Information

8 June 1944


8 June 1944

War at Sea

German submarine U-373 sunk off Brest

German submarine U-970 sunk off El Ferrol

Western Front

The two Allied armies in Normandy meet up near Port-en-Bessin, merging all the beachheads into one.

Italy

Badoglio arrives in Rome

Pacific

US forces intended for the invasion of Saipan reach Eniwetok and Kwajalein



Today in World War II History—June 8, 1944

US 2nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoc after relief on D+2 (June 8, 1944) American flag had been spread out to stop fire of friendly tanks coming from inland. Some German prisoners are being moved after capture (US Army Signal Corps photo)

Bridge over Loire River at Saumur, France (US Air Force photo)

75 Years Ago—June 8, 1944: In Normandy, British and US forces link near Port-en-Bessin.

The US 2 nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoc is relieved by forces from Omaha Beach, having held the point since climbing the cliffs on D-day.

RAF first uses the 12,000-lb “Tallboy” bomb, destroying a train tunnel in Saumur, France on the only north-south rail line in the Loire Valley, impeding German reinforcement of Normandy.

On the Adriatic coast of Italy, the British advance after finding the Germans have retreated.


The Minsk Offensive 1944 – Bagging German Army Group Center

The Minsk Offensive was a strategic military action carried out in the eastern part of Soviet Belarus and directed against the troops of Nazi Germany. The offensive was conducted from June 28 to July 4, 1944, during WWII, otherwise known to the Soviets as the Great Patriotic War.

In fact, the Minsk Offensive became one of the key stages of the Belarusian Strategic Offensive Operation of 1944, codenamed Operation Bagration. The main objectives of Bagration were the destruction of the German strategic Army Group Center, based in Minsk, and the complete liberation of Belarus from the German invaders.

Operation Bagration Map.

During the three-year occupation of Belarus, more than 200 cities and about 9,000 villages were destroyed. The fascists murdered an estimated 1-2 million Jews and prisoners of war. Over 400,000 people were taken to Germany.

Although the battle to rid the country of the invaders would see fighting of utter brutality, the entire Belarusian territory was eventually captured. On the night of 19-20 June, Belarusian guerrillas initiated the opening moves in the operation by conducting a series of explosions.

Abandoned vehicles of the german 9th army at a road in Belarus.

These resulted in successfully blocking the movement of the railway transport system, thus preventing supplies of fuel and ammunition from getting to the front. With their supply lines broken, the German troops were paralyzed, and their positions weakened.

In accordance to the plan of the Soviet leadership, on June 28, the troops of the 1st and 3rd Belarusian Fronts, two simultaneously converging forces, struck at the German troops stationed in Minsk.

Soviet Troops Advance Under the Cover of MG Fire.

The troops of the 1st and 3rd Fronts had highly mobile tank units. At the same time, the left flank of the 1st Front and the right flank of the 2nd Belarusian Front were blocked by German troops, helping the Germans Minsk grouping.

The task of the 2nd Front was to conduct battles against the Wehrmacht units retreating to Minsk. Assistance in the operation was provided by the troops of the 1st Baltic Front.

Soviet Il-2 in 1944.

Belarus is a land of numerous small and large rivers, swamps, and lakes. Such terrain brought additional complexity to the operation. In order to get each of the fighting Fronts over these obstacles, special military units were created. Their task was to prevent the destruction of bridges and the seizure of river crossings.

When the offensive began, before the 3rd Belarusian Front there stood the most difficult task. In the zone of its offensive objectives (the district of the city of Borisov), the most powerful group at the German’s disposal was based.

ISU 122 Tank Destroyer advancing – 1944 Eastern Front

On the day of the battle, the Soviet forces reached the Berezina River. Through the efforts of assault units, with the support of partisan detachments, they were able to seize and expand three bridgeheads on the western bank of the river.

Soviet soldiers in Polozk (Belarus).

By June 30, the 3rd had got the main body of its force across the Berezina. On the night of July 1, thanks to the efforts of the 5th Guards Tank Army, with help from the 11th Guards Army and 65th Army, the city of Borisov was liberated. The road to Minsk became free.

The 1st Belarusian Front engaged the enemy at the town of Slutsk. There they met serious and well-organized resistance. Lieutenant General Issa Alexandrovich Pliev organized a “flanking coverage of the city.” A simultaneous assault on three sides brought success and on June 30, 1944, the city of Slutsk, the southern outpost of the Polotsk-Minsk-Slutsk defensive line, was liberated.

Minsk civilians carry belongings out of burning houses, early July 1944.

As a result of the well-coordinated combat actions of the three Belarusian Fronts, there were about 40,000 German soldiers trapped in an area of approximately 10 square miles, known as the “cauldron”.

Captured and Damaged Panzer IVs – 1944

On July 1 and 2, a large tank battle took place between the 5th Guards Tank Army and the 5th German Panzer Division. As a result, the German Panzer Division lost most of its tanks and, at the same time, the ability to influence the development of events.

Meanwhile, Soviet front-line tank forces managed to avoid any prolonged fighting and reached Minsk. At the same time, several railway junctions were destroyed.

Panther on the Eastern Front, 1944. By Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

The troops of the 2nd Belarusian Front, under the command of Zakharov, blocked the Mogilev-Minsk highway on July 1, 1944. The main task of the 2nd Front was to destroy and disrupt enemy formations, preventing them from withdrawing to the west. The fighters of the 2nd Front coped with their task perfectly.

During the night June 2, the storming of Minsk began. From the southeast, came the 1st Guards Tank Corps of the 1st Belarusian Front from the north and north-west the army of Rotmislava and the 2nd Guards Tank Corps. The garrison of the German command defending Minsk was unable to seriously resist, and the fighting ended in the middle of the day.

ISU-122S. 3rd Belorussian Front April 1945

The capital of Belarus was now completely liberated from the German occupation. In the evening of the same day, at 10 pm in Moscow, the sky was painted with salute lights, and a festive salute (exactly 24 volleys) in honor of the liberators of the capital of Belarus thundered across the city.

On July 5, Vasilevsky, Marshal of the Soviet Union, arrived in liberated Minsk. The sight of the city had a sad effect on him. In his report to Stalin, he described what he had seen:

“… July 5, I visited Minsk. I had an extremely difficult impression. The city was badly destroyed by the fascists. Of the large buildings, the enemy did not manage to blow up only the house of the Belarusian government, the new building of the Central Committee of the CPB, the radio factory and the House of the Red Army. The power plant, railway station, most industrial enterprises, and institutions are blown up … “

Ruins in Minsk, 1944.

As a result of the completion of the Minsk Offensive, a large number of German soldiers fell into the eastern “cauldron”. Their number is estimated at 120,000 men. The command had long since left the “cauldron”, and the soldiers made attempts to escape to the west. Some Germans tried to break through the cordon using “cold steel.”

The commander of the 12th Army Corps, V. Muller, controlled remnants of the army. As a result, seeing his hopeless situation, V. Muller decided to capitulate. On the morning of July 8, he traveled to the lines of the Soviet troops and surrendered.

Generalleutnant Alfons Hitter, standing, interrogated by General Ivan Chernyakhovsky and Marshal of the Soviet Union Aleksandr Vasilevsky after the battle of Vitebsk.

He immediately wrote the following order:

𔄠.7.1944. All the soldiers of the 4th Army, located in the area east of the Ptich River!

Our situation after many days of heavy fighting has become hopeless. We have fulfilled our duty. Our fighting capacity is practically reduced to nothing, and we can not count on the resumption of supply. According to the High Command of the Wehrmacht, the Russian troops are already under Baranovichi. The path along the river is blocked, and we can not break the ring on our own. We have a huge number of wounded and soldiers who have lost their parts.

  1. a) medical care for all the wounded
  2. b) the officers leave the orders and cold steel, the soldiers – the Order.

We are required to: collect and hand over all available weapons and equipment in good order.

Put an end to senseless bloodshed!

I order:

Immediately stop resistance gather in groups of 100 or more persons under the command of officers or senior in rank of non-commissioned officers to concentrate the wounded at the collection points act clearly, vigorously, showing comradely mutual assistance. The more discipline we show on delivery, the sooner we will be put on an allowance.

This order must be distributed verbally and in writing by all available means.

Müller, Lieutenant-General, and Commander of the 12th Army Corps “

Until July 12, a sweep operation continued. As a result of the fighting, more than 72,000 German soldiers were killed and more than 35,000 were taken prisoner. Later, Soviet soldiers and officers took part in the famous march of victory through the streets of Moscow.

German prisoners of war in Moscow in late 1944. By RIA Novosti archive – CC BY-SA 3.0

During the Minsk operation, the Red Army showed an excellent level of organization and cooperation between the military and partisans. The Soviet army subsequently adopted many innovations. Operation Bagration is considered an excellent example of a well-coordinated, large scale advance on multiple fronts.


A view of the market square in Trevieres, France. On June 15, 1944, the body of a German soldier belonging to the 2. Infanterie Regiment lay on the market square. The two jeeps in the center of the photo and the two GIs at the left are part of the MP platoon of the 2nd Infantry Division.

