February 12th, 1944 (SATURDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Channel Islands: The weekly edition of G.U.N.S, Guernsey's underground newssheet, was running off the duplicating machine yesterday when Gestapo agents burst into a back room in the island's capital of St. Peter Port. The paper's founder, Charles Machon, was arrested and will be tried before a German court which is likely to sentence him - and the four others also held - to prison in France or Germany. Machan's arrest (and probable torture) highlights the dangers faced by people resisting Nazi rule in the Channel Islands - the only part of the United Kingdom subjected to German occupation.
Savage sentences are imposed on islanders found with radio sets, for instance. Stanley Green a cinema projectionist, is in Buchenwald; a fellow Jerseyman, Harold Druillenec, in Belsen; and a rector who hid his radio in the organ loft is feared to be dying in a concentration camp at Spergau.
No. 345 (French) Squadron RAF is formed from French personnel transferred from North Africa. (Jack McKillop)
SCOTLAND: HMCS Tillsonburg (ex-HMS Pembroke Castle) launched Port Glasgow. (Dave Shirlaw)
Frigate HMS Seychelles commissioned.
Destroyer HMS Caesar commissioned.
Minesweeping trawler HMS Hannaray launched.
Destroyer escort FS Somali launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: Rastenburg: Hitler merges the Abwehr [military intelligence] with Himmler's SD (Sicherheitsdienst) [Security Service] and Gestapo, after members are arrested for plotting against him.
Those swinging tunes from New Orleans that caused such an uproar over 20 years ago when they first filled clubs across Europe are still incensing German authorities. One National Socialist has written to Alfred Rosenberg, the head of the party's foreign affairs department, demanding that "war" be waged against jazz and other "un-German" influences. Nazi music critics are already waging a war of words, describing jazz as an "interminable knee-buckling perversion" and "an irreverence appealing to the lowest instincts of the masses."
ITALY: Anzio: The Allies have been forces back three miles to their final defensive line.
Back in London Churchill fumes: "We hurled a wildcat on the shores of Anzio - all we have is a stranded whale." The prime minister is livid that there are 18,000 vehicles in Anzio for 72,000 men - and yet no sign of the promised breakout.
Constant German attacks have put the beach-head on the defensive, and now the roles on two fronts are reversed. The Anzio landings were designed to break the deadlock at Cassino. Now attacks there are to be stepped up in an attempt to break through to Anzio.
Here on the beach-head, morale has reached its lowest ebb. General von Mackensen's XIV Army is being reinforced almost daily, so that it will soon have ten divisions to confront the Allies' five. Although the main counter-offensive is yet to begin, German attacks on the beach-head have already pushed the Allies back to the sea. The heavily-reinforced Luftwaffe is joining the attack on the beleaguered Allies.
War correspondents have been summoned to headquarters to be told that all news transmissions from the beach-head have been banned. One despatch happened to mention the possibility of evacuation, raising the unwelcome spectre of another Dunkirk.
No one can ban German leaflets that tell British soldiers: "The Yanks in England ... have loads of money and loads of time to chase after your women." The lurid pictures of naked women are becoming collectors' items however.
Monte Cassino: Fierce opposition stops the US 34th Division less than 300 yards short of Cassino town.
U.S.S.R.: Leningrad: The Red Army is maintaining its advance in the Baltic region despite stiffening resistance from the Germans. Hitler has sacked Field Marshal von Kuchler, replaced him with the tough tank expert General Model and rushed in reinforcements to hold the line.
Nevertheless, the Second Shock Army has stormed Kingisepp and reached Narva, on the Gulf of Finland. The town of Luga, 85 miles south of Leningrad, was reached today and the Russians are heading for Pskov. If their advance continues they will soon be facing the Germans all along the "Panther" fortifications which bar their road to the Baltic states.
February 12, 1944,
Combat Mission No. 1 with the First Air Commandos.
Aircraft B-25H crew Lt/Col. R.T.Smith -Pilot, 1st Lt Wesley Weber -Nav, M/sgt Chuck Baisden -engineer /turret gunner, S/sgt Richard Dickson Radio operator/side gunner, S/Sgt Charles Miller-Tail gunner.
Flew from Hailikandi, Assam to Imphal,Assam and picked up C.O. of the Brit Chindits , General Orde Wingate and flew a reconn mission in the Katha, Burma area.
Wingate very interested in our .75 cannon and R.T .very happily obliged by destroying a small r.r.bridge and blowing off the roof of a very large building that stuck out above the jungle canopy. Had some small arms ground fire which holed the fuselage. One bullet hit the ammunition feed tray near Miller's head, he was unaware of this until after the mission.
Although we were gone from daylight to dusk the actual mission took only 3 hours
INDIAN OCEAN: The Japanese submarine I-27 sinks the British troopship KHEDIVE ISMAIL, killing nearly 2,000 people, and is herself sunk by the destroyers HMS PETARD and HMS PALADIN.
NAURU: Majuro Harbor: The US Fleet sails bound for Truk in the Marianas Islands. Glen Boren is told 'it was their "Pearl Harbor" and that they were expecting to find a lot of shipping in the area and a lot of aircraft also.' (Glen Boren)
PACIFIC OCEAN: Submarine rescue vessel USS Macaw ran aground on 16 January 1944 in the Midway Channel. Salvage attempts failed and on 12 February 1944 she slipped off the reef and sank.
Submarine USS Tambor torpedoes and sinks tanker Ronsan Maru (2735 BRT) in the East China Sea some 40 miles SW of Amami O Shima in position 27.45N, 128.42E. (Dave Shirlaw)
CANADA: HMCS Aristocrat (ex-RCAF B113) commissioned for W/T calibration service. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five's record of "Ration Blues" makes it to the Billboard Pop Singles chart. This is their first single to make the charts and it stays there for 1 week reaching Number 16. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer minelayer USS Shannon laid down.
Oilers USS Marias and Manatee commissioned.
USS YMS-458 launched.
Escort carrier USS Shipley Bay launched.
Destroyer escorts USS Traw and Key launched.
Submarine USS Plaice commissioned.
Fleet tug USS Potawatomi commissioned.
Destroyer escorts USS Rinehart and Tweedy commissioned.
Top of Page