June 19th, 1944
UNITED KINGDOM: 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, USAAF, based at Station 107 - Molesworth, Huntingdonshire, makes its first attack on occupied Europe with a mission to German V-1 launch sites in the Pas de Calais. (Nick Minecci)
The USAAF's Eighth Air Force in England flies morning and afternoon missions against targets in France.
Mission 423: In the morning, 464 B-17s are dispatched against airfields in the Bordeaux area: 92 hit Cormes Ecluse, 84 hit Bordeaux/Merignac, 39 hit Cazaux, 34 hit Landes-de-Bussac, 12 hit Cabanac and three hit targets of opportunity; seven B-17s are lost. Escort is provided by 88 P-38 Lightnings and 261 P-51 Mustangs; four P-38s and six P-51s are lost.
Mission 424: In both morning and afternoon missions, 216 B-17s and 294 B-24s hit 35 V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais area; one B-24 is lost.
Escort is provided by 196 P-38s, 122 P-47s and 48 P-51s; one P-38 group, after completing escort duty, dive-bombs and strafes transportation targets in northeastern France, destroying a locomotive and three barges. (Jack McKillop)
Frigate HMS Natal launched.
Submarine HMS Sea Scout commissioned.
HMCS New Waterford departed for Londonderry as replacement for HMCS Teme. (Dave Shirlaw)
ENGLISH CHANNEL: The worst storm for 40 years destroys the artificial "Mulberry" harbour off Omaha Beach.
The airfield at Cardonville, the first U.S. field in France, becomes operational; around 200 USAAF Ninth Air Force fighters carry out uneventful armed reconnaissance and patrols in the morning, and dive-bomb six NOBALL (V-weapon) targets in the afternoon. (Jack McKillop)
These are the strange stories of the battle of Normandy they told me on this 13th day since H-Hour, D-Day.
From his stretcher in the sorting camp Sergt.-Major James Hawson, Dunkirk, El Alamein, and on, watched the nurses in their khaki overalls and field boots and leggings working on the man next to him.
"And what happens next?" he asked. "Do I ask every day after his health?"
Then he told me: "Thirty hours ago Jerry - this man next to me now - is on one side of a farmyard in Normandy. I'm on the other. We have both had years of practice and training to get ready for a situation like this. He gets me through the arm with his machine-gun. But I get him too, before I pass out. Next thing I know, we're in the same ship on the way home in the same ambulance, in the same bit of field in good old Blighty waiting to be patched up by the same doctors and nurses."
But now they are to part. Hawson is going to base hospital. The German will be too ill to move for several days.
FINLAND: On the right flank of the Finnish IV Corps on the Karelian Isthmus, the 10th Division and Cavalry Brigade, reinforced by units from the Armored Division, have been able to consolidate their positions. But they are under heavy Soviet pressure, and get orders to start withdrawing towards Viipuri. The 10th Division and Cavalry Brigade are in bad shape, the men are demoralized, spreading horror-stories about the might of the Red Army. In the middle of the IV Corps's front the 3rd Brigade is withdrawn to reinforce the troops near Viipuri, leaving the 4th Division to defend alone the old battlefield of Summa. This soon proves too much. Terrain is suitable for tanks, and the defenders are soon forced to retreat. Today the IV and III Corps receive orders to regroup for defence along the VKT-line.
After the VKT-line there's very little to hinder the Soviet advance if they break through. Further west there's the Salpa-line, which construction had started after the Winter War, but was interrupted after the start of the Continuation War. Work on the Salpa-line has been resumed, but it's still only half-finished. And if the VKT-line breaks, it's questionable whether the troops will have time to withdraw to the Salpa-line and regroup in defence. The Finnish GHQ is located in Mikkeli, east-central Finland, and Chief of the General Staff Gen. Erik Heinrichs tells to the German representative, General der Infanterie Waldemar Erfurth, that if the VKT-line breaks, 'the Soviet tanks might be here in Mikkeli in few hours'.
Oberstleutnant Kurt Kuhlmey's planes are in action for the first time since their arrival at Immola. They claim 24 Soviet aircraft shot down, with losses of three. (Mikko Härmeinen)
Eighteen Finnish Me-109s shoot down 6 Pe-2 and 2 Il-4 bombers as well as 3 P-39and 2 La-5 fighters of their escort. (Jason Long)
In the village of Pien-Pero, 18Km east of Vyborg, a 12-year old Finnish boy spends half an hour as a prisoner of war. More...
