August 4th, 1944 (FRIDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Aviation history was made today when Flying
Officer Dean in a 616 Squadron RAF Gloster Meteor jet fighter,
serial number EE216, engaged a V1, but his guns
jammed. He flew in formation with the missile at 385 mph, tipped it over by inserting his wing tip under its wing,
and sent it out of control earthwards. This was the first time a jet had been in combat
with another jet propelled machine.
Another Meteor this day shoots down another V1 with its guns.
The USAAF's Eighth Air Force in England flies 3 missions:
- Mission 514: 1,307 bombers and 746 fighters, in 4 forces, are dispatched to strategic targets in Germany; 15 bombers are lost.
(1) Of 358 B-17s, 181 hit Hamburg oil refineries, 50 hit Bremen oil refineries, 23 hit Nordhof Airfield, 22 hit Ostend, Belgium coastal defences, 14 hit Einswarden and 7 hit targets of opportunity; 8 B-17s are lost. Escort is provided by 234 P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs; 2 P-47s and 3 P-51s are lost.
425 B-17s, 221 hit Peenemunde, 110 hit Anklam Airfield and 70 hit Anklam aircraft
factories; 3 B-17s are lost. Escort is provided by 223 P-51s; 9 P-51s are lost.
The Peenemunde raid included an aircraft flown by Dick Johnson here is his
description: On August 4th, 1944 I went on a bombing mission to Peenemunde
trying to mess up the German rocket program. The Flak was pretty bad but I made
it there and back with minor battle damage.
I was in position 9 near the middle of the group and carried bombs with long delay fuses. The armaments officer told me that my first bomb would explode three hours after impact and the last one would wait for three days before exploding. We never carried these kinds of bombs into occupied countries but only into German Industrial centres.
The armaments officer said that the fuse contained celluloid discs of various thickness and when the bomb impacted it broke a vial of acetone that slowly dissolved the disc thus releasing the firing pin. No moving parts or ticking! (from his book 25 Milk Runs)
That day I was taking a new crew on their first mission to bomb Peenemunde. On the way back to base we shot down an ME 110 that was approaching from the rear. We started firing at him from two miles and at about one mile he went into a vertical dive and crashed. My crew saw no parachutes and I was surprised last month to learn that one man got out. Of course being in the driver's seat I didn't see the action, but heard plenty. For a split second I felt a little sad that we had killed two men, but soon realized that it was a kill or be killed situation.
Bf 110G-4 serial number 140317 crashed near Maribo 4/8 1944.
The aircraft belonged to 7./ NJG 1 and was coded G9+SR T/o Grove. Op: Interception of American bombers.
The BF 110 was on a day mission against American bombers when it was hit by return fire from a bomber and started burning and crashed to the ground.
Air gunner Unteroffizier Heinz Aleit managed to get out of the aircraft and saved his life by parachute and landed near a German post.
Pilot Oberleutnant Walter Prues and Wop Feldwebel Josef Peters was still in the aircraft when it crashed in boggy grounds near Bursø lake about 2 kilometres southeast of Maribo at approx.15:00 hrs.
The aircraft disappeared in the boggy ground and only the remains of Feldwebel Josef Peters was retrieved. Peters was laid to rest in København Vestre cemetery on 10/8 1944 at 15:00 hrs. The ceremony took place by the graveside.
The grounds were drained over the years and a golf course was eventually located on the site.
On 26/27 august 2002 the site was excavated by a team headed by Jes Touvdal and Jørn Junker and the remains of the aircraft and Pilot Oberleutnant Walter Prues was found.
The remains of Prues was handed over to the German authorities. He was finally laid to rest in København Vestre cemetery on 17/11 2002.
(3) Of 446 B-24s, 148 hit Rostock aviation factories, 89 hit Kiel, 88 hit Schwerin aviation factories, 71 hit Wismar aviation factories, 12 hit Schlutup, 11 hit Warien and 1 hits a target of opportunity; 4 B-24s are lost. Escort is provided by 209 P-38s and P-51s; 1 P-51 is lost.
(4) Of 78 B-24s, 39 hit Husum Airfield and 29 hit Hemmingstedt/Heide oil refinery without loss.
- Mission 515: The first APHRODITE mission is flown using 4 radio-controlled war weary
B-17s as flying bombs; targets are Mimoyecques, Siracourt, Watten, and Wizernes V-weapon
sites but none are hit; 1 drone B-17 crashes killing 1 crew. Escort is provided by 16
P-47s and 16 P-51s.
- Mission 516: In France, 154 B-17s and B-24s, in 2 forces, with 36 fighters are dispatched to hit V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais and coastal defences at Middelkerke and Gravelines.
(1) Of 95 B-24s, 24 hit the Pas de Calais, 12 hit Achiet Airfield, 11 hit Gravelines, 11 hit Middelkerke, 6 hit Lens marshalling yard and 6 hit Montigne marshalling yard at Villy.
(2) Of 59 B-17s, 13 hit targets of opportunity, 12 hit Vendeville Airfield at Lille and 11 hit a bridge at Gravelines.
