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This day in the war in Europe 65 years ago

WW2 General Discuss This day in the war in Europe 65 years ago in the World War II - General forums; EASTERN FRONT : The Soviet offensive in Pomerania continues to make gains especially toward the west near Stettin. Units of ...

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    4 March 1945

    EASTERN FRONT: The Soviet offensive in Pomerania continues to make gains especially toward the west near Stettin. Units of the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front (Zhukov) establish a new bridgehead across the Oder south of Frankfurt. German Pomeranian armies are split. There is renewed fighting in East Prussia.



    WESTERN FRONT: Geldern is captured by the British 30th Corps, part of Canadian 1st Army. British and Canadian troops liberate Vynen and Apeldoorn. US 1st and 9th Armies continue their advance to the Rhine River. US 1st Army advances on the Erft. The US 7th Corps from US 1st Army reaches the Rhine just north of Cologne. US 3rd Army establishes bridgeheads across the River Kyll.

    Finland declares that a state of war with Germany has been in existence since 15 September 1944.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 863: 1,028 bombers and 522 fighters are dispatched to bomb targets in SW Germany; bad weather causes 300+ aborts; 1 B-24 and 1 P-51 are lost: 1. 373 B-17s are sent to hit the jet aircraft plant at Schwabmunchen (69) and military vehicle plant and ordnance depot at Ulm (223); 59 hit the secondary, the marshalling yard at Ulm; targets of opportunity are Reutlingen (12) and other (1); bombing is by Gee-H; 2 B-17s are damaged beyond repair and 9 damaged; 3 airmen are WIA. Escorting are 150 of 156 P-51s; 1 is damaged beyond repair. 2. 274 B-24s are dispatched but weather prevents them hitting the primaries; targets of opportunity are Aschaffenburg (1, Tuttlingen (11), Astadtaach (10), Pforzheim (, the marshalling yard at Stuttgart (11), the railroad at Sonaueschingen (10), Stuttgart (50) and other (36); bombing is by H2X radar with some visual bombing; 1 B-24 is lost and 19 damaged; 8 airmen are KIA. 139 P-47s and P-51s escort without loss. 3. 376 B-17s are dispatched but weather prevents them attacking the primaries; secondary targets hit are the marshalling yards at Ingolstadt (69) and Ulm (75); targets of opportunity are Ausbuch (1) and other (3); H2X radar is used for bombing; 2 B-17s are damaged beyond repair and 7 damaged; 17 airmen are KIA. The escort is 172 of 186 P-51s; 1 is lost (pilot MIA) and 1 damaged beyond repair. 4. 5 B-17s fly a scouting mission. 5. 21 of 22 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 864: 1 B-17 and 11 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany during the night without loss.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, about 180 B-26s, A-20s, and A-26s strike marshalling yards and a rail junction at Recklinghausen, Lenkerbeck, and Herne, communications centers at Bruhl, Sechtem, and Rheinbach, and several other targets including a rail bridge and towns; weather limits fighter operations; a few fighters fly armed reconnaissance E of the Rhine River and others fly cover for the XX Corps.

    128 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack through cloud on Wanne-Eickel. No results were seen. 31 Mosquitos to Berlin, 24 to Essen and 28 in small numbers to 5 ports in Northern Germany, 6 Mosquito patrols, 12 Halifaxes minelaying off Heligoland, 16 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 Stirlings on Resistance operations were lost.

    MEDITTERANEAN: (US Fifteenth Air Force): 630+ B-24s and B-17s, with fighter escort, bomb marshalling yards at Sopron (2 yards) and Szombathely, Hungary; Knittelfeld, Zeltweg, Graz, Sankt Veit an der Glan and Wiener- Neustadt, Austria; Zagreb (2 yards) and Lbubljana, Yugoslavia; and several scattered targets of opportunity; other B-24s, with P-51 escort, drop supplies in Yugoslavia; F-5s, P-38s and P-51s fly reconnaissance and reconnaissance escort operations. The 309th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group, moves from San Severo to Mondolfo, Italy with P-51s.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, good flying weather permits a full-scale effort; medium bombers hit 7 railroad bridges on the Brenner line and in NE Italy; the Salorno railroad fill receives a particularly good concentration of bombs; XXII Tactical Air Command P-47s concentrate on communications targets in the Po Valley, knocking out a span of the Cittadella railway bridge; Brazilian P-47s blast an ammunition dump at Villafranca di Verona; during the night of 3/4 Mar, A-20s bomb the bridge and bridge approaches at Casarsa della Delizia, Ostiglia, and Nervesa della Battaglia, the radar station at Vignola, and lights, motor transport, roads, and other targets of opportunity at over 30 places in the C Po Valley.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    5 March 1945

    EASTERN FRONT: The fortress city of Graudenz on the Vistula surrenders to troops of the 2nd Belorussian Front (Rokossovsky), while Königsberg, Breslau, Küstrin, Frankfurt/Oder and Kolberg are still holding out. A German battalion lands in Breslau to help defend the city. Soviet troops approach Stettin.

    WESTERN FRONT: Units of the US 8th Corps (part of US 1st Army) enter Cologne from the south and the east. The Allied advance continues along the entire line. German troops blow the Rhine bridges as the US 1st and 9th Armies close on the river

    GERMANY: Fifteen- and sixteen-year-old boys from the class of 1949 are called up to serve in the German army.

    (US Eighth Air Force): 3 missions are flown. Mission 865: 429 bombers and 689 fighters are dispatched to hit oil targets in Germany; the primary target for the B-17s is the synthetic oil plant at Ruhland but weather forces them to hit the secondary target; all bombing is with H2X radar; 1 B-17 is lost: 1. 233 of 303 B-17s hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Chemnitz; targets of opportunity are Plauen (34) and Fulda (9); 1 B-17 is lost and 15 damaged; 9 airmen are MIA. Escorting are 369 of 420 P-51s; 3 P-51s are damaged beyond repair and 1 pilot is KIA. 2. 120 of 126 B-24s hit the Harburg oil refinery at Hamburg without loss. The escort is 186 P-47s and P-51s without loss. 3. 27 P-51s attack the marshalling yard at Kreuztal; 1 P-51 is damaged beyond repair. 4. 28 P-51s fly a scouting mission. 5. 14 P-51s escort 4 F-5s on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany. Mission 866: 21 of 24 B-24s bomb the Wiesbaden rail station by PFF markers during the night. Mission 867: 9 of 11 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 565 B-26s, A-20s and A-26s attack 6 marshalling yards, a communications center, an ordnance depot, a city area and targets of opportunity with the aim of obstructing reinforcements and supplies to German forces being pushed back across the Rhine River; fighters escort the bombers, drop leaflets in the Cologne-Bonn area, and fly armed reconnaissance over the Ruhr and Hamm-Duisburg area.

    170 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the Consolidation benzol plant at Gelsenkirchen. No results were seen. 1 Lancaster lost.

    Chemnitz; 760 RAF aircraft - 498 Lancasters, 256 Halifaxes, 6 Mosquitos - to continue Operation Thunderclap. The operation started badly when 9 aircraft of No 6 Group crashed near their bases soon after taking off in icy conditions. No 426 Squadron, at Linton-on-Ouse, lost 3 out of their 14 Halifaxes taking part in the raid in this way, with only 1 man surviving. 1 of the Halifaxes crashed in York, killing some civilians. 22 further aircraft were lost in the main operation - 14 Lancasters and 8 Halifaxes.

    248 RAF Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the synthetic-oil refinery at Böhlen. The target area was covered by cloud but some damage was caused to the refinery. 4 Lancasters lost.

    75 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 15 to Gelsenkirchen and 36 in small numbers to 6 other targets, 52 RCM sorties, 27 Mosquito patrols. 5 aircraft lost - 2 Mosquito bombers from the Berlin raid, 1 Mosquito lost from a small raid to Hallendorf, 2 RCM aircraft (1 Halifax and 1 Stirling, of which the latter was believed to have been shot down over France by an American artillery unit). Total effort for the night: 1,223 sorties, 31 aircraft (2.5 per cent) lost and 10 more crashed in England.

    Walter Borchers, a forty-eight victory night-fighter with NJG 1 whose victories include three four-engined Allied bombers on the Western Front, is killed in action over Leipzig.

    MEDITTERANEAN: (US Fifteenth Air Force): Bad weather limits operations to supply, escort, and reconnaissance missions. HQ 306th Fighter Wing moves from Lesina to Fano, Italy; HQ 325th Fighter Group and the 317th and 319th Fighter Squadrons move from Lesina to Rimini, Italy with P-51s.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, A-20s hit lines of communications in the N Po Valley during the night of 4/5 Mar; results are generally good; bad daytime weather grounds the medium bombers; XXII Tactical Air Command fighter-bombers and fighters operate on a greatly reduced scale, mostly in the C Po Valley, hitting bridges at Casarsa della Delizia, Nervesa della Battaglia, Ostiglia, and Ostellato, and attacking the town of Vignola.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    6 March 1945

    EASTERN FRONT: About 1200 Soviet aircraft bomb Breslau throughout the day. Soviet troops advance towards Danzig. An Hs 293 guided bomb is launched against the Oder bridge at Göritz.

    The German forces in Hungary launch a major counteroffensive in the area just north of Lake Balaton. The 6th SS Panzer Army, which was withdrawn from the Ardennes battle early in January, has been moved here to spearhead the attack. Other units from Army Group South (Wohler) also take part in the offensive. The operation is code named Fruhlingserwachen or 'Spring Awakening'. The German aim is to retake all the territory between Lake Balaton and the Danube. The Soviet 27th Army, defending along the targeted line of advance, is forced to give ground initially. However, 3rd Ukrainian Front (Tolbukhin) responds with the allotment of reserves to slow the advance down. Meanwhile, in the fighting in Poland, forces of 2nd Belorussian Front complete the capture of the fortress town of Grudiaz after a lengthy siege.

    King Michael appoints a new government dominated by the Romanian Communist Party. In the west, this move is viewed as a sign the Stalin and the Soviet Union will not hold to the assurances given at Yalta about doing nothing to hinder the process of democracy in eastern Europe.

    WESTERN FRONT: Units of the Canadian 1st Army are preparing to clear the final German pocket west of the Rhine around Xanten. The US 9th Army has reached the Rhine all along its front. To the south, US 1st Army is fighting in Cologne and driving toward Remagen farther south -- the US 9th Armored Division leads the advance. Farther south, units of US 3rd Army are making a rapid advance toward the Rhine at Koblenz.

