September 14th, 1944
UNITED KINGDOM: EUROPE
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS: The US Eighth Air Force in England flies
Mission 632: 2 B-17 control aircraft and 2 B-17 CASTOR drones fly an APHRODITE
mission to the oil refinery at Hemmingstedt, Germany; the target is
TACTICAL OPERATIONS: C-47s of the First Allied Airborne Army's US IX Troop Carrier Command continue large-scale supply and evacuation missions in France. The US Ninth Air Force activates HQ XXIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional) at Vermand, in anticipation of operating with the US Ninth Army, shortly to join the Twelfth Army Group; Brigadier General Richard E Nugent is Commanding General; about 140 B-26s and A-20s bomb gun emplacements and strongpoints in the Brest area. In southern France, bad weather limits US Twelfth Air Force fighters to a few sweeps.
Minesweeper HMS Serene commissioned. Destroyer HMS Barfleur commissioned. Minesweeper HMS Chameleon commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U-2346 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
NORWAY: Bergen: One of Britain's most successful secret weapons - a midget submarine able to penetrate the best defended waterways - has struck again. This time the target was a big floating dock, blown up in Bergen harbour. Lt. H. P. Westmacott skippered the four-man craft, X24, as it slipped through 30 miles of islands offshore and a minefield and into a fjord to sail at periscope depth to the harbour. After diving to 35 feet to avoid collision with a merchant ship, Westmacott attached delayed-action charges to the target and escaped. It is the second such raid on Bergen by Westmacott in X24.
POLAND: Units of the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front enter the Warsaw suburb of Praga.
U.S.S.R.: The Finnish peace delegation has waited for a week at Moscow for the negotiations to begin. Delay is caused by disagreements between the Soviets and British over the terms of the interim Peace Treaty (the final treaty will be the one concluded with the Soviet Union, UK and the Dominions at Paris in 1947). Today the two allies finally reach an agreement, and the Fenno-Soviet negotiations are to begin in evening. However, Prime Minister Antti Hackzell, who is the chairman of the Finnish delegation, suffers brain haemorrhage just hours before the first session is to start and is paralysed. Minister of Defence Gen. Rudolf Walden acts as the head of the delegation in the first session. Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Enckell arrives two days later to replace Hackzell.
By this date all German troops have left Southern Finland. (Mikko Härmeinen)
The Soviets attack Army Group North with 130 Divisions. General Schorner asks Hitler to let Estonia to go. This time Hitler allows a retreat. (Gene Hanson)
ITALY: The British 8th Army begins its continued advance, toward the Marano River, after capturing the Gemmano Ridge.
US Twelfth Air Force medium bombers attack defensive positions in the east and central parts of the Gothic Line as the enemy fiercely resists, especially at Il Giogo Pass and on Monte Altuzzo; fighter-bombers continue strikes against communications and movement in the Po Valley.
The sailing yacht EROS is torpedoed and sunk by US PT boats off Genoa. She is ex-mercantile, originally built as a yacht for the Rothschild family. 1,019 tons built 1926 in England with some guns. She was seized by the Germans at Toulon in 1942 and redesignated Kriegsmarine Uj.2216 in 1943. [prior information courtesy of Henri Le Masson's The French Navy, Volume 2, Macdonald and Co., 1969] (Greg Kelley)
BURMA: Japanese troops withdraw from the Manipur river line.
JAPAN: During the night of 13/14 September, 3 US Eleventh Air Force B-24s strike Kurabu Cape shipping and airfield on Paramushiru Island in the Kurile Islands.
CENTRAL PACIFIC: US Seventh Air Force B-24s from Saipan Island bomb Iwo Jima Island. B-24s on armed reconnaissance bomb Marcus Island; others from Eniwetok Atoll bomb Truk Island while Gilbert Islands-based B-25s hit Ponape Island.
SOUTH CHINA SEA: The USN submarine USS Pargo (SS-264) lays mines near Natuna Island. (Jack McKillop)
USN Task Group 38.2 (TG 38.2, Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan)
attacks Japanese shipping and installations on and around Panay and Negros
Islands, supported by TG 38.3 (Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman). TG 38.1 (Vice
Admiral John S. McCain), en route to support the Morotai landings, carries out
strikes on Japanese installations on Mindanao; during the course of these
operations, SB2Cs Helldivers of Bombing Squadron Two (VB 2) sink a fast
transport in Davao Gulf. Meanwhile, destroyers USS Farenholt (DD-491), USS
McCalla (DD-488), and USS Grayson (DD-435), detached from TG 38.1, bombard
suspected Japanese radar installation on Cape San Augustin, at the mouth of
Davao Gulf. (Jack McKillop)
NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: 5620 Dutch, English, Australian and American POWs and Javanese slave labourers are loaded aboard the Japanese cargo ship "Junyo Maru" at Batavia on Java. The ship will be sunk by an RN submarine four days later. (See 18 September) (Jack McKillop)
HMCS Waskesiu departed departed
Londonderry with Convoy ONF-253.
