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August 20th, 1944 (SUNDAY)

ENGLISH CHANNEL: - U-413 is sunk  south of Brighton, in position 50.21N, 00.01W, by depth charges from the RN escort destroyer HMS Wensleydale and the destroyers HMS Forester and HMS Vidette. Only 1 of the 46 crewmen of the U-boat survived.

FRANCE
:
 - 61 US Ninth Air Force B-26s bomb troop and equipment concentrations waiting at Foret de la Lande to be ferried across the Seine River; fighters fly armed reconnaissance along the Seine River, support ground troops in the battle area of northern France, and fly an escort mission to 100+ C-47 Skytrains on a supply and evacuation run.
 -  In southern France during the night of 19/20 August,  US Twelfth Air Force A-20 Havocs attack lights and motor transport from the battleline northwest to the Rhone River; B-26s, joined by fighter-bombers and fighters, hit coastal defence guns in the Toulon area, while B-25s bomb Rhone Valley bridges and airfields achieving especially good results at the airfield near Valence.

Falaise: Fighting is at its fiercest, as the German Seventh Army tries to break out of the "pocket" to join the SS 2nd Panzer Division at Mont Ormel.

Last night the last units of the German 5th Panzer and 7th Armies escape from the Falaise pocket through the Allied lines around Chambois and St. Lambert.


Patton takes crossings on the Seine River at Mantes Grassicourt, 30 miles west of Paris. The XX Corps enters Fontainebleau.

- U-188 is scuttled at the U-boat base in Bordeaux when it is unable to escape the Allied advance.

Petain is arrested by the Germans in Vichy for refusing to go to an area which is safe from the Allied advance.

Paris: The Hôtel de Ville is taken over by the FFI. The mobilization of the FFI is described thus: "An officer was told by a double agent that two trucks were broken down at Levallois; they were attacked and their drivers killed; the spoils were fruitful: 4 machine guns, 12 submachine guns, 250 pistols, and some ammunition boxes. At Clichy two German trucks collided at the angle of the boulevard Victor-Hugo and the boulevard Jean-Jaurès, and 9 machine guns, 15 submachine guns, and 8 Mausers were made away with. Next day, 20 submachine guns were taken from the Hotchkiss factory as well as a truckload of long-handled grenades on the quai de Saint-Ouen. So the insurgents,..., reached a strength of seven to eight thousand armed combatants for the liberation."
Since the main roads are clear, and German patrols are able to pass freely up and down them, von Cholitz feels no call to intervene; the occupation of the Préfecture de Police and Hôtel de Ville are without strategic significance. At the demand of the non-Communist resistance and through the good offices of Nordling, the Swedish consul general a truce is arranged.

GERMANY: U-3513 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

In east central Europe, the US Fifteenth Air Force in Italy dispatches 460+ B-24s and B-17s, some fighter-escorted, to bomb the airfield and marshalling yard at Szolnok, Hungary and oil refineries at Dubova, Czechoslovakia, and Czechowice and Auschwitz, Poland.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA:Seventy six USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb the oil refinery at Dubrova without loss.  (Jack McKillop)

 

HUNGARY: USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators attack three targets: 94 aircraft bomb the marshalling yard at Szolnok, 88 bomb Rakoczifalva Airfield at Szolnok with the loss of two aircraft, and six bomb the city of Szeged.   (Jack McKillop)

 

POLAND: Two hundred twelve USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb the I.G. Farben oil refinery at Oswiecim with the loss of one aircraft.  (Jack McKillop)

U.S.S.R.: A major Soviet offensive begins near Jassy and Tiraspol. This involves a massive artillery bombardment from Malinovsky's Second Ukraine Front and Tolbukhin's Thrird Ukraine Front. The defence is by the 3rd and 4th Rumanian Armies and the German 6th Army, which contains many Rumanian troops. This is General Freissner's Army Group South Ukraine.

Shellfire from 'Prinz Eugen' assists in the successful defence against the Russian attack near Riga.

BLACK SEA: - U-9 is sunk at 1030 hours local at Konstanza, Black Sea in position 44.12N, 28.41E, by bombs from Soviet aircraft. In 1945 the Soviets raised the boat and brought it in the Russian harbour Nikolaev. She became in 1945 the USSR TS-16, but due to extensive damages she was broken up sometime after 12 Dec, 1946.

JAPAN: 61 US XX Bomber Command B-29 Superfortresses based at Chengtu, China, bomb the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata during the day; 14 B-29s are lost, including 1 to AA and 4 to enemy aircraft (1 by air-to-air bombing and 1 by ramming); B-29 gunners claim 17 air victories. One crew bails out over Soviet territory and is interned. During the night of 20/21 August, 10 B-29s from Chengtu attack the Yawata steel works and 5 others bomb other targets.

