November 11th, 1943 (THURSDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMCS Teme (ex-HMS Teme) launched South Bank-on-Tees.
Sloop HMS Mermaid launched.
Frigate HMS Somaliland launched.
Submarine HMS Voracious launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: Grenoble: Commemoration of the Armistice banned by Marshal Petain, was turned into a patriotic demonstration by the Resistance here today. Police arrested 450 people who will be deported to Germany.
Grenoble is a major centre for the French Resistance, and the Gestapo is using every possible means to crush the growing opposition to the Nazi-dominated Vichy government. On the night of 13 November, a commando of the Groupes Francs blew up the Wehrmacht's artillery depot. In retaliation, the Gestapo then assassinated all the leaders of the United Resistance Front.
One hundred fifty seven USAAF Ninth Air Force B-26 Marauders bomb military installations and targets of opportunity in the Cherbourg area, mainly at Martinvast. (Jack McKillop)
Thirty one USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators attack the Annecy ball bearing plant at Annency with the loss of one aircraft. (Jack McKillop)
During the night of 11/12 November, 124 Halifaxes and ten Lancasters of RAF Bomber Command make another attack on the French transport system with the loss of four Halifaxes. One hundred thirty one attack the marshalling yard at Cannes; the night is clear and the Pathfinders mark the target from 5,000 feet (1 524 meters) but the railway yards are not hit at all and the railway workshops suffer only blast damage. Six other aircraft hit a railroad bridge at Agay and ten Lancasters each dropped one 12,000 pound (5 443 kilogram) bomb on the railway viaduct at Antheor but no hits are recorded. Other bombers lay mines off Bay of Biscay ports: nine lay mines off La Pallice; eight off Gironde; six off Brest; five off St. Nazaire; and four off Lorient; one aircraft is lost. Six other aircraft drop leaflets over Northern France. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: The USAAF Eighth Air Force's VIII Bomber Command flies Mission 127: Two areas in Germany are targeted: 59 B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb the marshalling yard at Munster with the loss of four aircraft and one hit the industrial area of Rees. (Jack McKillop)
During the night of 11/12 November, RAF Bomber Command dispatches Mosquitos to bomb five targets: ten bomb the Rheinmetall armaments factory at Dusseldorf; eight hit Berlin; six attack Hannover; three hit the Vereinigte Stahl armaments factory at Bochum; and one bombs Aachen (Jack McKillop)
U-250, U-873, U-1202 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Theresienstadt: 47,000 Jews are forced to stand outside in the cold and rain from 4am to 12 noon.
U.S.S.R.: In their advance on Zhitomir, Soviet forces cross the Teterev River and capture Radomyshl.
ITALY: Montgomery's forces occupy Casalanguida in their advance on the Sangro River.
In the U.S. Fifth Army's VI Corps area, the 2d Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, to which the 1st Ranger Battalion is attached, clears the saddle of Mt. St. Croce. (Jack McKillop)
USAAF Twelfth Air Force and RAF light bombers and fighter-bombers, in support of the U.S. Fifth and British Eighth Armies, hit troop and gun concentrations and communications in the Rocca and Palena areas; other Northwest African Tactical Air Force aircraft bomb the town of Rocca, Bussi sul Tirino explosive works near Popoli, and docks at Civitavecchia, and strafe strongpoints at Roccaraso and Atessa; and fighters hit motor transport in the coastal area between the Sangro and Pescara Rivers. (Jack McKillop)
During the night of 11/12 November, 41 RAF bombers of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group attack the marshalling yard at Prato and another two drop leaflets over Leghorn. (Jack McKillop)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: In the Aegean Sea off the
Greek island of Kos in the Dodecanese Islands, escort destroyer
HMS Rockwood (L 39) is hit by an Hs.293 glider bomb from a Do 217 following an
attack on Kalymnos Island, and has to be towed to Alexandria
where she arrives on 19th November, but is not repaired. Location of
bomb hit 5 miles East of Kos at 36 50N 27 30E. (Alex Gordon)(108)
Fifty German aircraft sink three transports and one tanker of an Allied convoy east of Oran.
LEBANON: Beirut: All day Beirut's Moslem population has been rioting, following the arrest by Free French Senegalese troops of Lebanon's president (Bechara Khoury), prime minister (Riad Solh) and the seven other ministers of the cabinet. French marines and Senegalese troops break brutally into their houses and one minister who resisted is brutally beaten. The arrests - and suspension of the constitution - follow the effective declaration of independence three days ago when Lebanon's parliament adopted Arabic as the sole official language, took control of foreign policy, and deleted from the constitution all references to "the prerogatives and powers of the mandatory state."
