March 21st, 1943 (SUNDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Churchill broadcasts to the nation on his vision for Britain after the war, which strikes some listeners as surprisingly socialist.
GERMANY: U-483, U-929 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
Today is Heroes' Memorial Day, (a holiday honoring German World War I dead), Maj. Gen. Henning von Tresckow has selected Col. Freiherr von Gersdorff to act as a suicide bomber at the Zeughaus Museum in Berlin, where Hitler is to attend the annual memorial dedication. With a bomb planted in each of his two coat pockets, Gersdorff is to sidle up to Hitler as he reviewed the memorials and ignite the bombs, taking the dictator out-along with himself and everyone in the immediate vicinity. Schlabrendorff supplied Gersdorff with bombs-each with a 10-minute fuse.
Once at the exhibition hall, Gersdorff was informed that the Fuhrer was to inspect the exhibits for only eight minutes-not enough time for the fuses to melt down.
BALTIC SEA: CO of U-957 was lost during a diving accident in the Baltic Sea. [Oberleutnant zur See Franz Saar]
INDIA: Sloop INS Godavari launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Gladstone commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Minesweeper USS Density laid down.
Minesweepers USS Craig and Cruise launched.
Destroyers USS Owen and Erben launched.
Destroyer escort USS Frost launched.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: In the last three weeks at least 50 Allied merchant ships have been sunk by U-boats in the North Atlantic. Grand Admiral Dönitz, who has continued to direct the U-boat campaign since he succeeded Grand Admiral Raeder as the German naval commander-in-chief, has been concentrating on the full eastbound convoys. The U-boats strike in the mid-Atlantic gap which only very-long-range Allied aircraft can reach, and there are simply not enough of them
In the last few days this policy has led to one of the most devastating U-boat successes of the war. In the stormy seas, with winds up to gale force ten, the fast-moving HX-229 convoy caught up with the slow moving SC-122. Between them they presented a hug target, a small fleet of 90 merchant ships supported by 16 escorts.
Dönitz was given details of the convoy's course by his intelligence service, and designated 38 U-boats to track them down. But the Germans were as hampered as the Allies by the bad weather. They found the convoys more by luck than by judgement, and for much of the time did not know if they were dealing with one convoy or two. By this morning 21 merchant ships had been sunk for the loss of one U-boat. But yesterday Allied Liberators arrived from Northern Ireland and Iceland and began pounding the U-boats. Many are believed to have been damaged, and Dönitz has called off his pack.
After sinking the steamer Mariso, U-518 took the first officer and the radio operator as prisoners.
U-608 had to return to base due to major technical difficulties.
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