November 18th, 1944
UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMS St Austell Bay launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
BELGIUM: Brussels: At the request of the Allied armies, Belgian resistance fighters agree to lay down their arms and leave the battle to regular soldiers.
During the night of 18/19 November, USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 717: four B-24 Liberators and six B-17 Flying Fortresses drop leaflets in Belgium, the Netherlands and France. (Jack McKillop)
FRANCE: To the south, Patton's Third Army still has to capture Metz and Thionville in order to secure a passage through Lorraine to the Saar. The Germans, occupying the Maginot Line, have turned their guns round to face West and hit Patton's men. Further South the US-French Army Group, which includes General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny's First French Army, is poised to drive through the Belfort Gap between the Vosges and the Jura. There is a dangerous gap between Patton and the British and the Americans to the north; only six US divisions hold the 70-mile front in the Ardennes.
The French First Army drives seven miles through the Belfort Gap.
Paris: De Gaulle sets up a high court of five magistrates and 24 jurors to try Vichy leaders and collaborators.
In the U.S. Third Army's XX Corps area, the 10th Armored Division continues to pursue the Germans, Combat Command B columns reaching Launstroff and Schwerdorff and Combat Command A detachment reaching the Nied River opposite Bouzonville; finding a damaged bridge north of Bouzonville near Filstroff, the Combat Command A force begins crossing. The 90th Infantry Division races southward to cut off the retreating Germans; the 359th Infantry Regiment is committed and gets elements across the Nied River at Conde Northen; the 90th Reconnaissance Troop seizes Avancy. The 357th Infantry Regiment, on the division's left, is slowed by antitank ditches, mines, and craters. Task Force Bacon, 95th Infantry Division, pushes into the northeast part of Metz, overrunning Fort St Julien and Fort Bellacroix; the 95th Infantry Division forces west of Metz reach the Moselle River and find all bridges except one blown; the 377th Infantry Regiment clears the island formed by the Hafen Canal and the river; a 378th Infantry patrol starts across the Moselle bridge into Metz but the Germans blow the bridge, and other elements of the regiment begin an assault on Fort Plappeville; the 379th Infantry Regiment drives to the Moselle River at Moulins-ls-Metz, where a bridge is down. The 5th Infantry Division advances into Metz from the south: the 11th Infantry Regiment, leaving elements behind to contain Fort St Privat, pushes into the city and begins clearing the southern part; some elements of the 10th Infantry drive into Metz while others remain behind at Fort Queuleu; the 2d Infantry Regiment advances northward as quickly as possible in an effort to make contact with the 90th Infantry Division and complete the encirclement of Metz, overrunning Courcelles-sur-Nied and Ars-Laquenexy. XII Corps renews a drive toward the Sarre River with two divisions abreast after preparatory fire. The 35th Infantry Division takes Bistroff and positions east of Vallerange. the 26th Infantry Division attacks to the right of the 35th Infantry Division against the German Dieuze-Benestroff line and pushes through Bois de Benestroff and recapturing Guebling with the assistance of tanks and tank destroyers and drives to edge of Bourgaltroff, (Jack McKillop)
In the U.S. Seventh Army's XV Corps area, the 79th Infantry Division begins assault on Fremonville; elements find Blamont clear of Germans. In VI Corps area, the 100th Infantry Division attacks Raon-l'Etape, the 397th Infantry Regiment pushing into town and 398th Infantry starting across the Plaine River. The 36th Infantry Division is closing along the Meurthe River on the southern flank of corps and gains positions overlooking Gerardmer. (Jack McKillop)
In the French First Army's I Corps area, the 5th Armored and 2d Moroccan Divisions are closing in on Belfort on the northern flank of the corps. The 1st Armored Division, assisted by the 9th Colonial Division, drives 7 miles (11 kilometers) through Belfort Gap between the Rhine-Rhone Canal and the Swiss border to Delle; from the Allaine River, where the Germans are holding out at Morvillars, the 1st Armored Division reconnoiters east toward the Rhine River, taking Faverois, Courtelevant, Suarce, and Joncherey. (Jack McKillop)GERMANY: The US 3rd Army closes on the German border in the area of Metz.
The British XXX Corps joins the 1st and 9th Armies in their attacks liberating Jülich and Düren.