A view of a graveyard with the Church of Saint Georges de Basly in the background in Basly, France. In June 1944, three soldiers of the 23rd Field Ambulance, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps of the 3 rd Canadian Infantry Division placed flowers on graves. Two soldiers wore the armband for the Red Cross. In the four temporary graves were a Scottish and Canadian soldier and two French civilians.


June 18th, 2021 is a Friday. It is the 169th day of the year, and in the 24th week of the year (assuming each week starts on a Monday), or the 2nd quarter of the year. There are 30 days in this month. 2021 is not a leap year, so there are 365 days in this year. The short form for this date used in the United States is 6/18/2021, and almost everywhere else in the world it's 18/6/2021.

This site provides an online date calculator to help you find the difference in the number of days between any two calendar dates. Simply enter the start and end date to calculate the duration of any event. You can also use this tool to determine how many days have passed since your birthday, or measure the amount of time until your baby's due date. The calculations use the Gregorian calendar, which was created in 1582 and later adopted in 1752 by Britain and the eastern part of what is now the United States. For best results, use dates after 1752 or verify any data if you are doing genealogy research. Historical calendars have many variations, including the ancient Roman calendar and the Julian calendar. Leap years are used to match the calendar year with the astronomical year. If you're trying to figure out the date that occurs in X days from today, switch to the Days From Now calculator instead.


SOUTH AFRICA GEMS THAT SPARKED RUSH ARE QUARTZ NOT DIAMONDS

A cattle herder first uncovered the stones in KwaZulu-Natal province. It prompted thousands to rush to KwaHlathi village, more than 300km (186 miles) south-east of Johannesburg.

But after conducting tests, officials have said the stones are quartz crystals, which are far less valuable.

After feldspar, quartz is the most abundant mineral in the Earth's crust.

"The tests conducted conclusively revealed that the stones discovered in the area are not diamonds," a local government statement reportedly said.

The rush occurred in one of South Africa's poorest regions.

country - which already suffers from high levels of economic inequality - has seen a surge in joblessness amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, South Africa has recorded more cases than any other country on the continent, with 1.8 million confirmed infections and nearly 60,000 deaths reported.

Global News Today


World War Photos

US Army vehicles move inland on Omaha Beach during the early days of the invasion Convoy of LCTs and barrage balloons preparing for D-Day Invasion Wreckage of American and German Tanks off D-Days Utah Beach Normandy June 1945 German prisoners near Cherbourg 1944
Supplies flow over Mulberry B Harbor at Gold Beach Arromanches Normandy beach photographed from a plane Aerial view after bombardment of Vire 1944 US Troops Prepare to Move Inland from Normandy Beachhead
US Army Troops take bombed Carentan US Infantry in truck liberated Bricquebec Normandy 1944 German POW carry wounded comrades to landing craft on a Normandy beach Crossed rifles beside fallen US soldier on D-Day Omaha Beach
Landing Barge kitchen LCVs and LCM(3)’s – Invasion of Normandy USS LCI(L)-85 just before sinking off Omaha Beach on D Day Canadian troops guard German POW on D-Days Juno Beach Scene on Red Beach Utah Beach looking seaward down a vehicle path 9 June
British soldiers pass ruins of St. Desir Church in Lisieux Normandy US Army Nurses wade ashore Omaha Beach 12 June 1944 Spud Pier Section of Mulberry B Harbor Arrives at Arromanches Normandy US assault troops landing on Utah Beach on D-Day
US GIs find wouned German in Cherbourg Barrage balloons overhead as US Medics dig in on D-Day beach US Tanks and trucks move into ruins of Periers D-Day Allied Men and equipment approach French coast
3d Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division on Omaha Beach Scene on Utah Beach with troops marching up the road 9 June 1944 US Sappers Clear Mines for advance near La Haye du Puits Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching Omaha Beach on D Day – 6 June 1944
French Resistance Fighters with US Paratroopers in Normandy Rangers rest atop the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc 6 June 1944 Scene on Omaha Beach soon after the D-Day landings US 90mm Gun Crew in Action near Vierville-sur-Mer Normandy
Knocked Out Crisbecq Battery off Utah Beach at Saint Marcouf Normandy GI shot by German sniper near Cherbourg 25 June 1944 M8 and Jeep passing wrecked German vehicles in Avranches German Prisoners from Cherbourg 1944
Bombed shelled ruins of French city St. Lo, Summer 1944 Aerial View of US D-Day landing on Normandy’s Utah Beach US 82nd Airborne troops in Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, Normandy troops coming ashore on Mulberry A on D-Days Omaha Beach at Saint Laurent Sur Mer
German Surrenders hands up in Cherbourg 1944 Airborne Trooper runs for sniper hiding in Church in St. Mere Eglise US 9th ID passing KO German truck in Avranches Troops and Dodge WC63 truck amid ruins of Trevieres 1944
USS LCI(L)-490 and USS LCI(L)-496 approach Omaha Beach Canadaian bicycle Troops land at Juno s Nan White Beach on D-Day Wreckage of Jeeps and Armored Vehicles on D-Day Beachhead 1944 Wounded German Prisoner with MP of 1st ESB 449th MP Co in Normandy
US Jeeps and Dodge WC Ambulance on Streets of La Haye-du-Puits Beach organisation clearing vehicles British Sector D-Day Beach German prisoners awaiting shipment back to England, Normandy, 15 June 1944 Street scene in Sainte-Mère-Église after its capture by the US Army, 10 June 1944
American trucks in bombed ruins of Valognes, 1944 US troops use dead cows as cover on road to Perier Flame throwers training in England before D-Day 1944 US Soldiers guard German POW leaving hideout in Normandy 1944
Polish prisoner in German uniform is interrogated by US soldiers, 15 June 1944 Dog with KIA Germans Fort Du Roule Normandy RAF daylight raid on German ammo dump near Falaise August 1944 US 82nd Airborne, 505th PIR Aid Station No. 2 in Sainte-Mère-Église
Canadians advance on Falaise Pocket Gap 101st Airborne Division Paratroops Assembling at RAF Exeter East Yorkshire Regiment Land at Queen Red Sector, Sword Beach D-Day Troops load LSTs at Brixham England for D-Day Invasion 1944
Troops land from USS LCI(L)-412 during the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach, 6 June 1944 Scene on Omaha Beach on the afternoon of D-Day, June 7, 1944 Medics transferring wounded soldier from D-Day beachhead Scene on one of the invasion beache during force buildup operations in June 1944
Elderly woman pours milk for soldiers in the Normandy area of France German mortar hits British truck Tilly Normandy 1944 Canadian troops inspect captured battery Friedrich August La Tresorie Jeep carrying allied wounded passes Nazi prisoners on Normandy beach
German prisoners marched past ruins on outskirts of Caen US Army CCKW truck in bombed ruins of Isigny US Army trucks move inland from Omaha Beach Beachhead LST ships Landing Craft D-Day 1944
Woman and child on bicycle inspect ruins of Mortain LCT-555 stuck on the beach Normandy Invasion US Medical Officer treats wounded German on Normandy Beach US troops entering Periers in Jeep
Rangers with ladders used to storm cliffs at Pointe du Hoc US Army reinforcements crossing English Channel to Normandy LCI Convoy and barrage balloons en route to D-Day Invasion USS LCI(L)-85 just before sinking off Omaha Beach on D-Day
Bangalore torpedo blasts barbed wire D-Day practice German 88 mm guns pound GIs on beach Civilians greet US troops moving thru Cantigny Captured German soldiers shelter with US soldiers at St. Lo July 1944
Troops pass burning German equipment on road to combat zone Falaise Soldiers view ruins of Notre Dame Cathedral in St. Lo Normandy US Infantrymen leap for safety of shell hole in Normandy US Army vehicles move inland from a Normandy invasion beach
Mulberry harbour A off D-Day Omaha Beach in background at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer Street scene in Sainte-Mère-Église inland from Utah Beach on 10 June 1944 US 82nd Airborne Troops by Church in Sainte-Mère-Église Normandy Infantrymen in Jeep get directions from a MP at a Normandy crossroads
Aerial view of Cherbourg Fort June 1944 Advance Guard of US 29th Infantry Division entering St. Lo 1944 GMC truck loaded with US troops of the 4th Infantry Division move up to the front on July 23rd Soldiers of 327th Glider Infantry Regiment amid Ruins of Carentan 1944 Normandy
Troops of I Corps amid rubble of Caen in Operation Charwood 1944 Normandy 5th Rangers Embark at Weymouth for D-Day Invasion of Omaha Beach Ambulances Ferry Wounded over Mulberry Harbor near Arromanches Normandy 1944 Medics Help Wounded US Paratrooper D-Day Beach 1944 Normandy
American Troops Clear German Soldiers from Farm near Utah Beach 1944 Normandy Rows of US Tanks And Halftracks In England Before D-Day Invasion 1944 German Beach Defenses Set up along Cherbourg Peninsula 1944 Normandy French Civilians and Firemen Start Reconstruction in Carentan Normandy 1944
Landing craft at Normandy beach June 8 1944 US 105 mm Howitzer Crew in Action Normandy July 1944 Knocked Out Crisbecq battery at Saint Marcouf Normandy 1944 French Family Leaving Ruins of Their Home in Carentan Normandy 1944
Captured German Soldiers March through Cherbourg 1944 British Troops with Bicycles Land on Normandy Beach D-Day 1944 British troops on Sword Beach, 2 Battalion, Middlesex Regiment of 3 British Division, D-Day 1944 US Army Ordnance Unit Loads Ammo into 2 1/2 Ton Truck Normandy France 44
US Army 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers Easy Red Sector Omaha Beach D-Day +1 Normandy 1944 Replacement Infantrymen Come Ashore Normandy Beaches July 1944 GI’s in LANDING CRAFT to Normandy Beach D-DAY +1 1944 American soldiers file thru St. Jacques De Nehou enroute to Barneville and Carteret Normandy
US Army engineers use bulldozer to force a path through street in war shattered Valognes Normady France 1944 1st Infantry Division 57 mm Anti Tank Gun in Bunker Caumont-l’Éventé Normandy 1944 LCM Evacuating Casualties from D-Day Invasion Beach British Commandos Captured during Normandy Invasion 1944
German and US Medics Tend Wounded German POWs in St. Lo Normandy 1944 British Troops Advance through Ruins of Demeuville Normandy 1944 LSTs loading tracked vehicles carts for D-Day assault in England British Troops Break Through Caen France Normandy 1944
RAF aircraft drop supplies by parachute to British Airborne Division in Normandy 1944 US Troops Celebrate with French Wine in Normandy 1944 US Army Troops in action Rachecourt Normandy 1944 Ruins of German Underground Installations at Pas De Calais Normandy 1944
1st Army Trucks and Jeeps in Ruins of Isigny Normandy 1944 GIs in main street of Isigny June 11 1944 France 1944 Normandy US soldiers hunt for a Germans in a shell torn building in Cherbourg France 1944 Red Cross girls serves fresh batch of doughnuts to US Army soldiers in Normandy
US 4.2 Inch Mortar in Action Carrefour de Chemins Normandy France 1944 US Army 16th Infantry Regiment , 1st Division with Wounded on Omaha Beach Normandy 1944 DUKW Amphibious on Slapton Sands England Pre D Day Training 1944 Canadian Soldier Resting in Foxhole in Normandy France 1944
USS LST-326 and LST-388 Unloading on Normandy Beach during Low Tide June 1944 D-Day Invasion Glider Pilots On Landing Craft Return 1944 US Troops Parade in City Square of Carentan France Normandy 1944 Truckload American Troops Advance from Allied Beachhead in France Normandy June 1944
German prisoners of war 1944 France 35th Infantry Division Troops And Wrecked Flakpanzer 38(t) In Tessy Sur Vire France Invasion Fleet For D-Day Normandy 1944 Operation Overlord US Army 4th Infantry Division Troops on Utah Red Beach D-Day Normandy 1944
US Army Soldiers and Vehicles Move through St. Giles Normandy France July 1944 Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) vehicles on the beached, Sword Beach Normandy 1944 US Army Soldier in German Mine Field in Normandy France 1944 Invasion of Normandy D-Day, helmets of Allied paratroopers
US 1st Infantry Division Medic with Wounded Soldier on Omaha Beach D-Day US Paratroopers Hunt for German Troops in St. Mere Eglise Normandy June 1944 Wounded Canadian soldiers on “Juno Beach” D-Day, 6 June 1944 1055th Engineers Clear Rubble in Isigny France with Gas Shovel Trucks Dozer
German Prisoners Unload Wounded Comrade on Normandy Beachhead 1944 American Soldiers Blast German Tank with Bazooka in Normandy 1944 Invasion of Normandy D-Day Troops Wading Through Water RAF Gliders and Tow Planes Head for Normandy Coast on D-Day
Landing Craft Tank USS LCT 580, Normandy June 1944 US Army GI’s On LCI Landing Craft For D-Day Invasion Normandy June 1944 DUKW Amphibious Moving Off Omaha Beach D-Day 1944 US 3rd Battalion 16th Infantry Regiment 1st Division on Omaha Beach near Colleville sur Mer D-Day
German troops examine an destroyed Waco CG-4 glider Normandy June 1944 American Soldiers Search German Tunnel in Normandy France US Army Rangers Train in England for D-Day Invasion Landing Craft Tank USS LCT-622 with ramp down on beach
111th Naval Construction Battalion Landing at Omaha Beach D-Day Normandy 1944. LCT-562 and USS LST-502 in the background US Infantrymen Advance thru German Minefield in Normandy 1944 1st Battalion Troops in LCVP Approach Omaha Beach on D-Day 1944 1st Infantry Division Wounded on Omaha Beach D-Day June 6 1944
US Army Troops Rest in Ditch During Advance on Cherbourg June 1944 Normandy American Soldiers at German Pillbox “Le Ruquet” on D-Day’s Omaha Beach Normandy 1944 American Soldiers Advancing Past Jeeps on Road to Cherbourg France 30 June 1944 Civilians Cheer US Forces Entering Barneville France June 1944
Invasion of Normandy D-Day at Omaha Beach Freshly Captured German POWs Normandy August 1944 Fleet Massed off Isle of Wight for D-Day Invasion of France 1944 Bombed Ruins of Railway Station in Caen France Normandy 1944
Normandy LST June 1944 Trucks and Jeeps American Liberty Ships Scuttled off D-Day’s Omaha Beach /> Wounded soldiers Normandy Omaha Beach June 6 1944 D-Day /> Gliders Near Cherbourg France D-Day Normandy 6 June 1944
/> Truck And Bombed Church Near Vierville Normandy June 1944 298th Engineers Clear Rubble In Valognes France Normandy 1944 French Destruction of Homes by Bombs Normandy 1944 Destruction in Vire Normandy France 1944
LST Ship Unloading Trucks D-Day Beach Normandy 1944 /> DUKW Duck On Omaha Beach D-Day Normandy June 1944 Hospital Ship 65 After D-Day Normandy June 1944 /> US LST 532 Unloads Jeep On Omaha Beach D-Day Normandy 1944
/> German Prisoners Pow Omaha Beach D-Day 1944 Normandy Bulldozer Pulling DUKW Duck D Day Beach Normandy 1944 French Refugees Digging Through Rubble Isigny sur Mer Normandy June 1944 French Refugees Return after Liberation Normandy 1944
U.S. Paratroopers enroute to enemy lines in France, D-Day Normandy 1944 Destroyed German bunker Normandy D-Day June 6. 1944 D-Day Omaha Beach June 6 Normandy 1944 Aerial View Of German Beach Defenses In Normandy Summer 1944
hedgerow cutter for Allied tank Normandy 1944 US Soldiers Celebrate with French Civilians St Lo Normandy 1944 /> Wrecks and landing crafts, Normandy, Omaha Beach durnig invasion Carentan Normandy 21 June 1944
/> D-Day Omaha Beach Ships And Equipment June 1944 Normandy Bombed Building Factory Nr Vierville Normandy June 1944 D-Day Beach With Obstacles And Debris Normandy June 1944 /> Vehicles being unloaded onto a beachhead in Normandy from a barge. In the foreground is a captured German anti-tank gun.
/> Photo Fireman Put Out Fire in Carentan Normandy France 1944 /> LCT 199 Landed 197th AA Omaha Beach D-Day Normandy 1944 Normandy invasion D-Day US LST and Soldiers

