The train has left Hungary today bound for Austria.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 918: 1,402 bombers and 899 fighters are dispatched to attack targets connected with U-boat construction or operation; they claim 8-1-12 Luftwaffe aircraft; 5 bombers and 4 fighters are lost: 1. 530 B-17s are sent to hit 2 U-boat yards (64) and an oil depot (169) at Hamburg; 263 bomb the port area at Hamburg, the secondary target; 1 hits Bremen, a target of opportunity; bombing is both visual and using H2X radar; they claim 0-1-3 aircraft; 3 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 252 damaged; 14 airmen are KIA, 10 WIA and 28 MIA. Escorting are 289 of 304 P-51s; they claim 4-0-7 aircraft in the air and 1-0-1 on the ground; 3 P-51s are lost. 2. 448 B-17s are sent to hit the U-boat yard (318) and rail bridge (109) at Bremen visually and with H2X; 1 B-17 is lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 225 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 6 WIA and 11 MIA. The escort is 268 of 287 P-51s; they claim 2-0-1 aircraft. 3. 382 B-24s are dispatched to hit the U-boat yard (273) and Bauhaben port area (85) at Wilhelmshafen both visually and with H2X; 1 B-24 is lost and 56 damaged; 8 airmen are KIA and 1 WIA. 105 P-47s and P-51s escort. 4. 32 of 36 B-17s fly a DISNEY mission to the U-boat yard at Farge; 14 B-17s are damaged. 5. 6 B-17s fly screening missions. 6. 153 of 159 P-51s fly a freelance mission for the bombers; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft. 7. 11 P-51s escort 5 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany. 8. 26 of 31 P-51s fly scouting missions. Mission 919: During the night, 13 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany; 19 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions to Norway; 1 B-24 is lost and 1 crashes in the Orkney Islands. The German cruiser 'Köln' is sunk by aircraft from the US 8th Air Force. 'U-429' (type VIIC) is sunk near Wilhelmshaven in 53.13N 08.40E by US bombs.' U-430' (type VIIC) is sunk near Bremen in position 53.08N 08.46E by US bombs. 'U-348' (type VIIC) is sunk near Hamburg in position 53.33N 09.57E by US bombs.

    43 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 43 to Erfurt, 4 to Nordingen and 3 each to Hamburg and Kiel, 36 RCM sorties, 31 Mosquito patrols, 6 Mosquitos minelaying in Jade Bay and the River Weser. 1 Mosquito was lost from the Berlin raid. 'U-1167' (type VIIC/41) is sunk near the Deutsche Werke yard in Hamburg due to damage from British bombs.

    Adolf Hitler issues a decree drafted by Albert Speer, calling for war production to continue until the last possible moment, then for facilities to be crippled if possible, or destroyed otherwise.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 337 A-20s, A-26s and B-26s attack the Bad Oeynhausen tank factory, the Munden ordnance depot, the Ebenhausen oil depot, 2 town areas and 6 targets of opportunity, and drop leaflets; fighters escort the bombers, fly patrols and armed reconnaissance, and support ground forces; fighter support is provided for the US 3d and 7th Armored Divisions near Paderborn and at the Edersee dam on the Eder River, the XII Corps N of Frankfurt/Main, the XX Corps in the Hersfeld and Hanau areas, and the XVI Corps in the Marl-Polsum area.

    Lt. Victor Petermann, an ex-JG 52 fighter pilot flying a Me 262 with JG 7, downs his second B-17. But another Me 262 pilot with JG 7 is not so lucky. Lt. Karl “Quax” Schnorrer, formerly a wingman to Walter Nowotny of JG 54, is shot down over Hamburg. He bales out but again injures his legs similar to those injuries he suffered on 12 November, 1943. This time, one leg has to be amputated and his flying career is over.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): In Austria, 60+ B-17s and B-24s bomb the Vienna N stations and goods depot, the Graz and Klagenfurt marshalling yards, the Kapfenberg tank works, and several minor targets of opportunity; 28 P-38s and P-51s sweep the Zagreb, Yugoslavia-Graz, Austria area and others fly reconnaissance.

    WESTERN FRONT: The US 1st Army advance north from Marburg and crosses the River Eder. US 3rd Army is attempting to strike east and north toward Gotha and Kassel.
    Canadian forces clear Emmerich, Germany, of its defenders.

    A surrendering Luftwaffe pilot delivers a Me-262A-1 fighter to allied forces when it lands at an American airbase.

    'U-965' (type VIIC) is sunk north of Scotland, in position 58.19N, 05.31W by depth charges from the British frigates HMS Rupert and HMS Conn. 51 dead (all hands lost).

    HQ 322d Bombardment Group (Medium) and the 449th and 452d Bombardment Squadrons (Medium) from Tille Airfield, Beauvais, France to Le Culot, Belgium with B-26s; HQ 404th Fighter Group and the 506th Fighter Squadron from St Trond, Belgium to Keltz, Germany with P-47s; the 153d Liaison Squadron, IX Tactical Air Command (attached to Twelfth Army Group), from Euskirchen to Bad Godesberg, Germany; the 428th, 429th and 430th Fighter Squadrons, 474th Fighter Group, from Florennes, Belgium to Strassfeld, Germany with P-38s.

    MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy during the night of 29/30 Mar, A-20s and A-26s continue to pound Po River crossings, loading points, and other communications in the Po Valley; during the day XXII Tactical Air Command fighters and fighter-bombers fly some 400 sorties against fuel and ammunition dumps, stores, bridges, rail lines, marshalling yards, buildings, motor vehicles, trains, and a variety of targets over wide areas of N Italy; weather forces the medium bombers to attack mainly alternate targets; the B-25s bomb railroad bridges (or bridge approaches) at San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, Rovereto, Chiari, Palazzolo sull'Oglio, Legnago, Ora, and Romano di Lombardia.
     
  3. Njaco

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    WESTERN FRONT: The Allies are poised for the final attack on Germany. Armies are moving round the Ruhr to link up between Munster and Paderborn; Montgomery's 21st Army Group is heading for Germany's Baltic ports; Patton is about to link up with US First Army at Kassel; the US Seventh Army is advancing on Heidelberg while the First French Army is swinging south to the Swiss border. Allied air supremacy is total; bombing raids have left roads, railways and canal in ruins, while sunken ships clog many harbours. De Tassigny's French First Army crosses the Rhine near Speyer. Eisenhower broadcasts to the German armed forces, demanding their surrender.

    German LIII A.K., commanded by GL Fritz Bayerlein, with remnants of the 176 Inf. Div., Panzer Lehr Pz. Div., and 3 Pg. Div. attack the US 4 Arm. Div. near Paderborn. They are attempting to breakout of the "Ruhr pocket" and restore freedom of movement for Army Group B which is encircled there.

    The 162d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Group [attached to Reconnaissance Group (Provisional), XII Tactical Air Command], moves from Azelot to Haguenau, France with F-6s.

    NORTH AMERICA: Canada's Commonwealth air training program ends. 131,500 aircrew graduated.

    EASTERN FRONT: Ratibor on the upper Danube is taken by forces of the Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front.

    GERMANY: Hamburg: 469 RAF aircraft - 361 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, 8 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups attempted to attack the Blohm Voss shipyards, where the new types of U-boats were being assembled, but the target area was completely cloud-covered. The local report describes 'considerable damage' to houses, factories, energy supplies and communications over a wide area of southern Hamburg and Harburg. 8 Lancasters and 3 Halifaxes were lost, a number being victims of an unexpected intervention by the Luftwaffe day-fighter force. This was Bomber Command's last double-figure aircraft loss of the war from a raid on one city.

    (US Eighth Air Force): Mission 920: 1,348 bombers and 889 fighters are dispatched to hit synthetic oil plants, a refinery, munitions plant and tank factory; they claim 9-3-9 Luftwaffe aircraft; 5 bombers and 4 fighters are lost: 1. 229 B-17s are sent to hit the synthetic oil refinery at Zeitz using H2X radar; secondary targets hit are the oil plant at Bad Berka (29) and Gotha (20) visually; targets of opportunity are Erfurt (25) and other (8), hit visually; 3 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 108 damaged; 1 airman is KIA; 2 WIA and 30 MIA. Escorting are 117 of 120 P-51s; 1 is lost (pilot MIA). 2. 294 B-17s are sent to hit Brandenburg (265); targets of opportunity are Stendal (9) and Salzwedel (9); they claim 0-1-0 aircraft; 1 B-17 is damaged. 207 of 221 P-51s escort claiming 5-0-0 aircraft; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA). 3. 371 of 385 B-24s hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Brunswick; they claim 3-2-1 aircraft; 2 B-24s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 3 damaged; 10 airmen are KIA, 1 WIA and 29 MIA. The escort is 253 of 266 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 0-0-7 aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). 4. 369 of 432 B-17s attack the secondary, the marshalling yard at Halle; targets of opportunity are Leipzig (8), Weimar (36), Aschersleben (7) and other (1); 37 B-17s are damaged. Escorting are 225 of 233 P-51s. 5. 8 B-17s fly a screening mission. 6. 26 of 30 P-51s fly scouting missions; they claim 1-0-1 aircraft. 7. 19 P-51s escort 8 of 10 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 550+ A-20s, A-26s and B-26s hit storage depots at Ebrach, Wurzburg, and Marienburg, the marshalling yard at Wurzburg, the town area of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and a target of opportunity; fighters escort the bombers, hit special targets, fly armed reconnaissance, and support the US 3d and 9th Armored Divisions near Paderborn, the XII Corps as it charges toward Eisenach, the XX Corps along the Fulda and Eder Rivers, and the XVI and XIX Corps S of Haltern and NW of Lippstadt.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): 540 B-24s and B-17s bomb the Linz main railroad station and sidings, and the marshalling yards at Villach, Austria and Treviso, Italy and 3 minor targets of opportunity; P-51s and P-38s provide escort; 37 other fighters on sweeps and strafings attack railroad targets in the Munich, Germany-Linz, Austria-Regensburg, Germany area and 43 hit similar targets in the Prague, Czechoslovakia area; still other F-5s, P-38s and P-51s fly extensively reconnaissance and reconnaissance escort.

    The Me 262s of I and III Gruppen of JG 7, loaded with R4M rockets, intercept the bombers all day, claiming a total of twenty-one bombers destroyed. Double kills go to Oblt. Grunberg, Sturm, Todt, Lt. Schenk, Hptm. Schall and Ehrig. Lt. Weihs and Obfw. Gerhard Reiher also add to their scores. JG 7’s Major Ehrler claims a P-51 escorting a bomber formation in a classic ‘Herausschuss’ maneuver. The ‘Herausschuss’ tactic acknowledged a pilot’s skill in removing an enemy bomber from the collective protection of its formation and shooting it down.

    During the night Fw. Karl-Heinz Becker of 10./NJG 11 flying a Me 262 downs a RAF Mosquito while his commander, Oblt. Welter downs no less than four of the RAF night intruders.

    Willi Unger, Staffelkapitän of 14./JG 3, joins the pilots of the jet fighting unit JG 7.

    MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, medium bombers bomb several targets (mostly alternates) in the Po Valley and Brenner area despite bad weather; B-25s hit bridges or bridge approaches at San Michele all'Adige, Crema, Canneto sull'Oglio, Legnago, and Manerbio and Steinach, Austria, and a rail embankment at Salorno; XXII Tactical Air Command A-20s and other aircraft hit Po River crossings during the night of 30/31 Mar at Casalmaggiore, Ostiglia, Borgoforte, and San Benedetto Po, rail facilities at Piacenza and Cittadella, plus nearby ammunition dumps and other targets; fighter-bombers continue to pound communications and dumps at Lavis, Casarsa della Delizia, San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, Legnago, and several other points in the Po Valley and NE Italy; the 97th Bombardment Squadron (Light), 47th Bombardment Group (Light), moves from Grossetto to Pisa with A-20s and A-26s.
     
  4. Njaco

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    WESTERN FRONT: The US 1st and 9th Armies link up at Lippstadt, cutting off the German forces in the Ruhr which consist of 325,000 men mostly from German 15th Army and 5th Panzer Army of German Army Group B (Field Marshal Model). Other elements of US 1st Army capture Paderborn while US 9th Army units take Hamm. To the north, forces of British 2nd Army have crossed the Mitteland Canal near Munster and are advancing to Osnabruck.

    The LIII A.K. attack to breakout of the "Ruhr pocket" recaptures Medebach but can go no further. Hitler orders Field Marshall Walter Model, commander of Army Group B, to cease breakout attempts and to tie down as many enemy troops as possible through a vigorous defense.

    Paris: Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe are floodlit for the first time since the war broke out.

    (US Eighth Air Force): Mission 921: 12 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany during the night without loss.

    HQ 64th Fighter Wing from Nancy, France to Edenkoben, Germany; HQ 320th Bombardment Group (Medium), from Longvic Airfield, Dijon to Tavaux Airfield, Dole, France.

