Hs-293 guided bomb launched from a German He-111 bomber
Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII
Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism
American B-17 Flying Fortress - mainstay of the 8th Air Force
August 17, 1943
Raid: The US Army Air Force
launches a dangerous and complicated raid on German ball bearing factories. The
plan called for one group of bombers to hit Schwienfurt while another hit
Regensburg. It was thought that the timing would confuse the German fighter
defenses and reduce the risk to the unescorted bombers. IN the end, the
staggered targeting resulted in a huge delay between the raids, allowing the
German fighter defenses to land and rearm between raids. The result was a
disaster. Of the 230 bombers sent against Schweinfurt, only 184 hit the city and
36 were shot down. Similar results occurred against Regensburg as 24 of the 146
bombers in that group were shot down. In all, 8th Air Force lost
nearly 550 men that day. This was a particularly bitter defeat because bomb
damage assessment concluded that the bombing was very inaccurate and the
factories not severely damaged. Thankfully, the American air commanders had
finally seen the folly of long-range unescorted bombing missions.
Raid: RAF bombers hit the
German rocket research center near Peenemunde on the Baltic coast. 596 bombers
take part in the raid. Damage to the facilities and program were severe, at a
cost of 40 bombers. The carnage would have been even more severe had not nearly
200 German fighters been redirected to Berlin because of the "window" radar
jamming used by the British.
In other news
Army marches into Messina, followed closely by Montgomery's 8th
Army, thus completing the conquest of Sicily for the Allies. During the 39-day
campaign, the Axis forces suffered 167,000 casualties (37,000 German, 130,000
Italian). Allied losses were 25,000. Most deemed this a great Allied victory,
but in retrospective, it was a bitter one in that, had the Allied planning been
more bold, they easily could have destroyed all of the forces on the island
rather than allowing so many to escape.
August 18, 1943
US Naval forces bombard the Italian mainland at Palmi and Gioai Taura in preparation for invasion.
August 19, 1943
After three days of
heavy fighting, the Soviet Southwest Front breaks through the German defenses on
the Mius River line.
The Soviet encirclement of Kharkov
continues. Red Army forces capture Libedin, west of Kharkov.
Allied forces engage in heavy fighting over Babdubi Ridge, in New Guinea.
August 21, 1943
Australian troops take Komiatum in New Guinea.
August 22, 1943
threatened with encirclement at Kharkov begin to withdraw from Kharkov.
Red Army forces enter Kharkov, the
fourth, and last time the city would change hands in this war. The Germans
attempted to launch a spoiling attack, but this was met by the newly
reconstituted 5th Guards Tank Army and beaten back.
RAF bombers once again took to the night skies over Berlin sending 727 planes carrying 1700 tons of bombs. The raid was badly scatter but still managed to kill over 900 people. This was the opening of a new Bomber Command terror campaign which would come to be known as "The Battle of Berlin".
SS Chief Heinrich Himmler is promoted to Reichminister of the Interior by Hitler.
In a military first, the Germans test a
new guided bomb, the Hs293. The device, launched from a bomber is guided by
radio signal from an airborne observer to the target, in this case, Allied ships
in the Bay of Biscay. The initial test failed to hit the ship, but the system
did show great promise.
Nearly 300 fighter-bombers and bombers
hit the Italian airfield at Foggia in preparations for the invasion of the
Red Army forces pursue the retreating Germans occupying Zenkov and Akhtyrka, west and north of Kharkov.
Allied nations gave limited
recognition to the French Committee of National Liberation.
RAF bomber command
launches a 674 plane raid against Nuremburg, hitting little, but managing to
kill 65 people and hitting the city zoo.
Elements of the US 43rd
Division land on the Nauro Peninsula on Arundel. There is no Japanese
The Soviet offensive
contiues as the Central Front takes Sevsk and Vatutin's forces take Kotleva.
After rioting, strikes and acts of sabotage and German ultimatums, the Danish government falls and Nazi General von Hanneken takes charge.
General von Hanneken declares
marshal law as sporadic fighting is reported in Denmark. Most of the
Danish fleet is scuttled, preventing its capture by the Germans.
In a massive air
battle over Italy, 44 US P-38 fighters, escorting B-26 medium bombers ran into
75 Luftwaffe fighters. The two fighter groups fought as the bombers went on to
obliterate the marshalling yards at Aversa. The Americans lost 13 fighters to
the German 9.
The withdrawal in the
south begins as Taganrog on the Sea of Azoz is abandoned by the Germans. Further
to the north, the Soviets roll forward in the Smolensk area, taking Sokolovsky
Editor's Corner Archive:
Hitler's Angel "The story of Prescott Bush and his association with the Nazis begins just before the end of World War I..."
The Past Through Tomorrow "It is quite frightening to realize just how similar our nation's actions have been and appear to be heading when compared this way..."
Afghanistan and Vietnam: When the "war against terrorism" began, many knowledgeable people warned that our operations in Afghanistan would turn into another Vietnam.
Want to Win - Think Before You Lash Out - "If we are serious about taking the war to the enemy, it is time to look ..."
The First Fight Against Fascism - We must remember the Spanish Civil War also.
Arguing Victory - "... Each nation who fought against fascist tyranny in WWII brought with it part of whole needed to defeat that evil..."
War, Glory, Honor and Remembrance - "War is a brutal and savage insult on human society..."
Casualty... in time of war, those in power are even more inclined to
hide the truth, since that truth is often manifest in the most gruesome and
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