Thursday, May 31, 2018

August 11, 1941: Rita Hayworth in Life


Monday 11 August 1941

Rita Hayworth, 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Rita Hayworth in the 11 August 1941 issue of Life magazine. This shot by Bob Landry (there are a couple of slightly different versions) becomes a classic pin-up of World War II soldiers, second only to a Betty Grable photo from 1943.

Eastern Front: Adolf Hitler on 11 August 1941 reiterates that he wants the Wehrmacht to take Kiev before advancing on Moscow. To do this, Army Group Center is to divert forces to the south. With much grumbling and half-hearted cooperation, General Guderian and the other generals comply.

In the Far North sector, Finnish 15th Division, with 10th Division, capture Khitola (Khityola) just northwest of Lake Ladoga. This forces Soviet 142nd Rifle and 198th Motorized Division to withdraw into a "motti" (surrounded fortress) on the shores of Lake Ladoga. The Soviets there can serve as a thorn in the side of the Finnish advance toward Leningrad, with the availability of escape over the lake. In the center of the Karelian Isthmus, Finnish troops of IV Corps take Vuosalmi.

Finnish Group J of III Corps continues a rapid advance from Kestenga toward the Murmansk railway. Today, following the embankment of a spur line of the railway, it reaches the vicinity of the narrows between Yelovoye Lake and Lebedevo Lake. At this point, about 20 miles southwest of Loukhi, the Soviets make a stand and bring the Finns to a grinding halt. The Soviets are bringing in the 88th Rifle Division from Archangel (Arkhangel'sk). Ordinarily, the arrival of one rifle division on the main front would mean little, but in the far north, it can have a huge impact. The Germans know something is up because they have been monitoring frantic Soviet radio traffic in the area, but they don't know what. The only question is if the Soviet defenders on the spot can hold out until the reinforcements arrive in a few days.

Another Finnish advance by Group F a little further south has become stalled at the Kis Kis River line on the Korpiyarvi-Ukhta Road. The Finns are attempting some probing attacks, but there are no signs of weakness.

In the Army Group North sector, the Germans continue pushing across the Luga River toward Leningrad.

In the Army Group Center sector, Red Army counterattacks continue at Yelnya. Guderian continues sending his panzers south to Gomel.

In the Army Group South sector, the Hungarian air force attacks Nikolayev. They manage to destroy a key bridge which eliminates a prime escape route for retreating Soviet soldiers (there are only three crossings on the entire southern section of the Dnepr River).

Soviet auxiliary river gunboats Issa, Plyussa, and Surop are lost today while in action on rivers within the Soviet Union. Soviet monitor SB-37 (Zhemchuzin) is heavily damaged by German panzers and artillery on the Dnepr River. SB-37 is a total write-off and scuttled on the 12th. Incidentally, there is some confusion about this sinking of SB-37. It often is confused with a completely separate Soviet warship sunk in the Arctic Ocean by U-451 on 10 August (that one is Soviet corvette  Zhemchug No. 27).

Newsweek, 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Newsweek, 11 August 1941. "U.S. Women Answer Call of National Defense."

European Air Operations: There is little activity during the day aside from training and the usual reconnaissance.

After dark, RAF Bomber Command attacks Rotterdam, Krefeld, and Monchengladbach.

The Rotterdam raid is completed with 31 Hampden and 3 Wellington bombers. They target the dockyards. All of the bombers, including another bomber that goes to Antwerp, return safely. This raid is notable because Hampdens of RAF No. 50 Squadron drop 500 pounds of teas intended for civilians as a "gift" from the Dutch East Indies.

The Krefeld raid is made with 20 Hampdens and 9 Whitleys. They target railway marshaling yards. Bombing accuracy is terrible due to clouds over the target, and only one bomber even claims to hit the target. All of the planes return safely.

The Monchengladbach raid is completed with 29 Wellington bombers. This raid is almost identical to the Krefeld raid, as the bombers target railway yards, find cloud cover, and bomb at random.

The RAF uses two Wellington bombers to test out the new Gee navigational device during this raid. The test is a success, and plans are made to perform further tests over the next two nights.


Under Secretary Welles, Time, 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Time, 11 August 1941. "[Sumner] Welles, Under Secretary of State."

Battle of the Baltic: Soviet minesweeper T-213 "Krambol" hits a mine and sinks off Cape Yuminda.

The Soviets use motor torpedo boats to intentionally sink Soviet destroyer Karl Marx at Loxa Bight, Estonia. It was damaged by the Luftwaffe on 8 August 1941.

Before dawn, German 2nd S-Boat Flotilla lays 24 mines in minefield Allirahu in Riga Bay. After dark, German 5th M-Boat Flotilla lays 45 EMC mines in minefield Pinnassi I, Pinnassi II, and Pinnassi III off Cape Domesnas.

Winston Churchill and Lord Beaverbrook, 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"The Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and Lord Beaverbrook leave HMS PRINCE OF WALES to say good-bye to President Roosevelt aboard USS AUGUSTA. This photograph was taken during a series of meetings between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill on board HMS PRINCE OF WALES and USS AUGUSTA in the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland, 9 - 12 August 1941." © IWM (A 4862).

Battle of the Atlantic: The Luftwaffe (a Focke-Wulf FW-200 of I,/KG40) attacks and sinks 2852-ton British freighter Empire Hurst in the Atlantic about 100 miles southwest of the southern tip of Portugal. Empire Hurst had fallen behind Convoy HG-70 and was being escorted by anti-submarine trawler HMS Lady Hogarth. There are 26 deaths and nine survivors.

Italian submarine Guglielmo Marconi I (Lt Cdr Pollina) attacks Convoy HG-70 about 100 miles off the southern Portuguese coast. It misses and then is attacked by Royal Navy corvette Convolvulus and sloop Deptford, but the submarine escapes.

German E-boats attack shipping in the Thames Estuary. S-49 (LtzS Günther) of the 4th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla sinks 1548-ton British freighter Sir Russell near No. 10 Buoy. Everyone survives. S-20 also claims to sink a freighter, but there is no confirmation of this.

Norwegian 124-ton wooden transport Cito hits a mine and sinks in the Sognefjord (north of Bergen). This apparently is a German mine left over from the Battle of Norway in 1940, though it may also have been a defensive mine laid later.

U-93 and U-94 intercept Convoy HG-69 west of Gibraltar, but the escorts force them to abandon any attacks.

U-501, operating west of Ireland, spots outbound convoy ONS-4 and reports it to BdU in Paris.

An RAF De Havilland DH.91 Albatross AX903 on a cargo flight from Ayr, Scotland to Reykjavik, Iceland spots a U-boat on the way and reports its position to Reykjavik. After landing and while slowing, the Albatross' landing gear collapses and the plane skids off the airfield and hits a Fairy Battle aircraft parked by the runway. The Albatross is written off, but the crew survives.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Tigris is based in Murmansk for the time being. Today, it leaves on patrol.

Minelayer Port Quebec lays minefield SN.22A in the North Sea.

Convoy ON-6 departs from Liverpool.

Royal Navy corvette HMS Bellwort and minesweeper Ipswich are launched and submarine Unsparing is laid down.

Canadian minesweepers Gananoque and Nipigon are commissioned, corvette Moncton is launched.

US Navy cruisers USS Belleau Wood and Independence are laid down as Cleveland-class cruisers. They are later diverted into becoming light fleet carriers.

U-655 (Kapitänleutnant Adolf Dumrese) is commissioned and U-416 is laid down.

Rubber Products Co., 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Exterior view of Rubber Products Co. at 114 East G Street, in Wilmington." [photo dated August 11, 1941]. Note the vintage hot rod in the drive and the Wilmington Oil Field rig in the background, a common sight in Los Angeles, California then. Source: waterandpower.org.

Rubber Products Co. in 2018, 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The same building as seen on Google street view, 31 May 2018. Looks like the building behind the old rubber store has survived and the power lines, too. The oil rig is long gone, though.

Battle of the Mediterranean: The Luftwaffe bombs and badly damages Royal Navy net-layer Protector with an aerial torpedo while en route from Port Said to Alexandria. Corvette HMS Salvia takes Protector in tow back to Port Said, where they arrive in the evening.

