Nov 20th 1944
CZECHOSLOVAKIA: USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-24s and B-17s encounter bad weather and attack several alternate targets and targets of opportunity: 166 bomb the marshalling yard at Brno, 50 hit the marshalling yard at Hodonin with the loss of one aircraft, 27 attack the Bata synthetic rubber plant at Zlin, 26 bomb the marshalling yard at Lundenburg, 21 hit Kromeriz and one each attack the marshalling yard at Ostrana Moravaska, the city of Trnava and a third unknown target.
FRANCE: In the U.S. Third Army's XX Corps area, the 95th and 5th Infantry Divisions continue methodically to clear rear-guard opposition within Metz and contain the forts about the city. Preparations are made for the final drive to the Saar River. In the XII Corps area, the 80th Infantry Division conducts a reconnaissance in force on the northern flank of corps, seizing a bridge at Faulquemont and establishing a bridgehead north of the Nied Allemande River. The 137th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, upon emerging from Bois de Freybouse, is disorganized by a German counterattack. Combat Command A, 4th Armored Division, followed by the 320th Infantry Regiment, secures Francaltroff. The 26th Infantry Division advances quickly behind the retreating Germans, elements of 101st Infantry Regiment reaching Torcheville, west of Munster. Corps orders Combat Command A, 6th Armored Division, to attack to gain Saar River crossings in the 35th Infantry Division zone and Combat Com
mand B of 4th Armored Division to advance through Mittersheim in 26th Infantry Division zone; Combat Command A of 4th Armored Division is recalled from Francaltroff area to assembly area near Conthil.
In the U.S. Seventh Army's XV Corps area, the French 2d Armored Division commits Combat Command D on the northern flank of corps in effort to outflank the Saverne Gap from the north while Combat Command L continues enveloping maneuver from the south; Combat Command D crosses the Saar River north of Sarrebourg and drives eastward in two columns, one toward Phalsbourg, at the western entrance to the gap, and the other toward La Petite Pierre, to the north; Combat Command L encounters stiffening resistance in the vicinity of the Wolfsberg Pass, southwest of Saverne, and Combat Command V is committed to assist in that area. In the VI Corps area, the 3d Infantry Division crosses the Meurthe River in the Clairefontaine-St Michel area before dawn to spearhead the drive, beginning at 0645 hours, on Strasbourg via Saales. The attack is preceded by intense artillery preparation and closely supported by the USAAF XII Tactical Air Command of the First Tactical Air Force (Provisional).
The Germans, stunned by bombardment and threatened by successes of the Allied forces on both flanks of VI Corps, is incapable of resisting effectively. The 3d Infantry Division gains a substantial bridgehead including the towns of Le Paire, Hurbache, and La Voivre. The 103d Infantry Division, cross the Meurthe River in the 3d Infantry Division zone, during the night of 20/21 November, to drive toward St Die. On the southern flank of the corps, the 36th Infantry Divisionâ€™s 143d Infantry Regiment seizes ridge commanding Anould and Clefcy.
GERMANY: In the British Second Army's XXX Corps area, the 334th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 84th Infantry Division eliminates resistance in environs of Prummern with help of British flame-throwing tanks, but enemy retains heights to NE. Strong opposition is slowing other elements of corps.
In the U.S. Ninth Army's XIX Corps area, the 2d Armored Division, assisted by attached British tanks, renews an all-out drive in heavy rainfall; Combat Command B employs three Task Force’s against Gereonsweiler and takes the town; one Combat Command A Task Force overruns Ederen and another clears Freialdenhoven. The 29th Infantry Division, after seizing the village of Niedermerz, makes a two-pronged attack on Aldenhoven, in the second defensive arc of Juelich defenses, and takes the town.
In the U.S. Third Army's XX Corps area, Combat Command B, 10th Armored Division, continuing toward Merzig, reaches Hill 378 but pulls back to Hill 383 because of fire from the Merzig area.
The weather is bad with low cloud cover and no aircraft fly in support of offensive operations of the US First Army. In the north, the 104th Infantry Division clears the towns of Rohe and Burgrath and up to Hehlrath and the outskirts southwest of Eschweiler. The 3d Armored Division is pinched out by the 104th and 1st Infantry Divisions which also clears Wenau, bypasses Hersten and has elements well across the open ground towards Schnthal. Its attached 47th Regimental Combat Team reaches to within a half mile of the Aachen-Stolberg-Dueren railway. The 4th Infantry Division's 8th Infantry Regiment is counter-attacked and loses some ground, while the 22d Infantry Regiment makes slow progress towards Grosshau.
The weather is bad with low cloud cover and no aircraft fly in support of offensive operations of the US First Army. In the north, the 104th Divisions clears the towns of Rohe and Burgrath and up to Hehlrath and the outskirts southwest of Eschweiler. The 3d Armored Division is pinched out by the 104th and 1st Divisions which also clears Wenau, bypasses Hersten and has elements well across the open ground towards Schnthal. Its attached 47th Regimental Combat Team reaches to within ½ mile of the Aachen-Stolberg-DÂ¸railway. The 4th Division's 8 Infantry is counter-attacked and loses some ground, while the 22d Infantry makes slow progress towards Grosshau.
With the Red Army fast approaching Rastenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler leaves his old headquarters and returns to Berlin.
The USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 718: 60 B-17s are sent to hit the Schowen oil plant at Gelsenkirchen and 92 hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Munster.
Bad weather prevents USAAF Ninth Air Force bomber operations but fighters fly sweeps and night patrols over broad areas of western Germany and strafe and bomb numerous railroads, trains, buildings and various military targets.
USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-24s and B-17s bomb three targets: 172 bomb the I.G. Farben synthetic oil refinery at Blechhammer, six bomb Oppell and one hits the marshalling yard at Glewitz.
During the day, RAF Bomber Command sends 183 Lancasters to make a G-H attack on the Meerbeck synthetic oil plant at Homberg but the weather is stormy and many aircraft are not able to maintain formation with the G-H aircraft on the bombing run. The bombing by 168 aircraft, through cloud, is believed to have been scattered. Five Lancasters are lost.
During the night of 20/21 November, RAF Bomber Command sends 43 Lancasters on an unusual Pathfinder solo raid on Koblenz; 42 bombers attack without loss. The purpose of the raid is not recorded. It is possible that either the large road and rail bridges over the Rhine and Mosel Rivers or the local railway yards are the targets. Only high-explosive bombs are carried. Koblenz is completely covered by cloud and all bombing is by H2S from 15,000 feet (4 572 meters). The local report states that some bombs fall in the town, blocking several roads and railways and scoring hits on a road and a rail bridge, although these remained usable. Other raids are made by Mosquitos to six other targets: 58 hit Hannover, 14 bomb the Rauxel/Klocknerwerke synthetic oil refinery at Castrop, 11 attack the Meerbeck synthetic oil refinery at Homberg, seven bomb an aircraft engine factory at Eisenach and one each hit Duisburg and Minden.
HUNGARY: Three targets of opportunity are bombed by USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bombers: two attack the marshalling yard at Nagykanizsa and one each bomb tactical targets at Gyor and the marshalling yard at Szombathely.
ITALY: As the autumn rains turn to driving snow, General Alexander, the Allied commander-in-chief in Italy, has called a halt to the grueling campaign and stood down his armies. British tanks have found the going almost impossible, particularly across hundreds of rivers in the marshy Po valley. The German defence in Italy has been outstanding - but costly. With the Germans equally exhausted, winter activity at the front lines seems likely to be confined to patrolling and occasional artillery duels. The Allies will devote much time to training, particularly in the skills of river crossing and the Alpine warfare yet to come.
In the British Eighth Army's V Corps area, German positions are heavily hit by air. The 46th Division, as a preliminary to their main assault, which is postponed until 21 November, begins to clear the Cosina loop north of Castiglione and takes Castiglione.
Bad weather prevents USAAF Twelfth Air Force medium bombers from successfully attacking targets but fighter-bombers are able to operate during the late morning and destroy two factories east of Modena, and supply dumps near Parma, and cause large explosions in a dump near San Felice del Benaeo.
NETHERLANDS: In the British Second Army area, XII Corps continues toward the Maas River with the 49th Division, supported by elements of 4th Separate Armoured Brigade, and the 51st Division. The 51st finds villages on the river southwest of Venlo clear of Germans.
UNITED KINGDOM: In London, England, five years of darkness end as street lights are switched on in Piccadilly, the Strand and Fleet Street.
WESTERN EUROPE: USAAF Eighth Air Force bombers fly Mission 719: six B-17s and seven B-24s drop leaflets on the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night.
YUGOSLAVIA: USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bombers attack five targets: 33 bomb a railroad bridge at Doboj, 25 hit the West marshalling yard at Sarajevo, 20 attack a railroad bridge at Zenicca, 14 bomb a railroad bridge at Fojnica and one bombs the marshalling yard at Zagreb.
