June 11th, 1944
NORTH SEA: A 'Canso' patrol aircraft (Canadian version of the PBY-5A) from RCAF 162 Sqn attacked and sank U-980, KptLt. Hermann DAHMS, CO, in the North Sea, in position 63.07N, 000.26E. Although approximately 35 men were sighted in the water after that attack, there were no survivors from her crew of 52 men. The next day, the aircraft that sank U-980 was shot down while attacking another U-boat in the same general area. U-980 was a medium-range Type VIIC U-boat built by Blohm and Voss at Hamburg. She was commissioned on 27 May 43.
U-980 was on her first patrol at the time of her loss and had not sunk or damaged any ships. KptLt. DAHMS was her only CO. Hermann DAHMS was born in 1916, in Stettin. He joined the navy in 1936. At the outbreak of the war he was seconded to the Luftwaffe until Aug 41. He transferred to the U-boat force, and after conversion training, was attached to the 2nd U-Flotilla until Feb 43. He was selected for command and completed his U-boat commander's course in Apr 43. A promotion to KptLt.followed in 01 Jul 43. He was assigned to commission U-980 on 27 May 43. (Dave Shirlaw)
The Canadian-owned, British-registered merchantman Fort McPherson (7,132 GRT) was damage by bombs from Luftwaffe aircraft in the English Channel, in position 50.02N, 000.36W. There was no loss of life in this incident. Fort McPherson was later hit by a flying bomb while under repair from this attack. (Dave Shirlaw)
EUROPE: (Fifteenth Air Force): 126 B-17s and 60 P-51s depart Russian shuttle bases for Italy to complete the first FRANTIC operation. On the way 121 B-17s bomb the Focsani, Romaniaairfield; 1 B-l7 is lost.
Over 540 other B-17s and B-24s attack targets in Romaniaand Yugoslavia; the B-17s attack the Smederevo, Yugoslavia marshalling yard; the B-24s attack oil installations at Constanta and Giurpiu, Romania(both raids having fighter escorts); the AAF claims 60 aircraft destroyed during the days missions.
The USAAF's Eighth Air Force in England flies two missions.
Mission 405: Weather prevents operations against priority targets in Germany so the bombers attack targets in France; 1,055 bombers and 914 fighter sorties are flown; over 400 bombers abort or fail to bomb due to clouds and absence or malfunction of Pathfinders; three bombers and eight fighters are lost:
1. 471 B-17s are dispatched to airfields at Beaumont-le-Roger (38 bomb), Bernay/St Martin (50 bomb) and Dinard/Pluertuit (37 bomb), and Toucquet-Paris-Plage (27 bomb), Merlimont Plage (34 bomb), Pontaubault Bridge (50 bomb) and Berck (36 bomb); 33 others hit Conches Airfield and four hit targets of opportunity; two B-17s are lost.
2. 584 B-24s are dispatched to airfields at Cormeilles-en-Vexin (34 bomb), Beauvais/Nivelliers (27 bomb), Beaumont-sur-Oise (36 bomb) and Creil (19 bomb) and Vicomte-sur-Rance (19 bomb), Montford Bridge (18 bomb) and Blois/St Denis (41 bomb); 12 others hit Beauvais/Tille Airfield, seven hit Poix Airfield, 32 hit Montauban marshalling yard and 52 hit targets of opportunity; one B-24 is lost.
87 P-47 Thunderbolts and 144 P-51 Mustangs provide escort for the bombers without loss.
Other fighter missions are:
1. 143 P-38s patrol the beachhead and claim 2-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft.
2. 77 P-38s, 195 P-47s and 268 P-51s fly fighter-bomber missions against communications targets in northwestern France; the P-38s claim 3-2-5 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 0-0-1 on the ground; three P-38s, a P-47 and four P-51s are lost.
Mission 406: During the night, five B-17s drop leaflets on France and the Low Countries.
In morning operations, 129 B-26 Marauders and A-20 Havocs of the USAAF's Ninth Air Force in England bomb rail and road bridges and intersections, rail lines, oil tanks, artillery and town areas, in France; bad weather prevents afternoon operations; ten fighter groups fly escort and strafe and bomb bridges, railroads, gun emplacements, rail and road traffic and marshalling yards in support of ground troops. (Jack McKillop)
FRANCE: Normandy: The British 7th Armoured Division attacks Caen from the west, capturing Tilly-sur-Seulles.
