June 27th, 1944UNITED KINGDOM: Flower class corvette HMS Pink is attacked by U-988 (Oberleutnant Erich Dobberstein). Damage was restricted to the loss of her propeller and shaft but after survey at Portsmouth it was decided that she was not worth repairing. Location: English Channel ENE of Barfleur at 29 48N 00 49W. (Alex Gordon)(108)
The US Eighth Air Force flies two missions from England.
Mission 443: 251 bombers and 191 fighters are dispatched to hit CROSSBOW (V-weapon) supply sites around Pas de Calais, Criel and Chantilly, France; 195 B-17s hit the Pas de Calais area, 12 B-24s hit targets of opportunity and 11 B-24s hit Criel Airfield; five B-24s are downed by AA fire, two B-24s are damaged beyond repair and 104 B-24s and eight B-17s are damaged. Escort is provided by 149 of 191 P-51s; they claim 6-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft and lose two; one P-51 is damaged; after completing the escort, the P-51s bomb and strafe targets of opportunity, including marshalling yards, bridges, railroads, transportation and airfield installations, and dispersal areas.
VIII Fighter Command fighter-bomber missions:
1. 46 P-38 Lightnings attack Connantre Airfield; three are lost.
2. 36 P-47 THunderbolts bomb Villeneuve/Zertes Airfield claiming 10-0-8 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air .
3. 32 P-51s attack Coulommiers Airfield and 246 others attack transport in the Paris area; they claim 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground.
Mission 444: 4 of 4 B-17s drop leaflets in France during the night.
16 B-24s are dispatched on CARPETBAGGER missions in France. A B-24 on a training flight in England is shot down by an intruder.
London: A V1 lands on Victoria station, killing 14 people.
Herbert Morrison, the home secretary and minister of home security, today told the war cabinet that in less than two weeks, since V1 attacks began, 1,600 people have been killed and 4,500 seriously wounded. The scale of the emergency is only being discussed behind closed doors. In a BBC broadcast yesterday the public heard that the "beastly, vicious things" were not upsetting southerners, who were "steadiness itself". The royal family are staying in London, though the King's tennis court was destroyed yesterday by a flying bomb.
London: Churchill was ploughing through his usual diet of documents today when he came across a telegram which upset him deeply. It came from the Jewish Agency in Switzerland, and contained a report of the gas chambers, allegedly based on the eye-witness account of some lucky escapees from Auschwitz-Birkenau. The report's authors, Chaim Weizmann and Moshe Shertok, beg the Allies to bomb the railway lines which being trainloads of victims to the camp. Churchill is minded to agree.
FRANCE: The capture of Cherbourg is completed by US VII Corps. Operations to clear
the harbour of obstructions and booby traps can now begin.
In the battle for the port the Americans lost 1,800 dead and 15,000 wounded; they took 45,000 prisoners.
Discipline among men of the US VII Corps broke down when they came across huge stores of champagne and brandy and proceeded to get drunk.
The German commander, General von Schlieben, wanted to surrender two days ago. "Among the troops defending the town," he reported to Rommel, "there are 2,000 wounded who cannot be treated. Is the sacrifice of the others still necessary?" Rommel answered: "In accordance with the Fuhrer's orders you are to hold out to the last round."
Yesterday, after a naval bombardment by three battleships, four cruisers and 11 destroyers, the Americans started firing straight into the tunnel defences. Fuhrer or no Fuhrer, von Schlieben had had enough and gave himself up to the first American he met. This chanced to be Major-General Manton Eddy, commanding the 9th Division; he took the German general to lunch.
But von Schlieben, who brought 800 men with him, refused to order the rest of the garrison to surrender. It was another 24 hours before the Americans had cleared the port; now they face a ten-mile slog to attack Cap de la Hague, on the tip of the peninsula.
The British VIII Corps attacks east of Caen.
Bad weather precludes IX Bomber Command operations; 700+ fighters take part in various operations, most of them fly high cover over the assault areas and bomb and strafe rail and road traffic and communications centers. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: U-927, U-2501 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ITALY: The US Fifteenth Air Force dispatches around 300 bombers to attack targets in Hungary, Poland and Yugoslavia; B-17s bomb marshalling yards at Budapest, Hungary; B-24s hit marshalling yards at Brod, Yugoslavia and oil industry targets at Drohobycz, Poland; 75 to 90 enemy fighters attack the formations; three bombers are lost; the bombers and escorting fighters claim 30+ enemy planes shot down; 90 P-51s sweep Budapest area, claiming seven fighters destroyed. (Jack McKillop)
BALTIC SEA: At 1558, U-19 attacked a Soviet tug convoy with torpedoes and sank the barge Barzha No 75 (approx. 1000 tons) NW of Tuapse.
An accident took place during U-1018's work-up period in the Baltic on 17 June which killed 1 man and wounded 2 from its crew. [Obersteuermann Walter Nellsen]. (Dave Shirlaw)
FINLAND: The Germans announce an agreement with the Finnish government to assist them against the Russians, since the Red Army has entered Finland.
Battle of Tali-Ihantala
Maj. Gen. Ruben Lagus's Armored Division continues its efforts to encircle the Soviet salient east of Lake Leitimonjärvi. Plan is to attack with Col. Albert Puroma's Jäger Brigade from west and Col. Sven Björkman's Detachment Björkman from east, while Col. V. Forsberg's battlegroup (IR 48's I and II battalions together with III/IR 13 [*]) attacks from north.
The Soviet salient contains four divisions (63rd Guards, 64th Guards, 46th Guards and 268th) together with one tank brigade and several independent tank and assault gun regiments. All of them, however, have suffered heavy losses.