RAF bombers of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group attack Visegrad: 38 bomb vehicles and 27 hit a pontoon bridge.
21 Novemver 1944
WESTERN FRONT: British 2nd Army continues attacks near Venlo. US 1st and 9th Armies meet firm resistance from German forces west of the Roer River. The US 3rd Army continues the siege of Metz while other elements gain ground near Saarebourg.
This was a night of mainly good visibility in which Bomber Command operations were directed strictly according to priorities given in recent directives.
Aschaffenburg: 274 RAF Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. 2 Lancasters lost. The object of this raid was to destroy the local railway yards and lines. The local report says that 50 bombs fell in the railway area, causing much damage to the marshalling yards and railway workshops but the: main through lines were not cut. Many other bombs fell in the centre and north of the town. About 500 houses were destroyed and 1,500 seriously damaged. Many old buildings were hit, including the local castle, the Johannisburg, which was hit by 5 high-explosive bombs and had a 4,000lb 'blockbuster' burst near by; the roof and upper storeys of the castle were burnt out.
Castrop-Rauxel: 273 RAF aircraft - 176 Halifaxes, 79 Lancasters, 18 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups. 4 Halifaxes lost. The target was the oil refinery. The local report says that 216 high-explosive bombs, 78 duds and many incendiaries hit the oil plant and caused such a large fire that the fire-fighters could do little more than allow it to burn itself out. It is believe that the refinery produced no more oil after this raid. Bombs fell in many other places, including some important industrial and coal-mining premises.
Sterkrade: 270 RAF aircraft - 232 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos, 18 Lancasters - of 4 and 8 Groups. 2 Halifaxes lost. The target was again the synthetic-oil refinery. Bomber Command's report says that the plant was not damaged, though some labour barracks near by were hit.
Mittelland Canal: 138 RAF Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 2 Lancasters lost. The canal banks were successfully breached near Gravenhorst. Later photographs showed that water drained off over a 30 mile stretch and that 59 barges were stranded on one short section alone.
Dortmund-Ems Canal: 123 RAF Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. No aircraft lost. The canal near Ladbergen was attacked, some of the Lancasters coming down to 4,000ft to get beneath the cloud. A breach was made in the only branch of the aqueduct here which had been repaired since the last raid and the water once again drained out of the canal.
Total effort for the night: 1,345 sorties, 14 aircraft (1.0 per cent) lost.
First Tactical Air Force (Provisional): The 95th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 17th Bombardment Group (Medium), moves from Poretta, Corsica to Dijon, France with B-26s.
The 378th Fighter Squadron, 362d Fighter Group, moves from Prosnes to Rouvres, France with P-47s.
GERMANY: 160 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group to attack the Homberg oil refinery. 3 Lancasters lost. The bombing was scattered at first but then became very concentrated, culminating, according to the Bomber Command report, in 'a vast sheet of yellow flame followed by black smoke rising to a great height'. This was a very satisfactory raid after several previous attempts by Bomber Command to destroy this oil refinery.
29 RAF Mosquitos to Stuttgart, 26 to Hannover, 19 to Worms and 4 to Wesel, 38 RCM sorties, 80 Mosquito patrols, 24 Halifaxes and 18 Lancasters minelaying off Oslo, 9 aircraft on Resistance operations. 4 aircraft were lost - 2 Mosquitos and 1 Halifax of No 100 Group and 1 Lancaster from the minelaying force.
(US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 720: 1,291 bombers and 954 fighters are dispatched to make PFF attacks using H2X on oil targets in Germany; they claim 73-7-25 Luftwaffe aircraft; 25 bombers and 15 fighters are lost: 1. 421 B-17s are sent to hit the Leuna synthetic oil plant at Merseburg (200); targets of opportunity are Meppen (24), Friedburg (21), Hersfeld (12) and Hunfeld (12) marshalling yards, flak gun batteries at Merseburg (12), Leeuwarden Airfield (11), Apolda (10) the Autobahn at Hersfeld (10), Quakenbruck (10), and other (69); the AAF claims 1-0-1 aircraft; 14 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 205 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 16 WIA and 129 MIA. Escort is 268 of 310 P-51s; they claim 63-7-20 aircraft in the air and 3-0-2 on the ground; 9 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). 2. 402 B-17s are sent to Sterkrade, Lendorf and Hamburg but hit the secondary, the Osnarbruck marshalling yard (166) and last resort targets, i.e., Giessen marshalling yard (77), Wetzlar (62), Lingen (24), Koblenz marshalling yard (23), Bielefeld marshalling yard (9), and targets of opportunity (35); 7 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 142 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 6 WIA and 65 MIA. Escort is 382 of 420 P-51s; 4 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). 3. 366 B-24s are sent to hit the Dpag (178) and Rhenania (171) oil plants at Hamburg; 4 B-24s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 220 damaged; 19 airmen are KIA, 8 WIA and 89 MIA. Escort is 177 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 5-0-2 aircraft in the air and 2-0-1 on the ground; 1 P-47 and 1 P-51 are lost (pilots MIA). 4. 12 of 12 B-17s fly a screening mission. 5. 31 of 33 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 721: 7 B-17s and 5 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night.
US Ninth Air Force: In Germany, the 9th Bombardment Division hits rail bridges and defended areas at several points including Bergstein, Echtz, Sinzig, Neuwied, and Derichsweiler; fighters escort the B-26s and also Eighth AF B-17s (to Merseburg), fly area cover, sweeps, and dive-bombing missions in W Germany, and support the US 1st, 8th, and 104th Infantry Divisions in the Hurtgen area and the XII and XX Corps between Merzig and Sarreguemines, France.
MEDITERRANEAN: (US Fifteenth Air Force):25 B-24s bomb troop concentrations, railroad, and highways at Novi Pazar and Cacak, Yugoslavia. 155 P-38s dive-bomb communications lines in S Yugoslavia, destroying several vehicles, blasting roads at Vucitrn, Rogatica, Tvrdosevo, and Duga Poljana, hitting bridges at Vrbasici, and Kukavica and causing a landslide at Pavlica; 87 P-51s strafe communications over wide areas of S Yugoslavia; other fighters fly reconnaissance missions.
(US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s blast defenses and troop concentrations in the Faenza area as the British Eighth Army's 5 Corps opens a general offensive N towards that town; fighter-bombers hit targets in the US Fifth Army battle area S of Bolonga, in the Po Valley, and in NE Italy; particularly good results are achieved against supply dumps and a rail line in the Brenner Pass is cut in 3 places.
22 November 1944
WESTERN FRONT: (US Eighth Air Force): The 2d and 4th Combat Bombardment Wings (Heavy) of the 3d Bombardment Division are combined to form the Administrative Bombardment Wing (Provisional); this type of unit is expected to be highly suitable for conditions in the Pacific theater where bomb division HQ might be located far from its wing HQ; under this new plan, the administrative wing can absorb many functions of the division HQ; this experiment will be judged acceptable during Feb 45.
First Tactical Air Force (Provisional): HQ 63d Fighter Wing moves from San Pietro Italy to Vittel, France; the 432d Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 17th Bombardment Group (Medium), moves from Poretta, Corsica to Dijon, France with B-26s. Ninth Air Force: Bomber operations are cancelled due to bad weather; fighter operations are limited. 16 aircraft from the IX and XIX Tactical Air Commands patrol over the V and VII Corps area (SE of Aachen), the Bonn- Cologne area, and fly reconnaissance around Saarbrucken, Homburg/Saar, Neukirchen and Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Sarrebourg, France. In France, the 377th Fighter Squadron, 362d Fighter Group, moves from Prosnes to Rouvres, France with P-47s.
Operations of the US 9th Army and the US 1st Army secure Eschweiler. Forces of the US 3rd Army capture Metz. US 7th Army forces take St. Die as others approach Saverne. The French 1st Army occupies Mulhouse, after defeating a counterattack by German forces.
171 RAF Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group were dispatched to attack the U-boat pens at Trondheim but the target was covered by a smoke-screen and the Master Bomber ordered the raid to be abandoned after the illuminating and marking force had been unable to find the target. 2 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito lost.
GERMANY: (US Fifteenth Air Force): 205 B-17s and B-24s hit E and W marshalling yards at Munich, Germany; 214 others fail to reach primaries because of impenetrable weather and attack alternates and targets of opportunity including marshalling yards at Regensburg, Germany, Salzburg, Lienz, and Villach, Austria and several targets of opportunity at scattered points; fighters provide escort to Munich, Germany. In Italy, 88 B-24s attack a bridge at Ferrara and rail line at Carbola, while 39 P-38s bomb the Osoppo motor transport depot.
MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s again pound defenses in the Faenza area as British Eighth Army forces push into that area from the SE; fighter-bombers and fighters fly nearly 350 sorties against rail lines in the Po Valley and very successfully hit guns, vehicles, troops and other targets in the US Fifth Army battle area S of Bologna, and supply dumps and pipelines N of the battle area.
NORTH AMERICA: In Canada, at a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister King announces that the request for volunteers for overseas duty had failed. The Army High Command threatens to resign if the government does not impose conscription to send soldiers into overseas battle. With a risk of District Officers Commanding threatening to resign, the only option left was mandatory conscription. Defence Minister Andrew McNaughton recommends to Cabinet that 16,000 conscripted soldiers be sent to fight in Europe.
23 November 1944
WESTERN FRONT: At 08:07 hours in the morning two BF 110G-4 of 1./NJG 3 took off from Fliegerhorst Tirstrup for aireal combat training. Bf 110G-4 coded D5+ICH was piloted by the Staffel commander Oblt. Herbert Koch with the crew of Radar operator Fw. Werner Gärtner and Wop Uffz. Karl Edelmann. Bf 110G-4 coded D5+QK was piloted by Fw. Georg Helbig with the crew of Wop and Radar operators Uffz. Willy Beyersdörfer and Uffz. Otto Henselmann. Helbig and his crew had only been with the staffel for a short time and were not yet considered to be fully operative. On this morning they were to train attack manouvers. After take off they headed north. Just south of Aalborg Oblt. Koch ordered Fw. Helbig to follow him through a layer of clouds and try to locate him with the FuG 220 radar that the Bf 110G-4 was equiped with. When Koch came out on top of the layer he waited for Helbig, and when he did not show up, Koch dived down through the clouds and spotted black smoke coming from the ground at Store Vildmosen moor. He also saw the wreckage of Helbig's aircraft and circled the area looking for parachutes. He then set course for Fliegerhorst Aalborg West where he landed at 09:08 hrs. A rescue team was sent to the crash site only to find that the crew of three were killed in the crash.
On the right flank of the German line, the 15th Army falls back in Holland. Meanwhile, the German 7th Army launches attacks on forces of US 9th Army. To the south, French troops of US 7th Army reach Strasbourg.
U.S. freighter 'William D. Burnham' is torpedoed by German submarine 'U-978' about five miles off Barfleur, France; 10 of the 26-man Armed Guard perish, as do eight of the 41-man merchant complement. British escort drifter HMS 'Fidget' rescues survivors, transferring most to motor torpedo boat PT-461, and the wounded to British destroyer HMS 'Vesper'. Salvage tug ATR-3 later tows 'William D. Burnham' to Cherbourg where the freighter is beached and ultimately assessed as a total loss.
First Tactical Air Force (Provisional): HQ 42d Bombardment Wing (Medium) moves from Borgo, Corsica to Dijon, France. Ninth Air Force: Unfavorable weather cancels all flights.
ENGLAND: To date, about 200 V-2 rockets have landed in England, about 100 in the London Region, killing about 500.
The British Eastern Fleet is disbanded. Older ships and the escort carriers a formed into the British East Indies Fleet, while the modern ships are detached for service as the British Pacific Fleet.
EASTERN FRONT: In Czechoslovakia, Soviet troops take Cop. In Hungary, Soviet forces capture Tokay in the north of the country.
The Germans evacuate Finnish Lapland and Macedonia, at opposite ends of the front. The Soviet government announces that, with the assistance of Finnish forces in accord with the terms of the recent armistice, Finnish Lapland has been cleared of German troops.
GERMANY: 168 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid through cloud on the Nordstern oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. The bombing appeared to be accurate. 1 Lancaster lost.
61 RAF Mosquitos to Hannover, 9 to Eisenach and 6 each to Gottingen and Hagen, 43 aircraft of No 100 Group on RCM and Mosquito operations (separate figures not available). 1 Mosquito lost from the Hannover raid.
(US Eighth Air Force): Mission 722: In Germany, 134 of 155 B-17s and 73 of 78 P-51s make a GH attack on the Norstern benzol manufacturing plant near Gelsenkirchen and the marshalling yard at Duisburg with the loss of 1 P-51 (pilot MIA) and 1 P-51 damaged beyond repair; 13 of 13 B-17s fly a screening mission and 10 of 12 P-51s fly a scouting mission.
MEDITERRANEAN; Motor torpedo boat patrol attacks southbound convoy off Portofino, damaging two coasters, while engaged by German shore battery that inflicts no damage on the PTs.
(US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, bad weather restricts operations; medium bombers over the Faenza area abort due to overcast, P-47s hampered by low clouds over the Apennines Mountains, fly only 16 sorties, against rail lines S of Bologna, but succeed in cutting the lines in 6 places.
(US Fifteenth Air Force): In Yugoslavia, 81 B-24s attack road and railroad bridges at or near Zenica, Brod, and Doboj; 30 P-38s bomb the Doboj marshalling yard, 13 hit Doboj road and rail bridge, and 4 attack, but miss, a bridge at Maglaj; 13 B-24s and B-17s drop supplies at points in Yugoslavia.
24 November 1944
NORTH AMERICA: In the Cabot Strait, Canada, German submarine 'U-1228' torpedoes and sinks Canadian corvette HMCS 'Shawnigan'. All 90 on board die.
WESTERN FRONT: The US 3rd Army captures crossings over the Saar River, about 25 miles north of Saarbrucken. Troops of the French First Army (de Tassigny) capture Mühlhausen in Alsace, while the French 2nd Division completes the capture of Strasboug.
EASTERN FRONT: In the Baltic, Soviet forces complete the occupation of Saaremo Island in the Gulf of Riga. About 5000 German troops have been evacuated. Most of the remaining German surface fleet 'Lutzow', 'Admiral Scheer' and 'Prinz Eugen' provide support for the evacuation, in addition to shelling mainland targets in support of German Army Group North. German Army Group North is now isolated in the Baltic province of Kurland.
GERMANY: 58 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin and 6 to Gottingen, 13 Halifaxes minelaying off Denmark. No aircraft lost.
(US Ninth Air Force): Weather cancels all operations except for 3 XIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional) fighters which fly a night intruder mission in Saarbrucken, Zweibrucken, and Homburg/Saar areas of Germany.
The rest of the Gruppen of JG 7 are formed. I./JG 7 is renamed II./JG 7 and is based at Lager-Lechfeld flying Me 262s led by Major Staiger. I./JG 7 is formed from II./JG 3 with Major Theo Weissenberger as Gruppenkommandeur. The old III Gruppe is reformed as IV./JG 301 and is based at Ziegenhain. The new III Gruppe uses components of Kommando Nowotny led by Major Erich Hohagen. The Jagdgeschwader is named JG 7 ‘Nowotny’.
MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s, in support of the British Eighth Army, bomb defenses in the Faenza area; bad weather restricts fighter-bombers to 2 missions which damage a road bridge and cut rail line S of Modena.
25 November 1944
GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 723: 1,043 bombers and 965 fighters are dispatched to hit the synthetic oil plant at Merseburg, Germany using H2X and a marshalling yard; 8 bombers and 6 fighters are lost: 1. 671 of 766 hit the Leuna oil plant at Merseburg and 9 hit targets of opportunity; 8 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 197 damaged; 7 airmen are KIA, 5 WIA and 64 MIA. Escort is 716 of 800 P-51s; they claim 9-0-8 aircraft on the ground; 6 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA) and 1 damaged beyond repair. 2. 254 of 271 B-24s hit the Bingen marshalling yard; 43 B-24s are damaged; 1 airman is WIA. Escort is 129 of 130 P-47s.
(US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, the 9th Bombardment Division hits an ordnance arsenal at Landau, road junctions, and an ammunition dump at Neustadt and Kaiserslautern; fighters escort the 9th Bombardment Division and Eighth AF, fly armed reconnaissance and support ground forces E of Aachen and between Merzig and Sarreguemines, France.
(US Fifteenth Air Force): During the night of 24/25 Nov, 40+ B-17s and B-24s bomb the Linz benzol plant, Klagenfurt, and Innsbruck, Austria, and Munich W W marshalling yards in Germany, and 2 unidentified targets of opportunity; during the day P-38s fly photo and weather reconnaissance missions.
US troops break out of the Hurtgen Forest. Forces of US 1st Army, to the southeast of Aachen, advance beyond Hurtgen.
68 RAF Mosquitos to Nuremberg, 10 to Hagen and 9 each to Erfurt and Stuttgart, 36 RCM sorties, 38 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito lost from the Nuremberg raid.
WESTERN FRONT: (US Eighth Air Force): Mission 724: 7 B-17s and 6 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night. The 36th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), VIII Fighter Command starts daily operations as a screening force for the bombardment divisions; it is assigned the task of protecting the Eighth's primary VHF and fighter-to-bomber communications from interception during assembly; the increase of flak batteries around German military and industrial installations soon compels the 36th to increase radar countermeasures on each mission; the 36th remains on this assignment until the end of war in Europe.