    (US Eighth Air Force): Mission 868: 12 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany during the night. 5 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions.

    GERMANY: (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 260+ A-26s, and B-26s hit Recklinghausen, Siegburg, and Opladen marshalling yards, Siegburg storage depot, and the town of Bochum as a target of opportunity; weather grounds the IX and XIX Tactical Air Commands; the XXIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional) flies alerts and covers the US XVI Corps as it completes a drive to the Rhine River in the Rheinburg area.

    119 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack through cloud on the Wintershall oil refinery at Salzbergen. 1 lost.

    48 RAF Mosquitos of No 8 Group attacked Wesel, which was believed to contain many German troops and vehicles. The target had been cloud-covered for several days. Oboe Mosquitos provided the marking. 1 aircraft lost.

    191 RAF Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the port of Sassnitz on the island of Rügen, in the Baltic. Considerable damage was caused to the northern part of the town and 3 ships were sunk in the harbour. 1 Lancaster lost.

    87 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group and 51 Mosquitos of No 8 Group continued the attack on Wesel with two separate raids. No aircraft lost.

    42 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 2 RCM sorties, 5 Mosquito patrols, 15 Lancasters minelaying off Sassnitz.

    Major Adolf von Hernier is appointed Kommodore of KG 200 in place of Obst. Baumbach.

    MEDITTERANEAN: (US Fifteenth Air Force): Bad weather restricts all operations except reconnaissance and a supply mission, with escort, to Yugoslavia. The 302d Fighter Squadron, 332d Fighter Group, is inactivated at Ramitelli Airfield, Italy.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, medium bombers pound communications in the Brenner Pass and hit bridges at Pordenone, Ossenigo, Enego, Ora, Pizzighetone, and San Ambrogio di Valpolicella; fighters and fighter-bombers concentrate on close support of the US Fifth Army S and SW of Bologna; during the night of 5/6 Mar, a few A-20s bomb targets of opportunity in the Po Valley.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    7 March 1945

    WESTERN FRONT: In the Irish Sea, Canadian frigates 'La Hulloise', 'Strathadam', and 'Thetford Mines' sink German submarine 'U-1302'. 'U-1302' had successfully attacked Halifax/UK convoy SC167 in St George's Channel.

    US 1st Army seizes the intact Ludendorff railroad bridge at Remagen, near Bonn, and establishes a bridgehead on the east bank of the Rhine. The leading tanks of US 3rd Corps (part of US 1st Army) reach the Rhine River opposite Remagen and find the Ludendorff Bridge there damaged but still standing. Troops are immediately rushed across and a bridgehead is firmly established during the day. Eisenhower's reaction to the bridge's capture: 'That bridge is worth its weight in gold.' Other elements of the US 1st Army complete the capture of Cologne. Units US 12th Corps from US 3rd Army continue to advance rapidly. The US 3rd Army breaks through the Schnee Eifel Mountains.

    Hitler relieves Field Marshal Rundstedt from his post as Commander in Chief of the German armies in the west because of the American capture of the bridge at Remagen. Field Marshal Kesselring is appointed to replace him.

    (US Ninth Air Force): Weather cancels combat operations except for the XXIX Tactical Air Commands support of the US XVI Corps along the Rhine River in the Wesel area. The 39th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance), moves from St Amand to Jarny, France with F-5s (flights are operating from Gosselies and Le Culot, Belgium).

    EASTERN FRONT: In Hungary, the German offensive by Army Group South continues and achieves more gains. To the north of Lake Balaton, attacks are by 6th SS Panzer Army while to the south of the lake, there are attacks by units of the German 2nd Panzer Army toward Kaposvar. Farther south, in occupied Yugoslavia, elements of German Army Group E (Lohr) attack northeast of the Drava River against allied forces of 3rd Ukrainian Front. Meanwhile, on the Baltic, German evacuations begin from around the city of Danzig which continue until mid-April.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 3 missions are flown. Mission 869: 946 bombers and 322 fighters are dispatched to hit oil and communication targets using PFF; 1 P-51 is lost: 1. 246 B-24s are sent to hit the marshalling yard at Soest (144) and the Schildesche water viaduct at Bielefeld (80); Gee-H and H2X radar are used for bombing; 1 B-24 is damaged beyond repair and 3 damaged; 10 airmen are KIA. Escorting are 77 P-47s and P-51s. 2. 344 B-17s are dispatched to bomb the Horderverein (24) and Harpenerweg (62) oil refineries at Dortmund; secondary targets hit are the marshalling yards at Paderborn (11), Siegen (113) and Giessen (87); Gee-H and H2X radar are used; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 20 damaged; 1 airman is KIA. The escort is 74 of 85 P-51s. 3. 340 B-17s are sent to hit the Emscherlippe benzol plant at Datteln (173) and the Rauxel benzol plant at Castrop (77); secondary targets hit are the marshalling yards at Siegen (43) and Giessen (2; 1 other hits a target of opportunity; Micro H and H2X radar are used; 56 B-17s are damaged. 75 of 76 P-51s escort the bombers. 4. 6 B-17s and 6 B-24s fly a screening mission. 5. 4 B-17s fly a scouting mission. 6. 37 of 38 P-51s fly a sweep of the Dummer Lake-Kassel-Koblenz area. 7. 23 P-51s escort 5 F-5s and a Spitfire on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA). 8. 24 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 870: 11 of 12 B-24s drop leaflets in Germany and the Netherlands. Mission 871: 19 of 20 B-24s bomb Dortmund during the night using PFF; 1 B-24 is lost.

    526 RAF Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups raided Dessau. 18 Lancasters lost, 3.4 per cent of the force. This was another devastating raid on a new target in Eastern Germany with the usual town centre, residential, industrial and railway areas all being hit. The night bombing raid on Dressau destroyed the first two special ‘Mosquito destroyers’, Ju 88 G-7 high performance night-fighters, before they have a chance to become operational.

    256 RAF Halifaxes and 25 Lancasters of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attempted to attack the Deutsche Erdoel refinery at Hemmingstedt, near Heide, with little success. 4 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost.

    234 RAF Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group carried out an accurate attack on the oil refinery at Harburg. 14 Lancasters lost. No 189 Squadron, from Fulbeck, lost 4 of its 16 Lancasters on the raid. One local report states that a rubber factory was seriously damaged as well as the oil targets.

    80 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 10 to Frankfurt, 9 to Münster and 5 to Hannover, 56 RCM sorties, 43 Mosquito patrols, 15 Halifaxes and 5 Lancasters minelaying off Eckemforde and Flensburg. 4 aircraft were lost - 2 Halifaxes and 1 Fortress of No 100 Group and 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid.

    MEDITTERANEAN: (US Fifteenth Air Force): Continued bad weather limits operations to a supply drop in Yugoslavia and routine reconnaissance and escort missions; all bombing operations are cancelled and 42 P-51s sent on a strafing mission against railroad communications in Austria are recalled. The 318th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group, moves from Lesina to Rimini, Italy with P-51s.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s continue interdiction of enemy communications, damaging a railroad bridge at Longarone and railroad fills at Peri and Ossenigo; the XXII Tactical Air Command concentrates on communications in the NE, Po Valley and fuel and ammunition dumps in the C part of the Valley with generally good results; during the night of 6/7 Mar, A-20s hit the Ostiglia crossing and bridges at Nervesa della Battaglia and Casarsa della Delizia, and bomb targets of opportunity in the Brenner area.

    Major Erich Leie, Kommodore of JG 77 is killed in action. Major Siegfried Freytag is again named acting Kommodore of the Geschwader.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    8 March 1945

    WESTERN FRONT: American efforts to reinforce the Remagen bridgehead continue. To the north, units of the Canadian 2nd Corps (part of Canadian 1st Army) capture Xanten.

    300 German Luftwaffe planes fail to destroy the Ludendorff railroad bridge across the Rhine River.

    During the night, German forces from the garrisons in the occupied Channel Islands mount a raid on Granville on the west coast of the Cotentin Peninsula. One small US warship and 4 merchant ships are sunk. The raiders also free 67 German prisoners of war.

    (US Ninth Air Force): 328 B-26s, A-20s and A-26s hit 7 communications centers, 2 marshalling yards, a road overpass, and a military transport depot in the furtherance of the interdiction program; weather prevents fighter operations except for a small alert mission by the XXIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional). Operational HQ of the XXIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional), HQ 84th Fighter Wing and HQ 303d Fighter Wing move from Maastricht, the Netherlands to Monchen-Gladbach, Germany; the detachments of the 39th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance) operating from Gosselies and Le Culot, Belgium with F-5s, return to base at Jarny, France.

    ENGLAND: A German V-2 rocket hits Smithfield Market on Farringdon Road in the borough of Finsbury, near London, England, killing 110, seriously injuring 123, with 243 suffering lesser injuries.

    EASTERN FRONT: Soviet troops capture Laubau (Silesia). The Red Army penetrates into the southern suburbs of Breslau. Five Mistels escorted by Ju 188 bombers attack the Oder Bridge at Göritz. As the Ju 188s scatter the Allied air defenses, the Mistels launch and two of the flying bomb contraptions hit the bridge.

