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August 2nd, 1943 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The US Eighth Air Force's VIII Air Support Command schedules 4 missions against airfields without loss:

- Mission 12A: 31 B-26B Marauders bomb Merville Airfield, France at 0810 hours.

- Mission 12B: 18 B-26Bs bomb Ft Rouge Airfield at St Omer, France at 0900 hours.

- Mission 13A: An attack on Woensdrecht Airfield, The Netherlands is cancelled.

- Mission 13B is a diversion.

Patrol vessel HMS Kilham launched.
Escort carrier HMS Queen launched
Escort carrier HMS Begum commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

GERMANY: U-855, U-992 commissioned. U-1058 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

POLAND: Treblinka: Sixteen guards have been killed by inmates in an armed uprising, using weapons stolen from the camp arsenal. The revolt started at three o'clock this afternoon, when a prisoner shot at an SS guard whipping one of his co-conspirators. He then gave the signal for the uprising by throwing a hand-grenade.
Earlier today, the inmates sprayed petrol instead of disinfectant around the huts. At the signal, they set fire to them: soon they were blazing. The fire reached the arsenal, which exploded and spread the fire throughout the camp. In the chaos, prisoners used rifles, handguns and grenades to kill sixteen Germans and Ukrainians, including the SS Sergeant Kittner, the chief guard. One hundred and fifty inmates escaped; the rest, about 550 were murdered in the camp.
Thus the spirit of rebellion has spread from the Polish ghettoes into the extermination camps themselves. In a hopelessly uneven struggle, the Jewish action is little more than a last-ditch protest by men who want to die fighting.
Treblinka, designed to exterminate arrivals rather than imprison them, was never meant to hold as many as 700 prisoners. It has been unusually crowded recently because of Himmler's visit this spring, after which he ordered that the hundreds of thousands of corpses buried in huge pits near the camp should be burnt to destroy the evidence of mass murder. Extra manpower has been needed to dig up the bodies and burn them on enormous pyres. The men who rose up are forced labourers who have been cremating their own people.

U.S.S.R.: Znamenskaya is liberated by the Soviet Army.

German General der Infanterie H. Zorn XXXXVI Pz.Korps is killed at Krassnaja. (138)(Russ Folsom)

ITALY: The Italian people are warned of imminent invasion by an Allied broadcast from Algiers. (Glenn Steinberg)

PORTUGAL: Lisbon: The Italian ambassador to Portugal makes contact with Allied representatives, paving the way for peace talks.

SPAIN: A Telegram of Don Juan de Borbon y Battenberg, Infante of Spain, Count of Barcelona, to Generalissimo Francisco Franco. He demands the restoration of the monarchy. (Glenn Steinberg)

A Canadian 'Hampden' patrol aircraft from RCAF 415 Squadron attacked and damaged U-706, Kptlt. Alexander Von Zitzewitz, CO, in the Bay of Biscay north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain, in position 46.15N,
010.25W. An immediate subsequent attack by an American 'Liberator' patrol aircraft from USAAF 479 Squadron sank the submarine. There were 15 survivors from her crew of 57 men, including the commanding officer.
U-706 was a medium-range, Type VIIC submarine, built by HC Stülcken, at Hamburg. She was commissioned on 16 Mar 42. U-706 conducted three patrols and compiled a record of three ships sunk for a total of 18,650 tons. Kptlt. Von Zitzewitz was her only commanding officer. Alexander Von Zitzewitz was born in 1916, at Kassel. He joined the navy in 1936.
His first wartime duty was as the Flag Lieutenant to the Commander-in-Chief of the Torpedo Boat Force from Jun to Nov 39. He was transferred to the staff of the C-in-C Destroyers, where he remained until Mar 40. Next, he served as the gunnery officer in the 1934A-class destroyer Friedrich Eckholdt. From Jul to Sep 40 he was in charge of a Destroyer Crew Holding Division before being assigned as the Gunnery Officer and First Watch Officer of the 1936A-class destroyer Z-23 in Sep 40. Kptlt. Von Zitzewitz transferred to the U-boat force in Jun 41 and completed his conversion training in Oct. After two months of preparation with the 3rd U-Flotilla, he underwent his U-boat Commander's Course between Nov 41 and Jan 42. He was assigned to commission U-706 on 16 Mar 42, at the age of 25. Alexander Von Zitzewitz was among those lost when U-706 was sunk NW of Cape Ortegal.
He was promoted to KKpt posthumously. (Dave Shirlaw)

On the ground in Sicily, US ground forces push slowly west while British troops gain control of Regalbuto and fight indecisively in the streets of Centuripe.

U.S. General George S. Patton, Commanding General Seventh Army, slaps U.S. Army Private C.H. Kuhl in a hospital on Sicily.