The 356th Fighter Squadron 354th Fighter Group, moves from Orconte to Rosieres-en-Haye, France with P-47s.
'U-482' was sunk in the North Atlantic west of the Shetlands, in position 60.18N, 04.52W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS 'Ascension'. 48 dead (all hands lost).
MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, bad weather again hampers operations; 3 fighter groups fly only 53 sorties against railway targets and targets of opportunity N of the US Fifth Army battle area, cutting lines at 14 places and destroying several vehicles. The 414th Night Fighter Squadron, 62d Fighter Wing, moves from Pisa to Pontedera, Italy with Beaufighters.
The British 8th Army crosses the Cosina River.
General Alexander is promoted to Field-Marshal.
ENGLAND: A German V-2 rocket strikes the crowded Woolworths store on New Cross Road, in Deptford, central London, England, killing 160, seriously injuring 77, and injuring 122 others.
EASTERN FRONT: Uffz. Otto Kittel of 2./JG 54 is awarded the Swords to his Knights Cross with Oak Leaves (Schwerten) and promoted to Oberleutnant. He has 230 victories.
26 November 1944
WESTERN FRONT: The US 1st Army captures Weisweiler to the west of Cologne. The Port of Antwerp is opened for shipping, despite still being under fire from V-1 and V-2 weapons
RAF Spitfire fighter bombers attack two suspected V2 rocket sites.
75 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group were sent on a trial raid to attack the railway centre at Fulda to establish whether G-H signals could reach to this distance, 160 miles from the German frontier. The distance was too great, however, and the bombs were scattered over a wide area. No aircraft lost.
The 390th and 391st Fighter Squadrons, 366th Fighter Group, move from Couvron Airfield at Laon, France to Asch, Belgium with P-47s.
EASTERN FRONT: In eastern Slovakia, Soviet forces capture Michaloyce. In Hungary, elements of the 6th Guards Tank Army capture Hatvan.
(US Fifteenth Air Force): 39 P-38s fly an offensive sweep over Seregelyes Airfield, Hungary and strafe nearby road and rail traffic; other fighters fly reconnaissance and escort.
GERMANY: Munich: 270 RAF Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 1 Lancaster crashed in France. Bomber Command claimed this as an accurate raid in good visibility with much fresh damage, particularly to railway targets. It has not been possible to obtain a local report.
7 Mosquitos to Erfurt and 6 to Karlsruhe (a 'spoof' raid), 20 RCM sorties, 20 Mosquito patrols, 31 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Intruder Mosquito was lost and 1 Hudson on a Resistance flight crashed behind Allied lines in Belgium.
(US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 725: 1,137 bombers and 732 fighters are dispatched to make attacks on rail viaducts, marshalling yards and oil installations in W Germany; all but 1 attack is with radar; about 550 Luftwaffe fighters intercept and 34 bombers and 9 fighters are lost; the AAF claims 133-14-42 aircraft: 1. 406 B-17s are sent to hit an oil refinery at Misburg (243) and a rail viaduct at Altenbekin (118); 19 hit the secondary, the marshalling yard at Osnabruck; 3 others hit a target of opportunity; they claim 4-6-7 aircraft; 10 B-17s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 160 damaged; 4 airmen are KIA, 6 WIA and 93 MIA. Escorting are 292 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 67-2-11 aircraft; 3 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA) and 2 damaged beyond repair. 2. 350 B-24s are sent to hit the Schidesche rail viaduct at Bielefeld (240) and the Misburg oil refinery (57); targets of opportunity are Hannover marshalling yard (26) and other (1); they claim 12-5-4 aircraft; 21 B-24s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 53 damaged; 15 airmen are KIA, 6 WIA and 196 MIA. Escorting are 208 P-47s and P-1s; they claim 42-0-18 aircraft; 2 P-47s and 3 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). 3. 381 B-17s are sent to hit the marshalling yard at Hamm (266); other marshalling yards hit are at Gutersloh (37), Bielefeld (36), Herford (24) plus 3 hit other targets; 3 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 86 damaged; 1 airman is WIA and 27 MIA. Escorting are 132 of 138 P-51s; they claim 3-0-1 aircraft on the ground; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA). 4. 36 of 36 P-51s fly a scouting mission; they claim 5-1-2 aircraft without loss. Mission 726: 8 B-17s and 6 B-24s drop leaflets on France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night.
(US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 173 B-26s and A-20s bomb supply, storage, stores, and ordnance depots at Gaulsheim, Bergzabern, Giessen, Reichenbach, and Homburg/Saar; fighters fly sweeps and armed reconnaissance over W Germany, search for a lost A-20, escort 9th Bombardment Division, and support the US 29th Infantry Division at Bourheim and the XX and XII Corps in the area of the Maginot Line and German-French border.
In the afternoon, I./JG 3 were ordered to scramble on a defensive mission in very hazy weather. Radio contact with the ground was lost. In these poor conditions the Gruppenkommandeur, Hauptmann Horst Haase (62 victories, RK) collided with his wingman, Leutnant Hans Fritz (12 victories), both aircraft crashing from low altitude near Erkelenz with their pilots still aboard. Leutnant Walter Brandt, the Staffelkapitän of 2./JG 3, assumed command of the formation and led it back to Paderborn. However, Brandt was then placed under arrest for cowardice in the face of the enemy because there had been no contact with the enemy and the formation could not be reached by radio at low level to be guided on to the enemy. The charges were later dismissed.
Despite plans to have over a hundred Me 262 jet fighters available for training purposes, Hptm. Geyer’s III./EJG 2 by this time only has a dozen instructors, sixty-nine pupils and only two available Me 262s.
JG 7 loses several pilots on this day in action. Lt. Schreiber again collides with an Allied Spitfire but does not survive the crash. He has seven victories at the time of his death. Rudolf Alf is killed in a flying accident.
MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, a slight improvement in the weather permits fighter-bombers to increase operations; P-47s closely support ground forces in the US Fifth Army battle area in the Apennines S of Bologna and cut rail lines in over 30 places N of the immediate battle zone.
The war in Italy is at a stalemate, partly because of heavy rains.
27 November 1944
GERMANY: The first Me 262 night-fighter kill is scored by Lt. Welter of Kommando Welter over an RAF Mosquito.
169 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on the Kalk Nord railway yards at Cologne. Good results were observed. 1 Lancaster lost.
341 RAF Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups despatched to Freiburg. 1 Lancaster lost. Freiburg was not an industrial town and had not been bombed before by the RAF It was attacked on this night because it was a minor railway centre and because many German troops were believed to be present in the town; American and French units were advancing in the Vosges, only 35 miles to the west. The marking of the medium-sized town was based on Oboe directed from caravans situated in France. Flak defences were light and 1,900 tons of bombs were dropped on Freiburg in 25 minutes. Photographs showed that the railway targets were not hit but that the main town area was severely damaged.
290 RAF aircraft - 173 Halifaxes, 102 Lancasters, 15 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups to Neuss. 1 Mosquito lost. The central and eastern districts of Neuss were heavily bombed and many fires were started.
67 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 7 each to Hallendorf and Ludwigshafen and 5 to Nuremberg, 35 RCM sorties, 61 Mosquito patrols, 18 Halifaxes and 12 Lancasters minelaying off Danish and Norwegian coasts. No aircraft lost.
(US Eighth Air Force): Mission 727: 530 bombers and 770 fighters are dispatched to make PFF attacks on marshalling yards in Germany and fighter-bomber strikes on 4 oil centers in N and C Germany; they claim 102-4-12 aircraft; 15 fighters are lost: 1. 148 of 190 B-17s hit the Bingen marshalling yard; 2 others hit targets of opportunity; 46 bombers are damaged; 2 airmen are WIA. Escorting are 91 of 95 P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA). 2. 181 of 186 B-17s hit the Offenburg marshalling yard; 1 hits Freiburg; 14 B-17s are damaged; 1 airman is WIA. Escorting are 105 of 107 P-51s; 2 P-51s are lost (pilot MIA) and 1 damaged beyond repair. 3. 144 of 154 B-24s hit the Offenburg marshalling yard; 7 others hit targets of opportunity; 9 B-24s are damaged. Escorting are 45 of 48 P-51s without loss. 4. 460 P-47s and P-51s fly fighter-bomber missions against oil targets in N and C Germany; about 750 Luftwaffe fighters, the largest sighting to date, attack in the Magdeburg-Munster-Hannover areas when the Germans mistake the fighters for a heavy bomber formation; the AAF claims 98-4-11 aircraft in the air and 4-0-1 on the ground; 2 P-47s and 10 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA).
WESTERN FRONT: The German prison ship 'Rigel' is sunk by British carrier planes off the coast of Norway. Of the 2248 Soviet prisoners of war on board, 415 survive.
