Sunday, June 12, 2011


We Remember: June 11th

1940:  Paris is declared an Open City, by the military governor, General Hering, as the French retreat sourth of the River Seine and the River Marne. The continued German advance captures Reims.

British PM Churchill travels to Braire, France. He meets with Reynaud and others. Reynaud pushes to fight on, but receives little support from others in his government.

RAF 4 Group Bombs aero-engine works at Turin and Genoa, Italy - road and rail communications in France.(Andy Etherington)

Prior to the Italian declaration of war, the British and French governments had jointly agreed that in the eventuality of Italy joining forces with Germany, the Allies would commence air operations against her. Thus a force of bombers code-named 'Haddock Force' was created. On the morning of June 11th, the Wellingtons of No. 99 Squadron arrived at Salon where they were immediately refuelled and bombed-up for a raid on Italian industrial targets that night. However the local French Air Force commander, backed up by a deputation from local authorities were aware that the Italians had already bombed Cannes and Nice that morning. They were fearful of possible Italian attacks in retaliation and objected to such a raid. Despite protests from the RAF commander that they had the approval of the French government and the personal intervention of Churchill to the French Premier Reynaud, the local authorities refused to budge. As the Wellingtons began to taxi out the airfield was blocke
d by French Army trucks and other vehicles. In order to prevent a clash the raid was called off and the Wellingtons ordered back to England to prevent sabotage by the French. (Andy Etherington)

The RAF had taken out insurance by moving 4 Group Whitleys to the Channel Islands. The aircraft took off from the small airfields at Jersey and Guernsey bound for the Fiat aero-engine works at Turin and the Ansaldo factories at Genoa as the alternative. Electrical storms of great severity hampered the force and caused twenty crews to abort. (Andy Etherington)

The first Italian air raid of the war on the island of Malta destroys one of the four Gloster Sea Gladiator fighters defending the island. The remaining three will not be named by the islanders or airmen. However 'Faith', 'Hope' and 'Charity' are the names bestowed by newsmen. These names have been repeated and become part of the lore about WWII. (Andy Etherington)

0800 saw the departure of another search, this time by nine Swordfish out to 120 miles between 181 northward to 359 degrees.  Nothing was sighted, but thick weather ahead was reported.
     At 0830, Lieutenant G. E. D. Finch-Noyes, RN section of 800 Squadron (three Skuas) went up after another snooper but it turned out to be a Coastal Command flying boat.  At 1200, Ark Royal entered the weather front and flying was suspended.
     Meanwhile, word had come in via Coastal Command photo reconnaissance efforts that the elusive German warships which had sunk Glorious (by now the Germans had announced their success to the world) were in Trondheim harbour.  In an effort to rid themselves of the enemy's remaining capital ships, Ark Royal was ordered to strike the enemy where they lay. (Mark Horan)

Australia, New Zealand and South Africa declare war on Italy.   (Jack McKillop)

The German submarine U-101 stops the U.S. passenger liner SS Washington which is enroute from Lisbon, Portugal, to Galway, Eire, with 1,020 American citizens, to pickup more U.S. citizens leaving Europe. The sub captain believes the ship is a Greek vessel and orders all passengers and crew to abandon ship prior to it being sunk. Blinker signals between the two vessels eventually confirm Washington's identity and she is allowed to proceed.  (Jack McKillop)

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill again sends a telegram to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking for destroyers especially since the Royal Navy now must deal with Italian submarines. Churchill states, "To this, the only counter is destroyers. Nothing is so important as for us to have 30 or 40 old destroyers you have already had reconditioned." (Jack McKillop)

1941: Hitler starts to prepare for the period after Barbarossa, ordering his generals to plan for an assault on Gibraltar and operations in Turkey and Iran. (Andy Etherington)

Red Army units from the Transbaikal are transferred westwards but are not put on alert. (Andy Etherington)

US President Roosevelt frees a British division by agreeing to replace the British garrison in Iceland with American troops. (Andy Etherington)

German aerial combat formations operating out of newly-won bases in the Mediterranean, have successfully attacked the British fuel tank depots and port installations of Haifa, where they have caused a number of explosions and fires. (Andy Etherington)

1942:      Free French forces are holding at Bir Hacheim in North Africa.

USS Wasp, with battleship North Carolina and escorting destroyers pass through the Panama Canal on their way to the Pacific.

The USN aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3), in Task Force 11, rendezvoused with Task Force 16, consisting of the aircraft carriers USS Enterprise (CV-6) and USS Hornet (CV-8), yesterday to transfer aircraft to replace the planes lost in the Battle of Midway. However, the weather was poor and the transfer could not take place until today. The losses suffered by the Torpedo Squadrons (VTs) were especially heavy so the Saratoga Air Group transfers TBD Devastators of VT-5 to the Enterprise Air Group, TBF Avengers of VT-8 to the Hornet Air Group and SBD Dauntlesses to both air groups.    (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's 11th Air Force and the USN's Patrol Wing Four (PatWing-4) strike at Kiska Island in the Aleutian Islands for the first time. Five B-24 Liberators and five B-17 Flying Fortresses from Cold Bay load bombs at Umnak Island and along with PBY Catalinas, attack Kiska harbor installations and shipping targets. Low-altitude runs score near misses on two cruisers and a destroyer. AA downs a B-24; the other B-24s are pursued by four fighters back to Unmak where US fighters drive them off. (Jack McKillop)

German submarines mine areas off the U.S. east coast. U-87 mines waters off Boston, Massachusetts, and U-373 mines the waters off Delaware Bay between New Jersey and Delaware. (Jack McKillop)

The United States and the Soviet Union sign a lend-lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort.    (Jack McKillop)

1943:     11,000 Italian troops on the island Panteleria between Tunis and Sicily surrender as the attack force approaches. There is no fighting. This island has been subjected to intensive bombing over the past month. After arrival the Allies determine that the damage from the bombing is not at severe as expected. This gives indications as to the possible effectiveness of the Pointblank Directive which was issued yesterday.
     Amplifying the above:
An attack during the night of 10/11 June on Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean by Northwest African Air Force (NAAF) Wellingtons is followed by morning and afternoon attacks by fighters and bombers of the NAAF and USAAF Ninth Air Force, in conjunction with naval bombardment of the island. After the British 1 Division is landed unopposed, Pantelleria surrenders unconditionally.    (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's VIII Bomber Command in England flies Mission Number 62: 252 B-17s are dispatched against the U-boat yard at Wilhelmshaven, Germany and the port area at Cuxhaven, Germany; 218 hit the targets and claim 85-20-24 Luftwaffe aircraft; eight B-17s are lost. The raid on Wilhelmshaven demonstrates the difficulty of operating beyond range of fighters escort as enemy fighters attacks prevent accurate bombing of the target.    (Jack McKillop)

In the Aleutian Islands, the USAAF's Eleventh Air Force dispatches seven B-24s, eight B-25 Mitchells, ten P-40s, four P-38 Lightnings and 2 F-5A Lightnings to fly weather, photo, reconnaissance, and attack missions to Kiska Island. Main targets are Gertrude Cove and Main Camp, South Head, North Head, runway, and offshore barges. Fighter bombing and strafing, and subsequent bomber runs over emplacements, are effectively coordinated. (Jack McKillop)

An evening air raid on Wilhelmshaven and a heavy night air raid on Duesseldorf are mounted by the Allies. (Glenn Steinburg)

HMAS Wagga, a minesweeper, picked up survivors from HMAS Walllaroo following the collision with the Liberty ship "Henry Gilbert Costin", in the Indian Ocean. Minesweeper HMS Wallaroo had sunk off Fremantle due to this
collision. (Denis Peck and Alex Gordon)

Canada:     Corvette HMCS Parry Sound is laid down Midland Ontario;     Fairmile HMCS ML 118 is commissioned;     HMC ML 118(Q118) is completed, Lt Victor "Vic" Jura WILGRESS RCNVR, CO. (Dave Shirlaw)

1944: US TF 58 with 9 fleet carriers and 6 light carriers, strike Saipan and Tinian in the Marianias. Admiral Willis Lee with TF 58.7 commands 7 battleships closes the island for a naval bombardment. Admiral Spruance in overall command flies his flag from the cruiser USS Indianapolis.
     Amplifying the above:
In preparation for the invasion of Saipan Island on 15 June, the USN's Task Force 58 dispatches 208 F6F Hellcats and eight TBM Avenger and SB2C Helldivers to fly fighter sweeps over Guam, Saipan, Pagan, Rota and Tinian Islands in the Mariana Islands at 1430 hours local. (The TBMs and SB2Cs are command aircraft to lead the fighters to the target and return to the ships.) The Japanese are completely surprised and the fighters quickly gain air superiority by destroying 100-150 Japanese aircraft on the ground at a cost of eleven F6Fs and eight pilots.
    The seven fleet carriers, eight light carriers and thirteen escort carriers participating in the invasion of the Marianas are:
TASK GROUP 50.17 (the Fueling Group)
    USS Breton (CVE-23) with Fighting Squadron Thirty Three (VF-33)
    USS Copahee (CVE-12) as an aircraft transport
TASK FORCE 52 (Marianas Attack Force Carrier Support Group)
    Task Group 52.11
       Task Unit 52.11.1
          USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) with Composite Squadron Ten (VC-10)
          USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) with VC-5
       Task Unit 52.11.2
          USS Coral Sea (CVE-57) with VC-33
          USS Corregidor (CVE-58) with VC-41
    Task Group 52.14
       USS Fanshaw Bay (CVE-70) with VC-68
       USS Kalinin Bay (CVE-68) with VC-3
       USS Midway (CVE-63) with VC-65
       USS White Plains (CVE-66) with VC-4)
TASK GROUP 53.7 (Southern Carrier Support Group)
    USS Chenango (CVE-28) with Escort Carrier Air Group Thirty Five (CVEG-35)
    USS Sangamon (CVE-26) with CVEG-37
    USS Suwanee (CVE-27) with CVEG-60
TASK FORCE 58 (Fast Carrier Task Force)
    Task Group 58.1
       USS Bataan (CVL-29) with Light Carrier Air Group Fifty (CVLG-50)
       USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) with CVLG-24
       USS Hornet (CV-12) with Carrier Air Group Two (CVG-2)
       USS Yorktown (CV-10) with CVG-1
    Task Group 58.2
       USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) with CVG-8
       USS Cabot (CVL-28) with CVLG-31
       USS Monterey (CVL-26) with CVLG-31
       USS Wasp (CV-18) with CVG-14
    Task Group 58.3
       USS Enterprise (CV-6) with CVG-10
       USS Lexington (CV-16) with CVG-16
       USS Princeton (CVL-23) with CVLG-27
       USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) with CVLG-51
    Task Group 58.4
       USS Cowpens (CVL-25) with CVLG-22
       USS Essex (CV-9) with CVG-15
       USS Langley (CVL-27) with CVLG-32    (Jack McKillop)