    The 72d Liaison Squadron, Ninth AF (attached to Sixth Army Group), moves from Kaiserlautern to Darmstadt, Germany with L-5s. During Apr 45, the following units move: HQ IX Fighter Command from Bruhl to Weimar, Germany; HQ 9th Bombardment Division (Medium) from Reims, France to Namur, Belgium; and HQ 99th Combat Bombardment Wing (Medium) from Beaumont, France to Tirlemont, Belgium.

    (US Ninth Air Force): No bomber operations due to weather. In Germany, fighters fly patrols, armed reconnaissance, and support the US 3d and 9th Armored Divisions in the Paderborn-Lippstadt and Warburg areas, the XX Corps astride and E of the Fulda River, and the XII Corps which reaches the Werra River W of Meiningen.

    EASTERN FRONT: In the East, bitter fighting rages in the western suburbs of the fortress city of Breslau. Soviet forces of 3rd Ukrainian Front capture Sopron in western Hungary, to the south of Vienna, in a continuing advance. The 2nd Ukrainian Front, to the north, also continues to advance. On the Oder River, German resistance at Glogau is eliminated by elements of 1st Ukrainian Front.

    The highest Soviet military command, Stavka, formulates the political goals of the strategic strikes of the coming summer: "to purge our country of fascist invaders and reach the Barents Sea - Black Sea line".

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): Almost 400 B-24s and B-17s bomb the Maribor, Yugoslavia railroad bridge, marshalling yards at Sankt Polten, Selzthal, Zeltweg, Graz, and Villach, Austria, the railroad bridge at Krieglach, Austria, and gun positions on the Adriatic coast near Venice, Italy; 82 P-38s bomb the Ybbs, Austria railroad bridge while 52 P-51s strafe rail traffic in the Prague-Plzen, Czechoslovakia area; other P-38s and P-51s fly reconnaissance and reconnaissance escort.

    FINLAND: Finnish Air Force changes its national insignia from blue swastika to a white-blue-white roundel.

    MEDITTERANEAN: British Guards and Commando units attack over the River Reno between Lake Comachio and the sea.

    Cesena: In a small cinema here four days ago, the commander of the Eighth Army, Lt-Gen Richard McCreery, summoned all officers over the rank of lieutenant-colonel. His intention, he told them, was to destroy the Germans south of the river Po in what could be the last great battle of the gruelling Italian campaign. Soon the Germans will face a massive assault from armies which include Americans (many of Japanese origin), Britons, Brazilians, Italians, New Zealanders, Poles, Indians, Gurkhas and a Jewish brigade. British commandos began their attack east of Lake Comacchio tonight.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy during the night of 31 Mar/1 Apr, A-20s and A-26s on intruder missions over the Po Valley continue to attack road and railroad bridges, motor transport, loading points, and other targets; principal strikes are made at Po River bridges; fighters and fighter-bombers during the day strike rail bridges, dumps, rail lines, marshalling yards, trains, vehicles, gun positions, several buildings (including an ammunition plant and truck factory), and a variety of targets of opportunity in the Po Valley and NE Italy; medium bombers hit railroad bridges at Calcinato, Crema, Mantua, Monselice, Colle Isarco, San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, and Perea.

    HQ 87th Fighter Wing is disbanded at Florence; HQ 321st Bombardment Group (Medium) moves from Solenzara, Corsica to Falconara.

    GERMANY: 4 RAF Mosquitos of No 100 Group, operating from a forward airfield in France, patrolled airfields in Southern Germany. 1 Mosquito was lost, hit by flak and seen to crash at Leipheim, a small airfield near Ulm.

    Seven USAAF bombers fall to the guns of Me 262s from JG 7. But due to the advancing Allies the I Gruppe of JG 7 are ordered evacuate Kaltenkirchen and move further into Germany. 1st Staffel moves to Brandenburg, 2nd Staffel to Burg and 3rd Staffel to Oranienburg.

    Major Siegfried Freytag is relieved of his command as Kommodore of JG 77. Major Fritz Losigkeit is named as Kommodore of the unit.
     
  5. Njaco

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    WESTERN FRONT: British 2nd Army advances north of Ruhr. Münster is taken. The Canadian 1st Army advances N. and E. between Nijmegan and Emmerith.

    Cpl Edward Thomas Chapman (b.1920), Monmouthshire Regt., forced back the Germans with a Bren gun, and later halted an attack. He was wounded trying to rescue his officer. (Victoria Cross)

    Ruhr: General Kurt Student was forced to postpone his planned counter-attack against the US Ninth Army in the Ruhr today because he has no fuel for his tanks. The shortage of fuel caused by Allied air attacks on synthetic fuel plants and the Red Army's occupation of the Romanian and Hungarian oil fields has crippled Germany's forces. The occupation by the Russians of Nagykanisza, the heart of the Hungarian oilfields, today shuts off the last tap.

    (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 922: 1. 447 B-17s, 261 B-24s and 572 P-47s and P-51s are dispatched against 6 airfields in Denmark but are recalled because of bad weather in the target area; 1 B-17 and 1 P-47 (pilot MIA) are lost and 1 P-47 is damaged beyond repair. 2. 26 of 27 P-51s fly a scouting mission without loss. 3. 15 P-51s escort 7 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany. Mission 923: During the night of 2/3 Apr, 9 of 10 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands, France and Germany without loss and 10 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions to Denmark without loss.

    HQ 358th Fighter Group from Toul, France to Sandhofen, Germany; HQ 69th Tactical Reconnaissance Group and 22d and 111th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons from Nancy and Azelot, France respectively to Haguenau, France with F-6s; 441st, 442d, 443d and 444th Bombardment Squadrons (Medium), 320th Bombardment Group (Medium), from Longvic Airfield, Dijon to Tavaux Airfield, Dole, France with B-26s.

    12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance) (attached to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group) from Euren to Ober Olm, Germany with F-6s; 30th Photographic Reconnaissance and 109th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, from Vogelsang to Limburg, Germany with F-5s and F-6s respectively; 39th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, Ninth AF [attached to 9th Tactical Reconnaissance Group (Provisional)] from Jarny, France to Maastricht, the Netherlands with F-5s.

    MEDITTERANEAN: Cpl Thomas Peck Hunter (b.1923), Royal Marines, charged 200 yards to draw fire away from his men. He forced three gun crews to surrender or flee, pressing on until he was killed. (Victoria Cross)

    Major General Benjamin W Chidlaw takes command of the Twelfth Air Force and will shortly take over command of the Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force (MATAF) also.

    (Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, A-20s and A-26s continue intruder missions during the night of 1/2 Apr concentrating on Po River crossings and other Po Valley communications targets; B-25s bomb railroad bridges at Fornovo di Taro, Drauburg, San Michele all' Adige, Matrei am Brenner, Steinach, and Colle Isarco, and a railroad fill at Vo Sinistro; fighters and fighter-bombers again hit communications in the Po Valley but divert sizeable effort to attacks on methane plants in the C Po area; the P-47s are attacked by about 40 fighters during the day, 13 are claimed destroyed; HQ 340th Bombardment Group (Medium) moves from Alesan, Corsica to Rimini.

    EASTERN FRONT: In southeast Hungary, Magykanizsa falls to the Soviet advance while in Slovakia, Kremnica is captured. The 3rd Ukrainian Front and Bulgarian forces capture Nagykanizsa, thereby gaining control of the main Hungarian oil production region. The 2nd Ukrainian front under conquers the industrial area of Mosonmagyarovar and reaches the Austrian border between Dounau and the Neusiedler Lake.

    GERMANY: In Germany, the IX and XIX Tactical Air Commands fly patrols and armed reconnaissance over wide expanses of Germany claiming 17 airplanes downed and the IX Tactical Air Command supports the US 9th Armored Division at the Diemel River bridgehead near Warburg.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): Almost 600 B-24s and B-17s, with fighter escorts, bomb communications targets in Austria including the marshalling yards at Graz, Sankt Polten, and Krems, and a railroad bridge on the Sulm River; 38 P-38s dive-bomb a railroad bridge at Wildon; 71 P-38s and 55 P-51s strafe Vienna-Munich, Germany and Wiener-Neustadt-Maribor, Yugoslavia rail traffic; others carry out photo and weather reconnaissance and reconnaissance escort flights.

    59 RAF training aircraft on a sweep over the North Sea, 54 Mosquitos to Berlin, 50 to Magdeburg, 8 to Lüneburg and 1 each to Hamburg and Lübeck, 55 RCM sorties, 26 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito lost from the Berlin raid.
     
  6. Njaco

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    EASTERN FRONT: In Austria, the Soviet forces take Wiener Neustadt. Almost all of Hungary is now clear of Axis troops while in Czechoslovakia Bratislava is besieged. The 2nd Ukrainian Front approaches close to Vienna.

    WESTERN FRONT: Capt Ian Oswald Liddell (b.1919), Coldstream Guards, scaled a road block and, in full view and under fire, disconnected the bombs planted on a bridge. He was killed on 21 April. (Victoria Cross)

    The US 76th Division reassembles at Homberg to mop up German rearguard resistance.

    10th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 69th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, from Nancy to Haguenau with F-6s (first mission is 17 Apr); 34th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, XII Tactical Air Command (attached to Provisional Reconnaissance Group), form Azelot to Haguenau with F-5s.

    HQ XXIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional) to Haltern; HQ 84th and 303d Fighter Wings from Munchen-Gladbach to Haltern; 14th Liaison Squadron, XIX Tactical Air Command (attached to Twelfth Army Group), from Oberstein to Berkersheim with L-5s; 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance), from Trier to Ober Olm with F-6s; 507th and 508th Fighter Squadrons, 404th Fighter Group, from St Trond, Belgium to Keltz with P-47s.

    MEDITTERANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy during the night of 2/3 Apr A-20s bomb the marshalling yard at Mantua, several Po River crossings and other communications targets in the Po Valley; weather hampers operations during the day; medium bombers cancel most missions, but manage to bomb the Po Valley bridges at Camposanto, Usigliano, and Modena; the XXII Tactical Air Command [including Brazilian and South African Air Force (SAAF) units] blast communications, fuel dumps, methane plants, trains, motor transport at numerous points in N Italy (mainly in the Po Valley), including Parma, Modena, Fidenza, Lodi, Bergamo, Reggio Emilia, and Piacenza. The detachment of the 414th Night Fighter Squadron, XXII Tactical Air Command, operating from Florennes, Belgium with Beaufighters, moves to Strossfeld, Germany.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 924: 752 B-17s and 569 P-51s are dispatched to hit U-boat yards at Kiel; they claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 bombers and 4 fighters are lost: 1. 693 of 752 B-17s hit the Deutsche U-boat yard and 24 hit the Howardts U-boat yard; 2 B-17s hit Flensburg Airfield a target of opportunity; 2 B-17s are lost and 121 damaged; 1 airman is WIA and 20 MIA. Escorting are 517 of 569 P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost and 2 damaged beyond repair. 2. 98 of 100 P-51s fly a sweep of the Kiel area; 1 is damaged beyond repair. 3. 4 P-51s escort 1 F-5 on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany. 4. 17 of 18 P-51s fly a scouting mission; 2 P-51s are lost. Mission 925: 1 B-17 and 10 B-24s are dispatched to drop leaflets in the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night; 1 returns to base.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, about 230 B-26s, A-20s and A-26s attack Holzminden and Hameln marshalling yards, the town of Gottingen, 2 targets of opportunity, and fly a leaflet mission; fighters fly escort, fly patrols and armed reconnaissance, support the US 9th Armored Division in the Warburg area, the XX Corps E of the Werra River toward Muhlhausen and in the Kassel area, the XII Corps in the Gotha and Suhl areas, and the 2d and 8th Armored Divisions in the Teutoburger Forest and Neuhaus

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): 95 P-38s divebomb the Tainach- Stein railroad bridge in Austria; other P-38s and P-51s fly reconnaissance and escort missions; bad weather prevents bomber operations. HQ 325th Fighter Group and the 317th, 318th and 319th Fighter Squadrons move from Rimini to Mondolfo, Italy with P-51s.

    247 RAF Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups to attack what were believed to be military barracks near Nordhausen. Unfortunately, the barracks housed a large number of concentration-camp prisoners and forced workers of many nationalities who worked in a complex of underground tunnels where various secret weapons were made. The camp and the tunnel workshops had been established immediately after Bomber Command attacked the rocket-research establishment at Peenemünde in August 1943. The bombing was accurate and many people in the camp were killed; the exact number is not known. The men working in the tunnels were unhurt. 2 Lancasters lost.

    95 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Plauen and 5 to Magdeburg, 17 Mosquito patrols. 9 Lancasters sent to lay mines in the Kattegat were recalled because of weather conditions. 1 Mosquito lost from the Magdeburg raid.

    General Gordon Gollob, in an effort to personally attack General Galland, issues a four page report on jet fighter operations stating: “ So far JV 44 has achieved nothing, even though it contains a number of very good pilots. Furthermore, it is pursuing operational methods, which are not merely at variance with, but actually counter-productive to, commonly accepted principles. It is proposed that the unit be disbanded and its pilots be employed more usefully within the ranks of other existing units.”
     
