July 14th, 1943 (WEDNESDAY)UNITED KINGDOM: In England, USAAF VIII Bomber Command flies Mission Number 73 attacking three targets in FRANCE:
1. 111 B-17s and 5 YB-40s are dispatched against the aircraft works at Villacoublay, France; 101 hit the target at 0811-0815 hours and claim 15-7-16 Luftwaffe aircraft; three B-17's are lost.
2. 64 B-17s are dispatched against Glisy Airfield at Amiens; 53 hit the target at 0742 hours and claim 9-0-2 Luftwaffe aircraft; a B-17 is lost.
3. 84 B-17s are dispatched against LeBourget Airfield, Paris; 52 hit the target at 0750-0820 hours and claim 41-27-32 Luftwaffe aircraft; four B-17's are lost. (Jack McKillop)
Frigate HMS Redmill laid down.
Frigate HMS Anguilla launched.
Frigate HMS Usk commissioned.
Destroyer HMS Scourge commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: U-429, U-549, U-675 commissioned.
U-1209, U-1210 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
ITALY: In Sicily, British forces attempting to establish a bridgehead at the Primosole bridge on the Simeto River near Lentini continue to face strong opposition.
US forces capture Biscari airfield and Niscemi on Sicily, while British forces capture Vizzini.
In the air during the night of 13/14 July, Northwest African Strategic Air Force Wellingtons bomb Palermo and Messina, and C-47 Skytrains drop paratroops in advance of Allied troops to secure a bridge at Primosole.
During the day, RAF heavy bombers and USAAF Ninth Air Force B-24 Liberators hit railroad, marshalling yard, harbor, and oil storage facilities at Messina; B-25 Mitchells hit the Enna and Palermo areas; and P-40s patrol Licata and attack the Lentini area. Northwest African Tactical Air Force aircraft hit ammo dumps, trains, rail junctions, bridges, vehicle convoys, and other targets of opportunity in the Sicilian countryside; B-17 Flying Fortresses, B-26 Marauders, B-25s, and fighters hit Naples, Italy and Messina, Enna, Marsala, and Randazzo, and numerous targets of opportunity in Sicily. The Northwest African Coastal Air Force continues sea patrols, reconnaissance, and convoy protection. (Jack McKillop and Glenn Steinberg)
U.S.S.R.: The Germans begin a general retreat from Kharkov. Manstein has persuaded Hitler to relax his "stand firm" policy.
The greatest tank battle the world has yet seen has ended in defeat for Hitler's Panzers. The open country round the village of Prokhorova, south-east of Kursk, is littered with the smoking hulks of tanks and guns and the wreckage of aircraft.
Hundreds of T34s of General Pavel Rotmistrov's Fifth Guards Army charged the heavier Panthers and Tigers of the SS Panzer Korps. In General Guderian's words, "they scurried like rats across the battlefield" and swarmed around the Germans, firing at point-blank range into their flanks.
Soon, according to Rotmistrov, "the earth was black and scorched with tanks like burning torches". The wounded driver of one burning Russian tank deliberately drove it into a Tiger so that both were destroyed in a terrible fireball.
There were nearly 2,000 tanks engaged in the battle and after some eight hours, when darkness fell on the battlefield, both sides had lost half their strength.
The Germans can claim to have inflicted as much damage as they have suffered, but they have shot their bolt. They have lost the Battle of Kursk, and with it they have almost certainly lost the war on the eastern front.
A counter-attack by the Red Army at Orel to the north of Kursk, on 12 July, contributed to the German downfall.
Hitler is well aware of the importance of this defeat. Throughout the long planning for Citadel he insisted "there must be no failure", and all the offensive power that Germany could assemble was thrown into the battle. In an order of the day read out to troops on 4 July, he said: "You will be taking part in great offensive battles, whose outcome may decide the war." He went on to say: "Your victory will convince the whole world more than ever that all resistance to the German army is, in the end, futile."
Guderian, advising against Citadel, told him that it was a matter of profound indifference to the world whether they held Kursk or not. Hitler, for once, agreed with him: "You are quite right. Whenever I think of this attack my stomach turns over."
Krasnodar: The trial has opened here today of 11 Germans accused of the mass murder of Soviet citizens - mainly Jews - while this city in the west Caucasus was occupied by the German army.