(US Ninth Air Force): Weather forbids bomber missions; fighters patrol over W Germany, dive-bomb a bridge at Rurdorf, and support the US 104th, 8th, and 1st Infantry Divisions near Hurtgen and in the Weisweiler-Franz area, and the XIX Corps (mainly the 2d Armored Division) at Merzenhausen.
EASTERN FRONT: In Hungary, the Red Army breaks through the German-Hungarian defensive lines and captures Mohacs.
Nov 28th 1944
BALTIC SEA: German submarine U-80 is sunk about 14 nautical miles south of Pillau, East Prussia, Germany, in position 54.25N, 19.50E, in a diving accident; all 50 crewmen are lost.
BELGIUM: The first Allied convoy reaches the newly opened port of Antwerp after the channel is cleared of mines, and after capture of the island of Walcheren at the mouth; Canadians first attacked the causeway on 31 October. Despite German rocket (V weapons) attacks, the opening of this port will alter the supply problems that have plagued the western Allies.
FRANCE: In U.S. Third Army's XII Corps area, the 328th Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division, mops up west of Canal des Houilleres de Ia Sarre; the 101st Infantry Regiment is sent to Burbach to support the 4th Armored Division east of the Saar River in a drive on Sarre-Union scheduled for 1 December. 26th Infantry Division is to extend northward to take over most of zone held by 35th Div. The 4th Armored Division, in preparation for the Sarre-Union attack, is laboriously clearing the villages east of the Drulingen-Sarre-Union highway, Combat Command B taking Berg.
In the U.S. Seventh Army's VI Corps area, the French 2d Armored Division starts south from Strasbourg in two columns, reaching the Erstein area, where the Germans are resisting strongly. Combat Command A, 14th Armored Division, also meets firm resistance in the vicinity of Erstein as well as at Barr.
Elements of the 36th Infantry Division find Liepvre, on the Ste Marie-Sélestat road, and Koenigsbourg Chateau, southeast of Liepvre, undefended.
In the French First Army area, the II and I Corps converge at Burnhaupt at 1430 hours and pocket the German forces in Alsace. The junction is made by Combat Command 4 of the 5th Armored Division, I Corps, and Combat Command 6, under command of the 2d Moroccan Division of II Corps. The Germans soon attempt to break out of the encirclement. In the Alps Sector, the U.S. 100th Battalion of Regimental Combat Team 442 relieves the Canadian-U.S. 1st Special Service Force on the Franco-Italian frontier.
GERMANY: In the U.S. Ninth Army area, XIX Corps virtually finishes clearing its zone to the Roer River. Combat Command A, 2d Armored Division, takes Barmen and reaches the river near there. In the 29th Infantry Division zone,
Koslar is found free of Germans but the two strongpoints in the Juelich area must still be cleared. The 30th Infantry Division commits a battalion of the 120th Infantry Regiment in the battle for Altkirch, which is cleared, but the Germans retain a small triangle between the Inde and Roer Rivers. The offensive halts temporarily.
In the U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, the 104th Infantry Division's 413th Infantry Regiment attacks at 0430 hours and advances 2000 yards against heavy resistance. It enters the towns of Imden and Lamersdorf and captures an intact bridge over the Inde River. Frenzerburg Castle has been abandoned by the Germans.
In the 1st Infantry Division area there is little forward movement. German tank supported counterattacks launched between 0200 and 0300 hours are repulsed at Langerwehe and Jungersdorf. The 4th Infantry Division inserts the 12th Infantry Regiment between the 8th and 22d Infantry Regiments in the Huertgen Forest and the 12th Infantry takes Hill 90.
Combat Command A, 5th Armored Division and the 121st Infantry Regiment, 8th Division seize the village of Hurtgen in heavy fighting. A battalion of the 13th Infantry Regiments cuts the Kleinhau-Brandenburg Road on the far edge of the Grosshau-Kleinhau clearing, and stops a German counter-attack from Kleinhau.
In U.S. Third Army's XX Corps area, the 95th Infantry Division gains positions roughly abreast the 90th Infantry Division to the north; the 377th Infantry Regiment pushes into Germany; the 378th is slowed by opposition from woods east of Falck but makes some progress. In XII Corps area, 317th Infantry Regiment of 80th Infantry Division fights hard for Farebersviller, elements entering and clearing part of the town. About 2000 hours, the Germans with tanks attempt unsuccessfully to drive the Americans from Farebersviller.
The USAAF Ninth Air Force's 9th Bombardment Division hits the defended villages of Birgel and Merken, a rail bridge at Sinzig, and a Billiger Forest ammunition dump. Fighters fly escort, night intruder missions, and armed reconnaissance in the Kall-Trier area, and support the U.S. 1st, 8th, and 104th Infantry Divisions as they take Langerwehe, Jungersdorf, Hurtgen, and the bridge at Inden.
During the night of 28/29 November, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 316 aircraft, 270 Halifaxes, 32 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos, to bomb Essen; 308 aircraft bomb the city without loss. Bomber Command documents claim further damage to industrial areas, including the Krupps works.
An interesting little item in the local fire brigade report congratulates the team working in the burning headquarters of the local Gestapo for saving valuable documents. In a second raid, 153 Lancasters are sent to bomb Neuss; 148 attack the city without loss. Mosquitos are dispatched to attack several targets: 72 bomb Nurnburg with the loss of one, seven bomb the Hermann Goering steel plant at Hallendorf and one each bomb Duisburg, Hannover and Osnabruck.
ITALY: In the U.S. Fifth Army area, the British XIII Corps takes Casola Valscnio and Mt. Taverna without opposition.
In the British Eighth Army's V Corps area, the Indian 10th Division suspends operations against Casa Bettini bridge because of weather conditions.
The Canadian I Corps is concentrating in forward positions in order to attack along the Adriatic coast.
USAAF Twelfth Air Force B-25s hit railroad bridges at Magenta, Torre Beretti, and Casale Monferrato, and an abandoned ship in La Spezia harbor.
Fighters and fighter-bombers support ground forces in the battle area in the Apennines Mountains south of Bologna, hit communications targets north of the battle zone, and cut railroad lines in 40+ places in the Brenner Pass and north central Po River areas.
During the night of 28/29 November, USAAF Twelfth Air Force A-20s fly armed reconnaissance over the Po Valley, dropping incendiaries at several points including bridges at Piacenza and Castel Maggiore and the airfields at Ghedi and Villafranca di Verona.
POLAND: The last gassings take place at Auschwitz concentration camp in the suburbs of the city of Oswiecim. More than 8,000 have been gassed since 1 November.
Nov 29th 1944
ALBANIA: The Germans evacuate Scutari ahead of the advancing Russian and partisan forces.
FRANCE: In the U.S. Third Army's XX Corps area around Metz, Fort St Privat falls to the 5th Infantry Division. In the XII Corps area, the Germans recovers all of Farebersviller from 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division, although tanks and tank destroyers have moved forward to assist infantrymen. A task force of Combat Command A, 4th Armored Division, takes Durstel.
In the U.S. Seventh Army's XV Corps area, the 114th Infantry Regiment of the 44th Infantry Division takes Tidfenbach. The 45th Infantry Division improves its positions along the north bank of the Moder River in the Rothbach-Mertzwille r region. In a limited objective attack, the 79th Infantry Division's 314th Infantry Regiment clears Niederschaeffolshei m, near Haguenau. In the VI Corps area, Erstein falls to the French 2d Armored Division. The 411th Infantry Regiment, 103d Infantry Division, seizes Barr and Andlau. Combat Command A, 14th Armored Division, pushes south through Barr along the eastern edge of the Vosges Mountains. The 36th Infantry Division mops up near Liepvre and to the finds Le Bonhomme free of the Germans.
GERMANY: In the U.S. Ninth Army area, XIII Corps begins a drive toward the Roer River before dawn, omitting artillery preparation. The 84th Infantry Division, on the left flank of the corps, makes the main effort toward Lindern and the high ground northeast of Beeck with the 335th Infantry Regiment: about 100 men of the 3d Battalion reach Lindern at daybreak and hold there until reinforcements, including tanks, arrive much later in the day; German efforts to regain the village are repulsed; the 2d Battalion begins an assault on the heights northeast of Beeck against strong opposition. The 333d Infantry Regiment provides fire support for the 335th; in conjunction with the 113th Cavalry Group (Mechanized) conducts demonstration against Beeck. The 102d Infantry Division makes a secondary effort on the southern flank of the corps, the 405th Infantry Regiment advancing along the Lindern-Linnich highway to the right of the 84th Infantry Division and elements to the right gaining limited their objective in preparation for the next assault.