  7. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    WESTERN FRONT: British and Canadian units take Osnabruck. The US 9th Army reaches the River Weser at Hameln. The US 3rd Army captures Kassel. The army also frees the slave labour camp at Ohrduf near Gotha when elements of the 4th Armored and 89th Inf. Divisions enter the slave-labour camp which is an "aussenlager" or subsidiary camp of KZ Buchenwald, near Weimar. It is the first camp to be overrun on German territory by the Western Allies. The notorious KZ Natzweiler-Struthof in Alsace had been overrun by US forces in Nov.1944, but was previously evacuated by the SS. French Units take Karlsruhe. Gotha falls to US forces as US aircraft smash the naval bases at Kiel and Hamburg. The Nazi gold reserves are captured in the salt mine at Merkers.

    The 405th Fighter Squadron, 371st Fighter Group, moves from Metz, France to Eschborn Airfield, Frankfurt, Germany with P-47s. Ninth Air Force: HQ XXIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional) returns to the operational control of HQ Ninth AF (from the RAF Second Tactical AF) as the US Ninth Army reverts to control of the Twelfth Army Group (from the Twenty First Army Group); the British ground and air HQ have operationally controlled the XXIX Tactical Air Command and Ninth Army since shortly after the Ardennes breakthrough and the Battle of the Bulge.

    107th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, from Vogelsang to Limburg, Germany with F-6s; the 125th Liaison Squadron, IX Fighter Command (attached to Twelfth Army Group), from Munchen-Gladen to Haltern, Germany with L-5s; the 155th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, from Le Culot, Belgium to Maastricht, the Netherlands with F-3s; the 355th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, from Rosieres-en-Haye, France to Ober Olm, Germany with P-51s; and the 494th, 495th and 496th Bombardment Squadrons (Medium), 344th Bombardment Group (Medium), from Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France to Juzaine Airfield, Florennes, Belgium with B-26s.

    EASTERN FRONT: The Russian 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts complete the liberation of Hungary. Troops of the 2nd Ukrainian front capture Bratislava. The Germans forces counterattack in Moravska-Ostrava and Nitra.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 926: 1,431 bombers and 866 fighters are dispatched to hit airfields, a shipyard and a U-boat shipyard in Germany; they claim 30-4-30 Luftwaffe aircraft; 10 bombers and 4 fighters are lost. 1. 438 B-24s are sent to hit Parchim (33) and Perleberg (29) Airfields; 97 hit Wesendorf Airfield, the secondary; attacks are visual; they claim 6-4-6 aircraft; 6 B-24s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 76 damaged; 1 airman is KIA and 59 MIA. Escorting are 324 P-47s and P-51s; the P-47s claim 14-0-20 aircraft and the P-51s claim 9-0-3 aircraft; 1 P-47 and 3 P-51s are lost. 2. 443 B-17s are sent to hit Fassberg Airfield (149); secondary targets hit are Hoya (37) and Dedelsdorf (13) Airfields; targets of opportunity are Unterluss (39) and other (24); bombing is visual; 1 B-17 is lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 58 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 6 WIA and 4 MIA. The escort is 220 of 232 P-51s; 1 is lost. 3. 505 of 526 B-17s hit the Deutsche shipyard at Kiel using H2X radar; 2 others hit Eggebeck Airfield, a target of opportunity; 3 B-17s are lost and 50 damaged; 27 airmen are MIA. 208 of 223 P-51s without loss. 4. 22 of 24 B-17s fly a DISNEY mission attacking the Finkenwarder U-boat yard at Hamburg without loss. 5. 19 P-51s fly a scouting mission and claim 0-0-1 aircraft. 6. 25 P-51s escort 8 F-5s and 2 P-38s on photo and radar reconnaissance missions over Germany, claiming 1-0-0 aircraft. 7. 16 P-51s escort 1 OA-10 and 2 B-17s on air-sea-rescue patrols.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 330+ B-26s, A-20s and A-26s hit the Ebrach oil depot, Crailsheim marshalling yard and barracks area, Grossaspach supply depot, the town of Ellswangen, Backnang rail and road junction, and 2 targets of opportunity; fighters escort the bombers, fly patrols, sweeps, and armed reconnaissance, attack special targets, and support the US 104th Infantry Division at Scherfede and Hardehausen, the 9th Armored Division in the Warburg area, the XX Corps in the Muhlhausen-Kassel areas, the 2d and 5th Armored Divisions in the Hameln and Minden areas on the Weser River, and the 8th Armored Division as it assaults the Ruhr pocket in the Lippstadt area.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): Again bad weather prevents bomber operations and limits efforts to reconnaissance and escort missions and to strafing attacks by 94 P-51s on rail traffic in the Munich and Regensburg, Germany; Plzen, Czechoslovakia; and Linz, and Gmunden, Austria areas.

    243 RAF Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group, with 8 Pathfinder Mosquitos, attacked the barracks and the town of Nordhausen, which was severely damaged. 1 Lancaster lost.

    327 RAF Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 3, 6 and 8 Groups attacked the synthetic-oil plant at Leuna. The target was cloud-covered, the bombing was scattered and only minor damage was caused. 2 Lancasters lost.

    327 RAF aircraft - 277 Halifaxes, 36 Lancasters, 14 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked the Rhenania oil plant, Harburg. The target was easily identified and severe damage was caused to it. 2 Lancasters and 1 Halifax lost.

    258 RAF Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked the oil refinery at Lützkendorf. Bomber Command claimed 'moderate damage'. 6 Lancasters lost.

    35 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin and 31 to Magdeburg, 70 RCM sorties, 66 Mosquito patrols, 30 Lancasters minelaying in the Oslo Fjord and the Kattegat. 5 aircraft lost. 12 Mosquitos from the Magdeburg raid and 3 Lancasters of No 1 Group from the Kattegat minelaying operation. The 136 aircraft dispatched by No 100 Group on this night were that group's largest effort of the war.

    The crews of JG 7 have one of its roughest days in a series of bad circumstances. At Parchim, fifteen Me 262s are destroyed when the airfield is attacked by P-51s from USAAF 504th FS 339th FG. The jet fighters are caught by the Mustangs at their most vulnerable point – trying to take-off from the airfield. One jet shot down is the Me 262 of Major Rudi Sinner who bales out over a field before his plane crashes. After he is strafed on the ground by more Mustangs, Major Sinner plays ‘dead’ by lying prone in the field until he can scramble to cover and survive. Later, the Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 7, Major Erich Rudorffer is transferred from the jet unit, leaving each Staffel to operate as individual units until the end of the war. And finally a serious loss. Major Heinrich Ehrler, flying a Me 262 jet fighter with JG 7 downs a pair of B-17s over Schaarlippe before being killed near the airbase at Stendal by deliberately ramming a USAAF B-17 bomber. Major Ehrler was a 209 victory experte with 199 kills on the Eastern Front and five victories in the Me 262 on the Western Front. But the other Me 262 Geschwader, JV 44, scores a victory in almost the exact same maneuver as Major Ehrler. Uffz. Eduard Schallmoser misjudges his closing speed and clips the tail of an American P-38 Lightning near Munich. Uffz. Schallmoser earns the nickname “Jet Rammer”.

    Major Siegfried Freytag is transferred to the Geschwaderstab of JG 51.

    MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s continue to blast communications along the Brenner rail line, ranging from the railroad bridge at Drauburg to the Camposanto railroad bridge; the B-25s also inflict considerable damage on the Merano methanol plant; P-47s concentrate on enemy movement, rail lines, and ammunition and fuel dumps throughout the Po Valley. The 489th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 340th Bombardment Group (Medium), moves from Alesan, Corsica to Rimini, Italy with B-25s.

    HQ 90th Photographic Wing (Reconnaissance) begins a movement from San Severo, Italy to the US.
     
  8. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    WESTERN FRONT: 'U-242' (type VIIC) is sunk by a mine in St. George's Channel. All 44 of the crew are lost.

    In the West, the French First Army (de Tassigny) captures Karlsruhe on the upper Rine. The US 304th Infantry Regiment reaches the Wehre River and takes the bridge at Niederhone. Allied forces cross the Weser River at several points. 4th Canadian Armoured Division captures Almelo in north-east Holland.

    HQ 27th Fighter Group and 522d and 524th Fighter Squadrons from Ochey, France to Biblis, Germany with P-47s; 406th Fighter Squadron, 371st Fighter Group from Metz, France to Eschborn Airfield, Frankfurt, Germany with P-47s; 417th Night Fighter Squadron, 64th Fighter Wing [attached to First Tactical AF (Provisional)] from La Vallon to St Dizier, France with Beaufighters.

    HQ 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance) and the 31st Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron from Evren Airfield, Trier to Ober Olm, Germany with F-5s; HQ 344th Bombardment Group (Medium) and the 497th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) from Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France to Juzaine Airfield, Florennes, Belgium with B-26s; the 153d Liaison Squadron, IX Tactical Air Command (attached to Twelfth Army Group) from Bad Godesberg to Marburg, Germany with L-5s; the 167th Liaison Squadron, Ninth AF (attached to Sixth Army Group) from Vittel, France to Kaiserslautern, Germany with L-5s; the 450th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 322d Bombardment Group (Medium), from Tille Airfield, Beauvais, France to Le Culot, Belgium with B-26s.

    SS 'Gasray' (1,406t) on a voyage from Grangemouth to Blyth was sunk by German aircraft, off St Abbs Head.

    GERMANY: The Schwarze Korps, Himmler's respected Nazi publication, has conceded that Germany is on the verge of "absolute collapse". In an unprecedented admission, the magazine today says that the German people are "being forced to acknowledge that it may be possible to defeat us militarily". The piece goes on to say, however, that they will never stop fighting and that "our belief in the rightness of our cause hasn't changed by a single letter."

    Ferdinand Schörner is promoted to Field Marshal.

    (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 928: 1,358 bombers and 662 fighters attack marshalling yards, ordnance depots, armament works and airfields in Germany; they claim 8-0-6 aircraft; 10 bombers and 1 P-51 are lost: 1. 436 B-17s are dispatched to hit munitions dumps at Ingolstadt (211) and Grafenwohr (94), and the marshalling yard at Bayreuth (73); targets of opportunity are Weiden (30) and Nurnberg (1); the attacks are made visually; 1 B-17 is lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 2 damaged; 11 airmen are KIA and 2 WIA. Escorting are 182 of 201 P-51s; they claim 0-0-1 aircraft in the air and 7-0-3 on the ground. 2. 397 B-24s are sent to hit the marshalling yard at Plauen (151) and the munitions dump at Bayreuth (39); targets of opportunity are the munitions dump at Grafenwohr (1) and munitions plant at Ingolstadt (1); bombing is with H2X radar; 5 B-24s are lost and 5 damaged; 1 airman is WIA and 44 MIA. 280 P-47s and P-51s escort; they claim 1-0-2 aircraft in the air; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA). 3. 521 B-17s are sent to hit the Unterschlauersbach Airfield (59), an aircraft parts factory (13) and munitions depot (54) at Furth, and the Nurnberg S marshalling yard (37); 271 bombers hit the Nurnberg Station marshalling yard, the secondary; bombing is visual; 4 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 112 damaged; 8 airmen are KIA, 7 WIA and 39 MIA. The escort is 91 of 104 P-51s. 4. 4 B-17s fly scouting missions. 5. 18 P-51s escort 5 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany. 6. 35 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 929: 12 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night.

    (US Ninth Air Force): Weather prevents operations by the 9th Bombardment Division. In Germany, fighters fly patrols, sweeps, and armed reconnaissance, and support the US 7th Armored Division's attack on the Ruhr pocket SW of Brilon, the XX Corps' drive E in the Muhlhausen area, the XII Corps' advance in the Meiningen area, the 2d Armored Division bridgehead astride the Weser River S of Hameln, the 8th Armored Division (preparing for an assault on Soest), and the 5th Armored Division near Minden.

    The jets of JV 44 score their first against the “heavies” when Oblt. ‘Macki’ Steinhoff and a flight of five Me 262s downs an American B-17.

    EASTERN FRONT: The 3rd Ukrainian Front reaches the railway North West of Vienna, cutting the rail link with Linz.

    The Soviet Union plans to end its five-year neutrality pact with Japan, Moscow, leading to speculation that Russia may enter the war against Japan. The pact still has a year to run. Moscow radio broadcast the contents of a diplomatic note delivered earlier by Mr. Molotov, the commissar for foreign affairs, to the Japanese ambassador. It accused Japan of helping Germany in its war against the Soviet Union. Allied leaders immediately welcomed the Soviet move. They believe that Russia must eventually enter the war against Japan, opening up a new front in Manchuria. Tokyo radio immediately warned the Japanese people that relations between the two nations could change swiftly. It said that the Japanese government is prepared to make the greatest possible efforts to maintain peace with Russia. Explaining the Soviet decision the diplomatic note pointed out that the neutrality pact had been concluded in 1941, before Germany's attack on the Soviet Union and before the outbreak of hostilities between Japan, Britain and the US. "Since then the situation has radically changed," the note said. "Germany attacked the Soviet Union, and Japan, the ally of Germany, is helping her in her war against the Soviet Union. In addition Japan is fighting against the United States and Great Britain who are allies of the Soviet Union. In such circumstances the pact of neutrality between Japan and the Soviet Union has lost its meaning and its extension is proving impossible." Under the pact, if neither party had given notice of any change by next week, it would be automatically extended for five years.