The Red Sea is full of German mines, and US ships have been traversing it since the last Italian port in East Africa fell. Today, one of those US freighters, 5685-ton Iberville, hits one and is damaged. It makes it to port.

Operation Guillotine, the British reinforcement of Cyprus, continues as Australian sloop HMAS Parramatta departs from Port Said for Famagusta.

At Malta, Luftwaffe Junkers Ju-87 reappear over Malta for the first time in weeks. Nine Stukas attack the Ta Qali area and Grand Harbour, damaging some warehouses and private dwellings. The RAF claims two of the Stukas. Rome radio claims that this small raid is a massive success, stating "A veritable shower of bombs was rained down on [Luqa] aerodrome" and "The attack on the naval base of Valletta was extremely effective. Loud explosions were heard and huge fires visible from a great distance were started."

Battle of the Black Sea: Soviet submarines M-33, SHCH-211, and SHCH-301 are all in operation today. M-33 unsuccessfully attacks Romanian submarine Delfinul off Constanza, SHCH-211 (Lt Cdr Devyatko) lands two spies off Varna, Bulgaria, and SHCH-301 (Lt Cdr Grashchev) unsuccessfully attacks Romanian convoys off Landsort, Romania.

War Crimes: RAF  Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bombers of RAF No. 830 Squadron based on Malta attack shipping in Syracuse harbor on Sicily. This is a standard target for the RAF which they hit every week, and sometimes daily. This attack is slightly different than the norm because one of the torpedoes sink 13,060-ton Italian hospital ship California (formerly SS Albania pre-1930). The wreck is in 30 feet of water.

While all sorts of factors are usually taken into account to "define away" war crimes ("It was a mistake" "I was aiming at something else") and they seldom are prosecuted, sinking a hospital ship - they are clearly marked - is a war crime.

Rita Hayworth, 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Rita Hayworth.

Anglo/US Relations: President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill spend their third day (second official day of the Atlantic Conference) conferring at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. They meet twice aboard Roosevelt's ship USS Augusta (CA-31). The British War Cabinet is kept apprised of developments and writes in the Minutes:
America is as yet far from being prepared for active operations on a war footing. While the American Navy is in a more advanced state of readiness, the building up, training and equipping of the American army and air corps is still in embryo and the shortage of equipment is acute.
The bottom line, the Minutes reveal, is that American needs come first, and then surplus production will be sent to Great Britain.
Most of the real work of the meeting, of course, is being done by their staffs throughout the day.

Rita Hayworth, 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Life magazine, 11 August 1941. This is the issue that contains the famous Rita Hayworth pinup that adorns countless barracks around the world.

British Military: King George VI, who arrived at Scapa Flow on 9 August, continues his inspection tour of the naval base. Today, he visits destroyers, including HMS Charlestown and Eclipse, and also destroyer depot ship Tyne. He then boards on destroyer Inglefield at 12:30 to Scrabster, returning to Scapa Flow later in the day.

Japanese Military: The new chief of staff of the Japanese Navy Combined Fleet is Matome Ugaki.

Rita Hayworth, 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Rita in an out-take from her Life photo-shoot. I don't know, I kind of like this one better than the cover version they chose.

French Military: General Huntziger, Minister of War who signed the armistice with Germany in 1940, becomes Commander-in-Chief of Vichy French ground forces.

US Military: Lieutenant Colonel Harold D. Shannon, executive officer of the US Marine Corps 6th Defense Battalion, arrives at Midway. He is there to prepare for his battalion to relieve the 3rd Defense Battalion.

Pin-ups, Adak Island, Aleutians, Life magazine, 1943 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A barracks on Adak Islands, Aleutians, 1943 (Dmitri Kessel—Time & Life Pictures: Getty Images).

Polish Army: General Wladyslaw Anders, released from the Soviet Lubianka prison in Moscow on 4 August, is made commander of a new Polish Army in the Soviet Union and begins collecting Polish POWs in Buzuluk and Totskoye. It is estimated that 1.7 million men are POWs, but, in fact, about a third of those are dead from mistreatment. Those that survive and are able to serve, about 400,000 men, are given amnesty and struggle to get to the collection points in rags and using whatever transportation they can find. The Poles forming the army notice a surprising absence of officers among the released Polish POWs. Poles in the prison camps who are not soldiers are sent to work on collective farms (Kolkhoz) in Tashkent and Bukhara and the southern Aral regions.

China: Japanese bombers attack Chungking again. The Japanese lose another three out of four I-153 fighters sent up to intercept them. In a subsequent action, the last of the I-153 fighters is destroyed. The Chinese manage to shoot down one plane.

Holocaust: Vichy France forbids Jews from serving as doctors.

Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, 11 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in production on MGM's "Babes On Broadway," 11 August 1941 (The Judy Garland Experience). 

American Homefront: Glenn Miller and his Orchestra record "Elmer's Tune," written by Elmer Albrecht, Dick Jurgens, and Sammy Gallop. Previous versions of the song did not have lyrics, so Miller has the song's publisher, Robbins Music Company, hire Sammy Gallop to write some lyrics. Ray Eberle does the lead vocals, backed by the Modernairnes. Released later in the year, it hits No. 1 on the Billboard Best Selling Retail Records chart of 13 December 1941 and spends 20 weeks in total on the chart. It becomes a classic of the big band era.

Actress Rita Hayworth (born Margarita Carmen Cansino) appears in a classic spread in Life magazine. One of the shots inside, of Rita on a bed dressed in a satin negligee and black lace bodice sitting on a bed, becomes the most requested pin-up for GI's during World War II until a 1943 shot of actress Betty Grable appears. Hayworth broke through as a major film star with "Only Angels Have Wings" (1939) and is at the peak of her fame during World War II. Incidentally, that nightgown in the photo is preserved and sold for $26,888 in 2002.

Pin-ups, Aleutian Islands, 1943, Life magazine, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Adak island barracks in the Aleutians, 1943, showing typical pin-ups. That appears to be a different Rita Hayworth pin-up on the right (Dmitri Kessel—Time & Life Pictures: Getty Images).


August 1941

August 1, 1941: More Executions on Crete
August 2, 1941: Uman Encirclement Closes
August 3, 1941: Bishop von Galen Denounces Euthanasia
August 4, 1941: Hitler at the Front
August 5, 1941: Soviets Surrender at Smolensk 
August 6, 1941: U-Boats in the Arctic
August 7, 1941: Soviets Bomb Berlin
August 8, 1941: Uman Pocket Captured
August 9, 1941: Atlantic Conference at Placentia Bay
August 10, 1941: Soviet Bombers Mauled Over Berlin
August 11, 1941: Rita Hayworth in Life
August 12, 1941: Atlantic Charter Announced
August 13, 1941: The Soybean Car
August 14, 1941: The Anders Army Formed
August 15, 1941: Himmler at Minsk
August 16, 1941: Stalin's Order No. 270
August 17, 1941: Germans in Novgorod
August 18, 1941: Lili Marleen
August 19, 1941: Convoy OG-71 Destruction
August 20, 1941: Siege of Leningrad Begins
August 21, 1941: Stalin Enraged
August 22, 1941: Germans Take Cherkassy
August 23, 1941: Go to Kiev
August 24, 1941: Finns Surround Viipuri
August 25, 1941: Iran Invaded
August 26, 1941: The Bridge Over the Desna
August 27, 1941: Soviets Evacuate Tallinn
August 28, 1941: Evacuating Soviets Savaged
August 29, 1941: Finns take Viipuri
August 30, 1941: Operation Acid
August 31, 1941: Mannerheim Says No



2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

August 10, 1941: Soviet Bombers Mauled Over Berlin


Sunday 10 August 1941

German soldier attacking Soviet BA-10 armored car, 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
One of the most dangerous activities on the battlefield is to attack an armored vehicle (such as this BA-10 armored car). SS-Unterscharfuhrer Josef Wilhelm "Bubi" Burose attempts it here. Burose gets shot in the head for his pains. KIA on 10 August 1941.