8 June 1944 - History

20. CAPTURE of ROME, INVASION of NORMANDY, 'V-1'S' on ENGLAND, SAIPAN LANDINGS, BATTLE of PHILIPPINES SEA, ATTACKS on 'TIRPITZ', S of FRANCE LANDINGS

June - August 1944

Normandy Invasion, Operation 'Overlord' (see June 1944, Europe)

. 1944

JUNE 1944

ATLANTIC - JUNE 1944

4th - Off West Africa, "U-505" was c aptured by the USS Guadalcanal and her task group. Later in the month, tanker "U-490" was s unk in mid-Atlantic by the ships and aircraft of the "Croatan" group and "U-360" in the South Atlantic by aircraft from "Solomons". 15th - Submarine "Satyr" on Arctic patrol torpedoed and sank "U-987" to the west of Narvik. 26th - Destroyer "Bulldog" on patrol off the northwest coast of Ireland sank "U-719".

Battle of the Atlantic - U-boats passing through the Bay of Biscay were the target for aircraft covering the Normandy invasion, and also continued to suffer badly at the hands of the aircraft of the Northern Transit Area patrol. Throughout the month, seven were sunk and one severely damaged by RAF, RCAF and Norwegian aircraft. In the case of "U-1225" to the northwest of Bergen on the 24th, the attacking Canadian Canso (or Catalina) was badly hit and crashed but not before sinking her. + Flt Lt David Hornell RCAF, pilot of the Canso of No 162 Squadron, Coastal Command, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Monthly Loss Summary: 3 British, Allied and neutral ships of 7,000 tons in the Atlantic from all causes 13 U-boats excluding those sunk in Bay of Biscay

EUROPE - JUNE 1944

6th - Normandy Invasion: Operation 'Overlord'
(see map above)

Following approval of the outline plans for the Allied landings in France at the August 1943 Quebec Conference, detailed preparation was put in hand for putting ashore three divisions on the Normandy coast between the Rivers Vire and Orne. Supplies were to be carried in initially through two 'Mulberry' artificial harbours. When Eisenhower and Montgomery arrived on the scene they insisted on a five-division assault, including one on the Cotentin Peninsula to speed up the capture of Cherbourg. The extra shipping and landing craft needed meant pushing the date from May to 5th June. Unseasonably bad weather postponed the actual landings to the 6th. After gaining bridgeheads in Normandy, Eisenhower's aims were to build up enough strength for a decisive battle in the area, before breaking out to take the Channel ports and reach the German border on a broad front. Meanwhile, the right flank would link up with Allied forces coming from southern France. A further increase in strength would be used to destroy the German forces west of the Rhine before crossing this major barrier and encircling the important Ruhr industrial centre. The final advance through Germany could then follow. Vital to all these steps were the opening of enough ports to bring in the reinforcements and vast amount of supplies needed.

Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force - US Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower

Deputy Commander - Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur Tedder

Allied Naval Expeditionary Force
Adm Sir B Ramsey

21st Army Group
Gen Sir B Montgomery

Allied Expeditionary Air Force
Air Chief Marshall Sir T Leigh-Mallory

Gen Montgomery remained in command of ground forces until September 1944 when Gen Eisenhower assumed direct control. For the purposes of 'Overlord', RAF Bomber Command and the Eighth US Air Force were placed under the operational direction of the Supreme Commander to add to the aircraft of the Allied Tactical Air Forces. From his headquarters outside Portsmouth on 1st June, Adm Ramsey took command of the immense armada of ships collected together for Operation 'Neptune', the naval part of 'Overlord'.
Landing Areas: Normandy coast on the SE edge of the Cotentin Peninsular ("Utah"),
and between Rivers Vire and Orne ("Omaha", "Gold", "Juno", "Sword")

21st Army Group - Gen Montgomery
Five US, British, Canadian infantry divisions, followed by one US infantry and one British armoured division, total of 130,000 Allied troops

Forces landing and areas of departure: US Beaches
US First Army - US Gen Bradley
"Utah" Beach - US 7th Corps from Dartmouth area
"Omaha" Beach - US 5th Corps from Portland area
"Omaha" Beach follow-up: one US infantry division from Plymouth area
British & Canadian Beaches
British Second Army - Gen Dempsey
"Gold" Beach - British 30th Corps from Southampton area
"Juno" Beach - Canadian forces of British 1st Corps from Portsmouth area
"Sword" Beach - British 1st Corps from Newhaven area
follow-up: British armoured division from Thames area
Naval Task Forces and Commanders ( RN refers to both Royal and Dominion Navy vessels) Western
Rear-Adm A G Kirk USN
Eastern
Rear-Adm Sir P Vian
Assault Phase Warships Warships
Battleships 3 US 3 RN
Cruisers 10 (5 RN, 3 US, 2 French) 13 (12 RN, 1 Allied)
Destroyers & escorts 51 (11 RN, 36 US, 4 French) 84 (74 RN, 3 French, 7 Allied)
Other warships, incl. minesweepers & coastal forces 260 (135 RN, 124 US, 1 Allied) 248 (217 RN, 30 US, 1 Allied)
Total Warships 324 (151 RN, 166 US, 6 French,
1 Allied)
348 (306 RN, 30 US, 3 French,
9 Allied)
Major Amphibious Forces Landing & Ferry Vessels Landing & Ferry Vessels
LSIs, landing ships & craft 644 (147 RN, 497 US) 955 (893 RN, 62 US)
Ferry service vessels & landing craft 220 (RN & US) 316 (RN & US)
Totals incl. Warships 1,188 1,619
Grand Total 2,807
Plus minor landing craft 836 1,155

Naval & Maritime Forces

The two Naval Task Forces totalled 672 warships for assault convoy escort, minesweeping ( Letter from Normandy ) , shore bombardment, local defence, etc, and 4,126 major and minor landing ships and craft for initial assault and ferry purposes: a grand total of 4,798. To this can be added the following:

(1) Home Command for follow-up escort and Channel patrols, plus reserves: 1 battleship (RN) 118 destroyers and escorts (108 RN, 4 US, 1 French, 5 Allied) 364 other warships including coastal forces (340 RN, 8 French, 16 Allied).

(2) Western Channel Approaches A/S Escort Groups and reserves: 3 escort carriers (RN), 55 destroyers and escort vessels (RN).

(3) Merchant ships in their hundreds - mainly British liners, tankers, tugs, etc to supply and support the invasion and naval forces.

(4) British 'Mulberry' harbour project of two artificial harbours and five 'Gooseberry' breakwaters including: 400 'Mulberry' units totalling 1.5 million tons and including up to 6,000-ton 'Phoenix' concrete breakwaters 160 tugs for towing 59 old merchantmen and warships to be sunk as blockships for the 'Gooseberries'. All were in place by the 10th June.

(5) Specially equipped British vessels for laying PLUTO - Pipeline Under The Ocean - across the Channel from the Isle of Wight to carry petroleum fuel.

Included in the table totals above were hundreds of Thames 'dumb' barges converted to Landing Barges, which carried out a variety of duties off the British and American beaches. ( Thames Barges at War )

The assault forces sailed from their ports of departure on the 5th to a position off the Isle of Wight, and headed south through swept channels down 'The Spout' towards Normandy. Two midget submarines were already on station off the British sector, ready to guide in the landing craft. Partly because of elaborate deception plans, partly because of poor weather, both strategic and tactical surprise was achieved. The invasion was not expected in such weather conditions and certainly not in Normandy. The Germans expected the Pas-de-Calais with its much shorter sea-crossing to be the target although realised that diversionary landings might be made in Normandy.

Soon after midnight on the morning of the 6th, the invasion got underway with the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions dropping behind 'Utah' beach and the British 6th Airborne between 'Sword' beach and Caen. At dawn, after heavy preliminary air and sea bombardments, and with complete Allied air supremacy, the landings went ahead. Royal Marine Commandos Nos 47, 48 and 41 took part in the assaults on the British and Canadian beaches. Against varying degrees of resistance, the toughest on 'Omaha', all five beachheads were established by the end of the day and 150,000 Allied troops were on French soil. 'Omaha' linked up with the British and Canadian beaches by the 8th, and two days later - the 10th - 'Utah' made contact with 'Omaha'. On the 12th, 330,000 men and 50,000 vehicles were ashore. As US Seventh Corps fought its way across the Cotentin, the rest of US First Army thrust forward around St Lo. Further east the British and Canadian Corps of British Second Army battled their way around Caen against fierce German counter-attacks. By the 18th the Americans had reached the western side of Cotentin and Seventh Corps headed north for the port of Cherbourg.

Between the 19th and 22nd, violent Channel gales wrecked the US 'Mulberry' harbour off 'Omaha' and seriously damaged the British one off 'Gold' beach. Many landing craft and DUKWS were lost and a total of 800 driven ashore. Only the British harbour was repaired and the need for Cherbourg became that much more important. By the 27th, with strong gunfire support from Allied warships, the port was in US hands. Although the installations were wrecked and the waters heavily mined, the first supply ships were discharging their cargoes by mid-July. As Cherbourg fell, British troops of Second Army started a major attack to the west of Caen (Operation 'Epsom') but were soon held by the Germans.

By the end of June nearly 660,000 men had landed in France. Although the Allies were well established on the coast and possessed all the Cotentin Peninsular, the Americans had still not taken St Lo, nor the British and Canadians the town of Caen, originally a target for D-day. German resistance, particularly around Caen was ferocious, but the end result was similar to the Tunisian campaign. More and more well-trained German troops were thrown into the battle, so that when the Allies did break out of Normandy the defenders had lost heavily and lacked the men to stop the Allied forces from almost reaching the borders of Germany.

Normandy Beaches - In spite of the vast number of warships lying off the Normandy beaches and escorting the follow-up convoys, losses were comparatively few, although mines, especially of the pressure-operated variety were troublesome: 6th - Destroyer "WRESTLER" escorting a Canadian assault group to 'Juno', was badly damaged by a mine and not repaired. 8th - Frigate "LAWFORD" on patrol in Seine Bay, also after escorting an assault group to 'Juno', was bombed and sunk. 9th - Old light cruiser DURBAN was expended off Ouistreham as one of the 'Gooseberry' breakwaters. Sister ship, the Polish-manned DRAGON was dam aged in early July and joined her in this final but important role. 12th - By now the battleship Warspite , the ship that ended the war with the greatest number of Royal Navy battle honours, had left her gunfire support duties off the Normandy beaches to be fitted with replacement gun barrels. On passage to Rosyth, Scotland she was damaged by a mine of Harwich and out of action until August. Then she was back in the support role bombarding Brest. 13th - Escorting a follow-up convoy to the beaches, destroyer "BOADICEA" was sun k in the English Channel off Portland Bill by torpedo bombers. 18th - Battleship Nelson was s lightly damaged by a mine as she fired her guns off the beaches. 21st - Destroyer "FURY" was m ined and driven ashore in the gales that played havoc with the Mulberry harbours. She was refloated but not repaired. 23rd - Adm Vian's flagship, the AA cruiser Scylla , was also mined in Seine Bay. Seriously damaged, she was out of action until after the war and then never fully re-commissioned. 24th - Mines claimed another victim. Destroyer "SWIFT's" back was broken and she went down five miles off the British beaches. 25th - As cruiser Glasgow in company with US warships bombarded Cherbourg, she received several hits from shore batteries and was out of action for the rest of the war. Nine days after carrying King George VI on a visit to Normandy, cruiser Arethusa was slightly damaged by a mine or bomb while anchored off the beaches. Three US destroyers and a destroyer escort were also lost off Normandy in June.