Frigate HMCS Stettler attacked by U-802 Kptlt Helmut Schmoeckel CO. U-802 was a type IXC/40, U-boat, built by Deutsche Schiff und Machinen Bau AG Seebeck Yard Bremen, commissioned 12 Jun 43, in service 23 months, with a record of sinking 1 ship on 14 Sep 44. Stettler together with other frigates were on a routine patrol of Gaspe Passage when they fell within torpedo range of U-802. Assuming a convoy following astern of the sweep, U-802 tried to slip through the screen. Asdic sounds surrounded it as the formation zigzagged around its base course in full view of Schmoeckel's periscope, "Suddenly a destroyer turns bows on at full speed, making black smoke". Incorrect though his assumption was, Schmoeckel could only conclude in that split second that HMCS Stettler had gained asdic contact and was commencing her attack. Pressed by the apparently threatening frigate slicing through an "absolutely smooth, leaden sea (at approximately) 20 knots" Schmoeckel hastily fired a T-5 acoustic Gnat at a range of 500 m. An "explosion," in the words of the Canadian report, "believed to be a torpedo, occurred 40 yards astern of HMCS Stettler in the ship's wake." The crew of U-802 heard their torpedo explode, followed by "the sounds of sinking," and credited themselves with a kill. Lying under protective layers at a depth of 170 m eight minutes after their attack, they listened in safety to the counter-attacks as "destroyers" crossed overhead. U-802 rounded Cap de la Madeleine by late afternoon on 15 Sep, and let itself drift eastward with the prevailing set of the Gaspe stream.
U.S.A.: The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 made its initial landfall as a Category 3 storm at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, shortly after 0900 hours. The barometric pressure at Cape Hatteras dropped to 947 millibars (27.97 inches of mercury or 94,71 kPa) with the highest winds clocked at 110 mph (177,0 km/h). From this point forward, the storm began to accelerate to the northeast to a speed in excess of 40 mph (64,4 km/h). By 1200 hours, the hurricane passes 75 miles (120,7 km) to the east of Norfolk, Virginia, and hurricane force winds swept over portions of extreme southeast Virginia. Winds peaked at 73 mph (117,5 km/h) in downtown Norfolk with gusts to 90 mph (144,8 km/h). At Cape Henry in Virginia Beach, Virginia, peak 1-minute winds reached 134 mph (215,7 km/h) with momentary gusts to 150 mph (241,4 km/h), the highest ever observed at any site during the hurricane. The lowest barometric pressure reported at Norfolk during the hurricane was 985.7 millibars (29.11 inches of mercury or 98,58 kPa). The high winds were the result of intensive convective activity which occurred in the western semi-circle of the storm. Over 4 inches (10,2 cm) of rain fell in a three and a half hour period from 1000 hours to 1330 hours. Fortunately for the area the hurricane passed at the time of low tide and tides only reached 6.0 feet (1,8 meters) above mean low tide with little or no flooding reported. The bulk of the damage was due to the hurricane force winds which brought down numerous trees in the area. At 1800 hours, the center of the hurricane was just offshore of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Winds there reached 82 mph (132 km/h) out of the north. Nearly all New Jersey shore communities suffered heavy damage to roofs and chimneys. Three hundred homes were destroyed on Long Beach Island alone and boardwalks in Atlantic City and on Seven Mile Beach, which contains Avalon and Stone Harbor, were literally washed away. Even inland, the storm brought heavy rains and tropical-storm force winds resulting in agricultural losses estimated at US$3.5 million (US$35.7 million in year 2002 dollars) in New Jersey alone. The hurricane made a second landfall on the eastern end of Long Island, New York and as the storm progressed northeastward, it passed to the north of Boston, Massachusetts, and then into the Gulf of Maine. The storm continued to accelerate rapidly to the east-northeast toward Nova Scotia, Canada, on 15 September. In Maine, the storm began as rain at 1600 hours. As the night progressed, the weather got gradually worse, and by 2400 hours, torrential rains were falling. At 0025 hours on the 15th, Civil defence authorities mobilized personnel and equipment to assist the emergency services. By 0230 hours, the winds had reached 50 mph (80,5 km/h) in the Auburn and Lewiston area. At 0400 hours, the center of the storm passed only 50 miles (80,5 km) from Portland and was headed northeast. By 0433 hours, the all clear was sounded. A total of 390 people died in the storm; 340 of them were lost on ships at sea. The U.S. Coast Guard lost three vessels: (1) the patrol boats USCGC Bedloe (WPC-128, ex-USCGC Antietam) and USCGC Jackson (WPC-142) foundered off Cape Hatteras during a hurricane. 26 crewmen are lost on former, 21 on the latter and (2) Lightship No. 73 on Vineyard Sound Station, Massachusetts, foundered during the hurricane; all 12 of her crew perish. (Jack McKillop)
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