Eastern Front: Weather is poor across much of the front on 10 August 1941, particularly in the north. It is high summer, and when it isn't stifling hot, it is raining in torrents. This makes the roads muddy and briefly impassable in places. In general, Soviet vehicles handle the mud better, as the peasant Panje carts that are built somewhat like boats can skim along the top of muddy quagmires while German trucks and heavy horse-drawn wagons bog down. Soviet tanks also do better in the mud, having broader tracks that give more of a grip. Overall, the Germans retain the advantage, but poor weather and attrition due to the conditions and battles whittles that advantage down noticeably.

Finnish soldiers attacking a Soviet bunker, 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
In a more successful attack than Bubi Burose's tank attack, shown above, here Finnish soldiers capture a Soviet bunker. Note the Soviet soldier with his hands up to the left. 10 August 1941 (AP Photo). 

In the Far North sector, Finnish Group J of III Corps continues advancing relatively quickly from Kestenga toward the Murmansk railway line at Loukhi. The Finns have their choice of an improved road or a spur line of the railway to advance through the forest and choose to focus on following the train tracks. The Finns are approaching the narrows between Yelovoye Lake and Lebedevo Lake and are about 25 miles southwest of Loukhi. Soviet resistance on the road and between the road and railway, however, is growing as the Soviets bring in reinforcements - which is a common theme in all advances in the sector.

In the Army Group North sector, the German offensive toward Novgorod at the northern tip of Lake Ilmen faces strong opposition. The Germans hope to create a continuous front, using the lake, between Novgorod and Staraya Russa at the southern tip of the lake - but the Soviets have good defensive positions. If the Germans succeed, they can wheel directly to the north and invest Leningrad. At the close of the day, General Halder notes in the OKH war diary that "The attack is making slow progress in bad weather and against very stiff enemy opposition." Another attack by Panzer Group 4 on the Luga River is doing a bit better.

SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Schutzpolizei Arthur Mülverstedt, Commander of the 4th SS Polizei Division, is killed in action by artillery fire - a growing Soviet priority, as Stalin believes wholeheartedly that artillery is the "Queen of Battle."

German soldier driving halftrack, 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A German half-track driver, August 1941 (AP Photo).

In the Army Group Center sector, German XXIV Corps of Second Army is attacking but the Soviets are adroitly juggling their forces to meet successive attacks. This leaves some areas very poorly defended, such as between Bryansk and Roslavl - but the Germans have to move quickly to take advantage of the gaps. The Soviets always seem to plug the holes at the last minute, a pattern that is becoming irritating to the German high command.

There are bypassed Soviet laggards throughout the German area of control. General Ivan Boldin, the deputy to the (deceased) General Dmitry Pavlov, leads one such rag-tag group of 1650 officers and men in the Western Front sector. Boldin today, after a 45-day trek, leads his men back across to Soviet lines east of Smolensk. Stavka Order No. 270 praises Boldin. The Soviets turn Boldin into a propaganda hero. His boss Pavlov is shot for his troops' failures, while Boldin becomes a big hero - such are the fortunes of war.

In the Army Group South sector, the Romanian 4th Army continue to tighten their grip on Odessa. Romanian 7th Division of 3rd Corps takes Elssas and 1st Guard Division also moves up. Romanian 1st Armored Division of 5th Corps breaks through the outer Soviet line and closes on the second line of defense. The Romanians are making ground, but the Soviet defenders exhibit excellent morale and tenacity that does not bode well for a quick capture of the port.

General Halder notes in the OKH war diary that "the situation on the northern wing ... (Sixth Army) had badly deteriorated." He notes with some surprise that "the enemy is attempting to cross the Dniepr." This should not be, as it is the Germans who are supposed to be advancing, not the Soviets. He notes many "enemy railroad movement from Poltava to Kiev," usually a sign of a coming enemy offensive. Given the precarious situation, Field Marshal von Rundstedt prudently postpones an attack on Kiev and orders Sixth Army to go over to the defensive - a first in the southern sector.

Finnish soldier standing guard, 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A Finnish soldier stands guard beside a lake. Kiestinki, White Karelia, August 10, 1941 (SA-Kuva). 

After dark, the Soviets again attempt to bomb Berlin, as they did on 7 August. The first mission went smoothly, but this one... not so much. The Red Air Force, in order to restore its honor after the navy staged the first (moderately successful) raid, assembles a grandiose unit of twin-engine Yermolayev Yer-2 medium bombers and 14 four-engine Petlyakov Pe-8 (TB-7) long-range bombers at Pushkino Airfield in Leningrad. Problems begin right from the start when only three of the overloaded Yer-2 bombers can even get off the ground, while one of the Pe-8s suffers catastrophic engine failure upon liftoff and crashes, killing all 11 crewmen.

After that inauspicious beginning, things just get progressively for the Red Air Force crews. Soviet Flak gunners shoot down one of the planes, another turns back with engine trouble, and other misfortunes plague the flight. Ultimately, eleven Pe-8s and three Yer-2s struggle to Berlin, but, unlike the first raid, the Berlin air defenses are primed for revenge. Flak damage and more engine problems take their toll on the way home, and only 7 of the original 17 planes makes it back to Leningrad. Overall, it is a disaster, mangling Stalin's supply of big bombers and depressing morale among the crews tasked with flying future missions.

The Luftwaffe sends an air raid over Moscow, but it is a shadow of earlier efforts, more a nuisance raid than a grand London-style attack. Overall, the Luftwaffe claims 54 Soviet planes today. Over most areas of the front, the Luftwaffe can achieve air superiority at will - but it is a very long front, and the Luftwaffe can't be everywhere at the same time.

Petlyakov Pe-8 (TB-7) 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A Petlyakov Pe-8 (TB-7). Eleven of these long-range, four-engine bombers bomb Berlin on 10 August 1941. The Pe-8 is the only 4-engine bomber used by the Red Air Force during World War II.

European Air Operations: It is a quiet day in the air in Northwest Europe. The RAF sends six Blenheim bombers on a Roadstead sweep over the French coast, losing two planes. The bombers claim hits on three ships at Gravelines.

 Soviet submarine S-6 off the coast of Sweden, sunk 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Wreck of what is believed to be Soviet submarine S-6 off the coast of Sweden (@EPA).

Battle of the Baltic: Soviet submarine S-6 (Lt Cdr Kuligin) hits a mine and sinks southeast of the Swedish island of Oeland around this date. (The wreck of what is believed to be S-6 is found in 2012 by civilian divers).

Soviet minesweeper T-201 "Zaryad" his a mine off Suursaari while escorting a convoy from Tallinn to Kronstadt. The mine explodes, sinking T-201 and damaging 7484-ton troopship Vyacheslav Molotov, which has thousands of wounded men aboard.

Soviet submarine S-4 (Lt Cdr Abrosimov) attacks a large tanker off the Polish coast but misses.

According to some sources, Soviet submarine SC-307 (Lt. Cmdr. Petrov) sinks U-144 (Kptlt. Mittelstaedt) today. Other sources state this occurs on 9 August. The submarine sinks west of Hiiumaa, Estonia. All 28 on board perish.

A Soviet convoy departs from Revel carrying an estimated 3500 Soviet troops. It proceeds to Suursaari and then Kronstadt, Kotlin Island.

 Soviet submarine S-6 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Soviet submarine S-6.

Battle of the Atlantic: In the far north, German destroyers continue their aggressive patrols.  Z4 Richard Beitzen, Z10 Hans Lody, and Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt, operating off the Kola Peninsula, use their guns to sink Soviet guard ship Tuman DK-10.

U-451 (Kptlt. Eberhard Hoffmann), on its first patrol out of Kirkenes, torpedoes and sinks 441-ton Soviet patrol boat SKR-27 "Zhemchug" west of Kanin (between Cape Svyatoy Nos and Cape Kanin Nos). By some accounts, it is a 550-ton corvette. All 61 crew on board the Zhemchug perish.

German 460-ton fishing trawler M-1102 HAW Müller sinks off Lindesnes, Vest-Agder, in southern Norway. By some accounts, this is due to a mine laid by the RAF, by other, it is due to RAF bombing. Some other Danish fishing boats also go missing around this time, perhaps for the same reason (whatever it is).