    MEDITTERANEAN: Beginning of secret negotiations at Bern, Switzerland, between representatives of the American OSS (Allan Dulles) and the German High Command in Italy (General von Vietinghoff and SS General Wolff) for an early surrender of German forces in Italy.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): 550+ B-17s and B-24s hit marshalling yards at Hegyeshalom and Komarom, Hungary, and Verona, Italy, the locomotive depot at Maribor, Yugoslavia, and the steel works at Kapfenberg, Austria; P-51s and P-38s fly escort and reconnaissance missions.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, medium bombers are hampered by heavy clouds but hit the Novara marshalling yard, Longarone and Mori rail fills, and Rovereto bridge; fighters and fighter-bombers pound communications and supplies, destroy a road bridge SW of Bologna, severely damage an ammunition plant and surrounding complex NW of Milan, and hit several other targets, including a bridge near Montebello which Brazilian P-47s operating with the XXII Tactical Air Command cut in half; A-20s, operating during the night of 7/8 Mar, attack river crossings at Borgoforte, Cremona, Ostiglia, San Benetto Po, Viadana, and Ora, and numerous vehicles, lights, and general movement in the C Po Valley and along the Brenner line.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 3 missions are flown. Mission 872: 1,353 bombers and 326 fighters are dispatched to hit benzol plants, an oil plant and rail targets in Germany using PFF; NO AIRCRAFT ARE LOST AND THERE ARE NO CASUALTIES! 1. 360 B-24s are sent to hit marshalling yards at Betzdorf (70), Siegen (114) and Dillenburg (73); targets of opportunity are Limburg (10) and Frankfurt (10); bombing is by H2X radar; 3 B-24s are damaged. Escorting are 99 of 102 P-51s. 2. 526 B-17s are dispatched to hit the Robert Muser (99) and Bruchstrasse (63) benzol plants at Langendreer, the Gneisenau benzol plant at Dortmund (110) and Heddernheim chemical factory at Frankfurt (122); secondary targets are the marshalling yards at Giessen (69) and Frankfurt (1; 13 others hit Wetzlar, a target of opportunity; bombing is with H2X radar; 26 B-17s are damaged. The escort is 95 of 99 P-51s. 3. 458 B-17s are sent to hit the Emil benzol plant at Essen (114), the Mathies Stinnes benzol plant at Bottrop (37), the August Viktoria benzol plant at Huls (111) and the synthetic oil plant at Buer Scholren (75); 109 hit the marshalling yard at Essen, a target of opportunity; bombing is by Micro-H; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair. 93 of 98 P-51s escort. 4. 9 B-17s fly a screening mission. 5. 27 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 873: 11 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night without loss. Mission 874: 15 B-24s attack the marshalling yard at Dortmund during the night without loss and 4 of 7 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions.

    312 RAF aircraft - 241 Halifaxes, 62 Lancasters, 9 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked Hamburg. 1 Halifax lost. The purpose of this raid was to hit the shipyards which were now assembling the new Type XXI U-boats, whose parts were prefabricated in many parts of inland Germany. Thanks to the Schnorkel breathing tube and a new type of battery-driven electric engine, the Type XXI could cruise under water for long periods and was capable of bursts of high speed. Its development in numbers would have posed great problems for Allied convoy defence if the war had lasted longer. The Hamburg area was found to be cloud-covered and the bombing was not expected to be accurate enough to cause much damage to the shipyards.

    262 RAF Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups carried out the first large raid on Kassel since October 1943; it was also the last large RAF raid on this target. 1 Mosquito lost. This target was also covered by cloud.

    39 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 33 to Hannover, 7 to Hagen and 5 each to Bremen and Osnabrück, 50 RCM sorties, 36 Mosquito patrols, 23 Halifaxes and 14 Lancasters minelaying in the Rivers Elbe and Weser, 5 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 RCM Halifax lost. The 5 Stirlings of No 161 Squadron, which were carrying supplies to Resistance units at unrecorded destinations, but probably in Denmark and Norway, were the last Resistance operations flights of the war.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    9 March 1945

    EASTERN FRONT: General der Infantrie Herman Niehoff officially replaces von Ahlfen as fortress commander of Breslau, Germany. On the Oder front in the East, troops of the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front are fighting inside the fortress of Küstrin.

    WESTERN FRONT: Bonn and Godesberg are captured by units of US 1st Army while others continue to expand the bridgehead over the Rhine River, at Remagen, where Erpel is captured. Farther south, toward Koblenz, US 3rd Army units reach the Rhine at Andernach.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 875: 1,045 bombers and 443 fighters are dispatched to hit marshalling yards and industrial plants in Germany; they claim 0-0-2 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 bombers are lost: 1. 423 B-17s are sent to hit the Ost (150) and Main (222) marshalling yards and a casting plant (3 at Frankfurt visually and using Micro H, H2X radar and smoke markers; 6 B-17s also fly a screening mission; 3 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 182 damaged; 7 airmen are WIA and 28 MIA. Escorting are 94 of 101 P-51s; they claim 0-0-1 aircraft in the air. 2. 318 of 336 B-17s attack the marshalling yard and a large tank factory at Kassel visually; 6 other B-17s fly a screening mission; 3 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 188 damaged; 4 airmen are WIA and 28 MIA. The escort is 97 of 99 P-51s; 1 is damaged beyond repair. 3. 282 B-24s are sent to bomb marshalling yards at Munster (97), Rheine (93) and Osnabruck (87) using Gee-H and H2X; 1 B-24 is lost and 52 damaged; 1 airman is WIA and 12 MIA. 47 of 51 P-51s escort. 4. 4 B-17s fly a scouting mission. 5. 141 P-47s and P-51s fly a freelance sweep in support of the bombers; 1 P-51 is damaged beyond repair. 6. 27 P-51s fly a scouting mission. 7. 15 P-51s escort 12 F-5s and 3 Spitfires on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany; they claim 0-0-1 aircraft in the air. Mission 876: 11 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands, France and Germany during the night; and 2 of 9 B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 600+ A-20s, A-26s and B-26s hit 6 marshalling yards, storage and vehicle depots, ammunition-filling plants, and 12 targets of opportunity as part of the interdiction campaign; fighters fly armed reconnaissance, hit special targets, cover the Remagen bridgehead and support the US 9th Infantry and 9th Armored Divisions committed there, support the 4th Armored Division at the Mosel River bridge at Treis, the XX Corps along the Mosel and Saar Rivers, and the XVI Corps along the Rhine River near Wesel. The 125th Liaison Squadron, IX Fighter Command [attached to the XXIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional)], moves from Maastricht, the Netherlands to Monchen-Gladbach, Germany with L-5s; and the 153d Liaison Squadron, IX Tactical Air Command (attached to Twelfth Army Group), moves from Spa, Belgium to Duren, Germany with L-5s.

    159 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group bombed the North and South plants of the Emscher Lippe benzol plant near Datteln. The target area was cloud-covered and G-H was used. The bombing appeared to be accurate but no results were seen. 1 Lancaster lost.

    21 RAF Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group set out to bomb the Bielefeld Viaduct but the raid was abandoned because of low cloud.

    92 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin and 16 Mosquitos on nuisance flights over Bremen, Hannover, Osnabrück and Wilhelmshaven, 29 RCM sorties, 12 Mosquito patrols, 21 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kattegat and off Oslo. No aircraft lost.

    MEDITTERANEAN: (US Fifteenth Air Force): 372 B-17s and B-24s, with fighter escorts, bomb marshalling yards at Graz (2 yards), Klagenfurt, Sankt Stefan, and Sankt Paul, Austria, and Ljubljana, Yugoslavia; river bridges at Sankt Paul are also bombed; 27 P-38s bomb the Knittelfeld, Austria marshalling yard and 13 others strafe the Graz, Austria-Maribor, Yugoslavia railroad lines. Routine supply, reconnaissance, and escort missions continue.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s hit bridges at San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, San Michele all'Adige, Bozzolo, Santa Margherita d'Adige, Ora, and Montebello, the marshalling yard at Ora, and the bridge approach at Ala; fighters and fighter-bombers attack bridges, railroads, vehicles, trains, supply dumps, parked airplanes, buildings, and other targets over wide areas, including Milan, Cittadella, Ala, Santa Margherita d'Adige, La Spezia, Ghedi, Lecco, and the battle area in the N Apennines. A-20s, on intruder missions during the night of 8/9 Mar, bomb river crossings in the Po Valley at several locations, among them Ostiglia, San Benedetto Po, and Borgoforte.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    10 March 1945

    MEDITTERANEAN: Field Marshal Albert Kesselring ceases to be Commander-in-Chief Armed Forces South (Mediterranean).

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): In Italy, 191 heavy bombers hit the Verona-Parona di Valpolicella railroad bridge; 1 other bombs the Voghera marshalling yard. Supply missions to Yugoslavia and reconnaissance operations continue.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, A-20s bomb bridges and other communications targets in the E Po Valley during the night of 9/10 Mar; B-25s bomb bridges at Ora, Bozzolo, and San Michele all'Adige, and a railroad fill at the Ceraino railroad station; fighters and fighter-bombers hit communications and targets of opportunity at various locations in the E Po Valley, including several bridges, and numerous ammunition dumps and vehicles.

    WESTERN FRONT: The last German forces are withdrawn from the pocket west of the Rhine between Wesel and Xanten. They have lost heavily to the British and Canadian attacks. The US 1st and 3rd Armies link up near Andernach completing the Allied hold on the west bank of the Rhine everywhere north of Koblenz. Field Marshal Kesselring arrives from Italy to take command of the German armies in the west. The US Third Army captures Bonn.

    German submarine 'U-275' sunk with all hands after hitting a mine off Newhaven.

    EASTERN FRONT: The German forces of Army Group South advancing around Lake Balaton encounter heavy resistance from Soviet air and ground forces of 3rd Ukrainian Front and make limited progress. German progress is also hindered by muddy conditions and a lack of fuel for the tanks and other vehicles. General of Panzer Troops Hasso von Manteuffel takes command of Third Panzer Army. The Kriegsmarine evacuates 25,000 civilian refugees from the besieged Baltic fortress of Kolberg in Pommerania. In the battle for Danzig, the Soviet 2nd Belorussian Front captures Zoppot.

    Stalin returns Transylvania to Romania.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 3 missions are flown. Mission 877: 1,374 bombers and 670 fighters attack rail targets in Germany by PFF methods; they claim 2-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost: 1. 376 B-24s are dispatched to hit the rail viaducts at Arnsberg (115) and Bielefeld (114) and the marshalling yard at Paderborn; 10 hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Bielefeld; 1 B-24 is damaged. The escort is 146 of 155 P-51s. 2. 526 B-17s are sent to hit the Sud (109), Erfeld (111) and Eving (153) marshalling yards at Dortmund and the Soest marshalling yard (13; 3 other B-17s fly a scouting mission; 1 B-17 is damaged beyond repair and 44 damaged; 2 airmen are WIA. Escorting are 152 of 158 P-51s; 1 is damaged beyond repair. 3. 457 B-17s are sent to hit the Sinsen (89) and Coesfeld (3 rail crossings and the marshalling yards at Schwerte (116) and Hagen (41); 136 hit the secondary, a marshalling yard at Dortmund; 33 others hit Hamm, a target of opportunity; 26 B-17s are damaged; 1 airman is WIA. 98 of 100 P-51s escort; 2 P-51s are lost. 4. 12 B-17s fly a screening mission. 5. 144 P-47s and P-51s fly a freelance support mission for the bombers; they claim 2-0-1 aircraft in the air. 6. 72 of 74 P-51s escort Ninth AF bombers on their strikes. 7. 27 of 28 P-51s fly a scouting mission. 8. 5 P-51s escort 7 F-5s and 4 Spitfires on a photo reconnaissance mission over the Ruhr. Mission 879: 13 B-24s attack the marshalling yard at Munster during the night without loss. Mission 880: 12 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night without loss. The 857th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 492d Bombardment Group (Heavy) (attached to 1st Air Division) moves from Harrington to Bassingbourne, England with B-24s (the 857th begins flying weather reconnaissance missions today).