German Army Group 'B' plans to "replace the Panzer units [opposite the British and Canadians] with infantry divisions and transfer its Schwerpunkt to the Carentan-Montebourg area in order to avert the danger to Cherbourg." (Steve Badsey)(170)
US battleships off Normandy provide gunfire support. (Dave Shirlaw)
FINLAND: In Karelian Isthmus the battered Finnish 10th Division retreats to the second line of defence, the VT-line, by this evening. The greatly weakened and disorganized division is quickly withdrawn to rear to rest. On the left wing of the IV Corps, the 2nd Division is conducting a fighting withdrawal. As the troops of the embattled IV Corps withdraw, on the northern part of the front right wing of the III Corps is endangered.
The Finnish GHQ is still guessing as to the enemy's exact strength and aims. The Armoured Division's Jäger Brigade (Col. Albert Puroma) is subordinated to the IV Corps and ordered to make a recon attack towards the advancing enemy south of Kivennapa (Jägers were bicycle-mobile light infantry, and were considered to be a crack formation). Col. Puroma is only returning from vacation (he will arrive to take command in early afternoon), and the attack is initiated around 10 am. by the deputy commander Lt. Col. Erik Sandström. In the confused situation the Jägers receive no fire support, and their advance comes to a halt after meeting the leading elements of the Soviet 30th Guard's Corps near Polviselkä. The Jägers fight well against the superior enemy forces and manage to destroy a number of Soviet tanks, but in absence of any kind of fire support they suffer heavy losses and are finally forced to retreat to the VT-line, fighting delaying actions on their way back.
Today the Soviet High Command Stavka commends the Leningrad Front for its achievements and orders the 21st and 23rd armies to continue the offensive. The aim is to capture the city of Viipuri (Vyborg) by 20 June. Elsewhere the Finnish GHQ urgently requests Germans to rescind the ban on arms exports to Finland, imposed after the Finnish peace-feelers last spring. (Mikko Härmeinen)
BURMA: Captain Michael Allmand's platoon came under heavy fire when attacking the Pin Hmi Road Bridge, and on being halted by casualties, he charged on alone, killing three of the enemy. Inspired by his example his surviving men followed him and captured the position. Two days later, owing to heavy casualties among the officers, Captain Allmand took command of the company and successfully led his men to seize a ridge of high ground. Again, on 23 June in the final assault on the railway bridge at Mogaung, he went forward alone, but in charging an enemy machine-gun nest, was mortally wounded. (Victoria Cross)MARIANAS ISLANDS: In preparation for the invasion of Saipan Island on 15 June, the USN's US Task Group 58 dispatches 208 F6F Hellcats and eight TBM Avenger and SB2C Helldivers to fly fighter sweeps over Guam, Saipan, Pagan, Rota and Tinian Islands in the Mariana Islands at 1430 hours local. (The TBMs and SB2Cs are command aircraft to lead the fighters to the target and return to the ships.) The Japanese are completely surprised and the fighters quickly gain air superiority by destroying 100-150 Japanese aircraft on the ground at a cost of eleven F6Fs and eight pilots.
The seven fleet carriers, eight light carriers and thirteen escort carriers participating in the invasion of the Marianas are - TASK GROUP 50.17 (the Fuelling Group) USS Breton/VF33, Copahee as an aircraft transport TASK FORCE 52 (Marianas Attack Force Carrier Support Group) Task Group 52.11 Task Unit 52.11.1 Gambier Bay/VC-10, Kitkun Bay/VC-5, Task Unit 52.11.2 Coral Sea/VC-33, Corregidor/VC-41 Task Group 52.14 Fanshaw Bay/VC-68 Kalinin Bay/VC-3, Midway/VC-65, White Plains/VC-4 TASK GROUP 53.7 (Southern Carrier Support Group) Chenango/CVEG-35, Sangamon/CVEG-37, Suwanee/CVEG-60 TASK FORCE 58 (Fast Carrier Task Force) Task Group 58.1 Bataan/CVLG-50, Belleau Wood/CVLG-24, Hornet/CVG-2, Yorktown/CVG-1 Task Group 58.2 Bunker Hill/CVG-8, Cabot/CVLG-31, Monterey/CVLG-31, Wasp/CVG-14 Task Group 58.3 Enterprise/CVG-10, Lexington/CVG-16, Princeton/CVLG-27, San Jacinto/CVLG-51 Task Group 58.4 Cowpens/CVLG-22, Essex/CVG-15, Langley/CVLG-32, TG 51.2 CVE-61 Manila Bay USAAF P-47D of 318th FG (73d FS) CVE-62 Natoma Bay USAAF P-47D of 318th FG (19th FS). Admiral Spruance in overall command flies his flag from the cruiser USS Indianapolis.
During the US air strikes against Japanese positions on Saipan, Captain David McCampbell, Commanding Officer of Air Group 15, shoots down his first Japanese aircraft, he will go on to be the US Navy's top fighter ace of World War II. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.A.: The battleship USS Missouri, built at New York (Brooklyn) Navy Yard, is commissioned. (Keith Allen)
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