The RAF bombs and damages German patrol boat V.1506 near Ostend, Belgium.

German E-boat S-49 torpedoes and sinks British freighter Sir Russell off Dungeness in the English Channel. Some sources place this sinking on 11 August.

Damaged 1392-ton Norwegian freighter Dagny I, in tow of trawler Leicester City, sinks between the Faroes and Scotland. All of the crew are picked up by Leicester City.

U-79 (Kptlt. Wolfgang Kaufmann), on its second patrol out of Lorient, spots Allied Convoy HG-69 and reports it to BdU in Paris, which redirects U-boats to intercept it.

American Task Group TG.2.5, on a neutrality patrol, arrives in Bermuda. It is led by aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.

Convoy HX-144 departs from Halifax bound for Liverpool, Convoy SC-40 departs from Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia bound for Liverpool.

U-440 is launched.

U-440, circa 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
U-440 (shown) is launched on 10 August 1941.

Battle of the Mediterranean: Destroyers HMS Decoy and Havock depart Alexandria for the nightly supply run to Tobruk. They complete the mission and return without incident.

The Luftwaffe attacks Alexandria, Suez, Port Said, and Ismailia after dark.

At Malta, morale is a huge concern of the British administration. Mail service has been a priority because many soldiers have loved ones back in England who are being subjected to Luftwaffe bombing (though not so much recently). Accordingly, Governor Dobbie sends a message to the War Department in London requesting an official Post Office Section, staffed by experienced postal employees, stating: "Prompt delivery and despatch of the very limited and intermittent mail is considered absolutely essential for the maintenance of morale."

A Maryland on photo reconnaissance crashes on approach at Malta due to engine failure, killing two of the crew and injuring a third.

SS Kriegsberichter Fritz Mielert, KIA 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
SS Kriegsberichter Fritz Mielert, KIA August 10, 1941

Battle of the Pacific: Soviet submarine M-63 hits a mine and sinks off Vladivostok. Everyone aboard perishes. Odds are good that this is a "friendly" mine.

Spy Stuff: FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover announces that his organization has uncovered German plots throughout Latin America - in Argentia, Chile, and Cuba. The FBI isn't really equipped for such international investigations, and there is some doubt in retrospect whether these "plots" are actually fabrications by British Intelligence to create an atmosphere of crisis in Washington and the Americas. However, MI6 does its work extremely artfully and knows how to pull off "Black Ops" without being caught.

Allied/Turkish Relations: The Britsh and Soviet Union submit identical statements to the Turkish foreign embassy. Both countries agree to go to the assistance of Turkey and "observe the territorial integrity of the Turkish republic." It is an odd statement that is sort of a mirror image of the Tripartite Pact - except Turkey does not sign anything. Hitler still holds out high hopes that he can draw Turkey into the Axis by dangling the chance for it to even old scores with old enemy Russia, but the Turks officially are maintaining a purely neutral stance (though the British strongly suspect that it was aiding the Vichy French during the recent campaign in the Levant).

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill attend services aboard HMS Prince of Wales, 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill attend services aboard HMS Prince of Wales, 10 August 1941.

Anglo/US Relations: It is day two of the Atlantic Conference at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland (it officially opens today). Yesterday Prime Minister Churchill visited President Roosevelt's ship, so today Roosevelt returns the favor and boards Royal Navy battleship Prince of Wales. They attend a prayer service together. As Churchill later recalls:
This service was felt by us all to be a deeply moving expression of the unity of faith of our two peoples, and none who took part in it will forget the spectacle presented that sunlit morning on the crowded quarterdeck – the symbolism of the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes draped side by side on the pulpit; the American and British chaplains sharing in the reading of the prayers; the highest naval, military, and air officers of Britain and the United States grouped in one body behind the President and me; the close-packed ranks of British and American sailors, completely intermingled, sharing the same books and joining fervently together in the prayers and hymns familiar to both.
After a brief inspection topside, Roosevelt returns to his heavy cruiser USS Augusta (CA-31) aboard destroyer USS McDougal (DD-358). Churchill then visits the Augusta and has dinner with the President.

NYC Detective examining body, 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A detective examining a body apparently in New York City, 10 August 1941 (unknown photographer in the Daily News).

Japanese Military: The Imperial Japanese Navy requisitions Japanese liner Kiki Maru for use as a hospital ship.

Japanese 16,975-ton liner Asama Maru, which got caught between Hawaii and San Francisco when the United States imposed its oil embargo, arrives back in Yokohama, Japan with all of her 98 passengers and cargo.

China: Japanese air raids on Chungking continue on a daily basis. The Chinese air force defenders, stuck with poor Soviet equipment and facing the superior Japanese Mitsubishi A6M fighter and fast bombers, is losing ground. Chinese Captain Ou Yangdeng (no. 7261) of the Chinese 21st PS is killed while flying with the remnants of the 5th PG. There is relief on the horizon for the Chinese, as the American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers" are starting to embark for China, but they are heading for Burma and will need months to work up into combat readiness.

Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Benny Goodman and his Orchestra on August 10, 1941, in the Chicago, Illinois Hotel Sherman.

American Homefront:  Queen Elizabeth makes a radio address over the NBC broadcasting system directed primarily toward American women. She quickly emphasizes the stakes:
Women and children have been killed and even the sufferers in hospitals have not been spared. Yet hardship has only steeled our hearts and strengthened our resolution.
The Queen praises the "many roles" that women play in the war effort and concludes with a plea "for our children":
The things for which we will fight to the death are no less sacred, and to my mind, at any rate, your generosity is born of your conviction that we fight to save a cause that is yours no less than ours; of your high resolve, however great the cost and however long the struggle, liberty, and freedom, human dignity and kindness shall not perish from the earth, I look to the day when we shall go forward, hand in hand, to build a better, a kinder, a happier world for our children, May God bless you all.
As with many themes enunciated during World War II, this resonates through subsequent decades.

Charles Lindbergh in the Washington Times Herald, 10 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The August 10, 1941 edition of The Washington D.C. Times Herald carries "Text of Lindbergh's Speech Charging Government." Charles Lindbergh has been giving speeches around the country on behalf of the America First movement.


August 1941

August 1, 1941: More Executions on Crete
August 2, 1941: Uman Encirclement Closes
August 3, 1941: Bishop von Galen Denounces Euthanasia
August 4, 1941: Hitler at the Front
August 5, 1941: Soviets Surrender at Smolensk 
August 6, 1941: U-Boats in the Arctic
August 7, 1941: Soviets Bomb Berlin
August 8, 1941: Uman Pocket Captured
August 9, 1941: Atlantic Conference at Placentia Bay
August 10, 1941: Soviet Bombers Mauled Over Berlin
August 11, 1941: Rita Hayworth in Life
August 12, 1941: Atlantic Charter Announced
August 13, 1941: The Soybean Car
August 14, 1941: The Anders Army Formed
August 15, 1941: Himmler at Minsk
August 16, 1941: Stalin's Order No. 270
August 17, 1941: Germans in Novgorod
August 18, 1941: Lili Marleen
August 19, 1941: Convoy OG-71 Destruction
August 20, 1941: Siege of Leningrad Begins
August 21, 1941: Stalin Enraged
August 22, 1941: Germans Take Cherkassy
August 23, 1941: Go to Kiev
August 24, 1941: Finns Surround Viipuri
August 25, 1941: Iran Invaded
August 26, 1941: The Bridge Over the Desna
August 27, 1941: Soviets Evacuate Tallinn
August 28, 1941: Evacuating Soviets Savaged
August 29, 1941: Finns take Viipuri
August 30, 1941: Operation Acid
August 31, 1941: Mannerheim Says No



2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

August 9, 1941: Atlantic Conference at Placentia Bay


Saturday 9 August 1941

HMS Prince of Wales enters Placentia Bay, 9 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
HMS Prince of Wales arrives at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 9 August 1941. In the background are ships of the US Navy, one of which carries President Franklin D. Roosevelt. (© IWM (A 4826)).