Channel Patrols - Attempts by German light forces to interfere with invasion shipping had little effect and they suffered heavy losses. However, on D-day, torpedo boats sank the Norwegian destroyer "SVENNER" . Then on the night of the 8th/9th another force of destroyers and torpedo boats tried to break through from Brest but was intercepted by the 10th Destroyer Flotilla of 'Tribals' off Ushant. Destroyer "ZH-1" (ex-Dutch) was damaged by "Tartar" and torpedoed and sunk by "Ashanti", and "Z-32" driven ashore by the Canadian "Haida" and "Huron" and later blown up.

Western Channel Approaches - Aircraft of Coastal Command and Escort Groups of the RN and RCN on patrol at the west end of the English Channel and its approaches were ready for any attempt by U-boats to reach the 'Neptune' ships. Only schnorkel-equipped boats dared try, and the few that did had little success. In June they lost 12 of their number: off the Channel, aircraft sank five including "U-629" and "U-373" in one day - the 8th - to one RAF Liberator of No 224 Squadron (Flg Off K. Moore). Two more went down in the Bay of Biscay as they returned from Atlantic patrol. Warships accounted for the remaining five, but two frigates were sunk and other escorts severely damaged: 15th - Frigate "BLACKWOOD" was tor pedoed off Brittany by "U-764" and sank in tow off Portland Bill. 15th - Frigate "MOURNE" was su nk by "U-767" off Land's End. 18th - Three days after sinking "Mourne", "U-767" was ca ught off the Channel Islands by destroyers "Fame", "Havelock" and "Inconstant" of 14th EG and sent to the bottom. 24th - Destroyers "Eskimo" and Canadian "Haida" of 10th Flotilla, together with a Czech Wellington of No 311 Squadron, sank "U-971" off Ushant. 25th - Two U-boats were lost off Start Point in the English Channel - "U-1191" to frigates "Affleck" and "Balfour" of the 1st EG, and "U-269" to "Bickerton" (Capt Macintyre) of the 5th EG. 27th/29th - Two days after badly damaging corvette "PINK" (constructive total loss) on the 27th and sinking two merchantmen, "U-988" was ca ught and sank off the Channel Islands by frigates "Cooke", "Domett", "Duckworth" and "Essington" of 3rd EG and a RAF Liberator of No 224 Squadron.

Royal Navy - Adm Sir Henry Moore was appointed C-in-C, Home Fleet in succession to Adm Fraser who was to command the British Pacific Fleet.

Air War - On the 13th the first V-1 flying bomb landed on London at the start of a three-month campaign against southeast England. Amongst the weapons shortly used against them was Britain's first jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor. By then Germany's Me262 jet had been in action against Allied bombers.

Eastern Front - In the far North Russia attacked into southern Finland on the 10th in order to force the government to the negotiation table. Fighting carried on into July, but by early September a cease-fire was in effect. In the Centre of the main front, the Russians started the first of their major summer offensives on the 23rd from around Smolensk. The aim was to clear the Germans out of Byelorussia and head on for Warsaw, East Prussia and the Baltic through Lithuania.

Merchant Shipping War - Until the closing days of the war, the schnorkel U-boats operating in UK waters were especially worrying. When submerged as invariably they were, detection from the air was difficult even with 10cm wavelength radar, and location usually had to wait until after they had attacked. Then they suffered badly, usually to surface warship escorts.

Monthly Loss Summary: 19 British, Allied and neutral ships of 75,000 tons in UK waters.

MEDITERRANEAN - JUNE 1944

Italy - On the 4th, units of Gen Mark Clark's US Fifth Army entered Rome. The Germans now withdrew, fighting as they went, to the Gothic Line running north of Florence and across the Apennine mountains to the Adriatic, and with its forward defences along the River Arno in the west. They reached there by mid-July as the Allies came up and prepared for their main attack at the end of August. On 17 June, Royal Navy and US warships landed French troops on the island of Elba.

Early/Mid June - Submarine "SICKLE" on patrol in the Aegean failed to return to Malta when recalled on the 14th, and was presumed lost on mines.

18th - Destroyer "QUAIL" , damaged by a mine in the southern Adriatic seven months earlier in November 1943, foundered off south-eastern Italy on tow from Bari around to Taranto.

Monthly Loss Summary: 1 British or Allied merchant ship of 2,000 tons

INDIAN & PACIFIC OCEANS - JUNE 1944

Burma - By early June, units of 14th Army were advancing from Kohima to Imphal, which was completely relieved on the 22nd after some of the bitterest fighting of the campaign. By July the Japanese were retreating back across the Burmese border. British Fourteenth Army now prepared for a main offensive into Burma later in the year.

Saipan, Japanese Mariana Islands - With the Solomons campaign virtually over, Adm Halsey transferred from the South to the Central Pacific theatre to share in the command of the vast and ever-growing Pacific Fleet. He and Adm Spruance took turns planning and executing the assaults to come, and the Fleet was renumbered accordingly: Third Fleet for Adm Halsey Fifth Fleet for Adm Spruance. Gen MacArthur's much smaller fleet in the South West Pacific remained the Seventh under Adm Kinkaid. Fifth Fleet carried out the Marianas landings. From here US airpower could strike at the Philippines and Formosa, but most importantly initiate the strategic bombing campaign of Japan using the new B-29 Superfortresses. Over the next year they devastated Japanese cities and in conjunction with the highly successful submarine offensive against Japan's merchant marine, nearly crippled the country's war production. The island of Saipan was th e first target, and after heavy air and sea bombardments, US Marines landed on the 15th. Effective resistance was over by early July, by which time one of the most crucial naval battles of the Pacific war had been fought. At the finish, Japanese naval airpower had received such a beating that it never recovered. Battle of the Philippine Sea - The Japanese had prepared for the Marianas landings and from the direction of the Philippines despatched a strong naval force that included nine carriers and five battleships, two of them the 18.1in-gunned "Musashi" and "Yamato". The carrier aircraft were knocked out of the sky by their better-equipped and trained US counterparts in the 'Great Marianas Turkey Shoot'. On the 19th, US submarines sank carriers "SHOKAKU" and "TAIHO", and next day carrier aircraft destroyed the "HIYO". The loss in pilots was a major defeat for the Japanese, and the Americans were left free to complete the capture of the Marianas. The Philippine's inner shield would then be broken.

Monthly Loss Summary: Indian Ocean only - 3 merchant ships of 19,000 tons

JULY 1944

ATLANTIC - JULY 1944

United States - Two major international conferences were held in the United States, starting in July with monetary and financial affairs at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, leading to the setting up of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction & Development. In August, talks started at Dumbarton Oaks just outside Washington DC, on the establishment of the United Nations Organisation (UNO).

17th, FAA Attack on "Tirpitz" - Barracuda torpedo bombers from Home Fleet carriers Formidable , Indefatigable and Furious (right - Navy Photos) attempted to hit "Tirpitz" in Altenfiord on the 17th, but failed, partly because of defensive smokescreens. U-boats were sent to attack the carrier force, but over a period of four days, RAF Coastal Command sank three in the Northern Transit Area and won another Victoria Cross. On the 17th, west of Narvik, "U-347" was lo st to a RAF Catalina of No 210 Squadron. + Flg Off John Cruickshank RAFVR, pilot of the Catalina, continued to attack in spite of his wounds from the return fire and was awarded the Victoria Cross. The RAF also sank a fourth U-boat off southwest Norway.

Monthly Loss Summary: 4 British, Allied and neutral ships of 29,000 tons in the Atlantic from all causes 7 U-boats including one each by task groups of US escort carriers "Wake Island", "Croatan" and "Card" off the Canaries, Madeira and Nova Scotia respectively

EUROPE - JULY 1944

Western Front - At the beginning of the month, the Americans were still struggling to take St Lo and the British and Canadians to capture Caen. As they did so, other units of US First Army started to push slowly south out of the Cotentin Peninsula. Much of Caen was eventually taken on the 9th and St Lo on the 18th. Also on the 18th in Operation 'Goodwood', the British and Canadians mounted a major offensive to the east and south of Caen. The attack made slow progress against fierce German resistance, as Caen became the pivot for the American drive to the west. Now the Canadian First Army under Gen Crerar became operational. On the 25th, in Operation 'Cobra', the US First Army attacked from west of St Lo towards Avranches. As in all the battles great use was made of Allied air power, and on the 30th, Avranches was in American hands. The Allies now prepared to close in on the Germans in the Falaise area and break out across France. The heavy ships of the Royal Navy were still providing gunfire support off both the British and American sectors, and supplies and reinforcements continued to pour in through the British 'Mulberry' harbour as Cherbourg started to become operational.

Attacks on the beachhead shipping by E-boats and small battle units such as the newly introduced "Neger" and "Marder" human torpedoes had limited successes, but mines still caused the most damage: 20th - Destroyer "ISIS" was sunk b y a mine or possibly a Neger off the beaches. 24th - Escort destroyer "GOATHLAND" was b adly damaged by a mine and although saved, was not repaired.