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 383 A-20s, A-26s and B-26s strike 5 marshalling yards, a communications center, 2 city areas, miscellaneous targets in the Koblenz-Braubach area, and a target of opportunity; Eighth and Ninth AF fighters escort the bombers, attack ground targets, fly patrols, armed reconnaissance, and provide cover and ground support over the Remagen bridge area where the US 9th Infantry Division expands it's bridgehead against fierce opposition, support the 4th Armored Division in the Koblenz area and the XX Corps in the Saarburg area, and cooperate with the XVI Corps near Wesel. The 33d Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Group, moves from Le Culot, Belgium to Venlo, the Netherlands with F-5s.

    155 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the oil refinery at Scholven/Buer. Photographs taken later showed this to have been a very accurate and effective raid. No aircraft lost.

    60 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 4 each to Gotha, Jena and Weimar, 35 RCM sorties, 10 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    11 March 1945

    ENGLAND: The first unexploded V-2 rocket to hit England lands in a field at Paglesham in Essex. The warhead is later extracted from a depth of 37 feet below ground.

    Some 70 German prisoners of war stage a mass escape from the POW camp at Bridgend, Glamorgan (South Wales). All are recaptured by March 17.

    WESTERN FRONT: German submarine 'U-682' sunk at Hamburg.

    The US third Army captures Kochem on the lower Moselle river.

    EASTERN FRONT: The Red Army approaches Gotenhafen, closing a vital port of embarkation for tens of thousands of refugees from East Prussia who are now heading for the Hela peninsula.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 881: 1,256 bombers and 814 fighters are dispatched to make H2X radar attacks on U-boat yards at Kiel and Bremen and the shipyard and refinery area at Hamburg, Germany; 1 B-17 and 4 P-51s are lost: 1. 344 of 352 B-24s attack the Krupp Germania U-boat yard at Kiel; 2 B-24s are damaged. 232 P-47s and P-51s escort; 1 P-51 is lost. 2. 469 of 485 B-17s hit the Wilhelmsburg oil refinery at Hamburg; 1 other hits a target of opportunity; 1 B-17 is lost and 41 damaged; 3 airmen are WIA and 10 MIA. Escorting are 252 of 265 P-51s; 2 are lost. 3. 406 of 413 B-17s hit the Deschimag U-boat yard at Bremen; 9 B-17s are damaged. 237 of 255 P-51s escort; 1 is lost. 4. 6 B-17s fly a screening mission. 5. 18 P-51s escort 6 F-5s and a Spitfire on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany. 6. 27 of 29 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 882: 11 of 12 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany during the night without loss.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 696 A-20s, A-26s, and B-26s, hit 4 airfields, 3 communications centers, 2 ammunition filling plants, and several city areas and other casual targets; these attacks are to obstruct air operations and supply and troop movements in general; fighters fly patrols and armed reconnaissance, escort the bombers, support the US 9th Infantry Division push at the Remagen bridgehead and fly cover over the area, and support the XX Corps E of Trier and Saarburg. HQ 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Group and the 160th and 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons (with F-6s) and HQ 373d Fighter Group move from Le Culot, Belgium to Venlo, the Netherlands; the 72d Liaison Squadron, Ninth AF (attached to Sixth Army Group), moves from Epinal to Buhl, France with L-5s.

    1,079 RAF aircraft - 750 Lancasters, 293 Halifaxes, 36 Mosquitos - of all bomber groups attacked Essen. This was the largest number of aircraft sent to a target so far in the war. 3 Lancasters lost. 4,661 tons of bombs were dropped on Oboe-directed skymarkers through complete cloud cover. The attack was accurate and this great blow virtually paralysed Essen until the American troops entered the city some time later. This was the last RAF raid on Essen, which had been attacked so many times, though often in the early years of the war with such disappointing and costly results. Most of the city was now in ruins. 7,000 people had died in air raids. The pre-war population of 648,000 had fallen to 310,000 by the end of April 1945; the rest had left for quieter places in Germany.

    90 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin and 6 each to Brunswick, Hannover and Magdeburg, 4 Mosquito patrols, 22 Lancasters minelaying in the Kattegat and off Oslo. No aircraft lost.

    MEDITTERANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s of the 57th Bombardment Wing score damaging hits on a bridge and fills at San Michele all'Adige, Volargne, and Ossenigo, and, attacking a target in Austria for first time, bomb a bridge at Drauburg; fighters and fighter-bombers of the XXII Tactical Air Command hit rail lines and dumps in the C Po Valley and in the Brenner area; during the night of 10/11 Mar A-20s hit several Po River crossings, Ghedi and Pavia Airfields, road junctions, and other targets in the Po Valley.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    12 March 1945

    WESTERN FRONT: There is heavy fighting in the Remagen bridgehead where elements of the German 7th Army are counterattacking.

    German submarine 'U-260' scuttled off Ireland after hitting a mine.

    Hans Adams, a twelve victory experte of EJG 1, is killed in action as is Oblt. Hans Schneider the Staffelkapitän of 13./JG 5 with eleven victories. In a strange twist of fate Oblt. Schneider’s place as Staffelkapitän is taken by Lt. August Schneider, who is no relation to Hans.

    EASTERN FRONT: Kustrin falls to forces of the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front, after a bitter struggle. Apart from a small area in the north near Stettin, the Soviets now hold the whole of the Oder-Neisse river line as far south as Gorlitz. To the north, forces of 2nd Belorussian Front continue to push forward toward the Gulf of Danzig. In the Polish Corridor, they capture Tczew.

    GERMANY: (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 883: 1,355 bombers and 797 fighters are dispatched to hit marshalling yards in Germany by PFF; they claim 4-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; 1 B-17 and 4 fighters are lost: 1. 220 of 227 B-24s and 441 of 450 B-17s attack the marshalling yard at Swinemunde; 1 other hit the marshalling yard at Husum, a target of opportunity; all attacks are made with H2X radar; 1 B-17 is lost, 6 B-17s are damaged; 1 airman is KIA and 10 MIA. Escorting are 412 of 452 P-51s; they claim 4-0-1 aircraft in the air; 4 P-51s are lost (3 pilots MIA). 2. 154 B-24s are sent to hit the marshalling yards at Friedberg (75) and Wetzlar (74) using Gee-H; 2 airmen are WIA. 3. 298 B-17s are dispatched to attack the marshalling yards at Siegen (141) and Marburg (113); 24 hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Frankfurt using Micro H; 4 B-17s are damaged. 4. 226 B-17s are sent to bomb the marshalling yards at Betzdorf (116) and Dillenburg (110) using Gee-H without loss. 5. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th forces above are escorted by 192 P-47s and P-51s without loss. 6. 97 of 108 P-51s fly a sweep to support the bombers without loss. 7. 10 P-51s escort 5 F-5s and 2 Spitfires on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany. 8. 23 of 24 P-51s fly a scouting mission. Mission 884: 11 of 12 B-24s drop leaflets in the Netherlands and Germany during the night and 4 of 10 B-24s fly a CARPETBAGGER mission.

    (US Ninth Air Force): 9th Bombardment Division A-20s, A-26s and B-26s attack 8 marshalling yards, an ammunition-filling plant, city areas and targets of opportunity; the attacks on the marshalling yards are aimed at blocking troop movements by rail into the Ruhr and Remagen areas; fighters escort the bombers, bomb special targets, fly armed reconnaissance, cover the Remagen area, and support the US 9th Infantry Division in the Kalenborn and Hargarten areas and the XX Corps in the Saarburg bridgehead area. The 387th and 388th Fighter Squadrons, 365th Fighter Group, move from Juzaine Airfield, Florennes, Belgium to Aachen, Germany with P-47s; and the 412th Fighter Squadron, 373d Fighter Group, moves from Le Culot, Belgium to Venlo, the Netherlands with P-47s.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): In Austria, 790 B-24s and B-17s bomb the Floridsdorf oil refinery at Vienna and alternate targets, the marshalling yards at Graz, Zeltweg, and Wiener-Neustadt; 98 P-38s bomb the Knittelfeld railroad bridge (2 others hit nearby targets of opportunity) and strafe communications in the Wiener-Neustadt-Graz-Klagenfurt areas. 12 P-38s sweep the Zagreb, Yugoslavia area. Bad weather forces 60 P-51s sent against Austrian communications to abort; a supply mission to Yugoslavia and reconnaissance operations are successful.

    1,108 RAF aircraft - 748 Lancasters, 292 Halifaxes, 68 Mosquitos attacked Dortmund. This was another new record to a single target, a record which would stand to the end of the war. 2 Lancasters lost. Another record tonnage of bombs - 4,851 - was dropped through cloud on to this unfortunate city. The only details available from Dortmund state that the attack fell mainly in the centre and south of the city. A British team which investigated the effects of bombing in Dortmund after the war says that, 'The final raid … stopped production so effectively that it would have been many months before any substantial recovery could have occurred'.

    81 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin and 3 each to Halle, Magdeburg and Stendal, 2 RCM sorties, 16 Lancasters and 3 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kattegat. 3 Lancaster minelayers lost.

    MEDITTERANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s hit 7 railroad bridges, cutting two, and fills--severely damaging one and a train--in the Brenner area and in NE Italy as far E as the Yugoslav border area; fighter- bombers blast communications in N Italy, making 36 rail cuts, 19 of them on the Brenner line; P-47s also bomb and severely damage a munitions factory NW of Zagreb, Yugoslavia; during the night of 11/12 Mar, A-20s on intruder missions hit Po River crossings, a sugar refinery, vehicles, and trains.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    13 March 1945

    WESTERN FRONT: Eisenhower orders Bradley to limit the expansion of the Remagen bridgehead to a maximum width of twenty-five miles and a depth of ten miles, lest it detract from the main effort by the 21 Army Group.