Over 540 other Fifteenth Air Force B-17s and B-24s attack targets in Rumania and Yugoslavia; the B-17s attack the Smederevo, Yugoslavia marshalling yard; the B-24s attack oil installations at Constanta and Giurpiu, Rumania (both raids having fighter escorts); the AAF claims 60 aircraft destroyed during the days missions.  (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's Eighth Air Force in England flies two missions.
    Mission 405: Weather prevents operations against priority targets in Germany so the bombers attack targets in France; 1,055 bombers and 914 fighter sorties are flown; over 400 bombers abort or fail to bomb due to clouds and absence or malfunction of Pathfinders; three bombers and eight fighters are lost:
       1. 471 B-17s are dispatched to airfields at Beaumont-le-Roger (38 bomb), Bernay/St Martin (50 bomb) and Dinard/Pluertuit (37 bomb), and Toucquet- Paris-Plage (27 bomb), Merlimont Plage (34 bomb), Pontaubault Bridge (50 bomb) and Berck (36 bomb); 33 others hit Conches Airfield and four hit targets of opportunity; two B-17s are lost.
       2. 584 B-24s are dispatched to airfields at Cormeilles-en-Vexin (34 bomb), Beauvais/Nivelliers (27 bomb), Beaumont-sur-Oise (36 bomb) and Creil (19 bomb) and Vicomte-sur-Rance (19 bomb), Montford Bridge (18 bomb) and Blois/St Denis (41 bomb); 12 others hit Beauvais/Tille Airfield, seven hit Poix Airfield, 32 hit Montauban marshalling yard and 52 hit targets of opportunity; one B-24 is lost.
    87 P-47 Thunderbolts and 144 P-51 Mustangs provide escort for the bombers without loss.
   Other fighter missions are:
      1. 143 P-38s patrol the beachhead and claim 2-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft.
      2. 77 P-38s, 195 P-47s and 268 P-51s fly fighter-bomber missions against communications targets in northwestern France; the P-38s claim 3-2-5 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 0-0-1 on the ground; three P-38s, a P-47 and four P-51s are lost.
    Mission 406: During the night, five B-17s drop leaflets on France and the Low Countries.    (Jack McKillop)

In morning operations, 129 B-26 Marauders and A-20 Havocs of the USAAF's Ninth Air Force in England bomb rail and road bridges and intersections, rail lines, oil tanks, artillery and town areas, in France; bad weather prevents afternoon operations; ten fighter groups fly escort and strafe and bomb bridges, railroads, gun emplacements, rail and road traffic and marshalling yards in support of ground troops.   (Jack McKillop)

War at Sea - North Sea:     A 'Canso' patrol a/c (Canadian version of the PBY-5A) from RCAF 162 Sqn attacked & sank U-980, KptLt. Hermann DAHMS, CO, in the North Sea, in position 63.07N, 000.26E. Although approximately 35 men were sighted in the water after that attack, there were no survivors from her crew of 52 men. The next day, the a/c that sank U-980 was shot down while attacking another U-boat in the same general area. U-980 was a medium-range Type VIIC U-boat built by Blohm & Voss at Hamburg. She was commissioned on 27 May 43. U-980 was on her first patrol at the time of her loss & had not sunk or damaged any ships. KptLt. DAHMS was her only CO. Hermann DAHMS was born in 1916, in Stettin. He joined the navy in 1936. At the outbreak of the war he was seconded to the Luftwaffe until Aug 41. He transferred to the U-boat force, & after conversion training, was attached to the 2nd U-Flotilla until Feb 43. He was selected for command & completed his U-boat commander's course
  in Apr 43. A promotion to KptLt.followed in 01 Jul 43. He was assigned to commission U-980 on 27 May 43.  (Dave Shirlaw)

In Karelian Isthmus the battered Finnish 10th Division retreats to the second line of defence, the VT-line, by this evening. The greatly weakened and disorganized division is quickly withdrawn to rear to rest. On the left wing of the IV Corps, the 2nd Division is conducting a fighting withdrawal. As the troops of the embattled IV Corps withdraw, on the northern part of the front right wing of the III Corps is endangered.
     The Finnish GHQ is still guessing as to the enemy's exact strength and aims. The Armoured Division's JŠger Brigade (Col. Albert Puroma) is subordinated to the IV Corps and ordered to make a recon attack towards the advancing enemy south of Kivennapa (JŠgers were bicycle-mobile light infantry, and were considered to be a crack formation). Col. Puroma is only returning from vacation (he will arrive to take command in early afternoon), and the attack is initiated around 10 am. by the deputy commander Lt. Col. Erik Sandstršm. In the confused situation the JŠgers receive no fire support, and their advance comes to a halt after meeting the leading elements of the Soviet 30th Guard's Corps near PolviselkŠ. The JŠgers fight well against the superior enemy forces and manage to destroy a number of Soviet tanks, but in absence of any kind of fire support they suffer heavy losses and are finally forced to retreat to the VT-line, fighting delaying actions on their way back.
     Today the Soviet High Command Stavka commends the Leningrad Front for its achievements and orders the 21st and 23rd armies to continue the offensive. The aim is to capture the city of Viipuri (Vyborg) by 20 June. Elsewhere the Finnish GHQ urgently requests Germans to rescind the ban on arms exports to Finland, imposed after the Finnish peace-feelers last spring. (Mikko HŠrmeinen)

1945:     Kamikazes are again in action off Okinawa. One kamikaze crashes the large support landing craft LCS(L)(3)-122 near the conning tower. The commander, Lieutenant Richard M. McCool, Jr., is awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that day. His citation for this award reads, "When his own craft was attacked simultaneously by two of the enemy's suicide squadron early in the evening of 11 June, he instantly hurled the full power of his gun batteries against the plunging aircraft, shooting down the first and damaging the second before it crashed his station in the conning tower and engulfed the immediate area in a mass of flames. Although suffering from shrapnel wounds and painful burns, he rallied his concussion-shocked crew and initiated vigorous firefighting measures and then proceeded to the rescue of several trapped in a blazing compartment, subsequently carrying one man to safety despite the excruciating pain of additional severe burns. Unmindful of all personal d
anger, he continued his efforts without respite until aid arrived from other ships and he was evacuated. By his staunch leadership, capable direction, and indomitable determination throughout the crisis, Lt. McCool saved the lives of many who otherwise might have perished and contributed materially to the saving of his ship for further combat service."
    Another kamikaze crashes alongside the armed U.S. merchant freighter SS Walter Colton.  (Jack McKillop)

Task Force 92 consisting of the light cruisers USS Richmond (CL-9) and USS Trenton (CL-11) and five destroyers begin bombarding Japanese installations on Matsuwa Island in the Kurile Islands at 0021 hours local. The seven ships fire 3,677 rounds of 5-inch (127 mm) and 6-inch (152.4 mm) rounds of ammunition. At 0232 hours local, the ships enter the Sea of Okhotsk and make an unsuccessful sweep of the area and then sail back to Matsuwa Islands and begin a second bombardment at 2347 hours local. After firing another 1,344 rounds, the bombardment ceases at 0002 hours, 12 June, and the task forces retires to the Aleutian Islands.    (Jack McKillop)

During the night of 11/12 June, 26 B-29 Superfortresses of the USAAF's XXI Bomber Command in the Mariana Islands fly Mission 201 to mine Shimonoseki Strait and Tsuruga Bay, Japan. (Jack McKillop)

Friday, June 10, 2011


We Remember: June 7th

Today is also Norway's Independence Day (Unionsoppl¿sningsdag), although it is not a public holiday, and not many Norwegian flags are to be seen in the streets! (Alex Gordon)

1939:   King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, arrived at  Niagara Falls, N.Y., from Canada on the first visit to the United States by a  reigning British monarch. (Tony Morano)

1940:     The Germans advance to within 20 miles of the Somme River.

The (labor) government of Johan Nygaardsvold and the Norwegian Royals (King Haakon VII, Queen Maud) left Norway on the British cruiser HMS Devonshire. The exile government, which had not surrendered to the Germans, was given authorization by the national assembly of the country, [the 'StortIng'], to continue the fight from abroad if exile was the only choice. (Russ Folsom)

A dull rumble of heavy guns can be heard north and east of Paris. The restaurants are empty, the Ritz deserted. For the third time in a lifetime, Paris prepares for a siege. (Andy Etherington)

At 3:00 pm one of the French Navy's three Farman 223.4 long-range naval reconnaissance aircraft, the Jules Verne, left Bordeaux-Merignac airfield carrying 2 tons of bombs, target - Berlin. This was the first bomb assault of the war against Berlin. The mission was successful. (Andy Etherington)

RAF Group bombs railway communications at Hirson. 58 Sqn. Six a/c. One returned early, five bombed. (Andy Etherington)

The first Victoria Cross of the war has been awarded posthumously to Captain Bernard Warburton-Lee of the destroyer HMS Hardy in the raid on Narvik in April. (Andy Etherington)

