December 3rd, 1943 (FRIDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Submarine HMS Ace laid down.
Frigate HMS Hoste commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
A note from Air Chief Marshall (USAAF General) Sir Charles F Portal, RAF Chief of the Air Staff, to the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., states that Operation POINTBLANK, the Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO) of the USAAF Eighth Air Force and RAF Bomber Command against the Luftwaffe and the German aircraft industry, is three months behind in relationship to the tentative date for Operation OVERLORD, the overall plan for the invasion of western Europe, which had been set for 1 May 1944. This brings more pressure on the Eighth Air Force to destroy industrial plants of importance to aircraft production. (Jack McKillop)
NETHERLANDS: Twelve RAF Bomber Command Wellingtons lay mines, ten in the Frisian Islands and two off Texel Island. (Jack McKillop)
FRANCE: During the night of 3/4 December, four USAAF Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses drop 800,000 leaflets over Lille, Paris and Rouen. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: Berlin: German defenders killed 228 Allied airmen last night, during a raid in which 36 Berliners died and 105 went "missing". Because of the prevailing high winds it was a scattered raid; one pilot missed the target by 50 miles.
The RAF dead includes two war correspondents, Captain Nordhal Grieg - a Norwegian related to the composer - of the Daily Mail and Norman Stockton of the Sydney Sun.
527 RAF bombers hit Leipzig on a blind bombing mission led by two Lancasters fitted with a redesigned H2S radar used in conjuction with Pathfinder "skymarking" of the city by flares, killing or injuring 1,000 citizens and causing extensive damage. First reports suggest improved accuracy.
During the night of 3/4 December, RAF Bomber Command sends 527 aircraft, 307 Lancasters and 220 Halifaxes, to Leipzig; 451 bomb the target while nine Mosquitos make a feint towards Berlin. Despite the loss of two newsmen on the previous night, the well-known American broadcaster, Edward R. Murrow, flies on the raid in a 619 Squadron Lancaster. He returns safely. The bomber force takes another direct route towards Berlin before turning off to bomb Leipzig. German fighters are in the bomber stream and scoring successes before the turn is made but most of them are then directed to Berlin when the Mosquito diversion opens there. There are few fighters over Leipzig and only three bombers are believed to have been lost in the target area, two of them being shot down by flak. A relatively successful raid, from the point of view of bomber casualties, is spoiled when many aircraft fly by mistake into the Frankfurt defended area on the long southern withdrawal route and more than half of the bombers shot down on this night are lost there. Twenty four aircraft, 15 Halifaxes and nine Lancasters, are lost, 4.6 per cent of the force. The Pathfinders find and mark this distant inland target accurately and the bombing is very effective; this is the most successful raid on Leipzig during the war. A large area of housing and many industrial premises are severely damaged. One place which is hit by a large number of bombs is the former 1937 World Fair exhibition site, whose spacious buildings have been converted to become war factories, the largest buildings being taken over by the Junkers aircraft company. (Jack McKillop)
Göring orders concentrated air attacks on British ports and industry "to avenge the terror attacks of the enemy."
U-1172 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
POLAND: Warsaw: In reprisal for an act of sabotage, the SS and Gestapo execute a hundred tram workers.
U.S.S.R.: South of Gomel, Dovsk is captured by the Soviet Army. Further south they drive west of Cherkassy.
ITALY: The British X Corps, 56th Division, is almost at the summit of Monte Camino (Hill 819) and Monastery Hill (Hill 963) but is forced back from the latter.
The US II Corps, U.S./Canadian 1st Special Service Force units continuing the attack from Mt. Ia Difensa before dawn, reach Mt. Ia Remetanea. The 142d Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, begins a drive on Monte Maggiore and takes it. In the VI Corps area, the 45th Infantry Division is unable to make further progress against La Bandita or Hill 769. Elements of the 3d Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division attacks toward third knob of Mt. Pantano but is driven back.
The British 8th Army V Corps captures San Vito. The German 26th Panzer Division succeeds in a fierce counterattack and the New Zealand Division falls back.
The US First Special Service Force last night took the strongly held German position at Monte La Difensa and Monte La Rementanea. Several previous assaults had failed so instead the Force's 2nd Regiment scaled the 200-foot cliff on the rear of Monte La Difensa during the night. This took the defenders by surprise. They then took Monte La Rementanea. This first action by the force cost it more than 500 casualties. (Mike Yared)
USAAF Twelfth Air Force fighter-bombers, along with RAF Desert Air Force airplanes, hit tanks and trucks in the Guardiagrele-Lanciano areas and vehicles and trains north of Rome. Anzio and Nettuno are also bombed. (Jack McKillop)
Thirty five USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators, with fighter escort, bomb Casale Airfield in Rome; B-26 Marauders and escorting P-38 Lightnings are recalled due to weather. (Jack McKillop)
YUGOSLAVIA: USAAF Twelfth Air Force B-25 Mitchells bomb the harbor and marshalling yard and fighter-bombers attack a vessel, all at Sibenik. (Jack McKillop).