    Partisan leader Josip Broz, Alias "Tito" signs a "friendship treaty" with the Soviet Union. The agreement permits "temporary entry of Soviet troops into Yugoslav territory." As part of the agreement Tito secure a proviso that the Soviets would leave Yugoslavia once its "Operational task" was completed.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): 457 B-24s and B-17s attack a railroad bridge at Dravograd, Yugoslavia, marshalling yards and locomotive depots at Brescia, Alessandria, and Turin, Italy, and the airfield at Udine, Italy; 96 P-38s dive-bomb the Radovljica, Yugoslavia railroad bridge, 27 P-51s with 13 flying top cover, strafe rail communications in the Munich, Regensburg, and Passau, Germany, and Linz, Austria areas; 20+ P-38s fly reconnaissance missions; around 300 fighter sorties are flown to escort transport, reconnaissance, and bomber missions (including an RAF raid on the Monfalconei, Italy shipyards).

    MEDITTERANEAN: The US 5th Army begins an attack north of Massa to drive on La Spezia.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): B-25s bomb 5 bridges in N Italy and Austria, at Steinach, Austria, and Matrei am Brenner, Modena, Salorno, and San Michele all'Adige, and blast gun positions at La Spezia, Italy; these attacks follow night raids by A-20s and A-26s on bridges at Lavis, Ala, San Michele all'Adige, San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, Piazzola sul Brenta, Cittadella, and Montebello, Italy and other targets; fighters and fighter bombers devote their largest effort to close support of ground forces, blasting occupied areas and gun positions in the Massa Lombarda area, and also attack communications and dumps in the Po Valley.
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    EASTERN FRONT: In the East, after eliminating the Heiligenbeil pocket, the Soviet 3rd Belorussian Front (Vassilevsky) reaches the Baltic coast in East Prussia, separating communications between 2.Armee (von Tippelkirch) defending besieged Königsberg and 4. Armee (Hossbach) holding the Vistula delta N of Marienbrg. In the Southeast, Tito partisans occupy Sarajevo in Bosnia. Soviet forces of 3rd Ukrainian Front capture Sopron in western Hungary, to the south of Vienna, in a continuing advance. The 2nd Ukrainian Front, to the north, also continues to advance. On the Oder River, German resistance at Glogau is eliminated by elements of 1st Ukrainian Front.

    In a dramatic broadcast tonight, Vienna radio announced that the Russians had broken into the suburbs of the city. The broadcast was interrupted by the noise of heavy gunfire as Marshal Tolbukhin's men penetrated to within a mile of the city centre. "At this very moment," said the announcer, "shells are howling over our heads, over the ancient tower of St. Stephen, the heavily-damaged Burgtheater and the castle of Schonbrunn. Our men are firing with all guns. Vienna Volkstürm formations have been deployed on a square. They are going into battle at any minute now to support the soldiers of the Wehrmacht fighting only a few kilometres away. "We can see the bombs and shells crashing. The Russians are trying to enter the bulwark of the German south-east. The thunder of battle is enveloping the front-line city of Vienna." Then, after a short interlude of Viennese music, the announcer called for a "backs to the wall" defence of the city.

    GERMANY: The Germans move 15,000 Jewish prisoners out of Buchenwald camp.

    Deutsche Reichbahn operates the 'Taifun Express', a special train of seventy tarpauling covered cars (formerly used for V-2 parts) and twelve boxcars/passengers cars. The train is commanded by Luftwaffe 1st Lt. Dr. Klaus Schneufelen. The train transports all the machinery and raw materials needed to mass produce 700 Taifun unguided surface-air missiles from Camp Dora to Austria. The train departs Herzberg Station before noon today. It will skirt the western Harz Mountains via Osterode, Seesen and Goslar.

    British Bomber Command is directed to discontinue area-bombing unless specifically directed.

    54 RAF Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group to attack a ship or ships which had broken the naval blockade around that large part of Western Holland where German forces were cut off. The raid was abandoned because of bad weather.

    Returning to active combat since August 1944 Major Gerhard Schöpfel is appointed Kommodore of JG 6.

    WESTERN FRONT: The US 1st and 9th Armies link up at Lippstadt, cutting off the German forces in the Ruhr which consist of 325,000 men mostly from German 15th Army and 5th Panzer Army of German Army Group B (Field Marshal Model). Other elements of US 1st Army capture Paderborn while US 9th Army units take Hamm. To the north, forces of British 2nd Army have crossed the Mitteland Canal near Munster and are advancing to Osnabruck. With the prisoner figure already touching 100,000, they reckon the final total will be well over 300,000 when the final pockets of resistance from Field Marshal Walter Model's Army Group B have been eliminated. Simpson's US Ninth Army came down from the north to join up with Hodge's First at Lippstadt, east of the Rühr valley. In this area, Warburg was captured after German civilians armed with bazookas, put up token resistance to the First Army. The Ninth is now clearing up Hamm, a railway centre and industrial town on the northern edge of the Rühr and a regular RAF target over the years. Some German units lodged in the many wooded areas in this region are apparently unaware of Allied movements. When fatigue parties came out to collect ammunition from a dump near Marburg they found Allied troops awaiting them. 3rd Canadian Division takes Zutphen in north-east Holland.

    At Hamelin, First Lieutenant Raymond O. Beaudoin, United States Army, Company F, 119th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division, led the 2d Platoon of Company F over flat, open terrain when the Germans went into action with machineguns and automatic weapons, laying down a devastating curtain of fire which pinned the Americans to the ground. By rotating men in firing positions he made it possible for his entire platoon to dig in, defying all the while the murderous enemy fire to encourage his men and to distribute ammunition. He then dug in himself at the most advanced position, where he kept up a steady fire, killing 6 hostile soldiers, and directing his men in inflicting heavy casualties on the numerically superior opposing force. Despite these defensive measures, however, the position of the platoon became more precarious, for the enemy had brought up strong reinforcements and was preparing a counterattack. Three men, sent back at intervals to obtain ammunition and reinforcements, were killed by sniper fire. To relieve his command from the desperate situation, 1st Lt. Beaudoin decided to make a l-man attack on the most damaging enemy sniper nest 90 yards to the right flank, and thereby divert attention from the runner who would attempt to pierce the enemy's barrier of bullets and secure help. Crawling over completely exposed ground, he relentlessly advanced, undeterred by 8 rounds of bazooka fire which threw mud and stones over him or by rifle fire which ripped his uniform. Ten yards from the enemy position he stood up and charged. At point-blank range he shot and killed 2 occupants of the nest; a third, who tried to bayonet him, he overpowered and killed with the butt of his carbine; and the fourth adversary was cut down by the platoon's rifle fire as he attempted to flee. He continued his attack by running toward a dugout, but there he was struck and killed by a burst from a machinegun. By his intrepidity, great fighting skill, and supreme devotion to his responsibility for the well-being of his platoon, 1st Lt. Beaudoin single-handedly accomplished a mission that enabled a messenger to secure help which saved the stricken unit and made possible the decisive defeat of the German forces. (MOH)

    MEDITTERANEAN: British Guards and Commando units attack over the River Reno between Lake Comachio and the sea. Second Lieutenant Vernon Baker of the US Army showed outstanding courage and leadership in destroying German installations. Personally killing five Germans. MOH.
     
  10. Njaco

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    WESTERN FRONT: In the West, the US Ninth Army captures Hameln and Eisenach on the road to Leipzig. There is heavy fighting by US 1st and 9th Armies around the Ruhr pocket. The German army in the west is disintegrating under the impact of Allied columns racing for Bremen. Hamburg, Hanover, Magdeburg and the Elbe. The roads are filled with long columns of prisoners trudging westwards into Allied prison camps. The British are closing on Hanover on the Autobahn to Berlin, while another spearhead is driving for Bremen. In the south, the Americans have broken through to Wurzburg. The devastation of the Rhine battle zone has been left behind and the Allied forces are passing through towns apparently untouched by war, except for empty shelves in shops and white flags hanging outside houses. Among the gains in the Allied advance to the east is Gottingen. Free French paratroops are dropped north of Zuider Zee in Holland.

    The Reichs gold reserve is captured when the 282nd Combat Engineer Battalion of Patton's 3d Army, discovers the Reichsbank gold reserve cache in the Kaiseroda potassium mine at Merkers. The haul includes 8,198 bars of gold bullion; 55 boxes of crated gold bullion; hundreds of bags of gold items; over 1,300 bags of gold Reichsmarks, British gold pounds, and French gold francs; 711 bags of American twenty-dollar gold pieces; hundreds of bags of gold and silver coins; hundreds of bags of foreign currency; 9 bags of valuable coins; 2,380 bags and 1,300 boxes of Reichsmarks (2.76 billion Reichsmarks); 20 silver bars; 40 bags containing silver bars; 63 boxes and 55 bags of silver plate; 1 bag containing six platinum bars; and 110 bags from various countries. The enormity of this hoard is such that Eisenhower appoints Colonel Bernard D. Bernstein, deputy chief, Financial Branch, G-5 Division of SHAEF to be responsible for its disposition.

    The destroyer escort USS 'Gustafson' (DE-182) sinks German submarine 'U-857' off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

    'U-1195' (German) 96' Depth charged; 9 of 10 self escape from after hatch even with 40 degree list on bottom, one without Drager gear, PoWs.

    GERMANY: The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 931: 1,314 bombers and 898 fighters are dispatched to hit airfields, oil and munitions depots and explosive plants in central and northern Germany; all primary targets are bombed visually; they meet 100+ conventional fighters and 50+ jets; the German fighters attack fiercely and in the ensuing air battle down 15 heavy bombers; the AAF claims 104-13-32 aircraft including a few jets. These Luftwaffe attacks are by the hastily formed Schulungslehrgang Elbe unit - Unternehmen Werewulf. 120 Bf-109s engage by ramming, destroying at most 13 bombers at a cost of 53 German fighters. Many of the poorly trained pilots never even engaged the US formation. 143 B-17s bomb airfields at Kaltenkirchen and 134 hit Parchim; 36 attack an oil depot at Buchen while 104 bomb a munitions depot at Gustrow; secondary targets hit are the marshalling yards at Neumunster by 37 B-17s and Schwerin by 48 B-17s; 1 other hit Salzwedel Airfield, a target of opportunity; they claim 26-10-10 aircraft; 14 B-17s are lost. Escorting are 317 P-51s; they claim 31-1-8 aircraft; 3 P-51s are lost. 128 B-24s bomb an explosive plants at Krummel while 168 bomb a plant at Duneburg; 26 others hit the marshalling yard at Neumunster; they claim 14-2-6 aircraft; 3 B-24s are lost. The escort is 252 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 30-0-7 aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost. 107 B-17s attack the airfield at Wesendorf , 93 hit Kohlenbissen Airfield and 115 bomb an oil depot at Hitzacker; 92 hit Lundeburg, the secondary; 25 others bomb targets of opportunity; they claim 0-0-1 aircraft. 209 P-51s escort without loss.

    The Ninth Air Force dispatches 268 A-20s, A-26 Invaders and B-26 Marauders to strike marshalling yards at Northeim and Gottingen, plus 2 town areas; fighters fly escort, patrols, and armed reconnaissance, and support the US 7th Armored Division at Schmallenberg, the 3d and 9th Armored Divisions along the Weser River east of Warburg, the VIII, XII, and XX Corps in the Muhlhausen, Eisenach, and Meiningen areas (including strong air support against a counterattack on the XII and XX Corps at Struth), the 2d Armored Division along the Sarstedt-Hildesheim road, and the XVI Corps between the Lippe and Ruhr Rivers in the Essen area.

    A small number of Fifteenth Air Force bombers attack marshalling yards at Innsbruck, Sankt Veit an der Glan, and Klagenfurt. 82 P-38s bomb the Tainach-Stein railroad bridge while 74 others sent against a bridge in southern Austria abort due to weather.

    The 'Taifun Express' is attacked by American fighter-bombers late this afternoon near Vienenburg. As all the women prisoners had been locked into the first three railways carriages behind the locomotive, their casualties are high. The train carries on to Magdeburg, Riesa, Dresden and Prague.

    RAF Mosquito bombers raid Berlin from bases on the continent, for the first time.

    15 RAF Lancasters (No 617 Squadron) and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group carried out an accurate attack on ships at Ijmuiden. No aircraft lost.

    175 RAF Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the benzol plant at Molbis, near Leipzig. The weather was clear and the bombing was so effective that all production at the plant ceased. No aircraft lost.

    MEDITTERANEAN: Okutsu, Yukio, Tech. Sgt., 442nd Regimental Combat Team, will be awarded the MOH for actions today at Mount Belvedere.