    SS 'Taber Park' (2,878t) on a voyage from the Tyne to London was lost near Great Yarmouth and was probably one of the very last ships to be sunk on that route during the war.

    HQ 61st Troop Carrier Group and the 14th and 15th Troop Carrier Squadrons move from Barkston, England to Abbeville, France with C-47s.

    16 P-51s based at Chievres, Belgium fly an uneventful aircraft sweep in the Remagen-Koblenz, Germany area; 17 F-5s fly photo reconnaissance missions over Germany.

    EASTERN FRONT: The German offensive to the north and south of Lake Balaton, in Hungary, begins to lose momentum. The Soviet 1st Belorussian Front (Zhukov) captures the Oder fortress of Küstrin, 70 miles east of Berlin, while the 2nd Belorussian Front (Rokossovsky) launches an offensive against the Braunsberg pocket south of Königsberg.

    GERMANY: (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 450+ A-26s, A-20s, and B-26s, bomb 3 marshalling yards, 2 airfields, rail sidings, and several targets of opportunity in the continuing interdiction campaign; fighters fly escort, patrols, and armed reconnaissance, attack assigned targets, cover the US First Army area in general along the Rhine River from Dusseldorf to Linz/Rhine, support the US 9th Infantry Division around Hargarten, cover the Remagen bridgehead, and support the XX Corps as it opens an offensive SE from the Saarburg bridgehead.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): In Germany, 569 B-24s and B-17s bomb the marshalling yard at Regensburg; 3 other bombers bomb the Landshut marshalling yard and targets of opportunity; 280+ P-38s and P-51s provide escort and several strafe rail traffic in Germany and Austria during the return flight; 41 P-51s on a strafing mission attack rail traffic in the Munich-Landshut-Regensburg and Ingolstadt, Germany areas and between Vienna and Wiener-Neustadt, Austria. Photo reconnaissance is particularly extensive, with 18 F-5s covering areas of Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, and N Italy; 41 fighters escort the photo missions.

    354 RAF aircraft - 319 Halifaxes, 24 Lancasters, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups to Wuppertal and Barmen. No aircraft lost. This attack also took place over a cloud-covered target and the bombs fell slightly east of the area intended, covering the eastern half of the Barmen district and extending into Schwelm. Bomber Command had now dispatched 2,541 sorties by daylight to Ruhr targets in a 3-day period. Approximately 10,650 tons of bombs had been dropped through cloud with sufficient accuracy to cripple 2 cities and 1 town. The bomber losses were only 5 aircraft, a casualty rate of 0.2 per cent. These results show the great power now wielded by Bomber Command, its technical efficiency and the weakness of the German defences.

    38 RAF Lancasters of No 5 Group to bomb the Arnsberg and Bielefeld viaducts encountered bad weather. 1 aircraft bombed at Arnsberg and 2 further aircraft bombed alternative targets. No aircraft lost.

    195 RAF Lancasters and 32 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked benzol plants at Herne and Gelsenkirchen. The Gelsenkirchen attack was successful but not the Herne raid, 1 Lancaster lost from the Gelsenkirchen raid.

    50 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 26 to Bremen and 6 to Erfurt, 58 RCM sorties, 37 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid crashed in Belgium and 1 Halifax RCM aircraft in France.

    MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s bomb railroad bridges and fills at Perca, Vo Sinistro, Pizzighetone, Salorno, and Sacile; fighters and fighter-bombers attack bridges, flak positions, ammunition and a supply dump, rail lines, various other targets, and fly close support to the US Fifth Army force as the XXII Tactical Air Command operates over wide areas of N Italy from the N Apennines through the Po Valley, and into NE Italy; on the night of 12/13 Mar, A-20s hit railroads, Po River crossings, dumps, and movement, mainly in the Po Valley.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    14 March 1945

    WESTERN FRONT: SS 'Magne' (1,226t), a Danish merchantman, was sunk by 'U 714' off St Abbs Head. After the attack on the 'Magne', 'U 714' was on patrol off St Abbs Head, when she was depth charged and sunk at 55°57'00"N - 01°57'00"W, by the 'Natal', a frigate of the South African Navy, on her maiden voyage from the Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson yard on the Tyne to Scapa Flow and hence to Tobermory, Isle of Mull. The 'Natal' was offering assistance to the destroyer HMS 'Wivern', which was standing by the survivors of the 'Magne', when her ASDIC (Sonar) detected the submarine. 'Natal' made two depth-charge runs on this contact after which wreckage and light oil came to the surface and the ASDIC contact vanished. It was assumed and later confirmed that the U-boat had gone straight to the bottom.

    The US 12th Corps (part of US 3rd Army) launches attacks southeast over the Moselle River, near Koblenz, and US 20th Corps expands its attacks from between Trier and Saarburg. To the north, US 1st Army continues to expand the Remagen bridgehead despite German counterattacks.

    HQ 367th Fighter Group moves from St Dizier to Conflans, France. The 410th Fighter Squadron, 373d Fighter Group, moves from Le Culot, Belgium to Venlo, the Netherlands with P-47s.

    GERMANY: 169 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out G-H attacks through cloud on oil plants at Datteln and Hattingen (near Bochum). Both attacks appeared to be accurate but no results were seen. 1 Lancaster lost from the Hattingen raid.

    32 RAF Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group, with 4 Oboe Mosquitos of No 8 Group, to attack the Bielefeld and Arnsberg viaducts. 28 Lancasters dropped Tallboy bombs and the No 617 Squadron Lancaster of Squadron Leader CC Calder dropped the first 22,000lb 'Grand Slam' bomb at Bielefeld. The Arnsberg viaduct, No 9 Squadron's target, was later found to be undamaged but more than 100 yards of the Bielefeld viaduct collapsed through the 'earthquake effect' of the Grand Slam and 'Tallboys' of No 617 Squadron. No aircraft lost.

    244 RAF Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the Wintershall synthetic-oil refinery at Lützkendorf. Photographic reconnaissance showed that 'moderate damage' was caused. 18 Lancasters were lost, 7.4 per cent of the Lancaster force.

    230 RAF aircraft - 121 Lancasters, 98 Halifaxes, 11 Mosquitos - of Nos 6 and 8 Groups to Zweibrücken. No aircraft lost. This attack was directed on to the town area to block the passage through it of German troops and stores to the nearby front line, The raid took place in good visibility and was very effective. The local report shows that every public building and inn and 80 per cent of the houses in the town were destroyed or damaged. Most of the civilian population had been evacuated; those remaining took shelter in 2 large caves in the north and south of the town or in the normal basement shelters of their houses.

    161 RAF aircraft - 127 Halifaxes, 23 Lancasters, 11 Mosquitos - of 4 and 8 Groups on the same task as the Zweibrücken raid proceeded to Homburg. No local report is available but it is believed that this attack was equally successful. 2 Halifaxes lost.

    75 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin and 6 each to Bremen and Brunswick, 52 RCM sorties, 27 Mosquito patrols. No 100 Group lost 2 Mosquitos and 1 Fortress.

    The last Stirling operation of Bomber Command was flown on this night when Stirling LJ516, from No 199 Squadron at North Creake, flew a Mandrel screen operation; Squadron Leader JJM Button, the Australian pilot, and his crew landed safely.

    (US Eighth Air Force):: 3 missions are flown. Mission 886: 1,262 bombers and 804 fighters are dispatched to hit oil, rail and industrial targets in Germany; they claim 17-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air; 3 B-17s and 2 fighters are lost: 1. 526 B-17s are sent to hit oil refineries at Nienhagen (5 and Misburg (56), the Gebruder munitions plant (75) and Maschnbau (61) and Eisenwerke (74) factories at Hannover and the Seelze marshalling yard (80); secondary targets hit are Osnabruck (29) and the marshalling yard at Hannover; attacks were made visually and with H2X radar; 2 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 188 damaged; 3 airmen are KIA, 6 WIA and 19 MIA. 192 of 204 P-51s escort; 2 are damaged. 2. 449 B-17s are dispatched to hit the bridges at Vlotho (72) and Bad Ostenhausen (114), the marshalling yard and road junction at Lohne (144) and industrial plants at Hildesheim (60); 39 hit Osnabruck, a secondary target; targets of opportunity are the marshalling yards at Hameln (12) and Wetzlar (1) and Diemonde (1); all but one target is bombed visually; 1 B-17 is lost and 56 damaged; 1 airman is WIA and 9 MIA. Escorting are 182 of 194 P-51s; they claim 1-0-1 aircraft. 3. 272 B-24s are sent to hit the marshalling yards at Holzwickede (31) and Gutersloh (126); 110 others hit the secondary target, the marshalling yard at Giessen; attacks are made visually and with H2X radar; 4 B-24s are damaged; 1 airman is KIA and 5 WIA. The escort is 185 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 3-0-0 aircraft; 1 P-47 is lost (pilot MIA). 4. 6 B-17s fly a screening mission without loss. 5. 29 of 33 P-41s escort Ninth AF bombers. 6. 50 P-51s fly a sweep of the Stein-Huder-Kassel area claiming 11-0-0 aircraft without loss. 7. 82 P-51s fly a sweep over the Remagen bridgehead; 1 P-51 is lost (pilot MIA) and 1 damaged beyond repair. 8. 20 P-51s escort 33 F-5s and 3 Spitfires on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany and Czechoslovakia. 9. 26 of 27 P-51s fly a scouting mission claiming 1-0-0 aircraft. Mission 887: 9 B-17s use DISNEY rockets weapons on the Ijmuiden submarine pens without loss. Mission 888: 7 B-24s bomb the marshalling yard at Wiesbaden by PFF during the night without loss.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 350+ A-20s, A-26s and B-26s hit 3 airfields, 4 rail bridges, a junction, 5 towns, and 3 targets of opportunity as the interdiction operations continue; fighters escort the bombers, attack railroads and other special targets, fly patrols, sweeps, and armed reconnaissance, cover the Remagen area, and support the US XII Corps as it begins a drive from the Mosel River to the Rhine River, and the XX Corps operations W of Trier and Saarburg.