BALTIC SEA: While sailing to patrol area at Kiuskeri, submarine Vesikko crash dives to evade air attack. In shallow, low-salinity water the boat hits bottom and must return to base. (Dave Shirlaw)U.S.S.R.: Black Sea Fleet: ML "Pestel" - by U-boat, in Trabzon area. (Sergey Anisimov)(69)
ITALY: Elba: Mountain fighters of the French Expeditionary Force have climbed to the highest point of the island of Napoleon's exile to raise the Tricouleur. Elba was taken by storm, the French troops landing by night and taking Porto Ferrario after a short and bloody battle. On the mainland, British troops are fighting for the road and rail junction of Perugia. Assisi fell earlier today. The British XIII Corps has reached the Albert Line which German troops have been ordered to defend "with tenacity" as their army withdraws to the Gothic Line.
INDIAN OCEAN: HMS Illustrious raids Port Blair in the Nicobars.
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: The Japanese launch 372 planes after locating US TF 58 in the early morning. Their force remains unsighted, this morning, but not unknown to the US. The US has a 2:1 superiority in aircraft. This is because the Japanese plan utilizes land based aircraft. The plan does not make allowances for the prior knockout of these planes by the US. The US strikes have already accomplished this. Their force is intercepted at 50 miles. The loss numbers 240 IJN planes and 29 USN planes.
The Japanese carriers Taiho and Shokaku are sunk by US submarines Cavalla and Albacore. More...
This action picks up the name "Marianas Turkey Shoot".
Escort carriers further out including the USS Manila Bay and USS NATOMA BAY are diverted eastwards until the battle ends. (Jack McKillop)
MARIANAS ISLANDS, SAIPAN: Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, USMC, Commanding General, V Amphibious Corps, reorients his corps to attack in two different directions. The 2d and 4th Marine Divisions and the Army's 106th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division will advance north; the other two regiments of the 27th Infantry Division, the 105th and 165th, will mop-up the Nafutan Peninsula. (Jack McKillop)
Allied CINCPAC COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 56, Our assault troops on Saipan Island have captured Aslito Airdrome and have driven eastward across the island to Magicienne Bay, where we hold the western shore. Two pockets of enemy resistance remain east of Lake Susupe. The enemy continues to counterattack, but all attacks have been successfully repulsed.
Seabees are at work on the airstrips at Aslito Airdrome.
On June 18 (West Longitude Date) our carrier task force providing cover and support for our amphibious force was subjected to a severe aerial attack which continued for several hours.
The attack was successfully repulsed by our carrier aircraft and antiaircraft fire. Information presently available indicates that only one of our surface units was damaged, and this damage was minor.
It is believed a portion of the enemy planes were carrier-based, and used nearby shore bases as shuttle points. However the effectiveness of this procedure was sharply limited by our systematic bombing and strafing of the air-fields at Guam and Rota.
It is estimated that more than 300 enemy aircraft were destroyed by our forces during this engagement. No estimate is yet available of our own air-craft losses. (Denis Peck)
Corvette HMCS Kincardine commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: The Finnish Ambassador, Hjalmar Procopé, and his staff are handed their passports and told to leave the country. The reason given is Procopé's alleged 'hostile behaviour towards the United States' (It seems that Procopé was, at times, undiplomatically stubborn when trying to uphold Finland's cause among the Congressmen and Senators). This is just the first move to sever diplomatic relations. a decision which was made already earlier in June, and the deal the Finns struck with von Ribbentrop which seemed to place Finland firmly in the German camp. (Mikko Härmeinen)
Destroyer USS Perkins laid down.
Submarine USS Besugo commissioned.
BERMUDA: The U-boat U-505, captured on 4 June by the US destroyer escort USS CHATELAIN, yields her codebooks intact.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: An extract from Jim Verdolini's diary:
We arrive in Bermuda, and turned our 59 prisoners over to the local Naval Base Commander. The prisoners were kept on Bermuda, until after the war. As Capt. Gallery said to us," Our Task Group had a rendezvous set up in the book of destiny, and there was no avoiding it".
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