    During the night of 6/7 April, Twelfth Air Force A-20s and A-26s bomb bridges at Lavis, Ala, Rovereto, and San Ambrogio di VaIpolicella, and several Po River crossings; during the day weather grounds the medium bombers; XXII Tactical Air Command fighters and fighter bombers, operating on a limited scale, hit the Montechino oil field, ammunition dumps and communications targets north of the battle area, and gun positions in the Monte Belvedere-Strettoia area in which US Fifth Army forces push north. 128 Fifteenth Air Force B-17s and B-24s attack the Mezzocorona railroad bridge and nearby road bridge, and the Verona-Parona di VaIpolicella railroad bridge while 500+ bombers return to base without bombing because of multi-layer clouds.

    EASTERN FRONT: Army Group Centre, under General Schörner, continues with its attacks against the 2nd and 4th Ukrainian Fronts.
     
  11. Njaco

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    #1371 Njaco, Apr 8, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010
    WESTERN FRONT: The US 7th Army captures Schweinfürt. On the southern flank, troops of the French 1st Army take Pforzheim as they continue their drive to the southeast.

    GERMANY: The US Eighth Air Force flies Mission 932: 1,173 bombers and 794 fighters attack various targets in Germany; 9 bombers and 1 fighter are lost. 31 B-17s bomb the Derben oil depot and 73 attack Schafstadt Airfield; 213 bomb the Halberstadt marshalling yard while 73 attack the Stendal marshalling yard; Derben is hit visually and the others targets visually and with H2X radar; 4 B-17s are lost. Escorting are 239 P-51s. 86 B-17s hit the marshalling yards at Plauen, 101 hit the marshalling yards at Hof, 111 bomb the marshalling yard at Eger and 203 attack an ordnance depot at Grafenwohr; the attacks are made visually and with H2X radar; 5 B-17s are lost. Escort is provided by 235 P-51s. 51 B-24s attack the munitions depot at Bayreuth, 89 bomb the Blumenthal jet aircraft factory at Furth while 57 bomb Unterschlauersbach Airfield and 91 hit Roth Airfield. The escort is 245 P-47s and P-51s; 1 P-47 is lost.

    A new gunsight, the EZ 42 automatic gunsight, is used to good success as Uffz. Geisthovel of JG 7 in a Me 262 jet fighter shoots down two USAAF P-51Ds.

    Around 620 Ninth Air Force A-20s, A-26 Invaders, and B-26 Marauders bomb the Munchenbernsdorf oil storage depot, the Sonderhausen communications center, Nienhagen oil refinery, Celle marshalling yard, and 8 city areas; fighters escort the bombers, attack an airfield, fly patrols and armed reconnaissance, and operate in conjunction with the US VIII, XII, and XX Corps in the Thuringer Forest and Erfurt areas.

    Fifteenth Air Force P-38s bomb the Garmisch railroad bridge and strafe rail traffic in the Munich, area. Fifteenth Air Force P-38s bomb the Rattenberg railroad bridge and strafe rail traffic in the Salzburg and Linz areas.

    440 RAF aircraft - 263 Halifaxes, 160 Lancasters, 17 Mosquitos - of Nos 4,6 and 8 Groups dispatched to Hamburg. 3 Halifaxes and 3 Lancasters lost. This attack was intended for the shipyard areas but partial cloud caused the raid to become dispersed. Some damage was probably caused to the shipyards but, as an American raid on the yards had taken place a few hours earlier, damage seen in photographs could not be allocated between the two forces. This was the last major Bomber Command raid of the war on Hamburg.

    231 RAF Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the Lützkendorf oil refinery, which had escaped serious damage the previous night. The refinery was rendered 'inactive'. 6 Lancasters lost.

    22 RAF Halifaxes of No 4 Group in a diversionary raid on Travemünde, 71 Mosquitos to Dessau, 28 to Berlin (where Oboe from forward ground stations was used for the first time) and 8 to Munich, 64 RCM sorties, 43 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    The fighters of JG 1 with their He 162 Volksjäger jets move from Parchim to Ludwigslust.

    MEDITTERANEAN: Maj. Anders Frederick Emil Victor Schau Lassen (b.1920), General List (SAS), a Dane, led a patrol which wiped out three German positions on a lake. Mortally wounded, he died next day. (Victoria Cross)

    During the night of 7/8 April, US Twelfth Air Force A-20s and A-26s hit command posts and dumps; medium bombers, despite bad weather bomb railroad bridges at Salorno, San Michele all' Adige, Vo Sinistro, and Bondeno, a railroad fill and canal at Salorno, and gun positions at La Spezia; XXII Tactical Air Command fighter-bombers concentrate their efforts on the Brenner area communications (cutting lines in 31 places and damaging 4 bridges), oil fields in the central Po Valley, and points further north.

    500+ Fifteenth Air Force B-24s and B-17s, with fighter escorts, attack communications in northern Italy, concentrating on the transportation system feeding into the Brenner Pass; bridges, viaducts, and marshalling yards are hit at or near Bressanone, Campodazzo, Vipiteno, Fortezza, Campo di Trens, Mezzocorona, Avisio, Brescia, Gorizia, Pordenone, and Ponte Gardena; a power dam at Ponte Gardena is also hit.

    EASTERN FRONT: In Austria, the Soviet forces push on west of Vienna despite German counterattacks. There is heavy fighting in the Austrian capital. In East Prussia, the Soviet attacks on Konigsberg begin to break through the defenses. The Red Air Force drops 1,500 tons of bombs on Königsberg.
     
  12. Njaco

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    EASTERN FRONT: Königsberg Fortress surrenders to the Soviets. The siege has lasted 59 days. The fighting cost the Germans 42,000 men dead and 27,000 captured. A quarter of the city's population, 25,000 civilians, also died in the fighting because Hitler refused to allow their evacuation. General Otto Lasch, his situation hopeless, finally surrendered to prevent more bloodshed. Hitler is furious and has ordered him to be shot, but he is already a prisoner. Some of the German troops in East Prussia continue to resist in the Samland Peninsula.

    WESTERN FRONT: In the attacks against the Ruhr pocket, US 9th Army units penetrate into Essen and reach the famous Krupp factories. Other British and American units, including some more from US 9th Army, are advancing near the Leine River to the east.

    GERMANY: Hamburg: 57 RAF Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked oil-storage tanks (40 aircraft) and U-boat shelters (17 aircraft of No 617 Squadron with Grand Slams and Tallboys). Both attacks were successful. 2 Lancasters were lost from the raid on the oil tanks.

    591 RAF Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups to Kiel. 3 Lancasters lost. This was an accurate raid, made in good visibility on two aiming points in the harbour area. Photographic reconnaissance showed that the Deutsche Werke U-boat yard was severely damaged, the 'Admiral Scheer' capsizes, while the 'Admiral Hipper' and 'Emden' are damaged beyond repair. The local diary says that all 3 shipyards in the port were hit and that the nearby residential areas were severely damaged.

    22 RAF Halifaxes in a diversionary raid to Stade, 44 Mosquitos to Berlin, 37 to Plauen and 24 to Hamburg, 45 RCM sorties, 37 Mosquito patrols, 70 Lancasters and 28 Halifaxes minelaying in Kiel Bay and the Little Belt. 1 Halifax from the diversion raid crashed in France.

    The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 935: 1,252 bombers and 846 fighters are dispatched to visually attack underground oil storage, an ammunition plant and 10 jet airfields; they claim 85-1-60 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 bombers and 5 fighters are lost: 76 B-17s bomb a munitions plant at Wolfratshausen while 107 hit Oberpfaffenhofen Airfield and 139 attack Furstenfeldbruck Airfield. Escorting are 137 P-51s; they claim 4-0-10 aircraft on the ground. 89 B-17s attack an oil depot and 66 attack an airfield at Neuburg while 128 bomb Schleissheim Airfield; 3 B-17s are lost. The escort is 193 P-51s; they claim 1-0-3 aircraft in the air and 70-0-37 on the ground; 3 P-51s are lost. 212 B-17s bomb Riem Airfield at Munich; 10 others hit the secondary, the marshalling yard at Ingolstadt; 3 B-17s are lost. 149 P-51s escort; they claim 6-0-4 aircraft on the ground; 1 P-51 is lost. 109 B-24s bomb Lechfeld Airfield, 96 attack Memmingen Airfield, 88 hit Leipheim Airfield, 62 bomb Landsberg Airfield and 33 hit Landsberg East landing ground; 1 B-24 is lost. 193 P-51s escort claiming 4-0-5 aircraft on the ground.

    A large American B-17 bomber raid on Munich demolishes the runway at Riem and damages six Me 262s of JV 44.

    Obstlt. Bär of III./EJG 2 downs two B-26 Marauder twin engined bombers near Lechfeld.

    During the night of 9/10 April, the Eighth Air Force flies Mission 937: 14 B-24s bomb Stade Airfield using PFF methods; 5 Mosquito's escort the bombers.

    700+ Ninth Air Force A-20s, A-26 Invaders and B-26 Marauders strike marshalling yards at Jena and Saalfeld, oil targets at Bad Berka and Dedenhausen, ordnance depots at Naumburg and Amberg-Kummersbruck, and several targets of opportunity; fighters escort the bombers, attack several airfields and a fuel storage facility, fly area patrols and armed reconnaissance, and support the III Corps along the Lenne River, the 3d Armored Division east of the Weser River toward Nordhausen, the VIII Corps in the Arnstadt area and the XII and XX Corps in the Thuringer Forest and around Erfurt.

    150+ Fifteenth Air Force P-38s bomb and strafe railroad bridges at Rattenberg, Seefeld, and Telfs, Austria and Rosenheim, and to the south near the Austro-German border, and also hit rail lines in the Munich-Rosenheim.

    MEDITTERANEAN: The British 8th Army under General McCreery begins a spring offensive. They advance towards Ferrana and Bologna. Initially, the Polish 2nd Corps advances along Route 9 toward Imola supported by British 5th and 10th Corps the right and left flanks. The objectives of the offensive include Ferrara and Bologna while the US 5th Army, which is scheduled to begin operations on April 14th, is to strike at Bologna and past Modena to the Po River. The US 5th Army begins minor ops towards Modena.

    Sepoy Ali Haidar (b.1913), 13th Frontier Force Rifles, overcame two strongpoints to enable his company to establish a bridgehead. (Victoria Cross)

    Sepoy Namdeo Jadhao (b.1921), 5th Mahratta Light Infantry, carried two men through a minefield, then silenced three machine-guns, allowing a bridgehead to be secured. (Victoria Cross)

    Twelfth Air Force A-20s and A-26s on intruder missions during the night of 8/9 April, bomb bridges, vehicles, and targets of opportunity in the Po River Valley and northeastern Italy; during the day B-25s and XXII Tactical Air Command fighter-bombers [in conjunction with RAF Desert Air Force fighter-bombers and Mediterranean Allied Strategic Air Force heavy bombers] blast gun positions, troop concentrations, enemy HQ, and strongpoints in the Lugo-Imola area in support of a British Eighth Army offensive; other XXII Tactical Air Command fighter-bombers hit communications in northern Italy (including the Brenner line) and methane plant and ammunition and fuel dumps in the west central Po Valley. 825 Fifteenth Air Force B-24s and B-17s in close coordination with the British Eighth Army, pound gun positions and other forward military targets southeast of Bologna, in the area immediately west and southwest of Lugo; 88 P-51s provide target cover. 90+ P-51s escort supply (to northern Italy) and transport missions and support tactical aircraft attacking positions in the Imola area; other airplanes continue reconnaissance operations.

    A Liberty ship loaded with aircraft bombs blows up in Bari harbor killing 360 and injuring 1730.
     
  13. Njaco

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    WESTERN FRONT: Forces of Canadian 1st Army pressure German positions in Holland and begin operations to cross the Ijssel River. British 2nd Army is advancing toward Bremen. Hanover falls to the US 13th Corps (part of US 9th Army). US 3rd Army advances toward Erfurt and US 7th Army advances toward Nuremberg.

    Private John M. Galione, US 104th 'Timberwolf' Infantry Division, discovers the entrance to Mittelbau Dora, a huge Nazi concentration camp and manufacturing plant, after a 5 day scouting mission.

    GERMANY: The US 8th Air Force launches its heaviest raid to date (1,232 bombers) against Berlin. Mission 938: 1,315 bombers and 905 fighters are dispatched to attack airfields known or suspected to be used by jet aircraft; about 60 jets and a few conventional fighters attack the formations; 19 bombers and 8 fighters are lost; the AAF claims 328-4-249 Luftwaffe aircraft. They are attacked by surface to air missiles. 278 B-17s bomb the Army HQ munitions depot and another 139 bomb the airfield at Oranienburg; 11 hit Rechlin Airfield, the secondary; they claim 7-1-8 aircraft; 9 B-17s are lost. Escorting are 273 P-51s; they claim 11.5-0-8 aircraft in the air and 56-0-32 on the ground; 4 P-51s are lost. 132 B-17s hit Neuruppin Airfield; 9 others hit the marshalling yard at Stendal, the secondary; 1 B-17 is lost . The escort of 112 P-51s claims 128-0-94 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground; 1 P-51 is lost. 138 B-17s bomb the Briest Airfield at Brandenburg, 75 hit Zerbst Airfield and 147 attack Burg-Bei-Magdeburg Airfield; they claim 10-3-4 aircraft; 8 B-17s are lost. 172 P-51s escort; they claim 6-0-2 aircraft in the air and 84-0-43 on the ground; 2 P-51s are lost. 159 B-24s hit Rechlin Airfield, 103 bomb Larz Airfield at Rechlin (103) and 32 hit Parchim Airfield; 9 others hit the marshalling yard at Wittenberge, a target of opportunity; 1 B-24 is lost. The escort is 207 P-51s; they claim 1-0-1 aircraft in the air and 20-0-21 on the ground.

