Yesterday     Tomorrow

November 21st, 1944

UNITED KINGDOM: Minesweeper HMS Lysander commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

WESTERN EUROPE: The USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 721: seven B-17 Flying Fortresses and five B-24 Liberators drop leaflets in France, the Netherlands and Germany during the night. (Hack McKillop)

The USAAF Ninth Air Force's 9th Bombardment Division hits rail bridges and defended areas at several points including Bergstein, Echtz, Sinzig, Neuwied, and Derichsweiler, Germany; fighters escort the B-26 Marauders and also USAAF Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses (to Merseburg), fly area cover, sweeps, and dive-bombing missions in western Germany, and support the US 1st, 8th, and 104th Infantry Divisions in the Hurtgen area and the XII and XX Corps between Merzig and Sarreguemines, France. (Jack McKillop)

NETHERLANDS: In the British Second Army's XII Corps area, the 49th and 51st Divisions advance steadily toward Venlo. The 53d Division attacks at 1930 hours to clear the Roermond bridgehead. XXX Corps makes little headway as the attack continues in a downpour of rain against strong German opposition.

USAAF Eighth Air Force bombers flying Mission 720 hit two targets as targets of opportunity: 11 bomb Leeuwarden Airfiedl and one bombs Wangerooge Island. (Jack McKillop)

FRANCE: Free French forces capture Mulhouse.

In the U.S. Third Army's XII Corps area, the 80th Infantry Division expands its Nied bridgehead and makes contact with XX Corps. Combat Command A of 6th Armored Division and the 137th Infantry Regiment of the 35th Infantry Division, in a co-ordinated drive, take Fremestroff and Hellimer. The 104th Infantry Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division takes Montdidier and Albestroff, the latter an important road center, but elements in Albestroff become isolated and are destroyed. From Dieuze, a Task Force of Combat Command B, 4th Armored Division, drives eastward to Loudrefing. (Jack McKillop)

The U.S. Seventh Army permits either XV or VI Corps to take Strasbourg, previously the objective of VI Corps, which is making slower progress than XV. Both corps are to be prepared to cross the Rhine if the opportunity to do so with ease presents itself. In the XV Corps area, one Task Force of Combat Command D, French 2d Armored Division, drives through La Petite Pierre to the Alsatian Plain at Bouxwiller, but the other is unable to clear Phalsbourg; pushing through Wolfsberg Pass, a column of Combat Command L emerges on the Alsatian Plain at Birkenwald. The 44th Infantry Division takes Sarrebourg, which has been outflanked. In the VI Corps area, the 100th Infantry Division takes Moyenmoutier without a fight and advances toward Senones. The 3d Infantry Division expands the Meurthe bridgehead, taking St Jean d'Ormont. German positions in St Die become untenable as the 103d Infantry Division gains the heights commanding the town. The 36th Infantry Division crosses the 143d Infantry Regiment over the Meurthe River at St Leonard and the 141st Infantry Regiment near Clefcy and advances toward Fraize. Combat Command A, 14th Armored Division, which has been attached to corps, is driving forward on the north flank toward Schirmeck to cut the German escape routes to the northeast. (Jack McKillop)

In the French First Army area, I Corps is almost halted by a violent German counterattack that forces the 5th Armored Division troops from Suarce and Lepuix and severs the Delle-Basle road near Courtelevant, endangering French forces in the vicinity of the Rhine and Mu!house Rivers. In the Alps Sector, the U.S. 44th Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade takes over the area previously held by the U.S. 1st Airborne Task Force. It will defend the right flank along the Franco-Italian border. (Jack McKillop)

GERMANY: The British 2nd Army launches an attack near Venlo.

In the British Second Army's XXX Corps area, efforts of the U.S. 84th Infantry Division to reach the villages of Muellendorf, Wurm, and Beeck fail. Permission is requested and received to use the 405th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 102d Infantry Division, to protect the southeast flank. (Jack McKillop)

The US 1st and 9th Armies make little gains against German positions to the west of the Ruhr.