For the carriers, the moment of truth had arrived.  With the Allied ground forces steadily being pulled out, the time was finally at hand when the RAF landing ground at Bardufoss had to be evacuated prior to its demolition.  Since 21 May the Gladiators of 263 Squadron had provided the first semblance of air cover over the Allied troops.  Then, on 26 May, 46 SquadronÕs Hurricanes had arrived with the providing the first modern Allied fighter planes in the theatre.  For the prior 12 days the two Squadrons had done yeoman service, basically winning control of the air.  But now, the end of their gallant effort was in sight.  As it stood, 46 Squadron was to destroy their aircraft before being evacuated, while 263 Squadron was to destroy the Òlame ducksÓ and then fly their serviceable Gladiators (10) out to HMS Glorious.
     At 0200, with HMS Ark Royal in position 70.14 N, 16.14 W, she dispatched an A.D.A. patrol (one 810 Squadron Swordfish) as well as a fighter patrol to Risoy (two 800 Squadron Skuas led by Lieutenant K. V. V. Spurway, RN).  This was followed, at 0435, by a weather flight (one Swordfish, 810 Squadron), another fighter patrol (three Skuas, Acting Major R. T. Partridge, RM), and a three-plane bombing mission of 820 Squadron (with the usual 4 x 250 GP, 4 x 20 Cooper and 4 x 25 incendiary bombs each) led by OC Lieutenant-Commander G. B. Hodgkinson, RN on the Flak positions at Hundallen.  Weather forced the flight to seek an alternate target, and the trio opted to plaster the railway at Sildvik.
     0540 saw the A.D.A. patrol relieved, this time with two Swordfish, one each ahead and astern of the task force.  At 0800, another trio of Skuas set off for Risoy (800 Squadron, Lieutenant G. E. D. Finch-Noyes, RN).  At 0900 the A.D.A. patrol was relieved by a single 810 Squadron Swordfish, while another is dispatched to Bardufoss to communicate the NavyÕs intentions for the evacuation.  This was followed, at 0930, by another trio of fighters (800 Squadron, Lieutenant G. R. Callingham, RN).  They report the evacuation convoy is putting to sea.
     At 1205, a relief A.D.A. patrol (single Swordfish, 820 Squadron) sets off.  At 1350 this aircraft reports a snooper.  Five minutes later, 803 SquadronÕs Lieutenant C. W. Peever, RN took a trio of Skuas aloft in pursuit, but by the time they got to altitude the German was gone.
     Meanwhile, the earlier communication with the RAF at Bardufoss had, more or less, stunned the naval staff.  Squadron Leader Kenneth B. B. Cross, RAF, 46 Squadrons OC had sent back a message proposing that, instead of destroying his ten serviceable Hurricanes, his pilots be allowed to fly them out to the task force and try to land them aboard Glorious.  Considering the fact that, to date, no Hurricane had ever been landed on a carrier, that the pilots involved had never landed any aircraft on a carrier, and that even if it were possible to land a properly navalized Hurricane on a carrier (and the Naval experts said is wasnÕt), his planes were not fitted with any arrestor gear, it was a bold proposal!
     At 1430, HMS Glorious dispatched four Swordfish to Bardufoss to lead the RAF planes back when the effort was made.  Meanwhile, after due consideration was given to CrossÕ request (and not to be out done by the junior service), the Navy agreed to let a section of Hurricanes fly out to Glorious and Ògive it a goÓ.  At 1615, Ark flew off another Swordfish to Bardufoss with the latest navigational dope, and permission for Cross to fly out.
     At 1800, New Zealand Flight Lieutenant P. G. Jameson, RAF led his Òforlorn hopeÓ (Flying Officer H. H. Knight, RAF and Sergeant B. L. Taylor, RAF) aloft.  Struggling to follow their slow Swordfish guide to the carrier, they arrived shortly before 1900.  The three pilots were literally stunned at how small that floating ÒmatchboxÓ looked on the sea.  Not to be discredited in the attempt, Glorious worked up to 30 knots into the wind to give the maximum wind over the deck, which was visibly pitching and rolling with the ship in the moderate sea.  Signaling an in flight emergency, Sergeant Taylor cut off Jameson in the pattern and became the first Hurricane to successfully land on a carrier.  Following right behind, the other two landed safely as well.  That accomplished, the Swordfish was sent back to Bardufoss to pass the word and deliver the plans for the upcoming embarkation.  At the same time, 701 SquadronÕs Walrus amphibians, having flown out from Harstad, landed aboar
d Ark Royal.
     The plan called for ArkÕs Skuas would fly top cover for the effort.  Once on station, the Swordfish of 823 Squadron would lead RAF boys back to the carriers, at which point the Gladiators were to embark first, and then the Hurricanes. At 2305, Ark commenced launching the fighter patrols, three sections of 800 Squadron, nine Skuas led by Acting Major R. T. Partridge, RM (Narvik), Lieutenant G. E. D. Finch-Noyes, RN (Skaanland), and Lieutenant K. V. V. Spurway, RN (Bardufoss), and an A.D.A. patrol of two 810 Squadron Swordfish. (Mark Horan)

1941:      RAF bombers attack the Prinz Eugen at Brest, but fail to hit her. (Andy Etherington)

The US Maritime Commission has begun to commandeer foreign vessels and allocate them to whatever service may be most useful for national defence. They include 39 Danish, 28 Italian and two German ships as well as others in Lithuanian, Estonian, and Romanian registry. The pride of the catch is the 83,423-ton French liner Normandie, the former holder of the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic. (Andy Etherington)

1942:     A major German attack begins on Sevastopol.  The Soviet Black Sea
Fleet is involved in suppling the Russian defenders.

Throughout the night of 6/7 June, the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) remained stubbornly afloat northeast of Midway Island. By 0530 hours, however, the men in the ships nearby noted that the carrier's list was rapidly increasing to port. As if tired, the valiant flattop turned over at 0701 hours on her port side and sank in 3,000 fathoms (18,000 feet or 5,486 meters) of water in position 30.36N, 176.34W. (Jack McKillop)

In the Aleutians, the 1,143 man Japanese Army's North Sea Detachment, consisting of the 301st Independent Infantry Battalion, the 301st Independent Engineer Company and a service unit, invade Attu Island at 0300 hours local. There are 44 American civilians on the island, 42 Aleut Indians and two Caucasians, Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Charles Jones dies during the invasion, either a suicide or killed by Japanese troops as he attempts to escape. The Aleuts and Mrs. Etta Jones are interned in Japan, the Aleuts at Otaru City on Hokkaido and Mrs. Jones with Australian nurses in Yokohama. Only 24 of the Aleuts and Mrs. Jones survive interment. The Japanese rename the island Atsuta.
    Nine of the ten USN sailors manning a weather station on Kiska are captured by the Japanese who had discovered the emergency supply caches the sailors had hidden. The tenth man, who was wearing light clothing, evades the Japanese for 48-days surviving on plants and earthworms until forced to surrender after fainting from lack of food. (Jack McKillop)

During the night of 6/7 June, the USAAF's 7th Air Force dispatches a flight of four LB-30 Liberators from Midway Island for a predawn attack on Wake Island. The aircraft are unable to find the target and one LB-30 crashes into the sea killing all of the crew including Major General Clarence L Tinker, Commanding General, 7th Air Force. On 11 November 1943, the Oklahoma City Air Depot at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was renamed Tinker Field (now AFB) in memory of General Tinker. (Jack McKillop)

Operation Drumbeat continues as German submarines sink two more unarmed U.S. merchant vessels in the Caribbean. U-159 sinks a freighter north of Columbia while U-107 sinks a freighter southeast of the Yucatan Channel. (Jack McKillop)

1943:     Following a night raid by Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) Wellingtons on Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean, heavy, medium and light bombers, and fighters of the NASAF and Northwest Tactical Air Force (NATAF) pound the island throughout the afternoon. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's Alexi Point Airfield and Naval Air Facility Attu are established on Attu Island, Aleutian Islands, just seven days after the island was declared secured. (Jack McKillop)

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet established a project for airborne test, by Commander Fleet Air, West Coast, of high velocity, "forward shooting" rockets. These rockets, which had nearly double the velocity of those tested earlier at Dahlgren, had been developed by a rocket section, led by Dr. C. C. Lauritsen, at the California Institute of Technology under National Defense Research Committee auspices and with Navy support. This test project, which was established in part on the basis of reports of effectiveness in service of a similar British rocket, completed its first airborne firing from a TBF of a British rocket on 14 July and of the CalTech round on 20 August. The results of these tests were so favorable that operational squadrons in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets were equipped with forward firing rockets before the end of the year. (Gene Hanson)

1944:     Mikmer Air Field on Biak Island in New Guinea is captured.

The Allied Expeditionary Air Force (AEAF) directs air attacks against congested points to delay movement of more enemy forces into the assault area and the USAAF's Eighth Air Force in England flies two missions in support.
    In the first mission (Mission 397) in the morning, 182 B-17 Flying Fortresses and 291 B-24 Liberators, including 20 PFFs, are dispatched; of the B-17s, 58 hit Conde sur Noireau, 60 hit Flers, and 54 hit Falaise; of the B-24s, 66 hit Argentan, 19 hit Vascoeuil, 61 hit Laigle and 83 hit Lisieux.
    Personal Memory:  My diary for today reads: "Cherbourg again. Invasion coast. Bombed German escape route. Target seven tenths covered. Used PFF method of bombing. No opposition from Nazi. Big operations. We are wholly supporting the ground troops." Beiser and I were again assigned the "Buzz Blonde" that I would eventually fly twelve missions in. Each of our 18 B-17s were loaded with six, 1000 pound bombs to be delivered to a road junction near the invasion coast close to Conde Sur Neireau, in western France. Eighteen other B-17s from our field were loaded with five hundred pound bombs that they dropped at a road and rail junction near Flers, France. Two of our aircraft failed to bomb because of malfunctions. Due to overcast at the target we bombed by radar from 21,000 feet. We saw no flak or enemy fighters in our 40 minutes over enemy territory. The 303rd Bomb Group was capable of putting up 40 B-17s on any mission and on one occasion actually put up 60 which is very cumb
ersome. Our 36 planes today made up two groups for bombing purposes. The temperature was a relatively mild, minus 7 degrees F. and our wind at altitude was 63 miles per hour  from 340 giving us an 18 degree drift to the left which the Norden bomb sight corrected. Our indicated air speed of 150 MPH gave us a true airspeed of 208 and a ground speed of 207. Each aircraft carried 1,700 gallons of gas for this five hour and twenty minute flight. My score so far is: Milk runs 8, Others 4. (Dick Johnson)
    In the second mission (Mission 398) in the afternoon, 487 B-17s and 88 B-24s are dispatched; the primary targets for the B-17s are Nantes (190 bomb) and the Kerlin/Bastard Airfield (132 bomb); 23 B-17s hit Niort and 40 hit the Nantes Bridge; the primary target for the B-24s is Tours/La Roche (12 bomb) and 13 hit Pouance, 13 hit Blain, 13 hit Chateaubriand, 25 hit Laval Airfield, 12 hit Vitre and 3 hit Tours; one B-17 and one B-24 are lost. Heavy cloud prevents almost 100 others from bombing targets.
    The VIII Fighter Command furnishes area support for beachhead areas in the early morning and to heavy bomber operations at midday and in the late afternoon, at the same time maintaining harassment of communications and flying shipping patrol. 526 P-38 Lightnings and 294 P-51 Mustangs patrol the beachhead and provide escort in northern France; they claim 2-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 0-0-2 on the ground; eight P-51s are lost. 505 P-47 Thunderbolts and 148 P-51s engage in general strafing over northern France and claim 29-1-12 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 25-0-12 on the ground; ten P-47s and four P-51s are lost.
    Mission 399: Ten B-17s drop leaflets over The Netherlands, France and Belgium.
   Fourteen B-24s participate in CARPETBAGGER operations in France. (Jack

The USAAF's Ninth Air Force in England dispatches 600+ B-26 Marauders to hit bridges, junctions, trestles, coastal and field batteries, and marshalling yards in France in support of the invasion; 1,100+ fighters support ground troops by dive bombing and strafing, escort B-26s and C-47 Skytrains, and make sweeps throughout the battle area as Bayeux is liberated and the Bayeux-Caen road is cut; and 400+ C-47s, C-53 Skytroopers, and gliders resupply paratroops in the assault area. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's Fifteenth Air Force in Italy reaches its planned operational strength of 21 heavy bomber groups and seven fighter groups.
    In Italy, 340 B-17s and B-24s, some with fighter cover, hit Leghorn dock and harbor installations, Voltri shipyards, Savona railroad junction, and Vado Ligure marshalling yard; 42 P-38s bomb the Recco viaduct and 32 P-47s fly an uneventful sweep over the Fenara-Bologna area.
    In France, the Antheor viaduct and Var River bridge are hit. (Jack