Eastern Front: In the Army Group North sector, German 16th Army begins an offensive on 9 August 1941 toward Kingisepp and Novgorod at the northern tip of Lake Ilmen. German troops already are in Staraya Russa to the south of Lake Ilmen, taking Novgorod would enable the Germans to use the lake as part of the German line. The 21st Infantry Division (General Sponheimer), reinforced by 424th Infantry Regiment of 126th Infantry Division, attacks east along the main road. The offensive advances five miles by nightfall in very rough and well-fortified country.

In the Army Group Center sector, the Soviets continue attacking the German "lightning rod" position at Yelnya. The Germans repulse the attacks after hard fighting.

In the Army Group South sector, the Uman pocket now has surrendered and the 100,000 prisoners are being processed prior to being sent to POW camps. Pursuant to orders, General von Kleist is driving north toward Kiev in order to effect a junction with General Guderian's Panzer Group 2. While this makes some sense from an operational viewpoint because the possibility exists of surrounding a large force of Soviet troops, it also alters the initial Army Group South goal of heading south and taking the Crimea, an important objective in Hitler's view. The Stavka takes advantage of this new diversion and begins reinforcing the neck of the Crimea with 9th Coastal Army (independent) and remnants of other battered armies.

Romanian 4th Army makes some small gains in Ukraine, capturing the villages of Ponyatovka and Razdelnaya, while German 11th and 17th Armies attack along the southern Bug River. German 6th Army continues pressing forward in the Kiev area.

Flak gun at the Bug River, 9 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Flak gun at the Bug River in the Soviet Union, 9 August 1941. (Federal Archive, B 145 Bild-F016203-15).

European Air Operations: The RAF has a light schedule today. Its only mission is a Circus Operation with five Blenheim bombers against the Gosnay power station. The bombers get lost or are deterred by fighter opposition and bomb Gravelines instead. All return to base.

During this mission, RAF Wing Commander Douglas Bader in his Spitfire Mk VA shoots down a Bf 109 and maybe a second when apparently his plane is hit by either friendly or enemy fire (Bader himself thinks it is a mid-air collision, but other records indicate this is unlikely). Bader successfully parachutes out after losing his right prosthetic leg which becomes ensnared in the falling aircraft (it is later found in an open field but is too damaged to use again). No German pilot is awarded the victory, suggesting strongly that it may have been friendly fire, and there is some other inconclusive evidence to support that theory.

Bader has 22 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probable victories, one shared probable victory, and 11 enemy aircraft damaged.

The Germans treat Bader with great respect, as they are well aware of RAF propaganda heroes. JG 26 commander Adolf Galland has lunch with Bader but refuses Bader's request to "try out" a Bf 109, explaining, "It would pain me to have to chase you and shoot you down." The Germans are a little too respectful, it turns out, as Bader attempts to escape from his hospital but is quickly recaptured.

Hermann Goering, a former fighter pilot himself, personally authorizes the RAF to air-drop a replacement artificial leg for Bader at St. Omer airfield in the "Leg Operation" on 19 August. Galland later recalls that the British also drop bombs on the Luftwaffe airport in addition to the replacement leg.

Germans constructing a bridge at the Bug River, 9 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Oberstleutnant Hans von Ahlfen confers with officers about a bridge being built across the Bug River as part of the German advance, 9 August 1941 (Federal Archive, B 145 Bild-F016203-19).

Battle of the Baltic: Soviet submarine SC-307 (Treska), commanded by N. I. Petrov, torpedoes and sinks U-144 (Kptlt. Gert von Mittelstaedt), on its third patrol out of Stormelö, near the Estonian island of Hiiumaa (Dagö). All 28 men on U-144 perish. This is revenge for U-144 sinking 206-ton Soviet submarine M-78 on 23 June 1941, the only victory claimed by U-144.

Soviet auxiliary minesweeper T-487 sinks today from unknown causes.

German 210-ton freighter Gertrude III hits a mine and sinks off Windau/Ventspils, Latvia.

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at Placentia Bay, 9 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at Placentia Bay, 9 August 1941.

Battle of the Atlantic: The Germans continue their aggressive patrols in the far north at the Kola Inlet, sending a destroyer force (Hans Lody, Freidrich Eckholdt, and Richard Beitzen) that sinks Soviet patrol ship SKR.12. The Soviets, as they have done elsewhere when the Germans begin operations in a new area, have reinforced the area and now are able to fight back. They furiously attack the German ships with artillery and air attacks and force them to withdraw. Destroyer Richard Beitzen is damaged by near misses but makes it back to port with the other ships.

Royal Navy destroyer HMS Croome rams and sinks Italian submarine Maggiore Baracca northeast of the Azores.

Some sources state that U-206 (ObltzS Herbert Opitz), on its first patrol out of Trondheim, sinks 202-ton British fishing trawler Ocean Victor today. Other sources claim that Ocean Victor is sunk by the Luftwaffe. In any event, Ocean Victor sinks southeast of Iceland roughly halfway between Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

The Luftwaffe bombs and sinks 2345-ton British freighter Cordene, which is traveling with Convoy FN-503 a few miles east of Cromer in the North Sea. Escorting destroyer HMS Electra, on its first escort mission after a refit, picks up the entire crew and takes them to Scapa Flow.

The Luftwaffe bombs and sinks Norwegian 1392-ton freighter Dagny about 20 km east of the southern Faroe Islands. Dagny is under tow of trawler Leicester City when it is attacked. There are two deaths, the rest of the remaining 61 crew and passengers on board are picked up by the trawler.

The Luftwaffe bombs and damages 868-ton British freighter Glendalough near where the Cordene is sunk off Cromer. Another ship tows Glendalough to Yarmouth Roads for emergency repairs, then to Hull for permanent repairs.

Royal Navy gunboat MGB.62 collides with another gunbat, MGB-67, in the North Sea and sinks.

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at Placentia Bay, 9 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Churchill and Roosevelt aboard USS Augusta, 9 August 1941. Roosevelt, wearing a naval uniform, likes to call himself "former naval person" in his regular cables to Roosevelt.

Norwegian submarine B.1 has an explosion in her engine room caused by her battery at Blyth. The explosion sets off some ammunition, causing extensive damage. The submarine is already under repair and this just adds to its time in the shipyard.

A commercial flight between London and Lisbon spots an unidentified freighter west of La Rochelle. The Royal Navy sends multiple ships out to investigate from Gibraltar and passing convoys, but none finds the ship.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Severn spots a submarine, apparently Italian, several hundred miles west of Tangier in the Atlantic. The Italian submarine apparently notices it is being watched because it immediately submerges. Neither submarine launches an attack.

Convoy HG-70 departs from Gibraltar bound for Liverpool.

Royal Navy corvette HMS Cowslip (Lt. Frederick Granger) is commissioned, minesweeping trawler Shiant is launched.

U-267 and U-360 are laid down.

Star Weekly magazine, 9 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Star Weekly magazine, August 9, 1941. Star Weekly is a publication of the Toronto Star.

Battle of the Mediterranean: Royal Navy destroyers HMS Jervis and Kingston make a supply run from Alexandria to Mersa Matruh, while destroyers Decoy and Havock make a supply run from Alexandria to Tobruk.

 At Malta, an RAF No. 69 Maryland on patrol over Sicily drops a few bombs on August, damaging some buildings.

Air Marshal Arthur Coningham arrives in Egypt from London and takes command of RAF No. 204 Group in North Africa.

Earl Oliver Hurst, "Cream Puff Sailor," Collier's, 9 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Earl Oliver Hurst, "Cream Puff Sailor," Collier's, August 9, 1941.

Anglo/US Relations: Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales arrives in Placentia Bay carrying British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the Atlantic Conference (codenamed Riviera). President Roosevelt has been waiting there for Churchill aboard heavy cruiser USS Augusta for a couple of days idling his time by fishing off the forecastle. The two men quickly get down to business. Meeting on Augusta over lunch and dinner, Churchill and Roosevelt hammer out any remaining issues concerning the Atlantic Charter which the two men intend to sign during the four-day conference. After dinner, Churchill returns to Prince of Wales. The top military staffs of the US and the UK get to know each other in a similar fashion.

US Secretary of State Cordell Hull gives a memorandum to Lord Halifax, the British Ambassador. It provides that Hull will confer with his counterpart in England (currently Anthony Eden) in the case of further Japanese military movements to the south (apparently meaning beyond French Indochina).