Nor are the attackers at the top of their powers. Col. Puroma's jäger battalions have about fourth of their strenght left, and Col. Forsberg's forces are also badly worn.
Early in morning Col. Martti Aho's [**] IR 50 (11th Division) relieves the Jäger Brigade form the isthmus between lakes Kärstilänjärvi and Leitimonjärvi, and the Brigade is readied for attack. Mission is to advance to Talinmylly and then reach the old defence-line at the south-eastern end of Lake Leitimonjärvi. On Brigade's right flank, north of Lake Leitimonjärvi, attacks Maj. Eero Leppänen's battlegroup (Jäger battalions 4 and 5). North of Leppänen's force attacks Jäger Battalion 2, and Jäger Battalion 3 is the Brigade reserve.
North of the Jäger Brigade attacks II/IR 6, while Detachment Penttinen (an engineer company, parts of a panzer and assault gun battalion) together with III/IR 6 was to hold the line along the Portinhoikka-Ihantala -road. The two battalions of Col. Forsberg's IR 48 together with the III/IR 13, supported by elements of Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 303 were to clear the Portinhoikka-Ihantala -road of the enemy from the direction of Ihantala, and then continue their offensive south.
Col. Björkman's detachment's Border Jäger Battalion 2, II/IR 13 and Separate Battalion 14 were to attack and link with the Jäger Brigade around Talinmylly.
Col. Puroma's jägers began their offensive at 3 pm. after seven artillery battalions had fired a preparation. Initally they advanced without problems, but then Maj. Leppänen's battlegroup met a strong enemy force, that stopped its advance for few hours. Maj. Leppänen was mortally wounded [***], and replaced by Maj. Jouko Hynninen. The battlegroup continued its offensive, and around 6 pm. reached Aniskala, about half-way to its final objective. There Battlegroup Hynninen's offensive was stopped by fierce enemy resistance. On Hynninen's left flank Jäger Battalion 2 was also stopped short of its objective.
In Ihantala, Col. Forsberg's battlegroup, supported by German assault guns, succesfully cleared the Portinhoikka-Ihantala -road, but the already depleted forces suffered heavy losses in the process, esp. the III/IR 13. The German assault guns were forced to leave after running out of ammo [****]. Col. Forsberg informed Gen. Lagus that his men were unable to conduct offensive operations. Gen. Lagus ordered him to proceed as per his earlier orders: to advance towards Jäger Brigade's advancing men from north. Lagus reinforced Forsberg's men with an engineer company and an assault gun platoon. They were able to reach their first objective around midnight, but were forced to return to their starting positions after running out of ammo. Col. Forsberg's battlegroup had spent what strength it had left clearing the road of enemy.
East of the Soviet salient Col. Björkman's forces attacked in afternoon. Especially Maj. Martti Avela's Border Jäger Battalion 2 met success, but its commander was wounded and replaced by Capt. U. Petäjä. At best they were only a kilometer from Col. Puroma's men who were advancing from west. But again fierce Soviet resistance frustrated the Finnish hopes of closing the pocket. The Soviet forces in the salient were still able to bring in reinforcements. Time was running out, but the Armored Division was going to try one more time on the next night.
The Finnish and German air units were busy trying to cut the bridges the Red Army engineers had built at Tali. These bridges were of vital importance for the Soviet offensive, and no matter how often they were destroyed, the engineers, oblivious to all dangers, always rebuilt them.
[*] This unit also contained a company of Swedish volunteers, who distinguished themselves in today's battles.
[**] Col. Martti Aho was one of only four men who received the Mannerheim Cross, 2nd Class, twice.
[***] Maj. Eero Leppänen, who had already distinguished himself in numerous engagements, was awarded a posthumous Mannerheim Cross, 2nd Class.
[****] Germans didn't inform Finns why they left the battle. This caused bad blood among the Finnish units they had been supporting, who thought the Germans were running from battle.
BURMA: Mogaung: The Chindit 77th Special Force Brigade under Brigadier Mike Calvert, supported by two battalions of the Chinese 114th Regiment, has taken Mogaung. The Japanese 18th Division, fighting Lt-Gen Joseph Stilwell's Chinese troops and the remnants of "Merrill's Marauders" at Myitkyina, is now isolated.
The Gurkha, Lancashire Fusilier, Staffordshire and Liverpool men have been fighting for Mogaung for a month. Casualties of battle wounds and ill-health have been so high that for today's assault across the key railway bridge Calvert had only 230 Gurkhas, 110 Fusiliers and men of the King's Regiment (Liverpool), and 180 Staffordshire men from battalions once 800 strong.
MARIANA ISLANDS: US carrier aircraft from Task Force 58 attack Japanese ships in Apra Harbor, Guam destroying a water tanker that had been damaged by a US submarine. During the night, the Japanese mount a coordinated attack against Isely Field, Saipan. The attack involves nine Navy Type 1 Attack Bombers, Allied Code Name "Betty", six from Palau Island and three from Truk Atoll, and two Nakajima B6N Navy Carrier Attack Bomber Tenzan, Allied Code Name "Jill," from Guam. The raiders drop more than 20 bombs without damaging anything; two of the attackers are shot down.
AUSTRALIA: Frigate HMAS Burdekin commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
NEWFOUNDLAND: Corvette HMCS Algoma completed workups and returned St John's. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Submarine USS Quillback laid down.
Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-312 was commissioned at New York with LT E. L, Jennsen, USCGR, as commanding officer. On 20 August 1944, she departed New York for Los Angeles, towing the QS-22. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest Pacific area during the war at Batangas, Philippines and elsewhere. She was decommissioned 15 October 1945. (Dave Shirlaw)
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