One other aspect of life on the Susan B. Anthony appealed to me. At Whatcombe Farm we had had a post exchange which opened once a week in order to sell to us our weekly allotment of seven packs of cigarettes and five candy bars. I didnÕt smoke and so was able to trade my cigarettes for candy. None of this was necessary aboard the Susan B. Anthony. The shipÕs store, or whatever it was they called their version of the PX, was loaded with what I, by now, considered luxuries from the United States. There seemed to be no end to it. We could buy whatever we wanted: Milky Way, Baby Ruth, Butterfingers, you name it. Of course, we knew that we would soon be going ashore and that our purchases would have to be carried and so there were limits. 
     The good life on the Susan B. Anthony ended on the morning of June 7, D+1, when she struck a mine. This mine packed a fearsome punch. The ship rolled and shook from the force of the explosion and she was soon dead in the water. Several minutes after we hit the mine, I saw a few seamen with their heads bandaged come up on deck from below. They were the only casualties I saw. 
     Shortly after the explosion a United States Navy destroyer escort (DE) with a salvage officer on board pulled alongside. Using loud hailers he and the captain conversed. The captain wanted to attempt to save his ship by having it towed and pushed toward land and beached. The salvage officer said that he would get back to him and the DE pulled away. He returned soon with the news that the task force commander would not beach the stricken ship and that it would have to be abandoned. The captain didnÕt seem happy with the decision but then the United States Navy didnÕt require its shipÕs captains to be happy. The area around us was crowded with ships of the United States Navy and the Royal Navy and so I wasnÕt at all concerned about being rescued. 
     Cargo nets were lowered over the side and we began disembarking into a Royal Navy DE. Waves were two to three feet high and the DE was pitching and rolling, making it difficult to jump from the net into the it. The last time I had climbed down a cargo net was on the firm land of Fort Eustis, Virginia during basic training. That exercise was quite different from the real thing which we were attempting now. However, as far as I could see, everyone made it down safely thanks in large part to the help of the Royal Navy seamen who held the cargo nets and shouted advice to us. 
     Another Royal Navy DE was rafted alongside the first and some of us were ordered onto it. Once there we began enjoying His MajestyÕs hospitality courtesy some crew members. They broke out some oxtail stew, tea and biscuits for us. The stew was reminiscent of the food I had been served on the Queen Mary and it was the precursor of some of the rations we were to receive during Operation MARKET-GARDEN when we were attached to the British Second Army. But that was in the decidedly unknown future. (Three times the British had tried to interest me in oxtail stew and they had failed. Just hearing that name, even without seeing the stuff turned me off.) 
     As our DE pulled away from the Susan B. Anthony I looked back and was surprised at how low in the water she was. While on the ship I had no sensation that she was sinking but there was a reason for which we were abandoning her. I hoped that all would be successfully disembarked. His MajestyÕs hospitality soon came to an end when a United States Navy landing craft pulled alongside. We went over the side into her. There were many soldiers in that craft; so many that it was impossible to move around or to sit. It was so crowded that I climbed over the side onto a ledge about 18 inches wide and sat there with nothing between me and the water. After about 30 minutes a German fighter aircraft came screaming across the bridgehead on a strafing run. Before I could think about it, she was jumped by two American fighters which had been loitering in the sun waiting for just such an occasion. When last seen, the German was headed inland trailing much black smoke. This convinced me t
hat my position outside of the landing craft was insecure and so I climbed back into the crowd. 
     Soon after the attack we landed on the shore at Utah Beach. I realize that the 4th Infantry Division which made the assault on Utah Beach did not have as much difficulty as did the 1st Infantry division at Omaha Beach but Utah Beach was a mess. Boats were damaged and lay beached. Army equipment and weapons were all over. There was even the abandoned desk and files of a company clerk. Next to them was a tennis racquet. That must have been carried by one optimistic soldier. I hoped that no Frenchman in Normandy was waiting for him to keep a tennis date. 
     I knew that I was at war but was impressed with this by the mines that the Germans had laid over so much of the area. ÒAchtung MinenÓ in black paint on red background was everywhere. I couldnÕt understand why the Germans had been kind enough to warn us of their mines. I suppose that it was for the safety of their own personnel and that they didnÕt have time to remove their warnings. 
     We assembled just over the dunes and dug in. (Jay Stone)

U-970 (Type VIIC) Sunk in the Bay of Biscay west of Bordeaux, in position 45.15N, 04.10W, by depth charges from a British Sunderland aircraft (Sqdn. 228/R). 38 dead, 14 survivors.
     U-955 (Type VIIC) Sunk in the Bay of Biscay north of Cape Ortegal, Spain, in position 45.13N, 08.30W by depth charges from a British Sunderland aircraft (Sqdn 201/S). 50 dead (all crew lost) (Alex Gordon)

CINCPAC PRESS RELEASE NO. 435,  Guam Island was bombed by Seventh Army Air Force Liberators and Liberator search planes of Fleet Air Wing Two during daylight on June 5 (West Longitude Date). Antiaircraft fire ranged from moderate to intense. Our force was not attacked by enemy aircraft. All of our planes returned.
     Nauru Island was bombed on June 5 by Mitchell bombers of the Seventh Army Air Force and Ventura search planes of Fleet Air Wing Two. The barracks area, phosphate plant, and gun positions were principal targets.
Ponape Island was attacked by Seventh Army Air Force Mitchells on June 5. Antiaircraft fire was meager.
     On June 4 Mille Atoll in the Marshalls was attacked by Dauntless dive bombers and Corsair fighters of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing. Runways were principal targets. Light caliber antiaircraft fire was intense.
     A search plane of Fleet Air Wing Two sighted a group of small enemy cargo ships proceeding northwest of Truk on June 5, and attacked and damaged one of the vessels. Another search plane shot down an enemy torpedo bomber west of Truk on June 5 (Denis Peck)

1945:     US I Corps take Bambang, Luzon, Phillipine Islands.

Off Brunei Bay, Borneo, the USN's Task Group 74.3, consisting of three U.S.
light cruisers and six destroyers, and an Australian light cruiser and
destroyer, provides fire support for minesweepers and underwater demolition
teams (UDTs). (Jack McKillop)

Kamikazes are again active off Okinawa.
    The escort aircraft carrier USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62) is struck by a Mitsubishi A6M Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter, Allied Code Name "Zeke," at 0635 hours. The aircraft came in over the stern, fired incendiary ammunition at the bridge and, on reaching the island structure, nosed over and crashed the flight deck. The engine, propeller and a bomb tore a hole in the flight deck, 12 by 20 feet (3.7 by 6.1 meters), while the explosion of the bomb damaged the deck of the foc'sle and the anchor windlass beyond repair and ignited a nearby fighter. One ship's officer was killed. A second "Zeke" was splashed by the ship's port batteries.
    The destroyer USS Anthony (DD-515) suffers only slight damage as a kamikaze crashes nearby. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's Twentieth Air Force in the Mariana Islands flies two missions. Mission 189: 409 B-29 Superfortresses, escorted by 138 VII Fighter Command P-51s, drop incendiary and high explosive bombs on Osaka, Japan, hitting the east-central section of the city which contains industrial and transportation targets and the Osaka Army Arsenal (largest in Japan); despite being forced to bomb by radar because of heavy undercast, the B-29s burn out over 2 square miles (5.2 square km) of the city, destroying 55,000+ buildings; nine other B-29s hit alternate targets; the P-51s claim 2-0-1 Japanese aircraft; two B-29s and one P-51 are lost.
    Mission 190: During the night of 7/8 June, 26 B-29s mine Shimonoseki Strait and waters around Fukuoka and Karatsu, Japan. This begins Phase IV of Operation STARVATION, the blockade by mines of northwestern Honshu and Kyushu Islands. (Jack McKillop)

King Haakon, and the family of Crown Prince Olaf return to Norway on board HMS Norfolk. The Norwegian government in exile also returns on RN ships, but are now regarded with disfavour for having spent the war years in relative comfort, away from the inconveniences of the occupation. (Alex Gordon)

The 19-minute documentary "To the Shores of Iwo Jima" is released in the U.S. The film depicts the landing and conquest of Iwo Jima including the raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi. Two of the actual servicemen in the film are Ira Hayes and James H. Bradley who participated in the raising of the flag; Bradley's son wrote the bestselling book "Flags of Our Fathers." (Jack McKillop)


We Remember: June 9th

1940:     King Haakon of Norway and the Prime Minister order loyal Norwegians to cease fighting.

The Germans reach the Seine River.  Dieppe and Compiegne fall.  France is taking heavy losses in the fighting.

RAF 4 Group bombs road and rail communications in France. 10 Sqn. Nine a/c to Libremont, Sedan and Neufchateau. All bombed. 51 Sqn. Eleven a/c. All bombed. One damaged by Flak, tail-gunner wounded. 58 Sqn. Six a/c to Amiens. All bombed. 77 Sqn. Seven a/c to Somme bridges. Six bombed. One hit by Flak and crashed at Abingdon on return. 102 Sqn. Eight a/c to Abbeville and St. Valery. All bombed. (Andy Etherington)

With the Germans just 50 miles away, the government leaves Paris and heads west for Tours. Paris is left in the hands of a military governor, General Hering. (Andy Etherington)

By dawn it is obvious to all interested parties, from the Admiralty on down, that some form of disaster has befallen HMS Glorious and company, from which no word has been heard since departing the Narvik area, and requests for position reports have gone unanswered...
     Meanwhile, Ark endeavored to keep an A.D.A. patrol of two Swordfish and a fighter patrol of three Skuas over the troop convoy throughout the day.  Also, commencing at 0405, she began launching a series of more and more extensive air searches in front of and beyond the convoy.
     At 0405, four Swordfish searched the sector from 130 to 225 degrees, ahead of the convoy.  The aircraft reported a small convoy and several independents, but no enemy warships.  At 0718 two Swordfish were sent to the rearward sector to search for a missing ship, SS Vandyck (13,241 BRT), but she was not found (bombed and sunk by a Fw-200C of 1/KG 40).  At 1000 four more Swordfish were dispatched between 130 and 210 degrees, then at 1110 another three went out between 275 to 090 degrees (a fairly skimpy number for such a wide sector)
     At 1300, a large coordinated effort was sent off, and for the first time 701 SquadronÕs Walrus amphibians took part as well.  First six Swordfish and two WalrusÕ departed to search between 110 southward to 285 degrees.  A further three Skuas were sent off to search between 315 Northward to 035 degrees.  The former went out to 100 miles, the later only 20 miles past the convoy.  The whole process was repeated at 1545 by a like number of aircraft.  At 1830 six Swordfish and three Walrus' went out to 120 miles between 175 Southward to 340 degrees, while three Skuas went out on the arc 015 to 140 degrees to 20 miles astern of the convoy.  All of the efforts availed nothing, as the two German battleships were well on their way to Trondheim.
     Meanwhile, word had come in that HMS Valiant, escorting the convoy, had spotted a snooper.  Thus, immediately after the search went up, a section of 800 Squadron Skuas under Lieutenant G. R. Callingham, RN went up to intercept and then patrol over the convoy.  On arrival, they found, chased, and brought down a He-115 of KuFlGr 506, though the German crew was rescued by another He-115.
     At 2145, a similar search (six Swordfish and two Walrus) went out between 155 westward to 355 degrees, distant 129 miles, with three Skuas again going astern.
     Then, at 2300, six He-111s of II/KG 26 were sighted approaching Ark Royal from astern.  The Red section trio of 803 Squadron was already in the air and Lt. D. C. E. F. Gibson, RN led them after the Heinkels downing one 5 Staffel machine and damaging another.  Likewise, Lieutenant G. E. D. Finch-Noyes, RNÕs section of three from 800 Squadron, sent off at 2315 to reinforce the CAP, damaged another in a long chase.  At 2355, two more sections were sent aloft, Lieutenant C. W. Peever, RNÕs trio from 803, and Acting Major R. T. Partridge, RMÕs from 800.  They too became embroiled with the last of the Heinkels, forcing them to jettison their bombs and flee.  No FAA aircraft were hit.
     Apparently, several of the FAA search aircraft, including at least one Walrus, were sighted by Glorious survivors in the water, but the nasty weather, and the height of the aircraft combined to hide the Carley floats still, at this point, overloaded with the weakened and frozen survivors. (Mark Horan)

The heavy cruiser USS Vincennes (CA-44) and destroyers USS Truxton (DD-229) and USS Simpson (DD-221) arrive at Casablanca, French Morocco from the U.S. The Bank of France's gold reserves, 200 tons of gold brought to Casablanca by a French auxiliary cruiser, will be loaded in the U.S. cruiser and taken to New York City for deposit in U.S. banks. (Jack McKillop)

1941:     The Allied advance in Syria continues to make good progress and captures Tyre.

