June 6th, 1944The Normandy Landings:
ITALY: The South African 6th Armored Div. takes Civita Castellona in Italy. French forces capture Tivoli, Italy.
16 residents of a Jewish home for the elderly in Florence, Italy are deported to one of the extermination camps in Poland. (Greg Kelley)
The USAAF's Fifteenth Air Force in Italy continues shuttlebombing (Operation FRANTIC) as 104 B-17s and 42 P-51 Mustangs (having flown to the USSR from Italy on 2 June) attack the airfield at Galati, Romaniaand return to Soviet shuttle bases; eight enemy fighters are shot down and two P-51s are lost. In other missions, 570+ bombers, with fighter escort, hit targets from bases in Italy; in Yugoslavia, B-17s hit the Belgrade marshalling yard and Turnu-Severin canal installations, and in Romania, B-24s hit Ploesti oil refineries and the marshalling yard at Brasov. (Jack McKillop)
GREECE: Arrested by the Nazis in May 1944, 260 Jews from Chania, Greece, and 5 Jewish families from Rethimnon, Greece, are among the passengers aboard a ship that is deliberately sunk near the Greek island of Pholegandros. (Greg Kelley)
NEW GUINEA: The 186th Infantry prepares an attack on Mokmar Air Field on Biak.
Corvette HMCS Huntsville commissioned
Frigate HMCS Kokanee commissioned.
Commodore 2nd Class Cuthbert "Cuth" Robert Holland Taylor RCN awarded CBE.
Minesweeper HMCS Melville completes refit at Lunenburg and departs for workups at Bermuda. (DS)
U.S.A.: The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff issue a report entitled "Operations Against Japan, Subsequent to Formosa" which includes three phases of operations in 1945:
Phase I: Attack the Bonin and Ryukyu Islands and the east Coast of China between 1 April and 30 June 1945.
Phase II: Consolidate and exploit Phase I gains between 30 June and 30 September 1945.
Phase III: Invasion of the Japanese home islands beginning with Kyushu on 1 November 1945 and then Honshu on 31 December 1945. (Jack McKillop)
From the Press Office of Cincpac: MEMORANDUM TO THE PRESS The following was given to the press by Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll, USN, Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, at the press conference of Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal today:
"Recently on a brilliant moonlight night one of our destroyer escorts sighted a submarine, fully surfaced, silhouetted against the moon. The destroyer escort immediately rang up full speed and headed for the submarine, opening fire with all her guns. The submarine elected to fight it out and opened fire with her deck guns and machine guns, tracers passing high over the bridge of the destroyer escort. The submarine maneuvered at high speed and fired a torpedo.
The destroyer escort closed the range rapidly, following the sub's evasive maneuvers and burying the sub under a withering fire at point blank range, machine guns and three inch forecastle guns. The range finally closed until the submarine was only 20 yards away. All fire on the submarine having ceased at this point the destroyer escort
rode up on the forecastle of the submarine where she stuck. Men began swarming out of the submarine and up onto the destroyer escort's forecastle. The destroyer escort opened up on them with machine guns, tommy guns and rifle fire. Ammunition expended at this time included several general mess coffee cups which happened to be at the gun stations. Two of the enemy were hit on the head with these. Empty cartridge cases also proved effective for repelling the boarders.
During this heated encounter the destroyer escort suffered her only casualty of the engagement, when a husky seaman bruised his fist knocking one of the enemy over the side.
"At this stage of the battle the boatswain's mate in charge forward with a 45 Colt revolver and a Chief Firecontrolman with a tommy gun accounted for a number of those attempting to board. The destroyer escort then decided to back off to stop any more enemy trying to board her. Again the running battle was resumed, hits falling like rain on the sub's topside. Even shallow depth charges were used against the submarine. The destroyer escort rammed a second time and then the submarine rolled slowly over.
Personnel on the escort's deck had a clear view into the conning tower which was ablaze. A torpedoman threw a hand grenade which dropped through the sub's conning tower before exploding. The submarine finally sank with her diesel engines still running, and the conning tower hatch open, fire blazing from It.
"The commanding officer of the destroyer escort was a young Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve, who came on active duty in 1941."
CINCPAC PRESS RELEASE NO. 434, Truk Atoll was bombed during the night of June 3-4 (West Longitude Date) by Liberators of the Seventh Army Air Force. The airfields at Moen and Param Islands were hit.
Four enemy fighters were airborne but did not attack our force.
Antiaircraft fire was meager and inaccurate.
Ponape Island was attacked on the night of June 3 by Seventh Army Air Force Liberators and on June 4 by Seventh Army Air Force Mitchells. Installations on Langar Island and antiaircraft batteries were hit.
Lauru Island was bombed by Seventh Army Air Force Mitchells during daylight on June 3, and by Ventura search planes of Fleet Air Wing Two on June 5. Gun positions were the principal targets. Antiaircraft fire was intense.
Enemy positions in the Marshalls were bombed and strafed on June 3-4 search Venturas of Fleet Air Wing Two, Corsair fighters and Dauntless live bombers of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, and Navy Hellcat fighters. Gun positions and runways were hit. Antiaircraft fire was meager.
Washington: This night President Roosevelt speaks to the American nation from the White House.
Last night when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavour, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
T hey will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest - until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violence of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home - fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters and brothers of brave men overseas - whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them - help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too - strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment - let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace - a peace invulnerable to the scheming of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God. AMEN (Jean Beach)
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-255 was commissioned at Wheeler Shipyard, Whitestone, New York with LT Ludwig Ehlers, USCG as commanding officer. (DS)
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