January 22nd, 1944 (SATURDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Scotland: Loch Ewe: Convoy JW-56B sails for Murmansk. Destroyer HMCS Huron departed Loch Ewe as part of the close escort for a 15-ship convoy to the Kola Inlet. In the summer of 1942, all subsequent Arctic convoys to Russian sailed in the winter months, taking advantage of foul weather and reduced daylight to conceal their movements from German aerial reconnaissance. This was very successful and subsequent losses were negligible. Submarine HMS Terrapin commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: U-399 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: Soviet forces surround the Germans at Vitebsk.
ITALY: The Allied landings begin at Anzio.
Anzio: Midnight. In the inky blackness, British and American troops of VI Corps, taking part in Operation SHINGLE, boarded landing craft from a convoy of 243 ships that arrived off this small port on the Tyrrhenian Sea tonight. Heavy opposition was expected when the landing craft hit the beaches. The US commander, Major-General John Lucas, was gloomy about the whole affair. "I feel like a lamb being led to the slaughter," he wrote 13 days ago after a meeting with the supreme commander, General Alexander.
Yet there was no slaughter when the Allied army came ashore. Anzio is deserted, a ghost town; the inhabitants have been evacuated; there were no defenders. The German high command has been totally wrongfooted. As evening fell on Anzio tonight, nearly 50,000 men and 3,000 vehicles have landed with the loss of 13 men, mostly from mines. The road to Rome, 32 miles to the north, is open. Intelligence reports that there are few, if any, German defenders on the route.
But with the memory of the near-debacle at Salerno still fresh in his mind, Lucas is determined to build up his beach-head defences before venturing forth. He had calculated on a rugged defence, and has ordered his army to dig in to fight off counter-attacks.
Lucas's commander, General Mark Clark, arrived here this evening with General Alexander. The British commander is all for pushing forward with strong mobile forces. Clark has advised Lucas not to "stick his neck out". Winston Churchill, ever an enthusiast for this invasion, has cabled Alexander to say: "Am very glad you are pegging out claims rather than digging in." Lucas has established his headquarters in an underground wine cellar and shows no sign of pegging out claims.
Minesweeper USS Portent mined and sunk off Anzio. (Dave Shirlaw)
Rome: Allied aircraft drop millions of leaflets announcing that liberation is nigh.
PACIFIC: The US invasion fleet ("Galvanic" Assault Force") sails for the Marshall Islands, opening Operation Flintlock, which aims at their capture.
Aboard the USS BUNKER HILL with Glen Boren: I tried to get to DD 588 but couldn't get a boat headed that way..
Captain Ballentine, the Bunker Hill skipper announced that he had been promoted to Admiral and would be leaving in the near future.
Mid-afternoon our Intel Officer, Mark Adams looked me up and said that he had just got back from the Island and had something that he figured I would like to have and handed me a copy of the Naval Aviation News dated 1 Jan 1944 and lo and behold, there was my picture right in the center of the cover with a bunch of our pilots in the catwalk of the carrier that we had carrier qualified on, off the coast of California the summer before. Needless to say that I have been proud of that
The carrier that we qualified on was the USS Nassau, Sept, 15 - 18, 1943 off of San Diego.
Minesweeper USS Prime launched.
Destroyer escort USS O'Toole commissioned.
Destroyer escorts USS Willard Keith and William C Lawe laid down.
Submarine USS Pipefish commissioned.
Destroyer escorts USS Thomas F Nickel, Robert Brazier and Lough launched.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: One crewmember from U-984 was washed overboard in the North Atlantic. [Maschinenobergefreiter Hermann Keller]. (Dave Shirlaw)
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