This was in defiance of a request to the contrary by M. Hellau. Helleu has also dissolved the Parliament and appointed Emile Edd as a President of the Republic. Those arrested are exiled to the Castle of Rashayya located about 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Sidon. The Lebanese people react swiftly to the French actions. Strikes and demonstrations are organized throughout Lebanon and riots erupt in some places. Religious and political leaders as well as representatives of doctors, lawyers, engineers and journalists visit the British and U.S. Legations demanding intervention
The Gaullists had offered Syria and Lebanon independence when the Anglo-Free French army invaded the French-mandated territories in 1941. "I come to you to put an end to the mandatory regime and to proclaim you free and independent," General Georges Catroux promised. But the Gaullist administration in Syria and Lebanon, fearing a reaction against it in metropolitan France - and British ambitions in the Middle East - resisted Anglo-US pressure to fulfil the promise. Catroux was replaced as delegate-general with a colonial hard-liner, Jean Helleu. Today's events will bring even more Anglo-US pressure to bear on the French.
As a result of diplomatic pressure from Britain, supported by the U.S. and the Arab States, France is forced to reverse its policy and release the internees. The latter are reinstated in their positions. Their release symbolises the beginning of the end of French rule in Lebanon. This beginning is followed by lengthy negotiations between the Lebanese government and the French. The end comes in 1946 when the French leave the area and Lebanon is said to have gained its political, administrative and military independence.(Glenn Stenberg)
CHINA: Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek replies to U.S. Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell's memo of 5 November at a conference of Chinese National Military Council at Chungking. While agreeing to a British and Chinese attack on Burma, he wants to hold the Chinese back until the British are attacking Kalewa. Replacements and supplies for the Y-Force are to be provided. (Jack McKillop)
Six USAAF Fourteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb the Burma Road about 375 miles (604 kilometers) west of Tungling, producing a landslide and badly damaging the road; six P-40s south of Yoyang knock out a gun emplacement and hit a radio station, barracks, and hostels in the area; eight more P-40s, on armed reconnaissance in the Li-Chou-Ching-Shih area, strafe a pontoon bridge and troops, and sink a river steamer, a motorboat, and several small supply boats. (Jack McKillop)
BURMA: In the British Fourteenth Army's IV Corps area, the Japanese seize Haka. (Jack McKillop)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The battle between the US Marines and the Japanese 23rd Regiment ends with the Japanese pushed back.
Additional elements of the 21st Marine Regiment arrive. Marines now hold the junction of the Mission and Numa Numa Trails, having killed an estimated 550 Japanese during their drive up Mission Trail. In order to secure airfield site, Gen Geiger orders 3d Marine Division to drive east and the Army 37th Infantry Division west. (Jack McKillop)
A few USAAF Thirteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells and USN F4U Corsairs strafe barges and shore installations in the Matchin Bay located south of Buka Island. Buka Island is located north of Bougainville Island. (Jack McKillop).
NEW BRITAIN: US Admirals Sherman and Montgomery lead two separate US naval task forces in a successful strike against Rabaul. The Japanese lose about 35 aircraft, and a light cruiser and two destroyers are disabled.
Before dawn, 23 USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb Lakunai airfield near Rabaul on New Britain Island. During the morning, 239 aircraft from Task Force 38 (Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman) and Task Group 50.3 (Rear Admiral Alfred E. Montgomery), attack Japanese ships at Rabaul while U.S. Marine Corps F4U Corsairs provide a combat air patrol (CAP) over the ships. TF 38 is built around the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) with Carrier Air Group 12 (CVG-12) and small aircraft carrier USS Princeton (CVL-23) with Light Carrier Air Group 23 (CVLG-23). TG 50.3 is built around aircraft carriers USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) with CVG-17 and USS Essex (CV-9) with CVG-9 and the small aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVL-22) with CVLG-22. The carrier based aircraft sink destroyer HIJMS Suzunami and damage light cruisers HIJMS Yubari and Agano, and destroyers HIJMS Naganami, Urakaze, and Wakatsuki. As the carrier aircraft depart, 42 USAAF Thirteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators join USAAF Fifth Air Force and RAAF aircraft in an attack on shipping in Rabaul harbor. This is the Thirteenth Air Force's first strike on Rabaul. Escorting fighters claim 17 Japanese fighters shot down while the bombers claim five. At 1315 hours, the Japanese send "Betty" bombers (Mitsubishi G4M, Navy Type 1 Attack Bombers), 14 "Kate" torpedo bombers (Nakajima B5N, Navy Type 97 Carrier Attack Bombers), 27 "Val" dive bombers (Aichi D3A, Navy Type 99 Carrier Bomber) escorted by 67 "Zeke" fighters (Mitsubishi A6M, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter) to attack the USN ships. USN fighters attack and the best estimate is that they shoot down two "Bettys," 14 "Kates," 17 "Vals" and eight "Zekes;" eleven U.S. aircraft are lost and the aircraft carrier USS Essex is slightly damaged. (Jack McKillop)
Glen Boren's diary entry:
ABOARD THE USS BUNKER HILL IN THE PACIFIC SOMEWHERE NEAR RABAUL
I was awakened in what I thought was the middle of the night and we went for breakfast. Then to the flight deck for flight quarters. IIRC, we launched everything that would fly, at dawn for a strike at the shipping at Rabaul.