In the British Second Army area, XXX Corps begins an offensive to reduce the Geilenkirchen salient (Operation CLIPPER), driving northeast with the 43d Division on the left and the U.S. 84th Infantry Division, reinforced by the British Drewforce (flail tanks and searchlight battery), on the right. The 43d Division secures Tripsrath and most of Bauchem. The 334th Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, takes Prummern; continuing their assault after nightfall with the aid of searchlights, gains a position dominating Sueggerath but is unable to take the high ground, called Mahogany Hill, northeast of Prummern. Geilenkirchen is now surrounded on three sides. (Jack McKillop)
Allied forces, now joined by a third US army, Lieutenant-General William H. Simpson's Ninth, are poised for a three pronged drive into Germany. The US First and Ninth Armies stand before the Aachen Gap, a 20-mile stretch of open country between Stolberg and Heinsberg. Here, the Roer river has almost certainly been incorporated into the Siegfried Line defences. Montgomery's 21st Army Group stands to the north.
In the U.S. Ninth Army's XIX Corps area, Combat Command B of 2d Armored Division, after repelling a minor counterattack against Immendorf, takes Apweiler in a limited attack, then pauses while the 29th Infantry Division is clearing Setterich. The 29th Infantry Division, with close tank and artillery support, makes substantial progress, the 116th Infantry Regiment gaining a firm foothold in Setterich and other elements penetrating the outer defenses of Juelich to take Siersdorf and Bettendorf. The 30th Infantry Division continues to mop up Broichweiden and seizes Warden, southeast of Mariadorf, after being twice driven off. (Jack McKillop)
In the U.S. First Army's VII Corps area, the 104th Infantry Division seizes most of the Donnerberg and breaks into Eschweiler Woods as the German opposition slackens. Task Force Mills of Combat Command B, 3d Armored Division, assisted by reserves, takes .Hastenrath and Scherpenseel; Combat Command B then goes on the defensive. The 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, committing its full strength, takes Hill 232, key to Hamich Ridge, and clears most of town of Hamich as the 26th Infantry Regiment continues slowly toward its first objective, Laufenburg Castle. The Germans make several strong efforts to regain Hamich and Hill 232. The 4th Infantry Division advances in the Huertgen Forest, where the 8th Infantry Regiment, in 1,000-yard (914 meter) drive, penetrates the outer defenses of the approach to Dueren and the 22d Infantry Regiment reaches positions astride the road leading east to Grosshau, but a gap exists between the regiments. (Jack McKillop)
The USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 716: 402 fighters (47 P-47 Thunderbolts and 355 P-51 Mustangs) are dispatched to strafe oil storage depots in the Hanau and Ulm areas, airfields at Leipheim and Lechfeld, and miscellaneous ground targets; 374 actually attack. About 70 Luftwaffe fighters are encountered and the USAAF pilots claim 26-2-6 in the air and 69-0-41 on the ground. Two P-47s and five P-51s are lost. (Jack McKillop)
During the day, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 479 aircraft, 367 Halifaxes, 94 Lancasters and 18 Mosquitos, to attack Munster; 444 bomb the city. The raid was not concentrated and bombs fell in all parts of Munster. (Jack McKillop)
During the night of 18/19 November, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 285 Lancasters and 24 Mosquitos to bomb the Krupp Treibstoff synthetic oil refinery at Wanne-Eikel; 295 bomb the target. The intention of the raid is to hit the local oil plant. Large explosions seem to erupt in the plant and post-raid reconnaissance shows that some further damage is caused to it. The local report does not mention the oil plant but states that the Hannibal coal mine is destroyed. Meanwhile, Mosquitos hit five targets: 31 fly a "spoof" raid to Wiesbaden; 18 hit Hannover; three bomb Erfurt; and one each attack Kassel and Rheinburg. (Jack McKillop)
Over 340 USAAF Ninth Air Force bombers of the 9th Bombardment Division strike barracks areas, rail bridges, rail facilities, strongpoints, and defended positions at 13 locations in Germany; fighters escort the bombers, fly sweeps and armed reconnaissance over western Germany, and support ground forces east of Aachen, Germany and in the Sarreguemines, France area. (Jack McKillop)
U-3037 laid down.