    Another ace is lost. Hptm. Franz Schall, Staffelkapitän of 10./JG 7, tries to bring his Me 262 jet fighter down at Parchim airfield during an emergency landing after combat with USAAF fighters. His plane hits a new bomb crater and explodes, killing Hptm. Schall. Hptm. Schall had 177 enemy aircraft destroyed including fourteen kills with the Me 262. Oblt Walter Schuck of 3./JG 7 shoots down four B-17s before being shot down himself. He successfully bales out of his damaged Me 262.

    At the JV 44 airfield at Riem, USAAF P-51s strafe the runway and damage three more Me 262s. Another raid at Burg destroys three more Me 262s of 10./NJG 11, formerly known as Kommando Welter.

    423 Ninth Air Force A-20s, A-26 Invaders, and B-26s strike oil storage and ordnance depots, rail bridge and viaduct (all primary targets) and several other targets including a marshalling yard and an industrial area; fighters escort the bombers, fly patrols, rail cutting operations, and armed reconnaissance, and support the US 13th Armored Division crossing the Sieg River near Siegburg, the 3d Armored Division approaching Nordhausen, the 9th Armored Division in the Hain area, the XII Corps near Coburg, the XX Corps west of Weimar and the Saale River, the 2d and 5th Armored Divisions crossing the Oker River in the Ahnsen and Schladen areas, and the XVI Corps along the Ruhr River in the Essen area.

    152 Fifteenth Air Force P-38s dive-bomb bridges, a tunnel and marshalling yards at Seefeld and Worgl.

    230 RAF aircraft - 134 Lancasters, 90 Halifaxes, 6 Mosquitos - attacked the Engelsdorf and Mockau railway yards at Leipzig. The weather was clear and the bombing was accurate. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost.

    Plauen: 307 RAF Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. No aircraft lost. The bombing fell around the railway yards in the northern half of the town. The railways were hit and 365 acres, 51 per cent, of the town's built-up area were also destroyed.

    76 RAF Lancasters and 19 Mosquitos of 5 and 8 Groups attacked the Wahren railway yards, Leipzig. The eastern half of the yards was destroyed. 7 Lancasters lost.

    77 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 21 to Chemnitz and 7 to Bayreuth, 53 RCM sorties, 26 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid and 1 RCM Halifax were lost.

    MEDITTERANEAN: First came 234 US medium bombers, which dropped 24,000 20-pound incendiary bombs. Next, 740 fighter-bombers of the US Tactical Air Force swooped down on enemy gun and mortar sites. And then 825 heavies dropped 1,692 tons around Lugo. No sooner had the dazed German defenders pulled themselves together than the artillery - 1,500 guns - opened up for 42 minutes. The Germans braced themselves for the infantry assault. But it did not come. Four more "false-alarm" barrages were to follow before the infantry, advancing behind flame-throwing tanks, crossed the river Senio. Four months of intensive training are paying a rich dividend. By dawn this morning the Allies were crossing the river in strength over three Bailey bridges erected during the night by the Royal Engineers. As bombers and artillery began a new barrage, Punjabis of the 8th Indian Division were preparing to cross the Santerno river. On the right flank, Fantails - tracked amphibious vehicles - of the 9th Armoured Brigade and 56th Infantry Division have been struggling through the shallow waters of Lake Comacchio to land behind the German lines and threaten Argenta and the Reno river. The Allies are enjoying almost total domination of the air. Their navigators have a new card index of reconnaissance photographs to help identify individual targets, and observers on the ground can call up fighter-bombers from a "cab-rank" above.

    During the night of 9/10 April, Twelfth Air Force A-20s and A-26s hit guns and other close support targets along the British Eighth Army front (which stretches from west of Imola to Comacchio Lagoon and the coast) and also hit several Po River crossings and attack the Brenner line bridges at Lavis, Rovereto, and San Michele all'Adige; during the day B-25s and XXII Tactical Air Command fighter-bombers continue pounding support targets along the battlefront; fighter-bombers also attack bridges on the Brenner line and communications and other targets in the Po Valley.

    648 Fifteenth Air Force B-24s and B-17s, in support of British Eighth Army forces, blast artillery positions, machine gun nests, and infantry defenses along the Santerno River; this effort represents the largest number of Fifteenth Air Force heavy bombers attacking targets in a single day as of this date; 88 P-51s fly target cover.

    UNITED KINGDOM: The last German sortie over British territory during the war is conducted by a Luftwaffe Ar234 reconnaissance jet.
     
  14. Njaco

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    WESTERN FRONT: The US 9th Army reaches the River Elbe. The US 3rd Army takes Weimar. Advancing close behind the US 6th Armoured Division, the 76th Division reaches the Butstaedt area. Forces of the British 2nd Army cross the Leine River near Celle. In the Netherlands, Operation Cannonshot begins, with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division crossing the Ijssel River, aiming for Apeldoorn. By 2100 hours, a secure bridgehead is established. German counterattacks over night are successfully repulsed.

    US troops find an intact V-weapon plant at Nordhausen, and remove as much material as possible to keep it from the Russians. The first troops arrive at 11.30am after being radioed in by Pvt. Galione who was calling them into neighbouring Mittelbau Dora camp. Instead they got lost and stumbled upon Nordhausen.

    Buchenwald concentration camp is liberated.

    GERMANY: The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 941: 1,303 bombers and 913 fighters are dispatched to hit a variety of targets in Germany; 1 B-17 is lost: 300 B-17s bomb the Freiham oil depot and 133 attack the Kraiburg munitions plant; secondary targets hit are the munitions depot at Landshut and the marshalling yard at Treuchtlingen; 1 B-17 is lost. Escorting are 273 P-51s. 28 B-17s bomb the munitions depot and 82 hit the marshalling yard at Landshut; 131 attack the airfield and 79 hit the marshalling yard (79) at Ingolstadt; 70 bomb the marshalling yards at Treuchtlingen and 108 bomb the marshalling yards at Donauworth without loss. The escort is 281 P-51s. 79 B-24s bomb the Obertraubling Airfield, 31 hit a munitions depot while 80 attack an oil depot at Regensburg; 71 bomb the marshalling yards at Neumarkt and 73 hit the marshalling yards at Amberg. 211 P-47s and P-51s escort.

    The Ninth Air Force dispatches 689 A-20s, A-26s and B-26s to strike marshalling yards at Bernburg, Oschersleben, Zwickau, and Kothen, the Naumburg ordnance depot, Bamberg motor transport plant, and several other targets; fighters escort the bombers, fly patrols, sweeps, a leaflet mission, and armed reconnaissance (claiming 43 aircraft shot down), and support the US 3d and 9th Armored Divisions in the Nordhausen and Ringleben-Sachsenburg-Rothenberga areas, the 2d Armored Division as it reaches the Elbe River south of Magdeburg in a record drive of 57 miles (92 km), the XVI Corps along the Ruhr River at Witten, the XX Corps as it crosses the Saale River at Weimar and overruns the Buchenwald concentration camp and Allied prisoner camp nearby, the XII Corps in the Coburg-Rottenbach area, and the VIII Corps as it approaches the Saale River south of Weimar.

    40 Fifteenth Air Force P-38s dive-bomb the Rosenheim railroad bridge.

    40 other P-38s and 29 P-51s strafe rail traffic in the Munich and Regensburg; Plzen, Czechoslovakia; and Linz and Salzburg, Austria areas.

    129 RAF Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 14 Pathfinder Lancasters attacked the railway yards at Nuremberg with great accuracy. No aircraft lost.

    100 RAF Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 14 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 8 Group also carried out a very good attack on railway yards on Bayreuth without loss.

    107 RAF Mosquitos attacked Berlin in 3 waves. Large fires were seen. 1 Mosquito lost. 8 Mosquitos attacked Munich without loss.

    EASTERN FRONT: In Vienna, Soviet troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front have reached the Danube Canal near the city center.

    MEDITTERANEAN: Carrara is captured by the US 92nd Infantry Division (an element of US 5th Army) in its advance from Massa. In the east, forces of British 8th Army have now pushed the leading units over the Senio River to the Santerno River, where bridging operations begin.

    During the night of 10/11 April, Twelfth Air Force A-20s and A-26s bomb bridges at Lavis, Ala, Rovereto, San Michele all'Adige, and San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, and hit vehicles, Po River crossings and targets of opportunity in the Po Valley; medium bombers continue to support British Eighth Army forces between Imola and Comacchio Lagoon, bomb guns south of La Spezia in front of the US Fifth Army advance, and bomb 4 bridges on the Brenner line; XXII Tactical Air Command fighter-bombers also fly support on the Eighth Army front, and hit communications (including the Brenner line) and fuel and ammunition dumps in the north.

    544 Fifteenth Air Force B-24s and B-17s hit communications in northern Italy, concentrating on the transportation system feeding into the Brenner area, in an effort to hamper the enemy's supply and escape routes; the bombers bomb bridges at Padua, Vipiteno, Campodazzo, Ponte Gardena, and Campo di Trens, marshalling yards at Bronzolo and Ora, a vehicle repair shop at Osoppo, and a fuel depot at Goito. 250+ fighters escort the bomber missions.
     
  15. Njaco

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    USA.: Washington: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only American president ever elected four times, died suddenly of a cerebral haemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, this afternoon while he was sitting for a portrait, his last words being 'I have a terrific headache' before dying in his bedroom. He was 63. The whole country is mourning the Democratic president who offered the United States a "New Deal" of expansionist policies to end the economic crisis of the 1930s and then led it out of isolationism towards victory in a world war. Although a decline in the president's health had been widely noticed in recent months, his death came as a shock to Washington. Around the world, some American soldiers and sailors refused to believe that he was dead. His widow Eleanor said: "I am more sorry for the people of the country and of the world than I am for us." The words of his constant adversary, the Republican Senator Robert Taft, were typical of the response in Congress. Taft called the late president "the greatest figure of our time", removed "at the very climax of his career". "We were fortunate," said Harold Ickes, the secretary of the interior, "to have given to civilization the greatest leader in the history of our country." Harry S. Truman, the vice-president, was sworn in as the 33rd president of the United States at the White House this evening. "Boys," the new president told reporters, "if you ever pray, pray for me now." He said he felt as if "the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on me". Minutes after the swearing-in, the secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told Mr Truman that the United States has developed a new explosive "of incredible power". Many here express worries about the former senator from Missouri's lack of experience. But the speaker, Sam Rayburn, said: "Truman will not make a great, flashy president like Roosevelt, But, by God, he'll make a good president, a sound president. He's got the stuff in him."

    WESTERN FRONT: US 9th Army forces cross the Elbe River near Magdeburg, while in the rear of their advance, Brunswick falls. Troops of the US 3rd Army take Erfurt. In the south, French units take Baden Baden. To the rear, the Ruhr pocket has been further reduced by the capture of Essen by American attacks. Patton's forces take Erfort. The men of the US 100th Infantry Division enter the city centre of Heilbronn after an amphibious assault crossing of the swift flowing Neckar river. This was achieved under constant observation and direct fire of dozens of guns emplaced on the hills surrounding the town to the east.

    GERMANY: 167 A-20s, A-26s and B-26s of the Ninth Air Force, escorted by 95 Eighth Air Force P-51s, attack the Hof rail bridge, Kempten ordnance depot, and Goppingen marshalling yard, plus a town area and a casual target of opportunity; 275+ planes abort because of weather; fighters escort the bombers, attack the town of Kothen, fly armed reconnaissance and sweeps over wide areas and support ground forces; fighters also support the US III, XVI, and XVIII Corps as they continue to reduce the Ruhr pocket, the 9th Armored Division on the Saale River near Werben and Bad Lauchstadt, the XX Corps from the Saale River N and S of Jena E across the Weisse Elster River, the VIII Corps along the Saale further S of Jena, the XII Corp SE of Coburg on the Hasslach River, the 2d Armored Division across the Elbe River near Randau S of Magdeburg, the 5th Armored Division on the W bank of the Elbe at Wittenberge, and the XVI Corps as it continues fighting in the Duisburg and Dortmund areas.

    97 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin and 3 to Munich. 13 Mosquitos on Intruder patrols. No aircraft lost.

    MEDITTERANEAN: British 8th Army has three separate bridgeheads over the Santerno. On the right of the attack, British 5th Corps is advancing along the north bank of the Reno.