In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, the 104th Division repulses German counterattacks during the night in the towns of Lamersdorf and Imden, but the Germans recaptured the bridge site over the Inde. In the 1st Infantry Division area, a battalion of the 16th Infantry Regiment cuts the highway east of Langerwehe, while two companies of the 26th Infantry advances into Merode., where they are isolated and almost destroyed during counterattack. A squadron of the 4th Cavalry Group (Mechanized) screens the gap developing between the 26th and 8th Infantry Regiments. The 4th Infantry Division's 8th Infantry Regiment advances 1000 yards (914 meters) along the Schevenhuette- Dueren road and the 22d seizes Grosshau and cuts the Grosshau-Gey road. In the V Corps area, Combat Command R of the 5th Armored Division and elements of the 121st Infantry seize Kleinhau, clears the village and reports Hill 401 captured. East of Hurtgen, the Germans are driven back almost 1000 yards.
In the U.S. Third Army's XX Corps area, the 90th and 95th Infantry Divisions launch a co-ordinated attack to reach the Sarre River. The 90th Infantry Division, with little difficulty, gets a patrol to the river. The 95th is strongly opposed on the Saar heights in front of Saarlautern and undergoes ten counterattacks, but gains the general line Kerprich-Hemmersdor f-St Barbara-Merten.
The USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 729: 1,077 bombers and 946 fighters are dispatched to make PFF attacks on railroad viaducts and marshalling yards (M/Ys) and oil refineries; one bomber is lost: 404 hit the oil refinery at Misburg; 281 bomb the M/Y at Hamm; 151 attack the Schildesche railroad viaduct at Bielefeld; 144 bomb the railroad viaduct at Altenbeken; 32 bomb the M/Y at Osnabruck; and seven bomb targets of opportunity.
Three hundred one USAAF Ninth Air Force B-26s and A-20s hit defended areas, barracks, and military depots at Wittlich, Mariaweiler, Pier, Eisdorf, Limburg, Rastatt, and Landau; fighters escort the 9th Bombardment Division and Eighth Air Force, fly armed reconnaissance over western Germany, and support the 104th Infantry Division in a holding action against counterattacks at Inden and Lammersdorf, the 8th Infantry Division at Hurtgen, and the 7th Armored Division in the XIII Corps drive toward the Roer River.
During the day, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 294 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos to bomb Dortmund; 291 bomb the target with the loss of six Lancasters. Bad weather causes the marking and resultant bombing to be scattered but fresh damage is caused in Dortmund. Thirty Mosquitos attempt to bomb a tar and benzol plant in the Meiderich district of Duisburg, using the Oboe-leader method for the first time on a German target, but two of the three formations of Mosquitos failed to link up with their Oboe leaders and 29 bomb on timed runs from the docks south of Duisburg. Most of the bombs are believed to have fallen beyond the target.
During the night of 29/30 November, RAF Bomber Command sends 71 Mosquitos to hit two targets; 66 bomb Hannover and one each bomb Dusseldorf, Hagen and Munster.
HUNGARY: Forces of the Third Ukrainian Front have joined in an offensive to the left of the Second Ukrainian troops and, in conjunction with Yugoslav partisans, have crossed the Danube River near the Yugoslav-Hungarian frontier south of Budapest and driven toward Lake Balaton in the region north of the Drava River. Mohacs and Pecs are free of the Germans.
ITALY: In the U.S. Fifth Army area, the British XIII Corps takes Fontanelice without a fight. The Germans recapture Mt. Castellaro from the 1st Division.
During the day weather grounds the USAAF Twelfth Air Force's medium bombers however, fighters and fighter-bombers can operate, and attack enemy communications on the Brenner line and in the north central Po Valley, cutting rail lines in numerous places and destroying a large number of vehicles and railroad cars.
SWEDEN: Focke-Wulf Fw 200A-0 Condor, msn 2994, registered D-ARHW and named "Friesland" by the German airline Lufthansa, is shot down by a German patrol boat near Malmö. All six passengers and four crew are killed.
UNITED STATES: The German submarine U-1230 lands two German Abwehr agents, William C. Colepaugh and Erich Gimpel, at Hancock Point, Frenchman's Bay, Maine. [Hancock Point is about 5 miles north of Bar Harbor.] The men walk cross-country through snow to a nearby road where they are seen by a high school student who alerts his father, the local deputy sheriff. The FBI, who had been alerted by Enigma decrypts that U-1230 was on a "special mission," is notified and they begin a manhunt. The two spies evade the authorities and make it to New York City with US$60,000 in cash (US$665,800 in year 2005 dollars) and small diamonds. Colepaugh, who was born and raised in New England, begins to have second thoughts and reveals his mission to a childhood friend. Finally, he turns himself into the FBI on 26 December and aids the authorities in tracking down Gimpel who is also in New York City; Gimpel is finally apprehended on 30 December. Both men are tired and sentenced to death but their sentences are commuted by President Harry S. Truman after the war.
The Office of War Information (OWI) reveals that the Germans had sunk over 22 million tons of Allied and neutral merchant shipping between September 1939 and 1 January 1944. Despite this staggering loss, the U.S. has replaced this tonnage, launching 4,308 ships with a deadweight tonnage of over 44 million during the same period. By 1944, the Allies had achieved naval superiority in the Battle of the Atlantic, destroying over 500 U-boats.
Nov 30th 1944
AUSTRIA: During the night of 30 November/1 December, USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-17s and B-24s bomb five targets:18 hit the Linz/Hermann Goering benzine refinery at Linz with the loss of one aircraft, five bomb the main marshalling yard (M/Y) at Innsbruck and one each bomb the city of Gmunden and the M/Ys at Klagenfurt and Villach.
FRANCE: In the U.S. Third Army's XII Corps area, positions are generally static except on the right, where the 4th Armored Division gets into position for an assault on Sarre-Union with the capture of heights overlooking Mackwiller. (Jack McKillop)
In U.S. Seventh Army's VI Corps area, the French 2d Armored Division and Combat Command A, 14th Armored Division, continue south on the east flank of the corps; Combat Command A clears St Pierre. The 103d Infantry Division, now concentrated about Epfig, south of St Pierre, follows Combat Command A southward toward Sélestat. Elements of the 36th Infantry Division get into position for an attack on Chatenois, west of Sélestat.
GERMANY: Lilo Gloeden, her husband and mother are beheaded at two minute intervals by guillotine in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin. Gloeden was a 41-year-old housewife who helped shelter those persecuted by the Nazis for weeks at a time in their flat (apartment). Among those sheltered was Dr. Carl Goerdeler, resistance leader and Lord Mayor of Leipzig. The three were arrested by the Gestapo and tortured during interrogation before being executed.
In U.S. Ninth Army's XIII Corps area, the 102d Infantry Division takes over the burden of attack: while the 405th Infantry Regiment continues to fight along the Lindern- Linnich highway, the 406th drives to the edge of Linnich and the 407th clears the Germans from Welz, within a mile of the Roer River. The 335th Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, overcomes resistance within Beeck, but the Germans retains the heights to the northeast.
In U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, the 104th Infantry Division finishes clearing Lammersdorf but very heavy fighting occurs in the town of Inden and several German tanks are destroyed. 1st Infantry Division units experience heavy fighting in their attempt to relieve two companies of the 26th Infantry Regiemnt cut off in Merode. Langerwehe and Jungersdorf are held against heavy counterattacks. 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, advances along the Schevenhuette- Dueren continues costly efforts to get through the Huertgen Forest; the 12th Infantry Regiment, advancing more than 1,000 yards, reaches the edge of woods west of Gey but is too weak to attack the village; the 22d reinforced by 46th Armored Infantry Battalion, 5th Armored Division, attempts to secure Grosshau clearing and the forest between Grosshau and Gey in order to swing northeast toward Dueren; some elements reach the edge of the woods overlooking Gey, but the rest of force suffers heavily while trying to come abreast. The 8th Infantry Division's 121st Infantry Regiment along with Combat Command A, 5th Armored Division advanced east through the woods south of Hurtgen.
In U.S. Third Army's XX Corps area, the 10th Armored Division attacks toward the Sarre River on the northern flank of the corps, Combat Command B on the right reaching the river opposite Merzig, where bridges are down. The 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, occupies Fremersdorf, on the west bank of the Sarre, without opposition; the 1st Battalion, 357th Infantry Regiment, crosses the Nied River in assault boats near Niedakdorf and pushes on to Bueren, which the Germans are defending. After consolidating positions, the 95th Infantry Division continues their attack toward the Sarre, gaining the heights commanding Saarlautern: the 377th Infantry Regiment mops up Ste Barbara on the left and advances the right wing to Felsberg; the 378th takes a hill south of Felsberg. Task Force Bell, consisting of the 5th Infantry Division’s 10th Infantry Regiment (-), 5th Reconnaissance Troop, and supporting units, is formed to cover the exposed right flank of the 95th Infantry Division and attached to that division.
The USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 731: 1,281 bombers and 972 fighters are dispatched to hit synthetic oil plants in southeastern Germany and marshalling yards (M/Ys); intense accurate flak downs 29 bombers and three fighters are lost: 181 bomb the M/Y at Neuenkirchen with the loss of one aircraft and 103 bomb the M/Y at Homburg. Synthetic oil refineries hit are Zeitz by 287 aircraft with the loss of nine; I.G. Farben refinery at Merseberg by 250 aircraft with the loss of 14; Lutzkendorf by 148 with the loss of two; Lutzkendorf by 148 with the loss of two; and the Braunkoble refinery at Bohlen by 67 with the loss of one. One hundred eighty nine other aircraft hit targets of opportunity.
Two hundred eighty eight USAAF Ninth Air Force B-26s and A-20s attack the defended villages of Vettweiss, Stockheim, Erp, and Pirmasens, an armored vehicle repair center at Gemund, a rail tunnel, a military camp at Malsbenden, and a marshalling yard at Zweibrucken; fighters escort the 9th Bombardment Division, give area support to Eighth Air Force heavy bombers at Leipzig, fly sweeps, dive bombing missions, and reconnaissance over western Germany, and support elements of the U.S. VII Corps in the Hurtgen area (especially the 104th Infantry Division at Lammersdorf and Inden).
During the night of 30 November/1 December, four USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-24s bomb the West marshalling yard at Munich.
During the day, RAF Bomber Command aircraft attack three targets: 60 Lancasters bomb the Wilheim steel plant at Bottrop; 60 Lancasters attack the Osterfeld benzol plant at Bottrop with the loss of two Lancasters; 36 Mosquitos hit the Meiderich benzol plant at Duisburg; and one Mosquito bombs Munster.
During the night of 30 November/1 December, RAF Bomber Command sends 576 aircraft, 425 Halifaxes, 126 Lancasters and 25 Mosquitos, to bomb Duisburg; 553 bomb the city with the loss of three Halifaxes. The target area is completely cloud-covered and the attack is not concentrated but much fresh damage is still caused. Mosquitos bomb three targets: 53 hit Hamburg with the loss of three aircraft, six hit the Hermann Goering steel factory at Hallendorf and one bomb the city of Hallendorf.
HUNGARY: Troops of the Soviet Second Ukrainian Front take Eger, northeast of Budapest, and are closing in on Miskoic.
ITALY: In the U.S. Fifth Army's British XIII Corps area, the Germans take Casa Nuovo from the 1st Division.
In the British Eighth Army's V Corps area, the Indian 10th Division renews their attack toward Casa Bettini bridge and takes Albereto, breaching the switch-line positions.
USAAF Twelfth Air Force B-25s bomb bridges at Romano di Lombardia and Crema; fighters and fighter-bombers attack communications in the Po Valley, cutting rail lines and destroying a large number of railroad cars and motor transport; targets also include bridges, guns, and buildings.
NETHERLANDS: In British Second Army area, 8 and 12 Corps have reduced German bridgehead west of the Maas River to a small pocket at Blerick, across from Venlo.
UNITED KINGDOM: The British battleship Vanguard is launched. The ship will not be commissioned until 1946.
Civilian air raid casualties this month are 716 dead and 1,511 wounded.
WESTERN EUROPE: The USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 732: seven B-17s and six B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany during the night.
1 December 1944
MEDITERRANEAN: Canadian forces join the 8th British Army in a battle for the Lombardy Plain in Italy.
The German garrison on the island of Crete abandons all areas except large towns.
(US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s attack 4 railroad bridges in the W Po Valley, damaging the bridges at Voghera and Torre Beretti; the XXII Tactical Air Command hits motor transport and train cars at several points in N Italy and hits rail lines over a widespread area N of the Apennines Mountains, including the Brenner Pass where lines are cut at 3 points; the 524th Fighter Squadron, 27th Fighter Group, moves from Tarquinia to Pontedera with P-47s.
EASTERN FRONT: In Hungary, south of Budapest, Soviet forces are successfully held by German forces. The Soviet 57th Army, however, achieves some gains around Pecs. To the northeast of Budapest, the 4th Ukrainian Front launches attacks on positions held by 1st Panzer Army, along the Ondava River.
WESTERN FRONT: Elements of the US 9th Army advance northeast of Aachen. Linnich is captured by the US 102nd Division. To the right, attacks by US 3rd and 7th Armies report slow progress.
U.S. freighter 'Arizpa' is damaged by mine in the Schelde River, 51°23'N, 03°18'W, but proceeds to Antwerp, her destination, under her own power. There are no casualties among her 41-man merchant complement or the 28-man Armed Guard.
(US Eighth Air Force): Mission 733: 7 B-17s and 7 B-24s drop leaflet in the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night.
In France, HQ 354th Fighter Group and the 355th Fighter Squadron move from Orconte to Meurthe-et-Moselle and Rosieres-en-Haye respectively with P-47s (the 355th is operating from St Dizier); the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance), moves from St Dizier to Giraumont with F-6s; the 72d Liaison Squadron, Ninth AF, moves from Epinal to Buhl with L-5s.
GERMANY: 71 RAF Mosquitos to Karlsruhe, 6 to Hallendorf and 4 to Duisburg, 24 RCM sorties, 22 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.
(US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 134 B-26s and A-20s strike defended areas at Fraulautern, Ensdorf, and Saarlautern; fighters fly sweeps, armed reconnaissance, and bombing missions over W Germany and support US VII Corps elements at Inden and the Hurtgen Forest and the 8th Infantry Division of the V Corps at Tiefenbach Creek and Brandenberger Forest.
Organizational changes take place within III./EJG 2. The 9 Staffel of EJG 2 with its mix of Fw 58, Siebel Si 204 and Bf 110 piston-engined aircraft is moved to Landsberg. The other two Staffeln, fully equipped with Me 262 jets, also repositions with 11 Staffel of EJG 2 moving to Unterschlauersbach near Nuremberg and 10 Staffel of EJG 2 along with the Gruppenstab, remain at Lechfeld along with the new two seat training version of the fighter.
2 December 1944
MEDITERRANEAN: In Italy, Canadian forces begin an attack to capture Ravenna on the Adriatic sea.
(US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, medium bombers hit several bridges in N and NE Italy, scoring effective hits on 2 bridges across the Piave and Brenta Rivers and 4 on the Brenner line; fighters and fighter- bombers attack communications in the Po Valley and support US Fifth Army forces in the battle area S of Bologna; on the night of 1/2 Dec, A-20s hit Ghedi Airfield and targets of opportunity in the NC Po Valley and trains on the Brenner line; HQ 350th Fighter Group and the 347th Fighter Squadron move from Tarquinia to Pisa with P-47s.
EASTERN FRONT: Charles de Gaulle meets with Josef Stalin in Moscow, over nine days. A military alliance is signed, against Germany now, and after the war.
In Hungary, with Budapest and the Hungarian oil fields at Nagykanitza under threat, the 2nd Panzer Army is deployed to the south of Lake Balaton, while the 6th Army is deployed to the north between the lake and Hatvan and the German 8th Army farther north near Miskolc. To the northeast of Budapest, the 2nd Ukrainian Front attacks German defensive positions around Miskolc.
WESTERN FRONT: Elements of the US 3rd Army reach Saarlautern. To the south, the US 7th Army advances to the Rhine river after the Germans have withdrawn across it at Kehl. The three available bridges are all demolished in the retreat.
UNITED STATES: The Bell XP-77 project is officially cancelled. Only two prototypes were built, one of which was destroyed in a crash on 2 October 1944.
GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 734: 455 bombers and 604 fighters make GH attacks on marshalling yards and fighter bomber attacks; they claim 34-3-7 Luftwaffe aircraft; 11 bombers and 4 fighters are lost: 1. 135 of 143 B-24s hit the Bingen marshalling yard; 1 others hit a target of opportunity; they claim 2-1-1 aircraft; 11 B-24s are lost and 4 damaged; 2 airmen are WIA and 102 MIA. Escorting are 97 of 104 P-51s; they claim 4-1-2 aircraft without loss. 2. 152 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Lutzel marshalling yard at Koblenz (9) and the Oberlahnstein marshalling yard (125); 6 others hit targets of opportunity; no losses. Escorting are 158 of 169 P-51s; they claim 6-0-0 aircraft without loss. 3. 160 B-17s are dispatched to Koblenz but abort the mission due to heavy clouds. Escorting are 153 of 156 P-51s; they claim 7-0-0 aircraft without loss. 4. 133 P-47s and P-51s fly fighter sweeps over the Cologne, Kassel, Meiningen, Mannheim and Frankfurt area; they claim 15-1-4 aircraft; 3 P-47s and 1 P-51 are lost (pilots MIA) and 2 P-51s are damaged beyond repair. 5. 28 of 30 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 735: 7 B-17s and 6 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night.
