April 7th, 1945
UNITED KINGDOM: The impending break-up of Britain's coalition government was signalled by Ernest Bevin, the minister of labour, today. "We are at the parting of the ways," he said, and chided Mr. Churchill for apparently favouring a post-war coalition which he hoped he could lead. Mr Bevin went on: "I have a profound admiration for the prime minister as a war leader - unfettered I gave him my loyalty in that position: I never gave it to him as leader of the Conservative Party."
ENGLISH CHANNEL: U-1195 (German) 96' Depth charged; 9 of 10 self escape from after hatch even with 40 degree list on bottom, one without Drager gear, PoWs. (Mark Horan)
GERMANY: There is heavy fighting by US 1st and 9th Armies around the Ruhr pocket.
North-west: The German army in the west is disintegrating under the impact of Allied columns racing for Bremen. Hamburg, Hanover, Magdeburg and the Elbe. The roads are filled with long columns of prisoners trudging westwards into Allied prison camps.
The British are closing on Hanover on the Autobahn to Berlin, while another spearhead is driving for Bremen. In the south, the Americans have broken through to Wurzburg. The devastation of the Rhine battle zone has been left behind and the Allied forces are passing through towns apparently untouched by war, except for empty shelves in shops and white flags hanging outside houses.
The Reich's gold reserve is captured when the 282nd Combat Engineer Battalion of Patton's 3d Army, discovers the Reichsbank gold reserve cache in the Kaiseroda potassium mine at Merkers. The haul includes 8,198 bars of gold bullion; 55 boxes of crated gold bullion; hundreds of bags of gold items; over 1,300 bags of gold Reichsmarks, British gold pounds, and French gold francs; 711 bags of American twenty-dollar gold pieces; hundreds of bags of gold and silver coins; hundreds of bags of foreign currency; 9 bags of valuable coins; 2,380 bags and 1,300 boxes of Reichsmarks (2.76 billion Reichsmarks); 20 silver bars; 40 bags containing silver bars; 63 boxes and 55 bags of silver plate; 1 bag containing six platinum bars; and 110 bags from various countries.
The enormity of this hoard is such that Eisenhower appoints Colonel Bernard D. Bernstein, deputy chief, Financial Branch, G-5 Division of SHAEF to be responsible for its disposition. (Russell Folsom)
The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 931: 1,314 bombers and 898 fighters are dispatched to hit airfields, oil and munitions depots and explosive plants in central and northern Germany; all primary targets are bombed visually; they meet 100+ conventional fighters and 50+ jets; the German fighters attack fiercely and in the ensuing air battle down 15 heavy bombers; the AAF claims 104-13-32 aircraft including a few jets.
These Luftwaffe attacks are by the hastily formed Schulungslehrgang Elbe unit. 120 Bf-109s engage by ramming, destroying at most 13 bombers at a cost of 53 German fighters. Many of the poorly trained pilots never even engaged the US formation. (Mike Yared)
- 143 B-17s bomb airfields at Kaltenkirchen and 134 hit Parchim; 36 attack an oil depot at Buchen while 104 bomb a munitions depot at Gustrow; secondary targets hit are the marshalling yards at Neumunster by 37 B-17s and Schwerin by 48 B-17s; 1 other hit Salzwedel Airfield, a target of opportunity; they claim 26-10-10 aircraft; 14 B-17s are lost. Escorting are 317 P-51s; they claim 31-1-8 aircraft; 3 P-51s are lost.
- 128 B-24s bomb an explosive plants at Krummel while 168 bomb a plant at Duneburg; 26 others hit the marshalling yard at Neumunster; they claim 14-2-6 aircraft; 3 B-24s are lost. The escort is 252 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 30-0-7 aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost.
- 107 B-17s attack the airfield at Wesendorf , 93 hit Kohlenbissen Airfield and 115 bomb an oil depot at Hitzacker; 92 hit Lundeburg, the secondary; 25 others bomb targets of opportunity; they claim 0-0-1 aircraft. 209 P-51s escort without loss.