A naval battle off the coast of Syria will include 4 British and 2 Vichy destroyers.  Two French destroyers were sighted by the British destroyers HMS JANUS and HMS JACKAL. In the ensuing engagement both of the British ships were damaged, HMS JANUS seriously. The French ships used their superior speed to withdraw when two more British destroyers, HMS ISIS and HMS HOTSPUR, came up.  (John Nicholas and Peter Beeson)

The plan for a joint U.S. Army-Marine Corps invasion of the Azores in the event that German invades Spain and Portugal is suspended when intelligence sources learn that Germany has no intentions to invade the Iberian Peninsula. (Jack McKillop)

Canada:     Minesweeper HMCS Canso is launched at North Vancouver.
     Minesweeper HCMS Granby is launched at Levis PQ.
     Corvette HMCS Saskatoon is commissioned.
     Tug HMCS Patricia McQueen is assigned to Gaspe PQ.
     RN Auxiliary Oiler Clam arrives St John's and joined the NEF. (Dave Shirlaw)

1942:     Operation Drumbeat continues with German submarine sinking an armed U.S. freighter in the Caribbean, 60 miles (96.6 km) off the Honduran coast. (Jack McKillop)

Lieutenant Commander Lyndon B. Johnson, USNR, on a congressional inspection tour of the Southwest Pacific, boards a B-26 Marauder, msn 1353, USAAC s/n 40-1488, flown by 1st Lt. W.H. Greer as pilot and RAAF Sergeant Pilot G.A. McMullin as co-pilot. The aircraft was named "Heckling Hare." This a/c was part of the USAAF's 19th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium) based at Townsville, Australia, to participate in an attack on Japanese airfields in New Guinea. The aircraft takes off but engine trouble forces the pilot to return to base without having seen combat.
     Eleven B-26 Marauder's of the 22nd Bombardment Group (Medium) departed Townsville, Queensland, Australia, at 1330 hours local on 8 June 1942 and arrived at Seven Mile Aerodrome, Port Moresby, New Guinea, by 1746 hours local. They then raided Lae, New Guinea, on 9 June 1942. This mission was called "TOW 9" in the official records. Lieutenant Commander Lyndon Baines Johnson, USNR, the future 36th President of the United States, went on this raid as an observer.
     Lyndon Johnson travelled from Townsville to Port Moresby by B-17 on the morning of the raid.
     The raid was delayed by an hour waiting for the VIP's that were to accompany them on the raid. The VIP's were Congressman Lyndon Baines Johnson (USNR), General Marquat, Col. G. Anderson (Gen Staff), Lt. Col. Dwight Divine II and Lt. Col. Francis R. Stevens.
     Lyndon Johnson was initially assigned to Lt. Bench's aircraft, "The Virginian," USAAC 40-1508. But he apparently left the aircraft to retrieve his camera and on return he found that Lt. Col. Francis R. Stevens had taken his place on "The Virginian." Lyndon Johnson then changed aircraft from "The Virginian" to Arkie Greer's "Heckling Hare" just before he took off on the mission.  The crew of "Heckling Hare" apparently also knew their aircraft as "Arkansas Traveller."
     This was fortuitous for Lyndon Johnson, as Bench's aircraft, "The Virginian," was boxed in so low by "Shamrock," Thunderbird" and "Boomerang" as they departed the target, that "The Virginian" flew into the water off Salamaua killing Willis Bench and all of his crew.
     After the mission, Lyndon Johnson returned to Australia in General Brett's Boeing B-17D Flying Fortress, USAAC 40-3097 "Swoose" flown by Captain Frank Kurtz. They almost ran out of fuel when they became lost heading for Cloncurry, Queensland. They landed in the bush on Carisbrooke Station near Winton. This B-17, "Swoose", then flew back to USA with General Brett. The aircraft is owned by the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
     Nine days after the raid, Lyndon Johnson was awarded an Amy Silver Star medal, the nation's 3rd highest medal for valor, by General MacArthur's chief of Staff, Major-General R.K. Sutherland for his participation in the above bombing raid.  He often wore this medal during his term as President of the United States. He refused to discuss the details of how we won the medal. His citation  read:-
     "For gallantry in action in the vicinity of Port Moresby and Salamaua, New Guinea on June 9, 1942. While on a mission of obtaining information in the Southwest Pacific area, Lieutenant Commander Johnson, in order to obtain personal knowledge of combat conditions, volunteered as an observer on a hazardous aerial combat mission over hostile positions in New Guinea. As our planes neared the target area they were intercepted by eight hostile fighters. When, at this time, the plane in which Lieutenant Commander Johnson was an observer, developed mechanical trouble and was forced to turn back alone, presenting a favorable target to the enemy fighters, he evidenced marked coolness in spite of the hazards involved. His gallant action enabled him to obtain and return  with valuable information."
     Lyndon Johnson's diary records the following regarding this mission:-
     "After we were off the field with Prell and Greer leading, Greer's generator went out: crew begged him to go on. For the next thirty minutes we flew on one generator."
     After President Roosevelt ordered all members of Congress in the Armed Forces to return to their legislative duties, Johnson was released from active duty under honorable conditions on 16 June 1942. In 1949 he was promoted to Commander in the Naval Reserves to date from 1 June 1948. During his time in service, Johnson was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. After he became President following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson's resignation from the United States Naval Reserve was accepted by the Secretary of the Navy effective 18 January 1964. (Jack McKillop)

The Japanese declare that the Philippine Islands are secured. (Jack McKillop)

Madagasgar:     HMS Ramillies leaves Diego Suarez today, bound for Durban for structural repairs. Her escort on the journey was by the light Cruiser HMS Emerald, three destroyers and a tug. There was much apprehension about the journey due to the extensive damage she had taken, from the Japanese midget submarine attack, and worry about the gaping hole in her side. She arrives at Durban late today having been escorted for the latter part of her journey by HMS Jasmine and HMS Fritillary. 
     She will leave for Cape Town and the UK on the 6th August 1942 arriving back at Plymouth on the 8th September for further repairs at the Devonport Dockyard. She will be out of service for nearly a year (Denis Peck)

Canada:     Lt Denis James Patrick RCNVR awarded Bar to George Medal
     Harbor craft HMC HC 181, 161, 155, 162, 170 & 177 are ordered from SG Mason Tancoak in Nova Scotia.
      Harbor craft HMC HC 151, 152, 153, 197, 154 & 169 are ordered from Palmer & Williams Summerside in Prince Edward Island. (Dave Shirlaw)

1943:     Medium and heavy bombers, and fighters of the Northwest African
Strategic Air Force (NASAF) continue pounding Pantelleria Island in the
Mediterranean in predawn hours and during the afternoon. (Jack McKillop)

In the Aleutian Islands, Japanese submarine HIJMS I-169 lands one ton of weapons and ammunition and two tons of food on Kiska Island and then evacuates 32 sailors and 29 Japanese civilians. A USN vessels sights the sub in the dense fog at 2250 hours local and fires six rounds at it but misses. The sub escapes in the fog.
    Japanese submarine HIJMS I-9 departs Paramushiru Island in the Kurile
Islands for Kiska but is never heard from again. (Jack McKillop)

1944:     Finland:      The Soviet offensive against Finland in the Karelian Isthmus is initiated by a massive artillery bombardment and series of probing attacks by Army General Leonid Govorov's Leningrad Front. By nightfall the Red Army units have succeeded in penetrating into Finnish defences and tying the local Finnish reserves in battle. The main blow follows tomorrow.
     The Soviet aviation is also active. Ground attack and bomber aircraft scour the Finnish rear. Finnish Me 109G and Brewster Buffalo fighters of Aviation Regiment 3 (Lt. Col. Gustaf Magnusson) claim ten Soviet aircraft shot down over the Isthmus without own losses. The Finnish claims are 2 x Airacobra, 4 x La-5, 3 x Il-4 and a Pe-2 (research in Russian archives has so far confirmed the loss of 3 x Il-4, from 55th and 836th Bomber Aviation
Regiments and 113th Bomber Aviation Division). However, bad weather saves Finns from a very serious blow: Soviet long-range bomber aviation was ordered to bomb the city of Viipuri (Vyborg) in north-western Isthmus by several hundred aircraft. The bombers, based in southern Russia, are forced to abort the mission after meeting an area of thunderstorms over central Russia. Viipuri, besides of being of great symbolical signifigance, is also an important supply and communication hub for Finnish forces in the Karelian Isthmus. (Mikko HŠrmeinen)

Marshall Badoglio resigns from the Italian government.  Ivanoe Bonomi forms a new cabinet.

The British are involved in heavy fighting around Caen in Normandy.  The US VII Corps takes Azeville on the way to Cherborg.  Allied aircraft are operating from air fields in Normandy.

Off the Coast of Normandy:     At 0100, eight ships of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, organized into two divisions of four destroyers each, encountered a German formation of two large Narvik-class DD's (Z-24 & Z-32) the ex-Dutch DD ZH-1 (formerly HNLMS Gerhard Callenburgh) & the 1939-class torpedo boat (known as Elbing- class to the allies) T-24. The German formation had sortied from Brest to attack the allied invasion forces off of the Normandy coast & was then to proceed to Cherbourg to deliver a deck cargo of torpedoes for German E-boats. Upon encountering the 19th Division (Tartar (SO), Ashanti, Haida & Huron) the German formation split.
     Z-32, which was the lead ship with their Senior Officer embarked, altered to the north towards the 20th Division (Blyskawica, Javelin, Piorun, & Eskimo), ZH 1 altered west towards the 19th Division, & Z-24 with T-24 altered away to the south-west. Tartar & Ashanti sank ZH-1 while Haida & Huron pursued Z-24 & T-24.
     The faster German ships soon outran Haida & Huron, who then reversed course to return to the other action. At 0254, they encountered Z-32, who had outrun the 20th Division & was returning to the south at 31 knots. Z-32 attempted to shake off her pursuers by running eastward through a known minefield but the combined allied force eventually cornered her. Z-32 deliberately ran herself hard ashore where she was shelled & left in flames. Subsequent air attacks by Canadian 'Beaufighter' torpedo-bombers finished the destruction of the wreck. (Dave Shirlaw)

The Allied advance continues North of Rome in Italy.