Terrible details were revealed of the use of "murder vans" in which victims were locked and then gassed by exhaust fumes fed into an airtight compartment as the van was driven to a huge ditch outside the city. By the time it arrived, all its passengers were dead and were thrown into the ditch.
It was said in evidence that 7,000 people had been killed in this fashion in Krasnodar in addition to indiscriminate shootings and hangings of anyone of daring to show disrespect to the Third Reich.
In scenes of much emotion, one witness said that "men, women and children were bundled into the van without discrimination". Patients in the local hospital "were brought out on stretchers and the Germans flung them in too."
The Russian authorities have invited western correspondents to cover the trial, and it has something of the trappings of a "show trial". They intend to make it quite clear to those Germans responsible for the appalling crimes committed on Russians that they will not escape justice. This is the first war crimes trial. There will be many more.
INDIAN OCEAN: At 0236, the unescorted Robert
Bacon was hit by a torpedo from
U-178 about 35 miles off the Mozambique Light. A first torpedo was seen to
cross the bow, but a second struck the port side at the #2 hatch in one of the
fuel bunkers. The explosion threw oil and water into the air, destroyed steam
lines and caused a 10° list to starboard. The engines were secured and the nine
officers, 35 crewmen and 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with two 3in and
eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in three lifeboats and three rafts, because two
other lifeboats filled with oil and water were unusable. At 0314, a first coup
de grāce hit the starboard side but she remained afloat. She sank by the bow ten
minutes after being hit on the starboard side aft by a second coup de grāce at
0443. The U-boat surfaced and questioned the survivors in one of the boats,
giving them the direction to land and wished good luck before leaving. This boat
set sail and reached on 16 July Mozambique, where a tug
took them in tow to the pier. 14 survivors in a second boat were picked up by
the British steam merchant English Prince and landed at Beira. The men in the
last boat were rescued by the British steam tanker Steaua Romana on
27 July and landed at Durban. All rafts reached land, the
first after 14, another after 20 and the last 44 days after the sinking. Two
crewmen and two armed guards were lost with the ship and another crewman died
ashore from exposure. (Dave Shirlaw)
NEW GUINEA: As a result of the air offensive against Wewak and satellite airfields, Japanese airpower on New Guinea is sufficiently neutralized for four Allied destroyers to proceed along the coast from Milne Bay to Finschhafen. (Jack McKillop)
The Ellice Islands in the Central Pacific are occupied beginning today through to the 28th by US forces. Work begins immediately on constructing airfields.
ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: In the Aleutian Islands, the destroyer USS Monaghan (DD-354) fires 100 rounds of 5-inch (127 mm) shells at Japanese positions at Gertrude Cove on Kiska Islands. The Japanese do not return fire. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.A.: Submarines USS Sterlet, Pomfret, Plaice laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Frederick C Davis commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
The motion picture "For Whom The Bell Tolls," based on the Ernest Hemingway novel, is released in the U.S. Directed by Sam Wood, the film stars Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman, Akim Tamiroff , Katina Paxinou and Duncan Renaldo; Yvonne De Carlo appears in an uncredited bit part. The plot is about an American mercenary in the Spanish Civil War tasked with blowing up a bridge. The film is nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Cooper), Best Actress (Bergman), Best Supporting Actor (Tamiroff), and Best Supporting Actress (Paxinou); Paxinou is the only winner. (Jack McKillop)
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated $30,000 for the George Washington Carver National Monument west-southwest of Diamond, Missouri - an area where Carver had spent time in his childhood. This was the first national monument dedicated to an African-American and first to a non-President. At this 210-acre (0.8 km²) national monument, there is a bust of Carver, a ¾-mile nature trail, a museum, the 1881 Moses Carver house, and the Carver cemetery. Due to a variety of delays, the National Monument was not opened until July, 1953.
HMCS Cobourg launched Midland, Ontario.
Frigate HMCS Stormont launched Montreal, Province of Quebec. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: TBF Avengers and F4F Wildcats of Composite Squadron Twenty Nine (VC-29) in the auxiliary aircraft carrier USS Santee (ACV-29) sink U-160 south of the Azores at 34-02N 26-02W. (Jack McKillop)
Sailing ship Harvard sunk by U-572 at 10.05N, 60.20W. (Dave Shirlaw)
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