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August 21st, 1944 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Submarines HMS Tapir and Votary launched. Submarine Zeehond launched. Frigate HMS Loch Katrine launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

Corvette HMCS Leaside commissioned, South Bank-on-Tees.

Corvette HMCS Alberni sunk while streaming south at fourteen knots in fair weather with a NNE wind of five knots but State Four seas for the rendezvous, sweeping by asdic eighty-degrees on either bow, radar operating. "Hands to Dinner" had just been piped. Four minutes later, with no asdic warning whatsoever, she was hit by a torpedo on her port side just aft of the engine room. In less than 10 seconds she was awash from the funnel aft, listing to port and sinking fast. In another twenty seconds she was gone, sinking stern first. Most of the off-watch hands were trapped in their mess decks, and only one stoker escaped from the engine and boiler rooms. Alberni was sunk by U-480 OLtsZ Hans-Joachim FÖRSTER CO, at 1141, 25 miles SE. of St. Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, 50-18N 00-51W. 59 crew members were lost (Alex Gordon and Dave Shirlaw)(108)

FRANCE: A rapid advance across northern France begins by Allied units in pursuit of retreating German units. 

Falaise: The "Falaise Pocket" was finally closed today two weeks after the Canadian First Army mounted Operation Totalize to cut off the otherwise encircled German forces. It has been a bloody battle, with Allied aircraft supporting the land forces with Typhoon and P-47 rocket-firing fighter-bombers, and to the end the Germans fought with almost fanatical determination.

Some 30,000 Germans managed to escape across the Seine after Hitler yesterday allowed Field Marshal Walter Model, who replaced von Kluge four days ago, to withdraw. Model has now told Hitler that the Seventh Army can no longer function as a fighting force. But 50,000 Germans have been captured along with considerable stocks of equipment. An estimated 10,000 Germans were killed. The way is now open for a speedy advance towards Paris.

The town of Falaise had fallen by 17 August after determined resistance by the 12th SS Panzer Division. But remnants of the German 5th Panzerarmee and Seventh Army remained in the pocket, with a narrow gap between Falaise and Argentan allowing them to escape. Today Canadian, British and Polish forces pressing in from the north linked up with the US First Army driving from Argentan to the south, with Allied aircraft strafing the     Germans as they retreated over wreckage-strewn roads.

The US 3rd Army patrols reach Versailles.
The US VI Corps is advancing on Aix-en-Provence and French forces on their left are moving on Toulon and Marseilles in the south of France.
In southern France, US Twelfth Air Force fighter-bombers and fighters again blast enemy communications lines and gun positions and motor transport and train cars. (Jack McKillop)

Flower class corvette HMS Orchis is mined off Juno Beach, Normandy in Baie de la Seine at Courselles-sur-Mer. Her bows are blown off as far back as the gun, and she is beached as a constructive loss. (Dave Shirlaw)

U-963 During a crash dive at night (0017hrs) in the Bay of Biscay a man was lost overboard. [Bootsmaat Hans Reiter]. (Dave Shirlaw)

GERMANY: U-3514 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

 

U.S.S.R.: The Soviet 3rd Baltic and Leningrad Fronts move forward on both sides of Lake Peipus. Sandomierz on the west bank of the Vistula River falls to the First Ukraine Front.  (John Nicholas)
     German forces of Heeresgruppe Mitte retake Tukkum in Estonia, re-establishing contact with Heeresgruppe Nord (Schoerner).  (Jack McKillop)