USAAF Fifteenth Air Force P-38 Lightnings escort a supply mission to Yugoslavia. (Jack McKillop)
EGYPT: The Second Cairo Conference begins, attended by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Churchill and Roosevelt tried without success to persuade President İsmet İnönü of Turkey to bring his country into the war on the side of the Allied Powers. The two agree to cancel the plan for the amphibious assault in the Bay of Bengal, a tentative timetable is set up for a Pacific offensive, and the establishment of a unified Command in the Mediterranean effective 10 December. The conference ends on 7 December. (Jack McKillop)
INDIAN OCEAN: The Canadian-built, British-registered freighter SS Fort Camosun (7,126 GRT), was damaged by torpedoes from the Japanese Type B-1 submarine I-27, LCdr. Fukumura Toshiaki, CO, off the coast of Somalia, in position 11.2N, 046.03E. On the few occasions that the submarine force was released to attack merchant shipping, mainly in the Indian Ocean and off the North Australian coast in 1942, they did extremely well. LCdr. Fukumura and I-27 were a good example; in less than one year, I-27 sank 11 ships for 61,971 tons and damaged three ships for a 21,099 further tons. This score compared favourably with many German U-boat commanders, ranking LCdr. Fukumura in the top 65 Axis submarine ‘aces’. Japanese submarine doctrine was to employ their boats as extensions of the battle fleet for scouting and attritional attacks against enemy battle formations. They were large, fast, long-range boats that were heavily armed with outstanding torpedoes and guns. Their crews were trained to the same extremely high standards as all other IJN servicemen. Because of their size, the I-type Japanese fleet submarine was slow to dive and was relatively unmanoeuvrable while submerged. Once located by a proficient ASW hunting group, which was often cued by intelligence, the good acoustic conditions in the Pacific Ocean favored the attacking force. Very few Japanese submarines survived the war. I-27 was sunk on 12 Feb 44 by the British P-class destroyers Paladin and Petard off Addu Atoll, in the Indian Ocean. (Dave Shirlaw)
CHINA: Eight USAAF Fourteenth Air Force P-40s attack barracks and other buildings at Wanling. (Jack McKillop)
EAST INDIES: Over 20 USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb Waingapoe on Sumba Island in the Lesser Sunda Islands, Netherlands East Indies. (Jack McKillop)
NEW GUINEA: In Northeast New Guinea, USAAF Fifth Air Force A-20 Havocs attack villages around Finschhafen. P-47 Thunderbolts shoot down five Japanese aircraft in the Wewak area between 1100 and 1115 hours local. (Jack McKillop)
PACIFIC OCEAN: The US submarine USS SALTFISH sinks the Japanese carrier CHUYO off Honshu.
From Glen Boren's diary: Nothing during the day. About 9:30 in the evening, Radar reported 130 bombers, in 3 groups, 117 miles out. 2 groups searched the area we were in all day. Glad we had moved after dark.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: The dates for the invasion of New Britain Island at Arawe and Cape Gloucester are finally set for 15 and 26 December, respectively. (Jack McKillop)
Over 60 USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators and B-25 Mitchells bomb Cape Gloucester Airfield on New Britain Island; one B-24 sinks several barges in Johann Albrecht Harbor while another bombs a large transport near New Hanover Island. (Jack McKillop)
During the night of 3/4 December, 32 Australian Beauforts attack Lakunai Aerodrome at Rabaul on New Britain Island. (Jack McKillop)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Bougainville, 23 USAAF Thirteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells bomb Kieta Harbor and nearby supply and bivouac areas and six others hit Aitara Mission while 21 B-24 Liberators bomb Bonis. Fighter aircraft, USAAF and USN on patrol, hit targets of opportunity in areas from Numa Numa to Koromira, at Mosiga and Chabai, and west of Rlutupina Point. B-24s on armed reconnaissance hit a variety of targets, including Kieta, Green Island, Greenwich Island, and Korovo. (Jack McKillop)
CANADA: Minesweepers HMCS Alder Lake, Beech Lake, Ash Lake, Birch Lake, Cedar Lake, Cherry Lake, Elm Lake, Fir Lake, Hickory Lake, Larch Lake, Maple Lake, Oak Lake, Pine Lake, Poplar Lake, Spruce Lake, Willow Lake ordered. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Destroyer escort USS Eversole launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-193 sank SS Touchet.
German Ju-52 plane begins to sweep magnetic mines (British type) off Kotka. (Dave Shirlaw)
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