The Ninth Air Force dispatches 268 A-20s, A-26 Invaders and B-26 Marauders to strike marshalling yards at Northeim and Gottingen, plus 2 town areas; fighters fly escort, patrols, and armed reconnaissance, and support the US 7th Armored Division at Schmallenberg, the 3d and 9th Armored Divisions along the Weser River east of Warburg, the VIII, XII, and XX Corps in the Muhlhausen, Eisenach, and Meiningen areas (including strong air support against a counterattack on the XII and XX Corps at Struth), the 2d Armored Division along the Sarstedt-Hildesheim road, and the XVI Corps between the Lippe and Ruhr Rivers in the Essen area. (Jack McKillop)
The Taifun Express is attacked by American fighter-bombers late this afternoon near Vienenburg. As all the women prisoners had been locked into the first three railways carriages behind the locomotive, their casualties are high. The train carries on to Magdeburg, Riesa, Dresden and Prague. (Sandy Bybee)
AUSTRIA: A small number of Fifteenth Air Force bombers attack marshalling yards at Innsbruck, Sankt Veit an der Glan, and Klagenfurt. 82 P-38s bomb the Tainach-Stein railroad bridge while 74 others sent against a bridge in southern Austria abort due to weather. (Jack McKillop)
ITALY: Okutsu, Yukio, Tech. Sgt., 442nd Regimental Combat Team, will be awarded the MOH for actions today at Mount Belvedere. (William L. Howard)
During the night of 6/7 April, Twelfth Air Force A-20s and A-26s bomb bridges at Lavis, Ala, Rovereto, and San Ambrogio di VaIpolicella, and several Po River crossings; during the day weather grounds the medium bombers; XXII Tactical Air Command fighters and fighter bombers, operating on a limited scale, hit the Montechino oil field, ammunition dumps and communications targets north of the battle area, and gun positions in the Monte Belvedere-Strettoia area in which US Fifth Army forces push north.
128 Fifteenth Air Force B-17s and B-24s attack the Mezzocorona railroad bridge and nearby road bridge, and the Verona-Parona di VaIpolicella railroad bridge while 500+ bombers return to base without bombing because of multi-layer clouds. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.S.R.: Moscow: Stalin cables Roosevelt pointing out that German resistance in the east is much stronger than in the west.
BURMA: 95 Tenth Air Force fighter-bombers operating over and behind Japanese lines in central Burma pound troop concentrations,
CHINA: 14 Fourteenth Air Force B-25s hit town areas and targets of opportunity at Sichuan, Hsihhsiassuchi, Neihsiang, Shaoyang, and Nanchang and 24 P-51s attack river, road and rail traffic in the Yellow River area, south of Anyi, at Yuncheng, and at Tengfeng. 4 B-24s bomb harbours and dock areas at Bakli and Samah Bays on Hainan Island. (Jack McKillop)
trucks, and supply areas, and sweep roads south of the bomb line.
FRENCH INDOCHINA: Fourteenth Air Force B-24s bomb Haiphong and 8 P-38s hit targets of opportunity around Dien Bien Phu and along the Nam Hon area. (Jack McKillop)
JAPAN: Tokyo: Japan's desperate elder statesmen today advised the emperor to summon 79-year-old Admiral Baron Kantaro Suzuki, a moderate, out of retirement to lead the new government following the resignation of General Kuniaki Koiso's cabinet on 5 April. The crisis of confidence in Koiso has been precipitated by the invasion of Okinawa and Russia's shock renunciation of its neutrality pact with Japan. The new premier has been told to end the war as soon as possible by court advisers, Baron Suzuki, a former grand chamberlain, led the peace faction opposed to escalating the war in China.
The XXI Bomber Command flies two missions:
- Mission 58: 101 B-29 Superfortresses bomb the Nakajima aircraft engine plant at Tokyo; 2 others hit targets of opportunity; they claim 80-23-50 Japanese aircraft; 3 B-29s are lost.
- Mission 59: 153 B-29s hit the Mitsubishi aircraft plant at Nagoya; 29 others hit targets of opportunity; they claim 21-11-22 Japanese aircraft; 2 B-29s are lost.
For the first time the missions above are escorted by 108 VII Fighter Command P-51s from Iwo Jima; they claim 21-5-7 Japanese aircraft; 2 P-51s are lost. This is the first B-29 mission escorted by fighters. One of the groups flying escort is the 15th Fighter Group which was based at Hickam Field, Territory of Hawaii on 7 December 1941.