Saipan Island-based US Seventh Air Force B-24s hit Yap Island for the first time.

During the night of 20/21 August, radar-equipped US Thirteenth Air Force B-24s attack Japanese installations in the Palau Islands.

NEW GUINEA: MacArthur announces that the fighting on Biak, New Guinea. Japanese casualties are 4,700 KIA and 220 POW. US casualties total 2550 KIA and WIA.In the Aleutian Islands, 4 US Eleventh Air Force B-25s fly a negative shipping sweep.

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: In the Aleutian Islands, 4 US Eleventh Air Force B-25s fly a negative shipping sweep. (Jack McKillop)

U.S.A.: The USN's nonrigid airship K-111 operating in conjunction with the escort aircraft carrier USS Makassar Strait (CVE-91) off San Diego, California, demonstrates the feasibility of refuelling and replenishing airships from aircraft carriers. In this operation that lasted 72.5 hours, K-111's crew was relieved every 12 hours and its engines were operated continuously. In one evolution, the airship remained on deck for 32-minutes.

Destroyer minelayer USS Lindsey commissioned.
Heavy cruisers USS Los Angeles and Chicago launched.
Minesweeper USS Quail launched.
Aircraft carrier USS Antietam launched.

Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-256 departed the 3rd Naval District for Los Angeles. She was towing the QS-54. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest Pacific area. She was decommissioned 22 October 1945.

Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-259 departed the 3rd Naval District for Los Angeles towing the QS-57. She was assigned to and operated in Hawaii. (Dave Shirlaw)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-764 sank SS Coral in Convoy ETC-72.
U-861 sank SS Berwickshire and damaged SS Daronia in Convoy DN-68.

U-862 shot down RAF Catalina aircraft, Squadron 265/H. The boat shot down the aircraft and escaped despite a massive search for it.
(Dave Shirlaw)

 - U-984 is sunk in the Bay of Biscay west of Brest, in position 48.16N, 05.33W, by depth charges from the RCN destroyers HMCS Ottawa, HMCS Kootenay and HMCS Chaudiere. All hands on the U-boat, 45 men, are lost.

U-984 a VIIC type U-boat, built by Blohm and Voss, Hamburg, launched 12 May 43, commissioned 17 Jun 43, in service 14 months, with a record of 4 ships sunk for a total of 22,850 tons and 1 ship damaged for a further 7,240 tons. Escort Group 11 was returning to Londonderry after sinking U-621, OLtzS Hermann Struckmann Knights Cross, CO, (see 18 Aug) HMCS Restigouche had already been detached due to defects, Ottawa and Chaudiere were low on fuel and Kootenay had a leaking fuel pump that was becoming critical. Ottawa gained asdic contact at 1935. Chaudiere used the last of her 'Hedgehog' bombs (without result) and then resorted to depth charges, which produced an oil slick. At 2300 the attacks were broken off and EG 11 proceeded back to base. At the time, it was judged that insufficient evidence had been produced to justify awarding a 'kill'. However, record reconstruction after the war has proven that U-984 was sunk in this engagement. The sinking of 2 U-boats in 2 days, both commanded by experienced officers, was probably the best Canadian ASW performance during the war. Although the successes of EG 11 on 'offensive' ASW sweeps in the Bay of Biscay indicate there was some value in 'hunter-killer' Ops, post-war Ops analysis concluded that the effort expended per U-boat killed on such 'sweeps' was far greater than in convoy battles. Detached groups also had the effect of weakening the escort forces assigned to screen convoys. Historians and naval Ops planners still strongly argue this point. OLtzS Sieder, was U-984's only Commanding Officer. Heinz Sieder was born in 1920, In Munich. He joined the navy in 1938. When the war broke out he was under training in the old battleship Schlesien. He continued his training at the naval college and naval gunnery school until Apr 40, when he was assigned to the battlecruiser Scharnhorst. He transferred to the U-boat force in Feb 41 and underwent conversion training. He was assigned to the 26th U-Flotilla in Sep 41 and in Jan 42, was appointed as the First Watch Officer in the Type VIIC training boat U-440, KptLt. Hans Geissler, CO. U-440 was transferred to Ops in Sep 42 and OLtzS. Sieder was selected for command in Apr 43. (She was sunk on her next patrol by a RAF 'Sunderland' patrol a/c) After his U-boat commander's course, Sieder was appointed to commission the Type VIIC boat U-984 on 17 Jun 43. He was awarded the Knight's Cross on 08 Jul 44, the 112th presented in the U-boat force.

 - U-1229 is sunk in the North Atlantic southeast of Newfoundland, in position 42.20N, 51.39W, by depth charges and rockets from 3 TBM Avengers and 2 FM Wildcats of Composite Squadron Forty Two (VC-42) in the US escort aircraft carrier USS Bogue (CVE-9). 41 of the 59 U-boat crewmen survive.

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