U-1108, U-3511 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
AUSTRIA: USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators attack two oil refineries in Vienna: 131 hit the Floridsdorf refinery with the loss of three aircraft while 71 bomb the Korneuburg refinery. (Jack McKillop)
ITALY: The British Eighth Army orders a co-ordinated attack toward Faenza by V Corps and the Polish II Corps, beginning on 20 November. In the Polish II Corps area, the 3d Carpathian Division takes over from the 5th Kresowa Division in Mt. Fortino area and prepares to attack. (Jack McKillop)
USAAF Twelfth Air Force medium bombers bomb bridges at Pizzighettone, Romano di Lombardia, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Migazzone, Casarsa della Delizia, and Casale Monferrato while fighter-bombers continue successful attacks on rail lines, dumps, guns, and pipelines in the northern Apennines and the Po Valley, XXII Tactical Air Command claiming 100+ train cars, eight locomotives, and nearly 75 vehicles destroyed. (Jack McKillop)
During the night of 18/19 November USAAF Twelfth Air Force A-20 Havocs on armed reconnaissance bomb Ghedi Airfield and targets in the Bologna, Ferrara, Mantua, Cremona, and Parma areas. (Jack McKillop)
USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bombers hit four airfields with the loss of four aircraft: 147 bomb Vincenza Airfield; 115 hit Aviano Airfield; 109 attack Udine Airfield and 96 bomb Villa Franca Airfield. (Jack McKillop)
ESTONIA: Saaremaa Island, in the north end of the Gulf of Riga, is attacked again by the Soviet 8th Army.
FINLAND: Germans leave the northernmost tip of Finland, Utsjoki. (Jack McKillop)
BALTIC SEA: U-679 sank Soviet minesweeper SK-62. (Dave Shirlaw)
YUGOSLAVIA: USAAF Twelfth Air Force medium bombers bomb a bridge at Zidani Most and also hit the Brod-Ljubljana railway, the principal German escape route in the Balkans. (Jack McKillop)
Sixteen USAAF Fifteenth Air Force bombers attack the city and troop concentrations at Visegard. (Jack McKillop)
During the night of 18/19 November, RAF bombers of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group attack four targets: 42 hit the West marshalling yard at Sarajevo; 19 bomb tactical targets at Sjenica; 16 attack tactical targets at Novi Pasar; and one bombs tactical targets at Pribaj. (Jack McKillop)
BURMA: Myitkyina: All over Burma, along an 800-mile front, the Japanese army is on the defensive. Chinese and US troops in the north, reinforced by the 36th Indian Division, are pushing down the "railway corridor" towards Indaw, while further south in central Burma the Anglo-Indian Fourteenth Army is preparing to cross the Chindwin and the Irrawaddy.
The Allied offensive from the north - commended by Lt-General Daniel Sultan since Stilwell's dismissal - began four weeks ago. It has advanced over 100 miles, along both the railway corridor and the upper Irrawaddy valley, where the 38th Chinese Division threatens Bhamo. Further east the New Chinese Sixth Army is marching along the Burma Road to meet them.
Confronting the force General Masaki Honda's Thirty-Third Army has steadily retreated. He has no hope of reinforcements from Japan; indeed one of his divisions has been taken away from him and sent to Indochina. He is faced with superior forces under Sultan, and also risks being cut off by Lt-Gen William Slim's Fourteenth Army 175 miles to the south.
There, Slims' army has been building roads and supply dumps for Operation Extended Capital, which Slim hopes will take his force across the Chindwin, destroy Lt-Gen Shihachi Katamura's Fifteenth Army on Shwebo plain, and carry on over the Irrawaddy. Slim is an unsung British hero. Of the original military commanders on the Burmese stage, Orde Wingate is dead, Stilwell in disgrace and Geoffrey Scoones (the victor of Imphal) in India; while on the Japanese side, the Burma Area Army commander, Masakazu Kawabe, the Fifteenth Army commander, Renya Mutaguchi, and nine other generals have been sacked since the Imphal debacle.
Only Slim remains, quietly exuding confidence and good nature. His brief now is to reopen the Burma Road, but he plans to go further and destroy the Japanese army in Burma. He has no illusions about the task, and calls the Japanese soldier "the most formidable fighting insect in history."