In the U.S. Ninth Army area, XIX Corps begins the final phase of drive to the Roer River. Combat Command B, 2d Armored Division, seizes the heights around Gereonsweiler and undergoes a strong counterattack on a hill 1,000 yards (914 meters) north of Gereonsweiler; here, within sight of the Roer, Combat Command B halts. Combat Command A advances to about 1,000 yards (914 meters) beyond both Ederen and Freialdenhoven. The 116th Infantry Regiment, now on the northern flank of the 29th Infantry Division, seizes Engelsdorf, from which the 3d Battalion attacks for Koslar; the 2d Battalion of the 175th Infantry enters Bourheim after the German garrison, scheduled for relief, withdraws, but is forced out when the German relief force moves into the town after dark. The 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, assisted by the 743d Tank Battalion, thrusts quickly to Fronhoven, within 4 miles (6,4 kilometers) of the Roer. (Jack McKillop)

In the 1st US Army area the 104th Division mops up Helrath and Rohe and advances toward Duerwiss. House to house fighting erupts in outskirts southwest of Eschweiler, Bergrath, and Bohl. Northern point of Hill 245 near Merode is seized by elements of the 1st Division's 26th Infantry, while the 16th and 18th Infantry Regiments advance 800 yards north of Heistern. The attached 47th Regimental combat team battles for Hill 188. In the 4th Division zone there is little progress except a slight advance by the 22d Infantry.

On the northern flank of the 1st Infantry Division, the 47th Infantry Regiment masses fire of 20 battalions of weapons on Hill 187 in an effort to break the resistance on Hamich Ridge and interdicts the hill with fire through the night of 21/22 November; the 18th Infantry Regiment, after repelling counterattack in Heistern and clearing the rest of the village, commits its reserve battalion and continues toward Langerwehe astride Wehe Creek until stopped abruptly at Hills 207 and 203; the 26th Infantry Regiment advances slowly toward Merode. In the V Corps area, after a preparatory bombardment by the 8th Infantry Division and corps artillery plus some guns of VII Corps, the 121st Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division, attacks through the12th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division (VII Corps) on a plateau southwest of Huertgen, where the Ger mans have checked previous efforts to advance. Progress is limited by thick woods containing numerous obstacles. (Jack McKillop)

The 9th Air Force bombs Bergstein in the V Corps area and the 121st Infantry passes through the 12th Infantry Regiment but makes no material gain. (Robert Rush)

In the U.S. Third Army's XX Corps area, Combat Command A of the 10th Armored Division, attacks north through Task Force Polk toward Saarburg with Task Force Standish on the left and Task Force Chamberlain on the right but is soon halted by the obstacles of the Orscholz Switch Line; Combat Command B, now on the defensive west of Merzig, falls back a little under a German counterattack, and its sector is quiet for the next few days. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF Eighth Air Force flies Mission 720: 1,291 bombers and 954 fighters are dispatched to make pathfinder force attacks using H2X on oil targets in Germany; they claim 73-7-25 Luftwaffe aircraft; 25 bombers and 15 fighters are lost: 192 aircraft bomb the I.G. Farben synthetic oil refinery at Merseberg with the loss of 12 aircraft; 174 hit the Rhenania oil refinery and 171 attack the Wilhelms oil refinery, both in Hamburg with the loss of four aircraft; 161 bomb the marshalling yard at Osnabruck; 79 hit the marshalling yard at Giessen with the loss on one aircraft; 60 hit the industrial area at Wetzlar; 24 bomb the marshalling yard at Meppen; 23 attack the Mosel marshalling yard at Koblenz; 22 bomb the marshalling yard at Friedber; and 200 aircraft bomb 22 targets. (Jack McKillop)

During the day, RAF Bomber Command sends 160 Lancasters to attack the Homberg oil refinery; three Lancasters are lost. The bombing is scattered at first but then becomes very concentrated, culminating, according to the Bomber Command report, in "a vast sheet of yellow flame followed by black smoke rising to a great height." This is a very satisfactory raid after several previous attempts by Bomber Command to destroy this oil refinery. (Jack McKillop)

During the night of 21/22 November, this is a night of mainly good visibility in which RAF Bomber Command operations are directed strictly according to priorities given in recent directives.

- 274 Lancasters and nine Mosquitos bomb Aschaffenburg; two Lancasters are lost. The object of this raid is to destroy the local railway yards and lines. The local report says that 50 bombs fall in the railway area, causing much damage to the marshalling yards and railway workshops but the main through lines are not cut. Many other bombs fall in the centre and north of the town. About 500 houses are destroyed and 1,500 seriously damaged. Many old buildings are hit, including the local castle, the Johannisburg, which is hit by five high-explosive bombs and had a 4,000-pound (1 814 kilogram) "blockbuster" burst near by; the roof and upper stories of the castle are burnt out.

- 273 aircraft, 176 Halifaxes, 79 Lancasters and 18 Mosquitos, hit Castrop-Rauxel; four Halifaxes are lost. The target is the oil refinery. The local report says that 216 high-explosive bombs, 78 duds and many incendiaries hit the oil plant and caused such a large fire that the firefighters could do little more than allow it to burn itself out. It is believe that the refinery produces no more oil after this raid. Bombs fall in many other places, including some important industrial and coal-mining premises.

