January 11th, 1944 (TUESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: London: The Soviet government has replied to the declaration by the Polish government in exile on relations between the two countries with a note suggesting that the Curzon Line, the frontier proposed by the Allies in 1919, could form the basis of a settlement. This would amount to the annexation of areas of eastern Poland into the Soviet Union.
Corvettes HMS Bamborough Castle and Pevensey Castle launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: As part of the strategic bombing of the German aircraft industry, the USAAF raids Brunswick, Aschersleben and Halberstadt; 42 aircraft are lost and 125 damaged.
Over Oschersleben, Lieutenant Colonel James H. Howard (U.S. Army Air Corps) displays conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the Luftwaffe.
He is the leader of a group of P-51 aircraft providing support for a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in German territory. As his group met the bombers in the target area the bomber force is attacked by numerous Luftwaffe fighters. Colonel Howard, with his group, at once engages his enemy and personally destroys a German Me-110.
As a result of this attack Col. Howard lost contact with his group, and at once returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then sees that the bombers are being heavily attacked by enemy airplanes and that no other friendly fighters are at hand. While Col. Howard could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack single-handed a formation of more than 30 German airplanes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed home determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed 3 enemy airplanes and probably destroyed and damaged others. Toward the end of this engagement 3 of his guns went out of action and his fuel supply was becoming dangerously low. Despite these handicaps and the almost insuperable odds against him, Col. Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. (MOH) (William L. Howard)
ITALY: Verona: Count Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini's son-in-law and the former foreign minister, was led in front of a firing squad in the prison here today and shot for treason. Four other fascist ex-leaders were executed with him and 13 others were sentenced in their absence on 8 January.
Ciano's "crime" was to vote with his fellow-Fascists to oust Mussolini from office last July. Ciano and his wife, Edda, were lured to Bavaria last August by a report that their children were in danger. They had been promised safe conduct to Spain - only to be handed to Italy's new puppet Fascist government. Marshal Emilio de Bono, once one of the Duce's stauncest supporters, was also shot.
NEW GUINEA: The airfield at Siador, becomes operational after repairs.
PACIFIC: HMS Tally Ho, one of the Royal Navy submarine flotilla based at Trincomalee, caught the Japanese light cruiser Kuma in the Malacca Strait, one of the very few large Japanese warships then operating in the area, and sank her with two torpedo hits. (Dave Shirlaw)
Japanese submarine I-11 is lost. There is some dispute as to whether she was sunk by the USS NICHOLAS (DD-449) or lost to mines. (Marc James Small)(220, 221 and 222)
MARSHALL ISLANDS: US aircraft attack Japanese shipping and military bases on Kwajalein atoll as part of preparations for an operation to take the islands.
U.S.A.: Washington: President Roosevelt in his State of the Union message to Congress today announced some controversial new "win-the-war" proposals. He wants to introduce a national service law which will put every able-bodied man and woman at the service of the government. There are to be some exceptions, but no details of these are available yet.
The point of the law is not so much to increase the armed forces as to "prevent strikes" by giving the government new powers over workers at home. Trade union leaders described the law tonight as "quack medicine". They attacked the "evils inherent" in compulsory labour. And they said that the law would not be effective. They pointed out that strikes in Britain are increasing, despite legal controls over labour; Britain had more strikes in the first nine months of 1943 than in all of 1942.
Destroyer escort USS Doyle C Barnes laid down.
Destroyer escorts USS Stafford and Richard W Suesens launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: The first US attack with forward-firing rockets is made today against a U-boat by two TBF-1C Avengers of Composite Squadron 58 (VC-58) from the escort carrier USS Block Island (CVE-21). (Jack McKillop)
Corvette HMCS Lunenburg attacked by U-953 Oblt Karl-Heinz Marbach Commanding Officer, 50N-18W, the attack was unsuccessful and there was no further contact.
SS Triona damaged by U-532 at 00.03N, 80.43E - Grid LO 52. (Dave Shirlaw)
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