(US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 210 A-20s, A-26s, and B-26s bomb areas of Saarlautern, Ensdorf, and Fraulautern; fighters escort the 9th Bombardment Division, fly armed reconnaissance over W Germany (targets hit include a marshalling yard and bridges), and support the US 1st Infantry Division at Luchem, 104th Infantry Division at Inden, and 8th Infantry Division in the Brandenberger Forest-Tiefenbach Creek area.
(US Fifteenth Air Force):Around 500 B-17s and B-24s attack Blechhammer N and S and Odertal, Germany oil refineries; the Floridsdorf oil refinery at Vienna and the marshalling yard at Strasshof, Austria; Celldomolk, Hungary marshalling yard; and Medvedov, Czechoslovakia highway bridge, plus scattered targets of opportunity in C and E Europe; fighters fly escort and carry out reconnaissance missions.
93 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the Hansa benzol plant at Dortmund through thick cloud; the bombing was believed to be accurate. No aircraft lost.
Hagen: 504 RAF aircraft - 394 Halifaxes, 87 Lancasters, 23 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster crashed in France. The town of Hagen was not too heavily bombed before this raid. The effect upon industrial production was serious. Many firms are recorded as having lost up to 3 months' production. In addition, it was found by the Allies after the war that a factory making U-boat accumulator batteries - of which large numbers were needed by the new types of U-boats - was completely destroyed in this raid.
66 RAF Mosquitos to Giessen, 44 RCM sorties, 62 Mosquito patrols, 10 Stirlings on Resistance operations. 1 Stirling on Resistance work and 1 Intruder Mosquito lost.
Lt. Joachim Weber of III./JG 7 claimed three RAF Mosquitoes in his Me 262, causing Reichsmarschall Göring to comment, “A fantastic feat with a ship whose engines stop above 6000 meters and fall apart over 750 kph!”
3 December 1944
WESTERN FRONT: Elements of US 13th Corps (part of US 9th Army) reach the Roer River. Elements of the US 20th Corps (part of US 3rd Army) cross the Saar River near Patchen, in assault boats. They secure the main bridge of the Saar.
The 353d Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, moves from Orconte to Rosieres-en-Haye, France with P-47s.
MEDITERRANEAN: British, Canadian and Polish forces of British 8th Army begin new attacks on a broad, 3 corps frontage.
In Athens, police open fire on demonstrators supporting the communist EAM party and its military wing the ELAS. The incident results in street fighting between communist supporters and anti-communist factions.
(US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, weather hampers operations; many missions are aborted; medium bombers score effective hits only on a bridge E of Mantua; the 57th and 350th fighter Groups fly 60 sorties against targets in the US Fifth Army battle area S of Bologna and against communications in N Italy; during the night of 2/3 Dec, A-20s bomb lights throughout the Po Valley; the 345th Fighter Squadron, 350th Fighter Group moves from Tarquinia to Pisa with P-47s; the 522d and 523d Fighter Squadrons, 27th Fighter Group, moves from Tarquinia to Pontedera, Italy with P-47s.
EASTERN FRONT: Soviet troops of 2nd Ukrainian Front capture Miskolc. 3rd Ukrainian Front launches attack north of Budapest
ENGLAND: The Home Guard, a volunteer defense force created during the German invasion panic of 1940, is officially "stood down" from service.
GERMANY: (US Ninth Air Force): Weather cancels bomber operations. In Germany, fighters fly defensive patrols and armed reconnaissance, hitting rails and bridges and dive-bomb targets in W Germany including the marshalling yard at Grevenbroich; the 104th Infantry Division is supported as it extends the Inde River, Germany bridgehead beyond Lucherberg, Germany, the US 1st Infantry Division as it seizes Luchem, the US 8th Infantry Division in the Brandenberger Forest-Tiefenbach Creek area, and units of the US XII Corps at Sarre-Union, France as it checks a counterattack.
(US Fifteenth Air Force): In Austria, 85 B-24s and B-17s bomb the Vienna SE freight depot, Linz industrial area, marshalling yards at Innsbruck, Villach, and Klagenfurt, and various targets of opportunity; P-38s and P-51s escort the bombers and fly reconnaissance and reconnaissance escort. 14 B-17s and B-24s drop supplies in Yugoslavia.
183 RAF Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups to bomb the small town of Heimbach in the Eifel region. probably in support of an American ground attack in this area. The Master Bomber and the Pathfinders could not identify the target and the Lancasters were ordered to abandon the raid. No aircraft lost.
11 RAF Oboe Mosquitos bombed a steelworks at Hallendorf without loss.
Oblt. Ernst Schüfele of 14./JG 4, flying a Bf 109G-14, is shot down by anti-aircraft fire near Grosshau after strafing an Allied army column.
4 December 1944
MEDITERRANEAN: In Greece, the National People's Liberation Army of the National Liberation Front begins armed fighting against British troops and Greek government forces.
In Italy, Canadian forces capture Ravenna.
(US Fifteenth Air Force):26 P-38s bomb a railroad bridge at Zenica, Yugoslavia. 14 B-17s and B-24s drop supplies in N Italy; P-38s and P-51s fly reconnaissance and escort missions. Bad weather prevents heavy bomber operations.
(US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s hit defenses in the Bagnaeavallo and Faenza areas and an ammunition dump at Tortona; XXII Tactical Air Command aircraft hit targets in the US Fifth Army battle area S of Bologna in the Apennines Mountains and communications to the N of the battle zone. During the night of 3/4 Dec, A-20s again bomb targets of opportunity in the Po River Valley; the 7th Troop Carrier Squadron, 62d Troop Carrier Group, moves from Tarquinia to Brindisi with C-47s.
WESTERN FRONT: Elements of British 2nd Army clear the last pockets of German resistance west of the Maas River. To the right, the US 9th Army ceases the offensive toward the Roer River. The US 3rd Army forces of US 20th Corps concentrates forces for the capture of Saarlautern, where reconnaissance indicates there is an intact bridge over the Saar River.
27 RAF Lancasters and 3 Mosquitos of No 8 Group carried out the first of several raids on the large reservoir dam at Urft in the Eifel. The destruction of which was required so that the Germans could not release water to flood areas through which American troops wished to advance. The series of raids did blast 13ft off the top of the dam but no large breach was ever made and the Germans were able to release large quantities of water whenever they wished to interfere with American advances being attempted further downstream. No aircraft were lost from this raid.
GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 736: 1,191 bombers and 977 fighters are dispatched to make PFF attacks on rail targets in Germany; 3 bombers and 3 fighters are lost: 1. 419 B-17s are dispatched to hit marshalling yards at Kassel (212) and Soest (188); 2 others hit targets of opportunities; 4 B-17s are damaged beyond repair and 3 damaged. Escorting are 375 P-47s and P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA). 2. 315 B-24s are sent to hit the Bebra marshalling yard (199); targets of opportunity are marshalling yards at Koblenz (78) and Giessen (21) and other (1); 1 B-24 is lost and 15 damaged; 10 airmen are MIA. Escorting are 290 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 6-0-11 aircraft on the ground. 3. 457 B-17s are sent to hit marshalling yards at Mainz (221) and Giessen (62); targets of opportunity are the Friedburg marshalling yard (119), Fulda (24), barges on the Rhine River (11) and other (6); 2 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 106 damaged; 1 airman is WIA and 18 MIA. Escorting are 238 of 244 P-51s; 2 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). 4. 36 of 37 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 737: 10 of 11 B-17s and B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night.
(US Ninth Air Force): Weather prevents bomber operations. In Germany, fighters fly armed reconnaissance and support the US 1st, 8th, and 104th Infantry Divisions at Luchem, Bergstein, and E of Inde River; and the XII and XX Corps in drive toward the Saar River and around Saarlautern.
160 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on Oberhausen but no results could be seen because of cloud. 1 Lancaster lost.
Karlsruhe: 535 RAF aircraft - 369 Lancasters, 154 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups. 1 Lancaster and 1 Mosquito lost. The marking and bombing were accurate and severe damage was caused, particularly in the southern and western districts of the city. Among individual buildings destroyed were the important Durlacher machine-tool factory, the main Protestant church and the concert hall.
Heilbronn: 282 RAF Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 12 Lancasters lost. This was a crushing blow on Heilbronn which stood on a main north-south railway line but was otherwise of little importance. It was the first and only major raid by Bomber Command on this target. 1,254 tons of bombs fell in a few minutes and the post-war British Bombing Survey Unit estimated that 351 acres, 82 per cent of the town's built-up area, were destroyed, mainly by fire. Much investigation by various people resulted in the reliable estimate that just over 7,000 people died. Most of these victims would have died in fires so intense that there was probably a genuine firestorm.
54 RAF Mosquitos to Hagen and 12 to Bielefe1d and Hamm (the figure was not subdivided), 47 RCM sorties, 60 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.