- 270 aircraft, 232 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos and 18 Lancasters, attack Sterkrade: two Halifaxes are lost. The target is again the synthetic-oil refinery. Bomber Command's report says that the plant is not damaged, though some labour barracks near by are hit.

- 138 Lancasters and six Mosquitos bomb the Mittelland Canal. 2 Lancasters are lost. The canal banks are successfully breached near Gravenhorst. Later photographs show that water drained off over a 30 mile (48 kilometers) stretch and that 59 barges are stranded on one short section alone.

- 123 Lancasters and five Mosquitos hit the Dortmund-Ems Canal without loss. The canal near Ladbergen is attacked, some of the Lancasterss coming down to 4,000 feet (1 219 meters) to get beneath the cloud. A breach is made in the only branch of the aqueduct here which has been repaired since the last raid and the water once again drains out of the canal. (Jack McKillop)

Bomber Command also dispatches Mosquitos to bomb four cities: 25 bomb Stuttgart, 24 hit Hannover, 17 attack Worms and four bomb Wesel. (Jack McKillop)

U-2521 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

NORWAY: RAF Bomber Command dispatches 24 Halifaxes and 18 Lancasters to lay mines off Oslo; 41 drop their mines with the loss of one Lancaster. (Jack McKillop)

ITALY: In the British Eighth Army's Polish II Corps area, the 3d Carpathian Division begins an attack on the Mt. Fortino-Mt. Ricci ridge south of Faenza, taking Mt. Fortino and pushing northward. V Corps opens a general offensive toward Faenza with close air support. The Indian 10th Division, on the north flank, is pinned down along the Montone River west of Villafranca. The 4th Division, in the center, gets elements across the river in the region north of Highway 9 but is forced to withdraw them. On the southern flank, the 46th Division continues to clear the Cosina River loop north of Castiglione. (Jack McKillop)

USAAF Twelfth Air Force B-25 Mitchells attack defenses and troop concentrations in the Faenza area as the British Eighth Army's V Corps opens a general offensive north towards that town. Fighter-bombers hit targets in the US Fifth Army battle area south of Bolonga, in the Po Valley, and in northeast Italy; particularly good results are achieved against supply dumps and a rail line in the Brenner Pass is cut in three places. (Jack McKillop)

ALBANIA: Resistance fighters occupy Tiranė and Durazzo.

YUGOSLAVIA: Twenty six USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb troop concentrations, railroad, and highways at Novi Pazar and one bombs a target of opportunity; 155 P-38 Lightnings dive-bomb communications lines in southern Yugoslavia, destroying several vehicles, blasting roads at Vucitrn, Rogatica, Tvrdosevo, and Duga Poljana, hitting bridges at Vrbasici, and Kukavica and causing a landslide at Pavlica; 87 P-51 Mustangs strafe communications over wide areas of southern Yugoslavia; other fighters fly reconnaissance missions. (Jack McKillop)

BURMA: USAAF Major General George Stratemeyer Commanding General AAF, India-Burma Sector, CBI Theater and commander of the Eastern Air Command, South East Asia Command, inactivates the Third Tactical Air Force so that the RAF 221 Group may provide close support for the British Fourteenth Army and the RAF 224 Group can support the British XV Corps for the Arakan offensive. (Jack McKillop)

On the Northern Combat Area Command (NCAC) front, the Chinese 38th Division continues to close in on Bhamo. The 114th Regiment, bypassing a Japanese outpost at Subbawng, which detachment of 113th Regiment is containing, drives into Shwekyina. (Jack McKillop)

Twenty eight USAAF Tenth Air Force P-47 Thunderbolts support ground forces in the Pinwe and Bhamo areas while 37 others hit supply areas, troop concentrations and strongholds at Langwa, Pinmalut, Hlebwe, Mutawng, and Nawnghkem. Fifteen P-47s hit targets of opportunity while sweeping the Kyaukme- Namyao road and ten B-25 Mitchells knock out bridges at Hsipaw and Bawgyo. (Jack McKillop)

CHINA: Major General Albert C. Wedemeyer Commanding General China Theater, U.S. Army, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek's Chief of Staff, formally presents his recently formulated ALPHA Plan--to concentrate Chinese forces in the Kunming area as quickly as possible and place them under command of China's best general in order to avert a threat to Kunrning to Chiang Kai-shek. General Chen Cheng is recommended for command of ALPHA forces, but Chiang Kai-shek prefers General Ho Ying-chin. American assistance will consist of maximum air support and liaison officers to advise the Chinese Army. (Jack McKillop)