During the eveningÊthe 327 Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division crossed the River Douvre in Normandy. In addition the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment passed a few men across the river on that night.ÊThe 327thÊhad  a mission of cutting the main road leading east out of Carentan so as to prevent an escape by Germans on that road. (Jay Stone)

What a 19 year old sailor on U.S.S. Guadalcanal CVE60, wrote in his diary:   June 9,1944. The Abnaki, a fleet tug, and the Kennebeck, met us, and refueled us, and took U 505 in tow, for our 2500 mile trip home.  (Jim Verdolini)

Bad weather prevents operations by the USAAF's Eighth and Ninth Air Forces in England. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's Fifteenth Air Force in Italy dispatches around 500 B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators to attack targets in Germany and Italy; B-17s hit the industrial area and air depot at Munich, Germany; B-24s also hit the industrial area and ordinance depot at Munich and oil storage at Porto Marghera, Italy; P-47 Thunderbolts, P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs fly 250+ sorties in support of the Munich raids; the bombers and fighters claim 30+ aircraft destroyed; 13 USAAF aircraft are lost. (Jack McKillop)

>From the Cincpac Press Office:     JOINT STATEMENT, JUNE 9, 1944
The following joint Anglo-American statement on submarine and anti-submarine operations is issued under the authority of the President and the Prime Minister:
     "During May our shipping losses have been by far the lowest for any month of the war, and they have in fact been a fraction of the losses inflicted on enemy shipping by our warships and aircraft, although their merchant shipping is petty compared to that of the Allies.
     "There has been a lull in the operations of the U-boats which perhaps indicates preparation for a renewed offensive. The change which had come over the scene is illustrated by the fact that in spite of the few U-boats at sea, several are now sent to the bottom for each merchant ship sunk whereas formerly each U-boat accounted for a considerable number of merchant ships before being destroyed.
     "This is to be ascribed to the vigilance and to the relentless attacks of our Anglo-American-Canadian and other anti-U-boat forces, including the scientists who support them in a brilliant manner."
     CINCPAC PRESS RELEASE NO. 438,  Truk Atoll was bombed by Seventh Army Air Force Liberators on the night of June 7-8 (West Longitude Date). Airfields were the principal tar-gets. Antiaircraft fire was meager and inaccurate.
     Ponape Island was attacked by Liberators of the Seventh Army Air Force on the evening of June 6 and at night on June 8. Airfields, plantation areas, and Ponape Town were bombed. Antiaircraft fire was meager.
     Ventura search planes of Fleet Air Wing Two bombed Pakin and Nauru Islands on June 6. Antiaircraft batteries were hit at Pakin Island.
     Enemy positions in the Marshalls were bombed and strafed by Dauntless dive bombers and Corsair fighters of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing and Navy Hellcat fighters on June 6 and 7. Runways, coastal gun emplacements, and antiaircraft batteries were principal targets. A Corsair fighter was downed near Mille Atoll on June 7 and its pilot rescued by a destroyer. (Denis Peck)

Canada:    Corvette HMCS Arvida arrived Halifax from work ups in Bermuda.
     Corvette HMCS Regina arrives at Sydney Nova Scotia for a refit.
     Corvette HMCS Lachute is launched at Quebec City. (Dave Shirlaw)

1945:     Japanese Privy Seal Kido today gains the approval of the Emperor on a scheme to mediate peace through the USSR.  This plan features 1) Honorable terms for Japan. 2) Withdrawal from occupied ares at Japan's initiative. 3) Acceptable arms reductions.

The USAAF's Twentieth Air Force in the Mariana Islands flies four missions:
    1. Mission 191: 44 B-29 Superfortresses attack the Kawanishi Aircraft Company's plant at Narao; one other hits a target of opportunity. 
    2. Mission 192: 24 B-29s hit the Kawasaki plant at Akashi; there is 9/10 cloud cover and bombing is by radar; the village of Akashi rather than the factory is hit; two others bomb targets of opportunity.
    3. Mission 193: 42 B-29s hit Aichi's Atsuta factory; only four bombs hit the target area but one causes a devastating fire; one other hits a target of opportunity.
    4. Mission 194: During the night of 8/9 June, 26 B-29s mine Shimonoseki Strait; one other mines an alternate target. Mines previously laid by B-29s sink two Japanese freighters off Japan. (Jack McKillop)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


We Remember: June 8th

1940:     OKW issues Fuehrer Directive #14.
     (i) The enemy is offering stiff resistance on the Somme front. Accordingly the main attack is to begin on 9th June near Rheims as laid out in Directive #13, however stronger forces will be employed towards the lower Seine and Paris than had been originally contemplated. XIV Corps will reinforce the left flank of 4th Army and the 9th Army will thrust towards the Marne with XVI Corps.
     (ii) The Luftwaffe will continue operations as laid out in Directive #13, in addition it will keep the coast on the right flank of Army Group B under observation and strong fighter cover, and assist Army Group A at the focal point of the attack. (Marc Roberts)

German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau operate off the Norwegian coast against the British evacuation convoys. The carrier HMS Glorious and destroyers HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent are sunk. This is inspite of a gallant defense by the destroyers.

RAF 4 Group bombs - arms dumps and communications in France - marshalling yards in Germany. 10 Sqn. Ten a/c to Rheydt, Wedan and Essen marshalling yards. One crashed on take-off (two injured), one returned early, eight bombed. 51 Sqn. Nine a/c to arms dumps in France. All bombed. 58 Sqn. Six a/c to road/rail comms Avesnes and Aulnoye. All bombed. 77 Sqn. Nine a/c to road/rail comms Hirson and Charleville. All bombed. 102 Sqn. Nine a/c to road/rail comms Sedan. One returned early, eight bombed, one damaged by Flak. (Andy Etherington)

French 10 Army is now cut in two. The left part withdraws towards Le Havre and the right to Pontoise, southwards. This means that the whole of the Seine, between Vernon and its mouth is uncovered. Weygand now orders General Duffour, commanding Third Region at Rouen, to organise some sort of local defence. At the same time he turns the Military Government of Paris into the "Army of Paris" which under General Hering, is to hold the Seine from Vernon to Pontoise, and the Oise as far as Boran. The Germans push the French 7 Army south of Amiens back as far as Saint- Just-en -Chaussee. The 7th Army is then ordered to cover the eastern approaches to Paris as far as the river Ourcq. (Andy Etherington)

Tromso: King Haakon and his government leave Norway with the last of the Allied troops; 24,500 troops have been evacuated from Harstad since 4 June. (Andy Etherington)