U-boat Operations against the Normandy Beachhead - Those U-boats that did get through the Channel defences sank and damaged a number of ships, but six were lost to warship patrols: 5th - After attacking a convoy off Normandy, "U-390" was sunk by destroyer "Wanderer" and frigate "Tavy". 6th - In a convoy attack off Beachy Head, "U-678" was los t to Canadian destroyers "Ottawa" and "Kootenay" and British corvette "Statice". 18th - Frigate "Balfour" on patrol southeast of Start Point sank "U-672". 21st - Escorting frigates "Curzon" and Ekins" sank "U-212" off Beachy Head. 26th - As "U-214" tried to lay mines off Start Point, she was sunk by frigate "Cooke" of the 3rd EG. 31st - "U-333" was de stroyed to the west of the Scilly Islands by sloop "Starling" and frigate "Loch Killin" of the 2nd EG using the new Squid. This marked the first success with this ahead-throwing A/S weapon that fired three large mortar bombs. Three more U-boats were sunk in the Bay of Biscay one each to RAF and RAAF aircraft and the third mined off Brest. Allied air raids on Germany were also becoming more effective and four more were destroyed at Kiel and Bremen.

Germany - In the 20th July Bomb Plot, a device left by Col von Stauffenberg in Hitler’s East Prussia headquarters only injured him slightly. In revenge many died and Field Marshal Rommel, implicated in the attempt on Hitler's life was forced to commit suicide in October 1944.

Eastern Front - The attacks in the Centre pushed on. Minsk, capital of Byelorussia was taken by the 4th and by mid-month all of the Russian republic had been liberated. Vilna, disputed capital of Lithuania, was captured on the 13th. By the end of July the Russians were approaching the outskirts of Warsaw. In the North, the second main phase of the summer offensive got underway with the aim of ejecting the Germans from the Baltic states. The third phase started in the middle of the month in the Centre/South from the Ukraine into southern Poland. Lvov was taken on the 27th.

Monthly Loss Summary: 8 British, Allied and neutral ships of 19,000 tons in UK waters.

MEDITERRANEAN - JULY 1944

Monthly Loss Summary: No Allied merchant ships were lost.

INDIAN & PACIFIC OCEANS - JULY 1944

25th, FAA Attack on Sabang, Sumatra - Aircraft from Illustrious and Victorious attacked Sabang, after which three battleships, cruisers and destroyers bombarded the area. This was the last Eastern Fleet operation under the command of Adm Somerville. He moved on to Washington DC as Adm Fraser took over as C-in-C in August. More carrier raids were carried out on Sumatra in August and September.

17th - As the Ceylon-based submarines continued to cut Japanese supply lines to their armies in Burma, "Telemachus" on patrol in the Malacca Strait sank Japanese submarine "I-166" outward bound for Indian Ocean operations.

Guam (U.S.) and Tinian, Japanese Mariana Islands - With Saipan secured and the Japanese fleet in disarray, the Americans went ahead with landings on the US colony of Guam on the 21st and Japanese island of Tinian three days later. Against the usual suicidal resistance, both islands were won by early August, although the last Japanese soldier hid out on Guam until 1972. The Marianas were now in US hands, and their fall had a political consequence. Gen Tojo's government resigned, but a cabinet apparently just as committed to continuing the war came to power.

Monthly Loss Summary: Indian Ocean only - 5 merchant ships of 30,000 tons

AUGUST 1944

ATLANTIC - AUGUST 1944

15th-29th, Attacks on Tirpitz and Russian Convoy JW59 - Russian convoy JW59 (33 ships) left Loch Ewe on the 15th with a heavy escort including escort carriers Striker and Vindex and the 20th and 22nd Escort Groups. Home Fleet, under the command of Adm Moore, sailed in two groups, partly to cover the convoy but mainly to launch further FAA attacks on "Tirpitz" in Altenfiord. One group included Formidable , Indefatigable and Furious and battleship Duke of York the second one escort carriers Trumpeter and the Canadian-manned Nabob together with t he 5th EG (Cdr Macintyre). Between the 22nd and 29th, three strikes were made, but in two of them the German ship was obscured by smoke and although a hit was obtained on the 24th, the bomb failed to explode. In the course of these manoeuvres the escort carrier group suffered two casualties: 22nd - "U-354" encountered them to the northwest of North Cape and attacked. Frigate BICKERTON of the 5th EG was torpedoed, badly damaged, and finished off by destroyer "Vigilant" (not an old "V" and "W", but a war programme ship). Escort carrier NABOB was too badly damaged by her torpedo hit to be repaired. The U-boat was shortly sunk.

The convoy, JW59 was also subjected to U-boat attack and losses were sustained by both sides: 21st - Sloop "KITE" of the 22nd EG was torpedoed by "U-344" to the northwest of Norway in the Greenland Sea and went down. There were few survivors, but the attacker, like "U-354" was also sunk shortly. 24th - As "U-344" tried to approach the convoy to the north of North Cape, she was sunk by destroyer "Keppel", frigate "Loch Dunvegan" and sloops "Mermaid" and "Peacock" of the 20th EG (both sister-ships of "Kite" so recently lost to "U-344's" attack). 25th - "U-354" now prepared for the arrival of return convoy RA59A in the Bear Island area and was destroyed by a rocket-firing Swordfish of 825 Squadron from Vindex . (Note: Some sources reverse the cause of loss of "U-344" and "U-354", but with "U-344" sunk on the 22nd and "U-354" on the 24th.) JW59 arrived at Kola Inlet on the 25th with all 33 merchant ships.

Monthly Loss Summary: 1 ship of 6,000 tons, 1 escort carrier, 2 escorts and 1 US destroyer escort off Azores 3 U-boats including 1 by aircraft of escort carrier "Bogue" off Newfoundland

EUROPE - AUGUST 1944

Western Front - Breakout from Normandy: On the 1st, US General Patton's Third Army became operational. Still under Gen Montgomery, the Allied land forces were organised from west to east as follows:

US 12th Army Group
(Gen Bradley)

British 21st Army Group
(Gen Montgomery)

US Third Army
(Patton)

US First Army
(Hodges)

British Second Army
(Dempsey)

Canadian First Army
(Crerar)

As part of the plan to trap the Germans at Falaise and liberate the rest of France, US Third Army's role was to overrun Brittany, wheel east from Avranches towards Le Mans and 0rleans and head towards the south of Paris. In doing so they would help close the Falaise net from the south. US First Army was to attack east from Avranches through Mortain towards Falaise. Meanwhile the British 21st Army Group was to move south from Caen on Falaise, the British Second Army on the right and Canadian First Army on the left. US Third Army had taken most of Brittany by early month and sealed off Brest, Lorient and St Nazaire. Brest fell in mid-September, but the other two naval bases held out for the rest of the war, together with the Channel Islands garrisons. US First Army's push east was stopped on the 7th when the Germans strongly counter-attacked through Mortain towards the American bottleneck at Avranches. The assault was held, assisted by the aircraft of the Tactical Air Forces, especially the tank-busting Typhoons. By the 11th the danger was over. In the struggle south by British 21st Group, the Canadians took Falaise on the 17th, and three days later the pocket was completely sealed and the remaining Germans trapped. By then the Allied spearheads were rushing eastward. The Americans crossed the Seine on the 20th and shortly after a French armoured division was brought forward to complete the liberation of Paris on the 25th.

Now: Canadian First Army headed along the coast to capture the Channel ports and nearby V-1 "Buzz-bomb" launch sites, British Second Army moved up on its right towards Brussels, The Americans raced across France for the Belgian border, Luxembourg and eastern France. Lack of supplies, particularly fuel, started to become a major problem, and capturing Antwerp, Belgium was a matter of the highest priority. The assault on Brest, which began later in the month, was assisted by naval gunfire including "Warspite's" 15in guns.

British Convoy Routes - As the German Biscay bases became untenable, the South Western Approaches to the British Isles were opened to Allied convoys for the first time in four years. West and North Africa/UK convoys SL167 and MKS58 were the first to benefit from the shortened journey.

German Coastal Forces Attacks - Coastal forces and small battle units continued to attack shipping off the invasion beaches, sinking and damaging a number of vessels in return for heavy casualties. 3rd - 'Hunt' class escort destroyer "QUORN" on patrol off the British sector was sunk, probably by a Linsen explosive motor boat. 9th - Old cruiser Frobisher , acting as a depot ship for the British 'Mulberry', was badly damaged by a Dackel long range torpedo fired by E-boats.

