Yesterday            Tomorrow

September 5th, 1944

UNITED KINGDOM: London: The Benelux Customs Union, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, is established by the exile governments of these countries. This will eventually lead to the formation of the European Economic Community.

By today RAF North American Mustang IV fighters have shot down 232 V1s. (22)

USAAF OPERATIONS IN THE EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

* Eighth Air Force: 3 missions are flown.

- Mission 605: 739 bombers and 315 fighters are dispatched to southeastern Germany; 6 bombers are lost; during the missions, a P-51 shoots down a Swiss Bf 109 near Dubendorf. 
(1) 203 B-17s attack a Stuttgart aero engine plant and 4 attack targets of opportunity; 2 B-17s are lost; escort is provided by 147 P-51 Mustangs; they claim 19-0-0 aircraft in the air and 14-0-27 on the ground; 2 P-51s are lost. 
(2) 277 B-17s hit a synthetic oil plant at Ludwigshafen and 1 hits a target of opportunity (1); 2 B-17s are lost; escort is provided by 155 P-51s; a P-51 is lost; and 
(3) 183 B-24s hit the Karlsruhe marshalling yard and 2 bomb targets of opportunity; 2 B-24s are lost.

- Mission 606: 143 B-17s make a visual attack on enemy positions in the Brest, France area; 2 B-17s are lost; escort is provided by 21 P-51s without loss.

- Mission 608: 7 B-17s drop leaflets in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany during the night.

- 46 B-24s and 2 C-47s fly CARPETBAGGER missions during the night; a B-24 is lost.

- VIII Fighter Command fighter-bomber missions: (1) 48 P-38s and 167 P-47s attack transportation targets in western Germany and claim 0-0-2 aircraft in the air and 62-0-30 on the ground; 4 P-47s are lost and (2) 67 P-38s and P-47s attack 3 airfields in the Hanau/Giessen, Germany area and claim 2-0-0 aircraft in the air and 66-0-28 on the ground; a P-38 and 3 P-47s are lost.

* Ninth Air Force: In France, 300+ B-26s and A-20s bomb strongpoints in the Brest area and a coastal battery at Pointe du Grand Gouin, fighters hit gun positions and other military targets in the Brest area and fly cover for 6 armored and infantry divisions.

ÉIRE: An RN Catalina crashes at Foynes, County Limerick. Foynes, across the River Shannon from present day Shannon International Airport, is the seaplane base used by PanAm and BOAC for flights across the Atlantic to North America. (Jack McKillop)

WESTERN EUROPE: The Germans under von Rundstedt, organize a new Western Front using remnants of Heer units that escaped from Normandy reinforced with teenage and middle-age conscripts and displaced Luftwaffe ground crews and sailors. The new front runs across the southern Netherlands and northern Belgium to Germany's western border, then extends south through Luxembourg and eastern France.  (Jack McKillop)

FRANCE: Namur and Charleroi are liberated by the US 1st Army. Germany launches its first V-2 missile at Paris. 

The U.S. 80th Infantry Division, Third Army, attempts to bridge the Moselle River but is rebuffed by new German defenses.  (Jack McKillop)

NETHERLANDS:  "Dolle Dinsdag" (Mad Tuesday): The Dutch people celebrate their liberation, after the English based Dutch radio claims on Sep. 4 that allied forces have crossed the border between Antwerp and Breda. Because of the quick advance from Normandy through France and Belgium to Antwerp, liberated on Sep 4, and the collapse of the German army, expectations are that the Netherlands will be liberated in a very short time. Along the roads people await the allied columns to advance, dressed in their best clothes, carrying flowers and waving flags. Before that they see columns of Germans and Dutch collaborationists flee the country.
Rumours are spread rapidly and become pure fantasy: in Rotterdam is heard that Breda is liberated, In Amsterdam they know that the Allies are already in The Hague. The Rotterdam harbour is probably in the hands of the Dutch resistance and the allies have dropped thousands of paratroopers near Zwolle, in the northeast.
Resistance people come out in the open and arrest alleged collaborators. In some cities resistance and Germans fight each other.
In the late afternoon it becomes clear that the celebrations are premature and time will tell that they were *very* premature. Not a single allied soldier or vehicle comes even near the Dutch border. It will take the allies weeks of heavy fighting to make it to the Great Rivers in November. The north of Holland has to live through the Hunger Winter until May 1945.
 
How did this all start, then? Why did Dutch radio claim that the allies had crossed the border?
On Sep 4 the allies liberated Antwerp, a few dozen miles from the Dutch border. In the evening news a journalist had prepared a speech for the Dutch Prime Minister in exile, Mr. Gerbrandy. In that speech was written that the allies were *nearing* the Dutch border, which was changed by the PM himself in 'crossed the border'. He claims to have had that message from a trusted source, a resistance man in Breda.
The BBC next took over the message, and the next morning (Sep 5) the Dutch radio even claimed Breda had been liberated. After this message however the radio never mention it again and is silent about allied advances.
 
There are several theories about how this all occurred. One of them tells that British reconnaissance were seen close to the border, and mistakenly held for advancing troops. Another is about an overheard radio transmission between a British unit and its headquarters. This unit supposedly was in Brasschaat, just north of Antwerp, on the road to Breda. When asked where they were, they answered that the were on the Bredabaan (Breda Road) in front of the 'Cafe Breda'. By naming Breda twice one could easily think the unit was actually there.