At 0045, with the Royal Navy carriers in position 70.05 N, 15.52 E, the RAF fighters began taking off Bardufoss landing ground:  Ten Gladiator IIs of 263 Squadron and seven Hurricane Is of 46 Squadron.
     At 0100, Ark launched a relief fighter patrol for Narvik, two 803 Squadron Skuas (OC-Lieutenant-Commander J. Casson, RN).  Fifteen minutes later, the RAF fighters were sighted.  With little ado, Glorious again worked up to full speed and the 17 RAF fighters landed aboard as if the entire effort was simply routine.  Following behind came the Swordfish guides and a 701 Squadron Walrus which landed aboard with several important communications.  Its mission accomplished, the Walrus departed for Ark Royal at 0207, the last aircraft to takeoff the ill-fated Glorious.
     At 0130, two further two-plane patrols from 803 for departed for Risoy and Bardufoss (Lieutenant C. H. Filmer, RN and Sub-Lieutenant J. R. Callander, RN) as well as a relief A.D.A. patrol.  At 0300 two three-plane patrols were sent over the transports at Reisen and Risoy (803, Lieutenant C. W. Peever, RN, and 800, Lieutenant G. R. Callingham, RN).  These were followed at 0515 by another six 800 Squadron Skuas (Lieutenants G. E. D. Finch-Noyes, RN and K. V. V. Spurway, RN) and another A.D.A. patrol.  This later patrol reported the embarkation at Reisen complete.
     Meanwhile, at 0253, having requested and received permission for his ship to return forthwith to Scapa Flow Òfor the purpose of making preparations for impending courts martialÓ, Captain Guy DÕOyly-Hughes, DSO+bar, DSC, RN ordered Glorious and her two attendant destroyers, HMS Acasta (Commander Charles Eric Glasfurd, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lieutenant-Commander John Frederick Barker, DSC, RN) to set a course westward towards home.
     Meanwhile, back on Ark, the next fighter patrol (three Skuas, Lieutenant D. C. E. F. Gibson, RN, 803) left for Risoy at 0805.  This was the first patrol to actually sight an enemy aircraft, chasing off a He-111 that escaped into the low clouds.  This was followed by an A.D.A. patrol at 0815.  At 1000, in response to the sighting of a snooper from the bridge, a pair of 803 Squadron Skuas was led aloft by Lieutenant C. H. Filmer, RN, but they were unable to bring the enemy to action.
     Word having been received that the embarkation was complete, Ark now shifted her air cover to the retiring transports.  Three-plane fighter patrols were sent aloft at 1050, 1330, 1515, 1715, and 1915.  By that point, Ark Royal had closed with the convoy such that her A.D.A. patrols could cover both forces.  The dayÕs flying ended at 2205 with a two Swordfish A.D.A. patrol.
          Operation ÒJunoÓ:
     While all this was going on, as the Admiralty had noted earlier, the German Navy was not idle.  At 0800 4 June, Admiral Wilhelm Marschall, flying his flag on schlachtschiff Gneisenau (Kapitan zur See Harald Netzbandt), leading schlachtschiff Scharnhorst (Kapitan zur See Caesar Hoffmann) and schwere kreuzer Admiral Hipper (Kapitan zur See Hellmuth Heye) and escorted by the only four operational destroyers in the fleet, Hans Lody (KorvettenkapitŠn Huberts Freiherr von Wangenheim), Karl Galster (KorvettenkapitŠn Theodor Freiherr von Bechtolsheim), Erich Steinbrinck (KorvettenkapitŠn Rolf Johannesson), and Hermann Schoemann (KorvettenkapitŠn Theodor Detmers, later captain of the raider Kormoran) as well as the two torpedo boats Falke (KapitŠnleutnant Hansen-Nootbaar) and Jaguar (KapitŠnleutnant Hartenstein), had departed Kiel for Operation ÒJunoÓ a foray into the waters off Northern Norway.
     On the 5th, the two short legged torpedo boats returned to Wilhelmshaven while the rest continued North, Hipper and the destroyers refueling off the Loftens on the 6th.  The initial plan had been to attack targets of opportunity in and around Narvik.  However, the situation remained unclear, and finally, aware of several Allied convoys at sea travelling between Norway and England, Marschall opted to go for them.
     At 0555 on the 7th, Hipper and Gneisenau sighted the British tanker Oilpioneer (5,666 BRT) escorted by the anti-submarine trawler HMS Jupiter.  The former was gunned under by GneisenauÕs secondary battery, the later by Hipper, who managed to pick up 29 survivors from both ships.  Several hours later, after being spotted by GneisenauÕs plane the force found (and let pass) the hospital ship Atlantis, and then sank the trooper (former liner) Orama (19,840 BRT) travelling empty to England.  The cruiser and destroyers, now low on fuel, were detached to Trondheim to refuel while Marschall, with the two battleships, stayed at sea looking for more targets.
          The Loss of HMS Glorious:
     Shortly after 1600 8 June, while proceeding SW on a mean course of 250 degrees, HMS Glorious, who was neither operating aircraft nor manning her crowÕs nest, sighted two large enemy warships to the west, between her and England and, more importantly, to windward.  The two German battleships, having detected the British force some minutes earlier on radar, were steaming at high speed.  Sighting their prey at 1610, the Germans turned to close.  Scharnhorst, in the lead, did not open fire until 1632, and did not hit until its fourth salvo.  None the less, and despite supposedly having one of her six Swordfish on ten minutes readiness and two more twenty minutes readiness, Glorious was unable to get any of her aircraft in the air before 1638 when she suffered the first of the many heavy shell hits that were to spell her doom.
     Immediately on sighting the foe, the closer of her two escorting destroyers, HMS Ardent, gallantly turned to engage while the rearward escort, HMS Acasta laid smoke to cover her charge.  Endeavoring to close to torpedo range, Ardent was pummeled by the 5.9Ó secondary batteries of the German battleships, though she managed to get off four torpedoes before she was stopped in sinking condition, finally capsizing at 1728.  Meanwhile, with the wind making the maintenance of a smoke screen impossible and Glorious being hit repeatedly, plucky Acasta made her dash for glory.  Sailing into the proverbial Òvalley of deathÓ, she managed to get off her torpedoes at long range before, around 1820, she slowly rolled over and sank.  Kapitan Hoffmann, aware that the torpedoes had been fired at his ship, turned to comb them, but then turned back into their path too soon and, at 1738, one torpedo fired struck her starboard side abreast C turret, killing 48, letting in 2,500 tons of water,
  fracturing her outer shaft, and slowing her to 20 knots.
     AcastaÕs success, however, was small compensation for the disaster that befell the British force.  With both destroyers sinking, Glorious struggled on, but she was clearly doomed, finally sliding beneath the waves at 1816.  Circumstances being what they were (no escorts available), and after several submarine sightings had been reported, the German force set off towards Trondheim at 20 knots without attempting to pick up survivors.  This was to prove tragic for the crews of the three vessels, as even in June the waters of the Arctic are extremely cold.  Although over 1,000 survivors entered the water, only 40 were destined to survive the ordeal.
     The Norwegian motor vessel Borgund (350 BRT) came across the scene on the evening of 10 June and rescued 35, bringing them to the Faeroes.  The Norwegian Svalbard II, having picked up four others, was spotted by German aircraft and forced to return to Norway with them.  Finally, a German reconnaissance aircraft landed in the water and gathered in one more (a second died).  Of the forty survivors, 38 were from Glorious (two FAA officers, two FAA ratings, two RAF officer pilots, one RAF non-commissioned officer, and 31 shipÕs personnel), one from Acasta, and one from Ardent, both ratings.
     The list of dead numbered an appalling 1,519.  From Glorious, 75 officers and 937 ratings of the Royal Navy, 99 Royal Marines, 31 Maltese, 6 NAAFI staff, 41 RAF ratings, and 18 RAF pilots had been lost, a total of 1,207.  Acasta lost 8 officers, 151 ratings of the Royal Navy and one NAAFI staff, a total of 160, while Ardent lost 10 officers, 141 ratings of the Royal Navy and 1 NAAFI staff member a total of 152.
     Amongst these totals, the FAA paid heavily:
     All five members of the Air Staff were killed.  802 Squadron lost all eight officer pilots, the sole enlisted pilot, Petty Officer Richard Thomas Leggott, RN surviving, while 823 Squadron lost nine of eleven officer pilots and observers as well as eight of nine enlisted air gunners.  The three survivors were Sub-Lieutenant(A) Ian Murray MacLachlin, RN (P), Midshipman(A) Eric Baldwin, RN (O), and Naval Airmen Vernon Robert McBride, RN (AG).
     Likewise, the gallant RAF pilots that had made history earlier that day paid heavily.
     46 Squadron lost eight of ten of the pilots on Glorious:  Flight Lieutenant Charles Robert David Stewart; Flying Officers Robert Melland John Cowles; Philip John Frost; Herbert Harold Knight; and Michael Courtney Franklin Mee; Pilot Officer Lancelot Gordon Bew Bunker; Flight Sergeant Edward Shackley; and Sergeant Bernard Lester Taylor.  The two survivors were the CO, Squadron Leader Kenneth B. B. Cross (later KCB, CBE, DSO, and DFC) and Flight Lieutenant Patric Geraint Jameson, (later CB, DSO, DFC+bar).
     All ten pilots of 263 Squadron on Glorious were lost:  Squadron Leader John William Donaldson DFC, DSO; Flight Lieutenant Alvin Thomas Williams DFC; Flying Officers Herman Francis Grant Ede; Harold Edward Vickery; and Phillip Hannah Purdy, DFC, MiD; and Pilot Officers Michael Alexander Craig-Adams; Louis Reginald Jacobsen DFC; Michael Amor Bentley; and Sidney Robert McNamara, DFC. (Mark Horan)

The motion picture "Brother Orchid" is released in the U.S. This crime drama, directed by Lloyd Bacon and starring Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sothern, Humphrey Bogart, Ralph Bellamy, Donald Crisp and Allen Jenkins, has gang boss Robinson returning from Europe, where he tried to acquire "class," to find his gang has been taken over by Bogart. He forms another gang and is wounded in a gunfight and takes refuge in a monastery where he plots his next move. (Jack McKillop)

1941:     British and Free French forces invade Syria under the command of General Wilson.  The Vichy French forces are commanded by General Dantz.

There were 45,000 Vichy French troops occupying Syria and Lebanon. Allied forces totaled 34,000 troops - 5,000 Free French; 9,000 British; 18,000 Australian, 2,000 Indian troops. (Sidney Allinson)

Captain Moshe Dayan, leading a section of the Allied attack on Syria, receives an eye injury when a stray bullet hits his binoculars. As a Palestinian he served in the British army with the Palestine Regiment. (Sidney Allinson & Andy Etherington)

A report from Melbourne outlines the problems the Australian's are having with her soldiers in the Middle East. While the countries of Europe are rationing their food supplies increasingly, Australia has too much. Food ships can make three or four trips between Europe and the United States or Canada to every one to Australia, whose surpluses thus are largely unexportable. She must eat the surpluses herself, store them, or destroy them ...
   What is going to happen to the farmers in this period of wasted and partially wasted surpluses is another problem of Australia's government. It is part of the larger problem of Australia's wartime economic readjustment, including the matter of man power allotable to different industries. (Andy Etherington)

US Senator Byrd states that there are 67 strikes in the defense industries and threats of 19 more. (Andy Etherington)

Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy and Chico Marx stage the first Hollywood "camp show" at Camp Roberts near Paso Robles, California. (Jack McKillop)

1942:       The German Operation Drumbeat continues as U-302 torpedoes and sinks an armed merchant tanker approximately 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Cape Blanco, Venezuela. (Jack McKillop)

The crew of a USN PBY-5A Catalina of Patrol Squadron Forty One (VP-41) based at Dutch Harbor, Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, spots four transports and two destroyers in Kiska Harbor; flying to Attu Island, they spot the Japanese forces. This is the first indication that the Japanese have occupied these two islands. (Jack McKillop)
Japanese submarines I-21 and I-24 shell the Australian cities of Sydney and Newcastle.

The Soviet Ambassador to the U.S., Maxim M. Litvinov, informs Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt's assistant, that the Soviet Government has agreed to a Lend-Lease air corridor being established between the Territory of Alaska and Siberia. (Jack McKillop)

The Royal Canadian Air Force's No. 111 (Fighter) Squadron, equipped with Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. Is, arrives at Elmendorf Field, Anchorage, Territory of Alaska, as part of the RCAF reinforcements to the USAAF. (Jack McKillop)

The European Theater of Operations US Army (ETOUSA) is established by presidential directive. Major General James E. Chaney is designated commander of all US forces in ETOUSA. (Jack McKillop)

1943:     The Japanese Battleship Mutsu is sunk, by an internal explosion, in Hiroshima Bay.

Two Japanese submarines arrive at Kiska Island in the Aleutian Islands with supplies and evacuate personnel as IJA troops are ordered to abandon the island.
    HIJMS I-7 lands 19 tons of weapons and ammunition and 15 tons of food and evacuates 42 sailors, 18 soldiers and 41 Japanese civilians.
    HIJMS I-34 lands nine tons of weapons and ammunition and five tons of food and evacuates nine sailors and 71 civilians. (Jack McKillop)

Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) Wellingtons pound the town and docks on Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean during the night of 7/8 June. The air offensive against the island increases during the following day as fighters, light, medium and heavy bombers of the NASAF, Northwest Tactical Air Force (NATAF) and the USAAF's Ninth Air Force continue to bomb throughout the day. Naval forces bombard the harbor and shore batteries. Surrender requests, dropped by airplane, bring no response. (Jack McKillop)
 Los Angeles declared off limits by military authorities in order to bring an end to the Zoot Suit riots.

1944:     The Allied 2nd wave is now ashore at Normandy.