    The US Fifteenth Air Force dispatches 400+ B-17s and B-24s to hit communications in N Italy and S Austria, attacking railroad bridges at Padua, Ponte di Piave and Nervesa della Bataglia, Italy, and Sankt Veit an der Glan, Austria, an ammunition dump at Malcontenta, and supply dump at Peschiera del Garda, Italy; 124 P-51s provide escort. 123 P-38s bomb railroad bridges at Unzmarkt and Arnoldstein, Austria; 128 B-24s, with P-51 escort, sent against N Italian communications abort due to bad weather. 38 P-51s escort MATAF B-25s on raids in N Yugoslavia.

    During the night of 11/12 Apr, US Twelfth Air Force A-20s and A-26s hit Po River crossings; medium bombers, restricted by low clouds, bomb approaches to the Maribor, Yugoslavia bridge, hit targets along the Brenner rail line, and support the British Eighth Army in the Argenta area; fighter-bombers attack NE Italian railroad lines, including fuel dumps and communications targets in the Po Valley.

    EASTERN FRONT: Versuchskommando./KG 200 flies its last operational sortie when its Do 217E-5s launch Hs 293 glide bombs against bridges over the Oder.

    With Soviet troops approaching Berlin, the last four remaining Me 262s of 10./NJG 11 (Kommando Welter) are moved to Lubeck.
     
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    WESTERN FRONT: The US 83rd Infantry Division with several associated units, arrive at the west bank of the Elbe. The US Army XIXth Corps commander, Major General Raymond S. McLain order it to cross the Elbe and into territory assigned to the Red Army, and to prepare to advance east/northeast (in the direction toward Berlin). Jena is captured by US 3rd Army units. To the south, US 7th Army forces take Bamberg.

    The liberation of German camps at Belsen and Buchenwald reveal the horrors of these camps to the world. As the Americans approached the camp, the Nazis hurriedly evacuated all the Jewish inmates, many of whom only arrived a few months ago from Auschwitz or other camps to the east. Most of them are now at Flossenburg. Himmler is keeping them alive as potential bargaining counters in what he still hopes will be peace negotiations with the allies.

    Eisenhower turns down his third chance to capture Berlin, saying that it is just a political prize.

    GERMANY: Officially Germany reacted to the news of President Roosevelt's death with a correct silence. The Nazi leaders, however, greeted it as a ray of light in what is now a desperate situation for them. "My Führer," Josef Göbbels told Hitler, "I congratulate you. Roosevelt is dead. It is written in the stars that the second half of April will be the turning point for us." The Nazis believe that Roosevelt's death will be the signal for the western allies and the Soviet Union to fall out. Some plan to hold out in redoubts in north and south Germany until this occurs. Other Germans fear that Roosevelt's death leaves them to the possibly less tender mercies of Churchill and Stalin.

    Adolf Hitler proclaims from his underground bunker that deliverance was at hand from encroaching Russian troops--Berlin would remain German. A "mighty artillery is waiting to greet the enemy," proclaims Der Fuhrer.

    The Nazi have forced Allied PoWs to march up to 500 miles across Europe on starvation rations, according to reports published today in British newspapers The reports allege that of 6,000 Russians, Britons and Americans who set out in January, only 533 are still alive. The Russians came from camps in Poland and the British and Americans from Stalag VIIIA, near Breslau. In January both groups marched to Gorlitz, in Silesia. In February they set out again. Most of them died from starvation, exhaustion or dysentery, and a few from the random cruelty of the guards.

    The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 945: The AAF claims 284-0-220 Luftwaffe aircraft. 212 B-17s, escorted by 256 P-51s, attack the marshalling yard at Neumunster visually; 2 B-17s are lost. The escort claims 137-0-83 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air; 6 P-51s are lost. During this mission, 97 P-47s and P-51s fly a freelance mission in support of the bombers; they claim 147-0-137 aircraft on the ground; a P-47 and a P-51 are lost. During Mission 946 flown that night, 10 B-24s bomb the Beizenburg rail junction without loss.

    Fighter-bombers of the Ninth Air Force's IX Tactical Air Command fly a special mission against the HQ of Field Marshall Walter Model's Army Group B at Haus Waldesruh in the Ruhr pocket; the air attack is followed by an artillery barrage; as a result the HQ is moved to Haan. IX Tactical Air Command pilots sight Soviet fighters in the air for the first time. Weather grounds the 9th Bombardment Division. Fighters fly patrols and armed reconnaissance, and support the US XVIII Corps in the Huckeswagen and Hagen areas, the III Corps between the Ruhr and Honne Rivers, the 3d Armored Division on the Saale River in the Alsleben, Nelben and Friedeburg area, the XX Corps astride and between the Weisse Eister and Zwickauer Mulde Rivers north of Gera, the XVI Corps northwest of Hagen, the 2d Armored Division in the Elbenau-Grunwalde area, and the 5th Armored Division along the Elbe River in the Tangermunde area. (Jack McKillop)

    1st Lt. Shannon E. Estill, USAAF, is flying a P-38-J Lightning, when it is struck by AA fire while attacking targets in eastern Germany. Another U.S. pilot reports seeing Estill's aircraft explode and crash.

    34 RAF Lancasters of No 5 Group (Nos 9 and 617 Squadrons) set out to attack the warships Prinz Eugen and Lützow in Swinemünde harbour but the raid was abandoned because of cloud over the target. All aircraft returned safely.

    377 RAF Lancasters and 105 Halifaxes of Nos 3, 6 and 8 Groups to Kiel. 2 Lancasters lost. This raid was directed against the port area, with the U-boat yards as the main objective. Bomber Command rated this as 'a poor attack' with scattered bombing.

    20 RAF Halifaxes and 8 Mosquitos in a diversionary raid on Boizenburg, 87 Mosquitos to Hamburg, 20 to Stralsund and 12 to Reisa, 62 RCM sorties, 55 Mosquito patrols, 82 Lancasters and 27 Halifaxes minelaying in Kiel Bay and the Kattegat. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

    EASTERN FRONT: Vienna falls to the Soviet Army. As agreed by the Allies in 1943, it appears that Austria will not be treated as a conquered nation. Moscow radio said tonight that because the people of Vienna and other parts of Austria had helped the Red Army fight the Germans they had "saved the honour of the Austrian nation."

    MEDITTERANEAN: New Zealander troops capture Massa Lombarda, southwest of Lake Comacchio.

    Twelfth Air Force B-25s are restricted by weather to 1 mission, an attack on a road bridge at Mollinella; fighter bombers continue to hit communications and dumps in the Po Valley and guns in the La Spezia area; during the night of 12/13 April, A-20s and A-26 Invaders attack Po River crossings at San Benedetto Po, Ostiglia, Piacenza, and Casalmaggiore, bridges at San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, and motor transport and targets of opportunity in the Milan area.
     
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    WESTERN FRONT: A series of French attacks on remaining German positions begins today and will last for 6 days. The area is in the south-west at Royan, in the Gironde estuary. The French battleship 'Lorraine' provides bombardment support for these attacks.

    A French Canadian Soldier attacks and liberates alone,the city of Zwolle in the Netherlands. The soldier is Private Léo Major, DCM Bar. He was a scout and a sniper.

    With Patton's Third Army thrusting through the Thuringian Forest to Dresden and Leipzig, the gap between the Americans and the Russians is closing rapidly and Germany is being sliced in two. There are fears that Hitler may attempt a last-ditch defence in the southern redoubt based on Berchtesgaden. French and American troops are closing on the Danube before crossing into Bavaria. The US 3rd Army captures Bayreuth.

    In the north, the British are moving on Bremen, Hamburg and Wilhelmshaven to forestall any attempt to mount a defence of the ports. The Canadian First Army (Crerar) assumes military control of the Netherlands where German forces of Festung Holland (von Blaskowitz) are now trapped in the Atlantikwall fortifications along the coastline.

    Relentless Allied air attacks on Germany are wiping out the Luftwaffe on the tarmac and the Kriegsmarine in harbour. Figures show that 1,738 enemy aircraft were destroyed in a week's attacks on 59 airfields. A total of 332 were shot down in air combat. Many German planes are limited by a lack of fuel.

    Allied forces conduct Operation Teardrop. Two carrier task groups carry out an extensive search for Seewolf U-boats suspected of transporting V2 rockets to be launched against New York city.

    GERMANY: The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 948: 1,167 bombers are dispatched without escort to visually attack enemy pockets on the Gironde estuary; 2 B-24s are lost; other Allied Air Forces and French naval units attack similar targets; the air attacks precede a ground assault by a French detachment of the Sixth Army Group on the defence pockets which deny the Allies use of port facilities in the Bordeaux area: 480 B-17s hit 15 strongpoints and flak batteries in the Bordeaux/Royan, Pointe Coubre and Pointe Grave areas without loss. 315 B-24s hit 12 strongpoints and flak batteries in the same area as Force 1 above; 2 B-24s are lost. 338 B-17s attack 4 strongpoints and flak batteries in the Bordeaux/Royan area without loss.

    Himmler orders that no prisoners at Dachau concentration camp "shall be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy alive." "A handover is out of the question. The camp must be evacuated immediately. No prisoner must be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy alive," says a handwritten note, apparently referring to Dachau concentration camp. It is signed by Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler and dated April 14, 1945.

    18 Ninth Air Force B-26s fly a leaflet mission in the Ruhr area; fighters fly patrols, sweeps, and armed reconnaissance, and support the US 3d Armored Division southwest of the Elbe/Mulde River junction near Dessau, the 9th Armored Division in the Borna and Lobstadt area, XX Corps elements which continue to arrive at the Zwickauer Mulde River, the VIII Corps along the Weisse Elster River south of Gera, XII Corps elements in the Bayreuth area, the 2d and 5th Armored Divisions along the Elbe River in the Barby-Magdeburg and Tangermunde areas.

    29 Fifteenth Air Force P-38s bomb and strafe railroad targets in the Munich and Regensburg-Linz, Austria areas. Fifteenth Air Force bombers attack the Klagenfurt marshalling yard as a target of opportunity.

    The Taifun Express, rocket and missile train arrives at Linz.

    20 RAF Lancasters of 6 17 Squadron again found their target at Swinemünde covered by cloud and returned without bombing. No aircraft lost.

    500 RAF Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups attacked Potsdam. This was the first time that Bomber Command 4-engined aircraft had entered the Berlin defence zone since March 1944 but the approach, across parts of Germany recently captured by Allied troops, and the Cuxhaven diversion led to only 1 Lancaster being lost; it was shot down by a night fighter. This was the last raid of the war by a major Bomber Command force on a German city. The aiming point was the centre of Potsdam and the intention was to destroy the local barracks (depot of the old German Guards regiments) and the railway facilities. The attack was reasonably successful and severe damage was caused in Potsdam but bombs also fell in the nearby northern and eastern districts of Berlin.

    24 RAF Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos in a diversion raid to Cuxhaven, 62 Mosquitos to Berlin and 10 to Wismar, 54 RCM sorties, 50 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    Heinz-Horst Hissbach, a thirty-four victory night-fighter with NJG 2, is killed over Gelnhausen.

    MEDITTERANEAN: US 5th Army joins British 8th Army in mounting the spring offensive operations. There are attacks on either side of the roads to Bologna from Florence and Pistoia. Vergato is captured.

    During the night of 13/14 April, Twelfth Air Force A-20s and A-26 Invaders continue to hit communications in the Po Valley; bad weather over the northern part of the Brenner line prevents medium bomber attacks but the B-25s, escorted by 54 Thirteenth Air Force P-51s, hit alternates on the southern part of the line at Salorno, San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, and Chiusaforte, bomb gun emplacements southeast of La Spezia in support of the US Fifth Army, and hit 5 defensive positions along the British Eighth Army front in the Argenta area; fighter-bombers concentrate on supporting Fifth Army forces southwest of Bologna.

    318 Fifteenth Air Force B-17s and B-24s hit ammunition factories at Avigliana, Spilimbergo, Malcontenta, and Palmanova, and a motor transport depot at Osoppo; 158 fighters provide escort.

    EASTERN FRONT: 1st and 2nd Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts launch attack on Berlin along the Oder and Neisse. The scene is now set for the Red Army's assault on Berlin. The victorious marshals, Zhukov, Konev and Rokossovky, are drawn up in overwhelming strength, ready to attack. Zhukov and Konev dislike one another, and there is keen rivalry between them for the honour of taking the German capital. Elsewhere, the Russians are slackening their advance. East Prussia is now harmless. Vienna has fallen. Graz is threatened. But it seems as if the Russians are holding their breath in readiness for the last 40-mile march on Berlin. It will be a desperate affair.
     
  18. Njaco

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    WESTERN FRONT: In Holland, troops of Canadian 1st Army complete the capture of Arnhem and attack toward Gronigen. Units of the US 9th Army, which have crossed the Elbe River near Magdeburg, are forced to retreat. The US 1st Army takes Leuna. Meanwhile, Operation Venerable is launched against the German garrison in the fortress of Royan, at the mouth of the Gironde River; heavy napalm bomb attacks by the US 8th Air Force and shelling by the Free French battleship 'Lorraine' are followed by an attack by Free French and American forces. US bombers drop "napalm" bombs on German troops at Royan, in the Gironde estuary.