At 20.45 hours, the British destroyer HMS Keppel got a contact on her starboard quarter, while escorting the convoy JW-59 in position 73.01N, 03.57E - Grid AB 5456, 220 miles south-west of Bear Island. Together with HMS Kite (U 87) and a Swordfish aircraft from the British escort carrier HMS Vindex the U-boat was attacked with hedgehogs and depth charges. They hunted the U-boat throughout the night with their foxers (Anti Gnat devices) streamed, but the hunt was fruitless. At 06.40 hours on 21 August, HMS Kite had slowed down to 6 knots to clear her foxers, which had become twisted around one another. At this vulnerable moment, U-344 (Kapitanleutnant Ulrich Pietsch) fired a spread of three FAT torpedoes at the sloop, misidentified as Dido-class light cruiser by Pietsch. The ship was struck by two torpedoes on the starboard side and heeled over to that side immediately. The stern broke off, floated for a few seconds, then sank. The bow remained afloat for a minute and then sank at a steep angle. At 07.30 hours, HMS Keppel stopped to pick up survivors, while the British sloops HMS Peacock and HMS Mermaid screened the rescue operation. There are 183 casualties. Only 14 of the about 60 survivors in the water could be rescued from the ice cold water, five of them died on board and were later buried at sea. (Dave Shirlaw and Alex Gordon)(108)

ITALY : The US Fifteenth Air Force dispatches 117 B-24s, escorted by P-51 Mustangs, to bomb Nish Airfield, Yugoslavia. 102 B-24s, with P-51 escort, hit Hajduboszormeny Airfield, Hungary which 46 other P-51s sweep, some making low-level strafings on parked aircraft. (Jack McKillop)

HUNGARY: During the day, 102 B-24 Liberators of the USAAF's Fifteenth Air Force in Italy visually bomb Boszormeny Airfield at Hajdu with the loss of two B-24s. During the night of 21/22 August, 70 RAF Liberators of No. 205 Group visually bomb Szony Airfield at Komoron with the loss of three aircraft.  (Jack McKillop)

 

YUGOSLAVIA: During the day, 117 B-24 Liberators of the USAAF's Fifteenth Air Force in Italy visually bomb the airfield at Nis without loss.  (Jack McKillop)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: U-230 runs aground in the Toulon roadsteads, France, in position 43.07N, 06.00E. She is scuttled by her crew during the Allied invasion of southern France. All 50 crewmen survive.

PALAU ISLANDS: Radar-equipped B-24s of the US Thirteenth Air Force continue their nightly sorties against Japanese positions.

CANADA: Minesweeper HMCS Quinte completed refit Pictou, Nova Scotia and attached to HMCS Cornwallis as training ship Digby, Nova Scotia. Corvette HMCS Asbestos departed Bermuda after workups for St John's and EG C-2

Frigate HMCS Runnymede arrived Halifax from Bermuda workups. Frigates HMCS Kirkland Lake and Loch Alvie commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
 

U.S.A.: The Dumbarton Oaks Conference begins. This conference marks the beginning discussions about a post-war assembly that will become the United Nations. Stettinius for the US, Cadogan for Britain and Gromyko for the USSR are in attendance. The conference will last through the 29th.

The motion picture "When Strangers Marry" is released today. Directed by William Castle, this mystery stars Robert Mitchum, Kim Hunter, Dean Jagger and Rhonda Fleming. A naive small-town girl (Hunter) goes to New York City to meet her husband (Jagger) and learns he may be a murderer. Her ex-boyfriend (Mitchum) plays it cool in his first important role. (Jack McKillop)

Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-192 was commissioned at New Orleans with LTJG C. J. Stevenson, USCGR, first commanding officer. He was succeeded on 29 November l944 by LTJG Charles W. Shannon, USCG. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest Pacific area. and

ARCTIC OCEAN: Whilst escorting convoy JW.59 (Loch Ewe, Scotland to Kola Fjord, U.S.S.R.),  RN sloop HMS Kite (U 87) is torpedoed and sunk about 268 nautical miles (495 kilometres) west-southwest of Bjornoya (Bear Island), Norway, by U-344 (Kapitanleutnant Ulrich Pietsch) using a spread of FAT torpedoes which ran a wandering course with regular 180-degree turns. There are 183 casualties and just 9 survivors. Position is 73 01N, 03 57E.


ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-743 is listed as missing in the Arctic Ocean or the North ATLANTIC OCEAN with all hands, 50 men.

U-766 is stricken near La Pallice, in position 46.10N, 01.14W, when unable to put to sea and surrendered to France.

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