Whilst acting as HQ ship for the assault forces off Juno beach, frigate HMS Lawford is attacked and sunk by German aircraft off Courcelles. Location Seine Bay, Juno Beach area. There are 24 casualties. (Alex Gordon)

Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz, Commanding General, U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSTAF), places oil as the first priority target for the USAAF's Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces as a result of the destructive effect achieved by several missions against oil centers in May 1944. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's Eighth Air Force in England flies Mission 400: 1,178 bombers and 1,353 fighter sorties are flown on communications in France to isolate German forward elements, and airfields are bombed to prevent Luftwaffe support. Cloud conditions prevent 400+ bombers from executing attacks.
    1. 640 B-17 Flying Fortresses are dispatched to La Frilliere (66 bomb), Orleans (36 bomb), Rennes Airfield (30 bomb), Orleans/Les Aubrais marshalling yard (60 bomb), Nantes (25 bomb), La Huchetiere (31 bomb), Tours/ La Riche (61 bomb) and Cinq Mars bridge (57 bomb); 18 hit Bruz, two hit Rennes and 13 hit targets of opportunity; one1 B-17 is lost.
    Personal Memory: On this day in 1944 we were assigned a target in Orleans, France where we were to drop our 1000 pound bombs on a train track with rolling stock, hoping to drop a railroad bridge into the rubble. Our assembly had to be modified because of two cloud layers and we finally formed up between these layers. The 303rd Bomb Group furnished 36 B-17s for this mission, comprising three groups of twelve. All three groups took off between 0431 and 0522 and were back on the base at Molesworth before noon. Our part of the mission was largely wasted because of a problem with the Norden bomb sight in the lead plane. Our bomb run was visual but the lead bombardier was having trouble cranking the proper drift corrections. He decided to turn the bomb run over to the deputy lead but was too late as the Norden sight released his bombs and of course all twelve planes dropped in unison. Our bombs struck the ground even with the target but too far to the left by at least five hund
red feet, destroying some large, unknown buildings. Hogan was the hero of the day. our 359th squadron that led the high group laid a perfect pattern on the rail yard and the bridge. Hogan saved the mission when the low group did just as badly as we did. Some of the bombers were still jockeying into position when the bombs were away and in banking the plane it tossed the bombs to one side resulting in a poor pattern. Some days it doesn't pay to get up.  But at least it was a milk run. Score so far: Milk Runs 9, Others 4.(Dick Johnson)
    2. 538 B-24 Liberators are dispatched to Pontaubault (67 bomb), Angers/ St Laud (24 bomb), Angers (19 bomb), Le Mans/Arnage Airfield (14 bomb), Pontaubault (13 bomb), Nantes (42 bomb) and Cinq Mars bridge (55 bomb ); five hit Dinon, one hits Precey, one hits Cinq Mars bridge, 30 hit Grandville Harbor, 19 hit a bridge at Rennes, nine hit Precey and 26 hit targets of opportunity; an attack on the Melun bridge by an Azon unit is foiled by clouds; two B-24s are lost.
    Escort for the bombers is provided by 116 P-51 Mustangs; they claim 3-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; two P-51s are lost.
Other fighter-bomber missions are:
    1. 381 P-38 Lightnings, 24 P-47 Thunderbolts and 89 P-51s fly sweeps and patrols along the Normandy beachhead and the Channel area; P-47s claim
1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; three P-51s are lost.
    2. 333 P-47s and 526 P-51s fly fighter-bomber missions against communications in northwestern France; they claim 27-2-4 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 21-0-11 on the ground; six P-47s and eleven P-51s are lost. Overall, the fighters fly 1,405 sorties and attack nearly 75 targets during the day. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's Ninth Air Force in England dispatches around 400 B-26 Marauders to attack rail and road bridges and junctions, rail sidings, marshalling yards, town areas, fuel storage tanks, ammunition dumps, troop concentration and strong points in the Calais, France area. Around 1,300 fighter sorties provide support to B-26s and high cover over the assault area, and bomb and strafe bridges, marshalling yards, gun batteries, rail facilities, vehicles, towns, and troop concentrations. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's Fifteenth Air Force in Italy dispatches 52 B-17s, with P-47 escort, to bomb the navy yard and drydocks at Pola, Yugoslavia. (Jack McKillop)

The motion picture "The Mask of Dimitrious" is released in the U.S. This mystery based on Eric Ambler's novel "A Coffin for Dimitrious," is directed by Jean Negulesco and stars Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Zachary Scott, Faye Emerson and George Tobias. The plot involves a mystery writer (Lorre) tracing the life of a notorious criminal (Scott). (Jack McKillop)
The SS murders Canadian POWs for the second day in a row in Normandy, 
including six Winnipeg Rifles, and a Red Cross stretcher-bearer, who are 
ordered into a wood and shot in the temple; 13 more Canadians are executed 
within 100 yards of the Command post; the bodies of 7 more are found 
near-by, all shot in the head with small arms; and 40 Winnipegs and Cameron 
Highlanders are marched into a field, ordered to sit together with the 
wounded at their center, and machine gunned; 5 escape.

1945:     British submarine Trenchant torpedos the Japanese cruiser Ashigara in the Java Sea.  She was evacuating soldiers from Batavia to Japan.

Carrier-based aircraft of the USN's Task Groups 38.1 and 38.4 attack the Kanoya Airdrome complex on Kyushu Island, Japan attempting to hinder kamikaze missions. (Jack McKillop)

1946  Field Marshal Lord Montgomery leads a grand victory parade for World 
War Two through London.




As his 80th birthday approaches, a look at the life and legacy of the late Ray Charles.

"I just do what I do." That's what Ray Charles told Billboard in June 2002 when asked to assess his role in music history. Of course, Charles' self-effacing response belies a groundbreaking career and a legacy that endures today, as fans look toward celebrating what would have been the legendary artist's 80th birthday Sept. 23. Looking back at Charles' storied career, what comes to mind is the phrase "musical genius." In Charles' case, that's no hype.

Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity

In 1954, the artist's melding of gospel and blues yielded the pioneering hit "I've Got a Woman"-and forged an indelible imprint on R&B, rock and pop. His earthy, soulful voice graced a steady stream of classics after "Woman," including "Drown in My Own Tears," "What'd I Say," "Hit the Road Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Georgia on My Mind."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Hit The Road Jack" in São Paulo, Brazil on September 22, 1963.

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Then I'll Be Home" in Montreux, Switzerland on July 19, 1997.

Just as at home on the Hammond B-3 organ as he was on the piano, he also landed at the top of Billboard's R&B, pop, country and jazz charts-and even the dance chart, collaborating with childhood friend Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan on "I'll Be Good to You."

His final recording, 2004's "Genius Loves Company," made history when it won eight Grammy Awards, including album and record of the year for his pairing with Norah Jones on "Here We Go Again."

But what many may not know is that the inimitable Charles was also a genius when it came to the business side of music. In the early '60s he negotiated a rare feat after leaving Atlantic Records to sign with ABC-Paramount: ownership of his own master recordings. He also established his own labels. Tangerine (his favorite fruit) came first, which later evolved into CrossOver Records.

A songwriter who penned nearly 200 songs, Charles also operated his own publishing companies, Tangerine Music and Racer Music. For these entities, Charles and longtime manager Joe Adams designed and built the RPM International office and studios on Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Ray Charles Memorial Library will open in the building this fall.

Charles also found time to manage the careers of other acts, including Billy Preston and '70s R&B group the Friends of Distinction. And way before it was de rigueur for artists to do, Charles set up what became a foundation to help needy children with hearing disabilities and later on support education.

He was an amazing human being," says Jones, 77, who became friends with Charles when both were scrappy teenagers in Seattle. "A true innovator who revolutionized music and the business of music," he adds. "Growing up, we only had the radio; no Michael Jackson, Diddy or Oprah. So it was hard to imagine today's entrepreneurial world. But that didn't stop us. We spent a lot of time talking and dreaming about things that brothers had never done before."

"He really was a genius," says singer Solomon Burke, a former Atlantic labelmate. "He did things the way he wanted."

Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson Sept. 23, 1930, in Albany, Ga. As many learned through actor Jamie Foxx's Academy Award-winning portrayal in the 2004 film "Ray," Charles became blind by age 7 and orphaned at 15 while growing up in northwest Florida.

In eight years at a state school for the blind, the young Charles learned how to read and write music. Leaving Florida in 1947, he headed for Seattle ("Choosing the farthest place he could find from Florida," Jones says), where he notched his first hit two years later as a member of the Maxin Trio, "Confession Blues."

Even then, Charles was an enterprising individual. "He had his own apartment, record player, two pairs of pimp shoes, and here I am still living at home," Jones recalls with a laugh. "His mother trained him not to be blind: no cane, no dogs, no cup. His scuffed-up shoes... that was his guide and driving force. He was the most independent dude I ever saw in my life. Ray would get blind only when pretty girls came around."

Signing with Atlantic Records in 1952, Charles as a West Coast jazz and blues man recorded such songs as "It Should've Been Me" and label co-founder Ahmet Ertegun's composition, "Mess Around."

Then he connected in 1954 with "I've Got a Woman," which set off a chain reaction of more hits capitalizing on his bold gospel/blues fusion. But Charles was just getting started. In 1958, he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, accompanied by a band that featured such jazz cats as saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford. Further bucking convention, he recorded "The Genius of Ray Charles," a 1959 release offering standards on one side (including "Come Rain or Come Shine") and big band numbers on the other, featuring members of Count Basie's orchestra and several arrangements by Jones.

Video below: Charles' 1966 Coke commercial, "So Tired."

Leaving Atlantic for ABC-Paramount, a fearless Charles recorded the seminal "Genius + Soul = Jazz" album in 1961. A year later, his earlier dabbling in country music grew serious with the release of the million-selling "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."

Complemented by lush strings and a harmony-rich choir, he scored with covers of Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" and Ted Daffan's "Born to Lose"-and spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

For a black man to do this in 1962 was unheard of," says Tony Gumina, president of the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles the late artist's licensing affairs. "He was trying to sell records to people who didn't want to drink from the same water fountain as him. But this was one of his greatest creative and business moves: to not be categorized musically and cross over. Though he never worried about it, he was resigned to the fact that he might lose some core fans. But he thought he'd gain far more in the process."

Gumina was operating his own promotion company working with state lotteries when he met Charles in 1999. The two teamed up on a series of commercials for various state lotteries and also introduced a line of Ray Charles slot machines also accessible to the blind.

"Everything he did had a business acumen to it," says Gumina, who cites Charles' liaison with manager Adams as a pivotal turning point. Originally hired to be Charles' stage announcer, former radio DJ Adams segued into overseeing production of the singer's shows, lighting and wardrobe.

Together the pair designed and built Charles' L.A. business base, RPM International (Recording, Publishing and Management) studio. When he began recording there in 1965, the label rented the studio from him, so he made money on his recordings before they were even released.

To save money on travel expenses, Charles purchased an airplane to ferry his band around to gigs. A smaller plane was also acquired so that Charles could wing in to, say, New York to record a couple of songs before flying back out in time for a show.

"He understood the entertainment business enough to know that you may not be popular forever," Gumina says, "and you need to maximize your product. At the same time, he had as much fun as any rock star but without the sad money stories. There was a time to work and a time to play, and he knew the difference. He didn't have a bunch of homes or a large entourage. That's why he was able to save $50 million before he died."

Calling Charles an "incredibly smart man," Concord president John Burk says he learned a lot from the ailing singer while he was recording his final studio album, "Genius Loves Company."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "It Ain't Easy Being Green" in Trentnton, NJ on Nov. 7, 2002.

Going through "some sticky deal points, he was amazing," Burk recalls. "He had the whole agreement in his head. Without referencing any material, he knew all the terms we proposed and had the deal done for the album in two discussions."

Creatively, Burk says Charles was an artist dedicated to delivering "a true performance from the heart. Part of his creative legacy was his approach to singing. He opened the door to vocal improvisations, changing how people perceived you could sing a song. Many singers today are influenced by him and they don't even know it."

Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity


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