U-boat Operations - U-boats passing through the Bay of Biscay and operating in the Channel and its approaches suffered badly at the hands of the air and sea patrols and escorts. However, the Royal Canadian Navy lost two corvettes: 4th - Escort destroyer "Wensleydale" and frigate "Stayner" on patrol off Beachy Head, sank "U-671" shortly after she sailed from Boulogne. 6th - The 2nd Escort Group had a hand in three sinkings (1-3) in the Bay of Biscay. On the 6th, to the west of St Nazaire, frigate "Loch Killin" and sloop "Starling" used the new Squid A/S mortar again to account for "U-736" (1). The other two attacks were carried out off La Rochelle. 8th - Canadian corvette "REGINA" was sun k off Trevose Head, north Cornwall by "U-667" as she escorted Bristol Channel convoy EBC66. The U-boat was lost on mines off La Pallice later in the month. 10th - In the second sinking by 2nd EG, "U-608" (2) was lo st to sloop "Wren" and aircraft of No 53 Squadron. 11th - 2nd EG's "Starling" working with RAAF aircraft of No 461 Squadron accounted for "U-385" (3). 14th - West of St Nazaire, "U-618" was s unk by RAF aircraft of No 53 Squadron, this time with 3rd EG frigates "Duckworth" and "Essington". 15th - Attacking a convoy to the south of the Isle of Wight, "U-741" was s unk by corvette "Orchis". 18th/20th - Canadian destroyers "Chaudiere", "Kootenay" and "Ottawa" of the 11th EG sank "U-621" on the 18th off La Rochelle and "U-984" two days later to the west of Brest. 20th - After sinking one merchantman from a convoy off Beachy Head, "U-413" was cou nter-attacked and lost to destroyers "Forester", "Vidette" and escort destroyer "Wensleydale". 21st/22nd - Off the Isle of Wight, "U-480" sank Canadian corvette "ALBERNI" on the 21st and British fleet minesweeper LOYALTY next day. 24th - As most of the U-boats evacuated the Biscay bases and headed for Norway, frigate "Louis" on patrol off St Nazaire sank "U-445". Throughout the month a total of 21 U-boats were lost in and around French waters. Apart from "U-667" which sank "Regina" on the 8th, one more was mined in the Bay of Biscay, three were lost to RAF and RAAF Bay patrols, and six more were scuttled or paid off in their Biscay bases.

27th - In a tragic mistake off Le Havre, RAF Typhoons attacked and sank fleet minesweepers BRITOMART and HUSSAR and severely damaged SALAMANDER (constructive total loss).

Eastern Front - Nearly all pre-war Russia had now been liberated. On the 1st, the Polish Home Army launched the Warsaw Rising against the German oppressors. With little help from outside, least of all the Russians, the fight went on through August and September 1944 until the Poles were finally crushed with great brutality. Around 200,000 died by the time the survivors surrendered on 2nd October 1944. Further south the Russians gained a bridgehead over the River Vistula and their forward lines ran along much of the length of the Carpathian Mountains by month's end. By now running short of supplies and facing increasing German resistance, this sector was stabilised until January 1945. However the fourth phase of the summer offensive started in the far south, aimed at clearing the Balkans. The Russian armies attacked on the 20th from the Ukraine south and west into Rumania. Events moved rapidly. Three days later Rumania accepted the Russian armistice terms, on the 25th declared war on Germany, and by the 31st the Russians were entering Bucharest. Now Bulgaria tried to declare its neutrality and withdraw from the war, just as the Russian forces swung west and north towards Hungary and on to Yugoslavia threatening to cut off the Germans in Greece.

Monthly Loss Summary: 12 British, Allied and neutral ships of 55,000 tons in UK waters.

MEDITERRANEAN - AUGUST 1944

15th - South of France Landings: Operation 'Dragoon'

Originally code-named 'Anvil', the South of France invasion was planned to coincide with the Normandy landings. Since that decision had been made, Britain pushed for the Allies to concentrate on the Italian campaign, but under US pressure agreed to go ahead with the now re-named Operation 'Dragoon' using forces withdrawn from US Fifth Army in Italy. No major British units were involved and for the first time in the Mediterranean the Royal Navy was in the minority in both ships and commanders. However, Adm Sir John Cunningham remained Naval C-in-C.

Landing Areas:

Three Attack Forces landing on the southern French mainland between Toulon and Cannes. A fourth Force on the offshore islands

Forces landing:

US Seventh Army - Gen Patch
US Sixth Corps followed-up by French Second Corps

Departure from:

Italy, Algeria

Naval Attack Force Commanders:

Naval Control force Commander - Vice-Adm H K Hewitt USN
US Rear-Adms Davidson, Lewis, Lowry, Rodgers

Naval Control, Attack & Convoy Escort Forces

British & Allied

French

U.S.A.

Battleships

1

1

3

Cruisers

7

5

8

Destroyers & escorts

27

19

52

Other warships

69

6

157

Attack transports & LSIs

9

-

23

Landing craft & ships (major only)

141

-

369

Totals

254

31

612

Grand Total

897

The warships were allocated across the four attack forces and, in addition, over 1,300 mainly assault landing craft take part in the landings. Air cover and support was provided by Rear-Adm Troubridge with seven British and two US escort carriers. After intensive air and sea bombardments, the landings took place against light resistance accompanied by US airborne drops inland. Both the US and French Corps soon spread out and headed north after the retreating Germans. Before the month was out, Cannes, Toulon and Marseilles had fallen into Allied hands.

Italy - On the eastern, Adriatic side of Italy, the Allies launched the first part of an offensive against the Gothic Line on the 25th, with Eighth Army attacking towards Rimini. By the end of the month they were breaking through the Line, while to the west, US Fifth Army was crossing the Arno.

Monthly Loss Summary: 1 small merchant ship was lost

INDIAN & PACIFIC OCEANS - AUGUST 1944

8th - Battleship Valiant was ser iously damaged at Trincomalee, Ceylon when the floating dock she was in collapsed.

12th - An escort carrier task group was formed to hunt for German and Japanese submarines operating in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa. "U-198" was lo cated on the 10th and two days later, sunk off the Seychelles by frigate "Findhorn" and Indian sloop "Godavari".

New Guinea, Conclusion - On 30th July, US troops were landed near Cape Sansapor at the extreme west end of New Guinea, and the Allies were now firmly established along the whole length of this huge island. Gen MacArthur was ready to return to the Philippines. However only now in August, did the fighting die down around Aitape and on Biak Island, still leaving the Australians to finish off the remnants of by-passed Japanese divisions, in some areas until August 1945. But strategically the New Guinea campaign was over.

Monthly Loss Summary: Indian Ocean only - 9 merchant ships of 58,000 tons


Map D-Day the 6th of June : Normandy 1944

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Credit Line: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.


8 June 1944 - History

On June 16 this year, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was removing another 10,000 U.S. troops from Germany reducing American troop levels there to a derisory 24,500.

The move came only a week before the 76th anniversary of the start of the most decisive battle of World War II, the destruction of the heart of the fearsome and monstrous Nazi war machine – Army Group Center – in the Battle of Belorussia. It was an achievement that continues to shape our 21st century world.

The COVID-19 pandemic and George Floyd tragedy have at least shut up the usual childish fairy tales that flood the U.S. media at this time of year about how they and the British single-handedly saved the world from the curse of Nazism. But it seems timely once again to remember the Battle of Belorussia – the great victory that really did break Nazi military power in June 1944.

All serious Western military historians, to their credit fully acknowledge this reality, but in the popular media it is totally forgotten. Less than 60 Nazi Wehrmacht divisions were assembled to face supposedly the supreme challenge of the War – D-Day: the Allied invasion of Europe. But more than 180 Wehrmacht divisions remained committed to holding back the Red Army in the East. And they lost.

Starting on June 22, 1944, the Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by destroying 28 out of the 34 divisions of Army Group Center, killing and capturing 450,000 men.

In the space of a month, Army Group Center, the great center of gravity and hard strategic rock on which German domination of Russia’s heartland had rested for three years, was annihilated. It was a cataclysmic defeat on an even bigger scale than Stalingrad.

In German military history, the campaign was named “The Destruction of Army Group Center.” It came at the same time, and in large part made possible, the great Allied victory in the West at the Battle of Normandy. The scale of destruction visited upon Army Group Center dwarfed that visited upon the Falaise Pocket in the West.

British war premier Winston Churchill recognized the significance and scale of the victory immediately . “Good God, can’t you see that the Russians are spreading across Europe like a tide?” he exclaimed to his young Personal Private Secretary John “Jock” Colville” who 30 years later mentored me at the British Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Churchill recognized correctly that the Battle of Belorussia was of lasting geostrategic importance and sure enough its outcome remains of critical importance to this day. For it established Soviet military supremacy across Sir Halford Mackinder’s Heartland – the geopolitical world island of Eurasia.

The collapse of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union eclipsed this reality during the dark decade of Russia’s misery under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s (aided and abetted by the Clinton administration and the catastrophic economic advice of then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Vice President Al Gore). But it did not eliminate the underlying reality. Then Russia regained its stability, its underlying economic strength and its military power under President Vladimir Putin.

Unlike Britain’s global empire which vanished in the 15 years from 1947 to the early 1960s, or U.S. military power which has been exhausted by unending inept wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Battle of Belorussia established a global reality that endures to this day.

That battle, also known as Operation Bagration also marked the ascendance of the Soviet and post-Soviet way of war. As retired U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor, most insightful of modern Western military analysts writes in his classic work “Margin of Victor,” “The triumphant Wehrmacht of 1941 was crushed in 1944 …(by) a Soviet transformation focused on integrating and concentrating combat power on the operational level for strategic effect.”

“The Soviet Union won World War II in eastern Europe,” Macgregor concluded, “because the Communist Party of the Soviet Union organized its forces to achieve absolute unity of command. …Thanks to this unique condition of unity of effort, the Soviet high command could commit troops and resources when and where they were needed quickly and efficiently on the strategic and operational levels of war. …The spectacular advance of Soviet military power over the wreckage of Army Group Center into the heart of Europe ensured the destruction of the Third Reich.”

