Tuesday, January 1, 2019

October 8, 1941: FDR Promises Stalin Aid

Wednesday 8 October 1941

King George at Liverpool 8 October 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
King George VI visits Gladstone Docks, Liverpool on 8 October 1941. He is standing on the bridge of a minesweeper. © IWM (A 5708).
Eastern Front: During the recently concluded Moscow Conference, which took place between 29 September and 1 October 1941, the United States and Great Britain promised substantial Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union (400 aircraft, 500 tanks and 10,000 trucks a month in addition to other supplies, with the agreement to run until June 1942). On 8 October 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt confirms this agreement in a message to Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin:
Harry Hopkins has told me in great detail of his encouraging and satisfactory visits with you. I can't tell you how thrilled all of us are because of the gallant defense of the Soviet armies. 
I am confident that ways will be found to provide the material and supplies necessary to fight Hitler on all fronts, including your own. 
I want particularly to take this occasion to express my great confidence that your armies will ultimately prevail over Hitler and to assure you of our great determination to be of every possible material assistance.
The United States aid is estimated to be worth roughly $1 billion when the entire US Defense Budget for 1940 was only $1.567 billion.

HMS Jasmine collision damage 8 October 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"DAMAGE SUSTAINED BY THE CORVETTE HMS JASMINE IN COLLISION. 8 OCTOBER 1941, BIRKENHEAD GRAVING DOCK." © IWM (A 5713).
On the Eastern Front itself, the day brings more disasters for the Soviet Union, and it could be worse but for the fact that there are heavy rains near Moscow. The Germans tighten their grip on a pocket of Soviet troops at Bryansk, with 18th Panzer Division (General Nehring) and 112th Infantry Division (General Mieth) meeting to tighten the line around Soviet 3rd, 13th, and 50th Armies, while German XLIII Corps (General Heinrici) splits the Soviet pocket into two parts by isolating 50th Army. The Soviets realize their situation and begin trying to fight their way out to the east.

Sunken collier Rosalie Moller in the Red Sea 8 October 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
3963-ton SS Rosalie Moller on the sea floor. The Rosalie Moller is a collier sunk by the Luftwaffe (two casualties) on 8 October 1941 in the Red Sea. Luftwaffe attacks from Crete have been sinking ships in the Suez Canal area. (Middleton Ned, Shipwrecks From The Egyptian Red Sea, via wrecksite.eu.
In Moscow, Stalin and his generals are aware of the danger. General Georgy Zhukov, recalled from Leningrad recently to take over the critical Western Front, reports to the Stavka:
The chief danger is that almost all routes to Moscow are open and the weak protection along the Mozhaisk Line cannot guarantee against the surprise appearance of the enemy armored forces before Moscow. We must quickly assemble forces from wherever we can at the Mozhaisk Defense Line.
The GKO prepares for the loss of Moscow by ordering plans drawn up to destroy 1,119 key installations in the city.

British Army Bren Carrier 8 October 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Bren gun mounting on a Universal Carrier Mk I, 8 October 1941 (© IWM (H 14652)).
Further south, in the Army Group South sector, the Red Army also has a bad day. General Ewald von Kleist's Panzer Group 1 takes Mariupol on the Sea of Azov and nearby Berdyansk. This effectively encircles Soviet 9th and 18th Armies, which have been battling General Manstein's 11th Army on the Perekop Isthmus. The Soviet troops have no way out except by seaborne rescue, but the Soviet Black Sea Fleet already is fully engaged evacuating the garrison at Odessa to Sevastopol - which also may soon be at risk.

Night witches 8 October 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Soviet pilots Rufina Gasheva and Nataly Meklin of the "Night Witches" Squadron. On 8 October 1941, Joseph Stalin signs orders authorizing the formation of three women's aviation regiments (colorized by Olga Shirinina).
New Zealand: The notorious Stanley Graham incident begins near Hokitika, New Zealand. Graham's dispute with a neighbor over cattle turns deadly when Graham fatally wounds five local officials investigating the dispute. This becomes perhaps the most famous mass murder in New Zealand history and leads to numerous television shows and films depicting the event with widely varying degrees of accuracy. Graham escapes and eventually kills two more men sent to track him down before he himself is fatally wounded.

King George at Liverpool 8 October 1941 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"HIS MAJESTY THE KING'S VISIT TO WESTERN APPROACHES COMMAND. 8 OCTOBER 1941, GLADSTONE DOCKS, LIVERPOOL." © IWM (A 5702).

2019

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