In the air, Northwest African Tactical Air Force fighters, and light and medium bombers hit trucks, a dump and road junction in northeastern Sicily, docks and shipping at Milazzo, Messina and in the Reggio di Calabria, Italy area, and targets of opportunity (mainly motor transport) from Barcellona south to Adrano. Ninth Air Force P-40s attack shipping in the Straits of Messina and off Milazzo. (Jack McKillop) 

EGYPT: Cairo: B-24 Liberator bombers flying from bases in North Africa carried out a daring long-range raid at tree-top height on the Romanian oilfields at Ploesti yesterday afternoon. Brigadier-General U G Ent, the Commander of the US 9th Army Air Force, who led the raid, said on his return: "When we had finished with Ploesti I doubt whether the axis will be getting anything like its usual 18,000 tons a day out of the place for a long time to come. "You can't fly a plane without gasoline and this afternoon we went a long way towards cutting the Axis from the source of fuel for their planes and mechanized forces."
"We were first over our target. Our bombs hit what we wanted to get. We found the sky full of AA fire. They were shooting everything at us, including I believe, buck shot from shot-guns."
The Liberators replied with their heavy machine guns as they roared over the flak batteries dropping high explosive, incendiary and delayed action bombs which were exploding hours after they had left.
This operation had been minutely planned, with single Liberators making dummy runs at low level on targets in Sicily and Italy. On the information gained from these flights it was decided to risk the strong concentration of flak at Ploesti and try to take out the oilfields in one heavy surprise attack at low level.
It was reasoned that such an attack could be mounted before the enemy fighters could be brought into action. The results have not justified this theory. The oilfields have been hard hit, but at a crippling cost - 56 Liberators lost, including seven that landed in Turkey, out of the 177 that took part.

INDIAN OCEAN: At 2225, U-196 attacked Convoy CB-21 about 100 miles NE of Memba Bay, Tanganyika and reported one ship sunk and one left burning and in a sinking condition. However, only the City of Oran was hit. The vessel was later scuttled by gunfire of tug HMS Masterful. The master, 75 crewmembers and ten gunners were picked up by the tug and landed at Mombasa. (Dave Shirlaw)



CHINA: Chungking: Chiang Kai-shek is appointed president of the National Government, following the death yesterday of Lin Sen.
 

SOLOMON ISLANDS: US forces on New Georgia have advanced to the airfield. The Japanese have decided not to reinforce. Their concentration is now on Kolombangara Island.

US Thirteenth Air Force dispatches 12 B-25s, 6 B-17s and P-40s to pound the shores of Bairoko harbour; and B-24s, B-25s, P-40s and US Marine F4U Corsairs hit a supply area on the west side of Webster Cove. (Jack McKillop)

At approximately 0215 hours local, Motor Torpedo Boats 109, 162 and 169 are due east of Gizo Island heading south at low speed. The IJN destroyer HIJMS Amagiri is sighted travelling northward at high speed on a collision course; the ship is approximately 700 yards (0.4 miles/ 640 meters) away. PT-162 attempts to fire its torpedoes but they do not fire and the PT boat turns southwest to avoid a collision after getting within 100 yards (91.4 meters) of the destroyer. The destroyer then rams PT-109 followed by an explosion and a large flame which died down a little, but continued to burn for 10 or 15 minutes; two crewman are killed but 11 survive including the captain, Lieutenant (jg) John F. Kennedy, USNR. PT-169 stopped just before the warship hit PT-109, turned toward it and fired two torpedoes when abeam at 150 yards (137 meters) range. The destroyer straddled PT-169 with shell fire, just after it collided with PT-109, and then circled left toward Gizo Island at increased speed and disappeared. The 11 survivors of PT-109 are finally rescued by a PT boat on the night of 6/7 August. (Jack McKillop &Glenn Steinberg)



TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: The USN's Task Groups 16.6 and 16.17 commence a preinvasion bombardment of Kiska Island. 
TG 16.6 under Rear Admiral Wilder D. Baker consists of the heavy cruisers USS Indianapolis (CA-35) and USS Salt Lake City (CA-25); the light cruisers USS Detroit (CL-8), USS Raleigh (CL-7), USS Richmond (CL-9) and 5 destroyers. 
TG 16.17 under Rear Admiral Howard F. Kingman consists of the battleships USS Idaho (BB-42) and USS Tennessee (BB-43) and 4 destroyers. 

TG 16.6 bombards Gertrude Cove, the Main Camp, western Little Kiska Island and south Head with 1,261 rounds of 8-inch (203.2 mm), 6-inch (152.4 mm) and 5-inch (127 mm) shells. TG 16.17 bombards North Head and the submarine base with 1,051 rounds of ammunition including 120 rounds of 14-inch (255.6 mm) shells. Unknown to the Americans, the Japanese have already evacuated the island.

    In the air, the USAAF's Eleventh Air Force dispatches 8 B-24 Liberators, 9 B-25 Mitchells, and 8 P-38 Lightnings to attack Kiska in 2 waves, bombing and strafing North Head, and coast guns on Little Kiska Island, scoring several hits. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.A.:  Speed of Sound Broken - The Army announces that Lt. Col. Cass Hough, 36, Plymouth, Mich., recently travelled faster than the speed of sound - or more than 780 miles per hour in both Lightning and Thunderbolt fighters.

(This is now thought to have been due to faulty airspeed indicators. They were not calibrated for this speed, and anyway both aircraft would have reached terminal velocity before this speed or broken up.) (AE)

Destroyer escorts USS Delbert W Halsey, Ely laid down.
Frigate USS Orlando laid down.
Minesweeper USS Nimble laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Lansing launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
 

 

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The German submarine U-106 is sunk north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain, in position 46.35N, 11.55W, by depth charges from a Sunderland of the Royal Air Force's No. 228 Squadron and a Sunderland Mk III of the Royal Australian Air Force's No 461 Squadron. Both squadrons are based at Pembroke Dock, Wales. 36 of the 58 crewmen on the U-boat survive.

Six men on U-218 were wounded during an attack from an RAF 547 Sqn Wellington. The boat was damaged and had to abort its mine-laying mission and arrived in Brest 6 August. (Dave Shirlaw)

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