Finnish/Swedish Relations: A battalion of Swedish volunteers under Finnish command are ordered into the line in southern Finland facing the Soviet enclave of Hango.

British Military: King George VI arrives at Scapa Flow for an inspection.

The New Yorker, 9 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The New Yorker, August 9, 1941.

Japanese Military: The Imperial Japanese Navy requisitions 8606-ton freighter Kanto Maru and begins converting it into an armed auxiliary aircraft transport. The military version receives 120-mm (4.7-inch) guns at the bow and the stern.

The Imperial General Headquarters staff once again approves a strategy of attacking south toward the oil fields in Indonesia rather than attacking north into the USSR. Attacking the Soviet Union remains under consideration. However, the high command makes a firm decision to do nothing in that regard before the spring of 1942.

Holocaust: Germans execute 534 Jews in Kaunas.

American Homefront: Charles Lindbergh, a prominent figure in the America First anti-war movement, makes a speech in Cleveland that is broadcast over the radio. He warns of interventionists planning "incidents and situations" that will lead the US intentionally into war "under the guise of defending America."

Warner Bros. releases "Manpower," directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, and George Raft. The film received a lot of publicity during filming due to a reported fistfight on the set between Raft and Robinson, reportedly due to Raft's resentment at Robinson's late hiring which made Robinson the headliner instead of Raft (this may all be studio fakery, though, because it rather suspiciously mirrors a film plot point). Raft turned down "The Maltese Falcon" to make "Manpower," a pretty poor career decision, as "Falcon" made Humphrey Bogart a major film star after years of being just a character actor. "Manpower" goes on to become a box office hit, though it gets mixed reviews and never achieves the rank of a true classic in most filmgoers' eyes.

Saturday Evening Post, 9 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Saturday Evening Post, August 9, 1941, "Dunked Under Water."

The Looney Tunes cartoon "We, the Animals Squeak" is released on 9 August 1941. It is a colorized Looney Tunes cartoon starring Porky Pig. The cartoon is directed by Bob Clampett. The voices are performed by Mel Blanc, Sara Berner, Billy Bletcher and Michael Maltese. This is one of the Porgy Pig cartoons that is colorized. "We, the Animals Squeak" is a parody of the 1930s radio program, "We the People," an early reality program where people would share unusual stories with the audience. Porky Pig is the program's moderator.


August 1941

August 1, 1941: More Executions on Crete
August 2, 1941: Uman Encirclement Closes
August 3, 1941: Bishop von Galen Denounces Euthanasia
August 4, 1941: Hitler at the Front
August 5, 1941: Soviets Surrender at Smolensk 
August 6, 1941: U-Boats in the Arctic
August 7, 1941: Soviets Bomb Berlin
August 8, 1941: Uman Pocket Captured
August 9, 1941: Atlantic Conference at Placentia Bay
August 10, 1941: Soviet Bombers Mauled Over Berlin
August 11, 1941: Rita Hayworth in Life
August 12, 1941: Atlantic Charter Announced
August 13, 1941: The Soybean Car
August 14, 1941: The Anders Army Formed
August 15, 1941: Himmler at Minsk
August 16, 1941: Stalin's Order No. 270
August 17, 1941: Germans in Novgorod
August 18, 1941: Lili Marleen
August 19, 1941: Convoy OG-71 Destruction
August 20, 1941: Siege of Leningrad Begins
August 21, 1941: Stalin Enraged
August 22, 1941: Germans Take Cherkassy
August 23, 1941: Go to Kiev
August 24, 1941: Finns Surround Viipuri
August 25, 1941: Iran Invaded
August 26, 1941: The Bridge Over the Desna
August 27, 1941: Soviets Evacuate Tallinn
August 28, 1941: Evacuating Soviets Savaged
August 29, 1941: Finns take Viipuri
August 30, 1941: Operation Acid
August 31, 1941: Mannerheim Says No



2018

Monday, May 28, 2018

August 8, 1941: Uman Pocket Captured


Friday 8 August 1941

Panzer.Kampfwagen III, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A Panzer.Kampfwagen III on 8 August 1941 near Kiestinki.

Eastern Front: In a little-known and sketchy incident, both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini come very close to death at the hands of one or more Soviet soldiers on 8 August 1941 - if some unverified accounts are to believed. It is possible that Hitler comes closer to an armed and unsubdued Soviet soldier today than he does at any other point while he is alive - and the incident receives no attention at all. Why and how this happens requires a little explaining.

The Germans captured Brest Fortress back near the border with Poland on 29 June. According to some accounts, the fortress held out for another month, but that is contradicted by the evidence. The Wehrmacht's 45th Infantry Division (Austrian) which subdued the fortress then moved east to join the general offensive by 2 July. Virtually all sources agree that Brest Fortress was solidly in German hands by the end of July, if not in June.

However, Brest Fortress was in ruins after multiple Luftwaffe raids and days of tank and artillery fire. There were lots of bombed-out areas that made good hiding places - collapsed rooms and the like. Apparently, one or more Soviet soldiers remained hidden in the ruins, undetected by the occupying Germans, long past the surrender in June (or July, if you like). There is an inscription on the fortress walls that is dated 7 July 1941 ("I'm dying but I won't surrender. Farewell, Motherland. 20.VII.41"), presumably made by a trapped and uncaptured Soviet soldier. So, there is proof of Soviet resistance extending into July, at least.

At this point, the story gets sketchy. Major Pyotr Gavrilov, later decorated as a Hero of the Soviet Union as if to stamp certainty on the later presence of unsubdued Soviet defenders, reportedly (everything about the details is uncertain) is captured only on 23 or 24 July (accounts vary on the exact date). That may be the end of Soviet resistance - but maybe not. Some believe that at least one Soviet soldier remains hidden even longer. And that's where Hitler and Mussolini (literally and figuratively) come in.

Hitler and Mussolini at Brest Fortress, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Adolf Hitler (center, in trench coat) and Benito Mussolini stroll through Brest Fortress, 8 August 1941.

After visiting the headquarters of Army Group Center and South on 6 and 7 August, respectively, Hitler decides to lead his fellow dictator on a tour of significant locations in the rear. It is a sort of sightseeing tour, designed to impress Mussolini with the mighty destructive power of the Wehrmacht. Today, 8 August 1941, the pair decide to visit Brest Fortress, which has received a great deal of attention in the international press during the first month of Operation Barbarossa. They come attended by the usual heavy security, walk through the fortress, and then leave.

Here is where the two stories intertwine. According to some accounts, only today are the final armed Soviet defenders rooted out of the bombed-out ruins of Brest Fortress. As noted, this coincides with Hitler's visit. Given Hitler's predilection for walking ahead of most of those accompanying him (as evidenced by photos of such walk-throughs by Hitler, including the one above), it is not beyond the realm of possibility that one of those hidden Soviet soldiers could have had a clear sight and gotten off a lucky shot at just the right moment. This would have altered history for both Germany and Italy and, really, the entire world.

But that doesn't happen. Hitler and Mussolini visit and then leave unharmed. And, the course of World War II continues on toward its inevitable conclusion.

Colonel General Georg Lindemann, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Colonel General Georg Lindemann (left), commander of German L Army Corps in 18th Army in Army Group North, 8 August 1941 (Gregor, Federal Archive, Bild 101I-212-0206-30).

In the Far North sector, The Finns consolidate their new holds on Kestenga and the northern shore of Lake Ladoga. Finnish Group J of 6th Division of III Corps (a reinforced regiment) Continues pursuing the retreating Soviets east past Kestenga. A good road and a railway line lead directly to the Murmansk railway a few dozen miles away, and prospects appear good for cutting that line and further isolating the Soviets from the West. The Soviets are frantically directing troops to Loukhi on the railway line, but there are few spare units to be found.

In the Army Group North sector, the Germans open an offensive against the Soviet Luga River defensive line. German 1 Panzer Division (Lieutenant General Friedrich Kirchner) and 6 Panzer Division (Major General Franz Landgraf) battle Soviet 111th and 125th Rifle Divisions. Other German troops in XXXXI and XXXVIII Corps advance to attempt to cut the Narva-Leningrad railroad.