Forty two USAAF Fourteenth Air Force P-51 Mustangs and P-38 Lightnings on armed reconnaissance attack fuel supplies and the town area at Ishan and road and rail traffic and other targets of opportunity north of Wanling, Burma and in the Chiuchiang area, south of Foochow, and at Hsuchang, Sincheng, and Sheklung. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF Twentieth Air Force's XX flies Mission 17: 13 B-29 Superfortresses from Chengtu, China, bomb Shanghai as a target of opportunity and several others hit alternates. (Jack McKillop)

JAPAN: The USAAF Twentieth Air Force's XX Bomber Command flies Mission 17: 61 B-29 Superfortresses from Chengtu, China, bomb an aircraft plant at Omura, Kyushu Island. B-29 gunners claim 27-19-24 Japanese fighters downed; one B-29 is lost and six are missing. (Jack McKillop)

In the Kurile Islands, two light cruisers, and nine destroyers of Task Force 92 bombard Japanese naval air installations on Matsuwa Island. (Jack McKillop)

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: The US 32nd Division on the north coast of Leyte, Philippine Islands, is held in the Ormoc Valley by stiff Japanese resistance. The 7th Division attacks north toward Ormoc from Baybay.

NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: USAAF Far East Air Forces B-25 Mitchells hit Langoan and Mapanget Airfields on Celebes Island while B-24 Liberators in the Kendari area bomb Ambesia Airfield. (Jack McKillop)

BONIN AND VOLCANO ISLANDS: USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators from Guam bomb shipping and naval shore installations at Chichi Jima and Haha Jima Islands in the Bonin Islands. During the night of 21/22 November a lone B-24 on a snooper mission bombs Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands. (Jack McKillop)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: The USS Sealion sinks the IJN battleship Kongo and a destroyer northeast of Formosa.

The USN submarine USS Sealion (SS-315) is on patrol north of Formosa. At 0220 hours, radar contact is made with two Japanese battleships, HIJMS Kongo and Haruna, two cruiser and three destoryers. By 0257 hours, the submarine is in position and fires six torpedoes at Haruna but they miss and three hit the destroyer HIJMS Urakaze. After a series of explosions, Urakaze simply blows apart and in less than two minutes, the vessel sinks taking her entire crew of 14 officers and 293 men with her. At 0259 hours, Sealion fires three additional torpedoes and one strikes the battleship HIJMS Kongo. Kongo had been badly damaged by air attacks on 25 October during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. A gash on her starboard side opened up 15 oil tanks, the contents of which poured into the sea. The damage forced the Kongo to attempt a return voyage to Japan for repairs. The torpedo hit causes Kongo to list 20 degrees. Heading for the nearest port on northern Formosa, the list increase s to 45 degrees. It becomes obvious that the Kongo is sinking and the order is given to abandon ship. When the list accelerates past 60 degrees, tragedy strikes. At 0525 hours local, her forward 14-inch (35,6 centimeter) magazine explodes with horrifying results and the Kongo rolls over and slips beneath the waves about 67 nautical miles (123 kilometers) north of Taipei, Formosa, in position 26.07N, 121.36E. Some 1,250 officers and men are lost. Two of her escorts, the destroyers HIJMS Hamakaze and Isokaze rescue survivors, Hamakaze picking up seven officers and 139 men and Isokaze rescued six officers and 85 men, a total of 347 survivors. (Jack McKillop)

Sealion, unusually, was  carrying a recording device in her conning tower during this patrol and  some others.  Audio recordings (in places hard to make out) of the  conning-tower conversations during this attack, and another sinking on a  later patrol, are on-line at the Historic Naval Ships Association website at

There is a detailed  analysis of this attack by Anthony Tully on the Nihon Kaigun website  created by him and list member Jon Parshall.  Among other things,  this piece indicates that the battleship with Kongo was actually Nagato, not  Haruna as stated in other  sources.  (Keith Allen)

USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators sink a Japanese ship in Makassar Strait off Dutch Borneo. (Jack McKillop)

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Advance Headquarters USAAF Eleventh Air Force is established on Shemya Island, with Brigadier General Harry A Johnson as Deputy Commander. Five B-24 Liberators fly air coverage for naval units but another fleet coverage mission by ten B-25 Mitchells is cancelled due to weather. Before clearance can be obtained from the Soviets through diplomatic channels, a B-24 air-drops provisions to a marooned B-24 crew which force landed on Kamchatka Island, U.S.S.R. on 17 November. (Jack McKillop)


Frigate HMCS Strathadam arrived Halifax from Esquimalt.

Tug HMCS Clifton commissioned.

Minesweeper HMCS New Liskeard commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: Frigate USS Gladwyne commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

Top of Page

Yesterday             Tomorrow