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June 24th, 1943 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: London: Lancasters of No. 5 Group Bomber Command have returned to base after a remarkable mission which took them to the shores of Lake Constance to bomb the Zeppelin factory at Friedrichshafen on the night of 20-21 June, then to Bilda, in Algeria from whence, after a day's rest, almost all of the original force of 60 went on to attack the Italian naval base at La Spezia on the way home. Eight remained in Algeria awaiting repair.

The specially-picked crews carried out Operation Bellicose perfectly, doing great damage to the Zeppelin works which now build Wurzburg ground-based radars.

Stangely enough, the German fighters did not put in an appearance, despite a brilliant moon. It can only be assumed that they planned to ambush the bombers on their long flight home. But the Lancasters flew on to Bilda without loss.

Among the special tactics developed for the attack on Friedrichshafen is that of "offset" marking, which entails the Pathfinder aircraft putting down their guides at a set distance from the target so that they are not obscured by smoke.

This tactic worked well on the German target, but La Spezia had to be bombed blind as its defenders covered the harbour with a dense smokescreen. "Shuttle" bombing is an interesting development and certainly confuses the enemy's defences, but it is unlikely to be used regularly because of the difficulties of servicing Lancasters in North Africa.

Sloop HMS Redpole commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

ITALY: 2nd Lt. Louis Curdes, USAAF, 82nd FG, 95th FS shoots down an Italian Mc.202 over Golfo Aranci, Sardinia. (Stuart Kohn)

NORTH AFRICA: King George VI of Great Britain and Ireland has been touring North Africa for the past 12 days. The tour will end tomorrow. (Glenn Steinberg)

JAPAN: Tokyo: Subhas Chandra Bose broadcasts an appeal for Indians to rise up against the British.

SOUTH-WEST PACIFIC: US Marines land on Woodlark Island.

AUSTRALIA: Canberra: The Australian Federal parliament is to be dissolved and a general election will take place in August. The decision to go to the people follows a no-confidence motion in the House of Representatives which was defeated by one vote yesterday. Having denounced the government for failing to reach a national agreement, the opposition now faces the task of defeating the government that will stand on its record in a national crisis. Before deciding on the election John Curtin, the prime minister, has said that the defensive phase of the war was over, and that Australia "could be held as a base from which to launch both limited and major offensives."

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Operation KE-TO (Phase I), the attempted evacuation of all Japanese personnel on Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands by submarine, is ended. The Japanese submarines were not equipped with radar and they suffered heavy losses to American warships and accidents in the fog. 

The weather finally breaks after two weeks of adverse conditions. Sixteen Eleventh Air Force bombers fly armed reconnaissance over Kiska while two bombers attack ground targets. The USN also dispatches three flights of PV-1 Venturas to bomb the island. (Jack McKillop)

CANADA: Minesweeper HMCS Sault Ste Marie commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: Morton Air Academy, Blythe, California. Chuck Baisden solos from his class of 43K, flying a Ryan PT-22. Dual control. 1:42 solo : 30 min. "My own recollection was. "How the hell am I going to land this thing by myself"? and was elated to find I could.". (Chuck Baisden)

Submarine USS Caiman laid down.

Minesweeper USS Reform laid down.

Frigate USS Van Buren laid down.

Submarine USS Crevalle commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)


U-119 (Type XB) is sunk in the Bay of Biscay northwest of Cape Ortegal, Spain, at position 44.59N, 12.24W by ramming and depth charges from the British sloop HMS Starling ( CO was the famous Commander Walker RN). 57 dead (all hands lost).

U-194 (Type IXC/40) is sunk in the North Atlantic southwest of Iceland at position 59.00N, 26.18W by a homing torpedo from an American Catalina aircraft (VP-84/G). 54 dead (all crew lost).

Previously it had been recorded that U-194 was sunk south of Iceland, by depth charges from a British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. 120/H). This attack, however, resulted in the sinking of U-200.

U-200 (Type IXD2) is sunk southwest of Iceland, in position 58.15N, 25.25W, by 2 depth charges from a British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. 120/H). 67 dead (all crew lost). The dead included 7 members from the German special force "Brandenburg" unit. 

U-449 (Type VIIC) is sunk at 1600hrs on 24 June, 1943 in the North Atlantic, northwest of Cape Ortegal, Spain, at position 45.00N, 11.59W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Wren, Woodpecker, Kite and Wild Goose. 49 dead (all crew lost).

(Alex Gordon)

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