Twenty seven USAAF Tenth Air Force fighter-bombers support ground forces south of Pinwe and in the Bhamo area; 16 attack troops and supply area at Panglong and Nga-pwegyi while seven hit the ferry area at Meza and 20 hit targets of opportunity along the Kanbalu-Wuntho railroad and at Maymyo and Wetwin. Nine B-25 Mitchells attack the Man Pwe rail yards, destroying warehouses and other buildings and causing much general damage. (Jack McKillop)
CHINA: Ten USAAF Fourteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells attack stores at Hengshan and hit populated areas from Ishan to Liuchow; 130+ P-51 Mustangs, P-40s, and P-38 Lightnings hit targets of opportunity scattered over vast areas of southern China; troops, shipping, supplies, trucks, and railroad targets are hit particularly hard north of Lingling, from Liuchow to Ishan, from Hengshan to Hengyang, from Kweilin to Liuchou, from Siangtan to Paoching, and at Chuanhsien, Hwaiyuanchen, Chingmen, Chuchiang, and Shihkiachwang. (Jack McKillop)
JAPAN: Four USAAF Eleventh Air Force B-24 Liberators strike Suribachi shore batteries on Paramushiru Island, including one on Takikawa Cape. A shipping sweep by six B-25 Mitchells is cancelled due to weather. (Jack McKillop)
NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: USAAF East Air Force B-24 Liberators, with P-38 Lightnings and P-47 Thunderbolts supporting, launch a major strike against oil installations at Tarakan, Dutch Borneo; other B-24s and B-25 Mitchells hit shipping off Tarakan and in Brunei Bay, Brunei On Celebes Island in the Netherlands East Indies, B-24s bomb the Makassar and Kendari area and the Polewali shipyards. Other B-24s bomb airfields in the Ceram Island-Ambon Island area while P-38s strafe shipping. (Jack McKillop)
RAAF No. 22 Squadron flying (A-20C) Boston Mk. IIIs fly their first mission from Morotai against targets on northern Celebes Island. (Jack McKillop)
BONIN AND VOLCANO ISLANDS: USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators from Saipan and Guam hit shipping at Chichi Jima and Haha Jima, Bonin Islands. P-38 Lightnings and B-24 Liberators from Saipan escort photo aircraft over Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands. (Jack McKillop)
Project MIKE continues as USAAF B-24 Liberators lay 12 mines in effective locations in Futami Ko, Chichi Jima. (Jack McKillop)
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: In the U.S. Sixth Army's X Corps area on Leyte, the 3d Battalion of 128th Infantry Regiment, 32d Infantry Division, halts on a ridge 500 yards (457 meters) north of Limon to await the 1st Battalion, which is still battling the Japanese on Corkscrew Ridge. Positions of the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, on Kilay Ridge are seriously threatened and under heavy fire. (Jack McKillop)
USAAF Far East Air Force B-24 Liberators, B-25 Mitchells and A-20 Havocs again hit airfields and targets of opportunity on Mindanao Island. Fighter-bombers, A-20s and B-25s over several locations in the Philippine Islands attack shipping, supply and personnel areas, harbors, barges, airstrips, and communications targets. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer escort USS Corbesier shot down a Japanese plane in Leyte Gulf. (Dave Shirlaw)
PACIFIC OCEAN: In the Philippine Sea, USN destroyer escort USS Lawrence C. Taylor (DE-415) and a TBM Avenger of Composite Squadron Eighty Two (VC-82) in the escort aircraft carrier USS Anzio (CVE-57), sink Japanese submarine HIJMS I-41 about 345 nautical miles (638 kilometers) east-northeast of Tacloban, Leyte, Philippine Islands in position 12.44N, 130.42E. This is the second submarine sunk by these units in two days. (Jack McKillop)
NEW GUINEA: In Dutch New Guinea, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-25 Mitchells continue to support ground forces on Mapia Island off the northwest coast of New Guinea. (Jack McKillop)
Corvette HMCS Woodstock arrived Esquimalt from Halifax to become a weather ship.
Corvette HMCS Fergus commissioned.
Frigate HMCS Inch Arran commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge launched.
Destroyer USS Metcalf commissioned.
Frigate USS New Bedford commissioned.
Minesweeper USS Rampart commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
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