- 67 P-47s fly a fighter-bomber mission against Plantlunne Airfield; 1 P-47 is lost. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer HMS Lagos launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
The German XXV Corps, in Brittany, withdraws to the major ports of St. Malo,
Brest, Lorient and St. Nazaire. Commanded by General Farmbacher, Lorient and St. Nazaire
will hold until May of 1945.
British troops liberate Evrecy and Villers Bocage, France.
In France, the USAAF's Ninth Air Force dispatches 62 A-20 Havocs and B-26s to bomb rail bridges at Oissel, Epernon, and Saint-Remy-sur-Avre and an ammunition dump and bivouac area in Foret de Sille; fighters furnish cover over the battle area and for an armoured column, fly sweeps, dive-bomb enemy positions and also fuel dumps at Angers, attack an ammunition dump at Tours, and fly armed reconnaissance in the Quimper-Nantes, Amines, and Saint-Quentin areas. (Jack McKillop)
Sqn-Ldr Ian Willoughby Bazalgette (b.1918), RAFVR, hit his target despite losing two engines to fighter fire. He and two crewmen died when the plane blew up on landing. (Victoria Cross)
Minesweeping trawler HMS Gairsay sunk by a German explosive boat off Normandy. (Dave Shirlaw)
NETHERLANDS: Amsterdam: The Gestapo, acting on tip from a Dutch informer, captures 15-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family in a sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse at Prinsengracht 263; two of the Christians who had helped shelter them are also arrested. The Franks had taken shelter there in 1942 out of fear of deportation to a concentration camp. They occupied the small space with another Jewish family and a single Jewish man, and were aided by former Christian employees of Otto Frank and other Dutch friends who brought them food and supplies. Anne spent much of her time in the "secret annex" working on her diary which survived the war, overlooked by the Gestapo that discovered the hiding place. They are sent to a concentration camp in Holland, and in September Anne and most of the others are shipped to Auschwitz in Poland. In the fall of 1944, Anne and her sister Margot are moved to Bergen-Belsen in Germany; both sisters catch typhus and die in early March 1945, two months before the camp was liberated by British forces. Anne's father Otto Frank is the only one of the 10 to survive. After the war, he returns to Amsterdam via the Soviet Union, and is reunited with Miep Gies, one of his former employees who had helped shelter him. She handed him Anne's diary and in 1947, the diary is published by Otto in its original Dutch as "Diary of a Young Girl." (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: Berlin: As 22 officers, alleged to have had dealings with the 20 July plotters are given dishonourable discharges. Hitler tells Judge Roland Freisler, the president of the "People's Court" that he wants the conspirators "strung up like butchered cattle."
U-889 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
POLAND: Warsaw: The Polish Home Army asks for Allied aid.
FINLAND: Helsinki: Marshal Carl Mannerheim becomes president
of Finland, after the resignation of Rysto Ryti.
Mikko Härmeinen adds: Marshal of Finland Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (note there's *no* 'von' prefix!) is elected by the Parliament as the new President of the Republic of Finland. This election is doubly exceptional. Normally the President is elected by a chamber of electors elected by popular vote, but this procedure has already been dispensed with in 1940 and 1943 because of the exceptional times. Second, constitutionally professional soldiers can't take part in politics; they can vote but can't run as candidates or be members of political parties.
Among the political leadership it has long been agreed that the 77-year old Marshal is the only person who can lead the Finnish people unified to the harsh peace that is to be expected.
German units counterattack between
Riga and Jelgava reopening communications with Lithuania.
ITALY: South African units of the British XII Corps enter Florence and areas south of the Arno River. Plans for future operations are revised by General Leese for the British 8th Army near the east coast of Italy to make the next major move.
In an attempt to comply with the first direct Soviet request for USAAF air strikes, 70+ P-38s and P-51s of the Fifteenth Air Force leave Italy, attack the airfield and town of Focsani, Romania and land at Operation FRANTIC bases in the USSR. (Jack McKillop)
BURMA: The British 2nd Division liberates Tamu.
PACIFIC OCEAN: USN submarines sink an IJA cargo ship in the Celebes Sea and two IJN guardboats in the Bonin Islands. (Jack McKillop)
BONIN ISLANDS: USN carrier-based aircraft of Task Groups 58.1 and 58.3 attack Chichi Jima and Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands. The aircraft also attack a Japanese convoy consisting of 5 freighters, 2 large landing ships, a destroyer and 2 destroyer escorts and sink all but the destroyer escorts which are later sunk by USN cruisers. (Jack McKillop)
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: The USAAF Eleventh Air Force sends 4 P-38s, accompanied by 1 B-25, to fly top cover for the USN's Task Force 94 near Massacre Bay on Attu Island; 4 B-25s fly an uneventful shipping sweep.
US President Franklin D Roosevelt departs Adak Island for Kodiak in the heavy cruiser USS Baltimore (CA-68). He takes in some fishing. (Jack McKillop and Drew Philip Halevy) More...
U.S.A.: Destroyer minelayer USS Robert H Smith commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
Top of Page