An Eleventh Air Force B-24 flies a radar-ferret mission along the coasts of Paramushiru and Harumukotan Islands in the Kurile Islands.
Okinawa: Japanese battleship Yamato receives the attention of 380 US aircraft attacking in two waves from TF 58. She absorbs 10 torpedoes and 5 bomb strikes before sinking.
Lt. Cmdr. Herbert Houck leads 43 fighter, dive and torpedo bomber planes off the aircraft carrier USS YORKTOWN to meet an attack by the Yamato and its battlegroup of eight destroyers and a cruiser.
The behemoth warship was one of two 72,000-ton battleships carrying the largest guns ever sent to sea. The Japanese sent the Yamato to thwart an invasion of Okinawa by American troops.
Nearly 2,500 of Yamato's officers and crew were killed; its sinking effectively crippling the Japanese Navy.
The crew of a Martin PBM-3D Mariner of Patrol Bombing Squadron Twenty One (VPB-21), based at Kerama Retto anchorage in the Ryukyu Islands, spots the Japanese First Diversion Attack Force built around the battleship HIJMS Yamato and alerts the Fifth Fleet. Task Force 58 launches 386 aircraft and the battleship and the light cruiser HIJMS Yahagi are sunk west-southwest of Kagoshima, Japan at 30.40N, 128.03E. Also sunk are destroyers HIJMS Asashimo, HIJMS Hamakaze, HIJMS Isokaze and HIJMS Kasumi; the destroyers HIJMS Suzutsuki, HIJMS Hatsushimo, HIJMS Yukikaze and HIJMS Suzutsuki are damaged. (Jack McKillop)
Off Okinawa CV Hancock and BB Maryland are damaged in a Kamikaze attack.
Fleet units shoot down 54 kamikazes against the loss of 10 fighters. High speed minesweeper USS Emmons (DMS-22), irreparably damaged by five kamikazes the previous day, is scuttled by high speed minesweeper USS Ellyson (DMS-19); tank landing ship USS LST-447 sinks as the result of damage inflicted by kamikaze the previous day. Motor gunboat PGM-18 is sunk by mine; while picking up PGM-18's survivors, motor minesweeper YMS-103 is damaged by mine. Also off Okinawa, kamikazes damage carrier USS Hancock (CV-19) (a suicide plane cartwheeled across her flight deck and crashed into a group of planes while its bomb hit the port catapult to cause a tremendous explosion); battleship USS Maryland (BB-46) [a suicide plane loaded with a 500-pound (227 kg) bomb crashed the top of turret No. 3 from starboard at dusk]; destroyers USS Longshaw (DD-559), and USS Bennett (DD-473); destroyer escort USS Wesson (DE-184); and motor minesweeper YMS-81; a shore battery damages motor minesweeper YMS-427; tank landing ship USS LST-698 is damaged by grounding; tank landing ship USS LST-890 is damaged in collision with LST-788.
In addition, two destroyers, a destroyer escort, and a motor minesweeper are also damaged by kamikazes. (Jack McKillop)
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: Far East Air Forces fighters fly 130+ sorties in support of ground forces at Solvec Cove, Villa Verde Trail, the Ipo and Marikina Rivers, and northeastern Laguna de Bay on Luzon. B-24s again bomb Bunawan on Mindanao Island while B-24s and P-38s hit Jolo Island.
24 Seventh Air Force B-24s from Angaur Island in the Palau Islands, bomb the barracks area at Bunawan on Mindanao Island.
EAST INDIES: Far East Air Forces B-24s bomb Bima Airfield on Sumbawa Island in the Lesser Sunda Islands. (Jack McKillop)
FORMOSA: Due to bad weather north of the Philippines, Far East Air Forces B-24s and P-38s hit various targets of opportunity. (Jack McKillop)
PACIFIC OCEAN: Japanese ship loses include light cruiser HIJMS Isuzu by submarines USS Gabilan (SS-252) and USS Charr (SS-328); an auxiliary submarine chaser by submarine USS Tirante (SS-420); a fleet tanker by aircraft; and a merchant cargo ship by mines laid by B-29s;
ATLANTIC OCEAN: The destroyer escort USS Gustafson (DE-182) sinks German submarine U-857 off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
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