    Lt Alfred Ambs, Lt Weber and Uffz Giefing of JG 7 take off in their Me 262s from Brandenburg to intercept an Allied reconnaissance aircraft. Finding a pair of P-51s the three jets open fire too soon, allowing the Mustangs to evade the attack. Breaking away in a deliberate attempt to trick the Allied fighters that the attack is over, the jet fighters make a second pass from head-on. One Mustang falls under the guns of Lt Ambs while the other goes down from Lt Weber’s gunfire.

    EASTERN FRONT: Soviets forces capture Zvolen in western Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, in Hungary, German Army Group South (Wohler) commits its remaining reserves to battle. The force is based on the 6th Panzer Division and consists of a mixed grouping of 200 tanks and assault guns which engage the Soviet 27th Army (Trofimenko). In East Prussia, the Red Army cuts all communications between Königsberg and the German forces fighting in the Braunsberg pocket. German counterattacks to recapture the oilfields near Lake Balaton come to an end.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): 634 B-17s and B-24s, with fighter escorts, hit the Szony and Almasfuzito oil refineries and marshalling yards at Komarom, Hungary; Nove Zamky, Czechoslovakia; Zagreb, Yugoslavia; and Wiener-Neustadt, Graz, and Knittelfeld, Austria. 90 P-38s dive-bomb bridges at Ptuj, Yugoslavia, 42 of them afterwards strafing rail traffic in Yugoslavia and Austria. 21 P-51s also strafe rail traffic in Austria. B-17s and B-24s drop supplies in N Italy and in Yugoslavia. F-5s continue reconnaissance missions, including a larger than usual number of photo reconnaissance flights (most of them heavily escorted) over Italy, Germany, Austria, and Yugoslavia.

    MEDITERRANEAN: The 71st Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group, moves from Sallsola Airfield to Lesina, Italy with P-38s.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s damage bridges at Casarsa della Delizia, Cittadella, Vipiteno, and Campo; fighters and fighter- bombers attack communications, ammunition and supply dumps, motor transport, trains, buildings, and other targets, escort medium bombers, and support ground forces, operating over much of N Italy from the Apennine battle area N and NE. A-20s hit river crossings and targets of opportunity in the Po Valley during the night of 13/14 Mar.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    15 March 1945

    UNITED STATES: Submarine 'Lancetfish' (SS-296) is sunk by accidental improper operation of torpedo tube doors, Boston (Massachusetts) Navy Yard.

    EASTERN FRONT: The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front begins an offensive in the Ratibor area of Upper Silesia. Soviets begin a bombardment of besieged Breslau, and troops attack from all sides.

    WESTERN FRONT: The US 7th Army launches attacks in the area around Saarbrucken and Bitche in a joint effort with US 3rd Army to eliminate German forces from the area between the Saar, Moselle and Rhine rivers.

    HQ 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance) and the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron move from Doncourt Airfield, Conflans and Giraumont, France respectively to Evren Airfield, Trier, Germany with F-6s; the 393d and 394th Fighter Squadrons, 367th Fighter Group, move from St Dizier to Conflans, France with P-47s; and the 411th Fighter Squadron, 373d Fighter Group, moves from Le Culot, Belgium to Venlo, the Netherlands with P-47s.

    MEDITTERANEAN: Destroyer 'Parker' (DD-604) and three British destroyers carry out anti-shipping sweep in the Gulf of Genoa, but encounter no enemy vessels.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy, B-25s attack railroad bridges and fills at Salzano, Canale d'Isonzo, Rovereto, Palazzolo sull'Oglio, Romano di Lombardia, and Mori; fighters and fighter-bombers of the XXII Tactical Air Command concentrate on communications lines in NE Italy, particularly the Brenner rail line, and also blast several supply and ammunition dumps; A-20s continue intruder missions during the night of 14/15 Mar, hitting Po River crossings and fills in the San Ambrogio di Valpolicella area.

    GERMANY: 188 RAF aircraft - 150 Halifaxes, 24 Mosquitos, 14 Lancasters - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked oil plants at Bottrop and Castrop-Rauxel. Both raids were believed to have been successful. 1 Halifax of No 4 Group lost from the Bottrop raid.

    16 RAF Lancasters of Nos 9 and 617 Squadrons attacked the viaduct at Arnsberg. Two aircraft of No 617 Squadron each carried a Grand Slam; the 14 aircraft of No 9 Squadron carried Tallboys. The viaduct was not cut. No aircraft lost.

    267 RAF aircraft - 134 Lancasters, 122 Halifaxes, 11 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked Hagen. 6 Lancasters and 4 Halifaxes lost. This area attack took place in clear visibility and caused severe damage; the local report estimated that the bomber force was 800 aircraft strong! The main attack fell in the centre and eastern districts. There were 1,439 fires, of which 124 were classified as large.

    257 RAF Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked the Deurag refinery at Misburg, on the outskirts of Hannover. Visibility was good and some fires were started but the main weight of the raid fell south of the target. 4 Lancasters lost.

    54 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 27 to Erfurt, 16 to Mannheim and 5 each to Jena and Weimar, 53 RCM sorties, 37 Mosquito patrols. 1 RCM Fortress lost.

    (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 889: 1,353 bombers and 833 fighters are dispatched to hit German Army HQ and a marshalling yard at Oranienburg; they claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 9 bombers and 4 fighters are lost: 1. 308 of 372 B-24s and 276 of 300 B-17s hit the Germany Army HQ at Zossen, near Berlin visually; targets of opportunity for the B-24s are the Gardlingen rail center (31), the rail bridge at Parey (11) and other (3) and for B-17s, the marshalling yard at Stendal (13) and other (3); 1 B-24 is lost, 1 B-24 is damaged beyond repair and 32 B-24s and 20 B-17s are damaged; 4 airmen are KIA, 8 WIA and 21 MIA. Escorting are 397 P-51s and P-47s; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft in the air; 3 P-51s are lost (pilots MIA). 2. 612 of 675 B-17s attack the marshalling yard at Oranienburg visually; targets of opportunity are Wittenberg (31), Havelberg (12), the marshalling yards at Durstadt (1) and Mellendorf (1), Schmarsau (1) and Dedelstorf Airfield (1) some of which are hit with H2X radar; 8 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 288 damaged; 8 airmen are WIA and 66 MIA. 320 of 352 P-51s escort; 1 is lost. 3. 6 B-17s fly a screening mission without loss. 4. 29 of 30 P-51s fly a scouting mission. 5. 9 P-51s fly a sweep of the Bonn-Koblenz area. 6. 9 of 12 P-51s escort 24 F-5s and 4 Spitfires on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany. Mission 890: 14 of 16 B-24s bomb the rail station at Munster during the night using PFF methods.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 9th Bombardment Division A-20s, A-26s, and B-26s attack communications centers at Neunkirchen and Pirmasens, marshalling yards at Turkismuhle and Erbach, 3 flak positions, and several other targets, as well as dropping leaflets on Koblenz; fighters hit the Overberge marshalling yard and other targets, escort the bombers, fly sweeps and armed reconnaissance, and support the US XII Corps crossing the Mosel River in an offensive toward the Rhine River, and the XX Corps E of Trier and Saarbrucken.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): In Germany, 109 B-17s bomb the oil refinery at Ruhland (marking the Fifteenth's deepest penetration into Germany). 103 others bomb the alternate target, the refinery at Kolin, Czechoslovakia. 470+ other bombers attack targets in Austria, including Moosbierbaum, Schwechat, and Vienna/Floridsdorf oil refineries, marshalling yards at Wiener-Neustadt, Sankt Polten, Graz, Bruck an der Mur, Klagenfurt, and Murzzuschlag, and a bridge at Klagenfurt. Supply missions to N Italy and Yugoslavia continue, along with extensive photo and weather reconnaissance. Fighters fly 300+ sorties in escort of the bombers and supply and reconnaissance flights.

    The defences of Festung-Frankfürt come under the control of the 9th Armee [Gen. Busse], as part of Heeresgruppe Weichsel, [Gen.Obst.Heinrici]. The 'Stadt-Kommandant' of 'Festung-Frankfurt' was Generalmajor Biehler, who reported to higher HQ of 5.SS-Gebirgs Armeekorps, which included elements of 32.SS-Frw.Gren.Div. '30 Januar' [SS-Staf.Hans Kempin], and elements of both 337.and 286.Infanterie Divisions.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    16 March 1945

    WESTERN FRONT: Allied forces make an attack along the Saar Basin. US 7th Army takes Bitche as the Siegfried Line begins to break.

    Destroyer HMS 'Fandale' collided with HMS 'Wallace' off the Humber.

    At 0920, the 'Inger Toft' in Convoy RU-156 was torpedoed and sunk by 'U-722' 3 miles 270° from Neirst Point, Isle of Skye. The master and 29 crewmembers were picked up by armed trawler HMS 'Grenadier' and landed at Loch Ewe.

    The Coast Guard-manned destroyer escorts USS 'Lowe', 'Menges',' Pride', and 'Mosely', which comprised Task Group 22.14, located the submerged German submarine 'U-866' off the coast of Sable Island and sank it with a loss of all hands.

    HQ 365th Fighter Group moves from Juzaine Airfield, Florennes, Belgium to Aachen; the 153d Liaison Squadron, IX Tactical Air Command (attached to Twelfth Army Group), moves from Duren to Euskirchen with L-5s; and the 392d Fighter Squadron, 367th Fighter Group, moves from St Dizier to Conflans, France with P-47s.

    EASTERN FRONT: General der Infanterie von Krosigk 16th Army is killed at Kanden in Courland.

    The Soviet forces in Hungary, of 3rd Ukrainian Front, have regrouped following the German attacks, of Army Group South, around Lake Balaton and begin an offensive against the northern flank of the recently won German salient. The Hungarian 3rd Army takes the brunt of the first assaults and is soon in great difficulty.

    The German heavy vessels 'Schlesien' and 'Prinz Eugen' support the forces of Heeresgruppe Kurland in their defense against heavy Soviet attacks to break up the Kessel.

    'U-367' sank in the Baltic Sea near Hela, in position 54.25N, 18.50E, after hitting a mine laid by the Soviet submarine L-21 three days earlier. 43 dead (all hands lost).

    GERMANY: Rudolf Hoess, the former commandant of Auschwitz, declares that he gassed two million Jews on Himmler's orders between June 1941 and the end of 1943.