In the Army Group Center sector, German XXIV Corps (General of Panzer Troops Geyr von Schweppenburg) eliminates a Soviet pocket at Roslavl and take 38,000 prisoners. The German 3rd Panzer Division (Lieutenant General Model) complains that it has to wait too long for supplies to arrive on the over-burdened railroads.

Interrogating a Soviet general captured at Uman, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A captured Soviet General of the Soviet 6th Army (Lt. General Ivan N. Musychenko) is interrogated near Uman, 8 August 1941. (Hübner, Federal Archive, Bild 146-1975-086-05A)

In the Army Group South sector, Soviet resistance at Uman ends. About 103,000 captured Soviet troops, the commanders of the 6th and 12th armies, four corps commanders, and 11 division commanders are among those waiting to be processed and sent to POW camps. General von Kleist redirects his Panzer Group 1 north toward Kieve to support Sixth Arm and form a pincer envelopment by meeting Guderian's Panzer Group 2 advancing from the north.

It is day three of the Romanian investment of the Soviet-held port of Odessa. Romanian 4th Army gradually extends its line to form a solid line around the city. Some sources claim that today is the real start of the Siege of Odessa and not 5 August. The surrender at Uman further isolates Odessa and makes any kind of relief increasingly unlikely.

German camouflage at Hamburg, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The RAF has been having difficulty in making accurate bombing attacks. This is due to many factors, including poor weather, crew fatigue, and German air defenses. One such reason is excellent German camouflage, as illustrated in these comparison photos of Hamburg. While it looks at first glance as if the photos are taken at completely different places, in fact, they are of the same place in Hamburg altered by means of floating decoys to look completely different.

European Air Operations: Activity is minimal during the day. After dark, RAF Bomber Command mounts two main operations against Kiel and Hamburg. The results of these raids suggest that the RAF may not have an accurate picture of the actual results it is producing.

The RAF sends 50 Hampden and 4 Whitley bombers to attack the submarine base at Kiel. It loses 2 Hampdens and one Whitley. The planes encounter heavy Flak. The bombs kill 13 people, including 11 Italian "guest workers" at a farm outside Kiel. German sources indicate that bombing accuracy is poor, which also is suggested from the fact that most of the casualties occur outside of Kiel in a rural area. However, the RAF's weekly summary report describes the attack thusly:
Excellent weather over Kiel on the [8th] enabled 88 aircraft accurately to bomb the’ Deutsche Werke Shipyards. Of the 104 tons of H.E. bombs and 4,836 incendiaries released, a number fell directly in the centre of the target, starting many fires; a particularly large fire was also observed on the south side of the city.
The discrepancy between ground sources and the RAF is unexplainable. However, a hint as to what is going on may be gleaned from the fact that the RAF soon will decide (with the Butts Report) that bombing accuracy is extremely poor, with most attacks failing to come within miles of the intended target.

The RAF sends 44 Wellingtons to attack the railway and shipping yards at Hamburg. One plane fails to return. Visibility is poor and few planes are able to attack. The RAF reports this attack as follow:
At Hamburg, however, on the same night, weather was bad and identification of objectives was almost impossible; except for bombbursts and fires, no results were observed.
There are five deaths and 8 injured at Hamburg, with 20 people made homeless. While the RAF believes that the Kiel raid was much more accurate than the Hamburg raid, in fact, more people are killed at Hamburg than within Kiel itself.

The RAF also sends seven Hampdens without loss to lay mines in the Frisian Islands, off Kiel, and in the Norwegian fjords.

Interrogating a Soviet general captured at Uman, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Questioning of the Russian Lieutenant General Ivan N. Musychenko (center), captured during the fighting at Uman, by officers of the Wehrmacht, 8 August 1941. (Hübner, Federal Archive, Bild 146-1992-081-13A).

Battle of the Baltic: The RAF bombs and damages 1065-ton Swedish freighter Venersborg in the Great Belt at the entrance to the Baltic. The Venersborg is towed to a Danish port.

The RAF bombs and sinks 2546-ton Danish freighter Venus at the mouth of the Schlei River off Schleswig-Holstein.

The Luftwaffe (Ju-88 aircraft of KGR.806 ) bombs and sinks Soviet Izyaslav-class destroyer Karl Marx in Loksa Bay near the Estonian capital of Tallinn (Reval).

Soviet destroyers Statny and Surovy park offshore in Moon Sound and shell German coastal battery Markgraf.

Soviet patrol vessel No. 410 and auxiliary minesweeper No. 76 are lost today from unknown causes, perhaps scuttling to avoid German capture.

German minelayers lay minefields D.10 to D.30 and Finnish minelayers lay minefields F-18 to F-22 in the Gulf of Finland.

Me-163 Komet, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Raketen-Jagdflugzeug (rocket fighter) Messerschmitt Me 163 A-V4 "Komet" (Kennung KE+SW) at its airfield Flugfeld, ca. 8 August 1941 (Federal Archive, Bild 146-1972-058-62).

Battle of the Atlantic: The Luftwaffe bombs and sinks 202-ton British fishing trawler Ocean Victor off Iceland. All 13 crew on the Ocean Victor perish. There is some dispute about this incident, as there is a possibility that U-206 (ObltzS Herbert Opitz) sinks the Ocean Victor on 9 August.

The Luftwaffe bombs and sinks British freighter Cordene in the North Sea. The ship is traveling with Convoy FN-503 when it is attacked. Everyone survives.

The Luftwaffe bombs Royal Navy minesweeper Selkirk and scores a near-miss. No leaks develop, so the minesweeper stays in service.

Convoy WS-8C (Winston Special) departs from the Clyde and heads to Scapa Flow as part of Operation Leapfrog. This is a scheduled operation to seize the Azores Islands. There are numerous landing ships, oilers, and freighters escorted by eight destroyers.

Royal Navy Anti-Submarine Warfare trawler Coverley (Lt. Robert R. Taylor) is commissioned and boom defense vessel Barbridge launched.

Canadian minesweepers HMCS Ganonque (Lt. Edward M. More) and Nipigon (Lt. Commander Clarence A. King) are commissioned.

U-627 is laid down.

HMS Thunderbolt, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
HMS Thunderbolt.

Battle of the Mediterranean: Operation Famagusta, the British reinforcement of Cyprus, continues when Royal Navy sloop Flamingo departs Port Saudi with 6676-ton transport Salamaua heading for Famagusta.

RAF Fulmar bombers based on Malta bomb Gerbini airfield on Malta. This raid causes fires at the airfield and apparently causes enough damage to prevent the Italian Regia Aeronautica from attacking Malta during the night.

RAF bombers attack the Corinth Canal.

The Luftwaffe bombs Ismailia, Port Said, and Suez during the night.

An Axis convoy of four freighters and four destroyers departs from Naples bound for Tripoli.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Thunderbolt arrives in Malta carrying aviation fuel.

Battle of the Black Sea: The Russian Danube Flotilla supports the Red Army's withdrawal past the Bug River Delta from today through 12 August.

Battle of the Indian Ocean: Convoy BA-4 departs from Bombay bound for Aden.

Léon Degrelle, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Walloon legion preparing to move to the East Front. In the center is Léon Degrelle. Brussels, August 8, 1941.

Partisans: Soviet Marshal Timoshenko, commanding the armies defending Moscow, issues a proclamation to all Soviet citizens behind enemy lines encouraging them to become partisans. He urges them to "wreak merciless vengeance on the enemy …. for the death of your children..." Given the style of the Wehrmacht's advance, which has been to drive east along the roads as fast as possible while bypassing Soviet troops in the forests and marshes, there is a large reservoir of potential Soviet manpower hidden to the west of the "front."

In Montenegro, General Alessandro Pirzio Biroli orders confiscation of insurgents' property. The revolt that began on 13 July still continues with little interference from the Italian occupation authorities. The Italians are assembling strong forces for a counter-offensive which include six divisions (Messina, Puglie, Pusteria, Taro, Venezia and Cacciatori delle Alpi),[32] two Blackshirts Legion (108 and 164), two combat groups (I group of Cavalry Regiment Cavalleggeri Guide and Skanderbeg)[33] and two battalions of border guard. While this is a formidable force, the territory is very rugged and difficult to subdue.