    GERMANY: Liberation of BERGEN-BELSEN: The first British troops entered Bergen- Belsen on Sunday, April 15th 1945, at 3 p.m., led by Brigadier H.L. Glyn Hughes, the Chief Medical Officer of the British Second Army (with anti-tank battery of 63 A/Tk Regt, Royal Artillery.) Brigadier Hughes cried when he saw the horrible conditions of the camp. He later mentioned that "Belsen was unique in its vile treatment of human beings. Nothing like it had happened before in the history of mankind. The victims of this infamous behavior had been reduced to a condition of sub-human existence" The liberators' most urgent concerns included separating the sick from the living, burying the dead, and caring for the sick. While Bergen-Belsen contained no gas chambers, more than 35,000 people died of starvation, overwork, disease, brutality and sadistic medical experiments. Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, died of typhus in March 1945, along with other prisoners in a typhus epidemic.

    A heavily guarded convoy of US Army trucks moves the Reichsbank gold reserve from the potassium mines here back to the vaults of the Reichsbank in the recently captured city of Frankfurt-am-Main. By mid-August the gold will have been quantified and appraised. The gold is valued at $262,213,000 US dollars. The silver at $270,469 US dollars.

    106 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Oranienburg airfield and 4 to Lechfeld airfield, 27 RCM sorties, 19 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

    Adolf Hitler issues an order in the event that Germany is split into northern and southern areas, Admiral Karl Dönitz would be appointed Commander-in-Chief of the north, or General Field Marshal Albert Kesselring would be Commander-in-Chief of the south, with Hitler in charge of the other part.

    Major Gerd Barkhorn is transferred from JG 6 and is placed among General Galland’s elite jet fighter unit, JV 44, flying the Me 262.

    MEDITTERANEAN: The Polish II Corps attached to the British 8th Army reaches Sillaro after crossing the River Santerno. Both US 5th and British 8th Armies continue their attacks.

    EASTERN FRONT: The Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front (Tolbuhkin) begins an offensive against the industrial area of Mührisch-Ostrau in Moravia defended by Heeresgruppe Mitte (Schörner). Soviet forces begin a final offensive against the German held positions in the Samland Peninsula.
     
  19. Njaco

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    WESTERN FRONT: In the West, the Canadian First Army occupies Leeuwarden and Groningen in northern Holland. The US First Army captures Solingen and Wuppertal. The US 7th Army reaches Nürnburg. Canadian troops reach the Zuider Zee.

    RAF Meteor III jets make their first operational sortie on the Continent.

    18 RAF Lancasters of No 617 Squadron flew to Swinemünde to attack the pocket battleship 'Lützow'. 1 Lancaster was shot down (No 617 Squadron's last loss of the war) and all but 2 aircraft were damaged. 15 aircraft managed to bomb the target with Tallboys or with 1,000-pounders. The effects of one near miss with a Tallboy tore a large hole in the bottom of the 'Lützow' and she sank in shallow water at her moorings.

    The 8th Air Force flies Mission 951: 1,348 unescorted bombers are dispatched to attack strongpoints on the French Atlantic coast; the first two forces below make the sole operational employment of napalm bomb by the 8th Air Force against German ground installations; the results are negligible and HQ recommends its discontinuance against this type of target: 492 B-17s hit four strongpoints and flak batteries in the Royan area without loss. 341 B-24s hit six strongpoints and flak batteries in the Royan area without loss. 442 B-17s hit 9 strongpoints and flak batteries in the Bordeaux/Royan, Pointe Grave and Pointe Courbre area without loss. The 8th Air Force flies Mission 955: During the morning, 485 B-17s bomb the tank ditch defence line at Pointe de Grave on the south side of the Gironde estuary in the Bordeaux area in support of the ground assault in that area.

    I]'U-1235' [/I]is sunk in the North Atlantic by destroyer escorts USS 'Frost' (DE-144) and USS I]'Stanton' [/I](DE-247). All 57 crewmen on the U-boat are lost.

    'U-880' is sunk in the North Atlantic by depth charges from the destroyer escorts USS' Frost' (DE-144) and USS 'Stanton' (DE-247). All 49 crewmen on the U-boat are lost.

    Minesweeper HMCS 'Esquimalt' is attacked and sunk by 'U-190' (Oblt.Hans-Edwin Reith) off Halifax, Nova Scotia. There are 44 casualties.

    Frigate HMS 'Ekins' strikes a mine which causes her boiler room to flood, and she lies dead in the water. The ship’s company are able to get the ship moving again, and she returns to the Medway under her own power.

    EASTERN FRONT: The final great offensive of the Red Army against Germany, begins with Gen. G.K. Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front attacking west of the Oder near Kuestrin, and Gen. Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front attacking south across the Neisse to envelop Busse's 9th Army and drive on to the southern flanks of the doomed German capital. The two Soviet Fronts comprise over 2,000,000 men with more than 6000 tanks and self-propelled guns, about 6000 aircraft and almost 16,000 artillery tubes. The German troops defending the line are organized into Army Group Vistula (General Heinrici), facing 1st and 2nd Belorussian Fronts, and Army Group Center (Field Marshal Schorner), facing 1st Ukrainian Front. There are about 1,000,000 German troops deployed in well-prepared positions overlooking the west bank of the Oder River and Neisse River, however, they lack significant stocks of armor, artillery and aircraft. The Russians meet initial stiff resistance at the Seelow Heights, a fortified defensive position which dominates the flood-plain of the Oder(Oderbruch), and controls access to the main land route to Berlin. At 4am, Marshal G. K. Zhukov looked towards Berlin from his bunker and ordered: "Now, comrades! Now!" Three red flares floated above the lines and, instantly, the German positions were lit up with the blinding light of 143 searchlights and thousands of tank and lorry headlights. Three green flares soared into the sky. This was the signal for thousands of big guns, wheel to wheel, to open the heaviest barrage of the whole of the war in the east. Villages were blown away. Forests burst into flames. Much of that ground was empty, however, for General Heinrici, had withdrawn his men to a second line of defence. They are fighting from well-entrenched positions on the Seelow Heights where Flak guns, moved from defending Berlin against Allied bombers have taken a terrible toll of Zhukov's tanks. He is held up, but Konev's First Ukrainian Front to the south has made rapid progress after crossing the Neisse. And Rokossovsky to the north has yet to join the battle. By a well-timed short withdrawal the forces of the German Army Group Vistula have avoided the worst effects of this Soviet bombardment, but they have insufficient strength to do more than hold the Soviet attack. The attack of 1st Ukrainian Front begins a little later over the Neisse, north and south of Triebel.

    USAAF, 78th Fighter Group is awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions today destroying 135 aircraft on five airfields near Prague and Pilzen, Czechoslovakia.

    The 'Goya' another German ship similar to the 'Wilhelm Gustloff' , is sunk in the Baltic by the Soviet sub L-3 commanded by Captain Vladimir Konovalov, taking with it 6,220 refugees, making these two ships the worst naval disasters of all time. Captain Konovalov is later awarded the order of "Hero of the Soviet Union" for this. The 'GOYA' put out from the Hela Peninsula (Danzig-Gotenhafen) on April 16, 1945 packed with evacuees of wounded soldiers and refugee civilians when it was suddenly torpedoed with two direct hits amidships which broke it in two,and it sank in an estimated 4 minutes. Only 183 passengers were rescued, many of which later died from exposure. The sinking of the 'GOYA' is the second greatest maritime disaster in history. The first of course, is the 'Wilhelm Gustloff'. On February 10, 1945, the 'GENERAL VON STEUBEN', another transport of wounded and refugees was also sunk (in seven minutes) by the same Soviet sub (S13) which sank the 'GUSTLOFF' -- some 3000 souls were lost in that event.
     
  20. Njaco

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    GERMANY: Albert Speer, Hitler's armaments minister, has been horrified by the directive from the Führer that all military, transport and industrial installations must be destroyed in order to deny them to the enemy. He has protested vigorously, but Hitler remains adamant. If the war is lost, he told Speer, there will be no point in attempting to save the German people. Speer, however, is co-operating with army officers to frustrate the Führer's directive.

    Hitler sacked the Reich public health commissioner, Karl Brandt, after learning that Brandt had sent his wife and child to Thuringia so that they could surrender to the Americans. And as the Red Army opens its final assault on Berlin, Hitler, in his bunker beneath the ruins of his Chancellery, issued an order of the day to his broken army: "He who gives the order to retreat is to be shot on the spot."

    RAF Mustang IV fighters of No. 611 Squadron are the first RAF aircraft to greet Russian aircraft over Berlin.

    222 RAF Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group carried out an accurate attack on the railway yards at Pilsen. 1 Lancaster crashed in France.

    167 RAF Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of 6 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards at Schwandorf, causing severe damage. 1 Lancaster lost.

    19 RAF Halifaxes of No 6 Group and 4 Pathfinder Mosquitos to Gablingen airfield, 64 Mosquitos to Berlin and 23 to Munich, 57 RCM sorties, 35 Mosquito patrols. 2 Halifaxes and 1 Fortress of No 100 Group were lost.

    258 9th Air Force B-26s and A-26 Invaders bomb marshalling yards at Gunzburg and Ulm (primary targets) and several other targets including 3 marshalling yards; fighters escort the bombers, fly patrols and armed reconnaissance, and support the US 3d Armored Division near Dessau and across the Mulde River near Torten, the 9th Armored Division along the Mulde northwest of Borna, the VIII Corps along Weisse Elster River between Gera and Plauen, the XX Corps astride the Mulde NE of Chemnitz (where the 6th Armored Division awaits Red Army forces), and the 2d Armored Division on the Elbe River near Magdeburg.

    The 8th Air Force flies Mission 954: In the afternoon, 1,252 bombers and 913 fighters are dispatched to attack rail targets; they claim 727-0-373 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 B-24 and 31 fighters are lost. 273 B-24s bomb the marshalling yard at Landshut; a B-24 is lost. Escorting are 299 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 228-0-109 aircraft on the ground; a P-47 and 16 P-51s are lost. 148 B-17s bomb the Regensburg marshalling yard, 72 bomb the Regensburg East rail bridge and 74 bomb the Regensburg West rail bridge; 77 hit the Platting marshalling yard; and 76 attack the rail bridge at Straubing. The escort is 240 P-51s; they claim 2-0-0 aircraft in the air and 86-0-66 on the ground; 3 P-51s are lost. 286 P-51s fly a freelance mission in support of the bombers attacking 40+ landing grounds in Germany and Czechoslovakia; they claim 1-0-1 aircraft in the air and 410-0-198 on the ground; 9 P-51s are lost.

    450 9th Air Force A-20s, A-26 Invaders and B-26s bomb the Zerbst communications center, Gunzenhausen marshalling yard, Kempten ordnance depot, and Wittenberg marshalling yard and gun positions; the IX Tactical Air Command's fighters claim 25 air victories during the day as they escort the bombers, fly patrols, area cover, and armed reconnaissance, attack airfields and other targets, and support the US 3rd Armored Division southwest of Dessau, the 9th Armored Division in the Bennewitz-Colditz area along the Mulde River, the XX Corps which remains at the Zwickauer Mulde River bridgehead northeast of Chemnitz, the VIII Corps crossing the Weisse Elster River between Gera and Plauen, the 2d Armored Division on the Elbe River near Magdeburg, the XIX Corps east of Barby, and the V Corps near Leipzig.

    General Galland of JV 44 brings down two B-26 Marauder bombers.

    36 15th Air Force P-51s sweep areas south of Munich; Pie, Czechoslovakia; and Linz, Austria, and 4 strafe an airfield east of Munich.

    The 15th Air Force dispatches 36 P-38s and 36 P-51s strafe rail communications in the area bounded by Munich, Germany, Salzburg and Linz, Austria, Plzen, Czechoslovakia, and Regensburg, Germany; 12 of the P-38s skipbomb rail targets in the Salzburg-Linz, Austria area, including the Vocklabruck marshalling yard; 8 P-38s furnish top cover for the strafing missions.

    MEDITTERANEAN: During the night, 12th Air Force A-20s and A-26s concentrate on communications targets in the Po Valley, particularly the Po River crossings, the towns of Vignola, Zoeca and Sass, and several targets of opportunity; during the day B-25s and B-26s and fighter-bombers concentrate on direct support of the US Fifth and British Eighth Armies drives, hitting troop concentrations south of Portomaggiore, guns, strongpoints, and a variety of targets in areas south of Bologna, around Medicina and Sasso Marconi and at other points in battle areas.

    830 15th Air Force B-17s and B-24s, in support of the US Fifth Army, blast gun positions, supply dumps, troop concentrations, maintenance installations, and German HQ along highways leading from Bologna; 145 P-38s furnish escort; 312 B-17s and B-24s bomb rail diversion bridges at Nervesa della Battaglia, Ponte di Piave, and Casarsa della Delizia, and an ammunition factory at Ghedi; 191 P-51s provide escort. Its the largest of World War II by the 15th Air Force during a 24-hour period; 1,142 heavy bombers bomb targets.

    98 15th Air Force B-24s, escorted by 102 P-51s, bomb positions southwest of Bologna; almost 700 B-24s and B-17s abort due to bad weather.
     
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