The USS Essex and the USS INDEPENDENCE doing the same thing.
Shortly after that, Tommy Blackburn landed his F4U Squadron (VF 17) on board for fuel and to be ready for the return of our Air Group. Part landing on the Bunker Hill and part landing on the Essex. We, (VF 18) had replaced VF 17 as the fighter squadron on the Bunker Hill and the F4U's were land based somewhere near where we were operating.
At about the time for our planes to return, the F4U's took off to give us air coverage while we landed our Air Groups. We had two Hellcats and three Helldivers make water landings as they were too badly shot up to try to land aboard. All involved were picked up by our Destroyers.
The fighters were refueled and rearmed and we respotted the flight deck for takeoff as Radar reported unidentified aircraft 30 miles out. At 1000 hours, all hell broke loose. The air was full of jap dive-bombers and torpedo planes intermixed with Hellcat and F4U's.
The last Hellcat to launch was Ens. Billy Watts, who banked to port after leaving the deck as too much gunfire to starboard. As my job finished as he was launched, I watched him start to pull up his gear as a jap dive bomber finished his pullout right in front of Watts, who promptly shot him down less than a thousand yards off the bow. What a sight!
Another of our fighters who followed the torpedo planes in got shot up and later landed in the water. Friendly fire, but was not where he was supposed to be. Too eager, I guess.
The japs pulled out and I helped clear the 5 inch shell cases from the flight deck. Just finished that and here they came again. I ran to the stern of the flight deck to watch a jap torpedo go by, just a few feet aft. We all caught hell for that. I went FWD and watched the rest of the attack from the 20mm gun positions on the starboard side.
We lost one fighter pilot that day, bailed out over the harbor and before his wingman could get turned around and cover him, a jap fighter shot him in the chute, of which the wingman promptly shot down.
VF 18 was credited with 18 dive bombers, 4 torpedo plans and 12 zeros. Not a bad score for a green fighter squadron in its first day of combat. Our skipper and three others are all that had any combat experience.
AFTER RABAUL, 11 NOV. 1943
That evening, we left the Rabaul area and went back to Espiritu Santo for a day. Then we took off for the Gilbert Islands.
We were at sea for several days, with nothing happening til the 18th.
CANADA: Frigate HMCS Buckingham laid down.
Minesweeper HMS Lysander launched Port Arthur, Ontario. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: The U.S. Congress passes a bill lowering the draft (conscription) age to 18 and raising the upper limit to age 37.
The motion picture "Sahara" is released. Directed by Zoltan Korda, this war drama of Allied troops, and their M3 tank, in North Africa stars Humphrey Bogart, Bruce Bennett, J. Carrol Naish, Lloyd Bridges and Dan Duryea.
In major league baseball, the Most Valuable Players (MVPs) for both leagues are named: New York Yankee's pitcher Spud Chandler (20-4 on the season) wins it in the American League and St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Stan Musial (.357 on the season) in the National League. (Jack McKillop)
The US Navy decommissions Motor Torpedo Squadron 2, after service in the Solomon Islands. Jack Kennedy and PT-109 were assigned to this squadron. (See August 1st, 1943) (Jack McKillop)
Fire destroys the hangar at the Hughes Aircraft facility at Harper's Dry Lake in the Mojave desert which houses the prototype Hughes DX-2 (Wooden). (John Nicholas)
Destroyer escorts USS Hubbard and Hayter launched.
Minesweeper USS Pivot launched.
Submarine USS Bluegill commissioned.
Destroyer escort USS Wesson commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Submarine HMS Seawolf arrived Bermuda for ASW training.
U-516 sank SS Pompoon. (Dave Shirlaw)
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