    In Germany, Lieutenant Fabian von Schlabrendorff is tried in court for his role in anti-Nazi activities. He tells of his torture by the Gestapo. The court considers torture illegal, and releases him. The Gestapo immediately arrests him again, and sends him to a concentration camp.

    Raid on Nuremburg by 231 RAF Lancasters of No 1 Group and 46 Lancasters and 16 Mosquitos of No 8 Group. 24 Lancasters, all from No 1 Group, lost, 8.7 per cent of the Lancaster force and 10.4 per cent of the No 1 Group aircraft involved. Most of these losses were due to German night fighters, which found the bomber stream on its way to the target. A local report states that the southern and south-western districts were hit as well as the ruins of the Altstadt which was destroyed in a previous raid. A serious fire was established in the Steinbuhl district. The main railway station was also on fire and the city's gasworks were so badly damaged that they did not resume production before the end of the war. This was the last heavy Bomber Command raid on Nuremberg.

    225 RAF Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked Würzburg. 6 Lancasters lost. This was another dramatic and devastating blow by No 5 Group. 1,127 tons of bombs were dropped with great accuracy in 17 minutes. According to a post-war survey, the old cathedral city with its famous historic buildings suffered 89 per cent of its built-up area destroyed. Würzburg contained little industry and this was an area attack.

    56 RAF Mosquitos to Berlin, 24 to Hanau and 6 each to Brunswick and Osnabrück, 32 RCM sorties, 40 Mosquito patrols, 12 Halifaxes and 12 Lancasters minelaying in the Kattegat and off Heligoland. No aircraft lost.

    Gerhard Friedrich, a night-fighter with thirty victories and a former transport pilot, is killed in action. Near Nurnberg Hptm. Martin “Tino” Becker, Gruppenkommandeur of IV./NJG 6 flying a Ju 88 G-6 “2Z+MF” destroys a RAF Lancaster for his fifty-eighth night victory. It will be his last victory of the war.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 280+ A-20s, A-26s and B-26s hit the Landau barracks area and communications center, the Niederscheld town area and rail bridge, 6 other town areas, a marshalling yard, rail junction, crossroads, and also drop leaflets; fighters escort the bombers, fly patrols, sweeps, armed reconnaissance, and cover the VIII, XII, and XX Corps in an assault across the Mosel River from W of Koblenz and N of Boppard, at one point, as far E as Bad Kreuznach, and as far S as Merzig.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): 720+ B-24s and B-17s bomb the Korneuburg, Vienna/Floridsdorf, Schwechat, and Moosbierbaum, Austria oil refineries and marshalling yards at Sankt Veit an der Glan, Amstetten, and Graz, Austria and Varazdin and Pragersko, Yugoslavia; 52 P-51s strafe rail lines in the Vienna and Linz, Austria and Passau and Regensburg, Germany areas and the airfield at Mettenheim, Germany. B-17s and B-24s continue supply drops to N Italy and Yugoslavia while F-5s and P-38s fly extensive weather and photo reconnaissance missions; fighters fly 300+ sorties in escort of the bombers, supply runs, and reconnaissance operations.

    MEDITTERANEAN: PBY-5As (VP 63) employ MAD gear to detect German submarine 'U-392' as the enemy boat attempts to transit the Straits of Gibraltar; the PBYs bomb the U-boat, and British frigate HMS Affleck and destroyer HMS Vanoc depth charge her. Affleck delivers the coup de grace to sink U-392 at 35°55'N, 05°41'W.

    HQ 1st Fighter Group and the 27th and 94th Fighter Squadrons move from Salsola Airfield to Lesina, Italy with P-38s.

    (US Twelfth Air Force): B-25s of the 57th Bombardment Wing, flying their farthest N penetration to date, bomb the Brixlegg, Austria railroad bridge. In Italy, B-25s also hit the Spilimbergo power plant, with excellent results, and lightly damage 3 bridges on the Brenner line, 1 in the C Po Valley, and 1 in NE Italy; XXII Tactical Air Command fighter-bombers continue to attack communications in the Po Valley and NE Italy, while A-20s bomb bridges and targets of opportunity on night intruder missions along the Po R and in the N Po Valley.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    17 March 1945

    ENGLAND: In spite of the efforts of the Allied forces to eradicate the V2 rocket launch sites, the Germans are still managing to strike targets in England and Belgium with them. When the V2 offensive opened last September the launch sites were in the Netherlands, but were moved temporarily to Denmark during the Arnhem operation. At the beginning of October the rocket units returned to the Netherlands, and by the end of the year they were operating from a large wooded park, the Haagsche Bosch, outside The Hague. During January and February this was attacked repeatedly by RAF bombers and fighter-bombers. Eventually, at the beginning of this month, the Germans were forced to move, and this was the reason for the recent lull. Their new launch area is still near The Hague, this time on the Duindicht racecourse. There is, however, little cover here, and because of lack of time and the high water table, the Germans have been unable to follow their normal practice of constructing underground storage sites. Consequently RAF reconnaissance planes have identified the launch sites and attacks on it are being mounted. This should drive the rockets further east into Germany, putting England beyond V2 range. A further encouraging factor is that the Allied air offensive against German communications is making it increasingly difficult to maintain supplies of rockets and fuel.

    Hull.. The last civilian casualties caused by bombs from a piloted enemy aircraft are believed to have been at Hull on this last air raid on the city. Crossing the coast near Scarborough, the raiders deepest penetration was to the Thirsk area, but the most serious damage was done at Hull where thirty-seven SD.10 bombs and thirty-seven SD.19 bombs were dropped in the Holderness Road, Morrill Street and Holland Street area. Damage was not serious, the area of the incidents being given as industrial, but twelve people were killed and twenty-two seriously injured. This is a direct quote from David Holding's book 'History of British Bus Services - The North East': "It is perhaps not widely appreciated how badly Hull suffered during the war." G.M. O'Connell - an invaluable source - writes 'The heavy raids of May 1941 were numbered at about 200 in the series of alerts (ie when sirens required to be sounded) which commenced with No 1 on 3 September 1939;...Hull's alerts eventually totalled 815! The Germans quite evidently realised that, amongst other things, the bulk of the Russian convoys originated at Hull. 'Raids were heaviest in May and July 1941. Buses were diverted to side streets to avoid craters and unexploded bombs, short journeys were operated on both buses and trams because of damage and destruction of overhead equipment. Shuttle bus services were instituted, notices of changed services had to be chalked up on notice boards, buildings, and on the pavements'. At the same time much of the overhead line was destroyed together with 38 traction poles. Both the Cottingham Road garage and the headquarters adjoining Ferensway were severely damaged, with the loss of 44 buses; however, the Corporation was able as a result to secure 50 of the elusive utility buses, which then constituted half the diesel fleet. To minimise the risk of losses ... all rolling stock not under repair was parked overnight along the main roads on the city outskirts (motor buses in the parks). Instructions were received from higher authority that it was allegedly possible on moonlight nights to see from the air the lines of vehicles by reason of their predominantly white fronts, they should be repainted: this was expeditiously achieved by overpainting the white fronts with blue undercoating ... As late as 17 March 1945 12 people were killed and injured outside an East Hull cinema. The remarkable thing about this particular incident was that two fully laden trolley buses would have passed each other as the bombs fell but for the fact that both drivers had premonitions and did not leave their previous stopping places although signalled to do so by their respective conductors. By contrast East Yorkshire (Motor Services) suffered relatively little. The traffic offices, close to Paragon Station, were bombed and moved permanently to Anlaby Road.....".


    WESTERN FRONT: The Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen collapses, killing 28 US soldiers. It is caused the combined strain of bomb damage and heavy use. The advance continues over other bridges now in place.

    Coblenz: Patton's Third Army has jumped the east/west line of the Moselle and swept southwards to threaten from the rear the German forces holding the Siegfried Line in the Saar where Patch's US 7th Army is attacking. Patton's columns, supported by American fighter-bombers, are roaming virtually at will, spreading havoc among the enemy. Roads are jammed with German troops and civilians fleeing eastwards to the Rhine, where the last three bridges remain open. Patton is now driving along the west bank from Coblenz to Mainz and beyond. The bag of prisoners taken by Patton and Patch is approaching 100,000.

    Eisenhower orders Patton not to advance toward Czechoslovakia, although there is nothing to stop him reaching Prague before the Russians.

    Minesweeper HMS 'Guysborough' is attacked at 1835 and sunk by 'U-878' (Kapitanleutnant Hans Rodig) at 2000 hrs off Ushant in the Bay of Biscay at 46 43N 09 20W, hit by Gnat. There are 54 casualties.

    The 386th Fighter Squadron, 365th Fighter Group, moves from Juzaine Airfield, Florennes, Belgium to Aachen, Germany with P-47s.

    MEDITTERANEAN: Motor torpedo boats PT-303 and PT-305 engage two German F-lighters off Point Mesco, Italy; PT-303 is damaged when she is accidentally rammed by PT-305.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): Bad weather grounds the bombers. In Yugoslavia, 98 P-38s dive-bomb the Ptuj and Zagreb railroad bridges, the Klinca Sela marshalling yard, and the Sisak marshalling yard and bridge; B-24s, with fighter escort, drop supplies and F-5s, P-38s and P-51s fly reconnaissance and reconnaissance escort. During the night of 17/18 Mar, B-24s drop supplies in N Italy.