The Battle of Belorussia also holds a crucial lesson on the strength, endurance and resilience of the Russian people. In the three years following June 22, 1941, more than 25 million Russians died at the hands of the Nazi invaders. Not since the Mongol heirs of Genghis Khan conquered China in the 13th century had so much loss of life been visited upon a single nation. Even a limited nuclear strike on Russia or the United States now would not produce such comparable casualties and human suffering. Yet the Russian people, with their fellow peoples of Eurasia came back to win this greatest of military victories.

Thirty years after the Collapse of Communism it is now One World Liberal Internationalism – the Cult of Free Trade and Open Borders – that is collapsing before our eyes. But the military dynamics established across Central Europe in June 1944 – that true Month of Victories – still drive our reality and shape our global destiny.

On June 16 this year, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was removing another 10,000 U.S. troops from Germany reducing American troop levels there to a derisory 24,500.

The move came only a week before the 76th anniversary of the start of the most decisive battle of World War II, the destruction of the heart of the fearsome and monstrous Nazi war machine – Army Group Center – in the Battle of Belorussia. It was an achievement that continues to shape our 21st century world.

The COVID-19 pandemic and George Floyd tragedy have at least shut up the usual childish fairy tales that flood the U.S. media at this time of year about how they and the British single-handedly saved the world from the curse of Nazism. But it seems timely once again to remember the Battle of Belorussia – the great victory that really did break Nazi military power in June 1944.

All serious Western military historians, to their credit fully acknowledge this reality, but in the popular media it is totally forgotten. Less than 60 Nazi Wehrmacht divisions were assembled to face supposedly the supreme challenge of the War – D-Day: the Allied invasion of Europe. But more than 180 Wehrmacht divisions remained committed to holding back the Red Army in the East. And they lost.

Starting on June 22, 1944, the Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by destroying 28 out of the 34 divisions of Army Group Center, killing and capturing 450,000 men.

In the space of a month, Army Group Center, the great center of gravity and hard strategic rock on which German domination of Russia’s heartland had rested for three years, was annihilated. It was a cataclysmic defeat on an even bigger scale than Stalingrad.

In German military history, the campaign was named “The Destruction of Army Group Center.” It came at the same time, and in large part made possible, the great Allied victory in the West at the Battle of Normandy. The scale of destruction visited upon Army Group Center dwarfed that visited upon the Falaise Pocket in the West.

British war premier Winston Churchill recognized the significance and scale of the victory immediately . “Good God, can’t you see that the Russians are spreading across Europe like a tide?” he exclaimed to his young Personal Private Secretary John “Jock” Colville” who 30 years later mentored me at the British Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Churchill recognized correctly that the Battle of Belorussia was of lasting geostrategic importance and sure enough its outcome remains of critical importance to this day. For it established Soviet military supremacy across Sir Halford Mackinder’s Heartland – the geopolitical world island of Eurasia.

The collapse of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union eclipsed this reality during the dark decade of Russia’s misery under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s (aided and abetted by the Clinton administration and the catastrophic economic advice of then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Vice President Al Gore). But it did not eliminate the underlying reality. Then Russia regained its stability, its underlying economic strength and its military power under President Vladimir Putin.

Unlike Britain’s global empire which vanished in the 15 years from 1947 to the early 1960s, or U.S. military power which has been exhausted by unending inept wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Battle of Belorussia established a global reality that endures to this day.

That battle, also known as Operation Bagration also marked the ascendance of the Soviet and post-Soviet way of war. As retired U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor, most insightful of modern Western military analysts writes in his classic work “Margin of Victor,” “The triumphant Wehrmacht of 1941 was crushed in 1944 …(by) a Soviet transformation focused on integrating and concentrating combat power on the operational level for strategic effect.”

“The Soviet Union won World War II in eastern Europe,” Macgregor concluded, “because the Communist Party of the Soviet Union organized its forces to achieve absolute unity of command. …Thanks to this unique condition of unity of effort, the Soviet high command could commit troops and resources when and where they were needed quickly and efficiently on the strategic and operational levels of war. …The spectacular advance of Soviet military power over the wreckage of Army Group Center into the heart of Europe ensured the destruction of the Third Reich.”

The Battle of Belorussia also holds a crucial lesson on the strength, endurance and resilience of the Russian people. In the three years following June 22, 1941, more than 25 million Russians died at the hands of the Nazi invaders. Not since the Mongol heirs of Genghis Khan conquered China in the 13th century had so much loss of life been visited upon a single nation. Even a limited nuclear strike on Russia or the United States now would not produce such comparable casualties and human suffering. Yet the Russian people, with their fellow peoples of Eurasia came back to win this greatest of military victories.

Thirty years after the Collapse of Communism it is now One World Liberal Internationalism – the Cult of Free Trade and Open Borders – that is collapsing before our eyes. But the military dynamics established across Central Europe in June 1944 – that true Month of Victories – still drive our reality and shape our global destiny.

On June 16 this year, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was removing another 10,000 U.S. troops from Germany reducing American troop levels there to a derisory 24,500.

The move came only a week before the 76th anniversary of the start of the most decisive battle of World War II, the destruction of the heart of the fearsome and monstrous Nazi war machine – Army Group Center – in the Battle of Belorussia. It was an achievement that continues to shape our 21st century world.

The COVID-19 pandemic and George Floyd tragedy have at least shut up the usual childish fairy tales that flood the U.S. media at this time of year about how they and the British single-handedly saved the world from the curse of Nazism. But it seems timely once again to remember the Battle of Belorussia – the great victory that really did break Nazi military power in June 1944.

All serious Western military historians, to their credit fully acknowledge this reality, but in the popular media it is totally forgotten. Less than 60 Nazi Wehrmacht divisions were assembled to face supposedly the supreme challenge of the War – D-Day: the Allied invasion of Europe. But more than 180 Wehrmacht divisions remained committed to holding back the Red Army in the East. And they lost.

Starting on June 22, 1944, the Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by destroying 28 out of the 34 divisions of Army Group Center, killing and capturing 450,000 men.

In the space of a month, Army Group Center, the great center of gravity and hard strategic rock on which German domination of Russia’s heartland had rested for three years, was annihilated. It was a cataclysmic defeat on an even bigger scale than Stalingrad.

In German military history, the campaign was named “The Destruction of Army Group Center.” It came at the same time, and in large part made possible, the great Allied victory in the West at the Battle of Normandy. The scale of destruction visited upon Army Group Center dwarfed that visited upon the Falaise Pocket in the West.

British war premier Winston Churchill recognized the significance and scale of the victory immediately . “Good God, can’t you see that the Russians are spreading across Europe like a tide?” he exclaimed to his young Personal Private Secretary John “Jock” Colville” who 30 years later mentored me at the British Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Churchill recognized correctly that the Battle of Belorussia was of lasting geostrategic importance and sure enough its outcome remains of critical importance to this day. For it established Soviet military supremacy across Sir Halford Mackinder’s Heartland – the geopolitical world island of Eurasia.

The collapse of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union eclipsed this reality during the dark decade of Russia’s misery under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s (aided and abetted by the Clinton administration and the catastrophic economic advice of then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Vice President Al Gore). But it did not eliminate the underlying reality. Then Russia regained its stability, its underlying economic strength and its military power under President Vladimir Putin.

Unlike Britain’s global empire which vanished in the 15 years from 1947 to the early 1960s, or U.S. military power which has been exhausted by unending inept wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Battle of Belorussia established a global reality that endures to this day.

That battle, also known as Operation Bagration also marked the ascendance of the Soviet and post-Soviet way of war. As retired U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor, most insightful of modern Western military analysts writes in his classic work “Margin of Victor,” “The triumphant Wehrmacht of 1941 was crushed in 1944 …(by) a Soviet transformation focused on integrating and concentrating combat power on the operational level for strategic effect.”

“The Soviet Union won World War II in eastern Europe,” Macgregor concluded, “because the Communist Party of the Soviet Union organized its forces to achieve absolute unity of command. …Thanks to this unique condition of unity of effort, the Soviet high command could commit troops and resources when and where they were needed quickly and efficiently on the strategic and operational levels of war. …The spectacular advance of Soviet military power over the wreckage of Army Group Center into the heart of Europe ensured the destruction of the Third Reich.”

The Battle of Belorussia also holds a crucial lesson on the strength, endurance and resilience of the Russian people. In the three years following June 22, 1941, more than 25 million Russians died at the hands of the Nazi invaders. Not since the Mongol heirs of Genghis Khan conquered China in the 13th century had so much loss of life been visited upon a single nation. Even a limited nuclear strike on Russia or the United States now would not produce such comparable casualties and human suffering. Yet the Russian people, with their fellow peoples of Eurasia came back to win this greatest of military victories.

Thirty years after the Collapse of Communism it is now One World Liberal Internationalism – the Cult of Free Trade and Open Borders – that is collapsing before our eyes. But the military dynamics established across Central Europe in June 1944 – that true Month of Victories – still drive our reality and shape our global destiny.


Watch the video: Eastern Front of WWII animated: 19441945 (January 2022).