Anglo/US Relations: President Roosevelt continues waiting aboard a cruiser at Placentia Bay for the arrival of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard a battleship.

US/Japanese Relations: Talks continue between the US State Department and Japanese Ambassador Nomura in DC. The Japanese now are proposing a summit meeting between President Roosevelt and Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye, but US Secretary of State Cordell Hull merely agrees to take the proposal under consideration.

Leningrad camouflage, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Anticipating a siege, Soviet authorities have camouflaged a Bronze Horseman so that it cannot be seen by Luftwaffe bombers, August 8, 1941.

Soviet Military: The Russian Black Sea Fleet (Rear Admiral G. V. Zhukov) establishes a new task group to support army operations along the coast in the Black Sea. Part of the new task group is based at the besieged port of Odessa.

A big fan of artillery (he calls it the "Queen of battle"), Joseph Stalin orders the formation of eight Guards mortar regiments to operate Katyusha rocket launchers. These units will be placed with Guards formations, which are ordinary army units that have distinguished themselves in combat.

The Soviets officially form the Stavka of the Supreme High Command [Stavka Verkhnogo Glavnokomandovaniia - SVGK]. This replaces some previous temporary command arrangements and more closely resembles the command structure of previous wars. Stalin, of course, is the Supreme High Commander and uses the other members of the Stavka (such as General Georgy Zhukov) to submit ideas and act as troubleshooters to go to special Fronts and run special operations there.

German Military: At the top-secret research center at Peenemünde, a German island in the Baltic, the Ministry of Aviation makes the first powered test flight of the rocket-powered Me-163 V1 KE+SW. Test pilot Heini Dittmar flies the revolutionary plane with its Walter RI-203b engine and achieves speeds of over 800 km/hr. Dittmar will continue testing this prototype throughout the fall, flying it roughly once a day while it is being tested, and achieve speeds over 1000 km/hr.

The swept-wing plane is extremely dangerous to fly for several reasons, including the fact that its rocket engine only works for about seven minutes to get to altitude, and then the pilot must glide from extreme heights to make an unpowered landing - with only one opportunity to "stick the landing." In addition, the fuel is composed of two separate liquids that must be keep separated until ignition - and if for some reason they come into contact with each other, a massive explosion occurs.

Luftwaffe General Alexander Löhr was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht daily radio report for the third time. This is a high honor, akin to receiving a medal in terms of prestige gained. It is especially significant because Löhr is not German, but Austrian.

Léon Degrelle, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Léon Degrelle in Brussels making a farewell speech before embarking with his fellow troops for the Eastern Front, 8 August 1941.

Belgian Military: Rexist leader Léon Degrelle, a deeply committed fascist and now a member of the Walloon legion of the Wehrmacht, accompanies the 800+ troops east toward the front. As Degrelle will be otherwise engaged for some time to come, he turns over leadership of the Rexists to Victory Matthys. While some sources claim that Degrelle "leads" the Walloon legion into combat, in fact, he has no military experience and has joined as a private.

Japanese Military: The Imperial Japanese Navy commissions 30,000-ton liner Shokaku (Captain Jojima Takatsugu) as a special-purpose ship (it will be converted into an aircraft carrier). The IJN also begins the conversion of 9975-ton tanker Nippon Maru into a naval auxiliary tanker in Kobe and requisitions 6615-ton oiler Manju Maru.

US Government: Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. addresses the Senate Finance Committee on the subject of taxation. He portrays as "taxation as an essential part of national defense." To do this, Morgenthau argues, taxation must be extended "to lower incomes." Morgenthau proposes that certain "discriminations" in the tax code be eliminated to make this "extension downward" more palatable, including removing deductions for oil depletion and eliminating certain provisions that are favorable to married couples.

Yugoslavia: The country officially is dissolved, and is taken over largely by Italy.

China: The Japanese continue their intensified air assault on the Nationalist capital at Chungking.

Paris Holocaust, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Following a recent order of the occupation authorities to turn in all radios, a Jewish woman is seen taking her radio into a police station on 8 August 1941 (Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris).

Holocaust: In the Netherlands, the "Liro" bank (Lippmann, Rosenthal, and Co.) issues a decree requiring Jews to register all assets and property. Jews also must turn over all foreign currency and paper assets. They are allowed to retain a thousand guilders in cash.

Hungary also enacts anti-Jewish laws.

Germans and Lithuanians murder an unknown number of Jews in the town of Zeimel. A plaque is later erected in the Chamber of the Holocaust at Mount Zion which reads:
For an everlasting remembrance. For the martyrs of the Zeimel Community (Lithuania) who were annihilated by the German Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators (may their names be erased) on the 8th day of August 1941. Remembrance Day 15 Av 5701. May their souls be bound up in the bond of life. [Signed]The Emigrants of Zeimel in Israel and the Diaspora.
Thousands of Jews from Dvinsk, Latvia, are transported to the Pogulanka Forest and murdered.

American Homefront: Paramount Pictures releases "Wide Open Town," a Hopalong Cassidy film starring William Boyd and Russell Hayden. Evelyn Brent appears as a villainous saloon owner who develops feelings for Hopalong Cassidy, which ultimately dooms her corrupt regime in the town. A "wide open town" is Wild West parlance meaning there is no sheriff.

MGM releases "Whistling in the Dark," a comedy directed by S. Sylvan Simon and starring Red Skelton, Conrad Veidt, and Ann Rutherford. This becomes a very successful film about an actor in radio murder mysteries (Skelton) who gets involved in solving crimes. This film leads to two sequels, "Whistling in Dixie" (1942) and "Whistling in Brooklyn" (1943). Eve Arden also appears.

Bandleader Les Brown and his orchestra take advantage of the publicity engendered for New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio during his record 56-game hitting streak (which ended in July) and record "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio." Written by New York disk jockey Alan Courtney and songwriter turned Jehovah’s Witness Minister Ben Homer, singer Betty Bonney gives life to lyrics that recount DiMaggio's path to the record:
He tied the mark at forty-four
July the 1st you know
Since then he's hit a good twelve more
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio.
This is not the last time that DiMaggio will make an impact on the popular music scene, as in 1967 Simon & Garfunkel also make a famous reference to him in "Mrs. Robinson." "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio" is not released until 10 November, the U.S. Marine Corps' birthday.

Woman with machine gun, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 8 August 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
August 8, 1941 - A woman in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is trained by local police in the use of Thompson sub-machine guns.


August 1941

August 1, 1941: More Executions on Crete
August 2, 1941: Uman Encirclement Closes
August 3, 1941: Bishop von Galen Denounces Euthanasia
August 4, 1941: Hitler at the Front
August 5, 1941: Soviets Surrender at Smolensk 
August 6, 1941: U-Boats in the Arctic
August 7, 1941: Soviets Bomb Berlin
August 8, 1941: Uman Pocket Captured
August 9, 1941: Atlantic Conference at Placentia Bay
August 10, 1941: Soviet Bombers Mauled Over Berlin
August 11, 1941: Rita Hayworth in Life
August 12, 1941: Atlantic Charter Announced
August 13, 1941: The Soybean Car
August 14, 1941: The Anders Army Formed
August 15, 1941: Himmler at Minsk
August 16, 1941: Stalin's Order No. 270
August 17, 1941: Germans in Novgorod
August 18, 1941: Lili Marleen
August 19, 1941: Convoy OG-71 Destruction
August 20, 1941: Siege of Leningrad Begins
August 21, 1941: Stalin Enraged
August 22, 1941: Germans Take Cherkassy
August 23, 1941: Go to Kiev
August 24, 1941: Finns Surround Viipuri
August 25, 1941: Iran Invaded
August 26, 1941: The Bridge Over the Desna
August 27, 1941: Soviets Evacuate Tallinn
August 28, 1941: Evacuating Soviets Savaged
August 29, 1941: Finns take Viipuri
August 30, 1941: Operation Acid
August 31, 1941: Mannerheim Says No



2018