    GERMANY: 167 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out G-H attacks through cloud on benzol plants at Dortmund and Hüls. Both raids appeared to be accurate. No aircraft lost. 66 Lancasters and 29 Halifaxes from training units on a sweep over Northern France to draw up German fighters, 39 Mosquitos to Nuremberg, 38 to Berlin and 2 each to Mannheim and Stuttgart, 6 RCM sorties, 15 Mosquito patrols. 1 Intruder Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

    (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 892: 1,328 bombers and 820 P-51s are dispatched to hit oil, industrial and rail targets in Germany; clouds extend from 1,000 to 15,000 feet (305 to 4,572 m) and over the targets there is 9/10 to 10/10 cloud cover necessitating PFF methods for bombing; 5 B-17s and 2 P-51s are lost: 1. 527 B-17s are sent to hit the oil refinery at Ruhland (214); 138 hit the secondary target, the Bittefeld oil refinery; targets of opportunity are the Vomag munitions factory at Plauen (125), Fulda (19), Cottbus (11) and other (3); H2X radar is used; 4 B-17s are lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 46 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 1 WIA and 35 MIA. Escorting are 252 of 280 P-51s; 1 is lost (pilot MIA). 2. 449 B-17s are dispatched to hit the oil refinery at Bohlen (152) and the oil refinery and power station at Molbis (127); secondary targets are the Zeiss works at Jena (71) and the marshalling yard at Erfurt (51); targets of opportunity are Altenburg (36) and other (3); bombing is by H2X radar; 1 B-17 is lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 15 damaged; 9 airmen are MIA. 266 of 283 P-51s escort; 1 is lost (pilot MIA). 3. 346 B-24s are dispatched to hit the marshalling yard at Munster (170) and the Hanomag tank factory at Hannover (146); 9 other hit Herford, a target of opportunity; Gee-H and H2X are used to bomb; 3 B-24s are damaged. The escort is 122 of 128 P-51s. 4. 6 B-24s fly a screening mission. 5. 79 of 86 P-51s fly a freelance sweep without loss. 6. 28 of 32 P-51s fly a scouting mission without loss. 7. 9 of 11 P-51s escort 2 F-5s and 1 Spitfire on a photo reconnaissance mission over Germany. Mission 893: 9 B-24s drop leaflets in Germany, the Netherlands and France during the night.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 650+ A-20s, A-26s, and B-26s bomb 5 marshalling yards, 2 communications centers, an ordnance depot, 3 city areas, and several targets of opportunity; the attacks are to impede the enemy movement of troops, equipment, and supplies in the face of the advancing Allied forces; fighters fly escort, patrols, and armed reconnaissance, cover the Remagen bridgehead, support the US III Corps NE of Remagen, cooperate with the XII Corps which has penetrated several miles E of Bad Kreuznach at one point, and operate with the XX Corps which at one point reaches as far E as Birkenfeld.

    EASTERN FRONT: (US Fifteenth Air Force): Bad weather grounds the bombers. In Yugoslavia, 98 P-38s dive-bomb the Ptuj and Zagreb railroad bridges, the Klinca Sela marshalling yard, and the Sisak marshalling yard and bridge; B-24s, with fighter escort, drop supplies and F-5s, P-38s and P-51s fly reconnaissance and reconnaissance escort. During the night of 17/18 Mar, B-24s drop supplies in N Italy.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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    18 March 1945

    WESTERN FRONT: Forces of US 3rd Army capture Bingen and Bad Kreuznach as the advance to the southwest continues. To the south, the progress of US 7th Army is beginning to accelerate, with most of its forward units having now crossed the German border.

    US Private First Class Frederick C. Murphy, an aid man, is wounded in the shoulder soon after his comrades have jumped off in a dawn attack against the Siegfried Line at Saarlautern. He refused to withdraw for treatment and continued forward, administering first aid under heavy machinegun, mortar, and artillery fire. When the company ran into a thickly sown antipersonnel minefield and began to suffer more and more casualties, he continued to disregard his own wound and unhesitatingly braved the danger of exploding mines, moving about through heavy fire and helping the injured until he stepped on a mine which severed one of his feet. In spite of his grievous wounds, he struggled on with his work, refusing to be evacuated and crawling from man to man administering to them while in great pain and bleeding profusely. He was killed by the blast of another mine which he had dragged himself across in an effort to reach still another casualty. (MOH)

    The 415th Night Fighter Squadron, 64th Fighter Wing, moves from Ochey to St Dizier, France with Beaufighters.

    GERMANY: Albert Speer, the armaments minister, tells Hitler that the war is lost and economic collapse is nigh; Hitler insists that he retracts these comments.

    In the Brandenburg Prison in Germany, General Erich Fromm is shot. He was convicted of cowardice for his part in the bomb plot against Adolf Hitler in July 1944.

    100 RAF Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out G-H attacks on oil plants at Hattingen and Langendreer. Both raids appeared to be accurate. No aircraft lost.

    324 RAF aircraft - 259 Halifaxes, 45 Lancasters, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups dispatched to Witten. 8 aircraft - 6 Halifaxes, 1 Lancaster, 1 Mosquito - lost. This was an area raid carried out in good visibility. 1,081 tons of bombs were dropped, destroying 129 acres, 62 per cent of the built-up area (according to the post-war British Bombing Survey Unit).

    277 RAF Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups bombed Hanau. 1 Lancaster lost. This was another accurate area raid. 0 industrial buildings and 2,240 houses were destroyed. The Altstadt was completely devastated and, says the report, all of the town's churches, hospitals, schools and historic buildings were badly hit.

    Support and 70 aircraft on a sweep over France, 30 Mosquitos to Berlin, 24 to Kassel and 18 to Nuremberg, 40 RCM sorties, 53 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    (US Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown. Mission 894: 1,329 bombers and 733 fighters are dispatched to hit railway stations and tanks plants in the Berlin area; the attacks are made both visually and with H2X radar; the Luftwaffe makes it's most concentrated and successful attacks with Me 262s to date; the AAF claims 21-1-5 Luftwaffe aircraft; 13 bombers (8 to flak) and 6 fighters are lost: 1. 421 of 450 B-17s hit the Schlesischer rail station in Berlin; 13 hit the secondary target, Zehdnuk; and 1 hits Vechta, a target of opportunity; they claim 6-0-0 aircraft; 5 B-17s are lost, 8 damaged beyond repair and 268 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 18 WIA and 49 MIA. 179 of 199 P-51s escort; they claim 4-0-2 aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost. 2. 495 of 530 B-17s hit the Nord rail station in Berlin; targets of opportunity are Ludwigslust (3) and other (3); they claim 1-1-1 aircraft; 7 B-17s are lost, 6 damaged beyond repair and 319 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 12 WIA and 79 MIA. Escorting are 219 of 238 P-51s; they claim 7-0-1 aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost. 3. 347 B-24s are sent to hit the Tegel (225) and Henningsdorf (80) tank factories in Berlin; targets of opportunity are Oranienburg (9), Uelzen (9) and other (3); 1 B-24 is lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 127 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 1 WIA and 11 MIA. The escort is 254 P-51s; they claim 3-0-1 aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost. 4. 2 B-17s fly a scouting mission. 5. 27 of 30 P-51s fly a scouting mission. 6. 1 of 12 P-51s escort 5 F-5s on photo reconnaissance missions over Germany. Mission 895: 10 of 12 B-24s drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night without loss.

    (US Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 660+ A-20s, A-26s and B-26s hit the marshalling yards at Wetzlar, Worms, Kreuztal, and Bad Durkheim, a communications center at Bad Durkheim, and 4 town areas with the aim of hampering enemy movement; fighters escort the bombers, attack assigned targets, fly patrols, and armed reconnaissance, and cooperate with the US III Corps at Remagen, with the XII Corps as it begins an assault towards the Mainz-Worms sector of the Rhine River, and with the XX Corps as it moves rapidly eastward through the Sankt Wendel area toward Kaiserslautern. HQ 70th Fighter Wing moves from Verviers, Belgium to Bruhl, Germany.

    The jets of JG 7 for the first time use the new R4M air-to-air rocket in place of the expensive wire-guided Ruhrstahl X-4. Fifty-four of the jets receive 4 kg rockets while six aircraft from 9 Staffel are fitted with twenty-four shot armament. On missions against USAAF bombers it is reported that the rockets literally blow the bombers to pieces. But it is difficult to judge who should be credited with a kill so, kills on this day are made as group kills instead of individual scores. As a result thirteen kills are credited to JG 7 for a loss of three pilots and five jets. One of the pilots lost is Oblt Wegmenn who is hit by return fire from a B-17 over Glowen. Trying to reach his airfield at Parchim his engines fail on approach and he bales out at a height of 4000 meters. Oblt Wegmenn survives the jump but loses his leg later at hospital. He is replaced as Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 7 by Lt. Karl Schnorrer. Another pilot lost from JG 7 is Oblt. Hans-Peter Waldmann, Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 7. Taking off with a flight of four jets, the schwarm becomes lost in some cloud and Oblt Waldmann collides with Lt Hans-Dieter Weihs’ aircraft. Both jets crash with Lt Weihs successfully baling out but Oblt. Waldmann is killed upon landing. While watching the rest of his Schwarm disintegrate, Obfw Schrey is attacked by P-51s and as he parachutes from his stricken jet is shot at again and killed. Lt. Weihs replaces Waldmann as Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 7.

    UNITED STATES: 'U-866' (type IXC/40) is sunk north-east of Boston, in position 43.18N, 61.08W, by depth charges from the US destroyer escorts USS 'Lowe', 'Menges', 'Pride' and 'Mosley'. 55 dead (all hands lost).

    EASTERN FRONT: Troops of the Polish 1st Army, part of the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front, take Kolberg on the Pomeranian coast. Other Soviet forces are closing in around Gdynia and Danzig to the east and making further inroads into the German positions in East Prussia.

    (US Fifteenth Air Force): Bad weather limits operations to reconnaissance and supply missions, a fighter-bomber attack by P-38s on the Varazdin, Yugoslavia railroad bridge, after which many of the P-38s strafe railroad communications in the Zagreb, Varazdin and Maribor, Yugoslavia, and Villach, Austria areas, and a strafing mission against rail communications and airfields in the Graz and Wiener-Neustadt, Austria, Maribor, Yugoslavia, and Szombathely, Hungary areas.

    MEDITERRANEAN: (US Twelfth Air Force): In Italy during the night of 17/18 Mar, A-20s and A-26s continue intruder missions in the Po Valley, concentrating on Po River crossings; B-25s bomb the railroad bridges at Bozzolo, and Palazzuolo sull' Oglio, the railroad fill at Salorno, and the causeway at Mantua; fighters and fighter-bombers hit dumps and support ground forces S of Bologna, and attack communications targets over wide areas of the Po Valley; the most devastating raid of the day is flown against the Novara marshalling yard where 14 locomotives are destroyed.

    Two ex-Italian torpedo boats and a destroyer minelaying off the Gulf of Genoa were engaged by destroyers "Meteor" and "Lookout". In the last Royal Navy destroyer action of the Mediterranean, torpedo boats "TA-24" and "TA-29" were sunk.
    Last edited by Njaco; 03-21-2010 at 10:00 AM.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


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