GERMANY: U-1108 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

POLAND: Warsaw: Against all odds the Poles are still holding out in Warsaw despite the efforts of SS General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, and expert in crushing revolts. The Poles, girls and boys as young as ten among them, are defending every street, every house, every pile of rubble with enormous courage. The sewers have become their lines of communications, cellars their operating theatres.

Stalin still refuses to help, despite impassioned pleas from Churchill and from Roosevelt, who will not land American supply aircraft of Russian airstrips without Stalin's permission. The Soviet Army is in a difficult position across the Vistula, facing three strong Panzer divisions and with its own supply lines overstretched in the rear. But the Poles accuse Stalin of holding back for political reasons.

U.S.S.R.: The Soviet Union declares war on Bulgaria. Bulgaria declares war in return, their attempts to stay out of the war have been unsuccessful.

During Operation Zeppelin, an attempt to destroy strategically important targets around Moscow, an Arado 232B-0 transport carrying troops intent on sabotage hits a tree and catches fire near Moscow. (21)

U-362 (Type VIIC) is sunk in the Kara Sea near Krakovka, exact position not known, by depth charges from the Soviet minesweeper SC-116. 51 dead (all crew lost). (Alex Gordon)

ITALY: The British 8th Army continues strong attacks on Coriano and Gemmano ridges. The German forces hang on. Lucca falls to the US IV Corps.

USAAF OPERATIONS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

* Twelfth Air Force: In Italy, medium bombers again strike, with excellent results, road and rail bridges in the Po Valley while fighter-bombers blast rail lines and rolling stock south of the river; A-20s hit the Milan and Genoa areas during the night of 4/5 September and attack ammunition stores during the day; fighters support the limited ground force advance in preparation for a major assault on the Gothic Line. In France, fighters fly sweeps through the Rhone Valley.

* Fifteenth Air Force: 430+ B-17s and B-24s, with fighter escort, attack communications targets in Hungary and northern Italy to impede the withdrawal from the lower Balkans and to disrupt railroad communications in northern Italy; targets hit are 2 railroad bridges at Budapest and 1 each at Szolnok and Szob, Hungary and a railroad bridge at Ferrara, Italy. B-24s dispatched to Yugoslavia cannot bomb the target because of total cloud cover. 

USAAF OPERATIONS IN THE CHINA-BURMA-INDIA THEATER OF OPERATIONS

* Tenth Air Force: In Burma, 8 B-25s pound targets at Indaw while 21 B-24s fly fuel to Kunming, China and numerous other cargo and troop carrier sorties are flown to various CBI terminals.

* Fourteenth Air Force: In China, 25 B-25s pounding Kiyang and Hengyang cause considerable damage in both towns and at the Hengyang Airfield; 6 others attack trucks and other targets of opportunity at the Siangtan ferry crossing, near Hengyang and Kiyang, in the Lingling and Yoyang areas, and at Samshui; and 2 more B-25s bomb Kowloon shipyards. 26 P-40s blast concentrations of river junks, troops and horses in the Kiyang-Wangyang area; and other fighter-bombers, operating individually or in flights of 2-10 aircraft, hit a variety of targets of opportunity throughout the Hengyang, Kiyang, Yungfengshih, and Lishui area. (Jack McKillop)

USAAF OPERATIONS IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN AREA (Seventh Air Force): 20 Saipan Island-based B-24s bomb Iwo Jima and 2 others on armed reconnaissance hit Marcus and Yap Islands. P-47s make strafing and rocket attacks on AA positions on Pagan Island and Gilbert Islands-based B-25s attack Nauru and Ponape Islands.

PACIFIC OCEAN: Allied submarines sink two Japanese ships: (1) USS Albacore (SS-218) sinks a merchant cargo ship north of Muroto Saki, Japan, and (2) HMS Tantivy sinks a merchant cargo ship off Sumatra.  (Jack McKillop)

USAAF OPERATIONS IN THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (Far East Air Forces): B-24s hit the airfield on Peleliu Island, Palau Islands. Small-scale B-24 strikes hit Kendari Airfield on Celebes Island while fighter-bombers attack Galela and nearby villages on Halmahera Island, Moluccas Islands. Almost 60 B-24s blast Langoan Airfield on Celebes Island while a sizeable B-25 force bombs Djailolo Airfield, several villages, and Kaoe AA positions on Halmahera Island. In New Guinea, fighter-bombers hit Soepiori Peninsula villages and Waren and Moemi Airfields.

CANADA: HMS LST 3546 and 3547 ordered. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: Destroyer escort USS Lewis commissioned.

Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-198 was commissioned at New Orleans with her first commanding officer being Lt. J. J. Grant, USCGR. He was succeeded 3 October 1945, by LTJG Charles W. Shannon, USCG. She was assigned to and operated in the Southwest Pacific area including Leyte, etc. (Dave Shirlaw)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-861 sinks SS Ioannis Fafalios. (Dave Shirlaw)

 

Top of Page

Yesterday        Tomorrow

Home